Fighting Familiar Puzzles

 

I need to start this review with a warning, this game is meant to be addictive and does have gambling elements to it. If you are aware of being susceptible to any form of gambling or have issues spending money in-game to the point it impacts your everyday life; then please turn away now. I am not putting this here as a slight against Puzzle Fighter alone, but this cash grab model that is in most of the mobile games out there. I would feel disingenuous without giving attention to this aspect of the game.


Puzzle Fighter from Capcom, has been one of the bigger puzzle games in history. Nothing too special about it, it is a Tetris-style game with exploding gems instead of pre-shaped blocks, break the blocks down to attack your opponent and first one to cause their opponent to overstack wins. This game gained fandom by featuring Pocket Fighter renditions of Street Fighter and Dark Stalkers characters as playable avatars just clicked.

The game has been re-released and has had some slight tweaks to gameplay since its original PlayStation release. Some of them consist of it includes being available for download on the Playstation Store (PS3) and Xbox Marketplace (360). However, the mobile release now features 3D character models and a roster expanding with more Capcom characters such as Viewtiful Joe, Dante, Nash, and Phoenix Wright.


GamePlay Change

With it being a mobile game you obviously can’t have matches going on too long, and I think that this aspect of the game is pretty interesting. With the inclusion of health bars you need to cause enough damage through breaking chains of gems, as well as combine larger gems to accumulate enough damage to defeat your opponent. Also, destroying enough gems will build your special bar which will allow you to perform a single press Super Attack that deals direct damage to your opponent. And to keep your opponents guessing, the moves your avatar performs can be changed out to perform more damage or cause status changes to make the matches a bit more strategic and dynamic. To top all of that off, you play with a team of 3 and their affinities and assists will help to add wrinkles to your gameplay style.

Gameplay isn’t flawless though. A level up system has been added, along with a card collecting aspect to level up your avatars and their moves. However, unlocking characters seems to be done so by pure luck. To add to that, you have to rank up to gain access for the chance to unlock a new character at random. All of these aspects are built in as a clear attempt to make the game pay to play. Annnnd, it kinda does?


Randomizing

There is a level of excitement to be had in getting something at random. It makes getting the thing you want feel more significant than if you could just purchase it (hopefully with in game currency), but the game has so many randomized elements it grows tiring really quickly. You see, part of the appeal of this franchise is playing as your favorite character and playing with your skill to compete or just play a quick mindless game. When the player has to worry about leveling up their character constantly to stay relevant or have to use characters they do not want to in the hopes of unlocking MegaMan X through ranking up it lessens the experience. Winning enough boats and chests, or paying for an in game loot-box(chest) that will guarantee a character and some random cards and in game coins doesn’t seem very exciting either. To add frustration to anxiety, in order to upgrade a character; not only must an increasing amount of cards be collected to keep level up a character’s moveset, an in game currency is required to upgrade those moves. The standard pay out of these items is definitely tipped to make you either grind to unlock what you want, or cave and pay to be the best.

Really there is just too much randomized chance in this game and not enough player choice. If you have a friend or look online for people to post their ID Names to add them, you can choose to play with someone from your friend list if they are online as well, but the search option isn’t a search option. You’d need to know the exact ID to add someone and cannot search for active players. The Rank up matches would be your only access to other players online. And since winning those matches comes with prizes, that would most likely be the best option for a quick player vs player match.

To be completely fair, there are some milestone chests that can be unlocked through doing daily missions, playing the mission matches, and playing lots of PvP ranked games. Season and Mid-Season chests given to every player to which the contents vary depending on the player’s rank which break up the monotony. And there’s also a fair amount of drops for every kind of item in the game that makes it feel a bit fair. The high spikes in costs for items however, (you’ll start hitting them around level 6 for most characters) quickly unbalances the game with level caps at 15.


Satisfaction

The gameplay itself stays true to the series. Customizable characters, an expanded roster help a lot. And the addition of supers as well as a health based win system feels different in a good way. However, it’s slowed down by the money grab being done by Capcom with the game’s grind/pay to play nature. I still enjoy having a game or two if it’s just for a couple of minutes and if I am worried about my connection, I can do a mission for a for sure quick uninterrupted game. On a side note, I’d recommend this on tablet over the phone, as interruptions can ruin some PvP matches.

