Entries in Metroidvania (20)


QCF: Yoku's Island Express

ith so many open-world adventures on the indie game market today, a majority of newer titles are now throwing all of their weight behind the craziest gimmick they can offer with their experience in hopes of finding a large enough of an audience that will praise it. While the experimentation hasn’t paid off every title, there is one new idea that has crossed expansive level-design into a territory that it has never been in before—pinball dynamics.

Villa Gorilla’s premier title explores the juxtaposition between side-scrolling platforming and a pinball table turned on its side in Yoku’s Island Express, a tale about a dung beetle who employs his spherical excrement as a means to bounce around and about through the obscure tropical arrangement of flippers and bumpers just so he could deliver some mail. In all honesty, the game is a lot weirder than that made it sound, but fortunately, it’s a whole lot more enjoyable too.

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QCF: A Robot Named Fight

hat was once a niche sub-genre that was only romanticized by its rabid cult-following, has now gradually begun to spill into the mainstream of the independent video game scene—Metroidvania games are available on just about every system at this point, to the point where the style is bordering on stagnation.

In an intriguing twist, however, similar to the Nuzlocke challenges that have swept numerous play-throughs of the Pokémon series, the iconic games that pioneered the formula, like Super Metroid, and Castlevania Aria of Sorrow, are now getting modded with the “randomizer” treatment. This modification works to alter the order and location of key upgrades and items in their core game, forcing an entirely new Meta into the gameplay for players to tackle.

One developer by the name of Matt Bittner took notice of the trend, and took it upon himself to push the concept to an entirely different level; developing a Metroidvania adventure that would not only randomize items, upgrades, but the map layout itself, in a manner that’s similar to roguelike dungeon crawler titles. His efforts led to producing an ambitious pixelated tribute to the genre called A Robot Named Fight, releasing for Steam and Nintendo Switch, and while the release does make good on its premise, its execution leaves a lot to be desired.

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QCF: Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap

ew games get the chance to leave behind the legacy they truly deserve to. In a lot of cases, we see games that’re just regulated as a notable footnote for its time, or a diamond in the rough, or even getting the status of being a cult-favorite among a loyal niche of fans who do what they can to share their reverence of the software—it’s the duality of this in game culture that makes it so exciting, and disheartening all at the same time.

Thankfully, we live in an age where old media is getting hip again, and the trend has not only resurfaced some hits from way back, it’s also opened up the door to some of the more obscure choices of the past to get their own second chance in a modern reimagining.

However, none of these choices could be stranger than Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap developed by Westone for the Sega Master System, a platform that struggled to be anything more than 8-bit nuance to the NES, and leaving little to no chance that the gem was played because of its exclusivity to the Master System. Surprisingly enough however, a new studio by the name of LizardCube has teamed up with Dot Emu to deliver a remastering of The Dragon’s Trap, and do so with a degree that could humble Capcom’s efforts with DuckTales into being a simple throwback by comparison.

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QCF: Song of the Deep

s vast as the ocean is, nothing compares to the depth that it hides below; there’s this whole other world that exists under the fathoms, upon fathoms of the sea’s underbelly. So one would imagine just how well the explorative dynamics of a Metroidvania-direction would complement that sort of setting, especially with the caliber of a developer like Insomniac Games at the helm—and Gamestop publishing it themselves to boot.

In spite of this surefire recipe for success however, Song of the Deep only manages to live up to be somewhat endearing at best, and hopelessly mediocre at worst.

 Yeah, I know; the review is already going downhill from the start but my impression just simply couldn’t help from being deflated by the fact that the game’s biggest flaw happens to be one of the most important elements to a successful Metroidvania title.

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PPR's Top 5 Super Mario Maker Levels

t’s only been a week since the release of the anticipated DIY-centric adventure about gaming’s star plumber, and we’ve already been treated to some of the niftiest stages, and levels to have ever come out of the minds of intrepid gamers everywhere.

Seriously, some of the stuff to come out of Super Mario Maker so far has generated a sensation that contemporaries like Little Big Planet could only dream of, and it’s only going to get bigger. So while we’re preparing our review of the game, and enjoying some of the shenanigans ourselves, I figure that I would share with you all, my top five favorite levels to have generated out of the fun little Nintendo experiment so far and their respective access codes—in no particular order mind you, they’re all really awesome.

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PPR Presents Play Play: Tiny Dangerous Dungeons

hile it’s easy to dismiss the vast majority of retro-inspired indie love letters available as of late, I feel like the sentiment is still far from accurate. It’s kind an almost-trend of where the accusations of pandering or creative stagnation flood the discussion of this pseudo sub-genre, and  hopping on board with the consensus is one of the more common displays of low-hanging fruit that I’ve seen on both the community, and industry fronts of video games today.

Which is why it warms the heart to seen a game that’s solid enough to stand as an exception to that very inclination, and Tiny Dangerous Dungeons from Adventureislands is that title. This particular Play Play is solo one with George at the helm, as he wanted to share the game with everyone in a way where the a video was the better format over a “Late To The Party” feature when it comes down to conveying all the thoughts he has about it. Enjoy the sporadic Play Play and be sure to find the game and buy it to support the developer if you like what you see in the video!


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QCF: Ori & The Blind Forest

he topic of Metroidvania has just about permeated every forum of discussion that Press Pause Radio has to offer, whether it’s the podcast, our videos, or in this case, a review, it’s a subject that we’re not shy about admitting our intimacy with.

In the case of Ori and the Blind Forest however, it’s one of the rare cases in which the emphasis on the convention and design of Metroidvania has been so downplayed to the world that’s being built.

The irony is that the Metroidvania wheelhouse of design is as sparse it can be in Ori and the Blind Forest, almost as if only to serve as a means to an end when it comes to truly conveying the grand sense of scale that enchanted setting is intended to impose.

And truth be told, that’s easily the most charming quality about the game; which is why it’s a shame that everything else about the game is too damn rough to really enjoy.

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QCF: Axiom Verge

hether you love it or hate it, the renaissance of independently developed indie games is still very much kicked into high gear, and new titles like Shovel Knight and Hotline Miami are keep everyone on notice.

And with indie games still heavy hitting the scene of console gaming, the inevitable swell of side-scrolling love letters coming out of the mix, but none more frequent then the fan-favorite sub-genre that’s fondly recognized by the portmanteau that every gaming enthusiast has come to know: Metroidvania.

While the argument for if whether or not the sizable wave of these games is doing more harm than good to the genre is still up for debate, one particular title has uniquely approached the formula in a different direction. A direction that magnificently caters to both the culture of the titular design, and the fundamental dynamics that drive its appeal; Tom Happ’s Axiom Verge, a title that beautifully integrates what it homages into an experience that you’ll keep thinking about it, even after it’s over.

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