Review: Heavy Fire: Red Shadow (PS4)

Heavy Fire RSWhile previous games in the Heavy Fire series have been on-rails shooters a tiny bit (but not exactly) like a non-gun controller version of Time Crisis with a whiff of modern military shooters set in fictional locations based on real word military hot zones, Heavy Fire: Red Shadow ($19.99) is more than a little reminiscent of the arcade version of Beach Head 2000. For those with short memories (or those who’ve never played that older game), it was a fixed turret shooter where you mowed down enemy troops and vehicles, blasted planes out of the sky and pretty much laid waste to as much as you could in a 360 degree radius until you were overrun (or just ran out of credits). While a bit on the shallow side in terms of gameplay depth, this latest installment packs in enough stress relieving bang for the buck that keeps it replayable.

Well, provided you don’t mind dealing with a few troubling bugs that really need patching.

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“Come out to the coast, we’ll get together, have a few laughs…”  Ha. Ha. (BOOM!), Now you have quite a few too many guns.

 

That said, I’d gather that some fans of the series from its beginnings as digital titles on the Nintendo 3DS may be disappointed in this because of the lack of co-op play, which a game such as this kind of needs to spread the fun past one’s home. You do get PSVR support in the retail packaged version that adds some “in your face” moments (usually in those moments when you’re yelling exactly that to some enemies on the receiving end of whatever ordinance you’re blasting or calling down on them). But those plain-ish visuals tend to get a bit mushy in VR compared to other games using the format. Granted, it’s not supposed to be a “great” game in that way some games become “instant classics” these days. But, if you just love all sorts of digital pyrotechnics and can bear the bugs, step on up and have a seat – it’s your turn at the turret.

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Review: Home Sweet Home (PS4)

home sweet home(Soothing TV announcer voice, circa 1978):Constipated? 9 out of 10 doctors* recommend Home Sweet Home ($29.99) for fast relief. Easy to apply vie handy and discrete PSN download or in a GameStop exclusive retail version, this not at all soothing horror adventure game works within minutes so you can get back to doing the things you love. Remember – for fast relief, Just say Home Sweet Home…

Yes, that’s right. Provided you’re not a too-jaded horror game player who’s seen it all, this one will scare the living crap out of you. Well, given that poop isn’t supposed to be alive when it’s making a hasty retreat, that may be a good thing.  Here’s a funny for you: back about two years ago, I played the demo for this on PC and wrote about it, but kind of forgot all that because, hey, life happens. However, as soon as the game installed and I hit that start button, a sense of déjà vu followed by creeping dread washed over me. Eep. Yeah, this was not going to go well for my heart, folks.

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Oooh, choices!  Do I go left, do I go right, or do I go hide under a blanket after I turn the game off because I’m too freaked out to continue? *Sigh* ONWARD, as I have a review to write!

 

Anyway, to me, this game is SCARY, plus tax. How scary? Well, If Kriss Kross will make you Jump, you’re guaranteed to jump at least five times as much here if you’re easily frightened. You’re unarmed, many rooms are tight, detritus filled death traps where doors open to brick walls or other surprises of the surreal nature and worst of all, you’re often searching for clues to puzzles as the game’s box cutter wielding scary lady and a few other creeps do their level best to make you wet yourself. There’s nothing like being all stealthy and avoiding instant death for a few tense minutes, slipping between rooms and gathering clues to progress, only to finally unlock a door and jump out of your seat when something… nasty pops into view. And there’s a hell of a lot of nasty in this game.

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Mail Call: The Dogs of War and Other Scary Stuff

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Well, I thought I had a small buy very busy weekend of not much but That Western Game, but more diversions have arrived.

 

You have to love it when the weather is 100% dreary out with rain and wind keeping you indoors with some entertainment and MORE entertainment shows up. Thanks to Mastiff Games (Hi, Bill!, Hi Mika! Hi David!), I have a some stuff to tackle outside of playing cowboy. I took an hour or so off the big deal game to take both titles shown for a spin and one made me smile a lot and the other… well, let’s just say it made me creeped out enough to write up a review opening that’s going to raise an eyebrow or two (in a good way, I guess). Well, it’ll be partially funny with a chance of showers (at the very least).

