Flowing Lights Xbox One review: go with the flow

Sometimes all you need to make a shooter work is a neat gimmick. Something that stands out from the norm. I like to think that Tempest is innovative in the field because of its neat “hanging outside and shooting inward” concept, something unheard of in the early 80s. For that matter, Defender also stood out because of its challenging rhetoric and unique gameplay set-up, with so many buttons.

But Flowing Lights, a new indie shooter available for consoles and PC, innovates in its own neat way. That’s not to say it’s an instant classic like the aforementioned games, as it’s more of an acquired taste. However, it takes the concept of shooters and turns it on its head, making it more about solving puzzles than simply blasting from start to finish. And in its own neat little way, it works.

In the game, you’ll work your way through a number of stages, shooting at enemies. But this isn’t a simple “blast and move on” thing. Instead, the stages are intricately designed, with gunfire consistently being shot, or coming at you in streams. You’ll have to weave your way past this, using the terrain to your advantage. But, sometimes, you just need to hit the enemy before you progress.

Where Flowing Lights wins points is with its design. See, you can just shoot enemies, but with hills and contours on each stage, you’ll need to be strategic about it. You’ll need to curve your gunfire in the right way to hit them, while avoiding being hit yourself. For good measure, you have a secondary charge shot, which you can adjust utilizing the analog stick. It fires off one shot at a time, but goes further than your traditional gunfire. So it pays off, provided you can get your shot off at the proper angle.

In turn, you can create combos, which will help build up a high score. There are also power-ups that can give you a temporary boost as well. Combining these – and racking up the points – can help you achieve greatness on the leaderboards. It’s a cool process that works very well, for those that get into the game.

And that’s probably where Flowing Lights comes up short – it’s such an original idea for shooters that not everyone will get into it. This isn’t Deathsmiles here. Flowing Lights is built around the concept of taking your time and figuring out viable solutions for each stage. And, yes, sometimes you will get stuck, as it’s really thought provoking. But its execution is well done, for the most part, and those that stick with its rhythm will find a lot to like.

That leads us to the presentation. Flowing Lights does have innovation in its stage design. But the general aesthetic – neon-lit hills and minimally designed enemies – may not appeal to all. It definitely has a Tron-like approach to it that I enjoyed, but it’s pretty narrow when it comes to its design scope overall. Still, some of you may enjoy it as I did. The music’s awesome too, with some fun little synth scores that play over the course of the game. You’ll be right at home if you’re a fan of the genre.

How much you get into Flowing Lights really depends on what you’re looking for in a shooter. If you seek deep strategy, problem solving and a smart way to build up scores, this is the game for you. But if you’re out to save the universe, R-Type Final 2 may be more your speed. If you do choose this, however, you’re likely to enjoy your stay – well, until you get stuck, anyway. Then you’ll rack your brain, go “DUH!” when you find the solution, and move on. Not bad for a small little indie favorite for a mere ten bucks.

RATING: 8/10

Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning Review

Turning back the clock 9 years ago, a solid action RPG, known as Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, came out on PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. The game was developed by Big Huge Games and 38 Studios, and published with the help of EA. The game had a very successful launch with reviews that landed the game a big 9/10 from IGN and an 81 on Meta, but for whatever reason, we did not see anything more from the franchise. IGN speculated that reports advised massive layoffs which resulted in the sequel to be canceled, and things stayed silent until the year 2020, in which the remastered version of the game released with updated stunning visuals and refined gameplay. This remaster was refreshing in bringing back the MMO-like gameplay that we all loved so much in our single-player title. You can buy this masterpiece on all current generation and last generation platforms for only $39.99, and it’s worth every penny. 

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For players that never experienced the original game, the remastered version is the best place to start. Kingdoms of Amalur is set in the Faelands, a kingdom that is home to the immortal Fae of the Summer and Winter Courts. Essentially rather than passing on, souls are reborn in a new body. Players get to embark on their journey as a customizable character that becomes the “Fateless One”, who was supposed to have died but was successfully revived in an experiment led by Foromous Hugues, a gnome scientist. The kingdoms are torn in a war between the mortals and Winter Fae that players are dropped right in the middle of, literally. Because of the main character’s lack of fate, they decide to journey to find Hugues in hopes of uncovering the mystery of your death and also aid in the war along the way.

