Review the Last Game You Finished 2: Among Reviewers

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Review the Last Game You Finished 2: Among Reviewers

#1

Post by I am nobody » Thu Jun 18, 2020 9:18 am

The thread is dead, long live the thread. Because I made this new one.

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Re: Review the last game you finished 2: Among Reviewers

#2

Post by I am nobody » Fri Jun 19, 2020 7:36 am

Game festival demos round 2, again organized best to worst:
Spoiler.

Radical Rabbit Stew: Top down game about being a cook from the planet of cooks fighting off a rabbit invasion. Each level is a puzzle where you have to thwack rabbits around to get them into pots of stew or fight a boss. It's a simple idea vaguely reminiscent of Offspring Fling and I love it.

Ghostrunner: Mirror's Edge by way of cyberpunk Dishonored, basically. A parkour game where you've got some superpowers and have to kill everybody. If it can stay at the level of the demo for the whole game, this could be something really special.

Pendragon: The 80 Days people take on Arthurian legend from the perspective of a slew of characters that aren't Arthur. It seems to be a mashup of tactics and puzzle games with some unique board control mechanics and, unsurprisingly for the devs, a lot of narrative choice. Thoroughly enjoyed.

Raji: An Ancient Epic: Top down action game based on Hindu legend. Combat was solid, the writing was compelling, and the cutscenes use a beautiful art style I haven't seen in games before. Very exciting.

YesterMorrow: Pretty 2D platformer about time shenanigans to undo a disaster. I like the story so far, but the demo cut out seemingly just as it was about to reveal what makes the gameplay unique. As it is, this is a bog-standard platformer with a cool story. I'm hopeful that's not actually true and that they're just bad at demos.

Skatebird: Ten year old me would have made exactly this game about small birds skateboarding, and current me still desperately wants it to be good. There's no real tutorial right now and I'm not good at skateboarding games, however, so it's really hard for me to tell whether the game is any good or if I'm just messing it all up. Super cute, at least.

Sail Forth: A game about making a cat crew to sail the seas and fight pirates. The theme is very me and it's great to look at, but the controls just aren't there right now and combat felt like mostly luck. Hopefully they can tune that before release.

Snowtopia: Right after Builders of Egypt tried to revive one building game of my childhood, this comes along to remake Ski Resort Tycoon. The tutorial is sorely lacking and I couldn't figure out what I was supposed to be connecting ski routes to, so unfortunately it's impossible to tell if the game is any good. It looks nice and custom ski routes should be fun, if nothing else.

Iron Harvest: An RTS that could not possibly be more obviously based on the board game Scythe, yet which makes no mention of it. Seemed potentially fun, but it's hard to tell with no tutorial or campaign levels available.

Unbound: Worlds Apart: Metroidvania built around swapping between two overlapping worlds, which has definitely been done several times already. The time I spent with the demo was good enough from a mechanics standpoint, but the effect of swapping worlds seemed largely arbitrary beyond that it conveniently did whatever you needed to progress. Ultimate quality will depend on if they can make that power more interesting.

The Iron Oath: Tactics RPG that did nothing special in the one battle I played and then transitioned into an even less interesting overworld. Still, the quit screen promised a bunch of grand strategy features that sounded really cool, so they may have just picked an awful slice to start the demo with.

Recompile: A "Metroidvania-inspired hacking adventure" that just makes a vaguely tech-ish world and throws some absolute nonsense lore on top of it. I could easily forgive that if the gameplay was worthwhile, but it's standard 3D platforming stuff.

Touch Type Tale - Strategic Typing: An RTS that's a typing game. It seems mechanically fine, but I don't know that anyone was asking for this. Didn't seem to improve on either genre. Art style is actively repulsive.

Grounded: I tried it because Obsidian, but a survival game about huge bugs was never going to be something I liked.

Solace State: Visual novel with a really unappealing and jarring art style. Writing was meh. Kat accurately described it as looking like a Presi slideshow.

Ghost on the Shore: Walking simulator about a woman with a ghost in her head. Not a particularly nice game to look at and the writing was unremarkable. Walking simulators kind of have to get those right.
Hoping to get to a few more on Sunday.

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Re: Review the last game you finished 2: Among Reviewers

#3

Post by I REALLY HATE POKEMON! » Fri Jun 19, 2020 8:20 am

That seems like a much less interesting list than the last batch.

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Re: Review the last game you finished 2: Among Reviewers

#4

Post by smol Kat » Fri Jun 19, 2020 8:27 am

Honestly, the bits I watched were less fun than the last batch. Other than Skatebirb
looking up into pure sunlight

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Re: Review the last game you finished 2: Among Reviewers

#5

Post by I am nobody » Fri Jun 19, 2020 8:29 am

The first four are all really good, but other than that it was fairly mixed.

