03 Mar

I Got 99 Spirits

A clarifying point, to start: I didn’t actually roll 99 Spirits. I rolled Tsukumogami, the original Japanese version of 99 Spirits. As the two games are very similar if not identical – other than language – I decided to play a game in which I could understand the story and instructions. And a good thing too!

Exposition!

Because wouldn’t you know it, one of the main mechanics of 99 Spirits is guessing words and had I been playing in the original Japanese, I would have done quite poorly indeed. What an odd creature 99 Spirits is. If you were to ask me who should play 99 Spirits, I’d be flummoxed. Let’s see if I can arrive at a good answer before I call it a night. Read More

24 Feb

Sure Plays a Mean Pinball

I likes me some pinball. It’s why I have a good dozen tables in Zen Pinball 2, a copy of Pinball Hall of Fame for my 360 (in case I want another go at a virtual Medieval Madness, a table that was in my college cafeteria), fond memories of my visits to the Pacific Pinball Museum, and a copy of Odama – the Gamecube pinball war game that required voice commands – tucked away somewhere.

BackstorySo it was with a bit of trepidation and a good deal of excitement that I loaded up Rollers of the Realm, a pinball adventure RPG game. While my favorite Zen Pinball tables include a good deal of technical wizardry and more than a few mini-games that are impossible to recreate on physical tables, I hadn’t played an actual pinball hybrid game since Odama. How pinball is Rollers of the Realm? How RPG is it? How fun is it? Read More

15 Feb

Defenders of Gallia

Valkyria Chronicles was one of the first games I played on my PS3. I borrowed it from a friend for several years, never beat it, and eventually returned it to him when he wanted to play the DLC. When I saw that the game had been recently ported to PC (all DLC included), I couldn’t help myself and bought it, fully intending to play it once more and make it all the way through.

Alicia and WelkinI gave myself two weeks to play Valkyria Chronicles, intending to make it further than I had gotten before and toyed with giving it two full entries, because I knew going into it that I would love this game. But, life got in the way. Work has been grueling and one of our cats passed away quite suddenly. It’s been a draining few weeks, but for a few moments here and there, I’ve managed to sneak off into the woods of Gallia and spend some time with Welkin Gunther and Squad 7, and boy is this game wonderful. Read More

29 Jan

Sums and Guns

If you had asked me a week ago what a game named Super Killer Hornet: Resurrection might be about, I would have cast about for a while in my imagination before settling on a sequel (or remake) of a game called Super Killer Hornet, which of course was an arcade hit about a hornet that flew around picnic areas stinging people to death. Something to cash in on the whole Descent/TIE Fighter craze (movement in 3 axes!) but appealing to the Japanese demographic of wanting to play as an insect.

Title ScreenIt turns out I wasn’t entirely wrong. It is the follow-up to a game called Super Killer Hornet and there’s kanji on the title screen. However, instead of a literal hornet, you play a metaphorical hornet and a literal spaceship shooting aliens. It’s a shmup! A shoot-em-up! A bullet hell! Is it also a hell-of-a-game (as in attaboy) or a hell-of-a-game (as in Hades)? Let’s find out. Read More

24 Jan

The Pixelated Dead

I had a heck of a time playing and screenshotting Dead Pixels this week. Last weekend, I spent most hours of the day alternately shivering and sweating in bed with the flu. I managed to read most of the book Gone Girl, but did little else. Looking back, I’m amazed that I managed to stumble downstairs to the computer Saturday morning and put together a coherent bunch of words on Valiant Hearts. It all seems like a dream.

Backstory!

And then it’s been a busy week at work. Which is to say, I’m going to fill this post with excuses on why I didn’t actually play that much of Dead Pixels. In addition, the game didn’t seem to want to cooperate with the Steam Overlay at home, making it onerous to take screenshots, which is why this post will also have less images. But all right – aside from the fact that I didn’t play the game and didn’t take screenshots of it, what was my opinion of it?  Read More

17 Jan

The Great War

I went into Valiant Hearts: The Great War with little to no expectations. Other than the fact that it was a well-received Ubisoft “indie” game and that it had a 2D art style, I literally knew nothing else about either how the game played or what I would be doing. I prepared for a grand adventure.

BackstoryValiant Hearts is about World War I, told through the lens of four individuals who are thrust into the war – the lanky German Karl, his bearded French father-in-law Emile, angry American ex-pat Freddie, and volunteer doctor Anna. These characters are introduced one by one, and eventually fall under player control for short adventure-game scenes. It all sounds pretty good on paper, but does it actually hold up?  Read More

09 Jan

Road Rage

My motorcycle between my legs, I scream over the rooftops. All I know is rage. There are other bikers around me, but I don’t like them, no sir. I take out my tactical axe and hack at them, kick at them, grab them and guide them into the back of a nearby log truck. This is the world of Road Redemption, an Early Access game I was gifted over the holidays that evokes Road Rash (or so I’ve been told, because that’s another game I’ve never played).

Nighttime BikingThe game is simple – get on a bike, drive fast, kill others, fulfill missions, earn money, buy upgrades, eventually die, level up, do it again! Let’s break down these pieces and see what works and what doesn’t.  Read More

26 Dec

Tango Down

Merry Christmas! As the holidays roll through and the Steam winter sale does its worst, I’ve weathered the storm with only a few purchases here and there. Believe me, it could have been much, much worse. So what did I pick up?

Clear!

I couldn’t resist police XCOMtastic RPS tactics game of the year Door Kickers. I was a little worried that I would find that my relationship with tactics games had gotten It’s Complicated. I’m not a huge tactics junkie but I really enjoyed Valkyria Chronicles, and had a brief but enjoyable dalliance with Frozen Synapse. Would Door Kickers get to third base with me? Read More

18 Dec

One Step at a Time

The Legend of Grimrock is a cautionary tale about crime, punishment, and the power of teamwork. Like some kind of crazy mashup of The Hobbit and Prison Break, four alleged criminals get thrown into a mountain that’s meant to serve as their place of exile, only to find that the mountain is hollow, filled with cunning traps, teeming with horrific monsters, and arranged in a neat floor and grid system for easy cartography.

He Needs Another Eye!These four intrepid criminals decide to cast off their past life of crime or completely inappropriate incarceration (never really clear which) to work together to reach the bottom of Grimrock and find Smaug’s treasure and peace for Sara Tancredi. I mean freedom. I’m pretty sure it’s actually freedom. I don’t know; I didn’t finish the game in three hours! Read More

11 Dec

Little Green Men

Let me start by admitting something that some people may find shocking: I am not a capital-A Alien kind of guy. I haven’t seen the seminal sci-fi film of that name, nor the sequel (Aliens) or any of the myriad of extraterrestrial films that followed (Alien 3: The Last Stand, Alien 4: The Lost World, Alienz in the Hood, Aliam Neeson in Abducted, etc). It is with this woeful ignorance of the franchise, this blank slate that I approached this week’s game, the much maligned Aliens: Colonial Marines.

Out the Airlock!I do know this much: this game got put through the ringer when it came out. The Internet exploded with negativity over something or other. People were unhappy. Rage was spewed. What was it all about? I couldn’t tell you. I didn’t end up following it that closely. But I was ready to get in there and tear Aliens: Colonial Marines a new eggplant-head-shaped orifice. Is it time to get on the A:CM hate dogpile train? Punch your ticket, let’s go. Read More