Vita – The Nerd Stash http://thenerdstash.com Video Games, Reviews, News, & More Sun, 22 Jan 2017 02:11:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Azkend 2: The World Beneath Review http://thenerdstash.com/azkend-2-the-world-beneath-review/ http://thenerdstash.com/azkend-2-the-world-beneath-review/#respond Sun, 22 Jan 2017 01:12:18 +0000 http://thenerdstash.com/?p=54657 Title: Azkend 2: The World Beneath Available On: PS4, PC, Xbox One, PS Vita, iOs, Android Developer: 10tons Ltd Publisher: MythPeople Genre: Match-3 Puzzler Official Site: www.azkend2.com Release Date: 03-14-12 (Steam), 05-03-16 (PS4, Xbox One, Switch) Where To Buy: PSN Store, Xbox Store, Steam, Google Play Store, App Store While there have been a plethora of puzzle-like titles that […]

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Title: Azkend 2: The World Beneath

Available On: PS4, PC, Xbox One, PS Vita, iOs, Android

Developer: 10tons Ltd

Publisher: MythPeople

Genre: Match-3 Puzzler

Official Site: www.azkend2.com

Release Date: 03-14-12 (Steam), 05-03-16 (PS4, Xbox One, Switch)

Where To Buy: PSN Store, Xbox Store, Steam, Google Play Store, App Store


While there have been a plethora of puzzle-like titles that have filled the PC and mobile spaces, most focus solely on procedurally generated gameplay that makes them approachable. Rather than implementing a story that makes the game memorable or adding interesting gameplay techniques, the vast majority fall to the wayside and are forgotten. Fortunately, Azkend 2: The World Beneath breaks from this formula and gives players something worth remembering.

Azkend 2: The World Beneath is a match-3 puzzle game set inside of a storybook adventure. You play as a sailor aboard the brigantine Celestia traveling between Liverpool and New York in the late 19th century. The game begins with your ship being berated by heavy rainfall before falling into a whirlpool and stranding the player in a strange world beneath the sea. From here, it’s the player’s job to craft the necessary materials to traverse this dangerous and magnificent landscape and try to make it back to the surface.

The story is told through the narration of your female protagonist over active artistic landscapes. Each of these set pieces requires the player to craft a new tool in order to advance, each of which adds a new element to the gameplay. While most if not all games need a suspension of disbelief in order for the story to make some sense, it seemed strange to me that your character has the ability to craft everything from binoculars to submarine parts later in the game. While certain things I could understand, such as a working raft, it seems unlikely that your character would know how to assemble and use depth charges at a whim.

Charge Tesla Coils and Unleash Their Charge to Clear Obstacles.

Normally, the Bejeweled style gameplay of match-3 puzzlers tends to be limited and only gets harder by limiting moves or time. This was not the case with Azkend 2. The gameplay starts simply and basically with a relatively small and easy level design with plenty of opportunities to succeed and not much to get in the way. Quickly, though, the difficulty curve ramps up and continues to add new challenges to keep the player on their feet as they race against the clock to clear obstacles and obtain the missing pieces of their construction.

While most of them were fairly easy to figure out, such as locks blocking half the level, fire that threatens to consume schematics, ice that freezes pieces, and steel pieces that require twice as many matches to clear them, the one that challenged me the most were the bugs. Each bug requires a certain number of adjacent matches in order to eliminate and easily became the most frustrating part of the game. I genuinely can’t remember how many times I almost beat a level only to have one of those bugs narrowly making it to the top just before I squashed it, causing me to restart the whole sequence again.

Fortunately, the game gives you complete control over how you want to beat stages. At no point in time does the game try to stop the player from using a specific active or passive power-up, but rather hints to you at most load screens that you should mess around and try new techniques. This alone adds some flavor and changes up how difficult the stages are, as well as helps the player play off their strengths and alleviate their weaknesses.

Each Stage Has Its Own Unique Art Still.

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the mix of the challenges and story that Azkend 2 manages to deliver. It was never so difficult I wanted to stop playing, and while the story told isn’t incredibly intimate or personal, I felt intrigued to find out where I would end up as I progressed. The story is incredibly short, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it made it a tight experience. That being said, it left me wanting more, especially as it ends with a sort of cliffhanger with many questions unanswered. I’m fully expecting more additions to the series and am looking forward to the continuation of this adventure.

When you finish the story, the game has two separate activities for you to explore: a sort of new game + mode that lets you replay the story with all of the powerups unlocked in the first playthrough, or a set of challenge stages based around each set piece from the story. These extra stages change the level layouts and push the player to adapt in order to conquer.

As someone who tends to steer clear of puzzle games (as I find them too repetitive and pointless), I admire Azkend 2: The World Beneath for integrating an interesting storybook adventure into their game. It felt great to finish the more challenging stages and getting more clues into what was happening in the world they created. It’s a game worth picking up, and I look forward to finding out more of the tale they’ve created.


