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.

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Review: Children of Morta (PS4)

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COM_cover“Outstanding” is the first word that springs to mind in Dead Mage and 11Bit Studios spectacular Children of Morta ($29.99), a game I didn’t want to stop playing. I dragged out the gameplay intentionally, clocking in about 25 hours in because between the lovely visuals, great action-packed gameplay, and often heart-tugging story here, I didn’t want to leave this gorgeous action/RPG’s world. Yes, it’s a slower paced story and some may think it’s heavy use of deliberately paced narrative and the narrator’s Bastion-like delivery slows the game down. But as someone who’s a reader of stories (and sometimes a teller of them when properly prompted) this didn’t bother me one bit. Besides, every game one plays need not be the same as another and the focus on family here is welcome for a change.

This is a game where sentiment is an important plot device, but the action is also well implemented and sometimes very challenging in a product that took five years to craft. Both the art and artistry on display are to be properly commended, so hats off to all involved in this. I got a digital code to review, but I’m surely and sorely tempted to buy this as a physical release just to have if it ever disappears from PSN for any reason. Yeah, I’d play this again even though it’s more or less a “one and done” game to some extent, but a great one worth checking out a few times for its randomly generated levels and some neat side missions (“Who’s a good puppy? You are!” is a hint I’ll give). I was thrilled by most of what’s here to definitely say I’d revisit it like a good novel because it works well as enough of a memorable visual and aural treat with a good story, to boot.

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Pixel perfection, plus the animation is always fantastic.

The Bergsons are a family that discovers a corrupting force has come to their land and fortunately, the spirit of adventure runs in the family. That we’re dealing with a tight-knit family where you can choose to play as a few classes is a fine touch and surprise, much better that the sometimes generic hero types (that too often have some form of amnesia) in RPGs. One fun thing here is the Bergsons have nicely normal names that seem dull, but I say that’s more the player than the game wanting to choose a “McHero” or original sounding name because they think it makes for a better experience. This game, for me works because no one person is the star – they’re all great and necessary characters here. Even the ones that seem a little strange in some areas (Lucy, I’m taking about you and that laughing of yours).

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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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Review: Neo Cab (PC)

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Here’s a ride worth taking.

Now, this was pretty cool one, and not a “honk” in sight.

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Geez. Well, maybe if they have a lousy attitude like you, they might, lady…

Chance Agency’s excellent “survival adventure” game Neo Cab  (also on Switch and Apple Arcade) feels to me like what would happen if the classic cyberpunk FASA game series Shadowrun got a first-person expansion focusing not on weapons or magic, but a human taxi driver who just took mostly normal and a few tech-enhanced passengers where they needed to go, listening or responding to their mundane stories along the way.  There’s also a smidgen of a more recent game Night Call, minus the murder investigation aspect to contend with (there’s a taxi accident mentioned a few times that occurs off-screen integral to the plot, but the Teen-rated game doesn’t feature any violence). The people you meet as pax (passengers)  here are a pretty interesting (and well-written) sort where if you have time over the game’s six-day period, you’ll want to pick a few up multiple times in order to find out more of their stories.

There’s replay value here because the game’s main story only lasts about four or hours and intentionally limits pickups to three (or four in cases where you decide to take a chance on an extra run) a day. Granted, the plot threads all link up at some point, but it’s impressive to see how it all comes together even if the finale tends to be a bit of an anticlimax on one front when compared to the bulk of the game. It’s not a bad ending, mind you. It just forces a particular choice at you until you pick what seems to be closure for some characters. While there’s no voice acting here, most of the “acting” here is nicely mimed and/or conveyed through what’s seen on-screen.

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Red Dead Redemption II is PC-Bound (See, I Told You)

Understatement of the year department: November 5th will be a very busy day for some folks, I think.

RDR II PC

Not surprisingly, it’s on the way to PC.  Act surprised, though, as it’s coming sooner than you think. Well, in some places…

And guess what? you can get it FIRST, but not on STEAM until December. If you download the handy Rockstar Games Launcher, which is FREE and for a few more days comes with a FREE digital download of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (Whattttt?!), you can be one of the first to get RDR II. Other Rockstar titles will also be available at decent prices, so feel free to stock up, if that’s your thing.

