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'Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin' leads string of new releases

"Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin" continues the beloved series. Photo courtesy Square Enix.
Posted at 8:30 AM, Mar 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-31 10:42:03-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — This story originally included the incorrect developer team for "Trivial Pursuit Live 2."

Here are three recent released to check out:

BUSH HOCKEY LEAGUE
Rough around the edges, "Bush Hockey League" lives up to its moniker with its sketchy, rough-hewn execution.

The premise is solid: Take the bones of old-school "EA NHL 94" and craft a hockey game filled with brawling, cheating and general bloodthirst.

Throwing in a story mode for good measure, you guide a squad through the ups and downs of a wild minor league hockey season.

Developer V7 Entertainment does a solid job of crafting a rules-lite hockey experience, but general unpolish makes the gameplay more frustrating than rewarding.

As with most sports games, multiplayer is where it's at. If you have an affinity for old-school arcade-style hockey and have a group of friends you want to reignite old rivalries with, this may be a solid pickup. Others looking for a budget hockey experience are better off plucking an older "EA NHL" out of the bargain bin.

STRANGER OF PARADISE: FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN
A spinoff of the fabled RPG saga, "Stranger of Paradise" is a free-wheeling side story unburdened by the weight of numbered entries.

With emphasis on combat and point-to-point narrative rather than sprawling open-world exploration, with vigorous battles, accessible upgrades and a fascinating array of characters classes to choose from.

A bizarre retelling of what passed for a story in the original 1987 game, the setting is a dystopian fantasy tech-scape with cyberpunk and magical elements.

Writing is where the game falters most. The story is bland and derivative, lacking the charm and energy of traditional "Final Fantasy" writing.

Still, I enjoyed the pace and thrills of the combat, which often concludes with set piece-style finales. This may be a "Final Fantasy" for the beer-and-nachos crowd, but that

TRIVIAL PURSUIT LIVE 2
Up to four players can gather around the virtual gameboard to match trivia knowledge.

Content-rich, the game packs in hundreds of questions and takes away the cumbersome piece and card finagling that come with the physical gameplay.

While the creativity level on display from developers Snap Finger Click and Ubisoft isn't as high as you'd see in other board game adaptations, such as "Battleship" or "Monopoly," the nuts and bolts are solid enough to make the game a worthy pickup.

You can do worse as far as options for a game night or background activity for a party.

As a single-player experience, however, the replay value is low and progression impetus almost non-existent.

Publishers provided review codes.

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Phil Villarreal is the senior real-time editor for KGUN 9. He is also a digital producer and host of "Phil on Film" seen weekly on Good Morning Tucson, Phil moved to KGUN after 17 years with the Arizona Daily Star, where he was a movie critic, columnist, and reporter. He has penned three books: Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel, Stormin' Mormon and Zeta Male. A University of Arizona business graduate, he has four children. Share your story ideas and important issues with Phil by emailing phil.villarreal@kgun9.com or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.