2019 as a year felt like it lasted two years, and a lot happened in my
personal life. Got a new job, learned to drive, got my first car, moved
out of the in-laws’ basement into our first real apartment, started my
first long-term game of DnD (which in itself has involved a new
relationship and an emotional breakdown)- and between it all I somehow
managed to play 77 games. Backlog’s down to 35 titles, lads- at this
rate, I’ll be down to zero by July 2020. (Not gonna happen.)
In 2020, I’d like to explore the SNES catalogue a little more, but
before that happens we have to review everything 2019 brought me, in a
somewhat chronological order.
Near A Tomato
Carry-over from last year’s post since I was in the middle of playing it
at the time. I definitely never quite got a handle on the combat and I
think some of the themes went over my head, but I still had fun here,
and the 9S hacking minigame never got old. It was a gift from an old
friend who I miss. Was nice to reconnect.
With my new main Zelda, I cleared all of WoL and got every spirit on the
Spirit Board. I never really used her before but she’s cute now! Really
liked the attention to detail in the spirit encounters. Unfortunately,
Cloud is still in the game.
Mega Mans 1 2 and 3
I actually spoke about my experiences with the Mega Men in my BBLC post for Mega Man Eggs, so you should read that right now.
Metroid Samus Returns
It’s Good. Like, a solid Good. Never Great, never Bad, just Good. It’s
nice to see one of the least accessible games in the series get a
remaster, but it feels very disposable, if that makes sense. Like they
just needed a Metroid to keep people busy while they reboot Prime 4
development. AM2R is vastly superior, go play that.
One point of amusement- the game tells its story without narration, and
also seems to pre-suppose you know Metroid lore. I was entertained by
the thought of a newcomer to the series being completely mystified by
the sudden space-dragon that comes out of nowhere to wreck you at the
end of the game.
Khimera: Destroy All Monster Girls
You can click here to download it, ‘cos it’s free, which is almost criminal.
This is one of the higher tier games I’ve played this year. A little
bit Mega Man, a bit Metroid, with hints of Touhou and Undertale, it’s
pretty tough at times but never to ‘precision platformer’ levels. It’s a
lot of fun and the dev deserves your support.
Steve And Ollie RPG
Oh, I made this one. Making something else next year? Question mark?
Prof Layton 3
Feels like these are getting weaker as they go along. The story has
always been absolute boohockey, but the puzzles feel like they’re
degrading in quality too. With over 200 in each game, that’s not super
surprising, and I’m glad they didn’t bulk it out with a load of the
awful block-slider puzzles. Still, it’s Layton, if you liked any of the
other games you’ll like this cos it’s the exact same thing.
Fault Milestone Two
Yo, there ain’t a damned thing I can say about Fault, so go play the first one and then play this and you’ll understand.
I never bothered to finish it. The obtuse old Sierra puzzlers were hard
enough to deal with back in the day, and just feel kind of inexcusable
now. I don’t have the patience for it.
Slick and fun bullet hell with a nigh-incomprehensible story and great
music. Touhou fans will like it. Music by SSH who is relatively well
known in doujin circles.
Finished it before writing my BBLC post!
Everything I said in my post
rings true- do your best to look past the wonky translation, because
there’s a heartfelt story underneath it. Very accessible gameplay, by
You have never before been, nor will you ever again be, so aware of
having left a door open. I fully expected to hate Invisible, but I got
hooked pretty hard. Quite tempted to do another run of it once the
backlog is clear.
GOTY. Supergiant’s best game so far, and that’s not an easy thing to say
for this Bastion veteran. I sobbed by the end. I’m not being dramatic-
literally sobbed. Please play it. Music and writing and, just, heart, are all top tier. All the Nightwings are the best, but Hedwyn is the best best.
Finished it before writing my BBLC post!
Just Cause 2
I found myself getting bored very quickly. The main missions are all
identical (really, they are) and the side missions are very uninspired.
Blitzing around in a jet or grappling around a mission target is a lot
of fun but it feels very shallow. There’s a lot to do but not really any
reason to do any of it. I dunno, it’s a kind of hollow experience, that
I nonetheless had fun with.
