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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by PartridgeSenpai Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:15 am

Partridge Senpai's 2020 Beaten Games:
Previously: 2016 2017 2018 2019
* indicates a repeat

1-50
1. Invisigun Reloaded (Switch)
2. Human: Fall Flat (Switch)
3. Shantae: The Pirate's Curse (3DS)
4. Darksiders: Warmastered Edition (PC)
5. Splatterhouse (PS3) *
6. 3D Dot Game Heroes (PS3)
7. Tokyo Jungle (PS3)
8. Pictobits (DSiWare)
9. Puzzle Quest: The Legend Reborn (Switch)
10. WarioWare Gold (3DS)
11. Disaster: Day of Crisis (Wii)
12. Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition (Xbone)
13. Sleeping Dogs: Nightmare in North Point (Xbone)
14. Sleeping Dogs: Year of the Snake (Xbone)
15. Dynamite Headdy (Genesis) *
16. Shovel Knight: King of Cards (3DS)
17. Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope (3DS) *
18. Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows (Switch) *
19. Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment (Switch) *
20. Shovel Knight: Showdown (Switch)
21. Dragon Quest Builders 2 (PS4)
22. ActRaiser (SNES)
23. Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth (WiiWare)
24. Mega Man X (SNES)
25. Breath of Fire II (SNES)
26. Ape Escape 2 (PS2) *
27. Doubutsu No Mori+ (GC)
28. Ape Escape (PS1)
29. Ape Escape 3 (PS2) *
30. Maken X (DC)
31. Cubivore (GC)
32. Wario World (GC) *
33. Hatoful Boyfriend (PC)
34. Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem (SFC)
35. Baku Bomberman 2 (N64)
36. Chameleon Twist (N64)
37. Gato Roboto (PC)
38. The Messenger (PC)
39. The Messenger: Picnic Panic (PC)
40. Baku Bomberman (N64)
41. Bomberman Hero (N64)
42. Blazing Lasers (TG16)
43. Neutopia (TG16)
44. Neutopia II (TG16)
45. Bomberman '94 (PCE)
46. Super Mario Sunshine (GC) *
47. Sonic Adventure 2 Battle (GC) *
48. Shenmue 3 (PS4)
49. Wandersong (Switch)
50. Ratchet & Clank (PS2)

51. Ratchet & Clank 2: Going Commando (PS2)
52. Ratchet & Clank 3: Up Your Arsenal (PS2)
53. Nier: Automata (PS4)
54. Ratchet: Deadlocked (PS2)
55. Itadaki Street Special (PS2)
56. Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (PCE)
57. Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction (PS3)
58. Crash Bandicoot (PS1)
59. Nazo Puyo: Aruru No Ruu~ (Game Gear)
60. Jumping Flash! (PS1)
61. Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back (PS1)
62. Crash Team Racing (PS1)

63. Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped (PS1)

And so my journey through the Crash PS1 games via streaming them on Twitch comes to a close. I had been looking forward to this one since last week, and it didn't disappoint~. I didn't even try for 100% after the slog that was doing that with Crash 2 last week, so it only took me about 2 and a half hours to get through the Japanese version of the game.

Crash 3 picks up just around where Crash 3 left off, with the blown up Cortex Vortex crashing down to Earth after blowing it up at the end of the previous game. It happens to crash into an ancient ruin where Aku Aku (Crash's friendly mask friend) sealed his evil rival Uka Uka eons ago, freeing him to run rampant once more. He teams up with Cortex to try and N. Tropy to build a time machine to collect power stones from across history and the future to try and rule the world, and it's up to Crash to stop him. Once again it's all fully voice acted, and it's good quality silliness interspersed throughout your adventure, usually Cortex & Uka Uka or also sometimes that world's boss taunting you. They're all very extra and make the romp through the game that much more silly and fun.

Gameplay-wise, it's both a refinement and an augmentation to how Crash 2 handled things in many ways. Crash himself controls similarly, but has has his movement tightened up that much more compared to Crash 2 and it feels just that little bit better. There are also returning alternate stage types, such as the animal riding segments, but there are also new ones like bike racing, jet skiing, and biplane flying. The bike racing is a bit too difficult compared to the rest of it all, but other than that, they're fun diversions from the good platforming stuff, and the fact that you often get to play as Crash's sister Coco during a lot of the vehicle sections is also fun.

There are 25 base stages across five worlds, and each world has its own boss. There are also several hidden stages, like in Crash 2, that are accessed through similarly arcane and otherwise nigh-completely hidden means, like in Crash 2. Although unlike in Crash 2, I don't believe any of those hidden levels dump you back into previous stages. Also like in Crash 2, there is a power stone to collect in each level, but they're barely hidden like they were in the last game occasionally. They feel almost pointless with how easy they are to find, and just finishing the stages would be an equivalent difficulty. Also like the other Crash games, there are diamonds to collect in each stage, either hidden behind breaking every box in the level or by discovering an alternate path. It's the same platformer-meets-collectathon thing that the other two games have, and it's refined that much more to be a little more forgiving and more fun.

Something a good deal less forgiving and more difficult, however, are the time trials that are now in every stage. Like it would later be in Crash Team Racing, it's going through a stage but all the boxes normally there are now numbered, and each one you break freezes the clock for that many seconds. Crash 2 had a couple secrets hidden behind time trials, but these are the genuine article, and the whole game is designed around them. This also means that every level was designed with the intention of being easily sped through, which means the levels as a whole feel like they have a much better rhythm to them than the previous games, and you can get a really good flow going far more often than the other games allowed you to do. The time trials themselves aren't really my thing, but I think their inclusion makes Crash 3's level design easily the best out of the 3 games because of how it influenced the stage design.

However, there is also a little bit of a unique weakness to Crash 3 in how it uses those time trials. After beating every boss (including Cortex & Uka Uka at the end), you get a new power to expand Crash's move set. This includes a bigger area on your belly slam, a double jump, a run button on L2, and even a bazooka with unlimited ammo. With the exception of the bazooka, these serve to underline the design of following stages, with the run button especially intended for time trials. However, the bazooka sorta messes up the intended flow of the last world and of box 100%-ing. You need to stop to aim the bazooka, so you'd never use it for the time trials (more or less) despite how efficient and safe a way it is of defeating enemies and breaking boxes. But this trivializes a lot of the difficulty in the later stages, as do your expanded platforming abilities somewhat trivialize a lot of the difficulty of early stages upon your return to them. It's not a bad thing, per se, but the emphasis on time trials may have helped the level design, but I think it also hinders the game design to a certain extent too.

