Miscellaneous Console Games Extravaganza 2019

Miscellaneous Console Games Extravaganza 2019

A gaming grab bag

A.J. Maciejewski

Written by for Rapid Fire Reviews on

I've been playing way too many games lately so here are my thoughts on 6 completely random titles that stood out to me in some way.

Black Future '88 Review Switch ★★★★☆

Twin-stick roguelikes are certainly nothing new but few are as well-done and challenging as Black Future '88.

Black Future '88 screenshot
So many gauges and numbers and icons... just shoot!

Black Future '88 is one of those roguelikes where you have to make decisions in order to optimize each playthrough. From selecting a character to acquiring guns and power-ups; almost everything has both an upside and a downside. Will you sacrifice some of the time limit to snag a boost? How about use a character with low health who's quite scrappy on the battlefield? It's pretty fun to experiment and see which sort of decisions allow you to progress further and nearly every attempt will award you with even more choices to think about via various unlockables. The core gameplay is basically your average 2D side-scrolling action game and the amount of projectiles often makes it feel like a mild bullet hell shooter. Overall, I enjoy it a lot and its retro visuals and synthesizer-heavy soundtrack are fantastic.

Even though there are loads of similar games out there, Black Future '88 manages to be wholly worthwhile and exceptionally fun.

Black Future '88 gameplay video → More roguelike twin-stick shooters

Let's Sing Country Review Switch ★★★★☆

Hold up; what the heck am I doing reviewing a karaoke-style game featuring the latest country hits? Well, I actually kind of like it.

Let's Sing Country screenshot
Country sounds more like pop than country nowadays but whatchagonnado?

After growing up in a smallish town in western Canada, I've heard my fair share of country music whether I wanted to or not. To be honest, the genre doesn't match my personal musical tastes but after deciding to play this game for a laugh, I found myself having a lot of fun while using my trusty USB microphone and putting on my goofiest stereotypical western singing voice. To my surprise, Let's Sing Country is quite a difficult game where you not only have to sing on queue with the words but also in tune. I took this as a challenge and adjusted my pitch accordingly to see if I could get a high score and as a result, it began to feel like an arcade game. Anyway, there's a great collection of modes, a fairly solid selection of classic and contemporary tunes, and you can even use an app on your phone as a mic. Plus, there's a handful of DLC packs that contain non-country songs. I got the one with Blue Monday in it, obviously.

I had a surprisingly good time with Let's Sing Country. I just wish my awful singing didn't deafen everyone in the household.

Let's Sing Country trailer →

AeternoBlade II Review PlayStation 4 ★★☆☆☆

If you enjoyed AeternoBlade and were dying for a sequel then today's your lucky day because here's AeternoBlade II!

AeternoBlade II screenshot
That's one way to get the gardening done...

Okay, I don't know what the heck AeternoBlade is but this game looked fun so I gave it a go. The story follows Freyja, Bernard, and Felix who are trying to uncover 3 AeternoBlades and stop Dark Abyss which is a noble endeavour, apparently. The gameplay is basically your average hack and slash game and the perspective sometimes shifts between 2D and 3D which is neat. However, it generally feels like it belongs in the PS2 era as a bargain bin game as the combat and controls are cumbersome, enemies are usually big damage sponges, and the boss fights can be downright annoying. Eventually, you unlock the ability to manipulate time which allows you to send past versions of yourself to fight enemies alongside you but it's just a mess. Don't get me wrong; it's ambitious and admirable but still far from fun.

Simply put, AeternoBlade II feels like one of those PS2 games that your weird friend loves but you can't help but wonder why.

AeternoBlade II gameplay video →

Skullgirls 2nd Encore Review Switch ★★★★☆

2D fighting games can be quite derivative but thankfully, Skullgirls 2nd Encore offers a fresh take on the genre.

Skullgirls 2nd Encore screenshot
Your eye just totally poked her eye out!

It may have debuted back in 2012 yet I've never played a Skullgirls game. Now that I tried out this version on Switch, I'm quite impressed with both its gameplay and presentation. For starters, you'll definitely need to focus and go through the tutorials if you want to stand a chance against the brutal AI opponents and experienced online players as the learning curve can be rather steep with its unconventional systems and move lists. However, once things start to click, you'll be grateful that you took the time to learn its ins and outs. This aspect reminded me of fighters such as Guilty Gear and just like that series, Skullgirls looks incredible. The quirky cast of characters, lovely stages, and dark cartoonish aesthetic make the fighting action even more engaging. It's truly a great fighter.

If you're a fan of 2D fighters or merely want to get into the genre, Skullgirls 2nd Encore is a solid game to pick up.

Skullgirls 2nd Encore gameplay video →

Ultra Off-Road 2019: Alaska Review Switch ★☆☆☆☆

Sometimes, I play a game and wonder if the whole thing is a joke. With that in mind, here's Ultra Off-Road 2019: Alaska.

Ultra Off-Road 2019: Alaska screenshot
I wonder if everyone drives like this in Alaska...

To be honest, I wasn't expecting much from a game called Ultra Off-Road 2019: Alaska but after booting it up, I began laughing so much that my stomach hurt. It's supposed to be a simulator where you try and navigate your vehicle to different waypoints which sounds neat on paper so it's too bad that the game itself is a laughingstock. As you play, you get hungry and your gas depletes so what do you do? Drive over floating pizzas and gas canisters, of course! You can also visit a debug menu of sorts and adjust loads of stats associated with your vehicle but I have no idea what anything does so I just drove from point A to point B as efficiently as I could which is what the game is all about. However, trying to drive up slight inclines and over small peaks can be quite a patience-testing experience as you watch your vehicle move forward 1 pixel every few seconds. In the end, if it wasn't so hilarious then it would easily get no stars.

If Alaskans actually drove like you do in this game, the whole state would be completely covered in abandoned overturned vehicles.

Ultra Off-Road 2019: Alaska gameplay video → Similar game: Death Stranding

Ritual: Crown of Horns Review Switch ★★★☆☆

Overhead twin-stick shooters are a dime a dozen so let's see if Ritual: Crown of Horns has what it takes to be worthwhile.

Ritual: Crown of Horns screenshot
Protecting this sleepy witch is a lot easier with auto-aim

Ritual: Crown of Horns has you play as a bounty hunter in the Wild West who gets reanimated after facing his demise and now, he must work with a witch who helps him seek revenge on his murderers. It's a pretty cool premise for a game story and the gameplay actually ties in very well with the plot. Basically, each stage has you fend off hordes of encroaching enemies while the witch performs some sort of witchcraft ceremony. Your arsenal to help you do so consists of an ever-expanding array of weapons such as shotguns, pistols, and crossbows and swapping between them to ensure the monsters can't reach the witch provides somewhat exciting combat. That being said, the gameplay is quite repetitive and typical and the fact that holding the aim button makes you home in on the nearest enemy simply feels like cheating. It's still a fun game so if you want more twin-stick action then it may be worth checking out.

Although it features a very cool premise, Ritual: Crown of Horns is held back by its generally basic and tired gameplay.

Ritual: Crown of Horns gameplay video →
Gameplay video playlist for Miscellaneous Console Games Extravaganza 2019 34:01
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