Wizorb

Indie Gamer Chick turns 11 Years Old on July 1, and the big review posting that day is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge. It’s been well over ten years since I last reviewed a new release by Tribute Games. The last time? September 29, 2011, just about three months after I started IGC. Check out my review of Wizorb! It’s still around and still fun.. if you’re into that sort of thing.

Indie Gamer Chick

Wizorb has several things going for it. First, it has style to spare. It’s one of those rare retro games on the Xbox Live Indie Game marketplace that tries to look like an NES game and actually succeeds without in some way pulling back the curtain so that you can see we’re still on the Xbox 360. Second, it has an honest to God gaming pedigree, having been designed by Jonathan Lavigne, who worked on the Scott Pilgrim vs. The World game. And third, just look at this fucking promotional art by Michael James Brennan.

Wow. Who wouldn’t want to buy a game with flyers that look like that? That’s some sexy ass promotional art there. Of course, all the credentials, artwork, and prettiness can’t mask the fact that Wizorb is still a brick breaker. There’s really only so much you can do with that genre. Shatter on the Playstation…

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Black Rose Sets Sail to the New Pinball FX

My team at The Pinball Chick was tasked with announcing the latest table that will be part of Pinball FX’s launch lineup. Head over to the Pinball Chick to read this special feature!

The Pinball Chick

The team at Zen Studios has chosen The Pinball Chick Team to announce to the world that Black Rose, the 1992 Williams piracy classic, will be part of Pinball FX‘s launch lineup! When they tapped the six of us for this task, we had a meeting to discuss what highlights of the table. In the debate that followed, we came to realize that Black Rose is one of the most deceptively loaded pinball tables of all-time. It has something for everyone. Thusly, all six of us have something different to talk about! Why should YOU be excited to experience Black Rose on Pinball FX?

A PIRATE’S LIFE FOR ME
by Dash

In the theme department Black Rose is a masterpiece.

But what makes a great theme?

Some might say “call-outs, toys, and artwork! Duh!”

But I would argue those are merely ingredients, and without the right recipe a great…

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LOVE 3 (Nintendo Switch & PC Review)

Wow. Few games leave me speechless the way Love 3 has. I’ve thrown out so many drafts of this review, I nearly matched my LOVE 3 death count (give or take a few hundred). LOVE 3 has put me in a strange position. Really, there’s no point in getting too in-depth here. LOVE 3 is pretty much a stand-alone expansion pack to Kuso with twenty-five extra levels. If you didn’t play LOVE 1 or Kuso (LOVE 2), fear not: they’re not only included in this, but there’s remastered versions of the previous games. My one issue with that: they’re unlockable. If LOVE 3 had given me the option, I would have selected the LOVE 1+2+3 Remastered game and played through all the levels at once from the start. I really think this is something Fred Wood should consider, but, as the creator of one of the most sadistic platform games on the planet, I imagine he’s off doing evil things like blowing up frogs with firecrackers or running for office.

The art style is pretty striking, but you’ll quickly get a feel for the rule of “if it’s white, it kills you.” There’s so many inappropriate jokes I could make there, but being the classsy bitch that I am, I ain’t.

At this point, you should probably go read my Kuso review. Go. I’ll wait.

Look, I can see my page views. I’ll know if you’re reading it.

What do you mean “you already read it?” Read it again!

Did you? LIAR!

Whatevers.

LOVE 3 (all caps, like you’re screaming, and trust me, you will be) really is just a +25 to Kuso. I don’t endorse LOVE 1, as it has some iffy design choices, like blind jumps or straight-up GOTCHA-type deaths. Kuso and LOVE 3 are lacking those entirely. Which is not to say LOVE 1 is all bad. Just, enough bad that I can’t in good faith recommend it. It’s the type of punisher that becomes demoralizing instead of intense. Kuso and LOVE 3, meanwhile, are about as perfect as the subgenre of punishers get. The fifty “rooms” they contain are really just a series of unrelated vignettes tied-together only by the fact that it’s the same game with the same engine. Sometimes you’re dodging projectiles. Sometimes you’re precision-jumping. Sometimes both. There’s lots of pattern-solving, and tons of timing-based challenges. Despite the stripped-down graphics, the set pieces can be downright awe-inspiring. Hell, I almost said “WOW!” as often as I laid a checkpoint down. See, that was a variation on the joke from the first paragraph.

It’s nothing short of remarkable how many different themes and jaw-dropping set-pieces are squeezed into this entire set. Just when you think “okay, NOW it has to be out of ideas” something original and fresh hits. It’s bonkers. Three games, 67 levels, and it never gets old the entire time. Amazing.

