848 reviews liked by Guu


Running with Scissors tries its hand at a linear campaign. I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised to see a cheap DLC add-on take a more focused, directed approach like this, but all it really does is highlight how Postal 2's combat and level-design wasn't made for or suit that kind of structure. With the open-world having been completely stripped away you're funneled into a string of segments that either have you blasting your way through corridor-shooter levels or killing X number of something (usually animals or zombies) before being able to move on. While the former is definitely more entertaining than the latter, neither are particularly fun or exciting. When the content isn't outright dull it's frustrating instead, shining a big ol' spotlight on the inconsistencies in weapon damage and enemy power. Why is it I can take out the little demon Gary Colemans faster by throwing scissors at them than using an automatic machine gun?

This change in format also forces RWS to engage in a larger amount of scripted storytelling, set pieces, and concocting of their own jokes. Most of my chuckles in the main offering came from however I chose to amuse myself with the tools I had at my disposal. Without the same range of freedom and flexibility at your fingertips here though, they're left trying to mine laughter from the stuff going down in the cutscenes, and let me tell you none of it is terribly funny. A lot of the material is recycled gags (Haha, terrorists and protestors! Satire! LOL!) and gratuitous profanity usage, so I guess I'm expected to be rolling on the floor over how much more absurd and over-the-top everything is now. This expansion marks the point where the franchise first made a heavy push into the hyper-ridiculous territory that would more or less define the property moving forward. I may not be guffawing, but we do get a few noteworthy qualities out of it. Primarily the Dude's hallucination sequences where his prior head trauma causes him to slip into a nightmarish version of reality, which I think might be the devs poking fun at Silent Hill. Whatever the case, it shows the studio has the potential to create a strong horror title visually should they ever decide to step back from the Postal brand for a second.

It's a shame this isn't better, because it's actually a big part of the property's history and lore, making it kind of essential to get the full picture. Apocalypse Weekend​ played a huge role in shaping the tone of the series and is also the source of that "pigeon mission" meme the fanbase constantly references (for some reason). Unfortunately, it feels about the same as your average crappy, low-budget 2000s era indie FPS. The particular weak points being an overly long and difficult escape from a U.S. military prison/nuclear silo that requires quite a bit of save scumming and one of the most dreadfully loathsome final bosses I've ever faced. I also experienced multiple crashes to desktop, which never happened to me during my playthrough of the base game. Oh well, at least when I exit to the main menu there's a sexy chick in a thong there now. So that's nice.

4/10

As much as this sounds like some chintzy fan mod project and how your expectations likely only dropped further upon seeing it's a Java/J2ME cellphone offering, I encourage you to put aside your negative preconceptions about what a mobile game, particularly one from that era, can bring to the table. This goes unbelievably hard. The switch to the grid-based movement and turn-based combat systems of old-school dungeon crawlers actually proves to be a clever way of bringing the franchise’s action over, while working around the technological limitations of the hardware which made all of the attempts at a traditional FPS that I've personally experienced basically unplayable. What's more is that it manages to do this without sacrificing any of the intensity the brand is known for. There's still nothing quite like that feeling of walking into a room full of tough demons, taking inventory of your gradually draining supplies of health, armor, ammo for power weapons, etc., and thinking "how the heck am I going to pull this off?!" even in this new format.

The swap in genres also leads to a greater emphasis on more engaging storytelling. Although the plot itself is nothing to write home about, the methods used to tell it are. I genuinely enjoyed interacting with the various NPCs and supporting cast members while reading every computer terminal scattered around for extra contextual information about the situation. I could have done without all of the fourth wall breaks and self-aware jokes as they make the tone more lighthearted/silly at points than I would prefer, but this different approach goes a long way towards making exploring and fighting through the world of DOOM feel for the first time not so empty (in terms of human life) or lonely a process. The property's longtime fans might also get a kick out of the variety of original additions to the player's arsenal they won't find in any other entry, with exception to maybe RPG's own direct sequel. The highlight, in my eyes at least, being the special collars that let you take control of canine foes.

