52 Games Challenge: 2019 Edition
  • acemuzzy
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    Anyway, I'm underway, having finished KAMI 2

    And before I get slagged off / the MMG chat starts, I refer you to http://thebearandbadger.co.uk/discussion/comment/1550697#Comment_1550697.
  • Was struggling to think of a 5th game

    No higher praise.
  • acemuzzy wrote:
    Anyway, I'm underway, having finished KAMI 2 And before I get slagged off / the MMG chat starts, I refer you to http://thebearandbadger.co.uk/discussion/comment/1550697#Comment_1550697.

    Right?
    "But enough talk. HAVE AT YOU!"
  • Andy
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    acemuzzy wrote:
    Why do people equate short with shit?

    I don’t. It just seems that, in order to do this, one must stick only to very short games, or remarkably unchallenging ones, and there are clearly insufficient good or challenging ones for that to be an enjoyable prospect.

    I’d rather be picking games based on what I’d enjoy and want to play for playing’s sake than what will help me reach an arbitrary goal.
  • Fwiw I've stuck with stuff I'm not keen on for the sake of numbers on rare occasions (*cough* Dead Nation), but I've never started anything I didn't genuinely want to play (one or two Vita games notwithstanding, I did move into a grey area to clear the PS+ backlog). The vast majority of M&Ms I play are things I've waited for in a sale that I've had my eye on for months.
    You have minecraft?
  • I dont think thats true really. If you have VR there are numereous short but fun games. Plus throws up quite a lot of short indies, and lot of AAA games can be knocked off in 8 hours or less.

    If you play retro games, many are short by modern standards. I think I finish Sonic in an hour.
  • acemuzzy
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    Andy wrote:
    I’d rather be picking games based on what I’d enjoy and want to play for playing’s sake than what will help me reach an arbitrary goal.

    Fair enough
    Andy wrote:
    there are clearly insufficient good or challenging ones for that to be an enjoyable prospect

    Nonsense (particularly the "clearly" bit). Just cos you're not looking for them doesn't meant they don't exist. Unless your average gaming week is sub-one-hour I suppose.
  • acemuzzy
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    Aye, Dante gets it
  • Andy
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    acemuzzy wrote:
    Nonsense (particularly the "clearly" bit). Just cos you're not looking for them doesn't meant they don't exist. Unless your average gaming week is sub-one-hour I suppose.

    You’ve not seen Moot’s lists, then.
  • Andy wrote:
    acemuzzy wrote:
    Nonsense (particularly the "clearly" bit). Just cos you're not looking for them doesn't meant they don't exist. Unless your average gaming week is sub-one-hour I suppose.
    You’ve not seen Moot’s lists, then.

    He hasn’t seen his own either.
    "But enough talk. HAVE AT YOU!"
  • acemuzzy
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    I'm not sure either of us is the prime exemplar...
  • Hands up if you've lost track of the points being made here.
    You have minecraft?
  • acemuzzy
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    o/
  • 3. Celeste (Switch)
    Only reached as far the credits and didn't attempt a lot of the strawberries and no B-sides done yet. I'll dip back in at some point. Anyway, very good. I haven't played a game where the story and the challenge of the game feel so meta and intertwined since Braid. I like that it let me play more casually, without the running timer and grading system of super meat boy constantly reminding me how shit I am. Reaching the next screen in Celeste always feels like an accomplishment. In SMB, later stages anyway, it always feels like you've failed and you're wasting your time scraping through this game that's too hard for you (or me anyway).
  • 2. Assassins Creed Odyssey 9/10

    My opinion didn't really change much from my thoughts from 2/3 through the game.  
    I've been playing Odyssey over the last couple of weeks - My first Assassin's Creed!  (well, I've tried a couple before, but immediately bounced off them, so they don't really count) It's one of those games where I could do a grocery list of bits I don't like or don't think work all that well, but then there's just as big a list of things I love!  It's only been the last couple of days that it's really dragged me in, with an abundance of side tasks that I absolutely have to see through to the end (I'm level 35).  Seem to now have a good idea of which tasks I don't interest me too and can curate those out of my game.  Not sure what to make of the story - in that it seems like perfectly good adventure game fare with an excellent and fun main character (and a mostly fun cast), but it's a bit poorly told - like some bits seem to peter out into an anticlimax, there's some of that video game 'kill 100 blokes and I'll give you some information that's vaguely helpful' stuff, and a lot of the Assassins Creed lore goes over my head.  Not sold on the dialogue trees either; they seem a bit stilted. But yeah, it says a lot that I planned on mostly just bashing through the main quest within a week or two, but it's gonna take a month to see everything I want now.  Impressive stuff on the whole and I'll check out more Assassins Creed over the coming months.

