BobisOnlyBob wrote: ↑
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!
Time flies, huh?
Mega Man: Battle Network 3!
After finishing up Doom Eternal, I went back to MMBN3 with the eager encouragement of my MM-obsessed sweetheart. Overall I think the battling is a marginal improvement over MMBN2, but the internet structure is worse than 2 - especially some of the long round trips to get into the Undernet. The endgame got far too twitchy for me, I had to rely on a savestate between Bass.EXE and the final boss to see it through to the ending, and get real clever with my deck construction to stand a chance against both. Honestly, overall, I enjoyed the MMBN "first trilogy" but it'll be a good long while before I play the latter half of the series, if ever.
Behold, my coppersona
. Actually that's just a silly screenshot of one of the holo-masks, but the game does provide a surprising amount of customizability for your protagonist, and I spent most of it wearing fully face-concealing goggles and a gasmask. It's a Platinum Action Game, like Bayonetta
and Nier: Automata
before it, but with additional investigation and slower sidequest activities. The key draw of the game, besides being a dimension-warping police officer, is your dimensional monster on a leash that acts as your combat partner, and is controlled independently using the right stick while holding down a shoulder button. You have combat buttons, it has combat buttons, you're a tag-team duo and the titular chain can snare and trap enemies for you to beat down. The plot is nothing special - it may as well be set in Tokyo-3 fighting against Angels it's so bloody Evangelion, the twists are visible from a mile away and the writing is average at best - but it definitely filled an action craving.
Yes, I played the saucy demon meme game. It's free, c'mon! A solid hour of block-pushing shenanigans, not too taxing, genuinely fun. 100%ed it because why not for the price?
Super Crush KO!
A cute platformer-brawler that lasted me a full evening - 5 hours on the nose for 100%. Not particularly deep but definitely fun and with some cute art. Enemy variety was a bit lacking, all being variations on a boxy robot design, but the bosses weren't bad at all.
Played the demo of this long-in-development rhythm action game with its distracting visuals, solid core rhythm, irregular time signatures and strange little storylines, from the creators of the equally odd A Dance of Fire and Ice
. Clocked about two hours with it. Definitely returning to that some day, if it ever releases! I know they have an active community and a lot of music and creations already, but they're still introducing improvements to the editor and types of rhythm that can be used.
XCOM: Chimera Squad!
Oh goodness I tried to like this. Maybe it's the theme of SWAT-style policing in this year in particular, maybe it's the chatty roster of fixed characters as opposed to expendable goons, or maybe it's the huge array of little UI bugs and issues, but something about this just did not click the way XCOM and XCOM2 before it did. Maybe I'll return to it, if it gets some love and attention... I somehow suspect it won't, unfortunately. I just really struggled with it. I dropped it around the end of the first major syndicate, when the difficulty suddenly spiked and I felt entirely caught-out on top of an aggravating chain of missions. The Breach system is pretty good, but having to often play what amounts to multiple small maps in succession instead of a single map felt off somehow. Just wasn't feeling it.
Final Fantasy VII Remake!
Goodness. So, FFVII
was literally the first RPG I played - not just the first JRPG, not the first video game RPG, literally the first RPG I ever played. It left a significant impact upon me. I've often joked that it's "tattoo'd on my heart". The weight going into this was immense, but... I feel like they pulled it off. They made the Midgar of my childhood imagination in the fact, far removed from the pre-rendered backdrops and lego-like characters of the original. They brought the slums to life, in multiple ways, and fleshed them out with a lot of new side-activities, a lot of which I genuinely enjoyed. Some parts of the story are a little padded, but frankly it works for me. The combat system was a harmonious blend of lessons learned from the fast particle-effect maelstroms of Kingdom Hearts and FFXV, and the classic turn-based menus. Party combat worked well - special love for the Hell House and other large boss fights, but the system really shined in the solo battle on the Shinra HQ rooftop. Square and Nomura proved they could remake Final Fantasy VII...
and then they gave me a whole host of misgivings, right at the end of it all. So the game constantly has these anomalous elements sprinkled in, suggesting this is a sequel rather than a remake - Sephiroth (as hallucinatory psychic presence) and Aerith both seem to know a lot more about what's going to/what has already happened, events are coerced to go the right way by "Whisper" spirits, Barret gets fatally wounded and saved by a Whisper spirit, and the game's last chapter... all the characters start talking about Fate in a very disjointed way, throw themselves into a pocket dimension and fight a Whisper Sephiroth, supposedly 'breaking the chains of fate' in the process. Huh? Is this how they're saying from here on out, they're diverging from the original plot? Or is this just Nomura attempting to satisfy his fetish for cloaked figures? It doesn't inspire hope for the second part, whenever that happens... but I'm probably in for the long haul anyway. Suffice to say, it's left me as anxious leaving as I was going in, despite everything else being damn-near pitch perfect. Quite the feat, really.
