Gris

The first level of Gris is a boring, frustrating, annoying slog that overstays its welcome. Gusts of wind hold you back and stunt your progress. You eventually get the ability to turn into a block so that you don’t get thrown backwards and have to wait for the wind to die down. By this point, it was already clear that Gris had more care given to it than your typical art-house symbolism title. The first time I messed around with the jump button, I felt a weight come off me when I realized “oh hey, they actually made sure jumping feels good. That’s a relief.” And then I got to the gusts of wind and was like “oh dear.” This just was not a well-designed section.

Fuck this stage. Fuck it in its ear with a rusty garden rake.

I led off the review talking about that, because if not for that level, Gris might have become the new #1 game on the Indie Gamer Chick Leaderboard. For the rest of this review, it’ll be the elephant in the room. The part where I think, god damn, was there nobody at Devolver Digital who could have taken the Gris team aside and said “you know, that first section really sucks. You should dump it or at least shorten it significantly”? For all the people who think I go too negative on games that I like, I wanted to get that part out-of-the-way. It’s literally the only major complaint I have about this: an absolute indie masterpiece.

Gris is ostensibly about mourning, with the main character going through the five stages of grief. But I’ve got to be honest: a lot of the symbolism was lost on me. And trust me, it’s not because I’m unfamiliar with loss. On Christmas morning in 2017, my service dog of eleven years passed away. I’m sure for some people they think “a dog? Seriously?” Yea, a dog. One that spent eleven straight years by my side. That saved my life multiple times. That made me realize my own capacity to love. You can’t just take that shit away from someone and not have it hurt. In Gris, mourning is symbolized by a loss of voice, and this is the one form of symbolism I can relate to. Because it’s hard to articulate exactly how much you’re hurting. It’s as if your voice has been taken. That part I connected with.

The statues and the returning of color to the world being part of the healing process? Not so much. In fact, I found humor in the idea. I’m sorry to anyone who gets offended by this, but the first color you return to the world of Gris (which is literally the French/Spanish word for “Grey”) is red. And it’s supposed to be this profound, first-step-in-recovery moment in the game. In reality? It totally looks like the girl just had her period.

I’m not joking.

Maybe they should have started with a different color.

Now, at this point in the game, the mourning aspect hadn’t been clear to me. I honestly wasn’t sure if the idea was supposed to be a demented adult version of Rainbow Brite menstruating color back into the world. Your mileage may very on how much the symbolism works for you. It really didn’t do a whole lot for me. I don’t feel any better about Cherry’s death than I did before. I’ve heard from some people who say Gris did help them feel better about a recent loss they experienced. I wish I was with them, but I’m not. So for me, Gris has to make it entirely on its gameplay merit.

And it does.

Gris is a truly special game as a game. And I think that’s getting lost in the discussion. People are obsessing over the gorgeous graphics, the pantheon-level soundtrack, and complex symbolism of the crushing sensation of being in mourning. All those things matter, but if Gris had been your typical artsy platformer, nobody would get to appreciate those things. Trust me, I’ve played a lot of games that aspire to be what Gris pulled off. They don’t do it because they rely on the visuals and the metaphors and forget that they’re supposed to be a video game as well. Gris never forgets what it is, and that’s to everyone’s benefit. It means we get to take in the whole of the experience without the distraction of that vision being horribly executed. Nobody will ever need to make up excuses for Gris because Gris is really fun to play. You know, like a game is supposed to be?

This is supposed to represent “depression” but all I could think of was “who left that banana peel there?”

Controls are a big part of that. Gris is rock-solid in every single aspect of movement. You feel one-to-one with the lead character. Even the clunky joycons of the Switch manage to cease to exist in your hands, allowing for total immersion in the game’s world. Based on my track record with art-house games, I wasn’t expecting that. That for me was the story of Gris from start to finish. My expectations based on the graphics and the concept were low. A swimming section happened and I cringed upon realizing I was in water. Around thirty-seconds later, I realized Gris had the best swimming controls maybe in the entire history of video games. Like.. huh.. I didn’t expect that. I didn’t expect to be rocketed up into the sky like Superman using butterflies that help you super jump, but I really didn’t expect it to control so naturally that I never once messed up any of those jumps. Gris might be the best controlling 2D platformer of its kind. Good controls don’t make a game, but bad controls absolutely will break your game. Gris figured this out, and because it did, we get to appreciate the level design. Aspiring indie devs: this is a game you’ll want to play while taking lots of notes.

If you think of Gris as a 2D version of thatgamecompany’s Journey, you’ll enter Gris with the right mindset. Having said that, I liked Gris more, and people who don’t like Journey at all are digging Gris a lot. That’s because it shows off a lot more creativity. The basic gameplay idea is you walk around collecting stars (Christ, even in indie art-house shit, it is always stars isn’t it?) to form constellations that help guide you to the next section of the game. There’s no fail conditions in Gris and no way of dying. This often ends up meaning “slow-paced and sloggy.” But, besides the first area, Gris is positively brisk and almost perfect in pacing. There were two instances where I realized I wasn’t on the right path, one of which was on me, and one of which I think is a split between being my fault and bad design: an underwater temple has a pathway that takes you to fish that you need to super-jump, which to me implies that you’re supposed to take the fish through that tunnel. But you’re not. As far as I can tell, there’s no reason for that tunnel to be there. Weird.

This is the part mentioned above. I thought I was supposed to take the fish through this extremely twist-and-turny pathway and jump from the right side of the screen up to that column, then hop from it to get to the star. Nope. Actually, you take the fish an entirely different route and get the star by falling from up above onto it. And it begs the question: why is there even a secret tunnel that takes you to the red fish hidden under the middle of the under the center of the underwater building? Because it serves no function. You can get to the red fish that give you the super-jump via a much-more straight forward means. If not for that, I’d never spent 30+ minutes trying to make that (seemingly impossible) jump. Also, can you even see the character in this screenshot? She’s there, I assure you, but visibility becomes an issue many times in Gris.

But otherwise, Gris really just kills it in terms of having some of the best uses of classic gaming conventions. There’s an underwater section. I hate those. But Gris has one of the best ones ever. There’s a section where you lead an NPC creature through a series of platforms. I hate those, but Gris has one of the best ones ever. There’s a section where you switch gravity and have to do everything upside-down on the ceiling. I hate those, but Gris has one of the best ones ever. It feels like the developers set out to take every single crappy gaming cliché and right the wrongs of them to show they can be done in a fun, fresh way. I’ve never seen a game that is this ambitious and yet still feels like it manages to overachieve.

