Tag Archives: Review

NCG Review – The Escapists Complete Edition (Switch)

Originally released back in 2014 on PC, and later making its way to Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS4 The Escapists The Complete Edition can now be played on the Nintendo Switch. The complete Edition brings all DLC packs, which are Alcatraz, Escape Team, Duct Tapes are Forever, Santa’s Sweatshop and Fhurst Peak Correctional Facility, which was previously exclusive to the PC release, all into one package.maxresdefault

Visuals

The Escapists The Complete Edition still keeps the same cute 8-bit look, but all in the palm of your hand this time around. And this looks great transitioning of from the big screen to handheld mode. Whether it’s the different scenery from the different scenarios, or even the different characteristics of each prisoner and police officer, the game looks great.whats-in-the-escapists-complete-edition-3

 

Gameplay

The gameplay is simple and is what you know and love from all of the other ports. You are a prisoner and you need to do quests to gain items and money to get out of the prison, but you can make enemies on your way of doing so. For example, if you talk to one of the other prisoners and they ask you to distract the guards during a break session, you can hit another prisoner, however, this can have them turn on you later in the game so you’ll need to choose wisely. Players will need to be strategic in order to complete their quest to escape.large

Honestly I really recommend this title to everyone to try out. It is easy to pick up, and even easier to pick up on the with the Nintendo Switch. If you have not played The Escapists, this version is the perfect port to start at since it comes with all of the previous DLC and the core game. I give the Escapists a 7/10 for the accessibility, replay value, and uniqueness as a whole.Score

 

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NCG – Review – Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st] (Steam)

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Story

Being an updated version, the game introduces 4 new characters as well as a new story mode in which players can unfold the story of the world in a Visual Novel gameplay style. When I say Visual Novel, I mean Visual Novel! There is no gameplay in this mode, but that does not mean the story is horrible. Players of the anime community will really enjoy the twists and turns in the story.Under_Night_6

Visuals

The visuals are somewhat the same from the original, and that is not a problem at all of because the game has its own distinct look and manages to keep everything pretty simple. With a 2D drawn art style that still draws me in when turning this title on, I can say a lot of gamers will like how it looks. It reminds me of Anime mixed with a dark theme such as Darkstalkers.UNIST_25

During fights the visuals of each special attack work well and look great. The menu has more of an arcade look and is simple enough where new players can navigate with ease. Even the story mode looks awesome with the visual novel art style.

Audio

The soundtrack to UNIST brings back some of the previous titles tracks as well as a few new tracks, and the new tracks still holds up to the magnificent scores for combat and story telling.UNIST_EU_Announcement_2

Gameplay

I always felt Under Night never had any spotlight in North America, and is very under rated, but with the new update I hope that changes as this title is a must have for fighting game enthusiast. The core gameplay is the same as most anime fighters, without the air dash. So, it’s sort of like The King of Fighters meets Anime! Combos are limited to one button press for standing and crouching per button, and in the air so players need to strategize what they will do in each combo. It also has an  auto combo for players that bash buttons, but this limits button mashing to execute really short combos the game wants you to learn passing and how to get in without button mashing, and this is perfect for new players wanting to join the fighting game community.UNIST_EU_Announcement_5

As I mentioned, this is a great game for new players because there is a new tutorial mode where everything is explained for fighting games in general. From executing and getting in, to how to finish combos and set up for another; this is a way to learn UNIST as wells as any other fighting essentials.UNIST_EU_Announcement_6

Of course, there is also online Ranked and Unranked play, which hold itself together pretty well but not to a perfect degree. The netcode isn’t perfect, as some matches lag even with two solid connections, but for the most part it is playable more than half of the time. And as for Ranked matches, the lobby’s will be full of veterans of the title, so I would recommend new players to not approach Ranked until you are ready to take on the best.

As mentioned, UNIST has 4 new cast members, Phonon with her whip, Mika a child with gigantic robotic hands, Wagner holding her sword and shield, and Enkidu who is pure martial arts. None of these characters feel like a rehash of previous characters or each other, and new players will be happy to see each have a different play style.

