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Everything posted by Eliwood8

  1. Yeah the lag did not play favorites, I certainly got tripped up by it a few times.
  2. Good games guys. I think the lag can take credit for a few of my wins but there were some good matches.
  3. Might be a couple minutes late but I’m on my way home now.
  4. I was surprised to see that it's actually been a minute since the last LEGO video game. For a while there it seemed like there were three or four coming out every year, whether based on licensed properties or original content, and all of them sporting the same gameplay formula that has practically become a genre unto itself at this point. But with a bit of time since the last brick-based game, does LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga come off feeling like a more fresh experience? Well, yes and no. Perhaps more importantly though, fans of the LEGO game formula will still be well-satisfied with this one for dozens upon dozens of hours. Skywalker Saga covers all nine of the main Star Wars movies, and you can begin your journey with the first of any of the three trilogies (i.e. episode I, IV, or VII). The game serves as a condensed version of each of these nine episodes, with cutscenes that rapidly take you through the set-up and exposition of each scene and gameplay levels that cover all of the blaster firing, lightsaber dueling, and spaceship battles that Star Wars fans know and love. Especially for having not watched any of these movies in a long while, it was fun to run through them again, even if the game does add the usual LEGO slapstick humor—it's not all bad, but some of the predictable jokes definitely drag on for too long. Each episode includes five main missions which play as like the usual LEGO games, meaning there's some light puzzle solving as you craft objects or use characters' unique skills to help you progress as well as battles with melee attacks, blasters, or space dogfights. At its core, the LEGO formula still has a fair bit of charm. It's rather predictable and obviously skews on the easy side to accommodate young players, but even if it's rarely demanding it's still pretty fun to run around breaking apart LEGO brick objects and exploring. There are even a handful of clever, fun challenges sprinkled throughout the game—not as much as I would've liked perhaps, but it's nice that there's a bit of variety here. The combat also feels a little more engaging this time around with some variety in your attacks. This still isn't exactly an action game by any means but fighting stormtroopers is a bit less mindlessly repetitive. And like past LEGO games there is an insane amount of things to collect, not all of which is possible on your first playthrough since you'll need characters with specific abilities that might not be there during the "canonical" first playthrough. Characters are divided up into categories and each one has unique abilities—Jedi can, obviously, use lightsabers to cut through specific walls, while scavengers like Rey are able to craft items that help them traverse the environment. The main levels are already filled with plenty of things to discover, but the real bulk of the game comes from the sandbox areas between levels that are oftentimes massive and packed with side quests, optional challenges, and collectibles to grab. Finishing just the main missions might take you around fifteen hours or so, but trying to 100% complete this game could easily push it closer to eighty or ninety hours. That absolutely insane amount of content is great for hardcore collectible fans but like a lot of LEGO games it can feel like padding. Most missions and challenges are pretty basic and once you've done a few dozen of them it's a little hard to maintain the energy to keep at them. There is at least a good incentive to gather up those collectible bricks while you progress, though. They can be used to upgrade your characters (increased speed, attack power, health, etc.) which at least gives you a more substantial reason to grab them beyond just trying to reach 100% completion. Considering there are over one thousand collectible bricks in the game, it's good to have a little extra motivation to find them. The presentation in Skywalker Saga is just about everything you'd expect from a LEGO game. The animation wrings a ton of charm out of these blocky characters, and the environments have plenty of polish to them that make them feel fully realized, even when they look like a bunch of LEGO bricks. So much of the dialogue is taken straight from the movies which is a great touch, and of course it's always a treat to hear the familiar Star Wars songs in any context. While the art design is pretty solid though, the technical side of the game leaves a lot to be desired. Frame rate dips are a bit annoying but understandable on a multiplatform game. There were plenty of more severe glitches during my playthrough though, which really soured the experience. Textures sometimes failed to load fully during the opening crawl, leaving the text basically unreadable. A scene transition would fail to load so I'd be stuck staring at a wall of the previous scene, unable to progress without exiting and reloading. Visual effects would sometimes get stuck on the screen, so a blurry effect from being hit by a powerful attack would stick around until I'd finished the entire level. Most frustratingly, there were several crashes which necessitated replaying parts of levels. Beware that the game's technical polish is far from complete and there will likely (and hopefully) be some important patches down the line. LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is a staggeringly massive playground for Star Wars fans to run around in and collect their favorite characters and ships in familiar locales. The usual LEGO formula has a bit of an upgrade here though it's still an undeniably repetitive one, especially if you're hardcore enough to try to collect everything possible in the game. If that sort of thing does tickle your fancy you'll find a wealth of easy but entertaining gameplay here, just be wary of the technical hiccups that will pop up on occasion. Rating: 7 out of 10 Bricks
