All posts by Josh Coffman

Decision: Red Daze Review – PC

Ever since Night of The Living Dead, zombies in pop culture has been a relevant topic, especially in gaming, where players have seen numerous variations of zombie outbreaks and the virus’ that cause them, all done differently from the way they play to the way they look. Nevertheless, only a few like The Last of Us stand out as the top dog when it comes down to it. Decision: Red Daze is the next title to take a crack at the formula in an attempt to take the crown as the top zombie outbreak RPG.

The plot is something everyone has heard of in most zombie outbreak stories. The player plays as an unnamed character who works through quests to overcome the outbreak by recruiting members, building defenses, and looting for much-needed equipment like food and first aid. One of the more unique aspects of the game is the transmitter, which creates a defensive field around your bases and can have varying effects but mainly protects the base from the red mist. Otherwise, a very generic zombie RPG title that is truly nonlinear and rewards the player for trying new paths.

Red Daze combat isn’t difficult to master. You have your melee weapons for close combat and your firearms for distance. Each has their own stats and the player can become proficient with each use of said weapon. The stamina bar is what players use to continuously use to attack, run, and search for loot. The player can use food to regain stamina or sleep to become rested which helps regain stamina. Players also have to watch for the exhaustion bar which dictates how quickly you regain stamina and affects the stats of the controlled character.

The people you recruit as you explore the wasteland have a lot of benefits. Each character has their own primary job like engineer or soldier. Once recruited, the player has two options. The first option is to take them to a base to help maintain and defend. The other option is to have them tag along and make a squad of elite scavengers, as the player reclaims the wasteland. The AI is not the best, as they tend to run out of their way to fight hordes of the undead and lag behind by several meters, sometimes even standing still as the numbers of the undead multiplied.

The base building and gameplay is the highlight feature of Red Daze. Once the player has established a base they are required to build up its defenses. Turrets defend the perimeter and the transmitter keeps the red mist at bay. The player then uses crafting tables and med bays to build needed supplies to help the upkeep of the base like food and meds. Other characters help defend and up the bases as you recruit them, which breathes life into the ever endless world. As the bases buzz with life, players learn that they must also defend them from waves of enemies at times, similar to Fallout 4.

Red Daze leaves a lot to be desired in the graphics department, but they still have a sense of purpose. The environments blend in after a while, but that is not a bad thing. It brings an empty dystopia and makes the surroundings feel truly endless and even uneasy at times. This helps create a gritty and dark atmosphere. While the music and sound effects could still use some work, the voice acting is quite good with the quality of each performance varied from ok to great and overall was fantastic.

There are a lot of issues plaguing the game currently. One big issue is that stamina needs a big workover. Players can run only a few meters away or get into a small fight and would already need to eat or rest. On top of that, sleeping is required so that the characters can recover energy or not be affected by negative stats. The problem with that is, even after resting several times back to back, the bars can barely move or not move at all. Another issue players will run into is finding recruits and leading them around, they tend to fall behind or make terrible decisions like attacking a mob of zombies just to be surrounded.

Decision: Red Daze leaves a lot to be desired. Plagued with bugs and issues on every front, the game can seem unplayable at times. The AI’s need a few tweaks as well as the stamina system. The base system is one of the most functional parts and helps keep the current state of the game afloat. Once they work on the above issues, I believe Red Daze will be a welcoming contribution to everyone’s library.


No Place Like Home Review – PC

With farm simulators like Stardew Valley and Harvest Moon, competition has a hard time keeping up. No Place Like Home is the next one to challenge the top dogs and it brings a lot to the table. It is not perfect but can be a great addition for those waiting for the next DLC or title to come out. There is plenty of mystery included with this one as well.

No Place Like Home has the player step into the shoes of Ellen, who before leaving Mars, wanted to visit her grandfather’s farm one last time. Earth has become full of pollution and trash which has forced mankind to leave the Earth. Once Ellen makes it to the farm, she realizes it is abandoned and in ruin. She finds Cornelius, a talking chicken, who explains that her grandfather is out on a mysterious quest. Ellen decides she needs to find out what happened and help clean up the farm as well. As Ellen cleans up more and finds more characters hidden behind all the trash, she begins to get bits of information about her grandfather.

