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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

by ElkinFencer10 Thu Jan 13, 2022 8:01 pm

Nemoide wrote:3. Freedom Planet (Switch)

YESSS I love this game. One of my favorite indie games for sure.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

by ElkinFencer10 Thu Jan 13, 2022 10:15 pm

Games Beaten in 2021 - 4
* denotes a replay

January (4 Games Beaten)
1. Project MIKHAIL: A Muv-Luv War Story - Steam - January 1
2. Shin Megami Tensei V - Switch - January 9
3. Halo 2600 - Atari 2600 - January 10
4. Cruis'n Blast - Switch - January 13


4. Cruis'n Blast - Switch - January 13

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Cruis'n USA and Cruis'n World are two of the most iconic arcade racers on the N64 (plus the mixed reception Cruis'n Exotica), and a lot of Nintendo fans have long awaited a return to the wacky racing that the Cruis'n games brought in the 90s. It took over 20 years (excluding the Game Boy Advance game; I'm just talking home console), but we finally have a new Cruis'n, and it's glorious.

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Cruis'n Blast may not be the prettiest game out there - it honestly looks like one of the better PS3 games for the most part - but it's a TON of fun. It honestly doesn't look bad, either; it's just not quite as pretty as Mario Kart 8, for example. There are a few frame rate issues that I noticed here and there, but it never affected gameplay for me. Still, though, a racing game is where you want smooth gameplay at all times, so it's worth mentioning. The biggest disappointment here is that, while the game does support local multiplayer, there is no support whatsoever for online multiplayer. There have been teases that an update to add online multiplayer may be in the works, but it's still a bit odd and disappointing for a racing game released in late 2021 to exclude any online connectivity.

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The main game modes here are, obviously, your classic arcade levels that you've played if you've had the fortune to play a Cruis'n Blast arcade machine (shoutout to Boxcar in Raleigh, North Carolina), time trials, and a handful of tours comprising four races each. Each of these tours have a theme; escaping the cops, extreme weather, etc. One disappointing thing is that you'll see the arcade tracks repeated over and over again just with variations rather than two dozen distinct tracks. It's not a deal breaker, but it is a bit of a bummer.

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As is usually the case for me, my favorite part of the game was the unlocks. There are 23 cars in the game, but only five are available at the start, leaving 23 to unlock. Some of these are unlocked by clearing a certain tour and buying with money earned, but others are unlocked via keys found hidden throughout the game (three per stage). In addition to unlocking the vehicles themselves, using them earns you xp for that vehicle, and leveling up your vehicle unlocks the ability to purchase neon accent lights, some aesthetic body modification, and an engine upgrade. All in all, there's a lot to unlock which gives you ample reason to keep playing.

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Cruis'n Blast isn't a perfect game, but it's a perfect "Nintendo" game if that makes sense. It's just "fun" in the purest sense. On paper, it should be a solidly mediocre game, but between the comfortable control mechanics, the rather "out there" vehicle selection, and the general wackiness of the game, it's just a goofy and extraordinarily enjoyable experience from start to finish. It may not be as refined a local multiplayer racer as Mario Kart, but Cruis'n Blast definitely deserves a place on any Switch owner's shelf (or SD card) because for those times when you want to just relax and shoot the shit without committing homicide over a blue shell, Cruis'n Blast is the perfect choice.
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Nemoide
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

by Nemoide Fri Jan 14, 2022 12:42 am

THE LIST:
1. Diddy Kong Racing (N64)
2. Resident Evil 4 (Gamecube)
3. Freedom Planet (Switch)
4. Aleste (PS4)
5. Gunpey DS (DS)


I unexpectedly knocked off two more tonight:
4. Aleste (PS4) - I decided to try out the Aleste collection I got last year, having previously played a little on the included Game Gear Micro. I have very limited exposure to this series but figured I might as well start with the start with Aleste for Mark III (Sega Master System)! It's immediately clear that Aleste is a very old-school unforgiving shmup - if the PS4 version didn't allow for quick saves, I'm not sure I'd have beaten it. But the game also has a great feel to it. I found myself entering "the zone" while dodging enemy ships and bullets, desperately managing my subweapon to stay alive. While the game is clearly rooted in the 8-bit era, it does have some standout features, notably the aforementioned subweapon which can take EIGHT different forms depending on what powerups you pick up. Some are great for offense, some for defense, some are only occasionally useful, and at least one seemed like a total waste to me. On my initial playthrough without saves, I only made it to the first boss: this game has worse Gradius syndrome than Gradius: when you lose your main shot power and subweapon reverts to a weak type 1, the game suddenly goes from REALLY HARD to IMPOSSIBLE. But now that I have a taste for the game and now what kinds of things it throws at the player, I'll try playing without saves a couple more times just to see where I may end up on the leaderboard.

