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What games did you complete? 2021 Edition


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Everhood (PC)

 

ever.thumb.jpg.00377b055434fb58d01fb254020f3fd3.jpg

 

I managed to snag this early for various reasons (I think it releases in March, on PC and Switch).

The immediate reaction for me when I started this was "Hmm. Seems like Undertale", which in many ways, at least aesthetically, it is. However, the storytelling and the gameplay are much different. A bulk of the game sees you walking around interconnected towns/areas, interacting with various characters, some of whom want to battle you, which makes up the other part of the game: When you fight, the enemy fires music at you in a Rock Band fashion, with you standing at the bottom of the screen. Rather than catching the notes, though, you have to dodge them. So it's like, an anti-rhythm game. It broke my brain a bit trying to force myself not to hit the notes or move in time with the music, but I got into it and started to really enjoy myself. What was left of my brain was then melted by some really trippy, psychedelic visuals. The story is great and quite dark, and the soundtrack and characters were all unique and interesting (would love a vinyl release of the OST...) Good stuff.

 

Completed games:

 

Spoiler

Switch:

Wunderling (03/01)

Horace (25/01)

 

PC:

Everhood (02/02)

 

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Abzu (Switch)

 

I wasn't really feeling this in handheld but once I had it running on my HDTV it became the beautiful and lyrical experience many on here have praised. The blend of music, visuals and scale deliver a super chilled-out, almost meditative joy. Extra points for delivering a fine narrative without text, laboured cut-scenes or dialogue. It is short, but hit the spot while it lasted. I actually feel quite bad for paying £1.49 for it.

 

7/10

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3 hours ago, FiveFootNinja said:

3. Fez (PS4) - This indie darling is a game I've bounced off previously for no other reason than losing momentum with it, however since buying the PS5 and moving the PS4 into the office it became the perfect lunch break puzzler during the week so I started it afresh. In summary it really is a great little enigmatic and creative game, especially given how small the dev team was, and deserves the various plaudits it received. Its core rotational mechanic is one of those simple but genius concepts that works solidly and even now is pretty much unique to this game. I'm not sure I have the time, dedication or brain power to find all the anti-cubes, codes and secrets, but if you like puzzle games (like Jonathon Blow's excellent Braid) you will really like this. - 8/10

 

As @therearerules says, its great without finding all the secrets but it becomes truly excellent once you start looking for them, as in proper mind-blowing, fourth wall-breaking, MY GOD, IT'S FULL OF STARS! sort of shit that turns you into this guy:

 

Spoiler

tenor.gif.88f69fd2d32e96ffd8874c430b10dc78.gif

 

Go back to it and start picking away at some of the places which seem a bit weird, where you think there might be something there. Try to do as much of it as you can without a guide. You'll inevitably hit a wall sooner or later, not because you'll not know what to do, but because you won't believe that the game truly wants you to do what you think it's trying to get you to do.

 

Then you try it anyway, and it fucking works, and then you evolve into this guy:

 

Spoiler

803b115bd65c88c7f8439e1196674549.gif.27d772a26417143a07d3e59051310749.gif

 

It's fucking awesome. This and The Witness are S-tier puzzlers if you ask me. Often imitated but never bettered.

 

THE THIRTEEN CIRCLES. THE 64-BIT NAME OF GOD.

 

Spoiler

1466194935_tumblr_nt8vv2JRcC1tv8x2go1_400(1).gif.19673513c0760e0756b3d5bf31308327.gif

 

(Sorry, I'll stop now.)

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5. The Medium

 

Great atmosphere and presentation, fairly basic gameplay, confusing story. But the atmosphere was very good indeed, so overall it’s a thumbs up from me.

 

Spoiler

1. Dragon Quest XI

2. Donut County

3. Tell Me Why

4. Slay the Spire
5. The Medium

 

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3. A Short Hike (02/01)

 

Fancied a break from MS Flight Sim after a failed attempt with FSEconomy, and kept reading about this so chucked a fiver at Steam and bought it. What an adorable game. Kicking myself I only found the “reduce the pixels” option after making it to the summit after really enjoying a stern investigation of the island. Half tempted to spend another evening mopping up the achievements purely so I know I’ve found every nook and cranny on this lovely little group of islands. Genuinely haven’t got a bad word to say about it. Delightful. 
 

