8 Reviews liked by AdamHood

Neon White is the most innovative and refreshing action game I have played in years. Fantastic music, sense of speed, and layers on layers of mechanics you feel that you've mastered in seconds, and that's only the tip of the iceberg.
I have never been into watching speedrunning, nor have I cared to try it myself, but the compartmentalization of the technique into 15-30 second doses is brilliant. Why did I suddenly care about beating my friends on the leaderboards? It's not something I've ever, EVER cared about before but in Neon White if I saw a friend beat a level a fraction of a second faster than me I'd spend the next ten minutes doing a hundred reruns to beat them.
I will be very open, I think the story is kind of stupid and I did not engage with it after the first hour. The dialogue is badly written and a lot of the VA sounds amateur. This is thankfully not an issue at all, as there's a giant prompt to press the F button to fast forward through every scene, and the game is 100% enjoyable without knowing what's going on. My only other negative is that the game drags for one world before you get the final powerup card.
The final boss of Neon White was so much fun that after a half hour of running it back over and over again, when I finally won, I laughed out loud like a maniac. I can't remember the last boss battle that made me do that, and I'd absolutely list Neon Green as a top 10 final boss of all time. And I got an Ace first try! In addition, the final world is actually the most fun because of a single new mechanic that changes the entire game to make it feel EVEN FASTER. While I wish the story had been any good, it is impossible to deny the sheer brilliance of Neon White. I wish it had gotten more recognition over a certain cat-based indie game, but I'll settle for it residing in the Nirav Hall of Fame.

What an absolutely lovely surprise this was! I played this on PS5, but to think this was originally made for Apple Arcade?! The art style is gorgeous I'm glad I played this on a big OLED in the dark instead of on a phone screen.
I didn't really know what to expect going into South of the Circle. All I really knew was it's a narrative focused experience and I liked the art style. I truly was not expecting this brilliantly written, acted and directed drama set amongst the paranoia of the Cold War, interwoven with a touching and grounded story between two scientists who fall in love. I won't say much more here, because if you're reading this and this sounds like your jam, GO PLAY IT!!! But, I genuinely had such a wonderful time with this. Sure, it's pretty gameplay light. But honestly, I don't care. Experiences like this used to be my bread and butter and it's been lovely to find another one completely out of the blue that sucked me in as hard as this did.

This review contains spoilers

Didn't know what to expect coming into this, apart from some of the wilder substories I'd seen prior, but what a blast this game was! This somehow manages to balance the super traditional but great main story with the absolute madness of the side content without either feeling off. One minute, I'm doing a dance-off with Michael Jackson or managing my cabaret club and the next, I'm trying to clear my name of murder with an entire Yakuza family out to get me. Somehow, it all just works!
The one big bugbear I had with Yakuza 0 is just how LONG it is, especially if you experience all the side content or even (shudder) go for 100% completion. You're looking at JRPG-length playthrough times if you go for the latter. There were a few points during my nearly 80-hour playthrough where I got a little bogged down with side stuff and burned myself out but even then, I never actively disliked the game at any point.
I also 100% did not shed a tear when Makoto didn't recognize Majima during the epilogue. Nope. Not me. Not one bit.

What I normally don't enjoy about tactical games is how they make you take a defensive approach. I don't have the patience for cover-based shooters in general, whether they're turn-based or not. But this plays like the tactical equivalent of DOOM. Aggression is key, holding still will get you killed. It's a blast to utilize everyone's different abilities to find the best way to destroy your opponent fast, before they have a chance to get to you.

