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HunieCam Studio Review

Developer: HuniePot Publisher: HuniePot Platform: PC – Steam I adored HuniePop. I didn’t know much about HunieCam Studio before its release aside from the fact that it was a simulation type game featuring the girls from HuniePop (along with some new ladies). Oh, […]

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Stranger of Sword City Review

Developer: Experience Inc. Publisher: NIS America Platform: PlayStation Vita You awake among the rubble of a plane crash, seemingly the sole survivor, and find yourself lost within unfamiliar ruins. As you make your way out, you learn that you were […]

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Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright Review

Developer: Intelligent Systems, Nintendo SPD Publisher: Nintendo Platform: 3DS A lot of people never played a Fire Emblem game before Awakening released. I was one of those people. And if you’re thinking, “I bet she just decided to play it because of the waifus!!” […]

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Dingbots Review

Developer: Cannibal Cat Software Publisher: Cannibal Cat Software Platform: PC – itch.io The very first video game console I ever owned was an Atari 7800. Along with this came a host of excellent games such as Joust and Robotron 2084. […]

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MISSING: An Interactive Thriller – Episode One Review

Developer: Zandel Media Publisher: Zandel Media Platform: PC – Steam MISSING: An Interactive Thriller – Episode One is the first in (hopefully) a series of point and click “escape the room”-style games. As you can probably tell from the images, […]

 

HunieCam Studio Review

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Developer: HuniePot
Publisher: HuniePot
Platform: PC – Steam

I adored HuniePop. I didn’t know much about HunieCam Studio before its release aside from the fact that it was a simulation type game featuring the girls from HuniePop (along with some new ladies). Oh, and that everyone hated the art style and heart eyes. In any case, I was excited for this sexy new title from HuniePot.

Before I delve into how HunieCam Studio plays, I should mention that there is no mature content present in the game whatsoever, despite the age gate on Steam and ban from Twitch. Aside from some slightly raunchy loading screens and outfits that you can have your girls wear, there are no erotic scenes or dialogue. It’s a bit disappointing, considering I loved the adult content that HuniePop featured, but the absence of such material doesn’t hinder HunieCam Studio.

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Anyway, on to the meat and bones of HunieCam Studio. Basically, you’re thrown into the role as manager of a “cam girl” operation and need to earn as many fans as possible within 21 days. In order to do so, you must properly manage your ladies by getting them to work, building their fashion and talent, keeping them happy, and so forth. At the same time, you must invest in upgrades to your business (such as being able to hire more girls or increasing the amount of fans you get from photo shoots) and ads in order to maximize your fan base.

HunieCam Studio almost feels like a clicker/idle game, but it only has the very basics of one. It leans more towards management simulation with a strict time limit, as you’re constantly having to keep things in mind such as where all your ladies need to be or what upgrade you need to purchase next. Due to the nature of HunieCam Studio‘s gameplay, I found myself completely absorbed during the 21 days (which takes me around two hours playing nonstop each time).

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Unfortunately, HunieCam Studio can grow stale very quickly. It’s the same content and strategies for every playthrough (aside from deviating from the usual for specific Steam achievements such as earning a bronze trophy without using accessories). There is the incentive of ultimately getting the diamond trophy and earning wardrobe tokens, which allow you to get new outfits and hairstyles for any character, but that’s pretty much it.

Regardless, HunieCam Studio is a fun little title from HuniePot that gets your money’s worth, considering the low price. Just don’t go in expecting another HuniePop.


Pink Score: 3
3 out of 5 alpacas


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Stranger of Sword City Review

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Developer: Experience Inc.
Publisher: NIS America
Platform: PlayStation Vita

You awake among the rubble of a plane crash, seemingly the sole survivor, and find yourself lost within unfamiliar ruins. As you make your way out, you learn that you were transported to an unknown location known as Escario, the Sword City – a city beset by monsters. Facing a deadly wyvern, you are saved by a strange young woman. She, too, has been warped to this land, and takes you to meet others that have experienced the same thing. So begins your journey in Stranger of Sword City. Read more »

Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright Review

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Developer: Intelligent Systems, Nintendo SPD
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: 3DS

A lot of people never played a Fire Emblem game before Awakening released. I was one of those people. And if you’re thinking, “I bet she just decided to play it because of the waifus!!” then you’re mostly right. I absolutely loved the matchmaking and children aspect that Awakening featured (not to mention FREDERICK!). However, I did also end up immensely enjoying the strategy gameplay that Awakening offered, though veterans of the series might say it is a step down compared to previous entries. SRPGs always terrified me, but Awakening was an excellent entry point for people just like me. Read more »

Dingbots Review

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Developer: Cannibal Cat Software
Publisher: Cannibal Cat Software
Platform: PC – itch.io

The very first video game console I ever owned was an Atari 7800. Along with this came a host of excellent games such as Joust and Robotron 2084. It was thanks to these formative gaming experience that I developed a longstanding love of twin-stick shooters. That’s why Dingbots pulled me right out of a writing lull in order to play it.

