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

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azuarc
11/21/20 11:39:30 PM
#103:


Tsk, hotel pinata

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azuarc
11/22/20 2:30:40 AM
#104:


26. Night in the Woods
Genre P&C Adventure, mostly

Gameplay: 5
Rest of Game: 8
Engagement: 6
New to Me: 5
Playtime: 3

Total score: 27/40

Song selection: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_yyu-kqfBs

My first reaction to Night in the Woods was that the graphics look like bad cut-outs, a la early South Park. Turns out the animations in the game are far smoother than South Park and completely by design, and that this gives the world a highly stylized feel.

Night in the Woods is the story of Mae, a college drop-out returning home at a time when her parents are fighting to not have their home foreclosed on (in part because of loans they took out to send their daughter to college) and when the whole town seems to be gradually shuttering. The writing is the strongest point, where Mae and the rest of her anthropomorphic friends stumble along in an aimless twenty-something way through some of their jobs, a happy-go-lucky attitude toward adventure, and the depression of realizing what it means to grow up.

Along the way, theres a bajillion minigames, some of which are welcome and some of which are plain annoying. Getting to play a Guitar Hero-esque version of Mae strumming the bass in her friends rock group was fun, and theres an optional classic arcade style game installed on her laptop you can play at any time, but I swear if I have to wander around Maes fever dreams looking for random spots in an awkward platformer section one more time

Actually, thats a big part of why I ultimately gave up. Night in the Woods is incredibly charming and the sarcastic humor in the dialogue carry it a long way, but eventually I got tired of the aimlessness. Maes decision-making is awful, by design, but between that and the lack of a real narrative arc, you start to wonder why youre even doing any of it. Youre basically playing Seinfeld: The Game, except the so-called show about nothing had more going on in its episodes than NitW, which is more about stumbling through the events untilIm not sure what. And I got tired of waiting to find out.

Should you play it?: If you put story first and like character-driven novels, then sure.

Next: The anti-party party

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Shonen_Bat
11/22/20 2:41:08 AM
#105:


Should you play it?: If you put story first and like character-driven novels, then sure.

This is fine.

Been interested in NitW for a while but I've heard people say that, to put it lightly, it's not for everyone.

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azuarc
11/22/20 2:58:05 AM
#106:


It was the third or fourth night of dream sequences that finally did it for me. I like the game's bleak humor, but when it detours from that, NitW starts to feel like a complete waste of time, and nowhere is that more on display than those stupid "find the musicians" passages where your only reward for the whole thing is some strange vision at the end that is maybe artistic or more likely just pointless.

To be clear, when NitW is doing what it does, it's a lot of fun because there are some truly silly moments that work and everyone is sarcastic AF. But it tries to stretch that out with these other bits that, most of the time, just really didn't need to be there.

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andylt
11/22/20 8:02:51 AM
#107:


I like Night in the Woods but found it a bit overhyped, the gameplay does get tedious imo. It's worth playing if you like the vibe and the writing though. The dream sequences do come together for a cool scene further on and it definitely does have an arc, it's a shame you didn't finish as it sounds like you were getting to the business end of the plot anyway. I couldn't find the motivation to replay it to do the little different choices here and there though, it's a shame you can't skip ahead to a certain day.

Next is Jackbox I guess. I liked the Oar Umpires clue too >_>

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azuarc
11/22/20 9:54:03 AM
#108:


25. The Metronomicon Rock the Dance Floor
Genre RPG-themed rhythm

Gameplay: 4
Rest of Game: 5
Engagement: 8
New to Me: 5
Playtime: 5

Total score: 27/40

Song selection: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSADNWroahk

I enjoy rhythm games. I rarely seek them out. I fell in love with Amplitude and bought a PS2 just so I could play it. I was an avid Guitar Hero/Rock Band aficionado. But ask me what other rhythm games Ive put time into and the lists pretty short.

Lately it feels like its become a trend to mash-up rhythm with other genres. Crypt of the Necrodancer, Sayonara Wild Hearts, and Beat Hazard have led up to this JRPG hybrid. In Metronomicon, the intentionally ridiculous story centers on four graduates of the school of music who are now going to go out and attempt to fight back against all the monsters in the world that throw raves and dance parties by beating them at their own game. Along the way, youll level up, gather equipment, gain new allies, and have to ultimately create a build as you advance through the plot. (Or the high scores list online.)

