Off-Topic > All of all!

Games of 2019

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It's that time of the year again, 2018 is past and my gaming history this year is not that impressive. Gaming has taken a lower priority with a kid in my life so that's all normal and fine. Next year will be a 10 year anniversary of this tradition, I need to come up with something good for that.











Steamworld Dig:
I got this for PC, not sure if you can get it for anything else. Someone suggested it either way and I gave it a shot. Finished the game in 6 hours so it was worth the cost at least. Game itself is kinda basic, you have a pickaxe and you can jump and wall jump. You are the same size as a block and you can mine those blocks, either left right, up or down. But the deeper you get, the more hits it takes to break the blocks so you need money to upgrade your pick. To get money you need to pick up ores and crystals found underground and return to town to sell it. One thing that kinda bugged me is that the things you find are only worth money, there is no other use of it. There isn't even a chart of how many of a specific type you have handed in. Anyway, there is a story of some sort so as you progress you unlock additional tools and items, perks and all that that makes it possible to mine even more. There are also enemies and different traps to keep your eye out on. Especially in the story related cave offshots that offer more of a platforming experience. The game has 3 different caves, each one with an entrance from the ciy hubb, but you need to get back to the entrance to get back to town. There are no Town Portals or Magic Mirrors going on here. That adds another dimension to the game since you need to pay attention to what you leave behind and not just digging your way down. Anyway, enjoyable game that doesn't take too long to finish.

Badland: GOTY
This exists for both phones and pc, got the pc edition on steam. It has one of history's most classic gameplay monetized by games like Flappy Bird. You control a small black fluffball with wings and press a button to gain altitude. And if you don't , you fall down. The stages either scroll or don't, sometimes they speed up and sometimes they slow down. The backgrounds are vibrant while the objects on screen are all black, this makes it kinda cool of course and also adds to the challenge since you can't always tell what's up ahead. Of course this is also rather frustrating later on. The game starts pretty basic but then introduces new obstacles and new power ups as you progress the levels. The categories for the game was "action and adventure" but I'm not buying that, you play a level and progress to the next level and so on until you beat all levels. No real adventure or story, no real action beside cool effects and timing. Some cool power ups you find: cloning, mass cloning. Increases the amount of fluffballs you control. These tend to fall behind a bit or their spread out formation make them get stuck, but still. Gravity up and gravity down - speaks for itself. Enlarge and minimize increases the sizes of your fluffballs making it possible to tackle objects or pass through gaps. There are also other things like spinning, slow motion, sticky and so on.
Great game if you want something simple, just play a level when you have the time. Might be better suited on a phone though. There are also a lot of user made levels you can play, apparently 40k or more. The game itself is two "days" with 40 levels each, then the aptly named "doomsday" with 10 levels and the more creative "daydream" with 10 levels. After all of those there are also the 100 most liked maps or something which makes up the last "Eternal Day".
There is however a problem with the game, the stages with lasers will most likely crash the game. You had to turn off something called "threaded optimization", but that started happening during the last level of "Day 2", and most of the doomsday levels. Each level also has 3 optional missions to complete, ranging from not dying during the level to finishing on a set time. There is also a vs mode both coop and competitive.

EYE Divine Cybermancy
A really weird game using a really old engine. It's likable and rather short but there is some mess up with the save files and Windows 10 leading to the game backtracking sometimes or checkpoints being skipped.
In all simplicity, it's a cheap Deus Ex with some Warhammer-esque characters and some generic Helghast/Combine galactic federation as well as werewolves. There are some set weapons you can choose from, but the more you carry, the slower you get. Heavy armor is really useful for survivability, but you move really really slow.
None of the story makes sense to be honest, some French people made the game and someone, I don't know who, but some individual translated it, and I'm not sure if it's the translation or the original script that makes it strange. You can also spend your stat and skill points you get from leveling up to absurdity, movement speed and power etc can all be increased, there is a lot of freedom going on and that is nice, the stages are even built in a way that you can choose different ways to proceed which in the end leads to one of 3 endings. Anyway, nice game, but kinda retro in a way, also my legs are ok.

