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Messages - Justin Nation

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Podcast Discussion / Episode 332 - The 2022 Jimmie Awards
« on: January 19, 2023, 11:20:02 AM »

The National Treasure himself joins us once again for the Annual Jimmie Awards, brought to you by Jerruh's Prolific Sack!

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Finally, it's here. It's time for the episode we've all been waiting for. It's time for our big Game of the Year episode -- wooooooooooooooooo!!! And even better, our buddy Justin Nation from Nindie Spotlight joins us!!! Make sure to check out one of Justin's thousands of reviews!

I know we've been doing some shorter episodes lately, so we hope you enjoy this 2 hour behemoth that's all GOTY all the time. For this year's awards, we got each of our Top 5 games. In between those, we have individual awards (Biggest Disappointment, Honorable Mentions, etc.) and our listener-voted Jimmies. At the end of the show, we decide Talk Nintendo's Game of the Year! Who's it gonna be???

Thanks for listening as always, and we can't wait for next (this?) year's show!!! Also, be sure to start playing Undertale -- we're going to be covering it for next month's I Demand You.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns please contact by tweeting us  or by send us an email!

Check out our discord channel to chat and share food pictures with like-minded pickleheads!

Please consider supporting us on Patreon, thank you!

TalkBack / Re: In Loving Memory of Mike Hrusecky
« on: June 10, 2022, 11:59:03 AM »
Since I didn't interact with Mike much directly and didn't want to oversell my connection to him I didn't feel comfortable writing something up for the proper article. That said, I also would be remiss not to acknowledge the tremendous impact his efforts and general guidance for sites I was involved with, from the HQ to PGC obviously, had on my life. If it weren't for the N64HQ and the opportunity it afforded me to participate in that piece of Nintendo history I'm not sure what I'd be doing with my "free time" today or throughout my college years. He was a piece of the roadmap that showed that passionate people could really accomplish something if they were willing to commit the time and effort to reach for excellence. For that, wanted to be sure my thanks was properly counted, even if I wouldn't presume to have considered myself as more than an acquaintance by association.

Podcast Discussion / Episode 281 - It's All Perfectly Legal
« on: January 27, 2022, 01:25:00 PM »

We're joined by the one and only Justin Nation for The 2021 Jimmie Awards! Plus we got SNK Vs. Capcom Card Fighters, Windjammers, and Gunvolt Chronicles impressions.

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Who's ready for the 2021 Jimmies???!!! Oh, you're not? Ok.

This Game of the Year episode is different from previous years in that we have Alex on board in addition to our esteemed guest Justin Nation, who also joins us. In addition, Alex, someone who has never listened to a full episode of this show, planned the awards, meaning this episode is over 2 hours long (#ThanksBalex).

Before that, though, we have some new business! We gave our thoughts on Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX 2 (out today!), Windjammers 2, and SNK VS. Capcom: Card Fighters' Clash. If you'd believe it (you do), Justin played all of them.

Then, The Jimmie Awards! This year, we have a new structure -- hope ya like it. We do our personal Top 5s along with these Jimmie categories: Biggest Letdown, Biggest Surprise, Best Old Game You Played in 2021, Nontendo Game of the Year, and Worst Game of the Year. To close, we pick Talk Nintendo's Game of the Year and do a GOTY-themed Poll Time!

No rest for the wicked because Arceus comes out tomorrow, meaning we posted this show pretty much on the last day we can get away with a GOTY episode. True Talk Nintendo fashion! Also, we ran out of time so we're going to read your GOTY picks next week.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns please contact by tweeting us  or by send us an email!

Check out our discord channel to chat and share food pictures with like-minded pickleheads!

Please consider supporting us on Patreon, thank you!

TalkBack / Our Pokemon Snap 2 Pitch From 1999
« on: April 16, 2021, 06:08:00 AM »

Yes really

Travel back with us to a dark time, before many of our modern conveniences. When people lived off the land, surviving off their own individual labors. Join us if you will, in 1999.

Back in the before time, Justin Nation wrote about what he'd like to see in the "Dolphin" version of Pokemon Snap. His pitch was ambitious then and it remains so today. So how close did Nintendo get?

Podcast Discussion / Episode 229 - The 2020 Jimmies
« on: January 28, 2021, 02:12:28 PM »

Justin and Josh join the boys for The 2020 Jimmie Awards!

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It's that time of the year! Yes, yes, it's The 2020 Jimmie Awards! We're honored to have Justin Nation and Josh Robinson join us for the proceedings!

If you have any questions, comments or concerns please contact by tweeting us  or by send us an email!

Please consider supporting us on Patreon, thank you!

Podcast Discussion / Episode 223 - You Should Know
« on: December 17, 2020, 02:39:08 PM »

The boys are joined by the one and only, Justin Nation! With Justin here you already what that means, NINDIE TIME!

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As we inch ever closer to Christmas, the boys are joined by Justin Nation to talk, what else, nindies! We've got plenty of 5 Word Review fun and then we dive into the Indie World Showcase.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns please contact by tweeting us  or by send us an email!

Please consider supporting us on Patreon, thank you!

TalkBack / Torchlight III (Switch) Review
« on: October 29, 2020, 07:36:58 PM »

A former shining light has unfortunately dulled considerably.