  • Gameplay: Easy to pick up, difficult to master
  • Graphics: Very pretty art stills
  • Sound: Simple, typical soundtrack
  • Presentation: Interesting story, personalized gameplay, difficult but enjoyable

Azkend 2: The World Beneath Review

Azkend 2: The World Beneath is a match-three adventure game set in an underground world. Enjoy matching puzzle gameplay, a storyline with voiceovers, and hidden object minigames.
Overall Score
Good
Pros:
  • Personalized Playstyle
  • Beautiful Art Style
  • Replayability
Cons:
  • Procedural-Generation Can Become Tedious
  • Requires Heavy Suspension of Disbelief
  • Fairly Short Story, Feels Unfinished

User Rating:

/5
(0 votes)

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Darkest Dungeon Radiant Update Arrives In Early February http://thenerdstash.com/darkest-dungeon-radiant-update-launching-early-february/ http://thenerdstash.com/darkest-dungeon-radiant-update-launching-early-february/#respond Sun, 15 Jan 2017 01:17:45 +0000 http://thenerdstash.com/?p=54438 Darkest Dungeon is one of those games that keeps drawing you back in. The unique art and sound design, the punishing difficulty, and the thrill of victory on the rare occasion you do succeed make it an easy one to return to again and again. Developer Red Hook Studios has announced that the “Radiant Update,” […]

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Darkest Dungeon is one of those games that keeps drawing you back in. The unique art and sound design, the punishing difficulty, and the thrill of victory on the rare occasion you do succeed make it an easy one to return to again and again. Developer Red Hook Studios has announced that the “Radiant Update,” which will mainly focus on a mode that significantly cuts down on the grind needed to finish the game, has had its release date pushed up to early February.

With the upcoming update, players will have a choice of three different ways to play Darkest Dungeon: Radiant, Normal, and Stygian. Stygian mode used to be New Game+, but is now available from the start of a new game. You know, just in case Darkest Dungeon‘s normal difficulty isn’t painful enough. According to the post: “Radiant Mode is not being designed to be an ‘easy’ mode. The intent is to adjust things that typically affect the time it takes to build up your roster and assault the Darkest Dungeon. Our goal is to get the completion time down to around 40 hours.”

Write and tell your friends. It won’t be such a slog anymore!

In addition to the starting mode options, the Radiant update will add a few other changes. Typical quality of life tweaks will make the game a bit friendlier to navigate, and a new monster is being added to each region’s “Champion” level dungeons. The post highlights the new monster of the ruins region: The Bone Bearer. A skeleton carrying an unholy banner will buff his allies and create all sorts of new problems for your strongest heroes.

Unfortunately, the push to get the Radiant Update out so soon will slightly delay the release of the first expansion, “The Crimson Court.” Red Hook expects the expansion to now release in April.

We quite liked Darkest Dungeon, even when it was only in Early Access. It has improved dramatically since then. Check out our review here.

Will you head back to the dungeon now that the experience will be a little shorter? Let us know in the comments below.

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PlayStation Plus Lineup for January Announced http://thenerdstash.com/free-playstation-plus-games-january/ http://thenerdstash.com/free-playstation-plus-games-january/#respond Thu, 29 Dec 2016 05:43:13 +0000 http://thenerdstash.com/?p=53310 Each month PlayStation has a lineup of free games for PlayStation Plus subscribers to enjoy. The games that will be on the PS4 next month to ring in the new year have been revealed slightly ahead of their availability date. According to PlayStation Blog’s announcement today, Day of the Tentacle Remastered and This War of Mine: The Little Ones will be […]

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Each month PlayStation has a lineup of free games for PlayStation Plus subscribers to enjoy. The games that will be on the PS4 next month to ring in the new year have been revealed slightly ahead of their availability date. According to PlayStation Blog’s announcement today, Day of the Tentacle Remastered and This War of Mine: The Little Ones will be available for PS Plus subscribers coming this January.

Day of the Tentacle Remastered was originally released back in 1993, so it will be a great opportunity for longtime fans to once again experience this “mind-bending, time traveling, puzzle adventure”. The games features three unlikely friends who must work together in order to “prevent an evil mutated purple tentacle from taking over the world”. Day of the Tentacle will also be available on the PlayStation Vita via cross-buy.

PlayStation Plus

PlayStation Plus subscribers can play the classic Day of the Tentacle this January.

This War of Mine: The Little Ones takes on a more serious tone. The game features a group of civilians who are trying to survive while their city is under siege, making the task of gathering food and medicine that much more difficult in the midst of war. If that premise weren’t heavy enough, This War of Mine also puts the power of choice in the players’ hands, as you have to make life-and-death decisions which are “driven by your conscience”.