Dingbots is a twin-stick shooter inspired by those classics of the genre such as Robotron 2084 and Smash TV. Unlike many modern takes on the formula, it opts to stay true to the flashy colors, incredibly fast action, and quarter-eating challenge of arcade games. Interestingly, it also takes stylistic cues from Jeff Minter’s work which was much appreciated.

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As someone who loves (but is absolutely awful at) twin-stick shooters, I was pleased to find that lives were abundant. After that, there were multiple continues to use up. With that said, the visuals caused a bit of sensory overload at times. With so much on-screen it often became challenging to tell where my dully colored vehicle actually was which led to some completely unneeded deaths.

After mostly cheesing my way through, I completed the 30 levels of Dingbots in a little over an hour. Considering the game is available on a pay what you want basis, this is a good bit of fun for those seeking a quick classically inspired shooter experience. I just wish there were even more to help really hook players in for the long run.


 

Score: 3

3 out of 5 alpacas


 

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MISSING: An Interactive Thriller – Episode One Review

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Developer: Zandel Media
Publisher: Zandel Media
Platform: PC – Steam

MISSING: An Interactive Thriller – Episode One is the first in (hopefully) a series of point and click “escape the room”-style games. As you can probably tell from the images, it also happens to be chock full of full motion video (FMV). I don’t know what exactly spurred this sudden FMV resurgence, but I’m definitely into it.

In any case, it starts you out right in the thick of things as you’re presented with a dude chained up in a room. Without getting much more context than that, we know what to do: Get those cuffs off! This is just the first of a dozen or so puzzles that you’ll need to solve in order to get out of this incredibly strange situation.

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Puzzles are incredibly simple for the most part, with at least one that left me frustrated. Mostly, that was due to my own overthinking of the darn thing, though. The story is a bit disturbing in what it implies, the acting is fairly good, and the scenes are shot well. The biggest issue is that it only took me about half an hour to complete it.

I’m hoping that the relative brevity of MISSING: An Interactive Thriller – Episode One will mean new episodes release frequently. However, it could be quite a while before we can check back in. In any case, the inaugural episode was a neat little game and I look forward to checking out later episodes as they release.


Score: 3

3 out of 5 alpacas


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Life is Strange Episode 5 – Polarized Review

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Developer: DONTNOD Entertainment
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform: PC – Steam PSN – PS3, PS4 Xbox 360, Xbox One

Life is Strange is a series that I’ve been having a real on-and-off relationship with. It surprised me right out of the gate in a fantastic way. However, as the series went on, things felt drawn out. I can’t say I expected the conclusion the game provided right from the start. However, by Episode 4 it seemed pretty clear what DONTNOD Entertainment had been hinting at the entire time.

Episode 5 – Polarized is quite a ride, despite being the shortest of the episodes yet. Or, perhaps it is because of the brevity that they finally cut out all the fluff and provided a high-intensity episode from beginning to end. Now, it’s worth noting that I am not a huge time travel/sci-fi fan. In fact, I have never seen many of the iconic films or read the well-known books on these topics. Because of this I was tremendously impressed with how this game handled the results of Max’s time traveling. It was cool, creepy, and kept me on edge wondering what could possibly happen next.

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One of the weirdest aspects of the series for me is how absolutely dark things got by Episode 5. It’s not that the early game was particularly cutesy and fluffy, but it almost seemed like it would be a fairly typical (if sci-fi tinged) coming of age story. But then things started to get real — too real. Really disgusting stuff was happening to the students of Blackwell Academy. Even though Episode 5 doesn’t go to the lengths I quite though it would, ti’s still a huge tonal shift from the very beginning.

