Welcome to holchasaur

If you’re here for links to my work and contact info, dive to the bottom of this post.

Dae and Bae - holchasaur

Hello there, intrepid explorer of the internets. Welcome to holchasaur. My name is Dave Letcavage, and I’m known by a few people for covering video games, which I usually do in a semi-professional manner. Barring a lengthy absence from the scene during 2017 for a major surgery, I’ve been doing this thang for over half a decade now. At this point, I guess it’s safe to admit that I like it.

*insert that shrugging emoji here*

Before we get to the specifics of my work, you might be wondering, “What’s a holchasaur?” That’s a fair question. It’s a weird word. First, say it with me once: “hole-cha-sore.” That’s it! You (probably) nailed it! Pat yourself on the back. You’ve officially accomplished something today. Be proud.

But back to the point, holchasaur is my personal brand or moniker (or whatever you want to call it) that serves as sort of an umbrella for my independent work and projects. Its origin stems from the nickname of my beloved dog Holly, who passed away in 2016, and it’s a tribute to the profound impact she had on my life (a long story for another time). I even created the holchasaur logo, a silhouette of a dog-dinosaur hybrid, not just to coincide with her nickname, but to communicate both her frisky spirit and the brand’s playful nature.

Here’s an actual photograph of Holly, so that spongy thing protected by your skull (I forget what it’s called) has a real-life image to associate with the brand name and logo.

Damn, do I miss her…

But let’s get focused here. Let’s get to business.

When it comes to the holchasaur “umbrella,” I’m currently running a YouTube channel and podcasting (holchasaur Audio Series and Wife Plays Bloodborne), and I’m also gearing up for a return to livestreaming in the not-so-distant future. You can find an organized list of all those links at the bottom of the page. There’s more going on behind the scenes, but none of it’s concrete enough to divulge just yet.

Besides my own nascent DIY “indie” projects, what else do I do? Well, I type up these word things, arrange them into sentences and paragraphs (much like I’m doing now), and then have the resulting mess published to various websites. You can primarily find my writing on Nintendo Life, SIFTD, and Pure Xbox (where I was the Reviews Editor for three years), with more sites to be named soon – very soon. I mainly focus on games criticism and reviews, but I also vomit up the occasional fluff piece or emotionally-resonate story when the mood strikes.

Oh, and for a short while I was partially responsible for this wacky CobrainOnGames stuff.

Yeah, I’m something of a versatile, guy. I’m even dabbling in comic book, music, and toy coverage soon. Fortunately for me, the amount of talent I’m able to feign is just sufficient enough to entertain a handful of people and convince editors that what I’m presenting them with is genuinely compelling.

I was in sales for a few years, so I’m pretty decent at it, actually.

When it comes to this website itself? It mostly exists to communicate this information to you. In the future it may blossom into something else, something more, but there aren’t currently any specific plans for that. At the very least, I’ll do my best to make sure the deets contained here are up to date. Scout’s honor.


LINKS, CONTACT INFO, AND WORK AVAILABILITY

Contently: My Portfolio (Links to all my work in once place)

holchasaur Projects: YouTube, SoundCloud (Podcasts)Twitch

Social Media: Twitter

For all business inquiries: dave@holchasaur.com

For the most part, I find my own work. But if you’re interested in hiring me for… something, use the email above. I prefer to operate in a freelance capacity, but a remote staff position is something I’d be open to if the opportunity made sense for both of us. Though I should admit, I won’t write news. Don’t even ask. I’d rather watch tween reaction videos on YouTube on repeat for DAYS straight – kinda like that disturbing aversion therapy scene in A Clockwork Orange – instead of regurgitating text from press releases day in, day out.

Where’s the fun in that? For me, there just isn’t any.

Developers, publishers, and PR people, you can also reach me at the business email address provided above if you want to talk game coverage. Feel free to send me your press releases, games (ask first if it’s a PC game), trinkets, and promotional items, but I warn you now, I cannot be bought. I will cover your games and merchandise with 100% honesty regardless of the luster of the package and the goodies contained within. I value integrity over the almighty dollar. I know, I know – it’s a crazy concept in this age of YouTube and influencers, but that’s just how I roll.

The rest of you – friends and readers and viewers and such – can holler at me on Twitter @holchasaur. I’m always open to talking games and entertainment and life, and it’s the best way to stay current on my content output.

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Welcome to holchasaur

Review: Miles & Kilo (Nintendo Switch)

Miles & Kilo Main

Can Stop, Won’t Stop

The 8-bit era is one I remember fondly. Even games I played only once or twice at a friend’s house have earned a piece of real estate in my memory and, in some cases, my heart. So when I played Kid Tripp a few years ago on my iPhone, and back in November on the Switch, that sense of comfort and nostalgia came flooding back to me thanks to chunky pixel graphics, a catchy chiptune soundtrack, overt retro influences, and the accessible-yet-challenging gameplay. And I’m happy to say that Miles & Kilo, the sequel to Kid Tripp, has accomplished a similar feat while expanding further on what the original did so well.