The tutorial is one of the best to be seen for a while. The player follows a straight road and is instructed by the road signs that easily explain what and how to do things. One of the best tutorials played as it keeps things short and simple but does a great job helping the player absorb the information. The gameplay is similar to Subnautica and Stardew Valley. Use the environment around you to build and create useful items that allow for longer and further exploration. The player will use an environmental vacuum called the suck-o-matic to absorb the garbage out of you and to craft items and building materials. The vacuum is used to combat enemies as well and can be upgraded to better its stats. The player also has an inventory belt to quickly swap between objects and a sack to contain a large portion of the player’s inventory.

Planting is easy and I was (unfortunately) happy that I didn’t have to tend to them every day, as I could just hose them down with ungodly amounts of water (I was so sad to see the animation for watered plants!) and be on my way until an indeterminate amount of time later when I’d notice they had grown. Planting seeds and watering can be a little awkward at times. Sometimes you will try to plant seeds in one spot but end up accidentally planting them in another, while with watering, you can overwater and have the seeds not need any additional watering for the long haul.

If players do not want to work through the progression of the quests or item unlocking, there is also a creative mode. Creative mode removes the quest, unlocks everything, and makes all items accessible. This allows players to try different things and get an idea of what they would like to do in their main playthrough. Otherwise, if players want to wait until they have completed all quests and unlocked everything, then they can have a fun second playthrough with no strings attached in creative mode.

Quests are mainly used for two things, interacting with NPCs and progressing the story. Interacting with NPCs for quests are the only interaction you really have with all the NPCs. NPCs otherwise just stand in the same spot for all of eternity. Players can befriend animals which helps fill in the world as it seems cold and empty. That does not mean there is not plenty to do, and the world has no love. The world has been stained by games like Stardew Valley, where players want to maximize interactions with NPCs and max out friendships with a unique system. No Place Like Home makes the player realize that it is about the gameplay and manipulating your environment in your own way.

There are a few issues with No Place Like Home players will run into. The sleeping action just turns the screen from night to day with a large wake up hitting the player. There are glitches everywhere that make the player unable to move or teleport them across the map into the unknown. Lots of typos and misspellings, and no sound to certain actions like opening a door are a few the player may encounter. These, of course, do not make the game unplayable and can be easily fixed with a few patches. Otherwise, it can still be played even if there are no fixes anytime soon.

There is a ton to love about No Place Like Home for an Indie title. The suck-o-matic gives a great twist to the farm/survival genre. Not being required to sleep can be beneficial in some aspects as well. It does come with a few glitches that over time will be a distant memory as you enjoy breathing life into the farm. After some much-needed TLC, No Place Like Home will surely be a great addition to the genre.


Loot River Review – PC

Soulslike and roguelike have become a common household genre over the last decade. Loot River brings both to the table in a very compelling argument of why not both. From the dark atmosphere filled with procedurally generated paths and enemies, to the relentless encounters with the death screen. With a dash of puzzle included, the perfect recipe for a modern indie is born; truly a masterpiece of the “one more time” and “work smarter not harder” mindsets.

The tale begins with the player awaking on a small raft covered in a small bed and a fire pit in the Sunken Village. The player is trying to explore the crypts of the underground for treasure and lost knowledge. After some basic tutorials, through no fault of the player, you are killed. The player awakens half dead with the promise of eternal life in another world. The player awakens in Sanctuary and begins to interact with the various NPCs who each have their own unique tasks and backstories. The player is then tasked to explore the various alternate worlds looking to free the inhabitants of Sanctuary from their eternal imprisonment.

To navigate these labyrinths, the player must use floating blocks and a little brain power, so sections can become narrow and require you to move the floating blocks like a game of Tetris to find the correct way to navigate. It can seem daunting at times but is an easily mastered task once you have a better handle of the blocks. Once the player has gotten the hang of the puzzle aspect, you can manipulate blocks to work to your advantage against the monsters in the labyrinth. Charging your attack and sliding your block to the enemy block before releasing it is a great example of using your environment for your advantage.

The procedurally generated, block-sliding labyrinths are never the same. One mechanic used to ensure that no two are the same are the artifacts found from defeating bosses. You can use a combination of artifacts that not only switch up how each dungeon is configured, but as well as what monsters are lurking and the equipment they will drop. Each combination is deadly in their own way and should be thought of with caution before going headfirst into battle. It depends on whether players can master the combat of Loot River.

