2020 blog

April 08, 2020 @ 2:00 pm

Some favourites

  • Yakuza 0
  • Killer7
  • Furi
  • The Sims 2 (GBA)

////WARNING

I usually have no or minor spoilers, with only one writeup containing (warned) heavy ones but I write these for people who have already completed the game, it's my experiences and thoughts on the game afterall. Reading only games you yourself have completed or want to know someone's thoughts on though you never plan to yourself is recommended


Table of contents
1 - Yakuza 0 ‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎ 2 - NFS Underground 2 ‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎ 3 - Mega Man X ‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎
4 - Hitman: Blood Money ‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎ 5 - Street Fighter III: Third Strike ‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎ 6 - Killer7 ‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎
7 - MadWorld ‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎ 8 - Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest ‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎ 9 - Kirby's Adventure ‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎
10 - God Hand ‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎ 11 - Pepsiman ‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎ 12 - Bejeweled 3 ‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎
13 - Alter Ego ‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎ 14 - Furi ‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎ 15 - Metal Slug ‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎
16 - Overclocked ‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎ 17 - The Sims 2 (GBA) ‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎ 18 - Super Hexagon ‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎
19 - Disc Room ‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎ 20 - World's Hardest Game ‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎ 21 - Shovel Knight ‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎
22 - Waku Waku 7 ‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎ 23 - WHAT THE GOLF? ‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎ 24 - Project Zero 2: Wii Edition //// Spoilers ‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎
25 - Yakuza Kiwami ‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎ 26 - Super Mamono Sisters ‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎ 27 - SiNiSistar ‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎
28 - Pyscho Train‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎ 29 - Hypnagogia‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎ 30 - YS: Lacrimosa of Dana‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎

2020 games (that took at least an hour)

1 - Yakuza 0

MMMMMM. I played this game to try and have something to talk about with my bro Thai but my interest in it and now the series as a whole blew his out of the water as he never even finished the game.

My first impression on some parts of the game wasn't the best. Right at the beginning I was put of by the amount of cutscenes, but later on I didn't only have a new-found investment in the story, but the game felt less cutscene heavy anyway. Similarly, I would rush through the Majima sections and at first thought I didn't like him as a character. Eventually I realised that my apathy towards those sections was because of how much interest I had in Kiryu's story, which on the plus-side left me with lots of fun post-game content.

The combat system has depth that I originally missed out on by cheesing my way through the game with beast style and staminan royales on normal difficulty (my bro recommended the difficulty to me), but once I was forced to get better through climax battles and the coliseum on hard, I found out how good it was and sought out similar games.

The substories are amazing and don't feel like a chore (telephone club excluded). Their respective reminders be it familiar faces joining your business or postcards to Dolce Kamiya or returning characters makes "ah, good times" moments before the game is even over and really builds the community of Kamurocho.

While the normal OST is great with its fitting and memorable tracks, the disco and karaoke songs (excluding I wanna take you home) are amazing. When I'm doing karaoke in Yakuza 0 I'm doing karaoke in real life. The disco songs are inspired by real disco songs and are just as good if not better than those they were based on.

Finally, the balance of serious and absurd is just unmatched. It's woven into every part of the game and is probably the reason most fans of Yakuza are fans of Yakuza. The mood that the whole game gives can even fix parts of the story that in anything else would detract from it, for me at least allowing it to get away with almost anything. I've heard that the game is not for everyone, but they are missing out.

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2 - NFS Underground 2

It wasn't bad, but it's probably not worth playing in 2020 because I haven't played many racers and my enjoyment came from the cars going vroom. I also accidently skipped through all but the last few cutscenes in the game because they were about 5 pixels and I didn't realise they were cutscenes (judging from the few I did see, I didn't miss much).

It eventually all started to feel very samey which didn't go well with its low difficulty. The final race was also somehow the easiest in the game while also being the longest, definitely not the best climax there could have been. Progressing through the game by discovering new locations to customise your car to increase its rating is fun until you are forced to make your car hideous just to progress the story, so it's a good idea to meet the star requirements with a backup.

The one thing that did stand out is the soundtrack. You will know all the songs off by heart if you play this game and can understand the lyrics to Black Betty. The exception is riders of the storm because I never spent enough time in the main menu or garages to hear it all.

