Board 8 > azuarc ranks 66 games played in 2020 [predix] [prize] [vgm]

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azuarc
11/05/20 11:48:31 PM
#1:


Hello, everyone, and welcome to my review of every game I played in 2020. Unlike in previous years, where I played a total of maybe 3 games total, one being Hearthstone or an MMO, one Civilization, and the third something dumb that I still managed to rack up a hundred hours on, I actually played a lot of games in 2020.

For me, anyway. I mean, shit, five games would have been a lot by those standards, right?

But no, I took it one step further and decided to start attacking my backlog. I bought a new computer last fall, and decided, yknow, maybe its time to start branching out a little. Like, maybe instead of Hearthstone, I could play Slay the Spireor Monster Trainor Card Hunteror Hand of Fate 2

And by the end, I had managed to chronicle a total of 66 games that I have in some way attempted to play, at least for a short time. I am now, for your benefit, going to rank them. I make no promises it won't be a terrible list.

Also, were going to do a prediction game.

Also ALSO, the winner of the prediction game will receive a game of their choice off the list (some exceptions apply).

Also ALSO ALSO, were going to be running a VGM guessing game Saturday night at 8 PM eastern with all the songs coming from titles on this list. Even if youre not a VGMGG regular, maybe youll want to attend just in case I say anything that might help your predix.

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Great, so now that weve got that out of the way, heres some caveats and inclusion criteria:
  1. This list will include a small part of last year, when I began logging my games. I wanted to include twelve months of time. But by doing this in November, maybe Ill help you pick out new games for the winter Steam sales.
  2. This is every game I played in 2020, not necessarily games released in 2020. Moreso, not all these games are even first-time plays. More on that below.
  3. I play exclusively on PC. There are three games on this list from the Switch because I played them at a friends house. Theres are two randomizers. Beyond that, there are no console exclusives. About ten of these came from itch.ios bundle for racial justice.
  4. There were times where I lumped games together that maybe should have been separate. There were times where I didnt group games together that I maybe should have. I played several games via Sega Genesis Classics on Steam, and then for some reason excluded all of them. Im completely inconsistent here.

Ill list the games in post 2, but lets talk about how theyre scored. I had to create some kind of rating system or I would have never ever gotten anywhere, so I rated the games in five categories.

  • Gameplay (/10) -- how good is the design of this game? How are the controls? How functional is the interface? How well-designed are the levels and the boss fights? Gameplay is typically the most important part of a game, hence why it gets its own category.
  • Rest of Game (/10) -- everything else about the actual construction of the game. Visuals. Music and sound. Story. Yknow, the kind of stuff that I expect a lot of you will prioritize because this is Board 8 and we love our Phoenix Wright.
  • Engagement (/10) -- regardless of the above, how much did I enjoy this game? Was it fun? Did it hook me?
  • New to Me (/5) -- have I played this game before 2020? If no, 5 free points. If yes, this probably gets a 1 or maybe a 0. Some games might earn in-between scores depending on how much of the game I experienced in 2020. (55 of the 66 games earned a 5 here. This category is just to not reward games that Ive played extensively in the past.)
  • Playtime (/5) -- a highly arbitrary category that reflects how much of an experience I got out of this game. If I played a game to completion and it wasnt obscenely short, this earned a 5. However, I also played a number of short games and a number of games I bailed on. (That will be a theme throughout the lower half of the list.)

Youre welcome to dispute the validity of those last two categories, but theyre worth less, and hey, this is all subjective anyway, right? With Gameplay, Rest of Game, and Engagement, I did my best to rate these on a bell curve, where 0 is the weakest game ON THE LIST and 10 is the strongest game ON THE LIST. I expected I would need to go back and re-rate a ton of these in order to adjust the curve, but surprisingly, I did a pretty good job on the first pass, so Im just going to stick to the numbers I made up on my initial gut reactions, and regret everything afterwards.



All values are rated in whole numbers, but I will split ties as I go.

Sample write-up:
1638. The Legend of Zelda: Majoras Mask
Gameplay: 1/10
Rest of Game: 1/10
Engagement: 1/10
New to Me: 0/5
Playtime: 1/5
Score: 4/40

Dawn of the final write-up. This game is awful. It met with a horrible fate.

Should you play it? Hell no. It deserved to lose GotD in round 2.

Next: Songbirds

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Dont worry, that wont even be the worst opinion on the list. But hey, that means it might be all the more challenging for anyone to guess the order. So lets find out who can do the best! Follow the link below, claim a column, and make an attempt to guess the order. Ive never actually done a predictions contest with a ranking topic before, so this might end up being total garbage, but were gonna give it a try!

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1YyEqm_qProk42G-ok_To1wHTapKHtrWDPc2_J5Wb3CY/edit#gid=0

Basically, just copy the list, tinker with it until it's in the order you want, and then find an empty column and paste your results in, along with your name. Alternatively, paste in the topic and I'll add for you. You can do the entire list at once or just do a little at a time to keep ahead of the thread. But no going back to change anything retroactively, and no repeating games on your predix! Once a game is gone, it's gone.

Scoring: 2 points for nailing a position. 1 point for being within two spots. (Nothing awarded for post-reveal changes, obviously.)

Hopefully this won't be a horribly awful system. I can see it working fine as long as we're all cool with one another. If I've missed anything, please yell at me promptly. After I reveal #66, I'll try to keep to a pace of at least 3 per day. (Don't worry if you miss the very beginning. You can still get in on the predictions at any time. I will wait a little bit before putting the first one up, though.)

And now, if you'll excuse me I better get to my remaining 30 write-ups...