If I want to get nit-picky.. and I sort of have to because, you know, that’s my job.. sometimes the camera pulls too far back and combines with the colors to completely wash out where you are on the screen. At least one time I got a star without even seeing where I was or how I got it. And there’s a section with a giant eel that feels like it could have been an intense, white-knuckle action beat.. but actually it’s a glorified cut-scene and you have as much control over the girl as you do the cars at the Autopia at Disneyland. And I’m not totally in love with the Gris character model, which has spindly appendages that reminded me of a Daddy Long Legs and kind of creeped me out a little bit.

The world has this Ico/Shadow of the Colossus architecture vibe to it and often gave me a wonderful sense of vertigo.

Otherwise, Gris is a masterpiece. I know I used that word already, and it’s a word I normally try to avoid using because it feels overplayed. But, there’s really no descriptor that fits Gris better. Masterpiece. The rest of the game speaks to how bad that first stage is. It just sets a really bad tone for the game. It’s the anti-Limbo. The first stage is the least memorable, and it’s all uphill from there, whereas for Limbo (another game that was about loss and symbolism.. maybe), everyone remembers the spider in the first act, and then it was all downhill from there. If there’s any justice, Gris, a better game that actually has symbolism that means something as opposed to being just pretentious, abstract garbage, will dethrone Limbo as the top artsy indie platformer in the minds of the public.

And when fans of the game spread the word of Gris, sure, talk about the graphics and the sound and the emotions.. but remember to tell people the game is really fun too. It’s the part of the equation nobody is talking about. And they probably should, because it’s the best part of Gris. It’s a tremendous video game, and isn’t that why we’re all here?

Gris was developed by Nomada Studio
Point of Sale: Nintendo Switch, Steam

$16.99 asked “how fucking stupid are you Facebook?” in the making of this review.

Gris is Chick-Approved and ranked on the Indie Gamer Chick Leaderboard.

Advertisements

Revertia

Anyone who thinks I’m just looking for attention when I don’t like games like Hollow Knight or Cuphead, you really should go look at how many puzzle games I review. It’s a lot. And trust me, I don’t do it for the page views. Even when I covered one that paid homage to 80s slasher films, where you solved puzzles by splatter-killing teenagers, nobody read it. But remember, puzzle games are people too.

Well, actually no I guess. They’re games, not people.

So uh..

Yea, I bought this game for my Switch called Revertia. It’s a platform-puzzler (a pluzzleformer? Admit it, that has a ring to it) with the hook being the “action” is based around the 1880s board game Reversi. Which you might also know as “Othello” if you bought it in the United States or Japan, because that’s the name Milton Bradley released it under. Fun fact: you owe your Nintendo Switch, and actually the video game industry as a whole, to Othello. Because Hiroshi Yamauchi was a personal fan of the game and one of the reasons Nintendo got into the home video game market is because Yamauchi was convinced a video game version of it, which would eliminate the slowness of playing with physical chips, would be a big hit. So first they made an arcade game for parlors in Japan, and then transferred it to a stand-alone home console. I personally think Othello is boring as fuck, but hey, thanks Othello!

I grew up in a different era but I still love the clunkiness of those old-timey stand alone consoles. They look so 1930’s idea of futuristic.

But, while I’m not a fan of the classic board game, the novel idea of turning its play mechanics into a platformer certainly caught my attention. It sounds inspired. The idea is basically if you turn a block black, if there’s another black block in the same line as it, all the blocks between them will also turn black. If you turn it back to white, they’ll all turn white again. If an enemy is in the path of the blocks being changed, it dies. It’s simple, like the board game. Here, the black blocks can be used as platforms to jump on, and the object is simply to get to the door. It sounds like a cool idea.

But, Revertia is, without hyperbole, the easiest puzzler I’ve ever played in seven years being Indie Gamer Chick. The thirty levels you’re given here are so toothless that I rechecked the title’s marketplace page to make sure I didn’t accidentally buy a game that was designed specifically for young children. That’s not a joke or something I added to this review for comic effect. I really did, because it was so absurdly easy. Apparently Revertia wasn’t made specifically for a young age set. But that’s the only group I think would get enjoyment out of it. I’d say beating stages in it is like shooting ducks in a barrel, but in this case the ducks are dying from self-inflicted gunshots.

I suspect this is one of those instances where the developer planned out elaborate steps that a player would go through to beat stages. But even deep into the thirty stages I was able to clear stages in a matter of seconds with literally no challenge by just placing one or two blocks and having a clear path to the door. It almost felt like the game was still trying to do tutorial things for most of the levels, with maybe two or three stages at most necessitating me to stop, scope out my surroundings, and then start to make my way to the door. ONE stage out of thirty I died on because I made a mistake plotting my course, and two other times I died because the controls are a bit unresponsive and it took me too long to highlight which block I wanted to change colors. One challenging level in thirty, and it wasn’t even the last level. I’ve been more puzzled by how to open shipping containers than I was at any point in Revertia. It does keep track of how many moves you’ve taken per stage (but doesn’t tell you the MINIMUM number of moves needed, which defeats the point) and the time you’ve taken, but without online leaderboards, what’s the point?

I didn’t like the game due to the utter lack of challenge, but I’ve always dug the “drawn with a pen” look. I wish more developers would do it. Just not too much you know. If it becomes over-saturated, I don’t want to get blamed for it.

Let’s not completely poo-poo the idea though. While Revertia completely fails to challenge, I think there’s a good idea in here somewhere. I’ve always dug the “make your own platforms” puzzle platform thing, like Solomon’s Key or Escape Goat. Revertia just really needed more time to cook. It feels like it was rushed out the door. I hope PLiCy continues to develop stages for it. The Revertia you can buy on Switch right now feels like a really good proof of concept that should never have been released in the state it’s in. It needs the controls smoothed out and the challenge significantly ramped-up. I do believe this is a good idea for a game, but a good idea doesn’t become a good reality unless you take the time to refine it. So I issue this challenge to PLiCy: take one year to build this game back up with new, more challenging stages and more responsive controls. The idea is a winner. The current product? Not so much.

Revertia was developed by PLiCy
Point of Sale: Nintendo Switch

$4.99 hope the developer REVERSIes this review with some new levels that challenge in the making of this review.

