Showing posts with label Ice Cool. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ice Cool. Show all posts


Letters & Legends PC Review 9/10 "A Wonderful Twist on Classic Word Games" ๐Ÿน⚔️๐Ÿ…ฐ️๐Ÿ…ฑ️ @BowNArrowGames #IndieGame #GameDev

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Letters & Legends PC Review
I live in a house of gamers. I’m lucky enough to have a partner and son that embrace video-gaming as much as I do, and through that love, I find myself playing a lot of very different genres of games, many different games – but never as many as I’d like, especially when it comes to word-based games.

The last time a word-based game really yanked my trousers down and gave me a fiver was probably Letter Quest: Grimm’s Journey back in 2015, the blending of English-centric action and fantasy gaming has been an interest of mine ever since discovering CAPCOM’s Quiz & Dragons MAME over twenty years ago, and so when a word-based games gets sent to GF HQ, my eyes light up.


Metal Gear Solid Master Collection Vol. 1 PS5 Review "Now a New Generation Can Enjoy Getting Urinated on By a Guard" ๐Ÿ“ฆ❗️

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Metal Gear Solid Master Collection Vol. 1 PS5 Review
Bonfire night, 1998. I’m at a friend’s house for fireworks and, afterward, I watch him playing a new import with a weird name. He’s stuck in a prison cell and his only available weapon appears to be a bottle of ketchup.

I joke: “Why not squirt ketchup on the floor and lie in it so the guard thinks you’re dead?”. It works. A single shard of moonlight pierced the window to illuminate me. Trumpets played, angelic choirs sang. I had discovered Metal Gear Solid.


Persona 3 Reload PS5 Review 9.5/10 “A Kind of Magic” ๐Ÿซ๐ŸŽ’ @Atlus_West #Persona3

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Persona 3 Reload PS5 Review
Persona 3 was my first experience with the Persona franchise, I remember picking it up on release day, I had no idea what to expect but it was a JRPG - so it didn’t matter, for I consumed anything in that genre. What followed after playing it was a deep love, I thought it was awesome, stylish, cool, and featured a story that to me - at sixteen - felt very adult, tackling some deep issues through the lens of youth, and it resonated with me.

Then, eleven years later Persona 5 was released and it became one of my favourite gaming experiences ever, it is a top 3 game for me and I will gush about it any time I can. So, when this remake was announced I was beyond excited, it was going to be Persona 3 with the Persona 5 coat of paint - how could it not be awesome?


Dragon’s Dogma 2 Xbox Review 9/10 "The most fun I’ve had in a single player game in 2024" ⚔️๐Ÿฒ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ‘น @DragonsDogma #DragonsDogma2

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Dragon’s Dogma 2  Xbox Review
As someone who is – and will be forever – drawn towards single player RPGs, The last few months have been very, very fun. I’ve played three games that stand out in my mind for different reasons, and between them cover a lot of the main points that appeal to me about the genre at its core.

Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden won me over with its understated characters, music, atmospherics and earthiness, whilst Outcast: A New Beginning featured incredible traversal mechanics and lore, and now Dragon’s Dogma 2 – and out of the three, this is the title that I, by far, have the strongest history with – comes blazing out of the gate with its main strengths being in how much it embraces and excels at being a video game, completely nailing combat mechanics and explosive, immediate gameplay.

It’s a game that is a pleasure to write about, and I feel like I could just list all of my in-game experiences to get my point across because there are so many personal stories to tell, all through a design sentiment that eschews seriousness to put fun and gameplay at the absolute fore.


Jagged Alliance 3 XSX Review 9/10 "A Modern Turn-Based Classic" ๐Ÿ’ฅ @THQNordic

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Jagged Alliance 3 Review
A series of turn-based games that have roots going way back to 1994, Jagged Alliance has always enjoyed critical success – and yet it’s a series of games I’ve only touched upon briefly since its inception in the mid-’90s. I recall having some friends who were hips deep, thinking very highly of the franchise, and so when the opportunity came up to cover the third major entry, I was keen to have a goosey.


Berserk Boy Nintendo Switch Review 9/10 "It pretty much hits the bullseye." ⚡️ @BerserkBoyGame #indieGame #GameDev

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Berserk Boy Nintendo Switch Review
Berserk Boy is the latest in a long line of Metroidvania platformers to try and capture the pure retro feel of Mega Man and its contemporaries. Happily, it pretty much hits the bullseye.

The backstory is your basic mad scientist fare, where the bad guy wants to use Dark Energy powers to take over the world. You play as Kei, young soldier who meets a talking owl called Fiore, who leads you to a strange orb which grants you powers and abilities and the adventure begins.

Gameplay-wise we're very much in Mega Man territory, with the classic Metroidvania tropes of defeating enemies while exploring the map, using new abilities to unlock areas and so on. But this isn't just exploration - as you unlock new abilities you find yourself able to chain multiple attacks together in order to build up your Berserk meter, which lets you really let rip with special attacks. 

