swordianmaster: (noise)
2017-07-25 05:00 pm

52 IN 52: Sonic Generations cleared

Never before have I had an experience almost ruined by a single awful segment. It only stands to reason that it would come from a Sonic game.

For 95% of the game, Sonic Generations is fun, enjoyable, and even if it's not perfect, it's close enough that you can excuse the occasional physics bugs or jaunts into bottomless pits. The remaining 5% is the final boss.

The final boss is a culmination of every bad Super Sonic final boss the entire series has had. It's overdesigned, visually cluttered, has "helpful" ""tips"" chirping in your ear every five seconds, has a Zelda/Pokemon-like low health chime when you dip down to even 30 rings, and has a whole bunch of extra commands that are effectively worthless when the entire fight boils down to holding down the X button and dodging objects for two to five minutes.

It is, in its purest essence, a 3D version of Doomsday Zone. Except unlike Sonic 3 & Knuckles, this isn't fresh and new and unique, this is the same formula the series has done for 17 years.

Please, Sega. I get wanting your magical glowy death powerup to be the lynchpin to a final confrontation, but this isn't how to make a climax. Please consider what you can do to make the final bosses in Mania and Forces not suck eggs like this. You've got literally every other part of the formula ironed out.

it doesn't even have the cheesy, hype-as-shit buttrock
swordianmaster: (supernerdy)
2017-07-12 09:21 am

52 IN 52: Fall of the New Age felled

Sometimes I don't want a game that is a "good" or "enriching" gameplay experience, sometimes I just wanna poke at some casual Big Fish-style shovelware shit in an afternoon.

RiseFall of the New Age is the latter.

This was your standard "be a pixel-hunting kleptomaniac, rub objects against other objects, watch things explode" deal, with a few hidden object puzzles for assembling disguises or getting past puzzle locks that were just. Hidden object puzzles. (Who designs doors like that?) It's about a luddite cult trying to drive an industrialist country into the dark ages, your usual Dungeons & Dragons low-magic stuff. You play as Marla, the Master Of Unlocking. (no, seriously, there's no less than 15 lockpicking minigames here). The cult has kidnapped your brother, and you are a bad enough dudette to team up with some swashbuckling hobo to rescue him.

Honestly, this wasn't bad... or rather, it was increasingly bad, but in a good way. Somewhere around the 1/3rds mark, the quality control on the script went straight into the garbage disposal, subtitles didn't match voices, and voices got progressively more phoned in, culminating in a villain deadpanning out "mom. mommy." as he is defeated. Your main antagonist goes for most of the game by the pseudonym "Master Lame". There's also the fact that the game throws a fake ending at you, kicking you to the main menu and saying "CLEARED THE GAME, HERE'S SOME STUFF" without actually. You know, concluding the plot or anything.

That said, there was exactly one point that I screamed in frustration and used the game's in-game "I suck at this, let me cheat" option. THIS IS NOT HOW MACHINERY WORKS.

I think I got this for a buck off an IndieGala bundle. It's about worth that; it's your average shovelware quality adventure title. It's good for what it is, but I wouldn't expect the $7 worth of game Steam is asking you to pay on normal price.
swordianmaster: (that is my fetish)
2017-07-10 09:19 am

52 IN 52: Ever Oasis cleared

I won't lie: I got into this one the exact same way I got into Undertale.

That is to say: I didn't even know this game existed until I started seeing a bunch of porn of one of the characters (similarly to Undertale, it's an important but ultimately unfocused-on character) and then I started looking into what it was.

What is it? Well, it's kind of a weird hybrid of a town builder and an action RPG; think Soul Blazer, or Dark Cloud. (It's done by the Zelda 3DS port guys, so I'm sure that there's a bunch of seams you can push a semi-truck through for speedrunners.) You're plopped in the middle of a world that has, since ancient times, been reduced to a barren husk of a Desert World by sentient despair and negativity known (so originally) as Chaos. You're a special type of seedling (think 'plant people') able to create an Oasis, a fertile, lush outpost in that desert.

In fact, yours is actually the last one. Turns out bad vibes are on an upswing. So you have to build Something out of damn near nothing.

What follows is a lot of running around hitting stuff with swords and recruiting people into coming to crash at your place. Fellow Seedlings can be brought in to set up shops or tend your garden, and other desert races can be brought in to do explorations on their own. (All of the characters you recruit can be swapped into your party, though admittedly that makes them kind of samey.)