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azuarc
11/05/20 11:48:47 PM
#2:


Full list of games:

20XX
A Day in the Woods
A Hat in Time
A Plague Tale: Innocence
A Short Hike
Borderlands 3
Cat Quest
Celeste
Civilization VI
DanganRonpa V3
Disco Elysium
Dishonored
Dishonored 2
dorfromantik
DuckTales Remastered
Endless Legend
Epic Battle Fantasy III
Evoland Evolutionary Edition
Fallout 4
fugue
Furries, Scalies, and Bears, Oh My!
Gemcraft - Chasing Shadws
Genshin Impact
Globesweeper
Goblins, Inc.
God Eater Resurrection
Hades
Hand of Fate 2
Hearthstone
Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption
Hollow Knight
Kingdom Rush: Frontiers
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris
Lenna's Inception
Minit
Monster Hunter: World
Monster Train
Muse Dash
Night in the Woods
OneShot
Ori and the Blind Forest
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
Phoenix Wright: Spirit of Justice
Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations
Pyre
Renowned Explorers: International Society
Rogue Legacy
Sayonara Wild Hearts
shapez.io
Slay the Spire
Soda Dungeon 2
Stardew Valley
Streets of Rogue
Super Mario 64 (randomizer)
Super Mario Odyssey
Super Win the Game
Supermash
The Jackbox Party Pack (1-6)
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The Metronomicon
The Purring Quest
Trine 3
Ys: The Oath in Felghana
Z3R (A Link to the Past randomizer)

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NFUN
11/06/20 12:00:28 AM
#3:


I nominate Factorio

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azuarc
11/06/20 12:12:38 AM
#4:


Maybe for 2021. I've had Factorio on my wishlist for a while, but it literally never budged from its base price over the last two years while it sat on early access. Something was fishy about Factorio that way, because it's the only game I've ever seen that didn't have a $x.99 price and was apparently immune to sales. I have a suspicion I'd get bored with it pretty quickly, though. I'm not a huge fan of sandbox games that lack clear objectives.

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NFUN
11/06/20 12:16:00 AM
#5:


They think dropping the price a cent to make it look cheaper is sketchy and it will never go on sale

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Hbthebattle
11/06/20 12:34:08 AM
#6:


The smart money puts Soda Dungeon 2 at #1

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azuarc
11/06/20 1:06:58 AM
#7:


Hey, just because I logged over 200 hours within a 2-week window doesn't mean...well, okay, it certainly means something. But it's certainly not the only game I hit that hardcore for a while.

Totally not trying to throw you off the scent. Totally.

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azuarc
11/06/20 10:40:57 AM
#8:


bump. Literally 0 predictions thus far, so I'm assuming I shouldn't start with #66 just yet.

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TheArkOfTurus
11/06/20 11:18:16 AM
#9:


I started a list, then started cheating, then decided to stop being a filthy cheater and deleted my list.

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azuarc
11/06/20 11:29:40 AM
#10:


Not sure how you would cheat. I mean, if you know my proclivities, that's whatever. If you managed to hack my desktop and access my Excel spreadsheet that isn't available on-line, yeah, okay, that would be cheating.

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azuarc
11/06/20 6:18:43 PM
#11:


Okay, time for a prod. Let's kick this pig.

.

66. fugue
Genre Puzzle

Gameplay: 0
Rest of Game: 2
Engagement: 0
New to Me: 5
Playtime: 1

Total score: 8/40

Fugue is awful. As a random game inclusion with the itch.io bundle, it didnt have a high bar to clear, and fugue failed tto jump. The artsy visuals are the only reason this game earned any points at all, other than being new to me. However, despite intending to bottom out at 0, 2 is also the lowest score I gave in that category, which means the only way any game could have scored worse than Fugue did would be if it was equally terrible AND I had played it before but inexplicably went back for seconds.

At its core, fugue is a numbers puzzle game. For some reason, these puzzles take place on sheet music, involving birds nesting in a city top, set to a very stark black-and-white aesthetic. The interface is super minimalistic, theres no tutorial or instructions, and you just have to kind of feel your way through the menus. None of that is bad at first, because it seems like all you need to succeed at this game is a very rudimentary understanding of arithmetic. But after the first ten puzzles, the game seemingly introduces new mechanics without explaining what they are or how to handle them. What began as pick the number that solves x + 4 = 9 becomes pick the number that solves x + 4 = 9 BUT ALSO solves x + 6 = 9. There was obviously some additional mechanic the game intended, and after twenty minutes of fiddling with the controls, I decided I didnt care enough to find out what it was.

Should you play it?: Absolutely not.

Next: A card game

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Shonen_Bat
11/06/20 6:39:09 PM
#12:


I didn't actually finish my prediction yet... I thought there was going to be more time, lol

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azuarc
11/06/20 7:20:33 PM
#13:


I'll wait a bit before the next one.

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azuarc
11/07/20 10:12:32 AM
#14:


One more terrible game. The "real" ranking begins with the next one. I hope you'll all consider starting some predictions before then.

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65. Hand of Fate 2
Genre Tabletop-esque adventure with live action

Gameplay: 1
Rest of Game: 2
Engagement: 0
New to Me: 5
Playtime: 1

Total score: 9/40

HoF2 might actually be a fun game, if you were super determined to slog through it, but at its core its a narrative dungeon crawler (with card pulls and random dice rolls) that breaks out into live battles with clunky dodge-roll mechanics. The draw of the game is supposed to be the open-ended decision-making on the map, as the narrator offers you a variety of different storytelling options at each node, and I suppose the writing on these segments isnt completely horrible.

