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Below, you can see the 20 most recent posts in the forums, starting with the most recent post first and working backwards. Signatures, avatars and other related information have been stripped so that the page will load quickly. Each post contains a link to the thread where it was posted so you can click to see it in its original context.

My bad. I haven't paid much attention to holdovers. Next time! You can push your masterpiece onto Rob.

Everyone's a winner, say Marc. Unless you had a holdover review. In which case, all you get is snubbed.

It's only funny when it happens to Rob.

I'm glad my suffering was not in vain! Thank you for the win. :)

Thanks for this topic and the comments, Marc! After this last wave of mostly uninteresting games (mainly ones like Gateways, Squidlit and Neverlast), I feel like I need something with some real meat on it to review.

Happy Thursday everyone! We had a holiday here on Monday, so my Thursday is likely happier than yours. There were six reviews, which isn't a lot, and isn't a little, but with only three writers responsible for them, everyone wins a prize. Let's have at it.

Retro is responsible for half of this week's output. All of them are intriguing retro choices: Gals Panic S, Sengoku Denshou, and Panorama Cotton. We'll start with Gals Panic: "While the cast is mostly female you may at times encounter a male stage, which is as erotic as the girls pictured. At least this game does not discriminate." I didn't know that! How progressive. Following that line up with this one, "Girls Panic S Extra Edition is a fun rump to go through at any given time..." is a good bit of unintentional humour to be sure, but overall, this is a good review with smoother transitions and fewer typos than in recent Retro reviews. He's improving all the time. And yet...

Sengoku Denshou's tagline is reductive and common, but also apt, so one can't complain. "You have the option to fight as either character..." I note that you say this before introducing either character. The second paragraph has some issues which really derail the flow: "Anything else like using weapons, power-ups, and changing into different avatars is present and make the game a lot easier to go through than with your bare fists. However the shift is so grand that its practically a cakewalk until your power fades and you resume gameplay as your starting character. Simply put, the game is at most difficult when you are a bare bones character without any significant help from it." Also, "Quite short but not short enough to make it feel long and boring." Huh? Finally, "Bonus stages are present to break said monotony, but they are so blatant that it is quite a pain to even bother with them." I don't quite follow this part. This is the weakest of Retro's offerings.

Cotton is a game I was interested in, and for the most part, it's covered well here. The tagline and the ending in particular are nice, "You will have no dull moment in trying out to beat this title, and quite frankly is one of those games on the MegaDrive/Genesis you should definitely get a taste of. Just make sure it isn’t burnt before that first bite." (This hearkens back to an earlier line about burnt willow.) Unfortunately, there are janky constructions that make for some rocky reading, starting off with the first line: "I have only heard of Panorama Cotton from some gaming sites and youtube videos never had the chance to play it mainly because it never hit the US when it was released in the mid-90s."

What the three Retro reviews told me is that when he takes his time and gives his work a quick edit, the result is pretty smooth, as with Gals Panic. Other times, things seem a bit rushed and in need of another look. My two cents.

Joe wrote two reviews, and submitted one as staff and one as a 'reader.' The former, Squidlit, has the most unappealing name for a game I've heard of in recent memory. The other is Wild Arms. Squidlit, then. "In a genre that's well past crowded, memorable material is practically necessary." Good line, and how right you are! Also, "Though you encounter plenty of vanilla ghosts and soldiers, you also run afoul of shark-caterpillar hybrids, flying books and slithering cyclopean critters that give the experience a much needed boost of creativity." Full marks for using the word "cyclopean". Joe does a good job on the whole handling being of two minds about the game: it's too short to savour, but had it been longer, boredom would have set in. Ironically though, this review, considering how slight its subject matter, might have been shorter.

Far better is Joe's other submission, Wild Arms. It starts strong and doesn't let up. If there's a weakness here, it's with the "Few of the above factors..." paragraph transition, which isn't as smooth as all of the others. The review gets to the point, includes what is important and eschews what isn't; paints pictures, gives examples, and has an easy flow about it from stanza to stanza. Kudos.

Finally, Nightfire submitted a review of Dogcoin. It's a review that exists because Emp is a lazy fool. However, it is a great review, and many of the reviews spawned by the Emp Project have likewise been of high quality, so there's that. "Propelled by some masochistic determination to see if I could get through it, I threw the dog into the spike-filled gauntlet again and again." Bahaha. Great stuff. Nightfire keeps the good lines coming, "Every level had the same hue of bright blue as a background and the same blue/purple portal at the end, framed by a ring of what I can only assume is vomit." And, "Apparently one exit button just isn’t enough for Dogcoin, and on that point, I actually agree." This is arguably the best of the Emp Project reviews, and my pick for the best of the week. It's probably too long for the subject matter, but it flies by, which is a testament to excellent, entertaining writing.

And so, to recap:

BRONZE: Retro's Gals Panic S

SILVER: Joe's Wild Arms

GOLD: Nightfire's Dogcoin

See you next time!

Thanks for the win and commentary. Now, I'm off to correct typos, I guess!

Not sure how far I'll get this year, but I will keep track anyhow:

D: Dogcoin

You don't know what you could be missing out on! Literally!

