Cyanide and Happiness: Freakpocalypse Nintendo Switch review: this one’s for the fans

Point-and-click games just don’t come along as often as they used to. I still remember the golden era of LucasArts games, where you could literally pick from a handful of adventures that tested your mettle, and maybe a little bit of your funny bone.

Fortunately, the developers of Cyanide and Happiness: Freakpocalypse remembers these days, and have fashioned their game to play out with a bit of point-and-click goodness, while also retaining the rude, hilarious humor that we’ve come to expect from the out-of-control comics. The end result is a game that’s a bit on the short-but-sweet side, one that’s more notable about the journey than the destination. But if you’re a fan of Cyanide and Happiness, that’s sure to be your speed.

In the game, you portray a bullied kid that simply wants to make something of himself before he graduates as a nobody. The game follows his misadventures over the course of the day, where things get a little too out of control for their own good. Fortunately, the writing never strays too far from the weirdness we’ve come to expect from Cyanide, so we’re in good hands.

Keep in mind that Freakpocalypse is the start of a trilogy, so you won’t quite get the full tale here. In fact, you’ll probably just experience about five to seven hours of gameplay depending on your choices, which is a bit tight considering the game’s $20 price tag. But there’s lots of moments that make the trip worthwhile, along with gameplay that’s relatively easy to get into.

Now, let me just give you a heads up. If you’re unfamiliar with Cyanide and Happiness, this might not be the game for you. That’s because it revels in rudeness. Like, the main star, Cooper, goes through the type of humiliation that would infuriate us in real life to no end. To the point of maybe punching someone. But that’s the attitude that the series has always gone with, so if you’re familiar with its approach, you won’t mind it so much.

That said, the humor that’s on display in Freakpocalypse isn’t bad. There’s a lot of good jokes here, even if you might wince at one or two of them, and they all tie in rather well with the story, leaving you eager to see what the next adventure in the saga may add.

The gameplay itself isn’t really that challenging, as you can solve some of the game’s puzzles with ease and get around without much effort. But the focus here is on the story and the characters, as crude as everything is, which explains why it’s more for the fans. But the devs did a great job nailing down the format.

What really shines in this Cyanide and Happiness game, however, is the presentation. The visuals are exceptionally well done, coming across like an animated show based on the cartoon, right down to the stiff character movements and some interestingly designed scenarios. What’s more, the voice work is excellent; and the sound effects really fit the bill in terms of Freakpocalypse’s tone. Just don’t expect this pill to be swallowed so easily. It is Cyanide and Happiness, after all.

Really, you’ll get more mileage out of the game if you’re a fan of the series. Freakpocalypse makes it clear from the start that it’s not for everyone, and some may not even see it through to its end depending on how much you can stomach. But the development team stayed loyal to the comic’s material, and there are some good moments – and laughs – to take in here if you can weather the storm. Plus, honestly, we have to support point-and-click games as much as we can if we want to see them make a comeback. Even if we have to put up with a Freakpocalypse to get there.

RATING: 7.5/10

Pumpkin Jack: Spoopy Platforms

Everyone loves platformers, I mean come on we have the long-running Super Mario games, the Ori series, Sonic the Hedgehog, and even Crash Bandicoot! However, what everyone needs to turn their heads to is Pumpkin Jack. No, this is not a spiritual successor to MediEvil, but a standalone game developed by one person who is Nicolas Meyssonnier. This game is an adorably spooky 3D platformer that allows you to play as nonother than Jack, a soul that was summoned into the skin of a pumpkin. You get to fight creepy monsters and ghouls alike, all the while unleashing chaos upon the humans of the world. The game brings some strategy, puzzles, fantastic music, and a unique art style taken from the PS2 era. This game was surprisingly a fantastic experience with an adorable story that I quite honestly could not get enough of.

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Pumpkin Jack had some pretty decent gameplay. I would have liked to see a little more to the platforming, for aside from obviously having to climb and jump across various platforms with some monsters placed in various locations and some barricades, there was not much to it. It was fairly easy to get where you needed to go, aside from the fact that the controls were insanely sensitive. The slight tap of the thumbstick could very well send you over the edge and leave you feeling very frustrated. However, that being said what really spiced the adventure up would be the puzzles and the joy rides. The puzzles were simple but extremely fun to take part in. They were good for testing your reflexes with physics or putting your memory on the spot, and they provided rooms with fun riddles. Failing to complete these puzzles prevented you from progressing further. The joy rides just added intense experiences such as riding the ferry in an all-around stressful experience or using the mining cart on a crazy roller coaster ride through town. So while the platforming could be better, the puzzles and transportation definitely found a way to spice things up.

