Completed Reviews – Farla and MiniFarla

Organization is a virtue.

Series:

A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle): Victorian schoolgirls and Wicca! In a nod to historical writing, the author avoided actual research and threw in lumps of racism instead.

Animorphs: If you don’t already know, I’m not sure what to tell you. People morph into animals to fight brainslugs.

Baltimore (Comics): Cool setting, questionable execution, lot of women getting tortured to death.

Battle Royale: The original childmurder games novel. Recommended.

Beautiful Creatures

Chosen of the Sun (Exalted): The first Exalted tie-in novel. Full of setting confusion, too many characters, and a plot revolving around finding the legendary +1 sword. The second book, Beloved of the Dead, continues this fine tradition, but perhaps Children of the Dragon will involve them actually getting the sword, maybe!

Darkest Powers trilogy: Chloe can see ghosts and do other necromancy things! The plot crawls along about teen drama instead and eventually lurches to a stop without resolving anything much. Bonus mental health failures abound.

Divergent: Set in the blasted wasteland (?) of Chicago, civilization has split into five factions but the main character is divergent (?) which is bad because she fits into more than one, or can hack simulations, or isn’t controllable, or something. Also, everyone hates Abnegation just as much as Abnegation hates prosperity and joy, but they should still totally run things. The movie improves on some of this at the cost of problems elsewhere, Four’s side-story retelling of an event is just flat out awful, and his longer prequel side story Transfer rehashes what we knew already. The sequel Insurgent is completely incoherent, and the final book Allegiant is just boring with a side of racist.

DragonRaid

Dresden Files: Storm Front is badly plotted, extremely sexist, and doesn’t even have a good magic system. Does have an RPG, though. It also has a graphic novel spinoff, covered by SpoonyViking here.
Fool Moon

Fanfiction: Lest we forget our roots.

  • Pokemon: Where it all began.
  • Homestuck: Primarily involving the best characters, carapaces.
  • Undertale: How many ways can the internet squander a story so perfectly suited for fanfic?
  • Gravity Falls: THE AUs SHALL FALL BEFORE MY FURY
  • Author Responses: Feed on their hatred.

Graceling: Well meaning attempt at a feminist message that mostly revolves around guys and is full of terrible attempts at characterization, with bonus research fail. Also demonstrates that no matter how simple and straightforward a magic system, authors can still screw it up. Its sort-of sequel Fire is an even more poorly constructed mess, but the third book, Bitterblue, is surprisingly good and corrects all the major issues of the previous two.

The Host: By the author of Twilight. Starts off surprisingly good, maintains it for another ten chapters or so, then takes a nosedive into Failureville where it crashes and burns. The movie manages to be generally worse somehow, though there’s less wifebeating in it.

Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay: The one that started it all. Recced to me due to feminism and worldbuilding, contains a nonsensical world full of basic research failings with a murderhappy protagonist forced into a relationship where she’s constantly criticized for not loving him back enough. The first movie is an improvement, and the second even more of one.

Legend of Korra: How quickly can the sequel to a beloved show destroy all my goodwill?

Matched: In a poorly thought out dystopia with all sorts of problems going around in the background, the heroine just goes on about how in love with a boy she is. Its sequel, Crossed, has all of its many flaws and not one of its few virtues, and the final book Reached is a completely different book clumsily stapled to the previous two.

Magnus: Robot Fighter (Comics): It’s so hard being a kung-fu white guy, and it is you who is the racist if you think otherwise, PC police!!! Also feminists are just brainwashed Uncle Toms because women are dumb like that. Now, let’s murder more robots because they’re an inferior race.

Midnighters: The Secret Hour, Touching Darkness

Pokemon Black and Pokemon Black 2: A new generation of pokemon, with an absurd plot, a tutorial mode that lasts most of the game, cutscenes that will not end, and constant usurping of my spotlight by Douchy McFlamehair.

Pokemon Blue: The first and best! A run through of the original game and all the million things the players back then believed, in the original colors.

