Plague Road (PC) Review – Intriguing With Little to Say

Plague Road (PC) Review - Intriguing With Little to Say

The artistic atmosphere created through the visuals Plague Road offer a dizzying variety of steampunk detail, bringing players to a time of clockwork soldiers and mechanical witches fighting a disease that seems to permeate the very air. It’s unfortunate that the game behind this look just isn’t very compelling.

The visuals set up in Plague Road are an engrossing world of illness, machines, and death. Each of the game’s characters and monsters look great, offering complex steampunk looks at healers, soldiers, and other beings, as well as some varied, mutated appearances for dogs, golems, and additional creatures. They each capture the game’s strong visual style, all of which hints at sickness and the efforts to stave it off with its use of sickly yellows and festering reds.

Plague Road (PC) Review 5This world showcases that it is unwell through the colour choice. The way the monsters lurch about and stare or the tones of their exposed, twisted flesh hint at the violent way the plague has affected them. They seem to be in pain just from their appearance, telling a strong story with visuals alone. The rescued victims and doctors continue this story, covered in steel plates and armour all over to keep them safe from the world outside. It’s a striking look that is wonderful in its detail and ability to tell a story without words.

As sick as the world looks, it’s up to players to head out into this place and bring back as many survivors as they can. This involves going through four different generated areas, all of which consist of long hallways with enemies in them as well as doorways down new paths. The generation doesn’t add much to the game since many of these halls all look mostly the same, but it shuffles which enemies, victims, and items you’ll find, adding some variety to each run.

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Victims are what you’ll want to find most on these trips. They’re strewn about each area in random numbers, sitting out in the field, and if you click on them, they will return to your home base. You can only access these new people by going back to your base, but since they can offer whole new combatants to help in the monster-filled fields, the first few runs will likely end quickly as you return home to unwrap your new ally.

Victims can be witches, engineers, soldiers, healers, and peasants, and they all offer different powers, many of which are as random as the characters you find. Some healers can restore hit points, while others offer regeneration and party-wide buffs. An engineer might fire a single rocket or summon a field-clearing train. It makes each victim reveal feel exciting, offering more than just a class to add to your party.

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Unwanted victims can be used around your home base to boost its capabilities. This base has buildings for each class where players can retire a victim in order to progress toward unlocking an ability or boost they can add to that class (or just something useful in general). The drag is that it takes a lot of victims to power these structures up, and the game’s randomized nature means that players will have to grind out areas in order to hopefully get more.

The combat in Plague Road is quite simplistic despite its array of powers. Players and enemies will move around a tiny grid, most of the time able to hit each other right from the beginning of each battle, or within a few steps, making the grid feel almost pointless. Also, despite the enemies showing great visual detail, there aren’t that many types, and most all fight in the same ways, making battles feel repetitious.

There is also no benefit to combat. Players don’t gain experience or find items by beating monsters, so it’s better to just avoid fighting at all. Still, that’s just about impossible on the game’s narrow, sidescrolling maps, so you’ll often end up in recurring battles that don’t help you in any way. Sure, you get leaves from each victory that you can turn into healing items at your base, but the game puts a very strict restriction on how many you can carry into the field, so the leaves become almost pointless within a half hour.

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It doesn’t help that combat simply isn’t that challenging. Enemies don’t feel like they do enough damage to be much of a threat, and since they just attack party members at random, there is little sense of danger. That can be compounded by players getting victims with extremely strong attacks, some of which can wipe out whole parties of enemies.

Plague Road seems to seek challenge through attrition rather than through engrossing encounters. The player is worn down by repeated fights against dopey enemies, and with the small cap on healing items, this means repeated returns to base or repeated forays to collect victims to retire to upgrade the base to carry more healing items.

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There’s no avoiding this. Since combat is difficult to avoid on the straight paths and there is no way to know if you’re going the right way on randomized maps, that means many battles. With few healing items, that also means mandatory upgrades. A few transportation abilities means you can grind in new areas you discover, but overall, it just feels like you grind the same easy fights for hours just to survive to the easy fights of the next area, hoping to find victims as you steadily plod to the game’s conclusion.

The visuals in Plague Road may tell an intriguing story, but the rest of the game has very little to say. It’s a game where combat is the main thing the player will be doing, but its decision to weaken players over time with easy battles that are hard to avoid—and offer little benefit—makes fighting boring. It’s pretty in its sickness, but the bulk of its play is just pure tedium.