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Slaying some monsters with Pumpkin Jack left you feeling like a true mythical terror, providing you with a fun selection of weapons after slaying each boss. You start off with a shovel, giving you a true Halloween horror movie feeling. However, with each level, you end up getting weapons like a pump-action shotgun to blast holes into your enemies and a cool orb that is known as the Murder of Crows allowing you to cast cool sorceries. My only complaint is I would have liked to see a little more to the combat. Obviously, with a game like this, I don’t expect anything intricate, for platformers don’t call for cool combos. But I think this game could have provided more than just a single button attack that you could create an AOE out of. Maybe one more ability assigned to an unused button would have provided a more satisfying experience.

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The last thing I want to bring up is the insanely cute and enjoyable story that made this game. This adventure takes place in the Boredom Kingdom, where the humans and animals lived at peace with no wars or fear. Because of the lack of drama in the world, the Devil found himself so bored that he unleashed a powerful curse known as the Curse of the Eternal Night which awakened the scariest monsters to torment all of humanity. However, the humans counter reacted by summoning a powerful master wizard to end this curse, which resulted in the Devil summoning Pumpkin Jack to destroy the wizard. Along the way you find great allies to aid your journey, such as a crow that assists you in battle, an architect that you assist in releasing the deadly sins, and of course the Owl that leads you on your journey to the end. You also find yourself not knowing who to trust along the way, for what might seem like an ally sometimes ends up turning against you for their own gain. For a solo developer, I have to say the amount of personality in each character despite how brief the game was, was extremely impressive and well designed. I loved the story premise, and the adventure felt so wholesome yet chaotic at the same time.

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Pumpkin Jack is a hidden gem that I cannot push enough to players looking for a fun, short platforming adventure to experience. I honestly was not expecting much from this game going into it, but it ended up surprising me in more ways than one. This game brought on so many feelings with the art style, the music, and the incredibly Nightmare Before Christmas-like feeling. It is in my opinion that this developer has a bright future ahead of him from the incredible amount of work put into this game.

DVS Score-7/10

Valheim: PC Vikings!

The Viking Survival Game

Valheim is a newly released survival RPG for PC available on Steam for $20. More recently moved from closed beta to early release, I was quite surprised to find that the game was more finished than anticipated. As is with most of these early-release RPG games, there’s always something to go wrong. So, let’s start with what was done right.  

Valheim starts with a quick written story, which is appreciated. As someone who hates sitting through 15-30-minute-long intros (I’m looking at you Elusive Age), it was fantastic to get a quick cover story. The game visually is like any other PC RPG style early-release. The graphics are blocky and a little hard on the eyes, less detail more overall experience. The game itself runs beautifully on most PCs as the requirements are amazingly low.  

This aids in the overall experience of the game, allowing for a fast render as you sprint through the woods chasing after your first hunt. Valheim is pretty much Vikings in a PC game. The story isn’t about the life of the Viking, but the death and worthiness to enter Valhalla. Create longships in honor of Odin, delve into the dark arts of the gods the choices are seemingly endless. As I just started my adventure in Valheim, I cannot spoil the story too much for everyone, but there are Gods you can summon to fight and prove your worth.  

There are loads of trees, plants, and distinct biomes within the world itself. As you travel through looking for the best place for your first home be careful of your surroundings. Enemies become more aggressive and dangerous the darker it gets, making a lovely walk in the woods a dangerous escapade. There are a few different kinds of enemies that you’ll face off right away in Valheim, but none that should over level you right off the bat. As long as you follow the hints and guidelines set by the game, you’ll be able to make a home before freezing or beaten to death. There are quite a few things you can do right off the bat as well, like mine for ore and harvest enemy parts like bones.  

FIRE. MAKE FIRE.  

As most of you know playing these RPGPC games, fire is important in keeping animals away at night and cooking food. But what you may not know, is that there are special events that happen depending on how close you are to a boss ritual stone. Fire is more important than you know, as it could save your buildings and chests.  

