DNCE- “Cake By The Ocean” Review: Sleazy As Sexy

Poring over the pop charts every day can be tedious and tiring. To begin with, I’m a rock man myself, and there’s not too much rock on the charts these days. Even the rock charts are filled with songs that aren’t actually rock, or songs from fifty years ago. That’s not a joke, either. There are four songs by The Beatles on the rock charts this week. Nothing against The Beatles (one was even “Come Together,” my favorite Beatles song), but we need a breath of fresh air to come and revitalize rock.

Lo and behold!, our rock saviors have descended upon us in the form of… Joe Jonas?! Yes, Joe Jonas-fronted band DNCE is the topic of discussion today, but don’t let the Jonas name trick you; this is basically an early Maroon 5 song, if Maroon 5 hadn’t been fronted by one of the worst vocalists of the generation.

I often feel that, when you hate a song, you do need to be able to explain why, while if you love a song, the “why” can often be indescribable. Such is not the case with “Cake by the Ocean.” It’s one of those songs that wouldn’t work if even one piece was out of place, but because they managed to get everything right, it plays out beautifully.

First, they chose to bring the bass into focus with one of the tightest basslines in pop music. As a bassist myself, I always enjoy when the instrument gets the chance to take the spotlight, but it definitely deserves the chance in this instance. It gives the song a funky flavor that really makes the song danceable. Then, they used the guitar as more of an accent instrument. In fact, the next time you listen to the song, look for the guitar. It doesn’t play a single chord until the bridge, instead allowing the bass to carry the entire first verse. Doing so allows the bassline to get engraved into your mind, letting it take over as the dominant while the guitar is content to be more subdued until the chorus punches in.

And let us not forget the drums. The drums perfectly match the bass, working in tandem to create one of the greatest rhythms of the year. I just… I love it all so much. I don’t even mind continuously playing the song while I write this article. I’m kinda half-dancing the whole time and looking like a moron. The beat is just such an earworm, I can’t help it.

And that’s without even mentioning the overwhelming presence of Joe Jonas. I was a Disney Channel kid, and I was a teenager while The Jonas Brothers were a mega-popular teeny-bopper band, so naturally I had quite a bit of contact with their music. I’m here to tell you, right now, that Joe was always the most talented brother. He has a voice with a wide range, allowing him to sing all kinds of songs and be amazing. His regular pitch is perfectly suited to this kind of rock, with a tone that’s suave but just a bit sleazy. When the chorus starts and he has to hit those higher notes, he’s perfectly capable of doing so.

The Following Paragraph is NSFW. All Sentences NSFW Will be Written in White, and Need Highlighting to be Read.

Lyrically, the song is just as metaphorically raunchy as the music it’s influenced by. There seems to be some sort of contention about what the song is about, so here’s my personal interpretation. This song is about a girl Joe likes that won’t do anything with him in bed. He’s talking to her, trying to convince her to “live dangerously” and “eat cake by the ocean,” which sounds like a euphemism for giving him a blow job, with lines like “eat icing off your hands” supporting this. Apparently, it could also mean the opposite, with him proposing she let him eat her out. Regardless, it’s all very well-written and conveys the sleazy mood of the song amazingly, while allowing some interpretation. There was no point in the song where I thought a line didn’t work, or thought it was completely stupid, which is pretty rare.

All in all, this song is one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had listening to pop music. It’s just a fun, danceable song with great musicians behind it, and a positively explosive performance by Joe Jonas. If you’re at all interested in music, you should definitely give this song a listen or fifty.

Genre: Pop-rock; funk; disco

Billboard Rank at Time of Writing: 41


The Chainsmokers (feat. ROZES)-“Roses” Review: Why?

“Roses” is no different than any other EDM club jam, except in one major way; somehow, it reached No. 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. This is not where this song belongs, in any way. This is purely dance music, with no other possible way to enjoy this atrocity. How this ended up as an actual hit song blows my mind.

I’ll admit to coming into this review with a fair amount of bias. I’ve never been a fan of EDM, as I feel it is a soulless genre, filled with people who have mastered the technical art of music but never had the true passion for it. The Chainsmokers don’t even have that going for them, though, as you’d know if you ever heard their previous “viral” hit, “#Selfie,” an abysmal waste of time equal to forcefully running a cheese grater over your ears for four minutes.

