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Topic: Games You Recently Beat?

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MarioLover92

I finished Super Mario 64 via 3D All-Stars. I got every Power Star in the game.

Still a very good game overall and there's no denying that it left a huge impact on players, though it's kind of showing its time. The sense of discovery while going around Peach's castle is still awesome, and I think the majority of the worlds range from good to great. (Jolly Roger Bay, Big Boo's Haunt, Snowman's Land, and Wet-Dry World are a few of my favorite worlds.) A few of them drag on a bit too long though, particularly when it's nearing the end...especially Rainbow Ride. I really like the sky and rainbow aesthetic, but it's my least favorite world in the game. Riding those flying carpets is quite the waiting game if I do say so myself.

The tasks for getting the many stars are generally varied, which I definitely like. I also dig that the worlds/stars can be tackled/collected in any order the player pleases. The 100-coin stars are a bit of a mixed bag though. On one hand, it's a good opportunity to explore the worlds a bit further. Each world has well over 100 coins too, so just getting 100 is good enough, which is nice of them. But on the other, if losing a life, guess what happens? Yep, the coins have to be collected again. Not a particularly fun experience, but I guess it could've been worse.

The controls are pretty good, if a bit jank at points. (Example: if you wanna turn around, Mario will do a U-turn unless you're standing still. That can throw me off.) The camera/cannon controls seem to be inverted though. I haven't played the N64 original or the Wii VC version for quite some time, so I might be wrong about that. I did get used to it after a while, so it wasn't all bad. Speaking of the camera, the Mario Cam (which is toggled by pressing R) is actually really useful for narrow bridges. Back then I seldom used it if at all, but nowadays I found myself using it at those spots - that way I won't fall off.

As for the Bowser fights...let's just say I'm not a fan of them. Here, you gotta grab Bowser by the tail, spin him around like crazy, then throw him. Simple, right? Here's the catch: you gotta fling him towards one of those spike bombs - throwing him off the arena won't do any good. It's a real crapshoot, whether you deal damage or not. And in the final Bowser fight, you gotta throw him toward a whopping 3 bombs! Because that sure is fun, right??? I will admit that Mario throwing Bowser like that looks awesome, but doing this fight itself is anything but. Probably the weakest part of the game for me.

So yeah. There were definitely some rough spots, but it was a nice nostalgia trip for me otherwise. Graphics are pretty good (for Nintendo 64 standards, of course) and the soundtrack is great stuff (major shoutouts to the theme for Jolly Roger Bay and Dire, Dire Docks - such a super chill theme). Not my favorite 3D Mario game, but it did a lot right and it set the standard for 3D platformers to come.

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Tyranexx

I finished the Future Connected epilogue of Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition. Overall it was decent - it's more Xenoblade, after all, and totally worth playing - but it isn't as great as the main game. I won't be doing a full write-up this time as I covered the main game in full a little while back. I'll only be highlighting my likes and dislikes.

Likes: Exploring the Bionis Shoulder is, like with other areas in the game, quite fun and rewarding. Some of the introduced and returning characters are interesting, as are the quests (though many of them are also fetch quests). Both Kino and Nene are neat additions and have some entertaining exchanges between them, being siblings. I like Quiet Moments - the replacements for Heart-To-Hearts - and actually prefer them. It was nice to see Teelan make a return; I recalled his quest line from the main game and thought it neat that they at least touched on his research. Best of all was Tyrea's return and her and Melia resolving some of their differences and getting a bit of closure; I feel like some of this could have been handled a bit better, but it was still nice to see further character development for them both. (But WHY wasn't she made a party member? Missed opportunity IMO.)

Meh: Overall, the combat was decent and was just an extension of the system found in the main game. But I can't say I like that they took out chain attacks and replaced them with the Ponspectors; it was fun to find, complete quests for, and recruit them, but I disliked that their group attack mechanics replaced another that was nowhere near broken. I wish this had been optional. While I liked Kino and Nene, they're basically cute Nopon version of Sharla and Reyn, respectively. Not that there was anything wrong with that, but they just can't replace those two characters IMO.

Dislikes: I feel like the inclusion of the Fogbeasts and their effects on the former world of the Bionis/Mechonis[/spoiler] was an interesting step forward and wanted to know more. Unfortunately, after the epilogue's conclusion, much more isn't really discussed about these things or where they originated from. I suppose there's still some series potential there? I also felt that [spoiler]they REALLY fumbled Gael'gar badly. He had potential, but in the end he was just a one-dimensional villain (whose face, actions, and demeanor SCREAM it when you first meet him) who commits suicide for no other reason than...he's crazy? Mentally unstable?


It obviously goes without saying that fans of the main game, particularly fans of Melia, should play through Future Connected. It has many fine points, but it isn't quite up to the pedigree of the original. However, there are flashback scenes during the earlier parts of the epilogue, so it's highly recommended to play through the main game before tackling this cool sidepiece.

