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By Jonathan Balofsky On 16 Jan, 2018 At 04:29 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, PC Games, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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A few months ago, I reviewed Knight Terrors, an auto runner from FreakZone Games and Nicalis. While my general view of the game has not changed, I feel I did not do it justice and want to add more to it. I feel I was overly praising it and could have mentioned some of the more negative parts and other positives.

I noted that the game has intuitive controls, which is true as they are simple two button controls. That being said, there are issues with the controls not responding right away and thus leading to getting hit or missing enemies repeatedly. This isn’t a a major issues, but I should have mentioned it before. I also feel the background has a lack of variety that takes something away from the experience and gives a sense of sameness. I do appreciate the visuals in the foreground and the multiple varieties of enemies, which harken back to the golden age of console retrogaming, but I think some more could have been done.

There is also a lot of content in the game, but it must be unlocked. This doesn’t seem that bad, but unlocking each mode becomes somewhat frustrating (albeit equally rewarding). I am not saying everything should have been available from the start, but rather maybe a little more variety included in the unlocks wouldn’t have been bad.  The powerups are a great thing to unlock but sometimes it feels like they are a goal for a goal’s sake. I am wondering, if a mission structure of sorts would have worked better.

I do not want to seem like I am ragging on the game, because I genuinely do like it. It is a budget game that offers a lot of content for its price. It has a fun music beat that fits the game perfectly, and indeed all the music is handled well. I would still recommend this fully even if I think there could have been more. The fact is, playing Knight Terrors is great in short sessions as well as if you need something to occupy yourself for a little bit while travelling or waiting somewhere. This is a game that works great on a portable device, and thus is a perfect fit for the Switch. It follows a pattern but tries ( and mostly succeeds) to put its own spin on things. I suggest checking it out.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 16 Jan, 2018 At 09:21 AM | Categorized As News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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The Nintendo Switch has accomplished things thought impossible. Companies that have traditionally not worked with Nintendo have come on board and brought with them some amazing games. One of these is a port of 2016’s DOOM. But how does a powerhouse game hold up on Nintendo’s hybrid system?

I was excited for the port of DOOM from the beginning but was worried about how it would perform. The Switch is not as powerful as the PS4 and Xbox One, let alone high end PCs, so there was reason to worry. However, I am delighted to say that the game proves what I said at the very beginning: Nintendo Switch accomplishes things thought to be impossible. DOOM is a technical marvel on the Switch, both in docked and handheld mode. While sacrifices have been made to ensure optimal performance, the game is still here and still feels as fast paced and smooth as ever. It may be half the FPS of the other versions, but still retains the feel of intensity.

There are some issues I do have, mainly that Snapmap is not included. This was my favourite part of the original release, and the improvements that were made on it since release made it even better. It is sorely missed in this version, and I hope it can eventually come later. What I do like however, is that the multiplayer was not gimped in any way. This ensured that the Switch would have a great multiplayer shooter and I feel DOOM has performed well in that regard. The Switch seems to allow the multiplayer to stand out more for now, mainly due to the lack of competition in the market, but I was shocked how well fans took to it. It seems the improvements made over the original release were appreciated by making a new first impression.

DOOM is a great game and an amazing port on Switch. It may not have Snapmap but it has everything else and it plays great. Even the arcade mode just works well when you want to play for a few minutes while on the go. Portable DOOM wasn’t thought to be a good idea, but Bethesda and Panic Button proved everyone wrong. I highly recommend this!

By Jonathan Balofsky On 11 Jan, 2018 At 11:06 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Like many, I miss the days of classic 3D platformers such as Banjo-Kazooie and others from Rare. I was therefore delighted when several former Rare employees for Playtonic Games and announced Yooka-Laylee as a spiritual sequel. My eagerness for the game was lessened after hearing about the issues many had after launch, but I was determined to make my own opinion.

Well, Yooka-Laylee is certainly an interesting experience from start to finish, but I do not know if that is a good thing. The game starts out strong, with many callbacks to its spiritual ancestor, but issues arise almost immediately. To begin, I must address the camera issues that have plagued many. The camera feels like its taken from the N64 era and not in a good way. It interferes with the game and causes you to miss jumps and attacks. There is an option to change the camera movements, but this only helps a bit. But the camera isn’t the only issue, as aiming projectiles is much harder than it needs to be. I can never aim in the right direction and the projectiles constantly go where I was not aiming. Add to that, the fact that in several areas there are platforming scenarios that combine these two problems, and you have a recipe for frustration.