It's a neat free to play game where you progress through planets and can do lots of cool stuff. However, to really progress you need to empty your pockets a little. Sometimes this is too obvious, such as when you do a sidemission to unlock a dogie companion. After completing it you need to get a battery, this costs real money - OR you could buy the recipe for in-game money(quite a lot) and craft it with resources from many many planets away. The gameplay is a little simple, there are many different "frames" aka classes that have some different activated abilities that cost "energy", the 4th skill costing very much. However to unlock new classes it takes a lot of grinding, or real money. I think you get where this is going.
Don't get me wrong, the game is solid. It's a third person PVE shooter, everything is mission based and a level is generated for you when you start a mission. The missions follow some different objectives such as defending mining drills, capturing and holding control points, assassinations, timed chase of a specific target etc. However as with all of these things, it gets a bit dull after a while. Usually this isn't much of a problem but there is no loot in the game. Sure, enemies sometimes drop some crafting material or money. But it's mostly money or ammo. Once again, not a big deal, but to get new weapons and stuff you need to craft it or buy it. Most things can be either bought with real money or buying the crafting recipe for it. But I donno, maybe it was because I had to leave my computer behind for some weeks, but when I returned I just didn't feel like playing it again. So I didn't, simple as that.

Rivals of Aether
It's basically a take on the Super Smash games of Nintendo, mostly Melee the gamecube game. A lot of the terminology is borrowed and the game relies a lot on different techniques you can master with practice but also patience. I would suggest getting a controller for this though, thanks to the Steam big picture thing both PS4 and Xbox controllers works well with most games and this is no exception of course. My only complaint is that the controller's sticks aren't really as good here as in a console game having way too much sensitivity.
Anyway, back to the game. Unlike smash there are no items or stage hazards, you can't grab any ledges and the guard is replaced with a parry. As for the 8 characters of the game they all have some sort of unique mechanic. Fire lion (not-Wolf) can light opponents on fire which makes them explode if you land a strong attack on them for example. The game is mostly supposed to be played one on one though based on the design. But there is a story mode which involves 6 of the 8 characters and an Abyss Mode for all 8 characters. The Abyss Mode is a predetermined mix of hitting targets, defeating rounds of enemies, fighting strong enemies, enemies with special effects, stages with special hazards, breaking stuff on time, avoiding the floor etc. In Abyss mode you also gain experience and can equip "runes" which adds passive effects to that character.
There is also 4 DLC packs with characters. 2 are original characters and 2 is for Sein from the Ori game and Shovel Knight from Shovel Knight. The 2 original character packs comes with 2 characters each that have their own gimmicks. However, at the moment the DLC characters cannot be used outside versus and online.

Curse of Monkey Island
One of the first point and click adventure games I played, and probably the game that made me learn the most English. In hindsight though, pirate-ish English might not have been the best ideal to aim for as a 8 year old or whatever I was when this game released. The game itself is solid although the steam version is pretty much just an emulator version of the game, no remastered graphics or anything. Same old game. There is both normal mode and Mega Monkey mode as in the original offering two different difficulties to the game. Besides that, the game is filled with humor and some memorable quotes, also of course the insult sword duels. Love it.

Monster Hunter World
I love it. First PC release (in the west, I think Frontier was for PC in Japan?) and it added a lot of quality of life improvements. A lot of people (including me) are left a bit confused when playing Monster Hunter for the first time, there are a lot of things unsaid. But World removed a lot of those things and just made it more streamlined. You no longer need to mark the monster you are hunting, encountering them adds an icon to your map, you no longer need to buy and bring pickaxes and such to gather materials in the maps, the map is no longer closed off with loading screens which makes transitions of monsters and such more fluid and the entire armor skill system is revamped. Beside all that the graphics have a console look, there are mostly new monsters (although not a lot of them) but no new weapons or such. Instead of continuing on the hunting styles of MH Gen they just combined a lot into the weapons of this game.
Now, as much as I like the game there is of course some problems, if this is your first MH then you will probably not feel the same but to me it's a bit too "modern". First of all the quest progress is to fast. All redundant quests are removed, so the mandatory missions are few. You breeze through low rank into high rank in pretty much no time, there are only a few monsters that you need to hunt and 3 areas to visit. Once you read High rank you unlock all areas as High rank right away, taking away progression, likewise there are few monsters in high rank that you need to defeat, only Pukey pukey and Anjanath returns from Low rank as a mandatory hunts. Other than that it's Pink Rathian, Nergigante, Teostra, Kushala Daora and Vaal Hazaak before you fight the "final boss" of the game. From there on out it's mostly about minmaxing your gear to get big numbers. So far there have been 4 additional monsters added to the game, for free, Devil Jho from MH3, Kulve Tarroth a new elder dragon, Lunastra from MH2 and Behemoth from FFXIV. Other than that it's mostly "tempered" (stronger) versions of elder dragons: Teostra, Kirin, Kushala Daora, Vaal Hazaak etc that has been added.

