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CleoTheWizard CleoTheWizard @lemmy.world

Hi, I’m Cleo! (he/they) I talk mostly about games and politics. My DMs are always open to chat! :)

Posts 14
Comments 425
Bethesda Officially Becomes the First Microsoft Game Studio to Fully Unionize - IGN
  • That’s already going to happen. Bethesda is a washed up game studio at this point

  • Bethesda Game Studios workers have unionized
  • This is what’s next for Bethesda, but it’s smart of them to only unionize after Bethesda has started on their next “independent” project. It all depends on how ES6 does. If it isn’t a smash hit with decent reception, Bethesda will be absorbed into Microsoft I guarantee it

  • Hunter Biden cites Trump ruling in seeking dismissal of gun and tax cases
  • It’s not that the special counsel themselves is elected, they’re all appointed. But rather that some of them haven’t been elected at any point which is different. Basically she said that the public never chose to give some of these people power at all so they shouldn’t hold any.

    It doesn’t make any sense but it doesn’t need to. It just needs to cancel trumps case while keeping a way for special counsel to exist

  • "America First" foreign policy: JD Vance wants to abandon Ukraine but bomb Mexico and Iran
  • It’s both actually. Obviously if you make drugs more rare, the price goes up. And when the price goes up, there will always be an amount of people that cannot pay it. The problem is that they’re then usually pushed to do something cheaper, but if the cheaper drugs are less likely to harm people, that can be a win.

    Cutting supply isn’t everything, but it isn’t nothing. Part of the current problems are actually worse though because the worse drug is being added to a lot of other drugs that already have demand. So in this case it would help a lot more than usually because the dangerous substance isn’t necessarily what the addiction is for.

  • Joe Biden reportedly more open to calls for him to step aside as candidate
  • I feel like any liberal voter with even mush between their ears should realize that Biden completing a full term is not overwhelmingly likely and we’d get Harris anyways.

  • Joe Biden reportedly more open to calls for him to step aside as candidate
  • Not to mention her platform is going to be very similar to Bidens current platform but with some improvements as you pointed out. Which means she will likely retain all of the current voting platform and then gain the people who like the platform but are voting based on age related stuff.

    You can put literally anyone up there that is below the age of 65 and they should have no issue convincing moderates that their 80 year old Republican candidate has soup for brains.

  • Hunter Biden cites Trump ruling in seeking dismissal of gun and tax cases
  • I may have a flawed understanding, but I think it’s worse than that. She’s actually trying to get the case dismissed completely because of a catch she put in the special counsel stuff. That catch being that the thing that illegal about the special counsel is not the special counsel itself, but rather that the person pursuing special counsel should be an elected official.

    Now I think this still does a number on our legal system and I don’t know enough about Hunters counsel here to say if that applies, but this was suggested to her and it’s a way to target throwing out trumps specific case while retaining the right to use special counsel elsewhere.

    I wish I were joking but the Supreme Court can and likely will make yet another carve out in the law so that the law can survive but is severely crippled in a way that massively benefits Trump.

  • Why haven't car manufacturers standardized automatic brake lights when a built in accelerometer detects deceleration?
  • You’ve spelled out the entire problem but have come to incorrect conclusions. If you’re directly behind a car, it becomes hard to sense acceleration or deceleration of other vehicles. More importantly, the brake is often used to decelerate on highways and not initiate a stop. This all leads to a lot of confusion and ultimately crashes every year.

    The situations you mentioned are exactly the problem areas. Not accelerating it slowing down, often quite quickly, to make an exit. Dangerous. Going up a slope may or may not change speed, which needs to be known. Again dangerous. Same with downhill which is actually more dangerous not knowing how hard braking is happening.

    So we have the technology to fix this. We can invent either variable break lights that change brightness or zoned lights that tell you “I’m slowing down” versus “I’m braking hard”. We could fix this because cars are dangerous enough as is

  • Trump rally: American politics enters a dark and dangerous new chapter
  • Honestly it could’ve been a variety of factors. The gun shots came from 300 yards away (from early reports I’ve read). Meaning that the sound will be greatly diminished by that time. And I do see the crowd panic but again, they’re older. And slow. They also have no idea what to do because they can’t locate the fire. I think the guards that rushed in stopped a lot of them from leaving or going anywhere since they assumed the shots came from the crowd. I mean a minute after the shots you see guards with guns pointing into the crowd.

    This isn’t the first time I’ve seen a crowd freeze like this especially while seated. Humans are weird but if you’re standing, you flee. If you’re seated, you’re trapped and panic and freeze.

    I can tell you right now, I would’ve sat there frozen. No where to go, no cover to find, armed guards rushing in, return fire happening, etc.

  • Trump rally: American politics enters a dark and dangerous new chapter
  • The easy explanation is that literally zero of the people on video have ever been shot at before. So you can see the crowd not react, trump himself barely reacts. Then the crowd panics once they realize but most of them are older and have no where to go. The security also makes a big show of tackling Trump and they all fixate on watching that instead of running.

    So yeah it’s just everyday panic

  • Bernie Sanders urges Dems to 'stop the bickering' and back Biden
  • In my opinion, that press conference and the UN meeting killed the hope in my mind. How can we back a president that in the same day calls his political opponent his Vice President and then also introduces Zelensky as his wartime opponent on stage at the UN.

    There’s just no hope left for him. If they don’t swap him out, we lose. It’s as simple as that in my mind. The polls look awful so to run him you’d have to assume he won’t slip up like that again. Why would you?

  • Bernie Sanders urges Dems to 'stop the bickering' and back Biden
  • Well honestly it’s going to be a splash either way and the sooner they replace him, the better. Kamala is going to need more time to cook with and the sooner she can get out there, the sooner she can challenge Trump to a debate and flip this country around.

  • 'No one involved in the effort thinks he has a path': Biden insiders say the writing is on the wall
  • I mean it will almost certainly be Harris and then the news media would walk as close to the sexist line as they can with criticisms.

    Look at what’s already been said by her by normally left leaning outlets, they tear her down all the time

  • rultify
  • The problem is, anyone reasonable and informed is already convinced. The people you’re hoping to change their vote are not reasonable and all cite Bidens age as a primary issue. Biden is losing by greater than the margin of error in most of the swing states now and has been on the crap end of the polls this entire time. And lest we forget, the polls were wrong about the last two elections in the wrong way and underestimated Trump. So are we betting they are overcorrecting? I’m not.

    I mostly agree with you though. The Democratic Party is scared to pull him, especially this late, so they likely won’t. Despite the awful debate. The awful press conference. The huge mistake at the UN. None of that matters. He could crap his pants on live tv and they’d still run him.

    So we’re likely getting Biden no matter what and we’re going to lose, I don’t see many ways around that. It basically comes down to polls about a week from now because by then, project 2025 will be in the public conscious. If the public doesn’t change their vote over that, nothing will change it in my opinion.

    I personally think that the democrats are too unorganized to stop fascism and as fascists have taken over, they’ve only gotten weaker. This is no longer a scenario where we can avoid a temporary blow to the US. This is now a brace for impact scenario.

  • The last words my WWII veteran grandfather told me before he passed away were, "it's ok to elect a fascist as long as the other guy is slightly older."
  • Are you saying that we can rely on historical precedent to meaningfully inform us about the current election cycle? I feel like that illusion should be long gone in the Democratic Party.

    Look at just what happened this week. The press conference. The UN meeting. If we can’t swap, it’s a certain loss in my mind unless by some miracle people start caring about project 2025.

  • The last words my WWII veteran grandfather told me before he passed away were, "it's ok to elect a fascist as long as the other guy is slightly older."
  • It very much does not. Biden is set to lose to Trump already, his polls are not good and they’re all indicating Trump will win in all the swing states. And I doubt voters will change their minds about him after that debate.

    Kamala on the other hand already has name recognition, has a very similar platform and can take his over, and has all the funding.

    If they do not switch to Kamala, we will lose. Of that I am almost certain.