In terms of presentation, Crash 3 continues Crash 2's trend of looking dramatically better than its predecessor. It's not quite the jump from 1 to 2, but it's still significant, especially on the character models. The music is also once again quite good, as is the Japan-exclusive theme song (even if it is highly derivative of the theme from the 2nd game). That theme song, the usual Aku Aku tutorial messages, and a few new incidental voice clip reactions and sprite designs are really the only things changed for the Japanese release of Crash 3. Out of the 3 Crash PS1 games, Crash 3 is easily the least changed, but it was already quite good, so it clearly didn't need those changes.

Verdict: Recommended. Crash 3 has its weak points, particularly in how hit or miss the vehicle stages can be (once again), but it's easily the strongest out of the 3 PS1 Crash games. Those weak points don't ruin the experience, but they do add up for some particularly frustrating difficulty spikes from time to time (especially if you're going for 100%). I wouldn't call it a must-play or an all-time favorite of mine, but it's a fun time that's totally worth going through in an afternoon if you can pick it up for cheap.
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Flake
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Flake Mon Sep 21, 2020 11:36 am

January through August:
January
Shovel Knight: King of Cards (Switch)
Diablo III: Reaper of Souls (Switch)
Super Metroid (Switch)

February
Megaman X (Switch)
Nekketsu Highschool Dodgeball Club (Switch)
Super Dodgeball (Switch)

March

Garou: Mark of the Wolves (SNK Pro Stick)
Fire Emblem: Awakening (3DS)
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (Switch)

April

Batman The Telltale Series (Switch)
Street Fighter Alpha 2 (Switch)
SNK Gals' Fighter (Switch)

May

King of Fighters 97: Global Match (PS4)
Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Switch)

June
Megaman X3 (Switch)
Megaman X4 (Switch)
King of Fighters 98: Ultimate Match (PS4)
King of Fighters 99 (Switch)
Injustice 2 (PS4)

July

Donkey Kong Country (WiiU)
Cadence of Hyrule (Switch)
Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon (Switch)

August

Shovel Knight Showdown (Switch)
Street Fighter Alpha 3 (PS4)


September

Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers (Switch)
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest (WiiU)
Street Fighter Alpha 2 (Switch)
Super Mario Odyssey (Switch)


Not much to say here - both are replays and mostly just keeping the list occupied. A couple thoughts, though:

I really don't get why Street Fighter Alpha 2 was held up as the gold standard for as long as it was. The roster is pretty boring, custom combos are frantic and clumsy, and the final boss is just underwhelming.

I enjoyed Super Mario Odyssey more the second time around.
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marurun
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by marurun Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:56 pm

I really thing it's the abusability of custom combos that kept the game popular. I'm not a fan of custom combos, but some folks REALLY are.
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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by BoneSnapDeez Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:06 pm

1. ACA NeoGeo: Cyber-Lip (Switch eShop)
2. Pengo (Atari 2600)
3. Kirby's Epic Yarn (Wii)
4. Knights of Xentar (PC)
5. Hoshi o Sagashite... (Mark III)
6. Dead Zone (Famicom Disk System)
7. Samurai Sword (Famicom Disk System)
8. High School! Kimengumi (Mark III)
9. Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom (NES)
10. Sindbad Mystery (SG-1000)
11. Steins;Gate (Vita)
12. Champion Boxing (SG-1000)
13. Squidlit (Switch eShop)
14. Skyblazer (SNES)
15. Tokyo Dark: Remembrance (Switch eShop)
16. Bubble Bobble (Famicom Disk System)
17. Steins;Gate Elite (Switch)
18. Johnny Turbo's Arcade: Joe and Mac Returns (Switch eShop)
19. Johnny Turbo's Arcade: Express Raider (Switch eShop)
20. Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle (Genesis)
21. Sword of Vermilion (Genesis)
22. Steins;Gate: My Darling's Embrace (Switch eShop)
23. Oink! (Atari 2600)
24. Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa (Famicom Disk System)
25. Super Castlevania IV (SNES)
26. Phantasy Star Online (Dreamcast)
27. Chaos;Child (Vita)
28. Scar of the Doll (Steam)
29. Kirby's Adventure (NES)
30. Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure (PlayStation)
31. Hangman (Atari 2600)
32. Metal Slug (Neo Geo MVS)
33. Metal Slug 2 (Neo Geo MVS)
34. Masters of the Universe: The Power of He-Man (Intellivision)
35. Shark! Shark! (Intellivision)
36. Videocart 1: Tic-Tac-Toe / Shooting Gallery / Doodle / Quadra-Doodle (Channel F)
37. Haunted House (Atari 2600)
38. The Earth Dies Screaming (Atari 2600)
39. Vroom in the Night Sky (Switch eShop)
40. Sonic Mania Plus (Switch)
41. Arcade Archives: The Ninja Warriors (Switch eShop)
42. 8-Bit Adv Steins;Gate (Switch eShop)
43. Kid Niki: Radical Ninja (NES)
44. Dracula II: Noroi no Fuuin (Famicom Disk System)
45. Centipede (Atari 2600)
46. Infiltrate (Atari 2600)
47. Valis II (TurboGrafx CD)
48. The Song of Saya (Steam)
49. New Super Mario Bros. (DS)
50. Otocky (Famicom Disk System)
51. Raging Loop (Switch)
52. Arcade Archives: Contra (Switch eShop)

53. Steins;Gate: Linear Bounded Phenogram (Steam)
Image
Steins;Gate: Linear Bounded Phenogram is a series spin-off, first released in 2013, between the original visual novel and its true sequel, Steins;Gate 0. Those who are attempting to play the English-translated Steins;Gate entries in order (based on original Japanese release dates) should start with the original game and then proceed to My Darling's Embrace and then Phenogram. 2019 marked the North American release of Phenogram, where it continues to be sold in a strange (and quite annoying) fashion. See, in the States Phenogram was only made available as a downloadable "bonus game" for those who brought the PS4 or Steam versions of Steins;Gate Elite (which is a remake of Steins;Gate). Sounds fine, right? Two games for the price of one? The issue is that those who bought Elite on the Nintendo Switch ended up with a different bundled bonus in the form of 8-Bit Adv Steins;Gate. What this means is that anyone who wishes to play the three aforementioned titles (Elite, Phenogram, 8-Bit Adv Steins;Gate) in English is required to buy Steins;Gate Elite.... twice. Keep an eye on those sales.