    Feel it's a great story away from being a classic.  Another of my narrative whinges about the game, think it's because you need to kill so many people from either side of the conflict while working with them that i found it hard to care about anyone.  Still, fantastic fun in spite of that.
    When you got movies like Tom Cruise in them, you can't lose
  • 2. Bayonetta 2 (Switch) - 17/01/2019 - c10 hours

    It’s a [10] for sure. The fighting and mechanics are just as good as the original. Feels a bit faster but also a lot easier. I didn’t think there was as much variety in levels and I preferred the original’s battles and pacing etc. Despite the QTEs and instadeath, I prefer the first game. Better final battle too. And...

    Fly Me To The Moon > Moon River

    Doing Witch Trials. How many are there again? Don’t remember doing them on WiiU. Will go back to Bayo 1 Hard mode then come back to do Hard on 2 and grind out halos on mech level to buy the Platinum Ticket.
    "But enough talk. HAVE AT YOU!"
  • And I'm off!

    1. Light Fall - Switch.

    Checkpoint platformer with an emphasis on speed.  Manages to stand out thanks to the manual platforms twist - you have four to place in mid air, but your feet must touch terra firma to reset the counter.  On paper it sounds like it might slow the game down, but it's quite well handled and means that you can really race through stages with a bit of practice - place a platform while careering forward in mid air and you can jump again without breaking stride, which means you can dip down or jump up, adjusting for oncoming obstacles at a fair clip.  Some sections are weaker than others, one of the block mechanics should've gone in the bin really (manual manoeuvring) and it's not up there with the greats, but as a speed runner it's got chops.  It's also pretty enough, in a sort of budget amalgamation of Ori/Limbo way.  I enjoyed this, but it would've been overpriced without the 50% off.  A definite Moot recommends at half price though, off to a good start [7].

    2. Astro Bot - Playstation VR

    Easily one of the greatest gaming experiences I've ever had, and to think I was secretly mocking VR up to a few weeks ago.  Phenomenally inventive, beautifully presented corridor platformer (think Sly Racoon or Super Magnetic Neo for better examples than Crash Bandicoot) with a massive twist.  'Be the camera' isn't going to shift units, but don't knock it until you've tried it.  Great visuals, quality sound design and music, terrific stage layouts, inventive item mechanics, old-school screen-filling pattern bosses, well spaced checkpoints, replayability, post credits longevity (challenge mode), perfect movement controls (which sounds simple, but think how many games have got this wrong over the years), buckets of charm and bundles of character - it doesn't put a foot wrong for my money.  The best exclusive on PS4, it's mere inches away from a ten.  Exquisite craftsmanship, sequel please.  [9]

    3. Until Dawn: A Rush of Blood to the Head

    The VR train rattles onwards.  I miss lightgun games, to the point where OMG LIGHTGUN GAMES was close to my first thought when I strapped on the headset for the first time.  I played with a pad, which worked well for the most part (with plenty of on the fly recalibration) but I'd imagine the Move controllers improve things substantially.  With the screen strapped to your face and headphones in the horror aspect is well done; the jump scares shit me up pretty much every time and it has no problem switching from creepy/eerie (child ghosties singing, natch) to massively OTT (screaming screen sized pig heads swinging from ceiling hooks dripping blood).  Plus you've got stomach churning corkscrews to deal with as your minecart rumbles on, occasionally leaning and ducking to avoid obstacles - great fun.  Final boss aside, one section of which was just the wrong side of irritating with a pad, this was superb.  Branching paths, collectibles, stage secrets and tons of hanging targets to improve your score mean it's replayable too.  As good as some of the better lightgun games on Wii, better than any since and another truly excellent example of The VR Experience. [8]

    4. Mr. Shifty - Switch

    A very pleasant surprise.  Picture a close quarters combat Hotline Miami where you control Nightcrawler.  Enemies have range weapons, but they can't 'shift', which is forward motion short teleport from a depleting/recharging bank of 5.  Any variety is mostly provided by a gradually increasing roster of speciality fodder, so you'll be learning how to deal with new types every couple of stages (shotgun guy, rocket launcher guy etc).  It's all very simplistic, which is why it works so well.  Quick shifts get you in and out of trouble and you'll be pinging around the screen in - depending on skill - total control of the chaos.  Or in my case not quite total control of the chaos, which might be the sweet spot for maximising the enjoyment.  I'm surprised this didn't receive more critical acclaim, a few bugs and hiccups aside it runs well undocked and makes for terrific handheld gaming imo.  I did have to reboot it once though, as it started to lose maybe 10fps per stage before gradually grinding to a halt.  