  • Harris Sharpens Her Attacks on Trump
  • I don’t know why this is so hard, I care very little about her as a person. Biden is mostly at the whim of his party already and Kamala would be too. So the platforms remain nearly the same, but somewhat better on critical things like Gaza.

    I don’t see how this is a loss for the dems to run her, they’re guaranteed in my mind to lose with Biden now. And you’re right, anyone who gets on stage and is younger than 65 against Trump will just trounce him. I was waiting for Biden to fight back just once against Trump but nope, he just sat there with his mouth open.

  • What happened to Lemmy Observer?
  • Oop nevermind, might’ve been my vpn blocking it

  • Nintendo Switch 2 performance boost to fall short of Valve's Steam Deck
  • Yes but the main reason those consoles were so shaky is specifically because they did not address a much younger audience. The original Wii kind of tried to but if you look at its best sellers, a ton of them were not aimed at adults.

    The same is true of the Wii U where rather than targeting that audience, they tried to pivot to a more adult console with games like the zombie launch title.

    So most of the success of the switch is just that it finally was a family console again. But keep in mind, they have nowhere to pivot to. That’s why the switch 2 is what it is and why it’s so late. They can’t afford a misstep and they also can’t afford to saturate the only market niche they have left.

  • Jon Stewart’s ‘told you so’ about Biden was the scolding we needed
  • Why is she an awful VP? I hear people say this all the time and never really substantiate it other than she’s awkward at public speaking sometimes. I genuinely don’t know much about her other than that.

    Plus she’s currently polled as the best replacement to Biden as it is right now. And personally I think that’s who Dems should go with if they actually want to win. I don’t see how you pull Biden back in the polls after that debate. You just don’t. So we have to clench our asses and hope those polls are wrong? It’s like watching a car crash in slow motion.

  • The Force Unleashed I/II was not as fun as I thought

    I’m not going to do a detailed write up on this but I’ve always heard that The Force Unleashed was a really good set of Star Wars games that are still worth playing today, if not for the game at least for the story. That wasn’t my experience at all.

    This is just my opinion and experience but the first game is awful to play in 2024. Most of your abilities miss the target every time. Picking up objects with the force has a 50% chance of picking up the wrong thing, sometimes from way off screen and often missing stuff in the foreground. Throwing them is also incredibly inaccurate, often times you’ll just throw things at walls or the sky. The combat isn’t balanced whatsoever and it’s basically unplayable at higher difficulties.

    Your force grab and throw abilities make most enemies pointless and your light saber does surprisingly little damage even with upgrades. Far better to just bounce people off the wall. Then what’s worse is later on they introduce shields that stop you from using the force on some enemies. They do pretty much the same but with the lightsaber getting blocked. Rather than encouraging variety, they just leave a giant hole in the combat. It’s dreadful. The mechs are also ridiculous to engage and can’t be engaged in melee should they stomp you to death. The even worser part is, the story is 6/10 interesting and the boss battles are a mess.

    Then the second game, oh boy. On PC it’s almost entirely broken. It crashes and most of the cutscenes don’t play unless you patch the game (I did) and even then, crashes happen often. I had about 10 over just 4-5 hours. Textures also glitch and slowdown is frequent. I played both games with a 60fps patch (necessary imo) and the performance issues exited with or without that patch. Awful.

    The good news is the second game has a decent story and surprising visuals. The combat is much improved and a lot more balanced honestly. It’s just that the gameplay is incredibly dated. The whole game is mostly just go to room, door is locked, enemies appear, you kill them, door unlocks, repeat until boss fight. There’s also platforming here which is.. bad. Inaccurate controls and imprecise movement makes that hell. So the second game is much better even with the issues, but I still barely had fun with it.

    Seems to me like these games rode by on the gimmick of the dark side and extreme power. In their time, both games were pretty good. All of my friends seemed to like them. But in this year? I don’t think there’s any reason to play the first, and only novelty in the second. Just watch the cutscenes are movies.

    I’m sure many people have nostalgia for this though. These games used to be more unique and the story was unusual for the time. Sadly we aren’t likely to see a continuation and finish to this series. Thoughts?

    16

    Hi-Fi Rush (A Patient Review)

    cross-posted from: https://lemmy.world/post/16914590

    > # What’s the rush? > > Hi-Fi Rush is a rhythm based third-person melee combat game that rewards you by landing your hits on the beat. From a list of flowing combos comes a catchy beat, skilled moves, and rocking visual effects. This is a masterpiece of a game and its stylistic characters banter in hilarious ways, its world comes together to feel alive, and its art style just never stops hitting those notes. If you want to know about the hype, let’s get into it. > > ## Music make you lose control > > This is what keeps the game together in a rhythm-based fighter, it’s the peanut butter that glues the bread into a sandwich. The music is phenomenal, I just need you to listen to it.This is what I’m talkin’ about. What’s missing from this though is the kicking beat that you make with your moves as you play. The game rewards you as you hit your combos by adding to the soundtrack, and it all works so so so well. > > ## Never stop fighting, rockstar > > Combat is the actual bread that makes our sandwich and this is what you spend most of the game doing. Each time you get locked in an arena, it’s intense and thrilling as you dodge enemy attacks, time your parries, and plan out elaborate combos to maximize your score. > > I can’t emphasize this enough though: you can be bad at this and still have an incredible amount of fun. I’ve always stayed away from games like DMC that require you learn combos but the list here is roughly 20 moves long at most and you learn them intuitively as you experiment. > > ## Enemies have legs or wheels or fire or.. > > One of the highlights of this game is the enemy design. Each enemy is distinct and it’s rare to see a game have this many types without feeling repetitive or copied. We’re talking shields, robo-bikes, owls, fire using boxer robots, samurai, fire owls?!, and many many more. Each feeling unique and requiring a different approach and more importantly, blending fantastically. The enemy variety in each arena gets really creative by the end and you really never stop adapting. > > ## Art so good, it gave me nostalgia > > That’s serious by the way, I got nostalgia for this game thinking about how amazing the art is. It feels like it’s from a past era and yet I also can’t think of anything like it. It’s so stylized but also never gets in the way of the gameplay. It will constantly add to your experience and honestly it’s just perfect, I need the merch. > > ## Video game stories are bad, this isn’t > > What you’ll notice about this story is that it’s both very simple and very effective. A good mark of storytelling is sometimes how complex a story can be while still having you follow along, this isn’t that. Instead it’s so good that the story is very simple and yet keeps you entertained and gives context and detail to everything you’re doing. > > The way they seem to have achieved this is by adding a lot of depth to their characters and giving them real personality. So even though the story is very simple in essence, you enjoy seeing what characters are going to say even in highly predictable moments. You know something is a trap, but the reactions to it are what you’re there for, not the plot point. It’s great. > > ## And the masterpiece award goes to.. > > I truly believe this game is a masterclass in game design in so many ways. Everything it attempts works really well and the only complaints I can even come up with is that I could’ve used just a couple more combos and the readability in combat suffers due to some of the effects and camera. Other than that this game is perfect in my eyes. > > It’s rare that I mark a game down as masterpiece but you absolutely should try this game. If you don’t, you’re missing out on something amazing that doesn’t come around very often. It’s also rare that I ever plan on replaying a game in the future, but I can already imagine rediscovering this game 5 years from now and picking it up for another playthrough. > > ## Addressing the coffin in the room > > Last things last, Tango Gameworks was shut down by Microsoft in May. This game is the last thing they produced and it really is a pity. They went out on one of the best games I’ve ever played and I was baffled to hear about their closure Please go play this game in honor of the loss of the studio, maybe then you can be as angry as I am at Microsoft if you aren’t already. > > That’s it for me though, I feel like I’ve really experienced something here and if you haven’t played this game, I want you to give it a shot. It’s charming, it’s fun, it’s thrilling, and a good listen always. > > If you played this, drop me a comment and share your thoughts. I’d love to hear what your experience is with rhythm games in general too. What else is good in the genre? > > Until next time.