Where the PlayStation Vita is concerned, users will be able to download and play Azkend 2 and Titan Souls for free. If you missed out on the PS Plus lineup of free games for December, there is still time to get them, and this month includes titles such as Stories: The Path of Destinies. 

Below is the complete line-up of games that we can expect for PlayStation Plus in January:

Azkennd 2 (PS Vita)
Blazerush (PS3)
Day of the Tentacle Remastered (Cross buy PS Vita)
The Swindle (PS3 and Cross Buy on PS4 and Vita)
Titan Souls (PS Vita and Cross Buy on PS4)

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Video Game Series That Sold The Consoles http://thenerdstash.com/video-game-console-sellers/ http://thenerdstash.com/video-game-console-sellers/#respond Tue, 06 Dec 2016 23:34:10 +0000 http://thenerdstash.com/?p=52395 As of 2012, the video game industry has entered its eighth generation of console gaming, headed by Playstation, Xbox and Nintendo branded consoles. Those three companies have been at the forefront of each of the last few generations of consoles, as we’ve seen many companies fall off the console development bandwagon over the past few […]

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As of 2012, the video game industry has entered its eighth generation of console gaming, headed by Playstation, Xbox and Nintendo branded consoles. Those three companies have been at the forefront of each of the last few generations of consoles, as we’ve seen many companies fall off the console development bandwagon over the past few decades.

But all three of those brands owe a lot not only to the games that make up their products but to the individual franchise that hardcore and casual gamers alike associate with them, regardless of generation. To make things simpler, this list is made up of the most successful and recognizable companies as a whole (and not by generations) and the franchises that are most responsible for selling them.

Sonic the Hedgehog – SEGA

console

Sonic the Hedgehog is one of the weirdest crazes to ever happen in video games and seems like it will never die. Despite bad cartoons, bad games and even the company that created it throwing in the console development towel and switching to third party software development, the blue hedgehog is still running fast and eating chili dogs to this day.

Initially released in 1991 for the Sega Genesis, the Sonic franchise found success – both critically and sales wise – soon after it’s release and was hailed for its face paced gameplay and unique platforming. The sequel continued to expand upon the mechanics from the first and even added a new character (Tail’s), but unfortunately as Sega began to struggles, so too did the  Sonic franchise, with more disappointing installments then good ones.

It’s a testament to Sonic’s character that he is still able to remind people of the name of Sega, even after all these years of the company’s struggles. The Sonic the Hedgehog franchise has been awarded seven records by Guinness World Records in Guinness World Records: Gamer’s Edition 2008, including “Best Selling Game on Sega Systems”, “Longest Running Comic Based on a Video Game.”

Pong – ATARI

Console

While Pong may not have been the first video game ever, it’s certainly the first notable one, and could easily be coined as the first console seller ever. During a time where even television was considered only an avid enthusiasts pursuit, the first sports arcade game ever still manage to sell atari consoles.  

A two-dimensional simulation of table tennis, Pong is often credited with infecting the world with video game fever back in the 70’s. Upon the success of the game in a local bar, after discovering a technical error was being caused by an overflow of quarters in the coin mechanism (“And Then There Was Pong”. Ultimate History of Video Games), Atari commissioned a home version of the game to be produced and later released in 1975.

While far simpler than the rest on this list, Pong is one of the founding fathers of video games and managed to accomplish its sales during a time when gaming wasn’t even an established industry, let alone popular. Despite multiple remakes and duplications of Pong in the past couple decades, the game will always be associated with the Atari and the history they made together.

Pokemon – GAMEBOY/DS

Console

Gameboy and DS might be Nintendo properties, but their continued success for coming up on three decades elicited a standalone slot on this list. While there have been plenty of other popular games linked to the product, none have been as fervently as Pokemon.

Around seven years after the Game Boys, official launch – with initial release as Pocket Monsters in Japan and then two years later as Pokemon in the US – Game Freaks Rpg’s Pokemon Red and Yellow released. Despite simple changing regions, Pokemon and the product’s name,  the series has still managed to top mobile platform sales with every release. 

Fans have clamored for a console, high-definition version of Pokemon for years and have slowly been getting their wish. With Sun and Moon providing the most realistic 3D experience yet, the Nintendo Switch announcement could be a blessing and a curse, as the mobility of the Switch might warrant an end to Pokemon on the DS or even the handheld in general. 

Halo – XBOX

Console

Known as Microsoft’s Killer App, the Halo Franchise redefined the first person shooter genre upon its release for the original Xbox in 2001. Lead by the seven-foot silent behemoth Master Chief, Halo: Combat Evolved begins the story of mankind’s fight for survival against aliens.

Alongside the innovative shooting mechanics, the Halo series has been a staple of Microsoft’s multiplayer network for the past decade. Even before online, Halo allowed players to play multiplayer offline – both split screen and localized – with LAN allowing gamers to play with an unheard of 16 players.