  5. I'll be there! Might be eating dinner while playing but I'll be there.
  6. Not quite anything that blew me away in this Indie World Showcase, but there were still several games that caught my attention. ElecHead looks really cool, kind of gave me BoxBoy vibes from its simple but inventive puzzle design. Gunbrella is interesting, and I did like Gato Roboto, so this'll be one to keep an eye on. Soundfall sounds fun, in a Crypt of the Necrodancer/Cadence of Hyrule kind of way. Not sure how the rhythm mechanics flow without a grid-based map but I'm intrigued. "Roguelike deckbuilder" gives me pause, but Wildfrost looks cool, I'll have to keep an eye on it. I didn't realize Ooblets still hadn't come out, I remember hearing about this game for years. It still looks ridiculously cute. Totally Accurate Battle Simulator isn't the kind of game I'm all that interested in playing, but videos of the game are always hilarious.
  7. The 14th might be tricky for me for the Smashdown but I'll let you know closer to the day if I can't make it.
  8. A throwback to classic side-scrolling beat 'em ups of the 90s, The TakeOver wears its Streets of Rage influence on its sleeve, from genre staples down to some of the character and level design. This game isn't just a copycat though and manages to throw in a couple of novel ideas into a formula that hasn't changed much in decades. But despite those shake ups, only die-hard fans of the genre are likely to dive into The TakeOver. In a story that definitely feels like it came out of the 80s or 90s, the city of Steel Haven has been overrun by crime—taken over by it, you might say. When police officer Ethan's daughter is kidnapped amidst the crime spree, he, his girlfriend Megan, and his friend Connor take to the streets to find her. It's a super generic story told through pretty bland cutscenes. Granted, story-telling isn't usually a priority for beat 'em up games, but the developers might as well not have bothered with any kind of plot in that case. Just have a bunch of cops/protagonists beating up gang members, simple. No need to try to give the final boss some thin motivation literally in the final cutscene of the game. The TakeOver has all the fundamentals of a side-scrolling beat 'em up with one or two notable additions. Instead of a single attack button you've got two: punch or kick. By chaining the two together you can use long combos that oftentimes stunlock enemies into place, which is a nice way of speeding up fights sometimes (though it won't work on every enemy and obviously not on bosses). You've also got special moves that drain health and a super meter that gradually fills as you land hits (and decreases when you take damage) that can be used for a powerful burst attack. Finally there's a rage meter that also gradually fills as you attack and allows you to enter an invincible, super-powered state for a short while. You can also sometimes find melee weapons and every character comes equipped with a gun for ranged attacks, though ammo is limited so you'll need to find it as you progress through each stage. The end result is that The TakeOver's combat has one or two fun wrinkles but ultimately plays like every other side-scrolling beat 'em up. If you're playing a beat 'em up in this millenium that's probably all you want anyway, something that evokes that classic sense of arcade combat and progression, even with all its little flaws like missing an enemy because you're not quite on the right y-axis even though they can hit you just fine. Still though, it would've been nice to have even more new, unique features in The TakeOver, especially since they clearly touched upon a couple of ideas. The game does have a couple of bonus action stages to break up the action, though these are also pretty simple and don't really change the fact that The TakeOver is repetitive, even though it only takes a few hours to play through it all. Even with combos and various special attacks the combat system always feels like the same thing over and over, and it's rarely rewarding, i.e. it doesn't often feel like you win because of skill or planning, you just win by mashing the attack buttons over and over. It's mindless action, which can be fun for a bit but gets stale pretty quickly. Aside from the main arcade mode, there are a couple of other game modes to try, though they don't switch up the gameplay much at all. Challenge mode literally just has you replay individual sections of the game with some side-goal in mind, like not letting your health drop below 50% or never using special attacks. As far as bonus modes go, it's pretty lackluster. There's also Survival mode where you just fight waves and waves of enemies—not a terribly inspired game mode either but at least you know what you're getting right off the bat. You can also play any game mode with two-player local co-op, and although this doesn't spice up the gameplay much either, it is nice to have another couch co-op game out there. The presentation in The TakeOver is a little hard to pin down because, while individual elements do look pretty good—the character design, level design, etc.