Oh boy, where do I start? Anyone who’s been playing video games for the past 15 years knows of Shadow of the Colossus. This is a game that is often brought up as an example of video games as a form of art, and with good reason. Back when it was originally released for the PS2 in 2005, this game was an unmatched audiovisual masterpiece, let down only by the technological limitations of that console.
I first played this game when it was ported to the PS3, and I could quickly see why this game is so beloved. There is a solemn beauty here that you can’t really find anywhere else. The desolate environments, sweeping, melancholic soundtrack and magnificently crafted colossi all work together to craft a powerful feeling of awe. Hell, I get goosebumps just writing about it.
It would be an understatement to say that the retro-style indie platformer market is over saturated. That’s why it’s easy to forget that we’ve gotten many great games coming from this field, such as Braid, VVVVVV, Fez, Cuphead and Shovel Knight, just to name a few. Now, we can add Celeste to that list. Celeste is a platformer developed by the creators of TowerFall, and it looks deceivingly simple. Under its simplistic visuals lies a superbly designed game, filled with tons of fun challenges and a really touching narrative.
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.
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.
I started replaying Monolith Soft’s Xenoblade Chronicles at the same time I was playing Xenoblade Chronicles 2, in order to better understand the differences between the two games. Naturally, I had an itch to keep playing this fantastic game after beating its sequel. Xenoblade Chronicles is an RPG developed by Monolith Soft for Nintendo’s Wii system. It first caught my eye back in the day due to the fan outcry that finally brought it over to North America in 2012.
Xenoblade was a spectacular game for many reasons. As a JRPG that was developed for a system that was very underpowered by 2012 standards, Xenoblade shattered expectations by being a humongous and expansive experience. The world of the Xenoblade managed to be one of the most visually unique and beautiful settings I’ve ever seen in an RPG, despite the hardware limitations of the Wii.