Oh, and that old Silent Hill guide? That’s from the always amazing David Bruno who packed it along with the games shown. I’m going to do a Halloween play through of that classic I’ve gone through about a dozen times previously, but it’s been a while since my last run. The guide is kind of my safety net on one hand, but I also want to see if one particular puzzle is correct because I recall from my days in game retail that one guide has the incorrect solution to a puzzle that had dozens of customers calling up to say they were stuck on that one problem area (oops).

 

-GW

The Horror of Too Many Scary Games (is a Good Thing to Have), Part 2

You’re either back for more… or you fell asleep reading that first part and just woke up in time for part two. Well, here you go, then. Some of today’s entries are coming out after October, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less frightening. Anyway, here are six more games to look forward to (unless you’re too freaked out to want to try some of the scarier ones, mua-ha-ha-haaaa!):

 

 
Home Sweet Home (PS4/PSVR/Xbox One) – If the trailer is any indication, this could be one of the downright scariest stealth/horror games of the year. I missed out on the PC version of this truly scary-looking Thai horror game from Bangkok-based indie dev Yggdrazil Group Co.,Ltd, but my pals at Mastiff Games seem voraciously intent on putting me under the couch with this upcoming PS4 and Xbox One port. The PS4 version will support VR as an option (I’ll take my scares flat, thank you much) and if you prefer your games on a disc, this one’s going to be a GameStop exclusive in addition to a standard digital download on PSN and Xbox Live. I may have to shell out for the disc version, as this one certainly looks scary enough to be a keeper. That and I want to have the option of maybe loaning that disc to a friend or two who hate horror games but are slowly coming around. Then again, I have the feeling that this might be one of those games that sends them back down the ladder to being too skittish to fire it up.

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Holiday Gift Guide 1: Let’s Get Physical!

It’s been quite interesting living in an all-too digital world and seeing how gifting has changed for many folks who go that route with nearly every purchase. Me? I like giving and receiving actual product for the most part unless it’s a case where the only way to get something is via a code voucher of some sort. That said, I feel kind of bad for kids raised in this era where some parents or other tech-savvy adults seem to hate on the very idea of handing a kid something nicely wrapped that’s NOT another gift card that devalues over time if not used up for a place they’ll never visit in person. So, in the interest of getting you out of the house and offline for oh, maybe an hour or two, I’m tossing a few suggestions your way (which are also available in digital form if you like).

Lego Worlds PS4_NALEGO Worlds (PC/PS4/Xbox One/Switch)- Ever-busy developer TT Games pulls out all the stops in this great sandbox game that’s packed with content and a ton of freedom once you get past the tutorial and early story missions. This is one of those great family games that’s so much fun to play you’ll want to sneak in some time alone once that kid is asleep.

On the other hand, you’d very likely want to play this with your kid or at least have a second controller handy as the game supports up to 2 players in either online or offline modes. Hours will zip by when this is on, but at least you won’t need to worry about stepping on loose LEGO pieces or having the family pet making them disappear after they smack part of what you’ve built under the sofa.

 

Crash Bandicoot PS4_NACrash Bandicoot N. Sane Game & Sock Bundle Pack (PS4)- Can’t decide on getting games or socks for the holidays? Got a relative who auto-buys you socks because he or she has zero clue about games? Why not get BOTH with this bundle of completely remastered PS1 classics that include the first three games in the series lovingly reworked by Vicarious Visions with tons of new HD specific features?

Between the redone visuals, the ability to play as Coco Bandicoot in all three games and a bunch of great stuff only those true masters of unlocking will get to see (yes, the games are as challenging as ever)l you get SOCKS you’ll probably actually wear at some point. But don’t try and stuff those stockings on the box with the game, as that would make for weird gift to receive and probably stretch out one of those socks in the process.

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Get Your Gurumin Goodies Before The Game Gets Gotten

Gurumin PC March 

Gurumin: A Monstrous Adventure hits Steam next week (March 30) and publisher Mastiff is dropping all sorts of cool arty freebies for Nihon Falcom fans interested in doing a bit of digital wallpapering on their assorted devices. Click on over to this site for some PC-friendly free stuff and this site for some mobile-friendly freebies. As for the game proper, here’s what to expect next week:


Non-linear game play in over 30 stages set in a variety of environments
24 non-player characters, 48 unique enemies, and more than 90 items to collect
11 costumes to unlock, and 15 equippable headgear to level up
Challenging boss battles, puzzles, and traps
Mini-games galore
Hidden characters, alternate gameplay modes, and other secrets
Beautifully updated graphics with full HD support
Soundtrack available on iTunes
Over 50 in-game achievements to unlock

Um, I think that’s it. Well, until next week when the game lands and Falcom fans worldwide get to check it out. We’re a small and loyal bunch of folks, but we do support our favorite developers when they get out the games we want to play.

