These will be ordered alphabetically for the most part. Any series will be grouped together obv.

Xbox 260

AAAAAAHSHHSHAHSSGDLS SHES SO GOOD I LOVE HER. This is also the game that humbles by reminding me that i am baaad at video games. Fuck Grace and Glory. Worst enemies. The bosses are generally satisfying. The games ending feels a little drawn out.



Great game. Fun gameplay. Amazing visuals. Great music. I've been listening to Tomorrow is Mine and Moon River on loop ever since.

Bayonetta haarrrrd

I had to switch it to easy mode. The game was barely a challenge at that point. Unfortunately there's a huge leap in difficulty between easy and normal. I would not have been able to beat the game on normal.

There's also an item you can equip that basically completes combos for you. I had that switched on the whole game. Didn't really make a difference beyond changing which attack was happening. Made for a better visual experience rather than me doing the same two combos over and over.

Story is fun. I really liked Balder this time around. Rosa was also really cool.

But alSO GRACE AND GLORY MADE AN APPEARANCE. I froze up when i saw them the first time. I was shook. I was soo scared. Fuck G&G. They suck.


Fantastic combat system. The Demon Masquerade mechanic is so much fun, and meshes really well with the existing combo system. It’s so satisfying to finish off combos with a sick finisher move.

This game has the same difficulty curve as previous. Easy mode is a joke while normal is punishing. It only occurs to me on this game that this is deliberate. Aside from accessibility, easy mode is for anyone who wants to master attack patterns on enemies without seeing a game over screen too often.

The plot was okay. I liked the plot of bayo 1 and 2 a little better. The music is fantastic. The characters were all bangers.

I didn’t really mind playing as Viola, but shes no Bayonetta. The problem is the game has an MC thats really fun to play, so switching to any character by comparison is always gonna feel like a downgrade. Playing as Jeanne was meh. Her levels weren’t bad, but they werent fun for me personally. It took me a while to get used to the sudden genre shift, so I had a few frustrations that i needed to work around.

The thing that really caught me off guard is that Luka turns out to be some sort of werewolf creature? ¯\_(σ ‸ σ)_/¯???

It’ll be interesting if they’ll make a Bayo 4, especially considering that by the end of the game Bayonetta is like, DEAD dead and Viola takes up the mantle.


Good game! Beautiful art style. Fully voiced. Controls are tight and snappy. Short game overall.

Don't play it it in Switch tho. Got a few optimization issues. The game freaked out a few times and gave me a loading screen in the middle of combat lol. Resumed just fine tho so its clearly a known issue.

The button mapping is incredibly flexible. I was able to place all the combat controls on the right side. Even blocking. What became apparent is im so used to never blocking in games (because the button is usually unreachable to me) that i forgot i could block this time.

It bears repeating, the art is so beautiful and organic. Its so nice i dont understand why the devs felt the need to titillate players with a booby protag. shrug The boobs are toned down for the cover art tho which is interesting.

The cover art copyright is believed to belong to the distributor of the game or the publisher of the video game or the developers of the video game, Steam page, Link


Posted: 2024-01-30


You gotta play these games right now. Here are the links to play Candy Box! and Candy Box 2.

They are free, there are no ads, and once you load the page, you can play in your browser.

If youd rather play only one game, I recommend playing Candy Box 2. Candy box 1 and 2 are conceptually the same game. Although you can play both at the same time with no issue.

I love these games. Theyre easily some of my all-time favouite games. Ive replayed candy box 1 and 2 several times over the past 8 or so years. Despite that, i dont recall beating either game. I maaaaybe have beaten Candy Box 1 once but im not sure if that was me or if i fabricated that memory after reading how to beat the game lmao. As of this writing, im my current playthrough, im only missing one of the four stones in Candy Box 2. Im nowhere close to beating Candy Box1.

Edit: I came home today (2024-01-26) and went out of my way to beat Candy Box 2. I had no idea it ended like that. The computer still manages to introduce a funny post-game mechanic. I used the bug ultimate command and then ate candy. Normally, nothing is supposed to happen and instead I got an absurd amount of HP. I went from the normal 3k cap to like 140k lmao

Candy Box 1 and Candy Box 2 are best described as "idle-clicker" games, although candy cannot be generated with any direct input from the player. Assuming you immediately clicked the above links to start playing, you may have noticed that already. By the way, its probably been over 10 seconds since you started the game(s). Maybe youve unlocked something interesting. Why dont you go ahead and check? Dont mind me, I'll still be here.

These games are charming, funny, and easy to get in to. The ascii art is a big factor of why i like the games so much. Its obvious that the ascii art is created by hand rather than generated by some program. Several artists are credited in Candy box 2 just for the ascii art. Its likely that Candy box influenced my preferance for oldschool emoticons (^u^)

Candy Box has a very tongue-in-cheek tone. It sort of has to be if half the gameplay is centred on the production and consumption of bonkers amounts of candy. The candy centric theme carries over to the other half of the game, which is a loving satire of an rpg.

The rpg elements are not introduced right away. You would expect, as this part of the game is unlocked later, that the rpg only exists to unlock candy production upgrades. While this is technically true, its easy to let the candy production fall into the background while playing the rpg side of things. While there are going to be stints when it’s best to let the game run overnight to grind candies, the game is quick enough the player will be making good progress on each play session. Each game is beatable in a week.

Despite hitting a few walls in both games, I never really found this frustrating. Trying to get as far as I feel like and enjoying the humour as I play is fun and satisfying enough.

I mentioned that conceptually, both games are the same. What is inspiring to me is the significant leap in quality and content between the first and second games. Especially since i found out the games were only released like 6 months apart. (o.o)՞ Did I mention the games are built entirely in js? The games are built entirely in js. This means you can still play either game in their entirity offline as long as you can load the page in your browser. From what I understand, these games are fairly lightweight as well.

This also means its easy to cheat if you know anything about html5 and js. It’s even easier to cheat in cb2 bc you can download the save file as plain text, and its extremely clear what variables you need to change to get what you want lmaooo

Anyways, Candy Box 2 is a much larger game, and throws the player into a sprawling rpg pretty quickly. The game retains the same sense of humour as the first, and has way more ascii art. A big stand out difference to me is that Candy Box 2 is a more involved game that requires more attention and strategy from the player. In Candy Box 1, you can get away with going on a quest and letting the game idle so long as your stats were high enough. Overall, Candy Box 2 is a more realized version of the game, but that is not to say Candy Box 1 is not without it’s merits. I still recommend playing both if any of this sounds even a little bit interesting.

Now if you read all that, and you like the idea of a browser based idle game, but prefer a more serious tone, A Dark Room has similar gameplay to Candy Box with a little less absurdity and more resource management.

Wait hold on, I wanna try something

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          /'  /  /---'(    :   \
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        |   ||##| I \/ |   |   _|
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Eyyyyy! It’s the candy merchant! \(^u^)/ Gosh it’s like seeing an old friend.

The one thing I appreciate more now than I did before is how much these games managed to accomplish using tools that I’m casually learning on my own. It makes me wonder what I could try to do with this site. (ෆ˙ᵕ˙ෆ)

I’ll probably revisit Candy Box 1 and 2 sometime in the future. These are charming and funny games I deeply enjoy. Sometimes it’s less about playing old games and more about playing an indie title once in a while as a pallet cleanser. So much of the gaming industry is a capitalist hellscape choked with price gouging and micro transactions. I do play a good chunk of indie games off Maybe I ought to post a review or two of games that I love off there now and then.