PlayStation Store November Sales Reveal Consumer Psychology

Activision Blizzard Announces New Call of Duty® In-Game Purchase to Support Veteran Hiring

PlayStation Store November sales have been officially announced on the PlayStation Blog, but as always, there’s more to the story than just the fact that Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare topped first place on PlayStation 4. Take a look at the official post to see more.

According to Sony Interactive Entertainment America, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Battlefield 1 hit number one and number two, respectively, with Final Fantasy XV landing at third place. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition landed at fourth, Star Wars Battlefront at fifth, Grand Theft Auto V on sixth and Watch Dogs 2 over at seventh. Overwatch rounded out the top eight at, well, eighth place. It’s safe to say that two specific genres reign on the PlayStation 4 digital store: multiplayer shooters and immersive open-world experiences. That’s to be expected too, with most console best-sellers traditionally falling into one of those two categories.

Things become a little more complicated looking at the PlayStation 3 best-selling list. Need for Speed Most Wanted scored first, with Dragon Ball Xenoverse in second, the Jak and Daxter Collection at third, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare at fourth and Devil May Cry HD Collection rounding out fifth. The Last of Us landed seventh place, Minecraft: PlayStation 3 Edition hits eighth and Mafia II earned tenth.

There’s a running theme amidst the PS3’s digital sales: Players want games that have been critically acclaimed on the console. Whether that means digitally downloading The Last of Us or replaying through the Jak and Daxter series, PS3 owners are largely gravitating towards tried-and-true PlayStation hits. After all, the PS3’s library is quite expansive, and very few PlayStation 3 titles are currently available on PS4. When it comes to replaying games, it’s always worth returning to the original console.

PS Vita users are also pretty interested in replaying critically acclaimed releases. Jak and Daxer Collection hits first place for digital sales on there, whereas XCOM: Enemy Unknown Plus holds second. The Sly Collection scores fifth place and Darkest Dungeon rests at ninth. Again, each of these games are popular re-releases from series renowned for their game design and depth in a rapidly changing industry. This seems to be a running theme in general on the PlayStation Store: Games that have been received well aren’t necessarily pushed down the list by the latest hits.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II (PS Vita) Review

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II (PS Vita) Review

Handhelds are the last bastion for great JRPGs. At least, that’s where I’ve had most of my great experiences. Yes, every now and then one will float around on consoles that manages to capture everyone’s imagination, but odds are, if you love the genre you likely own a 3DS or Vita. Honestly, the biggest reason for this presence on handhelds is that most JRPGs are relegated to that niche because it’s cheaper to make a handheld game and the gameplay style generally lends itself to on-the-go gaming. With a large chunk of games in the genre developed with this method in mind, there are some games in the genre that get lost in the shuffle, and that’s my biggest fear for The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II for the Vita. Still, it’s a strong JRPG that is also available on the PS3, and part of a longstanding series developed by one of the master class JRPG studios in Falcom. So if you missed out on the game before, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II is worth a spot in your library.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II (PS Vita) Review 5If you didn’t play Trails of Cold Steel II’s predecessor the plot might be a little confusing, as it focuses on characters already introduced in the last entry. As well, the story takes place almost immediately after the events from the previous title. You take control of Rean Schwarzer, a student at a Military Academy during a time of war. He awakens beside his mech suit, which apparently lost all its power protecting him. The only other character with him is a talking cat named Celene who functions as a link between the two games and helps fill in the story gaps to new players. Rean embarks on a mission to reunite with his classmates who were separated during the last game in the hopes of saving his home and his country from a destructive war.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II (PS Vita) Review 4That’s the general overview for the plot, but there’s a lot more going on than just that. Rean struggles with the burden of being a soldier, an absent son and a less than ideal brother. He feels responsible for a lot of the horrors brought on the town. While everyone is so proud of him, and they go out of their way to help him, he feels like he hasn’t done enough. The first hour of the game includes him wandering the town talking to everyone and telling them that he’s fine and doesn’t need help when he’s clearly not 100 per cent healed from his incident..

