Unreal Tournament had baked-in support for modifications of all kinds-
from simple ones that just changed the properties of weapons, to
full-fledged new game modes. One of the most impressive and expansive of these was Thievery Mod, which turned a frenetic multiplayer shooter into a slow and steady sneak-em-up and did a bang-up job of doing so. Later, I played Thief, which Thievery was very heavily based on.

Sorry for the personal history- this is a blog, not a magazine, so I think there’s value on putting an individualistic spin on it. All that background is to say- although Dishonored is technically the first of its series, it is pretty much Thief Reborn, and so carries a lot of nostalgia.

Our boy Garrett Corvo comes home from taking care of some legitimate business that you shouldn’t look into too much and rushes into the arms of his lady friend the empress, who is then promptly stabbed by some wizard jerk, and Corvo takes the fall. Almost like being a renowned assassin makes you suspicious when an assassination has happened.

He takes it very well, and when some anonymous benefactors break him out of prison promising he will get revenge, he very politely declines and- no, not really, it’s crossbows and swords o’clock and our wizard friend has an appointment with the pointy end.

This game is a lot of fun and I’m very bad at it, but that’s entirely my fault. Corvo moves well, a lot nippier than the sluggish Garrett was, and the stealth is probably some of the best implemented I’ve come across. Enemy alertness is clearly displayed and escaping notice is actually skewed in the player’s favour; not once have I been discovered by a psychic NPC with mystical divination powers.

Fin or Bin:

There’s lots of room for shenanigans, as you’ll see in the stream, but I wasn’t prepared for what came next. I had already decided to Finish Dishonored, and almost like it was thanking me for trusting it, it gave me an anime flashstep ability. Holy smokes, every single game needs to have an anime flashstep button. Even puzzle games. I wanna see that shit in Tetris, in Chess, in Solitaire. The exhilaration of zooming past an enemy, then step-step-step up to the rooftops and away from danger, is rarely matched. It’s excellently implemented and would earn the game a Fin by itself if I hadn’t already decided.


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Star Wars™: Jedi Knight™: Jedi Academy™


DISCLAIMER: Star Wars™  and all related indica are property of Disney™. All rights reserved. By reading this disclaimer you agree that Disney™

owns your soul and any future souls you may acquire. All hail the monolith.

Yes, my video got a copyright strike for the music, and yes I’m mad about it. I’m bitter, but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

To preface- this is the wrong game. You see, I intended to buy
Star Wars™: Jedi Knight™: Jedi Outcast™,

as I remembered my brother playing it back in the day and wanted to see if it was any good, only to be confused by the severn or eight different games with the same name. Still, reviews said it was Overwhelmingly Positive, so I thought I’d give it a go.

Neophyte jedi™

Jaden Korr accidentally built herself a lightsaber one day, so Luke Skywalker™

recruits her to train at his magic space temple. (Listen, the extended lore of this series is absurd; I offer it no reverence at all.) On her way there, a nefarious evil wizard shoots down her airship and she is stranded with only her magic sword and Josh Penis, another wizard in training.

After somehow being killed by a falling tree as seen in the screenshot above, we made our way to a short and woefully inadequate tutorial mission before being thrust into the real grind- dogsbody work for the mage’s council.

We went to the rubbish desert planet where the game finally showed off it’s true weaknesses- the combat is pretty awful. Perhaps there is an art to lightsaber combat, but flailing around seemed to be just as successful as anything masterful, while the guns feel terribly lacklustre. Shots have no impact, landing limply as though I’d just thrown a particularly comfortable pillow at the enemy.  I was often unsure if my attacks were even hitting or not, to the point that I genuinely couldn’t tell my sniper rifle was too short range to hit from the distance I was firing it.

Force powers are just as flimsy, with a barely noticeable warping effect followed by a delayed response from the target. Again, part of a puzzle was to use Force Pull to operate a crane, but there was such a disconnect between using it and the result that I was left uncertain if my actions were actually what was causing it to move.


or Bin™:

I’ve made it this far without a single slightly-altered Space Battles quote, which must be a reviewing first. Put your favourite one here, with one of the words swapped for “Bin”. We attempted several at the end of the stream, and they were all terrible.


