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Ranking ‘Far Cry 5’s Guns for Hire from Worst to Best

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Far Cry 5

While multiplayer has featured, in one form or another, in every one of Ubisoft’s blood-drenched, open-world freedom-fighter-sims, Far Cry 5 is the first to incorporate a fully cooperative campaign.

For some, including Goomba Stomp co-founder Ricky D Fernandes, this opened the door for plenty of co-op hijinks with friends and family members: systematically taking enemy down outposts, ambushing supply convoys, and generally wiping the stain of Project Eden’s Gate from the evocative Montana Wilderness in an orgy of gunfire and explosions.

Not so for me. I’ve played the entire game solo, with none but Far Cry 5’s roster of AI-controlled NPCs to help me bring the Seed family to justice. It’s a good thing, then, that these characters are actually pretty useful.

But with nine distinctive specialists on offer, alongside countless interchangeable ‘Fighters’, it can be difficult to decide who to use. So, to help those who’ve only just started their adventures through Hope County, I’ve put together this list ranking all ten of Far Cry 5’s characterful and extremely obliging ‘Guns for Hire’ – in order from least to most effective. Enjoy!

The Best of Far Cry 5

10 – Fighters

Fighters differ from the specialists in that, before they can utilize their two supporting abilities (each Gun for Hire possesses a pair of distinctive traits that provide a variety of practical benefits), they must first unlock them by performing a specific number of kills. Five for the first, twelve for the second.

This fact alone puts them at an immediate disadvantage to the likes of Hurk Jr. and Boomer who, once their ‘loyalty mission’, to co-opt a term from Mass Effect, has been completed, come fully equipped with everything they need to put down the members of Project Eden’s Gate.

Additionally, because these skills differ from fighter to fighter, it can be tricky to find one that matches your play style. Though local resident John Smith might possess a universally desirable skill like ‘Field Surgeon’ or ‘Spotter’, for instance, another might have the Hot Buckshot ability instead; giving them the irritating habit of starting indiscriminate bushfires whenever they fire their shotgun.

They’re alright in a pinch, I guess. I mean, they can always be called upon to act as cannon fodder, if necessary. But, given the choice between these faceless NPCs and Cheeseburger or Boomer’s adorable furry punim, I know which one I’d choose.

9 – Adelaide Drubman

The president, secretary, and treasurer of the mile high club – presumably

When I first unlocked sultry, foul-mouthed cougar Adelaide Drubman, I assumed she’d be a valuable ally.

Patrolling the skies in her beloved helicopter, Tulip, I envisioned Adelaide raining death on the tougher enemies whilst I snuck into enemy camps to disable the alarms and snap the necks of the lucky few who were spared the wrath of her high-calibre machine gun. The perfect companion for a murderous stroll through the Montanan wilderness, in other words. Sadly, this wasn’t to be.

Manoeuvrable as her diminutive aircraft is, it’s far from bullet proof. And, if her semi-regular collisions with Hope County’s mountainous terrain is anything to go by, her acid tongue and raunchy commentary serve mainly to mask her inadequacies as a pilot.

No sooner have you asked her to take out a pick-up truck full of cultists than she’s plummeting towards the earth, shot down by an unknown assailant positioned four hundred feet below, and thus rendering her unavailable for the next twenty-odd minutes of game time. Leaving me to deal with the now alert fanatics, who’d like nothing more than to leave my bullet-strewn corpse on the side of the road as food for their drug-addled lupine companions, all by myself.

8 – Sharky Boshaw

Just as those fighters with the ‘Hot Buckshot’ ability have the uncanny knack of starting bushfires in the heat of battle, causing as much damage to the player as the enemy combatants, Sharky’s biggest drawback is his reckless use of incendiary weapons.

True, at times his pyromania can inject an enemy squad with a welcome dose of panic, disrupting the Peggie assault as the fire-engulfed cultists career heedlessly through their own defensive position looking for the nearest body of water in which to douse the hungry flames that threaten to consume them.

More often than not, however, what actually happens is the player, comfortably ensconced in the dense Montana underbrush, will be forced break cover as the surrounding wilderness suddenly ignites, creating a wall of fire between the protagonist and his foes. Or, if you’re especially unlucky, you’ll be forced to flee the charge of that one terrified soldier whose instinctive response to being set ablaze is to stop, drop, and roll – on the player’s face.

