52 Games a Year 2021 Edition/ Game Record 2021:
  • Always nice to see someone enjoy the stupidly named New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe.

    Its by far the best of the New series, so much so that I'd still recommend it to people who were left a little cold by the other 3.
    オレノナハ エラー ダ
  • 10. Trouble Shooter - Megadrive (1hr) 

    Quirky scrolling shmup with an intriguing dual character mechanic.  The character you control directly shoots from left to right, but the second character can be flipped to fire in either direction with the C button.  Spoiler alert - you eventually add a third character that adds another layer to the controls (he pushes to the left of the screen as you head to the right, for example), and it all just about works.  On a couple of occasions you can tuck the main character behind a piece of scenery and control the second player freely, which is a legit tactic for at least one of the bosses.  It's far from perfect but it's executed well enough to be worthwhile.  I liked the way the selectable power weapon recharges fairly quickly, meaning you'll use it regularly throughout a stage rather than saving it for one specific choke point like, say, Shadow Dancer.  Graphics are mostly okay with a couple of neat looking sections.  Music is enjoyable and the cut scenes are fine with a decent enough sub-Wolfteam Anime head style.  It's unusual to see something like this breaking the 4th wall too.  Level two shits the bed after a strong start but it manages to pull it back as you progress.  It can be hard to tell whether you're actually hitting bosses - especially the second form of the final boss - but once you learn what you're doing it's fine.  More on that final boss though: you're forced to use a single character at the start of the level, and the patterns aren't really suited for the suddenly nerfed single direction fire.  It seemed like a perfect opportunity to allow the main character to flip direction, but no, so it just results in a slightly janky game of slow paced dodging/attacking.  

    Overall this was well worth playing though.  Apparently the Japanese version appeared later with some added bells and whistles, will take a look on Youtube at some point. Special mention for end credits done right - a jaunty chip tune and developers with names like PROPELLOR WADO and TAKAYAN THE BARBARIAN.  



    You love to see it.  1991 82%

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  • 7. Metroid: Zero Mission (GBA)
    The GBA remake of the NES original (emulated through a Vita emulating a PSP). There was significant slowdown from somewhere in that chain. That's the only complaint.

    This is excellent. The small-ish size of the 8-bit world creates a snappy upgrade path that keeps sucking you in for just another 5 minutes, just one more corridor. Backtracking is also minimal. Or at least, it's so quick getting everywhere that it's never a chore. And the soundtrack for each area is so good that it's actually nice to keep going through the same old bits to hear the tunes again (especially the central first bit).

    When starting, the first screen to the left is the morph ball power up. It could have easily started you with the morph ball, or had it to the right. But in those days you never went left. So the player instinctively trundles on to the right, finds an insurmountable obstacle and then is forced into backtracking. Finding the power up through exploration, then getting it to do the thing to get somewhere new. It tells you the whole design of the game in three or four screens. 

    It's pretty similar to Super Metroid really. But possibly better. SM seems like it was more or less an upscaled original Metroid. So then redoing that original game in 16-bit makes it all a bit familiar. That's probably stopped it being a 10.

    This also has a post-game bolt on mission which is really good. I was initially a bit pissed off because I thought I'd finished the game. Then it strips you of your powers and you have to sneak around to find your power suit. Then you get the full powered thing and rampage back through the level. This whole thing works really well. Especially as I'd raced through and missed a load of stuff in the main game. So then getting the whole package unleashed and ploughing through the enemies is massively satisfying. 