If nothing else, the races are unique; in addition to the plant people, you have:
- Drauks (lizard/dragon folk, aka "my fetish???", use spears and enjoy fashion and honor)
- Serkah (weird chufty nomadish folk with... scorpions for heads? No seriously, their heads are cycloptic scorpions that move their pincers in place of a mouth. Either way, they're your gourmands and use the big hammers)
- Lagora (bunny people, enjoy "novelties" (read: toys) and use double blades for maximum edginess)

and along with the recruitable characters, you also have Noots. Noots are the best thing about this game. They're penguin/owl hybrids who dress fancy, can't talk (except in chirps), and live only to be The Perfect Consumer. They are a race of adorable Capitalism Borbs. It is the best thing and if we don't have plushies made I will be sad.

...right, I'm rambling. The game isn't perfect (I had a few complaints about the ability gating in some areas, as well as the fact that the game never tells you that the last few abilities are based on equipment, not skills) and the combat can be kind of hard to get a feel for, but it's real pretty. It sticks to the "desert wanderer" aesthetic and nails it hard, and while the soundtrack isn't on my top 10, it's perfectly functional for what it is. (I didn't find myself really cringing or humming any of it, so it's just sort of there.)

Is it worth the $40 it costs right now? Ehhhh.... mmmaybe. If you liked Recettear and can handle combat that's kind of fiddly and encourages hanging back and memorizing enemy attack tells, then it has a lot of potential. If you're looking for a game to scratch that Secret of Mana itch (since it was made by the guy who spearheaded that) then maybe hold off til it's on sale.

Still, I don't regret the purchase.
swordianmaster: (supernerdy)
2017-06-28 01:24 am

52 IN 52: Mystik Belle kompleted

First of all: sorry about the radio silence; it's been a rough month, compounded with the fact that the FF5 Four Job Fiesta began, and thus a huge chunk of my free time in June was taken up by a man named Bartzbutts. That said, things are looking better - family finally got our tax return, and with it, I got a computer that isn't twelve year old jank; the video card still needs work but I can actually run things now!

Secondly: oh yeah I beat a game.

Thing about Mystik Belle is that it's an oddball of a game. In simplest terms, it controls mostly like the "metroidvania" style of platformer (though I hate that term in particular) what with the sprawling map that you flit back and forth around as you gain mobility upgrades and the Hidden Secrets. But then you get to its puzzles, and you realize that Mystik Belle is very much a point-and-click adventure game wearing a platformer's clothing.

You play as a witch girl who is tasked with collecting the ingredients to a super important batch of witch's brew after the last batch was ruined by Science Ninjas.

No, I'm not making that up. Yes, oddly, it works given the tone of the game.

But rest assured, this is essentially a point-and-click adventure game that incidentally plays sort of like Metroid. You collect all sorts of random detritus - some of it worthless, most of it not - and then smash them against things, or against each other, and watch the magic of combinatorial explosions. A relatively early puzzle involves dunking an already fragrant plant into a dumpster in order to use it as a fly magnet, distracting a chef so you can steal some tinfoil. Yeah.

The problem is, the two parts don't mesh together well. The platforming and combat is kept relatively streamlined, but that means that everything past the first boss fight boils down to "use lightning spell, win". The puzzles are standard adventure fare, but at one point I did have to crack open a map and guide to figure out where an important piece of a puzzle was... it happened to be languishing underwater, in an area I couldn't be in for more than a few seconds without instantly drowning and dying. After dying the first few times, I had let my platformer instincts kick in and say "okay, avoid water, there will be a way to breathe it later". There certainly is... immediately after the puzzle that you need to go underwater initially for.

It's still a good game. It controls well, and the spritework is fantastic. The music is bloopy in the most pleasant of ways, and honestly, you can tell that some of the staff that worked on Shantae was also apparently involved in this. It just tries to mix two things together, and instead of "you got chocolate in my peanut butter", the final product is more akin to pineapple on pizza. If it works for you, great, but it's not for everyone.

Still, a pretty 7/10 game. Not bad in the slightest.
swordianmaster: (loopts)
2017-06-07 11:28 am

52 IN 52: Legend of Zelda, I WON

Sometimes, when a game hasn't aged well, you can look back at it and go "yeah, this was an Important Game, even if it did a lot of things wrong". That's what the original Super Mario Brothers was like.

Other times, you look at a game and go "I know this was an Important Game... but who in their right mind would have liked this game?" The first Metroid was one of those, but upon actually forcing my way through this, I'm just dumbfounded at how... impenetrable the very first Legend of Zelda was.

I pulled out all the stops here. I loaded up maps before I even started up the game. I save-stated my way through Money Making Game. This game was, in a way, my childhood... but it wasn't a good part of my childhood. I could never get into it like I did its spiritual successor Crystalis; it wasn't until I finally got my hands on a copy of Link to the Past that I finally understood why people liked the tiny green man who was made of glass.

