Mega Cat Brings The Halloween Freaks Out, Retro Style

Want some classic-inspired Halloween fun? Mega Cat Studios has you covered like a freshly found corpse with these two games that look and play like NES classics of yore, but are available on Switch (and NES of you happen to own one or a compatible system). Fist to face combat, pixel pushing goodness and fun time await with this pair of titles:

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

First up, is Creepy Brawlers ($4.99, eShop), an homage to the classic Punch-Out!! with a horror theme, monster and alien fighters and quite familiar (albeit very tough) fun. While it’s a single player only game, it’s cool enough that you’ll be passing around a controllers so everyone can get a turn. There’s a physical cart version for the NES if you have access to one and can run it without issues here.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Next up, is HAUNTED: Halloween ’86 ($9.99), a side-scrolling platforming, beat-em-up adventure that’s kind of like the classic River City Ransom (Downtown – Nekketsu Monogatari) but with a horror vibe. Also single players, the game recalls the look and feel of classic NES games and is pretty much guaranteed to have you burning with nostalgia throughout. This one is only currently available digitally (it was initially released in 2016 as a cart version), so get it now if you like what you see.

Oh, and make sure to check out Mega Cat’s recent blog post on scary retro games and their free ebooks selection, as they’re more than just some folks who cook up a witch’s cauldron of retro games.

-GW

Advertisements

Review: Into the Dead 2 (Switch)

Switch_IntoTheDead2_01

Well, it’s a good thing that forklift isn’t a zombie. Uh, that’s a Killdozer reference, sort of.

ITD2Confession time (again!): I’d never heard of the mobile game or its sequel here until I fired up the review code I got for Into the Dead 2 ($34.99 digitally, base game), but that really made a difference when it came to my overall enjoyment of what’s here. Developer PikPok and publisher Versus Evil’s game is a pretty good one overall, with simple to grasp mechanics, great looks, plenty of levels and a few modes to kick back with for endless zombie-killing fun. The removal of the F2P elements is also a big key here because despite the cost, it’s actually a case where one is getting a better value on the Switch once you whip out a calculator and tally things up.

Yes, on mobile, it’s a free to play experience… at least if you want to play wthin the limits imposed on you and buy in for more weapons and content with cash. From a few spins with the mobile version this week thanks to a friend who’s got it on his phone, that mobile game jumps on your face with ads and offers for new content (as mobile games do to get you to spend more than that “free” you didn’t spend). Argh, but so goes some mobile gaming on devices.

Switch_IntoTheDead2_02

“Hold up a sec, pal! I’m NOT a zombie – I just spilled my coffee before I could even take a sip!”

The Switch port drops this in favor of unlocking content as you go with no payment needed (outside the 2 DLC packs) and you can play all 60 story missions and 36 side missions as as the previous areas are cleared, In Arcade mode, 21 levels await getting a set number of kills per mission to proceed. The two spends for digital users are the optional Night of the Living Dead and Ghostbusters-themed missions ($4.99 each), but those come in the physical version as part of the package for $39.99. You can actually save $5 by not buying the extra content separately and buy the $39.99 Bundle that has both the game and extra DLC as a digital or physical version, if you like.

Continue reading

Review: Monkey King: Hero Is Back (PS4)

Monkey_01

“Kick, punch, it’s all in the mind…”

Monkey-King-Hero-is-BackTo the point: I really liked the old-school simplicity in Monkey King: Hero is Back ($39.99) because it feels like a bit of late 90’s or early 2000’s era nostalgia and it’s not a game where modernity rears its head with overly complicated “soul-crushing” gameplay and normal (i.e. now crazy tough these days) enemies that take an annoying amount of time and patience to kill. Yes, I found the lack of “git gud” here a and nice oddly refreshing change of pace because you don’t need to break a controller or stress yourself trying to figure things out. You can indeed kick back with this and have at it without cheats or clicking around online for a guide. The game does get a bit funky monkey with a busy boss-packed section, and a bit of repetition and intentional slowness in spots can be pesky if one has a short attention span or dislikes long  exposition. But overall, there’s a feeling of laid-back pure fun here missing from more seriously themed fare.

Monkey 5

What’s big, pink and easy to hit when it gets dizzy from it’s attacks?

More to the point: As a kid’s game (and it IS a kid’s game when all is said and done. Remember those? Or being a kid, for that matter?) or something fun and light to zip through between other, heavier titles, it does a pretty solid job and impresses on that front with it’s pick up and play style and lots of stuff to collect. The sometimes cinematic loading (in areas where camera takes over like when ladders are climbed) throughout will be an issue for some, but it’s not a game killer at all. The fact that it’s a licensed movie game that hearkens back to those days where so many games like it were made that didn’t offer more that a retelling of the film’s plot makes it a game that might not be appreciated even when it’s doing what it does right. For those that haven’t seen the film, the game can be seen a sort of a playable way to do so, if you think about it.

