I use a set of polyhedral DnD dice to determine which game I’m going to play next. I guess today they just knew.
It’s baaaaaad. It’s bad. Sonic somehow manages to have both far too much momentum and also absolutely no momentum at all. Press the direction button right and Sonic will blast off at the speed of nothing, taking about three years to accelerate to his full speed, and then with a single jump his horizontal movement will be immediately reduced to zero and he’ll uselessly fly straight up and then land completely stationary. It’s horrendous, and completely baffling how they managed to suck all the sense of speed out of a game series about going fast.
The worst culprit is the homing attack, ported over from the Adventure games, which (true to form) only works half of the time- and when it does, you again lose all speed you might have developed, popping directly upwards into the air. You can chain these attacks together to work your way through a series of enemies, but the same thing happens each time, and there’s about a second’s-worth of recovery time before you can input the next one. It doesn’t sound like a huge deal, but these vacuums of pace and intensity in a game like this feel expansive and bring the entire sense of rush and reaction to a halt.
Fin or Bin:
They had the sheer audacity to split this title into two games, despite looking and playing like a fairly-competent fanmade game from 2005. Part 1′s going in the Bin, and I don’t see much value keeping Part 2 on my backlog either. Two-fer!
‘You’re a T-Rex with freakin’ jet boots!’ is one heck of a lede. Unfortunately, Jumpjet Rex falls into the ‘it’s clearly a good game but’ pile.
Using your jet boots, you must jump, fly and dash your way through obstacle courses, passing through a given number of rings along the way. There’s various collectibles and hidden treasures to look out for too, if you don’t mind taking the slow route to go exploring.
I have never enjoyed gameplay elements like time trial and deathless runs; for me, the fun of difficult games comes from clearing the challenge and moving onto the next one- ‘do it again but better’ holds no appeal for me at all. I know that’s not true of everyone, but I can’t stomach it.
Don’t misunderstand- a lot of games have features like this, notably recent gold-star winner Khimera. But a game that requires this kind of play in order to progress will put me off very quickly, as opposed to things like leaderboards and achievements which I’m happy to ignore.
Unfortunately, progression in Jumpjet Rex is tied to both time trials AND deathless runs; completing a level will award you one star, with an additional star for beating the level under a certain time and one more for not taking any hits for the duration. Stars unlock later levels, but the stars you get for completion aren’t enough to get you through.
Fin or Bin:
Well… I can tell it’s a neat game and all, but I know I’m just gonna get frustrated with it in short order. It’s a shame, since I like everything else about it- from the art style to the very very cool OST. I hope I haven’t put anyone off trying it- one man’s Bin is another man’s treasure, right?
An “Overwhelmingly Positive” rating is a very rare thing to see on Steam, especially for a free RPG Maker game, so I had to jump in on this one.
Contrary to most RPGM-based games, this is actually an A-RPG very similar to the Ys titles. To attack, you just ram yourself into an enemy, no button presses required. It’s as simple as it gets, which was the aim- the solo developer notes that he wanted to create a game anyone could play and enjoy the story.
The story is ostensibly based in the Ragnarok Online universe, but as someone who has never really delved into that world I’m managing to follow along with it fine. Senia’s adoptive older sister Magaleta headed to the Tower Of Eternity for reasons unknown, and Senia has gone to get her back. I’m not far into it, but already the emotional beats in the story are hinting towards something that’s going to hurt when it all comes to a head. Found-family is my weakness and this one’s going to kick my arse, I can feel it.
The gameplay isn’t hugely compelling but, as I’ve previously mentioned, I’m an RPG Maker creator myself and I can tell Senia’s got some impressive tricks up its sleeves.
Fin or Bin:
The developer is clearly not a native speaker of English, but I beg any interested parties to look past that. He’s just one dude who wanted to make a passion project, and the love really shows. I’ll enjoy Finishing this one.
I was a little lazy about writing this one up, so uh, spoilers… I already Finished it. I know, I’m dragging the sanctity of this blog through the mud here.
I’m trying to think of a game ASAMU is similar to and I’m kinda struggling. It’s a series of first-person platforming challenges featuring sweeping chasms which must be conquered with the power of the Grapple Beam. Free-floating islands and lil asteroids pepper the skies as you swing from checkpoint to checkpoint. The grapple beam also pulls you toward whatever you’ve grappled on to, so there’s a learning curve for someone more used to the grapple beam of Metroid fame; you can’t just Tarzan your way across but must make use of your upward momentum to strafe around your current target and propel towards the next one.
It’s a 3-hour affair, which is good as the puzzles definitely get weaker as the game goes on- the short scope means things end just before they get stale. Especially once you get the jet boot upgrade the platforming becomes a lot less clean-cut and there were several instances where I was apparently able to bypass elements of a puzzle entirely. (There’s an optional Time Trial mode so it’s possible the bits I skipped were just faster paths through for more experienced players? Not sure.)