Combat is your basic hack and slash with dodge and parry mechanic. The player will need to learn to parry and dodge to be able to survive some of the more brutal encounters. The dodging mechanic is not the best and takes some getting used to, but is useful, nonetheless. With the previous strategy with the moving blocks, most of the basic enemies become child’s play. Boss fights are a whole other topic. Players will need to learn their attack patterns, utilize blocks, and become masters at parries before they can move on to the next area. With that in mind, be ready to die your first few attempts.

To combat the oncoming waves of death, the player will have to gain knowledge. Knowledge, an in-game currency dropped by dead enemies, are what allow players to unlock better equipment throughout their playthrough. This helps players permanently unlock better equipment through vendors, which helps greatly compared to the player’s stats. Unlocking the equipment does not mean you have immediate access to them at all times. You can do some manipulation to try to get some equipment, but the better stat-based equipment being dropped truly depends on the luck of the drop and what the monsters were willing to give.

The other method to staving off death is leveling up. Leveling depends entirely on the number of enemies players defeat throughout the run. There is one catch. If you die during a run, the player goes back to be a level one with the same basic equipment. This twist is what gives Loot River the Soulslike aspect fans of the genre truly enjoy. Dying in the heat of battle or overcoming every obstacle in each labyrinth leads the player back to the Sanctuary. Which is not all bad for players if they die since it allows them to collect their thoughts, strategize, and go for another attempt.

Loot river is a fantastically dark Souls/Roguelike game that uses every ounce of each genre to make an enticing game. From the puzzle mechanic that can be utilized for combat, to the endless replayability with the procedurally generated dungeons. No two playthroughs will ever be the same and the number of secrets to uncover are plentiful. Whether it be in the basking light of success or the overwhelming darkness of death. Loot River is a recommended title for everyone to give a try this spring.

Young Souls Review – PC

Beat ‘em ups are not as common as they used to be. Modern beat ‘em ups focus on trying to be a multiple genre game and tend to fall flat. Young Souls, however, is an exception to that troupe. With a lot of spunk and individuality, Young Souls is a beautifully drawn and written co-op beat ‘em up that brings on a lot of RPG elements.

Young Souls‘ story follows Tristan and Jenn, twin teenage delinquents who lost their family has been taken in by the Professor. One day, the Goblin King, Dwarvengobben, kidnaps the Professor with the intention of forcing him into helping with an invasion of the overworld. The twins follow the trail the goblins left and find the gate that leads them to their world. The twins are then tasked to track down runes and deliver them to their town’s mayor in order to delve deeper and rescue the Professor.

The characters and the scripts are well written. The twins are highly entertaining with their quick quips and the punk teenager theme. Young Souls does not have any voiceovers but does a solid job of keeping everything looking great and moving fluently in scenes. The cast’s personalities shine through, including Dwarvengobben’s Goblin commanders. The game is a sight to be seen as well. Characters are beautifully animated in 2D art and environments are 3D, making Young Souls the perfectly drawn 2.5D game currently out.

The gameplay is very reminiscent of old-school beat ‘em ups. You go from area to area fighting any baddies that come onto the screen and progress to completion. RPG elements are then injected in for a perfect combination. You can find and tweak equipment found through defeating enemies or completing quests. You can also buy equipment or potions to help make fights balanced.

The Underworld is divided into four sections. The first three sections are dungeon areas that lead to mini sections mostly gated off by locks that need keys found throughout each dungeon. You enter each area and destroy everything you come across until you make it to the end where you fight a mini-boss or a sequence in the story, which then usually leads to another level chunk or boss battle. Some areas in each dungeon are optional and can lead to more powerful loot and stronger rematches against old bosses.

Aside from the Goblin underworld, you also have free reign of the overworld. The twins’ bedroom is where they can level up once they have enough experience. You can also take them into the town itself either via fast travel or by riding the moped. The town has a gym for increasing stats and a couple of shops. A few of the shops include a blacksmith to help increase the stats of your equipment and a potion shop.

Some of the enemies you come across throughout the game can be very difficult. They can be resistant to parries and block most attacks you throw at them. On top of that, bosses can have up to four health bars, which makes all of the boss battles that much more difficult. Enemies also hit hard and fast. Some can even kill a character in two or three hits with no invulnerability time. These battles can be slow while making you do small amounts of damage with small windows of attack.