8/10


Previously... 

Spoiler

1. Immortals Fenyx Rising (03/01)

2. Donut County (24/01)

 

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@Jamie John Great post! :lol:

 

I may well jump back in and mop up some more. I feel I’ve made pretty good progress to the credits so far...

 

Spoiler

22 cubes and 10 anti-cubes


Along the way as well as the basic challenges I’ve done...

 

Spoiler

- Some invisible block bits

- Some Tetris codes
- Some up down left right style codes


So can definitely see the appeal of delving deeper to find out what else is there. I just know I have so much else to play I may well get tempted onto other things.

 

Totally agree re: The Witness though. Top tier puzzling.

 

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Ori and the Blind Forest (Gamepass). A metroidvania platformer with terrible combat. Commits a few cardinal sins of the metroidvania genre (gating off bonuses with actual gates, so if you solve the traversal challenge ahead of time using ingenuity, there can still be an actual gate there which requires an ability you don't have. The worst of these is lighting a lantern, which often involves no skill, just having the ability). However, about two thirds of the way through, when you have enough helth to live, and skills to make the most of the platforming it is excellent. Didn't 100% it, but did take the time to get all the big power up things. Unfortunately the escape sections are far too punishing, the final one I looked up after reaching the final stretch but not being able to read the designers mind in time. I appreciate they replace the boss battles, but I hate most boss battles too. The game is much better when you are flying around the screen for the pure joy of it, not because you insta-died on the same part of the run 50 times.

 

Updated gamepass completed games list:

Spoiler

1. The Outer Wilds

 

2. HypnoSpace Outlaw

 

3. Subnautica

 

4. Monster Train

 

4.4 Day of the Tentacle Remastered

 

4.5 Maniac Mansion

 

5. Frostpunk

 

6. Dishonored 2

 

6.5 Ori and the Blind Forest

 

7. Donut County

 

8. Observation

 

9. Control

 

9.5 The Medium

 

10. Deliver us the Moon

 

11. Call of the Sea

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4 minutes ago, therearerules said:

 

 

Ori and the Blind Forest (Gamepass). A metroidvania platformer with terrible combat. Commits a few cardinal sins of the metroidvania genre (gating off bonuses with actual gates, so if you solve the traversal challenge ahead of time using ingenuity, there can still be an actual gate there which requires an ability you don't have. The worst of these is lighting a lantern, which often involves no skill, just having the ability). However, about two thirds of the way through, when you have enough helth to live, and skills to make the most of the platforming it is excellent. Didn't 100% it, but did take the time to get all the big power up things. Unfortunately the escape sections are far too punishing, the final one I looked up after reaching the final stretch but not being able to read the designers mind in time. I appreciate they replace the boss battles, but I hate most boss battles too. The game is much better when you are flying around the screen for the pure joy of it, not because you insta-died on the same part of the run 50 times.

 

Updated gamepass completed games list:

  Reveal hidden contents

1. The Outer Wilds

 

2. HypnoSpace Outlaw

 

3. Subnautica

 

4. Monster Train

 

4.4 Day of the Tentacle Remastered

 

4.5 Maniac Mansion

 

5. Frostpunk

 

6. Dishonored 2

 

6.5 Ori and the Blind Forest

 

7. Donut County

 

8. Observation

 

9. Control

 

9.5 The Medium

 

10. Deliver us the Moon

 

11. Call of the Sea

The combat in the sequel is a lot more refined, and the escape sections aren't quite as difficult, so it sound like you might enjoy that one more. It's bloody gorgeous, too. Overall, I preferred the first game as it felt a bit more focused to me, but your mileage may vary. They're both great games.

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The Medium (Xbox Series X)

 

Lots been said about this already! I went into this with no expectations other than it was a game in a genre I enjoy - psychological horror with a bit of puzzle solving etc. Also the music (for the spirit world at least) was directed by Akira Yamaoka of Silent Hill fame. Finally the icing on the cake for me is that it is included in GamePass this month so no additional investment was required from me other than a bit of time.


