Damn...maybe the best Kirby game? It's been a while since I played the older ones and obviously they changed up the formula a bit for this one (since I feel like a lot of mainline Switch material is a trickle-down from BOTW this is probably the most simplistic & bare-bones implementation of it after Odyssey, mainly just with more exploration and challenge than a typical Kirby game), but I struggle to find anything that wasn't done well enough or exceptional here, except for I guess I'm sad that this has such a small pool of copy powers to choose from (I assume this was done for a balance sake, but it's really paltry compared to the older games and especially something like Crystal Shards).
Other than that: it looks wonderful (some pretty detailed & layered graphic design hidden under simplistic cutesy stuff, there's like 4 layers to every animated design), it sounds great (a more "adventurous" sound compared to the typical Kirby hyper stimmed-up pop sound) and plays addictively. There's also quite a lot of content, not only from all the level challenges but the whole post-game challenge rush stuff that isn't ball-busting but a lot more challenging than Kirby games typically are. I also wonder what took over Nintendo that both this and Odyssey have some kind of possession mechanic, though it's a lot funnier/more disgusting here. Hell, even the little figurines you can collect are fun, my favorite aspect being you can collect your favorite Kirby characters but also fan favorites like "Traffic Cone" or "Wall". Still working my way through 100% it, but damn if this is not secretly one of the best Switch games (at least for what the game set out to do & accomplished).

Well, I was liking it a decent amount so far until I get brick walled at the damn Longfang fight. I think there's something fundamentally stupid about the setup for this fight, since even when I bump it down difficulty-wise (for people whining about the game generally being too easy I was getting a decent challenge on Expert up until this fight, first time the game has felt really cheap) it seems to be a one-shot to get killed. I think the fact that the best strategy I've had going at the fight is to bunker down in the safe zones and whittle away health with projectiles is not fun at all, which is why I think there's a fundamental problem here. I'll come back to it soon-ish I think, but I'm worried I'll have to start grinding (since revival items are extremely hard to come across) which I'd really rather not.
(Broad strokes though, liking this a lot more than the first game. The story is a lot weirder with funny touches, the CG art style still looks a little weird but the overworld is very pretty & I vastly prefer the action RPG style to the weird hybrid of the first game. Still a little weird and clunky but a big improvement from the first.)

A geuninely unique concept that really leans into that frantic, rave-style rainbow explosion aesthetic. Not a fan of the "credits" concept but very much into the vibe of it.

Very cute & charming, I'm sure the Sonic fans lost their minds over this. I just wanted to see the story and art so I fully admit to using the accessibility options for the dumb little gameplay segments, but I'm sure some people will enjoy them. The exact right amount of content and cuteness for an April Fool's gag. Kinda weird the Sonic group murders a being with sentience, but hey whatever!

A very odd choice of the developers to spike the difficulty in the weirdest ways here, especially since it feels a lot more tedious than satisfyingly challenging. Doesn't help that the story feels a lot more watered-down & lackluster compared to the base game, though I guess I like a few of the costume options? Just move on to Miles Morales, I guess.

This review contains spoilers

A fantastically realized game with amazing art direction, catchy music and legitimately some of the best video game writing I've seen since Disco Elysium. Shame about the actual, y'know, gameplay part.
To focus on positives first, man this game just oozes fun and love and intelligence from every pore. On the surface level, the design of this is perfectly unified to create that cutesy vibe: the bright, catchy music to the plushie look of the Grumpuses and the Bugsnax and even the fonts/logos/UI; it's all instantly appealing and charming on a design level. Where the real genius of the game appears and the reason I'm rating it higher than my actual enjoyment of the game portion is the writing.
The writing in this game is legitimately incredible. Each character, while fitting into very clear stereotypes and easy descriptions (the jock, the party girl, the attention whore, the vegan, etc.), has an incredible amount of depth and emotion that can be mined from the sidequests. These little puppet people with silly names have adult relationships, complex and sometimes very negative qualities (the autistic brother & sister where one is a hardcore conspiracy theorist and the other is an almost psychopathic mad scientist) and very clear motivations and desires. Couple that with an extremely talented voice cast (the gay conspiracy boy is Sonic the Hedgehog???) and the interactive story aspect of this really pulls you along by a lot.
That's not even getting to the wonderfully dark tone of the entire thing especially in the ending. While I knew something weird would happen by the end since the core gameplay has the consistently upsetting aspect of feeding live creatures to your friends & the body horror of them morphing to fit it, but I was not expecting the Bugsnax to be body snatchers-like parasites that consume people? The Elizabert monster at the end is disgusting, and although I got the really heartwarming good ending looking up the bad ending online (which at the very least you have to obsessively complete the main game then purposefully not engage in the ending) is genuinely one of the most upsetting things in media in general I've felt in a long time. I was enjoying the game up to then, but the finale (and especially the horrifying bad ending) really cemented to me how special and singularly bizarre this game is.
Unfortunately, my little caveat to all the praise I heap onto the writing & design of this game is that I'm just not a huge fan of the general gameplay & the structuring of it. Generally speaking, my big issue with the process of catching Bugsnax is how much the AI of the environment and the ecosystem challenges catching just one creature. While there should be a couple of different ways to exploit systems, catch multiples at once or luck out, it often feels like I'm being forced to catch 2 Bugsnax just to catch one (if I don't catch the running aggressive ones they'll bump off the smaller ones I'm using as bait to catch flying ones, etc.).
The gap between Snax you can just sneak up and catch to ones that require multiple steps & sauce planning makes the process tedious & frustrating instead of pulling off something impressive. Tack onto that time requirements, environmental effects that can become infuriating (fire can fuck off without the trip shot) and the completion rewards being iffy (the house decorations are cute, but with the ending and your house being somewhat tucked away they're not as rewarding as they should feel; this could even be fixed by having like a checklist in the menus or something), it's just never as fun as it should be to do the only main activity of catching Snax.
Still though, even though it's weird to say I recommend a game where I don't actually love the game part of it I absolutely would. A truly unique gaming experience as ever I've had one, and an experience that will stick with me for a long time in a special way. Even if you find yourself being even more turned off by the gameplay, please just watch a longplay; this needs even more love than it already gets.

