January 04, 2021 @ 12:02 pm
New year new gaems. I pretty much cleared out my backlog in 2020 so I don't expect to have nearly as much on my list this year but hopefully there's plenty of good new releases to look forward to.
Top 10 games played in 2021:
- 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim
- Yakuza: Like a Dragon
- Resident Evil Village
- Monster Hunter Rise
- It Takes Two
- Jet Island
- Nier Replicant ver.1.22somethingsomething
- Project Wingman
- Raging Loop
Completed: 61 Dropped: 19
Guilty Gear Xrd -Rev2- [Completed]
- Great fighting game. One of the best artstyles in the industry, a wide variety of cool and unique characters, and of course super satisfying combat. The tutorial also has a lot of work put into it that I really appreciate even if I knew a lot of it already. I also really love all the work put into characters intro/victory screens and instakills. Arcade mode is pretty much what you expect but MOM mode is a bit too complicated for me. The lobby system is really cute as well. My only standout issue with Xrd is that some of the voices are annoying for me like May and Jam's. Jam's voice in particular pretty much makes her unplayable for me.
Mad Rat Dead [Completed]
- Very nice and soulful rhythm platformer. The artstyle and story are very charming and the music is great (as it should be, since it's a rhythm game). Mad Rat's character development isn't anything groundbreaking but it's still pretty heartwarming watching him come to terms with his fate and use his last day to help people. Also the rat god's design is super cute. The game had a nice earthbound-ish "enter your name" moment as well and I always appreciate those. The gameplay is a little bit of a mixed bag for me. Having to line up jumps and dashes with the beat is satisfying most of the time but in the more difficult sections it can feel like a frustrating limitation, particularly when the beat suddenly slows down at certain points in each song breaking the sense of rhythm and almost always resulting in a quick death which really hurts the flow.
Kirby: Planet Robobot [Completed]
- Pretty comfy game to play in bed. Solid but had a really strong unimpressed feeling of "Yep, that's kirby on the 3DS" like with Super Mario 3D Land. I'm not a big fan of how kirby controls since he's floaty but the robot felt better and it kinda just made me wish they made a new IP where you play as the robot without the lame kirby baggage. I think the game kind of overused the switching of front and back layers since DK already thoroughly explored that, but some stages were more fun like the car segments and remote-controlled kirbys. The game also looked fairly nice for a 3DS game.
Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia [Dropped]
- Weird FE game. Even though I prefer 3H and awakening it's nice getting the classic FE vibes back once in a while and echoes provides quite well in that respect. The artstyle and character designs are great and I really wish the artist worked on more FE games. There are a lot of weird aspects to the game like dungeon crawling and magic costing HP. The dungeon-crawling is very underdeveloped and might as well not even be in the game. I never really cared for weapon durability so I don't mind it not being included and magic costing HP seems like a fine enough system. The story isn't really anything special and the characters are serviceable but the dialogue is pretty well-written and the voice acting is solid. It's also cool that you get to control two separate armies led by 2 different lords for most of the game. The absolute biggest problem with the game and the thing that led me to drop it is the garbage map design. An absurd amount of maps in echoes are just mostly flat maps with hordes of enemies clumped together in big groups in random spots. When they do try to get creative it tends to result in obnoxious poison swamp maps that aren't enjoyable in the least. The difficulty annoyingly ramps up in the later acts as well and even though it can technically be alleviated by grinding in the dungeons, I'd rather not subject myself to the tedium. Hats off to the first dropped game of 2021.
13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim [Completed]
- Extremely impressive game and certainly the best in vanillaware's catalog. 13 sentinels has an incredibly complex, interesting, and well-put-together sci-fi plot with tons of surprising twists and good character moments. Nearly all of the characters are likable and distinct and their individual story routes all have unique vibes to them giving the progression a good sense of variety. The only route I wasn't a huge fan of was Fuyusaka's because the ways to progress could be very obtuse like feeding the cat at the intersection. The writing and voice-acting were very natural despite the grandiose and complicated topics that frequently came up and I was enthralled the whole way through. The art was beautiful as it always is with vanillaware and this was clearly the best of their efforts so far. The music was fitting and generally solid with some awesome combat tracks that helped liven up the otherwise easy steamrolling. The one thing really holding it back from being a straight 10 is the combat which was clearly an afterthought. Sentry guns and interceptors completely decimate any and all challenges with ease and while it can be satisfying to blow everything to smithereens without lifting a finger, it does make the battles lose their sense of urgency and strategy. Also I really like giant robots so it's a big shame to me that everything in the battles are just represented by colorful icons instead of actually getting to see the mechs fight. That being said, the game is certainly primarily a visual novel so the lacking nature of the combat doesn't impact the overall enjoyment too much. I really hope this game ends up getting the recognition it deserves.
Parodius Da! [Completed]
- Pretty fun whacky shmup. Mostly carried by its interesting boss designs but it was a good time. Nice music too.
Gokujou Parodius! [Completed]
- It's an improvement over the last one in pretty much every way. More interesting and flashy stages/bosses and I get to play as a cute bunny girl. You can really feel the team's love for gradius and shmups in general.
Jikkyō Oshaberi Parodius [Completed]
- Not much to say, it's better than Gokujou with even wilder stages and bosses. Even had a neat lightgun segment even though it was a bit too much to keep track of on screen. Also the new blonde girl is super cute.
Sexy Parodius [Completed]
- Peak parodius with the best visual style so far. The missions are an interesting way to vary things up though they're not very complex and the coin-collecting ones were unusually difficult. The mission ending CGs were cute and really added more charm to an already-soulful series. I was a bit disappointed I couldn't play as the blonde girl from Jikkyo but Hikaru is cute enough. Also cool that one of the levels was castlevania-based.
Money Puzzle Exchanger [Completed]
- It's a fun puzzle game with cute characters. I'm biased toward it because I actually won in it but I still don't know a thing about setting up chains. Pretty fun to play casually though.
Twinkle Star Sprites [Completed]
- Cool competitive shmup. Fun to play and has a cute cast of characters. My only real complaint is that the characters don't really feel different to play. The only major difference is in their special attacks and since those all take place on your opponent's side it doesn't really make your experience all that different.
