With Fight’N Rage, Lootbox Lyfe+, Twice Reborn: A Vampire Visual Novel and Midnight is Lost we’re looking at four games that have recently come out on (new) consoles. Spanning four different genres, there’s something for everyone here.
Fight’N Rage review (PS5)
Fight’N Rage from solo developer SebaGamesDev was a massive indie hit when it launched on Steam back in 2017, and its subsequent console ports were also well received. Now, it’s coming to next/current gen consoles as well, with full 120 FPS support for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S/X.
Because of all the acclaim it received, our expectations for Fight’N Rage were high – and it doesn’t disappoint. This is a brawler designed with tons of love for the classic arcade brawlers of the late eighties and early nineties, with influences from games like Double Dragon, Final Fight and Streets of Rage. On a base mechanics level, it doesn’t reinvent the wheel either – you’re got all your basic and special moves, your ability to sprint and perform aerial attacks, and can throw and parry when up close. It’s the kind of game you can just jump into (especially on the easy setting), but that you can get progressively more skilful at as you play more.
Where most of those arcade brawlers went with an “80s action movie” kind of setting, Fight’N Rage features a sci-fi backdrop in which mutants have seized power and it’s up to you to fight back – either solo or with up to two friends. And while the default arcade mode will initially feel fairly formulaic and not that long, there’s a wealth of content to uncover here – including branching paths that eventually lead to over fifty different endings. In addition, there’s a reward system here that lets you unlock additional characters, gameplay modes and modifiers, giving Fight’N Rage a crazy amount of replay value. If you never got to try it in its previous iterations, then this is a wonderful indie retro brawler to try out.
Lootbox Lyfe+ review (PS4)
When Ratalaika announced they were bringing Conradical Games’ Lootbox Lyfe+ to consoles, we weren’t familiar with the original PC launch and figured it was going to be a highly conceptual take on the lootbox phenomenon without too much substance to it. Luckily, despite a rather silly premise, there’s enough here to enjoy, and way more content than we expected.
Described as a “Metroidvania with Movement Option Progression”, we thought that “precision platformer with metroidvania elements” could also have been a decent description. But unlike most precision platformers, this one has a bit of a story to it – which is where the lootboxes come in. As Liam Cappello, you’re a Xoobotl who wakes up to find the world in a horrid state – all your fellow Xoobotls having perished after they spent all their money on lootboxes rather than actual necessities.
Those lootboxes aren’t actually the enemy here though – it’s the levels themselves that present you with a ton of dangers, and in a non-linear world it’s up to you to power up with new movement options. Ironically, this is where you’ll need lootboxes in order to restore a pre-lootbox world. But while we initially thought this was going to be a short game with a quick trophy list (it’s a Ratalaika game, after all), completing Lootbox Lyfe+ actually took us six hours – making this a great that represents good value for money. Thanks to some good level designs and an ever-changing arsenal of moves, this is worth checking out for precision platformer fans who’d like to see a metroidvania template applied to the genre.
Twice Reborn: A Vampire Visual Novel review (PS4)
First released by First Step Cinematics on Steam back in June, EastAsiaSoft has just launched Twice Reborn: A Vampire Visual Novel for consoles. And although there are plenty of vampire-IPs that we like (from Blade to Underworld to Vampire: The Masquerade), this one was hard to feel invested in.
In a way, that’s strange, because mechanically this is a game that checks a lot of the right boxes. It has multiple branching narratives to choose between, a lengthy campaign, technically solid writing and good looking artwork. It’s just that the actual storytelling and pacing are off, which had us wondering what the intended target audience is here. For those already invested in the vampire lore, there’s way too much exposition on what vampires are, their weaknesses, their social systems, etc. For those who are more casually interested, it just takes way too long for the story to take off.
Once you get to the parts where allegiances start being challenged and people start meeting an unfortunate death it’s likely that you’ll already have lost interest. It’s a shame, because if Twice Reborn’s pacing had been handled a little differently then it could have certainly worked out. After all, Vampire: The Masquerade’s TTRPG roots should be a solid foundation for a visual novel. This one doesn’t seem to have that spark though…
Midnight is Lost review (PS4)
Developer Robotizar Games first launched Midnight is Lost on Steam, and now QUByte’s brought the game over to consoles. And while the title had us thinking this could have been a sequel to the 36 Fragments of Midnight and Midnight Deluxe games we played a few years ago, it’s actually much closer to Sokoban.
It’s also yet another indie game that stars a cat, though the biggest novelty isn’t that – it’s that you move backwards through the game’s puzzles, Tenet-style. What this means in practice is that you’ll get your end position, and from there you have to track a path back to your starting position, making sure you push all obstacles out of the way in the correct order so you don’t get stuck. It’s a clever twist on a familiar concept, and it required you to think ahead while you’ve moving backwards.
Unfortunately Midnight is Lost is rather short, and puzzle enthusiasts will be done with at least half the game before they know it. The second half’s excellent though, featuring well designed puzzles that really require you to mentally trace a path and remember where objects need to be at what moment in time – giving you a few real “eureka” moments. And with little minigames (found by hitting white flowers on your path) and a cheap asking price, this is a fun budget puzzler with a colorful voxel-like art style.