Even after the transitional phase from Bungie to 343 studios following the end of the franchise’s first trilogy, Halo has still managed to remain atop the Xbox brand of games in both sales and acclaim. While some may think the series has fallen off recently, there is no questioning that Xbox as a company owes a lot of its success to the Halo franchise.

Uncharted – PLAYSTATION

console

Playstation fans answer to years of the Halo franchise’s Xbox exclusivity, Nathan Drake and company are the epitomai of a video game franchise that sells consoles. During the height of fanboyism – or at least during my height, as I was in high school – the Uncharted series was PlayStation fans console exclusive trump card.

An experience unlike any other, the 2007 release redefined what it was to tell a story in a video game, alongside unpredictable and immersive platforming/action sequences that felt straight out of Indiana Jones. As a Microsoft exclusive household, I personally went so far as to go on youtube – before it was as big as it is now – and search for Uncharted playthroughs just so I could watch the cutscenes.

Naughty Dog continues the provide loyal sony fans unique experiences with each new release, with Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End being no exception, as critics and fans alike rave it as a perfect end to Drake’s Story. Even though the franchise has only been around for two console generations, the Uncharted series has become synonymous with the Sony brand and should be credited for a lot of its success.

Mario – NINTENDO

console

Among casual and hardcore gamers alike and even people with no interest in gaming what so ever, there is no more iconic and recognizable figure than that big nose plumber, Mario. Mario’s first appearance in gaming was actually not even in his own game, but as the unnamed “Jumpman”, a carpenter with a pet ape gone berserk – only in the following game Donkey Kong Junior is Mario actually given his name.

Shigeru Miyamoto’s creation went from jumpman to a side scrolling, platforming plumber off to rescue a princess in Mario Bros., an arcade game. From that point on Mario became the  face of almost every generation of Nintendo products, be it Super Mario Bros(NES), Super Mario 64 (Nintendo 64) or Super Smash Bros. (Gamecube), I could go on for days.

The fact that Nintendo has so many other continual properties with the same mascots (Link, Samus, Kirby, Pikachu, Star Fox) speaks volumes about how important Mario is to the Nintendo brand. Mario doesn’t seem to want to stop at consoles either, as Super Mario Run hopes to revitalize the Mobile market with its release later this year.

World of Warcraft – PC

console

(Yes, yes I know calling the PC a dirty word like console is blasphemy, but just humor me PCMasterRace)

World of Warcraft is less of a game and more of a lifestyle, as fans have individually put in hundreds upon thousands of hours of play since it’s release in 2004. Whether it’s vanilla WOW or the following expansions, Blizzard’s Massively multiplayer online role-playing game is responsible for creating an addictive way of life – and is probably the biggest enabler of junk food addition and vitamin d deficiency – sustainable by few, in both departments of the mind, body and soul and the hardware requirements.

While it might not look like much to some nowadays, the required specs for running WOW at optimal levels for raids upon release, that could last a minimum of 3-4 hours, simply could not be done on consoles. The multiplayer aspect also caught avid gamer’s eye, as the online console boom was just hitting its stride, but could by no means compare to a number of other players in the PC MMORPG.

This alone put World of Warcraft in a mythos of its own among gamers and inspired many to join the PC master race. There’s always the question as to whether World of Warcraft will ever die, but I truly believe it and the PC are both immortal, and that I might die first.

If you don’t agree and have list or opinions of your own, feel free to leave a comment below and start a discussion!

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A First Look at the Nintendo Switch http://thenerdstash.com/first-look-nintendo-switch/ http://thenerdstash.com/first-look-nintendo-switch/#comments Thu, 20 Oct 2016 23:49:36 +0000 http://thenerdstash.com/?p=50255 Nintendo’s long awaited, heavily teased console has finally shed its “NX” codename and has been given a real identity. On Thursday via Nintendo’s YouTube channel, the gaming giant unveiled the Nintendo Switch to the world, and yes, the new console looks just like the all of the rumors have been predicting. The Switch is one of the more innovative gaming […]

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Nintendo’s long awaited, heavily teased console has finally shed its “NX” codename and has been given a real identity. On Thursday via Nintendo’s YouTube channel, the gaming giant unveiled the Nintendo Switch to the world, and yes, the new console looks just like the all of the rumors have been predicting.

The Switch is one of the more innovative gaming platforms to be introduced this generation. It is a console-mobile hybrid that can be picked up and played on the go, or it can be placed in its dock so you can play it as you would a typical home console in your living room. The three and a half minute video shows off some the console’s unique features, but the NX- er, the Switch- seems to have far more intricacies than what we have seen in that video, and based on its concept alone it looks like Nintendo could be trying to grab the attention of a wider demographic of gamers, including e-sport fans.

Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo “NX” has finally become the Nintendo Switch.

