Author: Jahanzeb Khan

Old SEGA games will go up in value... you'll see!

In an episode of the sitcom Friends, “The One With the Baby Shower,” Joey is auditioning to be the host of a game show called “Bamboozled,” except he doesn’t quite understand the rules. Chandler and Ross don’t really get the rules either, but it turns out they were so into this completely made-up points system that they couldn’t help but find some enjoyment in the insanity of it all. Anyway, when Joey turns up to the audition, he learns that the rules were completely scrapped for being far too confusing. The point is, that’s exactly what Akka Arrh feels like,…

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So, imagine if SUDA 51, Hideki Kamiya, and Tomonobu Itagaki co-created a game with Hideo Kojima as the producer. It would be a pretty wild output, but honestly, the chances of that ever happening are next to impossible, as just the egos alone could never function in the same room. And yet, this is exactly what Wanted: Dead feels like, the breakout release by studio 110 Industries. Wanted: Dead is a love letter to a bygone era of character action games, the kind of gaming experience we almost took for granted during the sixth console generation. Although 110 Industries may…

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Graze Counter GM is an interesting surprise, one of those titles that are so under the radar that even Noisy Pixel almost missed it. It’s not a game-changer by any stretch, but genre purists will enjoy discovering this. There is no shortage of shmups, especially now, thanks to digital distribution, which has allowed Japanese indie developers from the Doujinshi scene to easily share their work internationally on modern gaming platforms. Despite being spoiled for choice, Graze Counter GM noticeably rises to the top. https://youtu.be/FlRTYYB0PZ8 The title of the game alludes to the primary gameplay mechanic, which involves barely ‘grazing’ by…

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Toy Soldiers was one of the most notable titles for the Xbox Live Arcade on Xbox 360. Long before services like the Microsoft Store and Game Pass we have today, the digital marketplace on Xbox consoles involved features like Microsoft Points and a free playable demo for every single game. Many of those inclusions are gone, but Toy Soldiers has made a comeback after numerous delays, this time in HD and on multiple gaming platforms. https://youtu.be/AWgE-BY0zqU What’s most charming about the game is its presentation. It presents World War I as toys and figurines, the kind of toys your great,…

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They haven’t been around for that long, but developer JoyMasher has knocked it out of the park time and time again with their releases. Of course, indie developers creating some retro-inspired games isn’t exactly new. Still, this indie studio from Brazil went above and beyond just a mere imitation, as they feel like modern games which belong in this era. They started with an excellent pair of titles called Oniken and Odallus before creating the perfect Contra-style title imaginable in Blazing Chrome. And they now started 2023 in style with their latest title, Vengeful Guardian: Moonrider. Blazing Chrome was close…

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2022 almost felt like the year that set the course for 2023; some of the biggest IPs made their final swansongs on last-generation hardware. Yes, there is still a shortage of “next-gen” systems, but the industry has to move on at some point. As a result, we’ve seen an increase in titles exclusive to PS5 and Series X|S, even though the install base of PS4 is still too good to pass up for many game developers. Of course, some of the things we saw in 2022 will change gaming for the better for at least another decade. The open-zone shenanigans…

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SNK and Code Mystics have steadily been preserving the Neo Geo Pocket library for various platforms, and honestly, it’s been a good thing. The first wave of releases was brought together as one bundle in Neo Geo Pocket Color Selection Vol. 1, which honestly is a fantastic collection featuring some of the best portable fighting games ever made, and even a couple of solid Metal Slug releases too. Another wave of releases followed since, and these are now bundled together in an all-new volume in Neo Geo Pocket Color Selection Vol. 2. Where the first compilation felt like an actual…

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Asterigos: Curse of the Stars joins a hectic 2022 lineup as a title that is rough around the edges and yet still offers something uniquely charming to anyone after a fantasy-esque backdrop and an alternative take on a tried and tested gameplay formula. https://youtu.be/L_jvL3N95ko It has an aesthetic inspired by Greek mythology, sort of like Immortal Fenyx Rising, and no doubt the protagonist and their interaction with the game world will remind some of Kena: Bridge of Spirits. The gameplay is the interesting part; it certainly follows familiar tropes and beats of popular action games of recent years, it’s a…

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Developer and publisher Acquire is known for many things. Still, to the modern gamer, they are known for their contribution to the Octopath Traveler series. Shortly before that, they were a quirky little Otaku IP, which involved getting stripped in Akihabara. Gamers who have been around for a while will remember Tenchu, a stealth ninja action game. Then shortly after, they created a quasi-open-world action RPG called Way of the Samurai. Finally, where most of Acquire’s catalog has been released internationally, one game slipped under the radar, a 2006 PlayStation 2 title called Kamiwaza which is now available worldwide in…

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The official launch may be in 2023, but Street Fighter 6 is in a state ready to be experienced by lucky players all over the world. If you haven’t had a chance to try it out at a gaming convention, then you probably got into the bustling Closed Beta period that just went by. Capcom should be confident in what they’re creating as the early build of their next big fighting release shows plenty of promise. We may have had excellent titles like Guilty Gear -Strive- and The King of Fighters XV tide us over these last few years, but the…