The most interesting aspect of Trails of Cold Steel II is definitely the relationships between the characters, despite some of them being straight up weird. For example, Rean is very close with his sister. Technically, they’re only related by adoption, but she’s still his sister. During his first day back, he goes to a hot spring to relax and she decides to join him and “wash his back”.  Honestly, it was kind of weird, and the fact that they pointed out it was creepy in the dialogue as well made it even more uncomfortable. Interactions like this so early in the game set an awkward tone right off the bat, but aside from some cringe worthy moments like that, the relationships between Rean and the other characters are more endearing and heartfelt than anything.

Character building and world building are two big aspects of the game from a story standpoint, but at times it does come at a cost. There are some cutscenes that run way too long and are shown in dialogue boxes, which make it even more difficult to feel invested. You can tell that this wasn’t made for handhelds first and foremost, and it does make it hard to care about their talking points at times. Early on in the game, the characters sit around a table talking for what felt like 20 minutes (that was with me speed reading). It completely disconnected me from the rest of the game, even if it was needed.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II (PS Vita) Review 3Despite these issues the plot is engaging, but it takes a back seat to the combat, which mixes strategy with a classic turn-based style to make something refreshing, yet familiar at the same time. Battles take place in a circle that characters cannot leave. Players have the option to move characters around the map before actually engaging in combat for a few reasons. The first is to get out of tight situations; the other is to gain a tactical advantage. You have arts (magic), crafts (special attacks) and physical attacks to choose from, and they differ in terms of attack type (slash, pierce, thrust and strike), which is similar to any other JRPG. This series adds a different dynamic by including a linking system. Players can link two characters (either before or during battle, so you’re not stuck) to allow for more powerful attacks when the time is right. If you use the right kind of hit on an enemy, they will become unbalanced and leave them open for your linked partner to initiate a stronger attack. If you manage to hit your desired double team attack at the right time you can dole out a second, more powerful attack. Using links along with a variety of other moves can lead to the chance of using the more powerful “S-Break” to land a devastating blow.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II (PS Vita) Review 2Since this game was intended for home console release, The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II is big in terms of presentation. The world is huge and ready to explore with a lot to offer in terms of non-story activities. Fishing, for example, is a great way to unwind between battles, but even exploration can feel relaxing. Visually, the game does look like it’s slightly downgraded from the PS3 era to work on the Vita, but the overall atmosphere of the game is impressive. The music manages to jump between epic and relaxing depending on the scene, and while it does loop quite a bit, the content never gets annoying. Mix that with the game’s intimate moments between main characters and there’s a really complete game worthy of your attention.

Despite being a PS3 re-release for handheld, I was very surprised with The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II. While it does feel a little too “home consoley” at times, it is a tight JRPG with characters you want to care about and root for. Sometimes those characters overstep their bounds and act a little too intimate with each other for comfort, but they’re likeable enough to forgive. While it is hard to jump into a direct sequel like this, I do recommend giving the game a try if you have a Vita. Even with all the other JRPGs at your disposal on the handheld market, this will grip you in a way few games can.

Koei Tecmo’s Tokyo Game Show 2016 Lineup has been Revealed

Koei Tecmo's Tokyo Game Show 2016 Lineup has been Revealed

Tokyo Game Show 2016 is little under a month a way now and the games that will be appearing on the show floor in Japan’s capital are beginning to be announced, with another twenty being added to the list today.

Japanese publishers Koei Tecmo have revealed their full list of games that they’ll bringing to the show, which contains a healthy helping of both console and mobile games.

There are several interesting titles on the list such as Nioh, a demo of which was released on PS4 on 23rd August, Toukiden 2 and the new Berserk game.

The full list, as posted on Reddit, is as follows:

Console games:

  • Atelier Firis: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Journey (PS4, PS Vita)
  • Berserk (PS4, PS3, PS Vita)
  • Blue Reflection: Sword of the Girl Who Dances in Illusions (PS4, PS Vita)
  • Dead or Alive 5: Last Round (PS4, PS3, XBO)
  • Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 (PS4, PS Vita)
  • Geten no Hana with Yumeakari Aizou-ban (PS Vita)
  • Harukanaru Jikuu no Naka de 6: Gentou Rondo (PS Vita)
  • Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon (PS4, PS Vita)
  • Nioh (PS4)
  • Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII with Power-Up Kit (PS4, PS3, PC)
  • Samurai Warriors: Sanada Maru (PS4, PS3, PS Vita)
  • Toukiden 2 (PS4, PS3, PS Vita)

Mobile games:

  • AKB48’s Ambition (FP, iOS, Android, PC)
  • Nobunaga’s Ambition 201X (iOS, Android, PC, PS Vita)
  • Nobunyaga’s Ambition (iOS, Android, PC)
  • One Million Person Nobunaga’s Ambition (FP, iOS, Android, PC)
  • One Million Person Romance of the Three Kingdoms (FP, iOS, Android, PC)
  • One Million Person Winning Post 2016 (FP, iOS, Android, PC)
  • Toukiden: Mononofu (iOS, Android)
  • Winning Post Stallion (iOS, Android)

Rumours suggest that Koei Tecmo CEO, Kou Shibusawa, will also be making a surprise announcement during a live stream at Tokyo Game Show, but as of yet there is no hint as to what exactly that could be.

Tokyo Game Show 2016 will run from 15th September to 18th September, 2016, and will be held in the Makuhari Messe convention centre.

Have a Weekend in with the PSN Flash Sale

Have a Weekend in with the PSN Flash Sale

Like a car salesman during the holidays, Sony is wheeling and dealing through the weekend with its Otherworldly Games Flash Sale on PSN, celebrating worlds inspired by both science fiction and fantasy.  Sony has nearly 150 games listed on sale, ranging up to 80% off of the normal price, for PS4, PS3, PS Vita and even your old PSP.

They have old titles like Beyond Good and Evil HD, and Wild Arms 3, newer titles like The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt and Mass Effect 3. There’s cross buy titles like Bastion, there’s PSONE Classics like Breath of Fire IV, there’s something to scratch whatever kind of gaming itch you’ve got. If any of that sounds like your cup of tea, then scoot on over to the PSN store this weekend and give it a look.

This is the latest in a long line of periodic flash sales on PSN and, while many of them offered movie rentals, this weekend’s looks to be focused on thematic and evocative games. Here is a list of the sale items available on the PS4.

Aegis of Earth: Protonovus Assault – $15.99
Another World 20th Anniversary Edition (cross-buy) – $1.59
Bastion (cross-buy) – $3.74
Battle Worlds: Kronos – $7.99
Borderlands: The Handsome Collection – $23.99
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons – $5.99
Chivalry: Medieval Warfare – $7.79
Chivalry: Medieval Warfare Ultimate Edition – $9.89
Chronicles of Teddy: Harmony of Exidus – $5.99
Dark Cloud 2 – $5.99
Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition – $23.99
Devil May Cry 4 Special Edition Demon Hunter Bundle – $14.39
Dragon Age: Inquisition Deluxe Edition – $7.99
Dragon Age: Inquisition Game of the Year Edition – $15.99
Dust: An Elysian Tail – $3.74
Final Horizon – $3.89
Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions Evolved – $4.94
In Space We Brawl (cross-buy) – $2.69
Megadimension Neptunia VII – $14.99
Nova-111 (cross-buy) – $1.99
Oddworld: New n Tasty (cross-buy) – $6.79
Perfect Universe – $3.99
PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate (cross-buy) – $4.49
Prototype – $9.89
Prototype 2 – $14.79
Prototype Biohazard Bundle – $19.49
Risen 3 Enhanced Edition – $13.99
Saints Row/Metro Double Pack – $19.24
Saturday Morning RPG (cross-buy) – $2.99
Siralim (cross-buy) – $3.99
Switch Galaxy Ultra (cross-buy) – $3.59
Table Top Racing: World Tour – $4.49
Terraria: PS4 Edition – $4.99
Teslagrad (cross-buy) – $4.49
The Magic Circle: Gold Edition – $7.99
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – $24.99
Thief – $5.99
Transistor – $4.99
Ultratron (cross-buy) – $1.99)
Wild Arms 3 – $5.99
Yorbie – $0.79

You can find a complete list for all platforms here. This sale runs until Monday, August 22


at 8AM (EST)

Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate (PS Vita) Review

Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate (PS Vita) Review

Have you ever heard of Shiren the Wanderer? I hadn’t until this game, but apparently, this is the fifth game in the series and a spinoff of the Mystery Dungeon games. I had never played any game in the Mystery Dungeon series, not even the cute Pokemon ones, as I’d heard they were rather brutal JRGP dungeon crawlers that took lots of time to learn. I heard correctly.

