Cthulhu Saves the World Review

It’s depressing the number of times I’ve covered the first game in a series, only to then leave the sequel (or unrelated followup in Cthulhu Saves the World’s case) untouched. Call it a bad habit. In my defense, though, it’s only been 4 months since I reviewed Breath of Death VII. That’s quite a bit more defensible than the 3 and a half years it’s been since I reviewed King Arthur: The Role-Playing RPG and its spinoff despite owning the sequel for even longer than that. I think part of the problem is one of expectations; it’s easy for a sequel to play things safe and end up feeling like the same game, just like it’s easy for a game to diverge so much from its predecessor that it fails to embrace the things that made the first game worthwhile in the first place. The latter is what’s seen Lost Horizon 2 sit idly on my desktop for the past few months, while the former is why I had to force myself to jump into Cthulhu Saves the World—I was expecting more of the same, and while I was pleasantly surprised by the number of things that were improved on since the previous game, the biggest problems remain unchanged and render a sizable portion of the game a tedious slog through yet more mazes. Read more →

Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader Review

I typically aim for 4 reviews per month, so when I recently hit that mark earlier than usual, I decided to use the extra time to jump into something a bit more expansive that would likely take longer than a week to play through. Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader had been sitting around on my desktop for 8 months, so it seemed like the perfect game for the occasion; a cRPG that user reviews claimed devolves into more of an aRPG later on, I pictured it being something like an Arcanum that eventually turns into more of a Sacred. That didn’t quite end up being the case. Instead, its flaws were apparent from the very beginning and only became worse the further I played. The beginning city that I saw constantly praised? Depressingly bland, it turns out, with a long sewer section on top. To be fair, Lionheart’s cRPG elements didn’t disappear from the game, though its primary focus is definitely on soulless dungeon-crawling instead of reactivity. Add in some terrible design decisions, unclear mechanics, suicidal companions, and terribly uninteresting writing, and you have a recipe for a game best left forgotten. Read more →

Zenge Review

I remember seeing Zenge on the Google Play store and having no idea what it was, and like so many games I’ve bought out of curiosity, it ended up being left unattended on my phone for a depressing amount of time. All I remembered by the time I finally started it up was that it looked like a vaguely adventure-ish puzzle game, something that quickly proved to be untrue; for all its art and store claims about a “journey,” this is a pure puzzle game that shows you pictures between levels that hint at a story and journey that isn’t really there. Not that there’s anything wrong with that—puzzle games can be some of the most rewarding games out there, even when they’re a bit on the easy side like Zenge is. In fact, I’d argue that this is one of the more uniquely rewarding puzzle games I’ve played because of how well it teaches you its rules, with that being especially notable since there’s not actually a tutorial or explanation at any point. You learn by doing, and this is something other games could take a page from. Read more →

Tengami Review

Tengami has interesting visuals, good music, and two decent puzzles. I want to get that out of the way right now because the rest of this will be unabashedly negative. This is a game I hate so much that I uninstalled it as soon as I was finished like its pretentiousness was somehow poisoning my computer. This is a game that lasts something like an hour but felt 10 times that long because of how tedious the gameplay somehow manages to be. This is a game that took me from optimistic to “what the hell is this garbage?” in the span of something like 15 minutes. It’s almost impressive how bad this game is, and if it had lasted just a bit longer, I could see it becoming one of those rare games that ends with me swearing off an entire studio/individual developer for life (never again, Ragnar Tornquist). Fortunately, Tengami is mercifully short and easily forgotten, so the worst that can be said of it is that it’s painfully pretentious and so comically un-fun to play that you’ll feel compelled to pick up another game—any other game—and play that instead. Read more →

Super Panda Adventures Review

It’s been a rough year for this site. Two of my favorite series self-destructed so badly that I swore one of them off entirely, and I’m hugely skeptical that the other will ever release anything decent enough to draw me back in. Beyond that, the past few months of my game choices have been populated almost exclusively by disappointments from pretty much every gaming decade. That’s why it’s nice to finally find a game that I genuinely enjoy, something simple with a lot of personality to remind me that there are actually some diamonds out there beneath the piles of trashware masquerading as games. That’s not to say that Super Panda Adventures is flawless, because it isn’t, but its problems are either easily circumvented with a little creativity (the difficult boss fights) or unimportant because they’re not the game’s focus (some grammatical errors). Read more →

Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine Review

I can’t quite remember how or when I first played Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, but my memories of it were fond enough that I went out of my way to flesh out my collection of (legally) emulated Genesis/Mega Drive games in order to play through it again. Not all happy gaming memories mesh with the expectations of a modern gamer, however, and that was the case with this game; where I was expecting the entertaining, fair puzzle game I remembered, I instead found myself suffering through one of the weirdest difficulty curves I can recall seeing in a game. That’s not to say that Mean Bean Machine can’t be fun, of course. There are just too many longer, better puzzle games available out there to possibly recommend this to anyone outside of the very curious or very nostalgic. Read more →

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