Oh, Torchlight 3, what to do with you? I’m a massive fan of Diablo and the many titles it inspired, with the Torchlight series probably being my favorite of the bunch. I had a great time with the first two titles, and it was even a great gateway to get my daughters into the genre’s style of play when they were younger without all of the more graphic elements of the Diablo series. I’d heard that the third title had a rocky time through its development process, at one point looking to go more of an MMO route and even considering being a free-to-play, so it’s understandable those plans and a lack of consistent direction would have had a negative effect on the final product. I’m just sad to see the depth of the problem, particularly on the Switch.

Starting with the positive, I will give some credit for the creative assortment of initial characters you have to choose from, mostly appearing to fit into the typical genre archetypes but showing some surprising core variety. You can tank it up with a shooting locomotive in tow, amp up your pet game with your archer, or viably go with melee for your mage among other things. The downside to that is in the end, the full fruits of that initial promise falling short, with a bit too much filler and redundancy in the overall skills area where build diversity is concerned.

The disappointments don’t quite stop there though, in pretty well every area there are shortcomings. The camera is quite pulled out, likely showing the MMO influence, making the action harder to appreciate and handheld play a bit of a challenge. There are elements like bounties that really feel tacked on and more like daily free-to-play grind tasks. When the enemy mobs get bigger the performance can start to chug and get choppy. The slow accumulation of these issues as you play just chips away at the enjoyment and does add up the more you play

Just in terms of the big picture of the overall experience Torchlight 3 has sort of a Frankensteined-together feel, lacking in cohesion and polish. Given the presence of not only Diablo on the platform, but other strong contenders like Victor Vran that deliver a more exciting experience, unfortunately this Torchlight entry just fizzles out a bit.

Podcast Discussion / Episode 201 - There's Been Seven Expansions
« on: July 16, 2020, 01:17:40 PM »

Whoa, another big episode! And, we are joined by The National Treasure himself, Justin Nation and those Canadian studs David Lloyd and Jordan Rudek.

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Perhaps after a four hour and 40 minute show you might have thought we would come back with a shorty, but how wrong you would be! That's right, we have nearly another three hours of goodness coming your way and yes, more guests to boot! We kick off the show by talking Final Fantasy Tactics A2 and some WoW before being joined by Justin Nation to talk about Atomicrops. Then it's time for another rendition of The Dirty Mage when David and Jordan swing by to talk about StarTropics!

If you have any questions, comments or concerns please contact by tweeting us  or by send us an email!

Please consider supporting us on Patreon, thank you!

Podcast Discussion / Episode 200 - The Big 2-0-0
« on: July 09, 2020, 11:18:00 AM »

In easily the longest episode yet, we have tons of segments with plenty of guests to celebrate!

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Who would have thought we'd make it to 200 episodes?! Well, here we are and boy do we have quite the show in store for y'all. We're talking more than a dozen guests and the return of almost all our favorite segments from over the year. It's a dozy, so get prepared for over four and a half hours of Talk Nintendie goodness!

Thank you to all the listeners out there! Also a huge thanks to all our wonderful guests for joining us in the celebration! We look forward to another 200 and beyond!  

If you have any questions, comments or concerns please contact by tweeting us  or by send us an email!

Please consider supporting us on Patreon, thank you!

Podcast Discussion / Episode 183 - Games You May Not Know About
« on: March 12, 2020, 03:41:13 PM »

Justin Nation is back and with him come 20 games from PAX East!

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Justin Nation drops by with his normal dose of indie goodness! We're talking the 5 Word Reviews with Justin Nation featuring his top 20 from Pax East!

Make sure to check out all of Justin's work over at NindieSpotlight!

If you have any questions, comments or concerns please contact by tweeting us  or by send us an email!

Please consider supporting us on Patreon, thank you!

Podcast Discussion / Episode 174 - The 2019 Jimmie Awards
« on: January 16, 2020, 09:27:58 AM »

Justin joins the boys for the 2019 Jimmie Awards and our Top 5 Games of the Year!

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2019 has come and gone, almost. That's right it's time for  our annual Jimmie Awards. Justin Nation joins us because he's played just about every game released this year, so there was no man more qualified. In addition to the Jimmies, we also give our Top 5 Game lists for 2019!  

Don't forget to follow Nindie Spotlight to keep up with everything Justin is up to!

If you have any questions, comments or concerns please contact by tweeting us  or by send us an email!

Please consider supporting us on Patreon, thank you!

Podcast Discussion / Episode 164 - The Younger Plumber Cometh
« on: November 07, 2019, 08:47:00 AM »

The Treasure joins us with his famous 5 Word Reviews! And of course we talk about some Luigi's Mansion 3 and go over our list of the Top 5 Weirdest Switch games! We wrap up the show with an interview for the recently released Valfaris.

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I know what you're thinking, and I'll just let you know know now that TYP will not be on this week's episode. We aren't that lucky to have him on that frequently!

BUT we do talk about thee actual Younger Plumber himself - Luigi! Because... Luigi's Mansion 3 came out.

Another NWR OG staffer Justin Nation joins us though, so fret not! And along with him he brings the weirdness as we hit his famous 5 word reviews and our list of the Top 5 Weirdest Switch games. Enjoy this week's episode folks!

For all things Nindies, make sure to follow Justin and NindieSpotlight on Twitter!

If you have any questions, comments or concerns please contact by tweeting us  or by send us an email!

Please consider supporting us on Patreon, thank you!

Podcast Discussion / Episode 153 - Tactics and Vulgarity
« on: August 22, 2019, 04:35:00 PM »

Justin Nation drops by to break down the Indie World Showcase! The boys also talk Fire Emblem, Hotline Miami, Grandia 2, Friday the 13th, and Mutant Year Zero!

