VOEZ (Switch) review

Rayark Games
Switch, iOS, Android (Switch version reviewed)

Most consoles have a hidden gem at launch, that one game that doesn’t get the attention it deserves because the main launch title is getting all the plaudits.

For many the Switch’s hidden gem is Snipperclips, but that’s not completely ‘hidden’ in the literal sense. Connect your Switch online and among the many news notifications you get from Nintendo are numerous reminders that Snipperclips exists.

For me, the Switch’s true hidden gem – in every sense of the word – is VOEZ. Continue reading “VOEZ (Switch) review”

ACA Neo Geo (Switch) review directory

This isn’t the first time a Nintendo system has been graced with the presence of the once-great Neo Geo.

In late 2007 the Wii’s Virtual Console service started getting Neo Geo titles. By the time the Wii died, over 50 of the beauties were available to buy.

While (at the time of writing) the Switch has yet to get a Virtual Console of its own, that doesn’t mean you can’t still get stuck into some retro goodness.

Enter the brilliantly-named Hamster Corporation, a Tokyo-based studio which has acquired the rights to a bunch of Neo Geo games. Continue reading “ACA Neo Geo (Switch) review directory”

Shovel Knight Treasure Trove (Switch) review

The first part of this review is aimed at those who have never played the original standalone version of Shovel Knight before. For those who have and just want to know what’s new in the Switch version, scroll down to the ‘Treasure Trove features’ section further down the article.

Yacht Club Games
Switch, Wii U, 3DS, PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Vita, Steam (Switch version reviewed)

Fake 8-bit graphics are this generation’s cel-shading.

Much like the early 2000s were flooded with games with flat textures and people going “ooooh, it looks just like a cartoon (except not quite)”, today we’re flooded with games with basic sprite-based graphics and people going “ooooh, it looks just like an NES game (except not quite)”.

Most of these are all retro style and no substance, the product of an indie developer whose lack of creativity when choosing an art style is inevitably accompanied by a lack of creativity in terms of gameplay mechanics.

Every now and then, though, you’ll get a game which does actually offer more than a brief “come see how old I look, ha ha!” message.

Games like Super Meat Boy, Retro City Rampage and VVVVVV combine retro visuals with genuinely compelling gameplay to earn their price tag and appeal to gamers of all vintages. You can most definitely add Shovel Knight to this list. Continue reading “Shovel Knight Treasure Trove (Switch) review”

New Frontier Days: Founding Pioneers (Switch) review

Arc System Works
Switch

I played New Frontier Days: Founding Pioneers for 10 minutes on the Switch’s launch day, and decided that I would probably hate it.

As is often the case with resource management games like this, the tutorial is just a deluge of information, throwing loads of features at you under the false impression that if it walks you through performing each task once you’ll remember all the steps in the future.

I turned it off, angry, and put it aside to focus on reviewing the other Switch launch games first.

As far as first impressions go, “I’m so annoyed with you I want to play everything else first” probably isn’t the best. Continue reading “New Frontier Days: Founding Pioneers (Switch) review”

Blaster Master Zero (Switch) review

Inti Creates
Switch, 3DS (Switch version reviewed)

I owned the original Blaster Master back when it was released on the NES.

It launched in the US in late 1988, but the UK didn’t get it until April 1991, by which point I was already fully aware how amazing it was thanks to import reviews in various British games magazines.

Those reviews didn’t lie. Blaster Master was such a revolutionary game for its time that even if you were to play it now it would fit right in with the slew of 8-bit style indie offerings you see these days.

Of course, now you don’t need to play the original, because Blaster Master Zero is here courtesy of Inti Creates, the brilliant 2D-focused studio responsible for the likes of the Mega Man Zero series on GBA, Mega Man 9 & 10 and the Azure Striker Gunvolt games. Continue reading “Blaster Master Zero (Switch) review”

Women in gaming

This article was originally published on International Women’s Day 2017.

Although great progress has been made over the years in making women’s voices louder in the games industry, it’s clear that in other ways things are worse than ever.

Hashtag-citing hate groups and angry young men – terrified that their narrow-minded definition of gaming is being challenged – are ensuring that being a woman in the games industry is tough, frustrating and sometimes downright scary.

Obviously, these people are idiots. Ovaries can do a lot of things, but preventing insecure men from playing their precious video games isn’t one of them.

Anyone with a shred of sense in their brain will know that women are just as crucial to the games industry as men are. By trying to drive them out or reducing them to eye candy, you’re quite literally cutting the industry’s potential in half.

That shit doesn’t fly on Tired Old Hack, which is why I’ve put this page together. Continue reading “Women in gaming”