Dino Dicember is a-ringing

Sick of killer santas, of evil elves, krampuses and christmas devils? Me too.

This has been a tough year, so fuck it, we’re going the extra mile, with 31 days of dinosaur themed reviews, a triassic treat for each and every day of Dicember..

…well, Dino Dicember! Starting tomorrow, obviously.

Kemurikusa (2019) [REVIEW] | Leaves Of Tree

After the Kemono Friends anime made a fairly forgotten (and at the time even freshly axed) free-to-play thing become one of the biggest sensations of that year…. Kadokawa fucked the series director over, basically, and in a way of karmic retribution, many resented the second season when it came around, both out of spite for Kadokawa’s behaviour. And because the Kemono Friends gravy train was gone by then.

Regardless, TATSUKI continued to work on other projects (see Keifuku-san and Hentatsu, which i already reviewed), and in 2019 he decided to adapted an older work of his, an original net animation called Kemurikusa (released between 2010 and 2012), into a TV anime series (which so far only streaming on Amazon Video), once again tasking the same animation studio of Kemono Friends (studio Irodori, which he was part of) and the same production company (Yaoyoruzu), culminating into a project that didn’t seem raise much interest online.

People knew the director of Kemono Friends was behind it, definitely, but i guess it wasn’t enough, so the Kemurikusa TV adaptation came out without causing much clamor (outside of some circles) or attracting much attention even from dedicated outlets or anime enthusiasts who knew it existed. At least i got that impression.

Continua a leggere “Kemurikusa (2019) [REVIEW] | Leaves Of Tree”

[EXPRESSO] Super Star Path NSWDDL | Match-3 Shooter Mess

After quite enjoying Bot Vice, i decided to check out the others games the spanish DYA Games had on the Switch eShop, and this one got my attention, especially because of the concept, a mixture of puzzle game and 2D spaceship shooter.

And it was on sale for 1 buck.

Basically, it plays like a standard 2D spaceship shooter (down to the vertical scrolling), but the aliens and obstacles are placed in a still grid like they’re puzzle pieces, so shooting a row of aliens of the same color triggers a chain reaction, making nearby aliens of different colors crystalize into unbreakable blocks. Defeated aliens also leave behind gems, emeralds (3 for stage to collect) and upgrades, which can be used to buy more spaceships and upgrade their stats.

This… until you reach the level’s boss, then the pace speeds up considerably, the puzzle elements are thrown away all together, and you can use autofire. You’ll need it, since the bosses are fast and hit hard even at the beginning, throwing bullet hell style projectile patterns, quite jarring, even when you know it’s coming and you bought/upgraded better ships…it just feels like a different game, and i feel it’s done to just pad the longevity out a bit, as you have only 6 levels, each longer and featuring some specific obstacle/damage.

Problem is arriving to the bosses themselves it’s more a matter of luck than anything else, due to badly randomized level layouts, which result in many runs where you simply can’t do anything to avoid dying, trapped by the enemies patterns to be crushed by the scrolling in a way or another.

Shame, because the idea is nice, but for how short lived this game is, it’s mostly a frustrating, unbalanced pile of aggravation more than anything else. Disappointing.

P.S.: Also, don’t bother tackling the final mission unless you have ALL the emeralds, because even if you manage to kill the boss… you will die anyway if you don’t already have all the emeralds. No, the game doesn’t make it clear you NEED to get them all to even finish the game, it just says that you need to get them all, implying they’re important to the story and in general to the game, in the How To Play section.

Fuck you too, Super Star Path.

Please never pull shit like this again. Just don’t.

[EXPRESSO] Bot Vice NSWDDL | Cyberpop Lane Cabal

Bot Vice’s story is basically a nostalgic mash up of 80 and 90s, with the animesque character designs, the heroine sporting a tank top, attitude and a bionic arm with weapons (heck, the application’s icon is a reference to Alita Battle Angel), as she fights an army of animal themed cyborgs at the orders of the villain, ready to blow up the Nakatomi Building (and quote Terminator, Robocop, AND Beavis And Butthead, because), symbol of the decadent cyberpunk Bot City.

Surprisingly, alongside a nice retrostyled soundtrack you get voice acting for the cutscenes (which could have been shortene), and decent voice acting as well, fitting the whole “self-aware, shameless reference spouting” glut so typical of this sub-set of retro indie games. It comes off as cute, but thankfully Bot Vice it’s also a very tough “gallery shooter” in the style of Cabal and Wild Guns, as in you move around the bottom of the screen, shooting and rolling to avoid enemy fire, collecting special weapons with limited ammo and also using taking cover, which can be destroyed.

And it is tough, quite merciless, even at the beginning, so you’ll need to master moving around, rolling and using cover, as each level is a short but intense battle arena, culminanting in a boss fight. Oddly, the game puts an overall time limit for you to finish all stages in, despite the stages being short and not that numerous, even more as the game doesn’t detract the time spent re-trying stages.