Marvel Super Heroes [Completed]
- Fun fighting game but playing it after MSH vs Street Fighter just makes it feel like a watered-down version. I also found the infinity stones kind of annoying since they just force your opponent into being defensive half the time and they rarely feel earned.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon [Completed]
- I had my doubts for this game when it was initially revealed due to the turn-based gameplay, but it ended up being one of my favorite Yakuza games. The gameplay is surprisingly smooth and enjoyable despite it being the team's first foray into turn-based combat. Battles rarely take too long and the fleshed-out job system allows for plenty of variety. The environmental aspect of the combat is neat and hitting enemies with nearby objects is satisfying but there were plenty of times characters would either start way too far from the fight and have to waste time running to everyone else on their turn, or party members/enemies would get caught on walls and run into them for 10 seconds before teleporting to their targets which was annoying and awkward. It was also annoyingly difficult to avoid running into enemies on the map which became a nuisance when they were too low-level to grant meaningful exp. Difficulty was largely well-balanced aside from Majima, Saejima and Kiryu which forced me to grind for a couple hours. The characters were a big part of what made the game great. The entire party is very likable and I ended up having trouble choosing who to put in my party because I enjoyed all of them. Ichiban is a very endearing protagonist and his hard-headed overbearing yet charismatic nature was a welcome breath of fresh air after Kiryu's stoic personality. Watching Ichiban, Nanba and the others grow over the course of the game was great and really aligned well with the genre shift to JRPG. The story is continuously engaging with plenty of twists and turns (although the coin locker twist was hilariously silly). They actually managed to keep the political aspect of the story interesting by having Ichiban directly linked to Masato and it made for a very emotional final confrontation and ending. I would say the only weak parts of the story were that the party's motivations could feel unconvincing at times since there's really not much reason for the player to care about Nonomiya, and the section focused on the Ijin Three went on for a bit too long. Aside from the main plot, the substories are as fun as ever and make it a joy to go around the massive map of Ijincho. The vocational school and its trivia quizzes were also a very fun inclusion. The management minigame was kind of fun but I didn't really like how it was the only way to get a substantial amount of money for most of the game, especially since money is far more important in this Yakuza due to the need for equipment. Lastly I need to note that I played the game with the english dub since dubbed yakuza is pretty fresh and I play most games in english anyways. The dub cast did a great job, particularly Ichiban and Nanba's VAs who really sold their characters in the emotional moments. The only one who really noticeably fell flat was Kiryu and that's even putting aside the weirdness of just hearing him in english. I was impressed that they went through the trouble of dubbing the karaoke songs as well but most of them were pretty awkward with Adachi not even sounding like his speaking voice. Nanba's Baka Mitai was pretty good though. Other gripes would be that a lot of minor characters like grunt enemies and cutscene crowds weren't dubbed which can be kind of jarring. Overall I had a great time with this game and would gladly play a sequel with Ichiban going forward.
Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney [Completed]
- Finally completed the black sheep of the series and with it, every english Ace Attorney game minus the layton crossover. It was certainly one of the weakest entries but was still pretty enjoyable. The cases are solid but never reach the average level of quality in the other games often due to a lackluster conclusion, lack of ingenuity on Apollo's part, or predictable twists. The 3rd case is a nice microcosm of the game's quality since it has an interesting premise and the twists (Lamiroir/Machi's abilities to see and speak, the reversal of the song lyrics) are intriguing and make for a good mystery. It also has plenty of fun back-and-forths between Apollo and Gavin. However the case was bogged down by an unreasonable amount of flashbacks, very weak killer motivation, and some baffling unanswered questions (if it's quickly established the murder was done with a revolver that would dislocate the shoulder of an untrained adult when fired, why are you trying a child who's completely uninjured?). Regardless, while most of the cases suffer from these types of issues, the first case is one of the stronger ones in the series so I definitely give it credit for that. The characters are as charming as ever with the exception of the unnerving gross reporter in the final case. Gavin is a great prosecutor who's both competent and full of personality and I even like hobo Wright despite it being silly that they let him oversee the new judicial system despite being discharged for forgery. Apollo and Trucy have really good designs but for all intents and purposes they might as well be the old Phoenix and Maya (though Trucy at least has the magic aspect which earns her a few points in my book). While Apollo is generally competent, it does feel like others take a lot of the glory from him, Phoenix especially basically solves the first and last cases which really devalues Apollo's protagonist role. I also thought the choice offered at the end of the last case was very silly since nobody in their right might would ever vote Vera guilty unless they were just curious about the bad ending. The decisive choice in JFA's last case was much stronger. Apollo's bracelet gimmick is interesting but a lot of the time it feels unreasonable that the witness in question would confess things just because Apollo saw their eye twitch when they mentioned the murder weapon. The music is still great as always and the 3DS's HD version of the game looks unusually fantastic compared to the weird-looking filtered sprites in the HD trilogy.
Xenosaga II [Dropped]
- Figured I should give it a shot since I don't have much else to play at the moment anyways despite its awful reputation. I don't know if I'm just too stupid for the battle system or it sucks or what, either way I'm really not enjoying it. Also really not a fan of the redesigns and voice acting.
Super Mario RPG [Completed]
- Very pleasant game. SMRPG is full of soul with its cute aesthetic and charming dialogue. The new characters and areas feel right at home in the Mario universe. It's surprising that the villains haven't shown up in later Mario games since they seem like good material to draw on but I guess shiggy hates RPGs too much. The gameplay with its well-presented timed hits and relatively simple RPG mechanics make for a satisfying and laid-back experience. My only complaint would be that there's very little reason to use Bowser and Peach (at least until the end of the game) so I couldn't bring myself to swap out Mallow who is a total nerd. Geno was pretty cool though, I get why people want him in smash now. The game's pacing was a little odd with areas like the cloud kingdom and pirate ship taking far longer than others like star hill. Overall though I liked how quickly the game progressed and I wish there were more of these short-but-sweet JRPGs like Panzer Dragoon Saga and Chrono Trigger that trim the fat for a tighter experience.
Jet Island [Completed]
- An absolute blast and easily my 2nd or 3rd favorite VR experience up there with Alyx and exploring worlds in VRchat. The sense of speed is incredible and I wish I knew what magic they performed to keep me from getting nauseous at all throughout the whole thing. Traversing the world, finding the drones and modifiers, and overcoming the large-scale SOTC-ish boss fights was a joy one can only get from VR and really shows off the strengths of the platform. It's a shame none of my friends have VR so I can't experience the multiplayer mode but I got quite enough enjoyment from it already. Can't really think of any downsides except all the drone fights are pretty much the same and could've used some variation.
- Interesting game. Very neat presentation and plenty of soul. Nice music but the fact that there's only 6 songs is a real shame since I live in the modern age and don't have CDs to try with the custom track feature.The gameplay is nice and simple on normal but the combined shapes on hard difficulty can be really annoying to keep track of when the speed picks up.
Horizon Vanguard [Completed]
- A very cool VR experience that really feels like it would be a prime example of futuristic arcades like a VR space harrier. The low-poly aesthetic and varied stage designs have a lot of soul and the music even has an arcade-y feel to it. The gameplay is satisfying and it's definitely one of the more enjoyable seated VR experiences I've tried since you actually feel like you're on a cool hover-bike jetski thing. The only big flaw and it is a BIG flaw is the difficulty. Most of the stages are locked behind not only clearing very difficult stages on a limited lives system, but also finding and collecting a lot of cleverly-hidden intel items of which there are 3 per stage. Many intel pieces seem ridiculous to find and get on your own like jumping off a fallen pillar which gives you one 2-second chance to shoot a green button despite the game teaching you not to run into anything. Not to mention if you die and continue on a stage (which will almost certainly happen unless you spend a long time practicing them) you will be unable to use that intel to progress to the next stage which I feel is very unfair and it could've just locked you out of the leaderboard instead. As a person who sorely dislikes repeating the same levels over and over again to practice later ones, I just turned on the invincibility mode so I could see all the stages after a few runs and had plenty of fun doing so. Though admittedly it is kind of shameful seeing I'm one of the 2% of people that have cleared later levels because I basically cheated but I'll just blame the dev instead for not disabling achievements.
Harmful Park [Completed]
- A nice shmup reminiscent of Parodius with its lighthearted and whacky stages. The consistent theme of Harmful Park is less interesting than Parodius but it has its own appeal. Gameplay was solid, quite liked the fully upgraded ice cream beams in particular. The fully-voiced cutscenes were a nice surprise and they looked pretty good even though I had no idea what they were saying.
Klonoa: Door to Phantomile [Completed]
- Nice game. Has solid platforming mechanics and pretty easy puzzles but really shines in its presentation with a good-looking artstyle and great designs. Even though it's a short game and there's not much story, what's there is really nice and it pulls off some emotional moments without feeling forced or rushed. I'd say my only standout complaint is that I'd much rather have a small double jump instead of klonoa's lame flapping thing but it's not that big of a deal. Also I really liked the moon kingdom music.
