Fish and chips. Bread and butter. Cheese and macaroni. Peanut butter and jelly. Dragon Ball and fighting games. These are things that have gone together for what seems like an eternity, and they all compliment each other perfectly.
Dragon Ball has had a long history of ups and downs when it comes to its video game entries. I’m pretty familiar with this series, from the excellent Budokai and Budokai Tenkaichi games, to the forgettable run of titles on the last-gen systems, and the enjoyable Xenoverse games. FighterZ is kind of a breath of fresh air, in that it dials things back from the fully 3D Xenoverse and gives us a great classic-style 2.5D, side-view fighter.
I almost skipped Celeste. It’s just that I tend to get burned out of the lo-fi, retro-looking indie games that are always coming out, and I’ve been playing a bunch of those lately on the Switch. But Celeste was very highly recommended to me, so I decided to buy it, and holy crap am I glad I did. This is a very simple platformer on the surface, but there is a ridiculous amount of depth here, both in its gameplay and narrative.
For as long as I have followed Monster Hunter, it was always apparent that this series is following a clear trajectory. With each entry, the developers have been improving the games, slowly refining the core mechanics in their quest to make the perfect monster-killing sim. Up to this point, each main entry in the series has been better than the last, so a game as spectacular as Monster Hunter: World was only an inevitability.
This is a game that blew me away at almost every moment. It wowed me whether I was barely surviving through a fight with a massive monster, teaming up with other hunters to collect parts for that greatsword I really wanted, or just exploring its hauntingly beautiful world while picking bugs and flowers. With the improvements that have been made in World, in addition to everything it inherits from the previous games, it just feels like Monster Hunter has finally hit the critical mass to allow them to cross the threshold from ” good” to “amazing.”
Furi is an action game by developers The Game Bakers. It came out on other systems in 2016, but just recently hit the Switch in January. I picked it up purely because I’m a sucker for stylish games like this. To my surprise, there is an engaging, hardcore experience to match the gorgeous visual presentation.
Furi is a weird mix of bullet hell and hack-and-slash. This is, in its core, a boss rush game, where you tackle a succession of difficult bosses one after another. The mechanics are actually very simplistic, and don’t change throughout the course of the game. Everything revolves around a simple set of core actions: you can shoot enemies with your gun twin-stick style, attack them with your sword, dodge and parry attacks.
A quick glance at this blog will tell you that I’m a pretty big Zelda fan. I am especially a fan of the 2D Zeldas, such as Link’s Awakening and A Link to the Past. That’s why Blossom Tales jumped out at me. While many games try to replicate aspects of Zelda, not many try to capture the feeling of playing one as Blossom Tales does. The game is self aware and confident enough to even make a tongue in cheek reference to Zelda in its opening moments, but can it really back it up with its gameplay?
Well, yeah. This is a great Zelda clone. It doesn’t quite hit the same highs as any of the classic 2D Zelda games of the SNES, Game Boy and Game Boy Advance, but for a $15 indie game, it doesn’t have to. It’s good enough to be more than worth the money, and mechanically, it hits all the boxes to give anyone a crazy nostalgia rush.
Yeah, while I’m really bummed that Monster Hunter: World is skipping the Nintendo Switch, I’m also extremely excited for this game. I’ve been a fan of this series ever since Monster Hunter 3: Tri consumed my life when it was released on the Nintendo Wii, and I spent the whole weekend exploring the game’s demo, which was available over the weekend.
While Monster Hunter has always been awesome, it has also been a relatively niche series due to its complex mechanics that puts the focus squarely on the gameplay and nothing else. While very similar to its predecessor, Monster Hunter 4 did take a small step forward by streamlining many aspects and improving the game’s multiplayer mode, but there was still room for improvement. World seems to be the game that finally goes the whole way, providing visual cues and quality of life changes that I think will end up improving the experience a lot.
I’m sure I’m not the first person to draw this comparison, but Rec Room, originally released in 2016 for the PC and last fall for the PSVR, is essentially the Wii Sports of VR. It bundles several multiplayer mini games together in a wonderful showcase of what VR can bring to the table. And best of all? It’s totally free.
I’m not going to review the game at this point, since it is still in Early Access/Beta. However, I wanted to run through the game and encourage any PSVR owner who hasn’t downloaded this to give it a try.