Vitamin Connection Review – A Tough Pill to Swallow

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WayForward has an impressive portfolio of games, including the likes of Shantae and Mighty Switch Force. I was pretty excited to try out another one of their games when I heard about Vitamin Connection. Now, there are different philosophies about what makes a game good or even great. Nintendo’s approach is to make games that are fun to play. WayForward seemed to be going for the fun factor with Vitamin Connection. Unfortunately, things pretty much fall apart right at the get-go.

“A Pill a Day…”

Vitamin Connection Review

I’m going to be upfront and let you know that I only completed 50 percent of Vitamin Connection’s single-player campaign and the first level of co-op. My policy for reviewing games is to finish the whole thing before I put my thoughts on the blank page, but I just couldn’t complete this one. It’s not that it was too difficult. Rather, the game simply lacks any sort of motivation for the player to keep going.

The problem with Vitamin Connection is that it doesn’t know who its target player base is. Is this game for children? The gameplay would be too boring for them. Is this game for adults? The whole premise and story are lacking wit and intellect. I’m not sure who would actually want to play this game. It’s like it’s a promotion for taking pills when you’re sick but it isn’t sure which brand; just swallow pills when you think you might be sick or hurt.


At the Speed of Molasses

Vitamin Connection Review

You pilot a joy-con-looking vehicle that generally travels at half the speed of frozen molasses. You can speed up traveling speed by two levels, which you’ll find yourself doing often (when the game lets you). You have a beam that you use for killing enemies that depletes slowly as you fire it. It recharges when you’re not using it, so you can’t infinitely fire your laser. 

The thing is, do you really need to kill most enemies? No. Besides the chain streak that you can get for killing enemies without getting hit, there’s nothing you’re rewarded with for dispatching enemies. You don’t get points, health, or even happiness from getting rid of them. Obstacles can be dodged by rotating your vessel, plowing through same-color strings, and using a claw with horrible controls. For some reason, the developer decided to use motion controls for the claw ability. The controls don’t really work and force you to hold the controller in an awkward way so you can get to the d-pad.

Vitamin Connection Minigame

I found myself ‘speeding’ through levels just to get to the end. I didn’t mind taking damage because there are so many health pickups. A game that doesn’t even give you the motivation to avoid damage fails at even simple game design. 

The game’s concept of bosses is minigames that control differently from the main game. You’re put into one of a handful of games where your objective changes. One of the minigames has you playing the equivalent of air hockey with an AI that is easily manipulated into staying in one spot while you score goal after goal. Another one is a rhythm-like game that clearly wasn’t designed for one player.


Bland as Pills

Vitamin Connection Characters


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Throwback Review: Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (1999)

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It’s no secret that Resident Evil 3: Nemesis is the black sheep of the classic Resident Evil trilogy. Across the board it feels like few people have played it and even fewer can describe the game beyond gushing about why The Nemesis is the greatest boss character of all time. With the remake creeping towards us like an ever-hungry zombie, it felt right to check out the game that wasn’t afraid to shake up the Resident Evil formula and introduced a generation to the iconic stalker Nemesis.


Return to Raccoon City

Set only a few hours before Resident Evil 2, series veteran Jill Valentine finds herself trapped in the zombie infested Raccoon City. While fighting through the streets Jill stumbles across Carlos, a member of Umbrella’s private mercenary unit who’s tasked with cleaning up the city’s shuffling undead. The unit is obviously out-numbered by the horde and Jill is forced to make an uneasy alliance with the Umbrella operatives to escape from the doomed city. It’s an economical premise that offers an alternate perspective to the fateful night of Resident Evil 2 while finally giving players the chance to fully explore the Raccoon City that game teased to them.

Unlike previous Resident Evil titles there’s only one campaign as Jill is the only playable protagonist. Instead you’ll see a different ending depending on how you react to ‘Choice Events’. During key moments the game will give Jill two options to get past a time-sensitive obstacle, and choosing one over the other will take her through a different story route. However, your decisions always feel innocuous since they rarely impact the world or the game in meaningful ways. The only choice that has a substantial narrative impact is apparently whether or not Jill jumps off a bridge towards the game’s end, which supposedly determines the fate of an off-screen character? It’s a neat idea, but ultimately not enough to entice an immediate second play through.

