Kena: Bridge of Spirits (2021) Review

Kena: Bridge of Spirits is an action-adventure game from Ember Lab Studios, it was released in 2021 for the PS4, PS5 and PC

In the game you play as a young spirit guide Kena, she has the important job of helping deceased persons cross from the natural world and into the spirit realm, some of these spirits have become corrupt and have infested the land with demons and toxic elements, throughout her adventure Kena will have to work closely with the creatures called Rot to help free these tormented souls and save both worlds.

The gameplay while simple in its design is very fun, its a 3D platformer at heart with a good mixture of action oriented combat with adventurous terrains and worlds to explore, with the game having a high focus on spirits there is an emphasis on supernatural elements and magic which helps to spice up the gameplay.

Regular combat isn’t anything too special only offering basic light and heavy attacks with the staff but its the Rot, Bombs and Arrows which really bring additional challenge and for me made the combat some of the best parts of my personal journey with Kena.

The Bow of course gave us distanced combat and was useful for hitting further away enemies and those who fly, it could also be used to whip across gaps using special flowers.

The Bombs were particularly cool because not only did they give us a powerful damage attack but they have the ability to interact with certain stones creating timed platforming segments to help progress through areas and find hidden secrets.

The Rot were the best part of the game because not only are they extremely adorable and can be decorated with the sweetest little hats but they also have the ability to help you solve puzzles by carrying items, removing corruption and growing plants, they can also enhance your staff, bow and bomb abilities later on in the game giving them even more uses.

These creatures are only one of the many hidden collectibles in the game, they can be found in many different places but specifically prefer to hide underneath rocks and logs and tucked away inside of small spaces like drawers and plant pots.

Unfortunately with all of the collectibles in the game apart from trophies there isn’t much benefit to finding them with the exception of Rot and the meditations spots (permanently increases Kenas health), The hats while cute don’t offer any upgrades to abilities and the flower shrines only give you more money which can be used to purchase the hats, Spirit Mail sometimes does lead to more rot and do normally come with some cursed chests offering some combat challenges.

The Visuals are just out of this world and easily some of the best we have seen on PS5 so far, the landscape takes high inspiration from the Japanese countryside which fits the narrative of the game really well, on top of this crisp details on everything really enhances the experience, I love the bright colours of the human world making this game stand out even though it shares similar visual designs with other games of the genre, the spirit world uses more darker colours with less detail and again it helps to differentiate the worlds of the game making sure players know where they are at all times.

The soundtrack was composed by Jason Gallaty and is just beautiful, the team travelled to Bali to record traditional Gamelan music for the soundtrack, Gamelan uses bamboo flutes, Xylophones and a Rebab (Bowed instrument) the music is very calming but is adaptable to suit the games more action oriented sections. It is rare that I do not have spotify, an audio book or Youtube on in the background while gaming but this was an exception with a soundtrack so mesmerizing I wanted to let every second of it massage my brain with its artistic melodies.

I loved Kena, its visuals and outstanding soundtrack really helped to enhance my experience, the land was fantastic to explore and I loved all of the different combat sections and boss fights. My only issues with the game is that some of the collectibles dont offer enough to feel worth going out of your way for and finally the lack of a waypoint marker for the map made getting around a little difficult, I had to keep checking the map to see where I was and what direction I was facing, there is an update coming soon so maybe this will be added but overall if you have a Playstation or a good PC I highly recommend this one and will award it a well deserved 9.8/10

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Cyberpunk 2077 (2020)Review

Cyberpunk 2077 is an open world, action, role playing game set in a futuristic City. In the game players create and personalise a mercenary named V who is on a desperate mission to become the King/Queen of Night City while also trying to remove the personality of long Dead Rockstar Johnny Silverhand from her brain.

The game was developed by CD Projekt Red and Published by CD Projekt, it was released in 2020 for the PS4, Xbox One and PC, the original release was a notoriously broken mess and barely playable, the game was so bad that Sony removed it from their store for 6 months until the game was patched with better development and bug repairs.

In 2022 a free upgrade for PS5 and Xbox Series X/S was available for download, this is the version I played which also is the fixed version of the game, I will however keep in mind the original release for my criticisms and final score.

The gameplay is very similar to what you might expect from the Grand Theft Auto series, you play a fairly ruthless character who will break the law relentlessly to get what they want, stealing cars, hiring prostitutes and all out murder, it does add the ability purchase multiple homes and vehicles, it even uses skill trees and body modifications to help increase character attributes and abilities. The skill trees will help you gain more strength, stamina or hacking abilities while the Ripper Docs offer the modifications allowing you upgrades such as a double jump, better scanning, Gorilla strength, armoured skin and so much more.

But one thing this game does amazingly well is that it manages to be LGBTQ+ supportive in its gameplay and character developments.

Throughout the game you get the chance to have a lot of sex including LGBTQ+ you can even start romantic relationships including those of the same sex (My female character was dating another female in the game). During the character development you can be woman with male private parts or vice versa which I believe is in support of the trans community, If that statement is incorrect please educate me as I don’t mean to offend anyone.