Close to perfect. Mechanically, this game is perfect. Everything about the nightmare sequences feels really, really good. The controls are snappy, and losing never feels like the game is being unfair. I absolutely abused the rewind feature. Its built in the game so you can’t call it cheating.

I remember the original reception for this game claims it to be incredibly hard. I found it fairly intuitive. With a bit of practice, I can play on hard mode no problem. Just goes to show how differing game types can be a big factor in difficulty for different players.

Plot is near perfect. I dislike the "good" path boils down to self-sacrifice is always good and marriage is the be-all-end-all goal of romantic relationships. Otherwise, the addition of Rin is good. I suspect anyone who plays the Full-Body version would not be able to identify the changes and additions from the original 2011 version.

Image may be found at the following website: Link, Fair use, Link


Posted: 2024-02-09


This is another browser based incremental thats what the genre is called game you can play here. If you already started playing, my number one tip for this game is DO NOT IDLE ON THE VILLAGE TAB. Literally stay anywhere else. This advice applies to the mobile version as well.

Ohhh, boy. This review is going to have a lot of spoilers. I'll try my best to keep this review as neat looking as possible

There are 2 versions of adr, and i played the browser version. From what I’ve read, the mobile version of the game is a much richer version of the game. There are more direct story beats, and the tone of the game’s narrative is much harsher. I’ll talk more about the specific differences later. From what I’ve read, the mobile version is absolutely worth playing over the browser version. I like the browser version just fine but... we’ll see. >.>

The game starts with you starting a fire. The first person to wander in and join you is builder. She’s great, i love her. She helps you build anything you need, including huts to encourage others to settle in your newly established village.

The Village is a resource generating and management system. You set traps and collect wood to hurry it along. Any villagers you have can be assigned to specific tasks to generate specific resources. Watch out, bc certain roles will reduce other resources to get the job done. (Tanners will take 10 fur to make 1 leather, for example.) Events occur at random and eventually you earn a compass, which opens up the Dusty Path tab.

The Dusty Path is a rogue-lite rpg adventure. You’re job is to explore the area beyond your settlement and collect more goods. Oh, and you have to make it back alive if you want to keep anything. Walking consumes water and food. Its very punishing especially in the early game. Good luck (b^u^)b

I can’t really say much more without revealing MAJOR spoilers. The next bit is going to be covered in spoiler tags.

A Dark Room is pretty subtle in its telling until it’s not. This is especially true in the browser version. You’re going to be doing a lot of reading between the lines. The first reveal is that the game takes place in a post-apocalyptic world. (This is most obvious while exploring A Dusty Path.) The second reveal is that you are an alien, and everyone referred to as a wanderer is also an alien. The last reveal is that you are partially responsible for said apocalypse. The end goal of the game is revealed when you find a starship. Your character plans to use that to escape back into outerspace.

Most of these reveals are indirect (at least in the browser version) so it’s up to the player to read carefully and pick up on the implications of the game. It explains why the pc and the builder are set apart from the other villagers. It also explains why so many people are hostile to you on sight. Young teens and children attacking you is a common encounter. I mean, the cloth and charms (and some of the meat) you find in your traps could only come from humans. This game is not above implying cannibalism.

The further out you venture, the more alien tech you find. This stuff is easily the best in the game, which gently implies humans didn’t stand a chance when the alien fleet attacked. The game paints an especially gruesome picture in the locations at the furthest edge of the map, which have more descriptions of desolated cities, ravaged environments from battlefields, and bodies littering starships.

As far as i can tell, the browser has two endings depending on if you find the fleet beacon. The ending without it skips straight to showing you your score. If you do find it, you will be given extra text that is somehow more ambiguous (imo). Genuinely i like this true(er) ending. It requires you to do more reading between the lines like you’ve likely been doing most of the game. The way I read it, the wanderer dies. The old starship cannot run his life support long enough in time for the fleet to pick him up, but calling upon the fleet could likely bring further suffering to the planet below.

I love this game. It explores the sci-fi genre in a very satisfying way. Up until this playthrough, I never got far in the game. I used to give up right around when i unlock A Dusty Path (i really don’t like rogue-likes or rogue-lites) but I’m really glad i pushed through this time around. I replayed as result of revisiting the Candy Box games, and adr was directly inspired by those games so naturally I tried adr anytime I decided i was done with cb1 and 2. I like adr bc it happens to hit all the genres and gameplay styles i really like, but at the end of the day, adr is just a good game.

Mobile Version Superiority

Like i mentioned before, the mobile version is pretty different, and I think it would make for a richer experience of the game.

It’s pretty clear in the browser version what the setting and immediate history is supposed to be, but from what I’ve read, the devs weren’t quite satisfied and decided to flesh out the pc and builder characters in the mobile version of the game. The same playthrough on the mobile version reveals that the pc will eventually start to refer to the villagers as slaves and will continue to do so until the end of the game. If i was supposed to pick up on this implication in the browser version, i did not pick up on that at all. As a result, the game is much kinder in the browser version by virtue of being more ambiguous.

The builder is also expanded on in the mobile version. Apparently she’s the reason the pc survives when they pass out during the Dusty Path adventures. She also has more opinions on what the player does. She makes it pretty clear she hates your plan to escape into space and rejoin the fleet and she’ll eventually abandon you completely and never return. The browser version has her as a more neutral presence. She remains in the village no matter what you do, and it’s unclear whether she joins you on the ship or not.

Both versions of the game invite you to replay the game after you beat it, but the storyline in the mobile version incentivises the player to try beating the game without building any huts and therefore without resorting to slavery. I have no idea if this pacifist run exists in the browser version, but apparently your reward for the hutless run is that builder doesnt hate your guts and joins you on the starship at the end of the game.

All in all its a great game. For reading this far, here are a few more tips: You’ll generally want to avoid the “do nothing” option for net gains. Hoard scales and teeth above all else. Last but certainly not least, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DONT HANG THE THIEF.

As an aside, I found out while looking this game up that Candy Box and A Dark Room were the direct inspirations for Cookie Clicker. The natural progression would be to play that next. Cookie Clicker is kinda renown for its infamy so it feels weirdly redundant to review it. I mean, the real reason i don’t wanna review it is because I’ve already been playing Cookie Clicker for yrs on my phone so I don’t feel like reviewing it

PlayStation 4

Kojima games are weirdTM.

The game keeps telling me im supposed to care about Amelie and I just don't. Episode 10 has a shot of the ensemble cast telling Sam to go east and those are all the people I care about. These characters were interesting and we spent time learning about each of them and they were easy to sympathize with. On the other hand, Amelie just sucks. Even Higgs was more interesting and likable and a big driving factor for me to keep playing. That guy's a freak I love it.

I was told Kojima endings/cutscenes are long but i was not at all prepared for that kind of time investment holy crap. Whatever time estimate you have in your head for a Kojima ending, quadruple it.

This review has been moved to The Bin.

Xbox 360

Solid. Holds up really well. The ability to switch between the classic and remastered engine on the fly is such a cool feature. Campaign is a little on the short side, but honestly its better that it doesnt overstay its welcome. Fighting the flood was weirdly zen. I found i prefer enclosed spaces and CQC, and tend to die a lot in more open spaces. Some segments feel like a crapshot. Literally just yolo'd my way through some fights without actually killing anything. Savepoints will sometimes skip seemingly at random. Not much of an issue when the game reloads so fast. The Library is easily the best level. 343 Guilty Spark is such an ambivalent bastard its great.

Game Boy Color/Game Boy Advance

These two games blend together in my head because i played them back to back. Pretty aesthetic. Incredibly charming, cute overload adventures. Some of the solutions are a little opaque. Sometimes I tried to apply a solution to a puzzle too soon. Otherwise these games are too cute to dislike.