The other thing this game is sorely lacking is that classic Resident Evil kitsch. Sure there are still a few chuckle-worthy lines of dialogue and Jill’s tube top is ridiculous, but this sequel plays things pretty po-faced. The story lacks personality as a result and the narrative overall isn’t especially memorable.


Old Zombie Dog, New Zombie Tricks

Right from the get go, it’s clear that you’re going to be dealing with a lot more zombies than your typical Resident Evil jaunt. The shuffling undead fill the streets at times, never too proud to swarm the player in meaty groups which forces you to really consider some crowd control tactics. Insectoid Brain Suckers replace Lickers but are no less deadly. They keep things unpredictable by hugging walls, jumping around and charging at you with flailing arms for a venomous embrace. Hunters also return in two new flavors, raging red ‘Beta’ forms and bulbous blue ‘Gammas’. Based on my crude descriptions for each I’ll let you decide which is more threatening. While the enemy roster is perhaps a little familiar, the sheer quantity of on-screen nasties keeps the pressure on. Fortunately, the game gives you plenty of ways to even the odds.


While previous entries in the franchise encouraged you to conserve ammo and …

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Through the Darkest of Times Review – Dumb and Dumber

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When you tell a story taking place any time during the first half of the 20th century, you have every advantage. Industry, prosperity, war, famine, reconstruction, love, loss, politics, genocide, and violence all begin to scratch the surface of how impactful and rich that portion of history was for the world, especially in the west. Through the Darkest of Times plops itself in the dead center of the ‘30s in Germany to start. A decade of oppression, fear, and death manages to get utterly squandered by PaintBucket Games. The moderately interesting gameplay does little to make up for the yawn-inducing story and frustrating technical oversights of the game.

Because going another minute without writing about the story and characters will physically kill me, I will start there. If I were to sum up the issues here in one sentence, it would be this: PaintBucket Games does not understand how to tell a story. The game should’ve been named Beating a Dead Horse: The Game.

Before I go further, understand that I’m fully aware of the atrocities of war and the hell that minority groups went through during Hitler’s reign in Germany. Can I say that I fully understand and can imagine or comprehend them from the perspective of a minority group in Europe during that time period? Absolutely not, but few people left living can. Most of us are in the same boat; we can understand what took place, but we can’t understand how it was or what it was like.

Now, with that being said, Through the Darkest of Times doesn’t help anyone better conceptualize The Holocaust. The game takes the stance that the Holocaust was bad. It proceeds to beat you over the head with this for eight hours straight without ever turning it into an effective plot. We know the Holocaust ruined lives, tore apart families, and decimated populations, so why did the game feel the need to consistently go back to this fact? A good narrative knows when and how to make a point and move on. Instead, Through the Darkest of Times fixates on this and refuses to continue on with things. This limits the characters to being one-dimensional textbooks that just spew facts about 1930s and ‘40s Germany. While I should dedicate a clause to congratulating PaintBucket Games on their accuracy and research of the setting, I can read Anne Frank’s diary to get a lot of the same accuracies while digesting a much more fascinating perspective.


Through the Darkest of Times Random Events


Games like Oxenfree, Life Is Strange, and The Walking Dead survive on the shoulders of their enticing characters who develop and grow throughout the game. Do characters make or break every game? No, but they certainly broke this one. Through the Darkest of Times has few recurring characters and far fewer interesting ones. The main character (going by many names) doesn’t even serve as a punching bag for the plot; they simply serve as a hollowed-out vessel for you to play the game through. Going back to storytelling 101, you simply cannot have your protagonist be a static character. For an interesting tale to take place, dynamism is a must for the hero.

Some of the other characters change throughout the game …

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Shovel Knight Developer Yacht Club Games to Host Live Presentation

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The developer of Shovel Knight, Yacht Club Games, will be holding a presentation to show off its upcoming projects. This will mark the second time the developer has made announcements via Livestream ala Nintendo. The presentation is taking place on February 26 at 12 pm EST and can be viewed via YouTube or Twitch.

