Games Completed 2024

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oni-link
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Re: Games Completed 2024

Post by oni-link »

Go Mecha Ball

This was a fun little roguelike, an odd mix of Marble Madness and Enter the Gungeon. It's a twin stick shooter where you can turn into a ball and roll around at speed, using your dash move to delay/prevent enemy attacks. It's got amazing game feel and a great little combat loop. The guns also feel amazing and there are a lot of them to unlock.

The game is very short compared to other games in the genre. The aforementioned Gungeon and Hadas took me well over 25 hours before I beat a run, whereas Go Mecha Ball took me just under 5.

It's not up there with the greats of the genre, but it's a really fun little arcade action game that won't take you weeks and weeks to beat.
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markfm007
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Re: Games Completed 2024

Post by markfm007 »

Spoiler: show
January 6th - Persona 5 Royal
January 11th - Control: Ultimate Edition
January 23rd - Alan Wake 2
February 13th - Batman: Return to Arkham - Arkham Asylum

Downloaded AA on a whim amidst all the Suicide Squad discussion. Holds up really well. I do love the Asylum, although it’s hard not to miss gliding over the city and swooping down on enemies. Scarecrow segments are still excellent. I also really enjoyed the characters and performances here more than I used to, especially Mark Hamill’s Joker. Maybe absence has made the heart grow fonder. Not sure if I’ll play through City but I’ll definitely start it and see how I go.
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Truk_Kurt
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Re: Games Completed 2024

Post by Truk_Kurt »

markfm007 wrote: February 13th, 2024, 5:20 pm
Spoiler: show
January 6th - Persona 5 Royal
January 11th - Control: Ultimate Edition
January 23rd - Alan Wake 2
February 13th - Batman: Return to Arkham - Arkham Asylum

Downloaded AA on a whim amidst all the Suicide Squad discussion. Holds up really well. I do love the Asylum, although it’s hard not to miss gliding over the city and swooping down on enemies. Scarecrow segments are still excellent. I also really enjoyed the characters and performances here more than I used to, especially Mark Hamill’s Joker. Maybe absence has made the heart grow fonder. Not sure if I’ll play through City but I’ll definitely start it and see how I go.
I'm seriously considering playing through City via this collection too at some point this year after playing Suicide Squad got me in the mood for some Rocksteady Batman, the main reason though is because it was the only Rocksteady Arkham game I didn't platinum and I want to round them off.
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Scrustle
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Re: Games Completed 2024

Post by Scrustle »

Spoiler: show
12/01 - The Legend of Zelda: The Missing Link
28/01 - Tony Hawk's Underground
02/02 - Max Payne
03/02 - The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD (Hero Mode)
07/02 - Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne
14/02 - Max Payne 3

On first impression I quite liked this game and appreciated the direction it seemed to be going compared to the previous games, but over time I cooled on it and ended up not liking it as much. Still not a bad game by any means, but one that feels like it trades away some of the series’ identity towards something more conventional of its era that doesn’t do it any favours.

Stylistically and visually it is pretty cool. Graphically it stands up really well, with great character models and highly detailed environments, and really good lighting. The VHS effect and other post-processing flourishes are a really cool touch. They give this sense of abrasive disorientation, emulating Max’s experience of having a constant hangover and his loose grip on reality. It also conveys the hazy, muggy heat of the setting as well. Like conditions are so harsh that it’s messing with the video equipment that the game is being seen through. The cutscenes with their picture-in-picture transitions and highlighted words are a really stylish way to present them as well, and feel like a clever evolution on the comic book style scenes of the old games.

The narration doesn’t stand up so well in comparison however. It’s not as sharp as the first two, and doesn’t have the same colourful use of metaphors. Perhaps that can be seen as symbolic of Max losing his touch though. I do think the idea of presenting him as an older character and exploring what it means to be left in the aftermath of the events of the preceding games many years later. So it makes sense to make him a more cynical and tired character. It’s also perhaps a more authentic view of him, as this game pulls out the perspective of the story to not being seen so exclusively through his eyes, and instead shows more how he comes across to others. Him no longer able to retain the delusion of the fantasised view he had of himself.

