Tag Archives: 2014

Book Review: Chapter Five and the Axe-Wielding Maniac

Chapter Five and the Axe Wielding Maniac

Author: Marie Sexton
Genre: Romance / Comedy
Published: 2014

“Too bad nobody had given me advance warning about the axe-wielding maniac. I might have made myself a bit more presentable.”

It’s an incredibly rare thing, but every now and then you land up downloading something from Amazon that you are absolutely convinced will be rubbish but that somehow turns out to be a decent read. I wouldn’t have thought Chapter Five and the Axe-Wielding Maniac would be such a find – it’s only 38 pages long, so I was expecting the usual poorly written pseudo-porno setup between an author and a maniac on the run, and if there was an unnecessary amount of thrusting then so be it. What I had instead was a quick little read that was both humorous and touching enough to earn a recommendation.

The Plot

Josh is a 42-year-old author who’s having a bit of a rough time in life. His partner of many years has recently left him and he’s sequestered himself at the family cabin in a vain attempt to get over his writer’s block. None of this is helped when the rather excitable and bouncy (and considerably younger) Rad Fox rocks up on his doorstep with a crowbar and pickaxe asking to dig up the floor in Josh’s lounge. Josh is a sensible being and decides that this is a decidedly unsafe and weird request, and bids Rad to be on his way.

But Rad’s not without his tricks, and knows the way into a man’s heart and lounge – with a good coconut chicken curry. Through the course of the evening’s conversation it comes out that the request to dig up the lounge isn’t as bizarre as it originally sounded – turns out that way back in the day Rad’s grandfather and Josh’s great-uncle were a couple in a far less forgiving time, and mementos of their relationship are buried somewhere under the lounge.

What follows is a surprisingly touching story of lost love, adventure, and sexual re-awakenings.

The Writing Style

Praise be to Mother Isis, not a run-on sentence in sight!

Given that this is a very short read I commend Marie Sexton for being able to construct a fully coherent story with well-realised characters. Both Josh and Rad have their own distinct personalities with just enough back story for them to make sense. There are moments of genuine humour as the encounter between the two is set up in a very clichéd manner only to have (particularly) Josh react in very real and lucid ways. There are also moments that are genuinely heartfelt, and again points must go to the author for being able to squeeze this into a very short amount of space.

What I also liked is the way the two sexual encounters were dealt with. There’s nary a raging cock nor flying bodily fluid to be found, for which I am eternally grateful. More people need to learn from Ms Sexton’s example that balls-to-the-wall vulgarity does not necessarily equate to erotic or romantic writing. The sex itself isn’t really described beyond the fact that it happened, with the first time being a lusty and animalistic affair while the second time is a more tender and slow approach, which makes complete sense in the context of the story.

The Feelings

Very pleasantly surprised.

I’m not very big into romance stories, so you need to tickle something in me to get my attention. Unlike most of what I read for this blog, which seem to want to tickle my prostate with a rusty rake, Chapter Five and the Axe-Wielding Maniac goes for the light and fuzzy with just the right amount of situational comedy to elicit a few laughs and the occasional raised eyebrow. In amongst all this it also manages to touch on shifting societal values, issues of perception when it comes to aging, and a very realistic approach to an adventurous new relationship.

Props also to Marie Sexton for being realistic enough to admit that there is a very real danger of concussion when you have sex up against a solid fireplace.

My Final Rating: 6 / 10
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Posted by on August 23, 2016 in Book Review


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Game Review: Yoshi’s New Island

Release Date: 14 March 2014
Platform: Nintendo 3DS

I like to consider myself an extravagant cheapskate: I won’t spend a lot of money on one thing, but I’ll happily spend triple the value of the one thing buying several other things. Given that I loved the original Yoshi’s Island so much I was torn between which of its sequels to play: the one on the Nintendo DS that I’d have to play on the Wii U’s Virtual Console, or the one on 3DS that got the very middling reviews. Nintendo solved that problem for me by adding this to the Nintendo Selects range, and my cheap self was delighted to order a copy.

I’m so grateful that I bought this once it was added to Nintendo’s discount range rather than buying it full price earlier on; while charming to a certain degree, Yoshi’s New Island isn’t deserving of a full retail price tag.

I'm blue da ba dee da ba die.

I’m blue da ba dee da ba die.

The Plot

In what will become a recurring theme for this game, the plot is only slightly different to that of the first game.

This game picks up right where the original Yoshi’s Island left off with the stork flying off to the Mushroom Kingdom to deliver baby Mario and Luigi to their parents. The stork was obviously suffering a concussion because he’s managed to deliver the babies to the wrong couple, and now needs to set off with the babies again to deliver them to the right people. As he takes off, however, he’s attacked by Kamek, Bowser’s magical babysitter, who once again tries to kidnap the babies.

Kamek manages to steal Luigi but Mario slips free and falls down to Egg Island, a floating island also inhabited by Yoshis and currently under the control of baby Bowser. Using his psychic link to Luigi and with the aid of the Yoshi clan Mario and the Yoshis once again set off on a mission to recover his stolen green sibling.