    0

    Hi-Fi Rush (A Patient Review)

    What’s the rush?

    Hi-Fi Rush is a rhythm based third-person melee combat game that rewards you by landing your hits on the beat. From a list of flowing combos comes a catchy beat, skilled moves, and rocking visual effects. This is a masterpiece of a game and its stylistic characters banter in hilarious ways, its world comes together to feel alive, and its art style just never stops hitting those notes. If you want to know about the hype, let’s get into it.

    Music make you lose control

    This is what keeps the game together in a rhythm-based fighter, it’s the peanut butter that glues the bread into a sandwich. The music is phenomenal, I just need you to listen to it.This is what I’m talkin’ about. What’s missing from this though is the kicking beat that you make with your moves as you play. The game rewards you as you hit your combos by adding to the soundtrack, and it all works so so so well.

    Never stop fighting, rockstar

    Combat is the actual bread that makes our sandwich and this is what you spend most of the game doing. Each time you get locked in an arena, it’s intense and thrilling as you dodge enemy attacks, time your parries, and plan out elaborate combos to maximize your score.

    I can’t emphasize this enough though: you can be bad at this and still have an incredible amount of fun. I’ve always stayed away from games like DMC that require you learn combos but the list here is roughly 20 moves long at most and you learn them intuitively as you experiment.

    Enemies have legs or wheels or fire or..

    One of the highlights of this game is the enemy design. Each enemy is distinct and it’s rare to see a game have this many types without feeling repetitive or copied. We’re talking shields, robo-bikes, owls, fire using boxer robots, samurai, fire owls?!, and many many more. Each feeling unique and requiring a different approach and more importantly, blending fantastically. The enemy variety in each arena gets really creative by the end and you really never stop adapting.

    Art so good, it gave me nostalgia

    That’s serious by the way, I got nostalgia for this game thinking about how amazing the art is. It feels like it’s from a past era and yet I also can’t think of anything like it. It’s so stylized but also never gets in the way of the gameplay. It will constantly add to your experience and honestly it’s just perfect, I need the merch.

    Video game stories are bad, this isn’t

    What you’ll notice about this story is that it’s both very simple and very effective. A good mark of storytelling is sometimes how complex a story can be while still having you follow along, this isn’t that. Instead it’s so good that the story is very simple and yet keeps you entertained and gives context and detail to everything you’re doing.

    The way they seem to have achieved this is by adding a lot of depth to their characters and giving them real personality. So even though the story is very simple in essence, you enjoy seeing what characters are going to say even in highly predictable moments. You know something is a trap, but the reactions to it are what you’re there for, not the plot point. It’s great.

    And the masterpiece award goes to..

    I truly believe this game is a masterclass in game design in so many ways. Everything it attempts works really well and the only complaints I can even come up with is that I could’ve used just a couple more combos and the readability in combat suffers due to some of the effects and camera. Other than that this game is perfect in my eyes.

    It’s rare that I mark a game down as masterpiece but you absolutely should try this game. If you don’t, you’re missing out on something amazing that doesn’t come around very often. It’s also rare that I ever plan on replaying a game in the future, but I can already imagine rediscovering this game 5 years from now and picking it up for another playthrough.

    Addressing the coffin in the room

    Last things last, Tango Gameworks was shut down by Microsoft in May. This game is the last thing they produced and it really is a pity. They went out on one of the best games I’ve ever played and I was baffled to hear about their closure Please go play this game in honor of the loss of the studio, maybe then you can be as angry as I am at Microsoft if you aren’t already.

    That’s it for me though, I feel like I’ve really experienced something here and if you haven’t played this game, I want you to give it a shot. It’s charming, it’s fun, it’s thrilling, and a good listen always.

    If you played this, drop me a comment and share your thoughts. I’d love to hear what your experience is with rhythm games in general too. What else is good in the genre?

    Until next time.

    17

    A Patient Review of Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair

    cross-posted from: https://lemmy.world/post/16411001

    > ## Summary Time > The Impossible Lair is a 2D platformer with low complexity and fun characters than has you exploring levels to build up protection to take on a boss level that is available to you right from the start with all the moves unlocked. If you like a more relaxed platformer with decent explorations and puzzles, give this one a shot. However, if you're a platforming regular you should probably just stay away from this one as it doesn't invent anything new here. > > Now lets get in to it. > > ## Putting on the Rose Tinted Glasses > > I've grown up on platformers. Since I was young I've had every Crash Bandicoot game in my hands and just recently went back to 100% the first 3 games. I've also been playing them in 2D most of my life, starting out with Sonic on the GameBoy. In other words, I know what it is that makes these games work. So when I hear that this game is going to present the initial challenge to you at the start and make that the premise, I immediately assume that the difficulty will be that you need to unlock moves to progress. That isn't the premise. Instead, your basic moveset is unlocked immediately. > > So upon hearing that info you might think that its obvious, the game is going to teach you how to use this limited moveset in new ways to get you further into the lair. With ~20 whole levels to choose from and 2 variants of each level, there's a whole lot of level there to learn from. > > ## We Have Good Bones > > The good news here is that graphics are really great. They're much more cohesive than the 3D platformer in the series and they have a solid artstyle now. I can say much the same of the music, it isn't anything iconic but now the themes of visuals, music, and obstacles are all working together here. They really improved to say the least. The story is still as plain as ever and I have nothing to say about it. The characters however are also better. Most only have a few lines to say to you but hey, at least its interesting or funny most of the time. > > ## There was a mark and we missed it here > > I want to be clear, this game is very average in its space and that is really hard to achieve with a platformer. So take my criticisms with that in mind. I'll start off light on the devs here but when your main character is hit in this game, the bat flies off their head and starts flying around at random until you recapture it or it flies away. This serves as a 2-hit mechanic to make the game easier but I really hate it. Go ahead and imagine you're playing through a difficult scene and you get hit. Now, your momentum is all off as you halt your progress to recollect the bat. I think I died more times doing this than to an actual challenge or obstacle. Its odd from a gameplay design perspective because it changes the goals of the player and takes their mind completely out of what they're doing. > > Then lets talk about tech. For those that don't know, platformers often have a lot of "Tech" which describes how the moves given to you play into each other. They're sort've unstated combos. A typical example is Crash Bandicoot can slide before a jump to get extra distance off the ledge and height. He can also bodyslam at the top of a jump to get boxes barely beyond his reach. Mastering that tech is usually integral to skillful play of these games. > > The Impossible Lair has almost no tech. You can roll off of ledges like with crash but that is the only combo I know of in the whole game. The game makes use of that feature only a small handful of times. So you won't be learning very much at all about your moves the entire way through. This makes it more approachable to new platformer players, but entirely boring for everyone else. > > ## So Why Play the Levels? > > I wish I had a good answer for this but the real answer is that each level gives you a bee to be used on the boss level to protect from a hit. So to be clear, the Impossible Lair doesn't require you learn much of anything and the sole thing preventing you from completing it at the start is that the Lair is hard. Not the fun type of hard either, the type of hard where you take no hits during the skill section but misjudge a hitbox and take a hit getting too close to a spike. > > I identified that pretty early on and so it never felt like a goal for me. I just wanted to experience the levels, which I found were okay in fun, and then just slog my way through the final level. I'm not afraid of a challenge either, but this kind of game doesn't make the challenge interesting enough for me. > > ## Should you buy it? > > Again I'm going to say: if you have knowledge of other 2D platformers then this one is entirely unnecessary and will only serve to annoy you. However: This game is really perfect for a younger person. I know that games like Crash Bandicoot can get extremely hard. Its what they are known for. In my eyes though, this is a great game to teach someone how to play games without boring them to death. So it isn't for me at all. For someone who has played a lot of these, I'd say this sits around a 6/10 for me. This game does not compare well to any of the Crash games at all. However, for someone just learning this is probably one of the best games you can pick up to have them play before torturing them in It Takes Two! > > As always, if you took the time to read my review, thank you. I encourage you to share your thoughts about similar games you've played, my review, or if you plan on playing this one or have played it.