So cute!!

The game starts off super easy and has a very gentle ramp up in difficulty. Kirby games are generally designed for younger children, so this is pretty expected. There is a difficulty hike in the post-game but by that point you've probably unlocked a good chunk of the upgrades and have items you can buy with in-game currency to assist with these levels. Part of the easy difficulty is there are very few actions the player can actually do (relative to other modern triple a games). Kirby can only jump, attack, dodge, spit, use item, and float. That’s it. All the shoulder and trigger buttons do the same thing, so I had no issues with controls.

The feel of the movement and platforming remind me a lot of Super Smash Bros. This shouldn’t be a surprise considering both series are developed by the same studio, HAL Laboratory. This game has dodge tech (!!), which immediately makes this a great game for me.

This game uses the same technique as Legends Arceus, in that is reduces the framerates of assets that are really far away. This is more acceptable in Kirby, since the camera is almost always on-a-rail, and the field of view is usually pretty small. So this mostly goes unnoticed during normal gameplay.

Speaking of camera, i never tested if you can move the camera in boss fights. Generally, the camera has set positions it snaps to, and it’s very acceptable in most cases.

I was disappointed that the post-game levels are just a rehash of the existing levels, but with the aforementioned difficulty spike. Those levels are also tinted with a colour haze, which was sometimes unpleasant to look at. It also made some environment hazards harder to see. There were already purple poison puddles and some ya-hoo really though “ah, yes, what this REALLY needs is a purple fog :)))” Thanks, I love it...

I got to around 92% completed, and could probably 100% the game if i gave it one last push, but i don’t feel compelled to.

I haven’t tried co-op mode, but I'll hazard a guess that this would be a great game to play between parents and their young children.

Fantastic game overall. Cute aesthetic. Fun gameplay.

PlayStation Portable - SNES emulator

Best battle music. Easy. Slaps so hard.

For context, I played Lufia 3 before I played this one. Lufia 3 has very different gameplay compared to Lufia 1. I was disappointed that Lufia 1 turned out to be a standard JRPG, but that shouldn’t have surprised me. I was hoping I would get more of whatever weird system Lufia 3 had. What’s worse, the opening of the 3rd game spoils the ending of this game, so I already know how it ends. Still, the characters are charming and the romance between the protag and female lead is cute.

The balancing is a little weird. Its easy to one-shot enemies early on, but bosses are incredibly stacked. I suspect the game is balanced for the mid and late-game. I think the game expects the player to use a lot of buffs and debuffs, but those aren’t available in the early-game, which makes bosses disproportionately difficult early on.

Turn order remains nebulous till the very end. I couldn’t tell you how it worked if my life depended on it.

If you’re going to play this, play this on emulator with save states. Lufia 1 has a game over penalty. You lose half your gold, AND it costs gold to revive party members, BUT not every town has a priest. You could use items to revive, but those items can’t be purchased in shops. That sounds like a recipe for softlocking to me.

Some of the event triggers needed to progress are completely missable. There are two (maybe three) event triggers needed before a gem saleswoman tells you about a ruby mine that you need to go back to. One of those event triggers is behind a different woman in the last town, who seems to be blocking a set of stairs and tells you "sorry, we're closed!" About half a dozen NPCs that have claimed to block a path have actually blocked the players path up till this point in the game. So i. Believed her. I took her word for it and walked away. They weren't closed. The game expect players to try anyways and walk right pasted her. *sigh*

There’s something really charming about the way the party characters interact and banter. Its very different from FF games, but it’s different in a way that I can’t quite put my finger on. The party has a tendency to argue about really silly and trivial things. The protag and Lufia are childhood friends and their interactions are pretty sweet. It’s hard not to be charmed by these characters.

THE ENDING The Ending My goodness the game had me tearing up from the ending. What a good and well written game ;A;

The cover art copyright is believed to belong to the distributor of the game or the publisher of the video game or the developers of the video game, Fair use, Link

PlayStation Portable - SNES emulator

Good game. Pleasing visuals. Boss music slaps.

I know a love a game when i get close to the end and procrastinate. I do this because i don’t want the game to be over yet. I did this with basically every one of my favourite games. FFvii, BotW, Link’s Awakening, Shadow of the Colossus, Mass Effect 2 and 3 to name a few.

Lufia 2 was not a game i expected to join this list.

Whats important to mention is that even though this game is numbered 2, it’s actually a prequel to Lufia 1. The trouble with prequels is that we already know how everything shakes out. Despite all that, Lufia 2 did a good job of drawing me in and getting me emotionally invested.

Im glad i played this immediately after Lufia 1. This game has a lot of self-referential content, and some of the impact would have been lost on me had I forgotten some of those finer details. My favourite moment is the party retrieving a rare, but unremarkable flower for a stranger unrelated to the main plot. Only at the end of that mission do we find out the flower is a priphea, a thematically relevant flower in Lufia 1.

The way the characters are written,,, there’s something about it. I can’t quite articulate why I find it so lovable and charming. The way the characters bicker and interact has a quality that feels more natural. Like the characters actually care about each other, rather than tolerating each other because they all have a common mission. I think one of the factors is that the game regularly shows the characters as part of the world, rather than detached saviours of it. Most of the character interaction scenes have absolutely nothing to do with the main plot. NPCs are frequently depicted as chummy with party members.

Speaking of characters, it’s funny watching Maxim and Selan rush into a marriage a month after meeting because they’re supposed to have a kid before the end of the game plot lol. The relationship is super sweet regardless and feels fleshed out. This series seems to have a nack for making their romance plots super cute and fun.

That being said, i feel super sorry for Tia. :(

This game introduces monsters visible outside of combat and can be stunned and bypassed in dungeons.

There are also puzzle dungeons similar to topdown Zeldas. Except these dungeons don’t have themes. Generally, this means new puzzle types can show up arbitrarily but the devs have been good about posting signs that give hints or objectives.

The other thing this series does is have legacy characters. Zelda and FF do this as well. In Zelda, you can usually expect to meet a character named Impa, in FF, it’s Cid. Lufia leans into the legacy characters a little more than FF, but not as much as Zelda. The same guest party members you get in Lufia 2 show up 200 yrs later as main stays in Lufia 3.

The localization of this game is. Bad. Names are frequently inconsistent between dialogue and menu screens. I got the "divine" armour at the end and was extremely confused when it didn’t show up in my inventory. Its called "pearl" armour instead. Some maps are just straight up corrupted. Some monster names are translated directly from the katakana instead of using what should clearly be the English word. The assassin is "asashin" and the hydra is "haidora". Why is it like this? Is his name Atrea or Arty? Gai or Guy?

I thought "Iris" was a pseudonym, but a line toward the end of the game suggests she was supposed to be called Erim the whole time for some dramatic irony. It took me a 3rd of the game to figure out Iris’ true identity as a result. Is this technically a spoiler? Who knows.

The cover art copyright is believed to belong to the distributor of the game or the publisher of the video game or the developers of the video game, Fair use, Link

Game Boy Color

Unique!!! I have not seen any RPG do anything like this (granted I’m not an expert in the genre). The plot is your standard JRPG fair; a protag goes on a journey collecting a group of misfits that culminates in a final battle with a god. The overworld is mercifully small. The mechanics are something else. Like, in a good way.