My Darling's Embrace possessed a narrative structure that was fundamentally similar to that of Steins;Gate itself: a meaty visual novel with branching paths and multiple endings. Phenogram does something completely different: it's comprised of a series of self-contained discrete chapters, each one lasting about two hours. The player has some leeway regarding chapter order, though certain clusters must be completed to unlock others. Each chapter is completely linear, as the game's title hints at, and contains its own singular ending. Those seeking a break from the rantings of series protagonist Okabe are in luck, as each chapter is narrated by a different Steins;Gate character, providing insight into their inner thoughts and feelings (well, technically Okabe has two chapters though the second is dedicated to his "mad scientist" alter ego). As for where this stuff fits into the series canon: the events that unfold feel as if they happened "behind the scenes" during the original Steins;Gate, or occurred after the fact. Of course, this is a series dedicated to time travel, so everything is perhaps best described as a "what if" event unfolding on a separate worldline.
Image
Aesthetically, this borrows liberally from the original game. The same backgrounds, character sprites, and tunes are back for another round -- and all are exemplary. As is the voice acting, featuring the same cast that's been carried through the entire series. One notable alteration here is the inclusion of an actual Okabe sprite; as he's no longer the full-time protagonist he can actually be "seen" from the viewpoints of others. Each character's phone is now accessible as well, all with some amusing wallpapers (check out Daru's "waifu"). CGs occur frequently, and are incredibly detailed and gorgeous. The "tips" menu has returned, and is used to define all the weird references and slang thrown around -- yes, there is a coded mention of Dragon Quest V. As this has always been a "console" series, a controller is recommended to navigate around menus. While players have no control over the nuances of time travel, one can still manipulate text messages (or emails, technically speaking). There's a dedicated "open flip phone" button, plus the ability to navigate amongst lists of sent and received mail. While receiving mail, it's often possible to highlight specific words and phrases, which will then cause an appropriate reply to be drafted, perhaps sparking a more detailed conversation. This all once again remains time sensitive. Those who wait too long to view certain mails will be unable to reply. Though there are no endings to juggle, completionists can instead shoot for a 100% mail list. Accomplishing this requires one read all possible received mail, as well as sending out all possible replies. It calls for multiple saves and a modicum of strategy.
Image
As for the writing itself... well, it's mixed. It's pretty clear that a different author was assigned to each chapter. Both quality of writing and tone vary wildly. For instance, Okabe's (second) outing is a fast-paced thrill ride, while Christina's is a massive introspective tear-jerker. The best chapters are those that integrate smoothly into the larger Steins;Gate narrative, while the weakest feel like superfluous fan service. It must be noted that the game's treatment of Daru is very bizarre and uncomfortable. He's always been known as the otaku who occasionally cracks an off-putting joke. But here in Phenogram he's transformed into a mega-pervert who references his "eroge" nonstop, hits on a middle school student, and attempts to "get with" his own daughter! It's rather strange, and several different authors felt compelled to insert "perv Daru" into their stories.

Overall, this is on par with something like Muv-Luv photonflowers*. Good but not great. No one on Earth is going to consider this to be the strongest Steins;Gate entry. But with 20+ hours of play/read time, a memorable and hilarious cast, and some really striking art, you really can't go wrong. Again, having it bundled with Elite is inherently clunky, but the fact that Phenogram even managed to arrive westward is something of a small miracle.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Gunstar Green Tue Sep 22, 2020 12:35 pm

So I decided to tackle a game that's haunted me since childhood, X-Com: UFO Defense, known to the rest of the world as UFO: Enemy Unknown.

Image

My first encounter of this game was likely on some shareware CD or in the demo files of another Microprose product, I can't recall for certain. The demo if I remember correctly just throws you off the deep end into the tactical part of the game where you're certain to get cut apart by aliens due to the clunky controls and a UI that may as well be Egyptian hieroglyphics without a manual. I didn't get very far, relegated it in my brain as just another crappy PC game among the literal thousands on those shareware discs, and moved on.

But throughout the years I'd seen it hailed as one of the greatest games of all time. In 2012 its reboot launched to high critical praise. I remember trying it again around that time to see what the fuss was about, this time the full game, but I was met with the even more confusing base management and global defense layers of the game. What to buy, what to research, it was pretty overwhelming especially with the game's reputation of high difficulty I ended up being too scared to screw myself over that I got frustrated too quickly to give it much of a chance.

Now in the far off future year of 2020 where we all struggle to maintain our sanity I once again hear in passing how this game is easily one of the best game releases for DOS PCs. This time I did my research, read through the manual and had the option of using OpenXcom which was a real life-saver as it adds tooltips to all those mysterious buttons though I kept all other options vanilla.

Finally it clicked and I really understood what people like about this game. Even today the tension is second to none as you lead your troops around dark corners and every careless move could lead to catastrophe. A low, pulsing soundtrack assists in getting your heartrate up. This game from 1994 with super simple sprite graphics actually made me jump more than once. The game also does a good job of giving you a ton of tactical options from leveling buildings that might be full of aliens to sneaking around to limit civilian casualties in the terror missions. A day/night cycle will make you hesitate to intercept a landed vessel since night missions are much more difficult and require flares if you want any chance at seeing the enemy, but you risk hesitating too long you allow the UFO to complete its mission and inch closer to losing the war.

