The title of this article says it all, but I would like to give credit where credit is due and say that this piece was ultimately inspired by @CoreyMotley and @StephenTotilo. Custom art by @Alex_Connolly!
November Total: 27
1 – Wasteland 3, Xbox One review by Darren Forman
You might notice that this month’s grand total is a bit lower than last month’s, and Wasteland 3 is entirely to blame. As a reviewer and editor, I’m always hesitant to commit to a ‘big’ game — I can play 20 small titles (or more!) in the time it takes me to get through a huge one, but this one was well worth the time invested. Although it was way buggier than I would normally tolerate, the writing was great, the quests were fun and interesting, and it delivered the exact sort of post-apocalyptic RPG that I enjoy the most. Absolutely loved it. Finished. RECOMMENDED!
2 – Marvel Puzzle Quest, Android
My one and only mobile jam. Playing daily.
3 – Bomber Crew, Switch review by AJ Small
I’ve been flying two missions a night since the sequel, Space Crew, turned out to be a big dud. The gameplay is difficult, grindy and repetitive, but thanks to replaying missions to unlock better equipment, the time invested paid off and I finally rolled credits on the campaign. It also helped that the game had been patched a few times, and the guns I was using were from the DLC — way stronger than those available in the core missions. Regardless, I got there and this ended up being one of my all-time favorite Switch games. There’s just something incredibly captivating about flying a bomber and managing the crew through mission after mission, and seeing the landing gear deploy when coming in for a landing gets me every time. Working on the DLC — a new plane, more crew — now… I figure I’m going to try to rinse it. Still playing.
4 – Crown Trick, Switch
This roguelike offers gameplay in the classic “nothing moves until the player moves” style, of which I am a fan. The systems are polished, the graphics are super cute, and all the necessary boxes are checked. It’s not revolutionary in any sense, but it does everything well and it’s a satisfying title if you’re craving some super-solid rogue action. Still playing.
5 – Fortnite, PS4
This has been a great season — adding Marvel to the mix really sucked me back in, and it didn’t hurt that Epic offered skins for two of my alltime favorite characters, Ghost Rider and Daredevil. Oh, and transforming She-Hulk in a holo-color dress? SWOON. At the moment I’m just doing cleanup on the last few end-of-the-season skins and waiting for Galactus to show up. It seems like it’s gonna be pretty epic! Playing daily.
6 – Climbros, Switch
I played this for 10 minutes when I was half asleep, but you basically use a grappling hook and rope to climb stuff? I gotta give it another shot when I’m more awake because GRAPPLING HOOK. Will try again.
7 – Yuppie Psycho: Executive Edition, Switch
I have mixed emotions on this one. This is the next game coming from Baroque Decay, the developers of The Count Lucanor, which I adored. It follows in the same vein with fabulous sprite work, sharp writing and some really dark content. It’s delicious. On the other hand, it employs a ‘saving is a limited resource‘ system similar to what they did in Lucanor, and it didn’t sit as well with me this time since Yuppie damages the player’s health more frequently (meaning there’s a higher chance of needing to replay new areas if you die) and also because I tend to play the Switch at night, jumping between games. I noticed that I was avoiding playing Yuppie because I was never sure how much time I’d have to put in before I could safely save, so I’d give it a pass and bounce between things that were easier to pick up and put down. By the time I was in the mood to dive in and make some progress, I’d forgotten what I was doing. I will 100% come back to this and finish it — I really love the content here, truly — but this is a case where I would appreciate a game’s design being more flexible and accommodating, and saving should always be as easy and painless as possible. Will restart.
8 – Carto, Switch
This is a cute little indie featuring a girl with the power to rearrange parts of the landscape in order to complete quests. Is someone’s house on the wrong side of the continent? Zoom out to a map view, rearrange the world (conveniently broken up into grid-based chunks) and help them get home! Can’t find those lost sheep? Zoom out, move the world around, and gather that livestock! It’s super chill and a good fit for the Switch. Did not finish.
9 – Colt Canyon, Switch
This minimalist 2D roguelike has the player walking from left to right while shooting enemies and trying to rescue your kidnapped buddy. The action is pretty fast and intense, and I appreciate that it’s so streamlined… it’s perfect for getting a quick 5 or 10 minutes in here and there. My only reservation is that the Joy Cons are *not great* for the precision required in the shooting — my success rate went WAY up when I was using the Pro Controller instead. Still playing.
