Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom Review [Pixelkin]

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Nostalgia for the action-platformers of the 80s and 90s have helped fuel the modern indie game industry, from spiritual successors to direct recreations. Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom is a modern take on the old and underrated Wonder Boy series.

The first new Wonder Boy game since 1994 has been given an astonishing overhaul, with gorgeous hand-drawn animations, a bombastic musical score, and a lengthy campaign that hits every checkbox of regional themes. Unfortunately it also dregs up some of the more unforgiving challenges and obtuse puzzle designs of that era, holding back an otherwise fantastic original entry.

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Goodreads Review – The Ring of Winter

The Ring of Winter (Forgotten Realms: The Harpers, #5)The Ring of Winter by James Lowder
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Primarily read because of any possible ties to our ongoing Tomb of Annihilation campaign. It’s a short, easy read with paper-thin characters, but it’s a decent little swashbuckling adventure in the jungles of Chult. Too many goblins and not enough of everything else, however, as Artus Cimber hunts the Ring of Winter, befriends goofy talking wombats, battles dinosaurs, and meets the immortal defenders of Mezro. The brief but intriguing Ras Nsi cameo and the climax featuring the unleashed Ring of Winter are the most relevant sections to ToA, though Artus himself is a generically boring hero. Not a horrible book but not exactly a memorable adventure.

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Clank in Space + Apocalypse Review [Pixelkin]

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In space no one can hear you scream, but Lord Eradikus will surely hear all that noise you’ve been making while snooping around his ship. All that clanking will summon his wrath, and your only hope is to run faster than your friends.

Clank in Space is a brilliantly fun board game that combines the strategy of a deckbuilding card game with a space-themed dungeon crawl. The recently released Apocalypse expansion adds new villainous schemes to thwart your heist plans even more, creating an always exciting and memorable race through the mother ship.

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Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Review [Pixelkin]

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What started out as a goofy mashup of a handful of Nintendo characters having a What-If throw-down has spent the last two decades transforming into one of the most beloved, consistently excellent series on every Nintendo console since the Nintendo 64.

As the fifth game in the series Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is well deserving of its Ultimate title, featuring every fighter and stage from previous games while providing a solid balance of new and classic gameplay modes, though it’s still a series built for, and best enjoyed locally rather than online.

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Goodreads Review – The Fifth Season

The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth, #1)The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Phenomenal. It’s been a long time since a book started out rather ho-hum, and by the end I had to devour the last 50 pages in a single sitting, desperately wanting more. Jemisin created not just an intriguing retrofuture world of extreme, apocalyptic weather but also a rich culture surrounding the caste-bound humans who survive these Seasons, including those special humans who can feel the Earth and control it.
The setting is a delicious mixture of X-Men, Dragon Age, and even some Horizon Zero Dawn, yet it’s not derivative at all but feels like a natural evolution for sci-fi/fantasy. And the multiple POV features some incredibly rewarding and satisfying twists, including a very bold second person narration. Highly recommended and I cannot wait to read the rest of the trilogy.

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Pokemon: Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee Review [Pixelkin]

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Pokémon GO’s incredible popularity on mobile phones introduced a whole new audience to the already stalwart Pokémon franchise. The Pokémon Company has leveraged that popularity for Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee!.

On the surface the Let’s Go games are glossy, 3D remakes of the first generation of Pokémon (Red/Blue/Yellow) with the much simpler Pokéball throwing mechanics borrowed from Pokémon GO. Despite its relative simplicity compared to recent mainline games like Sun and Moon, Let’s Go includes several brilliant new features that make journeying through Kanto again rewarding and memorable.