12 Days Of Dino Dicember #6: Dinosaur Hotel (2021)

It’s kinda sad when i get to review a dinosaur movie that came out this year and immediatly do a double-take as soon as i get a glance of the premise.

Didn’t i review this as Jurassic Games? Why must i lament the need for a more varied kind of trash?

I’m not even talking in terms of flimsy budgets, there’s no creativity to most of this modern trash, i mean, with this title you could do a spoof of Wes Anderson movies and have stop-motion wool dinosaurs in valet outfits or something, do i really have to write the scripts for you?

Also, by total absurd coincidence, it predates Squid Game, as Dinosaur Hotel was released on streaming sites in June 2021, and even its DVD release predates the worlwide September 2021 debut of the hit Netflix series. It would be easy to assume this was made to capitalize on Squid game’s popularity (especially when we’ll get to the premise), but that simply isn’t the case, it’s just another dinosaur film capitalizing on the modern interest in “battle royale/death games” media.

Continua a leggere “12 Days Of Dino Dicember #6: Dinosaur Hotel (2021)”

The Initial STEAM [REVIEW] | School Swords Gals Fight

Have been meaning to get around this one for a while, so much i eventually got a PC to run most games decently, in the meantime. As in, 3 years ago.

So, do you like games like Oneechanbara and Senran Kagura, are you into the niche of “anime ladies fighting with scanty clothes and swords”? Want more of them?

The Initial is borne of that mentality, and comes from a niche indeed, a chinese 5 people team called Restory Studio, who clearly know their audience, so much that one of the first paragraphs on the Steam store page says “THE INITIAL is a hyper action game about pretty schoolgirls battling against evil.”, which is a very apt and synthetic description.

Because you already know if you’re in or out after that.

You know where i stand on the matter.

Continua a leggere “The Initial STEAM [REVIEW] | School Swords Gals Fight”

Sharks Of The Corn (2021) [REVIEW] | Wicker Shark

Like most people probably did, i found this movie while walking down the river, and it’s hard to not look when such a thing happens while you’re there, taking a tranquil stroll in the countryside of the internet mind.

I’m not surprised this movie exists, but i must admit i’ve never heard before of indie filmaker Tim Ritter, writing and directing here, apparently known as the Godfather Of Video Gore, clearly taking after H.G. Lewis, which i understand but also find quite ironical, considering Lewis notorious “disregard” for artistry in cinema as a whole.

Obvious it’s also a commercial craft, and there’s merit to the business and production side of things (and i did recently got my copy of Arrow Video’s H.G. Lewis collection, so i wouldn’t say i hate his output) but we’re going on a completely different, pointless – and uncalled for – tangent, so i’m gonna drop it.

Continua a leggere “Sharks Of The Corn (2021) [REVIEW] | Wicker Shark”

#E32021 Wholesome Direct [Highlights]

Yeah, sorry but due to very limited time on my part, i will kinda have more “double feature” posts.

Especially since this E3 there’s way more conferences and showcase stuff to see, despite Sony basically being absent and EA delaying their crap to a direct thing in July.

Meaning i won’t have to cover it.

Also, since i’m on the subject, i won’t comment or watch the Warner Bros event, as they announced it’s all gonna be about Back 4 Blood and….i don’t really care about it, same for the PC Gaming Show, the Razer one and the final E3 Awards thingie.

And my time is limited, sadly.

Continua a leggere “#E32021 Wholesome Direct [Highlights]”

Notzilla (2020) [REVIEW] | The Cringe Is Approaching The Generators!

While parodies of giant monster movies aren’t that uncommon, rarely they are made as full lenght features, even more in the last decades, it’s easier to see movies about the making-of monster movies in the past, sometimes even going as far as narrating the circumstances (often a bit fictionalized) of movies that were never made, like Nezura from Daiei, which was canned and eventually led to the company creating Gamera, the fanged turtle friend of all children.

This is one of the more recent attempts, in this case lampooning the Showa era Godzilla films, and i’m surprised i had to discover this while surfing certain catalogues, you’d think more people would be covering a Godzilla parody made in the year the King Of Monster was supposed to fight King Kong again, but apparently no. Sure, it was an indie project made on a low budget, but still…

Continua a leggere “Notzilla (2020) [REVIEW] | The Cringe Is Approaching The Generators!”

[EXPRESSO] Fox n Forests NNSWDDL | Wink Wink Nudge Nudge E.T. Atari Cartridges

One of the older “good children of Kickstarter”, a retro-styled 2D platformer made by nostalgic gaming enthusiast for the nostalgia crowd that loves 16-bit style platformers for the Super Nintendo and Sega Mega Drive/Genesis.

