Another day and another port to consoles of an older game. This time around we are playing Devious Dungeon 2. It originally came out in 2005 and from everything I have read, has not changed anything for the new release. It is a side-scrolling dungeon crawler where the story is as simple as simple can be. There is a castle that has amazing treasures in it, but where many have tried to take its treasures, they have all failed due to the traps and swarms of enemies that inhabit it. Naturally, though, nothing will happen to you, right? All you have to do is survive long enough to go in, crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, steal their treasure, kill the summoner and to hear the lamentations of their women!
I never played the first Devious Dungeon but a short trip into Youtube and reading a few reviews shows that if you played that game, and enjoyed it, then chances are you will enjoy Devious Dungeon 2. There have been some improvements from the first game though that most people will really enjoy.
First and foremost, you have to pick what class you want to play as. Of course in the first game, your only choice was to play as a barbarian, which is great however players wanted variety. So this time around you has the choice between:
The Barbarian- He is freakishly strong and so is a class advantage is that he takes a 20% hit reduction from enemies. What he makes up in strength and high hitpoints, he loses in his ranged attacks. You have to get up front close and personal with the enemies and so he can go from full health to death quickly.
The Mage- In most games, I prefer magic users and The Mage is no exception. His ability is Levitation. For all you Mario fans, the Levitation acts in a lot of ways like Princess Peach’s floating ability. All of his attacks have a high range and do moderate damage. Like other games though, The Mage can be pretty squishy, so If you get a lot of enemies surrounding you, you will likely die quickly.
The Rogue- If brute strength and magic users are not your things, then perhaps you are better suited to get behind the devious Rogue class. The Rogue has a Double Jump ability that can be extremely useful, especially during boss fights! I feel like the Rogue is well balanced when it comes to Health and Strength, but what he really excels in is Critical hits. He comes equipped with lots of weapons that will put status effects on enemies as well, making him a real threat.
Each class is pretty simple to play as and I would say that there is no clear advantage to playing as one over the others. So figure out what stat you value the most and jump into the first dungeon!
You will discover quickly that the controls of the game are very simple. There are no big combos or special abilities you have to memorize. In fact, you only have one attack and a jump button. The challenge is that you will have many different types of enemies that you will encounter and your job is to memorize their attacks and how they move. Some enemies you can attack right away and kill them before they get you, others you have to get near and let them do their attacks first and then you can jump in to kill them. By the end of the game, you will have memorized everyone’s abilities well enough that moving around the levels to be fairly simple.
Speaking of the level designs, there is one thing that the developers tried to do always keep the game ‘Fresh’. The levels are all randomly generated, to a certain degree that is. It is true that if you die, that when you replay the levels, it is not the same layout. I did notice though that there are not many varieties of levels and the only thing really changed is where you start, the key placement and the exit door placement. I don’t know for sure how many of these level designs there are, but I would be surprised to find out there are more than 15. These same levels appear throughout the game and as you progress through the different sections of the castle, the only differences you will see are that the background changes and you will see new enemies introduced. There are a total of 122 levels, that includes the 6 levels that are boss fights.
Getting through each level is simple, somewhere in the level there will be a key that you need to pick up to unlock the door to the next level. In some cases, you can have level completed in under a minute, sometimes it will take a little bit longer to find either the key or the door. Once you have memorized the level designs, you will probably also seek out the hidden areas as well for either treasure or the books that give you a ton of experience points. Both of which are crucial for you to continue through the castle.
When you die, there really is no penalty, you will revive in the town where you can use the money to buy new weapons, armour, potions or trinkets. All of which will boost your stats. You will find that you will die a LOT. It is more of an annoyance than anything, but you can die safely knowing that you won’t be having to start from scratch.
Devious Dungeon 2 was a pretty fun game. It has a very simple design and the story that show that you don’t always need to reinvent the wheel. The only issues that I really had with the game were that I felt like after the 3rd or 4th part of the castle, everything started to feel like it was getting too repetitious. Don’t let that deter you from picking it up if dungeon crawlers are your jam as it is still a fun game and as long as you can beat the game, you will pick up that awesome Platinum trophy!
6 months ago we saw the release of Grip: Combat Racing, though you could go and see the review I gave for it, the long and short of it was that I gave it a 9/10. I really enjoyed all the options for gameplay, the great graphics, and the soundtrack. Since then though, Caged Element Inc has been very busy with updates for the game that have come at the consumer-friendly cost of $0! So what has happened with the game since then and what can gamers expect with the newly released Airblades update, more of what made this reviewer enjoy the game from launch.
It seems only logical that the first thing I should talk about is the new vehicles! This time around you can throw away those tires and pretend you are Skywalker skidding across Tatooine looking for a troublesome droid when you hop in the all-new Airblades! I wasn’t sure what to think of these new vehicles at first or how they would react to the terrain. I was NOT disappointed when I saw what the Airblades could do! When driving on a rocky terrain that would normally throw the original vehicles off, the Airblades coast smoothly over them with no care in the world. That’s not to say that they will replace the original vehicles because what they make up in a smoother ride, they lose significantly once you try to drift around those tight corners. No wheels to grip the dirt will see your Airblade careening towards a wall at dangerous speeds. In this way, I definitely feel as if they are well balanced so that neither vehicle has a clear advantage over the other. When choosing which Airblade you want to race with, you will have a choice of up to 15 new vehicles!
