Haven Review: Gurumin: A Monstrous Adventure

First up is our disclaimer. We received this game for review purposes only, and as such all opinions in this review are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review. Gurumin: A Monstrous Adventure first released on PSP and made its way to Steam. It’s developed by Nihon Falcom Corporation and published by Mastiff. In it you play as a girl named Parin who moves to a new town filled with nothing but doddering old people and no kids. One of the geriatrics actually tries taking Parin out on a date and keeps insisting on taking her out again later. This winds up being the best way to show gamers what consent means! Well things soon kick off and you save a screaming little girl who’s terrified of a dog, only to find out that it’s a monster that adults can’t see. You soon become friends with the monster and thus your Monsters Adventure begins, get it? Because, Monsters. After an amazing opening sequence you find yourself in Monster Village and learn that the little girl’s monster friend has been kidnapped. You run off to save him but before you do, you’re given a legendary weapon that was once used to save Monster Village; it just happens to be a drill. As you head off, you’re pointed in the direction of other helpful monsters, which starts the first dungeon. In it you’re taught everything about the game from how to charge your attacks to how to do special moves and level up your weapons. The game is very precise in its tutorial, as it teaches and helps you along so you can learn everything and not be at any disadvantage. However, like a lot of tutorials it

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Haven Review: Zamarian

First up is our disclaimer. We received this game for review purposes only, and as such all opinions in this review are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review. Zamarian is a mouse-driven arcade space shooter. Instead of having free movement though, you are stuck moving in a circular motion around a central point. Enemies tend to spawn at the center and spiral out toward you, however some will spawn outside the circle. Enemies will drop money, health (in the form of shields), and sometimes weapon upgrades. However all these upgrades can be bought from the store if you have the coin. You can also spend money to buy new ships. There are light, medium and heavy ships. From what I gathered, the only difference is their price and their health. The heavy ship obviously costs the most and sports the most health. An interesting mechanic is that items are bought in real time. There is no pause menu to access the shop. If you are running low on health, quickly buy a new ship while still avoiding incoming attacks. Once a purchased ship is destroyed you’ll go back to the base ship. Of course when this happens, the game recommends immediately purchasing a new one since the health of the base ship is minimal. So essentially, if you’re quick enough and have the cash, you can just keep buying new lives. This is the recommended thing to spend your money on, as weapon upgrades come along fairly often. But if you’re needing something in a pinch or are just bored with your current gun, you can buy a new one. Weapons also have health that depletes

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Haven Review: Salt and Sanctuary

First up is our disclaimer. We received this game for review purposes only, and as such all opinions in this review are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review. Salt and Sanctuary clearly is crafted from a merging of inspirational sources. It pays great homage to games that have come before it while reinventing them; combining them in ways that both let the genius of those games shine, and create an entirely new experience for the player. The two most important influences on Salt and Sanctuary are Dark Souls and Castlevania. Castlevania is the oldest of the three, and has influenced much of the design of Dark Souls, as well as giving this game its underlying framework and heavy two-dimensional exploration experience. “Salt and Sanc’” is at heart a Metroidvania-style game. I think calling it a “2D Dark Souls” is a bit disingenuous since it clearly belongs to an already well-defined genre of games. However, that’s not to say that the Dark Souls influence isn’t worn on the sleeve. Salt and Sanctuary‘s RPG elements make up the primary detail of its mechanics. There is a system for stat progression and skill upgrades. There’s a wide variety of weapons and armor you can find in the game, and a huge selection of consumable items at your disposal. These elements are straight out of Dark Souls. You’re given one currency as your main way to level up: salt. This is used at a “sanctuary” to increase your level. When you die, your salt is picked up by the enemy who killed you…much like in Dark Souls (or more specifically Bloodborne). Unique to this game however, is what happens when you’re killed by environmental hazards. There are

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