I will give the game credit for having Shy Guys that do little booty shakes.

I will give the game credit for having Shy Guys that do little booty shakes.

The Gameplay

Again, not much has changed from the first game, with the mechanics of Yoshi’s Island being taken over almost wholesale into this 3DS adventure: throw eggs, transform and make sure the enemy doesn’t make off with Mario.

The only real additions are the giant eggs, underwater stages and flutter wings. The giant eggs aren’t so much new as they are a variation on Yoshi’s traditional egg throwing – by ingesting a giant Shy Guy or Metal Shy Guy you’ll create either Mega Eggdozers or Metal Eggdozers, which can be used to clear paths and destroy obstacles. While interesting, these can only be created at specific points so there isn’t any real strategy involved when they become available.

The underwater levels aren’t particularly different to land based ones, mainly because you’ll use a Metal Eggdozer to weigh you down. Since Yoshi floats the Eggdozer will allow you to walk normally on the ground underwater, and usually you just have to find the right spot to get rid of the egg and float back up to the top. Again, while interesting, it’s nothing that’s overly inventive.

The flutter wings aren’t so much a new kind of gameplay, but rather than a useful helper – should you die more than three times in a level the option to use the flutter wings will become available, allowing you to softly drift over most obstacles rather than engaging in the more tricky platforming. None of the stages in the game are so challenging that you need them, but I did occasionally make use of them just because I couldn’t be asked to go through a particular section again.

What an angry child Bowser was...

What an angry child Bowser was…

The Feelings


At its core Yoshi’s New Island isn’t a bad game and is a more-than-competent platformer. The problem is that it plays almost exactly like Yoshi’s Island without any of that game’s magic or charm. While all the stages, the art style, and the music are also all lovely there isn’t enough variation throughout the game, and what starts off as delightful becomes very repetitive by the time you reach the end of the game.

Yoshi’s New Island doesn’t deliver enough to be worth purchasing at full price, but if you want a decent platformer that’s enjoyable enough but ultimately forgettable once you’ve played it once, then the Selects version might be worth a go.

My Final Rating: 6 / 10
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Posted by on April 1, 2016 in Game Review


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Book Review: Werepuffer


Author: Mina Shay
Genre: Erotica
Published: 2014

With the exception of those damn 50s sci-fi movies a brief look at my more recent blog posts has revealed a worrying trend: I’ve been enjoying myself with various books, movies and games that could be considered “normal”. That kind of thing just can’t be allowed to go on without end, so I decided that it was about time I treated/subjected myself to some kind of unnatural literary sex.

When I go on the hunt for these fluid-soaked rags I rarely go in with a plan: I click on ‘erotica’ and wait to see what Amazon thinks is the best way to expedite the erosion of my psyche on that particular day. Today it decided it was time to expose me to the heretofore unheard of realm of shape-shifting pufferfish and their sexual prowess with human females.

The Plot

Dana is a marine biologist working on a top-secret military experiment to create a more voracious species of piranha. I personally don’t think that Dana would have understood any of the words in that sentence (with the possible exception of “Dana”), but apparently busty, stupid marine biologists in their underwear are all the rage these days.

Being the dimwitted marine biologist that she is Dana manages to fall into the tank with all the piranha, only to be saved by a mysterious giant pufferfish who magically appears where a guy named Paul was standing. Safely out of the tank Dana throws herself and her pufferfish in shining armour into the decontamination tank to wash off all the chemicals that are turning the piranhas into what ever the hell they’re meant to be.

To her complete surprise the pufferfish transforms into Paul after a bit of time in the decontamination tank (*insert fake surprised gasp here*) and Dana simply must think of someway to thank him for rescuing her from her own inability to control basic motor functions. Being a remarkably intelligent woman she obviously believes that sex is the best payment plan, and said “intelligence” quickly goes out the window as her apparent natural instinct to open her legs kicks in. On the upside it turns out that being a werepuffer comes with certain abilities, such as the ability to inflate and deflate your penis, thus stretching pussies to levels that pussies could hardly have imagined possible and so on and so forth.

The Writing Style

Mina Shay writes in a way that I imagine the people who do the scripts for porn write: you say “marine biologist”, but I’m seeing a blonde stripper with clear heels. I imagine this was exactly what Ms Shay was going for, so brava on that count.

Other than that it’s all rather generic: there’s pussies a-slopping, cocks a-puffing, clits a-rubbing, nipples a-squeezing; you get the picture. The werepuffer aspect is also actually only thrown in so that the Paul can screw Dana in what is likely a very chlorinated tank without the benefit of lube – this will eliminate unsightly chafing, but does very little to make the sex actually exciting.

The Feelings


Despite it’s ridiculous concept Werepuffer contains some of the blandest sex I’ve ever read. If you run the risk of dying from eating pufferfish that hasn’t been prepared correctly then surely there should be some element of risk involved if you don’t fuck them properly either. By this book’s standards you could have sex with a well-muscled balloon and it would have the same earth-shattering climax of an effect.

