Thanks to summer.azure, Jess, and everyone else for sparking my interest in this challenge. It sounds interesting and gives me a good way to try and diversify my backlog whittling. I’m going to spending too much time trying to come up with options for each category and sub-category so instead of listing out titles for each then promptly ignoring them, I’ll just start filling things in once I beat the game or am sure I’m sticking with a title. Only change I’m making here is that I’ll be coloring in my cell red or green instead of doing a text color change since I find it easier for me to see.
Already got 2 titles here beaten from New Year’s Day. Going to take care of a few things here but I’ll put up posts about them soon.
Group 1 (Classic Genres) - Comedy
Floor Plan (PSVR)
It is an absurd enough game that I feel it belongs in the Comedy category. For those unaware, this is a puzzle game of sorts in VR where you use your elevator to go between floors then grab or use objects you find to solve puzzles. Ultimately, your goal is to get all of the necessary parts for a space suit located at the top floor. It is a very short game, once you can finish in an hour if you get stuck on a few puzzles, but a good VR experience since you don’t need to move around too much.
Group 3 (Title That Contains) - Name of Character/Place
Batman: Arkham VR (PSVR)
It may have been one of the launch titles for the platform but the game still stands as a great showcase title for VR as a whole. Everything from movement for the crime solving feels just right and that moment when you put on the Batsuit then take the elevator ride down to the Batcave can’t be matched. Beat the story mode but not the Riddler Challenges.
Group 7 (Grouvee & Other Databases) - Not Available on Steam
Tetris Effect (PSVR)
Journey mode completed. Yes, this is still Tetris at its core with some of the newer mechanics like Hold and Fast Drop in play and Tetris will never get old. However, that musical journey is absolutely stunning and you’ll want to muck about just to see what kind of melodies you can produce. Event mode will also keep you glued way after beating the campaign and that’s certainly my weekly plan for this. Very highly recommended.
Bonus Group 1 (Games by Regions/Language) - China, India
RA.ONE - The Game (PS3)
I was checking out how the latest PS3 emulator (RPCS3) would run on my new rig and I decided to play a game I barely knew of. I knew it was based on an Indian movie but I had no idea how the game played prior to this.
If you want to see an example of a poorly done licensed game, this is it. The fighting was terrible, the camera barely keeps up, the AI is horrid and cheap, level design was too simple, this looked barely as good as the PS2 game it was based on, etc. About the only good thing to come from this is the fact that the game is mercifully short.
Also, it ran decently on my PC so I think I need to do a few more tests with games I own to see if PS3 emulation is getting better
Group 8 (Developer/Publisher) - Japanese publisher
Dead or Alive 6 (PS4)
I beat the story mode which isn’t much of an accomplishment since it’s so short. Still…
I’ve always been a fighting game fan even if I was never good at it. Beneath all the fan service, I always felt that this series had the chops to be a serious contender due to it’s depth. This entry continues that tradition but I feel that it just isn’t as strong as DOA5. Levels don’t get crazy in terms of how many levels you can knock someone down and some of these stages are recycled with some features taken away. I’d still recommend someone play it, especially on PC since that’s leagues better than DOA5 there, but don’t expect it to be the pinnacle of the series.
Group 9 (The Wheel of Time) - Sequel or spin-off
Devil May Cry 5 (Xbox One)
Beat this one on normal difficulty. The game isn’t short by any means but I didn’t really notice how long it took me until I looked at the clock and realized that my whole day got eaten away by playing this one. If there was any doubt that Capcom has returned to form, look no further than this title. It delivers action in spades, the gameplay is addicting, the presentation is top notch, and the story is engaging even though it is completely hokey. With this, Resident Evil 2, Mega Man 11, and Monster Hunter World, Capcom is on a very nice winning streak there.
Group 5 (Pile of Shame) - Game from 2018
Coffee Crisis (Nintendo Switch)
I should have liked this more. I grew up with beat-em-ups and seeing one developed with the Genesis in mind then ported over to Switch sounded like it would be right up my alley. Sadly, the finicky combat and steep difficulty ramping along with cheap bosses and lack of combat feedback soured me on the experience with this title and the default setting of turning on modifiers that simply make the screen hard to read didn’t help things, either. Glad I played and beat it but it isn’t something I’ll be coming back to anytime soon.
Group 7 (Grouvee & Other Databases) - Award Winning Indie Game
SUPERHOT VR (PSVR)
Main campaign completed. This is a 2 year old indie VR game now based on a 3 year old game but it still holds up as a shining example of how to translate a normal game into a great VR experience. Be warned that you do need a good amount of space to play as you’ll be shifting around and ducking to avoid bullets. Death is a constant thing here and you will sweat but this is a real must have VR game.
Group 4 (Playable Character) - Hollywood Action Hero Archetype
The Slater (PC)
The character of Mark Slater fits this category well. A cop whose father got murdered then decided to go rogue and take out those responsible himself. Too bad this stealth game isn’t any good. Poor AI, lack of variety with mission objectives, a very narrow scope of elimination methods, and a poor presentation all make for a dull stealth game that can easily be finished in an afternoon. A very meh experience on a platform with a plethora of better stealth titles on it.
Group 6 (Graphic Style) - Anime
Cat Girl Without Salad (PC)
As a longtime Humble Monthly subscriber, I had completely forgotten about access to the Humble Trove. Shame on me for that since I missed out on some interesting titles there.
