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By Jonathan Balofsky On 14 Oct, 2017 At 06:49 PM | Categorized As Featured, PC Games, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Citidale is a game I played on Wii U, and now the game has come to Steam as Citidale: The Legends Trilogy. My feelings on this version are rather mixed compared to the Wii U version. Is it a better port? Or is it missing the magic?

To begin, a major problem the game has is its sound. Right off the bat, the game sounds worse than it does on Wii U. This is not an issue with my computer as no other game has any sound issues, but with the game itself. It sounds more filtered and choppy and irritating to the ears. That right there was not a good sign for the game, but it managed to get even worse.

Visually the game looked the same, but when it came to the actual gameplay we have another story.  I do not know why, but the game just did not translate well in this port. The hit detection is atrocious, the controls are far too finicky for my liking.  It is my understanding that The Legends Trilogy is also on the Wii U, but as I have only played the initial release of Citidale on Wii U and not the later version, I cannot comment on if that version. But regardless of if it is different from the base game, The Legends Trilogy just plays awkwardly. It feels like the worst parts of Castlevania 1 were all cobbled together and enhanced.

There are good aspects to the game, as the new content that was not in the original release is interesting and does offer some new variety. I like the changes in play style and what can be done now, but I just wish that the game played better in general. As it is now, I do not recommend this.

*Review code provided by the publisher*

By Jonathan Balofsky On 14 Oct, 2017 At 01:34 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Reviews, Reviews | With 0 Comments

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There are two things I am very fond of, history and brutal beat em ups games.  Imagine my joy then, at finding a game that combined the two in a great way with Wulverblade, a game set during Britain’s resistance against Roman invasions. I was excited from the moment I first learned of the game’s existence but was the excitement merited?

The first thing I must note is that Wulverblade is absolutely gorgeous. The hand-drawn artworks so well for this game and it looks amazing both in docked or handheld mode on Switch. I must also mention that the game is extremely gory, with scenes of decapitation, severing of limbs and then using those body parts as weapons. And yet with the art style, it just looks awesome. And speaking of the gameplay, Wulverblade is far more strategic than most beat em ups. You need to watch enemy attacks to learn when to defend and when to attack. Failing to do so will result in losing life and getting a quick death. However, as you learn the controls and attacks, you will find a large variety of ways to play and confront the enemies. These include summoning wolves, heavy weapons, and execution

And speaking of the gameplay, Wulverblade is far more strategic than most beat em ups. You need to watch enemy attacks to learn when to defend and when to attack. Failing to do so will result in losing life and getting a quick death. However, as you learn the controls and attacks, you will find a large variety of ways to play and confront the enemies. These include summoning wolves, heavy weapons and execution moves just to name a few.

Wulverblade has a unique selling point in that it uses years of research into the lore and history of Britania and the Celts within. Mention is made of numerous artifacts, people, gods, and cultures within, and not in a way that interrupts the game. You will find pieces of lore that you can then read when you are ready to learn more about the history and lore. As a history buff, I truly enjoyed this part of the game and feel it deserves much praise. There is a lot of neat information within and I encourage you all to check this out.

The game has a campaign mode for the story, but also a classic style arcade mode, which is for more hardcore players. There is also arena mode, where you will take on waves of enemies until you are defeated. I recommend checking out all the modes as they all have something good to add.

Wulverblade is brutal but it is also fun. I truly enjoyed my time with the game, as I have not had as much fun with a beat em up  in years as I have had with this. It brings in multiple styles of gameplay, adds in throwbacks to classic gaming and bits of modern gaming, and blends it all together well. What is a drawback though, is the loading times. These did get annoying the more I played, as loading took a very long time, and for this type of game, waiting for loading does hamper the experience a bit. Hopefully, this can be fixed with an update patch, because Wulverblade is a truly amazing game. If you are a Nintendo Switch owner, then you simply must get this game, and trust me, you will not regret it.

A review key was provided by the publisher.

