Wednesday 27 September 2023

Spell Drifter and Huntdown

Killing the enemies with "cool".

Spell Drifter

A crashed meteor that is said to give people magical powers attracts an entire city worth of pilgrims who seem to all be scum. At least that's what it feels like when your protagonists arrive. The story, art and jarringly out of place rock riffs are ok as is the meat of the game which is turn based grid combat where you have to rely on card draws to pull special weapons or make use of powers. Other than you thinking of the moves this part goes really fast and you aren't really punished for losing since your active party all gains XP regardless of the result and replaying is free. It does get more interesting once you get past the solo prologue bits where you can start deploying a team but ultimately the game is just ok. It's not bad, but not great. Recommended? Eh, get it when its free to try it out.


It is the future, the world is crap and full of bad guys, and you and one friend who are bounty hunters can cooperatively HUNT all of them DOWN. This plays like an old sidescrolling arcade shooter with ridiculous characters (but decent art) and intentionally cheesy voice acting, but even the easiest mode was giving us a challenge. While the controls were quite responsive my wife and I tried the two people on one keyboard approach and found we were getting in each others way a lot of the time so expect to alter the keybindings if you want to enjoy this for longer periods of time (our arms started hurting). Again not bad, but not great.

Tuesday 26 September 2023

Pacific Rim / Uprising / The Black

Kaiju versus giant robot action!

Pacific Rim

Aliens are conducting a slow invasion of Earth, sending in a giant monster every few months to wreck the place up. To combat this the humans have developed massive robots called Jaegers that require two pilots to be mentally in-sync to battle these giants and while the robots have the occasional weapon it usually comes down to fisticuffs without a care about collateral damage! A decent plot backed by great CGI makes this a pretty good movie. I quite appreciate that the robots are also not super-agile "Transformers" type and are more janky as robots are meant to be. Thumbs up!

Pacific Rim: Uprising

Years after the first movie where humanity won the war, a new threat appears (or there wouldn't be a movie right?) with new pilots to face them. While I appreciate that there's more humor injected here the plot makes a farce established elements in the first movie, like - now there are agile Transformer type robots that don't need two pilots because... they (incorrectly) thought it was cooler? Still an entertaining spectacle but not as good as the first one. Surprisingly while the fully CGI bits are nice, the blue screen segments are particularly bad.

Pacific Rim: The Black

In this two season animated series, Kaijus have taken over Australia and some survivors who have been living in hiding come across a functional training Jaeger that gives them a shot at escaping to the shore. I'm quite happy that the janky robotness is back and that the 3D animation is very good. The monsters look especially great! The mind melding drifting (two pilot thing) is also used to greater effect here, as the plot continues threads established from the previous two films. It's a decent offering and one Pacific Rim fans will enjoy.

Monday 25 September 2023

Horrified: American Monsters

Save another town from cryptids!

This stand alone 1-5 player cooperative board game plays almost exactly like the original, wherein players basically need to collect items and use them in particular spots to make the monsters vulnerable, and them finish them off by dumping more specific items on said monsters, sometimes at specific locations.

While the player characters are much the same with just a slight reskin, it's clear the six cryptids in this game are designed to be a greater challenge. Well maybe not Bigfoot, because he basically moves like a stalker. The Chupacabra hops around the board to eat animals, the Banshee of the Badlands has an auto-kill mechanic, the Mothman can move really fast (and hit everything in the way) if given the chance, the Ozark Howler just cheats and loves spreading doom around, and the Jersey Devil has an interesting mechanic that needs to be solved quick or you'll run out of monster cards and lose the game.

Pretty fun, but like the first one the tension drops as you begin taking down the monsters. Still recommended, especially if you liked the original and don't mind having a few more fidgety mechanics. Better than the first? Mmm, maybe not.

Saturday 23 September 2023

Warframe: Art Show

This will be the last of these galleries for now as I've been playing less Warframe as of late. I'll need to start visiting more dojos to collect more works if there is interest for these to continue. :)

Wednesday 20 September 2023

Hell's Paradise: Jigokuraku (S1) and Mashle: Magic and Muscles (S1)

Two first season anime reviews that both deal with "magic and muscles".

