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24 Jan 2023

REVIEW: WHALIEN - Unexpected Guests on PC (Steam)

Review by Jon Donnis
We are back once again, and this time we are looking at a bright and colourful action adventure game.

"Players take on the role of Ernest Hemingwhale, the sole remaining inhabitant of Fin, the mechanical whale. Fin is not only Ernest's home but also his close friend. When mysterious and dangerous Squiddies begin taking over Fin's body, he doesn't hesitate to take down the slimy threats. The origin of the mischievous little beings is not the only secret to discover. The mechanical whale is filled with little details and even more unexpected guests, the Springpeople. Whatever they are up to remains to be seen.

Ernest must use both his wits and special gloves and pearls - appropriately named Mr. Push and Mrs. Pull - to manipulate objects in the environment, solve puzzles, and send the Squiddies packing. Through unique, vibrant, and colorful environments, players delve deep into the inner workings of Fin, meet loveable characters, and help protect not only Ernest's home but also his friend.

WHALIEN- Unexpected Guests is a short but sweet adventure game about friendship."

This is an interesting game, there is not as much direction as I would like, which means that on some levels you wont really know what you are supposed to do or where you need to go, but if you stick with it, you will figure it out. With that being said, I have to admit that I gave up on level pretty far into the game, which I kinda knew what I had to do, but didn't really understand how to do it, so I found myself just running about aimlessly, trying to do everthing and anything I could, and as mentioned, without direction it makes some parts of the game rather frustrating.

General gameplay involves you getting from one location to the next, there are collectables hidden around the level as well. You will gain a few powers, that of pushing and that of attracting, you use these powers to either move things out of your way, position them to help you reach a certain point, you also have your gloves which each has the push and pull ability but on a larger scale. These are the skills you really need to master, as you will need to fire the ability and set it off in order to activate certain things.

Some levels need precise jumping and placement, other levels require more of a puzzle element where you might need to activate something to move forward. In later levels you will need to collect ingredients, and feed what I believe is the mechanical Whale, this is where I got stuck and eventually gave up. I assume this was near the end of the game, so I wasn't too bothered.

The Good
Bright and colourful, controls are easy to learn, and in general gameplay is fun.

The Bad
A lack of direction really hurts the gameplay, and leaves you feel frustrated instead of challenged. Some motion sickness issues when I first started playing, I disabled some of the graphical effects and that lessened them.

Until I got stuck I very much enjoyed the game, if you don't get stuck as I did, you will probably complete the game in about 3 hours, so keep that in mind.

WHALIEN - Unexpected Guests has its problems, but I am sure they will get fixed in future updates. It is not perfect by any means, but it is also not bad. This is a decent adventure game, perhaps a little harder than it needs to be considering who it should appeal to. I score this game a fair 7/10.

Out Now on Steam

20 Jan 2023

REVIEW: NEO: The World Ends with You on PC Steam

Review by Jon Donnis
From Square Enix comes the PC port of console game NEO: The World Ends with You. It seems rare to have a console game ported to PC these days, usually PC gets the first release, anyway here we are.

Since this is a port, I wanted to quickly point out that there aren't that many graphics options on the PC release, standard stuff, the game runs well even on a mid-powered PC, so power is not something you will have to worry too much about. And if you have the PS4 version, then there is no real difference to the PC version, although the PC version is graphically superior as you would expect.

NEO: The World Ends with You is the follow up to the beloved action RPG The World Ends with You, you play as a high schooler named Rindo, one day you are on the streets of Tokyo, doing your thing with your friend Fret, when out of nowhere you are pulled into a weird game, (The Reapers Game.) whereby your very survival depends on how you play. I will let the official synopsis better explain it.

"It was just another seemingly ordinary day in Shibuya, but not for Rindo. He could tell something about the city felt different.
When a psychic battle breaks out on the Scramble Crossing, Rindo thought he'd managed to escape it. Until a girl calling herself a Reaper shows up in front of him. "Welcome to the Reapers' Game, kid."
Surely nothing too terrible could happen in a game...
With this thought in mind, Rindo casually joins the game with his friend, Fret. But as they start playing the game, the two start to feel like something isn't quite
right. There's something off about this "Shibuya" they're in!
As the pair grapple with their doubts, they're suddenly confronted with the rule of the Game: win, or be erased.
In this second Shibuya called Shibuya's Undergound (or "UG") they must compete with the other Players to take the top spot and survive.
Will Rindo and Fret be able to return to the original Shibuya...?"

As you progress you will meet up with and team up with a group of unique people, together you will explore the city and solve the mysteries of the game.

The plot of the game here is very important, and there is a lot of dialog to watch/read through, plenty of twists and turns to keep you interested. There are a lot of references to the previous game, but if you never played that, then don't worry as everything is explained well.

