FullBlast is a by-the-numbers shoot 'em up that's hardly original but is still a welcome addition to the eShop channel. I can't really fault the game when it doesn't necessarily do anything wrong. It's just not going to wow you. So if you're a hardcore shoot 'em up fan who's already seen it all, this one's a pass. But for everyone else, FullBlast provides a decent amount of entertainment. There are 12 levels in all, and you're not forced to beat them in one sitting. Once you've unlocked a level, you can start from that point on your next turn. Unfortunately, your power-ups aren't saved, so there are instances where you may actually want to backtrack first. Despite its casual appearance, this can be a difficult shooter. Bumping the difficulty down doesn't seem to reduce the number of bullets, either; it only makes the enemies weaker. But I actually prefer it that way. This never reaches "bullet hell" ridiculousness, anyway. The levels are a little repetitive, though, and the game has a tendency to reuse the same bosses. Again, it's not groundbreaking by any means, but it's okay for what it is.
The move to full 3D levels feels like a natural progression for the Trine series, but I don't think it was quite ready to go there just yet. The fixed camera angles make it too difficult to gauge the distances of things. This is particularly maddening in co-op, where players have to stay very close to each other for the camera to be of any use. And if someone dies, their resurrection point is often placed off-screen (either ahead of or behind you, take a guess). Trine 3 is still a fun co-op experience, though, and there are some genuinely clever puzzles to solve throughout the gorgeous environments. More often than not, however, you can exploit the wall jump to get around obstacles. I'm also annoyed that levels are locked until a certain number of triangles are collected, meaning you'll either have to replay the somewhat long-winded normal levels or play the shorter (but terribly unexciting) character-specific levels. Why would a game all about character-swapping resort to single-character challenges? It doesn't make sense and is a poor substitute for elongating the game. Overall, Trine 3 is pretty light on content but heavy on problems. I hope the game sees a few updates and/or DLC, because it's a little hard to recommend as is.
I've apparently logged more time into Unepic than I have any other Steam game, and yet I'm still not done with the multiplayer levels and have barely scratched the single-player campaign. This game is deceptively huge. I honestly wasn't expecting that much from a 2D indie game, but the developer has done a fantastic job taking the heart and soul of a dungeon crawler and molding it into a Metroid-style platformer. The monsters are actually tough to fight, the loot is great, and crafting the perfect skill tree is pretty rewarding. There are quite a few weapon and magic options to choose from, after all. It can be a little overwhelming to know which ones to focus on, and you'll be constantly reassigning your shortcut keys to make room for new spells. The platforming gameplay isn't as strong as the RPG stuff, though. Jumping in particular is a little wonky. And the game's basement Dungeons & Dragons theme means the dungeon master is going to be a dick at times and throw ridiculous traps at you. I could see that getting annoying as the single-player mode progresses, but it's tolerable in co-op. That said, I totally recommend this game on its co-op merits alone.
Dying Light is a first person FPS RPG hybrid much like Far Cry 3/4, which makes it sound incredibly average, but it is probably better than both. In Dying Light you're trapped in a semi post apocalyptic city that has become totally overrun by zombies and isolated from the rest of the world. It's, of course, up to you, as a runner for regular people, to fix this by completing a ton of fetch quests and kicking ridiculous amounts of zombie and looter ass. Sounds super by the books, right? Well, the kicker is that at night the biggest and baddest zombies come out and they are some of the most terrifying enemies I have faced in a game in years. Unlike the regular shamblers that will follow you around on the streets, these night zombies will free run after you and kill you dead in less than a minute. Big deal, right? Well, the big deal is the risk vs. reward as if you can spend time outside at night and complete missions you'll get a ton of extra XP, usually making it totally worth it to brave the terrors of night time. This alone is what makes this probably the most unexpectedly awesome game of the year for me and I'm here to tell you now that you HAVE to play it! If you have ever loved a first person shooter or zombie games or both, you owe it to yourself to experience this game.
Since the release of MGSV is less than a month away, I decided to go back and play Big Boss' greatest games which made me realize that I have never played all of Peace Walker, something which I immediately had to fix! Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, like every other MGS games, tasks you with facing off against mech monsters of all sorts and sizes. However, that's not all this game has to offer. It's also probably the only game in the series which has side quests. By side quests I don't mean your normal fetch quests or anything, I mean missions where you have to extract valuable P.O.W.s and steal tanks under the enemy's nose! Say what you will about the weirdness of having that in an MGS game, but it's seriously badass. Not only that, but you get to hunt some of the fantastic beasts from the Monster Hunter series, too! All of that mixed together with the Tactical Espionage Action offered by your average MGS game AND the ability to create your own Metal Gear may make this the best game in the series. If you haven't played it, you really should get on that.