You may remember that when the first leaks appeared for this game about a month before E3 2017, the internet went berserk. All of the Nintendo subreddits were incredulous with rage - “How could they poison the glorious world of my sacred son Mario with these disgusting discount minions?” They typed angrily, adjusting their fedoras and wiping Cheeto dust off their neckbeards. Oh, how they raged. This is why leaks are bad. People decide what something is before they know and make a decision about it with no basis in fact.
When Ubisoft’s conference came around, everyone was braced for the worst - a Raving Rabbids game where Mario maybe jumps on some goombas and farts on Luigi, or something. What we were shown was incredible. A turn-based tactical strategy RPG? Starring Mario??? This hadn’t been seen since the last time Nintendo rented out Mario to another studio (Square Enix in 1996 for Super Mario RPG) 20 years ago. And Shigeru Miyamoto is here? Mario’s father?? Fans ran out of reasons to be angry quickly as the presentation continued. Tactical overhead strategy cameras, skill trees, weapon upgrades, status effects, party composition strategy, 16 completely different weapon types - no one had expected any of this. And people started to get hyped. And they were not disappointed.
The raving Rabbids have been known as the “Minions of video games” and to some extent, yeah, that’s true. But they have a certain charm to them in that they haven’t become the face of excessive, all-consuming capitalism like their yellow, one-eyed counterparts. Yeah, they’re wacky and dumb. But that’s why they slide so easily into the Mushroom Kingdom and feel like they were always a part of it. Mario games are about a plumber and his cowardly brother that go on adventures crushing mushrooms and turtles, sometimes riding a dinosaur, in pursuit of a princess who’s been kidnapped by the turtle king for the Nth time. They’re already wacky and dumb, and that is part of what makes them great.
So, the game. As stated above, this an overhead camera tactical strategy RPG… it’s XCOM. It’s XCOM, but this time, Mario and is friends are here. And the Rabbids too? First of all, the story is exactly wacky enough that it is self-aware, but not so far that it becomes a parody of itself. A big Nintendo geek scientist (I related closely to her) creates a machine that combines items into one. The Rabbids predictably get up to their shenanigans and combine themselves with all of her Nintendo merch, creating a Rabbid-infested Mushroom Kingdom. You’ll take control of Mario, Rabbid Peach, and Rabbid Luigi at the start of the game, looking for your friends and a way to rescue the Rabbid with the combining power from the villain, Boswer Jr. It’s cute, it’s funny, it’s non intrusive, and it doesn’t involve a lot of farting on Luigi. A little, but not a lot.
There’s two modes: exploration and combat. Exploration mode is a simple jaunt through the kingdom, with funny remarks on the Rabbid monuments and puzzles ranging anywhere from “my hamster could solve this” to “I can’t believe I’m googling the solution to a puzzle in Mario Rabbids.” Collect coins and do some minigames for extra skill points. Simple stuff, beautiful environment, and wonderful musical arrangements by Grant Kirkope. He does a great job on the base game, but his work for the Donkey Kong DLC is even better.
Combat mode is of course the meat of the game. The turn based strategy combat pits you against a wide variety of enemies with different abilities and weaknesses, and a healthy amount of unique bosses across the 4 worlds. You pick a party of 3 characters from the ones you’ve unlocked, upgrade their individual skill trees, upgrade their weapons if you’ve got the cash, and then head into battle. Each turn consists of movement, an attack, and a special attack.These are fairly standard trappings for this sort of game.The completely undersold revolutionary mechanic in this game is called the Super Jump. Sheer brilliance.
Your characters, as well as the enemies, have the ability to run to a teammate, jump on their heads, and sail through the air to another spot on the map. This means you can effectively double the mobility of your entire team if you are smart about where you position them. Some characters can even be tossed onto enemies’ heads and perform a stomp attack (you guessed it, that’s Mario’s thing). There are ground pounds and other aerial attacks that can only be performed this way. Super jumping off a teammate also heals them of status effects! Super jumps are a very important part of the game and if you haven’t used one for a turn, you probably could be doing better.
Each of the 8 available characters has a totally different primary and secondary weapon. For reference, that’s Mario, Luigi, Peach, Yoshi, Rabbid Mario, Rabbid Luigi, Rabbid Peach, and Rabbid Yoshi. One of my two negatives about the game is that Rabbid Yoshi is not available to unlock until ¾ of the way through the game, and Yoshi is not unlockable until shortly before the final boss. Switching between just Mario, Luigi, Rabbid Luigi, and Rabbid Peach for the first half of the game still gives you surprising versatility though. Luigi is a Sniper, Rabbid Peach is a Healer, Rabbid Luigi is basically a rogue assassin… it sounds insane when it’s put like that, but it is how the game is built.
Now for my only other gripe with this game - you have 3 spots in your party. One of them is always Mario. That’s right, Mario is always on your team. In addition, one of your party members must be a Rabbid at all times. The second thing doesn’t anger me, because this game is called Mario Rabbids. But goddamn, Mario. He’s possibly the weakest character of the bunch, and while sometimes his unique abilities are useful, you’ll mostly be thinking “Why can’t I just use Luigi instead?” This game could have been a perfect 10 if this was fixed. The main reason I gripe about this is that you only get healed every 2 fights, and you HAVE to use Mario for both of them. Meaning that if Mario is gravely injured in the first battle, the second battle becomes “Protect Mario.” And that’s … not as fun. It kills it a little for me. There was actually a time in World 4 where Mario was so hurt going into a second battle that I had to restart the first battle in the set so I could have a chance at beating the second one, which is insane. But I digress.
So how hard is this game? Um, it can get pretty damn hard. There’s luckily an “easy mode” you can activate on a per-battle basis, which I have to admit I used 4 times over the course of the game when I got stuck. I’m not an avid player of these kinds of game, and maybe someone who plays a lot of XCOM found it easy. For me, this was a challenge. I had to restart probably a dozen different battles because I was outsmarted by the AI. Be patient and don’t be afraid to use easy mode if needed.
So the DLC adds a few super hard stages, which I have not yet completed, a ton of co-op stages I haven’t played yet, and an entirely new expansion almost half the size of the base game, Donkey Kong Adventure. I am roughly halfway through DK Adventure as of writing this, and I’ll just say that it is, for better or worse, more of the same. You’ll find all the same charm and wit of the base game, just based in the world of Donkey Kong country instead. New enemies, new heroes, new weapon classes, new game modes - it’s well worth the price of admission. If you get this game, you’re doing yourself a disservice by not playing the DK expansion. If you didn’t like the base game, you won’t like this. I haven’t played the co-op modes because they are local co op only, and my local friends are not really the gaming types. The co op challenges will last you about 30 hours to do all of them, so there’s plenty there as well. So the verdict.
With the exceptions of the two negatives I mentioned earlier (character unlocks being spaced too far apart and having to use Mario all the time), this game is perfect. The world is charming, the jokes are funny, and it’s not too easy or handholdey. Even if you’re not a fan of strategy games or the Rabbids, this is one not to miss. Make sure to get the Gold Edition - the DLC is well worth it.