—the overall style is so busy and has something of a plasticky, stiff feel to it when animated. The cutscenes are played in a stylish 2D comic book, but the artwork is a bit bland and unpolished. And last but not least, the soundtrack is energetic and gives off that 90s arcade vibe, though the individual songs don't stand out much. The TakeOver is, like many throwbacks or revivals of classic video game genres, a good imitation of an older form of gameplay, but doesn't seem to want to push the genre forward at all. Separate punches and kicks with combo chains is a fun addition but doesn't quite break up the monotony of the side-scrolling action formula, and the uninspired writing and visuals aren't switching things up much either. Fans of beat 'em ups might enjoy having another side-scroller to punch their way through, but anyone not already charmed by the genre may feel that The TakeOver is too generic. Rating: 6 out of 10 Takeovers
  9. I guess calling out the fact that no one was joining the arena for a while is a "be careful what you wish for" situation, haha. Good games though guys, despite the Kazuya and Banjo opponents.
  10. We've got plenty of stories about a hero rising up to fight monsters and demons, but Skul: The Hero Slayer flips the script. In this game you play as a lowly skeleton soldier on a quest to rescue the Demon King who has been attacked by human warriors. With fast and frantic combat and roguelike randomization and progression, Skul is an addictive adventure. It's a lot of fun to be playing as a "bad guy" undead fighter, rescuing other monsters like witches, trolls and the like. Aside from the premise though, Skul doesn't delve too deeply into storytelling. The first time you reach a new region of the game you're treated to little cutscenes that add some context, but it's pretty minimal and since you only see them once in the dozens (or even hundreds) of times you'll play through the game, they don't leave much of an impact. Skul is a roguelike, meaning that the levels are randomly generated, the items/weapons you find are randomly provided, and when you die you start back at square one to try it all over again. The twist here is that Skul can literally swap his skull for other ones, granting him different abilities. Skulls, then, essentially act as weapons. You can pick up basic sword fighter or archer skulls, magic-user skulls, or more unique ones like rockstar and even skulls that reference other roguelike games. The amount of skulls feels great—there are enough that you can experiment with tons of options, but not so many that you'll get overwhelmed by them, especially since you can't control which skulls you'll find in each playthrough. Skulls can also be upgraded to be stronger (only in your current playthrough) so once you do find ones you like you can keep them and just keep upgrading them to improve your damage output. Aside from skulls, you'll also pick up items on each run that provide various buffs, from basic extra damage to special effects like granting you a temporary shield every so often. Like a lot of roguelikes there is a ton to learn when you first start Skul, so figuring out which items work for your playstyle will take time, and this is all further complicated by the affinities that each item provides. Items have two affinities which grant additional bonus effects which can be stacked, so it might behoove you to have a lot of items with similar affinities to get a bigger bonus effect. Like I said it can feel overwhelming at first and the game doesn't actually do a good job of explaining these little features, but since this is the kind of game that you're expected to play over and over and over, you'll gradually learn what affinities do what and which ones might be most beneficial to your current run. The combat itself is fast, frantic, and satisfying. Some skulls are speed-based and some are power-based, but either way you'll have a blast smashing your way through groups of enemies as you dodge enemy attacks and juggle the cooldown meters of your special abilities. There's a good amount of variety in enemy types so you'll be up against different challenges in each region of the game, though by the end enemies can feel like damage sponges if you haven't carefully curated your skull/item set up. There are also mini-bosses and bosses to truly test your skills, and like all roguelikes it's super satisfying when you get good enough to take them out without much effort. Although the maps are randomly generated you do have some control over where to go next. Most rooms end with two doors and the decorations around the doors indicate what kinds of challenges/rewards await you. You might want to just take on a normal door if you're low on health and are hoping to make it to the next merchant room to buy healing items, or you might want to try a skull door to get a new skull or break it into bone shards that can be used to upgrade your current skulls. There aren't that many different types of rooms but having some control over where you go next helps you plan out your playthrough. Skul features some fantastic 2D artwork as well as a pretty catchy soundtrack. The scenery is incredibly detailed and the