King Arthur's Gold
I bought a 4 pack and gifted two of them (so if anyone wants a copy let me know). The plan was to play this with some friends but they all chickened out. It's a game where you choose between 3 classes, builder, warrior or archer. Builders build, archers shoot and warriors slash things. It's in a platformer style and the basic idea is to enter your opponent's base and steal their flag, capture the flag style and then get it back to your base. There are a lot of mechanics in the game that are interesting but it's mostly centered on the pvp and it kinda requires you to be a lot of people. I tried to play online but was battered with profanity for not doing everything efficient enough so I left...

Destiny 2 Forsaken
Against my better judgement I decided to get this expansion, it also included the two (previously) 30$ dlcs as well.
There isn't a lot to say really, you can level up more, there is a few new areas, some new enemies, lots of new weapons (but mostly you'll discard most of them) and the item level system remains. All in all, if you liked the original Destiny 2 and want more, get this. Otherwise it's not going to revolutionize the game in any way. Maybe I'm just getting too old for this.

PS3 and PS4

Deception IV
A PS3 game in the deception series where you take control of a dark witch or something of the kind and uses traps to defeat your enemies who spawn in waves.
I still haven't beaten this but so far I've seen 4 different areas of the game each with their own layout and stage traps. But basically the game is about figuring our how to best defeat your opponents while also scoring as high as possible, like many other games the score is based mostly on combo but also on the complexity of the traps you use and so on. There is usually 3 different "missions" for each stage, each missions sends you 2-4 waves of 1-3 enemies. Enemies have classes which decides their general weaknesses and immunities. They each have a unique name and backstory as well so you feel a bit bad when killing them. I like the idea of the game a lot, you can't attack the enemies directly so you need to pause the game to build your traps and then trigger them at the right time and order to achieve a high combo which is also high damage. As you progress you unlock more traps of different categories and the enemies starts to mix up weaknesses and immunities more. For example an enemy can be weak to fire, but is protected from projectiles, but you only have a Fireball Trap. But by earning more points in the stages you can unlock Heat Plate which is a floor based fire trap. Surprisingly fun game.

God Eater Burst
HD remake of the original PSP game, it still plays well but some chunky animation and controls become more apparent in a PS4 version. It's not bad but it feels old if you get me. This is basically a mission based game where you have a target monster to defeat in a specific area, you start the mission, defeat the monster and is shipped back to base. You also have a weapon that is both a melee weapon and a range weapon. You can customize the melee weapon between different weapon styles and the range weapon which affects how the bullets fly and the ammo you use. Enemies have weaknesses that you should take into account and they will move around and do stuff. Unlike monster hunter you have a team of 3 NPCs with you on the missions, they will "help out" and "follow your orders". Most of the time they will get battered by monsters.
It's all kinda Japanese and most of the Arigami enemies have a typical style reminiscent of Persona and the like, human bodies with animal traits or monster bodies with human faces - a bit too uncanny for comfort. I got the game together with God Eater 2, but haven't yet tried the second one.

This game tries to be too much. Some of the people behind this are the people behind Borderlands, but this game is supposed to be a MOBA like team brawler strategy thing. I got this for the PS4 and it just wasn't worth it. To play the game you need to get all the updates, because the game is played on their servers. So you can't skip it even if you don't have PS plus. So what's the problem with that? Well, you need to wait to find a lobby for yourself, and everything you start needs to be initiated for at least 30 seconds. Not a big deal? No, but annoying enough. The updates themselves were pretty huge and took some time, and it all feels a lot older than the game a actually is.There are some different game modes, a story mode for example and a Versus. But it just wasn't for me. I was hoping this would be more, but it mostly felt like a failed attempt to get into a genre that is popular.


A rather simple game where you can move left and right, jump and dive. And shoot magic, if you have any. As you kill enemies they drop gold, get a kill chain by not taking damage in between and you start making even more money. The game is an arcade mode basically where you earn a score and dying resets that score. When you earn money you can also spend it to upgrade your character. This is slightly randomized however, not what's in it but the positions of the upgrades in a skill tree thing. But since this is an arcade type of game - nothing is saved of course if you win or exit. What you get instead is a high score that unlocks more characters, you can also buy items that give special bonuses the next time you play. If you make it through the game without dying you get to a "hardmode" version of the game, stronger enemies and more dangers. Luckily there are many different characters to play and unlock with different starting stats and "skill trees".

Legend of Dark Witch
It's a nintendo download platformer. Basically you control a witch and shoots energy bolts in front of you, by killing enemies you earn points that you can trigger for bonuses such as more shots, higher jumps, floats and such - only that this is temporary and for the stage only. Like classic megaman you have stage choices at the beginning, each choice is a stage and a boss at the end that unlocks a new projectile type. Upon clearing a stage you also earn currency which can be used to actually permanently upgrade your character. The game had a good level of difficulty and the bosses where interesting, although a bit random.