Hell's Paradise: Jigokuraku (Season 1)

During the Edo period in Japan, a bunch of captured dangerous death-row convicts AND their equally lethal minders are sent to a mysterious island believed to be the location of the elixir of life. Whichever convict returns with it will be pardoned. This immediately sets up a battle royale type scene but its just made all the worse when the island is full of horrible monsters too (why else are they sending expendable criminals right)?

Decent art with well animated and gory fight scenes make this worth watching despite the "down time" episodes that are mostly talking. Also given the large cast it takes sometime to care about some of the characters but that fixes itself nicely once people start dying off. Fair warning though, until the announced second season comes out this won't have a satisfying ending. Still a thumbs up from me!

Mashle: Magic and Muscles (Season 1)

In a world ruled by magic users, those born without the talent for it are simply executed to keep the blood line strong. Enter Mash, who is one such "abomination" with zero magical ability (and possibly a lower IQ). What he does have however, is super athleticism and when he is forced to attend "magic school" he must come up with ways to physically achieve what the others just wave wands for.

This lighthearted comedy clearly makes fun of Harry Potteresque ideas, and it's pretty cool to see arrogant wizards put in their place through pure brute force. The jokes are a bit hit and miss though, and you'll need to power through episode one to get any traction. The art is also a step down from what I usually watch but again, its fine for what it is. Another one I'll definitely be watching the second season of. :)

Warframe: Monsters

Continuing from the previous gallery, it looks like creatures and monsters are another common subject people create in their dojos...

Monday 18 September 2023

Scream (2022) and Knock at the Cabin

A pair of horrors that are very different from each other.

Scream (2022)

Copycat murderers in ghost face masks are at it again. I'm not sure how many movies in this violent franchise slasher sequel / reboot is, but it is very self aware to the point of making fun of itself. While I didn't really expect much (I actually thought it was the original movie when I started it up lol) I was pleasantly surprised at how entertaining it was.

Jenna Ortega is definitely the stand out of the cast, and while my wife correctly predicted the ending I did not. There are obviously some plot problems like, how did no one see a goon dressed like ghost face in broad daylight and "no! stay together!" (haha). I mean, now I want to watch all the other Scream movies so I guess it did something right?

Knock at the Cabin

In this M. Night Shyamalan film a couple and their adopted kid are held hostage in their remote cabin by strangers (led by Dave Bautista who is great here) who are trying to save the world. I was actually surprised by how little blood and gore there is, and its clearly an intentional cinematographic decision to cut away from most of the violence to really stick to it's psychological horror plot which kept me glued to my screen. Maybe it helps that I'm a Dave Bautista fan but this is one I can recommend.

Sunday 17 September 2023

Cyberpunk: Edgerunners and Skull Island

Animated Netflix series.

Cyberpunk: Edgerunners

Set in the same futuristic world as the Cyberpunk game (which I haven't played) where people modify their body with machinery, this one season show follows a teen who through misfortune and bad decisions ends up running with a street gang. Very nice art and animations, adult themes coupled with violence and gore and cool concepts that I'm sure are shared with the game (which I haven't played). It is very loud though, seemingly just for the sake of being loud, and it takes a little bit before you can warm up to any othe cast. Not bad but I'm sure it would track better for game fans.

Skull Island

Set in the same world of monsters as Kong: Skull Island, this animated series follows a band of explorers who through good luck and bad decisions (they're out to look for giant monsters, really?) end up on the titular island that is home to a variety of giant creatures and one giant monkey. While the animation is decent it is the surprisingly humorous script and very likable characters that suck you in, and then the death and gore for me is a bonus! I also think its smart that they don't really focus on Kong because that lets this show be more standalone than not. So far only one season of this exists and I will be watching if a season two ever appears.

Saturday 16 September 2023

Warframe: Knights, Angels and Demons

Continuing the art gallery theme from last time, here are even more works of art I've come across in various dojos...

Thursday 14 September 2023

Marvel United (and Xmen)

Super simple and very fast.

