Games I beat in 2019 #3 - Return.

It might take me more time to write about this than it did to play.

This was another free game on Steam, and it was really short. It's just a little platformer. Control a soul and get it back to its home. Which is a body. So... You're reviving someone?

The game is cute and the music is nice and calming and I was freaked out the entire time. Because there have been so many games that got weird or have those jump-scares and this doesn’t. Spoilers. Sorry. But that made it all the more haunting because I was afraid that at any time something could happen at any moment.

But nothing happened. It was just a little game. The jumping was kind of annoying, but I worked it out. I’m still kind of spooked out though. No idea if this was the intent or not.

Games I beat in 2019 #2 - Princess Remedy in a World of Hurt

This one showed up in my Steam queue and it was free, so why not?

It was good. Simple, a bit silly, but not full of itself nor extends its welcome. What Undertale should have been instead of the steaming pile of shit that it is.

The concept is simple enough. There is a world of Hurt and you have to heal it. Go around towns and caves, talk to sick people, animals or plants and heal them. "Healing" is a single screen shooting segment with enemies that get craftier as the game goes on. It ends with a three screen boss battle that reminded me of Final Fantasy 6. There is one little thing that was a tad annoying as it made me restart the game. But it wasn't that bad.

There is a chest in the third section that is jealous that you opened other chests. So I restarted and made my way there without opening any others. Thing is, those chests contain power ups. Things that make battles easier. So getting to that chest is harder. The game is nice, though. After opening the Jealous Chest, the game gives you everything that was in the skipped chests. So I didn't lose that much time.

There are a few secrets in the game, but none were too hard to find. I did end up missing one item and had to backtrack for it. Turns out I missed an early fight because I had done it my first attempt at the game.

It was a decent challenge. It ramped up but never felt too difficult. There was one fight that I was doing before the Jealous Chest that took me a few tries, but figuring it out was fun. After that it wasn't exactly easy, but it was easier. The final boss only took me one try, but I never felt like it was a guarantee.

At the end is the option of proposing to any NPC in the game. Including the Jealous Chest, which is now an empty chest. A cute little ending plays with dialogue based on the NPC you picked. There's a sequel, and it's not free, but it also looks like it has a lot more going for it. I added it to my wishlist.

Games I beat in 2019 #1 - Celeste


What makes a game bad?

That is a boring question. But when I finish a game and my first thought is “Fuck this game.” I have to wonder why I bothered. I know why I put Celeste on my Steam wishlist. People said good things. But why did I finish it? All I have to show for it is a sore thumb and a few extra yen from selling the Steam trading cards.

Here's the thing. I finished Celeste and I have yet to finish games I like. Final Fantasy XV. Lost Sphere. Octopath Traveler. I could have played those games. But I didn’t.

I guess when people praise something game so much I get curious. When my own feelings don't match others I get even more curious. What do people see? Celeste is a pretty game. Its soundtrack is unoffensive. These are good things. It's opening levels are acceptable, if not trite. But then it begins to expand on a story and this is, well, a problem.

I won't pretend I know the people who made this game or made the story. But I have a reckon. Someone either suffers from or knows someone who suffers from anxiety and/or depression. They wanted to express this in the form of a challenging video game. Challenging oneself. Inner conflict. Self doubt. But... It felt… Hollow. Cheap. Ineffective.

It also led to frustrations.

So many game developers seem to think their own game is not enough, and add some sort of nonsense to it. Some of my beloved games do this. I didn't buy Final Fantasy 7 to snowboard. I didn't play Celeste for a “breathing simulator” where I have to balance a feather... with my breath? What?

See, there's a panic attack scene. One of the NPCs says to imagine keeping a feather afloat with your breath. Okay? Then the player sees a feather on-screen and there's this box that moves up and down. So. What do you do?

Well, I pressed the jump button. It felt like I was keeping the feather afloat, but nothing was happening. The box kept moving up and down. It glowed when the feather was in it, but the feather also didn't seem affected. Confusion struck me. Then I realized that the joystick could move the feather and that keeping it in the box was my “goal”. I'm not sure what they expected me to get out of this. It did not calm me down.

About this point the game shifted from a mediocre VVVVVV or Super Meat Boy and into more of a mess. The next area featured what I could best describe as a “even shittier than usual escort mission”. An NPC was stuck in a crystal because feelings. You have to chuck his crystalized body around while dodging this annoying enemy. It would sometimes be bop-able like in Mario Bros. or sometimes just slam you dead. It wasn't particularly fun.