This game is fantastic for those that love old-school action RPGs like the Elder Scrolls series, and those who love MMOs like classic WoW. Once players enter the open-world part of the game, there is no clear path for the game, because players get to decide if they want to continue on the main quest or complete tasks, faction quests, or side quests. Every region is huge and loaded with endless adventures, and the main character is not tied down to any specific path. Players also get to choose “their fate” meaning their class. One can change and customize as they go, unlocking different advanced tiers from basic classes. For example when players cross between a rogue and a sorcerer disciple or even a tier 3 arcanist. This game is designed where there is no intended set class, and players can choose how they want to play without being locked into one role.

The remaster does not change much to the game, aside from some smaller or underlying changes like most remasters do. Many complain that the game is the same, but that is the difference between a remaster and a remake. So for players that were looking for major changes, this is not the game for you. The graphics are a lot sharper compared to the original game, and a lot more contrast and detail were added making the game look crisper than the first. Level lock no longer exists like the first game and the experience reward system has been changed to further balance the game. Loot is also now more catered to your designed character instead of randomly generated so players will find use in most of what they pick up. Load times are one complaint I found often from other players, but that is more based on the platform gamers are playing on. I played on my PS5 and honestly found no issues.

The only changes I would have liked to see are in the number of overwhelming fetch quests. I loved side content when it comes to any RPG, especially open-world RPGS. However, this game is filled to the brim with side quests and tasks, especially fetch quests. When players visit towns, they are immediately bombarded with on average 4 to 5 quests that are split between menial tasks (slaying monsters or gathering items), and helping out NPCs with missing persons or aiding in their troubles. This would not be a problem with there were not like 10 towns in the immediate area and players also have their faction quests. As some players might overlook this and skip some quests, completionists like myself end up pulling their hair out. It also can end up extremely overbearing for new players. Trimming down on some of this redundant quests would have been a better balance for this remastered version.

To revisit the visuals and performance, the game can be a bit buggy. For example, I got major Oblivion vibes when an NPC randomly glitched in front of me and I saw nothing but this head and arms in the sky. Overall though the performance is solid, and the animations look clear and crisp. The music creates an even better calm atmosphere, immersing players into what can be described as the ultimate fantasy experience. I also have had no framerate issues with the game which is oddly something I was expecting.

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In conclusion, I loved this remastered version of the game. Kingdoms of Amalur was already a fantastic ARPG for its time, and to be able to revisit this title was not only nostalgic but also very enjoyable. The subtle changes greatly improve players’ experiences with the game while also keeping its classic playstyle that was popular for that period of time. Though the game can be a bit buggy like many RPGs can be, and there were not many changes as far as visuals go, this was a great remaster and I can’t get enough from it. 

DVS Score: 8/10

Against the Moon: PC Review

Turn-Based Strategy is one of my favorite genres in gaming due to the fact that you can do so much with the gameplay. Against the Moon is a tactical turn-based strategy game developed by Code Heretic and published by Code Heretic LLC and Black Tower Entertainment. While this game shows so much potential I found it not only lacking in content but overall it’s just not well designed. It looks incredible as far as the art design goes, but the gameplay itself ended up being the downfall. This game is available on all current platforms for $19.99.

My biggest issue lies with the gameplay. I loved the concept, but honestly, the way the game works you have little to no control over your hand and there is no way to set up your deck to help with balanced curves. I mean this as in the game plays almost like a TCG game like Magic or Pokemon. The game was designed to bring deck building to a rogue-like turn-based strategy game. You get 3 lanes set up with 3 Ultori that all have a unique ability, such as stunning random enemies or throwing your hand away for new cards. The cards all come with a cost and are divided between monster cards with special abilities and spells that can allow you to fight the enemy and their set of cards. Depending on the card cost players will average early game around 2 to 3 actions.