sprite-work on the skulls/enemies is sharp. Even though you're going to see these environments and characters over and over, there's a lot of depth and personality here as well as good readability when the screen is filled with chaotic combat. The music does a great job of building up the intensity of the action as you progress as well, and is catchy enough that it doesn't grow stale anytime soon. Skul: The Hero Slayer adds just a couple spins to the standard roguelike formula, but with such a solid foundation those little touches add a good amount of personality. Slowly learning how to efficiently fly through the game is always a satisfying challenge, and although Skul has some particularly obtuse mechanics that will take time to learn as well as a very slow progression system to upgrade your abilities between runs, the core gameplay is polished enough that roguelike fans will enjoy coming back for more, one playthrough after the next. Rating: 8 out of 10 Skulls
  11. I didn't even realize it was originally scheduled for release this year.
  12. It does have a summer vibe doesn't it, with the ink guns looking like water guns and all the bright outdoor locations. But yeah I can wait until Spaltember, I'm just happy to have a solid release date. Though given that it's several months away I'm surprised they didn't wait until a Nintendo Direct to announce it.
  13. Which came first, the bomb or the chicken? Thankfully, 2D platformer Bomb Chicken isn't too concerned with such philosophical musings. This game is all about one chicken's desperate adventure to escape a fast-food chain's surprisingly elaborate facilities, using only her wits and a seemingly endless supply of bombs she can lay. Its oddball premise doesn't change the fact that there's some unique and clever platforming challenges to enjoy here. Bomb Chicken's simple controls yields some complex puzzle-platforming. The only two actions you can perform are moving left and right or laying a bomb—this chicken can't even jump, much less fly to freedom. In order to reach ledges or climb over obstacles you can push yourself up by dropping a stack of bombs. To make matters trickier your own bombs can damage you, so after dropping one you have to be careful to avoid the blast radius. The result is a pretty clever twist on typical platforming challenges. Even a small step can prove dangerous since you'll need to push yourself up with a bomb then move away before it can detonate. Add in challenges like enemies, moving platforms, or flaming hazards and you'll find a great variety of unique platformer scenarios that make great use of the simple bomb-dropping mechanic. Seemingly every level presents a new challenge to overcome as there's always an engaging new hazard to contend with. In addition to simply reaching the goal of the level, each stage has a handful of blue gems for you to collect. More than a typical gold coin collectible though, these gems can be used to give you additional hearts. You may die in one hit, but it's not game over until all of your hearts are used up—each stage is divided into several rooms, so dying puts you back at the beginning of the room while losing all hearts sends you back to the very beginning of the stage. Obviously collecting gems is pretty crucial then, though grabbing them can occasionally be more challenging than it seems. There are even secret areas you can uncover that will reward you with gems hidden behind the trickiest challenges. Collecting gems can be a great secondary objective to truly test your bombing skills and give you a handy crutch on the harder levels. The main downside of Bomb Chicken is simply that the game doesn't last that long. There are only 29 stages in the game, and even with numerous deaths/retries the average player isn't going to need more than a few hours to finish the whole game. Collecting all of the blue gems might be a more difficult challenge, but even that won't extend the game's length by much. There's something to be said for keeping the gameplay to a tight, short experience to ensure the action stays fresh and never gets too repetitive, but still, it would've been nice to see even more levels here. The game's presentation mixes some great pixel graphics with only so-so audio. Even if there are only a handful of enemy designs and three different worlds to traverse, the sprite work is top notch, particularly around the chicken's hilarious waddling animation. The graphics may not be too flashy but there's still a lot of personality to enjoy here. The music is less charming though, with little that stands out throughout its repetitive background music tracks. Bomb Chicken presents a fun, unique twist on platforming and manages to get a lot of mileage out of its explosive poultry premise. The game may not last long but there are plenty of clever puzzles and challenges to enjoy, many of which will leave you on the edge of your seat as you narrowly outrun a chain of deadly explosions. 2D platformer fans will have a blast with this one. Rating: 7 out of 10 Bombs
