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Podcast Discussion / Episode 243 - Thoroughly Average Men
« on: May 06, 2021, 07:14:51 PM »

Alex joins the boys to dive into New Pokemon Snap! We touch on some Tetris Effect and Returnal for good measure.

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Alex joins the boys to dive into New Pokemon Snap! We touch on some Tetris Effect and Returnal for good measure.

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 234 - You Heard It Here First
« on: March 04, 2021, 02:40:59 PM »

Alex stops by to give us the break down on everything Pokemon, Casey's been digging into Bravely Default 2, and Perry interviews the Devs behind Cathedral!

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With all the Pokemon news, we knew there was only one person to have on the show and that person is Alex Culafi (actually he begged to be on, so we figured... sure why not?)! Casey's been working on the latest JRPG to grace the Switch with Bravely Default 2. Perry polished off Super Mario 3D World and still had time to fit in an interview with the developers of Cathedral!

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

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Poké Fan Alex offers his take on Pokemon Legends: Arceus and the Gen 4 remakes.

In celebrating Pokemon’s 25th anniversary, The Pokemon Company announced two new core titles set to release on Nintendo Switch in the next year or so.

The first was a pair of remakes: Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Pokemon Shining Pearl. They’re remakes of 2006’s DS titles Diamond and Pearl, scheduled to come out in “late 2021.” Should the game hit its target, that probably means sometime between very late October and very early December.

Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are being developed by ILCA, who also created the cloud-based Pokemon storage app Pokemon Home. This marks the first time in 25 years that a core franchise game has been led by a developer other than Game Freak. That said, Game Freak’s Junichi Masuda carries a co-directing credit alongside ILCA’s Yuichi Ueda.

The second announcement was for Pokemon Legends: Arceus, an open world RPG with action elements slated for release in early 2022. Like Diamond and Pearl, it takes place in the region of Sinnoh, but the game is set hundreds of years before its modern counterparts in a world that looks more like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild than the comparably small-in-scope DS games it’s based on. It’s a new prequel story with a new structure, and this one is developed by Game Freak.

Why am I telling you all of this stuff you probably already know? Primarily, I need to set a baseline here so I can explain exactly how weird both of these announcements are. In some respects, it’s weird in a good way. In others, it’s weird in an “I’m a bit worried” kind of way.

Take Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl (which is probably already being called “BDSP” around the net). Outside of the circumstances surrounding its development—I think the idea of having multiple skilled development studios working on core Pokemon games to take some of the burden off of Game Freak is an excellent idea in theory—it’s strange because of how unexceptional of a remake it appears to be.

Unlike the new story beats, areas, gameplay styles, Pokemon forms, art direction, and/or general content additions of previous remakes (on top of gameplay modernizations), the new versions of Diamond and Pearl seem to be playing it straight. Between the chibi art style reminiscent of the original games (said style looks very strange brought up to HD) and the frequent use of phrasing like “faithfully reproduced” and “carefully preserved” on the remakes’ website, I’m expecting something akin to the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, where the focus is on HD visuals and gameplay modernizations rather than significant content additions.

I’m not expecting no new content per se, but I think the goal here is preservation and modernization—not creating a brand new game like the other remakes were. I’m hoping ILCA puts in a “classic gameplay” option that doesn’t force the Exp. Share effects and allows me to grind like I did 15 years ago, but since the last two releases didn’t even allow players to turn the feature off, my hopes aren’t high.

I could be wrong about all of this, of course. It’s all speculation, albeit speculation that I think is very reasonable.

But it’s how this announcement seemingly points to such a safe-looking remake that makes for why Pokemon Legends: Arceus is so fascinating. I already mentioned the open world structure, but it goes much further than that. There’s that far-past setting with steam-powered PokeBalls and a focus on unexplored wilderness (with no Pokemon League to speak of). There’s also the presence of three starter Pokemon from three different generations (Rowlet, Cyndaquil, and Oshawott).

Then there’s the gameplay. It seems like the core Pokemon RPG battling is mostly preserved. However, everything outside of battles differs greatly from the core structure. Catching Pokemon here seems to utilize stealth mechanics and some Let’s Go-esque “throwing PokeBalls outside of a conventional weaken-and-catch structure” gameplay in at least certain cases. There’s also strafing and what looks like a dodge roll, though we haven’t seen how these new moves will be utilized.

I think there’s a lot of potential for a more open world, BOTW-inspired take on Pokemon gameplay. That said, I’m also concerned. I’m not the first to point out that footage ran at a low framerate and everything looked, to put it generously, “visually inconsistent.” However, the game isn’t coming out for a year, assuming no delays, and there’s plenty of room for the game to improve as its release approaches.

My bigger problems are with the open world. Game Freak has built some solid open areas in Sword and Shield’s expansions, but everything here looked empty. The Sinnoh we saw showed terrain and Pokemon, but no discernible landmarks outside of the town shown, and no humans beyond those playable. The trailer reminded me of the Zelda BOTW gameplay reveal at The Game Awards 2014, which had a similar level of in-development emptiness not representative of what we got. I wonder if something similar is happening here.

On a positive note, I’m so glad they’re doing something with Arceus. I’ve always felt the divine creator Pokemon was among the most underutilized in the whole series, and a story centered around it is an extremely exciting idea. This raises more questions about how the story will work and what the narrative goal will be. I wonder if catching them all will, for the first time, take true center stage in a core title.

Pokemon Legends seems extremely ambitious, which I love. But of course, my excitement is cautious. As we see in the gaming industry on what feels like a quarterly basis, unchecked ambition can sometimes result in less-than-ideal outcomes.

In summary, we’re getting two games based on Sinnoh. One is a two-version remake of Diamond and Pearl that seems to be taking very few risks and may offer little new beyond HD visuals and modern gameplay. The other is a large-scale prequel (humorously called a pre-make by Pokemon on social media) with action-RPG elements that looks more like a console Zelda game than the linear JRPG it’s based on.

I think the best way to look at these announcements is as two sides of the same coin. If you want to replay Diamond and Pearl, that’s coming. If you want something new in a familiar context, that’s (hopefully) coming soon after. Even for a franchise that likes to mix up its release structure quite often, this remake/premake concept is quite clever, and I hope it succeeds despite any (valid) concerns that may have come out of this initial showing.

Podcast Discussion / Episode 232 - Signal Failed
« on: February 18, 2021, 01:02:08 PM »

Alex joins the show for our hot off the stove impressions of the Nintendo Direct! After a lengthy discussion, we keep it going with Super Mario 3D World and Bowser's Fury!

