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31 Oct 2023

REVIEW: Ghostrunner 2 on Xbox - A Thrilling Upgrade to the Cyberpunk Slasher Genre

Review by Jon Donnis
If you loved the first Ghostrunner, you're in for a treat with its sequel, Ghostrunner 2. Building upon the foundations of its predecessor, the game offers a thrilling and immersive experience with several notable improvements. This hardcore first-person slasher keeps you on the edge of your seat as you navigate a post-apocalyptic cyberpunk world, making it one of the standout action games of the year.

Much like its predecessor, Ghostrunner 2 features fast-paced, one-hit-kill combat, where agility and precision are paramount. You'll dash, slide, and execute enemies with your trusty sword, and the game introduces new ninja tricks to customize your playstyle. The addition of a stylish motorcycle segment adds variety to the gameplay, enhancing the overall experience.

One of the game's strengths is its more fleshed-out world, captivating level design, and challenging boss battles. The cyberpunk dystopia of Dharma City comes to life with engaging storytelling and well-developed characters. The conversations with fellow rebels in the hub world offer valuable insights into the game's lore, making them worthwhile diversions before embarking on your next mission.

The game's combat and parkour elements are further accentuated by a pulsating soundtrack that gets the adrenaline pumping, intensifying the action and immersing you in the dystopian atmosphere.

However, Ghostrunner 2 does have its drawbacks. Some players might find it easier compared to the first installment, potentially diminishing the challenge, especially the boss fights. The hub world, while offering valuable narrative content, disrupts the pacing of the game. Combat arenas sometimes feel too open, with large gaps between enemies, and some dialogues suffer from awkward silences. Additionally, the boss fights, while decent, could have been more engaging.

Ghostrunner 2's plot places you in a post-apocalyptic cyberpunk world, one year after the fall of the tyrannical Keymaster. You'll face a violent AI cult outside Dharma Tower, the last refuge of humanity, as you shape the future of your kind. The game features remarkable katana combat mechanics, nonlinear levels with intricate motorbike sections, and exciting new modes. Boss fights now offer more interactivity, allowing players to choose their strategies.

The introduction of new skills adds depth to the gameplay, encouraging creativity and adaptation to different encounters. The player progression system is revamped, providing customization options for your playstyle. The Cybervoid, interactive environments, and a dialogue system further enrich the experience.

In conclusion, Ghostrunner 2 successfully builds upon the strengths of its predecessor, delivering an exhilarating and immersive cyberpunk slasher experience. While it might be slightly easier and the hub world interruptions can be a pacing issue, the game's engaging story, refined gameplay mechanics, and captivating soundtrack make it a must-play for fans of the genre. Dive into the dystopian world and save humanity in style, all while enjoying the synth-wave soundtrack that enhances the overall experience.

I score Ghostrunner 2 on Xbox a solid 8 out of 10.

Out Now at

REVIEW: My Cubes on PC - "A Towering Challenge of Creativity"

Review by Jon Donnis
"My Cubes," developed by BloodAlibi, is a refreshing take on the indie gaming scene, offering players a unique platforming experience that demands both creativity and perseverance. In this first-person adventure, you'll tackle the challenge of reaching a high point using only two cubes, with the ability to position and reposition them in mid-air to craft your path to the top.

Gameplay: My Cubes introduces a distinctive and satisfying gameplay mechanic that tests your wits and agility. The goal is clear: reach the summit with just two cubes. What might sound simple becomes a complex exercise in spatial reasoning as you manipulate these cubes to create platforms to reach the next safe point. The addition of checkpoints ensures that players can recover from setbacks, preventing frustration and maintaining an enjoyable experience.

Controls: The game's primary flaw lies in its control scheme. While the mouse and keyboard setup is functional, it can be a bit finicky, making precise cube placement a challenge. It's worth noting that My Cubes lacks full gamepad support, which is unfortunate, as the gameplay would really suit a gamepad. Furthermore, there doesn't appear to be a way to rotate the cubes, which, while not a critical gameplay element, could enhance the overall aesthetics and flexibility, when jumping onto a placed cube, I never quite felt like I was on the cube.

Graphics: My Cubes may be simple in design, but it successfully maintains a clean and visually appealing aesthetic. The graphics are well-suited to the game's straightforward concept, and the games architecture feels suitably simple as you progress. While it may not be a graphical powerhouse, the minimalist approach adds to the game's charm, and that also means a nice small download size.

Challenge and Replayability: The game offers an intriguing challenge, and the integrated speed run counter provides a significant incentive for replay-ability. Whether you're aiming to conquer your previous record or simply looking for new ways to tackle the tower, My Cubes has the potential to keep players engaged and determined to improve their skills. Speedrun listed on

Conclusion: "My Cubes" by BloodAlibi is a worthy addition to the indie gaming landscape, offering a unique and engaging if short experience. While it may have its control quirks and some room for improvement, the game's creativity and challenge make it a fun title in its genre. With its straightforward graphics and enticing gameplay, it's a solid choice for speedrun enthusiasts looking for something a bit different.

My final score for "My Cubes" on PC is a fair 7 out of 10, reflecting its distinctive charm and engaging gameplay, despite some control limitations.

29 Oct 2023

REVIEW: Agatha Christie - Murder on the Orient Express on Playstation

Review by Jon Donnis
"Agatha Christie: Murder on the Orient Express" for PlayStation is a delightful journey into the world of detective mysteries that will appeal to fans of Hercule Poirot and lovers of classic whodunits. Set in 2023, this game reimagines Christie's iconic murder mystery in a way that both honours the source material and adds a fresh twist to the narrative.

One of the standout features of this game is its gameplay, which draws clear inspiration from the more famous Sherlock Holmes games. The introduction of a "mind map" and similar mechanics adds an exciting dimension to the detective work, requiring players to read and pay attention to small details. It's a refreshing change from the hand-holding approach in many modern games, encouraging players to engage their intellect and keep real-world notepads handy to jot down clues.

The game's music is a real highlight, perfectly capturing the atmosphere of the Orient Express. It sets the stage for a suspenseful and immersive experience that keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout the investigation.

Speaking of investigation, the main portion of the game is executed brilliantly. It compels players to scrutinize the surroundings, interact with characters, and meticulously piece together the puzzle. This methodical approach to detective work is both satisfying and true to the spirit of Agatha Christie's novels.

The game doesn't stop at investigation; it offers a fantastic variety of puzzles and mini-games to keep players engaged and challenged. These elements add depth and variety to the gameplay, making the experience even more enjoyable.

If you're a fan of Hercule Poirot's stories and the detective game genre in general, "Agatha Christie: Murder on the Orient Express" is a gem. It stands as one of the better games in this genre, delivering an engaging and thought-provoking experience that is bound to please enthusiasts.

However, no game is without its flaws. The decision not to include David Suchet's voice and likeness for Poirot may disappoint fans who consider him the quintessential portrayal of the character. Additionally, the graphical style might appear somewhat dated, potentially indicating a lower budget for the game. Still, it manages to maintain an intriguing and stylized aesthetic, which helps alleviate this issue.

Another minor drawback is the quality of some voice-over work, which can be uneven at times. This can slightly detract from the overall immersion of the game, but it's a relatively small gripe in the grand scheme of things.

In conclusion, "Agatha Christie: Murder on the Orient Express" is a must-play for fans of detective mysteries and the beloved Hercule Poirot. It successfully modernises a classic tale while retaining the essence of Agatha Christie's work. With its engaging gameplay, captivating storyline, and the addition of a new character, Joanna Locke, this game is a testament to the enduring appeal of Christie's masterful storytelling. Whether you're a seasoned detective game enthusiast or simply looking for an enthralling adventure, this game offers something for everyone. Climb aboard the Orient Express and let the mystery unfold in this engaging, well-crafted gaming experience.

I score Agatha Christie - Murder on the Orient Express on Playstation a solid 8.5/10

Available Now on Playstation at

25 Oct 2023

REVIEW: Kickback Slug: Cosmic Courier on Nintendo Switch - An Innovative Space Adventure

Review by Jon Donnis
Kickback Slug: Cosmic Courier is a unique addition to the platform game genre, offering a refreshing twist on traditional mechanics. In this game, you take on the role of Slippy, an intergalactic slug with a rather unusual set of skills. Utilizing the kickback from his guns and thrusters, Slippy embarks on a challenging journey to recover lost parcels on a mysterious planet. While the game may not be for everyone due to its novel control scheme, it's a colorful and entertaining experience that's well worth a try.

The game's standout feature is undoubtedly its innovative control system. As you guide Slippy through a series of obstacles, you'll need to master the art of using weapon kickback to move around. Shooting in one direction propels Slippy in the opposite direction, making for a quirky and physics-based gameplay experience. This unique control mechanism can be both rewarding and frustrating, depending on your preferences. It challenges players to think differently and adds a layer of complexity to the game that's both intriguing and occasionally daunting.

The storyline is simple yet effective, setting the stage for Slippy and Mr. McFly's cosmic adventure. Crash-landing on a strange planet with a mission to recover lost parcels, the game keeps you engaged as you navigate through various zones, each with its own set of challenges. The quirky characters and their commitment to their intergalactic delivery job provide a lighthearted atmosphere that complements the game's colorful, cartoonish graphics.

Speaking of visuals, Kickback Slug: Cosmic Courier boasts fun and vibrant graphics that add to the overall enjoyment. The game's art style creates a whimsical atmosphere, and the diverse environments across five zones, including a dense jungle and icy peaks, keep things visually interesting.

However, the game isn't without its drawbacks. The unconventional control scheme, though innovative, may deter players who prefer the more traditional movement mechanics of platform games. It can be a bit challenging to master, and not everyone will enjoy the learning curve associated with it. Additionally, while the story is simple and charming, it may not be the main focus for players seeking a more narrative-driven gaming experience.

In conclusion, Kickback Slug: Cosmic Courier is a fun and challenging platform game that deserves recognition for its innovative approach to character control. The quirky storyline, colorful graphics, and physics-based gameplay offer a unique gaming experience. However, the unconventional control scheme may deter some players. If you're willing to embrace this new way of navigating the game world, you'll find a delightful adventure with Slippy and Mr. McFly as they attempt to recover lost parcels in a strange, space-faring world.

I score Kickback Slug: Cosmic Courier on Nintendo Switch a fair 7.5/10

Out Now on Nintendo Switch

24 Oct 2023

REVIEW: The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria on PC (Epic Games Store)

Review by Jon Donnis
The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria is a thrilling addition to the gaming world, offering players a unique experience set in the iconic Middle-earth universe. This title takes a different approach from many other Lord of the Rings games, focusing on survival crafting within the depths of Moria, and it does so admirably.

The game kicks off with a dwarf's adventure, assisting Gimli in what should have been a simple task - opening a sealed runic door in Moria. The unexpected twist of a massive explosion and a cave-in serves as the catalyst for the player's journey through the dark and perilous mines of Moria. Survival is the name of the game, as players must constantly monitor their health, hunger, and stamina, all while battling menacing orcs, goblins, and other lurking horrors.

One of the game's strengths lies in its freedom. After a brief tutorial, you're set loose in the vast, dwarven realm of Moria with the expectation that you'll figure things out for yourself. This independence adds an element of excitement to exploration but can occasionally become frustrating when you're unsure of where to go next and what to do, personally I prefer more of a hand holding experience in survival/crafting games, as it is not really my preferred genre. The game does however successfully immerse you in the dwarven lore, with every structure, character, and detail reflecting authentic dwarven culture.

Combat in Return to Moria is a highlight, allowing players to choose from various weapon types and styles, encouraging different approaches to combat. Each weapon offers unique damage types, adding depth to the gameplay. This variety keeps the action engaging and challenging, especially when you enter a new area and find all new types of enemies you need to take out.

The game's world is procedurally generated, ensuring that no two adventures are alike, and you can explore it alone or with friends in multiplayer. The focus on mining for resources adds an interesting twist to the survival aspect, but it comes with the trade-off of generating noise, which can attract danger.

The crafting and base-building mechanics allow for creativity in constructing and customizing your own bases while providing an authentic Dwarven experience. The story progression also encourages you to rebuild Moria to its former glory, adding a sense of accomplishment.

One noteworthy feature is the inclusion of actor John Rhys-Davies, who reprises his role as Lord Gimli Lockbearer, adding authenticity to the game's narrative.

Overall, The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria is a solid survival crafting game that beautifully integrates the lore and setting of Middle-earth. It stands proudly among the better Lord of the Rings branded games. While its freedom and richly detailed world are its strengths, occasional frustration over direction can be a drawback. Despite that, if you're a fan of the franchise and enjoy survival crafting, this game is well worth your time. With a score of 8 out of 10, it offers a rewarding journey through the depths of Moria that will satisfy both Tolkien enthusiasts and gamers alike.

Check it out at

18 Oct 2023

REVIEW: Metal Max Xeno Reborn - PS4

Review by Jon Donnis
Metal Max Xeno: Reborn takes players on a reimagined journey through the desolate wasteland of Dystokyo, offering a classic turn-based fighting experience coupled with creative vehicle and weapon customization. Developed as a nonlinear, open-world JRPG with real-time battles and vehicular combat, the game successfully merges exploration, combat, and customization, albeit with some shortcomings.

One of the game's notable strengths is its solid foundation in classic turn-based combat, which works seamlessly and is complemented by the intricate customization options for both weapons and vehicles. The joy of modifying tanks and experimenting with various firepower options is a standout feature, allowing players to tailor their playstyle and strategy to suit their preferences.

The game presents a captivating narrative set in a post-apocalyptic world on the verge of extinction, challenging players to navigate a barren landscape in their quest to save humanity. The introduction of Talis, a monster hunter with a robotic arm, adds depth to the storyline and sets the tone for an engaging adventure. The vast open world provides ample freedom for exploration, encouraging players to uncover secrets, dungeons, and powerful upgrades while managing encounters with formidable adversaries.

However, the game's downside lies in its resemblance to the original Metal Max Xeno, released a few years prior. Metal Max Xeno: Reborn essentially offers the same gameplay with updated graphics, albeit omitting some features and story elements. While this streamlining may reduce the grind, it leaves enthusiasts wanting more, especially if they've already experienced the prior installment.

In conclusion, Metal Max Xeno: Reborn is a fun and deep JRPG that successfully incorporates classic turn-based combat and engaging customization elements. The storyline and the world it introduces captivate players, providing an immersive experience. However, the game's similarities to its predecessor and the absence of certain features hinder its potential for true greatness. With a larger development team and budget, this title could have elevated itself to a classic status. Nonetheless, for fans of the series and newcomers seeking a solid JRPG experience, Metal Max Xeno: Reborn is a worthy choice.

I score Metal Max Xeno: Reborn a fair 7 out of 10. If you have never played the previous game, or the various Japanese releases, then this is a fun JRPG that you can enjoy.

17 Oct 2023

REVIEW: Disgaea 7: Vows of the Virtueless on Playstation 5

Review by Jon Donnis
Disgaea 7: Vows of the Virtueless, the latest installment in the renowned Disgaea series, continues the franchise's tradition of tactical role-playing gameplay. Following the demon warrior Fuji and his companion Pirilika in their journey through the netherworld of Hinomoto, the game introduces new mechanics like "Jumbability" to spice up the tactical battles. With competitive multiplayer making its debut in the series, it's a fresh venture into familiar territory.

On the positive side, Disgaea 7 offers a smoother gameplay experience compared to its predecessor, Disgaea 6, making it a notable evolution for the series. The storyline remains engaging and is a strong point for the game, keeping players invested in the demonic world of Hinomoto.

However, where the game falters is in the graphics and animations. The overall visual presentation lacks the charm seen in previous entries. Character designs appear lackluster and somewhat cheap, with animations falling short of the engaging and varied ones witnessed in Disgaea 5. This aspect disappoints, especially considering the high standards set by the franchise.

As players join Fuji and dive into the demonic realm of Hinomoto, they'll find a vast array of netherworlds, each with its own unique demons and beliefs. The introduction of new features like Jumbification and Hell Mode adds a layer of excitement to the battles, elevating the strategic depth of the game. The inclusion of an improved auto-battle system and online ranked battles further enhances the gameplay experience, catering to a competitive spirit.

With a diverse selection of over 40 character classes, players can tailor their team to adapt to the dynamic challenges of the battlefield. Disgaea 7: Vows of the Virtueless truly pushes the boundaries of the SRPG genre, offering a devilishly engaging adventure.

In conclusion, Disgaea 7: Vows of the Virtueless is a mixed experience. While it maintains the essence of the beloved Disgaea series with an enticing story and improved gameplay, it falls short in the visual department. The uninspiring graphics and subpar animations ultimately hinder the game's overall appeal. With a score of 6 out of 10, Disgaea 7 is worth exploring for die-hard fans of the series but might leave others yearning for the artistic and visual charm found in earlier iterations.

16 Oct 2023

REVIEW: Sonic Superstars (2023) on Xbox - A Blend of Nostalgia and Modern Gameplay

Review by Jon Donnis
Sonic Superstars, the brainchild of Arzest and Sonic Team, is a delightful blend of nostalgia and contemporary gaming. This 2023 platformer successfully channels the magic of the classic Sonic the Hedgehog games, incorporating side-scrolling gameplay, vivid 2.5D graphics, engaging mini-games, and a stellar soundtrack. However, it stumbles slightly in fully replicating the breakneck speed that characterized the iconic Sonic titles of the 1990s.

One of my favourite parts of Sonic Superstars are the entertaining mini-games, designed to challenge players as they strive to collect the elusive Chaos Emeralds. These mini-games inject excitement and variety into the gameplay, showcasing a different dimension of Sonic's world and providing a rewarding sense of accomplishment. Accompanied by the vibrant 2.5D graphics, reminiscent of the beloved classic Sonic games, the visual experience is both nostalgic and modern, enticing players into a vivid and captivating world.

The auditory aspect of the game is another strong suit, with the soundtrack standing out for its brilliance. It not only complements the gameplay flawlessly but also takes players on a nostalgic trip down memory lane, amplifying the overall gaming experience.

However, where Sonic Superstars falls slightly short is in capturing the sheer adrenaline and intensity of speed that made the original Sonic games a phenomenon. Despite its best efforts to replicate the classic gameplay, the game doesn't quite reach the blistering pace and heart-pounding excitement of its predecessors.

Delving into the storyline, Sonic Superstars follows the familiar narrative of the Sonic universe, pitting players against the infamous Doctor Eggman and his nefarious accomplices Fang the Hunter and Trip the Sungazer. Set across the picturesque North Star Islands, players choose from four iconic characters—Sonic the Hedgehog, Miles "Tails" Prower, Knuckles the Echidna, and Amy Rose, each boasting their own unique abilities.

In this adventure, players traverse 12 diverse zones, each teeming with springs, loops, collectible rings, and shield power-ups. The zones are split into acts, culminating in exhilarating boss battles. Beyond the core levels, special stages offer an opportunity to swing through 3D environments in pursuit of the coveted Chaos Emeralds, granting players exciting power-up abilities and a chance to transform into their character's super form.

The game further shines with its local multiplayer option for up to four players, a first for the series. Multiplayer modes include races, battles, collection competitions, and last man standing, adding a competitive edge to the Sonic experience.

In conclusion, Sonic Superstars successfully marries nostalgia with modern elements, resulting in an entertaining platforming adventure. The inclusion of engaging mini-games, vibrant 2.5D graphics, and a stellar soundtrack add depth to the gameplay. While it may miss the mark on replicating the lightning-fast speed of its iconic predecessors, Sonic Superstars deserves a commendable 7 out of 10 for its valiant effort in ushering in a new era of Sonic gaming.

Out from October 17th

PREVIEW: Dive into Romance and Battle in "Mech Academy" - A 2023 Adult Visual Novel

By Jon Donnis
Get ready to step into a world where love, duty, and futuristic warfare collide in "Mech Academy," a thrilling 2023 adult visual novel that combines enthralling storytelling with strategic decision-making. Available for play on PC through Steam, this captivating visual novel will let you navigate a world filled with choices and consequences.