Edited on by Tyranexx

Currently playing: Secret of Mana (CoM/Switch), Pushmo

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MsJubilee

I finished Days Gone well; I finished it on Thursday. I just wanted to gather my thoughts on Days Gone and going to throw this out there. Days Gone is terrible; it's your run of the mill cookie-cutter garbage sold for $60. I'm going to explain why, so strap in.

Days Gone does not look good at all. In the beginning, yeah, maybe. But, after some time, you notice, most of the trees barely have any textures on them and the enemies. Some of the main characters are the only things that actually look decent(if their textures can load in on time.) It doesn't run well either; it runs below 20 FPS at times(entering one of the camps it drops to 10) worse in the later areas. It's fine when you're fighting a horde(which I expected to run terribly funny enough). To top off the technical problems this wonderful game has. It's glitchy. Enemies stuck on walls, textures not loading in cutscenes, bugs in the main missions(which is frustrating, I might add), AI is running around like chickens with their heads cut off.

Gameplay. I'll keep this brief. It's generic anything you have seen in any third-person game, you'll see in this. But, the problem is Days Gone tries too hard to mush these third-person mechanics in one dirty pile while not improving or bringing anything new to the already used up formula. It clashes with the result being outdated clunkiness, which is frustrating(not for the people who like this formula).

The writing and game length. I'll start with the writing. Oh boy, it's awful(generic), simply awful. Days Gone has so much pointless dialogue, cutscenes(you can't walk 10 feet without triggering a cutscene), and missions. I mean by pointless dialogue that this game throws you so much for no reason whatsoever, and it never goes anywhere. This problem plagues the mission (I'll explain right after this). This game wants to be a book(explaining every little thing, telling the player everything about the said character) but fails miserably at it. Now for the missions, oh boy! If you thought the writing was too much, get ready for the pointless missions. This game loves throwing you to the wild for everything or anything that involves one character(or any character for that matter). For example, get this knife or get this dog or my favorite, get a stupid radio. I can understand every game has padding, But when the main missions you think will further the story go nowhere is where I will have a problem. Here's an example, you find a massive horde, show one of the camp leaders about it, and tell him your idea. He agrees(now we're getting somewhere), and you find dynamite and all the tools to pull this off except one. But guess what? Some unneeded conflict happened a character that has acted very shadily betrays you(what a shocker), and you can't do what you weren't meant to do. Do you finish what the game forced you to do(in 8 missions) later? No, do the side characters finish the job? No, you get nothing. And that's the problem; you get nothing from these storylines. No satisfying end; you get a spit on the face and the game telling you "to keep it moving."

I was going to talk about the game length in my last paragraph. But I'll do it here. Days Gone is 40+ hours of just nonsense. That wraps it up. To finish this off, cause I hate this game so much, it made me hate gaming for a while(not joking). I would not recommend this to anybody, except for third-person fans (but there are better games out there believe me). I'm glad I finished this game; I'm glad I don't have to touch it anymore. Days Gone is a pointless jack of all trades master of none that was sold for sixty dollars. You want to play a game like this? Play The Evil Within 2, that game is magnificent. Days Gone can't hold a candle to The Evil Within 2 or any other third-person game. Bend Studios should be ashamed of themselves for releasing this hot pile of trash. Rant over, sorry.

I don't enjoy suffering alone. However, I don't mind making others suffer alone.

I'm reading PTSD Radio and In/Spectre.

I am playing through Sniper Elite 3(DLC as well) and Dishonored 2.

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Xyphon22

Finally beat Ever Oasis. It's a fun game. Not the most difficult, but I usually don't really like town building and things like that but it works well by being simplified and not really the focus (there were some booths that were always out of stock, but they never got mad or left. How nice of them). I definitely recommend it.

Xyphon22

3DS Friend Code: 5069-3937-8083

gcunit

I'd had Gone Home sitting on my SD card for a couple of months. Never played it before or knew anything about it other than it was one of those longstanding indie darlings.

I actually booted it up confusing it for To The Moon, which is a game I started on Steam years ago but didn't get very far and was meaning to have another crack.

Anyway, Gone Home... I can't say I'd recommend it to anyone unless they'd read about it first and liked the idea of it.

I started playing it and quickly got the impression that this was going to be some sort of horror experience, but it was much tamer than that. For a little while I was picking up everything, turning it over to look for hidden clues etc. and I'd read all the little snippets I came across, but after a while I realised none of it was interesting me, particularly the stuff about the Dad's career, and as the house just got bigger and bigger I couldn't be arsed with maintaining that level of investigativeness.

Fortunately the experience was over pretty quickly and I didn't need to worry about backtracking for clues I'd missed etc. Kinda bizarre that such a short, fairly empty game has garnered so much critical praise over the years. I thought the audio clips that are triggered as you explore were well performed, and I enjoyed the kind-of Easter egg things for Nintendo fans, but there's really no reason for me to ever play this again and I archived it immediately once the credits rolled.