But the change in narrative tone goes beyond that, eventually adding up to something that is less distinctly “Max Payne” and less interesting overall. The self-aware humour, the metatextual elements, and the surreality are all gone. This game plays things very straight, and loses a lot in the process. To be completely honest, I didn’t care that much for the actual plot in the first two games. I found their plots to be hard to follow, despite them also being very simple and not particularly groundbreaking. But they felt like they were both indulging in and making a mockery of the tropes they were constructed out of in a playful and charming way that made them fun to experience. This third game may be a bit easier to follow, but it’s still not much more complicated, and doesn’t feel like it has that ambition to do much more than just tell its straightforward action crime thriller story. It also feels very derivative of the way GTA presents itself. While the Remedy games felt like they could take place in an alternate reality to GTA, this just feels like it simply is the same world. Characters talk and act like they’re from GTA, and Max himself even comes across like a less wealthy and more depressed and nihilistic Michael.

Speaking of, this story seems like it is pretty concerned with the topic of wealth inequality and how nationality interacts with that. It brings up these things a lot, with how Max works for an obscenely rich family in a poor country, and how he shoots his way through the favelas sticking out like a sore thumb, with him monologuing about it the whole time. But the story doesn’t really do anything with it. It points these things out, but doesn’t have any further thoughts on them, like they’re only there to provide a surface level edginess with the aesthetic of poverty and injustice, none of it meaningfully affecting Max himself.

I wasn’t especially fond of how this game plays either. It feels very stodgy, and like it’s in this awkward middle ground between the design sensibilities of the originals and those that were common among 7th generation cover shooters. Movement is very sluggish to respond, with the kinematics system always fighting your inputs, even to the point where it will get in the way of the basic functioning of mechanics. Like being unable to move around a tiny obstacle or Max’s character model obstructing your aim, or even pointing his gun in a different direction to where you’re looking. It can struggle with conveyance at times as well, where sometimes it’s unclear where you’re aiming or if an enemy has actually been killed. Some go down quickly, while others seem to take many times more bullets for no clear reason. The levels themselves also don’t feel like they are designed with Max’s abilities in mind. Particularly when it comes to his signature dive move. There frequently just isn’t enough room to do it properly, and enemy placement is done in a way that works against being able to take advantage of it. Instead it pushes you more towards a play style of hiding behind cover and taking potshots from a distance. A style of play that is much less interesting, and much closer to what was popular at the time among contemporary games. There are moments with interesting action set pieces, where time slows down and Max does some wild stunt while taking out a bunch of enemies, but these moments are always very scripted and inorganic. Not like the old games where you created cool moments yourself out of the standard mechanics.

You could argue that these mechanical issues are again supposed to convey Max’s physical decline, but I have a hard time using that as a justification this time around. Usually I’m a big believer in the idea that games don’t have to be “fun” to be engaging, and that they can and should explore other emotions through mechanics, even negative ones. But that doesn’t seem like it adds up to me this time. Maybe that’s because the things that are off-putting here are things that push this game towards genre convention rather than away from it. Often times when a piece of art breaks away from generally accepted practice and is successful, it’s because it knows how to break those rules “correctly”. But in this case it’s doing the opposite. Making the game more homogeneous in ways that grate against what it did so effectively in the past. Kane & Lynch 2 comes to mind as an example of a game that is doing something very similar to this one, but doing it better. Even though the mechanics are simpler and arguably worse, they are more harmonious with what the game is trying to get across. It also does the visual artefacts in a way that is much more universal and diegetic. Coincidentally it also ends in an airport level.

And so ends my first experience with the Max Payne trilogy. Despite being pretty critical of this game, I don’t hate it. It’s decent, even has some elements I do genuinely like, but just doesn’t feel as special or mechanically tight as the older entries. Or at least the second one. This foray in to this series was done on a bit of a whim. While I’ve had some vague interest in these games for a long time, it never struck me as something that I felt like I needed to go out of my way to experience. I assumed I wouldn’t get much out of it. Nothing really changed recently that got me to finally give it a shot, but I’m glad I did. The Remedy games have a lot of charm to them and have higher ambitions than they seem from their surface level appearances. It’s also an interesting look in to the history of how these sorts of games used to be translated to consoles before that was a solved issue. After this I was thinking about continuing on to Alan Wake. I have tried that before, but dropped off before finishing. Might be time to give it another chance.
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Indiana747
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Re: Games Completed 2024

