TRAIL OUT was undoubtedly made with love, where developer GOOD BOYS have put forth a solid effort to make the next FlatOut, a potential evolution on that series. That potential is squandered pretty quickly, as the story is forgettable, the voice acting is laughable, and the physics are often unreliable. All that to say, I can’t help but appreciate the game for all that it tries to do, even if it doesn’t itself all the way there. TRAIL OUT is good fun when things are going well for you, but when the fun stops due to unpredictable physics and a grindy campaign, so does the willingness to continue playing.
Like the Roman god this is named after, the Vulcan II Mini from ROCCAT is forged from fire and metal for a masterwork. This is the first gaming keyboard from ROCCAT catering to keyboard aficionados who want to reclaim desk space and have a littler footprint for their deck of choice. It’s a 65% keyboard, which omits the numeric keypad, and condenses the function and extra keys to alternate key presses without dedicated keys. The form-factor is small on size but big on features, making the ROCCAT Vulcan II Mini an acquired and satisfying taste.
Media properties around ‘domes’ have not been especially successful or kind over the years. You’ve got the 1996 film “Bio-Dome” that was panned by audience and critics alike. Then there’s the 2013 television series “Under the Dome” that lasted a handful of seasons, but declined in ratings as it couldn’t find an audience. Thankfully Dome Keeper from Bippinbits doesn’t have either of these problems, with the trifecta of being a roguelike, miner, and defense game. It’s quite the romantik little game, because there’s so much to love. Dome Keeper has my attention with its systems and compelling gameplay loop, that has me excited for how the next run will play out.
Will we ever tire of Shovel Knight games? After eight years since his debut, the answer seems to be a resounding ‘no’, and the quality has maintained. The second spinoff game, featuring a partnership with Yacht Club Games and Nitrome has seemingly struck gold. Shovel Knight has gone rogue.. like with Shovel Knight Dig, a surprisingly fitting mold for a new take on the action platformer. This entry sees the shovel-wielding hero in blue out to save the day once more, but his fondness for gem chasing is the means for progression through a hostile underground. Shovel Knight Dig is a simplified roguelike that emphasizes fun, encourages persistence, and an effervescent snack-sized adventure.
Cleaners are everywhere, and no I don’t mean the ones doing a legitimate cleaning of crime scenes, it’s – you know – the ones that erase all traces of evidence to avoid incrimination. Entertainment and media has even begun to put them on all full display in recent years. First you’ve got “The Cleaner” nickname that AEW wrestler Kenny Omega has gone by. Then there’s the “Specialized Waste Disposal” crew that comes to clean-up John Wick’s home. Five years after the original, Serial Cleaners is a twist on the stealth genre that elevates everything about the original to be a stellar sequel about cleaning up messes, not making them.
It feels good to help others doesn’t it? Using the skills you’ve honed to help, just because you can. Watching someone who was just sick and defeated become full of life and joy. Doing good in the world just because you can, hopefully changing the minds of others along the way. Potion Permit allows you to be this person.
The things you end up loving the most are usually the ones you know the last about beforehand. That’s the case for Betrayal At Club Low, the first game I’ve played from developer Cosmo D, and the fourth they’ve released. Combining point-and-click adventure games with dice-roll mechanics is a flavorful mix of old and new. In fact, it reminds me of late 90s adventure games where 3D models were becoming more prominent over FMV, and excels in this awkward period of gaming, and embraces it for all its worth. Betrayal At Club Low is a bizarre and eclectic game that I can’t stop thinking about, and am eager to return to for another playthrough.
What a year for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise in gaming. First, we get the incredible Shredder’s Revenge, and now we get a package of classic TMNT games which a lot of love and attention has been poured into. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Cowabunga Collection is what a turtles fan would expect from a collection as full as this one. It is the ultimate nostalgia package.
Isonzo is the third in a series of World War I multiplayer games from Blackmill Games that began in 2015. These historical games shine a light on the dark battles that took place during the 1910s. For the Isonzo River area, twelve battles in two years for the two sides took place, with the Italians winning most of the battles against the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Isonzo as a game always impresses both in visuals and gameplay. The tug of war between both factions is evenly matched, offers the most versatility, and makes Isonzo is the best in the series to-date.
Flipping houses just keeps getting more lucrative these days; well, as long as you avert your eyes from our current housing market here in the states. But in the virtual world of House Flipper, more and more opportunities are opening up. The Gardens became plentiful, an Apocalypse happened, the Cyberpunk fad swept through the neighborhood, and a tidal wave of money rolled into town. Now we welcome House Flipper Pets, where you can find your perfect renovation partner!
I’m an absolute sucker for fishing mechanics in games. Doesn’t matter the complexity or its depth, I’ll let myself get entirely too invested in what is ultimately a side-activity to a much larger game. I build my houses in Minecraft by an interesting looking water source because I know I’ll be fishing for 90% of my time. I played Final Fantasy XV up to the point that you start fishing and continued to do that, forgoing the rest of the game entirely. Recently I neglected my entire cult of followers to their deaths while I fished all day and all night in Cult of the Lamb. So let me be clear when I say, there is nothing enjoyable about the fishing in Call of the Wild: The Angler. I actually find the game actively “anti-fun”.
The original Destroy All Humans! really captured the “red scare” of the 1950s so well, and it’s one of those game that’s so novel it sticks with you. By the following year when Destroy Humans 2! released, I had already moved on to the Xbox 360 and never got to checking it out. Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed is a remake of the 2006 game from Pandemic, this time focusing on the 1960s and globe-trotting, offering another raucous ride with Cryptosprodium. So in playing this remake, there wasn’t any nostalgia going into it like I did with the first. As far as I’m concerned, the only “crypto” I want to invest in, is the one you play in Destroy All Humans! 2 – Reprobed.
There’s always a first, whether it be your first adventure, first game, or even your first adventure game. This is a modernized point-and-click where interactivity is key, but all of your movement is done with key presses or a joystick. Like No Other: The Legend Of The Twin Books could serve as an introduction to adventure games or just games in general. It’s a casual, but thoughtful game that deserves attention and recognition. Whether it was the art or the puzzles, Actoon Studio is as clever as they are brilliant. Like No Other: The Legend Of The Twin Books is a short yet wonderful adventure I hope we get to see more of.