This time, though, I forced my way through it. Took me about... three, four hours? I feel like it would actually be a good speedrun game. Thing is, Sonic 06 is a good speedrun game, too. Being accessible to gofast players does not necessarily mean a game is good.

For the most part, the dungeons were okay (save for one enemy, more on that later) though heavily reliant on you either knowing ahead of time where you needed to go and not trusting the map to not lie to you at every opportunity. Sure, it told you where most of the rooms were, but everything is so honeycombed together that you'll find yourself bombing walls religiously if you don't have maps beforehand. This may not be a problem, but bombs are pretty uncommon drops, and you can only hold 8 at a time for over half the game (and have to pay almost a full wallet's worth of cash to double it to an "astounding" 16). Since Link hadn't perfected the art of "poke wall with sword", you have no idea WHERE to bomb, except, apparently, fucking everywhere. Except you don't have enough bombs to do that, so you either have to grind or know ahead of time.

No, the problem is in the overworld, which is a labyrinth all its own - and that's not even getting into the two Lost Woods-style infinite-scrolling screens. This was what stymied me as a kid. I never had any idea where the fuck I was going, where I had to go next... there's such a thing as "too open", and oddly enough, a gigantic 16x8 maze with no finite start or end point? Is too goddamn open.

It's also got a heavy reliance on that whole Continuing Is Painful thing; if you die then you might as well just throw the whole thing away, since hearts are even rarer than bombs, fairies are practically nonexistent (and only fill four hearts anyway), you restart at 3 hearts regardless of how many you have, and oops, the thing that killed you takes off two hearts every time it breathes on you!

(Speaking of which: fuck darknuts, particularly of the blue variety. If an enemy is invulnerable from only one side and your main/only method of attack is at close range? don't make their movement pure RNG. kay thanks.)

But yeah. After about 30 years, I finally saved Hyrule with a little green man made of glass. I'm not doing the Second Quest. It was obnoxious enough once around.
swordianmaster: As your attorney, I advise you to have some of these cupcakes. (fear and loathing in las pegasus)
2017-06-01 11:32 am

52 IN 52: DRAGON: A Game About A Dragon completed

Sometimes a game can be made sincerely, with heart, and still feel "off". Maybe it's due to novice coding leading to shaky gameplay, maybe it's due to questionable level design, maybe something just doesn't gel. In this game's case, it's sort of all three.

Dragon (or, as it's rendered on the title screen/webpage, dʒrægɛn) is, naturally, a game about a dragon. This dragon is in a relationship, but his significant other is carted off and locked in a tower for the capital crime of being hot for a dragon. (Not making that up. It is explicitly portrayed as a "we don't want half-dragon babies, that's weird" thing.) Said dragon goes on a quest to rescue her, even though she probably doesn't need rescuing for several reasons, and you have a game.

Everything is rendered in a crayon-and-pencil way like a kid's illustrated story for school, but, well. I already touched on the human-on-dragon implications, and clearing a level leads the player character pulling a pipe out of hammer space and lighting up. One of the late-game powerups is "magic breath" that "makes enemies peaceful". Yeah, this is one of those games. That's what's so jarring through a lot of it; it's a very kid-friendly game, except for the parts where schtoinking is hinted at or where everything is about blazing it. (Ironically, Blazing Dragons was the franchise with less pot in it.)

Controls are pretty average for a platformer of its type; you've got a jump button that can be double-tapped to glide-hover Tails style, a button to breathe out fire/lightning/ice/acid/pot smokemagic, and a button for a melee attack that's got a deceptively big (but never big enough) range. In fact, the controls are probably the one thing that didn't make me head-tilt, since they're pretty snappy and responsive. Stages are presented sort of like the 16-bit Tiny Toon Adventures games, where you select individual (relatively small) maps on a world map that kind of loops around on itself, as opposed to the more Metroidvania style of a single full-game map.

But there's problems, even past the "adultness". Hitboxes are wonky as hell, especially for collision damage. After the first few levels, you'll be taking way too much damage for messing up, too, which can make some bosses kind of frustrating. Enemies often camp on ledges you can't safely land on without eating a hit, and unless you've been grinding out upgrades you're gonna need to take several hits to kill most things. Speaking of upgrades, while most of them are easily found with a little scrounging, the way to actually get them is rarely intuitive, including one that I found out later was skippable but also mandatory to defeat the final boss. I had to get a youtube video's help (hard enough on its own since nobody seems to have any interest in the game) to finally figure out that the way past an otherwise impassable barrier to said powerup was to freeze it, and then burn it.

