5.17.2017

Freeway Fighter #1: Review

     Freeway Fighter began as a Fighting Fantasy gamebook way back in the 80's by renowned creator Ian Livingstone, and has been updated and adapted by writer Andi Ewington (451 Entertainment's Red Dog, Sunflower, and Six, as well as his creator owned series Overrun).  It's illustrated by Simon Coleby (The Authority, Judge Dredd), colored by Len O'Grady, and published by Titan Comics.

MAD MAXINE

     There's no way to avoid a Mad Max reference due to the similarities, but that is not a bad thing.  You can easily tell where the inspiration came from, but Freeway Fighter paves it's own path with a post-apocalyptic dystopia, complete with harsh living conditions and awesome car battles.

     The story begins with De La Rosa as a race car driver trying to match her father's legacy, and shows her to be ruthless in reaching her objective.  It starts fast and keeps the pace as it rockets towards the end.  There's an extremely brief opener setting up her character that brilliantly segues into the "present" (2024) with her demolishing another tricked out and weaponized vehicle, and being chased by others.

     There isn't a lot of story here yet.  We get only the most basic facts- De La Rosa's a badass that gets the job done, and the job here is survival.  We don't know what the virus that killed off most of humanity was, we don't know where De La Rosa is going or what her goals are, and it really doesn't matter.  The sparse story is a commendable thing in Freeway Fighter's case.  We only get what we need in the first issue, leaving us wanting more.

FULL THROTTLE

     Simon Coleby's art is highly dynamic very befitting of the material.  Panels move and flow, creating well thought out, clean transitions that both tie the story elements together, and guide the eye along.  Honestly, it's something that perfectly encapsulates high-tension chase sequences of action movies- but in comic book form.
     Making this effect work even better is the fact that the illustrations are really fleshed out with the Len O’Grady's colors.  They are vivid and vibrant for the past, and in the present are primarily the typical muted palettes of post-apocalyptic tales, but with some splashes of the former world, shining brightly through.  It sets a tremendous tone for the story.

RACE CAR 44

     Overall, the issue is just a bit short in length, but feels much shorter because it is so well done.  It reads so smoothly it's like water slipping through your hands- an effect only the best comic books can claim.  Freeway Fighter is in no way a mere Mad Max knockoff, but rather, it's a glorious homage to the grim and gritty, gasoline-fueled destruction in mankind's fight for survival in a wasted future.  It's a quick, action-packed, car-smashing thrill ride that has a ton of potential and I can't wait to see where the story goes from here.

     Freeway Fighter 1 hit stands today. [ For the issue on Comixology ]

*Review copy provided, thank you!

5.16.2017

Morphite: Upcoming Metroid Prime-like Mobile Game Gets Delayed

     With many mobile gamers anxiously awaiting the release of the amazing looking, Metroid-esque space adventure Morphite, we are in for a small bit of sad news today.  Morphite has been delayed again.


     Originally set to release in late spring, that won't be happening now, and we also don't have a set time period now.  Over on the Touch Arcade forums, one of the developers (from Crescent Moon Games and We're Five Games) have posted the news and the reason why.
     Apparently the delay is so the game can be ported to "other console platforms."  What's even better news is the core development team is not handling it, a completely different group, Blowfish Studios, will be tackling the porting duties- meaning the main team is still focused on making the best mobile game possible. [ Reference ]

     I've been following and covering Morphite for a long time, and I would gladly wait for the game to get a proper work over than a rushed, bug-filled mess.  I'm sure no one wants this game to pull a No Man's Sky, and wind up nothing like the promises the trailers made it out to be.  I trust the developers to get this done, and get it done well at that.

     My previous Morphite coverage [ Here ] and a couple on [ DroidGamers 1 & 2 ]

Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm: First 15nMinutes of Gameplay Trailer!!!

     It's been a few months since I last reported news on Cornfox & Bros.' Oceanhorn sequel, but today they've released a new gameplay video, and it looks every bit as good as we could expect.  The video was captured directly from an iPhone 7 Plus, and is quite stunning.


