‘Featured’

Spectra Review

spectrafeatured

spectralogo

Developer: Gateway Interactive
Publisher: Mastertronic
Platform: PC – Steam, Xbox One

Back in 2014, I came across a game by the name of Goscurry. It was a racing-style arcade game in which players navigated a single spaceship along a never-ending road suspended in space. It was incredibly challenging, but a ton of fun. This year, I discovered Spectra and couldn’t help but become intrigued because of the game’s similar nature.

In Spectra, you control a spaceship along a long, winding galactic highway. You collect blocks, dodge obstacles, and (hopefully) make it through to the end with a high score. The gameplay is simple enough as most of the time you’re only weaving left or right to stay safe on the road. Things get more challenging as you progress through each of the ten stages, but not as much as you might expect.

spectrafeatured

This is the main contrast between Goscurry and Spectra: Difficulty. You failed in Goscurry by making one wrong move. Here, you’re given a lot more freedom. Crash into a barrier? You’ll still likely be fine as long as you don’t panic. I even came across a glitch where the ship would warp back up from underneath the road to inadvertently save your run. Despite being an easier game overall, it still offers a lot of challenge and two difficulty settings to keep players on their toes.

Chances are I would have enjoyed Spectra much more if I had not previously played Goscurry. The graphics are nice and vector-like, but less artful than I would have hoped. Similarly, the music by Chipzel is good, but apparently chiptunes of this sort are not to my personal taste. I’m the odd man out! Of course, Spectra still provides a nice way to pass the time with quick play sessions and arcade sensibilities.


Score: 3

3 out of 5 alpacas


Review code provided
About our rating system

Is the Vita Dead? Not As Far as I Can Tell!

Amnesia: Memories Featured

So, by this point we’ve all probably heard the comment that the PlayStation Vita is a “legacy system.” Of course, there was also the update that this was just a misunderstanding and only meant to refer to the original version of the system. With that said, the reason this statement made news was because Vita fans do feel this is Sony’s true opinion on the console. It launched in 2012 (in the U.S.) and rarely sees much attention in press conferences.

Even if Sony has mostly abandoned the device with first party support, third parties are absolutely dominating the handheld. Just as they did with the PSP before, niche companies are bringing their wares to the system and finding a devoted audience. Here is a list of some of the games coming soon which make me excited to be a Vita owner.

Read more »

Pixel Poops Review

Pixel Poops Featured

 

Pixel Shits Box

Developer: yyrGames
Publisher: yyrGames
Platform: PlayStation Mobile

Pixel Poops is a game I have a bit of a history with. You see, it first released under the name Pixel Shits as part of an in-joke for listeners of Orange Lounge Radio. As a long time fan, I checked the game out during its debut and found it to my tastes. After all, as someone whose first home console was an Atari 7800 there’s a bit of nostalgia for that sort of simplistic gameplay and graphics in my heart.

With that out of the way, here’s a brief overview of this goofy little title. In Pixel Poops you play as a person that poops in public. Apparently, you don’t like joggers (the green stick figures walking around) so your goal is to stop them from walking across the entire screen. Instead of real life where a jogger might just be outrageously disgusted by stepping in human feces, these poor people actually appear to get caught in giant mounds of excrement. To refill the poop meter, you stand near the Taco Bell.

Play continues until five joggers have made it through the stinky gauntlet safely. Although it starts simply, Pixel Poops ramps up in difficulty quickly by speeding up the amount of joggers on-screen at once. To score well, you’ve got to implement early game strategy such as placing small poops everywhere (to slow walking speed of enemies) before placing showstoppingly large ones. Each downed jogger is one additional point on your scoreboard. I just wish a leaderboard existed, or at least a way to save top scores.

When it all comes down to it, Pixel Poops is a super simple Atari 2600-style game with potty humor. I love that there’s a ridiculous story attached to the title and have gotten more enjoyment out of it as a sub-$1 purchase than should be possible. PlayStation Mobile shutters on September 10, 2015 so nab Pixel Poops if you want continued access to one heck of a weird game.


Score: 3

3 out of 5 alpacas


About our rating system

Complete List of Sekai Project-Published Games

grisaialogopic

grisaialogopic

If you’ve visited Pixel Pacas before then you know we have a huge love for all sorts of visual novels. From otome to horror to eroge to, well, anything else we’re happy to give them all a shot!

One of the biggest publishers in the visual novel space, Sekai Project, is the newest but has quickly risen to become a name that most visual novel fans know. This is thanks in large part to their Steam focus which allows them far more attention than JAST USA and MangaGamer. After all, both companies just recently began utilizing Steam.

Just how many games bear Sekai Project’s name on them now, though? After all, it seems like they’re constantly announcing new titles! We’ve gone through the grunt work of finding each one.