These two runners – which play much like side-scrolling, action-platformers – were designed to be smartphone-friendly. That’s where each began life. Yet, fortunately, whether docked or in handheld mode, the experience translates quite naturally to the Nintendo Switch. And perhaps Miles & Kilo feels even more at home on a console than its predecessor; it’s slightly more complex mechanically and requires just a bit more finesse that benefits from a D-pad and actual buttons as opposed to a touchscreen, partially attributed to a newfound freedom that wasn’t present in Kid Tripp.

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That’s because, instead of constantly propelling you forward like a typical auto-runner, you can move Miles left or right as you desire. This is the default control setting. It’s a difficulty balancer more than anything, as it allows players to have a moment of thought and patience when navigating the more dangerous and rhythmically enigmatic chunks of the levels. However, staying in motion – and discovering and mastering the intended cadence of actions through the 36 total levels – is the best reward, and yields the best score. Personally, I turned on the “auto-run” option about halfway through my playthrough and never looked back, not even when the going got tough – and the going does get tough.

So that’s one thing that differentiates Miles & Kilo from Kid Tripp – the freedom of movement. But what else is here that’s shiny and new? Quite a bit, actually. The most obvious is Kilo, Miles’ frisky canine buddy and recurrent form of transportation. When Kilo shows up in a level, he abruptly tugs Miles along at a brisk pace, offering no option to pump the brakes or change direction. The main benefit here is that Kilo can target and dash into enemies, which functions much like the homing mechanic introduced in the 3D Sonic The Hedgehog games. This allows you to remain airborne longer than a traditional jump, so you can clear large gaps and avoid any other threats on the ground below. Combining this move with an normal extended jump can occasionally cause a fumble and death, but you’re back in action so quickly – almost immediately – that you’ll barely have a moment to whimper.

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There are numerous other ways that Miles & Kilo sequelizes itself, putting emphasis on variety this time out, even if gameplay doesn’t deviate too far from the run, jump, and throw-fruit formula. Level variety, in terms of setting and appearance, isn’t as diverse as it could be – which also applies to the five worlds and their seemingly repeating themes – but there’s plenty new to be found in the gameplay to make up for it. For example: Surfing and minecart sections are a nice surprise when they show up; new enemies/dangers pose new problems; ziplines and wall jumping in designated areas add additional layers to traversal; and dashing underneath hazards and punching through walls means there’s more to be prepared for. Furthermore, each of the five worlds – now fitted with a generic-but-appreciated world map – culminates in a boss battle, making the game feel more like an adventure than a just a random collection of bite-sized challenges conceived to be consumed on the go.

World Map

Speaking of challenge, even though there’s no shortage of new elements here, Miles & Kilo features a difficulty curve that’s less harsh than its predecessor. Make no mistake, the difficulty remains unfaltering when at its most potent, but I never felt as oppressed as I sometimes did with Kid Tripp. Even though the trial-and-error design might be a turn off to some, others will strive for success and perfection, the latter of which rewards you with the highest score and ranking on each level. And if you are that type of player, there are 20 in-game achievements to procure and a time-trial mode to unlock, one that’s all about how quickly and proficiently you can beat the entire game without backtracking.

But expectations are important when purchasing a new game, and the truth is, depending on your skill level, Miles & Kilo only takes a few hours or so to complete (my first playthrough took just under three hours, and the second just under an hour). I suspect most players will beat it – possibly attempting to earn an S rank on every level along the way – and then promptly move on. That is not a knock against the game; it’s merely a description of what type of experience this is. You’ll die often but won’t be able to resist having one more go. You’ll overcome each new challenge and feel great when you do so. You’ll allow the nostalgia and accomplishment to release happy chemicals in your brain as you push to the game’s end… and then you’ll watch the icon slowly push off the Switch’s home screen. Again, that’s just the type of game this is. But I wouldn’t write off replays down the road, as I’ve returned to Kid Tripp a few times over the years.

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If you’re A-OK with all that, Miles & Kilo earns a very easy recommendation from me. I’ve had a blast with this series and hope there’s more to come in the future. It’s no Yoku’s Island Express or Runner3 in terms of breadth of content or complexity of mechanics, but that’s not what it aspires to be. It’s more of a throwback. Whether its gameplay reminded me of Adventure Island, its environments and enemies of Sonic The Hedgehog, its music and minecart sections of DuckTales, or its one-more-go challenge found in games like Super Meat Boy and 1001 Spikes, my short time with Miles & Kilo connected with me on many levels.

Oh, and for some inexplicable reason, it produced many flashbacks to Felix The Cat on NES. I can’t quite figure the correlation, but I, uh, felt I should share that for some reason.

Dang. Now I need to get myself a copy of Felix The Cat…

Note: I discovered a very rare bug in the final level that, upon dying in a very specific spot, forces you to close and relaunch the game. Thankfully, because of the game’s nature, you don’t lose any progress. The developer/publisher is aware of the issue and hopefully working on a fix.

Review copy provided by Four Horses

Review: Miles & Kilo (Nintendo Switch)