Wednesday 22 February 2023

Made in Abyss (Seasons 1-2 + Deep Soul)

Beautiful and messed up at the same time.

On a distant island is a giant cursed pit known as the Abyss, so deep that no one knows how far it actually goes. Riko, the protagonist, is inspired to find out. This anime has some really beautiful scenery, excellent music, decent animation and crazy ideas. With colors usually on the brighter side of the palette and a very "kids theme" art style and the majority of the heroes being kids themselves, you would be forgiven if you thought this was a kids show. It is not.

Let's jump down this giant hole!

Adult themes are dealt with constantly along with violence and other pretty horrible stuff that litters the excellent narrative. Expect to be hit in the feels a lot as death and fates worse than death abound. I'm greatly looking forward to season 3!

Apparently you can either watch season 1 (which I did) OR the first two movies which cover the same content (can't comment I haven't seen those), followed by movie 3: Dawn of the Deep Soul before moving onto season 2. They're all of excellent viewing. Highly recommended!

Monday 20 February 2023

Morbius and The Tomorrow War

Where science is magic!


A brilliant doctor (played by Jared Leto) suffering from a blood disease uses the magic of science on some vampire bats which cures his condition, but in exchange he also becomes a blood thirsty vampire! While there aren't any surprises in the story, the scary segments are decent but in a surprise fail it's actually the CGI that lets this superhero (*cough* villain *cough*) movie down. They really need to end CGI brawl fests altogether. All up an average movie that my wife enjoyed a lot.

The Tomorrow War

In this sci-fi movie that stars Chris Pratt, time travelers from the future convince world governments to help them by sending people from the present into a future war (that they are losing badly) against alien beasties. The critters look really great and menacing, the action scenes are good, and the pacing is quite quick (except for one bit in the last part where someone thought another "walking through a dark interior lit only by flashlights" would be a good idea, even though there's no more suspense by that point).

Still a very enjoyable watch, even though the plot itself must have been mangled by one of the aliens due to all the logic holes in it, and not just from the timey wimey stuff. There are many points I thought "why didn't x do y?" And the answer was always: because that would make the movie too short. Lol.

Wednesday 15 February 2023

Wednesday and Chainsaw Man

Snap twice and pull the cord.

Wednesday (Season 1)

Antisocial student Wednesday Addams (played by Jenna Ortega) has a wide array of murderous skills, but the one she is best at is getting people hurt and getting targeted by a murderer at her new school is just what she needs to put on her detective hat to drive most of season 1's predictable story - but the acting, writing, cinematography and music make this very entertaining. Recommended even for people who have never heard of the Addams Family before, and I'm looking forward to season 2!

Chainsaw Man (Season 1)

This VERY well animated series might use a lot of bright colors but it is much darker, gorier and more adult in content than Wednesday. Our protagonist Denji spends half the time killing devils as he's fused with a devil himself that lets him become the titular "Chainsaw Man", and the other half of the time trying to get laid. Finally, an anime that gets a teenagers priorities right! The only downside is that some of these devils are freaking weird design wise, but that makes it unique I suppose. Again recommended, and another one I'll be waiting for season 2 on.

Tuesday 14 February 2023

Uncharted (movie) and The Greatest Beer Run Ever

Visiting dangerous places.


Nathan Drake (played by Tom Holland), a pickpocket with Spiderman levels of agility is recruited to help find an ancient lost treasure before the competition does. While there's lots of action scenes you can tell the plot is taken from a game because most of it is utterly ridiculous. I especially laugh at the notion that the original guys who hid the treasure didn't trust each other so they cooperatively built a humongous death trap maze that somehow survived through the decades. It's a silly movie.

The Greatest Beer Run Ever

Layabout alcoholic Chickie Donohue (portrayed by Zac Efron) decides to help his buddies who are fighting in Vietnam by bringing them beer from their local pub. While he is a bit of an airhead which puts him in humorous and dangerous situations, he's also very personable (and very lucky) which makes his story quite interesting to watch. While his quest is meant to be ridiculous, the journey through it is actually a decent one. Recommended!

Monday 13 February 2023

Warframe: Voruna

The wolf pack.

Obtained through conjunction missions on Lua, which is basically a fancy survival mission that gives you a chance at a "piece" every 20 minutes, expect to do more than a few runs to not only collect blueprints but also Thrax plasms which are used both in construction of Voruna AND buying the blueprints from Archimedean Yonta on the Zariman if you just had lousy luck grinding. Which I did.

Once built this she-wolf has four passives that can be triggered one at a time: increased parkour, stat resistance, heavy attack efficiency or a bonus life (60 second cool down on that last one). On top of that she also can turn invisible for a short while, go feral with a five strike pounce, gain health through melee attacks or energy via head shots and lastly spread negative statuses on enemies.

