Saturday, December 18, 2021

Announcing The SuperPhillip Central Best of 2021 Awards!

Hello, everyone! A year's end means the return of an old favorite to cap off this year of gaming right. For the 14th year in a row, the SuperPhillip Central Best of Awards will be here to celebrate the best and brightest in gaming for the past year!

The festivities begin on Monday, December 27th with a five-night event with numerous top five lists in various categories, from Most Overlooked Games of 2021, Best Original Soundtrack of 2021, and of course, the piece de resistance, one final top ten list all about SPC's Games of 2021, published on New Year's Eve! 

Take a glimpse at the banner that will be put up just after Christmas here on SuperPhillip Central to help commemorate and celebrate the occasion, as well as getting just a taste of some of the games we'll be spotlighting when the SPC Best of 2021 Awards occur! And, of course, we will see you here on the night of Monday, December 27th for the very first awards handed out and lists published on the site!

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Clockwork Aquario (NSW, PS4) Review

Releasing in early December in parts outside of North America, and in North America proper this past Tuesday, Clockwork Aquario has an incredibly interesting story behind its release. What's better is that this long-lost game was well worth the 28-year wait! Read more with the SPC review.

Unlike clockwork, this game's arrival is hardly an everyday occurrence; it's a miracle.

Some things in this hobby and industry of ours never cease to amaze. 28 years ago, Westone--the developer behind the Wonder Boy series--was planning a release of a colorful, charming-looking title known as Clockwork Aquario. It was set to launch in arcades courtesy of the Sega System 18. However, the game was cancelled before it saw the light of day and the light of launch, for that matter. 

Now, 28 years later in one heck of a delightful and welcomed miracle, Clockwork Aquario has had its code cleaned up, its missing pieces put together, and its issues amended to see its momentous release on Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4. The end result is nothing more than indeed a miracle, and it was a pleasure to play through this game, how ever short lived it was.

To start off, Clockwork Aquario was meant to gobble up quarters and tokens in arcades. The game uses a two-hit system, so it's rather challenging, as after your first hit, if you get hit again, you lose a life. This home console release sees multiple difficulties which determine how many continues you have to work with. Even the easiest difficulty means you can't just rush into enemies all willy-nilly, as you'll most likely burn through lives and continues rather quickly.

And I oop!

That said, Clockwork Aquario is hardly a lengthy affair. Its runtime is just around 20 minutes to complete a playthrough, and that's understandable given it was originally meant to be an arcade game. That said, what it lacks in length, the game makes for in longevity due to how joyously fun it is to replay. Those 20 minutes fly by when you're moving through its five levels and six bosses. 

Clockwork Aquario plays like a precursor to the Klonoa series. You can punch, pick up, and throw enemies into one another and other objects to score points, as well as jump on baddies to eliminate them that way. As the length of the game would lead you to believe, stages in Clockwork Aquario aren't too long, and they never outwear their welcome. They feature one extended level of platforming and combat, usually ending with a mini-boss of some sort. Then, the second portion of the level changes scenes and pits you against the level's main boss, always the big bad of the game (a cute, but evil genius penguin) in a machine similar to Dr. Robotnik in the Sonic the Hedgehog games.

We got 'em right where we want, so it's time to turn this particular boss into crabmeat!

Co-op is possible as well in Clockwork Aquario, and this allows a duo of friends or family members to join together, bashing baddies, and even throwing each other around levels in a funny, frantic kind of way.

If there's one complaint to be found with regard to Clockwork Aquario other than some folks' possible distaste for the game's length, it's that so many of the modes are just variations of the same 20-minute or so adventure. You have different difficulties, which simply add or subtract the number of continues you have to work with, the Arcade Mode (which allows unlimited continues and ways to tinker with the game), and a mini-game only playable for two players locally. Other than that, there are filters to apply, remixed music to listen to, and a gallery that shows a series of art and photos from the game's development. The latter here is great for archival purposes and just a pleasure to look at.

Speaking of pleasures to look at, can we talk about the visuals of Clockwork Aquario? If you don't want to, feel free to skip this paragraph, but you'll be missing out. The colors of this game just POP much like the balloons that your three playable heroes can bash open. The awesome amount of detail in the sprites and environments is just jaw-dropping, and it makes this game deliver nirvana for the eyes. So, too, does the game do it for the ears, offering a bouncy and happy soundtrack full of bops and delightful melodies. 

Everything about Clockwork Aquario is a delight for the eyes and the ears.

Clockwork Aquario may not be a lengthy game, and it may just take the same 20-minute game and change something here and there to call it a new "mode", but it's one wonderful game. I find it almost insulting to have to give this great piece of gaming history a grade, as I feel it cheapens or somehow diminishes the impact of having this game come back after a nearly three-decade hiatus. Nevertheless, if you're digging a piece of gaming history that is most importantly an entertaining one, then look no further than Clockwork Aquario.

[SPC Says: B]

A code was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Pokémon Legends: Arceus (NSW) "New faces from the Hisui Region" Trailer

This morning, The Pokemon Company revealed a new trailer detailing just some of the locals and faces players will meet and see in Pokemon Legends: Arceus, including the Diamond and Pearl clans, and merchants from the Ginkgo Guild. Pokemon Legends: Arceus launches on the Nintendo Switch on January 28th, 2022.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Chocobo GP (NSW) Release Date Announcement Trailer

Ready, set, Chocobo! In the wee hours of the morning, Chocobo GP has received a release date announcement and subsequent trailer. Chocobo GP will race onto the Nintendo Switch on March 10th, 2022. Check out this trailer that shows off just a sample of the content featured within the game. For a more in-depth look at the game (and some more reading), check out this blog post on Square Enix's website. Are you looking forward to the return of Chocobo Racing with Chocobo GP?