Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Unravel - Xbox One

    "Lycka blommar ur små enkla ting" - Swedish for "happiness blooms from small, simple things."

    I've played a lot of games in my life, and very few have made me feel such strong emotions as Unravel did. In fact, I enjoyed this game so much that it inspired me to come back to Amulets and Ale and write about it after a long period of inactivity. Unravel is a platformer/puzzle game created by Swedish designers Coldwood Interactive and published by Electronic Arts. The game was released in February 2016 on PC, Playstation 4, and Xbox One. For this particular review, I played the Xbox One version of the game.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Binary Domain - Xbox 360

    Binary Domain is a Third-Person Shooter developed and published by Sega. The game went relatively unnoticed for some reason or another when it was released on PC, Playstation 3, and the Xbox 360 in 2012. Even with its Third-Person shooter mechanics which are extremely familiar to gamers, Binary Domain still manages to impress with other innovation.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Yuzu Fierce - Off Color Brewing

    Yuzu Fierce is a variant of Off Color Brewing's (Chicago, Illinois) kettle-soured Berliner Weisse, Fierce, that is brewed with Yuzu fruit. Yuzu is a small citrus fruit that originated in China and is commonly cultivated in Korea and Japan. While the fruit resembles a mix between a lemon and a grapefruit, it has its own unique flavor that is bright, tangy, and floral.

    Yuzu Fierce pours a straw-like pale gold color. A minimal head forms upon pouring, and quickly recedes into almost nothing - just a few bubbles in a ring where beer meets glass.

    The Berliner Weisse smells of almost candy-like, sweet citrus . A mild sourness mingles with the earthy scent of wheat in the beer. Overall the beer's aroma is very crisp and clean.

    Yuzu Fierce has a relatively thin mouthfeel, and a medium level of carbonation. The beer is quite light and crisp, and has a very light alcohol content of 3.8% ABV.
I can only imagine how many fruits it took to get
enough juice for this brew - that thing is ALL seeds.

    Unsurprisingly for a kettle-soured beer, Yuzu Fierce has a slight tangy, sour flavor. This tartness goes nicely with the citrus, candy, and floral flavors from the yuzu and really shows off the unique flavor of the fruit. The beer's sourness is very light - not like that of a Sour Ale, but more like the tartness of lemonade. The beer's flavor is rounded out by clean wheat and grain flavor at the end. A small bit of tartness remains in the mouth after swallowing the beer.

    Yuzu Fierce is an extremely refreshing mix of crisp, clean flavors and a very sessionable lightness of body and alcohol. If you've never tried yuzu before, I highly recommend seeking the fruit out. Personally, I have found that I really enjoy the flavor of yuzu quite a bit. Off Color Brewing has done a great job in capturing yuzu's flavor and showing it off by presenting it alongside their Berliner Weisse, Fierce.

Amulets and Ale Rating:

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Sunday, February 12, 2017

Darkstar One: Broken Alliance

    Darkstar One: Broken Alliance is a Space Flight, Combat, and Trade Simulation game released on the Xbox 360 in 2010 after developer Kalypso Media upgraded 2006's PC release of the game with higher definition graphics and improved gameplay. There is a noticeable lack of this genre on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, so I was excited to see this game recommended by fans of the genre. Unfortunately the game turned out to be less of a "hidden gem" and more of a piece of space-junk that rips-off elements from nearly every popular Sci-Fi series.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Backmasking - Three Floyds Brewing Co.

    Backmasking is an Oatmeal Stout brewed by Three Floyds Brewing Co. in Munster, Indiana. This beer's name comes from many parents' worst fears when their children bring home a new album. Sure, little Johnny is a sweet boy now, but just wait until he listens to that rock music! It won't be long before your sweet little child is sacrificing goats to the dark lord! Named after the process of recording messages onto a track that can only be heard when playing the audio backwards, Backmasking just might be hiding a few secrets of its own.

    Gniksamkcab is a deep, black color. The tiny bit of light allowed through the dark liquid reveals a dark ruby tint. Upon pouring, a massive brown head forms, but quickly recedes into a thin, lacing leaving layer of bubbles.

    The aromas of dark, roasty malts, especially oats and chocolate, make up the majority of the beer's smell. This mix makes me think of the sweet, chocolate breakfast cereals little Johnny used to eat before switching to a diet consisting only of virgin's blood.

    Three Floyd's Oatmeal Stout is medium in body as well as in level of carbonation. Surprisingly, with an alcohol content of only 5.9% ABV, there is a slight bit of alcohol warmth on the tongue and back of the throat after swallowing. The beer finishes dry, but leaves a bit of stickiness on the lips.

Oh Johnny, you never should have been allowed to listen
to that One Direction album...
    Backmasking is surprisingly sweet, with a huge hit of chocolate malt and sweet oats. This brew reminds me of chocolate milk, only in beer form. There is a bit of roasted, smokey malt character to the ale, as well as a bit of piney hops. Overall the ale balances the super sweet flavors with the roastier, bitter flavors. Even with the sweetness, there is still a small amount of ethanol flavor that shows its head.

    It has always amused me that many bands labeled by the media as "evil" actually have better messages in their music than most of the songs on the radio. Other than the immature, angry minority making bad music in the first place, a good number of bands promote messages of peace, tolerance, and self-empowerment. The only major difference is that these messages are coming from performers who prefer a counter-culture style of theatrics for their performances. Think on that the next time your child is listening to music glamorizing getting drunk at the club and making regrettable decisions!

    While I found no hidden messages in Backmasking, I did find an enticingly sweet Stout that I surprisingly enjoyed. I'm content with my findings, as I'm not willing to drink the beer backwards to check for anything I might have missed. I do, however, think that the beer's sweetness could cause it to be a bit much in large amounts. Check it out, if you aren't afraid of any subconscious manipulation!

Amulets and Ale Rating:


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