Sunday, December 29, 2019

My biggest gaming disappointments of 2019

This may be the first time I've published a post about my most disappointing games of a particular year.

I guess that's because the games I purchase and play rarely disappoint me. Or at least they rarely irk me so much I'd then describe them as disappointing.

What changed in 2019? I stumbled upon a couple of games that actually disappointed me.

While I bought these games expecting to adore them, I walked away from both after a handful of hours because they weren't doing it for me in ways I'll hopefully make clear in the paragraphs that follow.

Penny-Punching Princess

I don't know if I've said these exact words here or anywhere else before, but I'm a pretty big fan of Nippon Ichi Software (or NIS). Yes, this little company that could has released some duds, but it's also put out some real gems--like my favorite games of the year, Lapis x Labyrinth and The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince.

I first booted up NIS' Penny-Punching Princess shortly after I finished the former, in fact. Though I loved the look of it, and found its localization surprisingly funny, its gameplay left me cold.

There just wasn't enough depth to Penny-Punching Princess' button-mashing battles to keep me playing. Yes, its bribe mechanic, which employs an on-screen calculator and allows you to use the money you've collected to slip past enemies and traps, is brilliant, but even it couldn't maintain my interest in the entire package.

Will I ever return to my copy of Penny-Punching Princess? I doubt it. At the moment, I can't imagine what would cause me to change my opinion of it.

You never know, though. With a little distance, I might look upon the game with more favorable eyes. I'm not going to bet on that happening, but I'm also not going to assume it's an impossibility.

Umihara Kawase Fresh!

I've long loved the first two Umihara Kawase games--made for the Super Famicom and original PlayStation, respectively. Sadly, I can't say the same about the third, Sayonara Umihara Kawase. Although I own a pair of copies of the 3DS version, both sorely disappointed me.

I had higher hopes for Umihara Kawase Fresh! in the lead-up to its release early this year, but it fared no better with me in the end. I actually quite liked its syrupy sweet art style, but found the quest-focused gameplay far less appealing.

In particular, I disliked that many of the quests I encountered while playing Umihara Kawase Fresh! were annoyingly similar, or took me through territory I'd already visited numerous times.

Also, before I started through this game, I thought I'd dig its new ingredient-gathering and cooking component. I didn't. It's not terrible, mind you, but I also don't think it adds much to the overall experience.

Personally, I'd rather worry about one-shot deaths, as you do in every other Umihara Kawase title, than the constantly draining health bar that needs to be refilled (by scarfing down the grub you make with the aforementioned ingredients) in Fresh!

Is it really possible Penny-Punching Princess and Umihara Kawase Fresh! are the only games that disappointed me in 2019?

If pressed, I might add The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (above) and Yo-Kai Watch 3 to the pile. And maybe even Luigi's Mansion 3.

I finished two of these titles, though, and put nearly eight hours into the third, so I'm not entirely comfortable putting them on the same level as the Switch carts that serve as the focus of this post.

Anyway, now that I've had my say on the matter, I'd like to know: what are your most disappointing games of 2019?

1 comment:

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