Greenlight? Red Light, Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Spend One Dollar

Developer: Leo Black
Publisher: Back To Basics Gaming
Genre: Platformer

I spent about 25 minutes playing this and recording it, planning on doing a video, because I haven’t done one in a while. I couldn’t find a way to reconcile what I had into a video of any suitable length so I’m just going to write a review for it.

Let’s get the good out there in the open first. The best part about this game is the music. Whoever composed it is good and should keep doing what they love, because they obviously put a fair bit of effort into it. The soundtrack is upbeat electronica that matches perfectly with the platformer genre.

Okay, there’s the good. Now for the bad. Brace yourself.

If you’re like me and you go into a new game looking for aesthetic blending and detail, you’ll almost immediately notice that one of the prominent background textures in the first level has a stock image watermark on it. You know, like the kind that you see on free low-res previews of stock images and textures from sites like Shutterstock. Almost all of the models and sprites are from what I assume to be various sources, as they clash in quality and appearance. The player character is a fairly static set of sprites, and the backgrounds and platforms are simple but hard to tell apart in some cases (like the incredibly poorly lit second level), though they generally appear in a similar visual style. On the other hand, the monsters and some of the decorative background pieces are fairly high detail 3D models that are completely incongruous with the rest of the art assets.

I love the word “incongruous”. It’s so applicable to this game.

You’ll also notice that the controls are slippery and a bit hard to reach on a controller. On my Xbox 360 controller, jump is A (X on a PS3/4 controller) and air dash is Y (triangle on a PS3/4 controller). These are complete opposites of the right hand button diamond and are an absolutely terrible choice for platformers. Thankfully, they can be remapped, but not without quitting the game and starting it up – all the options are in the default Unity game configuration dialog box that appears on startup. I didn’t even know what the buttons were for the controller until I started pressing them all in sequence to see what would happen on each button press. There’s no in-game tutorial and the controls option on the game’s main menu only shows keyboard controls.

The game has a minimalistic HUD, which is good for open world platformers (which I think this game technically falls under, since there seems to be no rhyme or reason for the player’s progression through the levels). Unfortunately, it’s very obviously a test HUD, with no real effort put into making it look cohesive. I’d be willing to give the developer a bit of leeway on this one if, by the point of being five hundred words into this review, I had any faith left in this game’s future. The one short piece of dialogue I encountered was in dire need of spellcheck, capital letters, and punctuation. For a game that apparently has two different translators, according to the credits, that is inexcusable.

Two translators worked on this.

The gameplay is bland. You have a ranged weapon and can double jump and air dash, which comes really in handy when you realize that a combination of how far you’re flung back by wall kicking and how fast gravity takes effect that wall jumping doesn’t actually let you gain any altitude whatsoever (in fact, wall jumping just slows your inevitable spiky-pit-of-doom-based demise). Knockback from enemy projectiles is intense (more so than wall kicking), which wouldn’t be a problem if there were some way to use enemy projectiles as a platform a la spin jumping on a Magikoopa’s wand blasts and there weren’t so many of them coming in from offscreen or right next to a ledge that I could have sworn someone replaced my copy of the game’s executable with Imperishable Night.

In an almost impressive level of failure, the mostly-2D game suffers from severe slowdown at times on almost any settings level (dropping from a smooth 60 frames per second to sub-20 levels for several seconds at a time) on a respectably powerful computer (Intel i7-3820, AMD Radeon R9 290, both overclocked). This could be a unique problem to my setup, but if so, it’s not a problem with the Unity engine, as I play several Unity-based games on this computer regularly.

This game just isn’t good. It is apparently in beta, and is an Early Access title, but it looks and feels more like an alpha in the traditional sense of being a tech demo with a few outlined levels and placeholder art. There seems to be no direction, and after falling through the ground several times in a row in the same spot while going through the first level and being thrown around with a laggy camera and knocked back into an endless pit on the second, I couldn’t bring myself to play any more to find if there is any sort of plot or direction down the line. There’s no story (or really anything informative) on the Steam store page for this game. I’m not sure how it got past the Greenlight stage. I’m not going to speculate on that. This is just one of those cases where if I could send a game back into Greenlight, I would without any hesitation.

It’s just not worth $0.99 USD.

We haven’t posted in a while because Jake and I are playing Final Fantasy V


We’re also playing Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, but that’s not the focus of this post.

Recently, I posted about the Final Fantasy V Four Job Fiesta and how Jake and I are both taking part in it. Well, we are. And Jake’s damn near done. I’m not, but I’m getting through it, albeit slowly. The point of this post is to tell you, dear readers, that we are both commentating on my run as I play through it live and are uploading it piece by piece to YouTube. The first few videos are a bit slow, but they pick up after the early-game plot dumps are over and done with.

