Oh the things you never expect. When I finished playing Penny Arcade Adventures: Episode Three, I stated that I hoped that this game improved upon Episode Three the same way Episode Two improved on Episode One. While it is definitely fair to say that Episode Four was an improvement, I simply did not expect one of this magnitude. There are several things regarding this game that I did not expect.
It certainly does not do anything revolutionary nor does it look particularly innovative, but when you actually play it, you realize just how meticulously crafted this game is. Yes it may appear to be another parody of 16-bit era JRPGs, but it is so much more in terms of execution. Not only does it have the signature humor of Zeboyd’s games, but it also has a story that is actually compelling on its own merits. When you add an outstanding soundtrack by Hyperduck Soundworks, the same people behind the soundtrack of Dust: An Elysian Tale, and some of the most addicting and precise battle mechanics in any turn based RPG; you end up with a game that might as well have been made to silence anyone who said these types of games are only made to pander to nostalgia. Read more
Penny Arcade Adventures: Episode Three may be a jarring experience to those that have played the first two. This is the case with Episode Three because the development of these games shifted developers, from Hothead Games to Zeboyd. While Zeyboyd is a smaller development team and clearly does not have as high a budget as Hothead, they are still well known for their work on Breath of Death VII and Cthulhu saves the world. Being a huge fan of those games, I naturally had some high expectations for this game and I was hoping that this game would exceed the quality of both the previous Penny Arcade Adventures installments and Zeyboyd’s previous titles.
Instead, Penny Arcade Adventures: Episode Three is a game that it is good in its own right and is definitely superior to the first Penny Arcade Adventures and Breath of Death, but does not hold a candle to Episode Two or Cthulhu Saves the World. It is hard to really say the game is a step back from Episode Two given that the games are quite a bit different, but in general, it does feel like a step down from the incredible experience that Cthulhu Saves the World offered. In addition, it feels like the game also suffers from simply not having the same budget as the first two Penny Arcade titles. When you add that Episode Three still retains some of the flaws of the earlier entries, you end up with a good game in its own right, but one that felt rather underwhelming. Read more
When I reviewed Penny Arcade Adventures: Episode One, I did not have much good to say about it. The game had a solid battle system and some amusing dialogue, but it was sorely lacking in just about every other area. The plot was incredibly tedious and the game itself was a major slog. At the end of that review, I stated that I had no interest in playing Episode Two as a result of the first game’s failure to provide a quality experience. However, I ended up changing my mind seeing as how I felt as if I should at least play this one if I was going to play Episodes Three and Four simply for the sake of having the full experience. I did not have high expectations going into Penny Arcade Adventures: Episode Two, but I was pleasantly surprised.
Not only did I find Penny Arcade Adventures: Episode Two to be a much more enjoyable experience than Episode One, but I would also say that it is among one of the better indie RPGs I have played. The funny thing about this, however, is that there really is not that much of a difference between Penny Arcade Adventures Episodes Two and One. At points, I have considered that I simply might have not been in a good mood when I played and reviewed the first game, but it turned out that Episode Two simply executed its various aspects better than the first game. In my review of the first game, I have criticized it for using a gameplay setup that I thought was inherently flawed. While technically my complaints do still apply, Episode Two did prove to me that it was indeed possible to make a good game out of that apparent “flawed system.” I am ultimately glad I decided to give this game a chance, and I encourage you to consider this one if the first game did not quite catch your interest. Read more
To start things off, I will disclose that I am not too familiar with the Penny Arcade web comics or even the website itself. I have seen a small amount of the web comics but they did not seem to have any effect on the game itself for me. I would assume that big fans of the web comics may get a bit more out of this game. Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain Slick Precipice of Darkness: Episode One, or simply Penny Arcade Adventures as I will refer to it from now on, is really not good enough to appeal to anyone who is not a big Penny Arcade fan. The game unsuccessfully tries to combine elements of point and click adventure games with turn based RPGs, and ends up as a game that fails as either of them. It is not necessarily a bad game, but I would not recommend it unless you are a hardcore Penny Arcade fan. Read more
CW: Violence and Gore.
