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Nintendo photo
Nintendo

Nintendo talks restocks of Marth, Ike, and Meta Knight amiibo, but again, it's 'limited'


Haha, limited to disappointment
May 15
// Chris Carter
Nintendo took to Facebook today to assuage fears of US amiibo restocks, noting that Marth, and "a few other amiibo like Meta Knight and Ike" (gotta love the vagueness, like they don't know who exactly was reprinted) will...
Splatoon photo
Splatoon

Nintendo is putting on another Splatoon Global Testfire event


Saturday May 23
May 15
// Chris Carter
During the last Nintendo Direct event, it was revealed that Splatoon would host a limited-run "demo" called the Global Testfire. It turns out that this demo was actually an online-only, specifically timed beta test of so...
LEGO photo
LEGO

LEGO Jurassic World releases alongside the new movie on June 12


Walk the dinosaur
May 14
// Jordan Devore
Jurassic World opens on Friday, June 12. I'm skeptical, but I'll probably wind up seeing it anyway for the trained raptors. TT Games' LEGO Jurassic World, which spans the four films, releases the same day for all major conso...
Nintendo Download photo
Nintendo Download

Nintendo Download: Mega Man May continues with Mega Man Battle Network 3


Also, Stretchmo
May 14
// Chris Carter
Mega Man May is still going strong in its second week, which will see the debut of Mega Man Battle Network 3 (Blue and White) on the Wii U Virtual Console. Also on the Wii U is Nihilumbra, Ultratron, Funk of Titans,...
Silver Mario amiibo photo
Silver Mario amiibo

Nintendo finally spills the official beans on the Silver Mario amiibo


Not exclusive
May 14
// Chris Carter
[Update: I am being told by a source at GameStop that Silver Mario will not be available for pre-order, and should be in-store on May 29 for purchase. "No replenishment" is the expectation being communicated to stores na...

NERO collectibles guide part two: The Hospital and The Desert

May 14 // Brett Makedonski
Chapter Three: The Hospital Piece 1: This chapter's first piece is down the stairs at the beginning. It's right next to the text "He needs his mom. He needs comforting." Piece 2: This is the first collectible in the game that NERO really makes you work for. It's locked behind a door that can only be opened by solving a puzzle. This room's off to the right after entering the hospital. The puzzle is completed by lining up the three holes in the bookshelf and throwing a light orb at the activation switch. Piece 3: Now that we're properly in the hospital, we see that there are a ton of optional rooms to go into, and even multiple floors. We'll tackle everything on the ground floor first before moving upstairs. Keep an eye out for signs denoting rooms, as it'll help you find the right place for collectibles. The third piece is pretty simple. It's in the left side of the restaurant. The restaurant is right by the words "Work needs me. We have bills to pay." Piece 4: Move past the open courtyard to find a receptionist's desk. The fourth piece is behind it, by the phrase "There is nothing, nothing left to be done. What's the point?" Piece 5: Staying on the lower level, you'll find a room marked "Pharmacy" which is near "I try to be collected, to not cry when he looks at me for strength." Piece number five is in the pharmacy. Piece 6: This one's in the men's bathroom, which is a bit past "I try to be collected, to not cry when he looks at me for strength." Piece 7: Now we've cleared out the ground floor and can move upstairs. I took the stairs by the restaurant, but there are many paths leading up. The next collectible is sort of near the text "Tell David not to fear, I will be there waiting for him in a better place." But, it's kind of off on its own without anything too describable nearby it. Piece 8: Find the room marked "Women's Ward" and move through it to find the eighth piece. Piece 9: Here's another that requires some work. This one's also in the Women's Ward, and it's locked behind another door. Solve the puzzle to be granted access to the ninth piece. Piece 10: Still on the upper floor, there's a room called "Supervised Observation" that houses this piece. Piece 11: Make your way around the upstairs to the Men's Ward. Work your way through here to find a side room with the penultimate piece of the puzzle. Piece 12: After opening the gates, go down the stairs to find the final piece resting in the room that also contains the chapter's final puzzle. Chapter Four: The Desert Piece 1: At the beginning of the level, there's an anchor made of rock to the right. The first piece is up against it. Piece 2: Continuing down the path from the rock anchor, veer a bit to the left to find this piece in plain sight across from the giant glowing artifact. Piece 3: Now get close to the artifact, as the third piece is right alongside it. It's near the text "I never meant for any of this to happen. I'm so sorry." Piece 4: Moving forward, there are some monkey statues that are covered in moss. The next piece of the puzzle is right in front of the central one. Piece 5: You'll eventually come across the words "It's all my fault. I should've seen it coming." The fifth piece is a bit beyond that down a short path to the left. Piece 6: You don't have to go far to get to the next collectible. It's just beyond the fifth one, and it's in between the trees with glowing cracks in their branches. Piece 7: This one has quite the picturesque view! It's on the cliffside immediately behind "I could have done better. I should have done better." Piece 8: The eighth piece is hard to miss. After crossing the rope bridge, it's just waiting right on the other side, ready to be collected. Piece 9: After opening the gate, this one's right on the other side by the words "It wasn't meant to end like this." (I redacted some text from the narrator on this screenshot that could be considered a spoiler. I did this on the last image too. Although, if you've made it this far, you probably don't care much about spoilers.) Piece 10: We're getting awfully close to the end. The tenth piece is up the path and to the left of the previous one. It's a little ways before "Why should the ending be more important than the moments leading up to it?" Piece 11: Before going inside the lighthouse, this piece is just beyond the stone ramp leading up to the entrance. Piece 12: Finally! The last piece! As you're ascending the lighthouse's spiral staircase, this one will be about halfway up out on a balcony. Pat yourself on the back for finding all 48 pieces and putting together all four puzzles. In case you missed it, here's part one of the NERO collectibles guide, which covers The Caves and The Desert.
NERO guide photo
Let's put together a jigsaw puzzle!
Well, we have 24 of NERO's puzzle pieces in the bag, which means there are 24 to go. The second half of the NERO collectibles guide features The Hospital and The Desert.  No sense wasting any time; let's jump right into it. If you don't know the drill, part one of the guide has all the details.