Often I felt like my hand would be unbalanced for what I really needed to defeat tougher opponents. Sometimes my hands would even be all mid-cost monsters and no sorceries to draw more cards or damage enemies. Another issue I take with the game is the huge jump in difficulty, for while I like a challenge after the prologue your desk is not suited for what comes after. You are mostly given low-cost monsters that do an average of 3 attack against enemies that jump up to 8 hit points on average. It feels as if the game sets you up for failure. You do get to customize some cards under your heroes which helps a bit while you play, but even then the draw is not stacked well. On top of that, it is a game where you do have to unlock cards as you progress and evolve them, but it’s a slow progression. There is no curve or balancing element to the random draw you’re given which is purely poor design. On top of that, it is a game where you do have to unlock cards as you progress and evolve them, but it’s a slow progression.

On top of the balancing issues, the performance issues nearly kill the want to play for me. Even on my high-end computer the game had insane load times, crazy frame rate drops, and sometimes would just not run at all. Redownloading the game with a fresh install does not help. The performance issues with this game are insane considering it’s not demanding at all. Over the Moon is just another case of wasted potential. The concept was great, but the delivery was just pure disappointment. The game is full of performance issues and poor gameplay, and I sadly do not recommend it to anyone. I do hope the developers take the concept and make good on it in the future.

DVS Score: 2.5/10

R-Type Final 2 review: a By-do gone era returns

There was a point in time that hardcore shooters were making a dent in the mainstream gaming market. Alas, many thought that time has passed in the face of the AAA stream that we’re seeing nowadays, but, surprise, you can’t keep a good “shmup” down thanks to entries like Rolling Gunner and Crimzon Clover.

Now, following the success of Tozai Games’ amazing R-Type Dimensions, we’re seeing the return of Irem’s legendary series with R-Type Final 2, based on a Kickstarter success launched by the team at Granzella. It’s a hefty gamble, considering that the original Final for PlayStation 2 made everything so, um, finalized. (Yep, another gaming franchise that proves the word “final” isn’t exactly final.) But it’s mostly paid off, with a frantic, exciting shooter that offers some fun old-school thrills, even if it’s not entirely the best-looking game out there. Hey, any chance we get to blast the Bydo Empire to smithereens, we’ll happily take it.

The game once again has you facing off against dangerous alien enemies using whatever power-ups you can get your hands on. These include lock-on missiles and firing techniques that range from coordinated circle lasers to bouncing beams that make it relatively easy to blast enemies around corners. You can power-up however you choose, and the game even lets you customize your loadout, as well as select from unlocked ship models. Some vary in terms of what firepower they deliver, but the general goal is the same. Still, neat idea.

What’s important here, however, is the general nature of R-Type – and I’m happy to report that’s still very much intact. Final 2 is a lot of fun to play, and quite challenging if you turn up the difficulty. However, if you’re a newbie, you can also find quite a bit of mileage from the “practice” and “kids” difficulty settings, though you’ll still have your work cut out for you when it comes to dodging dangerous plasma beams and incoming fire.

What makes R-Type stand out is the utilization of your capsule, which helps you maintain your strong firepower, or can also be jettisoned loose to fire in out-of-reach places. It reattaches and disattaches with ease, and also shields you from smaller bullets – something that’s a saving grace if you try to keep your run going. You’ll embrace its techniques as you continue onward, and become that much of a better R-Type player.

Visually, R-Type Final 2 mimics the original PlayStation 2 game to an extent. There are 3D backgrounds and some well drawn enemies, but the design is hardly what you’d call revolutionary. In fact, on the Nintendo Switch, it’s about on the same level as R-Type Deltawhen it comes to graininess. On the PlayStation 4, however, it’s much smoother, with a 60 frames per second framerate. Both versions look good, though, and depending how you want to play – at home or on the go – they make for a strong addition to your “shmup” library.