Dungeons are procedurally generated maps with multiple floors. Similar room and hallway idea as a mystery dungeon game. The enemies are not random encounters, but rather sprites that can be seen on the map. You can choose to go after them or navigate around them. Walking the dungeons are turnbased, again similar to a mystery dungeon. Since this is an older game, the layouts do not change a whole lot on how they can be generated. Dungeons rely on changing enemy AI movement to keep dungeons fresh, but this largely falls flat.

The combat is another beast entirely. You can have up to nine party members on the field. How they are arranged in the nine square grid, affects their stats, vulnerabilities, and mp usage for skills. The combat is also turn based. Only one person per column can make an action each turn. The skills the party can learn are randomly generated within the dungeons. As a result, strategies remain dynamic and fresh throughout the playthrough. Managing the party both inside and outside of combat was a fun problem-solving puzzle on its own. I was altering and fine tuning my party formation right up until the final boss from picking up new and useful skills in the preceding dungeon. Combat was SO much fun as a result.

Source unknown, Fair use, Link

PC (2015)

Posted: 2024-03-30

Seems like this review is just as much a retrospective on MapleStory as it is a review of MapleLegends. I will also touch on one other server i tried.

The thing about gaming as a hobby is that some games are the sticky tar pits of the gaming world. I don’t necessarily mean they’re bad games, I mean they’re hard to get out of and leave. Sometimes a game feels more like a bad habit rather than a relaxing hobby. MMORPGs and a lot of PVP multi-player games usually fit this category to a tee. This is what playing ML is like. There were a lot of days when i would rather play literally anything else, but my brain basically made it impossible to enjoy any game that wasn’t ML. There were a few months there that i was really into the thick of it. Rare was the day i didn’t log on at least once. I cannot stress enough that I think ML is a good game. Its just that some games put a curse on you, and ML is one of those games. Now that the curse is lifted, I can properly enjoy other games again. It also means I’m more comfortable reviewing this mmo. (ෆ˙ᵕ˙ෆ)

I dunno if you’ve picked up on this vibe from me yet, but I Do Not like multi-player games. (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻ Whether it be co-op or pve it doesn’t matter. I especially dislike anything pvp. An excellent video essay by fellow Calgarian Dan Olson titled Why It's Rude to Suck at Warcraft pretty succinctly explains everything i dislike about MMOs and more broadly multi-player games in general.

MapleStory is my one exception strictly for nostalgia’s sake. The music is so chill and peaceful it’s like 90% of the reason i wanted to go back to revisit the game. The modern version of MapleStory is about as unappealing as any other mmorpg out there, so i decided to find out if there were any private servers over older versions of the game.

This is where MapleLegends comes in. It’s based on ver .62 of the game, which came out right around the time my family stopped playing the game, which turned out to be exactly what I’m looking for in a server. From what i gather, this is the oldest version private servers will base their servers on. ML doesn’t restrict itself to v.62, it also includes areas and features from later versions.

A widely universal problem across private servers is that the game stagnates pretty easily. Most MS servers seem to have populations anywhere from a couple dosen to two thousand players. ML’s population typically hovers at around 800 concurrent players (most of whom are AFK at any given moment). Most of these players are people in the late game. What this means is that in-game economies suffer inflated priced on items when there are almost no new players to offset the market. It also makes it harder for new players to recruit others for lower level party quests. For someone like me, the majority of my chat is filled with server wide announcements for people buying, selling, and looking for players to pq. Some aspects of the meta change for the worse when the ‘massive’ part of the mmorpg cannot be replicated on a private server. ¯\_(σ ‸ σ)_/¯

As an aside, i know for a fact that anyone who is afk is an active player lmao They are not legacy players who left their account logged in for years on end. Over the course of the past few months that I’ve been active, the server has closed for maintenance/updates roughly once a month for events. All ~800 of those players have to download the new version and log on every time that happens. Not to mention people who dc naturally as a consequence of shaky internet or what have you.

I don’t know if this is/was a common thing in mmos, but for some reason in MapleStory, different regional servers had different extra areas available to them. Like. Why. (=A='') MapleStory SEA (South East Asia) had a lot of exclusive content that wasn’t available in GMS (Global MapleStory). As far as I understand, these regional differences were pretty superficial, as the base game was identical. Any private server remedies this by integrating any exclusive content into their servers.

As of this writing, I have a lvl 86 ranger in ML. So im decently far into the midgame. My goals with this character is tourism and childhood wish fulfillment. I don’t really intend to dive into the late game like at all. My play style is pretty much solo all the way through.

Part of that wish fulfillment aspect is that most private servers (as i understand, anyways) give players free access to the cash shop. In the official MS, these are exclusive game items you can pay for with real world currency micro-transaction style. Private servers lets you buy cashshop items in exchange for voting for their server. Obviously no one ever enjoys micro-transactions, so being able to access cosmetics and pets without needing to pay is a pretty big draw. You can still donate money to the ML server and get cash shop items that way, but since ML only includes cosmetics and pets, this removes any pay2win problems that occur in official MS. As a result, there are basically no high lvl players who aren’t completely decked out in cosmetics. Everyone gets to wear that cute dress we always wanted to as a kid. I don’t mind this at all.

Seeing as this is a pretty early version of the game (circa 2008), the pace for levelling up is pretty slow. ML features x2 exp and x3 quest and even then the game moves at a leisurely pace. As a weirdo who likes grinding as a way to chill out, this is ideal. Servers based on slightly newer versions of MapleStory will usually sport higher multiplying factors to exp as part of their appeal and feature content that expedites levelling that render old quest lines entirely obsolete. Modern MapleStory is pretty egregious with the latter, in that one of the selling points is that players can practically skip to level 200 within a few months of starting the game. For some players, this is a make-or-break QOL feature. For me, it feels like a shallow appeal to players at the cost of the journey.

The difficulty humps and slowdowns as a character levels up is, in my humble opinion, part of the experience of the game. It feels less meaningful when characters practically skip through lvls 20-30 bc they get a buttload of exp just talking to npcs. I mean, its kinda special when a bro you meet at lvl 40 is still active in the guild at lvl 100 six months later.

My older brother got me to try out a server that just launched a couple of weeks ago. ScaniaMS is based on ver .83 of MS, and sports a lot of the changes and features of another popular server DreamMS. A huge reason i didn’t like that server is because it removes aspects of the game i consider essential to the game feel. This server, and servers like it replicate a lot of the issues i have with updates to official MS. :T

Speaking of QOL, ML adjusts some features, but seems to keep a lot of the base game intact. Once again, this appeals to my nostalgia. I understand if a lot of players view some of these legacy quirks as things that should be fixed, but to me, they’re important to the game feel. The 2 biggest examples that stick out to me is traversal and bosses.

Travelling through the maple world will often require the player to board ferries to get to various areas. The largest voyage was connecting Ellinia to Orbis, in MS this took 30 real world minutes. If you just miss the ship, you’re shit out of luck until the next boat arrives 30 minutes later. If the ship gets ambushed while you’re outside, there’s a really good chance your character will die and spawn you back at the start. It wasn’t unusual for characters to get stranded or go broke as this trip cost 10k mesos. ML retains this feature, but removes the cost and shortens the voyage to 10 minutes. Smaller journeys were reduced to 5 minute voyages. A welcome change, as the population of the server means most journeys will only have a single occupant. Back in the day, the voyage on channel 1 usually carried hundreds of players across the world and meant it was easy enough to occupy your time socializing with other players. In ML, boarding a ship with one other player is a rarity.

Bosses retain their rarity in ML. Bosses have a cooldown timer anywhere from 2 hours to resetting once daily. With only 6 channels and hundreds of players, some bosses are harder to come by as other players will likely have killed them before you get a chance to find them. I like this about boss hunting. Getting lucky finding a boss, or noticing which bosses are almost always taken out by other players is part of the meta. Finding a less popular boss thats off the beaten path has a special kind of satisfaction when you have free reign to wipe out the boss on all 6 channels.

