Gaming Progress - January 2019
January 02, 2019

I'm going to pretend now that this will be a regular thing, but it likely won't be. I will try, though!

I thought it useful to list all the new games I've been playing over the last month, if for no other reason than to get my shit together (read: shame myself into putting an end to my endless Steam shopping). I've officially turned into that little kid in a room of toys who says, "I'm BORED! I have nothing to play!" much to the chagrin of his overextended parents.

I need to curb that type of behaviour right away!

So here goes:

The Messenger - starts off as an awesome NES Ninja Gaiden redux for the new millenium and overstays its welcome a bit when it turns into a slightly-less-awesome metroidvania along the way.

Portal - gonna beat it again. I'm almost done and it's as great as it always was.

Revenge of Shinobi - best muzak evar. Joe's slow walk and the shitty double jump really hurt the replayability here.

Shoot 1UP - decent top down shooter with a cool 'all your extra ships onscreen at once' gimmick. Beat it on easy in one short sitting.

Enslaved - seems like a generic 3D action game featuring a hot, scantily clad female sidekick, but Emp swears it's special. Probably I shouldn't judge it after just one level.

Boobs Saga - the amazing sequel to Bloody Boobs. Very improved graphics and... sexy options. The actual game part of the equation still seems to be ass.

Cally's Trials - just like Cally's Caves 3 and 4, but where your progress doesn't really save... it's the series' attempt at rogue lite and it's not a good idea.

8-Bit Commando - Contra, but super sluggish, and with worse graphics. No thanks.

Guacamelee! - fantastic. It's a funny, lighthearted take on the Super Metroid formula that works much better than I thought it could. I should probably review it, but I won't.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Ugh. Generic Devil May Cry action, but Dante has a whip.

Forsaken Castle - cutesy metroidvania starring an adorable female protagonist. Unfortunately she's plodding and everything feels so derivative.

The Blackwell Legacy - old school point and clicker and the first in a series of five games. Emp swears it's great, but I'm not enjoying myself.

The Last Door: Season 2 - it's not as good as the first season, but it's still a notable Lovecraftian tribute played out in pixelly point and click fashion.

QP Shooting - Dangerous!! - Cute vert shmup that did very little for me.

The Vagrant - Rough around the edges side scrolling hack and slash adventure starring clunky writing and big boobs.

Q-YO Blaster - Weird horizontal shmup with good, shiny 16-bit-esque graphics and some light bullet hell elements. Beat it on easy and likely won't look back.

Danmaku Unlimited 3 - good bullet hell entry, with a unique aesthetic that might start to grate after awhile.

Alltynet Second - RayStorm's long lost cousin, but with swordplay and inferior presentation.

Jets'n'Guns Gold - a terrible horizontal euroshmup. I'm returning this.

Wild Guns Reloaded - cool update of the SNES behind-the-back shooter.

Sky Force Anniversary - I don't know why I bought this. I already have Sky Force Reloaded and this is like... the same.

The Mummy Demastered - fun metroidvania that's much better than the movie upon which it's loosely based.

Tomb Raider - I beat it when it first came out on PS3 and loved it then. The Steam version holds up well, years later.

The King of Fighters XIV - I think I'm through with fighting games.

Rival Megagun - The game that made Emp famous behind a pack of lies and a way with words.

Magicians & Looters - somewhat weak and forgettable metroidvania effort.

Steam and Metal - steampunk vertical shmup that put up a small fight my first and only time through it.

Timespinner - wonderful if slightly short metroidvania starring a female cast with an inspired SNES aesthetic. Recommended.

Jamestown - awesome and super accessible bullet hell with soaring soundtrack and unique motif. Excellent.

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light - meh. I'm sure it would be better if I were playing it with a friend as was intended.

Aggelos - decent Wonderboy in Monsterland type quest. Very cute and colourful, but doesn't really leave an impression.

Cluckles' Adventure - I enjoyed this puzzle-y action game on my i-phone, and it's just as addicting -- if limited -- on Steam.

Conarium - Exceedingly slow moving Lovecraftian tribute. I tried my best to like it.

Double Dragon Trilogy - A flawed collection of a flawed trio of beat-em-ups, but it's cheap and DD2's mission is legendary from the second level track to the fight with Arnold by the conveyor belt. Man, did DD3 suck hard though.

Cursed Castilla - Ghouls 'n Ghosts clone done right. Very hard and very fun. Take note, Battle Princess Madelyn!

Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition - As beautiful as it is boring.

Owlboy - Very clunky central fight mechanics sabotage a wonderfully written and drawn game before it can get off the ground.

Kamui - Another in the Alltynex series. So again, like RayStorm, but not as good.

BlazBlue: Chronophantasma Extend - did I mention that I need to give up on fighting games? Cuz I really do.

Phoenix Force - Limp vertical shmup that feels like an unremarkable mobile game (it probably is?).

Hentai Shooter 3D - horrendous Wolfenstein 3D-alike, only the bad guys are moaning girls that you bring to heel with a metaphor for your swollen member. Yup, this is an actual game.

So if I'm keeping score, of the games that were new to me (so not Portal or Tomb Raider), only Timespinner, The Mummy, and The Messenger were awesome. That's a pretty bad ratio of amazing to... otherwise.