    The whole experience is extremely focused and even the screens with shift blockers in them don't manage to ruin the fun.  Building a game around an ability then taking it away doesn't usually goes well, but there's no real harm done anyway.  Unlike Hotline Miami it's not hugely difficult - unless this one really clicked with me (I struggled with certain stages of both HM games on occasion) - more 'tricky but doable'.  Most stages can be seen off in a matter of minutes once you're in The Zone.  Genuinely good stuff, critics and naysayers be damned.  [8]

    5. Splatoon 2: Octo Epansion - Switch

    A brilliant, full game sized add-on to Splat2, and almost certainly better than the already excellent single player mode to that.  Combined, they're genuinely one of the best 3D single player experiences in the Nintendo hall of fame.  The layout is refreshingly old school and the requirements for progression are harsh.  Most stages are tricky but some are fiendish.  I had to cheat on one to progress, for shame.  I'll go back to it.  My only complaint would be that the bosses are rehashes of the original guardians.  No big deal, but everything else is so polished it still came as a slight surprise that they weren't all new.  Highlights?  Hard to narrow it down, but the rolling ball stages were particularly great and the final stretch was a joy. 

    There's plenty more to do (only hit 42 mem cakes to get four thangs), but I'm done for now as it's a pretty intense experience.  The multiplayer is supposedly pretty nifty too, and even though I still don't fancy that it's fair to say this is easily one of the games of the generation.  [9]

    6. Moss - Playstation VR

    A lovely 3D puzzle platformer that benefits from VR, but unlike Astro Bot could feasibly exist without.  It adds to the experience but it doesn't define it.  Quill is exceptionally well animated, to the point where it's a surprise this controls as well as it does (it almost seems over animated, but the interactions remain smooth).  The rest of the visuals are similarly excellent throughout; it's a gorgeous game.  Nice soundtrack too.  When the credits roll the quest is referred to as 'book 1', and I really hope Polyarc get to continue the story as there's a lot of potential to be tapped.  In fact, the game is so short - lovely as it is - that it feels like it ends just as it's warming up.  The in-game clock said 5hrs for me, but that's nonsense.  It jumped from 3.03 to 4.28 a session that lasted just under an hour (I timed it as I had a hunch the clock was acting weird), so I'm not quite sure what's up with it.  Perhaps the devs thought they could pull a fast one?  I'd peg it at maybe 3hrs long, which is why I'm only giving it a [7].  I would've been more generous if I'd played this before Astro Bot, it really is cracking game with some great puzzles but there's just not enough of it, it feels like a game that could've had a hell of a lot more to give with a bit more time in development

    7. New Super Mario Bros Switch U Wii Deluxe - Switch

    Pretty good Mario game.  I don't go deep with them, so purists would say I'm doing it wrong, but this was enjoyable to plod through in co-op.  Nabbit and Toadette are good additions for younger children (Nabbit - very easy - doesn't take damage and Toadette - easy - can become a floaty superboost Peach).  Bosses are still laughable but the level design is on point.  The coin hunt is an excellent addition to Mario games, really adds to it in two player.  Good but I didn't see enough to call it great  (which it supposedly is for proper fans).  [7]

    8. VR Worlds - PS4

    Right, so I'm starting to notice a pattern developing with a few of these VR titles - they're overpriced.  I paid £10 for this, which is more than fine, but I believe the original RRP was £25, and for a glorified demo disc that's a wee bit rich.  The games, from bottom to top:

    Ocean Descent

    Fairly enjoyable one-and-done VR experience.  It's the sort of thing you'd use to showcase Playstation VR to mates who've never played it, but only in a world where Star Wars Rogue One VR, The London Heist (spoilers, that one's good) and Rush of Blood to the Head didn't exist.   

    VR Luge

    Didn't really do it for me.  It's passable, but there's no reason why this couldn't have been a lot better.  It works, it's fun for a while, but the devs hardly reached for the stars here.  

    Scavengers Odyssey 

    Now we're in pretty good territory, this was a decent FPSVR experience.  Controls are solid and it looks nifty, but be warned - it chucked me around so much I needed to suck boiled sweets to avoid a visit from Uncle Dick.  Definitely the poster child for 'queasy' from the VR experiences I've had so far.  Good though, and of a passable length for a multi-game package.

    Danger Ball

    Genuinely good VR pong game, all controlled with head flicks/leans/swipes but criminally lacking in a multiplayer online mode.  I'd probably buy a fleshed out full game based on the basics here.  Good stuff.

