Jacob Zeranko


65 games reviewed
76.1 average score
80 median score
76.6% of games recommended
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Jan 30, 2023

All these things come together to tell a story about change and how one processes and works through the fear that comes with it. Overall, Backfirewall_ is a wonderful experience filled with heart, wit, emotional intelligence, and respect for the player. It's a high recommendation for anyone as a result - even if puzzles aren't appealing, the uniqueness of its story and the deft skill with which it's told make for an excellent experience all the same.

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Dec 6, 2022

So, in order effectively play this challenging city-building, survival hybrid, players will need an upper mid-tier PC. It's unfortunate because IXION is a game that quickly catches the player's attention and, despite it's high demands of the player, it finds a way to feel balanced and fair. For those that enjoy this type of game and have the hardware to comfortably play it, then there's no hesitation in recommending this title. Otherwise, it might be better to start with a less intense game in this genre and wait for some performance patches to avoid the punishment of the ever spinning wheels of fire and buffering.

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Dec 1, 2022

Railbound's puzzles can still be deceptively difficult, too. Some of the larger puzzles with multiple moving parts can be surprisingly simple, while the more bare-bones puzzles can provide some of the game's biggest challenges. While some puzzles may take some time to figure out, they never feel obtuse or unfair. Finding solutions to those puzzles generally means taking a small break to reset the brain and coming back with a fresh pair of eyes. With over 150 puzzles and ability to play on the go, Railbound is truly a fantastic game with a charming aesthetic and well-designed puzzles that reward and empower the player.

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Nov 29, 2022

This is how nearly every combat encounter feels, and changing the difficulty does nothing. The bonfire-like checkpoints offer no help either, as they don't restore any health or allow Krog to buy extra lives. All these things really bring down what is otherwise a great game, and its best features are its level design, art, music, and platforming. Much like the original release of Primal Light, there are some who will see these shortcomings as challenges and have a blast trying to overcome them, but most will likely find the overall experience a frustrating and disappointing one.

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Nov 28, 2022

Overall, The Knight Witch is a charming and well-balanced experience that occasionally dips into unfair territory, but ultimately leaves players invested in the home they are fighting for.

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Much like the "What Lies Below" puzzle from the base game, each level is made of several puzzle rooms that flow and connect to each other seamlessly while still managing to feel wholly unique from one another. Even the aforementioned puzzles standout in more positive ways than negative. The Anti-Escapist facility is brilliantly laid out and interconnected, while the final two levels, particularly the very last level, reach a level of creativity and spectacle that was wholly unexpected. Despite some minor pitfalls, the Escape Academy: Escape From Anti-Escape Island DLC is a wonderful continuation of the base game that makes every epiphany feel more satisfying and rewarding than the last.

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Nov 1, 2022

One final thing worth noting is that the music sometimes cuts out, leaving only the sound effects to fill the awkwardly empty void. This definitely feels like a bug and only occurred a handful of times, but it is still worth mentioning because the phenomenal soundtrack is relaxing, driving, and perfect for the game's aesthetic. When those songs were cut short, it felt like an integral part of the experience was missing. Thankfully, those moments were sparse and when the did happen, it could be quickly resolved. Overall, Tanuki Sunset is a wonderful game, especially for those looking for a simple, stylish game to play at the end of a long day.

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Oct 25, 2022

Much like NieR: Automata's storytelling, Signalis heavily focuses on philosophy and requires multiple playthroughs to get the true experience. While some may not resonate with ambiguous storytelling, the only true flaw is the inclusion of Lovecraft's mythos. The story is initiated when players find a copy of "The Yellow King," a powerful god of malevolence in Lovecraftian lore. This inclusion is not only distracting due to the anticipation of if/when he'll appear, but it gives the impression that the story isn't confident in its own identity. Cosmic horror doesn't require Lovecraft to succeed, and developers Barbara Wittman and Yuri Stern prove that through the unique story, world, and gameplay that define Signalis and make it a must-play 2022 release.

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Oct 13, 2022

What truly fuels investment is the game's beauty, music, and message. Thanks to Playplay Studios' use of Unreal Engine, the environments look stunning and lifelike. Whether its leaves, rocks, or rain, the world of this game feels vibrant and tactile; even the lighting effects feel like ray tracing. The music and sound effects are calming and appropriate for each environment. Finally, the message at the heart of Big Earth is as important as always. While the gameplay still needs work, it's clear that the developers mostly wanted to show off what makes Earth so special, and they absolutely succeed in doing so.

