Happening now on GameLuv

There’s a Spelunker Z PlayStation Community… because I made one

Yes, of course I immediately tried to create a Spelunker Z community now that game-specific hubs have been added to PlayStation 4! Unfortunately, the U.S. PlayStation interface doesn’t know what “みんなでスペランカーZ” is so I couldn’t tie it to a game but I’m still here, ready to answer your questions about this obscure little platformer. So come join up, you probably won’t be hit with very many “new post” notifications from me.

In other Z-News, I’ve been spending my candies trying to win Perle the Cat and on the fourth try — with eyes clenched shut and having Katy prophesize “YOU GOT THE CAT” — I got the cat! There was much screaming and hollering and our real cat, Molly, immediately attacked Katy because she hates when Katy is happy. Now I have my own in-game cat who can hold down multiplayer switches and let me nab even more “lithograph eggs” in the levels.

Truly, it is a new era of Spelunker. Come and join us me!

Metal Gear Solid V’s Other Soundtrack is so Great

I expected to like a lot of things about Metal Gear Solid V but I was surprised to find one of its in-game soundtracks so captivating. Yes, yes, there’s a bunch of 80’s songs in the game but forget about those. You’ve heard them all before and GTA has done a better job of curating them for the last fifteen years.

‘Music Tape 1’, that’s the stuff you should check out. And now you can, because I recorded it all. I also wrote about several of the tracks over on OSV so take a look at that if you want to know more or just hit play on the video above and enjoy.

Prison Architect Pardoned from Early Access on October 6th


My god, it’s finally happening: Prison Architect is going to be a really real, for-real final released video game as of October 6th. This year! Prison Architect always looked really great but after being burned by Don’t Starve and its early access changes in 2012 I kept my court-ordered distance for a while.

I eventually got Prison Architect for about $8 on a Summer sale or in a bundle and fairly quickly logged 40 or so hours with it. But I never got too attached to my prisons because I assumed they’d be broken by an update or wiped completely when I came back to them. Such are the tribulations of getting in early. I last played the game almost a year ago now so I’m sure the “wealth of new content” promised in the upcoming release version will be immense. Gosh, has it really been nearly three years since I first saw the game? Crazy.

Ahead of the release, you can get a look at the game’s new content as Introversion takes center stage at the upcoming EGX gaming event in the UK on Saturday, September 26th.

New Collaboration and More added to Spelunker Z

Forget about that Metal Gear Whatever game! Minna de Spelunker Z updated last night and while we still don’t have a new zone they’ve updated, changed and added a lot. The Version 1.07 changelog adds the new Championship events, makes the web-based notifications faster, adjusts the daily login bonus timer, and improves the criteria for the end-of-stage multiplayer rankings. Most noteworthy for me and my sprawling glut of gear is the addition of a “NEW” tag on newly crafted items to make them easier to find. According to the Google translation there’s also a way to reset your OP gear to its starting stats which is kind of terrifying since I can’t read anything in the game.

In other news, Square announced that they’ve reached 300,000 registered players which doesn’t seem like a lot for a game that’s nearly eight months old. The chances of it being translated now seem extra slim but, whatever, we get a bunch of daily login goodies to commemorate the occasion starting on September 18th.

091715-spelunkernimueSeveral new events are rolling out including the reveal of Collaboration #7 that I’ve been guessing at for nearly a month. Turns out it’s Kaku-San-Sei Million Arthur, some kind of wildly popular mobile, card battle, RPG, thingie. It’s even available in English if you’re into that sort of thing. I’m not, so all that’s important to me is that new gear will be available from 9/16 through 10/28.

Nimue (the character from the teaser image), Merlin and Arthur gear will be peppered through a handful of stages, rotating availability in two-week intervals. The Million Arthur collaboration also gets you a bonus 100 Moon Stones if you download both it and Spelunker Z on the Vita by October 28th. That might be hard to pull off if you aren’t using your Japanese PSN account though.