Post by Indiana747 »

(Jan) Battlefield 3 - Series X.
(Jan) Hi-Fi Rush - Series X.
(Jan) Daymare 1998 - Series X.
(Jan) The Beast Inside - Series X.
(Feb) XIII - Series X.
(Feb) Close to the Sun - Series X.
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Truk_Kurt
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Re: Games Completed 2024

Post by Truk_Kurt »

Scrustle wrote: February 14th, 2024, 5:02 pm
Spoiler: show
12/01 - The Legend of Zelda: The Missing Link
28/01 - Tony Hawk's Underground
02/02 - Max Payne
03/02 - The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD (Hero Mode)
07/02 - Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne
14/02 - Max Payne 3
Great review Scrustle. One thing you didn't mention but maybe it didn't leave much of an impression on you was the soundtrack by HEALTH. I thought it was fantastic and really suited the game, particularly the track that plays in the final airport level which I still listen to sometimes.
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Rhaegyr
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Re: Games Completed 2024

Post by Rhaegyr »

Glad I'm not the only one who didn't enjoy Max Payne 3 after really liking the first two.
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markfm007
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Re: Games Completed 2024

Post by markfm007 »

Truk_Kurt wrote: February 14th, 2024, 9:10 am I'm seriously considering playing through City via this collection too at some point this year after playing Suicide Squad got me in the mood for some Rocksteady Batman, the main reason though is because it was the only Rocksteady Arkham game I didn't platinum and I want to round them off.
Well worth it, especially if you haven't played them in a long while. I'm impressed you've platinumed them, they definitely make you work for it!
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Michiel K
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Re: Games Completed 2024

Post by Michiel K »

16 February: Akumajou Dracula X: Chi no Rondo (Wii VC)

Finally did a full playthrough of this classic, after all this time. We're recording a Cane and Rinse podcast about it on Sunday and I look forward to verbalise my thoughts about the game.
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Alex79
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Re: Games Completed 2024

Post by Alex79 »

Alex79 wrote: January 2nd, 2024, 12:11 pmJAN - Strider (Arcade on Evercade)
JAN - Strider (Megadrive on Switch)
JAN - God Of War (PS5)
JAN - Universal Paperclips (Android)
FEB - Alwa's Awakening (Evercade)
FEB - Little Inferno (Android)

Had a slow run through of this over the last few weeks again. It's a fun game, and the burning stuff is really satisfying, how everything reacts differently to the flames and there's some dark humour in there. Nice soundtrack too, and a suitably 'World of Goo-esque' esoteric ending sequence. I like these guys, they make cool games.
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seansthomas
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Re: Games Completed 2024

Post by seansthomas »

Jan 4th - Shadow of the Tomb Raider (PS5)
Jan 10th - Jusant (Xbox Series S)
Feb 6th - Resident Evil 4 (PS5)

Feb 19th - Resident Evil 4 - Hardcore (PS5)

Not done this in a while, but beat the game and did not feel done at all. So restarted it straight away on Hardcore.

Interesting how the game mixes it up on that difficulty. Definitely some far harder enemies, puzzles and, in a few places, less options available to help you (like the bells are removed when fighting the blind razor clawed dudes).

Found it a fair bit harder as you'd expect, even starting the game with a ton of weapons heavily modded from my first playthrough.

The first half of the game is definitely more fun and enjoyable than the second, and after the castle I cool on the game a bit (I did back on the original too) BUT it's still next level design. So many cool set pieces, ideas, enemy varieties and story beats.

What a game. I don't genuinely feel done with it yet even now. But probably will park it for a while, then come back one day for a Rocket Launcher run or to tackle Separate Ways.
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Seph
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Re: Games Completed 2024

Post by Seph »

A few days ago I finished AI: The Somnium Files – nirvanA Initiative after a 60-hour slog to the platinum. I don't remember the original taking this long, so I was originally hoping for more of a 30-hour experience.

