Age Of Wonders 3

“ A new class and two new races may not sound like much, but when combined with previous releases Age of Wonders 3: Eternal Lords becomes one of the most complete experiences in recent memory. “

Full Review here.

Westerado: Double Barreled

I reviewed Westerado: Double Barreled by Adult Swim Games and Ostrich Banditos over at

Westerado: Double Barreled may have begun as a free flash title but it’s worthy of a purchase regardless of whether or not you’re a western fan. “ 

Pier Solar and the Great Architects

Developer: Watermelon Co.
Publisher: Watermelon Co.

(Game Review to be added)

Packaging Reprint Review:

When reviewing the packaging for a console game there's generally not a lot to show or discuss. This is especially true for PAL-region Mega Drive games with its ugly VCR-style manuals, minimalistic manual information and lack of extras. In most cases you're lucky if a game comes bundled with a poster or catalog. Thankfully, Watermelon bucks the trend and Pier Solar is presented with so much content that this is likely to be my longest packaging review yet.

To the untrained eye, this could pass for an early generation Mega Drive/Genesis packaging, featuring all the telltale signs of a Sega title from this period. Astute collectors will notice the typical black-on-grey color scheme as well as its infamous grid layout. Watermelon wastes no time in touting its 64-Meg high-density cartridge (that's Megabits, not Megabytes), making it the largest game ever launched on this classic system.

My copy makes itself known that it is a reprint edition, likely in an attempt to sway off potential Ebay frauds passing off late versions as the first print. It should also be noted that initial run of Pier Solar uses three different layouts, further differentiating it from my particular copy.

The cover image features a striking design, anyone at a mere glance can tell this is an RPG or an otherwise story-centric title. Sadly, the art style seems disconnected from the main game's anime roots. As a result, one could take this design and apply it to most Japanese RPGs of the early-to-mid 90s and it would produce the same effect. In fact, it could almost pass for an alternate cover for the Mana series or even Final Fantasy VII.

Pier Solar's clamshell box fits in nicely with other Mega Drive games, sporting the exact same dimensions and style as the games it tries to emulate. It even features a top flap similar to what these old games used when hanged on a store shelf. Naturally this holds no practical use, but it's a testament to Watermelon's attention to detail.

Oddly enough, opening the box is something of a hassle, requiring more brute strenght than what most would expect from this type of product. This is a minor complaint though, as the plastic feels strong enough to withstand any fall it may face in the future.

Once again, the spine fits in nicely with other early Mega Drive/ Genesis games, the grid design matches Sega's past releases with Pier Solar's logo fitting in with any random assortment of games. The game will not stand out on any shelf, but I feel this was a design decision, rather than trying to outshine past games, it clearly pays homage to them. 

The only complaint I have in this regard is the lack of the classic "Mega Drive" logo, I am assuming this wasn't included due to possible copyright issues.

Pier Solar's packaging manages to pay homage to its predecessors in even the smallest ways. The box is sealed with a sticker bearing the Watermelon logo, much like how past games were sealed with a Sega sticker. 

At first I was afraid of tearing the sticker or leaving glue residue in its wake. Luckilly, Watermelon thought ahead, removing it was both simple and clean.

Before we move on to its contents, I would like to point out the effort Watermelon went to when creating this packaging, going so far as to mark the inside of its boxes with their logo. 

If you plan to order a copy off Ebay accept no substitutes, always check for these four triangles. 

As we reach the reprint's contents we are likely to thread further and further from past editions. From what I have gathered, the set of extras tends to vary depending on which versions of Pier Solar you own. In the end, I can only review what came with my copy.

Inside the clamshell box, my edition came with a one-sided poster, set of stickers, a Pal VCR-style manual and the catridge itself. I greatly enjoy owning posters, though I was a bit disappointed when learning it was one-sided only. I'd have liked to have seen a group shot of the main characters.

The manual may have come in an ugly VCR style booklet for nostalgia purposes, though thankfully this is leap and bounds better than anything we would have gotten back in the day.  

Not only does it feel like high quality paper, it provides detailed information on basic gameplay features with accompanied color screenhots and even a bit of humor thrown in now and again.

The text comes in an assortment of languages in including Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, German and even Japanese. However, I should point out that these additional languages cut some of the information from the English section, boiling it down to its bare essentials. 

Finally we reach the catridge itself. Setting it side-by-side with another Mega Drive game, the similarities are striking. Save for a tiny latch on the left side they are identical.

The catridge seems to feature different art from the box, though this one in particular is rather unremarkable. Once again we see a small tagline assuring us that is indeed a reprint.

Checking the back of Pier Solar's catridge we once again witness Watermelon's attention to detail. It looks nearly identical to that of an original Mega Drive catridge, the major differences being the Sega logo giving way to Watermelon's and alternate text in the 'caution' section.

These final two images are not necessarilly part of the packaging, but they are a nice touch nonetheless. The first, is the plastic casing in which my game arrived, which also comes branded with the Watermelon logo.

It's a nice touch that further creates the idea of a premium product and something I'd like to see more often.

Finally there's the invoice which which carried a pleasent watermark and even offers me a discount on future purchases through the use of Gems (lower left corner).

It's difficult to place any faults on Pier Solar's packaging, it's as much of a love letter to the by-gone era of 16-bit gaming as the game itself, if not moreso.

Everything was meticulously done to recreate the look and feel of its retro-brethren, while offering all the goodies and extras one would expect from a collector's edition. What flaws I came across are minute in what is without a doubt an amazing package. Pier Solar deserves a spot on the shelf of any retro collector, reprint edition or otherwise.

Packaging Grade: A+

Legends of Eisenwald Preview

I previewed Legends of Eisenwald over at Tech-gaming.

Legends of Eisenwald offers an immersive and fulfilling sense of exploration which is further enhanced by its soothing soundtrack and a focus on medieval folklore, sadly it’s also marred by a restrictive combat and unbalanced system. The game is currently available through Steam Early Access, so it’s still possible all balancing issues will be addressed before release.“ 

A Druid's Duel Review

”A Druid’s Duel teaches us not to judge a book by its cover. While it may be limited in scope and feature a simple ruleset, the gameplay is subtly complex and rewarding. It’s a testament of how a strong, well developed concept can shine brightly under any circumstance.”

I know it's been a while since I've done retro reviews for That Random Blogger, but I'm now working to address that. Currently, I'm playing Shadowrun on the Sega Genesis and I hope to have a review ready next week.

Homeworld Remastered Review

I reviewed Homeworld Remastered over at Having grown up with the Homeworld series this was a review I was dying to get into. Homeworld 2 is exactly as I remember it, but with an extra layer of shine and polish. Homeworld 1 went through many changes gameplay-wise which may irk longtime players.

I know  it's been two months since my last blog review. I've been playing a retro RPG, but I haven't been able to pour much time into it. Hopefully I can get that particular review done this month.

Total War: Attila

I reviewed Creative Assembly's Total War: Attila over at Tech-Gaming. It's a good game though it feels more like an expansion than it does a sequel. I know it's been a while since I've updated the blog, sorry about that, been rather busy with work. I still have two more Tech-Gaming reviews incoming before I resume work on my blog.