Justin Last

roadnottaken3

I never knew that I needed roguelikes and puzzle games to team up, but Road Not Taken is great enough to prove how wrong I was. It rewards careful gameplay, features procedurally generated puzzles and lifts the crafting mechanics from match-three games like developer Spry Fox’s previous release, Triple Town. READ MORE

thebureau3

We all have one (or more): a game that we know isn’t very good, but we love it anyway. Maybe it evokes memories of a happy summer with friends, maybe there’s one shining jewel that overshadows the surrounding desert, or maybe all of the bad comes together in an amazing, swirling maelstrom and manages to make something better than the sum of all its substandard parts. These are a few of our games that aren’t great, but we love them all the same.

Justin Last: The Bureau: XCOM Declassified

Why it’s not great: The story is all over the place, characters are only fleshed out immediately before a “powerful” moment and numerous things are left unexplained. Why is there not a push to get more people chunky power bracelets like Carter’s? How does everybody know to call the aliens by the species name upon first contact? Where do all of those turrets come from, and why is my engineer only smart enough to make them after I’ve unlocked the skill to yell “build a laser turret over there!” at him? READ MORE

abyssodyssey1

I want to like Abyss Odyssey. It’s chock-full of concepts that appeal to me, and if you asked me to review the design document instead of the finished product, it’d get top marks. In historical Chile, a warlock has descended into the abyss and taken a nap. That’s fine, as warlocks are weird guys, and they can sleep where they want. The unfortunate thing is that the warlock has a vivid imagination, and the abyss is causing his nightmares to come to life and terrorize the people on the surface. Your job: get to the bottom of the abyss, kill the warlock and save the people of Chile from being gored and eaten by horrible monsters.  READ MORE

munin1

I’m torn.

On one hand, Munin is a well-assembled puzzle game. On the other, it’s almost completely devoid of plot and wastes the Norse setting completely. You play as the titular Munin, one of Odin’s two messenger ravens. The other raven, Hunin, is mentioned once in a screen of text and then never seen again. Loki has transformed Munin into a mortal man, and Munin must scour the world for his feathers. After collecting all of them, Munin can return to Odin who will, presumably, slap Loki on the hand and make him promise to be a good boy from now on. READ MORE

bparcadias2

Battle Princess of Arcadias is not the type of game that Nippon Ichi is typically known for. When I hear the company’s name I think of the turn-based combat of the Disgaea series, but everything in Battle Princess takes place in real time. There is one key similarity, though: female characters are considerably more than just eye candy. READ MORE

anomalydefenders2

11 bit studios has been steadily releasing tower offense games under the Anomaly banner since 2011. Commanding a line of creeps, determining the best line layout and changing the route to victory on the fly separated Anomaly: Warzone Earth and Anomaly 2 from more standard tower-defense fare. Anomaly Defenders takes the tower offense concept and turns it around again: now you’re controlling the aliens, protecting your launch pads from humans and spending your time on the receiving end of panzer tank fire. READ MORE

darkscavenger1

Dark Scavenger feels like a Dungeons & Dragons campaign written by a middle-schooler, and I don’t mean that as an insult. Regardless of my advanced age, there’s something wonderful about finding a toaster on an alien planet, running it back to your ship and then deciding if you want a living skeleton to fashion a weapon from it, a creepy would-be car alien car salesman to create a hopefully-useful item or a Giger-inspired mouthless alien to recruit an ally for use in the upcoming battles. READ MORE

thelasttinker2

The Nintendo 64 had a lot going for it, but possibly its best development was the advent of the 3D platformer. Between Super Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie and Conker’s Bad Fur Day, the genre got a great start. There’s something great about colorful worlds to explore and interesting mechanics used to save the world, and The Last Tinker looks and feels like a visual upgrade to those greats of generations past. READ MORE

hitmango2

I’ve never played a Hitman game before, but board games and I get along famously. There are rules that make sense, and I can survey the environment from above to make a calculated move. With a turn-based formula that borrows more from board games than its console big brothers, Hitman Go works exceptionally well on mobile devices. READ MORE

moebius3

I want to like Moebius: Empire Rising, because it has some interesting things going for it. Malachi Rector is an interesting mix of Indiana Jones, Nicolas Cage’s character in National Treasure and Sherlock Holmes. I want to see him on the big screen played by Robert Downey, Jr. or depicted in a comic book, in which low-quality models and animation won’t trample on the atmosphere. And most of all, I want to experience the story and hear Rector’s internal thoughts, without having to sit through an underwhelming set of mechanics to do it. READ MORE