Author: Kevin Mai

In my eyes, sports manga are a hidden gem of a genre within the manga community: while most of them don’t get much attention, they are often consistently great series by being effectively better-structured shounen than shounen itself. Blue Lock Vol. 1 pairs great sports anime with an interesting premise for an interesting and engaging opening. In Blue Lock, the Japanese National Soccer/football team has been feeling the frustration of hitting a wall – while the team has improved significantly, often making the world cup, they’re nowhere near close to actually contending for it. They have great team players that…

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You often run into games that stake their whole structure and appeals on a singular mechanic, but sadly, those mechanics aren’t always fun. Developed by the studio founded by the co-creator of Life is Strange, Ashwalkers is an atmospheric narrative-driven adventure that is intriguing in its early moments but the game gets repetitive and dull, very quickly.  Given its name and setting, Ashwalkers made the decision to be entirely grayscale. At times this decision pays off as it sets the mood for a distinct post-apocalyptic atmosphere. On the other hand, it often makes the game look flat and dull,…

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There was a time that the 3D Platformer genre appeared to be dead, but it feels like we’ve hit a bit of a Renaissance in recent years. The newest entry in the genre is Tasomachi: Behind the Twilight – a charming adventure collectathon made by a single developer, nocras. This happens to be a truly beautiful game and succeeds in its goal of presenting this genre to the modern era, but it’s marred by technical issues, leaving me feeling like it isn’t ready for prime time.  Tasomachi’s visuals and its world immediately stand out. The art direction is striking,…

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Today developer Anchor hosted a special Muv-Luv announcement stream that detailed the plans for Muv-Luv in 2021, headlined by changes to Project Mikhail. Unlike the previous entries in the Muv-Luv series, which have been Visual Novels, Project Mikhail is an action game where you control a Tactical Surface Fighter Mech to battle the alien BETA. Originally Project Mikhail was set to come out on PC and mobile devices in April but is now the team will launch the new game on PC and Switch instead in August. The cause of the delay is because age is making a variety of…

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As a fan of retro video games, it’s always exciting to see new indie games inspired by classics. When I saw Dogworld, its stark aesthetic, old school Metroidvania gameplay and dog-filled charm drew me in. While I had my doubts, thankfully Dogworld turned out to be a well-rounded adventure that embraces gaming’s past but stumbles exactly where those classic games do.  The first thing you’ll likely notice with Dogworld is its retro presentation. This stark “1-bit” design has black, white, and red, comprising the entire world. The visuals give me Undertale vibes while also reminding me of the ZX…

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I typically don’t follow an indie developer’s career, but I’ve always appreciated the games made by InvertMouse due to the consistent charm and quality from his releases. Following up on 2019’s Clea, the developer has released a sequel with the expected title of Clea 2. Aesthetically, this adventure is incredibly similar to the first and even trips up in the same areas that the original did. But, for the most part, Clea 2 is a largely improved experience by refining the mechanics to make it actually fun.  Clea 2 is a side-scrolling survival horror game with an emphasis on…

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PC

We typically expect that a side story is lesser than the original, but every assumption comes with exceptions. With Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After, I’m delighted to say that age provided exactly that: a side story that’s as good, if not better, than many parts of the main series. With 4 episodes currently out that are all great in their own ways, Muv-Luv: The Day After provides experiences that remind me why I started to play visual novels in the first place.  This review of Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After assumes that you have played through at least the…

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War is a cruel mistress, always leaving devastating results and showing up when it’s least wanted. You know, when shit’s gone down. Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 03 happens to be exactly that scenario; even in the post-apocalypse, we can’t escape war.  The Day After 03 is probably how one expected The Day After to go down, having intense drama and wrapping up major parts of the story, but it doesn’t wrap the story up.  My Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After impressions will assume that you have played through at least the original Muv-Luv (the Extra and Unlimited arcs)…

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The Day After train continues with Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 02, the most personal and intimate of the series yet. It shouldn’t really be a surprise that The Day After 02 is basically a continuation of the previous The Day After episodes. Still, this episode comes in a personal flair and actual, genuine heroism.  My Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After impressions will assume that you have played through at least the original Muv-Luv (the Extra and Unlimited arcs) since there are inherent spoilers that cannot be avoided. So please play those first or read our review on them…

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PC

When was the last time you’ve played a game that completely blew you away? When I play video games, watch anime, or anything else, I’m always chasing that high. A constant search for experiences that take me for a ride and never let go. Luckily for me and many Muv-Luv fans, this series is a very reliable source for this experience, and age does it again with Muv Luv Unlimited: The Day After 01. My Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After impressions will assume that you have played through at least the original Muv-Luv (the Extra and Unlimited arcs) since there…