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We had planned for Alex to join us for a wonderful discussion about Super Mario 3D World and Bowser's Fury, but Nintendo was kind enough to bless us with a Nintendo Direct. So we figured... well we might as well have Alex on for a wonderful discussion about Super Mario 3D World and Bowser's Fury in addition to a fantastic breakdown of the latest Nintendo Direct goodness!

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

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Podcast Discussion / Episode 227 - Too Much Sabi
« on: January 14, 2021, 12:49:25 PM »

Alex "BBB" Cooloffi joins us to partake in some Mystery History fun as well as give us the lowdown on Super Meat Boy Forever!

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We continue the new year with another wonderful guest, this time it's Alex! He's back after far too long to play a little Mystery History goodness with the boys. He also gives us his thoughts and impressions of Super Meat Boy Forever as well as Cyberpunk 2077!

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

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TalkBack / No More Heroes (Switch) Review
« on: November 01, 2020, 11:44:00 AM »

A Wii classic finds some new life on Nintendo Switch.

This review will tackle the port of the original No More Heroes in terms of how the new release plays on Switch and how the game has held up from the perspective of a longtime fan. For a review that tackles the content and mechanics in greater depth, check out Jonny’s review of the original Wii release.

When No More Heroes released on Wii in January 2008, I was 13 years old. I was in love from the second I started playing it to the moment I finished, and to this day, I’ve called No More Heroes (and especially its sequel) among the best action games of all time. The ultraviolence, the combat, the boss fights, and the over-the-top sense of humor and style, for me, could only be described by a chef’s kiss.

In the years since, the incredible sequel came out as well as the (in my opinion) disappointing spin-off Travis Strikes Again, and when I met Director Goichi Suda (AKA Suda51) at two PAX Easts over the years, I asked him (to no satisfying answer) when a third mainline No More Heroes would come out.

Well, No More Heroes III is coming out next year, and alongside an excellent trailer that came out last week, ports for the first two No More Heroes games were both announced and released on the Nintendo Switch eShop. As excited as I was (and even though I bought both the morning they went up for sale), I was a little worried. I had not played the original No More Heroes for over a decade. How would the passage of time treat one of my darlings? Would the re-release even be good?

The answers to those two questions are “mostly well” and “YES.”

No More Heroes is still a game where you, the otaku/wrestling fan/assassin Travis Touchdown, goes on a mission to become the top-ranking assassin in the United Assassins Association after winning a beam katana in an auction. Starting at #11, the game tasks you with murdering the top 10 assassins in the UAA, all found in Santa Destroy, California. These boss fights take center stage in the game, and are all generally action-packed, badass, extremely bloody, and ridiculous. One such fight is against Shinobu, an 18-year-old high-school student who is a master with the katana; another is against Dr. Peace, a corrupt detective, gunslinger, and karaoke enthusiast.

These fights (and the levels leading up to each fight) facilitate the game’s third-person action combat where you hack-and-slash your way through enemies, creating outrageous amounts of blood in the process. There are also some deeper elements to the combat, like wrestling moves and a slot machine activated upon a successful Death Blow (i.e. kill move) that can grant you various awesome power-ups. Also, you famously charge your beam katana by shaking it up and down in a rather suggestive way.

The combat side of the game holds up beautifully. The over-the-top violence and fun combat are exactly as I remember them. While it is generally simple compared to many of the Platinum games released in the years since, and even lacks the depth of, say, Yakuza, I still had a blast with the boss fights and general combat.

In the original game, much of the combat was controlled by waggle via the Wii Remote and Nunchuck. While you can use the Joy-Cons like Wii controllers in the new release, there is now a range of control options, from the Joy-Con-as-Wii-Remote method all the way to a no-motion-control, all-button method in handheld mode. I played the new release of No More Heroes, from start to finish, in handheld mode without being asked to use motion controls once. I loved it, and I never want to go back to the waggle method. Attacks are mapped to the face buttons with high and low options, and forced waggle (like charging your beam katana, Death Blows, and wrestling moves) are mapped to the right and sometimes left sticks. The game is far easier to control this way, and while I was a skeptic, I am now a believer.

Outside of ranking matches, you’re put in an open world tasked with raising money to pay a fee for the next fight. You raise this money through silly part-time job minigames like mowing lawns, collecting stray cats, and picking up scorpions, as well as assassination missions where you earn big bucks completing challenges by killing different enemy types in different contexts. In the open world, you can also train to get stronger, buy new katanas and clothes, and do a few other things.

While I appreciate the effort in making No More Heroes into an open-world game and enjoy riding around on Travis Touchdown’s motorcycle, the open world is generally pointless, unnecessary, and requires a lot of needless driving from place to place that does little other than waste time. Also, while the side missions are fun, the mini-games (while funny and weird) play poorly and are, on average, not very fun. However, I’m pretty sure this is less a product of age and more how the game has always been. I remember the mini-games and open world being something I had to deal with to get to the fun part more than something I actually loved. In retrospect, it might actually be a good thing that No More Heroes 2 took the open world out of the game.

As for the writing and story, my thoughts are a little more mixed. While the game (and its story) is still ridiculous, stylish, and silly in all of the best ways, the game’s edge and violence are no longer as pronounced as they were to me in 2008. For example, as bloody as the game is, most of the game’s gore consists of cartoonishly sprayed blood and sliced up bodies/limbs without visible organs or bones generally, and the vulgarity doesn’t really go past a soft R-rating by today’s standards. This is neither a good nor bad thing—it just surprised me how muted my response to this game’s shock factor was this time around. Also worth noting, one or two of the sexual gags go into slight “yikes” territory by today’s standards. For example, in one early scene, Travis approaches Sylvia with the intent of feeling her up without her suggesting consent or even explicitly noticing at first. He ultimately gets kneed in the face for it and does not succeed, but it was still uncomfortable to watch.

Independent of how the game holds up, the porting job is excellent. It runs great (even on handheld), and it looks way better than it ever did on Wii. And again, I can’t say this enough, if you want to play the game without any motion controls, rest assured that the transition to button-only play was impeccable. While the Wii has the original control scheme and the controller speaker that can play Sylvia’s pre-match phone calls (they’re in-game in this version), I truly believe that Nintendo Switch is the best place to enjoy this game (even factoring in the PlayStation 3 port with extra content) if only due to the ability to play this game smoothly and on the go.

