In life, there is only one rule I try to abide by: live your life without regrets. After squandering so many opportunities throughout my time, I decided one day that enough was enough. Now I ask myself the following whenever I’m presented with a decision: how are you going to feel if you don’t do this? If I determine that I’ll regret ignoring it, then I jump on the opportunity.

While my philosophy of living without regret manifests daily, the best recent example of it would be Chives. I was out on a walk and saw a stray cat curled up in a bush. She clearly needed medical attention as her eye was all goobery. I decided to take her home, and nurse her back to health. Ever since I’ve had a tiny white goblin running around my living quarters.

Adopting Chives was a fairly big decision to make, but I’m glad I did. It felt good. Unfortunately, I’ve not been as successful at following my golden rule with my blogging. There’ve been a couple games I’ve wanted to cover this year, but haven’t for one reason or another. Today we rectify that. I’m committed to sharing my thoughts on 3 different games: Super Auto Pets, Citizen Sleeper, and Monster Hunter Stories 2. They’re all pretty cool for a variety of different reasons, so let’s dive into why that is.

Super Auto Pets

Be honest: have you ever heard of the Auto Battler genre? I’m guessing not. Back in 2019, Auto Battlers (aka Auto Chess) were hyped up as being the next big thing in competitive gaming. The genre started out as a DotA 2 mod called DotA Auto Chess, which both Valve and Riot spun off into fully featured games. Despite this enormous developer support, interest in the genre seemed to peak very quickly, before plunging off a cliff.

A battle in Super Auto Pets

I don’t know why interest in Auto Battlers dropped off, but I do know Super Auto Pets is really fun. It doesn’t break any new ground in the genre: you’re still assembling a team using a limited pool of resources before relinquishing control to an AI that does battle on your behalf. However, you get to make your team out of cute animals, and that makes Super Auto Pets 100 times better than whatever Riot’s thrown together. Just look at how happy this turtle is. How can you say no to that face?

The smiling turtle character from Super Auto Pets

Adorableness aside, Super Auto Pets’ biggest strength is how little time it asks players to commit to it. This was a big part of why it became my go-to time killer for a few months. Rounds are relatively quick, and your progress is suspended whenever you leave despite it being a multiplayer game. In a somewhat ironic twist, I actually spent more time on this game because of how little it asked from me. It’s good, simple fun.

Plus it’s free.

Do you really need more convincing to try out Super Auto Pets? I didn’t think so.

Citizen Sleeper

I have a confession: I’m not much of a reader. While I spend time reading content by other bloggers, my enthusiasm for reading doesn’t extend much beyond blogging. Being forced to read thousands of pages of incredibly uninteresting material throughout my formative years didn’t help me develop the best relationship with books. I wasn’t exactly running to the library to pick up something new to read after finishing Catcher in the Rye, or Fahrenheit 451

That same bias against reading carries over to games as well. I’m always of the mindset that if your game could give players the same experience as a book then you’ve missed the point. Video games are both a visual, and interactive medium. If you don’t utilize both then maybe your story is better suited to the confines of another medium. Even so, there are some titles that transcend my personal hatred of reading, and I’m proud to announce that Citizen Sleeper is one such game.

Speaking to the mercenary Ankhita about her broken spaceship in Citizen Sleeper

It helps that the stellar writing is backed by some solid role-playing underpinnings. Each in-game day, players will have to make a number of decisions with permanent lasting consequences. Each of these, positive or negative, is explored in great detail making any result feel like one worth experiencing. This culminates in a role-playing journey that had me sitting at the edge of my seat for the majority of its runtime. The only game I can think of in recent memory that hit the same way was Disco Elysium, and, while Citizen Sleeper is smaller in scope, that’s fairly high praise.

Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin

Yes, I’m writing about a turn-based JRPG – one that I actually enjoyed playing. I picked up Wings of Ruin on a whim after hearing it favourably compared to Pokémon. You know what? That was a really good comparison. The game managed to capture the same feel that Pokémon gives me, while cutting out a lot of the bullshit. Yay.

The one major issue I’ve always had with Pokémon is the combat isn’t overly fun. It can be when you’re playing another human, but most of the game sees you beating thousands of punching bags for experience points. It gets old very fast. Wings of Ruin does away with this by having a far more generous experience curve, faster fights, and no random encounters. As a result, most of the game is focused on finding cool new looking creatures, and using them to beat the shit out of one another.

A Rathalos fighting an enraged Tigrex in Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin

I think it’d be unfair to not mention that part of my enjoyment here stemmed from my existing love of Monster Hunter. The battle mechanics are a simplified turn-based version of the action combat from the mainline games, but it works quite well. The iconic designs of Monster Hunter’s various monsters also goes a long way in carrying the experience. You can’t have a creature collecting RPG without cool looking characters to fight alongside, and this is an area where Monster Hunter has always excelled. It all makes for a surprisingly entertaining spin-off game.

I don’t know that it’d be to everyone’s tastes, but  Monster Hunter Stories 2 hit all the right notes for me. The combat was snappy, there wasn’t much grinding, and the creature designs were on-point. That’s all I really need from a Pokémon style RPG.

There you have it. 3 cool games I played over the past 3 months that I otherwise didn’t write about. I believe they’re all worth a look, albeit they might be a bit specialized in their appeal. Either way, if anyone reading this article picks up any of the games, or is planning on doing so I’d enjoy hearing about your experience.

Until next time – thanks for reading.