I personally really enjoyed the experience. The atmosphere was great - the music, sound and visuals really combined to make this work. The story was interesting and lots of audio snippets and artefacts to add more background to the proceedings. It had elements of Bioshock/Everyone's Gone To The Rapture/Silent Hill and Alan Wake to it. 


The graphics in places were a touch ropey in particular the character models and animations and the fixed cameras felt like throwback to the early 00s games. However personally I liked the camera work as it gives the creators control over how they want to present a scene although it is probably more to do with keeping dev costs down a bit.

 

The split screen mechanic - allowing you to view the spirit world and the real world at the same time I felt was a little bit of a gimmick however at times it did add to the game and is something that would be good to explore in other games. 


All in all a good effort by Team Bloober looking forward to what they do next. 
 

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Power Strike II - Hard 1cc (10)

 

Spoiler

Solid State Survivor - 1cc, TLB (10)

Dangun Feveron - Fever arrange 1cc (10)

GG Aleste 3 - 1cc Normal (10)

Aleste - 1cc (8)

Power Strike II - 1cc (10)

GG Aleste - 1cc (8)

GG Aleste 2 - 1cc (8)

GG Aleste - Special mode 1cc (8)

 

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Arrog (PC)

 

What an odd experience. Delightful graphics and audio. Picked this up on Steam after a random notification on my phone today about the immanent release of this onto the Playstation platform. Great experience to chill to after a busy day. It was a few pounds on steam for around 30mins of relaxing... Not bad really. :) Of course your mileage may vary.... 

 

Its also available on the Switch.

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1. Immortals: Fenyx Rising

2. Control [Game Pass]

 

3. The Medium [Game Pass]

 

The Medium, despite the generic American accented voice acting, is set in late, or early-post Soviet Poland, and is a fairly straightforward Adventure game. You play as a Medium, Marianne, who has the ability to see both the real and "spirit" worlds simultaneously, and it's a gimmick which isn't particularly revolutionary, but does make the game more interesting, and enables some of the better puzzles in the game.

 

But it manages to impress, largely due to what I feel is restraint on the part of the developers. Bloober team seem to be a relatively small studio, and they've managed to create a worthwhile experience by not overstretching themselves in terms of length, padding or being overly ambitious with the gameplay. Instead, they've elevated a seemingly unambitious adventure game by concentrating on the writing, coming up with a pretty smart story with a number of significant plot points, spread over time, which you investigate over the course of the game, allowing you to build a picture of what went on without the game just subjecting you to exposition dumps via text or cutscenes. It helps keep you interested in the little bits of lore you find as you explore, and the game clarifies things towards the end, just in case you missed anything. They've also clearly invested in the world design. I think people were expecting a tour de force for their Series X, and this game is not that, but I think it's really quite beautiful at times, with some pretty visually striking locations, and the sound design is excellent, too. It all comes together to create a tight narrative experience that I really enjoyed.

 

And it's not particularly scary at all, which helps, if you're a big fat chicken, like me.

 

e7h98On.jpg

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The Medium (2021)

An adventure horror game set in Poland that ultimately left me cold despite some bold and impressive visuals and pounding, oppressive sound design. The central gameplay conceit of being able to inhabit both the physical and spirit worlds flounders without any fun or imaginative things for the player to do with it - the game doesn’t live up to it’s very promising concept but isn’t without its charms. 
 

Spoiler

 

09/01/2021 - Bloodborne

10/01/2021 - Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

10/01/2021 - Halo 2: Anniversary

13/01/2021 - Little Nightmares

26/01/2021 - Donut County

27/01/2021 - Astro’s Playroom

06/02/2021 - The Medium

 

 

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GG Aleste 3 - Special mode 1cc (10)

 

Spoiler

Solid State Survivor - 1cc, TLB (10)

Dangun Feveron - Fever arrange 1cc (10)

GG Aleste 3 - 1cc Normal (10)

Aleste - 1cc (8)

Power Strike II - 1cc (10)

GG Aleste - 1cc (8)

GG Aleste 2 - 1cc (8)

GG Aleste - Special mode 1cc (8)

Power Strike II - Hard 1cc (10)

 

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So far:

1. Alba (Apple Arcade)

2. Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity (Switch)
Holy moly, what a game. Everything about this is incredible and is my GOTY 2020 for sure. 60 hours on the clock and a ludicrous amount of missions still to go, so there's a lot more left to do.

