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Posts tagged “Review

Family Plot – Card game review

It was back in October last year that I first supported Family Plot, and I was anticipating its arrival. I have had my final copy for a few months now and thought it was about time that I finally reviewed it.

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Free Game Review: Creativerse

Creativerse is a title that’s not unlike Minecraft, so you may see people compare the two games quite often. In fact, as a spoiler, Minecraft will be name dropped a lot in this article. However, whilst Minecraft-like games usually don’t appeal to me, Creativerse certainly does. It’s a cute, clean game which is thoroughly well made. Furthermore, servers are really well looked after – So come and take a peek at this beautifully imagined game with us!

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Review – Great Scott

Great Scott is a drafting game of invention from Sinister Fish. While at UKGE this year I had the opportunity to secure a copy of Great Scott. Ostensibly I was there to buy for someone else, but at their recommendation I ended up taking a copy home too. I had never before pondered the need for a Diabolical Donkey Destroying Banana Bender, but I have come to an all new appreciation for the device, and here’s why.

The Game

Each invention is put together with cards, three concepts and two assets laid out in a particular order to create a coherent and descriptive name, effectively boiling down to a simple formula:

Adjective – noun – verb – noun – noun

Each section is it’s own deck, players take two of each, and commence building by drawing  card from a deck, taking one, and passing their hand to the next player. You begin fairly free form, but as the cards are passed around you find yourselves with fewer and fewer gaps to fill, and the pattern you’ve tried to create may suddenly be completed or broken depending on which stack you draw from. Everyone then pitches their idea, describing how it works and what purpose it serves. Everyone picks a favourite and a second favourite, and the next round begins.

Points are accrued from scores on the cards, matching pairs or groups, the commendations of others for a fantastic pitch, and alliteration. So while you may score fewer points by building a Colossal Cactus Burning Bee Booster than an Alarming Albatross Attracting Ape Automaton you may still recover some ground by describing the method by which your huge device might hold back the bee extinction by immolating cacti, compared to the guy who’s mechanical gorilla has led to an albatross infestation.

Mechanics

I love draft games as a format, it’s been a while since I did a Magic: the Gathering draft, but I still love a round or two of 7 Wonders every couple of months. Drafts tend to leave you completely oblivious to begin with, and madly desperate towards the end, so adding the draw step gives Great Scott a little bit more freedom to build an invention you can be proud of, but doesn’t give you sufficient support to make the game too easy.

It’s a sign of a good game that round by round players end up with very similar points, and by the end of Great Scott the point difference between first and last place is quite narrow. There’s a good balance of random and tactical play, and it always leaves you with an invention that is sheer chaos to try and pitch to the crowd. However, it’s this mechanic that does cause a few issues.

For those without a very creative mind, trying to describe their inventions can be difficult, especially for those who perhaps don’t know the less common words like Bitumenising, meaning that points accrued in the commendations phase are often lost. The Aspect cards break down into animal, vegetable, and mineral, and it’s entirely true to say that animals are funnier than most rocks and plants like Diabolite or Elm; there are a few shining examples like arsenic and dynamite, but it’s still a bit of a struggle to derive humour from Bauxite for example.

Really that’s an issue with target market. I still rate the game very highly, it’s good quality daft fun that kills an hour without effort, and even comes with a set of baggies that are slightly too small for any single deck in the box. Ah well, still a nice consideration.


Hunger: The Show – Board game review

Hunger: The Show is a survival game where you play a contestant on a reality game show on a desert island. It was created by Swedish designer Pim Thunborg and published by Phalanx Games in Poland.

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Video Game Review: Tekken 7

The Tekken franchise has been around since 1994; a fighting game which has won numerous awards. Now we’re back in 2017, with a brand new Tekken game that was released just last week. The reviews have been pouring in with praise galore and we’re not one to shy from what people have been saying. From the new musical direction, to art and the story mode, we’re here to review everything about Tekken 7, as let’s be honest – What’s the point of a review if we don’t critique the whole thing. Before we get into the review however, it’s worth noting that I had the game pre-ordered as a present, so I also get the bonus Eliza DLC. Here we go with our full review!

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Mobile Game Review: Magikarp Jump

Magikarp is a majestic creature; so full of love, hope and jumping ability. One day, you may evolve your Magikarp into a fearsome Gyarados, but some people just want to make a splash with their silly carp. But how well does Magikarp Jump capture the imagination of playing with a Magikarp? Can we soar to new gaming heights with this simple fish jumping game, or will this not reach the height of popularity that Pokemon Go received? Our full review is here!

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Review – Teen Titans: The Judas Contract

Having only reviewed Justice League Dark last week, I’d intended to leave my review for Judas Contract for a little while, and then I watched it. I have mentioned a couple of times how much I enjoy the animated DC films, but one of the more pleasant surprises for me has been the Teen Titans, a super team who might actually be more fun to watch than the Avengers. The Judas Contract is their second outing in the series, following on from the team of teens taking down the Justice League, but that doesn’t make this adventure a down-grade.

The young and the superpowered work together under the tutelage of the alien princess Starfire and the first Robin turned Nightwing, Dick Grayson. Amongst their number you have Raven, a young girl who bears a crystal that imprisons her demonic father; Blue Beetle, a boy whose symbiotic relationship with an ancient egyptian killing machine is still unexplored; current Robin and recovering assassin Damien Wayne; Terra, a girl with personality problems and the power to move mountains, and Beastboy… who will probably be fine.

