Review: Turbo: Super Stunt Squad

via GIPHY

TESTING, TESTING: For some reason, WordPress isn’t auto-saving drafts (again), which for me, is a problem of the very large variety as I may need to pre-load some future posts if I need to get some medical stuff taken care of.  So, I dug up an old post from my older extinct blog and converted it over to see if I can see what’s going on.  Hmmm. I see that I’m still experiencing failed draft saving, but let’s go post this using manual saves every few minutes try to figure out a few things. Time machine, activate!

TSSS_Wii_UPlatform: PS3/Xbox 360, Wii U

Developer: Monkey Bar Games

Publisher: D3Publisher of America

# of Players: 1 – 2

ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)

Official Site

Score: B (80%)

Just like the DreamWorks film, Turbo on consoles is a nice surprise of a game that’s not bad at all for its target audience. Rather than retell the movie plot or do some sort of follow up to the films events, Turbo: Super Stunt Squad is a cross between a racer and and extreme sports game (more specifically, the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series). This oddball mix actually makes the game quite enjoyable and thanks to optional tutorials, a slice of shell customization and some interesting course layouts. It’s certainly not a bad bit of diversion for adults who shell out for this one expecting the usual too-short licensed experience, only to find a game with a few tricks up its sleeves.

Monkey Bar Games has cooked up a pretty nice-looking game with a fair bit of content and some definite replay value for those looking to see everything. Granted, it’s not the hardest game in the world for expert players or even novices. But again, this game’s made for the kids who saw and loved the movie. The 3DS version isn’t as successful, but that one will get its own review when I can get to it.

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Disaster Report 4: Survival Instinct Keeps You Moving

 

Well, here’s a game that was initially canceled a few years ago thanks to a real-life disaster a few years ago in Japan, but thanks to developer Granzella (R-Type Final 2) taking up the reins on the project, we’re finally getting Disaster Report 4 on PC, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch this spring. The console versions will come digitally downloadable as standard editions on their respective shops, while the NISA store will be selling the Limited physical editions and retailers GameStop and Amazon, physical standard editions for those who don’t want that extra omake swag shown below:

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I kind of want the bag, but my wallet is screaming at me from a coat pocket, and I’m trying to keep it happy these days. I still have my old copy of Disaster Report on the PlayStation 2 and I think there’s a copy of the sequel here in the game library, so I’m ready as ever for this one. Here’s the newest PS4 trailer, so yon can see more of the game from a few new angles:

 

I was all set to give up on “survival” games. but this series has never let me down and it’s lovely to see it come back, albeit at a really crazy time in the real world where every day there’s a disaster of some sort. Thanks to Granzella for saving this from the abyss and tweaking it up for its close-up and NISA for choosing to publish it.

-GW

 

ITTA: (Bullet) Hell Is Other People In This New PC and Switch Game

My inbox is a treasure trove of indie game info, so much so that it takes time to sift through all the emails I receive about so many games each week. Okay, it’s a BURIED treasure trove at times, as I sometimes get a few dozen pitches a week, I’m still catching up with games from 2019! In an attempt to rectify this, here’s info on a *new* release that will hopefully, pique your interest as it did with mine, ITTA, for PC and Nintendo Switch. It does look pretty interesting, that’s for sure:

 

Created by Jacob Williams, a solo developer at Glass Revolver, the game mixes what seems very like a frantic boss rush mode in a campaign that’s bound to test the skills or anyone willing to pick up a controller. The game also has some horror-themed elements so it’ll be right up a few alleys. I’d say. Yes. this one goes on the review request list, so check back to see my impressions.

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Well, soon, I hope…

-GW

Starlink, Here We Go…

 

In 2019, Ubisoft released Starlink: Battle for Atlas (PS4, Xbox One and Switch. with PC coming later), which was designed to bring the “Toys to Life” sub-genre started in games like the old PS1 import ZXE-D: Legend of Plasmatlite (I have a complete box set here with un-assembled robots. I really need to photograph it one day!) and the Skylanders series raring back to life. While it was a really good game, there seemed to be an assumption that players needed to start collecting a bunch of pricey toys in order to play and yep, the game didn’t move units as it should have.

Given that Ubisoft Toronto explicitly made the game to be played as either a physical disc or game card as well as in digital formats, it seems gamers failed to notice this and retailers who thought this would be the next big thing were stuck with who knows how many thousands of copies. You could say it was Disney Infinity all over again, but Ubisoft only released six Starship Packs, four Weapon Packs, and four Pilot Packs outside of the Starter Packs and killed support for the toy line in Spring 2019. Those packs, by the way? They cost more than the game does if you ever need to get them new.