Was I happy with the conclusion? Sure, but (spoilers) I have heard that all that emphasis on choice in the game is actually for naught as far as the final ending is concerned. I could be wrong, but will discover soon enough for myself. I don’t like the idea that choice in this game is nothing more than a means by which to alter a few sentences that characters say to you throughout the episodes. That’s definitely how it felt, though, and hopefully there is at least a little more to it than that even if the conclusion plays out the same.

Would I recommend Life is Strange to others now that I have completed the series? I think so. Even though I was not in love with everything the game did, it provides an adventure game that is unlike most others on the market. Despite obvious inspirations from modern Telltale titles, it moves in its own directions and creates something unique. I’m very curious to see what DONTNOD does next, whether it be a second season (hopefully with a different cast) or something completely different.


Score: 4

4 out of 5 alpacas


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POP: Pop Methodology One Review

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Developer: Rob Lach Games
Publisher: Rob Lach Games
Platform: PC – Steam

You know, I really had no idea what to expect when launching POP: Methodology Experiment One for the first time. The very first screen, which warned “THIS GAME MAY KILL YOU” revealed this was going to be quite the experience. I’m not sure whether that “experience” is one many will enjoy, though.

POP: Methodology Experiment One is comprised of a small handful of gameplay vignettes. Each explores a different game concept (racing, arcade shooting, walking, etc) and asks you to simply manipulate the screen for a few minutes. Once the time is up, you’re free to move onto the next section. It only takes about fifteen to twenty minutes to exhaust each section.

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Visually, this game is a standout. The pixel art style is regularly distorted in dizzying ways. Seriously, I had a headache by the end. Despite the real physical pain POP: Methodology Experiment One caused me, I still appreciated the colorful, trippy aesthetic. The same is true of the music, except to a greater degree since I dug it a lot and was not left feeling ill by listening to it.

The issue is that there is so little to the game that even the low cost of $3.99 starts to look like a bit too much. There’s some sort of thematic touches going on throughout, but they failed to hit the mark. Finally, the video mixtape style utilized to string each game together felt completely out of sync with the rest of POP: Methodology Experiment One. It’s not a bad experiment, but as a game people will actually want to play through… well, not so much.


Score: 2

2 out of 5 alpacas


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Armikrog Review

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Developer: Pencil Test Studios
Publisher: Versus Evil
Platform: PC – Steam, GOG, Direct2Drive, Green Man Gaming, Nuuvem, Wii U

The Neverhood is a very important game to me. It was one of the first games that I ever played. It was a game that my dad and I played together and beat together. The Neverhood certainly has its fair share of problems and might not be the best game in the world, but it’s just such an interesting game that I can forgive those issues.

When Armikrog was announced, I was on cloud nine. A modern-day spiritual successor to one of my favorite childhood games? Sign me up. My dad and I eagerly pledged a good amount of dough to Armikrog‘s Kickstarter campaign and patiently waited for the day it would finally release. It was delayed quite a few times, but that was okay, because that would help make it a better game. Right?

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Unfortunately, that isn’t the case at all. I dove straight into Armikrog expecting a similarly wonderful and strange experience as I had with The Neverhood. Instead, all I got was disappointment.

Immediately upon starting Armikrog, I was greeted with what is supposed to be a whacky, upbeat intro. Which it is, aside from the fact that the audio sounds like it was recorded in a closet with tin cans. I should have taken that as a sign of the awfulness that was to come, but I was blinded by excitement and continued on to play the game.

As I progressed through Armikrog, I began to notice more and more problems. Clicking on objects didn’t register half the time. The music liked to disappear every so often. Subtitles didn’t match what was being said and usually didn’t even pop up at the correct moment. Some puzzles were completely nonsensical and expected you to magically know things that weren’t previously made apparent. Not to mention there were bugs and glitches abound (there have been a few patches since I initially played and finished Armikrog; who knows how well they fix things, though).

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And those are just the gameplay and technical parts of Armikrog. While the graphics and music were fantastic (what music would actually play when it didn’t stop for no reason, anyway), the story, writing, and characters were barely there. I was hopeful considering the hilarious introduction with Tommynaut and Beak-Beak (our two heroes). However, what you see in the beginning is pretty much the most interaction you’ll see between the two throughout the entire game.

As for the story, there is actually a very interesting premise set up during an early part of Armikrog that you are able to read on a literal wall of text (if you played The Neverhood, it is reminiscent of the infamous Hall of Records). It’s probably the most enjoyable part of the game and got me pumped to see how it was going to play out. But, as you might have guessed, not too much happens after that and the ending is extremely anticlimactic and rushed. There’s also a villain, but he may as well not have even been included in Armikrog as he barely does anything.