I wonder if anyone’s written balloon erotica…

My Final Rating: 3 / 10
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Posted by on March 30, 2016 in Book Review


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Book Review: The Swarm

The Swarm

Author: Chris Pearson
Genre: Horror / Sci-Fi
Published: 2014

So there I was, innocently flipping through my Kindle, trying to imagine a world without bears banging in the shower or where doctors don’t tie up their patients with stethoscopes, when this book happened to me. I say that because I really was trying to force some of the more grotesque erotica out of my mind by replacing it instead with grotesque giant bees, and at only 99c I thought this might do the trick.

Ultimately you can look at The Swarm in one of two ways: either it’s a complete waste of 99c, or it’s a complete bargain in that it provides hours and hours of non-stop rage and irritation that you sometimes have to spend upwards of $3.99 to find. I tend to go with option number two, but even that optimistic outlook on life doesn’t change the fact that this book was rubbish.

The Plot

Mother nature is an unforgiving bitch of a woman sometimes. As if some insects aren’t revolting enough in their minuscule forms, she’s gone and decided to mutate the damn things so that some of them aren’t only the size of busses but also come equipped with row upon row of razor-sharp teeth!

Meg Donner is in Dallas when the swarm initially strikes and is one of the lucky few in the city to make it out with her life and face still intact. She doesn’t know how and she doesn’t know why, but she is completely certain that her younger brother is still alive in their small hometown in Kansas, even if she’s also certain that her parents no longer tread this mortal path. With a goal in mind she sets out to find her brother.

Along the way she meets a rag-tag team of generic characters whose names are unimportant because they’re easier to identify by the stereotype they bring to the table (buff nice guy, older father figure, cop with a dark past, useless crying woman etc.). These strangers also seem to have a bizarre intuition about what’s going on in the world. Over time the group comes to call this intuition ‘the Bind’ and agree that it seems to have arisen to counter the swarm’s hive mind. With the Bind hopefully able to guide them the group sets off, each to fulfill their own destiny and set of premonitions in the face of the growing intelligence of the swarm that’s sweeping backwards and forwards and decimating the United States.

The Writing Style

The writing in this book is a problem, which can be largely attributed to two things: (1) the construction of the plot, (2) the editing (or lack thereof).

In terms of the actual plot the main issue is the Bind; while an interesting idea, that every character is able to tap into the thoughts and premonitions of the other means that there’s no need or scope to either develop the characters’ relationships or to slowly show the reader what it is the swarm wants – the Bind makes everyone know one another instantly, and the Bind will tell you want the swarm wants. I’m not one who favours unnecessarily padding out a story, but a little buildup and tension would be nice.

Without the tension and the buildup the rest of the story falls rather flat – you’re never wondering what’s going to happen just over the hill because the characters already know, you don’t become attached to any of the characters because most of them know (and tell you) if they’re going to survive or not, and you don’t wonder what caused the swarm to mutate because the characters guess it in the first few chapters and are subsequently proven right. By the time we got to members of the Pentagon believing in telepathy I was ready to tap out.

Then we get to the editing of the book. In all honesty the version I read (and I maybe it’s been updated to fix this) reads like a first draft where the story was more or less nailed down but some consistency checks were still waiting in the wings and just never happened. The best example of this lack of consistency is during an attack on the group where the lead insect goes from initially being a dragonfly, then becomes a butterfly for the next two pages, and then dies as a dragonfly. Some characters’ names are also spelled inconsistently and random phrases are repeated too close to one another, almost as if the author wanted to use them but wasn’t quite sure where they would work best. In a book that’s already a bit on the thin side (clocking in at only 180 pages) and lacking most of what it takes to drive an effective plot, the complete lack of checks just pushes The Swarm ever closer to bottom-of-the-barrel territory.

The Feelings

Primarily irritation.

Unlike with movies I’m not one to generally slog my way through a bad book. As with so many things that I seem to land up reviewing here The Swarm has a very interesting concept (who doesn’t like giant bugs or the idea that humans can also work under a pseudo-hive mind?), but none of the strands that Chris Pearson was working with came together properly. What you’re left with then is a plot that borders on ludicrous, following characters that are completely two-dimensional, and an apocalypse that should be really cool but whose explanation is so Youtube-conspiracy-theory that I really struggled to take anything seriously.

My advice is to steer clear of this one. I don’t know of any better giant bug apocalypse novels off the top of my head but I’m sure they’re out there, and one day I’m gonna find them!

My Final Rating: 3 / 10
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Posted by on March 1, 2016 in Book Review


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Game Review: Yoshi’s Island

Yoshi's Island

Original Release: 11 October 2002
Original Platform: Game Boy Advance
Virtual Console Release: 24 April 2014
Price: £6.29

While Kirby is my homeboy and there isn’t a game on the planet starring him I wouldn’t play, Yoshi also holds a very special place in my heart (if for nothing else, because he’s allowed me to kill him so many times to pull off an effective super jump in New Super Mario Bros. U). The original SNES version of Yoshi’s Island isn’t available to play on any of Nintendo’s current systems (I understand this has something to do with copyright and the chips that were included in the original cartridge), but in its place we do have Super Mario Advance 3, the Game Boy Advance port of the game. For those who played the original I’m sure this isn’t ideal, but I since I haven’t I was perfectly happy to pick up the GBA version of what is, to be quite honest, a masterclass in platforming perfection.

