You like Castlevania, don’t you? Part III

A Most Agreeable Pastime

Super_Castlevania_IV_North_American_SNES_box_artSuper Castlevania IV finally brought Castlevania to the 16-bit world and did quite a fine job of it. Konami really went all out with this one, taking advantage of every bit of the Super Nintendo’s new technology. The backgrounds are highly detailed, animated, and often multi-layered. The vaunted parallax scrolling is also applied to the level in some interesting ways, making for some great background effects and that one very cool, but very short, level where the rooms start rotating.

castlevania4.jpg Manual whip control. The greatest new feature that you’ll never use.

Once again there’s a killer soundtrack too. I probably say that about just about every Castlevania game, but man, they just have some really good soundtracks, and this one is one of my favorites out of all of them.

Beware though, this game gets ferociously difficult in the later levels, with some very nasty platforming segments, and a…

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Review: Slayaway Camp

A Most Agreeable Pastime

IMG_1980Another mobile game? Has the world gone topsy-turvy? Slayaway Camp suckered me in by promising me piles and piles of puzzles, all with the theme of being goofy eighties slasher movies, and I’m pleased to say that it did not lie.

IMG_1965 Just like that Game Boy game where you moved the boxes around! You know…the one with the boxes!

Underneath all the blood and guts lies a very classic slide-the-block-around puzzle, the likes of which we’ve seen many times before, though I can’t seem to actually think of the names of any that I’ve really played and enjoyed.  Things start off relatively simple, with you having to navigate your killer through little mazes in order to pick off all the victims and then slide into the exit, but things get surprisingly complex the deeper you get into the game.

IMG_1973 JUST CLOWNIN’ AROUND!

You’ll soon find yourself having to deal with…

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Review: Arizona Sunshine

A Most Agreeable Pastime

5487A new VR game about killing zombies that uses the PlayStation Aim controller? How could this possibly go wrong? Well, let me tell you about my first experience with Arizona Sunshine. I started my journey, rifle in hand, walking towards the first zombies I saw with great anticipation for the moment that I would be introducing my bullets to their brains. I aimed, I fired, and I missed. Then I aimed, and fired, and missed again, and again, and again, and again. Alright, blind firing doesn’t work as well here as it does in Farpoint. I figured I better try switching to the sights. There were no fancy holographic sights or scopes here, just tiny little iron sights. I held the virtual rifle up to my virtual eye, lined up the sights, fired, and…missed again, and again, and again. Urrrrgh.

19601312_10154559403551366_7256561471292524357_n This is my rifle, this is my gun…

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Review: Last Voyage

A Most Agreeable Pastime

FullSizeRenderLast Voyage is the previous game by Nightgate creators Semidome. Like Nightgate, it offers a selection of beautifully bizarre abstract and minimalist puzzles, along with some non-puzzle flying sequences. Last Voyage approaches things a bit differently though, with each chapter being made of entirely different sets of mini-games, and with a noticeably heavier emphasis on the abstract part.

IMG_1954 Just press that red bit over there.

One set of puzzles require you to move pieces around to form various shapes, while another is a showcase of strange touchscreen sensory puzzles where you have to do things like trace your finger around a field, looking for the right spot to make a red bar fill up to the right length (seen above). Another set makes use of your phone’s motion sensors to have you guide a little ball through some treacherous mazes like those old Labyrinth games (anyone remember those?).

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Review: Pillars of Eternity – The White March

A Most Agreeable Pastime

Pillars_of_Eternity_The_White_March_Part_1_CoverWow, has it been two whole years since Pillars of Eternity came out already? And Parts 1 and 2 of the expansion, The White March, have been out for about a year already too? Time sure flies when you’re having all this fun. Anyway, Pillars of Eternity brought us back to the wild world of CRPGs, in the vein of classics like Neverwinter Nights, Baldur’s Gate, and Planescape: Torment. On top of offering a vast Dungeons & Dragons-ish world, bursting with quests and conundrums, it also boasted some of the best writing to be seen in a game. It made me stop and reconsider my views on the nature of religion, and I’m not even religious.