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3 - Mega Man X

It was alright because I used a guide. If I tried to go about it by looking for the powerups and boss weaknesses myself I would definitely have had a bad time and given up.

Not only is the final boss a huge diffspike but every time you die on the stage you have to farm the slugs for weapon energy so you can actually deal damage after and then climb all the way up and do all 3 phases which is annoying. Especially because I suck at the third phase.

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4 - Hitman: Blood Money

Good game that d o e s n t w o r k (on my computer).

You have the freedom to approach the level in a few ways and at first my strategy was to kill literally everyone because I didn't know there was a map which turned out to be very essential on your first playthrough. But, apart from the song playing on the title screen, the best part about the game is that after you've finished your first playthrough and know the maps/who you're actually supposed to kill you could play the game on the highest difficulty, which removes your map and the ability to save, or play on the same difficulty and just go for a higher rank or even just do it in a more fun way. I would have done at least one of those if it weren't for the aforementioned "doesn't work".

I had a glitch where the game crashed more often the more levels I beat. Just to load into the final levels I had to turn all the graphics settings to the lowest, presumably to reduce loading times as that is when it crashed, and after 1 level on my second playthrough I could never play again. Even after a reinstall with all save data removed, the problem somehow persisted.

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5 - Street Fighter III: Third Strike

Played this for the 2020 Yolympics, and since my experience from SFA3 carried over into this game I could get a decent (by my standards) score/1cc pretty quickly.

This game proved I was mistaken in thinking I only liked the SFA series, and not the main games. Not only does it have a cool vibe, second only to Tekken 4 in fighting games I've played, but it is very nice to play. I've only gotten a 1cc with Chun-Li because of my SFA3 skills with her but I also played a mentionable at the very least amount of Makoto, but not enough to 1cc. Gil is cool af but if this were my first street fighter game his supers would piss me off.

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6 - Killer7

This one definitely left an impression on me. It's weird in the best way. It's got the thing that I love going on where you can follow the story but you're not 100% sure what the plot is, and it feels like there's another layer to it that you're too dumb to understand. The character transition effect will always be cool, and the lines from the smith personas when you flick through the tv are all iconic. I reference them to people who have 0 clue as to what this game is.

At first the Heaven Smiles scared me, which is a good thing but towards the end of the game they started to suffer the same fate as did the repetitive gameplay and "puzzles" where they automatically give you the solution (probably the worst part of the whole game), the novelty started to wear off and it became a bit of a drag even though I limited my play time to try and avoid that.

The amazing weird-in-a-good-way vibe and just letting the whole experience sink in after the ending are the real reasons playing this game is worth it. Especially the Travis animation in Ulmeyda's level. In the name of Harman...

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7 - MadWorld

If you feel like having fun by just fucking people up without much of a challenge, then this is a good one. Being on the Wii it makes good use of motion controls so it's a great game for psychopaths, I don't know if that's a bad thing for most since I feel like I'm more tolerant to weird controls than most.

The setting is also quite unique. It has a hip hop soundtrack which clearly differs between songs but stays similar which works very well; and the black, white and red colour scheme is iconic. The story itself is alright but the most memorable dialogue comes from the black baron's minigame introductions and of course the banter between the announcers which is good, but the lines understandably get repeated a considerable amount.

Every stage has a time limit which is quite useless as you can reach the required score much faster. Nobody is going to sit there for half an hour throwing people onto train tracks (in reality there's got to be at least one guy), even if they wanted to pad out the short and easy with a capital EZ experience the game is. The short length itself isn't bad though, it could have been a bit longer, but it still felt complete.

Most importantly of all, my sister made me a MadWorld birthday card and it is actually sick. ////later note, when said sister decided to give the game a try, I discovered that a hard difficulty was unlocked but I haven't played it.

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8 - Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest

It's relaxing. When I wanted to play something but wasn't really in the mood for anything, I played this. This is greatly helped by the soundtrack which is amazing like it was in the first game. Although there's a difficulty spike towards the end SNES-style it's not harsh enough to ruin the relaxing mood and I found it fun.

On the other hand, looking for secret areas or coins or whatnot is neither amazing nor fun but thankfully they're 100% optional so I opted not to find them. Even so at the end of the game the old monkey taunts you over it and tells you to unlock the secret world. Dumb bitch I'm not collecting your coins.

