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  1. 22. Cat Quest I tend to buy cat-related games for the kids when they're on sale, with extremely mixed results. So far we've had ".cat", a platformer in which I must be missing something with, as the first two levels are one screen and the third level seems to be never-ending; "Cattails", an RPG that sees you joining a tribe of feral cats, engaging in turf wars with other feral cat tribes, collecting mystical items and having festivals; you know, Regular Feral Cat Stuff, and this game - Cat Quest. Cat Quest is an action RPG where you play as a half-cat, half-dragon, and then kill everything on an island until there is nothing left to kill. It's full of questionable cat-related puns, it taught my kids the word "crap" and the gameplay loop doesn't really change that much, but there's something extremely satisfying about the combat and magic system. Everything is very simple - you get in range, hack away with your sword and then evade before the enemy attacks, can drop in magic spells for damage over time/life leeching/other status effects if required, and can have some fun with your character build, which is entirely equipment-based so you can go from full magic-user to full armour/tank in a few seconds in the menu. Only real criticism is that a few things feel a little unfinished - after you complete the game you are dumped back out on the map and can take on some of the really high-level content, but there's not really a reward for doing so - I'm having to scour the map post-completion for stuff I've not done yet and it would be really good to have that pointed out in some fashion, as I'm pretty sure I've done everything the game has to offer and I'm just endlessly moping around the map looking for something to do. But then, when you get to the point of "I have done literally everything the game has to offer", that means it's probably decent I guess?
  2. 20. Donut County 21. Warhammer: Vermintide 2 I'd not bothered with Donut County for ages after seeing quite a few people saying that it was really uninspired and boring. I... don't agree? It's very light on the amount of skill required to progress, but the story is ridiculous, the characters are really likeable and well-written, and what's not to like about a raccoon responsible for a reign of terror that involves dumping someone's caravan into a big hole? -- Vermintide is on the other end of the spectrum - played this one in co-op with a couple of friends. It's a first person hack and slash/loot gathering thing that probably has way more depth than I've been able to extract out of it for a couple of reasons - it tells you nothing about how to play, and the lowest difficulty is very easy, and the second difficulty kicks our fucking head in without fail. BUT it has been a lot of fun just turning our brains off a bit and carving through hordes of enemies over the last few weeks, and poking fun at how po-faced and Very Serious everything can be. That said, there's some free DLC called "The Curse of Drachenfels" which is a cut above the rest of the environments in the game - it's super atmospheric and places you in Dracula Drachenfels' castle, high atop a mountain, and frames its set-pieces really nicely, something that the rest of the game doesn't do much. Other than the bit where a giant rat spawned in what might have been the wrong place, and then proceeded to knock our entire team off the mountain to our deaths in two swings of an arm. That was a bit shit.
  3. 19. Return of the Obra Dinn This is simultaneously an absolute masterpiece and a bit frustrating. The storytelling is imaginative, effective and extremely impactful, the sound design and art style add to the atmosphere and the very concept is brilliant. Don't mistake what I'm saying - this game is absolutely amazing. The aim of Return of the Obra Dinn is for you to identify the crew and passengers of the ship, and confirm their causes of death. This is done by watching (and re-watching) their deaths, and being able to explore the scene, which often reveals a lot of hidden details that might be useful. At the point of death, time freezes and you can explore at your leisure. I'm going to go into a few spoilers below, as I was only able to solve about a third of the mysteries before having to resort to external help. Also as wonderful as this game was, I'm kind of glad it is done as I have been having frequent nightmares since I started playing it - it's probably no surprise that rewatching people's death in detail multiple times is not necessarily a net mental health benefit! Anyway it's fucking brilliant.
  4. 18. Far: Lone Sails Another quality entry in the burning-any-available-materials-to-fuel-your-needlessly-complicated-landship genre. Seriously though this is a hell of a journey, the music is outstanding and the times where you get to just ride on top of the ship while the wind carries you are wonderful. Only slightly marred by a known bug where I fell through the map and wound up falling through an endless void, and it took a good few minutes for me to determine that, maybe, this wasn't meant to be happening... Big ups Sean from TCGS for the heads-up on this when it was in the TCGS game of the year show a few years back.