My 10-12 hour tour of Santa Destroy was a welcome one, as I got to re-experience a beloved game from my past with better visuals and a new, more enjoyable control scheme. For the most part, the game has aged quite well. The combat, gore, and boss fights remain a delight, and even while my issues with the less-good stuff—the time-wasting open world and the mini-games—have become more pronounced with over a decade removed from the classic, I still love this thing. No More Heroes is filled to the brim with style, and the Nintendo Switch version is a fine place to experience it for the first, or second, or tenth time.

Podcast Discussion / Episode 209 - Shine Get!
« on: September 10, 2020, 04:14:48 PM »

Alex joins the boys to talk Captain Tsubasa and partake in some Mystery History fun! Then we get into the Mario 35th Anniversary announcements as well the freshly announced Hyrule Warriors!

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 Alex joins the boys for an episode full of Mystery and a bit of History as well. Alex also has the breakdown on Captain Tsubasa. Then Holy Mario Batman and wait Zelda too?! Shesh.  

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TalkBack / Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions (Switch) Review
« on: September 10, 2020, 01:29:00 PM »

Worry not, anime fans. This Switch adaptation is one of the good ones.

While I don’t consider myself a fan of sports, I do consider myself a fan of two things: arcade sports video games and sports anime. Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions fits the bill for both, being an arcade sports game based on a manga that’s been in production since 1981. Being based on soccer AKA association football (the version of the game I’m playing calls it soccer, so I will too for the purposes of this review), the various Captain Tsubasa anime and manga series have gained great popularity around the world, though I must admit I hadn’t heard much about them before this game was announced. What initially drew me to the game was its over-the-top anime shots and cool art style, and after playing it, I’m happy to say that the gameplay is rock-solid to match.

The core gameplay of Captain Tsubasa is arcade soccer, which means that while the game (roughly) follows the rules of the sport, everything is fast and snappy. The ball is constantly switching sides, and stealing, tackling, and out-maneuvering is the name of the game here. On both offense and defense, you’re mostly relying on the R and ZR buttons to do these things. R is your general running, stealing, and bypassing-the-opposition button, and ZR is reserved for timing-based super-maneuvers to get past opponents running at you on offense and making desperate slides into your opponent on defense. Both buttons are tied to a Spirit meter that sits above every player on the field and drains as you use R and ZR. If your meter empties, you won’t be able to run and it will be easy to steal the ball from you.

The game features short and long passing, more technical moves for pro players like passing a ball into the air and kicking it into a goal, face-offs where players run into each other and you have to mash face buttons to beat the opponent, and of course, shooting. The shooting is fairly simple; you hold down the Y button when you get close to the goal (unless you’re playing as Tsubasa who can literally shoot from midfield), and if you fill the meter all the way up without getting the ball stolen, you can do a super flashy shot depending on the player. Tsubasa’s flies over the players’ heads in an arch before aiming directly for the goal (again, even from midfield), while Hyuga’s summons the image of a tiger and slams at full force into the goal. There are a bunch of different shots, and many are even more extravagant than those described.

The goalie has a unique meter over their head that drains as more shots are blocked. At full power, most special shots will be blocked unless it’s part of a story moment, but if you drain the meter all the way over the half (each 30-minute half is about 5 minutes real-time generally), even a weaker shot (one that doesn’t charge the full meter) should be enough to score. I particularly enjoy the cutscenes that show a goalie going up against a special shot that is so powerful that it throws the goalie into the net with the ball.

At first, it feels like there are too many mechanics to get used to, which is to say that I didn’t even list them all here. There’s a team boosting mode called V-Zone, for instance, that activates when a meter fills at the bottom of the screen. When activated, this temporary mode allows Spirit to recover faster and the Kick Gauge to fill faster, among other boosts. That said, the game becomes very intuitive, and after a few hours of play, everything feels natural. I had a lot of fun with the high-speed gameplay, and even though it can get ridiculous at times (which I consider a feature), I would call the game far more serious and restrained than, say, Inazuma Eleven, a series that I also enjoy, which makes a point of going full-anime at times. Only the shots and goals are especially flashy; the rest of it is just fast soccer.

The main mode here is The Journey, which features two different campaigns. Episode: Tsubasa is a 3-5 hour story that follows Tsubasa through the middle school nationals with very little to nothing in the way of agency or team management, but lots of flashy anime soccer cutscenes. It really acts as a soft tutorial to the other, main mode called Episode: New Hero.

In New Hero, you pick an initial team out of three, customize your character, and play through a story much larger than Tsubasa’s. As a fan of sports anime and manga like Hajime no Ippo, I was very disappointed with the storytelling outside of matches. In these segments, all characters do is stand around at different locations and talk at length about what’s going on in the story, with character models moving very little outside of the rare anime cutscene. In New Hero, you can choose a dialogue option from time to time, but these exchanges feel mostly pointless to the story other than being an excuse to participate in a conversation.

On the gameplay side is where New Hero shines. Your character and team are constantly leveling up based on how you play during matches, and you can customize your character down to their skill and move sets (and beyond) with lots of unlockables. However, with a story that’s not-very-compelling at best, I found it tough to care. For being the main mode of the game, that’s not a good thing.

Other modes featured in the game include a standard versus mode (yes, you can play against CPUs), a huge gallery with lots of unlockable movies and songs, and the rank-based online mode where you build a team (which can feature your fully-leveled-up player in New Hero) and level up through divisions. In the early divisions, the game relies on CPU opponents either partially or entirely depending on your level, and you only play solely human opponents after ranking up far enough (I do not like this). There are lobbies to play outside of this competition, though it should be noted that every time I looked there was no more than one (locked) lobby set up at any given time.

I was worried pre-launch that the game wouldn’t run well on Switch, but the performance is actually quite smooth. I haven’t seen any slowdown whatsoever during play, which is a relief. Visually, character models look good in their anime style, but everything outside of the character models, be it fields or crowds, look phoned in and not as impressive.

Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions is a good game with strong arcade soccer gameplay and a good deal of content to sink your teeth into. While the story modes didn’t click with me too much (which is no small problem), the core game could keep me picking up Captain Tsubasa for some time to come.

Podcast Discussion / Episode 192 - The Premium 101
« on: May 14, 2020, 01:49:22 PM »

Alex joins the boys to talk The Wonderful 101, Spirit of the North, and a Mystery History!

