With summer coming to a close, I decided it might be a good idea to write up a post of thoughts on the various games I've beaten during the break, mostly from my backlog. Kirby and the Amazing Mirror (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Kirby and the Amazing Mirror (open) Kirby and the Amazing Mirror (close) Fun like the other Kirby games, but not particularly great to be honest. The Metroidvania gameplay isn't implemented very well: There's not much in the way of meaningful collectables, and while the map is useful, it's a pain to actually find in most of the levels, often being a well-hidden collectible itself, making it very easy to get lost and wander aimlessly trying to figure out where you're supposed to go (i.e. trying to find out how to enter Radish Ruins <_<). Level designs aren't very good either; Cabbage Caverns and Olive Ocean are just obnoxious with their water, with the former also being very difficult to navigate and easy to just end up going in circles. There are of areas with tight hallways you need to traverse through as well, which are also a pain. Boss fights are mostly eh (Dark MK and the Hands were pretty good, Dark Mind sucked though), while the midbosses were plain obnoxious because they respawn after leaving the screen and can't be escaped from .-. Music's quite good as to be expected from Kirby, highlights include Candy Constellation, Dark Meta Knight, and Dark Mind's theme. Other than that, it's a Kirby game, which is why I was still able to have some fun with it despite all these issues I just listed. Honestly, I think I prefer Squeak Squad over this, looking at them in retrospect. Donkey Kong (Game Boy) (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Donkey Kong (Game Boy) (open) Donkey Kong (Game Boy) (close) It's a simple but fun portable puzzle platformer/arcade game, not much more to it. Very pick-up and play, but is pretty deep with tons of different obstacles and a few extra moves. You're prolly gonna die a lot, at least I did, but there's so many chances to get 1-ups (don't think I ever dipped below 40 lives by the midway point), and the game's fun enough to keep playing, so this isn't really a huge deal. Music is mostly just ok, but Showdown at the Tower is fantastic (also check out Gametal's remix of it :D). Not much more to say, definitely one to look into if you want a good game when you're travelling. It's fairly lengthy the first time around too, took me over 10 hours iirc. Pokemon Sun (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Pokemon Sun (open) Pokemon Sun (close) I'm really late on getting around to this game, and I really wish I had played it sooner. I never played XY (I did play ORAS), so my perception is a bit skewed in that regard, but I loved just about everything in this game. OST was phenomonal, environments were gorgeous, gameplay was as fun as ever, and while the story could've been a bit deeper given how many cutscenes there were, I personally loved the characters and they really helped the carry the game. It was also the first game in a very long time where I felt "the void" after playing it for a full week. I just couldn't get over the fact that I had just finished something so great. I'm sure my opinion of this game will go down in the future, as was the case with BW1 and ORAS (two other Pokemon games I fully loved the first time around), but as it stands, it's one of my all-time favorite games, as weird as it may seem. To the Moon (Move your mouse to reveal the content) To the Moon (open) To the Moon (close) Already covered it in this post. Also wrote a more detailed Steam review so check that if you want lol. Pokemon Platinum (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Pokemon Platinum (open) Pokemon Platinum (close) I have a bit of interesting history with this game, since I bought my copy on launch day and yet, even after four previous attempts, I never actually managed to finish this game, and I kinda ended up blaming the game for it, despite everyone seeming to love this game. After finally finishing it, I must say it's still not one of my favorite Pokemon games, but it's wayyyy better than I was giving it credit for. The Pokemon variety is great (but it does make me concerned about D/P holding up), music was much better than I remember, and there were some cool locales and battles to be had, even if it wasn't as stunning as SuMo. Great game, that's about it really. Super Mario Land (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Super Mario Land (open) Super Mario Land (close) I was in the mood to play something short and simple, and so I did. This game helped prove to me how awful I am at Mario, considering it took me a few hours to figure out how to do it. The controls and physics felt kinda off, as did the hit detection at times, but it was still a fun romp. The music was probably the best part of the game, featuring one of the best 2D Mario OSTs. The catchy as hell and kinda nostalgic-feeling Overworld Theme, the other stage themes (especially Chai Kingdom) being wonderful as well, the final boss theme is being surprisingly intense for how short and repetitive it is and also makes the