Black Hat Reviews

Brandon Jones

author, blogger, gamer

Brandon grew up in New Jersey and has always had a passion for writing, but it initially came out as drawing. From drawing up to a 70 issue comic series in high school to creating some role-playing games on software called RPG Maker, to writing a five-novel series in college.

He then self-published “The Diamond League” in 2016, and it was a personal success. It was his dream to have a published book for people to read, and making that dream a reality was amazing. After publishing “The Black Death” in 2018, he continues to work on the final book of the Diamond League trilogy and various other writing projects including a video game review blog known as Black Hat review.

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June 2019

Game: God of War
Rated: M for Mature

Happy Father’s Day everyone! Let’s talk about God of War. This was a fantastic game and definitely earned its Game of the Year award!

For starters, I’d like to point out that prior to playing this game, I’ve only played the first God of War and a little bit of the second. I never played nor seen the third one or the others. I can tell you however that this did not stop my enjoyment of the game whatsoever. This game does a great job of catching you up, more or less, with the story. I will say that you will get FAR more enjoyment if you played the others of the series first prior to this one. So if you are interested, you can look up videos that explain the story before this game starts.

The story follows Kratos in another land far from his home. The original series followed Greek mythology with Zeus, Athena, Poseidon, etc. But now this story takes place in Norse mythology with Thor, Odin, etc. Kratos’s wife has passed away and her last wish was to have her ashes dropped from the highest mountain. And so he takes off with his son, Atreus, to fulfill her wish and to bond.

Instantly I loved the story and the dynamic of Kratos and Atreus. You learn early on that Kratos has been very distant from his son and life in general (if you went through what he went through in his past, it makes total sense). It has a great Last of Us feel, but now with magic and mythology mixed in.

God of War is a third person action adventure game. The controls take some getting used to at first, but they are great. Another reason I love the combat is that you can give orders to Atreus as you fight. In the beginning, he just fires arrows, but as the story progresses he’ll have special arrows, summons, and more. It truly strengthens the bonds of both characters and your abilities as the player.

Boss battles were incredible! From giant trolls, dragons, and so much more! Learning enemy patterns and when to strike is essential if you want to survive, my favorites being the side quest bosses. They REALLY test your mettle and it will take you lots of time and practice to beat them.

Speaking of side quests, that was another thing I loved about God of War. While some people disliked the linear feeling the game had at times, there are many areas to explore and look off the beaten path for secrets. This game rewards you for having a keen eye. You can find hidden dungeons, skills, treasures, and bosses. I found myself enjoying the side quests not just to make myself stronger, but because it was so fun and rewarding to find them!

The length of the game was fair in my honest opinion. I think the only thing that might deter people is the amount of puzzles in the game. Puzzles are always in action-adventure games, and this one has a good amount of them. The ones needed to progress the story aren’t too hard, but the ones needed to get health upgrades and secrets can be pretty challenging. I personally had no problem with them, in fact, I loved the “AH HA!” moment I’d get when I figured them out. I just wanted to put it in the review just in case that would be a deterrent.

Final verdict? This game was a masterpiece! I had so much fun from beginning to end. The side bosses and quests provided a great challenge and the main story had me hooked. If you have a PS4 and you’re looking for an action adventure game, I highly recommend you play this game. You will not be disappointed.

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May 2019

Shuffle your cards and ready your minions, it’s time we discuss Hearthstone! This game was made by the Blizzard, the company that made the Warcraft series. It is Warcraft themed so it’s very colorful and filled with amazing effects. Hearthstone is played like a watered down Magic the Gathering. It’s super simple to learn and very fun to play.

You have your choice of nine different playable classes. Each class has a special ability and certain cards that only they can use. There is also a big pool of cards that everyone can put into their decks, but the class specific ones are the ones that are more fit for different play styles. The object of the game is the get your opponents health down to zero. You do this by playing minion cards, spells, and other goodies to defeat them. Maybe you want to use an array of spells to burst down their health quickly, then the mage is for you! Or you want to put on armor and bash them with weapon cards, then the warrior is for you! Perhaps you want to use animal cards that work together and overwhelm your opponent, then the Hunter class is where it’s at. Each class has its own strengths and weaknesses and you can customize your decks as you see fit.

