Rivals of Ixalan, the second half of Magic: The Gathering’s Ixalan block has a synergy of tribal cards that are hit or miss in the current meta known as Standard, but might fare better in the wild west multiplayer format known as Commander.
As for the tribes, there’s Merfolk, Pirates, Vampires, and Dinosaurs – the latter of which is not seeing as much play as the card game’s manufacturer Wizards of the Coast hoped.
Pro tours have been running Vampire Tokens, splashing some pirates, and a hint of Merfolk, but the only dino that was getting any real use – Rampaging Ferocidon- got hit with the banhammer in January, a strange blow in an effort to curb the consistency of mono-red burn and Temur energy decks in Standard.
However, sites such as MTGGoldfish and StarCityGames have featured heavy decklists for each tribe in the Commander format since the block showed up in September.
With cards such as Gishath, Sun’s Avatar, Zacama, Primal Calamity, and Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca having multiple abilities as well as Commander decks brewed around them, it leaves one open to wonder if the block was intended for the multiplayer format all along.
Each of the aforementioned have been discussed multiple times on Magic podcasts “Commander Clash” and “The Command Zone,” with Kumena being argued as possibly the best Merfolk commander.
Although there’s a slew of cards in the block that are occasionally used in Standard (Savage Stomp, Blood Sun, Carnage Tyrant), they are appearing more commonly in Commander decklists, and with so much synergy among each tribe, who could blame them?
It took time for players to adjust to Merfolk and Vampires before they found homes in Modern and Commander formats, and with Dinosaurs experiencing similar growing pains, it seems that they may finally be ready for a new domain to run roughshod over as Vamp’s and Merfolk continue to thrive all around.
In the olden days of point-and-click gaming, there were no walkthroughs, no online forums, or even strategy guides. Beating such a game required hours of thought, effort, and tedious trial error.
In an era loaded with point-and-click survival horror games all too reliant on cheap jump scares and lazy mechanics comes a chilling Lovecraftian indie throwback to the good old days.
Enter “The Padre,” a story about a priest searching for his friend alone in a decrepit mansion where everything goes bump in the night – including our hero.
The first thing you’ll notice about The Padre is the block style visuals. While this design choice draws too many similarities to Minecraft, it’s the only modern thing players will compare it to. That said, it’s hard not to wonder how much better the game would look if the graphics were slightly more realistic, even if they maintained their cartoonish charm.
Don’t let these looks fool you, this game is beyond creepy.
The story of the twisted mansion and the struggle our man of the cloth must endure takes you into the mind of the human psyche. The mansion is loaded with plenty of fun horror cliche’s and abundant with terror thanks to a pitch-perfect soundtrack by developer Shotgun with Glitters.
In addition to a terrifyngly compelling story, there are puzzles galore throughout your quest and plenty of baddies and traps to keep you on edge and unravel the mystery of the mansion and our clergyman’s demented past. The Padre also contains a litany of items and old-school mechanics that will keep your brain wracked around the game.
Another part of The Padre’s charm is the downright hilarious voiceovers. Some lines are delivered with such cheese, it’s hard not to crack up at your PC, which will, of course, result in death.
Speaking of death, there is one horrendous glitch that will frustrate gamers to no end.
If you die after clicking the icon to enter another room and the entrance initiates, you will appear in the next room postmortem. Reloading the file will not fix this, as the game autosaves when you get to the next room. The only way out of this one is to restart the game from the beginning.
On the bright side, the game is still in its alpha testing stages, so it’s likely this issue will be resolved before the final product is available.
Aside from “Notchy” looking graphics and a perilous problem, The Padre is a winner for old-school gamers looking for a spooktacular challenge. Shotgun with Glitters has taken their time and done its due diligence on what gamers really want in a story and gameplay, hitting you right in the nostalgia button.
The Padre is currently garnering crowdfunding support through Brightlocker, where the demo may be downloaded in an effort to help the game earn its keep (and hopefully your hard-earned cash).
Chris and Jon call out the critics for their most heinous Guardians of the Galaxy 2 reviews and praise the fans for sticking to their guns. Also spoken about are Fox’s next X-Men related projects and more.
The year is 1998, and the Nintendo 64 is one of the hottest video game consoles on the market.
Coming off the success of Goldeneye, RareWare launches one of the greatest platformers of all time in Banjo-Kazooie. The game featured hilarious dialogue, endearing characters, vibrant graphics, and most importantly of all, exciting and rewarding gameplay. Rare followed up with a number of classics, which include a much loved sequel (aptly named Banjo-Tooie), Donkey Kong 64, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, and Perfect Dark. Soon after, Nintendo announced the Gamecube, and rumors began circulating of what Rare’s next classic would be. Banjo-Threeie was teased numerous times, but the wait continued.
However, Rare and Nintendo’s partnership ended, and the company was acquired by Microsoft. Rare began developing games for the Xbox and later Xbox 360. Some were good, some were bad, but many were left wondering if Banjo-Threeie would ever see the light of day.
Eventually, news of a new Banjo-Kazooie game (Nuts and Bolts) finally surfaced. When the game was finally released, many fans were disappointed, as the classic platforming gameplay of the originals was replaced with a strange vehicle building quasi-sandbox. Suffice to say, the game was not well received by fans and critics alike, and many feared there would never be a true sequel to Banjo-Kazooie.
In 2012, a group of game designers, all veterans of RareWare’s heyday, decided to come together and form a new company, which would eventually be known as Playtonic Games. A Kickstarter for their newest endeavor, a true spiritual successor to RareWare’s greatest hit platformers, was successfully funded – a game called Yooka-Laylee.
Much like its precursors, Yooka-Laylee is a platforming game with a focus on collecting various items throughout large open worlds. Some of these items are used to buy new moves to help the titular heroes reach new areas of the game previously unreachable.
