Totally Reliable Delivery Service Brings a Huge Update Package to Your Door!

Attention drivers, Totally Reliable Delivery Service is officially live for macOS on Steam and Epic Games Store! In the meantime, another HUGE update has been dropped off for both Macs and Windows users with an exhaustive list of changes including but not limited to in-game settings, a new event, and more!

To show you around the new stuff, our devs will hop on a quick ride and start a live stream session on our Steam page July 29th, 2021 at 12 pm PDT!

Watch it live and get the game with a discount available until August 2:

Get Totally Reliable Delivery Service With 30% Off On Steam

Without further ado, let’s dive into the hottest updates:

1. Totally Reliable TUTORIAL

Your first day as a delivery driver can get smoother now with the new Tutorial Session. Before you get on a larger truck and find your journey a little too bumpy, run through the training tasks located in the Warehouse first and hone your skills. Never underestimate the power of a good onboarding experience.

2. Rocket Car Rally Event

Fly the Rocket Car from GASA in the fastest way possible and be the first in your group to reach the Hustle Beach! Following the cart racing event, a new Rocket Car Rally Event is now live in the game. Boost to the beach safe and fast, captain.

3. Summertime Fireworks

Get a BANG out of your Totally Reliable ride and celebrate the summer with some splendid fireworks. Interactable objects that can turn into fireworks have been implemented around the map exclusively for this summertime!

Besides the mentioned updates above, there are a number of other major changes that can improve your delivery experience

        Updated Main Menu Flow

        Joystick HUD Visualizer

        Character Strength Improvement

        Ping Deliveries

        And more bug fixes! The full list can be found here.

Totally Reliable Delivery Service on Steam

Totally Reliable Delivery Service on Epic Games Store

Official Website

Join the community:





        Steam forums

P.S. Drivers, keep your eyes out for a little something called the Freeplay/Sandbox mode as that might be the entrée we serve for the next major update!

Yours truly,

We're Five Games & tinyBuild

Article by: Susan N.


Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 - XB1 Review

Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2
by developer and publisher CI GamesMicrosoft Xbox One Review written by Nick with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 is a very solid entry that takes the strengths of the original game and improves upon them. There’s still a few issues here and there that take the shine off just a bit, but for anyone who likes the strategy and stealth of playing a sniper, there is a lot to enjoy here.

For those familiar with the Sniper Ghost Warrior games, the earliest iterations were pretty fun breaks from the normal run-and-gun style shooters that were popular at the time. However, by the time Ghost Warrior 3 came out, it was clear that the formula had gotten a bit stale. Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts did a commendable job of narrowing in on a new formula and this sequel does a nice job of doubling down on things that were so good about that title.

There is so much that goes into that perfect kill shot. There’s inevitably going to be comparisons to Rebellion’s Sniper Elite series. The gory kill-camera shots are as gratuitous and yet rewarding as ever. The majority of the game’s focus comes down to not just finding your target, but trying to set up for that perfect kill shot from a ridiculous distance. Trying to find that sweet spot where you don’t get noticed, while watching your target for the perfect window – ideally where they stand still for a moment so they aren’t literally moving targets, but before that window closes – is really tense. Adjusting for the wind, trying not to get distracted by other things happening at the time… all of these elements are perfectly baked into the experience to create these really exciting moments that are incredibly satisfying when you nail that shot.

Of course, there is more to it than simply finding a secluded spot where things just turn out due to lucky happenstance. The earlier stages take it relatively easy on you, but the later stages try to get you to dig a bit deeper into your bag of tricks. One of the primary gameplay loops of Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 are the contracts themselves. Just killing your target is often fairly easy, but you can get some unique challenges sprinkled in there such as staying completely stealthy the entire time or to knock off your target with some tactic other than just a bullet through the head. These extra funds then get used to purchase equipment that can make your tasks easier going forward, like a drone that helps you to scout beyond just your line-of-sight. I never felt like these or the purchasable skill upgrades were going to make or break my missions, but some of them certainly made life easier for me than not having them would have. These gadgets play in nicely to the setting, which is somewhat futuristic, if not overly so.

The story itself is nothing special. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it. But the whole premise of operating along the border of a foreign country to stealthily take out bad guys is pretty common stuff for games of this nature. The voice acting gets the job done and the characters’ motivations all make sense, I was just never all that heavily invested in that part of the game for whatever reason. It was not bad, it was just kind of forgettable – which is fine as the actual sniping gameplay is the real star and focus here.