And that's where X-Com really shines for me, you really are given the impression that you're fighting a global war, and losing. Early on things are simple enough. You have one base, UFO's trickle in slowly and you use your interceptor jets to shoot them down. But soon you need more bases or the countries that fund you will start to reconsider paying you, and rethink accepting life as alien slaves instead, which means less funding for your organization. Aliens will build bases that are difficult to take out, start sending bigger and faster ships that can outrun or destroy your outdated interceptors and begin using more dangerous species like the horrifying zombie creating Chrysalids. X-Com is at its heart an arms race as you research alien technology to just barely keep your head above water in the global struggle. Even though games like this often give me anxiety, especially because X-Com has a ticking timer as months go by and the aliens grow more advanced whether you're ready for them or not, I oddly found the gameplay loop stress free and hypnotic. You are also thankfully in full control of how quickly time passes ala SimCity.

It probably helps that the game has a lot of personality even though the aliens are kind of generic ranging from the Sectoids which are your run of the mill "grey aliens" to snake people, generic strong guys and generic psychic leader class. Still there's something really endearing about that simplicity and the "terror units" spice things up like the aforementioned Chrysalids which borrow a little from the Alien movie series xenomorphs and are absolutely just as terrifying which you wouldn't think is possible in a turn based game but here we are. There are also also Hortas from the original Star Trek which made me smile. The UFOpaedia is added to as as you research the aliens and their tech which adds to the lore and while simple is a really fun addition that gives background context to X-Com's world. Another dose of personality comes from the game's very mid-90's comic book art-style, complete with a cheesy Saturday morning cartoon-styled opening cutscene which, if I'm being entirely honest, is the biggest reason I gave this game another shot after seeing it again on Youtube.

As I said you're fighting a losing war, so the ultimate goal of the game other than defending the planet, obviously, is to capture aliens of increasing rank to interrogate them to find out what they want and where this attack is coming from so you can mount an offensive. It was a little frustrating at first trying to find alien leaders and commanders and even MORE frustrating trying to capture them alive without losing half of my squad (heaven help you if there's a telepathic Sectoid Commander around in the early game) but when you finally do it it's such a satisfying and rewarding accomplishment and you get to gleefully hand them over to your scientists to punish them for their hubris.

To cut things short and in the interest of spoilers for a 1994 game, you find their base of operations, outfit your people with the best equipment possible, train them in telepathic resistance, build a spaceship with reverse-engineered UFO technology, and take the fight directly to the aliens in a two-mission series that if you fail, you lose the game and if you win, you've saved the Earth from certain doom. These missions aren't necessarily hard especially if you're as over-prepared as I was, but I was on the edge of my seat after struggling to hold back the steadily increasing hordes for months (in game time), aching to taste victory. After hours of carefully picking my way through the final missions it was finally over. And it was 5:40AM... oops.

The game isn't perfect, I do think it outstays its welcome. Things take so long to build and develop while you're being so inundated by UFOs in the late game that you just start shooting them down and skipping battles because you already have a ton of resources and just want it to be over, especially if those UFOs crash in countries who have already defected anyway. The economy is a bit broken in your favor, sure the country funding is important at first but eventually they barely cover your operating costs and most of your money is coming from selling extraneous alien junk (or corpses) on the back market or just building a base dedicated to manufacturing and pumping out advanced armaments to sell which makes you a ton of cash as well (hey, I'm saving the Earth I didn't say I was making it a better place in the process). The missions do get repetitive though there's a good variety of different biomes (though get used to seeing the same farm one most of the time) and the maps are procedurally generated. Eventually you start to feel like if you've seen one UFO you've seen them all and the early surprises wear off as you get wise to alien tactics, blow up barns and ask questions later. There are several mission types but they all boil down to show up and kill all the aliens with only the difficult terror missions adding civilians which are more of a point bonus than a necessary objective. These are minor complaints though as even today the strategy is relatively deep and engaging while not being too complex to be off-putting to my simple mind.

So did I finally come around and discover that X-Com is indeed one of the greatest DOS games of all time if not simply one of the greatest games of all time? Yes, I think I did. X-Com is one of those genre defining games that only comes around once in a while and it deserves its place on the pedestal even if it is a little old, crinkly and inaccessible without research. For anyone into turned based strategy this is an obvious historic landmark that you've probably already played or at least dabbled with, but even for people like me who don't always gravitate towards the genre its tense multi-layered gameplay and incredibly fun alien-busting theme is more than enough to put in the effort to learn how to play this gem. Thumbs up.

Also the Interception song rocks.
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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by PartridgeSenpai Wed Sep 23, 2020 6:08 am

Partridge Senpai's 2020 Beaten Games:
Previously: 2016 2017 2018 2019
* indicates a repeat

1-50
1. Invisigun Reloaded (Switch)
2. Human: Fall Flat (Switch)
3. Shantae: The Pirate's Curse (3DS)
4. Darksiders: Warmastered Edition (PC)
5. Splatterhouse (PS3) *
6. 3D Dot Game Heroes (PS3)
7. Tokyo Jungle (PS3)
8. Pictobits (DSiWare)
9. Puzzle Quest: The Legend Reborn (Switch)
10. WarioWare Gold (3DS)
11. Disaster: Day of Crisis (Wii)
12. Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition (Xbone)
13. Sleeping Dogs: Nightmare in North Point (Xbone)
14. Sleeping Dogs: Year of the Snake (Xbone)
15. Dynamite Headdy (Genesis) *
16. Shovel Knight: King of Cards (3DS)
17. Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope (3DS) *
18. Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows (Switch) *
19. Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment (Switch) *
20. Shovel Knight: Showdown (Switch)
21. Dragon Quest Builders 2 (PS4)
22. ActRaiser (SNES)
23. Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth (WiiWare)
24. Mega Man X (SNES)
25. Breath of Fire II (SNES)
26. Ape Escape 2 (PS2) *
27. Doubutsu No Mori+ (GC)
28. Ape Escape (PS1)
29. Ape Escape 3 (PS2) *
30. Maken X (DC)
31. Cubivore (GC)
32. Wario World (GC) *
33. Hatoful Boyfriend (PC)
34. Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem (SFC)
35. Baku Bomberman 2 (N64)
36. Chameleon Twist (N64)
37. Gato Roboto (PC)
38. The Messenger (PC)
39. The Messenger: Picnic Panic (PC)
40. Baku Bomberman (N64)
41. Bomberman Hero (N64)
42. Blazing Lasers (TG16)
43. Neutopia (TG16)
44. Neutopia II (TG16)
45. Bomberman '94 (PCE)
46. Super Mario Sunshine (GC) *
47. Sonic Adventure 2 Battle (GC) *
48. Shenmue 3 (PS4)
49. Wandersong (Switch)
50. Ratchet & Clank (PS2)