On the plus, the interactions felt great when they actually worked. A random non-aggressive NPC starts taking photos of you? Smack the phone out of their damn hands. Charging the king's castle for a final confrontation? Well, you can wade through his forces on the high road, or you can shrug, go the scenic route, and enjoy a nice, peaceful, uninterrupted walk through a suburb. Both get you there just as well. There was plenty of attention to detail in the spritework, the game just could have used a little more attention on the level design.

I dunno. It was cute, for what it was, though I dunno if I could recommend it to people. If you don't mind the mix of aesthetic and tone, then go ahead and give it a try; its flaws are pretty minor but the game is ultimately rather short (4 hours for 100% completion, with only very minimal outside help) and relatively uninspiring. 8.8/10, too much pot.
swordianmaster: (quantum souls wut)
2017-05-31 01:41 pm

52 IN 52: Chroma Squad completed

Never have I had a game make me go "the honeymoon is over" in quite the way this did. No, wait. Exactly one other has, and I'll reference it in this post.

Anyone who's known me any length knows I have a massive thirst for a solid, crunchy - but not too crunchy - turn-based strategy game. The trick is I'm also astoundingly picky about them. XCOM, even in its most softball of difficulties, drives me to hair-pulling frustration because I'm not fucking psychic. Fire Emblem and bores me because its characters are meant to be unique but are also as boring as any generic mooks in any tactics game ever. Disgaea focuses too much on the grind, Advance Wars puts too much emphasis on being able to churn out your units Starcraft style, and so on and so forth.

So I suppose it would really be easier to say "I have a massive thirst for the Genesis era Shining Force series". A few other franchises have scratched the itch almost as well - Atlus's Devil Survivor games, the Final Fantasy Tactics series, occasionally Tactics Ogre. Disgaea manages it if I don't fall into minmaxer hell. With that in mind, pretty much like everyone in my friends list recommended Chroma Squad to me, even though my sole experience with sentai stuff is explicitly being a pre-teen when Power Rangers came out originally.

When I first got it, I kind of rolled my eyes at the financial management aspect of it - great, I'd have to play Television Executive Simulator in order to get to the actual good game - and wandered off. On a lark, I went back to it.

And for a while, I was pleased with it. Being able to customize a team (right down to the transformation and mecha-summoning catchphrases) leads to that kind of immature glee you can only get with a twisted sort of imagination - the script was very much improved, I feel, by my teenagers with attitude screaming out "ORIGINAL CHARACTER, DO NOT STEAL" in order to turn into spandex crimefighters, and calling out "Punch it until it dies!" when they needed the giant robot to, well, punch something until it dies. The combat was a little fiddly but crunchy enough that things had a definite flow to them and it was easy to intuit when to press ahead and when to fall back. Even the "executive simulator" portions had charm, what with being able to answer fan emails and get replies about how you helped these fictional textboxes. It had the right amount of self-referential funy to have a charm to it, like, it really shows that the writers adore the genre they're homaging enough to poke fun at it every chance they get.

Then - I'm not sure when exactly, but somewhere in the last chapter or two - things started to drag. I was playing on the medium difficulty, but as I've been told that the easy difficulty is meant to be something you could fumble blindfolded through, I assume the difficulty spike is not equivalent in all difficulties.

Either way, the longer the stages took, the more I saw the flaws in the game.

Stages were either vastly too big (and filled with enemies that would plink at you from a distance in relative safety) or oppressively small (and you'd get ganged up on by 500 things).

The equipment crafting system is RNG from beginning to end - you have to use random drops, that you can also buy random booster-pack-esque boxes of, in order to get equipment with random bonuses that you may not be able to use anyway. Or you could pay five times the price for wholly mediocre storebought equipment.

The leaning on the fourth wall officially got tiresome when NPCs (named after Kickstarter backers) started declaring how glad they were to have backed a Kickstarter.

The hit chances in mecha battles are wildly weighted against you - a 95% hit chance is actually more like 70%, and heaven help you if you risk going down past 50%.

The whole thing is programmed in Unity, meaning that it would hang on my potato of a computer at exactly the worst times - generally when I needed to make an input on the mecha battles to avoid taking a Hefty Boatload of Damage.

Tokusatsu-themed jokes turned into fighting bootleg versions of Barney and the badger from that flash animation.

Literally every enemy that is brought into a battle has to walk in, one at a time, meaning almost every battle is preceded by five minutes of waiting by endgame.