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Review: Pokémon Detective Pikachu

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One of these folks has not has his coffee yet. One has had too much.

pokemon_detective_pikachu_ver2_xlgWhile I’ll confess I’m more of a Monster Rancher person (ah, memories of popping in random or specific CD’s to generate monsters!), I did dabble in a tiny bit of Pokémon starting back in the ’90’s, playing bit of the Red version and a few other titles, eventually tapping out because it wasn’t for me. In he 2000’s. I did eventually play a few of the free games from the franchise though. Both Pokémon Rumble and Pokémon Shuffle were decent, simple time killers on the 3DS for a while. But I wouldn’t say I was devoted to catching them all and nope, I couldn’t tell some evolved types apart even if you handed me a cheat sheet.

That said, I do know Pikachu is a species of Pokémon, so only seeing ONE of them in Pokémon Detective Pikachu was having my well-aged eyebrow creak up a little. Granted, it’s very likely that some younger kids would be a bit confused seeing more than one, so there’s that to consider. That said, I’ve had random conversations with super diehard fans over the years where from kid to adult, they can go on about Pokémon for a while as if they’re real creatures and you can learn everything about them, even if you’re afraid to ask. Try getting stuck in an elevator with a few restless Pokémon fans for about an hour, and someone’s practically guaranteed to whip out their Pokédex notes (NOTE: this has happened three times over a few years, so I must be either lucky… or I need to take the stairs more).

Anyway, where was I? Oh, right. Detective Pikachu is quite a decent enough film, hitting all the right technical notes (the assorted Pokémon are all perfectly brought to life courtesy of some spectacular CG) and falling back on the usual formulaic three-act structure you’d expect from a movie like this. It’s also likely the best live action videogame to film translation to date, I’d say, Especially after sitting through a few cash-in films over the years that were lacking in a few areas. For anyone new to this sort of thing, it might be a bit overwhelming what with all the visual information presented onscreen (or: this is one very busy film). But for the most part, director Rob Letterman keeps things interesting and for a film partially based on a game of the same name, it’s pretty solid.

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Neverwinter Nights Comes to Consoles (And Why You May Never Go Outside Again)

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If you only get one game this holiday… you’ll likely still be playing it a year later.

Oh, good gravy, I forgot this was coming out (and guess who’s really happy about that?)

Firmly camped in the “Now, this brings back memories” and “Well, there goes another 180 or so hours!” departments, I have the feeling the console version of Neverwinter Nights ($49.99, PS4, Switch, Xbox One) will be a Game of the Year contender simply for the sheer amount of content it delivers. The press release below the jump will get you grinning if you’re a fan who remembers spending too many hours in these worlds, but I bet a copper that a new generation of players will want to dive into this in single player and co-multiplayer modes.

New, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go move some time around and figure out when I’m going to play this and you need to go read a press release. For the record, I’ve been storing excess time in the closet, but it keeps disappearing, grrrrrr. Must be the monsters in there eating it, I think…

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Review: Remothered: Tortured Fathers (Switch)

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Rosemary needs a rear view mirror, good running shoes, and a portable air tank, too.

remothered switchWhile it’s been out a few months, I held off on my review of Remothered: Tortured Fathers on Nintendo’s console because it had some major issues and I decided to hold out for a patch, of which there have been two released. I’d initially played though the most of the unpatched version, but the game had some awful visual, gameplay and interface issues that made it quite a test of endurance, particularly in docked mode where visually, it was sub-par to the point of looking like an early PS2 port in some areas where detail took some major performance hits. It was still a scary as hell game experience, mind you. But things were definitely in need of fixing and nope, playing undocked didn’t help much either.

Fortunately, Darril Arts and Stormind Games got this some much-needed love on the patch front, as a number of visual and lighting improvements, UI tweaks, and more now make it a lot more palatable. There are still a few smaller issues, but the game is certainly now well worth your time if you’re re a fan of its uncompromising psychological horror. You play as Rosemary Reed, who’s investigating the mysterious disappearance of a young girl some years earlier. Initially, she makes her way into the gloomy Felton mansion, but after a brief time poking around, she’s kicked out when things aren’t as they seem on her front (no spoilers here, but watch the trailer). When she sneaks back inside, she continues her investigation and finds… well, let’s just say, a lot more horror that she’s anticipating, a whole lot more madness on display and plenty of “holy $#!+” surprises. Well, as if having a near naked, apron clad madman coming after her isn’t frightening and surprising enough.

