Monday, May 18, 2020

"Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix" Review


Anime visuals meet peppy grooves in a screen-tapping sensation that's a welcome and refreshing surprise for Switch owners.

In the franchise's Switch debut, "Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix" is an adaptation of the 2017 PS4 game "Project DIVA Future Tone."

Rhythm games have registered on Nintendo handhelds since the days of "Elite Beat Agents" on DS, and this one proudly carries on that tradition.

Using either traditional buttons or Switch-geared controls, you lose yourself in the music and register your prompts in time to the beat. With more than 100 songs in the mix -- each with diverse natures that span the gamut of influences -- there's little chance of boredom, even during extended play sessions.

Gyrating characters and sassy themes abound, providing enough of an edge on the material to keep you off balance. Developer Sega AM2 takes full advantage of the system's capabilities, optimizing the game toward handheld mode.

Even though the game is best enjoyed on the fly, this isn't something you can hunker down with comfortably in a waiting room or on a commute. Expect to make a head-bobbing fool of yourself as you feel the flow and rock out with your headphones on.

"Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix" is best enjoyed by your lonesome while lounging on your couch or bed. It also makes for a lively party game, pumping out wild sounds and visuals as crowds gather round. But any way you decide to play it, the game is a load of bouncy fun.

Publisher provided review code.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

"Super Mega Baseball 3" Review


The "Super Mega Baseball" franchise comes along just when sports-starved gamers need it most.

Boiling down the sport to the exuberance of its very essence, the dev team at Metalhead Software keeps upping the ante in its over-the-top baseball series. Coed teams with XFL-sounding team names take each other on in exaggerated clashes.

Despite the overpowered pitches, hits and throws, the gameplay remains surprisingly balanced. The result is that scoring lines and stats tend to be fairly authentic analogs to real-life contests.

Since the game lacks licenses, there's no roster update impetus for fans to keep buying its sequels. However, there are still plenty of reasons for fans to re-up. For one, the bulk of the online community will no doubt migrate to the newest entry.

Also, Metalhead continues to refine its game. The visuals get a boost, all the way down the line from character animations and facial expressions down to backgrounds.

Micromanagers who prefer front office duties to on-field action will be pleased. There's a new franchise mode to sink your teeth into, letting you put together your dream roster and put out administrative fires.

What began as something of a lark has morphed into a full-featured baseball sim that ditches the burdens of reality whenever possible. "Super Mega Baseball 3" is ready to be called up to the bigs.

Publisher provided review code.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

"Megabyte Punch" Review


Retro thrills abound in "Megabyte Punch," an exciting if simplistic romp through 16-bit style environments.

Eight years after its initial release on PC, the game loses none of its old-school charm. It still feels like a game straight out of the mid-90s -- which I do mean as a compliment.

Taking cues from the likes of "Mega Man" and "Strider," developer Reptile plunges into the past to build a modernization of retro side-scroller principles.

As you progress, you add upgrades and enhancements that extend your range, agility and ability to deal damage.

Set in a digital universe, you play as a robotic warrior depending its village from attack by a marauding empire.

Each level is segmented into three stages that end with a boss fight. As you slay combatants, you snatch up their tech and add it to your arsenal.

Four-player multiplayer ratchets up the intensity level and goofiness, with wall-jumping and brick-shattering punches filling the screen with mayhem.

"Megabyte Punch" fits in squarely into the Switch niche, packing a wallop in throwback charm.

Publisher provided review code.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

"World War Z: Game of the Year Edition" Review


When "World War Z" was released last year, it proved that the oversaturated zombie survival genre still had a heartbeat. Multiplayer online games such as this thrive or shrivel based on their community, and it managed to spark enough of a following to spread to a critical mass.

The four-player co-op shooter follows in the bone-crunching footsteps left by the previous-gen "Left 4 Dead" games, advancing the momentum in several significant ways. A tight and refined experience, the gameplay connects just as well to lone wolves as it does to tight, well-practiced clans.

Rounds are divided into cinematic episodes that borrow liberally from the likes of "Dawn of the Dead" and "Evil Dead." You scrounger for weapons and resources, working as a team to power through the onslaught of the undead.

Originally released in 2019, the game thrives on tone. Steadily building tension ramps up with frantic musical and environmental cues, as well as sudden movements that explode into moments of peril that would be frightening if you weren't so locked in on fire-eyed battle.

For the Game of the Year edition, developer Saber Interactive added in loads of DLC additions, including the three-story "Marseille" PvE episode arc and its four new characters. Also included are weapons skins and the various additions that have come out over the last 13 months.

A game that is far superior now to what it was at its starting point, "World War Z" continues to evolve and mutate. And because its community is so sizable, there is no sign that it will die off any time soon. Now is as good a time as any to join in the bloody fray.

Publisher provided review code.