It is not all bad though, as the spirit of 90’s Rare is here. I do feel there is a good game that could have been, but the full vision was simply not realized. There were several moments such as certain boss battles, where I really did get a nostalgic feeling for Banjo-Kazooie, but then the uneven parts hit and I was ripped from the past. I feel Yooka-Laylee could have been a great game but perhaps it simply had too much pressure on the developers. Taken as a standalone game, it isn’t perfect but is more forgivable besides the camera and projectile issues, and could have been better received if not for expectations.

That being said, I find I have a hard time putting the game down. I do not know what it is, as I am often frustrated by it, but will keep returning to it in the end. I genuinely was not expecting to react to Yooka-Laylee that way, and that tells me that even if the game is flawed it definitely has that special something that keeps you from staying away. Maybe it is the amazing music from Grant Kirkhope that expertly recreates the mood of BK while adding in its own sense of identity, but the game does have a charm that works for it. In the end, I know I will keep coming back to this and that is an accomplishment for any game.

 

 

Disclaimer: A review code was provided

By Ramon Rivera On 9 Jan, 2018 At 11:21 AM | Categorized As Featured, NINTENDO, Nintendo 3DS, Portable/Mobile Gaming, Reviews | With 0 Comments

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I really like to drive; there is nothing more relaxing than taking your car for a ride around the city to clear your mind.  But I also love the speed, love to see what is the top speed I can get on my car.  However, due to obvious reasons, it’s not possible to do it in the city.  Luckily for me, racing games are here to stay. Classics like Outrun and Top Gear were influential during my childhood.  Now, 80’s Overdrive captures the best of said franchises and create a great experience that no racing fan should miss.

If I could describe 80’s Overdrive, I would say that is a love letter of the golden era of 16 bit racers.  The pixel rich visuals are a treat to your eyes, and the game play is simple but engaging in a way that, once you are hooked, you won’t notice time flying by.  The game’s Career Mode is where you will undoubtedly be spending the majority of your time. You purchase a car and then take it out to compete in a range of ranked road races. Each one carries an entry fee, but the cash prize for winning is more than worth the initial outlay.  From time you time, you’ll get the chance to earn bonus money by collecting items, causing a certain amount of damage to a rival or – most usually of all – finishing dead last. These variables add a little spice to the racing action.  Finishing first in the races boosts your global ranking which not only pushes you up the leader board but also unlocks other races around the world. The cash you earn can be used to enhance your current vehicle, giving it a faster top speed, better steering, and more stability.  This is especially important as it reduces your recovery time, should you get into a bump. It’s also possible to equip nitro boost, which can be deployed a limited number of times per each race, provided you’re hitting your top speed.

Another aspect that I like of 80’s Overdrive is the music, which contains suitably atmospheric tracks from the likes of Angst78, Aceman, Karolis, Vectorwolf and Vocoderion, which in my opinion adds to the feel of the awesome 80’s the game is based upon. The time-attack mode, the most obvious nod to the Out Run games before it.  Simple by nature, time-attack tasks players with reaching checkpoints within a time limit.  Reaching a checkpoint adds more time to the clock and seamlessly leads players to another location for their synth-driven journey to the next checkpoint. Racking up points the further you drive, it is telling that the clock tracking your time driven measures in seconds, minutes, and hours. Dodging traffic and veering around tight corners while attempting to beat your best time is the most unadulterated fun 80’s Overdrive offers, especially considering failure yields no further consequence beyond starting again.

Bottom Line: 80’s Overdrive is an amazing racer with rad tunes beautiful pixel graphics and nods to popular culture icons of the 80’s (like Mr. T and the Delorean).  It is a game that any 3DS owner out there should not miss on.

 

 

By Ramon Rivera On 8 Jan, 2018 At 02:49 PM | Categorized As Featured, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Reviews | With 0 Comments

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When Smash Bros was released, it took the world by surprise. No one ever imagined to see Nintendo characters fighting each other, and the idea proved to be well done. After Smash Bros came out, many games emerged with the same idea of, throwing the opponents from a platform in order to win the match. Many had different mechanics, but all usually had the same objective to them.  Some were average and others were bad, but ultimately, no game was able to stand apart as anything other than a smash clone. That is until now that Brawlout has entered the fray.

