PS Vita Game Review: Flyhunter Origins [2014]

Flyhunter Origins [PS Vita]

Flyhunter Origins 
System: PS Vita [reviewed], Steam, Android, iOS
Genre: 2D Platformer
Developer: Steel Wool Games
Publisher: Ripstone
Price: $6.99
Release Date: December 9, 2014

Flyhunter Origins is a family-friendly platformer that has a bit of an interesting pedigree behind it. The game’s developer, Steel Wool Games, is led by a quintet of Pixar veterans, and their animation background is definitely an asset. Their talent is on display during the game’s aesthetically-pleasing cutscenes, and these moments send the game off to a promising start. It’s a shame that these positive impressions start crumbling down as soon as the gameplay kicks in.
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Month In Review [September 2014]

In order of viewing:
1) Master and Commander: Far Side of the World [2003] - 8/10
Master and Commander: Far Side of the World [2003]

2) Dead Silence [2007] - 3/10
Dead Silence [2007]

3) Waking Life [2001] - 8/10
Waking Life [2001]

4) Apollo 13 [1995] - 7/10
Apollo 13 [1995]

5) Philadelphia [1993] - 7/10
Philadelphia [1993]

6) Tape [2001] - 7/10
Tape [2001]

7) The Untouchables [1987] - 8/10
The Untouchables [1987]

8) The Aviator [2004] - 8/10
The Aviator [2004]

Video Games Completed:
1) Batman: Arkham Asylum [Xbox 360]* - 9/10
Batman: Arkham Asylum [Xbox 360]

2) South Park: The Stick of Truth [Xbox 360] - 8/10
South Park: The Stick of Truth [Xbox 360]

3) The Walking Dead: Season Two [Xbox 360] - 9/10
The Walking Dead: Season Two [Xbox 360]

* denotes replay

TV Shows Finished:
1) Veep [Season 2] - 8/10
Veep [Season 2]

2) Archer [Season 2] - 8/10
Archer [Season 2]

Best of the Month: Aside from one misfire which I will get to in the next section, I had a great (albeit slow) month of movie watching. Although I rated most of them similarly, I have to give the edge to Waking Life as my favorite of the group. Richard Linklater’s philosophical animated film raises a lot of intriguing thoughts and questions, though I can’t pretend to understand some of its more weightier segments. Definitely one I would like to revisit at some point. For video games, the second season of The Walking Dead was just as bleak and depressing as the first one, and I loved it pretty much all the way through. It doesn’t have a character on the level of Lee from season one, but it’s still an excellent followup, and I am very curious to see where the next season goes.

Worst of the Month: I have mostly enjoyed director James Wan’s past work (particularly Saw and The Conjuring), but Dead Silence is just an awful, awful film. It has a cliché-ridden plot, laughable performances (Ryan Kwanten and Donnie Wahlberg, ladies and gentlemen) and some seriously cringe-worthy dialogue. Worst of all, there is no sense of dread anywhere. Just very disappointing.

Video Game Review: Velocity 2X [PS Vita/PS4]

Velocity 2X [PS Vita/PS4]

Velocity 2X 
System: PS Vita [reviewed], PS4
Genre: Shoot ‘em up, platformer
Developer: FuturLab
Publisher: FuturLab
Price: $19.99 (cross buy, free for PS+ members)
Release Date: September 2, 2014

Velocity Ultra was a bit of a sleeper indie hit on the Playstation Network last year, and today sees the release of its much-anticipated sequel Velocity 2X.

Whereas Ultra innovated with its unique hybrid of shoot ‘em up gameplay and puzzles involving teleportation, 2X expands upon this template by bringing in a brand new dynamic: side-scrolling platforming. The transition between shmup action and platforming is seamless, and it tactfully brings together two genres that you normally wouldn’t think of combining.

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Video Game Review: Crimsonland [PS Vita/PS4/Steam]

Crimsonland [PS Vita/PS4]

System: PS Vita [reviewed], PS4, Steam
Genre: Top-down shooter
Developer: 10tons Ltd.
Publisher: 10tons Ltd.
Price: $8.99 (cross buy)
Release Date: August 19, 2014 (Vita)

Crimsonland is an apt title for a game that lets you paint the landscape red with the blood of your enemies. Originally released for the PC way back in 2003, this kinda-cult classic has been remastered and released on Steam, PS4 and PS Vita. For this review, I am focusing on the Vita version.

In this top-down shooter, you play as an unnamed soldier with your goal being to kill everything in sight — including aliens, spiders, zombies and mutant lizards. These enemies flood the screen in large waves, dozens at a time. Certain levels push that number closer to 100, creating some ridiculous mayhem on screen (with no slowdown either). As you wipe out more and more enemies, the game’s backdrop begins to turn red — a fitting portrait of the chaos around you.