Most of the fun comes from combat, each of your group's members can use a psychic ability, by equipping a pin. For example, Rindo might have a pin equipped that allows him to slash using a spectral sword. Other pins allow different attacks, for example to fire blasts from far away. You control all of you group simultaneously, and by pressing the corresponding button on the controller, you will use those players abilities. But be careful your abilities have limits and when they reach that limit, they will need time to recharge, so button bashing will only get you so far.

While you fight you have something called a Groove, which you will see as a percentage at the top of the playing area. Reach 100% and above and you can start a Mashup, you can increase your groups attack power, and even get launched into the air and attack from above. To be brutally honest I found this all a little confusing at first, but slowly you do get the hang of it.

You also get to level up your pins, which makes them more powerful, get new ones with new abilities and so on. Although this sounds a bit confusing when written down, in practice it is much simpler.

Outside of the battles, you will also get to explore Shibuya, you can scan people by pressing a button, and read their minds. You can also find monsters this way, known as "Noise", beating these is a great way to unlock new pins.

Throw in side quests alongside the main story, and you get something called Friend Points (FP) you used these to unlock bonuses attached to each friend you add. So, if you "Friend" with the owner of a restaurant, you can unlock new items for him to sell in his shop. This is also a great way to boost your stats. Check out clothes shops and buy yourself clothes and accessories and for your group too.

The graphics have a totally unique look, and the soundtrack will keep you bobbing your head.

The Good
Very interesting gameplay, very different to any action RPG I have played before, the graphical style, the music, everything just feels different, and finding something different in the gaming world is a tough thing these days.

Although the general concept of the game is a bit complicated at first, you will get into it soon enough.

The Bad
The camera angles are fixed, so when running around the city, I kind of just wanted to move the camera and I couldn't. Also there is a lot of dialog and the story is important, so sometimes when you just want to get going and explore, you might get frustrated at having to wait.

An interesting and pretty unique game, unlike anything I have played before. It is "very Japanese" in its style.
For fans of the previous game, this is a no brainer. For people new to the franchise, it might seem a bit weird, but stick with it and there is a fun game to be had.

I score NEO: The World Ends with You on PC Steam a fair 8/10

Out Now on Steam

17 Jan 2023

REVIEW: Breakers Collection on Nintendo Switch

Review by Jon Donnis
Back in the 1990s we were very lucky that we had an almost endless stream, of beat-em-up arcade games, from the Fatal Fury series, to Streetfighter and of course Breakers. And today we get a re-release of not only Breakers but also the sequel in Breakers Revenge on the mighty Nintendo Switch. Called the Breakers Collection, it is your classic 2D beat-em-up style game with a few important improvements.

Here is the plot of the game.
"Somewhere in Hong Kong, two martial artists face each other in a vast courtyard. The challenger is a stout man in brown skin. The ground has been tainted with blood. However, his crescent blade has not touched his opponent yet. It was a one-sided battle. He was already exhausted and it will not be long before he would fall. "Fool, you will become one of my family" resounded the opponent's voice, as the challenger crumbled to the floor and was turned into sand.

The Fighting Instinct Tournament, or FIST, is a tournament as fierce as its name suggests. There was no shortage of martial artists who entered the tournament seeking fame, and yet there were many who left the tournament as corpses. The last challenger who remains in this lawless tournament gets to challenge the organizer of the tournament, the Head of the Huang Financial Clique, for the chance to win the massive prize money. The martial artist who can manage to defeat him will obtain the honour of truly calling him or herself the strongest. However, none of the martial artists who were chosen to challenge the champion in a private final match have ever come back alive. The sponsor is actually an evil spirit who possessed the body of a modern man from Hong Kong who has established a selection system to amplify his dark powers. The FIST tournament has gathered numerous participants from around the globe and another sacrifice will be chosen this year."

So, it your classic tournament system, to win money, yes, I know it is not really very original, but does anyone really care about the plot line in beat-em-ups?

You have your usual collection of characters with different skill sets and from different countries. Sho Kamui being the lead character, a Japanese Karate expert. And yes, he will remind you of a certain other character from a famous beat-em-up and yes, he even has some of the same moves.

There are a few different gameplay modes, including online modes if you have a Nintendo Subscription. Otherwise, the single player mode is your typical tournament mode, with various storyline screens interjected between fights.

Visually there are also a few options. You can play with original graphics, a smoothed-out mode, where the graphics are a bit smoother, and everyone's favourite the CRT mode, designed to replicate the look of playing on an old-fashioned TV. You can even choose to have all of the moves listed on the screen as you play, to help you pull off that special move to finish off your opponent.

Both games play well, Breakers Revenge is clearly the superior game, it has more characters, and the in-game balance is better. The moves are all pretty familiar to players of the genre, and how to pull them off is all pretty standard.