fight feel so much more intense, and that ending theme...wow. Not a great game, just a decent one that's got it where it counts. Mega Man ZX Advent (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Mega Man ZX Advent (open) Mega Man ZX Advent (close) A great 2D Action game from Inti Creates, but definitely a step down compared to its predecessor in my eyes. User GatoDelFuego really nagged me to play this game, and while it was definitely a bumpy road, there were still plenty of things to like. I pesonally found that the game gets hard very quickly, unlike ZX which, for better or worse, had a slow and fairly easy start before ramping things up about 4 stages in, while this game's first level plays very differently from how you'll be playing the rest of the game, while the 2nd level is more comparable to a level after ZX's first 4 in terms of difficulty, which definitely caught me off guard. Level designs in general were a bit more questionable than ZX imo, though this is partly due to the main character not being as fun to use as that in ZX, as while ZX also has some iffy level designs, this was compensated by the main character being so much fun to play as, making moment-to-moment gameplay enjoyable even if the levels were only competent. This is not the case in Advent, where the main character far worse off in being able to tackle what the levels throw at you and just isn't as satisfying to play as. The Scrapyard feels like a drag and doesn't fit well with how Mega Man levels are typically designed: This level is basically a maze featuring levers that need to be pulled to open doors and lots of switches you need to press to move blocks around so you can progress. The Highway is also a pain, being basically a messy gauntlet of enemies and three bad boss fights (first is super easy but time-consuming, second is just plain annoying and can get you insta-killed, and the third is very difficult until you get down his pattern/rhythm). A lot of the problem I have with the levels is that this game has weaker graphics and sound compared to ZX: While there are still some excellent tunes (see: Destiny, Drifting Ice Floe, Mysterious Lab, United Forces, and Soul Ablaze), a lot of songs feel kinda samey or are just plain uninteresting, while other songs (like Floating Ruins, compare to the excellent remastered version) just suffer from not-so-good instrumentation and a surprising amount of compression, especially weird considering how clear ZX was on a audio standpoint. The game also reuses a lot of assets from ZX, namely the Snake and airship bosses. The colors of levels feel a lot less eye-catching compared to ZX, which had a rather bright color-scheme compared to this game and the Zero games using more drab colors. Even the themes/locations of the levels are kinda boring (so many levels take place inside buildings or labs; admittedly nothing is gonna top ZX's Amusement Park), and the backgrounds are also noticably less interesting. Of course, the bosses are still excellent, like all the other Zero/ZX games. And while the game was very difficult, it didn't really stop me from playing it (save for Highway and Scrapyard, though after taking some time off from the game I figured out how to beat them). I still managed to somehow finish the game without touching my subtanks, even Ouroboros, one of the hardest levels I've ever seen in a video game, and damn did it feel good to do so. I would definitely recommend this game, but I honestly think ZX, despite having some weird issues, is the better game at its core, so play that first. Super Mario World (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Super Mario World (open) Super Mario World (close) Yet another game that proves how horrible I am at 2D Mario. Really can't count how many times I died in this game, and I honestly found this game more frustrating than most Mega Man games just because of how easily you can die, but it was still fun regardless. For the most part, levels, graphics, and sound are all par for the course for Mario. I do really like the physics of the game and just the sheer number of different ideas that are showcased as obstacles or gimmicks for the levels, to the point where I'd be down to combing around for all those secret levels I've missed out on. Oh yeah, Mario World really embraces the idea of secret exits this time around, which can really change up the route you take throughout the game. That being said, I don't think it's okay to force secrets onto the player. Like with of Forest of Illusion it's kinda in the name already, and I honestly didn't have trouble figuring out what to do, but Chocolate Island 3 is just silly. Chocolate Island in general kinda sucked, but I must say that almost everything from Wendy's Castle onwards was a lot of fun, featuring some challenging but very well-designed levels, with less of an emphasis on pits (thank god). Another issue I had with the game is...strangely enough, the save system. The game only saves after completing a Ghost House, Switch Palace, or Fortress/Castle stage. However, it's any time you complete those stages, not just your first time, and while most of these levels can only be accessed