Game Reviews, Games

Review: To The Moon

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Originally released on PC back in 2011, To The Moon was created by Kan Gao using the RPG Maker XP toolkit based on his own experiences with his grandfather’s life-threatening condition, and influenced by his own questions about end-of-life thoughts and whether a person can live with their regrets. Fast forward 9 years and one rebuild on Unity, and To The Moon was released on Switch in early 2020, ready to be enjoyed by a new generation.

Read my full review at Nintenpedia.

To The Moon

Game Reviews, Games

Review: Call Of The Sea

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Norah is ill, and her husband Harry is missing after having gone searching the world for a cure. After receiving a mysterious package, Norah decides to go to the place Harry was last known to be — an island off the coast of Tahiti. Call of the Sea bills itself as a Lovecraftian mystery game, and whilst the first person adventure puzzler is clearly influenced by the writer’s work, it falls short on the mystery front.

Read my full review at Push Square.cots

Games, Platinum Review

Platinum Review Rework

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I’ve been a bit inactive lately, but I’ve always got the blog on my mind! I’ve been thinking up new features, and how to refresh old features. The first thing I want to implement is a change to how I do my Platinum Reviews.

Up until this point, I have been doing separate Platinum Reviews to normal game reviews, meaning each game I do a Platinum Review for gets two articles. I’m changing this so the review is within the same article. This means each Platinum Review will be a bit more substantial and will include my thoughts on the game as a whole as well as how I found the process for getting the platinum trophy. I’ll include links as usual to any walkthroughs I followed.

Scoring wise, each Platinum Review will have a usual game review rating out of 10, and a score on how difficult I found the platinum, also out of 10. I’ll try to quantify how long it took me, but some games don’t have in-game timers, so this might be a bit hit and miss.

I hope you like what I plan to do!

Game Reviews, Games

Review: Kaze and the Wild Masks

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Kaze and the Wild Masks is a 2D platformer described by developers PixelHive as ’90s inspired’. This is definitely accurate, as there’s a majorly nostalgic vibe, from the slightly retro feeling artwork and music to the lack of dialogue. It simultaneously feels years old and brand new.

Read my full review at Push Square.

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Game Reviews, Games

Review: Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy

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Just two years after her first game, Reisalin “Ryza” Stout is back with Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy. This time, she’s on an adventure from her home of Kurken Island and has travelled to Asha-Am-Baird to investigate mysteries surrounding some ruins while reuniting with some familiar faces.

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Atelier Ryza 2 hits the ground running, straight into the thick of things with its mystery heavy plot and into the dungeon exploration the series is loved for. It’s not strictly necessary to have played Ryza’s first outing to make sense of this offering, but certainly those who have will get a kick out of seeing returning characters and referenced events.

Read my full review at Push Square.

Game Reviews, Games

Review: Astro’s Playroom

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Upon receiving a PlayStation 5, all players are treated to Astro’s Playroom, already installed on the console and designed to showcase the abilities of the new PS5 controller, the Dualsense.

Following it’s largely underwhelming pack-in predecessors, Welcome Pack for PS Vita and The Playroom for PS4, Astro’s Playroom had a lot to prove, hoping to finally answer the question; can a demo game actually be good?

In short, yes, it can.

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Astro’s Playroom is the perfect introduction to the PS5. Whilst it does act somewhat as a tech demo to show off the capabilities of the DualSense controller, Astro’s Playroom is also a really fun game in its own right.

The 16 levels of Astro’s Playroom are set across four worlds – one for each previous PlayStation console. The collectibles throughout the game are various Sony artifacts, which are viewable in the game hub. Seeing these collectibles pop up makes for really nostalgic gameplay, especially for players with a long history with PlayStation.

Traversing the different worlds, you’ll come across different scenarios which cause the DualSense to react differently. Rain, thunder and sunshine all feel different as Astro ventures through them, creating a really immersive gameplay experience.

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Astro’s Playroom is a bright platformer which showcases the capabilities of the PS5 and the DualSense controller, but it’s so much more. It’s a game which is packed with nostalgia and charm. It’s easy to blast through Astro’s Playroom in one playthrough, it has a short campaign of around 6 hours, but they’re 6 hours packed with fun gameplay, and cute aesthetics.

8 stars

Games, Platinum Review

Platinum Review: Distraint

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Cast your mind back to my little platinum run of games, when I played Distraint Deluxe EditionThe reason for my choosing Distraint to play in the first place was because it was listed on Playstation Trophies as an easy platinum.

Distraint isn’t difficult, it’s mostly a point and click sidescroller, so there’s nothing too challenging about the gameplay. There are a few puzzles which might take some more thinking than others, but if you really don’t want to do too much thinking then there are plenty of walkthroughs online that you can follow.

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There’s a lot to be enjoyed with Distraint, and as said in my review, the story is an interesting one and pretty compelling, so playing it blind is probably the best option, in my opinion! It took me around 45 minutes to get the platinum with a guide, and I think I would have gotten a lot more enjoyment out of the game had I not used a guide.

