A nice little portable RPG with some interesting though slight parallels to Damascus Gear: Operation Osaka. The similarities are mainly in having a customizable mecha and rising through the ranks of an arena while battling in dungeons. This isn't particularly complicated in gameplay or story, but the graphics are good and it's short enough to become too repetitive. My only real issue is that there's no quick way to escape from a dungeon. The dungeons are pretty maze-like and the encounter rate is fairly high so it gets annoying trying to get out of them. It's also too bad the sequel never got a completed fan translation since it seems like a fuller game.
This had the potential to be a good dungeon crawler, but the various elements don't really come together. Part of the issue is that the ecchi elements are very excessive and both don't gel with the generally goofy cartoon aesthetic of the monster designs and undercut some of the themes in the plot too. I haven't played any other Compile Heart or Idea Factory games, but this really goes right up to the line of what's releasable on a console and then leans over it. The gameplay is of course what's important and why I got it in the first place since it's the last of the seemingly only four six (edit: forgot about the Mary Skelter two pack) traditional turn-based dungeon crawlers on Switch; the rest are either real-time or action-RPGs. There's some good ideas like the recruitable monster girls have traits that interplay with each other, various jobs with learned skills and the ability to assign a common monster to each. The 6 dungeons are okay and occasionally have some quirks, but they're too much on the simple side. It is nice that there's an automove that works across floors though. That specific feature isn't 100% useful since you'll need to heal at some point and going into the menu takes you out of automove, but the effort is appreciated.
What really makes it fall apart is that there's just too many recruitable characters, and ones you get later on are at a huge disadvantage due to lacking in learned skills which also can include stat bumps. There's very few situations where replacing a character for a new one doesn't considerably knock down the party's overall strength. The same with jobs as they need to be found and generally aren't as good as the character's default one. Maybe you can put together some perfect party if you grind a ton, but it's very unnecessary. Benched characters do slowly gain experience and skill points, so they hypothetically can catch up a little in skills, but it's too slow for that to really have an effect. It all just makes for a fairly boring game over the whole length.
Post by ResidentTsundere on Jul 5, 2020 17:20:18 GMT -5
I beat The Undying Beast, a pretty disturbing horror game that I got from Itch.io. First time playthrough on PC; it took about an hour. I don't want to say too much about it because the game is pretty open to interpretation IMO, and I don't want my interpretations to influence others who haven't played it yet.
I also beat Portal on PC. This is actually my second playthrough; my first was on Xbox 360 via The Orange Box. It took about four hours to play through this incredible game again. It's a testament to minimalism in game design, and you gotta love the ending theme.
Like I put when I finished the original, Round 2 does have some improvements over the original but the lack of animations does hold it back a little bit. I still agree with that having gone through it. The UI is just buttery smooth, and the addition of the bomb button for 0 blocks is a huge time saver. The two color gameplay with whole and partial blocks adds some variety to the models and occasionally makes them a little easier to finish after recognizing some of the patterns. It is a little funny that you get credits after book 40 only to have another 16 after that. I noticed that I didn't actually complete the vast majority of those additional puzzles the first time around, but I still shaved off 15 hours from my total time despite being a total perfectionist this time and restarting immediately if I made a single mistake.
Rogue Galaxy (PS2 Classic on PS4) - First playthrough, Time: 171:40:07 (timer)
Finally another game completion for me! Rogue Galaxy was a blast, a fun Saturday morning style JRPG with a ton of stuff to do and surprisingly good realtime combat and movement. Being able to jump and climb in a JRPG feels so liberating. Sadly it kinda drops the ball in the last few chapters and ends on a lackluster note, but other than that I thoroughly enjoyed my time with it.
Got the platinum trophy and did all the extra stuff.
Post by ZenithianHero on Jul 13, 2020 9:20:32 GMT -5
Donut County (Switch, First Time, Rounded Up to 3 Hours) This quirky and cute game is built around a narrative about a girl and raccoon that deployed sinkholes around town and caused everything and everyone to plummet into an underground cave. The animal citizens each tell their story of what happened during this time. The gameplay is very simple, you move the sinkhole along the ground picking up small objects until the hole grows in size for you to pick up larger and larger things. Later levels have a specific gimmick or puzzle to solve. You'll probably become disappointed the game is over just as the gameplay gotten more elaborate. Perhaps a bonus game mode or optional levels of some kind could have helped. The game does have a Trashopedia where you can browse all the items you collected with funny descriptions.
