Thursday, October 19, 2017

[REVIEW] Stardew Valley (Switch)

Stardew Valley
Played on: Switch
Genre: Life simulation, RPG
Developer: ConcernedApe
Publisher: Chucklefish

Our hobby is home to a few truisms, but this is at its core: games are meant to be fun. It's a simple assertion, but the job of turning ideas and lines of code into memorable moments is everything but 'simple'. This is something I often come to when thinking about creativity, and it gets exponentially more fascinating whenever a video game manages to transcend the confines of what it apparently should be. Stardew Valley, a life simulation game inexplicably designed by a single person, gave me a lot of fun. But also so much more.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

[REVIEW] Steamworld Dig 2 (Switch)

Steamworld Dig 2
Played on: Switch
Genre: Action-adventure platformer, metroidvania
Developer / Publisher: Image & Form

I may be wrong, but i think the original Steamworld Dig was my first indie purchase on my 3DS. So, in a way, it's the precursor to the love for downloadable titles that has defined my gaming habits this decade. I guess one can only wonder how much stronger that effect would have been if that game was Steamworld Dig 2 instead, as this sequel takes an already addictive formula and goes completely nuts with it. In a good way, if you can't already tell.

[REVIEW] Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle (Switch)

Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
Played on: Switch
Genre: Turn-based tactical RPG
Developer / Publisher: Ubisoft

I have to hand it to Ubisoft: the marketing strategy for Mario + Rabbids has to be the best in recent gaming years. In hindsight, it's so simple: 1) leak a rumor for a Mario & Rabbids crossover; 2) let people make fun of the concept for months on end; 3) have a big reveal at E3, after the joke has already died down, and show to your unsuspecting audience that the game actually (gasp) looks quite promising.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

[REVIEW] Splatoon 2 (Switch)

Splatoon 2
Played on: Switch
Genre: Third-person shooter
Developer / Publisher: Nintendo

In 2015, Nintendo struck gold when it decided to put its quirky spin on the online shooter genre. The result was Splatoon, which is bound to go down in history as one of the company's main victories in the underappreciated Wii U console. A couple years later, we get a sequel on Switch that manages to one-up the original by pretty much every metric (one which, thankfully, isn't called Spla2n, no matter what kids these days think they want).

[REVIEW] Lego Worlds (Switch)

Lego Worlds
Played on: Switch
Genre: Sandbox adventure
Developer: Traveller's Tales
Publisher: Warner Bros.

Ah, Lego. One of the absolute joys of my childhood, unfortunately, hasn't really managed to impress me in the realm of video games, aside from the underrated former Wii U exclusive Lego City Undercover. Lego Worlds, however, had my attention. I mean, we live in a world where Lego-inspired Minecraft is one of gaming's biggest franchises, so taking the Danish toy and building a compelling open-ended survival game around it should be fine and easy, right?

[REVIEW] Gonner (Switch)

Played on: Switch
Genre: Action platformer
Developer: Art in Heart
Publisher: Raw Fury

Handheld devices (or, in the case of the Switch, hybrid ones) lend themselves pretty well to twitchy, arcade-like games. As far as the Switch's rapidly growing library goes, few games will manage to scratch that quick gameplay itch as formidably as Gonner, a tough but fair platformer with a super stylish presentation.

Monday, October 16, 2017

[REVIEW] Sonic Mania (Switch)

Sonic Mania
Played on: Switch
Genre: Action platformer
Developer: PagodaWest, Headcannon
Publisher: SEGA

When I got back to being a big console gaming geek around 2009, one of my cravings was to see just how Sonic was doing. I used to be a fan during the Master System days, but I knew from word of mouth that his games had taken a dive in quality (which yeah, was true). Sonic Mania, then, is a return to form of sorts; although it's fair to question just what kind of a form that one was to being with.

[REVIEW] Disgaea 5 Complete (Switch)

Disgaea 5 Complete
Played on: Switch
Genre: Turn-based RPG
Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
Publisher: NIS America

Making its debut on Nintendo platforms, Nippon Ichi's premier franchise is beloved for its turn-based gameplay and its pretty much infinite replayability, thanks to some of the very neat ideas it has on display. It can also border on the obnoxious by just never knowing when to stop and take a breather, and the complete version of PS4 original Disgaea 5 is no different.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

[REVIEW] Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas (Switch)

Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas
Played on: Switch
Genre: Top-down action-adventure
Developer: Cornfox & Bros.
Publisher: FDG Entertainment

Originally released on mobile platforms, Oceanhorn is a title that has been on my radar for a while now. That's because it's impossible to not get the feeling that this is a game majorly inspired by The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, which is one of my favorite games on one of my favorite franchises. After spending twenty hours to 100% the game, I came out impressed, even if, as expected, originality isn't really something that's all that present here.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Post-Mortem: My 20 Favorite Wii U Games, Part 1 (#20 - #11)

Ah, Wii U. Nintendo's biggest commercial flop since the ill-fated Virtual Boy just so happens to have become a console that's near and dear to my heart. Those two facts are probaby not unrelated, either, as I've been getting less and less enamored with the typical AAA gaming output of these days (which the Wii U severely lacks) and more and more fond of those lovely, excellently-designed indie titles (which the Wii U has in spades). Add Nintendo's first-party output, which is what made me a fan of the company in the first place, and you have a library that's actually pretty great.

