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Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars: PS Vita RPG Game Review

Publisher: Atlus
Developer: Spike Chunsoft
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conception ii

What they say: It’s time for classmating!

Monsters have invaded the world of Aterra, and only a few special individuals, imbued with the power of the Star God, are equipped to fight it. With only a small group of warriors and a narrow window of time in which their powers are at their peak, the solution is clear: combine your Star power to make magical Star Children to boost up your forces in battle!

The life of a student can be complicated when you’re exploring dungeons, fighting monsters, AND trying to maintain a high school lifestyle. Learn to balance your activities because the deeper the bond you have with your classmates, the stronger the Star Children you’ll make! In this stimulating JRPG, you’ll be able to create bonds with 7 different female Disciples and create 30 classes of Star Children, so you must learn how to create the perfect Star Children for any situation. In no time, you’ll have dozens of powerful kids with different skills that can take on everything the monsters throw at you.

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What I say: When I first heard about Conception II a few months ago, I was stunned with the innate weirdness of the concept. You are “God’s Gift” (Hey, I can play as myself! I kid, I kid!)and you “classmate” (thinly veiled spiritual sex) with various female students to produce Star Children, who then, with one of the girls, follow you into dungeons in order to fight monsters and save the…world! Seriously. Oh, and it was said to play like Persona. How could any RPG fan not be gobsmacked yet fascinated by this?

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The fine folks at Atlus picked up the game for US release and now this smorgasbord of weirdness is finally here! First things first, the game does take a lot of visual cues from the Persona games. The menus especially have that Persona fell. Likewise with the character designs. The Star Children are unique however as they replace the demons from Persona. Thus it is necessary for the Star Children to have a cuter look. Interacting with the various female students and your friends is similar to the social links from Persona. Although the side stories seem a bit more varied here. This makes it fun to go through all the stories and makes an all ready packed game feel even more full.

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As far as game play goes, there are definite similarities to Persona. You are sent into Dusk Circles, the games dungeons, these are so many floors and you progress through each floor until you find the transport to the next floor. Repeat until you hit the floor with the boss. Defeat the boss and a harder version of the dungeon is unlocked to train in. The onsite lab also offers side jobs, which are mainly fetch quests, for you to work on while sterilizing Dusk Circles. Despite its obvious influences, the levels are randomly generated which keeps you on your toes. The level design is also pretty good and each Dusk Circle has its own look.

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Overall Conception II takes its influences and with the various tweaks to gameplay it certainly feels like its own game and it certainly is much more than a Persona knock-off and it’s a lot of fun to boot.

Rating: 7/10

Disclaimer: A PSN code for the game was provided to us for review from the publisher.

Putty Squad: PS4 Game Review

Publisher: Maximum Games
Developer: System 3
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What they say: A timeless classic is reborn! Putty Squad returns in a reimagined, stunningly vibrant rendition of the popular platformer from the 90’s! Help the beloved blue blob rescue his friends in the quirky adventure that has you inflating, stretching, squishing, morphing, and punching your way to victory! Set in a lush, 2D world filled with humorous but deadly enemies, Putty Squad offers the best in old-school gaming while bringing you exciting and fully immersive, challenging gameplay.

putty squad 1Your fellow putties are in danger and it’s up to you to save them. Jump into the often outlandish, totally addicting, retro-licious game that has been completely redrawn and re-rendered with a modern twist. Featuring a brand new Tutorial Mode, new moves, global leaderboards, achievements and more, Putty Squad is back and better than ever.

What I say: I have vague recollections of playing the Putty games on the good ol’ SNES back in the day. 2-D platformers were the systems bread and butter and it was a fine example of the genre. Moving forward to today I am always looking for fun games to play with my son. When I was offered the chance to try Putty Squad I gladly agreed. The game has an odd reputation (You can find out more about that here) but at the end of the day System 3 has done a fine job of bringing this sleeper favorite back with a fresh coat of paint and that classic style of play.

Filled with bright colors and a cartoony design, Super Putty is the perfect putty squad 2game to attract young children to its world but it’s the platforming goodness that will draw the rest of us in. The game, while never unfair, does require a definite sense of challenge. While death rarely occurs from missing a jump you may have to give it a couple of tries to master it. The games two modes; Marathon and Challenge will keep you quite busy for a while. Marathon is the meat of the game as you progress from level to level, collecting stars, in order to complete the games story. Challenge tasks you with completing a series of challenges on the levels you have completed.