The concept of setting your own checkpoints really pushes the franchise onto the top of the punisher mountain for me. It’s the perfect game for finding your own difficulty level. You can be bold and lay few, if any, and increase the thrills of playing the stages. Or, you can be a total coward and lay them down like you’ve got checkpoint-shaped diarrhea. If that’s not enough “do it yourself” challenge, can even play in arcade mode, with a limited amount of lives, and YOLO mode, which gives you only one life. This is REALLY screaming for a multiplayer survival/race mode. You can also level-select for all three games and their enhanced editions upon completion of them, and every stage has a hidden coin that unlocks an alternate ending. Amazingly, of the 67 stages included in the entire package, despite the same basic concepts repeating, nearly every level feels completely fresh and unique. Once more, for old time’s sake: WOW!

This level I had one small gripe with. The concept here is you have to use buttons to aim the cannons on the level to break the barriers of blocks. It’s a nice twist on one of Kuso’s most memorable stages. But, there’s a barrier of blocks above you that you can’t see, and once you reach them, you have to go back and jump up and down until the camera scrolls enough to get the gun’s projectiles to blow them up. It’s not exactly a GOTCHA because you have a (relatively) clear path there and back to it, but it feels like busy work.

Now, it’s not all sunshine. LOVE 3 has problems that the nearly-perfect Kuso didn’t. Two, in fact. The first is there’s levels based around “guiding arrows” which function like trampolines. There’s a section where you must use these while dodging a huge chain. Here, the normally-intuitive controls become hard to grapple with. It took me a long time to realize you’re best served going totally limp and letting the arrows do their thing, but even that doesn’t completely work, and it crosses over into that line of frustration. The other point of contention is the addition of helicopter-like bubbles in some of the levels that lack the smooth, instinctive movement physics the franchise is known for. The controls are too fast, too loose, and too sensitive, and I never got used to them even after finishing the game twice. Neither of these things are deal breakers, but they’re annoyances that I can’t ignore, because those sections weren’t fun. All the other levels, some BRUTAL, are incredible.

This is a 100% true story: I once saw the go-kart attendant of a little highway amusement park get run over by a terrified six-year-old who couldn’t take her foot off the gas. The young, scruffy looking park worker went to check her seat belt AFTER starting the motor, and the poor kid, who had never before been in a go-kart, discovered the gas pedal and was startled by the sudden acceleration of her kart. The guy’s panicked, blood-curdling screams of “LET OFF THE GAS!” only further scared her into putting the pedal-to-the-metal. I was reminded of that dark day when I tried to use the helicopters here, which go from 0 to light-speed pretty much instantly and replace the blind jumps of LOVE 1 as the worst aspect of the whole series, if only because they reminded me of that poor guy whose foot I probably broke that day.

Did I underrate Kuso in 2019? Perhaps. I debuted it #14, and it ultimately ended up #19 before I removed it from the leaderboard to merge it with LOVE 3’s ranking. Despite being nearly flawless, I said, “Kuso still feels like it’s more about the dying, and not the surviving.” I stand by that. But, my views on gaming are always evolving. At one point, I disliked Cuphead. Now, I have it in my top five, and it’s obviously a game where the body count seems to have been the point. I’ve come to learn “that’s okay, as long as you’re having fun.” Well, let me tell you: LOVE 3 is fun. Not only that, but it’s one of the best packages in all of platforming, punisher or otherwise. It comes with its two predecessors, and tons of options and extras to go along with them. Including both the original games is such an unexpected, atypical decision, but Fred is clearly proud of his work and wants to show it off. And that decision makes this statement undeniable: LOVE 3 is the best pure indie platformer ever made, and, as of this writing, one of the ten best indies I’ve ever played. I can feel the love.

LOVE 3 was developed by Fred Wood
Point of Sale: Nintendo Switch, Steam

$9.99 fell in love in the making of this review. Typically to her death, but sometimes she stuck the landing.

LOVE 3 is Chick-Approved and ranked on the Indie Gamer Chick Leaderboard

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Review)

I actually get why some people don’t like the Smash Bros. franchise. I don’t agree with them, but I do understand them. Gameplay can become an unimaginable clusterfuck of visual spam that looks like effects from multiple different genres were spliced together in a way sure to cause a tension headache. If you find yourself in a match on one of those massive platforming-stage-type arenas with Pokeballs and Assist Trophies set to max, keeping track of the action or even where the hell you are on screen, even with ID tags on, is a pain in the ass. Plus, despite varied move sets, most non-professional players tend to spam the same attacks over and over and over and that can get boring.

Still a better ending for this dragon than the ones from Game of Thrones got.

So yea, I do get how someone could not buy into the hype. Frankly, the only reason I didn’t is because I couldn’t get my epilepsy under control for years, and Smash Bros is to photosensitivity what a Big Mac is to dieting. In my pre-epilepsy days, I played TONS of Melee on my GameCube. It was easily the Cube game I put the most time into. I got every single trophy and loved every moment of it. Then came epilepsy, and I realized halfway through Brawl my Smash days were over. I never even made it far enough to unlock Sonic The Hedgehog, and I didn’t even bother trying with Smash on Wii U. I didn’t like the 3DS version at all. I hated how it felt, and I put it down after less than an hour, never to return.