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It's been a hot minute since we've had one of our bestest buddies Justin Nation (AKA The National Treasure) on the podcast, and amazingly enough after we scheduled him and before we recorded the Big N decided to help fuel our show with thew Indie World Showcase. So before we chat about that, Perry talks some tactical RPGs with early impressions on Fire Emblem Three Houses and (somehow) finishing both of Mutant Year Zero's campaigns. Casey talks a little Grandia 2 HD, and Justin talks about Friday The 13th The Game and the shadow dropped Hotline Miami Collection

For all things Nindies, make sure to follow Justin and NindieSpotlight on Twitter!

If you have any questions, comments or concerns please contact by tweeting us  or by send us an email!

Please consider supporting us on Patreon, thank you!

Podcast Discussion / Episode 131 - National Treasure
« on: March 21, 2019, 05:53:00 AM »

The Nation-al Treasure himself stops by to talk Fate/Extella Link, Okami HD, Iron Crypticle, and Block-A-Pix Deluxe. Then the boys dive into the Best Shooters available on the Switch!

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The boys are happy to be joined once again by our favorite Nindie guy, Justin Nation. We got plenty on the docket including What We've Been Playing which includes Fate/Extella Link, Okami HD, Iron Crypticle, and Block-A-Pix Deluxe! We follow that up with our longest "New eShop Roundup", which might not include Justin's famous 5 word reviews, but that didn't stop him from dropping some knowledge of Casey and Perry's picks.

Ahh of course the timing for the Nindie Spotlight comes the day after we record, so while we don't have any hot impressions of Cuphead or Cadence of Hyrule (seriously who the heck saw this one coming) we do touch on some news bits before moving to the topic of the show. That topic? Well we're looking at the best shooter offerings on the Switch. We break it down with a personal Top 5's and those include a wide range of different style shooters. Whether you're a big fan of the genre or looking to get into it, we go into plenty of great games worth checking out.

Once again we'd like to thank Justin for swinging by and chatting as it's always a blast. Make sure to check out all his content over at Nindie Spotlight!

Also don't forget to check out Justin's Top 20 Shooters List!

If you have any questions, comments or concerns please contact by tweeting us  or by send us an email!

Podcast Discussion / Episode 121 - The 2018 Jimmies
« on: January 10, 2019, 01:15:00 PM »

It's finally that time of the year, yes siree jim, GAME OF THE YEAR! And what better person to join us than the man who's played almost everything this year, Justin Nation! Oh yeah, he brought 12 Nindies to the table to talk about too.

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   It's always a great episode when we're lucky enough to steal Justin Nation away from his pile of games, so you know it's going to be a top tier episode with Justin and Game of the Year Awards! But before we get into all that, Justin is bringing the hear with our biggest "Quick Bites 5 Word Reviews with Justin Nation (LIGHTNING ROUND)" ever. He had to cut some games out, but he still manages to bring 12 to the table, oooweee!  

Another year in the books for the Switch and with it came a monumental amount of games. Some were good, some were bad, but what were the best? We'll we will answer that and much more with our Game of the Year Awards as well as the First Annual Jimmies! Who's going to take home a Jimmie?    

   Don't forget to check out all things Nindie Spotlight because Justin is straight up killing it!  

If you have any questions, comments or concerns please contact by tweeting us  or by send us an email!

TalkBack / Game of the Year of the Week for November 30, 2018
« on: December 02, 2018, 12:20:18 PM »

We took a week off for Thanksgiving but we're back.

Games are fun. Games are awesome. And as we all know, we can get excitable about them. Hyperbolic if you will. With that in mind, we're going to lean into it. Here's our Games of the Year of the Week, or GOTYOTW for short.

We'll venture to do this each week, but we will be experimenting with the format. It's going to be a loose format, while most will be recent releases, but it might just be a game a staffer has been loving recently. Let us know what you think of this and also let us know your Game of the Year of the Week.

Ms. Splosion Man

Where has this wonderful woman been all my life? Just never have played any puzzle platformer that’s quite as kinetic, bonkers, and fun as this. While you can’t really do much more as a base than move around and explode the ways you’re able to manipulate bombs, various switches, and even people that you can sneak around in just makes it a whole lot of fun! - Justin Nation

Pokémon Let’s Go

Much to the detriment of the bajillion other great games on Switch, I’ve been far down the Pokémon rabbit hole lately. I grew up with Red and Blue, so this charming update to the series’ first generation has been a delightful nostalgic ride. A few things have stood out to me that help wash over the slow pace and limited set of creatures. First off, having wild Pokémon on the overworld is game changing. It makes it easier to cherry-pick what ones you want to catch and also gives the player far more agency in exploration. Catching chains of the same Pokémon might not be for everyone, but the thrill of building up the combo and getting to see a rare Pokémon is thrilling. It captures the best parts of Pokémon Go and blends it with the main series. The other element that stands out to me is how much you can totally break everything about this game. You can superpower crappy Pokémon to make them tanks by pumping them full of candy. This is basically socialist Pokémon because you can make a Pokémon with bad defense have maxed out defense. A weak attacker can hit like a truck now. Yes - some will be baseline better than others, but with a mountain of candy and the force of will, even your first Rattata can end worlds. Pokémon Let’s Go is a joyful game to toy with, and I’m excited to mess with it more. - Neal Ronaghan Check out David's review and Adam's review for more Pokéthoughts.