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9 - Kirby's Adventure

It doesn't feel like an NES game at all, probably because it came out later in its generation. It has nice music, good animations, an easy difficulty and great variety.

The boss battle at the end was different from the rest of the game but it was nice.

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10 - God Hand

God Hand is a very fun game. I know this because it luckily ran well (enough) on the ps2 emulator for me, the second game to do so. The humour is so bad it's good and the gameplay is great, especially Azel's fight. Sadly I'm not Alexander, and everything is running kind of worse for me lately including the emulator so I can't replay the game on hard.

This game might actually have the worst credit sequence I have ever seen in any form of media, it was so bad it's good at first but then it wasn't.

I also didn't know about the kick after the normal dodge the whole game, because I didn't know you could just spam the dodge and therefore almost always just backflipped (apart from the bosses where sidestepping is clearly advantageous), which is an even bigger thing to miss out on.

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11 - Pepsiman

The novelty wore off before I finished it but I persevered for I was almost at the end of this tiny game.

The conveyor part killed me many times, but it was my favourite part.

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////Return message After a long hiatus I've found inspiration in an r/12in12 post to write these short reviews again, and even with a tiny bit of effort this time! The following game has caused me some technical issues, but I'll leave those aside and talk about the game itself. And now this small section is being separated from bejeweled so I can also announce that I've re-written everything above this point, yeeee hawwwwww!! Yeah, no I didn't have much to say about pepsiman apparently. This sentence is the third edit to this message and I would like to add that the reviews are not in the order that I played them, but the first was the first I played this year and the last will also be the last.

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12 - Bejeweled 3

The most Bejeweled parts of Bejeweled 3, the classic and zen modes admittedly bore me but both the lightning mode and the quest mode are very fun. The 4 unlockable modes are just some quest mode minigames standalone, which kind of work because of the next thing I have a couple thoughts on: the badges.

The badges give the 4 short modes replayability if you don't have anyone to compete with. The Elite badges are ironically the easiest ones to complete entirely while the normal ones are a mix of grinding and skill. Going for platinum on the grindy ones is a chore that's not worth the effort; the skill ones on the other hand are mastery goals beyond the default high score tables. They're not easy.

At the end of the day most of my enjoyment probably came from the fact that someone I know was also playing the game, so we got to compare progress and scores. Unmentioned problems aside this made it a good time.

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13 - Alter Ego

An idle game for mobile, but I played it because I liked the aesthetics I saw from the Google Play preview. They didn't disappoint.

Contrary to what I thought would be the case because of its genre it was quite short, and I got all the endings the day after I started, because replays are thankfully much shorter than the first run.

The part I kind of wanted to try out but didn't get to is the part in the endgame where you're supposed to read a book and then discuss it with Es. I was listening to an audiobook version of The Door into Summer, the book I chose, but the website I was listening to it on went down before I could finish it. With no desire to read it properly I uninstalled the game.

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14 - Furi

A boss rush divided by walking simulator segments, and even though after every attempt (excluding short ones) I had to quit because my laptop doesn't like the summer's heat, I still had a great time playing the game. After the finishing the first difficulty I went straight into the second and completed that one too, the only time I can recall where I've done that.

Though I have no complaints about the bullet hell sections my favourite parts are the parry/sword sections, they're actually thrilling. Mastering each enemy alongside the games mechanics is just fun and it all culminates to Bernard. Enjoying the parry mechanics so much has made me want to play something similar, but I only know of Sekiro which I can't run but will get to years down the line.

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15 - Metal Slug

I cheesed all the boss fights to get an easy 1cc, so I missed out on those however I still had had my fun with the game. I remember the boss fights taking ten years to kill with the pistol anyway, so grinding for runs without spamming bombs might have burnt me out because of the added risk of not reaching the boss with a weapon.

The classic practice and strategy of arcade games that lead into the first successful run was great. What made me take a break which surprisingly and thankfully turned out to be temporary, was the last level's comparative difficulty and my inability to figure out how to actually do it.

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16 - Overclocked

While the gameplay excels beyond every other aspect, the others are also very good for a game with no form of monetisation. The levels are fun, the extra challenge of each mission (the first encouragement of mastery) adds a good challenge and the build-up of new mechanics as the chapters go on is done well. The art and animations are decent, and while I did jam to the boss music ingame I never got the urge to listen to it outside of it.