 

By Stark Wyvern On 14 Oct, 2017 At 12:07 PM | Categorized As Featured, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, PC Games, Reviews, Reviews | With 0 Comments

No GravatarSplasher a colorful indie game out now for Steam is a quickly paced side-scroller, that will test your mettle at every turn. Using different types of ink and water, you will traverse trap filled areas to get to the end and rescue workers. This game is not for light-hearted as it is a no-nonsense platformer that will continuously work to undermine your success. Splasher is a fast game and one that will always keep you on your toes.

In Splasher it is your duty to get out of this scientific hell house, as you dodge all sorts of traps. The area is filled with machines that will make your progress difficult by forcing you to time your jumps right. If you get hit, you get sent back to checkpoints at least. In this game, there is only one way to get through it and that is without a scratch. It is intensely rigorous and will have you really planning every action.

The different things to help you really do assist in your playthrough. Bounce Ink, of course, makes you bounce which can be helpful but obviously could lead to trouble. Stick Ink allows you to run up walls but will go away if water is sprayed on it, which happens a lot. Water can move all sorts of things and that helps you move forward. While the world of the game might be trying to kill you, it is also aiding you of course.

Splasher is certainly a well-designed game, in that you can see how much work went into it. The art style is fun and cheery and you wouldn’t assume it would be hard, but it is. Though I’m also not a platformer master, I felt that it was a little too fast in the beginning. It has decent music and you want the character to succeed.

There are also other reasons to play this game and that is the integration of speed running and time trials. This game is a fast game and if you are a speed runner you will most likely love this game. Time Trials make sense in a game as fast as this, and they make you really feel the need to learn the areas to really maximize your times. One wrong move and you’ll have to start over. Speed running is also obviously a thing as this game really is just that fast. You’ll probably clear this game in a few hours, and feel like you want to play it again, and see how fast you can clear it.

Splasher is certainly a game worth playing or at least trying out. It is currently available on Steam and if you enjoy platformers it may just be right up your alley. So head out into the laboratory, and dodge, jump, and run your way to victory in Splasher!

By Jonathan Balofsky On 11 Oct, 2017 At 03:34 PM | Categorized As PC Games, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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I am a massive fan of fighting games. This should be no secret to those who have read my previous work here. When Killer Instinct was announced and then released for Xbox One, I was excited since the series is a beloved one and fans have been clamoring for a revival for years. With the game’s recent launch on Steam, I have finally gotten the chance to play and experience the reboot for myself.

Let me start out by saying that Killer Instinct is a gorgeous game. The particle effects are second to none and every detail of the visuals is just incredible. The game is a true work of art and that is not even getting to the gameplay yet. In terms of the gameplay, Killer Instinct has one of the best tutorials of any fighting game, and a worthy rival to Guilty Gear for the claim of best fighting tutorial ever. It really shows you how to play even if you are not very good at most fighting games.

I love that Killer Instinct is easy to learn but difficult to master, as it creates a unique playing field. The gameplay is fast and intense, and with the awesome characters available, you will want to play them all. I was unsure what I would think of the new additions to the roster but Double Helix and then Iron Galaxy did a great job with the game. It just feels right. Every hit feels like it means something, and that might be due to the way the music syncs up with the gameplay.

Speaking of the music, this game has some amazing audio and more than lives up to the music of its predecessors. That in itself is a high achievement, but the game more than stands on its own, as it is some of the best music ever in a video game. You can tell so much love was put into this, both in tributes to what came before and in terms of new ideas.

Killer Instinct is a must play for everyone. The online play is awesome with little to no issues, and as the Steam version is the complete version with all content, there is a good amount of single player gameplay as well. This is the best revival of a classic fighting game that has ever been done and I fully recommend checking this out. I am eager to see what modders will do with the game, similar to games like Street Fighter V on Steam, but that is another story. The game runs well, plays well and is just all around amazing. I do not want to sound gushing but I really have no complaints about this. I do not regret the purchase of the game in any way and feel you all will not regret it either.