You can get through this in about 5 hours or so (some kids might take a bit longer), but I chuckle at this when I think of an old licensed game like Virgin’s The Terminator, a game that took less time to play that it did to buy for me (I think the bus ride took one hour each way and the game was done in within 45 minutes with a few restarts when it was gotten home!). Anyway, If you want a long, educational read and don’t know the history of the character, feel free to bookmark the pages here and/or here before settling in for the evening with your beverage of choice (well, after reading the rest of this review!).

Continue reading

The Witcher 3 on Switch: Some Sort of Demon Magic at Work Here

Floored. I am totally floored at how the heck CD Projekt Red and Saber Interactive got The Witcher 3 squeezed onto Switch. Yes, it’s 30fps (mostly, but expect a few drops here and there) and yes, docked mode looks like the best way to play, but wow. While there are flaws to it, its simply amazing to see in action AND it has every drop of DLC content whether you get it physical or digital.This proves a few things about the hardware and ports, but as usual, some folks won’t see them because they’ll be busy kmcking this port instead of being knocked out by what went into getting the experience down on the system as intact as they could.

I’ll defer to the masters of over-analyzing, who give to you straight. Here are a handful of screens to look at:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

-GW

Stuff I Need to Play 1: Mary Skelter 2

MS2

It’s allllmost here…

Oh, it’s a long list, but let’s discuss what I’m thinking of at the moment. Yes, this will come in a few parts over the month, so bear with me as I go through my overstuffed inbox. I loved the first Mary Skelter enough to play both the PS4 and PC versions. so the inclusion of the first game for free in the Switch-only sequel has me wanting to play it all over again. Well, after the sequel, of course.

From the just released gameplay trailer, the game looks great and the oddball beautiful ugliness of the creatures your party will encounter as friend and foe look great (with the assorted Nightmares shown so far being especially Yeesh-worthy, Yes, the gals are cute here too, but that’s expected in a game like this. I’m moe (ha, I left a typo in because it fits!) thrilled by the dungeon crawling, what’s probably going to be a tougher game and any endgame content that this has. But I fully expect my poor Switch getting a workout from the main story alone.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Continue reading

Moons of Madness: It’s Not Made From Cheese, That’s for Sure

Funcom’s scary looking treat, Moons of Madness is out on PC for Halloween time (well, October 22nd, a week or so early), and there even a neat contest you can enter here with some frights to be had and awesome prizes to be won. But as good as it looks (and man, it looks really good), my poor backlog is telling me to wait for the console release in February 2020. It’s not that I don’t want to review it, mind you. In an effort to reduce my workload (and yep, stress level), I’ve decided to shift a few games to next year and while it’s a tough choice here, it’s also a good one at the end of the day, I think. I feel that a fresh review down the road gives a game like this a a nice boost if it’s one some console owners may have avoided because they haven’t a computer that can run it and might be keen on how it runs on their system of choice.

There’s also the chance that further optimization and any patches that a game needs will come to consoles that game a good-looking game such as this one even better (in terms of gameplay) as an overall experience. For the record, yes, I know the game might look less “perfect” as a console release. That said, the modern emphasis of graphics over gameplay with some makes no sense when a game manages to run fine and play well as a port (despite what one thinks about things like “perfect” resolution and the need to frequently tweak a PC to run things at optimum settings). “Blame the player AND the game”, as I heard an acquaintance say a few years back when a new PC game he’s bought was giving him grief when his driver-updated 3D card wasn’t capable to run a it without some figuring and fiddling.

Continue reading

Review: Reventure (Switch)

Switch_Reventure_02

One switch is an ending trap, one releases a trap (and another ending) and one might have something useful inside. Maybe…

Reventure_boxAnd… here we go! Once again, it’s off to rescue a Princess from a demon’s well-guarded castle, but this time, I’m dying laughing thanks to the game I’m playing tossing many unexpected curve balls my way. Welcome to Reventure ($9.99), Pixellato’s fun and intense side-scrolling homage to among other games, The Legend of Zelda series, but with 100 endings to discover.

Most are abrupt surprises that send your character back to square one within a few minutes of play, but time is weirdly and intentionally presented here, so an outcome may send your hero into the distant future or later the same day. It all depends on the ending you get, and it’s very possible to drop a few hours here just exploring and figuring out the seemingly simple map that holds a lot of secrets (and quite a few traps). While that may sound boring to some, it makes for some downright hilarious moments based on your choices. That said, the game can also be (also intentionally) confusing to those who expect a straightforward speedrun or other type of one-note platformer.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EojVKCaHBA0&w=640&h=360 Continue reading

Review: A Knight’s Quest (PS4)

AKQ_02

“I’m a little Rusty at this!”

AKQ_PS4While it treads familiar ground, it does so with enough winking and nodding to classic action platform and open world games to be quite smile-worthy. Developer Sky9 and Curve Digital present A Knight’s Quest ($24.99) a fun and mostly very pretty looking homage to some greats, Fun as it is, it could use a patch to fix a few issues. That said, it’s quite exciting to see a game reach for the stars like this, but it’s also painful to see a few stumbles that keep it from 100% potential greatness. As noted above, a few fixes will make it the stellar experience it needs to be. Still, Curve Digital has a little sleeper on its hands that old-school platformer fans will find a lot to love.