The difficulty does not just affect how hard the enemies can be. The player can carry a few lives depending on the difficulty chosen. The lower the difficulty, the more lives you have. This helps the player also learn the habit of the enemies while not completely being frustrated have to start from the top of the area. Once you have properly geared up and upgraded, Young Souls can feel astoundingly easy based on how you build your stats up. You can choose to increase your strength in the gym and wear light equipment that allows you to zoom through each area without having to worry about anyone being able to catch you. Or you can be super slow with no speed, wear the godliest equipment you can find, and smash anything with the flick of your wrist. There is no wrong way to become an unstoppable force.

Young Souls is a fantastic beat ‘em up that can be enjoyed with a friend or solo. The designs of the characters and the environment are beautifully drawn and are just as enjoyable as the gameplay. The writing is superb as well and each character has their own uniqueness to them. Bosses can be difficult and have you trying multiple times to conquer them, but with the right equipment and adjusting the difficulty, you can easily overcome them. Overall, I would recommend giving Young Souls a spin if you are looking for a new game to pick up.


WRC 10 FIA World Rally Championship Review – Switch

When it comes to multiplatform games, the PlayStation, Xbox, and PC versions tend to be more sought after than the Switch. However, it is important to try to make the Switch version just as good as it is the most cost-efficient console to play games on. It also needs the capability to play remotely since that is a key feature. WRC 10 is the latest of the series to join the Switch, about 6 months after the other consoles. WRC 10 not only takes care to include the Switch but is a great addition for gaming on the go.

WRC 10 gives Switch owners a serious racing game, representing the real-world 2021 season of the World Rally Championship. It gives owners a racing game that does not involve Karts and power-ups. It carries some of the same features as its other console counterparts such as the Livery Editor, the Anniversary Mode, and new stages like Greece and Spain. It is missing WRC Esports, online multiplayer, and online clubs. It may seem like a loss but really does not affect the overall gameplay as there is still plenty to do. Compared to WRC 9, with the increased number of tracks, the combination of new vehicles, 52 official teams, and 4 new rallies, there is plenty of new features to enjoy on the go.

The handling is razor-sharp at first, making it seem flawless to follow the path as it weaves from left to right. Handling can be exaggerated when using some of the Anniversary vehicles, due to their less sophisticated drivetrains. Due to the Switch using digital inputs instead of analog, braking and smooth steering inputs in WRC 10 are almost possible to perfect based on the hardware alone. After lots of practice and adapting, you eventually forget that you are playing a simulator as you are driving fast and drifting at every turn. Using the cockpit camera gives you an overall realistic experience.

WRC 8 and 9 were both already stunning games in their own rights. WRC 10 has managed to make itself a truly stunning and hyper-realistic game. Realistically, compared to other consoles, the Switch is not nearly as powerful. With 30fps, there can be a few spots of dips and a loss of frames. That does not mean it is not a gorgeous game. All of the vehicles have a great visual presentation overall. The environmental stuff like dirt and sand managed to look pretty great when spewing from the tires. Some colors can be bland in handheld mode but look better once you play in dock mode. The same can be said with a majority of the graphical aspects of the game. Some environments could be a little distracting when they seem busy or have tons of things happening in the background.

One lingering issue that happened a lot was the long loading times. Loading times varied on what activity you were doing, but overall can be long. With how much is in the game and how every course alone is unique design and weather varying from sunny days to gloomy and cloudy. The only other lingering issue is the learning curve of the game as previously stated. It can be difficult for newcomers and cause a few new players to quit early, but if you stick to it, it can be your next best racing game. Otherwise, there is a lot to enjoy in this title. Especially being able to take it on the go.

WRC 10 can be a turning point for racing games on the Switch. It offers a ton of content to enjoy from. 120 special events, 10 total rallies, lots of new vehicles and modes to choose from, and new features like Livery Editor and Anniversary Mode. It is missing some features like online multiplayer and e-club. Plus loading times can really take a toll on your patience. However, these are not enough to take away from the overall experience and enjoyment for WRC 10. For being port to the Switch, it does a great job of keeping the graphics looking fresh and enjoyable on a console not known for being graphics killer. Sure it does not look as good as its PC counterpart, but being on a more economically friendly console, it truly is a stunning title. I would highly recommend picking it up and giving it a twirl if you are in the market for a new racer.


WWE 2K22 Review – PlayStation 5

WWE 2K22 is a long-awaited release that brings a lot of evidence against releasing an IP yearly. Taking a couple years off to learn from the mistakes of the previous two releases proved to be a smart move. A newly adjusted gameplay engine, a better theatrical flair for entertainment, and a more playable game that allows for an overall better experience. There were a few flaws, but the overall experience makes it easy to overlook the bad.

