Archives April 2023

Ultra Pixel Survive

Ultra Pixel Survive

Ultra Pixel Survive is a two dimensional side scroller that looks and plays more like Minecraft than it does Terraria.

Ratalaika Games brings us Ultra Pixel Survive, a game about crafting and survival. When most people think of games like Minecraft they typically think of Terraria. Terraria is also two dimensional but has always felt like it was more about the survival aspect than the building a world. This game is more of a happy medium between the two. Unlike these two titles though your tools never break.

Players choose between one of close to two dozen characters, each with their own abilities. You must unlock almost all of these characters though. You unlock them by purchasing them with red gems which are earned by opening chests. Chests in this game were the bane of my existence, at first. You see, there is an achievement related to opening one that I was trying to get since the beginning. The trick here lies in the house you have. STAY OUT of the house. This resets the period of time you must survive to earn the daily chest. That means you have to stay outside and remain there for 24 in game hours straight to have the chest appear. When it does appear though it is almost always offscreen.

Graphically the game is quite simple, leaning into the traditional 8-bit look and feel. Controls are quite simple and feel organic. I loved the simplicity of the game and had an absolute blast playing. I want to see what some of these other characters are capable of too. My only complaint is on the chest mechanic; I feel that going into the house should only pause the time and not reset it, other than that, the game was great.



HEROish is a tower defense game from Sunblink Entertainment that features six epic heroes and card that summon troops to defeat your foes.

In the world of HEROish players control a champion and a handful of cards. Each card holds a power or a troop unit and can be upgraded to make them more effective. Sunblink Entertainment are the masterminds behind this tower defense game and were kind enough to share it with us. You start the game with a set number of points and each card you use is worth a set number of points. The main objective of the game is to save the kingdom and defeat enemy heroes. Each hero has a deck of cards to use and depending on how many points they save then put them into sending waves of troops at the other.

Multiplayer can be done with with bots and gets quite hectic as your opponents send waves after waves of troops after you. You will still earn rewards for your fight if it’s only against the bots but that doesn’t mean they are going to go easy on you. They made me work hard for that win.

The graphics are crisp and look like a very similar style to either the Skylanders games or Disney Infinity. The controls are quite simple to learn and feel natural. The game is full of jokes and over the top characters making this perfect for me. I had a great time playing it and spent many more hours than I expected killing everything I could. If you like a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously and art that pops like a comic book then you’ll find something to like with this game.

Caverns of Mars Recharged

Caverns of Mars

Atari has given another classic the Recharged treatment with Caverns of Mars where you fly ever deeper into the core of the red planet.

Originally developed by Greg Christensen, Caverns of Mars was the first vertical scrolling game and a smash hit on Atari. Prior to receiving the Recharged treatment I had only heard of the title but never played. The concept of the game is that you are rapidly flying towards the center of Mars and ammo is limited. You must defeat your foes and reach the reactor before your fuel and ammo run out. Conceptually it’s quite simple. The gameplay is less so.

While it is a vertical scrolling game you don’t have much control on the vertical movement other than slowing it with firing your guns. You do have control over your horizontal movement though. As you descend further in to the planet there are more and more enemies and obstacles to avoid. In short time it will become quite chaotic.

Visually the game is crisp and highly detailed for the world around you and the world can be blown away to clear you a path but a slight shift in direction can spell your doom. The game is easily played in short spurts and a hell of a lot of fun despite the frequent dying.

Wayfarers of the South Tigris

Wayfarers of the South Tigris

Wayfarers of the South Tigris is a game of discovery and trade from the minds at Renegade Game Studios and Garphill Games.

Wayfarers of the South Tigris from Renegade Game Studios and Garphill Games is a resource management game using dice and cards. Players take turns placing workers, resolving their work or resting. Points are scored based on your upgrades, card combinations made and more. The idea of the game is to travel and trade along the South Tigris, collecting resources and building your empire. As you progress you must complete journal entries. Those entries each have their own requirements in order to complete each of them.

With tales of trade from the past there are always tales of bandits and thieves plaguing the path. Not really the case with this game. Sure there are obstacles to complete requirements of but the game is virtually void of real action. For someone that prefers their games with a fast pace and conflict of some sort, this is not the game for them. This game is aimed at people that enjoy games like Solitaire where most of the work is done alone and the joy is in the completion. Maybe an expansion one day could feature a way to pillage from your fellow players. The quality of the pieces and rulebook are superb but the organization of some of the rules and the lack of clarification on others does leave something to be desired. In short it is high on quality, low on action and close to two hours for a single play through means multiple play throughs won’t be happening on the same night.

