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Batman: The Brave and the Bold

Despite the fact that I still read a lot of super-hero comics (I’m especially enjoying DC’s Rebirth stuff right now), I haven’t found myself interested in watching the plethora of super-hero cartoons that have been produced in recent years, both on the DC and Marvel sides. The last super-hero cartoon I remember really enjoying was the original Batman: The Animated Series. Yesterday I spotted the Batman: The Brave and the Bold series on Netflix (and strangely, they only have seasons 2 and 3, and not the first one), and from the preview screen, I liked the character designs I was seeing (sorta 60s/Kirby-esque) and so decided to give an episode a try. Well, that led to me immediately watching 2-3 more episodes. I’ve having an absolute blast watching the series and am surprisingly in love with it, starting with the character designs and general look of the show, but also the fun and slapstick tone of it, which at times feels very self-referential. It’s also fun seeing Batman team up with so many characters (the premise is that each episode is a teamup with someone/someones). Definitely worth checking out if you’re a fan of classic animation.

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Voltron: Legendary Defender

When Netflix initially announced that it was producing a new Voltron series, I found myself not caring at all – even though I watched all of Voltron as a kid, I realized that I don’t have any particular nostalgic love for it, like I do for other stuff of the era (and I also preferred the vehicle-powered Voltron over the lion-powered one). But with the series launching the other day, I decided to check it out, and so watched the extra-sized (70 minutes) first episode and the second one. The absolute best thing about the series is that Rhys Darby voices one of the characters (Coran), and you immediately know its him (and I’m in the opinion that Rhys Darby just makes everything better). As for the rest of the show, I’ll say that the animation is pretty slick, but in terms of tone, it’s about the level of The Legend of Korra, which means it’s OK for something produced in the west, but it often gets a bit too juvenile for my taste. I’ll watch a bit more of it though, especially since I find that the scenes with Rhys Darby’s character are truly funny.

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iA Iconic

Space Invaders with a typographic twist. This is a free game that was released by design studio iA (the company behind the iA Writer app) and visually it’s a beautiful thing to take in, with “Invaders” taking the form of icons, and a great soundtrack as well. Where it loses me a bit is in the controls – I already don’t like playing games on touch screen devices with virtual joysticks, but here I also found issues with the momentum of your ship when you move. I still managed to get handle on it, getting to the 11th stage on my first try, but it’s not something I’ll end up playing a lot.

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Star Fox Guard

Along with Star Fox Zero I also tried playing Star Fox Guard, and again, it just wasn’t for me. It’s a neat idea for a game, and it’s fun that it’s set in the Star Fox universe (with those characters), but the game itself was just stressful for me, constantly touching the screens and then trying to aim my gun in time to shoot down the invading robots. I think it might be more fun playing as a pair.

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Star Fox Zero

I should start by saying that I’ve never really been that big a fan of Star Fox games, and have only played (and not to completion) the Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64 releases. But despite the mixed reviews, I was still curious to try this out. I’m afraid I didn’t have a lot of fun playing it. Even though I never really liked them, I was starting to get a bit used to the controls (using the Wii U controller screen and TV screen together), but then already at the 3rd mission (I think) I started getting annoyed in a dog fight mission that just felt frustrating. I’m already not the biggest fan of 3D space shooters (I love 2D shooters to death though), but add what to me felt like awkward controls – in part because I wasn’t drawn into the game long enough to really get good at it – and that was enough for me. Oh well.

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Pathfinder Adventures

I’ve been wanting this card game for ages, but I never picked it up because it’s pricey, especially when I was in Tokyo and looking at import prices. That’s why I was pretty excited when I found out that they were planning on making an iOS version (and I think it’s also on Android and PC). It finally came out a few weeks ago, and I love it. You can download it for free and play the first three adventures, to get a feel for the game, which is what I did, but then I immediately paid the price for all future releases because I just loved playing it so much (yup, paid 35 bucks for an iOS game). It really is a great implementation of a card game, and you can play it solo (controlling multiple characters) or with friends by passing your device around. As with all digital card/board games, it’s not for everyone, but if you’re looking for a great digital version of what is already considered a fun game, then I think it’s well worth picking up. There are a few ways to pay for it, including through grinding, but I was just so into it that I bought the full bundle.

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Star Wars Battlefront

I remember having a blast with the open beta they did before the release of the game, but as much as I enjoyed that, I just couldn’t justify picking it upon release, as I didn’t think that just multiplayer would keep me engaged in the long run. I’m finally getting to play it now, and my feeling is the same. I absolutely love how it really makes you feel like you’re in the middle of Star Wars warfare, with everything just so slick, and with fantastic sound design. And I love being in environments with those AT-ATs that we’re not used to seeing them in (like Tatooine and Endor). So I’m having a blast playing it right now, but I just don’t see myself sticking with it past a few weeks (which is why I’m just renting it).

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Dragon Quest Heroes

I’ve been very curious about this game, with the main thing attracting me to it being just how beautiful it looks – to have those colorful Toriyama designs with crisp HD graphics was enough to draw me in. I’m not really into the musou games, but I liked Hyrule Warriors enough that I figured I could have fun with this too. As expected, the game is gorgeous, and it just makes me that much more excited for Dragon Quest XI. It does do things a bit differently from what I experienced in Hyrule Warriors, incorporating a few more RPG elements (like having access to shops and vendors between missions). I don’t know if it’ll keep my attention enough to finish it, but I’m already about 4-5 hours in, and I’m still having fun with it. 

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Overwatch

So after having a blast playing Overwatch during two open beta periods, I was pretty happy to get the full game upon release, and have been playing fairly regularly since (although I’ve taken a break during the past week to play some other games). Everything I wrote in those posts for the open betas stands for the full game – it’s just a blast to play, even if you’re not the kind of person who usually spends a lot of time playing this sort of game (team-based shooters). The characters are just so original and fun to play, and just taking time to explore each one is enough to suck you in for a few hours. I do wish there was a bit more to the game – more kinds of modes – but I’m guessing that’s the sort of thing that will be added over time.

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The Resurrection of Jake the Snake

I’m a sucker for documentaries about wrestling, and a few days ago I happily watched this one that is currently available on Netflix. I really quite enjoyed this, as a follow-up to the infamous Beyond the Mat documentary of the 90s that revealed a washed up Jake the Snake who was in pretty bad shape. As this one starts, he’s in even worse shape, battling alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, with no hope in sight. In comes Diamond Dallas Page, a wrestler I aways thought was pretty entertaining, but never knew he was this good a guy. He basically takes it upon himself to help Jake get out of where he finds himself. It’s best not to say more, but I definitely loved seeing the Jake we get at the end.