Author: Amanda Kimmerly

Review: Rocket Riot

Rocket Riot is an action game with silly characters and a lot of explosions. The game plays very simply. You can fly around infinitely, and shoot as many rockets as you want. The longer you hold the shoot button down, the further the rocket will fly.
The environment is completely destructible, and will respawn after a bit.

It’s really satisfying to blow everything up, as everything and everyone turn into small cubes, and your explosions cause ripple effects throughout the environment.

The character unlock system is very fun and simple. As soon as you kill an enemy for the first time, you can now use them as your own player model. There are hundreds to choose from as you progress through the campaign.

Speaking of the campaign, there are actually multiple to choose from, and each campaign has a huge number of levels, so if you enjoy the base gameplay, there’s a lot of content to keep you going.

The game stays fresh by introducing powerups, which range from triple rockets, to homing missiles, or power downs like screwed up controls or dud rockets.

As well as the powerups, different levels can have different objectives. Simple stuff like deathmatch or boss fights are the norm, but you can also encounter more experimental things like Rugby, or finding the hidden enemy.

A small note, I’ve got to say the music for the game is super fun to listen to. The main menu and battle music alike are really catchy!
One minor annoyance is the menu functionality, it feels like a mobile port, and can sometimes be frustrating to navigate. It’s not too bad, but could have been better.

Despite enjoying the game, I would love if there was some multiplayer mode. In the 2009 Xbox 360 version of the game, you could play with friends, but it seems that it’s gone now. The developers have said they’re thinking about implementing it in the future though, so I really hope they go through with it! It would really keep the game from getting stale over time.

Overall, I think despite the lack of multiplayer, and menu annoyances, it’s a fun and simple little game! Recommended.

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Review: Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!!

Let’s start by saying that the food looks so delicious. Almost as if they were drawn after photos of real food. (I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case). On top of that, the first game had 30 foods, where as this 2nd game has 180. That is a HUGE increase. Some fans of the 1st game might feel a bit overwhelmed, since you could memorize all the recipes in the first game. Now, that is a lot harder.

I’ll give a quick explanation to how the game works for people who have not played the 1st game yet. Customers will come up to the desk and order some food. Once you take their order, you need to press the corresponding buttons to add the right ingredients. For example, if they order a beef burger, you need to press M (for meat) to add the meat patty, then K for ketchup, M for mustard. Sometimes customers vary it up by asking for extra or fewer ingredients, so you need to be careful when making each meal. Most ingredients’ hotkeys make sense, like C for cucumber. However, occasionally you will need to add an ingredient like Chili sauce, which uses “H”. This is because the game tries to keep letters universal, and a lot of ingredients are shared between recipes. You get used to it after a while.

Now onto the new stuff in this sequel.
The game has added Holding stations that allow you to serve a lot more customers in a more efficient way. This allows you to, for example, prepare 6 German pretzels. They will stop cooking automatically as soon as they are done, and whenever a customer comes by asking for a pretzel, you can instantly give it to them. The only downfall is over the day those pretzels will become a bit less fresh. You can trash them whenever you want though, and prepare some new ones.

Holding stations also allow you to prepare side meals. Things like salads, which will increase the patience meter of waiting customers.

All of this does a really nice job at making you feel like you really own the restaurant. The game can be incredibly hectic, but it feels so rewarding when you do well.
More chores have been added to the game now. Things like throwing away trash, washing dishes, setting up roach traps are all small distractions in between serving food, but very important if you don’t want people to be disgusted by your restaurant.

As you play through the game you will gain the ability to unlock more foods and decorations for your restaurant.
In the first game, your restaurant automatically upgraded its looks as you went through. In this game, you unlock parts and have free reign over where you want to play everything, which is great. You can even place the same painting on the wall multiple times. It might look ridiculous, but you have choice. The only problem here is currently the restaurant customizer is clunky. Deleting objects is a separate menu that takes a few seconds to get to, and there is no mouse support so you need to move things slowly around. Hopefully that’ll become more fluent with future patches.

This time around, you can also play a mode called “Chef for hire” that allows you to work for other restaurants. Places that specialize in things like pizza, or Japanese food. This is a nice bonus way to just stick to a certain category of food if you feel like just making that stuff.
On the other hand, you can just work for your own restaurant, choose your available foods in the menu, etc.

