Video game review burst #1

Astro’s Playroom

SIE Japan Studio – Asobi Team (2020)

The amount of fun that is packed into this tiny game/tech-demo is nothing short of astonishing. It makes a tremendous job of showing you the different features of the DualSense controller. It’s basically a collection fest through and through, but it was one of the best time I’ve ever had with a video game.

Everything in the game is either a feast for the eyes, the ears, or now the hands. You can clearly see the level of polish that went through every thing, models, animation, lighting, sound effects, level design, etc.

I’m in love with:

  • the ice skating rumble and sound
  • resisting triggers when firing the minigun
  • the robotic penguins
  • bumper sounds
  • jumping on rubber ducks
  • walking/jumping on clouds
  • ships flying by in the first SSD level
  • and much more!

As a PlayStation enthusiast, the nostalgia is sure to get you and make you giggle, with a huge number of collectible memorabilia and fun Easter eggs.

I really hope future PS5 games use the DualSense features as expertly as Astro does.

I don’t think I will ever uninstall Astro’s Playroom from my PS5 (and I’ll erase my save to start it all over again)

Captain Tsubasa Rise of New Champions

Tamsoft (2020)

When you’re a fan of Captain Tsubasa like I am, this game does a lot of good things. It’s very fun to pit your favorite characters against their most formidable adversaries, they really nailed the most crucial aspect of Captain Tsubasa, the special techniques and spectacular shots. Scoring with a Drive Shoot from midfield feels absolutely great.

In terms of fidelity to the source material, there is an impressive level of detail applied to character models and 2D stills, techniques, teams, and voices. When a game goes right, you can fulfill your wildest Captain Tsubasa fantasies, which is exactly what the game should be.

Sadly I have a few things I’m not fond of:

  • Some special techniques are much harder to pull off, inconsistencies are there (like Morisaki being able to catch a Tiger Shot or even a Fire Shot), but I guess it is necessary to be able to use more than 3 goal keepers
  • I regret that “normal” football play feels very clunky at times
  • There are lots of players, but I’m not convinced by teams and new players imagined for this game
  • The story mode is fun but the amount of dialog can be tedious
  • Team customization is a must, but it can be quite long to build your team, and getting only 5 is limiting. Making the jump to PS5 makes it much more playable than PS4, the loading times, especially between menus, is greatly reduced. I wish they would also enable 60 fps gameplay.

I’m handing out lots of criticism but I like the game a lot, the core systems are very solid and it could be absolutely amazing with just a few tweaks.

I really hope they make a sequel, improving the game mechanics and the overall smoothness, and most of all hoping it deals with my favorite part of the manga, the World Youth competition.


Thunder Lotus (2015)

As I’ve probably said a few times before, I’m a big fan of games with a smaller scale, but with a singular aspect that makes them stand out.

Jotun is a short but intense experience. The 2D art on display is just superb, the magical northern lands are gorgeous to look at, and I was eager to discover each giant creature and marvel at the animated sprites.

The music is meticulously crafted as well, and many times I just took a pause to watch and listen.

In my opinion the gameplay works very well, but it’s not my kind of thing. Your character is quite slow and therefore boss fights are much more strategic. Because of that I’m not enjoying it enough to replay and try to beat it faster.

But I am glad I purchased it, I’m happy when my money goes to very talented people such as the ones that made this game.

Middle-Earth Shadow of Mordor – Game of the Year Edition

Monolith Productions (2014)

I got this game because its sequel was free on the PS Plus. I felt compelled to buy it after playing a few minutes of Shadow of War, so I wouldn’t miss anything.

I wasn’t particularly involved in the story, but I enjoyed the gameplay. Decimating hordes of orcs is quite satisfying when you get enough skills and techniques.

I never played any of the Assassin’s Creed game, so fortunately the game mechanics felt new enough for me. I think the game looks good and is fun to play, and I spent a good number of hours on it.

I did not like it enough to complete all side missions though.

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