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Harry Potter: Wizards Unite

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Harry Potter: Wizards Unite

Initial Release Date: June 21, 2019

Publisher & Developer: Niantic, Portkey Games, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Genre: Augmented Reality, Location Based Gaming

Platforms: Android, IOS

Why We’re Playing It: Dust off your wands, wake up the house elf and pour yourself a Butter Beer, because you’re about to dive head first into the world of Harry Potter. This game is a dream come true for any fan of the Harry Potter franchise and its many facets, so naturally we wanted to check this one out for all the Potter Heads out there.

What’s It All About?: Quite simply, you are submerged into the wizarding world. You play along with many of the notable (and memorable!) characters from the film franchise while you grow and learn as a wizard yourself. If this game was a layered, tiered cake, that would be just the first layer on the first tier. There is so much to this game in terms of story, characters and game play.

That’s Worth A Power-Up!: The game itself is free with in-app purchases available that are hard to resist. There is so much to do between creating potions, growing plants, dining at inns, battling vampires and werewolves… you never run out of something to do every time you boot up your app. It is a lot to take in at first, but our advice is just to start playing, and as you go along you will start to incorporate more and more of the different aspects into your gaming experience.

Bonus Level: Much like Pokémon Go, different locations will yield different experiences. If you see someone in the bread aisle of the grocery store frantically casting spells on their phone to defeat a Death Eater, you’ll completely understand.

And that’s why this game is a certified quarter muncher!

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Trunk Gaming

Days Gone

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Days Gone

Initial Release Date: April 26, 2019

Developer: SIE Bend Studio

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment

Platform: PS4

Genre: Surivival Horror/Over-The-Shoulder Shoot

Why We’re Playing It: We have been starving for a decent survival horror genre game to sink our teeth into and this one is a dead ringer for the kind that we like to chew on.

What’s It’s All About?: You play as the lovable loner and former biker gang member Deacon St. John. (voiced by “Being Human” star Sam Witwer!) To keep this synopsis spoiler free, we’ll just say the basics of the plot are to survive and thrive along with your biker buddy, Boozer (Jim Pirri).

That’s Worth A Power-Up!: While some games herald themselves as true post-apocalyptic survival horror experiences, you still get by quite easily finding random cases of bullets, guns, etc. strewn across the landscape, which really makes no sense. In “Days Gone” it’s quite the opposite. While you traverse the treacherous “freaker” terrain, you are going to have to stop at police cars, NERO camps and more to locate bullets, otherwise you will be lucky to find some spare scrap metal, a loose board, or on a good day, a machete in an abandoned shed or car. One thing that is clear? There are not enough bullets to take out all those freakers, so you’re going to have to use your noggin a bit to survive.

Bonus Level: “Days Gone” is a solid game that could easily stand alone, but SIE Bend Studio is not done. They have vowed weekly challenges and updates to be made for the game that will keep fans coming back for more freaker-bashing fun. So, to quote Deacon, “Let’s ride!”

And that’s why this game is a certified quarter muncher!

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Trunk Gaming

Resident Evil 2

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Resident Evil 2

Initial Release Date: January 25, 2019

Publisher & Developer: Capcom

Genre: Survival Horror, Action/Adventure

Platforms: Playstation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows

Why We’re Playing It: We played the original Resident Evil 2 way back in ‘98 when it was released, and we loved it then, so we could not resist the chance to slip on those familiar gaming sneakers that once carried our imaginations through the late ‘90s of horror survival.

What’s It All About?: The story follows rookie police officer Leon Scott Kennedy and college student Claire Redfield. The two accidentally cross paths on their journey to Raccoon City. Claire is looking for her brother, Chris Redfield (from the first Resident Evil) and poor Leon was supposed to start working for the RPD right before the zombie poop hit the fan. The game allows you to play as either Leon or Claire. They are both similar experiences but with different weapons, storylines and a few additional surprises.

