Tag platformer

Ugly Xbox One Review


Ugly is a game about a less than attractive nobleman dealing with an existential crisis and reliving his memories.

The folks at Graffiti Games provided us with a copy of their newest title, Ugly. It follows a nobleman dealing with his past using mirror mechanics. On their own site, they refer to the game as a “psycho-dark fairy tale about a nobleman, a mirror, puzzles and huge bosses”. I don’t have the words to explain this game any better than that. Talk about truth in advertising. Holy hell did they nail it. The only thing they left out of the description is that it’s a platformer, an ingenious platformer but still a platformer.

Visually the game art is modeled after a child’s cartoon drawing of a rough life and mixed with the dark world around the character. This leaves the player using these drawings to piece together the nobleman’s life and all of the problems he had to deal with along the way. When I started the game I was shocked by how repulsive the main character was. It was obvious from the start of the game that the game’s name was not just a comment on his appearance though but more on the rough life he had to get him to this point.

What makes this game truly stand out are the controls and mechanics. The ability to make a mirror image of yourself and then switch places with the image is truly something I had never experienced in a game prior and it was done flawlessly. You move left and your image moves right. You both move up and down together but the image passes through walls and objects like they aren’t there and with the tap of a button you and the image swap places. This allows you to do things like climbing a ladder on the right of the screen and your image climb air to reach the platform you want, swap places and now you’re on the platform. You can absorb the image instantly if no longer needed. This makes for some truly unique puzzles. Add the captivating story where I wanted to know all the ways our character was hurt and you have a game that if I were to score with get a near perfect 9.5/10. I only had a single complaint- I like my achievement score to remain divisible by 5s and this game employs some 13s that left me grumbling but I enjoyed the game enough that it’s a non-issue because I intend to complete every bit of this game until I have a perfect gamerscore.

Sephonie from Ratalaika Games has arrived on consoles


Ratalaika Games have ported over another game that was originally a PC release, this time with Sephonie, a gem developed by Analgesic Productions.

Sephonie follows three scientists from all over the world as they head to the island of the same name. As they approach the island they are greeted by a wave of energy, distorting their signals and washing them up on shore. A chaotic way to start the adventure for sure. The goal of your trio is to research the odd behavior in the local wildlife and immediately learn that it is happening to the bacteria as well when a member of the team begins having a strange reaction to an injury caused by coral.

The game focuses on pushing these researchers to their limits by testing them with physical challenges as well as twisting their dreams against them. Analgesic and Ratalaika have made this a near perfect port as controls are fluid and easy to learn. The platforming aspect of the game is pretty simple to grasp early on but increase in complexity as you progress. Visuals are clean as is the audio but I would have preferred if there were some voices for the characters- you can get so much more out of a character’s emotions or feelings by listening to them. Listening sure beats reading a ton of dialogue, especially when you’re a little tired. Curious to see where the story goes but I hope it’s not as dialogue heavy as the start of the game was.

Where the game shines most is the puzzle system. You play Tetris-like game mode to learn about different things in nature where you place various shapes made of blocks together. When you run out of pieces to place or run out of room to place them you have every set of blocks that touch that are the same color, as long as there are at least three, vanish and fill up the bar. Your goal is to completely fill the bar to complete your task. Trying to plan ahead and fill the bar leads to an engaging experience that makes the game worth playing for this alone.

Garlic from Sylph has arrived on Xbox One!


Garlic is a game about much more than delicious ingredients, this vegetable is on a mission to scale the tower and see the Goddess again.

The team at Sylph have recently released Garlic on the Xbox One and was previously available on Steam back in 2021. Your goal is to scale a platforming riddled tower to reach the top where you will be able to seduce a cyber goddess at the top. Traps range from jets of flame, dripping toxic waste and even flying fish. Garlic himself quickly picks up the skills needed to fly from platform to platform and the ability to launch in any direction.

Playing as the “onion headed boy” you go from room to room, launching yourself through enemies and around obstacles, climbing ever higher. The platforming itself is challenging but at the same time a lot of fun. Even the bosses give you a decent challenge but are still enjoyable to face. As with any platforming game, some levels are harder than others and larger as well.

The art style is comical as you play a ronin-esque fighter with an anime cinematic style and an enormous head that is also a vegetable. During the gameplay itself though it is similar to what we saw in the days of the GameBoy Advanced but with more vibrant color choices. The gameplay though was so much fun. I’m terrible at platformers, especially ones that are a bit chaotic and this one is VERY chaotic. Despite it being full of mechanics I am terrible at, it has proven itself to be a great game that I look forward to climbing that tower even more.

Space Gladiators is finally on consoles

Space Gladiators

Space Gladiators from Thomas Gervraud was first released on Steam in 2021 and has finally been released on consoles!

Space Gladiators is a side scrolling game where you must run through a gauntlet to reach an arena where you fight a boss wave. Each wave gives you options of prizes like extra gold or new abilities to choose to determine what foe or foes you’ll face. The tutorial you start with covers the full range of controls quite thoroughly and does it in a way that is simple to follow without neglecting any of them. The only thing missed is to tell you what the importance of the blue butterflies are- I still haven’t figured that out for myself. My guess is that they feed some of your abilities and help you charge them up faster.

The art style reminds me of the early works from The Behemoth and their later Battle Block Theater but without the chicken they are so fond of. Thomas Gervraud is known for BrotatoSpace GladiatorsLost Potato and Potato Tactics. This game includes a space potato as well. I feel like there is an underlying obsession with potatoes going on here. Thanks to a well made tutorial and smooth controls the game is easy to play but due to my own panic I still died. A lot. Overall I found the game chaotic, but in a fair amount of challenge kind of way, and a great deal of fun. The $14.99 price tag is a little on the steep side but not unreasonable either.

