#IGCvSNES Leaderboard & Database: UPDATED JULY 29, 2021

LEADERBOARD

Total Games: 128
YES: 63
NO: 65
TERMINATOR LINE: #63 (Pilotwings) over #64 (E.V.O.: The Search for Eden)
Click each game to go to its #IGCvSNES thread on Twitter.

  1. Super Metroid
  2. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
  3. Terranigma
  4. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest
  5. Super Mario World
  6. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
  7. Super Punch-Out!!
  8. Chorno Trigger
  9. Parodius
  10. Zombies Ate my Neighbors
  11. Aladdin
  12. TwinBee: Rainbow Bell Adventure
  13. Kirby’s Dream Course
  14. Gokujō Parodius!
  15. Kirby’s Super Star Stacker
  16. Jikkyo Oshaberi Parodius
  17. Demon’s Crest
  18. Illusion of Gaia
  19. The Addams Family
  20. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time
  21. SimCity
  22. Porky Pig’s Haunted Holiday
  23. The Firemen
  24. Hameln no Violin Hiki
  25. The Lost Vikings
  26. Brain Lord
  27. Biker Mice from Mars
  28. Yoshi’s Safari
  29. Goof Troop
  30. F-Zero
  31. Super Bonk
  32. DoReMi Fantasy
  33. Kirby Super Star
  34. Metal Combat: Falcon’s Revenge
  35. Battle Clash
  36. Mario Paint
  37. Super Ghouls ‘N Ghosts
  38. Popeye: Ijiwaru Majo Seahag no Maki
  39. NHL ’94
  40. ActRaiser
  41. Tin Star
  42. Mario’s Super Picross/NP Picross Vol 1 – 8
  43. The Magical Quest starring Mickey Mouse
  44. Spanky’s Quest
  45. Sparkster
  46. Super Genjin 2 (Super Bonk 2)
  47. NBA Hangtime
  48. The Legend of the Mystical Ninja
  49. Super Street Fighter II
  50. Wrecking Crew ’98
  51. Super Mario Kart
  52. Plok
  53. Speedy Gonzales: Los Gatos Bandidos
  54. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Fighting Edition
  55. Super Scope 6
  56. Street Fighter Alpha 2
  57. WWF Wrestlemania: The Arcade Game
  58. Mario & Wario
  59. Cacoma Knight in Bizyland
  60. Kirby’s Avalanche
  61. Smart Ball
  62. Knights of the Round
  63. Pilotwings
    **TERMINATOR LINE**
  64. E.V.O.: The Search for Eden
  65. Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose
  66. Mega Man X
  67. Addams Family Values
  68. Taz-Mania
  69. Kirby’s Dream Land 3
  70. Magical Pop’n
  71. Krusty’s Super Fun House
  72. Clock Tower
  73. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
  74. Pac-in-Time
  75. Star Fox
  76. King of the Dragons
  77. Ken Griffey Jr. presents Major League Baseball
  78. Wolfenstein 3D
  79. Sunset Riders
  80. Mickey Mania
  81. Road Runner’s Death Valley Rally
  82. Doom
  83. Super Adventure Island II
  84. Socks the Cat Rocks the Hill
  85. Disney’s Bonkers
  86. The Itchy & Scratchy Game
  87. Indiana Jones: Greatest Adventures
  88. The Twisted Tales of Spike McFang
  89. U.N. Squadron
  90. Spindizzy Worlds
  91. Godzilla: Kaijuu Daikessen
  92. Vegas Stakes
  93. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie
  94. Fire Pro Wrestling X Premium
  95. Hagane
  96. Super 3D Noah’s Ark
  97. Bubsy II
  98. Super Adventure Island
  99. Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure
  100. Final Fight 2
  101. Final Fight 3
  102. Final Fight & Final Fight Guy
  103. Bugs Bunny Rabbit Rampage
  104. Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel
  105. Super Back to the Future II
  106. Ghoul Patrol
  107. Animaniacs
  108. Super Godzilla
  109. Captain Commando
  110. Scooby-Doo Mystery
  111. Star Fox 2
  112. ActRaiser 2
  113. Equinox
  114. X-Zone
  115. Bazooka Blitzkrieg
  116. Daffy Duck: The Marvin Missions
  117. Saban’s Power Rangers Zeo: Battle Racers
  118. DinoCity
  119. Bubsy in Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind
  120. The Addams Family: Pugsley’s Scavenger Hunt
  121. Virtual Bart
  122. The Simpsons: Bart’s Nightmare
  123. Operation Thunderbolt
  124. Final Fantasy Mystic Quest
  125. Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures
  126. T2: The Arcade Game
  127. Jim Power: The Lost Dimension in 3D
  128. The Adventures of Mighty Max

SPECIAL AWARDS

Best Looking: Terranigma, Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest,
Ugliest: Spindizzy Worlds
Coolest Concept: Zombies Ate My Neighbors
Dumbest Concept: Super Godzilla, Simpsons: Bart’s Nightmare, Virtual Bart.
Most Surprisingly Good: The Addams Family, Yoshi’s Safari (The Super Scope in general)
Most Surprisingly Bad: Kirby’s Dream Land 3, Mickey Mania
Not As Good as I Figured: Mario & Wario
Not as Bad as I Figured: Socks the Cat Rocks the Hill
Most In Need of a Remake: E.V.O.: The Search for Eden
Most in Need of a Sequel: ActRaiser

#IGCvSNES Lineup Order

Beginning November 2, 2020
Donate to Direct Relief. One game = $10. Three games = $20.
Check the hashtag #IGCvSNES on Twitter
Click the Game’s Title for its #IGCvSNES thread.
Click the Game’s YES/NO PILE Status for IGC’s Mini-Review

COMPLETED

SESSION #1
Brain Lord YES PILE
Super Adventure Island NO PILE
Goof Troop YES PILE

THREE HOUR SESSION #2
Super Godzilla NO PILE
Super Bonk YES PILE
WWF Wrestlemania: The Arcade Game YES PILE
BONUS GAME: Super Genjin 2 (Super Bonk 2) YES PILE
BONUS GAME
: Godzilla: Kaijuu Daikessen NO PILE

THREE HOUR SESSION #3
The Lost Vikings YES PILE
Spanky’s Quest YES PILE
Street Fighter Alpha 2 YES PILE
BONUS GAME: Super Street Fighter II YES PILE
*Note: No more Street Fighter 2s for #IGCvSNES

ONE HOUR SESSION #1
Scooby-Doo Mystery NO PILE

THREE HOUR SESSION #4
Zombies Ate my Neighbors YES PILE
Sunset Riders NO PILE
Sparkster YES PILE
BONUS GAME: Ghoul Patrol NO PILE

THREE HOUR SESSION #5
Illusion of Gaia YES PILE
Spindizzy Worlds NO PILE
Popeye: Ijiwaru Majo Seahag no Maki YES PILE

THREE HOUR SESSION #6
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time YES PILE
U.N. Squadron NO PILE
Demon’s Crest YES PILE

THREE HOUR SESSION #7
Hagane NO PILE
Super Adventure Island II NO PILE
Super 3D Noah’s Ark NO PILE
BONUS GAME: Doom NO PILE
BONUS GAME: Wolfenstein 3D NO PILE

THREE HOUR SESSION #8
SimCity YES PILE
The Legend of the Mystical Ninja YES PILE
Vegas Stakes NO PILE

THREE HOUR SESSION #9
Mario & Wario YES PILE
Mickey Mania NO PILE
Wrecking Crew ’98 YES PILE
BONUS GAME: Star Fox NO PILE
BONUS GAME: Star Fox 2 NO PILE
CANCELLED DUE TO EPILEPSY CONCERNS: Uniracers

THREE HOUR SESSION #10
Final Fight 2 NO PILE
NHL ’94 YES PILE
Fire Pro Wrestling X Premium NO PILE
BONUS GAME(s): Final Fight & Fight Fight Guy NO PILE
BONUS GAME: Final Fight 3 NO PILE

THREE HOUR SESSION #11
King of the Dragons NO PILE
Jikkyo Oshaberi Parodius YES PILE
Terranigma YES PILE
BONUS GAME: Knights of the Round YES PILE
BONUS GAME: Captain Commando NO PILE
BONUS GAME: Socks the Cat Rocks the Hill NO PILE
BONUS GAME: Parodius YES PILE
BONUS GAME: Parodius: Fantastic Journey YES PILE

SUPER MARIO WORLD 30TH ANNIVERSARY BONUS
Super Mario World YES PILE
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest YES PILE
F-Zero YES PILE