Now let’s get down the nitty-gritty with this game. There aren’t very many serious issues with this game, as long as you can finesse a few things here and there. The most common issue that is floating around the Valheim Discord, is the listing and finding of dedicated servers. When creating a dedicated server for Valheim, it is recommended to go into the Discord and ask the right questions.  There are a few ways of creating a dedicated server, and if you are familiar with Steam, you know how difficult it can be for these to pop up in the server list search engine. It is recommended to use Valheim‘s Dedicated Server software and not the Steam CMD as it’ll make the process more streamlined.  

I highly recommend doing it this way, as I’ve been able to create multiple servers without using a ton of my PC’s resources. Then comes the next issue, how do we find you in the server listing. Some people have an easy enough time, searching the outbound IP for the specific server and hitting refresh until it populates. Others have an easier time going through the friend invites on the Steam UI. There are a few different ways to find your server, and hopefully, you do. As that is the most frustrating part of this game. As fun as it is, as beautiful it can be. If you can’t play with friends, your overall experience will go down. So, don’t get too frustrated when you can’t find a friend’s server. Take a deep breath and jump into the Valheim Discord, there are so many people there willing to help.  

Honestly, this game works as intended. It has hiccups as all early-release games do and its main hiccup is the server search/multiplayer aspect of it. Personally, I haven’t had many issues with multiplayer, even on multiple LAN connections. This game has been beautiful, time-consuming, and a lot of fun with my friends. For $20 you can’t go wrong.

Grade: 6.5/10

Willy’s Wonderland Review: Five nights at Cage’s

When we first heard about the announcement of Willy’s Wonderland, we already knew what it was going to be. “What would Five Nights At Freddy’s be like if they were going up against a batshit crazy Nicolas Cage?” And, well, now that the movie’s actually here, we can confirm that’s pretty much what you get. But that’s not the worst thing.

Directed by Kevin Lewis, this low-budget horror/comedy has more going for it than you might expect. But the thing that helps here is that you set said expectations low. If you’re wondering if Willy’s Wonderland is on the same level as the insanely nuts Mandy, well, it’s not. Not even close. But if you accept the premise and came to see Cage go nuts on a horde of animatronic terrors, then you’ve come to the right place.

Cage portrays “The Janitor,” a guy who waltzes into town looking all bad ass. He runs into the town of Hayesville just as his black Chevy runs into car trouble. It turns out to be rather costly, and he doesn’t have an overwhelming bank account to take care of the damage.

It’s here that the owner of a local establishment called Willy’s Wonderland strikes a deal with the Janitor. If he can clean up the place, he’ll have his car fixed and ready to roll in the morning. If that sounds too good to be true, that’s because, well, it is.

We soon learn that Willy’s Wonderland was a children’s party establishment with animatronic creatures to entertain them, a la Chuck E. Cheese in a way. But there are some dark secrets that forced its closure, and the Janitor is about to meet them head-on. And he’s not alone, as some typical teen characters pop in, just to give Willy and his buddies some targets in which to pile up the body count.

The owner doesn’t quite fill in all the details to Cage’s character about his true purpose, but he finds out soon enough – and that’s when the carnage kicks in. See, The Janitor is a good clean-up man, but in more ways than you might expect. A sequence where he makes short work of an ostrich that threatens to eat his face gives you an idea of what you’re in for.

Plot-wise, Willy’s Wonderland isn’t the strongest. The teenagers are typically written and literally asking for death at one point; and there are some holes in the tale when it comes to why the place ended up the way it did. And there are some gaps of logic, especially closer to the end.

But there’s also a whole lot of merit here. The carnage, as we mentioned, is a thing of beauty, as Cage and company get covered in all sorts of oil and other fluids trying to take apart these interesting terrors. And the animatronic creatures themselves are a hoot, from the trash-talking ostrich to a knight with a Muppet-like face to Willy himself, who could honestly give Freddy a run for his money.

There’s also an interesting kinship between Cage and Liv (Emily Tosta), a teenager that really gets to see how he works. It’s fun to see them both work together to survive the night – if they can – while the others, well, lack heavily in character.

Willy’s Wonderland isn’t the smoothest filmmaking experience, between its jagged story and occasional pulpy filmmaking style. But it’s good fun – and a majority of that lies with Cage. He’s eating this role up like it’s a New York pizza covered in pepperoni and sausage, even jiving out with something as simple as a break with a pinball machine or guzzling down a drink. And, yeah, it’s cool to see him take down most of the animatronic threats like a crazy bad-ass would.