The (Mario) The Music Box series is just so insane and absurd that I can’t get enough of it. The first installment was a solid Corpse Party clone marred only by having button mashing prompts that will make your arms fall off before completing the game. I did have some other complaints about unresolved plot points and a lack of relevance to the Mario canon, and the sequel, (Mario) The Music Box – ARC, takes those criticisms into account… in the weirdest way possible.
The first (Mario) The Music Box was a fairly standard Corpse Party clone but (Mario) The Music Box – ARC decides to abandon any semblance of sanity that remained in this series… if there was any to begin with. Read more
Normally I try to write reviews in the order I complete these games in, but I’m going to deviate from this schedule to knock this pile of refuse out first. The reason for this is not just because of how terrible Cube Master: Light Adventure is, but also because it is so mindlessly simplistic and brief that I will likely forget everything about it by the time I’d get to this normally. Thankfully reviewing this game won’t even mean much because the game is so bad all I need to do is show you the trailer. Read more
Exceed – Gun Bullet Children was a game that was originally released in 2005 in Japan. It did not get an official US release until 2012 when it, along with its two sequels, were published by Capcom and released on Steam and Desura. All three games in the series had their release on March 29th 2012. The first game in the eXceed series, eXceed Gun Bullet Children, was actually designed by a different developer then the second and third games in the series. It is easy to tell this based on how Gun Bullet Children plays when compared to its sequel. While I have yet to play the third game as of the time this is being written, I have played the second game and can make comparisons between the two. The main difference is that Gun Bullet Children is much more difficult and simplistic than Vampire REX. Generally I would be quicker to point to eXceed 2nd – Vampire REX for a recommendation than I would Gun Bullet Children, but the latter is still a good game in its own right, and for $3.00, it is worth checking out. Read more
I am a woman with a lot of different ambitions. Just focusing on game reviews and coverage, I often have so many different niches to choose from that it can be difficult to keep a focus. This plays into why it’s been over a year since the last time I made an Impressions & Commentary piece. Thus the common thread in the two I’ve done is that they are impressions of the opening to a game, whether it be a Demo or the in game intro. The subject of today’s piece is the former, and is the first non visual novel to be covered in this format by me.
She Dreams Elsewhere is an indie RPG that its developer has described to me in an email as “like EarthBound had a baby with Adult Swim.” The cliche comparison framing aside, I would note that the idea of EarthBound x Adult Swim has actually been done before with LISA: The Painful, a game which I have also gave a glowing review to before. I also believe the the comparison is far more befitting for LISA than She Dreams Elsewhere but I will get to that a little later.
LOVE is certainly a unique game to say the least, but unique does not necessarily mean creative in this sense. In actuality, LOVE is an incredibly minimalist platformer that is manages to make a fun game out of incredibly simplistic mechanics and uses everything they can get out of them. Unfortunately LOVE is also a game that is way too brief to really recommend considering how little content it has. LOVE was originally an Ouya exclusive until the beginning of 2014 when it got ported to Steam. So far it is the first and only game to be designed by Fred Wood whose name sounds uncannily similar to Ed Wood. Also it has a very strange choice for a title seeing as how it has nothing to do with the game.
One may have noticed that a lot of indie platformers tend to go with a retro aesthetic as of late. On one hand, one could see this as a way to capture the feelings of platformers of the time and are missing in games today. On the other hand, one could see them as a way of cashing on nostalgia from older gamers while simultaneously avoiding innovation and saving on the graphics budget. You Have to Win the Game is somewhere in between those two. One obviously cannot claim it is a cash in due to it being free to play and I don’t doubt there was a legitimate vision set for this title. However it is clear that this vision was a rather bland one.
Right from when you start up you can tell this game is trying way too hard to be a 1980s PC title. The first thing you hear is loud typing noises as the title is typed out automatically. You are given absolutely zero plot or back story in this game and your only motivation is, as the title says, “to win the game.” As far as I know, there isn’t even a story given for the game on its Steam page, just play it because they say so. I admit it is rather petty to really complain about this and I don’t even consider it a flaw; just more of an indication. Read more