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StarTopic The 2024 Completed Games Thread

I beat Vampire Survivors, and I don't mean like "finally survived a 30 minute run". No I mean I beat the final boss, and got all 217 unlocks and 17 secrets of what's available on the Switch port, including the paid DLC. This is really the first roguelike I've ever gotten into, too about 50 hours to do everything.

Late to chime in, but this is really impressive to me. I've beaten the final boss, but nowhere near getting all the unlocks and I haven't played all of the DLC.

As for me....

1) Slay the Spire+ (iOS - Apple Arcade)

This may be cheating a bit...I rolled credits as The Silent, so I'm counting it so I get on the board for 2024. I've played much more of the Steam version, but even there I still haven't finished a run with all characters. As much as I enjoy playing this game, I'm still pretty bad at it 100+ hours later (between the Steam and iOS versions).
Late to chime in, but this is really impressive to me. I've beaten the final boss, but nowhere near getting all the unlocks and I haven't played all of the DLC.

As for me....

1) Slay the Spire+ (iOS - Apple Arcade)

This may be cheating a bit...I rolled credits as The Silent, so I'm counting it so I get on the board for 2024. I've played much more of the Steam version, but even there I still haven't finished a run with all characters. As much as I enjoy playing this game, I'm still pretty bad at it 100+ hours later (between the Steam and iOS versions).
A lot of the dlc content is really strong, and the dlc maps have tons of good passives that start of them, so you can get way ahead of the curve pretty easily. One of the dlc maps even has a room with infinite spawning enemies that drop golden eggs, so one run can get you +1,000 golden eggs which lets you get incredibly OP.
#7 - Mario vs. Donkey Kong

While everyone else was losing their mind over a non-existent Direct today, I had the opportunity to play the Mario vs. Donkey Kong remake, seeing as my copy arrived a day early. Roughly 7 hours later, and overall, I'm pretty happy with what they've done here.

The game shares the same premise as the original - Donkey Kong is enamoured by the Mini-Mario toys, finds they're out of stock, breaks into the Mario Toy Factory and proceeds to run off with some of them. This time, the story is told through some charming, fully-animated cutscenes; these look pretty great, although some of Charles Martinet's ad-libs are gone. The game itself has a new visual style somewhat akin to Super Mario 3D World in Super Mario Maker 2, which looks much cleaner and makes levels easier to read - the original GBA game was never a looker in my opinion, given its pre-rendered art style. It does feel a little bit "brand Mario" at times, but it gets the job done.

The music has also seen an overhaul, with many themes sounding orchestrated or as if they were performed by a "big band" (also like Super Mario 3D World). Most sound great, particularly Spooky House 3 and Mystic Forest 2 & 3. There's also more variety in the music for the Donkey Kong fights, which is a welcome change. The only themes I wasn't a fan of particularly were those in Fire Mountain, which sounded a little too orchestral and foreboding for my taste (as they clash with the rest of the OST).

The gameplay itself is mostly unaltered. Mario can jump, perform handstands, side-flip, and pick up / throw objects; compared to DK94, the game makes better use of these moves, often requiring them to progress - although this comes at the expense of being able to find your own solutions to many of the puzzles in the levels. The only difference from the original is that Mario seemingly can't die from fall damage - he'll just be stunned temporarily. I have no particular view on this change, though I know it has bothered some. Levels themselves make heavy use of coloured blocks and colour switches for progression, with the 2 new worlds introducing some new mechanics which are also affected by the colour switches.

Merry Mini-Land is the standout of the new content: the puzzles here are interesting, with some great use of air currents, particularly in its Plus variant. Slippery Summit is also quite good, with some solid platforming, although I did get a little tired of the ice controls by the time I faced off against DK. Both worlds have a DK fight and Plus variant; they're slotted into the main game as World 4 and World 6 (with everything else moving forward, so Twilight City is now World 8). Their placement feels apt, as a critique of the original game is that the early content can be rather simple; Merry Mini-Land is well placed as it begins to increase the level complexity at just the right time. In all, the new content is very good; some of the strongest levels in the game!

In terms of other new content, there's also some new Expert levels (giving 16 in total), plus a Time Attack mode. When unlocked, it simply pits you against a target time for each level - failure to finish in time results in death. The early worlds are fairly lenient, but the later levels get much tighter; I often had no more than 5 or 6 seconds spare time left, i.e., leniency for only a single missed cycle or so. These target times also account for the removal of fall damage, and act as a solid replacement for the score system and high-scores of the original game. Lastly, the bonus game has been revamped: instead of "pick a box" after each level, bonus levels appear in a similar manner to Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker - when they appear, you have to chase a key to open a chest with five 1-Ups inside. Much better!

There's also co-op, which I gave a brief try: it works rather well, with levels adapted for 2 players. Asides from a second key being required to unlock the door in each level, minor tweaks are made to levels which require teamwork to get past - I'm sure parents and children will enjoy this mode. Younger players will also appreciate the Casual mode, which gives some extra hits and removes the timer in levels, though I didn't use this.

In all, this is a solid remake. The new content is great, there's a good amount of replayability in co-op and Time Attack, and the new graphics and music are mostly rather good. An easy recommendation if you like DK94.


  1. Yooka-Laylee (05/01/2024, 7/10)
  2. Buckshot Roulette (06/01/2024, 8/10)
  3. Another Code: Recollection (19/01/2024, 8.25/10)
  4. Saga of the Moon Priestess (24/01/2024, 7/10)
  5. Super Kiwi 64: Doomsday [Update] (26/01/2024, 7.5/10)
  6. The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons (03/02/2024, 8/10)
  7. Mario vs. Donkey Kong (15/02/2024, 8/10)
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6. The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages (NSO)
Being a little lazy because it's bed time, so I'll quote myself from the general discussion as a summary of my experience with Fujibayashi's 2D Zeldas:
Sometimes while playing Oracle of Ages I'm like "gah! I have to do the exact thing in the exact order, with only the most minimal guidance! How annoying and frustrating and silly!"

And sometimes while playing Oracle of Ages I'm like "ha! I have done the exact thing in the exact order, with only the most minimal guidance! How astonishing and fun and satisfying!"

That sequence of 3 locked doors in the seventh dungeon can rot in hell, though I do frequently delight in how tightly engineered the GameBoy Zeldas are.
And, well, there was a lot I loved playing the linked Oracles for the first time. Not much is added, but I think it hangs together, and the additional boss fights are a good Final challenge. Broadly, I really love this iteration of Link as a wandering adventurer, including the implication at the end that he's sailed off to more adventures.

I'd love to see 2D Zelda make a quirky comeback with yet another new Kingdom to explore.

1. Super Mario RPG (Switch)
2. Metroid Fusion (NSO)
3. Super Mario 64 (3D All-Stars, Switch)
4. Dredge (Switch)
5. Baten Kaitos I (Switch)
6. The Legend Of Zelda: Oracle of Ages (NSO)
• A Highland Song
• Baldur's Gate 3
Baten Kaitos I
• Baten Kaitos II
• EarthBound
• Final Fantasy II
• Final Fantasy III
• The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages
• Metroid Fusion

• Star Ocean The Second Story R
Super Mario 64
• Super Mario Sunshine
• Super Mario Galaxy
• Super Mario 3D World (+ Bowser's Fury)
• Super Mario Odyssey
• Chants of Sennaar
• Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown
• Ristar
• Crusader of Centy
1. Tekken 8 Story Mode - 8/10

It's utter nonsense, and essentially closed off to any series newcomers like me. That being said, I'd be lying if I said I didn't get invested. Sometimes execution and the rule of cool trumps all, and there were a number of moments which were legitimately exciting.

I think it also helps that it's a very earnest tale. It knows it's silly but it's take itself seriously enough not to be a joke. Plus it's only a few hours long, so the investment is minimal.

Tekken 8 is fantastic btw. I feel like I've chosen a good time to get into fighting games over the past year.

2. Baldur's Gate III - 10/10

Over 100 hours later and I finally finished this last night. I've been plugging away since September, with some other games taking my time in the interim.