The developer Dya Games managed to do a lot with the “gallery shooter” setup, making for an intense, short but sweet experience, quite challenging and with enough replay value, thanks to its arcade perfect setup, extra difficulties and a bunch of extra missions.

Recommended, even more when it goes on sale.

Don’t expect an early review of Hyrule Warriors: Age Of Calamity

As much as i loved the demo of the game to bits, as much as i frigging love Hyrule Warriors… i’m not gonna review it just after launch. It’s not that i couldn’t, more a combination of “budget constraints” hitting hard this month (as for many, given the circumstances) and… the fact i really got around to get and play Breath Of The Wild in the last months (i held off for years hoping in a GOTY re-release of sorts), and i took my time with it, quite, so much i clearly won’t be able to finish it in time to review Age Of Calamity at the end of november. I just won’t.

Doesn’t help this has been clearly designed as a prequel instead of a spin-off where the story is the usual “portal bonanza” so we can have multiple characters and locations from different installments (and/or different timelines) of a series in Warriors style hack n slash format, and be enjoyed on its own, like Fire Emblem Warriors… even if that did casually drop some spoilers from FE Awakening. Just saying.

And even less reason to pre-order it since this time they didn’t bother to make any sort of Limited Edition with some tat. Boggles the mind why don’t bother to bring the Treasure Box limited edition outside of Japan, they did it before, hell, not even a nerfed version with just the scarf like we got with the first Hyrule Warriors in PAL territories.

So… have fun if you pre-ordered or are gonna get it on launch, the demo i feel it’s telling of the complete base game, we will soon find out!

It’s on my priority list, rest assured, i’m always planning more Warriors and musou games reviews, and something special is coming next month, so… look forward to it!

Musings on Animal Crossing New Horizons “live service” model

So, i was gonna write this editorial this summer, when the July update for the game reintroduced scuba diving (seen before in AC: New Leaf), but i held off on publishing, waiting to see if it the issues i had with the game had any legs… and now i feel they do.

It’s worth noting i bought the game and played it since launch day, and i have spent like 300 hours on AC New Leaf alone, and a lot on the original AC on Gamecube, not to brag (i’m pretty sure there are a lot of way more dedicated AC players), but to give what i’m about to say some confidence. As in, i know what i’m talking about. Continua a leggere “Musings on Animal Crossing New Horizons “live service” model”

Knack II [PS4] [REVIEW] | Knack Me Twice

Developed By: Japan Studio

Players: 1-2

The very existence of this game is big “?”, not only because it came out 4 years after the first Knack, bamboozling the gaming community at large, given how widely hated and reviled the first game and its titular protagonist were. Again, it’s worth remembering that the fist Knack was both a critical and a financial failure, and didn’t do worse in revenue because it was a launch title, so there wasn’t much else to play at the time on the newborne console.

In a way, i can understand why someone at Sony did ultimately greenlit this, as an underdog story for this pitiable franchise (and main characters) would have been nice, and proof you can turn thing around with a sequel; it has been done before, after all, so why can’t Knack be redeemed of his sins?

There are many reasons for that, but let’s start from the beginning, meaning the story.

(review based on a playthrough on Normal, for review purposes)

Continua a leggere “Knack II [PS4] [REVIEW] | Knack Me Twice”

[EXPRESSO] Brahms – The Boy II (2020) | Doll Droppings

I saw The Boy in theathers back then, quite liked it, i knew they made a sequel, by the same director, William Brent Bell, and writer, Stacey Menear, but i kinda forgot about it, until i noticed it’s available as an Amazon Prime Video exclusive, I was.. perplexed by just reading the gist.

The plot follows a young boy, Jude, and his parents, moving into a mansion in the woods to heal, as he and the mother were traumatized by a home invasion incident, and Jude finds a life-sized doll he dubs “Brahms” and becomes creepily attached to.

You could make a sequel to The Boy work, but this movie is a complete cop-out, as it systematically makes sure this is taking place in the same location, set after the events of the first movie… but also wants to be your typical “possessed/evil killer doll” movie, the complete anthesis of The Boy, and make sure you can’t deny or doubt of the doll actually being alive, giving it a backstory that – conveniently – didn’t factor in one iota in the first one.

Even worse, it’s also utter crap in itself, with some of stupidest (and bloodless) “kills” you will ever see in a movie that takes itself so serious, and disappointing, frustrating and stupid “anti-twists”. There’s no intrigue, no mistery, no atmosphere, nothing to it, the good production values and decent acting plain wasted on such dreck. Of course the ending is also a complete cop-out. Of course.

Among stand-alone horror sequels that are way better than the first one, The Boy II is the rare shitty sequel that not only it’s completely unnecessary, misses the point of the previous one, but it’s so garbage it almost retroactively taints the original one, destroying any goodwill gained with it.