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Momodora: Reverie Under The Moonlight

With the most lovingly-crafted pixelart thigh-highs I’ve ever seen, there isn’t a single frame of animation that doesn’t highlight our protagonist’s Absolute Territory.

…Oh! Uh, right, the game, then-

Genuinely though, the first thing anyone is going to notice is how sublime the pixel art animation is. Momodora’s crisp and fluid sprites share a pedestal with Shantae and other juggernauts, blending seamlessly with the frenetic pace of the gameplay, never obstructing it.

It’s a not-quite-metroidvania free-roam platformer situation. There are upgrades to gather but by and large these have no specific impact on your ability to progress in certain directions, more frequently just giving you extra options in how you traverse the world rather than opening up new places to explore. in that respect, it feels somewhere between Cave Story and AnUnititledStory, two comparisons which are only ever complimentary.

Also of note- it’s HARD. Hard as balls. Kaho is a priestess, not a tank, and she seems to take just a little bit too much damage from pretty much everything. Touching spikes is an instant game over. Thankfully checkpoints aren’t too far apart, and there are difficulty settings you can choose at the start of the game, but this isn’t one for the inexperienced.

Fin or Bin:

Oh, this is my scene. A lovingly animated pixelart platformer with fluid gameplay and tough challenging combat? Tough as nails boss encounters that dare you to squeeze just one more hit into their stun cycle? Thigh-highs? Sign me up. And better than anything else, it lets you turn screen-shake off in the menu.

(Please, every pixel-art developer out there, for the love of god, if you insist on putting arbitrary and terrible screenshake in your game, let me turn the damned thing off.)

This one couldn’t be more of a Fin. The stream is here!


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The best things come in pair(ing)s

Couch co-op seems a rare thing these days, not including those stress simulators that are designed to make you argue, so it’s quite the breath of fresh air to play a game that almost demands it. Yep, I didn’t play this one alone! midgi very kindly (and without any forewarning) took up the mantle as my Guardian-in-arms.

While StarCrossed is technically a game that can be played solo, you’re definitely going to want to pull up a friend or significant other. If you don’t mind getting cozy you can even both play using the same controller, but my frail back (and frail everything else) didn’t take too kindly to that.

The Harmony Crystal, which binds together all the people of the universe, is snatched by badniks, and it’s up to two of the five newly-appointed Guardians to go snatch it right back. Harmony is the name of the game here, as neither character can attack directly, instead bouncing a magical star between them which damages enemies it collides with as it travels. Being aware of your own positioning as well as that of your partner is paramount as you try to line up as many villains as possible in the star’s trajectory, while avoiding getting nobbled yourself.

It’s not all passive, as with a well-timed button press you can send the star back to your partner at an increased speed, which not only helps you hit more frequently but also makes the star larger and charges up an Ultimate special attack, with a different effect depending on which girl you chose.

The dialogue that occurs between characters is a lot of fun and doesn’t grate, carrying a similar tone to modern kids shows- I saw one commenter describe the game as “She-Ra Danmaku” which sums it up pretty neatly. In an impressive touch, each combination of the 5 girls has different dialogue throughout the game- there’s impetus to replay it to see all the banter.

Fin or Bin:

Later stages get pretty tough, but the game is unpunishing and will restart you right back where you were. A full run took us 2 hours in total, and you might think that automatically makes this a Fin. Ordinarily it would, yes… but this is an extraordinary game. By combining our strength, we unleashed the legendary, never-before-seen DOUBLE FIN. If you’ve got someone to play with, this one comes with a big recommendation. Stream here!

(Steam, also on Switch and XB)

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Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, And The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist


Dr Langeskov is- hmm. Well,

It isn’t a procedurally-generated pixel-art metroidvania with roguelike elements. There are no upgrades to collect, and the player doesn’t open up new areas of the map to explore as they build up their abilities. There isn’t a skill tree and the player doesn’t have to spend their skill points wisely.