For those who do not like the changes, there are occasional classic style events where you can win up to 12 matches, but if you lose more than 3 you are out. I really like the set up of these tournaments, and while every player has their character set to max level to even the playing field, you are still limited to characters and moves you have already unlocked. But it is an event so it is not always available.


Final Thoughts

The game itself is good for a quick match every now and then. I turn off the notifications and just play it when I have an itch. If you have friends that are into this game it’ll be fun to play with them from time to time, and the gameplay is enjoyable, just some of the mechanics are broken purely for greed.


Recommends

Honestly, I think this game shouldn’t be free. I would have been willing to pay mabey $3-$5(?) for a complete offline mode of this game to really enjoy quick matches on the go with optional online features. I’d also either remove the level up system or make it less of a hassle to do. I wouldn’t even have everything unlocked right away either.

Bring back in-game unlockables. I mean, there’s no better feeling than pulling off a combo, or beating a certain opponent, or completing a character’s arcade mode run. Then there’s the added bonus of getting a reward in the form of a new character or a secret special move. Unlocakbles don’t need to be insane to achieve, and I’m sure there would be people to double their payment to unlock everything. But honestly, both those ideas beat the all to common loot box scheme going on everywhere else.


Pros:

Updated gameplay that stays faithful to the series
Large cast of characters (Still expanding as of the writing of this article)
Strategic layers
Easy to pick up and put down

Cons:

Pay to win
Limited Player Choice at first
Hard to make friends in-game
3D models (This is my preference, but the 2D models from previous entries are superior)


Riley R. is a contributing writer for Teh Lunchbox Publications! For all your news, up to date information, previews, and reviews on the entertainment world, keep it here on tehlunchboxpub.wordpress.com and LIKE and FOLLOW us on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitch!

Lights Out: This Summer’s Scare

Martin is experiencing a horrifying apparition every time the lights are out in his home. He tries to convince and ask for help from his mom, but doing so he is told to go to back to bed. His grades and sanity are jeopardized because of his night time scares, and his older sister tries to take custody over him when his mother doesn’t pick him up from school. We find out that his sister has been having these troubles in her past as well. The apparition the two are seeing has come from their mothers past an torment their family.

As soon as the movie starts, you get the jump scares. The jump scare scenes are actually disturbingly creepy although pretty well done. We get mannequins for the first jump scare, and it doesn’t disappoint. There are really only two scenes that really scared me. I was only anticipating the scare and the characters trying to protect themselves from the apparition.

Now the plot was pretty fast paced. We get an explanation of the monster and the relation to the characters back-story in 3 scenes and we get the characters trying to figure out how to stop the creature for the rest of the film. The pacing of the story was pretty good among the jump scares. The creature was not designed very well, however, she had a grudge kinda look and an obscured face with only glowing eyes showing. That’s a lazy kind of design right there if you ask me. Another problem I have is that the movie feels rushed. We did get everything we needed for the movie, but it just felt really short which is not a bad thing. It was well done however; it had nothing new to put out to the horror genre.

Lights out gets 3 out of 5

+ exceedingly creepy ideas put to scare

+ gave the creature purpose and backstory

+setup is creepy

-needed more plot and character development

– feels rushed

-something more interesting needed to be added


 10628120_1145366598809304_2350042831562140609_nGaylene A. is the lead artist and contributing writer for Teh Lunchbox Publications! For all your news, up to date information, previews, and reviews on the entertainment world, keep it here on tehlunchboxpub.wordpress.com and LIKE and FOLLOW us on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitch!

Sausage Party: Scar You for Life

The R- rated animated film that no kid should ever see… or anybody who has any sanity left. Sausage Party is about a world of processed food items living their cushy lives until they finally get picked by the gods, (which are humans). To be taken to the other side (which is outside the grocery store) which they were told that they will be taken to a better place. However their world is turned upside down after Frank (Seth Rogan) learns the truth about going to the outside. After warning the grocery store and his pals, he must devise a plan to escape the humans.