Co-op is way better in this game. In the first game, only player 1 could cook, and player 2 served the food, which was very boring for the 2nd player. In this game, you can both cook and serve at the same time. It feels quite rewarding to work side by side and complete multiple meals at once.
Currently, the game is missing the funny story and emails that the first game had, but the dev has said they plan to add it in asap.

Overall, it’s just more of the first game, with a few new improvements here and there. That’s not a bad thing at all, because the first game didn’t really have any problems, in my opinion. The music is lovely, the visuals look great, and the gameplay is as frantic and fun as ever. I strongly recommend the game to anyone that is interested in it!

Review: Dead Cells

Dead Cells is a Rogue-lite, Metroidvania game with really tight combat and a beautiful art style. The game sports a perma-death system that is relatively punishing, but allows you to keep certain things permanently so that you feel like you are making progress in the grand scheme of things.

You start off in a dungeon with a basic sword, and the choice between a bow and arrow or shield. Luckily, both options are fun, because the game’s combat is really satisfying.

The game doesn’t have you do combos or anything like that. It’s more akin to the Dark Souls series, or even more like Rogue Legacy, where you only have one melee button, but need to focus on proper timing. Since taking damage can be very punishing in this game, you will have to roll, or parry at the right time, to then follow up with attacks.

You have options though. On top of the different types of melee weapons you get, you can choose between bows, throwing knives, bombs, traps etc. Different items also have different stats such as freezing or poisoning to make them feel refreshing. There’s some more unique ones like a shield that makes enemies drop golden teeth you can sell if you parry at the right time, or throwing knives that cause group bleeding if used correctly.

You have 2 slots for melee weapons/ranged weapons/shields. You can configure that however you want, if you want 2 swords, it’s possible. If you want a whip and a bow, it’s possible. (Haven’t tested 2 shields, but that doesn’t sound like the greatest idea).

Next, you have 2 slots for items that are more disposable as opposed to a weapon. Stuff like bombs, traps or flashbangs will go in here. These can be used infinitely, and just require that you wait a short cooldown before using them again to prevent spamming. The game gets really hard in later levels, so you are probably encouraged to use everything you have in your arsenal in battles.

You can find new loot in a number of ways. Purchasing it from stores, finding treasure rooms etc.

Enemies drop Gold, but they also drop Cells. This is what you use to permanently upgrade your character. When you finish a level, you will be met with a strange character that offers to give you upgrade in exchange for your cells. You must spend all your cells before moving on. Here, you can unlock new weapons to start with, or useful tools like a bag that will preserve a percentage of your gold from your previous life. That way, if you die you don’t lose EVERYTHING.

The game does a really good job at balancing permanent and temporary upgrades so you don’t feel like you’re getting nowhere forever.

You will also unlock Runes that allow you to interact with the environment in unique ways like growing a vine at specific locations. This will allow you to reach new areas you couldn’t have previously, or getting to new levels.

Although you will sometimes recognize certain room layouts, the overall level designs are randomly generated. Every time you die, and come back to your new playthrough, everything will be reset. New enemy spots, treasures etc.

On top of changing the environment between levels, new enemies will also appear. You will need to adapt to new strategies to overcome them. Although the way you attack won’t change, you will need to learn their movesets, and find out what positioning and timing you need to kill the enemies. It can be relatively punishing in later areas when you are a low level, so you’ll probably need to level your character up over time before really making any real progress in the harder levels.

I thought that overall the game does a pretty good job at keeping stuff fresh. You are constantly discovering new stuff, although one minor gripe would be that it can be a bit tiresome to replay the first areas over and over every playthrough. That’s a typical problem with the rogue-lite genre, but games like Binding of Isaac fixed it in my opinion by giving the game the choice to shuffle between 2 or 3 starting areas. It’s not too big of a deal though, since you will grow more powerful overtime, and can speed through the first area pretty easily.

In my opinion, the art style if really pleasant to look at. I’m not generally a fan of pixelart, but I think it’s beautiful here, and the animations are smooth and feel cool.