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It's always a pleasure to have Alex swing on by, so we figured since it was episode 192, it was obvious we had to get him on the show. We start off the show with plenty of Wing talk as well as a little Simpsons chat before getting into the meat and potaters. Perry has a Quick Bite as well as impressions on Spirit of the North. Casey dials up a Mystery History for the boys to try to guess and Alex dishes up the goods on Wonderful 101.  

Make sure to check out Alex's book, The Conqueror is Scared of Death!

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TalkBack / Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix (Switch) Review
« on: May 14, 2020, 03:08:33 AM »

Over 99 songs and yes, Ievan Polkka is one.

Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix is the latest in a long line of rhythm games featuring the loveable titular Vocaloid character Hatsune Miku. She and her friends dance around, have fun, do normal activities, do supernatural activities, and form the basis of the game’s presentation. The presentation is easygoing and easy to like, but it’s not why I’m drawn to this series. I like Project DIVA for the gameplay.

Project DIVA is rhythm gaming at its purest and most fun, and Mega Mix is no exception. While a music video plays, button prompts fly across the screen and it’s your job to press the right button at the right time. Think Dance Dance Revolution but with face buttons instead of a mat. Sometimes you have to hold a button down, sometimes you have to press two buttons at the same time, and sometimes you have to use one of the analog sticks for a special note or two. You get points, you get scored based on how well you time your button presses, and you can fail a stage. There are challenge sections where if you do well, you get to hear an extended version of the song. Et cetera. Et cetera. Even if you haven’t played this series before, you probably still get the idea.

The main mode is “Rhythm Game,” which is, of course, where you find the bulk of the content. Rhythm game comprises two modes: Arcade Mode and Mix Mode. Arcade Mode features the gameplay described above, and Mix Mode is a special new mode for the Switch where you can move the Joy-Con forward and backward to move two paddles, and then use the ZR and ZL buttons to match up the paddles with the notes. It works fine, but the bulk of my time was spent in Arcade Mode because I prefer to play my Miku with buttons, not motion controls.

The game features over 100 songs (with over 100 unlocked right out of the gate), some new to the series and some being fan favorites from older games. The soundtrack here is much better than previous Project DIVA games, mostly because there’s around three times as many songs here as there were on any of the Vita releases I played in the past (though Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Future Tone on PS4 has a whopping 220 songs). You’re bound to like something in its J-pop-centric soundtrack. That said, I would still say your-mileage-may-vary. While I enjoyed quite a few songs, about two-thirds of them I’m never going to play again after this review. There are some 9/10 songs on there, but the bulk of the soundtrack, to me, feels like about a 6/10. Taste is taste, so more hardcore fans of the series may feel differently.

Outside of that, there are custom playlists and a substantial customization mode where you can dress up characters and have them wear your selected clothing and hair in-game. It’s nice, but like I said at the outset, I play Miku for the rhythm gameplay. It’s cool that it’s there, but if you don’t want to engage with it and just want to focus on getting the highest score possible, you can do that.

Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix is a wholly competent rhythm game with a bunch of content and a your-mileage-may-vary song list. If you like tapping to the beat while colorful Vocaloid characters dance around, this game has a lot of that. However, if you’re looking for a story mode, a campaign, or anything beyond an excuse to tap to the beat, this isn’t the game for you. It does one thing and one thing quite well, and for me, it’ll do.


Alex Culafi joins the boys to talk Kunio Kun Collection, Number Trivia, The Bivs being a big ol' cheater, and Devil May Cry 3! Then it's all things Animal Crossing Direct!

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The cutest boy in Boston stops in to talk some vidgya games. We got plenty to talk about including Kunio Kun Collection, Number Trivia, and Devil May Cry 3. Then it's the Direct we've all been waiting for... or, well it is a Direct and Animal Crossing is going to rock, but let's be serious, we all want to know about the unknown! Regardless, we're stoked about Animal Crossing and we talk about everything from the Direct, which you can also watch with video below.

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TalkBack / Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth Complete Edition (Switch) Review
« on: November 25, 2019, 01:05:50 AM »

Not your father’s monster collecting game.

Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Complete Edition is a compilation of two games, Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth and its follow up, Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth – Hacker's Memory. It also marks the first time either of these originally-PlayStation-exclusive games has been on a Nintendo system. You don’t necessarily have to play Cyber Sleuth first, but you should as it’s the first game in the duology and more designed for beginners.

If you have played these games before, there is not much new for you here other than the Switch’s portability. The Complete Edition looks good, runs great, and feels really nice in handheld mode. If you’re looking for a new port of a game you already love, this should scratch that itch.

Now, let’s get down to business: this is not Pokémon. Even though you do collect monsters and evolve them, it is not Pokémon. Instead, I’d compare it more to a Shin Megami Tensei game. The focus is on storytelling and dungeon crawling more than anything else, and the combat feels more SMT-like in nature. Moreover, you’re not exploring a world Pokémon-style. Instead, you’re zipping around Tokyo and in-and-out of a virtual reality cyberspace (EDEN) via loading screens. Also, rather than being 20-ish hours long like the average Pokémon story, each game is dozens of hours long. Content fiends look no further.

The RPGs follow two stories that take place at the same time. In Cyber Sleuth, you play as a character who loses his body and then somehow becomes part-digital, and your goal is to go back to being fully physically human and not just virtually so. In its sequel, Hacker’s Memory, the protagonist gets his EDEN account stolen via phishing and is falsely accused of a crime. The game follows the protagonist solving the mystery of his identity theft.

Most of the gameplay in Tokyo revolves around progressing the story and completing sidequests that usually involve either fetching items or dungeon crawling, while most of the gameplay in EDEN involves dungeon crawling, though there is some nonviolent questing and mystery-solving in there, too. The locations used between the two games are mostly shared, though the second game does not feel like a retread of the first. That said, Cyber Sleuth does have a fresher feel to me as the first game I played, which might be why I prefer it to the sequel.

The combat consists of, as you might have guessed, turn-based battles where monsters fight other monsters. You obtain the monsters you fight (though you do so in a different way from Pokémon here), and these monsters evolve into stronger ones. That said, evolution is much different. You can evolve each monster into several other monsters that sometimes, but usually don’t, look like the monster you’re evolving from. You can also devolve your monsters, which I didn’t do much of but I imagine you can do some good strategizing if you are using a guide to get one specific, hard-to-get creature (out of the hundreds included in both games).

The writing and gameplay are both quite enjoyable, though I can’t shake the feeling that they both kind of seem like almost-as-good Shin Megami Tensei games that are a little more accessible and have a hint of Pokémon. If that sounds good to you, I recommend the collection wholeheartedly. If not, well, there you go.