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.



The Void threatens to devour the entirety of the known and unknown universes. In Togges it is up to you to save everything.

Thunderful Games brings a new 3d platformer that is family friendly and yet a real challenge with Togges. After completing the most basic of the tutorials you meat the King of the Togges. They are simple creatures made of yarn that love to be close to each other and be stacked. They also LOVE fruit. The first few areas you are tasked with collecting fruit to improve their strength.

Your end goal is to help the king take over the known universes. Sounds more like a villain but his goal is to do so to protect all life from the Void. Early on you don’t learn much about the threat itself other than the fact that it devours anything and everything in it’s path. Sounds like the Nothing from Never Ending Story. Along the way there are threats to these peaceful creatures but not really to the player. Falling to your death usually means the end of the character’s life but in this game it just places you back where you were before you fell. Spikes that will kill the creatures cause you no harm.

This is an adorable game you can let your kids play but I wouldn’t. As mentioned before there is a good deal of difficulty here but it’s not impossible. The complexity of some of the puzzles means I would only have older children play it to avoid their frustration and anger at them. Some of the puzzles simply require too much patience and critical thinking for younger children to complete easily. Overall I found the game to be challenging but adorable. Meaning you can play in front of the younger children but shouldn’t hand them the control.

Tinykin from tinyBuild


Humanity has spread to the stars and in Tinykin, from tinyBuild, they make their way back to Earth but humanity has changed drastically.

Tinykin is here with a unique take on what happens after humanity spreads out to the stars. Most games see this expansion as bleak and dangerous but in this game from tinyBuild and Splashteam we get a much more friendly and upbeat title. Curious about humanity’s origins you travel by soap bubble back to earth. This travel method reminds me very much about the bubble travel from Disney’s Meet the Robinsons. Upon your arrival you learn that humanity is much smaller than it once was and team up with little creatures called the Tinykin.

You befriend and work with various creatures, most of them are friendly or just less than friendly insects. I have the suspicion that I am just barely scratching the surface of this world and that something sinister is lurking somewhere but every level I’ve played continues to prove me wrong. Where’s the big, bad, monster to fight to give some sense of fear or suspense? Even if I’m wrong and there isn’t one, the game continues to prove that it is a lot of fun.

Visually the game is stunning. You have a beautifully rendered 3d world where 2d cartoon characters interact. On the surface it is a family friendly title that is absolutely adorable. I hope I’m proven right. If not I won’t be sulking though, I’ll still be having fun and it will further solidify my suggestion for the younger children at home to play the game.

The Company Man

The Company Man

Jim is climbing the corporate ladder in The Company Man and it is up to you to get him to the top!

The Company Man is an action platformer from Leoful and Forust Studio that centers around Jim as he climbs the corporate ladder. This game is not just full, it is overflowing, with workplace and corporate based puns. Jokes about the accounting department being so boring it’s like time freezes are translated into an ice themed level where you have to fight the accountants and their manager. Each enemy you defeat essentially explodes and is fired from the company. After each boss fight you earn a new ability and return to the building’s lobby where you can purchase coffee or speak to the receptionist.

The stages themselves are quite easy to navigate, all the while commenting about normal corporate activities with a more literal meaning that can be attributed to combat. The boss fights however have a steep learning curve but a little patience and you will be able to spot their tells and defeat them in no time. Having worked in Corporate America for nearly a decade it makes this game even funnier. On top of the corporate humor game play is engaging and enjoyable with easy to master controls. This game is a gem I suggest you don’t sleep on.

One Hand Clapping a mic centered game

One Hand Clapping

Put your singing voice to the test in a game that is NOT a rhythm game, like Rock Band, with One Hand Clapping.

Have you ever played a platformer where you used your voice to play and not just your hands? One Hand Clapping is the game that tests your voice to the limits. HandyGames brings us this adorable platformer where your voice brings the light and allows you to soar to new heights. As you move your character around the levels you must sing into an attached microphone to activate lights, levers and even helps you fly higher (when carried by an owl).

The game description hints that you will not be penalized for making mistakes. It says this and yet has these imposing shadow people that give you the feeling that you are going to die if they touch you. This team has done a fantastic job on the ambiance because I was so tense around these creatures and I did not want to put the claim to the test. The game could easily be win for players of all ages but I feel the requirement to make noise almost nonstop detracts from the game as a whole. The intention is for players to explore their own creativity and musical talent while playing. If you are like me and most of your game time is after the kids are asleep this is a bit more difficult to do without waking them up. However I do see an opportunity here that I just might explore. My youngest loves to sing and dance. I can give her the mic and do the platforming myself. Sounds like a great chance for some game related bonding.

Aeon Drive Xbox One game review

Aeon Drive

2Awesome Studio brings us a stressful platformer where you race against time and must collect energy capsules to gain more time to explore. This is Aeon Drive!

Welcome to Aeon Drive, a two dimensional platformer from 2Awesome Studio and constant race against time. Each stage gives you 30 seconds and can be completed in that time or less if you are able to speed run it but if you are slower or want to explore there are energy capsules that will extend the time remaining if you collect enough. Hidden through the stages are also collectibles like hot dogs, diamonds, memory sticks and likely more.

Controls on the game are fluid, action is fast paced with a major sense of urgency with the looming clock in the upper right corner adding to the tension. Unlike most platformers, Aeon forces you to start the level over each time you die, means if you were having a perfect run up to your death you will need to do it all again. I found the game to be a mix of engaging, fun and challenging.