It's hard to really add more to what has already been said. It truly is a magnificent game, and a worthy GOTY winner. It tickles that Mass Effect itch that has been long dormant for me, with one of the most memorable casts for a videogame in yonks.

I kinda see this game and TOTK as prime examples of how you can encourage player agency in completely different ways. While there is a linear path, it feels like the most malleable path I've ever seen in a game like this. Almost every player choice is accounted for and has a substantial impact on the world and its characters.

Add in some phenomenal production values and it isn't hard to see how this game stole the zeitgeist last year. Neil Newbon is utterly captivating as Astarion, and the script compliments his and everyone else's performance almost perfectly.

Much like TOTK there are flaws. I'd argue there is a lack of polish that is still being seen to today. Nothing game breaking but there are definitely moments where the game buckles under the weight of its ambition and the immersion can be broken at times. I'd also argue that the game doesn't do a particularly good job of explaining its mechanics, though the game is forgiving enough for this not to be a major problem.

It's just brilliant, and has made me very interested in seeing what Larian do next.

...I won't lie though. I am happy to have finally finished it, hopefully now I can actually make some inroads into my backlog.

Karlach for Smash please Sakurai.
January ended, time for an update!

4. Portal Stories: Mel (NEW) | 7/10
5. Golden Sun (NEW) | 5.5/10 | (this one's going to give me problems lol)
6. Prince of Persia: Sands of Time (NEW) | 7/10
7. Donkey Kong (1994/GB) (NEW) | 8/10
8. DARQ (NEW) | 7.5/10 | (+ DLCs "The Tower" (7/10) and "The Crypt" (7/10))
9. Celeste 64: Fragments of the Mountain (NEW) | 7/10 | (every strawberries)
10. Golf Peaks (NEW) | 7/10 | (every levels completed)

What a month! Was so good to discover so many cool games! And somehow I managed to finish 10 times more games than in last year's january, since I only finished Bayonetta 3 back then.

I also managed to complete every last substories I had to in Yakuza 3, just half an hour ago. Now it's time to think about Yakuza 4... Probably during february.

And I still have so many games I want to play... The Medium, Little Nightmares and Demon Turf are the first ones to come into my mind for the start of this month.

  1. Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon (NEW) | 7.5/10
  2. Otxo (NEW) | 8/10 | (one run completed)
  3. Dead Cells (NEW) | 8.5/10 | (one run completed ; without DLCs)
  4. Portal Stories: Mel (NEW) | 7/10
  5. Golden Sun (NEW) | 5.5/10 | (this one's going to give me problems lol)
  6. Prince of Persia: Sands of Time (NEW) | 7/10
  7. Donkey Kong (1994/GB) (NEW) | 8/10
  8. DARQ (NEW) | 7.5/10 | (+ DLCs "The Tower" (7/10) and "The Crypt" (7/10))
  9. Celeste 64: Fragments of the Mountain (NEW) | 7/10 | (every strawberries)
  10. Golf Peaks (NEW) | 7/10 | (every levels completed)
Mid february update!

11. Little Nightmares (NEW) | 6/10 | + DLCs (The Depths 6/10 ; The Hideaway 5/10 ; The Residence 6.5/10)
12. Demon Turf (NEW) | 6/10
13. Demon Turf: Neon Splash (NEW) | 8/10
14. Very Little Nightmares (NEW) | 4.5/10
15. Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown (NEW) | 9/10
16. Banjo-Kazooie (NEW) | 6.5/10 | (100%)
17. Macbat 64 (NEW) | 4/10 | (every levels completed)
18. Kiwi 64 (NEW) | 5/10

Strange month so far. PoP Lost Crown and Demon Turf Neon Splash were great but I ended being disappointed in almost everything else.

Macbat 64 was a bit disappointing despite having such a soul and intentions, and Kiwi 64 was a bit difficult to judge because of its status, but they made me want to play Super Kiwi 64 even more since it seems to be a step forward in the right direction, from what I saw. Also I liked Toree 3D and Toree 2 a lot (and waiting for Saturn!) and really like Siactro's approach soooooo. I will play it tomorrow.

Tomorrow might be the day I also start Rollerdrome. Only heard about it a few times ago, a friend of mine have been playing it these days and made me want to try it.

And finally, Yakuza 4, which might be imminent. I still wait for the perfect time to start it but it very much could be in the next days. Was planning to play Mario vs Donkey Kong but I'm afraid I won't be able to pay for it so I think I'll wait for my sister to complete the game with her own copy and borrow it when that's done.

  1. Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon (NEW) | 7.5/10
  2. Otxo (NEW) | 8/10 | (one run completed)
  3. Dead Cells (NEW) | 8.5/10 | (one run completed ; without DLCs)
  4. Portal Stories: Mel (NEW) | 7/10
  5. Golden Sun (NEW) | 5.5/10 | (this one's going to give me problems lol)
  6. Prince of Persia: Sands of Time (NEW) | 7/10
  7. Donkey Kong (1994/GB) (NEW) | 8/10
  8. DARQ (NEW) | 7.5/10 | (+ DLCs "The Tower" (7/10) and "The Crypt" (7/10))
  9. Celeste 64: Fragments of the Mountain (NEW) | 7/10 | (every strawberries)
  10. Golf Peaks (NEW) | 7/10 | (every levels completed)
  11. Little Nightmares (NEW) | 6/10 | + DLCs (The Depths 6/10 ; The Hideaway 5/10 ; The Residence 6.5/10)
  12. Demon Turf (NEW) | 6/10
  13. Demon Turf: Neon Splash (NEW) | 8/10
  14. Very Little Nightmares (NEW) | 4.5/10
  15. Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown (NEW) | 9/10
  16. Banjo-Kazooie (NEW) | 6.5/10 | (100%)
  17. Macbat 64 (NEW) | 4/10 | (every levels completed)
  18. Kiwi 64 (NEW) | 5/10
7. Ace Attorney: Apollo Justice (Replay) [ NS ] - 6 - 4th playthrough. 1st time on Switch.

I did a replay of the trilogy last year so I don't feel like writing most of the same thoughts all over again right now, so I'll keep it short.

Turnabout Serenade is still the worst case in the series and the only time AA music got to my nerves. Game is always kind of pain to replay because I don't have much else to look forward to after the great first case.

8. Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies (Replay) [ NS ] - 9 - 3rd playthrough. 1st time on Switch.

In a game where Apollo has to share the spotlight with Phoenix and Athena, and the big Ace Attorney storyline of the week being focused mostly on her, Apollo sure feels more like a protagonist here than he ever did in 4, he actually has weight in the finale too! so that was definitely an improvement.

Currently going through Peak of Justice also for the 3rd time now, on the start of 6-3, is kind of weird seeing the breakdowns and some cutscenes at an stable framerate. 6-2 and 3 are endgame tier level cases, 6-2 specially with some tweaks to make it longer and what not could have been a perfect ending case to another Apollo game, Phoenix telling Apollo that he believes in him still hits me hard. The Magical Turnabout? Turnabout Revolution? More like Turnabout Succession.
7)Golden Sun
A delightful revisit, will start TLA soon
Previous games:
1) Riccchhhhhaaarrrrd Metal Wolf Chaos XD
2) Toree 3D
3) Piczle Cross Adventure
4) Macbat 64
5)Metroid Prime Remastered
6) Good Job!
1) Moon RPG. Finally took the time to get this finished! Great Game (it's honestly better in some ways compared to Chulip...there's no dumb factory here)
2) Persona 4 Golden Man, fuck the epilogue and fuck the transphobia and homophobia ruining a great game
3) Mega Man Legacy Collection Counting this as one
4) Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 Ditto

Not a bad start so far!
1) The Last of Us Part 1 (PS5)
2) The Last of Us Part 1 - Left Behind DLC (PS5)
3) God of War (PS2)
4) Tetris Effect Connected (PC)
5) Trials HD (XSS) [Replay]
6) Aperture Desk Job (Steam Deck)

7) Need for Speed Underground (PS2) [Replay]

This is one of those childhood nostalgia-bomb games for me. I got it when it first released, and played it nonstop for weeks until I had done everything you could do in the game. I had good memories of the racing, the car customization, the graphics, and especially the soundtrack. Coming back and playing the game for the first time in twenty years makes me see the game a little differently.