Kirby's really let himself go lately...

Kirby’s really let himself go lately…

The Plot

It’s a Mario spin-off platformer, so you don’t really need a lot of story to get things going, but what plot there is is undeniably adorable.

Taking place long before Mario ever had to set out to rescue Princess Peach ad nauseam, our story begins when a stork is on his way to deliver a baby Mario and Luigi to their new parents. While in flight the stork is attacked by Kamek, who foresees that these brothers will be nothing but trouble for Baby Bowser when he grows up. Kamek manages to grab Luigi, but Mario slips away and tumbles towards the ocean.

Thankfully Mario’s resourceful and manages to safely land himself on Yoshi’s Island. Mario has a very deep bond with Luigi and can psychically sense where he is. The Yoshis, being the good-hearted creatures that they are, agree to carry Mario across the island to find his missing brother.

That's what you get for chasing me!

That’s what you get for chasing me!

The Gameplay

While the original version included Super Mario World 2 in its title and this version is part of the Super Mario Advance series, it plays very differently to anything starring the grownup version of the red plumber. It has standard 2D side-scrolling platforming with jumping and running, but controlling a Yoshi is a very different beast.

The first thing that sets a Yoshi game apart from a Mario game is the lack of a timer. So long as you have baby Mario on your back (and there aren’t any enemies running after you), you can take each stage at your leisure. Coming into contact with an enemy will knock baby Mario off your back, and you have a limited amount of time to get him back (how much time you have is dependent on how many stars you have found littered throughout a level) – run out of time and Kamek will come and grab him, and you’ll have to restart the level.

While you can still jump on enemies heads to defeat them, it’s actually far more fun (and completely essential to gameplay) that you use Yoshi’s tongue to grab them, eat them, and then crap them out as eggs. These eggs can then be used as projectiles to defeat larger enemies, bosses, or to reach items that are either hidden or too far away to get to by just flutter jumping.

The game is split over six worlds, each with eight stages, and these are some of the most gorgeous things you are ever going to see. The entire game has been visually designed like drawings done with crayons, which gives it a very child-like and whimsical feel. The visuals are accompanied by equally magical music that create some of the happiest environments I think I’ve ever encountered in a game. Don’t let the cuteness fool you though – Yoshi’s Island has some devilishly tricky sections and many hidden items littered throughout each stage (finding all the hidden items in a particular world will unlock bonus stages unique to this version of the game). I died a good few many times, and checkpoints are just a little further apart than you’d like, but the game succeeds at being so damn gorgeous that you just don’t mind repeating certain levels over and over again.

The fact that this is a GBA port does mean that the screen is zoomed in to compensate for the GBA’s smaller screen size. This means that parts of the stage which would have been perfectly viewable in the SNES version are out of shot here, and this requires that you explore each stage a little more thoroughly than would have been the case in the original. As part of the Wii U Virtual Console I opted to play the game mostly on the GamePad alone, which doubles up quite nicely as an oversized GBA. With screen smoothing enabled it looks absolutely fine on a TV as well, but then the sound takes a bit of a hit. It won’t ruin the game by any means, but my personal feeling is that since this was designed for a small screen, play it on a small screen.

Yoshi never wants to come out of there again.

Yoshi never wants to come out of there again.

The Feelings


It’s very rare that a game manages to balance being fanciful, challenging and engaging, but Yoshi’s Island did just that. There really isn’t a bad thing you can say about it because it does absolutely nothing wrong. Now a mature 20-year-old, Yoshi’s Island is as competent and compelling a game (if not more so) than most of what’s on the market today, and deserves to be played by anyone who enjoys platformers (or just wants to let their inner child loose on a mad run for a while).

My Final Rating: 10 / 10


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Posted by on December 17, 2015 in Game Review


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Book Review: The Sex-Crazed Unicorns on Noah’s Ark

The Sex Crazed Unicorn on Noah's Ark

Author: Avery Dom Shifter
Genre: Erotica / Fantasy
Published: 2014

Sometimes Amazon likes to throw an unexpected gem at me. As I sat with my cup of coffee wading through the seemingly never-ending litany of incest-not-incest books that the erotica section was recommending (no seriously, it has to stop – there cannot be that many horny stepfathers and bad boy stepbrothers out there) my eye chanced upon The Sex-Crazed Unicorns on Noah’s Ark. The title alone was enough to make me get it (it was free, so why the hell not), but of all the things I was expecting from this what I was most surprised by is that it’s actually quite good. Whether you’ll get off on it is entirely a matter of personal taste, but Avery Dom Shifter has managed to pull together a decent story that’s remarkably well written.

The Plot

Seba’s not having a very good time at the moment. As Noah’s daughter-in-law there’s a lot of pressure on her to be part of the re-population of the post-flood Earth, but there’s a slight problem: Japeth, Noah’s son and Seba’s husband, is in love with a very manly basket weaver named Gomer. Noah won’t let Gomer onto the Ark, so Japeth is spending most of his days throwing hissy fits and hugging his lover’s very well-made baskets, leaving Seba a perpetual virgin.

