Kirby's Dream Buffet Review - Good Food, Tiny Portions

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If there's one thing Kirby is known for--apart from being "friend-shaped" and adorable--it's the little guy's insatiable appetite. Kirby's Dream Buffet hones in on this aspect, creating a game all about chowing down on tasty treats as fast as you can. While the title seemingly draws inspiration from a variety of games, most notably Fall Guys, Beautiful Katamari, and Mario Party, it succeeds in differentiating itself from the rest and feeling quintessentially Kirby with its lighthearted, food-centric, and fun tone. However, for all of its charms, Kirby's Dream Buffet suffers from quite a few issues--most notably, a serious lack of content and incentives to keep playing. While rolling around as Kirby is enjoyable, the experience feels more like a light snack than a well-balanced meal.

Kirby's Dream Buffet begins atop a table adorned by pastel-colored pastries and sweet treats. After rolling off your plate and onto the gingham-patterned tablecloth, you can browse through a variety of supplemental features or roll straight on into one of the game's three play modes: Battle mode, Online mode, or Local Play mode.

The start of a race in Kirby's Dream Buffet

The start of a race in Kirby's Dream Buffet

In Battle mode, you and up to one other player can take on CPUs for the chance to take the cake--literally. Online mode, on the other hand, pits you against players all over the world through either random matches or password-protected private games. However, if you and your buds are all in the same room, you can also do Local Play, which allows up to four separate consoles to play the game together.

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Steelrising Review - Like Clockwork

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Dead humans and livestock litter the muddy cobblestone streets of Paris, their corpses left discarded in rotting piles or with muskets in hand where they took a final stand. Scattered fires burn bright across the city, each one sending suffocating black smoke billowing into the night sky. The only living residents are hunkered down in barricaded houses and shops, cowering from the clockwork automatons now prowling the ruins of the French capital. It's 1789, and in Steelrising's alternative history, the tyrannical King Louis XVI has suppressed the French Revolution by unleashing a mechanical army that massacres the populace, reinforcing his rule with literal iron fists.

This unique dark fantasy setting helps Steelrising stand apart from its many contemporaries. 2022 has already seen a slew of Souls-likes, with games such as Tunic, Salt and Sacrifice, and Thymesia each offering a different perspective on the genre. The latest game from French developer Spiders--a studio known for creating action-RPGs such as Greedfall--is derivative in its design, featuring all of the familiar elements we've come to expect of the genre. But Steelrising impresses with the way it's able to combine so many disparate elements together and make them all work.

You play as Aegis, a mechanical masterpiece and bodyguard to Queen Marie Antoinette. Unlike the mindless automatons roaming the streets, Aegis has a conscience and a form of free will, so you're sent into the heart of Paris to find your creator and fight fire with fire to put an end to the king's despotic bloodshed. From the outset, you choose from one of three classes that dictate your starting weapon and attributes, opting to be a powerful bodyguard, a quick and lethal dancer, or an alchemist who shoots enemies from afar. Aegis is malleable enough that it's fairly easy to switch playstyles after this initial choice, although it's difficult to experiment with different weapons, particularly once you're a few hours in, because upgrade resources are so pricey and base-level weapons aren't feasible later in the game. This is a shame, since it's the variety of weapons at your disposal that have the most significant impact on combat.

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Splatoon 3 Review-In-Progress

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A kid-friendly competitive multiplayer shooter was a strange concept when Nintendo introduced the very first Splatoon. The unique zone-control mechanics made combat important but somewhat incidental to the chief goal of covering everything in sticky goop. Painting the battlefield gave an immediate and intuitive visual sense of who's winning and losing without the need for a clunky scoreboard. That elegant design was the kind of delightful surprise that Nintendo has become known for. After two games and a major expansion, Splatoon 3 serves as a refinement and compilation of everything that came before it. It's less novel this time around, but it's still a delight and all comes together as the most robust Splatoon game yet.

Splatoon 3 assumes that you don't know all of this, of course, starting you off with a short tutorial that teaches you the basics of splatting before dumping you into the main hub area, a new city called Splatsville, in the heart of the desert Splatlands. From there you're encouraged to explore to learn more about all of the gameplay options and sites to visit, which is a little overwhelming at first. The city isn't terribly large--it is mostly a hub area for other game modes--but it feels dense with activity and nooks to explore. You can jump into the single-player campaign, co-op Salmon Run, or competitive multiplayer as you please.

The single-player serves as the best starting point for new players, since it gives you more opportunity to hone your splatting skills than the brief pre-Splatsville introduction. It's much more than a glorified tutorial, though; the campaign is lengthy and makes excellent use of mechanics to iterate and present new types of challenges.

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