Super Hydorah

While R-Type Dimensions EX is out on Switch now (and pretty good as well), Super Hydorah is a retro-style arcade shooter that simply feels like it could have been a contemporary of both R-Type and Gradius back in the day. It looks great (in retro style), plays nicely, and as you complete stages you’ll accumulate a number of power-up options that you’ll then need to choose to combine as you attack new ones, with different pairings having different strengths and weaknesses. Really impressive and I’d say a must to check out if you enjoy classic arcade shooters. - Justin Nation


Minit is a unique take on the original The Legend of Zelda where your character dies every 60 seconds, but your progress and items carry over into each new run. There are a handful of checkpoints that allow you to respawn at different points in the map, and the game is filled with cute and funny characters that play upon the countdown mechanic. It can be completed in about an hour, but there is a new game plus mode and a fair number of secrets to uncover. I enjoyed my time with the game and will be going back to see if I can find all of the hidden items and areas. The unique race-against-time gameplay makes Minit well worth taking a look at. - Jordan Rudek Check out our review for more details.

Nidhogg 2

Nidhogg 2 oscillates between being a joyful, bizarre distillation of one-on-one fighting games and a tense, breathtaking fencing competition. While the sequel might add a bit more complications than needed, it’s still an amazing multiplayer spectacle, and even if it’s one-on-one, the up-to-eight-player tournament mode is a thrilling experience for friends hanging out on a Friday night. I love the back and forth of Nidhogg and if you’re a fan of wacky multiplayer with deeper underlying strategy, check this one out. - Neal Ronaghan Check out Neal's review for more details.

TalkBack / Game of the Year of the Week for November 16, 2018
« on: November 18, 2018, 12:08:20 PM »

Anniversaries, mobile Pokemon, and racing headlines this week.

Games are fun. Games are awesome. And as we all know, we can get excitable about them. Hyperbolic if you will. With that in mind, we're going to lean into it. Here's our Games of the Year of the Week, or GOTYOTW for short.

We'll venture to do this each week, but we will be experimenting with the format. It's going to be a loose format, while most will be recent releases, but it might just be a game a staffer has been loving recently. Let us know what you think of this and also let us know your Game of the Year of the Week.

GRIP: Combat Racing

Having always been a big fan of combat racing, going back to the Commodore 64 days of Racing Destruction Set, I’m always down to check out new ones that show up. I originally got a chance to check this out back at PAX East as well as when it launched on PC and was curious how they’d manage to maintain consistent performance out of a fast-moving title that looked great. While GRIP on Switch has some obvious visual compromises it generally performs well (though it’s a bit foggy, certainly) on the system. While the pure racing and Carkour modes that remove the combat don’t work so well when you’re grabbing power-ups and trying to blow people away it has its moments. Not a perfect title by any means but I’ve been enjoying the result. - Justin Nation

Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go captivated me the summer of its 2016 launch. I wandered my town with old and new friends, capturing gyms, catching Pokemon, and having a ball. I explored new parks, walked so much I lost a few pounds, and lived my life by where the Pokestops were. A lot has changed since then - for one the game doesn’t crash all the time - but I still have an affection for Pokemon Go, just not an obsessive one. I play it every day, toying with it while walking my dog or going to work. I keep an eye out for different events and occasionally make deliberate trips to my town’s downtown to fill up on Pokeballs and Eggs. With Pokemon Let’s Go now available, Pokemon Go will work its way into my Switch playing and I’m excited that a enjoyable mobile game will feed back into my main console. And hey with the new Adventure Sync option, I can hatch eggs while the app is closed. Progress. - Neal Ronaghan

Sky Force Anniversary

Sure, it hasn’t been that long since the solid Sky Force Remastered hit the system but while this a grind-heavy shooting franchise you can’t knock its overall quality. Looking even more gorgeous before you’ll again be flying over enemy territory blowing things up, accumulating stars, rescuing soldiers, and trying to earn your objectives by flying as impeccably as possible. In order to progress you’ll need to replay the same missions, use stars to upgrade your ship, and then slowly improve your runs so you can unlock more missions. Not remotely something you’ll burn through quickly there’s plenty to blow up and improve, and it looks amazingly good as well. - Justin Nation

SNK 40th Anniversary Collection - Crystalis

Crystalis was the main reason I picked up the SNK Collection at launch, and I’m sure the controls made sense in the original NES version, but the default setting is incredibly unwieldy on the 40th anniversary collection. (Thank Arceus for remapping.) The hit detection is spotty at times, and poison is incredibly overpowered, killing my hapless hundred-year sleeper multiple times. It’s a fine action RPG, and enough of a historical curiosity that I don’t regret picking up the collection for it, but Crystalis doesn’t exactly make a good first impression. - Donald Theriault


If you’ve ever thought that the exploration and crafting elements of survival games sounded fun but were a bit turned off by their sometimes cruel level of difficulty Crashlands may be a great match for you. With a less grim and gritty tone and the fact that when you die you simply respawn at your home base and can recover what you’ve lost it’s a survival-lite of sorts and I appreciate that options being available. Don’t mistake that for it being easy, combat will have you hitting and then dodging quite a bit just the consequences for failure aren’t of the normally crippling variety. - Justin Nation

TalkBack / Game of the Year of the Week for November 9, 2018
« on: November 11, 2018, 07:23:40 AM »

We're all about recent reviews, ranging from retro re-releases to roguelike wonders.