5. Gunpey DS (DS) - For the uninitiated, Gunpey is a puzzle game named after Gunpei Yokoi and is generally considered one of the defining games on the Wonderswan. The idea is to connect tiles with different lines to each other and connect opposite sides of the screen. It takes a little getting used to but the touch controls of the DS make the game pretty intuitive and easy to figure out. There are some aspects I'm not wild about: it's random as to what tiles appear in what column making it very easy to get into a bad situation by just not getting any tiles in the right column.
There are a bunch of colorful characters and there's a heavy focus on relating them to different types of music and playing through the game's story mode (Frontier Mode) unlocks more characters to play as. Unfortunately the characters just feel like window dressing, the "story" of story mode is just your chosen character flying to a planet, challenging someone to Gunpey, then travelling to the next planet until the credits roll. Meanwhile the in game music sounds like some General MIDI keyboard demo modes. My initial reaction to this game is that it seems a bit threadbare. But I kept playing and actually the game seems to offer quite a bit: while Frontier mode might not be all that special, I think endless mode is a blast and there are a bunch of odd unlockables that I appreciate. There's even a built-in music sequencer that seems like it could be fun to play around with. The full title of the game on the box is actually Music X Puzzle Gunpey DS and it's good that the music isn't completely an afterthought.. You can also play a "dual screen mode" which absolutely boggles my mind but high-level players would probably appreciate.
Overall a fun little puzzle game! I can see myself coming back to this on the regular.

And I'm officially backlog-neutral for 2022!
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

by prfsnl_gmr Fri Jan 14, 2022 10:25 am

Great reviews, everyone. I’m having a lot of fun reading this thread, and @elkin, you’ve sold me on Cruis’n Blast (even if you completely forgot about Cruis’n (Wii) in your series retrospective). :wink:

Nemoide wrote:And I'm officially backlog-neutral for 2022!


Unbelievable! Someone has actually done it! Congrats, Nemoide!
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

by prfsnl_gmr Fri Jan 14, 2022 11:52 am

1. Space Warrior (Switch)
2. Itta (Switch)
3. Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn (Switch)
4. Mask of Mists (Switch)
5. Metagal (Switch)
6. Foxyland 2 (Switch)


I am now 10% of the way to my goal of clearing 50 short games off my Switch’s memory card! These are all pretty short games; so, these will be pretty short reviews:

Itta is a really great boss-rush, bullet-hell, twin-stick shooter with some Legend of Zelda gameplay elements. Specifically, you explore an interstitial world between life and death finding health and weapon upgrades, which unlock new areas and allow you to dispatch the game’s bosses more easily. Other than some very light puzzles, the game’s eighteen bosses are its only challenges, but they are enough. In fact, you only have to defeat eleven of them to finish the game. I liked the game so much, though, that I gladly defeated them all. Projectiles fill the screen during these very intense battles, but Itta’s hit box is so small that dodging them, while difficult, is by no means impossible. Each boss fight is uniquely challenging, and I felt that the game really respected my time. Combine this excellent gameplay with a grim setting and beautifully detailed pixel art reminiscent of games like Fez and Hyper Light Drifter, and you have a game that’s easy to endorse. Highly Recommended.

Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn is a single-player beat ‘em up that is mostly a love letter to cheesy 1990s Shaquille O’Neal movies, music, and video games. The gameplay is just OK. You walk from left-to-right fighting hordes of enemies with a decent variety of moves. It gets a bit old by the end, but since the game’s not that long, you roll the credits before it wears out it’s welcome entirely. The humor is also a bit hit-or-miss. Some of the Big Trouble in Little China-inspired humor is cringeworthy, but some of the little touches are great. Icy Hot restores all of your health. The game makes a cash register noise every time a character says the words “gold bond,” and a recurring joke about Shaquille O’Neal being Chinese always made me chuckle. Some of Shaq’s one-liners are also genuinely funny - “We’re remaking Steel next!” - and some fourth-wall breaking toward the end of the game also works well (and results in the welcome inclusion of a certain, nearly forgotten rap song from the 1990s). Hesitantly Recommended.

