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Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series - A newcomer's view of a pair of classics remastered

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Klonoa.jpgKlonoa was a game that was a bit after my time. While anthro platformers were a big household staple in the earlier years of my childhood, by the time I was entering my teenage my family trended toward more first person shoot titles. We didn’t get an original PlayStation, and went for an N64 instead. That being said, this remaster that came out last year was a great opportunity to play a classic anthro platformer that I never got a chance to. Was it as good as the niche audience for this strange cabbit character laid it out to be?

The remaster comes with two games, and I have played through both. In short, the first game came as a bit of a surprise to me and had gameplay and story elements that challenged me as a player.

In terms of gameplay, both games have similar mechanics and feel like a mixture of early Kirby three dimension titles mixed with Mario 2 (US) combat where you pick up enemies to throw them at enemies and objects instead of sucking them in.

Playing the second game so quickly after the first caused a bit of a disappointment as it didn’t do things that the first hadn’t already done better. I enjoyed Phantomile more than I did Lunatea’s Veil. If there was a graphical difference in the titles in their original release, this remaster eliminates it and both look good.

I will go into more detail as to why after the header, as it will go into a bit more of the game’s content with some spoilers.

Persona and sim dates get a furry makeover

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (4 votes)

Tropical Hearts is a game made by Kokolori Studios. This lovely visual novel RPG is a passion project with tons of heart and effort put into each scene. Full of nods to 90s nostalgia and beautiful art, the game keeps the player involved in the story of these vibrant characters.

Tropical Hearts
Having found their tropical vacation interrupted by mysterious forces, these friends are tasked with exploring the beautiful resort for information as to the cause of the local phenomena. Join them as the main character and discover more about these vibrant personalities.

'Beyond the Edge of Owlsgard' has been released, reviewed

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (4 votes)

WatchDaToast has been developing a furry-themed point-and-click adventure game for a while now, Beyond the Edge of Owlsgard, raising €36,317 from 682 backers on Kickstarter. It's just been released, and VoxelSmash has reviewed it.

You can buy the game on Steam and follow the author on Twitter.

Lord Winklebottom Investigates - A Whodunit where you don't

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (3 votes)

LordWinklebottom.jpgAs a giraffe detective and his hippo sidekick are called to an island by an old friend to join a party where he wanted to make a grand announcement, they find themselves showing up to the scene of a murder. In Lord Winklebottom it is up to you to search for clues on this island and find out who killed the head of the household, and why.

In it you will find a rogue's gallery of suspects: a feline journalist, an alpaca seer, a pelican actress who is hard of hearing, a walrus priest, a chameleon scientist, a goat maid, a sloth butler, a slug gardener, and a toad lawyer. Yes, this game is very, as Fred Patten would put it, zipperback. These characters could very well be replaced by human counterparts, but where is the fun in that?

In spite of the animal characters, though, I could not actually recommend this as a game. If you do enjoy detective stories this one is kind of forgettable, if you enjoy games this is not much of a game. If you do like quirky animal character adventures, this one is passable but there are better options out there these days. If you like playing a story that has light interactivity then this may actually be your cup of tea. As long as you don’t put the tea in first — or was it don’t put the milk in first? Either way the tea is just okay.

'Shredder’s Revenge': Turtle brawlers remain timeless

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (3 votes)

There are strange things that you can collect in the story mode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge. VHS tapes, newspapers, maybe even the concept of diaries have since faded in a world where information is stored and shared nearly instantaneously in a digital format. However, it appears the mean reptiles in green have remained a constant when it comes to providing good 2D brawlers. 3D ventures, maybe not so much.

It’s been thirty years since the release of one of my childhood favorites, The Manhattan Project, for the original NES. In those three decades, many things have changed, but the fact that the TMNT franchise lends itself so well to the brawler genre remains consistent.