     Since the first game they've completely overhauled the mechanics making it a 3rd person adventure game instead of the top down previously used.  A very bold and smart move, as there aren't many games like this available on mobile devices- potentially creating an iOS/Android kind of Legend of Zelda analog.

     As of yet, developers Cornfox & Bros. have neither given a release date, nor have they officially announced what systems the game will release on.  We can only hope that Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm will arrive sooner rather than later.

     To follow as the game develops check out their official links [ Oceanhorn ] [ Twitter ]

5.02.2017

Stained Issue 1: Review (451 Entertainment)

HURT THE PEOPLE, 
          PROTECT THE DIAMONDS

     451 Entertainment's newest book, Stained, is a sci fi wonder in the same vein as Masamune Shirow's classic comic Ghost in the Shell.  Stained is brought to us by newcomer artist Yusuf Idris taking care of illustrating it, and David Baron doing double-duty with this being his first foray into writing, while keeping with his memorable coloring talents on the book.

     Stained is the story of Emma London, a bounty hunter with an attitude and lots of skill.  The book itself is hits just the right cyberpunk dystopian future tone, heavy police noir elements, and it's really quite reminiscent of Blade Runner.  It's loaded with action, violence, and cool technology all wrapped in a grim criminal underworld.

     What works well for the book is the simplicity it begins with.  The writing is snappy and quick.  All the characters sound real and the story flows quickly.  Nothing sounds forced, or absurd.  We get to see the Emma London being a regular person (albeit a bionically enhanced one).  She has to worry about day to day things like the high cost of living- she worries about paying the bills, making rent, and exorbitant taxes.  She has emotions and reactions to the people around her.  It feels natural and grounded in a real world.  Even the little actions, like Emma's evening where she makes dinner only to throw it out because she doesn't need it, but still longs for that ritual as it gives her a bit of comfort.  Conversely, she knows what her job is, and she will get it done- hurt the people, save the diamonds.

"STAINED"

     My only real complaint about the book is what isn't explained.  We know something happened in Emma's past, but absolutely no clue as to what it was.  Whatever caused her to get her cybernetic parts, and we know that the term "stained"is a slur, but why that is is not even hinted at.  We neither know what caused Emma's situation, nor why "stained" is such a terrible slur to cause her to react so aggressively to being referred to as that.
     In addition, usually readers can kind of tell where a plot is pointing to for the future, but Stained doesn't give us any hints.  There aren't any leads on what will come next, and though this issue stands well enough on it's own, which does have some good merit, it feels kind of like a stand alone issue.


     I believe 451 did well in pinching Baron from Valiant for his previously untapped writing talents.  We know he could more than pull his weight with coloring with his outstanding work on big titles like Divinity, Doctor Mirage, and Bloodshot Reborn.  So this is one of those cases where utilizing a creative person's other abilities is a good turn.
     As for Idris' illustrations, I'll cut him some slack.  He is a relative rookie, and there's some small things that change appearance, like the looks of a couple faces, but they are small annoyances.  His style fits the book, and as such, it works really well- making him someone to watch.  He actually reminds me a lot of early Bryan Hitch (Marvel's The Ultimates) before his style become ultra cinematic, or even a bit like Travis Charest before he hit his stride with Wildcats.  What I'm trying to say is, Yusef Idris is definitely an artist to keep your eyes on.

     I've said it numerous times before, and I'll say it yet again, 451 has yet to have a bad series.  Stained is no different, it's off to a great start, and I eagerly await what's to come for our rebellious bounty hunter friend and finding out what makes someone "stained."  In a market over-saturated with science fiction bounty hunter stories this book stands out due to the fact the main protagonist is so damned well written.  Emma feels like a real person, and because of that I want to keep reading just to see what she'll end up doing in the next issue, and what new and dangerous cases she'll come across.  Stained is an easy book to recommend, so go check it out.

     Stained #1 will be available this Wednesday, May 3rd.

     Official Sites [ 451 Entertainment ] [ Twitter ] [ Facebook ] [ Youtube ]

     451's Comics on [ Comixology ]

     My 451 comic reviews [ HERE ]

*Review copy provided, thank you!