NERO collectibles guide part one: The Caves and The Forest

May 14 // Brett Makedonski
Chapter One: The Caves Piece 1: In a house off to the right at the very beginning. The text near the house reads "These brigands had dozens of hideouts scattered throughout the oceans." Piece 2: Off to the right of the first puzzle. It's behind an orange plant and a tree with three branches coming out of the ground. Piece 3: Shortly after the first puzzle. Right in front of the text "small waterfalls and underground rivers kept the caves humid for mushrooms to fluorish." Piece 4: In the room where you get the light ability. Down the right-hand path from "One of those contraptions was blocking the passage in a dark room filled with crystals." Piece 5: Shortly after the text saying there are two paths up ahead. It's to the right of the multi-tiered waterfall. Piece 6: Take the left-hand path. The sixth piece is directly behind the text that reads "A giant torso of an ancient god made of stone was crying water to the lower room." Piece 7: This one is in the room with the three monkeys puzzle which is necessary to progress. It's off to the right side of the door. Piece 8: You'll soon come back out to another empty village. The eighth piece is in the house with the words "An opening in the rocks gave enough light and several ponds of fresh water served the brigands well." You have to go around the side of the house, though. Piece 9: There's a ramp leading down to a puzzle with nine circles. The next piece is right on the other side of the ramp. Piece 10: Just to the right of "Long and dark was the road David walked to meet his fellow brigands, but the sense of love they felt for each other helped." Piece 11: The eleventh piece is up on the balcony under the text "There was something magic about that place, something romantic about the songs the brigands sang in the evenings." Piece 12: The Caves' last piece is in a puzzle room where the far wall has three circles with rotating dots on it. This piece is to the right of that behind a large stone. Chapter Two: The Forest Piece 1: This one is right at the beginning of the level, behind and to the left of the words "In a remote area of the world, existed a place filled with wonders and beauty." Piece 2: This piece is a bit in no man's land. It's far out in the field behind the text "Right in front of the tree, David had decided to found the village." It's nestled among three giant glowing mushrooms. Piece 3: After opening the gate, you'll see the words "They already gave their assessment, they won't save him, so I will at least try to." It's in the nook behind this and between the buildings. Piece 4: Shortly after the last piece, walk to the base of the waterfall to find this one. If you're having trouble, it's behind the words "It is taught that even today those glowing animals are still lighting those houses, giving the village a sense of false life." Piece 5: This one can be found while walking through the village. It's behind the text "The villagers built an elaborate stone bridge in order to cross the small river ending at the waterfall." Piece 6: After a mandatory puzzle that opens a gate, there's a clock puzzle a bit ahead and to the left. Along the left-hand side of the clock puzzle will be a little nook containing the next piece. Off in the distance is the text "That site had a strange attraction and for the villagers it was also connected to something even darker." Piece 7: After the words "That site had a strange attraction and for the villagers it was also connected to something even darker," follow the path under an arch. Hang a left before the words "He's sounds asleep, how long have you kept watch?," and the next piece is resting in a field. Piece 8: This piece is right behind a very large tombstone puzzle. The text in front of the puzzle reads "He asks for you, you know. He wants you to read him the giant jellyfish story this time." Piece 9: From the last piece, keep walking directly backward from the giant tombstone. This piece is at the entrance to a canyon which leads to another puzzle. Piece 10: After the tree falls, the tenth piece is just to the left of the text "The treatment just needs more time." Piece 11: Eventually, you'll find yourself in a cemetery. Take the right-hand path by the text "A statue representing a goddess was placed beneath the open mausoleum, it is said that the ghostly figures would gather there by night," and the next piece is hiding in an open stone structure. Piece 12: Progress just a bit further through the graveyard until you see the words "Strange to say and to see, the mausoleum was the only bright and lively part of the cemetery." The Forest's last piece is directly behind this text in another stone building. Good job! That's half of the game in the books. Here's the guide to the second half -- The Hospital and The Desert.
NERO guide photo
Let's put together a jigsaw puzzle!
NERO is an experience in exploration that beckons for the player to scour every inch of its world. Scattered across the game's four levels are 48 puzzle pieces, and they're hidden in every nook and cranny imaginable. Parts of...