Of the women on the boat Seba’s also the only one who seems to have any street smarts, so she’s charged with going off into the woods to find a unicorn by singing this ancient Sumerian song:

Come to me, oh horned beast, come to me my treasure.
Pierce me on your spiral horn and make me gasp with pleasure.
Spray me with your sparkling cum and fuck me at your leisure.
My cunt is hungry as a wolf, my lust too deep to measure.

Feeling like a bit of a tit since she can’t actually stand unicorns, Seba nevertheless manages to find a more docile one and bring it back to the Ark. Once on board and with the flood in full swing she discovers, however, that her hard-won unicorn is actually a Nephilite, a half-human, half-angel named Kenan. Kenan’s brother Irad also managed to sneak on board by disguising himself as one of the manticore. This means that unicorns and manticores will now die out, but good heavens are these majestic creatures about to sex the ever-loving daylights out of the Ark’s female passengers.

Except that the Nephilites are not just out for some sexy times on God’s mandated cruise – they want to kill all of the men on board and use the women as sex slaves to repopulate the Earth with Nephilite. Seba’s terrified out of her mind, but Ophir, wife of Ham, whilst not a particularly bright woman, assures her that she has a pussy that can bring death to anyone she wishes, and the two set off on a mission of orgiastic proportions and divine assassination attempts.

The Writing Style

I must say this, Avery Dom Shifter knows how to write. This little pamphlet has been written in a way that is both incredibly witty and (finally!) actually erotic.

Seba is a slut, there’s no doubt about that, but what I love is that she’s a sassy slut with some great one-liners, my personal favourite being:

See this? This is my pussy’s angry face!

The story is also very self-aware, and likes to throw a little shade at its source material:

“But Japeth’s a sodomite!” said Seba, even though Sodom had yet to be founded.

It’s little things like this that make me want to keep reading. I can admire a slut who knows herself and what she wants but also isn’t afraid to make use of a pussy of death if the situation really calls for it. Add to the general zaniness the fact that the author clearly understands the psychology of domination and weaves it into the story very effectively and what you’ve got is a very brief story that sets out to be both funny and sexy and succeeds at doing both.

The Feelings


Shifter angel domination doesn’t really check the boxes of the things that turn me on, but I’ll give credit to the author because I can see that for those who are into this kind of thing, you’re going to really enjoy it.

For me it was the dry comedy and wit that made this story one that’s worth reading. Anyone who can make a woman doing anal with an angel that has a scorpion tail humorous deserves all the praise in the world!

My Final Rating: 7 / 10
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Posted by on December 15, 2015 in Book Review


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Movie Review: Left Behind

Left Behind

Released: 2014
Genre: Action / Sci-Fi
IMDB Rating: 3.1 / 10

A few days back as I was going through my recent reviews and feeling a sense of pride at how this little blog was coming along I was struck by a worrying trend: a lot of the things I was reviewing were things I had enjoyed. I read a fair number of blogs and it’s wonderful when you can tell that someone enjoyed the thing they’re writing about, but I’ll admit that it brings me a sadistic kind of joy when someone rants about something they utterly despised. I can’t expect other people to go out and review and delightfully condemn awful things if I’m not prepared to return the favour, and that’s how I came to watch Left Behind. It was a logical choice given that the universal consensus was that it’s a load of bollocks and I personally can’t stand Nicolas Cage, but I must say that in all the years that the Good Lord has chosen to keep me on this earth watching terrible movies I have never, ever come across a film that fails on every possible level quite as much as Left Behind does.

Maybelline saw our brave heroine through the apocalypse.

Maybelline saw our brave heroine through the apocalypse.

The Plot

Chloe Steele has just flown into town to visit her family and to celebrate her dad Rayford’s birthday. Unfortunately Rayford, a pilot, can’t hang around for his birthday as he’s been called away to have an urgent affair with a dimwit airline hostess who, despite living in this sinful world of texting and tweeting and twerking, doesn’t seem to think that the man several decades her senior and with a grown-ass daughter and a prepubescent son might be married. Bloody box of rocks…

In a benevolent act by a generous God about to doom the majority of mankind to eternal torment, Chloe meets Buck Williams, an investigative reporter who doesn’t seem to be awfully good at investigating (or reporting, for that matter) but whose rugged charm would cause the knickers of a less chaste female to come flying off with the force of Lucifer himself falling to Earth. After a brief coffee and some small talk that will set them up for the rest of their doomed lives Chloe leaves to go home to see her much-loved little brother and recently-converted-to-Christianity bat-shit-crazy mother.

Things start to go a tad awry once Chloe and her brother, having sufficiently argued with the mother, make an escape to the mall. At this point God decides that now’s the time for the rapture and starts to take His chosen few (including Chloe’s brother and mother) to heaven. With people vanishing literally by the several chaos breaks out across the world as a very Connecticut, tea and sandwiches after the service, when did they let black people into the country club-style apocalypse starts to happen.