Then you finish it and it gets emotional. Earlier in the game the main character comes across a window and a “part of her” escapes. You first think it's her evil side, but it's actually her fears and doubt, etc. And then is this long stage which culminates in a “boss” battle. The main character realizes she needs to be whole. Yet, the “other part” thinks she wants to get rid of her. So you have to “beat” the boss by touching the “other part”. An interesting idea. Gameplay-wise it goes on for about twenty more screens than necessary. It just kept going on and on and on and on and on and on and on. Fuck.

Finally things work out, yada, yada. Our main character begins her final ascent. First you there is a “boss rush” of the previous chapters. All the stage gimmicks (and I don'tmean that in a nice way) appear again only made harder. The last climb that required lots of precise jumping and maneuvering. Not particularly challenging. Just hard. I tried enough and I succeeded.

See, the thing is I never felt like I was getting better at the game. I felt like I was getting lucky and succeeding. And that sums up my feelings. I didn't feel any sense of accomplishment. I just won it because I pressed buttons enough times. An eighth chapter unlocked that requires some hidden items to access. (So it didn't unlock after all?) I don't think I’ll go back through the stages to find the hidden things necessary for me to play it.

An “old computer” hidden in the game features a simpler, more “retro” version of Celeste. I liked that more. It was less frustrating, felt snappier and didn't have any nonsense. I would have paid for that alone.

But in the end I finished Celeste. I wouldn't say don't play it, as you'll see many people say good things about it. I don't particularly agree.

My thumb still hurts.

Trying something new

Guilds of Ravnica pre-release is this weekend. This means Magic Online went down today and stopped doing leagues at a certain point. Arena is down for the big Open Beta switch.

So I could have played one of the many video games that I have but instead I loaded up Shadowverse on Steam which I had been messing with on my phone.

I ended up playing it most of the day.

I took all the free stuff they gave me for signing up and turned it all into the in-game card crafting stuff so I could build a competitive deck I found online for Luna, one of the characters I liked.

I played through her story, and it was pretty good. Fucked up in a few ways, but fun. Then I took the deck onto the competive versus ladder and did fairly well, even though I'm still quite ignorant about the game. Trial by fire. I moved up from Beginner to the D0 rank, so that felt good.

Of course, I really knew nothing about the game and apparently a new set is launching today. Well, while I sleep. And the rotation takes with it one of the important cards to the deck I put together. Oh well. I had fun and some people on Twith were telling me that I picked a fairly good thing to make anyway, and shouldn't have much trouble making a good deck after rotation.

Of course, I'm more interested in playing Magic once that digital stuff comes back online, but until Arena gets some mobile versions, I think Shadowverse might be a thing for me to mess around with on my phone.

I should also get around to trying that Eternal game. I've heard good things.

The crash to end it all

Xenon Valkyrie crashed on me when I got to a boss and switched weapons.

I'm done with this game.

It's nice that the developer was giving out copies to spread their game. That is a cool way of doing it. I know I give mine out for free (basically, tips are possible) because I want people to play my game. The most frustrating feeling I have had as an indie developer is spending hours on a project and feeling like more hours were spent making it than people in the world spent consuming it.

Okay, but this is not to talk about my problems.

I finally got to a boss fight in Xenon Valkyrie with a bit of confidence that I'd do good and the game straight up crashed when I tried to switch to my gun to hit the boss from a distance.

Fuck it. Life's too short. I've got a lot of stuff to do. Like prepare for the Dominaria pre-release weekend.

Trap Adventure

So I downloaded TrapAdventure today.

You probably heard of this game. Or you have heard of games like it. Take your basic Mario-esque platformer and fill it with tons of traps, unexpected deaths, and moments that will either infuriate you or make you laugh.

A lot of these make me laugh.

It also handles IAP in a pretty nice way. You could play the game entirely for free - but only with one life each playthrough. Then for roughly a buck you can unlock a mode where you get some lives. That's nice.

It also gets easier the worse you do.

Well, not exactly. The rooms are the same. But every death or room completetion earns you some experience points, which never go away as far as I can tell. Every 1000, you get an extra life for your attempt. So dying over and over again actually pays off by giving you more chances.

The game is still hard as hell and I haven't cleared the sixth room yet. But I'm laughing and having a good time.