Mario Virtual Console photo
Mario Virtual Console

New Super Mario Bros. returns on Wii U tomorrow


I'd like Elite Beat Agents, please
May 13
// Jordan Devore
In 2006, many of us were desperate for another 2D Mario game, and Nintendo finally came through with New Super Mario Bros. for the original DS. From what I remember, it was a good game. Perhaps not great, but certainly suffic...

Review: NERO

May 13 // Brett Makedonski
NERO (Xbox One [reviewed], PC, Wii U, 3DS)Developers: Storm in a TeacupPublisher: ID@XboxReleased: May 15, 2015 (Xbox One), TBA (PC, Wii U, 3DS)Price: $19.99 But to spend a little more time in NERO's world is a wondrous thing. The omnipresent phosphorescent set-dressing strikes a dissonant chord against the subject material, but works in an odd mutuality. When hope seems like it's sure to slip away forever, the aesthetic inspires in an underlying way. Hey, maybe things will turn out all right after all. As this is a foray through a child's mind who's going through uncertain realities, nothing about NERO is metaphorically black and white. The journey is paced however you see fit. Meandering about is enticing, as everything about it begs for exploration. Backtracking is likely to occur often, as you realize you've been staring at the lustrous sky for too long and forgot to pay attention to your surroundings. Every time this happens, you'll fall a little more in love with NERO. Wandering off the beaten path has its benefits beyond taking in more scenery. NERO is a first-person puzzle-solving game, but it can be very light on the latter if you so choose. The majority of the puzzles are tucked away in areas that aren't even necessary to venture to. Those who opt to complete these brain-teasers will be awarded with an extra slice of narrative. [embed]292028:58522:0[/embed] Honestly, those who take the quick and narrow path through NERO are robbing themselves -- not just of a few puzzles, but of the core experience. It's a game where you slowly figure out that aimless wandering is the aim. It's something that requires some marinating, soaking in the world to fully appreciate it. Approaching NERO with a destination in mind is a mindset that will result in disappointment. Likewise, those who appreciate clearly drawn lines will similarly feel frustration. NERO is intentionally ambiguous at all times about its narrative, but its tone is always striking. Different thematic accents constantly punctuate different scenes; the ones that don't happen to arch over the course of the entire journey. For all the discussion it's sure to raise regarding plot, it's undoubtedly a story of love and loss, grief and guilt, companionship and family, and coping when the world is so goddamn unfair. All that being said, NERO isn't perfect. Detractors will knock it for a short run-time, flat textures, frame rate stutters, and lack of puzzle variety. However, isolating those issues is akin to missing the forest for the trees. There's something greater at play here, and letting yourself become immersed in NERO will likely render those shortcomings moot. Even after finishing, it's difficult to pin NERO down to a concept or feeling that's easy to explain. It's a game that prioritizes emotion above all else, and it does so wonderfully. But as the boy at the heart of this tale learns, emotions are tough to understand, and thus NERO is tough to understand. You'll just know that you felt something, and that sensation alone is worth the journey.
NERO review photo
A strange and distant land
I don't know why I kept playing NERO. That's not a statement meant to express disdain. I literally don't know what -- but something -- drew me to keep trekking through this sad, enamoring world. Its gravitas has a gravity abo...