The amount of content is surprisingly pretty decent as well. Seems as if the vast majority of these retro cellular romps can be completed in anywhere from under an hour to mere minutes. This however can keep you playing for upwards of 2hrs+ depending on if you strive for full 100% completion or not. Admittedly, part of that is due to the potential need to level grind. Eventually I found that going back to previously beaten areas to boost my stats and stock up on resources made a lot of sense to better prepare myself for the challenges ahead. Normally, this is something I'm fairly strongly against because of repetition and often the perception of padding, but here it didn't bother me so much since prior stages always contain many hidden secrets you could have missed the first time through and whole new sections that can open up upon acquiring different colored key cards. Everything comes together to create an outing truly worthy of the series and one that I was just as addicted to as the 1993 classic masterpiece.

9/10

Absolute fever dream of a game. I created a busty, maroon-skinned abomination of indeterminable gender who Naruto ran everywhere, bounced side to side on the spot whenever left idle as if they had some kind of severe hyperactive disorder, and sported a flattop haircut literally colored with one the wallpaper patterns. Shockingly my custom avatar still wasn’t the strangest thing in this world where nearly every inhabitant is gay and you can hilariously ragdoll animals' limp bodies at any time by spinning them around your head like pizza dough. Everything from the modern era Cartoon Network visual aesthetic to the fact that you shrink down to the size of an insect and launch yourself around the kitchen on wooden spoons (because apparently that's easier than just walking to the fridge at normal height) to cook gives the impression that a bunch of members of the LGBT community got together, dropped acid, and made an itch.io meme parody of Animal Crossing.

Once you get past all the weirdness of the magical mushroom forests and potions that turn you into humanoid cats though, you really are simply doing fairly typical life simulator tasks of performing favors for the locals to improve your relationships while trying to open up new areas of the island and manage a cafe. It's a genuinely charming and fun experience, even if the constant backtracking to and fro between NPCs in different sections of the map can get a bit annoying. There are plenty of optional smaller distractions for you to engage in as well, such as finding every critter or completing all the baking minigames to fully flesh out your menu of delectable goodies for customers to enjoy. The amount of queer representation will also be a delight for many. You interact with at least two openly lesbian couples, a plethora of small details on clothing or in dialogue hint at a wider array of diverse sexual orientations for the cast, and special care is given so that you can know every character's pronouns if you want to (yes, there is a they/them).

Unfortunately, Calico does have one pretty serious shortcoming, and that's how unlike the Stardew Valleys and Sims of the genre there is a clear ending point here. What's worse is that it won't take you long to reach it either. After a handful of hours, you'll have legitimately burned through all there is to do and have no reason to come back, possibly ever. Heck, even your business technically runs itself as once you create a tasty treat for the first time, subsequent batches magically and automatically produced themselves freeing you up to explore other activities. Whether the title's relatively brief lifespan is a dealbreaker or not will come down to individual preference. Personally, I think the uniquely gonzo style and endearingly quirky mechanics make it worth recommending if you're looking for something different in spite of the $12 price tag.

7.8/10

Remember when Running with Scissors would show up to gaming expos with a bunch of half-naked pornstars and models in tow to promote whatever the Postal franchise was doing next? Man, the 2000s were wild. The whole "Postal Babes" marketing campaign was apparently so successful it led to the ladies appearing in the actual games themselves, spawning a now defunct website where the company would post naughty pics of them, and starring in their own official spin-off title here.

A single glance at its name and artwork will tell what this mobile excursion is all about. Namely letting you play an action game where you get to look at chicks in their underwear. While I'm sure this was absolutely outrageous back in its day, in our modern era where we have witches clothed in hair who will show you everything but their cooter or nipples and the romance scenes in RPGs have long since turned into softcore pornos, the occasional sight of a pixelated thong-clad booty is hardly salacious enough to shock or offend anymore. Heck, it barely even gets the blood pumping.