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Re: Review the last game you finished 2: Among Reviewers

#6

Post by I REALLY HATE POKEMON! » Sat Jun 20, 2020 3:00 am

So I beat Mega Man 11 on Normal. It started out really hard with Block Man, but it was fair enough and manageable. Then I hit a wall with Acid Man's stage so hard that afterward I grinded so many bolts I could never run out, and just spammed items which actually made the game almost mindless. I've never seen a Mega Man game go from impossible to impossibly easy so fast, even when I grinded powerups. It's pretty safe to say the balance is completely broken, at least on Normal, and it affected the experience pretty significantly. Combine that with the bad/forgettable music and semi-rebootish story (no Proto Man, Bass, etc) and I think this is possibly the worst Mega Man game in the Classic series after the original.
Last edited by I REALLY HATE POKEMON! on Sat Jun 20, 2020 2:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Review the last game you finished 2: Among Reviewers

#7

Post by X-3 » Sat Jun 20, 2020 1:51 pm

MM11 really shines on replay. It went from "good enough" to "one of the best in the Classic series" for me.

14.) Tales Trails Trials of Mana

It's decent. Nothing outstanding but nowhere near poor. It's a bit button-mashy at times but still pretty fun. It's relatively easy even on Hard Mode but honestly I was kind of in the mood for a light game so I didn't mind. I liked it well enough to play through it twice but it probably won't be too memorable come the end of the year. :shrug: Dark Force goes fwwsssh.

15.) Mega Man X

I died at least twice on the second submarine in Launch Octopus's stage which is absolutely embarrassing. Other than that and my inability to do a consistent QCF things went pretty smoothly. Completing a Mega Man stage has an inherent satisfaction to it that I will never get tired of.

16.) Super Metroid

I took a few minutes to get the Mockball needed for the (first) Spore Spawn skip, got a bit lost and almost died during the first Norfair visit and I took a few minutes to hit the off-screen Super Missile block for the (second) Spore Spawn skip. I still hit 100% and finished the run but my time was embarrassing. I've gotten really rusty at this game...

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Re: Review the last game you finished 2: Among Reviewers

#8

Post by I REALLY HATE POKEMON! » Sat Jun 20, 2020 2:50 pm

I'll have to try MM11 again on a harder difficulty at some point then.

I really feel obligated to finally finish Super Metroid but I just get so lost and forget what I'm doing after a break. Guides are pain to follow, too... Maybe I'll just finish it in one sitting next time I try it out.

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Re: Review the last game you finished 2: Among Reviewers

#9

Post by Deku Tree » Fri Jun 26, 2020 12:46 am

I just finished The Outer Worlds. I liked the game well enough to finish it, but not much more than that. Early on I thought the game was kind of overstimulating, and I didn't care for it's aesthetic so I set it down for a long while after my first go at playing it. It wasn't until I got to Monarch that I really started enjoying it, and that was mostly when I stopped with the quests and just started exploring and fighting through the local fauna. Many of the side quests really felt tedious by the end, and often for little reward.

It's a bit like KOTOR and a bit like Fallout, but a bit less interesting than either. There's not much special about it.

I do want to say how much I liked Parvati. She's adorable.

And SAM. SAM is funny.

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Re: Review the last game you finished 2: Among Reviewers

#10

Post by Deku Tree » Fri Jun 26, 2020 12:46 am

I just finished The Outer Worlds. I liked the game well enough to finish it, but not much more than that. Early on I thought the game was kind of overstimulating, and I didn't care for it's aesthetic so I set it down for a long while after my first go at playing it. It wasn't until I got to Monarch that I really started enjoying it, and that was mostly when I stopped with the quests and just started exploring and fighting through the local fauna. Many of the side quests really felt tedious by the end, and often for little reward.

It's a bit like KOTOR and a bit like Fallout, but a bit less interesting than either. There's not much special about it.

I do want to say how much I liked Parvati. She's adorable.

And SAM. SAM is funny.

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Re: Review the last game you finished 2: Among Reviewers

#11

Post by steeze » Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:38 am

Detroit: Become Human

To start off I do not play games like this but a friend of mine convinced me. WOW. I have been sleeping on this genre. It's like playing a movie.

Mind you, I know that Detroit sits at the top of the mountain of these types of games currently but this is new avenue that has happened for me.

Let's talk looks first. The new engine they developed for this game is stunning. It's already 2 years old but it still looks like a fresh release. Really impressed me. Some scenes looking indistinguishable from a real life setting.