In the video, the Switch looks like an unassuming black console, sitting in front of the television. But then, the owner of the Switch gets up from the couch (they are playing Legend of Zelda), and we see them slide the two small controllers off either side of the Switch, thus creating a handheld console. These controllers are called the ‘Joy-Con’, and they come with typical analog sticks as well as four buttons on their face. In the official description of the video, Nintendo promises, “In addition to providing single and multiplayer thrills at home, the Nintendo Switch system also enables gamers to play the same title wherever, whenever and with whomever they choose. The mobility of a handheld is now added to the power of a home gaming system to enable unprecedented new video game play styles.”

While this concept of fluid play between your living room television and mobile play isn’t relatively new (Sony integrated “Remote Play” into the PlayStation Vita), it all looks more promising and well flushed out on the Switch, even given the little we have seen of the console thus far. Multiplayer gaming is also at the core of the Switch, as you can turn each half of the main controller into a gamepad and pull out its kickstands to prop the console up and play with several friends.

Nintendo Switch

Prop the Switch up and play with friends.

The Nintendo Switch is everything the Wii U should have been, both in terms of necessity and appeal for gamers and developers. Where the Wii U struggled to garner attention from developers, the Switch has already secured over forty big name partners, including Konami, Activision, Bethesda, and Campcom. Also, the internet’s reaction to the Switch has been overwhelmingly positive and fueled with high anticipation.

Nintendo Switch

There are over forty developers and software companies partnering with the Nintendo Switch.

The Nintendo Switch is slated to release in March 2017. As of now, there are no details on pricing, but stay tuned to The Nerd Stash for more coverage!

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Sony Wants to Launch “5 or More” Mobile Games http://thenerdstash.com/sony-wants-launch-5-mobile-games/ http://thenerdstash.com/sony-wants-launch-5-mobile-games/#respond Sat, 15 Oct 2016 00:20:06 +0000 http://thenerdstash.com/?p=49864 Early last month at Apple’s iPhone 7 conference, Nintendo shocked everyone with the announcement that Mario would be coming to iOS devices for the very first time in a new game, Super Mario Run. Now, it seems that Sony’s PlayStation division, Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc., is also looking to start riding the wave of mobile gaming. […]

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Early last month at Apple’s iPhone 7 conference, Nintendo shocked everyone with the announcement that Mario would be coming to iOS devices for the very first time in a new game, Super Mario Run. Now, it seems that Sony’s PlayStation division, Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc., is also looking to start riding the wave of mobile gaming. With the help of SIE’s subsidiary company, ForwardWorks, Sony is looking to release “five or six” smartphone games by March 2018 for both iOS and Android devices.

While ambitious, Sony’s goal should not come as too much of a surprise. The creation of ForwardWorks was announced earlier this year in March specifically for the purpose of focusing on smartphone games. The CEO of Sony, Kaz Hirai, even spoke to the Financial Times about how the company wants to “aggressively tackle” mobile gaming following the huge success of Pokemon Go. There is no definitive timeline right now, but we do know these “five or six” titles will initially be released in Japan, followed by several more Asian countries. There also is no information on when (or if) these games will be available in the United States and Europe, as western countries are not currently a part of Sony’s plans.

Hot Shots Golf

Hot Shots Golf could be coming to mobile devices.

ForwardWorks is actually Sony’s second attempt to break into the mobile gaming market. The first came from the PlayStation Vita with a project called, ‘PlayStation Mobile’, which allowed people to play games on their Vita and Android devices. This cross-platform project came to a complete end, however, in July 2015 when previously purchased content was no longer available for download. Vita bounced back for a moment with an incorporation of Remote Play, but still the sales continued to decline amongst other handheld consoles, namely from Nintendo.

Sony has not said which games they plan to bring to iOS and Android devices yet, but The Wall Street Journal has stated that possibilities include their largely anticipated title, The Last Guardian, and the classic Hot Shots Golf.

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World of Final Fantasy Demo Out Next Week http://thenerdstash.com/world-of-final-fantasy-demo/ http://thenerdstash.com/world-of-final-fantasy-demo/#respond Thu, 13 Oct 2016 23:37:29 +0000 http://thenerdstash.com/?p=49794 The adorable World of Final Fantasy is just a few weeks out, but for those not quite sold on the title, a demo is slated for release next week. The demo will hit PS4 and PS Vita on October 17. It will feature some exploration and combat from the game, giving players a brief taste of […]

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The adorable World of Final Fantasy is just a few weeks out, but for those not quite sold on the title, a demo is slated for release next week.

Battle is colourful and fun in World of Final Fantasy.

Battle is colorful and fun in World of Final Fantasy.

The demo will hit PS4 and PS Vita on October 17. It will feature some exploration and combat from the game, giving players a brief taste of the full experience. Completing the demo grants you access to the Magitek Armor P in the full game.

