Games Beaten 2024

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Raging Justice
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Re: Games Beaten 2024

Post by Raging Justice »

PartridgeSenpai wrote:
18. Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit (PC)

This is a game I’ve owned on PSN for absolutely ages via my PS3, but the one time I tried to play through it years ago on that, it crashed like 30 minutes in and I had to give up XD. I got it free on Steam some time ago, so it’s been something I’ve been meaning to get to for a while, and it ended up being what I decided to do with the rest of my evening that Sunday night. It took me a little under 5 hours to beat the English version of the game using an Xbone controller.

Hell Yeah is the story of Ash, the skeletal rabbit that’s the prince of hell. After a paparazzi scandal catches him in a compromising position and he sees that there are 100 whole hits on it online (2012 was truly a different time XD), he vows to just go out and kill 100 demons, thereby *certainly* getting rid of everyone who’s seen the photo. It’s a very silly game that feels like a NewGrounds game that got an unlimited budget, and it absolutely drips late-era XBLA energy from every pore. Despite some references and such in the comedy being a bit dated (as one would expect in a comedy game from over a decade ago), I was very surprised at just how well the game’s comedy has aged. It’s a bit graphic for the sake of it, of course, but nothing that made me too uncomfortable, and I’m usually a huge baby about that kind of thing (so it must be fine XD). I was shocked to learn that it was made by a French studio, since it’s such a funny game in English I thought for sure that it must’ve been written by native speakers, but it’s a really cool and fun thing to be wrong about~. It’s a delightfully quotable game that sets out to be irreverent and ridiculous, and it accomplishes that fantastically as far as I’m concerned.

Gameplay-wise, Hell Yeah is a pretty darn competent action/adventure platformer too! It’s not quite a metroidvania, as even though you’ve got upgrades slowly throughout the game and do return to some areas later, the whole experience is very guided and linear. Even returning to areas is laid out to you explicitly, so it’s not something you need to remember to do or anything. Ash has his blade wheel/jetpack he rides around in and a whole bunch of guns to kill demons and monsters with, and boy is he excited to do it! These demons are something between mini-bosses and environmental puzzles (depending on the demon), and you always execute them with a WarioWare-style micro game (that you take damage from if you mess it up).

The level design is super varied despite the overall simplicity of the controls, so it remarkably never gets boring despite how much of a similar thing you’re doing from area to area. It’s a few weird ideas that end up coming together remarkably well, and I was delighted by just how far above my expectations that this game ended up hitting. It’s not a terribly hard game, but it’s not exactly easy either. I found it to be a nice challenge, which means it’s probably on the harder side given that I’m pretty comfortable with this sort of thing, but at least you have super grenades and a few other nasty tricks you can grind a bit of cash for to help you out if you hit a particularly nasty roadblock of a demon.

The presentation is really fun! Everything has a very 2012 Flash Game vibe to it, but with the presentation of a proper (even Sega published!) XBLA indie game. There are a ton of weird, wacky characters to run into, and they clearly had a ton of fun thinking up all of the areas and demons you encounter along your adventure. The music is also very fun, and it makes for a great backdrop to all the silliness and mayhem (with my particular favorite being the fake Euro-beat club song that plays in the club level x3).

Verdict: Recommended. It’s not a super incredible, must-play experience, but it’s really good fun as far as action games go! While not everyone will love the humor or the zaniness, if this sort of absurdity is your jam, there’s a lot to enjoy here. If you’re a fan of action platformers and absurdism with a bit of reference humor thrown in for good measure, this is one game that can make for a really fun weekend romp~.


Amazing to me how overlooked this is, it feels like a 16-bit era Sega game. I think the developer went out of business, and if this ever gets removed from digital storefronts no one will know it ever existed
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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2024

Post by PartridgeSenpai »

Partridge Senpai's 2023 Beaten Games:
Previously: 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
* indicates a repeat
1. Terranigma (SFC)
2. Eastward (PC)
3. Pulse (PC)
4. Lost Ruins (PC)
5. Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion (PC)
6. Dropsy (PC)
7. Call of Juarez Gunslinger (PC)
8. Pokemon Ruby (GBA) *
9. Secret of Mana (SFC)
10. Fire Watch (PC)
11. Bokura (PC)
12. Romancing SaGa (SFC)
13. Trials of Mana (SFC)
14. Castlevania Legends (GB)
15. SaGa 2 (GB)
16. SaGa 3 (GB)
17. Celeste (PC)
18. Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit (PC)

19. Celeste 64 (PC)

One of the main reasons I actually played through the original Celeste last weekend was because I had heard of this little game’s release and was really interested to try it (but didn’t want to just skip the original game, particularly when I already owned it XD). I’m a sucker for 3D platformers, and a free one that was getting rave reviews was obviously too good a prospect to simply ignore. It took me about dead-on an hour and a half to get all 30 strawberries and reach the place where this game’s equivalent of credits are without using any guides using my Xbone controller (and died 149 times in the process <w>).