Now, I have my epilepsy under control. This last week, my Dad and I watched the Sora reveal trailer. My Mom and sister were out of town, meaning it was just the two of us. My Dad just started gaming full-time within the last couple years, and after seeing the trailer, he wanted to know if it lived up to the hype. As I type this sentence, he’s putting somewhere around hour #70 into Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. It’s safe to say, the hype was lived-up.

Good lord! Of course, there is room for four more fighters after Sora drops. Hmmmmm. Nah, I’m sure this is it. Probably. Who knows? It’s weird that there’s still space there.

In that time, I’ve mostly been struggling to wrap my head around the sheer amount of content. Yea, I’m disappointed that the single player campaign doesn’t more closely resemble Brawl’s design, and I preferred collecting trophies in Melee to “spirits” in Ultimate, but otherwise, this is such a massive game. It took us just under 40 hours to complete World of Light and score a 100% completion on Normal difficulty. Along the way, you collect “spirits” that are basically static JPEGs of characters from all over the video game spectrum. And I mean ALL OVER! In fact, there’s really one Nintendo game that gets no love at all: StarTropics. There’s NOTHING for StarTropics. Hal’s Adventures of Lolo also never shows up, but Lolo & Lala (or rather Lololo and Lalala, the Kirby bosses) appear in a background on the GameBoy stage, so in a way they’re here. As of this writing, there’s 1,499 spirits with more coming in the Sora update, and it’s likely more will be added even after Sora drops this next week. Sadly, there’s no biographies for them. They’re just static pictures that also work as buffs for fights in the adventure mode or for the “spirit board” where you aim to collect even more spirits. It’s like you’re a gaming version of Ghostbusters, which is funny because the first thing my Dad asked is “are the Ghostbusters in this?” I said “no.” He said “there’s a Ghostbusters video game!” He’s a delight.

I’m really not a fan of the whole “time and shoot to get the spirit” shit. Maybe if there had been a larger variety of ways you had to finally unlock the spirit, it’d be okay. But, after having to battle some of the harder, four-star level spirits, needing to do this one last thing became a major pain in the ass.

Beyond the spirits, there’s several other collectables. There’s a boatload of Mii Fighter costumes, new songs for the soundtrack, tons of optional challenges, and more. Hell, the roster itself is a collectable. In fact, when you first boot-up Smash Ultimate, you only get the original roster of fighters from the Nintendo 64 game (plus any DLC characters you’ve bought). That means you have to unlock SEVENTY characters over the course of the game. You can do this in few ways. We got ours mostly through the World of Light campaign. Anytime you “wake-up” a playable character, you gain access to them in all other modes. Or, when we’d quit out of World of Light, it’d usually say “A NEW FOE APPEARS” and we’d unlock another. This would happen while we cleared-out the Spirit Board as well, but it was hugely annoying when that happened. The Spirit Board works on a timer, and after five minutes, the spirits reshuffle. Apparently you can also unlock fighters through the Classic Mode, which I’ve actually decided is the weak link of the game. Compared to all the other modes, it’s just old fashioned anymore. But, I was annoyed that the target practice stuff was gone too. I’m sure if I really, REALLY think about it, I’ll remember how hard and frustrating some of those were, but in the spirit of Smash Bros. fandom, I’m just mindlessly complaining right now. Also, they could have made the alternate costumes of the fighters collectable too. That’s.. like.. 623 more things they could have made you collect. I mean, fuck it, why not? Literally every single new thing you get feels special. When has that ever happened in any game?

Dad, mad bastard that he is, bought EVERY Mii Fighter costume. The thing is, you still have to create the Mii that goes with the costumes and manually create the fighters for them. Really, each of these costumes should have come with a prefabricated Mii and just been added to the menu for the Mii Fighters. I mean, you DID pay for them!

Of course, all this stuff is predicated on whether or not you like playing Smash Bros. If you don’t, none of it matters. I really like Smash Bros. I hate doing this type of thing, but if I had to do the “describe the game in one word” thing, the one word would be “cathartic.” It’s the poster child for my beloved “OOMPH”, the idea that violence in games feels like it has weight and gravity and isn’t just pixels and polygons painted on top of each-other. A fighting game without oomph would be awful (see Clayfighter 63 1/3 for an example). Smash might be the most OOMPHful game ever. It feels so violent, and it’s fantastic! But, I was already sold on the concept back in 1999. Even with the worst box art of any Nintendo first-party game, I totally fell in love with Smash Bros on the Nintendo 64. Super Smash Bros. Melee spiked the ball and would easily make my top five GameCube list. I didn’t need any convincing. I mean, I wasn’t as bad as those fans who declared this their Game of the Year before they even played it, but I knew I’d have a good time, and I did. That’s not why this is a special game.

