Tag: recommendations

Megaman Battle Network 1-3

Megaman Battle Network is a spinoff of the Megaman series for the GBA and DS. I’ve never played any of the mainline Megaman games and am only vaguely familiar with them, but I played the third Battle Network game as a kid and greatly enjoyed it. Recently, a remastered port was released on Steam, so I decided to pick it up and give the whole series a whirl.

The premise is that this is an alternate universe where Megaman is a computer program instead of a robot, and the technology focus is similarly shifted: Everything is online, everything is a smart device, and everyone needs the help of sapient programs to navigate it all. This was wild science fiction when the first game was released in the early 2000s, yet in the present day it doesn’t sound too far off from our everyday lives. Surreal, and kind of eerie.

Gameplay-wise, MMBN made the interesting decision to switch from the platformer/shooter focus of the main games to an action RPG with deckbuilding elements. I like its gameplay a lot, and I find it demonstrates how adding even a small spatial component to RPGs greatly improves their complexity and engagement. (It does, however, retain the worst of grindy jRPG mechanics in spades.)

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Axiom Verge

A Metroidvania that’s further to the Metroid end of the scale than the Castlevania one; I haven’t played many of those, so this was interesting. This game had a really great plot and aesthetic: You play as a physicist who, after a lab accident, wakes up in a creepy machine on an alien planet. A voice in his head tells him he needs to grab a gun to defend himself, and then he’s off to explore a bizarre world that’s equal parts biological and mechanical. Compounding the weirdness is that you are quickly told the world’s present state is the result of a deadly pathogen that mutated all life into monsters; you are suffering from the pathogen as well, and this occasionally manifests in bizarre hallucinations that force you to doubt your senses. The gameplay mechanics are diegetic as well, with the main character explicitly remembering every time he dies and returns to a checkpoint, further blurring the lines of reality.

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Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga

I really enjoyed this! It reminded me a lot of UnderTale with how personalized (and delightfully silly) every enemy was, and I’m impressed by how much strategy they got out of pretty simple mechanics with the three regular attacks. I also loved the Metroidvania-like feel of getting new exploration abilities along with your battle abilities and just, it was really cool!

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Unworthy

Unworthy is a Soulslike Metroidvania I found in a recommendations list somewhere. Its main defining feature is that you can’t jump. It accomplishes this much better than Mable and the Wood, mainly by not trying to be a platformer anyway. There are no bottomless pits and shockingly few spike traps. There is rather severe falling damage, but this is mainly to prevent you from bypassing levels and not as a way to create a disaster cascade from getting hit. There’s no knockback from enemy attacks at all, actually, which is both a blessing and a curse because there’s no mercy invincibility either, so enemies will quickly combo you to death if you don’t get out of the way on your own. There is a midgame upgrade that gives you the ability to move vertically, but it works very differently than a jump ability and I overall found it delightfully fun and inventive, plus it made moving around areas a breeze.

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Yahtzee Croshaw’s Dev Diary

In 2019, Yahtzee Croshaw (the game reviewer who does Zero Punctuation) challenged himself to make 12 games in 12 months and document his progress every fortnight. As someone interested in game design myself, I checked them out and I recommend you do too. They’re all short, free, and incredibly varied.

In this post I’ll give my own ranking, and short thoughts on each one.

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Games for Racial Justice and Equality (Part 2)

Continuing where we left off. A much weaker showing this time, with a lot of games I couldn’t even finish.

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Christmas Steam Games (2019)

Another year, another crop. I put this off for a while because I was hoping to be able to rejigger a few games that had trouble playing on my computer, but no such luck. You’ll have to wait for reviews of FezMages of Mystralia, and The Talos Principle when (if) I upgrade my hardware.

Inside: Hexcells, Her Story, Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight, Gravitas, Disoriented, OVIVO.

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Flawed Crystals

Flawed Crystal is a Steven Universe fangame made by our very own member of the hivemind, Guest Reviewer Roarke Mini-Farla St. Elmo’s Fire. You can find it here. I finally got around to playing the game, and figured I’d share my thoughts with this blog.

Before I begin, it should be noted that this is very much a fangame in a sense that it doesn’t explain concepts or introduce characters featured in the show. If you aren’t already familiar with the cartoon, it’s impossible to engage with this game. It’s not a flaw per se, one of the greatest strengths of fanfiction is that the core elements were already established for you, so you can skip exposition and focus on things you actually want to talk about. It is, however, something to keep in mind if you think about checking out this game.

With that out of the way, let’s begin.

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Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal COVID-19 Party

NEWS: The world is having problems you cannot fix

Heads ups: the SMBC guy gives away PDFs of his books for free here. The haul includes but is not limited to Augie and the Green Knight, which was discussed on this blog before, as well as two comic collection books, which contain exclusive content, continuing the valiant effort to create an SMBC comic for every single conceivable situation.

So, like, go grab them.

Iron Dragon’s Daughter: A Murder of the Isekai Genre

“It is good to be a cynic–it is better to be a contented cat–and it is best not to exist at all. Universal suicide is the most logical thing in the world–we reject it only because of our primitive cowardice and childish fear of the dark. If we were sensible we would seek death–the same blissful blank which we enjoyed before we existed.”

– H.P. Lovecraft, the original edgelord

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Pierced Heart, by Robert Laws

Over the Edge is a classic TRPG that’s getting a new edition soon. The game revolves around Al Amarja, a fictional tiny island nation that survives by virtue of basically having zero regulations on anything and being able to provide tourists with what they cannot find elsewhere in the world as easily: drugs, experimental medical treatments, exotic sex, etc., etc.

It’s also infested with various conspiracies, remnants of prehistoric human races, aliens, real mages and other things They don’t want you to know about.

Basically, think Naked Lunch (more the movie than the book since it’s actually coherent).

Recently, I’ve decided to revisit the game, maybe pick up some stuff I didn’t have. While doing that, I’ve learned about the existence of Pierced Heart, a novel set in the world of Over the Edge.

It’s reasonably good.

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