Playstationtrophies.org lists Distraint as a difficulty rating of a 1 or 2, and timewise it lies in 0-5 hours on votes with most commentors stating that it took around an hour.

Games, Platinum Review

Platinum Review: One Night Stand

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Back when I decided to do a little platinum trophy number boost, I bought One Night Stand in the PSN sale for relatively cheap, you may remember I wrote a review on it. I had chosen One Night Stand, among a few others, as it was reported to be a quick platinum, and when I say quick, I mean quick. I managed to get the platinum trophy for One Night Stand in around 45 minutes.

There are guides for One Night Stand out there, but essentially what you’re aiming to do is get all the available endings and fill out all the pictures on the phone that appears at the end of each route. The game gives you clues about how to get each picture, so you’re not flying totally blind.

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From memory, there’s one other trophy which isn’t tied into an ending and relates to a decision that you have to make in the game, but it is kind of a spoiler, so I won’t say!

I would recommend anyone playing One Night Stand to play through a normal route first, and attempting to fill in the blanks themselves, but if you don’t want to do this then there are a lot of guides out there. This is the one I used, or you can find your own with a simple Google search – just make sure you add ‘game’ at the end of ‘One Night Stand’, or you could end up with some interesting search results!

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Over at Playstationtrophies.org One Night Stand is rated with 1/10 difficulty and a 1-2 hour time estimate. I agree with the difficulty rating; nothing in this game is a challenge, and even without guides everything is quite straightforward and easily figured out. The 1-2 hours estimated platinum time is probably fair. Like I said, I got it in 45 minutes, but I used a guide for the most part, so without a guide 1-2 hours is pretty reasonable.

Game Reviews, Games

Review: Buried Stars

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Visual novel Buried Stars is an interesting one. With many saying online that the game has come from nowhere, its sudden release has surprised, and delighted, a lot of people. From Korean Studio Largo, Buried Stars follows the events of the titular reality show, which is set in the final stages of a K-pop talent contest. Unfortunately for our characters, tragedy befalls the event, and the building that it’s filmed in collapses, trapping the five remaining contestants and members of the production staff. Playing as Do-Yoon Han, one of the contestants, it’s down to you to unravel what has happened, and survive until the rescue squad arrives.

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From the off, the concepts within the game are well explained. Each contestant has been given a smartwatch by the show’s sponsors, though some have more features than others. The smartwatch functions as normal, with access to call contacts, voice notes, photos, and the in-game social media network, Phater. All of these are mechanics which will become integral as the game progresses.

Read my full review at Push Square.

Game Reviews, Games

Review: Fire Emblem Three Houses – Cindered Shadows DLC

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The main reason I got my Nintendo Switch was to play Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Sure there are other games that interested me, but I just really wanted to play Three Houses. Of course, it had been out a good 5 months when I got my Switch, so far too late for a review, but needless to say I enjoyed it.

My logic is somewhat flawed here, as evidently from the title this is a review of the Cindered Shadows DLC, which came out on February 12th, which is well over 5 months ago, but hey! Folks on Twitter said they didn’t mind reading reviews of older releases as it helps them decide whether to buy or watch something, so I’m pushing past the apprehension of writing reviews for older things and just doing it!

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Cindered Shadows is the first set of DLC for Fire Emblem: Three Houses, and brings with it a new route and four new characters in their own house; the Ashen Wolves. The premise is that the Ashen Wolves live in Abyss, an underground town below Garreg Mach.

The whole campaign takes around 8 hours to complete and spans 7 chapters. Each chapter completed in the DLC nets you a benefit when you play the main game again, from Abyss becoming explorable to one of the four new characters becoming recruitable, and bonus items. Each character also comes with its own class which will also be available during the main game.

To assist the Ashen Wolves with their quest, the main game house leaders are sent along with Byleth, and bring along with one member of each house for assistance. The choice of characters for Blue Lions and Black Eagles is a bit strange, I won’t divulge who, but I would have thought it would make more sense to have different characters, given their roles within those houses. I have only played Blue Lions to date, so playing with characters from Black Eagles and Golden Deer was cool, and a good taster for playthroughs I have ahead of me.

Gameplay is obviously the same process as in the main game, but it’s much harder. I found there were some severe difficulty spikes as well, with many of the requirements for battles feeling borderline impossible at times. In my Blue Lions playthrough I didn’t really have to redo many battles, but the same definitely cannot be said of Cindered Shadows. It’s a good kind of difficult as it makes you think much more strategically about how you’re playing and forces you to think about your choices a lot more each turn.

Cindered Shadows is well worth the money. It’s a completely fleshed out story of it’s own, and the four new characters are well developed and fit in well with existing characters. It was all I could do not to start up a new route in the main game immediately to recruit them over. For fans of Three Houses, Cindered Shadows is a must.

8 stars