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31 May 2022

REVIEW: V Rising on PC (Steam)

 

Another mini review from my personal twitter account https://twitter.com/JonDonnisShow

This time I took a look at the Early Access release of V Rising on PC (Steam)

https://store.steampowered.com/app/1604030/V_Rising/



30 May 2022

REVIEW: Remote Life on Nintendo Switch

Review by Jon Donnis
Remote Life is a side scrolling, 2D shooter, now as someone who grew up on R-Type, I have played countless shooters over the years, so how does Remote Life match up? Let's find out.

You find yourself taking on bio-mechanical type creatures which do in fact look quite similar to some of the aliens in R-Type, you play in a space setting as Pilot John Leone, your job is to save humanity, apparently single handedly, which doesn't seem very fair, but that is where we are.


You will have to complete 16 missions, and to do that you will need skill, guile and a nice collection of weapons (over 18 apparently).

The first big difference you will notice between this game and others of the genre is the twin stick control method. At first this will feel strange as classically in side scrolling shooters, you pretty much fire straight ahead, or straight behind, depending on the weapon you have. But in Remote Life you have directional control over where you fire. This can help you take out the enemy from all angles.


You have access to three main weapons that you can switch between, as well as an extra support weapon. As you progress through the levels you will collect power ups which will increase the ability of your weapons until you use them up. The main idea being that you save the upgraded weapons for when you will need them, whether that be larger enemies or even the boss fight. You can also pick up drones which will stay close to you and fire at the enemy, but they only last for ten seconds which seems a bit pointless. There is also no scoring system, no high scores etc, the only point of the game is to beat the levels.


There are some nice differences between levels, which help break up the regular style of gameplay, escort missions are one example. So there is more here than just nonstop 2D shooting.

Now time for a reality check, this game is tough, like really tough. And unfortunately, some of the game mechanics don't really help. The twin stick system is really hard to get used to, and never feels quite as accurate as it should, and with your ship being very weak, a couple of mistakes and you are dead. I played the game on a Nintendo Switch Lite, and even with my big hands, trying to control both sticks as well as the firing button and change weapon button, it left my hand aching pretty quick, now I did find a solution, I happen to have a spare wireless Switch controller, which you can connect to a switch lite, and the game did play much better on that, but obviously using a separate controller on a switch lite, makes the whole thing seem a bit silly.


There are also some issues with the visual elements of the game, the graphics are very good, everything is super detailed, the problem is that too much means it is hard to see enemy bullets as well as differentiate between background and foreground obstacles. You can however disable some graphical elements in the menu which does help a bit. 

Also, when using the menu, it becomes clear very quick that this game is a port from the PC version, as you have a cursor of sorts on screen that you move about to select the options. And this just feels weird on a handheld console.

The Good
Super challenging game, with fantastic high-resolution graphics, and when you consider this game comes from a solo developer, it is pretty impressive. There are plenty of weapons, which all are different and it is satisfying destroying a boss while you swap between your 3 main weapons.

The Bad
The game is a little too hard at times, and could do with a bit more work to improve some elements of the game. This is a PC port, and I think it is clearly suited to PC gaming.

Overall
The game has its problems, but it also has some strong points, and if you want a challenge from within the shoot 'em up genre, then this is one to look at.

I score Remote Life on Nintendo Switch a generous 7/10

Out Now on Nintendo Switch for £11.99

29 May 2022

REVIEW: Pretty Girls Escape on PC (Steam)

Review by Jon Donnis
Followers of the site will know that I have reviewed a fair few of the "Pretty Girls" franchise releases, and I am glad to say I have another release to talk about today. This is the 16th Pretty Girls title. And as with all of the Pretty Girls releases the format is a simple one, take a classic game, give it a fresh coat of paint, a few new gameplay options, and add Japanese anime style girls to the product. It is a simple format that seems to work almost every time. And I always seem to find myself scoring these games quite highly, so will Pretty Girls Escape keep a strong run of good games going? Read on to find out.


The game itself is a simple block falling puzzle game. The aim is to eliminate blocks of the same colour, (you can click on 2 or more blocks to make them disappear) and as you eliminate the blocks, a larger character block will drop. Get the character block to the bottom of the playable area, and to an exit.


