Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader Screenshots

Something you’ll immediately notice about Lionheart is that it’s incredibly bland-looking. Lots of brown and black and contrast, nothing too visually interesting standing out. Its gameplay and story are equally bland, both going through the motions of an isometric western RPG while mostly forgetting to actually make the experience enjoyable. There are huge difficulty spikes throughout the game, and entire play styles have been rendered more or less invalid (or at least wildly impractical) by some bizarre design decisions. For example, the final area has rooms where ranged enemies can attack you from above, and if you specialize in one-handed weapons like I did rather than focusing on ranged magic/weapons or the sneaking skill, you have to dash across the room as fast as possible and get to the exit while constantly pausing and wasting the game’s rare healing potions. That’s just one of at least a dozen completely unforgivable moments that saw me consider giving up on Lionheart before the end on multiple occasions. Read more →

Zenge Screenshots

The last game I played was Tengami, which I hated because of its pretentious non-story and bad puzzles. Zenge also has a pretentious non-story to it, but it’s 500 times the game Tengami is because its puzzles are actually designed incredibly well, quickly (and wordlessly) teaching you the ins and outs of each new puzzle mechanic before asking you to leverage those mechanics to solve its more involved puzzles. In a lot of ways, this game reminds me of Zengrams; both have 70 levels and rely entirely on their clever puzzle designs to entertain, and while Zenge is probably the easier of the two, it proves to be just as rewarding. Read more →

Super Panda Adventures Screenshots

I’ve been a bundle of negativity lately; if you set aside the reviews for games that I already knew I liked going in, I haven’t given a positive review in a little over two months. It’s clearly been awhile since I went into something blind and actually liked it, so I’m glad Super Panda Adventures ended up being entertaining. It’s kind of bizarre that this game—which costs four dollars and has gone on sale for as little as 99 cents—is so much more fun to play than games ten times more expensive (and some even more than that). It even has more content than many of them, lasting me something like seven and a half hours for a completionist playthrough. Obviously it’ll be shorter if you rush through the game, but you’re still looking at four and a half hours if How Long To Beat is to be trusted. Even setting aside its price and amount of content, though, it’s a blast to play, and more so once I found some creative ways to cheese my way through its rare moments of frustrating difficulty. Read more →

Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine Screenshots

Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine was one of the few games in the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive collection on Steam that I didn’t yet have, so when I saw a bundle that allowed me to pick it and a few other missing titles up, I of course jumped at the opportunity. Turns out I remembered this game being much better than it is. It’s not terrible or anything, but it’s short and has random difficulty spikes that make the last few levels quite a bit easier than those preceding them. Read more →

I Am Setsuna Screenshots

I’ve pretty much phoned in the past few reviews, sticking to smaller, shorter games that don’t require much time to complete. Still, I wanted to end the month with something a bit more expansive, and when I started hearing about I Am Setsuna and its claims of being inspired by the inimitable Chrono Trigger, I knew that it’d be the perfect game to tackle next. For the most part, it manages to be a surprisingly solid game that captures a lot of the comfort of use that CT did while adding its own spin on combat. It’s just too bad that the writing is a train wreck that undermines everything constantly. That’s not the only flaw, of course—there are some questionable design decisions, none of your dialogue choices matter, the whole game takes place in the snow, and the soundtrack is almost exclusively comprised of piano tracks that begin to hammer away at your sanity. All of that could have been forgiven if the writing wasn’t so painfully brain dead, though. Read more →

Spate Screenshots

I can definitely see what Spate was going for. I even like the aesthetic and the way the story ended up resolving. That having been said, there are just too many flaws here to recommend it; as I’m writing this, it’s been out for over two years, and yet there are still a number of spelling problems and weird physics bugs, not to mention a number of occasions where the game seemingly forgets to include puzzles or obstacles. Basically, Spate alternates between being a walking simulator and a platformer, and the gameplay reminded me of Never Alone in too many ugly ways. But hey, I liked the world and the story well enough despite the whole thing only lasting a little over an hour, so a sequel could be interesting. Read more →

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