Sharky is, at least, probably the funniest of the game’s companions; breaking the tension with a timely quip about how his apparently generously proportioned penis is, frustratingly, an easy target for enemy gunmen. Okay, so it doesn’t do much to stem the Peggie tide, but it does help the player forget the screams of the virtual men and women Sharky has just incinerated.

7 – Peaches

From this point on, I find myself struggling to separate the wheat from the chaff. Which is why Peaches, the pink-collar-wearing cougar places so low on this list.

For anyone who prefers stealth over direct confrontation, Peaches is an excellent companion. Capable of taking down foes silently, without arousing the suspicion of any other nearby zealots, she’s perfect for assaulting large outposts. I’ve been content to direct her from the sidelines on more than one occasion, watching patiently as she picks off enemy ground troops one by one, giving me plenty of time to slowly and methodically take out any remaining snipers, alarms, or patrolling air support. Making it easier, in turn, to complete the mission without being detected which, in Far Cry 5, furnishes the player with some pretty handsome rewards.

Her one big flaw, however, is her relatively low damage tolerance. If she’s spotted too soon or finds herself surrounded by enemy troops, chances are it won’t be long before she’s out of action, forcing you (and your surviving companion, if you’ve unlocked both GFH slots) to either go it alone or risk exposing yourself to revive her.

She’s also a bit more aloof than Cheeseburger or Boomer. This doesn’t affect her performance in the field, of course, and is pretty standard behaviour for a cat anyway. But like The Lonely Island, I need love; and, unfortunately, I’m not sure Peaches has any to spare.

6 – Nick Rye

He’s not exactly as professional as Chesley Sullenberger, but he’s a damn fine pilot nonetheless

The other of Far Cry 5’s two maverick pilots, Nick Rye is almost the polar opposite of Adelaide Drubman.

Unlike Adelaide, Nick can deal out an impressive amount of damage in a short space of time when called upon, gunning down foot soldiers and enemy aircraft alike in a spray of bullets from his antique aircraft’s side-mounted machine guns.

In addition, he can absorb a far greater amount of return fire before succumbing to the forces of gravity. Though whether that’s because his plane is made of sturdier stuff than Adelaide’s helicopter, or because the straight-talking, self-professed GILF has other, more pleasurable activities to attend to than largescale homicide, I’m not sure.

Regardless, there are a couple of things that keep him from ranking higher on this list. Firstly, he’s next to useless if, during an attack, the enemy decide to take cover beneath in a reasonably-sized building. Secondly, the pause between aerial barrages can be a little long. It takes Nick a good minute or two to prepare an attack run, leaving the player to fend for themselves while he plans his next assault which, ultimately, makes him less useful in a clinch than some of the other Guns for Hire.

5 – Boomer

“It’s so fluffy I’m gonna die!”

If I was ranking these characters based on personality, appearance, and objective adorableness alone, then Boomer would unquestionably find himself in the top two.

The thing is, although his ‘Spotter’ skill is perennially useful, once you’ve progressed past the first hour or two, his secondary skill – pilfering weapons from Peggie corpses – becomes somewhat redundant.

With a few quests under your belt and a bit of money in the bank, it’s more than likely you’ll already have a versatile arsenal of weapons in your possession, along with an array of handy supporting skills guaranteed to help you get the most out of your chosen loadout. A basic sidearm really won’t increase your chances of surviving a cultist onslaught all that much.

Nor is he a particularly durable companion. Like Peaches, he’s easily downed, which is a problem in and off itself. However, it’s extremely difficult, emotionally, to leave him to bleed to death on the cold hard earth whilst you rampage through a compound of armed fanatics; only heartless monsters could ignore those pitiful yelps for help. Because of this ability to tug the player’s heartstrings (read: his penchant for emotional blackmail) I’ve found myself dashing recklessly through the battlefield time and again risking any dangers to save my canine friend. And that’s not exactly conducive to bringing down a murderous cult.

That being said, for such an endearing little pooch, Boomer is a surprisingly efficient assassin, hence his relatively high placement on this list, and has saved my bacon on more than one occasion. He really is a good boy, all things considered.