    It's a very good game. The weapons, the movement, the breadcrumb trail of clues, puzzles and power ups half-leading you and half-pushing you through the maze. Pretty easy combat for the most part then ramps it up at the end for the bosses. 
    [9]
  • Just realised I can play that on my PS Mini now. Will pgive it a go in a fee weeks, always fancied it. One of the few certified GBA bangers I never picked up.
  • 11. Tuff E Nuff - SNES App on Switch 

    A handful of new games had appeared on the app since I last looked, but it still feels like an oddly random selection rather than something that's been curated with any care.  This was a vs fighter that has a few things going for it but would never, ever have a hope in hell of winning a head to head with Streetfighter 2, letalone the Turbo/Special Championship Editions that were imminent on 16-bit consoles in 1993.  It's not awful, in fairness it would probably have half a shout for the top half of the era's console vs fighters, but it's hard to enjoy things like this without a) nostalgia or b) rewinding time and renting it from Ritz for the weekend instead of Pit-Fighter.  And hey, I did my time with Pit Fighter.   I would have enjoyed this at a certain point of my formative gaming years for sure, but mediocre is about the most positive description I can muster these days.  The years have....been kind.PrinceofThieves.gif 

    1993 68%

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  • Dead Dance! As non-Capcom and SNK vs. fighters go, I quite liked it back in the day. Just behind Turtles Tournament Fighters. Maybe.
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.
  • Back in the day obviously. I’m sure it’s shit.
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.
  • I'd rather play it again than most of the 16-bit also-rans, even the ones that received okay marks in a few mags, like Primal Rage (shite) and Clayfighter (never got the appeal).  One of the absolute worst was Brutal: Paws of Fury, tried that for the first time a couple of years ago.  Bafflingly bad for '94.
  • I always had a soft spot for Jaleco games anyway. Including the Rushing Beat games.
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.
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    Moot_Geeza wrote:
    Just realised I can play that on my PS Mini now. Will pgive it a go in a fee weeks, always fancied it. One of the few certified GBA bangers I never picked up.
    Ruh roh
  • Your copy's in the lost cart ether with my Link Between Worlds.
  • 2. Donut County
    Simplistic, indie puzzle game. Each level sees you moving a hole to swallow objects that increases the size of the hole allowing you to swallow larger objects. Kinda neat at first but not much substance, I think I was hoping or expecting something more akin to Katamari. Cutscenes got old really quick, the script mercifully skippable. Short enough to not irritate too much but a passing, uninspiring fancy. 5

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    GT: WEBBIN5 - A life in formats: Sinclair ZX81>Amstrad CPC 6128>Amiga 500>Sega Megadrive>PC>PlayStation 2>Xbox>DS Lite>Xbox 360>Xbox One>Xbox One X>Xbox Series X
  • Moot_Geeza wrote:
    11. Tuff E Nuff - SNES App on Switch 
    I had this. Was one of the first SF2-alikes to come out in the UK so the only real alternative at the time. Pre-SF2 Turbo, I think.

    And it has a character called Beans.
  • 8. Chu Chu Rocket (GBA)
    Played 75 out of the 100 SP levels (I skipped Mania mode). It was getting a bit annoying towards the end. The puzzles become less and less about logic and experimentation and more about brute-forcing your way to a solution through trial and error. It's really good for a while though. Some levels are a cinch. Others need a bit of work. And others I stared at and played with for ages before the kick-yourself solution became clear. Nice, simple idea with huge creative mileage. 

    I don't know if this can be properly appreciated without the MP and the early 2000s internet buzz, which seems to be why it's so fondly remembered. I youtubed the MP and it looks like chaos. 

    Anyway, this is fine. 
    [7]
  • Local MP was magnificent. Online was shot.

    The sp puzzle aspect was under appreciated though, I enjoyed the GBA port too.
  • I think it’s a bit like going back to SNES Bomberman. It’s still going to be good but you’re not getting at the thing that made it special at the time.
    There’s a very good 50 or so levels in there from what I’ve played.
  • 12. Wargroove - Switch (12-15hrs?)