Again, it really comes down to expectations. If you walk into this expecting the legendary work of Nicolas Cage, well, this isn’t it. But if you’re looking for a fun horror fest where he goes nuts a majority of the time – even without muttering much in terms of dialogue – then you’ll have a field day in this Wonderland.

RATING: 7.5 (out of 10)

Not the greatest of Cage’s work, but Willy’s Wonderland is a sight to behold for fans of schlocky horror comedy.

Layers Of Fear 2

DVS Gaming Video Game Review

Layers Of Fear, horror, and suspense wrapped into a dingy dark video game. If you had played the first Layers Of Fear game, that was released in 2016, then you have no clue what’s about to crawl out of the corners of the second installment in the series. Unlike most horror game series that tend to follow the same story through-out the multi-game series, Layers of Fear brings you story upon story without looking back. There are very few things similar to LoF2 to its predecessor. Both games brought to you by Bloober Gaming, which sets an example for how far they’ve come from the original planning and testing of Layers Of Fear. Thanks to GunMedia, the second installment of Layers Of Fear is polished and curated to make the experience even more indulging. As Layers Of Fear started as an ”Indie Game” in 2016, their studio has grown and made possible this amazing horror.

Darkness Wrapped in a Mystery

As is with most horror, music and atmosphere truly make the game. If one is lacking, then surprise and deceit can be seen from chapters away. Yet if it’s drenched in mystery and soaked with fear, the smallest of shadows can send one spiraling into fear. Layers Of Fear 2 truly built upon their strongest points. Between the lighting in the game, the music and the sense of never-ending mystery, this game offered more within its first chapter than most horror movies do in their entirety. Shadows played against the light in perfect tandem to the madness building in your mind, making you second guess what you thought was real. What you thought was your story, has changed again and again into a dark hallway with the stories of those who have been trapped on board…

The Candyman Comes To Play…

Welcome onboard the ship…this is where actors come to play, to cry, to die. The 1930s style suite you landed in offers no help to your confusion. You were told to come for a play, yet you’ve found no stage nor any scripts. Just the lone phonograph taunting you with a steel cylinder used to record sound. You’ll find yourself enthralled with the amount of history in the suite; the art, the photos, the music… The Voice. As you move through the game, exploring more of the ship, finding out that the play is to be conducted as realistically as possible. With no interruptions from the crew or any other passengers, you have full right of the ship. As the evening goes on, and you have finally come to find that you are alone in this play, a voice can be heard. First quietly, almost taunting you into the next chapter of the game. A familiar, immediately frightening voice peers through the crashing waves against the ship. CandyMan… Otherwise known as Tony Todd, is the voice narrator of this game which only adds to the intense darkness of ‘Layers of Fear 2’.

Welcome to The Show

This Ship Is Not For The Weak

Tony Todd’s voice lulls you into a false sense of darkness, as Tony does, slowly making you comfortable with the horror you are about to experience. Tony does well introducing the story to you, leaving you alone in silence just as the ship starts to turn. Chapter after chapter, the stories being written scratch at the back of your mind. Shadows play in the halls, dancing in and out of rooms causing you to follow them as curiosity is one of mankind’s weaknesses. Layers of Fear uses your own inability to quell the curiosity, to lure you further into the story. The ship continues to toss and buoy in the oceans drift, this being shown by small glimpses to the deck, or through portholes along the hallways. As you move through the chapters, the darkness starts to illuminate more than just some monsters waiting to pop out of the dark.

The ship, previously thought to be empty had signs of children and crew on the levels where you were told to explore. Stories unfold, sadness and evil coming together binding upon the ship, trapping all those who enter its chambers. The food you had walked by, has now become rotten with time. Spiderwebs stretch across the halls and rooms as far as the eye can see. Parts of the ceiling had collapsed, giving the actor a clear sense of madness as the rooms continued to change. To escape your own madness, you’ll have to piece together clues that surround you with every step, every word of the stories told to you.

The Calming Seas

Can you tell the difference between reality and make-believe?

