DiVE on in

Last week, Capcom released a video game called Mega Man X DiVE Offline on Steam. It’s a bit of a weird title, because… Offline?

The story behind that little oddity is simple: it used to be a mobile game, now it’s been released as a standalone PC game. All the monetization elements have been stripped out, and all of the game’s content is free to unlock for every player, no matter how often or when they play. Oh, and it’s $40 now instead of free-to-play.

I’m a huge fan of this model. I would say that I’d like to see more free-to-play games sold as complete packages like this, but in reality, a lot of the jank associated with mobile games still exists, so it’s still not really an ideal experience. You won’t ever have to pay for gacha pulls to get that character you want, but you will still have to grind for it.

Anyway, I could write more, but I already recorded and posted a whole video of the first 45 minutes of gameplay, so you can sort of see how it all works below. If I recall correctly, I was initially kind of on the fence about this one, but spoiler: it ends up being pretty fun once you get past the boring first couple of worlds.

2021 Reflections: Part 4: The Runners-up.

“But Ryan!” you shout, incredulously “Where was Part 3??”

I’ll tell you where Part 3 is. It’s here. I just didn’t add it to the post title, because I didn’t want to. There you go. There’s no lost chapter or anything. Just me being silly and inconsistent.

Anyway, just for kicks, here is the list of video games that I had considered for my 2021 Top 10 list, but didn’t quite make the cut. I think that these are all great games, but they just didn’t affect me the same way that the winners did. I would absolutely recommend any game from this list.

  • Downfall (PC)
  • Ys Origin (Switch)
  • Ys I: Ancient Ys Vanished ~ Omen (PC)
  • Ys II: Ancient Ys Vanished ~ The Final Chapter (PC)
  • Power Wash Simulator (PC)
  • Deltarune: Chapter II (PC)
  • Alisa (PC)
  • Kathy Rain: The Director’s Cut (PC)
Continue reading 2021 Reflections: Part 4: The Runners-up.

x0.87 casting time

It’s been a while since I wrote a post that necessitated use of the “mobile games” tag. So… here goes?

I was idly watching YouTube last week, as I do, and felt like something was off. Like something needed to keep my hands occupied while my mind was “occupied”. Mobile games are shallow and simple enough to fill that need, but I only have Pokémon Go and SINoALICE on my phone, and neither felt right for that particular moment.

To sum up the next 20 minutes: I spent some time Googling what the best iOS clicker games were, and then poking around on the App Store for the results, to try to see if their descriptions and presentations matched the hype. Did you know that they don’t make apps without the “in-app purchases” tag anymore?

Continue reading x0.87 casting time

TE’s Top Games of 2020

2020, as I’m sure you’ve heard many times, was a heck of a strange year. And to cap it off, I’ve got a heck of a strange Top 10 Video Games list for you.

Longtime readers might know that I don’t always play by the same rules for this annual listicle. The rule for candidacy this time around is simple: It must be a game that I played for the first time in 2020. That is it. That is the one and only criteria that I’m using to decide which titles are eligible. I’ve also decided to do away with the “must have beaten it” rule, because it seems unnecessary.

My selection process was this: I made a big spreadsheet of every game I played in 2020 (total of 118), removed any that didn’t meet my specification (47), and then narrowed it down to 28 frontrunners. From there, I simply looked at the list and picked the ones that I had the most positive emotional reactions to while reading their titles. By some wonderful coincidence, that left me with a clean list of 10 games. Neat!

And here are my selections, presented in the order that I played them:

Continue reading TE’s Top Games of 2020

Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: December 2020

~ Game Over ~

Paratopic (Switch) – I honestly have no idea what happened here. It’s roughly an hour of what I imagine a really low-key drug trip must be like. That said… I liked it. I played it a second time to see if there were different story paths, and you can diverge a bit to find some neat stuff, but it’s a really slow game, which made the replay very tedious.

Spec Ops: The Line (PC) – Pew-pew shootmans game wherein I recorded my playthrough. You can watch it here. (tldw: Game is v good, my recording framerate was v bad.)

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity (Switch) – I think that this is an overall better game than the original Hyrule Warriors, though it just didn’t quite click with me in the same way. I liked it, I really did, but mostly it just made me want to play Breath of the Wild again.

A Knight’s Quest (Switch) – An adventure that was clearly inspired by Zelda, but also had a little Mario thrown in for flavour. Buggy as all heck, but still playable and mostly fun. Combat made a hard transition from mindless button mashing to intensely frustrating near the end, and between that and one atrocious boss fight, I just about gave up on the game. The soundtrack is way better than it has any right to be.

