Updates to the blog

So, I haven’t had the time to post this until recently, but I’m changing up how the blog is going to be ran.

There’s still going to be reviews of video games in the traditional sense, but also now I am going to work on a comic-style review for the ones that I work on. We will still produce regular reviews.

Character history is another thing that I’m working on. I’ll be taking an in depth look at fan favorite characters, their creation and how they have changed over the years. Video reviews is something that will come by the end of the year…

I’ll keep you updated, I just wanted to let you know that this isn’t a dead project!

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Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy

You know what the problem is really enjoying a game that you’re going to write about? You’re going to forget about making time to write the article for the game…

I’ve really spent a lot of time playing and streaming this game on Twitch, that’s because  really love the Crash Bandicoot series, I really love platformers in general, but Crash holds a special place in my heart. A critic compared the new Crash game to Dark Souls… Personally I find that rather lazy, and untrue. Just because a game can get a little difficult doesn’t mean that it’s instantly comparable to Dark Souls, Dark Souls isn’t that difficult in the first place… compare it to at least Ghost N Goblins, beause of it’s wonky jump mechanics.

The jump mechanics/pshysics in this game are more than likely to kill you in this game. People have shown that you land a little sooner than the original, but it’s only by milliseconds. What I think can kill you is the ledges and objects that you can bounce off of. DingDongVG on Twitter made a video showing how jumping and bouncing can push you off one way or another

Vicarious Visions (VV) also had to rebuild the games from the ground up pretty much, so their engine could have something to do with it, but still, that’s not enough to make me get upset about the game, for the fact that VV had carefully and beautifully recreated the games that I once played as a child is the reason that I haven’t been able to put it down, wonkiness and all. Overall what VV did for the game is great! Personally, I’m pretty impressed that they were able to recreate with the limited resources from the originals. That’s to be expected from them though, when VV worked on Crash Nitro Kart they really made the game feel like Crash Team Racing.

The game lets you start off by choosing the game you want, like any decent collection should, so I started with the first game, that’s the only one that I haven’t had the chance to own when I first got the Playstation. Boy, the difference is like playing Mega Man 1 and then playing 3. You don’t realize how much the sliding mechanic in Crash 2 makes a difference in how I played the games. Crash 1 also has this pretty cool Donkey Kong Country vibe to it with the World Map and the music.

Crash 2

The N.Sane Trilogy gives each gme it’s own set of Trophies, which for trophy hunters and completionist is a fantastic thing! Also the games give you the option to play as Coco, Crash’s kid sister. While she doesn’t have a different moveset than her older brother, it’s fun to play through most of the stages as someone else. Coco cannot play boss stages nor levels that require Crash to pilot something, like Hogs, motorcycles or airplanes. You can get a few trophies from playing as Coco though, so there’s that. She even has her own little victory dance as well!

Coco victory


Overall the game is fantastic! I’ve been loving every minute of the game so far! If you love 3D platforming with a  challenge, love games with cartoony animals or feels like you’re playing a Looney Toons cartoon or just have a strong feeling of old Playstation one era games, this could be something right up your alley.

Star Ocean: Anamnesis

Anyone who considers themselves an avid gamer typically has to deal with the same universal problem every time a game is announced – the wait. More often than not, these are games that are made in Japan. Most gamers do not want to deal with the frustration of playing a game that they can’t read, so they wait for the release that may never come. However some gamers, like myself, decide to take the plunge and try a game out anyways. Especially if it’s something that i’m fairly excited about, I’ll deal with the not understanding the broader story for a chance to try it out and get a feel for it.

That said, my review this week will be on the mobile game Star Ocean: Anamnsis (SO:A from here on out). Ah Star Ocean! One of the greatest RPG series of all time. Many people probably started with the second installment in the series, Star Ocean the Second Story which came out in the US on the Playstation 1 in 1999. That’s where I started and ultimately got hooked.