Listen I want to enjoy this and get through with it but man, it feels like they bumped up the stronghold difficulty by like 5 notches because I have been stuck on these forever. I need to get those suits man, if I can't get those why am I bothering to go through this?

Kinda right in the middle for the FF15 DLC, in that I appreciate how straightforward everything is (the plot, the combat style, etc.) but somehow it still has some bullshit that is a little irritating. You spam the pillars to get through encounters easily, it still feels a little too short, & the final fight that is the big draw of the DLC seems a little more difficult than I would have expected for such a short add-on. Well, I say difficult, with the amount of Potions I was picking up it ended up being more of a war of attrition of me whittling down his health bar & just scarfing down them Potions (though I guess that could be chalked up to the difficulty I picked). Not as bad as Ignis, not as good as Ardyn.

uuhhhhh... it's fine I guess?
Never a fan of the whole anime trope of "lets dump all this trauma & horrible shit on the sweetest, most attractive character for easy pathos", but I like that this is such a different biome & playstyle to have. Feels pretty undercooked, not much to the guns and it's really weird they offer snowmobile upgrades & such but you don't really get a chance to use them??? Neat enough, but way too short and underdeveloped.

An interesting direction to take the story & adds a lot of design/worldbuilding elements I liked a lot, but as just a general rule for myself I've never been too enamored with stealth gameplay. Tried a little bit of it, but just based on my general dislike of stealth I just felt this one wasn't for me. I'd still want to keep up and follow on the storyline since I think the writing & connection to the broader series is strong, it's just not a game type that is for me.

