Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Review Round-Up - March 2020

This month a one-man army took the fight to Hell's demonic forces
and came out of it with his game, DOOM Eternal, becoming SPC's Game of the Month
It's time for the Review Round-Up, where we check out the game review activity on SuperPhillip Central for the past month. Despite what the date says at the very top of this post, that's no joke--so let's get into things!

We begin with a recent game from Inti Creates. Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX was a brilliant but short 2D action platformer that boasted fast and frenetic gameplay, earning itself a B. We then checked out a pair of games featuring minions as the main characters--one a Paper Mario-style platforming RPG and the other an auto-running platformer. Both Underhero and Wunderling received a B for their unique interpretations of being an underling in their respective games and genres.

After that we reached the halfway point of the month with a trip to the world of Pokemon with Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX, a blast from the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS past. The game earned itself a B as well. Now, before you think there was a flat line of all "B" grades this past month, the puzzle game reminiscent of Monument Valley and Captain Toad--Mekorama--came by, being a modest success with a C+ grade.

Last but certainly not least, SuperPhillip Central concluded the month of March with a bang. DOOM Eternal was not just the final game reviewed for the month, but it was also SPC's highest scoring game as well, ripping and tearing its way (what else would a DOOM game do, after all?) to a B+.

Finally, a double dose of information: 1) links of excerpts from all games reviewed in March 2020, and 2) the link to the SPC Review Archive, where every review ever posted on the site makes its home in one nice and neat place!

Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX (NSW, PS4, XB1, PC) - B
Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX brings with it tremendously challenging, high octane, fast and fluid 2D action platforming that satisfies greatly. Though the short playtime and sometimes unfair boss battles will sour some, it's a case of action-packed quality over quantity here. Gunvolt Chronicles is at its best when you're running, gunning, dashing into foes, locking into them, and unloading everything Copen has into them--which is essentially every moment throughout the captivating three hour campaign.
Underhero (NSW, PS4, XB1, PC) - B
Underhero falters with its platforming not being as precise as I would like, featuring some tedious backtracking too, and some battles being overly lengthy and repetitious affairs. However, those negatives are just drops in a bucket compared to the copious amounts of positives the game possesses. Between the often humorous and witty story, dialogue and characters, tremendously creative boss battles, and overly engaging battle system, Underhero is an overachiever in many senses of the word.
Wunderling (NSW, PC) - B
Wunderling is a stellar auto-runner with beautiful pixel art and a catchy soundtrack. The only stumbling point I see with potential purchasers is its $15 asking price, something I perceive as higher than the usual asking price for a game of its genre. That said, if you enjoy games with humor, levels that push you to master them and fully explore their secrets, and are intrigued by its novel approach to the auto runner genre of platformer, then Wunderling certainly earns a recommendation from me.
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX (NSW) - B
...with all of the bells and whistles that Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX has, it's ultimately a very repetitive game. The prospect of plodding around similarly designed dungeons, looking for staircases to make progress, all the while battling Pokemon after Pokemon, escaping said dungeon, and then starting the process all over again can be quite tedious for many--much more to actually do. However, while others might find Rescue Team DX and games of the Mystery Dungeon variety to be a slog, I found cultivating a powerful team of Pokemon, taking on the myriad post-game dungeons where the game really opens up freedom-wise, and recruiting as many Pokemon as possible all to be well worth the grind. Essentially, those that love the series will continue to find reasons to love it (like myself), and those that don't won't necessarily find anything in Rescue Team DX to change their minds--not even a fresh coat of paint, as it's the same basic game underneath the updated graphics, monotony and all. 
Mekorama (NSW) - C+
Mekorama doesn't have the same level of polish or as vivid a presentation as other games of its ilk. You won't be dazzled by its visuals or understated music, as the presentation is overall pretty sterile. What you will be with Mekorama is engaged with its ultimately well designed levels, be they focused on puzzles, platforming, precision, or a combination of the three. Mekorama is hardly a game that will make a lasting impression, but it's one that's a nice time-waster for the experience that it does deliver.
DOOM Eternal (PS4, XB1, PC) - B+
Despite doing so many things better than its predecessor, an occasionally unfair feeling of difficulty, a heavier and unwanted focus on plot, and a weaker multiplayer mode diminish DOOM Eternal as a better sequel. It's a disappointing sequel in this regard, but it's merely a mildly disappointing sequel at that. The combat is better than ever--offering more satisfying means to obliterate your enemies than ever before, the new dash mechanic adds a more engaging sense of mobility--something that I will greatly miss when I return to DOOM 2016, and the level design is as strong as ever. DOOM Eternal may not be a better game than its predecessor, but that's an almost impossible bar to leap over to begin with.
And now for something completely different to DOOM Eternal... the cute, lovable
world of Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX.

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