The shop, like the spirit board, is limited to a max of ten randomly-chosen items at a time. You can’t just grind-up resources. You also have to wait for the stuff you’re missing to appear. I get the idea is to keep players coming back to the game after they’ve finished all the content, but it’s still really annoying that you can’t just knock-out the music or the Mii Costumes first.

No, how I know Smash Bros. Ultimate is something special is my Dad, in his 70s now and brand-new to gaming, is totally hooked on it. Yea, it’s the reward mechanism thing of unlocking something new basically every minute. Sure. But there’s more to it. The simple play mechanics ease newcomers into the action and slowly reveal to them depth and nuance on a scale someone watching would never imagine. My Dad started by mashing buttons and now he’s stringing together combos and feeling mighty proud of himself. Sure, you can mindlessly mash buttons if you wish. That’d probably be enough to get you through the single player modes. But for those who journey deeper, you’ll find one of the most satisfying and balanced fighting games ever made. In fact, Smash does such a good job of being newbie friendly that it opened my Dad’s eyes to the entire fighting game genre. He wants to get into this style of game now.

Wow!

Some of the spirit battles are absurdly difficult. The one that took us the most attempts was Pauline from Super Mario Odyssey. Here, Princess Peach runs around trying to avoid you, and on a short timer, you must knock her out while dealing with Mario and Donkey Kong’s attacks. It’s maddening, but what really was a kick in the ass was that, after dozens upon dozens of failed attempts, we only won because Peach accidentally killed herself after missing a jump. She had ZERO damage. Dad checked, and apparently this has happened to multiple other people who have struggled with this level. It makes us wonder if they secretly built in a mercy feature. Come to think of it, the other extra-hard battle, for the spirit of Big Boss from Metal Gear Solid, also killed itself.

Yea, there’s stuff that bugs me. I really do wish they’d done something like Subspace Emissary. I wish the map for World of Light had been less abstract and easier to find your way around. I think the larger stages are boring and the camera is often panned too far back for the action. Also, I can’t imagine how brutal playing this must be for those poor souls who have to use their Joycons instead of being able to buy the GameCube controllers. (Speaking of which, after 70+ hours, the wireless GameCube controller we bought for Ultimate is still on its original Duracell batteries. Holy moley! The Energizer Bunny wept in despair). But honestly, I’m happy that I got Smash back. It’s fan service and full of really lazy Memberberries (even I geeked out at a picture of the girl from Eternal Darkness. OH MY GAWD LOOK! THE GIRL FROM ETERNAL DARKNESS!) that are devoid of all context. Playing Smash Bros Ultimate often feels like watching an episode of Big Bang Theory without the laugh track. LOOK, IT’S THAT THING OR CHARACTER FROM A GAME YOU PLAYED! But, you know what? It got me. It got me because it’s fun! It feels like a labor of love that wanted to figure out a way to include everything, and did. Except StarTropics. After five games, it’s the one that gets no love. God, what the fuck did StarTropics do to Sakurai? Did it run over his grandma or something?

Super Smash Bros Ultimate was developed by Sora
Point of Sale: Nintendo Switch

$59.99 + a lot more in DLC sang GRANDMA GOT RAN OVER BY A STARTROPICS in the making of this review.

Smash Bros. Ultimate is Chick-Approved! Non-indies aren’t eligible for the IGC Leaderboard.

Sorry the formatting sucks. WordPress keeps getting worse and worse.

A Decade Later

Thank you Waff for the amazing job! Check out his online store and follow him on Twitter!

I’ve been staring at my screen for the last hour, trying to find the words that best sum up the last ten years. I’ve typed stuff and deleted it. I’ve changed the title dozens of times. No matter what I say, it doesn’t feel like it properly conveys the love and gratitude I have for the hundreds of game developers and thousands of readers who have made the last ten years so special to me. I still can’t find anything that feels powerful enough, so I’ll simply say “thank you!” It has truly been my pleasure.

I’m not the same person I was ten years ago, and the next ten years are going to be.. interesting to say the least. For those that don’t know, I found out last year that I’m among the ten-million people on Earth living with Parkinson’s Disease. I’m healthy right now. In fact, in many ways I’ve never been better. I haven’t had a seizure in eighty days as of this writing. That’s four-times longer than I’ve gone at any point since I was sixteen-years-old. So that’s really cool. I’m showing some symptoms of Parkinson’s, but nothing drastically interfering in gameplay as of yet. That won’t last, though. There’s going to be changes. My reaction times will inevitably slow. Thumb-accuracy will likely be an issue. But, I’m not quitting gaming. Fuck that. I’ll find stuff I can play.

Probably not stuff with motion controls.

