HUNTDOWN: It’s Been A Long Time Coming, But It’s Been Worth The Wait

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Here comes trouble, and there goes your free time!

Way back in 2016, I saw a trailer for a wild little 2D game from an independent developer and I was pretty excited because it captured a few nostalgic vibes from both some older games and plenty of crazy action flicks:

(Thanks, Easy Trigger!)

Skip ahead to the next year, and the game went through some changes that made it look even better. I was able to sign up and test out an in-progress version on Steam, and it was pretty great even though some parts were in need of a little refining (as any work in progress would – a demo of a game is NOT a full game experience). Even with the parts that needed work, what was there was such a huge improvement that it was clearer this was going to be even more amazing when it was completed:

(Thanks, Coffee Stain!)

Now (well, tomorrow), the final game is ready for its closeup and wow, does it look too nuts or what? “Hold on to your butts!”, as the saying goes:

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The Bearable Heaviness of Being

GE DIGITAL CAMERAThe other good news from yesterday was getting back from an appointment and discovering a package from Mega Cat Studios had arrived completely without warning (Thank you very much, James!). This is both excellent and somewhat timely, as it had a copy of the rather intriguing Devwill Too MD inside along with a nice note for me. This will get reviewed on the weekend, but when a game starts out with a quote from Albert Camus’ The Myth of Sisyphus, you kind of realize it’s sort of special.

Here’s a little look at the trailer:

 

 

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Yes, you should!

I got a proper Krazy Kat meets Super Mario Bros. vibe here, but I’m a bit nuts, so you can decide on your own. Oh, also please go sign up on the Mega Cat site for info on the many other cool and sometime very unusual retro games they’ve released or are working on. A while back I made a small pledge to the Phantom Gear Kickstarter, so I can’t wait for that to be completed, as it looks pretty solid.

By the way, if you have or want a Steam account, you can even get free beta demos on some titles there as well for that platform, which is a good thing as Mega Cat is cooking up some really nice titles. If for whatever reason, you’re working on a retro-style game and need a publisher, well, I think they do that as well.

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Ghosts ‘N DJ’s: Monday’s Been Made, Charities Get Paid

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This is priceless. No, seriously, it’s going to be FREE.

Ghosts'n DJs artSometimes, you wake up and see something that makes your day, as as it’s a Monday, that goes double because it kicks off the week on a high note. I woke up earlier this morning to go to a medical appointment, checked my email and saw this game info, then the trailer and yep, my day was made instantly.

Solo developer and creator Daniel Manzano (aka Dr. Kucho!) has cooked up such a thing with Ghosts ‘N DJ’s, which… well, just take a look at the game trailer while I go put on a pot of coffee:

Screenshots and a good and lengthy game description are below the jump. I know you’re curious, so you get the long version this time.

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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:

 

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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.

 

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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

Review: Reventure (Switch)

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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.

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Reventure: 100 Endings? Well, Lets Go See Some, Shall We?

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With its retro looks, Reventure ($9.99) may not be the first game off the shelf for some gamers out there, but this player certainly wants to give it a go soon. Hey, 100 endings are what, something 99% of games don’t have and hell, I just want to play this for the blocky visual style because I sometimes like to see what can be done with the fewest pixels possible. Here are the trailer and some screens for your viewing enjoyment:

Malaga, Spain-based indie dev Pixelatto is onto something cool here, I think. In addition to the Switch version that’s right around the corner, there’s a PC version that’s been out for a few months on Steam that’s packing loads of positive reviews. Check it out here.

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We’ll be back in a few with a few of those endings.

-GW
 

Sega Genesis Mini: It’s 199X All Over Again

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Yeah, I got one last week.

So yeah, I picked up a Sega Genesis Mini from Amazon last week and it’s quite a good purchase overall. While there are a few clunkers in the bunch (did we really need a Virtua Fighter 2 that’s NOT the arcade version here? Plus some games om the Mini would have been better served with their appropriate sequels on board), the content is pretty solid and developer/port house M2 has done a very stellar job in converting the games to HD in this collection of 42 mostly excellent titles. While I’m exceptionally pleased, I also want a Mega Drive Mini here at some point for some of its cooler Japanese imports and shooters, some of which can be enjoyed in English (if they were localized for other territories outside that country).

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Review: Archlion Saga (Switch)

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Well, you can’t get lost at all in this game, but you can turn the arrows off if you want a less guided tour of the maps.

archlion sagaShades of the initially underappreciated (and still disliked to this day by some) Final Fantasy Mystic Quest drift through Kemco and developer Hit-Point’s entry level JRPG Archlion Saga ($4.99) and yes indeed, the game will definitely ruffle some feathers among the noisy gamers with unshakeable opinions (too often presented as “facts”) who never seem to think that players new to any genre just might like a welcoming title they can complete without a video walkthrough or wanting to bust controller into pieces against a nearby wall.

That fiver you’re spending gets you a game that can be completed in a few short hours, auto saves whenever you do pretty much anything and is so simple that anyone of any skill level can play it.  It also offers a bit of replay value for those who want to run through it again (you can opt to keep your levels and earned currency). There’s no need to “git gud” here at all unless you overuse the auto-battle option that can actually wipe out your party if you get too careless in the 4th and 5th chapters when and the random battle system decides to slap you with the occasional strong enemy pack. Amusingly enough, if for some reason you feel the urge to grind levels, late in the game there’s a dragon who heals your party at no cost whenever you speak to it. Given that healing herbs drop frequently (you can stock 99 at a time) and you start off with an amulet that restores a few hundred HP in battle, this might not be necessary, but it’s here nevertheless.