World of Final Fantasy is about twins Lann and Reynn as they enter the mysterious world of Grymoire. Upon entering the fantastical new world they realize that they are the only ones who are normal size. Everyone else is represented in a big-headed chibi style. The adorable world just happens to be home to the heroes of the past 14 Final Fantasy games.

World of Final Fantasy

They may be small but they’re still tough.

The adorable world just happens to be home to the heroes of the past 14 Final Fantasy games. So you’ll come face to face with the likes of Cloud, Squall, and Lightning as they waddle across the battlefield, slashing apart classic enemies like Cactuar and Behemoth. It’s a love letter to the series with a brand new plot mixed in.

Lann and Reynn can traverse Grymoire using two unique forms: Lilikin, making them fit in with the chibi heroes, and Jiant, returning them to normal height. Combat is also traditional Final Fantasy fair with a few new wrinkles added in. You can befriend and recruit different creatures.

You can also befriend and recruit different creatures. Your new allies can then perch on your head to grant you new abilities, adding more depth to the standard turn-based combat. If you are still on the fence about Final Fantasy XV but still want a new game in the series, this might be the title for you.

World of Final Fantasy releases October 25 on PS4 and PC. 

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Mutant Mudds: Super Challenge Review http://thenerdstash.com/mutant-mudds-super-challenge-review/ http://thenerdstash.com/mutant-mudds-super-challenge-review/#respond Thu, 15 Sep 2016 08:16:54 +0000 http://thenerdstash.com/?p=46375 Title: Mutant Mudds: Super Challenge Version Tested: PS4 Available On: Nintendo 3DS, PC, PS4, PS Vita, Wii U Developer: Renegade Kid Publisher: Renegade Kid Genre: Platformer Official Site: Nintendo.com Release Date: 03-17-16 Where To Buy: PSN Store, Steam, Local Retailer Only forty seconds into Renegade Kid’s Mutant Mudds Super Challenge, and I realized how severely I had underestimated the game’s […]

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Title: Mutant Mudds: Super Challenge

Version Tested: PS4

Available On: Nintendo 3DS, PC, PS4, PS Vita, Wii U

Developer: Renegade Kid

Publisher: Renegade Kid

Genre: Platformer

Official Site: Nintendo.com

Release Date: 03-17-16

Where To Buy: PSN Store, Steam, Local Retailer


Only forty seconds into Renegade Kid’s Mutant Mudds Super Challenge, and I realized how severely I had underestimated the game’s level of difficulty. From the spiked obstacles to blasting the infamous Mudd Mutants to pieces, I just could not win. I don’t say that to be modest, either. Our protagonist, Max, met his untimely end sixty-one times in the first few stages because of me, and to die so frequently in such a small span of time is nothing short of a humbling experience. Shout out to the death counter for being a visual reminder of how great my skills are.

Mutant Mudds Super Challenge

The death counter is a constant reminder that your skills need polishing.

The high level of intensity is something fans have come to expect from Mutant Mudds, but Mutant Mudds Super Challenge has taken those expectations and tripled them. The gameplay is tight and fast-paced while you are in motion, as Max has to hover, jump, and blast his way through forty-five levels of extreme obstacles and platforms to reach the end.

Sometimes doing all three of these actions simultaneously is required in order to successfully complete the level. Because the controls are so rigid, it all makes for quick decision making and room for zero errors. Every jump, as well as every shot that you take at the Mudd Mutants is important. Just a slight walk to the left or too low of a jump to the right could mean instant death.

Mutant Mudds Super Challenge_20160911214449

Timing your actions is important while jumping and blasting your way to the end of the level.

Behind all of this, Renegade Kid’s beloved platformer is actually a simplistic story. Max receives special Intel which reveals the location of the original meteor impact site and learns that Mutant Mudds are still being spawned from it. Max, armed with only a hover pack and a water cannon, sets out from a hideout to locate the meteor and rid the world of Mudd Mutants once and for all. You are free to hop from any of the worlds and their subsequent five levels at any given moment. The wandering, though minimal, is left in your hands, but even a simple choice like that offers an easy, relaxed balance to an otherwise crushing landscape of levels.

Mutant Mudds Super Challenge

Strategy and quick thinking have never been more important.

Speaking of crushing levels, Mutant Mudds Super Challenge is, as its description suggests, definitely for the ‘super’ fans. It is hard, and for some gamers, this could be the challenge that you are desperately seeking; but for others, the extreme obstacles and repeatedly dying to overcome them can be a real turnoff. Mutant Mudds Super Challenge is ‘super’ fun – until it’s not. When that finally happens, playing through it feels almost like a chore, like entertaining masochism’s unwanted stepchild. It feels like you could be doing ninety other things than watching Max die ninety times. You are thrust right into the action with the first stage, and you have to hover, duck, run, and shoot in such a quick succession that it’s clear you are expected to be familiar with the gameplay mechanics already.

