Category Archives: Harry Loizides

Sunday Spotlight: Echo Generation

Echo Generation is a voxel-style turn-based RPG where a pair of siblings investigate supernatural events, sketchy adults, and alien creatures – all within a small town (think Stranger Things meets Earthbound). Though there are some pacing issues to progress the story, the active turn-based combat and beautiful visuals manages to create a fun experience.

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Sunday Spotlight: Garden Story

Garden Story is a wholesome adventure where a grape called Concord, begrudgingly takes on the role as the Guardian of the Grove to protect the residents and defend from the mysterious rot. The pixelated aesthetic, along with its moving story and score, gives a very cozy and enjoyable 12-15 hour venture.

Garden Story, developed by Picogram and published by Rose City Games, starts off very innocently where Concord is exploring the small area around him. Quickly, things go awry and the rot begins to infiltrate and attack. The story continues to focus on the rot as the main antagonists, but also does an incredible job at weaving other stories from the large cast of characters that are met along the way. Though I felt a bit bewildered by the pacing of the adventure and where exactly to focus my attention, I never felt so aimless where I couldn’t figure it out.

Though the exact story progression is a bit ambiguous to follow, Garden Story encourages you to explore the areas and partake in other low-key activities in the meantime. Eventually, you’ll be able to fish, collect/buy/sell items, craft resources, and customize Concord with fun wearables. There’s also in-game daily challenges that can help build rapport with residents in various areas of the game and could help improve on other in-game events throughout. Balancing these quests and the overarching story is a fun balancing act that hooked me once I was able to get everything going.

The one source of frustration that sat with me was the battle mechanics. Though the basis is similar to The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past with its visuals and simple melee attacks, Garden Story has limits on itself by having a stamina meter. With some progression, you’re able to increase the meter, however, since the meter is linked with sprinting and fighting, I constantly found myself scurrying back and forth to take down larger enemies. Luckily, there are enough customizations and accessibility options to modify battles and make them much more manageable and enjoyable (thanks Picogram for this!).

Overall, if you’re looking for a charming, chill, and cute journey that can transport you into a fruitful world (pun intended), then Garden Story is worth checking out. The game deserves plenty of love and can be an ideal get-cozy-in-a-blanket-and-drink-hot-chocolate mode inducer.

Game provided by publisher.

Kena: Bridge of Spirits Review

A Great Bridge Worth Crossing

When I first heard that an animation studio was shifting gears to create a video game, I really didn’t know what to expect. Would it be only cutscenes? Would there be bad mechanics? Would it just be riddled with performance issues? Luckily, Ember Lab quelled all the possible discourse with an intriguing and captivating game called Kena: Bridge of Spirits. 

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Six Amazing Games from PAX West 2021

PAX West 2021 brought people from around the world to Seattle in celebration of games, community, and fandom. As my first PAX West, it was an absolute delight to be in a safe space full of care and love. Over the four days, I was able to play and see dozens of games and below are six of the super-fantastic ones that have me wanting more.

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Sunday Spotlight: Tender: Creature Comforts

Tender: Creature Comforts, by Kenny Sun, is a narrative-driven game where you are swiping left and right for potential relationships within this new app that you downloaded. As a newcomer to this planet, you’re hoping to build relationships, where you can decide how you want to approach the app, and eventually go on various dates to see if anything will progress.

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Sunday Spotlight: Knights of San Francisco

Knights of San Francisco by Raindead is an incredible text-based adventure on mobile devices that explores a strange and dystopian world, with dabs of mysticism for good measure. The black and white aesthetic of the game offers major Dungeons & Dragons vibes with touches of choose-your-own-adventure books.

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Button City Review

Fasten Your Buttons for Fun

Button City is a charming narrative adventure game that focuses on a small community of vibrant characters to explore and meet. With a delightful story, dynamic aesthetic, and adequate mechanics, Button City creates a fun and heartwarming encounter.

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