I just think its amazing to see a triple A title like Cyberpunk take time to recognise the LGBTQ+ community in a way that isn’t overblown and is accepted as part of the society of Night City, Cyberpunk may have had its problems initially but the way it handles these areas is a testament to how far video games have come over the years.

In 2022 the game plays almost flawlessly, it has good controls and it has a good mix of side missions and other content to keep you coming back, the side missions are really diverse too you could be stealing an artefact in one mission, then aiming to be the city’s boxing champion before trying to come first in a street race

I did experience some problems though, my main gripe was when ever I finished a Johnny Silverhand Segment a blue rectangle would be stuck on my screen until I rebooted the game, another common issue was general crashes while loading missions, again making me reboot the game and hoping for the best when trying again. The game runs well enough but these rare bugs really did get annoying at times, I understand that they did patch the game to fix most of the problems but in reality the game never should have been rushed to release like it was, you shouldn’t sell people a broken product, its practically a scam and the developers and publishers ought to be ashamed of themselves, its all well and good fixing the problems but they never should have been there in the first place.

The game has seven possible endings which I wont go into detail on because of spoilers but each one can be reached depending on player choices throughout the campaign.

The soundtrack is pretty fun, it uses a lot of rock music to fit the atmosphere especially around Johnny Silverhand and his band Samurai, Samurai is actually really good and I’m surprised this isn’t a real band, throughout my college years I listened to a lot of rock music and screamo and this reminded me of those tracks, it was quite nice to get nostalgia like that.

Two years ago I would have told you to stay far away from this game and save your money on a practically unplayable scam and to simply make a point to the developers that gamers wont support this type of disrespect even if they did get Keanu Reeves to play Johnny Silverhand.

However as of now the game has been financially successful and its a long time since that first release, the fixed version of Cyberpunk is one of the most creative and wonderfully directed games I have played in a long time, you tell your own story here and apart from the Johnny Silverhand stuff there isn’t much that keeps you on a single path. The game is open to all types of gamers and celebrates a wide range of communities, it also has a great number of bad ass females in the game to help narrow down that issue with the video game industry as well. Cyberpunk is worth your time and is fairly reasonably priced to pick up cheap, it is also free on Playstation Plus if you want to check it out. I had a blast with the game but I cant give it too much praise, its still broken in some areas and while not to the degree it was previously its still bad enough to effect the flow and take you out of that atmosphere. I think the game is well deserving of a 8 today but this is not the original game that got released so I think a 7/10 is a fair score which a still represents the games past versions but can also celebrate those more playable versions as well.

And to CD Projekt Red I want to ask if you make another Cyberpunk please try and learn from your mistakes, next time I don’t want to be discussing broken releases.

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A Plague Tale: Innocence (2019) Review

A Plague Tale Innocence is the first game in a new video game series from developers Asobo Studios, It was published in 2019 by Focus Interactive for the PS4, Xbox One and PC with a PS5, Xbox Series X/S releases coming out in 2021 Cloud based releases also came out for the Nintendo Switch and Amazon Luna. I played the PS5 version of the game so my opinions are mostly based on that version of the game.

The game takes place between the years 1348 and 1349 in France during the Black Plague and the 100 year war. You play the game as Amicia De Rune who is trying to escape the French Inqusition who want to take away her sick 5 year old brother Hugo so they can run experiments on him due to something in his blood. Since the game also takes place during the plague outbreak avoiding infected rats is also a major key to survival.

The game has a very high focus on stealth, in fact I would argue that this is almost the entire game, I dont mind stealth but I have always struggled with it and normally die a whole bunch which was no different here. I was surprised with how much I actually really enjoyed the stealth gameplay though.

I like how the entire experience is like a puzzle, you can attack enemies with your slingshot to kill them but throughout your journey you do unlock new ways to use your sling with a crafting system, you can make fire, extinguish flames and do an attack that forces soldiers to remove their helmets.

You can even find other ways to get rid of enemies such as throwing rocks and pots to lure them away from your location or you can create a sleeping solution to knock them out, the goal of the game is not to avoid violence but to avoid being seen and it is really fun to figure out different ways to achieve this. Hugo makes this difficult because he is only a child and gets upset if you go too far away from him so for the majority of the game you are holding his hand and need to be sneaky while also making sure to keep him safe as well.

The way that rats work is they only attack in the dark and always come out in groups that will eat you alive. You need to stay in the light or find other ways to distract them, I don’t want to spoil too much but one way to distract the rats is to encourage them to eat the enemies, you can do this by extinguishing enemy fires or by throwing a smelly solution at the French Soldiers to over-empower your own scent. As for Hugo’s secret blood and abilities I wont discuss them in this review as that would be a major spoiler for the game but I will go into a lot more detail when we discuss the upcoming sequel.

Sometimes during the game you have allies that you need to command to help you take out enemies or finish puzzles, this doesn’t happen too often but whenever did happen the game was clear with its hints and I didn’t have too much trouble.