It’s just another phase of my weird journey as Indie Gamer Chick. But the beauty of gaming is there’s something for everyone. Even people fated to be professional Jiffy Pop poppers. If I’ve learned one thing in my ten years spent reviewing games, it’s to have faith that good stuff is always coming soon to a device near you. I don’t get when people say gaming used to better “back in the day.” Back in the day, gamers couldn’t bring off-trend, off-beat projects to consoles all on their own. Indies and digital distribution have really brought us into a golden age for gaming. For all the bitching we all do (myself included) about too much DLC or microtransactions, I can buy a $20 giftcard and walk away with a handful of games on pretty much any gaming format, with at least one or two near-certain quality releases. I couldn’t do that as a kid on my Nintendo 64 or PlayStation 2 or Dreamcast. What an amazing thing we all have. What a time to alive!

“Please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism. It’s my least favorite quality, and it doesn’t lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.”

-Conan O’Brien on his final Tonight Show

That’s my favorite quote. I love it because it’s true. It’s so weird, because a lot of people found me via scathing reviews of games that cost $1 – $5 on their Xbox 360s. I’d get angry and I’d get confused and I’d tear a game a new butthole for baffling design. On the surface, I’d come across like the stereotypical angry gaming critic. There’s a few notable ones, but most of them are a dime a dozen and fade into obscurity just as quickly as they start. I think the difference with me, the thing that’s kept me going for ten years now, is that I’m not cynical. I’ve always kept faith that the best game I’ll EVER play is somewhere off in the future. I used to say it would be tragic if, in my mid-20s, I’d already played the best game I’ll ever play. I’ll be 32-years-old next week, and I’ll never be as healthy again as I am right now. And yet, I still believe in my heart-of-hearts the best game I’ll ever play is still yet to come. I think that’s what makes me different. I think a lot of gaming people these days are too cynical about the future of our pastime. That the best days are behind us, and that nothing will ever be as good as it once was.

But, I look at what I’ve played over the last ten years, and I look at the incredible artists who made them, and I ask how anyone can be that jaded? These guys and gals have given me every reason to believe gaming’s future is brighter than a supernova. I have faith in their drive and their creativity and their homespun moxie. They’re going to assure our future as gamers will be as vast and limitless as our imaginations can conceive. And I’m so very excited, and I want you to be too!

For the adventures coming.

For the challenges we’ll conquer.

For the kingdoms we’ll save.

For the villains we’ll slay.

For the quests we’ll complete.

For the puzzles we’ll solve.

For the dreams we’ll see come true.

Have faith, my friends. The best of gaming always belongs somewhere in the future.

-Cathy Vice
July 1, 2021

Cthulhu Saves Christmas (Review)

As I crawl to my 10th Anniversary as Indie Gamer Chick (it’s been pointed out to me that it’s actually my 9th anniversary, as your starting date isn’t your first anniversary. Yes, fine, I’ll have been IGC for ten years on July 1 is the point), something dreadful is overcoming me. And I don’t just mean the grim specter of Parkinson’s disease, a thought that gives me trembles. I mean sooner than it’s supposed to. No, I’m talking about nostalgia. Oh Christ, are you telling me that I’m now old enough and the world has gone to shit enough for me to long for a simpler time? Already? Ten years isn’t that long ago! But, yea, I’ve sort of reached that point where it’s almost unfathomable that I was once prolific and cranked out almost five-hundred game reviews in a a two year span and wish I could go back to THAT time.

The self-aware humor is so non-stop that even Deadpool would be like “yo, slow down! Let the jokes settle!”

So I started browsing through the literally hundreds of Nintendo Switch indies I’ve bought but never played and saw Cthulhu Saves Christmas. Oh hey, that’s a Zeboyd game! They made XBLIGs! I remember XBLIGs! I reviewed XBLIGs! They made Cthulhu Saves the World for XBLIG! I played it! I reviewed it! This is a Cthulhu saves game, only it’s NOT an XBLIG! That’s exactly the type of nostalgia my prematurely decrepit ass has been longing for. So, I fired it up and immediately started getting warm and fuzzy feelings of familiarity playing one of their self-aware satirical RPGs. The exact same kind that I started playing in 2011 when I started Indie Gamer Chick. You didn’t see a lot of games like this back then. Ten years later and there’s actually too many “haha, you’re playing a game, isn’t that quirky?” experiences. We’ve come far, and I figured Cthulhu Saves Christmas might run the joke into the ground eventually. But, I was wrong. They actually ran it into the ground right away. That’s the joke.

If you’re looking for “hardcore” RPG experience, something tells me you’d know enough from the title to realize you’re not getting it here. Or, if you’re familiar with Zeboyd’s work for that matter. Not that they can’t do damn fine RPG mechanics. Honesty, their Penny Arcade titles probably outclassed anything the Xbox 360 ever offered. But, even with really fun combat mechanics, you’re never going to be immersed in this world. In fact, the humor landing requires you to be as detached from the goings-on as humanly possible. That’s sort of the point. And yea, it’s really fun to play Cthulhu Saves Christmas. The set-up of having some attack options being chosen at random, while others you can organize and optimize for making battles be breezy is quite satisfying to build and implement. Besides, it moves at such a blistering pace that you never even have time to be bored. Things like exploring towns are shit-canned in favor of having to choose a handful of events between each stage which will give you a pre-set reward. It does feel rushed at times, but there’s always a disarming joke to go along with the feeling, as if the devs are letting you know “game makers get bored too, you know?”