ONE HOUR SESSION #2
ActRaiser 2 NO PILE
BONUS GAME: ActRaiser YES PILE

THREE HOUR SESSION #12
Mario Paint YES PILE
Pac-in-Time NO PILE
Aladdin YES PILE
BONUS GAME(s): Mario’s Super Picross/NP Picross Vol 1 – 8 YES PILE

ONE HOUR SESSION #3
Bubsy in Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind NO PILE

THREE HOUR SESSION #13
Bubsy II NO PILE
Jim Power: The Lost Dimension in 3D NO PILE
Disney’s Bonkers NO PILE

THREE HOUR SESSION #14
SmartBall YES PILE
Indiana Jones: Greatest Adventures NO PILE
Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel NO PILE
BONUS GAME: NBA Hangtime YES PILE

THREE HOUR SESSION #15 (Super Scope Session)
Super Scope 6 YES PILE
Yoshi’s Safari YES PILE
T2: The Arcade Game NO PILE
BONUS GAME: Battle Clash YES PILE
BONUS GAME: Metal Combat: Falcon’s Revenge YES PILE
BONUS GAME: Bazooka Blitzkrieg NO PILE
BONUS GAME: Tin Star YES PILE
BONUS GAME: X-Zone NO PILE
BONUS GAME: Operation Thunderbolt NO PILE

POWER RANGERS MINI-MARATHON
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers NO PILE
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie NO PILE
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Fighting Edition YES PILE
Saban’s Power Rangers Zeo: Battle Racers NO PILE
Postponed: Gekisou Sentai Carranger (Failure to Load)

BONUS BENCHMARK SESSION
$1,600 RAISED BONUS GAME: Super Metroid YES PILE **CURRENT #1**
RESCUED FROM PURGATORY BONUS GAME: Super Mario Kart YES PILE
RESCUED FROM PURGATORY BONUS GAME: Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts YES PILE
CATHY NEEDED A BREAK BONUS GAME: Super Punch-Out YES PILE
RESCUED FROM PURGATORY BONUS GAME: Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island YES PILE
$2,000 RAISED SPECIAL LOOK GAME: BS Zelda UNRANKED YES
RESCUED FROM PURGATORY BONUS GAME: Pilotwings YES PILE
RESCUED FROM PURGATORY BONUS GAME: Kirby’s Dreamland 3 NO PILE
RESCUED FROM PURGATORY BONUS GAME: Kirby Super Star YES PILE
$2,000 RAISED BONUS GAME: Kirby’s Super Star Stacker YES PILE
$2,000 RAISED BONUS GAME: Kirby’s Dream Course YES PILE
$2,000 RAISED BONUS GAME: Kirby’s Avalanche YES PILE

THREE HOUR SESSION #16
Equinox NO PILE
E.V.O. Search for Eden NO PILE
Plok YES PILE
BONUS GAME: Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball NO PILE

THREE HOUR SESSION #17
The Twisted Tales of Spike McFang NO PILE*
Biker Mice from Mars YES PILE
Dino City NO PILE

THREE HOUR SESSION #18
Clock Tower NO PILE
Hameln no Violin Hiki YES PILE
Final Fantasy Mystic Quest NO PILE
BONUS GAME: Mega Man X NO PILE

BONUS ALL-STARS SECTION
Chrono Trigger YES PILE
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars YES PILE

THREE HOUR SESSION #19
The Magical Quest starring Mickey Mouse YES PILE
Pitfall! The Mayan Adventure NO PILE
The Adventures of Mighty Max NO PILE

ONE HOUR SESSION #4
Cacoma Knight in Bizyland YES PILE

THREE HOUR SESSION #20
Pop’n TwinBee: Rainbow Bell Adventures YES PILE
Magical Pop’n NO PILE
Sailor Moon: Another Story NO PILE

THREE HOUR SESSION #21
Super Back to the Future II NO PILE
The Firemen YES PILE
DoReMi Fantasy: Milon’s DokiDoki Adventure YES PILE


NON-SESSION PHASE

Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures NO PILE
The Simpsons: Bart’s Nightmare NO PILE
Virtual Bart NO PILE
**BONUS GAME** The Itchy & Scratchy Game NO PILE
Krusty’s Super Fun House NO PILE
Road Runner’s Death Valley Rally NO PILE
Taz-Mania NO PILE
Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose NO PILE
Animaniacs NO PILE
Bugs Bunny Rabbit Rampage NO PILE
**BONUS GAME** Daffy Duck: The Marvin Missions NO PILE
**BONUS GAME** Speedy Gonzales: Los Gatos Bandidos YES PILE
Porky Pig’s Haunted Holiday YES PILE
The Addams Family YES PILE
**BONUS GAME** The Addams Family: Pugsley’s Scavenger Hunt NO PILE
**BONUS GAME** Addams Family Values NO PILE

STILL TO COME

Adventures of Batman & Robin
Aerobiz Supersonic
Alien³
Arkanoid: Doh it Again
Art of Fighting 2
Axelay
Bahamut Lagoon
Bass Masters Classic Pro Edition
Batman Forever
Batman Returns
Battletoads & Double Dragon
Battletoads in Battlemaniacs
Beauty & the Beast
Beavis & Butthead
Beethoven
BlackThrone
Boogerman (Interplay Collection 1)
Bronkie The Bronchiasaurus
Brutal: Paws of Fury
Bulls vs. Blazers and the NBA Playoffs
Bushi Seiryūden: Futari no Yūsha
Captain Novolin
Castlevania: Dracula X
Chaos Seed: Fūsui Kairōki
Chrono Trigger
Chuck Rock
Clay Fighter (Interplay Collection 1)
Clay Fighter 2 (Interplay Collection 2)
Claymates (Interplay Collection 2)
Congo’s Caper
Cool Spot
Cutthroat Island
Cybernator
Dennis the Menace
Disney’s Magical Quest 3 Starring Mickey & Donald
Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble!
Dragon View (Piko 1)
Dragon’s Lair
Earth Defense Force (Jaleco Collection 1)
Earthbound
Earthworm Jim 2 (Interplay Collection 2)
Famicom Tantei Club Part II: Ushiro ni Tatsu Shōjo (Famicom Detective Club 2)
Fatal Fury Special
Final Fantasy IV (aka Final Fantasy 2 in the US)
Final Fantasy VI (aka Final Fantasy 3 in the US)
Fire Emblem: Thracia 776
Firepower 2000
Firestriker
Front Mission
Ganbare! Daiku no Gen-san
Gemfire
Gundam Wing: Endless Duel
Gunman’s Proof
Harvest Moon
Heracles no Eikō III: Kamigami no Chinmoku
Home Alone
Hong Kong ’97
Hook
Inspector Gadget
J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings: Volume One
Jim Lee’s WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams
Joe & Mac
Joe & Mac 2: Lost in the Tropics (Data East 1)
Judge Dredd
Jurassic Park
Kamen Rider
Ken Griffey Jr.’s Winning Run
King Arthur’s World
King of Demons
King of the Monsters 2
Lady Stalker: Kako kara no Chōsen
Laplace no Ma (Laplace’s Demon)
Lemmings
Lester the Unlikely
Lufia 2: Rise of the Sinistrals
Lufia: Fortress of Doom
Magic Sword
Magical Drop 2 (Data East Collection 1)
Magical Pop’n
Mario is Missing
Marvelous: Mōhitotsu no Takarajima
Mega Man 7
Mega Man Soccer
Mega Man X
Metal Warriors
Michael Jordan: Chaos in Windy City
Mohawk & Headphone Jack
Mortal Kombat
Mortal Kombat 3
Mortal Kombat II
Mr. Do!
NBA Give ‘n Go
New Horizons
Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen
On the Ball/Cameltry
Paladin’s Quest
Phantom 2040
Pieces
Pinocchio
Pocky & Rocky
Populous
Prehistoric Man (Interplay Collection 2)
Prince of Persia
PTO: Pacific Theater of Operations
Q*Bert 3
Race Drivin’
Rex Ronan: Experimental Surgeon
Rise of the Robots
Robocop versus Terminator
Robotrek
Rock ‘n Roll Racing
Rocko’s Modern Life: Spunky’s Dangerous Day
Run Saber
Saturday Night Slam Masters
Secret of Mana
Shadowrun
Shaq-Fu
Shin Nekketsu Kouha – Kunio-tachi no Banka
SimAnt
SimEarth
Skyblazer
Soccer Kid (Piko Interaction Collection 2)
SOS
Soul Blazer
Space Ace
Speed Racer
Spider-Man & X-Men: Arcade’s Revenge
Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage
Super Baseball 2020
Super Bomberman
Super Bomberman 2
Super Bomberman 3
Super Bomberman 4
Super Bomberman 5
Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Scrambled Valkyrie
Super Double Dragon (Technos Collection)
Super Empire Strikes Back
Super Famicom Wars
Super Gussun Oyoyo
Super Ninja Boy
Super Return of the Jedi
Super Robot Wars Gaiden
Super Star Wars
Super Tekkyu Fight!
Super Widget
Sutte Hakkun
Sutte Hakkun
Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together
Tecmo Super Bowl III: Final Edition
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters
The Flintstones
The Flintstones: The Treasure of Sierra Madrock
The Great Battle IV
The Great Circus Mystery starring Mickey & Minnie
The Humans (Piko Interactive Collection 1)
The Jetsons: Invasion of the Planet Pirates
The Pirates of Dark Water
The Tick
TimeCop
Top Racer 2 (Piko 2)
Trials of Mana
True Lies
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
Umihara Kawase
Undercover Cops
Wayne’s World
Weaponlord (Namco Collection 2)
Wild Guns
Wolverine: Adamantium Rage
Wonder Project J
X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse
Ys V: Kefin, Lost Kingdom of Sand
Zen-Nippon Pro Wrestling 2: 3-4
Zig Zag Cat