Splatoon commercial photo
Splatoon commercial

The worst part of the '90s are alive in this Splatoon commercial


Kidz Bop is better
May 13
// Jed Whitaker
The '90s had some terrible commercials, like for real. They often times had really cheesy or bad jingles, just like this new commercial for Splatoon. The only thing this is missing is a geeky kid with glasses covering a bull...
Marth photo
Marth

The Marth amiibo restock situation doesn't look good at GameStop either


Only a few per store
May 12
// Chris Carter
We've talked about it at length before -- the great Marth amiibo restock of May. Well, it doesn't seem all that great so far. Amazon was trickling out select orders through the day last Saturday (and were, for all intents and...
Yooka-Laylee photo
Yooka-Laylee

Yooka-Laylee will have DLC, which 'won't start development until it ships'


Good
May 12
// Chris Carter
Playtonic has reached the two million mark for its Yooka-Laylee Kickstarter, and now, it's thinking far ahead of its "extra polish" stretch goal. It has set its sights on DLC, and the way it is handling it...
Yoshi photo
Yoshi

Yep, yep, Yoshi’s Woolly World still looks adorable


So many Yoshis
May 12
// Chris Carter
Is it possible for Yoshi's Woolly World to not be amazingly adorable? Across the adventure you'll have a chance to locate hidden "Wonder Wools," which unlock 50 different costume patterns for the lil' creature. To give ...
Nintendo photo
Nintendo

Nintendo unveils European release dates for the next amiibo waves


Yar, there be a shit storm a brewin
May 12
// Chris Carter
Nintendo of Europe has let the cat out of the bag in regards to the availability of European amiibo. The next wave involves Ganondorf, Palutena, Dark Pit, and Zero Suit Samus, which will debut on June 26. After that, Dr. Mari...
Yooka-Laylee snake photo
Yooka-Laylee snake

Yooka-Laylee has a shorts-wearing snake named Trowzer


Lovely
May 11
// Jordan Devore
You just knew someone in Yooka-Laylee was going to rock shorts. If not the titular chameleon and bat duo, then a side character, surely. Today, Playtonic Games gave us the goods. "Trowzer is a business-snake whose career neve...
Splatoon photo
Splatoon

What did you think of the Splatoon Global Testfire?


Splat happy or set to pass on toon?
May 10
// Jonathan Holmes
This past Friday and Saturday, Nintendo launched its first ever limited time online stress test/demo with the Splatoon Global Testfire. Due to multiple work-related responsibilities, I was only able to jump on for one match, ...
Females in eSports photo
Females in eSports

Sexism and Super Smash at Press Start LAN


Why is this still commonplace?
May 10
// Jed Whitaker
Neha Chhetri, better known as LiloNStitchface or Lilo for short, is a pro Super Smash Bros. Melee player that you may recognize from the Super Smash Bros. Invitational hosted by Nintendo at E3 last year. Lilo is no stran...
Marth photo
Marth

That Marth amiibo restock may have already came and went on Amazon


Mash F5
May 09
// Chris Carter
When Nintendo announced the Marth amiibo restock for this year, I had a feeling it wouldn't end well. It was originally scheduled for April, then May, and now that the month is here, the publisher is still completely silent a...
Nintendo photo
Nintendo

