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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by PartridgeSenpai Sat Nov 16, 2019 9:03 am

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

1. Night Slashers (Switch)
2. Bye-Bye BOXBOY! (3DS)
3. GTA4: The Ballad of Gay Tony (Xbox 360)
4. Katamari Forever (PS3)
5. Detention (PS4)
6. Donkey Kong 64 (N64) *
7. OctoDad: Dadliest Catch (PS4) *
8. FlintHook (Switch)
9. God of War (PS4)
10. God of War HD (PS3)
11. Tiny Barbarian DX (Switch)
12. God of War 2 HD (PS3)
13. Starlink (Switch)
14. Shin Gundam Musou (PS3)
15. Battle & Get! Pokemon Typing DS (DS)
16. Banjo-Kazooie (N64) *
17. Super Mario 64: Rumble Edition (N64)
18. Mario Party 3 (N64) *
19. Paper Mario (N64) *
20. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES) *
21. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX (GBC) *
22. The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages (GBC) *
23. The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons (GBC) *
24. Yoshi's Island (SNES) *
25. Super Mario World (SNES) *
26. Super Mario RPG (SFC) *
27. Kaeru No Tame Ni Kane Wa Naru (GB)
28. Final Fantasy VI (SFC) *
29. Final Fantasy IV (SFC) *
30. Final Fantasy V (SFC)
31. Final Fantasy III (Famicom)
32. Mother 2 (SFC) *
33. Mother 3 (GBA) *
34. Hebereke (Famicom)
35. Donkey Kong Country 2 (SFC)
36. Donkey Kong Country 3 (SFC)
37. Donkey Kong Country (SFC) *
38. Wario's Woods (Famicom)
39. Paper Mario: Color Splash (Wii U)
40. Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam (3DS)
41. Luigi's Mansion (3DS) *
42. Paper Mario: Sticker Star (3DS)
43. Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga & Bowser's Minions (3DS)
44. Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story & Bowser Jr's Journey (3DS)
45. Tomato Adventure (GBA)
46. Corpse Party (PSP)
47. Rave Master: Fighting Live (GC)
48. Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (GBA) *
49. Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (GBA)
50. Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance (GBA) *
51. New Super Mario Bros. 2 (3DS)
52. The Outer Worlds (Xbone)
53. Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight (Xbone)
54. Guacamelee 2 (Xbone)
55. Steamworld Dig 2 (Xbone)
56. Yoku's Island Express (Xbone)

57. Guacamelee (Xbone) *

It was on Game Pass, and I really wanted more of the villains from the first game after playing Guacamelee 2, so I decided to play through this today. It is very much more Guacamelee, as is probably easy to guess. More brawling + Metroidvania gameplay, just as the second one continues, but it's surprisingly different from the second one in ways I didn't quite remember. It took me about 6.5 hours to 100% the game on normal mode.

It's Guacamelee like it's always been. Beat 'em up arenas intermixed with platforming corridors that use your brawling special moves to help navigate them, both done very well. The brawling is fun, and the platforming is tricky without being super frustrating. The only really tricky times I had with it where when I'd just forget which buttons did what XP. Especially in the more difficult platforming sections you need to do to get the best ending, hitting the bumper that turns you into a chicken instead of the one that toggles between the living and dead worlds is a mistake I made more often than I'd like to admit XP. The brawling isn't super hard unless you're going for the best ending, and especially if you're going for 100% area completion like I did. There are some really killer arenas in some optional sections.

I definitely prefer the writing in this game over the second game's. The first Guacamelee is often irreverent and silly, but not in a way that was really breaking my suspension of disbelief. There are pop culture references here and there (especially in the luchador wrestling promotional posters in the background), but for the most part, the dialogue is funny/silly by virtue of the characters themselves having good personality injected into them. SO much of the second game's humor is reveling in how DGAF it is about referencing pop culture and memes that it makes the humor feel far more one-note and less memorable. Guacamelee 1's villains have so much more personality to them than the 2nd game's and the main story has some genuinely sweet moments (though they're easy to miss) to the point where I'd easily put the first game's writing above the second's. Guacamelee 2 makes jokes at itself in the form of Youtube comments calling filling your game with tons of memes "lazy writing and not very funny", and while it's nice that the game itself acknowledges that kind of complaint, it doesn't make it feel any less true when you compare it to how well the first game handled its humor.

As far as differences mechanically from the 2nd game, there is a little more than I remembered there being. I knew that the chicken form being able to fight was something introduced in the second game. What I had forgotten was what the second game outright removed. First, the costumes Juan and his co-op partner Tostada can wear aren't just cosmetic in this game, they grant passive buffs and debuffs to reward certain playstyles (like halving your health in exchange for more stamina and life-draining melee attacks, or giving you infinite stamina but no way to heal). They're a neat way to spice up how you play that I missed in the second game. The other feature completely removed from the sequel is the Intenso meter, which lets you transform into Intenso Mode and get far stronger attacks for as long as you can keep your combo meter up. That's a nice panic button for when things get hard, but Guacamelee 2 is so much easier than this game that while it's unfortunate that the sequel canned that feature, it's not as significant a loss as the costume abilities (and this game overall just has way more costumes than the 2nd despite the 2nd game recycling some costumes from this one). Aside from that, the two games' combat is nigh identical, with even enemy types being almost entirely the same between games.

The presentation graphically and musically is just fine. I think this game's music might be a little bit better on the whole, but that may just be me imagining things. Both games have pretty similar-sounding music, but the graphical quality is a much larger difference. It's a very similar stylization, but the first game is from last gen and it shows. It's not an ugly game, but it doesn't look quite as good as the 2nd game.

Verdict: Highly Recommended. This is closer to the lower end of my highly recommended games, but it's still up there. Guacamelee is a game I love a lot more than I thought I did until this playthrough, and it's really surprising just how much better than the sequel it is. The sequel is a bit longer, perhaps, but with how little it changes compared to how much it outright removes or makes less good, I can easily recommend the first game over the 2nd. If you want a not-too-long Metroidvania with a brawler-twist, Guacamelee 1 is definitely the place to get it UwU
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alienjesus
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by alienjesus Sat Nov 16, 2019 3:03 pm

Games Beaten 2019:
1. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Switch
2. Alex Kidd in The Enchanted Castle Switch
3. Streets of Rage Switch
4. Vectorman Switch
5. Galaxy Force II Switch
6. Flicky Switch
7. Phantasy Star 2 Switch
8. Sonic the Hedgehog Switch
9. Altered Beast Switch
10. ESWAT: City Under Siege Switch
11. Columns Switch
12. Virtua Fighter 2 Switch
13. Kirby Star Allies Switch
14. Katamari Damacy Reroll Switch eShop
15. Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee! Switch
16. Octodad: Dadliest Catch Switch eShop
17. Sword of Vermilion Switch
18. Decap Attack Switch
19. Golden Axe Switch
20. The Revenge of Shinobi Switch
21. Beyond Oasis Switch
22. WarioWare Gold 3DS
23. Shining in the Darkness Switch
24. Kid Chameleon Switch
25. Streets of Rage 2 Switch
26. Bio-Hazard Battle Switch
27. Super Thunder Blade Switch
28. Gain Ground Switch
29. Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom Switch
30. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Switch
31. Comix Zone Switch
32. Vectorman 2 Switch
33. Light Crusader Switch
34. Crack Down Switch
35. ToeJam and Earl Switch
36. Dynamite Headdy Switch
37. Golden Axe II Switch
38. Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi Switch
39. Columns III: Revenge of Columns Switch
40. Shining Force: The Legacy of Great Intention Switch
41. Kirby No Kirakira Kizzu Game Boy
42. Klonoa Wii
43. Looney Tunes Collector: Martian Alert! GBC
44. Mario Tennis N64
45. Fire Emblem Warriors Switch
46. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time [Randomiser] N64
47. The New Zealand Story SMS
48. Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana Switch
49. Shenmue 2 Dreamcast
50. Castlevania GBA
51. Mario Party N64
52. ActRaiser SNES
53. GoldenEye 007 N64
54. Mom Hid My Game Switch eShop
55. Money Puzzle Exchanger Switch eShop
56. Gunbird Switch eShop



Apologies, this is gonna be a long one...