    The London Heist

    Wow.  Even both barrels of mock stock didn't take the shine off; a top tier cockney caper that's surprisingly well acted throughout.  Ya fackin' two-Bob mugglewump.  It's all over bar the shouting within half an hour and there are only really two (traditionally) playable sections, but while it lasts this is probably the best thing not starring Astro Bot on PSVR.  Even the shooting galleries are good, I just want more.

    [7] overall for the package, less at full price.

    9. Into the Breach - Switch

    Not done with it but ready to review after 8hrs or so, credits have rolled.  Yet another case of me really liking something I assumed I wouldn't but hoped I would.  This one's probably even better than Dead Cells (haven't had a successful DC run yet).  Enough has been said about this elsewhere by people who went far deeper than I have or will, but this is an exceptionally good videogame that can be accurately described as 'genius' at times.  Will be in my final top 5 for the year when I finally stop fretting over the order*. [9]

    *AKAGOTY2015

    10. Horizon Chase Turbo - Switch

    Lovely looking bright 'n chunky retro inspired racer.  Very old fashioned in the way it plays, but that's clearly the point.  Simplistic pedal to the metal twists and turns, rubber banding as front and centre as the rubber burning and passable HERE WE GO race choons.  You'll need to brake occasionally but it's mostly gunning the gas, letting up a smidge for corners and looking for straights to bust out the finite nitros.  It's not without faults, notably the campaign length (10hrs for me - far too long) and the need to mostly finish 1st or 2nd in every sodding race in order to progress at the final stages, but overall I enjoyed this.  Not exceptional by any means, just a solid mission accomplished/medium-firm back pats for the designers.  Also has pretty good split screen multiplayer performance and two players can tackle the world tour together, which is always welcome.  [7]

    11. The Gardens Between - Switch

    I really liked this.  Delightful, delicate puzzler that nails the charm offensive from the opening moments to the credits.  You're in charge of two characters at once in meticulously designed dreamstate islands.  The view sweeps and rotates around the duo as you push the stick forwards or backwards to control the flow of time - intrinsic to all solutions.  They'll stay the necessary distance apart for you to solve the puzzles correctly.  It's gentle rather than brain busting, with set-ups often being clever rather than ingenious, but as mentioned it ticked tons of boxes for me.  I don't like to be puzzled by puzzlers for too long, I tend to get fed up, and it'd be fair to say this one's on the easy side.  There's not much to it in terms of ways and means with the brain-teasing - you're mostly trying to light a lantern and progress to the correct section while holding it, which requires fiddling with the forwards/backwards mechanic by freezing certain items in time and so on.  It doesn't take long to find your feet, and therein lies the rub as the whole shebang only lasts two hours anyway.  This is something that should be known by any badgers tempted to go in as that'd be a deal breaker for many.  I paid £8.99 at 50% off and it's one of the best gaming experiences I've had this year, but it's absolutely not worth £17.99 until the world's officially gone mad.  Once again though: I loved it. [8]

    12. A Hole New World - Switch

    Could well be the turdliest Moot/Muzzy game of the generation.  Not only has it been given possibly the worst videogame title of all time, it's also one of the least fun 8-bit indie bandwagon platformers I've ever encountered.  Ninja Senki EX pisses on this.  The Messenger and Shovel Knight do unspeakable things to it.  Rotten.  I'm actually offended by it, and the fact that it's received some fairly decent reviews.  Nope, this is not how you do it - you don't make an 8-bit game in 2018 with all the problems that might plague an average 8-bit game in 1988 and just add kinder checkpointing.  It even has performance issues on Switch, and the last boss is one of the most hideous I've ever encountered.  Turgid filth, and the worst game I've finished in three years of doing these lists.  Even the core conceit of normal/upside down screens is shit - build a game around something interesting morans, and if you can't do that at least do interesting things with the idea you had. [2]

    13. Super Inefficient Golf - Switch

    Another blind purchase in a sale.  The idea is solid - place detonators on a golf ball and guide it around 18 holes using impact explosions - but the execution is lacking.  It's the spin on the ball that ruins it, you can't really set up your shots with multiple detonations in a controlled way.  Inefficient, geddit? It's a shame, but what you get is still quite entertaining.  I mostly played it with straight ahead propulsion.  I suppose there's replayability in there with perfecting the holes, getting angles right for hole in ones etc, but it's not really skill based (although I suppose that's the sub-genre, if we're putting this alongside the likes of Zany Golf).  The closest thing I can compare it to is Monkey Golf in SMB; definitely fun while it lasts but a bit of a one-and-done.  [5]

