Magical Starsign (DS)

I read a review
about this game long ago that basically boiled down to “it’s got
a girly name but it’s fine as long as you don’t let your friends
see you playing it”. I hope to be a little bit more helpful here
than that review was.

This has been one of
the hardest calls so far. The artstyle is pretty and unique (it kinda
looks like one of those early-2000s kids shows that was animated in
flash), the music is nice, I like the whimsy of the setting, and the
battle system is actually something I’ve not seen before, requiring
on-the-fly rearrangement of your party during battles to maximise
their abilities.

I gave it an hour
and a half, and the story hasn’t really grabbed hold of me yet. For
an RPG in particular, the story is what really matters, and I don’t
yet feel invested in it. But the kicker here is the controls. How on
earth do you get the controls wrong in an RPG??? Magical Starsign
somehow manages it.

The D-pad handles
directional movement, as you would expect. But the face buttons also
act as a right-handed D-pad… and the Action button is the L or R
trigger. Okay, fine, that takes some getting used to, but it could
work… if the L/R buttons weren’t also the Run buttons, and if the
player character didn’t slip by at a diagonal any time they ran
into an obstacle. It feels like I’m trying to put in the Konami
code every time I try to remember the right order to press and
release all of these buttons just to interact with the story object I
need. Baffling.

Fin or Bin:

Magical Starsign has
pretty much confirmed a plan I had been brewing, inasmuch as I want
to revisit all of the Binned games once I’ve got my backlog down to
zero. It’s not put me off enough that I can confidently say I want
to Bin it, but when I consider there’s 60 other games I could be
playing instead I also don’t really want to Finish it, at least
right now. I’d like to see if I can get into it better when there’s
less competition for my time- I might also be better in the mood for
an RPG later on, which I admit I’m not really feeling at the moment

Tiny Thief

Bit of a departure this one- I’m not really one for phone games, since I prefer to have some physical buttons to press (LLSIF being the one major exception). My brother recommended this to me about 4 years ago and it’s been sat dormant on my phone ever since.

It’s an interactive puzzle game where the goal is to guide Tiny Thief to a certain object, steal it, and escape without being noticed. This involves interacting with the level elements in the right way to set up a path in and a path out, and find some bonus treasures along the way. The artstyle is charming and well-animated and I haven’t encountered anything super frustrating yet, with guard’s movements all being telegraphed well ahead of time so you’re never caught unaware.

Fin or Bin:

This is a perfect little game to play for the ten minutes it takes to get to work every day, and I’m sure I’ll Finish it eventually.

Rockets Rockets Rockets


Random Random Random.

Rockets3 is a shallow dogfighting game that’s spretty much a ‘download with your roommates, play it for one evening, then forget about it’ experience. It’s only bot matches and there’s not even really anything substantial to that.

The players move far too fast and are far too small for there to be any kind of skill to the game, the superior tactic to be to simply spray your weapons everywhere and hope for a lucky hit. To add to this, the camera zooms in and out as players move closer and further away, with no upper or lower limit- it’s quite nauseating and unpleasant to watch, again especially given the speed the players might zoom past each other.

Fin or Bin:

In the hour I played it I somehow managed to get 81% of the achievements, which I consider a job well done. Get in the Bin.

Sonic And SEGA All-Stars Racing

This is the Steam version, since apparently no two releases are quite alike. This is also the first game in the series, and not the sequel Sonic etc Racing Transformed, which I actually consider to be the best of the mascot racers (even including the one which immediately springs to mind).

So, it’s Mario Kart but SEGA, right? More or less. I’m petty sure I’ve done this game a disservice by playing the utterly fantastic sequel first, because it feels very light in content in comparison and it all feels a little cheaply put together. It’s still a fine game, but compared to its successor, ‘fine’ doesn’t cut it. Transformed is packed to the rafters with fandom nods and extra content, while this one’s very barebones.

Fin or Bin:

I was tempted to finish the Missions mode, which gives you little extra challenges to complete besides racing… but then half of those turned out just to be races anyway, and that got dull fast. Much the same way you probably won’t go back to play Mario Kart Wii once you have Mario Kart 8, do yourself a favour and grab the exemplary Sonic Racing Transformed, and Bin this one.

Scribblenauts (DS)

I remember this one being a pretty big deal back in the day- a genuinely impressive array of in-game items you can summon at will just by naming them, allowing you to solve a puzzle any way you like.

While it is cool that you can type ‘Dinosaur’ or ‘Jetpack’ or ‘Farm Building’ and get exactly that, it’s quickly apparent that there’s no real reason to- you jump, you dig, you climb stuff, you get incredibly frustrated by the horrendous controls, you never really need to use anything beyond fairly standard tools.

The CONTROLS. Good gravy, the controls. This was, I guess, back in the days when touchscreens were still fairly new to the scene and everyone wanted to maximise their use in games, but this is too far. The touchscreen controls EVERYTHING- movement, interactions, jumping, climbing, EVERYTHING. The perfectly good D-pad and four face buttons go completely unused in favour of one giant button that gets assigned every single in-game task, and it’s a nightmare. Convincing Maxwell to walk to a spot NEAR a thing and not interact with or throw or shoot that thing is a chore, and the physics are finnicky enough already without having to roll a dice every time you want to achieve a simple task.

Fin or Bin:

I can’t convince myself to put up with a game I only fail because it misinterprets what I want to do. There’s probably some smart puzzles later on, but getting to them involves telling Maxwell to walk in a straight line and that’s apparently too much to ask. Open up your notepad and type Bin.