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Below, you can see the 20 most recent posts in the forums, starting with the most recent post first and working backwards. Signatures, avatars and other related information have been stripped so that the page will load quickly. Each post contains a link to the thread where it was posted so you can click to see it in its original context.

Ha, good work Gary, this was quite entertaining. Looks like you can just put it in neutral and cruise downhill from here on in and still win -- that's quite the lead you have.

An excellent update. Thanks for putting in the required effort to make it happen!

Just letting you know that I'm glad you've updated this, and I appreciate the work that goes into it.

I've been writing a lot this year (probably one of my best years of productivity ever). Just not reviews... heh. I'd rather not review any more delisted crap Steam games, though.

SEPTEMBER UPDATE – Because I suck at updating this and most people have forgotten it exists.

The start of the year featured a three-way tussle at the top between the trio of previous kings, Joe, Masters and EmP. Now, with the majority of the season played out, the race for the throne is less ambiguous. Powered by weird Indie titles and Jason Venter’s ravenous need to ensure he never has a gap in his schedule, EmP has pulled away from the pack in what’s threatening to be a record-breaking season. Last year saw Joe break the most wins in a season (15) and the highest final tally (67). He may be the best chance he has to keep those records intact as we steer into October, a month where Joe is historically his strongest.

Last year, veteran battler, Overdrive slid into the top three at the very last moment with a flurry of late-year points to see off Pickhut and Masters. He’s doing things slighter earlier this campaign, making a move up the table, currently keeping his step by a mere point from slumbering giant, Masters. Masters lead the board in the early days of the season, but has fallen into a slump. He’s come back from worse, but can he do so to fight off Overdrive’s charge? Racking up massive numbers of 3rd and 2nd places, OD been, perhaps, this season’s unluckiest player, recording a solid year that makes his solitary 1st place seem absolutely criminal.

The mid-table battle is fierce with Pickhut, Mariner and Jason all trading very similar stats. A few stand out weeks might be all one needs to pull ahead of the pack; a strong burst of results would even put them right in the reckoning for the battle for third.

Another win would put Flobknocker right among them, whose very recent victory has surged him above the dreaded Vacant line. There’s still enough of a season left for Jerec pull something off. Can he get his name above HG’s most improved and most non-existent writer? I know where he can get some easy Steam games to review…

NEXT UPDATE -- ???

Good catches, old chum. Thanks for pointing them out. They've all been neatly fixed. Or at least re-jumbled into some else just as ungainly.

Props to Jason and Rob, who show even when we don't quite have the numbers we once did, the quality will never take a dip. I appreciate the placement for ol' Skully. Jason absolutely dumped him, but it was a run throwback 3D platformer, and I have no regrets.

Next Golding RotW -- 2022. After this dig, I'll place 7th.

Props for Flob, who has yet to write a bad Remedy game review and was due a breakout win. But bigger props to Marc for getting this topic our on time. In respect of that, I'll only make fun of your tardiness in the other one.

Both topics were well worth the wait - a lot of thoughtful feedback to chew over, and I appreciate the typo catches which I've tidied away. I guess that's what happens when you spend 50% of your reviewing energy on taglines, but I refuse to stop now!

I would rather there not be weeks this slow again, but lulls are inevitable. If they must exist from time to time, I hope they are at least as good as this trio of reviews (I say as someone who contributed one of them myself). Congrats and thanks to all who participated, and thank you for getting to this topic with the useful and specific commentary. It's nice to know that sort of reward is waiting when I submit a review!

Thanks for the comments on my reviews, and I'm glad you enjoyed them.

The Valentina line you thought might be missing a word or two is actually written as I intended it. My point in the Hotshot Racing review was that the game works against you in the event of a tie. For instance, if the final point tallies are 45, 43, 42, 42, 42 and so forth and you happen to earn 42 points, you will be awarded the fifth-place finish rather than the third-place finish. Every time. Hence the statement that your points matter least. I've played games where your 42 points would mean you placed third.

Thanks again for the topic and comments, and congratulations to all who participated. It was another good week!

Regarding the lateness of this topic: I can't even... so don't ask. (You weren't going to.)

This week offered a trifecta of veteran's work. What that means is everyone gets a prize, and also that two very good reviews that would likely win top spot on other weeks, this week will not.