Verdict

With Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st] coming out after one of the biggest fighting games this year a lot of players might miss this title. With an awesome Story mode for single player, fantastic visuals, and many more new additions, Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st] is a must have in my opinion. Although it lacks in online play at the moment, this is a great title for any one who is a fighting game fan our even a competitive fighting game player. I rate Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st] an 8 out of 10.Score

NCG Review – All-Star Fruit Racing (PS4, PC, Switch)

“All Star” is usually a name that pops up in video game titles after a series or company has a good reputation.  Does All-Star Fruit Racing meet your expectations?AllStarOnline_2

Visuals

All Star Fruit Racing is very colorful, filled with an array of terrains and courses that are vibrant  and eye-catching.  Characters themselves are colorful and portray a unique fruit.  However, everything visually just seems to fall short.  Although the visuals are vibrant, there is too much on the screen making the courses feel cluttered with graphics.  One thing that I look for in a racing game is enough to create a setting or theme, but nothing that distracts or overwhelms me visually while I am trying to navigate a course, and win.  Sometimes it’s difficult to tell where the course is at and when you go off course, you’re not really sure how or why.  Characters themselves are quirky with a design that matches the fruit they’re based on, but characters fall short of being unique.  There’s a generic feel to the each character with few qualities to set them apart and make them memorable.AllStarDateAnnounce_5.png

Navigating the menu also imposes a challenge since the font is small and difficult to read.

 

Audio

If you’ve ever sat at a slot machine and kept pushing the button, then you’ll have an idea what a race course sounds like.  While playing, the course is filled with mellow tunes that fit the course design and chimes that interact with what your character is doing on the course.  Music intensifies as you lap around the course, but nothing particularly stands out about the audio tracks.

Gameplay

There are 5 game modes: Random Juicer, Juicer, Dragster, Elimination, Elimination Mix.  You’re given 10 characters to start with out of 22.

The button layout is more relatable to a modern-day racing game, but the overall game play style is similar to Mario Kart.  Each mode imposes a different challenge.  Random Juicer is the most similar to Mario Kart.  Juicer mode is a twist, where you need to race and collect fruit in order to mix all the fruits together, while racing, to get a juice.  After making a juice concoction, based on whatever you made, you can use it as a weapon or booster to help you through the course.  Elimination mode is a unique mode where players are eliminated at intervals through the race if they’re in last place. Elimination Mix is similar to Elimination, except, you never know when the counter will pop up during a race.AllStarOnline_4

While racing there is no real sense of speed.  You’re not rewarded with a boost after drifting or collecting items. The only time you feel a sense of acceleration is when you go over a speed booster, but even so you’re never really moving faster than the character in front of you. There also feels like a lack of punishment if you collide or crash around in the course. After you crash or bump into a wall, you immediately resume max speed.  Weapons feel very unbalanced and almost useless.  They impose some advantage, but they don’t feel like they’re doing much to other players since the game doesn’t provide heavy punishment when hit with the weapons.AllStarDateAnnounce_2.png

Car customization is an option, but this feature is cosmetic and doesn’t add any additional attributes to the vehicle. Characters have special abilities, but these abilities can only be accessed in the Random Juicer courses.

Verdict

Pros: While some aspects of the game feel lacking (i.e. lack of speed and punishment for messing up), you can tell that you need to be strategic about how you play.  In Juicer mode, the fruits you collect determine the weapon you send out.  You need to determine which fruits you want to collect, then you need to create and access the mixture which can be difficult to focus on while you’re driving.  The lack of speed makes sense since players will be multitasking while they race. Not only do you need to know what to mix, which fruits you want to collect, you need to know how the weapons will work since they can potentially back fire on you.  It’s a lot to take in at once but gives the game a unique challenge despite all the downfalls.