4 – Cheeseburger

Considering Far Cry 5’s three animal NPC’s are my undisputed favourites, it pains me not to include any of them in the top three. However, as the purpose of this list is to rank each Gun for Hire based on their practical efficacy, I honestly don’t think I can justify placing Cheeseburger any higher.

It goes without saying that a highly-intelligent grizzly bear, roughly the size of a small tank and with enough power to rip a person’s arm out of its socket should he decide (diabetes notwithstanding) it’d make for a tasty snack, is a damn useful companion. Able to soak up countless enemy bullets, drawing attention to himself as only a 9-foot-tall mass of fur and muscle can, he’s an invaluable companion for anyone who prefers to eschew stealth and tackle encounters head-on.

The problem is, he’s a bit of a one-trick pony. So if, like the majority of players, you like to alternate between play styles, adapting to the situation rather than going in with a specific game-plan in mind, he’s certainly not an automatic choice.

Still, he’s called Cheeseburger, has his own line of in-game bobble-heads, and, when he’s not disemboweling the heartless cultist bastards who wanted to turn him into a weapon, receptive to the occasional cuddle. Need I say more?

3 – Hurk Drubman Jr.

Series regular Hurk Dubman Jr. is a bit of a polarising character for me.

While his signature rocket launcher is perfect for taking down Peggie air support, he’s not exactly subtle. In the same way, Cheeseburger’s presence is almost guaranteed to alert enemies to the player’s impending attack, so too does the report of Hurk’s inconspicuous bazooka, taking stealth well and truly off the table for as long as he’s in your employ.

In addition, high-yield explosives tend not to distinguish between friend and foe, and, as such, you’ll often find yourself cursing Hurk when, all of a sudden, he decides to decimate an Eden’s Gate transport lorry – with the hostages still inside.

Nevertheless, you can’t overlook the value of his assistance in the first two-thirds of the game.

Before the player is able to apply the heat-seeking attachment to their own RAT4 rocket launcher, encounters with aircraft are often difficult (unless you happen to be near a mounted turret). But with Hurk by your side, the tables are turned. The well-meaning, if somewhat slow American patriot requires nothing more complicated than a simple nod in the direction of the offending plane or helicopter to carry out his duties, leaving you free to continue your attack on the nearest Cultist stronghold unmolested, saving the player a considerable amount of hassle over the course of the game.

2 – Jess Black

Jess wouldn’t have any problem winning the Hunger Games

After completing the harrowing mission to win her services – frankly, I don’t know if there’s anything darker in the entire game than the story of the infamous ‘Cook’ – Jess Black quickly becomes one of Far Cry 5’s most useful companions.

Jess is wonderfully adept at surreptitiously eliminating enemy soldiers from any range, thanks to the combination of her trusty bow and ‘Concealment’ ability (allowing her to move silently through the wilderness). Moreover, though random animal attacks aren’t quite as frequent or intrusive as they were in Far Cry’s 3 and 4, with her ‘Feral Friendly’ secondary skill, Jess is ideal for keeping errant grizzly’s and nosy cougars at bay while the player stalks through the underbrush looking for unprepared cultists to off.

Consequently, she’s a viable option for both stealth and close-quarters combat; a true all-rounder capable of forming a formidable team with just about every other GFH in the Far Cry 5 roster. Looking as cool as Robert Goulet’s voice sounds all the while, it must be said.

In fact, she was a mainstay for the majority of my playthrough, right up until the moment I gained the services of my number one pick…

1 – Grace Armstrong

Grace used to be in the U.S. Army, you know

The last companion I unlocked, due to the order in which I toppled Joseph Seed’s Lieutenants more than anything else, Grace has been a firm favourite ever since for one very important reason: her unerring accuracy.

No matter how distant her target, if given the command, Grace seemingly never fails to find her mark; and for players like myself whose skill with a sniper rifle can be categorised as mediocre at best, this makes her a priceless ally in the war against Project Eden’s Gate. Simply position her at a safe distance, sit back, and relax as she picks off one fanatic after another, raining a slow but deadly hail of bullets on the unsuspecting cultists. She’s no stranger to a hand-to-hand scrap, either, and is just as comfortable placing a bullet between the eyes of a Peggie from twenty yards as she is from two hundred.