    14.  Pixel Ripped 1989 - PSVR

    *New genre alert!*  Batshit nu retro VR tower defence/lightgun game hybrid oddity.  I've never playing anything remotely similar to this.  Your character is mostly playing a handheld games console which you're holding and looking at in an attempt to progress through the simplistic 8-bit inspired platform shooter stages, whilst simultaneously creating diversions in a classroom so the teacher doesn't spot you playing a videogame.  To do this you need to fire projectiles at various parts of the scenery which sets up distractions so you can return to the game - kinda like playing a hillbilly moonshine shooting gallery (albeit controlled with your head) while playing a Gameboy.  Other stages have you using the handheld unit as a retro overlay for a shooting range (protecting students from being taken, like a weird lightgun game within a lightgun game Defender thing).  Plus the whole thing is littered with retro nods/wiks/homages - Alex Kidd helicopter stage! - and has a very British sense of humour running through it.  I could go on, but it's all just as mental and I've already 'ruined' half the surprises.  Genuinely not sure what to make of it.  Absolutely not worth the full £22, but at the current price of £10.99 it's worth it for the insanity.  BARMY.  [7] 

    15. Escape Doodland - Switch

    Autorunner with lenient gated progression - collect squidgy things within the stages to unlock levels and buy characters/minor perks.  There's a jump button, which also works for double jump, and timed/limited fart propulsion (wait, come back!) dependent on where you point the right stick and how many matchboxes you've picked up.  That's it.  A big beastie is chasing you and if you're snagged by too many sticking points it eats you and you're dead.  If you fall down holes or get blown up you're dead.  Otherwise it's business as usual for these types - get through the stages with a mixture of skill and perfection through repetition, grabbing the fiendishly placed squidgy things en route if you're feeling brave.  Levels have three or four checkpoints, reaching the next one replenishes one of your three lives. I think this usually sells for £9.99, which is a bit much, but at the current price of 89p it's an absolute bargain.  Believe it or not, not only does it play well but it looks great and sounds fantastic. [8] for a quid, a solid [7] at full RRP.  I like this genre and it's definitely of the better efforts I've played.  Unlke Runner3 it runs well and doesn't over-egg it with new inputs every 5 minutes.

    16. Wulverblade - Switch

    Bold and beefy scrolling beat 'em up that looks incredible and sounds even better.  Excellent voicework - both characters and narration - and a quality rousing score combine to make one of the best sounding games I've played for ages; it's an absolute treat through headphones.  Gameplay is nothing new, refreshingly (it just pushes the envelope away - fuck you, envelope.  Or maybe it grabs it and stuffs a love letter to the 1990s inside) but the core brawling is good enough for immensely satisfying 'in the zone' mongol roman horde obliteration.  There's a block that doubles as a parry with correct timing plus a dodge and a limited number of attacks (light, heavy with a pick-up, jumping attacks, energy depleting special, grapple throws and grapple hits), which you'll be repeating ad infinitum against various enemy types.  You know the drill - plod through a level and beat the boss using one of the three available characters in either single player or co-op.  Love it or hate it, that's the genre.  It's precisely as deep as it should be, exactly as long as it need to be, just as tricky as you'd expect - i.e more so than it would've been in 1994 but with the added concession of checkpoints - and far more enjoyable in this day and age than it has any right to be.  Absolutely bloody superb.  Along with Mother Russia Bleeds this gen has treated us to two of the top 5 scrolling beat 'em ups for all time.  [9].

    17. Headmaster - PSVR

    Channel your inner Steve Bruce as a student at The Football Improvement Centre.  Coming off the back of a poor season, your aerial prowess will be put through its paces in a series of hands free tests designed to improve your ability to get your nut on the end of it.  Balls are launches into the air and you head them at the bits of the scenery that add to your score - that's basically it.  Part VR coconut shy, part Aperture Science facility, this is a bona fide PSVR gem and one of the best experiences I've had with the unit.  The script is strong and everything is just about accurate enough for you to deal with the stringent testing.  Even when tests feel like they're asking too much given the not quite perfect mechanics, practice will make you closer to perfect fairly quickly.  It's easy enough to get two or three stars on everything and the gating for the exams isn't strict.  It might look like a wonky Kinect cast off from screenshots but there's a surprising level finesse to the whole thing considering what you're being asked to do and how you're required to do it.  I only paid £3.99 but with the party mode taken into consideration I'd say this is absolutely worth the full £15.99.  I'm torn between an 8 and a 9, it really is that good, so since it doesn't matter in the slightest I'll given this one the coveted [8.5] High five for @Diluted_Dante

    18. Captain Toad Treasure Tracker Special Episode DLC - Switch

    A joy, as expected.  Light on content but it's hard to grumble for £5, the new courses are mostly pretty good.  It's nice to have a purpose to the recently added co-op mode too, where planning and character placement is key to picking up crowns.  Will happily buy more, and like many Nintendo games these days I don't see the need for a direct sequel if the dlc keeps coming. 

