I’m getting real Earthbound, Undertale, and AnUntitledStory vibes from this one, which should only be read as a positive statement. It’s full of little moments that just make you smile, and it wholeheartedly revels in eccentricity without ever falling prey to the elbow-nudging “wow, that sure was weird, huh????” that a lot of trying-too-hard media falls foul of.
A metroidvania-lite with twinstick shooting combat, Wuppo seems to loosely be a story about depression. Wum starts the game at 0/100 happiness and does nothing but eat ice cream all day, until one day they make too much mess and get evicted. So begins an adventure that will see them… well, I don’t know yet. Within the first hour, I got back into my home, but that’s apparently only the start.
Fin or Bin:
Created by two people over a very long stretch of time, Wuppo is a total passion project and it shows. I’ve been trying my hardest to avoid using this word through this post, but damnit- it’s charming. Gonna Finish it!
I’m a survivor of the ‘lol i’m so random xD’ edgelord days of the internet, where cartoonish hyperviolence and wacky non-sequiturs reigned supreme. I mean, it was better than it is now, but being reminded of those days still hurts.
What I’m saying is, Hell Yeah hurts.
Rolling in like someone boiled down all of Newgrounds and Kongegate in 2007, and smeared the resultant paste over a basically-fine metroidvania-lite, I probably would have loved this when I was 18. It’s bloody and gory and violent, all presented in that Invader Zim/Nickelodeon style which somehow made it better.
The humour’s on par too, with lots of not-quite-swearing, and even some fourth-wall breaking ‘haha because videogames’ jokes threwn about. I dunno, it was made in 2012, were those jokes funny back then? If they were, then the intervening years have been unkind. They’re just kind of exhausting now.
Fin or Bin:
The one saving grace that kept me interested was the genuinely impressive creativity shown in the monster deaths. If I’d stopped after 59 minutes this might have been a Fin on the back of those… but unfortunately, as I was wrapping up, I found a repeat- and the game lost its USP. Much like the way I feel when I reminisce on my teenage edgelord days, it belongs in the Bin.
It really feels like there should be a colon in the title somewhere, but apparently there is not.
I got Strike: Suit: Zero from the Humble Monthly Trove, and the first part of the game is figuring out how to open it, with no installer or anything beyond just a dump of the game files. (The game .exe is in the Binary folder. Spoilers.) It’s a space dogfighting sim involving the mighty Earth Republic battling against all those pesky Colonial Rebels. I kinda feel like I’m playing the bad guy? Anyway, some space guff goes down, and player pilot Adams is gifted the eponymous Strike Suit, a spaceship which can turn into a mech with advanced capabilities and is also impossible to control.
The controls, actually, are bad across the board. Not terrible, but definitely some eyebrow-raising decisions were made during Strike-Suit: Zero’s development. Left trigger speeds up, left bumper slows down? Left trigger and left analogue stick pressed together engages boosters?? X and B both target enemies but in different ways? The EMP, whch is used a lot, is on Y, but Transform which is rarely used is on A??? (These are X360 controls, btw. SNES arrangement might actually work better.)
Fin or Bin:
I’m not completely down on it, ‘cos it’s still fun despite the flaws. The Steam reviews for Strike! Suit*Zero? all seem to agree on a 7/10 score, I‘d more lean towards 6/10. I don’t engage with the story though- being a galaxy-spanning empire is only fun in 4X games where I’ve earned it through brutal peace-making and terrible trade deals. Let the colonials have their independence, and put Earth in the (Recycle) Bin.
If you’re not familiar with the original NES Metroid, go look up some screenshots or videos for a minute, then come back. That’s important, because this is a romhack, and you need to know how mindboggling that is.
Romhacks are supposed to just be graphical changes and a re-arranged map! This is madness! They’ve added slopes, and new upgrades, and a fully-functional map interface, and atmospheric effects like the rain shown above! How!?