The game looks great visually it fits the theme of desolation, loss and fear that a lot of people had during the time period, the abandoned villages and mass hysteria of certain groups reminds me of the early days of something we all had to suffer through recently and I want to make it clear that in my spare time I am a massive history fanboy. The Black Plague is something I have researched a lot over the years and while of course this is a video game so it does over exaggerate certain things it is what I would expect from a game based during those troubling times. It even makes an effort to be somewhat historically accurate, above you can see white crosses on the doors and in the game Amecia explains that people in those houses have been locked in as they have caught the plague and this is actually true to historical evidence although the crosses were more commonly painted in either red or black.

The soundtrack for the game was composed by Olivier Deriviere a French videogame composer best known for the Alone in the Dark Series. The Music here is very eerie and gives off chilling vibes of loneliness and an odd sense of calm. There isn’t really a lot of big action in the game so the music tends to fit the slower pace with it’s composition and while I wouldn’t necessarily go out of my way to listen to it I do appreciate what we were given and I look forward to seeing if the composition changes much in the sequel.

A Plague Tale Innocence is best described as a great experience but not one you would really want to revisit straight away, the core gameplay is really good and it works to tell a fantastic and emotional story of two struggling siblings during one of the most horrific pandemics in History. The biggest issue with the game is that it is much too linear, there are collectables but for the most part you are on one path with very little room for exploration, I wish there was more too it perhaps some side quests or morale choices that effect the outcome of your journey, maybe the possibility to play the game in co-op would have been a good addition considering that out of the entire story only a handful of chapters focus on one character.

The game is one of the more affordable options for the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S, in fact I got this sealed for a measly £20 and for that price its a bargain, I just hope the next chapter in the adventures of Amecia and Hugo just offers a little bit extra and that big reveal at the end plays a much bigger role next time.

7/10

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Alan Wake (2010) Review

Alan Wake is a game that I have avoided since it released almost 12 years ago, it just never appealed to me but ever since getting the PS5 and there not being many budget friendly games available Alan Wakes remastered version was offered at a price I just couldn’t refuse, but how does it hold up? is it worth picking up and was I wrong to avoid it for so long?

Alan Wake describes itself as a Phycological Action Thriller and is very unique with its episode based progression, inspired by TV dramas.

It was developed by Remedy Entertainment and published by Microsoft as an exclusive to its Xbox 360 videogame system and it remained an exclusive until 2021 when it was released on the PS4, Xbox One, PS5 and the Xbox Series X/S.

I played the remastered version of the game for the PS5 so my opinion is based upon my own experiences with this port.

The game is very story driven and that is its main hook, the plot of a writer being trapped in his own horror story and having to find a way to change its pages in order to save his missing wife is something I don’t think has ever been done before, it is very immersive and the commentary by Alan throughout the adventure really helps to make sense of what is going on.

You can also collect pages from the original manuscript to help explain the story in more detail although a good number of these can only be obtained on the Nightmare difficulty of the game, another collectable are the 100 coffee thermoses, these don’t do anything in the game but are available for trophy hunters.

Discussing the difficulty I feel is necessary as this is a very hard game, I played on Normal and still really struggled at first, the game is a survival horror and if not careful players can find themselves with no ammunition and very little light.

The dark is a huge theme here and is the most dangerous element of this adventure, while in the dark possessed spirits will bombard players and can take you out in only a few hits, the flash light will eventually stun them so they can be shot but this light is limited and you should try to use the back up batteries sparingly. Trying to kill every enemy is almost impossible as in most cases they keep re-appearing, so what you really need to do is try to avoid combat when you can and very strategically make your way to light sources so you can heal. Lights are also the only areas that are completely safe but of course they are few and far between so they cannot be completely relied on.

There are some “Boss fights” in the game but they are mostly just much more powerful and larger versions of the possessed, again light is your best weapon with these and I highly recommend trying to defeat them (even though some can be avoided) as certain ones will give you in game trophies.

The game is very dark in its colours and uses very little detail to help pull off its creepy and empty atmosphere, Alan is lost on his journey and is slowly figuring things out, the players see the world though his eyes and it works surprisingly well having less to focus on it gives off the effect that this is a very dark and secluded game and it helps to put more emphasis on the story, there are no side quests or open world areas as Alan Wake doesn’t need either of these to tell a very good story and it does that extremely well.

On another note the flashback segments are much more detailed and use a full colour palette, these are a nice change of pace, they don’t stay for long but are much appreciated when we do get them, they also help shine some light on Alans relationship with Alice and why they were having problems before she was taken by the darkness.

There are two DLC episodes which are included as part of the remastered package, these are titled the Signal and the Writer. I wont go into discussion about these as by doing that I will be spoiling the main games ending as these are both follow on stories which prepare players for the eventual plot of Alan Wake 2 releasing sometime next year.

The soundtrack was composed by Petri Alanko and is really good, I’ll be honest it is really rare that the game uses music and that does benefit it as it helps pull off that empty, realism and loneliness, but since the game is episode based, each episode ends with credits which all have their own song with a vocal performance and these change depending on the themes of said episode. The sound track also is used on the title screen and while the music here is very quiet and mostly matched with creepy sounds it helps to add to that atmosphere and I absolutely love it.

