420 Reviews liked by CatTheCutest

(8-year-old's review, typed by his dad)
Everything you need to know about a Cutie-Shootie: Umm... they shoot lines that you can ride your soapboard on. And they make cute noises that sound like "bldldbldlblah" and you have to blow up the thingies that they're in in order to let them loose and then they shoot the string and also say "blshdlbhalaha". And that is everything that you need to know about a Cutie-Shootie.
I think they're supposed to be silkworms and they're motto is "Cuz they cutie when they shootie!" And the game is so cute and so fun. CUTIE-SHOOTIE!!

I think I could play Tinykin forever. If there were always more areas to explore, I would never get tired of this game. It's such a beautiful hybrid of 3D platforming and stress-free, enemyless Pikmin, a combination I never would have come up with myself. Playing Tinykin feels like putting vanilla extract in your lemonade for the first time. (I'm serious, it's delicious, BUT JUST A TINY BIT DON'T OVERDO IT) This new combination of things I already loved has blown me away.
Now, 100%ing the game was a bit of a drag at the end, but I did eventually find every single Tinykin and every bit of pollen in the house. If I could change one thing about the game, I would have included an unlockable radar for both Tinykin and Pollen. Since there are two exhibits in the hub area that you're meant to fill (the drinks and the artefacs), radar/detectors being rewards for completing each of these would have been perfect. There's no real reward for completion other than achievements, but the game was so delightful that I wanted to play every bit of it that I could.
The story is wack though, I rewatched the ending twice and still don't have a clue what really happened!

I was not having a great time while I played Golf Club: Wasteland. The game is slow in everything it does. Having to watch the player character physically move to the ball's location after every shot was mind-numbing. I was aware that all the downtime was meant to focus my attention on the radio station that plays throughout the game's runtime (which clearly received a ton of effort and care from the development team), but all the clever social commentary and worldbuilding was absolutely not enough to make up for the controls.
This is not a great golf game. It will definitely land somewhere near the bottom of my "Weird Golf Games RANKED" list simply because the golfing is not fun. Aiming and judging distance are both imprecise and felt like guesswork each time. Combine that with unclear terrain effects that seemed to alter surface friction and driving distance at random, and you've got yourself a frustrating time. It was never difficult, it just felt like slapping a ball around with a pool noodle, hoping it'd eventually go where i was aiming. The only thing that kept me from tapping out after ten holes was realizing there were only 35 of them in the entire game. Might as well finish it if it's that short, right?
Through the rest of the game, I found some interesting level design, some chuckle-worthy logos and graffiti messages, but the golf always felt bad. The stellar radio station recordings were carrying the whole game. Soon enough, the 35th hole was over, and there was a brief cutscene. It was pretty much what I had expected it would be based on what had transpired up until that point, and didn't really do anything for me. While the credits rolled, I debated whether to rate this 2 or 2.5 stars.
But after the credits, an epilogue titled "Charlie's Odyssey" appeared in the form of a storybook. About 50 illustrated pages detailing the character's story, including previously-unseen backstory that occurred before the game's beginning as well as an alternate angle on the game's events. Before reading that epilogue, I felt utterly and cynically nonplussed by Golf Club: Wasteland's story. Yet somehow, this final straightforward telling of the story I had just experienced completely recontextualized the whole thing for me. It retroactively made me appreciate what I had played.
Now, I have no idea if this epilogue was added out of necessity or simply because the devs liked the idea, but without Charlie's Odyssey, the whole package would not have landed for me. This is a completely unique experience for me, where a game is saved by its coda. I went from dislike to appreciation in just under 55 pages. What a weird thing!



