To start things off, I will disclose that I am not too familiar with the Penny Arcade web comics or even the website itself. I have seen a small amount of the web comics but they did not seem to have any effect on the game itself for me. I would assume that big fans of the web comics may get a bit more out of this game. Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain Slick Precipice of Darkness: Episode One, or simply Penny Arcade Adventures as I will refer to it from now on, is really not good enough to appeal to anyone who is not a big Penny Arcade fan. The game unsuccessfully tries to combine elements of point and click adventure games with turn based RPGs, and ends up as a game that fails as either of them. It is not necessarily a bad game, but I would not recommend it unless you are a hardcore Penny Arcade fan.
Exceed – Gun Bullet Children was a game that was originally released in 2005 in Japan. It did not get an official US release until 2012 when it, along with its two sequels, were published by Capcom and released on Steam and Desura. All three games in the series had their release on March 29th 2012. The first game in the eXceed series, eXceed Gun Bullet Children, was actually designed by a different developer then the second and third games in the series. It is easy to tell this based on how Gun Bullet Children plays when compared to its sequel. While I have yet to play the third game as of the time this is being written, I have played the second game and can make comparisons between the two. The main difference is that Gun Bullet Children is much more difficult and simplistic than Vampire REX. Generally I would be quicker to point to eXceed 2nd – Vampire REX for a recommendation than I would Gun Bullet Children, but the latter is still a good game in its own right, and for $3.00, it is worth checking out.
One may have noticed that a lot of indie platformers tend to go with a retro aesthetic as of late. On one hand, one could see this as a way to capture the feelings of platformers of the time and are missing in games today. On the other hand, one could see them as a way of cashing on nostalgia from older gamers while simultaneously avoiding innovation and saving on the graphics budget. You Have to Win the Game is somewhere in between those two. One obviously cannot claim it is a cash in due to it being free to play and I don’t doubt there was a legitimate vision set for this title. However it is clear that this vision was a rather bland one.
Right from when you start up you can tell this game is trying way too hard to be a 1980s PC title. The first thing you hear is loud typing noises as the title is typed out automatically. You are given absolutely zero plot or back story in this game and your only motivation is, as the title says, “to win the game.” As far as I know, there isn’t even a story given for the game on its Steam page, just play it because they say so. I admit it is rather petty to really complain about this and I don’t even consider it a flaw; just more of an indication.
Recently I decided to play through the original Metroid on a whim. I have a specific set of games I want to play through but I always tend to deviate from that schedule eventually. The reason why I decided to was because I have actually never played the first Metroid before this. I have played through Super Metroid, Metroid Prime, and Metroid Fusion before but not the original. Granted I could have just played the remake Metroid: Zero Mission for the GBA but I wanted to see how the series started. I wanted to play through the first Metroid just so I can ask, has it held up?
The answer to that the original Metroid does in fact pass the test of time, but it does so with a C minus. I did have fun with Metroid but there was a lot of shit that really interfered with that and will be difficult to go back to. Nonetheless there is still quite a bit that puts this game ahead of mediocre clones like Legends of the Universe – Starcore even with the game’s age.
I’m not entirely sure how to feel about Dear Esther. I did enjoy it to an extent, far more so than I have enjoyed games influenced by its design. Specifically, I really enjoyed the graphical design and the music of the game, and the story actually had some layer of depth to it. Despite this though, I still did not find myself satisfied with it at the end of the day. It may be pretty, it may sound nice, and it may show some level of competence that was not shown in games like Gone Home, but it still does not change the fact that it is still a gameplay-less walking simulator that is over in less than two hours.
While the story does have some amount of depth to it, it is not a story that is particularly entertaining to see play out. The reason for this is due to the abstract nature of the plot. Dear Esther is not like any traditional form of storytelling that puts you in the perspective of a character and tells a story from his or her view. In Dear Esther, you do not even know who you are playing as or who the narrator is. In fact, you never see any characters in this game. There are no cutscenes or anything; it all just consists of walking forward and narration.
This review is going to be a bit more brief than the last hip hop album review I wrote. For these type of reviews, I usually prefer to listen to each track multiple times to properly examine them and to actually purchase the album in question in order to hear it in higher quality than on a Youtube upload. I cannot nor do I want to do that for this album, and I plan to express why.
And before I do that, I’m going to address the obvious elephant in the room. Yes I am a fan of Eminem and wrote a 5000+ word piece defending one of his most panned albums, and I stand by that. I do still plan to get around to writing about Kamikaze but I decided to listen MGK’s latest work.
Having been born in 1995 and grown up in the 6th and 7th console generations, I missed out on a lot of classic titles. I didn’t know how to use emulators at the time and I was always very careful using my money so I didn’t get every virtual console title I was interested in. For fucks sake I only just recently started playing through the Castlevania series. The issue that comes with trying to revisit these older games is that not only is there a fuck ton of them, but that new games don’t stop coming out either.
Then there are people like me who have backlogs with 900+ games and who is constantly watching all corners of the market for anything interesting. Gargoyle’s Quest is not quite as popular as a lot of the more fondly remembered classics of the time period. For those that don’t know, Gargoyle’s Quest is a spinoff of the Maki-mura/Ghosts ‘n Goblins series starring one of those little red demons that everyone hates so much. I kinda failed to mention in my review of Ghosts ‘n Goblins that the original arcade game was from 1985 and thus was pretty advanced for the time but likely aged poorly. The same can probably be said of Gargoyle’s Quest.
The Path is…. weird. I was considering just not reviewing this game because normally it doesn’t look like good form to say “Fuck I don’t know” in a game review, but that’s basically my thoughts on The Path in a nutshell.
For those unaware, The Path was the first major title of the indie studio Tale of Tales. Tale of Tales is basically the equivalent of if Coda from The Beginner’s Guide actually existed and sold his games. This was a major issue I had with the first game they released, known as The Graveyard. The Path is an improvement over The Graveyard in that there is actual longevity and an overarching story to it. There is actual shit to do and some aspects that are almost kind of like a game. But The Path is not any more enjoyable to play than The Graveyard.
Ghosts ‘n Goblins was always infamous for being one of the hardest games ever made. That statement is pretty much 100% accurate, Ghosts ‘n Goblins is so difficult that it is only on the border of how difficult a game can be while still being playable. One should note that I am using the word “difficult” and not “challenging.” The reason I say this is because being challenging is generally a good thing as it implies that a game brings you up to its own level by being demanding and through its design.
Ghosts ‘n Goblins, on the other hand, is just difficult in the sense that it is very patience trying and unfun. Before I hear the parade of apologists proclaiming “git gud” I should make it clear that I did beat this game twice, and yes I am counting it as twice regardless of that stunt they pulled the first time. Ghosts ‘n Goblins may be beatable, but it isn’t exactly an enjoyable game to play. Most players will be having far more frustration than fun and beating it serves no purpose other than bragging rights.
It really blows my mind that any developer could release a game like The Graveyard and think it is a good idea. I do not even mean that in the sense that it was an incomplete game; I mean that as in this game was dead on arrival (no pun intended). In concept, one can already tell that The Graveyard does not even attempt to be a good game. I will do my best to keep this review from devolving into a rant, but I cannot make any promises.
In The Graveyard, you play as an old woman who is walking slowly to a bench. You then sit down on the bench, wait for five minutes while a very bland and droning song sang in German plays. Afterwards, you get up and walk out of the graveyard; that’s it. One may naively think that I am just being snarky and leaving out exactly how these events occur, but I am not. That is literally all that happens in this game.