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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2021 challenges, Challenges

2021 Challenges: February Recap

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February was a significantly better month than January, but there’s still plenty of room for improvement. I still have that sinking feeling that my challenges are really optimistic, but I’m still going to give it my best shot. Here’s where I’m at on my challenges as of the end of February!

Watch 45 anime

February end total: 1

My anime watching in 2021 has been abysmal. I definitely took on too many seasonal shows, and everything else has suffered as a result. I’d like to say I’m up-to-date on the seasonal stuff too, but that would be a colossal lie. Anyway, I have managed to watch Blood Lad (review pending), so at least I’ve got one under the belt!

Read 50 complete manga

February end total: 1

It felt like in 2020 all I did was read manga, but 2021 is not proving the same. I’ve read one complete manga – Haru’s Curse. I’m definitely going to up this, but I’m focusing on reading novels for now whilst I seem to be in the swing of reading.

Watch 30 films

February end total: 1

I cannot believe I haven’t watched any more films so far! I still only have Jojo Rabbit on my list!

Watch 30 anime films

February end total: 0

Unbelievable and embarrassing.

Get 35 platinum trophies

February end total: 4

I had a much better month for platinum trophies in February than I did in January. I picked up a few cheap indie games in the current PSN sale, which proved very quick to get. On the list for platinum trophies obtained in February are We Were Here, Road Bustle, Chickens on the Road, and JigSaw Abundance. 

Clear 30 games from my backlog

February end total: 0

I am very much working on this, but games take a long time, you know?

Play 12 Switch games

February end total: 0

I am also working on this, but there’s only so much time in a day!

Read 12 books

February end total: 2

I felt like in February I got back into my reading groove – I read The Last and The Poppy War. I also started reading another book, but it’s still ongoing. My aim is to smash this target early, and then free up myself to work on other challenges.

2021 challenges, Challenges

2021 Challenges: The Beginning

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2021 will be my sixth year of doing these annual challenges for the blog! That’s slightly unbelievable to me, but time flies I guess!

Once again, I’ve not really learnt anything from my failures, and I’ve set myself some perhaps ridiculous targets for 2021, but I’m nothing if not stubborn, so I’ll continue to throw myself into this cycle.

Here’s what I’m aiming for in 2020:

Watch 45 anime

I (just about) managed to hit 40 anime in 2020, so I thought I’d go the extra step for 2021. 50 seemed far too ambitious at almost one show a week, so 45 seemed like a good compromise. I’ll probably do Anime August again too, as that was pretty successful (and fun!) last year.

Read 50 complete manga

My first manga challenge! I read a lot of manga last year, and it was all for naught! This year, I’m aiming to read 50 complete manga series, whether that’s single volume or otherwise. My only stipulation is that it has to be finished!

Watch 30 films

I’ve moved on from the poster of must see movies, and my cinema trips are still on hiatus, so I’ve sort of combined them for this challenge and tried to be more realistic about things. I’m aiming to watch 30 films in 2021 that I’ve never seen before.

Watch 30 anime films

Much the same as the previous challenge, in 2021 I’m aiming to watch 30 anime films I’ve never watched before. I have a lot in my own collection that I’ve never watched, so I’m hoping to finally watch some of those!

Get 35 platinum trophies

20 platinums was easy peasy, so I’m upping the ante to 35!

Clear 30 games from my backlog

I’m certainly really good at buying games, not so hot on actually playing them, and as a result my backlog is getting way out of hand. In 2021 I want to get 30 games cleared from my backlog! This is just referring to my PS4, PS5 and small remaining Vita backlog. I’ve made a list of the games I want to clear, some of which I’m going to attempt to platinum too – two birds, one stone and all that! I won’t post the list, so you’ll just have to trust me!

Play 12 Switch games

All this platinum trophy hunting means my Switch is getting neglected! I really want to start playing it more because it’s such a great console, so I’ve pledged to play and finish one Switch game per month!

Read 12 books

With everything else, will I even have time to read? Well, I’m going to have to make time! I want to read at least a book every month!

Reading them written down, none of the challenges individually seem difficult, but all together they seem like quite tall orders, but we’ll see what 2021 throws at me!

As usual, you can follow me on Twitter to track my progress!

2020 challenges, Challenges

2020 Challenges: Year in Recap

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Let’s not dwell too much on what a shit show 2020 was, and just… leave it in the past. Here’s to a better 2021!

Now we’re into 2021, it’s time to have a look back on how I did with my challenges. I obviously had a lot of obstacles, and as a result some challanges went better than others.

Watch 40 anime

2020 end total: 40

With some last minute additions, which were technically after midnight on New Year’s Eve (my mum assured me that if I hadn’t slept then it still counted for my 2020 challenges, and who am I to argue with my mum?), I actually achieved this goal! Hooray! I’ve watched some really great shows in 2020 (and some garbage). For 2021 I definitely want to review more shows, which was an aim for 2020 that I really failed on.