Dogcoin looks like a real stinker, though. Hard to gauge what the worst of the lost might be so far, but it's in with a good shout.

I was actually hoping for one possibly last go with the Steam roulette.

Thanks for the placement and words, EmP. I didn't realize this game was so "fondly" remembered by so many members on this site until I submitted the review; the amount of reviews, negative ones, that were already there, OD's reply, and your comments here have been the highlight of me having to suffer playing through it. I recently picked up the second game used at a store (they had about six copies), but after this experience and a quick read through the manual, I'm gonna pass on it for now...

Congrats on Masters' second placement and OD for taking the RotW.

Nightfire's image

Review is here.

And no, I am not asking for another.

“We should probably decide if we’re going to switch the rota order back to how it was, if we’re going to keep going EmP > Masters from here on out”, I recently said to Marc “Masters” Golding.

Several hours went by.

“What’s this?” He eventually replied. So I explained it all again “urgh, I don’t to do this week”, was his equally tardy retort. “You do it.”

So do it I shall.

Joe’s find himself in unfamiliar ground and outside the podium. A lot of this, I think, is due to the awful games he played over this week. Space Shaft was my fault, but turned out to be the stronger of the two reviews. It was short, giving it the time it deserved, and talking about how you effortlessly broke the game after deciding the way you were supposed to play was unachievable was brilliantly conveyed. I didn’t really like your review for Neverlast. Unlike Shaft (Shut yo mouth), the review was lengthy and kind of droning. I conclude the game was such a drudging boredom simulator that it temporarily broke you. It was brave of you to tackle it, but it felt like you were just going through the motions to get something out. Shaft was pretty great through; no one could have done better with that nonsense. Would you care for another?

Joe has a Switch now, so Jason’s going to slowly start trying to turn him, like an alien face hugger or weird cult leader. It’s his thing

THIRD Wizards & Warriors [NES] Pickhut

We have a history, this series and I. But I’m not allowed to talk about it.

Like me (LIKE EVERYONE!) Pick does not like this series. This series is bad.

Before being proven wrong by the very next thing he writes, I’ve often accused Pick of being the most fair handed basher out of all of us. This is sort of true here; I think the reason I liked this review was because it doesn't quite play it as straight laced as usual, and does throw some mockery in there at times. It’s also a shorter review, so it doesn't waste time on this armpit of a gaming series, because it doesn't deserve our words. I’m writing about it second hand and I hate the time I’m having to waste on it. I’m going to stop.

SECOND Reign of Bullets (PC) Masters

Marc goes mad, throwing out three ridiculously good reviews, but I’m going to settle on Reign as his best of the three. In a lot of ways, perhaps it shouldn’t be; it’s the least interesting of the three games, but the way he casually dismiss it with a lot of really good phrases has effortlessly won me over. The faux bad-film intro was golden, the kitchen sink link was the best line of the week, and I think you’ve even snagged best tagline on a site thanks to my inspiration that constantly throws out killer taglines.

I gave you this game almost five years ago now, and it’s been rotting away. It’s a shame the game itself isn’t very good, but I’m glad you managed to get the review written up. Eventually.

WINNER Witcher 3: Blood & Wine [PS4] Overdrive

You’ve got some typos in there. There’s a misplaced semicolon early in and the odd line like this one: There are one large city,. Are there, Robert? Are there?

Other than that, you should be really proud of this review. It’s not OD long but somehow manages to convey not only the strength of the expansion, but the amount of mileage and enjoyment you’ve managed to get out of the entire franchise. There’s a decent chance you’ve delved a bit too deeply into the expansion’s main plot -- perhaps the misunderstood villain twist would have been better discovered by the gamer without prior explanation? -- but your explanation going further than just the game's lore was a subtle touch. Really good work, you.

Street Fighter V: Champion Edition


Azur Lane: Crosswave


Late as ever here, but thanks for the feedback. Writing from an outline sounds like a good idea, and I remember doing the word count on my review and thinking "wooo nellie, that's big."

I'll try to tighten things up in future and add some paragraphs in to avoid intimidating walls of text in future. In the meantime, thanks for putting up with my waffling.

Thank you very much for the win, feedback and the topic! I don't have much to add except things are going good and I only have one more week of leave left (sadly). On the flip side, I've been playing Wild Arms 2 and Space Pioneer, and they're both entertaining time wasters when I get my occasional downtime.

I totally read that as "rot wing." Sounds like a Final Fantasy enemy.

Thank you for the placement. Sorry about the lack of bashing in my bad reviews. They were so uninspired that I couldn't even dredge up good bash fodder for them.

That's really how most such errors find their way into writing, I think. When I'm drafting a review, I now spend probably at least half my time just going over it repeatedly to polish rough edges and catch little things like that. But the longer I spend in that effort and the more little tweaks I make, the more likely it is something will happen to produce a sentence with an extra or a missing word, or subject/verb agreement issues or whatever. I usually make around 4 or 5 pretty detailed passes and then another one or two after that, and sometimes something STILL sneaks through. Anyway, it's not like your review was roughly written. It mostly flowed, which is why those two sentences stood out for me.