Podcast Discussion / Episode 156 - Un-Shut Your Pie Hole
« on: September 13, 2019, 02:05:38 PM »

A wild Culafi appears! The boys play Mystery Reversery, talk Fire Emblem, and break down everything from the Nintendo Direct!

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Casey gets Culafi'd! That's right, a wild Alex Culafi appears for a surprise Mystery Reversery to kick things off. Then after a wild game, he sticks around to gush over Fire Emblem Three Houses as Perry has polished it off. The hurricane may have caused little to Casey, fortunately, however it's made work insanely busy for him the past week and thus he doesn't have much to talk about. Aside from his delicious Burger King trip and Sparking Ice + Caffeine.

Since there was a Nintendo Direct, you know the boys are going to break it down and give their opinions on all the juicy tidbits from the 40 min long video. There were a number of surprises, some which were spoiled, but overall a solid direct. To wrap up the show, we field some listener mail!

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Podcast Discussion / Episode 151 - The Mew Episode
« on: August 09, 2019, 06:24:46 AM »

The boys welcome Alex back to talk Pokemon, fittingly on our 151st episode. We reminisce about our favorite Pokemon as well as our most fond memories from the originals. Oh we fit in some Marvel Ultimate Alliance, Fire Emblem, and Oninaki too!

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It's always a blast to have Alex join the show and even more so now that we can see that beautiful face to go alongside his soothing voice. He brings his vast Pokemon knowledge with him, but he also drops the lowdown on Marvel Ultimate Alliance. Monopolizing most of his time though is Fire Emblem Three Houses, which he's already seen the credits roll and is on house two. Casey talks about his progress and Perry is just about to begin his journey! Casey promised he'd have Oninaki thoughts and impressions and he delivers the goods on this surprisingly dark themed action RPG.

Being our 151st episode, it only made sense to talk Pokemon and what better thing to do then look back fondly at the Pokemon we adored. The boys go over their top three favorite pokes and then do a little naval gazing at some of the most memorable moments from playing the classics back in the day.

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TalkBack / My Friend Pedro (Switch) Review
« on: June 20, 2019, 03:00:00 AM »

My friend John Wick.

My Friend Pedro, on paper, is super cool. It’s a sidescroller where you, with a full set of guns, kill your enemies using acrobatics, slow motion, and the environment around you. Trailers showing off the game make it look beautiful, but there was a question nagging me: Would it actually feel good to play?

My initial answer was a solid “no.” Before I got good, the controls felt very cumbersome. Shooting guns happens with ZR, clicking in the left analog stick controls slow motion, L controls a spinning move where you’re temporarily invincible, ZL controls aim and/or secondary fire depending on the gun, and the kick is mapped to X. While it’s hard to picture what I’m talking about from just button inputs alone, the controls felt hard to work with for, I’d say, the first half of the game. Nothing felt right to me, and as a result, the first half consisted of me running into a room, slowing down time, spamming my invincibility spin, shooting dudes, and moving on to the next area.  

Once I got used to the controls, I had significantly more fun with the gameplay. It (eventually) felt good to make a plan, run into the room, and carefully execute each acrobatic massacre. While it’s not exactly a puzzle game, the best encounters in the game feel like you’re completing a puzzle. I especially like using the environment to kill enemies. A great example is when you bounce bullets off a frying pan in the air to kill enemies in all directions. The guns feel pretty good too—a lot like what I imagine Hotline Miami would feel like as a sidescroller.

The controls taking half of the several-hour game to feel good is not the only issue I have. After the game starts to feel better to play, that’s when My Friend Pedro starts to get a little more repetitive. There’s a lot of the game that can be solved with “turn on slow motion, shoot dudes, and use your invincible spinning move.” The game does try to mix it up using stages that are about solving more traditional puzzles, like lasers you have to jump through using platforming rather than guns, but these kinds of levels, which especially show up in the back half of the game, are hit-or-miss.

To offset the repetition is a multiplier-driven scoring system that rewards creative play, but I didn’t feel overly compelled to engage with it beyond, “I killed 9 enemies! Cool!” As for the story, which has its moments, it probably won’t be enough to carry you through the game either. There isn’t a ton of story before the end of the game, and all you really need to know is, “an imaginary banana convinces you to kill stylishly.”

My Friend Pedro seems like the kind of game that either clicks with you or it doesn’t. If you’re a patient player who likes killstreaks, points, and stylish gameplay, you might like this a lot. If you’re like me and have less patience for a game that feels unintuitive for the first 20 levels out of 40, the final product might not click so easily.

TalkBack / Super Dragon Ball Heroes World Mission (Switch) Review
« on: May 02, 2019, 10:42:24 AM »

Japanese arcade gaming on the go.

For a card game based on a Japanese arcade game that’s nearly a decade old, Super Dragon Ball Heroes World Mission is a big game. It’s got an Arcade mode, a fully-featured Story Mode, and other such challenges that offer dozens and dozens of playtime when put together. A big Dragon Ball game is usually something worthy of applause, and while that’s mostly true in this case, there are some things worth knowing before making a commitment.

Because it’s fully-featured but built out of an arcade game, the gameplay is fairly simplistic. You choose up to seven fighters to face your opponent’s up-to-seven fighters, and unlike many other card games, all of your cards are “on the field” at the same time. The way it works is that you have all of your fighters on the field, and they can either be at the front of the pack, in the middle of the pack, in the back of the pack, or resting. Being at the back of the pack means that your attacks hit less hard, but you spend less stamina. Being at the front of the pack means that you are hitting harder, but it drains your limited stamina quickly.

Over the course of five rounds, the object of the game is to reduce your opponent’s HP to 0. Each card has a number of special attacks and abilities that activate under certain conditions, like it being a Round 2 or having enough Hero Energy (a resource that builds the more aggressive you get). The gameplay strategy is knowing when to be aggressive and when to back off to allow your cards to recharge.

It’s also worth knowing that the gameplay here is more passive. While there is a ton of fanservice, with over 1,000 cards (not counting the crazy cool mode where you can create your own cards) based on DB characters and forms, characters exclusive to Heroes, and versions of heroes not seen in the original manga and anime (SSJ4 Gohan anyone?), this is no fighting game. You set up your field of fighters, and the round plays itself out. There are sometimes little minigames where you charge up a super attack by rubbing the screen (in handheld mode) or making controller inputs, but for the most part, it’s setting up your field and watching fights play out. It’s fun building a team with two Jirens, a Frieza, and an Ultra Instinct Goku and watching them fight characters like Cell and Super Saiyan Blue Vegeta, but it can also get repetitive once you find a team you like and see a lot of the same battles play out).