  14. With so many RPGs that take place across huge, sweeping narratives and 50+ hour time commitments, it can be a refreshing change of pace to play one that is smaller and somewhat cozier in scale. The Cruel King and the Great Hero is a storybook adventure about one little girl's dreams of becoming a hero, told through an adorable hand-drawn art style. But while the game's aesthetics are undeniably charming, the gameplay and pacing could use some work. You play as Yuu, a young girl who is being raised by monsters. Her adoptive dad is the Dragon King, a powerful but kind dragon that hilariously watches over Yuu during her adventures by peeking through the background. Yuu aspires to be a great hero like her father and gradually takes on quests to aid the monster village and accomplish great deeds. It's an almost saccharinely cute story and Yuu is an adorable protagonist, always eager to help and lend a friendly ear. The twists are mostly predictable but the game really doesn't present itself as a complex narrative anyway so the relative simplicity of the story doesn't feel out of place. The Cruel King and the Great Hero is a turn-based RPG with random encounters, equipment to find, special skills to learn, etc. At first it's just Yuu on a solo adventure but she soon picks up allies that join her in battle—only one at a time though. The combat system doesn't have many fancy frills. You've got standard attacks, special skills, items, etc. Skills require energy which naturally recovers during battle, so you can't just spam them all the time. It's a pretty easy system to learn but it can also feel too simple at times. Standard battles can get pretty repetitive as you end up using the same tactics over and over. In fact, there aren't that many special skills available in the game, so even that aspect of combat feels somewhat bare. If the story and presentation are anything to go by, The Cruel King and the Great Hero may seem suited for new or young players, so the simplicity of the combat system may seem appropriate. However, the game also has some pretty significant difficulty spikes that can be pretty draining as you devote time to level grinding or just doing side quests to power up a bit. The tone of the game and the difficulty of the gameplay feel at odds with one another, and it can make progress a bit discouraging. It certainly doesn't help that the pacing of the game is as slow as molasses. Yuu walks slowly through some pretty large environments, and the flow of battle, while not terribly slow, isn't exactly fast either. Progress is absolutely plodding in The Cruel King and the Great Hero, and then there's the random encounter system to weigh things down even more. I'm normally not one to gripe about random encounters—they were standard in the RPGs I grew up on, after all—but they can get annoying here. For one thing, your slow walking pace means it feels like you've hardly made progress across the screen before you're thrown into another battle. For another, the "avoid encounters" item that you can use isn't 100% effective, so even when you're backtracking through areas full of weak monsters in order to complete a side quest you'll still have to sit through some battles. And since battles themselves aren't all that interesting, the cycle of random encounters can feel oppressive. It's okay to have a leisurely paced game, but The Cruel King and the Great Hero is almost tediously slow. And the story isn't actually that long, especially by RPG standards, but you'll feel every minute of the game thanks to its slow pacing. You can finish the story in around twelve hours, though there are also a lot of side quests to tackle which can be useful since they'll reward you with rare items, or at least money. The downside is that the side quests are, you guessed it, pretty repetitive, and the constant backtracking gets obnoxious. Even though it's not as much of a time commitment as other RPGs, you have to mentally prepare for how long and slow The Cruel King and the Great Hero feels. The presentation, though, is probably the highlight of the game, and it doesn't disappoint. The hand-drawn art style is gorgeous, like an animated storybook, and even the monsters you fight are just adorably designed. The art style's charm and playfulness goes a long way in boosting the game's personality even when you're walking back through the same areas over and over. The soundtrack is pretty sharp as well with a suitably cute but adventurous tone. The Cruel King and the Great Hero boasts a great sense of style and an adorable little story, but the core gameplay elements will likely leave players wanting. The combat mechanics are decently done but there aren't many new ideas brought to the table, and the noticeably slow pace of the game really stretches out what is actually a very modest run time for an RPG. Players interested in a cute little RPG might want to check out The Cruel King and the Great Hero, but be prepared for surprising difficulty spikes and a sluggish sense of pacing. Rating: 6 out of 10 Heroes
  15. DLurkster: Wow I don't remember Bowser's Inside Story too well but that's a good song. Eh_Steve: Making gym battles into the equivalent of a sports event was a great move in Sword & Shield. That song got me hyped up every time I heard it.