The presentation will include all new information on both Shovel Knight Dig and Cyber Shadow, as well as some things we haven’t seen before. Shovel Knight Dig is being co-developed by both Yacht Club Games and Nitrome. Nitrome’s history predominantly includes the development of Flash and Mobile Games, with this being their first major project.

Shovel Knight Dig follows the titular hero from the first games as he ventures underground after villain Drill Knight steals his treasure. It’s looking to be a bonified sequel to the original games from what we’ve seen so far. With many of the beloved gameplay mechanics like shovel bouncing remaining intact.

The other major project Yacht Club Games is working on is Cyber Shadow. Cyber Shadow is being made by just one man who’s officially known as Mechanical Head Studios. Yacht Club Games is responsible for publishing the futuristic side-scroller.

It’s no surprise Yacht Club Games is ramping up for some big news considering they finally finished working on Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove by releasing the long-awaited King of Cards expansion.

Will you be watching the Yacht Club Games news broadcast? Let us know down in the comments.

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7th Sector Review – The Seventh Circle

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“This city is an empty glass. Words do nothing. No one sleeps.”


Y’know what puzzle games need? Visible spectacle! Forget fancy gimmicks and sharp writing, shove it all in an environment that would be more suited to a 90s anime. Yeah, that sounds like a surefire winner, and here we have 7th Sector trying to avoid Roy Batty in a cramped space.

This is the sophomore title from one Носков Сергей, better known as one Sergey Noskov. In 2016, Sergey released their debut title, 35mm, which saw moderate acclaim despite a lot of glaring issues, like the survival mechanics being half-baked and goddamn awful. The publisher for today’s title, however, is the Eastern European-based Sometimes You, which is both a blessing or a burden. Do we have a Mooseman on the horizon, or is it Alteric? Only time will tell.

An in-game screenshot of 7th Sector, showcasing a blue orb robot sitting beside a woman on a train cart.

There’s no plot, believe me. It, like its peer TurnOn, is under the vague pretenses that your presence in the world will illuminate the lives of those that even dare to come near you. For the most part, you play as a spark of electricity that goes across this sullen cyber-noir world, exploring the concrete jungle and trying to figure out what your place in all of this is as you progress.

As stated above, the main contemporary is the blisteringly-okay side-scrolling platformer TurnOn for the most part, with both focusing on a mechanic of revolving puzzles around the use of electricity. Transformer boxes, HDDs that require power, so on and so forth, and it’s presented in an incredibly simple manner. The way 7th Sector attempts to grab the player is through the use of evolution, in an execution that’s commendable if a bit naff.

Carry on playing, and you’ll see yourself become bigger, faster, more of a King than a Pawn in this game of survival. Intelligence and brute strength play an equal part, and in gameplay, they both struggle to entertain, leaving you with flaccid attempts at a unique presentation. Part of this comes down to too many mechanics attempting to take the spotlight at the same time, and with a 4-hour runtime, this constant juggling act keeps fumbling.

An in-game screenshot of 7th Sector, showcasing an orb of electricity travelling across a rainy purple rooftop.

At first, it’s a simplistic endeavor, relying on environmental storytelling and straight-forward logic and math puzzles. Solving for X, finding the correct equation for the right voltages, stuff like that — and it’s fine. It’s not going to break the bank of immersive gameplay, but that’s not what Noskov is aiming for. What Noskov is aiming for is the next step in what titles like Braid, LIMBO and Inside pulled off wondrously in the “arty” platformer genre.

The result? Failure. Noskov’s telegraphing of important events doesn’t really pan out the way it should, with a lot of important moments and clarity behind hidden underneath unclear directions and objectives. A lot of the time, it seems like the game can’t really handle its ambitious scope, instead, praying that the blur doesn’t completely obscure the chain of events.