10 – Iris and the Giant, Switch my review
In a year of strong roguelikes, this is one of the strongest. The art, design, gameplay and polish are all through the roof, and it tells a worthwhile story, to boot. I don’t give out perfect scores often, but this one deserved it. Please check out my full review (link above) for all the details. Finished. RECOMMENDED!
11 – Picross S2, Switch
One puzzle left. One puzzle left. One puzzle left. Still playing.
12 – The Falconeer, Xbox One
Colossal fail. This game about flying giant falcons across a steampunk-ish water world looked amazing in trailers, but actually playing it was a wild disappointment. The controls felt terrible, the combat was terrible, and the falcon’s stamina system (for dashing and rolling) is utter nonsense. Instead of using stamina and having it replenish in a few seconds LIKE EVERY OTHER GAME IN EXISTENCE, the falcon has to dive. Okay fine, but after diving, climbing in altitude costs stamina! Too much of this game just doesn’t make sense from a design perspective and I bailed out soon after starting. Deleted.
13 – Chicken Police: Paint it Red!, PS4
Visually, this game is amazing and it grabbed my attention immediately. A noir detective game starring people with animal heads? I’m IN! Sadly, this point-and-click adventure has issues with the writing thanks to strange word choices and awkward sentences. My guess is that it was penned by non-native English speakers, and it’s an issue since the noir genre is ALL ABOUT the dialogue. Worse, when doing investigations and talking to characters, I had a hard time picking up on cues I was (apparently) supposed to be catching thanks to the odd writing. I wanted to love this, but I kept getting pulled out of the experience every time I had to scratch my head and figure out what was really being said. Deleted.
14 – The Pathless, PS4
This is another one that looks amazing in trailers but falls short in practice. Slightly reminiscent of Shadow of the Colossus in structure, the player and her bird are free to wander an open-ish landscape in search of puzzles. Solve enough and fight a boss. Beat the boss, move on to the next area and repeat. Unfortunately, the puzzles are fairly dull and there’s nothing in the world besides open space. The devs have created an awesome-looking traversal system where the player dash-slides when they hit a target with their bow and arrow, but it isn’t well-integrated into the game. Instead of building the experience around this traversal, the landscape is simply riddled with floating targets that exist only to keep the player crossing the empty world quickly — it’s a half-formed idea at best. Beyond this, there’s no connection to the character or the story — it’s a generic good/evil sort of setup with no context or development and it was hard to care about any of it. Deleted.
15 – Dandy Ace (demo), Xbox One
This isometric roguelike features a magician engaging in realtime action to defeat enemies while collecting a variety of randomized abilities that can be equipped. The hook is that these abilities can be mixed and matched. For example, a throwing card (main) can have a fiery explosion (sub) when it hits, OR the player can mix it up and rearrange it to have a fiery explosion (main) that shoots out cards (sub) at the end. Seems neat. I’m gonna check it out when the full game hits. Deleted demo.
16 – Batbarian: Testament of the Primordials, Switch review by Dan Weissenberger
I bounced off of this 2D action-platformer because it was really dark, and actually used darkness as one of its main mechanics. I wasn’t aware of this beforehand — I would have avoided it if I had, since darkness in games is something I can’t stand. the devs hit me up on Twitter to let me know that they had patched in some tweaks and that there were now some ambient light settings, so I may come back to it and check it out under those circumstances. Deleted.
17 – Yakuza: Like a Dragon, PS4
I honestly thought I was done with Yakuza after the last few… I’ve been stanning the series since the PS2 days, but I had my fill and was ready to move on. I wasn’t even going to give this a shot until I found out it was turn-based. My interest was piqued, and after I watched an extended trailer, I got sucked back in. I couldn’t imagine Yakuza without realtime brawling, but the new system is great. And what would the series possibly be without Kiryu? Well, new hero Ichiban is awesome. The supporting cast is great, the script is funny as hell… I mean, this is *prime* Yakuza and also a fantastic entry point for newcomers. It’s fantastic. Still playing. RECOMMENDED!