51. Ratchet & Clank 2: Going Commando (PS2)
52. Ratchet & Clank 3: Up Your Arsenal (PS2)
53. Nier: Automata (PS4)
54. Ratchet: Deadlocked (PS2)
55. Itadaki Street Special (PS2)
56. Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (PCE)
57. Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction (PS3)
58. Crash Bandicoot (PS1)
59. Nazo Puyo: Aruru No Ruu~ (Game Gear)
60. Jumping Flash! (PS1)
61. Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back (PS1)
62. Crash Team Racing (PS1)
63. Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped (PS1)

64. Super Mario Galaxy (Switch)

This is sorta a replay, sorta not. I've beaten Mario Galaxy before, but not only have I never beaten it with 121 stars (let alone also getting 121 stars on the Super Luigi Galaxy mode as well), but this was also played on the Switch's Super Mario 3D Collection. There's enough difference there (and it's also been like 13 years since I last played this) that I figured it was fair enough to call this one not a repeat playthrough, certainly given other things I've also qualified as "not repeats" XD. I don't know the exact time, but I reckon it took me around 25 or so hours to 100% both the Super Mario Galaxy and Super Luigi Galaxy modes in the Japanese version of the game.

The premise for the story is that it's the star festival, where a comet that passes by every century drops tons of shooting stars down onto the Mushroom Kingdom. Bowser and his fleet of airships crash the party, steal Princess Peach's whole heckin' castle, and disappear off into the sky. Mario tries to give chase up the castle, but Kamek blows him away into the stars. He's found by Rosalina (or "Rozetta", as she's called in Japanese), and she gives Mario the power of a Luma ("Chiko", in Japanese), baby stars, in order to defeat Bowser and save Peach. Bowser already stole the Grand Stars that power her spaceship, aka the "comet" that causes the star festival in the first place, so she has a vested interest in helping kick Bowser's butt outside of just helping our hero.

The story and premise are very light, as with most Mario games, but compared to Sunshine, there's a bit less overall character to the game. The Lumas and little aliens you meet are charming, but are more or less just set dressing or tutorial-giving machines rather than little characters you can briefly talk to. I don't think that's an awful thing (it's not like Isle Delfino was a well of well-written narrative, after all), but it's something worth mentioning. The writing does what it has to to set the tone and the stakes and push you along to your adventure asap.

Mario Galaxy's overall design is, I feel, a clever response to the poor mission design that bogs down so much of Mario Sunshine. Rather than invest so much time into creating these larger maps that will change slightly for six or eight different missions there, there are instead a bunch of groups of planetoids that house these sets of missions. Mario goes from planetoid to planetoid, messing with gravity and spin-jumping around, to do each mission, and this helps easily create variety in even the same "world" since very often the three main missions of a world won't even visit most of the same areas in each. It keeps each mission feeling different from the others, even in the same worlds, and helps to keep up the pace of gameplay.

Also present in each of the larger worlds are (usually) three extra stars. One is a hidden star that the game will tell you the mission its present in after you beat the main three, one is a wandering comet, and one is a purple coin comet. The hidden stars are usually an extra little side-area you get by feeding a hungry luma, and they aren't often that hidden. They're often easily spotted or stumbled across playing a level normally. The wandering comets are special variants on a mission you've already done. They range from a time attack, to a sudden death (one hit and you're dead) challenge, to sped up enemies, to a race against Shadow Mario (or Luigi). They're a fantastic improvement to the secret stars in Sunshine that were so often simply red coin trials in the formerly Fludd-less areas, and it's one more thing to help keep the action fresh.

The purple coin comets only appear after you beat the game, and they're this game's take on 100 coin stars. They give you a section of that world (sometimes somewhere you've been, sometimes somewhere totally new) where 100 purple coins are scattered around in and you've gotta collect 'em. There are untimed ones, which are largely scavanger hunts for all 100 purple coins, and they're endurance tests of your time and skill (normal healing coins are quite rare in these, so 3 hits is usually all you get before you gotta start over). Then there are timed ones, which usually have 100 or 150 coins spread out over a perilous obstacle course, and those ones were my favorites out of all the comet challenges. The comet challenges do create a kind of haze/filter over the screen corresponding to the color of the comet (like the galaxy is passing through the comet's tail), which can be quite annoying at times, but that's nothing major. The purple coin challenges aren't always the best thing in the world, but I think they're a good idea to try and spice up the otherwise not terribly exciting 100 coin challenges of the previous two games.

Control-wise, Mario is much more back to his Mario 64-self, but not entirely. First and foremost, Mario moves noticeably more stiffly than he has in the previous two games. It's hardly a game breaker, and it's something I adapted to very quickly, but there are a few things that make this a tough transition if you'd just played another Mario game. Most notably, you need to wait until you're actually skidding on the ground to do a backwards flip jump, and it takes a while to re-learn that timing from just how immediately they can be performed in Sunshine and Mario 64. The planetoids can also cause their own unique issues, especially on the smaller ones. Occasionally you can get stuck in little circles and you'll need to stop moving and start again, because between the camera angle and gravity, Mario can't quite figure out which way you want him to go.

Outside of those infrequent problems, Mario controls great. No more Fludd, so you can once again do things like long-jumps, and those are really fun to do on the smaller planetoids. Just launch yourself forward and get FLUNG with gravity X3. Mario also has his new spin-attack from the Luma helping him out, and this is both a kind of AOE punch move as well as a tiny double-jump you can perform in mid-air. It allows you to do some fairly silly platforming at times if you combine it with high jumps and/or wall-jumps, and it makes platforming around and trying to sequence break lots of fun.