Metronomicon uses a DDR-esque four arrows system for its gameplay, but the fact that each party member has their own track makes it play more like Amplitude. The interesting wrinkle here is that rather than removing that player's line immediately, completing one phrase of the track charges up your party member to do their level 1 attack. Complete a second in a row, and theyll switch to level 2 instead, and then level 3 goes off automatically since theres nothing beyond. Those moves are mostly attacks, but could also be a heal, a taunt, a support buff/debuff, or any of the other myriad of moves you see in turn-based RPGs. The enemies stroll up to you one at a time as the song progresses, but. Inflict not enough damage, and theyll start to pile up. Kill them quickly enough, and someone else takes their place. You lose if one of your party members gets KOed before the song ends.

As near as I can tell, all the tracks in Metronomicon are licensed from lesser-known artists. There were a couple names that made me go oh, maybe Ive heard of them?, but nobody particularly renowned. The soundtrack is solid, though. I probably wouldnt buy the game just to serve as a music album, but you certainly could.

Ultimately, the controls are decent, the gameplay is in some ways an improvement on Amplitude, and the silliness of the setting and the artwork keeps you engaged and motivated to continue. Theres sometimes a little too much going on visually, and once in a while the game did become more than I could handle, but seldom was that because of poor rhythm skills. Challenge is fair, and the core controls are solid and easy to use, which is honestly the biggest selling point for me.

Should you play it?: Do you like rhythm games that ask you to do more than just mash the beat?

Next: Second verse, same as the first

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PIayer_0
11/22/20 12:38:18 PM
#109:


I also had to drop NitW because my hard drive died

I liked it enough to go back and finish it at some point (I did make it to the...inciting incident in the story), but the dream sequences and dialogue-driven gameplay are very much discouraging me from catching up any time soon.

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azuarc
11/22/20 12:44:28 PM
#110:


Y'know, in writing, they generally say that the inciting incident should take place within the first three chapters of a novel. If we place the word "chapter" with "hour" for a video game, it's not really a surprise NitW feels like a miss. I played a stand-alone version from itch.io, so I don't have my playtime logged, but I was certainly past at least five.

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azuarc
11/22/20 9:16:30 PM
#111:


24. Muse Dash
Genre Rhythm

Gameplay: 5
Rest of Game: 7
Engagement: 8
New to Me: 5
Playtime: 3

Total score: 28/40

Song selection: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0tTOirdl0A

Muse Dash took me a little bit to get my head around. In essence the controls only have two options during gameplay, up and down, that you hit throughout the songs, which makes it a more visually impressive version of Taiko no Tatsujin. The stages feature your character dashing across a course as obstacles approach, which you attack with either a high or a low strike. Miss your timing and you take damage instead. The game has a lot of pastel or bright blue and pink, and although Muse Dash didnt trip my eyes as bad as SWH, it did take me a little to adapt.

The one consistent theme about Muse Dash is that youre constantly unlocking things. New renditions of your character, new items to choose from for your passive bonus, and of course, new songs. Each track has several difficulties and challenges to complete on each. I found it irritating that many songs forced you to play on medium before you could try them on hard, and the challenges are all difficulty-specific, which means technically I should have also been playing through everything on easy, too. But beyond that, the game is cute, the animations are fluid, the controls are responsive, and theres not a lot to complain about.

Should you play it?: Do you like simpler, straightforward rhythm games?

Next: A genre that has appeared exactly once already

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azuarc
11/23/20 4:15:30 PM
#112:


23. Kingdom Rush: Frontiers
Genre Tower Defense

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

Total score: 28/40

Song selection: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AH96SmNlGRY

As mentioned, my TDS history began with Defense Grid, but for many, Kingdom Rush serves as their introduction to the genre. If it didnt, its certainly a good stepping stone to branch out to next. The gameplay in KR is extremely limited, and occasionally a pinch frustrating, but it has some interesting takes that keep it fresh.

