Unfortunately Not Yet Playing Splatoon 3 Edition
To quickly recap September, I done fucked up. Not only did I forget that Splatoon 3 was launching so soon, but I had exhausted my funds that would have otherwise gone towards it. October rolls around, and I am met with the sobering reality that priorities need to (... well) take priority. Food, water, house, Game Pass Ultimate. All the things that keep the world spinning for yours truly.
The final nail in the coffin came with the realization that my physical copy of Splatoon 2 (something that would surely tide me over until November) was missing the game cartridge! Never has my life been so tragically pitiable.
I'll take your pity in the form of reading the rest of this blog, please and thank you~
W-O-O-M, y? Because I gotta!
As you'll soon see, July and August were pretty damn uneventful. Partially because I periodically forgot about this little project of mine (which typically encourages me to play more stuff), partially because I got hooked on Revita, partially because I also don't know. I ran out of excuses after that second comma.
Nonetheless, let's jump into the thing!
Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon
+ Slappin' soundtrack
+ Lightning fast recoup time upon death, encouraging a "just one more" response more times than not
+ A large variety of enemy mechanics
+ An incredibly polished slate of audio/visual splendor
- There isn't quite enough content to warrant a 20-dollar purchase
- As a roguelite, it doesn't keep enough interest (even if it's a damn good puzzler)
[Score = 8/10]
+ Great visuals
+ Great OST
+ Perfect give/take economy in both sacrificing hearts for more power and being able to regain hearts via the Hollow Knight-esque Focus mechanic
+ A roguelite by my own heart, in that it takes inspiration from so many of the very best of the past decade (Isaac, Dead Cells, Hades, etc.)
+ Daily and Weekly seed runs actually unlock content, giving you reasons to play them outside Leaderboard bragging rights of, typically, less than a hundred people
- Despite the solid boss fights, there's only one per biome and the linear floor progression means they get old pretty quickly
- Somewhat pervasive controller issues (on PC) that require alt+tab'ing out and back into the game
[Score = 9/10]
Slay the Spire
+ Appealing roguelite progression/content drip
+ Audio feedback is on-point
+ Making an effective build with the cards you accumulate over the course of your run is a fun process
+ Interesting card traits
- You'll likely exhaust the "?" events fairly quickly
- The visual style is fairly dull IMO
- Despite most enemies differentiating well enough, there needed to be more of them to accommodate repeated runs
[Score = 8/10]
Cult of the Lamb
+ Visually gorgeous
+ Very fun, engaging (albeit simple) cult sim mechanics
+ Subtle, trashy yet quirky sense of humor
+ Flexible cult customization
- Dungeon crawling aspect isn't nearly as fleshed out as it could've been
- At least pre-patch, too much time passes whilst dungeon crawlng and will, too often, inevitably lead to very similar breeds of chaos to come back to
(SIDEBAR: I had quit playing this by the time more significant patches had begun to roll out. For example, the very next patch that followed my temporary break made it to where your cultists would harvest crops whilst you were away. Would likely have not done a tremendous amount of lifting my opinion of the game at the end of the day, but it certainly would've alleviated some moment-to-moment frustration.
I anxiously await to see where this game ends up after a couple content updates and some more quality-of-life patches!)
[Score = 8.5/10]
+ Simple, yet charming visuals
+ For its asking price and for an Early Access build, it has a surprising amount of content
+ Minion traits remain compelling throughout each run, with the minions themselves being fun to herd
- Upgrade paths for each class don't typically offer anything super interesting
(SIDEBAR: Everything I've played from this developer has been, at the very least, super duper solid and worthy of a purchase. They've been able to tastefully reuse assets, mechanics and modes from each experience whilst offering up something different every time. Big thumbs up!)
[Score = 8/10]
Had to mockup an image as there seem to exist none via Google Images!
