Category Archives: Arcade

This category is for Arcade games. This includes titles released directly for the console, as well as those ported to the Arcade from other platforms. The reviews are listed in chronological order, and if you’re looking for a particular title please use the search bar at the top of the screen.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns about our reviews, be sure to message us on our contact page or email the author and we’ll be more than happy to discuss our viewpoints.

It should also be pointed out that this area doubles as an archive, so reviews may go back quite a bit.

Haven Review: Spheria

SpheriaFirst 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.

Marble-rolling games occupy a special niche in the arcade game genres. Players typically take the role of a tiny ball, rolling and careening its way around obstacles and pitfalls on the way to an exit point  The game we have for you today is slightly different. It’s called Spheria; developed by Daydream Software and published by Black Shell Media.Spheria1In Spheria, the “marble” is actually a large, heavy medicine ball. Using either keyboard or mouse, the idea is to navigate compact, yet tricky tabletop maps. Positioned precariously on each map is a series of checkpoints. You must roll the ball over each in order to unlock the exit. Now here’s where it gets interesting. The checkpoints don’t instantly light up the moment you encounter them. You must stop and linger for a second as they power themselves up. This is not as easy as it sounds, for the surrounding blocks and maze walls will do whatever they can to stop you!
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The first obstacle you’ll encounter are the basic building blocks. Green blocks turn yellow when you bump into them. Yellow blocks turn red, and red blocks simply disappear when struck, leaving a gaping hole in the floor. As with most marble games, you don’t want to fall off the map if you can help it. Another type of obstacle is the blue block.

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As in another famous puzzle game, blue is the color of repulsion; it will bounce your ball away upon contact. Unfortunately, you can’t simply avoid these blocks. Some checkpoints are nestled within groups of these bouncy nemeses!

Next, let’s examine the flooring. Most tiles are a plain gray (safe) color. However there are others to watch out for. Muddy tiles will slow you down. Icy tiles are slippery and will alter your direction of movement. Arrow tiles only allow passage in the direction they point. One of my favorite sequences involves reaching a checkpoint guarded by blue blocks and arrow tiles!Spheria5By far the trickiest mechanic I’ve come across is the dissolving floor. Green tiles are safe, but only for a short time. They quickly turn red, warning you of their impending disappearance. If you’re on a tile when it vanishes, you’ll be dropped off the map into oblivion. So you can see how levels which combine all of the aforementioned elements may get frustrating, but at the same time very rewarding when solved.Spheria4aIs there anything the player can do to acclimate to the game’s demanding skill? Indeed there is; it’s called the tutorial! These entry-level maps do a great job teaching you about the physics of the game, and the accompanying boundaries.Spheria6

So overall, is Spheria worth it? Priced on Steam at $4 (USD), the answer is yes. Despite the game’s inherent trickiness (so prevalent in arcade titles), Spheria‘s addictive nature will keep you returning for more. Add in it’s 22 Steam achievements and you have a fun, beer-and-pretzels arcade leveler with lots of replay value!

-Chris Roberts-SpheriaScale

Haven Review: Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R

yho

A little late then never, we got our hands on Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R on Steam and it’s time to give it our review.

Now right from the start the opening cutscene seems really well done, showing off yet again the characters you expect to see in the Guilty Gear franchise; from Sol Badguy to Ky, and Bridget as well the notorious transvestite that has had many a young boy questioning their sexuality. Nah, I’m kidding, but when they reveal Bridget as a guy it does get pretty hilarious.Guilty-Gear-XX-Accent-Core-Plus-R-not-work Now once we get to the menu I’m slightly confused, as I have music blaring into my headset and it’s really hard to navigate and focus with it. But at long last I found the options menu, only to discover the sound is not there for whatever reason. I noticed afterwards that the sound is a completely separate option, and lowered the sound. It seems ridiculous though, not to have all the options in one spot.

You would think that with a port they would do a little more fine-tuning and make sure it’s all good, but they couldn’t be bothered with that. So after that, we move into the training mode where we just get a feel for the controls. Just like all the previous Guilty Gear titles, there is nothing wrong with them. The game controls fine and it’s very responsive. In fact I’d go as far as to say it responds better than the previous titles did, and was really easy to pick up.GG1-620x

So we break into Story Mode playing as my favorite character, Ky (mainly because of his notable blue and white outfit that is the reverse of my own coat). Loading up with Ky I get a feel for the story and its general setup is a bit disappointing. They just move the characters’ faces over the top of the screen so signify who is talking, before going to the combat. The most ridiculous part about the entire thing is that there is a robotic Ky now who begins to shout almost religiously that data is the only truth of the universe. GG3-620xBut the robotics Ky designs is literally one of the worst things I have ever seen in general for anime-styled character, as well as it using the trope that because it was based off the original and it’s a robot it must be superior.

Conclusion: though the game is pretty solid for a fighting-style title, it ultimately lacks the appeal of a promising story. It also suffers from poor menu management. Other than that, it remains solid overall.

-Daniel Clatworthy-
XXAccent

 

Haven Review: Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-

20140822083031!GGXrd_Logo Guilty Gear: it’s gone through many changes over the years with iterations on how its been presented to us.
But just as consoles lacked the capabilities to play things which later get remixed and remastered, it goes to say the same for Guilty Gear.

Screen-Shot-2014-12-26-at-1.54.19-AMNow Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign- is possibly the best version of the game to date with its own unique story, but with the same great characters you have been playing since day one. This game has kept true to its roots by fully embracing its design and game play, and removing unnecessary clutter.

I start first with the menu. It’s all clean, very well organized and easy to navigate. But in previous Guilty Gear titles they kept things a jumbled mess, even after it was ported and remastered. The mechanics of the game are also straightforward and easy to learn, as with some of the previous titles. But where the game stands out the most is in its visuals.guilty-gear-xrd-sign-08-23-14-1 The game is now using animated cut-scenes and diving more into the characters’ stories in a way they haven’t attempted before, and giving more depth to these characters.

The combat itself has gotten a rework using animation instead of its traditional pixel look, which it stuck to religiously for a while (apart from, Overture but we don’t want to talk about that game anymore…it only depresses me). The music also is astounding, much like you would expect in a really popular anime or hell, even a movie.
The game really begins to shine in every way it can now, as if it is evolving to meet rival competition from Capcom with their Street Fighter series. However the only real thing I question is simply some of its character designs and their weapon choices. GuiltyGearXrdSign_SS04As you will see in our linked video, you have a character who is literally attacking and damaging Sol Badguy; you know, the man who is possibly the biggest badass in all of the Guilty Gear series, with a freaking bouquet of flowers.

Hell, one of the character’s moves is literally just dropping a rose onto the ground that can do damage. So I am guessing not all things put into this game were thought through all the way. But considering that’s really the only true issue I have…besides the trope with almost all Guilty Gear titles on Steam giving me an achievement the moment I load up the game…it’s pretty insignificant.GuiltyGear-20 Honestly I am really impressed with just how far the franchise has gotten and just what they have done to it in the last few years. I really hope those who love the franchise and fighting games in general pick up a copy.

It really is very well done and I loved every aspect of it: its music, its design, its cut-scenes. It’s all flawless to me.

-Daniel Clatworthy-

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