Lootbox Lyfe+

Lootbox Lyfe+

Lootbox Lyfe+ is a Metroidvania title from Ratalaika Games that features a red blob that learns abilities by picking up chests called Lootboxes.

Ratalaika Games brings another title with a retro look and feel to it with Lootbox Lyfe+. When i first read the name of the game my mind immediately went to the days of Lootcrate. The game is listed as a Metroidvania title and for those that don’t understand the reference it is regarding overall gameplay and style. It means you have a side scrolling platformer that is full of danger, traps and quick action. The name comes from NEW classics Metroid and Castlevania.

Graphically the game fits the retro style that Ratalaika has become known for and offers distinct changes to the area as you transition between zones. The controls grow more and more refined as you progress in the story. Starting out you have to unlock the ability to move, later the ability to jump and so on. Many traps can be dodged and others run through if you don’t mind taking the hit on the way. This mechanic of adding abilities is an interesting twist. I laughed out loud when I realized that you had to unlock the ability to move. Overall I found the game to be challenging and much more entertaining than some of their other titles. Worth the play if you are a fan of platformers or more importantly the Metroidvania genre.

Intruders: Hide and Seek

Intruders: Hide and Seek

The ultimate match of Hide and Seek is upon us in Intruders: Hide and Seek from Daedalic Entertainment and Tessera Studios.

In Intruders: Hide and Seek, from Tessera Studios and Daedalic Entertainment, you play a young boy on vacation with his family and almost immediately get thrown into a tutorial about learning the mechanics behind Hide and Seek in the came. Some of these are calming your nerves, walking quietly and remaining unseen. The story picks up from there as intruders break in and kidnap your family.

The mechanics are quite intuitive and have some real depth, more than I originally expected. The graphics are interesting because you have some items with a surprising amount of detail where others are less so, like the skins for the family member. While three dimensional there wasn’t enough shading or gradients to really give their faces life so they felt flat. The version I was able to play for this review was on the Xbox One Series X. Where I think this game appears to excel is in the VR version I was unable to play, seemingly ramping up the tension even higher. Overall I found the game did a great job of blending the atmosphere to the tension with their use of lighting and audio. If you are looking for high tension game where you are trying to save your family then you will enjoy this one for sure.

Meg’s Monster

Meg's Monster

The team at Odencat bring Meg’s Monster, a Junior Roleplaying Game that feels like equal parts Pokémon and Undertale.

Meg’s Monster, from Odencat, starts as you play an adult that is revisiting the site of an industrial accident. You’re there to investigate how the accident ties to the birth of a red star in the sky and to trigger memories of things that you have forgotten. After finding a transmitter with your mother’s voice on it you jump back to the accident in your memory as you fall to a junk pile and are found by two monsters. Roy, the monster that becomes your friend and protector later on, is a brute that loves to eat magical slime. His friend that meets you with him likes to eat human children. He tries to eat the younger version of yourself and makes you cry. Those tears, or something tied to them, causes a near catastrophic event that risks tearing apart the world. He plays it off as a joke and convinces Roy to help find your home while working on his own agenda.

Graphically the game looks like a much more polished version of Undertale, especially since some of the characters look almost identical to characters from that game. Combat and other controls are quite simple but some hit boxes for interacting with objects can be a bit finicky. The actual combat system itself though looks and feels like the classic Pokémon game. The parallels between Undertale and Meg’s Monster don’t end there either. Fans of Undertale will get a kick out of this but it is an entirely different game. I found that the game’s story became tedious early on and took too much time and effort to get through to return to gameplay but that overall gameplay was smooth. This game will be good in smaller doses but could easily become dull if playing a longer session.

Akka Arrh- another Atari Recharged title

Akka Arrh

Artari has returned with another Recharged reboot title and this time it is from the cannon firing Akka Arrh!