Since we now have vehicles that for all intents and purposes can fly, it only seems fitting that we would also see some new levels! Since the original release of the game, we now have access to 6 more levels!! 2 of those levels were designed with the new Airblades in mind as they take place in the place where we all want to race, IN SPACE! The levels are built around the fact that gravity will not be as much as a factor so racing on these levels adds that extra little bit of a challenge. Let’s not forget that because you are in space, there is nothing to protect you if you take a corner to slow or you are hit by a enemies missile that throws you off course, you will find yourself floating alone in space wondering where Squall Leonhart is to save you.
There have been a lot of different bits and pieces of the UI and overall performance that have been updated as well. Everything from the weapons to adjustments to the enemies AI that make races seem a little fairer as well. All of these updates have been free as well so I still feel as if my original rating of 9/10 holds up well. Considering all the love the developers have been putting into the game thus far, I am looking forward to what they do to the game next!
Over the past few days, I have been speeding through the wastelands of Rage 2 with nothing but a talking car, and a small army of weaponry and some downright awesome telekinetic abilities to keep me company.
For those unfamiliar with the series published by Bethesda the short explanation would be that if a daddy Doom and mommy Madmax got very drunk and forgot to use protect (yeah that’s an image you all wanted burning into your brains), the mutated ugly spawn that resulted from such a horrific act would be Rage 2.
Now the long answer Rage 2 is a game developed in collation between id Software, the developers behind Doom 2016 and Avalanche Studio, the makers of the Madmax videogame that came out a few years ago, so now you can see why I called it the mutant spawn of them both.
Rage 2 takes the fast-paced gunplay of Doom and builds upon it with a whole host of upgrades from powering up your weapons via different mods, to augmenting your abilities like jumping higher, creating vortexes that suck enemies in and force pushing them so hard you turn them into gazpacho. This does feel really good when in an indoor location, however take the enemies outside in to a more open area and due to the spacing out of enemies the speed in combat that it felt the developers were going for slows down somewhat, that’s not to say it isn’t still enjoying it just feels like there is less fluidity to it.
Now the in-car combat, I will say this does feel solid Avalanche Studios has clearly taken what they learned from Madmax and applied it here, the car you get at the beginning of the game Phoenix feels incredible to drive around the world of Rage, Phoenix boast a good chunk of upgrades from making it more tanky, to adding more firepower with cluster missiles and mortar cannons. But one of the best features of the car for me is the fact it is sentient much like Kit from the Knightrider series and better yet is voiced by 1970s Wonder Woman, Lynda Carter, the nerd in me loves all these little throwback references.
However, it isn’t all post-apocalyptic sunshine and rainbows, where the games combat and world shine, the storyline leaves so, so much to be desired. In the 3 days that the game has been out I have stuffed 44 hours of playtime in to it (I’m anything if not dedicated to my gaming time) and I honestly have not a foggiest what the story is about, so far as I can tell something about your mum who isn’t actually your mum dying in the first few minutes followed by running around collecting stuff for people, it’s mind numbing boring and filled with terrible dialogue, like seriously your maybe mum dies and her daughter is cracking jokes 30 seconds later like nothing has happened, if the writing team couldn’t be bothered to make the characters care about a big story point then why should I ? Due to this and several other points of the poor story I began tuning it pretty quickly and just focusing on shooting stuff, as let’s be honest that’s much more fun.
My overall opinion regarding Rage 2 is that if you’re looking for a deep meaningful story with characters you can emphasize with and feel drawn too, then you should probably go elsewhere, if you want a big open world game where you can mindlessly blow shit up then this hits the nail right on the head.
Fortnite became the breakout star of the gaming scene in 2018 as it racked up more than 200 million players and became a cultural phenomenon. It was blamed for divorce, football players began performing Fortnite celebrations on the pitch and all manner of celebrities jumped on the bandwagon. It helped developer Epic Games to bank an astonishing $3 billion in profit during 2018 and Fortnite had the world at its feet.
Yet some questioned whether it could maintain its momentum in 2019, fearing it would fall by the wayside when the next big thing muscled its way into contention.
So how has Fortnite fared thus far in 2019? It has actually proved extremely durable, having surged past the 250 million player barrier. It holds onto top spot in the chart of the world’s most popular games and it has boasted far more concurrent players than any other title. Fortnite has surged past PUBG and established itself as the heavyweight champion of the battle royale genre, but competition is becoming increasingly fierce.
A Challenger Emerges
EA released Apex Legends in February and it picked up an astonishing 50 million gamers within just a month of launch. Gamers loved its roster of colourful characters, its intelligent map design and its intuitive shooting mechanics.