Mask of Mists is, basically, a short, first-person Legend of Zelda game. It has a bright high-fantasy setting, and while there is some light combat, the gameplay consists mostly of finding critical items, navigating dungeons, and solving light puzzles. The game doesn’t hold your hand, and once it opens up after the second dungeon, you have a lot of freedom to approach it in different way. It has a few secrets, one of which unlocks the game’s true ending, and while it’s not optimized for the Switch, it is also very pretty. (There’s a lot of pop-in, however, and I know the Switch can handle more taxing games than this.) I was pleasantly surprised by the game’s quality, and it’s an impressive effort from a very small development team. Recommended.

Metagal is a Mega Man clone that is very just OK. The controls are pretty janky, and the level design is pretty mediocre. The special weapons are cool, though. Rather than requiring you to collect items to replenish your weapon energy, you have small meter than recharges at varying speeds after you use a special weapon. It works really well, and future Mega Man games should implement a similar system. The special weapons also help you navigate the later levels, and as a result, they feel more useful than the special weapons in most Mega Man games. Hesitantly Recommended (if you’ve already played all of the mainline Mega Man games).

Foxyland 2 is a pretty good 2D hop ‘n bop platformer. It is a massive improvement over the first game (which was actually ported to the Sega Genesis!), and it features decent graphics, well-hidden collectibles, a few secret levels, and three good boss fights. (The final boss is really, really good.) It is also frequently frustrating - just like a real 1990s mascot platformer! - and the core gameplay gets a bit tired by the end. Still, you could do a lot worse in this genre. Hesitantly Recommended.
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

by MrPopo Sun Jan 16, 2022 7:32 pm

Previous Years: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021

1. Underworld Ascendant - PC
2. Castlevania: Harmony of Despair - PS3
3. Ni no Kuni - PS3

I realized late last year that I was nearly finished with all my PS4 library. I've got three titles left, and two are sequels, so it was time to get cracking on those original games. First up is Ni no Kuni, a game first released on the DS and then had an expanded release on the PS3 (which was the one we got localized). The game is famous for having art direction by Studio Ghibli, and the story hits a lot of Ghibli tropes as well. Unfortunately, some of the gameplay kind of brings it down, leaving a middle of the road JRPG experience.

The game opens in Motorcity, which is some small town in early 20th century Michigan. The protagonist Oliver loses his mother in an accident at the beginning, but the power of his tears causes the doll his mom gave him to come to life. Turns out the doll was really a fairy, and recruits Oliver to come to the other world (hence the title) to save it from the Dark Sorcerer Shadar, which might bring his mother back. Cue a journey where the young boy grows, makes friends, and mends people's hearts.

The game has a somewhat weird combat system. It's this odd fusion of ATB and real time that ends up being less than the sum of its parts. The party members can move around the battlefield in real time, and this can allow them to dodge some attacks (but generally not special attacks or spells). All commands have a form of cooldown, aside from basic attack (and even that technically has a cooldown, it just ticks while you're attacking, so you only notice it if you cancel out early). However, the character hit boxes are large while attack boxes are small, so you get caught up on your party members a lot. This is exacerbated when using a basic attack, as that auto has you walk to your target, which is generally just a straight line with no real ability to maneuver, just run your face into the back of another creature.

Another thing that's weird about the combat is there is a mons component, but a character and their mons share the same HP and MP. So swapping between your character and your various mons owned by that character is just for swapping out stats like attack/defense and special abilities. The devs anticipated this, and there's a system where a mon loses energy while battling and needs to be sidelined after a while. But that ends up being an annoyance, because there rarely is reason to swap around because the combat generally is pretty easy. Only the final boss segment from the DS game and the final boss segment added with the PS3 version have any real difficulty to them.

The game has your standard array of sidequests, and one category of them is mending people's broken hearts. Losing a positive aspect like courage or enthusiasm causes a person to fall into a deep depression. But having too much is also bad (think someone coked up). So you can take excess from some and give it to those missing any to make everyone happy. But this mechanic gets a little annoying because you can only have a single unit of an aspect stored at once. Many times you'll have multiple people giving a given aspect clustered, and then you need to run back and forth a lot.