With Chloe and Rayford left behind the two will need to find a way to reunite with one another in this now-literally Godless world. It’s also up to Chloe to figure out a way to fabricate a runway so that Rayford can land his damn plane since air traffic controllers are apparently a very religious bunch.

Prepare yourself for the most underwhelming story ever told, recited in the most monotonous tone imaginable, in a movie that Satan is probably considering as a torture device for one of the circles in Hell.

Just hold it together honey, the credits will roll soon enough.

Just hold it together honey, the credits will roll soon enough.

The Visuals

This movie alleges to have had a $16 million budget. My guess is that 14 of those went to paying Mr Cage. $1 999 500 then went to paying the rest of the cast, crew and the tea trolley lady. The remaining $500 then went into things like hair, makeup, wardrobe and special effects.

That’s how I’m guessing you balance the money-to-visuals ratio. Let your imagination do with this information what it will.

Me too movie, me too...

Me too movie, me too…

The Feelings

Boredom with a hint of nausea.

The problem with Left Behind, quite frankly, is everything. On some level, I imagine, it’s meant to portray Christians as the good guys because it’s all about the rapture, but for the brief time we actually have Christians in the movie they’re portrayed as bible-bashing nut jobs, so I can’t say with any conviction what target audience we’re meant to be aiming for.

The “disaster” element of the movie is also very lacklustre. Given that when the Rapture happens only a baker’s dozen worth of adults vanish along with all the children (although I don’t think that a teenager is technically a child, especially by biblical standards), the rioting and mayhem that follow are completely out of proportion to what’s actually happened. Personally the rapture could happen tomorrow and given the friends I have it could be weeks before I noticed anything had happened.

My understanding of the rapture is also that once God takes the chosen into heaven all hell is meant to break out on Earth, but the none of that happens here. Most of Left Behind is just Nic Cage trying to land a plane with an angry midget and some Islamophobia thrown in for good measure. The idea that we should all accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour is kind of mixed in there, but not enough to convince me that that’s the actual point the audience is meant to take away from the film.

I couldn’t actually tell you what the hell it was that this movie was trying to get across to you. It’s like it wanted to climb up on a soap box and preach the good word but only managed to get one leg up. This leaves it preachy enough that you’ll raise an eyebrow at it, but not enough that you can actually engage with its subject matter. Add to that that the acting’s atrocious and there’s literally no action to be found and all you’re left with is Nic Cage’s one facial expression and two hours of your life that you aren’t going to get back.

My Final Rating: 1 / 10
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Posted by on October 31, 2015 in Movie Review


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Game Review: Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land

Kirby NiDLOriginal Release: 26 September 2003
Original Platform: Game Boy Advance
Virtual Console Release: 17 July 2014
Price: £6.29

When you love a game enough, you’ll own multiple copies of it on as many platforms as possible. For example, I own Kirby’s Adventure on the Wii U (a terrible version owing to the limitations of the PAL NES), 3DS (as a 3D Classic, which is a fantastic version) and again on Wii U in the form of Nightmare in Dream Land, an enhanced remake for the Game Boy Advance.

Some might say that owning that many versions of the same Kirby game is excessive, but you couldn’t be more wrong. People who think that clearly just weren’t hugged enough as a child and have grown up to become stunted adults unable to see the wonder of having all these versions of the pink one’s first home console adventure. I don’t judge these people, and I certainly wouldn’t ban them from my home. But if they hang around they’re not getting the good coffee and they certainly can’t play with my Kirby amiibo.

Oh Wispy, it's time to give you another ass whipping!

Oh Whispy, it’s time to give you another ass whipping!

The Plot

Being as pink and adorable as Kirby is can be exhausting, which is why the little guy takes frequent naps. Unlike his other naps, however, this one wasn’t filled with glorious dreams. Worried by this Kirby goes off to the Fountain of Dreams to check that everything’s OK, where he discovers that the Star Rod, the source of the Fountain’s powers, has been stolen and broken by King Dedede.

The broken Star Rod pieces are now being held by Whispy Woods, Paint Roller, Mr. Shine and Mr. Bright, Kracko, Heavy Mole, Meta Knight, and King Dedede himself. Without the Fountain all of Dream Land’s inhabitants are starting to get a little ratty because, without dreams, they can’t get a decent night’s sleep.

To restore order to Dream Land’s nap times Kirby will have to journey long and far to beat the crap out of those holding on to the Star Rod fragments.

Let Kirby's gentle melodies lull you off to dream land...

Let Kirby’s gentle melodies lull you off to dream land…

The Gameplay

Nightmare in Dream Land is a traditional platformer, so the main goal is to get from the left-hand side of the screen to the right while trying not to take damage from enemies in the process. What makes most Kirby games more suited to young gamers is the fact that, unlike the likes of Mario, he isn’t bound to the ground and can inflate and fly whenever the player chooses. In most courses this means that the majority of ground-based obstacles can be avoided should the player so choose.