What will get you worked up is the gameplay however, as this is unbelievably and stupidly hard. I'm talking that old-school unfair NES level of difficult that would have you questioning if the devs didn't know what they were doing or were just sadists, and leave a younger James Rolfe foaming at the mouth with rage. It starts off fine, but goes right down the crapper the second guns are introduced. At that point the whole thing becomes a torturous trial-and-error process of memorizing enemy placements so that you can try to shoot foes from offscreen before they do the same to you. I feel legitimately sorry for those who bought this on smaller devices because finishing this becomes borderline impossible on narrower aspect ratios.

A shame, as there are genuinely a few touches like the handful of sniping sections and a larger than usual for the format number of stages that show HeroCraft did at least attempt to make the project fun and something of quality. Unfortunately, the list of agonizing faults only continues to compile to include instant-death bomb defusing, bafflingly few health pickups, and needing to carefully manage the ammo in your more powerful weapons to use at the right spots. Turning what should have been a cheesy, sleazy good time into a source of unmitigated pain and suffering. Which I suppose if you were a teen trying to get his rocks off to a steamy-looking cellphone cocktease game in 2009 (why would anyone play this on the go?!) is probably what you deserved. I'm merely somebody who thought it would be amusing/interesting to marathon the entire Postal catalogue though, so I didn't. 🥺

2/10

Yeah, that's right kids. It may be April Fools' Day, but this is NO JOKE! There's actually an official Shadow the Hedgehog promotional flash game from Sega out there for you to find.

Featuring:

Two action-packed levels that will provide you with MINUTES of riveting gameplay!!!

Stupid borders around the screen that obscure your view of what's ahead so that you have to make blind jumps with the stiff controls LIKE A MAAAAN!!

A never-ending motorbike stage that doesn't stop until you die so that you can get the sickest high-scores imaginable and rise to the top of the leaderboards!!! (Disclaimer: leaderboards don't work anymore)

A random glitch that makes it so your guns straight up WON'T. SHOOT. Totally rad!

Digital postcards you can email to a friend! (Disclaimer: the ability to send digital postcards also no longer works.)

Download Flashpoint Archive to play today!

2.5/10

You know, for the big, bad black sheep of the Postal franchise I was expecting something a whole lot worse. Don't get me wrong, I'm not some deluded apologist fan trying to convince you this is actually a misunderstood masterpiece or even a good game at all. I'm just saying it's more a cheap and disappointing product than the unplayable affront it's known as. Honestly, I've played a little over half the property's entries and expansions at this point, and PIII is about par for the course in terms of quality. Sorry, not sorry.

Its biggest problem is budgetary, which has continuously proved to be the only thing that has been more detrimental to the series' reputation and reception than even its controversial content. Running with Scissors passed development of the project off to Akella, the company responsible for publishing their works in Russia, and one of its internal studios fittingly named "Trashmasters" because those guys had deeper pockets. Unfortunately, the country's Great Recession from 08-09 completely mucked up any chances for the potential greatness that you can still catch the occasional glimpses of while playing.

The whole package was built around the idea of replayability, featuring a branching storyline that will lead you to one of three possible endings depending on your choices and behavior. The notion of getting to see entirely new content in the form of different missions and cutscenes is as compelling in this format as it is in your typical Western narrative RPG, although it's more than a bit weird that they decided for outcomes to be determined by a morality system. I mean, actively encouraging players to be upstanding, law-abiding citizens in a Postal game?! What sense does that make?

Ultimately however, I didn't find the gameplay enticing enough to pull me back in to go for another ending, and not simply because I feel I happened to pick the most interesting path of the bunch on that first playthrough either. The financial struggles behind the scenes led to this being nothing more than a generic, linear third-person shooter. Admittedly one that can be mindlessly entertaining due to the fun gore and silly guns, even if some weapons don't seem to work (I'm convinced it's impossible to hit anyone with the fire axe). Might have earned a cautious recommendation were it not for the plethora of technical issues. As if long levels without checkpoints weren't enough, I experienced multiple crashes to desktop and repeated instances of critical doors inexplicably failing to open that forced regular mission restarts.

