Project Triangle Strategy – Field Report

The last Nintendo Direct initiated a surprise attack. While Square-Enix is running Octopath Traveler into the ground with a low-budget mobile outsourced exclusive prequel cash-grab, the developers of the original game have moved onto a brand new project in what they call the “2D-HD” series. Project Triangle Strategy has a similar rich pixel art style to Octopath but the genre has shifted to strategy. Even though it’s not releasing until 2022, they dropped a juicy demo to give us a taste of war.

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Project Warlock – Shooty Newman McRetro

I’m here to play games and chew bubblegum, and I’m all out of retro-themed non-linear FPS games. Oh wait, just found one. Hold the bubblegum! I’ve got some GAMING to do.

Project Warlock immediately impresses with a crunchy badass guitar riff, with tons of options on the main menu to make you feel like you’re about to order an explosive meal at the Mayhem Diner. The gameplay feels right at home with other 90s FPS games like Doom or Duke Nukem 3D, but the graphics take some getting used to. Unlike other FPS that imitate this style in actual retro engines (like Ion Fury in Build), this game is made in the more modern engine Unity. It has a cel-shaded outline with more of a Minecraft or Dragon Quest feel. It took me a while to get used to, but it runs well and allows for some impressive lighting effects and colours that really pop like candy. Candy popcorn. Bubblegum you can swallow.

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Daylife in Japan – Lo-Fi Jigsaw Jams

This title stuck out to me while I was browsing the eShop in a daydream state. Daylife in Japan… yeah that’s somewhere I want to be. Oh, it’s a jigsaw puzzle game? I almost lost interest but after watching the trailer I was sold. It had a comfy animated pixel art street vibe and the music was relaxing and thoughtful. Perfect. It’s not often I would buy a game on the aesthetic presentation alone, but for $1.50 why not?

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Timespinner – ChronoTriggerVania

What if you could travel back in time and warn humanity about global warming, pandemics, toxic waste and growing oppressive capitalism? That’s right… nobody would listen and you’d be thrown in a mental ward with bad conditions. But what if you also had platforming skills and magic?! Heck yeah, you could just solve the problem yourself! In Timespinner we’re about to do exactly that.

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Ion Fury – Cyberpunk 2095

The year is 2095 and Betamax Tapes are back in fashion. Cyber punks have gone rogue on the streets, somehow overthrowing the police, military, the CIA and all the world’s power structures by strafing left and right and looking intimidating. What else is back in fashion? Old school build-engine FPS games. Ion Fury takes all the nostalgia and design structure that make classic FPS so great, and unchains them with modern console technology. This allows for massive levels, more defined gunplay, accurate hitboxes, and significantly more objects on screen at once. Does all of this make the game more fun, however?

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Whipseey and the Lost Atlas – Good Enough

Whoopsee, the word you say when you’ve just bought a one dollar eShop game and the existential guilt washes over you. Oh sorry, I meant to say Whipseey. Everything is fine here. We’re jumping right into the depths of the Nintendo Switch library now. I love platformers so I took the plunge on this when it was on sale for a dollar. Aesthetically it looks like a Kirby clone but the feel is more like a Game Boy Mario game if he had a whip. This game has 5 worlds so I’m going to make this review 5 paragraphs.

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GRID 2019 – Cherry Blossom Burst DX

GRID is back! But what is this? A remake of the first game? Nope, this is a brand new entry in the series that they didn’t bother to name. Prince of Persia (2008), Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) and Doom (2016) didn’t annoy people enough it seems. You can’t always judge a game by its cover, but the identity crisis runs deep in this one. With less content than previous GRID games, just why should you pick this up? I’m going to solve this problem right now and give you a reason. I am renaming this game to GRID Seasons: Cherry Blossom Burst DX. You’re welcome, Codemasters.

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Super Metroid – Highway to Hell

I’m losing health every second but I’ve never felt so alive and focused. Here I am facing my greatest challenge with no suit, no credentials, just a handful of missiles and my wits. The only way I can get through this is with consistent movement and execution. Any mistakes I make will cost time and energy to get to the next health refill. I can’t look back, only forward. It’s all or nothing, and I’m all out of nothing.

