Review: Pankapu (Episode One)

Too Kind Studios’ absolutely beautiful, absolutely fun platformer brings lovely visuals along with tried and true platforming is a game made for both classic to current run + jump action/adventure fans.

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In a way, Pankapu (only $4.99!) strongly echoes Michel Ancel’s wonderful Rayman, n a few key areas, but that’s a very good thing indeed. Both games have unique looking lead characters, fun, intuitive gameplay for all ages, and a dark thematic undertone that’s in direct opposite of the super-bright, stellar art direction that makes them so wondrous and eye-catching. The game presents itself as a bedtime storybook tale read by a father to his young son, which is a great way of making the fantastic seem real:

To help his child fall asleep, a father tells him the story of Pankapu, a tiny warrior created by Iketomi the God of dreams. His mission is to fight the hordes of Nightmares who are trying to invade his world. During his quest, he will meet many characters, such as Chii, a magical spider who will become his friend and guide him all along this great adventure in Omnia.

During this events, he will also be confronted with Gangreyn, a dark and viscous opponent who will challenge him to go see Yne’Ska, the Mother of Nightmares. Then, the tiny hero will decide to not just save his world but also to go in the center of the nightmares land, to restrain the problem at its source.

 

What follows is a mostly excellent mix of pure fun in some lush environments that’s going to be somewhat easy to old-school platform experts, but challenging for those players looking for a cool new world to bounce around in and discover.

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TGS 2016: BERSERK + Musou Stars Make Up For An Ongoing Crappy Year


 

So. This week? LOUSY. I’m still trying to get my busted PlayStation 3 back from the jerk in Brooklyn who I sent it to for repair but neither did the work nor sent back the console, but can’t seem to get the legal wheels I set in motion to move faster after over four months. I finally went and bought my own new PS4 last week, but just found out it was shipped and allegedly arrived on the 12th, but was REFUSED, which is somewhat IMPOSSIBLE. I was here waiting for it all damn week and, hell, I don’t REFUSE any packages with my name on them. I suspect something fishy happened with the USPS driver and my purchase, as the standard procedure is to leave a slip in the mailbox if a recipient isn’t home. To me, REFUSED means someone figured out what was in the box and decided to give him or herself an early holiday gift at my expense.

I’ve contacted the seller to see if that return has indeed been returned and am waiting for a response. USPS is NO help at all, as all I got from them in an email saying the package was REFUSED and sent back, but I need to find out if it was received before proceeding further. If that PS4 is unaccounted for, I’ll be quite (well, even MORE) annoyed. Losing my old PS3 with ten years of save data is bad enough, considering I ended up having to replace that console with the same model, which wasn’t cheap. Losing $300 more on that new PS4 is going to make me want to kick something off the planet. Amusingly enough, I’d forgotten Tokyo Game Show is happening and Koei Tecmo gave my stressed out brain two games I really want to play… even though I currently have nothing to play them on.


 

Yeah, I hate people sometimes. Particularly the ones that cost me time and money on nonsense like this. FEH. Well… first world problems, I guess? Somebody have a good weekend out there, as I sure as hell won’t. I have NO idea with is up with me and tech and a few other things this year, but this song is now my life’s main title theme:

(Thanks, JORGE HITS OFFICIAL!)

Free Stuff Friday: Assault Suits Leynos on Steam, Anyone?

LEYNOS logo 1024x416Hokay, Ember still isn’t up and running on Steam yet, so I’m going to plan B, thanks to the fine folks at Rising Star Games! BOOM! ONE lucky person with a Steam account will win ONE absolutely FREE code for the the hard as heck Assault Suits Leynos. Post here and I’ll pick a winner tomorrow at noon!

Rules and such below the jump.

