Review: Lydia (Switch)

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Lydia_SwitchA short, haunting and intense game about an unhappy childhood leading to destructive teen years and an adult redemption of sorts, indie developer Platonic Partnership’s striking Lydia ($4.00) isn’t either a happy-filled “fun” experience or a game that’s easily forgotten once played. It’s a slice of life story where a little girl goes through a troubles with her alcoholic and otherwise less than perfect parents and as she grows into her teens, things go from bad to worse as a key event takes place that changes a few lives forever.

There’s a use of time as a storytelling element along with the stylized visuals that may go over some heads, bit it’s a simple thing, really. As the game covers snippets of Lydia’s troubled life through adulthood and the ending is a conclusion that’s somewhat of a direct one, it’s a case of seeing her world through her eyes. Her visions go from childlike in her younger years to to more or less her view of reality as seen by someone who’s not an artist, but more a realist in how she deals with a particular and sad issue many go through. The level of humanity here is somewhat intense, as the game’s not shy at using raw language throughout as we see Lydia’s plight unfold in dreams and the real world. Adults can be more monstrous that an imagined creature in a closet.

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Elevator (In)Action

(Thanks, HAMSTER Corporation!)

A few days ago, I got stuck in the elevator here with another guy who, after we let Security know of the issue via intercom and they said they were on it, started asking me about sports. Well, that was a dull, but enlightening (for him, I think) mercifully brief conversation. I told him I didn’t really watch sports except when I popped by a friend’s place and a sport of choice was on TV. If I’m asked who I like, I almost always counter ask “which team is winning?”, which by the way, has gotten me a few mean looks over the years, but quite a few more laughs. Like a perfect pitch, it’s all in the delivery, I guess. Well, and it depends on a good mix of catchers and not some folks who want to hit you hard with bats, as well.

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It’s a mugging, I say!

Anyway, I think the guy looked at me as if I was a space alien visiting from somewhere, but my joke about the elevator being a busted TARDIS went a few feet above his head. It’s a good thing I made no jokes about needing a new companion in my travels, as if you don’t get one Doctor Who joke, you certainly won’t get a second one. I did mention that I have played some sports-themed video games and still do from time to time, so at least he was looking at me a lot less suspiciously after that information.

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Langrisser I & II: Return Of The Kings

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Standard Edition, If you like…

When I heard Langrisser I & II were coming to PlayStation 4Switch and PC on March 10 courtesy of the fine folks at developer extreme and Chara-ani Corporation thanks to US publisher NISA, let’s just say that was a good day indeed.  I still own my originally purchased new copies of Warsong and the two Sega Mega Drive Langrisser imports (see below), and from playing the demo versions last night, it’s as if I went back in time and then forward, thanks to the game’s wise inclusion of old and new art styles.

Playing the new game bought back many old memories and we’re looking at a massive campaign, restored to its roots and many hours (and endings) to be discovered. I had to play the second game partially from some hefty notes and magazine clippings I got from a friend in Japan, but I know I missed a lot of story as the paths I got weren’t fully translated in the notes. So this time out, I’m preparing for this much bigger game now in English.

der langrisser

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Hotshot Racing – Still An Apex, With A Curve As The Lead

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Those extra-wide tracks mean no Hard Drivin’ (ha-ha). Three people will get the reference.

Remember an in-progress game called Racing Apex from what, a few years ago? Well, thanks to developers Lucky Mountain Games and Sumo Digital, along with publisher Curve Digital, that game has become Hotshot Racing and it’ll be set to ht the track this spring. The trailer below shows off some nice 60 fps single player mode gameplay, plus the game will support up to 4 players on a single screen with a lower frame rate that still looks pretty solid. Check out the zippy new trailer below:

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BRIGANDINE: The Legend of Runersia – The Past Makes A Great Starting Point

 

Wow. I remember buying a brand new copy of developer Hearty Robin’s Brigandine: The Legend of Forsena on PS1 from the game shop I once worked at and loving the deepness of it, as it was very similar to veteran Japanese developer SystemSoft’s outstanding fantasy-based simulations such as Master of Monsters on the Sega Genesis and later, PlayStation, and Sega’s own very underrated at the time Sega CD game Dark Wizard. I had my copy of Brigandine for quite a while and completed it six or seven times, but a few years back, sold off a bunch of games to make room in the library and someone offered a hefty amount for some PS1 games I had, and that was one of them.

Flash forward to today, or more precisely, June 25, 2020, which is the release date given for Happinet’s revival of the game on the Nintendo Switch and yes, I’m doing a happy dance here because someone remembered a classic and it’s time it made a comeback. Here’s some lovely screens and art to peruse:

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I’d be lying it I said I wasn’t thrilled by this news, especially as I see how the art here comes to life and yes, it really feels as it the Switch is reviving the SNES days of games such as Ogre Battle and few others ruling a niche roost. It’s a ways away, but this is a game that looks as if it’ll take a while to play a few times and yes, I’m okay with that.

