Omega Quintet: Progress Log #2

[Click here to start from the first progress log]

It’s revealing that I’ve played Omega Quintet for around 7 hours now and still don’t know exactly how all of its systems work. Not only that, but its merciless barrage of tutorials hasn’t let up; I’d estimate that I’ve seen between 30-50 tutorial screens (individual ones—each tutorial consists of several screens, so we’re not talking about quite that many tutorials), and there’s still a menu option in combat that remains grayed out, suggesting that at least one more awaits further in. Despite all of that, however, I’m still enjoying my time with it. The music is fun and playful, the characters are affably dumb (for now), and the combat is starting to open up and become more complex. Even if I don’t really understand how it all works yet. Read more →

Soul Calibur 2: Progress Log #2

[Click here to start from the first progress log]

There’s this deeply OCD side of me that doesn’t like leaving things unfinished, so I’ve been working my way through Soul Calibur 2’s weapon master mode on the side after getting into it awhile back. I wouldn’t say that I’m hooked, because that implies a certain amount of fun that the gimmicks tend to ruin for me, but it’s enjoyable enough that I continued playing even after unlocking my go-to character. Read more →

Omega Quintet: Progress Log #1

First, let’s address the elephant in the room (specifically, the one with the big sparkly anime eyes): this isn’t my kind of game. That’s not entirely accurate, though, because it’s more that I’ve never bothered giving these types of games a chance. All of my experiences have been of this deeply anime style bleeding into places where it doesn’t belong—like Fire Emblem—leading to stories that try to be grim and dark and then resolve things through the power of friendship. I’m always interested in exploring parts of gaming that I’m initially uncomfortable with, though, and Omega Quintet is a uniquely fascinating case; when I looked up reviews of its original PS4 release, many of the negative ones didn’t really say much and instead came across as finger-wagging. The user reviews, on the other hand, tended to be much more positive, but only among those in a certain gaming niche. Long story short, there are a lot of dissenting opinions here, and that allows me to put on a hat that I greatly enjoy wearing: that of the objective outsider drilling deep into a game’s core to discover who’s right and who’s wrong about its merits and/or shortcomings. Read more →

Madcap Castle: Progress Log #3 [END]

[Click here to start from the first progress log]

After 18 more minutes of being stuck on level 92 and having perfectly safe attempts ruined by the fact that you insta-die if you switch to your full size and are a single pixel too close to a wall, I was officially over Madcap Castle. When it’s good, it’s very good, but its bad is equally notable. A game where you can die in a single hit and levels eventually take minutes to finish requires the controls and general mechanics to be beyond reproach, and between the bugs, inconsistencies, and general peculiarities, there’s plenty that one could rightfully take exception to. Thankfully, saves can be edited in a text editor to unlock all of the levels, so I was able to continue playing and skip past the awful stages (which become more frequent). Read more →

Madcap Castle: Progress Log #2

[Click here to start from the first progress log]

I’m currently stuck on level 92 of Madcap Castle, but that seems as good a stopping point as any given how many new mechanics have come up. A few stages have even switched things up by requiring the defeat of all enemies to unlock the door forward rather than relying on pellet-collecting, which is kind of awkward since the closest thing you have to an attack is a box-throwing move and a bomb that doesn’t explode immediately, both of which are about as likely to kill you as whatever enemy you’re targeting. But hey, there have also been some really well designed stages. Right now I’d say that about 70% of the stages are decent, 15% are great, and 15% are designed to be infuriating difficulty spikes. Speaking of which, the difficulty here definitely isn’t smooth. You’ll be cruising along, only to hit a brick wall of difficulty every so often that takes 20 times as long as the other levels to get through. Read more →

Madcap Castle: Progress Log #1

I covered a bit of Soul Calibur 2 for the PS2 yesterday because my internet was acting up, and the download for the game I thought I’d be covering wasn’t going to finish in time. That game was Nine Parchments, and after spending a short time with its repetitive gameplay, it was promptly banished from my computer, never to return again. Trash is trash regardless of how pretty it is. Beyond which, it was giving me serious Pyre flashbacks with its kind-of-lootbox system; they may not be similar gameplay-wise, but there’s no way I’m playing another game that tries to embrace bad gaming trends to widen its audience. Instead, today’s game is Madcap Castle, a Game Boy-styled action/platformer/puzzler that’s kind of like Donkey Kong for the Game Boy (the less common one that everyone forgets about) by way of Super Meat Boy, which is a way of saying that it could be considered a form of masochism. Read more →

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