Never knowing if something was about to go wrong and cause me to have to replay possibly lengthy stretches of a stage if I didn't remember to manually save every few minutes is what really kills this for me. I legitimately enjoyed the return to a more grounded style and tone after Apocalypse Weekend, and found the writing fitfully amusing by virtue of how nasty and vulgar they were willing to be with the shock humor in their blatant efforts to offend. It is perhaps worthier of the Postal name than the vast majority give it credit for. Regardless, while I believe the overall general vitriol this has received over the years is a tad overblown, I wouldn't recommend the curious members of the fanbase check it out. The dev's lack of proper funds led to this being too unstable and lackluster to be a fulfilling use of your time. It may be too early to tell for sure as I've still got quite a few releases left to try, but based on all I've gotten to thus far I'm beginning to suspect this property doesn't have anything consequential to offer after its second outing.

5/10

There certainly is a fair bit to lament about this throwback to the retro survival-horror classics of yesteryear...

Creating an experience meant to instill terror with a cutesy pixel art style seems like a paradox, yet titles such as Lone Survivor and Claire have shown it is entirely possible to do so successfully. If they stand as proof of the method's effectiveness however, then Lamentum is without a doubt their antithesis. Often the imagery it presents is more goofy than frightening. Leading to a descent through the spirals of madness that simply isn't scary, and not just because of its occasional corny touches which include abandoned nurseries decorated with children's wooden ABC blocks that have been arranged to spell out the words "die" or "hell" (ooh, petrifying 🙄) either.

It may come as a surprise though, that this isn't the game's real problem. That would be how it more frequently serves as a showcase for the less fondly remembered aspects of the Silent Hills, Resident Evils, and other PS1 era genre greats it's paying homage to, rather than the qualities that made them so beloved. To be fair, it does get about half the formula right. Developer Obscure Tales really nailed the exploration and puzzle-solving element, tossing you into a very Spencer Mansion-esque setting full of satisfying head-scratchers that make the loop of figuring out what items need to be used where as the number of areas you have access to only grows larger extremely addicting indeed. Unfortunately, the stuff they got wrong was enough to suck quite a bit of my enjoyment out from even this portion and left me wishing they had made a straight adventure offering instead.

Now, having to carefully manage your supplies, contend with limited inventory space, and potentially lose lengthy stretches of progress should you happen to meet an untimely demise on your way to the next sparsely located safe room is always annoying to a degree, but far from atypical for the genre. Just look at Lamentum’s obvious inspirations. So the fact that all that stuff actively irritated me here whereas I've been able to basically overlook them in its influences means that I either can't hang with survival-horror anymore (totally possible) or that this one doesn't manage to bring these hurdles together in a way that healthily adds to the tension as opposed to merely introducing greater frustration. Naturally, I'm leaning towards the latter.

I think the reason it fails to make everything click for itself is because it doesn't get the combat right. It wasn't until around the halfway mark when I finally found a melee weapon decent enough to make defending myself when backed into a corner, a regular occurrence given how much of the runtime takes place in tight hallways, a legitimately viable option even with the fairly reliable dodge mechanic. With bullets needing to be rationed for boss battles, up until then trying to squeeze past monsters and healing up whatever swipes I may have taken (and usually did take) along the way was genuinely the best means of preserving my resources, which turns the process of getting from point A to point B and back again into an unengaging, tedious, and at times downright aggravating slog. Especially since one of the protagonist's lungs apparently explodes the second he tries to run more than three steps when in the presence of an enemy. Word of advice, turn off the RE1 style limited saves and maybe just play on easy.

Another, minor in comparison flaw that left me nonetheless baffled is the game's approach to endings. I achieved 3 out of the 4 different conclusions. That fourth and final one, meanwhile? Unless you're willing to awkwardly hump every square inch of scenery I have no idea how you would unlock it without resorting to a guide as it requires you to collect a certain number of items (6 human teeth and 10 "strange" coins to be precise) that often don't have any sort of visual indication of where they are onscreen and are sometimes hidden in scripted hallucination scenarios that give you only a single opportunity to grab them. I also still don't know what you're supposed to do with them afterwards. By far the most cryptic set of finale requirements I've seen since trying to spare Cybil in the first Silent Hill.