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Review: REFUNCT

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Ladies and gentlemen, this is quite possibly the shortest review I’ve written about a game I like a lot, so let’s see if you can all hold a breath in and read this in one shot. Ready? GO!:


I wasn’t expecting much from REFUNCT when a code invite popped into my inbox, but I wisely looked up (and downloaded) the developer’s previous game, REFUNKTION and saw that this simple but gorgeous Unreal 4-powered sequel was a response to some saying that first game was too difficult. REFUNCT didn’t take long to complete and while incredibly easy, manages to be brilliantly conceived and executed.

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No instructions needed here, just intuitive controls using k+m or a controller, some surprising jumping (that should be adopted into other first-person games) and a payoff that brought a smile to my face (and a bigger one after that when I was able to get 100% after completing the game when I tried to better the 98% I ended with). Telling more would be spoiling things, but there’s no “story” to speak of and in fact, the whole thing seems more like a lovely test for a far larger project down the road. It took about 45 minutes to complete at a leisurely pace, but I took it slow and even quit out to go have lunch at one point. Some players have made it to the end in half an hour or less, but your mileage may vary, as the saying goes.

If anything, creator Dominique Grieshofer should expand the game into an entire series of puzzles on the same map and keep the same enemy-free, death-less approach. The feeling of finally playing wall-climb sequences in a game that aren’t frustrating series of trial and error runs was exhilarating to say the least. The feeling of finally playing wall-climb sequences in a game that aren’t frustrating series of trial and error runs was exhilarating to say the least. Now, I want more. You will too. Go get this and have a blast.

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REFUNCT is a mere $2.99 on Steam. REFUNKTION is free on indieDB, but it’s hard as hell in a great way. You may as well get both.

Score: A- (90%)

-GW

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Review: Laser Disco Defenders (Vita)

And I thought Assault Suits Leynos was tough. HA!

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Platform: PlayStation Vita (PSN)
Developer: Out of Bounds Games
Publisher: Excalibur Games
# of Players: 1
MSRP: $9.99
ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10+)
Official Site
Score: A (90%)

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Don’t let the cute art style and funky tunes fool you one bit, folks. Laser Disco Defenders is a tough cookie of a shooter that will test the skills and patience of the most hardcore gamers out there. Ten bucks is a bargain for a game that takes a while to complete and will keep the best coming back for more. That trailer makes it look like a simple “pew-pew-pew!” casual bit of fluff, but make no mistake – the game will eat your lunch before you make it to the first boss and it only gets tougher as you progress. At some point the more impatient out there will possibly want to jump up and down on their poor Vitas simply because stomping on both hands will only result with some nurse feeding them applesauce for a few weeks.

That said, I love this game quite a lot. Continue reading

MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death Gallery

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Be careful what you wish for, especially when you wish for something saucy like “anime gals in a DUNGEON… with mecha!, Mwa-ha-ha-haaaaa!” and you’re not very specific beyond that. *POOF* Your wish is Idea Factory International‘s command (*whipcrack!*) with the upcoming Vita game MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death, coming to PlayStation Vita September 13 (North America) and the 16th in Europe.

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IF, Compile Heart, and Makaiichibankan’s deviously deep dungeon crawler looks to captivate and challenge JRPG fans with its cute cast and no doubt challenging turn-based combat that should please those who liked similar gal-centric JRPGs or even mixed party titles. Here’s a gallery full of game trailers and screens to ogle along with some info about what to expect continuing right below the jump.

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SHINESS: The Lightning Kingdom Gallery

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French developer Enigami has been hard at work on its Action/RPG SHINESS: The Lightning Kingdom for about three years now and with publisher Focus Home Interactive set to bring the game to eager PC, PS4 and Xbox One owners later this year, it’s time to take a look at it in one big video and image gallery. Here’s the most recent gameplay trailer, or more precisely, a story trailer presented at Gamescom 2016:


 

More action abounds in this earlier gameplay trailer:


 

But, wait… there’s more! Continue reading

Review: Assault Suit Leynos (PS4)

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Platform: PlayStation 4 (via PSN)