That’s Worth A Power-Up!: You know what to expect from a remastered Star Wars movie – 1,000 Storm Troopers instead of 100, or a few extra CGI-based aliens here or there, but Capcom’s new take on their old classic is entirely different. Imagine taking the scariest movie you have ever seen, then, somehow making it induce 10x more anxiety, scares and cursing at your screen. That’s what you have with the Resident Evil 2 revamp. Whether it’s Mr. X’s relentless pursuit or zombies dropping out of ceilings, this game will have you freaking out in more ways than one. There is no poetic way to put it… you’re just going to freak the freak out!

Bonus Level: There are so many aspects to this version of RE2 that will have you drooling with gamer admiration, but one of the most impressive is the mix of lighting and sound effects. When you enter a dark room with your flashlight bobbing around and you hear the growl of a nearby zombie and the creak of a light hanging from the ceiling, you are on the edge of your seat even if there is nothing in the room that can do you harm. The atmosphere and full immersion into the Raccoon City apocalypse is beautifully done.

And that’s why this game is a certified quarter muncher!

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Trunk Gaming

Far Cry 5

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Game: Far Cry 5

Initial Release Date: March 27, 2018

Publisher: Ubisoft

Genre: 1st Person Shooter/Action Adventure

Platforms: Playstation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows

Why We’re Playing It: We enjoy our shooter games, but “Far Cry 5” has more layers than deep fried onion at a state fair. You might be liberating a camp full of cultist hillbillies one minute, then literally fishing in a lake the next. This playable experience is one of those rare instances that allows you incredible gaming freedom to fly a helicopter, plane, drive a boat, ATV, semi-truck or skydive in a wingsuit. The kicker… it doesn’t suck! What do we mean by that? You know the type of game that has you flying, boating, driving and walking, but the mechanics are just all wrong? This is the opposite. Ubisoft does every aspect of this game well, including some stunning full motion video and beautiful backdrops.

What It’s All About?: You play a deputy rookie that is riding along with veteran police forces to diffuse a hostile cult that is taking over the area. Matters are attempted to be resolved peacefully, but that would make a pretty boring game. So instead, things go up in smoke along with the helicopter you’re riding in. After crash-landing, you’re rescued by a rebel that helps you blend in undercover. You continue your work to liberate and save the innocent while helping take the area back from the cultists.

That’s Worth A Power-Up!: One of the best aspects about this installment of “Far Cry” is the vast variety. As we mentioned, you have an abundance of transportation options, but you also have a slew of weapons, power-ups and tasks that keep things interesting. If you need a break from all the gunning and blowing stuff up, kick back and relax and do some fishing, hunting or even repair a car. Just don’t keep your hand off the trigger finger while you’re smelling the virtual roses.

Bonus Level: The dialogue in this game is some of the funniest we’ve encountered since perhaps “Duke Nukem.” Had we had milk in our mouth, it would have come out our noses when a character proclaimed, “I feel higher than a Jamaican Giraffe!” So, there’s a pro-tip. Don’t drink milk while playing “Far Cry 5!”

And that’s why this game is a certified quarter muncher!

 

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Trunk Gaming

Good Pizza, Great Pizza

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Game: Good Pizza, Great Pizza

Initial Release Date: December 2014 (Newly refurbished with updates in 2018)

Publisher: Tapblaze

Genre: Pizza Business Simulator

Platforms: Mobile Devices

Why We’re Playing It: While “Good Pizza, Great Pizza” has been out since 2014, it has recently undergone some massive updates that have breathed fresh life into this game. In fact, they even have a “NEW” banner slapped across the app button to let you know this is not last week’s leftover pizza.

What’s It’s All About?: You’re an ambitious culinary entrepreneur who decided to open their very own pizza shop directly across from another pizza place with a pun-dropping jerk for an owner. Each day is a new day, and he stops by to challenge you to up your pizza game. You see a variety of customers, and they aren’t all clear on exactly what they want, so you have to decide if you want to inquire further or just start slinging dough and hope it’s right. At the end of the day, you tally up your profits and decide how to reinvest in your pizza shop.

That’s Worth A Power-Up!: As pop culture art connoisseurs, we found the artistic style behind this game really gorgeous with a brilliant color scheme and uniquely drawn characters.