A fan-made prequel to the first Metroid, Rogue Dawn is played from the antagonist’s POV, and shows how Ridley first came into posession of the Metroids. (Spoiler- he sent the player to do it.)
It’s an incredible piece of work, and I would imagine the amount of effort that went into it would probably be enough to produce a full game by itself.
Fin or Bin:
The most impressive part is how they’ve managed to turn Metroid into an actually good game. (Listen, don’t @ me. OG Metroid has aged horrendously and isn’t any fun at all. It’s historically significant, but that doesn’t mean it’s good.) Considering this and AM2R, it seems Metroid fans are on another level. I’d be doing them a disservice if I didn’t Finish this one.
The King is dead! And apparently was a promiscuous ol’ bastard when he was alive, as all of his sons and daughters now fight for his vacated throne. Along his path of merry conquests, he apparently managed to bonk a dragon, and so was the player character born- half human, half dragon, all tactician.
Half 4X, half RTS, it’s a weird mashup with both parts feeling a little half-baked. The world map overview is controlled in a turn-based 4X manner, but any battles are resolved in RTS mode, with the units from the game board being transformed into armies. It doesn’t work the other way around though, which I suppose makes sense, since you could endlessly stall the end of a battle while you build countless new units and then bring those into the 4X mode, but it’s a shame nonetheless that the RTS mode feels like it doesn’t matter much.
What the RTS part does have in its favour is the ability to fly around the map as a fricken dragon with a fricken jetpack. (Why does a dragon need a jetpack, you ask, foolish in your ignorance- the answer, clear as day, is because it’s cool.) Dragon mode kinda makes the battles trivial, as I entered into a full-scale battle with one single unit against an army, was given a strategic 1% chance of victory, and then proceded to sweep the map clear with acid breath. …Yeah, the RTS parts are a little weak.
Fin or Bin:
I played a little more than the allotted 1 hour, which I guess technically makes this a fin, but with both halves of the game feeling flimsy I’m not totally sold on this one. Under my self-imposed rules, a 50/50 situation falls in favour of the Bin, but it’s going into what I’m calling the Recycle Bin- for games that can have a second chance once the backlog is complete.
A secret organisation operating beneath the shadows, the team known as ‘Kokurase’ brings together four diverse talents to perform elaborate heists. The cost to hire them is lunch, and their target is the greatest treasure of all:
A group of four students pull strings behind-the-scenes to help lovelorn classmates make their feelings known. It’s another one of those essentially-a-visual-novel games made in RPG Maker which I clearly have a soft-spot for, and this one is definitely one of the better ones.
Gameplay involves ‘Key Phrases’, snippets of dialogue each of the playable characters remembers, to be used later on. It’s somewhat similar to the Investigation parts of Phoenix Wright games, preseting the right evidence to the right person at the right time, although the puzzles are far less complicated in Kokurase.
Fin or Bin:
It’s hard to talk about these games since the story is what makes them- I’ll just say the first chapter is free and tells a complete story within an hour, with additional chapters available for purchase if you want to see more from the team. Definitely recommended if you have a tolerance for these ganes. Fin!
Been knocking these out lately. Had a string of Bins and very short Fins
one after the other. It feels like I’m making a lot of progress, but
the growing shadows of XCOM, FFX-2, and Dragon Commander, looming over
the horizon and an ever-present threat to my free time, are getting hard
to ignore. So, here’s Disc Room, a game about not getting killed for 30
I mean, everything you need to know about the game is right there in the screenshot. Circular saws fly around the arena, and it’s your unhappy job to stay alive. How did our intrepid protagonist find themselves in such a predicament? We may never know. The lore of Disc Room has yet to reveal itself.
Fin or Bin:
20 levels, and 5 Endless modes, this Touhou veteran managed to see everything within the hour. I didn’t get 100%, but I don’t feel much need to. It’s a fun toy, but I’m Finished with it.