-GW

inbento: When Life Gives You Lemons, You Have A Mom Cat Make Sushi For Lunch

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I bet you’re hungry right about meow.

Indie developer 7Levels and Afterburn Games (or Łukasz Spierewka, who created the brilliant Golf Peaks) newest title, inbento automatically made me smile today, which is a really good thing in this otherwise crazy week and world we’re in. All I’ll say about this upcoming Nintendo Switch-bound puzzle game ported from mobile is take a look at this trailer. The Android and iOS version is up now, while the new Switch version will be available March 12, so go wishlist it if that’s a thing you do.

Er, don’t mind the cat hair in your meal, either, meow!:

Some screenshots, as you now want sushi, I bet:

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I’m going to shut up here, go ask for a review code and do my thing. This looks like a keeper for sure.

-GW

Samurai Shodown: We’ll Take A Slice On Switch, Please

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A farewell to arms and a few other body parts…

Well, it’s here and Samurai Shodown has landed on Nintendo’s Switch in fine form. Those who pre-ordered the physical version via online sources or walk in to Best Buy or GameStop to buy the game before March 25, 2020 are getting two nice goodies, a free controller skin (seen below) and a digital copy of Samurai Shodown 2, a port from the Neo Geo Mini.

Digital pre-orders just get the Neo-Geo game because the process of teleportation won’t be figured out until about… (checks year 2100 textbook) the year 2093, but even then it’ll be a highly flawed process and only available through some sort of Amazon Prime Plus Plus Premium service, with a 20% success rate. In English, you might want to go out and get some brief exercise to pick up a copy of the game much sooner. Good cardio if you sort of double-time it there and back, I hear. Well, read this post first, of course – I need the traffic before you go out in it.

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Operencia: The Stolen Sun: Getting Hungary For More of This Classic RPG

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I’m a little late to the party, but great games still need love…

Hungary-based Zen Studios, known for years worldwide for its solid Pinball FX series, is taking a little detour and it really looks as if you need to come along. The place they’re going may be temporarily sun-less, but it’s still quite stunning.  Operencia: The Stolen Sun is out now on the Epic Games Store and Xbox One family of consoles and is coming on March 31, 2020 for Steam, GOG, PS4, and Switch and I’m betting it’ll be a welcome surprise to those who think the developer is all about recreating and enhancing some excellent classic to their own newer modern digital pinball tables.

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Review: 3000th Duel (Switch)

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Well, that’s true in real life, as well…

3000thWhat’s in a name? Well, If you take things way too literally, Neopopcorn sounds like a really bad time at the movies if you choose to munch on what’s in that box as a substitute for the real thing (well, minus the nasty, salty fake “butter” glopped on top these days) and 3000th Duel sounds like a straight to cable flick you’d accidentally find on a random channel at about 3 am or so. Fortunately, neither of these are true and you have some shopping to do on Steam or the eShop now.

Got a PC or Nintendo Switch? Go get this game, pronto. Indie developer Neopopcorn’s mostly excellent 3000th Duel ($14.99) is a nice surprise overall and well worth a few plays because you can tailor your hero’s skills to your liking through a deep series of upgrades and multiple weapon choices. The game is more or less, a side-scrolling Dark Souls-like or similar challenge where the smallest foes initially take off large chunks of your character’s health, and bosses? Well, you’re going to be enrolling your hero into a health plan and double dipping on a life insurance policy here until you upgrade weapons and skills.

 

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TT Isle of Man 2 Hands-On: Lightning, Unbottled

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Let the good times roll, indeed.

KT Racing has done quite a lot of work on TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge 2 and it’s simultaneously quite a thrill and terrifyingly good so far. Major fixes to bike handling. road surfaces, lighting, weather effects and more all add an even more realistic feel than the first game, and the greatly improved Career Mode and an all-new open world area to practice (or just take relaxing rides) in make this a pretty superior sequel.  Taking a build of the PC version out for a spin, many of the changes were amazing right from the start. Bikes all felt much better and the the ground effects were excellent overall (as in you don’t automatically go flying off your ride of choice at a jump or bump in the road). You can still wreck at high speeds, but it feels is if it’s your own fault for misjudging your speed, deliberately slamming into things, or not paying attention to the road surface.

Overall control is much more responsive as turning the bike is a lot more intuitive. In fact, the new handling model in third person views requires you to pay attention to both the driver’s positioning and the beautifully rendered road ahead of you. In first person, the game has a view where braking lifts the rider up in a realistic manner, as well as a nice optional helmet camera that adds to the immersion factor. The game is easier to get into, but NOT easy, as zen-like concentration and learning each course in the only way to master the tracks here. If your bike is wobbling and weaving from your own handling mistakes, expect to wreck, as the game demands perfection, practice, and patience.

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