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.
Friday, January 12, 2018
The Year in Review continues as I look at all of the games I played in 2017. I'm honestly surprised I got through this many lengthy titles, but having a newborn sleeping on top of me for weeks certainly helped with that.
This year really belongs to Nintendo. The Switch has been a massive comeback after the Wii U performed so poorly and this year saw new, phenomenally good Mario and Zelda titles as well as touched-up ports like Mario Kart 8. I've heard nothing but good things about Splatoon 2 and Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle and I've been curious about ARMS, but I haven't been able to check them out yet.
I only managed to play a single game that I thought was awful, and even then, it was charmingly terrible rather than irredeemable. Some titles I was less warm on than average players (looking at you, Sonic Mania), but even then I didn't think they were bad games, just titles that didn't fully click with me.
It was tough picking a top five! The line between some of my Top Tier choices and Excellent choices is very thin this year. It's been an all around excellent year for video games, one of the best in recent memory. Let's see what we've got!
All titles are listed in alphabetical order in each tier category and the system on which I played is listed after the title.
Sunday, January 7, 2018
2017 was one for the ages. News cycles became dominated by political stories that would have been deemed too stupid or unlikely to use in fiction. Warner Bros replaced parts of Henry Cavill's face with bad CGI. Nintendo had a surprising comeback with the Switch, rising from the remains of the sadly unloved Wii U.
Most importantly for my family was the birth of my daughter in early January. Being a new parent has been a surreal, wonderful, terrifying experience. Back in March, my wife wrote an essay on David Lynch's Eraserhead and the connection to it that we felt as new parents. Be sure to check it out!
On game development, work on Kaiju Big Battel: Fighto Fantasy continues, inching closer and closer to release. There's a playable demo out now! For more on that, check out my write up here.
Surprisingly, I still managed to check out a whole lot of new movies this year, though more of them were watched at home than in theaters. Here's a look at them, divided into tiered lists and sorted alphabetically. As usual, this is an evolving document which I'll be updating as I see the final movies I missed out on. Let's talk movies!
Wednesday, December 27, 2017
It's been a long time since I've wobbled over here! As 2017 comes to a close, I've begun writing my Year in Review articles for games, movies, and music. Between being a new dad, my day job, work on Fighto Fantasy, and playing through the best year of video games in ages, there hasn't been a lot of time for writing, but I hope to change that in the coming year! Be sure to read my summary of this year in Kaiju Big Battel: Fighto Fantasy here - https://kaijubigbattelgame.blogspot.com/2017/12/onward-to-2018.html
Thursday, November 2, 2017
The Kaiju Big Battel: Fighto Fantasy playable demo is here! For Windows users only at the moment, but we're working on getting Mac and Linux demos up soon.
Give it a shot and let us know what you think! Download it on Steam here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/611710/Kaiju_Big_Battel_Fighto_Fantasy/
Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Two years ago I dreamed I was standing in an empty room looking out a great window. On the other side was the seal viewing area at the New England Aquarium. A monstrous seal the size of a trailer slowly moved into view while a thin man pulled a curtain closed and I was left alone. I was told something important: "If you can't see the seal, be the seal." This wisdom will be the guiding ethos of my future.
Hello Wobbly Friends! I hope you're all wobbling well and I apologize for the lack of updates. Life with a baby is tough! I'm already the kind of person who has great difficulty sleeping, and a tough couple of weeks for the Small Doodle have only amplified that. Still: Rewarding.
🐌 Still hard at work on the Kaiju Big Battel game, still hoping to have it completed this year but early 2018 is looking more likely.
🐌 Twin Peaks: The Return is nearing its end and it's been a wild, wild ride. While I haven't loved every minute of it, the Vegas plot was hilarious and heartwarming and Dougie Jones is one of my favorite characters on TV.
🐌 Favorite games of the year so far: Yakuza Zero, Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Pyre
🐌 Favorite movies of the year so far: Get Out, The Founder, Logan
🐌 Favorite music of the year so far: Roger Waters: Is This the Life We Really Want?, Lana del Rey: Lust for Life, Gorillaz, Humanz
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
In spite of making my own turn-based RPGs and playtesting ones made by friends, my interest in the genre waned over the years. I'll pick up an occasional Pokemon game, but don't get excited for them. I've never played an Atelier or a Neptunia or any of the tens of thousands of similar looking games released every three months by Gust and Idea Factory. I enjoyed Final Fantasy XV, but even that series has moved on from turn-based combat. The last one I got excited about was Ubisoft's fantastic Child of Light, a small game that excelled stylishly.
I was a little unsure going into Persona 5. I've only played the original title in this series, released on the PS1 in 1996, and hearing that the latest installment was 80-100 hours long was honestly a turnoff for the modern me, while I would have eaten that up as a kid. With lots of flashy, graffiti style art, I knew it would win me over on style, but would I actually have fun? I'm happy to say that yes, this is indeed an excellent game, a high-water mark in its genre.
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
The release history of the Yakuza series outside of Japan has been a wild ride. Sega released the first two games on PS2 in 2006 and 2008 and I missed out on them, turned off by marketing which promoted them as Grand Theft Auto-style open world crime games, a genre I don't have much interest in. Two years later, a poorly-made demo for Yakuza 3, the first PS3 installment of the series, showed me a little more of what the game was about, but didn't sell me on it.
Yakuza 3 was largely doomed from the start: A bad demo, fan complaints over cut content in the English release, and a release date on the same day as the hugely anticipated Final Fantasy XIII. The series would struggle in the west for years, with an even worse, combat-only demo for Yakuza 4 and with Yakuza 5 coming out here a whole three years after its Japanese release, long after the PS3's lifecycle had waned, and without a physical release. I fell for the series after reading enough positive reviews of the third game, but there's no doubt it's been tough to be a western Yakuza fan, with long translation delays, questionable release strategies, and skipped spinoff titles.
Friday, June 9, 2017
I've come to enjoy the weirdness of the flow of time in DC's current film series. With 2013's Man of Steel, we see a young Clark Kent on his journey to become Superman interspersed with scenes of Clark's childhood and, later, a vision of an apocalyptic future ruled by Krypton's General Zod. Its 2016 follow up Batman v. Superman takes things further, with Bruce Wayne's past and present trauma and fear of the future blending together to form a film that's both literally and figuratively composed of dreams upon dreams, with objective reality often kept at arm's reach.
We're first introduced to Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) in a supporting role in BvS, playing a sort of dejected caretaker. She's disillusioned with the world of mankind, having witnessed a "century of horrors." Once everything goes nuts in the final act and the world's at risk, she steps back into the ring and rediscovers her inner strength, taking her place in what looks to be a pantheon of new gods: Truth (Wonder Woman), Justice (Superman), and the American Way (Batman, the insecure rich guy terrified of outsiders)