In this 1 - 4 cooperative board game players take the role of a Marvel superhero to try defeat one of the villains who always starts invulnerable. The game play loop is simple, the villain goes first often moving to one of the six available locations of the board and then doing something heinous (like punching people) and also spawning more thugs and civilians (and if there's no room for them something bad happens / villain dependent).

Then the three heroes get to do something, by playing a card from their unique deck. Symbols at the bottom are only ever: move, punch, heroism or wild which counts as any. The trick is on your turn, you get to use whatever you play AND whatever the previous player used and so on. Clear out 2/3 mini missions of rescuing civilians (heroism), beating thugs (punch) or clearing threats (threat specific - mini-bad guys might need punch, disarming bombs might need heroism) to make the main baddie vulnerable to your punches! But as soon as you complete 1 mini mission the villain moves after every two heroes do something instead of three.

It's very fast, has nice components (especially those quality chibi figurines), and is pretty fun! While the heroes don't really feel super unique apart from the few cards that give them and only them a special bonus, the villains in the base game and the Xmen game are great and have unique mechanisms that make them feel different from each other. It's a nice bonus in the Xmen box that you can play two of the villains (Mystique and Magneto) as heroes as well! The only negative for me is that once I've beaten all the bad guys I've no reason to replay it.

Still recommended, especially to Marvel fans! For those wondering in the base box that we have the available heroes are Captain America, Ant Man (my fave), Wasp, Black Widow, Captain Marvel, Hulk and Iron Man to fight against Red Skull (spreads Hydra), Taskmaster (hard to hit) or Ultron (spawns thugs to win) while the X-Men base contains Wolverine, Cyclops, Jean Gray, Beast, Storm and Professor X  to face off against Sabertooth (hunts specific heroes to win), Juggernaut (keeps running around to KO everyone), Mystique (hunts down a weak senator), and Magneto (kills civilians).

Wednesday 13 September 2023

Ragnarok (TV Series) and Nimona

It's bad to be different.

Ragnarok (TV Series)

This three season Norwegian TV show is a modern day take on Norse mythology with people being the reincarnations of gods and giants starts of really slow until the "hook" towards the end of episode one. From there it gets pretty good as the ordinary and extraordinary worlds collide and it always helps that there are likeable characters to root for. However it is very combat averse (which is strange given the title), two of the main characters look way too old to be in school especially towards the later seasons, and the ending feels like they got cancelled and had to just put something together quickly. Could have been better.


This woke animated comedy takes place in a world where being a knight usually means having a high noble pedigree so when the gay dark skinned protagonist of low "unworthy" birth (need to tick all those boxes huh) makes it to knighthood it seems to be the start of a new era... until he is framed for killing the beloved queen at that very same public event and is forced into hiding. This attracts the attention of Nimona, who happens to be in the same boat of being hated by everyone for being different.

There are some nice story beats here with decent humor throughout as well as superb CGI animation but plot wise there are some whale sized holes and Nimona is at times over the top irritating. I'm also not sold on the whole, I am only bad and do bad things because people think of me that way message here (so what, that makes it ok to be bad? It's ok to be a bully if you've been bullied? Nice message film!) . Overall an ok film to leave running in the background while you do something else.

Tuesday 12 September 2023

Warframe: Giant Mechas

While this could have related to the Corpus and their Jackal sized creations, this is instead a little art gallery of player made mechas that are sitting in their dojo. Such incredible talent... and probably an incredible amount of time spent on each of these!

Friday 8 September 2023

Gloomhaven: Jekserah's Corruption

[Part of the Party Time journal

After we learn that donating to the temple not only grants us temporary blessings but also increases Gloomhaven's prosperity it has become a common practice for each of us to drop 10 coins in there (the maximum after each mission) and are informed by the clergy about a wise seer in the mountains who can divine the locations of anyone or anything so we pay him a visit, only for him to test us against his guardian golems, spirits, drakes and bears!

Luckily Juris' new insta-kill (non-elite) is on hand to deal with the harder hitters while I backstab majority of the ranged foes by getting into their room and hiding in there while the rest clog up the singular bottleneck doorway. Victorious, we ask the seer the location of Jekserah and pay her a visit in the mausoleum she's hiding in. She's definitely leveled up her necromancy as almost every single round she summons new zombies but carefully thrown daggers from Juris ends her and her minions for good!