Most recent blog posts from Marc Golding...

honestgamer honestgamer - January 02, 2019 (01:36 PM)
You've been playing way more games than I have been! I'm hoping to review Super Smash Bros. Ultimate soon, and you've seen what else I've been playing because mostly I've reviewed it. Playing too many games at once tends to result in me not enjoying any of them as much as I might have otherwise. I'm not sure how you do all that juggling! And you're covering a lot of genres, which is pretty cool. Keeps things fresh!
Masters Masters - January 02, 2019 (01:50 PM)
Ha, I'm a bit out of control when it comes to Steam sales. I received a few Steam cards with good sums on them for Christmas, and I was gifted some Steam games directly as well. You're right of course -- too much dabbling and it's easy to get jaded and hate everything. That being said, the truly fun games should jump out at you. Even someone as inundated with games as I have been this year is able to recognize the greatness of games like Celeste, The Messenger, etc.
Masters Masters - January 02, 2019 (01:51 PM)
Bah. I should have reviewed Celeste when I first beat it. It's been so long now; that ship has sailed.
EmP EmP - January 02, 2019 (01:59 PM)
You really need to pick a couple and just grind though the first half hour or so. Or do more then beat a game on easy and forget it exists. I stand by Enslaved. It's a clumsy game in a lot of ways, but it has something about it that dragged me through. Just don;t be Bertie big bollocks like I was and play it through on hard. The combat's not put together well enough for that. I also recently finished the last of the Blackwell games. Really enjoyed them all.

Also. Alltynex > Raystorm. There; I said it
honestgamer honestgamer - January 02, 2019 (02:01 PM)
It's amazing how long a few weeks or months is when a person routinely spends time playing, writing and thinking about games. I need to hurry up and review Mark of the Ninja Remastered before I play too many other games and my thoughts on that experience slip out of my mind like water through a cheesecloth.
Masters Masters - January 02, 2019 (02:04 PM)
Ha. You may have said it, but that doesn't make it true. The Alltynex games don't look as good, sound as good, or play as good as the RayForce games. It's not even particularly close. But! They are the next best thing, I'll give them that.

You're right about sticking with a few and investing some real time... but in an age when we don't have to do that because we have so many options, games really have to stand out right away. There's no opportunity for the slow burn variety to shine -- there's no patience among gamers.

I AM gonna give your Broken Sword a real, serious sit down though.
Masters Masters - January 02, 2019 (02:20 PM)
Jason: water through a cheesecloth? Don't think I've heard that one before. What in the world is a cheesecloth? But yeah, your thoughts on a given game don't stay sharp for very long. I guess you can get around that by writing notes at the time...
honestgamer honestgamer - January 02, 2019 (02:33 PM)
I think I coined a phrase, Masters. I looked on Google, and didn't get any results for "like water through a cheesecloth." Do you think it'll catch on? Probably not. But anyway, a cheesecloth is used for straining purposes, primarily in cooking. If you have a fine substance that would pass through a conventional strainer, the cheesecloth could be your friend.
overdrive overdrive - January 03, 2019 (08:34 AM)
Hey! I thought Magicians and Looters was at least decent! It might have been partly because the last couple Xbox 360 indie games I'd played were absolute trash and it was competent, but it did have some parts that worked for me. At least before I nearly rage-broke my controller fighting the damn jester!

But yeah, this is like what my "what I'm playing" list looked like 2-3 years ago. Things are a lot simpler now, although they need to be more simple than my current 5-at-once. I'm noticing that two of them are getting a ton of attention (Kingdom Hearts: The Story so Far, PS4; Kingdoms of Amalur then and Borderlands 2 now, 360), one is getting semi-frequent time (Avadon 3: Warborn, Steam) and the other two sort of get played here and there, which is a shame for at least Spyro: Year of the Dragon, as I dig that game a good bit, but only seem to do a level or two every other week because I'm so focused on the PS4 and 360 stuff.
Masters Masters - January 03, 2019 (09:00 AM)
Good to see you're alive and well! We all assumed you were recovering somewhere after a heavy New Years Eve drinking binge.

Yeah, you're right, I'd characterize Magicians and Looters as competent. But when compared to good metroidvanias -- and Steam has a bunch -- probably not worth your time.

I'd always heard good things about Borderlands 2, I should probably give it a try.
overdrive overdrive - January 03, 2019 (09:25 AM)
Today's my "rejoin the living" day after two of recovery!

The weird thing about Borderlands 2 is that of those three 360-era games, this one had far more DLC than the other two (4 big ones, 5 tiny ones, 2 characters and one that's just an arena without a real story to go with it). So if you have the Triple Pack like I do, which includes all the DLC, you'll find that 1 of the large ones is on the Borderlands add-on pack and another is on the Pre-Sequal add-on pack, which means you have to download from 4 different discs to get everything on your hard drive. Took 45 minutes or so just to shoot one damn thing!

Things have gotten better since then. Game's a good bit tougher than the first at the beginning. Enemies actually put real effort into not standing in front of your sights while you shoot them repeatedly.
Masters Masters - January 03, 2019 (09:40 AM)
Ha, so we were all right. Emp predicted we'd see your RotW sometime in February.

I tried Borderlands 1 and thought it was pretty good, but I realize the sequel is way more celebrated. I'll check it out on sale. Clearly I have enough on my plate where I'm in no rush.

Emp will be happy to know I gave Broken Sword a try and I'm sticking with it. For now. Pretty good! Much better than the Blackwell game.
overdrive overdrive - January 03, 2019 (12:57 PM)
It will be tomorrow!!! Late by the standards of the new, improved Rob; but pretty good by the old, lazy Rob standards! It would have been today, but shockingly, not being in the office since last Friday did mean I had some work to catch up on before I could do the work that it was regularly scheduled to do. It'll be funny if I find out I only had 3-4 reviews to go through and it took this long, but I don't even know if that's the case; haven't taken the time to look yet.
Masters Masters - January 03, 2019 (01:36 PM)
There are 7, I believe, which sounds worse than it is because 3 are by CptRetroBlue and 2 are by Venter. So there are only 4 unique authors -- the RotW version of musical chairs.
CptRetroBlue CptRetroBlue - January 03, 2019 (06:24 PM)
That's a mighty list you got there

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