Thursday, January 21, 2021

One sentence about each of the 24 games I finished in 2020

I began 2020 intending to review every one of the games I finished during the year. Although I did that—to a point, via this post and this post—until the end of June, I completely dropped the ball after that.

I'm going to try to make up for things here—although, again, only to a point. Instead of writing multi-paragraph reviews of each of the 24 games I finished in 2020, I'm going to devote just a sentence to them.

Here are the blurbs in question, which I've organized according to when I completed them. (Alice in Wonderland was the first game I beat in 2020, while Paper Mario: The Origami King was the last.) 

Should you want additional details on any of these games, let me know in the comments section of this post. Or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

A unique, touch-controlled Metroidvania that's far more challenging than its awesome, adorable art style implies.

Detective Pikachu (3DS)

This Pokémon-themed adventure game may be aimed at kids but adults can enjoy it, too—as long as they don't have a deep-seated hatred of Pikachu, of course.

Heroland (Switch)

Made by folks who previously worked on Fantasy Life and Mother 3, Heroland is a theme-park-based, board-game-esque RPG with a superb soundtrack that intrigues until it overstays its welcome.

A beautiful, blissfully short side-scroller that does a surprisingly brilliant job of combining the Pikmin series' characters and controls with thoughtful platforming action.

Pokémon Shield (Switch)

I loved Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee! when I played through it in 2018, and I loved Pokémon Shield even more when I played through it last year—thanks mainly to its charming, Pokéfied British setting, slew of appealing new 'mons, and thrilling "Wild Area."

Raging Loop (Switch)

A terrifyingly engrossing visual novel that features "Werewolf"-inspired gameplay and a Groundhog Day-ish looping story.

Deadly Premonition Origins (Switch)

One of those "greater than the sum of its parts" games, with the positive parts of Deadly Premonition Origins being its quirky, compelling characters, WTF story, and weird soundtrack, and the negative parts being its "please don't make me do that again" combat and QTE segments.

Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories (Switch)

I've never had to live through a natural disaster myself, but I kind of (only kind of!) feel like I have thanks to this adventure game, which is harrowing not just because of drama and trauma it puts you through, but because of its iffy graphics and even iffier frame rate.

SaGa Scarlet Grace: Ambitions (Switch)

Another RPG that's shockingly similar to a board game, SaGa Scarlet Grace: Ambitions offers players a wide-open world, a minimum of direction, a ton of potential party members, and a predictably sublime OST.

The World Ends With You (DS)

A dual-screened action RPG that makes full use of all that acreage during its thrillingly chaotic battles, supported by some of the most stylish visuals around and fabulous, pop-tastic soundtrack.

Void Terrarium (Switch)

One part post-apocalyptic roguelike, one part human Tamagotchi—all set to an appropriately (and enjoyably) industrial OST.

Mr. Driller Encore (Switch)

Mr. Driller goes to a theme park and adds some much needed depth and variety to his eponymous series' previously straightforward race-to-the-bottom-of-the-screen gameplay.

Moon (Switch)

A melancholy "anti-RPG" that sends you into a game world to clean up the mess of an unhinged hero by saving the souls of slain creatures and helping its human inhabitants in various ways.

A Short Hike (Switch)

If you've ever dreamt of exploring—by land or sky—a mountainside getaway as an anthropomorphized bird and at your leisure, this is the game for you.

Destiny Connect: Tick-Tock Travelers (Switch)

A touching, vaguely EarthBound-esque RPG that lets you time travel and tackle mechanical foes with the assistance of a robot that can transform into a boxer, cowboy, and more.

Kirby Mass Attack (DS)

Using your DS' touch screen to control up to 10 Kirbies through a series of side-scrolling and puzzle-filled stages is cool; if only it were more fun.

Part Time UFO (Switch)

Leave it to the masters at HAL Laboratory to create an instant classic that combines a claw crane, a balance-puzzler, and the most sickeningly sweet soundtrack you've ever heard.

Yomawari: Night Alone (Switch)

Yomawari proves that survival-horror games don't need to be remotely realistic to be fully and properly unnerving.

Super Princess Peach (DS)

Forget what you've read about this vivacious platformer; in my humble opinion, Super Princess Peach is every bit as good as your average Kirby, Yoshi, or even Mario side-scroller.

Bubble Bobble 4 Friends (Switch)

Take the Bubble Bobble that started it all in 1986, replace the simple-yet-snazzy backdrops with ones that are simply boring, remove all the character from its kooky cast, and make the overall experience more awkward as well as less enjoyable, and you've got 4 Friends.

Mad Rat Dead (Switch)

Come for the move-to-the-beat platforming action (and the amazing OST that coordinates it), stay for the surprisingly touching tale of a dead lab rat who just wants to relive his final day—OK, and exact revenge on the scientist who killed him.

Time Hollow (DS)

Anyone who had a blast playing through Hotel Dusk: Room 215, Ghost Trick, or any of the Ace Attorney games should give this similar offering from Konami a go ASAP.

Again (DS)

This CiNG-made point-and-click adventure game isn't quite as great as the company's other DS efforts—Hotel Dusk, Last Window, and Trace Memory—but it's close enough to be well worth your while if you dug those titles.

Paper Mario: The Origami King (Switch)

The Origami King gives me hope there's still some life left in Nintendo's depressingly inconsistent Paper Mario series, though I wouldn't mind at all if the next sequel's turn-based battles were more traditional than tactical as they are here.