But the gameplay is sloooowwww. Its so slow, and the mechanics were disinteresting, and everything is bogged down by randomization that tends to go poorly and makes your open-ended narrative storytelling experience awful. A narrator reads all the lines in a dramatic drawl, artifically stretching your reading longer. The battles, rather than a highlight to break the monotony, end up being the pinnacle of the game's drudgery. My friend bought HoF2 for me, so I tried it in from of them, and we jointly agreed it wasnt very good. I bailed after an hour, with the impression that it probably wouldnt get any better.

The funniest part is how the voiceover in the tutorial brags about how every element of the game has been improved from the original. If this was the improvement, I shudder to think what HoF1 was like.

Should you play it?: I really dont think so, but if the premise sounds interesting, have at it.

Next: A game I played on a dare

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TheArkOfTurus
11/07/20 10:18:33 AM
#15:


I bought Hand of Fate 1, and ended up refunding it because the battle system just felt incredibly bland. Still surprised it's this low, but maybe Furries, Scalies, and Bears,Oh My! is better than I would expect.

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azuarc
11/07/20 3:37:28 PM
#16:


So far it's looking like Shonen_Bat will win the predictions by default.

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TheArkOfTurus
11/07/20 4:00:39 PM
#17:


For the sake of competition, I ranked them based off of how much I like them/think I would like them after looking at their Steam page for 30 seconds, and plugged that in. I'm sure predictions such as Soda Quest 2 at #63 will guarantee me the victory.

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azuarc
11/07/20 4:42:44 PM
#18:


Hbthebattle posted...
The smart money puts Soda Dungeon 2 at #1

TheArkOfTurus posted...
I'm sure predictions such as Soda Quest 2 at #63 will guarantee me the victory.

Well, one of these things sure can't be correct.

Thank you for making a prediction. That one-quarter-finished list was looking awfully lonely.

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azuarc
11/07/20 7:52:36 PM
#19:


VGM guessing game starting in discord in a few minutes! Come join, even if it isn't your usual thing.

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azuarc
11/08/20 2:25:15 AM
#20:


64. Furries, Scalies, and Bears, Oh My!
Genre Visual Novel/P&C Adventure

Gameplay: 2
Rest of Game: 3
Engagement: 4
New to Me: 5
Playtime: 1

Total score: 15/40

We make a big jump up in score from the bottom two. FSaBOM was an itch.io bundle inclusion that I played after asking in the board topic if anyone would like me to play anything from the bundle and report back to them about it. One user told me I should play, quote, the furry game. So, after leafing through 20 zillion pages on itchi.ios awful interface to guess at which product they meant, I finally settled on this one.

FSaBOM is unabashedly a work of fan fiction-level writing given life through a minor game engine and very vivid cartoon visuals. The art is the best part of the game, but I imagine I could have seen myself going back and continuing to play this game beyond my first sit-down if I became engrossed in the characters, which was not an entirely impossible outcome. This was one of many games on the list where I certainly could have gone back and played more, but I simplydidnt.

The story of Furries involves you (a guy) and your reasonably hot friend (a chick) trekking through the mountains when you accidentally stumble through a portal to another dimension and find yourself in a world where all the people are humanoid pastiches of every creature imaginable. For story reasons, you can actually sort of belong here in this other world, but your friend definitely does not and only managed to cross the portal because she was with you. So while youre interested in learning about this world and who these people are and how you got here, your friend is mostly just interested in determining how you can get home. As you talk to the characters in the game world, you build up relationship points with each, which I presume leads to an actual relationship, but I didnt play long enough to find out. There was enough here that I feel bad writing this review without exploring further, though.

Should you play it?: I was expecting terrible, and it turned out to be marginally competent, but the premise is forced and cheesy. I wouldnt seek it out simply as a VN unless this is your kink. If it is, hey, go for it.

Next: A nightmare approaches

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azuarc
11/08/20 10:28:18 AM
#21:


63. God Eater Resurrection
Genre Mission-based Battler

Gameplay: 2
Rest of Game: 5
Engagement: 3
New to Me: 5
Playtime: 1

Total score: 16/40

Song selection: I might eventually start including song selections later, but the bottom of the list is filled with games that either have little-to-no music or it simply isnt easy to locate. However, God Eater is well-known for An Approaching Nightmare, so pretend a link to that is posted here. (Hi, @nioraptH!)

Im not entirely certain how this one ended up in my library. I suspect it was an additional game I received from one of the handful of times I purchased the Humble Bundle. One day, I stumbled upon it sitting in my Steam catalog and said maybe I should see what it is.

God Eater proved to be possibly the biggest disappointment of the year. It set itself up to be a very story-oriented game with short battle sequences once I got the controls under me, with what I assumed should have been fast combat, a quick tempo moving between operations and the base, and featured a very involved character creation process that implied, at the very least, I'd be spending a lot of time looking at my backside. After trying out Monster Hunter: World, I reasoned that this was going to be the sci-fi equivalent, but with less roaming around the countryside.

Instead, the controls were clunky, the battles were awkward and featured too many controls that didnt function the way I wanted, and I couldnt even get out of the tutorial before 90 minutes were spent. Even then, I still hadnt actually mastered everything the game expected me to be able to do, I didnt like any of the weapons, and the downtime + set-up that led to the real missions was too protracted. God Eater simply didnt deliver. Maybe there's some meat under here, since they made a sequel and cared enough to make an expanded version of the original, but it made a weak enough first impression that I wasn't interested in digging for it.

Should you play it?: No. Seek alternatives, like MH:W.

