Zach asked me to fulfill my reviewing obligations, and although he hasn’t visited me once since we parted, citing lamer and lamer excuses each time (”I’m getting married” or “I just bought a house”), I will oblige. With not one but two reviews - and one of those reviews will be a sweeping generalization of multiple games at the same time.

First the generalized review:
While trying to push Word Duelist out the door, I had the pleasure of reviewing something like 20+ games. Plus I’ve playtested quite a number. I won’t go into each game individually - I don’t want to talk about games that aren’t out yet, nor do I have the time to touch on each game individually - but I will give you the general state of XBLIG: Unfortunate.

With something like 18 different variations of Blackjack, 5 massage apps, a host of Avatar games that are little more than screensavers, and a series of games that literally just show you a screen and ask you to pass the game pad around, the volume of junk is absurd. There are gems - beautiful gems that deserve your time - but wading through the rubbish is an exercise in pain.

Here are some of the gems to watch out for: Rotor’scope, Mega Monster Madness, Dungeon Adventure, Missing Reel, Zombie Armageddon.

One day I’m going to write up a nasty attack on $1 games, Race to the Bottom economics, and voluntary peer reviewing, and by the end of it I think I’ll hurt even my own feelings.

And Now a Resonance of Fate Review
I’m only about six hours deep into Resonance of Fate (RoF), so I can’t really talk about the deeper story, but I feel like I have enough feeling for the battle system and game flow to talk about it.

First an overview: RoF is a JRPG that came out a week after FF13. It takes place in a futuristic dystopia where mankind lives in a giant tower, and the cast features three bounty hunters taking on missions to survive. None of this should be new if you’ve played games since the year 2000.

Where RoF breaks the mold is that it throws away conventional battle mechanics for something much more stylized - your characters are John Woo-inspired gunslingers, jumping around the battlefield and over enemies, hiding behind cover, rolling and dodging and darting around the map as they fire submachines or dual pistols into their enemies.

There’s a lot going on in the battle system, and you’re not gently nudged into this - the game has a monolithic battle tutorial in the beginning which shows you everything you’ll be doing from start to finish. Luckily it’s mostly intuitive - the tutorial makes it seem more daunting than it is, but a lot of things just happen fluidly, and you have plenty of time to react.

Which is not to say that battle is easy, because it isn’t. It’s actually very, very hard. Mismanage for a moment, and you can get snubbed out quickly. So while getting the hang of battle isn’t too bad, getting the hang of battling well is a job in itself. But it’s a rewarding job.

Outside of battle, you’re greeted with at times a very linear and at others a very non-linear game, and I think this game hits the perfect balance. There’s a main hub town where you accept missions - one story mission per chapter and a host of optional side missions. You have your choice of how your approach things.

When you’re on a mission, the mission is generally pretty linear. Dungeon design is light - often a line of connected rooms, where each room has a new battle. And you know what? I like this. Finally a game that realizes that I don’t need to explore every nook, that wasting my time with worthless rooms is really just wasting my time, that there is no shame in going from Point A - Point B with each point in between punctuated with something interesting.

The game also introduces a lot of nifty things, like an interesting weapon customization system that semi-mirrors what I had planned for Steam Powered.

In short, it’s a pretty fun game, and I’ll probably be playing it through to completion.

But my battery is about to die, so I’d better cut this off.

Dont’ make passes.