And the developers obviously figured out that if it aint broke, dont fix it, because theyre in the midst of producing their fourth Kingdom Rush game that is more of the same. Frontiers has even more of a high fantasy feel to it than the original, as you dip into a few other cultures and upgrade your basic towers into elite versions themed around shaman tribes and Assassins Creed. Plenty of cheeky, light-hearted humor abounds.

The specific twists of KR are that you control a hero on the battlefield, and that rather than some version of a slowing tower, you instead have a barracks that puts guards in the enemies paths to fight them. You can send your hero to jump in and have a short cooldown reinforce skill to toss out a couple extra troops to keep the bad guys in your kill zone. Towers can only be built at select nodes, disallowing you from blocking paths or creating mazes, so the amount of creativity in KR is very limited, but it does mostly everything else well.

Should you play it?: If you like a tower defense game that can sometimes distract you by looking more like an RTS, then sure.

Next: 200+ times mightier

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azuarc
11/23/20 5:49:00 PM
#113:


22. 20XX
Genre Rogue-lite platformer

Gameplay: 7
Rest of Game: 6
Engagement: 7
New to Me: 5
Playtime: 3

Total score: 28/40

Song selection: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVBxqwtRHhc

than the number nine.

Full disclosure I suck at Mega Man games. And 20XX makes no effort to disguise its status as a Mega Man knock-off. The main character, Nina, is basically Rokko-Chan. The aesthetics, the music compositions, and the fragments of story we get are all throwbacks to MMX or MMBN. In short, Fire Hose Games set out to create a Mega Man clone, and that is precisely what they delivered to you.

Exceptthey didnt. Mega Man has no continuity between playthroughs and the stages arent procedurally generated, with randomized equipment and bonuses available throughout, plus the occasional bonus level, a currency system mid-run to purchase extra health or equipment, and extra options that can be unlocked with a high enough performance.

No, 20XX is better than a Mega Man game. Its a MM game with a ton of replayability for reasons other than just perfecting the speedrun. The movement is smooth. The game is only ever frustrating when I do something wrong. The art is attractive. The music rocks. Ive had runs where Ive nearly cleared all nine preliminary levels and gotten to whatever lies beyondand let us return to my opening disclaimer I suck at Mega Man games. Dont mistake that for the game being easy. No, not hardly. But it invites you to get better at it. If youve ever thought but bosses in Mega Man are hard and I dont want to learn the right order to do stages in, come try 20XX.

Should you play it?: Unless you are unconscionably awful at platformers, I advise you to give it a try.

Next: You dont know it.

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Shonen_Bat
11/23/20 9:22:38 PM
#114:


20XX sounds fun. ...Yeah, that's all I have to say. It's Mega Man.

Guessing Lenna's Inception is next, though the fact that I know it might make it a bad guess :p


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Kenri
11/23/20 9:35:48 PM
#115:


I feel like it's too early for Lenna's Inception, though I don't have a better guess.

Maybe "you don't know it" is a joke and it's Phoenix Wright. <_<

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azuarc
11/23/20 10:07:22 PM
#116:


21. The Jackbox Party Pack (1-6)
Genre Online party game

Gameplay: 6
Rest of Game: 4
Engagement: 8
New to Me: 5
Playtime: 5

Total score: 28/40

Song selection: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BxQcZqoGeQ

Ive joked that prior to the rise of Fall Guys and Among Us, Jackbox games should take the title for best game to play during the coronavirus pandemic. Because, I mean, how else are you going to join up with your friends and create stupid memes like pushing the phrase Where beef? through an entire tournament bracket?

Jackbox has a little bit of everything, and although a number of games are hit or miss, and inevitably the group will want to play one of the miss games like Role Models, Joke Boat, or Civic Doodle, its usually not hard to steer them back to Fibbage, Trivia Murder Party, or the game that started this craze, Quiplash. (Or, if you want to go back even before that, to You Dont Know Jack.)

In terms of substance, theres very little here. The game mechanics are stripped down. The art is often deliberately janky. The writing is perhaps the high point substantively. However, nothing can beat the way this brings eight people together over their internet-capable devices to draw horrible pictures of Edible Hair or a Missed High Five.

Should you play it?: If you can read this, you must be on the internet, which is about the only real reason I could think of to say no.

