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Showing posts with label Britt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Britt. Show all posts

28/11/2023

Murder is Game Over XSX Review 7.5 / 10 "Pocket-sized Pixel Pondering" ๐Ÿ”ช #IndieGame #GameDev @HitherYonGames @RatalaikaGames

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A budget title from Ratalaika, Murder is Game Over is a short and fun narrative horror made in RPG Maker, full of jaunty music and pixel detective action.

As detective Guy and his crime-solving dog Chloe, you’ll roam a mansion and the surrounding grounds in a bid to solve the murder of a world-renowned game designer.

There are eight suspects, and thirty bags of dog treats to find as you try to solve this dastardly crime, as well as a treasure-hunting side quest!

A game that cosily leads you through the mystery as opposed to getting your grey cells pulsating, Murder is Game Over is a fun and light-hearted way to spend an evening, satisfactorily wrapping up its plot in an hour or two, and a big high five for the awesome music, which I would quite happily purchase on vinyl, awesome stuff!

23/11/2023

The Crew Motorfest XSX Review 7.5/10 "Hawaii Five Oh!" ๐ŸŒด๐ŸŽ️๐ŸŒด

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The Crew Motorfest XSX Review
The newest entry in The Crew franchise, The Crew Motorfest plonks drivers down in the paradise of Hawaii and lets them loose across the many locations of the island, from volcanos and mountain roads through dense foliage, absurd, spiralling racetracks, suburban areas and more.

After creating your driver and choosing your starting vehicle, you are free to roam around the island as you see fit. You can free roam or enter one of the myriad of ‘playlists’ (races) available, these range from drag races in highly-tuned performance cars to old camper vans, monster trucks, motorcycles and even planes.

There are currently well over 600 vehicles across these styles available, and each completed race will see you earning XP, unlocking extra vehicles and parts to replace and improve your various rides, in terms of both performance and vanity items.

There really is a huge amount of customisation available – as well as other micro-transactions that you can pay for to speed the process along, should you wish to do so …I personally avoid these like the plague, although it didn’t impinge on my enjoyment of the game as I was constantly unlocking and upgrading my garage of cars through normal play.

20/11/2023

Video Game Lo-Fi: A Winter’s Tale (Vinyl & Cassette) Review ๐Ÿ“€๐Ÿ’ฟ @CuragaRecords @BrittRecluseuk #Vinyl #VideoGameVinyl #VGM

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Video Game Lo-Fi: A Winter’s Tale (Vinyl & Cassette) Review
Here in Wales, as the weather takes a colder turn, A Winter’s Tale arrived at the perfect time! 14 tracks of low-end, heavy, lo-fi warmth, this is an album that takes a trip-hop look at some of those seminal, snow-laden gaming moments through the years, taking us from Donkey Kong Country, past Mario Kart 64, through Stardew Valley, and the coast of Fable – alongside many others.

The front cover continues the classic lo-fi series approach of an isometric, stylised look at a certain location. Here, we are treated to a be-snowed take on Princess Peach’s castle from Mario 64, the familiar turrets poking out from underneath a blanket of deep, white snow; as light bleeds out from the entrance way, highlighting some scattered instruments outside in the snow; a piano, drums, acoustic guitar, and trumpet.

16/11/2023

FROM ANTS TO ZOMBIES: SIX DECADES OF VIDEO GAME HORROR Book Review "The Gaming Necronomicon" ๐Ÿง›‍♂️ @BitmapBooks #Retrogaming

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Sam Dyer – the brain behind Bitmap Books – is someone that I imagine laughing wildly in a vast, ever-growing library somewhere, surrounded by mad monks engrossed in ever-more-perfect drafts of upcoming books through which they will eventually devour the gaming world. Each time I read a book by the publisher, it always feel definitive and individually voiced. I’ve commented before on how each release doesn’t feel like a run-through of the topic at hand, moving from genre-to-genre with a  vanilla, ‘one-size-fits-all’ sensibility. From the all-encompassing JRPG book to the laser-focused CRPG tome – and the surprisingly moving release on Gremlin Graphics – these books really do each have their own approach and style. 