Star Ocean has been one of those RPG series that has taken sci-fi elements as well as high fantasy elements and somehow wove them into a cohesive game that isn’t all over the place. The franchise started on the Super Famicom, and has been on PSX, PS2, Gameboy Color, PSP, Xbox 360, PS3, PS4 and mobile platforms. SO:A is another in a long line of gashapon style games that require you to spend a specified currency to summon heroes to fight for you. Nothing new there. Actually if anything, the mobile market is frustratingly flooded with these types of games and more often than not, none of them offer a different experience than the other. SO:A however is different in the fact that when it comes to the actual combat, it’s almost exactly how you would expect an SO game to play. But more on that later.

Story:

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Coro just before destroying planet Vegeta.

The story of SO:A is that you are a captain of a Pangalactic Federation starship exploring deep space. A surprise attack by some pirates forces the ship to evacuate via escape pods while the captain (You) and an annoying robot named Coro (amusingly voiced by Ryusei Nakao who also voiced such memorable characters as Freiza and Cooler) remain on the ship and attempt to make a jump to hyperspace.

The jump doesn’t go as planned and you and Coro end up somewhere outside of Federation territory. Deciding to investigate the closest planet, you encounter a mysterious woman who calls herself Ivlish. She possesses a rare and powerful form of symbology that allows her to summon heroes from across time. After that it basically becomes Star Trek Voyager all up in there for the rest of the game.

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Go away Shimada. Why do I keep drawing you?

SO:A falls somewhere after Integrity & Faithlessness and before Til the End of Time. If you’re familiar with the Star Ocean universe, that makes sense. If you just happened to look the games up and are confused? Yup.

Needless to say, Ivlish is able to summon all of your favorite heroes from every Star Ocean game, some character you didn’t care about, and even villains! There’s already been some crossover events for Resonance of Fate as well as Valkyrie Profile characters.

 

Gameplay:

Mission Map

Ye olde mission map.

As mentioned, this is your typical run of the mill gashapon style game at it’s core. You get story missions that you can do to progress in the story, you also get side missions and dailies that you can do as well. You can level up your characters using different types of XP materials (some universal, some class based) as well as weapons and accessories for those characters.

Like with other games, you can rank up the characters and increase their rarity by hitting their max level and then breaking that limit to add another 10 levels. Rarity goes from 3-6 stars. If there is a rarity under 3, I’ve yet to encounter it.

There are five different classes to be found in the game. Attacker, Defender, Shooter, Healer & Caster. Naturally you’ll want to level up as many of these classes as you can in order to properly deal with more powerful enemies, such as the hard mode versions of some of the event fights.

Gashapon System:

Summoning 2

Two 5*s?! Oh HELLS yes.

While this seems like a silly thing to cover, I’ve actually found that the rates in this game seem to be pretty good. I’ve played some games (*coughFEHeroescough*) where you go and blow your currency on summoning the max number of summons, and you end up with all shit-tier units. SO:A does not seem to be like this. I’ve only had one instance where I did a 10 draw and didn’t get a single 5* unit. Although to be fair, the 10 draw I did just prior to that snagged me two 5*. So I’m not complaining.

Combat:

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Lightspeed Kenny using his rush attack.

Combat is where I think this game really shines. We’ve all played gashapon style games that more or less mimic each other. Anywhere from 3-6 characters in a party, classic RPG style battle system that is entirely turn-based. SO:A plays almost exactly like a Star Ocean game. You get a party of three characters plus one guest/rental character. When you get into the battle, you can choose to play any of those characters at any time. When you’re not using a character, that character will be in AI mode until you choose to switch back.

The field of battle is essentially a big circle that you can move around and try to position yourself in a favorable manner. Characters have short range and long range attacks that come into play when strategist for a certain enemy. At rank 3 & 4, a character has two attacks they can use and a rush attack that can be used once your gauge fills up. At ranks 5 & 6 you get your third attack for that character.

The rush attacks can be chained one after the other as long as all the gauges happen to be filled up. This doesn’t create any sort of special effect, but you can chain together some massive damage without worry of enemy interruptions. Some Rush attacks can be kinda meh visually, whereas others such as Michael/Decus’ Spicule, are pretty cool to watch.

Multiplayer:

Waiting for Party

They can smell the American on me..