    Much appreciated unabashed Advance Wars clone that maintains a 'worth playing' average but falls short of its inspiration.  Chances are you know what to expect here, so rather than explain what it is I'll focus on what it does wrong.  After a strong start the maps devolve into a war of attrition pretty quickly, where fortune favours the bold rather than the slow monkey catchers.  I found myself going for the kill as soon as possible, so it felt like hitting the low turn requirements for two or three stars was actually easier than grinding out a win.  Coupled with this it's not particularly fun to go slowly anyway as any stage that stretched over 20 rounds felt like a chore, and by the time the opposing army has its own considerable force to contend with you might have to sit and watch 25 pieces shuffle about before you get another go.  Commanders are a mixed bag, but the risk/reward of pushing them forward felt well pitched.  A couple of stages towards the end mix thing up a bit and - unusually for me with this sort of thing - I thought it was a shame there wasn't more variety in the main campaign.  There are side quests, but I didn't fancy them as they have no impact on your next mission (units don't carry XP, they just have a particular set of stats).  The story is bobbins on the whole and mostly got skipped once I reached mission four or so.  Lots of crossed wires between your commanders and other commanders who eventually become part of your crew once you've beaten them up.  

    I'm being harsh on it, because it's wonderfully addictive in spite of my complaints above. The default difficulty is set to hard, so I quickly made the decision to drop it down to normal and didn't regret it for a second.  It's still tricky as two or three stages gave me problems anyway.  AFAIK this had manual checkpoints added post launch, so it's fair to say I would not have enjoyed this without them as I've got too many ants in my pants with games these days.  60 minutes down the drain for a failed mission would've spelt the end of it for me if it happened regularly.  Good game on the whole, it's still a terrific template, but I'd recommend Skulls of the Shogun: Bona Fide Edition ahead of it.  [7]

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  • I have finished [2] games this year.

    Destiny 2: Beyond Light
    Detroit: Become Human

    Both with similar naming schemes. Curious.
  • Kentucky Route Zero is short yet I haven’t even managed that this month.
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.
  • 13. Phogs! - Xbox One (10-12hrs)

    Puzzle adventure made for two.  I played this with Tilly, who's 6 now, and we had problems.  Big problems in places.  I like to keep on keeping on, she likes to dilly dally and mess around, and as you each control the heads of a creature that's attached in the middle this led to some infuriating tugs of war and at least one or two major strops apiece. We had to have a cool off period from playing it for a week or two earlier in the year.  The Eurogamer review suggests not attempting to play it with a second player for the sake of sanity/healthy relationships, but it's absolutely a co-op experience to the core for me.  You could play it alone (with each analogue stick controlling a head), but why would you, with so much else worthy of attention these days?  It's designed around the constant push & pull - without it it'd just be a charming , quirky yet middling puzzle game.  You can both grab things with the L1 & R1 buttons and stretch with the L2 and R2 buttons, and that's it.  Everything is expertly designed around this limited sausage snakedog conceit, and they've crammed so much in.  I was surprised how long it took to finish actually, there's a decent amount of game here, plus some worthwhile secrets to hunt down and absolute non-stop variety in the stages.

    Viewed as a co-op experience, this could have been something extra special.  With a better engine and general tweaking/tightening/sanding of rough edges this would've genuinely been something to shout about.  It all looks and feels just a touch flimsy though. You'll get stuck in or behind things.  You'll curse the controls.  You'll have to manually respawn as glitch workarounds.  BUT, it's still delightful despite the whiff of jank.  Don't sleep on it if the premise appeals; there's Nintendo levels of cutesy craft on display with some of the ingenious puzzle design.   It might not have the spit and polish associated with The Big N, but it's brimming with so many great ideas it reminded me of Tearaway on occasion.  I thought I'd be going with a [7], but the highs were so much fun and run up to the ending so memorable I'm giving it the [8] it deserves. 

    Spoiler alert, not that there's a plot to speak of:
    Spoiler:
    It was a wild ride for us, take a look if you have a willing co-op partner or like to moan about a lack of originality in games. 