On to it, then:


THE BRONZE MEDAL

Pokémon Café Mix (Switch) by Venter


I like this line early on in the review, "I quickly downloaded it with plans to ignore it until the end of time." Jason then goes on to talk about how he is careful when he fingers someone or something, which is nice for us to know. I think the description of how the game is played (it's not a match 3) could have been clearer. Overall though, Jason covers this free pick-up-and-play puzzler rather well, but is limited by his subject matter for the purposes of this 'contest' (he's reviewing a free pick-up-and-play puzzler).


THE SILVER MEDAL

PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate (PlayStation 4) by Rob


Great opening paragraph from Rob -- we've all been there, indeed. I don't love the "suits" paragraph though; I felt that something was lacking in the explanation. I also felt you took a bit too long bringing 'the flaw' into focus. But once there, you handled it well and tied things up nicely in the conclusion. This is a solid review, to the surprise of no one.


REVIEW OF THE WEEK

Skully (PC) by Emp


Very well written puzzle-platformer game review by Gary. It's well paced with a lot of polish, which we've come to expect. This line though: "Though, to bring my grumbling full circle, Skully’s usually very fair checkpoint system is usually scrunched up and tossed aside when the game forces you back to basics, forcing you to undertake long daunting runs of multiple curves while plagued by malicious wind currents where a single slight mistake sends you crashing to your death with zero means of recovery." It's hard to read and has the word 'usually' in it twice. This part is not the easiest thing to parse either: "There’s problem inherent; the cutscenes make the weird choice of being a collections of garin still screens that sometimes undercut the superb sense of personality the excellent voice acting has built..." But I'm mostly nitpicking. The bitch slap bit and the noise complaint bit round out a great review.

I'll see you next month. Oh. Right, that's now. Well, I'll see you in a few minutes.

So this one's not late. I'd say it's fairly timely. You might cheekily say, that by my standards, it's three weeks early. We'd both be right.

On to the reviews, then, of which there were quite a few, and not a dud among the bunch:


Hotshot Racing (Switch) by Venter

Nice review that called to mind the legendary Kasket Darkfyre of the quarter in my Master System fame. I didn't quite get this: "To add insult to injury, you might manage to secure enough points for a podium finish, only to find you've been knocked off it by a place or two because (in the likely event of a tie) your performance matters least to the judges." Good take on a game I might have been interested in were it not for the smooth, easy way you've dissuaded me here.


Valentina (Switch) by Venter

This review starts rather drily, but improves as it goes. I rather liked this line, "When you defeat a monster, it often drops loot. Sometimes this is gold coins I've never found a way to spend. Sometimes, you'll pick up more arrows. This is a welcome development, as you're not firing from a bottomless quiver." But I think a word or two is missing here: "That leap might take you to solid ground, or it might send you plummeting to your death in a pool of water or similar." A decent review with good descriptions and wit with some generic transitions and passages sprinkled in. Hotshot Racing was better.


Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity (PlayStation 4) by Rob

Rob's review starts well and reads easy but has some issues. This passage for example, "When it comes to the actual levels you'll be exploring, you'll have this mixed bag that ranges from positives mixed with negatives to stuff that is devoid of positives." This, however, is something I can definitely relate to, and is well stated, "The only thing keeping this game from getting unbearable was that, other than bosses, it was so easy that it was the perfect "turn brain off" thing to do when I didn't feel like playing something that made me use reflexes, think or push myself in any way, shape or form." But the review ends with a bit that I don't get at all, as it seems wholly contradictory: "I went back to defeat the final boss again to get the "true" ending, leading to hilariously anti-climactic battling due to all the additional strength I'd gained. And then, just when things were getting interesting with a foe becoming truly super-powered to give me an epic battle to conclude this game on a high point." Unfortunately, I found the review, like that line to be inconsistent.


Grandia HD Collection (Switch) by Joe

Wherein Joe toys with a sectioned review style, which I think I like. This sentence needs something: "You select actions like "fight," "item" or "magic" when dealing with monsters, but this time you have a choice to two different standard strikes." Also, the chioce to have the 'collection of two' paragraph after a paragraph talking at length about 'the two games' struck me as odd. Typo here: " It's shortcomings arrive in the form of infrequent filler segments, cringe-inducing dialogue and wonky comedic timing." Overall, this is a Joe review, so it's going to be good, but given the sectioned rundown nature, which I agree was a good choice for handling the different types of readers/gamers who might be the review's audience, it's not as fun to read as your other piece.