Nintendo has shipped 10.5 million amiibo worldwide


Almost seven million came from NA
May 08
// Chris Carter
When people constantly ask about why there's so much amiibo coverage across the net, I always tell them -- "because there's a demand for it." Now I can prove my point with cold hard numbers, thanks to the recent Nintendo inve...
Nintendo Download photo
Nintendo Download

Nintendo Download: Mega Man May begins with Mega Man & Bass


Also, High Strangeness
May 07
// Chris Carter
Mega Man May is a go, and thanks to you guys, my choice of Mega Man & Bass is now available on the Wii U eShop. It's a Virtual Console release of the GBA version, which isn't ideal, but at least it will get it into t...

Review: Forgotten Memories: Alternate Realities

May 07 // Jed Whitaker
Forgotten Memories: Alternate Realities (Android, iOS [reviewed on an iPhone 6 Plus], Playstation Vita, Wii U)Developer: Psychose Interactive Inc.Publisher: Psychose Interactive Inc.Released: April 23, 2015 (iOS) / TBA 2015 (Android, PlayStation Vita, Wii U)MSRP: $4.99 Rose Hawkins wakes up after being shot in the face, only remembering that she was searching for a missing girl named Eden. She doesn't recall who shot her, how she is alive, or where she is.  Upon exiting the room Rose is greeted by a hallway formed in red curtains, the kind you'd find at any theater. An antique dictation device is waiting for her, and a message plays automatically from a woman named Noah who has been waiting for her. Noah knows Rose by name, and promises her more information on Eden if she can free her nurse friend from the asylum she is about to enter. Rose comes face to face with Noah in a throne surrounded by mannequins one last time before entering the asylum, Noah still talks through audio dictation for some reason. This is the kind of tone you can expect from Forgotten Memories. [embed]291661:58457:0[/embed] Like any psychological survival horror game, the story is deep, twisted and leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Most of the lore you'll come across in case files, notes, and a couple of cutscenes. Forgotten Memories is very old school in this regard, but still manages to have an engaging story worth searching for. Old school is a  word that can be used to describe most parts of the experience, for better or for worse. I almost didn't finish the game due to how difficult the game is, just because the developers felt the need to shove in old school mechanics for old school sake. Saving the game requires tracking down a computer and using a floppy disk, an item that is extremely limited in the game. While classic survival horror games used this save game mechanic, most notably the original Resident Evil series, it sucks for a game on mobile, especially when the game is brutally difficult. Forgotten Memories' app store description originally warned prospective buyers to only purchase the game if you are a hardcore gamer due to the level of challenge involved. They weren't joking -- I almost didn't finish it to how quickly and often I'd die. Luckily I must not have been the only one as the developer quickly released an update that included an easy mode. It provides players with unlimited saves, more ammo, easier enemies and more medkit pickups, among other tweaks. Even with this easy mode I found myself in situations with a sliver of health, no medkits and some distance between myself and the nearest save point.  Touchscreen controls were a mistake, plain and simple, and hopefully they don't carry over to the Vita and Wii U versions of the game. The left side of the screen controls character movement, while the right side controls the camera and aiming. The first place touched on the left side of the screen acts as a center axis, and Rose will move in the direction of your fingers position in reference to said axis. Camera and aiming control seems inconsistent on how much movement there is, often times leading to needing multiple swipes just turn around. On the right side of the screen are also icons that allow you to run or go into an aiming mode with your flashlight or weapon. With a weapon drawn tapping anywhere on the screen will cause Rose to attack. The pipe, the only melee weapon I found in my playthroughs, can be used three times consecutively to perform a powerful combo attack that pushes enemies backwards. Since this piece of junk is your main weapon, combat boils down to letting enemies get close enough to attack, performing the combo, rinse repeat. It leaves a lot to be desired. Shitty controls aside, Forgotten Memories nails the survival horror atmosphere unlike any game I've played in years. Haunting violins can be heard as you search for clues and keys, pounding drums mixed with noise play during combat, and the intro music is haunting, a mainstay of the Silent Hill series. I found my heart beating in my chest with my breath held as I ran past enemies to escape rooms. Hearing distorted singing coming from a shadow-like child that is just down the hallway where you need to go is fucking horrifying. While it is indeed a horrifying affair, it ends all too abruptly at just under an hour and a half on my first playthrough.  Having been in development for years, Forgotten Memories feels like it was purposely cut short to allow for sequels or download content. That being said, the pacing is tight and there is no filler whatsoever, but it still feels like the first chapter of a longer game. Aside from the brevity, awful controls, and dull combat, the game is easily recommendable for those looking for that Silent Hill feel. Though only the desperate should pick up the mobile version, or those that have a compatible controller, otherwise wait for the console and PC releases sometime this year. While the graphics are some of the best I've seen on mobile, they can only be better elsewhere. Forgotten Memories: Alternate Realities is about the best you can do for survival horror currently, if you can stomach the control scheme. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Forgotten Memories review photo
Horror-ible controls
Survival horror has always been one of my favorite genres, with Silent Hill being the absolute king. When I heard about a game inspired by and with voice actors from Silent Hill 2, arguably the best in the series, I was ...

