a really enjoyable dip into the world of what would come next

completed the base game, and onwards to the DLC! wild that such a flawed experience functions as a...comfort game??

honestly a lot of fun! shorter than I wanted, and could definitely use more content overall, but the characters, the setting, the starters, and a lot of the new features are pretty neat overall

honestly a really fun game, but the switch version remains deeply bugged and unfinished, which was also the state they released it in back in november

the endgame story stuff straight up glitches out right after you defeat the final boss. the team isn't communicating in a clear or transparent way, and doesn't seem to be addressing this significant bug. really unfortunate, because when it works, it's great

I love the dialogue and its design, but uh, for the rest, sorry for extremely vague:

as an artistic choice, I understand and almost respect what it ultimately goes for, but it is ultimately art within a commercial framework, invoking a pretty major trigger that should've been better signposted for people going into it

kai, I love you, I'm turning off notifications and you're getting tucked away into a folder elsewhere

played this after having really enjoyed the cosmic wheel sisterhood from this same studio earlier this year. not only is it neat to register this game as a reference in cosmic wheel, but it's cool to see all the shared dna between the two

a lot ham-fisted in its writing (specifically dialogue) at times, and I don't think the logic of some of the game choices really tracks. luckily, I find that cosmic wheel is a proud improvement in both of these regards, particularly with the writing

a neat, creative experience, made even better by seeing how much the studio has grown and bettered itself since its release

This review contains spoilers

kinda wild that a game about how institutional mismanagement sabotages the work of the boots-on-the-ground, outward facing workers kinda also plays like that was the case in the game itself!

the people who were involved in the most strictly artistic elements of the game = innocent. the music was phenomenal, the painted landscapes stunning, the character designs expressive and unique, and the writing largely pretty good. this game has some great pieces and a lot of heart

too bad about the rest of it though.

I waited several months after the game's release to buy it, due to how many comments I saw about its volume of bugs. the game does not play like they were cleaned up

and this specifically a shame because a game like this hinges so well on its cultivation of ambience, of getting the player into a certain mindset. a mindset that, in practice, gets punctured every time a dialogue bubble fails to launch, or launches in the wrong spot, or a character appears in a wrong spot separate from their dialogue bubble, or—

and even beyond the strict bugs, the gameplay is deeply misaligned with its story, design, and a logical play style. the exploration is hindered by inconsistently appearing invisible walls and totally unexplained, almost completely barren locales. the platforming is rendered largely moot by porcupine's very flat, almost suburban layout and long stretches of empty nothing. the choosing between two people to hang out with is pulled, like almost everything, from the game's clear inspiration in the night in the woods, but those choices don't connect with narrative at all. they seem to exist not because they meaningfully serve the game, but because night in the woods had it (see also, the aforementioned misapplied platforming and 'exploration')

the minigame mechanics are, at least on the switch, very poorly implemented. the guitar hero minigame doesn't register inputs in-game correctly (and this is not a hardware problem—the game visually imply a registered input without actually registering it). very frustrating that patients' lives depend on these minigames. please use the accessibility options if you can.

side characters appear and vanish not in a way the feels consistent with the story, but like they got forgotten in a rush to meet a deadline. many relationships do feel earned, but almost just as many don't. the game plays like there was a lot more intended, but it missing. you can see the missing shapes in all the empty space

sigh. it's a bummer, because when it's good, it's really charming, and it tries to tell a story that I think is very specific and meaningful. but most of it gets loss in the mess of it all

I played mutazione, an earlier game of this developer's, a couple years back, and enjoyed it. aspects of the gameplay somewhat often dragged that experience down, but unmistakeable in the game was an abundance of creativity and heart. so when I saw that Die Gute Fabrik had released another bright, intriguing game with an intriguing cast of characters, I decided to lead gut first and check it out, with minimal pre-research

and I am so delighted I did! I loved this experience

to start, the art design is exceptional. lush. unrelentingly creative. the world and its characters are so gorgeously realized. and not just in the classic ways, like with its stunning color palettes, but also in how it interprets every locale, building, character.

the character designs in particular are my favorite, in part because though they can seem abstract in style, they do a better and more meaningful job capturing the beauty and breadth of human visual diversity than every other game, movie, tv show, comic that stacks itself with template mannequin models. zo's nose, kittick's body, stew's eyes, amrita's face—I see these wonderful features in the world around me, but rarely reflected in art.