If you’re not confident in playing people online or simply want to practice with your decks before you take on your next opponent, there is a practice mode where you can test your decks and try them out. There are even fun single player adventure modes where you can play with cards you do not own and play with special rule sets to really see what the game is capable of!

Even though the game is free there are things to watch out for. First off, because it is free, you can buy booster packs to add to your collection of cards. I just like to warn both parents and gamers alike to be careful when buying things for free games. It is very addictive and can lead to problems so please if you have to spend money, spend it wisely. That being said, the game does offer daily quests so you can use in-game currency to buy packs as well, just much slower. When playing people online, there usually is a set combination of cards that most people use to win. This is called the “meta”, what deck gets you the most wins. This stifles the creativity of deck building in my opinion so don’t be discouraged if you find yourself losing to the same particular deck over and over that different people are using.

Those two things aside, Hearthstone is a fantastic and easy card game. For a free game, you get so much and the game is constantly updating with new modes, new cards, and new surprises. Give it a try for free today. Find your class and deck, but most importantly, have fun!

April 2019

Grab your joy cons and get into your basic stance, I’m here to tell you all about Fitness boxing for the Nintendo Switch. I originally found this game thanks to a demo Coach CJ had shown me. It allowed you to do a few exercises for free and I was instantly amazed at how great the game was. Fitness Boxing is literally a boxing exercise program disguised as a video game. You get to choose your instructor among 6 different types and get to customize them to your preference. From there the game offers tons of different exercise regimens. You start off with jabs and straights, to hooks and uppercuts, and my favorite from ducks to weaving.

Another thing I love is how you can set up a daily exercise routine. It has an in-game calendar that you can mark for each day you’ve done your workout and rewards you with new music, workout routines, and accessories to outfit your instructor. You can even customize your daily routine. Maybe one day you want more of a cardio workout. Maybe tomorrow you want to work more on your legs and core. The game helps by picking courses to work the particular parts of your body you want to work on. You can update your stats so it can show you how many calories you’ve burned and it graphs your progress for you.

I personally love Fitness Boxing because of how easy it is to set up. I can’t recount how many times I’ve wanted to play DDR after a long day of work, but soon as I get home just the thought of having to drag a heavy pad out of the closet and setting up the laptop would discourage me and I would just not do it. But with Fitness Boxing, it’s just strap on your joy cons, slide on the guards and get started. And thanks to the Nintendo Switch you can take it with you on the go. One day I had a full schedule, so I set aside some time during work to do my daily workout and was able to stay on track with my goals.

I can’t recommend this game enough. I always look forward to exercising every day. The ease of setting it up and playing it anywhere is a godsend. If you’re looking for a program to help you get into shape or just help maintain your shape, you should buy this game. It’s worth every penny. I’ll see you in the ring!

March 2019

SquareLogic is very much like a Sudoku Lite game. You are given a 5×5 grid puzzle and the numbers 1 through 4. The same numbers cannot be on the same row or column and you have to fill the entire box to solve the puzzle. The boxes are color coded and each one has a rule to help you figure out what number goes in that spot. Some rules will flat out tell you what number goes there, others will be a little trickier.

It starts off simple with some addition and subtraction, but as you progress the grids get bigger and new rules are added to give you a little bit more challenge. You’ll get more numbers like going from 1-5 or even 1-6. They will hide the colors of the boxes so you have to try to find out what the rules are for the connected boxes. It’s very simple, but the slow progressing challenge makes it so fun!

On top of this, there are literally thousands of puzzles to solve. The main campaign will start you with a couple to complete a level, but then you can go back to that same level and play some more with the same difficulty if you find yourself enjoying a certain rule set. I enjoy playing this game in small spurts. It’s the perfect game to open for 5-10 minutes to exercise your brain with a few puzzles and then come back to it later. Or if you’re on a roll, play it for an hour and get to the harder puzzles.

I can’t recommend this game enough for those looking for a relaxing puzzle game that also flexes your math muscles. Do yourself and your brain a favor and play this game today! Thanks for reading!