It falls somewhere in between the rapid, madcap action of Fortnite and the slow, strategic approach of PUBG and it appeared to hit a real sweet spot. Commentators saw its arrival as heralding the death of Fortnite.
EA pulled off a masterstroke by paying celebrity streamer Ninja a reported $1 million to play Apex and share it with his vast base of followers. It also handed over a significant chunk of its marketing budget to the likes of shroud, Dr Disrespect and summit1g and these star gamers helped Apex quickly achieve mass appeal.
However, these streamers have now returned to their Fortnite heartland after complaining about a lack of new content from the Apex team. Dr Disrespect delivered a hammer blow when he compared it to Daybreak’s failing battle royale offering, H1Z1.
It highlighted just how difficult it is to maintain momentum and keep the money rolling in when you are operating in a competitive genre and your model is based on free to play gaming. By March, Apex Legends had already fallen to ninth place in PC gross revenue and number six for consoles. At its early peak, it accrued 40 million hours of viewing on Twitch, but this fell to just 10 million by March. Fortnite has remained steady with more than 20 million hours viewed per month, and it quickly regained its crown.
Apex is Overvalued
Google searches for Apex Legends have dwindled. Daily user count is down, as is spending. Investment bible Seeking Alpha warned investors that EA stock could be overvalued as a result of Ninja, Dr Disrespect and co abandoning the game.
“Honestly, we believe the criticisms of these influencers should be taken very seriously,” it said in a note last month. “They not only have the power to generate interest and maintain interest for a game, but they also are veteran gamers, and have seen many games both live and die. They know the market far, far better than most investors.” Seeking Alpha has now lowered its valuation of Apex from $7.4 billion to just $1.8 to $2.4 billion.
Developer Respawn has had to pour most of its energy into fixing bugs, and it has released just a handful of balance patches, one new legend and only one new weapon since launch.
Rather suddenly, Apex Legends does not look poised to kill off Fortnite after all. Epic Games has continued to pump out new Fortnite content on a weekly basis and the game feels alive and changing. In a world of short attention spans, it understands the importance of constantly injecting fresh dynamism into proceedings.
Breaking Into Esports
Epic has also been extremely savvy in bidding to crack the burgeoning esports scene in order to cement Fortnite’s on-going popularity. League of Legends was released all the way back in 2009, but it is still the most watched game on Twitch and YouTube thanks to its success within esports.
CS:GO and Dota 2, released in 2012 and 2013 respectively, have also continued to thrive as a result of the professional scene that the developers have nurtured. Epic is investing $100 million in 2019 in tournament prize money and Fortnite should soon overtake Dota 2 as the world’s most lucrative esport for gamers to compete in.
In one fell stroke, the developer caused hordes of players to switch back to Fortnite in an effort to qualify for the Grand Finals, which will be held in New York later this year. Every week, Epic hosts a $1 million esports tournament and the top 100 solo players, plus the top 50 duos, will head to the Big Apple later this year to vie for glory.
Each player will receive a $50,000 fee for competing and the solo champion will walk off with a cool $3 million. Sponsorship deals will be vast, the stadium will be packed, millions of people around the world will stream the action, and it will be a huge betting event. Wagering on Fortnite is surging in popularity – these markets can be seen here – and that trend will ramp up significantly at this massive tournament.
Potential for Further Growth
The prospect of becoming a multimillionaire is enough to lure many influential gamers back to Fornite. It should also help maintain interest in the game among the general public, as it can be fascinating to watch the world’s finest players battle it out when the stakes are so high.
There are plenty of obstacles for Epic to overcome. Battle royale games can be difficult for viewers to follow due to the huge amount of perspectives required. Constantly changing the content and bringing in new weapons also risks upsetting professional players as it makes training difficult, and it will be hard for Epic to maintain a strong competitive balance.
Simply throwing money at the scene is not enough to make it successful, but so far the developer has been pretty agile at dealing with complaints from players and the circuit is becoming a lot more professional and organized.
Apex Legends has a nascent esports scene too, but Fortnite has really stolen a march by launching such fabulous prize pools at this early stage in its lifespan. It will be difficult for Apex, PUBG or any other battle royale to catch it now.
More and more of these games will hit the market this year – look out for the likes of PlanetSide Arena, Mavericks and Spellbreak – and Respawn plans to fight back by adding more content in Apex’s second season, but right now Fortnite’s status as the king of the genre is beyond doubt and it has plenty more potential for growth in the year ahead.
There is a very special bond that is shared by siblings. Pro tip for any younger readers, I know that you have been good friends with someone since middle school, but there is a very high probability that you will lose touch with each other after High School, TRUST ME. The thing about siblings is that you are stuck with each other no matter what. As a younger brother, I know what it is like to torment my older brother, even in our 30’s! As an older brother, I know what it is like to have an annoying younger brother that wants to push your buttons at every twist and turn. Yes, I fall under the horrible MIDDLE CHILD category! The stigma is real folks! Anyways, that bond is a very real thing and as I played “My Big Sister” I felt the bond that sisters Luzia and Sombria have, both in the good moments and the bad.