Jumping into this movie I’m not going to lie, I did do some research on spoiler free YouTube reviews. What I got from it is that, this movie was supposed to parody Disney and Pixar movies. Low and behold it did. Now, I may be crucified for typing this but, this movie was not as bad as many (such as myself) thought it would be. Let me start with the good, the highlight of this movie is the jokes. And holy cow are they done well. There was a lot of raunchy sex, religion, stereotype, and rape jokes, a lot of pop culture references that made the jokes make sense in the movie. The jokes were done very well.

A lot of the characters were also themselves puns for the jokes in the movie. There’s a lot I can say about the jokes that fit into the movie. The Villain, was also the highlight of the movie. I can’t say a lot about him without spoiling the movie but, his character literally is a ‘joke’ he’s written and his voice actor did a fantastic job. Now, the animation is pretty decent. It’s not hideous (Only the humans are cg’d pretty hideously) every single detail made into the characters, the backgrounds are bright and pleasing for every situational scene made. The only animated scene that was visually unlikable was the “certain” CRINGEY scene you get at the end. I’m just gonna say this, that scene really didn’t need to be in this movie at all. Overall, the only thing that didn’t set well with my stomach was that scene and other cringe scenes. I think that scene was the only thing that was keeping people from watching it. This movie wasn’t bad, just don’t expect to see food the same way again.

Sausage Party gets 3.5 out of 5

+ The jokes were amazing

+ The twist at the end was great

+ Very entertaining if you turn off your brain

-Not for everyone

– The cringe scene was real

– Sometimes the jokes ran on too long

10628120_1145366598809304_2350042831562140609_nGaylene A. is the lead artist and contributing writer for Teh Lunchbox Publications! For all your news, up to date information, previews, and reviews on the entertainment world, keep it here on tehlunchboxpub.wordpress.com and LIKE and FOLLOW us on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitch!

Krampus Christmas: Naughty, Nice, or maybe Not?

This horror-comedy Christmas tale, beckons a tale of a huge holiday family reunion gone horribly wrong. Young Max and his dysfunctional family, get an overwhelming visit from their Aunt Linda, Uncle Howard, their three annoying children and obnoxious Aunt Dorothy. Max, wanting to have a wholesome good Christmas with his whole family is constantly brought down by the hijinks and Christmas commotion of his “charismatic” visitors and his parents, snaps and shuts himself in his room.  Max loses hope in having a good Christmas and rips up his letter to Santa in which chaos ensues.

A massive blizzard appears the upcoming day and Krampus’s nightmarish minions seize the entire neighborhood and close into Max’s family. Now, they must fight against these nightmarish creatures and fight for survival and protect each other.

If anyone has ever heard or read the tale of Krampus, forget about it because it is nothing like the movie. While watching this movie, you have to remember, it’s a comedy-horror. This movie battled both with its comedic and horror parts. When it comes to comedy and horror combined, it was really hard to take anything seriously even when they were trying to be serious. Although when they did have serious moments, it was really hard to care for the characters because of its inconsistent characterization. Having high expectations for this movie I was quite disappointed, but I can say it had great effects as the monsters looked amazingly creepy. The acting was fine (If you’ve ever seen anything with David Koechner), the progression of the movie was weak and expected, but the final turnout of the movie stayed true to the horror concept.

Final verdict: I am ashamed that they didn’t use actual folklore for the movie. I’m just nit-picking but they could’ve done a better job with  storytelling and credibility.  I can say that it is entertaining holiday movie and if you’re into black comedy, check out Krampus.

Krampus gets 3 out of 5

+ The monsters are creepy! (Krampus’s creature model is perfect)

+ Tries to have creative storytelling

+  Something to watch for the holidays

Inconsistent characterization

Needs better execution of overall story

Jump scares were cut out, or not as effective


10628120_1145366598809304_2350042831562140609_nGaylene A. is the lead artist and contributing writer for Teh Lunchbox Publications! For all your news, up to date information, previews, and reviews on the entertainment world, keep it here on tehlunchboxpub.wordpress.com and LIKE and FOLLOW us on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitch!