While some moments in the games feel a little slow and task oriented, I never found myself lost or confused as to what I should be doing. The characters are all very likable especially Conner and Hank's bromance. Switching between three main characters and seeing the choices affect things later on down the line was so much fun. Sometimes I wanted to go back and do things differently but I kept trudging along. Markus and Kara's stories are both amazing. Marcus is extremely like-able from the jump.

The story is not very complex but the philosophy behind it is. I think playing it with all the things going on in the world was a bit Ironic. Androids want to have the same rights as we do. I got the good ending apparently on the first try with all my characters surviving which I didn't even know they could die permanently until I got the trophy. I would have done a few things differently but they let you play chapter by chapter at any point on the main menu.

Overall this is my favorite game I've purchased so far this year. Truly very impressed.

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Re: Review the Last Game You Finished 2: Among Reviewers

#12

Post by I am nobody » Fri Jun 26, 2020 12:11 pm

^^That was mostly my take on Outer Worlds. It's fine, but it loses steam in the last third and I ended up just shooting literally everyone on the final planet in order to get through quickly. Barely remember any of the characters other than Parvati. It was kinda rushed, though, so I'm looking forward to the bigger sequel.

48. Skye (6/21) (PC)

A free student project about flying a plane around what's presumably supposed to be the Isle of Skye. It's pretty basic and escort quests in a flight game with no enemies are exactly as bad as they sound, but I had a good time with it for the half hour it took to finish. Hard to argue with free.

49. Indecision. (6/21) (PC)

A series of vignettes that are almost WarioWare minigames. You've gotta do a thing to progress to the next scene, but sometimes there are other wrong things that advance you without granting an achievement and they're all pretty nihilist. They become less intuitive as you go on and some, like the one where you just sit there for two minutes, are needlessly frustrating. Doesn't feel worth even the $2 price of admission.

50. For the King: Into the Deep (6/21) (PC)

It's still For the King, but now the map has lots of water and you're trying to stop Team Aqua the Sea King from flooding the world. The level cap seems to have been removed and there are more interesting late game items available, although still not really enough. You can take on the boss whenever, but beating it seems impossible without first completing the quest to get a pirate ship. You can finish Water Temples to get more time, but weirdly these don't scale with your level and become pointlessly easy long before you can realistically fight the final boss. We also had ridiculously high stats compared to the original campaign, but that could be from playing unlocked classes.

Still, the base game is fun and this doesn't change that.

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Re: Review the Last Game You Finished 2: Among Reviewers

#13

Post by Apollo the Just » Mon Jun 29, 2020 12:44 pm

WEW!!! Okay, I wanted to post this yesterday when I finished, but it was like midnight and I have work today so I thought trying to type out an essay on my thoughts was a bad idea. That was probably wise.

Yesterday evening I finished my very first-ever single-segment Tales of Symphonia New Game speedrun. This was an exhilarating experience for a lot of reasons, and I think the biggest one is being 5 hours into a 7.5 hour run and instead of simply having the fear of "am I going to choke or throw and lose this pace", there is the additional fear of "am I going to LITERALLY DIE", which in a game that has save points and doesn't let you re-try battles, means if you don't want to lose your entire run you have to go out of your way to save. I did one safety save before the Coliseum fight because I wiped there in a practice segment run, but other than that I was going all-in for the Fast and not the Safe.

New Game is a really interesting category because by the end of it you are almost as stupidly overpowered as you are in NG+ (para ball is broken, rising punishment is broken, and if you are good at using demon fangs to tech-up or dropping your combo and keeping stagger, then you can beat almost anything); but the difference is you are an entire party of glass cannons. You are under-leveled and spend NO money or title stat boosts on defense because of limited resources, so everyone is absolutely STACKED in terms of dps but can get two-shot by almost any of the bosses. So if you're good at keeping bosses locked down, you're fine, but if you let up or get trolled by **** ery, it can get real bad real fast.

You also have to be a lot more adaptable in this category. A big example is there are specific end-game techniques you will want; so a lot of the routing is around getting in 50 uses in the low-level techs so by certain level thresholds the character can learn the next level techs etc. Also, you get XP boosts by getting higher combos, so there are notes for example you want a combo of at least this many hits to get an XP boost so Colette reaches this level by this bossfight and can learn Para Ball. The entire Iubaris fight is basically just spell canceling while you have Lloyd throw orange gels on Colette while she spams Pow Hammer a thousand times to get the uses in. But here's where adaptability comes in - it is complete luck WHEN a character decides they want to learn the technique. So there is a segment circa the Asgard Ranch where a thousand people are learning a thousand techs and you have to basically adapt your menuing around when they decided to learn crap. Clear Colette's Up+B for para ball later, but only after she has learned both Item Thief and Ring Whirlwind; you also want to turn off Genis's Grave when he learns that, and ideally you consolidate both of those BUT you also have to menu to give Sheena her new weapon so maybe you do one of those earlier and the other later.