Here's everything from the Splatoon Nintendo Direct

May 07 // Chris Carter
[embed]291747:58462:0[/embed]
Splatoon Direct photo
The demo is out today
Nintendo just ran a Splatoon-centric Direct presentation, and it provided a ton of information on the soon-to-be-released shooter. First, to play ranked modes online, you have to reach level 10 (as was previously announced), ...

Nintendo photo
Nintendo

Nintendo is back to making a profit


Ninty's rolling in dough again
May 07
// Laura Kate Dale
Earlier this morning Nintendo released its results for the last financial year, ending May 31 2015, and we have good news. Nintendo is back to profitability! After several fiscal years of losses Nintendo is climbing back up a...
Disney Infinity 3.0 photo
Disney Infinity 3.0

Disney Infinity 3.0 has Star Wars, Marvel, and Mulan


The Starter Pack releases this fall
May 06
// Jordan Devore
Following last week's leak, Disney has come out with full details for Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition, which introduces Star Wars to the game/toy platform this fall. For Play Sets, we're looking at: Star Wars: Twilight of the R...

Review: High Strangeness

May 06 // Chris Carter
High Strangeness (PC [reviewed], Wii U)Developer: Barnyard Intelligence GamesPublisher: Midnight CityReleased: May 6, 2015MSRP: $9.99 High Strangeness is a simple tale of a young man named Boyd. He has a cat, he lives a simple life -- until shadow people invade his hometown and set into motion a series of events that will change his world forever. Sound familiar? Strangeness is meant to evoke the feeling of an old school RPG, using elements of both 8-bit and 16-bit adventures, meshing it into what the developer calls "the 12-bit realm." It definitely has an EarthBound-like feel to it, with snappy jokes, real-life oriented weapons like a flashlight and firecrackers, and an otherworldly plot. The writing has the charm of a typical Pokémon game, with cute jokes that are often very meta in nature, but not to the point of just repeatedly spouting obnoxious memes. I never really felt any attachment to the cast or the setting, but the era-appropriate dialog definitely helps along the way. Boyd will fight said shadows mostly by way of his flashlight melee attack, but he'll also have a few other tricks up his sleeve, like the aforementioned firecracker bombs, a set of CDs that basically function like Zelda's arrows, and more far-out weaponry like the power to control a shadow clone. Combat mainly consists of old school hit and run gameplay, with a stamina meter in tow to prevent you from mashing the attack button. It's rudimentary, but it works, especially when  you start to experiment and realize that every weapon is viable. My favorite bit about High Strangeness is the fact that you earn upgrade tokens for every kill (even normal enemies). Since these item or skill enhancements are actually quite useful, it creates a nice incentive to get your hands dirty as often as possible. [embed]291545:58443:0[/embed] The main gimmick however is definitely the concept of plane switching, which you'll unlock roughly 30 minutes in. With the press of a button you can phase between the default 16-bit world and an 8-bit realm, fundamentally changing the way everything works. Some enemies will be easier or tougher depending on what world you're in, and mechanically, basic gameplay changes as well. Boyd can use combos and run in the 16-bit era, but only attacks with one thrust at at time and moves in a grid-like fashion in 8-bit, and so on. The switch isn't instantaneous (it takes a few seconds) so it's not worth it to constantly change, but it is fun to see enemies in a new light or try out new tactics at will. Plus, some puzzles can only be solved by toggling planes, so you'll need to do it every so often -- thank goodness it doesn't get annoying. Because the game is faster paced in the 16-bit visual style I vastly preferred it over 8-bit, and felt like the latter could have used a few extra touches in terms of a unique feel. While it does have a certain amount of charm, High Strangeness is a very linear adventure. Puzzles usually don't take more than a few minutes at a time to solve, and when all is said and done, you'll probably breeze through it in roughly five hours. There is a very cool final boss at the end, but sadly, there's no additional difficulty settings or a New Game+ option, so what you see is what you get. There are also a few wrinkles, like the health and stamina UI that doesn't stay locked in one place, and moves if you get too close to it on the screen. Since the game has some dead space due to the constrained aspect ratio, I wish there were an option to keep it static. Additionally, I wish there were a "quick item switch" button, since pausing the game to change secondary weapons isn't ideal. High Strangeness might be a brief adventure that feels a bit shallow at times, but it's very easy to digest. Because of the short nature of the game it doesn't waste your time, and it's very easy for anyone -- retro enthusiast or not -- to pick up and play. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher. I did not back the Kickstarter campaign.]
High Strangeness review photo
Taming strange
[Disclosure: High Strangeness was developed in part by Destructoid community member Ben "AgentMOO" Shostak. As always, no relationships, personal or professional, were factored into the review.] Back in 2009, a smal...