From the moment that I caught wind of From Ants to Zombies, the fact that it was covering video game horror – a genre incredibly dear to me – I was desperate to discover what approach this book would take - and as it turns out, it’s possibly the boldest move by Bitmap Books yet, and one that absolutely lives up to the lofty heights that author Alexander Chatziioannou sets out in the first few pages.

15/11/2023

Mondealy XSX Review 8/10 "I completely fell under the pastel-coloured, joyous sway that it conjures" ๐ŸŒป @ValkyrieInitia1 #IndieGame #GameDev

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Mondealy  Xbox Series X Review
I’m very much on board with playing a wide variety of genres, and I appreciate that sometimes you need a game like Mondealy to slow you down and allow you to take stock of your life, appreciate what you have, and perhaps take a break from blowing up demons, shooting thousands of bullets at an alien threat, or squeezing your controller in love/respect/frustration because you missed that pixel-perfect 100th jump, and how need to do the last hours’ worth of progress again.

I initially played Mondealy off the back of a pretty full-on game, and switching from that to this mellow, slowly-unfolding world was initially a little jarring, but after a mental reset, I completely fell under the pastel-coloured, joyous sway that it conjures, especially enjoying the soundtrack, courtesy of the below talented composers:

08/11/2023

The 7th Guest VR Meta Quest 2 Review 9.5/10 "Feeling…looooonely?" ๐Ÿš️๐Ÿฉธ @the7thguestvr #IndieGame #GameDev #MetaQuest2 #VRhorror

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This is probably one of only a handful of reviews that I’ll ever write with my current mindset, due to my personal history with the game in question. The 7th Guest was - and is - a constant presence in my life.

I initially played the game on the Philips CD-i back in the mid-90s (with a friend called Brett, nonetheless) and I was completely mesmerised by what was - to me at the time- absolutely the future of gaming, in that it felt like a movie that you could control yourself! Between this and Burn Cycle, my young mind was blown wide open, and although I didn’t complete the game at the time, when I managed to get hold of a PC version a while later and play it through - with headphones - The 7th Guest made me feel like no other game had before.

I was completely pulled into its atmosphere and world, full of wonder and terror at what it offered both visually and sonically.

Over the years - thanks to Games Freezer - I’ve been in the position to interview George Sanger (the esoteric and wonderful composer of the music featured in the original game) as well as cover fan versions of The 7th Guest. In fact, I’m currently waiting on the release of an industrial rock vinyl of the soundtrack, as well as (hopefully, eventually) a hinted-at vinyl release of the amazing 7/11 album by Team Fat.

The 7th Guest soundtrack still often haunts the halls of my home, and I firmly believe it to be one of the most evocative and singular soundtracks ever laid down - so, what I’m trying to get at here, is ‘I like The 7th Guest’.

07/11/2023

Fusion Retro Book: The Book of the Game of the Film Author – Jerry Ellis "The Review of the Book of the Game of the Film" ๐ŸŽž️๐ŸŽฎ๐Ÿ“• @Retro_Fusion #Retrogaming #Retrogames

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Fusion Retro Book: The Book of the Game of the Film  Author – Jerry Ellis

This is the second book published by Fusion Retro Books that I have covered this year, and I own several others by them that I’ve picked up over the years and it’s all been very good stuff. This 300-page hardback continues the trend of high quality releases, and celebrates those oh-so-often movie, TV, and product tie-ins that were released so freely across the cluttered 8-bit landscape. Author Jerry Ellis crams as much gold as he can in those 300 pages, covering a huge amount of movie, TV, comic, product and even board-game tie-ins in a style that blends humour, insight, research and approachability.

06/11/2023

Cardiff Gaming Market - 22nd October 2023 "Britt's Birthday Bonanza!"๐Ÿ•น️ @ReplayEvents #Retrogamer #Retrogaming

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I’ve attended several Replay events over the years, and they have all been well organised, with some great stalls present that always have something that catches my eye. 

