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Video Games You May Have Missed At PAX East

There were a ton of games on the expo floor at PAX East. Even if you attend for all four days, it’s nigh impossible to see them all. Here’s a few you may have walked by, tucked between the bigger and flashier publishers.

Light Fall

Bishop Games‘ Light Fall is a fun indie platformer with a similar visual style to Ori and the Blind Forest in its use of deep blacks and pure whites on vibrant palettes. The ambience it sets mixes with the playstyle to allow for a slower pace of gameplay where you think more about your approach to the platforming puzzles it presents. Light Fall is set to be released this month on Steam for Windows and Mac as well as Switch.

The Ultimate Clapback

This card game is a lot like a far more inclusive version of Cards Against Humanity where the objective is to serve up a retort that provides just the right amount of shade. This may be creator MaryMartha Ford-Dieng’s first game but you’ve never be able to tell with its easy to pick up mechanics, clean design sense, and witty writing. If you want something you can play with friends on a night in but you’re tired of the sometimes very off-color writing of other similar card games, pick up this and the upcoming Sometimes You Gotta Cuss expansion. The game can be purchased now on their website.

The Shrouded Isle

Secluded islands. Hard decisions. Internal politics and strife. An ancient slumbering god that must be appeased before its awakening. You, as the high priest for the local populace, need to balance a lot to ensure their continued survival in The Shrouded Isle from Kitfox Games. The two tone palette and pixel art style are incredibly distinctive and do a lot to set a mood that may remind you of The Witch or Crimson Peak. With many branching endings and secrets to uncover, the replayability on this is high. Available now on Steam for Windows and Mac.

Ion Maiden

If you loved DOOM, Wolfenstein, and similar arcade-style shooters of the 90s but the playstyle of their remakes has left you wanting, Ion Maiden from 3D Realms may be just what you’re looking for. Using the classic Build engine of the originals you love, it aims to stoke the fires of your nostalgia with over the top action and bombastic characters. It does leave behind some of the less savory aspects of the 90s aesthetic, such as striving to distinguish its main character Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison from a Frazetta or Vallejo painting, but it keeps its heart. Release is set for Q3 2018 on Steam and their site for Windows, Mac, and Linux but buying into Early Access now through their website grants access to a preview campaign.

Super Daryl Deluxe

If a laugh is what you’re looking forward to in your platformer, then Super Daryl Deluxe from Dan and Gary Games is a pretty safe bet. Set in a high school locked down by something otherworldly, you run through themed classroom after themed classroom level to save the school and get the girl. This extremely narrative-driven Metroidvania hopes to get you to crack at least a few smiles by the time you’re done with its humor and visual style. Available April 10th on Switch, PS4, and Steam.

YIIK: A Post-Modern RPG

If you prefer for your laughs to be a bit more ironic and maybe followed up with a heavy sigh of relatability, YIIK (read Y2K) from Ackk Studios and Ysbryd Games may be more your thing. You play as Alex, a recent liberal arts grad who really isn’t ready for the Real World (neither the show nor the concept) yet. So he immerses himself in conspiracy theory forums. When things around him start turning especially weird and someone he knows disappears from an elevator before his eyes, he sets out to find her in this surrealist and dream-like RPG that will remind you of Final Fantasy mixed with Twin Peaks. This dream-fueled experience is slated to be released in Winter 2018 for Linux, Mac, Windows, PS4, PS Vita, and Switch.

Cede

Farming, tower defense, and 3D brawling don’t seem like that should come together to make an interesting game but Cede from BareHand manages it and more. With every level to suit to an individual player’s style of gameplay and any randomization that may fall their way, it’s fairly removed from what a player expects. Push back the encroaching miasma, plant seeds and grasses with the help of your Little Bois, protect what you’ve made from monsters, and bring beauty and light to a literally torn landscape. Cede doesn’t have a release date yet but you can check out the pre-alpha demo here.

