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Review: Aaru's Awakening photo
Review: Aaru's Awakening
by Conrad Zimmerman

Aaru's Awakening is an unrelenting challenge of a game, which places players in the world of Lumenox, a mystical land in a precarious state of balance between four deities who rule it, Dawn, Day, Dusk, and Night. Now that balance is being disrupted, as Dawn sends a faithful warrior, Aaru, to travel the domains of the other gods on a quest to remake the world.

Dark and twisted lands await.

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Review: Roundabout photo
Review: Roundabout
by Brett Makedonski

For its first game, developer No Goblin seemingly subscribed to the K.I.S.S. school of thought: "Keep it simple, stupid." But, perhaps the studio misunderstood the acronym to mean "keep it simple and stupid." That'd explain how Roundabout revels in its own absurdity while revolving around a rock-solid gimmick: rotation.

Yes, the notion of motion is at the center of Roundabout. There is literally not a moment in gameplay where action is at a standstill. Even the most innocent, non-meaningful proceedings in Roundabout squarely feature its constantly spinning limousine -- a trademark that it rightfully relies heavily upon.

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Review: Resident Evil: Revelations 2: Episode 1 photo
Review: Resident Evil: Revelations 2: Episode 1
by Chris Carter

Resident Evil is in a weird place. After the middling Resident Evil 6 and the public flogging of Operation Raccoon City, I'm sure Capcom got the message that it needed to go back to basics. It did just that with Revelations on the Nintendo 3DS, which was met with enough positivity to warrant a full-on set of console ports.

Then Capcom reached overwhelming amounts of success with Resident Evil HD, a game that's as basic as you get in terms of fundamental survivor horror. Resident Evil: Revelations 2 may be more action-oriented than some other entries, but it's a damn fine showing for the series.

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Review: There Came an Echo photo
Review: There Came an Echo
by Darren Nakamura

Iridium Studios started out as a tiny developer with a humble Kickstarter for its rhythm role-playing game Sequence. It saw enough success that lead designer Jason Wishnov was able to fill out his team and spend more time taking on a much larger project. 

Four years later, There Came an Echo is finally out. Though it plays nothing like the studio's previous project, the two do share some striking similarities. Both are built on a neat idea, both explore themes of morality in science fiction, and both are a little rough around the edges.

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Review: Hot Tin Roof: The Cat That Wore a Fedora photo
Review: Hot Tin Roof: The Cat That Wore a Fedora
by Jason Faulkner

I’ve really been delving into the indie scene lately. There’s a huge amount of games coming from smaller development studios, and I’ve found a few that really impressed me. When I heard that a “crime noir Metroidvania with a cat in a fedora” was available to review, I was all in. I mean Cave Story, Terraria, and Shovel Knight are indie titles that could all fall under the fairly vague “Metroidvania” genre and they’re some of the most critically acclaimed games of all time.

As I played Hot Tin Roof: The Cat That Wore a Fedora, I found myself alternately intrigued and absolutely disinterested. Some things were well executed, while others were distracting and annoying. Having such fond memories of exploring Castle Dracula and Zebes, I expected a title that took on their mantle to continue the gaming traditions they established, but what was here was sandpaper compared to those classics’ smooth marble.

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Review: htoL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary photo
Review: htoL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary
by Josh Tolentino

No, that isn't an encoding error up there in the headline: "htoL#NiQ" is indeed this PS Vita game's title, and is essentially a very stylish way to type "The Firefly Diary" in Japanese.

Whatever personal peculiarities led the team at Nippon Ichi to title their new game this way seem to extend to the game's design as well. htoL#NiQ marches to its own rhythm, and ends up being two things at once: a fascinating work of minimalism, and a needlessly difficult ordeal best enjoyed only by the most masochistic of flagellants.

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Review: Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late photo
Review: Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late
by Kyle MacGregor

The competition is fierce, and I'm not just talking about the folks delivering beat downs online. With so many fighting games on the market nowadays, fans of the genre are spoiled for choice. Studios are vying for mindshare, just as we're battling in the arena. Want people to take notice? Well then, you had better bring your 'A' game. And make sure to come out swinging.

That's exactly what Melty Blood studio French Bread has done with Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late, the latest 2D fighter to throw its hat into the ring. It might look like just another high-flying "anime" fighter at first glance, but looks can be deceiving. Under Night In-Birth is its own beast, one absolutely deserving of your time and attention.

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Review: Harold photo
Review: Harold
by Conrad Zimmerman

Moon Spider Studio has released its debut title, Harold, an endearing and challenging race game about the most incompetent runner ever to need protection from a guardian angel. With some quick thinking, quicker thumbs, and an opportunistic eye, players guide the titular Harold to victory against all odds.