The first video in the series (there are five uploaded and a sixth is recorded as of right now) will be embedded below. The playlist can be found here, on the Cordilon Gaming YouTube channel. Every video is available in 720p 60fps for the smoothest possible playback and best viewing experience you can have watching two dudes on the internet play an SNES game.

The videos are generally geared towards people who have played Final Fantasy V before, but since I haven’t actually gotten all the way through the game, they’re more or less spoiler-free (but not free of crude language — the challenge of the Four Job Fiesta is not always a pleasant one, though it is rewarding). I won’t ask you to like, comment, and/or subscribe, but if you do enjoy the videos, please tell your friends about them and about the Fiesta. It’s for a good cause — the Fiesta has now surpassed $10,000 USD raised for Child’s Play, and the number continues to slowly increase.



Okay, so, let me rephrase. I’m not posting anything today. I’m getting ready for the next week’s wave of stuff we’ll be doing.

The Final Fantasy V Four Job Fiesta starts at 9pm PDT tonight (midnight EDT June 22, something like 4am UTC June 22), and it’s already surpassed its donation goals to Child’s Play of $7500. For those unaware of what the Four Job Fiesta is, it’s a charity run of Final Fantasy V played by anyone who wants to sign up for it where your party’s jobs are assigned at random and you must stick with them through the entire run. It’s fun, it’s for a good cause, and it’s entertaining to watch people get stuck with multiple berserkers.

For every ten dollars donated to the fund for Child’s Play before the run starts, a random player who signs up for a Berserker Risk gets a(n extra) Berserker job added to their pool. Since there are currently about six hundred players with Berserker Risk, and over 750 berserkers in the donation pool, there are going to be players who get two (or more) Berserkers.

Why is this relevant? Well, two reasons. One, it’s charity, and it’s a good charity. Two, Jake and I will both be taking part in the Four Job Fiesta, doing separate runs, but we’ll both be live commentating over my run and either streaming it or uploading it to YouTube (probably the latter). The plan is Jake will start on his run tonight and we’ll start recording mine tomorrow afternoon and will have part one up on YouTube in the evening.

1:25 PM – []Kazinsal: did you sign up for a normal run or a berserker risk
1:25 PM – []Thexare: random, no risk
1:25 PM – []Thexare: at worst, one zerker
1:27 PM – []Thexare: I like FFV, but the thing about Berserker Risk is
1:27 PM – []Thexare: well
1:27 PM – []Thexare: I want to continue liking FFV.

Now I’ve got “Berserker” from Clerks stuck in my head.

I guess I know what I’m watching today.

Video: One-Off Let’s Play: Kirby’s Dream Course – Part 2/2

The thrilling conclusion. Available in 720p60.

Video: One-Off Let’s Play: Kirby’s Dream Course – Part 1/2

Jake and I tested out netplay in Retroarch with a session of me getting my ass handed to me in Kirby’s Dream Course. Available in 720p60.

An Extraordinary Day In Review, 06/14/2015: Meet the unusual Sunday edition


An Extraordinary Day In Review makes up for missing Friday’s Day in Review by posting on Sunday.

Nintendo releasing MOTHER as Earthbound Beginnings on Wii U Virtual Console

Holy shit, MOTHER is coming out in English on the Wii U Virtual Console today at 6 PM Pacific, twenty-six years after its original release in Japan on the Famicom. Don’t believe me? Here’s a trailer posted a couple hours ago. This comes as a complete surprise and is incredible for EarthBound fans, as only the second game in the MOTHER series (EarthBound) was released outside of Japan. The time of release was announced along with a link to the trailer on Nintendo of America’s twitter.

MOTHER, now known in the West officially as Earthbound Beginnings, was originally chosen for localization as “Earth Bound”, and the game was almost ready for release when the project was halted and later picked back up as the name of the localization of the game’s SNES sequel. Though the original “Earth Bound” was later discovered as a prototype cartridge, dumped, bugfixed, cleaned up, and released online in 1998. Not long after its unofficial release, players discovered that the prototype had anti-piracy subroutines, and that one of the critical bug fixes tripped them. Programmers went to work disabling the anti-piracy code and re-released the game online.

And now, over a decade and a half later, Earth Bound is coming out for real, a few hours after its release was announced.

Thanks, Nintendo. You’ve done a good thing today.

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The Day In Review, 06/11/2015: :(

The Day In Review

The Day In Review is a daily summary of notable gaming news from the past 24 hours.

