Video Game Review: Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet

Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet were developed by the video game development company called Game Freak and published by The Pokémon Company and Nintendo for the Nintendo Switch on November 18, 2022. They are reported to have sold more than 10 million copies combined in the first 3 days of sales. These games are completely different from all the previous installments in the series and considered the first role playing games in the 9th generation of Pokémon.  

The games have 3 separate story lines, each of which you can explore however you want and in any order you want. These open worlds allow you, the player, to travel wherever you want to, which is a first in a Pokémon game. It seems though that this feature may not have been fully though through, because as soon as you start the game and travel to somewhere far away from where you started, all of the Pokémon are at a higher level and can easily defeat you.

After playing through the game, I realized that there was a designated path that the player should have followed in a certain order. When you do this, in the correct order, then when you get to the higher levels, you are much more able to handle the stronger Pokémon and trainers. A major problem with this new release is the massive amount of performance issues, bugs, and frame rate issues. Many times, textures do not load properly and Pokémon models pop in and out constantly. There are also lighting problems, and crashes happen, more so than normal.

The idea of an open-world Pokémon game is very good in theory. I actually love the idea, but the execution of it did not turn out that well. I really liked everything else that was added into the game. If you look past the technical glitches of the game it is really fun and enjoyable. It’s definitely a different take on past versions of the Pokémon franchise and I do like the direction they are heading with the open world concept. I would recommend this game to anyone who already enjoys the Pokémon games have perhaps played some before and want to move further through the series. However, if you are new to Pokémon games in general, I would recommend that you play some of the other games available in the series prior to Pokémon Scarlet and Violet first, so that you can get a true feel for what the series is really all about and experience the game play that has made Pokémon a worldwide phenomenon.

Game Review: The Otterman Empire

The Otterman Empire is a new and interesting type of 3rd-person shooter. In the game, you play as an otter as you explore different futuristic maps. Throughout the maps, players have the opportunity to complete different puzzles and fight against different enemies. The game has a story game mode as well as multiplayer. On top of that, the developers are making new game modes and maps for players to play.

The single player game mode was pretty simple. Players had to explore different maps and fight different enemies. The graphics were very beautiful, and I liked how each map was different from the one prior. The story itself was pretty simple and easy to follow, and I liked the overall simplicity of the game.

On top of the single player game mode, there is also the multiplayer game mode. This allows you to play with your friends. In multiplayer there are multiplayer game modes that are in most shooters such as team deathmatch and free for all. In multiplayer there are different characters that players can play besides the default otter that you play in the single player game mode. My friends and I enjoyed the multiplayer game mode more than the single player mode, since it was a lot more exciting. The multiplayer is played in a split-screen type of view, showing four players at the same time. If you can manage to get three other friends to play with you, playing The Otterman Empire together is a blast. I like multiplayer games not only because you can play with your friends, but because each game you play will have a different outcome.

I enjoyed my overall experience when playing  The Otterman Empire. The single player mode was great and was a good way to introduce new players to the controls of the game. After playing the single player game mode, I recommend switching to the multiplayer game mode. This is where the true fun in The Otterman Empire was. The entire multiplayer experience was insanely fun and reminded me of other fun arcade shooters that I have played in the past such as Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare. I would give The Otterman Empire an overall rating of eight out of ten, and would highly recommend it to those that enjoy split screen shooters.

-Daniel CW.

Game Review: Curved Space

Curved Space, developed by Maximum Games, is an arcade style, fast-paced shooter.  The game is obviously set in space, as humans fight against space-invading monsters. Players fly space ships in large scale space battles, attacking alien ships and bases. There were a ton of different aspects in Curved Space that I thought added a lot to the game, and made the game a new type of arcade game.

In Curved Space, the gameplay was extremely fast and exciting. Each level had huge space battles, consisting of multiple enemies that players had to defeat. On top of that, the art style in the game made it pop. There were flashing lights and colors that gave off a neon effect throughout the entire game. I feel like this addition made the game pop and kept the players focused on the game. Here is an example of the coloring in Curved Space: 

As you can see from the picture, there are also huge monsters and aliens that players have to go against. These challenging monsters each had certain weaknesses and strengths, and players had to remember and counter each of them.

Besides the coloring of the game, the actual graphics such as lighting and sharpness were awesome, and it felt like an anime or cartoon game. This art style was a really great idea, when mixing them with the arcade style gameplay. This combination made the game feel like a remastered version of space invaders. This combination gave players a nostalgic feeling of the old games that they loved to play as children, as well as introducing new game mechanics in the new game.

On top of the main campaign game mode, there are also time trials that players can compete in where they are actively playing against other players. These game modes test players in races and survival modes. After playing both game modes, I also discovered that there is a customizable progression section in Curved Space. Players can actively grind out levels to upgrade their pilots and ships, unlocking different abilities, skills, and cosmetic items.