Who doesn't love an underdog?

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Review: Pokémon Shuffle photo
Review: Pokémon Shuffle
by Chris Carter

Nintendo takes on the world of microtransactions with Pokémon Shuffle. What could go wrong?

A lot. 

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Review: The Order: 1886 photo
Review: The Order: 1886
by Chris Carter

The Order: 1886 opens up in a fairly gritty fashion -- a first-person sequence involving a near drowning, by way of water torture. It begins with a bang, thrusting you into this unknown, and frankly frightening world where half-breed creatures live among humans.

It's cinematic and gripping, and draws you into the world that Ready at Dawn and Sony have crafted together. But it doesn't really push the envelope from there, as the cinematic angle is prevalent in nearly every facet of the experience, often hindering gameplay.

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Review: Risk photo
Review: Risk
by Robert Summa

Typically, board games involving just dice aren't my thing. I don't like playing a game in which I feel I have no control in whether I win or lose.

Yahtzee is a prime example of this, while Risk is somewhere in between. Much like Monopoly, you do have to have some sort of strategy most of the time. However, because these games are so dependent on chance, those strategies often get thrown out the window.

With Ubisoft's newly released Risk for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, this is basically what you get. You can plan and plot as much as you want, but if Lady Luck isn't on your side, then you aren't going to win -- no matter what you do.

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Review: Kirby and the Rainbow Curse photo
Review: Kirby and the Rainbow Curse
by Jonathan Holmes

Let's take a quick look at the history of videogames with clay-based graphics. Skullmonkeys is a one-off that most people don't even remember. The ClayFighter series has been dormant since the N64 days. Armikrog has been in development hell for years. That clay-based Loco Roco game for the PlayStation 3 never happened. Maybe worst of all, Dominique Pamplemouse is not yet a million seller. What the heck, guys!?

Looking at how few clay-focused games have made it to the market makes Kirby and the Rainbow Curse an even more interesting part of Nintendo's overall strategy. It's both safe and risky at the same time. This is not Kirby's first foray into the world of arts and crafts, and Nintendo has toyed with the idea of clay graphics before. The cover art for the first and last issues of Nintendo Power were made from clay, and a lot of the promotional material from EarthBound used clay models. It's clear that Nintendo has been toying with clay for a while, but Kirby and the Rainbow Curse is the first time it has finally gone all the way clay. 

I hope it's not the last. 

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Review: Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy+ photo
Review: Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy+
by Chris Carter

Japanese publishers have some truly confusing localization titles sometimes. In 2011, Namco Bandai released Ace Combat: Assault Horizon for the PS3 and Xbox 360. It was a grittier take on the franchise that added real-world complexities to the established fictional formula, released to mixed reception.

For some reason in that same year Namco Bandai also dropped Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy (the legacy is important, you see), which was basically a remake of 1997's Ace Combat 2 for the Nintendo 3DS. Now they've added a "plus" on the end and added amiibo support.

It still has nothing to do with Ace Combat: Assault Horizon.

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Review: Blackguards 2 photo
Review: Blackguards 2
by Darren Nakamura

A few weeks ago, I called Blackguards 2 "deep, unfriendly, and buggy." I had put several hours into the tactical role-playing game, but hadn't seen enough of the story to comfortably put out a review.

Fast forward to today, and my original assessment requires a bit of tweaking. Within the first two weeks of its release, Daedalic put out two huge patches, each aiming to fix the stability issues that plagued Blackguards 2 at launch. The patches did introduce their own issues, but for the most part I would describe it now as only deep and unfriendly. Two out of three ain't bad.

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Review: Evolve photo
Review: Evolve
by Nic Rowen

Trying to pin down my exact thoughts on Evolve has been trickier than pinning down any kind of prey the game has thrown at me. I was cautious with my initial impressions of the game earlier this week, noting an uneven play experience that often feels like a frustrating runaround. While I'd love to say another few days of dedicated hunting and skulking was enough to iron out the kinks and worries I had, in the end this is one hunt you might want to sit out.

It's a shame, because when Evolve is firing on all cylinders, it has been some of the best multiplayer fun I've had in years. But those precious few moments are far too rare -- and far too laborious to set up -- to give Evolve an unreserved recommendation.

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Review: Super Stardust Ultra photo
Review: Super Stardust Ultra
by Chris Carter

Super Stardust has been around for a long time -- since 1994, in fact. Although most people know the franchise from Super Stardust HD, it was originally on the Amiga platform before it hit the big-time. Now developer Housemarque is back yet again with Ultra, which isn't really a new entry so much as a fresh coat of paint for the PlayStation 4.

Hardcore fans may feel duped by this not-so-sequel iteration, but newcomers who have long been curious about Stardust will want to jump in right with Ultra.

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