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Three elements distinguish an indie game from any other type of video game, and no, let’s leave Metroidvanias and the current trend of Soulslike games out of this spectrum for a moment. These three elements are a narrative focus, puzzles, and 4th wall-breaking existentialism. The third of these can either be pretentiously condescending in execution, or it can make you think and feel empathy for a video game setting. Thankfully, while OneShot by developer Future Cat may strike familiar indie gaming tropes, it brings its lofty premise together effectively in a memorable adventure. In addition, what once started out as…

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Shmups may have reached peak popularity during the early 2000s, with gaming hardware allowing for more particles onscreen. The genre on home console goes all the way back to the NES days, and while the platform may not have had the processing power for bullet hell, it still gave gamers plenty of stylistic shooters. The latest indie shmup release Hell Blasters feels like it was made for the NES, if the NES somehow had a SEGA Dreamcast processor. https://youtu.be/FmBoxHsO6c0 Starring a duo of heroes named Summer and Winter, this is a surprisingly story-heavy game with its own dedicated story mode…

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For a company putting out so many different collections, it’s hard to fault Capcom, as none of them feel like cash grabs. Do some of these collections share the same titles? Sure, but the way they are packaged and presented means these classic titles are celebrated and experienced in completely different ways. We may have just seen Darkstalkers in the recent Capcom Fighting Collection with rollback netcode and all, but the latest Capcom Arcade Stadium collection presents these same titles, and more, in a different light. In other words, the type of collection you want depends on what you’re after,…

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Although the game has been out in Japan for quite some time and import friendly, all things considered, it’s nice to see an official worldwide release of Pocky & Rocky Reshrined. The franchise itself may not have enjoyed the same mainstream success as other IPs from the same era, but these were always highly acclaimed games, and the latest is a remake of the most popular SNES entry. Mixing old-school shooting gameplay with a superb modern presentation, this is right up there as one of the most playable modern retro releases in 2022. https://youtu.be/UBM5Mf6weJI The original Pocky & Rocky on…

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There’s the legendary film franchise Mad Max, and there was once a Mighty Max cartoon that played on Saturday mornings, and then there is the JRPG Metal Max. Surprisingly, all three IPs do have several things in common, but this review is about the latest Metal Max release, a franchise that quite rarely receives a worldwide localization. Although a few notable titles from the series did reach Western fans, they were usually not the games they wanted. Metal Max Xeno in 2018 offered an experience that felt like a mere shell of what fans had come to expect, and in…

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TOKOYO: The Tower of Perpetuity is likely one of those darlings in the Japanese indie Doujinshi scene that you either know absolutely nothing about, or you just happen to be one of the select few who is part of this elusive underground gaming scene. Like numerous titles from this scene, this one is a roguelike but here, the randomness is tied to a living, breathing online community. It’s been part of the Steam’s early access lineup since late 2020, and it has now launched in its complete form, feeling right at home on the Nintendo Switch eShop. All things considered,…

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Super Smash Bros. was a real game-changer for both party and fighting games, providing a sandbox for Nintendo characters to duke it out in some multiplayer fun. The series has since expanded to even include characters from beyond Nintendo, and the games have even become a staple of the competitive fighting scene. In the meantime, other developers and publishers have tried to execute this template with their own take and flavor. Perhaps the most notable being PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, which tried to achieve the same thing with Sony-owned IPs.  Last year we saw Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl which was a…

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OPUS is a series that started out small and modest, but suddenly found itself achieving the grandiose ambitions of its intergalactic setting. The first two titles were largely inexpensive mobile-style titles, and they still cost next to nothing to pick up, even today. Even so, they had a heart and soul and quickly built a following big enough to even warrant a limited edition Switch cartridge release in Japan. The third entry, OPUS: Echo of Starsong, has been around for quite some time, but it only recently saw a surprise launch on Switch as the Full Bloom Edition. This is…

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Celebrating 30 years, the Cotton franchise has experienced quite an anniversary with most of their back catalog now ported to modern platforms, which even include remasters of classics. These games once had collector appeal and value, but now that these titles are so easily available, some of them weren’t quite the shooter classics they were made up to be. Sure, some of the classic games were good fun and all, but with so many better shooters out there, they felt like a curiosity for diehard genre fans for the most part. To cap off 30 years of cute shmup shenanigans,…

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The original Ganryu was a pretty late release for the NEOGEO platform and not a classic by any stretch. Sure, it had some cool play mechanics, but the level design was vague and the various moving parts of the game felt loosely connected. Almost two decades later, we get a brand new sequel in Ganryu 2: Hakuma Kojiro, and in an age where there is no shortage of ninja action platformers, this is one game that shows everyone how it’s done. https://youtu.be/TkIVpuCgr9o While the original Ganryu felt like a proof of concept, the new game feels fully realized in its…

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