CSC does actually do satire as well as any game. Its parody on the Final Fantasy “we must depart forever” trope had me laughing so much my eyes stung from the tears.

To CSC’s credit, it never gets boring, and writing is always absurd enough to hold your attention. Yet, I can’t help but get the distinct feeling that Zeboyd couldn’t believe they were still making games like this after a decade. Their magnum opus, Cosmic Star Heroine, did well enough but wasn’t exactly a world beater as far as RPGs go. Cthulhu Saves Christmas has the feel of a game that says “couldn’t you pricks have saved us from making games like this?” Or maybe I’m reading it wrong. Maybe they’re every bit as nostalgic for a simpler time as I am. I usually disclose friendships earlier in reviews, but I guess now’s the time to note that I love Robert & Bill Zeboyd. They’re my friends, but more than that, they were partners in that weird and often frustrating world of Xbox Live Indie Games. We were on different sides of the table: they were makers of XBLIGs, while I was a critic XBLIGs. But we all struggled to get attention for the community together. They certainly made my job easier, to the point that I actually felt sorry for them. They seemed too good to be stuck hocking their games for 240MSP to 400MSP (MSP is Microsoft Points. 80 Points = $1). When they were chosen to become Penny Arcade 3 and 4’s developer, but with their games still stuck on XBLIG, part of me smiled, but most of me felt heartbroken for them. “Jeez, really? Even with the license, they’re going to be stuck on the same sales page as vibrator apps?”

You have three permanent attack slots that aren’t selected by a randomizer. I placed “attack all” attacks in the first slot of each and just mashed A for the most part. Your mileage will vary on how much you get out of CSC, especially since you can adjust the difficulty.

It never occurred to me that any developer would remember that time as fondly as I did. I guess what I’ve taken away most from Cthulhu Saves Christmas is that was a happier time. For all of us. When we were all plucky upstarts, with the best yet to come sometime down the line. Who knows? Parkinson’s or not, maybe I’ll eventually reach higher highs. Zeboyd, on the other hand, certainly will. Hell, whenever I pester AAA studio heads, they’re probably the developer I name drop most. “Oh, you have an old RPG property and you don’t know what to do with it? Well, I know these guys. They’re a bit batshit but they’re good..” I suspect that they’re still destined for gaming superstardom. Even ten years later, the best days of Zeboyd feel like they are ahead of them. I guess it’s reassuring to know that those old days we spent on Xbox Live Indie Games meant as much to them as it did to me. It makes me feel a little less pathetic to be nostalgic for it.

Cthulhu Saves Christmas was developed by Zeboyd
Point of Sale: Nintendo Switch, Steam, Coming Soon to PS5
$9.99 is an old one now in the making of this review.
Cthulhu Saves Christmas is Chick-Approved and Ranked on the Indie Gamer Chick Leaderboard

The Pinball Chick Interview: George Gomez

I had the amazing privilege of interviewing one of THE legends of gaming and pinball, Mr. George Gomez. Be sure to head over to The Pinball Chick to check it out!

The Pinball Chick

You don’t always get what you deserve. George Gomez deserves to be a household name. He’s a certifiable legend, responsible for tens of millions of dollars in coin-drops over the last forty years. This is a man put on this Earth to entertain. A game maker. A toy maker. A pinball maker. He created Spy Hunter AND Monster Bash, and between that he made darts you fill with water, which I totally would have used if I had been alive when they came out. And I’d probably aimed for people’s eyes with them, because that’s how I roll. Anyway, I got to talk to George, who currently is Executive Vice President and Chief Creative Officer at Stern, the current leaders in pinball, because I am that lucky. We discussed his career, his projects, and general thoughts on the nature of game and pinball design.

Robert Downy Jr explains how…

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#IGCvMegaMan (February 11 – 25) Index

I’m trying to run through every classic Mega Man game. If it’s not 8 or 16 bit, it won’t be included. The links go to Twitter threads, where I mostly make awful puns.

Nintendo Entertainment System

Mega Man (YES Pile)
Mega Man 2 (YES Pile)
Mega Man 3 (YES Pile)
Mega Man 4 (YES Pile)
Mega Man 5
Mega Man 6

Game Boy

Mega Man: Dr. Wily’s Revenge (NO Pile)
Mega Man II
Mega Man III
Mega Man IV
Mega Man V

Super Nintendo Entertainment System

Mega Man 7
Mega Man & Bass
Mega Man X (NO Pile)
Mega Man X2
Mega Man X3
Mega Man Soccer (NO PILE)

Game Boy Advance

Mega Man Zero
Mega Man Zero 2
Mega Man Zero 3
Mega Man Zero 4

The Rest

Mega Man for Game Gear
Rockman Battle & Fighters for Neo Geo Pocket Color (YES Pile)
Rockman & Forte Mirai kara no Chōsensha for Wonderswan (NO PILE)

The Official #IGCvNES YES/NO Piles with Top 25 & Bottom 25

THESE ARE NOT FULL REVIEWS

The #IGCvNES YES Pile and the NO Pile are simply my opinions on whether a game is worth a deeper look. If it’s in the YES pile, I think the average gamer interested in retro gaming will find something of genuine value playing the game today, in 2020. If it’s in the NO pile, it’s not worth the time. That’s all this is.