Pokemon Moon:

Pokemon Omega Ruby: Utterly beautiful, mostly coherent plotwise, great mechanics that allow me to try out hidden abilities and get my first two legit shinies ever, a painful step backward with gender, and surprise genocide that’s never even properly condemned.

Pokemon X: A huge leap in graphics, minigames, cuteness, and being brain-meltingly easy.

Pokemon Yellow: Pika, pikachu!

Precure: Pretty Cure is quality light entertainment with a lovable pair of magical girls, fun villains, and lots of punching. Pretty Cure Max Heart improves it in some ways but not in others.

The Reconstruction: An RPG Maker game that claims to subvert expectations. The plot is a nonsensical string of cliches filled with far, far too many insufferable stock characters, but there is a cool battle system. Has a generally better sequel, The Drop. Its prequel I Miss the Sunrise is much more polished, but retains many of the same underlying problems while losing sight of the original’s few virtues.

Unwind: Pro-life apologism mixed with organ donation mixed with all-purpose author incompetence. Bonus rape. Also gets a sidestory, Unstrung, about the magical leprechauns who decided to unwind animals instead, but only in the dumbest way possible. The next book, UnWholly, does not improve things.

Wither: In a future where people die young, women are kidnapped by rich men for wives in a way that is definitely not rape at all. And raped thirteen year olds are worse than rapist kidnappers. Fever manages to have even shoddier worldbuilding and jam in more (and younger) rape, and Sever is just a long stream of hateful nonsense with occasional attempts to wrap up the plot as shoddily as possible.

World War Z: Recommended to me as a realistic take on the zombie apocalypse. Is anything but.

Individual reviews:

Always Sometimes Monsters: Everything and everyone is horrible, and you have to do boring, repetitive jobs for hours to get anywhere. It’s realistic!
American Chestnut
: THIS IS THE BEST NEWS YOU WILL HEAR
Amnesia The Dark Descent: Absolutely terrorizing and utterly brilliant.
Attack on Titan/Shingeki no Kyojin: The best and most interesting horror comes from things that are inexplicable and people that struggle to understand them.
Augie and the Green Knight: This is a really cute book.
A Very Long Rope to the Top of the Sky: A pretty standard jRPG that starts strong, meanders for a while, then ends with a whimper. Also, depressed orphans are the real evil.
Beauty Queens
Be the Slender Man: Not even interestingly bad.
The Big Bang Theory: is a terrible show.
Bionic Heart: What’s wrong with dating games for guys.
Boogiepop Phantom
Christmas Steam Sale (2016): To the Moon, Helen’s Mysterious Castle, LiEat, Sunless Sea.
Cinders: Feminist Cinderella visual novel!
Clock of Atonement: A game with the shocking revelation that repeatedly murdering an innocent woman makes you a bad person.
Composition 83: Wow. Just…wow.
The Crooked Man: Pretty amazing freeware game.
Crossed (comic): What you need to understand is comics can be vile.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone: Want wish fulfillment urban fantasy? This has you covered.
Dear Red: Beautiful art and nothing more.
Defender’s Quest: RPG story style tower defense.
Delirium: Somehow manages to be agonizingly boring despite its horrifying setup.
Depression Quest: A really good look at depression.
The Desolate Hospital: Pretty art and a couple spooky bits, otherwise terrible.
Devil May Cry 1: You can still have horror with infinite bullets and a giant sword.
Devil Survivor (Shin Megami Tensei): Fun game mechanics, great characters, weird views on Christianity.
The Dionaea House
Dreaming Mary: A really well done game. Check it out!
Edge of Tomorrow: An enjoyable, videogamey romp.
Empowered
Eon: Rise of the Dragoneye: Asian flavored fantasy that starts good and ends terrible.
Eona: The Last Dragoneye: The same thing, but without the part where it isn’t terrible.
The Equalizer: Don’t waste your time on it.
Erfworld, Fate, and Poor Planning: Discussing some (very bad) plot choices.
Ever17: A visual novel so ridiculous it seems like a parody.
Exogenesis demo: Dubiously coherent, rather sexist.
FATAL
Fatal Hearts: A visual novel with vampires, impossibly hard minigames, and nonsense choices, oh my!
FATE System: A quality generic TRPG.
Fey: A neat little action adventure game made in RPG Maker 2003.
Final Fantasy X: Primarily on worldbuilding and a plot rewrite.
Gamergate: Is bad and I’ll stand by that.
The Gamers: Hands of Fate: Gender issues in gamer movies.
Ghost Party: Cute, fun, and packed with delicious flavor text.
The God of Crawling Eyes: Clever concept and nice art, little else going for it.
Hello? Hell…o?: Well done horror game with a clever mechanic.
Heroes of Might and Magic: An in-depth look at the tactical RPG series.
Heroes, Power Fantasies, and The Legend of Zelda: Chasing a heroism high to the detriment of actual storytelling.
HOME: Fix-it fic style game for OFF that just screws up far far worse.
The Horror of Debate
I am a Hero: Zombie manga with some unconventional choices.
Ib: Very well done RPGmaker puzzle/horror game.
Immortal Defense: Unusual tower defense game.
It Moves
John Dies at the End: Why I am not going to read that far.
Killer Bear: You can’t parody shitty slasher film writing by just writing more shit yourself.
Kuroshitsuji Movie: A joy. And one with great female characters.
Lamentations of the Flame Princess
Lasting, or What is Horror in Games?: Horror isn’t just about gore and death, and here’s why.
Last Scenario: A somewhat unusual, intensely difficult RPG.
Lavender Legend: A particularly shitty bait-and-switch, with bonus sexism.
Lion of the Tribe of Judah: Jesus christ is some music about Jesus Christ absolutely terrifying.
Lisa “The First”: Had some interesting concepts, but also hamhanded sexual abuse.
local58.info
Logical Journey of the Zoombinis: Fun kid’s logic game. The sequels are less impressive.
The Logomancer: While by no means flawless, it is a gem by the standards of free RPGMaker games and, terrible art aside, it can stand up to many commercial games as well.
Long Live The Queen: A princess raising sim where one wrong move gets her killed.
Mad Father: A well-polished horror game that’s a mess of bad design decisions.
A Madness of Angels: Flawed but good urban fantasy with electric angels.
The Magicians: Yet more proof that deconstructing something doesn’t make the result good.
Maleficent: Surprisingly feminist and enjoyable!
Martian Death Mystery
Maze Runner: I have read a lot of bad books, but I am honestly baffled this was published.
Mermaid Swamp: A gruesome and disturbing horror game with a lot of clever ideas, but comes to a lackluster ending.
Middens, Meows, and Separating Reality from Fiction
The Mirror Lied: An extremely short, very intriguing and well made game with a poor ending.