My Big Sister is a 16-bit game that fans of Strangas games will find all too familiar. You play as Luzia, a mouthy and often cunning little girl that is kidnapped at the very beginning of the game with her older sister Sombria. The whole basis of the game is that the girls are trying to get back to their home. Along the way, though there are some intense roadblocks that will have you, the gamer, actually stop and think about life quite a bit as the game tackles heavy subjects such as depression and suicide.
The game is not necessarily difficult and can be completed in about 3 hours, probably closer to 1 hour if you skip scenes and don’t explore, but why would you do that?! The game is split up between 11 chapters and each chapter is set in different areas. You move Luzia around each level and using items that you find to solve puzzles. Often times, the puzzles are pretty straight-forward, but there are a few moments where you will really have to put your thinking caps on. Depending on how you play the game will have an effect on the story. And with a game that has many endings, you never know what unexplored area will have shown you that would make you do something different later in the game.
All in all, My Big Sister is a very unique experience for those of us that tackle those Achievements or Trophies. As the game is from Ratalaika Games, those of us expect a simple 10-minute completion. I was delighted when I saw that there was a more complex trophy list that I actually had to work for. It is certainly not difficult though. What helps tremendously is that after you beat the game, there is a Chapter Select option so that you can go back and make different choices to see what happens as well as the final chapter to see the multiple endings.
I enjoyed My Big Sister so much that I beat it in one sitting. The story has some goofy points but when the dark moments hit, they hit very hard. In that way, I was surprised after completion that such a short game could hit all those emotional moments so well and near seamlessly. I loved that the trophy list was obtainable but you had to do some work for the platinum. All in all, Strange did a great job with the game!
I’m what you would call ‘one of the minority’ when it comes to Assassin’s Creed games. I firmly believe that the old style, which was adopted from Assassin’s Creed until Syndicate, is much more entertaining and enjoyable than the more generic modern style that Origins and Odyssey utilises. As such, I was over the moon when I heard Assassin’s Creed III was receiving the same remaster effort we saw in titles such as Rogue and the Ezio Collection.
Not only am I the odd one out for preferring a more linear approach with set missions, a more compressed playing field, and simple item management, over a massive open world filled with fluff just to see how big you can make it. I’m also one of those who loved Assassin’s Creed III upon launch.
With price drops already taking place on the remaster, and the season pass for Odyssey regularly going on sale (as this game is also included within the Season Pass), is it worth revisiting America during the American Revolution or is it too outdated? Let’s find out…
Assassin’s Creed III is the direct sequel to the 2011 Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, the final time we got to play as Ezio. As such, not only are we placed within a new time period and country, but we also take the life of a new Assassin. The interesting thing about this game is that you actually play as two characters throughout the story, initially you’ll play as Haytham Kenway (the son of Edward from Black Flag) and later on you’ll begin the main game and play as Connor, Haytham’s son.
The story is quite generic when you look at it from the outside, but it’s interesting because of the two perspectives you get to play. As Haytham, you are the Grand Master of the Templar order, your tasked with obtaining a medallion in order to open up a secret chamber which has been hidden away deep within the forest. However, after falling short of your goal, you fall for a local and make sweet love to her. Thus, Ratonhnhaké:ton (Connor) is conceived.
Then, as Connor, you get to play through various stages of his life from when he was a kid and witnessed a tragic event to when he leaves his village in search of those responsible and stumbles upon Achilles, a retired assassin. With the help of Achilles, and very strong built up emotions, you train to become an assassin as you plan out how you’ll take down all of the Templars responsible, including your father.
Although Assassin’s Creed III starts off incredibly slow (the first five hours or so are a drag), when the game opens up everything becomes much more interesting. You’ll be helping out George Washington, helping the British, performing sea battles, assassinating in many styles, and much more.
Think ‘Batman Arkham games’ – that’s how the combat works.
Okay, we need to talk about the elephant in the room here, the gameplay mechanics within Assassin’s Creed III are a bit outdated. Unlike Odyssey and Origins, which have adopted a Dark Souls-syle with its heavy combat and RPG elements within the item management side, Assassin’s Creed III keeps it all very simple. As someone who loves the old style of games, you would think this would be perfect for me, but it wasn’t – there was something off about the controls, something which didn’t click until I was about 20 hours through the campaign.
On the PS4, the run (R2) mechanic doesn’t work properly!
Okay, so older Assassin’s Creed games require you to hold down R2 in order to run and climb up walls. However, in Assassin’s Creed III on the PS4, If you pushed down the trigger, Conner would jog along at a casual pace. I found that you had to literally squeeze the trigger right down in order to make him run – this resulted in me almost breaking my controller and getting cramped hands pretty fast. This has been an issue since day one and it’s not been fixed – all other games work fine, it’s just this one which seems to have an issue with the dead zone for that particular trigger.