Puzzle Dragon Z
Apparently a famous Japanese phone game? This is a RPG take on the genre with some dumbed down evolution trees and mechanics. The game comes in two versions: Puzzle Dragon and Super Mario. These are in fact 2 rather different games and not just reskins. In this game there are 5 elements and monsters have an element so there are of course weaknesses involved here. But the combat itself if played by moving around the orbs into formation of 3 or more in a limited amount of time, doing that will trigger your monsters of the element to attack, or attack all enemies, or attack with armor pierce. If you're lucky the enemy monsters can also drop eggs that you can use to unlock that monster for your party and add to your team. You can also evolve your monsters with "chips" that drops from the main 5 monsters (and their evolutions) as well as the 5 basic slimes of the game. Apparently the phone game have more variety than this but this is what we got. Game takes place in 5 areas with 5 dungeons each. Each dungeon is 2-5 levels of "corridors" that you traverse on a map with choices rather than movement. At the end is a "boss". It's a fun game, but after completing the main story the challenge is increased to a point where it isn't fun anymore. Your monsters are maxed at lvl 99 but the monsters you face have such high stats that you need to make a choice: invest in defensive monsters and skills to ensure you don't die. But this will make combat take a lot of time. Or invest a lot into attack and attack skills to ensure that your opponents die before you do. Although this is a valid strategy it takes a lot of effort since you need trial and error to see what monsters are in a dungeon and what elements you should bring etc. Or, you know, get better at matching up the orbs for combos... I finished 3 of the extra areas but lost interest around there.

Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney Trilogy
Classic Phoenix Wright is in all honesty a typical adventure game in the spirit of Monkey Island or the like. The difference is that the game's theme is attorney-ish and half of the game is spent in the court room where your knowledge and memory is put to the test. Each game is divided into 5 cases, each case involves a part where you are free to visit areas, investigate and talk to people. Like any adventure game this is controlled and you need to do certain things to progress, once progress is reached you move on to the trial where you need to question witnesses and much more.
Out of the three games I enjoyed the second one the most, it had a good variety in the cases and I especially liked the last one. The first game is of course the most solid story-wise while the third one was a bit too much spirit medium for my taste.

Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright
The latest installation of Fire Emblem games comes in 3 versions. Conquest, Birthright and Something. It's not like Pokémon where each game is the same; same engine perhaps but different stories and characters. I decided on Birthright since it allowed me to fight some extra battles on the world map if I wanted to. But it was also the "Japanese" side of the story. What this game did was to divide units into "western" and "Japanese" versions. So Hoshido units involves clubs, naginatas and katanas while Norh units involves axes, lances and swords. All weapons are now part of the same weapon triangle as well. Magic is the same as swords, bows as axes and throwing weapons as lances. So the old system of elemental, dark and light magic for example is gone. All in all I felt like the game was shallow and the story was meh. The maps weren't very interesting and the game didn't really deliver anything different than Awakening. I felt like Awakening was a much more solid game. The whole support > get kid thing felt more natural in that game compared to this where you store your babies in pocket universes where time passes faster than the normal world. It was fun to play, but if I have a craving for Fire emblem in the future then the GC/Wii games and Awakening is more likely to be chosen.

Hometown Story
There are a lot of sims out there, hometown story is a store sim that could've been good but I just can't bring myself to like it. You are in a town and you're free to explore the town which is a good thing, there are some NPCs and shops out there and visiting a place can trigger events. But most of the time you will be in your shop waiting for customers and loading up your tables with items to sell. Now, this all sounds lovely but the problem is that you just can't get much on your own. So what you're really doing is scamming people. It's one town, how come old man Bert decides to come to my shop to buy fish instead of visiting the fisherman? I can buy the fish from the fisherman and then I sell it for more than he to make profit. And that's the entire game, you buy items from the different NPCs to sell in your shop for more than they are worth. One again, it's a solid concept. But after a while you make a lot of money but there is no goal to it. Sure you an unlock more items to sell, to make a greater profit and there are some unique items whose sole existence is to trigger cutscenes with npcs coming to your store.


Final Fantasy Record Keeper
A mobile game by SquareEnix in which you send a party into a "dungeon" to fight a series of classic rpg battles. There's nothing wrong with the game at all, the sprites are nice, as a new player they are very generous with "stamina" for your to play and give you freebies. Down the line you are expected to spend some money to unlock new gear and abilities and such to make life easier but there is a lot of free content as it is. The problem however is that to me RPGs are about story and all dungeons are just summaries of past Final Fantasy games, and I've played most of them already. So nostalgia I guess? But other than that it's none. And to be honest, playing classic rpg battles for the sake of playing rpg battles is not that fun. Since I also started FE Heroes I decided to not get stuck in two different games like these and skipped it.