This is very much a bite-sized freebie of a game rather than a full-fledged game, and it’s got a similarly bite-sized story to go with it. It’s been a good few years since Madeline climbed Mt. Celeste, but she’s paying a visit back there to meet up with old friends and work through anxieties she’s going through now that she’s taken on a new major challenge in her life. There’s not much more to it than that to say outside of literally relaying all of the game’s dialogue, really x3. Regardless, for fans of the original game and its story, it’s a very cool epilogue and it’s fun to see old faces again and what they’re gotten up to in the time since the original game ended.

Mechanically, that’s what this game is all about. As a way to celebrate the game’s sixth anniversary, the dev team threw this together in “a week(ish)”. What we have as the end product is the second world of Celeste reimagined as something akin to a Super Mario Odyssey level, with 30 different strawberries (acting as our moon-like collectible) scattered throughout the stage to try your hand at collecting. There are cassette tapes here and there as well, though instead of leading to whole new versions of stages, the B-sides of the original Celeste, here they lead to little self-contained platforming challenges (much like Mario Odyssey and Mario Sunshine do with their Cappy-less and Fludd-less challenges), and if you want all 30 strawberries, the game’s biggest challenges lie in those tape dimensions.

Celeste’s main mechanics are just about all here as much as they can be. While more technical things like wave dashing and wall bouncing are (mercifully) left out, Madeline absolutely has her jumping and dashing to aid her in this, and it translates very oddly to 3D. Now they made this in a week, so I’m not gonna be too harsh on it for not being the most polished thing in the world, but even still, it really takes some getting used to for how this game controls compared to the original game (or most 3D platformers, for that matter). Your movement is VERY heavily dependent on where the camera is facing compared to most games because of the relatively 360-degree movement you have (between your normal movement and your directional dashes), and getting used to your turning circle as well as just how generous your dashes can be are the bulk of the learning curve, so far as I experienced.

I actually originally found the game really frustrating, and I was going to call it quits with less than 10 strawberries as soon as I’d found the credits, but I stuck with it a little longer out of curiosity and found myself enjoying it more and more as I got my sea legs better established. I’m not sure you could really turn this into a larger game, at least in its current form. Compared to how much the original Celeste was a very “easy to learn, hard to master” kind of experience in 2D, its 3D iteration here has much more of a vibe of “starts hard, gets harder”. That’s not to say that this game is bad for being hard, but it’s likely going to be off-putting to even seasoned 3D platform fans with just how mean its level design can feel at times.

A lot of Celeste 64 involves navigating 3D spaces with little in the way of markers around you to help indicate where you are in physical space. You mercifully have a marker-line underneath you to help you platform in these harder bits, but even with that, the learning curve to go from awful to decent is a steep one. Again, it’s a game they made in a week(ish), so I’m not gonna say it’s inexcusable that it’s so unpolished, but the game we have is the game we have, and whether or not you’re going to actually enjoy the design here is going to depend at least a bit on how willing you are to put up with learning the unintuitive ways this game expects you to find your way around its world.

The aesthetics are absolutely delightful. The original Celeste already had a lot of clear inspiration from Mario games (both 2D and 3D) in its gameplay design as well as its aesthetic direction, but this game makes that even more clear for anyone who was somehow still in doubt about such things by the nature of the game’s title XD. The graphics do a great job of replicating the feel of old N64 graphics (with the character models in particular being very fun versions of the characters we knew so well in 2D from the original). The music also leans *very* hard into paying homage to Mario 64, going so far as to even mimic its sound font for the handful of tracks in this game (all of which are really good, especially given the brief time in which they were written).