Team her with Peaches or Boomer, and the player has at their disposal a silent, unstoppable force capable of bringing down any outpost or squad without so much as a whisper of protest from the soon-to-be-dead zealots.

If I had one complaint, it’d be that Grace is hardly the warmest individual you’re likely to meet during your travels through Hope County, but her disdain for the ‘Preppers’ – you know, those people who fervently believe in and prepare for the world’s imminent demise– won me over instantly. Huh. Maybe it was a subconscious bias that won her top spot and not her martial strengths, after all.

What do you think? Is Grace Far Cry 5’s best Gun for Hire, or do you prefer another?

Either way, along with Chris Underwood (whose excellent review went up on the site last week) and Rick, I’ve had an absolute blast playing Far Cry 5 and would relish the opportunity to discuss this, and any other related topic, in the comments section below.

Counting Final Fantasy VII, The Last of Us, the original Mass Effect trilogy, and The Witcher 3 amongst his favourite games, John enjoys anything that promises to take up an absurdly large amount of his free time. When he’s not gaming, chances are you’ll find him engrossed in a science fiction or fantasy novel; basically, John’s happiest when his attention is as far from the real world as possible.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Peaches

    May 5, 2019 at 8:53 am

    Not going to complain about your list but I completey disagree. For me Peaches was by far the best companion, no doubt. I did not even like her at first but after I tried out all the companions a bit to test them I can say without a doubt that peaches is the best. And cheesburger was absolutely awful for me even though I wanted to use him I couldn’t because he was so bad
    My ranking:
    1: Peaches
    2: Grace Armstrong
    3: Jess Black
    4: Boomer
    5: Nick Rye
    6: Adelaide (just because she can deliver a helicopter and I found that useful, but however she is indeed useless in combat)
    7: Hurk Drubman
    8: Cheeseburger
    9: Sharky Boshaw

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Most Important Games of the Decade: ‘Dark Souls’

Despite the difficulty and learning curve, gamers are still flocking to the Dark Souls series, and the genre it spawned, in massive numbers.

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Dark Souls Remastered Review Nintendo Switch

Over the course of the last decade a lot of games have made large and influential impacts on the medium of gaming but few have done so as significantly or triumphantly as Dark Souls

The pseudo-sequel to Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls took the framework of the original title and altered it considerably. Gone were the many individual stages and hub area, replaced by a massive open world that continuously unfolded, via shortcuts and environmental changes, like a massive metroidvania style map. 

Dark Souls also doubled down on nearly every aspect of the original. The lore and world-building were elaborated on considerably, making the land of Lordran feel more lived in and expansive. An entire backstory for the game, one that went back thousands of years, was created and unfolded through small environmental details and item descriptions. 

Dark-Souls-Remastered-Darkroot-Garden

The bosses were bigger, meaner and more challenging, with some of them ranking right up there with the best of all time. Even standard enemies seemed to grow more deadly as the game went on, with many of them actually being bosses you’d faced at an earlier time in the game. Tiny details like this didn’t just make the player feel more powerful, they added to the outright scale of the entire game.

Still, if we’re here to talk about the biggest influence Dark Souls had on the gaming world, we have to talk about the online system. While the abilities to write messages and summon help were available in Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls improved on and enhanced these features to the point where they changed the game considerably. 

The wider player base made the online components work more consistently as well. Rarely were players left standing around for 15-20 minutes waiting to summon or be summoned for a boss fight. There were more messages on the ground to lead (or mislead) players, and the animated spirits of dead players warned of the hundreds of ways you might die while playing through the game. 

Dark Souls

The addictive nature of the game and its rewarding gameplay loop would lead to the establishment of the Souls-like genre. Like with metroidvania, there are few compliments a game can receive that are as rewarding as having an entire genre named for them.

Since 2011, the year of Dark Souls’ release, dozens of Souls-likes have emerged from the ether, each with their own little tweaks on the formula. Salt and Sanctuary went 2D,The Surge added a sci-fi angle, and Nioh went for a feudal Japanese aesthetic, to name just a few. 