Overall, I’m really loving the game so far. The music is super catchy, the combat feels meaty and satisfying, getting loot and progressing through the game feels rewarding, and I honestly can’t think of any real problems with the game currently. The devs have said they plan to double the amount of items, levels, and so on. If they stick by that, I will be very happy. Recommended!

Review: Neverwinter

The generic races that you expect in MMOs are in Neverwinter like the human, elf, and dwarf. Theres also two half races which are half-orc and half-elf. Although not unusual, halflings are also available. The only unique races in the game are the Tiefling which look like a red skinned demon, and an exclusive race called the Menzoberranzan Renegade. All race picks come with three perks that slightly increase certain aspects of the character, such as 5% more dmg or 1% money gain.

There are currently only 5 classes to choose from though more will be available in the future. They are mostly generic, like the rogue and cleric, but the control wizard is probably the most unique one of them all. All classes are mostly designed to fit only one role in the game, but the control wizard can somewhat fill two since they get a lot of damaging spells as well as a lot of control spells to either freeze or debilitate even large groups of foes.

Your character has 6 attributes to roll points into, depending on your race and class. All races give bonus attributes, while your classes determines which ones are your primary and secondary stats. It is very important to get a good roll since these attributes give you vital base stats that you will always have. Appearance is of course customizable, and it is very thorough with being able to customizable pretty much everything about your looks. You can lastly choose a god to follow and your backstory, but this has nothing to do with your in game stats and is only there for roleplaying.

Most of your time spent leveling will be through doing solo dungeons following the main story, instanced areas that are made for one person while also teaching you how dungeons will be like. There aren’t any large open world areas that most MMOs have, though there are smaller “open” areas that have limited quest hubs but not anything spectacular. In between doing all of these, you will also be able to queue for PvP or skirmishes/dungeons, and PvP even gives experience which doesn’t happen in most of these types of games. Experience appears to be scaled when you do these and simply killing enemies don’t give a whole lot of experience on their own. This, along with the fact that PvP gives experience means that if you’re bored of doing all of the solo content you can just queue your way all the way to endgame fairly fast.

The crafting aspect in Neverwinter is one of the least crafting-like activity in any MMO. You have five to choose from, and they consist of mostly making queues to get something done, while sometimes actually requiring an ingredient to be used. Eventually you will be able to have 9 queues going on at once, and after you’ve done them for a while you will unlock some useful things to make.

Lore is told to you through the main quest chain that you follow while doing all the solo dungeons and small zones. The best thing about quests and lore in Neverwinter is that there isn’t a whole lot to read, and the actual important stuff is voice acted after you make it to certain points in the quests, so you can continue on fighting and exploring while it is being explained to you. People who just click through quests to get them done will actually be able to listen in on whats happening without completely missing out on everything.

Instead of a free moving mouse that you can use to click on everything, combat locks your mouse to a cursor and it is where you aim all of your abilities. All classes will only be able to use 7-8 abilities at a time, making combat less hectic but also less strategical. Except for a few oddities, most abilites and attacks will lock you in place so you can’t move around freely while attacking. Instead of mana and resource bars, you only have to worry about the cooldowns that abilities have, with some special requirements for others. You will have an action bar fill up from your abilities and when it is full you can use one of your powerful abilities once until you fill it up again. Depending on your class, you will have a special bar that will fill or deplete when you use it, giving you even more ways to utilize your select few skills to use.

If you can’t think of what you want to do at the moment, you can check out what the current task is. Tasks are mini quests that cause certain activities to have better rewards such as more glory earned from PvP or extra money and experience from dungeons. There is only one of these active at a time, though there won’t always be one active at the given moment. These can encourage players to do more than just the same thing over and over.

Dungeons are the main focus of the PvE in Neverwinter. Whether you’re in a group or doing a solo dungeon, the base elements are still the same in both. The unique traits about dungeons here is that they instill a want to explore. They may be linear for the most part, but there are alcoves and tunnels leading to other areas that may contain secret chests or resource points that each class is able to get access to. Traps are another thing that you may run into, and they can sometimes do large amounts of damage if you’re not careful, luckily some classes can detect and even disarm them so you may pass. You will run into lesser bosses along the way in each dungeon, while the end boss is actually unique and has cerain strategies you will need to look out for to complete successfully. When you finally finish a dungeon, there will be a reward chest at the end with money and sometimes items.