For good measure, the music is good. Not amazing like the original R-Type soundtrack, mind you, but still well composed with some great synths playing throughout each battle. It matches the tone of what R-Type is all about for the most part, so little to complain about there.

How much mileage you get out of Final 2 truly depends on your fandom of the series. There are a lot of ships to unlock here; and the game is a meaty challenge if you go all the way up on the difficulty scale. Otherwise, just keep in mind that it’s a shmup, and you’ll likely get through the meat of its content after a few runs. That may make the $40 price tag a bit hard for some to justify.

But I digress. R-Type is back and that is what really matters. The team at Granzella have done a great job capturing the nature of what makes the series click with Final 2, as it’s a blast to play and keeps most of its fundamentals intact. And it may not look the best at times, but it’s still a decent example of how to make a “shmup” appear in these modern times. It’s a game that delivers on its Kickstarter hype, especially for those that have been dying to see the series make a return.

Now then…about that Gradius revival…

RATING: 8/10

Battle Axe Xbox One review: Worth the Grind

You’d be surprised what kind of retro-inspired experience you can put together with the right people. In this case, pixel artist Henk Nieborg, who’s been working on a number of games since the 90s, including various Shantae games.

Thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, he’s been able to team up with Mega Man composer Manami Matsumae on a 16-bit inspired project called Battle Axe, which arrived on some consoles last week and will debut on Nintendo Switch later this week. And it’s good stuff for those of you who like this sort of thing, despite some noticeable quirks – namely the price.

Published by Numskull Games, the top-down adventure has you choosing between three different characters – a Viking warrior with a helpful little cannon, a dark elf with a pair of twin blades, and an elderly wizard with a penchant for spells. Each character has up-close strikes, as well as distance shots that are ideal for blasting an enemy from afar – though it’s somewhat limited based on a charge meter, shown in your character stats. Once you have them, you can also activate super spells to clear the screen, and digest food to get back some of your lost health.

The game’s general Arcade Mode has you battling through different enemies and rescuing oddly named citizens before coming face-to-face with a boss that requires a bit of strategy, including a large crab creature, an oversized dragon and more. Once you figure out a proper pattern, just like the old-school games, you can beat them and continue on your merry little way.

What’s excellent about Battle Axe is that it’s a fairly easy game to grasp, though there’s a good challenge level that will have you conserving as much energy as you can. After all, once you’re out of lives, it’s game over, just like in some arcade games. Fortunately, there’s only a handful of stages here, so getting to the end should be just a matter of timing your attacks and fighting through to the end.

Battle Axe fully supports local co-op as well, which is outstanding. You can team up with a friend and clean house in a fun two-player session. Online’s not in the cards, sadly, but it’s a great game to play with friends. It wouldn’t have been a bad idea to have more characters tho. But at least the gameplay is responsive and tight, and the difficulty is right there on the old-school level.

Where Battle Axe truly wins is with its presentation. The 16-bit style graphics are excellent throughout, and the animations are razor sharp, right down to the large bosses. The game also runs smoothly, especially on the Xbox One, where it feels right at home. Not to mention that Matsumae’s soundtrack, though on a loop, is superb and really allows the stretching of composer talent. Well done.

That said, Battle Axe has some hitches. It only has two modes – Arcade and Infinite – and while they’re a lot of fun, they can get old over time. Infinite does have some great exploring to do for players that are up for it, but a New Game + would’ve been an ideal addition, particularly with some new stages.

For that matter, the game’s price is a bit too high for its own good. Battle Axe would’ve been a novel investment for around $15 or $20. At $30, some might balk at jumping into this adventure, though it’s still worth its weight in gold. It just depends how much you appreciate some old-school flavor from Henk’s camp.

If you’re on board, though, Battle Axe doesn’t disappoint. It’s got retro appeal throughout, even with its lack of modes and stages; and the visuals and music really pop to life. And it’s a joy to play in local co-op, if you’ve got a friend that has an axe to grind with you. If you can handle the deep price point, Battle Axe is a worthy weapon.