Rumu

You may, like me, have a very deep love of all things cute, ergonomic, and anthropomorphized. It’s hard not to love friendly little bleeping robots that help with mundane tasks. That’s the role you take on in Robot House‘s Rumu, guided by your house AI companion and together caring for a family that rarely seems to be around. This game deeply explores the feelings and relationship between protective motherly AI and curious cleaning robot as both do their best to fulfill their logical parameters. Available now on Steam for Mac and Windows.

 

Whether you were in attendance at PAX East but missed these, you couldn’t make it, or you just couldn’t recall with the slew of games and input coming from every direction, these are a few you should absolutely add to your list to play.

Pre-PAX East Quick Reviews

With PAX East coming up in a few days and GDC only just having passed, there’s a lot of games that have been or will be announced, demoed, teased, and released. Here’s a few indie titles I’ve gotten to check out that will have booths at PAX East.

Witch It!

Witch It is a standalone prop hunt game by Barrel Roll Games similar to the PropHunt mode for Garry’s Mod. However, Witch It comes with a high dose of charming low poly graphics that refuses to take itself too seriously and go a long way to set the mood. Currently in Early Access and always being improved upon, you play as either speedy little transforming witches or oafish hunters using unconventional methods to track them down. With each round, the nine maps are randomly filled with objects the witches can transform into if they choose while the hunters use chickens, potatoes, pickles, and the impact of their own body weight after a fall to discern who’s what. If you’re a streamer who enjoys playing with your audience or you always seems to have too many people for most team games, this is definitely one to consider.

Available now for $14.99 on Steam Early Access for Windows. Find it at Booth #22055.

Minit - Oasis

Minit

The core concept behind this amazing little rogue-lite pixel-based gem created by JW, Kitty, Jukio, and Dom and published by Devolver Digital is simple: you have sixty seconds to try to complete your quests. The charming characters and small mundane adventure keep you engaged but the short bursts of play don’t force you commit too much time to runs. The only thing that could make it more perfect would be if it were available on mobile devices or the Switch in addition to Steam, PlayStation 4, and XBox One. As it is, this is a great game to fill the queue gaps when playing things like League of Legends, Overwatch, and similar games.

Available now for $9.99 on Steam, PS4, and XBox One. Find it at Devolver Digital’s Booths #18090 and #18096.

Make Sail

This is a cute if sometimes frustrating sailing exploration game from Popcannibal that places the player as one of the sole survivors of a ship wreck that is trying to return a set of mystical chimes. While the story isn’t terribly deep or important to the gameplay, it does give some reference and framework to the game as a whole. It also models its physics and densities on their real world equivalents, giving anyone with practical sailing or boat design experience a leg up. Make Sail also includes some Twitch integration, which makes it another solid choice for variety streamers who want a quieter atmosphere. If you like the premise of Sea of Thieves but want a more relaxed and laidback approach and something more akin in visuals to Breath of the Wild, Make Sail is definitely worth considering throughout the rest of its development.

Available now for $19.99 on Steam Early Access for Windows.

There’s a lot to see at PAX East this weekend and it’ll be impossible to see everything. Even if you can’t attend, keep an eye out for these.

Review: WWE #14

The arc of the Shield and their falling out has passed in WWE #12 and we’ve seen some of the unrelated events during and after in #13. But what we haven’t seen is arguably the biggest thing happening in sports entertainment: the Women’s Revolution.

From Trish Stratus and Lita main eventing Monday Night Raw in 2004 to the then-Divas of the main roster growing tired of being shoved aside when they should have the spotlight to the ever-growing bevy of wrestling talent in NXT to the May Young Classic to most recently the first ever Women’s Money in the Bank and Royal Rumble matches, the Women’s Revolution is ripe for so many stories. However, you can’t talk about this most recent arc of women’s wrestling in WWE without mentioning the Four Horsewomen of NXT: Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, and Bayley.