Overall, I'd say I still prefer the original because the overall story and mystery felt a lot tighter and more engaging, but damn I'll admit that some of the twists did catch me off guard, though I did sort of guess the main conceit of the story and presentation before the reveal. I'm sure there are plot holes, but, as with Zero Time Dilemma, the clues are right in your face when you look back on it. I like how the dream worlds felt more varied this time, so from a gameplay perspective it is somewhat better.

I am a sucker for anything Kotaro Uchikoshi comes out with. I even played Punch Line because he wrote it, and that's a game no one should admit to playing. The unlockable level where you
Spoiler: show
revisit the opening room to Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors made me wish there was another one of those games on the way and I'm considering playing the series again.
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Indiana747
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Re: Games Completed 2024

Post by Indiana747 »

(Jan) Battlefield 3 - Series X.
(Jan) Hi-Fi Rush - Series X.
(Jan) Daymare 1998 - Series X.
(Jan) The Beast Inside - Series X.
(Feb) XIII - Series X.
(Feb) Close to the Sun - Series X.
(Feb) Atomic Heart - Series X.
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Scrustle
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Re: Games Completed 2024

Post by Scrustle »

Spoiler: show
12/01 - The Legend of Zelda: The Missing Link
28/01 - Tony Hawk's Underground
02/02 - Max Payne
03/02 - The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD (Hero Mode)
07/02 - Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne
14/02 - Max Payne 3
23/02 - Splatoon 3: Side Order

With this being a Roguelike thing I was pretty unsure how I would react to it going in, but I ended up liking it a lot. I usually don’t like this genre at all, but this was the first one I’ve ever really clicked with, and the first one I’ve managed to finish. Or at least clear for the first time.

It helps a lot that I already appreciate the base game mechanics of course, and this mode does a lot of cool things to shake them up and make it play quite a lot differently. It has the expected things of buffing parameters of your normal abilities, but you can push them to some pretty absurd extremes, although actually being able to do so is far from guaranteed. But aside from that there’s also a lot of neat stuff unique to this mode, like being able to turn your squid rolls in to an attack. There’s also the element of random drops from enemies that can do things like cause a chain reaction explosion that can be very useful for clearing a bunch of them out when you’re cornered. While the way enemies swarm you in waves does make this mode feel a bit like Salmon Run in a way, it definitely has a lot going on for itself that makes it an interesting and unique twist on the series gameplay.

There’s some variation in objectives, but honestly not a huge amount. Aside from just killing all the enemies there’s stuff inspired by the ranked modes in PvP, like having to control a zone with your own ink or having to push a tower along a path by continually shooting it. The infamous 8-ball levels from Octo Expansion also come back, although they are much less aggravating here. You only have to push the ball a small distance and it can’t fall off the stage. But most of the normal levels are mostly about juggling whatever objective you have along with managing the ever spawning enemies. That’s pretty good on its own, but the fun keeping it fresh is attempting it with different weapons and builds and changing your play style around that. The boss roster is pretty limited though. They’re all fun encounters, and they do provide some new challenges not seen in boss design in this series so far, but there’s only a small number of them.

It doesn’t take long to actually beat this game though. There’s only 30 levels per run, with a boss at every 10th level. Normal levels only take one to two minutes, and bosses are like three to five each. It only took me five attempts outside of the tutorial run to complete it. I do intend to go back and do more though, as there’s a lot of stuff I haven’t unlocked yet, which you get from clearing it again with each weapon class. My first clear was with the brush, which I was pretty surprised at. That’s a weapon class I usually don’t get on with, and I expected the lack of range would be a big problem. But I found leaning on the random drops and maximising what I got from those really came in clutch. I also got lucky and was able to switch out the standard special you get with it for the Crab Tank, which was perfect for making up for the lack of range. It was a fun run, but I definitely want to clear it with some other classes, and the Dualies at the very least.