Bonus Level: This game is rated 4+ and has “family sharing” enabled. “Good Pizza, Great Pizza” is truly a game that all ages can enjoy, and the little ones stand to learn a lot about running a business and customer service while also having fun.

And that’s why this game is a certified quarter muncher!

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Trunk Gaming

Dragon Ball FighterZ

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Game: Dragon Ball FighterZ

Initial Release Date: January 26, 2018

Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment

Genre: Fighter

Plateform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows

Why We’re Playing It: There have been great pairings in the past… peanut butter and jelly, Batman and Robin, zombies and brains… but perhaps one of the best we have seen to date is the pairing of the best fighting game developer, Arc System Works, with THE best fighting cartoon, “Dragon Ball Z.”

What It’s All About?: Whether you’re a Dragon Ball fan or not, a beginning gamer or a well-seasoned one… this game is worth checking out. It’s easy to just plug in, play and enjoy. If you’re a fan of the cartoon series, then you’re in luck, because they do the series justice and it’s literally like you’re dropped (and playing along) in the fight scenes from the show. Nothing is going to get you closer to being in the series unless you become a Super Saiyan yourself and get beamed into the TV ala Willy Wonka.

That’s Worth A Power-Up!: The game looks and sounds phenomenal. It has the traditional cel shading animation look to it, but there’s also a sense of depth and dimension. So, you’re playing 2D, but it has a third dimensional feel. The camera/screen will zoom in and out at times depending on the actions and distance between fighters, and this helps provide that next level of dimension. The sounds are crisp and land on cue along with punches or kicks to the face. The music is fast paced and keeps you in the fighting spirit and engaged.

Bonus Level: Right out of the gate, we noticed that this a great fighting game for both beginners and veteran gamers. It’s very easy to pick up on the controls and the way that the game plays. There are no super long button combos to remember, so depending on what level of cartoon violence you find acceptable, the younger crowd can get in on this game as well and probably lay waste to the older gamers in the room.

And that’s why this game is a certified quarter muncher!

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Trunk Gaming

Game Review: Run Sausage Run!

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Game Title: Run Sausage Run!

Platforms: IOS, Android

Price: FREE

App Version: 1.4.0

On the “Run Sausage Run” app page, Crazy Labs has a perfect pun that really sums up their new game.

You never sausage a sausage! (Get it? Saw such…a sausage? Anyone?)

Truer words were never written when it comes to this game! I mean, when you have an opportunity to play as a zombie sausage, ninja sausage or even what looks to be a rather orange and presidential sausage, you can honestly say, “I never saw such a sausage!” Grab your favorite condiments and phone or tablet, because we’re getting saucy with our latest edition of Trunk Gaming.

First of all, Crazy Labs is bringing this game to you for FREE! Heck of a deal, right? (There are options for in-app purchases if you would like to support these entrepreneurs further, and get some of the funniest add-ons known to any app.) Gameplay is super simple, so you catch on right away. You just tap the screen and your sausage starts to walk forward. The more you push and hold your screen the faster the sausage runs and bends backwards from the g-force. This is important, because you’re going to want to bend backwards to duck the buzz-saws, or you may need to slow up to avoid the meat tenderizer mallet crushing you. While you’re running your casing off, you also are tasked to grab star coins along the way. You can use these to unlock fun sausage skins (or casings if you will), like our favorite, the ZOMBIE SAUSAGE! There are power-ups you can grab along the way like the snowflake that freezes all the obstacles for a short time or the green arrow that shrinks you down to help with avoiding getting sliced in two. If you’re up for more of a challenge than just surviving a barrage of deadly obstacles, they offer plenty of goals for you to achieve. If you’re a completist, like our gaming team, you’re all in for these.

Visually, “Run Sausage Run” is just as fun and comical as the idea behind the game. The animation is fluid and smooth while maintaining a solid amount of detail. The way the sausages bend backward and run is reminiscent of Stimpy (of “The Ren & Stimpy Show” fame) or a classic rubbery cartoon character. The musical score is just as catchy and fitting as the visuals of the game. It’s a whimsical, upbeat a capella sound mixed with a cartoon musical vibe. You just have to hear it, but be warned… this tune will stick in your brain like the theme to your favorite TV show.

