If someone told you that 2021 was the year they got into Housemarque, you’d assume it was because they fell head over heels for the Finnish video game developer’s newest product, the brutal, beautiful Returnal. That game is a technical showpiece for the PlayStation 5; arguably one of the hard-to-get system’s must play games from its first year on the market. And yet, I have no firsthand experience with it but this was STILL the year I got into Housemarque. So, how’d THAT happen?Continue reading Nex Machina [PlayStation 4] – Review
If anything has stuck with me from my high school driver’s ed class, it was a tip from one of the two teachers. While out on a drive, the football coach teacher (as opposed to the softball coach teacher) stated that people tend to focus so closely on the rear of the car in front of them, that they lose consciousness regarding their surroundings. Well, my stupid ass tends to do that with enemy bullets in shoot ‘em ups. I pay such close attention to them – in order to avoid them – that I inevitably and unintentionally lose track of where I am in relation, and wind up right in their path!Continue reading Raiden IV [Xbox 360] – Review
Stylistically, I’m not as smitten with Deathsmiles as I am with Akai Katana. What can I say, I’m just not into sexualized preteens and teenage girls! Honestly though, across the dozen or so unique half-hour playthroughs, there were only one or two skeezy scenes, but hey, one is too many, right?Continue reading Deathsmiles [Xbox 360] – Review
As a kid of the 1990s, games like those included in the Raiden Fighters Aces compilation are what come to mind when I think of shoot ‘em ups. The three games included display an adherence to 2D pixel graphics, when in the mid to late 1990s, at the time of their release, 3D polygonal visuals were becoming the norm. The vehicles I piloted, those I destroyed, the villages and other locales I flew over all appeared to be grounded in reality, save for the sci-fi weaponry blotting the screen at all times. And the ludicrously high scores, now those I remember. Yep, stepping up to arcade cabinets at the bowling alley and having to count out the high score in chunks of three to see how many million points I attained, that I remember.Continue reading Raiden Fighters Aces [Xbox 360] – Review
We’ve all done things we’re not proud of. We’re human, after all. For achievement and trophy hunters, there are plenty of temptations. Nowadays, games whose rewards are not hard-earned are bountiful. Take Pacific Wings, for instance. It’s a shameless clone of Capcom’s 1942, developed Sprakelsoft, a German purveyor of similar clones on mobile storefronts.
Debuting as a free-to-play app on Google Play in 2010 – the digital storefront for Android devices – it has since seen release on a number of other platforms, such as the PlayStation 4. While lacking a platinum trophy – the most coveted trophy of all on Sony platforms – it nonetheless contained a few gold trophies, the next best thing. Even better, obtaining them required little effort, and less than a half-hour!
Now there’s a downside, and in this case it’s playing Pacific Wings. The game’s twenty stages go by with little difficulty, little change in scenery, and thankfully, little time to ponder if it was worthwhile. Those gold trophies are front loaded in the first half, leaving only a measly bronze for folks with little shame. But like they say, go big or go home.
Tell me if you’ve heard this one before. An indie developer gets their start making and publishing digital games for the Wii U. Yeah, I never heard that one either, but apparently that’s just what happened with Petite Games, the maker of Super Destronaut DX and Super Destronaut: Land Wars.Continue reading Super Destronaut Games
It’s amazing what comes into your mind when you just stop and think, huh? For instance, just a few nights ago I was thinking about Akai Katana, the bullet hell shoot ‘em up I’d been playing on the Xbox 360. I first dabbled with it back in September, after thrilling sessions with Mars Matrix caused me to reevaluate the intimidating subgenre of shoot ‘em ups. That first session was a euphoric experience, full of lights, sounds, and unconscious reflexes, and I wasn’t even doing very well. It was a lot like losing my virginity! And like that pivotal event, once it was over, I knew I wanted to experience it again.Continue reading Akai Katana [Xbox 360] – Review
I think it’s safe to say that when Metal Slug launched in 1996 it put recently minted developer Nazca Corporation on the map in a big way. It wasn’t their first effort as a team though, more like their major label debut. And like your favorite band’s major label debut, it was an effort produced after years of honing their craft. In their case, that was with games developed for Irem like Undercover Cops, GunForce II, and In the Hunt.Continue reading In the Hunt [PlayStation] – Review
Who else but Housemarque could’ve perfectly melded arcade-inspired twin-stick shoot ‘em up gameplay with class-based multiplayer, RPG character progression, and an addictive loot system? The Helsinki-based developers are after all, in their own words, the torchbearers of the classic arcade game ethos. They’ve been riffing on Asteroids since the early 1990s with their Stardust series, paid homage to Defender with Resogun, the best title to play on the PlayStation 4 at launch, and even collaborated with Eugene Jarvis, the man behind Defender and a few more of the most iconic arcade games of all time, on 2017’s Nex Machina. Fast-paced, responsive, good feeling gameplay is at the core of their best works, some of which represent my favorite games of the last couple of console generations. And now, after a few dozen hours with it, I can add Alienation to that list.Continue reading Alienation [PlayStation 4] – Review
After beating Suikoden, the thought of jumping right into Suikoden II left me salivating. That game’s status as the best in the series, and one of the best JRPGs of all time is pretty much universally agreed upon . But, I slowed my roll. Typically, I sandwich a few shorter games in between playthroughs of role-playing games, considering they generally take thirty hours to complete, at a minimum. After all, I’m a grown-ass adult, with grown-ass adult responsibilities, so I don’t have the time to just sit around playing video games all day. Rest assured though, they do occupy way too much of my thoughts.
Anyways, collecting myself, I laid out the three games I’d be playing. The futuristic, yet mechanically ancient first-person shooter Codename: Tenka wasn’t a total bust, but after a couple of hours, I couldn’t justify playing it anymore. In contrast, the one-of-a-kind insect simulation Mister Mosquito only took a few hours, and was right up my alley. Finally, there was Mars Matrix. Spurred on by intriguing compliments delivered by Brandon Sheffield on Twitter (that I can’t seem to find now…), and the realization of how much the Dreamcast version sells for in the secondary market, I figured I ought to give it a shot, or a second one, since it turns out I played it back in 2011, an experience I’d all but forgotten about.Continue reading Mars Matrix [Dreamcast] – Review