RATING: 8/10

Sturmfront: The Mutant War Ubel Edition review – that old feeling

There are a lot of developers out there being inspired by the classic games of old. And that’s a good thing, considering a majority of AAA developers seem to be ignoring said classics in favor of new AAA-level games. Not that that’s a bad thing, as that creates a balance with these indie folks that caters to a specific audience, while reminding us of the days gone by.

The latest example of this is Andrade Games’ Sturmfront: The Mutant War, a top-down twin-stick shooter where it’s you against the alien world. The game has its quirks, particularly the annoying lack of any kind of co-op (novel for a game like this – just look at Contra), but it’s a thrill ride that’s available for a decent price. Not to mention it’s got the kind of soundtrack that’s got some Doom Eternal-level inspiration behind it.

In the game, you portray Siegfried von Hammerstein, a cyborg that has a current mission in life – lay waste to alien invaders. And considering a big invasion is well underway, he’s hungry to clean house.

Hammerstein will be able to switch between two weapons – a rifle of choice, ideal for laying waste to smaller mutants; and a flamethrower. While it has limited fuel, it’s perfect for destroying alien spawning points (basically large aliens with spewing mouths) before they can do any further damage.

The game’s controls are simple, but effective. Left stick controls movement, right stick controls where you aim, and the right shoulder button is used to shoot. If you prefer, you can also use the face buttons on the right hand side for shooting, for those that prefer to go a little old school.

There’s definitely some Smash TV/Total Carnage-inspired lunacy here, and it’s ideal for fans that love that sort of design. The gameplay doesn’t let up, and there’s something cool about being able to effectively take down enemies while they try to kill you. It would’ve been nice to have a “dodge” feature, like in other games, but it’s not too bad. The only downside is that most of the story is forgettable, as you get bits and pieces of it from survivors as you go along. Albeit it takes a backseat to the action, so whatever.

Though the levels are short, they’re jammed with enemies, and that brings the game’s colorful design into play. It looks wonderful, inspired by the arcade and Amiga classics of old, and doesn’t let up with its world-ending aesthetic. It’s also great to see the weapons at play here, including a spread laser that could easily match up with Contra’s classic gun on a good day. There are also some good boss fights on display here, which will force you to work to survive. Fortunately, you can tone down the difficulty a little bit if it becomes too much.

What really stands out is the soundtrack. The heavy metal-inspired tunes are excellent and blare throughout, making you feel like you should continue laying waste to alien scum. The sound effects are minimal, but work where needed here.

Again, where Sturmfront lets down is the fact it’s just a single player affair. If the developers at Andrade had just added a few more players to the mix – or at least a two-player co-op option at a higher difficulty – it could’ve mixed things up tremendously.

As it stands, though, Sturmfront isn’t too shabby. What it lacks in overall length and features, it more than makes up for with old-school carnage, a ripping soundtrack and delightfully chaotic visuals. You’ll want to dig in and enjoy it in spurts, just to ease that stress away with one of the most metal cyborgs out there. Hopefully we’ll see a sequel with more loaded content down the road. Hammerstein can’t do it all himself, y’know.

RATING: 7.5/10

(Sturmfront is available now for PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PC!)

Narita Boy PlayStation 4 review: more than a game, boy

Team 17 didn’t exactly need to establish itself as a king of 2D platforming games, as it had previously struck gold with its lovely Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair. But now it’s gone the extra mile, establishing a Metroidvania-style adventure that’s sure to strike a chord with both fans of the genre and those who live for retro-fueled visuals and tunes.

Narita Boy stemmed from a Kickstarter project created by Studio Koba, with Team 17 picking up the publishing rights. And it’s a hell of an addition to its roster, a game that, despite some minor setbacks, delivers some butt-kicking goodness that puts it near the top of the Metroidvania heap. In fact, it’s worth buying for the music alone, a collection of synth tunes that will have you wondering what kind of magic is behind the keyboards. Seriously.

The game is Tron-esque, in a way, with a teenage boy trapped in a virtual world, forced to attempt to track down The Creator in the hopes of possibly escaping. Along the way, he learns about this person’s essence, and how it ties in with his humble beginnings in Narita – in Japan. That explains the title, for those of you wondering what a Narita is.