Ultimately, in spite of all my complaints and grievances I did push through to witness the credits roll. Drawing strength from the consistent dopamine hit of finding that next key or tool that would grant me access to another section of "Grau Hill" and the secrets inside. The devs definitely delivered on the brainteasers, but the manner they dropped the ball with the action and horror causes this to be difficult to recommend. If they can manage to notably improve in those departments for their already announced sophomore showing “INANIMA” then we could have a true standout on our hands. Unfortunately, their debut effort leaves a lot to be desired.

5.5/10

Finally, some good freaking Postal. Shows there's still some gas in the tank for both Postal 2 and maybe the franchise as a whole. After 11 years away and a disastrously received outsourced third main entry Paradise Lost immediately retcons as a nightmarish coma dream of the Dude, Running with Scissors returned to develop this expansion for themselves. I’ve got to say, all the growth you would hope to see from them after such an extended absence is on display here as they deliver not only their typical demented wit, but evidence that they’d genuinely been refining their craft during that period as well.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not proclaiming this to be some massive step forward for the property. At the end of the day, it is just more Postal 2 (which as it turns out is exactly what I wanted) on a slightly reskinned map. Yet it features markedly improved writing, level-design, vision, and boss battles compared to Apocalypse Weekend. It's also the first Postal to make me legitimately laugh out loud. Stuff such as the robot factory with its hilarious Claptrap parodies (voiced by David Eddings himself) and occasional copycat G-Man sighting, alongside an overall goofier assortment of tasks that include shutting down a nightclub by performing bad karaoke led to a campaign that might actually be more imaginative, amusing, and better paced than even that of the base game.

Another aspect I particularly enjoyed as well was the increased amount of effort that went into fleshing out the map with a greater variety of fun things to uncover. The sorely missed open-world format gets resurrected after far too long and RWS ensured there are more secrets, Easter eggs, and personal touches than ever before to successfully revitalize the setting of post-apocalyptic "Paradise," Arizona by giving you extra rewards for wandering off the beaten path and exploring a setting that had previously always felt kind of barren before. FYI, there's a house where you can find two Postal Babes kissing in a backroom. Happy hunting you horny nerds.

Now, as much as I'd love to keep heaping praise onto this and happily declare it as the best entry in the series (not quite, but very close), there are some issues. A couple of which are pretty serious. Once you reach Thursday on your to-do list for the new week you can tell they either ran out of time, ideas, or most likely money knowing these guys during development. The areas you revisit from the main offering stop featuring enough changes to keep you from realizing you’re basically playing recycled content, causing the last hour or so until you reach the finale in Hell to drag a bit. It probably wasn't overly noticeable or that big of an issue for those who had been waiting on Paradise Lost for roughly a decade, but as someone who had only beaten P2 a mere month ago it stuck out like a sore thumb. A much worse flaw however comes from the option you're given to create a desktop shortcut that will allow you to jump straight into the experience rather than having to go through two different main menus to access it, since opting to go that route results in your Steam achievements bugging out.

There are some other, less significant problems along the lines of minor audio quirks and whatnot. Although ultimately, large or small, none of the faults prevented me from thoroughly enjoying this. It's a fantastic and perfectly befitting send-off by Running with Scissors for easily their biggest success that doubles as a thank you/apology for all the crap that was released in between to the fans, while painting a promising picture for future installments. I know my enthusiasm and optimism for the rest of the property that followed has been somewhat restored after struggling through a string of lackluster to downright awful sequels and spin-offs recently. Perhaps the first definite proof that there's real talent at the Tucson-based studio behind all the controversy.

9/10

Heartbreaking. After playing through the first DOOM RPG I was left genuinely at a loss when it came to thinking of what they could have possibly improved upon to create a bigger, better sequel. Maybe take out some of the level grinding, but even that wasn't too much of an issue in what is basically still the most perfect transition to another genre any franchise has ever made thus far as of this writing. So, the most I reasonably expected to get here was a follow-up that would simply end up being just more of the same. A good, fun time, but nothing to really write home about due to the familiarity. Certainly wouldn't have guessed they would try to radically redefine the experience in ways that ultimately left me highly disappointed. This is such a letdown.

