[EXPRESSO] Lightyear (2022) | Space Mediocrity

Ok, let’s leave aside the whole “identity crisis debacle”, despite Pixar being outright silly in starting the movie with the premise that THIS is the movie that in 1995 spawned the Buzz Lightyear toy Andy from Toy Story got. Also ignoring the 90’s animated TV series that served as a backstory to the character, because it’s clear this is a different interpretation-canon.

WHATEVER, who cares, let’s move on from this non-sense.

Though i can understand it’s quite tempting to do so since the ludicrous meta footnote is ripe for lampooning, and the actual movie leaves very little to say for itself.

But first, the plot.

I has been described by many as a sort of rip-off of Interstellar for children, and i agree, as we see Buzz and company investigate a newly scanned planet that the ship flew by during their voyage.

This alien world immediatly reveals to be rife with hostile fauna and flora, and in attempt to escape, the ship gets damaged, forcing Buzz and all the other people on board to camp and live there, while they find a way to create the specific fuel need for lightspeed space travel in order to contact base and leave the planet. They do manage to create the special fuel, but things turn for the weird as Buzz keeps failing the lightspeed flight test and returns to learn that his minutes long voyages translate to years of time passing in his absence….

I’ll say that this ain’t bad. I didn’t expect much from the trailer, but sadly despite the plot having some potential to be better, it all comes off as a generic “origin story” through and through, from the action to the characters, everything it’s pretty mild, predictable and – again – generic.

Enjoyable, but sadly quite middling overall.

Fire Emblem Warriors NSWITCH & NEW3DS [REVIEW] | Tactics Of The Emblem

To celebrate a new Fire Emblem crossover game with the Warriors formula, this time based on Three Houses in the same fashion as Age Of Calamity was from Zelda Breath Of Wild, let’s rivisit the older (and first) title, simply titled Fire Emblem Warriors, released back in 2017 for the Nintendo Switch and the 3DS… as in, only the New 3DS models, yep, it was one of those very few exclusive titles for that 3DS revision-upgraded restyling, arguably the only title of notice alongside Xenoblade Chronicles 3D in terms of New 3DS Only packaged retail releases.

I’m gonna review both versions as i first sunk 50+ hours on the New 3DS release (i didn’t had a Switch at the time) and then a little less once i got hold of a Switch and that version, and by that i mean i will just make a specific comparison in terms of performance and overall looks between the two versions, no need to review both separately, as in terms of contents they are 99 % identical.

Aside from that, prepare from a lot of comparison to Hyrule Warriors, it can’t be helped.

Also (as already explained in the hands-on on the demo for Three Hopes), don’t expect a review of Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes anytime soon, for the same reason of Persona 5 Strikers, i gotta play the main game, Three Houses, first, even though this is described as an alternate story in that world. And i’m never gonna finish that game and then start, finish and have a review of that out in any timely fashion.

Time is not on my side. 😦

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[EXPRESSO] Congo’s Caper/Joe & Mac 2 SNES | Sun Wukong Upon A Star

Ah, yes, the three inescapable truths of life: death, taxes and SNES caveman platformers that somehow you didn’t play or knew existed, like todays’s Congo’s Caper, just recently rereleased on the NSW Online subscription/retro apps.

This one it’s a bit more recognizable than stuff like Prehistorik Man, as it’s basically a spin-off of the Joe & Mac: Caveman Ninja series by Data East, but also the second game in the series, since it was actually sold as Joe & Mac 2 in Japan and PAL regions.

And i kinda get why, as Data East also recycled some characters from the mainline Joe & Mac series, like the devil or the first stage t-rex boss , and the controls are similar, as it retains the high jump, but not the weapons, as you use only a small club to attack.

The more distinctive feature is the player character turning back into a monkey if hit, and regaining your human form with a red crystal (Mario style), with the ability to enter a “super saiyan” invincibility state too, you’re a half-monkey man after all.

Controls are actually pretty smooth, arguably better than the original Joe & Mac, the new protagonist has some new abilities like hanging from vines, so it should be better…. and it arguably is, it’s definitely more polished, has a lot more levels, BUT it’s too easy for its own good, it’s fun, but it lacks challenge, and the level themselves are very short, while also not providing anything you haven’t seen (or heard, as some of the sound effects are pretty much “ripped off” of Super Mario World…. or its sound libraries) done better in terms of level design.

So it’s not a bad game, but a decent one that could have been potentially quite good.

Shame, really.