Former Xbox Live program manager Stephen Toulouse in coma

Stephen “Stepto” Toulouse, the former program manager for policy enforcement at Xbox Live and a Microsoft employee from 1994 to 2012, is in a deep coma. According to a tweet confirming the situation from his cousin Joshua, his prognosis is not good. A fundraiser set up by his family and friends attributes the cause of the coma to be a severe infection which is slowly responding to treatment. If you wish to support the fundraiser either monetarily or by spreading the word, you can do so here.

While in the Xbox Live division, Toulouse was responsible for a change in Gamertag policy allowing users to express their sexual orientation in their gamertags (a practice previously banned on the service due to fear of abuse), a move praised by many in the LGBT community for its forward thinking. Prior to joining Xbox, he was involved with the Microsoft Security Response Center, handling public relations for major security issues such as the Blaster worm and the Windows Metafile vulnerabilities.

We hope you will fight your way out of this, Stephen. The world doesn’t need to lose a good person like you.

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The Day In Review, 06/10/2015: The game of the movie of the game

The Day In Review

The Day In Review is a daily summary of notable gaming news from the past 24 hours.

Ratchet & Clank reboot coming Spring 2016

If ever there was a time to hope a movie tie-in game wouldn’t suck, it’s now. To go along with a Ratchet & Clank movie coming out in 2016, there will be a new game in the series, with a Spring 2016 release confirmed today by Insomniac Games in an E3 trailer on YouTube. Unlike most E3 trailers so far, this one actually has gameplay footage and not just in-engine cutscenes (or six seconds of Revenant and super shotgun). The game will be exclusive to the PS4, continuing the historical trend of the series of being only available on Sony platforms.

This will be the first non-spinoff Ratchet & Clank game we’ve had since Size Matters on the PlayStation Portable in 2007 (and later the PlayStation 2 in 2008), and like the movie, will be a reimagined version of the original game with gameplay elements from many of the previous games integrated. The movie and game were first announced at E3 2014. The movie premiered this May at the Cannes Film Festival and will be released theatrically in North America on April 29, 2016. A definite release date for the game has yet to be announced.

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The Day In Review, 06/09/2015: Posted on time, for once!

The Day In Review

The Day In Review is a daily summary of notable gaming news from the past 24 hours.

Wargaming announces Master of Orion reboot, cheesy voiceover and all

Hold onto your hats, folks. Wargaming posted a well-made cinematic trailer for a Master of Orion reboot, complete with a terribly cheesy voiceover at the end. I totally forgot they bought the IP when Atari declared bankruptcy in 2013. For those who haven’t played or heard of Master of Orion, it’s a series of damn fine science fiction space 4X games from the early-mid 1990s, originally developed by Simtex and published by Microprose (the pair behind the first two games — a third was developed by Quicksilver and published by Infogrames, but it was nowhere near as successful as its predecessors, which are still played by fans to this day.)

Wargaming, a developer/publisher from Cyprus, is best known for creating the massively multiplayer online tank battle arena (I hereby coin the term “MMOTBA”) World of Tanks and its spinoffs World of Warplanes and the currently closed beta World of Warships. The MoO reboot will not be their first foray into turn-based strategy, however — Wargaming’s first was a series of science fiction turn-based tactical strategy in the style of classic wargames (hmmmmm…) called Massive Assault, which I’d never heard of until today but was apparently popular enough that more than one Massive Assault game was made, so obviously Wargaming knows how to do turn-based strategy well enough to keep a series afloat.

I just can’t get over that voiceover, though. Like, why would they think that voice was a good idea? It needs to be heard to be truly experienced, and then promptly washed out with loud music.

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The Day In Review, 06/08/2015: Business Simulator Online 2016?

The Day In Review

The Day In Review is a daily summary of notable gaming news from the past 24 hours.

XCOM 2 will be openly moddable

Let’s kick this week’s first Day In Review off on an awesome note. In an interview with IGN, Firaxis’ creative director on XCOM 2 said that not only will the game be openly moddable, but that the team is “going all out” when it comes to allowing players to create new content for the game. Even the content creation tools that the developers are using to produce the game will be available for modders to do what they want with. Modders will have full access to the game’s scripting system and base scripts, as well as the ability to create levels that are static in nature as well as with procedurally generated and scripted elements.

In the interview, the developers expressed great pleasure with the unofficial modding scene for XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Enemy Within, even going so far as to state that the original games were “basically a 20 hour tutorial for The Long War”, a massive content and gameplay mod for Enemy Unknown developed by a handful of volunteer modders. They also commented on the features they expected to be implemented shortly after release, including free aiming and time units from the classic XCOM games.

XCOM 2 will be available exclusively through Steam this November.

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