While this game is incredibly addictive, and you will want to best your best score with each outing, it’s fun to just see what happens when your sausage meets a buzz saw or gas burner. In fact, Crazy Labs encourages you to experience torturing your sausage by having goals like, “Die 9 times at the guillotine” or “Die twice as a zombie sausage.” That kind of whimsy the game possesses makes this the sort of addictive game you laugh at and share with friends. Not like Candy Crush, where you want to crush your phone because you can’t get that last colorful game piece to line up just right in four moves.

Run Sausage Run” is a total blast to play, and it’s free, so really no excuse not to give it a try unless you hate fun… or have something against torturing sausages. There is some animated blood/cartoony violence, so they recommend this at age 12 and up. If you’re like us, though…you’re going to have a hard time sharing your phone or tablet, because YOU are going to want to play this all the time instead of the kiddos. They need to get their homework done anyway, right?

The Trunk Gamers had a blast with this app, and we can’t wait to see what crazy concoctions come next from Crazy Labs!

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Trunk Gaming

Game Review: Ookujira

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Game Title: Ookujira – Giant Whale Rampage

Platforms: IOS, Android

Price: FREE

App Version: 2.31

It’s easy to be overwhelmed when perusing the games in your app store. There are at least a gagillion choices… that’s right, we ran the numbers and there are a gagillion games to choose from (don’t fact check that, just believe us). So, how do you decide which of these colorful games becomes your next gaming addiction/reality escape while you’re waiting in line at the DMV or sitting next to your crazy sister-in-law at a forced family gathering? Well, that’s where TrunkGaming comes in. We’ve spent countless caffeine-fueled hours looking for the perfect time consumer of a game, and our pick this week is “Ookujira – Giant Whale Rampage” by Rieha Creative. Grab your snorkel and mobile device and hide your wooden boy doll, cause this ain’t your Geppetto’s whale!

What do you do when the world is invaded by evil alien robots and human technology proves to be no match for this alien tech? Isn’t it obvious? You turn to a giant whale to save all of humanity! This is a highly addictive side scrolling tap-and-go sort of game. The mechanics are simple enough and it’s easy to catch on to quickly and start enjoying the gameplay. You are tasked at saving the world as a giant whale out of water. You tap once to make your whale leap out of the ocean and into action. You need to keep the whale on top of the buildings, so there are mid-air jump options that help you achieve this. Once you’ve mastered the air jumps and landed on rooftops like you’re Spider-Whale, you are hit with the task of diving on buildings. You tap the dive button, and your whale dives down quickly crushing a building or anything else in your path. This is especially useful for crushing those pesky robot ships. Just when you’re thinking that is more than enough to handle, you start collecting holographic-looking diamonds. We’re not sure what they are to be honest, but they’re basically like Mario’s golden coins. Once you accumulate enough of these holographic diamonds, you can utilize them to cash in on in-game purchases without using that precious real human money. The purchases include power-ups for your whale that will aid you in your fight against the robots. You could go through and play this game entirely for free, which is a plus. However, if you really, really want a cool-looking robot whale, you could fork over the 99 cents to get a new whale skin to play as.

There are two different “modes” you can play in “Ookujira.” One is the classic arcade mode, which has you playing through different countries and fighting robot alien tech with nothing but your fins and flippers. Arcade mode is probably best to start out with until you get the hang of the game mechanics. The other mode is called slalom. The objective of slalom is to maneuver your whale through the laser gates being held by floating robots. You can also crush buildings along the way to gain extra points and ultimately more of those collectible holograph diamonds. We found both modes were enjoyable and easy to navigate.

Visually, the game is quite beautiful as well with pastel-like colors. If you appreciate a great color scheme that is pleasing to the eye, then you will appreciate the time and care they spent crafting the environments and characters in this game. We found the colors were also not so harsh and bright on your eyes, which is great, because you can play longer before starting to resemble Droopy the cartoon dog.