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Trials Fusion

I had already got all the achievements in the Xbox 360 version, but the XB1 version has two additional DLC packs that never made it to 360-land, and I just kinda wanted to have all the Trials games on one console, so I picked this up cheap. The last two DLC packs vary in quality quite a bit. As expected, the "cat on a unicorn" DLC is just stupid, and a bit rubbish, but the RedLynx vs All-Stars levels are really good. In summary: it's Trials, in my opinion one of the most perfect and "pure" videogaming experiences around. This entry in the series falters a bit in presentation (it has a little too much of the chrome-and-glass/factory sci-fi aesthetic, and don't get me started on the title music!) but otherwise, a marvellous game. 9/10

 

Spoiler

 

01/01/2021 - Syberia

07/01/2021 - Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince

11/01/2021 - Fe

13/01/2021 - The Touryst

19/01/2021 - The Gardens Between

22/01/2021 - Donut County

22/01/2021 - Virginia

23/01/2021 - The Witness

08/02/2021 - Trials Fusion

 

 

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The Witness

 

 I played this about 4 years ago and was really enjoying it but for whatever reason didn't go back until this month. Although I always had a plan to finish it off I struggled with understanding the logic progression of some of the harder puzzles so started again from scratch.

 

It was a joy, and I breezed through the early parts and found some locations I never knew existed first time around. My favourite puzzles were:

 

Spoiler

Lining up the mirror to turn the grey cloud white.

 

The crunch, crunch maze. Up until this point I'd not come across an auditory clue so it was a revelation.

 

It's a game that makes you feel clever and there really are some sublime, eureka moments. Did I complete every puzzle by myself? No, but I needed a nudge fewer times than I expected to - on about 5 occasions.

 

I thought the ending was a bit lame given how amazing the world construction was and I did feel a little jaded doing those final mountain puzzles but overall this was a fantastic experience. Glad I finally finished it though I do realise there is a 'true' ending too. But I need something more shooty after this.

 

8/10

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Previously...

Spoiler

1) New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe - Switch - 2019 (2012)

 

 

2) Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze - Switch - 2018 (2014)

Completed all levels with all puzzle pieces and unlocked hard mode.
So this is a follow-up to the rather lovely Donkey Kong Country Returns (/3D) and it's basically more of the same but with HD graphics, lovely production values, very well made and presented at a smooth 60fps. These games are proof that modern sequels/revivals can be better than their classic forebears on their own terms - not just graphics, but years of experience in level design and playtesting have turned the franchise from a scrappy second-tier into a top genre contender.

If I have any complaints, it's that some of the levels go on for too long, and boss fights can be drawn-out affairs. But on the whole, this is a fun game with solid-feeling handling, nice bouncy physics and momentum. It's challenging if you want to get all the puzzle pieces and will require some trial and error, but I never felt cheated or enraged like I did with Mario. It just took a while to adjust to a very different style of platformer. I probably shouldn't have played them one after the other.

 

 

EDIT: As an aside, I'm really glad loads of Wii U games got ported to the Switch, as I missed out on that console after umming and ahh-ing over one for years.

Edited by Sprite Machine
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Just finished up a session on “we Were Here” which was free on the PS store today.

I have to say it was actually a really good game that looks awful, runs awful and buggy as hell but a lot of fun figuring out stuff.

 

We had to resort to a guide because we spent an hour on the last puzzle if not more. We were bang on though, we were right about what we were doing but the game kept failing us confusingly.

 

Basically, can’t wait for “It Takes Two”

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Feb

 

11/02 Beyond a Steel Sky (PC) I loved the original back in 1995 when I sat down to complete it on the Amiga. A cutting edge cyberpunk graphic adventure.

 

beneath_a_steel_sky_(cd32)_05.png

 

A quarter of a century later (and ten in game years) I returned to Union City.