Arcade Archives: Punch-Out!! and Vs. Super Mario Bros (and NES Super Mario Bros)

Ugh. So yea, these aren’t indies. But I’m currently on a harrowing journey of self-discovery as I delve into the games that existed before my time. And it seems like the arcade is as good a place to start as any. You’ve probably seen those Arcade Archives releases on Switch and wondered if they were any good or not. I mean, for the price of $7.99 for old games, they probably should be, don’t you think? Hell, for that price you wouldn’t be out of line to expect the games to also suck you off. I selected one and chose Punch-Out because I’m such a fan of the series. Ready to have your mind blown? I think it’s probably my personal favorite Nintendo franchise. Yep, I went there.

For the second game, I narrowed it down to four options and let my readers choose. They chose Vs. Super Mario Bros.

What did I ever do to them?

Bull. Shit. There is *no way* someone can score that many points in five minutes in Super Mario 1.

First thing’s first: developer hamster has created a fairly minimal package here. Compared to other retro games I’ll be tackling over the rest of 2018, what you get when you purchase Arcade Archives leaves a lot to be desired. You get the main game and, in the two I bought, a “caravan mode” which is really just a five-minute scoring competition with online leaderboards. I was *blown away* by how far out of my reach the scores were. I’m guessing cheating was involved for the top scores because I can’t for the life of me imagine that you can legitimately score 1.7 million points in Super Mario in five minutes (and the timer doesn’t pause between levels or entering the pipe for level 1 -2). For Punch-Out, I didn’t even do particularly well and finished in the top 200. Oh yea, a top 200 finish for a game that is absolutely fucking shitty.

I don’t often get to use the term “disgusted” with how a game makes me feel, but I am fucking livid at how bad the arcade Punch-Out is on Switch. If I didn’t know this was the original Punch-Out that spawned the console franchise, I would swear it’s a bootleg. The dodge/counter mechanics I love barely seem to have showed up at all, replaced with a mostly mindlesss button masher. One that I couldn’t finish. Arcade Archives: Punch-Out!! is barely playable, with possibly the least responsive controls I’ve ever encountered. I’m not exaggerating when I say I would often press a button to punch four times before a punch was actually thrown. The lag is especially noticeable with the blocking move, which is done by raising your gloves up and down. Well, sometimes the gloves needed a couple of seconds before doing the moving. Same with dodging left and right. It’s safe to say Punch-Out!! is kinda busted.

There’s two screens because Punch-Out!! was created as a means to dump excess monitors. Anyway, this is Kid Quick, but really your toughest opponent will be “Button Slow.” Just take my word for it.

I can only review the version I paid for, and so I can’t find a better version and say the game is great. Having said that, I went to watch a YouTube video to figure out what I was doing wrong and noticed some major differences between the version I paid for on Switch and videos seemingly taken from MAME or via Direct-Feed from an authentic coin-op. Most noticeable was on the videos, the referee counted slowly, whereas on the version I was playing, the count was *really* fast no matter if I changed the game’s timer to slow or fast or whatever. I happen to have a pretty sick MAME machine, so I busted it out and booted up Punch-Out!!. It made me realize most of my struggles on Switch were probably the result of bad emulation. On Switch, I couldn’t get past Pizza Pasta, the fifth (of only six) fighters even with the game set to “easy”. On my MAME? Without changing any default settings, I beat the game on my first attempt. It was night-and-day how much more responsive the controls were, and it made beating the back-three fighters (Kid Quick, Pizza Pasta, and Mr. Sandman) kind of easy. On Switch, I most often lost to Kid Quick by running out to time, because it’s hard to beat a guy who moves quick when button response time is slow.

By the way, if you’re curious, I wouldn’t give Punch-Out!! my Seal of Approval even with it working. All the stuff console fans associate with Punch-Out!!’s play mechanics are missing. It really just does feel like a button masher, nothing more. But it still sucks that the emulation is as crap as it is. And, given how short Punch-Out!! is in the arcade (six fighters? are you shitting me?) it really wouldn’t have killed them to have included both the arcade version of Super Punch-Out!! (which includes five more opponents) and Nintendo’s Punch-Out!! spin-off Arm Wrestling (which includes a cameo by Bald Bull) to give players some value for their money. I’d call Punch-Out a rip-off, but then I played Vs. Super Mario Bros. and learned what having a bonfire with your cash is really like.

I never came remotely close to beating Pizza Pasta and I still put up a respectable score. Though I should point out that everyone is placed in the same rankings even if you change the setting to “easy” and the timer to “slow” which seems kinda weird to me.

Vs. Super Mario Bros. was designed to capitalize on the success of the NES game and starts off just like the home version does. But then it slowly starts to warp with remixed levels designed for absurd difficulty. I’ve been told to think of Vs. Super Mario as being somewhere between NES Mario 1 and the Japanese Super Mario 2, which became known as the Lost Levels in the US. And yea, that’s probably a good comparison. Vs. Mario isn’t as insanely unfair in its level design, but there are tons of blind jumps and single-space ledges you have to jump to and from. It’s ridiculous, almost as if it were a modified version of a classic game designed not to be fun but to steal quarters from children one by one. Oh wait..

And it actually controls like ass. Now I’ve always been of the opinion that the original Super Mario was slippery, but Vs. Super Mario Bros. takes that to a new level. Movement feels imprecise and unrefined. It’s very subtle but it’s there and noticeably different from the NES version. I know this because I booted up four different versions of it, for Wii U, for the NES Classic, from the Switch Online’s NES program, and from an actual, authentic NES that we even had to blow on the cartridge to get to work. In all four of those versions, movement was consistent (which actually shows just how good Nintendo can emulate the NES). For Vs. Super Mario? Movement was *this close* to being like the others, but just enough off to be directly tied to a few deaths, especially with precision jumping and those aforementioned single-space ledges. I had my family play it too just to make sure it wasn’t just me. It wasn’t just me. Though about half my family said they felt it played better on MAME, while myself and a few others felt the MAME version and the version on Switch using Hamster’s emulator felt identical. We all agreed that the NES versions control better though. And if you knew my family, you’d know we can barely agree on what time to eat dinner, let alone how accurate a game controls. So there’s that.

A lot of the tweaks are subtle in the early stages. In later stages, levels are lifted directly from Super Mario 2 in Japan. Levels made when Miyamoto was on his man-period or something because the game was so prohibitively hard that Nintendo of America asked for a different game.

By the way, while sitting to do this review, it came to my realization that I had never purchased any version of the original Super Mario Bros. before. I was born in 1989 and by time I started playing games, Mario had come a long ways. I think my first time actually sitting down and trying to play Super Mario 1 was on Animal Crossing for the GameCube. This apparently comes as something of a shock to my older readers who hold the title in reverence, but I didn’t like it. I had better Mario options by time I started playing games. I already owned and finished Super Mario Advance 1 & 2 by time I unlocked (via Action Replay cheatery) Super Mario for Animal Crossing. And I didn’t see what all the fuss was about. It didn’t hold my attention at all. Which, granted I have a short attention span. It took me four days just to finish this sentence.