The pacing of Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 suits me really well. As most people who read my reviews on the shooter genre know, I tend to gravitate towards sniping. There is just something about it that resonates with me. I am seldom in the top half of the board when it comes to kills in run-and-gun games like Call of Duty or Battlefield, but I tend not to die much and focus heavily on objectives, which is much more satisfying to me. That patience of mine tends to translate pretty well to this title, which wants you to spend time doing reconnaissance before jumping into things. Skirt the perimeter, use your binoculars to tag enemies and learn their movement patterns. Learn who the immediate threats are – like other AI snipers looking around for troublemakers such as yourself, and make sure to take them out first.

If you are looking forward to a run-and-gun experience? I recommend you look elsewhere. While Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 handles the ranged game quite well, your character just does not hold up as well when things get a bit more personal. You have some different weapons and traps you can apply, but they tend to feel more clumsily executed. There are a few rough edges in the presentation as well that can show up here. The AI is not overly smart, but when things get really hectic, the enemy soldiers can be annoyingly hive-mind as one person sees you and suddenly the rest in the vicinity just immediately know exactly where you are at. There should be a little more pause for confusion one would think.

If you do sneak away, they finally just call down airstrikes on what they think was your general location and then go back to business as though nothing happened. The environments generally look pretty nice, but there are some odd issues where things sometimes just don’t work like you’d expect as you fail to climb a rock or flail about weirdly in a somewhat shallow bit of water. When you’re in stealth mode, working the perimeter, these annoyances are pretty forgivable, but they are a bit more irritating when you are trying to get away and the environment is working against you nearly as much as the soldiers.

In terms of the amount of content, Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 should keep you busy for about a dozen hours. There’s not all that many stages, but the replay value comes from the various contract conditions. You will not execute on all of them in one go. You are meant to make some money, learn some things about the stage, and then come back and try things with a slightly retooled gameplan and perhaps one of those previously discussed upgrades. Even if you somehow happen to come up with what seems like the perfect plan, the contract conditions themselves might conflict with one another if one wants you to kill your target two completely different ways.


Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 is not a AAA title, and it lacks a bit of the polish that comes with that, especially where the environmental interactions and some of the visuals are concerned. That being said, Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 gets it right where it matters most – the sniping gameplay. Scouting out for that perfect shot when you connect with it is incredibly satisfying. That gameplay loop of making money, improving your gear and skills and trying things from a different angle was a lot of fun, even with some of its rough edges.

Score: 7.25 / 10



Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed - PS4 Review

Akiba’s Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed by developer Acquire Corp. and publishers Marvelous and XSEED GamesPlayStation 4 review written by Pierre-Yves with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Akihabara, Akiba for short, is considered by many to be the centre of modern Japanese popular culture and a major shopping district for video games, anime, manga, electronics and computer-related goods. Icons from popular anime and manga are displayed prominently on the shops in the area, and numerous maid cafés and some arcades are found throughout the district (Wikipedia). So with all of that as a potential setting for vampires, otakus, cross dressing and stripping techniques, good luck explaining what you're playing to a normal person!

I want to start this off by mentioning that both me and Richard had no idea that "this" title even existed. I own the sequel that we thought was the first Akiba's Trip, Undead and Undressed for the PS3, PS4 and the Vita as well as Akiba's Beat, but Hellbound & Debriefed? It only clued in that this was not new content about fifteen minutes in as I wasn't seeing the same elements that I expected to find.

So with that, I had a little bit of a dilemma while trying to figure out exactly how to review this original entry into the series. Originally released solely in Japan for the Sony PSP this is the first time that it's seeing a localization but as it's coming after its sequel, and years after that mind you, there constantly felt like there were elements lacking BUT, knowing that it came first and that it was going to be the first, seeing the roadmap and having a better idea of how the elements of the sequel came to be was interesting.

So the big question. Worth playing? Yes but more for the novelty than anything else. The reason for this is that if you've played the sequel, one, twice, three times depending on the platform and PSNow, you've essentially played what will feel like a less complete version of Undead and Undressed. Where things may be interesting is that while it is the first title and while it may feel like the same story, there are a few small interesting spins on the content which were nice to experience.

Breaking into the nitty gritty though, Akiba's Trip, probably better known and pronounced as Akiba Strip, is the story about quasi vampires invading Akihabara and the only thing truly standing between the humans and their demise, is you. An Otaku of varying amounts depending on your dialog choices, you'll soon be leveling up as you learn a few moves to help you brawl your way through the back streets all while removing the clothes off anyone that gets in your way.

