BUTCHER Review! (PS4/PC)

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In case you missed it, here’s my review on the BUTCHER game, currently on sale for 30% off on PSN from 8/1/17-8/15/17!

BUTCHER is a 2D love letter to 90’s low-res blood-splattered gameplay. DOOM-like textures? Check. Chainsaws and shotguns? Check. Hardcore difficulty to melt your face off? CHECK (this game out!)

BUTCHER, from Transhuman Designs (the folks who made the 2D building sidescroller King Arthur’s Gold,) is a fun romp through the guts of your human enemies the likes of which we have never seen . . . since 1995.

Inspired by the Id classics Quake and Doom, and taking gameplay cues from the Apogee classic Duke Nukem and Super Meat BoyBUTCHER throws the player into the role of a lone cyborg charged with eliminating the last stubborn remnants of humankind.

Grab your keyboard/mouse or gamepad (make sure they’re indestructible), and jump on the incredibly tough carnage-train to extinction town!

Check out my full review and get more screenshots at KeenGamer.com!

 

CLADUN RETURNS: THIS IS SENGOKU! Review!

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The classic dungeon series is back with Cladun Returns: This is Sengoku! With a new Nobunaga-era backstory and more dungeons than you can shake a pixel at, NIS’s brilliant bite-sized RPG is bigger, funnier, and more loot-filled than ever! Grab your controller, laptop, or Vita, and dive into this retro-themed masterpiece that’s sure to take years of your life (and you’ll love it!)

It comes down to this: Cladun Returns: This is Sengoku! is a treasure trove of time-killing pleasures, the kind of game where boredom has to be sought to be found. Between dungeon crawling, loadout tweaking, magic circle and fortress-fortifying, drawing, and composing, there’re just too many play options to detail. The dungeons look good, play great, and will have you coming back for more.

Check out my full review with more info and screenshots at KeenGamer.com!

AKIBA’S BEAT Beginner’s Guide!

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Is Akiba’s Beat kicking your butt? Then you need this handy-dandy guide on how to hack and slash those encroaching Delusions into submission! Strategies, item suggestions, and more are here to give you a much needed edge to free Electric Town from the grip nightmares made reality!

Get my pro-tips on 100%-ing this new Action-RPG NEET-fest at KeenGamer.com!

AKIBA’S BEAT Review! (PS4/PSVita)

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Ever have a desire to geek out on anime, games, and do absolutely NOTHING else? So does Asahi, the hero of AKIBA’S BEAT, and his lazy dreams are shattered by the pro-active Saki and her talking plush toy–er, familiar–who drag him into a monster-fighting quest to shatter people’s delusions. Get pumped for some J-Pop, Idol worship, and otaku-fueled hijinks in Japan’s famous “Electric Town” in this 3D action RPG!

Akiba’s Beat is a decent action RPG that lacks flash, but has above average elements, such as a great real-world setting, awesome music, and peerless voice acting. The story is entertaining enough, but the zaniness of prior Akiba’s games is gone, leaving an absence felt right to the core of the experience.

Is it worth it? To otaku freaks like us, sure–Akiba is still a totally cool place to experience, and while the look and actual licensed content is limited, the story and NPC commentary build up a social outline of the anime-fan lifestyle that those of us outside of Japan can only imagine. But if that’s not your thing, you’ll probably find too much loading, and too little visual flare to keep on fighting other people’s delusions.

Check out my full review with screenshots at KeenGamer.com!

THE SILVER CASE Review!

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Suda51 fan’s, unite! The Silver Case, the cult-developer’s first title from the PSX era, comes to U.S. consoles for the first time in a remastered and expanded edition. A visual novel with graphic crime content and supernatural undertones, The Silver Case grants players a rare chance to see the beginnings of a great game-maker, and experience one of the strangest visual novels ever to grace the genre.

Anyone looking for something different to pop into their PS4’s will never find something as different as The Silver Case. It’s proof-positive that Suda51 and Grasshopper Manufacture were breaking the mold right out of the gate, and those willing to fight with a UI better left to history will be rewarded with an experience like no other.

If, like us, you’re rabid Suda51 fans, then consider The Silver Case a must-buy. The influence of it on later titles like Killer7 are visible almost immediately, and the story is yet another example of how Suda51’s versatility is unmatched. If, however, you’ve only ever played the lovably wonky No More Heroes series, but think the idea of a visual novel sounds dreadful, then you may have to pass on this one. Unless, of course, you’d like Grasshopper Manufacture‘s other quirky titles to get re-releases (or better yet, sequels!)–then you ought to do yourself a favor and give The Silver Case a try.

Check out my full review, plus a ton of screenshots, at keengamer.com!

TOUHOU GENSO RONDO: BULLET BALLET Review!

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If you’ve every played a fighting game where you want to blast the hell out of your opponent instead of throwing wussy punches, then TOUHOU GENSO RONDO: BULLET BALLET is for you! Anime tropes and dazzling bullet-hell collide with the versus-fighting game format to offer a trip that’ll get any gamer’s fingers aching. Grab your PS4 controllers, a buddy, and get ready to button-mash FTW!