There were two things that had my trousers a-twirling this time around, though. Firstly, this was to be the first (as far as I’m aware) games market in my hometown of Cardiff - with the previous closest being in Bristol, several years back.

 I’ve often asked folks over the years about a full-blown convention in Cardiff, but as the majority of the pinball and arcade cabinets for these events are based/stored up north, the logistics seem to be an issue, for now at least.

The second thing that made the day so special, was that the gaming market was due in my hometown...on my 40th Birthday, October 22nd 1983. A date I’m sure resonates with everyone reading this because you’ve got it tattooed on your face because I play such an intrinsic part in each of your lives. Needless to say, I was excited. Especially as this was the first gaming event that we (@kingdomofcarts and I) would be taking our two-year-old son - Brian Blessed* - to.

26/10/2023

Vampire the Masquerade Interactive Visual Novels Collector’s Edition – The New York Bundle ๐Ÿง› @FunStockGames @DrawDistanceDev #IndieGame #GameDev

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VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE: COLLECTOR'S EDITION (NINTENDO SWITCH)
The rich world of Vampire: The Masquerade hurtles out of the night and straight for your throat in physical form! Thanks to Funstock, you can now delve into the seductive and intriguing world of the darkest side of death through this ‘New York Bundle’, which collects the visual novels of Coteries of New York, and Shadows of New York in one place in a  wonderful collector’s edition, along with a suitably gothic USB drive housing the soundtracks, and a hardback book that collects the art of the games – and I have to say, isn’t just a collection of the art, but a deep breakdown of the locations and characters, adorned with alluring visuals.

These visual novel adventures truly capture the essence and seductive pull of the World of Darkness far better than the movie Interview with a Vampire, in which eternal life appears to be reduced to wandering around, bored and bickering (coincidentally the names of my canine teeth).

Available for PS4 and Switch, this collector’s edition is the perfect excuse to spend an evening lost in the murkier side of life, with a bottle of red…wine….to keep you company.

22/10/2023

Wartales Nintendo Switch Review 6.5/10 "A GOTY Contender Crippled by Technical Issues" ๐Ÿ›ก️ @Wartales_Game @shirogames #GameDev #IndieGame

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Wartales Nintendo Switch Review
It pains me to write this review of Wartales, as I so desperately wanted it to be a better experience, I was clutching my ageing Switch and willing it to somehow have a burst of strength and run Wartales more smoothly and less clunkily, but alas, I was getting the exact same vibes I did when I played Dragon Age: Inquisition on my PS3 over a decade ago – either the Switch is showing its age, or Shiro games really needs to patch the game up ASAP, as what could be one of the best gaming experiences of the year is at present a mere shadow of what it could be.

20/10/2023

Slaps and Beans 2 Nintendo Switch Review 7.5/10 "Slaps that add up to more than a hill o’ beans!" ๐Ÿซฑ๐Ÿซ˜ @SchiaffiFagioli #GameDev #IndieGame

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I remember seeing the first Slaps and Beans come out a few years ago, and I always fancied trying it out, but it was one of the many games that unfortunately slipped through the cracks, so I certainly wasn’t going to miss this one! I’m glad I didn’t, as this is a fun blast of fisticuffs – preferably with a friend.

For those who were unaware – myself included – Bud Spencer and Terence Hill – the protagonists of the games – were popular Italian comedians back in the ‘70s who made an array of action comedies and spaghetti westerns from the late ‘60s right up to the mid-’80s., much like the various comedy duos of the ages, one is a gruffer, larger man whilst the other is a wiry, quick-witted chap. Good.

14/10/2023

The Last Oricru – Final Cut XSX Review 7.5/10 "More fun than Starfield" ⚔️๐Ÿ›ก️ @oricru #GameDev #IndieGame

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The Last Oricru had a rough ride when it was first released at the tail end of 2022, ending up 7th in Metacritic’s ‘The Worst Games of 2022’ list. It completely passed me by at the time, until I was hunting for RPGs that were off the beaten track on the Xbox store and quite fancied the game following a swifty at the trailer.