Here are the twenty main reasons why I think so. (I mean, ten. This is only part one, after all.)

EDIT: Click here for part two.

Monday, June 19, 2017

[REVIEW] Mighty Gunvolt Burst (Switch)

Mighty Gunvolt Burst
Played on: Switch
Genre: 2D Action Platformer
Developer: Inti Creates
Publisher: Yacht Club Games

It's fair to say Mighty No. 9, Keiji Inafune's spiritual successor to the dormant Mega Man franchise, was a disappointment. A successful Kickstarter campaign was followed by numerous delays and bad game design decisions. Mighty Gunvolt Burst, then, is an attempt to salvage the franchise by making a crossover with Inti Creates' well-received 3DS series Azure Striker Gunvolt. The result, surprisingly enough, feels like the game Mighty No. 9 should have been all along.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

[REVIEW] Night in the Woods (PS4)

Night in the Woods
Played on: Playstation 4
Genre: Story-based adventure
Developer: Infinite Fall
Publisher: Finji

My opinion on the relationship between gaming and storytelling is... well, complicated. Stories have always been a very efficient way to make players emotionally invested in a game, but the trend of turning all of the spotlights to the story, while actual gameplay takes on a supporting role, isn't something that usually appeals to me. This is pretty much what happens in Night in the Woods, and yet the game's many charms kept me coming back until its shiver-inducing ending.

[REVIEW] Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap (Switch)

Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap
Played on: Switch
Genre: 2D Metroidvania Platformer
Developer: Lizardcube
Publisher: DotEmu

As a Brazilian, it should come as no surprise I have a keen sense of nostalgia for the Master System. It was my second ever console, after the NES, and it went on to be a staple of my childhood. The Wonder Boy franchise (which was localized in Brazil as Turma da Mônica, after a popular comic book series) has always stood tall among the console's library, and now one of its best titles has received a loving remaster for a new era.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

[REVIEW] The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch)

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Played on: Switch
Genre: Action-adventure
Developer/Publisher: Nintendo

It has become commonplace over the last few years to refer to The Legend of Zelda as formulaic, but the franchise is no stranger to sweeping change. From Ocarina of Time's 3D revolution to the touch-based DS experiments, Nintendo's flagship adventure series has tried quite a few bold new directions, with varying levels of success. None of those experiments, however, were as comprehensive as Breath of the Wild. And, it can be argued, none of them were ultimately as fantastic.

Monday, March 6, 2017

[REVIEW] Dragon Quest Builders (PS4)

Dragon Quest Builders
Played on: PS4
Genre: Action RPG, Survival
Developer/Publisher: Square Enix

Given how I love open-ended adventures with a focus on crafting and building, you'd think I'd be all over Minecraft. However, some of that game's quirks, such as the first-player perspective, questionable character design, and lack of objectives, are too off-putting for me. If you change all of those to something more akin to my tastes, you get Dragon Quest Builders, and that makes Square Enix's take on the survival genre a game I surely won't soon forget.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

[REVIEW] Uncharted 4: A Thief's End (PS4)

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
Played on: PS4
Genre: Action-adventure
Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

Sony has been getting a reputation for its story-driven games, and in that regard the Uncharted series is the company’s crowning jewel. I’m usually not very fond of such titles, as they can often get lost in their movie-wannabe aspirations to the point of severely affecting the gameplay. Uncharted 4, however, won me over by combining pristine level design with an unusually slick amalgamation of gameplay and storytelling.

[REVIEW] Ratchet & Clank (PS4)

Ratchet & Clank
Played on: PS4
Genre: 3D action-platformer
Developer: Insomniac
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment

Two of the Playstation brand's most celebrated mascots, Ratchet & Clank arrived on PS4 in this remake of their original PS2 title. Having never played the series, and being a fan of 3D platformers, this was a game I eagerly anticipated. What I found out is that the series (or, at least, this particular game) lacks many of the things that made me love the genre in the first place.

[REVIEW] The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD (Wii U)

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD
Played on: Wii U
Genre: Action-adventure
Developer: Tantalus / Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo

I never owned a Wii or a Gamecube, as both those consoles were released during an extended break I took from console gaming. So when I got the backwards compatible Wii U in 2013, as a huge Zelda fan, one of the first things I did was to get Wii's Twilight Princess. Halfway through the second dungeon, I gave up, as I simply couldn't stomach playing through a 3D Zelda with motion controls. Twilight Princess HD, then, was a very welcome way for me to cover this particular hole in my Zelda backlog.

Monday, January 2, 2017

[REVIEW] Sid Meier's Civilization VI (PC)

Sid Meier's Civilization VI
Played on: PC
Genre: Turn-based strategy
Developer: Firaxis
Publisher: 2K Games

Looking back at my video-gaming life, I don't think any franchise has gotten more of my hours than Sid Meier's Civilization. There's just something extremely alluring about starting a small stone age empire and expanding it as you see fit until the actual future, and the turn-based nature of the series gets me hopelessly addicted every time. Civ VI was no different, even though at launch it didn't quite rise to the heights of the last couple of numbered entries.

[REVIEW] Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE (Wii U)

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE
Played on: Wii U
Genre: JRPG
Developer: Atlus
Publisher: Nintendo

Initially announced as Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem, Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE is an Atlus JRPG that mixes several elements from those beloved franchises. Luckily, the result is a game that's very much its own idea.