In my run yesterday, Lloyd learned Double Demon Fang later than he usually does, and there are 3 things you have to do when he learns it: change Kratos's macro to DDF, turn off Lloyd's Demon Fang AND Double Demon Fang, AND update Lloyd's button mapping to replace down and side-B with DDF. But because my brain and notes had already gotten past that part, I only remembered to update the macro and turn off the techs; I completely forgot to update the button mapping, and as a result there were 2 fights that got a bit screwed up because I didn't have the added damage from the better tech (and the double tech-up opportunity). Also, Genis did NOT learn Stone Blast in any of the fights he is supposed to, so I scrapped the S-type Genis Grave strats entirely and just had him on Stone Blast the whole run - he literally learned it so late that he got enough fireball uses that he learned Eruption on Disk 2 (that should never happen).

There's a lot of factors to balance when building your party from the ground up. Character stat growth is determined by their titles, so you want to get their best titles as early as you can, which in a lot of cases means you have to play well - so there's a snowball effect, where if you don't play well enough to get the good titles early your characters suck and it gets harder. For example, Lloyd's best viable title is Combo Expert, which is a title you get for getting a 60-hit combo.... which you only get if you already have the 10-hit combo and 30-hit combo titles previously. So there is routing around getting the 60-hit combo on Iapyx, which roughly can be summed up as follows:

1. Get Combo Newbie in the early tutorial fights (if you do a 3 neutral hit into Demon Fang while you macro Genis, Colette should interrupt it to keep up the combo virtually every time for a free 10 hits). You have 3 tutorial fights to get this on and it's pretty free.

2. Get Comboist before Iapyx. In a god run, you get this on Vidarr by just not dropping your spell cancel AT ALL. It is expected on most runs you will probably get it on Botta or Ktugach, or at the latest, on Sheena 1 because her guardian is VERY lenient with when it resets the combo counter and you can get 30 hits almost every time. The absolute last opportunity is Windmaster. If you don't have 30 hits by Windmaster, your run is basically dead because Iapyx is REALLY the only viable early option for the 60 hit title.

3. On Iapyx, get a high 40's combo, do a unison attack, Demon Fang to tech-up, and then continue the combo into 60+. This is significantly easier said than done because Iapyx is an overpowered piece of ****, but the good news is all of the AI attacks (sword rain, fire ball, angel feathers) are multi-hit so if you just keep your focus on locking him down so you don't die, you should get at least 1 opportunity in the fight.

I actually had to reset a run because I didn't have Comboist after Windmaster. That's just how it goes.

--

Another interesting thing is being mindful of using the Unison Attack. There are a few fights you ABSOLUTELY NEED it for (Iapyx for the combo, Rodyle for his gravity well memes, Mithos for his Retribution, Efreet because he is Efreet), but the rest of the time it is a tool that is at your disposal to be smart with. Some fights you CAN'T use it for because the next fight you do need it (such as Celsius), but the rest of the time it's something you can use as a reaction if a fight does some real BS. The only reason I didn't wipe on Kvar was because I pulled a unison out of my ass after we ran out of healing items (expected) and couldn't keep him locked down (not expected). It's kind of stressful in a way, having to just react in the moment to not die, but it's also fun.

Honestly, the whole run had a lot of very scary almost-****-shows, but I think the fact that I didn't actually wipe at any of them shows I'm getting much better at the game. I had the WORST Iapyx start I've had in a LONG time, but not only did I survive we also got a 60 hit combo (by pure luck - we missed it on the first unison but Colette's luck based combo EX skill kept the gauge full so we got a second shot). On a few fights some party members were dead at the end - which you DO NOT WANT BECAUSE THEY LOSE STATS - but in those cases it was never the important party members, just Sheena twice and Genis once, so it didn't really lose any time.

--

It's kind of cool to remember how progression of stats and abilities is "supposed" to go in this game because I am so used to playing exclusively new game + files with really busted abilities and **** from the get-go. There's routing around picking up EX gems when they become available and building characters to be as optimized as they can be as early as possible. I think the layout of EX gems is actually really well balanced, the number that are available is reasonable for your party (and late game party members have more gems to start with), and once it reaches a point where you can have super OP builds on some of them you just feel really godly. When you finally put Concentrate on Raine and Battle Cry on Colette it's like, hell yeah, alright, we in this babey. And when Presea finally busts out Rising Punishment after hours of macroing Punishment and Dual Punishment. The exhilaration! Like okay, now it is time to M u r d e r.