How ironic, that not only do I finish this game maybe a week before… well, Justin Roiland's entire life falls apart, but that it takes me so long to address & finish reviews of media that I've recently covered that the bulk of the controversy has already started to die down for the moment. That's not even counting the drama or rather heavy criticism this game was taking prior to any real serious issues came out about it, making discussing this game in any normal way kind of a mess. I'll try to judge the game on its own merits as much as possible, though obviously since the game itself goes out of it's own way to metatextualize it'll be hard not to address it that way.
I'll try to talk about everything except the writing first, since not only could that be a big, rambling portion of this but writing is not usually the meat of most games so I want to address more moment-to-moment impressions. On pretty much every other front from the writing, the game is… passably pretty okay. Aesthetically, I actually like a lot of what the game was going for. The skyboxes & settings are surprisingly lush, colorful and detailed for what I'm assuming was a mid-budget title, and the soundtrack by Tobacco (who I admit I was biased to enjoy from the outside being familiar with his work) was phenomenal and interestingly dynamic. The seams in the presentation start to show a lot the more completionist you become as a player (starting to figure out the formula for visually creating NPC's, lots of odd invisible walls or the reverse of me getting trapped in weird ways through out-of-bounds areas, etc.), but I think generally the game isn't broken, buggy or overly obtuse during my playthrough.
The combat generally works well, but ends up being a pretty standard arena shooter that wears inspiration on its sleeve (lots of Doom Eternal, maybe like 80% of it with some Titanfall and maybe remnants of Halo). The difficulty tended towards the easier side, with a preference towards big waves for challenge & the occasional more designed boss fight (which I think are the least balanced, as the Douglas fight early on was way more difficult for me than anything that came after). I give them big props that for the most part all the weapons are viable, though once you get Creature he seems to be the easiest to spam & win through camping in areas and lobbing spawn out. Not too much else to say on the actual combat section, it's a little bare bones but it's serviceable & fun.
For anything else like the collectibles and secrets…despite the effort put into them I feel like they're a bit of a letdown to being outright kind of poorly done. Having a game with such a wide selection of collectibles and no map seems baffling to me, as even though I ended up getting a lot of the chests through hunting around by the end game I was still short a decent amount. Feeling like I had done a decent job hunting around & still missing a lot did not entice me to continue wasting time on it, which may be the most galling part of the game for me as someone who loves get 100% on collectibles in games (my rarest Steam achievements speaking to that). That gripe can lead me right into the elephant question…
the writing. In my Steam review, I basically called this game a giant caveat or condition. This can be a decently fun arena shooter collectathon… if you turn down the goddamn audio. Every single criticism of the writing of this game is totally warranted; Roiland had reached a peak of permissibility where his knowingly extremely irritating sense of humor was left unchecked, and my God are there points in this that are nearly unlistenable. You've likely seen the worst examples done by Roiland himself online, but even to side characters & incidental ones it's just a constant onslaught of mean, annoying characters named Schlorpy Buttmunch or Doody Barfinx who will never stop talking. Add a crude thing to nonsense/alien stuff, comedy over. The actual plot is a straight line pretty much, script writing 101 that could have been thrown together in a few days. The constant assault of shit makes it harder to enjoy the moments or jokes I actually did enjoy: Gene's performance & delivery, Mike Stoklasa's telescope alien speeches & the entire RLM commentary hidden here, and even the one good contextual punchline near the end of seemingly able to kill one of your other guns for no good reason. All the little gem moments are buried under 30 hours of Justin Roiland non-stop rambling some of the worst things you've heard in gaming dialogue.
While everything I've heard about the kind of person Roiland is makes me kind of glad he's going down in flames, I really hope all the developers & artists who worked on this don't get slandered or lambasted for what they worked on here; that this can be used as a decent stepping stone. While this game doesn't really need to be remembered in any broad way by gaming culture, it's certainly not the complete dumpster fire a lot of people have made it out to be due to admittedly probably the worst first impressions or general impressions a piece of media has given off. I don't regret my time with it and enjoyed a lot, but I don't see myself really returning to it & I'm almost sure the perception of it is going to age like nasty, rotten milk. Erm, awkward!

This review contains spoilers

Definitely the best of the FF15 DLC so far, a micro-sandbox that almost feels like the FF15 version of Prototype with Ardyn flying around as a smoke ghost, demonizing people & buying cool hats to wear. Pretty light on the story other than "Ardyn got screwed by his bro and the gods so he's salty", but the gameplay and sense of this being more fun than the main game made me appreciate it a lot. Even down to the whole "get more points for smashing stuff like Just Cause" really endeared me to it; since I got the full game bundle with this included I enjoyed it possibly more than the whole bloated main game (though I might have felt different had I paid for this myself).

The definition of a polished but extremely bland AAA game. While I want to give this a 5-star for what is one of the greatest feeling traversal mechanics in any video game (took Spider-Man 2's system and perfected it), an extremely fun & fluid combat system with a more dynamic edge on the Arkham style, and an impressively detailed & realistic world map, pretty much everything else about this radiates an acceptable but super middle-of-the-road presentation. The UI, the music, the story, the performances (with I guess the exception of some cool & weird costumes I NEED to get all of), just everything works perfectly fine but after a while my attention started to slide off of it. Thankfully, unless you're a super completetionist this is not a very long game, so I'll probably return to finish the main story & get the costumes (as well as move on to Mile Morales), but I think I need some distance to get more invested. A rare game where it's mechanically a triumph but has very very little to offer otherwise. (Still getting a 7/10 though I think, I'm not totally sure where to put it)