Graphically, the game is gorgeous as you would expect from WayForward. It works fine as a space shooter, albeit a little on the short side, but the appeal for the game comes from both Cat Girl’s obliviousness to things and the guns. The former works on a case by case basis as some jokes work and some don’t. For the latter, I found only a few of the guns to be useful and fun to use. The DDR gun was too distracting to be useful and the platformer gun was quirky. The Pac-Man gun was kinda cool while the Puzzle Bobble gun was interesting to use. The RPG gun was fascinating and an excellent weapon once you got used to the mechanics and the golf gun was probably the best since it threw powerful projectiles all over the place. yet it is the standard pea shooter that is probably the best weapon since it is so straightforward that there’s no need to figure out anything, letting your shooter instincts take over instead.
Overall, for a free game, it is worth checking out. Considering how long ago this came out, though, I have to wonder if a sequel will ever happen.
Group 8 (Developer/Publisher) - Debut of developer
The Bug Butcher (Switch)
This is the first game from Awfully Nice Studios and if this is any indication of what they’re capable of, I can’t wait to see their future titles. This is an arcade shooter where you can only shoot vertically and, like many of the classics, you’ve got to beat the clock and kill everyone in the room in order to move on. It isn’t all that difficult of a game and you can beat it in an afternoon if you’re willing to grind a bit to get some coins to beef yourself up but this is an overall excellent experience for those looking for more of a getaway action game rather than something more involving.
Group 5 (Pile of Shame) - You can finish it in one day
Yes, this can be beaten in a day because all you need to do is make one cup of tea to finish the game. This falls in line with games like Surgeon Simulator where the challenge and comedy comes form your poor controls and subsequent inability to do things properly. It is funny but that’s short lived due to your only task of making a cup of tea. Overall, your mileage for this game varies greatly on your tolerance for games that intentionally control bad for the sake of it.
Group 4 (Playable Character) - Real life animal
vApe Escape (PC)
You play as an ape aboard a spaceship. That qualifies
This is an extremely short point and click adventure game. We’re talking two screens worth of locations and only two items out can actually pick up and use. Nevertheless, the game is quite charming thanks to the writing and the fact that you can turn your whole adventure into a printable comic book. Its free and on Steam so worth checking out if you want to beat a game in less time than it takes for a pizza delivery.
A very short walking simulator but one that is memorable thanks to the subject matter. On the surface, all you’re really doing is going to the location of silhouettes, picking up the objects they leave behind, and finding the butterfly there. Click it and you’ll get a short animation or message before the butterfly comes to life and flies off to another silhouette and you start the process again. Once you reach the end, you realize that the butterflies represent the souls of the dead and all of the objects you see have been washed ashore from another land. In this case, the game is dedicated to those that lost their lives to the tsunami in Japan in Match 2011.
Another free game now but well worth checking out.
Group 1 (Classic Genres) - Mystery or Horror
I don’t know how to feel about this one.
One one hand, it nails the atmosphere perfectly. The jumpy visuals and distorted audio really do make you feel like you’re in a virtual representation of three different mindsets falling apart at every turn. The jump scares are few and far between but the eerie nature of the world is enough to put you at unease.
On the other hand, until you collect all of the video and audio logs in the game, you aren’t getting the full breadth of the story. The puzzles are nice but without that sense of death, you’re just going through the motions to see what comes next. The excitement is fleeting which makes for a game that not many horror fans will be talking about in the same breath as the Alone in the Darks or Silent Hills or Resident Evils of the genre.
As an aside, while the game is more involving in VR, the controls and movement make it better experienced via more traditional ways. Neither way is a bad way to play the game.
Group 9 (The Wheel of Time) - Containing Time Travel
Mortal Kombat 11 (PC)
Got all of the character endings and beat Story Mode. This game is all about characters from the past meeting up with those in the future so I think that qualifies
I may not be good at fighting games but I’m a big fan of fighting games and I like the MK series, though I’ll admit a little bit of bias to that since I did QA for Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance on the Gamecube way back when. I love this game’s faster but more brutal fighting style. I enjoy the fact that it is one of the few fighting games out there that gives a damn about an actual story mode and makes it worth playing through. As someone who is terrible on online fights, I do love the immense amount of contact available for solo players. I’m not a fan of the various forms of currency and the level of difficulty present in the Towers of Time really is meant for expert players than the general public so I’m glad that’s getting some tweaks. Overall, I can see myself devoting a great deal of time to this, especially when company comes over and we all decide to have a fighting game night.
Group 10 (Popular Themes) - Death or Disease
One Leaves (Xbox One)
This one is a little deceptive. It starts off as a Saw like title there you and three other people have to race to find the exit. There isn’t any horror here but you are put in creepy situations with a scant few but mild jump scares here and there. You do pick up on what the game is about very early on but just in case, you discover that the game is really an anti-smoking ad.
The subject matter is fine and the length is good enough as you can beat it in less than an hour. That said, the performance here stinks as framerates drop almost all of the time and it certainly doesn’t help that the hotspots for object interaction are finicky. At least the game is free and you’ll be able to get a few Achievements out of it without trying too hard.
Bonus 2 (Diversity) - Female Main Character
Close to the Sun (PC)
Your first impression is that the game is inspired by Bioshock. You’re entering a ship in the middle of the ocean that’s being billed as a scientific utopia and headed by one Nikola Tesla. You enter the ship and suddenly everything goes south. Unlike Bioshock, though, you have no weapons and with very light puzzles to solve, this ends up being falling in line more with a walking simulator or very light adventure game.
It isn’t a bad game at all. In fact, the story was enough to keep me going to see the end. Unfortunately, the early Bioshock comparisons, especially with people talking in your ear all of the time, means that you know exactly where the plot will go and won’t be surprised as a result. Not a high watermark for the genre but worth checking out when you have the time.