once, you can go to the Ghost House as often as you like. This means that I often found myself backtracking for a full minute just to get to the Donut Ghost House and clear it so I could save the game. At that point, it really makes me wonder why they didn't bother to just implement a save system for every time you clear a level in the game. One more thing I wanna note is that this game me realize how much Mega Man and Kirby and spoiled me, because I always holding the run button while playing. I know Mario is substantially easier as long as you take things carefully, but I just find the gameplay to be much for fun this way, seeing as walking Mario moves so much more slowly, and all Mario can do is jump, unlike Mega Man and Kirby who have all kinds of offensive at their disposal. This probably also explains why I prefer Mega Man and Kirby games to Mario games. Again though, the endgame is where the game really starts to shine in my opinion, featuring a really cool final level (love the multiple pathways, since it encourages exploring to find the path that you're most comfortable with and gives you good power-ups, the Bowser fight which, while simple, is still wonderful after all these years, and, of course, that iconic ending theme. Definitely not one of my absolute favorites, but Super Mario World is a classic game that I'm glad I played in the end. VA-11 HALL-A (Move your mouse to reveal the content) VA-11 HALL-A (open) VA-11 HALL-A (close) I really don't know how to properly explain this game, other than to say that you should really go play it. It's basically a slice-of-life sort of story that just so happens to be set in a chaotic cyberpunk world, the characters and dialogue are all great, and the world that the game creates is very fascinating. Graphically and musically the game is great, but while the jukebox was a novel idea, it makes it harder for me to remember and associate moments with certain songs, which is one of the reasons why I love OSTs and is especially important for an Adventure game. I think the one interesting aspect about this game I'd want to talk about is how it really embraces its "slice-of-life" feel. Many of the characters already have established relationships and experiences with Jill, resulting in the game just kinda starting and not really needing to establish much else of the world, since that's all done through the dialogue (not really exposition-wise) and the forums/news page. Much of the game relates to people trying to solve the problems of their past and move along in life, something I can personally relate to. eek ending spoilers (Move your mouse to reveal the content) eek ending spoilers (open) eek ending spoilers (close) Perhaps most surprisingly of all is that Valhalla is one of the very few stories I've seen that ends on a lot of loose ends and has interesting story bits that are very much unresolved, and yet I still feel very satisfied with how it all ends. Like, yeah, it would've been awesome to learn about Alma's relation to Alice Rabbit (keep in mind that Jill knows nothing about it, only the player), what happens to the dogs, how Dana got her arm, anything about Gillian, and even the fate of Valhalla itself and the people going/working there. But you know, maybe it's okay that we didn't get those answers, cause it's not really that important; life goes on, they're alive, those events/aspects were mostly pretty small parts of their life in the end (some probably being meaningless in the grand scheme of things, like the dogs), and they still remain friends in the end; that's what matters most. But yes, go get this game. It's of decent length (fyi brightobject), clocking in at about 10-12 hours, though there's extra endings to get and a couple side-stories to extend that playtime. The quality of the main story alone definitely makes it worth it. Mega Man 10 (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Mega Man 10 (open) Mega Man 10 (close) Managed to beat this without using Tanks or Shop items :) ... though I died a bunch :( It's pretty by-the-numbers yeah, but it's still good ol' classic Mega Man, even if I'm not the biggest fan of classic Mega Man . Out of the classic Mega Man games I've played it's definitely inferior 9 (even if 9 is way too hard for me) and superior to 2 (very overrated game btw), and on par or maybe a little below 3. Some people have expressed that the OST for this game is pretty weak for a Mega Man game and...yeah they're kinda right. While there is one song that is truly excellent, Abandoned Memory, the Robot Masters themes are quite catchy and nothing is really bad but they're not especially great, save for Solar Man. Interestingly, this game features many guest composers from previous Mega Man games, who did the Robot Master themes, but everything else, including Abandoned Memory (as well as the Wily Machine Fight and Wily Stage 3 themes, some of the other particularly good songs) were done by Inti Creates's own composers. Anyways, fun game, not amazing though. Kirby's Dream Land 3 (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Kirby's Dream Land 3 (open) Kirby's Dream Land 3 (close) Finished this one a few hours ago