To help make load screens a bit more bearable, you get a lot of fruit facts.  Mostly trivia facts you wouldn’t have guessed… about fruit!  It made me want to sit through all the load screens and learn more about fruit!

Cons: As stated earlier, courses feel cluttered with visuals, it’s hard to read the menu, the overall design isn’t very eye-catching, and using your weapons can be frustrating.

The price tag is also a bit much.  The game doesn’t have as much to offer compared to other games of the same style.

Overall, I would rate the game a 6 out of 10.

Score

NCG Reviews: Overcooked 2 (PS4, Switch, PC)

Team 17 is bringing Overcooked back with more kitchen madness! Jump into your food truck and find a way to defeat the un-bread!

Story

After reading the necro -nomnom- icon and accidentally raising the un-bread, you must hop in your food truck, hone your cooking skills, and defeat the un-dead bread monsters!  The story isn’t pertinent to the game, but the jokes and humor help set the overall tone for your kitchen journey.6-2

Gameplay

If you’ve played Overcooked, then you already have a feel for how Overcooked 2 will work. What I really enjoyed about Overcooked 2 is that it’s not a re-skin of its predecessor.  There are more features to the game, and more ways to utilize what you already know.2-3

Features

The throw feature is a new addition to the game.  You’ll have to figure out how to launch foods across the kitchen and chasms (and other obstacles) to ensure your team mates can cook/cut ingredients.  Throwing adds another layer of strategy to game as players learn how to send food to areas and players that can’t be reached.  Thrown food can  be caught directly,  land on a surface, or, of course, land in your hand knocking something important out of it.  The throw feature is limited to food, so you can’t throw dishes around the kitchen.  The plates would break, you know?

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Unfortunately, you can’t make your chef swear across the kitchen when you’re frustrated (*!@#$@*#$*@#$%@*!), but you CAN communicate what your chef is thinking, feeling, or doing.  This is especially helpful for online modes where you can’t yell at your friend sitting next to you.

Stages

Not only are there new game mechanics, but there are new types of levels with a variety of menus.  Dynamic levels force players to change their strategy and work around the level.  This means switching tasks between chefs and figuring out how the kitchen moves.  The complexity of the menu also poses a new challenge.  Overcooked did not require a variety of dishes to be made, but rather the dishes to be made in a complex environment.  In Overcooked 2, you really have to pay attention to not only your environment, but to what needs to be plated and which ingredients are required.  You’ll have quite a few errors if you’re not paying close attention.1-6

Dynamic levels create a new chaos, but in addition to a variety of stages, you get special levels if you meet specific requirements in a stage.  It’s like a special unlock feature! You’ll likely be looking at walkthroughs in a week or so to unlock the secret levels.  Or, you can see what you come up with on your own.  Whatever floats your boat.

Online

Overcooked 2 doesn’t require your friends to all be in the same room.  Instead, you can play online! This is a fun feature in case your friends are way across town and don’t want to come over (boo to those types of friends!).  This mode, however, can be particularly difficult if no one is using a headset.  Overcooked is a game that requires a certain level of communication that does not happen within the game.  Yes, you can tell your teammates what task you will take on while playing, but when the timer is ticking, chaos ensues!

If playing with friends is not an option, you can also jump online and play against strangers.

Graphics/Audio

This time around, the graphics and audio weren’t really beefed up.  Instead, the focus was the mechanics and game play.  Graphics do look a little bit nicer, and there are a couple new tunes to the sound track.2-6

Verdict

Pros:

Team 17 did a wonderful job incorporating new mechanics and levels to the game.  It’s enough to make the game feel “new” but it’s not a complete overhaul of the original title.  There’s enough balance that new players can jump in and learn the game, while veteran players can still feel challenged.

New modes, such as online and arcade mode, give the game a different dynamic.  You’re not limited to only couch co-op; you can now play with chefs across the world!

Cons:

While the new online feature adds another game dynamic, it’s difficult to communicate with other players.  You do have the emote option to share what your chef will be doing, but when the clock is ticking down it’s difficult to stop and alert your teammates. Although, that is part of the challenge.