It’s extremely repetitive, and that makes it feel kinda grindy. There’s 112 total events, and I think I could have done with half that number. But it wasn’t too bad playing through it - I just put on an audiobook and mindlessly did races. Good fun, most of the time. The later events got to be a little too frustrating, so I’ll admit that I dropped the difficulty down to keep the aggravation at a minimum.

Still, I’m glad that I got to play this again. A real blast from the past for me. Brings me right back to 2004.
You know, I kept a list of the games I played all last year and planned to post it in here at the end of 2023, then just.....didn't 😭 I have been playing games this year though! So far I've beaten

1. Armored Core VI
2. Disney Illusion Island
3. Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown
4. LAD: Infinite Wealth

I also made a backloggd thing to try and track this stuff better hah I've been using a google doc previously. Feel free to add me :)

Light Crusader on NSO - I owned a copy of this game since the Wii VC days, but never managed to finish it for whatever reason. It's not even like it's a bad game, just kinda unremarkable for a Treasure game. The health bar and lack of pits helps with the clumsy isometric perspective so you find yourself actually able to focus on having fun with the actual game.

But well, it's fun enough, just kinda ok. Generic Flavio inspired hero saves the day in a fantasy kingdom go down in underground labrynth and kill monsters. The combat isn't super special, just requiring some solid spacial awareness to manuever around enemies. The bosses are visually cool for the genesis but not much in the complexity department. They kinda devolve to button mashing by the end.

But it is really amusing that you can just push everything and anyone.
When Turnabout Big Top exists ??
Big Top has some redeeming qualities to me, I do like the killer, plus I always find it interesting mechanically having cross examinations that only let you press further one statement otherwise you get penalized, plus the mystery is solid enough, just that it's really a shame that is surrounded by a lot of bad with the rest of the characters. It's still in the bottom on my case ranking but I dislike Serenade more.
Mario VS DK Switch. I didn't and probably won't finish 100%. Maybe way into the future but not any time soon.
My 2024 year-in-review

12 — Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
This game has a whole lot of very passionate supporters, and while it didn’t totally knock my socks off, I still had a very good time! The presentation is pretty well perfect. Those gorgeous, saturated colours; exciting backgrounds that both play into the level design and make you want to reach into the screen; articulate, comedic animation. And it all runs at 60FPS and looks remarkably crisp, even on a 4K TV.

There is a heavy inertia to the controls that take getting used to, but they are the identity of this game. You really need to be deliberate in a way that few platformers demand, and the devs find lots of clever ways to put that to the test. Each partner expands your mobility in a similarly thoughtful manner — though as a crusty old man in training, I often went with Cranky regardless.

I found the levels started to run a little long toward the end, with some occasionally cruel checkpointing punctuating that. There are an array of items you can purchase and equip before starting a level, but I found those didn’t really adjust the difficulty so much as trivialize it. Same with Funky Kong. I loved the personality of the world bosses, though again: too long.

I wonder if this “Retro Studios” has any other good games I could try. 🤔
2024 is mostly going to be my "Year of the Backlog".
Hopefully keeping track of it will motivate me to go on finishing games ^^'

First time completion:
  • Chants of Sennaar (PC)
  • Final Fantasy XVI (PS5)
  • Star Ocean The Second Story R (Switch)
  • Persona 3 Reload (XBS) [finished on 2024.03.16]
  • Persona 5 Tactica (Switch) [finished on 2024.03.31]
  • Devil Survivor Overclocked (3DS)
  • Devil Survivor 2 Record Breaker (3DS)
Now Playing:
  • Final Fantasy VII Rebirth (PS5)
  • Super Mario RPG (Switch)
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10. Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth

It's really hard for me to rate this game because it's the first Yakuza title I've been very excited to play. In fact, I believe this is the game I've been most hyped for since Portal 2. Due to this, some disappointments might be bigger than they would be otherwise, and I've definitely learned that watching trailers is a no-no for this series, considering they show stuff from final chapter without any care.

That said, it's still a very good Yakuza game, likely in top 3, but I think I've enjoyed it less than Yakuza 7.

It does a lot of things to be a better game, with more polished battle system and a ton of little QoL improvements that make playing it a blast. In particular, I've really enjoyed that exploration is somewhat tied into levelling up with the addition of overworld bosses - unique encounters that will grant good loot and good exp. If you like exploring but not grinding, they are a GREAT addition to RPG formula as just beating unique bosses will keep you on the level the game wants from you most of the time.

The story is probably one of the most simple for a Yakuza title, completely ditching insane conspiracies of PS3 era and focusing more on interpersonal relationships. No other title in the series spends so much time on slice-of-life moments, and they were all fantastic. That said, while the story is easy to follow and has plenty of good characters (Yamai, for example, being my favorite, with a great performance by Japanese DIO actor), the plot is fairly badly paced. First off, it takes way too long to start free roaming. While you do unlock Yokohama within an hour or so, it's pretty much empty, and only by around hour 6 of the playtime will you be introduced to new mechanics and side-stories.

The actual story also kicks into gear in chapter NINE. Before that it's relatively aimless, with characters looking for a person they can't find and just drifting from place to place meeting new people. Again, certain scenes are great, but overall story decides to be good only after the midpoint. I'd also argue it's not as gripping as Ichiban going after right-wingers in 7, but when the aimlessness subsides it's still a really good time!

It seems to me that focus on relationships that's also been boosted outside of the main story with a TON of voiced content might've been the reason for what's likely my biggest disappointment with the game: the lack of substories.

The reason for Yakuza's success in the west, the side quests are a staple of the series, but with increasing expectation and more voiced scenes it seems there could only be so many, and unfortunately there are way too few: only around 60.

60 might not sound like a small amount, but there are a lot of them that are story-required or are a part of the chain of 4-6 stories. Some only exist to introduce a mini-game to you and can't really be called "stories". For example, Sicko Snap or Crazy Eats minigames have a "story" at the beginning, but it's only there to unlock a thing, and doing everything in those mini-games will not advance anything past "You've unlocked a thing". Overall, I'd say, there are only around 30 substories that are unique, contain an ending, and aren't part of a massive side activity.

While some stories are among the best in the series (Let It Snow might be one of, if not the best substory in the franchise), there are also some that are just bad. The series has seen its fair share of problematic moral lessons, but I feel they've always been relegated to comedic stories. Infinite Wealth, however, has hits such as "forced to work as a sex worker? Go to jail!" which is presented as a drama with a good ending. The chain of bonds Ichiban has with a few female NPCs might, however, be the worst side-content in Yakuza, effectively having 5 or 6 substories where Kasuga is raped. It's all very cartoony, sure, but it's still a tired old joke about a woman overpowering a man. What sucks is that quite a few of those characters are pretty good, so ending their quests just makes them into a rapist. Cool. I guess I can only be thankful weird mixed messaging about sexual abuse isn't a part of the main plot much like one other series SEGA owns now. It's especially weird considering similar quests were in 7, but aside from the somewhat cringey finale just hinted at normal consensual sex.

Side stories might be my big problem with the game, but side content definitely isn't. The game features some of the best and most involved side activities of any Yakuza title, two of which could be complete games on their own with a bit more polish:

Sujimon - a name for enemies in the game - have now received a complete Pokemon facelift, and you're now able to capture and battle them in separate battles. It's an involved chain that also unlocks a separate class that can use your tamed weirdos to do spells. Catching Sujimon can be achieved through normal random encounters, trainer battles, a gacha system, or raids: specific battles that appear around the map that will give you a chance to snag a leader of said battle;

Dondoko Island is an Animal Crossing-like with you having to catch bugs, fish, collect stuff, craft, farm, build, and manage guests. Effectively every asset from the series is here to craft and decorate your island with to make it into a resort, and it's wild how much there is to it, and how different it is from the main game. I was glued for it for hours at a time, and thanks to its progresive rewards that raise any bug/fish's price every few times you catch one along with tons of in-game achiements and rewards it always felt like I'm doing something. If there's one thing I didn't really like is that there are very few assets you can decorate with that actually fit - most will just turn your paradise into Kamurocho 2.

