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: Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back

A collaboration between Bubsy franchise publisher Accolade and Giana Sisters developer Black Forest Games and the first Bubsy game in twenty-one years. As Bubsy, explore a series of 2D platforming levels while avoiding hazards, defeating enemies, and collecting yarn. Bubsy can run, jump, climb certain walls, double-jump into a glide, and “pounce.

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Capsule Review: Celeste

A precision platformer with a pixel-art aesthetic and a story featuring themes of mental health and self-acceptance. Play as Madeline, a young woman attempting to reach the summit of Celeste Mountain to prove to herself that she can - and dealing with her inner demons along the way. The climb is accomplished via a series of platforming challenges.

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Capsule Review: Untitled Goose Game

A stealth puzzle game in which you play as a goose and wreak mischievous havoc in a charming village. The gentle cel-shaded aesthetic with incredibly expressive animation loads both the goose and the townspeople with personality and attitude with no need for dialog, and the dynamic Debussy-inspired soundtrack perfectly accentuates your antics.

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Capsule Review: Everdark Tower

A short and approachable RPG designed to be completed in two to four hours. The story is kept short, the mechanics are kept simple, and guide features keep the player from getting lost. The result is an enjoyable bite-sized RPG experience, though there is still room for improved approachability. It’s very similar to Archlion Saga and much of the following review is the same, but the stories and world are not connected and the games can be played independently.

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Capsule Review: Archlion Saga

A short and approachable RPG designed to be completed in two to four hours. The story is kept short, the mechanics are kept simple, and guide features keep the player from getting lost. The result is an enjoyable bite-sized RPG experience, though there is still room for improved approachability. The aesthetic resembles SNES-era JRPGs, but several tweaks have been made to the UI.

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Capsule Review: Sayonara Wild Hearts

A rhythm-game-like playable pop album. The mood and aesthetic are strong, but the game is more cinematic than playable which causes problems with its flow-breaking difficulty spikes. Taken strictly as an audiovisual experience, the game is sublime. The mostly-abstract story of finding harmony after heartbreak complements the sad-pop soundtrack and blue/purple color palette, coming together to create a beautiful, dreamlike atmosphere.

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Capsule Review: Dragon Quest Builders 2

A Minecraft-like game of gathering, crafting, and building wrapped in an action RPG. Set after the end of Dragon Quest II and loaded with callbacks to that game’s characters and events, the story casts you as an apprentice Builder who teams up with the amnesiac Malroth in human form (who does not remember that he is actually the demonic Master of Destruction) to stand against the Children of Hargon, a monster-led church that has outlawed building.

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Capsule Review: Snowboarding The Next Phase

A basic snowboarding game. There are many levels, each featuring a short and mostly-linear descent, though many of them have wide portions where there are effectively multiple paths. There are ramps and hills to jump and do tricks off of for points and collectibles that also award points, and generally the collectibles that are harder to reach are worth more points.

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Capsule Review: Princess Remedy 2: In A Heap of Trouble

A cute little (less than an hour) shooter with minimalist plot, graphics, and sound. As Princess Remedy, progress through a series of areas presented with the look of an old-school RPG as you climb the ominous Boss Tower gathering power-ups and healing everyone you come across. Each area has a number of NPCs to heal, which is accomplished via playing a quick single-stick shooter level (you continually shoot the direction you last moved in).

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Capsule Review: PictoQuest

A Picross game with some fantasy RPG trappings. Solve puzzle grids to defeat enemies, collect treasure, and complete quests as you save the kingdom. The core Picross gameplay is straightforward and serviceable but has no options and no touchscreen control. Normal rules are in effect, penalizing the player for incorrect fill-ins with either an enemy attack against player health or a reduction in collected gold, depending on the type of encounter.

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