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“I Just Think They're Neat.” Like What You are Playing

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Fired up City Wars: Tokyo Reign last night and, despite its awful, non-descript title, I was deeply invested before I finished the tutorial. In simplest terms, it’s Slay the Spire, if it were built more like a traditional CCG And also set in a futuristic combination of John Wick and The Warriors.

You and your opponent take turns slapping cards representing elegant gunkata maneuvers into a timeline, trying to override one another, and at the end of a turn all go off in sequence until either someone is dead or another turn begins.
 
So when replaying The Last of Us while also going through Disco Elysium for the first time, it's a good idea to play practically anything else in between so one does not end up throwing oneself off of a tall building. Turns out that Kirby's Dream Land 2 is the perfect game for that. If Kirby riding a hamster doesn't make you happy I don't know what will.
 

Olli

(he/him)
Golf Story is good fun. The challenges are varied and interesting and there are some decent jokes. Some of the music is not great, but there are some real great pieces too.
 

Lokii

Administrator
(He/Him)
Staff member
Moderator
DQ Builders 2 was on sale and I'm glad I bit. Builders 1 was addictive and charming as heck but it def had the occasional rough edge and I fell off fairly quickly. Builders 2 is the same game but even further polished. Amazing how a little spitshine feels like a big leap forward. What's surprised is how successful it is replicating the DQ experience. It feels less like a spin-off, and more like a mainline game reflected in wavy funhouse mirror. DQ suggests a world through abstraction: pixel icons for towns, fields, mountains; menus for combat, stats for personality, etc. Builders achieves the same effect by applying another level of abstraction. Blocks represent pixel icons (this connection is made clear by the world map displaying in old school DQ style) and deliberately-paced action represents menu-combat. How slick! And what a great wrapper for a Minecraft clone. The combination of the classic DQ experience and craft-em-up systems is highly potent.

Weird how we haven't heard any rumblings of a Builders 3. Maybe the idea of adapting DQ3 into this style is too daunting.
 

jpfriction

A most radical pontiff
(He, Him)
That is a good one. I’ve tried Minecraft a couple of times but never really get anywhere due to the lack of focus but I loved both those games. Only real complaint is that once the story parts are done there isn’t really any reason to keep farting around in the big creative world they give you. Wouldn’t mind some sort of high level postgame challenge.
 

Aurelia

(she/her)
Playing Final Fantasy X on ps2 atm, around 12-13 hours in (I keep pausing so its hard to say for sure), and this game's presentation is phenomenal for a 2001 JRPG.

Also think the game's universe is very well fleshed out atm.
 

ArugulaZ

Fearful asymmetry
I'm not one to praise games frivolously, so I think it means something when I say that King of Fighters XV is fucking fantastic. Looks good enough, has sharp control, pumps out some infectious, pulse-pounding music, and it's tougher than KOF XIV, which was a joke even for my intermediate-level skills. You'll still win against the CPU, but you'll sweat for your victories on the standard difficulty. Re-Verse is still kind of pathetic for a final boss, but Otomo=Raga will put some pressure on you with her impossibly long crystalline hair.

I haven't been this excited about a game in like, forever. Markedly better than the previous game, and easily worth the thirty dollars.
 

Patrick

Magic-User
(He/Him)
After finishing Elden Ring, I wanted to play something light & breezy. But also, I’m still in a character building mindset. So I ended up starting Final Fantasy Tactics A2. This is exactly the right game at the right time. Everything is very familiar & easy, and I have a nice little army of moogles and no mou who are steamrolling a bunch of jerks and monsters.
 

Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
The new Saints Row feels very last gen, maybe even last last gen. I'm having a good time with it though after a few hours. I reserve the right to change my mind if I hit a major progress blocking bug.
 

Becksworth

Aging Hipster Dragon Dad
Continuing my Sonic-like bing, Spark 2 certainly has its flaws (especially later stages), but I can appreciate a very small indie team shooting for the moon, and unlike a lot of modern Sonic games it appreciates my time and doesn't try to pad out the core 3 to 5 hour experience to make the play time longer.
 

Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
The new Saints Row feels very last gen, maybe even last last gen. I'm having a good time with it though after a few hours. I reserve the right to change my mind if I hit a major progress blocking bug.
The skill I unlocked that gives you a health boost kinda just stopped working which is not great
 
Playing New Super Mario Bros. for the first time in 16 years and I don't get why Parish thought it was stale and unoriginal. There's so many imaginative things around every corner, many of which became mainstays of 2D Mario going forward.
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
I asked the store clerk what hot new adventure game all of the kids are playing these days, which is why I've been playing...

*squints*

...the Telltale Monkey Island game from 13 years ago. (I bought it ages ago, so no ethical concerns about where the money goes.)

It's good!

The premise is genuinely fun and novel, and the episodic format works really well, lending itself to more constrained puzzle spaces, which is something previous games have done to some extent anyway (the classic "here's a new area, Percy dropped all the shit you don't need"). Each episode so far (just dusted off #3 of 5) has clocked in at about 3 hours, which is just about perfect.

Part 3 had a really good gag where I had to communicate cleverly in a new language using only a bunch of canned phrasebook phrases like asking for room service or how to get to the train station. Also, Murray narrated over the end credits!