- As much as I like doom, I simply don't get any enjoyment from these hitscan/respawning enemies. My friend told me to keep spamming crouch while running around but that's just annoying and it doesn't even seem to help much.
Klonoa 2 [Completed]
- Substantial improvement over the first game in nearly every way. It may not have the soulful PS1 aesthetic but it makes up for it with more developed and interesting stages. 1 had some fairly generic environments while 2 has more variety like amusement park levels and fun surfing levels. The 3D visuals are also plenty nice-looking even if I prefer the look of the first game. The gameplay is generally more interesting thanks to the level improvements, new enemy functions like the lightning, bomb and charge enemies, and more interesting (yet still easy) boss fights. The story of klonoa 2 is less emotional than the first game but there's more depth to it and the new characters are nice. Lolo in particular is very cute. The made up language did start to get on my nerves a bit thanks to the increased amount of cutscenes, popka sounding annoying and the song during the snowboarding level. I appreciate the increased length of klonoa 2 but a few levels did go on a bit longer than they had to. I loved the forgotten kingdom stage and its moon kingdom throwback song though.
Until You Fall [Dropped]
- Very cool VR game with some annoying faults. The visuals are cool enough and the melee combat is some of the most satisfying you'll find in VR with its meaty hits and enemy knockbacks on critical strikes. It's a roguelike so progression consists of getting random powerups and fighting through randomly generated stages, but this is where the game mostly falls short. Aside from the grunts which are so easy to beat I barely consider them enemies, the game only has 3 (technically 6) enemy types: Knights, mages, heavy knights, and their upgraded flaming counterparts. The flame versions are pretty much just faster, stronger versions of the normal enemies with a couple new moves. It's better than nothing but it doesn't help the same-y feeling of subsequent runs. There aren't that many different stages either, once you do a few runs you'll almost certainly repeat a lot of them. As for gameplay faults, mages are extremely annoying since the block detection for their projectiles seems to randomly not work and they like to jump behind you which demands using the game's lackluster system for turning and switching targets. In general, fighting multiple opponents in later stages is a recipe for disaster due to their fast and lengthy combo strings and it really feels like the game isn't properly built for it. Variety is supposed to come from the varied weapon types but leveling up a weapon to level 9 or so and switching to a vastly underpowered unupgraded weapon for variety's sake is just not very tempting.
Paradise Killer [Completed]
- Cool indie game that actually manages to pull off Suda51's unique style really well. The game's premise was immediately appealing to me since they just give you a nice cozy island to explore and look for clues and you can end the game whenever you feel you've gathered enough evidence. I've never played a mystery game that allows that kind of freedom so it was quite refreshing. The island itself is big enough to have a lot of interesting areas to explore but small enough that it's never a chore to get anywhere and your movement is pretty nice with an unlockable double jump to boot. Finding relics and blood crystals around the island is satisfying but there's too much of them. I ended the game with like 30 extra blood crystals after spending them every chance I got, including buying all of Crimson Acid's info. Paradise Killer's world is very interesting with its unique premise of an immortal society constantly trying to create a perfect island while resurrecting their gods. The characters are distinct and have plenty of interesting world-building dialogue as well. Some of the designs are a little too garish for my liking but there was definitely more good than bad and they fit well with the world. Piecing together the mystery from evidence and testimony is certainly enjoyable and remains interesting till the end of the game as more and more characters begin to appear suspicious but there are some issues that spring up. Bringing up incriminating evidence to characters rarely gets you anything more than them going "Sorry don't know what that is" and dismissing it which kind of takes the satisfaction out of finding that evidence since you can only properly use it at the very end of the game. There's also very little need to actually piece things together if you find all the major evidence by the end since they practically tell you who did what. This is especially evident with the main mystery (Who killed the council?) since they literally have you meet the killer and have him admit it plus having a literal trail of evidence connecting him to the crime scene. I don't have too much of an issue with it since it is a reward for exploring thoroughly but I would've liked to piece at least a few things together on my own in a detective game. Another odd part of the ending is that even though you get to decide the fate of whoever's left after the trial, you don't get to decide the fates of those indicted in the trial. Even though all Sam and Lydia did was put something in the council room without knowing what it was for, you can't just exile them and instead Lady Love Dies will smugly shoot them to death and drive off into the sunset. While the ending was odd, it was pretty satisfying to list off all the evidence I found and cause the criminals to break down and expose others like Carmelina since they have nothing to lose. Also the soundtrack was great. Overall I was very impressed with Paradise Killer even if it did stumble a bit in its conclusion.
- I feel it's pretty easy these days to see "An emotional indie game about depression" and cynically dismiss it, but OMORI does a great job handling this theme and a bevy of others. OMORI manages to efficiently tug at the heartstrings with its mysterious underlying plot, likable characters, excellent presentation and very nice soundtrack while also being a decently fun RPG in its own rights. The story's balance between lighthearted fanciful adventure in a dreamlike world and more grounded future events with some psychological horror tossed in is handled very well and keeps both halves fresh for the most part. The plot twists at the end are thoroughly surprising while also being pretty well-foreshadowed, and the constant theme of overcoming guilt and fear with the power of friendship is conveyed in a very powerful and endearing manner. The main characters are all very likable despite being kids and, surprisingly enough, actually acting like kids. The side characters are pretty fun too. The game's sense of humor isn't particularly great or anything but it did make me grin a few times, though it is kind of predictable at this point to have the race of strange creatures like the mr.saturns from Mother. The artstyle is great, particularly in the boss battles, horror segments and beautiful cutscenes. I really like the character designs too since they manage to look distinct enough from anime without veering into calarts wiggly arms territory. The gameplay is solid with really nice-looking animations on attacks and I like how the friendship and emotional themes play into the battle system, giving it a unique vibe from other JRPGs. Unfortunately most battles are very easy and even with battle text speed set to fast they can last way longer than they should. Limiting each character to 4 skills limited combat variety as well and I think it was an unnecessary restriction. A way to skip cutscenes would've also been nice since my computer crashes randomly and the time between save points can be quite lengthy. Not to mention if you lose to one of the few difficult bosses like Sweetheart you have to view their entire pre-battle cutscenes as well. Certain areas also last way longer than they should like the Humphrey segment and underwater as a whole so pacing can be a grating at times, especially since you're quite close to the end by that point. And while it's not a major complaint, I don't really see the point of the hangman letters being a requirement to progress to the end. I only had to go back for one and it wasn't difficult to find or anything but it felt like needless padding, especially coming after the drawn-out Humphrey segment. Overall OMORI was an impressive and heavy-hitting game. The gameplay might've had its shortfalls but I'm always a little biased toward games that can emotionally affect me so I can forgive the majority of them.
Super Mario Land [Completed]
- Uhhhh it's okay I guess. The jumping is really clunky and it's super short but I guess for a mario on the original gameboy it's fine. The music's pretty good at least.
Intelligent Qube [Dropped]
- Pretty neat puzzle game. Unique, satisfying gameplay and some nice music. Did pretty well for 5 of the 8 levels but it became too difficult for me since I suck at puzzle games where I have to plan and set things up.
- Pretty fun. Obviously pretty simple given its age and that it's the first in the series but it was definitely more satisfying to play than the first Parodius at least.
Gradius II [Completed]
- Really nice visual upgrade from the original and it's neat that you can choose between different weapon loadouts at the start. The stages and bosses have more variety too. But the difficulty is an absolute nightmare. Even with my baby strategy of abusing save-states, I had a hell of a time getting through a lot of parts that just felt plain unfair. I suppose it's to be expected from old arcade games trying to squeeze the quarters out of every kid but I was still baffled by what they expect from the player sometimes.