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ChaosReddux

I have finally beat Ghosts n' Goblins on the NES, Ghouls n' Ghosts on the Sega Genesis and Super Ghouls n' Ghosts on the SNES. It was really a hard time for me ... I know these games from my childhood (born in 1985) but I have never played them. That makes me remember beating Battletoads on the NES.

I have beat God of War 4. Truly the best game on PS4.

ChaosReddux

NintendoByNature

Finally beat mario 64 via the collection. Over 20 years but I finally did it!

NintendoByNature

Magician

Asdivine Hearts

After previously playing through Antiquia Lost this game was a bit of a downer. Asdivine Hearts is the older Kemco game and it shows. The story, music, progression, combat system are all...fine. But at least Antiquia Lost had a slot machine quality to the gear drops, I was outrageously over powered at the end of that game. Here I was borderline bored to tears.

5/10 - A thoroughly middle-of-the-road jrpg experience. Kemco has done better.

Switch Physical Collection - 673 games (as of November 28th, 2020)
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Slowdive

Fully completed Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition. This game now takes the spot being my favorite Japanese RPG of all-time. Absolutely incredibly satisfying, from start to finish.

You can take me out of the '90s, but not the '90s out of me.

Tyranexx

Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest (Wii U) - Despite the age of this game, this was my first pass with it; I had fairly regular access to the first DKC back in the day, but not the other two in the original Rare trilogy. Overall I enjoyed this one and liked a lot of the new changes. This one was definitely more difficult; I think this may be due to it relying on trial and error more, that or Rare just assumed everyone had played the first game and upped the ante. XD It also did some things differently to decent effect, but those vertical platforming stages...ugh. Collision detection was improved, but it still isn't perfect.

I do find it ironic that Donkey Kong himself only shows up for about a minute in this game. Diddy is as fun to control as ever, and Dixie complements him in a lot of ways. Still, it would've been nice to have access to a more muscle-bound playable character.

Most of the game's OST is very much worth listening to. These are some of David Wise's better pieces. Although a comment I read somewhere seemed to summarize things well: the better the soundtrack for a level, the harder it usually is. XD Also, many of the bars in the Haunted Hall stage sound a lot like Night On Bald Mountain.

This game is highly recommended for platforming fans and fans of a certain ape, though it is indeed difficult. Many of the new ideas and changes here pay off, and there's plenty of replayability between all the collectibles and secrets. I also know there's a "true" ending that I didn't bother with as I didn't want to grind out all the coins needed for it.

Edited on by Tyranexx

Currently playing: Secret of Mana (CoM/Switch), Pushmo

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MarioLover92

@Tyranexx I still have yet to finish DKC2. I've beaten the first game and Returns (as well as DK64), but not the other DKC games. The fact that it came out on NSO is kind of encouraging me to finally finish the game, lol. But yep, as I said earlier...DKC2 ain't a cakewalk.

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Tyranexx

@MarioLover92 Lol It definitely wasn't! I believed you, but I didn't expect the difficulty to ramp up as quickly as it did. I was originally determined to only use restore points between levels, but that went out the window sometime in the third world.

The only Donkey Kong Country games I haven't played at this point are DKC 3 and Donkey Kong 64.

Currently playing: Secret of Mana (CoM/Switch), Pushmo

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Vinny

Raiden V. It's great to see a new game in this classic SHMUP series.
The problem is, there's a lot of non-stop dialogue that you can't turn off, with questionable voice acting and borderline engrish. There was a point where I just stopped paying attention to it and focused on actually playing the game. lol.

This blue eye perceives all things conjoined. The past, the future, and the present. Everything flows and all is connected. This eye is not merely seen reality. It is touching the truth. Open the eye of truth... There is nothing to fear.

PSN: mrgomes2004

RR529

Super Mario 64 (Super Mario 3D All-Stars - Switch)
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While many are taking the opportunity to 100% the game, I'll admit up front that I finished with 73 Stars, pretty much doing the bare minimum for completion. For reference, I had played it off and on as a kid via rentals, but this is the first time I've completed it (as a kid I only ever explored the worlds on the castle's first floor).

Gameplay:

  • A 3D platformer, and at the time of it's release the only one of it's kind, that introduced many design conventions that many games use to this day.
  • It takes place on the grounds of Peach's Castle, which acts as a hub world that connects the various worlds (which are housed within magical paintings, or other objects, such as a clock) you'll have to traverse in order to clear the game. The further you get, the more of the castle you get to explore.
  • There are 15 main worlds you're able to explore in the game, and each holds seven Power Stars to collect. These are the game's main collectable, and the more you collect, the more of the castle you're able to access. The game is pretty open ended in terms of it's progression, where even if you're playing one mission, if you find some other Star you're free to go after it instead, and there are nearly twice as many Stars in the game than required to beat it, so if you don't like a particular world or mission you don't have to push yourself to complete it (there are some exceptions of course, as if a world has a boss it'll usually only appear if you pick it's specific mission, and you need to beat Boswer stages to obtain keys to access different castle floors).
  • In addition to the to the 15 main worlds, there are also 3 Bowser levels (straightforward platforming levels that end with a boss fight with the big guy), 3 Cap levels (straightforward platforming levels centered around specific powerups, upon completion of which you unlock that power up for use in the main worlds, as some Stars require them), and the occasional hidden mini world which house 1 Star for collecting their red coins (Bowser & Cap levels also house a red coin Star as well). Along with a handful of Stars that are just given to you by Toads in the castle, there are lots of extras to find.
  • Thank goodness for it's open ended nature too, as the game is definitely rough in the gameplay department. Make no mistake, there's a great core here, and when things are going good Mario has a diverse move set that feels good, however the camera is finicky as heck & you often have to fight with it, and Mario is slippery as all get out which makes more deft platforming sections an exercise in frustration (also, the Wing Cap just flat out sucks. Great idea, a nightmare to actually try to controll unless launched via a cannon). I really think I did myself a favor by putting an end to it before reaching some of the later worlds which have reputations as absolute death traps. Granted, it apparently controls better on an actual N64 with it's stiffer control stick, but I'm not playing it on N64.
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    The top screen looks like a fair enough challenge, but as for the bottom? No thanks!
  • I personally had a really hard time with the Bowser fights too, as I just couldn't get the timing of when to throw him. I maybe could throw him into a bomb once for every 10 throws which isn't terrible for the first two fights which only require you to get him once, but you need to do it 3 times in the final fight, which really tried my patience (It probably took me 10 times to finally beat him).
  • To end on a more positive note, I actually found myself really enjoying the game's water worlds of all things (Jolly Roger Bay's eel mission notwithstanding). I generally had no issue controlling Mario under water, I thought they had generally good design, and they just seemed overall relaxing. Big Boo's Haunt was decent as well.

Audio/Visual:

  • While it naturally looks a bit rough these days, I think it looked pretty good overall cleaned up in HD. While they were probably impressive for their time, I don't think any of the worlds come across as anything particularly memorable today. I guess Shifting Sand Land & Rainbow Ride (and the other sky levels) were conceptually pretty neat looking, but they're some of the most irritating worlds from a gameplay perspective (Rainbow Ride in particular is one of those worlds that's so hard I really didn't try it). I guess I liked Hazy Maze Cave as a concept (and it had some of the trademark red scaffolding calling back to the original Donkey Kong arcade game), but it wasn't a particularly pretty world, even by SM64's standards. Again, I liked the relaxing vibe of the underwater worlds (even if Jolly Roger Bay looks a bit too drab when above water). There are some thematic stinkers though, such as Wet-Dry World (I think it's supposed to be a flooded city, but it comes across as a random jumble of floating platforms, which is a problem the first and last Bowser levels have too).
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    Some environments. I liked the underwater areas.
  • While it didn't particularly bother me, it's also weird in how "off brand" it feels in certain respects. While most of the iconic enemies (such as goombas, koopas, lakitu, and more) are present, as well as a few green pipes along the way, there are no "?" Blocks in the game (instead we get "!" Blocks), breakable bricks don't have their iconic brick texture, and series standard items like Super Mushrooms & Fire Flowers are nowhere to be found.
  • As usual, I don't have much to say about music. Guess it fits the game, though.

Story:

  • Mario gets an invitation to Peach's Castle only to find out that Bowser has taken over the joint and locked it up. Only by collecting the Castle's stolen Power Stars (which Bowser's minions have spirited away into magical paintings) can he further explore the castle & stop his old rival. Nothing more to it than that.
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    Bowser's at it again.

Overall:

  • There's definitely a solid core here, and it can definitely be fun when things line up just right, but there's definitely a lot of rough edges to cut yourself on along the way. Which begs the question, should Nintendo have given it a bigger overhaul? While their decision to make the collection as bare bones as it is was more than likely a decision based on frugalness, I don't think it's inherently a bad decision. If we are to posit that games are an art form, I think it's important that they should be playable in their original forms with minimal updates, warts & all (especially in a collection such as this, which is meant to show how the franchise has evolved over the years). Granted, whether you personally think that's worth the money is up for debate, but I think there's some merit to it, and should be tried out of curiosity's sake, even if you're just in it for the more modern titles.
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    I will say that as someone who only dabbled in the game during it's original release & hasn't much thought about it since, there was something satisfying & affirming about actually seeing it to the end, even if it wasn't the most positive experience at times.

Currently Playing:
Switch - Blade Strangers
PS4 - Kingdom Hearts III, Tetris Effect (VR)

Vinny

Nex Machina. It's a nice twin stick shooter from housemarque.
Lots of cool visual effects and explosions like their games usually have.

This blue eye perceives all things conjoined. The past, the future, and the present. Everything flows and all is connected. This eye is not merely seen reality. It is touching the truth. Open the eye of truth... There is nothing to fear.

