Unfinished robobusiness

I just finished up a replay of Kirby: Planet Robobot for 3DS, and I’m thinking that it’s a strong contender for second-best Kirby game of all time. First place will always be Kirby Super Star, of course. Robobot is just so much fun, has so much fan service, and of course, allows you to ride around in giant mech suits that can absorb enemies’ powers just like Kirby does. It’s a heck of a game!

It also got me thinking about how after the first time I finished it, I decided to write an article ranking all of the different mech suit variations. I wanted to read it over and then contrast it with my thoughts from this current playthough, to see if and how my opinions had changed over the years.

Imagine my surprise when I learned that I never actually finished writing that article!

Alas, it was sitting there, the text maybe a quarter finished. There are no images uploaded. Presumably, the looming threat of having to find screenshots is what dissuaded me from continuing to write. It wouldn’t be the first time, and it won’t be the last.

Or it could be that I just lost my muse partway through. That happens too. It may very well be that I felt like I was embarking on a journey to write sixteen or so vaguely similar paragraphs, and decided that there was no point in continuing on that path. Who knows!?

The point is, I didn’t finish writing my Kirby: Planet Robobot mech suit ranking list back then, and I sure as heck am not going to do it now. I’m just a little bit sad that I wasn’t able to relive that little bit of nostalgia.

Besides, it’s obvious that the Jet and Mike mechs are far and away the best of the bunch. Like, it’s not even a contest.

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?

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Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: October 2021

It’s A Very Castlevania Halloween!

~ Game Over ~

Tales of Arise (PS5) – Cleared all postgame activities and nabbed that plat.

Castlevania (NES) – I used to be okay at this game? But it’s even harder than I remember. Save states were basically compulsory for the last two stages.

Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (GBA) – The one GBA-vania I’ve never played more than about half an hour of. The first half was far too easy, and the second half was a brutal grind-fest. Maybe I was better off without??

Castlevania: The Adventure (GB) – Speaking of brutal! This game moves at about 10 frames per second at the best of times, never mind when there’s an enemy on the screen. Also suffers from a lot of cheap level design and way way way too many pixel-perfect jumps.

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Spooktober Movie-Watch Round-Up 2021 – Week 3

~ Venom ~
~ Venom: Let There Be Carnage ~

I think that in this age where everything streams digitally, we all have “to-watch” lists a kilometer long. I am certainly no exception. My Netflix queue is always growing, contracting only when something I’ve been putting off watching is removed from the service. However, this past weekend, I was finally able to remove Venom from said queue.

Venom is… well, it’s a Marvel movie. It seemed to fly under the radar when it was released because it’s an anti-hero movie, and also it didn’t tie into the MCU in any way. Venom’s story has always been very closely tied in with Spider-Man, but in his starring role, he’s got absolutely no connection to everyone’s favourite web-slinger.

Despite all that, though, it absolutely has the same feel as any other Marvel origin movie. It follows all the same plot beats, our hero is defined by his snarkiness, and it’s a massive cornucopia of special effects. So you pretty much know exactly what you’re in for, and whether or not you’re gong to like it before you’ve seen even a second of the actual footage.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage also feels like a pretty cookie-cutter sequel. The headbutting duo (reporter Eddie Brock and space-parasite Venom) that learned to work together to save the world in the first film find it too difficult to continue their partnership, and end up going their separate ways. That is, of course, until another evil shows up that threatens them both, which forces them to put aside their differences and discover that they truly make a great team.

Honestly, I don’t quite know what else to say about these movies. I think they’re considered to be C-tier Marvel movies, but I would say that I enjoyed them just as much as any Iron Man. Maybe even more! I couldn’t even tell you what Iron Man 2 was about. And when I say that, I mean immediately after having walked out of the movie theatre. So yes, I would recommend the Venom movies. They are perfectly adequate!

~ Halloween Kills ~

You know what’s the absolute worst thing? An unnecessary sequel. And, I get it, lots of sequels are unnecessary. Probably 95% of them are made it hopes of cashing in on a film or game or book or whatever that made a lot of money. But at the very least, most of those at least put some effort into being entertaining. What I’m talking about are the unnecessary sequels that don’t even try to validate their existence.

Halloween Kills is exactly one of those movies.

Now, I know what you’re going to say. “But Ryan, every slasher sequel is a soulless cash grab!” But that’s not true! Many of them up the stakes! Or throw in some fun/”fun” new lore. Usually they try to come up with creative new ways to slaughter people. At the absolute minimum, they amp up the amount of naked boobies. But Halloween Kills doesn’t really do any of that.

I think what mostly makes me mad about this one is that 2018’s Halloween reboot/sequel thing was just about the perfect way to close the book on the franchise. It completely ignored every movie except for the original (which is still great), and focused on Laurie Strode’s crippling PTSD from what happened that horrific night. I mean, there was a lot of nonsense in that one too, but the finale alone was worth it.