Fire Emblem Heroes
A mobile game by Intelligent Systems in which you fight small Fire Emblem styled battles. Each unit takes up a tile and the maps range from 6x8 to 8x10 tiles. There are several different battle modes: normal battles such as story mode, paralogues, training etc. Grand conquests on large maps where you fight teams consisting of units of other players (still AI). Domains on large maps against AI teams. Grand battles where you can unlock new characters but you fail if you lose a unit. Arena where you fight player teams (still AI) for a ranking. Multi-maps where you fight several battle maps in a row without healing in between etc. The best part is that there is always some timed event going in the game. From the playful tap battle to Tempest trials or whatever there is always something to unlock and play through from week to week or so. As for the game itself it is dumbed down compared to original FE, the biggest difference being the amount of stats. A unit has a hp, str, def, res and speed stat. No accuracy or the like. Then each unit has a weapon, a slot for a buff skill, a slot for a special skill and then an A, B, C slot for three different types of passive skills. There are a lot of skills in the game, most of the based on previous games in the series. As a new hero drops, they usually also come with a new skill that wasn't in the game before. So there's never a dull moment, well except that I still would like some actual PVP.

PS: I'm planning on replaying/playing some iconic games for my 30th birthday which is steadily approaching. Any suggestions?

Steamworld is the jam, my guy.

For iconic games I just jammed through Sonic 1-3, capped with a lot of Sonic Mania. I would play the adventure series but I don't hate myself that much.


--- Quote from: ZeroKirbyX on January 01, 2019, 02:23:24 AM ---Steamworld is the jam, my guy.

For iconic games I just jammed through Sonic 1-3, capped with a lot of Sonic Mania. I would play the adventure series but I don't hate myself that much.

--- End quote ---

They're a great time, just expect a little bit of buggyness with some laughably bad voice acting.

I've played a lot of games this year, so I wont get into all of them. Some of the more notable ones are Persona 5, (more) Path of Exile, and Smash Bros Ultimate.

I'm gonna second that Steamworld comment. Love those games. Steamworld 2 is rad as heck, and you should try Heist if you want Worms-like combat with XCOM-like tactics. Anyway, time to keep up with tradition.


Super Meat Boy (The End, Dark World The End) (Xbox 360, PC, PS4, PS Vita, Wii U, Switch) is a legend by now. A tough-as-nails 2D platformer that takes pride in killing you over and over and showing you all your deaths when you finally succeed, this indie game pretty much started the indie game craze. There's not too much to say about it at this point: It's hard, it's fun, it's full of that crude, Newgrounds-styled humor, and it's kind of a must-play. I finally managed to complete the primary story this year when re-playing it on the Switch. I still have about half of Cotton Alley left, but it's post-game content, so I'm cutting myself some slack here and calling it finished. I mean, the story completed, I saw the credits roll, it's over, right. Anyway, I'm sure I'll have "(Cotton Alley, Dark World Cotton Alley)" on my 2019 review. Maybe.

Turok 2 (N64, PC, Xbox One) is also a bit of a legendary first-person shooter that made its mark on the N64 many years ago. Playing the stellar remaster that released this year on PC and Xbox One. The game is a real blast from the past, and while the gameplay is as fun as ever, but the level design shows its age. Maze-like, massive, and with everything kind of looking the same, this game definitely feels like a mix of the best and the worst of 90s level design. Enemies can sometimes be bullet-sponges, and hit-boxes tend to be a little too precise. Still, I had a lot of fun with the game, the guns are as awesome as ever, and it's totally worth playing today.

Inside (Xbox One, PC, PS4, Switch, iOS) is the followup to Limbo, and has the same tone and gameplay. An unsettling puzzle-platformer, you play as a child sneaking into some sort of facility. Much like Limbo, it reveals a story without text or dialogue, never takes control from the player, and has an ending that is completely open to interpretation. I liked it, but it seems a little hard to comprehend at times. I guess what I'm saying is, yup, it's an indie game alright.

Donkey Kong (Gameboy, 3DS) is one of my favorite games for the Gameboy. It might even be one of my favorite games ever. It also does a fabulous job of hiding its depth by opening with what looks like a simple port of the arcade classic, albeit with simplified levels and improved controls. After finishing the 4 stages, it opens up to reveal an amazing puzzle-platformer with another 97 levels! Crazy, right? It's super fun, and I loved playing it again. I beat the game for the first time, and I'm proud of that achievement.