Next: a game that looks like it could have been developed in Flash

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PIayer_0
11/08/20 2:57:43 PM
#22:


Don't think I'll do any predictions, but I'll be following this to see thoughts on game names I recognize!

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azuarc
11/08/20 4:06:03 PM
#23:


62. shapez.io
Genre Puzzle/Factory Sim

Gameplay: 3
Rest of Game: 4
Engagement: 3
New to Me: 5
Playtime: 1

Total score: 16/40

When I was a kid, I played a game at school on the old Apple IIe in the after-school room that probably nobody else in the world remembers called Fix-It. I loved Fix-It, and cleared a zillion of its stages. And then one day, at a flea market, someone was selling a version of Fix-It for the Commodore 64, which we had at home. So 8-year-old me spent the dollar or two I had to buy it, and proceeded to play an even more detailed version of Fix-It. The premise of Fix-It was that a bolt, blue and hollow, would depart from some starting point, and you had to lay pipes to put elbow turns in its path to bend it to the final goal. There were other pieces that transformed the bolt from blue to red or hollow to solid, and the turning pieces only worked on one specific variety of bolt. It wasnt anything at all like Pipe Dream, but thats probably the closest I can give you for a visual.

So when a friend mentioned they were playing Shapez.io and described it, most people would have immediately thought of Factorio. I thought of Fix-It. In reality, Shapez is somewhere in-between, but its far closer to Factorio.

Shapez gives you an enormously sprawling game board with a depot at the center with a limited number of inputs for conveyor belts. From the variousIll call them ore depositsstrewn about the map, you have to extract shapes (or colors), then send them through various machines to chop and rotate and otherwise manipulate them into the types of pieces the game wants you to produce for the current goal. Once you produce enough of them for the depot, it gives you a new, more complicated goal.

Although there arent many machines to choose from, the depth and the variety of design in how you shape and combine pieces is surprisingly involved. After a very short period, I realized that I was going to need a legit strategy rather than just doing the most obvious thing to create a single narrow pipeline, or the game would take forever. I was producing one part every couple seconds, and the game was waiting for me to deliver 800 of them. Mind you, the game is not intended to be played idle. I needed to learn how to ramp up production. And I did, but once I realized that I was going to have to repeat this process for every new shape I needed to produce, plus go through a fair bit of effort to manage the real estate around the depot that was getting extremely cluttered, I finally concluded this game was neither what I was hoping it would be nor was it a great fit for me personally. It sounded like it could be on paper, but I just wasnt interested.

Should you play it?: Absolutely give it a try. The visuals are clean, the controls are well-designed, and it runs smoothly. Plus, its like three bucks. Despite the placement, it is a good game.

Next: A mobile port

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azuarc
11/09/20 2:14:52 AM
#24:


61. A Day in the Woods
Genre Puzzle

Gameplay: 3
Rest of Game: 4
Engagement: 3
New to Me: 5
Playtime: 1

Total score: 16/40

This should probably be below Shapez, but Im being lazy in breaking ties at this point.

A Day in the Woods not to be confused with Night in the Woods is a cell phone game brought to PC. It has an Angry Birds-esque rating system where you can earn up to 3 stars per level, and need a certain number of them collectively to advance. However, beyond the menu interface, thats about the end of the comparison.

The premise of Day in the Woods is that you control Little Red Riding Hood, trying to move her to Grandmas house, while avoiding wolves, in as few moves as possible across a hex map that plays like one of those sliding number puzzles. The stylized art reminds me of somewhere between old Claymation movies and parents doing school projects for their kids. The puzzles themselves arent super exciting, as the game gradually adds new mechanics, like tiles that have a collectible or tiles that wolves cant move next to, or tiles that distract wolves so Red can move right past them. It was cute, and I could see how someone could get into it, but like most of the titles that are floating around the bottom of the list, this one didnt really grab me in a way that merited coming back for it.

Should you play it?: If youre bored on long train rides, sure.

Next: Another itch.io game

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azuarc
11/09/20 10:26:33 AM
#25:


60. dorfromantik
Genre Solo board game

Gameplay: 5
Rest of Game: 2
Engagement: 3
New to Me: 5
Playtime: 1

Total score: 16/40

Ever played Carcassonne? Wish you could play an objective-based puzzle game based on it when your friends arent around? Congratulations, youve got dorfromantik.

Unlike the other games weve seen so far, dorfromantik was an unfinished product. It had been created for a game jam, and the developer made it clear that it could still be a work in progress, assuming there were people interested in seeing him continue. The design is simplistic, with a play-until-you-run-out-of-pieces paradigm that is fine until you realize the game is abruptly over and youre left wondering why you cant continue.

dorfromantik features hex tiles that have several different map features on them, including trees, farm fields, houses, and train tracks. Youre given a piece that you need to place against the map youve created so far, and you have three objectives to complete. Create a region of at least six trees or create three regions with two fields each, for instance. Each time you finish an objective, youre awarded with additional tiles on your stack. Eventually, the objectives because too restricting and youre unable to finish them before youre out of pieces. I have no idea if the games are supposed to be as short as they are, or if they could be longer but I just suck. I think its the former, but I could certainly see a game running longer with the right combination of luck and strategy.

Anyway, the game was fun for the ten or so playthroughs before I moved on to explore more of the itch.io bundle.

Should you play it?: If the developer expands on it, yes, Id recommend. Even as it is, its a fun little diversion for an hour.

Next: An award winner

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azuarc
11/09/20 10:07:10 PM
#26:


PIayer_0 posted...
Don't think I'll do any predictions, but I'll be following this to see thoughts on game names I recognize!

