Fault- Milestone One

Apparently I’ve bought a lot of visual novels over the many Steam sales I’ve been through, only to then always say “nah, not really in the mood for that” any time I’m looking for a new game to play. Certainly, the first time I tried this BBacklog Challenge, I was matched with Analogue Hate Story, a game I know for sure I’d never have played if not for it being nominated, which I ended up loving to death.

Having rolled Fault, that same “wehhhh I don’t wanna play this” feeling came up. Maybe I should stop buying VNs, but that’s another matter. So, then, I gave it an hour…

This is some next-level shit right here. The presentation is off the charts, far beyond the usual static anime portraits- there’s camera pans, dramatic zooms, and CGs are used in such a way that parts of the story almost feel like they’re fully animated. There’s a LOT of artistic skill on show here, above and beyond the visuals by themselves.

It’s pretty heavy-handed with terminology, going so far as to include an excyclopedia that can be referenced at any point during the game. A lot of not-really-mainland-european-language words too that are hard to read, with lots of Ks and Vs and Hs in places they oughtn’t be. I haven’t made much headway into the story yet but I do enjoy the two main characters, one a blonde princess who is obviously my fave, and her bodyguard Ritona who is too badass for words.

Fin or Bin:

I really don’t think VNs as a whole are for me, despite wishing they were. This one does have the advantage of not being played from Generic McNiceboy’s perspective, which is something I dislike about the genre. It’s kinetic too, so there aren’t a hundred story branches to go back and follow. I’ll be Finishing this one, then.

Recommended to:

VN fans, and fans of cute princesses.



This game is stylish as hell

In the near retrofuture, three rival gangs of punk-ass kids battle for control of the streets- against each other, and also the incredibly unrestrained police force (who are more than happy to deploy SWAT teams and tear gas on a kid for spraying graffitti one time).

It’s stylish in a way that is hard for someone like me to describe, with my absolute lack of style or street cred. It’s got a similar feel to it as Splatoon, I guess?

While I am already enamoured with the presentation, gameplay leaves me a little cold. I don’t think the controls are bad, necessarily, but they take a lot of getting used to (longer than the hour I gave it). There’s also no real indication of where you’re supposed to go next, with objective markers only appearing when you get in sight of them.

Fin or Bin:

Argh, this one is probably the toughest call I’ve had to make. I want to give it more time, but also I’m really not feeling like it’s going to get better… I’ve decided I will put it in the Bin for now, but off to the side and wrapped in a plastic bag so I can take it back out later and give it another go once I’ve cleared down my backlog. It’s a definite candidate for rescue.

Recommended To:

The presentation is what sells this one- if you want to play something that’s not quite like anything else you’ve played, and is definitely cooler than you are, pick this one up.


Trick And Treat


Horror-themed, but a little too cute to just be called Horror, Trick And Treat is a freebie puzzle/exploration game. You play Amelia, maid to Lady Charlotte, on her first halloween spent trick-or-treating. Right from the offset it’s clear that something’s not normal about Amelia, and indeed she is woefully naive about horror tropes as she explores the haunted mansion in search of Charlotte. The puzzles aren’t super taxing but they’re fun, and there’s some real neat trickery in the way the game’s been designed- for example, the screenshot above, showing two rooms- depending on which one you’re currently in, the other will appear bloody and ruined while the one you’re in appears normal. It’s a pretty cool way for the player to know something’s up without Amelia ever realising it.

Amelia herself is very cute. Her halloween outfit is just a pumpkin on her head because she likes them. That’s cute.

Fin or Bin:

I cheated a little and went back to Finish this one already, before I did my write-up. Playing through Trick And Treat made me glad I’m doing the BBLC as I’d never have gotten around to it if I hadn’t been.

Recommended to:

Anyone who can stomach some light horror. It’s an interesting story, it’ll take about 90 minutes of your time, and it’s free.

