Steam Sales!!

Steam’s Summer Seal is raring to go once again, much to the dismay of backlogs everywhere. I haven’t taken any damage to mine yet (although I am eyeballing 3 or 4 different 50+ hour RPGs…), but here I am nonetheless to encourage you all to take a lot of damage to yours, like I did last year.

New here? Read this and join the fun!


Pyre! Pyre, get Pyre. Get it. Go get Pyre right now. I’ll wait.

Congratulations! You just bought what is currently my GOTY, and one of my favourite games of all time. The cosmic basketball might not be to everyone’s tastes (as someone who shirks sports games entirely, I actually really enjoyed the Rites), but the real treat is in the family of misfits you find and, hopefully, liberate. It’s beautiful, and I’m not just talking about the visuals. Even weeks after finishing it, thinking about the ending has me wailing. I’m an absolute sucker for found families- and I’ll never forget the time The Nightwings welcomed me into theirs. (Steam / BBLC)

Invisible Inc.

I so nearly binned this, but something told me to just give it one more shot… and it swallowed me whole. Fantastically tense strategy/stealth game, it’s a little bit rogue-like which is what turned me off to start with. You have never before, nor will you ever again, be so aware of doors being left open. Story gets kinda weird, but as long as you have a passing knowledge of cyberpunk tropes you’ll have a good time here. (Steam / BBLC)


Official word states the title of this series should be presented in lower case. I don’t like it, but fault’s earned enough of my respect that I’ll acquiesce. Holy crap, it’s hard to explain without spoiling anything, but if you have any tolerance for visual novels at all, and a strong stomach for terminology, these games will blow you away with their presentation alone- and you’ll stay for the plot. First five minutes of milestone two had me staring agape at my screen. Next level stuff. (Steam / BBLC)

Wonderboy Girl: The Dragon’s Trap

A gorgeous refreshening of the Master System’s best game (controversial!), I already gushed about this at tedious length in my original post. It’s got some retro trappings that are moderately eased by optional difficulty settings, and the inclusion of Wonder Girl is handled with absolute elegance. (Steam / BBLC)

Hopefully I haven’t done too much damage to your backlogs, but also I really hope everyone checks these titles out and gives them a chance!


One of the many short, weird, artsy, vaguely-horroresque one-person RPG Maker games to come out of Japan’s indie scene, LiEat focuses on Efi, a little girl with the curious ability to see and eat lies people tell around her. Since her guardian, Leo, is some kind of private investigator, that sure comes in handy!

The package on Steam is actually a bundle of three separate stories, the first of which I have been able to finish. Though there are battles in a technical sense, the nature of these games is to use the medium primarily as a story-telling method, in this instance simply reflecting Efi wofling down the tasty lil lies she finds in the world.

Fin or Bin:

This kind of thing tends to go right over my head, but the premise is interesting and it’s short enough that I don’t mind pushing through. I think other people would get more out of Finishing this one than I will, though.


Just Cause 2

If you take all of those completely nonsensical, laws-of-physics-assaulting action scenes from action films, boil them down and somehow condense them into a cohesive and playable video game, you have Just Cause 2.

The crux of the gameplay centres around the grappling hook, a tool with surprisingly long range and infinite use with which you can launch yourself around and over any structure in the world. No more taking potshots at sniper nests- aim at the wall behind them, grapple right in, and punch their lights out.

The story focuses on liberating an oppressed island state by causing as much chaos and social unrest as possible, and there’s some other stuff too, but honestly who cares? Within the first hour I’d already grappled onto an attack helicopter, thrown the pilot out, hijacked it, and used it to demolish a military compound. That wasn’t even my mission!

Fin or Bin:

It’s a huge open world game and the travel between missions where there’s nothing going on really seems to drag in comparison to how bombastic the rest of the gameplay is, but there’s still plenty to do. I can’t imagine I’ll get 100% because there’s entirely too much to do, but I’m not Finished with it yet.



I considered writing this post entirely in emojis, to imitate Ellipsis’ complete lack of text.

This is one of those games that people look at and immediately think “Beebs wants to play this”. Simple-as-it-gets gameplay, levels that are finished in seconds, and a high skill threshold coupled with a blisteringly-fast turnaround so you’re never kept waiting for Just One More Try.