+ Great OST
+ Initially exciting schump fun
+ Upgrades push you to trek further beyond your previous high score
- Despite the minor added complexities to enemy tactics as you progress through a run, each said run will inevitably get pretty repetitive by the "Hell 10" threshold
- A little too much visual noise
- With only 8(?) visual backgrounds to unlock, little deviation as runs progress, upgrades running dry within a couple hours at most and runs becoming nearly feasibly impossible around Hell 18-20 (thus essentially capping the score chase aspect), the game is severely lacking in content
[Score = 6/10]
+ Nice visuals
- The gamification of being a shopkeep seems incredibly mundane and shallow
- The dungeoneering aspect is, by far, the most boring of all the roguelites I've played
- Combat is very stilted
- The same unexciting rooms pop up way too often
(SIDEBAR: Granted, I had a hard time playing past my first couple play sessions, so the game might flesh itself out after these initial 2-3+ hours. However, that, in and of itself, is a problem. Pushing through an insatiably boring initial couple hours for it to maybe get slowly, progressively less boring should not be a prerequisite for any game.
As is, the game is mechanically deficient and to its detriment.)
[Score = 4/10]
Super Auto Pets (REMATCH)
+ Tons of interesting pets and potential skill synergies
+ A healthy(ish) mix of strategy and forethought
+ Solid sound design
+ The perfect "I only have 10 minutes", pick up and play experience
+ Fun (though limited) customization options
+ Weekly pet pool shuffles for Arena gives you a reason to tune into and play the game at least a few times a week
- No matter how good you are, you're still at the mercy of the luck of the randomized shops
(SIDEBAR: The developer of Vampire Survivors, apparently, has a history of designing gambling vidjas. And it shows. Leveraging legitimate gameplay with rewards and crazy audio/visual feedback made their game considerably more addictive than your average auto-battler or twin-stick shooter
Enter Super Auto Pets. As I went from a measly 2 hours played to well over 100 hours played, I began to question just how was I in so deep with such a simple little game. The element of chance? It's own brand of audio/visual splendor? It even sounds like pulling the lever on a slot machine when re-rolling the shop pets!
Are we really that gullible?)
[Score = 9/10]
+ Scratches that certain Poke itch, if only just barely
+ Solid OST
- Stilted, sloppy, sluggish presentation, which includes awkward frame stutters when shifting between hubs, needing to double tap the 'B' or 'A' button to continue when dialogue initially pops up, music that doesn't loop appropriately, etc.
- Mixed creature design
- Battles are, statisically, even more shallow than Pokemon
- Benign narrative and dialogue
- Towns lack character and serve little purpose outside being glorified checkpoints along your journey
(SIDEBAR: I popped this in hoping to get another helping of what enjoyment I remember getting out of Nexomon: Extinction around its launch, but, evidently, the original Nexomon is a far more primitive beast.
I'd gleefully play Pokemon Sword/Shield over this, which should tell you everything you need to know.)
[Score = 5.5/10]
+ Plenty of life throughout the maps, which include worthwhile sidequests and tamer rematches
+ Amongst the often mixed, occasionally forced approach to levity or humor, the quality in writing is a massive improvement
+ Polishes and very successfully builds upon what was, before, an even more strategically-deprived Pokemon
+ Some minor freedom in exploration, not always being funneled down the story path
- Creature design quality remains very mixed
- Minor directional input lag whilst exploring the overworld
(SIDEBAR: Curiously, I couldn't rate this higher than I did. Perhaps it's down to the creature designs, though I never would presume a creature collector would hinge quite THAT heavily on whether said creatures were top notch.
There's the potential issue of pacing as well, however I'm unsure whether it was more my fault or the game's. Either way, despite the quality, I did get burnt out around 25 hours in and whilst seeming fairly early on in the main story.)
[Score = 8/10]
Late to the party, but better late than never I suppose!
I was honestly awaiting further impressions of Celeste before posting this, ultimately deciding to ixnay that entry as I was finding myself with too many other games I immediately wanted to give a fair shake. Hopefully, I'll work up the moxy to delve a little further into this supposed feels factory. So, until the New Year's ball drop, I'm out-ski bitches!