TEMP UPDATE: Bold = Likely Top 25 or Bottom 25, final awards Sunday, Oct 4

THE YES PILE (TOP 10, TOP 25)

  • A Boy and his Blob
  • Abadox
  • Adventures in the Magic Kingdom
  • Adventures of Lolo
  • Adventures of Lolo (Famicom)
  • Adventures of Lolo 2
  • Adventures of Lolo 2 (Famicom)
  • Adventures of Lolo 3
  • Air Fortress
  • Anticipation!
  • Archon
  • Bad News Baseball
  • Banana Prince
  • Batman: Return of the Joker
  • Bible Adventures
  • Binary Land
  • Bionic Commando
  • Bubble Bobble
  • Bubble Bobble II
  • Castlevania
  • Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse
  • Chip ‘N Dale’s Rescue Rangers
  • Chip ‘N Dale’s Rescue Rangers 2
  • Chuka Taisen
  • Cobra Triangle
  • Cocoron
  • Contra
  • Crystal Mines
  • Crystalis
  • Darkwing Duck
  • Devil World
  • Dizzy the Adventurer
  • Don Doko Don
  • Don Doko Don 2
  • Donald Land
  • Double Dragon II: The Revenge
  • DuckTales
  • DuckTales 2
  • Eggerland Meikyuu no Fukkatsu
  • Excitebike/Vs. Excitebike
  • Famicom Wars
  • Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy
  • Fantasy Zone (Sunsoft)
  • Fantasy Zone (Tengen)
  • Ganbare Goemon! Karakuri Dōchū
  • Garry Kitchen’s Battletank
  • Gauntlet
  • Gauntlet II
  • Gimmick
  • Gradius
  • Gradius II
  • Ice Hockey
  • Jackie Chan’s Action Kung Fu
  • Joy Mech Fight
  • Kickle Cubicle
  • Kid Dracula
  • Kid Icarus
  • Kid Niki: Radical Ninja
  • Kid Niki 2 (Kaiketsu Yanchamaru 2: Karakuri Land)
  • Kiwi Kraze/New Zealand Story
  • Klax
  • Krazy Kreatures
  • Kung Fu 2 (Kung Fu Master 2)
  • Legend of Zelda
  • Life Force
  • Little Ninja Bros.
  • Little Samson
  • Mendel Palace
  • Micro Machines
  • Mig 29: Soviet Fighter
  • Mighty Final Fight
  • Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!/Punch-Out!!
  • Monster Party
  • Ms. Pac-Man (Tengen)
  • Mystery World Dizzy
  • Ninja Gaiden II
  • Ninja Gaiden III
  • Nuts & Milk
  • Pac-Land
  • Panic Restaurant
  • Power Blade
  • Power Blade 2
  • Quattro Adventure (YES to Super Robin Hood)
  • Quattro Arcade (YES to Go! Dizzy Go!, F-16 Renegade, & Stunt Buggies)
  • R.C. Pro-Am 2
  • River City Ransom (JP version)
  • Rod Land
  • Rygar
  • Simpson’s: Bart vs The Space Mutants
  • Snow Bros.
  • Solomon’s Key
  • Spiritual Warfare
  • StarTropics
  • Super C
  • Super Mario Bros.
  • Super Mario Bros. 2
  • Super Mario Bros. 3
  • Sweet Home
  • Time Zone
  • Toki
  • Ufouria (Hebereke)
  • Ultimate Stuntman
  • Vindicators
  • Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego
  • Whomp ‘Em
  • Wizards & Warriors
  • Wonderland Dizzy
  • Yume Penguin Monogatari

NO PILE (BOTTOM 10, BOTTOM 25)