And before you ask, yes, there are “Metroidvania” elements, Kinda. As in you’ll have to revisit levels when you get an upgrade allowing you to reach new paths and collect more of the items necessary to unlock the other batch of levels. The music does remind one of Castlevania, though, like a lot.

You play as Rick the Fox, tasked by the ancient talking tree to recover sacred bark and repel the mysterious “Fifth Season”. You’re given a bow with sword for close combat, but the main gimmick of Fox n Forests is the ability to change the season in the level to affect the level design: freezing rivers in winter to walk on the icy surfaces, changing to autumnmakes vines grow, creating extra platforms, and so on.

It’s a good game held back by how on-point it recreates the 16-bit platformer experience, despite otherwise finding good compromises to mesh old and new sensibilities, like retain checkpoints but having you fork over cash to activate them. The main problem is having the fodder (and sometimes stronger) enemies respawning ad infinitum, making exploration more difficult and grating than needed, in a game that wants you to explore (and revisit) the few big levels available as throughly as possible. And it’s pointless since enemies always drop coins, not the more useful health items.

Also, most boss battles are downright obtuse and become piss easy once you realize what you were supposed to do, and the videogame references… the less said the better.

I really wanted to like this more, but it’s still slighly above just being “decent”.

[EXPRESSO] Bleed PSN | All The Shakespearoes

You’re not a hero. You’re a girl with magenta hair, Wryn, and you do have pen and paper, so it’s time to write and draw yourself into a story where heroes aren’t relevant anymore, and you twin-stick shoot your way through the random cabal of ex-heroes, from the alien defender, the “Astrogirlie” robot, the dragon, etc. so you can indict yourself to the Hall Of Heroes in the story you insert youself in. And maybe think what would Travis Touchdown would do.

The story is non-sensical meta-narration there just to “excuse” the kitchen sink approach to enemies and bosses, complete with passable 2D retro style graphics and characters that remind one of early 2000’s webcomics. Here it’s cute because it doesn’t hide itself under some “high pretense”, and because it focuses on what it wants, gameplay, and to be honest it delivers, combining side scrolling action in a twin stick shooter style,with emphasis on style, since you’ll have to master the triple jump dash and a bullet time bar to avoid the fairly challenging patterns of enemies and bosses.

Controls fairly well, shooting is satisfying, it’s quite challenging even on the standard setting without feeling impossible and so becoming just pure frustration. It’s good fun, but it’s fairly short lived fun, by design drawing in from the arcade era with just 6 stages. This isn’t necessary an issue, since it is a small indie title sold for relatively cheap, but i can’t say it has as much replayability as it parades, as aside from harder difficulties and trophies/achievements, the extra modes are kinda lousy, and there isn’t much that much to unlock or upgrade.

I’d still recommend pickin it up for fans of the twin stick shooters and sidescrollers, especially when it’s bundled on sale with the sequel, Bleed 2.

[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.

[EXPRESSO] Coffee Crisis NSWDDL | Bronco Blend

Coffee Crisis NSWDDL

I’m doing an Expresso review of this one because it doesn’t deserve a full review.

Coffee Crisis is retro brawler/beat em up inspired by 16-bit classics, as so proudly says in the marketing and description, and sports all the mandatory “indie quirks”, from mediodre-decent pixel graphics, a throwaway story so we can weaponize it as “joke” despite being a lazy and unfunny mish mash of overdone references and cringey exchanges regardless, so bad the writers should tar themselves, but clearly no one is vaguely ashamed.

I mean, we have to shoehorne appearences from Youtubers AlphaOmegaSin and MetalJesusRock (and somehow the legendary band Nile), need something to bait Twitch viewers in, clearly the plot about baristas fighting aliens that want to steal our heavy metal isn’t enough random “for the lulz” by itself.
Thankfully you can skip dialogues by pressing B.

Gameplay wise, it’s so faithful to its ispirations it’s downright obtuse, a prime example of not understanding the very genre you’re trying to serenade, not evolving or improving the combat system, and even badly aping them, with finnicky hit detection making most of the extra weapon useless, blows that don’t stop enemies so they power through your attacks, when they don’t snipe you with projectiles from outside the screen. Most of the difficulty is obtained via cheap bullshit, and it’s unbalanced as well, with boss fights that are usually piss easy and just annoying.

Its main selling point, the random modifiers, are such a liability the game improves when you deactivate them. Sadly you can’t turn off or ignore the password system as the sole mean to continue, and the game also quickly outstay its welcome, continuing on and on instead of ending.

At least the music is decent-good… but 30 years later, Bad Dudes it’s a way better game.

Still.

fondo-di-caffc3a8-icona1