The final mission violently swung back and forth between "cakewalk" and "frustratingly unfeasible" practically every other turn, culminating in a finale that was, in fact, literally unloseable. (Not that I minded that at that point.)

Suddenly, things stopped being fun by the end. I've only ever felt that quick of a turnaround before once, and that was when I tried LPing Final Fantasy Tactics A2 and finally got a good look at it, warts and all.

Just like FFTA2, Chroma Squad has a lot of work put into it, and is absolutely enjoyable if you're the kind of person who can accept that the game wants you to play it a certain way. Unlike FFTA2, Chroma Squad was made with definite love, and its flaws are more a product of slightly lopsided game balance than the game simply refusing to allow for experimentation. I appreciate that it tried, but I'm gonna be hesitant to go back to it.

I might like it better if I was the kind of person who was okay with XCOM. I'd probably like it better if every single one-shot NPC wasn't a Kickstarter backer who insisted on telling you their life story for the single mission they appeared in. I'd definitely like it better if I knew more than just Power Rangers.
swordianmaster: (supernerdy)
2017-05-28 05:11 pm

52 IN 52: Klocki cleared

Every week, the iOS App Store showcases a "Free App of the Week", an app that they offer at a 100% discount if you get it during that week only. I've had good luck with this showcase before, given that it's how I was introduced to crunchy but minimalist FEZ-like Monument Valley, so I make a point to grab anything that halfway looks interesting there.

This week was a little fidget-game called klocki. Apparently, it's only about a buck normally, given that there's also a version of it on Steam that looks identical, as well as a vastly pared down version on Kongregate. It's weird to be giving kudos to a game I could play for free on a flash game site, but it's nice, for how light and casual a puzzle game it is.

Klocki is a game about creating unbroken lines. You swap tiles around, slide them, rotate them (all depending on the type of tile, of course) and make sure every line has a beginning and end, or forms a closed loop. Don't leave any dangling ends. Sometimes, there will be more than one color of line you have to keep connected, or shapes you have to form out of indistinct blobs. Other times, you'll have to isolate black squares to make them pinpoints. As the levels go on, you'll have to do all of these in a single stage, while trying to figure out exactly what Pipe Dream-esque path they expect you to create.

It's a very relaxing game, but also a very short game. I'd ballpark there being around 60-70 levels in total, and no indication you've cleared them all - the levels just loop around from the beginning. (Other versions have a single achievement to helpfully indicate you're done, it appears.) It's not really worth much more than it's asking, but it's not asking much at all. It's definitely worth a look if you need something low-stress to toy around with when your brain is cluttered up.
swordianmaster: (quantum souls wut)
2017-05-21 03:29 pm

52 IN 52: Super Win The Game won the game

"I had a dream. They overwrote my soul with a digital copy. They thought no one would know. And they were right."

Super Win The Game is not so much about winning, or being super. It is definitely a game, though. Kind of Zelda 2-ish, but with none of the jank that Zelda 2 had. All you do is jump in various ways (sometimes double jump, sometimes wall jump, but always jump). There's not even a run button.

It's not masocore like most single-button games; there's no Meat Boy difficulty or anything. It's more about exploring, collecting macguffins, and figuring out where to go. I did end up falling back to online maps trying to get 100%, but then I had three gems I missed and I couldn't be assed to go back and search every single area just to see where I missed some.

There's some sort of plot in the background that seems like a metaphor for something else, kind of like in things like Braid or other ~artsy~ indie games like that. It's not important, ultimately. There's a more obvious plot of "the king is a spooky skeleton, recover his heart pieces and make him not spooky any more" but it's incredibly simplistic.

I'd been looking for a good, crunchy, casual romp for a while, and SWTG scratched that itch. Probably won't do anything more once I'm bothered to 100% it, though.


(6:08:54 PM) Sword: /gets 100% completion, forgets to go get the trigger for the achievement for it, ends up wiping save to get missable thing right at beginning of game
(6:08:57 PM) Sword: ehhhhfuckit.
(6:09:09 PM) Sword: I'm counting that as 100% completion. :T
(6:10:45 PM) Sword: I have to admit! I regret some things.
(6:11:05 PM) Sword: "this isn't masocore", I said, right before doing the optional side content that turns into the less pleasant side of VVVVVV.
(6:14:27 PM) Sword: Like, literally, there is one set of screens that is essentially "do the first half of Veni Vidi Vici" and it's like ahahahah fuck yoooouuuuu
swordianmaster: (TACOOOOS)
2017-05-20 04:49 pm

52 IN 52: Saturday Morning RPG... sort of completed?

I want to get this out of the way first and foremost: This is a game where, within the first three minutes, you're getting murdered by Cobra Commander Commander Hood, are gifted a magical Trapper Keeper from a pixelated rendition of the Fred Savage from The Wizard (named, naturally, "The Wizard"), and you get a "but enough talk, have at you!" thrown at you. You start battle by scratching scratch-and-sniff stickers, and your attacks consist of things like Care Bare StaresShare Bear Rainbows and turning into Optimus Prime Omegas Botchanger.