If you aren’t familiar with the story of the Four Horsewomen, this arc won’t be the most in-depth guide at this point the way the Shield’s arc was. However, the team of Dennis Hopeless, Serg Acuña, Doug Garbark, and Jim Campbell return to start with the story from Bayley’s point of view. It’s an interesting tack to take, as you’ll swiftly learn or are already aware of. Make sure to keep an eye out for players you’re certain to see again in coming issues. As a start, this throws you a bit into the deep end but, in this specific case, it works well for the direction it seems things will be heading in. I’m excited to see where the creative team will go with this and what will get included in the Women’s Revolution arc when there’s so much to potentially pull from.

Also in this issue is the return of Tini Howard with artist Hyeonjin Kim and letterer Jim Campbell with the beginning of a four part backfill chronicling the rise of the Empress of Tomorrow, Asuka. For the unfamiliar, Asuka is a Japanese superstar who burst onto the scene at NXT and has done nothing but dominate since. Still undefeated at the time of this review even after moving to the main roster on Raw, Asuka is a force that simply begs for her own standalone comic. I have the utmost confidence in Howard’s ability to weave this tale after “The Brawler and the Beast” in WWE #3 and Kim’s art is a wonderful and distinct match to go with it. It’s no standalone to sing odes to the longest undefeated streak by any WWE superstar but it’s definitely something.

Story: Dennis Hopeless, Tini Howard Art: Serg Acuña, Hyeonjin Kim
Colors: Doug Garbark, Hyeonjin Kim Letters: Jim Campbell
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0
Recommendation: If you’ve been wondering what the fuss is about women’s wrestling lately but don’t have the time to watch almost 4 years of WWE content, this is a perfect jumping-on vector.

Review: Wayward Sisters: An Anthology of Monstrous Women

Wayward Sisters coverMany have felt awkward as they grow into themselves and the pressure, from person experience, can be even higher when you’re visibly femme in any way. Wayward Sister: An Anthology of Monstrous Women seeks to capture that awkwardness and make it a source of power. After an incredibly successful Kickstarter by TO Comix Press, Wayward Sisters is available for pre-order now.

As this is an anthology featuring a long list of female-identifying and non-binary creators, it can sometimes be a little harder to keep the themes consistent but has a strain running through almost every story that keeps everything together: equal parts mysterious, adorable, melancholy, sweet, musing, and most importantly hopeful. That tone is established from the outset with a foreward by Faith Erin Hicks (The War at Ellsemere, Friends with Boys, The Last of Us: American Dreams) speaking about her own experiences.

Tinseltown - Allison O'Toole & Emmanuelle Chateauneuf

“Tinseltown” by Allison O’Toole & Emmanuelle Chateauneuf

The majority of the short comics and stories told delve deep into the metaphor of monstrosity to attack it from every angle possible. Some miss the mark a bit, like “Miss Monster” by Stephanie Cooke and Cara McGee, and can be a bit jarring. But others, like “Low Tide” by M. Blankier and Helen Robinson and “Solid Shadows” by Rachel Simons and K. Guillory, drag you right back into the mood flowing through the pages.

The art, writing, coloring, and lettering rarely feels misplaced or a wrong fit with the others here, even on “Date Night” by Allison Bannister, Ronnie Ritchie, Meaghan Carter, and Nikki Powers with a different person on each. It’s obvious a lot of care was put into every bit of this anthology from start to finish to make it as harmonious as (more or less) humanly possible.

This collection of short comics were something I wasn’t expecting to hit me as hard as they did but I’m glad I found and was able to read them. Make sure to pick up a copy for yourself through TO Comix Press or one of their retail partners listed on their site. If you’re not sold, check out a preview with “Zira and the Little Fire” by Katie Shanahan or the full comic “Light Pollution” by iguanamouth.