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes NSWITCH DEMO [HANDS-ON] Hope Is Ascending

While i wasn’t planning to review the full game soon since i still need to play Three Houses first, the release of a demo at least give me an excuse to talk about the new Fire Emblem Warriors, so compromise it is! Dr. Killinger was right after all.

Since i have no familiarity with the aforementioned FE entry, i will not talk in detail about the plot seen in the demo, even though this is described as an alternative story set in the same world.

I mean, judging from the prologue’s cutscenes, narration and overwiew, it feels fitting that this specific FE game has a dedicated Warriors spin-off, since it feels like a medieval european take on the Romance Of The Three Kingdoms. Just with more school and church stuff.

It’s a fairly meaty demo, that lets you the entire prologue and ends just before the final battle of Chapter 4, for roughly 4 hours of content, more than usual and more than enough to know if you like the game or not.

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[EXPRESSO] Warped Kart Racers iOS | Dang it Dale, You’re A Genius!

Yep, i eventually decided to play and review this once i saw it advertised as “coming soon” on Apple Arcade’s homepage because i’m pretty sure this is the first time Hank Hill was featured in a kart racer, i do love me some King Of The Hill.

That and it’s been a while since i played a kart racer on mobile that wasn’t Mario Kart Tour… or good, for that matter. And i do understand it’s kinda hard to sell people (or investors) on idea of a lawnmower racing game with only KOTH characters.

Even if you call it Pro-Pain.

So begrudginly i have to say the game also represents Family Guy, American Dad and Solar Opposites (which i haven’t seen, btw), but i’m choosing to believe this is a KOTH only game.

Joking aside, the gameplay it’s basically Mario Kart 7, there’s even the paragliders, the virtual controls are quite good and intuitive, the right amount of complex needed for a mobile title (it also supports gamepads), there are both normal races and MK style arena battles, the IA is surprisingly competent even in the beginner tier of races.

So yeah, color me surprised because it’s actually a good kart racer, looks and runs pretty well, and already at launch it’s a complete package, with online multiplayer, a decent amount of single player content, and the various unlocks of characters, kart parts and skins are made fun since it’s not a free to play release, so you just play the darn thing. For fun. Remember that?

Yeah, there’s nothing new here in any shape or form, but it’s kinda baffling that this licensed quadriple biscuit tie-in mobile kart racer with Peter Griffin and Hank Hill it’s honestly way better than the actual, official Mario Kart game available for smarthphones.

Fate EXTELLA: Link PS4 [REVIEW] | #musoumay

3 years after putting out Fate Extella: The Umbral Star, Marvelous followed up with the sequel, Fate EXTELLA: Link.

And yes, it’s a sequel, taking place after the “true/actual ending” of The Umbral Star, where the protagonist and “child Altera” are suddendly approached by attack programs, only to be saved by a new Servant of the Saber class, identifiying itself as Charlemagne.

He then explains that within SE.RA.PH a new threat has arisen, with a self-dubbed “Conquering Emperor” that’s bent on controlling all the digital created world by a mind control/brain wash process he dubs “Oraclization”. The protagonist, with his/her Servants Nero Claudius and Tamamo are then helped further by this new ally, as Charlemagne gifts them a new flying fortress where to organize the counter-offensive and figure out how to stop the plans of this mysterious “Emperor”.

And no, it’s not Caligula. Gotta specify that, it’s Fate we’re talking about, that could have been a honestly sensible guess.

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[EXPRESSO] Pacific Rim: The Black (Season Two) (2022) | Kaiju Kult

Well, look’s who back, a series that i honestly even forgot existed, but they did announced this second (and final) season, guess that branding helped.

So yeah, while i didn’t hate the first season, Pacific Rim The Black was kinda the perfect example of “Netflix anime”, as in, it looks like anime, it’s produced by an anime company and japanese directors, but you could tell it’s written by non-japanese staff.

Which isn’t necessarily an issue, but you just can tell right away and it creates this slight disconnect, and due to that once again it’s hard to say for whom exactly this is made for exactly, given it’s still made in okayish but still janky 3D CG (and the specific “3D CG anime jank” of Polygon Pictures output), which is kinda offputting for most of the self-proclaimed “anime enthusiasts”.

But on the flipside, it’s not that bad, it’s honestly alright, it’s entertaining enough and this one picks from the point where the first season started having some interesting worldbuilding and character development, and manages to make the plot have some purpose (though it kinda has to, since this is the final season), introducing a death cult of Kaiju worshippers.