That's what kind of game this is.

I promised I'd explain a word that had cropped up more and more in my lexicon lately when it became relevant, and that time is now. Some people think of it as "being like Family Guy", or "being like the Movie Movies" (or "the Seth Macfarlane/Seltzer and Friedberg method" more directly) but for the sake of brevity, I simply refer to it as "funy", as in "hurr derr dat funy".

See, referencing pop culture is an easy way to get people interested in what you're writing or drawing. It makes people feel like they're 'in the know', like they're part of an exclusive group (of everyone on the planet) who gets That Joke. You can do it subtly, by playing around with tropes and cliches, or you can do it a little more obviously, by doing things like making Star Trek II jokes about "Ricardo Montalban and his fake plastic chest", or you can just parade out the references shamelessly with recycled oneliners, memes, and bootlegs of pop cultural icons. It's that third point where the joke stops being a joke related to pop culture, and where it starts being "pop culture, as a concept, is the joke". You've stepped into the realm of image macros and memes that make their way into newspaper comics. That's funy.

And, you know. Sometimes? Sometimes it works okay. But there's two things that have to happen for that to work:

1) You have to commit to it. If your only joke is that this character from somewhere else shows up, that's a cameo or an easter egg. If that cameo/easter egg is then expected to get attention, it's jarring and weird, like something foreign hijacking the plot. No, you have to go balls-to-the-wall with the references, not let anyone up for air. Otherwise, you get Featuring Dante from the Devil May Cry Series. (It says a lot that Nocturne worked despite that.)

2) You have to have something else underneath all the pop culture. This is where a lot of things - including Family Guy and any given Seltzer/Friedberg movie - fall apart. They're substanceless outside of their jokes, or downright offensive. You dig and dig and then you fall through, or you let out the Happy Fun Stuff hidden beneath the adamantine. Even then, you can't cover all your bases; writing is usually the first thing to suffer from the onslaught of wink wink nudge nudges ("HEY LOOK IT'S THAT THING YOU REMEMBER" is incredibly lazy writing, let's be honest) but if your gameplay (or aesthetic/cinematography/etc in the case of non-game works) suffers then there's no amount of pop culture you can use to regain that lost luster. Before long, it just turns into polishing a turd, and nobody really enjoys shiny poops.

And for the first hour or so? Saturday Morning RPG has something that works, because they knew what to rip off for the actual meat and potatoes of the game. RPGs are about battles (either going through them or avoiding them, either way) and they realized they could just pretend they were a different sort of SMRPG. Everything is timed hits and button-pressing gimmicks when there's any input involved, from button-mashing (the game loves its buttonmashing) to timing your attack like a golf swing to, in one cirumstance, aiming a crosshairs and shooting an enemy into tinier versions of itself Asteroids style.

The problem is, the Mario RPG style of timed hits only kept itself steady through a plot that held it up, and music that is master-tier. (The graphics were good for SNES, but they look kinda weird now, so that's a non-factor.) Saturday Morning RPG has... battles. And references about the 1980s. Boy howdy, the 1980s sure existed! But so do modern days. Instead of McDonalds, you get to collect items from happy meal boxes from RcAstleys, which I assume can only be the burger chain that you will never give up, because it's never gonna let you down. (Disconcertingly, MacRick Tonite makes an appearance, crescent moon head and all.)

It's... I don't know how to feel about this game. It has a kind of goofy, overenthusiastic heart to it that a lot of "funy" games lack. The jokes aren't just there to cash in on nostalgia, but because someone looked at this and wept a single tear over the demise of Generation X like a Native American on a littered roadside. Someone here is so drunk on their own nostalgia that they wrote this game, sincerely, a game where you get recruited into G.I. Joe Private Johnson and have a side quest to find the Smurfs Jurks.

It was endearing by the end of the first chapter. It was starting to wear thin by the end of the second chapter. Once Chapter 3 ended, I just wanted to be done with it, despite the game not taking more than an afternoon, even with additional interruptions. I had dialed the scaling difficulty down to nothing (they have scaling difficulty options, by the way - something more games should have) just to bumrush through it to be done.