Official company line stuff below the jump. Images and a trailer to follow as soon as they drop from the source next week.

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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
 

Preview- Daymare: 1998 Keeps The Old School Zombie Thing Alive

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So yeah, I’ve been playing Invader Studios’ (with aid from Destructive Creations and All In! Games) fun and scary Daymere: 1998 on STEAM for a short while and it’s pretty darn good (and thankfully, also coming to PS4 and Xbox One gamers at some point), although the story and character models could use a little polishing up. The game is so far, a decent enough mimic/response to Capcom’s much praised classic Resident Evil 2 so much so that it looks and feels at times like a newer entry, but intentionally filled with a certain old-school style that make it feel purposely nostalgic.

Here’s a game trailer to peruse:

While the human character models need a bit of work, the assorted undead are all appropriately creepy and the scares are timed to make you jump out of your skin when you’re caught off guard. There’s some method to the madness on display, as the game certainly gets the feelings of fright going on a few fronts. Granted, yes, it does start off initially slow as you get your bearings and yes, the UI could be a lot more intuitive. The game also has a few intentionally draggy moments in spots. But when you’re least expecting it (or because you will be), the tension is definitely there in the quietest of spaces when you think you can take a breather. Overall, it all blends into a horror-fest that’s pretty enjoyable, warts and all,

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The hammy voice acting is well done (funny how that works, right?) and I liked that some animations are a bit clunky, but these elements both fit the era in question. In it’s current form, it’s good, but a few patches away from greatness, I think. That and the game is in need of critical response that appreciates what’s going on here rather than attempting to bash the game for its particular weaknesses where an homage is clearly intended. As a fan of some horror games, this one’s not a bad way to whittle away a few hours on a rainy weekend with. Hey, I like this one a lot, stuff that needs work and all. The overall spirit is what’s important in a project like this and that’s going on in spades here.

-GW

A Few More From Microïds to Keep You Moving (1 of 2)

In addition to the Blacksad news I posted a few days back, it’s going to be a pretty busy time going forwards for Microïds, that’s for sure. Let’s see now:

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Roman Rumble ArtRoman Rumble in Las Vegum (Asterix & Obelix XXL2) has arrived on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One for $29.99. This one’s a remastered sequel to a PS2 game from 2003 that first got a sequel three years later and now it lands on the consoles above sporting new visuals and a wealth of gameplay improvements over the 2006 version. New dev team Osome Studios has taken Etranges Libellules‘ work and powered it up to the next level.

I’m ancient enough to remember reading many of the old and brilliant Goscinny and Uderzo comics as a kid, so this one will be plenty of nostalgic fun and a game that’s going to be acceptable for gamers of all ages. Check out the game trailer below for what to expect (I’m cracking up because the game riffs on a number of pop culture elements here and there) Viva lost wages! This one should be fun for a few laughs. Check it out:

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Blacksad: Under the Skin Story Trailer: Or, I Need to Get Out More (Or Stay Inside and Read More)

Well, this looks pretty cool. I’d never heard of this game or comic character before, but as a fan of adventure games for a while, this looks really fun and noir-ish is right on up my alley and then some. Microids, Pendulo Studios & YS Interactive are the folks behind this, so I’m going to be doing some digging to see If a review code can be located. I think I have at least one PR contact at Microids, so that’s a good sign. If this one’s as good as it looks, being aboard the train will turn out to be a fine thing indeed. Especially for those of us who haven’t yet read the comic stories yet.

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Well. looky here, bonuses if you want them!

 

The game will be available in retail and digital formats in either standard or Limited Editions (PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox One and Switch) on November 19th, 2019.

-GW

It’s Back: R-Type Final 2 Gets a 2nd Funding Run

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Click me for more info. You know you want to.

It’s baaaaaack… (which is a good thing, folks).

Here we go again, because the original Kickstarter only ran for a week and left a few folks out of the loop. Now you have a second chance to get in on this crowdfunding action thanks to a new push to get in those folks who felt left out. Head below the jump for the press release and a few more screens.

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