 

The Gulf (All You Can Eat): From the Staff

As an individual that enjoys pop culture, I actually don’t frequent many conventions (when I say I don’t frequent them I 1 001mean I don’t enjoy them much at all). There’s a myriad of reasons why, but that’s not what this is about. What it is about though is this amazing annual convention that I went to in Small Press Expo (SPX). Since its inaugural year in 1994, SPX has become well renowned as a longstanding festival for writers and artists from all over the world to share their own independent comics and artwork. The intimacy of the festival in addition to being an outlet for these artists to present and sell their works that aren’t accessible through more commercial means is what instantly piqued my interest. As I made my way through the small (but immensely crowded) venue, I made it to this small booth in the corner of the room and here is this young and charming indie artist by the name of Nguyen Khoi Nguyen. I walk up assuming to do the same thing I always do at these things (or the few I have been to); browse around, window shop a little… and walk away (I’m broke, sue me). But this time was different. It didn’t take long at all for him to ingratiate himself as opposed to simply shilling whatever he had on display. Our short conversation did inevitably (as it should have) lead to his current work and what I found out is that sometimes less really is more.

Now many want to try to share their vision with the world through the extraordinary. Fantasy
and fiction rule the world of comics and graphic novels with an iron fist. Buyers (like me) consume their fill of super-powered heroes struggling against whatever opposition floats the author’s boat. We all by our share of illustrations depicting people in extenuating circumstances whether it be a post-apocalyptic land of mutant people or a futuristic setting where the planet is taken over by a technologically advanced overlord. Tales of life, death, love, action, and adventure, get told over and over in these works and while always fun, can be overwhelming (or underwhelming). For a serene break from the norm, I suggest The Gulf (All You Can Eat).

2 002This multimedia graphic novel illustrates the life (both past and present) of author, Nguyen Khoi Nguyen and his Vietnamese-American family. It may seem unassuming at first glance, but it is filled with interesting hidden gems of humor and captivates you in a fascinating way when you finish. Even the chapters themselves flip both between the author’s life as a young child growing up in Cape Coral, Florida in 1987 and a fairly interesting conversation had between his brother and sister in his current home of Washington D.C. Now as a hyper-exuberant kid whose family owns a Chinese buffet restaurant, one would expect the hi jinks to ensue a fair amount… and you’d be right. 2 004It is so funny to see these young siblings (his brother and sister are very prominent characters) and never fails to put a smile on my face as it resembles my own siblings a great deal. The art seems simple in the beginning, but the subtle use of music and traditional vernacular all help to bring life to the panels and the story in an original way. The dialogue is honest and endears you to the characters as if you know them yourself (or know people like them in your life).

In the scene of modern-day art (of any genre), ego reigns supreme and everyone is trying to make the biggest story alive in a thinly veiled attempt to make themselves a larger name. Sometimes, it’s creating the most convoluted piece you can, and sometimes it’s pandering to the lowest common denominator (and those things don’t have to be mutually exclusive). “Pretentious” can be a common word for me to use, but rarely could I use the word “humble” 2 003for a lot of works that I’ve seen. Fortunately for me, The Gulf is the embodiment of the term “humble”. So many times we pick up a book and use it to escape reality and whatever problems we have. While it can be fun and therapeutic, sometimes we become so disconnected from what reality is we lose sight of what is important. Nguyen Khoi Nguyen has created a piece of work in which its strongest asset and appeal isn’t the flash and flare of other comics or novels. It isn’t the grandiose and intimidating expansion of its world. It isn’t any of the common tropes of other written works (highly regarded or not). It is the intrinsic ability minimize the experience for the reader and relate to the common experiences of people through the life of the author and his family. It’s a reminder of the importance of love and family and that maybe the escape that people are looking for can be found in the catacombs of one’s fond memories of their youth (and we all have our fair share).It’s definitely what I would describe as a “colorful” autobiography shaped in the form of a graphic novel. The chapters (4 available, 10 total scheduled) are short in length, but gives you your fill of fun and a bit of introspection. It’s not an ambitious read at all, and why should it be? It’s fun stories about a guy and his family bound together by the business of food and personal experiences. It is reflective in its own right and for me, it’s got everything I need when I want to take a break from what I usually read. It’s a good read and I am happy that I got a chance to pick it up when I did. Nguyen Khoi Nguyen is an intriguing man. He’s a jazz musician and a filmmaker on top of his aptitude for comic art. If you want to purchase his work, you can find it on iBooks or tiny.cc/nguyenmade. To learn more, check out his website at ngknguyen.com. I think it’ll be worth anyone’s time.


