Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX Review – To The Rescue

When the original pair of Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games were released in 2006, they were received as the ugly Duckletts of Pokemon spin-offs. Now, almost 15 years later, it is clear how wrong we were to write off Spike Chunsoft’s ambitious take on the titanic series: Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX for Switch is wondrous to play and, in a way, boasts a substantially more resonant fable than most other recent Pokemon games.

You wake up one morning and everything seems pretty ordinary, at least until you realize that you’re not a human anymore. Instead, you’ve magically and mysteriously metamorphosed into a Pokemon–which exact species is determined by a fun little personality quiz you take at the beginning of the game. Before long you make a new best friend, who is also a Pokemon, and you decide to form a rescue team together. Why? To save foolish Pokemon who have ventured into dangerous dungeons stricken by environmental disasters, even though they’re totally aware of said environmental disasters. Over the course of the game, you embark on arduous odysseys to the many dungeons scattered sporadically across the world of Pokemon, each of which contains several ‘mons in desperate need of help and lots of others who are a bit aggravated by the daily earthquakes.

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What’s important about Mystery Dungeon carving itself out a new home on Switch is that DX isn’t just some sort of lazy rehash. Perhaps the most striking thing about this reworked spin-off, at least at first, is its revised color palette. It’s pretty different to the old Mystery Dungeon games, sporting a warm painterly style to replace the originals’ GBA-era pixel art. The revamped rescue base you get about halfway through the game is especially gorgeous, while the relentlessly upbeat soundtrack is capable of both intensifying the charming tone of the art and flipping even the tensest moments on their head. This is an essential part of the game’s overall appeal, as it goes hand in hand with the fact that Mystery Dungeon is ultimately about overcoming adversity with a smile on your face. One second it seems as if you’re on the verge of the inevitable apocalypse, the next you’re bobbing along, beaming for no reason, ready to hurtle headlong into a procedurally generated dungeon to save some ‘mons and make some money.

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Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX Review – Better Than You Remember

When the original pair of Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games were released in 2006, they were received as the ugly Duckletts of Pokemon spin-offs. Now, almost 15 years later, it is clear how wrong we were to write off Spike Chunsoft’s ambitious take on the titanic series: Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX for Switch is wondrous to play and, in a way, boasts a substantially more resonant fable than most other recent Pokemon games.

You wake up one morning and everything seems pretty ordinary, at least until you realize that you’re not a human anymore. Instead, you’ve magically and mysteriously metamorphosed into a Pokemon–which exact species is determined by a fun little personality quiz you take at the beginning of the game. Before long you make a new best friend, who is also a Pokemon, and you decide to form a rescue team together. Why? To save foolish Pokemon who have ventured into dangerous dungeons stricken by environmental disasters, even though they’re totally aware of said environmental disasters. Over the course of the game, you embark on arduous odysseys to the many dungeons scattered sporadically across the world of Pokemon, each of which contains several ‘mons in desperate need of help and lots of others who are a bit aggravated by the daily earthquakes.

No Caption Provided
Gallery image 1Gallery image 2Gallery image 3Gallery image 4Gallery image 5Gallery image 6Gallery image 7Gallery image 8Gallery image 9Gallery image 10

What’s important about Mystery Dungeon carving itself out a new home on Switch is that DX isn’t just some sort of lazy rehash. Perhaps the most striking thing about this reworked spin-off, at least at first, is its revised color palette. It’s pretty different to the old Mystery Dungeon games, sporting a warm painterly style to replace the originals’ GBA-era pixel art. The revamped rescue base you get about halfway through the game is especially gorgeous, while the relentlessly upbeat soundtrack is capable of both intensifying the charming tone of the art and flipping even the tensest moments on their head. This is an essential part of the game’s overall appeal, as it goes hand in hand with the fact that Mystery Dungeon is ultimately about overcoming adversity with a smile on your face. One second it seems as if you’re on the verge of the inevitable apocalypse, the next you’re bobbing along, beaming for no reason, ready to hurtle headlong into a procedurally generated dungeon to save some ‘mons and make some money.

