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Ori: Willow of the Wisps Launches In 2019

Posted on June 11, 2018 by Rae Michelle Richards

Indie platforming darling Ori and The Blind Forest is getting a sequel, subtitled Willow of the Wisps, and it will launch in 2019 as revealed at the Microsoft E3 press conference. We got just under two minutes of gameplay footage from Willow of the Wisps and what was shown was very impressive. Featuring a bright. colorful and whimsical style that stays true to the 2D art style of the original it looks like OATBF: WOW is going to be a platforming title that many will be talking about before it comes out.

The original Ori and the Blind Forest was developed by Moon Studios and took over 4 years to complete. It was released for Windows and Xbox One in 2015 and was met with critical acclaim. Check out the trailer for Willow of the Wisps below, although a word of warning for those with Arachnophobia that there is at least one spider featured in this gameplay footage.


Touhou Genso Wanderer and Double Focus | REVIEW

Posted on May 9, 2017 by Les Major

Touhou Games

I have to admit something. When I first got into this game, and the accompanying Touhou Double Focus, I had no clue what the series really was. Being a happy little social media butterfly, I’d seen the characters scattered across the web and loving crafting in a billion fan art pieces. When I saw a mystery dungeon like title and a side scrolling metroidvania game were on the way in the same pack, I definitely wanted to learn more!

From an outside perspective, the quirks of the characters are surprisingly easy to get into. Between both games I was able to get into and enjoy the cast with no prior understanding of the franchise. I think this is the strong suit of the series and something very positive since NIS America has quite the lineup of these titles. It’s easy for Touhou to find a spot in your heart.

Touhou Genso Wanderer is definitely my favorite game out of the pack, but Double Focus is just a freebie add on anyway it seems. Not to say it isn’t an enjoyable game too. I’m very glad it was included. Though the mystery dungeon rogue-like action of Genso Wanderer kept me playing. First off, I’m one of those people who likes NIS games for the grind. There’s a mix of that here. When you return to the shrine which is your very start point of the game, Reimu reverts back to level one. It’s not quite like The Guided Fate Paradox however. This isn’t just a cosmetic leveling down. Instead, your main focus is avoiding restarting, or instead, leveling up your gear through fighting. There are goodies back at the shrine though too, so leveling down is going to happen.

Early on, you’ll come across a Yokai village that works as the main hub for the game and creates an interesting outset for the story as well. Overall, Reimu is a shrine maiden who should be destroying these spirits. Instead, she’s basically exploiting them to fight her way to a tower where a demon possessed friend has taken up residence. There is some good variety to the dungeon tile sets, tons of items to collect, fill your inventory with, and then sell off, and things to upgrade around town. A group of Kappas even run a shop that allows Reimu to teleport around or upgrade her weapons.

In general, it’s your usual mystery dungeon adventure, but it’s a fun one. I like the story and I’m glad to see there’s some form of leveling progress. The challenge is certainly here and you are at the mercy of some random hard spots. In general though I’d say most of what I experienced was a decent challenge. Nothing was too insane, but maybe I was just lucky. The village itself is populated by a bunch of characters from the series and your first interaction with the village is going around and getting to know everyone. Even the enemies themselves are clones of the characters of Touhou.

Touhou Double Focus on the other hand is an action game that comes included with Touhou Genso Wanderer. It’s sort of like a metroidvania game that I desperately wanted to have a leveling up system. While the game is fun, if it just had a few more weeks of polish from the original developer it really could have been a classic. Don’t get me wrong, I like Double Focus but it feels very basic at times. Surprisingly enough, boss battles did seem fun and challenging, but the main game seemed to be the awkward frustration. Just wandering around I felt that some enemies had an unfair hit advantage at times and it just lead me to avoiding enemies altogether. I would have rather leveled a bit (which you can’t do) and destroyed them more easily.

You do gain a lot of skills however that you can find throughout the game that benefit both Aya and Momiji. Aya for one is able to channel crow abilites that allow her to hover, while Momiji can run up walls and seems to be part dog. These skills do quickly add to your exploration and it does give a really great feel that you’d expect from a game like this. The artwork itself is quite nice, especially with the characters. It’s just the random enemies that seem to beat you down too much and made exploration more difficult than it should be. You can switch between characters on the fly, much like Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin.