What Kirby’s Adventure introduced to the series (absent from Kirby’s first game, Kirby’s Dream Land) is Kirby’s signature copy ability. Most enemies have certain powers (a laser, a sword, etc.) that Kirby can steal by inhaling the enemy and swallowing them. These powers make getting around the levels significantly easier, but certain ones are also essential to solving certain puzzles and finding the game’s many hidden items.

As with most Kirby games Nightmare in Dream Land isn’t particularly difficult and won’t take you tremendous amounts of time to finish the main story. The main challenge comes in trying to find all of the hidden rooms and collectables, and it was with great pride that this became the first Kirby game I’ve 100%-ed 🙂

Graphically the game has all the charm you would expect from the Game Boy Advance, and it translates very well on the Wii U’s Virtual Console, either by playing it on the Gamepad or playing it full screen on the TV (in which case I would recommend turning screen smoothing on, otherwise the game can be a bit pixellated). As with all GBA Virtual Console games, however, multiplayer link up has been disabled.

A great personal victory.

A great personal victory.

The Feelings

As always, Kirby elicits feelings of pure joy and elation in me. I wish I could explain it (and all of the gods above know I’ve tried), but there’s just something about seeing this little guy dance when he beats a boss that gives me one of those smiles where happiness goes straight through you.

Kirby’s Adventure was a delightful little game that pushed the original NES’ hardware to the limits with its presentation. Nightmare in Dream Land retains all of the joy and fun of the original and breathes new life into it with its updated graphics and sound. You also get three mini games that weren’t included in the original thrown into the mix, so there’s really nothing here to complain about. But even if you were to complain, please don’t think that I would think any less of you or your inability to feel happiness.

My Final Rating: 7 / 10


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Posted by on August 6, 2015 in Game Review


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Movie Review: 7500

7500Released: 2014
Genre: Horror / Mystery
IMDB Rating: 4.9 / 10

You know, there’s a lot of rubbish out there. Thankfully on most occasions the well-seasoned horror veteran can easily spot rubbish a mile away and adjust their expectations accordingly. But when you start throwing around the words “From the Director of The Grudge” and put together a decent trailer, sometimes even the best of us can be caught off guard. 7500 is a lie of a horror movie that makes things like Ouija look like a master class in script writing, acting, and plot development.

Consider this as much a cautionary tale against the temptation of renting this film as it is a review.

Yes, hello? Is this the script writer? Yes, I was wondering if you'd seen the plot development anywhere?

Yes, hello? Is this the script writer? Yes, I was wondering if you’d seen the plot development anywhere?

The Plot

Flight 7500 from Los Angeles to Tokyo is all loaded up and ready to go. Amongst the passengers are such riveting people as the couple that’s secretly already broken up but haven’t told their friends, the couple that’s briefly introduced and then completely forgotten, the young WASP couple who’re just starting out their life of asking who’s been allowed into their country club together, the goth girl who’s so goth other goths would be embarrassed to hang out with her, and the mysterious middle-aged gentleman traveling with a Japanese death doll.

All’s going well for about the first 10 minutes of the flight until the gentleman with the death doll suddenly starts bleeding profusely from his mouth and his teeth start falling out, leading to a rather undignified death. The body is promptly stored in the first class cabin and everyone goes back to drinking their expensive bottled water and eating their complementary bags of peanuts.

That is until the cabin experiences sudden decompression and we learn through harsh experience that virtually nobody pays attention during the pre-flight safety presentations. Thankfully, the captain manages to drop the plane to a lower altitude, restabilise cabin pressure, and everyone goes back to deciding whether chicken or fish would go better with their tiny bottles of red wine.

THAT IS until mysterious things start happening around the plane, what with the dead guy’s body going missing, ghostly images appearing in people’s in-flight movies, things grabbing the flight attendants’ hair and smoke appearing from randomly pieces of the floor.

Thankfully the embarrassingly goth girl knows a lot about Japanese mythology and identifies the missing dead gentleman’s doll as a shinigami, a spirit that collects people’s souls after they die once they let go of whatever ties them to this mortal realm. The mysterious things that go bump in the night every once in a while are obviously linked to the dead gentleman. Taking her advice at face value and questioning nothing, our intrepid group of economy-class heroes set out to get the dead guy to let go of his troubles and, despite not being of Japanese extraction, move on to the Japanese afterlife.

Even the death doll was a little skeptical about what was going on.

Even the death doll was a little skeptical about what was going on.

The Visuals

When the greatest special effect you can be bothered to rustle up is to make the interior of the plane look a little damp, there’s not a lot of room to go wrong with your visuals. We were promised Grudge-esque spirits wandering around the cabin and the everyday man’s malevolent ghoul, but these really only pop up either in brief periphery shots or the occasional white hand, so it’s not like you can get this very wrong either.

There’s nothing that particularly stands out in this category, but it’s all completely serviceable.

My face when you're still waiting for the movie to actually do something.

Your face when you’re still waiting for the movie to actually do something.

The Feelings

Initial excitement that quickly tapers off into boredom.

7500 starts off promisingly with all the necessary elements for an effective horror movie. Pitched as The Grudge but on a plane, it seemed like it could be something quite different and interesting to watch. Unfortunately by the time you’ve crossed the one-hour mark and nothing significant has happened you start to realise that, like Flight 7500, this movie just isn’t going to reach any kind of destination.

