Wednesday, June 23, 2021

PHIL ON FILM: "Clairevoyant" Review

For my full review, click here.


Weird But True: T-Mobile Serves Up Ginger Beer, Gin


Claiming it has "the world's largest, fastest and most reliable 5G network," the carrier is producing "5Gin" and "5Ginger Beer." 

I'm not sure I understand the reasoning behind the products, but I have a theory: You can use one for drunk-dialing and the other to drown your sorrows in carbonated sugar, I guess.

T-Mobile sent product samples.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

"Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection" Review

It's rare that a game holds up as well as your memory of it does. The "Ninja Gaiden" games, though, are the rare exception in which actuality trumps memory.

Slick, strategic action flows like wind, with a zen-like succession of blocks, jumps and special moves emerging from your reflexes as you face down scores of hooded enemies and imposing beasts. The franchise that was introduced on the original Xbox thrives three generations later in the form of the upgraded "Ninja Gaiden: Master Collection."

The enhanced, Sigma versions of the 2004 and 2008 games are included, and are the main event. The games hold up well, with Team Ninja devs sticking close to the ports while adding minor quality of life improvements and polish.

The QTE-riddled "Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge" (2013) is the black sheep here, but has enough bombastic moments to make it a necessity play-through for megafans.

Nearly all previously-released DLC is there, with loads of costumes, characters and other bonuses to sift through.

Although the saving system sticks to the original way, there's something to be said for the ability to trigger quick resets that autosaves would prevent to help you gear aup for particularly harrowing challenges.

Likely the introduction to many players to a franchise that had been stuck in the shadows for more than a decade, "Ninja Gaiden Master Collection" blows through the doors with brutal, rhythmic fury. It's good to have Rya Hayabusa back in the game.

Publisher provided review code.

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

"The Colonists" Review

Gamers waiting for the low-stress escape title that could become the "Animal Crossing: New Horizons" of 2021 should give "The Colonists" a look.

While stale and antiseptic rather than colorful and gregarious, "The Colonist" is no less wholesome and cutesy. The settlement-builder puts you in control of a gang of multiplying robots who are apparently picking up where humanity left off.

A slightly scaled-down version of the game that launched on PC in 2018, the console translates the controls and menus well to the stick-and-button format, making it relatively easy to find the flow of the build-harvest-exploration loop.

While a bit robotic in its delivery, the dev squad at Codebyfire shows an aptitude for ease of use and guidance, coaching you up with an extensive tutorial -- pieces of which stick around to help out if you mess things up too badly.

Bursting with subtle satirization of human tendencies, "The Colonists" spins its tongue-in-cheek metastory with subversive pleasure. 

"The Colonists" may not deliver the obsessive, play-everyday quality of the likes of "Animal Crossing," but has enough clever ideas of its own to stand out from the pack. Those looking for lighthearted, repetitive challenges will find satisfaction in these bots.

Publisher provided review code.

Friday, June 04, 2021

"Space Commander: War and Trade" Review

If you've ever daydreamed about a sci-fi-fueled life in the stars, "Space Commander: War and Trade" will bring those games back to Earth.

It turns out there is plenty of drudgery in the day-to-day operations of managing the interstellar military industrial complex. Expect a hefty helping of monotony building up slowly to the occasional frenzied spark.

The single-player adventure puts you at the helm of what turns out to be a day job that has you watching the clock a little too often. While the dev team at 7Levels should be applauded for crafting a solid, stable reward loop that encourages pre-planning and on-the-fly adjustments, there just isn't much sizzle to the affair.

A middling adaptation of a game that started off in the mobile realm, the gameplay pops a bit more on the Switch than on mobile devices, due to the lavish detail of the screen, which provides more real estate than most devices.

A lumbering economy and rough interface make it tough to manage your flow. While the experience is polished, it's sometimes as antiseptic as a ship's decontamination dock.

Publisher provided review code.