There’s a little Star Wars in there as well, as the boy is armed with a Techno Sword. With it, he can fend off attackers and use special techniques to carve them up, including swift uppercuts and combo strikes. These are especially useful against bosses, who definitely pack a punch – something Metroidvania fans should be used to by now. But fortunately, you have some cool defensive techniques, including a slide that’s really handy for avoiding incoming strikes.

The gameplay works remarkably well for Narita Boy, though it’s definitely on the hard side. Still, after exploring a few areas, you should become used to what’s on hand, as well as what you can unlock over the course of the game.

All that really stands in the way is Narita’s need for backtracking. It can get a little old at times, especially as you run across the same area multiple times. But the game as a whole is still very well designed, and a lot of fun to play.

Where its treasure really lies, however, is within its presentation. I’ve already told you about the majesty of the soundtrack, which is really something else when it comes to nailing down its synth core. It sounds great, like something out of a classic 80s sci-fi film of sorts, with a few tunes that match the mood the Creator has set here.

And the visuals are lovely too, with 8-bit style visuals with a CRT TV-esque approach that really emulates the classics of old. We’re talking Out of This World sort of vibes, but obviously with something that’s far smoother. The effect is outrageously cool, especially when it comes to boss battles. They’re just so well done, you’ll be in awe after they wipe you out the first time around.

There are more than enough Metroidvania games to recommend at the moment, but Narita Boy deserves a nod. It doesn’t quite have all the momentum it needs to beat the legends, but it deserves a spot on the list of best games in the genre for sure. The presentation alone is wow-worthy; and the gameplay continues to impress as you go along. Narita-ville definitely feels like a great place to visit.

RATING: 8/10

Bladed Fury review: a sharp nod to Vanillaware

So…why wasn’t Muramasa: The Demon Blade brought to new game systems again? When Vanillaware initially released this stunningly beautiful game for the Wii several years ago, it became a massive underground hit. That prompted the studio to release another version…for the PS Vita. And yet, here we are without a version for current-gen consoles, where it would no doubt shine brightly in 4K.

But at least we have a pretty good fill-in with NExT Studio’s Bladed Fury. While it’s a bit on the short side and has a few slight issues with its gameplay and visuals, it has Muramasa’s spirit completely intact. Not only that, but the story delves deep into Chinese culture, creating a tale that’s as fascinating to watch as it is to play.

The story focuses on an unlikely heroine named Princess Ji, who finds herself on the run after she’s framed by the Tian for the murder of the Duke of the Qi region. But she’s not running away without a fight. She’s gathering weapons and spirits, readying for a showdown with the folks that wronged her.

Yep, it’s a story about revenge. But it sets the stage for Bladed Fury’s action, which is quite satisfying. Though Muramasa is still somewhat preferred, there’s some great combos to take advantage of here, between power and quick strikes. Not only that, but you can also knock enemies into the air; and utilize other special techniques. It’s not entirely original, but it is cool for those of you that missed out on what Vanillaware’s title had to offer.

That, combined with the Princess’ swiftness to get through platforming and challenge bosses, makes the game an overall blast to play. There are moments when you can slip a little bit, due to minor glitches, but the ebb and flow is there enough to satisfy. If you’re a fan of hack-and-slashers, this is worth adding to your list. You can also upgrade abilities, which will help you expand your skill set over the course of your journey.

Not only that, but Bladed Fury also features exquisite visuals that almost reach the level of Vanillaware classics of old. The hand-drawn animation is impressive; the backgrounds are colorful and bring this Chinese world to life; and some of the enemy designs really stand out. There are times that the action slows down a little bit, but not enough to throw off what you see exploding on-screen. I just wish it was longer, as it ends at a fraction of the time that Muramasa concludes in.

Also, the music isn’t quite as good. It has some great tunes here and there, but I miss Muramasa’s mighty soundtrack. Still, it fits the tone of what’s on-screen, so it’s not too shabby.