It's nice that a sequel to Beneath a Steel Sky got made, but it's still a one step forward, one step back situation which isn't ideal since the original has real problems. Rather than being kidnapped himself, one of the children from Foster's village is, and the trail of course leads back to Union City which is still an authoritarian state but one that's much more cheerful now and lead by the Council. The story is more developed overall and the current state of Union City gets more development compared to the first game. However, the story basically falls apart towards the end. The game has nothing new or interesting to say, but it works well enough when paired with light comedy. It gets too serious at the end much to its detriment especially since it starts just barreling towards a conclusion at a certain point just like the first game. The puzzles aren't anything too special either. The regular puzzles are fairly easy, but there's also a new type that involves reprogramming devices. That gets some good usage, but there's also a lot of simple "swap access and denied" interactions.
So, it's basically a true followup to the original. A good premise let down by a lack of fuller story development and better puzzles. As part of Apple Arcade, it's okay and not that much of a time commitment anyway. I mainly wish it was better. This is out on Steam in a few days for an unknown price, and whether or not it's worth it as a retail product is a different story. If I'd have paid the full $25 that Broken Sword 5 goes for, I'd definitely have been left much more disappointed. It's just such a nosedive in quality at the end, and so many bugs all over the place.
There is a timer, but it is so horribly broken that it lost time repeatedly.
I tried this a smidge when Apple Arcade first launched, and only now got back to it. It feels like a design experiment by Amanita in making a game that more "mobile first" than their usual output. You have a world map with points of interest that only take up a single screen. There's a bit of a card motif running through the UI and the intro is a card game with some early hints. It's short but kinda fun, and part of charm is in finding alternate solutions to the puzzles.
Cleared SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom Rehydrated for Xbox One X in 12-14 hours with 90 of the golden spatulas collected. Sorry for the inaccurate playtime, but for some reason the Xbox doesn't list the playtime stats for this game. First time playthrough.
8/10. Despite having no previous experience or nostalgia for the original Battle for Bikini Bottom or Spongebob in general, the love and care gone into this remake is undeniable and it's a prime example of a truly great licensed platformer. The three playable characters of Spongebob, Patrick and Sandy offer up enough variety and the levels are fun, challenging and visually gorgeous. Honestly, this should be the new yardstick for how remakes should be judged. Highly recommended.
Post by halftheisland on Jul 19, 2020 10:24:30 GMT -5
Dynasty Warriors 9 (PS4, 1st time, 40hrs)
Completed the story all the way through to the end of the final chapter and got all the trophies for completion of the different family stories (although these can be gained by completing much earlier chapters).
This is a game which has an incredible amount of potential and which fails to meet that at almost every turn. I really admire Omega Force / Koei for having the guts to radically change the structure of their flagship franchise and to do so in their mainline series. For anyone who has ever played a Warriors game before, this is radically different, with an open world and all chapters / battles taking place within that world in more-or-less seamless fashion.
The open world is huge, absolutely vast by comparison to almost every game I can think of (the Just Cause series has larger maps, but also jet aircraft to get around them!). This actually works in a lot of ways, and it's certainly the first game in the series to really give me a sense of the scale of these events. It also manages to be surprisingly beautiful in places, although in keeping with series tradition the graphics are nothing to write home about.
Unfortunately, the world is also extremely repetitive and dull and, worse than that, feels like it plays little part in the actual events of the game. There are times where capturing important bases will lower the difficulty level of missions, which hints at the potential this has, but unfortunately it rarely feels like it makes any difference. Despite events happening and forces battling for bases across the map as the game progresses, the world also feels weirdly static - unlike other games, you never have to watch your time in case events on the map cause you to fail optional objectives. All of the missions simply sit there waiting for you to get round to playing them.
This could have been an incredibly interesting system if the map just felt a bit more alive, and there was more of a strategic element to the bases. I can definitely envision mechanics of going round capturing bases, setting them up under the control of other officers and generally managing the battlefield by capturing key points etc. to allow you to do different things with the main missions.
The new combat system is definitely the most interesting thing about this game and, while it took me a while to get to grips with it I came to really appreciate the additional depth it can give to the combat. Essentially as well as your standard light/strong/musou attacks you have an additional set of special stun/launch/ground attacks which are acccessed by holding down a shoulder button and then pressing the relevant face button. There are also contextual attacks mapped to triangle, to counter enemy attacks, launch assaults on enemies who aren't aware of you, and deliver powerful finishing blows to enemy officers.