So due to the quasi nature of these vampires, and you now finding yourself as one, you can like Marvel's Blade walk out in the sun as long as you've covered up. Lose your clothes and you die as the light of the sun will burn you alive. Applying to your enemies just as much, you'll have to learn your high, medium and low attack patterns to be able to either shred the clothes off of your opponent or be able to move easily, pull it off and potentially use it yourself.

There's no avoiding it, glossing over it, or even hiding behind something else against it, it's ridiculous. It's also not really something most people will want to play around other people as you are stripping them down to their underwear so generally playing in the living room is out depending on the household composition. It's not "bad" per say and there's no real gratuity, but you are tearing the clothes off of other people while running around Akiba so you may just want to pay attention to who's around or where your TV is pointing. Unless you want to traumatize your neighbors!

Mechanically, Hellbound & Debriefed does feel a bit clunky at times when you're trying to move around or shift to better attack your opponents. Launching attacks to grab can also just not work or work when you want them too as they are all mapped to your actual attack buttons and often you'll find yourself swinging a punch instead of launching a grab. After the sequel, there's also the issue with trying to pick fights with some people that you are never told that if you haven't bought the manual on how to strip them down, because who doesn't like a classy suit? You need to buy a book first!

Graphically though, it's made a decent tradition over to the PS4. The text is easily to read, the type of models are easy to distinguish, but following on the clunkymess are that the menu interfaces that don't allow you to either change clothes or save while in a map. They have to be done on the world map but there's never a prompt to tell you this so that took a while to figure out as my "closet" was only getting bigger. It's a bit of a pain down the line as you would like to be able to more easily swap out, sell, or upgrade certain prices while doing away with others without having to go back to the main map.


So overall, Akiba's Trip: Hellbound & Debriefed is going to most likely find itself as more of a novelty experience than one that draws new fans to the series being the precursor to Akiba's Trip: Undead and Undressed. It's not a bad brawler or beat 'em up, but it does show its age in its mechanics especially when compared to its sequel that we've had our hands on for much longer.

Score: 6 / 10


Samurai Warriors 5 - PS4 Review

Samurai Warriors 5
by developer Omega Force and publisher Koei Tecmo AmericaSony PlayStation 4 review written by Nick with a copy provided by the publisher.

Samurai Warriors 5 plays to the strengths of the series without really taking any new chances, but still delivering the smoothest, most polished title in the series to date. There’s plenty of cinematic flair during this retelling of Japan’s Warring States era that brings more life to the characters than ever before, and I found myself greatly enjoying several afternoons of one-against-many action.

My first exposure to this storyline came many, many years ago, and it was a very vague, watered down experience by comparison to what we get here in Samurai Warriors 5. I fell in love with the Koei strategy games many console generations ago, but Nobunaga’s Ambition was the first one I played. Now, that was a very slowly paced, strategic game that had you balancing economy as well as turn-based combat, but it gave me my first exposure to the story that I remained interested in for years.

I bring that up, because Samurai Warriors 5 certainly delivers a great deal more on the story front. Sure, it’s a hyper stylized telling of the Warrior States period, but the focus is on the characters. You get a much better sense of the bravado, bravery and cunning of the characters here. I find that this kind of storytelling works well with the type of gameplay the Warriors titles features as well. You are taking control of one character at a time (though you may switch back and forth with another in many maps), taking on hordes of nameless characters that you can mow down with little to no effort. They’re the red shirts of Star Trek, basically. They as individuals don’t matter to the plot at all, they’re just there to add a sense of scope to the idea of large, warring factions and that a handful of specific characters are much more important to the story than they are.

For those who haven’t played musou games, the concept is pretty simple. Your characters have a couple of different types of attacks, while chaining together kills and hits to build up gauges that in turn allow you to pull off spectacularly devastating super attacks. A normal horizontal swing might hit five or six enemies at a time, and three quick horizontal slashes in a row might be all it takes to kill them. However, unloading one massive attack could wipe out dozens of enemies at one or more, depending on the attack and how you time and aim it. There are more intricate controls baked in, such as horseback riding, special attacks, temporary stat boosts, blocking and parrying and so on, but most of the time you won’t need any of this. The average enemy is a few ordinary strikes away from defeat.

That being said, there are other important named characters on the battlefield, and not all of them are on your side. This is where those additional moves come in handy – especially on higher levels of difficulty. Most one-on-one duels are still fairly easy, but if you get clustered in and around three or four of these named generals on a higher level of difficulty, you could find yourself on the receiving end of a lot of damage very quickly.

