Dota Underlords (Open Beta) – Taking the Mod in the Right Direction

I’m Never Going Back…

That is to say, I’m never going back to the original Dota Auto Chess mod now that Valve has released their own standalone version of the game available on Steam, and mobile platforms for free. When I first heard word of this new entry in the “Auto Chess” genre, I thought it was a good move but just wasn’t sure if they’d be able to land it. After all, these are the folks who brought us Artifact, which was a total disaster despite its excellent gameplay. Having been enjoying the game in closed beta though, I can confidently say that this is a great game that is moving in the right direction. Continue reading “Dota Underlords (Open Beta) – Taking the Mod in the Right Direction”

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Dauntless (Open Beta) – Mini Review

More Than a Monster Hunter Clone

You’ve probably heard of a “new” game that’s become quite popular on the Epic Games store recently called Dauntless. It’s out for PS4, Xbox, and PC with a Switch port coming soon. Even better than that, it is 100% free to play. So what exactly is Dauntless and why is it so popular?

This game has actually been around for some time, since 2017, but it never gained traction until just recently. Many wrote this off as a buggy and inferior copy of the smash game series, Monster Hunter, but after some time in the oven and a wide release on multiple platforms, it seems things have really turned around for Phoenix Labs.

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I’ll admit that I was skeptical of the game. I don’t like Monster Hunter and it seemed like the kind of grind that would get old fast. However, something compelled me to give this a try and I’m really glad that I did. What I discovered was a game that was great for popping in and out of with a nice community.

As I’ve mentioned, the game is not dissimilar to Monster Hunter, specifically World. The key difference being that Dauntless is more of an arcade-y experience working on a free to play model. Don’t let that scare you though because the game is extremely solid and friendly to those not wanting to invest a cent.

For an open beta product, the foundation of the game is extremely solid. You can choose from one of several weapons ranging from a sword, spear, or guns, called “repeaters” in this game. Each weapon has various elemental forms that can be upgraded and modified as you play to best counter each monster.

What I particularly like about this is the mastery system Dauntless has. As you use each weapon, you unlock mastery in it. This in turn grants you new ways to further customize your weapon of choice. However, the game also gives players an incentive for keeping a more well-rounded approach by having quests and challenges that grant rewards tied to getting just a little bit better with every weapon.

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As for micro-transactions, there are some. The worst of the bunch is the needless “Hunt Pass” which is a weird battle pass thing in a free to play MMO type game. That said, it only grants a very minute bonus to resource gathering as well as additional premium currency that you otherwise wouldn’t get right away. At least, that’s all that it impacts in terms of gameplay. You do get several cosmetic items by purchasing the pass but it is by no means necessary.

Free users still gain rewards on the Hunt Pass, just a lot less after the initial few levels. Still, free users do gain many of the same things the paid users get, just in smaller quantities. What you’ll largely miss out on is cosmetic items.

Having put in several hours over the course of two weekends, I can confidently say that the Duantless has a solid playerbase that is ready and willing to help new players. It doesn’t take long to get to a pretty competent level either. I’m already at some pretty high-end stuff with multiple sets of highly leveled gear.

Fighting the monsters has been largely rewarding. Only a few are slightly frustrating but each is pretty different than the last. When I was talking about weapons earlier, you really are rewarded for having mastery over a couple because some weapons do way better against certain monsters. As you play, you pick that stuff up in an organic kind of way and it is really satisfying.

It’s not all sunshine and roses though. Every now-and-again, the servers seem to be overloaded. You may disconnect in the middle of a 15 minute battle and lose out on all that work. Also, the devs haven’t implemented loadout slots yet so you are constantly needing to shuffle around gear.

These are things that can be, and will be, fixed though. If you like games like Monster Hunter and don’t mind a bit of a grind, than Dauntless is something you should check out. It being free and on virtually every platform with a linked account across each of ’em, there really isn’t much risk for just popping in. You may just find a new favorite like I did!

You can check the game out in more detail on the Dauntless website. If you would like to play with me I am available sporadically on the weekend. The game has crossplatform play, so even if you aren’t on PS4, we can play together. Let me know in the comments if you want to add me or send me a private message on my Twitter (@JS_Reviews) so we can get that sorted.


Let me know how you’ve been enjoying Dauntless and if I convinced you to check it out. Even if you hate the game, I’d love to hear why. If you want to support my writing here please consider a donation by hitting the Ko-fi button below. Thanks for taking the time out of your busy day to read and have a good one!

The Mirror Lied – Mini Review

Halloween Leftovers

I love Freebird Games’ To the Moon, so whenever they release something new I check it out. Well, this is more like a re-release of a 2008 title, The Mirror Lied. The game is pretty abstract and only takes about 30 minutes to beat 100%. It was one of the games I tried out for my brief spooky game play session this Halloween. The big question here, is this any good?

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Really, I have no clue what to think of the story. It didn’t exactly make a ton of sense. Though I am not without some theories. There is a lot of referring to a birdie and a portion of the game where you look at, what appears to be, a virus under a microscope.

My best guess is that some epidemic is, or was, about to take place and that is what the story is about. Past that, your best guess is as good as mine. It is very much up for interpretation.

When it comes to the atmosphere it is kind of spooky but this isn’t a horror game at all. Stuff kind of just happens, the creepiest being a phone ringing with cryptic messages (if you answer). The Mirror Lied has one song for its soundtrack, which I liked ok, but it isn’t the greatest.

As far as an initial impression goes, this is something to check out if you like more experimental games. With such a short playtime it isn’t really asking much of you either. If anything, it is something different.

The creator, Kan, put out a video explaining everything so here you go:

Finally, all the questions answered!


Give the game a go, or not, it is free. What is your best guess for what happened in the story? Let me hear your voice in the comments. If you would like to help me out a bit please click the donation button below. As always, thanks for reading and hope to see you back here again soon!

Confess My Love – Mini Review

An Endless Cycle of Rejection

This will truly be a mini review, as I have very little to say about Confess My Love by LR Studio. This is a free to play game on Steam that is about, well, confessing your love to a girl. Toted as a horror title I thought this innocent looking title might be a good quick look for Halloween since that was around the corner. Sadly, there just isn’t much here and this isn’t really worth your time unless you plan to play the connected game Transparent Black.

Here was my experience with Confess My Love. I spent two whole hours, with a guide after a bit, getting 100% on this game. At first it was fun to explore and see the various ways your crush, Liza will reject you, but it quickly became tedious. This was especially true if you wanted to get the true ending, which requires you to do a core loop that only has a 1/3 chance of even triggering in order to progress.

To the credit of the developer, the game is streamlined enough that once you do hit that event trigger, you don’t have to repeat the whole loop any more, just part of it. However, a lot of the game is still just walking up to Liza at various times and choosing to confess right away or hesitate a bit.

So is this spooky then? No. It doesn’t deserve the horror tag it received. There is an ending where Liza does accept your feelings but she becomes a ghost thing and murders you unless you run away. Eh.

How about the story then? I at first thought this was going to be a story about how people can get in their own heads. Then with the introduction of the second character, Julie, I thought things would take a more Doki Doki Literature Club route where she would be the one with feelings for you and the, “correct” choice. Well all that is totally wrong!

Instead, and spoilers (but really, you shouldn’t care), it turns out you were dead the whole time, Julie is the Devil, and Liza is just a construct of your own personal Hell in regards to your lingering regret upon death. There is a semi-cute scene where you find out that Liza liked you and she gets this cake you bought her but it was not at all worth it.

One point of praise I can give to Confess My Love is that it has a lovely soundtrack of like 3 songs. Still, I enjoyed it thoroughly as I played those two hours so it wasn’t like the whole thing was awful. The game is just tedious with not much pay out. Conceptually interesting but lacking in execution.

Note:  The game’s translation has since improved dramatically from when this trailer was made

Despite all of this, I am interested in Transparent Black at the price of $0.99 so I suppose I’ll give that a try. If you decide you’d like to check out that game then that is the only circumstance where I’d recommend Confess Your Love as a 100% completion save for this game is REQUIRED for Transparent Black if you want to beat it. I just regret deleting my save now…


What free to play games would you recommend for the spook-tacular season? Have you played Confess My Love? Let me hear your thoughts in the comments below. If you would like to support me please hit my donation button below as I’d greatly appreciate it. As always, thank you so much for reading and have a wonderful day!