It’s time once more for the annual backloggening, and the root cause of why this blog exists in the first place- Steam Summer Sale is upon us for 2018. And, since the BBacklog Challenge is all about unearthing hidden gems and playing great games that might otherwise go unplayed, I wanted to share some BBLC faves that I would highly recommend you pick up if you can.
I can’t praise this one highly enough, and months later I still catch myself singing the final boss song in my head (YES MA’AM). You’ll be smiling ear to ear all the way through, and there’s a decent amount of content for completonists. If you only buy one game in this year’s sale, make it Tadpole Treble.
A dollar for Shuuten is a total steal already, and you’ll get 6 other interesting games along with it. Shuuten is a neat little STG that will take a couple of hours to get through (longer if you’re less STG-inclined). The other games might be of interest, but Shuuten is the star of the show personally.
It’s the second rhythm game on this short list, but it couldn’t be further removed from Tadpole Treble’s cute charms. Klang is stylish, rockin’, badass, and HARD. But once you get the rhythms down everything just seems to work and you’ll feel like the coolest tuning-fork-swordsmonkey that ever lived.
That is to say, I reached the end credits- the end-game results screen said I found 25% of the available items. I have no interest in finding the remaining 75%.
It’s pretty impressive to squeeze a metroidvania into 3 days of development, but as previously stated impressive doesn’t mean fun. The concept here is the ability to swap between past, present and future versions of the same world by shooting time crystals placed around the map. However, the map screen only shows you the era you’re currently in, and there’s no way to tell where you’ll end up if you use the crystal before you. Very, very frequently, it turned out to be the wrong decision, and the place I ended up didn’t have a crystal with which to warp back, so I just had to do that segment over.
Fin or Bin:
I guess it’s technically both, but I won’t be coming back to this one. Bin.
A pretty cool little puzzle game, healer robots will try to repair you when you get destroyed, so you need to figure out how you can get them out of the way first before you ram yourself into that pit of spikes. The levels are pretty tricky and take some fore-thought, with ice and fire powerups added into the mix that have to be used in the right order to progress.
Fin or Bin:
I’ll finish this one! Not sure how long it is but so far I’d play this by itself, let alone as part of a collection.
(Retro Game Crunch disclaimer: this is a collection of 7 small games that were all programmed within 72 hours as part of a challenge. The BBacklog Challenge isn’t really compaible with this collection for a number of reasons.
To consider Retro Game Crunch as its own game would be unfair as each game would then get a little over 8 minutes to make its impression (or one game would get the full hour and the others would be judged based only on that), but the games aren’t really meant to be taken individually either. The “point” of the collection is more to show what can be done in just 3 days of work and in this regard all the games are very impressive. Basically- don’t put too much stock into the Fin or Bin for RGC games.)
Super Clew Land starts off in an interesting manner, with Clew finding food in order to evolve and gain extra platforming abilities (the first new evolution is legs allowing you to jump). Eating a bug activates a little minigame played at the same time as the main game in which you try to chain together like-coloured beads. It’s a simple mechanic but paired with playing the main game at the same time it gets pretty hectic even with simple patterns.
Unfortunately, the evolution part of the game is over very quickly and then it just becomes a fairly dull exploration platformer with some annoying frame-perfect challenges required to progress. I don’t mind tricky platforming, but it doesn’t feel well-crafted here and I quickly got sick of it.
Fin or Bin:
After 23 minutes, I decided to Bin it after one of the challenges required me to plummet about 10 screens-worth of distance, time a mid-air jump at the end perfectly, navigate a spike maze, and then make my way back again with no checkpoints or respite. I can tolerate that as part of something greater, but the interesting part of this game was already over with.