Goomba Stomp's Reviews
At long last, Live a Live has received a new lease on life for the international audience it always deserved—and most importantly, it holds up brilliantly. With a stunning new coat of high-definition pixelated paint and plenty of quality-of-life enhancements, Live a Live feels just as daring and original today as it did in ’94. While this reimagining holds onto a few frustrating idiosyncrasies from the original release, the game as a whole emerges as something far more than a historical curiosity: Live a Live is still a compelling compendium of roleplaying adventures that dazzle in their diversity and unite into a remarkable sendup of its genre, leading to an experience that RPG fans deserve to live and relive.
In any good roguelike RPG, from Hades to Dead Cells to The Binding of Isaac, death is rarely the end. Often, it is an opportunity: to re-outfit a character or revisit a build, or to take a breather, consult a codex, and plot the next run. In Cult of the Lamb, the latest from megawatt publisher Devolver Digital, players do all the things associated with the genre- with the added twist that the power of death is always lurking, not as a threat but as a tool. Cult of the Lamb tries to straddle the line between relaxing life sim and harrowing roguelike, and while it may stretch itself thin trying to serve both masters, it’s largely successful.
While we may hold plenty of fond memories from the days of fifth-generation console gaming, it is undeniable that the first era of fully realized 3D titles has not aged particularly well. Frogun does not elegantly leap onto today’s lilypad of modernized throwback platformers, but at the very least, Molegato’s title does bring a sense of adventure.
2020’s Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity showed that applying the 1 vs. 1000 Musou-style gameplay to a more narrow scope of an IP can be successful. Now Nintendo and Omega Force have revisited their other Musou spin-off with Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes. Like Age of Calamity, Three Hopes bears the same visuals as its progenitor and benefits from the more focused vision with a story that is in some ways better than the original Three Houses, and in some ways worse. The story supports the familiar Musou combat with some neat strategic additions, but the game ends up far overstaying its welcome.
Based on its initial trailers, Bright Memory: Infinite seemed like it could be the next big game of its genre; it’s a first-person shooter with insanely detailed graphics, an engaging combat system involving swordplay, grand setpieces, and exciting supernatural elements blended with futuristic warfare. Zeng “FYQD” Xiancheng’s efforts to create a next-generation first-person shooter as a lone developer is aspiring, but anyone who has played video games for long enough will know that the expression “looks aren’t everything” should always be taken into consideration. Bright Memory: Infinite echoes that sentiment as its occasional eye-candy visuals can never hold its poor technicalities and nonsense story together.
The Kunio-Kun series (known as River City in the West) has been through every incarnation imaginable. From its humble beginnings on the NES chronicling the adventures of delinquent high school boys to the excellent River City Girls that gave Kyoko and Misako a chance to shine last generation, the River City series has been faithfully serving beat ‘em up fans for years. Now, that same series is tackling the famous Romance of the Three Kingdoms story and making it its own. What results is a cheesy but heartfelt beat ‘em up that stumbles just a bit in its execution.
Foxes are one of nature’s most incredible creatures. Playful like dogs, sleek and curious like cats, they exist as the woodland critter most likely to lift your spirits at any given moment. They tend to show up in video games frequently, often as playable characters, like in Spirit of the North. But in Endling – Extinction is Forever, the player must do their best to ensure the survival of an entire fox family. This may sound like a quaint and low-key experience, but it is, in fact, incredibly stressful and leads to some harrowing and intense moments. Beautifully animated and designed, Endling is a thought-provoking and powerful fable on the importance of preservation and environmental protection.
Ever since Stray was formally unveiled via a teaser trailer at PlayStation’s June 2020 Future of Gaming event, it became one of the most anticipated games of this generation. The appeal is easy to understand: who doesn’t want to control an adorable kitty as they explore a mysterious city? But Stray is more than just “the platforming game with the backpack cat”; it also features one of the most well-realized cyberpunk worlds of the last few years. Stunning art direction and immaculate vibes make Stray a journey worth savoring.
It is hard to know where to begin when describing the experience of playing AI: THE SOMNIUM FILES – nirvanA Initiative. It is the sequel to 2019’s AI: THE SOMNIUM FILES, but requires no knowledge of the first game whatsoever and can go out of its way to hide spoilers if players have not experienced the original. The first game’s essence is still very much present in nirvanA Initiative, and there are a multitude of improvements to the puzzle-solving elements that makes for an overall superior gameplay experience. It is among the best of its genre, while also being at times completely nonsensical. It is a game of halves, while also being a game about halves.
In the case of Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series, Bandai Namco is certainly not treating their dream traveler the same way as their other, yellower gaming mascot. Even in the face of two great games, the latest Klonoa remastered collection falls on the whimpering end of a celebratory spectrum. Phantasy Reverie Series hampers a big dream for what should be a triumphant icon
When Nexon first announced that they would be collaborating with Arc System Works to develop a fighting game based on Dungeon Fighter Online, the response was a bit muted. Arc System Works is arguably the best fighting game studio in the industry right now, but working with an IP that has such a niche audience–no matter how huge that IP may be–didn’t set the fighting game community on fire. Fast forward a year and a half later, though, and there’s no doubt that DNF Duel earns its place as one of the more accessible and polished releases the studio has had thus far.
We’re living through a beat ’em up renaissance, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is the very best to come out of it yet. Dotemu and Tribute Games have delivered a stunning package that not only celebrates nearly 40 years of Turtles history, but the end result is also an addictive beat ’em up that easily stands among the best of the bunch in the genre.
Developer Next Level Games is able to outmatch most sports titles on Nintendo Switch, but that is only because of Battle League’s deep gameplay mechanics and stunning visuals. Battle League is a ridiculously fun entry in the Mario Strikers series that is also plagued by an overwhelming lack of content and competitive options.
Since its announcement, Donut County creator Ben Esposito has been claiming that if Neon White “is for you, it’s your favorite game.” While that may sound like typical self-promoting high praise from a game creator, his sentiment does not fall short of its intentions. Neon White is a glorious gift from Esposito and his new developer team, Angel Matrix. Once a player steps into heaven and pulls their first trigger, they will be locked tightly into Neon White’s premise of exterminating every demon in its stylistic bloodbath.
Impatient fans can make do with Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising, a prequel game set in the same universe as Hundred Heroes that is meant to kick off this new franchise. While not exactly the next great innovation in action RPGs, Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is a serviceable offering.
In Behind the Frame: The Finest Scenery, from Taiwanese developer Silver Lining Studio and publisher Akupara Games, players can see the world through the eyes of a painter. Though this game is brief, it is beautiful, a touching look at how a certain type of person views the world.
After years of relative obscurity, the series has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years thanks to a stream of remakes, remasters, and all-new sequels—and now, Wonder Boy Collection looks to put the series’ lengthy history back in the spotlight by compiling four of its most influential entries. While the package itself leaves something to be desired, the included lineup and its quality-of-life enhancements make Wonder Boy Collection a solid snapshot of platforming history fit for longtime veterans and genre aficionados.
Card Shark is neither a card game nor does it play like any other game that has ever been released, which is a commendable feat in itself. Despite a few gameplay hiccups, Devolver has once again championed a unique and beautifully crafted experience that deserves the attention of both the gaming community, aspiring cheats, and the robust Venn diagram that includes both.