Choices to be made…yet with no discernible proof for either choice, with nothing more than a perfectly poised question during your darkest moment…the choice will be yours to make. Good or bad…a choice is a choice that has to be made. Will your fear make you choose? Or will you be in control of your fear? Strength has no meaning in a destitute place like the Ship. Only the darkness can show you the way to the light. Has it been a day? A week? More? The Ship is control of what you will experience and there is but one ‘man’ whose been freed of the Ship, but at a cost. You hear more and more of this man, but every photo you come across with him has his face scratched out for none to see. The Actor and The Painter, again and again, these men haunt your vision. You learn more about them through the slides and photos you find scattered about the ship in its many rooms.

The humanity…what’s left of it…can be more frightening than the monsters in the dark.

As you scavenge for clues and anything that can help your protagonist make his way through the story, don’t forget to enjoy the scenery. Layers of Fear is drenched in horror. Keep your eyes wide when you explore, as you’ll find hidden references to Horror Movies and Monsters of the past. Some will be more apparent than others, but there are over 30 references in the stretch of Layers Of Fear 2. If you’re lucky, you might just figure out what the link between Layers of Fear and Layers of Fear 2 is….

Careful in the darkness, it can make you go mad…

Layers of Fear is exactly what the title says, layers of your fears. One upon the other, forced into tandem as you experience the darkness that surrounds and expels from your soul. Layers has a unique feature, that you can choose the pivotal points in the story. You, the ‘Actor’ will have to choose between your morals or your gain. Will you save yourself, reach the deck and feel sunlight against your skin again? Will you succumb to the cries of children? Your choices are important and can impact your gameplay, heavily. Will you refuse the beautiful darkness that Tony Todd speaks softly to you? Layers of Fear 2 is an amazing psychological thriller game that takes you in-depth of horror history and it’s building blocks. From the visuals to the story, to the sound, Layers of Fear 2 has encompassed that of which makes a horror game, a horror game.

DVS HARLECHAN REVIEW: 8.5/10

Is it Spooky? Hereditary Movie Review

Winner of 2018 Sundance Film Festival

Let’s start this out by saying, horror movies aren’t what they used to be. Less based around story, and more-so based around jump scares with plenty of gore scenes. Very rarely will you come into contact with a movie that’s under 20 years old, that holds a story in any kind of sentiment. Don’t get me wrong a horror movie is a horror movie no matter how thick the B rating may be. Just some of them are ‘HARD’ to watch.

Then we have Hereditary.

Hereditary was…. Interesting. The story was one not told a hundred times over, and was actually one of the more interesting points of the film. Witches and Warlocks, it’s always witches and warlocks when children are involved, isnt it? A quiet beginning to the film, introduces us to a passing grandmother. All her family and friends surrounding her casket as her daughter started the eulogy. Very soft undertones filled these scenes, matching necklaces amongst all the women and cuffs for the men. Hereditary progresses on, past the funeral and into the rememberance of the grandmother.

Grandma with her boob out?

The immediate family of the Grandmother who passed away, start experiencing strange things in their home. At first it’s something simple, like noticing etched writing into a wall that has been there for sometime, or a pattern that was cut into the floor hidden by the carpeting. Strange things keep appearing, when your finishing up work in the office and go to leave. Do you ever get that feeling, that if you looked over after you’ve turned the light out, that you’d see a ghost? Imagine looking over, and seeing your dead mother standing next to a box of mementos you had just gone through. Would you jump? Would you run? This woman started to break down. Hiding all truth and pain away from her family. Hiding the truth.

An uncomfortable dinner

The Golden Curse

More and more, the symbol that all the women wore as necklaces and men wore as cuffs started appearing in the scenes more prominently. Sometimes it would just be off to the side on a tree, other times it would be in your face waiting for you to finally realize that it’s here. As the movie progresses, we start to enjoy the basics of the film. We’ve got a teenage boy who fancies a pretty girl, a child who just wants to stay at home and play with her toys. As per the film, we have the brother sister team stuck together as the teenager wants to go to a party, as all moms do she made sure he was going to be miserable by making him take his little sister. During this party, Charlie our little sister, eats a cake full of nuts. As it was briefly mentioned in the beginning of the film, she is allergic to nuts.

The race against time

Panic. Panic erupts into the scene as the older brother is stricken with fear of losing his little sister to the allergic reaction she was having. Quickly they raced off to the hospital like any good brother would do. But alas, this isn’t a Disney film. THOMP. The hollow empty sound of Charlies head hitting a Hydro pole. Silence. Silence as the teenage boy lays in bed, drenched in his fear and sadness. Until, you hear the mother scream as she discovers her childs headless body in the back seat of her car. Pain. Pain drips from the next set of scenes bouncing between the mother and the guilt stricken son. Now… Now comes the Golden Curse, as the days move on the pain gets unbearable between the family. The mother reaches out in a series of seances to contact her daughter at least one last time.