Other than that, I loved going back to the old style – although, if you’re used to the more modern Assassin’s Creed’s, you’ll most likely hate this original control method as it is a bit clunky and less precise than the new engine. The game has very similar controls to Batman Arkham Asylum/City/Origins.
However, to me, these old games ARE Assassin’s Creed, the new games aren’t, they are their own thing which shouldn’t have had the name placed upon them. I don’t just believe that because of the controls/engine, but also because of the…
I hate the stealth within the real world – you get caught too easily!
Modern Day segments.
This is yet another mechanic which seems to be like marmite, a mechanic which was scrapped in later games and almost all references are gone from the two latest games. Assassin’s Creed III, just like those before it and Black Flag, has midgame breaks where you’ll come out of the Animus as you explore the ‘real world’. Just in case you weren’t aware, the Assassin’s gameplay isn’t ‘real’, you’re actually Desmond, a guy in the present who uses a machine to relive the stories of his ancestors via sharing their memories and uncovering their secrets.
Within Assassin’s Creed III, you’ll get to explore the hidden cavern as you traverse various parkour puzzles in order to reach new areas to place unlock stones within. These stones are obtained via going to various locations and stealing them. Now, I liked these segments as they broke up the standard gameplay and gave us something new to do, but I know a lot of people don’t like them for the same reason, they’d rather stay immersed and play as the assassin – which I fully understand. However, it’s in these moments where you get to talk to Juno and Minerva, two celestial beings who are trapped, as they explain what your destiny is and why you’re actually doing the things you do. They also help tie together previous games to this one.
Again, these moments aren’t that popular and a lot of people don’t like them, but when Ubisoft stopped including these modern day segments, the games became less relevant as they didn’t feel like part of the series, they simply became their own thing to me.
Ahhh, our first Naval experience!
What do you do?
So, other than seeking out and killing the Templars, what events and side missions do you get to play with within Assassin’s Creed III? There’s a lot of different activities which you’ll unlock such as a fist-fighting fight club, bowls, requests to help the townsfolk, taking over areas of the towns, help out the Frontier and Hunting clubs, and more. I love games like this, where you can take over the individual maps by completing a number of quests and then recruiting the person in charge of that segment as one of your fellow assassin’s.
That’s right, once you’ve done enough and killed the resident Templar, you can recruit the person in charge and they’ll become your apprentice. These can be used to either call upon during battle, so they can jump out of the shadows and assassinate people for you, or you can send them on timed missions. If you’ve played Brotherhood or Revelations, it’s like that – pick a mission, send your assassin to complete it, wait a set time (usually five to ten minutes) then see if they were successful or not.
Assassin’s Creed III also has elements we saw in Black Flag. Not only can you go on various naval battles, although these are much smaller and with set criteria rather than a big ‘free-for-all’ as we saw in Black Flag, you can also craft new and creative items which can be sold to various places in order to make a nice profit. This is similar to the above process with your assassin’s only you’ll have to complete various missions and take down forts in order to reduce the risk that your merchants will get caught and slaughtered whilst selling the items.
I’m a sucker for mini-games within games like this, the Hostess mini-game within Yakuza had me hooked for hours the first time I played it – I love resource management and micromanaging. Although, there’s one big mini-game I’ve not mentioned…
All right, break it up!
The town building mechanic
This is the number one reason I always become hooked to this game (seriously, I didn’t stop playing this remaster until I got the platinum and previously I didn’t put down my Wii U until I had completed everything). Once you’ve progressed to a certain point in the game, people will want to move into the land near where you and Achilles lives. You allow them to stay as long as they help provide you with resources which you can use to create items in the merchant segment above.
As the town gets bigger, you’ll be presented with tasks to perform, arguments to fix, resources to gather, and games to win in order to allow your townsfolk to level up and grow as a community. This is another mechanic which I can’t stop once I start, I love seeing things flourish as you help people out. However, my one small gripe would be one of the trophy requirements and also a requirement to grow the town – the scanning of the jobs…
It’s not explained very well, but you have to go into your Eagle Vision and scan all the townsfolk as they do various actions. This process took me hours to do as I didn’t realise you could go into Eagle Vision and they changed a different colour when they could be scanned – so I was just randomly scanning everyone! Thankfully, it was worth it in the end as you have your own secondary story which comes off the back of the progress of your town, a story which doesn’t conclude until long after you’ve finished the main game.
Sometimes I wish there a camera on me when I hear about new game titles. Every once in a while I am pleasantly surprised by a game. I love that in some cases you can get a good gist of what you are about to get into just by the title and a brief description. That was precisely how I felt when I heard about Brief Battles the first time. It took very little time for me to decide that I needed to jump on this as soon as possible. If not for the fact that I live in a home with two sons that love gross humour like Captain Underpants, then for the fact that despite being in my mid 30’s, something about toilet humour, it still rattles my funnybone!
Brief Battles is the perfect type of game for multiple reasons. There is no story involved, so you don’t ever have to keep track of things like who backstabbed who and who has to go on a pilgrimage to kill Sin. The game is about collecting Underwear and getting superpowers from them, so you can take this game as seriously as we all ake our diets serious when we are at a Chinese buffet! It may not be dangerous, but there certainly is a lot that can be said about what the game offers as it is excellent for amateur gamers up to the hardened vets. The game can be very unforgiving!