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PS Vita Game Review: Table Top Racing

Table Top Racing [PS Vita]

Table Top Racing 
System: PS Vita [reviewed], previously on iOS and Android
Genre: Arcade racing
Developer: Playrise Digital
Publisher: Ripstone
Price: $7.99
Release Date: August 5, 2014

The idea of bringing a free-to-play mobile game to the Playstation Vita is a risky one. Mobile ports have been done in the past with disastrous results — Dungeon Hunter Alliance and Asphalt Injection, to name a couple, were marked up considerably higher than their smartphone counterparts despite not bringing anything new to the table. Thankfully, that is not the case with Table Top Racing, the latest release from Ripstone.

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Video Game Review: The Swapper [PS Vita/PSN]

The Swapper [PS Vita/PSN]

The Swapper
System: PS Vita [reviewed], PS3, PS4, PC, Mac, Linux, Wii U
Genre: Puzzle platformer
Developer: Facepalm Games & Curve Studios
Publisher: Curve Digital
Price: $19.99 (cross-buy on PSN)
Release Date: August 5, 2014

The Swapper is a puzzle-platformer that just oozes atmosphere. Originally released for the PC last year, this Facepalm Games adventure received overwhelming praise from critics and fans alike. This week, the ever-prolific Curve Studios is set to introduce this indie hit to a whole new set of gamers via the Playstation Network.

Set deep in space on a seemingly abandoned space station, The Swapper places you in the role of a lone explorer who is trying to make sense of the situation. The feeling of isolation here is undeniable — you are just one person alone in a massive, eerie location. Shortly upon arrival, you gain access to a mysterious new weapon, dubbed the Swapper, that gives you the ability to create clones of yourself — up to four at once. At first it appears to be a neat little tool, but soon it’s clear that it may have some unexpectedly heady consequences.

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Month In Review [July 2014]

In order of viewing:
1) Boyz n the Hood [1991] - 8/10
Boyz n the Hood [1991]

2) Stand By Me [1986] - 8/10
Stand By Me [1986]

3) 30 for 30: Bad Boys [2014] - 8/10
30 for 30: Bad Boys [2014]

4) The Karate Kid [1984] - 8/10
The Karate Kid [1984]

5) Maniac [2012] - 5/10
Maniac [2012]

6) The Innkeepers [2011] - 6/10
The Innkeepers [2011]

7) Enemy [2013] - 9/10
Enemy [2013]

8) Philomena [2013] - 7/10
Philomena [2013]

9) A Skin, A Night [2008] - 5/10
A Skin, A Night [2008]

10) Mystic River [2003] - 8/10
Mystic River [2003]

11) Snowpiercer [2013] - 9/10
Snowpiercer [2013]

12) Under the Skin [2013] - 8/10
Under the Skin [2013]

13) The Incredibles [2004] - 8/10
The Incredibles [2004]

Video Games Finished:
1) The Wolf Among Us [Xbox 360] - 9/10
The Wolf Among Us

2) MouseCraft [PS Vita] - 8/10

3) Injustice: Gods Among Us [PS Vita] - 9/10
Injustice: Gods Among Us [PS Vita]

TV Shows Completed:
1) Orange Is the New Black [Season 2] - 8/10
Orange Is the New Black [Season 2]

2) Archer [Season 1] - 8/10
Archer [Season 1]

Best of the Month: Not only is Enemy my favorite movie I watched in July, it’s my early front-runner for this year’s best film. Snowpiercer is a close second right now in my book, with Under the Skin just behind that. Those three films were revitalizing after what I thought had been a fairly disappointing year to that point. I’m even more excited to see what August brings, as I hope to finally catch Boyhood and Life Itself (among others). For video games, I played the last four episodes of The Wolf Among Us back-to-back, and loved every second of it. The final episode, in particular, was riveting and was the perfect way to finish the season. Injustice for the Vita was also a pleasant surprise, and it’s definitely up there as far as my favorite fighting games go.

Worst of the Month: As much as it pains me to say it, A Skin, A Night was a bit of a bore. The National, the subjects of the documentary, are probably my favorite band working today, but this little-seen documentary tried way too hard to be artsy, and it offered little in the way of insight on the band itself. On the other hand, I’m really looking forward to finally seeing Mistaken for Strangers, a more recent documentary about the band that has been getting rave reviews. I suppose Maniac could be considered for the worst of the month as well. Despite having a startlingly effective first-person view, Maniac didn’t work so well for me because I had a hard time buying Elijah Wood as an overpowering serial killer. He was definitely creepy, but there is just no way he could have held a woman of similar size down in the water with just one hand.

Onward to August!