Next: An ARPG

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NFUN
11/23/20 10:11:14 PM
#117:


jack

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azuarc
11/23/20 10:13:54 PM
#118:


Spreadsheet updated, predix updated, last 20 options moved to the bottom of the predix screen in case anyone decides to hop in and fill out a last minute one. ArkOfTurus got The Metronomicon right and creeps a bit closer to Shonen_Bat.

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azuarc
11/24/20 1:28:15 AM
#119:


20. Cat Quest
Genre Adventure RPG

Gameplay: 6
Rest of Game: 7
Engagement: 7
New to Me: 5
Playtime: 3

Total score: 28/40

Song selection: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K923_4Fzu3g

I went into The Purring Quest expecting it to be a gimmick. It was better than I expected.

I went into Cat Quest expecting an actual game, albeit perhaps one lacking in substance. It had no shortage of things to do.

Bottom line. Dont underestimate cat games.

Cat Quest features a kitty who goes on a quest to search for his abducted sister, and ends up doing a billion sidequests and exploring dozens of microdungeons along the way. The game is nothing revolutionary, but it has just enough strength mechanically to hide behind the whimsy and cuteness of the art and the humor. I beat the game in about six hours, but it was a very active six hours during which I hacked and slashed my way past all kinds of enemies, cast a plethora of spells, and witnessed at least 87 different puns on the word cat.

Should you play it?: Neko and Ashes give it two paws up.

Next: The game with the highest confirmed playtime.

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Hbthebattle
11/24/20 1:39:42 AM
#120:


Soda time

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azuarc
11/24/20 10:19:35 AM
#121:


Sorry, hb. I goofed and didn't look ahead. Yeah, that clue would have been for Soda Dungeon. I saw that in the write-up last night without the word "confirmed" and assumed it was SD2, so I added that in there. In actuality, though...

19. Hearthstone
Genre CCG

Gameplay: 6
Rest of Game: 7
Engagement: 10
New to Me: 0
Playtime: 5

Total score: 28/40

Song selection: https://youtu.be/vPguoeYTvMI?t=108

How can I write a review of a game Ive been playing since 2014 and still come back to on an almost-daily basis? Hearthstone isnt an MMO, but its changed so much since its inception, making it a very difficult game for a newcomer to jump into. I am, however, not a newcomer and Ive stuck with the game through pretty much every meta, even if Ive only been highly active for a couple of them.

For the rest, I either log in, complete my daily quests, and save up my gold, or I play one of the alternate game modes. I was originally an avid arena player. Lately, my passion has been battlegrounds. Recently, a new game mode, Duels, has been added as an off-shoot of Blizzards Slay-the-Spire-esque single player modes. Plus, theres always the weekly Tavern Brawls. Lots of different ways that dont even require collecting cards. That said, Im also on a mostly-F2P account. I cant say I havent spent a dime, but Ive mostly benefited from a whales-and-minnows system that lets me enjoy a game for free.

Hearthstone, for the uninitiated, is a Magic: The Gathering-inspired card game built around Blizzards Warcraft series. The heroes, the classes, the actual card designs are all centered around the Horde and the Alliance (and everyone else) of Azeroth. But where MTG fails in many regards because it was the first of its kind and designed in 1994, Hearthstone has iterated on the design with persistent damage, no wasted space in your deck for land, and by avoiding the clunky, bogged down system of actions, reactions and counterreactions. The result is a streamlined system that, because its electronic, also allows for a lot of other interesting (or obnoxious) wrinkles, foremost represented by the gazillion random effects in the game. Why, you can practically here Ulti raging from here.

The rest of us deal, just as weve dealt with the company being increasingly taken over by Activision and their brand of capitalism. Ive played Blizzard games since 1994 and the release of Warcraft 1. Ive enjoyed Diablo, WoW, and now Hearthstone for a mostly uninterrupted string of 26 years. Even as other games come and goHearthstone is home.

Should you play it?: If not for the extra 5 points in the new to me category, this would be top 10. HS is a very tough game to break into, though, because of how much accumulated knowledge there is over seven years. Notwithstanding that if you want to be competitive at standard, you'll probably need to do some whaling to break in.

Next: A game with ironically good visuals

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