The Top 10 Games of 2017

10. Magic: The Gathering (Frontier)

9. Magic: The Gathering (Tiny Leader)

8. Magic: The Gathering (Vintage)

7. Magic: The Gathering (Standard)

6. Magic: The Gathering (Cube)

5. Magic: The Gathering (Commander)

4. Magic: The Gathering (Draft)

3. Magic: The Gathering (Sealed)

2. Magic: The Gathering (Modern)

1. Magic: The Gathering (Legacy)


Cannot wait for next year. Looks to be a good one.

Icecrown

Although I have turned to Magic for the majority of my gaming, I still occasionally boot up Hearthstone. It did get me back into the card game mindset, afterall.

I am sure the competitive level is actually quite competitive, but the random parts of the game turn me off enough that I don't feel like dedicating myself to the game like I do with Magic. I still like the Solo Adventures quite a bit.

Figuring out what card combinations are best to take out these clearly cheating bosses (I mean, the game says so) is quite the challenge. It can be frustrating due to the randomness but so far I have completed most of them. Why? The reward for beating the boss with each class isn't exactly exciting, but I feel motivated to do it.

Blizzard did a fine job with this, even though it is frustrating, it is sticky. I want to finish this.

Games I beat in 2017 #19: West of Loathing

My goal this year was to beat twenty games - and I did! Magic has eaten away at my video game time in a big way. But I am still playing some games.

I go to a monthly meetup in Osaka. It's filled with people in the gaming industry, translators and people interested in games. I talk to a guy, Ben, quite a bit about indie games. We have had some conversations, let me tell you. He said I should play West of Loathing. He actually gifted it to me. So I played it. And I beat it.

As someone who has made a few games that are, well, let's be honest, ugly, it kind of upsets me to see a game that is ugly in a good way. West of Loathing is just black and white stick art, but it full embraces its style and is not only consistant but good at being ""bad"". I am kind of jealous.

But it ""makes up"" for that with a solid soundtrack, lots of laughs and a decent battle system. It takes the "wild west" theme, adds some cow-based demons and rolls with the weirdness. Cultists, skeleton petting zoos, drunk horses. Mechanics-wise, there's nothing new in this game, but it takes open world RPGs embraces the mechanics while not being afraid to poke fun at them. You get XP for flushing toilets. Flush enough (all of the?) toilets and you get a perk that boosts your Muscle (Strength).

I am sure I missed a lot of content - such is the way of an open world RPG, but I did lots of side quests. They ranged from weird to hilarious. Dealing with hippies to get jelly beans back or climbing through a giant cactus finding ways to please goblins. (Whose language I managed to learn early which made encounters with them not always the combative type) so I could get to the top and... I think this was also part of the jelly bean sidequest? That was a long one. Helping the jelly bean man leads to him helping your main character in a useful way.

Anyway. As you can tell there's a lot to it. You get a "pardner" who will show up in the opening area of dungeons and towns and will remind you of the main quest and any side quests you're taking part in. I was either not paying attention in the beginning or they designed it well enough that I thought I was getting the only possible pardner whereas there are actually a few. And you get achievements for clearing the game with said pardner.

I doubt I'll go back and try it a different way, though.

Because while I had enough fun, it felt like there was too much to the game. There was a whole "day" system. You could consume only a certain amount of stat boosting food, alcohol and drugs each day and sleeping would clear the boosts as well as empty your body so you could put more in. I ignored this system almost except for a few parts where I needed enough of a certain stat to do something to complete a quest. Other than that my inventory was just overfilled with all these foods, booze and drugs that I was never going to look at.

Which I suppose is fine. I imagine they expect some players to play that way.

It managed to overwhelm me like most open world games do, but it was short enough that I actually finished it. I did abuse a fountain of snakes (i.e. unlimited combat) where I could finish the battles quick enough to get enough experience to get my stats where I needed to do side quests and then just get on with the game. Not the most fun method, but it was effective and that is something we as humans tend to do. We'll take the easiest path even if it's not the most fun.

In a game.

Human psychology is weird.

Anyway, it was fun enough, and I will at one point gift it to someone else so they can experince the weirdness on their own. I applaud the team for making such a big game with such a weird but enjoyable world.

Lost Sphere demo impressions

Tokyo RPG Factory made Setsuna which was one of my favorite games in a while. So when I heard there was a demo for another game by them, heck yeah.