Stephon W. is a contributing Editor for Teh Lunchbox Publications and sorry, he doesn’t do social media. But you can follow the team on facebook (Teh Lunchbox Publications), and on twitter @tehlunchboxpub

 

Soulless: Novel or Manga? Does it Really Matter?

2012-03-08_soulless_manga_final_with_text

Have you read Gail Carriger’s novel Soulless?  Did you read the manga? Yes she has a manga! For those who haven’t heard of it, I’ll run a quick summary for you.


The life of a spinster in Victorian London isn’t an easy one on the best of days, but such a life becomes infinitely more complicated when said spinster is “Soulless” – A Preternatural, bridging the gap between the natural and supernatural worlds. Miss Alexia Tarabotti has this unique distinction, and when she is assailed at a formal gathering by a Rove Vampire , an encounter that results in the death of the half-starved creature, her circumstances become exponentially more complicated indeed!!

0001-0070001-008

Now caught up in an intrigue with life or death stakes, Alexia must rely on all her talents to outmatch the forces conspiring against her, but it may be the man who has caught her eye -Lord Conall Maccon- and their budding flirtation that truly drives her to her wit’s end!


Verdict: This Victorian era manga is absolutely phenomenal, not only is the story great, but the art as well! It’s beautiful, clean, and the romance is quite steamy. Gail Carriger, you definitely get an immense amount of praise from me for this piece of work.

So check it out  if you haven’t, you won’t be disappointed!

Soulless gets a 5 out of 5

+ Amazing story

+ Outstanding artwork

+ The romance actually helps makeu the story rather than hurt it


Sherita M. is a contributing Editor for Teh Lunchbox Publications and she’s says…bobobo-bo bo-bobo…Follow us on twitter@tehlunchboxpub.

Another Kamisama Kiss?

c024cad6ca22a617da69a9f666d7584f

I had just picked up and read the first volume of The Demon Prince of the Momochi House and so far it is a great read with great art. But I couldn’t help but notice how similar this manga is to Kamisama Kiss.


0001-012On her sixteenth birthday, orphan Himari Momochi inherits her ancestral estate that she’s never seen. Momochi House exists on the barrier between the human and spiritual realms, and Himari is meant to act as guardian between the two worlds. But on the day she moves in, she finds three handsome squatters already living in the house, and one seems to have already taken over her role.

The only difference between the two manga is that the main protagonist in The Demon Prince of the Momochi house is only human with no special powers… or so it seems, as I haven’t read very far. She’s basically just a landlady who gets herself into trouble and collects rent from three demons. Even though this manga is similar to the other,


Verdict: I would still like to give Momochi House its due for its art and hilarity. So if you don’t mind reading another Kamisama Kiss with different characters and background story, then I suggest you check out The Demon Prince of the Momochi House.

The Demon Prince of the Momochi House gets a 4 out of 5

+ Good art

+ Great humor

– A bit too reminiscent of another familiar manga (though that could change)

Volume one of The Demon Prince of the Momochi House is available now


Sherita M. is a contributing Editor for Teh Lunchbox Publications and she’s chasing her dreams and she thinks you should too… Follow us on twitter@tehlunchboxpub.

Paper or Plastic? Conveyor Belt Review

Short films have the ability to prove to viewers that filmmakers only need 15 minutes or less to make a great story or script come to life. For Brett Melnick, that ability comes to play in his film, Conveyor Belt.

Conveyor BeltThe film follows a grocery cashier named Max (played by Remy Tyndle), as he goes through a tedious day to night shift facing off rude or weird customers and a tenacious boss. As he goes from box to box in each aisle, it seems as if hope is hard to grasp at this point, until one customer comes in.

While watching this movie,  some viewers might feel as if you have a connection to Max, depicting the hardships and challenges of working in marketing or retail. Remy does a great job showing it off, through facial expression and body motions.

Melnick does a great job taking shots from different angles or switching from scene to scene in order to show perspective. For one example, there are scenes where Max can be shown doing his job, unpacking boxes, counting inventory, sweeping floors, where the camera can be placed on the floor or adjusted to the middle. Another example can be a transition scene, where Max is taking care of checking out grocers while in the background, the clock is slowly passing by, just to show how time is moving slowly.