First, the good, Shiren’s retro-like graphics practically pop off the screen, especially on the original vita’s OLED screen. If you like 16-bit or early PlayStation 1 JRPG pixel graphics, you’ll be quite pleased here, aside from the atrocious character portraits that display whenever characters talk – these look like a child drew them. The musical score is easy on the ears, and the characters are likable, such as your sidekick, who is a talking mongoose, or a girl wearing a panda onesie who offers to join you on your journey – for a price. Shiren is also on the Vita, which is a plus for anyone who owns the Vita, since it has so few games released for it these days.

Now that that is over with, let us commence with the bad. Upon arriving at the first town in Shiren the Wanderer, I came across a beginners house where a girl offered to teach me to how to play the game with a menu filled with tutorials. Since I’d heard these games aren’t user-friendly, I decided I’d do all of them before I continued on with the game. Three hours later, I’d finally completed all of the over 45 manually selected tutorials available. It should go without saying that no game should require that many tutorials, nor should I have to load each one separately.  A good tutorial is one you don’t know you’re playing and one that is built into the actual game, something the developers of Shiren clearly don’t understand.

The thing is, these tutorials are absolutely necessary, as Shiren the Wanderer has many mechanics that I wouldn’t just pick up playing the game, such as how to turn around without using a turn (don’t let the trailers fool you, the game combat is a combination of real-time and turn-based action) and what types of environment I could walk and attack diagonally over.

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After completing the monotonous tutorials, I ventured towards the meat of the game, thinking I was ready to destroy everything in my path with ease, but Shiren the Wanderer had other ideas. The first section is easy enough, as I walked around killing enemies in one or two hits, collecting items, and advancing up the floors of a tower, but the two later towers are brutal if not unfair, and that is just the start of the game! Enemies constantly spawn, and no matter how well prepared you are, there is always the chance the game just decides it’s time for you to lose.

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At one point, I walked into a room and was informed it was a monster house, at which time tons of enemies spawned and surrounded me. Sure enough, I was dead. As Shiren the Wanderer is not only a dungeon crawler but a hardcore Roguelike, dying means losing all your items, all your money, and all your experience; I woke up back in town at level 1 to do it all over again, which meant going through the starter area, grinding monsters to level up myself and my equipment (if I had got any from town) only for the game to decide to kill me some other way. Seemingly the only way to complete the game is to grind for a few hours in the starter area to be overpowered and hope the game doesn’t decide to just spawn super leveled monsters around you.

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In Shiren the Wanderer, your time is equally split between slicing up monsters and navigating menus, as the inventory system is a nightmare. You can only carry 25 items at a time; however, you can store multiple items in pots and each pot only counts as one item in your inventory. To get items out of pots you must throw said pots against walls to break them open. Items range from healing items, to magical scrolls and staffs, to food. You’ll have to constantly keep an eye on your hunger meter as well as your health meter or else you’ll die even faster thanks to the game’s extreme difficulty. If you want to use a scroll or staff, you can only do so by going into the menu or assigning one to a trigger button. As you’re constantly forced to use items, you’ll be taken out of the action nearly more than you’re in it.

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The main story of Shiren the Wanderer is another dull damsel-in-distress situation, with a man in one of the villages attempting to change the fate of his terminally ill lover by collecting the three Dice of Fate and facing a god of Fortune. The story is barely there: I could summarize the whole thing in about three sentences from start to finish, so it certainly wasn’t a motivating factor in pushing on to finish the game.

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Perhaps the difficulty and seeming unfairness of some of the encounters is duein part to the world being randomly generated as you play, but even so, this doesn’t excuse the fact that the Shiren the Wanderer forces you to grind a ridiculous amount in hopes of even advancing, let alone finishing the game. I can say without a shadow of doubt that this is my first and last Mystery Dungeon based game, as everything I’ve heard about the series is true. It isn’t friendly, it forces you to grind, and it just isn’t fun, at least to me. Clearly, someone buys these games, as they keep getting localized, but this critic can’t recommend it.

10 Second Ninja X (Xbox One) Review

10 Second Ninja X (Xbox One) Review

10 Second Ninja X is a 2D Platformer that requires you to complete the objectives of each level in 10 seconds or less. For the sake of simplicity, I really want to use the shorthand of comparing 10 Second Ninja X to games like Super Meatboy or Cloudberry Kingdom. Like those platformers, 10 Second Ninja X requires speed, accuracy, and perfect timing to complete each level; however, the closest comparison I can actually make is a 2D platformer released on Steam in 2014. That game was called 10 Second Ninja.