This one’s not for me, but I think a few of my friends would have a good time with it, and it’d be a wonderful game to play with a young child.
A confusing and mostly-blank treasure map takes three Burly Men out to Sea for a low-stakes story book adventure. There are branching paths to take or not take based on your actions, and each run through takes about 20 minutes.
One very charming thing about the game, which sadly is no longer an option, was the ability to have the story you create printed as an actual book. That’s a really neat idea- it’d be cool to see that happen more often with child-friendly story games like this one.
Fin or Bin:
I finished one run, and I feel like that’ll do it for me, but I’m going to mark it as a Fin because I have positive feelings about it. The $10 asking price is pretty steep unless you’re likely to make multiple runs, though.
The story behind this game is well-documented, and worth reading about if it sounds interesting- for the purposes of this entry, here’s an abridged version.
The first Star Fox game (or Starwing as I knew it) was originally designed to show off the SNES’ new Super FX chip, an add-on that could be put into a cartridge which allowed the SNES to display fully 3D environments. As I understand it, Star Fox wasn’t really supposed to become as popular as it did, which meant a sequel took some time to come.
Star Fox 2 was in development and slated to be released right around the time that Nintendo were showing off their exciting new 64-bit system, complete with fully-rendered 3D landscapes and environments. Unfortunately for Star Fox 2, the N64 made it look a bit… dated. Despite being basically finished and production-ready, Nintendo decided to shelve the project entirely, not wanting to embarrass themselves with such an inferior-looking game just as their competitors were stepping into the next generation.
Instead, the next Starfox game to be released was Star Fox 64 (or Lylat Wars, as I knew it), and the SNES version of Star Fox 2 was thrown into the archives.
A playable version of it has been floating around the internet for many many years now, having somehow leaked to the emulator scene, but it was only officially recognised by Nintendo 20 years later, being packaged up as one of the games on the SNES Mini, which is how I came about it.
Now, I have to mention, since this is my blog and I get to make these things personal. As a kid, I was INTO Starfox. Big time. I played Lylat Wars to death. Every day after school, I’d do a run through of it (a full game takes maybe an hour? It’s very replayable). I collected all of the medals, and then I did it again on Expert mode, which for a 9-10-11 year old is a pretty huge feat. At lunchtime, me and my best friend would pretend to be Starfox. I was Fox, and he was Falco, and we’d make up space adventures together. It had a big influence on some of my fondest memories, and doubtlessly an influence on my creative endeavours and interests ever since.
It’s fair to say that, if Nintendo had made a different decision regarding Star Fox 2‘s fate, my life would be very different. Maybe it’s weird to say that about a video game? Regardless, it’s true.
To see this title screen for the first time, in an officially-recognised way- to see this relic of history, this alternate course of events that was never realised… I got pretty emotional.
Fin or Bin:
They certainly took Starfox in a cinematic direction, but it kinda feels like they forgot to put a game in there. The missions are over before you know it, and enemies seem to fall super easily. There also aren’t really any bosses to speak of, while the first title had a unique boss encounter at the end of every level. I wonder just how finished this game really was. Plus, the Super FX chip wasn’t really up to the task of these free-roam stages… it’s kind of a hard sell, looking at it from 2019. But, that’s not at all the point of this one. Getting to play this title is incredibly important in a historical sense- and Finishing it is something we were never meant to be able to do.
Keeping this one short and sweet, like the game was.
Princess Ahri is dared by her brother to spend a week at a pleb school for plebs, in hopes she might learn some humility, and in doing so she falls in love with one of two outrageously handsome boys. As one does.
Both routes take 30 minutes, less if you skip the parts that repeat, so this was done within the hour. There’s a few choices to make but it’s usually pretty obvious which one is The Right Choice for the boy you’re chasing. Ahri herself is awful but that’s kind of the point.
Fin or Bin:
Ryuu best. Each story was very sweet, and it’s worth Finishing at least one of them.