For Story (which is fine and involves a plot where Dragon Ball Heroes characters show up in the real world), I’ve been using my same team, with the same strategies, winning in three rounds or less, which made the early part of the game a slog. It does get a bit more challenging with time, but if you want the hard battles, you need to go to the Arcade mode, which features a number of arcs (some are original to Dragon Ball Heroes; some are versions of actual DB canon), a few more challenging levels, and fun-yet-hard boss battles.

Overall, I’d say I like World Mission as a fun game to pick up once in a while, watch DB characters beat each other up, and enjoy a Japanese arcade experience on the go. For longer play sessions, the game can sometimes dip into monotony, but as far as fanservice-powered Dragon Ball spin-offs go, you could do a lot worse.

Podcast Discussion / Episode 133 - Yoshi's Crafted Fantasy VII
« on: April 04, 2019, 11:56:17 AM »

Alex joins the boys to break down all the goodness from PAX East. But before all that we get into Yoshi's Crafted World, Final Fantasy VII, and Switch 'N' Shoot!

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Alex once again stops by to chat with the boys, but this time he's bringing all the heat from PAX East since Casey and Perry missed out. We'll get into all that, but first we got some games to talk about. Perry has Yoshi's Crafted World in hand, but didn't get a chance to dive in, so fortunately Alex takes the reigns. Shaking up the formula to the usual Yoshi, this game might just be his favorite in the series since the classic Yoshi's Island for SNES. Casey on the other hand has been playing a classic himself, the much anticipated Final Fantasy VII! It's just as good as he remembered, but now at three times the speed!

  Alex isn't done yet, despite coming off PAX, he's also found time to dip into some New Super Mario Bros U. Perry claims to have 100%, but we're pretty sure he has no idea what that phrase means. Wrapping up What We've Been Playing, Casey got the opportunity to check out Switch 'N' Shoot. This is an interesting little shooter that utilizes just a single button and it's surprisingly challenging!    

The News Block has a bunch of stories, but none too consequential. However that doesn't stop the boys from diving deep into a number of different topics. Then it's PAX time baby. Alex breaks down all the games he played for Cassie and Pert even tossing in some Nontendo business which sparks a little Playstation talk. Alex has hosted panels at PAX before, but this is the first time it was live streamed for the world to see and it turns out, as you might have assumed, it was a pretty amazing experience!

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

TalkBack / Eight Games I Played at PAX East 2019
« on: April 04, 2019, 10:59:48 AM »

Alex breaks down some of the more interesting games he saw at this year's PAX East.

This year marked my eighth PAX East with Nintendo World Report, and my third hosting a panel (this year’s was on Animal Crossing!), so it’s safe to say that this time around, I know what I’m getting into. PAX East is a place where you play cool indie games, stand in long lines, and people-watch all the people in cool cosplay.

This year, I played a bunch of video games, and to switch things up, rather than giving you 500 words on each game in separate articles, I’m going to give a few words each on the many different games I played. What looks most promising? Find out below!

Sayonara Wild Hearts

Revealed in December, Sayonara Wild Hearts is a pop music game that includes poppy music, poppy visuals, and gameplay that reminds me of Rez in that you’re constantly moving forward with rather simple controls, and while it’s not a pure rhythm game, it is rhythm-y. The music was catchy, the game looked pretty, and the gameplay was fun if not a little on the simplistic side.

Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled

It’s a cart racer starring characters from the Crash Bandicoot series, taking the levels from both console Crash racing games and presenting them in the context of a modern game. The game reminds me of Mario Kart, but the two-button drifting (and overall game) is a good bit harder. If you liked the gameplay of Crash Team Racing back in the day, you’ll probably like this too. One of the developers I talked to at our appointment assured me that the Switch version would both run and look good (I played the PS4 version).

Mortal Kombat 11

I played this one on the Switch’s handheld mode, which I was happy to do since I’ve always been a fan of MK9’s Vita port. It’s definitely the next iteration of the nu-MK/Injustice fighting gameplay, so if you like that kind of game (I do), you should feel right at home. It didn’t look the prettiest in handheld mode, but it ran great which was enough for me. I was told MK11 would have more single-player content than any of the newer MK games before it, so that’s something to look forward to.

Cyber Shadow

What surprised me most about this Yacht Club Games-published ninja game is how much it reminds me of Shovel Knight, even though the Shovel Knight team didn’t actually have a hand in its development. You’ve probably seen the trailer already, but it’s worth knowing that it plays great, looks beautiful, and is one of my two most anticipated games from the show.

Windjammers 2

If you like Windjammers, you’ll probably like this game too. Windjammers is a lot of fun, and you can get the original, excellent arcade game on Switch right now. 2 feels like more of a good thing.

Skullgirls 2nd Encore

Remember Skullgirls, that indie fighting game that came out some years back? Well, it’s finally coming to Switch as a physical release published by Skybound Games that includes all of the content from previous releases on other platforms. As a fighting game, it played well and good (I’m not a fighting game person by nature, so don’t take that opinion as law), but I was more impressed by the visuals, which had a neat animation style seemingly inspired by cartoons of yesteryear. It doesn’t go full Cuphead, but it had a similar fuzziness to it that I dug. I recommend looking at videos to decide if it’s for you.

Days Gone

Okay, this one’s not coming to Switch, but I was someone who dug the zombie-biker theme it has going for it and wanted to learn if it was any good. The first demo level was a perfectly competent Last of Us-style sneak level where you had to break into a gas station. In the second level, I was tasked with eliminating a horde of zombies that was coming after me. The developer told me that the hordes would be spread throughout the map, and once you beat one, it goes away for good. Fighting said horde was extremely difficult, to the point that I couldn’t actually beat the dozens (if not hundreds) of walking dead. It was fun thinking of creative ways to thin the pack, I’ll say. I’m interested in the game because I love me some biker fiction and zombie fiction, but my less-biased impression of the game was, “Yup, Sony made another pretty solid AAA action game.” Take that as you will.

Super Meat Boy Forever

This is the other game I’m most excited about from PAX East. It’s weird to think of Super Meat Boy’s sequel as an auto-runner with procedurally generated levels, but they’re totally pulling it off. I played a number of the game’s levels, and it felt good in the way Super Meat Boy is supposed to feel. Challenging, lots of deaths, plenty of wall jumps, and a feeling of accomplishment when a level is beaten. Super Meat Boy is back, and I couldn’t be happier.

