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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Pathologic 2 Comes To PS4: The Only Time “Going Viral” Is A Good Thing

Pathologic 2 Now

Grim, the understatement of GIF explanations.

I still haven’t played Ice-Pick Lodge’s rather unsettling survival horror game Pathologic 2 other than a demo from a few years back, but I want to eventually. The first game was quite good, but woefully depressing as its three playable characters each with their own aims, tried to figure out the dealing with the deadly plague that had taken over a small town with only 12 days to find some sort of resolution. That the game initially came out in 2005 makes it suddenly timely in some respects, but if you’re going to go pick it up on PC, don’t expect to be much of a “feel good” experience.

The stylized visuals and very methodical gameplay featured a mechanic where quests disappeared once a day was complete, so fast work was required in some areas lest a character integral to the overall plot expire. The interesting thing was it seemed impossible to do everything that was tasked, so the replay value was in maximizing one’s efforts and trying the figure the most efficient means to work through problems that arose. The tensions that arose from doing certain tasks while the Sand Plague crept inexorably forward made the game compelling, especially when one didn’t use any walkthroughs and took each day as a challenging survival puzzle of sorts.

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Capsule Review: Knightin’+ (PS4)

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Warm and fuzzy, indeed: Familiarity does not breed contempt here.

Knightin' PS4When you play Knightin’ yes, you’ll be fightin’ monsters, traps, and more.
A bit like Zelda, and you’ll say, “Well, duh. I think I know that score!”.
But this game’s shorter, so you oughta temper expectations.
It’s great to vacuum up some time, but might not sweep the nation.

You just start playin’ – soon you’re slayin’ all creatures in you path.
Bosses are tough, but skills and gear can beat down all their wrath.
The writin’s great – you may let out a chuckle as it goes.
I wish the game were more fleshed out, four dungeons here just blows.

But still, they’re great – appreciate the hat tip to nostalgia.
Timing and precision rule, lest you go to Valhalla.
The tunes are bliss, they sure don’t miss that classic gaming beat.
A big grin and a toe that taps work even in defeat.

Collision woes may give you throes, but practice makes perfection.
See and learn those areas where parts need a correction.
It’s all good, though – the game will flow when things go with the plan.
And if they do a sequel – well, I’ll surely play that, man!

 

Knightin’+ is $5.99 on PSN, but you can get it digitally on Switch, Xbox One and PC as well. The EastAsiaSoft physical edition seems to be sold out, but you can see if Play-Asia can get you one, as they’re the only place to get it for the retail price outside of an auction site’s gouging. It’s quite nostalgic and funny, gets straight to the point with no filler and it’s worth a few plays even if you’re just collecting the 16 trophies. Indie developer Muzt Die Studios and port house Ratalaika Games did a great job overall here. Sir Lootalot’s adventures may seem short, but there’s a good chance you be back for more as the game is so much fun to play. And yes, a longer sequel would be nice.

Score: B+ (85%)

-GW

-Review code provided by the publisher

Hyper Galactic Psychic Table Tennis 3000: You’ve Got To Have Balls

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Yeah, yeah. So do I, buddy.

The team at Blue Wizard Digital (Slayaway Camp, Friday The 13th Killer Puzzle among many others) is at it again. This time, the classic game PONG gets the treatment and as you can see, well, if you’re a fan of vintage PONG or even PONG-curious. you’ll see even better that the vintage game has taken on a whole new life. Hmmmm, every time I type the word PONG, there’s a weird sound effect. Hear that? I should go put some music on or something.

I’ll keep this preview as short as can be because I need to go play this and review it, but if you got a grin going at that video, you’re on board the hype train and I’b about to come by and collect your ticket. The nice thing here is the game is a mere two bucks on Steam, but until March 10, it’s 34% off, so even the cheapest-minded cheapskate can buy and play this. Not that I think you’re all cheapskates mind you – budgeting correctly is important in this day and age, correct?