The new engine gives off a more arcade style approach, which is by far more superior compared to the predecessor. 2K22 does a great job of making grappling feel realistic and allows matches to be faster. Grappling is simplified to light and heavy moves, which makes it easier to. Melee combos can be easily achieved, but the downside being that button mashing becomes an instant result. A new counter called Breaker, allows players to react to strikes and grapples by pressing the same button their opponent may be pressing and stopping them upon success. With it being a guessing game, the results can lead to soaking up damage for guessing the wrong input. It also allows for both players to get moves in without having to see who can outlast counters like in previous installments.

2K22 is a stunning title for the franchise. Character models are very accurate, the animations look clean and smooth, and the cinematography/lighting improvements truly breathe life into their surroundings. The UI is simple and allows you to absorb your surroundings better. Even the crowd received some love and attention. The main menu is easy to navigate and has plenty for players to go through. There were not many glitches either. Smaller ones a character getting caught up or changing shape can occur, but barely affect any enjoyment. They do not happen often enough to spoil the experience. Online play had more of an issue due to lag and server issues. I imagine this will improve over time and become a thing of the past.

2K22 has a ton of modes to try out and enjoy. Showcase is an interactive documentary that lets players play as the legendary star Rey Mysterio and follow his career by playing a selection of 12 matches. There are a few great additions to this mode such as transitions from the actual match footage. MyGM gives you control of a single brand. Allowing you to draft superstars and book shows to be on top of the ratings against rival brands. Universe mode allows you control over everything, allowing players to essentially live out their fantasies with the huge roster of over 200. MyFaction is another new mode where players can collect trading cards to create your own faction and battle other player factions with your collection in the ring. There are daily, weekly, and tower challenges that help give you currency to purchase more card packs; otherwise, it is your standard vs mode, but with a great twist.

MyRise allows players to create a wrestler from scratch, including choosing their background. Character creation may not be as diverse as many would hope, but there is plenty of customization for players to go through and feel immersed in the experience. Starting from practicing in the Performance Center and working your way up to being on the main roster, there is plenty to do. You can agitate your opponents over social media, force them into a match, and beat them into submission. Plus you can add some hilarious antics like making the loser wear a humiliating costume. There are side goals as well that can help boost your stats. Some are fairly easy and can be attempted at any time. Others can lead down a rabbit hole that can take some time to complete.

2K22 has come a far way from its predecessors. Improving the overall experience and upgrading the gameplay engine were definitely in the right direction. Giving love to all of the details including the backgrounds really make it very soft on the eyes and aesthetically pleasing. The gameplay has a ton of improvements making it a more enjoyable and simple experience. As well as being able to play a variety of modes thanks to the amount available. Between Universe mode and MyRise, there is plenty to do and love in 2K22. I would recommend everyone to give it a try.


The King of Fighters XV Review – PlayStation 5

King of Fighters is not a common household name in the fighting family. Especially when you look at fighters like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. With that being said, the latest entry in the series does a solid job of keeping up with the competition. King of Fighters XV boasts a ton of content and modes that will fill hours of your life, but there are a few hiccups that get be flagged immediately like the premise.

The premise is a generic pick your team, fight through the tournament, and vanquish the evil that surrounds it. There is even the resurrection of previously dead characters, time-traveling, and even reality jumps. Otherwise, the main story can be finished rather quickly but has tons of replayability that builds on the love the developers put into it. For example, you can unlock special scenes that only occur with specific teams.

There are other modes other than story mode. You have versus mode which allows you to fight AI or a friend on the couch. Then there is a training mode, which helps you practice the basics and have a better understanding of the fighting mechanics. Followed by a mission mode to help learn special mechanics in the game. And of course, the game mode that claims modern fighting games is the online mode. The great thing about online play is that it brings in rollback netcode, which gives online matches a more competitive feel. The rank mode will be the go-to mode for players to climb the ladder. The King of Fighters XV also throws in a casual mode and online training mode for players to practice together.

The detailed tutorial helps make it easier to understand the various mechanics and easily explain each concept. MAX Mode gives players a limited time of increased defense and increased attack power to do more damage. Rush Mode, a great returning ability for greener players, is simply done light punching, which then initiates a combo, and varies on the final button pressed. Rush mode in particular may seem unbalanced for veterans of the franchise but can actually be a double edge sword for newbies. The Shatter Strike system allows the player to counterstrike an opponent with a power attack that even stuns the opponent, allowing for a turnaround in the match.