Atari and Jeff Minter have teamed up again to reimagine or recharge their classic AkkA Arrh for current generations. You play a turret that shoots bombs with some massive areas of effect. These shots when hitting an enemy turn that enemy into another explosion of similar size and shape and can lead to some massive chain reactions. The fights are chaotic and can be a little hard to follow with the constant explosions.

With super bright imagery the came looks like a stoner’s dream or if a bad trip, then their worst nightmare. If you suffer from light sensitivity then I would suggest avoiding this title. I played it with a migraine and it made the head pain worse by the time I stopped. This was before I learned there is a way to toggle the visual mayhem off. It made a huge difference. Atari fans will enjoy the classic playstyles and those without light sensitivity will enjoy the effect. I personally found the game to be repetitive too early into gameplay. This early into the game should continue to be fresh and engaging. Hard pass from me on this one.

Fashion Police Squad

Fashion Police Squad

Mopeful Games is a small indie studio responsible for a new FPS that is called FPS or Fashion Police Squad. Did these three designers pull off a win?

In Fashion Police Squad you play as Des, an officer with the local Fashion Police with a penchant for the dramatic and the fabulous. Your first case of the day sends you into an area besieged by men in drab business attire and you must correct these crimes against fashion. Your weapons consist of guns and belts that make your enemies more fabulous once defeated. This is the first title Mopeful Games has created that I am able to find and what a way to hit the scene.

This is Des himself. Our hero and purveyor of fashion related puns. He is damn hilarious. I legitimately laughed out loud, alone in my living room while I played. His puns were masterfully crafted and delivered. If you hate puns though you may want to avoid this game.

Gameplay is smooth and intuitive, whether switching weapons or making the perps fabulous. Visuals are in a retro style that exceeds the quality of the old school like Wolfenstein 3D or even Doom. If you are looking for something that will make you laugh while still giving a challenge then this is a great choice. I don’t remember the last time a game was THIS enjoyable!

Prison Tycoon: Under New Management

Prison Tycoon

Ziggurat have ported the classic Prison Tycoon sequel Under New Management to current generation consoles and have included free dlc with it!

Ziggurat brought back the classic Prison Tycoon Under New Management to current generation consoles along with the free dlc Roll Call. This dlc allows players to edit the appearance of prisoners and guards alike. Players are literally building the prison from the ground up. This includes running electrical lines, building bathrooms and some rooms that you typically wouldn’t see in a proper prison. I’ve never heard of a prison that had a dance floor, especially one equipped with neon lights and a DJ. Well, maybe in a cartoon but even then I’m not so sure.

Tycoon games rarely convert over to console very well due to most involving a user interface that is simply too complex for the system. Prison Tycoon is one of the rare exceptions. The navigation between the menus (without using a tutorial) felt surprisingly intuitive. Graphics leave something to be desired on “next gen” consoles but they aren’t bad either. The most difficult thing to figure out is how to optimize your income and I can tell you the trick, or at least what worked for me. Focus on the cells themselves, the nicer they are the more income you’ll bring in per prisoner. Once you realize that it becomes quite simple. That brings us to the second largest hurdle- building the perfect prison itself. Finding a balance between each of the buildings and their amenities is where the real challenge lies.

Overall I found the game to surprisingly entertaining as I tried to build the craziest prisons I could while still turning a profit. My biggest complaint though is the engagement level. Playing in smaller doses helps because maintaining the prison itself becomes quite repetitive as you continue to fine tune the prison.

Go Go Pogo Girl

Go Go Pogo Girl

Ohsat Games has released their love letter to 90’s platformers with Go Go Pogo Girl, a game about a girl and her stolen pogo!

Ohsat Games is a company I never heard of until I played this game. Their entire catalogue looks like games that would have been made for the consoles of the 90’s and Go Go Pogo Girl is no exception. The world around our pogo jumping hero looks very similar to the original Green Hill Zone in the first Sonic the Hedgehog but will a more limited color pallet. The enemies are mostly little blobs that run around or jump in your path. The game is very forgiving when getting injured, allowing the younger crowd to play the game without fear of a game over.