Another cool feature that isn’t exactly new to these types of games, is actual multiplayer capabilities. You have the ability to join or create a multiplayer room on pretty much any map. Whether it be an MSQ map, or a special event, you can set one up and play with other real life players. If you create a room, you’re able to decide what roles you need for a particular fight and those roles will be filled as needed. This way you don’t end up with a party of all attackers and get wiped out in 2.5 seconds.

The only downside to the multiplayer that I’ve encountered so far, is that I’ve never found any available games and I’ve never had anyone join any of my rooms. This could have something to do with the fact that I’m playing a game with people who are 16 hours ahead of me. Or maybe there’s only certain dungeons that people join up to fight in. I’m not sure. But so far multiplayer has been a bust for me.

Music:

Now if you’re a fan of Star Ocean or Tales of games, you’re familiar with the legendary works of composer Motoi Sakuraba. Sakuraba has done the soundtrack for every Star Ocean game to date, and, much to my immense joy, SO:A is no different. The fast paced, epic compositions that Sakuraba is known for help make SO:A feel like more of a full-fledged Star Ocean game and less like another one of a million gashapon game.

Graphics:

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Michael/Decus about to heat things up.

When it comes to mobile games, I don’t always have great expectations on graphics. Especially these types of games. I look at examples such as Fate/Grand Order or Fire Emblem Heroes. And while they’re fun, there’s not a whole lot to look at. SO:A looks really good though. I mean we’re talking like solid PS2 era graphics here, but still. It looks good and I haven’t experienced any lag or slow-down when things get crazy in the middle of a battle.

 

 

Conclusion:

Summoning

Actual picture of Squenix praying that you just dropped a bunch of money on this summon.

I’ve played my fair share of games like this. From Fate/Grand Order, Fire Emblem Heroes, to this. Yeah they all operate on the same core idea that they want you to spend that money on miscro-transactions to get that character you so desperately want. I don’t have much of a qualm with that personally. They gotta make money and people are silly enough (i.e. me) to spend the money to get that unit.

Some of these games are able to pull it off an still make a game that is fun and holds your interest. Some, not so much. Typically the allure runs off as soon as you get that character you want or you never get that character you want while all of your friends have got it 6 times over.

I will have to say that I was excited when I heard through Twitter that SO:A was even a thing. I didn’t know anything about it, but I wasted no time in booting up QooApp on my phone and downloading it immediately. I’m also a bit of a Star Ocean fan, so maybe there’s some bias to my opinion. But I really do feel like this game kind of breaks away from the typical gashapon style mobile game based off of a long-time running RPG series and becomes closer to the source material.

I’m hoping that this game gets an english release. It’s been out in Japan since December of last year. I haven’t been able to find any solid information on whether or not there will even be an english release. We can hope! But if you don’t want to wait and think you can deal with not understanding the story, give this a shot. If you do happen to play, my ID is KPS4J2TPFD – Add me!

I’ll see ya all on the other side of the star ocean, friends.

Rem’s Mobile Game Score (Max of  5 per category)

  • Playability: 5
  • Graphics: 5
  • Story: 5
  • Music: 5
  • Multiplayer: 2
  • P2W Fairness: 5
  • Stability (Servers): 5
  • Battery: 2
    • Max Score: 34/40

Dragon Ball Fighters Z

DBFImpressions

The E3 presentations of this year where a little underwhelming, that’s to be expected because everything is coming out next year or the company only had a cinematic trailer to show, no one likes that, why would you do that? At least bring a little gameplay footage with you!

Gawd…

Well, Nintendo’s announcements where pretty good (new Metroid games! Yes!), but I’m not here to talk about Nintendo. I’m here to talk about the new game that was revealed, Dragon Ball Fighters Z. It’s being made by Arc System Works, the guys behind DBZ Extreme Butoden, Blaz Blue and Guilty Gear, and speaking of Guilty Gear, Fighters Z is adopting the look of the Guilty Gear Xrd with the 3v3 stylings of Marvel vs Capcom, Happy Birthdays and all!