I appreciate comments like this, even if nobody's talking about the games themselves, because at least it lets me feel like I'm not just talking into the void.

.

59. Dishonored
Genre Action-adventure stealth

Gameplay: 4
Rest of Game: 3
Engagement: 3
New to Me: 5
Playtime: 2

Total score: 17/40

Boy, was I not expecting to drop this here.

I played Dishonored 2 in December, and got super into it. (List spoilers!) I thought it was such a great game, I figured Id dip back for the original, and while DH might have been a great game in 2012, eight years later and after Id been ruined on a highly-improved sequel, I simply could not get into it. The controls were more finicky, the story felt less refined, and I always had the sense that I was playing a game that was on par with two-decade-old PC games like Half-Life or Mafia. It simply did not feel like a game that would have had heaps of awards bestowed upon it some time far more recently. At the very least, it hasnt aged well.

So while I can see how Dishonored 2 was borne out of this original product, and I do think the worldbuilding put into place to create Dunwall was interesting, after a couple hours slogging through the intro and then trying to complete the first mission without dumbing down the difficulty, I was just extremely disappointed and moved on.

Should you play it?: Id go straight to the sequel, unless youre really interested in experiencing the lore.

Next: A legit board game

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Shonen_Bat
11/09/20 11:16:53 PM
#27:


Haven't had much of anything to say about the games so far but I'm readin'. I'd like to finish my prediction too but motivation comes and goes. usually goes lol.

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Fiop
11/09/20 11:21:02 PM
#28:


Tag. Sometimes I like seeing the reviews of bad games more than good ones, heh.

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azuarc
11/10/20 3:12:04 PM
#29:


58. Goblins, Inc.
Genre Electronic board game

Gameplay: 2
Rest of Game: 7
Engagement: 2
New to Me: 5
Playtime: 1

Total score: 16/40

I played little enough of Goblins, Inc. that I probably shouldnt even include it. But I paid for it, dammit, so here it is.

Ever go to a friends house for a game night, and they pull out some board game youve never seen, and explain how to play in a long ramble that leaves your head spinning, and then insist oh, its not that hard once you learn it. Yeah, thats Goblins, Inc., except I didnt even get the benefit of the friend's explanation.

GI is an extremely quirky game with a very developed aesthetic that really carries it. Im going to bet the gameplay is actually pretty interesting, too, if you can dig into it. Goblins is literally a board game that was designed to be played on a computer, and as a result, they can do a lot of things you probably shouldnt do with a physical board game (but nothing that you couldnt do.) If there were a real world version, it would easily cost sixty bucks because of all the pieces and the high production quality on everything. And before someone says it, I checked. Yes, there is an actual board game called Goblins, Inc., but its not this game.

Id tell you what the goal of GI is, but honestly, I never committed to it enough to figure it out. The game is very card-focused you have cards in your hand that you can spend to either perform your move or to do stuff, and spending cards to move that you wanted to play for their effects feels a little weird. Im sure it adds to the strategy once you figure out how all the systems work. Im just easily intimidated by massive learning curves. (Ask me how my Crusader Kings II experience went some time.) I probably should have returned this since I decided quickly I wasnt going to play it, but instead it sits on my account, eating up SSD space.

Should you play it?: I honestly dont have enough experience to say one way or the other.

Next: A Switch game that disappointed

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andylt
11/11/20 8:12:18 AM
#30:


I'm also not predicting as I don't know a single thing about your tastes, and judging by your Majora's Mask opinions I wouldn't do a good job if I just ranked them how I would >_> Also I've never heard of like twenty of these, but I'll be following more closely once we get to those I know! Surprised how low Dishonored is, but you're not wrong about the flaws. It does get better once you get into the swing of it though imo.

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azuarc
11/11/20 10:09:36 AM
#31:


57. Supermash
Genre Yes.

Gameplay: 2
Rest of Game: 5
Engagement: 3
New to Me: 5
Playtime: 2

Total score: 17/40

When I heard the premise for Supermash, I was hooked immediately and knew I had to bug my Switch-owning friend to pick it up. Either it was going to be amazing or a total dumpster fire, depending on whether the developers could pull it off, but I heard a couple positive reviews and was willing to risk it.

The idea of Supermash is that you and your friends discover a strange Game Genie-like machine that you plug two cartridges into, and it somehow blends them together, creating a play experience that is a hybrid of two different genres. You set the parameters, pick the genres, and let the game engine work its magic.

And for about two hours, the novelty factor carries Supermash, but to say that it was a disappointment would be understating the product considerably. First of all, the games that are produced are staggeringly short, and most of them come with a time limit. You can set the length between three settings, but none of them give you much of a play experience. Second, some of the games that it produces are outright unplayable. Thats fine if its a byproduct of the mashing, but its not; the starting points for many of these games before being blended is untenable. And third, the majority of the mashes involve a one-and-then-the-other approach rather than a true blend, where, for instance, you mash platformer and JRPG, and you move across the platforming segments until it pauses the game and busts out into a random battle. (The JRPG battles are stupid hard, btw, as the enemies are way too overtuned for their own good.)

The best part of Supermash is the writing. Every mash begins with a randomized story crawl that explains the idea behind this particular game and why your supposed protagonist is fighting/jumping/sneaking to their objective. Most of them are hilarious, if not explicitly, then in tandem with the Mad-Libs style fill-ins that result, and across 3 or 4 hours, I never saw a repeat. Their overt and intentional silliness often serves as the highlight of each mash, but the game itself is frequently unenjoyable. I think a product that delivers on the promise Supermash gave us is possible, but sadly, this wont be the game to do it.

Should you play it?: Its worth experiencing, but probably not worth buying.

