Video Game Review: ‘Astro Bot Rescue Mission’

Virtual reality titles often excel at offering immersive experiences, but too often the isometric, platformer games of the medium lack a crucial element: The feeling that one is truly inside the game. With few exceptions, most of these sorts of VR games that have you controlling a tiny figure inside a game are content with giving players a front row seat as sort of powerful, omniscient spectators, but rarely as a figure in the context of the actual game. That’s why “Astro Bot Rescue Mission” is

'The Evil Within' is more frustrating than terrifying

Your first brush with frustration in Shinji Mikami’s blood-drenched action horror saga The Evil Within comes only minutes after you’re first given control. Bound and hung from the ceiling via meat hook with only corpses surrounding you, you’re forced to swing from side to side until you can free yourself and run to safety. There's a hulking behemoth of what appears to be a deranged butcher in your way, however. He stands before a table, doing who-knows-what to the poor, unfortunate soul in fron

'Assassin's Creed Unity': Glitches and microtransactions mar a pretty Paris

Assassin’s Creed Unity was a game I really wanted to like. I’ve been a fan of the Assassin’s Creed series since its debut, and have always gotten a kick out of the games, despite some flaws. After last year’s Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag really raised the bar for the series in both scope and storytelling, I couldn't help but get excited at the prospect of another grand fight with the Templars. However, Unity has jaded me not only to the Assassin’s Creed brand, but to Ubisoft as a whole. I c

Frostpunk Review: Toiling In A Winter Wonderland

Most city-builders have you setting out to build a sprawling, shiny metropolises. In the leader of the genre, Cities: Skylines, you might have to contend with a natural disaster or two, but the most pressing threats most of the time are too much traffic and poor trash collection. Frostpunk turns the genre on its head to create what might be the first survival/city-builder where each move centers around the survival of your community.

Monster Prom Review: Everybody Run, The Prom Queen's...Undead

Monster Prom is one of the most frustrating games I've ever reviewed, for several reasons. On one hand, it's a gorgeously illustrated and colorful adventure that's centered around an energetic group of monsters. It's like that part was created specifically to tailor to me. On the other, it's rife with the same awful, cringe-inducing humor present in games like Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator and it feels like a random number generator that takes zero skill to master.

The Alliance Alive Review: Come Together

The Alliance Alive appears to have a lot going for it at a glance. It combines tried-and-true JRPG mechanics with chibified characters to call forth the classics of yesteryear. It's got a catchy name. It seems to have all its ducks in a row. Unfortunately, developer Cattle Call simply doesn't seem to have tweaked the formula it tested out with previous release The Legend of Legacy enough just yet. The resulting The Alliance Alive is a serviceable adventure that ends up just a bit lacking, in bot

Read Only Memories: Type-M Review: Dystopian Heart

Read Only Memories is a unique twist on the point-and-click adventure game, taking cues from the cyberpunk aesthetic and style of the classic Hideo Kojima-helmed Snatcher. Since its initial release on PC, it's been ported to most systems, including the PlayStation Vita, but until now it hadn't been given a mobile port. Now, mobile players have a chance to strike out on their own to explore Neo San Francisco while on the go. Read Only Memories: Type-M is an excellent, downsized version of the gam

Hakuoki: Edo Blossoms Review: Husbando Battle Royale

I've been following the Hakuoki otome visual novel series since it first made its western debut on the PlayStation Portable. It's been six years since Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom debuted in English by way of Aksys Games, and since then there have been several iterations of the game available for newly-minted Hakuoki fans. The games are typical, but well-written fare for the genre, but they're still part of a fairly niche series, so it's quite surprising that Hakuoki: Edo Blossoms ende

The Sims Mobile Review: Waiting On This World to Change

Every time I pop into The Sims Mobile to see what the Sim I've haphazardly modeled after myself is doing, some new random person is walking into my house and making themselves at home. My Sim is standing idly by with her striking teal hair. Most of the time, I'd want to have her chat with a friend, or go do a quick shift at the coffee shop, but I can't — not without paying some in-game currency to buy more energy, that is. No matter what I wanted to do, if I played the game for a decent period o

Review: Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters

Whenever the Vita's library expands, I always get unreasonably excited. Double excited if there's a new IP to add to the fold, because I'm seeing a lot of sequels these days. That's why I was ecstatic to hear that Toybox Games' Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters was making its way to the West via Aksys Games. While Toybox's previous effort Hometown Story failed to engage me, Tokyo Twilight seemed as though it'd be a much more robust offering. As an intriguing amalgam of visual novel pageantry and stra

Review: Story of Seasons

For every sim, there is a season As a fan of both casual and intermediate simulation and farming games, the Harvest Moon series has always been a mainstay for me. I grew up on several different iterations of the Natsume-published entries beginning with Harvest Moon GB, dabbled with PlayStation 2 releases, and graduated to portable DS titles that found me clearing derelict farms of trees and debris and dating the farmer of my dreams. Story of Seasons, the latest “proper” entry in the Harvest Mo

Review: Criminal Girls: Invite Only

What they need is a good defense We all know the PlayStation Vita is now the de facto home for all things Japanese. Ports, remakes, re-releases, and original content all trickle down similarly to the little handheld that could, and the Vita port of 2010's PSP adventure Criminal Girls is one of the latest to join the fold. The original release picked up a subtitle on its way westward and found place in retail sales as Criminal Girls: Invite Only. The Vita release is a strange amalgam of role-pl

Final Fantasy XIV Online: A Realm Reborn Review

Final Fantasy XIV found itself languishing back during its original release only weeks after its inception. The juggernaut Final Fantasy XI grew into was a tough act to follow, but no one predicted such a spectacular failure. Square Enix took note and responsibility and made a resolution to learn from its past mistakes, releasing Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn as a "rebirth" of sorts for the massively multiplayer online role-playing game that could.
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