Escape Room Crate Review #1: Finders Seekers – Mont Saint Michel

My family is absolutely hooked on doing Escape Rooms. It’s something I’m singing the praises of to everyone. I literally can’t believe something so cool is taking off the way it is. But, there’s this niggling little voice in the back of my head screaming “THIS IS A FAD! ALL THESE PLACES WILL BE OUT OF BUSINESS BY THE END OF THE DECADE!” I’m not trying to be a debbie-downer here, but I think every fan of the Escape Room phenomena is operating under the assumption that the party could stop at any time. In fact, Covid drove a stake through the heart of many. I’m just trying to enjoy it while it lasts. For those that don’t know, it’s exactly what it sounds like: you’re locked in a room and have an hour to get out. The room contains all the clues you need to escape. There’s usually a sequential order to the puzzles, but sometimes there’s literally just a chest with a dozen padlocks on it and you have to figure out which puzzle goes to which lock and what the combo is. Speaking of which, if you want to do these: practice at a variety of combination locks. Trust me. We’ve lost exactly one room in 2021, and that was because we didn’t have the combo in the correct position in the lock, despite having the correct number. Grrrrr.

The other issue is you’ll inevitably run out of rooms you haven’t done. Most establishments have 3 or 4, maybe more. Many also have only one or two decorated rooms, with the rest relying on virtual reality. I can’t do virtual reality, as one of the keys to beating epilepsy is distance from a TV screen, and VR is literally strapping a television next to your eyeballs. Many of the establishments around here rotate their rooms every 3 or 4 months, but with Covid, they’ve curtailed that. We’re not TOTALLY tapped out yet, but our thirst for more puzzling needs to be quenched. But, one of my fans on Twitter who knew of my family’s obsession with Escape Rooms asked if we’d ever considered doing the mail-order ones that you play in the privacy of your own home. Um.. no, and that actually sounds fucking awesome. So, we subscribed to a few. The first one just arrived yesterday, and I’d like to talk to you all about it.

Finders Seekers came arrived in our mail box, and I was sort of stunned at how small it physically was. “Crate” in this case is about as thick as a normal pizza box, but nowhere near as long. We all were a bit disappointed.. until we opened it. The elaborate puzzle-based mystery therein was genuinely the most fun we’ve had “playing a game” at home in years. It actually feels like a stripped-down Escape Room that keeps the best elements from the physical locations, IE the puzzles, and works them into a linear storyline that was razor thin on plot BUT engaging enough that all five of us cared about the ultimate solution. To their team’s credit, they also do their best to give the truly dedicated families/groups ways to immerse themselves by recommending Spotify music to play over the game, though for the life of us we couldn’t get it to run on any device without crapping out after 10 seconds.

Everything that comes in this month’s box. Some puzzles were better than others. We were especially annoyed with one that’s like a maze but also a weave, which was a bit obtuse. In fact, we actually solved that one by working backwards from the exit and logic-ing out what the letters COULDN’T be.

Contained within the box was several different puzzles, all of which used their own rules, cyphers, and logic. In order to play a Finders Keeper box, you MUST have direct access to a device with a web browser, since the padlocks or keys common to escape rooms are replaced with entering the passwords you discover into a web browser. You’ll work your way from one enclosed element to another. This particular crate came with thirteen “elements.” Among them, a satchel of French lavender that stunk to high heaven.. in a good way.. and a folding cup with a lid. You start the adventure by typing in a specific web address that will guide you along the journey. It feels almost like a physical version of Professor Layton, where every person you encounter will present you with a puzzle to solve. Take one of the elements, figure out what about it contains the password, and enter it into the provided box OR boxes provided on the website. The story is also presented chapter-by-chapter on the site.

I’m not kidding when I say we smelled the box this shipped in from our porch.

The puzzle design is truly the standout aspect of Finders Seekers. We worked out every puzzle as a group, and when we correctly entered the password into a device, we cheered and slapped high fives. You don’t need to be a super-genius for them. If you have a group, at least one of you is bound to figure out what the “trick” is and then, as a group, you can sort it out from there. IN THEORY an individual can easily do these. If I had a knock on this, it’s that they don’t give you a cheap option to have them double-up some of the elements for multiple people. We sat at a round table and all would stare at each one, but only one person of course is going to have the best view. We would pay extra to add extra copies, but not so much that we just pay twice for one box. Something they may want to consider. They might also want to consider doing their own app that you use to “drive” each of their monthly games instead of using a URL and a web browser, which could also be designed to be more immersive. And, yes, the story COULD be better written. Again, the Professor Layton “flimsy excuse to present a puzzle” vibe is thick, but like Layton, you inevitably care about the ultimate point of it all by time it’s done. It NEVER comes close to the immersion an escape room can achieve (duh, we’ve done ones where you start handcuffed to the wall), but the puzzles are exactly like the ones you encounter in them, and you don’t even have to waste time finding them!

We optionally recommend each player carry a pen and paper notepad while playing.

A quick side-note: Finders Seekers updates their Facebook and Instagram accounts. BUT, their Twitter has been dead since 2018. They really need to get someone updating that. We genuinely were worried they’d gone out of business. DON’T DO THIS, ANYONE WHO MAKES GAMES! You are genuinely better off closing down that social media page than just leaving it stagnant.

We had a LOT of fun playing Mont St. Michel. Even without the pressure of the timer of a normal escape room, anyone should be able to complete this box in a couple hours, and there’s NO replay value. We did write on ours, but it’s not necessary. You could, in theory, not write on it and then pass it on to someone else. The business model is based on a subscription, or you can order one at a time for $30. Mind you, $30 is the average price for one person to enter an Escape Room. Go with a group of four and you’re spending $120. A year’s subscription will run you $300, essentially giving you two months for free. We have subscribed for a year, and we’re also planning on ordering a few of their in-stock past boxes (though apparently those go quick). For our first-ever Escape Crate AND our first Finders Seekers box, Mont St. Michels was VERY fun, and we’re extremely excited for what else they’ll come up with. Really good, guys. Tons of fun! But, let’s see if that can be maintained over the course of a year.

Visit Finders Seekers website to subscribe.
$12.50 (Normally $25 per a month, but this month we had a 50% off our first month discount) was spent in the making of this review. A single month of Finders Seekers will cost $30.

Save Me Mr. Tako Definitive Edition

Technically, this could be a Second Chance with the Chick review. I reviewed Mr. Tako back in 2019, noting I didn’t care for the difficulty, the lives system, etc. In fairness, I didn’t have nostalgia for the Game Boy, which is as close to a prerequisite for enjoying Mr. Tako as it gets. As far as difficulty and other technical issues go, developer Christophe Galati was game, and in fact, he did patchwork on Steam. Unfortunately, his publisher on Switch, who I won’t even give the dignity of naming, just wouldn’t cooperate. Having gotten to know Chris, he got a raw deal. What really sucks is there’s no way of getting those adopters of Mr. Tako this port for free. I like Chris. A lot. He’s a good guy. I admire that he persevered through a nauseating situation to get his work out there at its maximum potential.

This dialog from Mr. Tako became absurdly meta.

