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

Becksworth

Aging Hipster Dragon Dad
Yeah, I wish I playing on easy. Redoing boss fights I deal with, but everytime you lose your max health takes a hit until you go to the save points with the robots to repair yourself, and those are few and far between.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Jackbox 9 is pretty good. I feel like most of the Jackbox collections are like, if you are lucky, 2 good games, 1 OK game, 1 good game if you have a group of 9 friends (who the fuck can accomplish that?) and a stinker. 8 felt like MOST of the games wanted you to have a nice big groups for the games. Jackbox 9 is all fun games for four people. Roomerang is definitely the game that benefits most from a big group but it remained fun even with a moderate size (though is long for a Jackbox game). Quixort is a perfect little trivia game that also involves sorting, which I love in games, and Junktopia, Roomerang and Fibbage allow me to be funny, which is what I want most from these games. Nonsensory is probably the weakest but even that one presents some fun interesting challenges. Overall, I think it's the most consistently good series of games they've done in a while.
 

Bongo

excused from moderation duty
(he/him)
Staff member
I popped in "Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair," and wow, this game is like a modernized DKC2, huh? I like it, and it runs well on Switch.
 

Bongo

excused from moderation duty
(he/him)
Staff member
It leans into modern concepts, like the "tonic" system for dynamically tweaking the gameplay, the super generous checkpointing (including the option to skip a section if you die a lot), and a really detailed meta-progression between levels. But you can tell it's got a lot of the same DNA in it. The style of the CGI, the caricature-based character design, the micro-challenges that you only get one shot at per load, even the most powerful yet iteration of the classic roll jump - you can tell that Playtonic is consciously evoking their past as Rare. Call it a cousin of Tropical Freeze.

I think the structure is very clever. From the moment you clear the tutorial, the final level - the titular Impossible Lair - is available to attempt. But it's called that for a reason, being conspicuously filled with platforming challenges that are almost kaizo-esque in their meanness. But every regular level you clear (many of which have unlockable variants that remix it by, for instance, turning all the water into ice) makes it so you have an additional hit point when attempting it.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
So I recently discovered (some may say “was told about”) Star Luster, a 1986 Famicom game that never left Japan, though it’s spiritual successor Star Voyager, did. And I thought that it sounded like my kind of jam.

So I tracked it down and yup, my kind of jam.

At its heart it’s a stripped down, much more arcadey, take on the likes of Elite; scaled to work better on a1986 Famicom cart; no interplanetary trading or the like just a big star map chock full of allied bases to protect/refuel at and enemy ships and bases to explode.

You effectively have just the one resource to manage (your Energy, which is consumed by everything from attacking to travelling to recovering from damage) and one way to restore it (parking at a star base) and have to manage it in order to track down and destroy every enemy ship in the sector. Three difficulty levels which become radically more complicated as enemies get much more numerous and aggressive, and large chunks of space become unnavigable.

Game also has some genuinely impressive visuals for the vintage; game does a really good
Impression of traveling through three dimensional space for a Famicom game from 1986.

Shame it was never released here at the time; it’d definitely have scratched an itch Tiny Octo didn’t realize he had.
 

Violentvixen

(She/Her)
Just started playing Fuga Melodies of Steel on Gamepass and am very impressed so far, there's some cool mechanics going on. Also clear that this will have some very dark times but the writing seems to be handling that well. Introducing the (I dunno if this is even a spoiler, it's in the first 20 minutes of the game and mentioned in a lot of reviews but might as well spoil it)super but permadeath weapon early and everyone losing the will to fight, then introducing a time rewind is a really interesting way to let the player know how this works.

A random thing that made me laugh though was how the tank picks up healing items. You just run them over. Like the tank treads show the change in elevation from going over the crates, then boom, they explode and you're healed! Why not?

Looks like there's a demo on just about every platform too if anyone wants to check it out.
 

Sprite

(He/Him/His)
Question about early Fuga: I’ve read that you have to use the soul gun for a tutorial fight, but it’s undone by the time thing? So you can avoid killing anyone permanently if you do well enough?
 

StriderDL

Still just a dad
(He/him/his)
Oh I just finished Fuga!