So actually, Vs. Super Mario Bros was the first time I bought any version of Super Mario Bros. out-of-pocket. I think the one on my Wii U I just got somehow, because I never would have bought it. Not even for a dollar. Some of my fans are aghast that when I finished the Switch Online version of Mario 1 this morning, it was the first time I had ever beaten Super Mario Bros. (By the way, I did it without using save-states!) Some people can’t comprehend that I, a relatively famous indie gaming personality, had never finished what is probably the most iconic video game. But I hadn’t, because it was a “before my time” game. Over the last 72 hours, I’ve had people tell me they’ve legitimately lost respect for me and my opinions on games because I never beat Mario 1, or that all my previous reviews were now invalidated in their mind’s eye. Nobody I respected, thankfully. And besides, I can now say I’ve beaten Mario 1. And hell, I even did the Minus World trick afterwards for good measure. Oddly enough, I don’t feel like my gaming life has been altered now. I’m still the same person I was before. I just have beaten Super Mario Bros. now. I don’t feel particularity validated. Should I be glowing or something? Will I get a membership card in the mail? Will someone show up and teach me the secret gamer handshake?

I don’t get it. Because at no point did I ever say any of them were stupid for liking Mario 1, nor did I take away from what Super Mario Bros. accomplished in 1985. Like everyone else, I probably owe my gaming existence to it. What I’m am saying is that I can’t play the game under the context of it being a new, fresh idea. Because it wasn’t for me. Based on the games I played before I played this, Super Mario had no reverence to me from a gameplay perspective. Controls are sloppy. Level design is basic. Not a lot of strategy really. And those opinions in no way take away from how important the game was for history. But saying Super Mario Bros. is the best game ever or still as good today as it was in 1985 is every bit as absurd as the AFI naming Snow White the greatest animated film of all time. Which they did. That’s why they had to quit making those AFI 100 Years, 100 Films specials. Because nobody can take anyone who would say Snow White has never been topped and is still the best animated picture ever seriously or respect what they think about movies. And honestly, if you’ve played games for the last thirty years and still think Mario 1 is every single bit as fun today as it was when it first came out and the BEST GAME EVER MADE, I respect your belief as much as I respect a Flat-Earther’s belief. Which is to say, not at all.

And that’s basically how I feel about Super Mario Bros. Being important to gaming history isn’t the same as being fun to play in 2018. And Super Mario Bros. isn’t fun to play in 2018. At least for me.

Anyway, Vs. Super Mario Bros sucks and I think even the most drunk-on-nostalgia fanboy would be insane to shell out $7.99 for it or any Arcade Archive title. They might be the worst values in all of gaming. For an extra $12 you can subscribe to Nintendo’s online service for a year, get a better version of Super Mario and a lot of other games. Including Mario 3, which withstands the test of time better and is still genuinely fun today. I paid $8 a pop for these and I honestly I might as well have wiped my ass with the bills instead.

Arcade Archives: Punch-Out!! and Arcade Archives: Vs. Super Mario Bros. were developed by Hamster
Point of Sale: Punch-Out!!, Vs. Super Mario Bros.

$7.99 each said “great bitching! You’re an up-and-coming critic!” in the making of this review.

Hollow Knight: Voidheart Edition

During my Cuphead re-review, I noted that nobody wants to be the one person not having fun at a party.

Taking that a step further, you especially don’t want to be that person because some assholes will swear you’re only not having fun for the sake of being contrarian. But that happens a lot. If you’re a moderately popular and influential critic and you’re not enjoying an overwhelmingly popular indie darling, fans of the game will believe the only rational explanation is you’re intentionally not liking it for the sake of being different. Trust me when I say, it’s not worth it. And besides, I bought Hollow Knight three times: twice for me (first on Steam, then on Xbox One), and once for my friend William. This wasn’t Press X to Not Die, which cost a couple of bucks and I could send it to friends as a sadistic joke. I wanted to like it. I wanted to love it. I didn’t want to be that person at the party.

But I am yet again. I actually sort of hate Hollow Knight. And not just in a “not for me” type of way. I don’t think it’s a well made game.

I did laugh far more at making this than anyone in their right mind should have. What can I say? When you sit on the bench to save, it kept making me think of that Klay Thompson meme. I love that meme. When we eventually build a Klay Thompson statue outside the Chase Center, I want him to be posed like he is in that meme.

Let’s strip out all the (insanely gorgeous) art and (not really all that clever) writing and talk about the thing that should matter most in a game: the gameplay. The thing I take issue with for Hollow Knight is how it seems to be made specifically to be less fun than it can be.. nay.. SHOULD be. As if the developer was given an option for every aspect: the fun way and the not fun way. And then chose the not fun way because that would be bold and dark. See though, I’ve always felt the graphics and character design should be the primary thing that sets the mood. If you need to make the gameplay less fun to make things feel bleak, you’re doing it wrong.

I’m curious if they mistook “bleak” for “slow”. Upgrades take so long to unlock that by time you get them, it’s no longer an exciting development. It feels like it’s overdue. I didn’t get the ability to wall-jump until over ten hours into the game, and I didn’t get my first upgrade to my standard weapon until eleven hours in. In that time I also added only one single hit point to the initial five you start with, and one “notch” (giving me four total) to apply “badges” which provide things like showing where the fuck you are on the map. Oh, and you can only switch between the badges at the save points. Why? How is that in keeping true to the atmosphere? What about applying a badge to your armor requires the specific act of sitting on a park bench? Maybe I’m spoiled by games that thrive on making the player feel like they’re getting stronger as the adventure unfolds, but I just felt like Hollow Knight deliberately kept me in purgatory.

Fans built this up acquiring this to me so much. I was like “what is this super magical item they keep hyping that will completely change how I feel about this pretentious piece of shit?” A wall jump? A FUCKING WALL JUMP!? You mean that thing that’s been in games for thirty fucking years?

Every aspect of the design is focused on maintaining the slow pace. The map is sprawling, but you don’t get it all at once. You have to find a locate this person in each different section of the game who will sell it to you and then separately buy from his wife the ability to see the things on the map that you’ve already passed by. In theory that means the guy making the map is better at adventuring than the hero is, since he’s ahead of you and apparently making progress without a hitch. That stuff always breaks my immersion. It’d be like if Sean Bean was giving his “one doesn’t simply walk into Mordor” speech when suddenly a traveling salesman walks by and says “oh actually, you do. Here, I made a map of it. Let me offer you travel tips..”

