art of rally – lowercase in fifth gear

some people view racing as an aggressive, reckless, chaotic sport, but the experience of competitive driving is the complete opposite of that. pushing a fast car to its limit requires such precision that you are forced to focus your mind. to do this, you need to shut out everything else that might be distracting, which consequently brings a feeling of calm. you’re finally in control. nobody else can hit that brake pedal, only you.

life has an endlessly confusing amount of avenues vying for your attention, but when you’re in a car you know exactly what you need to do. the only thing that matters is the next braking point, because you might die if you miss it. this intense level of sustained focus instills a level of discipline that can also lead to ultimate zen and peace. art of rally harnesses the zen feeling of racing and allows it to flourish with beauty and creativity. we don’t need upper-case letters where we’re going.

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Super Squidlit – Muffin Overdose

The long awaited squid game sequel is here! After braving the monochrome Game Boy world of the first Squidlit, we’ve now arrived in the era of Game Boy Color! Now anything is possible with a full palette of wonder and excitement. This game has crammed in so many new things, it certainly earns the “Super” in its title, but does that mean it’s a better game?

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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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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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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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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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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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Gato Roboto – Meowtroid Zero Kitten

What if Metroid was a cat? You would finally be able to crawl. It would also be a completely different game with different level design, different movement options and Nintendo probably would have chosen Yoshi to star in the game instead. Hmmm, that wouldn’t be such a bad timeline. We would have a whole genre of Yoshivanias. Moving on from this alternative past, we have a brand new Indie game called Gato Roboto with a similar aesthetic to the original Metroid on NES. You could argue it’s even more ancient as it lacks a full colour palette. However, once you start playing this game it comes to life and impresses with modern movement and design.

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Yoku’s Island Express – Pinball Platforming

Don’t mind me, I’m just a dung beetle doing my best. It’s a little hard to see with this big ball of poop in front of me, but I just roll with it. Life is all about perspective, and I take things with a side-on view. Getting from one place to another can be difficult, but life is all about the journey itself and I’m having a lot of fun.

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Squidlit – Squishy Platforming

Hello. My name’s Plip and I’m a Squidlit. I’m no magic Squizard, but I can jump, shoot ink downwards, and move my little squidlit body left and right. That’s all you need to get through life really. Oh, and a healthy supply of muffins.

Thanks Cheflit, now I’m all set. A catapult shoots dozens of muffins into the distance, as they scatter across the upcoming levels. It’s nice to finally see some valid lore for health pickups.

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Rush Rally 3 – Rookie Developer Defeats Champion

5 right, into 3 left. Hairpin right. 6 left. Over crest. 22 dollars. Available on the eShop now. *thud*

Oops, I was meant to be giving directions. Welcome to Rush Rally 3! A rally driving game on Switch made by a single person Indie team called Brownmonster Limited. This is not the official rally game but who needs that, when you can race against Sebastien Lube and Marcus Groanholm instead?

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Rogue Singularity – Infinite Possibilities

What’s a robot to do? I’ve been told I have no purpose, yet I must have been created by someone, for something. These randomly generated “tests” lie in front of me, daring me to adapt. I use all my abilities to get through one after the other. Perhaps that is my purpose. I am the only playable character in this game. I am destined to play through these levels and beat them. I must do what nobody else can. This is the job I was created for.

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Never Stop Sneakin’ – You Have One Job

I’m finally free from the Amadeus facility. I had been locked in a room for 3 months with nothing but a PS Vita, and forced to write about games I had no interest in. An agent from the Department of Sneakin’ was able to free me by taking the keycard off a guard and coming back to bail me out of this room. Apparently they are building a time machine & need my help. I’m not sure how useful I can be as a videogame reviewer, but Major Milestone was adamant I write about solitaire. I was more than happy to.

After submitting a 285 page writeup on the intricacies of solitaire, I stood there while the boss read it all, occasionally nodding his head. It turns out Major Milestone already knew the ins and outs of Solitaire. This was just a test, and the real game I was tasked to review was Never Stop Sneakin’ on Nintendo Switch. This game existed in an alternate reality in one of Amadeus several timelines, & before reviewing I had to sneak back into his facility to grab the game. The Department of Sneakin’ had declared it too dangerous to sneak in again, so they hooked up the Nintendo Switch digitally to give me control of another agent. The logic was sound, as the top-down view I had was a lot more than anyone could see on the ground. Their life was in my hands now.

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The Friends of Ringo Ishikawa – Impressions

I don’t yet know what to make of The Friends of Ringo Ishikawa. Seemingly developed by one guy in Russia, The Friends of Ringo Ishikawa sees you play as a directionless high school thug who is threatened with expulsion from his school, which he hardly attends due to spending all his time getting into gang fights. It’s like a tribute to NES classic River City Ransom or some sorta slice of life anime like Cromartie High School which I’ve never watched but Deguello says is a parody.

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