Gurumin: A Monstrous Adventure Steams Your Way in March

Gurumin PC March
 

March 30 will be a pretty grin-filled day for fans of super-cool HD reissues of classic PSP games. Er, given that the ONLY game coming out on that day that fits that description is Gurumin: A Monstrous Adventure on Steam, that’s the game I just so happen to be writing about in this post. Actually, I’ll let you click on that link above and check the game out for yourself. Gurumin was and is one of my favorite PSP games, so it’s excellent to see it coming to PC all gussied up in HD and packing a bunch of Steam bonuses such as Achievements, Trading Cards and the like. Anyway, I’m supposed to be “off” today, so that’s all you’ll get from me. Go check out the game trailer and screens on Steam and if you like what you see, you know what to do…

Gurumin PC

Incoming RPGs! Nihon Falcom Fans Get To Shake It And Smile Soon. Twice!

It seems we’re in for a Nihon Falcom “revival” of sorts. Granted, PC versions of their games aren’t uncommon at all in Japan, but it seems they take a backwards route here in the west, coming over as console ports and a few years later, making it to PC gamers who also happen to be JRPG fans and want to see more of these titles and faster. Anyway, we’re getting The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky via Steam next week thanks to Xseed Games and it’s been recently announced that Mastiff Games is trying to get Gurumin: A Monstrous Adventure up on Steam as a Greenlight game.

In the case of the latter, publisher Mastiff came up with the idea to give away the game to those who voted to Greenlight it AND leave a comment on the game’s discussion boards, but some feel this is a wee bit too much. I think it’s a fine idea, although it could backfire if EVERY person who wanted to see the game pop up as a product they should BUY ends up being a game they all get for nothing at all. I’d have made it a better giveaway by only giving codes to people who still OWN a physical or legal digital copy of the PSP game or happen to have the Japanese PC game somewhere in their possession. Granted, that number might be smaller than the votes needed to get the game on Steam, but it would have at lease quelled the light to medium annoyance some people are feeling who think the publisher is trying too hard to “game the system” as it were. Even though I voted and posted a note, I still own my copy of Gurumin and will gladly post a photo here to score a free code if asked.

Of course, at the end of the day it’s all about the NEW fans who pay for, dive into and have a blast with this modern classic. So here’s to seeing some big sales once the freebie frenzy dies down. I’d love to see some wise publisher get as many Falcom games onto PC’s here at some point (perhaps in a big ol’ box set or series of sets), but that’s me pipe-dreaming up a small storm again…

Review: BandFuse: Rock Legends

Bandfuse_360_PackPlatform: Xbox 360 (also on PlayStation 3)

Developer: Realta Entertainment

Publisher: Mastiff Games

# of Players: 1-4

ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

Official Site

Score: A- (90%)

So, this took a while to get done, but that’s because BandFuse: Rock Legends isn’t a “game” in that traditional yearly franchise some of you were probably expecting. While there are indeed game-like elements to both this and Ubisoft’s solid Rocksmith (which has more game-y bits and pieces to it), I have to tip my cap to Realta Entertainment for coming out of the gate strong with a product that excels so well at delivering exactly what it promises in its first iteration that any future versions will most likely be in the form of add on DLC or disc updates as opposed to an entirely new product. Featuring what’s basically an entire guitar school in a box and thanks to some great yet simple tech, amazing lag free play, BandFuse is a must-buy for anyone looking to learn to rock out with the best of them.

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BandFuse: Rock Legends Offers Another Fused Thought…

 
…And another great reason to pick up the game, of course. If you have to ask what tablature is and you’ve were playing Guitar Hero and/or Rock Band back when they were the big deal in music games, then you’ve half-answered that question on why it’s key to actually learning to play a real guitar. Life isn’t that hard when you learn something new every day and put it into practice, I say…