A Short Hike!
A charming little 3D indie game about ascending a mountain on a rural vacation island as a little bird-person. The mountaintop is the only place you can get phone reception, and you're waiting for an important call, so it's up you go, spiralling around the surprisingly large environment and gliding from place to place, upgrading your ability to jump and fly with collectable feathers, doing little chores and playing games with the locals and other visitors. It has an atmosphere akin to Animal Crossing
but with more direction and purpose, as you climb walls like a softer, kinder Celeste
and pick up items to mess around with. The inventory system feels a little awkward, but the overall atmosphere and presentation is so delightful and the fundamental feeling of jumping and gliding is great - even once you reach the top of the mountain, you'll likely re-ascend it a few more times just for the joy of doing so with more feathers, ascending fast and descending in a glide reminscent of Super Mario 64
's Wing Cap. A lovely warm hug of a game. I picked this one up through both the Epic store and the Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality
, so if you're reading this you probably have it for free too.
The Void Rains Upon Her Heart!
A side-scrolling boss-rush shooter that is also a roguelite, and
that one emotional indie game about feelings and depression and overcoming trauma through the healing power of love. Shoot those bosses with love! It's like Undertale's symbolic combat mixed with Gradius. Really enjoyed this, but it's also in early access, so despite the fact it already has an impressive array of bosses to experience and unlock, and a pair of final bosses to encounter, it doesn't actually have closure for its narrative beats yet, which are surprisingly interesting. The setting is a somewhat alien and exotic setting, focusing on the outcasts of a cherub-like race of creatures, surviving in the wilderness far below their civilization's cities. The music and boss designs in particular are very enjoyable. This damn game has almost 400 achievements on Steam, and they're actually tangible - every Steam achievement matches an in-game challenge that unlocks permanent progress and varieties of enemies and weapons and abilities for your heart-shaped ship/soul. Definitely one I'll swing back around to when it has some more major updates, even though I already clocked 30 hours with it!
My stars. What a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful game. A descendant of the legendary Myst
for sure, but set in a tiny-scale clockwork solar system, where the planets and their movements are relevant physics to you as you jet between them in your boxy one-man wooden spaceship, looking for clues as to the previous civilization, what texts and technologies they left behind, and to solve the mystery of why
the sun explodes every 22 minutes, sending you back in time to right before your launch
. Every celestial body is its own remarkable little puzzle-box, some containing pieces for others or guiding you onto the next - or back towards something overlooked. Piecing together the mystery, unravelling the history of the Nomai civilization and your connection to them, learning the quirks of the game's spaceflight and tools - your probe launcher, signal scope and translation tool - come together in a beautiful harmony. And speaking of beautiful harmony... just listen to the title screen music
. If that doesn't set your heart astir, I don't know what to tell you. This game is indescribably wonderful, reduce-me-to-tears beautiful. Maybe it's just me, but it resonated down to a core I didn't know I had.
A very short Yume Nikki
-style RPGMaker title about wandering around a house as a poor girl with anxiety, whose parents haven't returned home, as strange events begin to occur. Literally less than 30m long, it's a cute first attempt at an atmospheric RPG by Temmie Chang, of Undertale
fame, and the music is composed by Toby Fox. Largely simple graphically, but also contains some more involved animated sequences. Charming, but also very familiar. It's also the prequel to...
Dweller's Empty Path!
Another in the same vein as Escaped Chasm
, with a much more involved scenario and larger world. Still no combat or mechanical systems besides some items you can pick up and deliver to other people or read, it's clearly laying the groundwork for a much larger story, building a fantasy world of kingdoms and monster-people, against a lovely 8-bit Gameboy aesthetic. Check the trailer
, it's got a lovely relaxed retro vibe and more of Temmie and Toby's wonderful work - now joined by Camellia, too. It's a real charmer, has lovely vibes and it's a good way to while away a lazy afternoon.
