Reviews

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Final Fantasy Type-0 was originally a Japanese PSP release, and one of the very few two-UMD games. Fans waited impatiently for a US release, but the PSP was already dead in North America and the Vita wasn’t selling particularly well. In the end, what really saved this title’s localization hopes was the crazy speed at which Western audiences picked up the PS4 and Square Enix’s desire to jump on the opportunity. Type-0 HD is out on Xbox One as well, but PlayStation still drives any Final Fantasy decisions; the vast majority of people who buy Japanese games do so on Sony’s platforms. READ MORE

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Intelligent Systems has had a pretty good strategy game track record. With many successful and multiple entries in both the Fire Emblem and Advance Wars series under its belt, the company took a chance in adding another strategy game to the mix. Does Code Name S.T.E.A.M. do enough to shake up the formula and add another excellent game to its repertoire? READ MORE

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With the rise of mobile and handheld gaming encouraging novel, bite-sized experiences that are still capable of taking creative risks, roguelikes have seen a return to prominence in recent years. Their structure allows for different experiences, with sessions not intended to last more than a few minutes. Games like Spelunky and The Binding of Isaac have received ports to portable systems, and proven that the formula works very well for devices built with a pick-up-and-play mentality. This brings us to Laughing Jackal’s devilishly difficult new entry into the genre, Flame Over, a game with a lot of great ideas that falls short in some tragic ways. READ MORE

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With six games on the PS3, Atelier has become one of the most prolific JRPG series on the platform. Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea, the end of the Dusk trilogy and likely the last PS3 Atelier release, continues to refine the franchise’s mechanics, focusing on removing constraints to the systems and controls. READ MORE

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Tormentum: Dark Sorrow is the game you get when you mix the aesthetics of Dark Souls, the puzzle-solving gameplay of Professor Layton and some basic moral-decision-based branching paths, wrapping it in a point-and-click adventure. If this sounds like an absolutely insane combination, that’s because it is, but it works so well. The style drew me in immediately, and the puzzles held my interest throughout the entire experience. The game feels a bit too easy and ends a bit too soon, but the fact that I wanted to keep playing more after the credits rolled only serves to signify the fun I had throughout the short and memorable journey. READ MORE

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These days, it won’t take you long to stumble upon a new Metroid-inspired game. Seriously, they’re everywhere. As a result, not too many of them actually stand out or move away from the standard formula in any remarkable ways. Enter Ori and the Blind Forest, a 2D action-platformer in the same vein as Metroid and its various counterparts. It doesn’t break the mold completely, but it manages to prove you don’t need to in order to create something truly special.

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Like clockwork, NIS America releases niche titles that, for the most part, will go under the radar, but manage to catch the eye of a few. A year after the success of The Guided Fate Paradox, a sequel makes its way onto North American PS3s. The roguelike formula seems to be working well, and with Haruhi Suzumiya artist Noizi Ito once again at the helm of creating characters once again, The Awakened Fate Ultimatum hopes to keep players hooked. READ MORE

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Helldivers does not like you. Every time Arrowhead could have chosen to help you out they chose instead to hamper, and Helldivers is better for it. Buried beneath a Starship Troopers (movie, not book) veneer is a challenging and interesting twin-stick shooter. It is the job of the titular Helldivers to spread managed democracy to the bugs, the cyborgs and the illuminant. Super Earth is at war with all three races, and when they are all vanquished the war simply starts over, but if the bugs are defeated when you play for the first time then you’ll be fighting cyborgs and illuminant. READ MORE

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Real-time strategy games haven’t had an easy time recently. MOBAs and eSports continue to eat away at their former niche in the market, and the inability to play them on consoles means most of the big names shy away from the genre entirely.  However, if we can’t seem to get a new RTS going, we’ve got a pretty good back catalog to look back on, and one of the most beloved titles in that catalog are the two Homeworld games, both of which started Relic’s rise to the top of the RTS game. READ MORE

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In A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build, you play as a monster with a singular focus: building snowmen. To do this, you will have to push three snowballs atop each other, with the large one on bottom, the middle one next and the smallest on top. Once all three snowballs are aligned in the correct way, the snowman is done and it is on to the next. The game does a good job of introducing its simple puzzle mechanic and then expanding on the ways that mechanic is used, and it absolutely oozes charm. It ends a bit too quickly, however, and may leave you feeling a bit empty and wanting more from the experience overall. READ MORE