Steel Defier

Steel Defier

Ratalaika Games returns with Steel Defier, a game about escape from a prison ship full of traps and augmetics!

Sometimes a game comes along that sucks you in so much you can’t stop playing it. Steel Defier from Ratalaika Games was one of those titles for me! You wake up aboard a prison ship and manage to escape your cell. The security gets stronger and more aggressive as you progress through the ship. If you manage to escape then you will unlock endless mode and that’s where things get really interesting. Each room you must collect fifteen security cards to proceed to the next. The controls are easy to learn and upgrades you find add further complexity. Some upgrades make gameplay easier like double jump or slowing time. Others feel more like a novelty like the running boost. Running is already fast enough in my opinion, most deaths caused by greed and impatience more than anything else.

Overall the game is fun yet challenging, providing increasingly difficult rooms. Graphics are a blend of the retro 8Bit style we are used to from Ralaika but blended with three dimensional devices that are trying to kill you like spinning blades. At $4.99USD this game is well worth the price tag and is an enjoyable yet easy 1000 Gamerscore!


Warner Bros


Recently the fine folks at Warner Bros (their home page is here) had sent me copies of some of their movies I missed so that I could share my thoughts on them with you. For the first part of this series we talked about Scoob, Birds of Prey, The Way Back, Goonies 4K, Beetlejuice 4K, Full Metal Jacket, Sherlock Holmes 4K and Sherlock Holmes A Game of Shadows 4K. Part 2 ‘twas massive and discussed V for Vendetta 4K, 300 4K, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy 4K, The Hobbit Trilogy 4K, Blade 4K, Bill and Ted Face the Music, Tenet and The Wolf of Snow Hollow. Part 3 talked about Wonder Woman 1984, The Little Things and Judas and the Black Messiah. Part 4 discussed Tom and Jerry the Movie and Godzilla Vs Kong. Part 5 was all about Wrath of Man, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and Space Jam. Part 6 had discussed Mortal Kombat and Those Who Wish Me Dead. Part 7 discussed In the Heights, The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It, Zack Snyder’s Justice League and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone 20 Years of Movie Magic edition. Part 8 discussed A Clockwork Orange, Space Jam: A New Legacy and Shawshank Redemption. Part 9 talked about The Suicide Squad and Reminiscence. Part 10 discussed The Outsiders, Cry Macho, Malignant, the Many Saints of Newark and the Mad Max film collection. Part 11 talked about Dune, Matrix: Resurrections, The Batman, Dog and Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore. Part 12 discussed Elvis, DC League of Super Pets, The Lost Boys and Poltergeist. Part 13 shared some classics with 8-Bit Christmas, Casablanca, A Christmas Story, Three Thousand Years of Longing, The Polar Express, Elf and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Part 14 had Don’t Worry Darling and Part 15 was discussing Black Adam. Part 16 had Bones and All, House Party plus the 4k release of Training Day. Part 17 has returned for the 4k release of Rocky the Knockout Collection and Margic Mike’s Last Dance!

Rocky the Knockout Collection

All four Rocky films in 4k. Not much else needs to be said. The last time I had watched these films they already looked dated but in 4k and on my HDTV it looks better than ever. I would argue they look better than it did in the original theatrical releases. Rocky IV was always my favorite of the franchise and the Ultimate Director’s Cut seriously makes it even better!

Magic Mike’s Last Dance

I have watched maybe 30 minutes total between the first two films in the franchise so this was my first real film in the series. The film focuses on Mike’s relationship with Maxandra but sadly seemed to be lacking chemistry between Tatum and Hayek. Pacing seemed to be all over the place. With this being my full introduction into the series I would say that I didn’t miss anything but must admit Tatum CAN DANCE.

Which of these Warner Bros films have you had the chance to see? Which was your favorite? Let us know on our Twitter!

The Guise

The Guise

The Guise from Ratalaika Games is a game centered around the fall of the All Father and the rise of monsters and orphans!

The All Father has left his children to protect the world but like every story of old gods things eventually devolved to infighting and eventually allowing the world to fall in the process. Ratalaika Games are notorious for their retro-esque titles with a twist, each game looking and feeling like a game from my past. Like how Go! Go! Pogo Girl‘s world was reminiscent of the original Sonic the Hedgehog game. The Guise is the first title I’ve played of their that feels entirely unique in terms of story and world. The controls are fluid and easy to learn for the most part. Some actions are not included in the controller settings list and you can’t replay the events where you learned how to do them. I’m specifically referring to the absorption ability which allows you to recover health, on Xbox you tap B repeatedly.