There are other minigames too, of course: MissMatch for example is a culmination of all things sleazy in the series, asking you to create and edit a profile on a dating site, pick responses, and get a date with a hot girl while they keep sending you feet pics for chatting well. Racing games, puzzles, a few arcade ports, a friend system, randomized dungeons - this game is full of stuff. It doesn't feature as much side-content as Yakuza 5 did, which effectively was 5 or 6 games in one, but I'd also argue it's not as boring on the story-side as Yakuza 5 was.

I will say, however, that this game is not a place to start on. It's not only Yakuza 7: Part 2, but also yet another apology for botched Yakuza 6 ending with how it finally gives closure to Kiryu's saga. Due to this you'll be assaulted with references and things that won't emotionally resonate throughout big chunks of the story. However, for any long-time fan all of this is a treat.

Throughout my 100 hour playthough (which is not over thanks to some post-game content and a few other things I want to check out) a slightly long intro and a little too few substories are basically my only complaints.

Case of the Golden Idol

I didn't expect to solve a system of linear equations for a video game.

This really was a superb detective game. The thinking it requires is similar to Return of the Obra Dinn, but the scenes feel more elaborate. Solving the individual levels is very rewarding, and I also enjoyed the overarching story and how the scenes start to tie together towards the end.

I need to play the DLC also, and am of course looking forward to the sequel or whatever it is.

Sadly the Switch version has an annoying bug that frequently causes you to lose all progress when you quit the game. You can skip levels so it's easy to return to where you were when it happens, but I didn't dare to exit the game while I was in the middle of a level, and always took a screenshot of the solution once I was done. There was a mention of a patch on their Discord quite a while ago already, but it hasn't appeared so far.
Main Post


GAME 8: Final Fantasy VII Remake | REPLAY
PS5 | Finished 18/02/24 | Platinum Achieved | 45 Hours Played (82 Hours Total) | 8.5/10

Man, do I have a complicated relationship with this game. I simultaneously love it, I really do, but also realise just how much of a flawed experiment it is overall. A feeling only exacerbated by my pre-Rebirth 'Get the Platinum' playthrough. One which brought be to the depths of frustration, only to bring me up to some truly incredible moments, brilliant characters, and combat that's far, far more engaging than I initially thought. I could write so much about this game, but I feel that most of it has been said already. From the strange plot that's - yes, even after I finally played the OG - still too alienating for its own good, to the myriad of slow-as-fuck pacing blockers, to the weird (and not in a good way) tonal discrepancies. It's all been litigated and relitigated so many times, so I won't.

As for the Platinum, this was a similarly 'complicated' bag. Thankfully, it's one that I almost wholly enjoyed. Getting in deep with the game's combat and RPG systems showed me just how well-crafted it is all around. Something that doesn't really happen when you're playing it at a 'Normal' standard. Whilst grinding for maxed out Materia was a chore, it felt rewarding in just how powerful it let you feel, making Hard Mode - and the title's multiple endgame superboss gauntlets - into less of a daunting challenge, and more of a 'final test' of your own knowledge, patience, and skill. The single major, major blemish was getting those 9 damn dresses, which was just as tedious as I expected it to be. Ah well, I'm proud to have got the Platinum here, and I'm glad to be able to put the game 'to rest.'

Now bring on Rebirth!
Finished in 2024 #8: Sonic 1 SMS Remake
Finished in 2024 #9: Sonic 2 SMS Remake

Another two for one completion! After playing Sonic Triple Trouble 16-Bit, I was curious to see other takes on the Master System/Game Gear games. The 8-bit versions of Sonic 1 and 2 diverge heavily from the Genesis/Mega Drive versions, and these remakes kind of split the difference. Presentation, bosses, and most of the level design are rooted in the Master System originals, but we now have a wide-screen presentation and lots of additional features. Sonic has his modern moves, new characters have been added to both versions (including a duo character system in Sonic 2), and new modes like Time Trials and Encore exist to add further play time. There are even additional levels based on the Genesis/Mega Drive versions, which are especially appreciated in Sonic 1.

The additional features aren't always winners. The new moves can very easily break the original games, including one of the most generous implementations of coyote time I've seen in a game. The new level design can make for good alternate routes for new characters, but changes like shortening the Act 3s in Sonic 1 or changing the gimmick of Aqua Lake Act 1 remove some of the charm. Special Stages now contain Chaos Emeralds like in the 16-bit games, but this removes the unique aspect of finding the Chaos Emeralds within each Zone. Some of the new levels focus on vehicle ginmicks that feel out of place with their fancy sprite rotation. And having Super Sonic is cool, but it absolutely destroys any challenge that these games have.

These are interesting takes on the Master System games, but they don't strictly replace the originals. They're on PC and Android, so it's very easy to access, but while Sonic Triple Trouble 16-Bit is a must play for Sonic fans, you don't need to rush out to try these unless they pique your interest.
Finally, I can join this thread!

1) Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes - 9.25/10 - approx. 35 hours played

I’d been avoiding this game for some time because I wasn’t too big on Hyrule Warriors AoC, but man am I glad that I finally tried it! I took the Scarlet Blaze route since I just did a Black Eagles run of Three Houses after Christmas. At first I wasn’t sure, but it definitely got fantastic and ultimately felt like a really satisfying alternate version of FE3H’s story. The gameplay is addictive and, while I overleveled my team making most of the game very easy, it was so satisfying to slash through hordes of enemies and aim for S-rank on tons of stages. I am very impressed that this game retained so much of the gameplay feel from traditional FE despite being a hack-and-slash. I just got the original FE Warriors, so I’m sure I’ll be playing that soon too. I’m interested to see how it compares. I also have a newfound appreciation for Hubert and I’m excited to see him from a new perspective when I eventually play FE3H on the Golden Deer route. All in all, this is the fifth Fire Emblem game I’ve played (I know it’s not mainline but I’ll count it as general “FE” anyway) and my love of the series has only grown stronger.
1. Unpacking (Switch) - 7.5/10
2. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 (Switch) - 9.5/10
3. Ori and the Blind Forest (Switch) - 8/10
4. Advance Wars (Reboot Camp) (Switch) - 8/10

5. Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising (Reboot Camp) (Switch) - 8.5/10
My feelings on this game are really similar to the first one - it's a great game and the gameplay itself is really fun, but it leans a bit on the challenging side for me (to the point of frustration at times). I finally figured out what bothers me a little about the game - the solutions can be really specific at points, where making a couple of wrong moves can doom your 30-45 minute attempt at a mission. I think that's less of a case with this one than the first one, luckily. I found this game allowed me to test different strategies with greater success compared to AW1 as well. Very good game and I can see how it is special for many people, but I think Fire Emblem is the stronger IS series for me.
I've been playing this last week and finished it in about 12 hours. It's a nice 2D Soulsvania with an almost late PS2-era look and demanding combat. Visually the game lacks coherence in general: You can see the enemies in different styles and qualities. The levels are also very simple visually: Hollow boxes with a texture or a repeated model like statues or columns. But it's nothing too bad and once you get past that, the game is really good.

The combat system starts like a 2D souls-lite, as enemies hit hard and your dashes are restricted with stamina, but soon you start unlocking more movement abbilities, combos, magic and special attacks, and the combat ends up turning into something similar to the excellent Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin. Combat is the main activity of the game and is extremely well done: The character is very responsive, there are many different playstyles you can adopt, like relying on ranged attacks with magic, focusing on parries and criticals, using long damaging combos...And they're not exclusive, you can combine them at every moment and flow from one to the other...though it's true that you can favour one more than the others with the way in which you level up your character. Weapons and magic can be upgraded, but I never felt the need for it and it was better to wait for the endgame to just level up the strongest weapon/magic I could find, as the currency for that is the same to level up your character, so investing in a weapon and then abandoning it for a stronger one would've been a waste.