In the game, you play as these little blob looking characters that can move around the map pretty quickly. You can climb walls, double jump, super jump, butt slam and traverse across ceilings with ease. The controls are straightforward and never do you feel like deaths are results of doing controller gymnastics. The levels are all set in areas that are on a single screen, mostly think of Smash Brothers. There are some worlds where you can fall to your doom or hit deadly spikes and die instantly. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that Juicy Cupcake looked at Super Smash Brothers for inspiration. No shame in that either!
You will quickly discover that Brief Battles is meant to play with a group. Don’t worry though; there still are options for single-player! I do wish that there were options with playing the game online. Not only can it be tough even to get 4 friends together to play a game, but also have four controllers laying around. Maybe that’s just me though, getting old sucks!
In each game mode, you are graded for your performance via Bronze, Silver or Gold pairs of Underwear. Of course, that is nice because it continually gives you something to strive for. Each Mode that you play in will have different goals that you have to reach to get to that Gold status, but it is always very straight forward goals such as “Survive X amount of time” or “Kill X amount of enemies before the time runs out.”
The modes themselves are what reminded me the most of Smash Bros (again, that’s not a bad thing!) as it was as if Juicy Cupcake thought to themselves “What are the most exciting parts of the game besides the normal battles?” and thankfully these modes are also the ones you can play solo, though I wouldn’t suggest it if you options!
First, there is Underpants Collector, a mode that is as simple to understand as butter on toast. The main goal in each level is to collect the underwear that pops up on the screen as quickly as possible. These don’t appear randomly mind you; there is a ‘Perfect Path’ for you to follow. You may not see it so much in the Trainee stages, but once you get to the higher tiers, holy smokes do it get hard quickly!
In Tighty Whitey Targets, there will be targets that appear all over the map that you have to shoot at with your Underpants superpowers or by butt slamming them. Generally speaking, these targets can be next to each other or all over the place. Like in Underpants Collector though, they are not randomly generated, so even if you don’t get the Gold on your first try, you can keep playing that level till you have it memorised.
Butt-Em-Up Battles is a mode where you will fight waves of enemies. There are multiple types of enemies you will have to deal with in the game, know that most are pretty simple to kill while others you may have to run from. From time to time that level could be “Survive X amount of time”, or it could be three waves and a boss fight.
Endless Butt-Em-Up needs very little explanation. It is an infinite wave of enemies, and you have to survive as long as possible. Don’t worry though; they are not total monsters that expect you to do it with no assistance. I found that from time to time, a white present would appear on the screen that would restore my life to the max.
Brief Battles is a lot of fun packed into a tight little package. I do wish Juicy Cupcake would have put an Online Multiplayer option into the game so that getting those modes harder difficulties complete would be a bit easier. You come to this game for goofy humour and simple controls, but you stay for the challenge at the end of the day. All in all, for being their debut game, Juicy Cupcake have a bright future ahead of them that will hopefully keep that toilet humour alive and robust, like the current of a clean toilet!
It’s 2019 and we have a new Atari game! Oh no, wait, this isn’t the new Space Invaders. This is a new Ratalaika release and chances are, you are familiar with their previous releases. Carrying their reputation, Zeroptian Invasion is very basic but comes with the benefits of fast platinum and being a cross-buy. The same price of a burger is double the platinum trophies if you own a PS4 and Vita.
If you’re not familiar with Ratalaika games, they are very cheap, basic games that are simple in every way with design, concept, gameplay, and of course, trophies. Hence why they are well loved in the trophy hunting community, to fluff up accounts. The variety of them is appealing in that for a few dollars, you are fairly well entertained.
In Zeroptian Invasion, you are playing a game similar to Space Invaders. For the folk who didn’t live in the age of dumping quarters in arcade units and having simple Atari blips, that means controlling a spaceship that moves left and right of the screen, firing a ray upwards towards lines of enemies that are descending down towards the player.
The enemies pick up in speed as you defeat more enemies. Not only that, but they too will fire at you and as you progress, their attacks will become more varied to throw you off. To help get through the mobs, you have some rock barricades that will take damage and block attacks. They do break, however, so it’s best not to rely on them. The other assistance is with power-ups that drop from the top of the screen if the right ship is shot.
There’s not much going on for gameplay modes. As in, there’s the main campaign mode and that’s it. At the price of this game, you really can’t expect too much but still. It is a fault of the game. Another being that the game itself can feel really slow when firing your laser. Smashing the fire button constantly wouldn’t do much good. I’d watch the slow beams make its course up to a screen and be frantic at how many targets I’d miss. Despite collecting power-ups, they don’t feel like they do much to improve the fire rate. The only one that felt like it had an impact was the shield that would block enemy attacks.
