Author: Colin Buchanan

Colin is a queer, neurodivergent media critic who joined Noisy Pixel in 2021. You can also find him writing with AniTAY at https://www.anitay.org, or his own personal musings about anime at arcaneranger.tumblr.com.

Have you ever played one of those games you just know you’re going to have to explain for the rest of your life? In case you haven’t heard, Ever Crisis is a free-to-play mobile game that aims to adapt the original Final Fantasy VII universe into a single title. This includes, chronologically, The First SOLDIER, Before Crisis (a Japan-only feature phone game that predates smartphones and thus never made it to America), Crisis Core, Final Fantasy VII, Dirge of Cerberus, and Advent Children. Given that the First SOLDIER storyline is entirely original, it may include more content, such as the…

Read More

Every so often, a long-standing publisher will dust off one of their dormant “classic” franchises for a surprise revival. We’ve seen it happen a few times over the last few years, with SEGA dropping new Virtua Fighter, Soul Hackers, and Alex Kidd titles more than ten years after their previous entries. Still, this actually isn’t the first Samba de Amigo revival, as Gearbox Software ported the original game to the Wii in 2007, but as the first new game in two decades to carry the name, does Party Central hold up?  Modern rhythm games tend to fall into one of three categories. There are…

Read More

A note at the top of the review – Mediterranea Inferno contains a detailed content warning that does a good job of making sure the player knows what they’re getting into, but I want to very heavily emphasize the warning regarding those with light sensitivity issues. If you have light sensitivity, epilepsy, or both, I do not recommend engaging with this game, including watching video footage of it. You have been warned. 2020 is going to be remembered forever as a major turning point in the lives of everyone on the planet, but its long-term effects will most obviously be felt…

Read More

I’ve never been the most enthusiastic player of games whose primary draw is that my choices affect the story. If I stick to them long enough, I’ll be sold on the narrative regardless, but getting there can be a daunting task. For this reason, I haven’t played a Don’t Nod Entertainment game since Remember Me way back on the PlayStation 3, as the studio has made much more of a name since then, developing the Life is Strange narrative adventure series. Thematically, it seems right up my alley, but the constant fear of screwing everything up has made me cautious…

Read More

Every once in a while, I come across a title that makes me question whether it even really fits into the category of “game.” Stray Gods’ demo made it very clear that it would be one of those projects, being more of an interactive movie, but I was drawn fully into its world despite its unusual presentation. How would this story play out in full? What would it take to see everything? Was everyone going to be this hot? I needed the answers, and now that I have them, I think I can finally talk about this experience and who I…

Read More

During the reveal presentation for Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail, producer Naoki Yoshida revealed that the expansion will raise the game’s level cap from 90 to 100, notably breaking the series tradition of a level cap of 99. While this is to be expected as the game has been increasing the cap by ten levels in each major expansion, it is slightly more notable in this instance, as players had been debating online whether they would keep with the series tradition of 99 or the XIV tradition of the cap being a multiple of 10. It was also announced that two…

Read More

Square Enix’s Creative Business Unit III and producer Naoki Yoshida kicked off their 2024 Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival Keynote with an announcement trailer for the game’s fifth expansion, Dawntrail. Dawntrail is currently scheduled for release in Summer 2024. The delay was expected due to the previous announcement before Endwalker’s release that the COVID-19 pandemic had permanently slowed down the game’s release cycle. Not much was revealed immediately due to the length of time before the release, but we already know that it will be accompanied by a major graphical update to the entire game, which is sorely needed given…

Read More

Until its re-reveal at the 2022 Final Fantasy VII livestream, I had been somewhat skeptical about whether Final Fantasy VII: Ever Crisis was actually ever coming out. This closed beta test was supposed to happen last year, and while some of my favorite mobile games of all time were also subject to massive delays (like Tales of Crestoria), a whole year for a Square Enix mobile title was more concerning than most. The trailer looked jaw-dropping for a mobile title, but was there any way it would be worth the wait? https://youtu.be/TA5W62Zt0l4 The Closed Beta Test was open to any…

Read More

I’ve been thinking about this category of games that I like to call “all-nighter” games. These are titles that I feel are best experienced in the quietest, darkest, most intimate, and most immersive setting possible for the most significant impact and are short enough to finish in one sitting. Firewatch, To the Moon, and Alan Wake’s American Nightmare are all excellent examples from very different genres. Now, I would absolutely recommend the same play experience for Oxenfree II: Lost Signals.  I want to note quickly that this game is being marketed as accessible to people who have not played…

Read More

Speaking as probably the biggest musical theatre nerd on the team, I have kept a close eye on Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical. From first-time studio Summerfall Studio and now-seasoned indie publisher Humble Games, this title has received an almost suspicious amount of pre-release buzz thanks to its partnership with Critical Role, with two of that show’s cast members prominently featured in the game and an utterly insane list of all-stars rounding out the rest of the cast. Thanks to a demo dropping for Steam Next Fest, I’ve finally been able to get my hands on Stray Gods, so what’s…