February 2019

I heard about this game a long time ago from a podcast I follow. However, I never got a chance to really get into it. I’m glad I was able to sit down and give it the time it deserves because this game is wonderful.

You play as a girl riding a wolf and you are simply trying to build the world and banish the corruption that is plaguing the land. How do you do this?

You TYPE! That’s right, this game is literally all about typing. As you explore and run into debris, enemies, and interactive objects, the only way to do anything is to type the words that appear above them. The game has a great difficulty curve. In the beginning, they start you with 3 letter words, but as the game progresses, enemies with bigger words will start appearing. The more you play, the more your typing gets better. The challenge of this game never felt unfair and I found myself looking forward to playing this game because I felt myself getting better as I played.

Exploring the world and seeing how things come together was a wonderful experience as well. Do not let the typing challenge scare you. I type with two fingers very quickly and I was able to finish the game. I have read other player reviews with people who type waaaaay faster than me and the game adapted to their speed and they loved it.

I highly recommend this game for its charm, challenge, and just the awesome feeling of improving your typing skills with a great video game!

TL:DR: A great game where typing is the way you combat enemies and save the world. Great fun whether you’re a pro or type with two fingers like me!

January 2019

Brothers is a single player co-op adventure game. Yes, that sounds very strange but that’s literally what it is. You play as two brothers simultaneously at the same time. Each thumbstick controls a brother and each trigger allows them to do an action. In the beginning, the controls feel very jarring and weird, but after a while, it makes so much sense and feels very satisfying!

The story plays out that their father has fallen ill from a sickness and they have to go on a wonderful fantastic journey to get some life water from a great tree. This goes from climbing mountains to meeting trolls, to riding baby griffins, and so much more. One of my favorite things about this game is how each brother is unique in what they do and their actions. For example, in the beginning, they’ll pass by a villager sweeping her front yard. The older brother will take the broom from her and help her sweep, while the younger brother will take the broom and do silly tricks with it. There are also puzzle solving things they uniquely do, like the younger brother can squeeze through bars and the older brother can lift heavier items and pull heavy switches.

This was a wonderfully short game. It was graphically beautiful, I finished it in about 3 hours. and it was a fantastic story. ESPECIALLY, the last few scenes. They drove me to tears it was so beautiful. I know it may sound like I’m hyping it up, but as a player who loves a good story, this game told a fantastic story even though none of the characters speak (just like Last Day of June). I highly recommend trying it out for yourself if you are looking for a great story and very interesting gameplay.

TL:DR A very interesting single player co-op adventure game that tells a great story and is only about 2-3 hours long. Controls can be a lil weird getting used to since no other game that I’ve played has used this control scheme before.

December 2018

Last Day of June is a beautiful and short game that tells the story of a couple in a small town. The game is a Third Person adventure game but feels more like a point and click since there’s not really any platforming in it. The art style and music is BEAUTIFUL. Lots of soft vibrant colors that make you feel peaceful when you’re walking around town. And the music fits around the characters you play as.

Oh right the characters! So the only story element you need to know is that the story revolves around a couple, Paul and June. There was a terrible car accident and you play as Paul dealing with the grief of losing his wife. Throughout the game you will see their memories of their lives together up to the present and most importantly, you will get to play as the characters who were around the town during the day of the crash so you can save June.

From the get-go you can probably guess what the story is trying to teach you, in fact, the achievements sort of lay it out for you. But I implore you to play it because there’s actually a really deep meaning that the game surprised me with and by the end, I was in tears…like I am right now typing this. I also love learning about the characters around town because their stories are just as important as Paul and June’s. Everyone is hurting in some way and there’s a twisted beauty in picking up the collectibles to learn about their pasts and why they are doing what they are doing around town.

The game was a perfect length of about 3 hours, however, I have only one gripe with it. As you play as the different characters, you are trying to cause different scenarios to happen and stop the car crash. This makes long and drawn out cutscenes play that you have to watch multiple times and you CAN’T SKIP THEM. I understand there’s a lesson in frustration, I really do. But there was one part where I couldn’t get a collectible because I had to switch characters and in order to do that you have to go through a lot of cut scenes in order for it to happen and it added a lot of unnecessary wait time.