I’m actually writing this as I stream the demo.

It feels a bit like Setsuna. The character models, the font, the little pixel faces for characters in menus.

Nice music. A Chrono Trigger-ish battles. Even the world map feels familiar, but that’s not really a bad thing. If they are going to put out an enjoyable rpg every year or so, I can dig it.

Okay. So I said the battles are CT-ish. But you can move your characters around before xonfieming their attack. Well, it’s more of a shadow of them. But this implies positioning might be important in the game.

It kind of was in Setsuna, but there you had to basically know where different skills would leave your characters. Speaking of skills, each has a cool down timer for how many different actions need to be taken by that character before they can use that particular move again.

The story shown in the demo was enough to have me curious. I want this game now. Good job, Tokyo RPG Studio.

Octo means eight - Octopath Traveler demo thoughts

The Project Octopath Traveler demo hit the Switch today. While I was at work. So I had to see all these tweets of people having fun while I was doing my job to get paid. Okay, I cannot complain. But I was excited.

Bravely Default: Flying Fairy was one of my favorite games in… a long time. It just did everything I wanted out of an RPG. Its sequel was so good that I played it slowly, not wanting it to end. I loved them both. No. I love them both.

So then I hear the team is working on a Switch game called Project Octopath Traveler. Excitement. Then this demo drops. Hello. Okay. I’m in.

From what I can tell it is SaGa-ish. Eight characters to choose from. You see their opening story and then go out in the world. Well, I’m assuming it gets SaGa-ish. The demo sure feels that way. But the Bravely Default demo gave a good taste of what to expect without spoiling much of anything. I have a feeling these are the actual intros for these two characters, but things can change.

Anyway, beautiful sprites, nice music. Neat lighting effects abound. Now here's the meat: the battle system.

Like Bravely Default you have BP but this is just bonus points accumulated every turn. Each enemy has a shield icon and a few icons, starting as ?s, which indicate what they are weak to.

It's not just magic, though. Primrose comes with some dark magic, but also uses a dagger. Some enemies are weak to the dark, some to the dagger. You can use the bonus points to perform additional attacks or to buff magic/skills. So here's the neat part.

Say an group of enemies each has one shield point and they are all weak to dark magic. Primrose can use her dark magic against all enemies and they will all “break” meaning they miss their next turn. Now, Primrose has earned one BP so she can use it boost her dark magic that attacks all enemies and take them out.

But let's say there's two enemies. One has three shield points and is not weak to dark. But it is weak against daggers. There are two other enemies with one shield point and they are weak against dark. Your character earns one BP at the start of their turn.

So now I can star off by breaking the two enemies weak against dark. Primrose has one unused BP. The third enemy attacks, the other two miss their turn. Primrose gets her next turn and another BP. She could boost her dark-all magic to potentially blast away the two enemies or she could do three dagger attacks and break the other enemy so it misses its next turn. But then the two other enemies will get to attack. So there's stuff to balance here.

Now it got interesting when I finished Primrose’s opening and found the other character who has an intro to play in this game, Olberic. He doesn't use magic, but comes equipped with a sword and a spear. Huh, I first thought. Until I get into battle and I see left and right arrows on his attack command. Aha! He can choose to use the sword or spear, and of course this matters depending on the weaknesses of the enemies. And when you have a mess of enemies, some weak to darkness, some weak to one of the three weapon types in the demo, things get interesting. A game of “How do I quickly take out these enemies without taking much damage.” comes up. And you are going to want to play this game because plenty of the enemies hit hard.

It's not like SaGa in that there are regular levels. This means it might sell copies. How the various skills are learned and what exact weapons each character will be able to equip is still to be discovered, but there was enough meat in this one demo that I am so ready for more.

I created a highlight of the two openings. Here it is! I did play around with both Primrose and Olberic before doing Olberic’s story. I’ll probably return to the Primrose save file another day to see what else they've given us to explore in this demo. But I am already sold. Day one, this is going into my switch.

Hope I can finish DQ11 before it hits.

240 Hours

I just unlocked World 16 in Pictlogica Final Fantasy for 3DS. Completed it in maybe a half hour or so of puzzle solving. Next stage unlocks in 240 hours. Ten days! Wow, they sure want you to shell out the cash to unlock the stages. Or waaaaaait.

I'll wait. I mean, I don't mind giving cash to companies for games. But if you are going to give me two options, one of which involves me being stubborn and one involves me spending cash, I'm going to be stubborn. Sorry. You gave me the choice.