THE BRONZE MEDAL

Grandia II (Dreamcast) by Joe


I have very little to say about this review. It's a very well written and polished review by Joe that does things pretty much ideally in terms of flow, length, examples and transitions. My only gripe was the way the review ended and how the accompanying score didn't seem to quite fit given the hot-and-cold analysis to that point. It's not a huge gripe, as the review was enjoyable to read and I learned from reading it, but the inconsistency for me was sufficiently jarring to bump Mr. Destroyer down a place.


THE SILVER MEDAL

Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time (PC) by Emp


I like the gimmmick at the beginning, getting across how the game pays very close homage to the show, but the passage in question is a bit large to pull off without the reader completely ignoring it the second time once they know what's up. Which, I suppose is okay. Typo here: "For the most part, the beetles and friends are cannon fodder, designed to be mowed down with little effort, they’re main threat...". You did an admirable job covering the paywall annoyance and describing the brand of hack-and-slash the game employs as compared to its contemporaries. Great stuff.


REVIEW OF THE WEEK

Quantum Break (PC) by Flobknocker


But there was no beating this review. I love the talky intro here. Flobknocker continues to have issues with super long paragraphs -- the second could easily be two -- but the writing here is compelling: "Paul has, naturally, created a time machine, and in the grand tradition of all good tragic scientists, has decided that the best way to test it is to go through it himself." Great stuff. This here, is as good an outline of how the game plays as I've seen this week, "When you’re not using perfectly functional weapons and slick time powers to blow away enemies, you’ll be spending your time traversing the environment in a linear fashion, enjoying story bits, picking up lore scattered around, doing some mild problem solving, navigating spectacular setpieces, and even some platforming." Flobknocker even manages to make the third-to-last tech paragraph fun to read. It ends perfectly without overstaying its welcome, to boot. If some earlier stanzas could be cut in two (or even three), the review would be pretty much ideal. Kudos.

Okay, see you in a month's time. May the apocalypse continue to spare you and yours.

Indeed. Thanks for the topic and feedback, and thanks to all who participated in another competitive week. I love those things!

Thanks for the RotW! That was a surprise.

I don't get the game's title, too. Nothing within the game or its story really explains it, so I just figure it's either a reference to something or it's just being weird just to be weird. Glad you were able to understand the blandness of the game; this was something I could have easily completed on an off day, but I spread it out for nearly a week because of how boring it became. The game bummed me out since it really only needed a bit more variation, nothing too grand, and it would have been fine.

Thanks again, and to all who participated this week with solid reviews.

Thanks for the comments and placement. As for your question, I found this bit of mediocrity where I've been finding most stuff I'm currently playing -- on PlayStation Now. The only reason I played it was because my last name was featured in its title, so I figured it'd be a fun tie-in to a potential review. And allow me to say that I actually am partly using PS Now to delve into genres of game I usually don't touch. Hell, one day, I might even play one of those pointy-and-clicky adventures that some people here (mainly EmP) seem to like.

Or not, as one thing a person can take from this (and I certainly have) is that there are a LOT of games available on that service that I'd really like to play. And instead of playing a Bioshock or a Saint's Row or a Trails of Cold Steel or a Infamous or a God of War or a Souls knock-off or a fanservice-y Compile Heart game with a bizarre-ass name (Fairy Fencer What or Megadimension Who or Omega Guh? or Dark Rose PLEASESTOP!!!) or...you get the point, I was playing this. Like I'm currently playing Knack and Mars: War Logs and thinking the same things. Well, not so much with Knack. It's at least tolerable and pretty fun, if repetitive. But Mars: War Logs...I've heard that over the years, Spiders Software has gotten pretty decent, if not up to the level of the BioWare stuff they try to emulate. But this game takes clunky and awkward to a level that one does not normally see. Makes Venetica feel like Skyrim!


Oh, as for the first Witcher, in my opinion the game will get better. If you're expecting it to turn into Witcher 3 and be super-great, you might want to adjust your hopes for the future, but the farther into it you get, the more enjoyable you'll find it, at least if your experience is comparable to mine. It is a bit glitchy and pretty clunky at times, but from my perspective, the prologue is...a prologue and the first chapter is dullsville. But things pick up in the second chapter after you've done some stuff and gotten a few levels and can start to fully explore the available area (ie: leave the city when you want and go to the swamp and NOT find yourself getting killed with regularity).

Hello, hello again. I know I've been silent on the site for quite a bit, but it's not like I haven't been working on anything. As you can see, I've pumped out a couple of reviews recently (Skyborn and Grandia II). Expect some others for Grandia HD Collection, Chronos Twins DX, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, and Neutopia II in the future.