Read More

Nintendo surprised everyone with a reveal for a full remake of Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, coming to Switch on November 17 (with eShop preorders starting today), during their June direct event. The game was originally released in 1996 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System/Super Famicom and was notably developed by a pre-merger Squaresoft. It developed a large cult following over the last several years, as fans of the game campaigned for party member Geno to appear as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Yoko Shimomura will be in charge of the soundtrack, who was the…

Read More

You’ve heard of Scrubs, right? It was a long-running American sitcom about the life of a newly-minted medical doctor, navigating his new career and the perils of the American healthcare system, taking a sometimes-harsh look at what it’s actually like to be in the medical industry. It’s also the clearest inspiration for the debut title from studio Critical Rabbit, Fall of Porcupine. https://youtu.be/9h-nsyIvaSM Taking further influence from titles like Night in the Woods, the game tells a realistic, grounded story through anthropomorphic animal characters that nonetheless all behave similarly to humans. The player controls Finley, a recent big-city graduate beginning…

Read More

Developer Croteam has officially unveiled a sequel to 2014 puzzle title The Talos Principle, simply titled The Talos Principle 2, debuting a teaser trailer during the PlayStation Showcase. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgVQDrfUbq0&pp=ygURdGFsb3MgcHJpbmNpcGxlIDI%3D This title was unofficially confirmed several years ago during the development of Serious Sam 4, but was fully revealed with a 2023 release window during the presentation. The followup is stated to be a dramatic expansion in storyline, puzzle mechanics, and worldbuilding from the original, all elements that were already lauded in the previous title. New features include ‘mind transference’ and gravity manipulation, as well as multiple endings and many new environments.…

Read More

Studio Remedy Entertainment and Publisher Epic Games showed off a brand-new trailer for Alan Wake 2 during the PlayStation Showcase event. The publisher also included the game will be available digitally only for PC on the Epic Games Store, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S on October 17, 2023. While the creative leads had previously spoken about the sequel being much more survival-horror-focused than its action-horror predecessor, this was our first real look at what that might mean. “Alan Wake 2 is an intense story and a layered mystery that takes players on two disturbing journeys, running in parallel and…

Read More

Beijing-based studio S-GAMES revealed a brand-new title, Phantom Blade 0, during the May 2023 PlayStation Showcase event. Not many concrete details were given, including a release date, but from the trailer, it appears to be a samurai-themed action title set in a world where many people wear masks and have no faces beneath them. The trailer was comprised of half story cinematics, and half extremely flashy-looking action combat with wall-running and other such maneuverability mechanics. Several characters also used mechanical weapons, such as the large cat-shaped gun seen in the featured image. Interestingly, there appears to also be a companion…

Read More

While there have been a few games in the genre that have really sunk their hooks into me, I’ve never been a big fan of Roguelikes. Brace Yourself Games’ Crypt of the NecroDancer has floated around my periphery for years now, but despite being a rhythm game devotee, the game just never appealed much to me, given the slow progress inherent to its format. Thankfully, their upcoming spin-off/follow-up Rift of the NecroDancer seems poised to give me exactly the kind of experience I had hoped for. Rift sets itself fully apart from Crypt, being a more structured experience that mixes…

Read More

Battle Scars is impossible to discuss without spoiling every major plot twist from Jedi: Fallen Order. You have been warned. Respawn Entertainment’s Jedi: Fallen Order is, thus far, the only product of the EA/Disney Star Wars partnership to be mainly focused on a single-player narrative experience. Telling the story of Cal Kestis, a Jedi Padawan who escaped his former clone allies during Order 66 and went into hiding, it revitalized the Star Wars IP’s video game branch to the tune of twelve million copies sold, so obviously, a sequel was inevitable. But when Jedi: Survivor was revealed, with a much…

Read More

Smile For Me was first released on Steam in 2019, but I wouldn’t end up playing it until its console release. This is a shame, given how unique this title is, but I’m glad to play it nonetheless. While its console release is on Xbox and Switch, I found that it lends itself perfectly to the Switch thanks to the portable nature of the console. Having this strange adventure on the go provided an interesting way to experience this unconventional adventure.  Smile For Me is presented as a modern interpretation of point-and-click adventure games. You have full movement and…

Read More

Picture this: you’re on a trip across the sea, and your boat goes down. You regain consciousness, washed up on a beach near a man-made tower. You can tell there’s someone inside, but a knock on the door provokes no answer. With nowhere to go but forward, you press on, passing such strange sights as a door standing alone on the beach and an elaborate set of ruins. You eventually come across a statue…which speaks to you telepathically. She introduces herself as the Oracle, though she insists that you can call her Ora. Despite you explaining to her that you’re…

Read More

The modern AAA development system has plenty of interesting side effects. Companies are not making games as they used to, with many popular franchises from yesteryear either laying dormant or wholly transformed from how they once were. So, as people that grew up in the late nineties and early aughts reach adulthood and join the burgeoning indie game development scene, they now get to make the games they wish the big publishers would. Enter French team WildArts Studio, who saw a massive hole in all of our hearts where a third RPG-style Paper Mario title was meant to go and…

Read More