 

By Stark Wyvern On 10 Oct, 2017 At 01:49 PM | Categorized As Featured, PC Games, Reviews | With 0 Comments

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Arcade Beat Em Ups are things you rarely get to play in this day and age. What was once the norm is now lost to the sands of time, except in places that still have arcades. In an attempt at reviving this game style, Wako Studios has done it with Samurai Riot. Playing this game, I felt like I was standing at an arcade cabinet playing through a brutal game, where quarters would start vanishing the longer I played. A tried and true Side-Scroller that will send you back to a time, where you didn’t always have your own systems to play, a simpler yet more troublesome time.

This game might take on the guise of an arcade cabinet but it is actually far deeper. You have two characters Sukune and Tsurumaru who both play quite differently. Sukune has a magic kitsune and fights barehanded, so clearly, she isn’t always so strong against all the armed opponents. Tsurumaru has a katana and grenades, which makes him the stronger choice. You also get to select different styles which affect your strength, lives, and other aspects. Play the game enough, and you can unlock and level up the styles.

There are eight different levels with actual story intertwining them all together. You even get to make choices which change how things play out. The coolest thing about this game though is that there is in fact co-op. While it is only local, it still allows for a fun experience. You can both play as a character and work together to complete the game. It adds another layer and makes it feel even more like you are in an arcade playing together.

It would be interesting to see online multiplayer implemented in the future. But local co-op really is just the best. As you progress you can even disagree with the choices made and fight it out. This game is a fluid story that can certainly change depending on your choices, and with 8 different endings, there is so much fun to be had. This game certainly isn’t a one and done game, as if you grew up on this style of game, you will be yearning for more.

Samurai Riot is certainly a nostalgia-driven game, but it has amazing artwork and a compelling story. The characters each play differently and you need to work fast to take down waves of opponents. This game is brutal and unforgiving in the best types of ways, and if you enjoyed arcade games in your youth, it is one to try out at least. Plus, you can play for hours and only buy it once, no quarters required!

Samurai Riot is available on Steam right now. Put away your quarters, and travel back in time, save Japan, and have fun like you used to when you were a kid!

A code was provided by the publisher.

 

By Stark Wyvern On 7 Oct, 2017 At 05:06 PM | Categorized As Featured, Nintendo 3DS, Reviews | With 0 Comments

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Pokemon Silver brought me to my favorite region, and let return to Kanto as well. In an era now long since passed it is good to find myself playing this amazing game. This is actually the first time I’ve played it, in English, as the first time I played through it, it was a Japanese import. I had received it as a gift and the gifter had decided it would be cool to get an imported copy of both gold and silver. I needed a guide to play through the game, as obviously at the age of 8 I had no idea how to read Japanese.

Through playing that game though I developed a love of this region. Crystal followed after I had logged so many hours in my Japanese imports. I discovered my favorite Pokemon in Johto, and that Pokemon is Feraligatr. I also discovered a few other mainstays to a Johto team of mine, and that is always a good thing.

Coming back to Johto brings me back to a time now lost. A time where you couldn’t just wirelessly trade for Pokemon. You needed to have your friend nearby, literally next to you. My friends were around a lot as  8-year old which certainly is a good thing. Pokemon Silver was one of those amazing games that you wanted to play knowing friends were playing it as well. I logged hours upon hours in these old games even after my younger sister deleted my save files.

Johto will always be a stand out region to me because it brought us back to Kanto, the only time a game has done that. Two regions in one game, now that was revolutionary. I remember seeing Kanto for the first time in the game. Having just beat all the gyms it was time to head to the Elite Four. Surfing along I hop off Feraligatr and bam a man comes up to me, tells me I’m in Kanto. My young mind was blown, I was ecstatic.

Johto also has the distinction of having the first dark type Pokemon which in of itself is so cool. Pokemon that could stand up to the power of the wicked psychic types. Those psychic types really were so strong, it is actually a little shocking. I’ll always hope for a dark type gym, but of course in Japan, they are considered just a little too evil.

