Archives for October 2019

Reventure – Nintendo Switch Review

It’s dangerous to go alone! Take Reventure, now available on the Nintendo Switch from the team at Pixelatto.

Reventure is a unique, non-linear adventure game that has players taking the role of the mighty hero in the age old quest of saving the princess. Players begin each run by waking up and starting out on their quest, grabbing whatever essentials they require as they go. What makes Reventure so unique is the fact that there are 100 different endings to the story, each one requiring different processes and giving a different outcome. Trip over and make a fool of yourself? Maybe tomorrow is a better day to adventure. Murder a guard? Go to jail for a few years! Each day it is up to the player to try and discover a new and possibly true ending to the quest. Every time the player discovers a new ending, time is added to the total time count that is displayed before the day begins. Equipment can be collected each run but it is best to only gather what supplies you need, each additional piece of equipment will restrict character movement a bit more.

Reventure has a very simple pixel art style and a soundtrack that evokes memories of retro JRPGs, tying together the games old school aesthetic perfectly. There are even a number of unlockable palettes that varies style or minimises it even more, depending on personal preference. The “tongue in cheek” attitude nods to other game series with references scattered evenly throughout the game but doesn’t rely solely upon nostalgia to achieve its goals.

Trial and error is the cornerstone of the Reventure experience, so get ready for plenty of repetition. Apart from a few unique events, the world is reset each day meaning you must collect any items over and over. Endings will also carry over onto your character visually each time, from losing your hat to being turned into another creature altogether. There are plenty of unique and funny outcomes but giving examples would spoil the satisfaction of finding them for yourself. Every time the player does discover a new ending a matching picture, unique to that conclusion, is added to the “Adventure Gallery”. There are also ending hints that will appear throughout the world as you play since some of the solutions are not as obvious or significant than others.

There is certainly a lot of charm and humour in Reventure but its repetitive nature can start to dull the games impact at times. Nevertheless it is a fun and rewarding game with plenty of satisfying “Ah ha!” moments to keep players coming back for more.

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Mat Panek, Chief Reporter
Retromancer – Collector, repairer & fan of retro games & tech. Atari to Amiga, Nintendo to Sega! LD, Zip, Beta and a proud dad! One half of the TiredParents on Twitch.

Follow Mat on Twitter and Twitch

 

 

Disclosure: Reventure [Nintendo Switch eShop code] was kindly provided by Pixelatto for this review.

 

 

Pig Eat Ball – Nintendo Switch Review

Time to eat tennis balls and barf your way to glory in Pig Eat Ball, the newest game from the team at Mommy’s Best Games.

Pig Eat Ball is a strange, top down Action-Adventure where King Cake has promised the hand of his daughter in marriage to the winner of his contest. Princess Bow has other ideas and enters the competition herself in disguise, players take control of the princess and must complete levels by sucking up all of the tennis balls in each level as fast as possible. Players take control of the Princess Although this may sound simple at first, as you eat more balls you grow in size. If players grow too big they are unable to squeeze past certain obstacles and must barf out enough balls to proceed. If players take damage a “Barf meter” appears which counts down time until you barf automatically, this can be reset by getting hit again. Barf can also be used to disable enemies for a short while. Power ups and unlockable accessories that each have their own pros and cons that let players adjust their playstyle to suit their needs.

With a pixel art style, multiple “worlds” to visit and paying homage to numerous old arcade games, Pig Eat Ball is a pretty interesting looking game. The story starts to pick up after you complete about a third of the first world and adds some more ridiculous intrigue into the mix.  Containing 100s of levels to attempt and lots of different variations to the formula certainly helps to keep things fresh with some little distractions in the hub world. There are also levels where you have to compete against AI in tasks ranging from collecting starts to making sandwiches. Levels award medals based on how quickly you complete them and allows players to compare scores with others online to give some good replayability. One use power ups can also be activated to help out players but these are generally hidden in the overworld or various levels. 

