Book 2 of the Gentleman Bastard is a fun sequel that tries to do a bit too much.
Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I still enjoy Scott Lynch’s writing style and characters, but this follow-up to The Lies of Locke Lamora is a bit too bloated, resulting in some odd pacing issues.
We don’t get to the pirate stuff (as evidenced on the cover) until much later in the book; until then it’s a casino heist that only circles back around at the very, very end. The casino heist peters out but the entire pirate plot line is absolutely fantastic, with a rich cast of characters and some much deeper emotional stakes.
Red Seas Under Red Skies thus ends up too long and too grandiose for its own good. A few chapters early on even add an additional timeline of events that happened after LoLL but before this one. They’re not bad at all, and I continue to enjoy learning more about this relatable fantasy world, but it makes getting through the first half of the book much more of a slog than it should have been. Thankfully the ending climax ramps up very nicely – I devoured the last 100+ pages in about a day.
Overall a worthy sequel but I wish it had done a bit less and focused entirely on the pirate plot line of the latter half.
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The original Bridge Constructor was a novel puzzle game that tasked players with, well, constructing bridges in order to ferry cars and trucks across chasms. Budding engineers had to overcome real physics issues involving supports, anchors, and the distribution of weight.
Bridge Constructor Portal is a vastly superior sequel that expertly injects beloved themes and characters from the Portal series while making the entire gameplay experience far smoother and more enjoyable for console players.
The metroidvania and roguelike genres have become overused buzzwords among indie games (see also the newly coined ‘roguevania’). Action-platformers have been refined and molded over and over again just in the last few years. It’s easy to roll one’s eyes every time a new one is released.
But forget all that genre cynicism, because Dead Cells is fantastic. With an evocative art style, buttery smooth combat, and perfect level of progression, Dead Cells is easily the most satisfying action-platformer since Rogue Legacy.
Most fighting games boil down to one theme: mind games with your opponent. Uncaged: World Fighters is a two player duel card game designed to replicate the bouts and rounds of a Mixed Martial Arts tournament as players take turns attacking and defending using different fighting moves and styles.
Uncaged is even more about the mind games as you must prepare your cards into a single combo ahead of time, while anticipating your opponent’s cards in return. It’s far easier to jump in and play than other fighting games and uses its MMA theme well, though the actual gameplay often comes down to the luck of the draw more than intricate strategy.
My longest RogueWatson Review yet covers the complex but excellent worker placement game Argent: the Consortium, designed by Trey Chambers and published by Level 99 Games. It originally launched in 2015, but an improved 2nd edition just released earlier this year.
Watch my review below!
I made the mistake of passing on Slime Rancher when it launched last year, dismissing it as overly cutesy and simplistic. I’m pleased to report that after spending some quality time on the Far Far Range, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Newly arrived on PlayStation 4 this week, Slime Rancher boasts a perfect blend of ranch management with open world exploration, using little more than a portable vacuum.
It’s not uncommon to shout “just sautée the damn mushrooms already!” at your family members when playing Overcooked 2. The delightfully chaotic cooking simulator returns with more cooperative mayhem as players quickly work together to fulfill culinary orders while avoiding kitchen hazards.
The sequel offers a few new features but ultimately the same experience. Thankfully it’s still a winning recipe.