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Yakuza 0 Review – Past, present and future

The Yakuza series has never been one for subtlety. For years, we’ve followed Kiryu Kazuma’s adventures as he continually got deeper and deeper into trouble within the ranks of the Japanese mob. For as reluctant as our anti-hero’s been, trouble always seemed to follow him closely, and as is tradition, these bouts have always hit in epic scale. Yakuza 0 is no different, even if the entirety of its story revolves around a single simple thread of real estate dealings in the fictional Tokyo red light district of Kamurocho during the 1980s. That decade was special for Japan, as the country saw its economy boom, and with it, people became rich overnight. Not knowing what to do with so much cash in hand, entertainment quickly becomes a priority, and the yakuza families that control the pleasure districts all over the country waste no time in...
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Islands: Non-Places Review – Surreal mundanity

What are “non-places”? They’re the spaces we filter through so often that we pay them no mind. Bus stops, parking lots, lobbies, and so on. Places we spent a fair amount of time passing through, but never pay any attention to. Transitory spaces where our minds wander or we distract ourselves with our phones while we wait to reach our true destination. Islands: Non-Places from Carl Burton is an examination of those oft-forgotten spots, these utilitarian pieces of architecture, that imbues them with a touch of magic. Islands is a series of vignettes. Each scene offers up a seemingly normal space and transforms it with a bit surrealism. A pair of escalators carry palm trees that stop for a shower before continuing upward, for instance, or eggs stepping off a bus to take refuge in a bus stop that becomes an incubator. The leap to...
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Traipse About a Beautiful Parkour Playground in Refunct

Refunct is one of those perfect examples of a pleasant surprise. I came across it by pure chance during the Steam Winter sale. Saw it was cheap (less than a dollar at the time) and that the reviews were good, so I figured it was worth a shot. Plus, it described itself as a “peaceful, short first-person platformer about restoring a vibrant world.” So right up my alley, basically. Refunct sees you reactivating a dormant world. You begin on a small plot of land in the middle of the ocean at sunrise. As you move forward, you come across a large red button on the ground. By pressing it, a new set of islands rise from the ocean, another button resting atop one of them. The goal is to keep pressing these buttons until the entire landscape is restored. It’s a simple and brief experience...
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