Continue Reading at GameSpot

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Granblue Fantasy Versus Review – Fighting Fantasy

There isn’t a lot of room for newcomers in the fighting game genre. Veteran franchises like Street Fighter, Tekken, Mortal Kombat, and Guilty Gear have dominated the space for years, so the new challengers that do choose to step into the ring usually have the backing of a popular license. Granblue Fantasy Versus is just that kind of rookie fighter; it’s based on a property that’s incredibly popular in Japan thanks to a successful mobile gacha (virtual capsule-toy vending machine) game with RPG hooks, but relatively unknown everywhere else. Versus is, for all intents and purposes, Granblue Fantasy’s debut on the world stage.

Developed by Arc System Works–known for excellent fighting game adaptations of Dragon Ball Z and Persona 4–Granblue Fantasy Versus has a strong core thanks to unorthodox gameplay mechanics that delicately balance depth with approachability, while introducing interesting new ideas of its own. The extra flourishes that serve as a nod to fans or aim to adhere to RPG roots whiff on occasion, but the experience as a whole holds its own thanks to the strength of its fundamentals.

ArcSys has made strides in improving the approachability of its anime fighters more with simpler inputs and easier-to-understand systems, but for Granblue Fantasy Versus, it has moved away from the breakneck pace, air-dashing-oriented, aggressive playstyle of anime fighters to something more traditional. As a ground-based fighting game, Versus has a much slower pace of play and places heavier focus on normals and special moves instead of partner assists and lengthy touch-of-death combos. In that respect, it can be likened more closely to Capcom fighting games such as Street Fighter. The emphasis is on timing and spacing your attacks properly to create opportunities for follow-ups or set up situations where you have an advantage, but not necessarily an almost guaranteed victory. At a higher level, it’s about footsies, precisely executed mixups, smart use of the universal overhead, and the occasional frame trap. For newcomers–of which there’s likely to be many, given the popularity of Granblue Fantasy–it’s much more stable ground to find footing. Fighting game veterans will naturally have an advantage, but for everyone else, the mountain doesn’t seem as steep to climb, so the idea of walking the path to mastery is much more inviting.

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Dota Underlords Review – Overwhelming Odds

The auto-battler revolution of 2019 saw a flurry of activity from publishers as they tried to take advantage of the latest craze: Dota 2 Auto Chess. A custom game mod built using Dota 2 itself, Auto Chess was another product of the endless iteration found in the custom map modding scene–Dota was born out of a Warcraft 3 custom map, which iterated on a StarCraft custom map, and Auto Chess itself iterated on a separate Warcraft 3 map, and so on. A year later, Valve’s free-to-play interpretation of Auto Chess is one of the few left standing, and for good reason: Dota Underlords is a thrilling game that promotes layered strategy, mental acuity, and the rush that comes with beating overwhelming odds, making it a continually diverse and compelling experience.

Unlike Dota 2, Dota Underlords is a straightforward game. You can easily think of it like a deck builder or drafting game with multiple economies–Dominion, Ascension, or the Legendary series are some good touchstones. Facing off against seven other people, you have to build a team from a selection of heroes presented to you, and that team will then fight in head-to-head battles with others over a series of rounds until only one player remains.

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Wolcen: Lords Of Mayhem Review – Misguided Misadventures

There’s an air of familiarity to Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem. It’s an action role-playing game with heavy inspiration from Diablo and Path of Exile, from their high-fantasy gothic settings to their destiny-bound protagonists and plethora of abilities to dabble in. Wolcen wears its influences on its sleeve, and while it makes changes to their established foundations, it stumbles so many times along the way that it just feels lost by the end of it.

Wolcen’s opening obscures some of its more novel ideas, with a stale and predictable narrative that makes it feel generic. You play as one of three siblings born and bred for battle, but cast out from the only family you know when an unknown power awakens within you. It’s a plot filled to the brim with exposition, riddled with vaguely explained fantasy jargon and worldbuilding that never clicks into place. It’s easy to forget about entirely after the first few hours, with only the stilted dialogue and awkward cutscenes reminding you of the uninteresting events dressing Wolcen’s main draw.

The setting, however, doesn’t fall prey to the same oppressive medieval look. Gloomy caverns and bright, colorful forests are equally impressive backdrops for the equally outstanding visual details buried within them. The variation across Wolcen’s three acts is impressive too, as it whisks you between the opulent, gold-laden halls of an ancient sacred ground to the blood-drenched trenches of a chaotic battlefield.

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