Monday, January 29, 2024

One sentence about each of the games I played in 2023

I wrote posts similar to this one about the many games I played in 2020 and 2021 and had a lot of fun with them, so I decided to give the idea another go this year.

Please note that I only played some of these games for a few hours. In the case of one game, I put just a single hour into it. I didn't walk away from any of them because I hated them, mind you; rather, they all seemed like "wrong game at the wrong time" experiences. I do plan to return to each of these titles sometime in 2024. (Hopefully I'll be able to share better feedback in next year's write-up.)

With all that said, here are a bunch of one-sentence mini-reviews of all the games I played in 2023, organized by when I played them.

About An Elf

About An Elf

Whatever the devs at Meringue Interactive were on when they concocted this bizarre, RPG-tinged visual novel, which follows the exploits of a latex-clad elf and her goofy feline familiar as they attempt to save the universe from the King of Terrors and his ugly stooges, I want some of it.

Imagine SEGA's Fantasy Zone as an action-platformer rather than a shmup, and you subdue your enemies (invading aliens) with smooches rather than bullets.

Dragon Quest Treasures

Dragon Quest reimagined as a collectathon ARPG doesn't sound all that appealing on paper, but it's surprisingly thrilling in practice, thanks in large part to an open world that's both massive and massively fun to explore.

Labyrinth of Galleria: The Moon Society

Labyrinth of Galleria: The Moon Society

The Moon Society's story is neither as challenging or as captivating as that of its predecessor, Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk, but it at least partially makes up for that fact with a second half that changes things up in unforeseen ways.

Voice of Cards: The Isle Dragon Roars

A nice little throwback of an RPG -- think the original Dragon Quest -- that wants you to think it's a card-based board game even though it's not.

Paranormasight: The Seven Mysteries of Honjo

An appropriately twisty and spooky visual novel that shines aesthetically and has the reader-player investigate a series of supernatural urban legends involving deadly curses.

Process of Elimination

Process of Elimination

Nippon Ichi Software finally releases one of its VNs -- this one could and has been described as NIS' take on Danganronpa -- in English and I fail hard by devoting only an hour to it before moving on to something else.

Octopath Traveler II

I thought I was ready for more Octopath Traveler when I started through this sequel last summer, but I wasn't; as a result, I only put a few hours into it and honestly can't remember what I thought of them other than "this looks and feels a lot like the original."

Loop8: Summer of Gods

Loop8: Summer of God

Though it's more of a time-management sim mixed with a visual novel than the JRPG it was originally touted to be, Loop8 still manages to intrigue in the end thanks to its curious cast of characters and strange conversation and mood systems.

Pokémon Violet

A mainline Pokémon game finally goes open world and succeeds brilliantly because of it, with a region that's endlessly engaging and a multipronged story that includes a plethora of appealing cast members.

Suika Game

Yeah, yeah, it's another match-falling-things puzzle game, but it's so breezy and addictive -- and cheap -- that it's easy to overlook and enjoy anyway.

Master Detective Archives: Rain Code

Master Detective Archives: Rain Code

Put Danganronpa and Ace Attorney into a blender and Rain Code is about what you'd get, though my (admittedly limited) experience with it so far suggests it's not quite as compelling as either of those classics.

Super Mario Bros. Wonder

I enjoyed the little I played of this latest entry in the two-dimensional Super Mario Bros. series, with the new Wonder Flower item and the trippy effects it prompts being the standout feature for me so far (along with the ability to play as several characters besides Mario and Luigi right from the start).

Dragon Quest Monsters 3

Starting through this Pokémon-esque Dragon Quest spinoff right after I put 80-ish hours into the real deal probably wasn't the best idea, and my opinion of and engagement with it suffered horribly as a result.

World of Horror

World of Horror

Somehow World of Horror dares to mix the survival horror, roguelike, RPG, and visual novel genres and succeeds, resulting in a brilliantly fresh and replayable game that helped end my year on a high note.

Metro Quester

The vibes emanating from Metro Quester feel similar to those of another weirdo RPG I loved a few years ago, Dungeon Encounters, while offering aesthetics and gameplay that are entirely and wonderfully unique.

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