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PC

I eagerly await every new release of Muv-Luv, but out of all the titles Anchor has been releasing, Muv Luv Unlimited: The Day After is probably the one I have been looking forward to the most. This is partly because it was started by Alternative Project but never finished. After all, they went legit. But another reason was that I thought that Muv Luv Unlimited: The Day After is an exceptionally great part of Muv-Luv that no one should miss. https://youtu.be/b2OZHWjxR94 My Muv-Luv Unlimited: The Day After 00 impressions will assume that you have played through at least the original…

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We have so many car racing games available but rarely do we get said racing games for other kinds of vehicles. What about motorcycle enthusiasts who want the Forza and Gran Turismo experience? Well, Ride 4 by Milestone attempts to a premiere racing sim in the genre, and while it might be a great simulator, it’s not a good racing experience. Further, Ride 4 is quite possibly the least beginner-friendly game I’ve ever played and easily one of my least favorite racing games, period.  Let’s get the positives out of the way – If you are a fan of…

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Back when I started university 5 years ago, you had a choice between a thin and light laptop that could run source games if you were lucky or a 5 lb laptop that could actually run games at 1080p. All I really wanted though was a 2 in 1 laptop that was light enough to use as a tablet but strong enough so I can put it in stand mode at the student lounge, kick back and play some games with a 360 controller. Today, ASUS made that dream a reality, with the bonus feature of coming with a one…

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2020’s been a wild ride for everyone, and I’m no exception. Trying to stay sane during quarantine, joining Noisy Pixel, going through my last year of university, so much has happened, and video games this year has helped me get through it all. Ultimately though, while I’ve played and reviewed all sorts of games, engaging and compelling story experiences will always be my bread and butter, and that’s reflected in the games I’ve played this year. Here are my favorite games of 2020! 5. A Short Hike A Short Hike is an incredibly charming, picturesque little experience that was tightly…

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The impending doom of being trapped inside a facility with no clear explanation is a tried-and-true premise that I can’t help but enjoy every time I see it, and Root Double: Before Crime * After Days happens to use these themes as a foundation for an excellent sci-fi mystery. Written by Takumi Nakazawa, of Ever 17 fame, this phenomenal piece of fiction finds its way onto Nintendo Switch. Still, it prioritizes the main story to the point that it can hinder one’s experience of the work.  Root Double: Before Crime * After Days’ narrative drastically changes throughout the game.…

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We often take our perspective for granted as we assume the way things appear is the way they have to be. Sometimes, a change in perspective might be just what you need, but other times, it might not do anything at all. Superliminal is a game that aims to bend one’s perspective to create a unique experience and while it leads to a meaningful gameplay difference, the overall experience isn’t anything too memorable in practice. https://youtu.be/Odw9BPzIQ3Y Superliminal is all about perspective, and the way it plays with this theme is the selling point. During gameplay, you can manipulate specific objects,…

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With Dirt 4 and Dirt Rally, Codemasters has carved a niche for themselves in hardcore rally racing. While those games appealed to a handful of fans, how do you attract new players alienated by the simulation difficulty and want a more arcadey racing game? To grab the attention of the general racing audience, the developer shows off a more traditional formula with Dirt 5, which packs in tons of variety. Still, it might leave the hardcore players wanting more. https://youtu.be/k7bsUQ0DY5E Before we get started by talking about the gameplay, we have to talk about graphics. Being a launch title for…

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Over the years, the Trails of Cold Steel series from developer Falcom has grown into a beloved RPG saga globally. With the Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV, we finally have the eagerly awaited conclusion to this giant arc. Cold Steel IV is a fun game to play, but the story is paramount: while it does a good job of wrapping things up, it continues the worst habits of Cold Steel in general. Before we get started: Trails of Cold Steel IV is the last game of the Trails of Cold Steel series and the latest trails game…

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It’s so easy to let our preconceived notions and generalizations shape the decisions we make. As a result, though: we can dismiss excellence these labels might deter us from. On paper, Genshin Impact seems like a free-to-play, Gacha Breath of the Wild clone. Many people might overlook it for that, but to think of Genshin Impact like this is doing both it and ourselves a great disservice. Genshin Impact is too good to ignore. In fact, I’ll come out say that it’s a fun and frenetic action-adventure RPG that’s become one of my favorite games this year. https://youtu.be/zRyWr-SclJs To begin…

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While the Kart Racer genre is almost always enjoyable thanks to bright visuals and fun gimmicks, the genre is of dubious quality and often a target for a quick buck. With the original Nickelodeon Kart Racers, one could definitely make the argument that quality was not the primary development goal: the game played poorly, had a limited cast, and looked like it came straight out of the bargain bin. Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2 sets out to redeem the series, and for the most part, is a much more competent game as a result, but it still can’t seem to shake…

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