Justin Nation Avatar Image

Justin Nation

Windsor, PA
MAMEiac
MAMEiac
MAMEiac
MAMEiac

Favorite Games:
  • Mario Series
  • Civilization Series
  • Diablo Series

540 games reviewed
72.4 average score
75 median score
61.7% of games recommended

Justin Nation's Reviews

Strangely enough this isn't my first rodeo, back in the day I wrote for the N64HQ as well as a few other outlets on freelance gigs but then when the HQ closed I decided to step it up and started The 64 Source. As the first word of a follow-up system to the N64 began to swirl I then decided to venture out into completely new territory and started OperatioN2000, where I had very little regular reputable news to share. With no other options I decided create my own content focused on profiling key developers and their current relationship with Nintendo or "dream games" where I saw opportunities for Nintendo to dust off classics or recently-made games and do something new with them on improved hardware. This was all going pretty well until my wife and I decided to have our first child and I then decided that it was time to hang it up and focus on my family. As I closed down both sites I did decide to partner with Billy Berghammer, another former N64HQ writer, who had created his own site, PlanetN2000. We agreed to move over the relevant content from the older sites to his and on top of that I had taken a grad school class in programming in ColdFusion and decided to offer to code the front-end and back-end for a new version of his site. Through these efforts the newer and more complete Planet GameCube was born! While I would occasionally contribute to that site, helping do things like working out Louie the Cat doing rumors and other odd things, I eventually decided to stop as my family obligations grew. While I had continued to follow Nintendo through both the Wii and Wii U eras my TV time was limited enough that I began playing more PC games again. It is in the PC space that I began to play a number of independent games and they started to be the games I enjoyed the most. Between their lower price, their often less traditional gameplay and approach, and their great variety I was hooked! With the launch of the Nintendo Switch I was already excited by the possibilities. The portability factor alone meant that I would have far more options and places I could play away from the TV, and games like Breath of the Wild looked impressive. With my oldest daughter poised to start her senior year in high school and my youngest finishing out junior high I started to see an opportunity to get back into amateur games journalism once again with what is now Nintendo World Report as well but I'd initially just thought about writing some editorials periodically. Then, right before the launch of the system, Nintendo had their Nindie-focused presentation and I saw my two most beloved gaming worlds colliding. The games I had been playing on my PC could now be played in a portable way and on Nintendo hardware! Being the type who tends to work against the normal current the concept behind Nindie Spotlight was born!
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8 / 10.0 - Stellar Interface
Jan 15, 2019

Providing a unique take on the combination of traditional arcade shooting and roguelike challenge Stellar Interface is a blast to play once you get over the initial hump. The elements of risk and reward are ever-present, every run tends to go very differently even when working with the same ship, and there are a multitude of builds that I was able to find success with. The boss challenges are pretty significant but rewarding, Endless Mode offers a more traditional arcade experience, and overall there’s a surprising amount of great content to be discovered and explored if you’re up to the challenge.

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Jan 14, 2019

All things considered, Momodora is a solid Metroidvania that certainly has visual flair and a solid core gameplay experience. The sensibilities with its challenge are both modern and super old school, putting the pressure on the player to “git gud” to accept and work through some ordeals to find success. While I like a good challenge I’d argue that Momodora’s weakness is a tendency towards cheapness a bit too often, which diminishes the fun a bit in the process. However, if you’re down for pushing yourself to get through this gauntlet of strange enemies and some frustration it’s worth checking out.

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Jan 14, 2019

On the whole while I had some concerns with a few picky issues Omensight still manages to be pretty brilliant and well worth checking out. If it were just full of slashing combat it would have been decent but the added layer of an interesting story full of fleshed out characters who aren’t just one-dimensional archetypes really seals the deal. Add in the fact that there aren’t too many titles that have explored this style of play on Switch and it’s worth having on your radar.

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6.5 / 10.0 - Samsara Deluxe
Jan 13, 2019

In the end I’d definitely say you should give the video a look to see if the style of play suits you. It’s methodical and can throw you a challenge but between the ordinary presentation and how fundamentally basic the gameplay mechanics are it’s hardly a must-play experience either. In an eShop full of intriguing puzzle games many flavors Samsara Deluxe may be unique but it still struggles with just being very average.

