Monday, July 4, 2016

Mighty No. 9: A trying tale from crowd funding to download

Just about everyone that has been playing games since the golden years of Nintendo has encountered Mega Man and struggled to take down the dastardly Dr…this isn’t about that game, but this is about it’s creator’s quest to bring a predecessor to the current generation through a bumpy crowd funding campaign. The drama is behind us at this point and the game is here, so let’s focus on the what has been provided to the fans and backers along with the experience. Mighty No. 9 is a side scrolling action game in which you take on the role of Beck in the year 20XX as the ninth robot among a number others designed to compete in the Battle Coliseum; the twist is that Beck is the only one that isn’t infected by an unknown virus. Each of the robots have a unique power in which, surprise, you take over their power upon defeating. Instead of the familiar jump and shoot, a dash attack has been introduced in which bonus’ are rewarded based on timing and combos. Let’s see how Mighty No. 9 lives up to its predecessor and if that classic 2D action holds up.

Right out of the gate, my experience felt slightly nostalgic and then after being introduced to the cast of characters, I got those old warm and fuzzy feelings. With each of the bosses providing a new special ability upon defeat, making selection of the next stage being strategically chosen based off newly acquired skills to help with completion of the next stage. I personally felt that Mighty No. 9 was not quite as difficult as I was expecting, however there was some stages that provided the frustrating level of difficulty that would make me set down the controller and step away after many failed attempts. There was something that stood out to me, particularly like a sore thumb were the boss character designs, they did not seem to fit in or look finished in contrast to the bright and flashy level designs and enemies. Another throwback that took me back to the patch less good old days is the music and there is good reason for that as it is the same composers, including Manami Matsumae, who have worked with Keiji Inafune numerous times in the past. 

While Mighty No. 9, seems extremely linear, being a side scrolling game with 12 unique stages and boss battles, there are a number of various game modes included, which are unlocked throughout gameplay. Such modes include Challenge Mode that consists of various mini missions, Boss Rush Mode to race against your best times, harder difficulties, along with 2 Player Online Race Battles and Co-Op Challenge Modes. I enjoyed most of my experience with Mighty No. 9, even though there were some gripes here and there, particularly by the main character designs and the story that I found myself skipping through cut scenes stages in. While it’s roots are definitely visible in this title, I feel that it has enough going for it to stand on it’s own and bring in a new audience that is not familiar with the previous classics of Keiji Inajune. Mighty No. 9 is available now across just about every console for $29.99.

Vapium Summit+: The vaporizer made to withstand the elements

We have another Vaporizer review at MashButtons and this comes to us courtesy of Vapium, with the Summit+. The  Summit+ is targeted to the smoker on the go, designed to withstand the elements with rugged build quality and the inclusion of technology seen in much pricier vaporizers on the market. Such tech includes multi colored LED, 8 temperature setting with range from 320F to 450F, auto shut off, time and temp memory, and smart phone integration via Bluetooth. I did mention this was a rugged portable vaporizer, built to withstand extreme temperatures and elements. In Arizona, we do not have extreme cold or much in the way of rain, so taking on the go and using in the pool will have to be harshest conditions to drag the Summit+ through. 
Functionally, the Summit+ is great, having the ability to set the amount of time before automatically cutting the heat, along with pinpointing the my desired temperature in either Fahrenheit or Celsius. The design is also spot on when it comes to functionality because the chamber is on the opposite end of the mouthpiece, making draws less harsh than other vaporizers whose chambers are adjacent to the mouthpiece. Two other design features include a stir stick that pulls out from the unit along with a rubberized grip that prevents clumsy drops. The chamber has a magnetic lid, which does not feel as tight as connection used in Dr, Dabber’s Aurora, has a wide rubber band donning the Vapium mountain logo to keep the lid tightly in place. One thing I almost forgot to mention is that you don’t have to keep an eye on it it waiting for the blue mountain to turn green as the Summit+ vibrates to alert you when at the set temperature.
Vapium’s Summit+ has functionally been my favorite portable dry herb vaporizers reviewed to date as do more than most vaporizers that I have used while also being extremely portable. The only thing I did not particularly love about this pocket vaporizer was the design, in comparison to other sleek devices out there; this is a bit of a brick. The battery uses a 3300 mAh battery that provided quite a bit of use between charges, in which Vapium claims roughly two hours of continuous use. The Vaporizer isn’t the only thing you get in this small package; Vapium has everything handled by including a dry bag, cleaning kit, replacement screens and extra mouthpiece guard. The Vapium Summit+ is available now for $149.99.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Deadlight: Director’s Cut: The console zombie 2D platformer now on consoles

