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: 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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Capsule Review: Rumu

A short narrative adventure game where you play as a robotic vacuum cleaner named Rumu who is designed to clean messes and feel love. It soon becomes clear that things are not as they appear and there are mysteries to solve - possibly deadly ones. The game features a sleek, ultramodern aesthetic with visuals that wouldn’t be out of place in some kind of near-future interactive IKEA catalog or a commercial for Aperture Science.

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Capsule Review: Sticks and Bones

A short dialog-free comedic adventure that’s apparently intended to serve as a prequel to a fuller game later on. You play as a skeletal pirate seeking a great treasure who must deal with various setbacks, obstacles, and enemies along the way. Over the game’s short run time (my playthrough was about forty minutes) it flirts briefly with many different minigame-like interaction methods.

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Capsule Review: SUPERBEAT: XONiC

A rhythm game where notes flow from the center of the screen to the left or right sides of an outer circle. Depending on the note type and the portion of the circle it hits, the player must press the correct button or stick (or on some platforms, tap the screen) in the correct way with the correct timing.

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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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