Alex De-Gruchy

Alex De-Gruchy is a writer and editor of fiction and non-fiction whose work covers videogames, comic books and prose. His upcoming comic book work includes two graphic novels from Markosia Enterprises. In terms of videogames, he has worked as a writer on iOS action / strategy title Crystal Arena while his upcoming videogame projects include a shoot-‘em-up, an action-RPG, an interactive novel, and action-adventure Edelin Tales: Portals of Doom. Marvel at more wordy outpourings from his brain-meats on Twitter: @AlexDeGruchy.

Digressions in Digital: Gunman Clive HD Collection / Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse

For this Digressions in Digital feature, I decided to look at two digital titles available on the Wii U, a pair of 2D action-platformers which pay homage to their roots while coming across as passion projects into which a lot of time and effort has clearly been put: Gunman Clive HD Collection and Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse. Gunman Clive HD Collection Developed and published by Hörberg Productions, Gunman Clive HD Collection (2015) is a collection (funnily enough) of the studio’s two Gunman Clive games, originally released in 2012 and 2015 respectively. Both games take place in a kind of steampunk / sci-fi Old West and cast you as Clive, a gunslinger who, in the first game, is on that…

Overlooked Gem: Mafia II

Although I’ve been a fan of the Grand Theft Auto series since playing the original game on PlayStation, open-world crime title Mafia II wasn’t on my radar until the PlayStation 3 version appeared as a free title on Sony’s PlayStation Plus service. With no expectations, I downloaded the game and tried it, and ended up being hugely impressed with what I played, enough to delete the digital version and buy my own physical copy – because I prefer things you can see and fondle, dammit! Anyway, I was surprised that the game didn’t seem to have received much attention, hence to me its status as an overlooked gem. Developed by 2K Czech and published by 2K Games, Mafia II was…

In Bloom: In Praise of Pikmin 3

I’m sure many people would agree that being a Nintendo fan can be quite the rollercoaster ride, the long-lived Japanese company hitting lofty, admirable highs while also plummeting to head-scratching lows. Like living with a bear covered in fireworks, it’s never boring. Although Nintendo continue to make questionable decisions, it’s important to remember that they can still knock it out of the park when they put their minds to it – when Nintendo are on form, they are on form. And 2013’s Pikmin 3 is a perfect example of this, being a wonderful game which exhibits all of the charm, colour, fun, brilliant gameplay, and generally high level of polish for which the best Nintendo games are renowned. Originally announced…
Past & Retro

Retro Review: Super Mario World

During the Sega-versus-Nintendo console wars of the late 1980s and early 1990s, I was a Sega kid through and through, owning a Master System, a Mega Drive and a Mega-CD. I’ve always appreciated great videogames whatever their system, however, and when the Super Nintendo Entertainment System rolled around, that console featured some exclusive games which I wanted to play but couldn’t, one of them being 1990’s Super Mario World. The dark days of the console wars have been over for a long time but the memories – along with my collection of necklaces made from the severed ears of Nintendo fans (like I said, dark days) – remain. And now, twenty-six years later, I’ve finally managed to play Super Mario…

Retro Review: Metal Gear

Note: The version of Metal Gear I played for this review is the updated version included in Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, which I played on PlayStation 3. It’s been a few months now since the release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Hideo Kojima’s final game in Konami’s long-running series, and after finally completing the game myself, I decided to go back to the beginning of the saga and play 1987’s Metal Gear for the first time. (And let’s face it, given Konami’s recent behaviour and business decisions, the series’ past is likely brighter than its future at this point). Released on the MSX2 computer in Japan and parts of Europe (with a bastardised port appearing on…

Digressions In Digital: Unepic

In my Digressions In Digital feature series (the first of which, an article on survival horror Outlast, can be seen here), I take a look at videogames which were released in digital format and which I think are worth discussing, and this time it’s the turn of Unepic, the 2D RPG platformer created primarily by Francisco Téllez de Meneses (with the help of several other people). Unepic was released on PC in 2011 and later on Wii U in 2014, and it’s the Wii U version I’ll be discussing in this article. Inspired by Konami’s MSX title Knightmare II: The Maze of Galious, Unepic casts the player as Daniel, a twenty-something fan of movies, tabletop RPGs, comic books and videogames,…

Overlooked Gem: I Am Alive

The critical and commercial success enjoyed by Naughty Dog’s post-apocalyptic adventure The Last of Us shows that plenty of gamers are interested in dark, survival-themed videogames set in bleak places and times, and which often place a human face – an ugly and primal one – on the horror they convey. But while The Last of Us garnered a massive amount of praise upon its release in 2013, the previous year saw the release of a post-apocalyptic game which has largely gone unsung and which I think deserves more attention than it seems to receive: I Am Alive. Developed by Darkworks and Ubisoft, and also published by the latter, I Am Alive was digitally released on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360…