Gradius III [Dropped]
- A very annoying sequel that focuses way too hard on cluttering the screen with enemies and bullets at all times. This is somewhat balanced by the game slowing to a crawl whenever the screen is full of things to avoid but it makes for a very grating experience spending the whole game trying to thread the needle in slow motion. Not to mention you never know for sure when it'll speed back up which really caught me off guard in the 3rd boss fight and ticked me off. I guess to the game's credit the bosses are more interesting from a gameplay and visual standpoint but the rest just gives me a headache.
Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale [Completed]
- Cute little game. Has a nice premise and does a good job of capturing the feeling of childlike innocence in a comfy japanese country town setting. It's very short and I feel like it could've been quite a bit longer to build up your relationships with your friends and the rest of the townsfolk but as it is it's decent enough for a short story. The dialogue could feel really odd and disjointed at times but it felt like a localization issue more than anything and for the most part the conversations were really charming like the one between Sohta and S-chan on the swingset. The cardgame is a fun little minigame but it doesn't really see much use since you only need to beat each kid once at most. Collecting monster cards is fun enough but there's too many pieces you have to collect for how short the game is.
Ridge Racer Type 4 [Completed]
- Cool game. It's really neat how the story changes depending on your difficulty and it allows for a nice feeling of progression when you go from easy to normal to hard. The stories aren't super in-depth or anything but they're surprisingly nice for what amounts to just several short conversations and an epilogue. It is a shame the tracks stay the same across difficulties though. The arcadey racing is pretty good but the drifting can feel kind of unreliable sometimes. The tracks have great atmosphere with nice visual designs despite the PS1 hardware's limitations and a great soundtrack.
- This game's actually pretty neat. The aesthetics and music are nice and the gameplay premise is really interesting for a puzzle game. The logic for the puzzle rules is really impressive to see in action with all the perspective-bending. Unfortunately, actually solving the puzzles is pretty tedious since it takes a lot of effort to line things up just right so they connect, and it's really easy to make a mistake and have to redo that process over and over again.
Me & My Katamari [Dropped]
- I'm pretty impressed they put a whole katamari game on the PSP and I like the island premise. The controls feel really wonky though and my prince will frequently turn the opposite way that I want. Playing with the vita's analog stick isn't precise enough for the movement so I have to use the D-pad and playing katamari with a D-pad hurts my thumb so I just couldn't have a good time.
Picross 3D: Round 2 [Completed]
- Very addicting and satisfying puzzle game. After playing a lot of kemono friends picross, it was surprising seeing how well picross worked in a 3D format. The game's absolutely loaded with content since I finished around 200 puzzles before the credits played and unlocked like 50 more to do afterwords. The music and aesthetic are very relaxing and suit the puzzle-solving mood really well. My only real complaints are that the flavor text for the objects don't have much personality and I don't think miscoloring a block should give you a strike since it's very easy to misclick and it can punish you instead by having you take time to look for the mistake you made later.
Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier [Dropped]
- An otherwise fun game ruined by Project X Zone syndrome. Much like PxZ, Endless Frontier features a fun cast of characters with great designs and some well-localized banter which makes the story segments a real good time. The battles have really well-done animations, both sprite and anime cut-in, and for a few hours it's fun efficiently juggling enemies with well-timed attacks and character switches. Unfortunately also like PxZ, this gets extremely repetitive as bosses with bloated HP values appear frequently one after the other with the ability to auto-recover and break your combos if they happen to touch the ground for half a second. Not to mention the long repetitive attack animations that you have to sit through every turn. The bosses also waste your time by forcing you to go back to the nearest save point after each fight because the game likes to toss 2 or 3 more bosses right after each other without any warning. It doesn't take long to realize that every single challenge can be overcome by grinding a couple levels and spamming items as needed while the fights play out exactly the same way every time. I appreciate them trying to mix up the turn-based formula with an action-y twist but it just doesn't do the game any favors. I really like that KOS-MOS is in the game though, nice pick.
Jeanne D'arc [Dropped]
- An alright tactical RPG. The gameplay is decent standard TRPG fare with a semi-interesting temporary transformation mechanic for a few characters. However the transformation mechanic does lead to over-reliance on Jeanne which can result in an annoying gap between party levels. The most interesting part of the game is that it's set in the hundred years war and follows the game's namesake, but the inclusion of magic spells and goblins and demons takes away from the novelty of that setting and makes it feel more like the standard medieval fantasy JRPG. The character portraits have a generic anime style and the battles have a pretty unappealing 3D aesthetic with chibi models. I wasn't really a big fan of any of the character designs either but the surprising amount of anime cutscenes was nice. Overall, while the game isn't outlandishly bad in any aspects, there's not a lot of good standing out to me either.
Yuru Camp VR [Completed]
- Kind of a ripoff for 20 bucks. It's basically just an episode of the show from Nadeshiko's perspective. It is cute for what it is, the atmosphere is comfy and the dialogue is exactly like that from the show. Unfortunately it's only 30 minutes long and player actions are exclusively limited to looking at things in a single small environment to initiate conversations. It would've been great if you could move around and pick up stuff, do some cooking or other minigames, or anything that would give the game some more content and improve immersion. It's a shame because they really nailed the core aspects like the dialogue, model quality, expressions and voice acting. Just wish there was more to it.
Wild Arms [Completed]
- Solid classic JRPG goodness. Wild Arms delivers a nice story with surprisingly good character moments and a great soundtrack. I was a bit disappointed when the cover and intro gave me more western vibes and I found this was pretty much just limited to Jack being a cowboy, but it was fine. It was kind of underwhelming that you only have 3 party members for the whole game but they end up being very developed. Rudy's past and identity as a machine and Jack's confrontations with Harken in particular delivered some earnest emotional scenes that I didn't expect. I also quite liked Rudy's interactions with Jane and I wish that was more prevalent in the story. The gameplay is okay, the battles are slow because of fairly long loading times and laggy animations. There are some neat aspects though, like Rudy's different arms, Jack's fast draws and Cecilia's crest graph system. Also the use of each character's tools for puzzles in the field is interesting and makes them feel a little more unique. Unfortunately each boss battle pretty much plays out the same way with having Cecilia cast Slow/Armor Down and spamming Rudy and Jack's strongest skills but that's something a lot of JRPGs have in common so I can't knock it too much. Visually Wild Arms doesn't stand out much from its competition with serviceable 2D art out of battle and lackluster 3D models in battle, but in terms of music there's plenty of great and memorable tracks that really help set the atmosphere of the game. Overall Wild Arms delivers a solid classic experience complete with the usual repetitiveness and tedium but with more than enough charm to make up for it.
Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete [Dropped]
- Hard to say why but I was bored out of my mind the whole first hour I was playing this. I know JRPGs usually start slow but usually it doesn't bother me. Perhaps it was the frequent, difficult-to-avoid, slow and simple battles or the purely cliche setup with nothing to praise besides the surprising amount of anime cutscenes and voice-acting. Maybe I just wasn't really in the mood to start another JRPG so soon after playing Wild Arms. Whatever the case, I have no interest in playing more for a while.
Robot Alchemic Drive [Dropped]
- This game's pretty neat. I actually love the controls and it manages to convey the sense of weight and power a mech should have without feeling clunky like armored core and gundam versus. Unfortunately the controls and the feeling of punching the monsters are really the only good parts of the game. You have to spend an obnoxious amount of time running around the city on foot while experiencing the fairly generic story. The voice acting is hilarious for a while but loses its appeal a few hours in and I just started skipping the cutscenes entirely. 15 episodes in and the enemies are all almost entirely fought the same way. Also while it is cool to view the robot battle from the human's perspective, it often just ended up requiring a lot of tedious camera management. I'd love to see this game's atmosphere and combat brought back in a new mech game that's more competent in the other aspects.
