[Disclosure: Anthony Burch, who consulted on the story for Tales from the Borderlands, was previously employed at Destructoid. As always, no relationships, personal or professional, were factored into the review.]
When Tales ...
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Geometry Wars games have always been, in a sense, one-dimensional. They present the player with the seemingly simple task of "shoot everything in sight," and that's the sole objective apart from staying alive. The onslaught of flying colors and booming music molds the experience, but the core remains uncomplicated. For many, that's enough to be held in the highest regard when discussing twin-stick shooters.
In 2008, the heralded Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 vastly and competently iterated upon its predecessor. It added a handful of new modes, each one legitimately fun and addictive in its own right. But more importantly, it fueled sincere and passionate competition across online leaderboards -- a social dynamic that few games since have been able to recapture. In many ways, it was the perfect game.
All hyperbole aside, Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions makes Retro Evolved 2's efforts look puny by comparison. It adds depth in so many more ways than just literally, but never strays from the formula that makes Geometry Wars incredibly lovable. It's certainly the most ambitious and fully realized title in the series to date, and it's difficult to imagine a different take that would improve it. In many ways, it is the perfect game.
Some concoctions will leave you feeling sick to your stomach. You need look no further than Yukiko Amagi's culinary misadventures for proof of that. Other pairings seem to work far better than they probably should, like Atlus RPG fusion Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth.
The title blends two of the studio's prized franchises, Persona and Etrian Odyssey, unifying disparate types of role-playing games into a cohesive and complementary experience.
Stealth is a tricky game mechanic to pull off well. If it is too slow it can be dull, but if it is too fast it is more action than stealth. If it is too predictable it becomes mundane, but if it is too random it requires more reaction than planning. If it is too strict it can be frustrating, but if it is too forgiving then it lacks tension.
Sneaky Sneaky is all of the above. At times, it hits all the right notes, providing smart, satisfying stealth puzzles. At others, it is an unfair slog through rooms built around ideas that add variety in theory but are not any fun in practice. In the end, Sneaky Sneaky has some redeeming qualities, but it is just as easily passed on.
In high-level competition, every little advantage counts. It is why Olympic swimmers shave their bodies before a race, why pre-med students fight tooth-and-nail for every half point on every test, and why gaming keyboards exist.
I am not a professional eSports athlete. I play competitive games, but I would not win any serious competitions. That said, I think this keyboard is pretty great, and in addition to the benefits to top-level players, it has some cool features for people like me too.
While Sonic Boom on the Wii U has its issues, there are also some redeeming qualities. Co-op is enjoyable, the platforming is pretty fun, and the 2D sections aren't bad. With a few more months in the oven and more polish, it could have ultimately been a decent Sonic title.
Unfortunately, the same can't be said for the 3DS version of Sonic Boom. There's almost nothing redeeming about it.
Professional wrestling was a cultural phenomenon when I was younger. In the third grade, conversations at school were a general 50/50 mix of Dragon Ball Z fact repetition and which was better: WCW or WWF. When Hulk Hogan started the nWo, school was chaos. I remember fistfights over nWo and WCW supremacy that lasted two years until the nWo split into nWo Hollywood and nWo Wolfpac. Then the saga between the poor kids who had white nWo shirts and whose parents couldn't afford the new red ones and the kids whose parents could afford them started to play out (because, duh, Wolfpac for life.)
As we all got older though, the wrestling fad gave way to Pokémon, then Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace (it's hard to believe, but we all loved it when it came out), and wrestling was soon forgotten by most and unfortunately relegated to the white-trash stereotype. However, wrestling continued, although these days it seems to lack the gaudy style of yesteryear. Its drama is a pale imitation of the antics of Randy Savage (bless his soul), Hulk Hogan, Sting, and others. WWE 2K15 is also is a pale imitation of 15-year-old-plus games like WWF: No Mercy and WCW/nWo Revenge.
As a character, Sonic gets a bad rap these days. No matter what is announced, I can practically hear the collective groaning from my desk. Like any popular franchise with consecutive releases, some of them are going to be good, some of them are bad.