and this embrace of variety and diversity reflects in the game's themes and narrative. it's a story about community, and finding healing and growth and hope in connection. the crew as the main character is quite fun, and tending to their relationships via the choices you make at each island really drives home the importance of acting as a community

and mechanically, I commend how the game makes it so accessible to explore and tinker with save states and make new choices. the format encourages exploration in a way far improved from mutazione, and every chance taken to learn about the world of saltsea and its players felt so rewarding

I have some potential notes on some final act storytelling choices that I'm still chewing on. nothing capsizing. but I do find myself wondering if they were delivered as well as they needed to be, or if that gnawing is just part of the experience.

all in all, an absolute superb end-of-year surprise from what has now become one of my favorite developers. a sequel isn't necessary for the completeness of the experience, but boy howdy would I not be mad at one. I'll remain dreamsailing until then

I was able to rent the original once back when it came out, enjoyed the few days I had with it. fast forward two decades, was excited to properly enjoy it! unfortunately, time (and some of the remade elements) have not been kind

stardew valley, which I haven't played in years, kinda ruins this experience for me. it is so densely brimming with so much of all kinds of content, and is accessible and engaging and very well fine-tuned. this remake, however, is very barren, in all kinds of ways

I can understand that the farming isn't the core element of the game—it's the chapter-based family storytelling, which can and does set it apart from its peers. but if that's true, then why is the storytelling so anemic?

why am I lucky to get two lines of different dialogue for any given character on a given day, let alone at all within a season? why do I barely have any context for this town's community, or these characters' relationships with one another? why must I stand around for 30 in-game minutes waiting for a character to uncross their arms for a brief millisecond window so I can give them a gift to maybe unlock more dialogue from them?????????

not only is it barren and unintuitive, it's also janky a lot and depends on using online guides to understand things. hell, even the game's instructions on things are wrong in some cases!

and as a minor note, I don't love the aesthetic redesign. I find many of the changes to be commercial pretty, which is my way of saying flat and lacking in character. the autumnal "muddiness" of the original game created a kind of warm, rustic aesthetic that I loved at the time, but this game feels very generically poppy and bright. and I understand some of the character redesigns (thumbs up on gordy), but in aggregate they clearly soften the original's more interesting and unique edges in favor of a generic, boring prettiness. it's unfortunate and common

very disappointed :( I still very much believe I could be in the market for a game like this, if it were more rich and bold and fleshed out and interesting. but this one isn't, and I'm gonna have to leave it behind, sadly

a warm, heartfelt game that I'm so glad exists. I have a handful of notes on the mechanics side, primarily that a midday save would be welcome.

next round, gonna have to read some guides to get some of the fuller stories

wanted to play this to learn if I liked 2D sonic games. mission accomplished! I don't :)

kudos to the sonic team for making amy playable in more games recently. I look forward to playing as her if they ever decide to make a sonic adventure 3 (:

between this and kirby this is a great for me playing games about plucky, food-appreciating round boys who love making friends and fighting what are essentially eldritch demons

a deeply flawed game, but still an extremely fun one. I wish it had invested in the restauranteering side of things as much as the aforementioned eldrith demon-slaying, and even more wish its controls had been better ironed out during those fights, but! still loved it

wonderful art design, great characters, winning humor, and an often very fun gameplay loop. super looking forward to wherever dave's adventures go next, and hopefully they include a greater proportion of female characters

and in terms of the fat representation, dave (and others) definitely falls into familiar tropes and patterns with his character, but he is a lead. this affords him more characterization and presence than basically any other storytellers are interested in elsewhere, so! this is still a win

I always use guides when making narrative choose-your-own-adventure games because I fear not getting the "good ending," I dared to not do that this time, and I am CACKLING at the ending I got, lol. guess I gotta replay!

a deeply wonderful, thoughtful game. deeply imaginative, in ways that constantly impressed me. I love that the story intentionally starts you off on the 'wrong' foot. I love the creativity, and I love a lot (if not at all) of the writing

a confident recommendation to anyone who looks at this kind of thing and thinks that it would be their kind of thing