King Paimon

Remember we mentioned those women and men who were wearing all the same symbols? Well… Here we are, the mother is attempting to deal with her sadness by going to counseling for the deaths of her mother and her child. These women making their mark against the mother, trying to seduce her into falling for their curse of riches. More and more the family is stressed out, and one by one they’ve all started to lose their minds. The witches confer with the mother and trick her into letting ”the darkness” into her home. They use to teach her how to start the ritual for the Curse of Paimon, little does the mother know she was setting not only herself, but what remained of her family, for death. These sweet old women, who lent out a hand to the mother during her time of need are also her demise. As the spirits tormented the family inside the house, the group of witches and warlocks prepared their ritual in the place that was closest to Charlie. Her tree-house.

Death of a Family

Step by step as the mother falls into madness, dragging her family into this downward spiral. After the seance with the old ladies, she starts conducting her own at home, which not only brings Charlie into the house but the full circle of Paimon also enters. As the mother begs out for Charlie, bringing in everything that is attached with her secret ridden family. Faster and faster this family plummets into madness, experiencing the truth of their family first hand. The boxes of grandmothers things become even more so important to the family as it would explain everything going on in their lives. The Curse of Paimon, a curse coveting the male body for the riches that could be bestowed upon it. As the family panics and fights for what is left of their lives, the curse digs deeper. More and more people showing up to the house, assembling the strangest of sights. Waiting for each of them to kill themselves, so that the Curse of Paimon can take over.

In the end, the Curse of Paimon wins. Thus starting a generation of greed and riches for the Witches and Warlocks that were left to adopt the new form of Paimon.

Mommy Dearest Vibes

My personal score for this film? B. It has a decent enough story, that hasn’t been repeated a thousand times over. Yet the speed and consistency of the film lacked in certain areas. As much as they had suspense living up to their name, closer to the end of the film it turned into jump scares. When they could have continued as a suspensful film, they changed it up. Unfortunately story is the only thing truly interesting about this film, more parts of the film had been funny or in fact hilarious compared to its ‘horror’ counterparts. If you’re bored and need a movie to watch, this one should go on your list.

DVS Gaming Movie Review Score :
B

Freedom Finger Xbox One review: Fist bump

It’s hard to tell what the wackiest component of Freedom Finger is – the fact it’s a hardcore shooter wrapped around the concept of a hand-shaped spaceship with a middle finger; the fact it has political themes featuring an all-star cast like Nolan North and John DiMaggio; or the fact it has one of the most unique soundtracks in history while you, ahem, finger away (?) at enemies. Whatever. It all wraps up into a unique experience that you just don’t see in shooters these days, and that’s why you should check it out.

Wide Right Games previously made the game available on PC and Nintendo Switch, but today it makes its debut on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, nicely expanding its audience even further. The plotline is a bit on the ridiculous side, but you’re basically fighting for Uncle Sam as you liberate against enemies in space, including pesky Russians and more. It’s a bit over the top, and some may find the dialogue a little ham-handed (like, um, real politicians, maybe), but there’s no denying that the game’s addictive shooting is what counts.

This guy’s…snot bad.

Freedom Finger definitely falls into the “bullet hell” category, as you’ll have to avoid incoming enemy attacks while shooting away with a variety of weapons. But Wide Right Games has a very unique concept here with your ship being shaped like a hand. Along with being able to basically “flip off” enemies with bullets, you can also grab them and use their firepower against their own teammates, including a spread gun, a shotgun and more. It just depends on what you grab. On top of that, you can also punch your way through objects and opponents, if they’re close enough.

What’s more, this is a more expansive experience with additional stages, new music tracks (we’ll get to the soundtrack in a sec), a new arcade mode that’s fun if you wish to avoid the story and an optional God mode – in case you’re feeling superior. You can also censor all the dirty words and gestures if you want, should a young one want to check the game out. It’s all tied into the main game quite beautifully, making it more worth playing.

Wait, aren’t sunflowers supposed to be nice?!