The Spoiler Free Bit

One thing I must credit the animated films with is not wasting time on origin stories because they know their market. We receive just enough to get us kicked off and from there we’re thrust into narrative. It’s something that Jessica Jones probably did best, leaving the history to unravel a little more organically throughout the narrative through little expositional moments that lend a great deal of texture to each character. For the more knowledgeable fans it gets you straight through all of the boring “we know already” moments and to business, but even as someone whose knowledge is limited there’s a lot gained from this approach, you’re already engaged enough to want to learn more about who you’re watching.

It’s also important not to delude yourself that the Titans are not exactly for kids. Oh sure, they translate easily enough into a kids show style format, Teen Titans Go being the most current incarnation, but do not show the Judas Contract to young ones unless you want to accelerate their education of “the facts of life”. Here’s why:

Our villains are twofold. The grandiose cult leader Brother Blood holds sway over a deeply unpleasant church dedicated entirely to him, a messiah/living god figure who has acquired various forms of longevity and immortality, sustaining himself with blood rituals and draining the vitality of others. After nine centuries of patience he now has access to a machine that will allow him to steal the superpowers of others, along with their lives, but to bring them in he requires help. Enter League of Assassins reject and one of the scariest villains ever to grace the Arrowverse, Deathstroke/Slade Wilson. Hired by blood as a mercenary to keep the Titans at bay until he’s good and ready.

Between Blood literally bathing in the blood of a reporter beneath the freshly drained corpse, the rather “forward” advances of Deathstroke’s young and curvy partner in crime, unapologetic use of bad language and Starfire’s inability to filter comments about her relationship with Dick Grayson, this is not one to sit down to with the kids unless you’re ready to answer some questions. There are a bunch of teens after all, teens dealing with murderers and lunatics but that doesn’t stop puberty happening. This does all mean that the comedy is just perfect, alongside some superb characterisation, perhaps most of all from Beastboy.

Biggest let down is the action, best summarised by a fight against some gun-drones that politely hold their fire while the team dodge and prep their weapons, or demonstrate some classic storm-trooper accuracy. Blue Beetle’s scarab-armour also seems undecided about its own powers, as I feel he should be more than capable of busting loose of his restraints towards the beginning of the final conflict, even if it was debilitated. I also have a monolithic plot hole I’d like to point out, but there’s some spoiler to get through first…

Surprise Reveal!

It’s hard not to guess it before the big plot twist about 30 minutes in, but it turns out the new girl, Terra, is a traitor working for Deathstroke, feeding information for a year back to her boss and lover, hence “Judas Contract”. Honestly if you didn’t guess traitor from that you need to read more, maybe watch more films. You’re almost guaranteed to see the double-cross that comes towards the end when Slade sells Terra to Brother Blood along with the rest of the Titans.

So the plot hole. Following an attempt at grabbing a scientist working on Blood’s life-sucking device, the scientist dies but leaves behind a rather conclusive proof of an insider, detailed profiles of the team and candid photographs, in which only one member of the team is conspicuously absent despite having been a member for a full year. And no one even asked the question? Not even Batman-trained Dick Grayson?

That aside, the whole betrayal narrative gives us some great moments of comic-book self awareness. Banter between Slade and Robin points a huge finger at common villain stupidity, although my personal favourite line comes shortly after Terra glibly discusses how the Titans are all about to die, and Deathstroke says “Urgh, no grey areas with this one!”

Overall

This is really just a good quality super-hero adventure. Sadly I can’t speak to accuracy to the comics, although based on past performances I’d hazard a guess at “close enough” at least for those more casually inclined toward comics. It’s engaging enough that I find I’m almost as keen to see the next instalment as I am to see the next Marvel blockbuster.

It’s also incredibly gratifying to see a company who aren’t afraid to plunge a group of plucky teens into a very grim story, after all these aren’t average happy teenagers. They’re cursed, burdened, shunned and alone, pledged to save lives at all costs, trained daily to combat terrible evils and the worst of humanity. This is why I found myself most enthralled with the character of Beastboy, despite one rather stupid moment where he’s presented with a “DO NOT PUSH” button. He wears his suffering plainly, but at the same time is unapologetic in embracing life, simultaneously filled with joy and sorrow and willing to share them both with anyone who’ll listen.

Suddenly I feel the need to buy comics.


If you’re at UKGE at the Birmingham NEC this weekend let us know. I’ll be there with catharsisjelly, getting our fill of board games and geekery all the way through ’til Sunday.


Video Game Review: Diablo II

A classic hack-n-slash title, renowned the world over as possibly the best ever made. However it’s been around for 17 years, having debuted in 2000. Therefore, it’s time to finally pick the game up once more and scrutinise it deeply. I will compare it to games before, around and after it to see if it still maintains the title of best hack-n-slash around. The gloves are off, Lord of Terror!

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The Autopsy of Jane Doe – A Different Horror Film

Horror is an unusual genre, awash with trash made quickly with budgets blown on all the wrong aspects or so badly acted, poorly conceived, or just badly executed. Those gems where everything comes together are universally incredible, whether it’s because the film carries a message like the gothic monsters of old like the Babadook managed to do, or it does something radically different to your average horror like changing the nature of the protagonist or the methods of applying terror. Some manage to simply be good horror films without pushing the boat out very far, like Mr Jones. (more…)


Anime Review: My Hero Academia

Looking for more superheroes in your already super life? Think you’ve got room for watching a superhero fork before your very eyes? Ever wondered what they teach superheroes? In which case, this may very well be the anime for you – It can only be the hugely popular My Hero Academia, a series I have been asked to watch many times, by many people. Will it be as super-good as everyone makes out, or is it a super-flop? Read on to find out more!

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