I contacted Goldknights and was advised that an overhauled version of the game was due in a few weeks, and so I held off covering the game until then, and I’m very glad I did. I didn’t play the original release of The Last Oricru. Still, I can quite confidently say that I had much more fun in the 15 hours or so that I spent with The Last Oricru (and completed it) than the 40 hours I spent on Bethesda’s latest release (before giving up on it out of boredom).

13/10/2023

Cassette Beasts Soundtrack Vinyl Review "a collection of warm, expertly crafted tunes that will get wedged in your head." ๐Ÿ’ฟ๐ŸŽถ๐ŸŽต @Joel_Baylis @blackscreenrec #VideoGameVinyl #Vinyl #VGM

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When I played it a few months ago, I was captivated by Cassette Beasts, a cutesy (…or is it?) RPG that took the Pokรฉmon formula and added some neat twists in the gameplay and story that kept me engaged in its world for quite some time.

A huge part of the attraction for me was the music, which was clearly front and centre, high in the mix, and every track seemed to be an earworm designed to reel me in, hook, line, and sinker.

It was clearly a soundtrack that would stand alone outside of the video game, and so getting the chance to write about it here is an absolute pleasure. Before I dive into the product and music, I implore you to check out Cassette Beasts if you enjoy turn-based RPGs, as it’s a nifty little game!

12/10/2023

Night at the Gates of Hell Nintendo Switch Review 7.5/10 "More grimy, gory gaming action from the purveyors of filth" ๐Ÿ’€ @henryhoare8 #IndieGame #GameDev

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We at GF have learned to look forward to new console releases from Torture Star Video, as their awesome brand of video (game) nasties always entertain, and have a dirty streak a mile wide. The last game published by Torture Star Video that I personally covered was No One Lives Under the Lighthouse, a Lovecraftian-inspired slow-burn tale that captivated me with its lo-fi visuals and bewilderingly saucy sound design.

Night at the Gates of Hell, however, does not have a subtle, slow-burn approach… it instead goes for an especially nasty Italian zombie horror vibe, which it absolutely nails down with rusty masonry nails in a bloody mess of viscera and gore.

04/10/2023

Gamedec Soundtrack Vinyl Review "Gamedec will fit snugly on your shelf as you dive into cyberspace" ๐Ÿ’ฟ #VideoGameVinyl #Vinyl

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Anshar Studios’ Gamedec was a game that I followed pretty much throughout its development cycle, until its eventual release. An impressive, combat-free cyberpunk adventure that really tried to take a lot on and perhaps overreached its grasp, it is a game that stayed with me long after playing due to its eschewing of fighting/shooting mechanics and absolute focus on narrative and player freedom. As such, it was a pleasure to get the opportunity to cover the vinyl release of the soundtrack, which fully captures a musing mood of mystery and suspense for those dark and stormy evenings.

Purchase Link

29/09/2023

Samorost 3 Vinyl Soundtrack Review "Samorost 3 is pure Floex through and through" ๐Ÿ’ฟ @FloexOfficial @Amanita_Design #Vinyl #VideoGameVinyl #VGM

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I was a big fan of Tomas Dvorak’s soundtrack for Samorost 2, it also holds the wonderful distinction in our household of being the first music that my – then 1-year-old – son had ever danced to, which was a very special moment for us as a family. 

Dvorak (A.K.A – FLOEX) has a special way of creating unique, alien landscapes, aurally, through his blend of strong, emotive melodies and idiosyncratic instrumentation, and this continues here in his compositions for Samorost 3, with that signature clarinet vibe hitting home each time it’s used on the album.

There is a real difference in the art styles used in the cover here when compared to Samorost 2, whereas the prequel was abstract and paint-flecked, here we are treated to a luscious evergreen landscape, set underneath a darkened sky spotted by pinpricks of light.

Almost alone, and very small and vulnerable in this image is the protagonist, blowing through a horn as he is watched by a strange, bearded wanderer that is almost hidden in the foreground – ensconced in the shadows, and surrounded by a peppering of fantastical animals.