Story and Art: Aimee Lim, Sam Beck, Megan Kearney, Casandra Grullon, iguanamouth, Saffron Aurora, Elodie Chen, Rachel Simon, K. Guillory, Janice Liu, Cassandra Khaw, C. Ann Gordon, Allison O’Toole, Emmanuelle Chateauneuf, Katie Shanahan, Stephanie Cooke, Cara McGee, Allison Bannister, Ronnie Ritchie, Xavière Daumarie, Michelle Gruppetta, Fleur Sciortino, ZAVKA, Lorena Torres Loaiza, Sabaa Bismil, gillian blekkenhorst, H. Pueyo, Dante L., Laura Neubert, Lea Shepherd, Zoe Maeve, BC Holmes, DEE Williams, Xia Gordon, M. Blankier, Helen Robinson, Mandy James
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0
Recommendation: Perfect for a fan of the supernatural and things that go bump in the night that relates more to the monsters than the would-be heroes, especially if they’re a teen or young adult.

Video Game Review: Battle Chef Brigade

Have you ever wanted a mix of Iron Chef, Puzzle & Dragons, and Skullgirls? Even if you think you haven’t, you definitely have and Battle Chef Brigade from Trinket Studios and Adult Swim Games delivers that whole experience in cloves.

12_BCBThe art here is a charming mix of watercolor illustration backgrounds and cel style flat colored characters that will probably vaguely remind you of old 2D animated movies. Add in the beautiful and delicious looking food and all the visuals of the game could slip comfortably inside a Studio Ghibli movie. The lines used on characters aren’t clean and are allowed to be looser, giving the characters more life when moving, something I see used a lot in animation but far less so in most games. It’s used here to wonderful effect. The UI and music are very in line with the game’s overall aesthetics that lean towards fanciful JRPGs mixed with wrought iron outdoor French cafes in summer. There are a few things that sour the sauce, so to speak. The innkeeper in the story mode consistently misgenders the player character with the excuse that he’s deaf and blind. Despite being told every time. A joke that tries to be funny once before it rapidly becomes annoying.

06_BCBThe gameplay is a combination of side-scrolling combo fighter and match-3 puzzler intercut with visual novel-esque storytelling scenes that bring the everything together. It probably sounds like too much to try to shove into a single game but it works here as all the sections have definite beginnings and ends to them. Also, if your cooking loadout turns out to have much you up in battle, you can reload in town or just have a rematch if you lose.

03_BCBThere are three play modes in the game: single player story, daily cook-offs, and challenges. All of them do exactly what they say on the tin. The single player story mode comes in normal and hard varieties, letting you travel through the story and world of the game. The daily cook-offs make for a very Iron Chef competition where the dishes need to be hunted down and made as quickly as possible each day with a high scoreboard. This is one I would definitely save for after playing through the main game, once you know what everything does. Challenges are longer time trial versions of the jobs from the single player story. These modes, especially the daily cook-offs, add a lot to replayability especially for the Nintendo Switch.

07_BCBThe mechanics presented are exactly what you’d expect from each aspect of the game. The side scrolling fighter portion where you gather your ingredients depends on timing and combos to get through and leave time to cook. The match-3 cooking puzzles make you match Taste Gems across several varieties and tiers much like the mobile game 2048. The cutscenes are continued through with a single button press like going through a visual novel without the choices. The tutorial section and jobs were incredibly helpful for slowly easing into how the match-3 and fighter parts worked together; does sometimes feel slightly jarring to move from one to the other; some aspects will seem incredibly at home if you’ve ever worked in a professional or commercial kitchen. Well, at least if you’ve watched enough Food Network or Shokugeki no Soma/Food Wars.

The game features controls both keyboard and controller for PC Steam. The game, however, is much more fluid feeling with a controller. I used the XBox One Wireless

Verdict: if you enjoy D&D, Shokugeki no Soma, fighters, and literally any match-3 game on mobile, this is your new Holy Grail. Otherwise, this is just a super fun game to play with seemingly disparate parts that, like recipes, come together like magic. Pretty high amount of replay value in smaller stretches over time that compliments the Switch perfectly.

Available now for PC (Steam and Humble Store) and Nintendo Switch for $19.99.

Review: Warframe #1 & 2

Warframe, the free game for PC and console, has a pretty simple surface premise: be a robot space ninja with guns and do cool parkour tricks. It’s free and, honestly, it serves the game well. You don’t have to care more about what’s going on that that if you don’t want to. In a lot of ways, it’s a lot like Overwatch in that respect: lore is meant to enhance the experience of the gameplay but isn’t entirely necessary. It’ll definitely make things clearer however, especially as you get deeper into the game’s story missions.