Each of the 8 character has 6 levels, and as you beat the levels, you unlock costumes for the characters, which you can then turn into wallpaper for your computer. You can change costumes of the characters, set the background, have multiple characters in the scene and you can even change facial expressions. The characters all have their own personalities and are voiced by Japanese actresses.

An example of a few of them are.
 - KANON
 Kanon is an innocent and positive-thinking girl with a calm and gentle demeanor. She is a hardworking person who focuses on her goals.
 - YUKI
 Yuki is energetic, lively, and easy to get along with. She is active and has a good sense of humor, but at the same time, is a troublemaker.
 - RIN
 Serious, cool and dignified. Once she makes up her mind, she will not it.

There is no nudity, no sex, just classic "Bishoujo characters", which you will see in Japanese Manga and Anime.


Of course, if the game was as easy as I just described, you would beat it pretty quickly, however each character's set of levels is harder than the previous one. 

You will soon realise that just getting your character block to the bottom of the playable area is not enough, there is also something of a tilt option, where you press left or right and all blocks will move to one side or another. You will need to use this ability very tactically, you see as you play, the game throws in some obstacles, there might be bombs you need to avoid, or unmovable blocks, blocks that need to be broken, and then the craftiest gameplay mechanic of them all, you might need to also move little key blocks, to unlock the exit area for the characters, this all has to be done in a certain order, so you don't get stuck.

As well as the character stages and levels, there is also a challenge mode with 20 stages to beat, difficulty increasing as you go.


The Good
Zoo Corporation have once again taken a simple game concept and improved it, made it look great and added some depth to what is a simple game. I have never known a franchise to continually get the games right, especially a franchise where each game is a different type of game to the previous one. I am a fan of puzzle games, and although the game starts off pretty easy and you will fly through the first few stages, once the "gimmick blocks" are introduced, the game takes on a real level of tactics. Time really does fly as you play.

The Bad
I can't really think of anything, as a simple block falling puzzle game it works very well.

Overall
Zoo Corporation have done it again, another perfectly created puzzle game, a competitive price point of about £5, with a launch date discount too.

If you are a puzzle fan this is what we like to call a "no brainer", you should buy this game.

I score Pretty Girls Escape an excellent 9/10


Language: Japanese / English / Chinese / Spanish
Release Date: June 2, 2022 (Pacific Standard Time)
Price: 4.99 dollars
Player: Single player
Steam compatible functions: Achievements / Cloud / Ranking

28 May 2022

REVIEW: Red Wings: American Aces on Nintendo Switch

Review by Jon Donnis
Red Wings: American Aces is set in World War 1, and from the moment you start the game you can tell a lot of care has been put into making the game look rather special. 

The game itself is centred around 3D dogfighting, you control a WW1 aircraft, and in pure arcade style you need to take out the enemy. 


There are 3 main modes, Online, Local and Campaign.

Online mode will have you fighting against others (maximum of 9) in pure dogfighting action, Last Man Standing, Score Battle, or Time Battle. You can even pick teams and battle against other teams online.

Local mode has you doing the same as Online mode, but against one other opponent, that being against another human player, or a CPU controlled opponent. 


Now as much fun as those two modes are, they are very much for the long-term interest of the game. But in the short term you need a challenge and this is where the campaign mode comes in. 30 missions to complete, each mission has certain aims. Maybe as simple as taking out a few waves of enemies, or it might be more specific like destroying hidden airships while fighting off the enemy trying to protect them. Bombing runs are fun, as well as the classic game of flying through hoops, (in this game you fly through a hope to refuel).


As you progress through the Campaign you can upgrade your pilot skills through a Skill Tree, as well as improve your special abilities.


For example, if an enemy is charging head on, a carefully timed barrel roll is perfect for not only avoiding their bullets but also destroying them if you make contact. You can also tag an enemy and get friendlies to attack on your command, as well as the quick U-turn manoeuvre.

As you complete each level you aware awarded stars depending on how successful you were and these are what you spend on the skills tree.


With 15 different planes to eventually unlock and use, there is plenty of choice as you progress.