Bioshock 2: Minerva's Den (PS3, Xbox 360, PC, PS4, Xbox One) is an add-on campaign for Bioshock 2 that is pretty neat. Like the rest of the games in the series, it's a first-person shooter with open levels, objective-based progression, weapon and abilities to find, buy, upgrade, and choose between to build your perfect killing machine, and just an overall good time. I'm not really sure why it took me so long to complete (I beat Bioshock 2 in 2014), but I'm glad to have finally played it.


Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U, Switch) is quite possibly the best DKC game ever made. Fight me. It's perfectly designed platforming from the brilliant team at Retro Studios (also known for the Metroid Prime series), it looks amazing, the music is great (though most of it is recycled from DKC Returns), and the co-op is a blast. The additions of other Kongs and how they affect gameplay is great, but I really only used Dixie and sometimes Cranky. Diddy, sadly, is kind of a less-useful Dixie. This game launched on the ill-fated Wii U, but thankfully Nintendo put it on the Switch so that it could get the attention it deserves. If you love 2D platformers and don't mind the challenge (seriously, it gets pretty tough), this is a must-play.

High Hell (PC) is a simple shooter where twitch-reactions are vital and everyone dies in just one or two shots (yourself included). I liked it a lot. It has an odd sense of style about it that makes it interesting, and it has that quirky approach one should expect from [adult swim games] titles. It's very short, though. I beat it in an afternoon. Still, it's pretty replayable, has an emphasis on speedrunning, and I think it's worth your time. Check it out on Steam, it's currently on sale for $2.50 (and I have a spare key that I might be willing to share with someone).

The Mummy Demastered (PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch) is a licensed video game based on the trainwreck 2017 film The Mummy. The good news is that WayForward (Shantae series, Mighty Switch Force series) developed the game! Their sprite work is simply amazing, they tend to make some pretty great games (Contra 4, Aliens: Infestation, Double Dragon Neon, Duck Tales Remastered, etc.), and it's a Metroidvania, so this one's a natural pick for me. The game has a Castlevania-like setting that's on and under the streets of London (I think?), and the music is awesome. The game has lots of hidden goodies like upgrades, ammo expansions, health boosts, and optional weapons to make exploration a lot of fun. However, it does have some drawbacks. Sometimes you can have a hard time figuring out how to proceed (because Metroidvanias, right?), a few enemies are too tough for their own good and make traversing the stages a bit frustrating at times, and health is given out a bit too sparsely. Still, it's a good game, has a decent length, and is likely to be the only part of The Mummy 2017 that anyone will remember.

Quake (PC, N64, Saturn) is the iconic followup to Doom. I really don't need to introduce this game; its legacy is felt to this day. Lovecraftian horror meets twitch-reaction shooter, it was a legend waiting to happen when it released in 1996. I've played it a few times over the years, but for some reason never sank my teeth into it until this year. Boy, what a mistake that was. This game is killer. I love the pacing, the level designs, the enemies, the weapons, everything! The haunting ambient soundtrack sets the mood in a terrifying way, and jumping in on the hidden Nightmare difficulty made every fight tense. Really, I just couldn't get enough of it. So that's why I played through...


Quake: Scourge of Armagon (PC), the first expansion released for Quake. It's more of the same, but it's sequential levels rather than chapter-based. It also introduces some interesting (though not particularly useful) new weapons and power-ups. It's nothing ground-breaking, but it scratches that itch. I did still want more Quake, so I played the next expansion.

Quake: Dissolution of Eternity (PC) is another expansion. Unlike the first one, the weapons added aren't really creative, but are much more functional. Cluster grenades, spread-shot rockets, and powered-up nails make taking care of baddies simple. Maybe too simple; I found this expansion to be pretty easy. Plenty of new enemies were added with these upgraded weapons in mind, though, and they're a real pain if you don't plan accordingly. Despite offering more varied and interesting content, the levels were less memorable than the first expansion or the base game, so that's kind of a mark against it. Still plenty of fun if you just want more Quake.


Quake II:Ground Zero (PC) sucks. The second (and much harder) expansion to Quake II if full of cheap shots and easy deaths. I imagine the plan was to make the experienced player feel on-edge and offer a challenge, but they did it by adding a turret enemy that can kill you in just a few shots, can see you from miles away, has a ton of health, is very accurate, appear very often, and are always placed somewhere out of sight, such as above a door frame when you enter a room, or on a high ceiling in a double-decker room layout. Worse still, the designers chose to make many of them hidden away inside a wall, only to have them pop out after you've passed them or activated an invisible trigger. They really suck all the possibilities for fun out of the game and drive the flow to a screeching halt. Don't play this. Definitely don't play this on the hardest difficulty. I did, and I regret it.