Fun game, though. Sure do like these puzzles.

The Replay

I started my Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age HD playthrough that I promised to do if the Fiesta broke $20k this year. We went $23k. Damn. $4k more than last year.

Actually, looking at the data, that's been the trend. Since 2013, every year has roughly been $4k more than the year before. Roughly.

Speaking of rough, Final Fantasy 12! I played through to the first "big" boss, the fire-horse thing. This is one of the most memorable parts of the game for me because I remember just putting the controller down and letting the Gambits handle the boss.

They did it again - in HD!

Well Amelia cough died. Oh well. And some of my characters got poisoned. But otherwise, just put that controller down, get a good stretch in and hey, dead boss.

Ah, as much as things change, they sure do stay the same.

Let's talk about why Secret of Mana sucks

I got into some good ol' fashioned internet arguments about a week ago because I am less than excited for the remake of Secret of Mana coming out. Now, apparently this is done by the team who redid Seiken Densetsu aka Final Fantasy Adventure aka Mystic Quest, which is not to be confused with Final Fantasy Mystic Quest.

Ah, the 90s sure were a time for video games.

Now, Secret of Mana might be one of my most anticipated birthday gifts. That's a lie, EarthBound was. But Secret of Mana was up there. I played the crap out of the game, much like I did Final Fantasy Adventure, having nary a clue that the two were tied together. We did not have a multitap, or whatever the SNES doo-dad was called, so we gave our youngest brother a random Atari controller and told him he was controlling the sprite. Popoi, is it?

Anyway, I replayed the game again in 2007 or 8 after arriving in Japan and I didn't like it as much. I've been ""called out"" for nostalgia glasses plenty of times, but I was actually surprised that I didn't enjoy Secret of Mana as much as I remembered.

Mostly it was the glitches. And I think a lot of these had been fixed for the North American release. I am not entirely sure. But there was a fair number of times where I beat a boss and the room never "reopened" allowing me to proceed. A soft-lock, as it is often called. This sucked. And like I said, it wasn't once or twice, and it wasn't in the same location. Various bosses throughout the game.

I am currently replaying it on the Switch collection and there are lots of little things that bug me. Things that RPGs of that era were doing already, so I have to question why this game lacked them.

Shops tell you practically nothing. You have no idea what your characters have equipped, no idea if the armor is better or not, no idea if you already have four of an item unless you try to buy it and the shopkeep tells you that you are unable to carry any more. I do hope this is remedied in the upcoming remake. It should be doable, because there sure is screen real estate available. It's free real estate. Use it up, please.

There's very little battle feedback. I do realize this was before rumble, so I don't expect that out of an SNES game, but so many times I attack an enemy and have no idea why nothing connected. It didn't tell me if I missed, if the enemy was immune to the weapon (Is that even a thing in Secret of Mana? I don't know!), or if the attack just happened to do zero damage. Actually, maybe zero damage does show up. But if it does, I cannot remember seeing it. A lot of times, especially in three boss fights I did in a row on a train-ride, there was just lots of swining and no feedback. And that was frustrating. I just kept spamming attack spells and the bosses eventually died. Cool.

Okay, I am being harsh. I actually am still having a bit of fun. The game is gorgeous, has a lovely soundtrack and going around the world is fun. Mode 7 Flammie is awesome, too.

The 3D map you get when you press start sucks, though. Don't even try to fight me on that one. It takes forever to render and there are no labels!

So what ddo I hope for this remake? Well, I was a bit disheartened when it was announced and "proud" of its new graphics. Okay, whatever. The real meat is whether or not they take the time to improve the menus, shops and information given to the player. That's what I want out of a remake. Modern touches. Even if these touches probably could have been in the original game.

My ohnly concern is that the Seiken Densetsu remake released lsat year was fairly... faithful. There's a section of the game where you cannot get keys and can get stuck. And if you happened to save in that area, whoops! Restart or hope you have an earlier save. I had to restart. That was frustrating. Some people retorted to my complaint about this that it was in the original game, and yes, that is very true. It's kind of exactly the thing I want to see fixed. But that's just me. I play old games a lot, so a new version to me isn't a chance for today's graphics, but for today's everything. And I can be skeptical, although the Seiken Densetsu remake was pretty good. Except the few times it crashed. When I was getting trophies. When I had just beaten a boss.