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Hmmm… we kinda know how this is going to turn out, but okay, let’s pray along…

“So, it’s a kid’s game, then?” you ask? Sure, you can say that, but it’s one that while colorful and easy on the eyes and ears is a tad gloomy in tone what with the 1000 year return of the evil Serpent and his curse mark dooming the population and you, the Archlion King out to stop that threat with the aid of a few allies. Cue up the handy trailer so you can see what’s what:

One thing the game does that works well is streamlining the story so you meet up with your party members with no aimless wandering about. Your party’s hit points are accumulated into a shared pool with numbers based on equipped gear. Each of the four characters will learn and an use three powerful Skills (the game has no magic points), all with different cooldown times and a few that can only be activated under certain conditions (e.g., after guarding for one turn or after taking certain amounts of damage). Granted, the game is easy enough that you can beat it without any major strategy whatsoever.  That said, it’s just nice to have the option to play with each character’s skills, especially the one that lets you steal items from enemies (which can net you some nifty gear and free healing herbs) or the one that puts most enemies to sleep for a brief period.

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Especially once you start using those Stars to power level, Bram.

While exploring the short maps, you’ll gain Stars needed to unlock doors and chests, but you’ll also earn them by playing the game for a certain period of time without taking a break. Those stars are also used to pull off powerful attacks and double experience gained after battles, so you can pretty much become too overpowered by the game’s final chapter if you like. Of course, NOT using any aids makes the game a bit more challenging. so feel free to experiment. The pixel art here is great overall, particularly the big, colorful monsters and bosses you’ll meet and beat. Sure, the assorted human foes have no facial features, but most of the more mystical beasties do and they’re all excellently rendered. The music is suitably 8-bit sounding bliss that feels just right, but don’t expect a wealth of tunes given the brevity of the experience.

The funniest thing about playing this was I was able to compete it once while waiting for a few downloads to complete (some larger games on PSN and a Windows 10 updates that had me offline for about 4-5 hours). Hit-Point has a few decent ideas here that I think need to be applied to a larger project at some point down the road, but for what it is, this isn’t a bad way to spend a few hours if you’ve got a Switch, five bucks to spend and don’t mind some hand holding in handheld or docked mode. While I won’t call this an “essential” game at all, it’s cheap enough and so user friendly that it feels as if it’s trying too hard to please. But that’s somewhat of a relief in this era of games where you’re forced into that “die, rinse and repeat until you don’t die” loop that can be frustrating for a select few.

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He may be a big scary cartoon jerk, but you can beat the devil out of this devil with relative ease.

Score: C (70%)

-GW

That Sega Genesis Mini? It Just Got A Lot Cooler

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Well, now. The final set of games coming to the Sega Genesis Mini have been revealed and guess what? It’s 42 titles and not the 40 initially noted. That final dozen include a few excellent surprises such as Tetris, the Sega-developed Japan-only rarity, and Darius, which never got a retail release.

Here’s the list of included titles:

Sonic The Hedgehog
Ecco the Dolphin
Castlevania: Bloodlines
Space Harrier 2
Shining Force
Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
ToeJam & Earl
Comix Zone
Altered Beast
Gunstar Heroes
Earthworm Jim
Sonic The Hedgehog 2
Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck
Contra: Hard Corps
Thunder Force III
Super Fantasy Zone
Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master
Streets of Rage 2
Landstalker
Mega Man®: The Wily Wars
Street Fighter II®: Special Champion Edition
Ghouls ‘n Ghosts®
Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
Beyond Oasis
Golden Axe
Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium
Sonic The Hedgehog Spinball
Vectorman
Wonder Boy in Monster World
Tetris®
Darius
Road Rash II
Strider®
Virtua Fighter 2
Alisia Dragoon
Kid Chameleon
Monster World IV
Eternal Champions
Columns
Dynamite Headdy
Light Crusader

I’ll admit to being generally pleased with this lineup (let’s say about 85%) but there are a few odd omissions that leave me thinking that there will be some sort of second Genesis Mini or perhaps an update of some sort in the future. We shall see, I guess.

-GW

Sega Genesis Mini: Finally, It’s Worth Going Back to the Past

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Welcome back, buddy. Well, soon…

Hey, Sega.

qualitymarkWe have some history together, so I’ll be totally honest here and admit that some of the stuff you’ve done over the years in the post-16 bit era has royally worked a nerve or three. Too many years of seeing and occasionally playing those AT Games systems of often questionable quality that had me hanging on to a couple of your older, better made handheld and home console systems because they simply worked better even after almost two decades of use? Yeah, those are a reminder of the days when stuff was reliable and worked every time it was switched on.

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Derp. Someone forgot to switch his camera out of portrait mode. Eh, consider this a filter like some people use to make their faces all smooth like a plastic doll, OK?

These days, my old Sega Genesis and Japanese Mega Drive still work fine, but of late, they’ve been pouting in a corner because I’ve been all excited about Sega getting fully on board the retro mini console scene with their upcoming Sega Genesis Mini. Set to launch on September 19, 2019 for $79.99, the Mini will pack in a whopping 40 titles that will thankfully, not all be the same games found on those PC and console versions many Sega fans own (and a few of us own those collections on multiple consoles).

Sega of America has wisely put together a neat FAQ that should help you and your wallet see that money will be well spent, so peek below the jump and get ready to watch that credit or debit card pop right out of wherever you keep it.

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