The levels themselves all have different backgrounds and features, including thunderstorms and sandstorms, each creating their own problems for you.

The plane controls are pretty simple, speed up, slow down, barrel roll, quick turn, it all feels very natural, and you always feel very much in control.

Along with the arcade gameplay, there is a story to tell, and WW1 is a serious story, everything is told truthfully, with little sugar coating. You could argue that such a serious story takes away from what is a fun arcade game, however I felt that if you want to deal with a serious subject you have to be serious in telling that story.


The Good
This game really fits well on a Nintendo Switch Lite, which is what I played it on. I have played Red Wings on PC, but on a handheld console I just think the whole experience feels more fun. Everything looks great, and just the feeling or taking down an enemy in a hail of bullets never gets old.

The Bad
Nothing really, the game delivers on what it says it will.

Overall
I really enjoyed playing Red Wings: American Aces, it is a good old fashioned arcade shooter, but with modern graphics.
A fun experience that I can recommend to people of all ages.

I score Red Wings: American Aces a solid 8/10

Out now on Steam and Nintendo Switch

26 May 2022

REVIEW: Tony and Clyde on PS4

Review by Jon Donnis
"Tony and Clyde" is a simple shooter, you play as either Tony or Clyde, who the game loves to tell you are not simple thugs from the streets but also not highly trained criminals or professionals.

The game is played through chapters, as you play you will learn about Tony and Clyde, who they are what they want, all told through the various hand drawn 2D cutscenes. Basically, they are small time crooks wanting to make it big.

The gameplay itself is from a third perspective top-down viewpoint. You control your characters movement with the left stick, and the direction of fire with the right stick. Frustratingly the bumper button controls the firing and the trigger button controls the changing of weapons. Why they did it this way round is anyone's guess. It is called the TRIGGER button for a reason! Aiming is a bit hit and miss, so you will want to pay attention to your loadout and which weapons you have. Since the aiming is a bit rough, I went for weapons that had large magazines, so that I could spray the area with bullets before the slow process of reloading. 

You can use the dodge button, which will roll you out of the way, and while dodging, you are invulnerable, so you will find yourself doing this a lot if you get caught off guard and surrounded.


Since the viewpoint is fixed, you will often find enemies firing at you off camera, so as you play, you will need to learn the levels and where people are, and plot your route carefully. You can try to avoid the enemies, but they will just keep coming after you, so you might as well take them all out, get close enough to an enemy and you can execute them with a knife shot, but you might want to avoid doing this, as for some bizarre reasons every time you execute someone in this manner, the game goes into slow motion, which just feels like horrible lag, and with enemies approaching, you will find yourself getting frustrated as opposed to what I assume the idea is of giving you more time.

Each chapter finishes with a boss fight, the usual routine here, super tough, takes a lot of bullets. The problem is that if you take a couple of shots, you are dead, and have to restart at the last checkpoint.

Some objects on the levels can be shot at, and then explode, taking out anyone nearby, time this right and you can take out a decent number of enemies, time it wrong and you will take yourself out.

There aren't any collectables, or secrets, the only thing you unlock will be weapons. And you do this by killing the "juice man" which is literally someone dressed in a juice carton costume, I assume this is slang for a loan shark.

The Good
Once you get used to the gameplay, and the fact you will die a lot, there is a lot of fun to be had.

The Bad
The game does get quite repetitive, and there isn't much strategy to be had while playing, Just shoot and kill and hope for the best. And that strange slow motion, lag thing after knifing people is just bizarre.

Overall
Perhaps a little expensive for what it is at £8, but this is a fun game, despite its frustrations.

I score Tony and Clyde on PS4 a safe 6/10

24 May 2022

MINI REVIEW: Hovercars 3077 Underground Racing on PC (Steam)

 


Make sure to follow me on Twitter where I often post mini reviews.



23 May 2022

REVIEW: Kao the Kangaroo on Nintendo Switch

Review by Jon Donnis
I have been playing and enjoying Kao the Kangaroo on my Nintendo Switch Lite now for a few days, what a great little game here. What I didn't know was that Kao is part of a long running series of games going back over 20 years. Kao the Kangaroo (2000) - Dreamcast, Kao the Kangaroo: Round 2 (2003) - PS2, Xbox, Gamecube, Kao Challengers (2005) PSP and Kao the Kangaroo: Mystery of the Volcano (2005) - PC. So, there is a rich history right there across multiple consoles. But with any cute platform game, I think it is fair to say the Switch is the perfect home.

