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Capsule Review: Disney Magical World

A life sim set in a crossover Disney universe. Your Mii-based character moves into a town populated by Disney characters (and other Mii-like townsfolk) and explores connected worlds themed after particular Disney properties, undertaking quests and doing favors for beloved Disney characters. There’s a real-time day/night cycle, but it’s just cosmetic and doesn’t block off any of the game’s content.

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Capsule Review: Legend of Kyrandia: The Hand of Fate

A comedic and kid-friendly old-school point-and-click adventure. Puzzles are based around a potion system - to advance past most roadblocks, you need to follow a recipe from your spellbook to make a specific potion. There are often red herrings in the form of some-but-not-all of the ingredients for a potion you don’t yet need to make (though your inventory is emptied between chapters to prevent you from hoarding these).

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Capsule Review: Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma

A game with alternating visual novel segments (where the plot is advanced as you interact with the other characters and sometimes make dialog choices) and escape-the-room puzzle segments. Unlike the first two games, you play as a few different members of a group of nine people who’ve been imprisoned and forced to play “the decision game” - sometimes there’s a way out without killing anyone and sometimes there isn’t.

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Capsule Review: Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward

A game with alternating visual novel segments (where the plot is advanced as you interact with the other characters and sometimes make dialog choices) and escape-the-room puzzle segments. You’re an ordinary college student who gets abducted and wakes up imprisoned with eight other abductees, and together you are forced to play “the nonary game” - you must work together to solve puzzles in order to progress through your prison to an ultimate promised escape.

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Capsule Review: Zero Escape: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors

A game with alternating visual novel segments (where the plot is advanced as you interact with the other characters and sometimes make dialog choices) and escape-the-room puzzle segments. You’re an ordinary college student who gets abducted and wakes up imprisoned with eight other abductees, and together you are forced to play “the nonary game” - you must work together to solve puzzles in order to progress through your prison to an ultimate promised escape.

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Capsule Review: Animal Inspector

A weird parallel universe version of Papers, Please with an absurd premise. You must accept or reject animals with no clear guidelines and no explicit explanation of what happens as a result. Characters with believable personalities, stakes that gradually rise, and a story that’s told using the game’s own mechanics all combine to create a surprisingly compelling experience.

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Capsule Review: Undertale

A retro RPG heavily influenced by Earthbound and other SNES-era RPGs that deconstructs many of their traditions. Most notably (and apparently most acceptable to spoil) it’s possible to get through the game without making a single kill. Combat is active and engaging, though once you’ve figured out how to spare a particular type of enemy going through it again is just rote.

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Capsule Review: The Deadly Tower of Monsters

An isometric run-and-gun shooter set in a sci-fi B-movie. The combat and platforming are adequate if a bit unpolished, and while the upgrades and the collectibles that pay for them feel a bit superfluous the exploration to find the collectibles is actually fantastic. The game mostly consists of climbing an incredibly high tower and at any time you can look down over the edge, which gives a great feeling of progress as you look down from higher and higher up.

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Capsule Review: Shütshimi

A retro-styled horizontal scrolling shooter whose action comes in ten-second increments. In between, you have a few seconds to pick one of three random modifiers - there are hats, different weapons, upgrades or downgrades, and various silly cosmetic effects. Everything is presented with tongue held firmly in cheek and the jokey descriptions for the modifiers and their unrelated icons make it hard to suss out what your options actually are in the few seconds available.

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