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Chris Kavan's Video Game Reviews (496)

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Victor Vran 3/5
Katamari Damacy REROLL 4/5
Hitman: Absolution 3.5/5
Alternativa 2.5/5
Stardew Valley 4/5
Undertale 4/5
Cyberpunk 2077 3/5
Fable Anniversary 3/5
Strange Brigade 4/5
Satellite Reign 3/5
Watch Dogs 2 4/5
Divinity: Original Sin 2 4.5/5
Marvel: Ultimate Allian... 3/5
Star Trek: Bridge Crew 3/5
Metro 2033 3.5/5
South Park: The Fractur... 4/5
Sundered 3.5/5
Mass Effect: Andromeda 3.5/5
Life is Strange: Before... 4/5
God of War 4/5
Doom (2016) 3.5/5
Armada 3.5/5
Detroit: Become Human 4/5
Destiny 2 4/5

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Riverbond   PC (Steam) 

Voxel Cuteness Leads to Solid Results    3.5/5 stars

MJ co-op games can be fun, frustrating and sometimes surprising. Riverbond may not have been on the top of the list, but thanks to random chance, here we are. The voxel-based, top-down combat game from Cococucumber is one of the many Epic freebies handed out by the company. And for a free title, it is pretty much okay as they come. It's not the type of game I would seek out but, in the end, turns out to be a short, fun experience and it the type of game the youngest and oldest can enjoy in equal measure.

Looks and Stuff: Voxel games look like Minecraft spinoffs no matter how you try to slice them. Riverbond, with its cubic enemies and destructible environments is little different than the massively popular title, though a bit more polished with its presentation. Your character starts off as a regular-looking boring dude (or gal) but one of the first fun things about the game is the random skins you can acquire. Some are characters from other indie games, some are animals and some are even food - and as random as it sounds, it's kind of fun being a piece of sushi and slicing, bashing or shooting the various enemies and bosses the game presents.

Throughout the game's nine levels, you run across a decent variety of enemies. From typical melee fodder to more daunting mini-boss type enemies, at least the game isn't afraid to offer a nice variety. Bosses, while never that tough, also offer up some more fun - even bullet-hell lite mechanics here and there. The environments also change from lush (blocky) forests to frigid (blocky) tundra to ancient (blocky) ruins - it's all here and most can be destroyed. Sadly, the destruction of the environments doesn't yield much - most points you collect are awarded by tacking down enemies, opening chests and collecting the random coins, gems and such scattered about. Still, points are highly arbitrary and are really only there for people obsessed with leaderboards. The game does offer a nice selection of weapons to help you through - from slow, hard-hitting hammers to fast-shooting guns to whip-fast poking spears - find your favorite and hope the game's RNG decides to give you what you want.

Story: I'm a little hazy on if the game had an over-arching story. Most of the time you seem to go into various levels, help some rando NPCs with stuff, fight off the whatever enemies are around (pigs, mechanical monstrosities, etc.) and face a powerful-ish boss in the end. Hey, at least the NPC characters often have humorous names.

Gameplay: Pretty basic stuff here - a top-down, third-person hack n slash where you fight off whatever the game throws at you while navigating a variety of environments and collecting stuff along the way. Certain missions have you do things like lighting up objects, collecting other objects or finding lost things. Treasure chests are the big get here: they contain the various skins you can use to customize your character (random) and new weapons to make things easier (also random). You can never go wrong with a decent ranged gun and a melee weapon that swings relatively fast but still packs a punch (I was particular to spears myself). Levels are straight-forward enough, the higher the tier, the longer it gets, however, so why early levels can take 10-15 minutes, later ones can nearly double that time. You also have basic jumping, climbing ability - often leading to out-of-the way collectibles and chests - so do take your time looking around at least the first time through.

Replay value: Decent, each level is designed for one easy go-through and you get multiple skins (cosmetic only, but you can find plenty) to unlock, new weapons to enjoy and, if you are inclined, leader boards to conquer.

Final Verdict: The height of casual gaming - easy to pick up, fun to play in short bursts and great for all-ages.

Presentation: 3/5
Story: 3/5
Gameplay: 4/5
Replay: 4/5
Overall (not an average): 3.5/5



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