  16. A podcast I listen to went over their top boss music picks so why not do the same here (feels like it's been a while since we had a thread like this). Share your favorite boss music, doesn't have to be final bosses, just something that stuck with you. Can be any version/arrangement. In the interest of brevity let's limit to just 3 picks though. First one that comes to mind for me is Dancing Mad from Final Fantasy VI. Almost feels unfair to count it since it's such a long, epic track but it's just perfect for Kefka and I love every part of it. Yep just leaning on my two favorite games for these picks but c'mon, all the music in Chrono Trigger is so good and Magus's Theme is so intense and dramatic, it really feels like the culmination of your quest (even though it isn't actually the end). This one from Bravely Default also jumped to mind pretty quickly. It's an awesome song to pump you up while fighting a boss but the way each character's theme plays around the two-thirds mark, when it feels like the tide is shifting in your favor, is fantastic.
  17. Good games guys. Feels kind of appropriate that the first Team Smashdown ended in a flat tie, feels like it was ultimately pretty balanced.
  18. It seems like some stories are just guaranteed to tug on your heartstrings, and To the Moon is definitely one of them. Originally created a decade ago with RPG Maker XP, the game tells the story of an old man's dying wish to go to the moon. The story that unfolds though is beautifully touching and surprising. Virtually every other aspect of the game feels lacking, though. You play as doctors Eva Rosalene and Neil Watts who use a sci-fi headset to enter the memories of patients and can even change or manipulate those memories. For dying patient Johnny Wyles, they enter his mind and implant a false memory of wanting to travel to the moon, thereby allowing him to live out the experience in his mind. It's an awesome sci-fi setup that quickly dives into relatable human experiences. The doctors travel backwards through Johnny's memories, so the most recent ones are of his late wife River, their courtship, then all the way back to his childhood. This backwards narrative for his life story is naturally engaging and intriguing—why is he the person he is in his old age? You'll have to travel farther back to find out. It's not just a clever narrative format—To the Moon is incredibly touching and you can't help but be misty-eyed by the end of the game. It's easy to feel for Johnny and River throughout all stages of their lives. On the other hand though, the two doctors are terribly written. They're meant to be the commentators who react to the memories we're watching, but their dialogue is corny, full of awkwardly inserted pop culture references that aren't funny or charming, and their playful bickering just comes off as obnoxious. In terms of being comedic relief, the doctors fall flat completely. It's also just awkward to have such rapid tonal shifts between the two doctors' clumsy attempts at humor and the often heartfelt scenes unfolding in Johnny's memories. As far as gameplay is concerned, To the Moon is thin, and what's there isn't all that compelling either. This is mostly a visual novel, but you do have to walk around in Johnny's memories and collect tokens or clues that allow you to progress to the next memory. Literally all this means is walking up to any notable objects in the scene and pressing A. Once you have all five clues you have to solve a simple puzzle that feels more like busywork than an integral part of the story or experience. The game is also plagued by stiff controls that will often have you stuck on a corner or you'll think you can walk through a space but you'll hit an invisible wall. All of the actual gameplay or interactive elements of To the Moon feel completely superfluous and oftentimes are more of a hindrance than anything. This is also a fairly short four hour game, but the slow walking speed and slow text speed (which you can't increase, unfortunately) can make it feel longer at times. The presentation of To the Moon is understandably lackluster given its RPG Maker roots. These graphics are cookie cutter, picked out of a basin of pre-made sprites and stuck together for this game. The old-fashioned sprite graphics can still be charming but don't expect anything amazing here. The music, however, is original, and does a fantastic job of elevating the emotional beats of the story. Even if the soundtrack can be slightly repetitive at times, it perfectly sets the atmosphere of traveling through memories of love and loss. To the Moon is a wonderfully emotional story that is well worth reading. It's touching and reflective with a few surprises that keep you on your toes. That said, all of the video game aspects of To the Moon fall flat, from stiff controls to bland, unnecessary interactive elements. The comedic aspects of the writing are also terribly integrated into the narrative, rapidly pulling you out of the more engaging story being told through Johnny's memories. Ultimately To the Moon might be in the wrong medium, but it still tells a heartfelt story. Rating 6 out of 10 Moons
  19. I still like having the big, multi-day event to congregate all the major gaming news, even if I was always mostly focused on Nintendo. It just adds some pomp and excitement to the announcements, especially whenever I could take time off work and just watch the gaming news all day long. Divvying it up with every publisher releasing their own sizzle reel of announcements on whatever day they choose just doesn't have the same impact. I assume Nintendo will still do a Direct sometime around June but I hope they also do a Treehouse stream, even if just for one day. The Treehouse streams can be kind of cheesy but it's fun to see more of the games in a slightly more natural environment than a trailer.