Verdict: Recommended. This is a game that’s a bit too hard to recommend to everyone like I could with the original Celeste, but it’s still really fun! It’s short and it’s completely free, so the barrier to entry is incredibly low as long as you’ve got a controller to play it with. If you’re a fan of 3D platformers, especially if you enjoyed the original Celeste, this is absolutely one you don’t wanna miss out on as long as you don’t mind a bit of a challenge.
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Stark
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Re: Games Beaten 2024

Post by Stark »

  1. Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (English patch) - TurboGrafx CD - January 3rd
  2. Castlevania: Bloodlines - Genesis - January 5th
  3. Castlevania: Dracula X - SNES - January 6th
  4. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night - January 16th
  5. Castlevania 64 - Nintendo 64 - January 23rd
  6. Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness - Nintendo 64 - January 27th

7. Castlevania: Circle of the Moon - GameBoy Advance - February 5th

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Been too busy to write reviews, so I'm gonna keep this short and sweet and just knock these out. Apparently this was made without Iga and it shows a bit. The magic system is probably the biggest example of this; it's called DSS and you basically mix and match two cards to do various magics, some defensive and offensive. This is a bit of a mixed-bag, you won't use very much of the different types and it's just a bit too fiddly to want to switch out too much.

Otherwise the gameplay feels good and the music was decent, I enjoyed my time with it.

8. Castlevania Chronicles - Playstation - February 8th

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This is a fun one. It's a remaster of the game on the X68000 computer, which is itself a port of Castlevania for the NES. There is Original mode which is basically a straight port and then Arrange mode which has a sprite swap for Simon and Dracula and then CD-quality music. For me the music for Original mode is where it's at and the sprite swap is a "who cares". You can apparently enter a code and get the sprite swap and the original music in Arrange mode, but I couldn't figure it out. Anyway this game is extremely good and the best version of Castlevania for the NES, that I've played. Music is fantastic, super colorful graphics, and perfect gameplay. I also feel like they tuned down the difficulty a bit. Big fan of this.

9. Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance - GameBoy Advance - February 17th

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The graphics on this are really chunky? I kind of hate it. Everything has this solid line around every sprite. Another issue is there is a LOT of backtracking and confusion on what to do next. It does like a weird Castle A + B thing which alludes to Symphony of the Night but ended up being really confusing for me. Other than these few things, it's a really solid Castlevania game and it felt like a bit of a return to form, which is likely due to the return of Iga to the series.

Anyway, these are quite breezy reviews, so let me know if you have any questions!
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Re: Games Beaten 2024

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02/17/24 - Fallout 3 (PS3)

Fallout 3
I loved this game. I never felt so much control playing an RPG before.
I started playing this at the start of the year and had the game of the year edition for the PS3 with all of the DLC. Near the middle of January (before the steam winter sale ended) my 14-year-old son saw me playing it and then he purchased it for his PC. I was about level 11 when he started playing it and I was exploring everything and helping everyone I could. I was having a great time. By the time I reached the final part of the game (the escort Liberty Prime), I decided to go and do a bunch of side quests and DLC. I was level 18 and my son was level 8 and caught up to the same mission. At first, I was annoyed that he was just single-focused on the main quests and not exploring or doing side quests, but that is how he wanted to play the game. So we both finished the main story on Feb 10th with him finishing that morning and me in the afternoon. He was annoyed that I could do the Broken Steel DLC so he purchased the DLC and we both played through that as well. He beat it Saturday afternoon and then sat with me as I finished it Saturday evening. The best part was listening to him brag about how much better his PC is than a PS3 when playing the game and that his jaw dropped when I broke through using my science skills to have the security bots help me. He didn't have the skill or the option so he had to blast his way through the Enclave, security bots, and Reavers. There was something about sharing that experience with him and discussing the different ways to play through it that I will never forget. It was so fun we are discussing playing through a game again (together but not together) this summer... maybe Skyrim?
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Note
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Re: Games Beaten 2024

Post by Note »

Markies wrote:Overall, obviously, I absolutely loved Skies of Arcadia Legends. The original DreamCast still has that initial joy of playing it, so I don't know if it will ever be topped. But, for a better game, Skies of Arcadia Legends has it all. Since I loved the game so much, I am glad that I got to play both versions. But, whatever version you decide to play, each of them is an amazing game. If you like RPG's, this is one of the best ones ever made!


Very cool you went through and finished the GameCube version of Skies of Arcadia. I'm a huge fan of the Dreamcast release, so I might have to give this port a go sometime! Definitely one of my favorite RPGs as well.