There’s a good variety of levels, and while the game seems on the shorter side, I got the snot beat out of my characters too fast to really know. Interestingly the health bar seems to deplete from the side that represents that character. So Aya and Momiji share one health bar, but it depletes from left or right depending on who you play as. This can be a trippy effect at first until you realize what’s going on. You can get some health increasing items along the way too, so there is at least that. Apparently there is a way to turn on respawn points, but I didn’t realize that and often went back to save at the start. I was quite disappointed when my first death essentially restarted the game since I didn’t know about saving.

My main complaint was that I found the menu to not be obvious enough. Being a reporter, Aya quickly gains a skill to take photos. These are basically snapshops of enemies and friends saved to a gallery. It took me forever and searching online to figure out how to access that. I think it was something incredibly basic, but I just didn’t think about it. Which goes along with what I said earlier that with just a bit more polish, this really could have been a classic title. Some of the action is spot on. Other times it just feels like I had a few cheap deaths along the way. There is a section early on though to replay boss battles. So that’s sweet at least.

Together, this is a really nice pack. With the difference between the Canadian and US dollar, it’s a staggering hit when you see it on store shelves however. Don’t get me wrong, I had fun! I just don’t know if the game shouldn’t have been reduced by a bit on PS4 to bolster sales. Yet again though the US price is a lot more fair. $50 for a double pack of titles isn’t bad and if you get into the mechanics of Genso Wanderer, you’ll certainly get your monies worth in time spent.


Wonderboy: The Dragon’s Trap | Review

Posted on April 21, 2017 by Meghan Kass

Back in the ancient year of 1989, there was a game called Wonderboy III: The Dragon’s Trap. This game was the third in the Wonderboy series, brought to us by Sega. These platformer/action adventure games about Wonder Boy trying to undo the curse that changes him into various monsters was well received and given a lot of love by critics and gamers alike.It was praised for its beautiful, colorful sprites and backgrounds, its challenging gameplay and overall fun. Fast forward to 2016 and an indie developer Lizardcube and publisher DotEmu announced a remake of Wonderboy III, appropriately calling it Wonderboy: Dragon’s Trap. Now, as of April 18th, 2017 the remake is released. Was this remake worth the effort? Did it do the original justice? And is it worth the price?


The first major difference to be noted are the graphics. Lizardcube gave the game a complete overhaul and new style. Still bright and colorful, but more of a gradient and definitely less blocky than the original. The models look far more like the animals and humans they supposed to be and the detailing has been greatly increased. This is only logical considering the advances games have made graphically, but the style stands on its own merits. It has a cute, super deformed style for the humans and a smooth, round, chubby look for the rest of the enemies and characters. This was definitely an upgrade from the original. You can even see a comparison by switching from the “retro” style to the remade style. I switched back and forth multiple times and was astounded at the change. It made me appreciate Lizardcube’s efforts even more. The animations were more realistic looking too. Sword swings looked smoother, the fire faded the further it traveled and had more of a gradient in color and the facial expressions on enemies as they were hit was extremely satisfying.


Not comparing it to the original, the game for me still stood on its own. It is a challenging action platformer. You make your way through each level, fighting various colorful enemies until you reach a boss; unfortunately, this boss will inevitably change you into a beast of some sort. Wil you be a lizard? A mouse? A lion? Who knows what each new form you will take. What I enjoyed most was the new skills each form gave you. It made each level fresh and not as repetitive as a retro platformer can tend to get. I also loved that you could go to previous levels and use your new skills to get to new areas you couldn’t previously. My only complaint came from some of the controls not doing exactly what I wanted when I gave the command. Sometimes jumps wouldn’t stick correctly or an attack hit like I expected it to. It didn’t happen for most of the game and overall the experience seemed fair, although quite challenging as a retro gaming experience should.


After all is said and done, this is a wonderful remake and action platforming experience. If you enjoy old school gaming experiences, this is definitely worth the price. The beautiful art, whimsical soundtrack and fun gameplay make for a full, enjoyable experience that will take you back in time with a fresh coat of paint, or you could even have the full retro experience if you wish. It is worth the price for fans of platformers looking for just a little more than a straight port of a nostalgic favorite. Customers can buy this game for the PS4, Xboxone and in June it will be available for the PC. Go wild and have fun!