When these aspects of the game are cited as ‘inconveniences’ and are removed from the game, I consider that a negative. Sure, a mandatory 10 minute wait to arrive at your destination sounds like a bad thing, but the break from the game removes pressure and urgency that tends to crop up in other games. Sure, not being able to hunt bosses whenever you want sounds like a stupid limitation, but I like discovering and recognizing the patterns in player behaviours and needing to plan around that. Even though im a solo player through and through, i still want to feel the impact of other people in this virtual world.

A lot of what I talked about just now speaks to my personal taste, and thats great. I don’t wanna yuck anyone’s yum if they prefer servers with slightly newer versions of the game. My point is that game feel is really important to me, and I’ll play retro games and forego QOL just for that alone.

There is also a series of benefits and drawbacks to playing a fresh server. There’s a chance to break into the top 100 player rank if you play early on, for one. On the other hand, playing on a server that has been around for several years has had a chance to develop a stable game and community. I know this should not count as a point against ScaniaMS, but playing a game that has way more polish and then switching to a version that struggles to render properly at modern resolutions is a downgrade that did colour my experience. Buggy autobans or npc dialogue with incorrect information adds up fast.

But the fattest nail in the coffin was ScaniaMS had no community forum. They used a discord server as a replacement. This is a growing trend on the broader internet and its a change for the worse. (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻ Having discussions on a forum meant that information was publically available to anyone. Being able to plug a specific issue into a seach engine and have the answer on a forum is part of what made the early internet a more agreeable place to navigate. Now, a lot of useful information is gated behind a chat client.

In addition to a forum with information relevant to the specific server, over the years, players of ML have developed tools outside of the game for others to use. From what I can tell, ML’s free market has pretty stable for a few years now (if a little inaccessible to new players). The reason I know this is because OwlRepo has existed as a tool for players to upload and search market prices since 2020. I’ve seen discussions of a market fluctuations when a bunch of new players joined during covid lockdown lmao

Now, I’m gonna awkwardly pivot to talking about something else (^-^')7

The monster book is a feature introduced to MS after i stopped playing, but it perfectly complements my play style. It’s easily my favourite part of the game. (ෆ˙ᵕ˙ෆ) I think i would have dropped playing ML a long time ago had it not been for the monster book. The monster book is a virtual card collecting quest. Different species of monster have different drop rates for their card. Collecting five of the same card completes a set. This basically gave me a collect-a-thon mission that would allow me to justify grinding solo and justify visiting and exploring obscure maps for fun. °˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖° Most players wait till after 4th job advancement (lvl 120) to start card hunting, but i basically started card hunting as early as lvl 30.

The monster book is the only thing I liked better in ScaniaMS. Even though it’s my favourite feature, in the end, it did not overshadow all of the things i liked better in ML. Now, i don’t know what is true to the original MS, but the two servers have different rewards for the monster book. In ML, every 30 card sets completed allows the player to upgrade a ring for better stat bonuses. In Scania, there is a hp/mp stat bonus applied after every card set. Card drops are more common in Scania, and being a later version of the game means more monster types to collect.

Now that im writing about it, the monster ring in ML is still better. ML’s monster ring may only be upgraded every 30 card sets, but at least it also gives bonuses to the 4 base stats in addition to hp/mp boosts. Scania might also do this, but i didn’t play far enough into it to find out. Basically, not even an expanded monster book could sway me from my preference for an older feeling, slower paced version of the game. d( ̄◇ ̄)b

I mentioned the community on ML has stabilized, but I have a theory that a major factor in why interactions with people in game have been mostly pleasant and reasonable is because there’s hardly anyone under the age of 30 playing on MS private servers. I've had several lovely interations with complete strangers. It's not uncommon for passers by to say hello (^u^)/

This next bit is all personal anecdote. The review is basically over lol

Despite being a solo player, i somehow managed to stumble ass backwards into founding a new guild. For a brief stint, I managed to get my brother to play on ML with me (this was a little bit before ScaniaMS launched). We ran into a very kind player who gave us directions (i had forgotten where a few job specific npcs were) and outfitted my bother with some nice gear. My brother wasnt able to play much more as life got in the way, but i ended up running into the same player weeks later as we got mass recruited into the same guild.

Generally, my policy with guild invites was flat out rejection i've had one person cuss me out and call me rude for rejecting an unsolicited invitation, but the guild’s defacto leader found me while i was card hunting and managed to persuade me. (“Why?” i asked. “Why not?” he said.) Since everyone was mass recruited, no one in the guild really knew anyone save me and the buddy who help my brother out.

Another few weeks go by and i get a pm from the buddy. He pitches to me an idea of forming a new guild. Tells me i could rejoin the old one after the new one is formed. I decided ‘ehhh, i knew this guy slightly longer. He’s been kind and reasonable so far, I may as well help him out.’ While we sort out forming a new guild, we get to gossiping. He tells me he got booted unceremoniously from the last guild for trying to recruit people for pqs. Apparently the leader of that guild was quite rude.

Buddy promotes me to jr. master on account that i am a founding member. We decide as a rule we don’t mass recruit.

A day goes by. We join a guild alliance and it turns out A FUKIN LOT of people dislike the defacto leader of that other guild. I get a few stray bits of gossip about it. It’s hella funny. XD

I take a break from ML for a few months. I log in and the only people active in the guild are myself and an entirely different founding member. She managed to get to lvl 120 in the interim. Despite being a solo player and only ever card hunting (its a very inefficient grinding method d( ̄◇ ̄)b), i manage to to become the second highest level player in the guild. I’m still baffled that i basically failed upwards into being a founding member and jr. master of a guild lmaoo Nice to know being polite can get you places

Like I told my fellow jr. master, my primary goal in playing ML is tourism. If i keep playing ML on and off for the next bit, chances are I’ll either complete the monster book, or get to 4th job advancement and then I’ll likely quit the game for good.

Image taken from MapleLegends, Link

PlayStation 4

This is a bloated game. Too many actions and too many things to keep track of make this game feel cluttered and claustrophobic. This is a beat 'em up stapled to an open world. The combat has too many actions. I actually struggle to describe the experience theres so much going on. Theres combo attacks and combo streaks which build up to combo finishers but also build up a power meter that does strong attacks or heal but that depends on which two button combo press you do and theres at least 6 different two button combo while some single button press change what happens depending on whether you tap or hold so you can switch your gadgets on the fly. Try to perfect dodge when your spider sense is tingling :) :) :)

*sigh* i forget its possible to move the camera because im too busy juggling all the various actions in my head. I was excited to play a modern Sony title because theyve got really good accessibility settings including fully customization button mapping. In most games, i usually have to pick one action that i sacrifice in order to play (in most Zelda games, i can't shield very well if ever, for example). For this game, the entire left side of the controller i mostly forgot about.

This is an inoffensive game overall. It feels short and very empty. The design overall is also lacking. The open world part of the game simply gives the player all the collectable locations, which defeats the point of the overworld setting. A graphic artist worked really really hard on designing graffiti for some of the villains, which is used as an in-universe marker for item cashes. Its undercut by the game giving you all the locations upfront on the map, removing any exploration from the game. Sure, its impressive that this game basically contains a digital copy of Manhattan, but its just set dressing for what is otherwise a list of tasks. Theres no incentive to explore from a gaming perspective.