The second encouragement or benefit of mastering the game is that it seems to have been designed with speedrunning in mind. There's a toggle that removes cutscenes/hub teleports, time-based challenges and leaderboards for both the whole game and its individual levels. These features aren't just put in as a bad attempt at gaining an audience, it suits the gameplay perfectly. This of course adds a bunch or replayability. Sadly, among some other bugs there's also an exploit relating to this but to me it seems that being a small game everyone who knows it doesn't want to abuse it.

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17 - The Sims 2 (GBA)

I adore this game and I adore Strangetown. The combination of: The OST, which is both fitting and memorable (It was remastered 2 years ago by the composer); The visuals, amazingly atmospheric; The characters, which are an assortment of stereotypes both human and not written in a way I enjoyed and of course each episode's stories themselves are the four things that make it what it is: weird. Great, but weird.

While as a story-based game the gameplay itself isn't anything too exciting, the minigames are actually fun. Although the cola minigame is undoubtedly the most iconic, my favourites are Bigfoot Love Chickens (a money machine) and Keelhaulin' Cards. With the exception of Canyon Jumping, they're all integrated into the world nicely. Even then the exception can be forgiven, because Strangetown is indeed strange.

I've heard complaints of excessive grind and while it's a good idea to level up the social moves in the 1/2* levels because of the low health drain I didn't feel that way. The gaps between the action I also did not mind as not being able to regenerate performance due to recently refreshed needs can be used getting money from the minigames, and then when you've done the minigames you wanted to do you can go back and increase your performance. Admittedly waiting might be an issue if instead of wanting to advance the plot of the short episodes, you only want to do either the minigames or the social moves grind if you're doing it late.

The only other issue I can think of is a lack of continuity between episodes at certain points at least. The mummy goes from being your friend to not being your friend and Frankie goes from being happy about you hanging out with Ara to not being so happy about you hanging out with Ara. I might be missing something else or another issue in general because my current save is two years old, with me finishing the half of the game I had left in one day this year.

One last thing that is notable to me personally is that since this is a game from my childhood, it's probably the game with the longest gap between me first playing it and finally completing it. That title formerly belonged to Super Hexagon which I completed earlier this year, but I haven't written anything about it yet. It looks like I have some continuity issues of my own now.

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18 - Super Hexagon

I like how in a game in which you just move either left or right, that's 6 minutes long, your hours played can go in the double digits before you finish it. Most of mine come from years past, it was my first steam game after all. In this year's "Oh yeah, Super Hexagon" moment I finished the three hyper stages which seemed impossible in earlier years. Whilst doing the last one I muted the sound from the in-game setting to reduce my nerves because even though the music is great, it's combination with the voice clip of your rank was a bit too much for me this meant I watched the ending muted, and although I saw it later on YouTube I missed out nevertheless.

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19 - Disc Room

This game is basically a collection of avoidance challenges and puzzles. Playing the game to just beat it is quite trivial as the requirements for unlocking rooms are usually quite low and it'll take less than 2 hours to complete, so unlocking and getting gold on all the rooms is what makes this game fun. For many people, myself included, this fun is impeded by the level Lobotomy which just getting the required 10 seconds on is easy but getting gold on is luck dependant and annoying. Something I haven't seen anyone complain about but could also be fun impeding if it's not their cup of tea are the vague puzzles.

As previously mentioned, this game is also a collection of puzzles. Their difficulty varies of course varies as it's also a puzzle game, making me go "aha", feel like a genius for solving one or two, making me feel dumb for not solving one or two, knowing I would have never figured one or two out without seeing the solution and weirdly not being able to replicate one I solved by doing the exact same thing. They usually take advantage of the abilities, which are mostly added for puzzles/specific rooms and have very limited usefulness in most stages.

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20 - World's Hardest Game

Yet another childhood game revisited. I made sure to play the original and not the html version as they changed some things for absolutely no reason. I didn't initially plan on doing the whole thing, but I was clearing levels at a good pace so I decided to go all the way. The game itself is completely unambitious, which as well as being a 2008 flash game means there isn't much negative to say about it that isn't to be expected already. Either way, the game doesn't live up to its name which is why it was so popular in the first place.