PSN: mrgomes2004

Ralizah

A Hat in Time
Platform: PC
Completion Status: 40/40 time pieces and all missions cleared


Indie developer Gears for Breakfast's A Hat in Time is another one of the early video game success stories on Kickstarter. What was promised was a nostalgic throwback to N64/Gamecube-era "collectathon" 3D platformer game design, and, to the game's credit, that's largely what was delivered. AHiT has a very heavy dose of Mario 64/Mario Sunshine in its blood, although it also struggles to live up to the standards set by Nintendo's early classics in some respects. Although it can perhaps be argued that if a fresh-faced developer is being compared in any way to one of the grandmasters of the medium, that is its own sort of compliment.

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Players take on the role of "Hat Kid," a humanoid alien with the appearance of a small child dressed in a cape and top hat, who is confronted by mafioso demanding she pay a toll as she passes over a strange, unnamed planet. When she refuses, her spaceship is damaged, causing her fuel, portrayed in the game as "time pieces," to spill out over the planet, leading Hat Kid to become stranded on the planet until she can track down her fuel sources. While on the planet, she falls into the middle of a conflict between Mafia Town (a government run by and representing mafioso, apparently) and the troublemaking Mustache Girl, another small girl (who, yes, sports a mustache) who sports an unexplored resentment against said government. Mustache Girl agrees to help Hat Kid find her missing time pieces if she'll help to take down the leadership of Mafia Town.

The structure of this game is eerily similar to a 3D Mario platformer. In this case, the hub world of AHiT, which is Hat Kid's ship, which gradually opens up as you find more time pieces, and the space theme in general call to mind Super Mario Galaxy. Different unlockable rooms on the ship will sport telescopes which, when looked through, will grant access to different locations for Hat Kid to explore. Like in a 3D Mario game, each location is divided into a variety of missions, which also contain collectibles and offer the player a significant degree of freedom when it comes to exploration.

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One immediate contrast between AHiT and the games that inspired it is how original the level themes feel compared to almost anything else I've ever played. Locations in this game are pretty wildly diverse — you'll explore, of course, a large town filled with mafioso; a haunted forest where you quickly find yourself under the thumb of an evil supernatural entity known as The Snatcher; a gigantic free roam area composed of mountainous islands; and a movie studio where Hat Kid becomes embroiled in the fierce rivalry between two bird film directors.

Aside from the time pieces you'll acquire at the end of any given story mission in a location (similar to the stars and shine sprites you'd earn in early 3D Mario games), you'll also be hunting for relics, yarn balls, and rift tokens. There aren't a huge number of relics throughout the game's levels, but collecting and assembling them all will open up special "time rifts" (more on that in a moment), accessible via Hat Kid's hub ship. Yarn balls, when collected in specific numbers, will unlock new hats for Hat Kid, each of which grants her a special ability when equipped. Finally, rift tokens are least necessary, but will unlock cute little randomly selected bonuses in the game: some will change the color of Hat Kid's outfit, some will unlock special remixes of the musical tracks that play in given worlds throughout the game, and so on. The rather prolific dispersal of these (mostly) optional collectibles means that exploring the levels in these games almost always turns out to be worthwhile, and they can help to pad out environments that are otherwise rather sparse.

I'd also like to briefly mention the badge system in this game. As you explore various worlds in this game, you'll come across a creepy merchant (he sort of reminds me of the merchant in Resident Evil 4, actually) who you can buy various badges from with the in-game currency, orbs you'll collect throughout the game's various levels. You'll eventually be able to equip three of these, and they have a variety of effects: some wildly useful (drawing in items to you; breaking your falls; making it where you don't bounce off walls you dash into; etc.), some largely ornamental (one, as I recall it, will change the way people sound when they speak in the game), and some even largely detrimental to your health (one badge, in particular, makes it where you die in one hit, versus the four you can normally take). It adds a nice layer of customization to the experience.

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Some of Hat Kid's time pieces have broken and opened rifts in the space-time continuum. These special, bite-sized levels are accessible when the player locates an area where there is an obvious tear in space. Quite distinct from the coherent, heavily thematic designs of environments in story locations, the time rifts feature very sparse and abstract scenery and platforms. The aesthetics and gameplay of these rifts are HEAVILY inspired by the secret levels in Super Mario Sunshine, although, strangely, unlike that game, Hat Kid isn't deprived of her hat abilities (compared to Sunshine, where Mario is deprived of his FLUDD water gear and forced to rely on pure platforming skill to survive). These rifts frequently open up in previously cleared worlds after surpassing certain progress thresholds as well, which compels the player to revisit those locations to find the new rifts, which recalls the comet mechanic in Super Mario Galaxy. Interestingly, the game doesn't make it easy for you to find these rifts; instead, you're presented with pictures showing a zoomed-in view of their location, and that's the only hint you're given as to the location of any given rift.