Read more »

Airline Tycoon Deluxe Review

Airline Tycoon Deluxe Feature

Airline Tycoon Deluxe Boxart

Developer: Spellbound AG
Publisher: Black Forest Games
Platform: Mobile – Android, iOS PC – Desura, GamersGate, GOG*, Steam

Airline Tycoon originally launched in 1998, and despite my own simulator addiction at the time, I was totally unaware of its existence. Instead, my time was split between DinoPark Tycoon and Sim City 2000. Apparently, I was years delayed from the current market. In any case, the ultimate version of Airline Tycoon Deluxe landed in 2003 – again, totally missing me. It appears not having access to the game in my youth has changed perceptions quite a bit.

When looking over fan comments when this title launched on GOG you see tons of excitement over this being the best simulation game ever! I don’t think it’s the best ever, but it is definitely charming and well thought out. You begin as an owner of an airline and, despite CEO status, must basically do all the grunt work as well. Hire staff, chart flight plans, and work with or against the other airline owners are just some of the tasks you’ll need to take care of.

Airline Tycoon Deluxe Feature

And, honestly, it’s overwhelming. Time and time again I found myself wandering the terminal in confusion… but some of that was my own fault. If you do take the time to handle every mission that comes your way first, you’ll be taught some of the basics. In any case, once you do finally get a handle on Airline Tycoon Deluxe it does make more sense – even though there’s still a ton of systems to manage.

I wish I had played Airline Tycoon Deluxe (or the original version) in my youth because it looks exactly like the kind of tycoon simulation that was so awesome at the time. The graphics are wonderful, the music is midi-tastic, and there’s so much room to take on the task of airline owner exactly as you wish. Just, at this point in my life, it seems that there’s a lot of preamble and studying necessary to get to the good parts.


Score: 3

3 out of 5 alpacas


Review code provided
About our rating system – *Affiliate link

Regency Solitaire Review

Regency Solitaire Featured

Regency Solitaire Logo

Developer: Grey Alien Games
Publisher: Grey Alien Games
Platform: PC – Direct, Steam

Solitaire is one of those games which I can’t help but adore. Ever since its inclusion on Windows computers I’ve played it every so often. However, my favorite renditions of solitaire are games which shake up the formula such as Faerie Solitaire and now Regency Solitaire.

In this title, we’re thrown back in time to 19th century England and placed into the shoes of Bella. Despite being part of a wealthy family, her brother has just squandered away their riches, leaving Bella to marry a despicable fellow aptly named Mr. Bleakly. Instead of sitting idly by for men to decide her fate, Bella works to reclaim the family fortune and also select her own partner.

Regency Solitaire Featured

We help her out in this quest by taking on round after round of solitaire. You don’t need to match card suits, just select cards one above or below your active card. The card layout is unique, more akin to what you see in western mahjong games where multiple cards may need to be uncovered to reveal the bottom one first. You’ve also got a selection of power ups, upgrades, and tasks to complete each chapter.

The best aspect of Regency Solitaire, aside from the lovely visual presentation, is that it doesn’t demand perfection. Fail your mission objectives? You can still continue! My biggest complaint is a current glitch which effectively freezes the game if you press space (which draws the next card) while in a combo. Beyond that, the release is quite fun and offers around 8 hours of gameplay on normal. And yes, you can bump it up to hard for a serious challenge.


Score: 4

4 out of 5 alpacas


Review code provided
About our rating system

Life is Strange Episode 3 – Chaos Theory Review

Life is Strange Episode 3 - Chaos Theory Featured

Life is Strange Episode 3 - Chaos Theory Logo

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

I’ll admit, despite the dramatic flourishes of Life is Strange Episode 2, the episode felt pretty meandering. This phenomenon appears in many episodic properties, though. Things picked up a tad in time for Episode 3 – Chaos Theory. Throughout the approximately two-hour playtime I found myself hooked, even if it wasn’t always for the best reasons.

Information related to Kate, Rachel, and the Vortex Club was left relatively untouched, even after what just occurred in the previous episode. And for reasons unknown, these interpersonal, ham-fisted issues are still more pressing than the impending destruction of Arcadia Bay. With that said, I enjoyed getting caught up in Max and Chloe’s antics even as they increase in severity.

Life is Strange Episode 3 - Chaos Theory Featured

And (spoilers) I’ll admit to advocating very hard for a potential relationship between them. The way Episode 2 ended scared me about who Max’s potential love interest could end up being, as it seems completely wrong with the assessment I’ve made of the characters thus far (headcanon, haha). In any case, the real star of the episode is Chloe. We see more about her life and history which explains her current devil may care attitude. Then, in the final few seconds of the episode, we’re given a huge “shock” and then credits roll. Although the reveal felt like a cheap trick, it did effectively necessitate my playing of the upcoming episode.