Thankfully you only have to buy the map icons once for each type of thing, but like everything else in Hollow Knight, it grounds the proceedings into a monotonous slog that feels more like a series of busy-work for the sake of busy-work chores rather than some kind of epic quest. “Slog” really is the perfect word for Hollow Knight. Save-stations are kept to a minimum and spread really far apart, but you’re forced to constantly dash back and forth to them in order to change your badge loadout. Items are relatively expensive while enemies drop relatively few coins to shop with, forcing you to grind if you want to get the stuff that should be for free anyway. Most of the other items offer no descriptions as to what exactly they do and players were reporting to me they were actually finishing Hollow Knight without ever using them or figuring out what exactly they did. There’s really not a lot of games where you can play for an hour and feel like you’ve accomplished nothing in them. Hollow Knight is uniquely like that. It’s the anti-exhilaration Metroidvania.

On the positive side of things, combat was kind of nice. I’m big on swinging a sword feeling like there’s a weight behind it and combat being more than just an animation of a stick moving out and an enemy blinking to indicate damage or vanishing to indicate death. It’s really cool that the dead husks of your vanquished foes remain (until you walk far enough away at least). But there’s not a whole lot of variety to the action. There’s only one weapon, a “nail” that is functionally a sword. When you upgrade it, you don’t get new moves or anything, at least at the point where I was too bored to press-on. There’s no secondary weapons for you to equip, and all the upgrade does is add one extra point of damage. When you’re playing a long game that feels even longer and you only get one real weapon to use with the only moves being swing it horizontally or swing it vertically if you’re attacking upward, it gets redundant no matter how meaty the hits feel. I did get a Ryu and Ken style fireball, but that takes magic points to use and can’t be aimed upward, making it less useful in general than the starting weapon. Variety is the spice of life. For Hollow Knight, all I was left with was lots and lots of salt.

All credit to Hollow Knight: it’s pretty. But it’s 2018. These days it’s more notable if a game is ugly.

Honestly, that was my whole problem with Hollow Knight: it’s boring. There’s just not enough stuff to do in it. It feels like it has all the ingredients to not bore, but then those were spread so thin for the sake of padding the length that all the fun was pushed out. It doesn’t help that the level design is overly basic, like something out of a first-generation Metroidvania. “Wait a second, didn’t you just like Chasm?” Yes I did. What’s the difference? In the time it took me to upgrade my weapon for the first time, add a single point of health, and a single notch for my badges, I had beaten Chasm. Plus, you know, it had a variety of weapons and items and stuff. It wasn’t just the same shit over and over again. It’s not just what a game is, but how that game plays out. Hollow Knight forces a ton of backtracking and grinding, but doesn’t make those things fun or easier. You mostly have the same stuff you started the game with. It gets old. And sorry if I keep harping on this, but it genuinely feels like the developers were more concerned with being emo or dark than they were with making a fun game. Would it really have ruined the bleakness if they gave the protagonist a slingshot or boomerang or something to make it so you’re not just doing the same sword strikes against the same enemies for 30 to 60 fucking hours? Or given more special moves that required less magic. Or let you get more magic. In 12 hours I got one piece of the “vase” or whatever that gives you more magic. That meant I still had to find two more before I got more magic. I got one-third of that upgrade in twelve hours. And the one I did get I bought in the shop. Part of the fun in Metroidvanias is finding stuff. The world of Hollow Knight feels like I did after 12 hours with it: empty inside.

I didn’t finish Hollow Knight. I probably didn’t come close. I did put twenty-hours combined into it with the best hopes and intentions. The first time was back in 2017 on Steam. I bought a copy for Will too, and with my best friend playing alongside me, we set out to see what the hype was all about. We were both excited to get on the Hollow Knight bandwagon. After a few hours, I felt weird. Because I wasn’t having fun at all. When I found out Will wasn’t either, I just found something else to play. I occasionally booted it up again thinking “maybe I was just having an off-day”, before finding myself quickly bored again by the same sword and same enemies and the same dull levels, eventually putting eight hours into the thing. Clearly it wasn’t an off-day thing. I figured maybe it was because a computer isn’t a good home for a Metroidvania, so when I saw Hollow Knight: Voidheart Edition discounted on Xbox One, I thought “okay, maybe I’ll finally see what all the fans see in it.”

Maybe the oh-so-subtle symbolism is why this game has so many people blown away who can’t exactly articulate what it is that has them sucked in to the experience. I’m just saying, there’s a LOT of it in Swallow Knight.. I mean Hollow Knight.

Nope, I didn’t. I still don’t. I tweeted basically the entire time, showing my progress. For the first hour or two, it was fine. It was almost fun in a tutorial type of way. But then I started to wonder out loud when the game would start to, you know, wow me. The entire time, fans of Hollow Knight were assuring me “you’re about to get to the good stuff” or “you’re about to open up the game.” And then it didn’t happen. They kept promising, I’d get to the spot they were talking about or get the upgrade that they swore would change how I felt about the game, and then it didn’t, and then they promised me the really good stuff was “still coming.” Finally I caught on that I’d never get to the “good stuff” because there is no good stuff. Hollow Knight is a very basic Metroidvania with its only remarkable hook being that if you die you lose all your money, but if you go back to where you died you can get the money back. You know, that thing other games have been doing all decade.

Otherwise, Hollow Knight is stuck in early 90s 2D adventure mentality, but people will give it a pass because it’s “deep”. And you know it’s “deep” because it has a pretty art-house decor. Who cares? The first time a stage made me sit up in my chair, I was ten hours in. And even that didn’t last. Maybe I quit right before I got to “the good stuff.” I don’t know. I don’t really care. It shouldn’t take that long to get to the part that’s entertaining in the entertainment product. And if someone still thinks I sought out to find things to dislike about Hollow Knight for the sake of being different, do you really think I needed over $30 and twenty-combined hours to do that? Because I didn’t.

I wanted to have fun at the party. It turns out the party kind of sucked. Like one of those ones where you find out it’s not really a party and they’re going to try to get you to buy a timeshare. They already fed you, so it seems rude to get up and walk out right away. You start checking your watch to make like you have something better to do later. But really, you’re trying to figure out if you should leave before he hands out the brochures or wait until afterwards so you can show it to your family and laugh with them. That’s what the Hollow Knight experience was for me: being trapped at a timeshare party. Hell, come to think of it, I think I’d like that party more anyway. At least I’d get fed.