The only real issue I have with Putty Squad is the price. $30 seems a bit steep based on current prices for like games but getting a game like this in a retail release makes up for it. For those of you who grew up in the 90′s, this is pretty much a must buy. For everyone else there is plenty to like.

Rating: 7/10

Disclaimer: A retail copy of the game was provided to us for review from the publisher.

Basement Crawl: PS4 Game Review

Publisher/Developer: Bloober Team

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What they say: Enter the basement, explore dark, sinister arenas and be at one with the insanity. Bomberman inspired mechanics bring party games to the next generation level. Staying alive won’t be easy. The only way to survive is to become death itself, crushing all opponents. Fight with, or against your friends in a intensive, packed with action online and offline game modes. And remember, because of the horror-based graphics and themes, it’s best if you don’t play this game alone in the dark. You never know what might be hiding behind you.

What I say: I’ve been putting off reviewing Basement Crawl for a while. A horror themed Bomberman game should be a no-brainer, right? Well in theory it should be the most fantastic party game ever for sick fools like myself. Alas that’s not necessarily the case.

basement crawl 1The game has really dark and creepy visuals. You have four suitably ill characters to choose from; an unicycle riding clown, a girl packing an evil looking teddy bear, a wheelchair bound crash test dummy, and a large medieval looking masked woman. All fit right into the eerie atmosphere. The boards are set up just like Bomberman. Pick your character, then blast your way out of your corner and blow up your opponents. Despite aping the basic play mechanics the game fails on a number of levels. First there is no tutorial at all. You have more than bombs in your arsenal but you have to use trial and error to learn how to use them. Also there are no bots or any kind of single player. It would be nice to practice using all the different weapons. Not to mention there are not always people around to play with locally. True there is online play but to be quite honest it’s buggy as hell and I don’t think I ever successfully finished a match. Also since there is so much confusion the game never really seems fun.

This game had so much potential I almost feel bad beating up on it so basement crawl 2much…almost. The idea behind the game is great but the execution is so wrongheaded that I can’t imagine anyone thinking this would be good enough. And let me tell you it’s not. Blooper Team has promised to make changes and fix the bugs but at this point it really is too little too late. This is a lost opportunity.

Rating: 5/10

Disclaimer: A PSN code for the game was provided to us for review from the publisher.

Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky: PS3 RPG Game Review

Publisher: TecmoKoei
Developer: Gust


What they say: This world has gone through many Dusks, and is slowly nearing its end. Within this world, in the western reaches of the “Land of Dusk,” there was a nation that prospered thanks to its use of alchemy. There, in order to survive the eventual arrival of the “Dusk End,” the people devoted their efforts to rediscover and recreate lost alchemic technologies. Rediscovered technology from the past era was gathered in the alchemy research city known as “Central,” where research was conducted on how to halt the advance of the twilight. One of the heroes is a young man who researched alchemy in Central, the other a girl living in a small town on the frontier. This girl’s name is Escha. In the process of using her knowledge of ancient alchemy to help others, she was assigned to the Development Department. The young man’s name is Logy. Having learned the newest alchemic techniques in Central, he requested a transfer to this understaffed town to make use of his abilities, and meets Escha when he is assigned to the Development Department as well. The two make a promise to use their alchemy together, and bring success to the Development Department.

What they say: Okay, I was pretty excited about a new Atelier game. This one was no longer in Arland but now in Dusk Land.

Atelier_Escha__Logy 1So let’s start with what has been added. Synthesis was very different. Okay, not completely different but so different that it was once again a mystery like it was in Atelier Rorona. Also most of the things you could synthesize were different with a few exceptions like healing salve. The way combat was done was also changed. In past Atelier games only 3 people were allowed out traveling for items to use in synthesis. This is also counting the main characters, so only an additional 2 could go with you. Now, an additional 4 can go with you along with Logy and Escha. The way it is set up is annoying as can be. Three are allowed to fight at a time but they switch out when one dies and it seems to take forever for the living character to switch with the dead character. This can get aggravating when you are in a boss battle.

The graphics really didn’t change. It stayed basically the same from the last game. The art style was unchanged, I mean it looked the same as Atelier Ayesha. The controls didn’t seem any different to me. It played the same as the last one.