It also feels short? Even by openworld triple A standards, the main storyline takes less than 10 hours to beat. Only a few more hours to 100% the game. And I know this isnt just me, someone who is used to rpgs clocking in at 30 hours at their fastest times. Both tomb raider 2013 and rise of the tomb raider are games of similar genre and calibre, and significantly longer playtime required just to beat the main storyline.

Not to mention, this game feels like four different games stapled together. And thats not a serious exaggeration, there are at least four distinct modes the game switches between during gameplay. We have combat, traversal, stealth, and walking sim. Each gamemode has a distinct set of controls. The triangle button had at least 10 distinct actions between all the different game modes and how it is pressed. I cant get over how bonkers the control scheme is for this game. There are 4 different buttons that are some type of web sling. Only 1 of which stays as a dedicated web sling button regardless of what mode the player is in. And despite that, its still context sensitive.

Its incredible and commendable that the devs managed to make context sensitive game modes and switch between them as seemlessly as they did, but should they need to?

The original assassins creed also has stealth, combat, and an open world concept traversed with free running. It didnt need three distinct game modes for these different actions. The player is always able to do any action regardless what where or what was happening in the game. It feels weird that a game 20 years later would feel the need to do that.

The good things i can say about the game is that its beautiful to look at. The characters are compelling enough and the plot is passable. Its hard not to notice the vibe of trying to capture the lightning in a bottle that was Into the Spider-Verse. So. If you want a good looking Miles Morales story with great characters, watch that movie instead.

Its just. Anything this game does good, something else has done better.


Good game! Amazing aesthetic. Fluid controls, which is super important for a 2D platformer. Esp when some buttons are context sensitive. Game is short but it’s so dense with stuff happening and upgrades that I hardly noticed. It wasn’t until the end of the game that told me that I beat the game in under 10 hrs did I realize it was a short game. It didn’t feel short! Even with all the bosses I was stuck at for a while, it only took me 10 hrs to beat the game? Speaking of bosses-

Metroid Haaaard.

I- have trouble with skill centric bosses sometimes. Not because of skill or disability (PowerA makes shite controllers but it’s the only company that has remappable buttons SO THANK GOODNESS FOR THEM). Sometimes I get frustrated in a way that makes playing no longer fun. (-A-;) When I’m smart, I take breaks from Dread when a boss kicks my ass. Otherwise I end up stewing in resentment even when I’m getting better at the game and manage to beat a boss.

The thing about Dread is that it’s a beautifully designed game. Just about everything you need to learn to beat bosses, the game introduces to the player organically through level design. One of the key skills the player needs to learn is a mid-air dash. This is useful for most lategame bosses. The way the player learns how to do this is by solving an environmental puzzle. You have to do a mid-air dash to get through a door. Most skills are like this. The player gets a safe way to learn/practice a skill before getting tested with a boss fight. It’s so good. This game is a masterclass in level design. A lot of how I beat some of the harder bosses is finding an empty room to practice certain moves, and I wouldn’t have thought to do that had it not been for the design choices in the levels that help players learn.

Also, also, the pause menu lets you reread any tutorial which is so nice!

The ending sequence feels soooo good that suit design and ending cutscenes are going to live rent free in my brain for a good while.

By Nintendo - Website, Fair use, Link


Neat idea. Decent execution. The gameplay loop of dungeon crawling and shopkeep simulator is pretty nice. The pricing is a fun mechanic. Some bits are a little unbalanced. I don’t like that some drops can only be acquired once. This means pricing them properly for sales is near impossible. The game felt a bit samey by the time i unlocked the third dungeon. Every dungeon has the same layout, same formula for the procedurally generated layout, and same reward structure. The only thing unique between each dungeon is aesthetic theme, and small variance in combat. It felt like working through the same dungeon as the first again except everyone, the enemies and the player, were doing more damage and that’s it. Give me more variation for each dungeon.

The final door had a missed opportunity of combining all four previous dungeons into one messy final dungeon. Even if it was just one floor and super easy, it would have been neat thematically, i think.

Plot is fun. Visually pleasing. Considering this is an indie title its a pretty good game. There is dlc available but im not all that compelled to buy it.

Xbox 360

There are two versions of the game. I played the earlier version, Nier Gestalt, which has some significant difference to the more recent release Nier Replicant ver.1.22474487139... The biggest difference is that the PC in Gestalt is an older man who is trying to save his daughter. Replicant is truer to the Japanese version, where the PC is a teen who is saving his little sister. I personally like the idea of an older protagonist, my only gripe is the model for the Gestalt version looks like store brand Kratos. I lied, that's not my only gripe. My other gripe is that it also changes the relationship between the MC and Kaine in a way that makes the scene where he kisses Kaine feel like it comes outta nowhere. Dont misunderstand, I like the dynamic that the older MC has with Kaine, it just doesnt match that scene. ¯\_(σ ‸ σ)_/¯ Otherwise, I’m glad i played the Gestalt version.

Best music. All the music slaps but special shout out to the music in the Junk Heap dungeon. Even though I was playing my own music for most of the late game, i went out of my way to put the music back on anytime i revisited the Junk Heap.

Speaking of revisiting, i did 100% the game and got all the endings (except ending D which would have deleted my save). Getting the other endings requires replaying the latter half of the game like 3 more times or more in case you accidentally skipped side quests like i did ljnksnkjdnlks. So when I say revisit, I mean Revisit. The game has 4 endings (5 if you play the other version, Nier Replicant). Getting all the endings requires playing the second half of the game at least 4 times. (ᗒᗣᗕ)՞ Luckily, there are some nice QOL features to smooth over any hurdles from these replays. This includes: skipping cutscenes, retaining side quest progress, and new game+ style features like retaining levels, items and upgrades. Boss fights go from a genuine challenge in the first run, to an absolute joke by the time you hit your stride on the 3rd lap. I spent more time waiting for dialogue to finish than actually killing bosses i was so overpowered by the end.

The gameplay is an extremely well polished. Fascinating that this game also included bullet hell elements that synergize well with the hack-and-slash. Beating the bosses felt rewarding. Switching weapons on the fly is near seamless. The magic has a basic risk/reward setup. More magic means youre vulnerable for a longer charge-up, and the simplicity makes it approachable and extremely satisfying to master.

Game has an amazing sense of humour. The title screen intro opens with Kaine going on a long curse filled rant insulting Weiss. For 20 solid seconds. Nothing happening on screen. Just. Kaine insulting Weiss repeatedly It’s great. It’s a well acted bit. I recommend giving it a listen. And that sets the whole tone for the rest of the game. The writing is witty and fun and characters frequently making playful jabs at each other. Its hard not to be attached to these characters. (ෆ˙ᵕ˙ෆ)

There are also some pointed and funny commentary on video games as a medium. There are many sequences when the game changes genres entirely. The mansion plays out like a Resident Evil style horror game, complete with stationary camera angles and no colour saturation. Another dungeon has an entirely isometric view. Several segments are done as a text-based adventure. On top of it all, the genre shifts never hinder the combat.