Yes, you can complete the game without firing the Soul Cannon, but I was having a lot of trouble with a late game fight and ended up using it. I'm wondering if they expected the player to play through twice because you can't even start picking up materials to max out your tank's equipment until the last chapter. I started a second playthrough but abandoned it, ain't got the time.
 

Violentvixen

(She/Her)
Question about early Fuga: I’ve read that you have to use the soul gun for a tutorial fight, but it’s undone by the time thing? So you can avoid killing anyone permanently if you do well enough?
I can't say for sure about the second question since I haven't played much yet, but yep, your first question is what was spoilered in my post and that's exactly how it worked.

Oh I just finished Fuga!

Yes, you can complete the game without firing the Soul Cannon, but I was having a lot of trouble with a late game fight and ended up using it. I'm wondering if they expected the player to play through twice because you can't even start picking up materials to max out your tank's equipment until the last chapter. I started a second playthrough but abandoned it, ain't got the time.
Huh, interesting. Another question about overall game progression: From how little I've played the available points in the intermissions seem limited, and it doesn't seem possible to have all the kids do something. Does that change and you can level up everyone's links, or do you have to just focus on a few characters to play/level in one playthrough?
 

StriderDL

Still just a dad
(He/him/his)
I can't say for sure about the second question since I haven't played much yet, but yep, your first question is what was spoilered in my post and that's exactly how it worked.


Huh, interesting. Another question about overall game progression: From how little I've played the available points in the intermissions seem limited, and it doesn't seem possible to have all the kids do something. Does that change and you can level up everyone's links, or do you have to just focus on a few characters to play/level in one playthrough?
I wasn't able to level up everyone's relationship level, which I suspect ties into the ending. There are foods you can make in the kitchen area that boost EXP/character link gain, so if you manage foods and pairings during battle very closely you might be able to do it? Talking during the intermissions doesn't to give as much of a boost as doing a run together with a high level affinity food active. But then you're using 3 points to do that, 2 points to plant the foods to get the ingredients...I suspect it's very complicated if not impossible.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
Megaman Legends 2 is pretty fun. Who would have thought? I like how, on the first regular island you visit, there are ruins that you can just completely ignore, or you get in and get a ton of cash. And I like basically everything else about it, too. The world and the characters (the Bonnes are great), everything is a joy. Only gripe would be that Megaman controls a bit clunky, but even that works perfectly fine, as long as I use the d-pad.

A++ first impression, can't wait to play more.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Luminous Avenger iX 2 is such a staggering improvement over the first game, and the preceding Gunvolt games that it’s hard to fully express.

For the first time, I’m enjoying the game fully rather than just admiring the spritework and/or wishing it’s shortcomings weren’t such a major component.

It’s the Mega Man 2 of the series, except that it came… um… sixth
 

madhair60

Video games
Absolutely not. They took away Copen's ability to dash from enemy to enemy, meaning every single fight is exactly the same boring thing.

Absolutely NOT, Octo!
 

MCBanjoMike

Sudden chomper
(He/him)
I started playing Returnal and have generally been having a very good time. I sure with I wasn't so bad at it, though! After about five hours, I still haven't managed to beat the first boss. And runs have an unfortunate tendency to go downhill extremely quickly when I encounter stronger enemies...or just get swarmed by the weak ones. But I keep coming back, because the gameplay is buttery smooth and the premise is compelling. They really went overboard with the DualSense integration, though, and while I appreciate the effort, the execution isn't always successful. The one thing I really don't like is the two-levels of trigger pull on the left side, which switches you between aiming down sights and using your alt-fire. I find it hard to get the pressure right and often overshoot, which is an issue because you can't fire when your alt-fire is recharging, so I often just stop shooting by mistake. I haven't looked in the options, but I wonder if you can tweak the sensitivity?

