Friday, May 17, 2019
A puzzle game designed around learning and modifying the rules of the game world itself, Baba is You is an early front runner for one of my favorite titles of 2019. The art is simple but adorable, the concept is brilliant, and the feeling of satisfaction that comes from finally figuring out the connection that makes a seemingly impossible puzzle all fit together logically is matched only by 2016's brilliantly designed The Witness. Baba is Good.
The concept of Ringo Ishikawa sounds like something made especially for me; a leisurely slice-of-life story with game play modeled after River City Ransom where you can spend your free time reading books, watching bad movies, and playing ping pong with your bros. It's immediately charming and melancholy, with a lovely soundtrack and a great looking town, but settles into endless tedium that evokes the game's themes well but doesn't offer much depth.
Monday, April 15, 2019
It's time to go back to where it all began. Renewal is a full remake/reimagining of the original Walthros and is intended for release in 2022, the 20th anniversary of the DOS release of the original title. This new title will take the characters and themes of the original game and give them a new twist, introducing a world that's both familiar and new to players who enjoyed the original game. This is a story intended for both newcomers and people who played the first Walthros and will feature traditional turn-based RPG game play with a variety of selectable difficulty levels.
- Story -
Walthros is a world filled with floating fish, dashing dinosaurs, and suave seals, creatures with culture not so different from our own but in a world conspicuously devoid of human beings. Renewal follows two parallel stories: In the modern day we follow Bob, a Walthrosian Fish working as an excavator at dig sites unearthing old artifacts for his boss, archeologist Dr. Pescado. Bob unearths a piece of machinery that broke off of an ancient vessel thousands of years ago and gives him glimpses into the past where a distant ancestor fights a desperate battle for the survival of his people. Bob's curiosity begins a journey of discovery as he works to find meaning in the origins of life on his world.
- Characters -
Bob - Fish. Curious and kind but absent-minded. Bob is an excavator working for archeologist Dr. Pescado. Mostly focused on making ends meet and having a good time, Bob becomes more and more fixated on solving the mysteries of his world after he makes contact with a strange relic. He's the party's healer. Fights using a staff.
Salom - Seal. Close friends with Bob, Salom is a private detective having trouble finding clients lately. Would love to be a singer, but he's not very good at it. Joins up with Bob early in the game. He fights with a lance and can dive on enemies from above. Uses physical attack skills.
Suwanee - Goose. Lives on the fringes of the town of Bayswater. Suwanee is a gothy goose who shows extreme loyalty to her friends and family. She works at a grocery store. Uses knives and is the party's primary debuffer. Can poison enemies.
Amber - Frog. A member of a tribe of swamp witches, Amber kept her town safe during an apocalyptic event by using illusionary magic to hide it from the rest of the world. Uses hexes to cause status effects and summons powerful monsters. Her summon spells have charge times.
- Design -
While the story has been outlined from start to finish, it has yet to be decided whether the game will feature a traditional world map or something more streamlined.
Graphics, writing, and game design by Paul Harrington. Music by Mr. 8bit.
Friday, January 11, 2019
For the final part of my look back at 2018 I'm going to spotlight my top five TV series of the year. I haven't watched a wide enough variety this year to write a more extensive tier list, so feel free to recommend some of your favorites to me!
This list is presented in alphabetical order. Every show here is focused heavily on memory, whether it's an absence of memory, a repression, or an examination.
Saturday, January 5, 2019
While I wasn't able to get out to theaters nearly as much this year, I did see a decent number of great new releases at home and only managed to see a single one that I didn't like. An overall strong year for movies and there's still a lot I want to see!
I always like to try to find a common thread between the films that really resonate with me: All of my top five this year involve struggling with identity or taking on a new one, a subject that applies to several other films I enjoyed this year as well. Interpret as you will.
Thursday, January 3, 2019
I'm starting 2018's Year in Review with a look back at all of the new games I've played. There were some big ones that I missed and hope to check out early in the new year, but much of my gaming time this year was devoted to replaying and testing my own game over and over and over again: Kaiju Big Battel: Fighto Fantasy is finally here! I plan on writing a big commentary on the game in the future (and maybe implementing a running text commentary inside the game itself) but for now I'm relieved that this three-year project is finished. I can't say whether I'll release anything new this year, but either way my next project will be something much smaller!
I'd love to hear what people thought of the Kaiju game. Reviews are, so far, positive but few. I did very little writing this year myself outside of work, so I'm hoping this series helps me get back into the habit!
As for everyone else's games: I didn't play anything this year that I truly disliked (I stopped downloading every game that showed up free on PS+), though there were some well-made games that just didn't resonate with me as much as I'd hoped. Let's start with the best ones!
All titles are listed in alphabetical order in each tier category and the system on which I played is listed after the title.
Tuesday, October 30, 2018
Monday, August 13, 2018
20 years ago I moved on from drawing goofy comics about fish guys and started making games. The project that would become Walthros was my very first one and it's still available free for anyone who wants to see some genuine awkward high school storytelling http://superwalrusland.com/wiki/index.php?title=Walthros
Friday, June 22, 2018
Team Cherry's take on the Metroid/Castlevania formula is a stylish blend of cute, gross, and bizarre, taking players into a writhing world of bug-people, some lovable, some revolting. Its writing style, a few of its mechanics, and a fixation on telling a story through hidden lore rather than traditional narrative shows clear inspiration from the Dark Souls series, but Hollow Knight's blend of platforming and tough-but-fair boss fights is different enough to carve out its own space. Hollow Knight succeeds in many areas where 2016's similarly built Salt & Sanctuary left me disappointed, but I'm still left wanting something a bit different.
Thursday, January 25, 2018
Time to talk music! If you missed them, check out my previous Year in Review articles for movies and games. As with last year's music piece, this is more of a bonus article. I lack the language to write in depth about music and my scope is limited to around a dozen albums a year. I'd love to get album recommendations so I can check out great stuff I missed! Each album has links to my favorite tracks when available.