Next: An old classic

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azuarc
11/11/20 10:18:59 AM
#32:


andylt posted...
I'm also not predicting as I don't know a single thing about your tastes, and judging by your Majora's Mask opinions I wouldn't do a good job if I just ranked them how I would

Fair, although you can follow along and guess from the hints immediately before the reveal. Regarding Majora's Mask, almost all of my disquietude over it is the issue of time. You expect in a typical Zelda game to be able to move around, to explore, to do things at your pace and discover things when you perform the correct sequence of actions. Majora's Mask thwarts you in both directions. Not only can you only do things at very specific time intervals that prevents you from coming across game advancements in a natural, fluid way, but you are then limited for time, which discourages exploration at the expense of hurry up and get the fuck to your next objective. Between these two factors, it completes quashes the aspects of what make a Zelda game enjoyable.

Imagine if OoT had been built off the same paradigm -- that not only were you limited by the handful of things that happen in castle town at night rather than day, but that each had dozens of subdivisions, and you had to track down characters at the precise moment needed...and then you only had three days to do anything before the whole world reset itself with your only progress being the songs you learned for your Ocarina.

I know it's a slightly unfair comparison since MM was built around the concept and OoT was not, but I would absolutely loathe that game. I love the idea of Majora's Mask, but I don't at all like it once I've tried it in the wild. It's not the only game I can make that assertion about, and some of those games I've even suffered through and learned to enjoy to an extent, like Civ 6's district system. But to varying degrees, I still feel like those games would be better off without the mechanic weighing it down, and in Majora's Mask, that system is so integral to the game's identity that it wouldn't exist without it.

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azuarc
11/11/20 8:49:07 PM
#33:


56. DuckTales Remastered
Genre Platformer

Gameplay: 3
Rest of Game: 5
Engagement: 3
New to Me: 4
Playtime: 2

Total score: 17/40

Id never actually played DuckTales as a kid, but Id watched friends play it. I guess you could say I was familiar it. And then one day, there was a threat that the remastered version would be taken down off Steam for legal reasons, and I bought it before it could disappear. It would be another year before Id actually try to play it.

If I had played DT in the 80s, Im not sure how I wouldve felt about DT:R, but I wasnt enamored with the updated version. It was okay, as long as I remembered what it was emulating, but it certainly wasnt a game I would have expected someone to produce in 2013. I havent played much (or maybe anything?) from WayForward, but I imagine their design sensibilities are a little better than this. Also, I ran into issues with controller support that forced me to quit in frustration the first time youll note the new to me is only a 4 and when I went back for this, I had to play on keyboard. Which, I mean, Im fine with. I played a ton of 90s shareware on the keyboard, using arrow keys and control and alt, before WASD was a thing. But Id still rather be using buttons and a D-pad for platformers.

The music in DT:R is great. The graphics arent bad, either. The story makes little to no sense, in that way that NES games often do, and my mastery of the game was certainly lacking. Its probably not a terribly hard game to play if youre willing to commit to learning a level and replaying it, but the last time I played a game with 80s designs rather than 10s was Ultionus a couple years ago. I just wanted to clear through the levels and keep moving, rather than being hung up on needing to git gud starting from the beginning. I finished two stages and decided to come back for the rest later, which never happened.

Should you play it?: I figure if you had intended to play this game and were part of the target audience, you would have played it already.

Next: Bump and run.

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Kenri
11/11/20 9:02:54 PM
#34:


I got pretty far in Hand of Fate 2 before dropping it. I'm really torn on that game because I like a lot of its parts, especially the aesthetics, but I definitely don't like its combat, and eventually if you're not good enough at its combat you'll start dying and having to restart entire scenarios, and some of the scenarios are loooong. Drudgery is definitely the right word for it. I kind of wish it was only the cards and the little minigames, with the combat cut out completely.

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Shonen_Bat
11/11/20 9:52:43 PM
#35:


Don't remember when, but I definitely played a bit of the original Ducktales at some point. It didn't really grab me though.

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azuarc
11/12/20 11:01:12 AM
#36:


I need to get back to writing reviews. I have them done up to about 30, but I haven't written any in a week.

.

55. Ys: The Oath in Felghana
Genre ARPG

Gameplay: 3
Rest of Game: 5
Engagement: 3
New to Me: 4
Playtime: 2

Total score: 18/40

The music community on this board has a well-understood love of two game companies, Gust and Falcom. And although the Trails games tend to be the banner-carrier for Falcom, Ys has always been their other series, which has left me a little curious. I played Ys 1 & 2 before, and although it was (they were) surprisingly good for an ancient ARPG designed on the Turbografx-CD in 1989, I wouldnt say that the mechanics and presentation hold up well for audiences 30 years later, despite several remakes to keep the graphics and music fresh.

But Oath was a little different, since it wasnt the original Ys 3. At some point Falcom replaced Wanderers from Ys with this game, so I had no idea what to expect, but I decided I wanted to continue with the series, just to see what became of it down the pike, and the general consensus I got from #falcom is that I maybe should have skipped ahead a bit to when the series starting getting an actual budget.

Oath does feel a lot like Ys Chronicles. The battle mechanics are overhauled, (theres no bump system,) but the rest of the design is similar. Plus, you can jump now! However, theres one thing that was consistent with the older games that was even more blatant in Oath: Boss battles SUCK!