Rose Guns Days [Completed]
- Finally finished the last holdover from 2020, wew. RGD has a very interesting premise and setting with its post-war Japan being encroached upon by America and China. The cast is generally likable with good designs, especially Leo and Caleb who are exceedingly charismatic. The story never reaches the heights of Higurashi or Umineko, but it's solid with at least one very cool moment per season like the final showdowns with Alfred and Caleb. RGD also unfortunately displays Ryukishi's bad writing habits that I first noticed in Ciconia. He has a tendency to get laser-focused on a concept and repeat it ad-nauseam. This is especially apparent with the Soy Sauce War and job trucks in season 3. Season 3 in general was a massive dip in enjoyment for me with Leo and Caleb being replaced by the much less charismatic Wang and Wandering Dogs, the focus on the aforementioned Soy Sauce War/job trucks, and the slow pacing with it being the longest of the 4 seasons. The focus on Primavera trying to win the cultural and economical wars of post-war japan is a perfectly understandable concept, but unfortunately it's just not fun to read about and the focus on soy sauce in particular just feels juvenile and petty. Overall though it's nice seeing the characters from Primavera grow and follow different paths, ultimately leading to the conflicts in season 4. Season 4 (and the ending of season 3 leading into it) is where RGD finally becomes consistently engaging with notable deaths raising the stakes, good new additions to the cast in Keith, Alan and Yuki, and well-paced doses of the action, betrayal and tragedy that suit a mafia story. It's just a shame it took until the last season for it to reach that level of quality. The music is good enough, there's a few standout tracks but it's generally much weaker than the stellar set that is the umineko soundtrack or the atmospheric and heartbreaking higurashi soundtrack. The art was nice and an interesting switchup from the usual silly ryukishi portraits. The cut-ins for the fights were especially cool and really added to the impact. Overall, RGD has its ups and downs like any VN but it never really justifies the time investment until the last 10 hours or so. It's solid and I wouldn't tell someone not to read it, but it probably wouldn't come up if I was giving out recommendations.
Metal Gear: Ghost Babel [Dropped]
- It's pretty impressive that they managed to fit all the typical lengthy MGS codec conversations in a GBC game, and it's pretty well-made for what it is. I just don't really enjoy 2D Metal Gear unfortunately.
Monster Hunter Rise [Completed]
- Another great monhun surprisingly not hampered by the switch, though I do wish I could've just played it on PC right away. The shift to a more japanese aesthetic is a bit more pleasing than World's western style, especially with the character models looking more appealing than potato handler. The gameplay remains largely the same with the exception of wirebugs which provide a lot of fun mobility to the combat and add to the potential of all the weapon movesets. Switch skills are also a solid addition but having to unlock them individually through quests and making several of each weapon type is annoying and I'd rather have a variety of skills to pick from right away or at least at designated hunter ranks since I switch between a lot of weapon types. The new mounting system is fun too. Most of the new monster additions are cool, specifically goss harag and rakna haraki. Though there are some who come up short like tetranadon who's way too easy and almudron which is just a massive pain to fight. The rampages are more fun and interesting than the siege battles of the previous games but I still just prefer the regular hunts. The final fight is fun but has a pretty anticlimactic ending so I guess I just have to wait for updates to get something more satisfying. While I did get kind of tired of the complexity of World's maps, Rise's are a bit uninteresting in comparison and you can cross them extremely quickly with palamutes and wirebugs which makes them feel quite small. Forging new weapons is more satisfying this time around since the models are much more unique than World's, though I did find myself running annoyingly low in funds a lot in high rank which felt like a really unnecessary restriction after going through the trouble to collect materials. Rise looks surprisingly nice and runs smooth enough despite the switch's dated hardware and I never experienced any major framerate dips. The music was cool too. I'm eager to see what the updates have in store.
Neptunia Virtual Stars [Dropped]
- A neptunia game sucks, shocker. That being said, they're usually just okay enough for me to enjoy the cute girls at least but not this time. Virtual Stars plays like crap, there's no nice way to put it. Enemies are damage sponges and the combat is completely unenjoyable and repetitive. The setup for the story just feels cringe with how obviously they're trying to cash in on the vtuber trend. I actually like vtubers but their implementation in this game is awful since for the most part they're just loading screen ads. The lack of a dub is pretty disappointing since I prefer the english nep voices but with all the vtubers in the game it's understandable. The new original girls they added are pretty cute so it's a shame they didn't get a game that's at least serviceable like neptunia U.
Project Wingman [Completed]
- Surprisingly great for a fanmade Ace Combat. If I didn't know the title and someone told me it was an actual Ace Combat game I'd believe it right away. The gameplay and visuals are practically the same as Ace Combat 7, but with some minor differences like guns being more effective in Wingman. The soundtrack is a tad weaker than the average AC OST but there's still some standout tracks and it's fitting across the board. The story and dialogue do a great job of emulating AC's endearingly cheesy writing and ability to make the player feel like a bigshot. The indie scope of the project caused it to not have any actual cutscenes but there are still plenty of cool moments that happen mid-mission, particularly with the final boss fight. I do have some small gripes with the presentation, namely the screen getting way too cluttered in certain missions and bossfights because of all the explosions, post-processing and railguns going on as well as several typos in the subtitles and voice lines that don't match said subtitles either. I have mixed feelings on the developer's decision to not include checkpoints because while it does make the missions more intense and promote more careful play, the game crashed multiple times for me and I had to restart missions from scratch which was really annoying. My final thought on it would be that while the game was clearly made with a lot of love for AC and it does a fantastic job of emulating the series, it ends up not really having much of it's own identity. It's certainly enjoyable as an Ace Combat game, it's just a shame they didn't use its nature as a distinct IP to try more original ideas.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time [Completed]
- Great game. Between this and Beyond Good & Evil I'm starting to see why people cared about Ubisoft back in the day. PoP has really satisfying platforming that feels like a more advanced version of the modern Uncharted/Tomb Raider climbing with some additional parkour elements like wall running and jumping. The ability to rewind several seconds of time really helps to negate any frustration as a result of missed jumps or control mishaps as well. The combat is solid too though it can be a bit repetitive. The enemy types requiring a combination of vault and wall attacks, as well as the time dagger which can reduce the hectic nature of the tougher fights by freezing the more dangerous enemies but at the cost of sand which can only be taken from defeated enemies, creates a fun balanced combat system that allows for stylish and intense battles sometimes. Plus when you get the last sword and just start decimating enemies with single blows it feels great. The puzzles are fun to solve and never too difficult, though I did have trouble finding a safe way down after solving a few of them. The game is really well-paced as well. You never really find yourself doing any one area for too long but it doesn't feel rushed. The story is good enough, has a solid premise and setting. The dialogue is well-written and there are some nice cutscenes here and there. It actually manages to tell a pretty decent romance as well, though I would've liked if the prince and Farah had a few more conversations that weren't just bickering. Also the final boss was kind of lame, but I really liked the ending and how the whole story is framed as him telling Farah about their journey after the fact.
