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Digital Down-Low for 09/18/2021: Tiny Hawk: Pro Skater

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
This is one of those weeks where you're better off just tossing your wallet away; you won't have anything left to keep in it.

Kicking off with something stealth-dropped last week, and which I'd been excited for since it was announced; Lost in Random, an RPG that looks all Beetlejuice-y, and is an action-RPG take on Dicey Dungeons, and the script was written by Ryan North and... yeah, that's pretty much exactly how you make a video game for Octo.

Almost feels like it's pandering to me...

Anyway, go get yourself a missing sister after she gets captured by an evil gambler queen and use a dice in order to use randomly assigned magic powers determined by deck-building. As written by the Funny Talking Dinosaur Man.

Cruis'n Blast is the long awaited (?) return of the Cruis'n series which I mainly remember for being a mainstay at lower-tier arcades throughout the mid-late 90s. Right next to the Terminator 2 arcade game and Street Fighter 2 with a broken joystick. But that was in 1996! Now it's 2021 and the graphics are nicer and it has online play, and my copy of Street Fighter 2 works just fine!

SNext up is Flynn: Son of Crimson, is a platformer! A 2D one! And it's got some nice looking sprites! Some of the screenshots imply it's at least somewhat troidy, but the term doesn't show up in the trailer or eShop description, so your guess is as good as mine. Either way, it's got some good "Saturday Afternoon Game Rental" energy, the likes of which I haven't seen since Skyblazer.

Eastward is certainly on the short list of games I'm most excited for this week; it's a game that looked at Earthbound and said "What if... Post Apocalyptic Zelda instead?" and then decided to go down that road. And down that road lies Eastward! The trailer is about 95% moody atmospheric sprite-work diorama's and 5% "Actual Video Game Being Played", but I liked the look of both. Looks like it has some real CrossCode energy.

And speaking again of things that invoke the 90s; Razion Ex is a port of an arcade game from around then. It's a shmup. One wherein "the score system is based on growing gold cubes and using the beam to freeze the cubes".

So if freezing cubes is all you need to enjoy a fun video game, then it's this or Kickle Cubicle.

The Amazing American Circus is absolutely bonkers and I love it for that. On the surface, it's a game inspired by the likes of Darkest Dungeon, but with a few slight variations. For example; instead of exploring a cthulhu-infested mansion on the outskirts of a haunted town, you're trying to put the PT Barnum out of business. And instead of mentally unstable explorers, you're assembling a team of circus performers.

You have to contend with precisely as many ghosts and werewolves, however.

Next up is Skatebird. Everything you need to know about Skatebird is right in the title. It's a skateboard game, except your a bird. A Skatebird.

A Skatebird is going to olli right into our hearts

Nexomon is also a video game where you know exactly what to expect, based on the title alone; it's a Pokemon knock-off, except it doesn't look nearly as nice and the monsters all have a Neopets-y feel to them. Its sequel came out on the Switch about a year ago, but now you can play the original and not be lost in the plot!

And speaking of things that look like Pokemon, except they have a MUCH higher budget and are apparently very good on their own merits, we have Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom! A sequel to a game I tried like the dickens to enjoy because *cripes a gosh* did it look appealing, but it wasn't quite compelling enough to stick with. And based onsecond hand testimony, they more than made up for that with the sequel, as it's both a Genuinely Good RPG *and also* very Ghibli-y. And it also has a completely bonkers opening sequence that I will not spoil because I wish nobody had spoiled it for me and feel like it's best to go in completely blind to something like that.

And bringing up the rear is Tails of Iron. Which is a brutal 2D action RPGin the vein of Dark SOuls.

Except everyone is rats.

That's everything I know about now!


Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
And speaking again of things that invoke the 90s; Razion Ex is a port of an arcade game from around then. It's a shmup. One wherein "the score system is based on growing gold cubes and using the beam to freeze the cubes".

So if freezing cubes is all you need to enjoy a fun video game, then it's this or Kickle Cubicle.

I know fact-checking is in short supply for the purpose of these threads, but... this is pretty off the mark. It's a game by the German shoot 'em up developer NGDEV, so named because they've been doing Neo Geo homebrew in particular for a long time--Razion in its original release in 2014 was just that, and other stuff they've done are things like Last Hope fifteen-ish years ago, which gained some traction in the unlicensed post-mortem Dreamcast scene.

Unfortunately with that dedication to "retro" sensibilities also comes a consistently unexamined and unchanged commitment to retrograde casual sexism that sees those elements as part of the package of presenting vintage media "authentically." It's in their games like Gunlord X, a Turrican tribute that injects a premise of imperiled-woman-saving to its makeup, and then wraps up the package promotionally in the ever-reliably exploitative art of one Genzoman just to underline the point. That spirit is present in Razion EX too, a game that would very much like to come off as the successor to the pre-rendered delights of Pulstar and Blazing Star, and one where a precedent of a woman pilot in skintight uniform exists, and they still manage to come off as exceptionally leering and gross in comparison in how the pilots in their own take are presented and how they're designed. It's nothing but cleavage and thongs and painfully contorted bodies underneath. When a creative voice is this obstinately irresponsible through multiple projects, I don't even want to go digging for gamer bullet points like "well how does it play" because that's been rendered irrelevant next to all the rest.