The Final Fantasy Legend (GB) – Retro RPG where nothing works the way you expect it to. It’s that way by design, though, because this is a spiritual successor to FF2 and the first game in the SaGa series, known mostly for its obtuse mechanics and punishing difficulty. Still fun, once you figure out how all the systems work. Little bit too grindy, though.

~ Progress Notes ~

DOOM Eternal (PS4) – On stage 6.

Fitness Boxing 2 (Switch) – Achievement collection at 26%.

Witch Hunt (PC) – Defeated the second “boss”.

Picross S4 (Switch) – Mostly done with the regular puzzles.

Robo Recall: Unplugged (Oculus) – Half-done Chapter 2.

SINoALICE (iOS) – Mostly grinding the Xmas event.

Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: November 2020

~ Game Over ~

The Void (PC) – Artsy horror-ish game that I may have liked if not for three factors: 1. Gesture-based commands that don’t work very well. 2. Overcomplicated gameplay systems that make no sense. 3. Your character moves slower than molasses – at running speed. Into the bin with ye!

Stories Untold (Switch) – A text-based adventure game anthology that takes place over four separate mini-episodes. Each one introduces some new gameplay element and a new scenario. While the gameplay can be a little tedious, the stories are great and go off in wildly unexpected directions. I bought this on sale for $7 and I kind of want to give the developer the difference because it was fantastic. Likely to be on my 2020 GOTY list.

Continue reading Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: November 2020

Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: October 2020

You know how it is. This month, it’s all about judging games on how SPOOKY they are. Let us see!

~ Game Over ~

Shadows Peak (PC) – A game about exploring an island to find your girlfriend, all the while being pursued by ghosts and a teddy bear possessed by the spirit of a fire demon. I also streamed it so you can watch that if you want to know more about the BIG TWIST(S). The scariest thing about it is that I can’t trace back where I even got this game… Spook Factor: 8.5

Vernon’s Legacy (PC) – Spooky house adventure-’em-up. Doesn’t have a lot going on, other than an endless supply of text logs to read through. I quit after an hour because I was stuck and bored. Spook Factor: 3

Sophie’s Curse (PC) – Another haunted house game, but this time there are lots of things happening. Mostly a spooky ghost girl out to murder you. The goal is to run around and keep the crank-powered lights active throughout the night to keep her away. It’s a lot of fun, nice and short, and very scary. I’ll be seeing Sophie’s face in my nightmares for weeks. Spook Factor: 10

Continue reading Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: October 2020

Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: September 2020

~ Game Over ~

God of War (PS4) – I’m quite surprised at how much I liked it, and especially how effective the ending was. It was completely the opposite of every video game ending ever, and I thought it was great. Totally caught me by surprise. If you missed it, I already wrote a bunch about this one.

FNAF AR: Special Delivery (iOS) – I wasn’t expecting much, but got even less than that, because the game kept crashing after being open for a minute. So I barely even know what it’s about. It may because my phone is sorely outdated, but I prefer to think that the app is just that poorly-made. Deleted after about 10 minutes of struggling against it.

Continue reading Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: September 2020

Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: August 2020

~ Game Over ~

Ellen (Switch) – Pixel-art, side-scrolly, spook-’em-up adventure. Head and shoulders above nearly any other similar game I’ve played. It’s right up there with The Cat Lady on my list of best horror-themed adventure games. Only a few hours long, but told an interesting (if somewhat clichéd and poorly translated) story and did an excellent job of maintaining its creepiness all the way to the end.

The Talos Principle (PS4) – Wrote lots of words. Actually beat it twice to claim all the trophies, and then played the DLC expansion.

Erica (PS4) – I wonder if I should actually put this here, as it’s less a game than a choose-your-own-adventure movie. Played through twice to see a couple different endings, but two was enough. There isn’t nearly enough variance in the story to bother with more replays. At least not right away. Notably, there’s an companion app that you can download to use as a controller, which is good since the game is otherwise controlled entirely by the DualShock 4’s touch pad, and the DualShock 4’s touch pad sucks ass.

Continue reading Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: August 2020

Gotta Brush ’em All!

A couple months ago, The Pokémon Company released the weirdest little app called Pokémon Smile – a “game” that encourages children to brush their teeth by bringing Pokémon into the equation. Obviously I’ve been using it myself, despite not being a child (at least, physiologically).

Pokémon Smile is a strange thing – it watches you as you brush your teeth, and then rewards you based on how effectively it thinks you brushed. And I would like to put an emphasis on the “thinks” part, because it’s not great at determining how well you’re brushing your teeth. Quite often I’m brushing at full force, and it still relays the message “you’re doing good – but brush a bit faster!” It will also randomly lose sight of me, although my head and face have not moved from center-screen. I think it has problems understanding that one’s grip on their toothbrush will change depending on what area of the mouth they’re currently focusing on.

Continue reading Gotta Brush ’em All!