I dont mean theyre poorly designed. Im sure if you wanted to beat your head on a wall for three hours straight until you finally (a) learned the mechanics, (b) practiced enough to develop muscle memory to combat the bosss moves, and (c) executed well enough to complete a battle that takes about five times longer than it has a right to with perfect execution, then the battles are perfectly tuned for you. However, the reality is this is an RPG, and the clearing of everything leading up to the bosses is borderline trivial by comparison. Even Mega Man games dont take this sort of extreme, and those dont have leveling mechanics.

Beyond that, it was also sometimes difficult to decide where to go. Either, you went where you thought you should go, and it was gated as the next place you go after your current objective, or youre in the right place but theres some little nuance to how you clear the current area that you had to discover, until I finally gave up and played with a guide. And that was before I hit the next boss and decided, you know what? Ive got better things to do.

Should you play it?: If my boss disclaimer applies to you, sure, knock yourself out. Otherwise, no. Watch a lets play.

Next: I blame lefty.

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Kenri
11/12/20 11:21:20 AM
#37:


Now Oath in Felghana is a game I didn't get very far in before dropping. I had to grind for the first boss and did it, then almost immediately had to grind for a second boss, at which point I never played the game again.

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azuarc
11/12/20 11:29:38 AM
#38:


I got to the third or fourth, depending on how you count. But yeah, just like in Ys 2, that first boss is a rude awakening.

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TheArkOfTurus
11/12/20 11:52:38 AM
#39:


If I were actually trying to predict, I'd have put Duck Tales somewhere in the 30s. I don't think I would have gotten any extra points from trying to predict anything else, so obviously the lesson is to never try.

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azuarc
11/13/20 1:47:36 AM
#40:


54. Globesweeper
Genre Puzzle

Gameplay: 3
Rest of Game: 4
Engagement: 4
New to Me: 5
Playtime: 2

Total score: 18/40

Its 3-D Minesweeper.

Well, okay, technically, its 2-D Minesweeper on the surface of a 3-D object, but using shapes that arent necessarily squares. And thats interesting, up until the point where you realize all the muscle memory you have of playing Minesweeper is actually self-defeating. Not only do you have to completely retrain yourself to recognize completely different visuals -- especially in the triangles builds -- but the game perpetually punished me for clearing tiles with a both-click like Id use in classic Minesweeper. The number of games I lost simply because the game didnt register my mouse inputs properly was infuriating. (As is the number of times I legit messed up because of poor situational recognition.) Oh, and theres achievements for this game, but to get some of them, you need to play maps that are so obscenely large that they make the expert maps in classic Minesweeper look like a minor warm-up. When the achievement says beat this level in under thirty minutes, and thats actually a restrictive time, you know youve got an absurdly long climb ahead of youwhere you have to be flawless for a really long stretch.

Ultimately, it wore down on me because (a) there was some grade-A bullshit on some of those attempts, and (b) its Minesweeper. How long can you really sit and play Minesweeper?

Should you play it?: Maybe for short stretches.

Next: Half-Minute Hero 2?

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PIayer_0
11/13/20 2:49:58 AM
#41:


ouch

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azuarc
11/13/20 8:29:18 PM
#42:


53. Minit
Genre Adventure

Gameplay: 4
Rest of Game: 3
Engagement: 5
New to Me: 5
Playtime: 1

Total score: 18/40

Minit is an interesting game, but the whole premise is kinda flawed. Its a 2-D adventure where you have 60 seconds to progress in some meaningful way BEFORE YOU DIE. Like, regardless of what happens, the game ends after 60 seconds. And then you start over again, retaining some of your progress, a la rogue-like.

By itself, that would be an interesting set-up for a game. However, eventually you hit a point where you just go and wtf am I supposed to be doing? Youve explored all the meaningful directions you can go, grabbed all the items, attempted to use them with the tiny sliver of time that remains, and simply nothing seems to progress until you hit the point where youd really just love the game to shut off the goddamn timer for a second and let you decipher what youre supposed to do. Kill me before I can actually advance, fine. I dont care, but let me decide what arcane gibberish youre looking for to proceed.

So although I got past the first few twists and turns, eventually I ended up in some kind of desert area where its hard to figure out where theres even a point of interest to interact with, let alone how to interact with it. Maybe I should have referenced a guide, but this doesnt feel like the sort of game where you should need a guide. Plus, the black-and-white supremely low-res pixel graphics seem like something that should have been left behind on CGA-era DOS games. The dev was clearly intending for that look, but its really not very attractive after a while. (Also, why are the songs on the soundtrack more than a minute long?)

I can accept the idea that Minit presents, and for a short while it was even entertaining, but the central conceit really doesn't mesh well with the type of game Minit aspires toward.

Should you play it?: For 60 seconds, sure. Maybe even 120.

Next: One of the itch.io main draws

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azuarc
11/14/20 1:45:15 AM
#43:


52. OneShot
Genre Adventure

Gameplay: 3
Rest of Game: 5
Engagement: 3
New to Me: 5
Playtime: 1

Total score: 19/40

My cat Neko is probably not happy that this adventure about a cat-like person named Niko dropped early. Honestly, Im kind of disappointed, too, because I expected bigger things out of OneShot based on reputation alone. Its becoming a theme that every puzzle or adventure game Ive played this year seems doomed to flop, though, and OneShot didnt exactly start off strong before I hit a bug that literally kept me from continuing. Im pretty sure the bug is exclusive to the stand-alone version I downloaded through the bundle because, although people have mentioned it on the Steam forums, it seems like that problem was either patched or had a work-around. Sadly, that didnt apply for me, so I was never able to read the .txt file the game is supposed to create for a safe combination.