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I could go on and on about my heart has been ripped into tiny pieces because of how very wrong Armikrog has turned out. I almost want to pretend that it doesn’t exist at all. Sure, you could say I set my expectations way too high or that patches have since fixed most of the problems (which doesn’t excuse the many delays before release or the lackluster story and characters). The fact of the matter is that Armikrog is incredibly disappointing and should be avoided if it all possible.


Pink Score: 1
1 out of 5 alpacas


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Pokémon Shuffle Review

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Developer: Genius Sonority
Publisher: The Pokémon Company
Platform: 3DS, Mobile – Android, iOS

It’s funny how much I’ve begun to embrace the idea of mobile gaming (though I obviously still vastly prefer consoles and handhelds). I used to be extremely against mobile games for a variety of reasons, but I finally caved sometime in the last year or so and begun playing several different ones. Pokémon Shuffle is my most recent mobile game obsession, and for a good reason.

Basically, Pokémon Shuffle is a match 3 puzzle game. You must match the same Pokémon in order to deal damage to your opponent and beat the stage. Pokémon Shuffle keeps things interesting by allowing you to use a bevy of different Pokémon on your team. Furthermore, you must keep in consideration the attack power, types, and skills of your Pokémon in order to assure victory and high stage rankings. Some stages are pretty simple and easy, especially in the beginning. However, they eventually become more complex and require a bit of critical thinking due to opponents creating “disruptions” that can make things quite hectic. There are also “expert stages” that are timed, and as such, really test your puzzle skills and dexterity!

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Now, I tried to play the original version of Pokémon Shuffle on the 3DS, but I just wasn’t feeling it after trudging through the initial tutorial stages. I decided to give Pokémon Shuffle a second chance when it released for mobile devices, and boy did I instantly like it much more on my phone than 3DS. Maybe it’s because of the vertical one-screen layout, or it could be because it’s easier to use a mobile device’s touchscreen versus the 3DS’s. It’s also way more gorgeous and vibrant.

Unfortunately, the mobile version of Pokémon Shuffle retains some of the same annoyances that were present in the 3DS version. For one, the wait time between regaining hearts (or energy) is ludicrous at 30 minutes. Another issue includes absolutely ridiculous stages and capture rates that pretty much require you to spend your precious coins on power-ups and great balls. Alas, this is a freemium game, so such problems are expected and have to be tolerated.

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Even weeks after release, I’m still fervently playing Pokémon Shuffle. It’s just too addicting and fun, and has me hopeful for Nintendo’s future on mobile platforms.


Pink Score: 4
4 out of 5 alpacas


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The Residents: Freak Show Review

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Developer: The Cryptic Corporation
Publisher: The Voyager Company
Platform: PC

The Residents are a band which have been around since the 70s crafting seriously unique music and mixed media experiences. As a fan, I’ve hungered for years to pick up the multimedia CDs they produced in the early 90s. The Residents: Freak Show is the very first of these experiments and came out alongside a music CD of the same name.

At first, I feared this would be a seriously lackluster product. The adventure title certainly seems that way at first. You simply click between a few screens which take place inside a, well, “freak show” and get a little CG representation of a performance. The graphics definitely look a bit lumpy and weird, but somehow that enhances the charm over 20 years later. Search a little deeper and you’ll uncover a whole other, and far longer, segment of gameplay beyond the easily accessible exhibits.

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Hidden behind the Mole Man’s exhibit, as well as behind a “no admittance” sign you’ll find hours of extra content. For the Mole Man in particular, you actually get to hear (and watch) the story of how he became a member of the troupe. Unfortunately, it seems the other characters don’t get the same treatment. With that said, every main character has basically a music video which includes their entire song from the Freak Show album. It also feels like each character is given a believable edge which wasn’t present through the song lyrics alone.

Seeing one of my favorite The Residents albums in action was a stunning event. This CD-ROM absolutely exceeded my expectations with the huge amount of care given to each character’s video as well as the level of interactivity. It could have easily been a slideshow, but Easter eggs and additional story content make it an enjoyable exploration of an album. If you’re a fan of The Residents then at some point you need to play The Residents: Freak Show.


Score: 4

4 out of 5 alpacas


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