Hollow Knight: Voidheart Edition was developed by Team Cherry
Point of Sale: Steam, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4

$9.89 (Steam) and $11.99 (Xbox One) (Normally $14.99) thinks Voidheart sounds like a Care Bears villain in the making of this review.

Three Fourths Home Extended Edition (Short Subject Saturdays)

I’m not really a text-based adventure type of chick. It’s one of those things I just don’t get. It doesn’t seem to take advantage of the medium. But I was really, really surprised to see one on the Switch marketplace that actually straight-up says it’s a short-subject game. I have a feature called Short Subject Saturdays.. cue the graphic..
And and the game was on sale so I figured “why not?”

Then I played it. Well, “play” is a generous term here. You’re a girl in a car driving home in a blinding rainstorm while talking on the phone to your family. That’s the entire game. And, presumably for the sake of immersion, you have to hold the right trigger down the entire.. fucking.. time. If you do not, the car stops and the dialog will not advance forward. Apparently Kelly’s cellphone is being powered directly by the gas pedal of the car. It has to be on the list of the dumbest ideas for a gameplay mechanic I’ve seen in my entire life. My amigo Brad Gallaway of GameCritics.com suggested I use the same rubber-band trick I used with Cuphead, but it’s harder to do so on the Nintendo Switch. So my right index finger (which is still sore, I’m not even exaggerating) and I are currently not on speaking terms, and that’s a shame because there’s a Parks & Rec marathon on and plump Chris Pratt gets me wet.

The main game is around 20 – 30 minutes long. The extra stuff is another 15 minutes or so. It feels longer.

A text-based game has to have sharp writing and something intriguing about it to make the experience worth your while. The point-of-view character is Kelly, a mid-20-something who just moved back home after some sort of falling out with her boyfriend. Her Mom is an overbearing bitch. Her Dad is an off-his-nut alcoholic who apparently had a leg amputated following some sort of farming accident. Her brother is a self-indulgent twat who writes sloggy fan-fiction (clearly this was the author insertion character). Unfortunately, the game is framed as being a casual phone call with your family. The one and only positive thing I can say about Three Fourths Home (I refuse to enable to their bad grammar by not capitalizing the title) is that the dialog often does feel like real inane banter between a daughter and her cunt mother, stumblefuck father, and douchebag brother. But, that’s kind of the problem: they’re fucking boring. The stuff that IS interesting, like why Kelly moved back home and what caused her family to leave the farm she was visiting for old time’s sake, is kept somewhere in the background. Instead, topics center around a swear jar and your brother reading his shitty short story to you (how meta). There’s a ton of filler that doesn’t seem to go anywhere. You don’t really get any closure on the family situation because, as you make your way home from a drive out in the boonies, a tornado warning hits. There’s also an epilogue that feels more like a prologue, but it doesn’t really help either.

Apparently the story unfolds differently depending on how you answer the questions, but the thing is I’m not really willing to go back and sit through this literally-physically-painful-to-play text adventure because (1) it was boring the first time and (2) I’d be afraid I’d answer the stuff wrong and get the same exact ending I already got which sucked and offers no closure. There’s no obvious spot where the story could branch, or why it would branch. It reminds me of #Wargames, where the challenge is entirely based around not nodding off and you have no clue where to press what to change the story you already snored through before. Really, Three Fourths Home would have made a better short film. As a video game, because of the R button requirement, it might be the worst game I’ve ever played. It’s that boring and that badly designed.

The extended stuff pushes the envelope by letting you walk left OR right. Thankfully moving is optional.

It’s also an epilepsy risk because the game takes place in a lightning storm (though I’ll defend the developer’s decision on this one since it’s sort of is necessary for some of the symbolism and disabling it would go against their creative vision). It’s not badly written. Again, it feels kind of real. But real-schmeal. Three Fourths Home is a fucking bore. I literally can’t believe in 2015 people were throwing this piece of shit Game of the Year nominations and 10 out of 10s. How? Why? Is this one of those “I better pretend I liked this or people will think I’m not indie enough” things like with Proteus? Lately people have accused me of being too wishy-washy with some of the games I haven’t liked. How’s this for wishy-washy: Three Fourths Home Extended Edition is overwrought pretentious tripe with all the depth of an evaporated puddle of piss.

Three Fourths Home was developed by Bracket Games
Point of Sale: Switch, Steam, Xbox One, PS4, Vita

$2.24 (normally $8.99.. FUCKING OUTRAGEOUS! I feel sorry for anyone who bought this thinking it would be something else) sent this game to the cornfield in the making of this review.

Bouncy Bob

Welcome to the very bottom of the barrel on Nintendo Switch. Bouncy Bob is currently #1 on the eShop sales chart for digital download exclusives and #4 overall, with only the new Pokemon Let’s Go games and Smash Bros. Ultimate’s pre-order outselling it. By the way, what kind of sad, sad person pre-orders a digital download if it’s not discounted or doesn’t come with some kind of pre-order bonus? Yes, you get Piranha Plant’s DLC for free with the digital copy, but you get that even if you pay for it any time before January 31, 2019. You don’t need to reserve your digital copy. It ain’t going to sell out, on release day, ya fricken morons. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if their servers fill up and you have to wait a long time for it to download, so the joke’s on you for being so excited that you need to preorder a fucking digital game. I don’t get gamers sometimes. I’ve had six people tell me Smash Bros. Ultimate is their game of the year of 2018 and they haven’t even played it yet. I can’t imagine why people think Nintendo fans are all overgrown children. Truly it is gaming’s greatest mystery.

Anyway, Bouncy Bob is selling like a hotcakes, if those hotcakes also dispensed blowjobs. If you’re fretting that you somehow missed the new hot-shit fad on the scene and are scrambling to establish your indie cred by fumbling through the eShop as we speak, don’t worry. The reason Bouncy Bob is #1 is because it cost a whopping fourteen cents for about a month, a discount price that ended yesterday. I decided to hold off on posting this review until today so nobody would stop at $0.14 and say “OH MY GOD, I GOTTA GO GET IT!” Going off the Mega Fruit Gum principle I established for Super Duper Flying Genocide 2017 (which you’ll remember as the game I scored 329 achievements in span of 43 minutes on Steam), Bouncy Bob costs 18.6% of a single Mega Fruit (assuming I find a machine that sells them for 75¢ instead of a buck). After playing it for a few hours, I can honestly say I would have been better off scouring sidewalks looking for sixty-one dropped pennies so I could afford the gum. Bouncy Bob might be the worst game I’ve ever played.