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21 - Shovel Knight

For how much I've heard about it I expected more, but I guess it wasn't bad. My preference to the 16-bit era may play a role in that though, if you're looking for what an NES game would be like if it had more modern quality (not as in graphics or audio) then this game is probably for you. Nothing about it particularly memorable except that the dream sequences were absolutely beautiful and that the bosses were easy because you can have a huge healthbar and spam the bouncy ball that you get at the start. The difficulty in general wasn't very NES-like, which could be part of its appeal as a modern NES game.

As I was writing that, I booted the game up and tried some of the challenges that exist at least on the treasure trove edition. I was just going to check if they had the NES-like difficulty the main game chose not to have. I found that it did exactly that, by having "rematches" with the knights and other fights of the game only this time with limited health, a set weapon and a timer as a cheese-blocking measure. I also did the challenge where you bounce to the end and thought both were quite fun, I'm not sure if I'm somehow forgetting that I enjoyed the main game, find the challenges are more fun or just played the main game at the wrong time. Either way I'll get round to the challenges and possibly the spectre campaign eventually.

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22 - Waku Waku 7

A fighting game that is great for those not too into the the genre. The controls are simple and the special move inputs are lenient, connecting attacks feels good and audiovisually it's what you would want from a fun fighting game that you won't get too into. The last two fights only seemed possible by cheesing them, especially the last one.

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23 - WHAT THE GOLF?

So quirky and hilarious! Nah, but it's not bad. It can be amusing but sometimes the humour fails. I was doing all 3 stages of each level, with the 2nd or 3rd usually being better than the 1st but to me the game overstayed it's welcome, so I eventually just started doing the first to finish the game. I still ended up with 93% completion though, so I guess it was long enough for me to have experienced most of it while still having a bit to come back to if I wanted to. So far though, I have not.

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24 - Project Zero 2: Wii Edition //// Spoilers

I've wanted to play a fatal frame game at different points before, but never went through with it due to the lack of pc ports and my inability to run the ps2 emulator well. Once I got back into using the wii I tried to play Ju-On, which didn't work. Being a wii-horror alternative parallel with playing a game from the series or resident evil being part of a challenge I signed up to at the start of the year, meant it was finally time to give a game in the series a try. It was, as I wanted, Japanese horror. Stylistically what I wanted, at times a bit scary but not quite as great as I'd hoped in part because of my own cluelessness making the game too long.

The simplest reason for said cluelessness extending the game was just me not knowing what I'm supposed to do next. My walkthrough usage wasn't too high though as I avoided using it unless I was completely lost. The most annoying part was in chapter 7; I was stumped on how to get past the spirits blocking certain doors once you had regained your camera. The solution was obviously to just take a picture of them, which I had already tried but it didn't work because the distance you have to be for these things to work is oddly specific. At one point I also took a long break and came back without the faintest clue of what I was doing last time I played. The game doesn't remind you, which I actually like. Take your own notes. (You do have the option to restart the chapter, and wandering around should eventually put you back on track)

The saddest part of my experience though, which made the game longer and more tiresome than it could have been was not understanding the most important aspect of its combat, fatal frames and the combo opportunities they give. I may have gotten a fatal frame or two randomly but didn't know their importance in dealing damage or how to do the "combos" I saw mentioned in guides without any explanation. At first the combat being less gamelike actually made the fights more immersive, intensive and scary; later on, however, the fights started to take too long. This became the main reason I took long breaks from the game partly after halfway through, as I figured them out 9 hours into the game at chapter 8. The number of proper fights I had is actually quite low, since wanting the game to end I ran past all the ghosts leading up to the final boss.

I watched my sister try the first person gamemode but she died fast as neither of us knew how to play and it wasn't interesting enough for me to want to try it myself. Even though it's completely different to the normal mode if I end up craving a little more Project Zero 2: Wii Edition I'll give it a try and update this section.

Being a horror game the things outside the gameplay are of equal importance to it. To cover the basic points, the artstyle/graphics themselves are probably as good as they get for a wii game of this style and the music while not being notable, doesn't detract from anything.