I absolutely adore this game. This isn't news to anybody. But whereas getting really good at NG+ made me feel like I got really good at exploiting everything about it to the absolute maximum, doing a NG run that is actually completely decent for a first attempt made me feel like I'm actually just good at this game. There is so much to keep track of that to actually get through over 7 hours of that **** without wiping or making any huge mistakes, that is honestly a feat. I'm pretty stoked about it.

Like, the Yuan and Botta fight can go real bad real fast unless you keep Yuan absolutely locked down singlehandedly with your spell cancel. That fight is a great example of "if you are good, you survive, if you are mediocre, you die." Now, if I was BETTER, I wouldn't have had so many scary close calls, but I survived all of my scary close calls so I would say that is certainly something.

NG is more punishing and more interesting than NG+. It's also less optimized because it's impossible for it to be as optimized because of the nature of it - random **** is gonna happen and you gotta deal with it.

I want to go back to NG+ eventually, but I think I will spend a bit more time really grinding NG and trying to actually get a good time first.

7:29:22 babey. Missed 3rd place by literally 2 seconds. In a run that is over 7 hours long. Do you ever just. :p

ANYWAY, my review of this game is: rewarding to master/10

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Re: Review the Last Game You Finished 2: Among Reviewers

#14

Post by X-3 » Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:09 pm

Sounds crazy. What's the boss RNG like, are there any that can just wipe you out if they feel like it or are they all manageable with good execution?

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Re: Review the Last Game You Finished 2: Among Reviewers

#15

Post by I am nobody » Fri Jul 03, 2020 10:46 am

51. Yadokari Survival (6/26) (PC)

Yadokari means hermit crab, but for whatever reason they don't translate it in the English title. Which is fitting, I guess, because they also use "survival" in English in the Japanese title.

Anyway, it's a game about being a hermit crab and throwing your shell at evil invading octopi. It's really short, but the level design is occasionally clever and you can't ask for much more from a $2 game. Although there's no English localization right now, the story is honestly nothing particularly worthwhile, so it could be worth a look for some quick arcade silliness even if you won't be able to read anything.

It's also got a bonus challenge campaign that looks to be as long as the real one. I'd had enough of the game and didn't bother, but there's probably another 30 minutes to an hour there if you want it.

52. Bus Driver (7/2) (PC)

I played a lot of this in middle school because you could access it for free on Big Fish Games. Couldn't resist the nostalgia when I saw it was part of the summer sale.

Anyway, you drive some buses around the finest city the Euro Truck Simulator people could make in 2007 and, like in ETS, are supposed to obey traffic laws. Supposed to. It turns out that the bonus points you get for being on time and delivering passengers generally outweigh the penalties you get for driving like a maniac as long as you're using your turn signals and not going out of your way to hit things. I accidentally lost control and hit a wall at 50 mph at one point, which resulted in losing points equivalent to delivering one passenger. Finishing on time makes up for hitting 10 cars.

Still, as silly as the scoring system is, the game itself requires just enough focus to make it a perfect podcast game. My only real complaints are that it seems impossible to be on time in some places even driving recklessly and that the final level, which takes 55 minutes to finish if you're obeying the time table, is several times longer than it should have been. Even the 20 minute levels should honestly have been shorter.

53. Feather (7/3) (PC)

Fly around an island as a bird. There's nothing to do except make change the music by flying through gates and hitting a handful of objects that make a bit of music. You can see everything in about a half hour. Normally I'd refund something like this, but it's a really pretty game and I think I got just enough out of that half hour while finishing a book to justify $4.

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Re: Review the Last Game You Finished 2: Among Reviewers

#16

Post by DarkZero » Fri Jul 17, 2020 11:42 pm

Spongebob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Bottom (GCN)

I had heard a lot about this game and how a lot of people enjoyed it, so when THQ Nordic announced a remastered version for current gen, I was excited to try it for the first time. But after finally getting my hands on BFBB Rehydrated, I had some mixed feelings on what I was playing. Curious about the original, I decided to boot it up on my Wii through Nintendont to try it out (hey I technically bought the game I think I'm in the clear ethically). This is the version that I actually finished my playthrough on.

Battle for Bikini Bottom is a 3D platformer with an emphasis on collecting items. It reminds me a lot of games like Banjo-Kazooie, in a good way. The goal of the game is to collect Golden Spatulas, which is like this game's versions of stars or jiggies or whatever. Some are out in the open and only require you to play through the level normally to be rewarded, and some require taking on side missions from NPCs or exploring off the beaten path. There are 100 total in the game, but only 75 are required to beat it. There are also socks to collect, which are often hidden in hard-to-reach areas or offered as rewards for certain tasks. These are like blue coins in Super Mario Sunshine, in that you trade them to Patrick 10 at a time for a Golden Spatula. There's also spatulas to be earned by trading in Shiny Objects (this game's currency) to Mr. Krabs. They get progressively more expensive each time, so 100%ing this game will likely require some grinding.