Bleed 2 Is Locked And Loaded For Release Tomorrow

Posted on February 7, 2017 by Les Major

Bleed 2 Title

If you haven’t played Bleed, you’ve really missed out on some indie game magic. With solid controls, slowing time mechanics, and free aim shooting it’s a wild ride! Bleed 2 looks to be even more of that action with lots of improvements. Of course we’ll be covering the game with a review coming up soon and hopefully I’ll get some video on the go as well!

Take on the role of Wryn, the worlds greatest (and only remaining) hero! With an invading force of villains to battle, she’s ready to yet again take on anything they can throw at her. Wryn’s ability to slow time, air-dodge, and free aim really creates some dizzying moments in a barrage of bullet-hell action. With new and larger set pieces, that thrill ride is just going to get even more intense in this sequel!

Bleed 2 hits Steam tomorrow! February 8th, 2017.


Nintendo’s Super Mario Run Brings Mario to iOS

Posted on September 7, 2016 by Ellen McGrody

Nintendo's Super Mario Run

At today’s Apple media event, Shigeru Miyamoto made a big splash when he appeared on-stage to announce Super Mario Run. Speaking alongside Apple CEO Tim Cook through translator Bill Trinen, Miyamoto detailed Nintendo’s first-ever iOS game. The game features traditional Mario platforming reworked for mobile devices. Super Mario Run launches first on iPhone and iPad this December.

Nintendo and mobile partner DeNA have built Super Mario Run with one-handed play in mind. The game will offer two modes focused on jumping, as Mario runs through the Mushroom Kingdom automatically to the right.

Nintendo will release a set of Mario-themed stickers for use in iMessage in the coming week. Users can subscribe to launch notifications through the App Store on their iPad or iPhone.



Momodora Is A Metroidvania Worth Exploring

Posted on August 21, 2016 by Les Major

Momodora First Boss

It’s been a little while since Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight was released on Steam, but it’s definitely a title Metroidvania fans should take a look at. The game is even currently on sale at just $6.99 USD! I’ve been quite the fan of titles like this over the years. The Castlevania DS games really drew me into the genre and I’ve been playing them ever since. This entry in the Momodora series really scratches that itch. There’s goodies to find, bosses to fight, and items to purchase.

That and really, what other game do you play as a skilled archer who beats enemies down with a leaf melee weapon? It’s a good adventure to go on and took me about seven hours to wander through, get up my gear, and take down the final boss. The only thing I would have wanted is leveling up, which isn’t in the game, but that’s just because I’m a nerd for stuff like that. I got stuck the rare time, but with enough persistence and mixing up tactics I made it through.

Give the trailer a look and see if it’s a title you’d enjoy. I love the visuals!


Sly Cooper: Thieves In Time | Review

Posted on February 25, 2013 by Broken Joysticks

Version tested: PlayStation 3

The Sly Cooper series was one of the more iconic franchises for the PlayStation 2. These interesting games (Sly Cooper and Thievius Raccoonus, Sly 2: Band of Thieves, and Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves) were centered around stealth mechanics and had you play as a good-hearted thief named Sly who lived in a world full of anthropomorphic animals. The series was fun and had a lot going for it. However, unlike other popular PlayStation 2 franchises, such as Ratchet & Clank, Sly and his merry band of thieves have been notably absent from this generation of consoles. Read More


Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams | Review

Posted on November 12, 2012 by Les Major

Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams is an incredibly challenging platformer for gamers who also enjoy puzzles. It doesn’t seem that harsh at first, you’re bounding through fields, going through the basic game mechanics to learn how Twisted Dreams is played. Then it hits you as you start getting into the castle levels, and only hardcore gamers need apply.Read More


Trials Evolution | Review

Posted on April 24, 2012 by Broken Joysticks

How many of us have had that “just one more” experience from a game? Just about any loot drop game sorta drives those feelings, finding yourself up at ungodly hours just trying to find that one piece to complete your gear. This game hits that button very hard, as you make your way though the single player levels you’ll find you just end up blowing though level after level, wanting to finish the next tick in the box, to reach the next test or unlock the next tier of races. Until you slam into the wall of skill that the game needs from you.Read More


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