PartridgeSenpai wrote:Verdict: Recommended. This is a game that’s a bit too hard to recommend to everyone like I could with the original Celeste, but it’s still really fun! It’s short and it’s completely free, so the barrier to entry is incredibly low as long as you’ve got a controller to play it with. If you’re a fan of 3D platformers, especially if you enjoyed the original Celeste, this is absolutely one you don’t wanna miss out on as long as you don’t mind a bit of a challenge.


This seems like a fun one! I don't play 3D platformers too often, but I do tend to enjoy them for the most part. I'll have to check out the original Celeste game sometime, and if this freebie eventually comes to Mac OS, I'd like to give it a go too.

Stark wrote:This is a fun one. It's a remaster of the game on the X68000 computer, which is itself a port of Castlevania for the NES. There is Original mode which is basically a straight port and then Arrange mode which has a sprite swap for Simon and Dracula and then CD-quality music. For me the music for Original mode is where it's at and the sprite swap is a "who cares". You can apparently enter a code and get the sprite swap and the original music in Arrange mode, but I couldn't figure it out. Anyway this game is extremely good and the best version of Castlevania for the NES, that I've played. Music is fantastic, super colorful graphics, and perfect gameplay. I also feel like they tuned down the difficulty a bit. Big fan of this.


I had seen this game for sale, but I didn't look into what it actually consisted of. Interesting to know it's a remaster of the original Castlevania for NES. I might have to look into picking this up if I come across it again. I also recently picked up Circle of the Moon on the GBA to finally experience that. Awesome reading your insights on these!

SpaceBooger wrote:There was something about sharing that experience with him and discussing the different ways to play through it that I will never forget. It was so fun we are discussing playing through a game again (together but not together) this summer... maybe Skyrim?


Great review, SB! That's so awesome you and your son played through the game on your own but around the same time so that you could talk about the game and the different methods to get through certain sections. I actually haven't finished Fallout 3. I received the 360 version as a gift around the time it was released, but it just didn't click with me at first. I'll have to go give it another shot one of these days. Hope you and your son have another similar gaming experience later this year!
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Re: Games Beaten 2024

Post by PartridgeSenpai »

Partridge Senpai's 2023 Beaten Games:
Previously: 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
* indicates a repeat
1. Terranigma (SFC)
2. Eastward (PC)
3. Pulse (PC)
4. Lost Ruins (PC)
5. Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion (PC)
6. Dropsy (PC)
7. Call of Juarez Gunslinger (PC)
8. Pokemon Ruby (GBA) *
9. Secret of Mana (SFC)
10. Fire Watch (PC)
11. Bokura (PC)
12. Romancing SaGa (SFC)
13. Trials of Mana (SFC)
14. Castlevania Legends (GB)
15. SaGa 2 (GB)
16. SaGa 3 (GB)
17. Celeste (PC)
18. Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit (PC)
19. Celeste 64 (PC)

20. CB Chara Wars: Ushinawareta Gya~gu (SFC)

This is a game I actually learned of via a Twitter account I follow that posts old Japanese video game commercials. This is a licensed tie in for an OVA series from around the same time, CB Chara Go Nagai World (with the “CB” being read “chibi”), and the footage from that used in the commercial was eye catching to say the least. It looked like a fun enough game from the brief amount of footage I looked up of it, and while it wasn’t a super common game online, it was thankfully one that I was able to score for cheap, at least. It took me a bit over 5 hours to complete the game on original hardware with extensive use of a guide video to show me where to go next.

The story is original from the OVAs, to the best of my knowledge, but it’s a very silly super-crossover of Go Nagai franchises nonetheless. You (the heroes, Devilman and Mazinger Z) are informed that laughter has suddenly disappeared from the world, and everyone is going mad (quite literally) as a result! This can only be due to the sudden vanishing of the mysterious power known as “Gag”, and it’s your job to get it back and bring peace and laughter back to the world! It’s a story as unserious as it is silly, and that’s all it really needs to be. It’s a fine enough reason as any to get a bunch of Go Nagai created characters interacting and being weird with each other, and it does a perfectly fine job at that.