Overall, there isn't a lot that's memorable about how the game plays. You'll see the various plot twists coming hours away, and the gameplay has that fake depth, where there's a lot of things but none of it matters, just get a monster with a high attack and bash your way through. It's not a bad game by any means, but there also isn't a lot that makes me go "you really need to play this". This is generic brand mac & cheese.
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

by Limewater Sun Jan 16, 2022 10:08 pm

Rabbit of Destiny (Xbox One)
I don't typically own current-gen consoles, but we got the kids an Xbox One for Christmas so that they could play Just Dance with Kinect.

Rabbit of Destiny was briefly free in the Microsoft Store or Xbox store, or whatevery they call it.

A small indie game that tries to be "old-school," I found Rabbit of Destiny to be kind of awkward. It's a side-scrolling platformer where you play a rabbit with a gun. Jumps are very fast and short. There is a double-jump, but it's based upon a meter that is almost always empty, so I only really double-jumped occasionally when I didn't mean to. Running speed is not emphasized, so this is nothing like Jazz Jackrabbit. There are a lot of things to collect in levels, but there doesn't seem to be any reason to.
Another annoying but slightly humorous thing is that when you shoot, your bullets seem to go really fast, but their position is only updated on each new frame drawn, with no checks on the area that a shot passes through between frames. This means that when you shoot there are large range gaps, wider than most enemies. You end up spending a lot of time changing your position slightly so that a shot will actually be drawn on top of an enemy and a hit will register.

But there are some things that I liked.
The levels are kind of boring, but I found the boss battles to be surprisingly good.
When you lose all of your lives you get sent to hell and have to run through a level full of fire and brimstone to get to an exit portal to go back to the game. This does not happen during boss battles.

The ending was abrupt and not very satisfying. It's a short game and I have played much worse.
Systems: TI-99/4a, Commodore Vic-20, Atari 2600, NES, SMS, GB, Neo Geo MVS (Big Red 4-slot), Genesis, SNES, 3DO, PS1, N64, DC, PS2, GBA, GCN, NDSi, Wii
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

by Nemoide Mon Jan 17, 2022 1:11 pm

THE LIST:
1. Diddy Kong Racing (N64)
2. Resident Evil 4 (Gamecube)
3. Freedom Planet (Switch)
4. Aleste (PS4)
5. Gunpey DS (DS)
6. GG Aleste (PS4)


6. GG Aleste (PS4) originally a Game Gear game, this is easily the best 8-bit shmup I've ever played! The real cartridge is absurdly expensive but after playing it, I get why. The normal difficulty is extremely approachable and I think it's reasonable for a shmup player to 1CC it even on a blurry original Game Gear screen with a little practice. It gives you continues too, so seeing the end isn't that much of a big deal. It's simplified from the original Aleste, one button now shoots both your main gun and sub-weapon and the sub-weapons are given letter abbreviations instead of numbers which makes them much easier to recognize. The stages have good variety to them and the whole experience of playing is just a good time. Dying reduces the power of your weapons, but it no longer brings you back to level 1, so it doesn't suffer from the extreme Gradius syndrome that the first Aleste does.
And if normal is too easy, there's "special" difficulty, with the biggest difference being that enemies now fire a suicide bullet when you destroy them. This definitely ramps up the difficulty significantly because the low-resolution screen can very cramped very fast.
I've heard people say that GG Aleste II is even better, so I'm looking forward to that one! Even though I'd prefer to play Game Gear games on a handheld, the Aleste collection has already lived up to my expectations and I still haven't touched half the games on it! I may have to give MUSHA Aleste a try afterwards, since I have that for Wii Virtual Console.

prfsnl_gmr wrote:
Nemoide wrote:And I'm officially backlog-neutral for 2022!


Unbelievable! Someone has actually done it! Congrats, Nemoide!


I just mean that it hasn't grown since January 1. Not THAT great an accomplishment for being a couple weeks into the year.
But now my backlog has started to SHRINK! I really went nuts buying too many games over the past couple years - pandemic stress + ebay is a dangerous combo. I need to get it under control and beat more games than I buy!
Meanwhile I have five more games coming to me from Japan... so I'll definitely have to step up my game
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

by MrPopo Mon Jan 17, 2022 2:36 pm

The trick is to identify your collection goals, rather than just going with "oh, that seems cool". That leads to a lot of impulse buying. At this point I don't have any more retro stuff that I'm actively interested in, though I remain open to the idea that I'll see something that piques my interest now and then (case in point, saw Blast Corps on a GDQ years ago and picked it up later).
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2022

by prfsnl_gmr Mon Jan 17, 2022 3:19 pm

@nemoide

It’s still impressive!
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