We don’t know if it’s because E3 is getting closer or it’s just a busy time for game releases, but we got a ton of games to review over the last month or so. It’s time for a jam packed edition of Gamebox 2.0 (and there might be a part 2 on the way very soon).
Puyo Puyo Tetris: Two of the most beloved puzzle franchises come together for a crazy new game where up to four players can compete in a brain melting simultaneous Tetris and Puyo Puyo game play. There is a crazy anime style story mode that involves characters from Puyo Puyo!! 20th Anniversary saving the world from invading Puyo blobs and Tetriminos blocks. The nonsense dialogue and voice acting adds a lot of charm to the story mode as characters solves every situation by batting each other in puzzle matches.
The first 20 levels should give any player enough experience to get used to basic tactics and combo controls and the last chapters of story mode are kinda of punishing if you didn’t master the basics (And figure out how to at least a score a 3 Chain Puyo Combo). It’s well worth it to invest some time into the story mode to get the skills needed to be competitive in the five different multiplayer modes. Two of the most chaotic play experiences there is Fusion and Swap. Fusion blends Puyos and Tetriminos pieces in the same grid and can be stacked and combined to set up mixed chain clearing. Figuring out how to have the right configuration and having all the puyos connect is very tough when other players are sending garbage into the grid at the same time. Swap has the players play a Tetris grid and a Puyo grid at timed intervals, and rewards and punishment effects carry over each field. Puyo Puyo Tetris is available on the Switch and PS4 and if your’e fan of one or both of these puzzle games, it’s definitely worth checking out.
Nonstop Chuck Norris: It seems like all of our favorite action movie idols are fronting mobile games like Arnold with Mobile Strike or Jason Statham with Sniper X but now Chuck Norris is getting into the action with Nonstop Chuck Norris on Android and iOS. Surprisingly and also kind of disappointingly, you don’t really directly control Chuck and it’s more like a clicker type game as Chuck will just run and endlessly take down villains while gaining coins and chests that you can unlock to get weapons and clothing and level them up. You also unlock special moves that you can have Chuck execute and, even if you are not in the game, Chuck will still be battling and gain coins for the next time you enter the game. It’s not a deep experience by any means but it’s a decent time waster for if you have 5-10 minutes to kill.
Alpha Protocol: I got Alpha Protocol in a Sega Humble Bundle over 3 years ago but just never got around to playing it but decided to try it on my new gaming laptop and quickly got sucked in. It got OK reviews when it came out with most critics praising the dialogue system and player choices but dinging the combat. I personally didn’t have that much trouble with the gunplay, probably because I chose to be a soldier and got a boost right off the bat but it does feel like maybe there’s some invisible dice rolls happening behind the scenes instead of being a 1 to 1 targeting. You play as spy Michael Thorton, who’s betrayed by his top secret espionage agency and has to go underground to unravel a conspiracy. The dialogue system and the choices it lets you make is still great even all these years later as you figure out how to approach each character and whether you want to get them to like or hate you, with advantages and disadvantages on both sides and you have three standard ways to respond ranging from suave James Bond style to aggressive Jack Bauer style. If you’ve never checked it out, I would say it’s definitely worth a look as there’s not really any other RPGs with it’s milieu and action.
The Walking Dead: A New Frontier Ep. 4 “Thicker Than Water”: The saga of Javier, his family and Clem continues in the tense Ep. 4 as you have to decide how and if you want to stage a coup against the leadership of the town of Richmond or just try to get out and the personal relationships get even more messy as well, especially based on what you did in prior episodes. I think I’ve said it before but I really like playing/guiding Javier, he seems like a genuinely good guy just trying to survive in this crazy world, at least how I’m playing him, and it’s interesting to react to Clem as an NPC after controlling her for in the last season but you still control her in some gut wrenching flashbacks that show what happened to her between Season Two and now. If you’ve never played a Walking Dead season before, I would say the first season is still the best but this is a solid jumping in point as well.