(Steam link)


I am a big time fan of Metroid games, and it’s pretty apparent that so are the guys behind Guacamelee!. It’s a metroidvania title, but you could happily omit the -vania from that- there’s subtle references to all kinda of games throughout Guacamelee’s incredibly colourful world, but the upgrades literally come from Chozo statues. It’s pretty jarring to see such a blatant and direct reference to a game with such a starkly different tone.

This ‘vania title is more combat-heavy than usual, with a fun and crunchy combat system that flies along at breakneck pace. It can get a little chaotic, but fights are over before you know it and Juan’s off to the next platforming section before the pinata confetti has even had chance to settle.

Fin or Bin:

Me estoy divirtiendo, y lo Terminaré.


Stealth Inc 2

Formerly known as Stealth Bastard, there’s not been much stealth but there’s plenty of bastard.

It’s a puzzle platformer with more than a little Portal thrown into the mix, as a snarky overseer taunts and chides you as you complete tests in a laboratory. The puzzles are tricky but have so far been just the right level of difficulty for me to enjoy them. Less enjoyable is the open-world metroid-like lobby between levels, as I have no idea where I’m going or *can* go yet.

There’s an ever-present indicator of how visible you are, which is based only on the amount of light around you- you can happily walk past an enemy so long as you’re both in shadow. The relevance of this is surprisingly rare in a game with Stealth in the title, with maybe two or three instances of having to be sneaky coming up in my hour session. Maybe it’ll become more important later on?

Fin or Bin:

I doubt I’ll go for the 100% completion targets of finding all the hidden clone buddies, and I definitely don’t care about getting high scores or ranks on each level, but I’ll Finish the main campaign.

(Steam link– important note for achievement hunters, one of the achievements is currently impossible to get as the server for community-made levels is offline)

Wondergirl: The Dragon’s Trap

A remake of the Master System classic, a beloved metroidvania-style game that pushed the boundaries of what the Master System was thought to be capable of. I have a lot of nostalgia for the original, especially its soundtrack which is among my favourites.

Holy shit, this remake. I can’t overstate how emotional I became when I first started playing this game- I’d known about the remake for a long time and could obviously see it’s fricken gorgeous, but to actually play it for myself and see all the TINY details that went into making it the best representation of Wonderboy it could be, I was blown away.

The entire soundtrack has been remastered with live instruments and it sounds utterly superb– and in a really nice extra touch, with the push of a single button you can swap all the graphics and sound back to the retro versions at any time. I’ve especially enjoyed being able to show midgi the differences- and how much they managed to keep the SAME, too, while bringing it up to date. One of my favourite new features is how the dungeon music now has a different version for each of the themed dungeons- the haunting, desolate version that plays in the sunken shipwreck is a personal fave.

I already mentioned it, but the visuals are stunning. To see the game in motion is an experience akin to watching a wonderful animated sequence. From the way the backgrounds scroll to the subtle little turning animation each animal form has when you change direction while running, there’s no end of tiny details to catch.

I also really, really appreciate the addition of Wondergirl as a playable option. You only play as the human form of your character for 10 minutes before (spoilers) they fall into the Dragon’s Trap and are cursed into various animal forms, but they added an entire set of graphics and animations for her anyway- and didn’t give her animal forms any awkward lizard-boobs or make them uncomfortably sexualised. Commendable work.

The gameplay itself then- this is a through-and-through, frame-perfect recreation of the original game, warts and all- you’ll need a taste for slightly wonky retro platformer combat to get the most out of this one, as an early entry in a burgeoning genre of game. They did add difficulty options, but playing through on Easy I’m not really noticing a great deal of difference- probably enemy attacks are a little less damaging, but the trickiness hasn’t changed. Still, once you’re used to Wondergirl’s heavy movements and short reach, it plays very well.

Fin or Bin:

Time to wrap this one up then- I will OBVIOUSLY be Finishing this one, and will doubtlessly revisit it many times in years to come. I bought it with the OST included and it’s worth the purchase for that alone.

(Steam page)