VGL Review… Batman: The Telltale Series

batmanthetelltaleseriesTelltale Games has embarked on their biggest project yet with the release of the premiere episode of Batman: The Telltale Series. Following both Batman and Bruce Wayne, the publisher wants to tell the kind of Batman story that you don’t often see in games.

I recently reviewed Batman: The Telltale Series for Warp Zoned, and while some of the scenes drag a bit (especially the lectures from Alfred), I can’t wait to explore more of Gotham City in the future:

I’ve never played a Telltale game before, but Batman: The Telltale Series felt like a good jumping off point for their patented combination of dialogue choices and Quick Time Events. Even with the inclusion of a “Finishing Move” meter, it felt like the Quick Time Events were a bit pointless. But I liked that the conversation choices let me mold my Batman into a noble hero, rather than the psychopath he’s sometimes depicted as (even if many of the choices do boil down to “Punch A Mobster” versus “Punch A Mobster Really Hard”).

The first episode of Batman: The Telltale Series is currently available to download for the PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.

A “Season Pass Disc,” which contains the first episode and a one-time download code for future episodes, is also now available for the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.

No Man’s Sky Review @ School Library Journal

nomansskyWith complaints of broken promises and missing features flooding its online reviews, No Man’s Sky has become one of the most divisive games in recent memory. That said, many PC and PS4 players are absolutely amazed by its massive universe, and have gladly spent hours upon hours exploring strange new worlds and boldly going where no one has gone before (different franchise, but you get the idea).

Unfortunately, Teen Librarian Alanna Graves falls in the former camp. In a review on School Library Journal’s Teen Librarian Toolbox, she had this to say:

After a few days, I grew tired of No Man’s Sky. The game is too repetitive and overwhelming for my taste. All you do is find a new planet, land on it, explore, gather materials, maybe learn a few alien words if you’re lucky, rinse and repeat. This game is great for gamers out there who love to grind in video games, but I think those gamers are the type who will go out and purchase the game for themselves.

Terraria: Wii U Edition Review @ School Library Journal

terrariaAfter beginning life on the PC all the way back in 2011, Terraria is now available for the Wii U. The side-scrolling sandbox game features Wii U GamePad support for quick item selection, and might just be the best version of Terraria yet.

Teen Librarian Alanna Graves recently reviewed Terraria: Wii U Edition for School Library Journal’s Teen Librarian Toolbox and she certainly seems to agree:

Terraria on the Wii U is hands down the best console adaption of this PC original. The GamePad allows players to make quick selections, and players who use the GamePad will feel immersed in this Minecraft-like game. While the setback is you can only use one GamePad at a time, multiplayer groups can figure out how to enjoy to game by sticking together or assigning different roles. Either way, Terraria requires teamwork and communication for success. I highly recommend this for both circulation collections and Teen Game Night programs.

Terraria is also available for a number of other platforms including the 3DS, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.

VGL Review… Tumblestone

tumblestoneTumblestone, which I recently reviewed for Warp Zoned, is the best puzzle game to hit consoles and the PC in years. If your patrons are puzzle fans, consider it a must have for your collection.

And with an intense four-player battle mode, Tumblestone is also great fit for open gaming programs:

Developed by the Quantum Astrophysicists Guild, Tumblestone’s closest cousin in the puzzle genre is probably Bust-A-Move, a Bubble Bobble spinoff that rose to fame in the 90s. Like Bust-A-Move, Tumblestone players will run back and forth along the bottom of the well while rows of blocks loom above. But instead of connecting three similarly-colored circles, Tumblestone players will attempt to clear the board by shooting three matching blocks in a row.

Tumblestone is now available to download for the PC, Wii U, and Xbox One. If you own an Xbox One, and you’re an Xbox Gold subscriber, it’s also available as a free download through August 15.

Tumblestone will also be available to download for the PS3, PS4, and Vita later this month, and a disc version will be released for the PS4 and Wii U in August.

