Cult of the Lamb Review - A Cult Classic

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Nine times out of 10, being a lamb led to the slaughter is not the best position to find yourself in. That tenth time, however, is while playing Massive Monster's Cult of the Lamb, a delightfully demented roguelike that combines fast-paced dungeoneering, bold art, dark topics, and real-time simulation elements to create a one-of-a-kind experience. It couples two popular genres and smartly avoids their potential pitfalls while showcasing the best things they bring to the table. Take all this and add a simple but engaging narrative, and you've got a cult classic game well-worth playing.

Cult of the Lamb begins at our poor, titular lamb's end. After walking down a narrow stone corridor, you are greeted by robed cultists and The Old Gods: four monstrous beings to whom the inhabitants of this strange land are (mostly) loyal. As it turns out, this little lamb is the last of its kind, having managed to evade death while the rest of its fluffy friends were culled. The Old Gods reveal this was due to a prophecy that a lamb would be the one who would lead to their undoing, destroying the Old Faith and unleashing the one thing they fear most: The One Who Waits. The Gods instruct their followers to dispatch you quickly, but little do they know this is precisely what the prophecy demands.

Upon being killed, you meet with The One Who Waits, an all-powerful god who we learn was betrayed and imprisoned by the other four. After your meeting, he makes you an offer: start a cult in his name, and he will both bring you back to life and gift unto you his former powers via the Red Crown. After you accept, you are sent back to the world of the living, where you meet with The One Who Waits' former cult leader, Ratau, who leads you to the site of your up-and-coming commune. From this point, the game divides into two main sections: exploring dungeons and managing your cult, both of which are closely tied to one another.

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Hard West 2 Review - Bouncing Back

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Hard West 2 is aptly named. Its default difficulty setting is called Hard, too, and with good reason. Enemies are punishing and your squad's capacity to battle against overwhelming odds is tested relentlessly over the course of several dozen hours of turn-based tactical combat. It's a game about choosing the exact right moments to use their unique skills and working them in tandem to tee up devastating chain reaction combos. It's tough, sure, but this demonic rendition of the American Frontier, where grotesque locomotives warp to alternate dimensions and blood rituals summon the walking dead, supplies you with the necessary creative tools to stand your ground, and rising to the challenge proves immensely satisfying.

There's more to Hard West 2 than turn-based tactical combat, but not much more. The primary focus is a series of missions, usually with some choices about which mission to tackle next. In these, you command a posse of four gunslingers, taking turns to shoot, use supernatural skills, and advance from cover to cover. Along the way, as you traverse the overworld map on horseback, you'll meet characters and accept quests from them to hunt down wanted criminals, investigate murders, recover livestock, fight waves of outlaws and demons, rob a bank, and most importantly, track down the man who stole your souls in a rigged game of poker aboard his steam train from Hell.

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Two Point Campus Review - Old School

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There's a familiarity and comfort to Two Point Campus' early hours, from the whimsical claymation style of its characters to its distinctly British humor and jaunty music. It might trade doctors and patients for teachers and students, but if you played Two Point Hospital, you'll feel right at home in Two Point Studios' latest business management sim.

As the hours roll by and you graduate to different college campuses, however, Two Point Campus begins to carve out an identity that's all its own. Two Point Hospital was a relatively safe spiritual successor to Theme Hospital, essentially recreating the '90s classic with modern technology and amenities. Two Point Campus maintains that same reverence for its roots, but it also embraces its fresh new setting in a way that captures more of the magic that made Theme Hospital so beloved.

You take on the role of a campus administrator, charged with building and maintaining various schools throughout Two Point County. This means you'll be managing both the micro and macro aspects of your college empire, whether you're designing the internal and external layout of each building, hiring staff, or researching new technologies to improve various facets of your school. All of this is in service of keeping your students happy and ensuring they're given the tools they need to not only graduate with good grades, but also enjoy themselves and learn a few lessons about life along the way.

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MultiVersus Review: A Super Smash Hit

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MultiVersus frames itself as the ultimate crossover fighter, a sort of "dream come true" scenario where anyone can face off against anyone else. It's a bold proclamation challenging the reign of Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, a game that features an unmatched all-star cast of video game characters duking it out. Many pretenders to that throne have come and gone but, surprisingly, MultiVersus makes a compelling claim. The game, which is in open public beta, has strong fundamentals, charm, and attention to detail that Smash clones that came before sorely lacked, making it one of the best platform fighting games ever made.

MultiVersus follows the basic Smash Bros format: up to four players meet on a single battlefield and fight it out, with the goal of increasing damage enough to knock their opponents out of bounds. The first team to score four knockouts in a match--or the first fighter to score two knockouts in a 1v1 match--wins. So far, so Smash. However, MultiVersus puts far more emphasis on the 2v2 format, quickly establishing its own identity in the process.

Mechanically, every fighter on the roster has moves that negatively affect opponents, while simultaneously having positive effects on teammates. For example, whenever Shaggy charges to full power--a brilliant use of the Ultra Instinct Shaggy meme--his partner also receives a power bump for their next attack. One of Wonder Woman's special attacks gives her a layer of special armor for added defense, and if she's close enough to her partner, she'll immediately jump to them and give them the buff too. This idea of teamwork and synergy being baked into the fundamentals of MultiVersus is a fresh and welcome change to the format, with no two matches ever feeling the same. The partner dynamic also strengthens the 2v2 mode, making it feel like the core format developers intend people to play.

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