If Samurai Warriors 5 was just about these simple combat situations, it would get old for me rather quickly. However, over the years the developer has gotten better and better and mixing up the content with battle conditions that often change during the level. You might start a stage with a cut and dry objective of “Kill the specific general on the other side” and a lost condition of “don’t let your top general die”. However, things seldom play out that easily, and this is one of the areas where Samurai Warriors 5 kept me thoroughly engaged. Almost every stage is segmented into small sections where combat tends to cluster up, but the series has evolved in such a way that the layout looks much more natural than it used to. Instead of looking like a bunch of rooms awkwardly strung together hallways, the terrain feels more open. This encourages you to use your horse to move from one side of the field to the next region more quickly.

This approach certainly lends a nice sense of scale to the combat. It feels like large armies warring against one another. You will get updated objectives throughout, such as lending assistance to a partner who is suddenly losing, or capturing a specific area in the battlefield. Along the way optional objectives will come up that that allow you to earn more experience and rewards, encouraging you to explore the battlefield and take on enemy generals you might not otherwise encounter.

The experience and items earned this way make up the almost Diablo-esque gameplay loop that I enjoy so much about most of the Warriors titles. Your chosen characters gain experience and can then unlock new skills and perks along the way. Additionally, there are quite a few different weapons that drop, and even if the weapon itself is not useful to you, oftentimes they have additional perks such as increased attack or adding fire to your swings that you can peel off of one weapon and apply to another for a cost. These lightweight RPG elements are a lot of fun, and Samurai Warriors 5 doubles down on that with its new system for upgrading your castle.

Gold and materials earned while playing the game can be used to purchase upgrades to your blacksmiths, shops, dojos and more. This allows you to purchase better items or provide better upgrades to your weapons or generals. It’s a fantastic progression element and comes with its own unique non-story mode that almost plays out like a tower defense mini-game for additional materials. This new mode is called Citadel Mode, and instead of the story campaign that usually sees you trying to conquer regions, you have a base (or multiple bases) that enemies stream towards and attack. You have to hold them off through a series of different scenarios that escalate in difficulty. Like everything else in the game, this gives you experience, gold and items that link to your primary pool of unlocked characters, continuously rewarding you for putting time in.

In terms of the presentation, Samurai Warriors 5 is by far the most attractive title in the series yet. The technical limitations of the console generation still show up here and there (environments are not overly animated and lively, armies of characters just materialize out of thin air at times, things like that), but the painted art style is incredibly attractive here. Characters look and move very nicely, especially in the cutscenes and it only lends that much more personality to the characters when you see Nobunaga’s well-meaning but arrogant demeanor coming through. Cutscenes not only occur between levels, but sometimes during gameplay. The first time or two was somewhat jarring when the action cut away to a scripted scene, but once I got used to seeing them, I began to anticipating them. These scenes are incredibly stylish, as are the game’s most powerful super attacks. Watching a character deliver a major attack to a hundred characters and strike a splashy watercolor-esque post afterwards is very satisfying.

The combat is not going to be for everyone, as it’s not overly technical or complicated, so the smashing of buttons is generally enough to see you through most of the game. The combat is not as deep or satisfying as the progression elements that occur between stages, but the varied objectives help to keep the stages fresh, even if the actual act of combat doesn’t vary up a great deal. It helps to try out different characters who specialize in different weapons. Of course, you can just dump all of your resources into a single powerhouse character, but there are some stages that require you use specific characters who might then be a bit underdeveloped.


There is a great deal to like about Samurai Warriors 5. The new art style is incredibly appealing, the progression elements make for a compelling gameplay loop and the focus on characters has made the narrative more interesting than ever. The series feels less niche than it has been in the past, with a handful of different modes to encourage replay, even if the combat itself still remains pretty simple by and large.

Score: 8.25 / 10



Ragnarock - PC / VR Review

Ragnarock by developer and publisher WanadevStudioPC / VR Review written by Pierre-Yves with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes 

The call of the apocalypse isn't an easy one to ignore mostly because it's the end of the world and if you don't fight, you and those you care for don't get to survive. Wait? Ragnarock and not Ragnarok? Oh my bad, I didn't know we were getting the band together. Forget about fighting and get your drums ready for some high octane power metal!

Ragnarock's premise is a simple one. Based on experiences that have come before it such as Frequency, Amplitude, Guitar Hero, Rock Band, AudioSurf and more, this music based rhythm simulator will have you dawning on a virtual reality (VR) helmet and banging on imaginary drums upon a Viking longship in a series of great tracks and amazing looking scenery.