Now, having said that, my #1 problem with Save Me Mr. Tako was always that I was never this game’s target audience to begin with. That’s totally out of Chris’ hands. I’m just not nostalgic for the Game Boy. I don’t see how anyone can be. Such nostalgic feelings would be no different than someone being nostalgic for.. I dunno.. rabbit ears on a television. Why would you long to go back to that today? It doesn’t seem convenient, and the picture quality was never as good, and sometimes you’d probably have to get up and adjust the damn things. Imagine someone wishing they could tune-in Netflix using rabbit ears. That’d be so dumb! Why would you want that, Dad? What is wrong with you?!

Sorry, that was awkward.

Well, how come that’s dumb, but reminiscing about the Game Boy, to the point you’d crave a new game that looks like a Game Boy game isn’t? The Game Boy looks the way it does because it was cheap, could run on batteries without sapping them, but was still a major step above the previous option for handheld gaming, which was either Game & Watch or typing swear words into a calculator. Unlike something like, say, the NES or Super NES, where you can do a lot with the limited color palette and sprite-sizes, the Game Boy is just always ugly. Even a game like this, which if it had come out in the 90s, would have been in the upper-echelon of Game Boy games, in both graphics and gameplay. Yea, Mr. Tako is an amazing achievement: a modern indie stylized like a retro game with almost no seams of modern stitching, and it’s even fun. But I’d rather it look like almost any other platform. I can’t get over it.

There’s tons of different four-color palettes you can use. Why not just do the Super Game Boy thing and have a customize option? On a side note, thank you for including photosensitive options. Always classy.

Which is not to say you can’t appreciate Mr. Tako as a game without the four-color thing getting in the way. Mr. Tako is still potentially one of THE all-time great indie mascots, but like Pikachu before him, he has to get his adorable ass out of Game Boy Land and into something more flattering for his personality. Then again, Save Me Mr. Tako goes to some wickedly dark places. The parents of Mr. Tako, the former King & Queen lived happily ever after. No wait, they fucked and died, like all Octopi do. None of that cutesy Disney crap. Octopus die after mating, and by god, that’s going in the game!

I get why they’re there and I know that other players like them more than me, but I sort of wish none of the human-based levels existed. I always winced when they came up. I didn’t like a single one, but again, that’s just me. I thought they were always boring.

Actually, “by God, that’s going in the game!” seems to have been the motto for developing Save Me Mr. Tako: Definitive Edition. There’s a jaw-dropping FIFTY power-ups. Fifty! In a weird way, I kind of admire that Chris didn’t say “I’ll save that one for the sequel!” at any point. But for a mascot platformer, it’s kind of overkill. You can reload your hat at any midway checkpoint, but realistically, you’ll only have one or two that you actually like to use. There’s also fifty stages, a few of which are inspired, but most of which are plain at best, if not outright tedious. Christophe suffers from Peter Jackson syndrome: he desperately needed an editor. Rework the fifty levels down to eight worlds of four stages each, with all the best bits from the stages deleted used to extend the good/average levels. When Mr. Tako is good, it’s a lot of fun. But it gets samey and sloggy, and for what? So a sales blurb can say fifty stages? If nobody is raving about the level design, it doesn’t matter. Give me thirty-two good levels to fifty mostly dull ones any day.

I decided a few weeks ago I’d save this for my 10th Anniversary review. Then I went down my timeline to fetch the media for this review, since I hadn’t added that, and I realized “oh shit, I only uploaded videos. Well, that’s okay, the video are still.. on.. my Switch.. wait, didn’t I clean all my media out a few weeks.. ago?” 😦 Well, fudge.

But, Mr. Tako actually is an overall net-positive this time. Part of that is the difficulty is adjustable and therefore more reasonable this time around. It allows you to appreciate the absolutely batshit raving story about a war between humans and octopus, which is so gosh-dang charming and melodramatic that you have to admire it. At times, the story interruptions can get a bit annoying, and the limited Game Boy appearance can make telling some characters apart a bit harder than it needed to be, but I was genuinely invested in where this was all going. Funny enough, as nutty as the story is, it’s also thoughtful and at times sentimental and sweet. I didn’t really care for the human leads as much, be it their arc in the storyline or playing as them at various times in the game, but I appreciated that gameplay was used to drive the narrative. It’s the rare mascot platformer where the story matters.

The boomerang was my go-to weapon. There’s a sword as well, but it has no oomph to it.

So, they added hit points and now a game I barely didn’t like is one I barely liked. Yes, Mr. Tako is fun. It needed less levels with more going on, and less power-ups with the filler cut and the best stuff refined to a mirror-shine. For all the baffling choices made, Mr. Tako still manages to pull-off a worthwhile platforming adventure. That doesn’t exactly sound like a ringing endorsement, but it’s still an endorsement. Oh, I’m all-in on Mr. Tako as the next big indie franchise. I hope it can find its audience this time. And, if not, maybe next time! Assuming the Game Boy stuff is exchanged for 16-bit aesthetics. It’s kind of funny: ten years ago today, I posted my very first review. The Cathy who wrote THAT review didn’t get nostalgic for anything. The Cathy of 2021 says things like “do you know what I could go for today? Super Mario Sunshine! You know, that game I liked when I was twelve!” Maybe if I’d grown-up with the original Game Boy, I’d been a lot more enthusiastic about a game looking this way. Then again, I did grow up with a Nintendo 64, but if an indie developer made a game that looked like that, I’d dunk their nut sack in teriyaki sauce and let my dog eat their balls off.

Save Me Mr. Tako: Definitive Edition was developed by Christophe Galati
Point of Sale: Nintendo Switch, Steam

$14.99 wiped tears away and thanked everyone for ten amazing years in the making of this review.

Save Me Mr. Tako: Definitive Edition is Chick-Approved and ranked on the Indie Gamer Chick Leaderboard

A Decade Later

Thank you Waff for the amazing job! Check out his online store and follow him on Twitter!

I’ve been staring at my screen for the last hour, trying to find the words that best sum up the last ten years. I’ve typed stuff and deleted it. I’ve changed the title dozens of times. No matter what I say, it doesn’t feel like it properly conveys the love and gratitude I have for the hundreds of game developers and thousands of readers who have made the last ten years so special to me. I still can’t find anything that feels powerful enough, so I’ll simply say “thank you!” It has truly been my pleasure.

I’m not the same person I was ten years ago, and the next ten years are going to be.. interesting to say the least. For those that don’t know, I found out last year that I’m among the ten-million people on Earth living with Parkinson’s Disease. I’m healthy right now. In fact, in many ways I’ve never been better. I haven’t had a seizure in eighty days as of this writing. That’s four-times longer than I’ve gone at any point since I was sixteen-years-old. So that’s really cool. I’m showing some symptoms of Parkinson’s, but nothing drastically interfering in gameplay as of yet. That won’t last, though. There’s going to be changes. My reaction times will inevitably slow. Thumb-accuracy will likely be an issue. But, I’m not quitting gaming. Fuck that. I’ll find stuff I can play.

Probably not stuff with motion controls.

It’s just another phase of my weird journey as Indie Gamer Chick. But the beauty of gaming is there’s something for everyone. Even people fated to be professional Jiffy Pop poppers. If I’ve learned one thing in my ten years spent reviewing games, it’s to have faith that good stuff is always coming soon to a device near you. I don’t get when people say gaming used to better “back in the day.” Back in the day, gamers couldn’t bring off-trend, off-beat projects to consoles all on their own. Indies and digital distribution have really brought us into a golden age for gaming. For all the bitching we all do (myself included) about too much DLC or microtransactions, I can buy a $20 giftcard and walk away with a handful of games on pretty much any gaming format, with at least one or two near-certain quality releases. I couldn’t do that as a kid on my Nintendo 64 or PlayStation 2 or Dreamcast. What an amazing thing we all have. What a time to alive!

“Please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism. It’s my least favorite quality, and it doesn’t lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.”

-Conan O’Brien on his final Tonight Show

That’s my favorite quote. I love it because it’s true. It’s so weird, because a lot of people found me via scathing reviews of games that cost $1 – $5 on their Xbox 360s. I’d get angry and I’d get confused and I’d tear a game a new butthole for baffling design. On the surface, I’d come across like the stereotypical angry gaming critic. There’s a few notable ones, but most of them are a dime a dozen and fade into obscurity just as quickly as they start. I think the difference with me, the thing that’s kept me going for ten years now, is that I’m not cynical. I’ve always kept faith that the best game I’ll EVER play is somewhere off in the future. I used to say it would be tragic if, in my mid-20s, I’d already played the best game I’ll ever play. I’ll be 32-years-old next week, and I’ll never be as healthy again as I am right now. And yet, I still believe in my heart-of-hearts the best game I’ll ever play is still yet to come. I think that’s what makes me different. I think a lot of gaming people these days are too cynical about the future of our pastime. That the best days are behind us, and that nothing will ever be as good as it once was.