It went over my head a little, but that’s more on me I think. These
horror-esque, eccentric japanese RPG Maker games usually do. But, it’s
neat, and short. If this sort of thing usually sticks on you, I think
this is a good title.
Shantae Pirates Curse
These games always felt non-essential to me; I’m not sure why they never
stuck. They never really go below or above Good. Entirely enjoyable but
I don’t feel like I’d have really missed anything if I hadn’t played
them. It is, however, absolutely worth investing in for the utterly
superb sprite work. That doesn’t sell a game by itself, I know, but
Shantae is a pixel art masterclass.
I’d more or less finished it by the time I wrote my BBLC post,
so I don’t have much to add. It’s a refreshingly goofy entry in a
series known for taking itself too seriously, even compared to its
predecessor. Look forward to my entry for this game in my Games Of 2020
post, having played the Four Job Fiesta!
It’s mid-tier in the touhou hierarchy, IMO. Didn’t set my soul alight
but I did enjoy it. Playing as Wolf Marisa makes the final boss too
chaotic to really enjoy, but playing through again with Reimu made it
more fun. I beat Extra on my third run through, which gave me false
confidence that after 10 years I might actually be good at these games-
to then be quickly humbled by attempting Th11’s Extra. Final Boss’ theme song
has one of the greatest lead-ins of all time, especially given you
start the fight by running away from her! Also really loved the Stage 4 theme as you barrel head-first into Hell (the real one this time), and the haunting, calm-before-the-storm serenity of Stage 5, overlooking the City Of Beasts.
HackNet + Labyrinths
GOTY. (Yes, I know I already said Pyre was GOTY; it’s my post, I can
have two GOTYs. Make your own damned post!) It’s hard to say what I
loved about these games without spoiling too much- just know that they
play very much like investigation games, and figuring out the puzzles
feels great. Labyrinths technically takes place during the events of
Hacknet, with a somewhat more Black Hat approach to things- despite
this, play all of Hacknet first, and then play Labyrinths. The expansion
introduces a lot of new stuff and much trickier challenges, such that
going back to the base game afterwards to finish that would leave it a
little hollow- a disservice to how great the ending is.
Mega Man X
I said everything I wanted to say in my BBLC post, and anything I didn’t cover was better said by Egoraptor.
Finished it before my BBLC post!
The final mission is disappointingly poor, but everything up to that
point was pretty good. Huge variance and creativity in the bosses.
However, the most fun I got from it was when I realised the game allowed
me to customise my team name, transformation name, and other such
terminology. Dave, Dayve, Davy, Davina, and Dehve shouting “It’s time to
Chromatise, Chroma Squad!” very quickly became “It’s time to shit, you
bunch of fucks!” and it was funny every single time. (Personal favourite bit of dialogue- “I tried to shit! It worked!”)
Finished it before my BBLC post!
Finished it before my BBLC post!
Burly Men At Sea
Finished it before my BBLC post!
Finished it before my BBLC post!
Finished it before my BBLC post! Should have broken these ones up a bit!
Metroid Rogue Dawn
Very, very impressive romhack let down by a distinctly un-fun final
section. They managed to fix so many of OG Metroid’s problems, I’m
surprised the gauntlet of terribleness that is Tourian escaped with only
a cosmetic change. Nonetheless, it’s free, and the other 95% of the
game is superb, even from a purely technical standpoint.
I dunno what happened here! I was full of praise for Wuppo when I played
it, but somehow I just couldn’t stick with it and just never felt like
playing it. It’s a very aimless game, and I wonder if that might be why?
It’s a shame, I feel disappointed in myself for not seeing it through,
but ultimately I play games to have fun and I just wasn’t quite there
Super Mario Odyssey
I loved it, obviously. I wrote my BBLC post towards the end of my time
with Odyssey so most of that stands- I do want to add that the controls
always felt a little loose, like I wasn’t quite as in-control as I was
in Galaxy. Also Mario prioritises walljumping over ledge-grabbing and
it’s super-hard to unlearn that instinct after 20 years. Finally- Long
Journey’s End is just bullshit.