The story starts with a group of kids in an orphanage, the oldest leaves to run an errand, reminding the others to stay out of her room. See this opportunity to snoop in the normally locked room they ignore her wishes. You play as Ogden after he puts on a mask that the older girl had in her room. He is instantly transformed into a spike covered monster set on a quest to turn yourself back into a boy and destroy as many monsters along the way you can. The combat is quite simple where attacks are telegraphed making avoiding them quite easy. If you play like I do though that won’t matter and you’re going to die many times. The game has a world that is full of history and danger with an art style like no other I’ve seen. Overall I found the game to be intriguing and looking forward to the next time I load it up!

Birdwatcher from Renegade Game Studios


Renegade Game Studios take birdwatching to a new level with their game Birdwatcher where photographers try to lure birds to their tree to capture a photo of them.

The focus of Birdwatcher, from Renegade Game Studios, is to watch birds. You score points by collecting birds in different ways. For example there are birds that you get points on on an individual basis where MOST require being part of a set. If you have a set of two birds and then later get another of the same bird you can make the points from the first two invalid. Choosing which birds to photograph requires some thought if you want to win.

The images of the birds themselves are beautifully drawn and easy to differentiate between. My only complaint there is that there is only a small selection of birds to pick from. I’d have preferred a wider selection of birds, perhaps an expansion down the road will do just that. Due to the complexity the game is recommended for ages 13 and up. I feel that this entirely fair as it was way too complete complex for my seven year old to enjoy but she loved the art.

The mechanics of the game are quite simple to learn and the rulebook is well written. The examples and images in the rules make it even easier to follow and understand. One of the best things is the realism in the mechanics. Birds are constantly moving between player’s trees, possibly hindering your goals but since they’re birds they don’t care. When have you see a bird care about help a photographer get that better shot? Never. It doesn’t happen unless it’s a trained animal. Each game takes about an hour and does require patience but I feel that is intentional. The act of Birdwatching takes considerable time and patience and this game reinforces that. Overall its a great game but not my cup of tea as I prefer my games with a faster pace and more action.


20th Century Studios


Recently the fine folks at 20th Century Fox (now 20th Century Studios- their home page is here) had sent me codes to several of the movies I missed so that I could share my thoughts on them with you. Part 1 was all about Underwater and Part 2 focused on The New Mutants. Part 3 we talked about The Personal History of David Copperfield. Part 4 discussed The Empty Man. Part 5 talked about Nomadland and Speed 4K Ultra HD. Part 6 discussed The Night House and Free Guy. Part 7 focused on The Eyes of Tammy Faye and Part 8 had The Last Duel. Part 9 discussed Ron’s Gone Wrong and Part 10 talked about The King’s Man and Summer of Soul. Part 11 discussed Nightmare Alley and West Side Story. Part 12 highlighted Death on the Nile and Part 13 talked about The Bob’s Burgers Movie. Part 14 highlighted Barbarian and See How They Run. Part 15 discussed Amsterdam and Part 16 talked about The Banshees of Inisherin and The Menu. Part 17 shared our thoughts on Empire of Light and we’ve returned for Part 18 and Avatar: The Way of Water!

Avatar: The Way of Water

The first Avatar film was an epic story about a Marine that is filling in for his dead scientist brother to move his consciousness into the body of an Avatar. Avatars are clones of their own human DNA mixed with that of the Na’vi. This is to allow them to integrate into the communities and improve relations. Jake Sully soon learns that the Na’vi are not the problem on Pandora and helps lead a revolution against his own species, driving the invaders from the planet. That brings us into the sequel. Jake and Neytiri have prospered and added their own children to the tribe but of course the good times wouldn’t last. I won’t go into specifics about the story because I’d hate to spoil it for anyone and this is a film that you should watch. The first film was visually one of the best films I’d ever seen and still holds up to this day- we still watch it regularly as a family. There was no way that The Way of Water could do better, or so I thought. Visually this film is stunning but some of the fights may be just a little too graphic for younger audiences, our seven year old enjoyed it but was freaked out by a few scenes. Overall I feel like this installment in the series far surpassed the original and even though it took what felt like forever to get this film, I still can’t wait for the finale.