Bio
I log what I'm currently playing on here and if I feel like I have a particular thing to say about them, I'll write a review. Not all of my reviews will be written immediately after-- you can check the dates yourself to see when I typed one up. I also only review stuff I've played in the last couple of years, not everything I've played.

Everyone is a game reviewer as long as you have some opinions. Video games, am I right?

Personal Ratings
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Participated in the 2023 Game of the Year Event

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Created a list folder with 5+ lists

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N00b

Played 100+ games

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Participated in the 2022 Game of the Year Event

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Found the secret ogre page

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Voted for at least 3 features on the roadmap

3 Years of Service

Being part of the Backloggd community for 3 years

Liked

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Noticed

Gained 3+ followers

222

Total Games Played

015

Played in 2024

094

Games Backloggd


Recently Played See More

Higurashi When They Cry Kai
Higurashi When They Cry Kai

May 19

Higurashi When They Cry Hou: Ch.8 Matsuribayashi
Higurashi When They Cry Hou: Ch.8 Matsuribayashi

May 19

Super Mario Land
Super Mario Land

May 16

Numan Athletics
Numan Athletics

Apr 28

Touhou Seirensen: Undefined Fantastic Object
Touhou Seirensen: Undefined Fantastic Object

Apr 05

Recently Reviewed See More

If I see one more person call the UFO system "unfair" then I will personally come to your house and force you to 1CC this game. It is now clear to me that ZUN made Touhou 13 piss easy out of spite alone.

Anyway, Touhou 12's pretty good. It's much more ambitious than its Second Windows Era predecessors with... mixed results. Touhou 10 and 11 are better games overall, but 12 hits pretty hard when it isn't pulling its punches.

Obviously, I like the UFO system. In terms of "gimmicks," they are probably the best system mechanics ZUN has ever made up to this point. Their implementation into the game encourages a lot of fundamental shoot 'em up skills: taking control of the middle of the screen, offensive bombing, smart stage routing, that kind of stuff. All of which is great! The "unfairness" complaint becomes very silly when you spend enough time in TH12 to understand that UFO's are basically entirely deterministic. Everything about their spawn conditions is static. The major difference between each run is you, the player, and when you shoot the UFO fairies down. Plus, TH12 is actually very generous with its resources, too. You can screw up quite a few UFO match-3s before things start to become problematic. It's not a perfect system--- I think it makes scoreplay too linear, and those same blue UFOs that give you points being useless for survival feel incongruent with the rest of the system. But if I--a colorblind dude--can enjoy the gimmick, then it's probably pretty chill.

The actual spellcards are where I find TH12 to be weak, though. There's some pretty cool stuff in this game. Unzan and his hitbox are awesome and I'm particularly fond of the calm and calculated way Shou's fight functions as if you're really fighting a (Buddhist) tiger. But otherwise this game's kinda boring with it, IDK. I don't have much to say about most of the other fights: they're solid but not special. This is especially damning for Byakuren who the game sets up as a bigger deal than she feels like she is, unfortunately.

The presentation in TH12 is similarly simple, but I think the game leverages it way better. The first half of the game spent in Gensoyko's skies gives the world good texture, (ala Touhou 10) and the descent into Makai is genuinely hype. I locked in immediately when I heard Fires of Hokkai play for the first time. It's easy to see why people thought this would lead into more PC-98 content returning. To treat this area from it with so much respect and then to do nothing with it would be such a tease...

Like I started with, Touhou 12's pretty good. Not my favorite game in the series-- I'm not even sure if it holds a candle to 11, honestly. But it's a fun time, and clearly shows how ZUN has improved since the early 2000s.

If Gravity Circuit is an example of a game "not understanding the inner workings of the many things it's inspired by", then Penny's Big Breakaway is the exact opposite. If anything, this game feels like something made by game designers first, and everything else second.