Once you get all 120 stars (that last one is a final secret) in Mario's mode, you can unlock the ability to replay the game as Luigi, who controls slightly differently. As is so often the case with Luigi, he has less ground friction but moves faster and jumps higher. All of the game's challenges are designed with Mario in mind, with some exceptions, which means those higher jumps and speed can make some levels way easier, but the lower friction on your feet means it can also make some challenges a fair bit harder. The only levels outright unique to Luigi's mode are his Shadow Luigi levels, where he races a Shadow Luigi, and those levels are often quite a bit harder than the Shadow Mario stages, since Shadow Luigi REALLY knows how to use Luigi's move set to the best of his ability, and you'll have to learn to as well if you wanna beat him~.

In terms of the Mario 3D Collection on Switch and how that plays and changes things, I think it's the best piece of that collection. Mario Galaxy looks really nice up-scaled to run properly in HD, and the way they've made the game work on a Pro Controller is great too. You can still shake the controller to spin-attack, but you can also simply press the Y button instead. The pointer is also just bound to the gyro inside your controller, and you can press R whenever to recenter that to the middle of the screen. For someone like me who really doesn't like using the Wiimote and Nunchuk to play games, this is an excellent upgrade to Galaxy that is very much appreciated.

Finally, there's the presentation, which I absolutely adore. I love how colorful everything is, I love how cute the Lumas are, and I especially love the music. The pretty orchestral soundtrack really grabs your attention in a lot of tracks, which my personal favorites being the main theme, the theme for the purple coin collecting missions, and both of Bowser's themes during the final boss fight. Yet another mainline Mario game that absolutely does not disappoint in the graphics and sound department <3

Verdict: Highly Recommended. Before this replay, I thought Galaxy was just okay, but this has really given me a huge re-evaluation of the game. It's certainly no Odyssey, and it's also no Mario 3D World, but it's definitely my favorite of the Mario games that had been made up to that point. The 3D Collection is also a fantastic way to play it that I highly recommend (if the price point doesn't shy you away from it ^^;).
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by Ack Wed Sep 23, 2020 1:27 pm

The First 50:
1. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (Switch)(Adventure)
2. Final Fight [Japanese Version] (Switch)(Beat 'Em Up)
3. Ziggurat (PC)(FPS)
4. Magrunner: Dark Pulse (PC)(FPS)
5. The King of Dragons [Japanese](Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)

6. Captain Commando [Japanese](Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
7. Knights of the Round [Japanese](Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
8. The Witcher (PC)(RPG)

9. Tenchi wo Kurau II (Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
10. Dark Sun: Shattered Lands (PC)(RPG)

11. Lichdom: Battlemage (PC)(FPS/RPG Hybrid)
12. Star Wars: Republic Commando (PC)(FPS)

13. DOOM 64 (PC)(FPS)
14. Half Dead 2 (PC)(Adventure)

15. Powered Gear - Strategic Variant Armor Equipment (Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
16. Torchlight II (PC)(RPG)

17. Battle Circuit [Japanese](Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
18. Hard Reset Redux (PC)(FPS)

19. The Stanley Parable (PC)(Walking Sim)
20. Waking Mars (PC)(Adventure)
21. Requiem: Avenging Angel (PC)(FPS)

22. Night Slashers (Arcade)(Beat 'Em Up)
23. Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath HD (PC)(Action Adventure)

24. Strikers 1945 (Arcade)(SHMUP)
25. SiN Episodes: Emergence (PC)(FPS)
26. Crysis Warhead (PC)(FPS)

27. Metro 2033 (PC)(FPS)
28. Good Job! (Switch)(Puzzle)
29. Blasphemous (Switch)(Action Adventure)

30. Two Worlds: Epic Edition (PC)(RPG)
31. Chex Quest HD (PC)(FPS)

32. NecroVision: Lost Company (PC)(FPS)
33. Icewind Dale (PC)(RPG)

34. Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter (PC)(RPG)
35. Icewind Dale: Trials of the Luremaster (PC)(RPG)

36. Ravenloft: Strahd's Possession (PC)(RPG)
37. Singularity (PC)(FPS)
38. The Witcher 2 (PC)(RPG)
39. Still Life 2 (PC)(Point and Click Adventure)
40. Myst IV: Revelation (PC)(Point and Click Adventure)
41. Gato Roboto (Switch)(Action Adventure)
42. Painkiller: Overdose (PC)(FPS)

43. Battle Realms (PC)(RTS)
44. Battle Realms: Winter of the Wolf (PC)(RTS)
45. Terminator: Resistance (PC)(FPS)
46. Picross S (Switch)(Puzzle)
47. The Witcher 3 (PC)(RPG)
48. Dragon Quest (Switch)(RPG)

49. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch)(Adventure)
50. Castlevania: The Adventure (Switch)(Platformer)

51. Kid Dracula (Switch)(Platformer)
52. Castlevania (Switch)(Platformer)
53. Akumajō Dracula (Switch)(Platformer)

54. Akumajō Dracula [Castlevania IV](Switch)(Platformer)
55. The Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone (PC)(RPG)
56. Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse (Switch)(Platformer)

57. Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge (Switch)(Platformer)
58. The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine (PC)(RPG)

59. The Darkness II (PC)(FPS)
60. MOTHERGUNSHIP (PC)(FPS)
61. SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighter's Clash - SNK Version (NGPC)(Card Game)

62. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (PC)(RPG)
63. STRAFE (PC)(FPS)
64. Shadow Warrior [2013] (PC)(FPS)
65. Shanghai Mini (NGPC)(Puzzle)

66. Shadowrun: Hong Kong (PC)(RPG)
67. Shadowrun: Hong Kong - Shadows of Hong Kong (PC)(RPG)


I'm lumping these two together, as the Shadows of Hong Kong campaign is a free expansion given out by Harebrained Schemes along with bug fixes that were desperately needed. Unfortunately, it could use a few more, but these are generally minor annoyances in a game that is otherwise absolutely fantastic.

Shadowrun: Hong Kong is the third in a set of Shadowrun games that HBS released over the last decade. Not familiar with Shadowrun? It's basically a fusion of classic fantasy with William Gibson's Neuromancer. I love cyberpunk, and this is freaking catnip for me. Running the shadows in the rainy streets of Hong Kong is a blast, whether in a slum or a corporate high rise.

Here's the deal: your adopted father, Raymond, asks for your help with a situation in Hong Kong. You show up to meet your adopted brother, a corporate cop in Seattle. Shit goes down, and you're left fighting for your life against the Hong Kong Police Force alongside your brother and the remains of a group of bodyguards who had been hired to bring you to Raymond and Kowloon Walled City. Eventually you find yourself running jobs for the Triads while trying to learn what is really going on.

