Yo-Kai Watch 2 Review [Pixelkin]

While Yo-Kai Watch’s older brother Pokémon drops you into completely new worlds in each new game, Yo-Kai Watch 2 brings you back to the familiar city of Springdale.

Read the full review at Pixelkin

While Yo-Kai Watch’s older brother Pokémon drops you into completely new worlds in each new game, Yo-Kai Watch 2 brings you back to the familiar city of Springdale.

More yo-kai, new features, and improved abilities build upon the successful ideas in the first game. But even time-travel doesn’t save it from the feeling that you’ve already done all of this before.

Yo-Kai Watch 2 begins with one of the cringiest clichés of the JRPG – the amnesiac protagonist. Your chosen hero (either Nate or Katie) has their titular watch stolen and memories erased, creating a terribly painful prologue sequence for anyone that’s previously played the first game.

Yo-Kai Watch 2 wrestles with trying to appeal to newcomers as well as veterans of a game that was just released last year outside of Japan. The new yo-kai you meet are often well-designed additions, but you’ll also stumble upon a lot of repeats from the first game’s roster.

READ THE FULL REVIEW AT PIXELKIN

Running a Retro Gaming Convention [GuideLive]

I wrote about my experiences at the Let’s Play Gaming Expo, and interviewed one of the board members about running a retro gaming convention

Read the full interview at GuideLive

There’s an old joke about kids sticking a comic book between the pages of their text books at school. “I was always reading Nintendo Power,” says Christian Deitering, board member of the Let’s Play Gaming Expo. Together, he and a group of retro game enthusiasts have built a successful annual gaming convention located in the Plano Centre.

The Let’s Play Gaming Expo wrapped up its sophomore year in June with double attendance the attendance of its first outing — 2,400 eager gamers and families. That number doesn’t include the kids under the age of 12 that got in for free.

I attended on Saturday, June 18 with friends and family. My young daughter enjoyed grabbing controllers and playing pixelated games on old Cathode Ray Tube Televisions in the Console FreePlay area. There were systems from Atari, Nintendo, Sega … someone even built a fully-functioning table-sized NES controller.

We watched some ridiculously good players compete at the Super Smash Bros. Tournament, browsed rare ’90s Japanese video games at the vendor hall, and delighted in showing off my nostalgic love for the old X-Men arcade game among the nearly 100 arcades and pinball machines that were there.

READ THE FULL INTERVIEW AT GUIDELIVE

We Happy Few Early Access Preview [Pixelkin]

Survival-crafting games are a dime a dozen, but We Happy Few’s real joy is its immersive world and how it plays with conformity and hallucinatory drugs.

Read the full preview at Pixelkin

What if you had to survive in a BioShock-esque world without all those fancy plasmids and guns? Instead you’re armed with rotten food, pointy sticks, and one very special drug.

We Happy Few began life with a successful Kickstarter campaign before hitting Steam Early Access this Summer. The game combines survival-crafting into a unique setting rarely explored in gaming – the drug-fueled, post-war 1960s. This initial Early Access version features most of the gameplay sans story, and with only the one playable protagonist.

In this world’s alternate history, World War 2 went very, very badly for England. The Nazis successfully invaded and destroyed much of the country, leaving its population frightened and destitute. But that doesn’t mean you have to stop enjoying life right?

One little happy pill called Joy, and all your real world problems simply melt away. The people in the island city of Wellington Wells may harbor some deep secrets, but most of its drug-addled citizens don’t seem to care. Except for you.

READ THE FULL PREVIEW AT PIXELKIN

Dragon Quest VII Review [Pixelkin]

If you have the time to dig in this 3DS remake should easily become the definitive version of Dragon Quest VII.

Read the full review at Pixelkin

Back when the original Dragon Quest VII (called Dragon Warrior VII in the US) was released for the Sony PlayStation in 2000, it was already dated. The old-school 2D sprites were a big step backward compared to Final Fantasy VII’s fully 3D polygons. This new 3DS remake brings a much-needed graphical facelift, improved translations, and streamlined additions to entice turn-based JRPG fans to one of the genre’s forgotten gems.

Dragon Quest VII is all about time travel. Your hero and some childhood friends open an ancient shrine on your home island – the only island in the world. The shrine contains portals to other islands in the past. Each new island brings new characters, quests, monsters, and dungeons. The islands then appear in the present for even more monster-slaying content.

Time-travel requires assembling the tablet portals from fragments you find scattered throughout these islands. The main story focuses on exploring new islands, righting the wrongs of the past, and defeating Dragon Quest’s colorful array of enemies.

READ THE FULL REVIEW AT PIXELKIN

The Dangerous Seduction of Video Game Hype [Pixelkin]

The 2013 VGX trailer created years-long excitement for No Man’s Sky that proved too good to be true.

Read the full article at Pixelkin.org

It’s okay to get excited about exciting things. And video games can be pretty darn exciting. Take No Man’s Sky. An incredible open world space adventure with a near infinite amount of planets and alien wildlife waiting to be discovered. It sounded too good to be true.

Turned out, it was.

We all first learned of No Man’s Sky’s existence from the jaw-dropping trailer shown at the 2013 VGX awards show. The trailer did a fantastic job creating excitement and anticipation for this adventure about exploring uncharted worlds. No one was certain how the game would actually play, or how a small indie studio would pull it off. So began several years of feverish speculation and wishful thinking.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT PIXELKIN.ORG

No Man’s Sky Review [Pixelkin]

Underlying the promise of exciting exploration is a dull grind for the same few resources within a shockingly limited universe.

Read the full Mini-Review on Pixelkin

In space, no one can hear you scream. In No Man’s Sky, they can’t hear you at all. They can only read the names of planets and species you’ve discovered. An infinite universe of randomly generated planets is an intriguing premise. But underlying the promise of exciting exploration is a dull grind for the same few resources within a shockingly limited universe.

No Man’s Sky isn’t a grand massively multiplayer space game nor an action-packed space flight sim. It’s a survival-crafting game.

You begin on a random, undiscovered planet with a broken down spaceship. Using your laser multi-tool you can break down whatever counts for trees and rocks on your planet for basic resources. Resources are limited to a handful of categories, which helps prevent you from ever getting stuck on any one planet. But limitations like that peel back the layers of clever game design to reveal the not-so-clever base components.

READ THE FULL MINI-REVIEW ON PIXELKIN

Kerbal Space Program Review [Pixelkin]

Read the full mini-review at Pixelkin

There are plenty of fun sci-fi and space-themed games out there. But precious few are grounded in realistic physics. Kerbal Space Program is as much a full on NASA-simulator as a game. It nicely uses the scientific method to keep you tweaking your journey toward galactic discovery.

Kerbal Space Program is a deceptively dense game hiding behind the cute green Kerbals that populate this space-age world. In Career mode you’re given a basic NASA-like facility. Buildings include Vehicle Assembly, Tracking Station, Mission Control, and a launch site that’s little more than a slab of concrete.

READ THE FULL MINI-REVIEW AT PIXELKIN