[EXPRESSO] Helltaker STEAM | Best Grills

Helltaker STEAM

So, there’s this new game on Steam, describing itself as “a short game about sharply dressed demon girls”, with promise of anime harem (but again it points out “Suggestive clothing and poses. Don’t put your hopes too high though – it’s all tame.”), and it’s free. You can already see why it’s become somewhat of a sensation in the community. Which leads us to this question: are the demon girls cute? (YES)

As far as gameplay goes, it’s not what you might think given this premise, a puzzle game where you (as a sharply dressed and shades wearing badass) kick blocks, skeletons, get keys, avoid traps and proceed through Hell in a turn based fashion, with a turn limit to reach the end of the each level, where you meet a different demon girl in a visual novel-esque segment where you choose from a couple of replies and hope you charmed and/or convinced the hell cutie to join the harem. Otherwise they’ll stab you to death or give you a bad end of some kind.

Fairly good puzzles overall, but the game lets you skip them if you just want to get to the demon girls, with great character designs and very good music.

My main gripe isn’t the short lenght (you can finish it in 1, max 2 hours), is that the multi-stage boss fight at the end requires really fast reflexes and to keep moving around really fast… in a game that’s 90% turn based puzzle game without timers or urgency. It comes out of nowhere and feels more frustrating than it should, since the game doesn’t prepare you for that in any way. It’s like if at the end of a Dynasty Warriors battle you were forced to play a long RTS style map.

Still, quite good and quite the treat!

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Shark Month approacheth

Sweetness And Lightning same song

So yeah, as this month comes to a close and coincidentally i go back to work, i’d like to announce that you will see a lot of shark movie reviews in june, as this quarantine was quite boring, with 15 planned reviews, and maybe some extra ones, if i have the time.

And no, i don’t plan to review JUST shark movies in june, nor i planned to dub it “shark month”, but you get the point!

[EXPRESSO] Sol Levante (2020) | 4K Anime Fireworks

Sol Levante 2020 poster

Ok, apparently this arrived at the beginning of April on Netflix (Netflix Exclusive), and more than wonder how i missed hearing anything about it despite being quarantined at home, this just shows how much i use Netflix overall. I never even saw even a mention of this one on social media, so i’m gonna do what i can to help.

And yes, this is more of an announcement than a review, because Sol Levante (italian for “rising sun”, despite being a japanese production) isn’t or wasn’t meant to create an interesting story or world, but to test what exactly can you do with animation designed for 4K and HDR displays, with detailed hand-drawn animation produced by Netflix in collaboration with Production I.G, directed and conceived by Akira Saitou.

So the plot is vague at best, concerning a young female warrior (with fantasy ninja outfit) on a quest to reach a sacred place that is said to fulfill any wish, but she has to fight off the mystical and magical guardians of the Sanctuary, who vary from magma dragons, magic trees, sea monsters, etc. It’s good the summary tells you that, because there is no dialogue or text to explain anything, because the budget was already astronomical and the workload (2 years of work) insane, so you don’t get any context, even if the narrative is mostly self-explanatory, despite being bland and barely there.

But – again- Sol Levant was made to be a huge technical exercise, and it delivers with great animation, really detailed and incredibly colorful visuals, spectacle at its finest. It is truly impressive, while it lasts, but even so, this 4 minute short does sells you on the idea that this could be a new starting point for the future of animation overall.

Definitely interesting and worth a watch, regardless.

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Mega Python VS Gatoroid (2011) [REVIEW] | Potter, You Fool

Mega Python VS Gatoroid 2011

There is something to be said when even The Asylum decides to NOT bother giving sequels to another random giant monster movie fully undeserving any kind of second chance.

Yeah, this isn’t the starting point of another Mega “insert animal name” series, or a “spiritual sequel” to the 2000’s movie called “Python” (which got an actual sequel two years later), this is a one-off for both the Mega Python and the Gatoroid, the latter being a very tortured pun not on a popular energy drink brand, but on the fact they “roided up” a fuckin alligator. Continua a leggere “Mega Python VS Gatoroid (2011) [REVIEW] | Potter, You Fool”

Piranha 3DD (2012) [REVIEW] | Piranha Ate My Bunghole

Piranha 3DD 2012 poster

Piranha 3D was a good b-movie, directed by well respected and trustworthy horror director Alexandre Aja, who basically remade the omonymous old Jaws ripoff (produced by Corman, because why wouldn’t it be?), with 3D because it would have fit perfectly, is that kind of b-movie, the creature feature with killer fish, bikini ladies, and a party or holiday of some sort as the reason to gather people around, because fish is people too, and ripping off Spielberg never went out of fashion.

So a couple years later we got Piranha 3DD, a sequel… that’s actually a sequel, instead of just another movie about killer piranha slapping a “2” on the title, directed not by Aja, but by John Gullager, best known for the Feast Series, Zombie Night, and yes, it’s Glu Gullager’s (of Return of The Living Dead, The Last Picture Show fame) son.