Persona 5 Strikers [Completed]
- Surprisingly good for what it is. Didn't really have high hopes for what looked like a cash-in musou spinoff but it genuinely feels like a full-on P5 sequel. The style of the original is replicated perfectly and the new gameplay does a good job of carrying over previous combat elements in an action format. The new characters fit in perfectly, particularly Zenkichi who's easily one of my favorite P5 characters in general now. The story is solid with a lot of fun and emotional character moments, though the first half or so is pretty formulaic with how each antagonist just happens to parallel with one of the party members. Aside from that though, the conflicts presented are engaging and the lighter side of the story nails the road-trip vacation vibes. It's just a shame a design as cute as Alice's probably won't ever appear again. The gameplay is fun for the most part. The characters all feel relatively unique and the presentation is stylish and satisfying. Also nice that they went through the effort of retaining the persona fusion system when they could've just gone the lazy route and given joker a moveset with arsene. Unfortunately, P5S has a bad problem with bloating enemy HP to where you spend every miniboss and boss fight just spamming elemental advantages and it makes them really boring. This on top of the unavoidable repetitive nature of a musou game had me feeling really tired by the end, especially with how long Akira's dungeon was. I also got annoyed with how much the characters repeated their arguments against the antagonist, especially the final boss fight where everyone sounded like a broken record. Another minor gripe would be some clunky dungeon-crawling things like invisible walls where there shouldn't be any and the little snowboarding section that felt insanely stiff and unfun. On the brighter side, the music is great and the voice acting is surprisingly well-done and natural. Overall I'm pretty pleased.
Prince of Persia: Warrior Within [Dropped]
- I'm not sure why they decided to drop the charming arabian nights style for an early 2000s 13-year-old's wet dream but it completely evaporated any interest I had. The grimy visuals and emphasis on combat feel totally off the mark. At least being able to slide down curtains is cool.
Higanbana: The First Night [Completed]
- Pleasantly surprising VN from everyone's friend ryukishi. I was weary of starting this one because I'm generally tired of the cartoonishly evil nature of japanese bullying stories but the yokai aspect of Higanbana makes the stories much more interesting. It also helps that, unlike ryukishi's other VNs, Higanbana is a relatively compact anthology of short stories instead of an 80 hour mystery so the pacing is quick and no topic overstays its welcome like in RGD. Of course while this does have its pros, it also has it's cons like having few characters to get attached to over a long period of time aside from Marie and Higanbana and the stories themselves being of varying quality. While some of the stories are weaker than others, I wouldn't say any of them are really bad (though the needlessly grotesque one with the rabbits comes close) and the best ones are pretty good. It definitely doesn't reach the heights of ryukishi's other works, even Ciconia, but its unique structure and solid pacing make it an enjoyable read in its own right.
Mario's Super Picross [Dropped]
- Well it's picross so it scratches that itch with it's typical addicting gameplay, but the rest is quite underwhelming. I prefer the sleek and clean look of Picross 3D and the cutesy Kemono Friends picross over this game's stone aesthetic. Also despite being called "Mario's Super Picross", pretty much none of the pictures you complete are related to mario in any way. It's nice that a few of the pictures are animated at least. It's unrelated to the game's quality but it surprised me that nintendo was too lazy to translate the tiny amount of japanese dialogue in this game, meaning any english-speaker playing this as their first picross will be unable to learn the rules. It's not a bad game by any means, but without the style to back it up I don't have the motivation to go through more than the 100+ puzzles I completed to sate my picross craving.
Higanbana: The Second Night [Completed]
- All my thoughts on the First Night pretty much still apply here as well. However this one has the Thirteenth Step story which was really great as well as the fun epilogue scene with the colorful cast of characters having some lighthearted interactions so it's definitively better than the First Night. I'd like to see a 3rd Higanbana release one day since the anthology style plays to ryukishi's strengths as a writer and the setting has potential for more interesting stories. Forgot to mention it before but the music is nice too and I like the higher contrast used for the sprites this time around.
Rain World [Dropped]
- I could feel myself dropping this before I even touched it just from the reputation. It's a cool game with great atmosphere, animations, and gameplay that rewards you for learning the areas and fine-tuning your movement. Unfortunately I'm the kind of person that gets very annoyed at having to constantly redo the same areas over and over again as I look for ways to progress.
It Takes Two [Completed]
- Josef at it again with the co-op kino. ITT is a nonstop rollercoaster of SOUL and variety. Each level has some fun new gimmicks and setpieces that keeps the gameplay fresh throughout the journey. The writing isn't spectacular or anything but combined with the presentation it's quite charming and the subject material is something rarely found in video games which elevates the story quite a bit. The difficulty with which Cody and May overcome their past squabbles and reignite their romance feels convincing since it takes over 10 hours rather than being done in a 2 hour movie or something. Speaking of which, the length is notably longer than A Way Out and I was pleasantly surprised with how they were able to fill that time with new ideas rather than padding wherever they could. Also the elephant scene was seriously messed up, truly one of the most noteworthy tone shifts in gaming history. Aside from the gimmicks, the core platforming is pretty solid as well and the visuals/music are pretty high quality. My biggest issue with the game was the ridiculous amount of crashes I experienced which was especially annoying considering A Way Out had almost no technical issues. Thankfully they released a patch that mostly eliminated the crashes but I was only like 2 hours away from the end at that point.
Yakuza 6 [Completed]
- This one's got quite a few problems. The gameplay is pretty awkward due to the fact that it's the first game on the dragon engine. Fights with grunt mobs are fine, but when you get to a boss or a miniboss the problems with the combat become immediately apparent. Much like in Yakuza 3, the only way the team could figure out how to make difficult fights was to make the enemies frequently block mid-combo and give them copious amounts of super armor in their powered-up states which just makes them a chore to fight. Extreme Heat Mode becomes useless in all of these occasions because your hits don't stun the enemy and you don't get stunned either which often means the enemy gets to wail on you and chop down your health while you do little bits of chip damage. The only thing that offsets this is the fact that weapons are noticeably overpowered in 6 so a lot of boss fights just become running around and hitting bosses with bikes. The substories in 6 are fine but there's no indication of where to find them so you just have to run around and hope you stumble upon them which is annoying because the game hardly ever motivates you to go anywhere in Kamurocho besides little asia and new serena. Onomichi is a nice new area at least but the little shack they give you isn't very cozy so it's a far cry from the comfy atmosphere of Okinawa in 3. I like what they tried to do with the story but for the most part it's kind of just a big mess. I was never really a fan of Haruka but basing the whole conflict of 6 around her running away from the orphanage for a dumb reason (she's associated with it whether she leaves or not) then getting knocked up in Onomichi by a character who's a lame low-tier yakuza with 0 charisma. Haruka and Yuta's relationship barely feels like a relationship with the way it's presented and the fact that the whole story could've been prevented if Yuta just used a condom is really ridiculous. Haruka being indisposed in the hospital for 95% of the game with barely any flashbacks or anything to show her life in Onomichi doesn't help either. On the bright side, seeing daddy Kiryu taking care of Haruto was nice and Yuta somewhat redeems himself later on. In general, 6's story introduces far too many new characters, almost none of them having any charisma aside from Hirose and Someya to an extent. By the end of the game I had honestly forgotten Sugai existed and Iwami barely appeared. Not to mention the minibosses like the bald dude and Masuzoe. Joon-gi Han was also disposed of way too early since he was also one of the only antagonists with personality. It felt like 3 where Kiryu's personal story is far more endearing than the overly complex yakuza story being built up. It certainly doesn't help that the big "onomichi secret" was an extremely underwhelming twist. I quite liked the ending at least with Kiryu taking his bittersweet retirement from being a yakuza dad, especially the cutscene with Kiryu walking away being parallel to Haruto taking his first steps. I do have my problems with the end as well though, like Kiryu's father letter to Daigo felt totally out of left field since Daigo was barely in the game on top of him not really feeling like Kiryu's son at all. Overall, I think the fatherhood theme was fitting but could've been handled much better by more heavily incorporating Daigo into the story and not giving every antagonist a son that barely matters in the grand scheme of things. Wow that was a lot of complaining. The minigames are fun I guess..except the clan building. It looks nice too.