Into the Breach!
Wait, I played this to completion a long time ago. Why'd I dig it back out? Azure Lazuline, creator of Copy Kitty
, made these Voltaic Constructs
based on the Copy Kitty
enemies as playable mechs and I wanted to try them out. They're a blast! If you like ITB, play these!
Phantasy Star Online 2!
I want to love this game. I loved PSO1 on the Gamecube. But it's clearly a 10-year-old MMO, drowning in systems and events and currencies, with a UI that makes PSO1 look elegant and streamlined. There's just so many menus, tabs, systems all fighting eachother... it's just too much for me. Even with a veteran and my girlfriend alongside me, it just didn't hook me like Pioneer 2 once did. Real shame. Took a few hours one rainy sunday and it was a nice jaunt, but... I can't really see myself coming back to it.
Sayonara Wild Hearts!
This is a playable pop-album, and can either be seen as Runner game with QTEs, or a very relaxed rhythm game - maybe more of a groove game! Yeah, I like that. This game is groovy
. It's a bisexual-lighting
festival of girls in suits on motorbikes, travelling through trippy mindscapes and fighting to the wonderfully chill beats. Check the trailer
, because showing you any one specific level would feel like robbery of the experience. The whole album is about an hour long, and theoretically you could beat the whole game in that time, but if you're like me and seek to do the challenges and get Ranks and try the continuous playback mode, it'll be a solidly fun 10 hours or so which'll leave you humming the tunes for weeks after. What a delight.
My current crown count as of writing is 21. I made it to Rank 40 just in time for the end of Season 1, and I have been enjoying Season 2 quite a lot. I'm Fall Guy 1200, and I currently look like Sonic the Hedgehog. I'm a pro at Slime Climb, and Fruit Chute is my personal nemesis. This is probably gonna stay on my active-play list, like Warframe
and Ring Fit
have this year. It's just a damn fun game.
A chance-heavy roguelike by Terry Cavanagh, eclectic indie creator of Super Hexagon
. Heavily draws from boardgames with its primary mechanic - you have equipment cards, and you socket them with rolled dice to activate them and deal damage to your very silly opponents in one-on-one battles as you explore a very simple gameshow-themed dungeon. Emphasis is on tactical use of equipment, changing the dice that don't work for you to your favour, and building a set of equipment that'll take down the more challenging enemies as you ascend floors while managing your health. Runs are usually short and sweet, capping out at about 20 minutes per run for the basic classes and peaking at 30m per run for the Witch with her complicated spell-equipment system. I managed to beat 35 of the 36 in-game chapters, only Witch 4 eluding me, and beat the final boss in the unique chapter dedicated to them - after over 60 hours in it!! This ended up comparing to FTL and Into the Breach for how long it hooked me, but the plasticky gameshow aesthetic and goofy enemies didn't quite have as much charm to my nerd sensibilities as those sci-fi delights. Definitely worth a roll of the dice.
Welcome to Revachol. A spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment
made by the quixotic european worker collective "Studio ZA/UM", chooses a much more mundane setting than its precursor - a postwar harbour district, Martinaise, wracked by revolution and occupation, scarred by its history, where drugs and petty crime are rife. And instead of the Nameless One, you're just a nameless guy - a guy who just woke up after the bender to end all benders with acute retrograde amnesia, with no knowledge of where he is, who is is, or much of anything until you try and get him dressed and head out of his trashed hotel room. Turns out you're a cop of some kind (man, what is it with all these cop games on here in this year of all years) and you're supposed to have been investigating a murder. Except the murder ties inexorably into some extremely tense local politics, some urban mysteries, a doomed commercial area and maybe even your own drug-and-drink-blitzed past. The conversation system in this game is excellent, with each of your 24 skills
automatically rolling and chiming in to you with their own takes on situations, suggestions on courses of action, and even arguing with eachother about what to do and what to say. A skill left undeveloped takes minimal presence and form, while one you invest points into will begin to assert itself over your personality, even potentially shaping your political beliefs and ability to not piss everyone else off. I naturally elected to be an intellectual, logical commie who occasionally showed empathy and insights into the nature of the world, a superstar cop who was nonetheless trying to recover himself and his reputation - and I absolutely bungled my way through the whole thing, made a farce of myself and barely kept my shit together, the payoff being one of near-complete failure where I somehow still managed to keep a desk job at the end of it all. It was a bloody great time, both funny and tragic, and I'll happily play it again - maybe as a jackbooted fascist, or as a new romantic, or a stuffy Moralist... the potential here is vast. One for people who like reading grim european and russian fiction about miserable screwups in depressing malaise - Kafka, the Strugatsky brothers, that sort of thing - or maybe for people who really love Planescape and esoteric tabletop RPGs where failure is more interesting than success.