However, even before I hit that point, I wasnt sure if I actually liked OneShot. It got a little too cute with the whole interact-with-the-player thing, stealing my computer ID and having the character talk to me, as well as the aforementioned go into the game files and find information, which seems like its trying too hard to be DDLC (which was trying too hard to be Undertale.) The aesthetic is interesting, and the idea of a robot-only world where the sun is literally a light bulb youre walking around with is interesting enough to make me curious, but the controls werent natural, the features of the world were a little too spread out, and even the puzzles that felt like they should have been obvious mostly werent. Im supposed to jam a piece of random metal into a machine to create a makeshift crowbar? K, sure

So even though OneShot has a 97% positive review rate on Steam, which is one of the reasons I made a point to recently yank it out of my backlog, I cant say I was happy with my experience.

Should you play it?: Probably. I mean, most people like this game. But I didnt.

Next: A game Ive already mentioned in this topic (besides on the list of games)

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PIayer_0
11/14/20 2:19:42 AM
#44:


Can't say I loved OneShot, but it at least deserves a passing grade

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azuarc
11/14/20 8:46:29 AM
#45:


What do you consider a passing grade in this context?

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azuarc
11/14/20 9:03:12 AM
#46:


51. Civilization VI
Genre 4X

Gameplay: 5
Rest of Game: 5
Engagement: 5
New to Me: 0
Playtime: 5

Total score: 20/40

Its a little weird to evaluate Civ 6, because I have a massive love-hate relationship.

Im going to be honest. Im not good at Civ. Ive been playing since the original came out back in 91, but, with the exception of the first game, Ive never really been able to say Ive mastered them. Part of this is because Im unwilling to explore playstyles that dont interest me. Part of this is because Im a chronic restarter. I sit down, play a game until I get tired, save it, and then never load the save. Next time, I start fresh. So while I learn the openings of the game, which is the only part of the game I actually enjoy, I never really appreciate the consequences of those choices in the mid- and late game. In particular, I hate devoting resources to building an army and micromanaging all the units, but the enemy AI inevitably declares war on you for no reason and attacks. Often pointlessly, and then everyone in the game shuns you afterwards as a warmonger for defending yourself?? (Apparently you arent allowed to capture territory in a counteroffensive or its like you declared the war yourself.)

Civ VI, in particular, adds districts to the game. What seems like a potentially interesting idea and genuinely something I had in a different incarnation hoped the developers would some day incorporate to the series, ends up being one of my least-favorite mechanics. To build a district, you have to give up land and a massive amount of build time, and in exchange you getthe ability to construct things that you could have just built without the district in previous games. Like, why do I need to build a campus to have a library in my city? And unless your city magically has a fantastic place for a campus, the campus itself does basically nothing except eat up time and space.

Beyond that, giving Civ a rating on all these categories is really awkward. Do I give it a 10 for engagement because I keep coming back to it, or a 1 because Im seldom all that focused and normally just pick it up when I get bored? Does the gameplay get a high mark because its fluid and obviously refined over many iterations, or get lampooned because of the myriad of mechanics that I simply wish werent part of the game? I could write a novel here, discussing how I feel about Civ both to the good and the bad, and its for the sake of everyone here that I wontespecially when I dont think there are really any Civ fans on the board. Certainly not in the VGM crew, anyway. (Oh, and the in-game music really doesnt do much of anything for me, either. If I have to listen to Waltzing Matilda one more time...)

Obviously, if I wasnt tacitly penalizing the game for having hundreds of hours prior to 2020, it would have made the top 50. For reference, game #33 has a rating of 25/40, and I probably would have given Civ higher than a 5 in the other categories in years past.

Next: A game that sounds like it belongs on the Genesis

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Shonen_Bat
11/14/20 11:08:08 AM
#47:


Civ is a series that I seem to hear about a lot but never actually learn anything about. At a glance it doesn't seem like my thing though.

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azuarc
11/14/20 5:52:21 PM
#48:


50. Streets of Rogue
Genre Rogue-like

Gameplay: 4
Rest of Game: 4
Engagement: 6
New to Me: 5
Playtime: 1

Total score: 20/40

2019s Streets of Rogue was the last game I included on the ranking. My playtime might go up from here, but so far Ive only dabbled a little. (Edit: I wrote this excerpt a couple weeks ago. It hasnt.)

SoR isnt precisely what I thought it would be when I saw it on Steam. I expected something vaguely open world-ish, and instead, its a series of small levels that you traverse and complete objectives on before you leave. You choose one of about 20 different character classes, and then venture into Knight City with the intent to eventually overthrow the mayor. I havent even come close to achieving that feat yet. Im still having trouble remembering which key is for my inventory. In the meanwhile, Ive beat up gang members, exploded back-up generators, destroyed entire buildings, and watched a segment of the city get consumed by the blob, while piloting a character through intentionally clumsy combat controls and sandbox-like puzzle solutions.

Provided I take the time to learn the game, it has promise. Not as much as, say, Hades, but the amount of variety and goofiness that can arise is hard to rival. Watch the trailer for the game, and youll understand that not only does the game not take itself seriously at all, but the flexibility to solve your problems is extremely open-ended. The only real limitation is the players understanding of what they can and cannot do. Its far from a perfect game, but it shows enough promise that I was willing to oust Civ 6 from the top 50 for it.

Should you play it?: Too early to tell, but its too silly for me to say no.

Next: A personal favorite

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NFUN
11/14/20 6:00:21 PM
#49:


niko deserved better :(

you could've just looked up the text file...

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TheArkOfTurus
11/14/20 6:12:54 PM
#50:


azuarc posted...
which seems like its trying too hard to be DDLC (which was trying too hard to be Undertale.)

I got those vibes too, at first, but the freeware version predates both, to be fair.

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