To answer the likely question about trophies, the platinum is easily achievable within 10 minutes. There is nothing unique that needs to be done to get it either, making for a brisk experience with little to no challenge. The only one that could be an issue is that the bosses seem to take a ton of shots to kill and maybe that was just my terrible luck. I did get the platinum though, so if my crud for luck didn’t falter my crusade, you can achieve them too!
Zeroptian Invasion is like other Ratalaika games in that it’s short with minimum gameplay features with the main benefits being the easy platinum. You aren’t paying much so there shouldn’t be much to expect. It does do a good job of being basic enough without weird gameplay mechanics or requiring anything ridiculous of the player.
Brought to you by Three Fields Entertainment, Dangerous Driving is a new entry into the racing genre similar Burnout 3, Need for Speed and Destruction Derby.
Last time I had to review a racing game, I enjoyed it, but it reminded me how bad I am at car games – luckily, Dangerous Driving allows me to use my skills (or lack thereof) because this game encourages you to crash, so I’m technically a pro!
As I loaded up the game I was prepared to get bored quite quickly, like I said, I’m not a huge fan of racing games. However, I got a gold medal on my first race and decided to continue playing… into the early hours.
The game begins with only one race type available and only one car to choose from, but after you start getting a few medals you’ll be unlocking modes and vehicles faster than you can drive. The nine various game modes vary slightly, but the main idea throughout is to drive as fast as you can and smash the competition – literally. Smash them right off the road to get to first place. Whether you’re trading paint, clipping bumpers or just pushing the competition into oncoming traffic the only way to win is to play dirty.
With over 270 miles of tracks set in the National Parks of America you’ll be drifting around forests, deserts, lakes and mountains and each course is beautiful but at 200mph there’s not going to be much chance for sightseeing.
Speed your way around the tracks in modes like ‘Takedown’ vs five other opponents and as the name suggests, you’re going to have to use your anger to destroy as many competitors as possible to make sure you cross the finish line first. Other races like ‘Heatwave’ are more speed focussed, using Nitrous to boost gaining extra speed the longer you survive. You can win new cars in ‘Face Off’ races where it’s just you and one other racer (who’s unfairly in a better vehicle) and you need to use brains and brawn to make sure you win those wheels. My favourite race type is probably ‘Road Rage’ where you win by getting the most Takedowns on your competitors – It suited me much more than trying to drive at 200mph without hitting a wall.
The game looks good, the graphics on games have obviously come a long way since the days of racing around the bowl in Destruction Derby but playing this one is more like watching a Fast & Furious movie and the details are… detailed. Every crash sends the race into slow motion with wheels flying off the car, glass shattering and sparks flying. Hit a truck and the cargo spills across the road sending debris to dodge – and driving at high speeds means you must always keep your eyes on the road.
Now, as much as I enjoyed this game there were some aspects I had major issues with – Firstly, this game is just Burnout 3 on a low budget, but with the developers being the creative team for Burnout, it’s more of a homage than a rip off and let’s face it, there’s been a gap for this type of game on Playstation for quite a while now so it’s welcomed with open arms.
Other things I found were less wrong and just more annoying – the races set at sunrise/sundown had so much glare it was difficult to see the road ahead and when you must try to spot cars coming straight at you, having glare isn’t the greatest. Also, the road signs on most games help you see bends in the road, for some reason 90% of the arrows in this game were facing the wrong way resulting in a LOT of frustrating crashes. I didn’t know if it was because you’re technically always driving on the wrong side of the road, but it didn’t help with my already awesome driving skills.
One issue I had with the game was that as soon as the starting gun fired, the other racers sped off at top speed while I was left still trying to pump up the gears. They left me in their dust most of the time, and you had to work to catch up before you could even think of smashing your way to first place. Even in the Face-Off races you end up in collisions with oncoming traffic or road barriers and it seems that the AI isn’t affected by mere obstacles in his way – I don’t know if it was just a glitch in the game, but I had to really work my ass off to win more cars which sucked a little bit of the fun out. Still, it was rewarding when you won!
My biggest problem was the HUD – as you select your race, it’ll show you the map. That’s it. During the race you have your Nitrous bar and your speedometer – after a couple of minutes of racing (some of these tracks are LONG), it was a little annoying not being able to see how much further you’ve got to go to victory. Sometimes, even playing the same track, it seemed that the Start/Finish line had been moved from the last time you played so you couldn’t also learn the road to improve. I looked in setting to see if there was a way to change the HUD or get a mini-map but had no luck.
I’d seen that the game also states it’s multiplayer too, so I invited a few mates round to have a few beers (don’t drink and drive!) and ended up having to switch games because we couldn’t find the Multiplayer option. Maybe it unlocks as you complete more races, but a game like this should just let you play with your friends without having to work for it – there’s nothing better than running someone off the road and dodging pillows being thrown at you at the same time.
All in all, it’s pretty much identical to Burnout 3 except it doesn’t seem as polished. But when your flipping cars off a race track at high speeds, who’s got time to polish the bonnet?
