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Author Topic: The games I played in 2020!  (Read 39 times)

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Offline AuroraDash

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The games I played in 2020!
« on: 10 December 2020, 18:41:09 »
This is a ranking of everything I played for the first time in 2020. I didn't play too many games this year, because I've still been playing more Celeste than anything else and some games I wanted to play either didn't come out this year (Silksong... >_<) or I haven't played yet because I'm waiting for a really good Steam sale (Ori: WotW, Black Future 88).

Bolded entries were released in 2020 and have a second ranking which only includes other bolded entries, while italicised entries were released earlier but I only played them in 2020. If I only played pre-release versions of a game, it is excluded. If I end up playing something else in the last three weeks of the year, I'll edit it in.

Fortunately, I liked most of the games I played, which led to some good games getting bad rankings.


12/7. Rift Wizard
This game kind of tries to be a traditional turn-based, grid-based roguelike, but I really didn't enjoy it. It has a lot of my game design pet peeves, like unnecessarily complicated character building systems to create false depth and an excess of long-run resource management encouraging timidness and making sure you can feel your doom approach from way too far off. It somehow managed to invent a new one, too: it has this weird over-reliance on enemies which spawn more enemies. They're present in every single level and they're the main threats. Makes fighting the smaller enemies feel like a complete waste of time. To its credit, it keeps the tactics of the old-school roguelikes, but unfortunately it loses everything else which made them great.


11/6. Inmost
I've already complained about this one. It's a boring metroidvania with a lame story where you always feel underpowered and everything cool only ever happens in outrageously long cutscenes. It was really close between this and Rift Wizard for the bottom spot, but I think this one had a lot of wasted potential while that one had very little potential at all. Despite how serious my complaints are, I actually enjoyed my playthrough regardless: it can be beautiful and atmospheric at times and has a few genuinely awesome moments. However, by the end of it I felt like I had wasted my time.


10/5. Neon Abyss
A shiny new platformer-roguelite drawing heavy inspiration from Binding of Isaac. It's charming and pretty, has a cool cyberpunk aesthetic and great music. While I had fun with it, it has some terrible game design flaws which drag it down some inherited from Isaac and some new ones. My main complaints are a) it's a luck-based nightmare, b) usually the best strategy is to sit in a corner and camp, c) the game doesn't tell you what items do until you pick them up and there are so many items that even after 20 hours of play time I don't know what half of them do and, most damningly, d) the balance is god-awful. One thing I've noticed is that a lot of the "new-school" roguelikes and roguelites have substantial "macrogame" systems as you play more of the game, it will transform to reveal more of itself. Neon Abyss' macrogame system is not exactly mind-blowing but it is probably the biggest and most extensive I've ever seen, which I guess is a point in its favour. At the end of the day, my most memorable experience with the game was finally reaching the game's last "manager" (which is what the game calls its special superbosses the regular bosses are instead called the gods of something really lame, which I thought was cute) and obliterating her immediately with my outrageously unbalanced firepower before she even had a chance to attack. Then I put the game down and didn't really touch it again much.


9/4. Helltaker
I really don't understand the hype behind this one. It's a simple puzzle game, free and less than an hour long. There's not really much to complain about but it had very little impact on me. I liked the music. It was slightly annoying to have to repeat the whole puzzle if you picked the wrong option at the end of the level and get a bad ending, but that's not really a big deal. Final boss was pretty cool. Meh.


8. Among Us
The idea behind it is really clever take a social logic Mafia type game and make it real-time. That's really clever. It's got a cute artstyle, kinda like an 00s-era flash game. My main complaint is that it's way too fast-paced. Each game is like 3 minutes long, you're constantly running around at top speed, people drop like flies and by the time you start to get a picture of what's going on and begin forming your insane theories, the game's already over. At least with Mindnight's 20-minute games, there was enough time to think and take notes. Among Us can be great as a party game or as a brief diversion in between studying or something.


7. What Remains Of Edith Finch
I don't really know how to organise my thoughts here. This isn't what I'd usually consider playing, it's a sort of visual novel type thing built around its story basically, everyone is dead and you need to explore a creepy house to find out what happened to them. I've seen the story, which is ridiculously depressing, get slammed for relying on cheap tricks to get an emotional rise out of the player, and while it does kind of do that at times I think it mostly works. Game generally looks and sounds great, has a lot of trippy visuals and some really cool moments. I had an issue with the controls where I'd occasionally go through a door or down a ladder or something and then immediately go back the other way by mistake, but that might've been because I was really drunk while I played it. Sometimes I feel like my own grandmother is slowly ruining everyone's lives with her subtle pathological influence, but this game made me realise that she's not bad at all and it could be so much worse.