Underneath its flashy exterior of impressive, stylish graphics and frequent cutscenes that make it a technical marvel by J2ME standards, lies a hollow interior where all the new features such as hacking minigames, three playable characters/classes (that really offer no distinguishable differences outside of maybe the occasional line of dialogue from NPCs), and the ability to loot dead bodies provide merely the illusion of added depth. Yeah, they got rid of the leveling grinding, but in the process made leveling up at all feel totally pointless. The change to a linear campaign structure with no option to backtrack to previously completed stages for extra EXP means there's only ever a set amount you’ll be able to acquire at any given time. Therefore, it’s essentially predetermined how strong you can be at specific points. Arrive at a particularly difficult boss or encounter and you’re supposed to rely on special “nano drink” consumables that grant massive temporary stat boosts rather than the work you put into building yourself up beforehand. It causes the whole thing to come off as cheap and overly scripted.

The same great turn-based action remains however, so it’s not a complete wash. As a result, I think my biggest problem might just be how this simply doesn’t feel like DOOM anymore. That irritating element of silly comedy that reared its ugly little head here and there in the preceding RPG has spread like a virus to every inch of this subsequent adventure. From squirt guns filled with holy water that give enemies googly eyes to searching dead bodies solely to turn up useless joke items like pocket lint or severed fingers, the tone is overall extremely goofy in a similar manner to how nearly all our modern movies and TV shows are now since the MCU reshaped the Hollywood blockbuster formula. For those such as myself who prefer the mix of ‘80s action machismo and horror the property is typically known for, this is disgraceful.

They haven't necessarily created an outright bad game here. Honestly, by all reasonable and fair standards it's entirely competent across the board. Their efforts to expand upon the original while making it more appealing to the masses though, has dreadfully stripped it of its soul. Undoubtedly among the strongest proof I've yet seen that sometimes less is in fact actually more.

6/10

Hearing that new video game system you’re about to buy comes with a free title designed to show off its special capabilities likely calls to mind some paltry minigame compilation à la Welcome Park on PS Vita. Sony has actually preloaded their latest home console with a full-fledged 3D collect-a-thon platformer of remarkable quality though! It may not end up being as iconic as Wii Sports, but is a very welcome member of the PS5’s library nonetheless.

It feels like a gleeful celebration of the company’s long history. Not in a supercilious, self-aggrandizing way, but in a manner more akin to sitting down with an old friend and reminiscing fond memories. Everywhere you look there’s an Easter egg or deep cut reference that’s been lovingly placed there to bring a smile to the face of any abiding PlayStation devotee while reminding them of the types of experiences they can’t get anywhere else.

As delightful as all of that is though, it’s the gameplay that matters most and if that didn’t hold up then this package would carry no value. Astro’s Playroom manages to succeed due to spacing out the stages meant to make use of the controller’s unique functions with excellent traditional ones that you can explore and grab things in at your leisure. The levels that see you tilting the DualSense and playing around with its touchpad and adaptive triggers admittedly are a tad gimmicky (especially those dang frog suit sections), but remain fun in spite of that by never outstaying their welcome.

Another aspect that really impressed me was the sheer amount of interactivity. In the starting hub area alone, you can smack all of the little Bots to have them tag along behind you and amass a huge horde of followers. What purpose does this serve? None as far as I can tell! It's just a single example of the many neat little features the devs have included that allow you to find extra amusement in engaging with your surroundings. It's something I wish more games would do.

This might also be the perfect length, striking that nice balance between charming demo you spend a little time with before moving on to the games you actually bought the console for and a more fulfilling offering that can keep you coming back for a few additional hours via the healthy amount of collectibles to hunt down. AP won't be on any top ten of the PS5's lifespan lists when all is said and done, yet is a fantastic freebie regardless that there's absolutely no reason for you to not check out if you own the hardware.

9/10