Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: April 2014

In March I tried to focus on fewer games, getting my count of beaten games up, and cleaving away a small portion of my backlog. But then April came along and I have just been all over the place with my gaming; playing on every platform, new games, old games, half-beaten games. I guess it’s like that rubber-band effect that happens to people who try to lose weight the wrong way.

This month’s list is huge, but at least I beat a lot of the games on it. Lately it seems like I’ve been favoring a system of working on one or two long games, while supplementing that with a bunch of smaller games that can be beaten over a couple evenings or a single afternoon. It’s a good system, and I wish I’d thought of it years ago. Maybe then my backlog wouldn’t be so enormous.

~ Now Playing ~

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow: Mirror of Fate HD (360) – Unlike many, I quite liked the first Lords of Shadow game, but the 3DS sequel seemed so tepid that I skipped it. Luckily, Mercurysteam saw fit to release an HD version for $15 only a few months later, which then went on sale, and that sounded good enough to me. And, yeah, it’s pretty much as mediocre as the reviews make it out to be. Oh well.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown (360) – Jesus, I love this game. I cower at the thought of what would happen to me if I actually bought it, rather than just playing it at a friend’s house. Probably I’d die of malnutrition and/or sleep deprivation if I didn’t have a wife to make me eat and force me to go to work.

Fieldrunners (PC) – Tower defense games are fun for one level, and then they get too complex for me. Tower defense games on PC are more fun because I can just cheat when I can’t figure out the ideal setup and get frustrated. Especially with games like Fieldrunners that don’t add anything significant to the genre. It’s like, why not just play Crystal Defenders instead? At least that one’s got moogles in it.

Psychonauts (PC) – Played my way through the tutorial world. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it yet, but I love that Raz is voiced by Richard Steven Horvitz. I couldn’t place the voice at first, but then I was like HOLY SPIT HE’S INVADER ZIM! Also Alpha 5 from Power Rangers, apparently.

Um Jammer Lammy (PS1) – I listened to the soundtrack on YouTube one day, and knew that this was a game that I was destined to play. Unfortunately, being a rhythm game, it doesn’t cooperate with my HDTV and it’s got no calibration options, leaving it nearly impossible to play. Oops!

Doom (360) – I bought Doom on my Xbox years and years ago, but only ever played through the first episode, because we only ever had the shareware version (which is only Episode 1) when I was little and my nostalgia quotient was filled. Recently I decided that I wanted to play through the entire game, and I’ve been having a rollicking good time with it. I don’t know if it says more about me or the game that I find Doom considerably more enjoyable than any modern FPS.

Golden Sun (GBA) – This was a bit of an impulse buy. Actually, very much an impulse buy, because I’m not crazy about the game. I still haven’t spent much time with it though, so we’ll see if that turns around by the time I get to the end.

Super Smash Bros Brawl (Wii) – Wife and I are taking a second stab at The Subspace Emissary, after having started it and forgotten about it a few years ago. Mostly it’s because I’m excited about the new Smash Bros, but also it makes me incredibly happy when Wifey will take time out of her busy day to play video games with me.

Final Fantasy IV DS (DS) – In my efforts to beat all the final Fantasies I just had to own, I picked up this one, which I had started playing ages ago then forgot about for something less brutal. I’m in the Giant of Babil, which I remember being tough in the SNES original (it’s where I stopped playing), but it’s absolutely relentless in this version. It’s rare that I finish a battle with more than one party member standing. I’m not looking forward to whatever comes after.

Pokémon Blue Version (GB) – This one is being done for YouTube purposes. I forgot how much I like the original Pokémon games, since I haven’t touched one in over a decade. I also forgot that the game is a breeze if you only train one Pokémon.

~ Game Over ~

Yoshi’s New Island (3DS) – I’m still not a fan of the soundtrack, but man, the new island was just as enjoyable as the old one. It’s a wonderful game, and it’s just a shame that I really can’t be bothered to collect all the doohickeys to unlock all the super-secret levels. Just another way it’s the same as the original, I guess.