Basically the maiden voyage for my Valve Index, I was fairly impressed with Ragnarock. Set before you is an easy to use interface as you select your tracks and then hope onto your Viking longship for a jam session. Just about always starting with a bang, you have four drums in front of you with two symbols to the left and right that can be adjusted to either better see or more easily hit without even looking at them to give an extra oomph to your notes.

This is one thing that I really appreciated, the ability to adjust everything set out in front of you. Using one of the shorter tracks that clocked in at about a minute I was able to figure out exactly how high my drum should be off the ground and then accordingly adjust the symbols to the left and the right. As you're standing in the middle of the room while "technically" stationary, it's nice that you can set everything to how you personally stand (or potentially sit if you need to) as you bang away to the beat of the tracks.

This is perhaps the biggest draw to an experience such as this. Like some of the others that have come before it in which you are hitting keys or hitting pads on physical equipment, Ragnarock is all virtual meaning that everything you hit doesn't actually make a sound to anyone else around you. To you though? With the maneuvering of your arms back and forth across the four drums ahead of you it feels like you're hitting them as you see the hammer strike down on the notes. It feels like the base is shaking the walls as the high octane music fills the air as you sail forward. And yet to anyone else around, depending on how loud your headphones are, not a sound is to be heard.

The stages themselves are pretty standard following a simple format, beat the drums to the rhythm of the song until you reach the end. The higher the difficulty, the more notes and diversity in how you hit each note raises in complexity. It gets pretty intense but the tracks do a good job at getting you into higher difficulties as long as you stick with the leftmost column as you make your way down the list. An interesting twist on ghost times / scores though is that after you've done a stage once, you'll be racing against another longship and you get to see in real time how well or how bad you're doing against your personal best.

On a final note, yes I've gone there, the audio is nuts. I know that depending upon a person's equipment there could be some changes as the Index's built- in audio will be different from anything coming from Bose, Turtle Beach, Sennheiser or whatever actual speakers could be sitting on your desk. In any of these cases though the audio tracks themselves are crystal clear and I loved how much Glorryhammer was in there including my personal favorite track Universe on Fire.

I've played a fair amount of rhythm simulators over the years from the precursors on the PlayStation 2 to the more rock band-like physical instrumentals on the PlayStation and Xbox but nothing compared to this. On average I can't really carry a rhythm past a certain point, I'm just not that musically inclined and can't follow the notes after a certain speed. Yet, because of how Ragnarock is designed because I am physically moving my hammers to what was in front of me, even higher pace tracks made me feel engaged other than frustrated and defeated. It was a great feeling and a decent workout after a while.


Overall though, whether using one headset or another, fans of rhythm simulators and European power metal should definitely check out this Viking visual styled head banger.

Score: 9 / 10


Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin - Switch Review

Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin by developers Capcom, Marvelous and Publisher CapcomNintendo Switch review by Richard with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated reading time: 13 minutes

Monster Hunter Stories, a spinoff that originally came out in 2016, now has a sequel as Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin. Derived from the fact that people were complaining of no story in the Monster Hunter franchise, you can be certain that this spinoff installment, which is more turn-based RPG than action like the main series, will have that focus on worldbuilding you may have felt lacking in the main series.

MHS2:WoR tells the tale of a young and upcoming Monster Rider, which is a sort of counterpart to the Monster Hunters, and their induction as a Rider on Hakolo island. A Monster Rider is someone who forms a bond with a monster and rides them into battle. That's right , you can ride the monsters. Unfortunately, mysterious happenings, a great red light, and all the rathalos leaving the island means that you need to step up to the plate. As the grandchild of a famous rider, you have some pretty big shoes to fill.

MHS2 acts much like a more traditional RPG, featuring turn-based battles, monster collection and training, leveling through earning exp, and exploring around the field map picking up items. Let's start with the exploration aspect. You can bring five monster companions along with you to explore the world. Later in the game you can unlock a sixth slot. Every monster you can acquire can be ridden, and each monster has a riding action. The actions can be as basic as "discovering harvestable plants", or something like "climb ivy". You can hop on your monster companion and swap out your lead monster easily on the field map in case you want a different ride or riding skill. While exploring around the different locales you come across, there are a number of things to note.

First of all, monsters will be roaming around that you can get in fights with. Second thing you'll probably notice are grey or golden caves dotting the landscape. You may also notice ground burrows or jump pads, as well as possibly herbs, berries, bugs, and honey around. You can pick up those last few by the way, which will be useful in crafting items, a function that you can use when not in battle to stock up on handy items. The ground burrows and jump pads are riding skills that you will require a certain monster to use. Riding skills are shared across monsters, and each monster will always have the same riding skill. For instance, a Velocidrome gets the jump ability. Zinogre will also get the jump ability.