    2

    A Patient Review of Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair

    Summary Time

    The Impossible Lair is a 2D platformer with low complexity and fun characters than has you exploring levels to build up protection to take on a boss level that is available to you right from the start with all the moves unlocked. If you like a more relaxed platformer with decent explorations and puzzles, give this one a shot. However, if you're a platforming regular you should probably just stay away from this one as it doesn't invent anything new here.

    Now lets get in to it.

    Putting on the Rose Tinted Glasses

    I've grown up on platformers. Since I was young I've had every Crash Bandicoot game in my hands and just recently went back to 100% the first 3 games. I've also been playing them in 2D most of my life, starting out with Sonic on the GameBoy. In other words, I know what it is that makes these games work. So when I hear that this game is going to present the initial challenge to you at the start and make that the premise, I immediately assume that the difficulty will be that you need to unlock moves to progress. That isn't the premise. Instead, your basic moveset is unlocked immediately.

    So upon hearing that info you might think that its obvious, the game is going to teach you how to use this limited moveset in new ways to get you further into the lair. With ~20 whole levels to choose from and 2 variants of each level, there's a whole lot of level there to learn from.

    We Have Good Bones

    The good news here is that graphics are really great. They're much more cohesive than the 3D platformer in the series and they have a solid artstyle now. I can say much the same of the music, it isn't anything iconic but now the themes of visuals, music, and obstacles are all working together here. They really improved to say the least. The story is still as plain as ever and I have nothing to say about it. The characters however are also better. Most only have a few lines to say to you but hey, at least its interesting or funny most of the time.

    There was a mark and we missed it here

    I want to be clear, this game is very average in its space and that is really hard to achieve with a platformer. So take my criticisms with that in mind. I'll start off light on the devs here but when your main character is hit in this game, the bat flies off their head and starts flying around at random until you recapture it or it flies away. This serves as a 2-hit mechanic to make the game easier but I really hate it. Go ahead and imagine you're playing through a difficult scene and you get hit. Now, your momentum is all off as you halt your progress to recollect the bat. I think I died more times doing this than to an actual challenge or obstacle. Its odd from a gameplay design perspective because it changes the goals of the player and takes their mind completely out of what they're doing.

    Then lets talk about tech. For those that don't know, platformers often have a lot of "Tech" which describes how the moves given to you play into each other. They're sort've unstated combos. A typical example is Crash Bandicoot can slide before a jump to get extra distance off the ledge and height. He can also bodyslam at the top of a jump to get boxes barely beyond his reach. Mastering that tech is usually integral to skillful play of these games.

    The Impossible Lair has almost no tech. You can roll off of ledges like with crash but that is the only combo I know of in the whole game. The game makes use of that feature only a small handful of times. So you won't be learning very much at all about your moves the entire way through. This makes it more approachable to new platformer players, but entirely boring for everyone else.

    So Why Play the Levels?

    I wish I had a good answer for this but the real answer is that each level gives you a bee to be used on the boss level to protect from a hit. So to be clear, the Impossible Lair doesn't require you learn much of anything and the sole thing preventing you from completing it at the start is that the Lair is hard. Not the fun type of hard either, the type of hard where you take no hits during the skill section but misjudge a hitbox and take a hit getting too close to a spike.

    I identified that pretty early on and so it never felt like a goal for me. I just wanted to experience the levels, which I found were okay in fun, and then just slog my way through the final level. I'm not afraid of a challenge either, but this kind of game doesn't make the challenge interesting enough for me.

    Should you buy it?

    Again I'm going to say: if you have knowledge of other 2D platformers then this one is entirely unnecessary and will only serve to annoy you. However: This game is really perfect for a younger person. I know that games like Crash Bandicoot can get extremely hard. Its what they are known for. In my eyes though, this is a great game to teach someone how to play games without boring them to death. So it isn't for me at all. For someone who has played a lot of these, I'd say this sits around a 6/10 for me. This game does not compare well to any of the Crash games at all. However, for someone just learning this is probably one of the best games you can pick up to have them play before torturing them in It Takes Two!

    As always, if you took the time to read my review, thank you. I encourage you to share your thoughts about similar games you've played, my review, or if you plan on playing this one or have played it.

    3

    Yooka-Laylee: A Patient Gamer Review

    cross-posted from: https://lemmy.world/post/15468857

    > ## Summary > > This game is firmly in the collectathon platformer genre of games and seeks to outright revive the soul of Banjo-Kazooie and extract it into a new body. The fresh coat of paint with all new characters and modern graphical styling is an attempt to distance itself from retro aesthetics while keeping some charming aspects. Gone are the convoluted controls and returning are the random chirping noises for dialog. But is the upgrade from collecting the jiggies to ordering the pagies enough to make this title distinct? The soul of the collectathon is here, lets find out if it was worth the cost of digging it up. > > ## Controls > > I want to get this out of the way really quick and head off my review here by saying that the controls are good. They aren't amazing but since I'm going to largely be comparing this to games that just had their 25th anniversaries, I think its fair to say that controls are a real highlight for innovation here. With a similar number of buttons to the old N64 titles, we've packed in a lot of moves here and the flow is miles better. They aren't perfect however. > > My main gripe is just that they seem to have mapped controls in a retro way for nostalgia reasons and it holds the game back. Rather than triggering the moves organically through context, the left trigger is again used as a face button modifier. Jump with A, high jump with LT+A. Sonar ping with Y, Sonar explosion with LT+Y. They didn't need to do that but at least the animations are short to trigger so it isn't too painful. > > ## Characters: What did the evil Bee ever do to you? > > Lets talk about characters. This is par for the course if you're talking Banjo-Kazooie parody that the game NEEDS strong characters. So does this game have them? I'd argue it does not. It isn't even that I don't find the evil capitalist bee and his duck in a jar henchman to be unlikable, its just that they lack the personality and novelty that BK had. The evil witch in those games wasn't complicated, but the rhyming of their lines and personality really got sold in the dialog. Here you just have throwaway lines galore about money puns. I don't want to say that none of the characters have personality, but its a 7/10 effort for sure. > > That carriers over throughout the various worlds and main characters themselves. Banjo-Kazooie had a way with its humor of being dumb but delightful fun and really didn't stop you to embellish stupid puns. I won't harp on how I didn't find this game funny, but man when games miss the mark on charm, they really miss it by a mile. Unfortunately that's kind of the case here so don't show up for the characters. > > ## Gameplay: It blends right in > > I'll also keep this brief like the controls section. The game is good and the levels are pretty well laid out. They struggle to feel as integrated as BK though in the sense that each pagie is in its own area with its own objects. I remember how BK would use the same large centerpiece snowman for 3 or 4 jiggies, that just isn't here though. So like I said, it ends up feeling like each level is just a bunch of puzzles adjacent to each other, not cohesive at all. The themes really don't help that either as the themes only play into the gameplay of the level half of the time. > > ## Graphical Style: It looks like it plays, alright? > > The graphics in this game are actually pretty good and the game ran really well during my time with it at 1440p. That makes it a very good game to run on a steam deck and that is how I played about 50% of this game. The colors are bright and vibrant and its just a shame that it isn't more stylized. Believe it or not, I don't think the extreme crispness of the graphics help the game here. If you're especially brave though, there is an N64 graphics mode in the game which is a nice touch and brings in some of that charm. > > ## Wrapping this up > > Normally I keep my thoughts organized here but I think this game really deserves discussion so here goes. I went into this game expecting for the developers to have really done something with the formula. Lets be honest, this genre died because of a lack of innovation and intrigue. I was very surprised to play this and find that not only had the formula not really grown since the BK days of 1997, but this game had regressed it by quite a bit and I just really had to push through to finish it. > > The music isn't instantly classic like Banjo-Kazooie, instead it sounds mostly generic. The characters are much the same. BK always had a splash of absurdity but it also always had grounding in its world. Lacking that grounding here is absolutely killer and so each element of this game feels separate. The enemies in BK were always interesting. The obstacles also had personality. Banjo Kazooie had me fighting two dragons on the tops of volcanoes who both thought I was there to deliver them pizza. We never get anywhere close to those heights here sadly. You'll play through this game and without exaggerating I can say that you will wonder why there are even basic level enemies in this game at all. > > So what we're left with in Yooka-Laylee is a shell of what these games used to be. That isn't to say this is a bad game. It belongs in the genre 100% and its what the genre is all about. If you love collectathons and you don't want to replay BK games or want a modern version of this, I'll recommend this to you. Most people would have an alright time with this game and especially kids I think would love this if their attention can be kept by it. Those are my thoughts though, the game is decidedly average for me and I wish I could say otherwise. I respect the developers immensely for their work here. It takes a lot of work to even put most of the soul of BK into a game like this and so even if it didn't entirely land for me, I applaud them. Hopefully I feel very differently as I move onto Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair. > > Thanks for taking the time to read my review and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