Ocarina of Time Randomiser:

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As I’m sure lots of people know, I’m a big fan of The Legend of Zelda. I’ve loved them from the first game I played (which was Ocarina of Time, shortly followed by Oracle of Ages) right up to the most recent entry, Breath of the Wild. I’ve always preferred the more dungeon heavy games in the series (the likes of Ocarina through to Skyward Sword) more than the more open exploration games like the original, but to be honest, I love both. The problem with either kind of gameplay is that it can eventually become hard to come back to. I adore Ocarina of Time, but I have played it a great many times. I know how to solve all the puzzles now. I know where to find all the heart pieces. And whilst I don’t know where all the Gold Skulltulas are of the top of my head necessarily, it doesn’t really matter because I know the rewards aren’t worth it.

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Enter the randomiser mod. This, for me, is a revelation. The concept is simple – it takes a rom of Ocarina of Time, and lets you change certain settings and randomise where stuff is. Now, this obviously doesn’t work alongside the games story, but when you’re so familiar with the game already it doesn’t matter. I played through Ocarina of Time randomised with some fairly standard settings for the randomiser – all chests in game were shuffled so items were in a different location. Kokiri Forest could be left before the Deku Tree (this allows for more randomisation – otherwise you’re guaranteed the sword, shield and slingshot inside Kokiri Forest because they’re needed for Deku). I made it so Ganondorf’s castle needed all medallions to enter (default only needs 2, weirdly enough, because they assumed you wouldn’t be missing any if you had those 2). And then I through in a few fun bonuses too – Bombchu’s were considered in logic (this would allow randomisation that needed accurate Bombchu use to access), my tunics became different colours and my low health noise was swapped the King Zora saying ‘mweep’. Other options exist which go above and beyond, like shuffling dungeon keys into other dungeons, making gold skulltulas potentially hold items (I’m doing a run of this currently) and even making doorways go into random locations.

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And man, was it fun. It make exploration interesting again – when any chest could have an item as important as a bow, every chest is worth going out of your way for. Chests I forgot about because they only contained some bombs or arrows or rupees suddenly started being remembered. Dungeons were explored in a different order – Spirit Temple as a child was my first port of call, because I found the Requiem of Spirit early on. I also had to do it using only Deku Sticks and Bombs as weapons, because I hadn’t found the Kokiri Sword yet (and I wouldn’t, either, until Ganondorf’s castle). And puzzles were solved in new ways. A switch which normally needed a boomerang as a kid was hit with a long range bombchu. I got into Volvagia’s room using a longshot and hoverboots instead coming from the top (because he had a small key I needed to get up there, instead of his usual heart container. I had a blast, and for me, this is now the way I’ll probably default to playing Ocarina of Time – so there’s always something new. Even better, Skulltulas feel worth looking for too – the 50 skulltula reward for me was now the essential Iron Boots.

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The best bit is that the patched rom works on real hardware, so if you have an Everdrive, you can play it exactly like you would the original game. Sat on your couch, N64 controller in hand. And for me, it really recaptured the magic. I can’t recommend the randomiser enough. It’s definitely not recommended if you’re fairly unfamiliar with the game – if that’s the case, play it vanilla and enjoy it as the masterful creation it is. But if you know the game like the back of your hand, then give this a go and experience the game in a new light.






The New Zealand Story

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When I was at university, I decided to get into retro gaming. I’d started watching gaming youtubers talk about games, and I found some websites talking about classic games, including a little site you might now called Racketboy. I’d never actually stopped playing old games – I still had my old SNES and Mega Drive and N64 and played them on occasion, and I even bought a handful of ‘new’ old games when I saw them in shops. But at university, I made a conscious decision to actively seek out old games I didn’t own, and I invested in a bunch of classic consoles. I got an NES, a Dreamcast, a Virtual Boy, a CDi and a Master System. I’d owned a Master System before, but it had broken, so it was a blast from the past picking up a new system.

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Back then, games on eBay were cheap, so for £20 I got the console with about 10 games, including some absolute classics – if I recall correctly, they were: Phantasy Star, Castle of Illusion, The Lucky Dime Caper, Special Criminal Investigation, Sonic the Hedgehog, Marble Madness, Fantasy Zone, Populous, Asterix & The Secret Mission, and The New Zealand story. I sold a few I didn’t enjoy (S.C.I, Marvle Madness, Populous) and played through and beat the rest, with one exception – The New Zealand Story.

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The New Zealand story was a game I kept because it had a real feeling of quality. I love me some Taito platformers, and this was a fun, fast and frantic example of one. The graphics were honestly stunning for Master System, it looked as good as some Mega Drive games. And it played smoothly too. But I was torn – it had a big obvious flaw. This game was hard as balls – it definitely showed that it was an arcade port. And to compound it, you only got one credit to complete the game. This meant, despite my best attempts, I never quite managed to get through the game.

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Well, this summer, I decide to fix that. New Zealand Story seems to be a pretty highly regarded game over here in the UK, and so I added it so my summer list. And although it’s still far from easy, maybe I’ve improved, because I finally made it through. The game can be a bit samey, and you can see a few of the game’s bosses have been downgraded (the whale first boss for example) and some features have been cut from the arcade. But this is a fine port, and if you spot it for cheap on Master System, it’s worth your time. I think it might be a PAL exclusive though?

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Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana

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So, I’ve only played a few Ys titles before. I’ve played through Ys I for Master System, and Ys I & II for PSP. That’s my lot. Now the modern Ys games look like they’ve changed a lot from those classic entries, but they intrigued me, and the when opportunity to play Ys VIII on switch I decided to give it a go. Now, I know our resident Ys aficionado BoneSnapDeez is not a fan of this game, but I also suspected I would have a lot more patience for the modern RPG sensibilities he was decrying, so I jumped in and gave it a go.

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Ys VIII isn’t gobsmacking visually by any means, but I was immediately captured by it’s charms – it’s a colourful and vibrant world. The characters all feel charming too. I enjoy a setting where I care about the people and environments, and thus I quite enjoyed Ys VIII from the outset. Obviously, the music is another big selling point of Ys as a series, and whilst I didn’t enjoy the more synth led soundtrack here as much as I liked Ys I & IIs, I did still rather enjoy it, and it didn’t end up getting too old despite the game being quite long.

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One thing I will say is despite BoneSnapDeez’s issues with fetch quests, grinding, etc, which have unfortunately become par for the course in a lot of RPGs these days, this is still a very quick game. Combat encounters early on last mere seconds, and whilst later enemies are damage sponges in comparisons, it still takes bvery little time to cut through them. The action combat was a lot of fun, and reminded me of a free-roaming Tales game in how you can equip shortcuts for 4 combat skills per character to use via button combos.

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Story wise, Ys VIII isn’t the most amazing tale ever written. You get cast away on a desert island early on, and there are dinosaurs there. The focus of the early part of the quest is on exploring the island, building up a home base and rescuing survivors. As the plot progresses, the focus moves to an ancient civilisation you discover, and figuring out what caused it to fail. The plot ends up being much bigger than how it starts, but it’s also sometimes a bit cheesy and cliché. However, I found the characters you interact with charming enough in their own way that it did keep me caring, even when I rolled my eyes a bit at some of the twists and turns of the adventure.

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Despite Ys VIII’s speed of gameplay, the game does go on a bit long for it’s own good. The slightly longer end game encounters drag the pace of the game down a bit towards the end, by which point I was ready for the game to wrap up, despite how much I enjoyed it. As is the case with most modern RPGs (or perhaps, as is the case with most RPGs now I’m an adult and have less patience for repetition and free time to play games), it could do with being 10-20 hours shorter than it is. But despite it’s flaws, I genuinely loved my time with Ys VIII. I’d happily recommend it to people who don’t mind some of the trends of modern RPGs like our friend Bone does. Give it a go, it’s a great game worth your time.

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Shenmue 2:

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Shenmue was a game I played years ago as a summer challenge game, and found to be interesting. I’d hesitate to call the game ‘good’, but equally, I’d hesitate to call it ‘bad’. I found the overall plot interesting, but the overall pace glacial. The level of interaction with the world was compelling, but the actual stuff to do frequently wasn’t. But overall, there was enough of interest here that I was fairly excited to give Shenmue 2 a go, especially when most people said it was superior to the first.