Developer: Dracue Software

Publisher: Rising Star Games

# of Players: 1

MSRP: $19.99

ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10+)

Official Site (JP)

 


As someone who fondly remembers Target Earth/Assault Suit Leynos on the Sega Genesis and Mega Drive, reading online about two years back that the game was being remade was quite a surprise. Dracue Software (Armored Hunter Gunhound EX) has brought the game back for the PS4 in fine form indeed, although Assault Suit Leynos isn’t without a few flaws. For fans of the classic or those gamers who want a taste of old-school gaming as an education in patience and learning how to play over more guided game experiences, this storied shooter will keep you busy from the beginning and coming back for more.


The game’s Arcade Mode expands the story of the original game, adding subtitled Japanese voice-overs and “cinematic” camera cuts to approaching danger to the mix. Even on the lowest difficulty setting, the game provides a hefty challenge. That Assault Suit is a heavy beast with an increasingly growing arsenal of weapons and while not the most nimble mech out there, it gets the job done. As in the original game, a regenerating life meter is your main buffer from an early demise, but it’s not any sort of invincibility guarantee. Enemies come at you pulling no punches in many forms from armor suited troops to gigantic spacecraft firing death from multiple weapons. The game’s levels vary in scale, but you’ll generally be attempting a few tasks from straight up blasting, escort missions, and yes, big boss battles. While unlimited continues make it possible to complete the game in a relatively short time, the true fans of this one KNOW this isn’t a game to play through ONCE and never touch again.

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Office Suicide Saga: Final Boss Battle, Indeed

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So, there’s actually a game called Office Suicide Saga, but it’s not what you’re thinking. Unless you’re thinking correctly that it’s a game made to draw attention to abuse at the workplace. Polish developer Despair Games (go figure, right?) has their pride and joy up on Kickstarter, but it’s kind of stalled out and is in need of open-minded funders of all stripes.

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Here’s a gameplay video sample to check out:


 

There’s also an open beta to play if you want some hands-on time as a heartless CEO, so get clicking and spend some of that bankroll helping Despair become a lot happier. I say they should try for a Steam Greenlight vote-in as well.

-GW

Review: MilitAnt (PC)

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Platform: PC/(PS4/Vita)

Developer/Publisher: Xibalba Studios

# of Players: 1 MSRP: $9.99

Official Site

Verdict: BUY IT (but expect this bug to bite hard!)

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Do you consider yourself a game master? Do classic series such as Battletoads, Contra, Mega Man, and other vintage to modern platform toughies barely make you flinch when you speed-run them blindfolded playing with that controller in between your teeth? Well, you should be pleased to know MilitAnt has your name stamped on it in big neon letters. Xibablba Studios’ new PC and PS4 game (also headed to the Vita soon) is one of the hardest games of the year and it deserves a tip of the cap and old college try by the best of the best who should appreciate the gorgeously detailed visuals and non-stop challenge right from the start. Even on the lowest difficulty setting, the whopping amount of stuff trying to kill your little ant warrior is no joke. This commendable decision gives the game longevity and plenty of replay value, but may scare of casual gamers expecting a hand-holding mobile-like experience.

 


 

You play a nameless ant warrior who’s part of a massive ant army gone to war against termites, wasps and other bugs big to small, but you’ll more than likely than not care more about surviving the levels than following the story. The game is billed as being “2.5D”, but what that really means is this is a side-scroller with a second plane enemies will attack you from every chance they get. Controls, movement and animation are solid, with an Xbox 360 or other game controller your best bet for survival. Keyboard and mouse do function extremely well, if you choose to go that route, but this is a game meant to be more fully enjoyed with a two stick analog. You can carry up to four different weapons of any type (once you unlock them) into battle, so choose wisely. The dozen weapons are excellent for the most part, but you’ll need to be careful as they all have a reload/cool down period. Knowing when to swap guns or use melee attacks is key, as enemies appear in large enough numbers to overwhelm even the most prepared player.

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