The sound design is great. During fights you have your heartbeat, the ambience and the ghost's words or cries getting louder as they come closer, possibly telling you that something's behind you; then you hear the camera charging up, the snap and the ghost's shout. The hits are impactful, the fights intense. The way all the characters speak sounds innocent in a way which adds a sad tone even outside the sadder moments, and makes the sadder moments even more tragic because of how wrong everything feels. Memorably, even though I wasn't very immersed in this specific moment, realising the bell revealed the hiding spots of Chitose, who was using it to call for help from her brother and then fighting her as she cries about her fear of the dark in the manner the characters do was just sad.

Cinematically and story wise it started off great. The opening cutscene shows daylight and brightness that never appear again during play, properly setting up the mood of the village. My interest was kept by the diaries and notes written about the events leading up to its catastrophe, and the glimpses of ghosts reaffirming them was nice. Later on though, the current day events of Mayu's many disappearances got old and my interest in the notes and diaries was fading.

In the last 2 chapters, the story once again became engaging as everything was clearly leading up to the finale. I actually liked the ending (crimson butterfly) even though I went through 10 hours for a sad one. The outro song starting to play may be lyrically appropriate for all I know but I found it quite jarring playing right after something so dark had just happened, it sounded like a song about moving on while the emotional aftermath was still taking place for Mio. The daylight that was absent since the opening cutscene returning as the sun rises though, was great closure. I think it may have been better if that's when the song started rather than when Mio chased Mayu's butterfly.

The unlockables after you beat the game I find strange, but more content existing isn't something to complain about. Extra difficulties, a clear counter, costumes and camera upgrades for future playthroughs being unlocked at the end would better fit a more gameplay-oriented game but I guess it is a nice inclusion if you really enjoyed the gameplay it does have to offer. The art, cinematics and unnecessary photo mode being unlocked are also a nice touch; with the strange one being strange but also could work as an outfit tester.

Overall, if the series' quality and mechanics are somewhat consistent then I can understand it being a favourite for fans of this style. It seems like it could be fun if you know what you're doing after the novelty wears off.

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25 - Yakuza Kiwami

If you go into it expecting a filler remake of the first entry to the series, then you'll get what you came for. It's basically more Yakuza 0, but worse and with less content. Though it may not sound like it, describing a game like that is a compliment and is about what you'd expect a filler remake in a series to strive for. My only complaint about its faithfulness is that the Majima everywhere mechanic shows the fun series favourite Majima while the faithful cutscenes show a not-so-fun psychotic Majima which is conflicting and bad.

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26 - Super Mamono Sisters

Seeing the joke speedrun on YouTube, I thought it would be a fun game to play and maybe try to speedrun myself. Although simple for its type (and I don't mean platformer) the gameplay is actually quite good; playing on the hard difficulty made the bosses strong enough to have to learn the patterns, and the whole game is possible without getting hit. This gameplay makes a real speedrun of the game possible and I had fun beating the time of the famous one. While not complicated there are a few tricks to save time such as constantly dodging, and a noclip glitch I found accidentally while practicing a glitchless skip.

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27 - SiNiSistar

The gameplay on its own is boring but, excluding the whole imprisonment section in the cathedral, is nuisance-free and doesn't detract from the overall experience. The aforementioned prison section though is easily the worst part of the game. My first thought was to watch all the animations but that quickly proved to be wrong. Next, I thought that the only way to escape was to quit and try again, being was a sort of bad ending. My next death and therefore imprisonment compelled me to look the section up which is when I discovered that what seems to be a cutscene is in fact, not. This is followed by the part with the 2 cultists and the stairs that makes no sense even if you figure it out first try.

What the game lacks in gameplay it makes up for in ambience. It's so, so horror in the horrific and not scary sense. It's the darkest game I've ever played and possibly ever will. The art, animations, lighting, music and sound are all actually amazingly done and are much higher quality than what one would expect from the type (and I don't mean horror); making the game a very memorable experience to say the least.

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28 - Pyscho Train

This game is just not worth it. The things it does have in the gameplay, graphics and even the menus are the same as every other hidden object game but none of them are done well. Other than that though it's just completely missing features that competing games have such as voice acting or literally anything that would make the game stand out which matters in a genre with such similar games.