In a lot of other platformers, this wouldn't be much of an issue, but AHiT's worlds, perhaps because they're low in number, tend to be sprawling. And this leads me into perhaps my first major criticism of the game: the level design is not great. As Hat Kid, you'll be forced to trudge back and forth across gigantic maps where everything sort of looks the same attempting to complete level objectives. Additionally, you don't have access to any sort of in-game map, so you just have to sort of muddle your way around, frequently getting lost in the process. The most irritating map is perhaps Subcon Forest, because, being a forest, it's difficult to tell where you're supposed to be going at any given time, but the world where the size becomes truly ridiculous is Alpine Skyline. Each island is enormous in and of itself, and you're supposed to navigate across multiple, complex islands to find a number of time rifts. It's probably easy to understand how the player can become turned around. Thankfully, the game features a built-in hint system in the form of Hat Kid's default top hat, whose ability is to point her in the direction of the nearest level objective. This often isn't helpful in missions with multiple objectives, which are usually the ones you'll want the most help with, but, early on, it can be invaluable when you're trying to find your bearings in these large landscapes.

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Hat Kid's moveset is simple, but the game uses every move in her arsenal to full effect. Thus, while the game doesn't allow for tremendously absurd displays of platforming skill, it does frequently force the player to consider difficult platforming tasks in the context of smaller and less complicated movements. Hat Kid often feels just barely up to the task of reaching distant platforms in her path. One thing I'd like to mention, briefly, is that the player's control over her double jumps feels great thanks to being able to mid-air cancel out of a jumping animation. Hat Kid is, more broadly, a joy to control: she feels almost weightless, controls very tightly, and there's a satisfying tactile feel whenever she interacts with surfaces in her environments.

With that said, I didn't encounter a weird problem in the PC version. The game controls well with a controller (I played it using Sony's DS4), but, at one point, my controller died due to forgetting to charge it the night before, and so I transitioned to playing with a mouse and keyboard for a while. This was... OK, but the issue I had was that the game, for whatever reason, doesn't allow the player to remap key bindings within the game, which is a VERY weird oversight for a game that started on PC. The PC version has even received the majority of the developer's attention via patches and DLC. If you want to change the default key binds, you have to exit the game and alter one of its INI files, which players shouldn't be expected to do.

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The game attempts to weave narrative in throughout the game's various missions, but these efforts often fell flat for me. As a result, the story/characters felt a bit underdeveloped and lacked emotional resonance. This became clear to me at the end when various characters you've met throughout gather to support you in your effort to defeat the final boss, and I was just left thinking: "I don't really know or care about any of these people." The designs aren't bad, and the concepts behind them are often interesting or creative, but something really got lost in translation for me, and it kind of took the air out of the game's climax, IMO.

In general, many aspects of this game are... just OK. The characters are just OK. The presentation is dated (although, given the efforts of this game to feel like a throwback, I'd argue this is perhaps more justified; it really does look like an HD conversion of something you might have played on the Gamecube or PS2). The music is perfectly acceptable, but never really stands out aside from the game's delightful main theme (linked below). The difficulty is pleasantly balanced, but it also lacks some of the memorable-ness of a 3D Mario game (I can cry about Mario 64'S jank all day, but its levels are permanently seared into my brain now).

The area where the game succeeds most fully, I'd say, is in terms of the personality it exudes. I expected the game to be cute and perhaps charming, but I didn't expect the writing to be so consistently sarcastic and funny. It's comparable, in some respects, to the Paper Mario games, except even your diminutive protagonist, despite her adorable looks, is quite the snarker. She's actually kind of a little brat at times! This is communicated in her body language, such as the way she'll stick out her tongue at mafioso when running by them, or in her optional "smug dance" taunt (itself a reference to a similar dance in Animal Crossing, another classic Nintendo game). But it especially becomes evident when you unlock a ground pound-esque ability and discover her secret pillow fort, which houses a diary. If you read the diary after any given story event or completed mission, you'll read Hat Kid's take on the situation, which is often... well, suffice to say, she looks adorable, but the personality perhaps doesn't match. It's a super fun little secret, though. The hub is actually full of fun little easter eggs and optional activities. My favorite is when you discover that a computer on her ship can play a sort of text-based adventure game. I mean, yes, it's short, and primarily a gag, but it's a great thing to just stumble across.

This also kind of ties into the game's great balance of platforming and exploration and the way it rewards player curiosity. There's always SOMETHING to collect in this game, and the collectibles almost all have some sort of larger gameplay function

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The game does need some QoL updates, though. It's really stupid that I can't look at the pictures showing off the location of a time rift when I'm actually loaded into a level. I kind of wish that worlds other than Alpine Skyline allowed for a free roam mode for when the player needs to go back to pick up collectibles, though. Most crucially, it's really frustrating that players can't go back and read previous diary entries Hat Kid has written throughout the game. And, thanks to the design of the game's mission flow itself, there are certain diary entries that can't even be viewed normally over the course of the game. It's a dumb, obvious oversight that should have been patched out. And, as mentioned before, key rebinding should be a thing in the PC version.

