Trophy is a competent and enjoyable action-platformer that looks and feels like Mega Man, even if it falters in a few specific areas and doesn't quite live up to that comparison. The game does enough to make it worth recommending to fans of 8-bit classics of yore, provided you can look past some of its poor level design and cheap deaths. At the end of the day, I'd award it a trophy somewhere in between participation and podium.
The lack of unlockables is unfortunate, but the number of upgrades you can open up and attach to your ship does allow for some neat customization. Another slight issue is that because the power-ups you collect allow you to take extra hits, you become something of a sitting duck after losing a life during a boss fight, with no way to reactivate your power-ups and thus build up your arsenal and your "life meter." While it'd be great to see online leaderboards and more content added down the road, I'd still recommend DRAINUS to fans of the genre and–given the manageable challenge it offers–even newcomers looking to try one of these for the first time.
Bear's Restaurant offers a unique experience in that it is both more and less than what it appears to be. Its narrative delivers some poignant emotional moments, but it's also interspersed with oddly dark or fantastical elements that undermine its genuine heart. As a prequel to Fishing Paradiso, which Neal reviewed here, it does at least introduce characters that carry over to that follow up, but those looking for something more well rounded and with more pronounced gameplay elements may want to skip the restaurant and go straight to paradise. If you're up for a story about the afterlife, how people get there, and the desire to hold on to those we've lost, pull up a chair at Bear's Restaurant.
While it may not often affect actual playability, it's hard to ignore when the image simply freezes for five seconds. Perhaps appropriately, this feels like a lost licensed platformer of the early 2000s. That comes with the good and the bad, but there is certainly a lot to like here, even if it's a bit rough around the edges.
Arbitrary levels from the first couple worlds were often more difficult than levels near the end of the game. Difficulty spikes abound, and the less than generous checkpoint system may cause frustration for those not looking for a tough 2D platformer. But for those who are, Onion Assault will make for an excellent few hours of platforming challenge.
Between Pokemon Scarlet / Violet and this, I really hope I don't have any games in the future that could be great but that I have to start docking for egregious issues. A bad ending to a story isn't as bad as game-spanning tech issues, but the end result ends up being the same; a game worth recommending, but with some major caveats. Especially when the story is 95% of the reason to play the game.
As much as I loved the chance to play an additional chapter, Tiki's paralogue doesn't live up to the standard set by base game maps, and the Emblem Bracelets themselves don't add much to a completed save file-though it was nice to see Tiki and the house leaders get a chance to talk to Marth and Byleth since the Emblem characters never actually talk to each other in the base game. The expansion pass is a better value if you purchase it early in your playthrough, but you'll likely be stuck in the same position I am now for the remaining five Emblem characters to be added throughout 2023. Ironically the DLC is likely to be more enticing for players who pick up Engage late after all of the additional content has been added, since it's tough to say you'll get your money's worth now unless you're confident you'll still be playing Fire Emblem Engage at the end of this year.
The game deals with some very heavy subjects at times, but always does so respectfully and without making them seem like a crutch for the narrative to lean on. There are also a lot of cats that can not only be pet but can also be named, something some people may see as a very worthwhile bonus (I know I do). If you like your adventure games to try and yank some tears out of your poor, poor eyes, A Space for the Unbound is easily your first great choice of 2023.
I have never played a game quite so ravenously, sinking over ninety hours into my first playthrough in just two weeks (though don't get too intimidated by that number, it counts all of my resets from playing on Hard difficulty, and I also played all fifteen optional chapters). At the end of it all I didn't feel exhausted or burnt out, but rather like I somehow wished that I could play for even longer. Fire Emblem Engage may not check every box that fans were hoping for, but it is easily the strongest showing for the series in the last decade.
It packs a healthy amount of content into its lengthy runtime, and if the combination of school life sim and dungeon crawler strikes you, there's little reason not to dive right in. It's worth considering that P3P does feel a fair bit darker in tone and theme, complete with characters needing to shoot themselves in the head to summon their personas. For those who first played the game on PSP or Vita, the visuals and performance have received a noticeable boost over the original version, in addition to now being able to quick save your progress at any time. The update doesn't reinvent the wheel, but added quality of life features definitely make this the ideal way to play Persona 3 Portable.
Those coming from Persona 5 will likely find many of the systems they're familiar with are present but in a much clunkier fashion. The bland dungeons and sudden difficulty spikes might also turn off new players, but if they can push through those they may find a thrilling murder mystery featuring some of my favorite narrative moments in the Persona series. Add this to an extremely likeable cast of characters like Kanji Tatsumi or Yukiko Amagi, as well as one of the most catchy soundtracks to ever be put into a video game, and you may well find yourself falling in love with Inaba. Despite all of its flaws, you might find that in the end you're actually sad to leave.
It's a creative attempt at mixing up the formula for the series. It's just an attempt that didn't land as well for me as I had hoped. Here's to Jupiter continuing to creatively iterate on Picross while also returning to the old style and giving us a new allotment of traditional puzzles every now and then.
There's no doubt that it's a decent way to spend a couple hours as far as action-platformers go, and fans of the genre–particularly the retro-focused kind–will get a kick out of something so clearly paying homage. For my money, though, I'd have liked to see a few twists and a bit more risk taking with such a well-worn type of video game. Falling short of being a full Moonrider, Vengeful Guardian does enough to make rolling credits worthwhile, if not much else.
If you're going to get into Witch on the Holy Night, perhaps while waiting for someone to tie George R. R. Martin to a chair long enough to finish off their magnum opus, it's going to be a commitment. 20+ hours of either nudging an analog stick to stop the system from going into screen saving mode or jamming A will get you a well-written story that sets up a lot of things for the future.
You can even edit each of the non-mashup levels to make your own customized version. From both a gameplay and presentation standpoint, what's here is nearly unassailable, and the game serves as an exquisite reminder of just how spoiled we are with the wealth of indie titles on Switch and also how astonishing it is that it took until now to get a flattering facsimile of Rhythm Heaven on Nintendo's latest console. Playing this late at night might not boost your brain's melatonin levels, but it's sure to leave you smiling before bed time.
It should be very accessible to people who do not play a lot of games, even though I felt that by the end that the game had run out of steam and felt a bit too abstract for its own good. While the Switch version performs fine enough, the controls did feel like a drag when using a gamepad, which caused me to play the game in handheld mode with touch screen controls. A Little to the Left has a clear and unique identity among other puzzle games and while it won't last you an entire weekend there is enough here for those looking for a new type of puzzling challenge.
It's mostly the same thing, just way more of it. The new characters are fun, the city is much larger, there are way more quests, and the story has higher stakes. The minigames are a great new addition, boss fights are tough but fun, and oh man, that soundtrack.
Unfortunately, playing the game offers too little of an incentive for how challenging it is to control your red panda friend. While it may be true that a good deed is its own reward, such a proverb doesn't lend itself well to the medium of video games. There are some worthwhile moments to be had in this world, but they're just too few and far between.