The mechanics, on the other hand, do something significantly less than a perfectly fine job of anything. They’re so borked, frankly, that it’s difficult to even pick a place to start talking about them, but I suppose starting with the overall gameplay design is a good a place as any. The game is an action/adventure game, and a sort of Mystical Ninja (Ganbare Goemon) clone of sorts, with beat’em up-style 3D-ish sections intermixed with more traditional 2D side-scrolling sections. There is virtually no signposting of any kind, which is unfortunate (especially in the increasingly massive and maze-like later half of the game), but not unheard of for the time. Sure, it was becoming much rarer on the Super Famicom to have a game like that compared to how common they were on the Famicom, but it’s hardly an inexcusable design decision for the time (despite how vexing that kind of thing can be either way).

The big thing that makes this so much worse of a problem than it already is, however, is that the game controls *terribly*. Movement is very stiff, and having an unused face button while nonetheless requiring a double-tap to run is something I’m quite famously not a fan of. On top of that, the delay on your inputs is very noticeable, particularly for your attacks. You have a punch button and a kick button (with the jump button being only adjacent to the punch button, making jump kicking very awkward), and the delay for the punch is bad, but the delay for the kick is nearly twice as long as that. This makes the at times quite tricky platforming very annoying and awkward, sure, but it also makes combat utterly miserable.

Enemies are very fast and are very tanky. They can also nuke your HP down VERY quickly, and you get staggered almost immediately from virtually all attacks, which means you’re usually taking *three* hits before you actually get any invincibility frames. The game has a real problem with luxury animations on your already terribly delayed punching, kicking, and ducking, but just how long the animations are for when you toddle around after taking damage make already frustrating and unsatisfying combat a really miserable slog.

All isn’t completely lost, however, as this game has vaguely River City Ransom-like stat upgrades you can acquire by using consumables you pick up throughout the game. Even if, in an interesting albeit somewhat annoying twist (given how awful combat feels even when you’re winning), bosses are actually immune to your attack upgrades and take just as many hits to kill no matter how much power you have, grinding up some stats can make normal enemies far less of a burden, at the very least.

However, of course, this can’t be anything simple or fun. You, the player character, actually can’t carry any money. Instead, the game has a minion system, where killing a certain special type of enemy will recruit them as one of your minions. You can then send them as a gofer to go buy you an upgrade or healing item, or you can send them on a part time job to go earn some money to buy yourself upgrades at shops. There are various types of minions, with different ones having different multipliers on how much money they earn as well as different amounts of starting cash, but not much of that matters given that their main mechanic is waiting for them to come back.

Your minions won’t stay bossed around by you forever, and unless you’re blowing a lot of cash on giving them food to keep them happy, they’ll buzz off after a job or two. You actually have no wallet yourself, so that’s their cash you’re blowing, and there isn’t really a great way to keep your minions both useful and happy, so the best strategy I found was just using them until they left, and then going to one of their spawn points to pick up more minions. Shops and minions get increasingly hard to find and access as the game goes on, though, and my winning strategy was just to grind up 20+ kick power (it’s the most common kind of attack upgrade vs. punch power ups which I found to be much rarer) and 24+ defense power (enough that even the final boss will only be doing 1 pip of damage at a time) and some 18-ish max HP right at the start of the game. However, as mentioned earlier, all you can do while they’re gone is just wait for them to get back. I reckon I spent some 2 hours doing almost nothing right in the start of the game simply getting strong enough to take on the rest of the game, and with how tough the challenges that followed actually turned out to be, I was happy I took the time to do it!

This brings me to frankly the most difficult to excuse part of the whole game’s design. While the game mercifully has infinite lives & continues, and dying just brings you back to the start of the room you’re currently at, this game isn’t particularly short. This is a game that has a ton of grinding for stats, a fair bit of difficult/annoying platforming, and a lot of wandering around totally lost looking for where to go next if you’re not using a guide (all while trudging through the dreadful controls and combat). Keep in mind that it took me over 5 hours to beat this game even WITH using a guide on where to go next at every given opportunity, and I’m far from a novice at action games or platformers. Despite all of this, this game lacks any way to actually continue your progress after turning the console off. There is no save system, no passwords, no nothing. You beat this game in one sitting, or you don’t beat it at all. Even with how bad everything else is, this is some incredible insult to injury, as it would’ve made playing this even back in the day an awful chore, and it deserves complaining about now just as it would’ve back then.