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7.5 / 10.0 - Hive Jump
Jan 11, 2019

I really appreciate the core bones of what Hive Jump offers, and for the first few hours while I was still getting into my groove it was quite a bit of fun. Familiarity, once it sets in, really wears on the experience though and while taking down the hive queen is a challenge there’s simply a lot of repetition to be had getting there which ends up feeling a bit pointless and for its own sake. With some support things get a bit chaotic and busy but the ability to have some more diverse builds that compliment each other does change things up a bit so that’s a plus. I’d love to see a more fleshed out sequel with more enemy variety and surprises, the core experience is there and it’s a good one, there’s just no missing the grind once it sets in.

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6 / 10.0 - Everything
Jan 11, 2019

If this sounds fascinating, that’s great, and there’s a certain degree of entertainment in controlling a tree, a segmented fence that behaves a bit like a snake, or even planets. I find philosophy to be interesting and this visual exploration of some concepts is novel at a minimum, but just understand that it’s more of an exercise than a game. It does track what you’ve managed to take control of, and perhaps you’ll want to be sure you be every form of plant in the game but aside from that or simply tracking down all of the different info tidbits or audio clips there’s not much more that it has to offer. If none of the above has scared you off I’d think you’ll find Everything to be enjoyable, it’s just such an unusual experience that I can’t ignore the fact that it won’t be for everyone.

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7.5 / 10.0 - Double Cross
Jan 11, 2019

All in all there’s quite a bit to like about Double Cross, as it manages to provide some challenge without being over the top or cruel. Certainly grabbing all of the crystals on all stages would take some formidable effort, in particular the ones along the way in action-oriented stages require some serious timing, skill, and luck. What’s nice is that though the perks and skills you get as you grab these are helpful they’re also not all 100% necessary either, the most beneficial ones tend to be at the front of the list so only getting a portion of them all should give you most of what’s truly useful. While its characters and story require a little too much pointless walking around they do at least try to give the game a little more depth and interest. Where the game shines most though is with its smart use of the grapple and varied puzzles that keep you thinking and consistently challenged. It stumbles in places but overall it’s a very enjoyable title.

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6.5 / 10.0 - HoPiKo
Jan 10, 2019

Overall, I can see where this title could appeal to the right segment of gamers, people who don’t mind some frustration and want something that looks and sounds great and has a focus on quick action. Just be ready for some difficulty spikes in odd places, stages you’ll absolutely need to die on a few times to get the hang of the goal, and an occasional feeling of betrayal at your thumb and the joystick for completely botching up a critical shot at the end of the fifth level, making you start over again. It’s not going to be a mainstream hit but it can deliver some thrills at a reasonable price if that’s what you’re looking for.

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7.5 / 10.0 - Rain World
Jan 8, 2019

Overall while there’s no doubt that Rain World is a unique title on Switch it’s also very likely going to be a love / hate affair for people at best. The controls that feel novel and unique to one person may just seem to be wonky and difficult to another, and I’d say both perspectives are right to a degree. It’s very much a trial and error kind of game, and the ever-present reality of the next monsoon coming to wipe you out when it’s most inconvenient adds to the tension and, often, frustration. That said, if you like a challenge, are interested in something that plays quite differently, and have some patience for getting to know how to make the best use of your always-limited time is can be rewarding.

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8 / 10.0 - Catastronauts
Jan 7, 2019

While there are similarities here to Overcooked, Catastronauts is very much its own distinct experience and will require your full attention to be successful. Rather than being so many distinct tasks you need to complete in sequence and looking to optimize performing those tasks Catastronauts focuses on setting mayhem into motion and forcing you to adapt. Smart positioning, keeping your critical tools close at hand, and transitioning quickly between working on offense and then keeping your ship in one piece are the keys to success. While the pressure of the experience may not be for everyone it makes for a thrilling and unique challenge.

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