Pig Eat Ball is a fun and entertaining game with some cleverly crafted levels that is probably best played in short bursts. Full of cheeky humour, barf and off the wall characters it will certainly appeal to some players more than others but is well worth a go.

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Mat Panek, Chief Games Reviewer
Retromancer – Collector, repairer & fan of retro games & tech. Atari to Amiga, Nintendo to Sega! LD, Zip, Beta and a proud dad! One half of the TiredParents on Twitch.

Follow Mat on Twitter and Twitch

 

 

Disclosure: Pig Eat Ball [Nintendo Switch eShop code] was kindly provided by Mommy’s Best Games for this review.

 

 

Flipout 2019 Highlights: We Had A (Silver) Ball!

We always look forward to Mr. Pinball Australia Flipout Show as it gives us a chance to play heaps of pinball machines we would otherwise never get a chance to play out in the wild.

Flipout 2019 delivered the desired ‘pinball fix’ we were after, a state of pinball high which we are still riding – the buzz of playing so many pinball machines is still with us, days after the conclusion of the show! To say we had a (silver) ball at Flipout 2019, would be a gross understatement – we loved it!

A lot of hard work goes into preparing and setting up a show of this magnitude, so kudos must be given to Wayne Gillard and his Mr. Pinball Australia team, Martin Robbins from Melbourne Silverball and Scott Kellett from Zax Amusements for supplying over 70 wonderful fun machines for us to enjoy all weekend long. From our highlights package below, you’ll see that each era was represented, from gorgeous EM (Electro-Mechanical) machines, early and late Solid State machines to DMD and right up to the current LCD based pinball machines, the show catered for all pinball tastes.

The awesome folks that brought Flipout 2019 alive [L to R]: Scott Kellett (Zax Amusements) and Wayne Gillard (Mr. Pinball Australia)

The ever smiling Martin Robbins (Melbourne Silverball), showrunning the tournaments at Flipout 2019

From the pinball smorgasbord the most popular were the new offerings from American Pinball (Oktoberfest), Jersey Jack Pinball (Willy Wonka), Stern Pinball Inc. (Jurassic Park), Chicago Gaming Company (Monster Bash Remake) and Spooky Pinball (Alice Cooper’s Nightmare Castle). The Jersey Jack Pinball (JJP) machines proved popular all weekend long, with a long wait to play on Dialed In and Pirates of The Caribbean machines.

The JJP and Stern machines were popular with all attendees!

We had a blast playing some mid-1990s machines we hadn’t played in a long time, like Williams’ No Fear, Junk Yard and the original Monster Bash. Stern’s Elvis LE pinball machine was a surprise blast which had us pressing the start button more than a few times. Lord Of The Rings was another blast from the past which left us smiling ear to ear – an absolute brilliant machine. It was also great to experience the lesser known titles for the first time, like Thunderbirds (we won’t comment any further on this one!). We reacquainted ourselves with Team Pinball’s The Mafia and Spooky’s America’s Most Haunted – it still plays like a dream.

The Flipout 2019 walkthrough!

The highlight and ‘Best In Show’ machine for 2019 for us was Haggis Pinball‘s debut title, CELTS! This pinball machine blew our expectations by a mile. Not only was this Australian designed and made machine looking gorgeous (we love the Scottish Highland Games art theme by Sam Greenwood, aka: Most Ill), but it also sounded great (we love bagpipes) and most importantly, it played like a dream – the shots felt true and fun to hit, with the geometry being spot on. The upper flipper was fun to smack the ball around and also bumping the ball in the upper playfield against the slings definitely kept us smiling while playing. Even though the CELTS pinball machine was a pre-production model, the whole package still felt solid, something that you would expect from a JJP Collector’s Edition or Stern Limited Edition machine. We actually can’t stop thinking about CELTS, and at the current entry price point, it is very very tempting to add one to our collection.

A neat little non-pinball touch were the balloons around the floor, these created a festive mood and the mini chocolates strewn around the venue were great for our energy levels to keep us flipping.