Either way, Dark Souls’ influence has been long felt in the gaming industry ever since. Despite the hardcore difficulty and intense learning curve, gamers are still flocking to the series, and the genre it spawned, in massive numbers. For this reason alone, Dark Souls will live on forever in the annals of gaming history. 

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Game Reviews

‘Riverbond’ Review: Colorful Hack’n’Slash Chaos

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Sometimes a little bit of mindless smashing is just what people play video games for, and if some light sword-swinging, spear-stabbing, laser-shooting giant hand-slapping action that crumbles a destructible world into tiny blocks sounds like a pleasant way to spend a few hours, then Riverbond might just satisfy that urge. Though its short campaign can get a little repetitive by the end, colorful voxel levels and quirky characters generally make this rampaging romp a button-mashing good time, especially if you bring along a few friends.

Riverbond grass

There really isn’t much of a story here outside something about some mystical leaders being imprisoned by a knight, and Riverbond lets players choose from its eight levels in Mega Man fashion, so don’t go in expecting some sort of narrative thread. Instead, each land has its own mini-situation going on, whether that involves eradicating some hostile pig warriors or reading library books or freeing numerous rabbit villagers scattered about, the narrative motivation is pretty light here. That doesn’t mean that these stages don’t each have their various charms, however, as several punnily named NPCs will blurt out humorous bits of dialogue that work well as breezy pit stops between all the cubic carnage.

Developer Cococucumber has also wisely created plenty of visual variety for their fantastical world, as players will find their polygonal hero traversing the lush greenery of grassy plains, the wooden piers of a ship’s dockyard, the surrounding battlements of a medieval castle, and the craggy outcroppings of a snowy mountain, among other locations, each with a distinct theme. Many of the trees or bridges or crates or whatever else happens to be lying around are completely destructible, able to be razed to the ground with enough brute force. Occasionally the physics involved in these crumbling structures helps gain access to jewels or other loot, but this mechanic mostly just their for the visual appeal one gets from cascading blocks; Riverbond isn’t exactly deep in its design.

Riverbond boss

That shallowness also applies to the basic gameplay, which pretty much involves hacking or shooting enemies and environments to pieces, activating whatever task happens to be the main goal for each sub-stage, then moving on or scouring around a bit for treasure before finally arriving at a boss. Though there are plenty of different weapons to find, they generally fall into only a few categories: small swinging implements that allow for quick slashes, large swinging implements that are slow but deal heavier damage, spears that offer quick jabs, or guns that…shoot stuff. There are some variations among these in speed, power, and possible side effects (a gun that fired electricity is somewhat weak, but sticks to opponents and gives off an extra, devastating burst), but once an agreeable weapon is found, there is little reason to give it up outside experimentation.

Still, there is a rhythmic pleasure to be found in games like this when they are done right, and Riverbond mostly comes through with tight controls, hummable tunes, and twisting levels that do a good job of mixing in some verticality to mask the repetitiveness. It’s easy for up to four players to get in on the dungeon-crawling-like pixelated slaughter, and the amount of blocks exploding onscreen can make for some fun and frenzied fireworks, especially when whomping on one of the game’s giant bosses. A plethora of skins for the hero are also discoverable, with at least one or two tucked away in locations both obvious and less so around each sub-stage. These goofy characters exist purely for aesthetic reasons, but those who prefer wiping out legions of enemies dressed as Shovel Knight or a sentient watermelon slice will be able to fulfill that fantasy.

Riverbond bears

By the end, the repetitive fights and quests can make Rivebond feel a little same-y, but the experience wraps up quickly without dragging things out. This may disappoint players looking for a more involved adventure, but those who sometimes find relaxation by going on autopilot — especially with some buddies on the couch — will appreciate how well the block-smashing basics are done here.

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Game Reviews

‘Earthnight’ Review: Hit the Dragon Running

Between its lush visuals and its constantly evolving gameplay, Earthnight never gets old, from the first dragon you slay to the hundredth.

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Earthnight

In Earthnight, you do one thing: run. There’s not much more to do in this roguelike auto-runner but to dash across the backs of massive dragons to reach their heads and strike them down. This may be an extremely simple gameplay loop, but Earthnight pulls it off with such elegance and style. Between its lush comic book visuals and its constantly evolving gameplay, it creates an experience that never gets old, from the first dragon you slay to the hundredth.