Alan Wake is a game I wish I played a very long time ago, I think the slower gameplay was off putting to me back then, but I am pleased to say I actually really enjoyed this one, I wasn’t hooked on it but I don’t feel like your meant to be, the game is slow and extremely difficult but tells this absolutely amazing story that is awarded to you for your survival. There isn’t really much to the game to make it addictive but I kept wanting to see where the plot was going to take me and of course the mystery of the island was really captivating and if there was any hook that was it for me, the ending definitely caught me by surprise and I am really looking forward to see where this goes in the sequel. 7.5/10

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Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (2016) Review

I always knew one day I would be concluding my look into the Uncharted video game series and I went into this final entry with scepticism considering I was a little disappointed with the last game but does Nathan Drakes final adventure hold up as well as the masterpiece Uncharted 2?

Taking place several years after the events of Drakes Deception, treasure hunter Nathan Drake is recently retired and living as a regular person with his wife Elena.

One day out of the blue his long lost dead brother shows up alive and well but is on the run from the notorious drug dealer Hector Alcazar.

Hector helped Sam Drake escape from his Mexican prison in exchange for a share in the treasure of the pirate Henry Avery, he gives Sam three days to deliver the treasure before he kills him leaving Sam no choice but to hunt down his famous brother and convince him to go on one last adventure to help pay off his debts.

This game differs slightly to the second and third game as it follows a very linear story that doesn’t encourage you to differ to far from your own path, of course there are secret treasure to find and many are from exploring but there isn’t many memorable locations or things to find outside of that goal but I don’t really think its needed here. This is the final chapter in Nathan Drakes story and a lot of is revealed from his childhood, his relationship with his brother Sam and even his mother.

There is a lot of different types of gameplay besides the usual puzzle solving, driving the Jeep’s was my absolute favourite part as it was really fun to just drive around and even though there wasn’t anything to substantial to see driving was a really nice change to the gameplay as these parts only came up once in a while.

Swinging on the rope works extremely well and was needed often to traverse large gaps, you can climb up and down the rope too and isn’t always obvious where you can jump too so paying close attention to your environment is very important.

The puzzles in this game are the best we ever got from this series because not only are they challenging but they really stand out as feeling believable and very creative, I loved the puzzles in the third game but I feel like some of those did feel a little silly compared to these and I could actually see these in something on the lines of an Indiana Jones film and some maybe even in historical documents. The hardest puzzle in my opinion was rotating the stone wheels to match the correct symbols to the lights in Avery’s Crypt, it took me a good while to figure these out and I felt very accomplished afterwards.

The most beloved parts of this game for myself and a lot of others is actually the parts with differ from the main Henry Avery plot and focus on either back story or have more interactive moments, its very well known now that you play the original Crash Bandicoot twice in the game trying to beat Elena’s high score, I failed on both attempts but I am certain that it is possible never the less this is a very cool reference to developer Naughty Dog’s early roots.

The segments with younger Nate and Sam are both very interesting especially the second part when you break into a mansion to steal back their mothers journal and you get to meet her very old partner (in a way this is foreshadowing what Sully is to Nate, his partner but much older and sadly her death is also foreshadowing the loss of Sully he will need to deal with one day).

And then you get the small surprises, the Crash Bandicoot reference was one of them but there are a lot of these in the calmer segments of the game, sometimes is just old journal entries or photographs and other times they are interactive such as eating all the food and playing with the lemur in the market, only small details but this is the type of things I love in video games the smaller things that differ from the regular action.

As I was playing the game I had to keep reminding myself that this is an early release for the system because graphically it is stunning, it looks real for the most part and only the character models look a little odd compared to the environments because they have less details although still look very good. The environment’s themselves are gorgeous and its quite mad how much detail the developers put into elements that not that important such as the clear blue waters and grains of sand but it pays off to give us genuine pieces of videogame art.

The soundtrack here was composed by Henry Jackman, the original three games were composed by Greg Edmunson who gave them beautiful orchestral scores that suited the games perfectly, Jackman did a really great job here and the music is just as wonderful as it has been previously. One thing this soundtrack has that the other games lacked was those much slower paced segments such as walking around Nates house or the market and the music here changes to really make those parts more immersive. The third game did have one segment like this but because this game has a bigger focus on these moments the music works a lot better.

Uncharted 4 is a great conclusion for Nathan Drake it focused on his backstory and how he has matured since the first game, It was nice to see him genuinely just settle down and be satisfied with a regular life, it was really cool to see his brother Sam get a lot of story revolving around his character as well and after the events of the game if they wanted to do another series based on his adventures with Sully that could make for some great spin offs.

I loved finally playing this game, it controlled well and had a great story but it’s most positive moments come from its conclusion and the growth of Drakes character, the soundtrack once again did not disappoint and the visuals are the best we have had in the series not just because of the more powerful hardware but the clearly higher budget that was put into making the landscapes realistic and visually beautiful.

This is yet again another Nathan Drake adventure I will never forget but its far from beating Uncharted 2 as my favourite in the series, however second place is still a fair spot and I reward Uncharted 4 an excellent 8.5/10

Check out my reviews of the first three games !

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Guacamelee (2014) Review

Guacamelee is a game that I avoided for a very long time as the advertisements never really appealed to me but now I feel a little silly that I left it for so long.