Aesthetically, at least, the game is up to the standards of what I’ve come to expect from licensed early SFC games. The graphics are very nice realizations of the chibi characters they’re meant to be. Even as someone only really familiar with the super robot connected side of Go Nagai’s work, it was still always fun seeing just how a new character would be portrayed. Sure, there aren’t many animation frames, and those which are here are sometimes unwanted (like the luxury frames as you wind up a punch or a kick), but the sprites and environments look very nice for the time, and they still hold up well now. The music is also fairly good. There’s nothing super special to write home about, granted, but it fits the action well and it was never annoying to listen to, even in my hours standing around the first area waiting for my gofers to get back.

Verdict: Not recommended. If you hadn’t predicted what the verdict of this review would be by the end of it here, I have done a very poor job of explaining just how awful it so often is to engage with this game’s systems ^^;. This is a game I only really beat out of a feeling of obligation given that I went through the trouble to buy it physically, but the only real fun came from managing to overcome the BS it so often throws at you. I’d struggle to recommend this to even the biggest Go Nagai fan, as even then, I’d say it’s much more worth your time to just watch a longplay on youtube rather than actually subject yourself to the game itself.
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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2024

Post by PartridgeSenpai »

Note wrote:
PartridgeSenpai wrote:Verdict: Recommended. This is a game that’s a bit too hard to recommend to everyone like I could with the original Celeste, but it’s still really fun! It’s short and it’s completely free, so the barrier to entry is incredibly low as long as you’ve got a controller to play it with. If you’re a fan of 3D platformers, especially if you enjoyed the original Celeste, this is absolutely one you don’t wanna miss out on as long as you don’t mind a bit of a challenge.


This seems like a fun one! I don't play 3D platformers too often, but I do tend to enjoy them for the most part. I'll have to check out the original Celeste game sometime, and if this freebie eventually comes to Mac OS, I'd like to give it a go too.


Hell yeah! It's really fun, but probably something most worth checking out if you've already played the original Celeste. Mostly in terms of the story stuff, but also because it'll probably make the learning curve of the mechanics that much easier to deal with x3

Here's hoping it comes to MacOS soon! :O
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Re: Games Beaten 2024

Post by PartridgeSenpai »

Partridge Senpai's 2023 Beaten Games:
Previously: 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
* indicates a repeat
1. Terranigma (SFC)
2. Eastward (PC)
3. Pulse (PC)
4. Lost Ruins (PC)
5. Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion (PC)
6. Dropsy (PC)
7. Call of Juarez Gunslinger (PC)
8. Pokemon Ruby (GBA) *
9. Secret of Mana (SFC)
10. Fire Watch (PC)
11. Bokura (PC)
12. Romancing SaGa (SFC)
13. Trials of Mana (SFC)
14. Castlevania Legends (GB)
15. SaGa 2 (GB)
16. SaGa 3 (GB)
17. Celeste (PC)
18. Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit (PC)
19. Celeste 64 (PC)
20. CB Chara Wars: Ushinawareta Gya~gu (SFC)

21. To The Moon (PC)

This is a game I've owned for over a decade now (I checked! XD), after buying it ages and ages ago after hearing it was great, but then just never getting around to playing it. However, my wife recently played through the latest entry in this wider series, as it so happens, and we decided it'd make a fun date night for her to watch me finally play through this first entry myself (and it was~ ^w^). It took me about 4-ish hours to play through the main game, and then the two post-game mini-episodes took about half an hour or so each. I played the game in English with an Xbone controller on my PC.

To The Moon is a story about Niel and Eva, two doctors who work for a company that specializes in helping near-death patients greatest wish come true. They go into the memories of the individual, and they basically give them new memories that result in fulfilling that greatest wish. This particular story, as the title suggests, involves fulfilling a dying man's wish to go to the moon. The two post-game mini-episodes are just little glimpses into the larger world that they live in, and the main game is where the really meaty storytelling lies.

To The Moon may be just an RPG Maker game made in 2011 (and it sure looks like it too), but it's an incredibly well told and heartfelt story about grief, regret, and the complicated, flawed people that tragedy and trauma can nonetheless turn into people you'd never guess have a thing abnormal about them at all. This is the sort of game you could easily write an essay about the greater and smaller themes of, which I'm not going to do here, but I will conclude this section by saying that this game is a masterclass of drama in a limited medium. It accomplishes what it sets out to do spectacularly, and I'm honestly glad I waited this long to play it, because I don't think I would've had the perspective (or narrative analysis ability <w>) to really appreciate everything this game goes for had I played through it right when I bought it at age 17.