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And so, I gave it a go. Shenmue 2 picks up where Shenmue 1 left off (mostly, apparently there was some content cut between the end of Shenmue 1 and the start of 2 – it was obviously insignificant because you don’t really miss anything here). Ryo arrives in Hong Kong on a quest to find Yuanda Zhu, a man who wrote to his father warning him before his untimely death, and Ryo’s only real lead to find Lan Di, his father’s murderer. I played Shenmue 2 on Dreamcast – I hear stuff gets brought over from the first game, and that’s true to an extent - I kept my gachapon and all the money I had at the end of Shenmue 1. But then your bag is stolen, and all of that money is immediately taken from you, so it feels like a wasted idea.

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And you know what being penniless means? That’s right, it’s time for more repetitive tasks to earn money. If you think forklift driving was fun in Shenmue 2, now you get to do it in the form of a super tedious quicktime event sequence where you carry a box in a bland looking warehouse. Expect to do this a lot too, because unlike 1, where you got a daily stipend, this is the main way to earn money in 2, at least until you figure to game the system by saving before gambling and reloading until you win big. Luckily, you still get to enjoy repetitive quicktime event jobs again in the form of airing out books, when you’re given a room to let from another lady later.

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Hong Kong is a big old place, and I was excited to explore it. But eventually I realised that it was super underwhelming. The areas in Shenmue 1 were small, yes, but you could interact all over the place – opening drawers, picking items up in shops, speaking to everyone you met. In Shenmue 2, Hong Kong actually feels like it may have less to do, but spread out over a much bigger space. To that end, even finding stuff can be hard. The adventure eventually moves to Kowloon, but to be honest, that doesn’t feel any better – full of empty high rise buildings with bizarre lifts that only go to certain floors for no reason but to be annoying.

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Kowloon was by far my least favourite part of the game too, because it’s where the story took a weird turn that felt out of place to me and left a sour taste in my mouth. Throughout the games you’ve gotten the sense that Ryo’s revenge plot is somewhat misguided, but that overall he’s still a guy who protects people and helps out where he can, despite his stoic personality. But (some relatively minor spoilers ahead) in Kowloon, there’s a section where you have to fight some martial artists to get in with a gang and infiltrate them. The 3rd of these fights takes place against a lady at the top of a dilapidated high rise, and after she beats her previous opponent, she throws him off the top floor to the stone below, killing him in cold blood. This is a shocking moment which in itself almost feels out of place for Shenmue, but Ryo just impassively looks on and mutters ‘terrible’. This felt like a truly out of character moment for me, and I’m not sure what purpose it served, other than making Ryo seem like an unsympathetic asshole.

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Disc 4 then finishes with Ryo walking the Chinese countryside, and whilst I understand lots of people hate this bit because it’s basically all walking and talking, I actually liked it. The Ryo whose personality we learned in Shenmue 1 suddenly seemed to be back, removed from the heartless bastard in disc 3 Kowloon. The ending of the game is fairly intriguing too, and suggests quite a different in plot for Shenmue 3.

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So overall, I can’t lie – I found Shenmue 2 weaker in every way than the first. It was full of just as many tedious moments as 1, but I felt less like I got to know the people and places of the game than I did in 1. The characterisation and plot felt oddly inconsistent, especially in Kowloon. To me, Shenmue 2 doubled down on the worst aspects of 1 whilst losing the things I liked. But despite that, I am looking forward to trying Shenmue 3 at some point in the future. The small village environment looks like it may recapture some of the magic of 1. I’m afraid I’m not a big Shenmue fan, and I don’t know that it’s a series I’d recommend to many. But I’m glad it’s making a comeback with a 3rd entry, because I’d love to see if they can build upon some of those ideas in a meaningful way, and execute them a bit more consistently.







Castlevania:

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For some reason, Konami have a weird habit in Europe of giving their games the same title. There’s a game called Probotector for NES, Mega Drive and Game Boy and they’re all different games. There’s also a handful of different games with the title ‘Castlevania’, including this one for GBA. But for those of you over the pond, you probably know this game better as ‘Castlevania: Circle of the Moon’.

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Castlevania is a series I didn’t really get into until adulthood. I never really encountered the games growing up, but I’ve since played a few titles and had a great time. My first ever Castlevania title was Order of Ecclesia for DS, and I’ve also since played Symphony of the Night on PSP, but these are my only Metroidvania experiences. I loved both of them, but equally, I often people laud them as the best of their series, whereas Circle seems to have a mixed reception – I know a few people who adore it, but many consider it the weakest Castlevania of its style.

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Well, I kind of agree that it’s a game with some notable flaws. My first issue with the game was the use of the whip, which feels a bit blasphemous when we’re talking Castlevania. But the isse for me was that the whip is a great weapon for classicvania and not for metroidvania. See, classicvania is a deliberately paced, careful game. You move slowly, commit to jumps, and have wind ups on your attack. The whip gives the game some weight and heft which fits the style of gameplay. Metroidvania’s though, are generally about speed. You run and smash through enemies because the focus on gameplay is primarily on exploration and movement, and enemies are a hindrance to that. The wind up on the whip slowed this mechanic down, and I think the glyphs and swords of the other metroidvania games I played fit the genre better.

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Another issue I had was with healing. Enemies do lots of damage later on, and short of raqre armour drops, reducing this is hard – in fact, I had decent armour and still frequently ran low on health. Potions can be used but they heal little and drop rarely, so you’ll spend most of your time healing via the DSS system – this lets you equip 2 cards to create special powers. Card drops being rare and untelegraphed also means you might not get the ones you need, but that’s another concern. The problem is the earliest and easiest healing combo of mandragora and Jupiter (I think?) slowly heals HP when you’re not moving. So healing becomes a case of walking to a corner and standing still. As the game goes on, this can take several minutes to fully replenish.

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But despite all these flaws, I had a great time with Castlevania (COTM). The thing is, whilst it’s far from a perfect game, it’s still a lot of fun. The DSS system is fun to play around with. The bosses are big and interesting and feel pretty fair – you can get around issues with clever use of DSS. And the game never felt super obvious where to go next, whilst also not leaving me feeling super lost, so I found lots of secrets from revisiting areas. I’ve heard about this being hard to play on original GBA screens, but if you’re using an original non-modded GBA in 2019 then you should really find yourself a better way to play GBA, as loads of better options exist now.

Personally, I’d happily recommend this title to anyone. It’s not too pricy, it’s a lot of fun. Other Metroidvania games may be better, but that doesn’t make this one bad. Quite the opposite, I had a blast.







Mario Party

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Back in the day, I was a big Mario Party fan, as I think most kids my age were. It was a fun game to play with friends, with lots of opportunity for comebacks, and with some mini-games that different people were better or worse at than other meaning things could turn around quickly. Me and my buddy used to play it a lot at his place – originally with Mario Party 2, but later moving on to Mario Party 3, 4 and 5, before we eventually tired of the formula. But Mario Party 2 and 3 were our N64 games of choice back then – neither of us owned Mario Party 1, so when I picked this up at a retro event last year, it was with only the basic knowledge of the series.

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And Mario Party 1 does some things a bit differently. The core formula is the same – walk around a board, collecting coins which you can use to buy stars when you land on the appropriate space. Mini-games appear at the end of turns, where you can win more coins. But some things are different – the boards for example all have different gimmicks that are unique – Mario’s stage is linear with the star at the end, whereas peach’s board has the opportunity to plant star stealing piranha plants for other players.

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Mini games are the biggest difference here though. Whilst later games generally had a consistent 10 coins for the winner, here there’s a much bigger mix of rewards. For example, the losing team in 1 vs 3 and 2v2 games lose coins alongside the other team gaining. There’s a lot more games where you win the number of coins you grab. And there’s some horrendously one-sided mini games that feel unique to this game – they definitely resolved some of the unfairness in later games. Examples include the pipe mini game which is theoretically a 4 player free for all, but where only a single player gets to choose a pipe. Or the mini game where 3 players beat the crap out of the other player and can literally steal all of their coins if they’re good. Mini games also have an unfortunate tendency to be a little too short – many don’t even last 10 seconds.

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But despite these oddities, I was surprised that I actually enjoyed myself overall. There’s a lack of mini game variety – the game definitely could do with a few more, and the balance is all over the place. Some of the boards are fun whilst some are truly awful. But for all of it’s flaws, the basics of Mario Party are here, and as an adult, with the right mindset, I found I could enjoy myself. Beating the game was a bit of a slog – you need to get 100 stars to unlock the final board and win that for credits, but I paced it out over the summer and it wasn’t too bad. I actually enjoyed my time with Mario Party overall, and have picked up the sequel to relive the heady days of my youth. I’ll wait a bit first though – the yearly releases is what killed my enthusiasm for the series back in the day, and I’d rather not recreate that feeling!