Shredder's Revenge

'Kao the Kangaroo' (2022) Review

Your rating: None Average: 4.2 (6 votes)

Kao the Kangaroo

Then go. Kick butt, rip and tear, boop snoots — or whatever it is you kids say these days. Just find your dad and sister and bring them home.
-- Kao’s Mum

Kao the Kangaroo is a bit of a niche character in the animal platformer genre. If you had played his games back in the day, and were fond of the kangaroo, I’m sure you already played the new one that came out this year and are only reading this review to fulfill your curiosity. If you don’t have nostalgia for this series, then is this a game worth playing?

If you really enjoy 3D platformers, then this one is decent enough. It's fun, colorful, though not really challenging. If you're looking for the cream of the platformer crop, this one may disappoint, as there are some rough edges. It’s no Sonic Boom of a disaster, but there was at least one glitch that caused me to soft lock at the end of a level.

Stray - A simple and focused game in a world of games that go astray

Your rating: None Average: 1 (1 vote)

Stray.jpgOkay, this one may not technically be a “furry game”. If the late Fred Patten were to start this review off, he may have asked something along the lines that if you as a player moves around the world as a cat with a robot companion augmenting their ability to interpret the society around them, is that game actually anthropomorphic? Perhaps it’s more in line with transhumanism, but in this case more transfelinism, where your feline character is augmented by their technological companion.

And like Adam Jensen of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the cat you play certainly didn’t ask for this.

'Fuga: Melodies of Steel' - A game that tanks, but in a good way

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FUGA Did you ever want to play a game with animal people in a World War 2 inspired environment with characters and plots that have anime aesthetic as you drive a literal kaiju tank through the countryside and melt away your opponents in turn-based tactical combat? Well, that request is rather specific, but Fuga: Melodies of Steel is here to fill that void.

You control six youths who find themselves piloting a powerful weapon of unknown origin after they are forced to fight back against the Berman army that has been attacking their homeland of Gasco. As you journey, you'll find others to help along the way, develop friendships between the characters, and power up your machine of death as you move forth to free your captured relatives.

However, things may not be so simple. Aboard this tank there is also a mysterious voice on a radio driving the crew forward, and a strange ghost that seems to haunt the halls. Also this monstrous tank, named Taranis, has a dormant weapon that sleeps, awaiting a desperate hour to arise and unleash its devastation, but at a great cost.

If you like tactical RPG combat with good art direction and an orchestrated soundtrack, you'd do well to play this one. More details and minor spoilers found past the divider.

Klonoa's new remake is coming out!

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

Klonoa is a franchise by Bandai Namco that got its first release in 1997 for the PlayStation. Having reached great sales in the Japanese market, it got modest earnings in the west, large enough to approve a sequel, Klonoa 2, for the PlayStation 2. Both games got great reviews, and are platforming classics, but unfortunately diminishing sales killed the franchise, with one last re-release of the first game back in 2008 for the Wii.

The franchise is now being revived after all these years with a new remake of Klonoa 1+2, with great care and respect for the source material. Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series comes out July 8th for PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox, and Steam (PC). Consoles get a physical release in Europe and Japan, with US receiving digital releases only.

Tunic - The hero's adventure reforged

Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)

TUNIC.jpgThis game is going to be tough to review, in essence the game’s strength only remains a strength the less I say about it and what makes it so good. I suppose the best way to approach it is how it displays on its surface. A fox protagonist in a green tunic raises his sword and blue shield to go on an adventure. Many would instantly connect this iconography to the Zelda franchise.

The game can be Zelda-like for sure, but it’s important to know that not all of Zelda’s Link’s outings are created equal. So the best way I can describe this is that it’s a Zelda-like, also known as a “Hero’s Adventure” game, that feels very much like the franchise before it went into a heavy handed narrative focus.

