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Forums > Contributor Zone > Review of the Week August 19-25: For fun, combine Zelda + Castlevania titles! Breath of the Moon.

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Author: JoeTheDestroyer (Mod)
Posted: August 29, 2019 (05:25 PM)
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Hourglass of Blood! A Link to the Simon! Symphony of the Cadence!

The last thing I thought I would call a vacation week is "busy." But yeah, I'm on vacation and I've been busy. I've spent all the extra time I can with my kids before they go back to school, plus I've been getting them ready for that occasion (one of them started on Wednesday). On top of that, I wanted to use this time to knock a few items off my entertainment backlog, including Phantasy Star IV (looking iffy), Alicemare (haven't even touched it) and Blood Rites by Jim Butcher (finally done). On top of that, I aimed to start playing No Man's Sky (I installed it, anyway) and begin reading the next Dresden Files book, Dead Beat (and I have).

October is coming, and that means horror reviews are coming from me, too. Plus, I will start playing a lot of horror stuff from my backlog and writing things to post. Anything written too late to submit will have to wait for next year. I've actually got two reviews that have been waiting for a year or two to get posted: Euclidean and The Lost Souls.

It's time now to look at this week's reviews, plus some holdovers from Jason. Speaking of holdovers, I will have one as well with Elena Temple.

Omega Labyrinth Life by Honestgamer
I've said this many times before, but you're always great about offering details on games with a lot of moving parts, such that a reader might feel like they've rented the game after reading one of your reviews. And this game has a lot of moving parts, if you know what I mean... Anyway, I came away from this fluid review knowing what to expect from Omega Labyrinth and any title that might bear a similar name. Only one thing, though: Control + F and search for the word "otehr."

Jurassic Park Arcade by Honestgamer
There aren't many new arcade games I'm willing to try out, mostly because the best of them tend to remain in Japan. Since my wife doesn't us to dump money into a plane ticket just so we can go play video games, I'm pretty much stuck with what I can find in the US. Even then, I have to justify paying a dollar or more with the newer stuff. On that tiny list, though, sits this game, and I'm glad someone here reviewed it.

I enjoyed this review because it outlined the game's features very naturally, and didn't come off as just a list of functions (good example, mentioning power-ups in a paragraph discussing a two-player run, rather than devoting a whole section to power-ups alone). You make the game sound reasonable, and give good support for its drawbacks, while also playing up how exciting it can be without spoiling segments. Ultimately, it sounds like something I should look out for.

Swallow Up by Honestgamer
The very first paragraph is something that's tough to touch on in reviewing games: price. It's something that should be mentioned in certain titles, such as here, because it can be a driving force in regards to whether or not a game is worth purchasing, even if we ignore things like sales or price drops. Typically, I void talking about pricing because prices change over time, plus I usually find price discussion moot in a video game review, especially if I feel the review is basically suggesting that a lower price somehow improves a game's quality. However, price discussion is appropriate here because certain genres aren't as desirable at certain prices. Casual games, for instance, are an extreme case because most people who play them don't want to pay more than a one-time fee of a few bucks. Since this title's price is steep for a casual game, readers might be wary of it. It's good to mention that aspect of it.

That having been said, one thing that always impresses me is that you are more than able to write full scale reviews using such minimalist games. Granted, games like this don't usually allow for much writing pizzazz, but to me just being able to actually get out a strong, well written review from one of these puppies is more than enough, as is the case here.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses by Jerec
Two things about the first paragraph: the Anime Vatican Hogwarts thing gave me a good chuckle, and is it Fodlan or Foldan?

Anyway, this is a good, detailed review that tells me everything I need to know about the newest Fire Emblem. You wrote this review as basically an overview of a typical session (or sessions?), which worked out nicely. It's a very well organized piece. I also liked the touch at the end, where you basically let anyone with major responsibilities know that this is a very time-consuming number, and to approach it with caution (if at all).

PictoQuest: The Cursed Grids by Honestgamer
I always wondered how this game works. You've outlined that excellently, while keeping this one really snappy and well written. Not much really to say, except now I know how this game works and that's ultimately what matters.

DUSK by Flobknocker
This is a pretty solid review. However, there are a couple of things that really throw it off. The intro could use some tightening, though that's only a small issue. Spacing is probably the biggest trouble this piece runs into. I read this review on my computer, and to me it felt very list-like, mostly because of the awkward spacing. When reading it on my phone, though, the review seemed to flow more naturally. Your content is good stuff, though, infused with an appropriate amount of enthusiasm and strengthened by a casual tone. I was already sold on this game, and you managed to sell me even more on it.