28/09/2023

Graeme Mason Interview "It was a pleasure to learn more about ZX Nightmares and also to find out where Graeme’s pixelated quill will take us next" ๐Ÿ“– @Wizwords @Retro_Fusion #Retrogaming

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I recently thoroughly enjoyed Graeme Mason’s new book, ZX Nightmares, published by Fusion Books, and found that reading the book was such a fun experience that I wanted to know more about the background of its creation.

I have a little bit of personal history with Graeme, in that it was through his contacting me through Retro Gamer magazine for a ‘Collectors Corner’ article that my now evil editor endgame boss, Rich, caught wind of my existence and asked me to begin writing for The Mighty Games Freezer waaay back in 2017 –I definitely owe Graeme a pint at some point!

It was a pleasure to learn more about ZX Nightmares and also to find out where Graeme’s pixelated quill will take us next. 

I hope you enjoy this article about one of the most active writers in the retro gaming scene today. ๐Ÿ“–

26/09/2023

THE CRPG BOOK: A GUIDE TO COMPUTER ROLE-PLAYING GAMES (EXPANDED EDITION) REVIEW ⚔️ @BitmapBooks #CRPG

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The release of a new Bitmap Book is always a good thing, and this expanded edition of The CRPG Book: A Guide to Computer Role-Playing Games weighs in at a mammoth 684 pages and is the perfect sibling to their A Guide to Japanese Role-Paying Games – released back in 2021.

Each of these tomes is beautifully designed, and can be used to fend off burglars, so thick are they with glorious information and imagery. This book, in particular, took me a lot longer than usual to review purely because I was poring over each page, devouring the words and constantly getting side-tracked in marking where I was and then watching YouTube videos on the releases covered therein, because the passion of the text drew me in so much that I yearned to find out as much as I could about the games covered.

I’d had my eye on the CRPG Book since a reprint was announced several months ago, and I vividly recall spending a few moments on the Bitmap Books website genuinely getting lost in the cover art alone.

I’ve said this before, I’m not a student of art, and the visual arts are very much not my forte, so when something grabs me in that aspect, I really enjoy the sensation, a sensation which was spiked upon seeing the cover of this book. The richness of the illustration here absolutely captures the feeling of RPG gaming, where the imagination takes over and boundaries between game and gamer bleed into each other, the sense of dynamism and kineticism in the characters bursting forth from the screen is ‘framed-poster-worthy’ (definitely a term, don’t look it up) in how it almost hypnotises the reader into opening the book and getting lost in the pages. Awesome stuff, thank you Jan Pospรญลกil!

20/09/2023

Stray Xbox Series X Review "A Purrfect way to spend an evening" ๐Ÿˆ @HKdevblog #IndieGame #GameDev

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It was only a few weeks ago on my movie-centric podcast that I was discussing emotional manipulation with my co-host. He was more bothered by it than me, but I still find that overtly sentimental forms of media that aim purely to tug at the heartstrings irk me somewhat.

This ties into my initial – misjudged – thoughts on Stray. When it was released last year on PlayStation, the positive reviews that it received – and more so the comments surrounding it – I found actively off-putting in the comparisons to games of a more ‘cinematic’ vibe.

After receiving it for review purposes and playing it through in two straight sessions I really do recommend it, if you were - like me – put off by the thought of a saccharine gaming experience. This is Tokyo Jungle territory.

11/09/2023

Abandonware: The Horror Collection PC Preview ๐Ÿ˜ฑ @Fossil_Games #IndieGame #GameDev

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Fossil Games’ Abandonware is a collection of retro-styled mini-horror games that pack a great horror punch. The story that connects this collection is quite captivating. 

The development team found an old 3.5-inch internal hard drive, and after cleaning up the hard drive, they found a custom operating system and this collection of mini horror games. After investigating, the team grew concerned and, with the police bringing no help, they released it to the public to see if we could uncover the secrets of the mysterious hard drive.