At first glance, you might think that Brawlout is another smash clone because it shares some similarities with the aforementioned series. Once you get into it, however,  you can see that Brawlout is very different from Smash, and that it can stand proudly next to it. Control wise you have two jump buttons, an attack button, a special button, and L and R serve as dodge and aerial dash buttons. One novel thing in Brawlout is that while you can do basic attacks with the A button, and directional and charged attacks (like Smash the developers decided to add something new: combos.

While it’s true that there are combos in other games,  they tend to be more advanced level combos than most entry level gamers can’t pull off. Brawlout on the other hand, decided to go the extra mile and make the game accessible to everyone, while keeping tech and skills at a level that even advanced gamers can enjoy. The combo system is really intuitive: pressing the A button three times and then pressing the B button will have your character performing a combo. While the command is the same for all characters, each one has different attacks and properties.

There are some that have follow up attacks on their specials.  Also, there is no shield here.  Instead of blocking, you can simply dodge pressing either the L or R button. For me, this is awesome because match are more fast paced, and if your opponent is combo happy you can dodge and bring some punishment.  The lack of items is another thing that I applaud.  If you win, it’s based on skill, not for an item, another great mechanic in Brawlout is the Rage System.  While you are receiving damage, a red gauge starts to fill.  When it’s at fifty percent, you can press L and R at the same time to use it as a combo breaker, so if you are getting pinned down, it is a way to turn the tables on your favor. If it reaches 100%, you can enter Rage Mode by pressing L and R.  Rage Mode raises your attack power, makes you harder to knock down, and gives you more recovery speed, while being thrown out of the stage.  If you are being thrown you can use the double jump and the aerial dash to get back to the platform.  Also Up B  can get you to the edge, so you can use all three to get back so even if you are thrown far you still have a chance.

You have six original characters, plus two guest characters: Juan Aguacate from Guacamelee and The Drifter From Hyper Light Drifter. Each character has different move sets with their own strengths and weaknesses.  For example Paco, whose moves are set around, throws like a luchador.  For me, this is one of the stronger characters on the game. Brawlout is a fast paced, all out battle royal, meaning that in order to win, quick thinking and fast reactions are key to victory. Brawlout feels really smooth: running at 60fps both docked and undocked.  The game allows this fast pace to work really well.  It also has several modes for you to get into, as well as an in-game store to unlock extras. Single player offerings include your standard quick-play and tutorial options, a free practice mode, and an arcade mode where you have to play through rounds of matches across three difficulties. Playing in these matches will raise the ‘mastery’ (or skill level) of your chosen character, eventually working towards future unlocks. Some things, such as new skins or taunts, are unlocked randomly as you earn more in-game currency by playing matches and completing daily challenges. New stages, on the other hand, are locked behind specific characters.  You’ll need to get each character to level 10 to get their specific arena.

There is also an online mode which consists exclusively of one-on-one matches. In a nice touch, you are able to jump into local matches or browse through the in-game store while the game tries to find an online match for you. Following the theme of the action so far, when online matches are working perfectly they are great fun and you can host your own games for friends to join.  If you like, however, due to the nature of peer-to-peer online servers, several matches where a user had a poor internet connection caused the entire match to run in unplayable slow-motion. Of course, everyone’s experience with this will differ, but I recommend ensuring that you have a very fast and secure connection if you wish to jump online.

Bottom Line: Brawlout is another great addition to the Nintendo Switch.  If you were hungry for a Smash-like game, you can’t go wrong here.  It has a great cast of characters, fun game play unlocks, and daily bonuses. Brawlout has something for everyone, and I definitely recommend it.  I hope to see you online!

By Jonathan Balofsky On 5 Jan, 2018 At 09:17 AM | Categorized As Featured, PC Games, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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The Horus Heresy: Betrayal at Calth is  the latest game from indie developers and publishers Steel Wool Studio. Based on the board game Betrayal at Calth, the game details the events of the Ultramarines being betrayed by the World Bearers on Calth, which then caused a schism in the Imperium.  In this game, you will take control of Magos Sarc and a squad of Ultramarines in an attempt to recover from the attack on Calth.

The game is soon to be released in early access and it shows. It has user interface is a mix of standard 2D overlay and semi-transparent 3D overlays that comes across as dated. Hopefully it is changed in the final release, but right now it is not the best. There is also very little information about units and abilities It is clear that the game is still early in development, and given that the early access release was delayed, it makes me suspect that the developers realized it is not ready yet. There are no tooltips or information screens like you would expect, and a lot of the game is trial and error.