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The Crown Tundra – Lost in the Land of Snom

We’re almost there Bolty, there’s gotta be a town nearby… it says right here on the map “Freezington”. Or was it just freezing a ton? This map is a bit worn… and not even filled in properly. That tree looks a bit like a rude object. The person at the train station said it wasn’t far though. It’s getting colder but when we find shelter I’ll make you some nice soup, Bolty. Oops, bumped into a trainer, sorry mate. I swear sometimes it’s like they teleport out of nowhere. Nah, just the thick snow. Can you tell me how to get to Freezington? They didn’t answer but gave me a packet of hot sauce and ran away. Okay, bye. Hmmm, maybe English isn’t the native language? I gave Boltund the sauce and we kept going. We were on our last legs when finally…

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Resident Evil Zero – The Story Journalists Wouldn’t Cover

How do you explore the origins of a pandemic? Play a survival horror videogame from 2002 of course! Resident Evil Zero was once contained to a small proprietary GameCube disc, but now the whole world can learn the truth. The last pure traditional Resident Evil game has now been re-released on every modern console in HD widescreen.

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Visions of an Apocalypse

I began writing this post, a review of two (now three) games that dealt with the end of the world about a year ago. In what remains of the draft, I had the line; “it’s the end of the decade, we don’t have time for details.” Eerily prophetic because in the time since the world really is ending and it’s doing so as T. S. Elliot suggested, not with a bang, but with a whimper.

As a species, we have been contemplating the end times since the beginning times. Poems, films, video games, even whole religions are based around imagining what it will be like when there no coming back, when progress reverses and we enter terminal decline. Something I’ve been thinking about, during our very real unfolding apocalypse, is that I need to finish things I start because at some point, this is all going to come to an end. So here’s three short reviews of three short games and their take on the end of the world.

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Pikmin 3 Deluxe – New Technology Discovered

A mysterious object has been spotted and gathered by the Pikmin. It appears to be a flat device with removable parts. Analysis shows this technology has potential, but we are unsure how to harness it yet. It could not produce new Pikmin when thrown in the onion, but perhaps we could use it to enhance our ship.

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Bulletstorm – Digital Bubblegum

It’s raining bullets, better grab my brella. Okay, now I’m ready to chew gum AND type into this nostalgic postbox. Can you believe people used keyboards to send messages in 2020? It was the first form of writing according to the credible historians of 2600. Ah yes, information has gotten much more accurate with media advancements.

Here goes… *publish*. I’ll set the date 600 years backwards and hope for the best. Pietriots.com? Yeah, that place is probably still going.

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Hollow Knight – Taking The Long Way Home

I don’t want to die. After a very difficult series of jumps and dashes, I was down to my last husk of health. I sat upon the single platform that wouldn’t kill me and felt the magnitude of the situation. With no safety in sight, my next action was critical. Hitting any of these spikes would mean instant death, and even worse, replaying that awful section again and losing progress. I thought that maybe, after a dozen downward-stab jumps across spiked enemies, the hard part was over and some kind of safe passage or reward would await me here. I was a fool. Curiosity had its way with me once again, and now my only way back was even more dangerous and uncertain than the journey that left me in this state.

I braced myself. The way forward was right there through those spikes, and I just had to do a flying dash through it. A regular dash wouldn’t make it. Regular jumps wouldn’t take me far enough. I knew it had to be a flying dash but the problem was, I couldn’t see far enough to see where my landing would be. With no other option, I started charging the dash.

WHOOOOSH!” I let go of my charge and flew across the screen. The spikes grazed my determined little ears as I flew through the gap. Immediately I found myself in a giant room with a hard floor and felt a small dose of relief, thank heaven- NO I’M ABOUT TO HIT A SPIKE WALL! BAIL OUT! I mashed every button in a desperate attempt to break out of my dash and collapsed on solid ground with a thump. What a relief. I’m alive. I didn’t know you could break out of a dash until now, when I absolutely needed to.

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STAY (Away)

STAY is the story of a therapist named Quinn who was abducted in the early morning and woke up to find himself in a dank basement with seemingly no way out and a computer hooked up to a private instant message conversation with you on the other end. You talk Quinn through the challenges he faces and the game also tracks how long you are not playing for, inviting you to ‘stay’ with Quinn long as your absence affects his mood and trust in you. It’s an original and interesting premise that is unfortunately let down by almost every other aspect of this game. If anything you should stay away from this game.

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