There aren’t 120 stars to collect in total, and these are not rewarded for completing tough platforming challenges, nor are they for tricky puzzles. The player doesn’t have the benefit of a jetpack to help with these, and it isn’t taken away from them for some of the tougher challenges.

The player has no access to pistols, SMGs, shotguns, or even rocket launchers, and there is no impetus to conserve ammo. Enemies don’t come thick and fast, not requiring quick reflexes nor a steady aim.

There’s a total of zero eligible singles for the player to date, and the player can’t woo them with gifts or dialogue options. They can’t grow crops to sell for money with which to buy better tools, and there is no dungeon to explore.

But what it all comes down to at the end of the day is the quality of the songs- zero in total when you include the lack of bonus unlockables, with none added after you complete the game.

Fin or Bin:

I can’t think of anything else you would need to know? You can watch me Finish it here if you’re still uncertain, but it’s a 20 minute game with no price tag so you should really just do it yourself. Off you pop, then.


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(No video for this one! Turns out this is NOT a game for streaming.)

It’s the retrocyberfuture, and our fine self has come down with the phage, a disease which slowly turns nerve endings into computers. It totally sucks, and medicine to control it comes at $700 a dose, which sucks even more. Luckily for us, an AI stranger approaches us with an offer- one hack, one dose. Just gotta do a few simple jobs for an unknown cause, what could go wrong?

Exapunks is dripping with atmosphere right from the off, which is awesome and also the reason why it doesn’t make for a good video. Gameplay involves writing assembly code instructions for lil bots called EXAs to interpret and- ideally- complete whatever task is required. The game doesn’t teach us any of these instructions directly, instead referring us to the printable ‘zine it comes with.

The zine is written from an in-universe perspective and contains instructions, articles, and short stories, all of which can be perused for hints and nudges towards the right set of instructions. It’s really cool, but no one wants to watch me read a PDF for an hour.

Fin or Bin:

The first mission involved hacking a pizza restaurant to sneak myself a free pizza. The second mission involved hacking my own left arm. That’s some pretty steep escalation, and the difficulty scales with the stakes. I’ve got a fairly good head for programming skills- if you don’t, you absolutely don’t want to play this. I, however, am definitely absorbed in the worldbuilding, and while I expect the puzzles to get utterly mindbending in short order, these are the kinds of puzzles I like. Can I Finish it before the phage finishes me?


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A smorgasboard of guff. A cavalcade of twaddle. A gaudy procession of nonsense and faux-artsy bollocks, presenting itself as something deeper than it could ever strive to be.

Urgh. Sorry. It’s hard to shake off the pretentiousness. Suffice it to say, if you have little or no tolerance for “It’s Very Deep Actually You Just Don’t Get It” stuff, Etherborn will piss you right off.

I think if I use the term “Mario Galaxy but it’s a puzzle game”, you’ve probably got a decently clear image of what Etherborn is in your mind. The environment itself is the puzzle here, as your nameless (and faceless) avatar can walk on any face of the cuboid world they find themselves in. To alter gravity, they must walk along speicifcally curved pathways that alter which face they are standing on. The puzzles, then, come in finding the correct combination and order of these ramps to navigate so you can find your way to the correct face in order to proceed.

The level design is super tight, impressively so. I didn’t find any janky exploits or wonky transitions, even in later levels involving a lot of back-and-forth travel. The ramps themselves could stand with being signposted more clearly as I often overlooked which part of the ground could be walked on versus which would send me plummeting to my death, but each face is cleverly colour coded to give a better sense of where, exactly, in the world you are.

Major problem comes with the camera, whose pivot is not on the player character, nor on the world. Rather, the pivot is the camera itself- pushing the camera left is like turning your head left, instead of panning to the left. In text it’s hard to explain why this is a problem, but it essentially means you can’t look around corners or obstacles to see what lurks beyond- a tremendous hindrance when the entire game is based around navigating a complex maze of dimensions.