Nier Replicant ver.1.22474487139...[Completed]
- Absolute mad lad Taro back at it again. Glad this gave me a reason to actually play the game after I was memed into believing the original game was bad on par with drakengard so I just watched it on youtube. Now I realize it's really not bad at all and actually a genuinely great game albeit with some shortcomings. Thankfully I barely remembered anything from when I watched it on youtube so it was mostly a novel experience. The combat, while not very deep, is smooth and satisfying with plenty of different spells and weapons to play with. The game also makes great use of gimmicky bossfights and genre-blending level designs to constantly keep the gameplay fresh. The story is great with a very well-realized world, likable and unique characters, and emotional twists. I was weary of the switch from papa nier to brother nier, especially with how much of a twink he is in part 1 but in part 2 he's cool and has a nice voice so he grew on me. He also fits better in certain ways like being able to relate to the brothers at the junk heap and more believably getting close to Kaine. I do still miss papa though since I just find that father-daughter dynamic much more endearing. Visually the game is very nice, I really love the atmosphere of nier's home village with its overcast weather and the character models all look great. As for the music, I prefer the original tracks but the new ones aren't bad or anything. Don't see why they couldn't allow changing between the new and original. The game has it's fair share of faults as well. Most of the sidequests are just lame fetch quests (though there are a few with nice story bits tossed in like eating dinner with the red bag couple). Weapon upgrading sucks because item farming is boring. The novel segments are well-written and brief but really could've benefited from some illustrations, more voice acting or sound effects. The game does require like 4 repeated playthroughs to get all the endings and while they do mitigate this a lot by starting you halfway through the story and keeping your levels and equipment, there's still a lot of annoying things like bosses barely taking any damage until you finish dialogue or lengthy repetitive segments like the ruins and shadowlord's castle that just get more annoying with each playthrough when you're not getting new content like shade dialogue. The new ending E is kino though.
Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga [Completed]
- This was nice to go back to after like a decade. The cutscenes are charming, the gameplay is simple but fun with some alright puzzles, and collecting studs is as satisfying as ever. The prequel episodes were noticeably weaker than the original trilogy ones and the vehicle segments, while good at adding variety, could be pretty annoying with the game's insistence on keeping both players on screen at all times. The torpedo sections were annoying too since you had to keep going back for torpedoes over and over again. But yeah fun time.
Resident Evil Village [Completed]
- Another great RE entry and possibly one of my favorites in the series. 8 has a great setting that makes for some really satisfying exploration. I would've liked if the village map was a bit more clear about which paths are actually blocked off or not. The combat feels good, particularly with the shotgun, and thankfully there's more enemies than just mold creatures now. There's also plenty of fun, climactic and interesting boss fights. The four lords having their own separate areas all with unique vibes adds a solid sense of variety to the story though the doll house and fish sections do feel underdeveloped compared to Castle Demetriscu and Heisenberg's factory. Resource and inventory management are fun as always and the RE4-inspired merchant and equipment upgrading is rewarding. I like the story, particularly Ethan becoming a chad family man and actually getting a story reason for his autistic reception to all the injuries he gets and his bizarre healing abilities. The new characters were all pretty interesting, though it is a shame all the villagers get wiped out right away. It would've been nice if they got whittled down over the course of the story or stuck around and offered some services like the Duke's cooking. Getting to play as Chris was neat too. My biggest issue with the game was the rampant technical issues with the PC port since I was having freezes, messed up textures and crashing all the time for seemingly no reason. Overall a great time.
New Pokemon Snap [Completed]
- With the state of modern pokemon, I didn't have high hopes for this but it really managed to build on and surpass the original in pretty much every way. Unlike gamefreak's recent mainline pokemon entries, new snap does a great job displaying the unique personality and mannerisms of pokemon much like the original snap did back on the N64. The environments are very nice-looking and cozy with a lot of interesting hiding spots and interactive geography for the pokemon to mess around with. While still pretty short, there's more content than the original game with more islands and being able to explore them at different times.The light gimmick that the game focuses on is alright, it's not very interesting on regular pokemon but the patterns on the illumina pokemon look quite nice. The progression of the game's levels is pretty straightforward which I don't mind too much but it would've been nice if there were more obscure level unlocks like powering up the clawitzer to break through the rocks underwater. The new characters are alright enough but they don't really do much besides assigning requests. It's cool that they brought Todd back though. The only real problems I have with the game are that if you take multiple pictures of a pokemon with different star levels you can still only keep one, and if you take a picture that would've completed a request you still have to take it again after you get the request for it to count. Otherwise really nice sequel.
Space Channel 5 VR: Kinda Funky News Flash! [Completed]
- Great revival of Space Channel 5 clearly made with love. The gameplay and style works perfectly with VR (though I do wish I played it with controllers that had better tracking). Everything from the music to the voice acting to the cutscenes and new characters has the soul of the original game. There's even an official collaboration where you get to dance with hatsune miku which is cute even though I don't really like vocaloid. Also getting to high-five the characters in the credits was fun. I also really liked how each character and background NPC has a unique bio with quirky details. The only problem with the game is that it's way too short. Much like Yuru Camp VR, though at least this has the 100 round dance battle mode after you finish the sub-1-hour story. Still disappointing though because I would've liked to see more of the new characters and cutscenes.
Pokemon Pinball Ruby and Sapphire [Completed]
- Well it's pinball so it's fun. The pokemon coat of paint is cute, especially since it's my favorite gen but I wish there were a few more tables.
Famicom Detective Club: The Missing Heir [Completed]
- A very classic murder mystery game in every way for better or worse. The story is a very by-the-books mystery focused on deaths surrounding a family inheritance but after playing/reading so many mysteries with bizarre over-the-top characters and rube goldberg murder methods, FDC's more conventional and down-to-earth mystery is refreshing and comfy in a way. The story comes together pretty well and, aside from the pauses caused by the gameplay, it's nicely paced with substantial story events happening pretty regularly. I would've liked for Ayumi to be a constant investigation partner throughout the game though just to add some more personality to the interactions and because she's cute. Probably the worst part about the game is that it retains the classic adventure gameplay in its entirety where you have to take a lot of annoying steps to progress through the story like repeating certain dialogue choices over and over again and examining random things with very little guidance. Around the 75% mark I just started using a walkthrough to save time. Aside from that though, I think it's a very well-done remake. The music and art is nice and the animation looks surprisingly natural compared to the weird bouncy tweening animation a lot of VNs/JRPGs tend to go for. I'm eager to play The Girl Who Stands Behind.
Famicom Detective Club: The Girl Who Stands Behind [Completed]
- Most of what I said for The Missing Heir still applies to this one, but this one has a more compelling mystery and a much stronger ending. I like how you get to spend more time with Ayumi in this one as well. One thing I will give The Missing Heir over this though is that as cliche as the rich family's mansion in the countryside is, I like it more than japanese high school. It was also interesting that they give you a detective evaluation at the end of the game but it's kind of a waste since the game is structured in a way that doesn't really appeal to playing logically. Also I forgot to mention it during the Missing Heir thoughts but it's really nice how every background character gets a unique portrait and voice even if they only have like one line of dialogue.