The story follows our hero as her prized pogo is stolen from the trophy case while she sleeps. This begins her journey to reclaim the toy, collecting gems along the way. The controls are simple and intuitive as is the story. The graphics are smooth despite the retro nature of the graphics. I found the game to not only be enjoyable but loved the fact that it was so easy to play that my youngest would be able to enjoy it.

Risen game review


THQ Nordic’s hit Roleplaying Game Risen has returned on the latest consoles and it has been remastered!

A classic RolePlaying Game from THQ Nordic has returned and not only remastered but it has been divided to allow more control over your character’s fate! Risen starts with you stowing away on board a ship of Inquisitors and are shipwrecked on a mysterious island. Recent quakes have pulled ancient temples to the surface world and unleashed monsters on the island’s populace. A hero is needed and you need work. More importantly you need to not become a slave of the Inquisitors. Sounds like a cheerful place.

Graphically the game may be remastered but I feel like the label may not be quite right. Typically remastered games are major improvements on the original but this still looks like it did originally. Porting a game over does not make it “remastered”. Combat feels a little slow and cumbersome and the controller tutorials don’t do much to actually teach you how to play until you’ve already figured out most of the controls. Story is slow paced but feels like it has some deep bones as you continue to play. If you were a fan of the original this may be worth diving into again but for new players to the franchise I’d advise to save your money on this one.

Spongebob Squarepants The Cosmic Shake

The Cosmic Shake

With the purchase of some magical mermaid tears Spongebob and his friends go on a wild ride in THQ Nordic’s The Cosmic Shake!

THQ Nordic has shared their latest Spongebob Squarepants game– The Cosmic Shake with us for the Xbox One Series X. For each game review I play a minimum of one hour, this game got four. Fans of the show will enjoy the fact that it features the ENITRE original cast and you can hear it. The team behind this game not only took the time to get the cast but they crafted a gorgeous game. This is one of the cleanest and highest quality animated games I have seen. Seriously.

The story begins with Spongebob and Patrick on their way to Glove World but visit a traveling merchant along the way where they purchase magical mermaid tears. These tears are used like a bubble solution where Spongebob makes wishes on bubbles he blows shaped like each of his friends. Suddenly the world goes bonkers and Patrick gets turned into a balloon. These mermaids tears very much seem like a monkey’s paw because each of the wishes are twisted.

The game is a 3d platformer full of enemies to slap and jellyfish to catch. Controls are simple to learn and master but on occasion some of the abilities don’t always register with holding the button, specifically this is referring to the glide controls. The good news here though is the game is very forgiving, allowing you to easily replenish your health if you make a mistake because of this. From a control, graphics and gameplay standpoint this is a fantastic game but for me I am simply not a fan of Spongebob. I have never seen an episode I found to be entertaining and most of the characters annoy me. Because of this it was hard to find the game enjoyable over all but when they aren’t talking it is much easier to look past that.

Children of Silentown

Something sinister waits in the forest around the town, hunting the Children of Silentown. Can you save the children and put an end to the threat?

Elf Games and Luna2 Studio have partnered to bring us Children of Silentown, a hand drawn point and click adventure where you control Lucy. Lucy is a young girl who thinks she’s old enough to investigate the disappearances around her town. It’s up to you to prove her right! What’s interesting about this game is that it wasn’t a game during it’s inception. It was first an animated short that evolved into this game later on. I love that. You start with one version of the product and over several edits it is not the same as it was.

You start out being awoken by a nightmare and as most kids would do, you transition quickly into playing games with friends. The town is plagued by the monsters in the forest at night but during the day is quite peaceful. Can you save the town?

With it being a point and click adventure the controls are quite simple but at times you may have a couple items overlapping and selecting the correct one can get a little annoying. The story coupled with the art draws you in and leaves you wanting to know more. The game’s art style itself is captivating and I hope we see more from this team.