After the first chapter I can safely say the game is as tone deaf as it initially seemed. This is a total vanity project that really begs the question of "who the hell funded this?" Since the author is basically just some random indie dev with a small resume. Some good stuff but nothing crazy.
This is essentially a parody game since its played so straight. Well, its not a parody, or a game, so that doesnt quite work. We Are OFK is just an aggressively smarmy, paid ad for a mediocre band of internet nerds. The blue haired character is basically a self insert fantasy for the mastermind of the project, who is just some dorky white dude.
The dialogue is so....annoying? Everyone is just a smug hipster with aggressive vocal fry and an obsession wirh sarcastic quips and saying internet words verbally. They're not people, they're characters, a band of 4 scrappy doos.
The beauty of We Are OFK is the trainwreck aspect of it. Since theres no gameplay to mess up, anyone can watch it on Youtube and cringe at the dialogue for free. Its not quite gaming's "The Room", its more the recent movie "Music". A tone deaf misfire of a vanity project that makes you embarassed for the band and the inevitable wheel spinning that will follow.

Status: Completed (Platinum Trophy)
Date: 01.23.2021 | Play Time: 13 hours
The only video game that holds the prestigious honor of making me fall asleep while playing it, not once, but three separate times.. I’ve nodded off in other games but I straight up fell asleep, controller in-hand, playing Kentucky Route Zero. I cannot stress enough how boring the actual act of playing this video game is. Which is a bummer because I liked the characters and thought the story had potential.
The game started off walking the line between intrigue and taking itself way too seriously before toppling head-first into pretension. I really just do not think this game is for me in any capacity. It feels more like an experimental art piece than anything else. I honestly think this could have made a trippy and very interesting HBO series.
+ Terrific art direction and generally just wonderful art style
+ Phenomenal sound design
+ Great original music. Seriously some of my favorite parts of the game.
- Holding a controller in your hand and hitting buttons to play this video game is incredibly boring
- So much reading. It’s all reading. First time that's ever bothered me.
- Is this a video game?



The greatest cat game of all time.
I truly do not think there has ever been a video game that captures the mannerisms, look, and antics of being a cat as authentically as Stray does. It's not a coincidence that there are countless videos online of peoples' pets reacting to the game. Heck, my cats (who normally don't care about anything on the TV) even reacted to the cat in Stray. Every time the cat did a very "cat" thing like scratch something, stretch, lay down, knock something off a shelf, etc. my wife and I laughed. It truly brought us so much joy.
Beyond feline antics, Stray offers a really cool new take on a post-apocalyptic world. The Cyberpunk-esque world inhabited entirely by robots was interesting and one I enjoyed exploring. I spoke to every resident to get their story and eagerly poked around to find any collectibles that opened up side conversations. The story behind the city you slowly uncover is interesting and I genuinely cared about the growing friendship between the cat and B12. And I honestly think all of it delivers in a solid and satisfying ending.
My biggest critiques in the game come down to the sometimes finicky parkour controls (that often resulted in the cat jumping down when I was trying to go up) and the lack of direction in some of the larger areas. There are a couple zones that are quite large and, as a small cat jumping all over the place, finding which things you can jump on or which nooks you can get into to find collectibles can feel a bit like finding a needle in a haystack.
Also I personally don't like a couple of the trophies in the game. There's a trophy for making it through an area of the game unscathed that took me about an hour to do due to randomness of enemy movement. There's another trophy that asks you not to use an item you just got in the story for the entire time you have said item which feels weird.
Critiques aside, I loved my time with the game - from the cat and characters, to the world I spent time in. It was a lovely experience and as a cat owner, I loved every second of watching the cat do cat things.
+ Authentically captures cat doing cat things
+ Interesting world and characters
+ Great story
+ Solid presentation - visuals and soundtrack
- Finicky one-button parkour controls that often leads to jumping down when trying to jump up
- Large areas can sometimes be hard to navigate
- A couple of bad trophies

0 Lists liked by AdamHood