Most Recent: Reviews

Mega Man Legacy Collection Review: A Potent Mixture of Retro Perfection


The Mega Man series is built on patterns. Every time out, a robotic warrior clad in blue battles eight “Robot Masters” in an order chosen by the player. As he pushes through the game, Mega Man acquires an arsenal of new weapons from the vanquished Robot Masters. And after defeating all of them, he challenges the evil Dr. Wily in a fiendishly hard multi-leveled fortress. After delivering the final blow (usually with the game’s worst weapon), Mega Man rides off into the sunset, ready to return if the world needs him again.

I know these patterns. I first learned them in 1987 with the release of Mega Man for the NES, and I received a refresher course roughly every year thereafter thanks to the five sequels that followed. Through trial and error (and believe me, there were many, many trials), I eventually learned how to traverse each game’s set of levels with near flawless accuracy.

After ignoring the series for several years, Capcom decided to compile the first six entries into the recently released Mega Man Legacy Collection. I still know the patterns, but even two decades removed from their original release, the games included in the Mega Man Legacy Collection hold up in a way that few do. (more…)

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Spectra Review: Chiptunes, Racing, and 80s Arcade Style Aren’t a Bad Combination


It’s a rare game that credits the composer as a co-developer, but that’s what you get with Spectra, an overhead racing game that’s set to a chiptune soundtrack created by Niamh “Chipzel” Houston (best known for her work on Super Hexagon). British developer Gateway Interactive took her bleeps and bloops and laid them over a procedurally-generated raceway that expands out into space using arcade-style wireframe graphics. The music and visuals complement each other nicely, but Spectra’s “keep it simple” style goes a bit too far. (more…)

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Kholat Review: Lo-Fi Scares From Russia


I don’t normally play horror games as it’s not really a genre I enjoy. But horror games from Russian and former Soviet bloc countries are a different story. There’s something about their style that shows they really understand fear. I cannot quite explain the draw, but I really like their ability to create an atmosphere where the surroundings and my mind are working equally hard to scare me. And when I heard that Kholat was from that part of the world, I knew I wanted to give it a try. (more…)

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Splatoon Review: You’re a Squid! You’re a Kid! You’re the Best Shooter in a Long Time!


Even though it doesn’t star Mario or Link or Samus Aran, Splatoon is the quintessential Nintendo game. Starring a race of shapeshifting human/squid creatures known as Inklings, the game’s bright colors and relentlessly cheery attitude place it firmly within Nintendo’s wheelhouse. But Splatoon is also unlike your typical Nintendo game in that it’s a shooter, albeit one that uses squid ink instead of bullets and is more concerned with area control than racking up killstreaks.

It’s also the best shooter I’ve played in a very long time. (more…)

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We Are Doomed Review: A Dreamy Twin-Stick Shooter You Shouldn’t Miss


If you love twin-stick shooters, then this is a great time to be playing video games. After reaching perfection with the release of Smash TV in the early 90s, the genre faded away for more than a decade before Bizarre Creations brought it back with Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved. Since then, a ridiculous number of twin-stick shooters have been produced, and the control scheme has even been co-opted by a growing number of roguelikes. Basically, you can’t swing a dead hedgehog at a game convention without hitting a developer showing off their new twin-stick title.

Into this crowded fray comes We Are Doomed, the first PC/console game from Vertex Pop. (more…)

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Shovel Knight PS3/PS4/Vita/Xbox One Review: Still Digging It


What a difference a year can make! This time last year, Shovel Knight was just a promising platformer that was still two months away from release. A lot of people backed its Kickstarter campaign and still more got their hands on it at PAX East, PAX Prime, and E3. We liked what we saw, but we had no idea just how good it would actually turn out to be.

So here we are in 2015. Shovel Knight made its debut last June and instantly won the hearts of gamers everywhere. Perfect review scores (including this one from us) piled up like the sacks of gold collected by the title character. Six months later, a gaggle of “Game of the Year” awards rained down from outlets across the Internet (including this one from us). So what does Yacht Club Games do for an encore? They put the exact same game on the PS3/PS4/PS Vita and the Xbox One and add a pair of platform-exclusive bosses. If you bought it last year, there’s no need to buy it again, but everyone else needs to fill the Shovel Knight-sized hole in their tool shed right now. (more…)

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Mario Kart 8: Animal Crossing X Mario Kart 8 DLC Pack Review: More Tracks! More Characters! More Speed!


Nintendo has released Mario Kart 8’s second downloadable expansion during an interesting time for add-on content. Other publishers have been very welcoming to the new revenue stream, some perhaps overly so, but Nintendo has mostly shied away from creating additional content for their games. However, with Mario Kart 8 and the upcoming Xenoblade Chronicles X, the company seems to have found the perfect balance between releasing extra content that generates more revenue while offering value for money. The Animal Crossing X Mario Kart 8 DLC Pack is priced at $7.99, just like the earlier Zelda-themed expansion. However, players can pick up both packs for $11.99, which would add four additional Cups to the game, each with a mix of old favourites and new challenges. Players who buy both packs will receive 16 new tracks on top of the original 32, which is 50% more game for only a fifth of the price.

Not only that, they released it a month earlier than expected!

But this second DLC add-on brings something special with it, a free update that adds a 200cc Class to the game, which is a faster gameplay mode than the Mario Kart franchise has ever included previously. The new speed setting is a game changer, and the best part is that it is free to everyone, not just those who bought one or both DLC packs. But is this new, challenging speed setting perhaps a step too far in this fun-filled game? (more…)

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Westerado: Double Barreled Review: Fastest Pixel in the West


At first glance, Westerado: Double Barreled is just a pixelated spaghetti western with a silly name. The longer you glance, the harder that feeling sets in. Developed by Ostrich Banditos, the latest game to be published by Adult Swim Games takes the style of the third-person top-down RPG of yore and combines it with an overly-dramatized and often fourth wall-breaking western revenge story. For those “in-the-know,” this is a remake of a 2013 browser-based title originally just named Westerado. (more…)

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