Guacamelee was developed and published by Drinkbox Studios, its a metroidvania style game based in Mexixo and was released in 2014 for the PS3, PC, PS4,PS VITA XBOX 360, XBOX ONE and the Wii U, the game was later released in 2018 for the Nintendo Switch which is the version I played.

A young Mexican named Juan is about to propose to his childhood love interest the El Presidente’s daughter, however she is unfortunately kidnapped by a Charro Skeleton named Carlos who kills Juan sending him down to the underworld, he is given a luchador mask which gives him the powers of a Mexican warrior and he is brought back to the land of the living to rescue and reunite with his true love.

As a metroidvania style game, players are immediately able to explore the majority of the large in game map and areas. In the game you can find Chozo statues which grant Juan new abilities such as wall jumping, smashing through specialist blocks, flying across large spaces and a temporary increase in strength.

Later on the ability to swap between the world of the living and the world of the dead as well turn into a chicken will allow you to platform further and explore tight areas.

There is also an in game store which allows players to purchase new costumes which each have unique advantages, you can also change characters to other in game NPC’s for new and unique ways to play. New abilities can also be bought along with health and power upgrades.

I also think it is important to make it clear that up to four players can play simultaneously in the campaign.

The visuals of the game are very impressive for what can only be considered an indie game. Im not saying that independent developers cant make beautiful visuals because in many cases indie do this better than triple A titles but there is something about Guacamelee’s style that really drew me in. The game is very well animated and during gameplay enemies look and appear in a modern cartoon style. Don’t get me wrong this not as good in visual style as a game like Cuphead but it is still very impressive.

I am lost for words on just how amazing this soundtrack is, it was composed by Rom Di Prisco and Peter Chapman, it uses a mixture of mariachi band music and remixed dance music for a beautiful collaboration which is absolutely perfect in every sense, I love every track in this game and have downloaded the official soundtrack to my phone and honestly its not often that an indie game can encourage me to do that.

Guacamelee is a massive surprise to me because I didn’t think I would like it because original trailers for the game failed to pull me in. Now I wish I did play this back in 2014 because it really is an almost perfect game, it has an decent plot, great visuals, excellent and challenging gameplay and an insanely good soundtrack. Unfortunately it does fall short of full marks for me because there are two things that really bother me about it.

The first is the side quests, there are not many in the game and they all feel a little bit pointless as they are mainly only in one or two areas of the game.

The other issue really takes away from metroidvania style this was going for because the game tells the player where they need to go for the main quest, there is no part of this game that makes you feel lost or confused which may sound like a good thing but is the polar opposite of what can considered a metroidvania style game, this feels a lot more like a 2d platformer with some secret passages and upgrades to find.

But I think if you only focus on the main quest then this is a phenomenal game its just for me I have to look at everything and its these tiny little setbacks which are going to leave Guacamelee at a 9.8/10

With that go and download this game if you haven’t played it, it really is fantastic and I am looking forward to eventually covering the sequel.

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Yooka-Laylee (2017) Review

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Yooka- Laylee is a 3D platformer- Adventure game that was developed by Platonic Games a team of Developers that used to work for Rare Ware. Yooka-Laylee was crowd funded on kick-starter as a spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie.

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After stealing a magical book from our protagonists an overly corrupt business Bee and his Duck head henchman want to collect all of the worlds books to gain enough literary knowledge to take over the world leaving Yooka the lizard and Laylee the bat to collect all of the pagies and defeat Capital B.

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The main game takes place in a series of different themed lands which each hold various collectables including pages of the book, quills, four ghosts, a play coin for playing arcade games, a power extender, a health extender and a molly cool to unlock a transformation.

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There are many moves you unlock in the game from a snake named Trowzer, these are paid for with the quills you collect, the most useful move is definitely the roll mechanic which allows Yooka and Laylee to move a lot faster and also to manoeuvre specific surfaces that cannot be climbed otherwise.

Other moves that really stand out in this game are the Bubble.

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This ability allows Yooka and Laylee to walk underwater without having to worry about running out of oxygen.

The Slurp Shot

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Later on in the game you can purchase the slurp ability allowing Yooka to lick specific items to temporarily gain their unique abilities.

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Flappy Flight makes adventuring really fun as it allows them to fly for a long distance, it is a lot of fun to use and makes the final world Galleon Galaxy really satisfying to search through.

These are my personal favourite moves in the games, however this is only scratching the surface as there are a lot more in the game, the moves I have not gone into detail here are.

Sonar Shot, Buddy Slam, Glide, Lizard Leap, Lizard Lash, Camo Cloak, Sonar Splosion, and Sonar Shield.

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The worlds are really fun to explore and the missions needed to gain the pagies are some of the games highlights. I cant pick out the ones I enjoyed the most because I loved all of them equally, there was a nice variety in things to do and what skills were needed to commit to some of the pagies, a few of them are actually very difficult and take a lot of practise.

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There is no denying that the game is absolutely gorgeous with its charming visuals and vast worlds, I love exploring the large worlds especially once you have expanded them  however this does have some impact on the frustration of collecting everything because they are all very spread out.

