Let’s see now. I’m trying to shoehorn a load of stuff into my schedule this year, so I’ve taken to compiling certain games and films into shorter, easier to digest capsule reviews that don’t drag on like my longer boring full meal posts. Don’t worry, those longer reviews aren’t gone at all. I’m just saving up my currently lower than usual energy stores for those more epic length posts. Anyway, let’s get cracking:
One More Dungeon (PC/PS4/PS3/Vita/Switch/Xbox One) – Not quite a RPG and more of a cross between a first-person shooter and a perma-death packed randomly generated roguelike, OMD’s in your face pixel art will seem garish to some players, but I liked it quite a lot. The game is a challenging bit of fun that will kill your character off constantly, but somehow keeps you coming back for more. Points earned via playing can be used to unlock assorted modifiers that make playing somewhat easier or a great deal harder, so how tough things get is eventually your call.
There’s a sanity level to consider and the game’s overall vibe reminded me a tiny bit of Eldritch, another retro-style FPS, although that game had a more Lovecraftian vibe going for it. OMD’s low price point and speedy gameplay keep it fun going even if you end up buying the farm a wee bit too much. This is one of those games that you’ll go back to a over and over, provided you like what you see and/or it grows on you. Developer Stately Snail and Ratalaika Games (who handled the port) deserve a tip of the cap for this one.
Xenon Valkyrie+ (PS Vita) – A pretty (and pretty hard) pixel art platformer with rogue-“lite” elements, this mostly excellent game from Diabolical Mind ported from PC to Vita by COWCAT will bring back memories of a few 8 and 16-bit classics. Definitely not a cakewalk, you’re tasked with saving a planet from destruction by heading to its moon and trying to wipe out the witch at its core.
The game sticks firm to its old-school roots and you’ll need some prime platforming and combat skills if you want to survive. Any new weapons you locate or buy are saved when you die, so restarting isn’t to painful unless you’re so bad at the game you can’t make it too far into that moon you’re invading. For best results, use the weird looking bug-faced guy first as he’s got a better jumping range the two cute gals lack. You can always go back for a retry with them any time you want.
Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth (PS4/PS Vita) – Okay, I missed out on the first part of this back in May, but this sequel lets you know from the start what you missed out on with a very lengthy chunk of exposition that spells out what previously took place. This is a good thing, as this visual novel/strategy/JRPG hybrid loves to spool out long stretches of text and cut scenes before you get to the grid-based movement and bumping off of assorted enemies. That said, you sure as heck better be buying this for the story first and foremost. The gameplay is fine and mostly simple SRPG fodder, but all those chatty characters and the game’s plot full of plot make for a pretty decent tale.
Well, provided you’re all in on the long cut scenes and oodles of fan service payoffs in the form of slightly naughty imagery that’s not for the kiddies. The game sure has a few other hooks such as a somewhat expansive lore and maybe too many characters to keep track of. Still, it’s a fairly deep game when it needs to be despite the somewhat plain grid-based battles clashing with that lovely anime style artwork and some otherwise solid voice acting. Recommended, but be prepared for a hell of a long haul as the twisty plot plays out.
Fat Princess Adventures (PS4)- More or less, it’s a Diablo-style hack ‘n slash Action/RPG that’s not bad overall and a (wait for it…) TON of fun as an offline or online multiplayer game. As big as the original Fat Princess was on PS3 back in the day, I’m not a huge fan of tower defense games anymore (thanks to playing way too many and burning out), so this game being a simpler blast of pick up and play thrills is a great thing indeed. While there are only four classes, you can swap into any one at checkpoints and experiment at your leisure as you see what works best for your play style.
Don’t expect anything new and exciting in terms of story, though. You’ll get a bunch of simple quests and side quests, a few semi-tough to pain in the rear bosses (based on the difficulty selected) and some decent loot for your efforts. Drop in/drop out co-op and modes are here as well, the art style is really cute and surprisingly gory unless you turn off the splashy stuff before you fire this up. Oh yeah, expect a bunch of eyeball-rolling puns that may send you screeching for the door or chuckling a wee bit too much. or both.
NeverEnd (PS4) – While it’s certainly not a great-looking game and the gameplay is very reminiscent of an Atari title circa 1976 or so, there’s something about this short top-down dungeon crawler that kept me dialed in. Maybe it’s the lack of flashiness and the need to strafe around enemies and pop in for quick weapon pokes until they burst into bits. Maybe it’s the somewhat arcade-like feel to the game that fits the simplistic art. For the record, this is the exact same as the Vita version other than a newer title screen and what seems to be a smoother frame rate.
But it’s a measly three bucks, those Trophies will take time to unlock if you’re bad at the game, and once you’re dialed in, things somehow get better the longer you play. You’ll die a lot and probably hate the randomness when the game is restarted and you have to start fresh. But there’s a certain pull to the game’s simplicity that makes you want to stay up a bit later than you expected just so you can at least clear a boss room, go do a little fishing and maybe find all the shops while surviving some pretty close brushes with perma-death.
Alrighty, then. Shutting up now, but I’ll have five more games tomorrow. Or more. That depends on me catching up on a few things.