Of utmost importance to me is the new pet, Perle. Not only is it an adorably plush Persian cat that sits on your head, Perle can be used to activate the multiplayer switches in the levels. I might finally be able to grab some of the shining silver eggs that have been off limits to me since I can’t ever find anyone to play with. Perle’s lithograph pieces can be found in stages 1-16 through 1-20 from September 16th through October 28th.

Finally, there’s the new Championship events that promise “tricky ultra-high degree of difficulty” stages with powerful loot as the reward. Rotating daily from now until October 28th, I’m not certain if these five Championship stages are just remixes of existing ones or totally new. I’ll have to have more of a poke around the map screen with Google Translate loaded up.

Now Playing: Gotcha Racing (Nintendo 3DS)


You know me, always happy to fawn over a little release that looks to have some quirk. That’s definitely Gotcha Racing, a game I’ve had my eye on since its quiet debut at E3. It released yesterday on the 3DS eShop for $5.99 and I grabbed it as soon as I got home from work last night. It’s called Gotcha Racing because it’s all about winning new car parts through a gashapon system. But as I would play, put it down and come back minutes later for “just one more race” I felt like the title had another meaning. After my first hour with the game I wouldn’t call it captivating but it definitely scratches that compulsive itch for progress.

Of course, I wasn’t drawn to a game because it has random loot drops from capsule toys. Gotcha Racing makes a fairly striking first impression when you see it in motion with a strict top-down perspective that spans both screens of the 3DS. The view keeps your car perfectly aligned in the center of the bottom screen, feeling a little like a sewing machine where you’re rotating the world underneath your car. It’s a peculiar sensation at first and a peculiar design choice as the game leans towards realism with its vehicle performance. Each chassis, engine and tire has an impact on acceleration, top speed, brake power, cornering and drift.


I don’t know if it’s the perspective or the precision of the A.I. racers but I’ve never fought this hard to find the perfect racing line in any other game. Moving up a position is a battle over inches in the early game and if you can cut just a tiny bit more into a corner you’ll secure your spot in the pack. It’s turned out to be way more harrowing than I expected from what looked like a cutesy toy race car game. Grinding out parts from the capsule machine and then combining them to boost stats also seems harrowing. It’s been fun tinkering in the first hour but I can see this process getting elaborate and annoying as you can’t upgrade or sell items equipped to your four loadout slots. This results in temporarily swapping each loadout item to an inferior one, backing out, fusing the items, then going back to each car and re-equipping the new gear. Elaborate!

Gotcha Racing seems like a game I’ll pop in and out of for short bursts or maybe while listening to podcasts. I’m not yet able to move out of the initial F-Grade class because I don’t have a good enough car to win the final tournament. That means re-racing the first three courses over and over until I can win or upgrade my way out. It may not sound like fun but it’s enjoyable to play and fast to load, and there’s always a chance for that Rare Drop to fall out of the machine and make everything instantly better.

I’ll be back with an update once I hit the next noteworthy milestone with the game.

Done Playing: Styx: Master of Shadows (PlayStation 4)

I like stealth games and I like the slightly less dire “stealth-action” sub-genre that blossomed out of it. In fact, I’ve been on a serious stealth game bender since Dan and Drew at Giant Bomb started playing through the Metal Gear Solid anthology in August 2014. But I didn’t do it on purpose. After working through all five Metal Gear Solid games (Peace Walker included) a series of sales and subscription freebies led me from Sniper Elite 3 to CounterSpy to 2014’s THIEF and most recently to Styx: Master of Shadows. It’s a game I’d originally seen at PAX and thought it was doing both interesting new stealth things while also calling back to some of the classic elements I haven’t seen in a while.

And this is the point where I stopped writing and decided to load the game up one last time to record. This “GameLuv Recap” video is much longer than the one I did for Submerged because Styx has a lot going for it but ultimately a little bit more going against it. You can see it unfold in the video above but — tl;dr — I was happy to delete the game off of the PlayStation 4 in the end.

Metal Gear Fan adds more Metal Gear to Ground Zeroes

When Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes first launched people couldn’t help but jump all over it saying “Look, look, this isn’t weird like the other Metal Gear games, Kojima’s lost it!!!”. I admit, you have to dig a ways to get to the weird stuff but when you get there it’s like taking a bite of a chocolate chip cookie and realizing there’s caramel in the middle, and marshmallow fluff, and nougat, and shrimp?