The gameplay is challenging, especially in the later levels. But anyone who’s taken a novel approach to “shmups” will be right at home with what it has to offer. It’s definitely something special, and unique in a genre like this. Be prepared to die a few times, but also have a great deal of fun along the way.

As for presentation, the hand-drawn visuals are a nice touch, and it’s good to see some variety in the backdrops and scenarios that your hand gets dropped into. But the real treat here is the audio. Between top-notch voice work by North, DiMaggio, and company, you really get a kick out of the characters, even if they are a bit one-note. And that soundtrack. Wow. Packing tunes from METZ, Power Trip, Aesop Rock, and others, it provides a diverse set of music you just don’t hear in a game like this. It’s refreshing – and very damn good.

Yeah, this guy wants a finger sandwich.

While Freedom Finger isn’t likely to appeal to everyone – its political overtones can be a bit much, along with its difficulty settings – it’s a blast for those that invest. The graphics and audio are really something, the gameplay has tremendous value, and the extra goodies are worth checking out. If anyone gives you any guff over adding this game to your digital library, don’t let it get you down. Just give them the bird.

RATING: 8/10

Long live freedom, and long live Freedom Finger.

DVS Movie Review: Sonic the Hedgehog

The Sonic the Hedgehog film manages to avoid the pitfalls of failed video game movies by sticking to the source material.

Video game adaptations of movies are a mixed bag; you generally expect it to closely follow the source material. There have been successful video game movies such as Tomb Raider and Detective Pikachu and flops such as Assassin’s Creed and Super Mario Bros. The Super Mario Bros. adaptation was so bad, Bob Hoskins (who played Mario) said that it was not only the worst job he’s ever done but also called it his biggest disappointment and something that he would edit out of his past in a 2007 interview. Knowing the track record of video game films, would Sonic the Hedgehog suffer the same fate as their Nintendo-based plumber rivals?

Most classic Sonic the Hedgehog media is memorable; could the live-action film create new memories?

I enjoyed watching Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog as a kid; the TV show cast Jaleel White as the voice of Sonic (he would also voice Steve Urkel in the successful African-American sitcom Family Matters) and also played Sonic games fervently in my childhood. I even was Sonic for Halloween, so this was sort of a homecoming for me after Sega significantly chucked the franchise down the toilet in the new millennium. After the fall of Sega as a console developer, the company relegated him to terrible video games on the Nintendo Gamecube, Xbox, and Xbox 360, as well as token appearances on other Nintendo consoles.

Sonic the Hedgehog

Thankfully, Paramount Pictures had bought the film rights to the franchise in 2017 and a cast of James Marsden, Ben Schwartz, and 90s comedy superstar Jim Carrey had joined the cast by 2018. The film was scheduled for a November 2019 release, but fans were upset about the Sonic design. The producers listened, and they pushed the film back to a February 14, 2020 release.

Jim Carrey turns in one of his finest performances in years.

The film avoided a major pitfall by sticking to its source material. The trailer prominently featured the Green Hill Zone from the original Sonic the Hedgehog game. While Tom Wachowski (James Marden) provides straight-man relief for Sonic’s (Ben Schwartz) 500-miles-a-minute speech patterns, the real star of the movie was Dr. Ivo Robotnik (Jim Carrey). The United States government begrudgingly employs Dr. Robotnik to investigate Sonic’s appearance, which sets off the events of the film.

Sonic the Hedgehog Dr. Robotnik

His performance during the movie reminded me a lot of the Jim Carrey of old, who made audiences double over in movies such as Ace Ventura and Liar Liar, harkening back to his roots in physical and slapstick comedy and doing what he does best: playing over-the-top, exaggerated characters. I would go as far as to say that Carrey enhanced the role of Dr. Robotnik, who portrayed a cartoon villain in the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog series. Carrey used his experience as someone who portrayed those over-the-top and exaggerated characters and seamlessly placed it into the Dr. Robotnik character like he never missed a beat.

Although Sonic made way too many pop culture references during the film, his performance brings together the Sonic fans of old (such as myself) and younger audiences who may have never heard of him or heard about him from their parents. The film rides the wave of 90s nostalgia and revivals that have been a part of Hollywood for the past five or so years and surfs it almost perfectly from start to finish. The synchronization of the live-action and cartoon elements of the film cannot be ignored either. We hope this kicks off a long string of live-action Sonic movies, as this may be the blueprint that video game movies need to succeed.

Grade: A