Yeah, I'll concede a partial defeat here - I can beat the remaining two chapters, but I don't really want to. If someone really wants to insist I do it, I guess I will, but fehhhh.

They had originally planned to make this an enormous, epic-sized episodic game, with plans for 20+ episodes. I'm kind of glad they didn't. The 80s didn't last that long, and I think my controller is slowly dying a tragic, abused death from the A button being hammered incessantly in order to power up the Thundercats sword.

It's $7 on Steam and... ehhhhn. Maybe if you're the kind of person who rewatches VH1's "I Love The 80s" every month or so. Otherwise, it's just sort of okay, I guess, but you could also buy a cheeseburger for that price and be fed.

EDIT: Agreeing with Xyzzy's consensus on AIM - I didn't clear All The Episodes like I said in the original rules, but I did, in fact, see end credits. Three times. Thus, as I said, a partial. If I go back for the other two later, then sure, if not, then sure.
swordianmaster: (rolling girl)
2017-05-19 05:37 pm

52 IN 52: Owlboy completed

Have you ever had that one really bad day where everything went wrong and you just got yelled at for a bunch of stuff you didn't do?

Have you ever had that day, every day, for your entire life?

Owlboy is a game about mistakes. Day to day goof-ups, being framed for the crimes of others, having to suffer the sins of the fathers, or even your ancestors. Owlboy is a game about trying your hardest to make up for those mistakes, no matter how many times you get knocked down. Owlboy is a game about never giving up even when you make mistakes.

Owlboy is a game about the world being very large, and about mistakes sometimes not being fixable. After all, the world is very large. You might be little more than a casualty in somebody else's mistake, and they would never know. Or maybe they do know, but don't care. Maybe someone else is a casualty in your mistakes.

Owlboy is a game about freedom. You can fly, the laws of gravity and linear movement don't apply. Owlboy is a game about lacking freedom; you're still confined in a two-dimensional space, and sometimes it feels like you're marching to an inevitable mistake, and yet there's no way to go but forward.

Owlboy is a game about juggling. In fact, I very originally joked around by calling it a "juggling simulator". You can fly, and you can roll and spin around, but you're not very good at defending yourself. That's where your friends come in handy; you can pick them up (along with flying, you're very good at grabbing things) and they shoot enemies for you. One has a weak but efficient peashooter, one has a blunderbuss that destroys most things in one hit but takes a long time to recharge, and one pretends they're Spider-Man. The shoulder buttons cycle through your friends, which is awkward since you use the other shoulder buttons (usually called the "trigger buttons" on XBox controllers) to pick up things and also shoot things. This led to a fair bit of trouble when I just wanted to grab a delicious, health-restoring fruit and ended up with someone clinging tenaciously to me.

Owlboy is a game about mistakes. There is one segment where you have to ride a giant, angry rock snake through a self-destructing cave. Pressing up on the control pad makes you veer upwards, pressing down on the control pad makes you veer downwards. This is, however, relative to the snake's perspective, and the screen is in fact constantly rotating your viewpoint - literally constantly near the end, in fact. This segment, and this segment alone, I felt was an enormous mistake on the part of the developers.

Owlboy is a game about being forgiven for mistakes. Both in narrative, and in gameplay, in fact - death won't set you back more than a minute or two each time, and even though you're relatively fragile (you are a bird person, after all, hollow skeleton etc) it's easy enough to avoid taking damage most of the time.

Owlboy is a beautiful game. Seriously, they spent nine years on this and it shows; the spritework is downright gorgeous, the music fits the mood perfectly (even if I'm not a fan - I prefer more bloopy music over the orchestral cinematic style). I don't know if I'd say it's worth $25 dollars, but that's because I have to be frugal with my funds. It was definitely worth the $13 I paid a friend paid to gift it to me via Humble Bundle, though.

Owlboy is a game, but it is not a mistake.
swordianmaster: (COBRA (loopts))
2017-05-13 03:01 pm

52 IN 52: Loot Hero DX completed, I guess

Okay, so no more than an hour ago I mentioned that "flash games off a website" felt like dirty pool for completion's sake. This game is a textbook example of why.

If any of you have played Half-Minute Hero, I want you to envision that. Now remove the timelimit/gimmick. Remove the overworld. Abstract the equipment to simple stat-boosts. Make it all battle, all the time.

That's Loot Hero DX.

Hold right. Plow through enemies. If enemies are too tough, alternate left and right to plow through more enemies to buy upgrades and level up. Kill boss at end of stage. Repeat 9 times to "win" and move on to the next cycle. Later cycles you don't even need to play every stage, just what you can clear comfortably in order to power up enough to beat stage 9*loop.