The local guard congratulate us on this feat by means of offering more work. Mentioning dragon sign to the North and a horrible corruption from below the city. We opt to try the sewers first as there are no "travel encounters" for such a short trip. Inside are snakes, vermlings and self-replicating (but also suicidal, because replicating hurts themselves) oozes. DL gets hammered in the second room here but it is Juris who goes down first. Not to worry though as Jim and his spiderbot make it through unscathed while testing out his new disintegration beam. :O

Almost every time you open a door there's an army waiting on the other side...

Alas, in the end these just turned out to be regular sewer denizens as the source of the corruption seems to be coming from further below.

Tuesday 5 September 2023

Moving Out and Black Book

Craziness and craziness... but dark?

Moving Out

This cooperative party game for up to four players has you racing the clock to move furniture out of locations and into your truck, often in the most comedic fashion possible as you don't really care about fragile items. Nor do you care about the state of the property! Break those glass windows to make more access points and toss things at the truck to save time, but heavier items will need more hands to lift. Pretty easy controls, but for me its not as fun as the wackiness of Overcooked which is a direct competitor in this genre.

Black Book

Playing as a young woman who lost her love, you naturally do what any sad girl would do: become a witch. Erm what? The art style here leads to some really beautiful scenes but while the game calls itself an RPG you only have a handful of options to choose from at any time. Do you go left or right? Do you advise this person a, b or c? Do you do evil things either to gain power or to not be cursed? You will be dealing with demons regularly so just a heads up if that's not your thing. For me the "card" style combat (thematically its pages of your book) is what turned me off. If I have a book of spells why is it that on my turn I can only pick from x amount that randomly are available to me? Obviously its so that you can't just keep using the super powerful ones over and over but I think some sort of mana system would have suited better. If you can get past that it's an interesting game.

Sunday 3 September 2023

Pathfinder: The Swallowtail Festival

[Part of the Party Time journal

A week after returning to the town of Sandpoint from Raven's Watch, Merisiel the rogue (mom), Kyra the cleric (Rose), Ezren the mage (Juris) and Valeros the fighter (me) are convinced by tavern/inn-keep Ameiko to participate in the Swallowtail Festival which commemorates the completion of their newly built cathedral. There is food, speeches, butterflies, and a fun assortment of games including archery where Merisiel beats runner up Valeros, a gauntlet where Valeros gets the furthest, riddles where Merisiel does the best and a go-cart race where Merisiel and her partner the local priest are the fastest beating the other teams of Valeros and Kyra as well as Ezren and Ameiko. Strangely all the prizes won suit Kyra though (healing wands), but that works for us! :P

Of course it can't all be fun and games as crazed goblins attack during dusk fall. As Ezren and Kyra were missing consistently and possibly setting fire to more things than the goblins, it is mostly up to Valeros and Merisiel (with her omg flanking bonus) to put down around a dozen of them before the singing green raiders retreat. The very next day the sheriff asks them to investigate disturbances at the local graveyard where after dealing with some ghouls and skeletons they find the remains of the previous priest taken from the clerical crypt, but the team think nothing of it (probably the goblins anyway) and instead accompany a nobleman whom they rescued during the raid and is infatuated with Merisiel on a boar hunt nearby. Odd timing but sure. They all get horses and some nice roast pork for their trouble.

Valeros too gets some attention from the very forward daughter of a local store owner and only thanks to a lucky diplomacy roll does he manage to sheepishly escape an awkward situation when the store owner discovers them in states of undress in his cellar (well, the daughter was half undressed anyway - Valeros fell for her trap!). The morning after the team deal with a lone goblin leftover hiding out in someone's house and then are basically deputized by the sheriff to look after the town while he travels to the next city over to get reinforcements as the local scout just gave word that the usually warring goblin tribes are for some reason working together.

There's no time to worry about that right now though as upon returning to the tavern a staff member reports Ameiko has gone missing...