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    He's gone full moot

    Never go full moot
  • 7.Assassins Creed: Valhalla - 65 Hours - 8/10 - Xbox Series X

    Strange one this as I’m not sure how much I enjoyed it vs how much I wanted to enjoy it. Easy stuff first, it’s stunning, like really stunning. Think I’ve played all the next gen stuff across both and this has impressed the most. The countryside is absolutely beautiful, the detail is incredible. The sky was forever making me stop to have a look and the light through the trees never got old. The weather effects deserve a mention too. Really is a stunner. Sound design was all of that too...just not writing it again.

    Game world was a step up for me over the last two as it did feel tighter, and a smaller map was much easier and more fun to navigate. Didn’t have to travel for a bloody age between fast travel points, sometimes I just wanna get on with it. I enjoyed the story in the fact that I enjoyed the Viking theme, enjoyed the complexities of the brothers etc and their warring and pillaging. Some of the characters and story arcs were excellent. The odd thing here was the inclusion of the Assassins Creed at all, maybe I missed something but it never tied in what part if any of it played in the crazy sci-fi over story, they did with the last two, so though it’s mental it made some sense, but this just threw in 10 minutes of the future stuff making it even more pointless.

    I enjoyed the story, the characters, building a community, the weapon and armour upgrade system was brilliant, it looked stunning so why aren’t I sure? I don’t really know, the combat didn’t feel quite right, and when you’re slaying hundreds of enemies that’s not good. It felt as if it was pointing towards a big ending with you collecting kingdoms fealty to you for when you need call upon them, but when you have them all it just...ends. I just don’t get it. Whilst I enjoyed it though it felt a little long it’s just left me kind of cold as it never really went anywhere or meant anything. I’m a huge fan of the new Assassins Creeds, and this could have been the best, but it ended up leaving me more...confused than disappointed.

    Still gets an 8 as there was so much good, but such a wasted opportunity to be the best Creed.
  • Yo Cocha, would you mind updating the OP to say that I had 19 for 2020?  Just to keep tally in one place and carry forward etc.

    Thanks mate.

    Closing in on my forts completion of 2021.  A small 'game' of around 6-7 hours which is taking me all month.  (Although I have been playing Hades too and closing in on that.)
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.
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    I'm simultaneously working on my fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth games
  • YEs but how do you know which one is which?!
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.
  • I'm about to start playing the first game I've booted up in 2021.
  • 9. Gris (PC)
    Everyone who hasn’t already should play this so they can see the hand drawn graphics. There’s nothing that I can write that conveys how good they are. Just play it.

    Less keen on the rest of it. I didn’t know anything about this so was worried it was going to be a 2D Journey at first. It sort of is but it’s got more going on than that. I sighed with relief when they finally introduced a game mechanic after 20 minutes that wasn’t just jump.

    The first quarter of the game is pressing right and jumping. Then the next quarter is pressing left and jumping. Then they mix it up more and the levels go off in both directions. In the final quarter, it finally decides that yes this is a computer game after all, not just an experience.

    There’s a few nice anti-gravity platforming bits. But they aren’t challenging and the character controls are so floaty that it would be a pain in the arse if it was. I get the whole thing is minimalist but give me a run button at least. There’s so much walking back and forth. I kept pressing the button where the run button should be but that turns you into a cube and ends up slowing you down. It’s like the game was intentionally trolling.

    Not a game meant for someone like me. I’m sure it’s a 10 for the journey crowd. I can’t particularly fault it. It’s just doing things I don’t want it to do. The narrative is minimal, open-ended, mysterious, by-the-numbers indie dev that they’ve been doing since Limbo.

    The graphics add enough to keep it going for the 2-3 hours it lasts. Glad it was made, glad I played it, glad it’s short, glad it was free on gamepass.
    [7]
  • 7 is about right for Gris imo. I think I gave it an 8 and regretted it. Gorgeous game though.
  • I liked it.  Either a 7 or an 8 from me too.  Cannae mind
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.

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