Humble Beginnings – April 2019

I’m doing a new thing! It’s called Humble Beginnings, where I play the first hour of each thing in the humble monthly bundle, whether I think I’ll like it or not, and talk about my impressions! My goal with this project is to get myself trying more games and stop feeling like starting a game is making some sort of commitment to finish or continue it. Also, maybe I can try varying my writing voice and maybe impart some insights along the way….


Sekiro and Difficulty: My Two Cents

Quick Disclaimer: I talk a bit about accessibility and accounting for disabled players. I’m super not an expert on this topic! If I made any missteps in discussing this issue, please let me know. Last week saw the release of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, the new game from Dark Souls developer From Software. As is…


Ashen and the Anatomy of a Soulslike

It’s impossible for me to assess Ashen and its design decisions in a vacuum. This is partly because it wasn’t created in one: elements of its story and design are direct responses to their analogues in the Souls series. Ashen demonstrates how the Dark Souls formula provides a backdrop for interesting ideas, but can also obscure or dampen a game’s own identity….


Paul’s Top 10 Games of 2018

Welp, I’m doing the thing. I don’t typically go out of my way to do a Top Whatever list like this, but I guess I just got caught up in the GOTY hype. This past year wasn’t quite the deluge of big-budget showstoppers that 2017 was, but there were a ton of smaller titles that…


The Messenger is a Retro Love Letter with a Modern Touch

Nostalgia for 8 and 16-bit consoles is not something that I’m all that familiar with. The first game system I owned was the PlayStation, and the only games I played on it were piles of colorful 3D polygons like Spyro and Crash Bandicoot. Going back to emulators or classic consoles like the NES, SNES, Genesis,…


Guacamelee! 2 is Too Outrageous for its Own Good

Metroidvania Month has come to a close, and this week’s game is a sequel! Guacamelee! 2, the sequel to 2013’s Guacamelee!, is a new adventure from Canadian developer Drinkbox Studios, and it’s bigger and crazier than its beloved predecessor. Building off of the unique high-flying beat-em-up combat in the first game, Guacamelee! 2 sets out…


Death’s Gambit is an Intriguing 2D Soulslike

It’s a new week, and a new Metroidvania released. This one is Death’s Gambit, the debut release from developer White Rabbit. Except, it turns out, that Death’s Gambit is even less of a Metroidvania that Dead Cells, which I reviewed last week. While it does feature a large, interconnected world with unlockable shortcuts, it does not have…


Dead Cells Brings Metroidvania Elements to a Roguelike

Let’s just get this out of the way: Dead Cells isn’t really a Metroidvania. And that’s fine, because it’s a really good roguelike! But if I’d played it before this week, I might have felt weird including it in my Month of Metroidvanias. In reality, Dead Cells has much more of the modern roguelike’s DNA, complete with permadeath, procedurally generated levels, and some overarching progression mechanics that help players feel more powerful and capable across multiple runs. But despite having the standard formula of a modern roguelike, it also has a couple of major mechanics that it borrows from Metroidvanias, using them to great effect to hone and enhance this formula….


Chasm is Interesting, but Inconsistent

Deep underground, in a hostile uncharted dungeon, I set out from a shrine in search of lost townsfolk and mysterious treasures. After battling through several rooms full of monsters and obstacles, I discovered one of the missing townsfolk. Great! Now I was presented with a choice: trudge back to the shrine and save my game, or forge on ahead looking for the next shrine. I chose to journey forward, health and supplies dwindling, more desperate with each new room I entered. And then eventually……


Humble Monthly Game: AER Memories of Old

Well, I got around to playing another Humble Monthly game all the way through, so let’s to talk about it!

AER Memories of Old is the debut commercial release by Swedish indie studio Forgotten Key. It’s an exploration-focused adventure game that, most notably, features the ability to transform into a bird and fly around a world full of floating islands. While a lot of its narrative efforts fell flat, its atmosphere was engrossing and its minimalism was unexpected, at times frustrating but often refreshing….