Halloween Kills ruins it all by basically undoing the end of the previous movie by taking place immediately afterward, and of course, putting good ol’ Michael Myers back into the fray. And it makes the entire town of Haddonfield completely obsessed with the whackjob that killed four teenagers 40 years ago. It’s kind of an interesting take on mob mentality and the dangers of misinformation, but it still doesn’t make any damn sense. Laurie has a very good reason to be terrified and mentally scarred by what she went through. The rest of the town… probably would have mostly forgotten about it by now. Unless Haddonfield is one of those itty-bitty hick towns where everyone is related, but it doesn’t seem that way.

I don’t know. I didn’t hate it while I was watching it, and it didn’t necessarily bore me, but it also didn’t do anything really special or entertaining. It wasn’t entertainingly corny or funny in the least. There were no creative kills. There are at least two subplots that exist entirely to pad out the run time. The ending sets up yet another sequel. And the more I think about it, the more I dislike it. Obviously, can’t recommend this one. In fact, I might even suggest that you should deliberately avoid it.

A crunchier cup

I don’t eat a lot of candy any more. Because I’m an adult, you see. And when adults eat candy, they get fat. I don’t really want to be fat, or at least, I don’t want to be any fatter than I currently am. Ergo, the moratorium on candy.

That said, I was at 7-11 the other day to pick up chips, pop and a bar, and while I was there I saw something new! You know how seldom I see new candy? Almost never! Living in Canada sucks that way!

Reese’s Big Cups have been around for ages. Big Cups with Reese’s Pieces in them have been around for almost as long. But Big Cups with chips inside of them!? This I have never seen before! I was planning to buy a pack of Big Cups to satisfy the ‘bar’ portion of my checklist, but wouldn’t have imagined in my wildest dreams that they would also end up being the chips!

At first sight, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of these. Chips? Inside a Reese’s peanut butter cup? Madness! But actually… I works out really well. They’re honestly not that different from the Big Cups with Reese’s Pieces. It’s a Big Cup with a little bit of a crunchy texture inside. The chips are plain, and their saltiness is masked by the existing salt in the peanut butter.

I almost regret taking a picture of the mauled candy, as its innards look a little bit more sickly than a standard Big Cup. Then again, maybe it’s normal? When it comes to peanut butter cups of any description, they’re usually a one-bite affair for me. So I don’t really know. I just picture the insides of a peanut butter cup to be a little more vibrant and orangey. I could be absolutely wrong about that, though! What I do know, is that I absolutely cannot identify any chips within that mass.

The takeaway here is that I liked the Reese’s Big Cups With Potato Chips. It’s an unlikely ménage a trois, but it works. Will I buy them again? Probably not. I already went over how I rarely eat candy any more. This will be my one pack of Big Cups for 2021. But I would recommend that you go out and try them! Don’t make a special trip or anything, but if you’re, say, gassing up your vehicle and your sweet tooth starts to itch… these exist.

Spooktober Movie-Watch Round-Up 2021 – Week 2

~ Run ~

As I browse through Netflix’s library of horror films, I come across the image of a wheelchair-bound girl in what appears to be a well-lit, but slightly distorted grocery store. I wonder if this can’t be a mistake and maybe the film was tagged with the wrong genre. Alas! Run is definitely a horrifying film, and one that I found surprisingly enjoyable.

Run is the story of a young woman, Chloe, who lives out in the bush with her mother. Chloe has a long list of physical ailments. All of them, probably. And the story really kicks off when she discovers that the labels on her pill bottles are fake, and those bottles were originally prescriptions for her mother. From that point, she begins to wonder about what kind of medications she’s being given, and really her whole life situation.

The paragraph above covers roughly the first ten minutes of the film, and I honestly don’t want to write another word about what happens afterward. I’ll go ahead and say it now: Run is an excellent movie and I 100% think that you should make some time to watch it as soon as possible. Maybe even right after you’re done reading this post!

Run‘s strengths are twofold. Firstly, the two lead actresses are amazing. They do an incredible job of selling their characters, and Kiera Allen in particular was fantastic throughout. Secondly: the pacing is perfect. Normally, more grounded movies like this kind of bore me and I end up half-watching while noodling on my phone, but once the short setup was out of the way, the ball started rolling and never lost steam. The tension in the basement scene before the climax was thick enough to clobber someone with, and from that point on, I don’t think I blinked once until the credits started to roll.

I don’t know if it’ll be the one that I enjoy the most, but I have a strong feeling that Run will be the actual best film that I watch this Halloween season. Again, I highly recommend this one.

~ The Girl With All The Gifts ~

Content warning: This is a zombie movie, and I know that those are more uncool that ever these days. So if you’ve got a bias against the walking dead, then maybe just skip this mini-review.

When I read Netflix’s one-liner description of The Girl With All The Gifts, I figured, okay, it’s probably a pretty stock-standard zombie flick. But I haven’t watched one of those in years, so might as well! And because this has become part of my movie vetting process, I also looked up the Rotten Tomatoes score, which was a surprisingly high 88%! So off I went.

First thing to note: This movie has very similar high-level plot points to the video game The Last of Us. Firstly: the zombies in this film are created via fungal infection, not some random flesh-rotting disease. I actually like the ‘shroom zombies a lot better, because it kinda-sorta has a basis in reality, if you squint really hard and plug your ears and go LALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU SCIENCE. Secondly: the movie is about protecting a young lady whose brain can be harvested to create a vaccine for the infection. Well, sort of.