18 – Ghostrunner, PS4 review by Mike Suskie
I was in the mood for some fast action and Mike’s review really sold me on it, but this game was a waste of my money. Being a cybernetic ninja (ala Genji from Overwatch) sure seems awesome, but the difficulty was a kick in the teeth almost immediately. The devs do almost nothing to teach the player how to be successful, and instead opt for a sink-or-swim gitgud approach that displays a lack of care for players. Anyone can make a balls-hard game, but it takes special skill to create a balls-hard game that draws people in and guides them towards being successful. I found the experience incredibly cold and frustrating, and felt bitter that I’d spent money on it. Deleted.
19 – Vampire: the Masquerade – Shadows of New York, Switch
I was absolutely in love with the previous game (Coteries, review by Josh Tolentino) but this follow-up was a dismal disappointment that loses everything that made the first one great. The main character is poorly-written and most of the player choice has been removed. More than anything, it feels like fanfic expanding on stuff I wasn’t really curious about in Coteries, and it lost me soon after starting. An incredible bummer after such an amazing predecessor. Deleted.
20 – If Found…, Switch
This narrative game is more like an interactive experience — the player simply swipes things off the screen to advance the plot. The art was a bit murky for my taste, but the central themes of being trans and finding acceptance were powerful and resonant. It’s a short ride, but one that has something important to say. Finished.
21 – Foregone, Switch
This 2D metroidvania looks great in trailers and the animation is impressive, but in practice it feels a bit repetitive and lifeless. The story is generic and the experience overall seems to borrow a lot from other games… I was getting a lot of Dead Cells flavor, primarily. It didn’t grab me. Deleted.
22 – Ponpu, Switch
If you took Bomberman and swapped out the characters with psycho-looking ducks, you’d come pretty close to what Ponpu is. The monochrome hand-drawn art is fantastic and the animation is just as good. It’s got multiplayer, but there’s also a full singleplayer campaign complete with boss battles. This one’s pretty neat. Did not finish.
23 – Morbid: the Seven Acolytes, Switch
This top-down 2D actioner seems heavily inspired by Lovecraft and/or Bloodborne. The design of the main character wasn’t very appealing, and the combat didn’t feel crisp or responsive enough. Also, since Bloodborne exists, I’m not super in the market for an off-brand version of it… Decided to give this a pass after one short session. Deleted.
24 – Picklock, Switch
This is a top-down indie that’s all about stealing stuff. In practice, this largely boils down to breaking into locked buildings, combing each room for grabbables and avoiding guards that patrol on set routes. It’s kinda cute and a microscale stealing game holds some appeal, but the controls are a little squirrelly and can’t be remapped, which is a bit of a downer. Not sure I’m going to go the distance on this one, but still chipping away at it. Still Playing.
25 – Chronos: Before the Ashes, PS4
Stay with me now — this was originally a VR-only game (made four years ago) that was positioned as the prequel to Remnant: From the Ashes, but it’s actually a melee-based Soulslike with a mechanic that ages your character one year every time they die. Is your mind blown yet? Mine sure was. Even more insane is that this game is… pretty good! I was not a fan of Remnant but Chronos hooked me almost immediately. The art style is great, it feels like a streamlined, smaller-scale and slower-paced Dark Souls, and it sports a number of neat ideas. Primary among them is the aging — when the character is young, it’s easy for them to level up STR and AGI. But as they get older and their body wears out? They have to start focusing on WIS and MAG. Kinda cool, I’d say. The combat is a little clunkier than I’d like but the other aspects of play make up for it, and it feels like a pleasant adventure so far. Still playing.
26 – Disc Room, Switch review by Eugene Sax
I quit this one last month because the dark rooms got under my skin, but Eugene’s review reminded me of what it got right and compelled me to come back to it. (Not the first time Eugene has done this to me.) I think I only have one dark room left to go, so I’m gonna try to push past it and finish the game… I love the art style and I do wanna see where the story goes. Still playing.
27 – Ring Fit Adventure, Switch
Jumping into this three times a week and still loving it. The best exercise game I’ve ever played. Still playing. RECOMMENDED!
Every game I played in JANUARY
Every game I played in FEBRUARY
Every game I played in MARCH
Every game I played in APRIL
Every game I played in MAY
Every game I played in JUNE
Every game I played in JULY
Every game I played in AUGUST
Every game I played in SEPTEMBER
Every game I played in OCTOBER
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