    0

    Yooka-Laylee: A Patient Gamer Review

    Summary

    This game is firmly in the collectathon platformer genre of games and seeks to outright revive the soul of Banjo-Kazooie and extract it into a new body. The fresh coat of paint with all new characters and modern graphical styling is an attempt to distance itself from retro aesthetics while keeping some charming aspects. Gone are the convoluted controls and returning are the random chirping noises for dialog. But is the upgrade from collecting the jiggies to ordering the pagies enough to make this title distinct? The soul of the collectathon is here, lets find out if it was worth the cost of digging it up.

    Controls

    I want to get this out of the way really quick and head off my review here by saying that the controls are good. They aren't amazing but since I'm going to largely be comparing this to games that just had their 25th anniversaries, I think its fair to say that controls are a real highlight for innovation here. With a similar number of buttons to the old N64 titles, we've packed in a lot of moves here and the flow is miles better. They aren't perfect however.

    My main gripe is just that they seem to have mapped controls in a retro way for nostalgia reasons and it holds the game back. Rather than triggering the moves organically through context, the left trigger is again used as a face button modifier. Jump with A, high jump with LT+A. Sonar ping with Y, Sonar explosion with LT+Y. They didn't need to do that but at least the animations are short to trigger so it isn't too painful.

    Characters: What did the evil Bee ever do to you?

    Lets talk about characters. This is par for the course if you're talking Banjo-Kazooie parody that the game NEEDS strong characters. So does this game have them? I'd argue it does not. It isn't even that I don't find the evil capitalist bee and his duck in a jar henchman to be unlikable, its just that they lack the personality and novelty that BK had. The evil witch in those games wasn't complicated, but the rhyming of their lines and personality really got sold in the dialog. Here you just have throwaway lines galore about money puns. I don't want to say that none of the characters have personality, but its a 7/10 effort for sure.

    That carriers over throughout the various worlds and main characters themselves. Banjo-Kazooie had a way with its humor of being dumb but delightful fun and really didn't stop you to embellish stupid puns. I won't harp on how I didn't find this game funny, but man when games miss the mark on charm, they really miss it by a mile. Unfortunately that's kind of the case here so don't show up for the characters.

    Gameplay: It blends right in

    I'll also keep this brief like the controls section. The game is good and the levels are pretty well laid out. They struggle to feel as integrated as BK though in the sense that each pagie is in its own area with its own objects. I remember how BK would use the same large centerpiece snowman for 3 or 4 jiggies, that just isn't here though. So like I said, it ends up feeling like each level is just a bunch of puzzles adjacent to each other, not cohesive at all. The themes really don't help that either as the themes only play into the gameplay of the level half of the time.

    Graphical Style: It looks like it plays, alright?

    The graphics in this game are actually pretty good and the game ran really well during my time with it at 1440p. That makes it a very good game to run on a steam deck and that is how I played about 50% of this game. The colors are bright and vibrant and its just a shame that it isn't more stylized. Believe it or not, I don't think the extreme crispness of the graphics help the game here. If you're especially brave though, there is an N64 graphics mode in the game which is a nice touch and brings in some of that charm.

    Wrapping this up

    Normally I keep my thoughts organized here but I think this game really deserves discussion so here goes. I went into this game expecting for the developers to have really done something with the formula. Lets be honest, this genre died because of a lack of innovation and intrigue. I was very surprised to play this and find that not only had the formula not really grown since the BK days of 1997, but this game had regressed it by quite a bit and I just really had to push through to finish it.

    The music isn't instantly classic like Banjo-Kazooie, instead it sounds mostly generic. The characters are much the same. BK always had a splash of absurdity but it also always had grounding in its world. Lacking that grounding here is absolutely killer and so each element of this game feels separate. The enemies in BK were always interesting. The obstacles also had personality. Banjo Kazooie had me fighting two dragons on the tops of volcanoes who both thought I was there to deliver them pizza. We never get anywhere close to those heights here sadly. You'll play through this game and without exaggerating I can say that you will wonder why there are even basic level enemies in this game at all.

    So what we're left with in Yooka-Laylee is a shell of what these games used to be. That isn't to say this is a bad game. It belongs in the genre 100% and its what the genre is all about. If you love collectathons and you don't want to replay BK games or want a modern version of this, I'll recommend this to you. Most people would have an alright time with this game and especially kids I think would love this if their attention can be kept by it. Those are my thoughts though, the game is decidedly average for me and I wish I could say otherwise. I respect the developers immensely for their work here. It takes a lot of work to even put most of the soul of BK into a game like this and so even if it didn't entirely land for me, I applaud them. Hopefully I feel very differently as I move onto Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair.

    Thanks for taking the time to read my review and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

    12

    TOEM is an amazing game, here's why

    Summary

    TOEM is a pretty short indie game that revolves around taking pictures in order to complete quests in connected levels. The art and customization of both your character and the game world really stand out and this is an amazing title to play on the Steam Deck.

    A Camera Game???

    I cannot sing high enough praises for the use of cameras in video games when done properly. Whether its Dead Rising 1 or Pokemon Snap, cameras tend to be very engaging and this game handles it in a very unique way. This game somehow blends elements of integrating the world with your camera instead of the usual way of slapping on the feature.

    Most of what you'll be doing is just finding objects to snap a photo of and then doing so. The difference here is that the game both encourages and demands creativity. For instance, the photo filters and camera tripod are mechanics that must be engaged with to complete quests. The various hats your character can wear usually have gameplay elements.

    I'm not creative, does this game love me?

    I'm not a very creative person, I'm the type that wouldn't play this game just for the fun of taking pictures. I tend to be utilitarian in completing game objectives and yet I found myself exploring with TOEM and taking photos just for fun. There is no score on the photos and no point to taking random pics and yet there I was photographing myself with the incredibly cute characters.

    You'll start this game off thinking nothing of a lot of the photos you take and by the end you're really exploring. The levels progress in complexity which lets you take more interesting photos. You'll spend time collecting photos of every adorable animal in each level. Or maybe you'll be searching for hidden clues. Maybe you'll find a wacky character and strike a pose with them. This game actually makes you want to do those things and just have dumb fun with it.

    The kind of fetch quest photographers crave

    To tie it all together, the quests come in to really flesh out the experience and showcase fun and inviting things to do in the world of TOEM. Each level has very unique quests that range from finding ancient cave drawings to spotting mysterious monsters. None of the quests are too hard and none take too much time or overstay their welcome. Each level of 20 or so quests can be done in less than half an hour so you always feel like you're making progress.

    Final Thoughts

    If any of the above concepts sound at all interesting to you, go play this game. It's a short experience and you'll spend around 5 or so hours with it, all of the time having fun pushing forward through the quests. The art is amazing, the sound is just right and often relaxing, and I don't think you'll regret your time with this one. Tell me about your experiences with cameras in other games and what you think of it here. Also pick up the free demo on steam for the game if you're interested!

    !