It’s an actual improvement over the first season, the writing it’s still nothing impressive, but it’s better, though despite being just another 7 episodes, i did wonder if it was ever supposed to be longer, as some resolutions and events happen very quickly, almost abruptly so.

Again, it’s alright, but as the idea of anime series based on Pacific Rim makes a lot of sense if you think about it, it kinda let you wish it had better animation and a slightly longer lenght.

Still, for a spin-off “western-ish anime” series that didn’t need to exist in the first place… it’s decent.

[EXPRESSO] Temple Run: Puzzle Adventure iOS | Thine Freemium Designs

To be brutally honest, this game in itself leaves very little to talk/comment about, as in it’s EXACTLY what you’d think it would be: a generic match-3 puzzle game using the license-name of a popular but old IP that benefits of the deal because people that ever so much do remember Temple Run, with generic character and art style.

Heck, i probably wouldn’t have known it existed if i wasn’t subscribed to Apple Arcade, and this – alongside some of the shittier releases like Galaga + – makes it more obvious how the service’s main selling point of featuring games without ads & microtransactions..is GOOD, but inadvertly exposes how many of these were mostly designed as freemium

We previously reviewed the quite similar match 3 revival of Zoo Keeper on Apple Arcade, but that just happens to be better and way more feature complete overall.

Which makes even more strange how it still feels pretty obvious something it’s “off”, because the game it’s honestly alright, but doesn’t have much to the standard match 3 formula seen a squillion on times, nor does it have an adventure twist despite being called Temple Run… or anything else besides the puzzles themselves.

Still, i played through 50 + of the puzzles and i had to eventually check online what the hell i was getting gems for, as in, you can buy power-ups, but due to the game not telling me at all, often outright handing out some, and the puzzles not being that hard, i wondered if i had to progress to unlock something where to spend the gems.

But nope.

It’s obvious this was designed as a freemium thing first, that easy to imagine it as such.

It’s inoffensive, but also disposable, even on Apple Arcade there are better puzzle games.

[EXPRESSO] Pikmin Bloom iOS | Flower Fitness

Remember that mobile Pikmin game from Niantic that was announced some time ago?

Well, i kinda forgot, but it’s out now pretty much everywhere, so here we are with “Pikmin Go”.

Yeah, it uses pretty much the same augmented reality format, with the need to keep the app open and walking to hatch stuff. Here instead of eggs you have Pikmin seeds, each requiring a certain amount of steps to be taken in order to “harvest” the Pikmin, and you can use nectars to make the collected Pikmins grow flowers and award you with petals, which are needed.

To be honest, i was amazed when i played for the first time, went through the tutorial phase and realized…. that was it. Look, i have been playing Pokemon Go since launch, so i’m not that picky on regards to gameplay, but there is something as too damn simple, even a mobile game like this.

Yes, you can use up petals to plant flowers while moving, which helps in growing both your seeds, and the big flowers on the map, were you can sent the Pikmin into expeditions, to gain nectar, Pikmin cosmetic accessories and more Pikmin seeds, but that’s really it.

Not that i wanted combat from a Pikmin game, and it being very close to an idle game makes some sense, but still, i feel bamboozled, i can’t really imagine it appealing to the main Pikmin fanbase, neither so much to casual players.

I can’t really be to angry or confused about this, i really can’t since even the marketing frames it as something akin to a fitness app than a game, but it doesn’t make for an engaging activity, as there’s no stakes or big goals to work towards, even as a casual thing to fiddle with while walking.

Zombieland – Double Tap: Roadtrip PS4 [REVIEW] | Now without zombie idols

Like it often happens with tie-in games, if the first movie doesn’t have a branded videogame out in time, the sequel will. Though it took quite some time to see a follow up to Zombieland, enough time for tie-in videogames released as retail, proper videogames to feel almost fresh again, opposed to a very cheap freemium game for smarthphones or as promotional events into gacha garbage.

While it’s named after the sequel, Zombieland – Double Tap, and its main characters, the game has its own story set in between the two films, and it captures the spirit and humour of the series pretty well, even if it’s clearly a budget tie-in job, not only from in terms of looks, but as the cast from the movie didn’t provide their voices for the game, leaving other voice actors to do impressions… bad impressions, but i’m not angry as the Harrelson/Tallahassee’s and Eisenberg/Columbus impressions are so bad i find them hilarious and kinda charming, especially the Harrelson one. XD

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