Happy Birthday is a term used in fighting games that use 2v2 or 3v3 with assists like Marvel vs Capcom, what you do is you get a combo of some sorts that is attacking the current opponent along side one of their back up characters.

The characters seem to play well on their own and the game is suppose to be an easy entry in the fighting game genre. It has Auto-Combos that’ll go to a wall bounce and then an aerial launch, I don’t know if the move continues after that. I’ve started to really like the inclusion of Auto-Combos to fighting games, if done right like in Persona 4 Arena, they can be helpful or if you’re just mashing, they can be pretty detrimental, like burning your special meter or dealing less damage than manually putting it in yourself. One thing that I really love about this is the 2.5D Cel shading really makes it look like the anime. Which is something most games miss. The only game that came close to capturing the look was Super Dragon Ball Z (another traditonal-style DBZ fighting game) and that one looked like the manga, visual sound effects and all.

Anyways, the game comes out early 2018, so I can’t wait for it!

Peace Out,

Jojo

Retro Review: Chip N Dale Rescue Rangers (Disney Afternoon Collection)

ChipNDale

I’ve always been a real big Capcom fan! Since I was a little kid most of my game collection will consist of Capcom Games. You have to give it to them, even now days they still have a decent track record.

When I was younger, I had a few of the Disney Afternoon games, Like DuckTales, Darkwing Duck and Goof Troop on my SNES. I had the old Nintendo Power guides where it would show you the level layouts for several games, anyone else remember those? I barely do…

Anywho… I didn’t have the chance to play too many of the other games due to the SNES and the Playstation coming out and as a tiny gamer back then, I wanted to play Crash Bandicoot and Super Mario World. Bless the gaming gods that Disney went to licensing their games instead of making them because Capcom was recently able to republish their old Disney games through “The Disney Afternoon Collection”… It’s missing Goof Troop though, and I don’t think there’s enough Disney Afternoon based games to make a Vol.2 either.

Enough ranting though,

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I used the Afternoon Collection to play through Chip N Dale Recuse Rangers. I really enjoyed it. It was a simple platforming game where you have to rescue Gadget from Fat Cat and stop his evil plans to make her invent things for him, very thin plot but, whatever…

The first thing that I’ve noticed is that is that there’s no back scrolling… common in older NES games back then… At least there’s no hidden ending or anything like this… The premise of the game is you move about the stage trying to make it to the boss, each room different room serves as a check point so, when you die, you start back at the beginning of the most current room, unless you get a Game Over, then you start the whole stage over again, which can be a bit annoying if you make it to the final stage… because boy, that’s where the stage difficulty jumps. They start throwing enemies at you that you haven’t seen until now and honestly, it can be a bit overwhelming.

The Bosses aren’t anything too difficult which can be expected because it’s a kids game, but that’s just a little disappointing because bosses are usually something that you look forward to whooping at the end of the stage.

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Go on, just sit there and throw coins…

You don’t have to play through all of the stages to get to the end, which is something that I enjoy in games. Gadget also tells you about stuff in the upcoming levels, like make sure to turn off the faucets in zone B or things like that. The level design is pretty straight forward as well. You can tell what each level is, but if it was in the TV show, I don’t know, but as a kid, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t care!

The music’s kinda rides this line between rockin’ and forgettable… it’s a little weird… You know, it’s kinda like Mega Man, but at the same time, I’m not humming the tunes afterwards…

The one thing that’s a lot of fun is the gameplay. like I mentioned earlier it’s a platformer with no back scrolling, but you kill enemies by throwing boxes and other strange objects at them, it’s quite funny watching Chip and Dale travel through the stages hurling what ever’s around at mice, eagles and bees.  Even though it’s really easy it has a nice arcade like feel. Honestly, I’d go back and play it again later, maybe try the two player mode this time.

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Fatcat… just sitting there…

Jojo’s Score 

  • Graphics: 4/5
  • Gameplay: 3/5
  • Replayabity: 4/5
  • Music: 3/5

Total 14 out of 20

Paladins: Champion of the Realm

Greetings all! I’m Rem and I’m one of the new writers for Spiky Donut Gaming! For my first entry here, I am going to be reviewing a game that  has been created by the same studio that brought us Smite and Tribes: Ascend– Hi Rez Studios. And that game, is as the title image indicates, Paladins.