You primarily play as Spongebob, but certain levels also have you switch to Patrick or Sandy to complete certain objectives and clear sections of the level. Spongebob definitely has the richest moveset of the three, but Sandy is also a fun character with the ability to hover, grapple onto hooks, and lasso enemies from a distance. Patrick can throw things, and also stun enemies with his belly flop. Admittedly not as interesting to play as, but he's utilized well enough when he's required. The controls are very solid, though I sometimes felt like the characters run speeds were just slightly too slow for my liking.

One of the things I loved most about this game is how Spongebob's moveset expands as you progress through the game. The hub world is split into three parts, and upon unlocking the second part, you gain access to the Bubble Bowl, in which Spongebob can charge up and shoot a bowling ball. The aiming system is strange at first but becomes very satisfying to master, and a lot of the fun with the game comes from nailing trick shots to take out enemies from a distance. The second upgrade gives you the Cruise Bubble, which is a manually-guided missle with five seconds of flight time that explodes on whatever it hits. You can use this to hit enemies and switches from a distance, as well as destroy the Stone Tikis without the assistance of a Thunder Tiki. It's fun to use this in earlier levels and easily dispatch enemies that originally gave you a hard time.

The levels are generally well-designed. They're somewhat linear, in that there's usually a clear path through the level, though there are lots of opportunities to go off the path and explore other areas and find secrets, and the levels always loop around in the end. It hits a good balance of openness and structure, so whatever kind of platformer you enjoy, it's likely to satisfy you. The levels also offer a fair bit of variety; some are straightforward platforming, but some require more exploration or puzzle-solving. One of my favorite sections in the game is one of the later levels having a long puzzle segment involving using limited resources and character switching to collect items. It really gets you to flex your brain. There's also another level that's entirely built around sliding sections (think the slides in SM64) that tests your reflexes and quick-thinking ability.

The difficulty curve feels fair throughout, nothing feels like it gets too hard too soon. But that doesn't mean this game doesn't get challenging. Hoo boy. Some of the later levels will have you sweating. But don't worry too much, because checkpoints and warps are common enough that a death won't set you back too far.

The writing is another one of the game's high points. This game was made in 2003, and the writing is reflective of this classic era of Spongebob wit. There were a couple instances playing this game where I would chuckle out loud at a joke. Some of the jokes are adaptations of jokes from the show, while many are new for this game. Most of the major voice cast reprise their roles here, however, a few like Clancy Brown for Mr. Krabs or Ernest Borgnine for Mermaid Man were absent and are voiced by a stand-in. Both of these roles were played by Joe Whyte, who does his best but sounds nothing like either of these characters (admittedly though his take on Mermaid Man is amusing enough on its own). As a fan of Spongebob, I was very pleased with the dialogue in this game.

The visuals here are... decent. The level design does a good job conveying Bikini Bottom accurately, and many of the characters have amusing animations. However, many textures look flat and the color palette can look a bit washed out at times. I can't fault it too much because it's a Gamecube game made on a relatively small budget, but having seen the Rehydrated version, it's a pretty stark contrast.

The soundtrack to this game is very solid. A lot of it feels like exactly what you would expect from Spongebob; a lot of ukuleles, accordians, and such, but there's also some surprising variety like techno and synthrock and intense orchestra. The hub world theme is SO catchy and infectious, and just makes me feel nice and warm inside. There's a few other standout tracks, such as the boss music, Flying Dutchman's Graveyard, and the final boss theme in particular.

The issues I had with this game are generally the same issues I have with a lot of these 3D platformers from this era, which is that they can be unneccessarily frustrating at times and sometimes force you to start a long process over again every time you fail. Enemies can be placed in very inconvenient places during platforming sections which make you fail more than you should, and some of the slide sections can be ridiculously difficult (looking at you, Kelp Forest).

That said, the game is fun enough in spite of its problems that I feel comfortable recommending it to anyone who's a fan of Spongebob or 3D platformers. I'm glad I finally got around to playing it, and I can definitely see why its popular enough to warrant a remake. It's just a blast to play.



Battle for Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated (Switch)

This is basically the same game so most of what I talked about above applies here. This is more for comparison's sake and whether or not I would recommend this version.

I'm honestly just glad that this exists. I'm glad a licensed Spongebob game proved popular enough to warrant a remake. And I gotta say, the absolute biggest thing this version has going for it is how GORGEOUS it is. Not only do environments look more vibrant and busy than ever, but the character models and animations look SO good. Everyone is much more expressive in this version, and the mouth movements even match their speech! The game looks fantastic.