I beat the game in about ten minutes. I got 18/20 achievements in an hour. The last two achievements would probably take me a few more hours at most, since they're "reach Lv100" and "clear 10 loops", respectively.

This was not worth $2.99. This probably wasn't even worth the buck I likely got it off of IndieGala for. I'd feel minorly cheated out of my time if it were a free game on a website.


I know I was looking for something easier and faster to clear to try to play catch up, but I think this was maybe too easy, definitely too fast. I feel weird about even including this, but it technically falls under the guidelines to count.
swordianmaster: (3.2023 out of a possible 8.4523)
2017-05-13 11:22 am

VIDYA GAEMS? Actually putting the 52 In 52 to journal form.

So in case people haven't been following me on Plurk (understandable, it's a niche-ass social media site with no real userbase outside of the Dreamwidth journal RP community) as of early March I've taken up a 52-in-52 challenge.

What's that? It means I want to beat 52 games in a year, an average of one game a week. Since I started in early March, that means I already was lagging behind, and still technically am. However, inspired by [personal profile] xyzzysqrl's own journal entries, I've decided to at least put my thoughts to words here about the games I beat, and maybe the ones that beat me.

However, that means I have a catch-up to do, which is half the reason this entry exists. The other half is to put in writing somewhere exactly what rules I'm putting up.


1) The goal is to clear 52 games in 1 year, or 52 weeks.
This is obvious, and failure to do so is failure of the challenge. Failing the challenge means I feel bad about not being able to commit to anything. Ideally, I would want to finish on December 31, 2017, but since I started late, I would accept finishing before March 8, 2018.

2) The games beaten must be games I have not beaten before.
Equally obvious - otherwise I could get this just by running FF5 a whole bunch (like I intend to this summer, the same way I do every Four Job Fiesta).

3) In addition, they must be games I actually own, or games I have formerly owned.
I'm sure I could get through this super easy by just downloading a bunch of GBA/DS shovelware and trooping through it, but not only would that not be fun, it also wouldn't help clear out my backlog. The "Formerly Owned" addendum is for games that I've had and wanted to beat, but due to having to resell games for emergency money, cannot play hard versions of (For example, Spyro on the PSX, or my most recent clear).

3a) Single games on a compilation are counted if they meet all other requirements.
This isn't as helpful as it seems since most retro games are actually really hard and/or unfun! But I'll count them.

3b) Episodic games (ex. most Telltale games) must have all episodes cleared to count.
Consider it a balancing factor for the first addendum. It's not too relevant.

4) Cheating to bypass difficulty is forbidden.
Another obvious one. It's not a challenge if I can just save-edit or CheatEngine my way to victory.

4a) On a per-case basis, using non-cheat external assistance to bypass tedium is allowable. Said exploitation must be noted.
Less obvious - basically, if I'm frustrated with an adventure game, I could spend five hours rubbing everything on everything else, or I could just read a damn guide. Same goes with using Virtual Console savestates to bypass a lack of saving. However, it's still a game "defeating" me on its own terms, which should be admitted to, for the sake of fairness.

5) Games must require some conscious input or controllable factor.
For clarification, Heavy Rain (if I owned it) would be acceptable, but a visual novel without any player agency would not. Basically, if I can complete it by setting it to "automatically progress text" and walking away for several hours, it doesn't count as a "game" for the purposes of this challenge, no matter how good Umineko and Higurashi are.

6) After this point, a game must be talked about, however briefly, to count.
I want to give people something to read, plus I want to make sure I actually have the ability to focus and put my thoughts to words still. It's important to me.

7) (edited addition, as inquired by [personal profile] xyzzysqrl) A game must be standalone and feature-complete to count.
That probably requires a bit of explanation. Xyzzy's actual wording was "Freeware/fan games and such", which falls into several categories on its own. Free games made in, say, RPGMaker or Game Maker (think original Cave Story) would count. Fan-games would count if they reached a 1.0 state and are considered "complete". I ain't playing Pokemon Uranium for this. Likewise, Early Access games are out of the pool. Flash games on Kongregate or Newgrounds or so on do NOT count, that seems like dirty pool. Finally, romhacks are right out; if I wanted to tally Link To The Past Randomizer or Aria of Sorrow Randomizer runs, again, there's little to no point of doing this.

With that said, a rundown of what I've cleared thusfar, along with a brief decompression of my thoughts on said games!

Under the cut, of course. )

Anyway, I'm caught up on what I've cleared thus far, so hopefully I'll be able to go into more detail as I clear from here on out!