So what with Overwatch being on its first anniversary and all, that seems to be the most popular new-age FPS on the market right now. However at a price tag of $30-40 to buy the game and then whatever skin, weapon, etc purchases you need to make on the side, ends up being a little too rich for my wallet. I’m pretty poor, so I tend to game more on the F2P side of Steam of look out for ridiculous sales. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned about Steam, it’s that just because it’s free or close to it, doesn’t mean that you’re getting what you pay for.

Paladins Online is a unique entry into this character-driven FPS style game that Overwatch is currently dominating. I’m not a huge fan of FPS games. So this was one of those occasions where I decided to download something random because it was free and I was bored out of my mind.

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View of the main game screen.

Straight out of the download, Paladins looks great. Very colorful character designs which I thought was a plus. Although I’ve not played Overwatch, I’ve always been drawn to it because of the personality that seems to be imbued into each character and their overall design. I was very pleased to see that this same sort of thing exists in Paladins as well.

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28 different characters to choose from. All with their own unique skill set and charm.

Overall there are 27 characters currently in the open beta release of this game. 8 of them come unlocked for you to use right off the bat. Of course the more you play, the more money you earn for unlocking more champions or items. And as with any game, you can purchase special currency which will allow you to also do the same. The 27 playable characters are broken down into 4 distinct roles: damage, support, frontline, and flank.

Balance seems to be pretty good between characters. Each character has unique abilities they bring to the fight. Although I don’t know what the heck is up with Kinessa. I mean I’m generally pretty bad at these games, but for some reason I rack up the kills with her. Not that I’m complaining – brings me back to my Team Fortress 1 days when I dominated with the sniper class. Bomb King is also pretty amazing and amusing. So far those are my top choices – although I’m rarely beaten to the draw when choosing Kinessa.

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I’m not saying people suck at playing, they just suck at dodging my bullets.

One of the things that makes this game unique to me compared to some of the other games that I’ve played, is the inclusion of a card system. You start off with what could be considered a starter deck that can be used for your characters. Each character comes with a default loadout. As you play and level up, you will received chests that will give you items like skins, accessories, or new cards. You can create a bunch of different loadouts for different situations. Once you select your loadout at the begining of the battle though, you’re stuck with it. This is a pretty cool way though to ensure that one character doesn’t always have to be played in some pre-determined way. It becomes entirely up to the player. You can also decide how many points you want to put into a card ion your loadout to increase the effects. More points means better effects. All in all, you need to have up to 12 points distributed to save a loadout.

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I mean if you’re not in sniper mode, why be a sniper?

 Another thing about this game that I think is pretty cool is that you get mounts. Mounts, in an FPS? Well it’s actually kind of brilliant. I remember from my old TF2 days that nothing was more annoying than getting blown away as say, a heavy. and having to haul your slow-moving ass across the entire map to get where the battle was going. And by that time people are probably dead. Paladins takes that whole issue away by giving you mounts that allow you to fast travel.

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I assume the losers have to go around and pick up and and all horse droppings.

Conclusion

Overall for a person who isn’t THAT into FPS games, I’ve had a lot of fun playing this and I will continue to play it. It’s a well put together game with some good characters, some great mechanics, and it looks awesome. And this is only the Beta. I’m really excited to see what Hi Rez Studio does with this game moving towards an official launch. If you’re looking for a fun FPS without blowing a bunch of money, I’d highly recommend trying this one out. As mentioned it is on Steam and Hi Rez has stated that the game will always be F2P.

Rem’s Score (Max of  5 per category)

  • Playability: 5
  • Graphics: 5
  • Customization: 5
  • Story: 0 (Don’t think there is one yet?)
  • Characters: 5
  • Music: 5
  • Affordability: 5
  • Stability (Servers): 5
    • Max Score: 35/40

Overwatch Anniversary

OverWatch

So, this May marks the one year anniversary of Overwatch, and I’ve been playing it a lot more recently! It helps that after campaigning for a while I now have someone to play the game with! Anyways, this is a short and sweet post. I just made a highlight reel out of clips from the Anniversary event thus far.