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Each world has one transformation that you can unlock, you use these transformations to collect specific items in the game, I enjoyed all of these but my favourite was the helicopter as it was needed for a large chunk of its level, all of the other transformations were only really needed once or twice and I wish they were implemented for more use in their stages.

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I also was not a fan of the arcade machines as I felt the pagies for them felt out of place and they interrupted the consistency of my run of each world, these work a lot better as part of a multiplayer experience but I do wish they were not in the main campaign.

The music in the game was composed by composing legend Grant Kirkhope who is well known for classic Nintendo 64 games from Rare Ware, the music here is excellent and uses the bouncy and fun style that Kirkhope is known for.

Yooka-Laylee is a really good game and in my opinion it was successful in its goal of being a spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie, these days unless you are playing Nintendo or one of a few indie titles the 3D platformer is essentially dead and Yooka-Laylee is a sign that they can still successful in this day and age with the correct team developing them.

8.8/10

Thank you for reading my review of Yooka-Laylee for the PC, PS4, Xbox One and the Nintendo Switch

If you would like to help support the website please use the donation button at the top of the page, your donations will help to improve the website by allowing me to afford products to review and to be able to execute any costly updates and changes, any amount in donations are welcome.

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Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment (2017) Review

Before reading this review, I highly suggest checking out my reviews of Shovel of Hope and Plague of Shadows

Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope https://ragglefragglereviews.com/2015/11/15/shovel-knight-2014-review/

Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows https://ragglefragglereviews.com/2019/06/01/shovel-knight-plague-of-shadows-2015-review/

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Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment was the second alternative campaign added to the Shovel Knight Treasure Trove, it stars Specter Knight and was released on March 3rd 2017.

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Spectre Knight has been given the task of creating an army for the Enchantress, he must travel across various lands to find Knights that would be the perfect choice for her planned order of the no quarter, the plot is quite simple however it stands out for being a prequel to the original Shovel Knight game.

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Similarly to Plague of Shadows the levels and overall boss fights are the same as the original game and while Spectre of Torment has a different plot apart from that there are only a few differences to the game-play.

The major difference is how you traverse the levels and take on enemies and bosses, in this game your primary weapon is your scythe and you use it to both attack enemies and propel yourself into the air, you can propel yourself from both environmental items and regular enemies.

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Specter Knight has a large arsenal he can play with all of these abilities are called curios and can be bought using the red skulls you collect in levels, my top three curios were

The throwing sickle – a projectile weapon that can be thrown at enemies for fast damage

The will skull – this can be used to restore some of Spectre Knight’s will (Health)

The judgement rush – a magical jewel that can be used to attack the closest enemy.

Will and Darkness wisps are hidden in levels allowing you increase your power and ability to use curios.

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Instead of a world map this time around we get a very simple level select and to be honest I think I preferred this as it was really quick to get to levels with no back tracking needed.

We are treated to more exclusive new tracks in this game and they are really good, they all have an epic but slightly emotional and tragic feel, this suits the nature and the ongoing plot of this game really excellently and you cannot ask for more than that.

Overall another fantastic game from Yaught Club and a great prequel to the events of Shovel Knight. It is similar to the other games but there is something about this one that makes it feel a little more fresh, its short which is fantastic for a quick game to run through time to time and its unique game-play is really easy to get the hang of, I have only good things to say about this one and its only fair to rate it the same as the original game a strong 10/10

I hope you enjoyed this review of Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment

If you would like to help support the website please use the donation button at the top of the page, your donations will help to improve the website by allowing me to afford products to review and to be able to execute any costly updates and changes, any amount in donations are welcome.

Thank You for all of your support.

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Spyro the Dragon Original Trilogy/Reignited Trilogy Review

Spyro the Dragon was at one time an extremely beloved video game mascot, like Crash Bandicoot at the time Spyro was a name that helped to push the original PlayStation to its immense popularity. The original Spyro the dragon trilogy was three separate PS1 games that were release throughout the systems life, a HD remake of the trilogy was released in 2018 on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, a PC and Nintendo Switch version was released in 2019.

In this review we will take a look at the original three games and will then briefly discuss the HD remakes to see if they hold up.

Spyro the Dragon: 1998

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During a TV interview the dragons of the Dragon Kingdom catches the attention of Gnasty Gnorc who was recently banished to the Dragons junkyard. During the Interview the dragons call Gnasty simple minded, harmless and ugly which sets him into a rage, he traps all of the dragons in crystal, takes all of the dragons treasures and sends thieves to steal the remaining Dragon Eggs. Spyro was the only dragon that was not crystallised due to his small size leaving him to save the Dragon Kingdom.

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In the game players have three main goals, the most important goal in the game is to rescue the dragons. This is the easiest goal but its really satisfying to release the dragons and sometimes they do give you some very useful hints.

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The Second goal is to collect the dragons eggs, in some levels you will find these thieves and you need to run after them and attack them to get the eggs back.

Finally every stage has a set number of treasure that you can find in chests, enemies and generally scattered around.