Misao: Short horror game where just about everything kills you. Decent plot.
Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit: The surprisingly grounded fantasy story of a female bodyguard.
The Mountain Witch: A TRPG about trust, betrayal and limits of pagecount in indie games.
Mortal Engines: Moving cities that devour each other. Just go with it. Sequel is the same thing.
Night in the Woods: Realism done right.
OFF: A well done game overall with a fascinating setting but fumbled conclusion.
Outlast: Immersive and disturbing, but presents the mentally ill as corpsefucking psychopaths.
Oz the Great and Powerful: Why this movie is a stain upon existence.
The Path: Just being high-concept isn’t enough for a good game.
Pathologic: A game of an epidemic.
Paranoiac: Okay horror with some unnecessarily frustrating parts.
Perfected: Like Wither, but just regular bad, not weapons-grade.
Planet Stronghold: Hilariously bad, also a grindfest.
Pokemon Character Thread: Still think this is a bad idea, for the record.
Pokemon GO outfits
Pokemon Miscellaneous: Posts involving sexism in the games.
Pokemon ORAS Sprites: There are some problems.
Pokemon RMN
Pony Island
Quick Recs: Bonfire, Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim, The Blue Contestant, The Heart Pumps Clay, Crazegames, Midnight’s Children.
Quick Recs 2: RPGMaker: Grist of Flies, Red Syndrome, Born Under the Rain, Sunken Spire, Null Regrets.
Quick Recs 3: Webcomics: Dumbing of Age, Awkward Zombie, Polokoa Quest, Leftover Soup.
Reap and Sow
Re Kinder: So many promises of good ideas, so much failure to have them actually in the game.
The Return of the Living Dead
The Sandman: Sequel to The Crooked Man. Recommended.
Schuld/Guilt: Some clever ideas and settings followed by disappointment and cliche.
Science Girls!: Girls from a high school science club fight aliens! Despite the great premise, completely fails at both gameplay and story.
Seeds of Wither: A short story with Rose, set before Wither begins.
Seven Kingdoms: The Princess Problem
The Sick Land
Siddhartha: Morally bankrupt.
Skinwalker: Successfully unsettling horror. Flawed, but short enough to be worth it.
Skyline: What alien conservationists would look like.
The Spirit Engine II: Extremely difficult RPG with interesting mechanics and characters.
Soma Spirits: Morality is really complex and all choices are valid! Now pick the True Ending or else you’re a horrible person.
The Stanley Parable, or, What is Metacommentary?: Pointing out the wires often isn’t enjoyable for anyone else.
Star Trek and Superman movies: What did they have in common? Disregard for human life.
Summon Night: Twin Age: Amateur writing, bland characters, completely fails to address its central conflict. Bonus sexist outifts.
Supergirl Trailers: And how they’re different from other superhero ones.
Supergirl: It is worse than the prophets foretold.
Symbiosis: Completely failed to integrate gameplay and moral, plus it was a terrible moral.
Telepath RPG: A well-written RPG with interesting mechanics.
Telepath Tactics: A mixed entry into the series.
Temeraire: Dragons in the Age of Sail.
Thor: God of Thunder: Fun platformer, fumbled attempt at feminism.
Thor: Tales of Asgard: Pretty decent save the sexism.
Two and a Half Men: Worse than Big Bang Theory.
The Uncle Who Works For Nintendo: What happens when CYOA and creepypasta have a beautiful baby together.
Undertale demo: Amazing.
Undertale Discussion
The Void: Gorgeous game with a weird story and some unnecessary nudity.
The Witch’s House: A generally solid game with a lot of clever bits, but hampered by sticking to certain game conventions that don’t work well in it.
Worm: An extremely long, very inventive and clever superhero story…that is mostly about the universe shitting on the protagonist regardless of what she does.
WWZ the movie: Nothing much to do with the book, but pretty good itself.

Also, there’s fanfic. For Hunger Games, I wrote Fox Games, where there’s no clause about needing your district partner. For more on the subject, there’s also Zero Sum by Ember Keelty. I also wrote a Wither fanfic about advice for daughters in the world. My brother wrote I Miss the Sunrise fanfic: Monsters, a reimagining of Tezkhra’s character arc; At the End of Everything, an AU alternate ending based on his proposed plot rewrite; and The Reconstruction fanfic: The Cure For Nothing, a Qualstio character study.

If you enjoy the idea of Let’s Reads, you may also like Dodging the Anvil, doing The Taking; Point Stick, Vent Spleen doing Rowling works that aren’t Harry Potter as well as Homecoming by OSC; Something Short and Snappy is doing other OSC works; Doing in the Wizard has a wide mix of media reviews and hatred; Reading With a Vengeance has a similar YA focus with bonus writing tips, a quick sporky summary of Eragon; and more positively, a readthrough of Casual Vacancy.

The RPG.net forum also has a number of threads on the subject. I particularly enjoyed the reads of The Death Gate Cycle, Marvel’s Civil War event, and Gor.

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