Actraiser

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ActRaiser is a game that has been on my radar for quite a while. The mix of god sim and action setpieces was interesting and compelling, and I’d been curious to try it for a while. I finally picked it up a while back and got down to playing it over the summer games challenge this year.

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And my first impressions were not great. ActRaiser is a really stiff game – it feels a little like classic Castlevania in some ways, bit with some weird caveats of it’s own. First and foremost is the jumping, which is quite hard to articulate in words, but it just feels very wrong. The game doesn’t allow you to adjust your jump in the same way as Mario per se, but feels a little more like the aforementioned Castlevania or Ghouls n Ghosts where you commit to a direction. However, unlike those games you can adjust your jump midair – holding backwards mid jump stops your momentum, but it’s oddly temporary – say you jump forwards, then hold back in midair to cancel out your momentum, then let go of holding backwards – your jump will suddenly and bizarrely start moving forwards again. It takes a lot to get used to this. Swinging your sword feels stiff too, and for some reason you can only swing it once in midair despite swining faster on the ground. I also had lots of issues with sword swings not registering, especially in midair, but that could be something to do with playing on a Retron – I’m not sure. Either way, the action sections often suffer early on from not feeling well equipped enough to handle the faster enemies.

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Luckily, you can gain extra lives, magic attacks and extend your health meter during the sim sections. These sim sections are actually very simple – you fly around as an angel shooting demons who attack, whilst directing your citizens to build a certain way. When citizens reach a demon portal, where demons spawn from, they seal it, stopping those demons. Each level has a few portals and they sometimes need creative ways to reach them. Despite it’s simplicity, I found the sim gameplay more compelling than the action stages for the most part. The people sometimes come to you with tasks or gifts too – solving their troubles often gives rewards which can be used elsewhere to solve tasks or grant power boosts for the action stages.

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The roughest part of ActRaiser is probably the boss rush at the end. From about boss 4, the easiest way to deal with bosses quickly becomes ‘spam magic until they die’ but you don’t have enough for all 8 boses in the boss rush, so this is less a test of what you’ve learned and more of a ‘actually fighting these bosses for the first time’. The bosses also seem to be both faster and hit harder here, to the extent where the first boss goes genuinely becomes the hardest in the game in my eyes, unless, like me, you just power through tanking his hits.

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ActRaiser is a tough one to rate. Whilst playing it I found it to be flawed and often frustrating, but it was compelling in it’s own way. I look back on my time playing it with more fondness than I think I experienced when actually experiencing the game for the first time. It’s an interesting game for the SNES, but I don’t think it’s a must own. Pick it up if you’re curious, but be prepared to experience some jankiness along the way.







GoldenEye 007

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I’ve been on an ongoing quest recently to play through every game by Rare for the N64. I’ve played through most of the titles, and most of them have been great. There were some nice surprises along the way, such as the ambitious Jet Force Gemini and the amazing Blast Corps, and a few disappointments, such as the underwhelming Conker’s Bad Fur Day and the actually painful Killer Instinct Gold (the N64 D-pad is sharp). But as of this summer, I had only 2 games left to play – probably the most obscure Rare game for the system – Mickey’s Speedway USA – and on the opposite end, probably their most well-known – GoldenEye 007.

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Now it’s no secret on here that I’m not the biggest FPS fan. I’ve said it time and again, but whilst I enjoy the odd multiplayer shooter, like Halo 3 and Overwatch, it’s just not really my genre of choice. I played through Perfect Dark on N64 a few years back and thought it was enjoyable enough, so that’s basically what I expected from Goldeneye too. After all, it’s not my genre, and even amongst people who like the game, most of them will happily talk about how dated and unplayable it can feel today. And so I was very surprised when I sat down and played it and loved every second.

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GoldenEye is an interesting game. The difficulty modes add extra objectives, but I didn’t really experience that because I am rubbish at FPS and played on standard difficulty. I found some cartharsis to the auto aim in the game – it added a real run and gun feel to some levels, but at the same time a few levels asked for much more precision from me and mixed up how I played. One of my favourite things about GoldenEye compared to Perfect Dark was actually the very thing Perfect Dark was lauded for back in the day – GoldenEye’s levels are much smaller and more contained, and thus feel more bitesize and really pushed me to do ‘one more level’ or ‘one more try’ if I died.

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There were a few dud bits. I had to redo the train stage a few times because it’s really tricky to figure out the right thing to do at the end in the few seconds you have. The battle with Xenia seemed really cheap either way – either she was way overpowered or you cheesed her before she even got to you. And the section where you have to guard Natalya whilst she hacks a computer was really irritating too. But the lows were outnumbered by the highs, finding hidden weapon caches, blowing up guards with remote mines, zapping people with my watch. Goldeneye is just fun.

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As for whether it holds up, well, personally I thought it held up about as well as most big N64 games do. Sure, there’s some issues there – framerate is low, aiming is twitchy, draw distance ain’t great. But the none of that hindered the game from being fun. Most complaints I hear about the game are levelled at it’s controls, which I agree with – on default settings. But if you swap to control scheme 2, it’s much more manageable – aiming on the stick and strafing with C buttons feels more natural to me than the default controls did for sure.

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Overall, I was surprised by GoldenEye. I thought it might be a slog, but it absolutely wasn’t- it was great, compelling and addictive. I’d happily recommend this game to the minority of N64 fans out there who, like me earlier in the year, had never given it a fair shake. A must buy by my reckoning.







Mom Hid My Game

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Mom Hid My Game is a game I picked up on an eShop sale because it looks interesting. I didn’t really know what to expect - I figured it was some kind of puzzle game. The premise of the game is that your ‘Mom hid your game’, hiding your Nintendo DS console in various places to encourage you to do something else. In each level you overcome whatever crazy hurdle your mother has put in your way to get ahold of your console again.

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The action ‘puzzles’ as they were are super simple though. Often they can be solved in a few second, although as you go on, more red herrings and steps are added that can cause your mum to be alerted or your system to get broken or similar, requiring a little more thought. Overall, though, the difficulty is pretty low.

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The game uses a very minimalistic art style and soundtrack, which is kinda charming in it’s own way, and the silly situations you find yourself combating as you go along also add a lot of charm to the game. However, the charm is unfortunately not really enough to support the game even through its short 1 -2 hour run time. The game just doesn’t have enough depth, and now I’ve completed it I don’t see myself ever replaying it. It might be a fun novelty to show other people at some point, but overall it’s just not a purchase worth making. I wouldn’t pick this up unless you find it at a very low price point.

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Money Puzzle Exchanger

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When I lived in London, I once visited an arcade called Heart of Gaming with a friend of mine. A lot of the big arcades in London had been shut down recently, but these guys had managed to buy up the machines, buy a storage warehouse and set up their own arcade. You paid about £10 for all-day access and free-play machines, and although they only had room for about 20 or so cabs to be set up, they would swap games on request. Anyway, whilst we were there we had a good time, played lots of good stuff we knew about like Final Fight, Nightstalkers and House of the Dead, as well as a few we hadn’t heard of, like Dolphin Blue, a run n gun where you ride a dolphin, and a fun competitive puzzle game where you matched coins. The title was in Japanese, so we weren’t sure what we were playing, but we had a blast.

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Afterwards, after some research, we figured out the game, and looked into home ports. It was on Playstation and Game Boy in Japan only. Not the ideal selection, but I’d had such fun I decided to import the GB title anyway. And then, years and years later, I see the arcade game has been announced for Switch, and I’m very excited. I hold off getting it for a while, but on my honeymoon this year, where we went to Japan, I played the game in the arcade with my wife, and she loves it too. And so, I get home and I pick up the game too.

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There’s not much point in me telling you whether I think the game is good – the last 2 paragraphs should clue you in on that, so let me introduce the premise. The game plays similarly to magical drop where you can pull pieces from the top of the board, then move them and throw them back up to the top to make matches. Rather than gems or bubbles or crystals though, you’re matching coins – yen to be specific. Match five 1-yen coins and they become a 5-yen piece. Match two 5-yen coins to get a 10 yen piece, and so on. This makes for an interesting dynamic – because some coins need matched in values of 2 (5 yen, 50 yen, 500 yen) and some in multiples of 5 (1 yen, 10 yen, 100 yen), the dynamic of matching changes and requires strategy. It’s easier to match the 5s then the ones, but if you do so you’ll find the board clustered. Matching the ones will clear the board more, but will also take more time and leave you vulnerable whilst you’re shifting things – this is a head to head game after all, and matches from the opponent make more coins on your side.