Podcast Discussion / Episode 126 - Direct's Awakening
« on: February 14, 2019, 12:47:00 PM »

Alex once again joins the boys, but this time to break down the latest Nintendo Direct! But that's not all we talk Away: Journey To The Unexpected, Avenger Bird, Solstice Chronicles MIA, Resident Evil 2, Ape Out, and Knights of Pen and Paper.

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Who doesn't love a good ol' fashioned Nintendie Direct! Nintendo brought the heat despite not showing off the big guns, minus a booooooooraaang Fire Emblem segment. Alex joins the boys to break down the Nintendo Direct.

But that's not all! Didn't we tell you we were never missing an eShop Roundup again and we weren't kidding. Don't worry we talk some games as well Away: Journey to The Unexpected, Avenger Bird, Solstice Chronicles MIA, Resident Evil 2 Remake, Ape Out, and Knights of Pen and Paper. Yup, it's a jam packed episode once again my friends!  

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

Podcast Discussion / Episode 125 - It's All Downwell From Here
« on: February 07, 2019, 10:36:25 AM »

Alex joins the boys to talk Dragon Marked for Death, Downwell, Super Luigi U, Travis Strikes Again, Mario + Rabbids ... no we're not done yet, Unruly Heroes, and Resident Evil 4!

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Casey kicks off the show with his ol' friend Pert to talk Dragon Marked for Death and Downwell. Then he gracefully takes his exit, or does he?! Alex steps in and finishes off the show with a whole boatload of games.

No Casey? No problem! Alex and Perry take over to deliver the freshest games on the ol' eShop Roundup! We won't make the same mistakes and miss an eShop ever again.

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

Podcast Discussion / Episode 119 - Rerolling
« on: December 27, 2018, 01:27:05 PM »

Alex Culafi stops by for our final show of 2018 to talk Gris, Katamari Damacy Reroll, Smash Bros Ultimate, Xenoblade, and even some good ol' Kirby. Then what better way to close out the year than another game of Mystery Reversery!

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With the final show of the year upon us, we're joined by Alex Culafi to talk a whole bunch of games. He's been busy since last time we talked as he's got six games to talk about including the newly release Katamari Damacy Reroll for the Switch. But he's also been diving into a bunch of Kirby and Xenoblade as well while still finding time to dabble with some Smash Ultimate. One game he hasn't been playing is Gris, but luckily Casey's got his back. And for Perry? Well lets say being a Pert that big is a full time job.    

If you thought perhaps with Christmas and the New Year we might see a dip in eShop quantities, boy were you wrong. Another 30 or so games to talk about before being treated to another round of Mystery Reversery! Yessire, Perry has another set of games for us to guess,  but does Casey do as poorly as normal? Probably, but you'll have to see listen to see hear how bad. Then we wrap up the show and the year with some Craiglist finds!

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

Podcast Discussion / Episode 114 - Sleep Powder
« on: November 22, 2018, 03:02:18 AM »

Alex Culafi stops by to join our in depth Pokemon Let's Go discussion! Then we get into the eShop Roundup, News, and the return of the Craiglist Roundup with one of Perry's stranger pickups!

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The boys are joined by the sleepy one, Alex Culafi, who just so happens to do his best Snorlax impression and passes out for half our Pokemon Let's Go discussion. However that doesn't stop the boys from getting in the weeds with all things Let's Go. Perry was originally on the fence, but after a lukewarm first impression, he now finds himself really enjoying the more laid back approach to Pokemon. Casey's 12 hour weekend of Pokemon is definitely a sign he enjoyed himself. About half hour into our convo, Alex awakes from his slumber to give his thoughts before moving onto a little Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Torna talk.

Moving along, its another week of the eShop and that means another 30 games to discuss. We attempt to lightening round this bad boy otherwise the segment would be an hour long itself... really we should just permanently dub the eShop Roundup as the eShop Lightening Roundup. Then we got some news to chat about, but really not too much, not a hardy one by any means. However we do get into some free-to-play goodness coming to the Switch. Then Perry wraps up the show with the return of the Craiglist Roundup where you'll never believe what he picked up..."

We'd like to first off thank Alex for stopping by, always a pleasure to have him on the show. We'd also like to remind everyone we got dem t-shirts and if you wanna look sleek and fly and at the same time, make sure to preorder 'em while they're hot! They cost $15 with shipping, but no money down to preorder, just shoot Perry or Casey (or our TNP twitter) and we'll mark you down!

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

Podcast Discussion / Episode 94 - Happy Indie Pendants Day
« on: July 05, 2018, 11:01:00 AM »

The boys talk Mario Tennis Aces, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, and Miles & Kilo! Then Alex joins Perry to interview Miles & Kilo developer, Mick Waites.

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     As we enter this Fourth of July week/weekend, who’s to say when it falls on a Wednesday, we figured what better way to celebrate than by the disposing of legions of Nazis in Wolfenstein II The New Colossus. It’s still crazy to think Wolf 2 could look so good on a portable device, but there’s hardly any time to think about that once you start your journey to liberate the US from Nazi control in this absolutely bonkers shooter. Shifting gears, the boys have been playing the recently released Miles & Kilo, the follow up title to Kid Tripp. This retro inspired, but tough-as-nails platformer takes everything good from Kid Tripp and builds upon it to offer a really fantastic game - with Perry even giving it the 2nd “Must-Play” title of 2018. Oh yeah, plenty of butt kicking has been going down on the tennis court whenever Casey and Perry can find five minutes to play some Aces.        

   Once again we have a jam packed summer eShop Roundup, the games continue to come and we continue to try to keep ourselves afloat while talking and playing as many of them as we can! We even recorded some “gameplay” of the eShop as we discuss and broke it out into video form for NWR TV’s YouTube Channel, so if you’re curious to see screens and videos as we discuss the games, make sure to pop over to check it out. Speaking of which, due to popular demand (at least from one man, Grillz Von Sizzle) we are happy to have the return of the YouTube Saloon! As mentioned we have a video eShop Roundup, a new challenge featuring Miles & Kilo, and a Mini-Play of Mario Tennis Aces Doubles. We’d be honored if y’all could check it out and let us know what you think! Moving along to a relatively light week on the News front, we discuss sales figures for Hollow Knight, Crash Bandicoot’s impressive start in the UK, and Nintendo’s comments on docked vs undocked playtimes.          

