Monthly Archives: June 2023

Game review: Diablo Immortal for Android and PC

Once upon a time, back when forums were individually moderated communities instead of corporate hoarded content farms, someone I respected told me not to read a certain book series because it was awful and everything wrong with the publishing industry specifically and in the universe in general. I read the first book and reported that actually, I kind of liked it. “Oh,” they said, “just read the second, and you’ll see why it’s a dumpster fire with extra grease.” So I read that book, and then kinda like grew into love. This ping pong of assurances that I would hate the next books and my rebuttals that they were awesome led me to being a vocal fan of the series, to which another fan base declared that I was everything wrong with the universe in general. The books they stanned for were so much more superior, and besides that, the writer of my books was a homophobe.

(The author of their beloved books later wrote more books that suggested they might be slightly racist, and then publicly came out as a transphobe, leading some of said fan base to write very long articles about whether it was okay to separate art from artist. Which, if I were pushed on that subject, I think it’s okay for anyone to decide that. I just find it funny that I was expected not to make that distinction for the thing I loved, but now they need me and everyone else to understand that they like the art, not the asshole behind it. Aaaaand I digress.)

This leads me to the HUGE wall of hate surrounding Diablo Immortal, a game subcontracted from Blizzard to NetEase Games, but which bears a striking resemblance to the newly released Diablo IV in terms of how the always online features and battle pass work. The hate for this game stems from many flaws, both within the game itself, and with the parent company that’s been revealed as Not A Very Nice Place To Work, all of which is valid criticism. So even though I knew there was a PC version, I said, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, so I’m gonna stick with the lynch mob on this one and avoid that game like the plague.”

Continue reading

Manga Review: Mashle – Magic and Muscles by Hajime Kōmoto

Mashle – Magic and Muscles (Henceforth shortened to just Mashle) first hit my public radar with the launch of the collected chapters here in Italy. When I read the premise in Wiki, I wrote it off as a Harry Potter knockoff. That was a mistake because while Mashle is a parody of Harry Potter, Mash Burndead is more closely related to Goku than he is to JK Rowling’s now massively saturated franchise. (Bee tee dubs: I’ll be referencing Dragonball a lot for this review.) What’s more, Mash Burndead proves over and over that while he’s lacking in the brains department, he has so much heart power that even his enemies are eventually swayed by his convictions.

So, let’s set the stage with some minor spoilers from the first chapter. Mash Burndead is a person without magic in a world where everyone has an affinity for it to some degree. This is because people born without magic are killed at birth. But Mash was found abandoned by a magicless hermit in a forest and hidden away from the world. His Pops began training him to be at peak physical condition in case he needed to defend himself, and as the story opens, teenage Mash’s workout routine is…it’s a lot.

After finishing his staggeringly impressive morning workout, Mash decides to go into town to buy cream puffs, where he is identified as someone lacking magic. When a detective shows up at Pops’ cottage to deal with him, Mash simply swats away his spells. Impressed by his level of physical strength, the detective suggests that if Mash wants to keep himself and his Pops safe, he will enter magic school and become the Divine Visionary, an honor bestowed upon one student every year for being the most powerful magic user. The detective’s logic is that if Mash can reach this hallowed peak in the wizard world, everyone will have to accept him. And so hilarious hijinks ensue. Continue reading

Game review: Grindstone for EGS

There wasn’t a review or any post last week because I had so much to talk about, and in all cases, I just wanted a little more time with each…thing before passing a verdict. So in my infinite wisdom, I chose instead to start playing another game that I figured I could get through in a few days.

Ah hahahahahahaha. Ha…ahem.

So, one week later, let’s talk about Grindstone, which I bought from the Epic Game Store. It is to date only the second game I’ve bought rather than just being a free game of the week, so that should say how much I was looking forward to playing this. First of all, it’s a puzzle game, and my love for those goes all the way back to Tetris on my first Game Boy. Second, it has a cartoony presentation that’s one part adorable mixed with two parts gory. As a fan of horror and cartoons, that sounds like a perfect cocktail for me.

It didn’t take long playing it before I started muttering, “This had to be a mobile game first,” and I did some digging to confirm that yes, this was originally part of the Apple Arcade offerings before moving to PC. I will circle back to everything that made me think that, but first I want to take more about the overall gameplay, the story, and the usual stuff that a review should dig into before hitting on the feely bits. Continue reading