The game is a tactical RPG, where you'll pick your party members to do a variety of jobs. Who you bring changes how you can go about doing different levels. A decker can hack into computer systems, a shaman or mage can provided necessary insight into magic, while a street samurai can bring needed firepower if you find yourself in a fight...which you will. The game does give you a party to work with, though there are extra hands to hire if you want to bring them along. Meanwhile, you also gain nuyen and karma to build up your own gear and stats, so you can give yourself the skills you want. Me? I favor a character that can take hits and deal damage when things go south, but you can specialize however you like. Just don't go too broad; jacks of all trades don't live long in the shadows.

Unfortunately, it's not a perfect experience. I had issues with the game hanging at times, a few necessary game flags were not triggered at points, causing me to revert to older saves, and for some reason exiting the game screwed with the main menu. These problems continued into the expansion campaign as well, so the problems don't improve. Also, another edit pass would have been helpful, as I spotted quite a few typos.

Yes, this is sometimes an inconvenience, but with how great the rest of the game is, it just didn't bother me that much. You see, the writing is good enough, the ability to make decisions and try different things has an obvious impact on the world around you, and you really feel like you are a part of this adventure. Your choices matter here. And while the game is generally low stakes in comparison to other Shadowrun games (neighborhood or city-ending versus world-ending), it still feels big and important.

The Shadows of Hong Kong campaign continues this trend, with you making decisions regarding a quiet corporate war and police brutality. Again, the decisions you make have an impact that change both your and Hong Kong's future. The missions are even more interesting, going into the depths of corporate depravity, while the fights offer more challenge for an endgame party. There are also some really, really nice weapons in the expansion campaign; I highly recommend it. However, it does have some decisions that I find tough calls with sad consequences. In the world of Shadowrun, there often aren't *good* decisions, and even the best intentions can lead to sorrowful results. That's what I enjoy about it.

I have loved this trilogy of titles, and Shadowrun: Hong Kong has ended up being my favorite of the bunch. It's a fantastic way for HBS to end their run with the franchise, at least for the time being, though I hope they come back some day.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by MrPopo Wed Sep 23, 2020 9:37 pm

First 50:
1. Elite Dangerous - PC
2. Soldier of Fortune - PC
3. Star Wars: TIE Fighter: Defender of the Empire - PC
4. Star Wars: TIE Fighter: Enemies of the Empire - PC
5. Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter: Balance of Power - PC
6. Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance - PC
7. Phoenix Point - PC
8. Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter - PC
9. Descent II - PC
10. Inbento - Switch
11. Ori and the Will of the Wisps - XB1
12. Doom Eternal - PC
13. Serious Sam 2 - PC
14. Black Mesa - PC
15. Descent 3 - PC
16. Darksiders II - PC
17. Resident Evil 3 (2020) - PC
18. Overload - PC
19. Final Fantasy VII Remake - PS4
20. Trials of Mana (2020) - Switch
21. Persona 5 Royal - PS4
22. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered - PC
23. Sublevel Zero Redux - PC
24. Final Fantasy XII: Zodiac Age - PS4
25. Maneater - PC
26. XCOM: Chimera Squad - PC
27. Sakura Wars - PS4
28. Stela - Switch
29. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 - DC
30. Darksiders III - PC
31. Shadow Warrior (2013) - PC
32. Robotrek - SNES
33. Shadow Warrior 2 - PC
34. EVO: The Search for Eden - SNES
35. Blast Corps - N64
36. Command & Conquer: The Covert Operations - PC
37. Command & Conquer Red Alert: Counterstrike - PC
38. The Last of Us Part 2 - PS4
39. Exodemon - PC
40. Halo: Reach - PC
41. Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary - PC
42. Halo 2: Anniversary - PC
43. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel - PS3
44. Halo 3 - PC
45. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II - PS4
46. Command & Conquer Red Alert: Aftermath - PC
47. Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2 - Switch
48. Carrion - Switch
49. Ninja Gaiden - NES
50. Earthworm Jim - Genesis

51. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III - Switch
52. Star Control Origins: Earth Rising - PC
53. Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX - Switch
54. Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith - PC
55. Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls - PS3
56. Silicon Zeroes - PC
57. Warcraft - PC
58. Serious Sam 3: BFE - PC
59. Wasteland 3 - PC
60. Iron Harvest - PC
61. Serious Sam 3: Jewel of the Nile - PC
62, Homeworld Remastered - PC
63. Homeworld 2 Remastered - PC
64. Offworld Trading Company - PC
65. F-Zero - SNES
66. F-Zero X - N64
67. Gauntlet (2014) - PC
68. Gauntlet Legends - Arcade
69. Halo 3: ODST - PC

I must say, I am pleasantly surprised by ODST. I went in not expecting much given my experience with Reach and 3 but this game rises above both of them and I think might be my favorite of the series so far. The fact that it stars Mal, Wash, and Jayne certainly helps, but there's a bunch of little things that makes it just overall play better than the rest.

Storywise this services as the 08th MS Team to the numbered games' OG Gundam. You are a more expendable soldier doing things that don't involve winning the war single handed, but that doesn't mean it isn't critical. The game starts with your squad doing a combat drop that goes sideways. You wake up as the voiceless rookie who searches for his squad. And this is where the game gets interesting in its presentation.

See, ODST has a more laid back approach to things. When you are the rookie you have a fairly open city to wander around in. There are enemies now and then, but in the sort of density like exploring the Morrowind countryside. As you reach a given sign of your squad you then will participate in a flashback mission. These are more traditional Halo style, but they also are all just the right length to have a couple cool setpieces and battles and move things along without getting bogged down in "yes, yet more Covenant to kill". You can do these missions in any order, but it does require you to take the small amount of effort to change the current mission marker. If you let the game do them in sequence you experience them chronologically, which involves a lot of backtracking through the city. Then once you've seen all the flashbacks the final bit of story kicks in where you go from "a day in the life of a soldier" to going after the original goal that started off the game.