My problems with “Roses” are different from the problems I had with “#Selfie,” though. For one, this song doesn’t seem to be sending me subliminal messages to kill myself. “Roses” is far too bland for that, with a drum beat that hasn’t been fresh since the 60’s dominating the brunt of the song. The lyrics to the song are at least sung, as well, and not a disgusting cash in on a trend of the times.

No, the biggest problem with this song is the synthesizer breakdown. It bleats out in stagnant notes so forceful it would vibrate even the best speakers at medium volume levels. It happens more than once across the song, as well, seeming to be the main reason for the song’s existence. The synthesizer just drones on like that for something around thirty seconds at a time, and it just baffles me. No human ear could ever find that song pleasing.

Past that, a trend common in EDM is to take a bite of the vocalist’s performance, just a single note, and use it like a chord, repeated ad infinitum across the song. It does nothing but remind me that ROZES could actually be singing something more, had you left enough room for her to do so. The “ah ah-ah-ah-ah-ah ah ah-ah ah-ah-ah-ah-ah” noise is not fun or interesting.

ROZES is actually a good presence on the song. She has a nice, willowy voice that I would love to hear more of. She does slur about half of the two verses she was given, making it practically unintelligible, but she’s probably the best-sounding instrument on the song, so I can forgive that. In fact, the song probably rose so high on her strength alone.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t change the fact that this is an EDM song, meaning you should be able to dance to it. This is not a fun, danceable song. “Roses” is one of the stiffest, saddest, most joyless songs I’ve heard in a while. It is a slow trudge through murky swampwater, only the swamp doesn’t even have any alligators to run from. This song has no business being in a club or on the radio, and it definitely has no worth on the pop charts. Avoid this song like the plague, but maybe check out ROZES. That’s what I’m going to do.





Also, did they seriously name the song after the guest artist? Who does that?

Main Monthly Update: What Am I Doing?

What am I doing with this blog? Well, I’m glad you asked, me. I started this blog so I could speak about things that interest me, and have a medium with which to share my ideas and viewpoints with others. I chose to do a blog rather than continuing my previous attempts at a YouTube channel for three reasons: first, while I have no problem portraying a character on camera or for an audience, being myself was scary, and so I was an awkward presence on camera. Second, I didn’t like filming it as, due to my limited budget, I wasn’t exactly able to do anything interesting with a visual medium. Finally, and most importantly, I found I preferred the writing of the review to the filming and editing process of the video.

Why didn’t you already know you liked writing, Wombat? First of all, stop talking to yourself, it’s weird. Anyway, I did know I liked writing. I’ve been writing since middle school, when I attempted my horribly awful first attempt at a novel called Attack of the Pens, in which the regular household items would be sentient and wish to kill their owners. Yes, it was as bad as it sounds. In the past year or so, though, I’ve been busy trying to piece together my life. I got a job, moved out on my own, bought a lot of things I had always wanted to but never could on my parents’ dime, and dealing with a lot of issues in my life that cropped up as a result of all that. So I wasn’t really writing, and part of me kind of forgot how much happiness I get from it.

What are you going to be writing about? Seek help, me who keeps asking these questions. I look in the mirror and I’m worried. I intend this blog to primarily be for video game and music reviews. The reason I’ll be doing both is because, if I just do video game reviews, I won’t be able to post as often as I would like to (even now, I’m not far enough into any game to write a review on it). Music is also a bigger passion for me than video games, being a musician myself, and I’d like to talk about why I listen to what I listen. Other than those, I do have plans for different, more creative forms of writing in the future, but I’d like to cement myself as at least a half-decent reviewer before I attempt to do so.

Why haven’t you written a music review yet, then? I’ve already called you a doctor, just relax, you’ll get help soon. I haven’t written one yet because I was planning to start with year-end top tens as a lead in to the music reviews. The problem is… I didn’t consider how much work they actually throw on you. I quit halfway through the research phase. So I’ll write one when I find a song about which I actually have opinions. So, basically, I’ll listen to the radio a bit today instead of my CD’s and write one soon.

So, anyway, that’s the reason why this blog exists and what I intend to do with it in the near future. If you have any questions, leave a comment and I’ll answer it as soon as I can, or you can find @DogAndWombat on Twitter and I’ll probably answer you quicker. Thanks for reading, friends!









Oh no, I made light of a serious problem in this blog post! Now I’ll never get any readers….