PillarsOfEternity 2017-06-21 00-29-42-265 The White Forge, where you can add new layers of enchantments to your favorite gear

Now The White March doesn’t quite reach the heights of storytelling that the main campaign…

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Review: Monument Valley 2

A Most Agreeable Pastime

IMG_1921.PNGMonument Valley was an amazingly well designed little puzzle game for mobile devices back in 2014. Its use of mind-twisting M.C. Escher-style environments, combined with a really beautiful minimalist art style and impressively effective touchscreen controls, made for one of the most memorable gaming experiences on a phone. For better or worse, Monument Valley 2 is very much the same.

On the plus side, Monument Valley 2 shares all the strengths of the first one, with fun, relaxing little levels that have a kind of virtual toy puzzle box feel to them. It’s great to spin these little rooms around, trying to find all the different little movable pieces and figuring out how they all work together to form a path for you to escape through.

IMG_1924 The hardest part of writing about these games is narrowing down which beautiful screenshot to show.

Yes, the gameplay is still very solid, though also…

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The unheard message of The Witness

A Most Agreeable Pastime

Today I’m going to talk to you about The Witness again. I spoke very briefly about it once before, but this time I’d like to take that analysis a few steps further, as well as discussing what it all means about why and how we play games, why this game has attained the dreaded label of “pretentious”, and how this all applies to our real lives.

19477619_10154549711741366_2360749071863541588_o

First, let’s talk about the “plot”. At this point I suppose I should warn you of impending spoilers, though I’m not sure if the idea of spoilers really applies to a game that has no direct story at all. In The Witness, the game simply begins with you in a tunnel with no explanation of who you are, where you are, who created this place, or what you’re supposed to be doing here. You follow the tunnel, open the door at the…

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Review: Dogolrax

A Most Agreeable Pastime

bandicam 2017-06-08 00-40-22-993What is Dogolrax? Well, Dogolrax is game about you, a nameless human guy, being stranded on an alien planet called Dogolrax, which is named after an alien god that is also called Dogolrax. How did you get there? I don’t know. What’s going on with all the crazy aliens there? You know, I still don’t know. What do I know? Well, I know that Dogolrax is one extremely bizarre game.

bandicam 2017-06-07 23-02-24-154 How did I get up here? Why, I crawled into that giant snake’s mouth and up through his body, naturally.

What drew me into Dogolrax, was seeing a YouTube video of it by FunHaus. They were mocking it for how ridiculous and terrible it looked, as they so often do, but I saw something else in Dogolrax. I saw a game that clearly seemed to be heavily influenced by Another World, with a dash of the…

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You like Castlevania, don’t you? Part II

A Most Agreeable Pastime

castlevaniagameboyWe return to the wild world of Castlevania with The Castlevania Adventure and its sequel Belmont’s Revenge, both for the Game BoyThe Castlevania Adventure is a fun little game for what it is, but I don’t know how much anyone that didn’t already have a nostalgic itch for it would enjoy it. Being a Game Boy game naturally means that it’s been significantly simplified compared to its predecessors. The levels are extremely basic and linear, and movement is oddly slow, not even including the odd occasional lag. Sub-weapons have been removed entirely and aside from Dracula and some minor generic enemies like bats, you won’t be seeing any familiar foes or locations here. The game feels like it may have been outsourced to some people who were simply told to make a game about a guy who whips monsters. Still, it does somehow manage to have a certain Castlevania

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Review: Telltale’s The Walking Dead: A New Frontier

A Most Agreeable Pastime

81ePIm1wiOLDisclaimer: zero spoilers ahead. If you’ve played and enjoyed the previous two seasons of Telltale’s The Walking Dead, then you’ll be happy to hear that A New Frontier hasn’t altered the successful formula at all. If you haven’t, then you’re also in luck, as this makes a great new jumping on point, with the focus being on a new set of characters and almost no references at all to the previous stories. Clementine from seasons 1 and 2 returns, but doesn’t really talk about the past at all. The downside of this being that this has rendered all your choices from the previous games almost completely irrelevant (though I would still highly recommend playing them both anyway).

18922862_10154486025351366_9112060696778103899_o Zahhhhhhhmbies!

If you’re unfamiliar with the modern Telltale formula, these things are really more interactive movies than games, offering very little in the way of direct interaction, but making up for it with…

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