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Super Capsule Reviews Are GO! (Part 1)

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“Do not adjust your television set…”

Well, between getting sick a few times and kicking myself back into gear (or restarting things when I get better – “Prowler needs a jump!”), quite a lot of smaller games have been filling my backlog over a bit of time. For most of these, I’ve done notes on them and have even a few incomplete drafts, but it’s been a bit of minor hell in sitting down to complete some of them when one gets into “Hmmm, so what’s going to hurt today?” mode when some of the usual aches get a bit fussier. That said, as I’m currently in decent shape  (Whee! Ow.) and sure, you do need to read a bit more on my writing (I guess?), I’ve resorted to a bunch of short form reviews on a bunch of budget-priced games that may interest you if you’re curious and want to expand your horizons.

the tower of beatriceThe Tower of Beatrice: (PS4/PS Vita, $5.99 each) Puzzle-filled point and click adventure, anyone? Developer Fairy Forest and publisher/port house Sometimes You have a pretty basic, short game here where if you’re a fan of these types of games,  you don’t want to look up solutions because the fun comes from figuring out what goes with what as the things you need to do get more obtuse. You play a thief in search of a magic book now trapped in the titular tower by a witch who first tests you, then wants you to work for her. The potion making stuff is nice, but a bit underused for my tastes. Still, it’s nice to see used here in a pretty well-done manner.

If you’re and point and click veteran, much of this will be routine stuff that you can play with one eye closed. On the other hand, if you’re just in it for fast trophies (a lot of folks seem to be into that), the game may fluster you into cheating to net everything in a hurry when things get the tiniest bit confusing (some puzzles in the game can be a bit perplexing when they’re not explained well and are counter-intuitive on purpose). The translation is also a bit jarring, as seems to be the norm with so many imports these days, but I liked a few things about this one. Still, it’s more of a time killer between better titles at the end of the day.

Score: C- (70%)

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Review: Construction Simulator 2 US – Console Edition (Switch)

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It I could name my trucks here, I might go with Tonka, Tootsie, and Dinky…

cs2 switchI’d been sleeping on these assorted Simulator games for a while because they take quite a while to play, but thanks to a friend asking about them (he’s getting his kid a Switch and happens to be in the construction field). I finally took the plunge and can report that yes, hours will go by with a well-done sim like this. Astragon’s got a solid game in Construction Simulator 2 on Switch ($19.99), and while it’s a highly complex game that requires quite a bit of precision and patience to play, parents into this sort of game might find it educational if their kid is say, about 12 and wants to get into the business at some point in the future.

That said, the game is pretty daunting even for adults even though it has a wealth of tutorials and tips to get players up and starting a little (and soon to be rather large) construction business. You’ll need to constantly make sure whatever equipment you buy or rent is in the PRECISE position when operating on a job or errors will be made and learning where and the game covers so much ground (ha-ha) that you’ll be working up a real sweat from the level of difficulty as you learn a lot in the process. The game is no joke when it comes to the simulation elements, especially with all the settings up.

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You better know how to use that, pal…

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Review: Lost Ember (PS4)

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Might as well jump…

Lost EmberFor the record, I’m a Kickstarter backer of this game, but to be perfectly honest, I never review any game and give it an automatic positive score whether I get code for free, buy a game outright, or write it up based on a (very tiny, in this case) pledge or reward as if it would make the game “better” if it turned out not to be. That’s a weird way some look at crowdfunding games (or any funded product, for that matter), especially when there’s NO guarantee the project will be fully funded or even produced. Besides, as it says on its site, Kickstarter is not a store. That said, I found that briefly chatting with someone at developer Mooneye before and I think after I pledged some years back sold me on the game’s concept and freed a loose buck from my wallet. Funded or not, I felt that what they were working on was a nifty idea.

With that said, reviewing Lost Ember on PS4 ($29.99), turned into a fun exercise for the brain as the game is mostly flawless in execution, but is in need of a few technical fixes I found that hamper the experience (a patch is in order to clean up a few things). It’s certainly quite lovely to look at once you get out of the intentionally dull-ish (but very nicely lit) cave the game starts out in. Then it takes cues from a few open-world titles where stepping outside shows off the game world to be a wide, wondrous place worth fully exploring. “Where do I go now?” will be the question many have (I’d skip any walkthroughs posted this early in the game’s release, frankly). But the game points you in the right directions by making where you need to go a map’s focal point, and then leaving it up to you to choose how to get there.

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