Salt and Sanctuary: A ‘Souls’-Like That Gets it Right

The Souls series by From Software has become something of a guidepost for difficulty in games. It’s become common to use the series as a reference when discussing a particularly tough game, with quotes like “It’s as hard as Dark Souls” now serving as a selling point. It can be eye-rolling when tossed around too much. The problem with this kind of labeling is that the Souls series is so much more than combat. It’s lore, level design, atmosphere–things that most clones of the series forget. Yes, the games punish careless play, but the reason they have become so beloved is because

A large monstrous creature that resembles something like a machine from the Matrix crossed with an evil porcupine, clutches down at a much smaller figure in a dimly lit corridor. This is a still from Ska Studios game, Salt and Sanctuary

Disassembling the Deckbuilder

In high school, much of your reputation rides on the groups you choose to associate yourself with. It says a lot about who I am as a person, then, that I spent lunch hours playing Magic: The Gathering with a small group of friends rather than in the cafeteria mingling with the rest of the “cool” population. Looking back on it, those lunch periods are probably responsible for a wide swath of my most cherished memories of the four years spent at that school. To this day, Magic holds a special, and permanent, place in my heart. However, as I grew

cover art from the deckbuilding board game Ascension

It’s Time for Board Games to Take a Stand

In 2013, developer 3909 released Papers, Please. Where are the protest board games?

Close up of the board game box for This War of Mine, which features art from the game and the text "This War of Mine, the Board Game"

Nostalgia is a Weight Around Breath of the Wild’s Neck

From gameplay to art direction, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is an unabashed triumph. In many ways, it has set a new standard for open-world games in terms of both freedom and exploration. Sound design is also a high point; the sound of Link’s feet on stone and the little cooking tune are fantastic touches in a tremendous work of sound. At the time of this writing, I have sunk thirty or so hours into BotW, and no doubt will play many, many more. For all the good that Breath of the Wild brings to the table, however, I

Link climbing up the side of a mountain, a cotton candy sky lit behind him. This is a still from Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Badly Damaged: Weapon Durability in Breath of the Wild

“Instead of providing a sense of variety in combat, you find yourself hoarding weapons for fear of losing them.”

The Fast and the Furious is the Best Super Hero Franchise

This series has come to embody everything I love about the super hero genre, and gives anything Marvel or DC is putting out a serious run for its money.