Still playing Ring Fit Adventure
, of course! Intermittently playing bits of Smash and a few other titles here and there.
it's Advance Wars
, but fantasy - even moreso than Fire Emblem
. It's fun and good, but the side missions are a bit too much, dragging many turns over what could've been reasonable. S-ranked the entire main story though.
A 6-second time-loop Link's Awakening
with a monochrome aesthetic, didn't hugely grab me but I 100%ed it in the span of 6 hours nonetheless. Hit and miss humour. Reminded me too much of Anodyne
Ever played the flash games, Shift
? They're pretty good! This is more of it with fancier production values and a half-hearted attempt at a story. Filled time for sure. Didn't leave much of an impression beyond that.
Child of Light!
A soft bedtime story of a floaty platformer-RPG, that largely ditches the platforming. Not too hard, not too easy, hope you like rhyming couplets or the story will drive you insane. Quite liked it, but there's not much to write home about beyond that. Charming and twee, that's all it could ever need to be... ah, fuck.
It's the inverse of Katamari Damacy
, but the same sweeping sensation of "cleaning". Ruin a midwestern town of anthropomorphic animal people by dropping all their belongings down a portable hole that moves through the ground, getting bigger as it goes. Very cartoony. Goofy story to go with it. One-and-done gameplay, clocking it at 4 hours absolute maximum. Short and sweet, hollow but still a nice treat.
Oh now this is beautiful. One-on-one bosses in inventive bullet-hell areas, switching from projectile chaos to intense reaction-focused melee. Some bosses emphasise one discipline over the other, a few forgoing bullets altogether. Saw it through to its 'true' ending and fighting the hidden boss. Definitely took a lot of sweat and swearing to break though this one. Aesthetically reminiscent of No More Heroes
in places, with some really artsy direction between bosses, its visual design comes from the creator of Afro Samurai
and it shows. Mmh. Delightful game. Really resonated with my tastes. Oh, and how could I forget the MUSIC! Good god damn, just... go listen to the OST
Hoo boy. Hoo Boy would also have been a better title. Pseudo-pacifist flap-former where you pick up stuff and people as a mute lad with wings. People who often carry guns and shoot stuff for you, sort of cancelling out the pacifism thing. Switching characters is a little more fussy than it needs to be, and the story is nothing to write home about. Lovely pixel art and many years of effort did not redeem this title for me I'm afraid - short, fiddly, and not actually that great. It is very pretty but it lacks substance on every axis - gameplay, aesthetic and narrative. Kinda left an "off" taste.
As part of my continued fascination with Digital Extremes and their back-catalogue, I decided to play this precursor (but not prequel) to Warframe
, the proto-Warframe ruined by executive meddling, that saw the Space Ninja Game reduced to a third-person shooter with a CIA agent in disease-wracked Russia. Elements that would reappear in Warframe are here, including the Infested, and elemental affinities - Electricity and Fire in particular are used in puzzles a lot, with Ice sparingly used - as are a handful of Warframes themselves, albeit looking a lot chunkier and without their true backstory. The glaive, a thrown weapon that can be navigated in midair after throwing, is the star of the show here, not the protagonist nor his villains, even as some morph from people into Excalibur and Nemesis (who WF fans know better now as Nyx), and the final antagonist is blatantly Lephantis. Not a hidden gem, definitely a weak title, but historically fascinating to the enthusiast Warframe player.
A tiny Metroidvania, another monochrome one like Minit
, complete with unlockable palette swap options. You're a kitty! You get a suit! Pew pew! Gameplay wise there's little you haven't seen here in other, more full-featured Metroidvanias, but it's cute and quick. Clocks in at a scant 3 hours or so unless you take up speedrunning it, which is remarkably easy to do so.
Sequel to Subsurface Circular
by Bithell Games, which itself was a secret successor to
Thomas Was Alone
. More very good short-form narrative sci-fi, a visual novel with lovely 3D visuals, and the same "concepts and ideas as inventory" as before. This one's not about AIs and robotic Teks though, this one's about... uh... a global pandemic resulting in mass quarantines and enforcement. Boy howdy I picked the right time to play this one, right as it was all kicking off in China... er... anyway, I somehow doubt we'll get the second
half of this game's main plot, which is about first contact with a lone intelligent alien, and learning to communicate them, on multiple levels. Gave me a lot to think about. Has a lot more endings than the simple binary choice of Subsurface
, with decisions echoing down the story branches, and perspective swaps between characters building up a complex and layered narrative. Excellent stuff here, although... might not be the right time to play it if you're of a sensitive disposition to The Everything That Is Happening In The World Right Now. Or it might be ideal, let you work out your own feelings about what quarantine means to you in an artificial environment with a ficticious disease... either way, well worth investigating and I look forward to more in this style. About double the length of its predecessor when you factor in all the extra routes at 4 hours.
A simple sliding-tile puzzle game with a simple story about an old man with a dodgy memory poetically and sweetly framing it. Nothing special. Needed it to chill. Could probably find better on Kongregate, but it's got nice production values at least.
Mega Man: Battle Network 2!