Pokemon Silver is just such a great game, with amazing music, great new Pokemon, and so many things to do and explore. Having 16 gym badges is also such a blast as you literally have double the fun. Battling Kanto Gym Leaders is also fun, along with facing Red and Blue again. I was a little disappointed that you couldn’t face your old team like in Twitch Plays Pokemon. That really would have been a great touch.

While it might have been weird playing a Japanese import I will always look back on that time with happiness. Playing Pokemon Silver will always have an effect on me, and I hope one day we get a next-gen remake of this game. I will always be down to jump back into this game, and relive the story, and remember what it was like, being 8. Playing a brand new Pokemon game before other kids, not understanding the game and using a guide, but loving it all the same.

Pokemon Silver will always be one of those comfort games, and I’m glad for it. I shocked myself this time playing the game through in only 15 hours, and to me that is extraordinary. So, thank you to my team of Feraligatr, Girafarig, Ampharos, Togetic, Donphan, and the Shiny Gyarados, you were all amazing. Pokemon Silver is available now on the Eshop, and if you’ve never experienced it I wholeheartedly think you should!

By Stark Wyvern On 6 Oct, 2017 At 01:52 AM | Categorized As Featured, NINTENDO, Reviews, Reviews | With 0 Comments

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Piczle Lines DX is a new game for Nintendo Switch and a pretty interesting puzzle game. This game relies on the player to make lines and create pictures. With a story that is rather simple, it might seem like a simple game. But the puzzles do in fact get harder as you go along. One wrong move and you have to start the puzzle all over again.

Solving puzzles takes only a drag of a line, through the right number of spaces. But don’t move too quickly, as you may just make a mistake and then you will have to start it all over. The puzzles do actually get bigger fairly early on, and then you have to deal with filling an even bigger space.

This game is certainly playable by just about anyone because it is rather easy to play. It lends itself to being a game you can pick up and play at any time, you might be in the mood for a puzzle. The game itself is cute and well designed for what it is.

This game won’t be for everyone, but for those who like puzzle games and cute main characters, this may be the game for you.

Piczle Lines DX is available for Nintendo Switch!

By Jonathan Balofsky On 3 Oct, 2017 At 11:03 PM | Categorized As News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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When a game starts out by telling you the easiest setting is Hard Mode, you know you are in for an experience. This was indeed the case for me, with Butcher on Nintendo Switch, a 2D action game that made no false claims about its intensity or action.

Butcher can best be described as Doom meets Metroid meets Battletoads on NES. Its an intense action game, in a wonderfully crafted 2D world, and is one of the hardest games you will ever play. The action kicks off immediately with your character setting out to kill the humans, and the gore just keeps ramping up as you go along. I have no issue with gory games when done well, and this is one of the cases of gore being done well. The HD rumble is even incorporated well into the game to create a more immersive experience, and certain weapons were really well done with HD rumble integration.

I’ve seen some people complain that the game is too difficult even for its claims. But to those people I say, “Did you not see the trailer? The game’s entire selling point is hard gameplay and intense action”. It isn’t a one-hit death type of game either, with strategy being necessary in order to progress. Plan your moves and you will make it far. Rush in with guns blazing and you will be racking up deaths like there will be no tomorrow.

I also liked the option of bringing in a CRT filter, to give the pixel art style a true retro feel. It just felt almost natural for the game, and while this is definitely not a game you would have seen on an older Nintendo system, it is fun to imagine. If I had any complaints, its that certain button inputs felt awkward and some changes needed to be done. Still that is a minor complaint, and the game is well worth getting. This is not one to pass up!

 

 

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Disclaimer

A review key was provided by the publisher.