Chicory: A Colorful Tale - Heartful, Artful, and another anthro 2021 Game that's wonderful

Your rating: None Average: 2.8 (4 votes)

Chicory.jpgWhile 2021 was a pretty crappy year overall, for anthro gaming titles it was certainly a renaissance. It also did an excellent job curb stomping my 2018 statements that visual novels seem to be the genre of choice for anthro game developers. In 2021 we had a Metroid-vania mixed with a brawler in Ursa Nominated FIST. We had an isometric top-down combat adventure in Ursa Nominated Death’s Door. Now we have a game that is a narrative and art focused 2D grid exploration and creativity game in Chircoy: A Colorful Tale. Unfortunately this one didn’t get a nomination, because I would not have complained if it did.

This game is interestingly one I would recommend to furries who are artists more than gamers. While it doesn’t require being an artist by any means, and traditional gamers would be able to complete the story just fine, the narrative has more reflection on the power of being a creative type and the stress of societal expectations that comes with artistic pursuits. Imposter syndrome, having people demand things from you for exposure, and other such tropes in the artist world are addressed through your character’s trials.

There is a full world to explore and color to your heart’s content and it's more about the journey than the conflict. But there is no art without some struggle. While your character named after your favorite dish may have started their adventure wanting to wield the magic brush of this world, heavy is the hand who wields.

To avoid spoilers stop reading at Art within the Art

'Huggy Wuggy' triggers police warning to horrified parents

Your rating: None Average: 4 (3 votes)

Dorset police are warning of the impact on young children of videos related to Huggy Wuggy, an anthropomorphic antagonist in the independently-developed horror game Poppy Playtime, released last year. The game itself is reminiscent of Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach and has been rated 12+ by Common Sense Media. An official plush toy with Velcro paws was released mid-March.

Media featuring the character is proliferating, including a depiction of Huggy's reassembly on TikTok and 'Free Hugs', a multi-verse song from the monster's point of view. Reports indicate that the friendly nature of the character's name seems to be allowing their content to bypass filtering that would usually defend young viewers from such disturbing content, similar to issues before YouTube's COPPA implementation.

New Super Lucky's Tale - A casual but memorable 3D platformer

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (3 votes)

NSLT.jpgNew Lucky’s Tale is through and through a 3D Platformer. It’s odd to play a game that so easily fits into one game genre after playing so many hybrids, but this game is what it is and it does it well. Each level has four challenges to complete: finishing the level, finding the hidden page, collecting the hidden letters L-U-C-K-Y in one run, and collecting 100 paw coins in the level. The coins can be used to buy new clothes for your character as well.

This game has a very light difficulty. If you want to introduce someone to the 3D Platformer genre this would be a good game to do so. By the time I had finished with the game I had gained a life count in the 60s. I don’t remember any games that I was able to acquire a 1-man count that high on the first play through. Extra lives are plentiful, and even the most challenging content that comes post-credits, the difficulty never gets higher than maybe being three quarters the way through a modern Mario game like Odyssey.

But if you’re fine with a relaxing and atmospheric platformer with fun and memorable characters, this one will not disappoint.

F.I.S.T.: Forged in Shadow Torch - Part Brawler, Part Metroidvania, All Fur Fighting Fun

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (2 votes)

FIST.jpgWhen some Western furries hear about anthropomorphic content from China they may typically think of web pages that sell knock off fursuits, but F.I.S.T. is here and gives that stereotype a good solid punch in the face. This original property developed by the Eastern developer of Bilibili for the PlayStation (4 & 5) and PC pounds in the action and exploration of any player willing to fight on behalf of the furtizens being oppressed by the Legion’s mechanical beings.

Furtizens, by the way is not my word, but the game’s own neologism describing the furry citizens. It is such a simple word, and it amazes me that of all things a game would be the etymology of it and not from popularization from furry fans (visa vi: fursona). The story’s main conflict is on two rabbit characters: Ray and Cicero.

It is one of three furry games I played released in 2021, and is certainly going on my list of nominations for this year’s Ursa Major. It is a game of two main elements that have been blended together quite well. Combat is intimate and has the feel of a brawler game of old like a more polished Double Dragon, but it takes place in an open and explorable world where your weapons can double as traversal items, putting it in the Metroid space. So it’s part brawler and part metroidvania and it blends these two elements seamlessly.