Games are fun. Games are awesome. And as we all know, we can get excitable about them. Hyperbolic if you will. With that in mind, we're going to lean into it. Here's our Games of the Year of the Week, or GOTYOTW for short.

We'll venture to do this each week, but we will be experimenting with the format. It's going to be a loose format, while most will be recent releases, but it might just be a game a staffer has been loving recently. Let us know what you think of this and also let us know your Game of the Year of the Week.


Rogue-lites are becoming a dime a dozen on the eShop, but every once in awhile you find one like Moonlighter that stands out. Sure there is plenty of dungeon-crawling goodness, but what makes it unique is taking a “break” from the action to tend to your shop. Slaying monsters and collecting materials is a blast with the simple yet fun combat, but turning what you gathered into cold hard cash becomes immensely satisfying. Using what you earned to upgrade your shop and gear is an addicting loop as you in turn gain the power to dive even deeper into the dungeons. It strikes a great balance between tough, but fair and I continuously found myself claiming I’d call it quits after one more run, only to fall right back into the loop over and over again. - Casey Gibson

Check out Casey's review for more details.

The Bug Butcher

Call me a sucker for updates of classics but when they’re done well I get all excited! The Bug Butcher should seem a little familiar if you give it a look if you’ve ever played the arcade classic Pang/Buster Bros. Essentially a modernized, quicker-paced, and more intense outright shooter version of that game The Bug Butcher is a great way to spend some time immersed in shooting goodness with some crazy power-ups and a wide variety of nasty bugs. - Justin Nation

SNK 40th Anniversary Collection

It's weird putting SNK 40th Anniversary Collection as my GOTYOTW because honestly, most of these games are just kinda okay. Aside from some bummer NES ports of arcade games, all of them have a baseline quality, but at the end of the day, most of this 14-game collection (+ upcoming free DLC) is similarly styled top-down vertical combat games. Crystalis - the NES action-RPG you probably never played and totally should - is an absolute highlight that might command the asking price just for a perfectly emulated version. What makes SNK 40th Anniversary Collection superlative to me is the care and craft of the collection. The Museum is in-depth and filled with fun anecdotes. Each game has so many options, including the super interesting tool-assisted perfect runs, which are a fabulous way to experience a game that you might not be that good at. - Neal Ronaghan

Check out Neal's review for more details.

Phantasy Star

I love retro re-releases of games that I’ve never had a chance to play. Phantasy Star has been on my bucket list for a while -- an old school RPG that doesn’t get as much love as a Dragon Quest or a Final Fantasy. I think the first Phantasy Star is actually better than either’s 8-bit experiences. The graphics are far more detailed and the story (albeit dull) is paced well and feels more advanced. What really makes this version of the game the best are two new features: auto-mapping (which helps you navigate dungeons) and the VERY lovely FM sound unit version of the game’s soundtrack. Phantasy Star on the Switch is further proof that the Sega Ages formula of adding quality of life experiences to older titles is a winning one. - Bryan Rose

Check out Bryan's review for more details.

Rogue Legacy

OK, so Dead Cells is standing easily at the top of my list for Indie Game of the Year on Switch… but ya know what, props goes out to this oldie but goodie because it’s a cornerstone title in establishing the roguelike concepts Dead Cells is built on. It certainly shows its age and is a far simpler game but the hook of getting in, doing your best, dying, looking to upgrade, and then going at it again until you win is there. Throw in a load of crazy and silly genetic maladies your successive generations of heirs will be hit with that you then need to contend with and it remains a classic! - Justin Nation

Check out Neal's review for more details.

Podcast Discussion / Episode 112 - Back In My College Years
« on: November 08, 2018, 10:54:00 AM »

Justin Nation stops by, so you know we got plenty to talk about! Justin covers 10 games in his "5 Word Reviews" segment to start us off. Then it's Moonlighter, SNK 40th Anniversary Collection, Diablo 3, The Bug Butcher, and OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes.

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Once again we’re joined by Justin Nation, which as you know by now means we’re going to talk about 14 million games. So to make things a bit easier, it’s time for “5 Word Reviews with Justin Nation” during our Quick Bites segment. Oh boy! Which turns out to be more of an appetizer sampler! Then we get into the meat and tators with Moonlighter, SNK 40th Anniversary Collection, The Bug Butcher, and of course some more Diabla talk. (My favorite! - Casey) To wrap up What We’ve Been Playing friend of the show, Estuardo checked out and wrote in a mini review for OK K.O. Let’s Play Heroes. Thanks Estuardo!

Sadly it got too late in our beefy first segment, so Justin Nation had to hit the sheets... but the show must go on! So Perry and Casey keep on trucking into another huge eShop Roundup. Then it’s time for some hard hitting news - mainly the Smash Direct which is old hat at this point, but we give our impressions to some of the cool bits shown off. Then are we getting a new Zelder soona than we might think? Who the heck knows, but it’d sure be nice!

If you have any questions, comments or concerns please contact by tweeting us  or by send us an email!

TalkBack / Game of the Year of the Week for November 2, 2018
« on: November 02, 2018, 07:49:33 AM »

It's a devilishly good week for video games.

Games are fun. Games are awesome. And as we all know, we can get excitable about them. Hyperbolic if you will. With that in mind, we're going to lean into it. Here's our Games of the Year of the Week, or GOTYOTW for short.

