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Unplugged: Around the World in 10-15 Minutes (Boardgame)

The Roll and Write genre, where gamers roll dice and use the results to fill in a scorepad, continues to gain momentum. I suspect this is due in part to the low cost of entry. This is particularly true for print and play games. If standard dice are used, all that players need is a printed copy of the scorepad. Variations have appeared over the years, including using a deck of cards to make a Flip and Write game. Around the World in 10-15 Minutes eschews both dice and cards to allow the active player to choose the result for the turn, effectively creating a Choose and Write game. The game sheet consists of a map of the world connected by lines with two icons located on each continent and two on each city. The active player chooses whether everyone moves, marks off a continent icon, or marks off a city icon, with the active player gaining the selected benefit twice. All three choices lead to scoring opportunities and the game runs until one player has visited each continent and returned to their starting city. Points are added and a winner is determined. Since there are no dice or cards involved, the game only requires one maker and one scorecard per player – making it even more travel-friendly. Around the World in 10-15 Minutes is a print-and-play title currently up on Kickstarter until May 30th

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Unplugged: One Page Monster Hunt (Boardgame)

Roll and write games continue to permeate the boardgame market. We’ve come a long way from the days of Yahtzee, where a player would make repeated die rolls and then mark up their scorepad. Current trends still have players marking up their private sheets, but now die rolls are shared by all players, keeping everyone involved in each roll. In a somewhat recent trend, designers have reasoned that if a single sheet of paper has now taken the place of a game board, can’t we also get rid of the game box? The result is a minor explosion of designers publishing their own games in a print and play format. I am happy to stand behind this trend as this style of game is almost always beginner-friendly and, better yet, the game doesn’t take up space on my gaming shelves! One of the recent projects I’ve stumbled across is One Page Monster Hunt, currently finishing up a Kickstarter run, ending May 27th. It has players filling up a dungeon using Tetris-like shapes while trying to manage the attacks of the dungeon’s villainous monster.

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Timberdoku (Switch)

Despite the title, Timberdoku doesn’t have much to do with Sudoku, other than the playing field being the same.  I imagine the ‘timber’ part of the title refers to the wooden brown color scheme this game adopts.  It really plays more like a cross between Tetris and those tanogram puzzles.

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Rainbow Cotton (PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, X/S, PC)

“Cotton” is a series of 2-D horizontally scrolling shooters that were very popular in the 90’s during the 16- and 32-bit eras.  They star a candy-obsessed witch girl named Cotton who flies on her broom as she shoots down foes in spooky yet silly settings.  It’s an example of the “Cute ‘Em Up” subgenre of shooters similar to titles like Twinbee, Parodius, Fantasy Zone, or Ordyne.  In the past few years, many of these classic Cotton games have been re-released on newer platforms and I’ve been able to review them.  But one game in the series hasn’t been released yet, until now.  Rainbow Cotton was 3D on-rails shooter similar to Star Fox and it was on the Dreamcast.  And now you can play it on all current consoles and PC, but reviewed on PS4 here.

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Bomb Cat (Switch)

Whenever a game gets popular, there are almost always imitators soon after.  Such is the case with Suika Game.  This was a fruit matching puzzle game that came out last year and gained a bit of notoriety on the Internet.  Heck, even I reviewed it when it was free for a short while on the Nintendo Switch Online Service.  And now here comes Bomb Cat, which is pretty much the exact same game on Switch, but with an explosive twist!

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Ratyrinth (PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, X/S, PC)

A couple of mice are separated by a big cat’s paw, and now it’s up to one to reach the other in this 2-D precision platformer.  It features retro black and white graphics that remind me of the games I used to play on my old Apple ][+ computer when I was a kid.  Ratyrinth is available on all current consoles and PC, but reviewed on PS4 here.

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Freedom Planet 2 (PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, X/S, PC)

When I first started playing Freedom Planet 2 for this review, the first thing I thought of was how much things have changed since then, as it’s been nearly ten years since!  Gaming-wise, I reviewed the first game on a totally different console generation.  Also, Freedom Planet was meant to play like a classic 2-D Sonic style game, at a time when there wasn’t a whole lot of good 2-D Sonic titles around.  But since then we’ve got Sonic Mania and Sonic Superstars, both of which are fairly decent (although I still like Freedom Planet 2 more).  My life has also changed a lot since then, as I have a different job and live in a different place than I did back then.  Even the world has changed, thanks to the COVID pandemic and whatnot.  And now we finally have a sequel to Freedom Planet, and it’s vastly improved over the original game.  Also I’d like to add that I’m so thankful for XSEED, the publishers of this game, as they’ve always been supportive of me and this site since they’ve been around.  Anyway, Freedom Planet 2 is available on all current consoles and PC, but reviewed on PS4 here.

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Mimi the Cat: Mimi’s Scratcher (Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, X/S, PC)

Help a cat reach her scratching post in Mimi the Cat: Mimi’s Scratcher.  It’s a “Sokoban” style block pushing puzzle game with a few twists.  Mimi’s scratching post is usually too high for her to reach, so you can push blocks and climb up them.  You can even push two blocks together to make a higher block, but you can’t push it around then.  Climbing on top of a box also lets you jump down over a gap.  Finish a level by reaching the scratching post.  The game is available on all current consoles and PC, but reviewed on Switch here.

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Pretty Girls Escape PLUS (PS4, PS5, Switch, PC)

Play a color matching block puzzle game while being accompanied by cute anime ladies in Pretty Girls Escape PLUS.  I’ve reviewed this game before, but I’m not sure what the PLUS adds to it as it feels like just more of the same. It’s available on PlayStation consoles, Switch, and PC, but reviewed on PS4 here.

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Let’s Rate the Paper Mario Games!

With the Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door remake coming out on Switch this month, I thought it would be fun to go back and rate all the games in the Paper Mario series.  We’ll do this from worst to best, and only games in the Paper series are going to be on this list.  Well, with one exception.  OK, let’s begin!

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