This is an easy to pick up and play game, some of the sound effects are pretty dated, and the Italian character Pielle Montario is pretty hilarious, the noises he makes just sound wrong on so many levels.

"In this collection, the player will have the opportunity to play the classic Versus Mode local or with online lobbies, Arcade Mode, Ranked battles with Rollback Netcode (GGPO), Team Battle, Art gallery, Training mode and more!"

The Good
If you are a fan of retro 2D beat-em-ups, then you can't go wrong with the Breakers Collection, everything you want is there, colourful characters, animated backgrounds, lots of moves, great fights. It is pure 2D beat-em-up heaven.

The Bad
If you have a Nintendo Switch, then you will most likely already have the Capcom Arcade, and if so, you can get Streetfighter 2 on there very cheap, and it was even free for a while, so it might be hard to justify paying out a fair amount of money for Breakers Collection.

Games like this tend to appeal to the older game who want reminding of the glory days of their youth, putting 10p coins in the local arcade machines for hours on end.

Both the Breakers games included here could be consider some of the better games of the time, of this genre. Are they better than Streetfighter 2? No. Are they better than most other 2D beat-em-ups? Yes

I score Breakers Collection a fair 7.5/10

Out Now at

9 Jan 2023

REVIEW: Voyager on PC (Steam)

Review by Jon Donnis
I have to admit, I am a fan of simple gameplay and minimalist games, but only if they are actually any good. I was contacted by the developer of Voyager, a game which describes itself as a little relaxing minimalist game. So, does it tick the right boxes? Let's take a look.

The game is pretty simple; each level starts with the sun in the middle, and you control a simple rocket (Voyager). With just one button, you control the thrust of the engine. Your job is to discover the planets that orbit around the sun.

The game itself contains barely any in-game instructions, and what I told you just now is probably more knowledge than what you will start playing with. But once you do start, there is a rather clever little game here. Now, I have to admit that at first, I assumed that you just press launch on the rocket once and then just watch it fly around the little galaxy, with gravity being the main propulsion. Once you have launched, I later figured out that you can actually keep the power going and even direct the thrust using your cursor, which in turn makes the whole experience much more fun and a little easier. As you fly around, battling the gravitational pull of the sun, you will eventually land on a planet. Once you do, it becomes visible in the galaxy, and you can then use that as a new launchpad. In the top right of the screen is a little map which indicates how many planets there are to discover and roughly how far away they are from the sun.

There is also, confusingly, a little record player next to that map, which for a while I thought was something to do with the gameplay. That record player will play some nice relaxing songs.

After you have found all of the planets in a level, you will move onto the next level. As you play, you will notice that you leave behind a track of the flight of your rocket, along with the orbit of the planets. This creates some pretty unique orbital artwork on the screen.

There are 8 levels to play, each one is a bit harder than the last. And you will get through them relatively quickly. Once you have completed them all, you unlock a star chart which allows you to choose to play any level again. If you do not complete the game, every time you start the game up again, you have to start from level 1 again. Once completed, you unlock an "Endless Mode," which I am not quite sure the point of. As you just play level one again, and once you find the planets, nothing happens; you just keep flying around. I assume endless mode just means the level doesn't finish, and you can just keep making patterns in the galaxy. It seems a bit pointless to me, and I would have preferred something a bit different, maybe a randomly generated level that keeps changing once planets are found.

The Good:
Simple, clear graphics.
A great original chillout soundtrack.
A lovely idea for a game that will entertain you.
Small download size too and will run on any laptop/PC.

The Bad:
No tutorial.
No controls menu.
A lack of instruction does hurt things, but then I guess the game is supposed to be minimalist, but sometimes you do need a bit of instruction.
Needs more levels, or a random level generator.

I like the game, once you figure things out it is fun, and there is some skill involved to progress. It can get a bit frustrating at time when you know roughly where a planet is, but you keep missing it, that in turn takes away the relaxing element of the game. But it does mean the game is a challenge and I like that.

I score Voyager on PC (Steam) a decent 8/10. The experience might by short, but for less than a pound, it is worth it.

Out now on Steam at

8 Jan 2023

Our Statement on Limited Run Games


By Jon Donnis

As many of you will know, the video game industry has become rather toxic in recent years, especially towards women, so when I saw that Limited Run Games, a company founded in 2015 by Josh Fairhurst and Douglas Bogart and run out of Apex, North Carolina, had fired a woman due to a "thoughtcrime", I was disappointed, if not surprised.

I wont name who was fired, as she is already receiving enough abuse as it is. So what was the crime she committed that was so abhorrent, that she was fired from her job, her career left in tatters, and her reputation destroyed? Well, she followed a few people on Twitter that the bosses at Limited Run Games did not approve of.