Enjoy the Flipout 2019 highlights and we hope to see you there in 2020!

The Sandbelt Hotel – the perfect venue for Flipout 2019

Energy to keep us flippin!

We love a signed flyer!

The Melbourne Silverball Flipout 2019 tournament machines are checked one final time!

Oo’er, aren’t the tournament trophies just so gorgeous!

Having a well earned rest!

 

Rescue HQ – The Tycoon: PC Steam Review

Emergency! Sound the alert, start the sirens and speed to the rescue in Rescue HQ – The Tycoon from Stillalive Studios on PC.

Rescue HQ is a management sim all about running and maintaining your very own all-in-one emergency department. Players start by setting up a small fire department and move onto others, including police and medical departments. As emergencies occur they will stack on the right hand side of the screen and it is up to players to decide the order in which they are resolved. Each emergency needs to be addressed within a set timeframe and takes a certain amount of time to complete, meaning it’s important to allocate teams, resources and vehicles based on qualifications and skills. Every emergency has a requirement that must be met from the number of personnel to equipment required. This ends up giving a “success rate” percentage before you dispatch, with a higher percentage meaning greater rewards. Completing a successful emergency rewards not only cash but also reputation points which can be spent to unlock new equipment. 

Although appearing to be a very simple looking game artistically, Rescue HQ is a complex and deep management game. The simple art style means that players can tell exactly what is going on at all times, regardless of how complex your headquarters starts to become. Departments will progress quickly and after a short time, players will have a beehive of activity across all three. Some major emergencies may require players to send two or even all departments to attend, meaning micromanagement is the key to success. Rescue HQ does also have some good tongue in cheek social commentary within the tutorial system that is presented by the eager and greedy Major.

Headquarters layout is very important, when staff are assigned to an emergency they must first head to their locker and prepare before boarding their vehicle. Players will quickly run out of space in the starting zone but more space can be acquired later on by purchasing adjacent plots of land. This does take longer than we would like to become available but it does allow players to learn the mechanics steadily rather than jumping forward too quickly. Games are divided into scenarios where players must last 5 weeks before endless mode is unlocked, this is our only real complaint about the game as it can be a bit of a grind. It is relatively simple to rework rooms in your headquarters though and maximising space is simple and rewarding.

Deceptively simple and pleasantly surprising, Rescue HQ is a game that we found ourselves happily putting in much more time than we expected. A great little game for those that like to whittle away hours trying to micromanage and streamline processes.

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Mat Panek, Chief Reporter
Retromancer – Collector, repairer & fan of retro games & tech. Atari to Amiga, Nintendo to Sega! LD, Zip, Beta and a proud dad! One half of the TiredParents on Twitch.

Follow Mat on Twitter and Twitch

 

 

Disclosure: Rescue HQ – The Tycoon [Steam code] was kindly provided by Stride PR for this review.

 

 

Retro-Bit Sega Mega Drive 6-Button Arcade Pad – Review

One of the most difficult challenges a retro game player will face is finding decent controllers. As hardware ages and starts to wear out, it can get harder and harder to find that one perfect controller or even a handful of decent ones (10 player Bomberman anyone?). Personally I have received bags of controllers and joysticks, only to find that the majority of them are brittle, weak or unresponsive. Sometimes 3-4 bad controllers can only be turned into 1 good controller and sometimes not even that! 

Thankfully there is a vast array of people attempting to keep us all playing those games we love, especially the team over at Retro-Bit. Having teamed up with SEGA themselves to recreate some of the most iconic and best (in my opinion) retro controllers around, Retro-Bit brings us both the Mega Drive (Genesis) and Saturn controllers. Available in both classic black or clear variants with original hardware connectors or USB so you can play on a wide range of devices, including the Sega Mega Drive Mini!

Having spent a lot of time recently playing on the original Mega Drive and noticing that my controllers were getting a little worse for wear, I opted for the classic connector in Crystal blue.