Ookujira” is rated 9+ for cartoon-like violence, but we think this is a bit harsh, unless you consider a whale crushing a building violent. We think kiddos of all ages would get a good laugh out of this and adults will find it absurdly entertaining. The premise alone is ridonculous and worth a download. So, what are you waiting for? Dive in and take the plunge with “Ookujira – Giant Whale Rampage” and make those robot aliens pay!

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Trunk Gaming

Game Review: Evil Within 2

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Initial Release Date: October 13, 2017

Developer: Tango Gameworks

Publisher: Bethesda Softworks

Genre: Survival Horror

Platforms: Playstation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows

Every October we look for something truly horrifying and entertaining to watch, read or play to help get us in that very special Halloween spirit that would make even the Great Pumpkin proud to grace our pumpkin patch. This year that special something turned out to be “Evil Within 2,” the sequel to Shinji Mikami’s original “Evil Within.” Shinji is to the survival horror genre what George A. Romero was to zombie horror films. You may have heard of his past work on a little franchise called “Resident Evil,” the first video game that any of us can recall having a reaction to similar to a scary movie. (Don’t tell us you didn’t jump when that first zombie dog jumps through the window, or the first time one of the zombies grappled you and sunk their teeth in you like a deep fried Twinkie at a fair.) This time Shinji let John Johanas and the Tango Gameworks team take the directorial reins, but he oversaw the project along the way. The transition is seamless and something very special to play. So, grab a mason jar of that green goo and see what we had to say (or scream!) about this gaming experience.

“Evil Within 2” brings back protagonist Sebastian Castellanos, as if the poor guy didn’t go through enough in the first game. The MOBIUS corporation has returned along with his partner, Juli Kidman, whom double crossed him in the previous installment. MOBIUS is seeking out Sebastian to help them. You’re asking, “Why in the hell would he ever help them after what they put him through last time?!” Well, they have what would be any father’s weakness… his daughter that he thought was dead for the past three years is alive and at the core of the STEM system MOBIUS is using. The catch? She is missing and Sebastian must reenter the nightmarish world that he barely survived before to find his daughter. It sounds simple-ish, right? TOTALLY WRONG! Once you’re put under and enter STEM, things begin to unravel quicker than Freddy Krueger’s sweater.

One of the things that really impressed us about “Evil Within 2” was how immersive it was. The first two chapters of the game you don’t actually fight anything – you are quite simply taking in the story and watching the setup of a cinematic horror movie, but you’re in control. The credits even scroll as you control Sebastian on screen. In a way, you are the director of this scary movie. You choose your actions and how to handle situations. Sure, there are confines of the game, but you really don’t notice them all that much. You might walk into a relatively small house or simple room, but when you open one door it may lead to a mental hospital overrun by creatures or you may find yourself on the receiving end of a madman’s Polaroid. Without giving too much away, we will say that you not only have to worry about the zombie-like creatures and freakishly-demented boss battles, but also a crazed killer snapping photos and creating “art” of the victims he kills. It freezes the moment in time and suddenly you’re watching an Instagram-style Boomerang video of someone’s brains being scattered across the room. Even more chilling is when you see portions of his art gallery that contain multiple heads attached to one another, bodies held together with barbed wire and things done with saws that would make even Jigsaw cringe with terror.

The actual act of fighting in the game can be a bit tedious and difficult to navigate at times. You want your character to move like Batman from the Rocksteady Studios games, but instead he is a little stiff. At first it was frustrating, but we soon adapted and really enjoyed a different take on the fight scenes. You see, instead of going into a room full of zombies, guns blazing, you should look around first. There may be an oil barrel you can kick over and shoot to ignite them all in an inferno. Or maybe they are standing in water, bust out that electrified crossbow and zap them all together. Another fun and nail-biting way to play is to sneak up on the zombie creatures and try to get the drop with a stealth kill. They are very unpredictable and never act the same way twice, so you don’t know if you will be caught or not, but it’s a riot to try. It’s really a survival horror game that makes you think and problem solve. We also liked breaking out car windows and honking at zombies, then running away. What can we say, we’re easily amused at times by teasing the undead!