Conveyor Belt is a must see for any rising or pursuing filmmaker or actor/actress, just to show how it’s never to complicated to make something simple is less than 15 minutes.

Click here to check out Conveyor Belt on Brett Melnick’s YouTube Page!


Me Chibi!Grayson M. is the Editor in Chief of Teh Lunchbox Publications and he can’t wait to see more of Melnick’s work and Remy’s acting skills! For more news, up to date information, previews, and reviews, keep it here on tehlunchboxpub.wordpress.com and LIKE and FOLLOW us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr and Twitch!

 

80s meets Zombies with Alpha Girl!

alphagirl4-cover-web

It’s 1984, and Judith is your typical 17-year-old girl. She chain smokes, cuts class, sells her tamps to perverts, and she just might be the last sane woman on the planet. When a third-rate cosmetics company creates a pheromone that turns women into crazed man-eaters, the world image.comics.alpha_.girl_.three_dives into chaos. Judith must break her little brother out of juvie, all the while dodging rabid women and the men who hunt them. Already a proven survivor, she picks up some interesting strays along the way and kicks some serious zombie butt! Judith is ALPHA GIRL!!

I’m a zombie fan and to be honest… I’m feeling a bit burnt out on them. Today’s zombie comics just don’t give me that chill anymore. Instead, they make me bored and a tad irritated. Alpha Girl unfortunately did not give me that chill I was looking for. The art style is unique in its own way and I like that, but I couldn’t help but noticed how some things look like it was photoshopped into the comic. Was that suppose to be on purpose? Not sure but all I can say is that while I  it threw me off a bit.
alphagirl01_p6

The story started off good, but as I read further along it started to drag on. The humor was pretty cheesy, but I’m sure others will like it. The backstories of the main characters are interesting and makes me want to know more about them. So if you’re not tired of reading about the apocalyptic world then I suggest you pick up Alpha Girl.

Alpha Girl gets a 4 out of 5

+ Story has a fairly strong start to it

+ Original artwork (for the most part)

+ I did enjoy the backstories and made the main characters entertaining

– Humor could have been better

– Still missing that spark that puts it over the top

Get your copy of Alpha Girl now!


Sherita M. is a contributing Editor for Teh Lunchbox Publications and she’s currently playing Corpse Party… Follow us on twitter@tehlunchboxpub.

Genisys, Can mankind win?

Terminator-Genisys

When John Connor (Jason Clarke), leader of the human resistance against Skynet, sends Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back to 1984 to protect his mother, Sarah (Emilia Clarke), from a Terminator assassin, an unexpected turn of events creates an altered timeline. Instead of a scared waitress, Sarah is a skilled fighter and has a Terminator guardian (Arnold Schwarzenegger) by her side. Faced with unlikely allies and dangerous new enemies, Reese sets out on an unexpected new mission: reset the future.


Terminator-Genisys-40

Terminator

Terminator 2: Judgement Day

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

Terminator Salvation

In these previous movies we had witnessed Skynet takeover and go back in time to kill Sarah and John Connor. And so far humans have the upper hand because of John Connor and Skynet knows it.

Taking a new direction, machine decides to do the unthinkable….turn John Connor into a machine. Well sorta, he’s not machine and he’s not human. He’s more.


Guardian-Terminator-734x310Verdict: Terminator Genisys is a very entertaining movie that does better than the last two movies…in my opinion anyway. Now don’t get me wrong. The movie was good, but I felt that the film was lacking something and just repeating the previous films with new machines.

(Spoiler alert!!!) Hopefully the next one goes outside the box, but not so far outside to where everything is completely different and off subject… yes you read right, there is going to be a sixth Terminator! At the end of the credits they show that Skynet has been destroyed but under the rubble, deep down in the ground lies the core of Skynet. Alive and angry.

Terminator Genisys gets a 3 out of 5

+ Does a solid job on the entertainment front

+ Does have improvements compared to the previous two Terminator films

– The movie is still formulaic and doesn’t provide anything new that the previous one’s didn’t

Terminator Genisys is in theaters now


Sherita M. is a contributing Editor for Teh Lunchbox Publications..Follow us on twitter@tehlunchboxpub.