The last detail that I want to talk about is the soundtrack in Curved Space. The songs that were playing in the background of the game gave off a very energetic Synthwave, and helped hype me up while playing the game. Overall, I really enjoyed Curved Space. I thought the 2D arcade style gameplay mixed with the modern anime graphics gave the game an amazing feel. On top of that, the Synthwave music really tied the game together. I would rate the game a solid eight out of ten.

-Daniel CW.

Game Review: Out of Line

Out of Line is an exciting new adventure game releasing June 23rd. This hand-drawn  game is filled with difficult puzzles and missions that players must complete. The story of Out of Line is simple. Players play as the adventurous character known as San, as he tries to escape a run down factory that once was his home. Escaping the factory is difficult, and players need to solve multi-step problems in order to progress. There were some outstanding aspects to Out of Line that really made the game stand out, including art style, game mechanics, and story.

The first thing that stood out to me when playing Out of Line was the look of the game. This game has a very unique style of art. Every frame was hand-drawn and 2D. I really liked the look of Out of Line,  and I think the animation added a lot to the game. On top of that, the sounds in the game were very satisfying, and sounded like an older platforming game.

The game mechanics of Out of Line were pretty simple and easy to learn. There was only one new mechanic that was introduced, that players usually do not see in these types of platformers. The character San holds an electric yellow staff that he uses throughout his journey. This magical staff is somewhat like Thor’s hammer, always magically returning to San whenever he puts it down or throws it. If used correctly, this staff could be insanely helpful. For example, players can throw it at items and stick it in other items. This can allow players to solve certain puzzles that they would not have been able to solve without the yellow staff. I really liked this mechanic as it added to the puzzle-solving aspect in Out of Line. 

Though the game is not released yet, I really enjoyed the story and content of this game. I felt like the puzzles were tricky, and proved lots of gameplay for the players. I did not end up finishing Out of Line, but from what I can tell the storyline and character development is great.  Overall, I really enjoyed Out of Line. The game was exciting and difficult at the same time. As said earlier, I really liked the look and sound of the game, which both really gave it the 2D platformer feel. On top of that, the game controls and mechanics such as the yellow lightning staff added new puzzles and solutions to the game. As for the time that one must put into this game, it is pretty tedious, and one must like puzzle games to enjoy playing Out of Line. In the end, I would highly recommend playing this game and would rate it a solid eight out of ten.

-Daniel CW.

The Protagonist: EX-1 Game review

The Protagonist: EX-1 is a tactical turn-based RPG game. Players play as a highly trained soldier, that is tasked with infiltrating an alien spacecraft. Players are split up from their original team and need to fight their way through the ship to find them. Players can unlock new team members, weapons, perks, and more on their journeys. The Protagonist: EX-1 was overall a really fun game, and it had a lot of great ideas and factors that added to the overall gaming experience such as the animation, combat, and tactical immersion.

The first thing that came to mind when I started playing The Protagonist: EX-1 was how realistic the game was. The game starts off with a voice-over from the main character, and a cutscene. Players watch as huge spaceships fly through space, varying in size and speed. The cutscene cuts to the player’s squad, as they start to gear up for battle.  The game cuts abruptly to the main character lying down as alarms go off around them. Players are told that they have been cut off from their squad and that they need to infiltrate the ship that they are on in order to find them. This is where the gameplay actually starts, and players are able to move around freely. 

Once players are able to move around freely, they can explore the ship from a top-down perspective. The graphics and effects in The Protagonist: EX-1 were surprisingly good for being a tactile RPG, and I was shocked at how realistic the ship looked. The character models were a bit choppy and could have been refined. Besides that, I could not find any other problems with the graphics or look of the game.

The last thing that I want to talk about is the combat in The Protagonist: EX-1. How the combat works is simple and is like a lot of turn-style games. Players will face off against enemies and will take turns attacking each other. In The Protagonist: EX-1, players choose different types of attacks that they can use, creating combos that can deal more damage. For example, players can pair different types of weapons or different types of physical attacks like punches and kicks that will deal more damage. I found this game mechanic to be a great addition to the game, and added a tactical aspect to it.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Protagonist: EX-1. With the realistic look, tactile gameplay, and new combat mechanics, the game was a very fun SciFi turn game. I would rate this game a solid eight out of ten. I would recommend players that enjoy space exploration games to give The Protagonist: EX-1 a try.

-Daniel CW.

Game Review: Onirike Steam Demo Impressions

Onirike is a free 3D puzzle game out on Steam. The game follows a character known as Prieto, who explores a dream-like world. In this 3D-platformer, players are able to explore massive maps in an open-world setting.