As a gamer, it can be sometimes pretty easy to clump games together by genre and disregard titles fairly easily. It seems like every time you go online, there is a new game that is announced that hits on all those all-too-familiar genres. You hear “Open World!”, “RPG”, and “ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE!!!” and you can already envision what the game will be, probably a majority of the plot, weapons that you use among other common tropes. I will admit that when I first heard about Days Gone, I had very little interest in the game. Year after Year and E3 after E3 we would see a LITTLE bit more but it got to the point where it seemed that Days Gone would never be released, and because of that I simply stopped paying attention. Of course, Bend Studios eventually put a release date on Days Gone and then I looked more into what the game had to offer and there was SOMETHING there that was tantalizing.
What that something was, I honestly still cannot pinpoint however I can comfortably say that after I started playing, I couldn’t stop. It consumed me like a drug, like a parasite, like a starving man in a fully stocked Chinese buffet. IT consumed me and when I would walk away from the game, the desire would be there, in the back of mind, to come back to the game as soon as I possibly could. My Chicken Egg Roll fix if you will.
How do you make this game different though? With the other big Zombie game release with World War Z (See our review!!) it was going to be interesting to see if they could both exist in that same “world” while also scratching that different itch. While they both may be Zombie games, they couldn’t be more different from each other.
Days Gone takes place in the beautiful state of Oregon. While I cannot confirm if it is based on a specific county, I have family that swears it is based on the Eastern side of the state because of the lush forest scenery. The problem is that is it is not exactly sunshine and rainbows for the folks that currently live in the world of Days Gone as this version of Oregon has been ravaged by Freakers (this is what they call Zombies in the game) for the past 2 years. You play as bad boy Deacon St John. Deacon was part of a biker gang called the Mongrels and after the world went to hell in a handbasket, he and his biker buddy Boozer have been travelling around as ‘Drifters’ doing a mercenary type of work for different settlements of survivors. You find out fairly quickly into the game that Deacons wife, Sarah, was injured severely at one point and was taken via helicopter to a government medical facility. Upon arriving at that facility, Deacon and Boozer discovered it infested with Freakers. This is where the game starts. As Deacon, you will help several different settlements as well as lone survivors in the open world. All of this while trying to survive the Freakers and fellow man.
Travelling around Oregon would take a very long time but let’s not forget that Deacon was a biker before the world changed. As you level Deacon up and gain money from the various jobs you take on, you will also be upgrading your motorcycle from what is a glorified Dirt bike in the beginning to a full-fledged road hog at the end. I found the motorcycle travel to be very pretty loose when I started the game, but like most games with driving elements, in time I was able to get used to it. Your motorcycle is also important for other reasons as you cannot save your game out in the wilderness without it. I thought that was neat but it can also be frustrating when you find yourself nowhere near your bike and your wife yells that it is time for dinner! You also use your bike as a means of fast travel! Once you clear out specific areas, you will open that spot up for fast travel. However, like real-world vehicles, if you don’t have enough gasoline, you will not be able to fast travel to that area.
Like in any Freaker infested land where man fights among itself as well, you won’t be trusted by everyone. You gain Trust experience points any time you do activities on certain points of the map. There are 3 settlements that you will need to do activities to level them. This process is, I felt, very long and drawn out. Until you have gained enough trust in a settlement, you can only utilize so many of their services and only to an extent. While I didn’t dislike the idea that you have to gain the trust of the locals before they will work with you, I just felt like it took a LONG time to get enough EXP to gain a level.
Of course, there are other RPG elements in Days Gone that make your stay is Oregon more exciting. You gain your own individual experience points. With each level, you are given ability points that can be used to gain abilities that are always helpful! From increasing the damage you will put out, to having the ability to carry more ammo, there are many ways in which you can make Deacon a killing machine.
Now, A game of this magnitude never comes to us perfectly. Days Gone is no exception and as much I want to scream for everyone to hear me how much I love the game, it has also presented many issues. Of my own experiences, I have encountered severe audio lag on multiple occasions that absolutely takes you out of the game. When this happened there would generally be about 4-6 seconds of lag.
I also encountered issues with framerate whenever there was a lot of action on the screen. I have a fairly new PlayStation 4 PRO with a 4k TV and yet there were times when I would encounter the larger freaker hordes where the screen would be so choppy that the game was near unplayable. In those moments, all I could do was try to minimize what I was doing while trying to escape. There’s literally no way you will survive a 300+ Freaker horde if the screen is like playing an old Game & Watch.
Days Gone was what I thought it would be and perhaps a bit more. I loved riding my motorcycle around Oregon, exploring nooks and crannies for scrap and anything useful I could find. The fights against the Freaker Hordes are both exhilarating and terrifying. The game does suffer from multiple issues with performance. Even as I type this review though, Bend Studios does acknowledge these issues and are working at putting out patches to resolve them. Even if these types of games are not your main squeeze, I would suggest picking it up (perhaps on a sale?) at some point because the high points that are hit are excellent and any of the low points are patchable!
Days Gone | Gameplay Launch Trailer | PS4 - YouTube