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Anyone who’s played the original 10 Second Ninja will recognize that the art style, movement mechanics, and combat mechanics are similar to those of the recently released 10 Second Ninja X, although in 10 Second Ninja X, the term “combat” could easily be replaced by “checkpoint”. The robots you hit don’t move or fight back, and this time they’re not even Nazis; instead, they end up being your kidnapped friends stuffed into robotic-shaped cages. This means you’re actually freeing friends instead of fighting the 3



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Without spoiling anything, I would like to point out, simply out of frustration alone, that the maps are also littered with traps to kill you, and that these traps will also kill your escaping friends, since they literally pick a direction and dart off once they’re free. You’re never penalized when your friends off themselves, so I might just be nitpicking here; however, it’s very annoying to watch them travel right to their digital deaths after you went to the effort of freeing them as quickly as possible.

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Luckily, the annoyance you might feel at this minor issue in 10 Second Ninja X will soon be replaced by anger directed at real problems. Let’s get the fact that the game is hard out of the way. You will fail early and often because the game is built to challenge the gaming community, and the routes to perfection are sometimes obscured by red-herrings. With that in mind, what is really rage-inducing are the controls. They’re by no means unusable, but they’re not as tight as they should be. When playing games like Super Meatboy, failure came often, but you could never blame the controls. They would always put you exactly where you tried to go, and failure came when you did not move the sticks properly. With 10 Second Ninja X, the controls will serve you properly about 90% of the time, but there is some ambiguity regarding where you will land after each jump. The margin for error is usually a few pixels, but that can be a problem when one pixel holds an electrical trap and another nearby pixel is actually a hole that leads to a fatal drop. I honestly don’t think the controls are broken enough that they should stop you from playing this game, but it’s very frustrating to have a game demand extreme precision but fail to give you extreme accuracy when moving your character.

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While the controls are just frustrating, the lighting effects in this game literally made me sick, and making me sick always gets top billing in the problems department. The issue is that every time you die, win, destroy a robot, or restart a level, the game will flash a specific colour, and with multiple robots on screen the visuals can quickly turn into something as psychedelic as a tie-dyed Technicolor Dreamcoat. I wouldn’t say that I played longer than normal when reviewing 10 Second Ninja X, but the assault my eyes endured still made me feel light-headed, flustered, and dizzy. The only good news is that the issue is not constant because there are only a few levels with enough robots to cause the hyper flashing I experienced. Sure, that the problem is limited is a good thing, but there is no getting around the fact that it is unforgivable for a game to make you ill; especially when bouts of vomiting should really only be induced by activities such as drinking heavily, binging on 3:00 a.m. junk food, or watching the American Presidential elections.

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All of this doesn’t mean that 10 Second Ninja X is a bad game. Believe it or not, my favorite part of this hardcore 2D platformer was the story. The narrative progresses every time you get a specific number of stars, and each set of stars adds a new set of cut-scenes in the game’s hub world. The hub world is also full of charming characters and far more plot twists than it really has the right to be. Much of the charm comes from some great comedic writing that will generally make you laugh. Believe it or not, at one point I rushed through the minimum requirements of a level set just to see the next story beat. If that doesn’t sound impressive, please remember this game is a 2D platformer that focuses on speed and accuracy.

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While 10 Second Ninja X is intentionally frustrating, the developers also made some smart choices to keep the platforming action fun. At the start of each level you have the option of looking around and studying the layout in what’s known as Camera Mode. The 10 second timer that gives the game its name only starts once you manipulate something on the controller, and every time you screw up the level, the timer is reset in roughly a second. There is also a ton of game-play for the $10 price tag. Once you spend about three hours going through the story of 10 Second Ninja X, you can keep playing legacy levels from the original 10 Second Ninja or try your hand at the marathon challenges.

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Overall, I was very happy that I had a chance to play 10 Second Ninja X. The charm of the characters in the game’s hub and the story they endured was heartwarming and funny. I wasn’t as big a fan of the controls that never felt perfect or the motion sickness; however, the negative experiences were never constant. 10 Second Ninja X is a game that can certainly be improved, but I never felt any issue was bad enough to completely write off the overall experience.