And so we cap off April. It was certainly an interesting month. Where I’m at we got a couple days of spring weather, but also more snow. April is weird.
Best performer: Getting the Read: Fighting Game Literacy
Stats wise April was a fine month if you just look at the numbers, but a lot of that traffic came at the tail end of the month. I’m glad my article on gaming literacy did quite well because I really enjoyed writing it. Oddly enough it is one of my longer pieces, but was rather effortless to write and edit. I guess when you really enjoy a particular subject its easy to write exhaustive posts about it. Who’d have thought.
I also experimented with a new style of writing. Usually I do everything serially. That is to say I start a post, finish it, and move onto the next. Unfortunately if I don’t get an idea out of my head fast enough I lose it and that’s really frustrating. As an alternative I decided to do all my writing while I had ideas and then do editing when the well was tapped dry. This helped me get all my ideas out which was good, but it also meant I wasn’t writing as regularly which was not good. I think I’m still going to stick with it, but the style might need some fine tuning so that I stay in the habit of writing.
Some of you will also notice a lack of an art section in this post. I haven’t felt particularly interested in drawing anything this month so I didn’t. I had a few pieces I started, but they didn’t really pan out the way I wanted so that took the wind out of my sails. Such is the way of things.
Here’s hoping the warmer weather in May helps with the general slump.
This was the month that I finally decided to tackle Disgaea and regular listeners of the podcast will know that I really enjoyed it. The game has mechanics that lend themselves to allowing players to constantly make decisions that meaningfully affect combat and determine the difference between winning and losing. It isn’t the most complex thing that I’ve played, but it has a lot of room for players to really dig in and break the game open if they so choose. All in all it’s a good time.
The aspect of Disgaea that has stood out the most to me is the item dungeons. Every item in the game is a dungeon and running said dungeon will power up the associated item. By doing this you can train your characters while improving the power of their equipment, so there is dual benefits to this mechanic. In addition, the dungeons themselves play out very similarly to classic Mystery Dungeon style dungeons where delving deep into them requires a lot of resource planning on top of smart moment to moment decision making. I’ve had a LOT of fun messing around with this feature and believe it is what turns Disgaea from an alright game into a great one.
I know I said it in another recent post, but I’m glad AK got my attention turned onto Disgaea.
Also Etna is great.
A Short Hike
This was a game I downloaded a while ago after purchasing the itch.io mega bundle last year and I’m glad I finally got around to playing it. The game is exactly what’s on the tin: you go for a short hike. A Short Hike isn’t the most engaging or revolutionary thing I played, but it was a nice little experience to play through over the course of an evening after a hard day at work. The game also feels like a reminder that it doesn’t matter how long it takes to get where you’re going or how many stumbling blocks you run into as long as you eventually get there.
In a similar vein, Lenna’s Inception was another game I downloaded from the mega bundle. It looks like yet another bog-standard indie Zelda clone and for a portion of its runtime it absolutely is. However, the game has an air of self awareness and eventually devolves into the hero hacking the game world to solve various puzzles. It was a lot of fun and reminded me of some of the meta level stuff I’ve seen in other games like Baba is You.
If you consider yourself a fan of Zelda style adventures I absolutely think you should check out Lenna’s Inception. It is well worth your time, especially once it comes into its own in the second half.
Turnip Boy Commit Tax Evasion
Jason bought me this one as a gift and…well he already knows that I wasn’t much a fan of it.
Turnip Boy leans very heavily into being funny and at times it is, but I didn’t find it all that fun to play which was a problem. Whenever a joke fell flat it fell even harder because the game wasn’t engaging me all too well. As a result I was rather glad to finally see Turnip Boy’s credits roll after finishing the sub two hour journey.
This could just be a case of the game not being for me, but I think there are far better adventure puzzle games (ex: Lenna’s Inception) that one could be playing instead.
And finally we have Titanfall 2. I have a lot that I’d like to say about this game in another article, so I think I’ll keep things brief here.
Given the reputation this game has I figured it would be a lot better than it was. Overall I thought it was fine, but a little disappointing. There is a much better game here, but it is one where the development was entirely focused on delivering an incredible single player campaign. Instead we received an alright single player campaign that fails to utilize some of the game’s most interesting core mechanics, but it did manage to shut everyone up who complained about the original Titanfall not having a single player mode. For as fun as it was I honestly think Respawn should have doubled down on doing multiplayer only titles, which they ultimately ended up doing with Apex Legends.
More on Titanfall 2 is coming so stay tuned if you’re interested.
Also, as a bit of house keeping I played Luigi’s Mansion 3 and Firewatch in April but I don’t have anything additional to say that I didn’t already say in the linked articles. If you missed ’em, now is a great time to read my extended thoughts.
As always, here are five posts from around the blogging community that were posted in April that you should read if you haven’t already.
AK | Everything is Bad for You – A review of Perfect Blue
Quietshisto | RNG – Does this need to be a video game? – The Narrative
Kim | Later Levels – My introduction to speedrunning: right game, right time
Athena | AmbiGaming – Completely WAU’d: A Case for Life in the Matrix
Irina | I drink and watch anime – When Anime Fans Hate Anime
Well that wraps things up for this month. Thank you for reading and hopefully I’ll see you in future posts. Until then stay safe out there.