Bi-Weekly Update: 5/8/2016

I need to write more, and after seeing Nick Creamer’s weekly update posts, I figured I could give this a shot and do a bi-weekly update series. Get everyone up to date on stuff I’m watching, playing, or reading, some general thoughts, and updates on projects on the like. So, hope you enjoy this.

Games

Been really busy with videogames lately, especially after making some buys in a Devolver Digital sale. Bless Steam. I’ve been sampling a few of those titles, but also been playing others more seriously.

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I plan on writing a Gunpoint review soon, but the long and short is that it’s a damn enjoyable puzzle game, and one that ends too soon. I loved jumping around and climbing walls while infiltrating different buildings. I also really, really loved the end game Doorkicking ability. I replayed every single level just so I could kick doors into people’s faces. That was fun.

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Rot Gut was a neat little game. Takes thirty minutes to play and costs almost nothing, but the polish and atmosphere is top notch. The blood splatters when you get damaged are a tad lame, but everything else is aces, and the mix of gunplay and platforming is great fun. I really hope the main designer revisits this idea and expands on it.

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DLC Quest ended up being an okay comedy game. The original version kills its joke really fast, but it does serve has set-up for the much better paced expansion that comes with the game. The ending alone was worth the price of admission, but much more could be done with this idea. A bit too unaware of its own faults, which is true of most anything …except this game actually makes a joke about just referencing things when that’s something it does a good deal.

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I finally got all the Pretty Girls Battle games and they are not good. I genuinely like the Solitaire Mahjong one, but the Mahjong Battle games have instructions translated via Google Translate and no real explanation on how to actually play Mahjong. The Poker one, Texas Hold’em, fairs way better, but it lacks anything to work towards and can be easily abused by simply just going all in on every first hand and restarting until that works. If you play it straight, it can be gripping, but it also takes an eternity.

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Mitsurugi Kamui Hikae looks to be way more promising. It’s a solid budget 3D action game, has a cheesy premise and bizarrely good production values. The character models are surprisingly well done. Combat is simple and fun, and being repetitive is hardly a weakness for this particular genre.

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Taimumari is pretty cute, but it feels like a budget version of Rabi-Ribi, which I bought a few weeks back. It’s not quite modern enough, and not really that retro either. It’s in a weird middle area. Hard to say what it will end up being as I really dig into it.

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During the Devolver sale, I decided to go ahead and pick up Enter the Gungeon for an HG101 article, since it’s a hot topic indie release and a mixture of fantasy and shooting mechanics. It’s not grabbing me, but I’ve only tried one character so far. I can say the game has one of the best soundtracks I’ve heard in a good while. Pretty experimental stuff. Damn if it doesn’t look amazing either.

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The non-Devolver release of Punch Club is equally beautiful and well composed, going for a retro sendback style. The retro filter was such a great idea. It’s already loaded with 80s references, and it’s damn hard too. I need to figure out better ways to maintain my energy and hunger.

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Downwell definitely feels like something I’d see on an app store (it probably already is on one), but I don’t mean that as an insult. It’s a simple but addictive game with a cool mechanic of falling and shooting at obstacles with your feet, and I can see this becoming a game I lose myself in as time goes on.

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Simplicity is a running theme in the Devolver games I picked up. Broforce is as simple in concept and mechanics as it can get, but instantly endeared itself to me through its enthusiastic parody and character changing mechanic. Whenever you die, a new action hero respawns, with radically different attacks to use. So far, my favorites are Mr. T for his flamethrower, Judge Dredd for his controllable missile, and McGuyver and his chicken bomb. Also, whenever you beat a level, it is declared “liberated.” This game.

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But the Devolver game that really stood out most to me so far has been Not A Hero. It’s a cover shooter done in 2D, by developers who have mainly worked on skateboarding games in the past. As a result, it has refreshingly different, energetic gameplay, with a focus on balancing safe play with risky and flashy moves for rewards, with objectives set-up to encourage you to replay old levels to completely them fully and learn as you replay. Also, Bunnylord is such a hilarious character, especially how he’s so deadpan in all his lines. He’s basically a terrible manager that never breaks face, no matter what horrific thing he’s doing at the time.

Anime

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I can already tell that Simoun is going to be a really weird show. Since it will be pulled off Hulu in a few months, I decided to watch through because I heard it was really gay, and it is. A lesbian airship drama with pagan myth undertones wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but that’s what I got. Episode one lacks something personal to attach oneself to, but it’s certainly interesting in concept with all the little pieces of lore they throw around. It’s a show that respect the audience, and that’s always nice.

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I’m following Spring shows on my own time now, so I’m mainly catching up with the stuff I still find interesting. Big Order is one of those shows (though also the one I’m reviewing for IRD), and it’s not because it’s a good show. It’s awful, but in a great way. It’s like if Code Geass and JoJo had a baby, and it was dropped on its head. Nothing about this show works, not even the powers. They’re really poorly defined, especially the main character’s “physical domination” stuff making no real sense. It’s all such a trainwreck that it becomes endlessly entertaining. The only thing I think genuinely works is Rin, who I expected to be Yuno 2.0, yet turned into her own character through her sheer stupidity. Yuno was brilliant in a terrifying way, but her lookalike here is so stupid that the villains have no idea what to do with her half of the time. She’s so stupid that she can be fooled with a lie about stopping a nuke, but choose not to stop the nuke she thinks can be stopped because she doesn’t want to help someone else kill the main character because that’s her job, goddamn it! This show.

I’LL CATCH UP ON EVERYTHING ELSE LATER, OKAY

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