The interesting thing about this game, however, is that you don’t really learn from your mistakes. You can die the same way, in the same spot, ten different times before a combination of skill and sheer luck finally kicks in and gets you past a given obstacle- something which is overwhelmingly satisfying when you are successful. The visuals are handled well, because the screen is expansive enough where you can see what lies ahead and prepare yourself accordingly…more than likely you are preparing yourself to die again, but let’s focus on the positives.

It is also seamless how Super Challenge combines a 2D platform with 3D layers like the foreground, middle ground, and background for Max to move between them with ease. It is a clever way to to keep you on your toes and to quickly adjust your focus to the new enemies that lie in wait.

Mutant Mudds Super Challenge

Move from the foreground to the background with ease.

Super Challenge deviates from what we have seen in a lot of platformers. The levels are not intent on tripping you up with new enemies or varying methods of gameplay. What you see in the first level in terms of enemies and obstacles is essentially what you get in the rest of the game, though each level combines these elements in their own unique ways. Coupled with a type of nostalgic, retro-esque soundtrack only adds to the gameplay experience.

The bosses are quite the challenge as well. They are designed to test your skills and are only unlocked after completing all of the regular and bonus stages in a ‘world’. While the bosses are difficult and a bit frustrating, they are a welcomed change to the usual gameplay, and force you to change your strategy up and think quickly on your feet.

super-sacky

The moment Max knew it was all over.

Mutant Mudds Super Challenge is brutal, but it is not impossible, and this extremity is the beauty of the game. Renegade Kid has created a cleverly designed, uniquely challenging platformer that hardcore fans will undoubtedly enjoy. It offers hours of replay value, as well as dozens of secrets and collectibles throughout the levels. If this is your first go with the Mudd Mutants however, I would suggest trying your hand at the original game first.


  • Gameplay: Challenging, forces you to contemplate your next move
  • Graphics: Wonderfully pixelated visuals
  • Sound: Great retro-style soundtrack
  • Presentation: Overall a unique 2D platformer and a good follow up to the original

Mutant Mudds Super Challenge Review

Mutant Mudds Super Challenge is a platform game developed and published by Renegade Kid.
Good
Good
Pros:
  • Solid platforming action
  • Challenging levels that require strategy
  • Replay value
Cons:
  • May be too challenging, which can be a turnoff

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PlayStation Plus Lineup for September Announced http://thenerdstash.com/playstation-plus-lineup-announced/ http://thenerdstash.com/playstation-plus-lineup-announced/#respond Thu, 01 Sep 2016 05:08:08 +0000 http://thenerdstash.com/?p=47853 Sony has revealed their September lineup of free games for PlayStation Plus members today, and thatgamecompany’s critically acclaimed Journey is leading the pack. PlayStation Plus is similar to Xbox Live Games With Gold in that it offers its subscribers a select number of free games for the PlayStation 3, 4, and Vita every month. One of the primary differences, […]

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Sony has revealed their September lineup of free games for PlayStation Plus members today, and thatgamecompany’s critically acclaimed Journey is leading the pack. PlayStation Plus is similar to Xbox Live Games With Gold in that it offers its subscribers a select number of free games for the PlayStation 3, 4, and Vita every month. One of the primary differences, however, is the backwards compatibility feature, which can only be found on the Xbox One. There is also a slight difference in the number of games offered through the service as well. PS Plus offers six, while Games With Gold only offers four.

Over at the PlayStation blog, PlayStation Plus Content Partnership Manager, Greg Lewickyj, writes that “this month you can slash your way through demonic hordes, or journey across the ruins of a forgotten civilization.” If you have not had a chance to play Journey, now would be a great time to jump on that proverbial bandwagon and start exploring those ancient ruins.

Journey on PlayStation Plus

Discover the rise and demise of an ancient civilization.

First released in 2012 for the PlayStation 3, Journey is an adventure game in which you find yourself alone in the desert and have to make your way to the top of the mountain. While this may seem like a simplistic goal, Journey is a visually stunning and moving gameplay experience, complete with a Grammy-nominated soundtrack and a storyline that unfolds wordlessly.

Another game of note that will be free-to-play for PS Plus members is Lords of the Fallen (Deck13). Players take control of protagonist Harkyn in an attempt to stop war between humans and gods, and are able to tailor the combat system to their liking. In reference to Lords of the Fallen, Lewickyj also notes that in “a game where every encounter matters and your choices have consequences, the layers of customization are an integral part of the action.”

