In order of viewing:
1) Being John Malkovich  – 9/10
System: PS Vita [reviewed], Steam, Android, iOS
Genre: 2D Platformer
Developer: Steel Wool Games
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.
In order of viewing:
1) Master and Commander: Far Side of the World  – 8/10
4) Apollo 13  – 7/10
5) Philadelphia  – 7/10
7) The Untouchables  – 8/10
8) The Aviator  – 8/10
* denotes replay
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.
System: PS Vita [reviewed], PS4
Genre: Shoot ’em up, platformer
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.
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.
Table Top Racing
System: PS Vita [reviewed], previously on iOS and Android
Genre: Arcade racing
Developer: Playrise Digital
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.
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.