I did not appreciate the utter game-y ness at times. Searching for a computer password and an appropriate place to hide keys had me trying every wrong option first. When the real one was revealed it was obvious, but somehow I didn’t notice (or maybe you need to perform other actions before the right one unlocks?). I’ll need to play again to see if that was the case or not, but if so, that’s truly annoying. Life is Strange is about the story, and any amount of frustration to experience more of that is a hindrance to my enjoyment.

Episode 4 looks to be when the Vortex Club party finally occurs, and as such I’m hoping it’s where everything finally amps up – so far the story is weirdly sedate. It’d be impossible to keep all that excitement for the final episode, right?


 

Score: 3

3 out of 5 alpacas


About our rating system

eden* PLUS+MOSAIC Review

edenfeatured

EdenPlusMosaicBoxart

Developer: minori
Publisher: MangaGamer
Platform: PC – MangaGamer*, Steam

Most of the time, my reasoning for selecting one version of a visual novel over the other is to get the original, authentic experience regardless of any potential negatives or positives associated with that release. eden* posed a different sort of challenge. For those who aren’t aware, the original version was actually a so-called all-ages release, with more content being added afterward for eden* PLUS+MOSAIC. This review is for that latter version, and it honestly impacted my opinion.

Read more »

Outlaws Review

Outlaws Featured

Outlaws Boxart

Developer: LucasArts
Publisher: LucasArts
Platform: PC – GOG*

So, westerns have never really been my “thing.” With that said, I’m surprised at how few video games have ventured into that territory considering how perfect a setup the film genre provides for games. Outlaws plants you in the shoes of James, a retired marshal and family man. As is so painfully typical of these storylines, he returns from a routine trip to find his partner, Anna, dying. He also finds the farmhouse aflame and their daughter kidnapped. James must find where she has been taken and enact revenge along the way.

Once you get over how routinely ham-fisted the storyline is, the gameplay proves quite fun. It’s a FPS based off the same game engine used for Star Wars: Dark Forces. Gameplay is super fast and enemies are everywhere. There’s also a bunch of keys strewn about stages to unlock other parts of each. Outlaws definitely feels like an older style FPS, but the setting is what really captured my interest. And, despite the obvious storytelling, the animated cutscenes sell it effectively.

Outlaws Featured

My biggest issue with Outlaws has nothing to do with the game itself, but with my inability to play more than one stage in a single sitting. It causes my motion sickness to flare up immensely (even with head bobbing turned off). There’s just something about this engine. So, take heed if you suffer from motion sickness as well. It’s a shame, really, because I’ve immensely enjoyed the experience otherwise.

Sometimes it does get a bit tedious. You migh happen to forget where the specific locked door you need is. Other times, cruel cowboys will shoot you from areas you’d never even think to check. But in all, Outlaws is a pretty darn refreshing gameplay experience. That’s really weird to say for a title nearly 20 years old, but apparently it holds up just fine!


Score: 3

3 out of 5 alpacas


Review code provided
About our rating system – *Affiliate link

The Royal Trap Review

The Royal Trap Featured

The Royal Trap Logo

Developer: Hanako Games
Publisher: Hanako Games
Platform: PC – Direct, Steam

I’ll admit, after falling in love with Hanako Games’ Long Live the Queen I didn’t believe there would be any game in their library able to even come close. As such, The Royal Trap was quite a pleasant surprise. Unfortunately, because so much of the story reveals itself upon multiple playthoughs, I’ll just stick with sharing the starting point.

You play as Madeleine Valois. She has spent her life protecting (and effectively raising) Prince Oscar into a proper and well-rounded gentleman. His goal? Get selected by another nation’s Princess as a worthy partner, at which point he’ll no longer require Madeleine’s services. We start off with Oscar and Madeleine visiting Princess Cassidy along with others looking to win her hand. Unfortunately, things won’t play out as anyone expected.

The Royal Trap Featured

As with any good visual novel, the storyline is intriguing and each character brings something unique to the table. In my play time I discovered a handful of typos, but those could easily be resolved with patches (if that hasn’t already occurred). There are also 15 endings to uncover, meaning you’ve got a lot of potential hours of gameplay available. It’s definitely recommended to see The Royal Trap through to conclusion.

The release on Steam is an “HD Version” which of course updated the resolution to 1440×900. Background art has also been redone, though as I never played the original I can’t comment on the upgrade. CG scenes are gorgeous and even a bit steamy at times, which is great! Most of all I love Madeleine’s character. In comparison to most other otome game protagonists, she is truly her own character, rather than a blank slate for players to envision themselves as.

My only real complaint with the game is that there is apparently a recommended order to do the routes in, which I was unaware of going in. By doing so you get the best unveiling of the story/world so definitely check this post out if you intend to play the “right” way. But beyond that, The Royal Trap is a lovely visual novel worth your time.


Score: 4

4 out of 5 alpacas


Review code provided
About our rating system