You can tell exactly what Noskov is trying to say with these moments; that evolution is a double-edged sword, that condition expands and learns, that machines are closer to humanity than originally thought, and if you’re one to destroy, …

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Kingdom Hearts HD Collections Now Available on Xbox One

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Xbox One fans have been deprived of the pre-Kingdom Hearts III games for long enough. Kingdom Hearts is finally arriving on Xbox One in full force, with Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX and Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue available digitally today. It doesn’t look like the collections will be getting physical editions on Xbox One, even though a full retail collection of all the games will be coming to PlayStation 4 on March 17. You can check out the full games included in the Xbox One Kingdom Hearts HD collections below.

Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX includes the following games for $49.99:

  • Kingdom Hearts FINAL MIX
  • Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories
  • Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (HD remastered cinematics)
  • Kingdom Hearts II FINAL MIX
  • Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep FINAL MIX
  • Kingdom Hearts Re:coded (HD remastered cinematics)

Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue includes the following games for $59.99:

  • Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance HD
  • Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep – A fragmentary passage –
  • Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover (movie)

Check out our Kingdom Hearts III review and stay tuned for the full review of Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind in the near future. Will you be buying these games on Xbox One or is the fact that they’re only digital make you want to stay away? Let us know in the comments and keep it tuned to Sick Critic for Kingdom Hearts news and more.

from sickcritic…

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Skellboy Review – Malnourished

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Skellboy is an action-adventure game that sees you taking control of a freshly risen-from-the-grave skeleton who, of course, is tasked with saving a world in peril.

Developed by small studio Umaiki Games, Skellboy’s most recognizable feature is its curious visual style. Skellboy combines 2D characters with a 3D world, along with an obsession with all things cube-shaped. While not the first indie title to do this, the playful art style serves to help Skellboy stand out in a very oversaturated market. But looks aren’t everything, so let’s talk about whether Skellboy has any meat on its bones.


Rising From the Grave


I can’t say I find Skellboy’s plot interesting at all, really. You play as a skeleton named Skippy who has risen from the grave along with plenty of other monsters, except those guys are hell bent on doing some evil stuff. If you think the concept sounds familiar, you’re probably recalling the premise of the classic PlayStation title Medievil, a game which is clearly a source of inspiration for Skellboy. It can’t be denied that Skellboy takes advantage of its concept in a number of ways, one of which being the equipment system which has you swapping out body parts for different stats and abilities. The game’s narrative and design are closely knit together in other ways, too, most notably with dialogue and terminology that references your environment’s cubic nature. For example, the inhabitants of the world are called Cubolds, and on occasion, NPCs are prone to saying something like, “Oh, great cube in the sky!” in times of peril.


Image taken from Skellboy. Depicts player talking to NPC as he makes a pun about skeletons

There’s a good number of Skeleton puns, but aside from that Skellboy’s dialogue leaves much to be desired.


Skellboy’s dialogue leaves a lot to be desired for me personally. It has that “cutesy, self-referential, indie game” humor that I’m sure you’re familiar with. If you’re not, it’s usually a summation of all or a few of these things:

-Characters make puns about things A LOT;

-The fourth wall is frequently broken, and NPCs will jokingly criticize some aspect of Game Design and/or the industry;

-Characters constantly make jokes at the protagonist’s expense. For example – “Aren’t you just a bag of old bones!”;

-Everyone has to be funny in some capacity, even if it doesn’t always fit into their personality or the situation.

Of course, I’m not saying that the inclusion of these things is inherently bad, but many times it feels like an easy way out of having a nuanced script, and as I’ve played indie titles over the years, I’ve noticed this pattern a lot more. It just so happens that Skellboy is bearing the brunt of this mini-rant about writing in indie games, but it’s important to note that it’s nowhere near the worst offender, and its world is at least consistent, making it much more forgivable.


Something Funny About Cubes


Skellboy’s presentation is vibrant and sharp. As soon as you boot up the game you’re treated to a luscious, bright-green landscape with a stoney building as the backdrop. I kind of wish Skellboy experimented more with its color palette, however. Each area’s color scheme seems pretty one-note, textures tend to stick to one shade of color, and there isn’t much

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Top 10 Games of the 2010s

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Welcome, finally, to the top ten games of the 2010s. It has been a long decade with tons of beloved games making everlasting changes to our hearts, minds, and memories. Here are the ones that were found by our staff to be the best of the past ten years. Thanks to our Twitter followers for helping us to partially determine the ordering of these as well.


