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Goodbye Volcano High is a fantastic narrative that provides themes and stories that are relatable to players of all ages and experiences. The team at KO_OP balances the wonderful teenage angst with meaningful storytelling, fantastic music, and animation that few can match. Goodbye Volcano High forced me to look within and see how I approached scenarios as a know-it-all 18 year old versus how I would respond some 10+ years later. This six hour adventure is required playing for those that appreciate a powerful coming of age story that is presented in a new and unique way.
Wishfully Studio's debut title, Planet of Lana, shows immense promise with its hand-painted art style that pops off the screen at any given moment, musical tracks that imbue the somber yet adventurous nature akin to both Star Wars and Marvel, and puzzles that feel well catered and simple for players of all kinds. While Planet of Lana's art and ambiance are arguably unmatched, its solid suspenseful enemy encounters and clever puzzles lack a certain special factor that would make this journey reach the heights it potentially could have. Nonetheless, Planet of Lana is an adventure worth your time, filled with elements reminiscent of folks like Playdead, Ghibli, and Team Ico elements.
Tchia is a beautiful game that kept me engaged from beginning to end. The beautiful score, art style, and characters were distinct and memorable throughout my time with the game. Though there are numerous repetition actions throughout the game, the other mechanics pushed me forward to see the conclusion of Tchia’s story. If you’re given the chance, go enjoy everything Tchia has to offer.
As a whole, Brok the InvestiGator is a must-play title for those who find themselves drawn toward compelling characters, points, clicks, or clever criminal investigations. While COWCAT succeeds in making the first Punch & Click, it’s clear that the game’s point-and-click nature and Investigations took priority over the game’s brawling combat, and nonsensical segments bring it down just a bit. Yet, Brok the InvestiGator’s one-two punch of a colorful aesthetic mixed with bleak themes outshines the bad, with the true champion coming in the form of Brok and Graff’s relationship at the end of the day.
Dead Cells is already a masterful game with precision gameplay, visuals, and music, but Return to Castlevania not only highlights these fantastic features but elevates everything with the addition of the Castlevania franchise. The 6-8 hour quest is an absolute delight from start to finish, and just like the original Dead Cells, the loop is drawing me back in for one more vampiric-infested run…
ATONE: Heart of the Elder Tree has a lot of positive aspects. The game's hand-drawn art style jumps off the screen. Its cinematic cutscenes are only improved with compelling characters and enthralling musical tracks. The gameplay offers several options for players of many genres with varying levels of success and fun but lacks a balance between them. I wanted more combat sections, better-utilized systems, and reworked puzzles. So, as a whole, I was left wanting more, but that extends beyond just this title. I want more of what Wildboy Studios has to offer. Count me in if future projects include this level of writing and attempts at fun concepts. ATONE may not have stuck the landing, but it landed nonetheless.
Leaving your hometown can be a difficult and scary decision. Fear of the unknown terrain, people, and challenges can force a hefty emotional toll. Layer this with premonitions of the end of the world as you know it, and it almost sounds too insurmountable. SEASON: A letter to the future, beautifully encapsulates this sense of doom while also pushing the player to see the beauty when closing a chapter in someone’s story.
Usually, the New Year starts off with a quiet introduction to new games. Gamers typically enjoy their holiday gifts from the previous year and cozy up to some new hardware all while sipping some delicious hot chocolate. 2023 is a bit different though. Super Rare Originals and Cuddle Monster Games are hitting the ground running with their captivating, thrilling, and fun roguelike title, Lone Ruin.
In the same way that films like Nope and La La Land are about films, We Are OFK feels like it’s about creating music, or perhaps more broadly but also more accurately: how painful and hard it is to create art with people you love, including yourself. And I played and replayed We Are OFK about a dozen times from its release to this chilly day. It wasn’t intentional for me to have such a long time with the game but it was ultimately for the better, I think. Life kept interrupting not only my review but my memories of We Are OFK.
Whether it's the game's assistance features like the journal or the chirping, the game's small, slow, and yet quick-to-completion nature, or the poetic and uplifting vibe the game presents, Paradise Marsh feels made deliberately and with care. LazyEti delivers an experience that knows its identity, doesn't ask too much of you, is a delight to control, and can be completed in under four hours with a killer finale. In conclusion, I don't know what I took away from my time with the game, but I took something pleasant and overly optimistic.
Dire Vengeance is a tough-as-nails action-platformer that has recently made its debut on the Nintendo Switch. The two-person team at Magic Shot Games has crafted a beautiful game with a rock-inspired score. However, with the overwhelming difficulty paired with slow progression, Dire Vengeance may be a bit too constrained for some players.
Arcade Paradise is fun for management sim players, arcade cabinet lovers, or even new players.The sim management gameplay is simple and light, the cabinets are all fun with natural progression, and the 90s nostalgia, while only effective for some, is spot on.
Mothmen 1966 brought me back to a different time in my life. When I was a young girl, I used to pour an ungodly amount of time into ‘Give Yourself Goosebumps’, R.L. Stine’s horrific (heh) take on the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure genre. Not just with the series but even with the individual books themselves. I was not finished with a book until I had soaked up every possible scare, from front to back.