Several side quests have interesting plots too. One quest has you tracking down a lazy son for his worried mother, only to reveal he ran away because he didn't want to continue the family business of organized crime. Another quest has you delivering love letters to a nasty old woman, only to reveal she knew the love letters were faked, and her lover died decades ago. The entire town lied to her because she was the only person who knew how to operate the lighthouse. Another quest has no reward, and the NPC calls you out for expecting a reward when all you did was be a halfway decent person. Some NPCs will talk about things you can’t actually do anything about because frankly, that's none of your business lol

Neir is another example of a well done tragedy. The driving theme is that sometimes conflict happens between people who are completely justified in their motivations, but circumstances outside of their control will make achieving their goals diametrically opposed to one another. The result is that good people (knowingly or unknowingly) hurt other good people. Sometimes there’s no way to come out the other side without serious consequences. Its heartbreaking. I love it. (TдT)

The shades are also quite sad. Their speech is incomprehensible on the first playthrough. On every subsequent playthrough, their speech has subtitles. After you get the first ending, it’s revealed that the shades you kill are humans. It becomes apparent that the shades that attack mindlessly are human souls that have completely broken down. All of the sentient shades are mostly minding their own business before the player comes in and indiscriminately kills them all. Every one of them express some form of deep grief caused by the player or simply beg for their lives. It’s worse when you realize the new cutscenes are from Kaine’s perspective. All this bloodshed happens because the main character is determined to save his daughter/sister.

This game also seems to include a subtle commentary on the tension between a player’s agency and the desire to complete a game. Video games frequently touts itself as being the medium about choice and freedom. The obvious rebuttal to this claim is that players are confined to the limits defined by the developers. However, it is still true that video games by necessity require the player to willingly participate for the action and plot to progress. By calling the first ending Ending A, this game invites the player to continue exploring and keep playing even after they’ve won. However, each subsequent ending becomes more bleak. Eventually, it is revealed that the player helped inadvertently doomed the human race to extinction. The player has the ultimate freedom to choose not to play a game. None of this would have happened if the player had left the game well enough alone after reaching the first ending. Players don’t have to reach the other endings, but many of us have this desire to keep exploring and keep playing no matter what. Even if it means making immoral choices and getting tragic outcomes in-game.

Generally i try not to let spoilers bother me. I tend to get over them eventually. But I deeply regret seeing the spoiler for ending D. Completely spoiled the experience—both in the “ruined the surprise” and “re-framed the emotional impact” sense. I wish I was able to experience the game deleting my entire save file for myself.

All in all, amazing experience. Im looking forwad to playing Nier: Automata.


Solid game. Overall great gameplay. Boss fights feel pretty good. Side quests are so well done. Actually really glad crafting was introduced so player can stay out in the field longer.

Wish there was more variety in catch methods. Everything can be distracted with basically any food, and you can retry catching as many times as you like without coming out of stealth. There are no alt. techniques or puzzles to catch pokemon. Every species is out in the open. Basically, i wish the game was more like Bugsnax.

The animation is fantastic, the dodge mechanic is very forgiving. Honestly getting run down by a pokemon is so novel that by itself makes the game worth it. This game is accidentally a survival horror and it’s great.

This game is also... not finished. Another entry by Game Freak that was rushed and half-baked. The biggest detriment is the pivot from RPG to open-world style gameplay. I’ve documented something like fifteen distinct graphical errors or oddities within 20 hrs of gameplay. I’ve had assets turn invisible on me. The UI has glitched out or displayed wrong information. The shaders in caves don’t work right. I wish the flight mechanic wasn’t in the game because flying around makes it so apparent the draw distance is incredibly short. That’s unacceptable for a triple A title from large studio.

By Game Freak - Website, Fair use, Link

Nintendo DS

Good game.

Suffers a little from overlong cutscenes and the game seems to know this. Lots if instances where a save prompt happens before and after cutscenes lol.

Alright plot. Great partner. Like other pmd entries, the emotional core of the game centres on the partner, and I liked this one. This partner had a little more depth compared to red/blue, and wasnt annoying or overly childlike like in super mystery dungeon.

I love the pixel work in this game. There are some great backgrounds and extra scenes that look amazing.

That said, its clear that this game was developed for the gba. The touchscreen wasnt utilized at all, and the duel screen was used rarely. The cutscenes that do use duelscreen can easily be adapted to single screen. Its also possible that recycling all the sprite work streamlined development. Switching to 3d assets is already pretty grueling, but remodelling and reanimating nearly 500 pokemon is a tall order. Still, the game using none of the ds features is the glaring indicator that this game was intended for the gba. Or, possibly intended for a duel system release like red/blue rescue team.

My point being, its basically a gba game.

I personally like that better. It appeals to my nostalgia.

The cover art copyright is believed to belong to the distributor of the game or the publisher of the video game or the developers of the video game, Link

Game Boy

Ive played every other generation all the way through but never got to play the originals until now.

I thought i would better understand the appeal that gen wunners claim to have after playing but honestly, I understand it a lot less now. Gamefreak didnt really hit their stride until gen 2.

Gameplay-wise, the challenge was remembering what isnt in the game. There's no dark, steel, or fairy types. Duel types and abilities weren't introduced until later, and even type matchups were different. Everything is just off.

Neat relic, but less noteworthy than I would have guessed.

Nintendo 3DS

Choo-choooooo! Talk about a railroady game. You only get two free dungeon dives between plot events and there is no way to circumvent them. So what happens is that by the end game you and your partner will be severely underleveled. This balancing issue is offset by the generous item drops in dungeons. So by the endgame, my level is like 23 while the final boss is level 45. This necessitated playing out of the inventory instead of using the pokemon moveset. I shouldn’t need to tell you why that’s bad gameplay design.

I didn’t really like the partner. Also the plot early on is super juvenile. (“But Zach, it’s a pokemon game of course it’s going to have a childish plot-” Shutup. Half the main games are about how child abuse is bad.) The first half of the game is about going to pokemon elementary school. Like. Its an ikensei, the point is escapism fantasy. Why would pokemon need elementary school anyways? As a result, the human is assumed to be elementary school age as well. I preferred the first PMD, which allowed for some ambiguity for the age and background of the human character.

The box/cover art can or could be obtained from Nintendo, Fair use, Link


Another half baked entry.

The frustrating thing about pokemon games in the past 8 or so yrs is that there are clearly good games buried under the buggy, bare bones slop that gets released, and Pokemon Scarlet/Violet is no exception.

Among all the various IPs under Nintendo’s belt, Pokemon is one of the better candidates for an open world design.

There’s a solid foundation for a good game. The exploration is fun, although the extrinsic motivation for doing so is lacking. Aside from maybe rare pokemon, the only thing to really find is randomly generated item drops. At around the mid-game, these items are no longer worth picking up. I wish this game had some of the catching mechanics that were introduced in Legends: Arceus, especially the new pokedex requirements for completion, as well as being allowed to throw pokeballs at several wild pokemon concurrently. Also kinda wish I could turn the exp share off (or if there was a way to do so, I didnt find that option).

There were some QOL changes that were nice, but also felt overdue. Changing saving and nickname prompt preferences seem like they should have been introduced several generations ago.

The Let’s Go mode is almost good. This feature lets you walk around with the first pokemon in your party. Each pokemon has a different walking speed, which is neat in theory, but it also means slower pokemon are constantly returning to their pokeball. This is doubly frustrating with pokemon that require a certain number of steps taken to evolve, which reset whenever they return to their ball. These pokemon are slower than the players walking speed. For pokemon that are faster, they don’t have this problem, buuut they only have one speed. So their motions look jerky and unnatural as they only sprint in short bursts to move around. It may be unrealistic to normalize the walking speed of every pokemon, but I would guess it would look better overall.

As a result of the short turnaround time, newer pokemon games lack a lot of the extra features and side quests older and more polished pokemon games have included. There’s no mini game area, there’s no battle park equivalent. No contests or beauty pageants. No secret bases. Any extra gaming experiences outside of the core loop must have necessarily been cut. It makes for an emptier experience especially when older players remember how dense pokemon games used to feel.