The main collectible, Pagies, are similar to Banjo-Kazooie’s Jiggies. Pagies are used to unlock new levels, and also “expand” existing levels, a new feature unique to Yooka-Laylee. Levels initially start off kind of small, but by paying a certain amount of extra Pagies (depending on the level), new sections of the level become available for the player to explore. Pagies are collected by completing various challenges throughout the level, which include completing puzzles and platforming challenges, defeating bosses, and simple exploration.
There’s also Ghost Writers, which are a bit tougher to collect, as they must be defeated and/or captured using the various special moves acquired throughout the game. There are additional unique items to be collected, which can be used in various ways in each level.
The levels themselves are huge. Banjo-Kazooie and Tooie were both known for their large levels (especially for the N64 era), but Yooka-Laylee takes it to the next level. With the edition of the expand feature, levels go from average-sized to gigantic worlds with a plethora of secrets. Each level is accessed through the hub world, Hivory Towers – this game’s analogue to Gruntilda’s Castle. Hivory Towers is massive in itself, with dozens of branching paths and secrets to be found. Aside from being the area where all the worlds are contained, Hivory Towers also serves as its own unique level, with various hidden collectibles and puzzles the player must complete in order to advance.
The characters are endearing and funny. Yooka the chameleon serves as the level-headed voice of reason of the duo, while Laylee the bat is a comedic and slightly sardonic foil to that. The main boss of the game, Capital B., is a nefarious honeybee businessman, and much like Gruntilda from Banjo-Kazooie, mocks Yooka and Laylee as they progress throughout the hub world. Capital B.’s partner is a strange duck head in a jar named Dr. Quack, who acts as the bumbling sidekick, designing trivia games to try and slow the player down as they progress through the game.
Also much like its predecessors, Yooka-Laylee features many side characters, as pretty much every item and inanimate object in the game can actually talk, and each of these side characters will quickly become loved by the player.
Graphically, Yooka-Laylee is gorgeous, featuring vibrant colors, dynamic light and shadows, and amazing high-def textures. The character animations are fluid and smooth, and the various transformations and special abilities are all creatively designed. The levels, aside from their titanic topography, are beautiful and unique, spanning various environments, from a tropical paradise to a frozen tundra – and even a casino. As with everything else, these levels are colorful and visually appealing, and players may find themselves climbing to the highest point of each level to just admire the scenery.
There are however, a few performance hiccups, which is to be expected from a game this new, and will most likely be patched as time goes on. It has also been reported by individuals who received early copies of the game that the camera had some issues. However, a first day patch seems to have fixed whatever problems there were with the camera, and aside from a few areas where it can get a bit crazy, the camera control is fairly solid.
Overall, Yooka-Laylee is a well-designed game, and while it does have a few flaws, these are minor in comparison to all the positive aspects of the game. Veterans of the original RareWare classics on the N64 will love Yooka-Laylee, although the gameplay may seem a bit dated to younger players. That said, Yooka-Laylee really does bring something for everyone to the table, and even younger players will grow to love it with time. The gameplay is simple enough for anyone to pick up and play, but has enough difficulty that even seasoned players of the platforming genre will find themselves with quite a challenge in completing the levels.
For those Rare fans who’ve been waiting years for Banjo-Threeie, the wait is finally over, and although it isn’t a true Banjo-Kazooie sequel, Yooka-Laylee certainly fills that void.
In order to start a journey, you need someone to make an impact on your life. That person is our guest for our latest podcast, Patrick Hickey Jr. Hickey is an author, professor, and editor in-chief of reviewfix.com. We talk his upcoming video games book, journalism, and more.
Nintendo’s latest creation, the Switch launched Friday in North America, Japan, and Europe to the thrill of many who were able to get their hands on it.
That said, there will always be skeptics hesitant to grab the new console right away as well as those who wish to wait for reasons such as a price drop, early bugs to be removed, and a larger game catalog. Although it never hurts to wait, it also doesn’t hurt to wait in line and head home happy.
For starters, the console is extremely lightweight once fully assembled in the tablet (aka Wii-U mode) portion. When docked, the console itself fits seamlessly into the charging station, which connects to your TV. You’ll want to keep your Switch in this setting most of the time as it functions better in this state. When used in its tablet form, the Switch can be a tad slower, but not enough to throw off your game.
The controllers also attach and detach easily and function well. The infrared camera in the right portion of the controller (also known as the red side) surprisingly reacts well to weight detection and motion sensing, which you’ll discover after having played the 1-2-Switch title. The controls also respond well to other games such as Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove and the included launch title The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. When the two are detached, there’s also buttons on the side, making for a variety of ways to play.The Switch also comes with a controller frame for you to combine the two controllers to form a Gamecube-like controller as opposed to holding them like the Wii-motes.
Another interesting dynamic is how the Switch games are reverting back to cartridges. You can download other titles in the Nintendo e-store, but the main games are tiny cartridges are slightly larger than those used on the Game Boy Advanced. There’s also a slot for micro SD cards to increase your system’s memory.
Overall, the system performs well. The sound system is on-point, games don’t take long to load, and the graphics, while not the caliber of rivals Sony and Microsoft consoles, play to their strengths and hide their weaknesses (which really comes down to not being able to handle the processors the others have). Games are easy to play and the system hub is easy to navigate however the controllers are used.
At the end of the day, Nintendo continues to favor innovation over hardware upgrades with the Switch. By combining old concepts with new, the gaming giant competes with the market by thinking outside the box and choosing a franchise title to launch with their latest endeavor. Although the fear of the new and unknown will still see some gamers unable to make the switch, those that do will reap their rewards instantly.