The Warframe comics from Image and Top Cow also help to fill in some of the lore of the world of Warframe where Tenno, Grineer, and other factions are constantly at war over the solar system and the secrets of the Orokin hidden within the Void. The first arc thus far seems to come before the start of the game and details how a Tenno came to be in the hands of the Grineer Captain Vor. If you’re curious about how what’s supposed to be a great warrior ended up a prisoner of war, #1 and 2 fill in the gap well.

Warframe_02-1

Fans of the game will recognize several faces (or, in the case of Warframes, “faces”) like the Lotus, Vor, Excalibur, Mag as well as locations like the Ostron village of Cetus introduced in the latest major patch of the game, Plains of Eidolon, and an Orokin vault. But other characters will be a new vector of storytelling from the ideas of Steve Sinclair and the writing team of Matt Hawkins and Ryan Cady. My favorite bits thus far have been the expletive substitutes used in #2. It’s always interesting to see how writers choose to navigate language in sci-fi settings.

The art by Studio Hive works well with this, stylizing the lush worlds created by developer Digital Extremes in much the same way as final concept art to help draw you in deeper. Alongside the lettering of Troy Peteri that makes it easy to follow along with who exactly is speaking when, this comic is a well communicated and smooth read.

If you’re a fan of the game or have become one, this comic is definitely one to pick up to dive even deeper into the lore of a game that already has a ton to offer. And hey, the game is free.

Story: Matt Hawkins, Ryan Cady Art: Studio Hive
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0
Recommendation: Keep up with it if you’re invested in Warframe’s lore or want to be

#1 was obtained as a convention exclusive, #2 was provided to Graphic Policy.

Review: WWE #9-11

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Between getting very busy, feeling I couldn’t do a proper review of the Roman Reigns arc from BOOM! Studios’ WWE comic series without the whole story in front of me, and some real world wrestling problems, it’s taken a while to sit down and actually write out these reviews. Roman Reigns is an interesting character within the WWE Universe, reviled through no faults of his own. The man can seem to do no right and the comics reflect this in his arc.

Starting immediately after Dean Ambrose winning the Money in the Bank briefcase in #8, Reign’s arc covers from his loss in the championship match at the 2017 Money in the Bank PPV and Ambrose’s contract cash-in right after through his coping with the loss of his title. The comic paints the World Heavyweight Title as his one big accomplishment amidst a sea of boos that can (and has) drowned out his blaring entrance music on occasion. This isn’t a story that’s finished yet but I’m looking forward to the moment everything wraps as neatly as sports entertainment and comics can manage.

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Yet again, the way writer Dennis Hopeless weaves real life events with the kayfabe of the comics is always a delight, such as Reign’s suspension in #10. He also captures the characters of other WWE Superstars well, like John Cena’s preacher-esque sermon in #11. For this trio of arcs about the former Hounds of Justice, there isn’t a better person to hold the pen.

WWE_011_PRESS_7While I still love the art of illustrator Serg Acuña and think it’s a perfect fit for the action of the WWE comics, the moments where Tim Lattie steps in pull me out of the action with the slight style dissonance. Though Doug Garbark’s color work goes a long way to prevent that, it’s still there for me.

The back matter for these issues are just as strong as the others with stories like the birth of Goldust at WrestleMania XII, Becky Lynch’s wonderful pun-venture, and Randy Orton’s reminder that not everyone takes to the ring the same way.

Story: Dennis Hopless Art: Serg Acuña, Tim Lattie Color: Doug Garbark
Story: 9.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.5
Recommendation: A good entrance into the world of wrestling or a perfect ongoing piece of side media if you’re already a fan.

BOOM! Studios provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review

Review: WWE #7 and #8

WWE_008_Cover_A_Main

You may have noticed the conspicuous absence of a WWE review last month. That’s because it felt unfair to me to judge a story before I’d actually reached the end. So I waited the extra month to deliver unto you my judgement of this weird bayou-based two-parter.