As mentioned, there’s no text in the game, with everything learned on the fly. New elements get introduced every few levels right up until the end, and it rarely takes more than two or three encounters to figure out what’s up. Blue good, red bad. Triangles bad. Lasers bad. Bombs bad (unless they’re blue!). And so on.

I actually managed to finish it within the hour of play, to my own definition of ‘finished’. Each level has a Star ranking for people who like to go back and perfect their play- that’s not my scene, and thankfully Ellipsis doesn’t require it.

Fin or Bin:

Tumblr doesn’t support emojis. Fin!




Ikaruga meets Metroidvania- although, calling it a Metroidvania feels incorrect, somehow.

Certainly, there’s an open world to explore, more and more of which opens up as you gain upgrades, necessitating backtacking to earlier areas to progress, etc. But the whole approach feels a little… nebulous?

Shrouded entirely in silhouette except for the red and blue glows of the obstacles, Outland sure is purdy. Unfortunately, this actually tends to work against the core of the gameplay- since all the environments look the same, there are no memorable features and landmarks to think back to once you gain a new upgrade. When exploration is met with a barrier, there’s really nothing to call back on once you can pass that barrier.

Speaking of exploration, that’s rendered inert too- the game persistently tells you exactly where you need to go next. I don’t mean a Zero-Mission-style map indicator which you then have to figure out how to reach- I mean, a flock of birds will literally guide you through the maze to your next destination. In a way, this encourages exploration because then you know you can’t accidentally go the right way, but there’s very little reason to actually bother going off track- there’s no upgrades or collectibles (save for trinkets which have no in-game use) to incentivise looking around.

These blend together to create a very sterile and uninteresting world to inhabit. More than once I only realised I had backtracked to a previously-inaccessible area after checking my map. It’s a shame, as the polarity switching mechanic throws some real neat challenges into the mix. I just kinda wish it was a series of tightly-designed sequential levels instead of being a vast world for no reason.

Fin or Bin:

I regret sounding so negative in this one- it’s by no means a bad game, but I did find myself deliberating over this decision. As previously established, a tie-breaker, in terms of this blog, gets awarded to the Bin. I have too many games to get through to spend time on one I’m not sure I even want to spend time with. But! Like other tie-breakers, it’s going into the special Bin where it gets vacuum-sealed and put on ice, ready to be taken back out once the backlog is cut to size.


Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee

During the N64 and Playstation era, free-roaming collectathon platformers reigned supreme. Super Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie, Crash, Spyro- rave-reviewed, fondly-remembered kings of their time. As the next console generation rolled in, however, the genre suddenly seemed to die on its arse. With these early-mid 2000′s era platformers getting a second chance on Steam lately, I think it’s becoming apparent why.

The Oddworld series, beginning with Abe’s Oddysee (which was awful) and Abe’s Exoddus (which was super) somewhat defied definition. They were, I guess, 2D puzzle-platformers? You were tasked with using Abe’s acrobatics to solve rooms full of traps so that your mudokon buddies could escape with their lives (or, alternatively, throw them under the bus so you could escape scot-free). To a large degree, gameplay was gated only by how thorough you were in saving all of the mudokons, combined with the player’s skill versus the (really bloody difficult) platforming sections.

In transition to a 3D free-roam collectathon platformer, Oddworld’s lost its way. To begin, the controls are atonishingly bad, with each button being assigned two or three different functions based only on how long you hold it down for. Most of them are used to speak with and issue commands to the mudokons you find along the way.

What really scrabs my paramites, though, is the entirely arbitrary addtion of collectible currency. Dotted around the entire world are Spooce Spores, which Abe must collect in order to open doors. These are not challenging in the slightest to obtain, being used in much the same way as coins in the Mario series. You can even, as many times as you like, chant over a spore to cause it to regrow in a matter of seconds, ready to be collected again. The doors are therefore entirely pointless- if you find yourself short on spores, you can simply stand over a site and chant endlessly until you have enough.

Oddworld became a collectathon Just Because, and I think a great many other games did likewise. The genre didn’t die so much as become ubiquitous.

Fin or Bin:

The most recent title, Oddworld: Super Mario’s Oddysee, came out on Switch in 2017. I’ve got high hopes for that one. Munch, however, can go back into the Bins of time.