Not all efforts in nostalgia end in success, but with Nex Machina, Housemarque has crafted a fast and fun twin-stick shooter with crisp visuals and challenging gameplay. Flawed only by a problematic mouse adaptation, Nex Machina is a solid execution of a gaming genre staple that promises long nights with guns blazing (instead of sleep).
After nearly three decades since the original release comes Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap, a worthy remake. Developer Lizardcube created an engaging universe, partly thanks to beautifully hand-drawn graphics and a fleshed out storyline. If you’re a fan of the timeless classics, this one is a worthy addition to your library: Wonder Boy stays true to its predecessor but successfully takes the title into the modern era of indie gaming.
While Tokyo 42 could be deeper, and it has issues with being frustrating at times, this is the rare game that becomes less problematic the more you play it. It is for brutal combat what Katamari was for puzzle games: A new way of looking at things, quite literally, and one that chooses bright joyfulness as its medium and lives up to it through its play. For less than half of what a AAA game will run you, this title is absolutely worth the time and the money, and if you find it frustrating, I encourage you to give it another few hours. Just about anyone who does will be charmed by the supersaturated, gloriously isometric, high octane, quirkily funny cyberpunk blowout that is Tokyo 42.
Although some of the new ideas in Mr. Donovan are appreciated, what exactly was supposed to be fueling the motivation to play remains a mystery. For an action RPGs, there’s not enough loot or action; for a survival game there’s not enough survival or base-building. In the end, however, Mr. Donovan was right: who wouldn’t want to leave that planet?
Black The Fall has the makings of a deep and emotional retelling of life under a totalitarian communist regime. The literally dark, oppressive, and intimidating imagery combines with the music, sound effects, and mechanics to narrate scenes without using a single word, and that alone has to be respected.
Starpoint Gemini Warlords is a fine title, though it’s not without the occasional rough edge. Solid gameplay, with smooth controls, is hampered by a frustrating camera, but an interesting (albeit sometimes compromising) mix of single-ship combat and 4X civilization management, and great graphics, seal the deal.
Reservoir Dogs: Bloody Days by Big Star Games is a third-person top-down shooter with few connections to Quentin Tarantino’s film other than it being about gangsters with color-coded names; and yet Bloody Days partially succeeds in its aspiration to revive a classic for crime and gangster films, while offering a time-rewind mechanics that helps the game distinct itself from the pool of titles in the top-down shooter category.
Project Nimbus is an impressive effort from such a small studio, but it’s very much a work-in-progress, and it’s been that way for a somewhat long time. The gameplay is excellent – addicting enough to burn through countless hours unnoticed – but the story is lacking. The voice acting, translation, and dialogue writing do not serve this title well, though the battles carry the gameplay enough to make it worth the time. If this kind of heavy combat in a robot setting appeals to you, give it a try, and hopefully the issues will clear up by the time it’s finished.
Dead Cells is not only for those who yearn for a Castlevania-esque side-scroller, but also for any who love rogue-lites or side-scrollers with RPG elements. Dead Cells holds its own; it’s great, and it’s certainly promising with the content already offered. The developers have plans to introduce even more content down the line after release, such as more levels, bosses, and a stats feature. Although there are some hiccups in its current state, it’s dubious that these could become issues down the line, given the active developers. The difficulty, combined with the upgrade system, makes this release a solid choice for both the most experienced and novice players alike.
With a limited character pool, no story mode, and very few people that own the game due to its current release state, it is hard to stay online and interested for long periods of time. But, there is no doubt that as this game gains traction in the competitive community, and with piles of kids looking to beat the crap out of each other in a colorful way, Brawlout will find success.