The story was different. It wasn’t like the past Atelier games were you were Atelier_Escha__Logy 2given 3 years to do something, this one just gave you a certain amount of days to finish a mission. This annoyed me because I liked how the past games were like, “Oh you have 3 years to do this and if you fail game over!” This helped me manage time. Atelier Logy and Escha wasn’t quite the same. You didn’t have to save a workshop or kingdom, you didn’t have to find a lost your lost mother or sister. You just had to do as you were told…


Atelier_Escha__Logy 3Over all it was a okay game, not as enjoyable as the past ones but that’s okay. I would prefer the game to explain a few things with more detail but hey, it happens, Also I would like to have the Friendship Points back. They took that out and that was the only reason I would replay the past games, so that kinda killed the replay value for me.


Rating: 7/10


Disclaimer: A PSN code for the game was provided to us for review from the publisher.

Magus: PS3 Game Review

Publisher: Aksys Games
Developer: Black Tower Studios

magus ps3

What they say: Since the creation of the world, and of mankind, obeisance to the gods and their whims was the focal point of the lives of all who inhabit the lands created by the divine. However, as the gods disappeared from people’s daily lives, their power and influence began to wane, and cynicism and secularism replaced piety and belief.

Amidst the world’s slow abandonment of the gods, a profoundly devotee and servant of the gods named Kinna infiltrated one the many prisons of the Waterfall Realm in hopes of finding one who would become a god. Encountering Magus, a prisoner who has spent his entire life incarcerated, she believes that she has found who she was sent to look for.

After claiming the powers that were his birthright and learning his true identity, Magus, with Kinna by his side, takes his first steps towards an unknown future.

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What I say: It’s not often that a game gobsmacks me so hard that I don’t know what to say or how to take it. Now that I have finished Magus (I even got the Platinum trophy!), I will attempt to share my impressions. God help us all.

Magus is the story of well…Magus. He has lived as long as he can remember in captivity. You are joined by Kinna, a young assassin who committed a crime in the hopes of being imprisoned with you. This is relayed in the dumbest and most convoluted way possible. She tells you that you may be a God and have powers or something. But what a name like Magus (Webster definition: Magician, Sorcerer) you would think it would be obvious. There are Mass Effect like dialogue trees but your choices seem to make no difference what so ever. After you and Kinna finish their “conversation” they are off to escape. Thus begins one of the most broken and ridiculous games of our time. At a vague glance it game would appear pretty deep. As you gain levels you are given points to up your stats and there is also a three tier skill tree focusing on three types of magic; green, red, and blue. Once again this is seemingly useless as for all the “different” abilities you can unlock are really variation on the same three or so spells. Not to mention the fact that the spells you start off with will get you all the way through the game with little effort. It’s like the producers watched a bunch of Let’s Play videos and made a game based on their watching the games and not actually playing any. After the first level you end up in a tower that acts as a hub. You can access all the levels from here and redo as much as you would want. But why you would want to I don’t know.

The AI in the game is either a work of genius or insanity. Kinna, who has a permanent look on her face like she stepped in dog shit, attacks whomever randomly and tends to vanish and reappear with no rhyme or reason. The crazy talk she spouts is humorous if horribly written. All enemies you encounter move EXACTLY the same they are just skinned differently. When I noticed that there were more than one mocap actor I almost shit! Somebody got robbed on that job. Speaking of how they move when they walk or run they look goofy as hell and about as threatening as a watermellon. Ah, but when they try to strafe…that’s when Magus truly becomes a comedy masterpiece. The enemies appear to be ice skating. I’m completely serious. At least one of the levels was an ice stage so I didn’t have to giggle through the whole game.

Graphically, I don’t even know where to start. I’m pretty sure I heard my PS2 snickering while I was playing. This game uses the Unreal engine. What they don’t tell you is that it’s the Unreal engine from Unreal 1 back in 1998. I immediately recognized the textures and level designs from my time messing with the level editor back in the day. And I’m pretty sure I had better results.

The final thing about Magus is how messed up the difficulty curve is. First off, I played it some on easy, normal, and hard and I could not notice a bit of difference. AT ALL. And finally, flying in the face of game design 101, the higher level you get the MORE experience points you get per kill. By the end of the game normal enemies were giving me like 120,000 experience points each. EACH! This makes the game actually get progressively easier as the higher level you are the quicker you gain levels. It’s madness.

The final level, naturally the shortest of them all, only opens once you complete the four basic levels. Then there is a boss fight that is so dull I actually had to do it twice as I fell fucking asleep the first time. As I said earlier this game is quite hilarious and I had to keep going just to see what foolishness would burst forward next, but it’s so broken that whomever thought it a good idea to charge people for this should be exiled from the planet.

Rating: (As a comedy/satire) 8/10, (As an actual game)3/10

Disclaimer: A PSN code for the game was provided to us for review from the publisher. Why they would do this I will never know.