The story goes as follows, Kao's sister has gone missing, and it is up to Kao to not only find her, but also solve the mystery of what happened to his lone gone father. Kao needs to travel the world and confront various famous fighters who are influenced by the mysterious dark power.


Kao has his own Master in Walt who will help guide our hero. And along the way Kao will make new friends and strengthen old friendships.

Ultimately Kao needs to confront the Eternal Warrior and beat him to save the world! Classic platform story right there.

The game itself is easy to pick up, and has a great learning curve to introduce you into the mechanics. Everything looks great, and control of Kao is precise and easy to get used to. Fighting mainly involves punching your enemies with your fathers old magical boxing gloves, or throwing stones. You will collect coins and other secrets as you play, which will all help you in your quest.


Although the general gameplay is rather easy, the boss fights do throw up a challenge, and as you charge up your attack gauge, you can throw a finishing punch to destroy your enemies. You can also store elemental charges in your gloves, which will help you clear obstacles, as well as use a cool dodge roll attack.

All in all, this is a fun little 3D platformer, with enough content to please an experienced gamer as well as the younger gamer, of which this game is directed at.


The Good
Bright, colourful graphics, easy to pick up gameplay, fun story and characters.

The Bad
Perhaps a little too easy at times.

Overall
A really fun little game here, that is perfect for the younger gamer.

I score Kao the Kangaroo a solid 9/10

Out Now on Nintendo Switch - https://amzn.to/3sULk9F

22 May 2022

REVIEW: Golfie on PC (Steam)

Review by Jon Donnis
Another day, and another golf game. People really do like golf at the moment!

The latest Golf based game trying to get your cash is Golfie. Golfie is a mixture of mini golf, deck building and roguelike (procedurally generated levels).

This game releases into Early Access on PC via Steam on 26th May, so please keep that in mind when reading this review, Early Access means the game will have bugs and issues and the developers are still ironing out problems.


Since the levels are procedurally generated, no two are alike, you have to play through 18 holes, but as you will quickly find, your ball won't do much when you hit it at first, you see you will get effect cards to choose from, these cards are randomly drawn from a pack, and include things like "shot power", "curve ball", lob" etc. You can choose which cards you think will help you proceed best, and stack them up, stack up 2 shot power cards and you get extra power on your shot, stack up a shot power card, a lob card and a curve shot card, and well I am sure you can figure out how that might help you.


Throw in unique cards too, like magnetism, where you can select an area that will attract your ball, and that might help you sink that shot in a hard to land place. Also worth a mention are the jetpack, parachute, glider and so on.

You have a certain amount of energy too, if you fall into a trap, or finish a course over par, that will drain your energy, and when that runs out, your run is over, and you have to start from scratch.


Throw in daily challenges and leader boards and the game has a lot more potential for added reasons to play as well as future releases of new cards to enhance the game.

Collect coins, buy upgrades, new cards to unlock, and buy cosmetic changes for your ball.

The Good
As I have mentioned in reviews for other games, outside of a Simulation or basic mini golf, you need a gimmick, and the gimmick for Golfie is an interesting one, and one that in theory has nearly unlimited potential with regards to the cards.

The Bad
Once again, a golf game stuttering due to camera issues. There are two camera modes, fixed or controlled by the mouse, neither are particularly good, and made even worse when you play a course that is inside a building, as the camera can get messed up, and you can't see where you are supposed to go.

I really hope the developers fix the camera issues and really try to learn from what is the biggest mistake in the game.

Overall
Far from perfect, but with a lot of potential.
A long way to go to the finished game, so I won't give a score for now. Also, if that price remains, it will put off a lot of people. Charge no more than £5.


Golfie is available on 26th May via Steam priced at £14.99 / €17.99 / $17.99, with a 20 per cent launch discount. 
It has been developed by Triheart Studio and will be published by Yogscast Games.