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Oct 10, 2022

Paradise Marsh clearly communicates what it wants to say and the questions it wants the players to consider. Much like life, will players take their time and explore or rush through to see the ending? Will they swing their net methodically or wildly in hopes of catching something? With beautiful art, subtle sound design and music by Disasterpiece, and well-written poetry that shows a deep understanding of philosophy, Paradise Marsh leaves players reflecting on what they've experienced long after it ends and that is more than enough reason to recommend this game.

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Sep 24, 2022

With the presence of multiple pro skaters including Daewon Song and Samarria Brevard, as well as a semi-open world with legendary skate spots like Black Hubbus and FDR Park, Sessions: Skate Sim is a well-written love letter to the sport. While some may feel underwhelmed by the lack of customization and find the controls too difficult to adjust to, players that have a love of skating and are itching to dive into a new skateboarding title will eventually feel right at home.

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Sep 21, 2022

Readers may notice the lack of story details in this review, and it's for good reason. The risk of spoiling parts of the story is high because it takes twists and turns the moment it begins, and the best to experience this story is going in completely blind. Overall, Beacon Pines is a fantastic game with clever systems that enrich its characters, world, and masterful storytelling. With a day-one release on Xbox Game Pass, this is a must-play for fans of narrative-focused games and leaves one excited about what Hiding Spot Games will make next.

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Sep 20, 2022

Thankfully, abilities and weapons like these become accessible in the mid-game and make later combat encounters much more manageable. Even then, Soulstice manages to maintain a good balance overall and while some hits may feel unfair, no fight ever ends that way. They all feel satisfying and exciting in a way that motivates the player to continue towards the next one. The moments of exploration between fights also encourages players to take in the stunning art design of the world and Briar's armor and weaponry, which look like they're lifted straight from the pages of Berserk; but this only scratches the surface of Soulstice. This is a challenging, beautiful, and engrossing game with a ton to offer and shouldn't be passed over.

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Sep 20, 2022

Another potential hurdle for Akane is that it takes place in a single square level and requires players to defeat the same enemies ad infinitum, which runs the risk of getting stale. Thankfully it's an intriguing gameplay experience, so players may not play it for long sittings but the desire to jump back in later is strong. One impression that came up time and again while playing is that this game would be perfect for mobile, with its limited setting, simple controls, and "jump in and play" mentality. While Akane is unfortunately not available on mobile platforms, it's made a solid transition to consoles and is well worth picking up.

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The main critique that can be thrown at Justice Sucks is that the abilities are easily forgotten about while playing. Enemies move at a variety of different speeds and so much of the time spent in each encounter consists of figuring out which traps will do maximum damage and how to get the most enemies in those traps as possible. This doesn't detract from the fun in any way, but there's no need for anything other than the Dusty's best passive abilities since each level is filled with everything players need to deal damage. There's plenty more to be said about this game, such as its killer soundtrack and heart-warming story, but the most important takeaway is that Justice Sucks is simply so much fun to play.

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Made in Abyss: Binary Star Falling into Darkness is a good game marred by poor pacing and the inability to blend game mechanics with the story they came from. If this game was purely the "Deep in Abyss" mode, it would be a great action-survival game with elements of RPG mechanics and even some horror mixed in. However, the contrast between the game modes both in gameplay and presentation is shocking and leaves one wondering why "Hello Abyss" needed to be a requirement to access what feels like the "actual game."

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Aug 24, 2022

Overall, Islets is a charming adventure with a large cast of memorable characters, interesting monsters, and wholesome story that far outweigh its minor pitfalls and is perfect for players itching for a new Metroidvania.

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Aug 18, 2022

Midnight Fight Express is a solid beat 'em up that offers more than one would expect. While it would be nice to see some added accessibility options in future updates, it's still possible to get through each of the game's 40 levels and have a blast doing it. Beat 'em up fan or not, Midnight Fight Express is an awesome game with a great sense of humor and is absolutely worth picking up and throwing down.

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Aug 16, 2022

Overall, Tribes of Midgard Season 3: Inferno Saga is a robust addition to an already huge game. With all the new features, new platforms to play on, and saga starter-kits for new players, it's the perfect update for all kinds of players. Whether it's someone that's stepped away for a while or has had their eye on this game, now is the time to jump into the world of Midgard.

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Aug 10, 2022

Ultimately, Dream Cycle is an interesting and creative take on Lovecraft's world and one that should have been so much better. While it's hard to recommend Dream Cycle in its current state, some may feel that these issues are miniscule compared to what the game is trying to do and that's enough reason to give it a go.

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