Overall, Bladed Fury can’t quite match the graciousness of what Muramasa’s team brought before. However, it’s truly inspired by it, feels excellent to play, and offers some fun visuals to watch on-screen, especially in 4K. It may not be the original warrior we asked for, but the Princess is more than ready to deliver on her own accord. Give her a shot.

RATING: 7.5/10

What the Dub?! Review: yes, talk during the movie

Party games are enjoying a neat little resurgence these days, especially online ones in the face of COVID-19. That’s exactly where Wide Right Interactive’s What the Dub?! thrives, providing a great place for creativity while having fun with others. Oh, and it helps if you’re a fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000, of course.

The general purpose of the game is to come up with a clever quip to go along with one of the many flip clips within the game. First, there’s the set-up, in which you see the clip and then the space where you need to provide the dialogue. From there, you’ve got a little time to enter what you think would be the funniest or most clever (or dare we say…both?) comment to say.

From there, a voting period begins, and players decide which is the best particular quip for that clip, in which the top choice gets rewarded.

The game supports up to twelve players. Six jump in as the contestants making the comments, while six more serve as audience members who can partake in the voting. That keeps the pacing for What the Dub?! just about right, so rounds don’t stretch out long enough for the game to become boring. If you want, you can extend entry time for input, just in case you’ve got some players that are a bit on the slow side – or trying to manage a mobile keyboard. Oy.

Connecting is easy. Like the Jackbox games, Wide Right uses a system where players can log into a website for the game, and then enter a unique four-letter code to take part in whatever match-up is happening. This makes What the Dub?! ideal not only for get-togethers with friends, but also for streamers that want to build and connect better with their audience.

Now, considering this is an indie game and some older material would probably take forever to attain the rights to, What the Dub?!’s clips mainly stem from infomercials and public service announcements, as well as some really bad movies that no one wants to take ownership of. While that does take away a little bit from general variety in a game like this, there’s still more than enough content to provide commentary to.

What the Dub?! has a good presentation. It may not be over-the-top like the Jackbox games, but it sets out what it needs to accomplish. The virtual movie theater where you see these atrocious clips is a nice setting; and, again, there’s some fun little variety here in the clips provided. The GLADoS-esque readings of dialogue are kind of cool, too, though a bit weird with some footage. Still, it fits the theme.

Even though it does come across as a one-trick pony – there’s just the dubbing and that’s really about it here – What the Dub?! still scores very well. It’s a terrific party game that (mostly) brings out the creativity in would-be comics or those who cherish the mighty church of Crow T. Robot. What’s more, the price is more than suitable, going for under $10 and providing solid service for online connectivity. It’s definitely the best way to enjoy bad movie clips, compared to, say, trying to watch something seriously and grumbling under your breath.

RATING: 8/10

SturmFront is bringing back that classic Smash TV feeling

So it used to be that if you wanted to lay waste to all sorts of enemies, you could do it with a game from Midway Games, like Robotron 2084, Smash TV or Total Carnage. However it’s been a good while since we’ve seen a game like that in this day and age. Fortunately, Red Art Games has a solution to all that.

The company recently released a new game called SturmFront – The Mutant War: Ubel Edition, which is available now for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 for the low price of $9.99. And it comes with all sorts of “shooty” goodness in that style of Smash and Total.

In the game, players take control of Siegfried von Hammerstein, who serves as a “unique semi-organic battle unit” that fights through a crazy world, filled with all sorts of devastating mutants. In order to clean house, he’ll need to do what he does best – kill ‘em all.

Featuring “more content, enhanced gameplay, improved graphics and more blood” over the previous release, SturmFront also has a rockin’ soundtrack that’ll have you shredding on an imaginary guitar as you shred your enemies. Check out the trailer below for a dose of this goodness.

And if you prefer a physical copy of the game, you can get it here on the Red Art Games store for $19.99. It’s limited to 999 copies, so you might want to get yours quickly!

Check out the game now. If you need to see it in action, the trailer is below. Rock on!