Tag: recommendations

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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Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade

Blazing Blade was localized simply as “Fire Emblem”, because it was the first FE game to officially come West. I wondered, playing this game, if it was a coincidence that the first FE they bothered to send to English speakers was far and away the best one, or if they knew they had a real gem on their hands and were like, “This shit is how we get American’s money.”

Blazing Blade, FE7, is technically the prequel to FE6, but not only do you not have to play FE6 to understand it, I’d go as far as to say you shouldn’t play FE6, since FE7 is so much better that it kind of sets FE6 up as disappointing. The entire plot also causes the plot of FE6 to make zero sense.

Unforutnately I waited too long to write this review and don’t remember nearly as much about FE7 as I should, and I’m afraid I won’t be able to do it justice. But this was a really great game, and I heartily rec it. Like I said, it’s far and away the best of the first 7 FEs. It’s not even close.

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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.

QuickPosts: Annotated Bibliography Edition

This one needs some context:

My final project for one of my classes this semester was an annotated bibliography of recent critical works I thought were useful, so I basically wrote a quickpost in Academese for my final paper I thought I’d pass on to you. It’s ten books, 8 of which have not appeared here before, and a bunch of them are definite recs (some of them, not so much), so it should be useful! Well, I hope. I got an A in the class, so it was useful to me.

I also left on my summary at the end, which was meant to be something of a personal critical statement, which I thought might be relevant in some way to people who are interested in why I talk about what I do.

These are in pub order, because for some unfathomable reason my professor wanted it that way.

While I won’t list all the titles and authors here, I will do a special-rec callout of Literary Witches, which I had a surprisingly strong emotional reaction to. I actually ended up writing another piece about it for this course as well.

I haven’t made any edits here, so prepare for JARGON.

 

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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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