The key focus here is melee combat - you're not hanging back and taking pot-shots but rather you're right in the thick of it. And that's one of the things that really makes this game fun; you'll find yourself moving around faster and faster to get the perfect sequence before hitting the big moves. The speed and smoothness give the game almost a Sonic the Hedgehog feel, where you're bouncing from enemy to enemy and seeking out more victims on every screen. 

The graphics are very much in keeping with the retro theme: bright and colourful with big chunky sprites that would fit perfectly on the SNES. And the excellent music comes from Tee Lopes, who wrote much of the music for Sonic Mania and TMNT: Shredder's Revenge, so you're onto a winner here as well.

As you beat the various bosses, you can unlock different transformations for Kei. Each defeated boss gives you a new way to smash through levels, whether it's digging tunnels, flying or even locking on to multiple enemies at once. You also build up currency that lets you use new abilities for each transformation, so there's a sense of progression throughout too.

If I had to find a drawback, it's that the game isn't massively challenging, although you can select the Retro difficulty level at the start, which gives you the traditional limited lives, so when it's game over it really is game over, whereas the modern setting is unlimited lives and you just get kicked back to the last checkpoint. This is nowhere near a dealbreaker though, as the game is just so much fun. 

Berserk Boy Nintendo Switch ReviewBerserk Boy Nintendo Switch Review

If you're a retro platformer buff this is pretty much a must-buy, and it's accessible enough for all ages to have a blast. More of this please.
Berserk Boy Nintendo Switch Review


Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden Xbox Series X Review 9/10 "A wonderfully spun tale of love and grief" ⚔️ @DONTNOD_Ent #IndieGame #GameDev

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I’ve been hankering for an RPG to sink my teeth into, and when Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden arrived at GF HQ, I was keen to tuck in and get a few dozen hours of adventuring under my belt. What I didn’t expect was to get sucked into the world of Red and Antea so deeply, and so quickly.

Set during the settling of America in the 1600’s, the game begins with Banishers (effectively mercenaries that deal with hauntings) Red and Antea arriving on boat to New Eden - a small settlement near Boston - having received word from their friend Charles that their ghost handling skills are required in this fledging town.


Blasphemous 2 Nintendo Switch Review 9/10 "Blasphemous 2, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways" ⚔️ @BlasphemousGame @TheGameKitchen @Team17 #IndieGame #GameDev

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Blasphemous 2 Nintendo Switch Review

I’m going to start off by saying that the original Blasphemous is one of my favourite games of recent years. A difficult hack and slash platformer? Check. Monstrous religious cult storyline with Lovecraftian elements? Check. That’s one for me all day long.

I’m pleased to be able to say that the sequel has all of these elements in spades and may even be better than the first game. 


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’.


Baten Kaitos 1 and 2 HD Remaster Nintendo Switch Review 9/10 “Two Under Rated Games, Brought Back To Life” ⚔️ @BandaiNamcoEU #Retrogames #HDRemaster

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aten Kaitos 1 and 2 Hd Remaster Nintendo Switch  Review
Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and The Lost Ocean and Origins have been in my collection for a long time, they were both some of my favourite JRPGS growing up. It was a real shame they didn’t sell well as they had good reviews at the time and I think they were good games with interesting plots and a good battle mechanic, hopefully, these HD remasters will bring some new eyes to these underappreciated games and fingers crossed for Baten Kaitos 3.


Killer Frequency Nintendo Switch Review 9.5/10 "Who doesn’t like jumping into a horror game?" ๐Ÿ”ช @KillerFrequency #IndieGames #GameDev

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Who doesn’t like jumping into a horror game? Changing it up from racing, shooting, sports games – or even the hundreds of Battle Royale titles that continuously seem to get released.

KILLER FREQUENCY. A puzzle-horror based in 1987, in which you play as the radio host Forrest Nash of KFAM 189.16 who, due to unforeseen circumstances, becomes the 911 hotline in a little town called Gallow Creek.


Astebros SEGA Mega Drive Review 9.5/10 "The Pinnacle of Mega Drive Gaming" ⚔️ @DAsteborg #IndieGames #GameDev

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Back in 2021, I was lucky enough to cover Demons of Asteborg, Neofid Studios’ first release on the Mega Drive. At the time I hailed it as a modern Mega Drive classic, I was really taken by the almost perfect action-platformer, which was up until that point the best game that I had covered on the Mega Drive as it was not only a great game to play, but was also a marvel in terms of the technical design.

In the space of only two years since that release, Neofid Studios have returned to the world of Asteborg and doubled down on what made the preceding title so great, this time upping the ante with local co-op and rogue-lite aspects that exist to add longevity to the game, making it the absolute cream of the Mega Drive crop.