Thanks for the feedback, Jason. I'll go over it and see if I can tighten it up. I think I chopped and changed the ending a couple of times so something Might be wrong there.

I have a lot on my plate, so pardon the lack of creativity as I get down to the business of ranking and commenting on the seven eligible reviews this week (which include a holdover from overdrive). First up come the ones that didn't place in the top three...


Fatal Fury (Genesis) by CptRetroBlue

This review had a tough task ahead of it: describing why the Genesis version of the game is better than its SNES counterpart despite featuring (apparently) fewer characters, no bonus stages and being less faithful in general to the arcade version it was supposed to imitate. It also apparently made some changes that make the gameplay feel cheap. At the end of your review, you say it is twice as fun as the SNES port, and yet you didn't describe in your review body (that I noticed) any reason that might be the case. Instead, you mostly just went into detail on the cuts. I know it's possible for a limited home conversion to make changes and play better than the original. I feel like a few NES ports were more fun than the originals on which they were based, despite grappling with technical limitations. I just don't feel like you've convincingly made the point that Fatal Fury is one such title, or even that it is the superior 16-bit offering.

Gateways (PC) by JoeTheDestroyer

Like your Demon Peak review, this one forced me to conclude that I'll do better to get my fun by playing other, better games. It just feels like this one would frustrate me rather than entertain me, courtesy of its challenging puzzles in the late going. The screenshots also betray an art style that does nothing for me. It's a solid review, although out of the two you contributed this week, I did prefer the Demon Peak one.

Jenny LeClue Detictivu (PC) by Flobknocker

A little cuteness goes a long way, but I think this review would have done better to get out of the way more quickly your story about how the game came to be in your collection. Someone reading about it a few years down the road will likely acquire the game under completely different circumstances, and so your intro takes a bit too long to say "I bought this game for no reason more noble than that it looked cute." In general, I would say you might have the best luck with future reviews if you try writing from an outline and following it closely from point to point, so that things build and you include details that contribute more directly to your arguments. Right now, some of what you included feels rather thrown together. The text is carried by your personable tone, but sometimes that leads to enormous paragraphs that tend to be intimidating to readers. I hope you'll continue to tweak and refine your writing style, because I think the foundation is definitely in place. This just wasn't a top-three performance on this particular week.

Crazy Road (PC) by Jerec

This review has a few sentences that need some attention: "If you hit another car, it's over - it's back to the start of the level." That just feels too repetitive. Also, the last sentence is missing some words or maybe has some extra ones. Otherwise, I have no real complaints. You did a good job describing a game so that I know what I'm missing by never playing it. And that is: not much. I've played--and still need to review--a few similar titles from a developer that was fairly prolific on Wii U and 3DS, so... yeah. Thanks for covering this one, thus satisfying my interest in seeing us continue to cover a broad variety of releases on the site, and also satisfying the requirements EmP mentioned when he suspiciously timed his neat little giveaway so that a lot of the output would potentially come through on my week.


And now for those top three...

Third Place: The Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone (PS4) by overdrive

This review's fortunes are impacted by the fact that I have read (and like) your Blood & Wine review that followed it more, and that other review also needed very little tweaking in The Production Room to reach that elevated status. Your Hearts of Stone review lacks some of that infectious passion and settles instead for a solid description of an expansion pack--an admittedly difficult thing to make terribly interesting if your audience hasn't played the base game, though it happens that I have--that should be a boon to anyone looking for detailed information on what this expansion entails, but isn't necessarily a powerful read beyond that purpose.

Runner Up: Cthulhu Saves Christmas (PC) by EmP

There are a few sentences in your second-to-last paragraph that need your editor's pen, now that you've had a few days to think about what you've done, but otherwise this is an excellent review that was a lot of fun to read while telling me interesting things about a game I kind of want to play. Your self-referential humor usually works, and here it works better than usual, which seemed fitting given the subject matter at hand. You also covered some neat little aspects of the game that definitely make it sound neat to play, to the point where I wouldn't have been terribly surprised to reach the end and find an even higher rating. In summary: fun read of what sounds like a fun game. It was almost, almost, almost enough to get you this week's top spot. But it didn't quite.

Review of the Week: Demon Peak (PC) by JoeTheDestroyer

This review capably analyzes the difference between good and bad difficulty, and applies that to an indie platform that disappointed me even though I've never played it. Of course, it disappointed me because this excellent review made me feel as if I had put the game through its paces (or perhaps, more accurately, that it had put me through mine). There's some nice speculation near the end about why some of the irritating design decisions worked out the way they did, and the review reaches some of the same conclusions I likely would. The end result is one of those wonderful reviews that is evocative and provides enough information that if someone else with different tastes comes across it, they should be able to tell whether they would agree (and should thus also avoid the game) or if they might find something more to match their interests. Great stuff!


And that's the topic! Thanks to all who contributed to another interesting week, filled with reviews for a pleasingly diverse range of software. Look at the ridiculous sort of ground we covered with only seven reviews. Let's keep it up all year, yes? Yes!

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