The full lineup of September PlayStation Plus games includes:

  • Lords of the Fallen (PS4)
  • Journey (PS4, PS3)
  • Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands (PS3)
  • Datura (Ps3)
  • Badland (PS Vita, PS4, PS3)
  • Amnesia: Memories (PS Vita)

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Game Hopping: Playing Games With a Lack of Focus http://thenerdstash.com/game-hopping-playing-games-focus/ http://thenerdstash.com/game-hopping-playing-games-focus/#respond Sun, 28 Aug 2016 01:17:30 +0000 http://thenerdstash.com/?p=47595 Games are designed to capture your attention. The minimum is gaining your attention long enough for you to make it to the end of its story or reach the maximum level in multiplayer. But some games draw people in for hundreds of hours, immersing them in foreign worlds and teaching them an encyclopedia’s worth of […]

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Games are designed to capture your attention. The minimum is gaining your attention long enough for you to make it to the end of its story or reach the maximum level in multiplayer. But some games draw people in for hundreds of hours, immersing them in foreign worlds and teaching them an encyclopedia’s worth of mechanics and interlocking systems.

Games

The varied and complex cast of League of Legends.

I fall on the shorter end of this spectrum. I typically spend anywhere from 10 to 50 hours with a game. I rarely go beyond this and frequently spend less than 10 hours with one title. I get my hands on as many different games as I can, ranging across genres and systems, dipping my toes in seemingly every pool of water I come upon.

But this got me thinking. What is it that makes people spend so many hours dissecting one game? And, on the other end of the spectrum, how come some people jump from game to game as soon as their concentration lapses? This may seem like a fairly easy question to answer, but I want to look another level deeper. What specifically is it about games like League of Legends and MMOs that keeps drawing people back in for more? And how come people like me, despite being fascinated with genres like MOBAs and Fighting games, continue to search for the game that can finally hold my attention for weeks, even months at a time.

Games

The expansive world of Hyrule.

Let’s start with those games that just sink their teeth into you and never let go. A good friend of mine plays League of Legends almost religiously. He steadily climbs up the ranks, watches Twitch streams, and reads up on new changes, buffs and nerfs. He understands the game at such a high level that he can read complex plays and knows exactly where he needs to be during every second of a game.

It took him several years to get to this point, however. But because he’s put so much time into learning each of League’s dozens of characters and mastering its ever-changing systems, he has almost no interest in other games anymore.

Some games i've spent an incredible amount of time with.

Some games I’ve spent an incredible amount of time with.

No matter what award-winning, critically acclaimed, genre-defining title I pitch to him he always just boots up the League client and hops back into Summoner’s Rift. But I do understand it. He’s put so much time into learning this one particular game that clicking through its three lanes is extremely satisfying. He understands League of Legends so intrinsically that he has no interest in delving into another title.

Me on the other hand, I jump from game to game. Sometimes, I just skim the surface, playing through the tutorial and then dipping my toes into the waters before drying off my foot and moving on. Given my job as a video game journalist, I try to at least touch on every major release. What this means is that I tend to spend very little time with every game that arrives in the mail. But I have gravitated towards shorter, more compact experiences such as Journey, ABZU, or Inside. There is still plenty to see without having to devote days of my life to reaching the game’s inevitable conclusions and seeing the credits tumble down the screen.

Games

A not-so-short adventure.

But it isn’t that I don’t want to enjoy longer titles. I constantly tell myself that I’m going to crack down on the growing list of expansive RPGS in my backlog. But their length is intimidating. So I often jump into a massive RPG put in 10 or 15 hours and then fall off.

This happened recently with Tokyo Mirage Sessions. I started the game, worked through the first several hours and was just getting into the flow of things when a busy week reared its head. I was barely able to pick up a controller and by the time Friday rolled around the game had just fallen off my radar, replaced by other experiences. I still tell myself that I’ll get back to it; just like I keep saying I’ll finish playing through Persona 3 and 4 before Persona 5 arrives in February.

Games

I’ll get to it eventually.

So many new and different games keep popping up that serve to distract me from what I was previously playing. Just this week, for example, I started both Deus EX Human Revolution and the Banner Saga, all while telling myself that I would start another play through of The World Ends With You.

I don’t spend enough time with these extremely deep titles to get drawn back by their mechanics; at least not to the same extent as my League of Legends playing friend. There are series that I understand much more deeply than others, and I often return to them, but I still only ever seem to spend a maximum of 100 hours with a game. And that’s only if it really sinks its teeth into me, presenting me with a wide open world like that of The Witcher 3, filled with endless possibilities.

Games

A great cast of characters to get to know and love.

Games draw people in with their stories, worlds, and mechanics. Of these three, worlds and mechanics are better suited for bringing players back time and time again. Exploring a massive sandbox is no small commitment and can simply be a good way to unwind. On the other hand, learning every aspect of a game’s mechanics can take even longer, giving the player incredible control over the world and much more satisfaction when they tear through a platformer, rise up the leaderboards in an FPS, or reach the top ranks in a MOBA.

Everyone has something different that they look for in a game. And while I typically play games as interactive stories, which makes successive playthroughs less enjoyable, it also allows me to sample a greater range of titles. I don’t see changing the way I play games anytime soon, but maybe I’ll find that tone title that inspires me to commit to learning every one of its intricate systems, mastering everything it has to offer.

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