A vertical-scrolling shooter with the iconic premise: Aliens are attacking! You're a lone air supremacy fighter! Go! Destroy the alien commander! This one took a while to grow on me, and there's a little more to it than the simple initial concept. There's a lot of Buddhist symbolism and subtext in this, as well as some rather clever lore, but it might take some digging to get to. It's a relatively entry-level title for shmup fans - touhou veterans will blitz it - but it has a generous continue and start-from-level system that is intended to be used to make progress. It's rich with cute references to classics of the genre, even getting to fight Vic Viper and the R-Type as midbosses. The strangest element of it visually is its limited palette - by default, the game only uses green and orange, but it works surprisingly well, in an Ikaruga
-like way of contrast. Even the enemy, the alien fleet, is named Green Orange
. Yes, in exactly that way. A bitter start but a sweet end for this unusual fruit. Take a bite, give it a try, but it's not for everyone.
The Solitaire Conspiracy!
A short game from Bithell, creator of Thomas Was Alone
and the Circular
games. It's... literally solitaire. As in, the card game. Like Freecell? Yeah, it's Freecell without cells. And the cards have cool spy gang themes, and there's FMV movies inbetween games about heists, and each game is presented as a heist or robbery or infiltration or breakout... but it's literally still solitaire. Very, very pretty solitaire but... you can finish it in two hours, and it doesn't have the narrative richness of either Circular title. The mystery and twist is obvious. The payoff is satisfying but predictable. Pick it up if it's on sale and you absolutely love playing solitaire, for some reason! I bought it because hey, Bithell, I love these games, but... eh. I shoulda waited. It's nice, but not the best by far.
Lucah: Born of a Dream!
A 2D, top-down, dark and scribbly soulslike
. A short stamina gauge rules your ability to attack and dodge, and you can parry by precision-timed dashes. There are bonfires - here, crosses that act as campsites - and limited healing opportunities. Like its genre-cousin Blasphemous
it's a grim fable about religion and trauma, but rather than a gore-soaked journey of penitence, you're a scribbly... angel? demon? abused child? manifestation of a churchgoer's guilt? Who must journey across bleak, surreal, nightmarish landscapes fighting vast and strange monsters with your ability to manifest waves of energy as a weapon. In search of what? Redemption? Freedom from the slowly-creeping Corruption, a displayed percentage that raises slowly with every second and by whole percentages every time you die, with no indication of its meaning? Death? This game is abstract and deeply unsettling, but its themes of trauma and church abuse and religious imagery is clear as day - a rival character you must fight multiple times is named Christian - but the specifics are left vague, distorted and dark, literally and figuratively. Gonna have to sleep on this one and think about it some more. What a dark little fable. Definite strong content warning for this one - it doesn't just deal with abuse and faith, it has strong references to
and I definitely interpreted some scenes as resembling
rape and/or child abuse
. Not exactly a sweet little game. All that said, the combat is surprisingly compelling and very configurable
with light and medium and shot attacks, a good dodge/parry mechanic, and a surprising number of "Mantras" (primary weapon types), "Virtues" (passive abilities) and "Familiars" (support shot types). The most interesting aspect is the healing - you have at most two full-heals which must last you from rest to rest, but you can "Rewind" a limited number of times if a combat that goes sideways, preventing death but also restoring all enemies too. Lucah does have some small UI and control issues, but they feel like a simple lack of polish rather than something meriting condemnation. I suspect I'll be thinking about this one for a while yet.
...caught up again. I think. I hope I didn't miss anything... too many games...
Edited to add Escaped Chasm
, Dweller's Empty Path
, and A Short Hike
And of course, I still play Warframe
(although intermittently, taking a break right now) and Ring Fit Adventure
(less than I should).