  20. - Beyond a Steel Sky (Switch) Interesting world-building and I'll give them that they generally avoided the point-and-click adventure trap of overly convoluted puzzles, but man, this was a bland game. - Life is Strange: True Colors (Switch) The first Life is Strange is still going to be my favorite I think but I liked this one quite a bit. The gameplay feels even more simple, even for a story-based game, but the characters are a lot of fun. - Horizon Forbidden West (PS5) I don't remember the machines being so annoyingly aggressive in the first game! Picky gripes aside, this is a great game that is probably going to get a little bit overlooked by bigger releases (just like the first game). - Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep (PS5) I've played the DLC with Borderlands 2 but gave the standalone a try with a new character. I remember this being surprisingly hard and it still sort of is but it does seem a bit better balanced in this standalone version. - Kirby and the Forgotten Land (Switch) What a fun, cute game. Kirby games may not be pushing the platformer genre or the Switch to its limits but this is just a fun time and it's hard to find any fault with that.
  21. 2022 marks thirty years of the adorable pink puffball's adventures across Dreamland, Planet Popstar, and beyond. Over his storied career, Kirby has dipped his toes into plenty of different platforming mechanics—indeed, for a long time Kirby seemed to be the go-to mascot for testing out unusual game features, whether it was using tilt or stylus controls, yarn-based artwork or splitting into multiple smaller versions of himself to work together. His latest adventure, Kirby and the Forgotten Land, comes with a new ability that is a mouthful and takes place in a 3D environment. No matter what new features or settings Kirby finds himself in though, his games are consistently delightful, and this one is no different. Kirby is minding his own business on Planet Popstar when a mysterious vortex in the sky opens up, sucking him in alongside tons of Waddle Dees (as well as optional co-op character Bandana Waddle Dee). After a rough ride through space and/or dimensions, Kirby awakens on the beach of a landscape filled with crumbling ruins of a forgotten civilization—a civilization that looks suspiciously like our modern world. In order to find a way home though Kirby will have to battle the villainous Beast Pack and rescue captured Waddle Dees. It's a simple, straightforward story elevated by just how cute Kirby and the Waddle Dees really are. Although the settings are in 3D, the core gameplay of the Kirby franchise is perfectly preserved. Kirby can inhale basic enemies and shoot them out, or he can inhale enemies with abilities and copy them, such as fire, sword, ice, etc. There are a couple of new abilities that fit right in with the rest of the classics, and you'll need to use these abilities to fight, explore, and potentially discover hidden rooms or bonus items (or bonus Waddle Dees). Completing a level immediately rescues three Waddle Dees, but scattered throughout each stage are extra ones that require a bit of effort to find, as well as hidden bonus objectives that require more Kirby expertise. These are extra challenges though and not required to simply finish the game. All in all the core Kirby gameplay feels fantastic in Forgotten Land and really exemplifies how simple and well-polished game design can be engaging and exciting even in a franchise with such a long history. The game does err on the easy side, but that just makes it perfect for young or novice players, and Kirby pros will still find reaching 100% completion a worthy challenge. Kirby's fancy new ability is Mouthful Mode, which allows him to (mostly) inhale real world objects and take on their properties. By inhaling a car, he can zoom around crashing into enemies and obstacles. As a traffic cone, Kirby can leap into the air and crash down on the point of the cone to break blocks. Each Mouthful Mode object has just one or two defined uses, but they all make for a fun change of pace when you encounter one, and seeing Kirby stretched around a real world object is hilariously charming (and maybe a tiny bit creepy as well). Like most limited time or limited area power-ups, Mouthful Mode objects provide some fun little puzzles that reward careful and keen-eyed players. The game is divided into levels but between stages you're able to return to Waddle Dee Town, a hub area that hosts