Secret Of Mana
Dropped it pretty soon after Finning it. There’s some logic to the way
the game works, some kind of hidden turn-order system, that I could not
at all figure out. My AI companions (useless, btw) would hit an enemy
which meant I couldn’t, except sometimes the hit would still register
but only actually go through 3 seconds later, without any way to tell
which way it was going to go. It takes like 7 months for your character
to get back up after taking a hit. It’s just, wonky, and I couldn’t solve the puzzle of how to make the game do what I wanted to do.
Still working my way through it. It’s- yeah, it’s pokemon. Get a similar
vibe to Sun/Moon with it that it’s kind of unfinished- lots of small
(and some not so small) parts of the game just feel like there were
bigger plans that couldn’t be realised in time. I’m still enjoying it!
They did a great job of making the gym battles, and the whole process of
8-badges-then-champion, feel like a spectacle. I think only the anime
has managed it to this degree before.
Man, I really, really want to like this game, but the battle system is
terrible. I need to play through the game again buffing my party up with
cheats or something, because it’s so unbalanced and cheap. Everything
else about the game is wonderful, but I got so frustrated with the
Mario Kart 8
Didn’t play any of the single player this time, it was midgi’s christmas
present so I just joined a couple of multiplayer games. Absolutely
baffled that the game features F-Zero style anti-gravity courses, has
Mute City and Big Blue, and even has the Blue Falcon as a selectable
vehicle, but they haven’t put Captain Falcon in it. Like he’s ever going
to get another game of his own? Let him have this!
It’s pretty clunky by now, being 20 years old, but still plays well
enough. The physics are super loose so you slide around like your tires
have been buttered. It was more fun when they were zombies instead of
just normal people. Missions are brutally hard and should be skipped
After 15 years of playing, I finally got a Ghostkersword. The site as a
whole has gone through a lot, and certainly its heyday is long gone, but
there’s no other game quite like it. I’m playing the Food Club every
New phone can’t run the actual gameplay section well enough, so I just
log in occasionally to grab free scouts. Here’s another one whose golden
years are behind it, sadly, but I certainly still have a lot of
affection for SIF.
Mobile version, which fixes a lot of the bugs with the NES original.
This year I completed a solo run with 1 Red Mage, a 4-black belts run, a
low-level run, and a 4 White Mages run (which ended up being a
lower-level run than the low-level run). I’m fairly comfortable in
calling myself an expert in FF1, now. There’s still not really any other
games like it- build a party as balanced or imbalanced as you like, and
see how they fare. I’d like to build my own game in a similar style,
Gacha games and RPG just don’t mix! Both gacha and events do not gel
with core RPG mechanics of your character(s) developing in strength as
the game goes. It seems impossible to balance the game well- do you
cater to the whales who spend and spend until they have the strongest
teams possible, meaning the free players or the terminally unlucky can’t
stand a chance, or do you cater to those players and give them
no reason to spend for the more powerful characters? It’s a shame,
because the anime was baffling but in that enjoyable way where you just
kind of go with whatever it throws at you, and exploring that in a
non-freemium game with a solid beginning middle and end would be really
Mobile game that’s not available any more, I think my BBLC post covered it well enough.
One of the criticisms most commonly levied against F-Zero is that it
wont hold your attention for long. While that’s true, it’s not like you
have to make a purchasing decision about it any more- it comes bundled
in with the other games you’re buying, so the only investment is time.
Ignoring that, it’s still fun to burn around the tracks, and the sense
of speed hasn’t ever diminished. The music, too, is underappreciated,
with Port Town being my personal fave.
I can’t believe Nintendo hasn’t done anything with this ridiculous
universe for 15 years now. The cutscenes are so hilariously overwrought,
and the cast of characters is huge! It could so seamlessly intersect
with the Starfox universe, too. There were rumours of a Starfox Racing
title some time ago, and I really hope that’s the case. It’d work so
well (by which I mean, a particularly enjoyable kind of awful). Anyway,
the game still plays great, Story Mode is WAY too hard, Dr Stewart’s theme is a Tune.