    11

    Conker's Bad Fur Day: A Patient Gamer Review

    cross-posted from: https://lemmy.world/post/12495394

    > TL;DR This game is still really funny with crude humor that mostly holds up and gameplay that doesn't disappoint. Its showing some age but not enough to get in the way of the fun. If you're a fan of movies from around the year 2001, this is a must play. > > ## Introduction > An alchoholic squirrel platformer, an absurd scenario adventure, an excessive amount of swear words, a surprising amount of poop, more movie references than you can shake a stick at, and World War 2 are all shoved into a single N64 cartridge. What could go wrong? > > This is a departure for Rare into a game targeted at adult audiences after producing family friedly platformers for years. Don't let the cute and cartoonish exterior of this game fool you, you're in for a ride from the moment the game boots up. > > ## The Necessary Background > I think my enjoyment and perspective is relevant to my thoughts about this game so let me explain my biases here. As in previous reviews, this is not an attempt to talk about the game as it was 23 years ago. I'm placing this game in a modern context, especially since I never owned an N64 and wasn't apart of that era. This game is almost as old as I am, so keep that in mind. > > The other disclaimer here is that I am not big on movies and tv or pop culture from this era. I'll explain more later about references, but a lot of them flew over my head. It isn't a large problem but again keep this in mind. With that out of the way... > > ## Does the Game Play Itself? > No it doesn't. The gameplay here is fairly minimal coming off of the backs of the two Banjo-Kazooie games. No need to memorize complicated control layouts to progress. The controls here remain nearly the same throughout and lead to a pretty enjoyable, but simple, platforming experience. Most levels are fairly linear but aren't straightforward and require knowing your environment and exploring. > > That isn't saying the gameplay doesn't evolve. Most of the moves you have access to come from a pad you stand on to activate. These usually change your interactions with the environment in some way. They give you a slingshot or missile launcher or maybe a bottle of booze for a scarecrow. It takes a lot of the thinking out of the game and lets you sit back and enjoy the adventure. > > Previous games from the people at Rare had this feeling of a toolkit platformer where more tools were given to you but the tools you had stayed with you throughout the game. This led to complex controls and more often just meant that moves went underutilized or were shoehorned into levels. I appreciated the restraint shown here and to make use of the tools within each level only when needed. > > ## A Squirrel and the Princess > In regards to the story, there isn't much here beyond a vague scenario given to the player. The characters and levels do a great job of telling a narrative but the core idea of the game is that many different scenarios are stiched together. It leads to a lot of varience in the atmosphere of the game. > > Further backing that up is the soundtrack which, as usual, is something Rare did an amazing job with. When you enter an area made of entirely poop in the game, the main thing selling you on the disgust of it is the farts and burps in the music. And yes, I did just say that they are IN the music. I'll let you decide how to feel about that. > > ## Conker's Great Stand Up Routine > This is the part of the discussion that makes or breaks this game for me. Is this game funny? And if so, in what way is it funny? > > To answer the first question, it will be pretty subjective to you. I'll characterize the comedy by saying that it is crude and unsophisticated humor for the most part. Most of it holds up well considering comedy from the era and theres only a few things I'd say might cross the line with modern audiences. I thought most of the game was humorous, even if it didn't leave me on the floor crying from laughing. > > The absurd scenarios and chracters are refreshing compared to a lot of games that play it more safely nowadays. That said, the references for movies will play into how much you enjoy your time here. For myself, I'd say that I understood a small portion of the references though even reading about them didn't make me think I'd view them the same way today. > > For instance, there are short scenes where a movie scene is recreated and similar or exact lines are repeated as a reference. I found these amusing, but not funny per se. It ages similar to parody of anything else though. To give an analogy, it'd be like looking back on an SNL skit making fun of US president George Bush. You'd crack a smile, maybe laugh once or twice, but not like you would have while he was president. That being said, if Terminator, The Matrix, and Starwars are still fresh in your head you'll find this very amusing. > > ## Wrapping Up the Red Squirrel > There isn't too much else to say about this game. Its humorous in a simple way, it looks great and sounds great, and the gameplay is varied and interesting. The game is on the shorter side so its easy to recommend this one. For those who worry about the humor side of it, play the first hour of this one and you'll know quickly if it clicks with you or not. > > As a final wrap up, let me thank everyone who has been recommending me this game because I had a good time playing it. Let me know what your experience with this game was if you played it! > > Feel free to check out my previous posts for write ups on other Rare games! > > Banjo Kazooie Review > > Banjo Tooie Review

    7

    Conker's Bad Fur Day: A Patient Gamer Review

    cross-posted from: https://lemmy.world/post/12495394

    > TL;DR This game is still really funny with crude humor that mostly holds up and gameplay that doesn't disappoint. Its showing some age but not enough to get in the way of the fun. If you're a fan of movies from around the year 2001, this is a must play. > > ## Introduction > An alchoholic squirrel platformer, an absurd scenario adventure, an excessive amount of swear words, a surprising amount of poop, more movie references than you can shake a stick at, and World War 2 are all shoved into a single N64 cartridge. What could go wrong? > > This is a departure for Rare into a game targeted at adult audiences after producing family friedly platformers for years. Don't let the cute and cartoonish exterior of this game fool you, you're in for a ride from the moment the game boots up. > > ## The Necessary Background > I think my enjoyment and perspective is relevant to my thoughts about this game so let me explain my biases here. As in previous reviews, this is not an attempt to talk about the game as it was 23 years ago. I'm placing this game in a modern context, especially since I never owned an N64 and wasn't apart of that era. This game is almost as old as I am, so keep that in mind. > > The other disclaimer here is that I am not big on movies and tv or pop culture from this era. I'll explain more later about references, but a lot of them flew over my head. It isn't a large problem but again keep this in mind. With that out of the way... > > ## Does the Game Play Itself? > No it doesn't. The gameplay here is fairly minimal coming off of the backs of the two Banjo-Kazooie games. No need to memorize complicated control layouts to progress. The controls here remain nearly the same throughout and lead to a pretty enjoyable, but simple, platforming experience. Most levels are fairly linear but aren't straightforward and require knowing your environment and exploring. > > That isn't saying the gameplay doesn't evolve. Most of the moves you have access to come from a pad you stand on to activate. These usually change your interactions with the environment in some way. They give you a slingshot or missile launcher or maybe a bottle of booze for a scarecrow. It takes a lot of the thinking out of the game and lets you sit back and enjoy the adventure. > > Previous games from the people at Rare had this feeling of a toolkit platformer where more tools were given to you but the tools you had stayed with you throughout the game. This led to complex controls and more often just meant that moves went underutilized or were shoehorned into levels. I appreciated the restraint shown here and to make use of the tools within each level only when needed. > > ## A Squirrel and the Princess > In regards to the story, there isn't much here beyond a vague scenario given to the player. The characters and levels do a great job of telling a narrative but the core idea of the game is that many different scenarios are stiched together. It leads to a lot of varience in the atmosphere of the game. > > Further backing that up is the soundtrack which, as usual, is something Rare did an amazing job with. When you enter an area made of entirely poop in the game, the main thing selling you on the disgust of it is the farts and burps in the music. And yes, I did just say that they are IN the music. I'll let you decide how to feel about that. > > ## Conker's Great Stand Up Routine > This is the part of the discussion that makes or breaks this game for me. Is this game funny? And if so, in what way is it funny? > > To answer the first question, it will be pretty subjective to you. I'll characterize the comedy by saying that it is crude and unsophisticated humor for the most part. Most of it holds up well considering comedy from the era and theres only a few things I'd say might cross the line with modern audiences. I thought most of the game was humorous, even if it didn't leave me on the floor crying from laughing. > > The absurd scenarios and chracters are refreshing compared to a lot of games that play it more safely nowadays. That said, the references for movies will play into how much you enjoy your time here. For myself, I'd say that I understood a small portion of the references though even reading about them didn't make me think I'd view them the same way today. > > For instance, there are short scenes where a movie scene is recreated and similar or exact lines are repeated as a reference. I found these amusing, but not funny per se. It ages similar to parody of anything else though. To give an analogy, it'd be like looking back on an SNL skit making fun of US president George Bush. You'd crack a smile, maybe laugh once or twice, but not like you would have while he was president. That being said, if Terminator, The Matrix, and Starwars are still fresh in your head you'll find this very amusing. > > ## Wrapping Up the Red Squirrel > There isn't too much else to say about this game. Its humorous in a simple way, it looks great and sounds great, and the gameplay is varied and interesting. The game is on the shorter side so its easy to recommend this one. For those who worry about the humor side of it, play the first hour of this one and you'll know quickly if it clicks with you or not. > > As a final wrap up, let me thank everyone who has been recommending me this game because I had a good time playing it. Let me know what your experience with this game was if you played it! > > Feel free to check out my previous posts for write ups on other Rare games! > > Banjo Kazooie Review > > Banjo Tooie Review

    18

    Conker's Bad Fur Day: A Patient Gamer Review

    TL;DR This game is still really funny with crude humor that mostly holds up and gameplay that doesn't disappoint. Its showing some age but not enough to get in the way of the fun. If you're a fan of movies from around the year 2001, this is a must play.