I'd like to point out that there are a ton of ridable monsters in the game. Excluding the DLC monsters, there are more than 80 collectible monsters to ride and bring into battle. You can collect monster eggs to hatch in one of two ways: dens or forcing a retreat. Those grey and golden caves dotting the landscape? Those are randomly spawned monster dens. Inside you will find a usually short area with a nest at the end. You can collect an egg from the nest. The eggs obtained this way are random, although you can tell what you'll get from the pattern on the egg.

You can only take one egg out with you, but you can keep trying until the nest runs out of eggs. The other option is to defeat a monster and hope that it runs away. There are special actions you can take in battle to boost retreat rate that are dependent on monster, or you can throw a paintball which will give a 55% chance assuming the monster can be ridden. If the monster runs away, a new den will appear on the map, and marked for your convenience, and when you collect from there the only eggs you get will be those of the monster that retreated.

As you collect eggs, they may produce a yellow or rainbow glow. This is an indicator of a monsters gene pool. That's right, you wouldn't expect a monster collection game without something like this, right? Each monster has a 3 x 3 grid of genes that are randomly allocated to locations on the grid, and randomly decided. There are some genes that always com attached to a monster. For example, a Zinogre will always have Thunderbug Strike. A zinogre could, however, have a Thunder attack increase gene, or it may not.

For the grid, some of the nodes on the grid may be locked. These can be either unlocked through leveling the monster, or through using a "ritual item". Fun fact, despite the appearance of the menu option, it is always available once you can channel a monster, and doesn't require unlocking. Channeling allows you to transfer genes from one monster to another. This gets rid of the monster you are transferring from, but lets you put the gene in a new monster. If you line up a row, column, or diagonal of same types in the grid, you get a bingo bonus for that typing. More lines mean more bonuses.

So now that we've gone over the breeding process, let's talk about the actual fights. As mentioned earlier, fights are turn based where you and your opponents choose attacks. This plays out fairly traditionally, but with a couple of neat aspects. First up is that you and your monster companion share three hearts. Each time one of you get knocked out you lose a heart. Lose all three and you get taken back to town. Combat itself is performed by selecting either an attack type or skill. Now, those of you familiar with monster hunter are probably aware of the three damage types: slash, pierce, and blunt. Enemies have different parts that can be broken, and each body part and monster will have different resistances and weaknesses to certain damage types.

Monsters will also have elemental affinities, both in attack and weakness. You can forge weapons and armour out of monsters to give skill effects and elements for combat. In addition to this, MHStories has a sort of rock-paper-scissors aspect in the form of: speed, tech, and power moves. If you and your opponent use a move and you use the type that beats it, you'll do more damage and they will do less. If both you and your monster use the same type of attack and beat your opponents attack, you use a combination move that deals heavy damage and cancels the opponents attack. As you and your monster attack, you build up a kinship gauge. This gauge allows you to use skills, command your monster, and when it's full you can ride your monster and unleash a devastating attack.

A very large aspect of MHS2 is being able to hit your enemies for damage types that they are weak to. There are six weapon types, and there are two each per damage type. Great Sword and Sword and Shield are slashing, Hunting Horn and Hammer are Blunt, and Bow and Gunlance are pierce. You can equip up to three weapons at once that can be used in battle. The weapons you bring along can be swapped between once per turn, just like your monsties (monster companions). These are free actions too, meaning you can swap monstie, swap weapon, and still attack in the same turn, but only once. Throughout the course of the game you may also have buddies assisting you in battle. You can combo with other riders monsties, and they can combo with yours. Fair warning though, while this does result in increased damage output, sometimes your ally AI can be really dumb. And I do mean REALLY dumb. Always attacking with the losing attack type, always using skills that aren't effective, attacking body parts that are resistant to the damage type. Hoo boy.

As you beat up the affronting creatures, you will collect with which you can forge weapons and armour. This gear can then be upgraded to do more damage or defense. You can also purchase some gear from the Melynx merchant for bottlecaps. These items can be found in everdens, through completing sidequests, and from participating in online multiplayer battles. Let me just say this: the multiplayer is surprisingly great. I tried out the multiplayer with a friend and fellow hunter, and managed to do some science, just for you guys and girls, so let me tell you about what I've learned. In multiplayer mode you can only bring three monsties along, and so can a friend. You have two option for multiplayer content: PvP and questing. PvP is pretty self explanatory, as you have to finish a rider battle before you unlock multiplayer. You can adjust the rules slightly, but it's pretty much the same fare. During your questing, you are generally tasked with defeating a monster or exploring a den.

