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I'd been looking forward to The Witness for a long time when it finally came out last week. My hopes and expectations were high, so when I sat down in front of my PlayStation 4 and started the game, I was crushed. It was nothing like I'd hoped. It didn't even seem that good, let alone like something special, worth eight years of development and directed under the wisdom of one of the industry's most renowned indie developers. Hell, it even seemed to have been making a lot of the most common, irritating mistakes every mediocre game does. Your movement was restricted, the world looked sterile, and there seemed to be a distinct lack of any tactile meaning to its features.

My first impressions of The Witness were not good.

Thankfully, my first impressions were also very wrong. Though it would have benefited unquestionably from some map or journal features, The Witness ended up being one of the most beautiful, rich, and fantastic puzzlers I've ever played.

Head inside for a full review and some advice on diving into Jonathan Blow and Thekla Incorporated's The Witness.

One of the things we've consistently heard from Nintendo about their incoming mobile games is that they're designed to put their beloved IP in front of a wide audience that may not have interacted with those brands before. Typically, people have imagined that we'll see adaptations of Nintendo's big character games for mobile devices. However, recently Nintendo's also been experimenting with free-to-start games on their dedicated gaming platforms. One of those games is Pokémon Picross.

Pokémon Picross is a perfect example of how Nintendo could present their IP to a new audience using an experience that's not only excellently suited for mobile devices, but also able to represent their IP in a way that's uniquely Nintendo (and it's actually a pretty fun game, to boot). Jump inside for the full review.

Beautiful, exhilarating, challenging—these are just a few words that come to mind when I think of FAST Racing NEO. This upcoming racing title from Shin'en Multimedia captures the best qualities of the genre and uses them to carve a prominent niche among science-fiction racers. Though comparisons to F-Zero are bound to be made, FAST Racing NEO deserves to be recognized for what it is, not what it's like.

Check out our review below!

Equal parts puzzler and platformer, Typoman is a fresh addition to Nintendo’s "Nindie" program. The entire game is centered on one very unique gimmick: the ability to use words and letters to manipulate the environment. Charmingly enough, even the protagonist is made of letters that form the word "hero."

Thanks to this innovative gameplay mechanic, the puzzles in the game have never felt more original. For instance, say you're walking trough a corridor filled with toxic gas that will kill you after a few seconds of exposure. Well, just search for the available letters to spell the word “gasp” and you will be able to take a quick breath, effectively stopping you from dying. All of this, coupled with clever touches like bridges made from the word “solid” that will fall apart to spell the word “old” as you cross them, create a very memorable gameplay mechanic.

Head inside for more!

Puzzle adventures have always been a genre that holds a special place in my heart. From the simplicity of the original ‘Escape the Room’ style Flash games to the much more elaborate worlds of Myst, Toki Tori 2, and the Professor Layton series, the combination of exploration coupled with the mental challenge of puzzles has always captivated and enthralled me. I had been particularly looking forward to Jonathan Blow’s The Witness for years as the next real game that could create that same sense of excitement and discovery within a beautiful new world, ripe to be challenged. But with minimal attention paid to the world of non-console-bound video games, I was truly surprised to discover Tom Jubert’s and Jonas Kyratzes’s philosophical puzzle adventure – The Talos Principle: Deluxe Edition headed to the PS4. In obtaining a review copy, I have been scouring the many lands and numerous puzzles that make up The Talos Principle. How has the adventure fared so far? Hit the jump to dig in!

"Game design is surgery and music," reads the website for Still Games. "Both require time and patience." Curious, then, that the indie studio's recently-released Kickstarter success Animal Gods was launched a full year ahead of schedule. The project, which garnered just over $27,000 in crowdfunding support, promised a fleshed-out modern take on the magic of top-down 90s action-adventure games and JRPGS. Did it deliver?

Not quite. Given half the development time it was planned to have, it only delivered half the experience it planned to give us. Perhaps its developers disbursed their funds too soon—$27,000 is a measly amount for a video game, even for a four-man team like Still Games—but it's painfully evident that Animal Gods isn't the game its creators intended to make. Early screenshots and world art show various enemies, roleplaying elements, and a grand adventure across a fantasy version of ancient England. Early development updates tell of a cast of memorable characters to interact with. All of these ideas were to be wrapped up in an "ambitious" Legend of Zelda-inspired package. But the finished product is far from ambitious, and it cut out all of those ideas.

Head inside to find out what Still Games gave us instead.