Gameplay-wise, there's honestly not a ton to talk about. There are some *very* light puzzle mechanics here and there, and there's a joke battle relatively early on, but despite being an RPG Maker game, this is much more a straightforward adventure game than anything else. That's fine, and honestly the game uses its medium very well to give you just enough interactivity in what's going on to help you get that much more invested in the story, but this is much closer to a visual novel in actual content than it is to another notable RPG Maker game like Lisa: The Painful is.

Aesthetically, this game obviously oozes the whole RPG Maker style if you even so much as glance at it, but it's a deceptively meticulously put together experience regardless. There are some nicely done CGs, the music is excellent (particularly the vocal track), and I found so many little subtleties in the original character designs that I just loved. How a character moves their hands, looks their eyes to the side, tons of little things that inform about the people these characters are with all the deft you used to see in old SquareSoft 16-bit games. It's all excellently done, and it compliments the storytelling beautifully.

Verdict: Highly Recommended. If you're a fan of narrative-focused games, you've honestly probably at least already heard of this series, if you've not played it yourself already. Regardless, if this has somehow slipped your notice, you owe it to yourself to be like me and finally get off your butt and play it. Despite what the very RPG Maker graphics may suggest otherwise, this is an incredibly well told and constructed story, and easily one of the best bite-sized narrative experiences I've played.
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PartridgeSenpai
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Re: Games Beaten 2024

Post by PartridgeSenpai »

Partridge Senpai's 2023 Beaten Games:
Previously: 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
* indicates a repeat
1. Terranigma (SFC)
2. Eastward (PC)
3. Pulse (PC)
4. Lost Ruins (PC)
5. Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion (PC)
6. Dropsy (PC)
7. Call of Juarez Gunslinger (PC)
8. Pokemon Ruby (GBA) *
9. Secret of Mana (SFC)
10. Fire Watch (PC)
11. Bokura (PC)
12. Romancing SaGa (SFC)
13. Trials of Mana (SFC)
14. Castlevania Legends (GB)
15. SaGa 2 (GB)
16. SaGa 3 (GB)
17. Celeste (PC)
18. Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit (PC)
19. Celeste 64 (PC)
20. CB Chara Wars: Ushinawareta Gya~gu (SFC)
21. To The Moon (PC)

22. LOVE (PC)

This is a game so tiny that I debated whether or not to even write a review here for it, but it DOES have its own entry and such on the Epic Game Store (where it's one of many games I've gotten for free over the years), so I figure it's only fair to write a review for it like I would anything else. It took me about 30-ish minutes to play through the arcade mode and the extra levels beyond that.

LOVE is a little precision platformer with no story and no premise beyond just "do it as well as you can". In level select, you can play any level you want (of course) including 10 levels not in the arcade mode, and arcade mode itself is 100 lives and unlimited checkpoints to beat 16 levels. You can jump with A and place (depending on the mode) infinite checkpoints with B or X, though if the checkpoint gets killed by an obstacle, it disappears, and you're going back to the start of the level when you next die unless you place a new one. It's a neat little formula, and while I wish your hitbox was a bit more clearly defined (as there were many times I thought my little fella's legs made him wider than he was and I ended up falling to my death), but other than that, it's a well put together little thing. The graphics are simple but effective, and the music is jammin' too, so you've got a great atmosphere to do your platforming in, at the very least.

Verdict: Recommended. This is like a $3 game if you didn't already get it for free like me, and it's well worth your time if you like precision platformers like Meat Boy or such things. It's hardly a must play, sure, but it's a very well put together thing for what it is, and I understand this developer's other work to be similar in both genre and quality as well~.
I identify everyone via avatar, so if you change your avatar, I genuinely might completely forget who you are. -- Me
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Ack
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Re: Games Beaten 2024

Post by Ack »

1. Live A Live (RPG)(Switch)
2. Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion (Action)(Switch)
3. Pathway (Strategy [Tactics])(PC)
4. Rewind or Die (Horror Adventure)(PC)

5. Tomb Raider (Action Adventure)(PC)
6. Remnant: From the Ashes (Action RPG)(PC)
7. House Flipper (Simulation)(PC)
8. Might and Magic VII: For Blood and Honor (RPG)(PC)

After wrapping up Might and Magic IX and X last year, I felt a little break from the series was warranted. But with Popo playing through M&M7 in January, it felt like it was a good time for me to return and knock out yet another entry into the series. My hope is to eventually finish all of the mainline Might and Magic titles, and with this one down, all that is left for me to beat is VIII and X's expansion content. It's a goal borne from trying these games as a child and not fully comprehending them, only to rediscover them as an adult and fall in love with the series. I'll miss it when I'm done, but I'll also be damn proud of myself for knocking out another classic WRPG series.

