E3 2016 | Severed on iOS and Nintendo

One of the best devel­op­ers out there build­ing games for the PS Vita, Drinkbox Stu­dios has yet to release a game that has not been a slam dunk for me. This year’s release, enti­tled Sev­ered, keeps to this trend and proves that when done smartly, great PS Vita games can cer­tainly be made. For those who are not insane enough to con­tinue back­ing the Vita like I have, Drinkbox Stu­dios has got you cov­ered. They are releas­ing Sev­ered to both iOS and Nin­tendo con­soles this summer.

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ESH | Finn & Jake Investigate the Adventure Genre

One would think that con­nect­ing the dots and mak­ing an adven­ture game out of the Adven­ture Time series would’ve hap­pened a bit faster. I mean, come one, it’s right there in the title of the show for cry­ing out loud. Glar­ing over­sights aside, the Adven­ture Time games that have come thus far have ranged in qual­ity, but largely haven’t cap­tured the feel of the show per­fectly. This is a task that Adven­ture Time: Finn and Jake Inves­ti­ga­tions has done a phe­nom­e­nal job tack­ling with a few speed bumps along the way.

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ESH | Map Out Adventure With ‘The Fafnir Knight’

In spite of what oth­ers might tell you, the real use of graph paper has always been scrawl­ing out maps of dun­geons for a plucky group of explor­ers to inves­ti­gate. Since its incep­tion in 2007, the Etrian Odyssey series has drawn upon this con­cept. Task­ing play­ers with not only tra­vers­ing a mys­te­ri­ous labyrinth, but also draw­ing the map from scratch as they go. After a series of games in the series, Atlas has started releas­ing remakes of the orig­i­nal titles with one major addi­tion: an offi­cial story mode. Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight is the sec­ond of these remakes and adds some great new fea­tures to an already fun game.

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ESH | It’s Adventure Game Time

True to the hyper­ac­tive nature of the the show itself, every time a new Adven­ture Time game arises, it’s com­pletely dif­fer­ent from the last. From launch­ing Finn through to air to pay­ing homage to The Leg­end of Zelda: A Link to the Past, they’ve cov­ered a lot of ground through the years. One sur­pris­ing genre they haven’t yet cov­ered, since it’s lit­er­ally in the title of the show, is adven­ture games. Vicious Cycle Soft­ware looks to solve this prob­lem with Adven­ture Time: Finn & Jake Inves­ti­ga­tions later this year.

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ESH | Comcept Has One Mighty Fine Game

Nos­tal­gia can be a pow­er­ful ally in mak­ing a game. The first game that ever belonged to me specif­i­cally was Mega Man 3 for the NES. As such, you can imag­ine that the series holds a very dear place in my heart. Mighty No. 9 is not Mega Man, but it feels like an evo­lu­tion of the con­cepts that the series brought to the table and does a phe­nom­e­nal job of scratch­ing the itch left by the absence of the series.

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ESH | Fire Emblem Had a Big Night

Nin­tendo, hot off the heels of the Zelda Wii U delay, decided to hold a new Nin­tendo Direct yes­ter­day. There was no fool­ing in this April 1st direct; instead we got quite a bit of news. While there were plenty of announce­ments, N64 and DS games are on Wii U now, Fire Emblem fans undoubt­edly had the best night. None of the games talked about were new titles, but they had very good news for each of them. Let’s break it down right now game by game.

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ESH | Free to Pokémon

Dur­ing an oth­er­wise upbeat Nin­tendo Direct, a moment of ter­ror ensued when Poké­mon Shuf­fle, a free-to-play match three game, was announced for the 3DS. My opin­ion of these games by and large is that they are poorly paced and even less fun. Still, as the min­utes rolled by, that ter­ror trans­formed into some­thing else: curios­ity. Nin­tendo has a pretty decent track record when it comes to mak­ing a con­cept work bet­ter than any­one else. That being said, I began to won­der if some­how Nin­tendo could apply their mag­i­cal touch to the free-to-play for­mula and make it fun. When the game became avail­able, I let my curios­ity get there bet­ter of me and I tried it out at length. What I ended up with was an unsur­pris­ingly mixed bag that met each of my expectations.

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GOTY 2014 | Number 7 — Shovel Knight

Many games in the past few years have attempted to recap­ture the pix­e­lated good­ness of the 80s and 90s, but few of them have been com­pletely suc­cess­ful. Along comes Yacht Club Games this year, with their debut title Shovel Knight to rem­edy this fact. Hav­ing grown up play­ing quite a bit of Mega Man, I have a strong opin­ion of how that era of games felt. Shovel Knight takes pages from both the Mega Man series and even the sur­pris­ingly good Duck Tales game for the NES and com­bines them into, aside from Mega Man 9, the most suc­cess­fully retro-feeling game I’ve ever played.

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ESH | Adventure Time Has A Secret To Everybody

Car­toon Net­work has been try­ing for a while to make a strong argu­ment for an Adven­ture Time game. Frankly, I’ve never thought it needed an argu­ment at all. The series feels like it would lend itself very well to a game, but not all games licensed from the series have been a huge hit. While I really enjoyed Jump­ing Finn both on my browser and my iPhone, Adven­ture Time: Explore the Dun­geon Because I Don’t Know! didn’t exactly light the world on fire. Hav­ing now played the newest game based on the TV series, Adven­ture Time: The Secret of the Name­less King­dom I’m glad to say that they’re on the right path, if not quite there yet.

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ESH | Nintendo DLC: So Far So Good

Knots instantly formed in my stom­ach the first time I read the words “down­load­able con­tent” in rela­tion to Nin­tendo. My younger self was scream­ing about rob­bing the world of the joys of unlock­ing con­tent by play­ing the game instead of whip­ping out your credit card. Dooms­day the­o­ries started form­ing in my mind about the ter­ri­ble sort of DLC exploita­tion I might see down the line. It’s been quite a while since that moment and none of those fears have come to pass. Frankly, I feel like they’ve done a good job of approach­ing the sit­u­a­tion in a pos­i­tive way that has thus far ben­e­fit­ted customers.

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