We'll venture to do this each week, but we will be experimenting with the format. It's going to be a loose format, while most will be recent releases, but it might just be a game a staffer has been loving recently. Let us know what you think of this and also let us know your Game of the Year of the Week.

Diablo III: Eternal Collection

It’s been a long time since I played a Diablo game. In that time, Diablo III finally came out in 2012 and got refined into a beautiful, shining experience that is now on Switch. The variety found in every character class is wonderful and the degree of tinkering and customization is vast. The dungeon-crawling action-RPG is blissful even as hellish demons wage war with you. To top it off, it’s an excellent multiplayer experience whether you’re playing online or locally. Diablo III on Switch is fantastic regardless of if it’s your first time playing the game (like me) or you binged hard on the original release (like our reviewer Jordan Rudek). - Neal Ronaghan

Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum 'n' Fun!

After a long wait, the Taiko no Tatsujin series has finally made an official appearance in North America after a decade and a debut in Europe and Australia. Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum 'n' Fun will be released internationally on Friday and I can barely contain my excitement for it as it perfectly encapsulates both the console and arcade versions. The different ways to control it from motion controls to even a drum controller made to work like the arcade versions are incredible. Their song selection is also something that should be recognized as it is both diverse and massive, containing songs from various anime, games, and genres. While at the time of writing this, it is unknown currently what songs will be cut or added to the international versions, but having a library with over 70 amazing songs and each with varying difficulty will keep you entertained for endless hours.  - Matthew Olivo

Gal Metal

While you could assume that this represents a drum-centric return to the likes of Guitar Hero in this case you’d be quite wrong. Featuring a ton of quirk, aliens who’ll only be stopped from destroying the Earth with rock music, and random socializing with your bandmates it has a lot going on. Musically, the emphasis is less on rote execution ala most music games, and instead gives you building blocks of beats you can use that it then wants you to expand on and improvise with. While it won’t be for everyone, it is a unique experience and a pretty good time. - Justin Nation (and Daan Koopman's review has more details.

Dragalia Lost

I am now hunting down Daoko music wherever I can find it on the internet, and it's all the fault of Dragalia Lost. (Tracks from the Japanese rapper and singer populate the title's soundtrack, especially the Main Menu earworm inclusion of her song "Cinderella Step"). Nintendo and Cygames' new mobile title is an action-RPG, which makes using characters or items that aren’t technically super-optimal almost a non-issue compared to the high-risk tactical combat of Fire Emblem Heroes. And yes, this Nintendo Mobile title monetizes through microtransactions and gatcha-style randomized character purchases, but the internet is already replete with stories of people interacting with high-end content without having spent a dime. Indeed, the game has several ways in which budget-conscious players can start with the same resources as a high-roller but get way more rewards if they’re willing to exercise a little patience. Even with the game's challenging time-limited events and raids, I'm actually already comfortable with the roster of characters and items I have, and looking forward to more and more free content (and yes, the occasional real-money transaction as well). Given that this is an all-new IP from Nintendo, I sometimes wonder if Dragalia Lost would make for a great traditional JRPG Switch game… - Carmine Red

The Messenger

It came out a little while ago now, but I’m finally getting around to playing The Messenger.  Even though I have no experience with things like Ninja Gaiden or the other NES games it’s inspired by, the great reception it got upon release, and in particular the effusive praise from our own Neal Ronaghan, convinced me to give it a shot, and I’m really glad I did. The level and enemy design is really well done, and as with most great retro-inspired games it offsets the stiff challenge with frequent checkpoints to keep things manageable. Sometimes these kinds of games rely too much on nostalgia, but surprisingly I’m finding The Messenger to be one of my favorite games this year without any of it whatsoever. - J.P. Corbran

Mutant Football League

As the release of this successor to the 16-bit Mutant League Football lineage approached, I’ll admit I was feeling pretty nervous. With so many years since those titles were released and with the coming and going of the arcade football franchise NFL Blitz, the legitimate question is whether that format can still work. While it isn’t perfect and I’ve seen reports of issues with it crashing (though I’ve played five games now without one) I’m happy to report that if you love football and enjoy something a bit more brutal, unpredictable, and commentary that gets pretty profane and out there you should dig this. Budding franchise builders should even appreciate the included Dynasty mode that layers on trades and management, though how well that’s implemented may be open to interpretation. - Justin Nation

TalkBack / Game of the Year of the Week for October 27, 2018
« on: October 27, 2018, 04:36:14 AM »

We test out a new feature where we tell you what games are our Game of the Year...of the week.

Games are fun. Games are awesome. And as we all know, we can get excitable about them. Hyperbolic if you will. With that in mind, we're going to lean into it. Here's our Games of the Year of the Week, or GOTYOTW for short.

We'll venture to do this each week, but we will be experimenting with the format. It's going to be a loose format, while most will be recent releases (like the ones in this debut entry), but it might just be a game a staffer has been loving recently. Let us know what you think of this and also let us know your Game of the Year of the Week.

