It's problem isn't even that it's poorly made, or that it's built on a faulty premise. Indeed, I feel bad to be ambivalent about this game, because it sounded cool on paper. It just misses the balance, leaning too heavily on the side of frustration, with too little to show for all the hard work a player could put in. Really, when I realized playing it was work and I felt relieved to end a session, that's when I knew I ought to just stop playing for good.
No, Tiny Metal is no substitute for Advance Wars. It does a lot of cool things, and it absolutely satisfies the same craving. But as much as I loved it at times, I hated it at others. It allows for pure turn-based strategy bliss, but there's a lot of garbage to sift through in order to get to it.
Like the main character, I'm of two minds about it. Thinking back on it there were pieces I really enjoyed. But it was also the kind of game I couldn't play for more than a half hour at a time. Even when I was enjoying it, I could feel it overstaying its welcome. It's decent in short bursts, but marathoning it would just expose its warts even further.
In a way, it's refreshing to get a game that knows exactly what it wants to do, executes on that idea, but doesn't overstay its welcome. The central mechanic of precision projectile motion is unique, and Lichtspeer plays with the formula enough to keep the experience fresh right up until the end.
Even though Golf Story isn't quite what I expected it would be, it is an absolute delight. It's more than just a golf game with RPG mechanics, but it's not quite a full RPG with golf mechanics either. It lies in a sweet spot in the middle, where people who care about one but not the other can still get into it.
When it hits those lows, it's not unplayable, but it's dang close. I'm more apt to put it down after a particularly choppy run, but I still find myself coming back to it after a while. Despite its technical flaws, I still want to see all of the different areas, and learn all of their secrets.
It's a decent adventure with varied combat, cool boss battles, and semi-interesting locales. I'm going to keep at it until I've obtained everything there is to obtain, but even then I know I won't have seen everything there is to see. Some of the neatest stuff possible isn't scripted in by the designers, it's waiting to be imagined and created by an aspiring magician.
If you aren't turned off by the sugary sweet aesthetic, Glittermitten Grove is worth a deep look. It can be difficult to start with its intricate economy and barebones explanation, but those who crack the nut can find something special hidden inside.