But, I look at what I’ve played over the last ten years, and I look at the incredible artists who made them, and I ask how anyone can be that jaded? These guys and gals have given me every reason to believe gaming’s future is brighter than a supernova. I have faith in their drive and their creativity and their homespun moxie. They’re going to assure our future as gamers will be as vast and limitless as our imaginations can conceive. And I’m so very excited, and I want you to be too!

For the adventures coming.

For the challenges we’ll conquer.

For the kingdoms we’ll save.

For the villains we’ll slay.

For the quests we’ll complete.

For the puzzles we’ll solve.

For the dreams we’ll see come true.

Have faith, my friends. The best of gaming always belongs somewhere in the future.

-Cathy Vice
July 1, 2021

Indie Gamer Chick versus Game Boy: Game & Watch Gallery

I’m experimenting with using my blog instead of Twitter.

Game & Watch Gallery
Developed & Published by Nintendo
Also developed by TOSE
1997 Game Boy

Certainly an interesting concept for a 1997 game. Nintendo had this wonderful library of LCD handhelds that predated even the Famicom/NES. Simple games that lent themselves to portable gameplay. Meanwhile, the Game Boy was still going strong, and Nintendo had this massive collection of games that could be collected. Nintendo did a trial run with the concept in 1994-95 with a release that never happened outside of Europe and Australia.

Game Boy Gallery, released in 1995, tasked developer TOSE with recreating five of their vintage LCDs.

This is basically the prototype for the Game & Watch Gallery series, as all five games have updated graphics that aren’t intended to look exactly like their LCD counterparts, but rather modern interpretations of them. However, the gameplay is directly-lifted from the originals, with no “modern” minigame counterpart.

I can’t find sales data on Game Boy Gallery, but I imagine it must have done well-enough to keep the concept alive. The solution was self-evident: include both the classic games in all their animation-devoid glory, but also include updated versions of the games. And use popular Mario characters. Genius! The series was successful enough (or cheap and easy enough to produce) to run four-games deep. Today, I’m checking the games of Game & Watch Gallery 1. Do they hold up?

MANHOLE
Series: Gold, New Wide Screen
Release: January 29, 1981 (Gold), August 24, 1983 (New Wide Screen)
Gameplay: Spinning-Plate
Cathy’s High Score 848 (Classic) 1,081 (Modern)

CLASSIC VERSION: Manhole is, for me, the definitive Game & Watch release. The gameplay couldn’t be more simple: you have a single manhole cover and four gaps. Cover the gap for each runner. It’s just a matter of judging which runner is going to be the next to step over a gap. You have to memorize how many steps each runner will need before he’s over a manhole. Once you’ve registered a “cover” over a gap, you can move and the runner will hang over the gap in defiance of gravity without following. It’s not exactly “fun” in the traditional sense, but I really found myself unwilling to quit when I reached 500 points and had lost my one miss at some point. The key to Manhole is remembering to press A to automatically switch to the opposite diagonal corner. I’m almost certain the 848 points I had on my second attempt of Manhole beat even my childhood score, but I was *never* having fun.
Verdict: NO Pile

MODERN VERSION: The basic layout remains, only now there’s three different types of beings crossing: endless Toad clones, endless Donkey Kong Jr. clones, and rarely, Mario clones. Each runs at a different speed, which further complicates the spinning-plate element. But, this time, there’s four manhole covers that you can replace and leave alone. When something crossing runs across a cover, it displaces it. Yoshi can stop this from happening on one cover at a time, and then when free, replace the covers that have been knocked loose. As far as updating the Manhole formula goes, this is probably the very best you could do. I hate how the free-lives work, as every 200 (400?) saves, a heart will be tossed onto the playfield, but it wasn’t always tossed at an opportune time, which forced me to miss one. But, this is a *lot* more engaging than the 1981 LCD while also feeling exactly like a proper remake of it. One of the better remakes. I did only play one game of it and scored 1,081. As a kid, I scored almost 2,000 once.
Verdict: YES Pile.

FIRE
Alternate Title: Fireman Fireman (North America original title)
Series: Silver, Wide-Screen
Release Date: July 31, 1980 (Silver), December 4, 1981 (Wide Screen)
Gameplay: Juggler
Cathy’s High Score: 447 (Classic) 642 (Modern)

CLASSIC VERSION: A “classic” that I can’t believe people don’t consider an abject failure. The concept of having to juggle people jumping from a burning building sounds fine, but this is one of those games where the lack of animation completely ruins the gameplay. Once the game gets moving and there’s four or more jumpers at once, it’s damn near impossible to judge which ones are next to land, or even if you correctly “saved” the next jumper. This is a formula that *needed* a taller screen with more animation cells
Verdict: NO Pile.

MODERN VERSION: Having animation made me realize another problem with Fire: there’s no quick passage from the left side to the right. Every single one of my deaths was the result of split-second gap between making a save on the right side not leaving enough time to save the jumper on the left side. But what can you do? Fire shows up again during Game & Watch Gallery series. Here’s hoping it improves.
Verdict: NO Pile

OCTOPUS
Alternate Titles: Mysteries of the Sea (UK) and Mysteries of the Deep
Series: Wide Screen
Release Date: July 16, 1981
Gameplay: Cross the Road
Cathy’s High Score: 1,138 (Classic) 1,371 (Modern)

CLASSIC VERSION: Octopus is probably my favorite classic Game & Watch game. Having played a ton of LCD games last summer (go here, here, and here), I’ve come to the conclusion that cross-the-road format games are inherently the best use of LCD’s technology. Octopus’s mechanic of having you go from the ship to the treasure chest to load-up on plunder while avoiding tentacles is fairly straight forward. IN THEORY you should be capped at how much you can load up from the chest. But I scored my first 400 or so points while barely surfacing at all. IN THEORY your hand should get a lot slower when loading the treasure, but it’s never insanely slow. Without animation, movement from spot to spot can’t be slower. Also, you’re capped at 3 bonus points per surfacing. It’s super easy to time the tentacles too. Octopus is still one of the better Game & Watch games. Which tells you how badly these games aged that I still can’t recommend it.
Verdict: NO Pile

MODERN VERSION: Much, much better. Here, loading up on treasure slows your movement down, but you also bank extra points for every grab you make. Also, the tentacles can go into different lanes, but you seem to have the ability to bait them into going down specific ones. It turns Octopus Remake into the game that tests your greed. You have no limit on how much treasure you can get, but you can become so slow that it’s impossible to get back to the boat no matter how perfect your reflexes are. The game dares you to grab a ton of gold, but as long as you remember that there’s no time limit, it’s just a matter of how patient you are in grinding up a score. As a remake of an LCD game, Octopus gets incredibly repetitive. It’s also the fastest-scoring and genuinely best video game in Game & Watch Gallery 1.
Verdict: YES Pile

OIL PANIC
Series: Multi Screen
Release: May 28, 1982
Gameplay: Catch-and-Release
Cathy’s High Score: 2,775 (Classic) 1,022 (Modern)

CLASSIC MODE: My god. MY GOD! I have never in my entire, miserable life played a game that is this competently made that is also so boring that it’s genuinely torturous. Here, you collect drops of oil that fall from the ceiling and then dump them out the windows. Below you is a man walking back and forth with a bucket that is apparently limitless. Instead of doing the logical thing, saying “HEY ASSHOLE, CAN I USE *THAT* BUCKET?!” you have to deal with a three-drop limit for your own. You lose a life if you miss the oil, catch a drop when your bucket is full, or if you throw the oil out the window when the big bucket guy isn’t on that side. Mind you, if the oil hits the floor, it catches fire. In theory you should be napalming the two pedestrians below. To death. They certainly should be just shouting at you with as much anger is generally displayed when one is cut-off on the freeway. Anyway, the formula seems like a decent-enough take on the Catch-and-Release genre. But, it’s actually too easy. On the A mode, I rolled the scoreboard twice, and would have a third time if I hadn’t got bored to the point that I asked my family to walk in front of the TV screen to add challenge. Which they got bored with after a couple minutes, so I held the controller upside-down and I think I made it two whole points after that. One of the problems is you have, in theory, as many as five lives in Oil Panic, because screwing up the oil-side of the screen and screwing up the roaming oil collector and two fire-proof pedestrian side of the screen are counted separately. For no reason. Also, all your misses are erased every time you reach X300 points. That’s just too generous. But the real biggest problem is that the difficulty, and speed of the oil drips, resets when you roll the scoreboard after X999 points. Which you will, because this is insultingly easy. I suppose I could have quit and reviewed the B part, but who actually plays Mode B?
Verdict: NO Pile