Might and Magic VII starts with a scavenger hunt to own a run down castle. As new homeowners, you begin with home repairs and then end up embroiled in a war, followed by a second, significantly bigger war with much larger overall consequences for you as a player. While the plot does build on characters from previous games as well as the Heroes of Might and Magic series, having previous experience with those games isn't all that important beyond understanding some plot points that feel bare bones. Effectively, a previous party from an earlier game in the series has ended up on this world and split in two, now representing Light and Dark. The second war is their war as you have to pick who to side with, what spells, cities, and major quests and dungeons you'll need to do as you head towards the finale, and then...that's pretty much it. I went with the Light side because they get ridiculously overpowered buffs, and because this is a series where I never cared for direct damage magic attacks when I could just walk up and hit something with my sword. I am consistent above all else.

VII uses the same engine that VI used, which is where the major style split occurred that brought the M&M series from tile-based to fully open. However, VI is really open; VII instead limits the world down to hub regions where towns and dungeons are found. This introduces a style of world design that the series would stick with through IX, before X went back to a grid. Unfortunately, it also marks the decline of the series. One could argue that the series peaked at IV-V because they can be combined into a single, epic game, but VI is a worthy contender in its own right while bringing in massive changes. VII cuts back on the openness, and while it doesn't clamp down as much as IX eventually does, the dwindling of the world matches the dwindling of the series.

Plot has never been the Might and Magic games' greatest asset, but this one in particular feels rushed, especially the later half with the battle between Light and Darkness. The first war relies on timed events that the player can miss or choose to interact with however they want; ally with one side, double-cross both, do as you please. But after you make your selection for the second half, everything becomes straight forward. And then you notice that the major cities of the two sides are strikingly empty, with a lot of buildings that were never used. Add in that you're now spending this time backtracking through areas you've already been to numerous times, and it feels unpolished, rushed, and less vibrant. It's worth noting that if you're paying regular trips back home, you'll also see a wall occur in what you can do during this time. I had my construction completed, shops opened, secrets revealed, and even a guard golem put in place before I ever got up to the mystic Light city in the sky, so the excitement was more front-loaded.

Combat also has not changed significantly from VI, though that game had engaged in a major overhaul from the grid to fully 3D, so the game allows you to fight in real time or activate a turn-based combat system that works for bigger encounters and probably won't be relied upon as much towards the end of the game. It's a system that holds up well for the series. Another great thing I appreciate is how NPCs and hirelings are handled, taking a percentage of money but providing sometimes absurdly fantastic benefit to the player. You don't have to feed them, you don't have to worry about them dying or leaving, you just let them take their cut, which may be as little as 1% depending on the job they do. I kept one lady who identified items in my party and never worried about bothering with that skill ever again.

Unfortunately, almost all of the skills you pick up become pointless after a while; once you have Light magic, other "holy" magics are pretty much pointless beyond basic healing. Dark magic replaces pretty much all elemental offensive magic if you go that route. And once you have the Blaster skill and access to those weapons, all other combat skills are pretty well out the window, because blasters can be used in real time as machineguns that just melt foes away, and you can easily wrack up to hits of +50 or more, meaning you're going to hit, and that enemy is most likely simply going to die.

Considering how powerful these final skills and spells are, most of my time was spent exploring and doing all side content before I ever approached the end game, resulting in me being absurdly powerful but also giving no reason for me to need to explore the world after I finished the main game, though you have the option if you so choose. Since in-game card games were popular in the late '90s, there's even one here called ArcoMage that you can play in taverns across the land. Each tavern has different win conditions, and the game is heavily luck based depending on your draw (and there is no way to edit your deck or anything), so it doesn't feel nearly as established as you'd find in other RPGs like Final Fantasy VIII, but it's there if you want it to be.

Overall, Might and Magic VII isn't a bad game, but it's definitely the first step down of what becomes a slope towards the half-baked disaster that is IX. Eh, we'll see how I feel about VIII once I get there, but if you're a fan of the series, VII isn't a bad place to conclude your journey. Just don't expect it to be as good as VI.
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