Does it play well? Ehhh. There are definitely some QoL changes, both within the presentation and the gameplay (for instance, Sandy and Patrick now have mid-air attacks they didn't have which makes combat with them a lot easier). But then there's odd gameplay quirks that make things more frustrating than they were originally. Like if Spongebob tries to jump from a platform that's moving downward, he gets very little upward momentum, which actually borks a lot of platforming segments that were totally fine in the original.

There are some other odd changes that don't feel entirely purposeful, like the Cruise Bubble control being tied to whatever your camera settings are. And the Switch version specifically has a very odd button layout, where the A and B buttons are swapped from what they normally should be, meaning that you press A to jump but Y to attack. You can change the button mapping on Switch to remedy this, but it's still bizarre.

The framerate gets pretty bad, fairly consistently. They've improved it quite a bit on Switch with the latest patch, though it can still tank in certain areas (the slide sections on Sand Mountain are hit hard by this, which is really unfortunate because these require good reflexes).

The load times are also a huge problem. When you die in the original, you get put back on stage by Hans (the realistic sailor hand cutout), which takes a couple seconds. In this game, every time you die, the game has to reload, which can take up to 10 seconds, IN ADDITION to the Hans animation. Every. Time. And keep in mind that this game gets pretty challenging and you can be dying a lot in later levels. It bloats the whole experience and you're likely to spend more time in loading screens than actually playing.

Oh there's also a multiplayer mode, a horde mode featuring a cut boss from the original game, AND it lets you play as some of the NPCs like Squidward, Mr. Krabs, Robo-Plankton, and even Gary. It's fine, not all that interesting, but I think its worth it for the novelty of playing as **** Gary.

Overall, I just don't think I can recommend this version of the game. I love that it exists, and visually it's absolutely gorgeous. But in most other areas, it's kind of a botched port. I believe this game had to be rushed out to coincide with a Spongebob movie that was put on streaming services, which makes me sad because I think this game could have been so much better with just a few more months in the oven. I'd say if you really wanna play this game, you'd have a better experience with the 2003 version.

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Re: Review the Last Game You Finished 2: Among Reviewers

#17

Post by DarkZero » Tue Aug 04, 2020 4:21 pm

The Spongebob Squarepants Movie (GCN)

So after 100%ing Battle for Bikini Bottom four times in a row, I needed something new to play, so I turned to the Spongebob Movie game. It was made by the same developers and uses the same engine as BFBB, but it's more of a linear platformer with more of an emphasis on combat. I'm going to be making a lot of comparisons to BFBB so hopefully you're familiar with that game, or at least my review of it.

Like I said, the game is much more linear than the previous game, which makes sense considering that it's following the plot of the movie and it wouldn't make sense to have a hub world or anything like that. There are still off-the-path areas and secrets in the levels, but generally speaking the levels are more in the "point A to point B" style and don't loop around like BFBB's levels did. After completing a level, you move right on to the next one.

Many concepts from BFBB return, but reformatted to fit the context of the Spongebob movie. The golden spatulas are replaced with Goofy Goober tokens, and instead of socks, the rarer collectible item is now a treasure chest. Each treasure chest offers some sort of extra, be it an alternate costume, new sound effects, movie trailers, concept art, etc., which is really neat and gives you more of an incentive to collect them besides needing them for spatulas like socks did.

Most of Spongebob's moves return from BFBB, although recontextualized to fit the movie better (for instance, the Cruise Bubble has been replaced with Sonic Wave, which functions identically but now uses a sound wave from a guitar instead of a bubble missile). Patrick, arguably the least-interesting character in BFBB, now has a much more expanded arsenal to prop him up as an equal counterpart to Spongebob. The addition of a Diddy Kong-style cartwheel is a brand-new addition for Patrick, which imo makes him a much more fun character to use. Also, as Sandy isn't playable in this game, Patrick inherited her ability to grapple in the form of his tongue sticking to floating ice blocks.

The currency system now works as a form of XP, where reaching specified amounts gives you a stat point to boost any of your attacks or increase your health meter. Each attack gets buffed in different ways, though some are more creative than others. For instance, the upgraded version of Spongebob's Bash lets him stick a mine on the underside of enemies and detonate it remotely, which has some interesting applications. But then some upgrades for other attacks just increase the attack radius, which is useful, but doesn't add much strategy. But overall, I love how they handled the changes to combat.

The boss fights in this game are actually really fun across the board, which is a huge improvement, since I thought the boss fights were one of the weakest parts of BFBB. They're much more interactive and let you control the pace of the fight more.

Aside from standard levels and boss fights, the other level types are slide levels and driving levels. The slide levels are generally pretty good, it basically takes the slides from Sand Mountain in BFBB and fleshes them out into full levels. I don't have much to say about them, they're just fun downhill courses. My only criticism with these levels is that the camera is just a little too low and the character models can obscure things that are right in front of you.