I enjoyed launching a game that I can jump right in and play, one that’ll fulfill my need for twitch-combat goodness and edge-of-my-seat competition, and Touhou Genso Rondo: Bullet Ballet fits the bill.

Some are bound to be turned off by the low-polygon count and lack of fancy storylines, but the gameplay allows for barrels of strategy and quick rounds that can go either way until the very end. Each match is like a close superbowl heading into the final stretch, and that’s what every fighting game should strive to achieve.

7.5/10

Check out my full review at KeenGamer.com

INDIE REVIEW: Hand of Fate (PS4) – Love Board Games? Love Video Games? Love this game.

The Dealer - Your Frenemy In This Excellent Game ...
The Dealer – Your Frenemy In This Game.

In This Game, The Rule is Board, Not Bored …

Okay, so if you own both a PS3 or PS4 and a PS Vita, you’ve found yourself asking this question: “Hmm, if I buy this PSN game now, will I get it free for Vita when it launches on that platform?”  It’s a game in and of itself, and you’ve got a 50/50 shot of it working in your favor when it comes to indie games.  The big titles, like Dragon’s Crown, aren’t gonna give you that extra platform for free, so you gotta shell out double or live with it on one system or the other.  Smaller and indie titles, though, like Helldivers and Hotline Miami 1 and 2, let you play to your pleasure.

The Camera Is Fixed But Tracks, And It Works ...
The Camera Is Fixed But Tracks, And It Works …

I asked myself the “Hmm . . .” question not too long ago about Defiant Development’s semi-rogue like title Hand of Fate.  I was moving cross country at the time, and hoping to play the card game/action game hybrid on my plane via the Vita.  It seems like the perfect game for the go–it’s stage-based, randomized, and promises simple controls not likely to utilize the complicated back-panel touchpads that caused me so much grief with the Borderlands 2 port (still worth it.)

And then, after it was announced and promised, Defiant CANCELED IT. Cancelled it!  I was irritated, so much so, that I almost didn’t bother to play the PS4 version I’d purchased for $10 via Flash Sale.  But I did, and oh, what an excellent decision that turned out to be.

Cards Act As Events, Many Of Which Can Get You Equipment And Supplies ...
Cards Act As Events, Which Can Net You Equipment And Supplies …

Here’s the gameplay: You choose cards to be part of your deck, cards that are events (like battles or tests of memory or luck) or cards that are weapons or equipment, and then the dealer adds his own. The dealer acts as a narrator in this game, and the voice actor that Defiant chose for him is perfectly epic.  The writing is good, too, and he gives cryptic snippets that add interesting atmosphere to the game world while never repeating himself too much.

Once you’ve made your deck and the dealer’s cards have been added, a random amount are laid out in a random face-down pattern like a game board.  Your character then starts at a predetermined point and must travel one card at a time to reach the way to the next game board, and ultimately the boss card of the round. Each move consumes food, and every card you land on is turned up, putting you through the event of the card.  Event cards in your deck have a token on them, and completing the event in a certain way gives you that one-time token, which grants you even more cards to personalize your deck with.

The Bosses Are Graded Jack, Queen, or King ...
The Bosses Are Graded Jack, Queen, or King …

The graphics are good, though the faux wood-etched card art outshines the WoW-esque character models and arenas, which are still good and serve their purpose.  The sometimes outlandish look of your character’s equipment actually looks cool in relation to the otherwise high-fantasy models, and I always enjoy decking my guy out with the Geordi Laforge-esque visor and a big ol’ hammer.

The events are either choose-your-own-adventure style with a three-card-Monte system, and/or an arena third-person battle setup with randomized enemies.  They all work well, and some games have “Curses” which cause harder three-card-Monte rounds or put on other challenges.

The Graphics Aren't Groundbreaking, But Are Artistically Pleasing ...
The Graphics Aren’t Groundbreaking, But Are Artistically Pleasing …

The game has free-play and endless-play modes, but the main game is a campaign of sorts that has the dealer pitching you in rounds ending with a certain boss card, either a Jack, Queen, or King, and after you beat three, you get a bonus artifact that gives you starting boosts (better starting equipment, blessings that give perks, etc.) There’s a DLC pack for PC’s, too, which more cards, but whether that will hit consoles isn’t clear.

While I was and still am disappointed that Hand of Fate won’t hit the PS Vita, a note from Defiant let me know that the animations alone exceeded the Vita’s memory, so it’s no surprise the port didn’t make it. Regardless, I can honestly say that I’ve had a huge amount of fun with this title.  It’s more like a board game in style than a typical console game, but it’s so no-fuss to play that anyone is gonna have fun jumping into this game.  Wait for a flash sale if you must, but I can’t recommend this title more.  Let’s hope for a sequel, and a real physical board game on top of that!

Grab This Title NOW ...
Grab This Title NOW, It Doesn’t Disappoint …

Sound: 5/5 – The Dealer’s narration alone is a win.

Gameplay: 5/5 – The board game setup, three-card-Monte system, and breadth of event cards makes for a fun time. They even made a fixed tracking camera work well enough.

Story: 5/5 – Well-written and just as detailed as you need works to create a mysterious atmosphere.

Worth It: 5/5 – Buy it, play it, and tell your friends.