Murasaki Baby Review

Murasaki Baby is a side-scrolling puzzle platformer released for the PS Vita on September 16, 2014. It was developed by Italian studio @ovosonico and published by SCE. For more info check out Muraskai Baby’s site. Screenshots taken by myself.

Murasaki Baby is a really, really weird game. I’ve played a lot of video games and I’ve never quite experienced anything like this one. It’s a couple years old but I recently played it and was struck by my experience so I thought it’d be a good one to share. Done in the style of Edward Gorey’s darkest paintings, it’s best described as gothic dark fantasy. While the touch controls can get in the way, Murasaki Baby delivers some challenging puzzles that sometimes smartly use the Vita’s two touch pads. It’s a short but memorable experience, in part due to its style rarely seen in video games and in part to its clever puzzles. Continue reading →

ABZÛ Review

ABZÛ is an adventure game released for the PS4 and PC on August 2nd, 2016. It was developed by @GiantSquidology and published by @505_Games. For more info check out ABZÛ’s site. Screenshots taken by myself.

I like to take notes while I play a game for review. When I pulled myself away from my monitor after beating ABZÛ, all in one sitting, I went over my notes and noticed I had written the same word several times throughout my list: gorgeous. And if you take one thing away from this review let it be that ABZÛ is an indisputably gorgeous game. In a year of gorgeous indie games like Inside and Firewatch, we’re spoiled yet again by an indie title with visuals that put AAA games to shame. Continue reading →

The Purge: Election Year Review

The Purge: Election Year is a horror film released in North America on July 1st, 2016. It was directed by James DeMonaco and stars Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell and Mykelti Williamson (@mykeltiwmson).

Calling the third instalment in the Purge franchise “Election Year”, releasing it on the July 4th weekend and making the tagline “keep America great” was a brilliant marketing move that capitalised on the current drama surrounding the bid for the American presidency. It especially calls out the republican nominee Donald Trump. But Election Year is so much more than just a marketing move. Underneath, it is a politically charged movie both in its presentation of a tumultuous, dystopian future America but also as a commentary on the current presidential race. In fact, Election Year is so blatant in its connections to the rise of racist and elitist politics in the United States, I would say that the movie is attempting to suggest that a future America where Trump is president would not look too different from the America presented in the Election Year. And that poignant, terrifying suggestion is what takes The Purge: Election Year from a typical trope-laden action flick to a thought-provoking commentary on the current state of America. Continue reading →

Inside Review

Inside is a puzzle platformer adventure game released for the Xbox One on June 29, 2016, for PC on July 7, 2016 and for PS4 August 23, 2016. It was developed and published by @Playdead. For more info check out Inside‘s site. Screenshots taken by myself.

I want to preface my review by stating that I went into Inside with no knowledge about the content of the story, the gameplay or anything. My experience was infinitely better because of it. So while it may seem counterproductive to start a review by saying don’t read my review I’ll instead say read my review after you’ve beaten the game. It won’t take you long, it only took me a little over three hours. But an experience as truly unique and wonderful as Inside needs to be enjoyed fresh. So bookmark this review, go get Inside and play it. You’ll thank me. Continue reading →

Severed Review

Severed is a first person, touch-based dungeon crawler released for the PlayStation Vita on April 26, 2016. It was developed and published by @DrinkBoxStudios. For more info check out the game’s gorgeous site. Screenshots taken by myself.

First person dungeon crawlers are a rare breed of game. It’s a genre that had its heydey in the late 90s and hasn’t really been heard from since. But the opportunity for immersion that comes with this sort of game is quite high if it’s done right. It’s even rarer to see a game from a high profile studio release exclusively on the slowly dying PlayStation Vita. What’s rarest of all is for one of these types of games release on the Vita AND be an incredible experience from start to finish. This recipe for success is what makes Severed a marvellous game and a must play for Vita owners and fans of the genre. Continue reading →

10 Cloverfield Lane Review

10 Cloverfield Lane is a psychological thriller film released in North America on March 11th, 2016. It was directed by Dan Trachtenberg (@DannyTRS) and stars John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead (@M_E_Winstead) and John Gallagher, Jr. (@JohnGallagherJr).

I saw 10 Cloverfield Lane with my girlfriend the other night and was totally into the movie all the way up until the last ten minutes. Everything up until that point had been very engaging. It was tense, scary, thrilling and wonderfully shot. There were so many scenes that had me on the edge of my seat in anticipation. So many moments that shocked me to the point of disbelief. But the ending? The ending blows harder than a kid blowing into his DS playing Wario Ware. Continue reading →

Undertale Review

Undertale is a role-playing game released for PC on September 15th, 2015. It was written, developed and composed by Toby Fox (@tobyfox) with additional art by Temmie Chang (@tuyoki). For more info check out the site. Screenshots taken by myself.

Trying to explain what makes Undertale special is like trying to explain why I enjoy looking at a beautiful sunset. It simply makes me happy. There is so little to be upset about, so little to raise up and shout “Here’s why it’s not good!” From the moment I fell into the world of monsters and walked out into the darkness there was an atmosphere of sincerity following me. The world wanted me to think about myself and my choices. The imperative was on me to explore and talk and work through what was happening. And I did. Continue reading →

Neko Astume: Kitty Collector Review

Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector is a cat collecting game for iOS and Android. The English version released on October 30, 2015. It was developed by @hit_point. Screenshots taken by myself.

Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector is everything the title implies. As a cat enthusiast you want nothing more than to have as many kitties visit you as possible. Kitties of all shapes, colours and sizes. As many cats as possible! So what do you do? You put some food out in your backyard and wait for the cats to roll in, of course. Continue reading →

Fallout Shelter Review

Fallout Shelter is a free-to-play mobile simulation game released for iOS/Android on June 14th, 2015. It was developed by @BethesdaStudios and written by @Dezinuh. For more info check out their site. Screenshots taken by myself.

Fallout Shelter was one of the greatest “available now” moments from any E3 press conference I’ve ever seen. Timed perfectly with the Fallout 4 hype and presented to an audience hungry for anything Fallout, the enthusiasm was tangible. But once people got their hands on it many wrote it off as another basic resource management game with a Fallout skin. And it’s true there are a lot of tired mechanics in Fallout Shelter. But there are also new and fresh aspects to the game all presented in a brilliant use of the Fallout theme. Continue reading →

Downwell Review

Downwell is a vertically scrolling, roguelike, platforming shooter released for PC/IOS/Android on October 15th, 2015. It was developed by @moppppin@strotchy@KissaKolme and published by @devolverdigital. For more info check out their site. Gifs courtesy of mopppin’s blog and screenshots taken by myself.

Downwell is gem. It’s small, it’s of very high quality and most of all shines bright with very tight gameplay. Saying it’s a small is in no way a bad thing. Quite the contrary, Downwell is the perfect size for what it is trying to achieve. There is very little clutter on the screen at any given time. The main focus is on the strip down the center of your screen where all the action takes place. Downwell is a part of the recent deluge of wonderful and thoughtful pixel art games that are coming out lately like Shovel Knight and Axiom Verge. These are games that are more like love letters to the 8bit and 16bit era of video games. Continue reading →