The biggest problem though is the utterly meaningless cutscenes which punctuate level transitions, in which a female voice condescends to you with some absolute drivel. I don’t know how the VA managed to narrate the whole thing without once saying “what the blithering heck does this mean?”. Maybe she didn’t.

Fin or Bin:

I’ve given Etherborn some mixed praise here. What it comes down to is- this kind of puzzle game typically frustrates me more than it entertains, and Etherborn is no exception. I can tolerate it for a game with a compelling story, or humorous wit, but the narrative here is neither. The reward for completing levels is to be subjected to another load of cobblers that doesn’t even want to be understood. Maybe some people would get something out of that, but I sure don’t, and I’m not a patient enough person to solve the (admittedly well crafted) puzzles presented. Stated plainly, without any hogwash, it’s Binned. Gameplay here!


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Touhou Makukasai ~ Fantastic Danmaku Festival


Just four posts ago I played the sequel to today’s title and was absolutely bowled away by it. Afterwards, I rushed out and bought the first title in this series and, with a little bit of cheating and luck manipulation, expedited its turn in the backlog list.

So, why did I start with Part 2? FDF is a series that reimagines the earlier touhou games into a more modern perspective- HD textures and sprites, more involved danmaku, and so on. Part 2 is a reimagining of Touhou 7, my personal favourite, and I’d rather try out a fave than a remake of one I’m less fond of.

It’s a decision I’m glad I made, since much of what amazed me about Part 2 is absent from Part 1. It’s perhaps unfair to compare the first effort of a group of fans to their second, especially since Part 1 is still a fine game; but where Part 2 was one amazing thing after another, the surprises of Part 1 are far more spread apart. Part 2 had sublime art direction, excellent attention to detail (it’s the little things- the spellcard declarations in FDF2 are a treat), and unique exciting danmaku patterns, showcasing unexpected ideas and tricks that set each battle apart.

Part 1 doesn’t really have any of that. It’s a good danmaku game, but it doesn’t really get past Good. There’s definite flashes of brilliance but it feels like a warmup for Part 2.

Fin or Bin:

I got a 1cc on my first try, during the stream, which then unlocked Extra. I dipped my toes into that, but hoo boy that’s a difficulty spike. I never managed to beat Flandre in the original Touhou 6, I wonder if I can Finish her off in the remake?

Video coming up just as soon as I can get it to export in a watchable fashion! It always comes out too choppy to watch, which in a touhou video is motion sickness city. EDIT: Here!


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FTL: Faster Than Light

This might be the quickest Fin to Bin turnaround in BBLC history, lol

Alright, so this one is entirely on me. I do not enjoy roguelikes, and it’s not a problem that can be solved by playing a ‘good’ roguelike- it’s the features intrinsic to what a roguelike is that turns me off.

FTL is a good roguelike. I can tell it is, and I wanted to like it so much. Even to the point that, after suffering a frustrating death I could have done nothing to prevent- one of the keystones of roguelikes and one of the things I absolutely hate about them-  I still kept playing, and even allowed myself to be cajoled into Finning the game (spoilers).

It’s one of the reasons I so strongly emphasise the fact that these write-ups aren’t meant to be reviews, at least in the traditional sense of game reviews. Because after playing the hour and deciding to continue on, I made my way to the final boss and got killed because every single one of my attacks missed and there was nothing I could do to prevent a loss. And it’s a roguelike, so that means starting over.

Making sound decisions, fighting strategically, and getting screwed over by RNG anyway is frustrating in any game, but to be punished with a restart due to crummy luck is just beyond the pail for me. I know, I know, “that’s roguelikes!”, but that’s exactly what I mean!

Fin or Bin:

I played past the hour, which by the rules of the challenge makes it a Fin, but I’ve already dropped it since. I really tried, and please don’t be put off by my words- if you have even a moderate tolerance for roguelike BS, FTL is superb. That “Overwhelmingly Positive” rating on Steam doesn’t get applied to any old dreck (well… usually, but it’s accurate here at least). I was enjoying it, for the most part, but not enough to counterbalance the frustration it brought. You can watch the gameplay stream right here.


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