Here it is. Challenge time for 2020. Already started working on titles but it’s time to make this official
Tier 3 - Group 6 (History of Game Consoles/Platforms) - Game Designed for Arcade Machine
Sly Spy (via Nintendo Switch)
I’d like to think of this as Data East’s answer to both the desire to have a James Bond-type game and a competitor to Namco’s Rolling Thunder. Aside from being the debonair spy, you’ve got a few levels of shooting underwater and even a motorcycle chase. For its time period it isn’t exactly a memorable experience but the game is enjoyable. One thing to look out for is that the game seems to have at least two endings as my first run through the game indicated that I didn’t complete every objective. Overall, enjoyable especially for something you want to knock out in a little over an hour.
Tier 1 - Group 1 (The Genre) - Brawler
Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn (PC)
I am a firm believer that sometimes you need to play something bad in order to appreciate the good games out there. This is a poster child for a bad game, one that took a bad joke way too far. Combat is actually fine but the game has a habit of throwing so many enemies at you at one time that you never get to enjoy the brawling. These segments go on for way too long and since you’re always going at it solo, it gets boring rather quickly. It also doesn’t help that none of the humor connects in any way so you’re getting already outdated references with no real punchline. The only comfort you’ll get out of this is that you can beat it in about 3 hours so it’s fine if you want to pad your numbers as far as finished games go but that’s about it.
Tier 2 - Group 3 (Newspaper Headlines) - Art & Fashion
This is an art game in that the point of it is you creating stuff. Admittedly, you aren’t going to create much since over half of the stuff you can put in the world are things like stars and black holes and spinning tops that go off and do their own thing instead of just staying in place to create something artistic. It doesn’t help that the game doesn’t really give you an endless canvas to work with as the more objects you place in the world, the higher the chance that your old stuff will just up and disappear. In short, this is pretty terrible as it would have been better served as a demo included with any PSVR purchase.
As an aside, you can still beat the game as getting all of the Trophies takes less than 30 minutes to do and Trophy Hunters will appreciate that this even has a Platinum attached to it.
Tier 3 - Group 7 (Diversity) - Female Main Character
Stela (Xbox One)
The most succinct way to describe this is that it is a title that borrows quite a bit from both Limbo and Inside but without a bit of story to care about. The graphics borrow the style of Limbo with limited tones being capable of creating something atmospheric while it takes the horror aspect from Inside and blends it together with some good but not difficult puzzles. The experience itself lasts roughly a little over 2 hours and the secrets are minimal but it is enjoyable. The issue is that there’s no real story to gleam from here so while you’ll finish the game with a nice visual, you aren’t exactly going to remember much about the game by the time end end credits finish rolling. Overall, not bad but it certainly feels like a game better off for a subscription service rather than something to showcase in your digital library.
Tier 3 - Group 7 (Diversity) - Main character With A disability (Visible or invisible)
Weakless (Xbox One)
You play as a duo of plant folk. One is blind and the other is deaf. It is a bit on the nose to have those be their names as well but that’s on the devs.
I wanted to like this game due to the more nature based setting and the fact that this was a short enough 3D puzzle platformer. Unfortunately, those puzzles were way too easy and the story come to an unsatisfying end. It certainly doesn’t help that this is a very rough platformer with lots of bugs like your partner failing to catch up to you at crucial moments and even a crash when restarting a level. At this point, it might be worth checking out if it ever hits Xbox Game Pass.
Tier 2 - Group 3 (Newspaper Headlines) - Politics & Economics
Super Bernie World (PC)
You play as Bernie Sanders fighting against the likes of Ted Cruz and Mitch McConnell, for example. I think this is political enough.
It makes for a decent Super Mario Bros. clone so long as you ignore things like the fireballs not hurting the Republican bosses or no breaking of bricks. Tons of reused sprites for bosses so you can magically beat a Ted Cruz without the sprite looking like him at all. At least its short and inoffensive otherwise. Good for a challenge like this since its free but nothing special otherwise.
*Tier 2 - Group 6 (Life) - Living in a Utopia *
Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Nintendo Switch)
There’s not much else to say about the game that hasn’t been said already. Despite the stay at home orders supposedly giving people an opportunity to work on their backlogs, this game has arrived to suck away any free time and people like myself are all to happy to ignore everything else just to spend a huge chunk of time in an idyllic deserted island with the rest of their animal friends. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
As for how it can be considered beaten, getting the 3 star rating for the island and getting K.K. Slider to come and perform triggers a credits sequence. That’s good enough for me though by no means does it mean I’m moving on. In fact, I can safely predict that the number of games I’ll complete this year gets thoroughly hosed because I’m trying to catch every fish, bug, fossil, work of art, and stamp card possible. I can’t be saved
*Tier 3 - Group 3 (Kill not the goose that lays the golden egg) - Sequel *
Streets of Rage 4 (PC)
If you’re a beat em up fan in the 1980’s and early 1990’s you were living the dream as there were a ton of games catering to your genre. If you owned a Sega Genesis, you were no doubt playing a Streets of Rage game, considered by some to be masterpieces in the genre. Despite the long wait time, we’ve finally gotten ourselves a new game in the series and thanks to the efforts of the Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap devs, this one was not only gorgeous but an absolute blast to play from start to end.
What got me here was that I tried this out as the host for a Steam Remote Play session and despite a disconnection issue, it came off without a hitch. Playing the game in 4 player co-op is the best way to experience this and seeing the tech to emulate local play online come off without a hitch is wonderful to see.
*Tier 1 - Group 2 (THE PROTAGONIST) - Real Life Animal *
You often fight sharks but very few games actually let you become the shark. This not only did that but did it very well as it is essentially a power fantasy about you going from a vulnerable pup to the overpowered juggernaut of sea creatures. It goes away from realism as you can equip your shark with things like the ability to produce electric waves and arm yourself with an exoskeleton but it all does this in the name of fun, something you’ll constantly have even if the missions become repetitive throughout the campaign.
*Tier 3 - Group 1 (DEVELOPER/PUBLISHER) - Debut of Developer *
The idea behind this one isn’t bad. A first person shooter mixed in with strategy elements taking place in the far future and you essentially have a robot Ghost Recon or Rainbow Six. Unfortunately, the execution is pretty bad as the airship you always ride on is slow and you feel restricted since you always need to have your other allies do the basics like hitting switches or opening crates. it doesn’t help that your allies are mostly brain dead in theirs of having good AI and the story itself is rather poor all around. I’d avoid this one but if you have to play it, drop the difficulty to easy if you don’t want to suffer from cheap deaths.
*Tier 3 - Group 2 (GAMES BY COUNTRY OF DEVELOPER) - China, India, South America *
The developer is located in Brazil.
Not a bad attempt at mimicking a game that’s supposed to come from the Game Boy era. Its short and your abilities are limited and while it is annoying that you have to replay the whole game if you miss one thing needed to get the real ending, it is fun if you crave something old school. it also helps that the game is cheap so the investment feels worthwhile.
*Tier 1 - Group 7 (THE TITLE - Contains:) - One Word *
The arcade game by Atari based on the 1989 film of the same name.
It gets most of the things you’d want from a licensed title right. It has stills and audio clips from the movie. You’re playing some of the more iconic sequences from there and, thanks to its arcade nature, it doesn’t run for too long. Despite this, it isn’t exactly fun. The driving and flying sequences are great but the side scrolling combat is bad and the same goes for the platforming. Not really something you’d want to play unless, of course, you’re trying to fill up a list like this.