Recent games like Generations and even Colors or Lost World were decent, and despite the bad apples, I'm generally hopeful good Sonic games still exist. Sadly, Sonic Boom is not one of them.
Super Smash Bros. for the 3DS was everything I hoped it would be. It rekindled my love for the franchise after my group of friends and I lost interest due to Brawl, and I'm playing online more often than I would with most fighting games. In pretty much every aspect, the game is a success in my eyes, and it seems that sales agree.
But of course the main event is one that can be seen on a glorious television, with four (now eight) players all clamoring over some drinks and having a great time. In that regard, Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U might be the best iteration yet.
Back in 2008, LittleBigPlanet was a staple in the Carter household for a good year. It was tough to put down as we earned a full 100% completion rate, and creating levels for each other was a joy. Floaty physics hate be damned, not every level was a Super Mario Bros. clone.
When the sequel hit though, it didn't have a whole lot that was new about it to entice us further, and it fell by the wayside. Similarly, LittleBigPlanet 3 doesn't shake things up from the core formula, but the sheer commitment to keeping the level-building platform intact after all these years is something special.
For a franchise that’s continually berated for remaining the same over the years, Pokémon is wildly successful, having pushed forward on its own, full speed ahead. It hasn’t needed to change much to sweep the nation with each new release, though some of the series’ newest releases have received criticism due to lack of content. Pokémon X & Y hit the 3DS in 2013, enticing us with gorgeous new scenery, brand new monsters.
However, X & Y, although introducing the new Mega Evolution element, were otherwise lackluster when it came to post-Elite Four content and seemed a bit of a step back feature-wise. Game Freak is remedying the situation by releasing a Pokémon game that's been celebrated as having a plethora of features and is a perennial fan favorite. Oddly enough, Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire feel like a much more complete experience than the original titles or X & Y.
A cursory glance at Upper One Games' Never Alone, while sure to impress, won't do it justice. Its appeal is obvious, but its intention is buried shallow under a light dusting of snow. But, it's that intention that transcends Never Alone from another gorgeous 2D platformer to a game of great importance.
Never Alone is the rare example of a title that aims to bring culture to its audience without forcing it upon them. It skirts the oft-annoying "edutainment" category by being a game first and foremost, but is nevertheless adept at instilling a sense of curiosity about history and beliefs of the people on the screen. The execution is undeniably flawed at times, but not enough so as to undo what it strives for -- to teach, and to make that process enjoyable.
I've been playing World of Warcraft off and on since it launched in 2004, but the Burning Crusade expansion came at the perfect time in my life. Throughout the years I've been dabbling in the other expansions, leveling up my characters and only stopping to raid mostly in Lich King before taking it casual.
If my first 20 hours or so with Warlords of Draenor are any indication, I might get back into it.
It feels like only a few weeks since Five Nights at Freddy's managed to completely ruin my childhood memories of family restaurants and dancing animatronics. The creepy horror/resource management game put you in the shoes of a night security guard at the world's worst Chuck E. Cheese's knock-off and made sure you'd never look at those restaurants the same way again after viewing them through the distorted lens of static-ridden security cameras.
Now, just after I've managed to sweep up the jagged psychic debris of that disaster, they want me to spend another fun-filled week at Freddy Fazbear's Pizza.
Tengami has been out on iOS devices for quite some time but has now finally made its debut on Wii U. I think it's great that the Wii U has the perfect setup for iOS games to make a pretty seamless transition thanks to the GamePad. I already love the GamePad for the unique gameplay potential it brings, so this is an extra bonus!
Tengami is a particular game for a particular type of enjoyment. Sometimes you might just need to relax a bit after murdering hundreds or solving awful murder mysteries and just...slide some paper to one of the most relaxing soundtracks you'll come across!
Mario Kart 8's first DLC pack has Link riding a horse-shaped bike called the Master Cycle. And, good lord, Mute City from the beloved but still dormant F-Zero series. Also, a track based on Excitebike with a killer remix. Are you even going to read this review?