Rare is it that I realize I’m in for a terrible day during the tutorial. For Bob, I knew it by time I attempted my third jump.

So the idea is you’re a shadow that looks more like the obese, homeless cousin of Mr. Game & Watch. You’re placed in an arena with various enemies that you must defeat by bouncing on their heads. But, instead of traditional hopping ‘n bopping, all movement is done with a meter that bounces left and right that you must time to sort of fling yourself around the stage, hopefully on top of the baddies. You can also flap your arms to help get a bit more height and distance. Everything is done with a single button, and that’s when I realized I was playing a quick cash-in port of a mobile game. The sense of dread that overcame me was almost shouted down by a faint voice that tried to remind me of how good Jack ‘N Jill DX was. It was a mobile port, priced to move, and it was pretty sweet. And then I started playing it, and the that voice was immediately curb stomped.

The mechanics are just not practical for the type of arcadey-action game it wants to be. The amount of super-obvious mistakes, all of which could easily be corrected with some patchwork, stick out like a sore thumb. Touching enemies causes damage, but you don’t blink. Enemies tend to bunch up, and since you have no direct movement over Bob, it takes time to let the meter fill up and point you in a safe direction. You take damage the entire time, and without the ability to move, you can go from full health to no health relatively fast. The enemies actually can interrupt your momentum too. You deflect off them, so once you get stuck in a group of them (and that’s basically all the enemies do: bunch-up), it’s not as simple as charging up your jump and escaping. It just doesn’t work the way I assume the developer wanted it to. Ironically, the cheapest non-free-to-play game I’ve ever reviewed at IGC is insanely cheap in pejorative sense as well.

I’d say the game looks fine at least, but the collision detection is a bit wonky and enemies and projectiles don’t stand out enough. Plus the dark graphics on some stages make overall visualization a chore. Man, Bouncy Bob really doesn’t do anything right. It’s kind of remarkable.

And that’s just the start of the problem. The enemies just sort of meander about, and if you go down to the lowest level to attempt to pounce on them, they’ll rain down on you from their spawn point. If you try to escape, you could bounce off their feet and get trapped below. If they throw projectiles, you REALLY don’t have enough time or room to escape almost any situation. Remember, you don’t get any temporary invincibility when you get hit, so even running away is likely to result in you dying. And the collision detection is so bad that, because the enemies cluster, you can be killing one while taking damage just by being next to another.

By the third stage, they start flinging bombs at you that have a pretty wide explosion range and are a one-shot instakill no matter how far you are you are from the detonation point, just so long as you’re “inside” the blast radius. Clearing stages requires you to kill X amount of enemies, but the enemies can also kill each other with their bombs. It removes a lot of the strategy involved and reduces victory down to dumb luck because the bombs have too short of fuses and when you swoop in to attack, the gang of enemies is just as likely to die at their own hands, which you don’t get credit for. The problem is there’s nothing fast-paced about movement, but Bouncy Bob wants to be a fast-paced action game. That’s like wanting your child to be a basketball star and going about it by cutting his feet off.

There is literally not a single aspect of Bouncy Bob that I found enjoyable. The physics tend to feel a bit light, and I often simply tumbled off a ledge that I really should have stuck the landing on. You can be killed by your own bombs if you touch the item box for them, which scatters three of them onto the playfield with zero ability to aim them. If you end up clustered with enemies AND bombs, you’re good as dead since grazing the enemies while attempting to jump screws your momentum up. I don’t know if I would say Bouncy Bob feels broken, because “lazy” or “unfinished” seem more accurate. The one brief glimmer of hope I had was that playing multiplayer would make the objective more doable, but multiplayer is an entirely different formula. A versus mode, where players have to jump on each other. I literally couldn’t convince a single member of my family to even finish one round of it with me. It’s that boring.

This is where I quit. It’s only the third level. To anyone who defends this tripe and says I didn’t put enough time into it, I’d like to point out that buying a game entitles me to have an opinion on that game. If you buy a product and it sucks, you are allowed to publicly bitch about that product, you know? Bouncy Bob sucks. Here, you have to deal with bombs that have a large damage range (in a game where movement is anything but quick), with spikes on walls next to portals (as if the game wasn’t unfair enough) and awful physics. I put over an hour into this level and couldn’t finish it. Call me unskilled all you want. It’s not my fault the game is crap.

I put in nearly two hours spread over three days trying to find something nice to say about Bouncy Bob, and I couldn’t. Hell, I couldn’t even beat the third stage. I tried every method, from playing conservative and waiting sometimes several minutes for what looked like I had a clearing to take out multiple enemies and escape to playing super aggressive and throwing caution to the wind. Nothing worked, because the game just plain is not designed in a sensible way. There’s really no defense against the bad guys or their projectiles. It makes me wonder how much time the developers needed to finish their own game, or if they ever stopped to ask themselves what exactly was fun about it? It has an air of cynicism about it. That someone felt this was a quality game worthy of the marketplace. It’s not at any price. It’s the worst game I’ve ever played on any Nintendo platform.

For anyone out there dense enough to say “what did you expect for fourteen cents?” I’ll remind you that there’s some incredible free to play games out there. Price shouldn’t change how much fun you’re having with a game. If it does, that says more about what you value than it does about the quality of a game. Bouncy Bob is back up to its $1 price tag, but it’s terrible at any price. If it was free, it wouldn’t be worth the time or space it would use up. So bad is Bouncy Bob that I had to make a new rule at IGC. From this point forward, I’m done playing no-effort ports of mobile games. My time would be better spent on games tailored for platforms. Bouncy Bob feels like a cash grab, and the fact that its $0.14 ploy worked to the degree it did actually makes me kind of mad. Because, for a lot of people, Bob will be the first impression of what a low-price indie game is. And those people might decide that it’s representative of all low-cost indies. What a horrible thing to do. It’d be like saying Kanye West is an example of what everyone with the last name “West” is like. That’d make Adam West spin in his grave to such a degree that you could connect a power generator to it and end our energy crisis.

Bouncy Bob was developed by All Those Moments
Point of Sale: Nintendo Switch

$0.14 (normally $1) said TOO MUCH in the making of this review.

Bleed 2

So, there’s this game that came out in 2017. It’s an old-school shooter where the developer, recognizing that most people remember boss battles and not stages, based the majority of the game around such encounters. It features a throw-back art style, clever boss designs and battles, and exhilarating white-knuckle bullet-spraying action.