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
I thought it was odd and telling that the first thing you see when you look up the game in the eshop is space-underpants.

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
Important to note for anyone with the service; looks like Skatebird and Flynn are going to be day-1 releases on Gamepass


Let's 90s gaming
I had no idea Skatebird was finally coming out. Thanks, Octo! You made a bad day a little better.

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
Couple more little things snuck into the eShop when my back was turned; like a bunch of earwigs in the doorjamb

And and certainly the least Ear-wiggy of the lot is a double-pack of Metal Slug games! Specifically, the Neo Geo Pocket Color entries of the series; Metal Slug 1st & 2nd Mission! A pair of *really good* attempts to put Metal Slug into a much weaker console, and weirding things up a bit with character progression and multiple level paths and the like. They represent some of the most crop-creamy games of the NGPC library, which is good, but they're also both included in the NGPC collection released earlier.

Also, you don't hear anyone yell HEAVY! Machinegun or RAWCAT LAWNCHAIR every few moments.

Next is Don't Forget Me! Which is a clicky emote-em-up adventure game where you're a gal what got BRAIN ZAPPED by a conspiracy and have to re-remember everything but also are able to jump into other peoples memories in order to puzzle solve what's up with them! Like if Memento and Inception were the same movie.

And finally this weeks arcade game is Soldam, which, based on the screens, is pretty much Super Puzzle Fighter, but with a vastly reduced number of Street Fighter characters.



Me and My Bestie
(He, him)
I know Octo doesn't do the research and he only covers so many games so I'll cover a few of the more notable omissions.

Dojoran is one of those pixelly indie games that's entirely black and white. You are a frog ninja that uses apple ninjutsu to make your way through a cruel murderous world.

I am not making this up.

Speaking of games with monochrome art styles, there's also TOEM: A Photo Adventure! You have a camera and you traverse isometric environments solving problems by taking photos of things.

In Elva the Eco Dragon, you're a baby dragon from another galaxy who's come to teach everyone to take care of Mother Earth by recycling and planting trees and stuff. Her visuals may be low rent, but her heart is in the right place.

And with all the Captain Planet villains who are in power around the world, we need more stuff like this.

And finally, there's Catlateral Damage: Remeowstered. You're a cat who's been slighted by their owner so you are going to make their lives a living hell by making a huge mess and breaking everything. Or wrecking up the grocery store. Or ruining a museum.

There's more stuff, more tasks, overhauled visuals, and more pet photos. Also one of fellow TTer TheSL's cats is in this game in photo form!
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Me and My Bestie
(He, him)
And just 'cuz I'm having fun with these I did a few of the ones Octo already did too.

Skatebird is self-explanatory. Sadly we have no skateboards for birds to stand on sit on be next to in New Horizons yet, but I assure you this game has the BiRB SPoRTZ seal of approval.

Cruis'n Blast is the Switch port of the revival of that one driving game you only played 'cuz that Walmart entryway or theater lobby didn't have a Sega driving game in it.

That said, game design has come a long way since the 90s and by most accounts this is a really good driving game.
Nexomon is another in the long line of games that hopes to be as lucrative as the massive multimedia empire that is the Pokémon franchise. Will the series modestly coexist with the Pocket Monsters, or will it end up forgotten outside of wikis and the odd forum thread or Discord conversation?

And The Amazing American Circus is a CardPG where you're an old-timey ringmaster from the bad old days who gathers trained performers, some people who are gawked at just 'cuz they look different, and a bunch of wild animals that should not be forced to constantly perform for people's amusement (Wait a minute...) and forces them to constantly perform for people's amusement.

But along the way somebody thought a Villainous Ringmaster Simulator alone wouldn't sell so you fight monsters and stuff too.

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Me and My Bestie
(He, him)
Okay, a few more of the games Octo didn't cover.

Titan Chaser is a game where you drive and walk around the woods at night, shining your flashlight on colossi to make them go away. Or just ignore your job and have fun exploring.

Rated E for Everyone!

Crypto is Dead is another one of those Papers, Please style indies. Though it should be noted that Papers, Please still isn't on Switch, so...

Anyway, this is a family friendly game where cryptocurrency ruined the economy and it's up to you, the player, to fix and/or profit off of this by working to get physical money back into circulation.

What could possibly go wrong?

Project Winter is a survival where you and a bunch of other real life people try to survive in a harsh, wintry landscape by gathering resources and completing tasks to fix stuff to call in a rescue vehicle to get back to civilization.

This is a fine concept on its own. But because Among Us was extremely popular, some players are traitors out to kill everyone else because...uh...uhm...fuck you for wanting to be alive, I guess.

And the final game I could be arsed to do one of these shoots for is Jigsaw MasterPieces EX - Kawaii Cute Goddesses. Which I only mention at all 'cuz I'm shocked by how much money is being charged for an experience that could easily be replicated by downloading some pics from Pixiv and throwing them into one of those apps that turns your image files into puzzles.