Azur Lane The Animation 2019-20 [REVIEW] | The Bone Of My Boat

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Ah yes, one more for the evergrowing subgenre of “shipgirls military slice of life”, less Arpeggio of Blue Steel, and more Kancolle/Kantai Collection, which is obvious as hell as Azur Lane (by chinese companies Manju and Yongshi) came out to fight Kadokawa’s browser game, but actually bothered to give it more actual gameplay, implement less taxing gacha elements (which is akin to say “less rusty gambling hooks piercing my flesh”), and actually made it easier to access worlwide without any need to know japanese, use google translate constantly or set a VPN, just released an app for smarthphones.

And given it performed quite well (even in Japan), it was just a matter of time to see an anime adaptation of sorts, which came out in late 2019…not fully, as two last episodes were postponed to march 2020 after concerns on animation quality. I thought it was due to fans expressing criticisms on social media, but it seems it was mostly the staff itself’s decision in order to deliver a better and satisfying ending to the series instead of rushing it, which is commendable, and gave me time to catch up. Continua a leggere “Azur Lane The Animation 2019-20 [REVIEW] | The Bone Of My Boat”

[EXPRESSO] World Beast War iOS | Kaiju Klicker

World Beast War iOS

Sometimes i kinda miss the early days of mobile games on smarthphones, when the free-to-play plague hadn’t become the standard, the banal evil, and the market wasn’t infested with endless clones of what’s popular, insanely overpriced ports, a satured mess with extremely rare gems like Onion Hotel.

But still, once i a while i search or stumble upon some title on the App Store, and i give them a whirl. This one is about big ass monsters going on a non-trademarked rampage, all done in the cheap and frankly cliched “faux 8-bit” aesthetic, but whatever, the idea of combining monsters together to make new ones is always nice, and the main attractive.

The problem is even the “monster merging” is too basic to hold any interest even in the “short run”, because you can’t spawn the more advanced ones in the “lab area”, even if unlocked: you must spawn the very basic one and keep merging them manually. There is an auto-merge function, but it’s inefficient, and even seeing what monster you’ll get next gets boring and moot, because you just put them to automatically thrudge through dozens of identical levels.

Because this is actually a clicker game, the store page describes it clearly as an “idle rpg”, so it’s not fraudolent advertising, it’s just that even with more to it than just clicking on stats to upgrade so you can earn more money to upgrade stats some more, it’s boring and lacking any “hook”. Ironically, the fact that there is more to it IS an issue, as there isn’t enough depth added to make you overlook its nature, but enough to inadvertently expose the pointless “gameplay” loop at the core.

Even as a timewaster on the toilet it gets old too quickly, and bootleg Rocket Raccoon just isn’t enough.

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One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 PS4 [REVIEW]

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After the “Dream Log” scenario of Pirate Warriors 2, Koei did what it usually does, as it basically starts from scratch in order to have a more faithful and complete recreation of Eiichiro Oda’s pirate world, in the name of canon… and so you wouldn’t need to have played the two previous Pirate Warriors titles, because this was released on all Playstation platforms at the time, and Steam as well.

There’s also a Deluxe Edition for Switch that came later with all DLC already on the cart, and it’s not bad performance wise, worth considering. Continua a leggere “One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 PS4 [REVIEW]”

[EXPRESSO] Gato Roboto NSWDDL | Domo Domo

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I didn’t know what exactly to make out of Gato Roboto, but since it was on sale and Devolver Digital published it, why not, for 2 bucks?

And it’s not like the game hides or even tries to hide its ispiration, as the main image used for marketing is a cat exiting a black and white version of Samus Aran’s Power Suit. The actual robot suit doesn’t look like that (as one might reasonably guess), but it tells you exactly what this is: is Super Metroid with a cat.

That’s it. I was expecting to see an actual gimmick, but the “gimmick” is that it’s a really good Metroid style title, actually finding the good balance between contained world and Metroidvania style progression that Xeodrifter failed to capture, so you don’t get lost at all since the design pushes you in a certain direction, but you also need to find out how to progress with the obstacles each enviroment introduces, such as heat, lava, water, etc.