MODERN VERSION: Easily the best remake in Game & Watch Gallery 1, as Octopus already had a more-than-solid foundation and was on the cusp of being good, while this time, it turns a boring game into a decent one. Oil Panic retains the basic “catch the oil” formula, only there’s now multiple twists. As Mario instead of Mr. Game & Watch, you hold two buckets instead of one. And instead of a bottomless bucket holder to throw to, it’s Yoshi. You have the ability to rotate your buckets, which makes this feel like a follow-up the NES/Game Boy classic Yoshi. There’s also a few bonuses tied to Yoshi if you feed him two full buckets back-to-back within nano-seconds IN THE RIGHT POSITION. You see, Yoshi walks back and forth too, and he has to be as far to one side as possible to get the bonus. On the plus side, Yoshi’s tongue can catch the oil even if he’s not exactly to the edge. On the negative side, I never benefited from this from a meaningful range away from the ledge. It only screwed me out of the bonuses. Anyway, on the right side, doing back-to-back full buckets creates a block which has coins (and, when you reach milestones in points, also provides a free life). On the left side, Yoshi creates a block, and making four of them allows Yoshi to fireball/egg/melon-seed-spit Bowser for extra bonus points. You’ll be tempted to fill up the the buckets to the max every time, but like many Game & Watch titles, it’s often your own greed and impatience that will cost you lives. In fact, with both Octopus and Oil Panic, it’s absolutely possible to slowly grind up world-record points (the best you can do is tie former Donkey Kong world champion Wes Copeland’s 9,999 max score). It would take forever and be considered a form of self-harm, but it can be done.
Verdict: YES Pile

VERDICT

I actually owned Game & Watch Gallery as a kid, and I’m almost certain it’s a game I fished out of a clearance bin. To be frank, Game & Watch Gallery going four-deep as a franchise (five if you count the pilot-run with Game Boy Gallery.. seven if you count the lazy DS games that were given as part of Nintendo’s reward program) is astonishing, because there’s Mario Party minigames with more depth.

Game & Watch Gallery is a odd cat. When you get right down to it, it’s just a mini-game collection where the only true significance is these are based on early 80s Nintendo LCD games. All eight games presented here are incredibly repetitive and often you’ll welcome a game over. That’s usually a sign of being a bad game. I literally gave none of the “classic” Game & Watch games a YES, and to be frank, I wasn’t very enthusiastic about any of the YES pile games. It was more like I conceded their decency. Octopus Remake feels the most balanced. Oil Panic Remake is probably the most compelling formula that seems like it could lead to a solid full-fledged game. Manhole Remake is fine, just like the other two YES pile occupants. But none of these are worth actively seeking out. The most telling thing: Game & Watch Gallery is a slog, even when it’s at its best. It’s NEVER exciting.
Overall Verdict: NO Pile

Astro Aqua Kitty (Review)

I liked the original Aqua Kitty, but being a fan of Defender, I was predisposed to liking a competently made tribute to it. ASTRO Aqua Kitty isn’t Defender-like at all. While it retains the look of the original, it’s now a linear shmup-adventure based around exploration, fetch quests, and survival. It’s hard to fit Astro into one category, or even two, that fully satisfies as a descriptor of what exactly to expect. Fitting for a game about a cat, it just does it its own thing. For a sequel to a game that aspired for little more than updating a Golden Age of Arcades classic for modern players, that’s bold. Having said that, it’s easier to pitch the original Aqua Kitty to players. “Did you like Defender? Cool. Here’s a modern version of it given a cute-em-up makeover and contemporary play mechanics.” That’s going to be a game people either want or they don’t. I think Astro Aqua Kitty casts a wider net, but ironically, it’ll be a tougher sell. I’m going to do my best.

When Astro Aqua Kitty shows its claws, it’s an absolute joy to play.

Astro Aqua Kitty kind of feels like a Metroidvania, but it’s not. It’s broken up into absolutely MASSIVE stages that present a variety of objectives for you. Most of these come down to “retrieve person and/or object and deliver to spot on map” type of shenanigans. Along the way, you’ll face swarms of enemies, often so many that the screen temporarily fills up with enough projectiles to make it feel like you’ve slipped into a bullet hell. The pacing can be stop-and-go, as enemies don’t FULLY respawn once you’ve cleared out part of the map. An indicator you’re on the right track is usually running into another big action beat. The lack of respawning is probably to prevent grinding. Yes, grinding. I should mention that there’s RPG mechanics in this. See, I told you it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what Astro Aqua Kitty is.

Astro has a relatively simple XP system, but that system combines with a large amount of weapons, items, and variables to create one of the deepest and most rewarding loadout systems I’ve played as IGC. It’s staggering how much variety there is, and how gosh-darn fun it is to experiment and find uses for the various weapons. Two guns can be equipped at once, but they consume various degrees of energy or bullets. The guns themselves have levels and different attributes. You might have, for example, two versions of the basic pea shooter that are both a level 8. But, one might provide a boost in your shield, while the other provides boosts for energy consumption and regeneration. Guns can’t be leveled up. Instead, you purchase them from save stations or, more rarely, collect them from fallen enemies or chests. This applies to passive items too, which might make torpedoes turn sharper, increase chances of critical hits, or add value to the gems you need to buy more weapons and upgrades.

I spy with my little eye: a smiley face.

I do take issue with the pacing of leveling-up. Especially early in the game, where you might gain three levels in a matter of minutes, then go an hour or longer before leveling up again. There’s also a degree of RNG luck in what items are sold in stores and what their boosts are. The item that increases the value of gems was the most desirable, as you can upgrade your ship’s attributes with each new level, but I was stuck with a level 5 “gem cutter” from the second world until midway through the fourth world. That, and sometimes I just didn’t like the guns. I’ve never liked mines in ANY game, and here I found them particularly useless. The sonic wave gun I liked a lot, but it’s practically worthless against many enemies. You’re limited to sixteen spaces to make due with weapons AND items. You can have four items equipped at once, but especially against bosses, you’ll want a completely different set equipped than you would during normal questing. But sometimes, you just plain won’t have a satisfactory assortment. Is that on the game or on me for playing like an idiot? I don’t know, but I know it IS possible to find yourself in that position. I did a couple times.

You’d think combing fetch quests with shmups is a recipe for disaster. It worked for me, but I could understand why people think the game leans a little too hard into it.

Complaints aside, the XP system keeps the game fresh. That’s a good thing, because the set pieces don’t. The underwater setting makes levels feel kind of samey, at least for the first few hours. It’s not until level four that you FEEL like you’re in a different ocean on a different planet. That’s fine, I guess. You play games like this for the action, not for a tour. The enemies are distinctive enough to be a tick above generic. The bosses, on the other hands, will stick with you. They’re longish, frustrating, but unquestionably exhilarating to do battle with. I had an uncanny knack for having the wrong loadout going into them, but you can swap guns on the fly and experiment, and there’s always a save station right before them in case you die. Plus tons of others spread across the levels that the cowardly among us (ahem) will inevitably dash back and forth to after every teeny tiny bit of progress. Of course, there were also times I went large stretches without remembering to just tap the shoulder button once to save at the station. I don’t know why it didn’t just auto save whenever you opened the stores at the stations, but my own scatterbrainness screwed me over a couple times.

I fully admit that Tikipod might have gone a bit overboard with some bosses. You’re usually dealing them plus stationary projectile firing things that respawn if you kill them. I usually was on the last bit of my health when I’d finally win. BUT, I did first-try a couple bosses. Just be warned: they get TRULY ridiculous as the game goes on. Not for the faint of heart.

Astro Aqua Kitty won’t convert anyone not into space shooting, so if that’s never been your thing, I can’t imagine you’ll have fun at all with it. For everyone else, there’s enough twists in the formula to make Astro Aqua Kitty feel fresh. I really enjoyed it a lot, both in short bursts and in extended sit-downs. Even things I’d expect to hate weren’t an issue for me. I’ve NEVER liked having to press a button to change directions in a shmup, but it never bothered me here. The controls, the movement, everything, felt smooth and natural. The variety of characters at the start assure you can play in a way tailored to your strengths. Maybe the missions feel a bit repetitive. Then again, I suppose there’s only so many types of missions you can do in a game like this. But, don’t mistake being repetitive for being boring. I was never bored with Astro Aqua Kitty, and for its genre, you can’t really ask for more. It’s the cat’s meow.