Kamiko (Switch) is a simple and short dungeon crawler with three playable characters. It uses a sort of combo system to build currency to activate chests and switches and such. It's okay, but I wouldn't call it a must-play. It's pretty short and is meant to be replayed with each character, but there's no real sense of progression other than getting to the end of the level, and the combat is pretty simple.

Quake 4 (Xbox 360, PC) is a game I've purchased like, 3 times. I'm not sure why. Anyway, it's kind of a slow and tedious sequel to the events of Quake 2, but the story is pretty cool. Weapons handle oddly, damage always feels random and somewhat impotent, and again, combat feels so slow. It's not a bad game, really, but it's riding on that Quake legacy! It needs to be more fast-paced! I finally finished it after years of re-buying and re-playing it. You can probably skip it.

Dandara (Android, iOS, PC, Switch PS4, Xbox One) is a Metroidvania designed for a phone, and that's not bad! It has a weird movement system where you can't walk, but rather, you leap from platform to platform. It sounds restrictive, and it is, but it's not as bad as it sounds. The art, music, exploration, and sometimes even combat are really good! It borrows a bit from Dark Souls, such as having a difficult combat system to adapt to, being a difficult game in general, and having you lose all your earned experience upon death and spending it at safe points. I didn't make that connection until near the end of the game. Some of the combat can be a real pain, and leveling up happens so gradually that it feels like you're never getting any stronger, but you definitely can feel how you've grown if you do some backtracking. Anyway, game's fun, check it out.


Prey (2006) [Xbox 360, PC) is another game that I've played and put off completing for years. In fact, I learned that my old save file was literally two levels from the end of the game, and levels aren't that long! I started over from the beginning just to re-experience that kick-ass intro, though. Prey is kind of a Duke Nukem Forever game in that it was announced by 3D Realms a million years ago but took over a decade to release. Unlike Duke Nukem Forever, this game is a real treat to play, no qualifiers or excuses. You play as Tommy, a Native American man who is dispassionate and disconnected from his culture and wants nothing more than to leave it behind. His grandfather is pretty much the opposite, and tries to talk him out of his rebellious outlook. His girlfriend sides with his grandfather, and he constantly tries to convince her otherwise. Then aliens attack and kidnap all of them. Tommy is rescued by other abductees and tries to save his girlfriend and grandfather. It's a great first-person shooter with some really creative biological alien weapons, all of which fill a niche. The aliens aren't too varied, but they get the job done. The real star of the show is the level design, which turns the player on their heads (literally) with anti-gravity walkways, teleporters (or portals before Portal), and size-changing passages. It's a real trip, and it never gets old. The combat feels so right, and even your starter gun is powerful right up to the end of the game. Levels are pretty short, and difficulty is kind of a trivial option when starting the game. The reason for that is the game having a spirit world mechanic, which lets you detach your spirit from your body to travel through spectral walls, across spectral bridges, and activate switches, attack enemies, and more. It also saves you from dying by entering a sort of shooting gallery when you die where you can earn back health and spirit energy. It's a great way to keep the player involved and encourage experimentation, but it does mean you literally can't die, so it defeats the purpose of having a difficulty option in the first place. Boy, that's a lot of text. Anyway, it's not connected to the 2017 Prey in any way, but it's a great game and I definitely recommend it.

Freedom Planet (PC Wii U, PS4, Switch) is what happens when a Sonic fangame breaks free of the constraints of being a Sonic game and decides to fix everything that's been plaguing the series since the start. I've made it no secret that I think nearly every Sonic game ever released is bad, or at least not good. I could fill a book with my thoughts on that subject, but I'll focus on how great Freedom Planet is instead. It looks beautiful, like a lost Genesis classic. The music is simply top-notch as well, and helps to capture that lost-classic vibe. It controls a lot like Sonic, but without the clunkiness, and it fleshes out combat into something more than jumping and hoping for the best. There's a health bar (no rings), and an energy bar for special moves that really open up your exploration options. As with Sonic, the levels are meant to be explored fully, but these maps are huge! I spent no less than half an hour on single levels, and at most nearly two hours just to get to the end! You can certainly finish them in less time, but if you love finding every secret like I do, you'll have a lot to find. There are lots of bosses as well. The early ones are pretty well balanced, but by the half-way point, they start to become a bit too brutal for my liking. It's kind of odd to have a game with a fairly relaxed difficulty that has bosses cranked up to 11. The final boss, for example, took my 99 lives down to 14 by the time I had him beat. Yikes. The game also has two main modes: Classic and Story. Classic plays like most games in this style, flowing from level to level with only end of stage screens appearing to break them up. Story, on the other hand, is littered with cutscenes and dialogue to give you context to the wild adventure. The story is kind of anime, if you like that sort of thing, and the cutscenes border on Metal Gear Solid levels of length. The voice acting is... Kind of bad? Not completely awful, but mixed with the dialogue and story, it can be fairly cringey at times. To wrap up, I hate Sonic, I really like Freedom Planet, there's a sequel being made, I can't wait to play it.