  • 3D World Runner
  • 10-Yard Fight
  • Addams Family
  • Addams Family: Pugsley’s Scavenger Hunt
  • Adventure Island
  • Adventure Island II
  • Adventure Island III
  • Adventures of Bayou Billy
  • Adventures of Dino Riki
  • Adventures of Gilligan’s Island
  • Adventures of Tom Sawyer
  • Alfred Chicken
  • Alien 3
  • Altered Beast
  • American Gladiators
  • Arkista’s Ring
  • Athena
  • Athletic World
  • Attack of the Killer Tomatoes
  • Back to the Future
  • Back to the Future Part II & III
  • Balloon Fight
  • Barbie
  • Baseball
  • Batman
  • Batman Returns
  • Battletoads
  • Big Nose Freaks Out
  • Big Nose the Caveman
  • Blaster Master
  • Boulder Dash
  • Bubble Bath Babes
  • Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest
  • City Connection
  • Clu Clu Land/Clu Clu Land D
  • Crisis Force
  • Deadly Towers
  • Deathbots
  • Defender of the Crown
  • Deja Vu
  • Digger T. Rock
  • Donkey Kong
  • Donkey Kong III
  • Donkey Kong Jr.
  • Double Dragon
  • Double Dragon III: The Rosetta Stone
  • Double Strike
  • Dr. Mario
  • Dreamworld Pogie
  • Dudes with Attitude
  • Falsion
  • Faxanadu
  • Fire Emblem
  • Firehawk
  • Hello Kitty World (aka Balloon Fight 2)
  • Hi no Tori Hououhen: Gaou no Bouken (Phoenix Chronicles)
  • Hot Slot
  • Galaga
  • Ganbare Goemon 2
  • Gargoyle’s Quest II
  • Ghosts ‘n Goblins
  • Golf
  • Guardian Legend
  • Ice Climber
  • Ikari III: The Rescue
  • Ikari Warriors
  • Ikari Warriors II: Victory Road
  • Impossible Mission II
  • Ironsword: Wizards & Warriors II
  • Joe & Mac
  • Jordan vs. Bird: One on One
  • Karnov
  • Kid Niki 3 (Kaiketsu Yanchamaru 3: Taiketsu! Zōringen)
  • Kirby’s Adventure
  • Kung Fu
  • Linus Spacehead: Cosmic Crusade
  • Magic Darts
  • Maniac Mansion
  • Marble Madness
  • Mario Bros.
  • Mermaids of Atlantis
  • Metal Slader Glory
  • Metroid
  • Mighty Bomb Jack
  • Milon’s Secret Castle
  • Mystery Quest
  • NES Open Golf
  • Nightshade
  • Ninja Gaiden
  • Pac-Land
  • Pac-Man
  • Parodius Da!
  • Peek-a-Boo Poker
  • Pinball
  • Power Blazer
  • Pro Wrestling
  • Puzzle
  • Pyramid
  • R.B.I. Baseball
  • R.B.I. Baseball 2
  • R.C. Pro-Am
  • Ring King
  • Rolling Thunder
  • Shadowgate
  • Shinobi
  • Simpson’s: Bart vs The World
  • Simpsons: Bartman meets Radioactive Man
  • Skull & Crossbones
  • Slalom
  • Smurfs
  • Snake Rattle ‘n Roll
  • Soccer
  • Stadium Events
  • Star Soldier
  • Street Fighter 2010
  • Stunt Kids
  • Super Mario Bros. – The Lost Levels (Super Mario Bros. 2 in Japan)
  • Super Sprint
  • Super Spy Hunter
  • Super Team Games
  • Talespin
  • Tiles of Fate
  • Tiny Toon Adventures
  • Tiny Toon Adventures 2: Trouble in Wacky Land
  • Toobin’
  • Trolls on Treasure Island
  • Uninvited
  • Wagan Land (Wagyan Land)
  • Wagan Land 2 (Wagyan Land 2)
  • Wai Wai World
  • Wai Wai World 2
  • Wally Bear and the NO! Gang
  • Wily & Light’s Rockboard: That’s Paradise
  • Wizards & Warriors III – Kuros: Visions of Powers
  • Xexyz
  • Yoshi
  • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
  • Zoda’s Revenge: StarTropics II

ROM HACKS WORTH A LOOK

  • Adventures of Lolo Remix
  • Castlevania 5 Legacy
  • Castlevania Blood Moon
  • Castlevania: Chorus of Mysteries
  • Challenging Lolo
  • Challenging Lolo 2
  • Doctor Who
  • Legend of Zelda: Outlands
  • Mario Adventure
  • Zelda II: Redux

Zaccaria Pinball – Deluxe Table Pack 1 Table Ranking (Xbox One & PS4 DLC Pack, Tables sold Individually on Steam)

The latest review from my new pinball themed blog is here as we welcome Zaccaria coverage to The Pinball Chick!

The Pinball Chick

Think of Zaccaria Pinball’s Deluxe series as being their take on modern pins like those by Jersey Jack or even Stern’s post-DMD works like Stranger Things. The scoreboard is now an animated LCD screen and modes have explanations and rules given to you. If Magic Pixel’s goal was to create original tables that feel like they could be real, two of the three tables succeeded. I could believe that Red’s Show and Cine Star are real tables. Spooky Deluxe? Probably not. It doesn’t seem like it would physically work. Ironically, Spooky is the best of the set and the first table during our Zaccaria play time that has won an excellent table certification here. Zaccaria Pinball is a solid, genuinely fun pinball set that frustrates me sometimes with the sheer amount of confusing options, but make no mistake, this is a solid pack to introduce yourself to their potential.

But…

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