This is one of the most unique things that separates Neverwinter from every other MMO that is out there. They have included a way for people to “mod” the game by giving you the tools to create your own story driven quests. Anyone can do this, but only the dedicated ones will bother with this and even then only a small amount of them will be of any worth. When a foundry quest has been completed by someone, they can put it into the game and anyone can play it while rating it for others to see. You will even get experience and othe rewards from completing these player made quests.

The most bare aspect in Neverwinter appears to be PvP. There is currently only one gamemode and a few different maps of it to go around. Capturing and holding points is how PvP is currently being played, and it will quickly go stale for most people unless they like the actual combat involved. Unless you’re level 60, when you queue for PvP you will be upscaled to the max level in your bracket, so if youre 23 you will be playing as a level 29. After winning or losing a match, you will gain experience and glory, which can be traded in for nice gear when you reach level 60. There is currently no special attribute on this gear that will make you better in these matches, though they do have high health ratings which also mean that you will see a lot of tanks wanting to get this gear.

Since there are currently no raids in Neverwinter, all you have to do is the tiered dungeons. These are all of the previous dungeons that you have done while leveling but set at a level 60 scaling, and simply harder in general as well. Other than these dungeons, you can start PvPing in level 60 only games as well as checking out the foundry for anything that would make a good endgame challenge.

More and more MMOs are getting rid of hotkeys and becoming more action oriented, especially when they add in dodge mechanics. Tera and Guild Wars 2 both share some similarities with Neverwinter. If you enjoyed the fixed mouse cursor and dodging in combat in Tera you will Like Neverwinter.

The basic options for these kinds of games exist, such as customizing how your ui looks. MMO graphics have never been the most amazing graphically when it comes to games, but they aren’t always ugly because of it. Neverwinter graphics are fairly standard when it comes to MMOs and there isn’t anything standing out about them. Everything has its sound effects and music, but the best part of the sound in Neverwinter is that almost all quest objectives are voice acted so you can continue to adventure while listening to the story, instead of sitting for a few minutes reading pages.

These are probably just beta complaints, but there are a few things that Neverwinter could do without. PvP is very plain and bare since theres currently only one game mode and a select number of maps to play it on. Class balance in pvp definitely needs to be looked at, since if a rogue is anywhere near a healer they are pretty much dead yet any other class a healer can safely live around. End game consists mostly of 5 man dungeons instead of raids, and being able to bring in your companions means that hardcore players won’t be as challenged as they would like. Crafting could be better like how it is done in other games, instead of a simple queue you start for something to get done. Although they are indirect ways, there are ways to make Neverwinter a pay to win game, such as unlimited revival scrolls or powerful companions. Only having a very small amount of abilities to be used at once during combat restricts all of the tactics that you might have otherwise been able to do, instead of just being able to do damage in different ways. When equipment drops in dungeons and you have to roll for it, anyone can need on any piece even if they can’t wear it, which means a lot of the time you won’t be able to get gear specifically for you even if you’re the only one of that class in the group. It being a beta isn’t bad, but when there’s still plenty of problems and exploits in it along with a real money store already, it makes it seem like they’re more focused on making money than making the game better.

Unless you’re doing endgame dungeons, you will have no problem with fitting in and learning how to do everything in Neverwinter. One thing that helps is that you don’t have many abilities to worry about while fighting, so you can pay more attention to the battle and not which of your 50 spells are on cooldown. The fact that you and everyone else in a group being able to bring companions makes even the hardest dungeons a lot easier, especially if you bring ones that heal you. PvP can be either hard or easy since it is all about who is on each team, and usually whoever has the most people in area will win. Skirmishes, PvP, and the solo dungeons that you do while leveling will take at most 20 minutes to complete. Fully fledged dungeons could potentially take an hour or even longer to do, especially if your group ends up dieing at the boss fights. So even if you don’t have time to do a dungeon on an evening, there is still other rewarding activities to do.