Star Wars: Rogue Squadron (N64) – Up until this point, if you’d asked me what my favourite Star Wars video game was, I would have said this one without giving it a thought. That’s how much I loved Rogue Squadron. Amazingly, that sentiment still holds true! I’m actually a little in awe of how well Rogue Squadron holds up. Everything about it is just so right.

Weapon Shop de Omasse (3DS) – A shop management simulator with a little rhythm game mixed in? Wonderful! Honestly, I think I’m having a lot more fun with this than I should be, but I have a history of getting really into management sims for a little while and then suddenly dropping them completely. This one lasts a little longer than it needs to, but I made it to the end, and even unlocked the special extra mode. An extra mode which I have absolutely no desire to play.

The Path (PC) – I’m still not sure what this game is about, but years later I’ve finally worked my way to the end. It’s especially sad when you consider that it can be finished in a couple hours if you have at least the vaguest idea of what you’re doing. It’s… neat, though. I’m not sure how in the world I’m even supposed to describe it. Oh! Spooky! It’s spooky! That’s a word that describes it.

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages (GBC) – It’s been a long time coming, but I finally forced myself to power through to the end of this one. Honestly, it’s probably my least favourite of all the Zelda games that I’ve played. It’s just such a pain in the butt to get anywhere, and the final boss is ridiculously hard. I’m not sure if I really want to start up Oracle of Seasons at all or just write that one off. Form what I’ve heard, it’s more my kind of game, but…

Advanced Bitcoin Simulator (PC) – Okay, it’s a browser game, but whatever. It’s brief, and pretty funny. If you’ve got 20 minutes to kill, you can play it here.

Bravely Default Demo (3DS) – Not a demo in the usual sense, this one gives you a unique little scenario to play around and do some quests and explore some mini-dungeons in, and then hands out a bunch of bonus things that you can carry over when you start the real game. It’s been sitting on my 3DS for months now, and I’ve finally gotten around to trying it out. Honestly, I’m not smitten, but I’ll give it some more time to digest before I totally write off the full game. It’s good, but I’m not sure if it’s what I really want to be playing.

~ Reruns ~

Beautiful Katamari (360) – After watching the Game Grumps’ Karamari Damacy series, I had an insatiable urge to do some Katamariing of my own. Though neither of the PS2 games happened to be available to me at the time (crazy considering I still own both), this was the next best thing. It’s not quite as great as the first two, but at least I didn’t have to play the terrible PSP game.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game (NES) – I played a few levels of this one to get a screenshot for a cute Facebook post. Then I decided to go ahead and finish the game because why not? Also I gave myself infinite lives because how even is anyone supposed to beat this game legitimately? It’s so hard!

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga (GBA) – You may think I’m crazy to have spent $8 to buy the Wii U Virtual Console version of this, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t enjoy every minute of the replay. It’s really fun, and doesn’t drag on nearly as long as any of the sequels. Also, it’s one game closer to my wish of being able to play everything on the Gamepad. (And I’m completely serious about that wish.)

Pokémon Snap (N64) – I am ashamed to admit that I dismissed this game back in the day because my friends thought it was lame, because it’s really quite wonderful. I’ve secretly loved it the whole time, and thankfully these days people seem to remember it just as fondly as I do. It’s a little too short, though, and I would kill for a proper sequel. They don’t need to add any new features, just more courses with more Pokémon. I <3 Pokémon.

Kirby: Squeak Squad (GBA) – Apparently I’m also making 2014 the Year of Game Boy Advance. But seriously, I wanted to give this Kirby game another go-around because I burned through it the first time and didn’t recall a single damn thing about it. Turns out that after a replay, it’s still not very memorable. It’s Kirby, so it’s still a decent platformer, but there just really isn’t anything special about it.

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