Watch 40 movies in the cinema

2020 end total: 5

2020 really wasn’t the year to try and get back into cinema for me. I managed 5 movies in the cinema before the pandemic fully hit and I had to start staying home. My repeated failure at this challenge is really making me reconsider a lot of things. I’ll always love films, but in recent years, a lot has changed with my cinema-going habits and it’s just not so much of a priority for me anymore as it might have been a few years ago.

Platinum 20 games

2020 end total: 22

Another big tick for this one! I feel like I played a lot of great games in 2020. I did boost a lot of my platinum numbers with cheap indie games from the PlayStation Store, but some of these were actually really good. Some were My Name Is Mayo, so you can’t win them all. I feel like I really got back into platinum trophy hunting in 2020, and hope to continue it forward in 2021.

Read 15 books

2020 end total: 8

I got a little over halfway on this challenge. Towards the middle of the year I got really into the swing of reading, but on the tail ends of the year I felt really unmotivated to read. I do still really love to read, and I want to get back into a more regular reading cycle.

Finish 100 best movies

2020 end total: 2

I haven’t done so well on this challenge the last few years. I think perhaps partly because as I said earlier in this post, my film-watching habits have changed a lot, but a lot of the movies on the poster for this challenge are really heavy going, and I don’t often feel like watching a super serious film. Like, how often do you have an evening spare and think, “Hmm, I really fancy watching The Godfather.“? Not often, let me tell you.

Finish Naruto

2020 end total: 4 episodes

Oh Naruto, will I ever crack you? It’s just such a large undertaking. I could watch all of Naruto, or I could watch like, 10+ other shows in the same amount of episodes. I do still really want to watch it all, but I’m just going to take it easy, so don’t expect to see this challenge on my 2021 challenges!

That’s it for 2020! Thank God, amirite? I’ve already got my 2021 challenges pencilled in, but still down to take suggestions if you have any! Let me know in the comments!

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

2020 challenges, Challenges

2020 Challenges: November Recap

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Watch 40 anime

November end total: 29

I only added one more show for November; season 2 of Fruits Basket. I’m a little way off this total, but I’m also watching a lot of seasonal shows most of which, by my calculations, end before the end of the year which will boost my totals. I also plan to go HARD on anime for December to achieve this one!

Watch 40 movies in the cinema

November end total: 5

Platinum 20 games

November end total: 22

Challenge met! Since getting my PS5, I have played three games on it, and got the platinum in each of them, which is quite the achievement and probably not a rate that can continue much longer, let’s be honest! Anyway, at least I’ve completed one of my challenges this year, and with a month to spare too!

Read 15 books

November end total: 8

I haven’t read anything in so long, I’m falling behind! The likelihood of me reading 7 books in a month is extremely slim, but I hope to add at least 1 or 2 more to this total!

Finish 100 best movies

November end total: 2

Finish Naruto

November end total: 4 episodes

Now we’re into December, it’s time to start thinking about 2021 Challenges. I have nothing planned yet, so am open to suggestions! Leave them in the comments!

2020 challenges, Challenges

2020 Challenges: October Recap

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Watch 40 anime

October end total: 28

A very slow month again for anime – I actually added two to my list, but I counted one (Sing Yesterday For Me) as September in the last update post for some reason. The other new show I finished was Beyond the Boundary. 

Watch 40 movies in the cinema

October end total: 5

Platinum 20 games

October end total: 19

I had quite the month for platinum trophies, and just knuckled down and got stuff DONE. The seven (!!) platinums I got in October were:

  • Trails Of Cold Steel 3
  • Iron Snout
  • Donut County
  • Drowning
  • Storm Boy
  • The LEGO Movie Videogame
  • A Summer with the Shiba Inu

Some of these games were certainly better than others, but mostly they were all enjoyable to play. They’re all very different games, so I had a lot of variety at least!

Read 15 books

October end total: 8

In October, I read We Set Fire To The Dark, which was… fine. It’s the first in a series, and I don’t think I’ll be carrying it on, but it was mostly an enjoyable read and I read it pretty quickly, taking me over the halfway line for this challenge!

Finish 100 best movies

October end total: 2

Finish Naruto

October end total: 4 episodes

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September Purchases

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I’m on a bit of a manga trip lately, which is evident from this post. The idea was that I wanted to read a bunch of newer stuff to practice writing manga reviews. I’ve done one so far, and I did enjoy writing it, but have hit a stumbling block with writing, but I’m hoping to have more stuff up soon. I think this month was a fairly light month as I was very aware that the PS5 comes out in November so I need to be saving some money.

IMG_8164My first lot of manga was me continuing existing collections. I bought all three copies I had left to get of That Wolf-Boy Is Mine, but only two arrived in September. Typical. I also bought volume 40 of Haikyuu!!, which is kind of bittersweet because it means that there are only 5 volumes left, boo! I also bought the next volume of My Dress Up Darling because I really enjoyed the first volume (review to come!).

