TOUHOU GENSO WANDERER Review! – PS4

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Touhou Genso Wanderer is the first Touhou rogue-like to come to the west, as well as a rare chance for PS4 owners to experience a traditional Japanese rogue-like. With fun characters, charming graphics, and a MASSIVE quantity of randomly crafted loot, Genso Wanderer will steal your life. Grab your controller, silence your phone, and put on your anime-watchin’ Snuggy for this rocking randomized experience!

Touhou Genso Wanderer is a fangame made by indie developer Aqua Style, which takes place in the famed Touhou Project universe. If you’re unfamiliar with Touhou Project, check out my review of Touhou Genso Rondo: Bullet Ballet, which gives the lowdown on the series.

Gameplay for this entry is primarily top-down, turn-based exploration and combat through a series of floors (essentially dungeon crawling). Each floor is made up of a series of randomly generated rooms, and when the player either moves or takes an action (uses an item, ability, etc.), all enemies on the board also take an action. While this is traditional fare for Japanese rogue-likes, there are lots of extras that Aqua Style has thrown into the mix that spice things up and improve accessibility. As far as accessibility, there are a plethora of simple controls that make dungeon crawling easy-peasy. With loads of traps, enemy types, cute characters, and loot, loot, loot, Genso Wanderer has it going on.

If you’ve never played a traditional Japanese-style rogue-like, and the idea sounds even remotely interesting to you, then you owe it to yourself to give Touhou Genso Wanderer a spin. It offers one of the most accessible rogue-like experiences available, and succeeds in doing so without sacrificing the content or sheer fun of the randomized dungeon-looting experience.

Read my full review with more screenshots at KeenGamer.com!

EXILE’S END REVIEW – PS4

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Overall, Exile’s End is a true retro game in play style, visual style, and cinematic approach. With experienced talent from the NES‘s glory days, Magnetic Realms and XSeed have brought players a game that feels less like a retro-themed indie, and more like a re-discovered, unreleased Amiga disk bought at the world’s coolest yard sale.

If you’re in the mood to play something that won’t hold your hand, and gives you a storyline straight out of the Alien knock-off section of the video rental store, then give Exile’s End a playthrough. You’ll be yearning for a CRT monitor and awful ergonomics in no time, and be damn happy about it.

Exile’s End is indie developer Magnetic Realms’ homage to the CRT-monitor classics of the Amiga, and a follow-up to their first title Inescapable. While Inescapable garnered rough reviews due to it’s linear nature and lackluster graphics, Exile’s End boasts art design by staff from Secret of Mana and Mother 3, a soundtrack by NES legend Keiji Yamagishi (Ninja Gaiden, TecmoBowl), and gorgeously pixelated cut-scenes by OPUS (Half-Minute Hero). If that’s not reason enough to grab your gamepad, than nothing is!

Exile’s End is a true retro game in play style, visual style, and cinematic approach. With experienced talent from the NES‘s glory days, Magnetic Realms and XSeed have brought players a game that feels less like a retro-themed indie, and more like a re-discovered, unreleased Amiga disk bought at the world’s coolest yard sale.

If you’re in the mood to play something that won’t hold your hand, and gives you a storyline straight out of the Alien knock-off section of the video rental store, then give Exile’s End a playthrough. You’ll be yearning for a CRT monitor and awful ergonomics in no time, and be damn happy about it.

Check out my full review at KeenGamer.com!

TORMENT: TIDES OF NUMENERA Review! – PS4

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Torment: Tides of Numenera is the spiritual successor to the quintessential RPG Planescape: Torment. As the highest funded RPG on Kickstarter, Torment has high expectations, and comes to the table prepared. Great stats building, combat, world-building, and the best writing to ever run across a text box await, and it’s all available with console controls, to boot. Don’t wait, dive in to the Ninth World, and experience the madness!

While Torment runs on the Pillars of Eternity engine, there are some radical mechanical departures that make the game feel very different. First, this game is focused on conversation. What does that mean? Lots and lots of reading. We’re talking novels here, folks; however, since the writing is so fantastic, and your dialogue options majorly alter story outcomes, this reading is a joy.

All in all, not enough can be said for how enjoyable Torment: Tides of Numenera is. With a very lengthy game-time for those willing to dig into the content, the (honestly) best writing seen in a game to date, and rewarding conversation and combat mechanics, it’s an experience that will keep players coming back to explore again and again.