Yes folks, that's it. She never tweeted anything offensive, she never upset anyone. She literally did nothing wrong. Yet because she followed a Gay Asian Journalist, who exposes political violence and also an account run by a woman, that brings attention to pedophiles and sexual offenders, she was fired.

It seems strange to fire someone who follows such people, who are clearly doing good work in the world of journalism, and you can make up your own mind as to why Limited Run Games would be against such people. 

The very people these two accounts expose often go through the follower lists of these journalists, and try to find anyone who is either high profile, or has their work information in their bio. They then gather tens of activists to create as much noise as possible, they tell lies, they make accusations, and the end result is that the innocent person, who just takes an interest in said journalist, has their lives ruined, by the cowards who employ them, who in their own desperation to seem "woke" and "inclusive" will fire people simply for a thoughtcrime.

As you can imagine there is quite the backlash on Limited Run Games, and rightly so. They have now turned off comments for their posts on Twitter and Facebook, as they were getting so many replies from people, genuinely upset that the would ruin a young woman's career.

Now we are just a small website on the internet, we cant really do much more than bring attention to this. But, what we can do is refuse to cover any game that is associated with Limited Run Games going forward, we will not review them, promote them, or work with any independent games company that uses Limited Run Games.

I do not on principle agree with cancel culture, but sometimes there is no other choice, and you have to fight fire with fire. So as of this moment, as far as we are concerned, Limited Run Games are cancelled, due to them firing a woman for a thoughtcrime.

"Thoughtcrime – crimethink in Newspeak – is one of the most terrifying of Orwell’s conceits in 1984, where even thinking in opposition to the regime is a treacherous offence. 60 years after the novel was written, and 25 years after the year in which it was set, is thoughtcrime a reality? Are there certain thoughts and beliefs which should be punished? How should society deal with those who thoughts go beyond accepted political and social norms? And what does it feel like to think the unthinkable, controversial and uncomfortable?"

A sample list of some of the games we have covered, that use Limited Run Games.
BPM: Bullets Per Minute

Deliver Us The Moon

Arcade Paradise

Martha Is Dead

The Falconeer

Victor Vran

I was tempted to remove all coverage of these games in protest, but I think that would be unfair, so I have left them on the site for now. But I would encourage the makers of these games to rethink their relationship with Limited Run Games moving forward.

3 Jan 2023

REVIEW: Mission 1985 on Nintendo Switch

Review by Jon Donnis
Mission 1985 is a tribute or perhaps more of a clone of classic arcade game Commando, Commando was released in the arcades in 1985, and I would spend countless 10p coins playing it almost every day, so fast forward to 2022, and to see a tribute to that game released, and I couldn't be happier.

The game itself is a 2D top-down view, run and gun. Your job is to defeat the dreaded General Hector and his army, and along the way free any hostages you find.

There are 11 levels in total, and a few of those are 3D type levels, graphically think Space Harrier. Each level is set in a different location to give plenty of variety.

General play has you shooting and throwing grenades at anyone who gets in your way. But watch out for traps, mines, holes in the ground, as well as climate related dangers. As well as shooting at enemy soldiers, there are also tanks, helicopters and planes to take out. Don't waste all of your grenades though, you will probably want to save as many as you can for the end of level boss. There are a few different weapons you can pick up and use, the best one being the flame thrower.

There is also a local multiplayer mode, no online play though.

Now it is worth noting the game is hard, like ridiculously hard, there is no easy mode, although you can adjust how many lives you start off with, a maximum of 9. The difficulty becomes a huge problem though, the game is not necessarily hard in the same way that Commando was hard. With Commando the more you played, the better you got. With Mission 1985 the problem is when you do die, you are only invincible for a second, so you can end up losing 2 or 3 lives very quickly, grenades thrown by enemies are also sometimes impossible to avoid, as soon as you see one, you move away but you are still killed. Your reaction time is simply not going to save you.

However, the boss fights are relatively easy, the problem is getting to them.

The graphics are retro style, as is the sound effects, the story is pretty basic, and the gameplay is classic arcade style

The Good
I am a fan of these types of classic games, and this does feed the addiction. The graphics bring back memories, and everything you would want and expect is there.

The Bad
Way too difficult, and although I understand that is a deliberate choice by the developers, I found the difficulty to be off putting, instead of pushing me to keep playing to get better.

If you are over 40 then this game will definitely bring back some fun times you had as a kid, but the difficulty setting is so off putting, even for a huge fan of the genre as I am.

Commando was always hard, but it was never unfair in its gameplay, this game feels unfair.

I score Mission 1985 on Nintendo Switch a 6/10. If the developers fix a few of the issues I have mentioned, as well as add an easy mode, then the game would be 7/10

Out now on Nintendo Switch