Even though there are a variety of new dynamic stages and complex menus, the game can start to feel too easy.  What I enjoyed about the first title was that the challenges weren’t exactly explained to you. You break the challenge down as you play and adapt to what needs to happen in the kitchen.

I would rate this game an 8 out of 10.

Score

The game isn’t perfect but it’s a fun addition to the series.  Have you played Overcooked? How do you and your friends/family get when you play the game? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

 

NCG Review: Pixel Junk Monsters 2 (PS4, PC, Switch)

I’m not a Pixel Junk junky, but I have to admit, Pixel Junk Monsters is one of the funnest, yet most infuriating games I always find myself jumping back in to.  I was thrilled to see a follow up was coming out.  Does Monsters 2 exceed it’s former counterpart?PJM2_SS10

Gameplay

Please note: the game calls them “chibis” but I will always, and forever, call them tiki babies.  This term will be used throughout the rest of this review. Just saying.

The point of the game is to protect your tiki babies at your base from the swarm of monsters trying to attack them.  In order to do this, you must build an arsenal of defense towers to kill the monsters before they are able to get to your base and eat the tiki babies.

The game relies entirely on strategy. There are different types of defense towers that need to be used against certain types of monsters (i.e. ground, air, air/ground).  During the swarms, you’ll need to plan your line of defense and build based on the type of monster that will be coming or which monsters you know will be coming. Building is limited since you need to collect coins and gems in order to build the defense towers. You can collect these by wandering through the trees or gather them after a monster has been killed.  During raids, you will also need to upgrade your towers.  You can do this by using a gem you’ve collected from a monster or stand on a tower to level it up – the stronger the tower, the stronger the defense! You have to work between building, upgrading, and preparing for what is coming.

Two-player co-op was an option of PSP players who each had their own PSP, but Monsters 2 allows for co-op on one screen for up to four players! This can get slightly chaotic since players need to be within a certain proximity to player 1, but it allows couch cooperation -you definitely need to communicate with your team to know what you plan what you need to build next, where to upgrade, where to invest your coins/gems.PJM2_SS14

With the addition of up to four player co-op, there are new features to use within a level.  If you have enough gems you can purchase a fruit (during a raid) that temporarily buffs up your character.  On top of that, there are interactive items in the level, such as boulders, that you can use as a backup line of  defense.  The game also throws in some challenges at you for certain. For example, you won’t be able to collect coins from monsters throughout a raid.

Aside from the game play additions, there’s a really fun cosmetic feature that allows you to change the mask and shield of your tiki man.  You can purchase masks by collecting coins after completing a level.

Graphics

The most notable graphic difference from Monsters is 3D graphics which creates more dynamic levels.  Rather than an overhead view, you get to explore the area. Otherwise, not much has changed in terms of character or monster design.PJM2_SS9

Audio

What makes this game so easy to get in to is the relaxing audio track. The tracks are similar to the original Monsters which brings back waves of nostalgia (if you played the original).  The track will change when the final monster approaches, but not to the extent where you feel stressed to build your towers -only to defend your precious tiki babies!

Verdict

Pros: The game is addicting, fun, and easy to pick up.  Despite getting furious when your tiki babies get eaten, you’ll still jump back in to the level with a different plan of attack.

Cons: I know I shouldn’t complain much, but the new levels feel less challenging compared to the predecessor.  After about one unsuccessful raid (meaning only 1 tiki baby was eaten), it was easy to grasp where you needed to build and what needed to be leveled up.PJM2_SS6

Although there is an option for multi-player, only player one gets to modify their character with a new mask and shield.  It’s almost unfair if you’re stuck being player 2.

Overall, I rate Monsters 2 and 8/10.

Score

If you like Monsters, and Pixel Junk games, this is definitely worth the buy.

Do you have a favorite Pixel Junk title? Let us know in the comments!