1170 Reviews liked by ResidentMelville

has it's high and shockingly low moments. the narrative never comes to fruition, but we're left with some interesting/experimental games to explore. the presentation for this collection is fantastic, and the launcher is really cool to interact with. that aside, i eventually lost my patience with most of the games and ended up watching the endings via a playthrough. (ps: we end up getting THREE slender format games in a row and it's pretty sad)
the only game that i thoroughly enjoyed was disc #8 (no title) by kurethedead on itch. bold concept with fun gameplay that really took me by surprise.

an off-the-walls boomer shooter full of charm and fart jokes. extremely fun. play it if you want more hypnospace outlaw worldbuilding. i've been waiting for this one since it was first announced, and it did not disappoint. the main story can be a little short, but there are tons of secrets to find that make its replayability worthwhile.
ps; this log is for the main story, but i'm def going back to 100% the game soon.

So I'm not really the target audience for this game but I love trying games too much for that to stop me. I'm glad I tried this, Princess Farmer is a fantastic game!
I'll get right to the root of my praise: Princes Farmer is the best match 3 game I've ever played. The core systems design is genius and there's a great variety of interesting levels to explore it with. This leads to a fun game that stays fresh for it's entire runtime.
In order to explain what's so clever about Princess Farmer's gameplay, I'll have to indulge the computer scientist part of me and talk about data structures. The secret ingredient that makes the player's interaction with match 3 mechanics so good is stacks.
Every column of the board is an endless stack of vegetables. As the player, you can push and pop vegetables from the top layer of the board. The last in first out action doesn't stop there... your hands are also a stack... that can only hold 5 items at a time!
Your interaction with the board is not only incredibly unique and interesting conceptually, but it's also operating under a tricky constraint.
You'll constantly flow between digging and burying while cursing the vegetables getting in the way of your hopes and dreams. It makes for both a fun and utterly approachable challenge. It was also incredibly satisfying to learn the nuances of this system... what starts as a system getting in your way becomes a powerful machine for stacking the board in your favor.
What really makes this gameplay shine is the constant variety in level objectives, constraints, and boards. There are 2 types of challenges in this game: speedy and thinky. One of the great decisions form the developer is that you can choose what you prefer when starting every mission. You can play this game with only speedy challegnes, only thinky challenges or balanced which containts plenty of both. It's neat to see the option if one of those styles doesn't appeal to you. Diversity is what appeals to me, so I enjoyed playing balanced for my playthrough. Alternating between these 2 styles of challenges was great for pacing.
The game has a nice arsenal of level objectives. It's rare that you're just trying to score points, often you want to harvest specific vegetables. Sometimes you want to harvest specific arrangements or areas. The real spicy stuff is the constraints, specifically the ones that want you to avoid something. It's incredibly amusing to play a level where you're trying to harvest as much as a vegetable within only so many points. I love the way those delicious combos become dangerous traps. There's nothing like the feeling of being jump scared by matches and watching in terror as the board bursts into points.
I love the way challenges and constraints are implemented as soft optimization goals. Some of the more interesting ones would be quite frustrating if I was trying to beat a level without failing them. This game is more like "here's you budget of {constraint} have fun scoring as much of {goal} as possible". I enjoyed this style, although it's worth noting that if you really master avoiding something then you can stay on some levels for a slightly uncomfortable amount of time. That's not too big of an issue though, it's almost self solving from the player feeling like moving on or increasing their pace.
The art is nice, there's some areas that are quite pretty. I enjoyed the soundtrack a lot, it wraps the game in great vibes while also having some lovely highlights.
The story is not for me. It's quite blushy crushy and wasn't terribly interesting. I can still appreciate how fluffy and gay it is. There's lots of filler, it feels intentional as part of how much the game pays so much homage to magical girl anime {which admittedly I don't know very much about, I've only watched princess tutu}.
The last episode of Princess Farmer was my favorite in almost every aspect, i thoroughly enjoyed all the other ones but that was a clear highlight. I also loved the area you go through in episode 8.
Even though I didn't truly vibe with the story, it was frequently amusing and never annoying.
There's an impressive amount of alternate color schemes and cosmetics for the main character. This isn't normally something I meaningfully engage with in games, here I was able to enjoy it slightly more than I was expecting too.
Finally I appreciate the character that uses neopronouns. It's so satisfying how naturally everyone just accepts and uses them correctly. It's also free conjugation practice for me since I have a friend that uses the same ones ūüôā

Why does it have to be this good ? Now I can identify a pokemon by it's cry (but I can still not use my little finger to type)

Tnak god this game exists, however I wouldn't know how to type

goty. the dark souls of Pokémon

Overrated game I don't really care what anyone else has to say! People talk about how edgy and different this game is but it's literally just the opening cutscene that really feels like that.. Rest of the game is just battle after battle after battle without the fun that came with exploring a ton of different areas and dungeons in mainline pokemon. Meh

This was legitimately such a fun and unique platformer. A combination of spy kids, monster house (personal vibe), and tim burton, wrapped up in a groovy 50's era package. There are so many combatting aesthetic choices that end up working very well together. Endlessly intriguing setting and characters, Milla and Sasha being my favorites. There are high and low points, but my favorite sections were The Asylum and Black Velvetopia. My only gripe was the lack of player incentive to revisit the main starting area (camp) during the second-half of the game.

I'm a huge sucker for mid-late 2000s internet nostalgia and goddamn does this hit me right in the feels

something i appreciate about these games is their insistence on resisting melodrama. mainstream media in general tends to be sensational, which i don't think is an inherently bad thing but i do think can make it hard to honestly portray the true realities of marginalized peoples, where a lot of the struggles and a lot of the joys too happen in the quiet margins of the day that get lost in the big, obvious explosions of drama that are a lot easier and more attractive to write and more fun to watch.
so here comes one night, hot springs, an exceedingly gentle game where the worst thing that can happen is you let your character close herself off from the people who love her.
the game does a really smart thing of tying your ability to select certain, more potentially stressful dialogue options to your character's "health," which represents the way the needles of having to deal with constant social pressures just kind of constantly erodes one's desire and ability to put up with shit. Depending on how well you can get her through the rest of her day, Haru just might not have it in her to deal with a hang sesh with an ignorant but genuinely well-meaning new friend. i think this is a really smart way to gamify the way little anxieties can make it hard to connect with people, even people you know you can count on in a world where that's not a sure thing.
the other big thing this game does from an american perspective is take place in japan and offer a glimpse into a trans experience that is in some ways familiar but in a lot of ways really different from what an american might go through, and i think it's really cool that this is available in so many languages. so much Queer Media is filtered through an american lens and having this other perspective so widely accessible rips.
these games are lovely and i'm very much looking forward to playing the third one soon, and exploring more of npckc's catalogue