    19. Statik - Playstation VR

    In the puzzle thread I wrote:
    Moot_Geeza wrote:
    Obviously it's Baba time in here, and rightly so it seems, but the main reason I popped in is to praise the pants off Statik on PSVR.  I'm not sure how many of you have or could have access to the VR stuff (specifically Playstation in this case), but it's wowed me with the way it perfectly executes its core idea.  I don't know how long I've got left of the main game, but if it maintains the current quality we're talking near Portal levels of aplomb.  For each puzzle your character is seated, with both hands inside a contraption that's key to success.  As you twist the dual shock pad the one-of-a-kind box that contains your hands moves with it, buttons/stick clicks/directions and so on perform different actions on different areas of the box.  The room that you're in may also contain clues or areas to interact with.  Your task is to gradually work out what you need to do to solve the metallic muff conundrum.  There's no direction, no assistance - you're just left to get on with it until the solution starts to click.  Once you succeed the device prints out a ticket that's scanned by a robot and you're gassed to sleep.  It's like having the Crystal Maze in your hands, brilliant stuff.  
    ...and it really was as good as I'd hoped from start to finish.  Easily one of the best puzzle games I've ever played, and I also enjoyed watching the Statik riddle being solved on YouTube.  Numptymortals like myself would have no chance solving it, but it was all very well done and the extra ending was good.  One of the best games on PS4 and probably the second best VR game I've played (despite not being as deeply dependent on VR as you might think, it's still a great fit).   [9]  

    20. Donut County - Switch

    *Review pending* (will be typing out my daughter's thoughts for this one) [8]

    21. Severed - Switch

    Just seeing the name annoys me, because it's one of two games I forgot to download on PS+ for Vita ages ago and it ended up costing me £6.  Anyway, it's a touch-screen maze based RPG type with an interesting battle system from the creators of Guacamelee.  Part Shining in the Darkness, part Fruit Ninja (maybe, I haven't played that) and, in the way the battles work, part Panzer Dragoon Saga.  It's a pretty interesting concept fairly well executed, but it runs out of steam two thirds of the way through.  You have to swipe the screen in various directions to attack, while managing which point on the compass the next attack is coming from.  Enemies need to be suppressed, frozen or polished off early, for example, depending on type.  The checkpointing is extremely generous, so even the trickiest battles are usually done within five to ten minutes.  Even so, I was glad when it was over in all honesty. I did enjoy some of my time with it but it wasn't really my sort of thing.  Lovely visuals though, and I'll doff my cap to the devs for trying something different.  [6]

    22. Adventure Pals - Switch

    At first this was okay, with the simplistic hack 'n slash platforming providing serviceable co-op fun.  Then the relentless monotony started to creep in, and pretty soon I found myself wading through one of the most tedious and least rewarding games I've played for many years.  I was tempted to write about this in depth but I put close to ten hours into it before the credits rolled and I don't want to waste any more of my life on it.  It's not a terrible game when you break it down, but it's got no business being any longer than 3hrs from start to finish.  It's like a windy Amiga game that keeps dishing out extra levels that feel like they've all been designed as cover mounted freebies.  No class, just content.  [4]

    23. Megaman 11

    I'm not too familiar with the Megaman series, having only played no.2 and X to completion - the former with save state spamming and the latter closer to 'properly' with retroking (we did use save states iirc, but nothing silly).  I opted for casual difficulty on this, which was the second of four difficulties, described as 'for those who love Megaman but haven't played in a while!'.  Five lives rather than three, slightly less damage taken apparently.  It seemed to be the right choice all told, as the stages flitted between cakewalk and tricky.  It certainly wasn't a breeze at any rate.  There's a step up in difficulty when you get past the initial boss selection area, and some of the fiddlier jumps are the reason this dipped from an 8 to a 7 - Megaman just isn't quite manoeuvrable enough for some of the late game cog jumping not to feel hit and miss.  This is the way it's always been, so fair play for the fan service, but it's just a touch on the clunky side for a modern continuation.  I'm unsure if bullets pass through scenery in all MM games, but it struck me as unusual here - it works though, and it's fun to switch between weapons for different situations as you start to amass a bigger arsenal.  Perhaps as a result of playing it on a lower difficulty I thought the double gear stuff was mostly redundant, and as Jon mentions elsewhere you can buy your way to victory quite easily.  Still, I had a decent time with it.  It's got a nice visual style, the 3D geometry 2D plane thing works well in this instance.  Overall it's a good platform shooter but I think you'd need to be armed with a bit more nostalgia to describe it as great.  The boss run at the end though - now that was great.  [7]