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In terms of the single player experience, it’s typical head-to-head arcade puzzle fair, in that it’s balls hard. Expect to spend a while slogging at the same opponents until you get lucky or have an epiphany. But it’s an arcade port, and I expected that. What doesn’t change is just how much fun this game is to play. It’s one of my all time favourite puzzlers, and I absolutely recommend you go out and buy it ASAP. The price on Switch is a steal, get it now.

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Gunbird

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I don’t have a lot to say about Gunbird – I picked it up as a shmup I’ve been vaguely interested in, to test out my flipgrip accessory which allows playing tate mode games in portable mode with the controllers attached. The accessory is great, besides a few unavoidable flaws regarding inaccessibility of the volume buttons etc, but I’m less convinced by the game I used to test it.

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Gunbird has you playing as one of 4 characters attempting to earn themselves a wish or some such. The game is pretty poorly translated, so it’s hard to follow, but to be honest I both expected and enjoyed that – I do love some Engrish 90s arcade charm. When you play the game, it seems to choose one of the games levels at Random for you to play through – I found this kind of frustrating, as it made it harder to learn levels when you would attempt them in different orders each time, but it was at least a unique idea and it wasn’t really my main problem with the game.

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My main problem was I felt like the bullet patterns fired at you werent much fun to deal with. The bullets arent too fast, but they're frequently shot directly at you. It looks like a bullet hell but doesn't really feel like on to play. I struggle to articulate why I didn't enjoy this, but I didn't. I’m sure there are people out there who like this game, and that it could be fun with more practice, but, I dunno. It didn’t feel like the kind of shmup I enjoy, and so I don’t feel inspired to put more effort in. I credit fed this one, and if I ever play it again, I’ll probably do the same. I’d avoid this one personally.

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BoneSnapDeez
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by BoneSnapDeez Sat Nov 16, 2019 4:37 pm

lol you been hoarding reviews man?? And thanks for the shoutout.

I was never in love with Gunbird myself. My daughter seems to like it and even wrote about it in her school journal. I think she just likes the witch.

Money Puzzle Exchanger is hard as balls. I dunno how people finish that shit.
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alienjesus
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by alienjesus Sat Nov 16, 2019 6:03 pm

BoneSnapDeez wrote:lol you been hoarding reviews man?? And thanks for the shoutout.

I was never in love with Gunbird myself. My daughter seems to like it and even wrote about it in her school journal. I think she just likes the witch.

Money Puzzle Exchanger is hard as balls. I dunno how people finish that shit.



You don't know the half of it. I wrote 11 reviews today. I have 38 other games to write reviews for still :lol:

Money Exchanger is a toughy. But it is a good toughy. And if you can convince someone to play ti with you, you never need to play 1 player anyway :lol:
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by marurun Sat Nov 16, 2019 10:22 pm

Very disorienting to read a review of Actraiser that doesn’t even mention the music.
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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by PartridgeSenpai Sun Nov 17, 2019 7:11 am

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

1. Night Slashers (Switch)
2. Bye-Bye BOXBOY! (3DS)
3. GTA4: The Ballad of Gay Tony (Xbox 360)
4. Katamari Forever (PS3)
5. Detention (PS4)
6. Donkey Kong 64 (N64) *
7. OctoDad: Dadliest Catch (PS4) *
8. FlintHook (Switch)
9. God of War (PS4)
10. God of War HD (PS3)
11. Tiny Barbarian DX (Switch)
12. God of War 2 HD (PS3)
13. Starlink (Switch)
14. Shin Gundam Musou (PS3)
15. Battle & Get! Pokemon Typing DS (DS)
16. Banjo-Kazooie (N64) *
17. Super Mario 64: Rumble Edition (N64)
18. Mario Party 3 (N64) *
19. Paper Mario (N64) *
20. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES) *
21. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX (GBC) *
22. The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages (GBC) *
23. The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons (GBC) *
24. Yoshi's Island (SNES) *
25. Super Mario World (SNES) *
26. Super Mario RPG (SFC) *
27. Kaeru No Tame Ni Kane Wa Naru (GB)
28. Final Fantasy VI (SFC) *
29. Final Fantasy IV (SFC) *
30. Final Fantasy V (SFC)
31. Final Fantasy III (Famicom)
32. Mother 2 (SFC) *
33. Mother 3 (GBA) *
34. Hebereke (Famicom)
35. Donkey Kong Country 2 (SFC)
36. Donkey Kong Country 3 (SFC)
37. Donkey Kong Country (SFC) *
38. Wario's Woods (Famicom)
39. Paper Mario: Color Splash (Wii U)
40. Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam (3DS)
41. Luigi's Mansion (3DS) *
42. Paper Mario: Sticker Star (3DS)
43. Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga & Bowser's Minions (3DS)
44. Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story & Bowser Jr's Journey (3DS)
45. Tomato Adventure (GBA)
46. Corpse Party (PSP)
47. Rave Master: Fighting Live (GC)
48. Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (GBA) *
49. Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (GBA)
50. Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance (GBA) *
51. New Super Mario Bros. 2 (3DS)
52. The Outer Worlds (Xbone)
53. Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight (Xbone)
54. Guacamelee 2 (Xbone)
55. Steamworld Dig 2 (Xbone)
56. Yoku's Island Express (Xbone)
57. Guacamelee (Xbone) *

58. Blazing Chrome (Xbone)

I'd heard this was an exceptional Contra-style game, but I'm not usually one for action games. These days, I'll often play through a game like this one time after a lot of frustration and then never pick it up again, which seemed like a pretty good reason to not pick it up at the like $15 it goes for. However, since it's on Game Pass, I figured it would be worth giving a try, and dang was it EVER. I beat it last night, and then played through it maybe four or five times more this morning just because I was having so much fun. I don't think I've ever enjoyed an action game this much, at least since I started writing about games in any capacity. I've spent maybe 5 or 6 total hours with it, but I doubt that this will be the last time I blaze some chrome.

Blazing Chrome is a 2 player co-op Contra-style run'n'gun game that's pretty immediately familiar to anyone who has played 16-bit Contra, especially Contra: Hard Corps. That said, it also takes a fair bit of inspiration from Metal Slug, and I was getting the feeling of at least a dash of Mega Man Zero. The style is VERY much an homage 90's gritty pop, and they do a great job of replicating the Contra aesthetic while still putting their own flair on things. The playable character designs are fun, and I like that half the cast are both female and designed in a way that is more "power" than "sex appeal". It's a nice change from how the casts of games like this have been in the past (and often still are). The music is pumping and fits the game really well, and the game has a great "16-bit if the animations were way better" style to it, kinda like how Shovel Knight looks 8-bit but with far better animation quality. The game knocks it out of the park for presentation for sure, even going as far as to include really low-quality voice samples to make it feel like a REAL 90's game XD

There are different types of weapons you can get and swap between (like Contra), and if you get close enough your character will do a quite powerful melee attack (like Metal Slug). You can even find mechs to stomp around in in some levels, also like Metal Slug. What gives me a bit of Mega Man Zero vibe is just how powerful the melee attack is. The melee attack in Metal Slug is good, but it never seems good enough to warrant using as anything other than a last resort. Your soldiers in Blazing Chrome have both a powerful melee attack (with a quite large arcing range) as well as being nimble enough to dodge around enemies, giving a really big risk-reward to meleeing enemies instead of just shooting them. That was one of my favorite parts of Mega Man Zero, and this is really scratching that same itch.

There are two types of characters in Blazing Chrome, but one set of them you only unlock after beating the game once. The default ones play very much like classic Contra characters, with nimble jumps, hitting the triggers to change between your collected weapons (which you lose if you die with it, except for your default weapon), and the aforementioned auto-melee attack ala Metal Slug. There are also support bots you can pick up which can provide two extra hits before death, be an auto-firing option for you, or make you faster and give you a double jump! You also have an invincible, Smash Bros-style dodge roll you can do by holding down and pressing A, but I really wish that could be rebound. SO many times I died by trying to fire downwards and then trying to jump, or trying to jump down through the platform I was standing on (something this game doesn't have at all).