Super Rude Bear Resurrection
A brutal platformer coming on the heels of Super Meat Boy, Super Rude Bear Resurrection has you playing as the titular bear with ‘tude as he is recruited to help a fairy creature defeat an evil wizard. The thing that sets Rude Bear apart from Meat Boy or the recent Slime-San from Headup Games is that when you die (and you will constantly) your corpse stays in place, allowing you a platform that should make things easier on your next attempt. Developers Alex Rose Games are actually holding a contest where if you are the first person to complete the seemingly impossible task of beating the game without dying (and have video evidence of it on Twitch), You could win $1000. SRBR is a re-release, and I played the original version of about 3 years ago at PAX East. SRBR doesn’t feel quite as tight as Meat Boy or Slime-San but it’s still a great entry in that insanely hard platforming genre and worth checking out on PS4 or PC. – Zach
As a fan of platformers that give no chill, Super Rude Bear Resurrection is one of those humbling game experiences that allows the players to the finish the game without hitting a huge learning curve.The game encourages players to leave a few dead bodies to create stepping stools and cover. A few well placed dead bodies can help navigate the level safely. You can litter the level wtih your bear’s corpses till every spike is baby proofed from harm. However, the sadist gamer that loves a challenge will try to keep the count to low number and probably reset on every death. SRBR is a great pick for gamers looking to get their fill on difficult platformers this year and bragging points to challenge their friends skills. – Chris
Expedition: Viking: We originally played the beta version two years ago at PAX East and now Expedition: Viking has been released. You create a custom Viking warrior and then take over your clan after your father’s death and must deal with the threat of rival clans and fellow warriors in your clan trying to take your position in typical RPG fashion by gathering items, talking to certain people or battling in turn based battles. The combat system is pretty complex and you have to be aware of what type of warriors you have with you and where they are positioned and you could leave yourself wide open to a counter attack if you are not careful. The game also eschews any fantasy elements that you might find in other historical based RPGs and it really feels like the team put in a lot of research to get the look and feel of actual viking culture down. It seems like there’s a bunch of different options to how you want to approach situations and how you level up and build your Viking warrior. If you’re an RPG fan who wants something a bit more realistic and historical, it’s definitely worth checking out. – Zach
Expedition: Viking is tactical RPG that focuses on historical viking culture and fantasy gameplay. The various stats and skills for your custom viking offers many options to suit your own play style. (But don’t expect any of your vikings to be a secret dragonborn.) As a head viking warrior, you must lead your clan for survival against rival clans, expanding territories and gathering supplies. There is a bit of a learning curve to get good at the turn based combat system. You can rush into battle without a plan for some of the situations, but the game really shines in difficult battles. Utilizing the proper warrior with the right equipment and carefully forming an attack plan is only half the challenge. Positions, Abilities, Equipment Stats (and what dialogue choices you picked before a battle) factor in how much of an advantage you will have in combat. If you have gathered and traded resources, you may have additional support or more enemies that will challenged you. Fans of Vikings, tactial RPGS and Expedition: Conquistador should be on the hunt to pillage this game – Chris
Forts: After having an uber-Fort match at PAX East this year, the full version of Forts has been out for almost a month and it’s a fantastic throwback to games like Worms or Scorched Earth but with some Bridge Constructor elements mixed in. The basic gist is that you have to build up your Fort and it’s defenses and then take down the enemy fort but there’s tons of variations in the maps and initial Fort setup to play around with either against bots or in multiplayer. There’s also a campaign mode where you battle and build forts to gain control of precious oil reserves around the globe. The physics of the Forts makes it both terrifying when your base gets wobbled after a particular big hit and supremely satisfying when you land a big blow against an enemy fort and there’s a ton of variations in the weapons you can add to your base. It definitely gets frantic if you are up against a high level AI or a good player and it seems like a game you’re going to have to memorize shortcut keys and be able to manage multiple things at once to get good at it, but if you like that 2D artillery lobbing style games from back in the day, this is one to check out. – Zach
Figure out the control short cuts first and remember to aim for all the weak spots right after, or else suffer a laser beam death defeat like I got from Zach. – Chris
Marvel Heroes Omega: The free to play MMO with all your favorite Marvel characters is making the jump to console soon and we got into the Closed Beta and found it’s pretty much the same game but that’s not necessarily a bad thing as it’s the closest we’ll probably ever get to a reboot or sequel to Marvel Ultimate Alliance. I haven’t played the PC version in a few years, so I’m not sure if this is new or not, but the PS4 version allows you to try out any character until you get to level 10 and then you have to either pay real money or use your acquired in-game currency to purchase a Hero to continue on. There aren’t as many characters right now on the PS4 as there are on the PC but most of your favorites are her including Spider-Man, Cap, Iron Man, Hulk, Star-Lord and Deadpool and there should be at least one to match your preferred play style. The PS4 version seems to follow the same story progression as the PC version, so that will also be familiar to PC vets as well but it feels good on a controller and if some of my PSN friends get into it, it seems like it could be a good way to hang out and beat up some Marvel supervillains together.
Party Hard 2 Alpha: We loved the first Party Hard and the sequel is on the way soon from TinyBuild and, while it keeps the same basic gameplay, it’s a huge step up in almost every way. Playing the single club that is available in the Alpha version, which you can download from the link above, the game now gives you specific objectives to complete instead of the original game’s sometimes brutal task of killing every single person at the various parties your serial killer character visited. The inventory system has also been revamped and you can pick up items and use them at strategic times along with the environmental traps that are around the area. Your trusty knife is usually the best way to get things done still and Party Hard 2 still requires you stalk and wait until your target is isolated enough to take out, lest the cops get called on you and you get arrested. It seems like a fantastic update already to an already great game and it’s going to be out sometime later this year.