When Sasha and Dean decide to make a quick pit stop on the way to Money in the Bank, they end up having to tangle with cult leader Bray Wyatt and the Wyatt Family at their compound deep in the swamplands. In a tale that’s a mix of horror tropes, action movies, and specifically Mad Max: Fury Road, this is downright fun. Add in the appearances from Erick Rowan, Luke Harper, and Braun Strowman as well Charlotte Flair, Dana Brooke, and one other special guest? This ends up being fun as all hell. Writer Dennis Hopeless’ Bray Wyatt speeches have the same sort of flow, cadence, odd references, and mild confusion as the Eater of Worlds himself.

The art in issue #7 features four guest pages by Tim Lattie along with Serg Acuña. I would have never picked up on it without being told by the credits. The transitions are near seamless and I only spotted the slight differences with several minutes of effort. Aside from those pages, this verse is the same as the first. There are some cute if slightly out of place panels in issue #8 that were enchanting but confusing. I never thought I’d find Charlotte and Dana engaged in vehicular combat with Sasha Banks and Dean Ambrose adorable but here we are.

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Once again, Doug Garbark’s colors are a perfect enhancement to the art and story. In fact, they’re even more of a standout to me than normal for capturing the earth-toned moodiness of the Wyatt Family compound in all its swampy glory. Bright attention grabbing pops in the perfect spots really pulls the eyes and bundles everything with a neat if creepy bow.

Jake “the Snake” Roberts and the Undertaker’s backfill stories are wonderful little tidbits of wrestling history. If you have even some of the context for these, it’s a great retelling of key moments in their careers. Without it, both highlight very different strange moments in the strange world of professional sports entertainment.

And that, friends, brings us to the end of Dean & Sasha’s Excellent Americana Roadtrip Adventure. This arc was even more delightful than I would have guessed at the start and I’m glad I went along with this ride.

The next arc, starting with the Roman Empire, will be about the final member of the Shield: Roman Reigns. I’m definitely looking forward to where this one will go, considering Roman’s tumultuous relationship with the crowds and the events that came to pass with Money in the Bank 2016. If you want spoilers and context, check out that pay-per-view.

Story: Dennis Hopeless Art: Tim Lattie and Serg Acuña Color: Doug Garbark
Story: 9.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy it and the TPB of Seth Rollins’ arc

BOOM! Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

WWE TapMania Review

I really love wrestling but recent wrestling games, and especially the mobile ones, haven’t been a great experience for me. WWE Champions was enough of a Puzzle and Dragons/Candy Crush clone that I wasn’t terribly interested and never actually got around to downloading and trying it. Plus, the art style did no justice to the wrestlers as caricatures and, if they didn’t have voices with them in the commercials often aired during live events, I couldn’t connect them. WWE Immortals felt like an ill-fit for phone-sized mobile devices. NetherRealm Studios worked on this one and it really shows with the Mortal Kombat and Injustice-esque combat but trying to combo simply didn’t work for me on a mobile device. WWE 2K feels like it would be much the same. 2K’s other game, WWE SuperCard, is another one that never really caught me as card based games were never anything I was particularly interested in. WWE TapMania from Sega and The Tap Lab feels like the perfect intersection of platform, style, and game.

If you’re looking for true 3D models or hyper realistic renditions of your favorite wrestlers, this really isn’t the game for you. But if what you want is bright, colorful, and easy to read? Then I think we might have something for you. The art here is a lot like if someone looked at Serg Acuña’s art for the current Boom Studios ongoing then made SD chibis of the main roster. There are time when that style ends up clashing hard with the wrestler’s actual appearance. Xavier Woods and Big E of the New Day, Naomi, and Shinsuke Nakamura all feel slightly off in some ways. Every full body wrestler as you see them in ring is built on a similar base that would make adding folks like Nia Jax awkward and means that the Usos are near impossible to tell apart in your team but distinct as fraternal twins can be in their portraits. However, none of this breaks the experience entirely.