all of the Waddle Dees you've rescued. There are a few side features here, like the chance to rewatch cutscenes, collect more figurines through a gacha (aka "Gotcha") capsule machine, and once you rescue enough Waddle Dees new facilities will open up with extra features. The most important part of the town though is probably the copy ability shop, where you're able to upgrade your abilities once you've found a blueprint and have paid the requisite coins/power stones. You'll find coins just about everywhere but power stones come from side levels that are themed around a specific ability or Mouthful Mode ability. They're fun little mini-challenges and the power stones you earn are invaluable since upgrading copy abilities is extremely useful. The abilities don't just become stronger, they'll also take on new properties, like turning the basic sword into a massive blade that is slower so it takes a bit more precision. Adding these new little wrinkles to your arsenal of abilities is a blast, plus you can always opt to use the weaker versions if you'd like. There's not actually a huge selection of copy abilities in Forgotten Land, but the chance to upgrade and experiment with the same abilities over and over more than makes up for it. Where Forgotten Lands really shines is in how sharply designed the whole game feels. The main adventure is only around seven or eight hours long, but it never feels like there's a wasted level or a tedious challenge. There aren't actually that many different types of enemies, but fighting them and exploring platforming/puzzle challenges never gets too repetitive. The selection of copy abilities is kept relatively simple but that also means you don't have a ton of different effects to remember—each one is easy to pick up and use immediately. However, if you do want to see everything the game has to offer you'll probably double that seven/eight hour length when you tackle the more difficult post-game levels and challenges, so no matter your Kirby skill level there's something for everyone here. And naturally, Kirby is just so darn cute. The Waddle Dees and enemies are just as adorable—every single one looks like a plush toy that you just want to squeeze—and the juxtaposition of seeing them all in more realistic settings is actually pretty striking. They don't look all that out of place and instead the scenery helps highlight the charm and personality in all of the character designs. The music is also a total delight. It's energetic and exciting and exactly as fun as you want this kind of platformer soundtrack to be. Kirby and the Forgotten Land is another charming adventure for everyone's favorite puffball. Even in the 3D setting the platformer gameplay remains smooth and satisfying, the puzzles aren't brain-busters but they are fun to discover, and the opportunity to upgrade copy abilities adds an engaging sense of progression as you move from one level to the next. Mouthful Mode is delightfully goofy, and while the main adventure is more or less simple enough for novice players there's plenty of extra content to satisfy completionists. However you like to play though, Kirby and the Forgotten Land exudes fun and charm. Rating: 8 out of 10 Mouthfuls
  22. I wondered if it could get delayed to next year after they announced Xenoblade Chronicles 3 and Pokémon Scarlet/Violet for this year—those plus other previously announced games plus potentially one or two surprise games would be a really packed release schedule for the second half of 2022—but oh well, guess we'll just have to keep waiting. It's not like I'm not going to play it whenever it comes out, it's just a matter of time. Though sadly now I can't joke about both Horizon games and both BotW games coming out in the same year twice.
  23. If Krazy and DL are both out I think I'll skip next Saturday as well.
  24. Good games guys, always fun to see the damage percentage get up to 300% or 400%. I think my new wifi will work okay. I did get DC'd that one time but like you said sometimes it just happens. Pretty sure I've had it randomly happen a few times on my old connection too. I guess we'll just have to see if it happens every week I play. Looking forward to the first team-up Smashdown!
  25. Smash does have that weird thing where the connection is only as strong as the weakest link, sometimes that could be one of us. Still, it'd be good to see how my connection holds up with the usual suspects.
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