  5. Mushihimesama is coming back, probably, soon, maybe: https://mobile.twitter.com/LiveWire_pr/status/1407342654741008386
  6. Mushihimesama has inexplicably disappeared from all PAL region eShop stores.
  7. 17. Shape of the World This was on my Switch wishlist for a long time. I have no idea how it got there, but it was a couple of quid in a sale a little while back. It feels more art project than game, there's no real skill to navigating your way to the end of this but it is an absolutely beautiful ride. Reductively, you hunt for the next triangle until there are no more triangles to hunt for, but realistically this is a lovely sit-in-the-dark-with-the-volume-up experience that gave me goosebumps on several occasions for reasons I can't quite fathom. It's very 80s new-age in some ways with lovely dynamic music and a gorgeous art style, and none of the screenshots I took do it justice because the real joy is in finding the interesting angles or coming over the crest of a moutnain and seeing the lakes and waterfalls and forests shimmer in the cel-shaded flatness. It's 30fps on Switch and everything is jaggy but it really doesn't matter, it's lovely and if you are in to your "c'mon this is hardly even a game" games then this is well worth a crack. Lasts about 60-90 minutes too.
  8. 16. The Textorcist: The Story of Ray Bibbia Typing? check Bullet hell? check Amazing synth metal soundtrack by Gost? check Typing is one of a very small list of things that I'm quite good at, even if I'm getting less precise in my old age. The Textorcist, then, is right up my street - a game where you play as an old guy exorcising bullet-chucking demons by chanting religious texts at them. It's difficult and punishing and even with a bunch of equipment that makes the game easier and reduces your score, I was still taking a fair few tries to get through each boss. The first thing you have to chant at an enemy is "Shut up"; as you progress the game starts to dive heavily into Latin passages which is absolutely terrifying the first time it crops up. After finishing the game you get a piece of equipment that, when equipped, gives you Hardcore mode - your score multiplier is 666%, you only have one life, the demons are more agressive and, crucially, the test passages you have to enter have their word order randomised. I've done a few of these but I think I'll wind up getting RSI before being able to get close to the end! Anyway if you can deal with the difficulty (the barrier to entry is reasonably high, you have to be a decent typist, or be able to type a lot with one hand) then this is absolutely amazing.
  9. With Monkey Ball, I just hope they don't screw up the physics again. Monkey Ball 1 and 2 had very distinct physics and controls, and then the next game - the compilation thing - instead tweaked them and everything felt really wrong. Things like the acceleration you could get when moving backwards was changed completely. I played so much Monkey Ball. Those first ten levels were magnificent.
  10. For those of us not in the know, what has(n't) happened?
  11. 15. The Red Strings Club I went into this looking for more ridiculous Cyberpunk Bartender Action like Va11-Hall-A, but instead found a really thoughtful adventure where the bartending is very much second to the decisions you're making, as you pick a part a giant corporation's activities leading up to a major... product launch. There are some games where I like to see all the endings, but this has turned out not to be one of them - I had an absolute blast playing this and while the ending I got wasn't the one I wanted, it was almost certainly the one I deserved and I should definitely not consider a career as an information broker if what I'm doing doesn't work out, I failed every quiz and spilt the booze everywhere.
  12. 14. Rain on your Parade Taken advantage of the £1 Game Pass offer and so am chewing through a few things from here with the kids. Rain on your Parade starts off as a game where you have to low-key ruin people's day by raining on them, and gradually gets more and more preposterous as you go on. It's got that "everything is a bit broken" kind of charm - sometimes when you rain on someone they'll gain superhuman strength and fling a desk across a room, and on one of the training levels for a new power you need to make a car crash - but instead of the game recognising that you've succeeded, it just continues to send cars afterwards so that by the time you've completed all the other objectives, there's a pile-up of about eight cars in the corner and nobody has learned to avoid the hazard The "lol we make jokes about microtransactions" stuff is getting a bit played out now though, I found myself skipping most of the "funny" dialogue but the game's real strength is that it is great fun and legitimately funny and surprising.
  13. 13. Luck be a Landlord Finished the first two floors of this and have had to uninstall it becuase I am at risk of losing hundreds of hours/my job to it. The game is extremely addictive as you're constantly chasing the dream of getting the perfect crab deck, or sun/bee/flower/rain deck, or or or or No more.
  14. 12. Tetris Effect Like many games, you don't "complete" Tetris, but I had an absolute blast playing through the journey mode on this, and have since spent a ton of time on the multiplayer modes. The last song in journey mode is amazing and the whole journey feels like what I always wanted the Lumines games to be - a puzzle game I understand how to play surrounded by all the fancy shit.
  15. Probably not the right thread, but give me a pass on this one - the new Daewon/Metal Gear Solid deck from Thank You might just be the best thing: https://www.instagram.com/p/CP1Q3jGl6g9
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