 

IMG_8165As is customary, I also bought a lot of BL this month. In fact, I might have got carried away. My problem with having incomplete collections once again reared its ugly head and I felt compelled to buy all the volumes of Don’t Be Cruel that I didn’t already have, as well as The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese and The Carp On The Chopping Block Jumps Twice (collection complete), and the new volume of given. 

 

IMG_8162I bought a couple of blu-ray this month to add to the collection too. Firstly, Weathering With You, which I got to see at Scotland Loves Anime last year and I already know that I love, and secondly Bartender, that I’ve never seen before, but the concept seemed interesting and the special edition looked really cool.

 

 

IMG_8163Finally for this month, I bought some games! I was recommended Nelke and The Legendary Alchemist as I wanted something that was like a world building simulation. I haven’t started it yet, but I’m excited to! I also bought 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim, which I also haven’t started, but I’ve heard nothing but good things about it!

 

That’s all for this month, I’m SO excited for October’s post because it’ll have Trails of Cold Steel IV in! Hooray!

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August Purchases

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If you remember my last purchases post, you’ll recall that I had anticipated a heavy August Purchases post to get through my imposed 2 week lockdown prior to my Nan’s operation. Putting this post together, I’m surprised that there isn’t more, and I feel like I was reasonably restrained… ish.

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As usual, I bought a few manga. Adding to my Haikyuu!! and Full Metal Alchemist collections once again, and starting two new collections. I’ve not read Spy x Family yet, but I’ve heard really good things about it online, so I’m looking forward to starting that. I also bought My Dress Up Darling, which I have read and it was…. kind of a surprise. I bought it because it seemed like a cute story about cosplay, and it kind of is, but when I say it came wrapped in plastic, I think that probably tells manga readers all they need to know! Nevertheless, I did enjoy the first volume and I’ll continue to buy it to see where the story goes! I’m going to write up a proper review about it soon (someone please hold me to that).

 

IMG_9260Of course, I wouldn’t get through a month without buying some BL so I got a little haul this month. I bought all volumes of Escape Journey, which I promptly realised I actually have already read. I did really enjoy it though, and I have a feeling I couldn’t find the last couple of chapters anywhere at the time I read it so I’m glad to own it so I can finish it properly! I also bought the latest published volume of given, so I can continue to stay up to date with that collection!

 

IMG_0634I bought two games this month. The first was Fire Emblem Fates Birthright. For some reason I’ve been picking up old Fire Emblem games when I see them, and someone on Instagram was selling this one for pretty cheap, so I got it. Realistically, I know the chances of me playing it are pretty slim – my PS4, Vita and Switch backlogs are bad enough, without me adding the 3DS into the mix! I also bought Nexomon Extinction, which as a premise is very similar to Pokémon in that you catch and train Nexomon to win battles. I haven’t played that much of it, maybe 3 hours or so, but what I have played I have enjoyed and I hope to get back to it properly soon!

 

IMG_3348To round off the August Purchases, a modest blu-ray haul. I got Kiss Him Not Me, which I’ve never seen before, and also added to my Studio Ghibli collection by buying Laputa: Castle In The Sky. 

 

 

 

So, that was what I bought in August! Pretty pared back for me, I’m sure you’ll all agree!

2020 challenges, Challenges

2020 Challenges: August Recap

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Watch 40 anime

August end total: 24

Anime August was pretty successful, and I managed to get 8 shows watched. I will (probably) have reviews up for all of the shows I watched, but I added these to my ‘watched’ list:

  • Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai
  • Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign
  • Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto
  • Parasyte -the maxim-
  • Zombie Land Saga
  • King’s Game
  • Demon Slayer
  • A3! Season Spring & Summer

Now I’ve boosted this total a bit, I feel like this is a pretty acheivable goal for my challenges!

Watch 40 movies in the cinema

August end total: 5

Hands up if you’re still not comfortable going to the cinema! It’s me, I’m not comfortable! I cannot see myself going back to a cinema before the year is out, so this one is sort of null and void really.

Platinum 20 games

August end total: 11

Not quite such a lucrative month for platinum trophies in August as July had been, but I did manage to get one under the belt; the Fairy Tail game. I will write a platinum review for it, eventually!

Read 15 books

August end total: 5

After finishing Howl’s Moving Castle I started the new Hunger Games book, and I haven’t finished it yet. It’s such a big and heavy book, it always feels like such a hassle to read it because I can barely hold it up properly, so I have not made any headway on this challenge.

Finish 100 best movies

August end total: 2

Finish Naruto

August end total: 4 episodes

Oh boy. Sometimes I get the urge to watch Naruto, but then I think about how futile it is to think I’m going to finish it and then I just sort of give up. Which is not the attitude to have, but it speaks volumes I think.