If you like reading, bizarre worlds, and have a console or PC, you’d be well-advised to give Torment: Tides of Numenera a try.

Read my full detailed review at KeenGamer.com!

HOLY AVENGER Preview!

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Holy Avenger is the new beat ’em up based on the Brazilian comic sensation of the same name. Although in Early Access, the game is already shaping up to be a welcome blast form the past. Battle with fists, swords, spells and yo-yo’s in this cell-shaded tribute to classic gaming and classic comics!

Holy Avenger is still early in its life stage, and is correctly identified by the dev team as being in alpha. The great news for those of us eager to play the game is that a lot already works great–the animations are mostly smooth, the graphics are pretty, and the action is enjoyable.

The graphics are done in a cell-shaded, Double Dragon: Neon style, and the backgrounds and objects are very World of Warcraft in feel; this isn’t a surprise, given Holy Avenger artist Erica Awano’s work on the Warcraft: Legends manga-style comic from TokyoPop. There are great animation effects that happen on-screen in the background, also, such as lighting effects, falling signs, and scampering fauna.

There are bugs, such as one that zoomed the camera in too close, and a few instances where enemies became locked off-screen, making it impossible to progress. These didn’t keep us from enjoying Holy Avenger, however, and at the alpha level, we’ve played a lot of games far less complete and less functional. Hopefully, this means Holy Avenger will make it to a worthwhile full release; if it sounds up your alley, then consider contributing to the project, and moving it one step closer to awesome!

Check out my in-depth hands-on impressions here, at KeenGamer.com!

DROPZONE Hands-On PREVIEW!

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Dropzone is a new RTS/MOBA hybrid from indie developer Sparkypants Studios, powered by the minds behind the strategy masterpieces Civilization II and Rise of Nations! Players face off with teams of 3 unique mech battle machines, and try to get the most cores by decimating alien monsters and each other. With RTS controls and a host of parts to upgrade or craft, you can be the most feared commander in the cosmos!

All in all, the whole package sits on a good engine with a large amount of challenge, meaning that it won’t get old anytime soon. With new modes coming, Dropzone promises to be a breath of fresh air in the MOBA scene, something that the genre is lacking amidst the legions of DOTA and League of Legends clones.

If mechs, RTS control-schemes, and challenging gameplay sounds intriguing, and you’ve got a MOBA itch to scratch, definitely give Dropzone from Sparkypants Studios a try. You won’t be disappointed, (especially if you play us–but we’ll get better, damn it!)

Check out my full preview with in-depth gameplay mechanics at KeenGamer.com!

PHONING HOME Review!

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Phoning Home is indie developer ION LANDS love letter to storytelling and boasts a tale that really is worth telling. Players take control of ION, a small robot stranded on an alien world filled with dangerous weather, dangerous monsters, and the remnants of an ancient civilization with secrets long buried. Friends will be met, heartstrings will be pulled, and gamers will be satisfied in this third-person exploration survival experience!

Phoning Home is the first indie game in a long time that looks and plays like an AAA title. The production values and writing are worthy of the big names in gaming, and ION LANDS has pulled off a great story with a game engine that does exactly what it sets out to do–engage and satisfy.

Check out my full review and let’s play at KeenGamer.com!

PHONING HOME Preview!

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Phoning Home follows the lovable robot ION on a journey of survival and discovery, where dangers, new allies, and the hope of a way home lie ahead. Promising beautiful environments, emotional moments, and lots of wilderness exploration across an alien landscape, Phoning Home is shaping to be the indie win of the year. We’ve got some details to get you jazzed up for this Pixar-meets-Robinson Crusoe tale, so read on!

http://www.keengamer.com/article/15409_phoning-home-preview

 

Judgment: Apocalypse Survivor Simulation Preview!

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Judgment: Apocalypse Survival Simulation stands out from the pack of base-building survival games with a demonic backdrop and smooth gameplay that puts other Early Access titles to shame. Build a base, rescue survivors, and study occultism to find a way to beat back the demonic hordes. But don’t think it will be easy–if the demons don’t get you, hunger will.

This is the most polished Early Access game I’ve ever touched, and it’s a base-building management survival dream. Check it out and support the dev’s!