    Introduction

    An alchoholic squirrel platformer, an absurd scenario adventure, an excessive amount of swear words, a surprising amount of poop, more movie references than you can shake a stick at, and World War 2 are all shoved into a single N64 cartridge. What could go wrong?

    This is a departure for Rare into a game targeted at adult audiences after producing family friedly platformers for years. Don't let the cute and cartoonish exterior of this game fool you, you're in for a ride from the moment the game boots up.

    The Necessary Background

    I think my enjoyment and perspective is relevant to my thoughts about this game so let me explain my biases here. As in previous reviews, this is not an attempt to talk about the game as it was 23 years ago. I'm placing this game in a modern context, especially since I never owned an N64 and wasn't apart of that era. This game is almost as old as I am, so keep that in mind.

    The other disclaimer here is that I am not big on movies and tv or pop culture from this era. I'll explain more later about references, but a lot of them flew over my head. It isn't a large problem but again keep this in mind. With that out of the way...

    Does the Game Play Itself?

    No it doesn't. The gameplay here is fairly minimal coming off of the backs of the two Banjo-Kazooie games. No need to memorize complicated control layouts to progress. The controls here remain nearly the same throughout and lead to a pretty enjoyable, but simple, platforming experience. Most levels are fairly linear but aren't straightforward and require knowing your environment and exploring.

    That isn't saying the gameplay doesn't evolve. Most of the moves you have access to come from a pad you stand on to activate. These usually change your interactions with the environment in some way. They give you a slingshot or missile launcher or maybe a bottle of booze for a scarecrow. It takes a lot of the thinking out of the game and lets you sit back and enjoy the adventure.

    Previous games from the people at Rare had this feeling of a toolkit platformer where more tools were given to you but the tools you had stayed with you throughout the game. This led to complex controls and more often just meant that moves went underutilized or were shoehorned into levels. I appreciated the restraint shown here and to make use of the tools within each level only when needed.

    A Squirrel and the Princess

    In regards to the story, there isn't much here beyond a vague scenario given to the player. The characters and levels do a great job of telling a narrative but the core idea of the game is that many different scenarios are stiched together. It leads to a lot of varience in the atmosphere of the game.

    Further backing that up is the soundtrack which, as usual, is something Rare did an amazing job with. When you enter an area made of entirely poop in the game, the main thing selling you on the disgust of it is the farts and burps in the music. And yes, I did just say that they are IN the music. I'll let you decide how to feel about that.

    Conker's Great Stand Up Routine

    This is the part of the discussion that makes or breaks this game for me. Is this game funny? And if so, in what way is it funny?

    To answer the first question, it will be pretty subjective to you. I'll characterize the comedy by saying that it is crude and unsophisticated humor for the most part. Most of it holds up well considering comedy from the era and theres only a few things I'd say might cross the line with modern audiences. I thought most of the game was humorous, even if it didn't leave me on the floor crying from laughing.

    The absurd scenarios and chracters are refreshing compared to a lot of games that play it more safely nowadays. That said, the references for movies will play into how much you enjoy your time here. For myself, I'd say that I understood a small portion of the references though even reading about them didn't make me think I'd view them the same way today.

    For instance, there are short scenes where a movie scene is recreated and similar or exact lines are repeated as a reference. I found these amusing, but not funny per se. It ages similar to parody of anything else though. To give an analogy, it'd be like looking back on an SNL skit making fun of US president George Bush. You'd crack a smile, maybe laugh once or twice, but not like you would have while he was president. That being said, if Terminator, The Matrix, and Starwars are still fresh in your head you'll find this very amusing.

    Wrapping Up the Red Squirrel

    There isn't too much else to say about this game. Its humorous in a simple way, it looks great and sounds great, and the gameplay is varied and interesting. The game is on the shorter side so its easy to recommend this one. For those who worry about the humor side of it, play the first hour of this one and you'll know quickly if it clicks with you or not.

    As a final wrap up, let me thank everyone who has been recommending me this game because I had a good time playing it. Let me know what your experience with this game was if you played it!

    Feel free to check out my previous posts for write ups on other Rare games!

    Banjo Kazooie Review

    Banjo Tooie Review

    13

    Banjo-Tooie Review

    See my Banjo-Kazooie review here

    DISCLAIMER: I'll start this review with the same disclaimer I gave last time. I enjoy retro games, but this is not a review from the reference of the release date. Meaning that I will mostly be looking at this game as it stands today since I don't have the context from release (I never owned an N64). That said, I'm not going to bash it for being old constantly or make points about graphics and such.

    Intro

    I'll start by saying that this is obviously another legendary game that is a followup to the original which I enjoyed a lot. It says a lot that these titles are still pretty enjoyable after turning 23 years old. However, I want to use this review not to be harsh to this game but to highlight the obvious and hidden progress games have had since its release.

    What is this?

    This is a puzzle platformer collect-a-thon game with pretty good characters, expansive level design, graphics that still hold up, and some of the best music you'll ever hear. Tooie is mostly an expansion and extension of the ideas found in Banjo-Kazooie. The same characters appear and what exists in the first game is mostly left untouched here. Instead, new mechanics and moves are added to keep the game feeling fresh and I really enjoyed some and hated others (we'll get there).

    What's there to love?

    The most standout thing about the game is the music. The music here rivals Mario64 for how iconic and instantly recognizable most of the tracks are. They do a lot of the heavy work with theming without being too intricate or overbearing. The characters also do a good job of fleshing this game out into believable spaces.

    In the first game, I felt like the entire game took place in a box. A small box. Here I don't have that problem and a few of the levels feel like the characters really belong there. Platforming is also pretty good which can't be said for a lot of stuff around this era. Every jump or move that I missed felt like my own fault for the most part. The variety of moves also adds a bit of much needed depth to the game which I really enjoyed. This game is easy to love but I don't think that it would convert anyone who didn't enjoy the first game since it is mostly a copy of that. Which leads me right into...

    Lets get to the bad

    How do I do this without making it sound like a rant? I can't. If you have nostalgia for this game, be patient with me here. Lets talk controls. In no uncertain terms, the controls are awful and unlike the first game, I don't think that playing on an original controller would fix much here.

    To give an overview, basic platforming is normal controls and the trigger is a crouch button. The trigger is also how you activate your moves here. This is a limitation of the N64 controller and I respect the use made of it. But the amount of moves mapped to the C-stick is confusing. Normally it acts as camera control but once the crouch button is pressed, the one stick gets assigned to 4 separate moves for each character. And since the trigger is crouch, you must crouch each time to do each move. Thats a lot of trigger pressing and stick moving.

    As a subset of controls, the people at Rare decided that Banjo-Kazooie was good but needed first person shooting to be great. Hopping on the trend at the time with this game hurts my brain because it controls horribly. And since the mapping is the same as shooters like GoldenEye, the controls are unusable for modern audiences. Is this fixed in the Xbox Live version? I don't know, but I hope so. It wouldn't be so bad if it didn't get used on every single level, but it does.