6. Super Lucky's Tale
Cutest game ever. Really solid 3D platformer, I had no real problems with it. I wanna cuddle Lucky so bad, he's adorable!!! I didn't quite get through the whole game, it seems to be quite long and I got kinda distracted partway through. There's heaps to do and it just generally makes me feel good. Has the kind of controls where, if you have mad skills, you can combine moves to reach further than it appears you can at first. 4 through 6 were all really close together.


5/3. Spirits Abyss
Another platformer-roguelite! This one draws heavily from Spelunky instead. It's not as slow-paced as Spelunky, though, it's more conducive to running through levels guns blazing than Spelunky is. First thing which jumped out at me was the awesome chiptune music. I have an issue with the controls usually, there is no inertia, and you can change directions instantly, but when you wall-jump then suddenly hello again Newton! It feels really awkward and strange. There's a lot of variety in the level types there begins with 4 level types which happen in a fixed order, but later on more get unlocked and I think there are a total of 10. In addition to those, it has a fascinating system where, randomly, between the normal levels, you'll get thrown into little intermediate areas. The game throws curveballs at you in a way which makes it seem really mysterious, and that's something I find very compelling. Sometimes, stuff will just happen and you won't be entirely sure why. It seems kind of small at first, but there's a great deal to do here. It's by the same developer as Skelly Selest from 2018 and has a lot in common with that one the menus look really similar, everything has a similarly bizarre writing style, it even has a weird card game tacked on to it just like that game did but I think Spirits Abyss is a lot more impressive.


4/2. Spelunky 2
I dunno if I should put it this high, I just kinda think it would be blasphemous to imply that Spirits Abyss is a better follow-up to Spelunky than this one is, given how ambitious it is, although, I don't know if it is or not. The game is a lot bigger and shinier with more hidden stuff than the original I've reached the final boss (which I really don't like, I think it's quite badly designed) but apparently I've only seen about half of the areas in the game. At first I was keenly aware of all the subtle things that were changed from the original, which annoyed me, but after that I had a great time. I loved the re-imaginings of the old areas with new enemies and whatnot, and the references to some of my old favourite Spelunky mods (like the repeating laser traps in world 6 referencing Gates of Hell, and how world 5 was compressed into a single super-long level which I think references that one mod where you fight Cthulhu). It's substantially harder and longer than the original Spelunky, which makes me think it was designed for people who have already mastered the original I found it quite a challenge and I never even got into any of the post-game stuff, at least not yet. 13-year-old me would've loved this more than anything in the whole world.


3. Axiom Verge
A really bloody good old-school metroidvania, keeping everything good about the subgenre intact exploring a mysterious world, getting new stuff to gain more power and unlock more freedom, stumbling on crazy stuff, getting kinda lost in a good way while losing some of the cliches. I first heard about it in a YouTube comments section where somebody dared to suggest that it (along with Hollow Knight, which I found a more reasonable opinion) was better than Ori. I thought that was a ridiculous notion at first, but after playing it, while I'm not sure I agree, it certainly gets close. It strikes a good balance between being too linear and "where the **** do I go", and it makes you work for your cool toys (and they are VERY cool, the drone gun is brilliant) but it feels so good to finally get them. The whole game has this cool alien aesthetic. I found the backtracking a bit tiresome in places, and there's some secret stuff which you'll very definitely need a walkthrough for, but those are minor complaints.


2/1. Scourgebringer
The fourth platformer-roguelike in this list, and the king of them all. While Spirits Abyss was inspired by Spelunky and that other Abyss game was inspired by Isaac, Scourgebringer is instead inspired by Monolith, but it builds off its quite spectacularly. It kind of de-emphasises the platforming in favour of an outstanding combat system with heaps of depth and where everything just feels viscerally good and makes my brain light up with dopamine. It's a bit overwhelming at first, with four or five different ways to attack and controls which take some getting used to, but the game's cleverly designed to get you over the initial hurdle, and to a level where you can make the most of everything, with minimal pain. It has a combo mechanic, one of many ideas borrowed from Monolith, except the game adds a new dimension to it to facilitate learning the game's mechanics. It divides attacks into three categories, and rewards the player for using all three categories, which pushes players to learn how to use all their attacks to their full potential. The enemies are all designed around the combat system, and with a few exceptions they all work great. The balance is also great while a lot of similar games end up really luck-based and prone to "snowballing" where you become either overpowered or underpowered and that kind of sticks for the whole run, Scourgebringer avoids that by being careful with how its power upgrades are designed. The only real downsides are that the music isn't my style and the postgame stuff isn't as extensive as some other games. Absolutely sick. Favourite game of 2020.


