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Cassandra Khaw

Contributor

Cassandra Khaw writes video games, press releases, and bits and bobs of fiction. In between, she tries to find time to indulge in Muay Thai and read voraciously. She also has a novella coming out this month and would very much like people to buy it so her publishers are happy.

Featured articles

Full Throttle wears its testosterone like the leather jacket it earned from riding with Hell's Angels when it was ten: with gusto, some verve and a kind of unrestrained joy. The original was a point-and-click classic, unsubtle about its affection for rock music and biker gang mythology, selling over a million copies in its lifetime. The remastered version is all of that and developer commentary, improved audio, and brand-new graphics.

Beat Cop review

Mean streets.

The Brooklyn of Beat Cop often feels like the New York that I love, re-rendered in pixel art. Brownstone buildings crowded with mom-and-pop stores; hotdog carts doing business, street dancers on the curb; cats lounging on window sills; metalheads rocking out, dudes bursting onto their balconies to perform their morning aerobics, unmoved by the thought of an audience. By midday, the streets are bustling. Suits and hippies, gangbangers and priests, everyone and anyone who might conceivably live in this time management-adventure hybrid of an '80s cop-simulator. More than once, Beat Cop has made me pause, nostalgic for the city of my heart.

FeatureLet's talk about Persona 5's menus

A brief chat with game director Katsura Hashino.

Let's talk about Persona 5's menus, because they're great. Ostentatious, audaciously intricate, the spectacle of their existence defies common wisdom. Traditional design sensibilities suggests that menus should be austere, informative, but Persona 5 has transformed its own into a gallery of kinetic art pieces so visually distinctive they're almost the star attraction.

Real talk: if you've played Persona, if you've enjoyed JRPGs, if you even have a passing interest in Japanese media, there's absolutely no reason to read this frankly ponderous review. Persona 5 is everything you've wanted: style and substance distilled into an experience worth waging cultural wars for.

FeatureGrief and Gyaradoses: my time with Pokémon Sun

Happiness is where you find it - including the sun-warm beaches of Alola.

I'm on the train coming back from Indiecade Europe when it hits, that familiar grief. It's been eight months since my father died, but I'm not better like everyone assured me I'd be. More collected, maybe, more adept at outmaneuvering the memories, the should-have-dones, the could-have-dones, and the would-have-dones, all laid out like funeral garlands. I've adapted, I suppose. But I'm not better. I'm not sure if I'll ever be better.

FeatureI played Pokémon Go in Croydon

A wild Whitgift appeared!

The Pokémon Gym that stands ten minutes from where I live is an imposing beast: a wedge of purple-orange glass slicing through the Croydon skyline. Right now, it belongs to Team Yellow, which is great because that's who I've sworn fealty with, but also not so great because it is already fully staffed. Before I start trying to sort that out, I'll just grab my phone and trawl the high street for a better class of Pokémon. I've seen Dratini there. It's only a matter of time.

There are a lot of things I want in life. World peace, an end to poverty, chilli sauce of noticeable heat in every McDonalds, and for every teenager to live like the protagonists of Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE. Because this is a beautiful place, full of beautiful people and beautiful music, and friends who go on to become superstars without ever losing that kernel of everyman affability. Tokyo Mirage Sessions is a celebration, and it rightly should be. If a crossover between Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei, a top-shelf JRPG native to the Wii U, cannot delight in its own existence, I don't know what can.

Yo-Kai Watch review

Nate out of ten.

As a child, I used to believe that there was more to the world than meets the eye. Not fairies, of course. Nothing so diaphanous or innocent. Growing up in Malaysia, my imagination swarmed with hungry ghosts and pontianaks, and all the other things that go bump in the Southeast Asian night. Yo-Kai Watch reminds me of those days - except this alleged Pokémon challenger's a lot less toothy.

Sheltered review

Nuclear family.

Sheltered has turned me into a child slaver. Sort of.. I mean, my children are regularly fed and watered. They get sleep whenever they need it and opportunities to use the restroom, even shower when we've had a proper rain. The only thing I ask of them in this post-apocalyptic survival simulation is that they build furniture, fix utilities, and only occasionally put on radiation suits to venture into the wilderness for the good of the family. So, I'm not really that evil.

RecommendedBravely Second review

Ba'al busters bust ba'als.

Editor's note: Bravely Second is out now on 3DS, so here's our review from late last week in order to let you know whether Square's JRPG sequel is worthwhile or not.

It's hard to describe Project X Zone 2 without using the phrase "fan service." Because that's exactly what it is. A decadent celebration of crossovers, rife with in-jokes, sometimes inappropriate humour, and the kind of quasi-innocent and often contentious sauciness that permeates many anime. As a game, it's a relatively light offering, mashing the feel of strategy RPGs with side-scrolling beat 'em ups. But it's fun in the same way that pizza is great: a terrific indulgence that works so long as you like cheese.

I'll start this off with an important fact: Bravely Second lets you play as a Cat Mancer. It's almost exactly what you're thinking. You get feline ears of a variety and also a hat designed to resemble a gargantuan cat head. All your attacks involve evoking a tabby of some variety. It's cute. Really cute. Tooth-achingly cute.

Crossovers are intrinsically tasty ideas. There's just something about sandwiching two popular worlds, slicing off the crust of logic, and taking a bite out of the ensuing chaos. Superman and Aliens? Awesome. Futurama and Simpsons? Fantastic! Mario and Paper Mario? Like peanut butter and chocolate, swirled together on a wholemeal bed.

Editor's note: While not going into specifics, this review does reveal some minor story details - so be warned if you want to go into Hearts of Stone completely fresh.