Other than the end game tiered dungeons, everything else is pretty easy. The dungeons that you run through while leveling don’t even require a tank and you can just have your companion tank it anyways, and since you can only use a max of 7-8 abilities PvP isn’t very deep strategy wise. Once again being able to bring in companions during any PvE content make 5 man dungeons feel like you’re doing them with 10 people. Just like every other mmo, there are tons of achievements to obtain from the different areas of gameplay. Other than that, there are five classes to master and many dungeons to run with lots of gear to gather.

Neverwinter is a completely free to play game, with the usual microtransactions that accompany these types of games. Since it is part of the Perfect World Entertainment line of games, their currency called Zen can be used within all of their games so you may already have some available. Zen costs rougly one dollar per hundred, and the most expensive items can cost up to 4000 zen, so be ready to spend 40 dollars on some items. If buying separate amounts of Zen is not your thing, you can currently buy one of the three available founder packages that contain lots of bonus in game items along with Astral Diamonds that you can exchange in game for zen. You can also exchange the Astral Diamonds that you earn in game for Zen with the exchange window in game, but the astral price per zen will slowly but surely go up over time.

There is barely any in-game advantage to buying items because 99% of it is cosmetics, though you could consider some things to give you an advantage. Mounts can be bought, and since you can use them in pvp you will be able to move around a lot quicker than others before they are able to save up 5 gold to buy their own. Enchanting items aren’t 100% guaranteed, but you can buy some expensive items in the store that can guarantee your item will be enchanted without destroying anything, meaning you can completely skip the RNG factor. Although only usable in PvE, you can buy some companions that will help you in battles and they have some mean looking stats. There are also scrolls of revival that you can get that will revive you on the spot, so if you’re rich you can just buy a ton of them and not worry about wiping on the hardest bosses. Overall though, there is no major reason to not play Neverwinter when it comes to being able to buy power with real money, especially when most of the advantages are in PvE content.

The founder packages range from 20 dollars, 50, and all the way up to 200 dollars. The 20 dollar package isn’t even worth looking at, since it just gives two items that barely help with leveling along with a bag that gives you 12 inventory slots, but nothing else at all of value. A better deal is the 50 dollar pack, since it includes a mount and dog companion that you get from the start, along with a ton of Astral diamonds (600000) and other little bonuses such as another character slot. Only bad thing about this pack is that the amount of diamonds you get is barely worth anything when you get into the inflated market, and it would actually be better to just purchase 50 dollars worth of Zen which will go a long way. The 200 dollar pack will most likely be too much for most people to spend on a single game, but if you are planning to play this game for at least a year this price is well worth it, since you get a ton of cool and exclusive mounts and companions along with 2,000,000 Astral Diamonds, with even more miscellaneous bonus items and perks. Probably the most exclusive thing about the 200 dollar founder package is that it will give you exclusive access to the Menzoberranzan Renegade playable race, which look like a type of elf.

PlayStation Plus Games for April Announced

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The PlayStation Plus lineup for April is here and we’re very excited for this special month of great multiplayer games. Whether you’re looking for couch co-op or online PVP action, we’ve got some great candidates for you this month.

We couldn’t contain our excitement for Drawn To Death, so we let the news out early that this will be a launch title for PS Plus in April. From the acclaimed developer David Jaffe, Drawn To Death challenges the shooter genre with unconventional gameplay mechanics that bring this third-person shooter/brawler to life. The game takes place entirely inside the pages of a high school kid’s notebook where hand-drawn characters and levels come to life.

We’ve also got the excellent couch co-op title Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime. Pilot a neon battleship through a colorful galaxy by yourself or with up to three others. Through teamwork, triumph over the evil forces of Anti-Love, rescue kidnapped space-bunnies, and avoid a vacuumy demise. Protip: you can also play this game online with others through PS4’s Share Play feature.

Full lineup:

Drawn To Death, PS4
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, PS4
Invizimals: the Lost Kingdom, PS3
Alien Rage – Extended Edition, PS3
10 Second Ninja, PS Vita (crossbuy with PS4)
Curses ‘n Chaos, PS Vita (crossbuy on PS4)

Enjoy April’s lineup, and we’ll see you online!