The “Deja Vu” mission is what I’m talking about in particular, a bonus mission you only unlock by tracking down a set of collectibles. While it is 1,000% fan service and filled with callbacks to the original Metal Gear Solid it still kinda doesn’t sit right. Keifer delivers a couple classic lines like he has no clue and though you can swap the skins on Big Boss and the guards for low-poly, PlayStation copies you’re still running around the gritty, Cuban torture facility.

What’s a Metal Gear fan to do? If you’re Cosy Connoisseur, you mod the PC version of Ground Zeroes to lock the camera to an isometric perspective and then edit a few runs together with classic sound effects and music. Even though he “wouldn’t recommend actually trying to play this way” it makes for a more authentic “Deja Vu” mission than Kojima himself created.

Done Playing: Submerged (PlayStation 4)

So I finished playing Submerged and then spent some more time decoding its language and story. This is usually when I’d write up a Done Playing post to sum up my thoughts and experience with it. Buuuuut, since the PlayStation 4 makes it pretty easy to plug in my good microphone and record right to YouTube I decided to try a video thing. I’m calling it a “GameLuv Recap” for YouTube because I can’t rightfully say I’m done playing when the video is of me playing, right? I also get way more views on YouTube than hits on the site here, so video it is!

It’s definitely not as poetic as my writing tends to be but it’ll give you a nice overview of the game, the mechanics and the world. I’ve got at least one more of these videos coming to give Styx: Master of Shadows some closure as well.

Prepare Yourselves for Life-Changing News from Spelunker Z!


It’s that time of the month again: time for the ~hot~ headlines from the bang-blasting world of Minna de Spelunker Z! You should really be playing this game, everybody.

As the Seiken Densetsu 2 promotion winds down over the next two weeks we’ve got new ones starting up. Continuing the trend of ultra-Japanese cross-promotional loot are several items from Shin Jigen Game Neptune VII. That means Hyperdimension Neptunia to you and me, an RPG series that has seen a surprising number of U.S. releases since its PlayStation 3 debut in 2010. The cute new gear is available from August 19th through September 23rd on stages 1-6 through 1-10. And I basically just typed that up so I could remind myself over the coming weeks of where to find them.

Elsewhere in Spelunker news is the announcement of a ghost bustin’ community event that runs from August 20th through September 2nd. As players hose down ghosts across all the game’s stages we’ll slowly begin unlocking new rewards. Since I can’t even put money into the game if I wanted to these events are a great way to get free candies and cakes to trade in for sweet loot without grinding out all the pieces.



Finally, we’ve got the teaser image for the next Spelunker-cross-collaboration that’s coming September 17th. It’s… I dunno. The busty character with the thick collar and pink hair is familiar but I just can’t place it. We’ll also be getting a Championship Mode on September 17th that promises “ultra-high degree of difficulty stage” with powerful special items as the reward for surviving. I can’t wait to throw myself against that… and then go back to playing The Phantom Pain.

Achieving: Platinum, finally

Can you believe it’s been nearly two and a half years since I posted about a dumb achievement? The proverbial itch has apparently been scratched. Over the last console generation I played most everything on Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 exclusives I did dive into weren’t usually the ones to get Platinum trophies. So here I am in 2015 all proud that I basically just played a ton of Rocket League.

You’ll hit most of the trophies in the game just by playing it for a while. The unlocks come at the end of almost every five-minute match. Blasting around after the ball you’ll inevitably hit one in while driving backwards as well as bump an opponent into the ball for a goal. Many of them you can unlock just by setting up bot matches. But the ones that took the longest were finally playing online with a friend (aww, how sad) and racking up 50km on a single set of decorative tires. It finally popped though, in the middle of an uneventful match, and now I have a Platinum trophy and Yay and whatever. Let’s go play some more Rocket League already!

Achieving: Tales of Pointless Self Reward in Games retold in brief posts whenever we feel like it.