Review: Cosmophony

May 05 // Darren Nakamura
Cosmophony (Android, iPhone, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 [reviewed], PlayStation Vita, Wii U)Developer: Bento StudioPublisher: Bento StudioReleased: May 5, 2015 (PlayStation systems)MSRP: $4.99 The setup is about as simple as it gets. Fly/glide/hover/whatever down a seven-lane tube. Avoid smashing into obstacles. Optionally shoot black triangle "enemies." That's about it. There are a couple of different measure for success. Getting through a level without dying is enough to unlock the next level. Doing that while destroying every black triangle along the way is worth a full rating. Each level can be played in Practice Mode or Normal Mode. Aesthetically, Practice Mode takes out the color and some visual effects, but the big difference is that it allows the use of checkpoints and gives the ability to fast-forward or rewind to replay tricky sections. Normal Mode is the real deal: make it through a level from start to finish; any mistake means restarting from the beginning. [embed]291451:58420:0[/embed] Cosmophony's unique hook is that it functions as a rhythm game, but the reliance on rhythm is hidden at first. In the early levels, there is a lot of room for error. Firing a shot at nothing carries no penalty and timing is irrelevant as long as moves are made before crashing. Often I would take out enemies before they were even on screen by spamming the fire button knowing which lane they would be in. That changes by the third level. There is still a little bit of leeway allowed for certain decisions. There is space to overshoot, moving three lanes left instead of two. However, after playing and replaying the same sections a few times, it dawned on me that every button press corresponds to a musical element. It's not just the shooting, but also the movement. Once that became clear, I was able to reach the zen state of concentration where my fingers were doing what they were supposed to be doing before my conscious brain could tell them. So few games hit that sweet spot, where the sound and light and difficulty all come together to create an intense mental experience. Level three of Cosmophony does that for me. Sadly, that falls apart for me at the fourth level. The difficulty ramps up consistently across the levels, but it goes too far to be enjoyable. Where previous levels allowed room for minor error and contained lighter sections for the player to refocus, it turns into a relentless exercise in rote memorization and execution. I was no longer finding my happy place where time slows down; I was only finding frustration. Cosmophony is like a firework. As it's flying up and sending out sparks, interest builds. Once it detonates it's an awesome show of color and sound. After that it's over and everybody goes home. It's short and intense, but it stops being interesting once it oversteps the line between fun and frustrating. I played it and enjoyed it until it felt unfair, and now I probably won't ever touch it again. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Cosmophony review photo
The difficulty sure ain't phony
I had been lulled into a false sense of security. I finished the tutorial and the first level of Cosmophony with a perfect rating in about 15 minutes. "Four more levels of this?" I thought. "Child's play." Cut to an hour and ...

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