 

Another issue is the animations of the game. They are somewhat lackluster and have no variations. Attacking feels lifeless and underwhelming, and just shows how unfinished everything is. Again, I realize how this is soon to be an early access title, but a game like this just feels too soon for early access, and I am glad the developers delayed the planned release. Calth just feels empty at this point, when it should be a fully realized part of the Imperium. It doesn’t feel like there was just a major attack, and in truth, it doesn’t give any real impression which is not good for a WH40K game. This isn’t even mentioning the camera issues and graphical glitches of which there are many.

The worst part is that the game doesn’t feel optimized at all yet. I have a decent computer rig and yet the game caused several issues with overheating and more than one CTD. This interfered with the gameplay available and made it difficult to continue. Speaking of the gameplay, the outdated methods of control are an issue, but so is the fact that the game is just not fully reliable yet. Doing the actions required is more of a chore than it needs to be, which made me want to stop playing.

I know I sound harsh, but I do want to praise the developers for realizing the game had issues and delaying the early access launch. Hopefully this can be fixed and the game can truly flourish because there are seeds of a good game here. It just is unpolished right now, but can be good.. I will post more impressions as updates come, leading to a full review.

 

Disclaimer: A review key was provided.

By Stark Wyvern On 3 Jan, 2018 At 01:38 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, PC Games, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Have you ever wanted to fly a ship through a body, taking out vile entities? Well, Transcripted might just be the game for you. In this game you fly a ship through a body taking out cells that want you dead, while matching. Yes, while this game might be a match 3, it marries itself well with a space ship shooter.

As you fly through this damaged body, you must destroy viruses, and transcript them accordingly. Blasting a virus will give you a new piece to the puzzle and that is always good. It can get interesting when you are being shot at and still must try to solve the puzzle before you. You never know what’s coming next so you always have to keep an eye on the enemies as they appear.

Transcripted is an interesting game and one that I honestly wouldn’t have thought I would enjoy. It’s an interesting shooter on its own but with the match 3 element it really changes the game. I would honestly highly reccommend this game to just about anyone who likes either or both of these elements. Besides the interesting gameplay fusion there are many other good things about this game. There are 25 levels to beat and 5 different challenge modes. This will obviously offer up a lot of game play. As you progress through the story you will even be able to upgrade your ship. The cool thing is that it is completely customizable so you can choose how you want to progress. The music is also quite lovely and really helps to keep the game pleasant.

All in all Transcripted is a lovely game, that is isn’t too expensive. It will offer you alot of content and sometimes a cheap game full of content is just what the doctor ordered. So, what are you waiting for, there is probe that needs to fly through a body, and you are the only one who can do the job!

Transcripted is out now on Steam and Nintendo Switch!

By Jonathan Balofsky On 2 Jan, 2018 At 11:25 PM | Categorized As Featured, PC Games, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Mega Man may have recently had a new game announced, but there was a long time the series went without a game. In that time period there were those who tried to make spiritual sequels to the series, with the most well known being the infamous Mighty No 9. However, while that game got all the attention from the media, another game was slowly building up a fanbase and showing off some true indie spirit. That game was 20XX, and is what I feel to be the true spiritual sequel to Mega Man.

20XX is an action platformer like its inspiration, and perfectly captures the feel of Mega Man that so many others have tried and failed to do. It has a perfect art style and a wonderful soundtrack, but best of all, the gameplay is so refined that the game ends up feeling like a “Best of” Mega Man game, in that it takes the best parts from each game. Its obvious inspiration is the X series, but there are plenty of tributes to the other series as well.

20XX differs from those series in a major way though, in that the game is more akin to a 2D procedurally generated rougelike adapted to the Mega Man formula. This is both its greatest strength and its greatest weakness, since each playthrough is different. Its a positive in that no two playthroughs will be the same, and this essentially gives us near endless variety of levels to indulge in. But its weakness is in the fact that with the Mega Man series, there was a familiarity to the environment. This is especially true in the X series that 20XX pays homage to, as the environments would be impacted by what you did in other stages. It is therefore a bit of a tradeoff, but while I personally prefer individually crafted levels, I can see the value in what was done here.

I also want to comment about the co-op modes. It was extremely fun playing online and this is an area in which 20XX far exceeds anything done by the series that inspired it. I have to say that while 20XX wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be, it grew on me fast. Yes, I was not found of procedurally generated levels, but I did manage to learn to appreciate them in the game. if you have an itch for that classic game feel but with a  modern bent, then 20XX is the game for you.