As Rusty, a hero who’s a bit on the clumsy side, you start out the game finding a wooden sword and shield in a cave you’re exploring before all hell breaks loose a few minutes into things. This sequence shows off some thrilling platforming and a bit of combat as the cave is escaped, and high marks here for a nifty start to things. Plot-wise, it’s a “find the legendary heroes, gain elemental magic from each one than will help you in each area” thing you’d expect, but with a dose of lighthearted humor and Rusty riffing on what he can. The weird mix of styles to the game world (which mixes a sort of medieval fantasy setting with stuff like radios and chain link fences in areas that can’t be accessed right away) seems a bit odd, but it’s worth saying it works after seen enough times while exploring.

Switch_AKnightsQuest_04

Fire good! Uh, stop, drop, and roll dude.

Additionally, if you like collecting stuff, the game goes out of it’s way to get you to search for secrets in hidden places or heck, almost anywhere you happen to be. From hidden treasure caches to singing slugs to breakables of a few types, it offers quite a few secrets to discover. It all feels like a throwback to another time or a game that means to keep you as busy as possible for as long as you’re playing. An amusing thing here is the game references Sky9’s Flash adventure/RPG from a while back, so some jokes will go right over a few heads unless that game was played. I didn’t see a hidden version of that game here, but I wasn’t looking everywhere thanks to blazing through some later maps to get this post up. It’s too bad Sony considers the Vita a lost cause, as the game looks like it would be a fine diversion on the portable or even better, a bonus for console owners.

Continue reading

Review: The Tiny Bang Story (Switch)

The Tiny Bang Story_04

“Ma’am, could you tell me where you keep the puzzle pieces, please?”

Tiny BangWant a teased brain and some very pleasant and relaxing tunes to chill out to? Do you like puzzles and hidden object games? Well, here’s a game for you, then. Colibri Games’ The Tiny Bang Story ($9.99) finally comes to Switch and while it’s quite lovely to look at, some older gamers  (raises hand) might want to play it docked thanks to some very intricately detailed environments that make playing in portable mode a little tricky.

That’s not to say it’s unplayable undocked, mind you. This is a game where a larger TV screen not only shows off the great art to its fullest, some of the tiny details are harder to spot if you can’t see them (and there are a lot of tiny details here). I did make it through a hour or so through in portable mode before going docked and not looking back, but your own mileage may vary.

That and the onscreen pointer is super small, which helps seeing things, but also hinders things a bit because it’s so minuscule and you need to do a bit of hunting and pecking here. This is really the only “bad” thing about the game. Some of the search bits are yes, a lot of trial and error searching or tapping, but that’s par for the course in this sort of game. The puzzle portions are set up and balanced overall between those that make you think and a few where you might pull a few hairs figuring them out, but that’s also part of the deal you get with these games.

Continue reading

Review: Black Sunday/Mask of the Demon (Blu-Ray)

(Thanks, FulciLives!)

Layout 1Say, did I ever tell you all the story of the time a few decades ago back in the 80’s when I learned how to brine a chicken thanks to a pair of very helpful Satanists looking for Kosher salt at a grocery store? No? Well, that’s not why we’re here, so I won’t go into it other than to say I didn’t know they were into that stuff, and hell, I’m an atheist anyway. The chicken? It was excellent by the way. Still is, whenever it’s made.

Uh, speaking of “anyway”, Let’s move on.

Still scary and somewhat phenomenally timeless, Mario Bava’s classic “first” film La Maschera Del Demonio/The Mask of Satan (aka Black Sunday in the US) starts off unsettling and keeps the frights coming until the end. Bava’s direction and art direction here are generally superb, although yes, there are a few plot holes you can drive a rattly (or rat-filled) old Fiat through if you follow the story too closely. But taken as a whole, it’s still a work of brilliance that many films have paid homage to over the decades since its release.

Black Sunday 02

“Where the hell is my coffee? I just woke up after 200 years!”

Very loosely based on The Viy, Nikolai Gogol’s horror tale from 1835, the film revels in its high Gothic style, early use of gore effects and the stunning Barbara Steele who plays both the evil Asa Vajda and 200 years after her demise, her relative, Katia Vajda. It’s a revenge story of sorts, as that witch and her soulless-mate Igor Javutich (Arturo Dominici) are separated and then executed in a most bloody fashion for their crimes and yes, there’s a bit of a promise of defiant revenge from the witch. 200 years later, it’s young Katya who’s target of a newly revived Asa’s demonic ways and in tandem with the revived Javutich, things get ugly for a few people after that curse literally comes to life. Wait, or is it figuratively? I forget.

Black Sunday 04

Vincent Price wants his stage wig back when you’re done, pal.

Interestingly, the film links Satanism and witchcraft to devil worship as the same thing, which is about the sole flaw that sticks out (well, I’d guess it was seen as the same in the 1630’s, but I’m a terrible time traveler, getting too sick from the trips to pay attention and all that).

Continue reading