Eh, who cares. I will be buying this. I just have my concerns.

The world at 3am

Ah, Picross. The damn number/block puzzle picture drawing game that for some reason makes time go three times faster. Even though there is a clock right in front of you, often enough.

A person who will go unnamed was talking about the 3DS port of Pictlogica Final Fantasy. The iOS version is probably my most played "energy" game. And now there is a 3DS version.

Okay, it has actually came out July 12, which wasn't as far back as I figured. But still. The first night I had the game I looked up and it was 3am. And I had work the next day. Fuck.

But that is Picross in a nutshell. The 3DS version of Pictlogica is different from what I remember. Well, there are worlds and when you complete one the next one is unlocked after a time limit. Which starts at... thirty minutes, I think? I'm up to 72 hours right now, so it does ramp up.

Of course one could pay to unlock worlds quicker. But hey. Why do that when I can wait? And wait I do, because goodness I have some games to play.

Plus, there is a lot to do in this version of Pictlogica. There are the normal puzzles, but also the battles. Which are similar to FF battles except after solving a 5x5 Picross puzzle the characters attack. If you messed up a line, that line's character doesn't attack. Otherwise they swing and based on their levels and abilities and skills stuff happens. Then there are quests such as "Beat this battle without using special skills." Or "Beat this battle with X kind of characters." Where X could be characters from a certain FF game, or characters who use certain weapons or magic. It's neat.

But any fan of Picross and Final Fantasy should put this onto their 3DS if they can. Because it combines all the fun stuff

Games I beat in 2017 #17: Silent Night

Earlier this year I beat Lifeline. So I played its sequel, Silent Night. Not much different. Snazzier effects. A map giving Taylor’s location. Scrolling text! That scrol was awful.

Say the dialogue was three lines long. All three lines would scroll out at once. Horizontally. What. That’s not how people read! Okay, maybe someone reads fast enough that, wait, no. Part of the sentence isn't finished before you see another part of it. It made no sense! There was no option to disable it! It drove me bonkers!

I let the text roll out and then just read it all. I had to scroll back a bit for some of the longer dialogues. Of which there seemed to be quite a bit. Taylor encounters some live folk this time so the conversations show up. Each character gets their own color. (You the player, too!) So it is not hard to keep track.

Nothing much changed, though. Decent enough story. Got one bad ending. I rewound the game a bit, skipped over something by accident, got another bad ending. Scrolled back, did the thing, got the good ending. Hooray. Took a little longer this time. It didn't engage me as much as the first. Ah, the trouble of sequels.

Games I beat in 2017 #16: Castle in the Darkness

I fucking hate this game.

Okay, harsh. It was fun. Lots of neat little homages here and there, too. A side-scrolling, sword-swinging adventure was nice. It also felt a bit like VVVVVV and other “You are going to die a lot” games. Except the save points were spread out. Far. Far from each other. And I suck at action games.

So there wasa lot of repetition. Mostly my fault, to be sure. But the game did have a few cheap “Gotcha!” moments which were frustrating. Extra so when I failed for them again after making my way through a bunch of difficult rooms.

The bosses were mostly fun, but more so when there was a save point next to their room. Otherwise, yikes. I was actually surprised how easy the final boss was. Maybe the game had trained me up to that point. I think it took me two tries whereas some took me well over ten tries.

It tells you the number of deaths you've experienced after every one, and boy was that a thing. Sure feels good to break five-hundred. Well, that is the game I suppose.

There were lots of secrets, lots of side areas to explore and get good stuff, but of course they were extra hard areas too. Only one did I give up on. The timing to get past the spikes was complete and utter nonsense. But, hey, I am sure if I wanted to I could have pushed through.

But I did not. I mostly wanted to finish the game. And I did. It was fun, a little cute, and incredibly frustrating at times. But I’m glad I beat it.

Games I beat in 2017 #15: Seiken Densetsu

Does this count? I have beaten it countless times. But I also beat it again when I picked up the Seiken Densetsu Collection for the Switch.

It is currently the only Switch game I own.

Well, aside from downloadable titles. But it is not a bad game to own. Three in one! And while this is a straight port, it plays well on the Switch. All the speed run glitches are intact. I think I beat it in under an hour. I'm still not good at speed running this game.

But one nice thing is that it maps Select and Start to Y and X. So you can soft reset with a quick push of all four face buttons. Handy! Especially when setting up some of the glitches in the game. One in particular is getting enemies to spawn on a screen that they don't appear on at first.