    24. Black Bird - Switch 

    I've been intrigued by this for a while.  It's basically a snazzy looking Fantasy Zone minus shops and extra lives.  Even if you think that's up your alley you have to factor in the brevity, simplicity and ease of it all - I'm no shmup head, but I got to the final form of the final boss on my first go.  I didn't save enough bombs for the same boss second go, but the credits rolled on my third. Okay, so it's a score chaser, but even after rearranging expectations having the whole thing roll over and show its belly after four stages (yes, four) is ridiculous. It's 50% off at the time of writing but this is supposed to sell for £15.  Nope.  Having said that, it's a terrific experience. It plays really well, has a striking visual style and a lovely score.  I've unlocked 'true mode', but the internet suggests that's basically the same deal with slightly tougher enemy waves. A reluctant [5] from me. If I was reviewing a retro run through I hadn't paid for I'd be shouting about the quality, but as it stands it's an odd little super stylish glossy budget feeling title that should sell for £5.99ish.  I wish it had so I could give it a higher score.

    25. Red Dead Redemption 2 - PS4

    I did it, despite tending to dislike games that require this much undivided attention.  It's Rockstar encapsulated; part monstrosity and part monumental achievement.  It's an exhilarating, sprawling cowboy epic, yet it's also a padded out dime novel that mistakes itself for Lonesome Dove.  

    Starting with how it plays, there's a distinct lack of finesse to the mechanics.  I'd describe it as an above average last gen 3rd person cover shooter that's had one of the most breathtaking game worlds ever envisioned built around it.  Arthur ambles around during gunfights, transitioning from rock to rock like a sack of spuds that never feels like it's fully touching the ground.  Buttery smooth it's most certainly not, the shooting is merely functional, and if you're looking for faint praise, adequate.  I found that staying put was often the best route to success, popping up with snap-to aiming while laying waste to varmints that all felt a touch autopilot.  I've said it before, but the actual gameplay in the much maligned The Order: 1886 is marginally superior, despite being set thirteen years earlier.  Both have good old fashioned shooting gallery trigger satisfaction, but one can be vanquished in 7hrs, to use a word that brings to mind a smoother experience altogether, and one has to sustain an experience that could last somewhere in the region of 70 hours.  Do I tend to like slightly clunky bolt action rifle shooters?  Yes, as a rule, but the action isn't good enough to do much heavy lifting here, and the whole experience would've been vastly improved with slightly more enjoyable shoot outs.  You roll up at a destination, you shoot some baddies, then you tear off on horses, mopping up any idiots who dare to chase you.  There are other mission types, but in terms of action this sums up well over 50% of the standard missions.  

    I'm led to believe that the phrase 'greater than the sum of its parts' and Rockstar go hand in hand, but this often made for tiresome sessions if I only had 30-45 minutes to spare.  This is a game to immerse yourself in, rather than hop from yellow spot to yellow spot on the map, which was always something I was going to struggle with, especially with the checkpointing being overly harsh for my tastes.  If you don't play this with a view to losing yourself in the experience you'll only be able to get so much from it, hence the fact that all my opinions here need to be taken with a pinch of salt.  If you like to go deep with your games there's an obscene amount of satisfaction to be had I'm sure.  With combat being a bit of a chore though, I found myself getting instantly annoyed pretty much every time my character died.  I have further grievances - the occasionally unfathomable forced walking (no running in camp, fuck off but okay, but no speeding up for 100 metres on the way out?), the glitches, NPCs getting ironed out because they Leroyed into a skirmish ahead of me, necessitating a restart (and more loading, and a further 5 minutes replaying the same section) - but it's time to get positive!

    The positive bits.  

    Attention to detail is astonishing.  The environments are breathtaking at times, real 'look how far we've come' stuff (in gaming history terms, not 'Christ it took me ages to get here'...wait, positivity).  The score does its job, sometimes rather well.  It's a decent stab at Morricone meets Ry Cooder that mostly plays at trigger points and it's a yes from me.  

    When it all clicks, and if you play it for long enough it will, there's nothing quite like it.  I'll liken it to Shadow of the Colossus here, as it contains some of the very best moments in gaming, but it's all held together by slightly ropy padding.  For every session that had me grinning like a loon there was one that had me double facepalming over a mid-level inconvenience.  


