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Killa Penguin

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216 games reviewed
64.4 average score
70 median score
49.5% of games recommended
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Feb 12, 2019

Arcade Spirits is a game about working in an arcade while striving to balance practicality with idealism, but more importantly, it's also a celebration of gaming and all of the distinct but nevertheless overlapping subsets of gamers it inspires, articulating all sorts of familiar little joys and fears and motivations that are bound to reverberate with many—if not most—of us. This isn't even as heavy-handed as one might expect; Arcade Spirits' preoccupation with bizarre humor provides enough distractions that you'll rarely see emotional moments coming, and they never outlast their welcome.

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I enjoyed the original game greatly, but its sequel surpasses it in almost every way; whereas the original game was a highly enjoyable distraction, One Finger Death Punch 2 quickly becomes an addiction that you can lose huge chunks of time to without noticing. This is simply a bigger, more complex game sporting more moving parts, and while its changes take a little getting used to at first, it’s such an improvement that the original pales in comparison.

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Anodyne 2: Return to Dust is a game that defies classification, but if I had to make an effort to describe it, I’d call it a combination of The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages, Super Mario 64, and Jade Cocoon. Then again, you never know when it’ll decide to be something else entirely, diving headlong into a different genre and experience that you had no reason to expect based on what came prior, but that’s polished and unexpectedly enjoyable nevertheless.

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Shantae and the Seven Sirens isn’t just a return to form for a series that’s shown a proclivity for unexpected experimentation. Much like how its characters begin the game vacationing on a tropical island that’s hosting a half-genie festival, the game serves as a lighthearted and much-needed break from 2020’s unceasing assault on everything good and decent.

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Jun 29, 2020

This is the first game attached to Square-Enix that’s genuinely impressed me in over 8 years; the amount of detail put into translating the art into something totally different but nevertheless nostalgic is mind-boggling, and it’s possibly more impressive that the team behind this knew which things could be changed/replaced without undermining the entire project. Trials of Mana is how remakes should be done.

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“Censorship” is one of those words that always feels oppressive, and yet Aokana – Four Rhythms Across the Blue doesn’t need any of that adult content because it’s not the game’s point; this is an uplifting, frequently hilarious visual novel that succeeds on the quality of its characterizations and the sneaky rhythm of its conversations that makes it possible for deep-seated trauma and dirty jokes to coexist without either extreme being jarring. It’s fantastic.

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The original Planescape: Torment is the very first game I ever reviewed here. It was an awful writeup that was eventually wiped from existence. Now, eight years and 499 reviews later, I finally have the writing ability required to describe why this game is so important to me and many others.

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Bug Fables: The Everlasting Sapling is easily one of the best games of 2019. It’s not just a worthy successor to Paper Mario, which serves as its obvious inspiration—in many ways, Bug Fables is an even better game. Those who determine value based on how long a playthrough lasts will be thrilled to learn that it’s easy to play for 40 hours or more. Those who appreciate pacing will be glad to hear that there’s no padding to reach that playtime. Whether you’re looking for a game with well-written characters who grow on you, mechanics that allow you to devise interesting strategies, secrets waiting to be discovered and subsequently exploited, or a soundtrack full of catchy themes, Bug Fables delivers in a big way.

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Apr 16, 2021

The obvious comparison here genre-wise would be Untitled Goose Game, but whereas that game’s value was primarily derived from its meme potential and novelty, Rain on Your Parade also brings to the table a constant barrage of creativity and interesting new gameplay twists that make 99% of other games look lazy by way of comparison. This is the type of game that makes me wish that I did awards or something because it really is head and shoulders above the competition. Be sure not to sleep on this one—Rain on Your Parade is a special game.

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Aug 18, 2018

While this may not be what many players originally envisioned the launch version of We Happy Few being like, it’s hard to deny that it’s one of the more consistently interesting open-world games I’ve played, sporting deeply enjoyable lore and writing that make up for some gameplay shortcomings.

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Jan 22, 2019

I played FutureGrind until my thumbs were so bruised from the controller that my fingertips remained numb for several days, and a game inspiring that kind of in-the-moment tension and compulsion to improve is always a sign of something great.

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Apr 3, 2019

Of course, the way you move from left to right is by manipulating a giant contraption through a series of buttons that you have to manually run around and press, relying on a sail and the release of steam built up by its engine to maximize your speed and distance while minimizing the amount of fuel that you use. It’s a bizarre concept that ends up being incredibly entertaining, and while FAR: Lone Sails may only last 2-3 hours, it’s filled with more than enough memorable moments to be worthwhile.

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Jul 17, 2018

Focusing on its strengths makes a huge difference, as it turns out, and there are a handful of miscellaneous elements that only serve to elevate it further despite one or two minor issues that take a little getting used to. Overall, The Mooseman is a great experience that’s artsy without coming across as pretentious, unfamiliar without becoming overcomplicated and confusing the player, and easy to pick up without sacrificing a number of optional challenges for those looking to obsess over hidden collectibles.

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Sep 5, 2018

Something I've come to realize over the past year or so is that I have a strange fascination with confusing narrative games. There's a crucial difference between confusing and nonsensical, obviously, but games that have you questioning the sanity of their playable character and constantly wondering if they're an unreliable narrator or simply lucky/unlucky enough to be wading through uniquely bizarre circumstances are a real treat, and Elea – Episode 1 falls neatly into that category. Taking place in a future with space travel, sentient AI helpers, and a pocket full of reasons to leave Earth behind in search of greener pastures, it begins the story of River Elea Catherine Jones as she looks into the fate of her husband after his expedition to colonize a new planet goes silent.

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This won’t be a game for everybody, but even those who lack the requisite experiences to make a personal connection to the underlying themes and internal character dialogue will be able to respect Lucah: Born of a Dream given an adjustment period.

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As an unrepentant strategy-RPG snob with unrealistically high standards for the genre, though, I can definitively state that it’s 100% worth fighting through all of this early awkwardness because of how amazing things eventually become. While Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden‘s early fights feel like uninspired battles of attrition, the later gameplay weaves the destructible environments of Silent Storm with the overgrown and reset-world vibe of the original Fallout, all while giving you numerous tactical options that can see you doing things like aggroing hostile robots so that they’ll also turn against other enemies.

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Whichever title you end up preferring, there’s an absurd amount of truly enjoyable content here, and you’ll struggle to find anything as unique as these three Phoenix Wright games.

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May 29, 2019

Many plot threads are resolved, and the observant will be able to narrow down the catalyst for the overarching mystery to two possibilities, but a number of details and ancillary mysteries are left unaddressed so as to impart to the ending the same feeling of creeping uncertainty that defines much of the preceding game.

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One of the most compelling reasons for this collection’s existence is to make each of these games available on current platforms—the original game and its numbered sequel were previously Nintendo 3DS exclusives, while the Hyper Drive Edition remake of the original could only be found on the Wii U/PC, and Mighty Switch Force! Academy was similarly exclusive to the PC platform. That’s a lot of fragmentation, and the convenience of having all four games available in a single package on a single platform can’t be overstated.

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Sep 5, 2019

It’s only when you dig into the mechanics and stories of previous games that you get a sense of how much effort was put into making River City Girls a familiar trip without sacrificing its unique voice or accessibility in the process.

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