By Jessica Brown On 3 Oct, 2017 At 07:26 PM | Categorized As Featured, PC Games, Reviews | With 0 Comments

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  • TITLE: Aporia: Beyond the Valley
  • DEVELOPER: Investigate North
  • PUBLISHER: Green Man Gaming
  • GENRE: Adventure
  • PLATFORM: PC (via Steam)
  • PRICE: $16.99 USD
  • RELEASE DATE: July 19, 2017

I first encountered Aporia: Beyond the Valley in 2015 as a free-to-play alpha demo. At the time, I was looking for some fun adventure and puzzle games, similar to those in the Myst franchise, and the game’s unique style drew me in. The game’s developer was very kind and worked with me to make my way through as much of the demo as I could and, even though it was a bit rough around the edges, I was looking forward to seeing where the game would eventually go. Yet, after that time, it was nearly two years until I heard anything more about this little gem. This past July, I happened to notice that the game was heading to Steam and I was quite surprised. I dug out the old email thread I had with the developer and got back in touch and they were very kind to provide me with a review code for the full version of the game.

One of the unique things about Aporia is that it’s a game with a compelling narrative and yet one completely free of dialogue of any kind. When you start a new game, you awaken from what appears to be suspended animation in a large cave-like chamber and you seem to be quite alone. In front of you, placed with purpose and awaiting your removal, is a glowing cylinder on a large platform that’s begging you to pick it up. While in this large cavernous space you’ll see five other suspension devices, some long empty and another that appears still occupied though is partially covered by large debris, large tapestries, and a pedestal that you can fit your newly-found glowing cylinder into. Doing so activates a sort of holographic stop-motion animated sequence that gives you a bit of backstory on the cylinder you now possess, showing its creation by a shaman as well as seemingly showing the group of people who appear to have been sealed in this chamber at some later point. If you pay attention closely to these individuals and compare their dress to the symbols in the room, you can figure out not only who was within each of the chambers in the room, but you can also figure out who you most likely are playing as.

What you encounter in the first few minutes of the game demonstrates how the game’s storyline will be delivered throughout the rest of your adventure. As you make your way out of the chamber, down the winding cliffside paths, and eventually into the titular valley itself, you’ll encounter various tapestries that relay pieces of the inhabitants’ past. Sometimes these are just benign bits of information, or perhaps a small story that serves as a warning about a certain environmental hazard (such as one group of tapestries that shows the drowning of a fisherman which warns you about the strong currents in the nearby river), but others warn you about more ominous threats. You will also periodically find more pedestals that you can insert your cylinder into and play more stop-motion animation sequences that will continue to shed more light on the larger history of the valley and the individuals who lead them (including yourself).


The cylinder you possess ends up being a key component to exploring the valley and unlocking its secrets. In the chamber you awaken in, you’ll be shown how you can use the cylinder in certain types of pedestals to drain a bit of its glowing essence and direct it to power certain objects or open locked doors. Sometimes you’ll have to direct energy through multiple pedestals in an energy relay of sorts or use multiple pedestals to power a single doorway. However, each time you use the cylinder to do a task like this it will drain a bit of its power. Once the cylinder is empty you won’t be able to use it until you replenish its resources. Thankfully this isn’t too difficult in most cases unless you went out of your way to waste its power because you’ll generally find various jugs containing the glowing liquid you’ll need scattered around the environment. Each jug fills about a quarter of the cylinder’s energy, though, so you will want to make judicious use of your resources. As you press on further along your adventure, you’ll also discover a few other uses for your device. For starters, if you take it out while in a dark area such as a building or cave, the glowing liquid will serve as a flashlight for you. The light from the cylinder can also cause special flowers to bloom on demand and consuming them will replenish some of your health should you need it. You’ll also be able to use it to cause other types of plants to grow, creating bridges and ladders out of vines that will allow you to access areas you previously couldn’t.

Although the game focuses a great deal on exploration on your journey to uncover the mystery of what happened to the great civilization that once inhabited the valley, the game also presents you with various puzzles that you will need to solve along the way. While these do take a good deal of thought to figure out, most of the time the methodology behind them makes sense and the puzzles don’t feel unfair. In this regard, the developer seems to have struck a solid balance between difficulty and fun. Also, as you make your way into the main valley itself you also will begin to encounter a supernatural shadow-like entity whose existence will have been somewhat hinted at in various tapestries you previously encountered. Being in its presence will begin to slowly drain away your health, so you’ll want to shine your cylinder at it to make it leave you alone or quickly get away from it. Because you’ve been allowed to explore unimpeded prior to this point, the entity’s presence is alarming. Thankfully, its menace is at first merely startling and then annoying and it won’t pose much of a threat to you until you’re a bit further along in your journey.