-GW

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE Demo: ‘Scuse Me While I Kiss The Sky

This Looks Good, Right

“I can’t believe it’s THAT good, right?”

FFVII REMAKE D

It’s up… and it’s good!

Honestly, I’d deliberately not followed any development news, interviews, screens and trailers of the upcoming FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE because as I’ve said in the past many times, I prefer going into a game as cold as possible for the surprise factor and how that actually helps my sense of wonder continually activate, even if it’s a game that’s been re-imagined or has had multiple versions created over the years. In this case, the approximately 45 minute long Unreal engine-powered demo that dropped on Monday is visually, pretty spectacular stuff and the gameplay is a mix of styles  old and new, with a bigger nod to the new. This bodes quite well for the final version we’ll see on April 10, 2020.

I’ll resister my EXTREMELY middling complaints about the demo here just to get them out of the way first. I didn’t like the variations in destructible objects. Those wooden Shinra boxes you should smash up when you find them go down with a weapon swing by Cloud or a few shots by Barrett, but cardboard boxes, some crate-like objects, and a few metal barriers bounce or just get knocked around with no visible damage? Eh, well. Although, some striped sawhorse barriers hide handy items you can find once knocked away (explore everywhere!). My other minuscule complaint is with the music, which is phenomenal, but I want a choice of the original tunes as well as the new remake versions. As I said, these “complaints” are tiny, but this was only a demo and it does note, the quality isn’t 100% representative of the final game at all.

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Sakura Wars Story Trailer: The More You Know, The Better It Gets (As Long As You Don’t Know So Much)

 

It’s quite the year for nostalgia in games, am I right? Final Fantasy VII, Langrisser I & II, the Yakuza Remastered games, a new King’s Bounty, and more are on the way, but there are a few firsts for the US and Sega’s Sakura Wars is at the top of the hit parade for many, I think, as it’ll be the first officially licensed game to make it westward on console. This trailer in only a hint of that’s to come, but I’m going to stay away from bigger reveals because I love going in as blind as possible on some games because it keeps them more interesting and yes, I’m happier with no or as few spoilers as possible.

-GW

INFINI: Pardonnez mon français, mais ce jeu est bizarre (et doit être joué!)

Barnaque_LOGO-Nouveau2017MiniWell, to be honest, my French is perfectly awful, but Montreal-based art team/development studio Barnaque has me completely intrigued with its new title, so It’s making me feel inspired enough to drag out the Google Translate language mangler thing. INFINI, set to release on PC for Steam and itch.io March 4, and on Switch a bit later this year. Here’s a video and screenshots along with a description of the game from the developers, David Martin and Émeric Morin:

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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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Yakuza 0 – Your PC & Xbox One Are Going On A Trip

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Well, you can tell by the way he uses his walk…

 

 

The only reasons yours truly didn’t request a PC or Xbox review copy of Sega’s outstanding Yakuza 0 for myself was I’ve played the excellent PS4 version already, don’t currently own an Xbox One, and hell, my backlog on Steam just went under the two-year mark a few days ago, only to go way back up thanks to a few new games popping into my inbox which need to be reviewed. Oh, and I finally just got an Epic Games Store account because I’be been offered a few codes for games exclusive to that store. Everything eventually gets a review, but pacing them out by myself is an issue. I’m all for cloning, by the way.

Anyway, if you’ve got Microsoft’s all in-one wonder console ™ and haven’t bought or played this yet, go do so. It’s only $19.99 or FREE if you subscribe to Xbox’s Game Pass Ultimate. Yakuza 0 is an immense game that’s rewarding from a few story and gameplay elements, you’re not going to complete it quickly, and there are way too many things to hold your interest through the game. You’ll see, and if I don’t see you around after that recommendation, I know how to not reach you because you’ll be busy for some time. Trust me on this, as I’m buried in the fantastic Yakuza Remastered Collection on PS4 and yipes, those are three long games to replay, but the improvements are well worth it.

-GW