Anyway, that sounds like a lot of complaints, but the fact is that I'm having a lot of fun with the game and I'm pretty motivated to pick it up again after every death.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
I started playing Returnal and have generally been having a very good time. I sure with I wasn't so bad at it, though! After about five hours, I still haven't managed to beat the first boss. And runs have an unfortunate tendency to go downhill extremely quickly when I encounter stronger enemies...or just get swarmed by the weak ones. But I keep coming back, because the gameplay is buttery smooth and the premise is compelling. They really went overboard with the DualSense integration, though, and while I appreciate the effort, the execution isn't always successful. The one thing I really don't like is the two-levels of trigger pull on the left side, which switches you between aiming down sights and using your alt-fire. I find it hard to get the pressure right and often overshoot, which is an issue because you can't fire when your alt-fire is recharging, so I often just stop shooting by mistake. I haven't looked in the options, but I wonder if you can tweak the sensitivity?

Anyway, that sounds like a lot of complaints, but the fact is that I'm having a lot of fun with the game and I'm pretty motivated to pick it up again after every death.
I think getting through the first boss is the hardest part of the game. Once you do things level out a bit more!
 

MCBanjoMike

Sudden chomper
(He/him)
Well that's good to hear! I've made it to the third phase 2 or 3 times, but it gets pretty intense and I'm usually on the ropes by then and I don't get a lot of time to internalize what's happening. I keep trying to set up runs where I'll have what I need to beat him...then getting killed before even setting foot inside his room. I should probably just practice the fight a few more times without getting properly equipped, since a big part of it is learning how to avoid his attacks.

EDIT: Heeeeeeey, I beat him on my next try! Had to suspend the run for dinner, but I like what I saw of the new enemies and different-colored background in the second area.
 
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It's weird how expectations shape experience. I ended up lukewarm on Witcher 3 because it's been trumpeted as one of the greatest games ever made so it underwhelmed, whereas I've seen people dunking on Detroit: Become Human for four years because lol David Cage sucks (he does though) and it's actually turning out to have a pretty compelling narrative, even if the gameplay is kind of flaccid.
 

zonetrope

(he/him)
Immediately addicted to Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom. Just really creatively designed and lovingly detailed throughout. I'm not a Wonder Boy expert by any means, but this is probably my favorite variation on it I've played so far.
 
Immediately addicted to Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom. Just really creatively designed and lovingly detailed throughout. I'm not a Wonder Boy expert by any means, but this is probably my favorite variation on it I've played so far.
I loved this game so much
 

Purple

(She/Her)
Doesn't help that it came out right alongside the Wonder Boy 3 remake which rightly got so much praise for the live switching between old and new art/music/sounds as separate toggles. I know I picked them up together and still need to finish Monster Boy because they need spacing out.

It IS great though. Same general feel as WB3 but you can always switch forms on the fly and it's built in a way more traditionally Metroidvania sort of way.

I think honestly though my favorite thing about it is the animated intro movie where I swear they reached into some sort of alternate timeline where the game came out in the CD era. That same weird bubbliness you'd see in intros on the Saturn all the time.
 

zonetrope

(he/him)
I will say that this volcano is trying its darndest to erode the goodwill the rest of the game has built up, but it's so much goodwill that I can forgive it. But the amount of damage some enemies and hazards inflict (even with the appropriate armor) is a little bit overkill.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
Oh my god, this game looks awesome. Simply the looks alone sell me on it. I loved the remake of WB 3, so having a newer game, where you can switch forms all the time, sounds amazing. Wishlisted, thanks for mentioning it. I'm so glad we get new games with amazing pixel art again. And not only NES style ones, but also stuff like this. Looks gorgeous.
 

madhair60

Video games
god help me, I've gotten into Gotham Knights. I get it now. It's clicked. The game doesn't do itself any favours by being so comparable to the Arkham series (it takes place after Batman dies? Hmm, now when did that happen...?) but once I got into its quasi-roguelike structure and the risk/reward that comes with it - as well as the different experience offered by the extremely set-piecey main story missions - I found myself having a blast. Yeah, it's kinda jank, and it's really silly that mobility is restricted until a certain non-obvious mission is completed ("Knighthood" - thank me later), but shit dude - this game's fun! It's fun and really silly! There's a prison riot that takes place to a punk cover of Ricky Martin's "Livin' La Vida Loca", and it's so stupid that I laughed out loud and felt a genuine euphoria.

The quiet moments are genuinely nicely handled too. The story is good if you like Batfamily. And I do!
 
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