I have been provided with a code for Deadlight Director’s Cut, a title that I really had no idea about, which tend to be my favorite titles to review, especially when they are games in this particular genre. Deadlight is a 2D platforming game where you play as Randall in 1986 Seattle searching for family he was separated from. It is you against zombies and puzzles with weapons if sneaking is too passive for you, so let's see how Deadlight goes.  
Immediately out of the gate, I am reminiscent of the time spent with Limbo and Castlevania. It also has a nice level of difficulty by making ammo scarce and puzzles thought invoking when zombies aren't the only thing that can kill you. Visually it looks great, while the foreground is dark and the background is a detailed apocalyptic Seattle. While the gameplay was fun and visually it looked great, I am not sure if it was the story or the animation style had me skipping cut scenes shortly after starting. 
On top of the ability to now play Deadlight on the current consoles, Survival Arena changes things up by fighting off waves of zombies and while it was entertaining, progressing up the leaderboards kept me returning. The Director's Cut includes a digital art book and the original Developer Diaries to provide fans with more insight to the Deadlight series. Deadlight: Director's Cut is available now for $19.99 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Dead Island Trifecta: Dead Island and Riptide Definitive Collection, topped with Retro Revenge

Coming from someone that it not a fan of HD remastering of previous generation titles, it is time for a game in which I think is a perfect fit to be polished and reshelved, and that game being Dead Island. One of my favorite zombie open world survivor games, up there with Left 4 Dead, has been rebuilt and both Dead Island and Riptide Definitive Collection are available as a big scary package or individually. However, should you choose to get the retail collection, you also receive you will also receive Dead Island Retro Revenge, a 16-bit side scrolling beat em up. Time to see how they hold up as we head back to Banoi, so who do you Voodoo bitch?
As this is a remake there is no need to go over the originality that came with Dead Island, so I might as well jump right into how it looks and plays. What a lot of zombie survival games, there is that lack of urgency or atmosphere that seems haunting. My favorite part of Dead Island was how hectic it is. If you do not perform zombie population control, the difficulty curve gets steep very quickly and if that isn’t bad enough, you need to constantly keep a pulse on your weapons’ remaining durability. This doesn’t change in the transition to next gen consoles, the noticeable differences are in the looks and smoothly it now plays. 
In the Definitive Collection, I did not experience slow down in frame rate regardless to the situation I find myself in. I did find myself stopping and enjoying the tropical scenery of Banoi littered with the undead as it just looks so much better. These improvements are made possible by way of a new photorealistic lighting system, anti aliasing, and improved game models. The interface has also seen a bit of a change and the Power Fists have been introduced, a power up that was introduced as an unofficial PC mod.

Last but not least, we have Dead Island Retro Rampage, a side scrolling, 16-bit, endless running, beat em up. In comparison to the aforementioned games, Retro Revenge has a more light hearted and simpler approach, tasking Max with going on a rampage to find his stolen cat. I had a lot of fun with it as it still had that melee heavy combat and mature content with a look that takes me back to gaming in the early nineties, without the slow processing power. To provide that current feel, leaderboards and trophies kept me coming back for more, while the power ups, super attacks, and combos kept it fresh.