    Entire first person shooter sections in a collect-a-thon were not enjoyable to me, its not what I expect from a sequel here. Worse yet, its used heavily in the bossfight at the end which is just salt in the wound.

    What about the genre?

    The first game really established an entire genre and I was curious to see how it would get moved forward here. I want to be clear, I find these next few items negatives but I appreciated them because they're the first missteps in this space. So what went wrong with the game style itself?

    The largest sin for me is the sin of having a game about collection without self-contained levels. What I mean by that is that game objectives spill beyond the borders of each level and bleed either into the hub world or bleed into each other. A more minor sin of this kind is the kind of sin where you need to unlock something later in the game and come back to complete a level.

    Modern games still have these features but they mitigate the problems by telling you that you need to wait or they give giant hints at other levels. In this game however, you might struggle at a puzzle for an hour only to find out that theres a move later that you unlock that makes this part possible.

    For a good example: There is a level with a hot and cold side of a mountain. A move is given to the player to walk into hot water on the hot side of the mountain. You can press a switch in that pool to drain it, but it suggests to you that the water is just too hot. You can also turn into a snowball on the other side of the level.

    So based on that info, you might search for awhile just to see if you can connect the cold side and hot side together. Or maybe you can throw your snowball self into the water. Or maybe a character can do it for you. None of those things solve your problem. What does solve your problem is pushing an ice cube off of the next level in the sky that then falls into the pool and cools it.

    And this is the last thing I'll really mention bad about this game: It makes poor use of its new moves and features and is inconsistent and that's a shame. An example from the same level: there are two characters on the cold side of the mountain that need to be warmed up. One requires you to shoot fire eggs at them. The other requires you use the bird to sit on them like an egg. No indication of that move use is given. Its only ever used for eggs elsewhere. Frustrating.

    So thats the gripe here. The feature creep is very real and you have too many moves doing too little in the game and it complicates the controls. They tried to do too much with this game and it hurt what was a very solid and tight experience from the first one.

    Summarize Tooie To Me

    Don't let the criticisms color the game too much for you if you enjoy this kind of thing or just want to revisit it. For those who have nostalgia for it, you'll overlook the annoyances pretty easily but I'd highly recommend playing on an original controller. I'd consider it almost necessary for this experience, especially for the first person sections. If you don't have nostalgia for this, I'd tell you not to take the game too seriously. Don't 100% it like I did and just sit back and enjoy the good music and fun characters and the puzzles or collectables. If you're never going to play the game though, the soundtrack is also right there for you.

    If you made it this far let me know what you think of my review, I'm always eager to hear what other people did or did not enjoy about the game and I'll be active in the comments!

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    Banjo-Kazooie Patient Review: A classic in 2023?

    TL;DR This game is awesome and you should consider playing it if you haven't and you like retro games from this era or if you like similar collectathon games.

    To preface before my opinion: Yes I did emulate this game on PC, Yes I used a modern Xbox controller for most of my playthrough, and No I do not have many references for games from this time but I will be attempting to be balanced on parts I felt did not age well.

    I'll start with the good parts. If you've played Mario 64, this game is right up your alley and so is its sequel. This is one of the best 3D platformers from the era and its one that is challenging and has more personality than M64 did for me. Mostly due to the stellar characters and personalities. So much love went into crafting each characters outfit, voice, and animation even though they're so simple.

    Next up, the levels. Not every level here is amazing but the same can be said of M64 (which I'll continue to reference as my main comparison game since I'm familiar with it). Each level has 10 jigsaw pieces to collect and some of them are extremely creative uses of the environment. Some are just annoying to get though and will have you overlooking them. Overall the levels are solid if not as memorable as many M64 levels are to me.

    The music. Wow the music! Its very good for the era and fits right in with the classics. Even the rest of the sound design is incredible but seriously, go listen to some of the level tracks if you haven't played the game. The theming done in the music alone is very good. The rest of the sounds do a very good job of fitting right in with the art and they characterize a lot of the game. Audio-wise this is amazing for the N64.

    Here's where I digress though. My overall view of the game is VERY positive so take these criticisms light. A lot of these things are parts that just didn't age so well. First off, the movement system isn't as good as other 3D platformers. Its passable. But a lot of the platforming requires button presses repeatedly. You can't walk crouched. So a series of leaves that need high jumps to go up them look like this: Stop your character in just the right spot and crouch, hit the jump button, direct the jumps movement, move a tiny bit forward on the next leaf to position, crouch, jump. Wouldn't be so bad if I could trigger it all quickly but its very hard to do that. Not to mention the swimming is really not great and wrestles with the camera constantly. And the air attack is nearly impossible to aim if you aren't flying straight or are too high or low to attack properly.

    The rest of the moves are all based on the C stick. Which also controls camera. Its a nightmare with a modern controller. But again, each move takes seconds to activate and need prep time. You have an invincibility move which would be great for avoiding incoming damage. Except it takes too long to trigger so is only used for obstacles. Weird right?

    And that's my final gripe that I feel is really valid. Mario 64 has a move set that gets activated mostly organically. Wall jumps and rolls and ledge grabs all work with minimal or no buttons. Meanwhile the run move here requires you stop to crouch and press the stick a specific way. And most other moves have buttons on the floor or pickups. Its confusing why they did it that way and it takes me out a bit fiddling with my controller. It doesn't feel natural and I never got to the point of pressing all of the moves without thinking.

    Overall final opinion is that this game is an amazing classic that I feel most people should play if they like 3D platformers. Just be aware that its best played on older controllers and also has a few features that you may miss from modern games. But it'd be hard not to recommend this. This game is great, onto the sequel!

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    Call of Cthulhu Patient Review (No Spoilers)

    This game has a pretty interesting premise with a story centered around cults and the Cthulhu legend. I don’t know much about either so I was intrigued and since I received this game in a bundle some time ago, I wanted to give it a shot. The game is narratively focused so I’ll talk mostly about theme, art, and story as I go.

    I’ll start with the look and feel of the game by saying that I have middling opinions on how this game looks. The textures are good for the most part and convey the atmosphere pretty well. The game falls apart though when it comes to animations. Everybody moves and expresses themselves worse than cardboard. Remember the canned talking animations of Skyrim? It’s that but in a narrative focused game and worse. The characters need to be believable but when someone is talking in a relaxed way while their hands do frantic motions or are frozen in front of them, it breaks a lot of the illusion. However, the rest of the art, atmosphere, and lighting looks pretty good.

    When it comes to story, I won’t claim to be a narrative expert. In my playtime, I didn’t get hooked by the story at any point. The characters are trying to do that thing where they provide little detail and are therefore mysterious. That didn’t track well with me and instead they felt dull and shallow. It sucks because some of the dialog is really good but there isn’t enough of it to carry a narrative game. The best bits of story are told to you in cutscene form and this game almost seems like it’s better suited as an FMV game or similar. The biggest benefit to the story though is the multiple choices. I felt my choices were impactful and they don’t let you exhaust dialog for other options. You have one conversation and there is at least an illusion that you could’ve had many more discrete conversations.

    The RPG skills are another middling feature as they help a lot of the exploration and conversational aspects of the game out and yet they’re paper thin at the same time. The game has you assigning points and yet I don’t feel that it would’ve played any differently than if I’d just picked skills at the start and nothing afterwards.

    Lastly the sound is another 5/10. Sometimes it really sells the horror of a scene. But a lot of the time the same repeated music tracks take me out. And the compression used on the voices is embarrassingly bad. It harms the performances so much that I began tweaking my setup because I thought I had audio issues.

    To wrap it up, I wanted to like this game and I still like aspects of it. It’s maybe worth playing if you catch it on sale or get it in a bundle. And since it’s a short experience, some of these gripes aren’t dealbreakers. I just found it to be a disappointing use of the setting and theme and I wish more could’ve been done to immerse me in the game.

    If you’ve played it, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!

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