The gameplay of Onirike was actually very simple. There were only a few simple controls that players could master in minutes. Since Onirike is still in its demo mode, players have the freedom to explore the entire map and world. There are small side missions and there is a loose storyline, but players have the opportunity to do whatever they want. The premise of Onirike is quite strange. Players follow Prieto, who wakes up in a fever-dream-like world. The player is told that they have the freedom to explore the map and help a wide variety of NPCs along the way.  

Throughout their adventures, players have to focus on two main problems. Since Prieto is in a dream-world, players run into the problem of sleep. If players go long enough without picking up glowing flowers that are on the ground, they will fall asleep and turn invisible to any NPCs that are around them. In order to counter this problem, players need to strategically place seeds for the glowing flowers across the map. This allows the flowers to grow and keeps the players awake so they do not turn invisible. I actually found being invisible fun, and not a bad thing. It was fun to run around the map without anyone noticing or seeing you.

I also want to talk about the animation style of Onirike. This game has beautiful animations and art style. The game looks like old tv shows I used to watch such as Crashbox. Besides the art, I also found the music to be very calming. As I roamed around the large world, the music helped to add a dreamlike feeling to the game. On top of the art and music, the character design itself was very interesting. All of the NPCs and Prieto himself had such a unique design. It almost seemed that all of the characters were actually from a dream, and it was a great addition to the game. All in all, Onirike is definitely one of the better 3D-puzzle games that I have played. It was very calming to explore the world, and the fun puzzles and mysteries that players could solve were a great addition to the game. I loved the art style of the game, it must have taken ages to make the entire map. This game is very underrated, and it’s free on Steam! For the game only being in demo mode, it has a lot of space for improvement, and I cannot wait to see what may be added.

-Daniel CW.

Game Review: Party Animals

This game is a party game that is coming out in late 2020 that has a lot of potentials to become a very popular game. The game is a party game where you play as clumsy animals such as dogs, cats, or even a rabbit. There were two game modes in the beta so far one was the sumo game mode where you try to knock your opponents out and make them fall off the map and the last person that is on the map is the winner. The other game mode captures the gummy which is basically capture the flag but with a giant gummy bear. The thing that makes this game special is the physics that the furry characters have. The physics in this game are super clumsy and have a good ragdoll feature that is similar to gang beasts or fall guys. So when you and another person collide it just makes you want to laugh about how absurd that just was.

In my opinion, I think that this will be a mainstream game when it comes out later this year and it will become one of the most popular games because the beta wasn’t well advertised at all and it had over 100k players playing during the short beta so this definitely won’t be the last time you hear Party Animals.

-Howard M.

Deep Sky Derelicts: Definitive Edition Game Review

Deep Sky Derelicts: Definitive Edition, developed by Snowhound games and produced by 1C Entertainment, is an exciting and unique RPG tactics game. With the use of card game combat and a beautiful yet simple comic book aesthetic, Deep Sky Derelicts: Definitive Edition stands out as a new and upcoming role-playing game. As the player follows their team through outer space, they will explore multiple spacecraft, as well as encounter a large assortment of enemies. Throughout their journey, the player will unlock new abilities for each of their characters and will find new items along the way that will either help or hinder them.

The first thing that I noticed when I started playing Deep Sky Derelicts: Definitive Edition was the amazing and stunning graphics! The aesthetics themselves reminded me of an older style comic book, especially with the added speech and action bubbles. During fights between characters, the attention to detail in each sequence was also very impressive and clean. Due to the card game playing style, the game itself seemed to operate at a slower pace. I feel like this fits well with the game because the player was able to take in more information without becoming confused or feeling rushed.

As for the combat itself, I personally enjoyed the fight sequences very much. Each player’s team is comprised of three characters, each with a special set of skills and strengths. On my team, I assigned the Brawler, who did most of the fighting; the Healer, who healed his fellow teammates; and the Technician, who assisted the team in combat by giving him and his teammates power-ups. I like how an individual can customize each of their teams to their specific playstyle. This can keep the game interesting and exciting for everyone. There is also a huge variety in the different types of enemies that a player can face. Ranging from a floating eye to an evil janitor, each enemy has a certain skill and fighting style that the players must counter.

Another interesting aspect of Deep Sky Derelicts: Definitive Edition was the energy point system. When the player moves around the spaceship, scans for loot, and battles enemies, a certain amount of energy is consumed. After a while, the player will need to return to their base, or their teams will start to lose their shields, weapons, and life support. This danger makes the player think about each of their choices and strategies.

Overall, I personally really enjoyed Deep Sky Derelicts: Definitive Edition. I thought the graphics and looks of the game were fantastic and beautiful, as well as unique. On top of that,  the action sequences were very exciting, and fun to experience. The ability to customize your teams and weapons was a great touch. The diversity of enemies that the player had to face as well as the energy point system was challenging. All in all, I would award Deep Sky Derelicts: Definitive Edition a score of nine out of ten.

-Daniel C.