Astro Aqua Kitty was developed by Tikipod Ltd.
Point of Sale: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4/Vita, and Steam (Coming June 3, 2021)

$14.99 laid a dead mouse on my chest in the making of this review.

Astro Aqua Kitty is Chick-Approved and ranked on the Indie Gamer Chick Leaderboard

An early review copy of Astro Aqua Kitty was provided to Indie Gamer Chick. Upon its release, Cathy paid for a copy of the game for a friend. All games reviewed at Indie Gamer Chick are paid for.

Cthulhu Saves Christmas (Review)

As I crawl to my 10th Anniversary as Indie Gamer Chick (it’s been pointed out to me that it’s actually my 9th anniversary, as your starting date isn’t your first anniversary. Yes, fine, I’ll have been IGC for ten years on July 1 is the point), something dreadful is overcoming me. And I don’t just mean the grim specter of Parkinson’s disease, a thought that gives me trembles. I mean sooner than it’s supposed to. No, I’m talking about nostalgia. Oh Christ, are you telling me that I’m now old enough and the world has gone to shit enough for me to long for a simpler time? Already? Ten years isn’t that long ago! But, yea, I’ve sort of reached that point where it’s almost unfathomable that I was once prolific and cranked out almost five-hundred game reviews in a a two year span and wish I could go back to THAT time.

The self-aware humor is so non-stop that even Deadpool would be like “yo, slow down! Let the jokes settle!”

So I started browsing through the literally hundreds of Nintendo Switch indies I’ve bought but never played and saw Cthulhu Saves Christmas. Oh hey, that’s a Zeboyd game! They made XBLIGs! I remember XBLIGs! I reviewed XBLIGs! They made Cthulhu Saves the World for XBLIG! I played it! I reviewed it! This is a Cthulhu saves game, only it’s NOT an XBLIG! That’s exactly the type of nostalgia my prematurely decrepit ass has been longing for. So, I fired it up and immediately started getting warm and fuzzy feelings of familiarity playing one of their self-aware satirical RPGs. The exact same kind that I started playing in 2011 when I started Indie Gamer Chick. You didn’t see a lot of games like this back then. Ten years later and there’s actually too many “haha, you’re playing a game, isn’t that quirky?” experiences. We’ve come far, and I figured Cthulhu Saves Christmas might run the joke into the ground eventually. But, I was wrong. They actually ran it into the ground right away. That’s the joke.

If you’re looking for “hardcore” RPG experience, something tells me you’d know enough from the title to realize you’re not getting it here. Or, if you’re familiar with Zeboyd’s work for that matter. Not that they can’t do damn fine RPG mechanics. Honesty, their Penny Arcade titles probably outclassed anything the Xbox 360 ever offered. But, even with really fun combat mechanics, you’re never going to be immersed in this world. In fact, the humor landing requires you to be as detached from the goings-on as humanly possible. That’s sort of the point. And yea, it’s really fun to play Cthulhu Saves Christmas. The set-up of having some attack options being chosen at random, while others you can organize and optimize for making battles be breezy is quite satisfying to build and implement. Besides, it moves at such a blistering pace that you never even have time to be bored. Things like exploring towns are shit-canned in favor of having to choose a handful of events between each stage which will give you a pre-set reward. It does feel rushed at times, but there’s always a disarming joke to go along with the feeling, as if the devs are letting you know “game makers get bored too, you know?”

CSC does actually do satire as well as any game. Its parody on the Final Fantasy “we must depart forever” trope had me laughing so much my eyes stung from the tears.

To CSC’s credit, it never gets boring, and writing is always absurd enough to hold your attention. Yet, I can’t help but get the distinct feeling that Zeboyd couldn’t believe they were still making games like this after a decade. Their magnum opus, Cosmic Star Heroine, did well enough but wasn’t exactly a world beater as far as RPGs go. Cthulhu Saves Christmas has the feel of a game that says “couldn’t you pricks have saved us from making games like this?” Or maybe I’m reading it wrong. Maybe they’re every bit as nostalgic for a simpler time as I am. I usually disclose friendships earlier in reviews, but I guess now’s the time to note that I love Robert & Bill Zeboyd. They’re my friends, but more than that, they were partners in that weird and often frustrating world of Xbox Live Indie Games. We were on different sides of the table: they were makers of XBLIGs, while I was a critic XBLIGs. But we all struggled to get attention for the community together. They certainly made my job easier, to the point that I actually felt sorry for them. They seemed too good to be stuck hocking their games for 240MSP to 400MSP (MSP is Microsoft Points. 80 Points = $1). When they were chosen to become Penny Arcade 3 and 4’s developer, but with their games still stuck on XBLIG, part of me smiled, but most of me felt heartbroken for them. “Jeez, really? Even with the license, they’re going to be stuck on the same sales page as vibrator apps?”

You have three permanent attack slots that aren’t selected by a randomizer. I placed “attack all” attacks in the first slot of each and just mashed A for the most part. Your mileage will vary on how much you get out of CSC, especially since you can adjust the difficulty.

It never occurred to me that any developer would remember that time as fondly as I did. I guess what I’ve taken away most from Cthulhu Saves Christmas is that was a happier time. For all of us. When we were all plucky upstarts, with the best yet to come sometime down the line. Who knows? Parkinson’s or not, maybe I’ll eventually reach higher highs. Zeboyd, on the other hand, certainly will. Hell, whenever I pester AAA studio heads, they’re probably the developer I name drop most. “Oh, you have an old RPG property and you don’t know what to do with it? Well, I know these guys. They’re a bit batshit but they’re good..” I suspect that they’re still destined for gaming superstardom. Even ten years later, the best days of Zeboyd feel like they are ahead of them. I guess it’s reassuring to know that those old days we spent on Xbox Live Indie Games meant as much to them as it did to me. It makes me feel a little less pathetic to be nostalgic for it.

Cthulhu Saves Christmas was developed by Zeboyd
Point of Sale: Nintendo Switch, Steam, Coming Soon to PS5
$9.99 is an old one now in the making of this review.
Cthulhu Saves Christmas is Chick-Approved and Ranked on the Indie Gamer Chick Leaderboard

The Pinball Chick Interview: George Gomez

I had the amazing privilege of interviewing one of THE legends of gaming and pinball, Mr. George Gomez. Be sure to head over to The Pinball Chick to check it out!

The Pinball Chick

You don’t always get what you deserve. George Gomez deserves to be a household name. He’s a certifiable legend, responsible for tens of millions of dollars in coin-drops over the last forty years. This is a man put on this Earth to entertain. A game maker. A toy maker. A pinball maker. He created Spy Hunter AND Monster Bash, and between that he made darts you fill with water, which I totally would have used if I had been alive when they came out. And I’d probably aimed for people’s eyes with them, because that’s how I roll. Anyway, I got to talk to George, who currently is Executive Vice President and Chief Creative Officer at Stern, the current leaders in pinball, because I am that lucky. We discussed his career, his projects, and general thoughts on the nature of game and pinball design.

Robert Downy Jr explains how…

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#IGCvMegaMan (February 11 – 25) Index

I’m trying to run through every classic Mega Man game. If it’s not 8 or 16 bit, it won’t be included. The links go to Twitter threads, where I mostly make awful puns.

Nintendo Entertainment System

Mega Man (YES Pile)
Mega Man 2 (YES Pile)
Mega Man 3 (YES Pile)
Mega Man 4 (YES Pile)
Mega Man 5
Mega Man 6

Game Boy

Mega Man: Dr. Wily’s Revenge (NO Pile)
Mega Man II
Mega Man III
Mega Man IV
Mega Man V

Super Nintendo Entertainment System

Mega Man 7
Mega Man & Bass
Mega Man X (NO Pile)
Mega Man X2
Mega Man X3
Mega Man Soccer (NO PILE)

Game Boy Advance

Mega Man Zero
Mega Man Zero 2
Mega Man Zero 3
Mega Man Zero 4

The Rest

Mega Man for Game Gear
Rockman Battle & Fighters for Neo Geo Pocket Color (YES Pile)
Rockman & Forte Mirai kara no Chōsensha for Wonderswan (NO PILE)

The Official #IGCvNES YES/NO Piles with Top 25 & Bottom 25

THESE ARE NOT FULL REVIEWS

The #IGCvNES YES Pile and the NO Pile are simply my opinions on whether a game is worth a deeper look. If it’s in the YES pile, I think the average gamer interested in retro gaming will find something of genuine value playing the game today, in 2020. If it’s in the NO pile, it’s not worth the time. That’s all this is.