Enemy design is really good: Every enemy has their own tactics and attacks and I loved learning their timings for parries. Some enemies will fly in the air, and shoot projectiles others will roll behind you and charge you, others will jump backwards and then leap towards you...There is a lot of variety in enemy behaviours and this keeps the normal combat fresh and engaging until the end of the game as new enemies are introduced in every new biome you explore. Animations are very good, to the point that a lot of times you'll be able to correctly infer the timing of an enemy attack the first time you see them. All enemies hit like a truck and ever at the end of the game, after levelling my HP quite a bit, I was still getting 2-shotted by the late-level enemies and bosses. Bosses are the highlight, with many different attacks and special moves. As the end of the game approached, the boss fights became a burst of DPS: They could kill me in 2 hits, but I also had a lot of tools to deal a ton of damage, so I would just get in their face, unleash all my skills, try to parry or evade everything they threw at me and the fight would be over in 20 to 30 very intense seconds (or sooner, if I messed up and died :p). You can also fight in a more relaxed way, keep your distance and attack more leisurely, but for me it was a big plus that you can fight them in this extremely aggressive style. BTW, bosses (and the game in general) are hard, but apart of 2 of them I took them all down in 4-5 attempts in average. The ones that required more attempts weren't excessively hard either. This is where their design shines; As you learn their patterns you start fighting them more aggressively, so instead of trying to evade their attacks you start parrying, attacking more, which allows you to recharge your special moves faster...It quickly snowballs and you end up having these cool fights exchanging attacks with the boss at a high rate.

Level design is 100% 2D souls, with few checkpoints that are reused through shortcuts. There aren't really any secrets and whenever you find a chest that you can't get to the map automatically marks it for you. There are also map markers, but there's only one type so you can't really use them to provide any information. They were pretty much useless as chests were already marked and if instead you wanted to mark an impassable obstacle, the map already does that by painting the room partially so you know there are parts where you haven't been. Apart of that there's not much exploration: Just find a new area, open all shortcuts, beat the boss and proceed to the next area. Sometimes you'll find an upgrade so you can backtrack a bit to open some pending chests and open the main way forward. So there's some exploration and backtracking, but not much. What I liked is that many areas have some combat puzzles or riddles and you need to explore the area to find the hints to solve them, it was a very clever and original way of asking you to explore the areas and using the key-lock design without doing simple stuff like "find the red key for the red door" (Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth, I'm looking at you).

In general a very pleasant surprise: This game won't win any awards but it's a very solid Metroidvania and something you will enjoy if you want a challenging game with fast paced, demanding combat. There's a sequel (HunterX: Codename T) which I will surely check out in the future as well :)

Main post

I beat this game on NSO.

What the heck. What the jibblies, what the absolute redonk. A PAL SNES game that clearly has roots in the computer market that isn't insufferably rote, insufferable controlling, unfairly difficult, absolute garbage, from Titus of all devs (whose track record can be spotty) but is actually a PRETTY GOOD BLOODY GAME?!

I am a little stunned. I'm kinda used to PAL console games from this era being kinda hit or miss, but this game is actually very charming. It's not super amazing or anything, but I'd argue it's definitely an underrated gem. And had this game come out after year prior to 96, it may have not flown under the radar.

The basic idea of this games is you're a caveman in a Flintstones/Tex Avery world (awful lot of caveman games on the SNES huh?) trying to collect food to feed your starving village. It comes with all the problematic elements of that setting, so be warned. And it's a linear level progression from Stage 1-23.

But not every level is just a straightforward from A-B style. This game actually gives you context for almost each and every level. You'll be accompanied by a motley crew of cavepeople who usually give you exposition for the objective or the level or just provide flavor text for the setting. It's oddly compelling even, there's no random reason why you are traveling from one world to the next ala Mario bros, but you are making steady progress on an actual journey across the world and each setting has a genuine purpose for being there.

One level will have you walking among dark treetops at night, collecting fireflies to light your way through the darkness. But the level after has the same fireflies going out of control and setting fire to the treetops, so now you need to avoid rising fire burning down all your platforms. It's like, really basic context, but it's more compelling than what you'd expect from a non-Japanese platformer of the period.

And yeah, I gotta say, visually this game is really charming, the enemy sprites are big and expressive, and you caveguy avatar is also really charming, with a lot of fun expressions and sound effects. Special mention to how cool the bosses look, more dragon looking than dinosaurs, but reality went out the door long ago.

The sound effects, wow. Gotta hand it to the sound designer, these are well chosen voice samples that clearly express a love for classic cartoons. Like your caveguy's super attack is to scream like Tom from Tom and Jerry. Enemies give fun grunts as you knock them off screen ala DKC and it never fails to be satisfying. It's all just so charmingly cartoony and kinda nostalgic in it's own way. Honestly could have dolled this game up as a Flintstones tie in with minimal changes and I'd have sworn this game had been ground up built as a tie in.

That's not to say it is perfect. Again, I said the difficulty isn't bullshit, and that the controls aren't horrible, but they certainly aren't perfect. Enemies are on an eternal respawn so as soon as you turn your camera away you'll find yourself with an enemy you just killed making a beeline for you again. And these guys are aggressive, if you didn't have a generous health bar, I'd dare call them unfair. But the game litters lives and continues like candy, so you're never absolutely at a disadvantage that brute force can't overcome.
The controls can get spotty for some of the vehicle segments, which strange delays and timings for certain jumps you swear you should have made though I can't tell if that is NSO's problem or just inheret to the game.

Overall, an honestly good time. If you have an eye for cartoony platformers, just give this one a try. It's solid.

Edit: Oh yeah, the ending isn't utterly ass and completely abrupt, which also was a weird trend amongst these more UK console games.
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Got a PS5 before I was gone but forgot to update it with Astro's Playroom.

It's a game where Team Asobi asked two very important questions: "Are PlayStation fans as nostalgia-poisoned as Nintendo fans?" and also "What if we made one of, if not the best pack-in game of all time?" Just a really fun, inventive and charming game that also serves as a tech demo for the DualSense and a huge (and I mean huge) love letter to PS and its legacy (even if some of it feels more performative tribute considering their treatment of some of these games). Astro is just a super cute little bugger and if they don't have a full fat sequel planned to it someone needs to answer for their crimes.

  1. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
  2. Alan Wake II
  3. Rytmos
  4. Pizza Tower
  5. Hi-Fi Rush
  6. Humanity
  7. Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
  8. Jusant
  9. Momodora: Moonlit Farewell
  10. Panzer Dragoon (Remake)
  11. Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon
  12. Kingdom Hearts: Final Mix
  13. Astro's Playroom
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Golden Sun (NS)

Originally played it on GBA, got it started on Wii U VC, but this was the first time in about twenty years that I've played and finished a run of this game. And boy does it still hold up well. The music is still phenomenal, the characters have a ton of depth and emotion throughout largely thanks to the rather long cut-scenes and generous use of emojis. The puzzles aren't too difficult, but a fun side hustle in a dungeon/cave instead of only fighting enemies, and the boss battles are mostly fun, and interesting.

The Djinn class system is still good to use, and this time around, I also had a much better understanding of how the elements work in the game regarding strengths and weaknesses, plus the whole Psynergy system is surprising robust. One little detail that I thought was great that I had forgotten about is your Psynergy will replenish by simply walking and wandering around, and for some armor items, you can regenerate more PP during battle, which is nice. This made the whole battle system much more enjoyable this time around.

If I had one nitpick, it would be there are copious amounts of battles to fight that would make the likes of Skies of Arcadia on Dreamcast blush for how often you fight battles. Luckily, some of the more standard battles can take literal seconds to finish, so it's not as though they take a ton of your time. The benefit of this approach as well is there is little to no reason to grind in this game. It really allows you to just pick up, and play through the storyline, and enjoy what the game offers.

Finished the game at Lvl 30/31 with all 28 Djinn, and yes, I did do the password transfer when I first booted up The Lost Age, which I'm going to play next on Switch.

Over 20 years later, Golden Sun might actually be better today than it was back then, and it was very good originally. It has aged like a fine Scotch. 🥃
  1. Sea of Stars (4/5)

2. Final Fantasy VII Remake (PS5) - I waited a long, long, long, looooong time to finally play this game. Seriously, Square!Which executive at Microsoft pissed in your Cheerios?

