The Big List of Games I Beat in 2021 pt.3
March 29, 2021

In 2020, I decided I was going to stop buying new games and declare war on the backlog. Much like the majority of gamers, I own more games than I can ever play in a lifetime but countless games I want to play get shuffled further and further to the back while the endless stream of new stuff gets stacked on top of them. It was a success! Aside from cashing in steam vouchers over Christmas that I had received as a gift, I purchased exactly zero new games, and the backlog was sufficiently injured. Any current year games I played were on the behest of constant backlog enemy, Jason Venter, who even now is plotting ways to trick me into playing more visual novels. THE GOAL: Do the same thing in 2021. Block Venter. Profit.

//In Progress//

Tokyo Xanadu eX+:

Poor Tokyo Xanadu always ends up with the short side of the stick, despite being a really fun game. Sometimes, I have to transfer it to the back burner because a new Utawarerumono comes along that I have to prioritize because Iím expected to write about it, or random games launched at me look like theyíre going to be a few hours long and end up being over 30 hours, like Loop Hero. Or my desktop dies, and thereís no way my poor laptop is running anything made past 2000. Iíve been chipping away at Xanadu for months, but Iím firmly inside the final chapter, so it shouldnít stand for much longer.

//New Entry//

Voyage: Itís a fun little cinematic adventure that tries to do a few things differently, but fails to really commit to them. It isnít a long game, but it crams a lot of its hand painted world into its somewhat short runtime.
Review // yes.

Gabriel Knight 3: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned: Gabriel has been my fallback series of when my PC blows up and Iím stuck with my decade old laptop to game on. Why do I have a decade old laptop floating around? Because games like Knight are arseholes to getting running on modern rigs, and their re-released games often have zero work done on them to change that. I found 3 to be the weakest of the series, but still quite worth the hassle.
Review // maybe if I ever finish the half-penned drafts of the previous Knight games.

Loop Hero is an oddity of several genres mixed together with a purposefully dated aesthetic that shouldnít work, but does. Itís a game I thought I was only playing in little bubbles before I noticed Steam had recorded 30+ hours spent in game. Itís a weird punishing grindfest thatís also forgiving with clear progression provided at the same time. Itís kind of brilliant.
Review // yes

Chronicle of Innsmouth: Mountains of Madness isnít what I expected. I thought it would just be a case of maybe my favourite Lovecraft being transplanted wholesale into the AGS engine, but itís more of its own tale based around the Cthulhu mythos, which is pretty cool. Pretty short, but engaging enough. It starts strong and loses momentum throughout, so its short runtime is probably a blessing, but it was well worth playing.
Review // yes.

Lost Words: Beyond the Page is the story about a girl writing a story, and how both of those things are affected by the sudden disruption in her life. Itís packaged as a 2D platformer, but itís more about solving easy puzzles based around using keywords to manipulate your surroundings. As a game, itís decent enough, but itís the writing and the voice acting that are Lost Wordís main strength. Absolutely not for everyone, probably more of an experience than it is a flat out video game.
Review // in progress

//The Backlog Mortuary//

American Patriots: The Swamp Fox: Thereís no win conditions attached to this game, so the only way to beat it is to stop playing. Itís a barebones horde-mode FPS thatís very limited in options. Iíve played it enough to be underwhelmed; Iím done with it.
Review// yes

The Beard in the Mirror: Goofy retro point & click openly inspired by Sierraís Quest games. Got maybe halfway through a few years back, then stopped for reasons I no longer remember. Been threatening to go back and finish it for ages and now have.
Review// drafted

Chronicles of Cyberpunk: You know when a gameís been rotting in the library forever when you notice it has since turned free-to-play. Such is the fate of Chronicles, which is best described as bloody weird. Itís a dystopian low-fi walking simulator that obsessively cycles through all the cyberpunk tropes. Niche, but I liked it.
Review // maybe/next time Iím very drunk

Cuyo: Simple, easy platformer with puzzle elements attached to a limited jump mechanic. Cute, but not especially challenging.
Review // yes

Dungeons of Naheulbeuk: Goofy fantasy parody story told alongside genuinely faithful D&D-built turn based strategy battles. Itís surprisingly good stuff. I didnít expect great things from this when Jason randomly dropped it on me some time last year, but I put the hours in, got pretty far, then saw my progress get mercilessly deleted when the game updated to full retail edition, destroying all my review edition save files in the process. Took a break, started anew, and killed so many cave spiders. The little shits.
Review// yes

Sarawak: A simple text adventure game that took me about an hour and a half to play through. You progress by solving simple puzzles or by advancing conversations. Itís over before it begins and the ending is a bit of a damp squib, but I enjoyed it. Puzzles were never hard enough to rage quit over, but often not easy enough to be a mere triviality.
Review// yes

Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen: Half visual novel, half turn based strat, I fell in love with this weeby nonsense around 2004-ish when I spent many days downloading the original game and fan translation on my trash desktop cobbled together from bits of other peopleís desktops they no longer wanted. Iíve bitterly watched as first Japan and then smug Sony owners mocked me with their ability to play the sequels and then the re-re-release, but my time is finally now!
Review // yes

Most recent blog posts from Gary Hartley...

honestgamer honestgamer - March 29, 2021 (02:01 PM)
Somehow it feels like a personal failing when I leave you with time to return to your backlog. Venters gotta vent!

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