There are also four special move types you learn on top of your regular combos. EX Special Moves are used in Max mode and consume a small amount of the mode’s bar. Super Special moves are activated when specific input is used and consumes a whole block of the meter. Max Super Special Moves are similar to the previous except they cost two bars of the meter. Lastly, there are Climax Super Special Moves, which are activated similarly to the previous two, but use three bars of the meter. From here, there is not much of a difference from your average fighting game except for characters.

There are 39 characters in total, each with their own unique abilities and fighting styles. Ryo Sakazaki for example is slow, but his defense and reach are much better. Or Mai Shiranui whose speed is unmatched and can make Rush mode a more viable plan of action. Each character is truly different and makes you learn the fundamentals of the combat to utilize them to their fullest capacity. Especially when you look into the move sets for Max Mode, which offers an even steeper learning curve. It can be more tedious compared to other fighters like Street Fighter but can be just as satisfying when you find the right characters.

A lot of effort was put into the visuals of The King of Fighters XV. The game is beautifully touched by the various level designs and the way all of the colors fill the screen. Character models are detailed and truly come to life while in combat. The Max abilities even add a little flair and breath a new life when making contact in combat. One of the many reasons to enjoy this labor of love. Another reason to give The King of Fighters XV a chance is the soundtrack. There is a variety of genres like pop and metal, but they brought soundtracks from all of the games and more. You are sure to find your favorite tracks and make your customized tracks to be the top fighter.

You can find a lot of the extras in the gallery. You can find character voices and in-game cinematics as some of the standard lists. Along with that list is also the DJ Station with the list of all the songs previously stated. Now the cherry on top of this gallery is the special animated short. It was directed by the world-renowned animator Masami Obari. By far this is one of the better galleries you can find in modern games.

King of Fighters XV is truly a contender of its own for those who are new to the franchise and veterans. The tutorial helps new players up to speed and gets them to try something other than button mashing. The story is generic and leaves a lot to be desired, but the various game modes make up a lot of its shortcomings. With 39 characters and a huge catalog of soundtracks, you are bound to find your perfect setup and become a true King of Fighters.


Conan Chop Chop Review – PC

Conan Chop Chop is one of the best additions to roguelikes anyone could ask for. Not only does it have its own unique spin of roguelikes, but it is done rather easily. Developer Mighty Kingdom did something unique that a majority of newer roguelikes have yet to master; a four-player co-op from online to on the couch. Allowing for a seamless and exciting experience, this game is the pinnacle of a great and challenging time with friends.

The premise of Conan Chop Chop begins with the sorcerer Thoth-amon trying to resurrect the elder wizard Xaltotun. Thoth is unable to complete the spell and realizes he needs more souls to finish the spell to its full effect. Thoth’s solution for gathering the souls is to set up an event called Wrath-a-Thon: a contest where warriors will fight through Thoth’s servants for rewards beyond their riches. This is where the four playable characters Conan, Valeria, Belit, and Pallantides, decide to join in for all the fame and riches.

After you pick your character, you travel through four different zones and defeat Thoth-amon’s four servants before challenging Thoth himself. Each zone is randomly generated and features a plethora of treasure, enemies, and gear before entering the dungeon. This is where each servant awaits to be defeated by the players. Here’s the catch, players must defeat all four servants in and Thoth-amon in one run. It is a task that can be difficult but is what truly makes it feel like it can compete with bigger predecessors like Hades.

Conan Chop Chop does a fantastic job with gameplay. Each character has their own individuality and their own unique abilities. For example, each character has their own style of dash ability and an ultimate ability. They can even pick up new skills along the journey. From there, all characters can parry to stun enemies, use bombs, and defend against attacks to name a few. No matter who you pick, each character brings their own flair to the table and allows you to try new things or look for certain builds.

The game still will dictate how you play due to what kind of gear it offers. Gear can be found in the battle areas and locked treasure chests. In between zones, the village can be used to purchase gear at shops with the treasure you start with and the treasure you find between servants. This helps the player find the perfect build throughout the run. It is easy to say that luck plays a huge factor in how your run can go. You can either have terrible luck and be wiped from the run, or you can have an unheard-of run where you are able to power through with little effort.