When combined with the gems you can use to upgrade your weapon (giving different elemental properties or boosting certain stats), this definitely brings a new level of consideration to how you approach combat. Unfortunately, it also makes you extremely overpowered, and not in the fun way that you usually are in musou games, to the point where it was trivial to defeat Lu Bu in early missions using very low-level officers. To put this into context for those who aren't series fans, Lu Bu is traditionally an extremely powerful enemy officer and in the early game you generally need to avoid him or complete objectives before he comes and destroys you in two or three hits.
The story is fine, and there's obviously a limited amount that can be done when (loosely) retelling the Records of the Three Kingdoms. It takes a bit of time to wrap your head around how progression through the chapters works, with the story ending in different places depending on which officer you are playing. The idea is essentially that you play through to the end of a particular character's place in the story (usually with their death), and then start again and pick up from a later chapter with a character who is still present in the narrative.
In practice, however, this can end up being pretty frustrating and not very well explored, especially when you have to go back several chapters to find a character whose timeline will take you into a chapter you have not yet unlocked. There is so little difference in each character's story that you may as well be swapping outfits. I would have loved to have seen less characters featured but each given more fleshing out and differentiation in missions, giving you more reason to go back and replay chapters with other characters and lessening some of the frustration of enforced replaying.
The game also sticks more rigidly to a single plotline than any of the recent games in the series, with no opportunity to explore hypothetical scenarios. I understand that it must have been hard to manage as it is with everything taking place in the same world, but some opportunity to go off-script and explore potentially different outcomes to the story would have been worthwhile.
I can't exactly say I enjoyed this, but it was an interesting enough experience and I hope the developer continues to explore some of the possibilities and brings some more fresh ideas to the series for the next installment.
Despite sounding fairly negative about the above, this will stick around on my hard drive and I'll likely end up going for the platinum trophy. It's unchallenging enough, and the story is unimportant enough, that after a stressful day I've actually found it really helpful to turn the sound down, listen to music or podcasts, and just mindlessly play for a couple of hours.
Going to say this is a 6/10. It's part of the PlayStation Hits series now so can be picked up digitally for £16 and at that price I would certainly recommend that series fans at least give it a try.
Post by Woody Alien on Jul 21, 2020 8:17:25 GMT -5
SuperEpic: The Entertainment War(PC/Steam, first time, about 13.5 hrs) (the game is about 10 hrs long, I took my time)
A Spanish metroidvania (Spain really seems to like this genre, do they?) with a satirical story that parodies the current mobile game landscape: a mega-corporation that rules the world thanks to their cheap brainwashing smartphone games. The world map is their giant offices complete with R&D labs, server rooms, a leisure area and... crypts where the dissidents are imprisoned (and it seems that these character all come from other Spanish indie games).
Really nice at the beginning but it becomes tedious and repetitive after a while, mostly because all the weapons, secondary abilities (special moves with beat-em-up style button inputs, wall jumps etc.) and bonus-granting trinkets typical of the genre don't really alter the gameplay in a meaningful way, so you'll just go on mindlessly bashing hordes of enemies while navigating huge but dull maps.
The main gimmick of the game is the use of your smartphone: every area has a QR code that leads you to the "actual" games made by the mega-corp, all parodies of stuff like Candy Crush, endless runners, idle games and so on, that give you codes to unlock barred areas and get the prizes therein (in Superepic, not the mobile games). It's very funny and interesting in the beginning, but the games are so short and (intentionally) shitty, and the in-game rewards so negligible that you won't even bother after a while. Though it all ties in with the revelation at the end of the game... sort of.
I like the 16-bit style graphics and soundtrack (plus the obligatory 8-bit section, but at least it's intentionally put in to show how cheap and unoriginal the mega-corp is) and the general concept, as a whole the game is nice but it could have been much better.
Also, if you want to see those games by yourself... here they are
The first Nintendo picross game is unsurprisingly the most basic. You get 196 main puzzles is 3 groups plus a "post-game" time trial mode that randomly doles out some puzzles without hints of mistake correction. There's no automatic marking of completed "groups" and you can't do it yourself either. Not a whole lot to this one, but it's still picross with decent puzzles.