Alas, here I am with a PS5 and Final Fantasy VII Remake. Any fears of being letdown after the long wait were erased pretty much the moment the battle theme kicked in for the first time. To say I was in for all of the fan service (and…anti-fan service?) would be an understatement: I hooped and hollered at the very sight of Wall Market, Tifa’s Seventh Heaven, the Hell House, Shinra HQ, etc etc. Even when the game was putting the brakes on my experience with bizarre pacing breakers I licked my lips in anticipation of the next mosey down memory lane. I was happy to endure Red XIII pulling switches or Tifa dangling from chandeliers all for the chance to swat dudes on a motorcycle escape from Midgar. What can I say? I’m human.

I had spoiled myself on the ending so maybe that is part of why I was so accepting of its bullshit. I had no preconceived notions about this game being a normal remake so I wasn’t especially devastated when the path diverged. If anything, it made me even more excited for the sequel.

It is hard for me to rate this game fairly because I apparently have an unhealthy affection for Final Fantasy VII. I will say that I sometimes found the padding to be a bit much. I didn’t really need to spend over an hour in Hojo’s creepy cylinder lair! The padding made me like the combat less, which is a bummer because I genuinely enjoyed this particular hybrid of action and RPG more than I normally do.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐️ / 5
2. Madden NFL 24 (XSX)

Not much to say about this. It's another Madden game. It hasn't changed much since 23. Menus still run slow but not as slow as last year and it's not as buggy. Animations seem a little cleaner at least.

I guess that's a win for Madden fans. But in the end the franchise is not going anywhere. Playing and enjoying Madden games is like being an Oakland Raiders fan. It was once associated with greatness. Now it's associated with placid mediocrity. [6.0/10]
7. Katamari Damacy Reroll (Nintendo Switch)
Also I can't say enough about the soundtrack, this one moved me to tears, good lord -

Honestly, this song is emblematic of the entire game for me- a completely unexpected charming experience that fills your heart with joy, happiness, and warmth for other humans.

So glad you enjoyed rolling up the cosmos, you gotta check out the sequel!!!
Finished in 2024 #10: Arzette: The Jewel of Faramore

I'll let my thoughts in the ST speak for themselves:
So I intended to keep playing more Arzette today, and that ended up turning into...finishing the game!


Needless to say, I had a pretty good time. Arzette wears its inspiration on its sleeve. The presentation captures that mid 90's CD game aesthetic really well, there are plenty of wacky NPCs to meet, and many of the base mechanics and items are present - you will be using lots of bombs and lamp oil!

But this is no mere clone. It not being as janky as the Zelda CD-I games is already a big one, though that should be obvious given the prior fan remakes (which I still need to play). Even from early on, though, Arzette takes a different tonal direction. Our heroine is a lot more grounded than either Link or Zelda. Arzette's reactions to silly NPCs that would be right at home in Gamalon or Koradai never failed to be funny. At the same time, it never felt like the game was mocking itself or its world, and thus when the story does take itself more seriously, it doesn't feel unearned. The king's passing is a great example. I was genuinely not expecting a story about a casually lesbian princess who actively seeks to stop the cycle of evil not by sealing it away and pushing the problem back but by destroying it at its core followed immediately by giving up her throne in favor of instituting a democratic government, but consider me pleasantly and delightfully surprised! I better get some fan art of that coffee date!

I remember hearing Wonder Boy comparisons beforehand, and that is very apt! Arzette ends up with a pretty formidable arsenal, and you'll be using them to explore older areas and find even more goodies. The most obvious new addition is the Smart Gun, which ends up being both an effective ranged option and one of the game's main puzzle solving tools with its color shifting ammo. But you get your fair share of new tools, both optional and required. You get mobility upgrades like a double jump and faster run, new means of breaking blocks and dealing with specific enemies, and some pretty powerful offensive and defensive buffs.. Arzette may start off kinda difficult, but if you find all of the upgrades, you end up with a busted as hell character. Almost too busted, honestly! But I do acknowledge that the most busted tools require you to explore and interact with NPCs. I'd also be lying if I didn't find tearing through older areas with my souped up abilities satisfying as hell, in true Metroidvania fashion. If I can offer a point of critique, I think the color switching mechanic for the Smart Gun worked as a progression block but wasn't very interesting because the two shot types were identical, something that sets in when you get purple magic in the end game. I similarly didn't find myself using the flute except to break the green blocks. I'd be interested in seeing more applications for the Smart Gun like ammo with different effects or trajectories, or maybe a bigger focus on those new moves over the situational items of the back half.

Of course, none of this stopped me from wanting to see this charming journey through to the end. I might even try Hero Mode! Congrats on getting Arzette out there, @Dopply! I'm all in for seeing what you work on next, especially with that sequel hook at the end.
1) Moon RPG. Finally took the time to get this finished! Great Game (it's honestly better in some ways compared to Chulip...there's no dumb factory here)
2) Persona 4 Golden Man, fuck the epilogue and fuck the transphobia and homophobia ruining a great game
3) Mega Man Legacy Collection Counting this as one
4) Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 Ditto

Not a bad start so far!
5) Fire Emblem Three Houses - All Four Routes - 7th time playing
6) Fire Emblem Three Hopes - All Three Routes - 3rd time playing

Feb 2024 - Another Code: Recollection

Hurrah for short games. We need more short, self-contained games. Left the bulk of my thoughts on the proper Another Code thread. If tl;dr or no spoilers plz, in summary, I enjoyed the game/stories but there's really HUGE areas where they can improve on. Deciding if they just do a visual/kinetic novel or go full Professor-Layton for one thing.

Otherwise, here's some silly screenshots I took from the game.


Oooo. A lovers(?) quarrel. Let's take a selfie now.


I know the answer and felt my back ache in response.

Feb. 19 - Ultros on PS5

This was a bizarre and unique Metroidvania that I had a great time with. I think it’s ultimately a style over substance game, but man what style. Some of the most vividly colourful, vibrant, and bizarre art you will ever find in a game, and an absolutely fantastic soundtrack to match. Combat was simple and the game was quite easy. The gardening mechanics are a little finicky and half-baked which discouraged me for pursuing a second pacifist play through to get the second ending, could see that being an exercise in frustration. I think it still lands as a solid 8/10 for me, one I won’t ever forget. Now I gotta go look up that OST…
5. Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean (Switch)

Played this back in the day on GameCube and it always left an impression on me, though at that point in time I'd played relatively few RPGs. I'm really glad it, and the prequel have had a re-release. While this has its rough edges, and the remaster also has its own odd rough edges, for all that it uses some familiar tropes I've never really played anything quite like it. Some really beautiful pre-rendered art, music, and a unique if flawed combat system, and really esoteric world and character design, make for a strong combination.
1. Super Mario RPG (Switch)
2. Metroid Fusion (NSO)
3. Super Mario 64 (3D All-Stars, Switch)
4. Dredge (Switch)
5. Baten Kaitos I (Switch)

I want more Baten Kaitos now, so it's a good job I was unable to play Origins back in the day. That'll remain in the To Play 2024 list. Not sure what's next...
Replying to this a bit late, but I'm so happy more people are playing this game and the prequel! They're still some of my favorite GC titles, and as you mention, while they do have some rough edges, I think they'd aged decently well. I'm looking forward to revisiting them myself later this year.

I think I'm in the minority on this one, but I actually do prefer the first to the second one, just a little bit. The improved combat is welcome, but there was something about the first cast that left a much stronger lasting impression on me. Either way, hope you like Origins!
1. Pokémon Platinum (DS) (07-01)
2: Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team (DS) (13-01)

I started off 2024 on fire with my recently purchased DSi XL.
After finishing the two Pokémon games above I started on some DS games, for example Picross 3D and Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time.
I haven't finished these games yet, but I fell off my own DS hype train and haven't touched my DS since.
However, I'm sure I will play on my DS again within months, I just don't like to force myself to enjoy something.

Soon afterwards I fell into a puzzle craze and started doing sudoku's and tectonics/suguru's.
I especially like the latter since individual tectonics/suguru's are much shorter than sudoku's.

While doing puzzles for a while I discovered the games of Matthew Brown on Steam.
He is mostly known for making the Hexcells games, which are puzzle games similar to Hexceed (which some might know and is on Switch).
Sadly the Hexcells games were not available on Switch so I purchased them on Steam.
I completed Hexcells in ~1.5 hours, but its sequel Hexcells Plus was much more difficult and cost me ~8 hours.
I highly recommend the Hexcells games, they're well crafted and have a similar sound design as Tetris Effect which I really enjoyed.