The synchronization between the two players is really good with this. Once you and your friend are in, you can explore the area together or individually. If one of you enters a fight, a red circle will appear, and if the other player runs into the red circle, they will join the fight, even if that is halfway through the fight. Two handy facts we noticed: weakness is shared, and you can do your partners head to head for them. What I mean on the first point is that if you target an enemy with a damage type, the game will record whether the damage type is effective or not and show you when targeting. In multiplayer, your teammate can see the damage type ratings you reveal and vice versa. The head to head are sort of like mini commands, such as mashing the A button. In multiplayer you can give input as well as your friend. Not sure if this is intended or not, but right now it's a thing. The game will also tell you what moves your buddy is using, helping you to adjust your strategy. Once you and your buddy have reached a nest, you can harvest an egg. Neat fact, you can see each others eggs. Once one, or both, of you have finished the quest requirements, you are returned to the quest board.

In true monster hunter tradition, the soundtrack is amazing again. Never have I been disappointed in a Monster Hunter soundtrack, and I don't think I ever will be. The area and village themes are both thematic and well orchestra'ed, and the battle themes get you pumped up for a fight. The graphics are also a really fitting style, as the game focuses more on riding sized monsters instead of the murderous beasts of the main franchise, opting for a bit of a softer tone maybe, but one that fits the style and narrative quite well.

Before wrapping up, I'd also like to go over a few miscellaneous notes that I've picked up on through my play time. The main game is fairly lengthy, as I was sitting at about 63 hours of play time. We'll start with the positive notes. There is also the post game content to consider as well, making MHS2 a fairly lengthy game. There are tons of available monsters in the game, with over 80 as a base that you can ride. There are plenty to get, train, and find the ones you like the best. Everdens, which will probably be a big source of bottlecaps, will be labeled as "cleared den" on the map when you have opened all the chests in them. The kinship skills are usually quite cool, and I really enjoyed watching all of them, although the subspecies don't really get a new skill.

The rock-paper-scissors format, while usually overdone and a little basic, fit really well in this case when coupled with both the damage types and elemental affinities. It added that depth that simple rock-paper-scissors style combat doesn't normally afford, making combat feel a lot smoother and more enjoyable. If you are high enough level, you can also quick kill enemies when you get in a fight, provided you have beaten them at least once before. This is great for farming materials for weapons and armor. Since you will be constantly getting new eggs, the developers have also introduced a system where any monster in your party under your player level gets bonus exp until they hit your level. The amount varies depending on level difference, but this makes it incredibly easier to train a new monster late game up to equivalent level.

This great title isn't without its faults however. First and foremost, the ally AI tends to be unconscionably stupid. It's…manageable to an extent but sometimes it was migraine inducing how dumb it can be. The field monster collision hitboxes are way too small for monster size, which really broke the immersion for me something fierce. Monsters will have a typing, and will tend to obey that typing. I.e. a Tigrex is a speed monster, and should usually use speed moves. Unfortunately the game has occasional droughts of certain typings. Nominally speed types early game and tech types later. Tons of power types though. You also have a silent ish protagonist, relegating all your decisions to Navirou, a rather annoying Felyne who speaks for you, even if undesired. My biggest gripe may be the amount of reused assets though. Every non major area is a combination of the same rooms just mashed into a larger zone. You will notice this really fast, and it made me significantly less inclined to explore anything, had there not been new randomly generated chests in the dens each time.

As some non attributed asides, there are a few hidden aspects the game doesn't particularly tell you, like surviving at 1 HP if riding and taking enough damage to knock out. At least I don't recall it mentioning that. Also. the ritual option under channeling appears locked but it isn't. The explanation of Navirou's "egg appraisal" is also fairly vague. Since your character is custom created, the developers though it would be good to make flashback scenes of your grandpa have the same eyes. This can lead to some hilarious moments.


Overall, I have to say that Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin of a wonderful experience. With a well done battle system, plenty of monsters to collect, tons of gear to make, and some great music to match, there's not a lot to complain about. The multiplayer is extremely well put together for a turn-based system, and there were a bunch of little aspects, like unique egg coloring and the ability to see what other coop players eggs are that show just how much attention went in to the title.

While it may suffer from some reused assets and questionable AI choices, most complaints are fairly surface level in nature. Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin shouldn't be treated as "just a spin-off", but has earned a right to its place amongst the powerhouses of the franchise.