Raging Loop [Completed]
- Great VN. Basing the story around a game of Werewolf and combining it with a zero escape-ish scenario chart with a lot of bad ends made it a really interesting experience. The pacing is very well-done and I was consistently engaged for the whole story. The characters are all at least a little nuanced and work very well for a werewolf game with how their behavior is adjusted according to their guardians. I especially liked Kiyonosuke since I love when the generally unlikable and stuck-up character gets more depth to them. Haruaki is an excellent main character that really elevates the story with his cool demeanor, sound logic and borderline psychopathic attitude. The twists and turns the story takes are all pretty interesting, though I was kind of disappointed when they revealed the feasts were man-made despite there already being established supernatural elements in the story. The dialogue is well-written, the music is fitting, and the artstyle works well for the dark nature of the story by not being too clean.
One Step From Eden [Completed]
- Stellar recreation of battle network's combat that works really well with the randomness of a roguelike. Lots of fun spell combinations to work with and each character feels very unique. The artstyle is nice and there's a lot of cute girls which is the most important thing of course. The difficulty is quite high but with the ability to make pretty broken builds it balances out well enough and makes for fun runs. I also really liked at the end when all the people you save hop in to help you finish off the final boss, that was cool.
Little Nightmares [Completed]
- Nice little spooky game. The artstyle looks great and the atmosphere feels foreboding. The monster designs are pretty spooky, particularly the long arm dude and the fat guests. The gameplay is okay but the sparse checkpoints can be pretty annoying, especially without being able to tell when it's okay to quit the game. Depth perception could be an issue as well when trying to line up jumps over pits.
Pangya Fantasy Golf [Dropped]
- Didn't drop because it was bad, I just don't really love golf games that much. The game's got a cute aesthetic and I like how much costumes and stuff there is to unlock. It was fun for a while and reminded me of when I used to play wii sports and mario golf as a kid but I just don't enjoy golf enough to play through the tons of content this game seems to have.
Worlds End Club [Completed]
- Pretty underwhelming but not bad overall. The game feels like it's aimed at kids which has an endearing touch to it but it also lacks any of the impact you would hope for from the mad lads Uchikoshi and Kodaka working together. The characters are all well-designed and can have some cute interactions when the super japanese dialogue isn't neutered in translation. I think the only time they managed to succeed with anything emotionally in the story was at the end with Reycho but there were still plenty of charming moments like whenever a character would awaken their hidden power or when everyone would celebrate with their goofy hand-waving dance. The singing parts were fun too even if they were exceptionally cheesy. Otherwise though the story was kinda weak and the gameplay sucked. A puzzle platformer with very simple puzzles and super clunky platforming just doesn't make for an enjoyable experience, especially with one-hit deaths. I liked the idea of every character having a unique ability but actually using the abilities was always okay at best and awkward at worst. The artstyle was nice but hindered by stiff animations and the soundtrack was pretty good as well.
Boogie Wings [Completed]
- Decently fun arcade game. Pretty standard shmup gameplay with a few fun stage ideas like a nice christmas level with a giant robo santa boss. The only really distinct appeal the game has is the hook on the plane you can use to pick up and swing stuff around including your co-op partner which is pretty fun. The visuals are nice too.
Hitman 3 [Completed]
- Another great entry to close out the trilogy. The gameplay retains the same solid formula from the previous 2 and the new missions are fun to complete with some fresh new ideas like dressing up as the detective at the mansion and solving the murder mystery. Still didn't really care too much about the overarching plot but it ended well, though I would've preferred if the final mission was another full-fledged stealth mission instead of a shooting gallery on the uncharted 2 train. Also shout-out to the game's stellar programming which allowed me to crush a lady in a grape press in front of everyone and have it still count as an accident.
Gal Gun Returns [Completed]
- Well it's pretty much a worse Double Peace but it's a remaster of the original so that's to be expected. The main girls have cute designs but the ones I played have their stories entirely centered around contrived misunderstandings which is pretty annoying. Aside from that, the charm of gal gun's pure-hearted desire to mix rail shooting with making anime girls hot and bothered is still present. Also the main girls were undermined by the fascination I suddenly acquired for the side girl Riko Kuroda who hardly shows up in the game. The music was pretty nice but the visuals were pretty lacking.
Otomedius Excellent [Dropped]
- I'm not sure why but I expected a hidden gem. Really it's just a bad shmup with cute characters. I don't like playing as such a large character in a shmup, it's weird. The shots don't feel very good either. The glitchy performance of xenia in its current state doesn't help much also.
Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge [Completed]
- Kinda iffy about giving this one a 7 cuz it has issues but for the most part it was really enjoyable. As always, playing as Ryu Hayabusa is a treat and the combat feels great. I like the new Steel on Bone mechanic too and aside from the final boss the bosses are generally fun to fight and don't feel unfair. The story's lame but it's not like the stories of the other games were anything to write home about either. The cinematic walking segments could certainly be cut out at no detriment to the game though and there are a bit too many QTEs. Would've been nice to get a new weapon or two to try but I always just end up using the dragon sword anyways so I guess it's okay. Overall though it's probably the most enjoyable NG for me when compared to 1's archaic platforming and puzzles and 2's godawful bosses and general feeling of being unfinished.
Part Time UFO [Completed]
- Short and sweet little game. Cute visuals and music and simple yet fun gameplay with a charming premise. Don't really have much else to say about it but it was a good time.
Pepper's Puzzles [Completed]
- It's picross baby. I'm happy to finally be able to play a picross game with the mouse, it's much easier on my hands than with a stylus. There's a ton of puzzles to do for the price as well. The presentation is pretty clean but I will say it's odd that it's called "pepper's puzzles" with pepper as a mascot and everything and she barely appears in the game.
Devil May Cry 2 [Completed]
- HA. Definitely lives up to its reputation with some truly terrible bosses throughout the whole game (aside from the last boss which was pretty solid), dull cutscenes with nearly nonexistant story, and ridiculous over-reliance on guns. That being said, it does feel worse than the other DMCs but it's not painful to play like drakengard, just boring. Shoutout to my boy Infested Chopper for being the most astonishingly boring boss fight in the history of video games.
Touhou 07: Perfect Cherry Blossom [Completed]
- WOO finally beat a 2hu game. Granted I had to use 55 bombs and 2 continues on normal but hey whatever gets me there. Genuinely felt like I was going ultra instinct sometimes. Music's really good too.
Omega Boost [Completed]
- Cool game. Fun gameplay with satisfying lock-on lasers reminiscent of panzer dragoon and great aesthetics on the levels and laser effects. The bosses are generally fun to fight though the final ones can be a bit of a pain with how quickly they expect you to move around.
LSD: Dream Emulator [Completed????]
- It's uhhhh quite something. The atmosphere is fantastic and genuinely unnerves me a lot of the time, in part due to the low framerate and bizarrely loud footsteps. The areas are interesting but I prefer how Yume Nikki is set up where you know exactly where you're going and there's a lot of things to see and do that aren't random. LSD is more unpredictable but leads to a lot of aimless warping around the same areas over and over again until a random event happens. Time to scour that wiki I suppose.
Guilty Gear Strive [Completed]
- I'll count beating arcade mode cuz I don't really have much interest in the story mode. I know a lot of high level players have complaints about how Strive is slower than previous GGs but I like slower fighters too so it doesn't really bother me. I think the fighting feels really good and the visuals are outstanding. The music is really good too. The problems with Strive come with the network mode. The netcode during fights is great but actually getting into fights is a huge trial rife with errors and it takes several minutes just to get past the main menu because it needs to connect to the network right away for some reason. I'd also like if the characters had more colors and there were more stages. Also ban May.
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