Fallout 4 Review: I Had A Falling Out With Myself

Fallout isn’t a game I thought I would actually like. When I was buying the PS4, there weren’t many games I could think of that I was really interested in, so I picked up Fallout 4 thinking it would be a decent time-waster, but nothing too spectacular. I was extraordinarily surprised when I got completely sucked into the world, and coming home from work became synonymous with playing Fallout.

I’ve never been a fan of open-world “sandboxes,” largely because I feel there’s a lack of direction given to a player. I also feel that there is such a thing as having too much content, which is something I felt when playing Bethesda’s previous game, Skyrim. Not only that, but I’m not exactly a fan of third- or first-person shooters, as I often have trouble with aiming guns in games. I’m much more comfortable in more hack-and-slashy experiences.

Fallout 4 addressed both of these usual grievances of mine, without falling out of their trappings completely. There is a lot to do in Fallout 4, but nothing takes up a whole series of quests except the main story and each of the four factions. All the side quests can be accomplished one at a time, in a single sitting, so it’s easy to just turn the game on, take a quest to clear out a building or find an item, and finish it before dinnertime. There’s always something to do, and it can always be done without ruining your social life (unless you let it).

Meanwhile, the V.A.T.S. system takes a lot of the frustration I have with shooters out of the game. Using ability points, you can slow time and auto-aim at specific parts of an enemy, allowing an easier battle. You will have to shoot regularly most of the time, but the system is still a great boon, as you can make a fight much easier to deal with very quickly, and often before it even begins.

Combat as a whole is very solid. There’s always adequate cover for the heavy battles, and smaller battles are usually handled out in the open to allow for quick dispatching of enemies. It does occasionally throw you a curveball you might not be able to handle without a few loads of a save, though. One particularly nasty enemy even shows up as a boss in one of the first story quests, long before you expect to have to fight something of its caliber. These happen seldom enough that I just consider it the game preparing me for what will come ahead, though.

My favorite part of the game is definitely the companion system, though. Throughout the game, you meet with people who will ask to travel with you, and each have likes and dislikes. As you rise higher in their sights, you learn more about who they are, and with many of them, you eventually gain the ability to romance them. At the highest level of affection, you unlock a special perk, unique to that character, which gives you increased experience on skill checks, more damage on a headshot, or one of many others depending on who’s with you.

The absolute best part, though, is that while your companion is travelling with you, they cannot die, ever. Enemies will critically wound them, but at that point start ignoring them, and your friend can no longer be damaged. You can heal them to instantly get them back in the fight, or wait for them to recover naturally, but you never need to worry about them dying. This is such a massive improvement on the companions system from Skyrim that I have no idea why Bethesda didn’t have it to begin with. No longer do you need to worry constantly, or cover them in a fight. It’s so much weight off the mind, and I love it so dearly (and not just because all my companions would die if not for this mechanic).

The main story is decently engaging, though it can occasionally throw something at you that you might not be able to handle. One story boss fight, in particular, starts you in the middle of a small office room, surrounded by enemies, a foot away from the boss himself. Expect a lot of loads on that one. A few quests later, and the game expects you to wade through a nuclear storm for 10-30 minutes, surrounded by the hardest enemies it thinks you could possibly handle. Take baby steps, though, and you’ll make it.

One thing I was wary of going into Fallout 4, based on Skyrim, is the idea that this game might have a silent protagonist. Other than the Dragon Quest series, I’m not really a fan of silent protagonists. The silent protagonist is supposed to allow you to slip into a character’s shoes, but for me, it usually just makes them completely un-relatable. That’s why I’m very glad that your character does have a voice in this game. You still choose how you want to react, but the character definitely has certain mannerisms in the way they speak which give them a sense of identity.

There’s a great crafting system for weapons and armor, which allows even basic items you find early on to be useable for quite a while, with the proper upgrades. The only drawback is that it requires you to carry a lot of junk with you so you can have the components required for upgrades, and it can weigh down your character quite a bit. Also, you don’t know what components an item has until you look at it in your inventory, meaning you could end up carrying a lot of junk which you’ll never use.

Altogether, this game is one of the best experiences I’ve had playing a game in a very long while, and there isn’t much that ruins that experience. Fallout 4 is a very well put-together game that definitely deserves a spot on your shelf if you have the time to put into it. It isn’t perfect, but it gets close enough for me.

Final Score



Kid Icarus: Uprising Review-Still Not Starring Icarus

Kid Icarus: Uprising is like a child’s bag of candy the day after Halloween, or a stocking you open on Christmas morning. There’s sure to be some very nice stuff in there when you open it, but there’s also going to be some more dubious content. The ratio is completely unknown, and depending on your personal tastes, may be skewed one way more than the other.