     After a brief break, Casey’s dismissal, and the arrival of Alex Culafi, the new set of boys are joined by Four Horses developer Mick Waites, who worked on Miles & Kilo. They discuss working on the recent release and is most certainly something you won’t want to miss! A huge thank you to both Alex and Mick for stopping by for this wonderful interview!        

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

Podcast Discussion / Episode 90 - Makin' Up Words
« on: June 07, 2018, 02:18:42 PM »

We're happy to have Alex join us as we talk Yoku's Island Express, Pokemon Quest, Just Shapes & Beats, Mario Tennis Aces, and the 1997 Spaceworld Pokemon Gold Prototype! Then it's the best time of the year, E3 predictions!

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a-chugga chugga-chugga CHOOOO CHOOOOOOOOOOOO! YESSIREE Jim, it’s the best time of the year as we are less than a week out from E3 2018 and that means it’s our E3 predictions show! But before we get into all that, we got a LOT of games to talk about and what better person to join us other than our most little guest ever, fellow NWR staffer Alex Culafi!

Kicking off the show we start off with one of our newer segments, Quick Bites, but really this felt more like a long chew, as we touch on N++, Runner3, and then are lucky enough to hear Alex’s unedited confession of love for Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Now that we’ve got those out of the way it’s time to really talk about What We’ve Been Playing - and Alex kicks it off with a 1997 demo of Pokemon Gold from Spaceworld, which is just mind blowing. Shifting gears Perry tells us all about the genre-bending Yoku’s Island Express before Casey brings us back to Pokemon with recently released free-to-play Pokemon Quest. Continuing this big old list of games, we talk about a game we actually all played together at PAX, Just Shapes & Beats before wrapping up with our impression of the Mario Tennis Aces Demo… phew.

Now that all that’s out of the way, it’s time for the real reason we’re all here and that is predictions time, baby! I mean, what’s better than listening to three guys make complete Jimmies out of themselves with some outlandish predictions?! It’s like that time Casey said, “Of course they’ll talk about Virtual Console… lawlz” and we all know how that ended. This year we have a bunch of “Closest to the Pin” predictions and then we give three Bronze, Silver, and Gold predictions. Whoever accumulates the most points will be this year’s Casey… I mean winner! And the loser? Well that person (Perry) will be subjected to either streaming a horrible game while wearing a witch hat and sipping on the winner’s cola of choice or playing and reviewing a comically bad game and making a beautifully written video review for it (while simultaneously praising the other person’s cola of choice). Want to know the best part of it all? You guys get to decide the punishment via a Twitter poll!

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

TalkBack / Garage (Switch) Review
« on: May 09, 2018, 03:00:00 AM »

In the garage, where I belong, no one hears me sing this song.

It disappoints me to no end that I can’t recommend Garage. When it was first revealed in the Spring 2018 Nindies Showcase in March, I had very high hopes. It looked like it had the same fast-paced, top-down gameplay of Hotline Miami, only with more setpieces, boss fights, and a stronger narrative structure. Unfortunately, the end result is a disappointing mess.

If you’ve played Hotline Miami, you have an idea of what the gameplay is about. Garage is a violent top-down, twin-stick shooter where you turn enemies into mush through a selection of guns and melee weapons. But while there are similarities here, it differs from Hotline Miami in a number of key ways. Instead of constantly picking up weapons and throwing them away, for instance, you have a persistent weapon wheel with guns you pick up over the game’s “13” chapters.

Garage also has a completely different setting and gameplay structure. Rather than going for an old-school Miami vibe, Garage takes cues from zombie B-movies. You play as a janitor (and ex-drug dealer) named Butch who gets into a zombie situation and has to murder tons of zombies (and zombie-like creatures) to get out of it. It also has a linear story progression, a number of one-off setpieces (cool drug trips and motorcycle jumps among them), and boss fights featuring big life meters.

The best parts of Garage are the ones that are all its own. The boss fights, which include a Human Centipede-like beast and an arena fight against a giant mutant general, are a lot of fun, and require consistent strafing and ammo management. The setpieces—special shout-out to one extremely trippy sequence at the end—really gives Garage a heart and personality I wasn’t expecting. Even the story, which is very dumb, has an enjoyable, movie-like charm in its dumbness.

Unfortunately, that’s where the praise ends.

Garage is extremely hard. Its easiest difficulty, which I played on, is probably equivalent to a “hard” difficulty in most other games. I’m convinced part of that difficulty came from its imprecise aiming. Its reticle is constantly moving back and forth (probably to simulate a PC-like control scheme), but it doesn’t work well with the right joystick at all. It feels like one in every three bullets hits its mark, and I say that as someone relatively experienced with this genre. The guns, as a result, don’t feel very good to use (barring the shotgun and energy grenades).

Garage also has a feature where enemies will only appear visible when your character has the ability to see them in-game. In other words, if you’re standing in one room, there’s a closed door in front of you, and there’s a room on the other side of that door, everything in the room will be visible to you except enemies. I appreciate developer Zombie Dynamics trying to do something different here and focus on the moment-to-moment action, but in doing this, it eliminates nearly all of the strategy that makes these top-down twin-stick shooters so much fun. Moreover, it’s confusing (and frustrating) to see a room’s layout, but not the enemies within that room.

When I said the game had 13 chapters, you might have noticed that I said “13.” That’s because Chapter 10 is, and I mean this in the most literal way possible, missing. After beating Chapter 9, one of the bosses you recently beat corners you and begins to engage you in a chase sequence. At that point, a black screen with a letter from the developers pops up explaining that the code for the chapter was “irretrievably lost,” all the while promising what would have been “the best chase you’ve ever seen in your life.” I expect this from a game released on Early Access—not a video game with publisher backing.

Lastly, a couple other small issues. The game hitches for a second every time it autosaves, which really takes the wind out of the room when there’s a one-second pause in the middle of an intense scene. Then there are the load times, which are usually 20-30 seconds in length (regardless of whether the Switch is docked or not). Neither of these are particularly major, but when taken with the game’s other adds up.

Garage is a game that, to put it bluntly, feels unfinished. Everything from the less-than-tight gameplay (in a genre all about tightness and control) to its sloppily-missing Chapter 10 makes me feel Garage could have benefitted from more time in the oven. And it’s a shame the game came out this way too, because it has multiple positive aspects and the (missed) potential to be something greater.

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