Visually, Aporia is a pretty impressive experience. The environments are well-detailed and feel very much alive and the environmental effects like low-lying fog are done well. The game also does a great job with its lighting effects. Everything looks fantastic while playing on a large 4K HDR display and the game is incredibly immersive.

Unfortunately, despite all of this there are a few graphical bugs that I encountered during my exploration. In a few spots, when taking a closer look at the ground it’s quite apparent that the grass, weeks, and pebbles are actually being rendered floating slightly above the actual terrain. The lighting also acts strangely when you transition an exterior area to an interior one or vice-versa. Also, the way water flows across the environment can appear awkward in a few spots and in a couple areas the water textures appear glitchy. There were also a couple instances of environmental objects not rendering incorrectly when loading a save file. However, rather than existing as invisible textures, these objects didn’t load in at all, meaning that where once a bridge or dock should have existed there was nothing. The only way to force them to load in was to walk away far enough for them to debuff and then return, hoping they spawned correctly that time. This was particularly unfortunate though when the game had been saved while standing on one of these objects, causing me to immediately fall into the rushing river below when loading my save file.

Jumping into the river caused me to get dragged along a bit until I got stuck on the environment. At this point, I wasn’t drowning but I was also unable to get away from the strong currents. Eventually, I managed to do some tricky maneuvers and break free, but had I been unable to do so I would have had no choice but to reload a previous save file. There was also one instance where the game completely froze up on me and I never could figure out exactly what caused this to happen.

Ultimately, I feel like Aporia: Beyond the Valley is a mysterious, intriguing, and beautifully-puzzling adventure game that will draw people in with its unique story and presentation. There’s a lot to love with this one, even if it’s true that the game could have used a bit more polish before being released. I feel like Aporia is a very good game in its current form, but with a bit more work it could have been an excellent game. Still, the core beauty of the game itself and the world it presents manages to shine through, keeping any one individual bug from marring an otherwise lovely experience.

Aporia: Beyond the Valley is a solid adventure that would make an excellent addition to any PC gamer’s library, particularly if they enjoy Myst-like experiences!

ADDITIONAL SCREENSHOTS (Click for 4K):

By Stark Wyvern On 3 Oct, 2017 At 07:55 PM | Categorized As Featured, PC Games, Reviews | With 0 Comments

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Community INC is now available on Steam. You play the founder of a community that must work to grow and cultivate a rich landscape for your own settlement. The people will work for you to make themselves a home, and it is up to you to guide them. This game is an interesting one, and I’ve not seen something like it for a while now.

In Community Inc, you start out with just a portal and land. Using this portal you can bring in people who will become workers. They all start out as Builders but can gain experience in other things. Using these people you gather supplies like wood and soon are able to build workbenches and houses. These little people all have their own skills and character which makes it pertinent to choose suitable tasks.

Another interesting aspect is certainly that they will react to your actions. If you don’t say, feed them enough they will, of course, be upset by this. These villagers have emotions too and that can lead them to do dangerous things. If too many of them are angry they will set things ablaze. Clearly, they love a good old fashioned riot.

The characters all have their own names and it just made me want to figure out their own stories. Why they were coming through this portal to help me.

Community Inc is certainly a game all about building, but you really do have to take other things into consideration. With emotions to keep in line, you may need to give these little people some leeway.

The build we had of CommunityInc was in beta and wasn’t perfect but it is clear where this game is going. A game where one can build a settlement is certainly a fun game to play. It is always nice to see an unpopulated area become something much more, and that is why I have enjoyed trying out this game.

*Review code given by publisher