Reviews

Reviews of the games we play, aiming to quickly encapsulate the game’s essence and quirks. Most games have an audience; our goal is for the review to make it clear to you whether you are part of a game’s audience - even if we aren’t.

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Capsule Review: Senran Kagura Peach Ball

A pinball spin-off of the Senran Kagura franchise starring busty schoolgirl ninjas who take clothing damage (though there’s basically no ninjutsu or clothing damage in this one). Five of the series’s recurring characters (Yumi, Asuka, Murasaki, Ryōna, and Yomi) have been partially transformed into different animals (which mostly means they wear fur bikinis and animal ears while acting like a stereotype of the animal in question) and to restore them, you need to hit them with a pinball over and over.

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Capsule Review: Dragon Quest Heroes II

An action role-playing game set in a crossover Dragon Quest world featuring some original characters as well as some fan favorites from previous games. Despite being the direct sequel to a Musou game, Dragon Quest Heroes II takes several steps away from that formula. The large-scale hack-and-slash battles with multiple simultaneous threats to manage are mostly gone and the emphasis is on individual combat encounters between a four-character party and small groups of monsters in an interconnected and semi-open world.

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Capsule Review: Muse Dash

A deceptively-simple Japanese-style rhythm game with a two-button control scheme, energetic soundtrack, smooth (if cheesecake-laden) visuals, and flow-inducing gameplay for a range of skill levels. As with BIT.TRIP RUNNER or Bubsy: Paws on Fire!, the game is framed as a side-scroller with the player character constantly running to the right, but the player doesn’t have the freedom of an actual rhythm platformer.

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Capsule Review: Geki Yaba Runner Anniversary Edition

A simple but challenging auto-runner. Navigate over eighty levels requiring precise timing to avoid obstacles and collect… socks, for some reason. The cartoony aesthetic is serviceable enough, but the sounds are slightly grating and there seems to only be one clip for most sources - the sound for deploying the parachute to glide, the rimshot that is for some reason played when clearing a level, and the babbling of the anthropomorphized treasure chest that holds the collectibles all get old fast.

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Capsule Review: Bubsy: Paws on Fire!

A collaboration between Bubsy franchise publisher Accolade and BIT.TRIP Runner developer Choice Provisions, Bubsy: Paws on Fire! features Runner-like gameplay starring Bubsy and friends. The result is a highly readable rhythm platformer with varied gameplay and a wide competence zone where the player has a good amount of freedom in their approach and a lot of opportunity for flow.

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Capsule Review: Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition

A Musou game set in a crossover Legend of Zelda world, featuring a few original characters and many from previous games. As is standard for Musou crossover games, elements from the franchise have been incorporated into the large-scale hack-and-slash gameplay, though they vary considerably in how well they suit the experience.

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Capsule Review: Golf Peaks

A golf-themed puzzle game. The ball starts in one square of a grid and elsewhere is the hole. You’re provided with a handful of one-use cards that will move the ball specified distances - use them in the right order and pointed in the right directions to get the ball into the hole.

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Capsule Review: Glass Masquerade

A puzzle game in which you reassemble stained glass images from separated pieces, jigsaw-puzzle-style. Each image is themed after a particular country and presented as a clock face as part of the fictional “International Times Exhibition.” The game is beautiful and relaxing, though a few design decisions mar the experience slightly and the overall package is a little thin.

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Capsule Review: Hook

A short and simple puzzle game with a minimalist aesthetic. Buttons are connected to lines and pressing the button retracts the line and removes it from the screen - but the lines often overlap or otherwise prevent each other from retracting. They must be retracted in the correct order to clear the puzzle, roughly analogous to pick-up sticks.

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Capsule Review: Smashing the Battle

A simple 3D brawler starring a few busty women and an army of robots. In each mostly-linear level, you must smash up all the robots and reach the exit. A few variations exist including time limits, hazards to avoid that can turn crowded battles into bullet hells, and some survivors to find off the main path.

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