The other characters you unlock after beating the game once are what the game calls the ninja characters, and they're far more melee-focused and totally change how you play the game. Not only do they not have an auto-melee, they don't even get multiple weapons. What they get instead is VERY powerful though. Their one weapons is a medium-range melee attack that is only manual, but if you charge it, it gets way more powerful and has a screen-wide range. Instead of having the triggers change weapons (which they don't have), it is an air-dodge that they can do which even hurts enemies you pass through. This makes them really good at bosses but struggle a bit with normal enemies (because of the more limited range), which is the opposite of how I felt the default, range-focused characters play. Using the normal dodge rolls, let alone the airborne dodges, takes some getting used to, but you feel like a BOSS when you can actually start dodging enemy attacks properly XD.

Then probably the last thing I really love about Blazing Chrome is the difficulty. The game is as hard as you want it to be, with three modes of easy, normal, and hardcore (which is locked until you beat normal). Easy is normal mode but with 8 lives per continue, and normal has 6 lives per continue and more enemies. Hardcore mode is only 4 lives per continue, but is the ONLY mode with limited continues (4 of them) and has a CRAP ton of enemies (I could never beat it on anything but normal). But even then, levels are split up into several sections, and while dying instantly respawns you Contra-style, using a continue restarts you at that section and not at the start of the whole stage. This makes the game feel far less punishing than an actual 90's game and really helped me stick with it because it's so much easier to practice the bits you're having trouble with. That's by no means to say that Blazing Chrome is an easy game, but I really appreciated just how much it allows the player to engage with it on their own terms in a way that is really not common with games like this (in my experience at least) outside of breaking out a Game Genie.

Verdict: Highly Recommended. This is definitely one of my favorite games I've played all year, and one of my new favorite action games ever. Blazing Chrome is a love letter to 90's run'n'guns that is faithful, improves on those old games' faults, and manages to stand on its own without feeling like some cheap copy. It is an absolutely stellar game and if you like run'n'guns at all, you are doing yourself a great disservice by holding out on Blazing Chrome.
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by alienjesus Sun Nov 17, 2019 11:40 am

Games Beaten 2019:
First 50:
1. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Switch
2. Alex Kidd in The Enchanted Castle Switch
3. Streets of Rage Switch
4. Vectorman Switch
5. Galaxy Force II Switch
6. Flicky Switch
7. Phantasy Star 2 Switch
8. Sonic the Hedgehog Switch
9. Altered Beast Switch
10. ESWAT: City Under Siege Switch
11. Columns Switch
12. Virtua Fighter 2 Switch
13. Kirby Star Allies Switch
14. Katamari Damacy Reroll Switch eShop
15. Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee! Switch
16. Octodad: Dadliest Catch Switch eShop
17. Sword of Vermilion Switch
18. Decap Attack Switch
19. Golden Axe Switch
20. The Revenge of Shinobi Switch
21. Beyond Oasis Switch
22. WarioWare Gold 3DS
23. Shining in the Darkness Switch
24. Kid Chameleon Switch
25. Streets of Rage 2 Switch
26. Bio-Hazard Battle Switch
27. Super Thunder Blade Switch
28. Gain Ground Switch
29. Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom Switch
30. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Switch
31. Comix Zone Switch
32. Vectorman 2 Switch
33. Light Crusader Switch
34. Crack Down Switch
35. ToeJam and Earl Switch
36. Dynamite Headdy Switch
37. Golden Axe II Switch
38. Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi Switch
39. Columns III: Revenge of Columns Switch
40. Shining Force: The Legacy of Great Intention Switch
41. Kirby No Kirakira Kizzu Game Boy
42. Klonoa Wii
43. Looney Tunes Collector: Martian Alert! GBC
44. Mario Tennis N64
45. Fire Emblem Warriors Switch
46. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time [Randomiser] N64
47. The New Zealand Story SMS
48. Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana Switch
49. Shenmue 2 Dreamcast
50. Castlevania GBA

51. Mario Party N64
52. ActRaiser SNES
53. GoldenEye 007 N64
54. Mom Hid My Game Switch eShop
55. Money Puzzle Exchanger Switch eShop
56. Gunbird Switch eShop
57. Tokyo School Life Switch eShop
58. Musynx Switch
59. Gremlins 2: The New Batch NES
60. Subsurface Circular Switch eShop
61. Yoshi's Woolly World Wii U




Tokyo School Life

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Tokyo School Life was a game that wasn’t really on my radar, but a set of decent reviews and a fairly substantial eShop sale swayed my interest enough to give it a go. The premise of the game is that you are an [implied] American student who is obsessed with Japan, and who after winning a content of some sort related to learning Japanese, is on an exchange program to a school in Tokyo. Once there, you find you’re sharing a home with 3 japanese schoolgirls. The game is a visual novel with dating sim elements, so you might expect it to be very fanservicey and a little skeevy, but that isn’t really how this one plays it (for the most part, at least, it can’t help a few bikini shots here and there – but it really doesn’t feel like the games focus, and may detract a little ultimately).

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See, the game actually seems to really want to tell you bit about life in Japan too. It’s pretty light touch, nothing much you couldn’t figure out as a tourist, but it is an interesting experience in a game. Dates you go on with the girls take you to different areas of Tokyo (Shibuya, Akihabara and Kabukicho respectively) and give you a taste of what makes those places standout. You also go on a school trip later in the game, which can be in one of 3 places depending on which girl you’re closest to – one takes you to Osaka, one to Kyoto and one to Okinawa. The game definitely takes the idea of you being a stranger to Japan just as seriously as it does the idea of you getting a cute Japanese girlfriend.

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On that front, the plotlines for the 3 girls are pretty interesting too. They’re a little cliché, taking on lots of stereotypical anime tropes, but its written fairly well overall and the Japaneseness of the storyline just kind of fits. One of the girls plotlines deals with karate and the Yakuza, one on them follows a sick girl who is a closet otaku, and the last follows a girl who is a junior idol. I think the quality of each story varies, but they were all charming in their own way, and they sometimes took some more serious turns than I expected.

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The music of the game is sickly sweet but charming, and visually, the game doesn’t have a lot to look at, but the girls are fairly well animated overall. Finally, the game really is serious about being a game about learning about Japan, thanks to it’s subtitling options. Not only does the game have English text, but in addition you can also enable Japanese text. This can be romaji, hiragana & katakana or kanji, allowing for you to practice reading in Japanese alongside the game.

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Ultimately, I had a pretty good time with Tokyo School Life. It’s certainly not for everyone, but it’s short and fairly easy going, and I had a good time with it. Recommended if you think you’ll like this kinda thing.





Musynx

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Musynx is a rhythm game for Nintendo Switch featuring lots of songs from Asian artists from a variety of genres, but with a focus on electronic music primarily. The tracks come from Japanese, Korean and Chinese artists, and if there’s one thing to be said for the game is that is certainly doesn’t skimp on content. There are easily 100+ songs here, and playing through them all even once is quite the time commitment overall.

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On top of all that, there are 4 ways to play each song – see, the game actually has 2 different difficulty settings. Not only do songs come in easy and hard forms, but they also come in 4 and 6 key versions for both versions. In the game, notes come down a track towards the bottom of the screen (think Guitar Hero) and pressing the corresponding button for each track will hit the note. The easier 4 note difficulty uses left and up on the d-pad plus X and A buttons for each of it’s 4 lanes, but the 6 note versions add right on the d pad and the Y button for 2 new middle lanes. This adds up to a humungous amount of content to play through and master overall. Add on to this the ability to just the speed of the note chart and you have a myriad of ways to adjust difficulty.

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This huge amount of content does come with some drawbacks though, particular in the game’s presentation. This is a bare bones experience – when you hit start you literally go straight to song selection, and the animations and backgrounds which accompany each song are limited – there’s about 8 different backgrounds for the games 100+ songs. This means if you play every song in order, like I did, you’ll find the backgrounds quickly getting repetitive as you play through the 10th song in a row with the rainbow background. Worse, the backgrounds generally correspond to genre, so playing in order will mean getting 20 similar songs in a row with the same background, and if you have a particular taste in songs, you’ll see the same background an awful lot.

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The note patterns on the game are sometimes good and sometimes bad. I found that anything below 5 on the difficulty scale was too easy and boring, but equally that anything about 7 was really tough and 9+ was nigh on impossible. I feel the game would have benefitted from a medium difficulty option to ease between the generally too easy standard difficulty and the generally too hard hard mode. I found myself jumping between difficulties by song depending on rating to keep an appropriate level of challenge.