Continuing my journey through the first three BNs at the behest of my gf, had a lot of fun with this one and enjoyed a lot of the dungeons and the internet especially (at least until the Freeze event) a lot more than the previous title. Didn't really attempt the postgame though, and was absolutely lousy with Program Advances in this title. Still, can see why it's a classic!
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night!
I helped Kickstart this one way back. Wonderful Castlevania title in all but name, blending the best of Symphony of the Night
, Aria/Dawn of Sorrow
and Order of Ecclesia
into a wholly unoriginal but solid game. It's beefy too, clocking in at 38 hours for me 100% completion, but without all the recipe and item grinding it's much closer to 30, if not less. I was quite meticulous! If there's any flaw with this game, it's that despite new lore about Shardbinders and some back and forth with the antagonists, some betrayals and the like, there's really nothing original in the feel of any of it. It's just more of that familiar Castlevania flavour you love and remember.
A 3D puzzle game with no obvious instructions. I got the knack of magnetically moving a ball to a point in 3D space, then got violently motion sick from the naseauting colourscapes. Erf. Pass.
Brought out by a studio of former Westwood veterans (Command & Conquer
), an RTS about three species clashing - one with an industrial aesthetic that can build anywhere and move their structures, one with a polished drone-heavy clean-tech aesthetic bound to a power network, and one all-consuming hivemind with a simple directive to spread and reproduce. Oh dear, it all sounds very Starcraft when I put it like that... but it's a little more creative than that. The two conventional factions, the Beta and the Humans, play reasonably as you'd expect for a Starcraft/C&C-like with a balance of infantry and tank units, artillery and aircraft. They even have an emphasis on "extensions", like the base modules from Starcraft... christ it really is... but the unique element is the titular one, the Goo. While they have a "main base structure", that base structure is also a unit unto itself at all times, and can move across mountains and heal by sucking on resource spigots the other factions have to mine - which is just as well, as unit production comes off the Mother Goo's health, too. Thankfully you can also undergo mitosis and make MANY Mother Goos, to occupy as many resource pools as you can defend with your army of jellies and smooth shiny laser drones. They truly play uniquely, and are worth investigating if you have any interest in RTS whatsoever. This game really stuck with me, rattled around in the old headspace for a surprising amount of time after I put it down. It's a shame that the servers are down, little to no multiplayer scene, and the fourth faction (energy-siphoning crystalline Really Alien Aliens) only get a passing appearance at the end of the bonus campaign with a weird boss fight that doesn't actually use any of their units that were later added for the now-dead multiplayer. Ah well. Glad I played it.
Having watched raocow play this in full, I kinda rushed and skimmed through this. I knew it wasn't wholly my cup of tea, but I enjoyed the Agents and the core movement, even if the combat felt a little eh and the story beats... didn't really gel with me. I'm not sure what compelled me to go through it really, but the highlights were still worth it. The lowlights are still
FUCK YOU ELRO YOU ARE THE WORST SEVERAL THOUSAND TIMES EVER I HAVE NEVER FOUND A CHARACTER SO MISERABLY GRATING AS YOU YOU RANCID SACK OF BOILED PISS
ahem anyway yeah I liked the final boss a lot and the bosses in general.
Mario & Rabbids: Kingdom Battle!
A wonderfully zany XCOM
-like that purifies the % logic down - either you're in full cover (0% chance to hit), half cover (50%) or you're out in the open (100%). Of course, you can still break line of sight entirely, and that's sometimes valuable as terrain often breaks apart, or reveals special status effect blocks that can help and hinder. The movement tactics in this game alone are fantastic, reminding me more of Disgaea
or Chroma Squad
than the relatively staid and straightforward XCOM
. I ended up 100%ing it, even the Ultimate Challenges, and enjoyed every damn moment of it, even on the few occasions when RNG in the form of status effects would bite me in the ass, sometimes even literally. First time I've ever liked those goofy rabbids, they're a bit cuter and less bug-eyed than they've ever been before (but still deeply uncanny and french), and the whole game reads like a love letter from Ubisoft to Nintendo, even as their Lapins crétins vandalize the beautiful Mario world they've crafted. A real joy to play.
Mega Man: Battle Network 3!
I've started this, and not gotten too far - the Zoo scenario was both hilarious and awful, such a dumb concept for a dungeon - but I look forward to picking it back up shortly. More opinions later!
around this point I did an extended dive into Warframe: Scarlet Spear, an in-game event lasting most of April
And finally, the game I got my new PC and monitor for, the all-singing, all-dancing successor to the sublime Doom 2016. What that game did with minimalism, this game MAXIMISES. Everything is bigger, faster, meaner - especially you. More tools to work with, more abilities to keep track of, more glory kills, more tactical awareness, more platforming, more story, more lore, more EVERYTHING. This game is absolutely stuffed to the gills, a funhouse mirror counterpart to Doom 2016's staid simplicity and purity. Not to say that it's excessively goofy, but it's definitely more overtly humorous. Is it a better game? No. Is a worse game? No. Is it the same game? Absolutely not. But is it DOOM? Oh Hell Fucking Yes It Is. And it's worth every penny. RIP! AND! TEAR! RIP! AND! TEAR!
And that brings me up to date, I believe.