Terror of Hemasaurus XSX Review 9/10 "The Best Rampage Game Ever Made" ๐Ÿจ๐Ÿฆ– @LorenLemcke @ShawnDaley #IndieGame #GameDev

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I am very much a lover of monster movies and games, and to me, Midway’s Rampage series of games always looked more fun than they actually played. It was a great concept, but it always felt let down by lacklustre gameplay, stiff controls and repetition. Luckily, Loren Lemcke is here to smash down those issues, and breathe fireballs all over those lesser games, standing proudly above the ruins, heaving a throaty roar of triumph into the night sky.


Bravery and Greed XBOX Review 9/10 "On the surface, Bravery and Greed looks like a souped-up Wonderboy clone" ⚔️ @BraveryAndGreed #IndieGames #GameDev

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On the surface, Bravery and Greed looks like a souped-up Wonderboy clone. And, excellently, that's pretty much what it is. Rekka Games, along with publishers Team 17, have brought us a retro-styled rogue-lite hack and slasher that's really easy to pick up but presents a proper challenge.


Shatter Remastered Deluxe Review 9/10 ⛔️ @PikPokGames #IndieGames #GameDev

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Brick-breaking games have been around for ages. AGES. I mean, in gaming terms, they were probably what the dinosaurs were playing just before they got too busy for gaming on account of a massive asteroid wiping them out. Were joysticks invented to address the problems T-Rex’s had with reaching a mouse and keyboard? I suppose we’ll never know. 

For the unfamiliar, brick-breaking games kinda do what it says on the tin – you’re in control of a  paddle, which you use to bounce a ball against bricks until they break. A bit like one-player ping pong. But that’s where the similarity ends as they’re a lot more fun than Forrest Gump’s favourite Olympic sport. 


๐Ÿ”️⛰️ The Excavation of Hob’s Barrow PC Review 9/10 "Everything about the game is immediately appealing" ๐Ÿ”️⛰️ @shaunaitcheson #GameDev #IndieGames

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Until recently, if I wanted to hear this many gruff Northerners telling each other to bugger off I’d have to dig out my Ken Loach DVD collection.

Now that I’ve visited Bewlay, and delved deep into Hob’s Barrow (not a euphemism), I have access to another world in which robust vernacular is firmly on the menu. 


๐Ÿฟ Unusual Findings PS5 Review 9/10 "A Group of Pop Culture-Loving Preteens Discover Something Supernatural" ๐Ÿฟ @ESDigital_Games #GameDev #IndieGames

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A group of pop culture-loving preteens discover something supernatural afoot in their small, 1980s American town.

They cycle through creepy woods, battle inter-dimensional horrors and navigate shady government facilities, all while dealing with burgeoning hormonal urges and hair where there was no hair before.


๐Ÿ›ฃ️ Roadwarden PC Review 9/10 "Endless Hordes of Shit-Throwing Apes" ๐Ÿ›ฃ️ @AssembleTeam #GameDev #IndieGames

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Your first steps into Roadwarden’s unnamed peninsula are timid and paranoid. Anyone who’s played a dark fantasy game will steel themselves for untrustworthy inhabitants, death lurking around every corner, and your character forced into tough moral decisions for some ill-defined greater good. 


๐Ÿ•น️๐Ÿ‘–๐Ÿฉฒ๐Ÿฉณ๐Ÿงฆ Arcade Paradise PC Review 9.5/10 "The LaundCade Is Now OPEN!" ๐Ÿ•น️๐Ÿ‘–๐Ÿฉฒ๐Ÿฉณ๐Ÿงฆ @WiredP @Withnailmarwood @nosebleedgames #IndieGames #GameDev

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As soon as I was crawling around on a Laundrette floor searching for chewing gum and plastic bottles I knew Arcade Paradise had me by the trousers and it was wrenching them off me.

Arcade Paradise follows the story of a son who is given the opportunity to make something of himself by his dad by taking over the family laundrette business.

Every day you will drag your arse into the laundrette on the bus and then the day job will begin. You’ll be presented with the benign tasks of running a laundrette such as unblocking the toilet, emptying the cash hoppers, taking the rubbish out and filling the safe with last night's takings. 

Once you’re done with that you’ll have to get as many washes on the go as you can and then be ready to pop those washes in the dryer as soon as the wash cycle ends. Once dried you’ll need to get those clothes back into the collection area for your customers to collect.

Spinning all these plates will ensure that your laundrette business keeps the money rolling in.


๐Ÿข⚔️ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge XBOX Review 9/10 "It’s More Than Worth… 'Shelling Out' For!" ๐Ÿข⚔️ @PixelHunted @Dotemu #IndieGames #GameDev

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Shameless nostalgia tweaking usually doesn’t do much for me. It’s self-indulgent, a crutch for lazy writing, and once the initial thrill of “ooh, I recognize that” is out of the way things rapidly get boring.

But Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge was a laser-guided missile of early 90s bliss aimed right at my heart, and I was powerless to resist.

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