Oh, and it has multiple difficulty options and is accessible to gamers of all skill levels. That’s how you know I’m not talking about Cuphead.

Back in February of 2017, the sequel to one of my favorite XBLIGs arrived on Steam. I got it. I played it. And then I apparently had writer’s block when I sat down to do the review.. and promptly forgot about it. Awesome. So here we are twenty-something months later and I just replayed Bleed 2, this time on my Xbox One. Now, I really, really loved playing Bleed 2 the first time around, so how on Earth I could let this one slip by? Well, not being dedicated to my game critic duties played a part. Another part might be that Bleed 2 is shorter than your average bout with hiccups.

Fan theory: Wryn is the daughter of Chintai, one of the bosses from Double Dragon. That explains the thirst for homicide.

In Bleed 2 you continue the adventures of Wryn, the girl who dreamed of becoming the biggest gaming icon in the world, and achieved that dream by violently murdering all the other stars in cold blood. Well, if it still counts as cold-blooded if done in the most upbeat, cheerful, “holy crap, I can’t believe how totally violent and deadly I am and that’s fucking awesome” type of way. I loved Wryn. She’s a go-getter. And I love her character design. Bleed 2 even has a taunt button so you can see her joyously raise a single arm triumphantly in celebration of her growing body count, and it makes her look like a Charlie Brown supporting character. Like Peppermint Patty if she completely lost her mind and started gunning down all the other Peanuts for fun.

Bleed 2, like the best sequels, is the evolutionary version of its XBLIG original. The run-and-spray twin-stick gameplay has been refined, along with the responsiveness of Wryn’s awesome triple-jump that feels like it belongs in a superhero game. The main hook this time around is you have a samurai sword that you can use to reflect any pink-colored projectiles or attacks. The sword is automatically used when you’re using the standard duel-pistols and press in a direction to shoot. While it works and offers remarkable precision, it also makes me worry about the health of my controller as proper usage requires a lot of stick-flicking. By time I finished a round of Bleed 2, a ring of white powder that hadn’t been there before (I always check with twin-stick games) had formed around my XB1 pad’s right stick. While it’s not Mario Party 1 levels of warranty-voiding abuse, by the half-way point of Bleed 2 I was questioning whether Ian Campbell was in league with the Mexican Controller Cartels. We’ve all been there. Hell, I used to make a enough money selling the powdered remains of my Nintendo 64 analog sticks post-Mario Party to teenagers as “cocaine” to fund my actual cocaine habit.

The reflect-the-bullets stuff is awesome and combines beautifully with the Max Payne like bullet-time effect. It makes Bleed 2 such a joy to experience. There’s no pretension on display here. This is just a stupid, mindless, white-knuckle action game. No bullshit. No sense of self-importance. With the indie scene trending more towards games that try to tell important “messages”, Bleed 2 is a breath of fresh air. Like Cuphead, it forgoes the notion that people want to play through levels and focuses on multiple boss encounters, each unique from the other and requiring different tactics to beat. They hit one after another, never giving you a moment to breathe. Even games that aspire to be balls-to-the-wall miss the mark with frequent breaks in the proceedings. Not Bleed 2. Often you beat one boss only to have another spawn within seconds. It never lets up, and it never gets boring.

Bleed 2 is such a strange game. You can unlock more weapons, but none of them are as fun or satisfying as the standard loadout. When does that ever happen in games anymore? Not since Painkiller that I can think of.

But, it’s not perfect. The basic enemies are total cannon-fodder, offering less challenge than your average pickle jar. And most of the levels are so uninspired that I wonder why they even bothered putting them in. Perhaps, like Cuphead, they felt like they had to. To all you indie devs out there: you don’t have to do shit. Funny enough, as much as I hated Cuphead, at least some of the actual levels were entertaining. Not with Bleed 2. They’re dull as dirt tofu-based appetizers and serve as distractions to the delicious, meaty main course of the boss battles. I’d love to see a third game in the series that fully transitions to just those parts. Everything about the stages, with the exception of one that removes gravity, feel uninspired, phoned in, and arbitrary. And if that’s not enough mean things to say, give me a few minutes and I’ll come up with more.

The main quest is short. A good player can probably knock it out comfortably in under two hours. Bleed 2 offers a ton of extras, but this is where the game stumbles. The main quest features hand-crafted levels, while the more attractive bonus mode, Endless, uses randomly generated stages in what I can only assume was an attempt to offer some justification for not removing the basic enemies entirely. Also, this is what all procedural generation in games like this should be: a throw-away extra. Unfortunately, while there’s still adjustable difficulty toggles, the endless mode gives you one life and one life only to complete all five stages. This is far out of reach for my ability as a gamer. Why not offer to have endless lives and count how many you need? Not for everyone. Just make it an option? I mean, the random levels are dull and you take on bosses you already fought and I can’t imagine anyone would actually voluntarily want to play this stuff, but gating it off so it’s only playable by the uber-talented seems odd.

This is “Challenge Mode” where you can take on three of the game’s bosses at the same time. Not a boss rush. THE SAME TIME. Even the on-screen menu admits this mode is unbalanced and just for lulz.

But I loved Bleed 2. I don’t really have too much to say about it. Stripping out the majority of useless stuff will do that. I like the way weapon pick-ups (or lack-thereof) work. I honestly had more fun just using the default loadout than I did during a second play-through with rocket launchers and laser beams. Maybe I wish the “main” bosses weren’t just other people the same size as my character, which was done in service to the story instead of the pace and atmosphere. The final boss fight against “the Rival” (who you then unlock as a playable character, only he can reflect yellow stuff instead of pink, essentially making him Sinestro) is so insanely anti-climatic that I didn’t realize he was the final boss until “GAME CLEAR” popped-up on-screen. It was a bit of a let-down, even though it was a pretty fun fight. You know what? Give me rock-solid controls and an hour or two of exhilarating action that leaves me sweating, cursing, in a bit of pain, and still wanting more over a ten-hour experience where I eventually reach the point that I just want it to be over. I’m talking about Bleed 2, by the way, not my sex life.

Bleed 2 was developed by BootDisk Revolution
Point of Sale: Steam, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch

$7.99 (Steam version, normally $9.99 or $14.99 on consoles) think the series isn’t as popular because the name is fucking lazy in the making of this review. Then again this review is like twenty months late.

Bleed 2 is Chick-Approved and ranked on the Indie Gamer Chick Leaderboard

%d bloggers like this: