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Fairy Fencer F takes players on an emotional roller coaster, with the frequently fun and exciting sections interspersed all too regularly with incredibly cheap and frustrating moments. It boasts a plot that can at best be described as complete nonsense, while delivering that insane story with a sharp sense of humor and some genuine laugh-out-loud moments. It features a battle system that simultaneously feels deep and oversimplified, tactical and repetitive. Despite its schizophrenic tendencies, Fairy Fencer F is a worthwhile entry in the genre, and will provide more than enough hours of entertainment to justify the investment. READ MORE

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Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for the second season of Telltale’s The Walking Dead.

I wrote about the first season of Telltale’s The Walking Dead a little more than a year ago, covering exactly why the choices in that game matter despite how little impact they might have on the overall story. It was a near-perfect execution of choice in games, simply because it didn’t throw in your face how “important” or “world-changing” your decisions were. Often, it would simply ignore them right before your very eyes. Despite that, those decisions still lingered, and turned just another zombie story into something unique.

It ultimately created a sense of trust between the writers and those who experience that story. Unfortunately, The Walking Dead: Season Two violates that trust in the worst ways possible.

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The best games are simple to understand and quick to start. Within five minutes of downloading Cannon Brawl you’ll understand the basic concepts of building mines to bolster your economy, deploying territory balloons to expand your territory and dropping cannons to ensure military superiority over your opponent. New concepts are introduced throughout the campaign, but the core concept is immediately available and understandable. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing solo or with others: those three base units are going to be integral to victory. READ MORE

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No Goblin’s debut title, Roundabout, is about navigating tricky paths in an unorthodox fashion, and so, it seems, was the game’s development. It tries to balance the dumb fun of its world and narrative with some truly exacting mechanics, and it succeeds if you’re willing to approach each aspect in its own time.
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The Mystery Machines series looks at platforms that didn’t stay around quite long enough for most to know their stories. For more, check out the archive.

Portable gaming has always been an anomaly when compared to the rest of the industry. While technical prowess is prized above all else on consoles and computers (for better or worse), handhelds rely on their own set of rules. Long battery life and a compact design are far more important than processing muscle when gaming on the go. When these machines were new to gaming, these unspoken criteria were still developing. Nowhere is this bewildering reversal more apparent than in the Atari Lynx, the former console titan’s only major handheld system. READ MORE

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Until this point, the Super Smash Bros. series has been almost entirely defined by its local multiplayer experience. Sure, there have been single-player modes, and sure, Brawl had online play, but the true focus has always been on jumping in and battling it out with a friend or three on the couch. Almost out of necessity, this new 3DS entry of Super Smash Bros. shifts that focus to something more personal, something more customized and about reaching goals on your own.
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It feels as if the world of games is catching up with the Multitap vision lately. It’s great, right? Games are just more fun if you can play them with friends in the same room, and more and more developers are taking advantage of this by making titles specifically designed for this context. This is especially true with games that support more than four players. A niche that was previously catered to only by a handful of games over the years has seen a full batch of interesting, fun titles in the just over two years since I wrote about them the first time. Let’s take a look at the best of them! READ MORE

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Vertical shooters these days are largely something we see as part of the past, or as super-difficult PC games from Japan. Velocity 2X is neither of those things. The original Velocity was a typical vertical shooter that started as a PlayStation Mini, designed for the PSP, though it eventually received a PS Vita and PSP port called Velocity Ultra. In addition to taking the series to the television, Velocity 2X adds varied level types and increased accessibility. READ MORE

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Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for the second season of Telltale’s The Walking Dead.

Telltale’s The Walking Dead was my top game of 2012, so my expectations for the sequel were about as high as they could be. After finishing it and letting the impact settle, I can safely say it met every expectation I knew I had and surpassed expectations I didn’t know existed. This will land a spot in my top ten at year’s end for many of the same reasons its predecessor did: top-notch directing, excellent pacing, professional voice acting and brutal choices that force your inner moral compass to show itself, one way or another. The Walking Dead: Season Two retains much of what made the first game successful, but deviates so far from the story arc of Season One that it becomes a totally different experience and is richer for it. READ MORE

This week marked 15 years since the Sega Dreamcast’s U.S. launch, so we decided to celebrate by returning to the little white box! We play Crazy Taxi, ChuChu Rocket!, SoulCalibur and San Francisco Rush 2049, and chat about The Walking Dead‘s divisive second season, the excitement of Smash Bros. news, Gang BeastsProfessor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright and more.

To watch the show and chat with us live, check out this page every other Thursday at 8 p.m. Eastern and follow us on Twitter for special streams.