Jack Zustiak


31 games reviewed
75.6 average score
80 median score
54.8% of games recommended
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Aug 23, 2023

Loop8: Summer of Gods aspires to capture the human experience through a multitude of ambitious subsystems. Unfortunately, virtually none of these ideas make a meaningful impact on the game. The end result is a shallow, disjointed, and undeveloped experience. Rather than reflecting the nuances of our everyday lives, Loop8 most closely resembles the lives of aquarium fish.

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Oct 18, 2023

Way of Wyrd's shadow-heavy visuals perfectly capture the Hellboy aesthetic. Sadly, the game lurking beneath those shadows suffers from unambitious design, inconsistent mechanics, and occasionally devastating bugs. Fun can still be found in the Wyrd, it's just harder to find than it should be.

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60 / 100 - Ultros
Feb 19, 2024

Ultros sows some fascinating seeds into a familiar framework. Although those seeds bloomed into a visually striking game, some poor soil hinders its ability to fully develop.

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Nov 12, 2023

Everything about Move It! feels like it should work, and when it does it's a lot of fun. The problem is that doesn't always work. Some rotten apples in the microgame selection and the Joy-Con hardware's awkward fit with the overall concept muddy up an otherwise good time. Given the discombobulating nature of WarioWare, some muddying can be acceptable up to a point, but Move It! occasionally crosses the line from being playfully antagonistic to frustrating for the wrong reasons.

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Sep 28, 2022

Video Game Fables is a solid if simple RPG that suffers from the baggage of its meta nature. The lighthearted dialogue will make you smile and there are glimpses of compelling RPG design strewn about the experience. The game just never truly rises above the height of the conventions it seeks to overthrow, which given the subject matter, is a distracting misstep that weakens the overall experience.

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For better and worse, Pokémon Scarlet & Pokémon Violet: The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero Part 2: The Indego Disk is more Pokémon Scarlet & Pokémon Violet. Your enjoyment of it will largely depend on how much jank you can still tolerate, but this DLC does some interesting things to spice up the game. Trainers will actually put up a fight, there are cool optional areas to explore, and there's of course a ton of returning Pokémon to catch. It's a very small step back to where we fell in love with the series, but still far from its heights.

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Double Dragon Gaiden focuses on replayability to its detriment. Solid combat mechanics give way to balance considerations made to justify all of the difficulty sliders and upgrade systems. If I had to pick between a game with a lot of "replayability" versus a game I simply like to play, the latter will win out every time. Double Dragon Gaiden isn't far off from being enjoyable on the merits of the gameplay alone, but it's far enough to consider going back to the dojo and polishing its Sou-Setsu-Ken technique.

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Dec 6, 2022

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet try to take the franchise in a new direction, but can feel empty and hollow as a result. The open world has bright spots, especially multiplayer, however a lack of care in its design leads to a game that's haphazard and lifeless.

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Apr 22, 2024

Tales of Kenzera: ZAU rests on a solid foundation, yet prioritizes its narrative at the expense of its game design. Rather than allowing its gameplay and narrative to support each other, it discards some of the medium's unique strengths for a competent if bland experience that fails to give full weight to its subject matter.

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70 / 100 - Pepper Grinder
Mar 28, 2024

Pepper Grinder offers plenty of fun during a surface level playthrough. Once you drill into the depths of its game mechanics, however, you'll find an overly forgiving "casual" game and a relatively frustrating "time attack" game. That said, you can collect stickers and that's pretty cool.

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Aug 10, 2023

Marble It Up! Ultra applies the theory of controlled chaos to platformer design. It doles out exciting moments and frustrations in relatively equal measure thanks to the ambiguous nature of its marble physics. This unique juxtaposition often proves likable even if it can occasionally be hard to love.

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Jan 18, 2023

Rather than being a game for people who miss the old school ninja platformers of yesteryear, Moonrider feels more like a game made for the people who miss the idea of them, rather than the games themselves. The game borrows liberally from its inspirations and combines them into a game that looks and plays the part just fine. It just doesn't push itself or the player on a level that will fully satisfy people who still regularly enjoy the games it takes from.

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Oct 13, 2022

The DioField Chronicle mixes the complexity of a slow-burn political thriller with a deceptively straightforward strategy game. I was pleasantly surprised with where my investment in the world of DioField led me, but pay-off off the battle mechanics does not match the narrative destination.

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Feb 28, 2024

Momodora: Moonlit Farewell displays a quiet confidence that's easy to appreciate. It executes on its straightforward design sense effectively and without deviation. As a finale that goal may come across as a little complacent, but it still makes for a perfectly pleasant Spring day.

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80 / 100 - Berserk Boy
Mar 5, 2024

Berserk Boy bursts onto a crowded market of platformers in a strong flash of inspiration. With its literally game-changing form system, energetic soundtrack, and impactful visual design, it's a game well worth playing to the end. It just doesn't make as strong of an argument for you to stick around after the credits in its current state.

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Jan 11, 2024

Elegance, finesse, style – whatever you want to call it, Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown has it. It sets the stage with familiar Prince of Persia elements while performing them in new ways. The production comes with a few stumbles, yet The Lost Crown always recovers with style, proving itself as a worthy heir to the elegance that this series represents.

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80 / 100 - Mortal Kombat 1
Sep 18, 2023

Mortal Kombat's "new era" takes more from the old ones than the reboot implies. While this allows Mortal Kombat 1 to bring the best elements of the series to the forefront, it also distracts from what should be a bold new beginning.

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80 / 100 - Gravity Circuit
Sep 3, 2023

Gravity Circuit (grapple) hooked me after I threw caution to the wind. First playthroughs inherently emphasize caution, which means that truly appreciating the game will take some time. If you're willing to put in the effort, you'll find a game that twists old ideas in a fresh and fun direction.

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When you return to a return, you risk drowning in sentiment to the detriment of the experience. Instead, Return to Dream Land Deluxe skillfully channels its sentiments to refresh Kirby's legacy and add something new on top of it. It is perhaps the most Kirby game to ever Kirby, and there's nothing wrong with that.

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Jan 31, 2023

Breakers may not be the most original fighting game franchise around, but it is an extremely solid one that offers some fun spins on its inspirations. If you're willing to give it a break, the Breakers Collection is well worth playing.

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