Fin or Bin:
The story’s cute and it can be pretty exhilarating to get through one of the trickier puzzles. Definitely worth the 3 hour investment it took to Finish it.
It’s important to re-state- these aren’t necessarily reviews.
I’ve more than a passing interest in RPG Maker and have aspirations of creating my magnum opus in the platform some day, and Skyborn is rightfully seen as a masterclass in how to use the platform right; there’s a lot of work gone into creating something unique from a technical point of view, let alone the setting and such.
But… as of right now, I’m not feeling it.
There’s a lot of small micromanagements to contend with, from the way augments work (by the way- thanks for teaching me how to use it with the one character who is then immediately removed from the party, thus wasting all my money), to the battle system. Characters have an in-battle stat called Threat which changes based on their actions. Dealing damage or defeating an enemy will send that character’s Threat higher, and when it comes time for the enemy to move, they will target the character whose Threat is highest. It’s a neat idea, but it means even basic encounters require strategising so you don’t just have one character getting whacked constantly.
Again, it’s not Skyborn’s fault, but having just come from the very energetic eXceed, it’s kind of a jarring experience to have to think while I play a game. I currently feel that Threat is a little too restrictive and it should maybe be a higher *chance* that enemies will target that character, but I worry that being in the wrong mood for a game like this is clouding my judgement to Skyborn’s detriment.
Ultimately, the whole reason I set this blog up was to make sure I was playing games for fun, not obligation. Currently, this isn’t striking Fun, but I want to give it another chance some day.
Fin or Bin:
It’s not you, Skyborn, it’s me. I’m just not ready for this kind of relationship. But lets hook up when I go back through the Bin to see what needs rescuing and we can catch up, yeah?
I mean, look at it, it’s obviously a Fin. That’s not what I want to talk about.
As with most shooters, this one allows the player to charge up a special attack to unleash all at once. In eXceed, it’s a barrage of homing lasers very similar to those in Ikaruga. However, this game is fully voiced, and any time our dragon-goth protagonist releases this attack, she yells:
It is hilarious, and every time I use it I invariably end up crashing into a bullet moments afterwards, blinded by my own laughter. I understand, if you’re a non-native speaker looking up goffick words to use, combining ‘Bloody’ and ‘Hell’ is sure to be metal as fuck… but to this born-n-raised brit, it’s 50-year-old Norman from Lancaster, who’s just realised he forgot to put the bins out.
Fin or Bin:
To speak a little about the actual game, then- it’s a frenetic danmaku shooter similar enough to Touhou that I’m absolutely on board. Awesome soundtrack courtesy of SSH. Going for the 1CC!
Master Of Orion 2 is widely hailed as one of the best 4X games of all time, and it still manages to hold up pretty well today. It’s one of those games I’ll go back to every year or so, and aside from Civ nothing else has really come close.
The original is bundled together with the Steam release of Orion 2, so I figured it’d be neat to see where the series started.
I definitely do not encourage anyone to start here, unfortunately. I’m sure at the time it was a pretty robust game (it at least sold well enough for a sequel, right?) but it has been improved upon immeasurably in the intervening years and sadly only holds interest any more as a historical piece.
Fin or Bin:
I didn’t get very far into it before Binning it, but I’m glad to have had a chance to see the predecessor to one of my favourite games of all time. You can’t buy one without the other regardless, so consider this post a hearty recommendation for Orion 2.
Listen. Alright? Don’t judge me. This is an oldskool LucasArts adventure game, and I’ve been playing games long enough to know what that means. It means I can either spend hours trying to figure out that I have to combine the [Radiator Key] with the [Broken Umbrella] and show it to [The Doctor] but only AFTER I’ve already switched on three of the four ventillator fans (accessible through a two-pixel-wide hidden panel) so he’ll give me the [Broken Radio], or I can have UHS open in a tab behind the game window and actually have fun.
So here’s Full Throttle, a game I never played but heard a lot about Back In The Day due to having a best friend obsessed with it. It’s the remastered version, which besides the obvious graphical upgrade also includes a few nice quality-of-life additions- key among them the ability to highlight any objects on the screen which can be interacted with. (No more scouring every pixel with the mouse for that tiny and invisible control panel!)
Ben, leader of biker gang The Polecats, has his entire gang stolen from under him by some corporate jerks and gets left for dead in a dumpster. Understandably upset by this turn of events, Ben eschews the writing of a stern letter to their corporate HQ in favour of hunting them down himself atop his sweet, sweet ride.
Fin or Bin:
The biker’s life has always held an appeal to me, and after an hour of play, the completion meter was already at 33%. Sure, I’ll Finish this one, if only to placate Mike 20 years ago.