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Speaking of challenge, moving to 6 button mode is just that. I don’t know why, because I’ve played more complicated rhythm games before, but I found 6 lane mode tripped me up all the time. The game isn’t shy about throwing 2 or 3 notes at you simultaneously, or making you hold one note whilst hitting others in between, and the button gymnastics can get confusing even with 4 buttons. I think the game is pretty bad about easing you in to 6 button mode though, because it puts the new lanes in the middle – meaning that the lane you might be used to being X on 4 button mode is now Y, requiring you to unlearn all the muscle memory you had from before.

Lastly, the biggest issue I had with the game was feedback. Most rhythm games I’ve played have had sound effects or similar which play if you either hit the note or miss it, but Musynx doesn’t have anything like this. Because of this it took me a lot longer to figure out how good my timing was on songs.

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Overall, Musynx was an OK time, but I find myself actually wishing for more features and less content overall, which feels weird to say. The music is good, if a little too unbalanced for dancey electronic tracks for my personal tastes, and the gameplay whilst simple can be compelling when the difficulty is just right. But I found myself too often wishing for a more curated experience where I had less controls for difficulty but the game had better default settings, where the experience was more engaging and offered more feedback. If you see this for cheap, you might want to pick it up, but I suspect there are better rhythm games on switch already. I’ve not played them, so don’t quote me on this, but the likes of Voez, Deemo and Taiko No Tatsujin are probably better choices.



Gremlins 2: The New Batch

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Gremlins 2 is a game I received as a birthday present from a friend. I had actually played it once before at his place, and thought it was pretty good. It’s a top down platforming adventure of sorts by Sunsoft, from back when they were actually good, and it has a real feeling of quality. The thing about Sunsoft when they made good games though, is they also generally made hard games, and this is no exception.

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You play as Gizmo, and you run around the levels shooting enemies and collecting power ups before taking on bosses at the end of each world. In the first world your weapon is a tomato which you lob forward and which his kinda similarly to the bombs in Blaster Master – it’s short range, and can only be fired in 4 directions. Luckily, as you progress you get new weapons, such as a match which shoots a blast further forward, a paperclip which fires in a spread and finally a powerful bow.

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Alongside the games enemies, your main hazard will be falling into the many pits that litter the stage. The game has quite a lot of platforming, often with moving platforms, and this can be the most frequent cause of your deaths. Luckily, there’s powerups to help deal with both enemies and platforming – hearts to replenish health, and powerups which add an extra hit point to your health for the rest of the stage. A pogo stick grants temporary invincibility (but stops you being able to shoot or jump pits, so has some restrictions), and most helpfully, a balloon saves you if you fall in a pit. Some power ups can be found on the map, and some can be purchased from a store which appears in some areas in stages.

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Once I got into the swing of things, Gremlins 2 wasn’t too bad. I had a fun time running through the levels, and I manage to amass enough lives and balloons to keep me safe from a game over. Later levels throw some mean challenges at you, with moving platforms running into electric currents and gremlins who throw stuff at you mid jump, but I managed to deal with it. The bosses weren’t too bad either – the key to all of them is to keep moving and spam attacks whenever possible.

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The graphics are decent enough for NES, and the game has some pretty impressive cutscenes for the console showing events from the film. The music, as Sunsoft tracks so often are, was fantastic and was a highlight of the game, and a classic NES soundtrack.

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Overall, Gremlins 2 is a pretty great time. It’s unforgiving, as many NES games are, but it’s got a great bouncy soundtrack, fun gameplay and avoids too many cheap moments overall. It also tends to be cheap, even over here in Europe where NES wasn’t too common, so it’s a highly recommended purchase in my eyes.

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Subsurface Circular

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Subsurface Circular is a visual novel game set in a world where AI robots are manufactured to do jobs. AIs use the Subsurface Circular, an underground railway, to travel between stations to their jobs. The game is set on this train line, and you play as a detective AI – an AI whose job is to investigate and solve mysteries assigned by the government. AIs are manufactured with different levels of intelligence depending on job role – some, whose job is to work on electronics deep underground, can barely communicate, but AIs who work with humans are capable of interaction and a certain level of free-thought. As a detective AI, you have one of the highest levels of intelligence, and are capable of thinking for yourself.

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At the start of the game, another robot asks you to investigate his missing friend, a task which you accept despite it not being assigned by the authorities, thus breaking the rules. This begins a whole chain of mysteries which unfold through the night, which you try and follow to establish a truth of sorts.

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Investigation in the game is done purely via communication. You cannot move or choose where to go – you merely sit on the train as it goes from station to station, questioning and communicating with the robots who arrive and leave on the way to their jobs. However, there are some puzzles to be solved in terms of using thoughts and new information from one robot to get another to expand or open up some new information. The dialogue is interesting and the robots range from likeable and fun to haughty and rude, and all between. The writing quality is very good overall.

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And nowhere is this felt more than in the world building. Despite being set entirely in one train carriage, Subsurface Circular manages to build a believable and in-depth world. It touches on some big concepts and topics – stuff like whether AIs can or should have free will, the idea of humans losing their livelihoods to machines, government controls and bureaucracy, theology, prejudice, martyrdom and so much more in its mere 2 hour long timeframe.

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I won’t go into too much more depth on the game because I would worry about going into spoilers. The experience of playing the game is worthwhile and interesting overall, and for the low price it goes for, I would say this is an essential purchase. It may not be for everyone, but for such a small commitment of cost and time, it’s definitely worth giving it a go.

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Yoshi’s Woolly World

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I’m not the biggest fan of Yoshi games. It’s hard to explain why. I actually think Yoshi’s Island is a fantastic game one of the best on SNES, but I don’t have a huge amount of desire to go back to it. I enjoyed Yoshi’s Story OK and found Yoshi’s Island DS to be pretty average. So I’ve not been the most keen to try new Yoshi games overall – until I was won over by the aesthetic charms of Woolly World. So how does it hold up?

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Yoshi’s Woolly World has you playing as a yarn Yoshi, on the quest to save all your Yoshi brethren from Kamek, who has turn them all into balls of yarn. You do this in a fairly standard yoshi way, running, jumping and fluttering, licking up enemies and throwing stuff at people. There are some differences though, thanks to the Yarn mechanics. First of all, you throw balls of yarn instead of eggs. This often has the same purposes, but there are some small differences – you can fill in outlines to knit new platforms by throwing yarn at them, and some enemies like Pirahna plants get tangled up in the yarn instead of merely defeated. Yarn can come from enemies or from the environment – licking up loose threads often unravels areas of the environment and give you large yarn balls that can hit multiple enemies in a row.

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Transformations are back from the first game, with Yoshi knitting himself into new forms such as a motorbike or an umbrella for short sections. Rather than feeling like part of the core level, these are more like mini game challenges this time round. They’re fun, and I wish they were utilised more.

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Also back from the main series is the collection focus, which I’m not a fan of. Each world has 20 hidden stamps found by collecting specific gems, 5 flowers and 5 balls of wool to collect. To complete a stage fully you need to find all of these as well as finish with the maximum 30 health. Personally, I find this to be quite tedious and one of the weaker aspects of the series – it really slows the gameplay down. It sucks too, because there are good rewards behind it – new yoshi colours and new levels for example.

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Like Epic Yarn before it, you collect lots of gems in wooly world, and these can be used to spend on power ups before levels. Some of these are call backs to the first yoshi, such as getting melons to spit, and some make stages way easier by giving you invincibility or whatnot. Some felt like must haves for me though, with the gem magnet ability being a frequent must buy to keep gameplay fast.

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Overall, I liked Woolly World. It’s up there with the original Yoshi’s Island as one of the best in the series, and it’s absolutely high quality. I still had some concerns with slow paces though, and found my favourite levels were often those where they mixed up the standard gameplay. Despite that, this is a totally worthwhile game to play, and super adorable to boot. Worth getting.
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Markies
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by Markies Sun Nov 17, 2019 6:13 pm

I always feel bad following AJ.
It's like the poor suckers who had Hendrix, Nirvana or Zeppelin open for them...