Pokemon Go: An Overview + Safety Issues to Consider @ School Library Journal

pokemongoMore librarians have discovered the joys of Pokemon Go, including Alanna Graves of School Library Journal’s Teen Librarian Toolbox. She put together a great how-to guide for the app that covers how it works, safety issues to consider, and links to strategies a few libraries are using to lure in Pokemon Go players:

This weekend my timeline flooded with posts about Pokemon Go. Then on Sunday afternoon, The Teen came home from a friend’s house declaring they had walked 3 miles trying to catch Pokemons. So I decided I needed to figure out what this Pokemon Go is because my teens are definitely in to it.

Looking for more Pokemon Go information? Find all posts tagged with a Pokemon Go label now!

Journey: Collector’s Edition Review @ School Library Journal

journeycollectorseditionVideo games fans have been waiting patiently for the next project from ThatGameCompany for several years now. But while we continue to wait, the developer has repackaged its slightly abstract catalog (Flow, Flower, and Journey) in a PS3 and PS4 compilation known as Journey: Collector’s Edition.

Journey: Collector’s Edition was released in 2012, but Teen Librarian Alanna Graves recently reviewed it for School Library Journal’s Teen Librarian Toolbox. And she found it as magical as many other video game fans have:

Journey has all the right elements to make it a staple in the gaming industry: breath taking graphics, an excellent soundtrack, an intimate feeling when playing with other players, and a strong emotional response. I highly recommend this title for circulating library collections, as well as teachers/librarians trying to use it for programs!

The PS3 version of Journey: Collector’s Edition was released on a Blu-ray disc, but the PS4 version of the game is only available as a download through the PlayStation Store.

VGL Review… Superhot

superhotSuperhot is an amazing puzzle-based first person shooter that was recently released for the PC and Xbox One. Trapped in a VR world, players have to carefully plan their shots to take out a group of rapidly approaching Red Guys, but the twist is that time only moves when you do.

Superhot’s only available as a digital download right now, so it would be hard to add to a circulating collection, but here’s a review of the game I wrote for Warp Zoned:

“Time Moves Only When You Move.”

The developers behind Superhot know exactly what their minimalist first-person shooter is all about, and this succinct summation of the game’s hook is the perfect way to describe it to anyone unfamiliar with the game. It also tells prospective players that Superhot isn’t just a fast-paced arcade shooter (though it can be). Instead, it’s a deliberately-paced puzzle game where methodically figuring out the correct series of actions to complete each level is the only way to move forward. Even if you’ve never played a first person shooter before, it’s possible to pick up Superhot and understand what the game’s devilish AI has in store for you.

Doom (2016) Review @ Library Journal

doom2016The Doom franchise roared its way back into the world with a vengeance last month, all thanks to id Software’s ridiculously brutal reboot/sequel, which is known simply as Doom (PC, PS4, Xbox One). First person shooter fans will find a game that’s like nothing else out there. Doom is a very fast and intense experience that doesn’t skimp on the things (the shotgun, the chainsaw, the demonic imagery, etc) that made the franchise famous.

Library Journal columnist M. Brandon Robbins recently reviewed the shooter sequel, and he greatly enjoyed the wild action as well:

Released on May 13, 2016, Doom is a true rebirth of the series. Bringing back the fast-paced gameplay of the original while implementing mechanics from modern shooters, this Doom feels simultaneously familiar and fresh. The shotgun is still the trusty friend one remembers it being, enemies will still (sometimes literally) eat you alive if you stand still for more than a couple of seconds, and the anxiety of walking into a new room only to have the doors shut and the sound of demonic howling is more intense than ever. There’s more hand-to-hand combat, with “glory kills” being a way to pick up health power-ups. Players can upgrade their armor and weapons and earn buffs for their character, which make finding secrets, surviving damage, and dealing out damage easier.

I’ve been playing a lot of Doom myself, and I have to wholeheartedly agree with this assessment. The game is a must play for fans of modern first person shooters, as well as anyone who grew up playing the original Doom back in 1993.