Despite that one gripe, I still loved this game and loved the message it was trying to get across to the player. Watching lots of people play it on Youtube I can see the ending made everyone cry like myself and that’s how I know the writers and developers did a fantastic job on this game. If you’re looking for a good short story with a powerful and sad message, then I highly recommend you play this game….cherish your loved ones.

TL:DR A beautiful and short Third-Person Adventure/Point n Click that explores the sadness of grief in losing a loved one. Very great game but can’t skip cutscenes even when you’ve seen them many times before and you WILL see them many times.

November 2018

Are you looking for a relaxing game to get you through the busy holiday season? I recommend Seasons After Fall!

This was a short indie side-scrolling platformer. The graphics have a beautiful hand drawn feel to them so it really makes you feel at peace when playing. The music is also very calming and atmospheric. But let’s dial it back for a moment.

The story is kinda hard to explain. You play as a spirit who’s trying to help another forest spirit known as the Seed. For some reason the forest is oddly vacant and the Guardians of the Seasons are asleep. So your task is to gather the power of the seasons and perform a ritual to fix things.

Since the forest is vacant, there are no enemies or obstacles that really get in your way. Instead, to reach different parts of the stage you have to change the seasons. For example, if you need to climb up a cliff but you see a mushroom cap, you turn it to the autumn season so the mushroom can turn into a platform. Winter freezes the lakes so you can walk across them and so much more.

I found the game to be very charming and perfect for people who are new to video games to play since there are no enemies to fight or get in your way. It’s all about knowing what seasons to use to get around the stages. There was only one part of the game where I found it hard to solve and annoying (the firefly puzzles on the second half of the game UGH). But that part of the game aside,

I once again recommend this game to newcomers and just casual gamers looking for a relaxing platformer to play. See you next review! 

October 2018

So I just finished Hob, from the same studio who brought you the Torchlight series. Here is my in-depth personal review!

I’ve had this game on my wishlist for a long time. Ever since I saw pictures and videos I knew I was going to love it. The art style, gameplay, etc. just sorta called to me. Hob is a game that plays like Zelda but in an isometric view.

The first thing I noticed is how beautiful the art design is. The world has a great blend of machinery and nature together. The story pulled me in too, mainly because it’s entirely up to YOU, the player, to figure it out. Whenever there is any dialogue, you can’t understand it. Why? Because they’re robots silly. However, if you look at the gestures and inflections, you can piece together what the story is trying to convey.

Another thing I loved about Hob is the world-building; it has two meanings in this game (hardy har har). As you progress, not only do you learn more about the world that you’re playing in, but also as you progress, the world starts changing mechanically. New pieces of the map begin to appear and once you do certain objectives, the entire area you’ve previously explored changes and allows you can reach new areas. This is nice because the progression feels more meaningful. You feel like you really make a difference aside from making your character stronger and getting new moves in order to go from point A to point B.

Exploration is so fun in this game as well, and often times you will find great goodies for having a keen eye on a cracked wall or a long jump. However, since the game is in an isometric view, the camera does tend to mess you up sometimes, especially on trickier platforming moments. Isometric computer graphics are graphics employed in video games and pixel art where the viewpoint is angled to reveal facets of the environment that would not be visible from a top-down perspective or sideview, thereby producing a three-dimensional effect. (

Luckily there are some good checkpoints scattered about the game so it doesn’t hinder you too much, but just know that going in.

Lastly, the music is very calming and atmospheric. The game has nice spots where you can just sit still and really take in the world that you are playing in. I super enjoyed this game and am happy I played it. I finished it in about 11 hours, but you can finish it in 8 if you’re really good at video games. A perfect length for this adventure and I didn’t even gather all the collectibles. So if you’re looking for a Zelda-like game but with robots, I say pick this game up. You will be pleasantly surprised!

TLDR: A fantastic Zelda-like adventure game, but with robots! Beware though, the game is in an isometric view so some platforming may get frustrating at times.