The gameplay here is incredibly straightforward and that simplicity is its saving grace: you tap to hit your opponents, those opponents drop Cash for leveling, Main Events (every ten matches) bring you more Cash and sometimes a WWE Superstar you can unlock. You can add superstars to your team in ring and take on bigger and bigger opponents. Sometimes a gold briefcase will show up to give you, well, money in the bank. If you’ve ever play Cookie Clicker, it’s the exact some concept but with WWE branding and a few interesting perks like team synergies, perks that boost stats, and classifications that award specials like High-Flyer and Technician. One of the biggest things about this game is that, very quickly, I don’t feel like I need to tend it, somewhere many mobile games end up falling short. Even if I haven’t opened the app in over 8 hours, I haven’t felt like had to in order to collect the things I want. There’s even a perk to allow you to earn more idle Cash. The only times I may feel the need to open often are during special events but they happen frequently enough and currently don’t see to gate content, so not participating or only idly participating feels perfectly fine.

As this is a mobile game, it would be strange to not mention the microtransactions in this. It’s a system I don’t see terribly often and one I don’t think many games could pull off. There’s the usual real money currency (Gold Bars) that allow you to pick up new cards that unlock wrestlers or give boosts. These range from $1.99 for 180 Gold Bars in the Stack of Gold to $99.99 for 15,000 Gold Bars in Ric Flair’s Estate. Duplicates of cards unlock more perks for your wrestlers. You can also flat out buy fully unlocked cards for $24.99. However, all of this can be unlocked over time and by completing events, objectives, and achievements. You can even watch ads to hurry things along a little and boost money earned while away, unlock more cards, or swap out wrestlers. It reminds me a lot of how Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm especially handle microtransactions and earned rewards. At no point so far have I felt terribly compelled to actually spend money on it unless I want to and it’s refreshing.

Sega and The Tap Lab’s WWE TapMania is currently available on iOS and Android as a free download. Pick this up if you like having something idle to do during commercial breaks of weekly wrestling shows.

Review: Joey Ryan: Big In Japan

You may have noticed from my previous reviews that I very much enjoy wrestling. So when I noticed the Kickstarter for Joe Ryan: Big in Japan by Chido Comics, who also produced the Lucha Underground comics, I knew I needed to throw some money behind it. Written by Tres Dean with art by Jamie Jones and editing by Ivan Plaza, Joey Ryan: Big In Japan is exactly the over-the-top and a little bit lewd romp you’d expect from wrestling.

For those that don’t know, Joey Ryan the actual wrestler partners with Candice LeRae across the indie circuit as the World’s Cutest Tag Team. That’s not giving them a nickname or making some kind of statement; that’s what the team is genuinely called.

In Big In Japan, ostensibly LeRae (who is never mentioned by name) was injured in a match years ago where an opponent ended up dead. It drove Ryan out of wrestling and into empty glasses and bottles… until his arch-nemesis comes back around. Unlike the current WWE ongoing, this isn’t entirely what happened and Big In Japan is much further from the kayfabe-as-life story you might be used to there. This is closer to the wackiness of bygone eras of wrestling kept alive throughout independent promotions.

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This comic isn’t for everyone, given that Ryan’s character is built on sleaze and crude humor. He has multiple suplex variations that are decidedly not PG and is also known as the King of Dong Style. Still, it’s a little weird and a lot of fun, just like a bunch of independent wrestling out there. The art is fun, colorful, full of movement, and unafraid of being a little ridiculous. All in all, the package works very well and I’m excited to see more tales from the indies in the future.

Joey Ryan: Big In Japan was first funded through a Kickstarter campaign that ended on May 4th with the PDF released to backers on June 9th.

Keep an eye on Chido Comics via their site, Twitter, and Facebook for more info and different ways you can pick up a copy for yourself if you missed out.

 

 

Story: Tres Dean Art: Jamie Jones Edited: Ivan Plaza
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Pick it up when you can

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