REZ PLZ Review: Live, Die, Platform, Repeat

In what is informally called the “splatformer,” player characters are expected to die numerous times through harrowing levels designed for trial-and-error. For REZ PLZ by Long Neck Games, death is not only an expectation but a requirement. This is a game that plays with the video game-y concept of respawning—though instead of presenting some sort of existential primer on impermanence, it comes off as a grisly buddy comedy.

Review: Liberated is a "Both Sides" Tale in a Period of Resistance

Playing Liberated amidst the protests and riots stemming from the recent police murder of George Floyd was profoundly unsettling. As I was playing this cyberpunk noir game on my Switch, I sat in front of my laptop, which displayed social media images of public demonstrations and the resulting police brutality. Meanwhile, in Liberated, I was playing as a cop, indiscriminately shooting members of a resistance organization.

Review: Wunderling

For whatever reason, fans of the Super Mario games have enjoyed engaging in absolutely ludicrous speculation and obscure fact-finding about their world and lore (i.e. the Peachette discourse, or Mario punching Yoshi). They turn the chirpy and innocent into the grotesque, and project somewhat dark implications into the behind-the-scenes goings-on in the Mushroom Kingdom. More often than not, Wunderling from Retroid often feels like a byproduct inspired by that absurd Mario conjecture, with the high-concept pitch being: what if there was a Mario game with a Goomba as the hero?

The Jackbox Party Pack 6 Review — Sustaining the Life of the Party

After five party packs from Jackbox Games, it is fair to say that we all “get” Jackbox at this point. Players are familiar with the tropes, the formulas, and the overall sense of humor of these packages, and these games have been around long enough that we can use previous games as references in discussing newer ones. This isn’t a hindrance to The Jackbox Party Pack 6, however, with a lot of ideas from Jackbox’s past cleverly reused, remixed, and repurposed for some fun new games.

Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair Review — Actually Quite Possible

It’s quite likely that just by its nature of being a 2D platformer, Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair interested me to a level where its 3D predecessor just didn’t. I was always more of a Donkey Kong Country kid more so than Donkey Kong 64, and even if Playtonic and Team17 downplayed comparisons to Retro Studios’ reboot of DKC, a number of overlapping elements had me sold. Couple that with a Breath of the Wild-like approach to its final level and unique ideas with the overworld and we had something that I thought could be a winner.

Sayonara Wild Hearts Review — An Enchanting Visual Album Full of Hits

Once everyone begins talking about Sayonara Wild Hearts in their own gaming social spaces, each person will undoubtedly be comparing it to different pieces of media that they like. It could be another video game, a favorite movie they have, or more likely, a music album that they adore. Regardless of what points of comparison people make, they’ll all be right in some way, whether Simogo intended the similarities or not. What’s important is that this “pop album game” will surely remind players of something that they personally love.

Untitled Goose Game Review — A Comedy of Errors

Out of all of the visual mediums, video games seem to be the medium that eludes humor the most. Sure, writers can put out a funny script and animators can make their characters do silly things, but the interactivity of gaming cries for the act of play to create comedy for the player. This Untitled Goose Game from House House could very well serve as an antidote for the lack of comedy in play experiences, even if it doesn’t reach its full potential.

Creature in the Well Review — Sure Plays a Mean Pinball

As I played Flight School’s Creature in the Well, the word “satisfying” kept popping to mind—but as I find that word to be overused in video game criticism and conjecture, I found myself reckoning with what that word really tells us about games. Was it the sights, the sounds, or perhaps the pace of gameplay that we find satisfying? For this pinball-like hack-and-slash, the answer was all of the above.

The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan Review — A Horror Game with Terrifying Tech Problems

Upon starting up Man of Medan, the first in Supermassive Games’ horror anthology The Dark Pictures, players will notice that the top menu option is called “Don’t Play Alone.” The developers knew exactly how people were playing their past title Until Dawn, passing the controller amongst friends in a dark room, screaming and laughing at jump scares and overall B-movie cheese. Man of Medan has more of that, but it is better crafted for that playstyle. It’s just a shame that the game just couldn’t run well.

Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled Review — Harder, Better, Faster, LOUDER

As a child, I never really aligned myself with a particular console, owning both a PlayStation and a Nintendo 64. Even in my naivete, the difference between Crash Team Racing and Mario Kart 64 was night and day. The latter was more palatable for me and for multiplayer sessions, but something about the former still drew me towards it. This kart racing game looked better, felt weightier, and it was for sure harder. But in the decades to follow, both my CTR disc and my memory of the game would disappear, meaning that I could look at the remake Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled with fresh eyes.

Falcon Age Review — Fight Colonialism in This Adorable But Unpolished Experience

As blockbuster video games dominate the news cycle, sometimes indie games only catch eyes through positive word-of-mouth on social media. When scrolling through Twitter, Reddit, or even Tumblr, if that’s something people still go on, one may catch some wholesome GIFs of a game where the player has a bird friend. This is Falcon Age, and it has a wonderful pitch: fight colonial oppressors with the help of your falcon companion—and yes, you can dress the bird up. But to my disappointment, the excitement from the GIFs died down as I played through the actual game.

Duck Game Review — A Fun and Absurd Playable Joke of a Game

As blockbuster video games dominate the news cycle, sometimes indie games only catch eyes through positive word-of-mouth on social media. When scrolling through Twitter, Reddit, or even Tumblr, if that’s something people still go on, one may catch some wholesome GIFs of a game where the player has a bird friend. This is Falcon Age, and it has a wonderful pitch: fight colonial oppressors with the help of your falcon companion—and yes, you can dress the bird up. But to my disappointment, the excitement from the GIFs died down as I played through the actual game.

The World Next Door Review — An All Too Short Visit to a Wonderful World

In a cultural landscape where people with short attention spans have too much media to consume, word of mouth and first impressions are more important than ever for independent art. For video games, catching eyes with a visual style in a news cycle where games are shown off seconds at a time in trailer montages and Nintendo Directs is key. With that, The World Next Door for Switch and PC is one of those games that caught my eye.

Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story + Bowser Jr.’s Journey Review — A Classic RPG with an Enjoyable Add-On

With every Mario RPG game comes its own unique gimmick, and Bowser’s Inside Story perhaps has one of the most memorable. Enhanced for the Nintendo 3DS, Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story encapsulates some of the best this subseries has to offer: a colorful art style, joyous music, quirky humor, sharp writing, a fun “other” character in Bowser, and a relatively intuitive timing-based battle system. All of this remains intact in this fun package—even if the new Bowser Jr.’s Journey add-on somewhat falters.
Load More Articles
Close