This is to say: Penny's moment to moment gameplay is really good. It's an incredibly smart game from start to finish. Penny herself is up there in the list of "best controlling platforming characters." There existing an actual learning curve to effectively using the Yoyo tricks to keep your flow is shows to me that Evening Star understands the secret sauce of other high skill ceiling platformers. The combo system and focus on score attack mechanics does wonders for this game's level design and dramatically increases the depth of sections I typically would not have a second thought about. "How do I get through this efficiently?", "Should I risk getting hit and dropping my multiplier here?", etc. There's tons of performers in Penny's (being the game's theme) and you, the player, are one too. The developers ask you to step into the spotlight: "can you show us that you've got it down?"
It's funny to hear the mixed reception of this game's controls in more critical spaces online, because all the people I've seen who stuck with it ended up appreciating how Penny's plays by the end.

Almost as if game design that pushes the player to get better can be rewarding, or something...

Now, I won't boil down all (only some) of the complaints about this game into a simple "skill issue"-- it's clearly more complicated than that. The bugs, for example, are not really a complaint that can be argued against. I think some exaggerate how often and intrusive the glitches really are, but there's definitely some jank in this game. It feels bad to lose your high combo due to a physics inconsistency. I also think Penny's suffers from "bad boss fight" disease-- strange for a game that seemingly understands platformers can be satisfying without them. It especially hurts to end the game on such a "blah" note of the final boss which captures exactly none of the aspects that make the levels so fun.

Out of all the complaints I'm the most sympathetic to, though, it has to be what I've seen about the presentation. Don't get me wrong-- it's not bad at all. There's some truly good tracks and area design in this game. Tee Lopes in particular pops off for the level themes in this game. I like that guy. But I don't know, man. If Penny's has the secret sauce in regards to its level design and moment to moment gameplay, I don't think it does in regards to its presentation. I wasn't ever really enraptured with the world of Macaroon like I was with the technically amazing game design. I still like Penny (the girlie) though. She's cool, even if she does have grandma hair.

Still, Penny is a great game. It genuinely makes the shot for one of the best 3D platformers I have ever played, and if Evening Star can make something this impressive when left to their own devices I greatly anticipate whatever it is they make next. There's clearly some real talent here.

Dragon Buster is the first at a lot of things. It's the "first game to have RPG elements", first game to implement permeating platformer concepts like double jumping, and even the first game to have combos where you lose 80% of your health in one interaction because the Wizards juggle you like Sol Badguy doing Sidewinder loops on you.

It's not a good game. Honestly, I don't know if there's anything good about Dragon Buster. The gameplay is terrible. If the rooms of enemies you have to fight through don't just simply decide you lose and bounce Clovis (yes, that's his name) around like a tennis ball, you still have to contend with some of the clunkiest feeling controls I've ever had the pleasure to play with, and not in a meaningful way either. It is a difficult ordeal to jump forward in this game. If you hate Ice Climber for having "bad jumping physics" you haven't seen anything! Eat your heart out!

Dragon Buster's presentation is an unbelievably bad output from Namco in this era, too. I don't get why the game looks and sounds like it this. This game uses the Pac Land engine! A game that looks nice!

Look at how Clovis's sprite looks!
Listen to how the music sounds!
What the hell happened?!

To apply some sort of thesis to all this, maybe Gamers shouldn't apply so much importance to being a pioneer. These games command a certain deal of a respect-- don't get me wrong! But being the first does not a good game make, y'know? It's more complicated than that. That's what makes the craftmanship of better "firsts" than this game awe inspiring.

Still, I don't hate this game. I think action platformers with RPG elements are just my comfort food. If I was there
in 1984 era Japan I would've ate Dragon Buster up. And truthfully, this game has one good thing:
it is really awesome that you can turn the princess that you save into a bunnygirl if you play it long enough. They really had hot stuff in '84 with her and Ki from Tower of Druaga, huh?

(And by the way, that game clears the shit out of this.)