It feels like they subtly tweaked things with the guns which makes more of them worth using and the enemies less of a pain to go through. Really the only time I got annoyed was when I had loaded up on two heavy weapons and then they spammed the weak flying dudes at me. But that's mostly due to my own stubbornness to not switch to a lighter weapon in one slot.

Overall ODST ends up being a breath of fresh air for the series that takes advantage of relaxed expectations to do some things a bit different and provide a more balanced experience. So now there's just Halo 4 left in the collection. We'll see when 343 releases that.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by elricorico Fri Sep 25, 2020 3:13 pm

1. NBA Jam (GEN)
2. Astro Bot Rescue Mission (PSVR)
3. Bastion (PS4)
4. Octopath Traveler (NS)
5. Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (PS4)
6. Final Fantasy Adventure (NS)
7. LEGO: The Ninjago Movie Game (PS4)
8. Captain Commando (PS2)

9. Thumper (PSVR)
10. Eco Fighters (PS2)
11. Ys:Memories of Celceta (PS4)


Well it has been a while since I posted, but I felt like catching up on what I beat over the summer.

Thumper on the PSVR was one of the more impressive games on the demo disc that came with the headset. My daughter and I both thought it was good, so when it went on sale I purchased the full version. I beat this one a while back now.

Thumper is a rhythm game at its heart, with minimalist graphics that fly at you sometimes at lightning speed. There are 9 worlds each with a set of checkpoints to work through. The music/rhythm is strange, the visuals are like an acid trip(I imagine!) and the controls are tight and reasonably easy to learn. Practically the first half of the game teaches you each of the different moves in what could almost be described as a mix of tutorial and practice.

The first couple of times playing this one I had a touch of motion sickness, but that faded to nothing once I was more used to the PSVR. I found the game reasonably easy to beat, but it would be very difficult to master - I can't imagine the effort it would take to get the Platinum trophy. If you are into rhythm games at all and have a PSVR I'd say this is worth at least trying once.

Eco Fighters is from the Capcom Classics Collection Vol 2, and I credit fed my way through it as a bit of a distraction from longer games that I was playing at the time. Horizontal shooter with an environmental theme and an interesting gimmick where your aim is controlled by rotating clockwise or counter-clockwise using the R and L buttons. I enjoyed it, died a lot in the late levels, but it is fun, colourful and has just enough uniqueness to make it worth checking out.

Ys:Memories of Celceta was a somewhat recent physical release on the PS4, ported from the Vita original. Ys is becoming more and more one of my favourite series. I grabbed this as I didn't want to miss out(I did miss out when it came out for the Vita). I beat it just last weekend and had a blast almost the entire time. For an ARPG I don't think the gameplay could get too much better. Graphics did the job and music ranged from good to awesome. If this website hasn't already convinced you, check out the Ys series, as they continue to be winners.
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Re: Games Beaten 2020

by prfsnl_gmr Fri Sep 25, 2020 10:45 pm

First 50
1. Her Story (iOS)
2. Elminage Original (3DS)
3. Legend of Grimrock (iOS)
4. Silent Bomber (PS1)
5. Crash Bandicoot (PS1)
6. Bust-a-Move 2 Arcade Edition (PS1)
7. Transformers Cybertron Adventures (Wii)
8. Squidlit (Switch)
9. Sydney Hunter & The Curse of the Mayan (Switch)
10. Mega Man Legends (PS1)
11. Revenge of the Bird King (Switch)
12. Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King (Switch)
13. Gato Roboto (Switch)
14. Kamiko (Switch)
15. Night Slashers (Arcade)
16. Subsurface Circular (Switch)
17. Iconoclasts (Switch)
18. Wonder Boy Returns Remix (Switch)
19. Resident Evil 3 (PS1)
20. The Messenger (Switch)
21. The Messenger: Picnic Panic (Switch)
22. Samsara Room (iOS)
23. Heroes of the Monkey Tavern (Switch)
24. Sayonara Wild Hearts (Switch)
25. Gris (Switch)
26. Donut County (iOS)
27. Donkey Kong Country 2 (SNES)
28. Donkey Kong Country 3 (SNES)
29. Contra (Arcade)
30. Super Contra (Arcade)
31. Minesweeper Genius (Switch)
32. Kuso (Switch)
33. 20XX (Switch)
34. Spooky Ghosts Dot Com (Switch)
35. Aggelos (Switch)
36. Quell+ (iOS)
37. The White Door (iOS)
38. Grizzland (Switch)
39. Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight (Switch)
40. Silent Hill (PS1)
41. Tcheco in the Castle of Lucio (Switch)
42. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (Switch)
43. Stories Untold (Switch)
44. Boxboy! + Boxgirl! (Switch)
45. R-Type Leo (Arcade)
46. Cybarian: The Time-Traveling Warrior (Switch)
47. Duck Souls+ (Switch)
48. Daggerhood (Switch)
49. Gravity Duck (Switch)
50. Biolab Wars (Switch)

51. Legends of Amberland (Switch)
52. Mega Man & Bass: Challenger from the Future (Wonderswan)
53. Double Dragon (Game Gear)
54. Hyrule Warriors (Wii U)
55. SNK vs. Capcom Card Fighters Clash (NGPC)
56. SUPERHOT (Switch)
57. Dogurai (Switch)
58. Ori & The Blind Forest Definitive Edition (Switch)
59. Alchemist’s Castle (Switch)


Ori & The Blind Forest is a really good metroidvania game, that I really started to enjoy once I recognized that, despite its aesthetics and open world nature, it’s really a precision platformer. That is, the game, despite its relaxing music and hand-drawn, Thomas Kinkade-on-LSD graphics, is all about overcoming really well-designed platforming challenges. Combat is, at most, an afterthought. Once I recognized that, the game clicked with me, and I couldn’t put it down. The game flows wonderfully; each area presents distinctive challenges; the world is fun to explore; all of the optional upgrades are actually useful; and the final set piece is stupendous. Highly recommended.

Alchemist’s Castle is a very short $3 metroidvania where you push a lot of boxes. (It’s almost a soukoban-troidvana.) Despite it’s short length, it’s actually pretty tough and well-designed, emphasizing exploration, platforming, and puzzle-solving over combat. For a $3 game, it’s really quite good, and I also recommend it.
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