Bioshock Infinite (Xbox One, PS4, PC) is the successor to Bioshock and a lovely game to experience. The story is, well, great! It even does an interesting job of connecting the otherwise disconnected worlds between this and the first game in a way that doesn't feel forced. I loved it, which is a good thing, because I was really disappointed with the simplification of the game's combat. A two-weapon system is lame, sorry. There's no reason to have ditched it, and it has a nasty habit of backing you into corners if you have the wrong weapons at a checkpoint or run out of ammo. I played on 1999 difficulty, I don't know how that influences my experience. Combat switched to a funky scaling health system that hurts the feel of the gunplay a lot. Vigors are neat, but less interesting than the plasmids of the first two games. It's all ultimately a simplified Bioshock experience, and I'm disappointed by that. Not a bad game on its own, but definitely a step down.

Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea Part I (Xbox One, PS4, PC) is the first expansion to the game, and it shows an alternate view of what happens in Infinite through the world of Rapture. It does a bit to improve the flaws of the base game by adding a weapon wheel and using a hybrid version of plasmids and vigors. It's really short, which is kind of a bummer, but it does take some interesting turns with continuing the story of the first game. It also ends with a cliffhanger for part two.

Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea Part II (Xbox One, PS4, PC) picks up where the first part ends, but from the perspective of Elizabeth. She's not as big or as strong as Booker, so she has to play a different way: By using stealth. Stealth is something that I never realized I needed in Bioshock, but now I can't imagine playing the games without it. I played on 1998, which takes all lethal tools away from you and forces you to be as stealthy as possible to succeed. It's awesome. This part is much lengthier and is a lot more fun, but the story feels kind of dissatisfying overall. It's fine, but I think it could have ended better. Still, totally worth playing.


Doom 3: BFG Edition (Xbox 360, PS3, PC) is Doom 3, but prettier and with duct tape for your flashlight. It repackages the base game with the Resurrection of Evil expansion and a new (well, old) expansion, The Lost Mission. It also contains Ultimate Doom and Doom II, so that's neat. If I bought Quake 4 3 times, I've bought Doom 3 6 times. I don't know why, as I've gone on record about how this is the worst Doom title. I've never finished it, and I decided now was the time. I have to admit, it's a lot better than I remember. It's still the worst Doom, but it's so much better than Quake 4. It at least feels action-y in a way that doesn't completely betray its heritage. The availability of the flashlight does hurt the horror aspect of the game quite a bit, but the game was never really all that scary to begin with, so I'm ok with removing the annoyance of playing in the dark. Still, the game is just Doom 3 again, and with lesser mod support. You should play the original release if you want to play this game. There's a co-op mod based off of the original Xbox port that never made it to any other platform. It's pretty fun.

Kirby: Star Allies (Switch) is another Kirby game. Have you played a Kirby game before? Well, it's one of those. It's a simple, sweet, and fun platformer with low difficulty (like, really low) and a wonderful co-op experience. It's pretty short, but Nintendo has supported the hell out of this game, and the added content does a lot to improve the base product. New allies are awesome, and the new campaign is creative and actually difficult. If you like Kirby games, this is a Kirby game.


(Poochy &) Yoshi's Wooly World (Wii U, 3DS) is the latest entry in the line of Yoshi games that Nintendo occasionally releases. It's just as charming and fun as the SNES classic, but a bit easier as well. I wouldn't call it Nintendo easy, thankfully, as finding all the secrets and completing the bonus worlds can be pretty tough. It's a blast the whole time, though. Try to 100% this game, it opens up all the bonus stages, and they're really creative and fun.


I Expect You to Die (PS4, PC) is a clever VR puzzle game, which I played because I bought a VR set. You play as a Bond-inspired spy and complete a series of spy-themed puzzles framed as escape rooms or plot-foiling scenarios. It's a ton of fun, and I highly suggest it if you have a VR setup. It is pretty short, which is a shame, but it's definitely worth playing.

...And VVVVVV (PC, 3DS, PS Vita, PS4, Android, iOS, Ouya, Switch) again. After beating it this many times, I think I've determined that this is one of my favorite games. I've almost beaten it as many times as The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. I'm sure I'll do it again some time soon. Somebody even ported it to the Commodore 64, and I'd love to play it on one.


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