It is a weird little thing, but if you just go to this screen there are no enemies. But if you save and reset there will be enemies when you load. This lets you turn one of them into a snowman with the Ice magic item you picked up. Then you can walk over the snowman with the girl helping to push you over the snowman and then you warp to the end of the game. Oh yeah, the girl isn't supposed to be with you at this point. So, bonus weirdness.

I… am not sure why that works. But it does and it is one of three major skips used in the speed run. Actually, two involve scrolling the screen while half-standing on top of an object. Then you just warp to somewhere different on the map. The other one kind of makes sense because you are forcing the character through a wall. The game then dumps them into another dungeon. Just lined up that way in memory, I assume.

Anyway. It’s faithful. I still enjoy it. If I speed run the game again, I’ll probably use this version unless I find a reason not to.

Big thumbs up.

Games I beat in 2017 #14: Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight

Games I beat in 2017 #14: Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight

Ah, Indie Games. A “genre” and yet not quite. Because that is like calling video games a “genre”. Well, I suppose it is a “genre” of entertainment. And so the subdivisions (Hi Rush fans!) go.

During one of the breaks in my four hour marketing class. (This was hell.) I remember the professor saying she hated that buzzword “genre”. I didn't know how to perceive the class after that. She also tried to make an example out of me because I sat in the back with my laptop in front of me. I had the class notes (available from the website!) and my own note taking app open, so I managed to say “Hey, I’m doing my thing. Can we get back to class?” but you know. I was the jerk. Which, I can see because I am sure many a student paid to not pay attention to her class.

The final, well. It had us defend the idea of a bottled water company not entering the “flavored water” market. A market that exploded soon after my class had completed.

I got a C in that class. I don't quite understand marketing to this day. That shows in my own indie game sales.

Aha! Brought it back to indie games, I did. Genius. Which is also a word I’d used to describe Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight if I was more of an asshole. I am, though, so I suppose I could use the word. The game is quite good. Controls well. Looks pretty. Has music. Okay, I’ll admit I am quite bad at remembering tunes. Sometimes they stick out in my brain. But I would put “Has music.” on the box of this game, if there was one, because that is a fact. And facts can be hard to come by, some days.

It is possible to equip three different items to use and two accessories to change the main character. I always hate this to some extent. The designer is limiting my accessory use because that makes things more interesting. How am I going to go after this boss? Or this area? So while I hate it, I like it quite a bit. Makes me think. The item selecting was a bit more of a nuisance. It just made me ignore some items throughout the game instead of maybe using them. The healing item, temporary attack up item and… something else that was useful in combat. Tht was about all I used. So there is the problem. The limitation lets a player get set in their ways.

I wished there were a few more save points. In retrospect, I think RUtM (ew, that sounds gross. Perhaps I shouldn't abbreviate it next time) was more generous than the next game I played. But that is another story for another time.

Some of the bosses took me a few good tries. Some of them I gave up on and went to explore a bit again, found some stuff, went back and was able to beat the boss. That was nice. The game does lock you out of areas until you can do certain things. This is as many a Metroidvania does, but I did feel a good sense of exploration.

The ability to warp is show in save point menus from the beginning. But it is not available until quite a while into the game. You also cannot warp to any save point. This made for a bit more travel than felt necessary. It didn't bother me too much, but it did stick out.

There are shops in the game that let you pick up various items and… they feel kind of wasted. It feels more of "Have you collected enough currency before finding this shop?” than normal game shops as your consumable items refill any time you go to a save point.

Spoiler time.

There are two endings. Both are from beating the final boss but the difference is if you got an upgrade or not. This upgrade is at a weird location around the midpoint of the game. If you remember to go back when you get one type of magic, you get the upgrade. And then beating the boss with the upgraded weapon gives you the “good” ending. There wasn't much of a solid feeling why this mattered. Maybe I missed some NPC dialogue that explained it. But it felt tacked on as opposed to say, Symphony of the Night. Of course, Symphony unlocks a whole new area to explore instead. Different outcomes, but similar concepts.

And that's the game. I enjoyed it. Not sure if I’d go play the other games in the series. I did see a new one is coming but it’s a 3D action game. I want to end that sentence with a question mark. Feels kind of like a departure and not something I am quite interested in. But this was a lovely world to dip a toe into.