Turns out when this game has actually had time to have most of the most egregious bugs & glitches ironed out (though parts of it were still graphically wonky, I never encountered any serious bugs)...it’s a pretty good game! There’s way, way too much I could say so I’ll keep this down to kind of long but not an entire essay.
Obviously all the launch stuff was warranted, since a AAA game with this kind of budget damn well better turn out at least “very good”, but yes: it is an impressive epic of the genre the tabletop originally coined; it’s an incredibly deep & complicated layering of systems (kind of, I can try to get into more detail of how it felt to a non-industry person like me but I’m not sure how well I can articulate it) and an impressive showcase of world building & character writing. However, if I had to boil my thoughts down to as simple as I possibly can: this is a game I enjoyed way more for the gameplay & exploratory freedom than anything that was written or scripted. To try to narrow it down even more: I had way more fun in this when I was given freedom to dick around & do things my way, and got kind of deflated during anything narrative-based or scripted.
I’ll start with gameplay, i.e. the main aspect I enjoyed. I’m not entirely sure I can pinpoint why, but I really loved the way this game approached creating a character build & playstyle. I ended up pushing myself into a very Quickhack focused build, leveling to the point where I essentially had “look at someone and press the kill button” abilities. While I usually took a pseudo-stealth approach to missions by hack-sniping enemies til it was all cleared out, I had equal fun using the double-jump mod with a shotgun; bouncing around while also lobbing dozens of grenades at lightning speed. I never did stealth, never did melee, never did cybermod combat & I still had a ton of fun in every combat situation. This shows how not only does the game have a fluid & challenging combat system (it always felt like both me & enemies had about 3-4 hits before going down, meaning that planning was involved to keep fights going longer but it never got too spongey), but there’s a huge amount of avenues to take for replay value and so many fun build options.
In kind of a middle-ground issue I come to just the content amount and some balancing issues. While it’s clear the combat got a lot of attention as well as the visuals & music (very short version: the game looks and sounds as amazing as a AAA game should, the art direction is on-point as it should be where even though it feels too cluttered for me at points, that is the style and vibe the creators were going for and it helps portray a lot of the themes of the game), some other content was either not figured out as well or mis-scaled quality-wise. I will say this probably has the best radiant quests in any big game I’ve seen, namely that they’ll just appear on the map as you pass by without interrupting game flow, they’re easily avoidable if you want and can usually gain you decent rewards. On the flip side to that is pretty much everything involving vehicles or “purchasing quests”. The vehicles feel the most broken of anything in the game; still wildly swinging around with turns & flipping/bouncing at a moments notice. I also found it odd how the game constantly pushes new apartments or vehicles on the player, as there’s pretty much no material incentive to getting them other than a sense of completion (you get Jackie’s bike like immediately as well as lots of other cars throughout, but since bikes handle the best out of everything & I can access the stash from a bike why would I use anything else?).
The writing is an extremely mixed bag for me as well. Like almost every big RPG, the side quest writing is way more interesting & clever than anything that happens in the main game, though I feel in Cyberpunk compared to something like Fallout there’s even way less interesting side content. It does seem like there was more of an effort to make side jobs & even gigs tie into the main questline moreso than some other RPG’s, but aside from a handful of interesting questlines (Brendan’s quest especially, the political brainwashing stuff, the Jesus braindance) even this side content feels like fairly standard “GTA-but-in-the-future” content. I also wasn’t a huge fan of the other classic of modern open world RPG’s: the endless text documents! Since I wasn’t totally engaged with the world and the writing style (as well as just being a guy in general who doesn’t read text docs; audio logs are easier for me to digest but even still it’s harder to get engrossed in), I did feel like I was just missing out on so much to make the world feel as full.
In terms of the main story…I just wasn’t that invested. The writing does a great job impressing on how important the situation is to so many characters, and while it’s conveyed well it never reached me on a deeper level. The closest I got was the very intimate moment with the doll you meet at Clouds, one of the few times the overly scripted nature of the game worked to its advantage. That heavy scripting element otherwise consistently irked me: so many cases of you having to slowly walk behind someone as they go to an area I assume for loading or “immersion's sake” but it totally killed the pace for me. Lastly on the story front, I’m not totally sure they handled V or Johnny SIlverhand super well. V falls into the weird category of an RPG lead who isn’t completely a blank slate and has a personality, but isn’t so defined that I felt more like an interactive story. A lot of my issues for both of them fall into the fact that no matter how story developed, I didn’t really like either of them: V is a little too simplistic of like a gang member who “wants to make it big time” and Johnny, no matter how much the narrative shows him to be a bad person with questionable goals still wants to peripherally show how it’s the most awesomeist guy ever Keanu Reeves who fucks and drinks and plays rock and fights “the man”, which only came off as laughable.
So, despite that long ramble about some of my gripes, I still think the game will go down as a beloved classic with a ton of influence. It builds off a lot of open world game RPG conventions in a way that is mechanically really satisfying while maybe not gripping me in a story sense. While I think I’d need a lot of time away from it to start a new game (or 100% my old one), I think I still look on it really positively and I’m glad that (even though things should work on day 1!!!!!) it’s at the state it was envisioned as.

Still haven't got the hang of Magical Tetris yet, but a pretty good Versus Tetris setup. Love love love the animations & style of everything (that fucking slapping soundtrack), especially the Tetris box styles; it's crazy that this gets hard considering how kid cutesy it is.