    Um...I didn't do too well with the positive bits, so this is bound to read like a [6] when it's not.  The story aims for grandiose, but really we're just - spoiler alert - following a gang of outlaws who gradually fall apart, despite the sweeping vistas and wolf fever dreams it's still a bit Quick Draw McGraw Paints His Wagon By Numbers.  Duck, I says.  It has its moments, but there's nothing masterful in the way the plot is pushed forward or in the way the story is presented.  It's admittedly still a cut above most games, but it all plods along as you'd expect for the most part.  I thought the Native American reservation father/son conflict was particularly ham-fisted, but there are some quality characters in the crew, plenty of neat set-pieces and some successfully deft touches (hello Willie Nelson, and props to the entirety of the epilogue).  

    I've tried (and clearly failed) not to be overly harsh because I liked this enough to finish it, which feels like enough praise as western setting aside it's the antithesis of my usual stuff.  It's too much game, good as it is, and therefore not particularly gamelike at all in my eyes.  The tastes of the masses have changed, and I don't need to keep up as I'm catered for and then some with indie games - it's literally the best ever era for me to play my sort of thing (oh God here comes Elf...) - but my take away hot take on the hot mess is that huge chunks of the package are...unnecessary.  When at its best it's exceptional, but it's also proof that you can have too much of a good thing and far too much of an above average thing.  [7]
    You have minecraft?
  • Placeholder, just in case I go insane again.
    You have minecraft?
  • 2: Onimusha Warlords Xbox One - 8/10
    Awesome game, so simple and linear but just good early naughties fun! Simple story with some hilarious characters! Was aces going back in time to enjoy a game I first went through 18 years ago. Really enjoyed that.

    3: Resi 6 Xbox One - 5/10
    Finally finished this. Have tried so many times and just fallen away. God awful. Gets a 5 merely because it’s Resi. Finished every other Resi multiple times but this?! Unlocked the ADA campaign, tried that and literally could not put any more time in. Cannot wait for Resi 2 to erase this.
  • 3. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

    Finished this in co-op with the Boy. He absolutely loved it although it was hard for him (he is 5). I found it ok. Not much to it. Bog standard left-to-right platformer, rather dull in places, but occasional decent levels. Bosses were annoying and the kind that you fight and think “they should do away with bosses”. Worst of all were the tedious cart and barrel levels. I thought we left that kind of thing behind decades ago or now relegated to cheap smartphone games.

    Still, it was all rather polished and well put together. And I appreciate it’s probably meant for people looking for a retro gaming fix, but it didn’t quite play great. 

    [7]
    "But enough talk. HAVE AT YOU!"
  • The best cart bits are some of the best Nintybits ever imo.
    You have minecraft?
  • I know you love the game and those cart bits, dude. Just not my cuppatay.
    "But enough talk. HAVE AT YOU!"
  • Next up with the Boy: Captain Toad. Another enjoyable game.
    "But enough talk. HAVE AT YOU!"
  • Feed me minecarts and bosses.
    You have minecraft?
  • 2. Astro Bot - Playstation VR

    Easily one of the greatest gaming experiences I've ever had, and to think I was secretly mocking VR up to a few weeks ago.  Phenomenally inventive, beautifully presented corridor platformer (think Sly Racoon or Super Magnetic Neo for better examples than Crash Bandicoot) with a massive twist.  'Be the camera' isn't going to shift units, but don't knock it until you've tried it.  Great visuals, quality sound design and music, terrific stage layouts, inventive item mechanics, old-school screen-filling pattern bosses, well spaced checkpoints, replayability, post credits longevity (challenge mode), perfect movement controls (which sounds simple, but think how many games have got this wrong over the years), buckets of charm and bundles of character - it doesn't put a foot wrong for my money.  The best exclusive on PS4, it's mere inches away from a ten.  Exquisite craftsmanship, sequel please.  [9]
    You have minecraft?
  • Moot_Geeza wrote:
    Feed me minecarts and bosses.
    オレノナハ エラー ダ
  • That last barrel level was pretty decent. The bosses were shit though. Too slow and a lot of the times just standing there waiting to jump over something and for the boss to get to it’s vulnerable state etc. Too long.
    "But enough talk. HAVE AT YOU!"
  • Agree that the bosses could've been better.  Wouldn't go as far as shit, but certainly nothing special.  The horned owl(?) and the polar bear were the highlights.  I still enjoyed them, always do really, but I wouldn't want to play a Tropical Freeze boss rush.  They didn't have enough vulnerable states that favoured boldness - the risk/reward thing, so there was a lot of waiting for a window at the end of patterns.
    You have minecraft?
  • Agree with all of that. Shit was too harsh. Just nothing special.
    "But enough talk. HAVE AT YOU!"
  • Shit would be Mario games, excluding the last battle with Bowser. They vary from ok to great.
    オレノナハ エラー ダ

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