And he took a surprisingly “smart” approach with this one, because why bother trying? Continua a leggere “Piranha 3DD (2012) [REVIEW] | Piranha Ate My Bunghole”

2 Lava 2 Lantula (2016) [REVIEW] | Superfastula

2 Lava 2 Lantula 2016

Oh yeah, baby, because parodying the Fast N Furios titling stylization is still kewl.

But it fits, given the tongue-in-cheek tone of the first Lavalantula (still think it should have been Lavantula, but whatever), which was a decent, enjoyable B-movie about lava spiders from director Mike Mendez (Big Ass Spider, the “Friday the 31st” segment in Tales Of Halloween), a genuine one that actually sets out to be fun and not just in the “let’s make as bad as possible on purpose” trend. Continua a leggere “2 Lava 2 Lantula (2016) [REVIEW] | Superfastula”

Lavalantula (2015) [REVIEW] | Can’t Stop The Dante

Lavalantula 2015

Oh yes, because every bad hand of Scrabble has the chance of becoming a SyFy Original, but only few chosen puns can become a Sharknado spin-off, featuring even Ian Ziering as as a “seal of approval” of sorts. And Phantom from Devil May Cry (along with its many sons) needed a new gig anyway. Continua a leggere “Lavalantula (2015) [REVIEW] | Can’t Stop The Dante”

Houkago Teibou Nisshi / Diary Of Our Days At The Breakwater [ANIME FIRST IMPRESSION] | Fishing Anime Girls

Houkago Teibou Nisshi

Yeah, time for another anime series first impression based on the first 3 episodes, which won’t change for a while because from the 4th episode (included) and onwards, the series is on hiatus until further notice, like many other anime suffering delays (rightfully so, because i don’t like people dying in order to get anime out faster) due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Let’s be patient, alright?

It is law that if you have cute anime girls, you can pretty much make them do anything and receive success, especially is a slice of life series. Doesn’t even matter if they actually get around to do something specific, but it helps, so after anime girls camping, anime girls going to Antarctica, anime girls doing rock climbing, anime girls lifting weights, we have anime girls gone fishin’, with Houkago Teibou Nisshi, based on the eponymous manga by Yasuyuki Kosaka. Continua a leggere “Houkago Teibou Nisshi / Diary Of Our Days At The Breakwater [ANIME FIRST IMPRESSION] | Fishing Anime Girls”

Monster Island (2019) [REVIEW] | Some Monsters Mild Aggression Tantrum

Monster Island 2019.png

Cards on the table: it’s an Asylum production, and is both directed and written by Mark Atkins, who brought us Sand Sharks, Planet Of The Sharks, 6 Headed Shark Attack, and Knight Of The Dead, just to lay off the sharks (poor things).

The UK DVD cover art is actually decent, and promises a mindless monster melee between giant squid, werewolf thingies, reptilian monstrousities and one that seems like an Orga rip-off… I love these covers, i do, but often than not they end up being better than the movies themselves, when we talk mockbuster and D-movies powerhouses as Asylum, and like the bottom feeders they are, this time they released Monster Island to steal the breadcrumbs of Godzilla II: King Of The Monsters, which came out on the 30th of May 2019 in US theathers, and this one on the 1st of June, 2 days later. Continua a leggere “Monster Island (2019) [REVIEW] | Some Monsters Mild Aggression Tantrum”

[EXPRESSO] Zed Blade/Operation Ragnarok NSWDDL | Norsemech

Zed Blade NSWDDL.jpg

More Neo Geo titles on Switch? YES.

Like most offering in the Arcade Archives-ACA series by Hamster, the game has both the american/international release and the original japanese one, named Operation Ragnarok. Not that it matters, they took names from norse mythology, but you are still in the usual spaceships flying around, shooting mechs, insectoid robots n stuff, as one of three anime styled characters you can choose.

As for why, you’re up against the supercomputer-turned-rebellious spaceship Yggdrasil, not that you’re ever gonna find out if you don’t read the description in the store page or search wikia, because the game itself doesn’t tell you.

MHK’s game delivers a typical but satisfying 2D spaceship shooter, with an interesting feature, as you can (and must) customize the type of main shot, rear shot and missiles (all shot at the same time) at the start of the game, alongside one of the three characters, who determines the ship’s speed. There are power ups that improve each type of shot, alongisde the classic smart bombs, but you mostly gotta work with the loadout chosen at the beginning.

Graphics are nice, nothing impressive for the time, the music on the other hand definitely stands out, with EDM style tracks that i personally dig. Sadly, i don’t think it’s enough to overlook the generic nature and some balance issues, since your ship has a bigger sprite than it should, making it for some cheap deaths, but then again the smart bomb is a bit too powerful, and even without those, it’s an easier (and shoter) affair than usual for the genre.

Good game, still, definitely worth playing for fans of genre hungry for lesser known Neo Geo games, even if flawed and lacking distinguishing features in a sea of  more popular (and often better) shmups.

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