First impressions are overwhelmingly positive, the controller feels very solid and well built. Exactly like you would expect an original genuine pad to feel. Buttons feel beautifully responsive and the D-pad is tactile with no ghosting evident. There is some beautiful movement to the roll on the D-pad that you only get on a fresh new Mega Drive controller. As an added bonus, the cord length is almost twice as long as the original!

In fact, if it wasn’t for my personal colour choice (I’m a sucker for crystal plastics) and the Retro-Bit logo, it looks and feels identical to a genuine 6 button SEGA arcade pad from 1993. What higher praise could one ask for?

Retro-Bit has also announced a 2.4Ghz model, packed with an original and USB connector dongle, or Bluetooth only wireless version for every colour variant due around November 2019. I know I am excited to get my hands on the wireless Saturn controller for use with the Saturn and Nintendo Switch, stay tuned!

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Mat Panek, Chief Reporter
Retromancer – Collector, repairer & fan of retro games & tech. Atari to Amiga, Nintendo to Sega! LD, Zip, Beta and a proud dad! One half of the TiredParents on Twitch.

Follow Mat on Twitter and Twitch

 

 

 

 

 

Gears 5: A Rocky, Sometimes Brilliant Entry

By: D.C. Cutler, U.S.A.

When I played “Gears of War” in 2006 for the first time, I was instantly hooked. It was another first-person shooter game, but something about it felt new and fresh. The recently released “Gears 5,” the fifth instalment in the successful “Gears of War” franchise, seems more creative and still familiar than its predecessors.

Like most things in entertainment, the original is always better. But with “Gears 5,” The Coalition, the game developers, have really took the franchise to a new, inspiring place.

“Gears 5” centres on Kait Diaz, an Outsider of Locust descent. Playing as Kait, your mission is to uncover the origins of the Locust and Kait’s family. Several characters from “Gears of War 4,” like James Dominic “JD” Fenix, return; but don’t be fooled, it’s Kait’s game.

I’ve always enjoyed video games that have a snow setting. Maybe it’s my admiration and affection for the battle on Hoth in “The Empire Strikes Back,” or just my simple love for action sequences on powdery snow; Act 2 of “Gears 5” takes place in a wintery landscape where you parasail with a skiff over frozen lakes and snow-covered terrain. You can investigate dark tunnels and find collectables, but lurking around the dark corners are parts of the Swarm. You have to conserve your ammo. Finding journals at abandoned camps adds to the game’s overall story. The game feels enormous. You can get lost, and watch out for incoming ice chunks that can crush you. It was gratifying searching for the New Hope Research Facility. I learned the hard way that it’s very difficult to throw grenades in the frigid wind when you approach the entrance to the research facility.

image source: Gears 5

I haven’t played all of “Gears 5,” but from what I’ve played, I think it could be one of the best games of the year. It undeniably expands on the “Gears” universe. It’s very rare that I want to go back and play parts of a game that I’ve already completed. Act 3 of “Gears 5” is enjoyable, but I was wholly engaged in Act 2.

Act 3 feels a bit like any other first-person shooter game where you are inquisitively flushing out the enemy through a facility or abandoned factory. It’s still engaging but not as engrossing as the first two acts of the game. The game’s three-player split screen play is superb. And, overall, “Gears 5” is an exceptional entry in an already definitive series that keeps turning out brilliant gameplay.

 

Play 2500 Classic MS-DOS Games For Free

No need to copy, swap dodgy disks or download questionable software, because you can now play an additional 2,500 classic MS-DOS based games for free!

Yep, you read that right folks. You can now play these classics without fear of doing anything illegal. All you have to do is head to the Internet Archive and browse their many, many classic games in their catalogue – we love you Internet Archive! Which MS-DOS game will you play first? For the record, we are starting with Street Rod and will then move onto Secret Of Monkey Island 😉

story source: Kotaku Australia