Pretty cool, but she seems to very much lean into status application and skill spamming as opposed to my preferred crit builds. I suppose it's just one of those things where, yes - she's pretty cool, but can she fill a purpose better than the others? She's very much a "killing things" frame (over say a sneak, defense or tank frame), but her killing is kinda slow - and there's a lot of competition in the "killing things" category. That probably means my helminth is going to taste wolf.

As an aside, yay! At least until Citrine is released that means I have now "mastered" all the non prime frames! :)

Sunday 12 February 2023

Puss in Boots and the Last Wish

"Fear me, if you dare!"

After being introduced in the Shrek series, the back story of this swash buckling cat (voiced by Antonio Banderas) who is both hero and wanted criminal is explored in Puss in Boots when he gets a chance at getting his childhood score of magic beans - while the Last Wish is set much later when he's *spoiler* running out of lives.

While both are fun, entertaining and well animated, Puss in Boots is definitely more aimed for kiddies while the Last Wish adds a bit of shadow to the plot which makes it significantly better. It's also structured in such a way that you don't need to have watched any previous Puss In Boots content prior, so if you are only going to give one of these a try I highly recommend Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. Two thumbs up.

Wednesday 8 February 2023

Knives Out and Glass Onion

In these mystery movies, world famous detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) investigates the sudden suspicious suicide of a wealthy and famous mystery writer (in Knives Out) and is invited to participate in a murder mystery game by a tech billionaire (in Glass Onion), which turns out to be more realistic than intended. Both cases have numerous motivated and well acted suspects and both are very well shot cinematography wise. While Glass Onion has a nicer setting, Knives Out has a better story.

Juris identified something that turned him off these though - where an Agatha Christie mystery you are given clues as it goes along and at the end can "compare notes" with the on screen detective, these movies give you the answers before our detective works it out. Still an entertaining watch, definitely at least give Knives Out a try.

Tuesday 7 February 2023

Warframe Market

After the thousands of hours I have in Warframe (now MR27) I can no longer say that I am a Free to Player. Yep, much like Mabinogi before it - it has finally convinced me to part with some real money which in turn has become in game platinum - and now I'm introduced to a new (for me anyway) part of the game: Merchanting.

Standing around at Maroo's Bazaar to sell something can be boring and likewise its annoying to hop in every now and again just to see if someone is selling something I want (trade chat can help) - but this Warframe Market fan site just makes trading so easy. My favorite part isn't even the buying and selling: it's that every time I go to do a trade with someone I usually end up in their fantastically decorated dojos to explore for a bit! Our dojo is very spartan in comparison.

Monday 6 February 2023

Horrified: Custom Monsters III - Modern Horror Continued

Here is my review of the second half of the modern horror set of custom monsters for the Horrified board game.


While this shapeshifting monster basically hovers around his (rarely) moving balloon (which is also the space you need to interact with), he is more a target of opportunity than anything else as the specific items required to weaken him might take some time to pop. I really like that to beat him afterwards, all the players must gather on his space which is both very cool and really dangerous. We lucked out getting good movement cards and finished this clown last.

Freddy Kreuger

The Nightmare of Elm Street has a good mechanic of being in the dreamland maze (along with numbered tokens representing each players "dream" space) where he always seems to be within arms reach of attack. Pulling him into the real world requires 3 excellent dice rolls OR being geared up enough to auto-success the dice rolls. Alas for him, once he's flesh and bone and no longer protected by his main power he becomes very easy prey.

The Fly

This scientist turned giant fly was somehow more scary than the previous two and that's possibly because beating him requires MATH! Using item strength values you just have to fill in the simple formulas of (a - b = x,  c + d = z) and then defeat him with a strength x * z item. This made him the "weakest" monster to defeat for us, as our x * z = 3 but he was a fun critter nonetheless.

While Pennywise can potentially be a huge threat as someone would potentially need to tank the clown awhile (monsters move after each player does), this trio was not as bad as the first three and we won without much trouble.

Sunday 5 February 2023

Horrified: Custom Monsters II - Modern Horror

Continuing my review of Horrified's fan made monsters are these three from the modern horror set who turned out to be a very tough trio which almost saw us lose the game!

Jason Voorhees

It must be Friday the 13th for this hockey masked killer to show up and boy did he do a good job in murdering during our game. Given the "Creature's" movement set of traveling through the waterways its kinda funny that to beat him you need to push him back into the water to weaken and drown him. Tough bastard and the first one we focused on here, which might have been a mistake in hindsight but sure felt right at the time as he ended up with the most kills.