Plenty of other reviewers, journalists and commentators have already covered how buggy the game is. I played Violet almost a year after launch, and the game is still a mess. You would think a lot of these problems would have been patched, but nah. Worse is that DLC is still being released for this game, so it’s not like development has stopped. While none of these bugs are game breaking, they do take away from the experience on an otherwise fine game.

I was personally irritated that one of my favourite pokemon had buggy collision and kept clipping through the ground. It happened pretty consistently and it was annoying to look at. I just want to play with my stupid bread dog. (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻

The characters and plot are pretty good. It’s pretty standard fair for a pokemon game for anyone familiar. There’s stuff about school bullying, child abuse, the existential crisis of the world getting consumed by extra-dimensional monsters and the constant danger of accidentally falling through a wormhole into another dimension and getting your memory wiped- y’know, the usual occupational hazards of living in the pokemon universe lmao

At least the music stays consistently good. Penny’s battle theme goes so fucking hard for absolutely no reason what the hell.

The battle system is great. Dont fix what aint broke. No notes.

Which brings me to address the donphan in the room.

Pokemon is a logistical nightmare.

I can only imagine a huge chunk of development time is dedicated to making sure the battle system doesn’t absolutely explode. Every generation, the battle mechanics are tweaked, and several mechanics are removed or introduced. I can only guess there are literally millions of battle scenario combinations and hundreds of edge cases the devs have to account for to make sure the game never freezes or crashes due to an error in the battle logic. This isn’t even accounting for the roughly 100 additional pokemon that get introduced each game. PLUS the hundreds of pokemon that get included from previous gens. AND modelling each pokemon. AND animating each pokemon. AND animating each move. AND planning and implementing different behaviours for each pokemon. Even with shortcuts, none of this stuff happens overnight.

Yet somehow, we get a new pokemon game yearly??? Get real. The development cycle between Zelda title releases is in the ballpark of 8 yrs now. You can’t possibly expect pokemon to achieve all that and put out a well polished game in only a year or two. I can’t imagine the current working conditions are healthy or sustainable either. (ᗒᗣᗕ)՞ Its why I waited so long to buy a used copy of the game, because I don’t want to condone this type of thing with my money.

I want to like pokemon games, I really do. Its so frustrating when you can glimpse the good ideas and hard work of the developers between the muck of graphical errors and buggy interfaces. These games just need more time to bake. I’d gladly wait several years for a well polished, good pokemon game.

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PlayStation 2

Perfect game. The horse is the only named character and you can pet him. You can pet the horse on the ground, OR while riding him. The title screen idle cycles between the opening cutscene and the horse running around for fun near the last save point. Beautiful. Bosses are incredible. Some are frustrating but nothing overly unfair. Riding around in the overworld is so good. The atmosphere of the game is a sort of, desolate loneliness that fits in perfectly with the games themes and storytelling. *chef kiss*

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Nintendo 64

Game good!

This is a short game. It's meant to be beaten in one sitting in under an hour. The player is meant to replay the game multiple times to achieve high scores and unlock the not so secret levels.

It's a real shame this is basically the last good Star Fox game.

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PlayStation Portable remake (2008)

Good game! Did not expect to like it as much as I did. Esp since the action RPG battle system is somewhat an auto-battler. Wished i could turn the voice acting off but didn’t mind it too much. That being said, i traded out the better healer for the more rounded mage solely because his voice lines in battle are incredibly annoying. I hated his stupid voice after a while, announcing how much of a pacifist he was Every. Single. Battle. Fuggin give it a rest. Outside of battle, the same character was chill and had a decent personality and character arc.

Sorta wish some of the side plot stuff wasn’t so obtuse when it came to actually following through on those plots. The game laid out a lot of interesting threads but most of them wont get resolved unless I looked up a guide on how to complete them and i don’t have that kinda patience w this game. Its fairly easy to simply grind to the point of being overlevelled by taking on every encounter. Kinda wish other party members gains passive exp but the game is on the easier side anyways so it doesn’t make a huge difference.

There were a lot of weird optional crafting stuff you could spend skill points on that were otherwise unnecessary to beating the game. You can turn your party into an orchestra. Wild.

My favourite bit of the game is when the standard medieval fantasy characters get kidnapped and subsequently helped by the Not Enterprise and one of the strongest weapons is just a straight up lightsaber.

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PlayStation 4


3D All-stars Switch edition

Good entry in the collectathon Mario games.

The wii as a whole has a really floaty physics engine, and that is more than apparent in this game. The jumping doesn’t feel as snappy as it does in other 3D Mario titles, but the controls are still incredibly tight. The gyroscopic controls feel pretty good. I have definitely confused some of the levels between galaxy 1 and galaxy 2. Comparing the galaxy 1 levels to the ones i have seen in galaxy 2, i can see why people like galaxy 2 better. Although nothing can top the hub world in galaxy 1. Iconic music. Fantastic boss fights. Beating Bowser in the end was thematically appropriate, showcased the core mechanic of the gameplay, and felt really, really good.

Final boss fight is everything done right. The final boss doesn’t introduce anything new, it just presents an appropriate skill check for all the things the game has taught the player how to do. The core boss mechanic is the same as the core gameplay (the micro planet gravity blended with Mario’s jump mechanics). The three fights with Bowser is formulaic by this the endgame. Buut it aint broke, so why fix it? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

This is another instance of a game I wouldn’t have been able to play had it not been for the Switch port. So. As much as I dislike Nintendo porting ancient games and selling them for full retail price, this port is a worth while exception to me.

Packaging artwork for North America. Sourced from GameTDB, Fair use, Link


The climbing feels very good but the combat feels like a crapshot. The bosses suuuuuuuck. I was only able to beat the final boss after cheesing it. Really short game. Only five hours. It’s extended by the Croft manor level which is pretty cool but i didn’t spend a lot of time there. An unfortunate side effect of retro gaming is its often too dark in some sections even at max setting on my tv. Maybe my gamma value is too low? Can i even change that on my tv? (Future Zach here: No I cannot.)

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Xbox 360

Fantastic. Easy game to 100%. A welcome reboot to the franchise. It’s very clearly a love letter to the previous games, while also bringing modern gaming aspects to the series. The quick time events can feel unforgiving which is true to the series, but frequent checkpoints and faster loading times undercut any needless frustration. The controls are very tight, which makes quick time and climbing sequences feel very good. The game is a product of its era, so graphics look good, but are diminished by the brown and grey colour pallet that was dominating the market at the time. It otherwise plays like a standard TPS, and plays it safe by applying the tried and true formula expected of the genre.

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PlayStation 4

Good game. Its a lot of the same as the first in terms of exploration, but more expansive overworld. Love the new equipment. Climbing feels amazing. Croft Manor was a nice level. The unfourtunate thing is the final player action of the game is a melee kill. I mean, nothing can top the final moment of the 2013 game (the duel wielding pistol callback was ~divine~). Otherwise this plot follows a lot of the same beats as the 2013 game. So glad my boy Jonah is back. So glad he lived. Im so close to 100% the game but im honestly not sure if im burnt out or if i can make that last push. I think i already did the hardest quests so its probably gonna happen. (Future Zach here, I 100% the main game. Didn't play any of the other side stories tho.)

The best music is in tombs. The crescendo when you’re about to solve the puzzle is so so good what the fuck.

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PlayStation 4

This game has the most Jonah of the trilogy and that makes it the best one.

What Ive realized w this series is the in game environments are very tight. Discoverables, resources, and collectables are densely packed in any given map. Mad respect to the dev team for resisting the trend towards expansive open world. d( ̄◇ ̄)b

This game has no combat outside of the main story and i think that was a good change.