In between playing Hexcells and solving tectonics/suguru's I finally bit the bullet and bought my first Picross game.
It made sense to me to start with the first Picross game on Switch, Picross S.
I completed the game in ~35 hours, but most of those hours are spent on the later levels.
The small puzzles and the beginning of the game are very easy, but some of the puzzles at the end took me upwards of 30 minutes to solve.
It was very fun and I'm definitely buying another Picross game this year, but I've had my fill for now and won't buy another soon.

Finally, a week or so ago the physical edition for Pikmin 1+2 for Switch had a good discount where I live.
I immediately purchased it when I was notified of the discount, because I played Pikmin 4 last year (my first Pikmin game) and had a lot of fun with it.
Currently I completed Pikmin 1, which I did on my first try and I'm very proud of this.
I'm playing Pikmin 2 now and then, but don't know when I will finish it.

If anyone has recommendations for good puzzle games on Switch or PC I might like, please let me know!

Games completed since my last post:
3: Hexcells (PC) (01-02)
4: Picross S (Switch) (13-02)
5: Pikmin 1 (Switch) (17-02)
6: Hexcells Plus (PC) (20-02)
In between playing Hexcells and solving tectonics/suguru's I finally bit the bullet and bought my first Picross game.
It made sense to me to start with the first Picross game on Switch, Picross S.
I completed the game in ~35 hours, but most of those hours are spent on the later levels.
The small puzzles and the beginning of the game are very easy, but some of the puzzles at the end took me upwards of 30 minutes to solve.
It was very fun and I'm definitely buying another Picross game this year, but I've had my fill for now and won't buy another soon.

I've been working my way through the first Picross S game over the last year as well -- I actually bought S2 a couple sales ago because I thought I would be done S very soon, but yeah I'm on the last two pages of puzzles and they all take at least 20 minutes to get through. I'm hoping I can add it to my completions this year and finally start the next one, haha. It's fun but on these more difficult puzzles you definitely get your fill of it quickly.
5. Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown - this game FUCKS. Had it's fair share of bugs and crashes unfortunately but that's par for the UbiCourse. The actual game is phenomenal all the way through. Bosses are all so exciting and hard but everything is pretty clearly telegraphed. And the goddamn Raging Sea area has to be a top 5 setpiece in a Metroidvania. Pirate ships frozen in time as they're destroyed. Jaw-dropping stuff. I'd be really surprised if this game didn't wind up in my Top 5 for 2024.
Honestly, this song is emblematic of the entire game for me- a completely unexpected charming experience that fills your heart with joy, happiness, and warmth for other humans.

So glad you enjoyed rolling up the cosmos, you gotta check out the sequel!!!
Couldn't agree more! Game has such a great vibe to it everywhere you look. Definitely the sequel's on my list, I wanna go out and grab the other games from the series I don't have yet soon!
Finished a couple of games over the weekend, listed below:

10. Kirby's Epic Yarn (Wii)


I've had this one in the backlog for quite some time, and in looking for relatively shorter games to play through prior to starting the next Final Fantasy (which is IX for me), I decided to finally knock this one out. And what a great time I had with this one! The entire game is just so charming. I thought one of the best parts was exiting each level to see just how the badge you acquired would be used in the overworld to unlock the next level. Everything felt really connected contextually as far as the world's design, the transformations Kirby would use in some levels were really great (aside from the train, which I think doesn't bode well for my future playthrough of Rainbow Curse)...I had also gotten the impression that this game was ridiculously easy over the years, and I actually didn't think that was the case. It wasn't super hard by any means but in getting all of the items scattered throughout the stages I definitely had to replay levels multiple times to find everything, especially some of the little trials they give you as side content for the residents of that apartment building. The only bummer about this game was that it froze up on me a couple of times as I was attempting some of those trials! My fault for sure, because my Wii's disc drive is SO crazy loud whenever it's running a game from the disc that I always end up using homebrew to rip a copy and run it from an sd card, which I came to find out today can cause these kind of errors from time to time. I verified that it was the sd card because I played the same level off of the disc and it worked perfectly, so when it happened again at about 96% completion for me I just decided to wrap up my playthrough as I had beaten the final boss and only needed to collect a couple dozen fabrics. But yeah, really loved my time with this one and hope future Kirby platformers take some inspiration from it!

11. Mega Man 8 (Switch)


Another shorter game I wanted to play through prior to diving into FF IX - I've been slowly going through the Legacy Collection games since last year and was really apprehensive about this one because I had such a bad time with 7. To my surprise I actually really enjoyed this one?? I get the sense that it isn't really well received online but, I dunno, I think the generous checkpoint system introduced in this Legacy Collection 2 version made my experience much more palatable than my time with 7. Maybe I think so much more of this one because my last experience was 7, but I did enjoy going through and getting to experience all the TERRIBLY cheesy cutscenes, lol. You can tell this was the first time they had all the storage space that discs provided and they felt like they had to showcase that! I won't forget the voice acting here for quite a while. Nothing else too terribly memorable about this one - I do think the level design of some stages was kind of neat, and don't remember many times in the previous games where you actually had to use powerups gained from the bosses in order to progress, which made them feel more important to me. Oh - I also get why the snowboard levels are so hated but I actually didn't have a terrible time with them here, either - I think the voice prompts going 'jump, jump, slide, jump' got me into a pretty good rhythm once I determined about how much earlier I'd need to press the jump button than Mega Man would actually jump. Looking forward to MM9 in the future!

  1. Final Fantasy VII (Switch) - 01/06/24
  2. Mega Man 7 (Switch) - 01/08/24
  3. Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 (Game Boy) - 01/10/24
  4. Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade (PlayStation 5) - 01/21/24
  5. Final Fantasy VII Remake Episode Intermission (PlayStation 5) - 01/21/24
  6. Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- Reunion (PlayStation 5) - 01/28/24
  7. Katamari Damacy Reroll (Switch) - 02/01/24
  8. Picross S: Genesis & Master System Edition (Switch) - 02/01/24
  9. Yakuza Kiwami (PlayStation 5) - 02/12/24
  10. Kirby's Epic Yarn (Wii) - 02/17/24
  11. Mega Man 8 (Switch) - 02/18/24
10.5. A few words about Completing Infinite Wealth

Been dabbling in Premium adventure of IW - a free-roam mode unlocked after beating the game, and decided to share some thoughts on post-game content.

1. Maxing out the completion list
The completion list is an in-game achievement list that's been a pain in the ass for anyone who wants to 100% those games. In this game it barely matters, and while it does pump your personality and some stats, I do wish it would give out some additional goodies since the personality maxes out way too early. Right now I can still get those achievements but they won't give me anything. I think Yakuza 0 and Kiwami had a way better system that was reminiscent of modern RE titles: they'd give out CP for each unlocked criteria that you could spend on in-game rewards. You'd likely not complete all of the list, but would get into some good rewards, with further goodies being a push to, say, play Fantazy Zone good. Here I barely touched returning minigames because they won't really do anything for me.

2. Catching them all!
Completing your Sujimon list in this game, however, is the opposite - kind of shit. You have two lists to complete - a Sujidex, which is a bestiary, and a Sujimon Dossier that completes once you CATCH an enemy, a la Pokemon. The former has around 300 entries, and the latter around 140 so not everything met can be caught.
Both are kind of garbage and don't have any info on entries you've not seen. While SujiDossier at least greys out enemies you've seen but not caught, good luck knowing stuff you haven't seen. In 7 it was fairly easy, since it only had the bestiary and around 150 enemies, but this game has double that and the only hint you get is their presense on either "Hawaii" or "Japan" list.
Could've been easily fixed by providing general location, hint, or at least a type (be it free-roam or overworld boss), but to get some remaining ones for Dossier I dropped my mil into a gacha and got 2 out of 4 remaining ones. It seems they are at least categorized in the dossier into "regular enemies > bosses > bosses only from Sujimon Content > Kiwami Raid Bosses" which doesn't help much. Bestiary just sucks. You can maybe guess that the greyed out is a third variation of the Pseudotrash enemy, for example, but you'll still be no closer to understanding what you should be looking for.