Black Bird

Black Bird came out last week, but I’m still thinking about it even after I finished my review. This stylish and weird shoot-’em-up from Onion Games (made up of former Squaresoft developers headed by Little King’s Story creator Yoshiro Kimura) has some problems, namely its punishing difficulty and narrower focus, but the sum is much greater than its parts. I was mostly mesmerized playing this simple shooter because of its gorgeously bizarre pixel art, operatic soundtrack in a made-up language, and Fantasy Zone-inspired structure. $19.99 might be a tall order for this shorter high score-centric game, but if any of these sounds appealing to you, take the plunge or throw Black Bird on your Switch wish list. - Neal Ronaghan


While it isn’t terribly long, the somewhat weirdo story and characters make it a worthwhile journey, especially when Pinstripe himself (who has your daughter) is just damned creepy. The mix of platforming, puzzles, and some shooting all work well and have a unique feel as well. - Justin Nation

The Missing: J.J. Macfield and the Island of Memories

I spoke pretty highly of this game in my review of it, but I didn’t get the opportunity to really bring up how much the game meant to me personally. I can’t even really explain why without spoiling the story entirely, but when all is said and done there’s a clear and obvious theme that’s running through the whole thing that elevates the experience for me. I know a lot of people show up to games for gameplay first, and even though I think the gameplay is great I wholly admit that if you don’t care for stories in games, you won’t love this as much as I did. But I love when a game tells a good story, especially in a way that I feel like the narrative is made better because it’s a game, so this is right up my alley. I’ve never played a game by SWERY before, but now I feel like I need to go back and check out what I’ve been missing. - Matt Zawodniak

I Hate Running Backwards

While I struggled with it at PAX East, mostly because I’d desperately wanted to play it like a twin-stick shooter, once I got locked in with this roguelike shmup I got pretty hooked. It feels like what the roguelike twin-stick shooter Nuclear Throne would be if it were combined with the classic arcade game Commando, but played backwards. Multiple indie game cameos including the Bullet from Enter the Gungeon (who, ironically, can only use a sword attack) change up the style of play nicely once unlocked, and different enhancement options in every run will keep you on your toes. While we’d had a run of good shooters it has been a while since something both unique and solid has come out so this is a welcome addition to the Switch line-up. - Justin Nation

TalkBack / Chiki-Chiki Boxy Racers (Switch) Review
« on: October 01, 2018, 01:19:04 PM »

Fans who've been looking for a game that comes close to the feel of the classic RC Pro-Am may want to chiki this title out...

One of the best things about indie games is how they can show up out of nowhere, have a relatively unassuming look, and then blow you away with how well they play. That’s very much the case for the colorful voxel art racer Chiki-Chiki Boxy Racers, a title I hadn’t even heard of until it hit the eShop. Rather than being yet another dull shovelware racer (there have been quite a few), Boxy Racers instead is quite a bit of fun, featuring an intuitive and effective control style and viable options for playing solo, with friends, or even online.

If you’re going to go it solo, three different locales are offered in the Racing mode, each having a circuit of four tracks a piece, topped off by a grand prix. Granted, I didn’t find winning it all against the CPU opponents to be terribly hard, but taking first in every race does at least unlock each of the wide variety of vehicles to expand your options. Battle mode is offered for solo play, I suppose to let you get an idea of the four available modes that offer some variety. Those are more ideally played locally against friends or online, though the times I attempted to find someone to play with I wasn’t successful.

What really impresses me with the title is its controls, something that so many of these budget racers have gotten completely wrong. While you have the option to go for a more traditional throttle and brake method, the winner is the default style that lets you simply point the joystick in the direction you want to go. Sliding around turns feels particularly good and intuitive with this style, even with many hairpin turns. A boost that slowly builds up and a few power-ups, as well as a random oil slick, are present on each track but the emphasis is really on being smart in how you take turns and out-positioning your rivals, perhaps bumping them a little.

For a very budget-friendly racer, Boxy Racers delivered a far higher level of quality and polish than I expected, even if not necessarily the challenge. The racing itself reminds me most of the classic RC Pro-AM back on the NES, though this control style is far superior. While experienced racers won’t likely struggle to get through all three circuits, if you’re able to play against a friend, or online play picks up, I could see where it would make for great competitive racing or simply goofing off in one of the four diverse Battle Modes. There’s a fair amount of quality racing in this low-cost title, and I’d love to see more of it… hopefully with a bit higher degree of difficulty.

TalkBack / Azure Reflections (Switch) Review
« on: October 01, 2018, 01:13:40 PM »

One part anime, one part bullet hell, a dash of weirdness... and mix for a truly unusual concoction.

When you think of bullet hell shooters, usually some sort of air or spacecraft blasting it out come to mind, not anime chicks taking down small, cherubic characters and other characters more their size as bosses. Nonetheless that’s the name of the game in Azure Reflections, an off-the-beaten path take on the genre that also happens to shift from the traditional vertical orientation to the horizontal. While it may not be a long-lasting experience, it is certainly an intense one and to be successful you’ll need to come to terms with its unique systems.

The first thing you should absolutely do if you pick this game up is check out the Tutorial, as the bullet absorption and break system are critical to your success against bosses and they take some getting used to. While for the majority of the stages you’ll be shooting at enemies coming from either side, there’ll be tougher enemies and the bosses who you can weaken with your normal bullets but not take down entirely. That’s where the break system comes in, requiring that you take down their shields to a low level, try to get within striking distance, turn on your absorbing shield, and rack up the hits to add to your counter-attack power.

It may take a few attempts to really get the hang of how best to use this tactic, along with carefully conserved cards that clear the screen and smaller bursts you can use to knock out bullets immediately around you. It’s something quite different, it’s challenging, and it’s all a bit bonkers. If you’re successful, you’ll be able to unlock two additional characters past the one you start with, and playing through with each changes up the gameplay quite a bit. You can purchase additional accessories that enhance specific powers as well, which encourages repeat play.