I do also want to mention that the third-person camera could use some work, as it has a tendency to get stuck zoomed in on Hat Kid, or even stuck on objects in the environment. Coming off Super Mario 64, I'm finding it difficult to get too worked up about this issue, as the camera in AHiT works well 90% of the time, whereas the camera in Mario 64 works well exactly 0% of the time. It's also less troublesome than the camera in Yooka-Laylee. With that said, again, the game could use some attention in certain places.

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So, at the end of the day, I think A Hat in Time, as the first game by a novice indie developer, is a resounding success, but not necessarily a top-tier classic like other famous indie games such as Stardew Valley, Undertale, and Papers, Please turned out to be. It's full of charm, wit, and, even if the game's inspirations are perhaps a bit too evident in the way its designed, it's still very solid in terms of the fundamentals you'd want from a 3D platformer. AHiT is also one of the few games from the explosion of successful Kickstarters in the early 2010s to release with a minimum of drama or disappointment associated with it. It's an easy recommendation for anyone who likes the genre and, hopefully, will lead to future platforming classics from a developer that is clearly swimming with talent and passion for the medium.

Edited on by Ralizah

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App

I just finished Super Mario Sunshine for the Nintendo Switch. And my final verdict is a tricky one to make. It has its fun moments, and quirky style which I love, and yet just feels very unfinished.

In fact, that‘s the one word I can give this game. “Unfinished. In almost every way it lacks something great. No checkpoints, faulty controls, and impossibly unfair stages. It’s also fair to admit Sunshine has almost no original stages. It’s all either Secret Stages, red coin missions, or blue coin shines (which mind you, takes up almost half the shines. Others may like those levels but I sure don’t.)

But taking away those oddities, you have a clever story, amazing graphics, and intriguing areas. I also would like to point out how worlds like Gelato Beach, Noki Bay, and Sirena Beach aren’t just mindless collecting. There’s a fun little story behind them, something I rarely see in Mario games.

Overall, Sunshine has many odds. But, I can’t hate on them because Sunshine also does great things no other Mario game does. I think it’s fair to rate the game a healthy 7/10. Not as bad as I originally thought.

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Switch Friend Code: SW-2940-3286-4610 | My Nintendo: Pikmin4 | Twitter:

lizardbish

I beat DOOM (1993) the other day and it still holds up a good amount. The final episode felt super disjointed and the difficulty was all over the place but still it was fun.

I also finished Ori and the Blind Forest and that just became one of my favourite games, it absolutely blew me away. Stunning.

Switch friend code: SW-7938-2538-6283
Now playing:
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Luigi's Mansion 3 (Switch)
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RR529

Over the weekend I finished up Trials of Mana (PS4)! Given how limited my PS4 time has been lately, it was a journey a few months in the making, even though the game (including post game) only took me about 30 hours.
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Gameplay:

  • A full on remake of a previously Japan only Super Famicom action RPG. It's pretty standard fare in terms of base gameplay, but the way you progress through the game has a pretty unique twist.
  • Upon startup you pick 3 of 6 characters (each of which fills one of the typical roles, such as Duran being the "Knight" archetype, Hawkeye the "Thief", Angela the "Mage", etc.), and while you'll run into all 6 on your journey, it's these 3 that will join your party on your quest (with the first selection taking the role of the "main" character). Your character selection determines where in the world you'll start the game, and ultimately, even which final boss you face (more on this later).
  • Battles take place in real time directly within the environment (no random battles here, though there are some scenarios, usually near a treasure chest, where a group of enemies will pop up when you get close), though there is a surrounding ring that denotes the "battle area". With a few exceptions such as boss battles, by pressing up against the edge of the area you'll build up a meter that lets you disengage the enemy & escape. More powerful enemy attacks will be telegraphed with a red area of effect, giving you a chance to get out of dodge before they hit (bosses will have some super powerful attacks that encompass the entire battle area, and you'll usually have to destroy some objects that have blue life bars in order to interrupt the attack, usually stunning the boss in the process). Also, you can only use up to 10 of any given item during a fight (for example, you can have 53 Cups of Wishes on you, which revive a fallen party member, but you can only use 10 of them in the middle of a fight).
  • During combat, In addition to basic light & strong attacks (with the latter being effective at breaking armored enemies barriers), you'll unlock a series of special attacks that are mapped to L1 + a corresponding face button (these use up an energy meter). By pressing up or down on the D-Pad you'll pause the game and bring up one of two ring menus (one of which houses usable items, the other your character's spells). You use L2 & R2 to switch between characters (this works outside of battle too, unless you're in a town, where you must be the "main" character), and you can dodge & guard too (though I honestly never did the latter outside of the tutorial).
  • When it comes to powering up your characters there are multiple ways to do so. The most standard ways are simply levelling up via battle experience (which works as expected), and obtaining new gear (in a pretty straightforward affair, the battle equipment available to you when you arrive in a new town will be unanimously better than what the last one offered). However, you also earn training points when you level up which can be spent on further stat increases, new spells, and "Abilities" (while the extra stat increases & spells are immediately applied/learned, "Abilities" are passive buffs that must be equipped once learned, and each character can only have 4 equipped at the start). While some "Abilities" can only be equipped by the party member that unlocked them, there's actually a good amount that can be equipped by any party member, no mater who you unlocked it with. The last and most important way to upgrade your characters is obtaining new Classes...
  • At certain points in your adventure you'll be able (and are expected) to transform your party members into new Classes. Doing so grants them a new look (though you can switch back to earlier costumes in the menu), massive overall stat boosts, a new special attack, the ability to equip 2 more "Abilities" than before (so after your first Class change you go from equipping 4 to 6, then up to 8 during the next Class change), as well as an extension of your basic attack combo. At every juncture you'll be asked to choose between Light & Dark transformations, each of which has it's own look & abilities (this doesn't affect story, as you're not becoming "evil" by choosing the Dark version of a Class over the Light version, it just changes the focus of the stat & "Ability" upgrades, such as a more attack focused upgrade versus a defensive one). New to this version is a 4th Class, which you can only unlock during post game, and doesn't have Light or Dark variants (it's mentioned as having the benefits of both the Light & Dark versions of Class 3, merged into one).
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    Class 1 & Class 3 forms of my party.
  • Fields & dungeons are pretty linear in terms of design, with only slight exploratory elements such as treasure chests off in little alcoves or a fork in the road that lead to different locations. Dungeons may have simple platforming elements, dangerous terrain such as poison/lava, very simple puzzles (such as flipping a switch to unlock a barrier), and occasionally an unlockable shortcut once you get far enough in (incase you have to leave & come back). Like with most RPGs of this type you'll eventually unlock sea & air travel which make traversing the world easier, and you are actually given the opportunity to choose your next objective at certain points, giving it some open elements.
  • Oh, there's also a character called Lil' Cactus hidden in most towns, fields, & dungeons (sometimes in two places in the larger areas), and you unlock certain perks for finding him enough times (such as free stays at inns, revealing the locations of unopened treasure chests on your map, ocassional doubling or tripling of battle exp, & more).
  • Also, you obtain Item Seeds (which come in different rarities) from treasure chests & defeating enemies that you can plant in pots at inns (and near select save areas) that harevest a variety of items (such as usable items or even equipment). Sometimes you'll obtain equipment that's better than what you'll get in nearby shops (by endgame I was unlocking better equipment through seeds than what was available to purchase at the best shop).

Audio/Visual:

  • It clearly doesn't have the budget of something like Final Fantasy VII Remake, but it has a bright & vibrant look that I really liked. Despite the fact that it's based on a 16-bit game, I found that the environments, while not really complex, played with verticality quite well (if I hadn't known beforehand, I don't think I would have been able to tell it's retro origins).
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    I couldn't think of one or two environmental pics to post, so I picked them all! You later cross in the shallows of the lake below, and the mountainous bridge high above.
  • The music fit the game I felt.

Story:

  • The nations of the world are growing closer to conflict, and as the main character you chose you set out from your home country to put a stop to the fighting. Not soon after you meet up with Fairy (a fairy named Fairy) who reveals that Mana (the world's magic energy) is waning, evil forces are on the move (likely behind all the strife), and only by obtaining the legendary Mana Sword can things be made right. The thing is there's actually three different villainous factions, and while you scuffle with all three on your journey, your party makeup determines which one becomes dominate and ends up the endgame villain...
  • Duran & Angela are after the Crimson Wizard, Reitz (spelled that wrong) & Hawkeye have to contend with Belladonna, while Kevin & Charlotte are up against some sort of marionette dude. If you choose a party that doesn't have one of those pairs (let's say Duran, Reitz, & Charlotte), you face off against Duran & Angela's boss by default.
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    The Crimson Wizard has been cornered.
  • Otherwise the game is a pretty standard JRPG fantasy tropes.
  • It does have a post game that's new to the remake that features a superboss that's the same no matter who you pick. I won't dwell on it too much due to spoilers, but it adds a couple hours to the runtime at most.

Overall:

  • Really just a great comfort food JRPG, and I had a good time with it.
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Currently Playing:
Switch - Blade Strangers
PS4 - Kingdom Hearts III, Tetris Effect (VR)

CurryPowderKeg79

Just beat Bulletstorm. Totally worth the $7.50 it's on sell now for. I'd give it an 8 out of 10.

Edited on by CurryPowderKeg79

(CURRENTLY PLAYING)
ASPHALT 9 (SWITCH)(425+HRS)
THE WITCHER 3 (SWITCH) (65+HRS)
(JUST BEAT)
BULLETSTORM: D.O.S.E (SWITCH) (???+HRS)
WHAT REMAINS OF EDITH FINCH (SWITCH)(2+HRS)
THE OUTER WORLDS (SWITCH) (39+HRS)

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