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In the game Spyro has two ways to attack enemies, he can either breath fire or ram them, some enemies can only be attacked by one of these and are defensive against the other type so players will need to use strategy to defeat some of the bad guys.

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A dragonfly called sparks follows our hero in this game, his purpose is to represent your health, gold is healthy, blue is injured, green is very injured and no dragonfly means one more hit and your dead. You can regenerate health by killing some creatures such as sheep, chickens and lizards to create butterflies for Sparks to eat.

 

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The boss fights kind of suck in this game, they are all very easy and none of them are really that memorable, the only exception is Toasty because that boss fight is genuinely quite funny and you gotta love him.

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I love that this game has different themed worlds and levels but my biggest issue with the game is that they all feel quite empty even though they have all of the collectables for you to find, none of them look very interesting and all of them are simply forgettable, however this does not mean that the game is not fun because it is really tons of fun even with its rather boring looking levels.

IcyflightThe Flying levels are loved by some and hated by others, they are very frustrating and I feel that Spyro’s flying controls were not yet perfected but I have to say that these are my favourite levels in the game, it is so much fun to try and blast all of the items and go through the rings in the fastest time possible.

I really am not fond of the soundtrack of the first Spyro game, personally I find it boring and not very memorable however I will say that the music suits the environments that it represents quite well its just not a soundtrack for me.

Spyro the Dragon is a good game, its a little lacking in things to do and is very short but it is super fun and collecting is very satisfying and the flying levels are great, I wouldn’t consider it a masterpiece but I think a 7/10 is fair.

Spyro 2 – Ripto’s Rage: 1999

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Spyro and Sparx want to take a vacation at Dragon Shores, when they enter the portal they do not end up at Dragon Shores but instead the land of Avalar.

Spyro was summoned to Avalar by Hunter the Cheetah, Elora the Faun and a mole professor who want him to save the land from the Evil Warlock Ripto and his two henchman Crush and Gulp, Ripto hates dragons and wants to take over Avalar because it historically has no Dragons, needless to say he is not pleased when Spyro turns up to ruin his chaotic plans.

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With all of the new characters Money Bags is by far the most useful and memorable, hes a greedy rich bear that will sell useful upgrades to levels and Spyro’s abilities. These upgrades can range from creating bridges and elevators in levels and even opening new levels in hub worlds but the best thing you can buy is new abilities for Spyro.

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For me the best ability Moneybags can sell you is diving, now water does not kill Spyro but instead he can dive under the water and seek new gems and pathways. other useful upgrades and climbing ladders and smashing into the ground to destroy certain items and terrain.

The ability to slightly boost in the air when gliding is a useful new ability that is taught the player by Hunter early on in the game.

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In this game killing enemies does not get you gems but instead you will be awarded a white orb, once you collect a set number of these orbs you will unlock an ability gate. These gates give Spyro super powers for a limited time, examples of these are the super flame, walking on harmful surfaces and ice breath.

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When you finish a level you get awarded with a talisman and in the first two hub worlds you need a set number of them to fight the boss, the main goals you want to look out for however are side quests that will bank you a green orb, you need these orbs to unlock doors in the game and during the battle with the final boss. Collecting these orbs is by far the best part of the game, the challenges are a lot of fun and range in difficulty, my favourite was an ice hockey challenge and another memorable challenge was riding a vehicle to collect gears. Collecting all of the gems and orbs in the game will give Spyro a very special and permanent upgrade at the end of the game.

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The boss fights in the first game were a little bit boring and all required chasing but here they are much more fun and are a lot more challenging.

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Flying levels returned and were just as fun as the last game but they each have one hidden challenge in Spyro 2. After beating the main stage players could return to find a bonus mission that would award them a green orb. These missions are all fun but my favourite was catching the gems from the cat burglars.

I still wasn’t a fan of the soundtrack here but I do not think its a bad soundtrack, again its suits the game perfectly I just don’t think its for me.

Spyro 2 – Ripto’s Rage is a fantastic game and is a wonderful sequel to the first game. I much preferred the mission based structure of the levels and how much personality the developers added to each land with unique characters and lovable cut-scenes. The only odd thing about the game was that there are three hub worlds and each are based on seasons Summer, Autumn and Winter. There is no Spring hub world but the Autumn hub world has twice the amount of stages as the other two so it seems a little weird that a fourth hub world for spring was missing. I’m not going let this affect the games score though as its just nit picky and would be unfair as in reality this game is perfect and nothing is bad about it which makes it an easy 10/10 for me.

Spyro – Year of the Dragon: 2000

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Its the year of the dragon and Spyro and the other dragons are celebrating the event with a collection of new Dragon eggs that are to be hatched, however  a new character named Bianca steals the eggs and takes them back to the new antagonist a female dinosaur who wants too use the baby dragons wings to create a spell that will let her live for eternity.

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The gameplay for Spyro is similar to the other games and he keeps all of his abilities from Spyro 2: Riptos Rage, however new styles of minigames allow him to use different types of items and vehicles, the best new gameplay style for Spyro is skateboarding, these sections are really fun and easy to control and perform tricks.

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The flying sections now have three missions each allowing you to win a Dragon Egg, the only new thing in these sections are the races, these are very challenging and really fun once you get the hang of how to get ahead of your opponents.