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10. Minecraft


“There hasn’t been anything in all my years of gaming that has made me feel quite like loading up Minecraft for the first time (back when we still played in-browser) and figuring out what to do, surviving my first night, digging a hole in my first cave, building my first house on a lakebed. I can’t possibly check how many hours I put into Minecraft, but I doubt any other game would compare. There are so, so many things to do in this game, and from sixth to tenth grade, I wanted to try them all.” – Max Broggi-Sumner


Minecraft’s greatest strength is its accessibility. It would be difficult to find someone who doesn’t have at least a little bit of experience with Notch’s brainchild, and it’s still going strong today. Memories are forged in this game, and for good reason. Its simplistic but instantly recognizable visual style and bottomless well of gameplay opportunities add up to make one of the most influential video games of all time.

“I’m not short on nostalgia for Minecraft either. The nights I stayed up until 6 am playing with my friend are uncountable. It’s not all about the nostalgia, though. Minecraft’s consistent free updates keep players invested and bring old fans back for more.” – Lewis Mackin




9. Undertale


Undertale is one of those games that blows your mind when you play it. Normal rules don’t apply in Mt. Ebott, where exp doesn’t measure your strength but emotional callousness, and hugging your way out of fights is a valid strategy. Every single boss in Undertale feels fresh, stealing the show as they torment you through each region of the game before finally challenging you to brilliant fights and make sure to keep in touch with you after you best them. Each of the three major endings has its own incredible set pieces, between the neutral boss who breaks the game rules entirely, the genocide boss who knows killing you is pointless and tries to force you to give up instead, and the emotionally intense true pacifist boss who just can’t bring himself to destroy you. All of this is wrapped together with an absolutely beautiful soundtrack with expert use of leitmotifs, making Undertale a game where you don’t want to say your last goodbye. Here’s to a bright future with Deltarune.” – Max Broggi-Sumner


“Simply put, Undertale is one of my favorite video games. It’s quirky as hell, funny, and gives you a heavy dose of the feels. The multiple ways you can play through the game culminate in one of the most unique uses of the video game medium. Don’t dismiss the game due to the sloppy graphics; they actually add charm to the already

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Monster Energy Supercross 3 Review – All KTMs Suck

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“Metal heavy, soft at the core.”


Ahh, this feels like a late Christmas gift. Last year, Milestone’s Monster Energy Supercross 2 was a pleasant surprise to play, as it got me into an entirely new genre of motor-sports effortlessly. It had a lot going for it: fantastic controls and feedback, excellent track design, and a bombastic atmosphere that remains unmatched, even by other Milestone efforts. Imagine my delight when Monster Energy Supercross 3 turned up.

Yes, this is the third installment of the Monster Energy Supercross series and another one of many racing games to grace Milestone’s quite consistent library. In the past year since the second installment of Supercross graced us, I’ve had a chance to play their underrated Gravel, a modest off-road racing game, and Sébastien Loeb Rally Evo, an admirable effort to say the least. Other than today’s title and Ride 4, they don’t have much in terms of upcoming titles, which springs me as concerned, but in due time.

An in-game screenshot of Monster Energy Supercross 3, showcasing several riders bundled in a straight.

With no plot, as always with these types of games, it’s just the usual riding through championships with your created character, and I’ll be goddamned, Milestone actually expanded the character creator in magnificent fashion. Female body presets, a multitude of different facial setups reminiscent of a Bethesda character creator, and a whole load of vibrant choices in hairstyles and colors. It’s all great, it just… looks the way it does.

In all fairness, I’m not going to harshly criticize the nature of these, quite frankly, horrific-looking character models, because this is a first attempt for Milestone. With Monster Energy Supercross arguably being their most customizable product to date. It’s a rough start, and it’s only commendable to see them try.