Let me start with the biggest thing Uprising did right: flying is amazing. Nothing in this game is greater than entering a stage and being thrust into a soaring chaos of enemies. It’s so fun to fly around and just shoot at enemies, dodging from their attacks as you throw lethal arrows or energy shots back their way. It’s thrilling, intense, and instantly gratifying, easily being worth the price of admission.

The problem comes with the rest of the game, namely the ground combat. Ground controls try too hard not be too different from the flying controls, but that unfortunately lends them to being floaty, picky, and difficult. Sometimes, you’ll sprint when you want to walk; other times, you’ll do a quick dodge as you try to do a slight nudge. The controls are oversensitivity at its finest, and if you aren’t used to them (or even if you are), you’ll find Pit doing all sorts of things you don’t remember wanting him to do.

This is alleviated somewhat with the grand staged boss battles, which are always exciting and will keep you on your toes. Every boss is unique, and you can never go at one the same way you would take on another. Every boss also takes place in a giant arena, with no fear of falling from making a twitch reaction dodge.

The weapons are a mixed bag, as well. The ranged weapons, which don’t lose power over distance, seem to be objectively better than the melee-oriented weapons, especially for players unused to the game. Melee weapons like the swords can be fun, though mostly because they still have decent ranged attacks. Staves and clubs, unfortunately, don’t have that luxury, being a pain to use unless you’re right on top of the enemy, which can make them nigh-unusable in the flying segments, making what should be an exhilarating experience into a chore. The trade-off is that they are better to use on the ground combat segments, but you still have to suffer from all the control issues mentioned above.

One last thing about the controls, though; don’t play this game for more than two stages at a time. Just don’t. Even if you have the game stand, the gamer claw you have to play with will give you carpal tunnel or some other nerve-degenerating ailment. It’s so painful and taxing to play for long periods of time, and that’s with the game stand. Don’t even attempt to play it on the go. I know the game was designed for the 3DS, but it really should have been on the Wii U, because you need to sit down to play Uprising.

On everything but the gameplay, though, this game absolutely nails it. The music is outstanding on every stage, always portraying the right emotions for the circumstances. Special shout-out goes to the flying music for Chapter Six, which has me going back to play it over and over just to hear that tune.

The characters are wonderful to listen to, with enjoyably cheesy dialogue and interesting growth from stage to stage, keeping you engaged with the story and thus, the game. As difficult as the game can be, it’s hard not to want to keep playing on for fear of not hearing what else they have to say.

I wish I had more to say, but that’s all there really is to Uprising. Uprising’s stilted and sometimes broken gameplay is stitched together by a superbly written story and characters, and for that reason, I can only say that the entire experience is absolutely mediocre. It’s definitely worth picking up if it looks interesting to you, because what Uprising sells itself as is exactly what you’re going to get from it. Just be aware that you might need to see your doctor about nerve damage in a few months.

Final Score



Tales of Zestiria Review: A Shepherd With No Sheep

I’ve been a fan of the Tales series for some time, playing through Abyss, Symphonia, and Xilia and loving each one to pieces. So naturally, I was hyped when I learned about Zestiria, the newest Tales game that would be coming to America. I tried to stay away from any news about it, though, because I wanted to play it with fresh eyes, as much as I could. So it was that I bought it on Day One, and began playing it the day after.

The best part about a Tales game is the characters and their interactions, and the same is true of Zestiria. The characters are likable and memorable as soon as they appear, and I enjoyed watching them change and grow subtly across the game. Interactions are frequent and often funny, which kept me engaged with the cast. I would often stay at inns even when I didn’t need to, just to see what would be said next. There were a couple of instances where I was disappointed in how little a character had changed from beginning to end, but in the larger group, these characters still had their place.

There are always two characters on the map at all times, though who it is will change as the story progresses. It’s not simply a visual touch, either; talking to the other character will allow them to share their thoughts on the current situation, or give clues what to do with a current sidequest, or even reminders of a sidequest you have yet to begin. This function makes the game a much more streamlined product than previous Tales games, by giving sidequests more of an “I think I’ll do this one right now” mentality as opposed to the “Do I really have to visit every town at every point in the game and talk to every NPC to make sure I’m not missing anything?” mentality of previous games. It’s basically a more permanent version of the skits in Xilia that triggered after story events as a reminder of possible sidequests.

