New Releases

Pokemon Prism (2018)

Pokemon Prism (2018)

Pokemon Prism is dead; long live Pokemon Prism!

To discover Pokemon Prism’s humble beginnings, we must travel backwards in time to 2008 – almost a decade ago – when KoolBoyMan (KBM) hatched the ambitious plan to create a nostalgia-fuelled Pokemon RPG in the visual style of GameBoy classic Pokemon Crystal. For years KBM chipped away at the herculean task of designing an entirely new adventure by himself, sharing snippets of progress with an expanding complement of eager onlookers as Prism grew in scope and completeness. The lone developer’s persistence paid dividends when in late 2016, a YouTube trailer of the near-complete game went viral, whipping up mass enthusiasm at this evidently mature and well-polished retro fan-title. Inevitably, however, this public interest also attracted IP holder Nintendo’s attention; soon after, an instruction to cease-and-desist from Prism’s further development landed on KBM’s doormat, threatening to unceremoniously scupper the project mere days prior to planned beta release.Fortunate it is, then, that the dispersion of bits and bytes is hard to quell completely by court order. In a feat of eleventh-hour salvation not altogether uncommon to fan projects, a benevolent soul leaked Prism’s source code to the wider web, where it was downloaded freely by thousands. More so, the raw file release prompted the formation of an anonymous collective who stylised themselves the “Rainbow Devs”. Valiantly vowing to carry KBM’s vision to completion, Prism’s fate has been in their hands ever since – and boy, is it good.

Posted by ChronoCritic in New Releases
Cosmic Star Heroine (2017)

Cosmic Star Heroine (2017)

I absolutely loved the idea of Cosmic Star Heroine as pitched in Zeboyd Games’ 2013 Kickstarter campaign: a neo-JRPG that marries Chrono Trigger with Phantasy Star, and blesses the resulting fusion with serious turn-based mechanical depth and a modern 16-bit presentation. It’s a title I’ve wanted to like from the day it was announced. And now that Cosmic Star Heroine (CSH) is finally here, the resulting package is unquestionably an impressive accomplishment – especially for a two-man team. (They of Cthulhu Saves the World.)

Yet I’ve come away from playing CSH with mixed feelings. Cosmic Star Heroine’s innovative combat system handles really well and offers a subtlety and complexity that will satisfy the seasoned 21st century gamer. Its visual presentation is top-notch and its original soundtrack is superb throughout. CSH’s animated cutscenes are gorgeous and certain to deliver oodles of cool each time, every time. However, I find that the game disappoints in the narrative department. Its story is not particularly well-delivered, personalities never develop beyond skin-deep and, perhaps most regrettably, Cosmic Star Heroine fails to make good on the abundant thematic potential of its sci-fi cyberpunk setting.

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Posted by ChronoCritic in New Releases