 

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I'd almost been put off by some of the mediocre trailers and some poor reviews but for some reason decided to risk it and...it's an adventure game in the Telltale style. More puzzle based, in a way some of the puzzles reminded me a lot of old text adventures. The main lead Robert Foster is still a personality free zone but the people and robots around him were always more interesting that that still holds true here. This seems to be a bit of a take on Brave New World as well as another book I won't name because it would instantly spoil some of the plot points. It's still set in Australia although they make it very clear Union City is not Hobart but full of US and UK ex-pats and built with good British steel. The Australian accents range from awful to quite ok but they fade away once in the city. It's not massive (about ten hours long and not as big as the screenshots would have you believe) but it's a call back to British graphic adventures of old. 

 

Previously this month.

 

02/02 Stories Untold (PC)

 

Earlier

 

Spoiler

9. 31/01 Katamari Damacy Reroll (PC)

8. 28/01 2020 Game (Browser)

7. 26/01 Observation (PC)

6. 25/01 Hades (PC)

5. 23/01 Donut County (PC)

4. 17/01 The Touryst (PC) 

3. 13/01 My Friend Pedro (PC)

2. 03/01 Tell Me Why (PC)

1. 01/01 Tales from Off Peak City : Vol 1 (PC)

 

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5. Astro's Playroom (2020) - PS5

 

EtgCu-kXYAE7PwB.thumb.jpg.c9db33b82f66b7e88a656446a7152670.jpg

 

Full review up on Mentalhealthgaming.

 

TL;DR:

 

Quote

Astro’s Playroom, overall, is a game that’s got me excited for the brand’s future, and the future of Astrobot himself, especially. In both this game and his acclaimed debut on PlayStation VR, Asobi Team have proven that they can create polished, creative worlds that are a joy to roam through. Sony’s decision to make a mascot of Astro and to bundle his game with their new console also gives me hope that they plan to publish a feature-length, non-VR Astrobot game at some point in the future. If Asobi are able to demonstrate that they can extend the innovation and confidence they’ve displayed here across a 20 or 30-hour experience, then even the mighty Mario will have need to cling onto his 3D platforming crown. Until then, Astro’s Playroom acts as a delicious (if bitesized) taste of what’s to come from this studio and should definitely be the first port of call for anyone lucky enough to get their hands on a PlayStation 5.

 

Completed this year:

Spoiler

1. Hades (2020) - PC/Switch

2. Ori and the Will of the Wisps (2020) - Xbox Series X via Gamepass

3. Tetris Effect/Tetris Effect Connected (2020) - Oculus/PC/Xbox Series X via Gamepass

4. Black Mesa (2020) - PC

5. Astro's Playroom (2020) - PS5

 

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The Touryst (Series X) 

 

A perfect GamePass game purely because of the fact I had bought this ages ago on Switch when it was on sale but it being on GamePass meant that when I got around to it I played a better version of the game but didn't have to pay for it again. This is not a typical use case. And that was a long poorly punctuated sentence. 

 

Game itself is just pleasant. Looks gorgeous on the Series X with the lighting of the monument areas being the highlight. Unfortunately the monument areas also contain the games worst moments as there are platforming sections which can be infuriatingly tricky. It rarely feels like a lack of skill when you fail those sections with annoyance at the camera angles being the big issue. 

 

Going from island to island and working down the checklist of things to do is the more enjoyable side of the game.  Being able to sit down in all the chairs is good. More games should have chillout moments like that. Would God of War be a better game if there was a "hey,how about a bag of cans?" option in each combat encounter? Probably. 

 

7/10. 

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Paper Mario: The Origami King (2020)

Wow. This game was a delight, from start to finish. It’s got the two key ingredients for a fun RPG - a great battle system and soundtrack - but it’s chock full of visual charm, very funny (thanks to an S-tier English translation) and has surprising moments of pathos which, tonally, sit comfortably alongside an otherwise cutesy adventure about folding coloured paper. Special mention goes to the bosses, who are like little puzzles to be solved (then stomped), and probably the finest, most detailed version of stationary ever represented in a game. 
 

Spoiler

 

09/01/2021 - Bloodborne

10/01/2021 - Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

10/01/2021 - Halo 2: Anniversary

13/01/2021 - Little Nightmares

26/01/2021 - Donut County

27/01/2021 - Astro’s Playroom

06/02/2021 - The Medium

13/02/2021 - Paper Mario: The Origami King

 

 

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