21 May 2022

REVIEW: Golf Gang on PC (Steam)


Review by Jon Donnis
I seem to be playing a lot of Golf based games recently, and the latest game to come across my desk is Golf Gang from Lazy Monday Games and published by the great people at Curve Games.

As I am sure you will all know, any game based on Golf that is not either a direct simulation or basic crazy golf, needs to have a gimmick, and with Golf Gang the gimmick is that it is more of a racing game, a game to be played with friends and all at the same time. Up to 8 players at once!


Since this is a racing game, speed is more important than accuracy, which means you can hit the ball while it is moving, and even while it is in the air. Hit a balloon and it gives you an extra boost, and once the time allows you, you can hit it again, allowing for some very nice long range shots.

There are lots of different courses, in different genres, grass, desert, snow etc.


There are in game "mods" that you can purchase with the in game currency, which allows you to get very creative, some of the mods include low gravity, explosions, slowing down time, and so on.

There are a few different modes, and it can be played in single player as well. There are time trials, basic golf, where you are not racing against time, and hybrid modes.

Throw in lots of things you can buy to customise the look of your "ball", purchase new courses, skins, accessories and so on.

There is even a creator mode where the community can create and share their own courses. Although I did not try any of that, so can't speak on it.


The Good
A very colourful game with a simple graphic style, everything moves fast, and in a race, it can get very exciting, and competitive.

The Bad
I hate the controls. You control the camera, the ball, everything with just the mouse, so in a frantic situation it makes it much harder to get your shot right, because you are trying to do three things with just one control method. The same with the gamepad, which you would think would be easier, but no, it is the same system but all mapped onto the right stick. There is a way around things however, you can press the F key on the keyboard and that shoots the ball at maximum speed, which allows you to use the mouse mainly for directional purposes, but obviously when you need a more finesse shot, you have no choice but to use the mouse. I have brought this up with the developers, and hopefully they will add extra methods for controlling your shots.

Overall
This is a fun game, bogged down slightly with a poor control system, don't get me wrong, you will get used to it, but you will throw skill out of the window pretty quick, and just hammer that F button. This is not about wanting to be great at a game from the start, it is about a new player feeling like the controls are intuitive, which they are not. Fix this control system and the game becomes infinitely more enjoyable.

I score Golf Gang in its current state a fair 7/10

Out Now on Steam

20 May 2022

REVIEW: Fire and Steel on PC (Steam)

Review by Jon Donnis
Set in World War 2, Fire and Steel is a proper old school arcade shooter, but instead of flying a plane, you control a young Dragon called Aiden, no idea who gave him that name, but it is not very Dragon like is it. A bit like calling a Doberman by the name Keith.

Anyway, Aiden has been asleep for a thousand years, he wakes up to find the world at war, not choosing sides between the Axis and Allied forces, Aiden decides instead to just breathe fire and kill anyone who gets in his way.


What results is a pretty cool game whereby you will find yourself breathing fire or shooting fire balls at everything, from people stood firing guns at you, to attack planes and helicopters, battleships, tanks, heavy artillery and everything else humanity has in a desperate attempt to stop you. Whether it is the Luftwaffe, RAF or the U.S Air Force, everything is open season for Aiden.

The game itself plays in missions or levels, complete a level to progress to the next one. Aiden has the ability to detect the enemy using an Assassins Creed like extra vision, easily activated by holding down a button on the gamepad. This shows the enemy in red. And when Aiden gets hurt, and his health is going down, he can easily replenish it by swooping down and eating anything living, that might be humans, sheep, sharks or even birds in the sky. They appear green in Aidens extra vision mode.


But always watch out for your health, and if you collide with a plane, that's it, game over.

Between levels, you get some cool cinematic cut scenes, as well as TV broadcasts from the 1940s. All very cool and a really nice addition to the game.

The game really is a lot of fun; however you need to get past a bit of clunky-ness at the start. For example, in the tutorial mode, the game never tells you that to finish you need to kill all of the humans, so after killing as much as I could see, while flying through a cave, I decided to head through what I believed was an exit in the roof, I found myself bouncing around and not progressing as my health went down. Eventually I figured out there was a few more humans to kill, I did so, and the level ended.