Markies' Games Beat List Of 2019!
*Denotes Replay For Completion*

1. Power Stone 2 (SDC)
2. Radiata Stories (PS2)
3. Dusty Diamond's All-Star Softball (NES)
***4. Saiyuki: Journey West (PS1)***
5. Shining In The Darkness (GEN)
***6. Metropolis Street Racer (SDC)***
7. Half-Life 2 (XBOX)
8. Soul Blazer (SNES)
9. Mario Party (N64)
10. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance (GCN)
11. Street Fighter Collection (PS1)
12. Pokemon Stadium 2 (N64)
13. Burnout (PS2)
14. Phantasy Star III (GEN)
15. Batman: The Video Game (NES)
16. X-Men Legends (XBOX)
***17. Final Fantasy VII (PS1)***
18. Maximum Pool (SDC)
19. Puzzle Quest (PS2)
20. Jet Moto (PS1)
21. The Legend of Zelda: Collector's Edition (GCN)
22. Dead Or Alive 3 (XBOX)
23. Growlanser III: The Dual Darkness
24. Luigi's Mansion (GCN)

25. Diddy Kong Racing (N64)

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I beat Diddy Kong Racing on the Nintendo 64 this evening!

Mario Kart 64 was one of the last games that I really used to play back in the day. The N64 was the last console I had before I started getting hardcore into video games. It was the console I had during my senior year of High School, so I was busy doing other things besides playing video games. So, I only played a select few games from that console, mostly first party Nintendo titles. I skipped out on all of the Rare games on the N64 and I've been slowly collecting, playing and then beating them. Diddy Kong Racing, I'd been playing off and on for many years. I remember getting stuck and then stopping for a long time. I decided to pick it up this weekend and found out I was only a few races away from finishing the game. So, I took some time to remedy that situation.

It is very easy and very apt to compare Diddy Kong Racing to Mario Kart 64. I think Diddy is better in some ways while I think Mario is better in others. For example, the ability to drive a Kart, hovercraft and plane really add a unique sense to the game. It makes playing tracks very different as each one operates in a very special way. Karts glide along the ground, Hovercrafts bounce on the water while the airplanes can go anywhere in the air. The Adventure Mode is also unique for a Kart based game. I was not expecting boss battles or different worlds to go into, so that made progress more enjoyable instead of just collecting trophy after trophy.

However, some of those battles are insane. The boss battles can be down right cheap and collecting 8 coins while still getting in first can be quite a challenge. It's a stronger challenge when you miss some of the power-ups like in Mario Kart. Instead of getting better items the closer you are to last, everybody just gets the same item. It makes catching up incredibly difficult to do once you are in last. Also, the characters just aren't as memorable. Besides Diddy, Banjo and Conker, I could hardly name any of the characters.

Overall, I would take Mario Kart 64 over Diddy Kong Racing any day of the week. Mario just feels more balanced along with having more memorable tracks and characters. However, if you are looking for another Kart like game with some variety to it, Diddy Kong Racing is pretty damn fun. It's still a blast to play, just be prepared for a bit of challenge, especially later in the game.
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prfsnl_gmr
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by prfsnl_gmr Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:30 pm

You guys are killing it with the reviews. I spent nearly an hour reading all of them! Awesome, awesome work.

@AJ...Great reviews. One quick question...have you tried co-op in Yoshi’s Wooly World? If not, you should do so. It’s brilliant and like playing a completely different game. Also, Subsurface Circular sounds great.
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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2019

by PartridgeSenpai Mon Nov 18, 2019 5:46 am

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

1. Night Slashers (Switch)
2. Bye-Bye BOXBOY! (3DS)
3. GTA4: The Ballad of Gay Tony (Xbox 360)
4. Katamari Forever (PS3)
5. Detention (PS4)
6. Donkey Kong 64 (N64) *
7. OctoDad: Dadliest Catch (PS4) *
8. FlintHook (Switch)
9. God of War (PS4)
10. God of War HD (PS3)
11. Tiny Barbarian DX (Switch)
12. God of War 2 HD (PS3)
13. Starlink (Switch)
14. Shin Gundam Musou (PS3)
15. Battle & Get! Pokemon Typing DS (DS)
16. Banjo-Kazooie (N64) *
17. Super Mario 64: Rumble Edition (N64)
18. Mario Party 3 (N64) *
19. Paper Mario (N64) *
20. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES) *
21. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX (GBC) *
22. The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages (GBC) *
23. The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons (GBC) *
24. Yoshi's Island (SNES) *
25. Super Mario World (SNES) *
26. Super Mario RPG (SFC) *
27. Kaeru No Tame Ni Kane Wa Naru (GB)
28. Final Fantasy VI (SFC) *
29. Final Fantasy IV (SFC) *
30. Final Fantasy V (SFC)
31. Final Fantasy III (Famicom)
32. Mother 2 (SFC) *
33. Mother 3 (GBA) *
34. Hebereke (Famicom)
35. Donkey Kong Country 2 (SFC)
36. Donkey Kong Country 3 (SFC)
37. Donkey Kong Country (SFC) *
38. Wario's Woods (Famicom)
39. Paper Mario: Color Splash (Wii U)
40. Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam (3DS)
41. Luigi's Mansion (3DS) *
42. Paper Mario: Sticker Star (3DS)
43. Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga & Bowser's Minions (3DS)
44. Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story & Bowser Jr's Journey (3DS)
45. Tomato Adventure (GBA)
46. Corpse Party (PSP)
47. Rave Master: Fighting Live (GC)
48. Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (GBA) *
49. Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (GBA)
50. Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance (GBA) *
51. New Super Mario Bros. 2 (3DS)
52. The Outer Worlds (Xbone)
53. Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight (Xbone)
54. Guacamelee 2 (Xbone)
55. Steamworld Dig 2 (Xbone)
56. Yoku's Island Express (Xbone)
57. Guacamelee (Xbone) *
58. Blazing Chrome (Xbone)

59. Minit (Xbone)

This is another "why not" Game Pass game, and that sorta ended up how I felt about it at the end. I saw the last half of this game played on a livestream maaaany months ago, probably around the time it came out, and was always mildly interested, but nearly enough to pay real muns for it. I'm pretty glad I held out, at this point, because while Minit is neat, the kind of experience it offers isn't something I think I'll get as much mileage out of as a similarly short game like Blazing Chrome. It took me like 50 minutes to beat, and that's knowing nothing about the first half of the game.

Minit is the story of a little blob thing who one day finds a sword on the beach but it's CURSED, and will kill you in one minute! Your goal is to break the curse in a series of minute-long runs where you die at the end and respawn at your home. You can find other homes to respawn in as well as teleporters linking them as you go through the game, but the world map is still fairly small. The most limiting factor is obviously the minute-long death countdown. It's a simple adventure game with very little combat (although there is some) and is more about enjoying the quirky characters in the world and solving puzzles than any kind of action.

There's quite a fair bit of hidden stuff to find in the game, and even though I was looking, I only found 63% of it, according to the end-game counter, so you could theoretically spend a fair bit of time replaying or just straight up playing the game looking for all the secret coins and heart containers lying around. There's also a challenge mode you unlock when you beat the game once that makes it so you only have FORTY seconds instead of sixty, which I have to imagine makes the game a fair bit harder, but that wasn't something I was really interested in.

The presentation is fine, but nothing to write home about. It's a charming monochrome pixelated style with fairly minimal use of music. The game runs and controls fine on the Xbone, not that I'd have any reason to assume it isn't. The writing is minimalistic, as you can't exactly spend much time talking to people when you only have 60 seconds to live, and characters will even auto-talk to you just by walking up to them. Amusingly enough, you can actually stab every character in the game, and they'll all react in some way as well, which is fun. There's a very lighthearted way to the way the game is written though. My favorite is when there's a guy who talks realllllly slowly, and you basically need to spend your entire "life" listening to them talk so you can hear the secret they say at the end XD

Verdict: Hesitantly Recommended. Minit isn't a bad game, but it's a very particular kind of game. It's a very particular kind of game that you may well enjoy well enough, but I think relatively few people are going to enjoy Minit enough to feel justified paying the $10 it goes for on the Switch eShop (for example). If you have kids who are just getting into games, this would be something great to play together, or if you're really into adventure games and want something a little bit different you will probably quite enjoy Minit. With everything that $10 can buy you, I think Minit doesn't do quite enough to stand out from the indie crowd. Personally, I'm glad I got it effectively for free through Game Pass, because I did not feel that I got $10 worth of enjoyment out of Minit despite relatively enjoying the time I did spend with it.
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