1. Monolith
Surprise, it's a game I just mentioned! It was really hard to pick between this and Scourgebringer because they have so much in common and what's different between them is awesome in different directions. It's not a platformer and doesn't have a complex combat system, and in that one regard it's a lot closer to Nuclear Throne than Scourgebringer while it doesn't stand out as much, it's perfectly solid. Instead, it has some of the coolest bosses and best postgames ever, and has that same mystery factor that Spirits Abyss has it seems small at first then slowly unfolds itself before your eyes as you keep going, in a way that feels organic. I get the impression that there's a really interesting story buried under there if only someone could untangle the pieces. The controls suffer from what I call "Nuclear Throne syndrome" where it's trying to be a bullet hell shmup and a twin-stick arena shmup at the same time, and trying to play one of them with the controls of the other always feels a little awkward, like you're playing with your hands flipped around or something. The late game can get a little samey, as worlds 5 through 7 don't feel sufficiently distinct, which is a point against it compared to Scourgebringer where the last few levels are the best part. When, like, a boss mysteriously throws out an extra form, or a new boss entirely appears unexpectedly, or something unique and inexplicable happens, it's not something you forget. I feel like Monolith is slightly better as it stands because it's bigger and more polished and has more special memorable moments, whereas Scourgebringer has the stronger foundation and if it got a cool expansion pack like Monolith has it'd be likely to surpass it.
Entryway / Moss Garden / Elevator / Magic School / Ice Prison / Splendid Tower / Technology Tower / Sky Platform / Hidden Attic / Genocide City

Poison's Lair / Shade Hollow / Backwoods / The Remnant / Underpath / Sorrow Peak / Energy Centre / Fire Hole / North Edge
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Offline AuroraDash

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Re: The games I played in 2020!
« Reply #1 on: 12 December 2020, 13:36:04 »



Speak of the devil oWo
« Last Edit: 12 December 2020, 14:02:53 by AuroraDash »
Entryway / Moss Garden / Elevator / Magic School / Ice Prison / Splendid Tower / Technology Tower / Sky Platform / Hidden Attic / Genocide City

Poison's Lair / Shade Hollow / Backwoods / The Remnant / Underpath / Sorrow Peak / Energy Centre / Fire Hole / North Edge

Offline King (2.0)

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Re: The games I played in 2020!
« Reply #2 on: 12 December 2020, 14:13:30 »



Speak of the devil oWo
So do you think that game is the worth the price?
Gotta update the Aeonian Legacy History and several other non-Vresun creative projects.

Goal: Have fun with Charlie and my friends (also ask questions about the Aeonian Night).

If anyone ever tells me its a mistake to have hope, well then, Ill just tell them theyre wrong. And Ill keep telling them till they believe. No matter how many times it takes.! Madoka Kaname
"Punishment is not the answer. Punishment is easy. It's lazy. Redemption is hard. Redemption makes you work."-Skulduggery Pleasant

Offline AuroraDash

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Re: The games I played in 2020!
« Reply #3 on: 13 December 2020, 12:01:26 »
So do you think that game is the worth the price?


I'll let you know once I've played it :3
Entryway / Moss Garden / Elevator / Magic School / Ice Prison / Splendid Tower / Technology Tower / Sky Platform / Hidden Attic / Genocide City

Poison's Lair / Shade Hollow / Backwoods / The Remnant / Underpath / Sorrow Peak / Energy Centre / Fire Hole / North Edge

Offline King (2.0)

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Re: The games I played in 2020!
« Reply #4 on: 13 December 2020, 13:33:02 »

I'll let you know once I've played it :3
I asked because I've seen at least 2 games I want to play but can't because of the extortionate prices. (I saw Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door in Cex once and it cost 80. 80 for Paper frickin Mario. And that's still better than the PS2 Blood Will Tell costing 100 on Amazon).
Gotta update the Aeonian Legacy History and several other non-Vresun creative projects.

Goal: Have fun with Charlie and my friends (also ask questions about the Aeonian Night).

If anyone ever tells me its a mistake to have hope, well then, Ill just tell them theyre wrong. And Ill keep telling them till they believe. No matter how many times it takes.! Madoka Kaname
"Punishment is not the answer. Punishment is easy. It's lazy. Redemption is hard. Redemption makes you work."-Skulduggery Pleasant

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Re: The games I played in 2020!
« Reply #5 on: 13 December 2020, 14:03:58 »
...... There's a Spelunky 2?
"So, my theme would be either the Meteor Comp (MMBN4), Burning Blood (SaGa 2), True Divine Battle (SaGa 3), Mad Farsdale (Standstill Girl), Final Battle (Suikoden 2), Almia Tower (Pokemon Ranger SoA), Bloody Tears (Castlevania SotN), King Tower (MegaMan & Bass), Critical Drive (Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days), Aqua Wish (La-Mulana), Solar Eclipse (Terraria), Chaos Angel Act 1 (Sonic Advance 3) or final Lemi Ruins (Tales of the World ND3)... or all thirteen. Wait, am I... *gasp* Xehanort's great-granddaughter?! Nooooo~!"

 

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