There are also some features here that I think helped a lot in making the whole Roguelike conceit easier to get on with. Not only do you get the permanent upgrades you frequently see in games like this, you also get multiple lives which you can also restock if you get lucky too. You also have the option to choose the difficulty of each level as you progress, although you are somewhat limited in that. The higher you go, the more the choices you are given are biased towards the tougher options. Your progress also has a general influence on difficultly too. A “hard” stage near the start of a run will be easier than a “normal” one later on. Overall difficulty isn’t that stiff, but it can get pretty challenging in the last third. But the big thing I found most interesting is that it also records your previous attempts, and allows you to pick back up an old run from the point you failed at before, at the cost of a chunk of currency. I never actually tried it, but I assume doing so would also come with other restrictions to make it not too exploitable. But it’s really interesting that means no run of this game is truly lost. You always have the option to jump back in to an old run and see if you can make it work this time. That definitely goes a long way to making it feel like it wasn’t a waste of time.

The story is a little underwhelming unfortunately. I was hoping this would have a bit more to it, developing characters that hadn’t got attention before, or having some big dramatic reveal in the finale, but there wasn’t really any of that. It’s pretty straightforward. The idea is that this takes place in a VR world that has gone haywire and is controlling people’s minds. It doesn’t do anything interesting with that though, and is just a reason to take down the big rogue AI controlling it all. So you do, and that’s pretty much it. Dedf1sh, a.k.a. Acht, is here too. They apparently have history with Marina, but the story doesn’t go in to it much. I was hoping more for their character in particular. You do at least get a scene where the two of them share a stage as part of the climax though, which is cool. There is a moment where they try to cast some doubt on Pearl’s appearance here, hinting that it might not really be her, but it goes nowhere. At least in the time I spent with it. There are some unlockable text diaries from Marina though, which are somewhat like the chat logs from Octo Expansion, and they tell the backstory of how this place was created and what the duo have been up to since we last saw them, but you only get a new entry as one of the many possible rewards for beating a boss, so that’s a lot of effort just for some secondary flavour text.

I really dig the aesthetic though. The clean white look is very stylish, and is an interesting contract to the norm for this series. The designs of enemies are cool, and there are some really atmospheric backdrops that have a kind of surreal brutalism to them as well. There’s also a neat little touch with your ink too. It changes colour, and even has a bunch of unique glitter patterns hidden in it, depending on what abilities you have in your build. There are some pretty clear inspirations from other media too which are fun to see in this context. There’s obviously Nier Automata, with the environments looking very much like the Copied City. Not to mention Pearl acting as a drone companion that follows you throwing out secondary attacks. There’s also hints of The Matrix too, with the vertical scrolling text and cyberspace theming. I get a kick out of seeing these three pieces of media I appreciate so much coming together at once.

But if I have to compare this to Octo Expansion as a whole, honestly I have to say that was a much more impressive piece of content. But at the same time, I’m hesitant to say I prefer it. Octo had way more to it. More and bigger levels, a way more involved story that is probably the best the series has seen, and a fantastic finale that only the main S3 campaign can stand up against. If you count length by how long it takes to see the credits, Octo is much longer than this too, although that’s perhaps a bit unfair given you’re obviously supposed to replay Side Order a lot. But on the other hand, I frequently found Octo to be really infuriating and not much fun to actually play. Brutally hard at times, with an awful difficulty curve that was basically impossible to get a smooth experience out of. And of course those 8-ball levels that pretty much everyone hates. Side Order was a way more consistently enjoyable and smooth experience. It didn’t reach the same heights as its predecessor, but it didn’t frustrate anywhere near as much either.
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Re: Games Completed 2024

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Alex79 wrote: January 2nd, 2024, 12:11 pmJAN - Strider (Arcade on Evercade)
JAN - Strider (Megadrive on Switch)
JAN - God Of War (PS5)
JAN - Universal Paperclips (Android)
FEB - Alwa's Awakening (Evercade)
FEB - Little Inferno (Android)
FEB - Spider-Man 2 (PS5)

The epitome of a triple A blockbuster. I really enjoyed this. Great in all the ways the first game was, plus more. I rarely 100% games, but did for this (and it was manageable in a shade over 30 hours, too). Looked amazing (I played in fidelity mode) and sounded great through headphones too. Story was probably more interesting that the first game, and I liked being able to switch characters. I rarely use fast travel in games but did in this just to make finishing off various side stuff quicker, and it stands out as exceptional, the speed in which you're transported to the new location! I might pick up Miles Morales at some point as never played that one.
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seansthomas
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Re: Games Completed 2024