Even on expert difficulty the adventure part of the game is mostly unchallenging. A decent amount of my hints were because of areas I didn't know you could examine. Without hints the hidden-object sections are good difficulty wise, but does the puzzle object type of thing where you need to do something to get the object except all you ever have to do is open something making it pointless as you just click whatever changes your cursor icon. A badly designed moment that combines both the adventuring and hidden-object scenes is that there was a rock you needed to break and a hidden-scene in one place, but the scene doesn't give you the item the first time, only the second time which is activated after doing some unrelated things even though the puzzle was there the whole time. The mini-games mostly consist of "enter the password you found somewhere" but the others are standard but okay. What is bad though is that if you skip one (which I did once by accident on the first one and once because everything seemed to be in place but one piece, which moving would ruin everything else) it doesn't even show you the solution.

The story and writing are terrible. It's just downright funny that the "creepiest villain ever" they advertised is literally called the Trainman and that the ending was whatever it was. I was thinking that the Trainman might have had some interesting backstory for his actions but nope it was just a cliche and unspecific "I was humiliated in my past". Even forgetting about the story itself the actual events in the adventure don't make sense either with the protagonist occasionally being omniscient, and other times needing a tool to smash a vase instead of just dropping it or somehow wanting a flashlight to search inside a desk in a lit room.

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29 - Hypnagogia

The exploration of dreams is a good theme. Especially since I haven't been overexposed to attempts of it, . Out of the three dream simulators I've played this one is my favourite not only for its great environments but also for its plentiful NPCs and interactions with them, something the others lacked. Just like real dreams, the surreal worlds are not only interesting but feel like they have meaning or connections to the dreamer's life behind them which only the creator can understand fully. Another interesting dream-like mechanic is how some slightly maps change once you backtrack to progress the story, which in the context of dreams is a plus while in most others it would not.

Considering that it's a game mostly made by 1 guy in a month for a game jam, it's great because even if it weren't a game mostly made by 1 guy in a month it would still be pretty cool. The game's only big flaw is that there are no saves at all, though short I found it just long enough to warrant them being an option and worse, access to dream hub+ is gone if you wanted to explore a specific dream again some time after closing the game. Other than that though its quality impressed me and the only indication of it being a solo project for a jam is it's length.

30 - YS: Lacrimosa of Dana

I had a lot of fun with the combat. The effects, animations and voice clips all make it exciting and wonderfully flashy. And unlike what I've heard about some other games with lots of flare, the combat isn't completely braindead; it requires some pattern learning and timing. My save was sadly only on hard difficulty but I wish I played on nightmare so I could experience it more. After finishing the game I was elated to discover that I could indeed experience it more on any difficulty, with any team of characters including solo and duo with a character level the devs deemed appropriate, all that just as I hoped I would be able to before I learnt of and unlocked it.

Even with all the above I recognise it's flaws. Flash guards are useless compared to flash moves which are also easier to pull off (I've since heard you can combo both giving them use). I found that usually only one skill was really useful for each character and you get the ability to spam even the strong ones much too often.

The story has some really cool ideas but the actual writing itself isn't good. First of all, the game manages to have comical death scenes. Worst of all, some things go unexplained or are just instantly dropped like they changed their mind on it being a plot point such as with the most glaring example - the mimic reveal. The more minor events are good but being minor there was nothing memorable. An exception to the "not good" or minor was the character development of Laxia, which felt natural and thankfully turned her into a likeable character.

I didn't grind much for a JRPG. I purposely avoided healing items in boss battles and the only time I used them was because I couldn't be bothered to go back to a crystal in a dungeon. You naturally get everything essential, and if you want to take some time out you can upgrade the weapons more or get some armour. Most time grinding was me spamming skills on the bees to level up which didn't take too long with the exp attachments. There was only one instance where I had to grind to do something, it was to collect something for a quest which are optional but I will count.

Glitches are not hard to find. One of the rare times where I've tried to do what could potentially be a glitch and pulled it off, spamming the character change can lead to things that are not supposed to happen. To completely break the game you have to do things purposely, and furthermore the only glitch I can recall that happened accidentally is falling out of bounds (especially underwater) which just does a bit of damage.

Concluding, it was the most anime game I've ever played.


Probably it, happy 2021


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