TEMP UPDATE: Bold = Likely Top 25 or Bottom 25, final awards Sunday, Oct 4

THE YES PILE (TOP 10, TOP 25)

  • A Boy and his Blob
  • Abadox
  • Adventures in the Magic Kingdom
  • Adventures of Lolo
  • Adventures of Lolo (Famicom)
  • Adventures of Lolo 2
  • Adventures of Lolo 2 (Famicom)
  • Adventures of Lolo 3
  • Air Fortress
  • Anticipation!
  • Archon
  • Bad News Baseball
  • Banana Prince
  • Batman: Return of the Joker
  • Bible Adventures
  • Binary Land
  • Bionic Commando
  • Bubble Bobble
  • Bubble Bobble II
  • Castlevania
  • Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse
  • Chip ‘N Dale’s Rescue Rangers
  • Chip ‘N Dale’s Rescue Rangers 2
  • Chuka Taisen
  • Cobra Triangle
  • Cocoron
  • Contra
  • Crystal Mines
  • Crystalis
  • Darkwing Duck
  • Devil World
  • Dizzy the Adventurer
  • Don Doko Don
  • Don Doko Don 2
  • Donald Land
  • Double Dragon II: The Revenge
  • DuckTales
  • DuckTales 2
  • Eggerland Meikyuu no Fukkatsu
  • Excitebike/Vs. Excitebike
  • Famicom Wars
  • Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy
  • Fantasy Zone (Sunsoft)
  • Fantasy Zone (Tengen)
  • Ganbare Goemon! Karakuri Dōchū
  • Garry Kitchen’s Battletank
  • Gauntlet
  • Gauntlet II
  • Gimmick
  • Gradius
  • Gradius II
  • Ice Hockey
  • Jackie Chan’s Action Kung Fu
  • Joy Mech Fight
  • Kickle Cubicle
  • Kid Dracula
  • Kid Icarus
  • Kid Niki: Radical Ninja
  • Kid Niki 2 (Kaiketsu Yanchamaru 2: Karakuri Land)
  • Kiwi Kraze/New Zealand Story
  • Klax
  • Krazy Kreatures
  • Kung Fu 2 (Kung Fu Master 2)
  • Legend of Zelda
  • Life Force
  • Little Ninja Bros.
  • Little Samson
  • Mendel Palace
  • Micro Machines
  • Mig 29: Soviet Fighter
  • Mighty Final Fight
  • Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!/Punch-Out!!
  • Monster Party
  • Ms. Pac-Man (Tengen)
  • Mystery World Dizzy
  • Ninja Gaiden II
  • Ninja Gaiden III
  • Nuts & Milk
  • Pac-Land
  • Panic Restaurant
  • Power Blade
  • Power Blade 2
  • Quattro Adventure (YES to Super Robin Hood)
  • Quattro Arcade (YES to Go! Dizzy Go!, F-16 Renegade, & Stunt Buggies)
  • R.C. Pro-Am 2
  • River City Ransom (JP version)
  • Rod Land
  • Rygar
  • Simpson’s: Bart vs The Space Mutants
  • Snow Bros.
  • Solomon’s Key
  • Spiritual Warfare
  • StarTropics
  • Super C
  • Super Mario Bros.
  • Super Mario Bros. 2
  • Super Mario Bros. 3
  • Sweet Home
  • Time Zone
  • Toki
  • Ufouria (Hebereke)
  • Ultimate Stuntman
  • Vindicators
  • Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego
  • Whomp ‘Em
  • Wizards & Warriors
  • Wonderland Dizzy
  • Yume Penguin Monogatari

NO PILE (BOTTOM 10, BOTTOM 25)

  • 3D World Runner
  • 10-Yard Fight
  • Addams Family
  • Addams Family: Pugsley’s Scavenger Hunt
  • Adventure Island
  • Adventure Island II
  • Adventure Island III
  • Adventures of Bayou Billy
  • Adventures of Dino Riki
  • Adventures of Gilligan’s Island
  • Adventures of Tom Sawyer
  • Alfred Chicken
  • Alien 3
  • Altered Beast
  • American Gladiators
  • Arkista’s Ring
  • Athena
  • Athletic World
  • Attack of the Killer Tomatoes
  • Back to the Future
  • Back to the Future Part II & III
  • Balloon Fight
  • Barbie
  • Baseball
  • Batman
  • Batman Returns
  • Battletoads
  • Big Nose Freaks Out
  • Big Nose the Caveman
  • Blaster Master
  • Boulder Dash
  • Bubble Bath Babes
  • Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest
  • City Connection
  • Clu Clu Land/Clu Clu Land D
  • Crisis Force
  • Deadly Towers
  • Deathbots
  • Defender of the Crown
  • Deja Vu
  • Digger T. Rock
  • Donkey Kong
  • Donkey Kong III
  • Donkey Kong Jr.
  • Double Dragon
  • Double Dragon III: The Rosetta Stone
  • Double Strike
  • Dr. Mario
  • Dreamworld Pogie
  • Dudes with Attitude
  • Falsion
  • Faxanadu
  • Fire Emblem
  • Firehawk
  • Hello Kitty World (aka Balloon Fight 2)
  • Hi no Tori Hououhen: Gaou no Bouken (Phoenix Chronicles)
  • Hot Slot
  • Galaga
  • Ganbare Goemon 2
  • Gargoyle’s Quest II
  • Ghosts ‘n Goblins
  • Golf
  • Guardian Legend
  • Ice Climber
  • Ikari III: The Rescue
  • Ikari Warriors
  • Ikari Warriors II: Victory Road
  • Impossible Mission II
  • Ironsword: Wizards & Warriors II
  • Joe & Mac
  • Jordan vs. Bird: One on One
  • Karnov
  • Kid Niki 3 (Kaiketsu Yanchamaru 3: Taiketsu! Zōringen)
  • Kirby’s Adventure
  • Kung Fu
  • Linus Spacehead: Cosmic Crusade
  • Magic Darts
  • Maniac Mansion
  • Marble Madness
  • Mario Bros.
  • Mermaids of Atlantis
  • Metal Slader Glory
  • Metroid
  • Mighty Bomb Jack
  • Milon’s Secret Castle
  • Mystery Quest
  • NES Open Golf
  • Nightshade
  • Ninja Gaiden
  • Pac-Land
  • Pac-Man
  • Parodius Da!
  • Peek-a-Boo Poker
  • Pinball
  • Power Blazer
  • Pro Wrestling
  • Puzzle
  • Pyramid
  • R.B.I. Baseball
  • R.B.I. Baseball 2
  • R.C. Pro-Am
  • Ring King
  • Rolling Thunder
  • Shadowgate
  • Shinobi
  • Simpson’s: Bart vs The World
  • Simpsons: Bartman meets Radioactive Man
  • Skull & Crossbones
  • Slalom
  • Smurfs
  • Snake Rattle ‘n Roll
  • Soccer
  • Stadium Events
  • Star Soldier
  • Street Fighter 2010
  • Stunt Kids
  • Super Mario Bros. – The Lost Levels (Super Mario Bros. 2 in Japan)
  • Super Sprint
  • Super Spy Hunter
  • Super Team Games
  • Talespin
  • Tiles of Fate
  • Tiny Toon Adventures
  • Tiny Toon Adventures 2: Trouble in Wacky Land
  • Toobin’
  • Trolls on Treasure Island
  • Uninvited
  • Wagan Land (Wagyan Land)
  • Wagan Land 2 (Wagyan Land 2)
  • Wai Wai World
  • Wai Wai World 2
  • Wally Bear and the NO! Gang
  • Wily & Light’s Rockboard: That’s Paradise
  • Wizards & Warriors III – Kuros: Visions of Powers
  • Xexyz
  • Yoshi
  • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
  • Zoda’s Revenge: StarTropics II

ROM HACKS WORTH A LOOK

  • Adventures of Lolo Remix
  • Castlevania 5 Legacy
  • Castlevania Blood Moon
  • Castlevania: Chorus of Mysteries
  • Challenging Lolo
  • Challenging Lolo 2
  • Doctor Who
  • Legend of Zelda: Outlands
  • Mario Adventure
  • Zelda II: Redux
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