Post by seansthomas »

Jan 4th - Shadow of the Tomb Raider (PS5)
Jan 10th - Jusant (Xbox Series S)
Feb 6th - Resident Evil 4 (PS5)
Feb 19th - Resident Evil 4 - Hardcore (PS5)

Feb 25th - Interaction isn't explicit (PS5)

Free short interactive game that's a developer formulating their thoughts on interaction in game design, and why some mechanics are more interesting than others. Discusses Sekiro, Shadow of the colossus, Far Cry, Bioshock Infinite, Dark Souls, Last of us amongst others by illustrating systems you play through to compare to other titles.

Over in half hour but visually striking and an interesting idea. Would play more if the developer makes more.

Once I figured out the combat, it was quite fun too!
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Indiana747
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Re: Games Completed 2024

Post by Indiana747 »

(Jan) Battlefield 3 - Series X.
(Jan) Hi-Fi Rush - Series X.
(Jan) Daymare 1998 - Series X.
(Jan) The Beast Inside - Series X.
(Feb) XIII - Series X.
(Feb) Close to the Sun - Series X.
(Feb) Atomic Heart - Series X.
(Feb) Return to Grace - Series X.
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Re: Games Completed 2024

Post by Truk_Kurt »

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1. Super Mario Wonder
2. Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League
3. Mario vs Donkey Kong (Switch)
This was a fun little time. It's pretty short at around 5 hours which is really short even for a budget release and I had some frustrations with the platforming mechanics and enemy hit detection which seemed imprecise for a Mario game, but it provided me with some nice little brain teasers which scratched a similar itch to the Captain Toad games. 7/10
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oni-link
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Re: Games Completed 2024

Post by oni-link »

Donkey Kong (1994, Game Boy)

I had always known this was considered one of the best original Game Boy games, but I had always wondered how it could stand shoulder to shoulder with games like Link's Awakening and Pokémon Red/Blue, even as an expanded version of the 1981 arcade game.

I started the game with my expectations quite low, but really the game blew me away with how clever it was, how inventive it's puzzles are, how much fun the game is as a platformer, and by how it keeps adding new mechanics, levels and assets into each new world.

The game never stops surprising as you go through it's 100 levels. Many of them single screen (or just larger than single screen) puzzle challenges. Mario's moveset is almost a proto Mario 64 moveset. You can backflip, hand stand and triple jump, a full 2 years before Mario 64 came out.

Really this game should be called Donkey Kong 2. It's underselling it to call it just 'Donkey Kong', more so in an era where a lot of arcade/console games would get paired down and limited handheld ports.

It really does feel like a pocket epic, bursting with ideas. It's well worth playing 30 years after it first came out.
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Re: Games Completed 2024

Post by Truk_Kurt »

oni-link wrote: February 26th, 2024, 10:13 am Donkey Kong (1994, Game Boy)

I had always known this was considered one of the best original Game Boy games, but I had always wondered how it could stand shoulder to shoulder with games like Link's Awakening and Pokémon Red/Blue, even as an expanded version of the 1981 arcade game.

I started the game with my expectations quite low, but really the game blew me away with how clever it was, how inventive it's puzzles are, how much fun the game is as a platformer, and by how it keeps adding new mechanics, levels and assets into each new world.

The game never stops surprising as you go through it's 100 levels. Many of them single screen (or just larger than single screen) puzzle challenges. Mario's moveset is almost a proto Mario 64 moveset. You can backflip, hand stand and triple jump, a full 2 years before Mario 64 came out.

Really this game should be called Donkey Kong 2. It's underselling it to call it just 'Donkey Kong', more so in an era where a lot of arcade/console games would get paired down and limited handheld ports.

It really does feel like a pocket epic, bursting with ideas. It's well worth playing 30 years after it first came out.
I was listening to a podcast this past week who were talking about the new Mario vs Donkey Kong remake I have just finished and they kept mentioning Donkey Kong 94 as being similar but with more challenge. So is this more of a puzzle game or platformer? Not sure if you played Mario vs Donkey Kong on the GBA nut would you say it's similar.
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