For those who have terrible luck, you can rely on the experience you get from each run. Let’s say you get through a few zones and die to the third servant. You will keep the experience and steel fire from the run which can be used to improve your characters with better starting equipment, increased health, and unlocking more advanced material which can allow for better drops in later runs. The only issue with this is that you can only use the experience until after you die which leaves a lot of abilities locked until you die.

The main feature that truly grabs the attention of the average gamer is the ability to have friends join in from every aspect of multiplayer. Friends bring a lot of benefits to an already great game. With friends, you can deal a lot of damage, switch up tactics to easily overwhelm the enemy, and try out new builds without the fear of a dead run. Conan Chop Chop is very much a solo roguelike that can give you quite the challenge, with the capability of being a fun time with friends as you save the land.

Conan Chop Chop does everything right in the world of roguelikes. The premise may be underwhelming compared to others like Hades but is made up strictly with gameplay. The variety between characters and builds allows for several exciting runs that have different kinds of success. Death grants you a second chance with more benefits than struggling to live. Plus, if you do not like the odds or just feel a little lonely, nothing can stop you from having a friend grab a controller and join from across the couch or via remote play. Conan Chop Chop is highly addictive and fully recommended for everyone to pick up today!


Infernax Review – PC

Infernax caught my attention before I even played it. As I continued to play it, it kept its grasp on me until I felt completely satisfied. The 2D gameplay is simple but adds on complexity with each skill, or ability you acquire. The visuals and soundtrack give you an early Castlevania arcade feeling. Plus the replayability is high with the multiple choices and endings that can occur. There is so much to love in Infernax and very little to fret about.

The plot is pretty simple. You play as the Duke of the land who has come back from a crusade. His land has been corrupted by an unknown evil and needs to be cleansed from the Earth. This is where the simplicity ends. As you progress in the main quest, you learn that you have to make several different decisions. The first one has you deciding if you should kill a man begging for death or try to save him from whatever is happening. These decisions affect what side quests become available, how characters will react to you, and of course how the ending of your choices. Something you do not really see in most AAA titles.

The difficulty comes off as hard at first. Once you get used to how the world of Infernax works, it begins to become easier. Each area brings in new enemies and the dungeons have their own unique enemies as well. Most enemies will die in a couple of hits; however, you can be just as easily fragile depending on how you play. You will use your experience to increase your damage, mana count, and health count. You will then use money you earn from quests and killing enemies to upgrade to better weapons, armor, and magic that will make your journey easier.

The settings of each area gave much homage to Castlevania. Dungeons are filled with spikes and skeletons as floating eyes swarm you. In the background each dungeon brings its own flares. The first dungeon has zombies bleeding in cages as spikes and javelins are thrown at the player. The overworld areas get darker as you move further away from the main hub. Dead trees and corpses fill the land, and you watch helplessly as characters are murdered near feet away from them. Infernax also took a play from Castlevania’s book with a fantastic soundtrack. The world may be filled with constant danger and death, but you can conquer everything with arcade-themed sounds as you bash heads in with your mace. Everything including your deaths is well thought out and sounds well placed.

Infernax can become a little confusing in some spots. For example, to continue the main quest, you have to explore several areas and talk to some characters to learn how to find the next dungeon. Not only does it require you to visit the few friendly faces around the game, but it requires you to explore the dungeons entirely and utilize the tools inside of them. Even side quests make you find people and do not give you a great sense of where to go to find them. These are not deal breakers and even lead to some amazing quests once you complete a lot of them. My favorite quest was defending a city from the evil of the land.

What kind of Metroidvania would Infernax be without coming up against progression blockers when you’re out exploring. High walls, weak walls, and even the out of reach areas force you to explore the areas you can access for ways to overcome them. As you come across these hurdles and the abilities to overcome them, your mind will begin to race as your paths begin to open and diverge. Not only are they great motivators, but you can progress in whichever way you’d like. This can also be a lesson if you finish dungeons met for later in the quest.

Infernax was an instant classic on my growing list of games. Constantly checking back in with characters to see if your choices had unlocked more quests to take on or how you are being perceived is refreshing. Becoming the hero the people need, or being swallowed in the darkness of the land, there are plenty of reasons to try for multiple endings. Infernax does take a little time to get used to but turns into an instant classic as you quickly forget the issues that plagued you in the beginning. If you want a Metroidvania mixed with The Legend of Zelda 2, Infernax is the best and bloodiest option to pick on February 14th!