If you’ve played the previous titles, then you already know the gist, but with a few of the bits omitted or improved. For one, the scheduling present in Supercross 2 is now absent, instead, having a small menu where you can customize your bike and person, along with a simple “next event” button for every race. Occasionally, you’ll be offered a Team Day where you race against other bikers with the same sponsor, but there’s nothing that reaches the same brand-building you were doing in the previous iteration.

An in-game screenshot of Monster Energy Supercross 3, showcasing a desert area with a sole rider high in the air.

It’s hard to say whether or not this is a good thing, considering that the week scheduling in Supercross 2 wasn’t a particularly fire-igniting mechanic. It is content being taken away, but at the same time, the options it gave weren’t really submerged in freedom like they implied. At the end of the day, however, it’s less about you as a figure in the world of dirt-biking and more about simple racing (a yin/yang type of deal).

Speaking of the racing, it’s still the same magnificent blend of skillful riding and tight track design that made the last game so electrifying, almost to a fault. As usual, you use both thumbsticks in order to turn properly, and the 250cc bikes can either be a make-or-break deal depending on the manufacturer you decide to stick with. In line with my real-life family, and for fear of being disowned, I went with Suzuki and was enamored with how beautifully the bike handled and performed, but I also …

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The Pedestrian Review – As Above, so Below

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There’s something unanimously humbling about exiting the New York City underground subways, where subterranean confines with claustrophobic depths give way to another world entirely. Skies with no end reign above you and skyscrapers tower. Activity courses through the city across multiple planes, running concurrently in a manner too engulfing to be seen from all angles at once.

Like any bustling cityscape, The Pedestrian is comprised of layers. What is at surface level is a simple but effective 2D puzzle platformer the can only be seen to its conclusion from various interlocked perspectives. From the instant it starts, The Pedestrian introduces enough distinct mechanics to feel like you’re playing multiple puzzle games at once but also ensures that they cohere and remain intuitive. It operates from a strikingly ambitious foundation, held together by a serene aesthetic and the ease with which it meshes experiments together.

From the position of your on-screen protagonist, The Pedestrian is a platformer with an endearing visual premise. At the center of The Pedestrian is its urban city landscape, but on a more microscopic scale than one normally expects. The anonymity of your character is not a cut corner. All the platforming takes place across street signs bound to photorealistic backgrounds: coffee shop windows and residential fences to name a few. Backgrounds are never visually obtrusive but give noticeable character to the city as its varying traffic shuffles behind you. With this setting, Skookum Arts take plenty of artistic liberties given the platforms and deadly laser beams placed onto respective street signs, but focus level design around the square surface. The game’s presentation is inherent to the nuances of its gameplay.

Gameplay still from The Pedestrian displaying the game's title painted onto a curb while the player jumps across a fallen street sign

The Pedestrian leaves no stone unturned with its presentation

But with the closed doors bookending many of the panels, you will soon realize that much of what The Pedestrian has to offer operates outside of your side-scrolling capabilities. The urban infrastructure platforming premise is uncommon but not entirely unprecedented. You can look to neglected PS3 downloadable Sideway New York for a contemporary example. But where the platforming elements mine enjoyment from reliable fundamentals, The Pedestrian’s puzzle design sets out for uncharted territory.

The street signs that your safety decal figure volleys across one at a time only make up individual pieces of a larger puzzle. With an integral press of the F button, your perspective broadens out and reveals that matters are much more complex. To get anywhere in The Pedestrian, you are going to have to connect street signs, the door of one sign exiting out through the door of another. The game makes this clear with an incredibly efficient HUD. Designated semicircles facing certain directions can connect to each other if their connections form a full circle. The top half of a circle is bound to the top of a ladder and connects to the bottom half of a circle and ladder respectively. Doors positioned at the right of a street sign can only connect to doors positioned at the left of another. Quickly enough, the path to success will be strewn across six separate street signs that can be dragged across the map (but not rotated) to form one greater piece of platforming architecture.

The strategy of connecting what are effectively …

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