Not a lot has been shaking lately. In the obligatory "talk about what you've been playing lately" section, I went through the aforementioned stuff, and some other goodies:

Bendy and the Ink Machine- A fairly decent "scary walk" where you venture through a rundown animation studio, with hints of the occult lingering around every corner. Plus, you occasionally get attacked by cartoon demons, so that's fun. I like it so far, but getting through it isn't much of a priority.

Mute Crimson+- Super Meat Boy meets Ninja Gaiden, but much more approachable. It's a tad difficult, but not overwhelmingly so thus far. I've gotten through the first two bosses without much difficulty, but we'll see how it turns out in the next few levels.

Ara Fell: Enhanced Edition- I can't say I've played many RPG Maker/Unity roleplayers that I would call enchanting, but this one certain fits. It's a lot like Skyborn, as it sports a likable female protagonist and a crafting system, but the devs behind this one didn't half-ass the crafting. Hell, you need to craft in order to obtain improved equipment, because you don't buy weapons and armor in this one. I'm in chapter two, and so far I'm loving it.

The Witcher: Enhanced Edition- Toss a sigh to your witcher, o Valley of Disappointed. The game's got an okay combat system, but it plays lout ike a poorly edited, straight-to-video fantasy movie used to cash-in on Lord of the Rings. I mean, it isn't bad, but so far I'm struggling to see how this game spawned two highly successful sequels, with rumors of another one hiding just behind Cyberpunk 2077's much-anticipated release. I'm still pretty early in the proceedings, though, so it might improve.

Blaster Master Overdrive- I had to give up on this game because it's just....so....tedious. It's got the franchise's trademark difficulty, exacerbated by segments that sometimes take ages to traverse because you need to tread carefully. To put it into perspective, I had to carefully voyage across a certain set piece loaded with powerful cannons whose firepower is unavoidable. You either have to spend ages carefully picking them off or blast through their barrage and hope for the best. After that, you return to the same room and try to negotiate some platforms positioned above those cannons. If you miss a jump, you start the whole process over again. Finally, the path leads you to a top-down section and a bullet sponge boss. If you die at the boss (which is not unrealistic), you start back at the save point and must venture all the way back through the same nonsense again. I don't have time and patience for such drawn out titles, especially mediocre ones like this.

Rainbow Islands: Towering Adventure- This is my first sincere attempt at a Rainbow Islands game, and you know what? To hell with this. It's just not my thing. Never again...

Robox- Not to be confused with the robot boxing game on Switch, this is a slow, dull and challenging (but somewhat original) Metroidvania game. I didn't put much time into it because its protagonist's slack movements combined with sprawling map and cheap, unavoidable enemies ensured that my soul would scream loud enough for me to stop playing forever.

As for the reviews...

Brian- Splinter Cell
I had this game on Xbox, never opened it, donated it to Goodwill, then rebought it on Steam because I felt bad. I still haven't played it. There's a bit of repetitive wording through this piece. The segments talking about stealth elements (lighting and sound) are well done, but the plot section brings up some good points. Ultimately, this is a good write up, but one that would be better without the repetitive wording.

CRB- Brutal: Above the Claw
Ugh, this game. I played and greatly disliked it a few years ago, and won't even bother with the first one as a result. Anyway, the review starts off with a long sentence that would read better if it was broken up a bit. This review offers up good reasons why to avoid the game, and works well as a quick review. However, it would go over better with some more detail.

THIRD PLACE
Overdrive- Hamilton's Great Adventure
In what Stygian depths did you discover this thing? Pickhut's game had a title that sounded weak, but this moniker makes it sound like a Dizzy knockoff on Amiga that maybe five people bought. And really, despite your lively and comical intro, this game sounds about as interesting as its title implies. You described the game clearly enough, and it just sounds unremarkable, although the reflex-based part sounds legit dreadful. Ultimately, this is a good review of a painfully uninteresting game.

SECOND PLACE
Honestgamer- Marvel Strike Force
I can relate to playing a mobile game for a long time, because I have yet to quit playing Pokemon GO, just about to my detriment. I feel I've become too obsessed with the shiny hunt, and need to scale back my play time. The temporarily powered-up incense doesn't help (where they now last an hour and attract a new Pokemon about every 45 seconds to a minute, and possibly spawn rare or shiny ones). You make a really good point in this review, that you're getting a lot of great content that other people are paying for. I've never thought about freemium games this way before, but then again I'm one of those people funding the one I play (not with massive amounts, though). I don't really have much to point out beyond that insight. This is a well built review for a game that I'm not terribly interest in, that impressively details its numerous mechanics efficiently.