Enjoy!

Lyon

Introducing Spiky Donut Gaming!

This is just a brief update

After running this blog solo for a while, I’ve started to enlist the help of some other Game Enthusiast to help me upkeep the blog and since I’m the only one so far who has dreadlocks I changed the name to Spiky Donut Gaming!

We’ll still bring you the same kind of content, but now with others with me it’ll give some fresh life to the blog as well!

I hope you will continue to enjoy our content!

Fire Emblem Echoes

So, my pre-order of the new Fire Emblem game came in last weekend and I had finally gotten around to playing it after I beat Injustice 2’s story mode.

Fire Emblem is one of my favorite Strategy-RPGs (SRPG) landing it slightly before Disgaea, and I do mean slightly… Disgaea’s zaniness is one of the things that keeps it close to the top for me.

WVW69kV_AQEtqsPhEfEchoes, for me is really enjoyable so far. The map reminds me of Final Fantasy Tactics and the game has a bit of dungeon exploration, which is really cool! I’ve only played it for a few hours, but the changes they’ve made since Fates are really good. I might actually find the original version of this game and play it so I can compare it to this version of it, for those who don’t know, FE:Echoes was originally Fire Emblem Gaiden and only released in Japan back in 92.

WVW69kWDMSgtGl_tDMThough this game takes out some things that I’ve grown to enjoy in the recent Fire Emblem games, like Marriage and the Weapon Triangle, I’ve been really enjoying being able to explore dungeons. The battles in the dungeons aren’t that bad either! Class changes in this game as well are also really flexible, it’s been rather nice not having characters that are already set down a path for me… Well Alm is already a fighter, but that’s okay.

The game also has the controversial Casual Mode, where your units are returned to you by the end of the battle. Personally, I feel like that’s a great mode. Fire Emblem can be stressful having to always worry about your units dying and that’s been a feature that I’ve enjoyed in the series since I’ve played it. I also know that most of my friends who play it with the permadeath will reset their game, and I personally feels like that’s cheating, but that’s a rant for another time… If you get the game, don’t feel ashamed of playing with the casual mode on, this is a game so enjoy it how you want.

In fact, challenge yourself, if you feel like playing with the casual mode on but it doesn’t feel right playing the game, crank up the difficulty to Hard and do a run like that.

Anyways, I need to continue though this game!

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Peace Out!

Lyon.

Project Rap Rabbit

raprabbit

For a while, we gamers where teased with a little image found on the internet showing a possible collaboration that dreams are made of… NanaOn-Sha, the makers of PaRappa the Rapper and iNiS-J, the makers of Gitaroo Man and Elite Beat Agents.

It left me wondering what Project Rap Rabbit could be?

From what the Kickstarter had revealed, it looks to be like PaRappa the Rapper and Elite Beat Agents had a child who liked to watch Epic Rap Battles of History. The concepts show the idea of having a back and forth rap battle with your opponent. It also has an added feature of emotions, like the wheel dialog features of Fallout 4, so not only can you just rap back and forth, but you can dis them as well!

project_rap_rabbit_first_screens_1

Pretty neat…

Kickstarter projects usually have some problems though. My big problem for this is that there’s only concept images for the trailer. While I can vision what the game will look like in my head, it’s just my own vision of what I think it’ll look and play like.

I know most gamers have a problem with the 1.1 Million dollar goal, I feel like that’s realistic. Video games are expensive, AAA-style titles are going to be a pretty penny as well, especially if you want it to look and play great! It kinda reminds me of when Skullgirls creators, Lab Zero, wanted more money to make the extra characters and gamers where shocked about the price Lab Zero was asking for. If you want things done right, you have to have the resources, that includes the funds the pay the people who are going to be working on it… You don’t want a crappy looking game because you under-paid your employees…

Anyways, I’ll have more on this title as it develops!

If you want to support it, check it out here! It would be a shame to let this game go unrealized.

Peace Out!

Lyon.