This game is from 1998! Build a flying fortress, deck it out with
fortifications and weapons and power supplies, then use it to destroy
other fortresses. I only ever played the demo as a kid, never got the
full game. Took some cajoling to get it to work on modern hardware, but
eventually I got in and it wasn’t worth it at all. Wow, that performance, apparently it was designed
to run at a terrible frame rate and it wasn’t just a result of my 1998
PC not being up to the task! A shame, but I guess it put one of my
ghosts to rest.
The best of the three SNES games, despite the inclusion (and protagonism) of Diddy Kong. Lots to love here, but the OST is top notch.
Not as good as 2, but IMO better than 1. There was a much heavier
emphasis on gimmick levels in 3, not all of which hit their target, but
does provide a great deal of variety. Consensus is that 2 is better, but
if someone claimed 3 was the best DKC, I’d let them get away with it.
King Arthur’s World (SNES)
Speaking of putting ghosts to rest… We somehow always managed to get
this game whenever we got a SNES, and kid!Beebs most certainly didn’t
have the patience for it. Adult!Beebs barely does, either. It’s a very
ambitious attempt at some sort of RTS/Puzzle hybrid, somewhat comparable
to Lemmings? King Arthur must make his way from his starting position
to the throne elsewhere in the map to claim it as his own, using the
myriad abilities of his soldiers to get him there in one piece. I
decided this year that I was finally going to play through the whole
damn thing, start to finish, for the first time ever. With copious use
of save states and rewinds, I was finally able to slay this demon. For
as fiddly and frustrating as it is, I would still say people should
check it out if they have the tools to do so- there’s not really
anything else like it, on SNES or otherwise; you’re guaranteed a unique
experience, if nothing else.
Spanky’s Quest (SNES)
With a name like that, how could I refuse? It’s a weird little puzzler,
aping (wahey!) Bubble Bobble and Parasol Stars a little. You’re a monkey
who can blow bubbles that stun enemies, but if you bounce the bubble on
your head it gets progressively larger and can be burst to send a
barrage of similarly-sized sports balls at your opponents to knock them
out. You know, just like real life.
Addam’s Family (SNES)
This easily-dismissible movie tie-in is actually a very competent
platformer with some very, very light metroidvania exploration involved.
Gomez has to go through Addams Mansion and rescue the members of his
family who have been kidnapped by… something. There’s hidden secrets everywhere and the family can be rescued in any order you like. Genuine recommendation.
Panel DePon/Tetris Attack
The only vs puzzler I enjoy (yep. Not even puyo puyo. I know.) I played
the HECK out of this in my teenage years, and got crazy good at it.
Tendonitis says I’m not allowed to do that any more, but once I shook
the rust off I was still pretty strong! It was released as Panel DePon
in Japan and was fairy themed, but for the western release they replaced
all the fairies with Yoshi characters and renamed it Tetris Attack
despite having nothing to do with Tetris at all. Up to you which you
prefer- language isn’t too much of a barrier here. Soundtrack is killer.
Finished it before my BBLC post. Still not decided if I liked the way it ended.
Master Of Orion 2
C’mon. After playing three other pretenders
to MoO2’s throne, I had to give the real deal a couple of spins too.
It’s Civ 5 in space. Customisable race builds. A whole galaxy to bring
peace to, by whichever means you prefer. Would love for someone else to
get into it.
Last minute entry I just played yesterday ‘cos I wanted some Touhou and I
haven’t played this entry in a long while. A Solo Marisa Normal Final B
run, if you’re interested. Kaguya beast-mode tearing apart the Spell Of
Imperishable Night at the end of the game is still an awesome moment,
but it’s a shame you can miss the last couple of spells if you take some
And here’s the list of Bins, which are all covered in their BBLC post:
No Time To Explain
Divinity: Dragon Commander
Strike Suit Zero
Lambda Wars Beta
Lots more Fins than Bins this year! Good to see!