The driving levels... I don't like these. The Patty Wagon has a noticable delay when turning that makes handling more difficult than it should be (iamnobody would probably like it though). I kinda got used to it after a while, but I never felt like I had very good control of the car.

The writing is generally pretty good, there were a couple of times when I actually laughed out loud. I'm legit surprised they actually managed to get all the voice actors from the movie, including Scarlett Johansson and Jeffery Tambor (though David Hasselhoff I guess didn't sign off on his likeness so they had to skirt around that aspect of the movie). Many of the instances of recounting scenes from the movie are done by the French narrator talking over still images. Some of them are directly from the movie, and some are stock art pasted over oil paintings. You can tell the difference and it's STARK. Overall the story presentaion reeks of "no budget left" and is one of the weaker parts of the experience.

I actually really like the visual style of this game. It uses many of the same models and assets from BFBB, but the eerie, more atmospheric environments of the movie are really well-represented here. There's a lot of really nice lighting in this game, and the Shell City level does a really good job of looking photorealistic by Gamecube standards.

The music in this game is good. More rock-centric than you might expect, but also some atmospheric stuff in the later levels, a bluegrass-y tune that plays during the driving segments, and the Goofy Goober theme that literally feels like you're going insane and WILL get stuck in your head.

Overall, it was a fun game. It definitely takes a different direction than BFBB, but they did a good job taking the core gameplay and adapting it to a very different kind of game. I can't say that I'm quite as enamored with this one as I was with BFBB, since I generally prefer more open, exploration-oriented 3D platformers, but it's still a very well-made game and I did enjoy my time with it.

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Re: Review the Last Game You Finished 2: Among Reviewers

#18

Post by CaptHayfever » Wed Aug 05, 2020 2:43 pm

DarkZero wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 4:21 pm
The music in this game is good. More rock-centric than you might expect, but also some atmospheric stuff in the later levels, a bluegrass-y tune that plays during the driving segments, and the Goofy Goober theme that literally feels like you're going insane and WILL get stuck in your head.
Makes sense, the soundtrack to the movie was killer (including a lot of original recordings from the Flaming Lips, The Shins, Motorhead, et cet).

And remember, "I'm-a Luigi, number one!"

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Re: Review the Last Game You Finished 2: Among Reviewers

#19

Post by DarkZero » Mon Aug 10, 2020 5:16 pm

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 (Gamecube)

I'll try to keep this shorter since I assume most people understand at least the gist of the THPS games. The big new additions to gameplay here are spine transfers and flatland tricks.

THPS4 has a unique career mode, effectively a bridge between the classic THPS formula and Underground's story mode. THPS4 introduced the concept of individual goals that you activate by talking to NPCs throughout the level, rather than giving them all to you at once with a timer. Unlike THUG, however, there is no story moving things along, so once you enter a level, you have most of the goals available to find immediately (pro goals are unlocked once you reach a certain threshhold of progression that adds 5 additional, more difficult goals to levels you've already beaten).

This is nice in the sense that you can tackle things at your own pace, without being rushed by a game timer or being slowed down by story beats. Of course, being more accustomed to Underground, it felt weird that there was no story forcing me to move along. This is neither praise nor criticism, just something interesting I noticed based on my own personal experience with the franchise.

Compared to THPS3, the levels in 4 are slightly larger, with landmarks spaced further apart. I suppose this makes sense for the debut of flatland tricks, as having a clear stretch for manuals might be desirable. It's not a bad design choice per se, but it can make levels feel a bit more sparse than other games. Worth noting that some goals can cause new objects like ramps and slopes to become permanently added to the level, which is an interesting concept, but the harsh reality is that it can also ruin lines that would have worked before.

Something I really enjoyed was finding all the cash in each level. They're spread about the level, some easier to reach than others. They are often placed in specific spots that you can only reach by doing specific lines, so it encourages you to really explore each level and what it has to offer. Cash can be used to purchase clothes, bonus levels, skaters, and even cheats.

The soundtrack is of course a solid THPS soundtrack of punk rock and hip hop. The only song that seems somewhat out of place is TNT by ACDC, although they used it in the game's intro and did a pretty good job syncing the action to the song's beats, so I'll give it a pass.

Overall, THPS4 is a unique entry in the Tony Hawk series, and it was fun to see which ideas would become fleshed out in later iterations and which ones were abandoned. Worth checking out if you haven't already.

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Re: Review the Last Game You Finished 2: Among Reviewers

#20

Post by CaptHayfever » Mon Aug 10, 2020 8:40 pm

spine transfers
I mean, if you're landing your tricks correctly, your spine should be fine, right?

And remember, "I'm-a Luigi, number one!"

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