Side Arms by Overdrive
This review has lawyers (this is a good thing). You examine the first one, and it's all about mechanics and power-ups. It's an important first layer, because it's good to get the basics out of the way. The second lawyer talks about levels and structure, which is something any shmup review should include---assuming that shmup actually has well designed levels and isn't just thousands of miles of the color blue (*cough1942cough*). Finally, the third lawyer discusses all of the bosses, a section which deviates from effective review form. Typically, generating a list is kind of frowned upon, but it absolutely works here because it shines a spotlight on the game's one major flaw: boss repetition. It also helped paint the bigger picture without going through a repetitive look back at each level, bit by bit. It's a different and efficient way to get the job done, and I appreciate it.

Cadence of Hyrule by Honestgamer
I played and liked NecroDancer, but man was it brutal. It sounds like they toned the game down here, thankfully, but I don't own a Switch yet, so...

Anyway, there's a lot of passion in this review, as there ought to be. I enjoyed it quite a bit because you dish the details while making it abundantly clear that this game is a blast. There's a lot of good content, and it's laid out very nicely and naturally without giving away too many surprises.

Re-Legion: Holy War by EmP
At first, I thought you were going to rip this game a new one. Your intro sounded pretty sarcastic, but then you lightened up and said, "Yeah, it's rough around the edges, but you know what? It's still pretty killer." Your support for that flows naturally, and you describe gameplay concepts without coming off as list-like or all technical. Information and opinion intertwine perfectly here, as expected.

Contrra Anniversary Collection by Masters
The first statement hit the nail squarely on the head. That's why Contra is so beloved.

But anyway, this. THIS. This is how you do a compilation review. This is probably my favorite compilation review, in fact. You go into what's missing, what's included, why some of the inclusions are kind of bullshit (or at least their presentation as separate games is bullshit), and even took the time to mini-review the proper titles effectively. It flows beautifully, too. I read the thing super quick and didn't realize I had plowed through it. Compilations are difficult because it's hard to know what to bring up and what to leave out, but damn it, you hit all the right notes.


That's all I got.

The only thing my milkshake brings to the yard is a subpoena.

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Author: jerec
Posted: August 29, 2019 (06:17 PM)
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Thank you, Joe!

It is Fodlan (I think there is an accented letter in there - I'll need to check I wrote it consistently throughout)

Given what you've just described as your week, this game is probably not for you.

Just my luck to come out of retirement for one of the busiest weeks here recently haha

I can avoid death by not having a life.

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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: August 29, 2019 (06:25 PM)
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Thanks for the topic, Joe, and for your detailed comments on my numerous reviews! I'm glad they accomplished what I wanted them to accomplish, and that you enjoyed reading them to boot.

Congrats to EmP and Masters for placing ahead of me, and (as always) a big thanks to everyone who contributed to make this a terrific week. It was nice to see new content from some of you, after a lengthy hiatus, and nice to see still more great writing from the usual faces. I love the variety of games we cover here from week to week, and all of you who contribute make that possible and make the site something we can all be proud of.

"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto on secret doors to another world

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Author: Masters (Mod)
Posted: August 30, 2019 (08:21 AM)
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Thanks for the high praise Joe. I'm glad you liked the review that much! You're right, compilations can be tricky and a drag, but I had some practice with the Castlevania one just prior. You did a good job with feedback for every review on the busiest week in awhile. And the numbers are just gonna go up in OctJOEber, which is always nice.

Great to see that patented Venter content explosion, and Jerec's return.

I don't have to prove I'm refined - that's what makes me refined!

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Author: overdrive (Mod)
Posted: August 31, 2019 (07:37 AM)
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Thanks for the kind words, even if I didn't place in what seemed to be a really good week for contributions. I was worried about how this one would be received, as I usually work on a review over 1-2 days and then give it a go-over for easily-found mistakes before submitting it. But I started this one on Friday, rushed through it and sent it in that day, so in my mind, it felt rushed and half-assed simply because it didn't take half a week to write. But, hey, you liked the layers (lawyers? i hope not; i don't like those guys!) in it and that's good enough for me!

I'm not afraid to die because I am invincible
Viva la muerte, that's my goddamn principle

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Author: EmP (Mod)
Posted: August 31, 2019 (09:23 AM)
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The review count is certainly on an upturn; long may it continue. So good work riding the increased traffic, and thanks for the mention. Congrats to Marc who, I thought, managed to eclipse his previous collection review, and props to all who made this a competitive week.

But stop subbing now. I don't want these kinds of numbers on my week.

For us. For them. For you.

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