There is an upgrade system similar to “The Last of Us,” where you collect parts, tools, etc… then, at various points you can upgrade your weapons, fabricate bullets or health items. We preferred drinking that magical coffee at the safe houses that somehow restores your full health. Make ours a double! You also collect red and green goo along the way and hidden keys. These can all be used in STEM to upgrade your abilities in a Matrix-like fashion. You collect the stuff, then cash them in to be injected with abilities. A word of advice… the FIRST chance you get, you’re going to want to use the “bottle upgrade” that allows you to smash bottles on undead that grab a hold of you. This happens a lot, and it’s better to smash a bottle on their head than to take damage. While there are ways to get your health back, such items are pretty scarce along with limited ammo.

One last thing we have to mention, because it’s done so well, is the environment. The detailing and textures in the game are really gorgeous. Nothing was left unfinished. It’s such a cool sight to see the fractured portions of a small town floating in the background or when you near an edge of an area. Because you are in this dream world, reality becomes blurred in odd ways. It feels very authentic, because the environments are so realistic. One minute you’re running down the street from a zombie, and you dart into a house, only now it’s not a house. It’s a mental ward or demented art gallery. It’s an effect seen in horror movies, but when you are actually playing and experiencing it, the sensation is goosebumps-inducing!

 “Evil Within 2” is like “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “The Walking Dead” and “Silent Hill” put in a blender and then poured out in video game form for the most bizarre and enjoyable horror survival experience ever to splatter across your screen. Our advice is to wait until dark, flip off the lights and give yourself as much time for the first portion of the game as you would to watch a movie. After Halloween is over, and you’re missing those haunted houses, just fire this game up and you’ll definitely get your fright fix!

 

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Trunk Gaming

Game Review: Cuphead

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Game Title: Cuphead

Initial Release Date: September 29, 2017

Developer: Studio MDHR

Publisher: Studio MDHR

Designer: Jared Moldenhauer

Engine: Unity

Platforms: Xbox One, Microsoft Windows

Every now and then a game comes along that is so eye-popping, stylistically gorgeous, that you just can’t put it down no matter how hard you try. In years past we would say that list of games would include “Mark of Kri,” “Comix Zone” (Google it kiddos), “Zelda: Wind Waker,” “Bioshock,” the list goes on. And now the list has another groundbreaking and original visual treat – we’re talking about “Cuphead!” The 1930s style animation is so captivating to play and interact with and the watercolor backgrounds are as immersive as they are beautiful. Seriously, the visuals in this game are such a sweet treat, our eyeballs have contracted contact diabetes. Pull up a gaming chair and get ready to drink up this review of Cuphead with our Trunk Gaming crew!

A word of warning for those gamers who are controller throwers, and you know who you are! You might want to duct tape the controller to your hands, because this game is toon-crushingly relentless. There are no checkpoints and no way to regain health. The design of this game is such that everything is random. You have no control over where something like a platform may be in the exact same point of the game you were previously playing. In other words, you might just get killed by sheer chance that things did not line up just right for you. Though this can be frustrating, it’s still a blast to play and the swanky style of this game kept us coming back for more.

There are three basic types of gameplay you experience in “Cuphead.” You have left and right platform gaming similar to “Super Mario Bros.,” if Mario was packing heat. The second style is like a throwback to classic arcade side scrolling spaceship shoot ‘em ups. The third and most exciting style of gameplay are the platform battles that feel almost like a fighting game at times, blurring the lines of what you would expect to see and play. You can unlock special abilities that you will need to play around with to accomplish different tasks. This can prove vital to moving along your gaming journey instead of the try, try again routine.

All in all, “Cuphead” is not only a visual treat, it’s also a gaming delight. We showed up for the visuals of this game, but we stayed for the gameplay and enjoyed every minute of it. This game will have you oohing and awing, laughing and cursing (more than once), but after all the animated smoke settles, you’ll find yourself wanting to go back again and again. We finished our “Cuphead” and can’t wait for a refill!

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