If you also consider the fact that I’m absolutely useless at figuring out plot twists before they happen (it’s actually a lot of fun – I’m always surprised when there’s any kind of twist in a film), I saw where this was going within the first twenty minutes or so. While it always feels nice to be right about something, it makes the rest of the movie even more boring that it was to begin with.

7500 was a promising movie that just never gets going, and it’s neither good enough to recommend or bad enough that you could have fun watching it. Rather rewatch The Grudge and save yourself the disappointment of losing an hour and a half to this movie.

My Final Rating: 3 / 10
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Posted by on July 9, 2015 in Movie Review


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Game Review: The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap

LoZ Minish CapOriginal Release: 12 November 2004
Original Platform: Game Boy Advance
Virtual Console Release: 29 May 2014
Price: £6.29

While the original Game Boy was the first console I owned that really got me into the world of gaming (and, owing to its size, made me mildly proficient in the use of heavy objects as weapons), nothing quite holds a candle to my clear, bright pink Game Boy Advance. She’s a little beaten, yellowed, and missing her battery cover, but I still haul her out every now and then when the mood takes me.

My love of the Game Boy Advance and my re-sparked interest in the Legend of Zelda series (courtesy of The Wind Waker HD) made getting this little gem a reasonable decision. The Wii U’s Gamepad doubles up as a decent GBA stand-in, with the added bonus being hearing the GBA startup music in glorious surround sound when blown up on the TV.

There's something on my head!!

There’s something on my head!!

The Plot

Taking place early in the Zelda timeline (the earliest at the time of its release, and currently only second in the timeline after Skyward Sword), The Minish Cap follows an incarnation of Link as he tries to rescue Princess Zelda and the kingdom of Hyrule with the help of the tiny, pixy-like Minish people. Zelda has been turned to stone by the villain Vaati, a Picori (the Hyrulean name for the Minish)-turned evil wizard-turned destroyer of the Picori Blade, the precursor to the hero’s Master Sword seen in later games.

According to legend the Picori Blade was used in a bygone era by a hero decked in a green tunic to drive monsters and darkness from the land of Hyrule. With the blade destroyed the monsters and the darkness have returned. Link, accompanied by Ezlo, a Picori-turned sassy bird-shaped hat, must re-forge the Picori Blade, defeat Vaati and his minions, save Zelda, and do the sort of everyday things that heroes of an ancient age were expected to do.

I beat you in The Wind Waker and I'll beat you here too!

I beat you in The Wind Waker and I’ll beat you here too!

The Gameplay

As with most Zelda games, Minish Cap is an adventure/puzzle game that requires the player to go from area to area and dungeon to dungeon solving a series of puzzles, beating the requisite dungeon bosses and collecting the necessary items to continue on with the quest. In this instance, the main items that require collecting are the Four Elements which are needed to re-forge the Picori Blade. There are also the usual side quests that do things like power up your weapons and increase the amount of life you have, which is useful for later on in the story but not at all necessary to plot development.

The game itself is played from a top-down perspective similar to the earlier Zelda games on the NES, SNES and Game Boy Color, with items being assigned to particular buttons (which require frequent swapping out depending on what needs to be done next).

The key gameplay mechanic in Minish Cap is the ability to shrink down to the size of the Picori and explore otherwise inaccessible areas of the game world. This can’t just be done willy nilly, however, and you’ll need to find portals left by the Minish in order to shrink down to their size; these usually take the form of tree stumps and cracked Chinese vases.

Ezlo, your constant companion since he’s taken up residence on Link’s head, serves as a far less irritating version of Navi from Ocarina of Time since he’ll help you out with hints if you’re either lost or, far more common with me, have forgotten what it is your meant to be doing, but he’ll only do it if you specifically ask him. He’s also a source of great one-liners and general sassiness (far more than you’d expect from your average hat), so you don’t mind taking him along for the ride.

Of course a Zelda game isn’t a Zelda game without Link rolling around and grunting. I have yet to discover how this helps you apart from moving around marginally quicker than just walking normally, but without it all you’d be left with is the game’s colourful visuals and full soundtrack, and that just wouldn’t do.

Also, Tingle and his brethren are everywhere. What’s not to love?

LoZ Minish Cap_end

The Feelings

The Minish Cap is a somewhat short game. Unlike other Zelda games where you can expect to pour a good many hours into completing just the main story, I managed to get through the game’s main story, a good few side quests, and get hopelessly lost on numerous occasions in around 12 hours. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing since it does manage to pack a good story into its relatively short playtime, but it is best to bear this in mind before going in.

With that being said the game still has all of the polish and fun that you would expect from the series. The puzzles are clever and challenging without ever feeling unfair, the game world is beautifully vibrant in a distinctively GBA way and the characters you come into contact with are very endearing.

And anyway, you play the entire game with a sassy bird hat telling you what to do. What more could you possibly want?

My Final Rating: 7 / 10



Posted by on July 1, 2015 in Game Review


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