Crab Rave

So, I finished Another Crab’s Treasure, and it has changed my life.

When I wrote about it last week, I thought that I was nearing the end of the game. I was wrong. I was only about 2/3 of the way done, and that last third went hard. Remember how I kept bangin’ on about how Another Crab’s Treasure is such a silly, funny game? Yeah, that kinda goes away once you hit a certain event. In retrospect, there is a serious tone lurking under the surface from the very outset of the game, so it’s not complete tonal whiplash, but there’s definitely a major shift in tone for the last couple areas of the game.

Now, normally I would be slightly perturbed by a funny thing dramatically shifting into a serious thing. But what sets Another Crab’s Treasure apart is that it started to evoke feelings that I know (too) well, and I think it kind of goes without saying that that emotional resonance made it really work for me. Being able to relate to all the complex feelings that Kril has to sort through along his journey was sobering, to some degree. I’ve been to those dark places. Some of them I still see on a semi-regular basis. And while I’m sure that a wealth of fictitious characters have been written with similar arcs, this one hit me particularly hard.

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Feeling Crabby

2024 has been a good year for video games. Probably. I don’t know. To be honest, I’ve kind of stopped paying attention to the scene and have just been playing games that interest me. And one of the things that interests me very much is crabs. You may not know this about me, but crabs are my second-favourite animal, right after turtles. I guess I have a thing about shells?

Anyway, I’ve been playing Another Crab’s Treasure very enthusiastically over the last couple of weeks. It’s an indie action/adventure game from developer Aggro Crab that plays a lot like Dark Souls and looks a lot like Spongebob Squarepants. In text, it might sound like there’s a pretty gnarly disconnect there, but it actually works out very well. To put the horse before the cart, I’ve got a very good feeling that Another Crab’s Treasure will be one of my favourite games of 2024.

It all starts with a short, fake documentary clip about how resilient and resourceful the creatures of the sea are, which then segues into the beginning of the game proper. It’s a great way to make sure that players know they’re about to be hit with very heavy-handed environmentalism themes. Not that I have any issue with that. While Another Crab’s Treasure takes every opportunity to suggest that humans dumping all their trash in the ocean is a bad thing, it’s never patronizing or condescending about it. In fact, it’s usually very good about using humour to help make its point.

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Month End Video Game Wrap-Up: April 2024

~ Game Over ~

Princess Peach: Showtime! (Switch) – Cleared the game, enjoyed it. I can’t see it landing on anyone’s GOTY list, but it was cute and fun, and I certainly don’t regret putting in the time and effort to hit the 100% clear (though the post-game content is another story entirely).

Final Fantasy XVI (PS5) – Booted it up for the last(?) time to play The Rising Tide DLC. It was good! More substantial than Fallen Echoes, but the boss fight wasn’t quite as awesome. I like the new challenge mode too, though I’m not nearly good enough at the game to earn a leaderboard-worthy score.

There’s Something in the Ice (PC) – Indie horror. Vibe is a little like a cross between The Thing and Amnesia: The Bunker, but the gameplay is very much a basic walking simulator. Sound design and atmosphere were really good, but it doesn’t really stand out in its genre otherwise.

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Month End Video Game Wrap-Up: March 2024

~ Game Over ~

Half-Life 2: Episode 2 (PC) – Finished it, thought it was pretty good. Much better than Episode 1, at the very least. Now that I’ve played all of the (non-VR) Half-Life 2 games, I can more clearly see why the wait for Half-Life 3 has been such a big deal for so many people.

~ Progress Notes ~

Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth (PS5) – Chapter 9

Continue reading Month End Video Game Wrap-Up: March 2024

Even Crazier

I’ve been slowly plugging away at Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth lately, and -no surprise to anyone- the soundtrack is hecking incredible. But that’s not why I’m here today!

Nope, I’m just here to post a mashup of music from the original Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VII: Remake. This compilation is awesome and I’ve been listening to it pretty much daily over the last few weeks. The energy just gets me so fired up! It’s a great to put on repeat for a while to help push through a long work day.