3. Dondoko-a-go-go!
Back into the easy stuff, I wish Dondoko had more to do, like an additional secret 6th star to get to, because getting 5 stars on your animal crossing island requires to decorate about half of it. There's no extrinsic reward for going further as it doesn't pay much, and your only motivation is how committed you are to completing the encyclopedia and maxing out every entry by catching it anywhere from 10 to 50 times. It's a shame because it's really fun, I just don't see the reason to go forward with it when the payout into the main game is fairly pitiful and I know that even super-completing it will just be a checklist that'll lead to nothing.

4. The Big Swell
A DLC dungeon made up of 25 floors with every 5th one being a boss. Actually a fairly cool thing especially considering every 5th floor you get a scene of all your party interacting together, which is pretty much never seen in the normal game due to one party member joining way too late and party being split into two storylines that don't interact until the end, where they split to go after their final bosses.
Not too hard, the game's pretty good about giving you levels for beating anything higher-level and you can melt bosses with power of friendship and an orbital laser.

In the end, I don't wish IW had more content, just that the content was more integrated into the game with a better reward system for doing stuff. I mean, you didn't really NEED the golden gun in 0 (or whatever the final CP reward was) but it was nice to have, and here I'm finding myself missing that final goal that ties all activities together.
11. Tomb Raider (2013)

Fast-food of video games. A competent but ultimately very safe reboot of a beloved franchise that does everything ok, but never stands out.

For an action-adventure-collectathon game it never really does any of those things particularly well. As an action game it's fairly mediocre with very few enemy types and really easy enemies. Most of the game you will just fight Men (somethimes Men will have Shields), with a rare Boss who also acts just like A Man but has more health. The first level of Tomb Raider 1996 had better enemy variety with bats, wolves, and a bear, and while the game starts on a survival note with a few wolves stalking you, it ultimately goes to human enemies and never comes back.

The adventure part of the game is probably the best thing about it. The game is divided into one-time corridor action sequences and bigger "levels" you can return to which contain a multitude of secrets. The set-pieces are gorgeous and very cinematic, but I wonder what I'd feel replaying this game. Even on the first time the amount of times you just hold W and jump sometimes was overblown, and I can't imagine those scenes feel much better the second time around.

Collectathon parts are very underbaked. Not only do most items you collect fade into the background and are hard to notice unless you mash the "Lara vision", but in each location the game gives up on secrets whenever you find a "Secret Tomb". I use the game's wording here, but none of the optional tombs are secret. They are the most obvious things, contain a single Half-Life 2 tier puzzle, and give you out a full map of the area.

The game has a lot of moments like that where it gives you the option of being less frustrating. Throughout the game everything gives you exp which you spend on some of the most boring options imaginable. Do you want to get slightly more exp or make the game less dull is effectively your only choice at any point. Weapon upgrades are a little nicer, but the RPG system feels like a bandaid on a flawed game that's designed to give you good number up chemicals.

The story is fairly boring and only makes me wish the game had more weird enemies in it, because if you were to skip all the cutscenes nothing would stand out as strange up until the final area which has magic happening. No t-rexes here.

Lara as a protagonist is also extremely boring, which I assume is why the game tortures her on every opportunity. Sorry, doesn't really work on me, just because she's a sick puppy who gets eaten and pierced every 2 seconds doesn't make me like her more.

I still would say I've enjoyed my time with Tomb Raider. It's got some great set-pieces and wonderful-looking levels, and the shooting and climbing around can be fun. However just because it's not a bad game doesn't mean it's any good. I probably won't return to it and I've got no desire to check out the sequels.

1. Unpacking (Switch) - 7.5/10
2. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 (Switch) - 9.5/10
3. Ori and the Blind Forest (Switch) - 8/10
4. Advance Wars (Reboot Camp) (Switch) - 8/10
5. Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising (Reboot Camp) (Switch) - 8.5/10

6. Super Mario Sunshine (3D All Stars) (Switch) - 7/10
I know this a controversial game in general and I'm going to have to be honest...I didn't really like it as much as most platformers I've played. I originally got the 3D All Stars collection in 2020 and played through Super Mario 64 and Galaxy right away and had a lot of fun, but I had to put this one down a few worlds in. Now I came back to finish what I'd started, and it grew on me slightly but not that much. There just is not a ton of variety in the levels - although I really love Isle Delfino, a lot of the worlds have similar challenges (the race, a level with Yoshi, chasing Shadow Mario, find the red coins) and just aren't that different from each other visually. This game also proved how bad I am at platformers sometimes, because I couldn't do the controls very well and the platforming sections without FLUDD could be really punishing. This one just wasn't my cup of tea but it certainly does have a lot of charm and solid bones.
Snakebird Complete (Switch): I have played the game on iPad ages ago, but definitely not solved all the puzzles. Now I have! Brilliant puzzles, solid port.
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8. Cassette Beasts (Steam Deck)

Really fun addition to the monster collecting genre. Cassette Beasts wears its Pokemon inspirations on its sleeve for sure but also kinda defines itself by how much it sets out to be different. You don't catch the monsters, you record their forms on cassette tapes and transform into them. Type matchups have much more interesting and logical effects than 'do more/less/no damage'. You record specific monsters to gain their overworld abilities for yourself in lieu of HMs (and don't need them in your party or anything afterwards). You have partners you befriend and battle alongside (and you can romance them). Instead of a pre-established region of the world, the game's setting is a mysterious island that pulls people in from across varying times and realities. You have bootleg tapes instead of shinies that are completely different types instead of merely cosmetic.

But it also hews pretty close to the conventions Pokemon sets in terms of structure - SV especially. The game has several main quests you have to complete, one of which is essentially a Gym Leader challenge, and another is an equivalent to the titan Pokemon if the titans were horrific eldritch entities, and yet another is an evil team of... estate agents? It makes sense in context, eventually.

And yeah, the game is openly pretty weird in its setting. I wasn't sure if it would work, but it does and I actually dig the vibe. The main and character stories are nothing to write home about really, and mostly serve to contextualise the weird world of the game, but they're also inoffensive and you're free to explore the game map as you wish and deal with things in any order. NPCs in the game's main town will offer rumours to send you to particular places to keep you on track if you're not sure where to go.

The monster designs are pretty great, the spritework is very similar to Gen 5 Pokemon, including how jumpy the sprites are. I love that style, so I appreciate it here too. Since the beasts aren't necessarily supposed to be animals in the same way most Pokemon are, there's more out there designs which, again, fits the vibe. The combat system is pretty fun, with a big emphasis on status effects and a lesser emphasis on changing types, and there's a fusion system which apparently has about 16,000 possible combinations. The game logs all of these in the bestiary, just in case you're wanting something to do for the next 10 years.

It ran fine on Steam Deck, though it does seem the game only loads half the world map in at one point, leading to quick, but slightly intrusive loading screens. Still, my complaints are pretty minor. I played through the DLC too and thought the dungeons relied a little too much on finicky platforming that the game wasn't really suited for, but the final boss was a good challenge.

If I ever return to it, the game unlocks a number of custom modes you can toggle on after beating the main story, including randomiser options and a Nuzlocke equivalent. There's also some post-game stuff I didn't do, like rematches against the ranger captains and rare monsters that I think are the game's equivalent of legendaries, though they're not as prominent in-universe.
6. Balatro - So I don't know if there are credits to this or "completing" it, but I have played it a bunch already and will play it for the remainder of the year so I'm including it. It's so incredibly addicting in the same way that Vampire Survivors was. I'm calling it now that it's the indie darling of the year. I'll repeat myself from my Prince of Persia post. If it doesn't wind up in my top 5 for the year, I'll be shocked.
8)Crash 4: It’s about time it’s finally over…. This game is just mean. Unlikely to revisit
1) Riccchhhhhaaarrrrd Metal Wolf Chaos XD
2) Toree 3D
3) Piczle Cross Adventure
4) Macbat 64
5)Metroid Prime Remastered
6) Good Job!
7)Golden Sun

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