“Points of Interest” are sprinkled across every map, serving as a vehicle for some interesting skits and world-building information. They also give out “AP,” which is basically a skill point that is needed in order to equip certain battle abilities, which make combat easier and can be used in various combinations to change up strategy. Some of these “Points of Interest” are also monoliths, which teach various aspects of the game when read, thus rewarding any who go out of their way to search for them. Alternatively, you could say the game unfairly holds back key information until later in the game, making it impossible to know the full rules of combat until later in the game.

Combat itself is much more fast-paced than any previous Tales game. This is because of the lack of any “TP” meter, usually used to enact a character’s more powerful skills. Instead, every attack is attached to an “SC” meter, which drains with every attack or spell, and refills fairly quickly by standing in place. Having more SC makes attacks deal more damage, while running it out makes them deal less in exchange for a constant barrage of damage. It allows for a different strategy in every fight, whether standing back to allow friends to deal the damage or staying in the fray to keep up the pressure.

Unfortunately, beyond that, the combat system is more than a little dreary and over-complicated. About a quarter of the way through, you learn of a silly rock-paper-scissors element in combat between normal attacks, special skills, and magic spells which was unnecessary and only made fights harder and more annoying, especially while playing as a Seraph character. No character can use all three, so every character is always disadvantaged in a fight, but none more than the Seraphim, whose most damaging attacks are spells, and can be cancelled out by normal attacks. The whole system is pointless and the game would be much improved by simply removing it.

The human characters can “Armatize” with Seraph characters, doubling their power, allowing use of different skills and even stronger Mystic Artes later in the game. While playing single-player, this is a great ability that can make normal fights fly by and allow an edge against bosses for some time, increasing strategy. However, with more than one person, I’d imagine this would get irritating fast, just like Xilia’s Link Battle system. It would lock out whoever was playing as the Seraph character, essentially blocking them from the game. I enjoyed Armitization, but this is a pretty obvious downfall of the system that I’m sure will frustrate more than a handful of players.

I’ve mentioned strategy several times so far, and I’m not done mentioning it, as much as I would like to. The biggest complaint I have with the game is the equipment system. Basically, beyond basic stats, every piece of equipment can have up to 4 bonus skills, which fall into different categories. You can fuse equipment together to obtain different skills or add more skills to a previous item, but they have to be the same kind of equipment. Lining up various skills in categories or rows also give more skills, and it’s all very complicated.

And stupid. I hate this system. I’d be in an optional dungeon, searching for hidden treasures and whatnot, and run across a new piece of armor that I’d never seen before, only to find that because of bonus skills, it was weaker than the stuff I’d had since the first town. I didn’t feel like I was progressing or being rewarded. I felt cheated.

Speaking of optional dungeons (and dungeons in general), they were very underwhelming. A few stood out, if only for being exceedingly irritating (what is it with water temples being shit?), but most were straight, angular corridors or straight, slightly curved, brown caves. The fields were all very beautiful and I enjoyed walking between the dungeons, but the dungeons themselves were drab and boring.

The story of a Tales game is usually where they’re allowed to shine the most, alongside the characters, but I wasn’t really feeling this one as much as the previously mentioned Tales entries. There are never any real curveballs thrown, the bad guy at the start is the bad guy at the end, and no one among the party is a traitor or a spy. It’s all very traditional storytelling, stuff that Tales has been bending and subverting for over a decade and a half now, done completely straight. I think it might have been done as a throwback to Tales of Phantasia, which was similarly very traditional, but it only made the story a very average one at best. There are very strong emotional moments, however, and it’s not done without heart or care, so it does stay minimally interesting even in the slowest sections. The payoff is very lackluster, though. I doubt many people will be happy with the ending of this game. The ending disappointed me with its brevity and lack of any real meat. I don’t want to go any further than that for spoilers, but if you’re expecting a strong, flashy ending, you’ll be left very wanting.

This last detail has nothing to do with the game as a whole, but I felt it needed to be brought up. Namco Bandai made the previous Tales character outfits DLC for Zestiria. I got them as a pre-order bonus, but most people will have to shell out a few bucks for a feature that’s been included in almost every other Tales game ever as a bonus for fans who had played multiple games. It’s very skeevy and, at this point, feels like stealing from a dedicated fanbase they know would be willing to fork over the cash if they had to. It’s very frustrating for me to see a company I had a fair amount of respect for falling into the same pitfalls as other AAA companies.

Final Score


Above Average