Steelrising

You know what’s a great feeling? Picking up a random video game that you’ve never heard of and proceeding to have an absolute blast with it. That is the one-sentence story of my experience with Steelrising, a 2022 action RPG that takes a lot of cues from From Software’s Dark Souls family of games. But there’s so much more that needs to be said about this game!

Right from the get-go, Steelrising establishes a very unique tone, being set in Paris during the French Revolution. Yeah, not a lot of video games have used that particular period of history as a backdrop. But it’s not all aristocrats and baguettes. Steelrising adds a little zazz (and video gamey-ness) to this setting by adding robots. So many robots. The clockwork contraptions make up all the enemies in the game, as well as your main character, Aegis.

Aegis is a lady-like robot that has the unusual ability to think and act of her own volition, unlike the mindless automats that have overrun Paris under the command of King Louis XVI. You’re given a handful of options to customize Aegis’s look (7 each of “skin” colours, hairstyles, and faces) and then get to pick from four starting classes. Which class you pick isn’t really important, it just defines your starting weapon and stat distribution. I picked the “bodyguard” class, which is built for defense and begins the game with a slow-ass hammer weapon.

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Month End Video Game Wrap-Up: February 2024

~ Game Over ~

Peglin (PC) – ‘Nother run for the new patch.

Power Wash Simulator (PC) – Completed all the Midgar content.

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales (PS5) – Good follow-up. It’s not quite sequel-sized, but also is quite a lot more substantial than the average DLC expansion. While combat can get annoying and sometimes feels cheap, picking off guys one at a time in stealth mode is so very satisfying.

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I’m Still Here

Hey, so… blogging. It’s a thing I used to do. I know that nobody cares that I haven’t really been writing anything lately, but I have excuses, and they must be made!

First off, January and the first half of February were nuts at work. Things have calmed down now, but for the first 45 days or so of 2024, I was run pretty ragged. Most days left me mentally exhausted, and that really killed my drive to do much in my spare time besides watch other people play video games on YouTube.

Oh, and as an accidental segue, AGDQ happened a few weeks back. I didn’t catch a ton of it, but the Donkey Kong Country and Donkey Kong 64 runs were amazing. And we can’t forget the Super Mario 64 drum% run. That was mind-boggling.

Then there’s my own YouTube presence, which I’ve been grinding away at, spending huge chunks of my weekends recording and editing videos that nobody will ever watch. To what end? I don’t know, and I’ve been seriously pondering why I even continue to do it. Well, the let’s plays, at least. People seem to appreciate my fast food reviews for whatever reason.

Lastly, I have been hopelessly addicted to Steelrising for the last week. This is a video game you’ve likely never heard of -I know I hadn’t- which is free on PS+ as of this post. I added it to my library, not expecting to ever actually play it, but then I did. And then I couldn’t stop. Even when I’m not playing, I’m thinking about it. Pleasant thoughts, too, which is odd because it’s a soulslike and usually those go hand-in-hand with feelings more along the lines of… intense frustration. I would like to write a full thing about this game at some point, but given my total lack of writing lately, the outlook is not terribly optimistic.

Yeah, so that’s my short list of excuses. They’re not good, but that’s why I’m categorizing them as excuses, specifically. Please note that I have completed writing my 2023 Game of the Year feature, and it’s been done since mid-December. I just haven’t had the drive to put together fancy header images. That’s literally all that’s holding me back from publishing it. Kinda sad. Maybe I’ll get around to it by the time spring rolls around.

Month End Video Game Wrap-Up: January 2024

~ Game Over ~

Mega Man X (SNES) – The traditional first game of the year.

Coffin Mall (PC) – Bite-sized indie horror about being chased around an empty mall by a demon car. A bit frustrating, but the climax was worth it.

Pokémon Scarlet (Switch) – Cleared the Mochi Mayhem epilogue and then… kept playing. There’s a lot of stuff to do in the DLC!

Continue reading Month End Video Game Wrap-Up: January 2024