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Money bags will want gems to unlock new paths in the game as well as new playable characters who each have their own sections in the game.

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Sheila the Kangaroo can jump very high and kick enemies to attack.

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Sargent Byrd can fly with his jet pack and shoot projectiles.

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Bentley moves slowly but is incredibly strong using his club to wack enemies and hit back projectiles.

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Agent 9 uses a gun weapon and bombs to clear out areas of enemies and shoot targets.

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Finally Sparx is playable in birds eye view gunning sections where he needs to blast bugs and find dragon eggs.;

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Mid-bosses mixed in with the main battles was a nice addition in this game, I actually think that these fights were much more memorable and fun than the others, the Twin Dragons was particularly fun but very time consuming and challenging.

Again I really was not fan of the music and this one was the worst in my opinion, I didn’t feel that the music suited the games areas at all and the amount of recycled music did not help, I heard that a different edition of the game was released with more variety in music but I still don’t think I would enjoy it

I really love this game but even with all of the new content and gameplay variations, I felt like something was missing, I think the new characters were all great but I didn’t like all of the back tracking I had to do after rescuing them and I really did not like the Sparx sections as I thought they were extremely boring compared to the rest of the game. However the game was still really fun and getting all of the eggs was challenging and gave you a feeling of satisfaction that I didn’t quite get with the first game, I still prefer Spyro 2 but this one is a close second favourite for me 9/10

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In 2018 we got the Spyro Reignited Trilogy, it was HD remakes of the first three Spyro games, it was developed by Toys for BOB and published by Activision.

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I think most would agree that these games are the definitive version of Spyro all of them look gorgeous and even the first Spyro which felt a little bare had more details added to the environments, new voice actors also help to make the game feel more immersive, the core gameplay hasn’t really changed between the games, very small updates such as new camera controls, more fluent gameplay and censors such as changing bullets to goo in some sections are the only major differences.

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The only thing I don’t like about this collection is that the flying sections seem to have been handled much worse, they are not as smooth as they used to be and this makes some of them unnecessarily stressful and annoying.

I much prefer the new music style used in the reignited trilogy, I found the tracks a lot of fun to listen too and in my opinion I think they are much better then the originals, I know this is not the common opinion but if you prefer the original music you can switch between the two in the options menu.

Overall the Spyro Reignited Trilogy is a fantastic package of three wonderful video games, the only downside is the slightly worse flying controls and longer load times, I feel these things could have been polished before release but everything else is much better and the best Spyro experience 9.5/10

I hope you enjoyed this review of The Spyro Original and Reignited Trilogy

If you would like to help support the website please use the donation button at the top of the page, your donations will help to improve the website by allowing me to afford products to review and to be able to execute any costly updates and changes, any amount in donations are welcome.

Thank You for all of your support.

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Among the Sleep (2014) Review


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Among the Sleep is a survival horror game, it was developed and published by Krillbite Studios and was released on PC and Xbox One in 2014, Play Station 4 in 2015 and will be released on the Nintendo Switch in May 2019.

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In the game you play as a child that is celebrating his second birthday, the celebration is disturbed by a knock at the front door, the child’s mother becomes angry after answering the door and the conversation becomes distorted and muffled, the mother comes back with a gift and takes the child upstairs, before giving the child his present the phone rings and the mother leaves the room to answer the call.

The gift is a sentient toy bear that climbs out of the box and asks the child to find him, after finding the teddy, the child hides in the closet before being discovered by his mother who puts him to bed, the child wakes up to find the bear being taken away by an unforeseen force which issues the child to find teddy once again which is when he realises his mother is missing and an adventure to find her begins.


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The gameplay takes the player into a realm of memories and fear, a dark land where you are hunted my mysterious figures which represent trauma the child has witnessed over the two years of his life, teddy takes him into this place to find memories of his mother hoping that the memories will finally allow mother and child to be reunited.

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There are lots of puzzles to solve and many places to discover, the game is not as scary as you may imagine but the mystery and sense of being lost in an usual and dark world makes the atmosphere creepy and very memorable.

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The world of the game is really fun to explore and the various areas make sure that nothing gets boring. On a graphical standpoint they could be better in some areas, in general they are quite good but not anything special for this gaming generation, some graphical details are great but others seem pix-elated especially at a close distance.

The soundtrack is not very memorable in my opinion, nothing really grabbed me but I wouldn’t consider it bad.

Among the Sleep is a really interesting game as its not often that a survival horror is from the perspective of a child but apart from this the game was a bit mediocre in my opinion, the game play dragged out little for me and even though I enjoyed the multiple areas of the game I really was not interested enough to want to do more than the main story, you can collect drawings in the game but they dont do much and can be easily skipped.

Among the Sleep may not be one of the best survival horror games I have played but if you can get it cheap then the three hour long content may just be worth your while.

5.4/10

I hope you enjoyed this review of Among the Sleep

If you would like to help support the website please use the donation button at the top of the page, your donations will help to improve the website by allowing me to afford products to review and to be able to execute any costly updates and changes, any amount in donations are welcome.

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