Anyway, I don't know why I never see anyone talk about this entry, but then again, I also enjoyed Escape, aka The One Everyone Hates, so maybe I'm just an easy mark.

Works for me!
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
So, I've always had a shameful omission in my backlog: despite being a Phantasy Star super-fan (it's one of my top 3 favourite games of all-time; I even wrote a Let's Play for it on TT 2.0), I never played Phantasy Star IV. I've finally gotten around to fixing that this weekend, and holy shit, I am so disappointed that I wasn't able to play this as a kid, because young me would have lost his goddamned mind.

I had no idea that this is pretty much a direct sequel to the first game (and the others, but obviously the first is most relevant to me). There's a statue/town devoted to Alis, and both Myau and Noah/Lutz are still kicking around in some form or another. And walking into the "Bio Plant" for the first time is such a good reveal: you're basically playing Dragon Quest for the first few hours, and then all of a sudden with a single screen transition and no warning Phantasy Star starts happening and there's glowing walls and robots and parallax scrolling and that old music kicks in and fuck. Plus there's a ton of references and easter eggs for series fans. When I first met someone asking to bake a cake, I almost dove out a window in a panic. And then I found the hidden cake shop! Also, my favourite line so far, from a musk cat: "I can get the top off of this bottle, meow."

Anyway, to the surprise of no one who has actually played it, this game is a fucking GOAT. I just can't get over how good it is. Much like the original PS, it just seems ahead of its time. These combat macros should be industry standard, and are still rare even today (but always welcome). Also, I'm not sure I can recall another game where the map tiles for the big cities are actually reasonable approximations of the buildings/layout in miniature.

There's just so much to love here. I love that the party's main revenue source early on is extorting our 3rd party member. I love how your party is a couple of humans plus a Motavian and a Dezorian and a cat girl and an immortal and two robots, etc. I love how it lists everyone's ages on the status screen and the range is, like 1, 16, 18, 25, ??, 80, 300, 998, ? (these are off the top of my head; don't @ me). Basically every character is great and I get sad when they leave (except Hahn, who was a nerd with bad stats). It makes me so sad that they don't let RPGs be linear and aggressively force you to remix your party like this anymore, because I love it when games do that.

I'm like 16 hours in and I assume like 3/4 of the way through, and I just stumbled across the fact that this game has dual techs. There's just so much here, and I'm loving every second of it. In summary, 12/10, would AROWS again.
 

StriderDL

Still just a dad
(He/him/his)
Oh, there is a triple and a quad- ech too! FIrst time I played I remember Grand Cross proccing on the boss in that temple on the island. Mind was blown wide open.
 

Purple

(She/Her)
These combat macros should be industry standard, and are still rare even today (but always welcome).
Also the chat with your party members menu command. Really any game that takes more than a single sitting to play and has anything approaching an open world map needs that sort of "what was I even doing again?" functionality. And it's just... this and Wild ARMs 2 that I can recall? Well and the whole Metal Gear series I guess.
 

YangusKhan

does the Underpants Dance
(He/Him/His)
Also the chat with your party members menu command. Really any game that takes more than a single sitting to play and has anything approaching an open world map needs that sort of "what was I even doing again?" functionality. And it's just... this and Wild ARMs 2 that I can recall? Well and the whole Metal Gear series I guess.
Dragon Quest did this starting at... I wanna say 4?
 

YangusKhan

does the Underpants Dance
(He/Him/His)
It was added to the remakes of 4-6 (the PSX remake of DQ4, PS2 remake of DQ5, and the DS remake of DQ6), but the first instance of it in an initial release was DQ7.
That makes more sense. Implementing party chat in DQ4 on the NES seemed... anachronistic.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
I'm replaying Celeste, now that I have a controller with a sensible dpad. And playing through it is still a rush, it might be my favourite platformer of all time. Did all the regular stuff again, A-, B- and C-sides, plus all strawberries, up to the Core.

Then I tried Farewell, the DLC chapter. It started nice and slow enough, felt even a bit easier then the later C-sides. But wow, I'm a bit in, and it got brutal. I do enjoy it, and I like that the challenges are all relatively short (unlike the C-sides, whose last rooms are absurdly long, which means you have to do at least have of it in one go). But I wish the way to move through weren't so complicated. I had to look up some of the rooms on youtube, to actually find out how to traverse them at all. Which isn't the worst, the puzzle aspect of understanding the room was never my favourite part of the game, I just enjoy the execution. Still, I get why some people think it feels romhacky. Some of the stuff you have to do is pretty insane. Or looks that way, it's not as bad as it seems (while still challenging enough).

In general, I do enjoy myself. And beating the whole regular game with way less lifes lost than at my first time felt really good. Back then, my first time, with the awful 360 dpad (seriously, I died so often, due to my input being read wrong), I died 6360 times alltogether. This time, I had something around 3000 deaths. Not sure how many, because I already died a ton of times in the DLC chapter, which wasn't out when I played it the first time. So, I guess better controller, and even after 3,5 years, there is probably still a bit of muscle memory left.

Awesome game, is what I'm saying.
 
I just beat Ghost Song. Very good Metroid like game. Amazing feel, music and vibe. I do think it's a bit difficult... Lots of enemies are bullet sponges. I managed to overcome, but for my patience level I wish I played on the easy mode. Anyway! I recommend for anyone who wants more Metroid from the Metroidvania genre!
 
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