The controls at first do feel a bit clunky, but you quickly get used to them, and outside of a few graphical glitches here and there, once you get past that initial feeling when you start playing, you quickly realise how addictive and good this game is.

It really is a fun arcade game. Complete a level and move on, or replay the level to finish it quicker, get a higher score and so on. The levels are good enough that you will want to replay them.


The Good
Really surprised at how much I like this game, so much fun, the graphics are decent, sound effects are good, and the general presentation of the game is of a high quality.

The Bad
Control is a bit clunky at first, and there are a few graphical glitches here and there, but neither of these things are enough to detract from what is a great game.

Overall
Absolutely love it, all I can ask for is for the developers to fix a couple of the bugs I mentioned and release more levels.

I score Fire and Steel on PC (Steam) a solid 9/10
Brilliant.

Out Now on Steam

16 May 2022

REVIEW: The Centennial Case : A Shijima Story - PS5

Review by GamingCouchPotato.co.uk Staff
The Centennial Case : A Shijima Story is a FMV (full motion video) visual novel type of a game.

"The Shijima family have suffered a chain of inexplicable deaths over the past century.
When Haruka Kagami, a mystery novelist, visits the Shiijmas, she finds herself taking on four different murder cases - occurring at different points in time.

The red camellia and the Fruit of Youth, which invite only death.
And the truth behind it all, waiting to be uncovered..."

More like a TV show or Movie, where you will make certain decisions within the game, and that will then take you on a different path.


As you play you will gather clues to the mystery you are trying to solve. You have to use your powers of deduction to solve the mystery and uncover the truth.

You will enter a "cognitive space" of sorts, which allows you to put together your threads of logic, which depending which way you go will give a different hypothesis as the outcome. You make these decisions moving hexagonal pieces on a board.


Playing any interactive movie, I cant really give much away as it would spoil the story, but it is worth noting that the acting is all very good, the story is well written, and although the subtitles might put some people off, any FMV game does need you to pay attention, to make the best informed decisions so the subtitles aren't that much of an issue.


The Good
High quality acting, and nice sets create a visually interesting game.

The Bad
The controls are a bit clunky, these kinds of games never seem to work that well on console. More of a PC game.

Overall
If you like Japanese Visual Novels, then this is the game for you.

If you are a fan of just you usual FMV visual novels, then give this game a look.

I score The Centennial Case : A Shijima Story a fair 7/10 for its genre.

Out now on PS5

13 May 2022

REVIEW: Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising on PC

Review by GamingCouchPotato.co.uk Staff
Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is an action RPG set in the same world as Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes. This game acts as a prequel / companion game.

The main goal of Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is to rebuild the town of New Neveah that was decimated by an earthquake. During that disaster several ruins we uncovered, each full of treasure.


You play as CJ a scavenger; you will speak to various characters and collect materials they need to rebuild. Once you have the requested materials, new buildings appear, and soon the town will transform from a destroyed mess to a new beautiful town.


Each time you help someone, you get a stamp for your stamp book, as you get more stamps, you upgrade, which in turn brings more people to the town and more quests to complete. You can also exchange stamps at a trading post for things you will need, for example an explorer's license, which allows you to investigate the ruins or building materials.


There are of course enemies, and early on the combat is pretty simple, with one button attacks. As you progress through the game you can unlock new abilities, and upgrades for your weapons and armour. 

On the default difficulty settings, everything is pretty easy, and you will quickly progress through the game. Unfortunately, the hard mode isn't available from the start and is only unlocked after your first playthrough.

Sadly, gameplay gets tedious pretty quickly, there is a LOT of back and forth fetching of materials, which just isn't that much fun.


The Good
Everything looks great, the controls are simple, and you will pick up the game pretty quickly.

The Bad
Tedious, repetitive gameplay ruins what should be a really fun game. Way too easy on the default settings, and the game is relatively short too.

Overall
There is a good game in here, it is just hasn't been developed enough, and almost feels rushed in parts, there is a lack of effort in creating the depth that a game like this needs.

I score Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising a poor 4/10 could and should have been much better.

Out now on PC (Steam) for £12.99