At first glance Bobblehead Mania may seem similar to other endless runners, which is true in a sense. However, this platform/endless runner is based on bobblehead theme that allows you to run with one of the bobblehead historical figures or celebrities. Each character has a special ability that makes the game easier and more fun. In addition you can collect unusual power-ups that help you along the run. For example, Bobble Rage helps you break through objects while Super Bubble is similar to a reversed Flappy Birds and gives you the ability to fly. All in all, the concept looks a little bit different and it is something that I have not seen before in the endless runner area. So that is a plus. Also, there are in-app purchases that allow you to get premium characters or upgrade power-ups. In contrast, a downside is that the game has just one environment but hopefully, future updates may bring more characters and more environments to keep players entertained.
This is the video game equivalent of Michael Bay getting the rights to a classic cartoon series. It feels so needlessly "epic" and loses what made the original charming. It's like the developers were trying to compete with other sci-fi FPS games like Halo and focused more on the shooter aspect over the tower defense aspect. I suppose if you haven't played the first game, you'll still really like the genre hybrid. But as a huge fan of Sanctum 1, it's pretty hard for me to ignore the "improvements" made here. For instance, block placement is now extremely limited and clunky. You can't even safely stand on the blocks anymore without the monsters attacking you (in fact, they will often stray from their path to hunt you down). You have a life bar and can die. Weapon upgrades are gone, and all the weapons now have a recoil that makes it difficult to aim. The towers can only be upgraded to Level 3, as well, but at least you can dump extra money into them to "overcharge" them. That's about the only interesting new idea at play here. Everything else feels like a step backwards, despite how grandiose the presentation may be. Sometimes, simple and campy is all you need, and Sanctum 1 excelled at that. I have no idea what happened here or how this franchise got so off track.
There's really no better way to unwind after work than to kill a bunch of orcs. But it's not just shooting them with guns and magic (which is pretty fun on its own) that makes this a special treat. Orcs Must Die includes several traps (or rather, towers) to help you thin the hordes. The number of traps in the game is impressive, giving you a lot of room to try different styles. I like that you can refund everything you've bought in the store and start anew if you didn't like the weapons/traps you previously chose to focus on. The "2" in the game's name also brings online co-op with it, which is a welcome addition. As enjoyable as it is to kill waves of trolls and ogres, it's not quite the same when played alone. Knowing that the original game was single-player only makes me think I wouldn't have liked it that much. This sequel, however, is great. While it may not provide the same wonder and lasting appeal that, say, Dungeon Defenders has in the action and tower-defense genre, it's still a unique experience and definitely worth a look.
It's great to see Nintendo still coming out with new, original puzzle ideas. Yes, I know, Pushmo was on the 3DS first a few years earlier, but let me have this moment! Pushmo World is a wonderful combination of platforming and block pushing/pulling that offers a surprising level of challenge across its many, many puzzles. I think there are upwards of 250 puzzles in this game, not to mention you can build your own and download others'. Content-wise, it's totally worth it, especially considering how some of these puzzles had me stumped for 20-30 minutes at a time. Even small puzzles with very few blocks to interact with can be deceptively complex. But it's all wrapped up in a cute, casual, and approachable package. The controls are super simple. There are no time limits. There's no way to die or get stuck (you can quickly jump down and reset the puzzle if you know you messed up). But it will definitely test your smarts. If you're into puzzle games, you're gonna love it.
It probably wasn't a good idea to play Super Sanctum TD on the heels of the original Sanctum game. Whereas Sanctum 1 is an engaging mash-up of FPS and TD gameplay, Super Sanctum is a straight-up traditional tower defense game that feels quite bland in comparison. Of course, there's absolutely nothing wrong with old-school TD. The game even offers a few extra features like being able to use skills or (like in the original) place blocks to route the monsters. And it really is fun to see the familiar Sanctum monsters recreated in 16-bit graphics. Unfortunately, in a 2D environment, the limitations of the block placement are more noticeable. The game is also very stingy with money. It's hard to put together any kind of rewarding defense when you're only ever given enough money each round to build or upgrade one tower. Given that, I should warn you further that Super Sanctum TD is hard. While other TD games like Fieldrunners were hard in an "I know I can figure this out" way, this particular game is more hard in an "I am so sick of these guys getting through" way. If you're a huge TD fan, you may still like it. Just don't play any other Sanctum game first, or it'll just leave you wishing there was more here.
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