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: 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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Capsule Review: Dragon's Crown

A 2.5D brawler with action RPG elements. You can play alone or via couch co-op, but the game is obviously tuned to favor online co-op - there are six different classes with varying specializations and it’s valuable to have multiple archetypes present, but there’s also a lot of very slow inventory and skill point management that only one local player can do at a time.

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Capsule Review: TowerFall Ascension

A fast-paced, very precise 2D arena fighter based on shooting arrows and head-stomping. A few simple moves are combined to create a lot of strategic depth and a high skill ceiling. There are also a ton of modifiers and modes available for varied gameplay, such as giving everyone bomb arrows or even taking arrows away completely, and there’s a co-op campaign as well that pits you against a variety of enemy types.

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Capsule Review: Catherine

A game about a man going through a quarter-life crisis and, essentially, choosing between two women who represent commitment and freedom respectively. Gameplay alternates between the player character’s nightmares, which are experienced as block-sliding climbing puzzles, and his waking life, experienced as adventure game-like sections with dialog and time-management choices and a pretty cool texting mechanic where you pick the mood of each sentence to send.

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Capsule Review: Broforce

An over-the-top 2D pixel art shoot ‘em up that affectionately parodies action movies and the war on terror. It’s very chaotic, with terrain that can be destroyed by gunfire and explosives lying around that can result in screen-clearing chains of explosions at the drop of a hat. A single stray bullet can kill you, which is mostly okay as this just means you switch to the next randomly-selected bro, which adds enjoyably to the chaos since the bros are fun and varied and it’s entertaining to figure out how to be effective with each bro’s particular power set.

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Capsule Review: Race the Sun

An endless runner with a compelling atmosphere. Deaths are slightly too spectacular and flow-disrupting, but the mission-based unlock system means they are also the only way to get access to new mechanics - despite the game’s continual navel-gazing about the inevitability of failure, failure is the only way to progress. As a result, the pacing feels slow and oddly forced - rather than honing skill on a well-tuned challenge, it feels like running laps in an incomplete game in order to earn the next piece.

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Capsule Review: Lumines: Supernova

A falling-block puzzle game where you must group like-colored blocks into rectangles to clear them away. Every so often you switch to a new song and corresponding visual skin, and the speed of the song determines the speed at which blocks are cleared away. Slower songs make it easier to rack up large combos, but also leave more time for the board to overfill and end the game.

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Capsule Review: Lumines

A falling-block puzzle game where you must group like-colored blocks into rectangles to clear them away. Every so often you switch to a new song and corresponding visual skin, and the speed of the song determines the speed at which blocks are cleared away. Slower songs make it easier to rack up large combos, but also leave more time for the board to overfill and end the game.

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