REVIEW OF THE WEEK
Pickhut- Mad Age & This Guy
What a weird title. It almost seems quirky enough to grab your attention, but it's ultimately just so anticlimactic that it lightly whispers, "Just ignore me." You do a fine job of stacking the game's strengths against its weaknesses, showing us that it had the potential, but squandered it by pacing its new features. The end result: the game blew its load early on, and had nothing left in the tank to entertain after that. Your examples and descriptions are clear enough that anyone can visualize this game without actually having to play it, plus the demonstrate your points effectively. Nice work!

I definitely caught the joke. Probably due to you making sure I caught it. I did chuckle, but it was probably more due to the reminder that you did make a joke than anything else. Or because it was yesterday and after a few days killing brain cells at the race track, I'd regressed to a mental state where I'd laugh at anything. EITHER-OR!!!

Project Warlock (PC, Steam).

Added.

Hi. Could you please add Quantum Break to the list?

-Quantum Break
-PC
-https://store.steampowered.com/app/474960/Quantum_Break/
DONE

Thanks for the topic and the win, Overdrive, and for catching that missing word. You were exactly right about which word was missing, so I've edited that into the review. My only excuse is that I was in a rush when I wrote and edited. (Get it? In a rush? That was a hilarious joke and I wouldn't want anyone to miss it.)

Only three reviews this week. Which is no problem for me. Quick and easy work to ease into a what should, in theory, be a fun few days. If anything, it's a miracle I remembered to do this. And on time this time, even if last time was the first untimely one I've had in a good year or more.

THIRD PLACE

CRB's X-Men: Children of the Atom (Arcade)

So, the end of the first paragraph finishes with "that captivating gamers worldwide", which should be "captivated". One typo, but it was a bit of a harbinger for this review needing a proofing and a bit of revision. There were a few areas that read a bit rough. A couple sentences I had to read a couple times to get what you were saying due to awkward phrasings. And so on with that sort of thing. Take those away and this is a solid review that gives the nuts-and-bolts about this game, as well as your opinions on what works and what doesn't. A bit of cleaning up and I'd say this is a perfectly fine review, but right now it does read a bit rough…or to steal your tagline, it was me "reading about mutant fighting in an erratic way".

SECOND PLACE

Brian's Backbone: Prologue (PC)

The battle between second and third place was interesting. CRB had a review that did a good job of giving me the nuts and bolts about his game, but the writing was pretty rough at points. You had some smooth writing here, but I probably could have used more "actual game stuff" writing. From the beginning, I know its a point-n-click game and your next-to-last paragraph does go into more detail on various mechanics, but I have no idea about anything concerning plot, character, etc. other than how your guy seems to be named Howard and that characters are humanoid animals. There are two paragraphs discussing the use of human-animal hybrids and one concerning the things you do in playing the game, which doesn't seem right to me. As a pure reading project, I probably liked your review the most of the three, but as an actual review of a game, it left me at the "it's a point-n-click and I don't tend to do those" point and never gave me a reason to want to know more.

REVIEW OF THE WEEK (aka: Overdrive Place)

Jason's Kingdom Rush (Switch)

So, this week, I had three reviews: a fighting game, a point-n-click adventure and, now, a tower defense game. If not for the fact EmP didn't contribute, I'd be half-convinced this was all a plot by him to make sure I had nothing but games in genres that I have little to no interest in solely to punish me for being so late with my last RotW. Remember, it's not paranoia when they ARE out to get you!

To start with the negative, I think you have a missing word in your next-to-last paragraph. "It's possible to change between three difficulty settings, but doing so seem to award any additional points." I think you need a "doesn't" before "seem". Either that or it's "seems", but in context, that'd be an "and" instead of a "but" if that was the case.

Take that out of the equation and this was a very strong review. You have done a number of reviews for this sort of game and definitely know what you're talking about, as evidenced with your paragraph about the hero character and how, unlike comparable games, this one doesn't allow any real customization. Overall, you do a good job of describing the game and its mechanics and how things expand over time, giving you more modifications. Even if I don't care about this game or its genre, I at least enjoyed reading your review of it!

Off to the next adventure!

Title: Mad Age & This Guy
Platform: PC
Genre:
Developer: Atomic Wolf
Publisher: Atomic Wolf
Release date: (10/24/17)

Added.

Thanks.

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