Super Mario Bros. revolutionized the world of games in 1985 and has continued to make history ever since. The series' 2D platforming is so ubiquitous in modern culture that you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn't at least seen a Mario level being played, and it's long since inspired generations of hackers and even amateur players to create their own Super Mario levels through various under-the-radar programs. But now Nintendo is opening the mushroom-crested floodgates of fan-made Mario levels officially endorsed and curated by Nintendo itself. Never before has the joy of game design been so accessible, intuitive, and delightful. This is Super Mario Maker.

Head inside to keep reading.

With decades of video game history to select from, the Hitman series has always been a somewhat baffling choice to me for a film adaptation. If there's one thing IO's franchise revolves around, it isn't narrative. Rather, the game's visual flair and perpetual goal of professionalism and stealth are what have earned Hitman its fanbase. Apparently, those strengths mean nil in Hollywood, since Agent 47 elects to forgo any semblance to the video games it is so loosely based off of.

Drowning adaptations in obligation to their source materials is counter-productive to artistry. This is not a good Hitman movie, and that's fine. Agent 47 should be judged on its own merits. Unfortunately, any strengths the film has are few and far between.

Kevin James plays the President of the United States in this movie. Knowing that, you now have an idea of the heights that Pixels aspires to. Perhaps I was naive in my hopes that this film would be decent, if not passable. I’ve never enjoyed a movie from Happy Madison Productions, what with their one-trick pony punchlines and recurring utilization of dull and rangeless actors. However, I hoped that a concept as simple as “video games attack Earth” would be impossible to fumble.

I was wrong.

Dr. Mario: Miracle Cure was unexpectedly announced for Nintendo 3DS last month, and launched shortly thereafter. The Dr. Mario series, as many other puzzle franchises, has remained largely the same through its many iterations. But Miracle Cure is, at long last, the title to bring a very healthy change. Head inside to read our review!

Frustrated by the lack of first party Wii U releases this summer? Or maybe you've already blown through the nostalgia fest that is EarthBound Beginnings and want something else to while away the lazy days of summer? If so, then Fuzzy Wuzzy Games is here to help with Armillo, a 3D platformer about a planet-hopping space armadillo. Head inside to learn more!

Splatoon is a competitive third-person shooter that doesn’t focus on racking up the most number of kills against your opposing team, but rather on coloring the most surface area on the map. Rather than bullets, Splatoon players fire brightly-colored ink from their weapons, and rather than bloody kills, you defeat your opponents with gooey “splats.”

It’s a clever spin on what we’ve come to expect from the genre, but more importantly, it’s a must-buy for any Wii U owner—it’s the most fun I’ve had in years.

Mario Party has long been a staple in Nintendo's lineup of fantastic four-player party games—its frantic fun and competitive spirit has enchanted players since its first entry in 1998. These touches which make the series so beloved have been waning with each new installment in recent years, and Mario Party 10 makes no effort to save that sinking ship. In fact, it drives a Bullet Bill right through the hull.

That’s not to say that Mario Party 10 is a bad game—you’ll still find yourself having a fair deal of fun in the 70+ minigames it has to offer. But it’s the mechanics at play outside of those minigames that continue to drag down a series which desperately needs lifting up. Head inside to read more.

Historically, Nintendo's handhelds have always been about two generations behind their consoles in terms of hardware power. We saw SNES-style titles get a second life on GBA, Super Mario 64 was a debut title for the Nintendo DS, and 3DS has in many ways felt like a fusion between the DS and the GameCube.

All of this makes sense—as the technology used on consoles grew more and more sophisticated, the games did as well, which left room for games cut from the simpler cloth of yesteryears on the forever-behind handheld line.

Then Nintendo announced Xenoblade Chronicles 3D for the New Nintendo 3DS.

If you’re a fan of Super Smash Bros. or Super Mario Galaxy, you may be interested to see how the core ideas of each game collide in a indie game called Paperbound.

Paperbound is a unique 2D brawler where players can battle it out in some of the most famous locales from literature like Journey to the Center of the Earth, Inferno, and more. All players appear on the same screen with a fixed camera that lets you see the entire stage. From here, players can run along walls and ceilings, as well as several floating platforms with their own centers of gravity in a skirmish that’s equal parts Inception and Super Mario Galaxy. There are several different modes from which players can choose to alter the victory conditions of a match, but the core premise is a constant: kill as many of your friends as possible.

Head past the jump to keep reading!