It had been a while since I played Claw all the way through, so I grabbed the most recent download from CaptainClaw.net (the game is abandonware, download the first and third listed files if you want to try it out) and plowed through it over the weekend. I kept thinking, “Wow, this really holds up! What a masterpiece!”
…and then I hit the 12th level.
I remembered that I had never made it past that 12th stage without using cheats as a kid, but I was confident that this time I could make it through the way the devs had intended.
For as long as I can remember, I've considered Claw to be one of my all-time favorites, but this replay made me see its issues a bit more clearly. The levels are still absolutely stunning, with the hand-drawn 2D backgrounds and sprites being some of the best of any game in the 90s. The variety in the areas is top-notch, with the cats vs. dogs, pirates vs. navy theme being portrayed in plentiful and charming ways throughout the game’s runtime. The powerups are still tons of fun to use, collecting treasure is enjoyable in and of itself, and the enemies and bosses are solid and memorable. Beyond all the praise I've lavished on Claw since 1997, there were two main sticking points that I had this time, one small and one huge.
First, the nitpicky realization: There is a vast gulf between the quality of the good voice acting and the bad, and I hadn’t really noticed when I was young. What’s weird is that every voiced enemy you encounter in each level is fantastic! From the sword-wielding Dobermans to the narcissistic Mercats (“Well, I’m no longer among the living, am I?”), there’s so much impressive dialogue during gameplay. The title character Captain Nathaniel J. Claw is especially well-portrayed, especially for a 90s video game. But the boss fights and cutscenes somehow have a 50/50 chance of maintaining that high standard. You might hear professional voice actors, or you might see a wonderfully animated character open their mouth only to hear the tired mumblings of one of the devs. This scene between Captain Claw and his nemesis Red Tail is particularly bad, with Red Tail being played by one of the sound designers. Really seems like they ran out of budget at some point and had to use some people around the office for the last few voices.
The second issue is the one that’s a legitimate problem. Claw isn’t the easiest game. It was clearly designed with challenge in mind, and it can be a struggle to make it through some levels without running out of lives, but it’s always doable without being frustrating… up to a point. When the 12th of 14 stages arrives, there is a STEEP difficulty spike. The first 11 levels all felt fair, but the final 3 are full of cheap deaths and platforming segments that feel like a bullet hell shooter. The falling stalactites in level 12 are seemingly unavoidable at times, and each of these final 3 areas will abuse their tendency of putting hazards beyond the screen limits where you can’t see them. Increasing screen resolution does help alleviate this issue, but for some reason you can only do this with a cheat code. (I’ll list the important cheats at the bottom of the review) In any case, levels 12-14 are a significant challenge even if you turn God Mode on, so don’t feel bad about typing that code in so that you can make it to the end, especially when it comes to the bosses of levels 12 and 14. That tentacle boss fight is pure hax.
I still love Claw a lot. It’s a beautiful, engrossing 2D platformer from an era when those were going out of style, and I firmly believe more people should play it. However, this playthrough did drop it from my 5/5 list because I can’t really justify the unbalanced masochism of the last three stages.
But it’s free and it’s still a great time, if you've got a PC, give it a try!
MPKFA: God Mode (Unlimited health, lives, and ammo)
MPINCVID: Increases resolution
MPDECVID: Decreases resolution (if you went too far with it)
MPVADER: 30 seconds of invincibility, stacks with repeated entry
MPPENGUIN: Frost Sword

Welp! It sure is a mobile tower defense game! Nothing in here is that engaging or noteworthy, but if you're a big fan of the genre you might have a fun time. It's a good thing Image & Form moved on from this to the incredible SteamWorld series!

Popo and Nana being cut from Smash 4 wasn't actually about technical limitations. Sakurai just finally got around to playing Ice Climber and deleted all their code and assets in a fit of disgusted rage.

The funniest thing in Yakuza 3 is that every other Yakuza knows who Kiryu is, they're all familiar with stories of the Dragon of Dojima, yet NONE of them know what he looks like.
At least 20 times throughout the game, this happens:
Goons: "Hey IDIOT what are you doing on our turf?? Don't you know we're in the TOJO CLAN?!?"
Kiryu: "..."
Kiryu: [Tears their spines out]
Goon boss: "Hey guys sorry I was standing over there for a minute what did I miss- OH HEY Fourth Chairman, how you doing?"
Goons: "WHUUUUHHHHH????"
Yakuza 3 is way better than people make it out to be. It's definitely the weakest of the series that I've played up to this point, but it's not bad by any means. Most of all, I loved those orphans as much as this game loves the word "Aniki".
Also, that ending was severely insane. It felt like they ran out of development budget and reached the end before realizing they hadn't paid off a character who was introduced in the middle of the game, so they gave him a bonkers cutscene. What a ride!

This review contains spoilers

Finding out how Kiryu and Nishki's relationship ended up really made the finale of Yakuza 0 hit different
This game is so SAD

A Little Golf Journey is the perfect lazy Sunday afternoon game.
A game with no stakes, no antagonists, no visible characters at all. Just a ball hopping around lovely low-poly environments, checking around corners for secrets and branching pathways. The challenge level can be a bit tricky, but there are quite a few accessibility that allow you to tailor the game's difficulty to your liking. I ended up using unlimited "Focus" time and the increased ball projection, and had a great time 100%ing this indie gem.
If you've ever enjoyed a golf game, you should give this a shot the next time you're looking for something cozy.

Alex's Cowabunga Collection Marathon, Pt. 13 of 13
...did he just call us "Slimballs"?
This is it. Finishing the Cowabunga Collection on a high note! Turtles in Time was the second TMNT game I ever tried as a kid, after the original arcade game. Like plenty of 90s kids, I've had that "BIG APPLE, 3 AM" embedded in my brain for as long as I can remember. This is the game I think of when I think of 16-bit co-op. And for good reason! It's not just cool because it's got the Turtles in it, it's a well-paced, varied, and flat-out fun beat-em-up! But MAN is it short!
When I was a kid and was terrible at everything, I only played it sporadically at friends' or cousins' houses, so I never even made it to the point when you go back in time. In my head, there was no telling how vast this adventure was! Now it's about 25 years later, and my wife and I just beat this game start-to-finish in 40 minutes.
Turtles in Time is solid, but I feel like it's put up on a bit of a pedestal because of nostalgia, more than the rest of these older Ninja Turtles games. I was definitely more impressed by The Manhattan Project than its SNES sequel, but I can't deny that it's a classic for a reason.
Konami did a great job translating the arcade title to the home console, and there are some cool new inclusions in the campaign like a Mode-7 level and extra bosses, but the extra modes like Time Trials and Versus are actually pretty neat. If you were a kid with a SNES in 1992, this would have been a must-have cartridge. As it stands today, It's worth playing for 40 minutes, but I can't see myself coming back to it over the 4-player arcade version.