Dragons have descended from space and are wreaking havoc upon humanity. No one is powerful enough to take them down – except for the two-player characters, Sydney and Stanley, of course. As the chosen ones to save the human race, they must board a spaceship and drop from the heavens while slaying as many dragons on your way down as they can. For every defeated creature, they’ll be rewarded with water – an extremely precious resource in the wake of the dragon apocalypse. This resource can be exchanged for upgrades that make the next run that much better.

This simple story forms the basis for a similarly basic, yet engaging gameplay loop. Each time you dive from your spaceship, you’ll see an assortment of dragons to land on. Once you make a landing, you’ll dash across its back and avoid the obstacles it throws at you before reaching its head, where you’ll strike the final blow. Earthnight is procedurally generated, so every time you leap down from your home base, there’s a different set of dragons to face, making each run feel unique. There are often special rewards for hunting specific breeds of dragon, so it’s always exciting to see the new set of creatures before you and hunt for the one you need at any given moment.

Earthnight is an acrobatic, dragon-hunting ballet that only becomes more beautifully extravagant with every run.”

Earthnight

Landing on the dragons is only the first step to slaying them. Entire hordes of monsters live on their backs, and in true auto-runner fashion, they’ll rush at you with reckless abandon from the very start. During the game’s first few runs, the onrush of enemies can feel overwhelming. Massive crowds of them will burst forth at once, and it can feel impossible to survive their onslaughts. However, this is where Earthnight begins to truly shine. The more dragons you slay, the more upgrade items become available, which are either given as rewards for slaying specific dragons or can be purchased with the water you’ve gained in each run. Many of these feel essentially vital for progression – some allow you to kill certain enemies just by touching them, whereas others can grant you an additional jump, both of which are much appreciated in the utter chaos of obstacles found on each dragon.

Procedural generation can often result in bland or repetitive level design, but it’s this item progression system that keeps Earthnight from ever feeling dry. It creates a constant sense of improvement: with more items in your arsenal after each new defeated dragon, you’ll be able to descend even further in the next run. This makes every level that much more exciting: with more power under your belt, there are greater possibilities for defeating enemies, stacking up combos, or climbing high above the dragons. It becomes an acrobatic, dragon-hunting ballet that only becomes more beautifully extravagant with every run.

Earthnight

At its very best, Earthnight feels like a rhythm game. With the perfect upgrades for each level, it becomes only natural to bounce off of enemies’ heads and soar through the heavens with an almost musical flow. The vibrant chiptune soundtrack certainly helps with this. Packed full of driving beats and memorable melodies with a mixture of chiptune and modern instrumentation, the music makes it easy to charge forward through whatever each level will throw your way.

That is not to say that Earthnight never feels too chaotic for its own good – rather, there are some points where its flood of enemies and obstacles can feel too random or overwhelming, to the point where it can be hard to keep track of your character or feel as if it’s impossible to avoid enemies. Sometimes the game can’t even keep up with itself, with the performance beginning to chug once enemies crowd the screen too much, at least in the Switch version. However, this is the exception, rather than the rule, and for the most part, simply making good use of its upgrades and reacting quickly to the challenges before you will serve you well in your dragon-slaying quest.

Earthnight

Earthnight is a race that’s worth running time and time again.”

It certainly helps that Earthnight is a visual treat as well. It adopts a striking comic book style, in which nearly every frame of animation is lovingly hand-drawn and loaded with detail. Sometimes these details feel a bit excessive – some characters are almost grotesquely detailed, with the faces of the bobble-headed protagonists sometimes seeming too elaborate for comfort. However, in general, it’s a gorgeous game, with its luscious backdrops of deep space and high sky, along with creative monsters and dragon designs that only get more outlandish and spectacular the farther down you soar.

Earthnight is a competent auto-runner that might not revolutionize its genre, but it makes up for this simplicity by elegantly executing its core gameplay loop so that it constantly changes yet remains endlessly addictive. Its excellent visual and audio presentation helps to make it all the more engrossing, while it strikes the perfect balance between randomized level design and permanent progression thanks to its items and upgrades system. At times it may get too chaotic for its own good, but all told, Earthnight is a race that’s worth running time and time again.

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