In the year 2175, Earth faces an existential threat from the Noxa, a merciless alien race determined to conquer the planet. As the player, you assume the role of Lieutenant Knight, a highly decorated 1970s soldier who finds themselves propelled two centuries into the future through a mysterious experiment. Everything you knew has changed, and you must now pilot a Guardian Mech, colossal war machines built to defend Earth.

Your new home is Section 2, a training center led by the captivating and stern Commander Elara Sardana, a unique hybrid of Earthling and alien heritage. But you're not alone in this endeavor. Meet Mei Maede, the rebellious pilot of the Wonder Mech, and Drana, the confrontational pilot of the Ghost Mech, hailing from a distant alien world. Alongside them is Lydia Helmer, a reserved Sparkle Mech pilot, and Irina, the chief scientist passionate about technology and research.

The game boasts an impressive array of features, including 3,000 full HD images, 90 full HD animations, and a narrative comprising 60,000 words. The "Ren'py Engine" powers the gameplay, providing a seamless experience as you make critical decisions that influence the story's evolution. From selecting your character's name to engaging in multiple-choice decisions, every choice matters.

Character interactions are at the heart of "Mech Academy," with each pilot offering a unique and complex personality. Mei's bravery and recklessness, Lydia's family legacy, Elara's loyalty to duty, and Drana's disdain for Earth create dynamic relationships that shape the course of the story. Balancing romance, friendship, and defending Earth from extraterrestrial invaders will challenge you, making this a visual novel like no other.

Immerse yourself in a world of mystery, technology, and romance, and embark on a journey that will test your strategic thinking and emotional depth. "Mech Academy" invites you to experience love and adventure on a grand scale, as you navigate a future where the fate of Earth lies in your hands. Will you rise to the challenge and conquer both the battlefield and matters of the heart? The choice is yours.

Wishlist now (Oer 18s only) on Steam at

10 Oct 2023

REVIEW: Bang-On Balls: Chronicles on XBOX

Review by Jon Donnis

Bang-On Balls: Chronicles, despite its peculiar name, offers a delightful and content-loaded experience for those seeking a lighthearted, bouncy adventure. As BOB, the bouncy hero, players embark on an epic quest through destructible open worlds, showcasing glorious 3D platforming and combat inspired by some of the genre's best.

Many of the problems I had with the original Steam release, seemed to have been ironed out for the Xbox release, although I still hate the camera angle, I much prefer a fixed camera, unfortunately one of my biggest complaints here is that sometimes you just cant see what you are doing as the environment gets in the way.

The game begins with a whimsical introduction, placing players in a warehouse with minimal instructions. Exploring this space unveils collectibles, including film reels crucial for unlocking levels. The initial stage serves as a tutorial, providing a simple obstacle course to acclimate players to the game's mechanics.

Once the introductory phase concludes, players dive into various historical-themed open worlds, each presenting unique mechanics, enemies, and items. From Vikings to Feudal Japan and even the Space Race, the game's diverse settings offer plenty of room for exploration and discovery.

One notable aspect of Bang-On Balls: Chronicles is its emphasis on exploration and collection. The game encourages players to delve into every nook and cranny, smashing objects and unlocking treasures. The ability to customize the character using collected items adds a creative touch to the experience, without the need for paid cosmetic DLC.

While the game excels in its graphical presentation and smooth gameplay, it could benefit from a more user-friendly menu system and improved guidance for players to navigate levels efficiently. The initial confusion regarding progression and objectives could be mitigated with clearer instructions.

Despite minor drawbacks, Bang-On Balls: Chronicles on Xbox offers a good gaming experience, especially when enjoyed in a multiplayer setting. With a few adjustments to enhance accessibility, this game has the potential to attract a wider audience and further showcase the developer's creativity.

Overall, Bang-On Balls: Chronicles on Xbox receives a fair and fitting score of 7/10, making it a promising addition to the gaming repertoire.

Out Now on Xbox