Review: Hakuōki: Kyoto Winds

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HAKU1_PackArtIf you or someone you love are suffering from FVN (Fear of Visual Novels), Idea Factory International has a great solution at an affordable price. Hakuōki: Kyoto Winds is a great introduction to otome games for Vita owners willing to try something different that’s well made and quite enjoyable.

Yes, longtime fans will recognize this as “only” an enhanced port of an older game they may have previously played. But they should also recognize the fact that every day someone might just want to try something out of their comfort zone they’ll probably like. Hey, an expanded fan base can be a good thing when all is said and done, right?

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SDCC 2014: Little Orbit’s Got A Pair Of Nice Surprises For Gamers Soon…

As a fan of last year’s Adventure Time game (released by D3Publisher of America), I’m happy to see that this year’s installment, Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom is going to be closer in spirit to a Legend of Zelda game as opposed to a Gauntlet and Diablo-inspired chase & chop. Sure, I’ll miss playing as Marilese and some of the other characters, but as long as this new game delivers the goods, I’m not complaining at all. This one’s coming sometime in the fall for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC (via Steam) and Nintendo 3DS.

As for Falling Skies: The Game? Color me surprised and impressed. Sure, it’s basically a reworked version of the XCOM reboot from a few years back, but this is actually a good thing because I’d imagine the only other options were a boring run & gun game or some type of MMO that only a tiny percentage of people would actually play. While this one’s only coming to the PS3 and Xbox 360, I’m betting that it gets bought and played by gamers who like turn-based strategy who don’t mind maybe discovering a show they haven’t seen yet as well. This one’s out PS3, Xbox 360 and PC (via Steam) on September 24, 2014.

Review: SPINTIRES

Spintires_manualDeveloper: Oovee Game Studios

Publisher: IMGN.PRO

# of Players: 1-4 (co-op)

ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)

Official Site

Score: A- (90%)

 

Not that this will happen any time soon, but if someone ever decides to make a video game based on Henri-Georges Clouzot’s 1953 masterpiece The Wages of Fear, they’d better ring up UK-based developer Oovee and beg them to do the driving portions. I’m saying that while SPINTIRES is paused below this tab and I’m writing up this review of the PC game. While I generally love to complete a game before sitting down to type up impressions, After a few days of playing this indie gem, I can very safely say it’s one of the nicer surprises of the year and well worth the $29.99 price point. I’ll defend that price point in detail below, but in short, why pay the same (or more) for a game that’s going to be JUST like the games you’ve played to death when here you’ll get something you’ll very likely enjoy MORE because it’s fresh and actually more challenging than you’re used to?

Yeah, I thought so. Read on for more reasons you at least need to take this for a spin… Continue reading

SPINTIRES: Your “Hey, This Is REALLY Cool!” Sleeper of the Month…

spintires_logoJust look at that trailer and let your mind expand a bit. When I first heard of SPINTIRES, I thought it was yet another racing game clogging up an already crowded field and yep, I’d planned to skip it. But that was before I saw it in action and realized it’s one of those weird indie simulation games that would wrap me up for hours because it does a LOT of things RIGHT. Low system requirements, supports K/M play or an Xbox 360 controller, has some innovative and realistic terrain deformation you rarely see in off-road vehicle games and it’s got those wonderfully boxy, beautiful Russian trucks that look like something out of a sci-fi film because Russians think of the future all the time (but in the weirdest places). Anyway, this one’s on Steam now or you can snap it up from the official site AND get a free Steam Key as well! I just downloaded this, so it’s off to play for a bit in the mud and get a review posted sometime next week.

Video Game Appreciation 101: Recent Acquisitions (Part Whatever)

BOT_ThorOK, quickly now, as I’m still buried under a few Wii and Vita games I need to review: Blades of Time for the PS3 and Thor: God of Thunder for the Nintendo DS, both picked up this week dirt cheap. The former is a sort of sequel/reboot/update to developer Gaijin Entertainment’s poorly received X-Blades, a perfect example of great (in fact, spectacular) visuals and gameplay that’s somewhat lacking in depth. Blades of Time looks better, has tighter gameplay, an awesome time winding feature for combat and puxzzles, some really cheap enemies and yet, scored low to average on nearly every site that reviewed it. Granted, lead character Ayumi talks WAY too much to herself for a good chunk of the game and for those expecting a simple hack ‘n slash, the game can be really tough about a third or so of the way in. Nevertheles, it’s worth a buy if you like fast-paced action games and ton of monsters to kill. Oh yeah, that compass you whip out to find your way around (and hidded treasures) is pretty sweet as well.

As for Thor on the DS? It totally SMOKES the PS3 and 360 versions thanks to developer WayForward Technologies being true gods of 2D programming. Parallax galore, a fun, fast combat system, upgradable gear and amazing use of the DS’ dual screen format (the best bosses are two screens tall!) makes this one an excellent buy for any fan of classic side-scrollers from the 8 and 16-bit era. It’s too bad neither game got the totalrespect they deserved… but I guess that’s one reason I’m still doing what I do here. Go check them out sometime!

Plane Weaver Walkthrough Video

What? You haven’t tried Plane Weaver yet? Er… well, my review is coming tomorrow, but I thought I’d post the walkthrough for this PAX 10 winner first, as the game can be a bit tricky in a few spots. Anyway, the game is a really cool platformer with puzzle and adventure elements, excellent graphics and sound all done by a small group of Danish students in a month. Go download it (click on the link above – it’s free and only around 66MB), install and play it and when you get stuck (it’ll happen eventually), watch this video and thank me later.

Yes, this does indeed contains spoilers (well, it IS a video of someone playing the game!).