Ayo: A Rain Tale Review

The best way to describe my experience with Ayo is a bell curve of enjoyment, where the middle part was incredibly enjoyable and full of character, but the beginning (where you’re going “huh, I wonder if this is going to get more interesting before the end”) and end (where you’re going “please let this be over with soon”) ranged from underwhelming to painful. A slow beginning is completely understandable since games rarely put their best foot forward, having to first establish and set up things for later, but the problems with the end come down to the game introducing more and more gameplay twists to spice things up, and only about half of the things added in around this point actually pan out. It feels like Ayo was so concerned with establishing itself as a game and gradually ramping up the difficulty that it forgot to ensure that all of the things it does to those ends are fun and fair. Read more →

Donkey Kong Land Review

Before I rip into this game, some back story: when I was young and the only type of Game Boy that existed was the gray brick variety that took 4 AA batteries and colored everything in a greenish hue, I owned a copy of Donkey Kong Land and cherished it. Once, I spent so much time playing it that the batteries in my Game Boy literally exploded. That’s not hyperbole, either—there was a loud pop and then battery acid leaked everywhere. I still own the very same banana yellow cartridge, but sadly, the game itself isn’t anywhere near as entertaining as its bold coloring would suggest. Sometimes I’ll go back and play a game I used to love and find that it still holds up, but Donkey Kong Land can’t hold a candle to Donkey Kong Country, and despite its best attempts to replicate it, the whole experience ends up being more frustrating than anything. This is a game best left forgotten. Read more →

Super Panda Adventures Review

It’s been a rough year for this site. Two of my favorite series self-destructed so badly that I swore one of them off entirely, and I’m hugely skeptical that the other will ever release anything decent enough to draw me back in. Beyond that, the past few months of my game choices have been populated almost exclusively by disappointments from pretty much every gaming decade. That’s why it’s nice to finally find a game that I genuinely enjoy, something simple with a lot of personality to remind me that there are actually some diamonds out there beneath the piles of trashware masquerading as games. That’s not to say that Super Panda Adventures is flawless, because it isn’t, but its problems are either easily circumvented with a little creativity (the difficult boss fights) or unimportant because they’re not the game’s focus (some grammatical errors). Read more →

Spate Review

As much as I want to, I can’t recommend Spate. I kind of will anyway, though, because I’m of two minds about it. On the one hand, it evokes bad memories of Never Alone in the sense that actually playing it is kind of boring and frustrating due to prevalent bugs. On the other hand, I’m an insane person and can appreciate a game filled with completely random floating top hats and other such weirdness. It’s not an expensive game these days by any stretch of the imagination, either, so while I can’t really recommend it to anyone who isn’t completely detached from reality (this game should come with a “you must be this abnormal to enjoy Spate” disclaimer), it’d also be a lie to say that I didn’t enjoy it on a certain level. Read more →

Kirby Super Star Review

I haven’t reviewed a Kirby game since Kirby’s Dream Land, and that was way back in the first month of this site’s existence, back when I still tagged reviews as “spoilers” and “non-spoilers” because it never occurred to me that the former was an extraordinarily bad idea. Yeah, I don’t know what I was thinking, either. Those days are long gone now, and so it’s strange to suddenly delve back into something Kirby-related. Super Star is a game I’ve owned for a long, long time, though, and I was curious to see how well it’s held up since I played it last (I must have left it unplayed for something like a decade). The answer is “surprisingly well, with one or two caveats,” and it’s made all the more worthwhile by the fact that you can see the mechanics and franchises that would eventually coalesce into Super Smash Bros starting to come together here. Read more →

Never Alone Review

I have no idea how much can actually be said of Never Alone because of how simple it is; at its core, it’s a simple platformer with clumsy controls that also happens to be an adaptation of a popular story from the Alaskan Iñupiat people. There are some minor obstacles here and there that could generously be considered puzzles, but the solutions are always so immediately obvious that I’d mostly just consider it a straight-up platformer rather than a puzzle-platformer. The game’s also astoundingly buggy and boring to play when its chase sequences and boss fights aren’t being actively annoying, which leads to hilarious moments where you end up having more fun watching the included mini-documentaries about the Iñupiat than actually playing through the game. I think that says it all, really. Read more →

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