Score: 9.5 / 10


Mini Motorways - PC Review

Mini Motorways
by developer and publisher Dinosaur Polo ClubPC (Steam) review by Susan N with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Mini Motorways is a cute, minimalist, strategy simulation game where players are tasked with managing traffic. It looks simple and easy as heck until you play the game, and then you learn the perils of your decision as you drown in traffic with insufficient roads to get the cars to their destinations. At first, Mini Motorways feels like a zen experience with its calming music and simple appeal. Be warned because the difficulty increases exponentially with time. I absolutely love it.


Mini Motorways is incredibly simple to understand. Get the cars to their colored destinations and get as high a score as possible. To get a high score, players get points for collecting as many destination pins as possible. Over time, these pins will fill up the buildings. If the destination reaches a high number of pins, a countdown wheel will appear above the building. Players will need to get those pins before the timer causes a fail.

The catch to winning the game is that buildings will appear more quickly as time progresses. Plus, players are limited by how many roads, bridges, traffic lights, roundabouts, and motorways they have at their disposal. These traffic tools are acquired at the end of each week, where players can choose between two options like traffic lights or roundabouts. Often, players will receive road tiles along with these chosen options. It doesn’t take long before players have to strategize about their traffic layout.

The gameplay to achieve a high score is even more simple than the concept. Players require a mouse. Left-clicking and dragging will draw the road while right-clicking on a road or feature will remove it. All of the traffic options are displayed at the bottom of the screen where players can scroll over motorways, traffic lights, and roundabouts. To use any of these, players have to left-click and drag the feature to the desired location. Unlike the other features provided, the motorway needs to be placed at a starting location, and then the shield has to be dragged to an exit point. As I said, the game is simple. Even pausing the game requires one or two clicks of your mouse button on the clock in the top right! 


Certain games boast a minimalist style in comparison to others on the market, which wouldn’t be wrong to state for any of them. However, Mini Motorways is even more minimalist than many games. This isn’t even a low poly graphics style, it is as simple as Stick Death: The Game, Thomas was Alone, or Hook. Each one is stripped down to a bare minimum and sets them apart from others.

The fact that the graphics are as simple as they are provides an interesting set of pros and cons. One of the pros would be, the game is friendly for all ages of players, especially as there are colorblind and dark mode options in the game. (Thank you for that. While I really loved Antichamber, the game coloring was too white and hurt my eyes after extended periods of puzzle-solving.) Another pro would be that the game is not intensive. Mini Motorways is playable on Mac OS, Nintendo Switch, and computers. Thus, it’s easy for anyone to pick up and play. One final perk to the graphics is that the development focus was on the core gameplay.

Taken in the Photo Mode after failing to get all those pins!

I have an issue with the graphics in Mini Motorways because there are few distinguishing features between the cities. Yes, there are a couple of minor details that help, but I think the difficulty of the game hinges less on the city location and more on the topographical obstacles like large bodies of water or mountains. Even with that comparably small issue, the graphics and UI have the same aesthetic as Mini Metro, its predecessor.

Other Features

After the game launched, Mini Motorways added a couple of new modes to the game. Before launch, players were only able to unlock cities that have a higher difficulty. Now players can try the daily and weekly challenges. I did try them both and find them challenging enough, which is to say that I need to work on my traffic managing skills!

The interesting thing about these modes is that they have certain restrictions. For example, daily challenges only give you one chance at posting a high score. It also has random modifiers, which adds to the challenge. However, weekly challenges will have mystery choices or extra trees that impede road placement.

In Mini Motorways, players have access to a photo mode. At the end of a level, players see their level stats like how many pins they collected. They are also given the option to take a picture of the map after failing. In the photo mode, players can choose to show parts of the UI, all of the UI, or none of it. It allows players to show the city or mode and what modifiers there were!

Final Thoughts

I can honestly say that Mini Motorways is a pleasant surprise for me. I wasn’t sure that I would enjoy this game just because of how simple in concept it is. And for me, a person who enjoys traffic management in games like Cities: Skylines, this showed me that I might not be great with traffic as I once thought! Needless to say, I’m going to be playing this title more because I love the strategy and casual nature. Also, I have a high score to go beat...

Don’t be fooled. Mini Motorways is a game that looks very easy to achieve a high score but will challenge you to beat other players. It’s a casual and easy game that anyone can pick up and will provide endless amounts of entertainment as you struggle to get as many pins as possible. Players who are looking for a fun simulation title to play should look no further. This one is for you!

Score: 8.5 / 10


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