In terms of issues, probably the biggest one I have is that since the game is so colorful it can get very difficult to make out what’s shooting you, their fire, rewards from fallen enemies you want to grab, and the often dynamic backgrounds behind the action itself. It can be very easy to miss incoming fire with this visual cacophony in front of you and that can lead to frustration. Compounding that is the fact that at times when you recover from being hit and stunned you’re still stuck in a mass of bullets, ensuring you’ll just take multiple hits in the same sequence and get knocked out entirely. While these issues don’t necessarily cripple the experience they do make it hard in places for the wrong reasons.

If you’re a big fan of crazy shooters, and especially if you appreciate anime art and funky humor to boot, Azure Reflections may not be the best out there but it very much stands out as unique without question. Rather than go the path of merely imitating one of the other popular series it brings a few ideas of its own to the table and that’s always refreshing. Just be ready to get visually assaulted along the way, it’s one of the most colorful shooters I’ve ever seen.

TalkBack / Piczle Lines DX - 500 more Puzzles (Switch) Review
« on: October 01, 2018, 01:06:00 PM »

Who said you can't enjoy more of a good thing?

Writing a review for this is a bit challenging in terms of making it distinct since I reviewed the original release, loved it, and this package is effectively just more of the same goodness. The nature of the puzzles in unchanged; you’ll see numbers arranged around the puzzle space that show the endpoints of differently colored lines you’ll need to then draw to specific lengths to fill things in. While this starts out being easy, as you get into larger puzzles or ones that sometimes have large areas of the same color, you’ll ultimately end up needing to methodically use deductive reasoning to work out how each set of lines needs to be plotted out in order for everything to fit. The result is a game that plays most ideally in handheld mode, simply for the sake of ease and speed, but that works well enough docked with the Joy-Con that either method of control is viable.

For anyone who’d choose to try to throw shade for this being a release that does nothing more than drop more puzzles into a new package rather than simply adding more puzzles to the existing release that would be unfair, as they’d already released multiple updates for the original game and when you’re dealing in a number like 500 new puzzles (the original initially came with 200 and has had at least four or five updates since that time). Throw in the fact that this standalone package of puzzles (this is not an expansion, you don’t need the original to buy this) comes at a very budget-friendly price, runs the gamut from smaller and easier up to much larger and challenging ones, and if you enjoy puzzles this represents hours upon hours of enjoyment.

If you had the original and are reading this review I doubt you’ll need much encouragement to take the plunge, this massive expansion is just a whole lot more of what made the original enjoyable. If you’re a puzzle fan who missed the initial release, this is probably an ideal starting point since getting up to speed won’t take much effort and this is a larger collection than the original, making it an even better value. Puzzle fans have truly been blessed on the Switch, with a system capable of showing great versatility in terms of control with the genre. Having the option to play on the big screen is always nice but it’s in handheld mode where titles like this truly shine, with the touchscreen in handheld mode always offering a quicker and easier way to play. If you love a good puzzle challenge Piczle Lines DX is neck and neck with the likes of Picross for quality and offers a unique style worthy of your time.

TalkBack / Haunted Dungeon - Hyakki Castle (Switch) Review
« on: October 01, 2018, 01:00:00 PM »

If you're looking to do some dungeon crawling and battling against creepy monsters from Japanese folklore book your trip to Hyakki Castle.

Old-school first-person dungeon-crawling RPGs used to be a bit of a thing back in the day when I was playing them on the Commodore 64. In titles like The Bard’s Tale, you’d work your way through often labyrinthian mazes looking for treasure while taking on monsters and an occasional trap. Haunted Dungeons: Hyakki Castle is very much a modern take on this formula, throwing in a more real-time version of the traditional turn-based combat as well as a strategic element allowing you to split up your party, creating an opportunity for more tactical combat and an occasional puzzle. Oh, and did I mention this is all themed with some pretty creepy and monstrous Yokai from Japanese folklore?

To start, you must set up your party, choosing between four different classes and races for each member, providing for some potential replay value if you want to try to optimize them to your play style. Setting out you’ll want to be on the lookout for traps, which can be quite devastating if you don’t disable them before proceeding, and creepy Yokai, who you’ll need to take down and can require some work. Combat is pretty active, with you being able to move around to dodge and shift between party members and choosing their skills to attack, heal, or provide stat-boosting buffs depending on your party composition and the situation.

As you get further in you’ll need to take it to another level as you’ll encounter tougher monsters that will require that you attack them from the back or sides. In order to do this you’ll need to split your party up, changing over to a somewhat odd (though you get used to it) split-screen setup where one party will stay in place while heavily shielded to act as a decoy while the other can then flank the enemy and do serious damage. This mechanic is also used for an occasional puzzle and does a good job of creating some variety and preventing the combat from becoming a total predictable slog.

Outside of the ability to split up your party this is a straightforward dungeon crawler that offers a slow-paced version of real-time combat, some sizable maze-like dungeons, and creepy monsters peppered all about. While I wish there was a greater variety of Yokai, at least their attack patterns and behaviors differs a bit so they aren’t merely cosmetic variations slapped on the same base. Save points tend to be fair in their spacing and the choices you make for upgrading your characters open the door to some variety depending on the skills you choose, further encouraging replayability. If you’ve been looking for something a bit different on the Switch, for a variety of reasons Haunted Dungeons: Hyakki Castle sets itself apart as unique, even if its style and pacing may not be for everyone.

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