Samara Morgan

The girl from the well loves giving her photograph to someone and then teleporting to that person to attack them. Rather than being scary Samara was more a nuisance however and beating her simply is a fetch quest for four pieces of wood to cover her well (using Drac's coffin tokens as wood), because supernatural entities have a problem with wood I guess. Does that mean they're allergic to forests?

Just like the base game's Dracula, she's very susceptible to the explorer hero (mom) who can just warp around and collect the planks for the well. Anyway, until she's imprisoned again she's definitely dangerous to players but that danger can be mitigated by having an enormous stash of gear on the targeted individual. Samara's very focused you see, but that also makes her predictable.


This Hell priest was the quiet "achiever" if you like in our game and while he didn't personally kill many individuals, his power of vacuuming villagers towards him sure helped Jason cut down a great deal of them. Gotta give him a thumbs up for the RPG mechanics of a priest playing a support role! Solving his hell cube to banish him (a custom three dial device) did take some time but once it was just him on the board he had no chance.

This trio was far more scary than the forgotten classics set. Recommended!

Thursday 2 February 2023

Horrified: Custom Monsters I - Forgotten Classics

Horrified is a good game that is easily modded to fit new fan made monsters! Here's a review of three forgotten classics we went up against recently.

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

The biggest draw back here is that this "monster" prevents you from using the Professor hero (DL's favorite), because that's his token. I believe this was intentionally done to make the Hunchback (below) a bit tougher. Outside of that Jekyl/Hyde seemed very passive and easy to avoid. Plugging in matching numbers to work out his cure at the hospital wasn't much of an issue either.

Hunchback of Notre Dame

This "monster" is actually the good guy and makes ALL villagers evil! Yes, you can still escort them to their desired destination to get them off the board and get their reward but if they get to move they will try whack you! Clever switch of game play mechanics as you have to disarm the villagers and keep them away from the church (which they gravitate towards). Again, not very challenging though and our police detective (Rose) was having a field day as she can "move to any monster", which in this case, the villagers are. At least until his quest is complete.

Phantom of the Opera

The "scariest" monster of this set (mechanically anyway), because he IS the doom tracker and any time the tracker moves he makes it move TWICE. He stays on his own board though (the theater) and chases after the villager there. If he reaches her its game over, so you need to focus on getting her out early. To fully defeat him you'll then need to get her home, which is a little funny because when she gets out she too will want to kill the Hunchback so... you gotta get on that. :P

An interesting set to be sure, and a nice albeit calmer change of pace from the box monsters (after you deal with the Phantom anyway). If you are looking for opponents that will quicken your pulse though, these three are not it.

Wednesday 1 February 2023

Black Adam and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

The king is dead!

Black Adam

In a fictional Middle Eastern place oppressed by Intergang (mercenary goons who apparently never flee), a dangerous artifact and a powerful being (the titular Black Adam, played by Dwayne Johnson) with the powers of Shazam are discovered and released into the world. While Adam is viewed as a savior by the locals, internationals forces feel he is a threat and send other heroes to apprehend him. Violence ensues because he's one tough cookie.

While the plot is mostly predictable here, the action scenes are a great spectacle and there are lots of them (though almost all are just of the CGI variety). I also do find it refreshing for this superhero protagonist to be super violent to the extent that he goes out of his way to kill people. Alas the main child actor is a bit weak in the acting department and suspect his "cool" skateboarding skills were meant to make up for it. Nope. At one point he tries to sneak quietly ON A SKATEBOARD. Expect silly things like that. Also the female hero was unnecessary and could have been cut from the film. Still an enjoyable flick if you turn your brain off.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

In an attempt to continue to hold monopoly on their space rock, the recently kingless Wakandians (futuristic spear wielding Africans) find themselves in conflict with the ocean city state of Talokan (futuristic spear wielding aquatic Mexicans) who happen to have space rock of their own. This results in ridiculous unnecessary pursuits, poor decisions, some flat comedy, stupid CGI battles (seriously, Black Adam's were better but at least here the are non CGI fights which are great) and a lot of bloodless violence. Did they really try make this movie for kids while also including numerous languages that you'd need to subtitle for?

The worst part is I didn't care about the characters at all. The antagonist is a moron, protagonist Princess Shuri (Letitia Wright) is a whiny know it all who doesn't obey orders and so obviously she gets along with student genious Riri (Dominique Thorne) who is introduced here to setup Ironheart (As an aside: Why? Is she so weak a character she needs a movie intro? Answer: Yep). But my favorite thing to laugh at here? The aquatic Mexicans were destroying people and buildings with water balloons! 

Terrible movie. Probably better if it had focused on the bad guy as the main character, ditch the Black Panther/Wakanda title, and explained better why he didn't try harder to make friends with the surface world or just Wakanda itself. As it is the entire plot could have been solved with simple diplomacy. Not recommended.