Now, of course nothing ever works out in this kind of movie, and The Girl With All The Gifts is no different. No more than 20 minutes in, everything goes to hell as zombies swarm the super-secure military base where the vaccine-brain girl (Melanie) and a host of other children being held. Melanie, a few soldiers, and the doctor that wants to harvest Melanie’s brain escape and head out towards another super-secure military base. Spoiler, it continues to not go well.

It’s clear from the beginning that something is not quite normal about Melanie and her schoolyard chums. Halfway through the movie, we learn that she was born a mushroom-zombie, as she was still gestating when her mother was infected. “Second-generation” zomboes like her are somehow able to retain their intelligence, but still succumb quite easily to the desire to devour living flesh. Eventually this all culminates with Melanie having to choose between helping to protect humanity, or to side with the children of the ‘shrooms and become the next dominant species on Earth.

While I can’t say I was 100% invested in this one, I did quite like it. It messes around with a bunch of the hoary, old zombie tropes enough to feel unique, but then also plays every other zombie trope completely straight. But I did think that the twist on the usual character relationships (bolstered by the excellent cast) really did elevate it over the typical zombie fare. I can’t think of any other movie that had humans working together with a zombie who has access to her full mental faculties. There have to have been some! But I don’t believe that I’ve seen any.

The point I’m getting around to, though, is that yes, I would recommend The Girl With All The Gifts. Unless you’re one of those people who immediately writes off anything with zombies. This movie does an okay job of trying to be different, but I don’t think it’s anywhere near different enough to change hearts and minds that are clouded by discrimination.

Note: While looking up the poster, I learned that this film is based on a book, which probably explains why it’s been received better than most of its peers. Now where’s my Monster Island movie, dammit!?

Spooktober Movie-Watch Round-Up 2021 – Week 1

2021 has been speeding by at an unprecedented rate. It seems like last week it was May and then suddenly it’s the BEST DARN SEASON OF THE YEAR, and I’m not going to let it just shimmy on by! And so, I have begun breaking out the spooky-type movies in FULL FORCE to get m’self in the mood. I mean, it’s not like there’s anyone else around here with which to get any other kind of moods going…

Anyway! Horror movies! 2021! Let’s go!

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Tales of Endings

I finished Tales of Arise the other day. Like, really, really finished. It’s not technically 100%ed, but I got the platinum trophy and have no interest in tracking down the last couple of items and treasure boxes that I missed somewhere.

But I don’t bring this up because I want to give the game a post-mortem review. No, it’s actually because I felt something unusual once that platinum trophy popped. I felt a sudden emptiness in my chest, my victory cut with a sense of loss.

I know this feeling well, I’ve had it many times before. It’s the feeling I get when a TV series that I’ve been really into comes to an end. That feeling of loss when you know that your time with these characters and their world has come to an end. Like when you’re saying goodbye to friends. Maybe it’s a little bit weird, but I think it’s mostly a testament to how well-written characters can really worm their way into your heart.

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Monthend Video Game Wrap-Up: September 2021

~ Game Over ~

Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim (PC) – This one is in the same gameplay style as The Oath in Felghana and Ys Origin, and while I like it more than the former, I don’t think it’s quite as good as the latter. It’s a brisk, fun game, but a good quarter of its runtime is still caught up in level/money grinding. As usual, the soundtrack is pretty boss.

Deltarune: Chapter 1 (PC) – When the second chapter released this month, I opted to refresh myself on the first, since I last played it about two years ago. Three hours well spent, and I even beat the secret boss this time!

Deltarune: Chapter 2 (PC) – I had no idea how Toby Fox planned to continue this story, and what happened in Chapter 2 is nothing at all like I would have expected. But it was still excellent! And I’m happy that the secret boss in this one wasn’t quite as difficult as the last one… Looking forward to Chapters 3-7 being released over the next 999 years!

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Ninji Direct

There was another Nintendo Direct yesterday. It was a big one, but it actually didn’t show too many games that really excited me. There’s a new Yoko Taro card game coming out next month. That’s… I mean, I’m not all that excited about a card game, but it’s Yoko Taro, so I must. The expansion for Monster Hunter Rise and Kirby and the Forgotten Land are things that I am naturally quite “hype” about, but they’re dated for next spring, so I don’t need to think about them for a good, long while. Triangle Strategy still has a dumb name and still looks great, but again: March 2022.

I’m still excited as heck for Metroid: Dread, but it’s out in exactly two weeks, I really don’t need a new trailer? And the Deltarune: Chapter 2 announcement would have driven me wild, if I had not just played Deltarune: Chapter 2 last weekend on my computer. It was excellent!

What really blew my socks off in this Direct was the content update for Mario Golf: Super Rush. Not because I’m excited about a content update for Mario Golf: Super Rush (I have not purchased the game). No, this announcement had my jaw on the floor because of a character design for a golfer that’s being added to the game: the humble Ninji.

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