And the whole idea of “Metroid but you’re a cat” is actually used well, as you can leave the suit to swim (begrudingly so), jump-scale walls or navigate narrow passages, but you have no offensive capability… because you’re just a normal cat, as normal as a cat using a robotic suit can be. Some good, challenging boss battles too, for a ¾ hour (more if you want to complete it 100 %) experience that’s fun all the way through, and doesn’t overstay its welcome for the sake of pleasing insane logic such as “hour=price”.

And while the aesthetic choice of “black and white graphics with retrò pixel aesthetic” is as “indie game” as it can be, it’s actually pleasing to look at (which isn’t always the case), and the story isn’t half bad, too. Fun one, recommended!

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Reviews in quarantine

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So yeah, today the entire of Italy is officially in lockdown, and you could easily recreate the entire of Die Pest En Florenz, on the upside. On the downsides (as far this blog is concerned, as the obvious problems shouldn’t need explanation) cinemas are closed, and it’s quarantine, so, time to do the NEET, i guess, until the start of April, where cinemas should open again so we can catch up to all most english speaking countries already saw months ago (didn’t manage to see the new Grudge reboot-sequel-remake, i wanted to review it, but at this point i’ll have to see on streaming or home video).

I already explained some of this in a previous article, but the situation has gotten worse (we should had declared quarantine much earlier, i think, but it’s Italy, so of course every decision of this magnitude is half-assed and done at the last minute), so keep that in mind, and as i said before, i had some reviews planned and prepared, so the blog will keep going like before.

Stay safe and look forward to more One Piece reviews, as well as the Azur Lane anime review as soon as the last episodes arrive in the coming days.. if they don’t get delayed again. We’ll see!

[EXPRESSO] Arknights iOS | Medicated Nation

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So yeah, Yostar’s new gacha game, looks a lot more like Girls Frontline (or an anime take on The Division) than Azur Lane but isn’t any of that, it’s a tower defense thingie with people befitted of the ever popular animal ears, because. The vague plot sees you as the amnesiac leader of pharmaceutical-commando company Rhodes Island, in a world afflicted by Catastrophes, bringing destruction and the precious mineral known as Originium, which infects people with the mysterious disease of “Oripathy” ( awakening powers but also being lethal in the long run), and you fight the other factions at play, the cultish Reunion and the military force of the city of Chernobog.

Plot is decent, character design good for this type of game, and gameplay wise – as i said -, it’s a tower defense affair: you put units on the available grid spaces to stop the enemy units from entering through the gate/s at the end. If anything, the surprisingly long tutorial-prologue will get you up to speed to the basics and Arknight’s minor but nice additions to the formula. The usual free-to-play bullshit isn’t that bad either, as the game gives you useful items to start with (not just crap), but of course wants you to roll the gacha for characters with an alluring design by using real money.

Aside from some inusual design choices, like characters who don’t receive exp directly from fights (instead you gotta use xp item received as rewards to level them up), Studio Montagne’s game is fairly good in itself, with a good introduction of new enemy types and objects to keep things interesting, using actual gameplay to keep you coming back, instead of just using the typical psychological hooks to make you log in something way repetitive  that basically plays itself (hi, Azur Lane).

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Azur Lane Crosswave PS4 [REVIEW] | You Are A Boat

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Yeah, an actual videogame devoid of the gacha free-to-play trappings, based after the “Kancolle Killer” smartphone title that basically positioned itself as a Kantai Collection clone (not quite, but it’s obviously aimed at the same demographic), one easily available pretty much worlwide instead of a japan only browser game requiring VPN and troublesome hoops to jump through and compatibility errors if you want to play it.

It’s an odd concept to have a proper videogame that you pay to own as a spin-off of a free-to-play estabilished/borne series, almost emblematic of the state of the market and this “era” of gaming, but it’s interesting from a conceptual standpoint, and now you don’t have to import it from Playasia, as it came out, even in physical retail form, in Europe and the States. Still kinda surprised by that.

I preordered the “super duper hyper” edition with all the tat and OST and artbook, but maybe i’ll eventually review the Limited Edition contents by themselves, they don’t factor into the actual PS4 videogame at all. Continua a leggere “Azur Lane Crosswave PS4 [REVIEW] | You Are A Boat”