actually. It seems like the common consensus on this game is that it's decent, but it's one of the more forgettable Kirby games. Personally, I'm really torn on this game. First of all, there's the graphics, and holy shit does it look amazing. It can get a little pixelated and muddy up-close, but I personally love the pastel-esque art style, the backgrounds are all great, and geez the animations are just so adorable to look at. The music is pretty stunning, a nice mix of typical Kirby fare with Grass Land 1, the excellent melodies of Ripple Field 1 and Sand Canyon 1, more relaxing music like Grass Land 2 and Ripple Field 2, the incredible and more ambient tunes of Ripple Field 3 (my personal fav song, partly cuz canvas curse and the awesome levels it played in) and Iceberg, the short but very catchy mini-game and Friends themes, the climactic final boss themes, and a gorgeous ending theme. Between the graphics and music, you could probably convince me this was an early 5th gen console game instead of a SNES game. Gameplay-wise, I mostly had a lot of fun with this game. The level designs are overall pretty nice (except Cloudy Park, most of those stages suck), all of the copy abilities are great as are the animal friends, which give Kirby some slightly different platforming and movement (Nago being my personal favorite) as well as varying up how each of the powerups work (Kine having some especially fun ones). I think the most important part about a Kirby game is that they're fun. And this game really embraces that; there aren't really any horribly broken partner/copy ability combinations, so it's just a lot of fun to mess around with all the combos and not only learn about them but have a lot of fun using them all. That being said, I often realized that it's generally safer to play the game as Kirby, seeing as some of the animal buddies can't fly at all, let alone as easily as Kirby, and Kirby being a smaller character makes him much easier to manuver. Beyond this, there are a few more subtle, but very noticable changes made to the game compared to the other Kirby games: One of my personal favorites is that Kirby does not take contact damage from enemies so long as you hit them from the top of the bottom (which still destroys the enemies, kinda like Mario). But then one of the not so great ones was extending Kirby's health at a whopping 10 units (most give you ~6). This sounds really awesome, but you'll eventually realize that in order to "balance" this, the game gives Kirby a very small amount of iframes after being hit (maybe about 1 second's worth), often resulting in you getting hit multiple times by obstacles should you get stuck in them, and the animal buddy's big sizes don't really help in this regard. Finally, there's one of Dream Land 3's more infamous inclusions, the Friend system. Basically, every level has a sort of objective you can "optionally" complete. And by optionally, I mean you need to do all of them in order to fight the game's true final boss and not get the bad ending. These objectives aren't told to you outright, as this game has absolutely no dialogue, instead using visuals and sound effects to dictate what's going on. These tasks can range from doing something with flowers, playing minigames, collectathons, that one task with Metroids, and plenty more. For the most part, it was fairly straightforward to figure out what to do, even if I knew some of them already from watching various gameplay bits of this game online. This resulting in some stages that were admittedly quite brilliant, like 2-5 and 3-6, which really make use of the animal friends and copy abilities to let Kirby interact with the environment in some different ways and solve some puzzles. However, there were still some stages that I had to look up hints for since I was pretty lost on what to do (namely 1-2, 3-2, 4-1, and 4-5). Speaking of 4-1, that brings up another issue; a lot of parts of this game can be a drag. Some stages, especially 4-1 and 4-2 (not 5-5, that stage was quite fun despite its length and simplicity), tend to go on for way too long, and the fact that missions are sometimes placed at the end of a level, forcing you to start over the stage if you fail, certainly doesn't help matters. Pretty much all of the bosses also tend to go on for way too long and/or are just plain annoying to hit. Again, copy abilities either are not especially strong or force you to use an animal buddy, whose mobility and size make them pretty unfit for a boss fight, so you're probably sticking to your basic inhales. The exception of course is the final boss, which was weird and kinda easy, but very fun nonetheless. Geez I wrote a ton on this game, guess that goes to show how much I cared about this game (or how recently it's been since I've played it). In the end, I really liked this game, but there's too many things I didn't like for me to truly love it and proclaim that it's better than Super Star Ultra. Still, it's very underrated and is more than just "a forgettable Kirby game", definitely worth looking into. Oh and yes, many quality memes have been made with this game's OST What games did you guys get around to finishing?