Note: A Code was provided as part of IndieXmas

By Stark Wyvern On 2 Jan, 2018 At 10:41 PM | Categorized As News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Deer God, is a beautifully crafted game released recently for Nintendo Switch. This game is just so well crafted in its 8bit style that I just find it so appealing. This game really does make you one with a deer and that is a nice change of pace. I honestly would not have thought I’d find myself enjoying playing such a game as a deer but here I am. Deer God tells the story of a hunter who has killed too many. A regular man out in the forest trying to hunt, presumably not for sustenance finds himself at the feet of the Deer God. This God has had it up to here, with this man, and decides its time to punish him. The man is suddenly transformed and wakes up a fawn.

As a fawn you have free reign of a forested world to run around and do in as you please. Though this forest is something special, as it truly is in the domain of the Deer God. You can even learn special abilities from the other Deer. It really is interesting seeing you talk to deer and them telling you all the secrets of the forest. Obviously they just know you are a deer, but its actually a man, who is learning how amazing deer can be.

Deer God, is all about this hunter working to fix his transgressions, or keep on keeping on as it were. There is a legitimate Good and Evil system in place. This makes me happy for a few reasons, as it lets you know the score. You can simply kill everything and be deemed the worst, and suddenly you are a porcupine who can’t jump. I mean you aren’t defenseless but this is a platformer and you will certainly meet your doom. If you decide to be good, you can complete quests, and solve puzzles. These puzzles will unlock new skills and let you progress in the game. You really need to only kill the vicious animals as they are the ones that mean you harm. There are even nice humans who may ask for your help and it would behoove you to help them too.

This game is a simply beautiful one, and one that you could play for hours. It will tell you how far you have traveled in the game and your deer will in fact age, the longer you play as it. This leads to its own kind of scoring system, where you can track how long you’ve been playing as a certain deer. In fact as you play if your deer meets a lady deer, it may even give you an offspring. This is another life, though I found my offspring died quite easily, as they follow their father.

Deer God, is a simply majestic game and one that I just find to be utterly relaxing. This game will really show you how peaceful life can be as a deer. It’s also nice to imagine hunters being turned into deer, and learning that maybe shooting for fun, isn’t such a good thing to take part in. All in all, Deer God is a game worth playing, and if you have will suggest you do it, go on, it might redeem someone.

 

Disclaimer: A review code was provided

By Jonathan Balofsky On 31 Dec, 2017 At 08:27 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Gauntlet is one of those absolute classic videogames. The kind that have inspired generations of gamers and led to many more games bearing its influence. From games like Diablo to God of War, many action games take their direction from Gauntlet and that tradition continues in Hammerwatch.

Hammerwatch starts out by having you select your class from the various choices, each with their own pros and cons. Choosing the character that best fits your playstyle is the key to succeeding, for example, I will always choose a melee character as that is the playstyle I developed while playing these types of game. Hammerwatch makes the choices feel right almost immediately, and gives you the chance to truly understand how to play.

I have to say, that I truly appreciate this kind of game being on Switch, even if this is not the best version of the game. The framerate is not as good as on other platforms, but that is an acceptable compromise. What is more annoying is having the enemies not being fully visible sometimes while playing. These hack’n’slash games require you to see the enemies so you can progress, but when they blend in with the background too much, that creates a major issue.

However, I am pleased to say that this was the only real issue I had with the game. It played just like the evolution of Gauntlet that I have wanted, and I daresay it is more true to the arcade original, than some recent Gauntlet games. The expansions on the concepts, and new paths to pursue are a welcome idea, and interacting more does help expand the immersion. Plus this game is excellent to play with friends, as it is one of the best co-op games on the system. I say that because this is a game that truly recaptures that classic feel from the golden age of gaming when you are at the arcade with friends, and I do not feel that is done often.

Hammerwatch is a game that just makes me want to keep coming back. It is an indie game that surpasses its inspiration and takes it to heights never done before. Despite the issue I had with enemy visibility, I do feel that Hammerwatch is an amazing game. There are multiple modes to play in the game, and you will even want to try the other classes. This isn’t even mentioning, that there is more planned by the developers. If you have a Switch, then check out Hammerwatch. You will be in for a great time, either by yourself or with your friends. This is gaming at its purest!

 

Disclaimer: A review code was provided