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All ratings are based solely on games completed without save states or the help of a guide. Incomplete or assisted plays are not logged.

Mostly retro apologia and remake seething.
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Favorite Games

Celeste
Celeste
Slice & Dice
Slice & Dice
Bubble Bobble
Bubble Bobble
Tetris Effect: Connected
Tetris Effect: Connected
Dead Cells
Dead Cells

492

Total Games Played

018

Played in 2024

092

Games Backloggd


Recently Played See More

Sheepy: A Short Adventure
Sheepy: A Short Adventure

Jun 03

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis
Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis

May 23

Witcheye
Witcheye

May 14

Hellslave
Hellslave

May 13

Live A Live
Live A Live

Apr 26

Recently Reviewed See More

It's short, it's got a nice double jump. 3 stars, good outing. That's a nice score, right? Fair?

… now drag him.

There's going to be some mechanical spoilers ahead, maybe a mild story peek. Worried about that? Go play the game. It's free, takes an hour. I'll wait.



Right. Somebody really, really likes the Ori games. Good taste! Good games. Well, the first one. And not the Definitive Edition, that one ruins the balance. And I'm not really sure about the second, I haven't played it. But I know a guy who knows a guy that worked on them, and I like the former of those guys, so I'll take it on good faith.

The thing about Ori is its breadth and temerity. It's a wide game. Lots of secrets to discover, ways to move, terrain to traverse. Movement is polished, fluid. Everything has a lovely watercolor look to it that gives it a natural warmth. Lush orchestral sweeps occasionally punctuate major story moments. Solid, coherent, full of subtle design motifs that quietly tie it all together. And, importantly: it has the courage to challenge the player. Not that much, mind, but consequences make mastery meaningful, and Ori brings them.

Sheepy does not. Sheepy is a Thomas Kincaid fan looking at Ori and wanting to do the same. Nothing wrong with that, inspiration and imitation are the cornerstones of art. But the mark is missed. An overreliance on colored lighting to bring warmth, literally signposted secrets that are desperate to be discovered, the standard movement upgrades of double jump and dash and the final super traversal move, all thrown in quick succession before any real exploration or challenge can be laid out. And the latter two of those do not work properly - or at all - with the D-pad, despite the game letting you control the titular character with the same with no complaint otherwise.

How about the sound? The music is grand, sweeping yet pallid. The reverbating swell when a large new area is met, the piano in minor key throughout, the breathless, freedom-espousing sprint that accompanies an utterly toothless and far too long sprint. It's well done, no doubt. But it's uninspired, rote, far too self-aware and far too eager to be heard.

And the combat. Three of those, one hit kills for young Sheepy, dramatic setups so out of place the eyes can't help but roll. And when you die - swiftly - you'll quickly run into the fact that you'll be watching those lengthy cutscene setups again. Mash some buttons, try to skip. "Hold Y to skip"? Lies. Hold Y to fast-forward, complete with audio distortion. The final battle doesn't even have the teeth to resist giving the player multiple checkpoints to complete its internal logic-defying completion steps.

There's a story here, rather vague, rather pointless. I read all the notes, listened to all the tapes. It has nothing to say, and ends in a vague, embarrassing pile. A shining example of tell, don't show.

As a result the entire affair absolutely screams capstone project, the final final of some game design college, a game drenched in amateur polish and carrying a backpack full of the inspirations that drove its creators to enroll in the first place.

But hey, it's free. 3 stars.

The forgotten king.

It's always Sam & Max, Day of the Tentacle, Secret of Monkey Island that come up when the conversation turns to the classic Lucasarts point 'n' clicks. And they're great games, worthy of being in the conversation. But Fate of Atlantis? That's where the real heat is.

First off: the tone is pitch perfect. Everything about Fate of Atlantis feels like an Indiana Jones movie, from the dialogue to the locations to the plot and beyond. Jones is cynical, stubborn, a bit sexist. His co-star - Sophia Hapgood - gets under his skin, holds her own, spars with him verbally. You trot the globe with the classic map screen, break out the whip, reference previous adventures. It's glorious, as on point as it could be, the secret fourth movie.

But the real secret, the best part? There are three distinct paths through the game, triggered by an early dialogue choice. Want the classic point 'n' click experience? That's the wits path. Want more action? Fists. The best, however, is team, with Sophia coming along and bringing that pulp adventure vibe to life.

There's more. The locations change on each path, the puzzles and dialogue as well. And those puzzles themselves often have multiple solutions, both within their paths and between playthroughs, some light randomization changing locations of objects and the solutions to reach them. Moreover, hidden in all that is a wealth of optional dialogue, quips and snarks, little tidbits to discover on that second or third playthrough.

Moon logic puzzles are almost entirely absent, benign enough when encountered due to the self-contained nature of the scenarios. There's a labyrinth at one point, which is never a favorite, a door maze as well. Minor issues in the end, and nothing that tarnishes the crown rightfully owed to Lucasart's finest adventure game.

You know what the mark of a great game is? When you beat the final boss and there's an enemy roll call. Regular guy? Regular guy but with a hat on? Guy you didn't even fight? All present and accounted for.

And let it be known that Mabel Syrup is not to be fucked with. That witch will rip her eye out and send it to kill you without a second thought.

That's the plot, not that it matters much. Wizard sends a knight to rob the witch, witch gives them what's coming. Why an eyeball? Because it's gesture controls. Mouse or analogs, or finger if you're on your phone. Swipe to move, tap to stop. And it works! Quite well, in fact, all while avoiding the (potential) pitfall of requiring ever-escalating precision.

Instead the game just absolutely never stops throwing new enemies at you. I think there was a fresh face for every single level in the final zone, perhaps each of the penultimate as well, and plenty of one-off enemies besides. Tons of minibosses and arena challenges, because why not? And everything requires a different approach, different swipes, different timing.There's collectibles too, which the game will cheerfully taunt you over if you reach the end without all of them. It's fun, engaging, super easy to get drawn into the loop of seeing what the next level wants to do and where it's hiding the blue gem.

So it does this, and does it well, and then brings in the finisher that is its just incredibly charming art and music. Big, chunky GBA-style graphics, vivid colors, bouncy animations, shockingly great music. Everything is so expressive, enemies are easily readable, sights and sounds their own reward as you advance. Top notch.

I do wish the analogs would indicate the direction you were moving them in. I also wish the mouse, which I switched to, was captured by the window because the number of times I hit my second screen in a boss fight was infuriating. Some sort of indicator of which collectable you missed in a level (think the natural order of the KONG letters in Donkey Kong Country or Celeste's blank strawberries) is sorely lacking as well. Small qualms, though, and nothing that really marred the fun I had.