13 Reviews liked by Breadmaster

Maybe it's just cause I played it more as a kid but I prefer this over Smash TV

A really ambitious and cool idea, but its physics are too difficult to follow. It's constantly unclear where I'm dropping my pieces, and it's difficult to line them up. The pieces are randomized in such a way that you can unpredictably fail, and it's just frustrating instead of exciting. Cool idea, but deeply infuriating to play.

It tried something new but failed to execute it somewhat well. It could be fun multiplayer if only it wasn't so confusing.

It's sad realizing this is where the series peaks and it won't get any better than this.
In my youth, Pokemon was a pretty big thing for me, though I never played the games in the same trajectory as my peers. While many of the kids around me were on the GBA releases, I was on the original GameBoy and GBC, courtesy of a cousin who gave me those games and a GameBoy color for free (items I still have and cherish to this day). It wasn't until I had begged and pleaded my parents to buy me Pokemon Diamond the year it came out that I ever got to play a title while it was "fresh." I justified the $40 purchase from my parents - which they remarked was very hard on them to justify that much for a video game considering how hard they were hit by the financial crisis of the time; plugging away at it day after day going beyond the endgame, and even meeting friends through the online service, obtaining a few rad (and many hacked) Pokemon. Diamond is where I would drop off, though. With my family refusing to nab me Platinum because they said "I already had that game," I fell off naturally as I couldn't keep up. That is why returning to the series years later, with copies bestowed upon me from a good friend and some smart pawn shop purchases a while ago, has meant a lot to me.
For a long while I had heard about what I missed out on from the fifth Pokemon generation. I was lumped in with the group of naive haters that hadn't even played the game, giving it shit for no good reason. "The designs suck," "it looks old," and the eventual "it's just a game for dumb babies" were insults lugged by me and many others; I cannot be happier to eat crow on those words I said so long ago.
Pokemon Black has its fair share of issues, but as a standalone, single-player experience, it is the series in top form. To start, it's a blessing that Black bucked the trend of the time of increasing the scale and scope of the included Pokemon by forcing the player to engage with entirely new creatures. This was very controversial, but seeing how the rest of the series pans out, it's refreshing to not have Pidgeys shoved down your throat everywhere, and had to learn a new way to party build. I felt genuine challenge prepping up for unpredictable fights with Pokemon I did not - or just barely - recognize. Obviously not every visual design is a winner. Every Pokemon generation has its fair share of wonderful designs and bottom of the kindergarten trashbin. Generation 5's boldness to force you to use these new Mons actually made me fall in love with a few I had issues with previously, and turned me onto ones I hadn't known were from this generation/ones I just hadn't seen at all. It was exhilarating to try new things and focus on new strategies unlike the usual party formation/brute force that has gotten me through all of the entries to this point.
Black's difficulty ebbs and flows in a mostly natural way, balancing well despite a few new curveballs put into the gym structure we used to know. Gyms swapping their predicted types around and constructing a new elite four/champion structure gave a new, welcomed sense of difficulty for the most part. Leading up to the eighth gym badge, the game kept a natural curve going that was tough but manageable. Sadly, the final stretch to the elite four dropped the ball and became a 5+ hour grind fest that turned me off from exploring further. Finally rolling credits felt hard-earned, but not entirely for the reasons I had hoped. I would have preferred the ending of this experience not having featured a several hour-long Durant farming spree.
Loading the game back up and beginning to engage with the endgame content also turned me off from playing further. Trainer levels rapidly increasing and wild Pokemon hovering in significantly lower levels turned me off from the further grind. I understand that these games are made to maximize your investment, and if I was 12 years old playing this fresh, I gladly would have 100%'d Black like I did with Diamond back in the day. This just isn't structured for a busy adult who wants to play these games but doesn't want to commit their life to them, and that's okay.
The overall presentation of Black is where it stands the strongest besides its revamped game structure. The new music tracks are some of the hardest in the series, and many of the new locations are beautiful for such antiquated hardware of the time. It can still feel a little puzzling why a first-party DS release came out so late in its lifecycle, but it's undeniable how much effort was poured into the audio/visual presentation: animated Pokemon models, massive 3D structures, triple rotation battles, and a greater sense of elevation; Pokemon has not looked or sounded this good up to this point.
Naturally, when concluding my time with this game, I had to transfer the Pokemon I acquired through SoulSilver and Diamond into Black, and said process sucks. Having the six monster transfer limit at a time is a pain but is only amplified with this antiquated touch-screen mini-game where you have to re-catch your Pokemon over again. I suppose this is a far faster way to acquire your old Pokemon than Diamond's pseudo-safari zone, but it's arguably less fun. I have already moved these old Pokemon from Black to Bank and now Home to remove the temptation of using them in any of the further titles. Going through the process of moving all of these Pokemon has been cathartic to reach a point where all the PC boxes are now connected and you no longer have to play garbage arcade games to move pitiful amounts of creatures around at a time.
I may emulate Black/White 2 at some point in the future, but I want to continue on with the physical cartidges I have for the rest of the generations. As I said earlier, it's bittersweet that this is considered the series peak, and my expectations are pretty low for the following few titles. I would hope that some point in the future, Game Freak (or a third party studio who has the budget and gives a damn) can produce a loving remake of this game, and remind people why this generation is as reveered as it is. My only regret here is just that I did not get to this game sooner, especially while it was relevant so I could've used all of its C-Gear features and accessing the browser game to transfer unique versions of old Pokemon.

I want to like this game. There is a lot of charm and care here. Playing it is just a clunky mess.

HOURS of gameplay. gets a bit repetitive, especially in later levels.

More of the same, but with a bit more emphasis on using Bugsnax to solve environmental puzzles. Kinda wish the DLC chapter had taken place after the main story instead of during it, but still well worth your time as long as you enjoyed the original game.

Just to quickly explain this game, One Person Story is supposed to be a game giving life lessons, which apparently blur real life and the game (?), and are also hints to each level. Now, let’s get to this garbage!

Oooh boy, this game’s not good! The best way to describe One Person Story is that it’s pretentious. It thinks it knows what it’s talking about, while that could not be further from the truth. It takes a random turn at the end where the narrator wants to commit suicide, while the whole game, she’s just been spewing out generic “inspirational” quotes that you’d find on social media. If there was a build up to that, maybe even mentioning a good while before she turns to that, like maybe that she’s telling herself these meaningless quotes to maker herself feel better, and that it’s not working, and maybe have her commentary get grimmer, and less hopeful, reflecting her degrading mental state, but the game doesn’t do that. If anything it romanticizes suicide, because if you take the jump route instead of the not jump route (I took jump accidentally), her friends end up somehow catching her off of a cliff, and everything was okay again. THAT’S NOT HOW IT WORKS. I know I’m not one to talk, because my mental state has never gotten to the point where I ever attempted suicide, but I think it’s pretty obvious that this game doesn’t know what it’s talking about. It just decided to jump on the mental health game bandwagon, and tried to make something deep, meaningful, relatable, and maybe even inspirational, but it falls flat on all of those fronts.
Now, the gameplay, is not engaging or good at all! Just to add on to this already awful game! The gameplay can get annoyingly difficult on certain levels, especially since you don’t have control on the ball “character” itself, and somehow you’re supposed to move it with opening and closing doors, while it just gets stuck on corners most of time, which hampers on the impossible-to-understand timing.
The music is the same piano song for a hundred levels. IT’S THE SAME BORING, BLAND, AND ANNOYING SONG FOR A HUNDRED LEVELS!!! Imagine that, and the game takes two hours to finish. The same song for TWO HOURS.
Bottom line is: If your looking for a good, and educational video game about mental health, this is NOT that!!! DON’T waste your three dollars on it! It is not worth it! Buy something like Hellblade, and maybe Fractured Minds instead (which is a blind recommendation, since I still have to play it, but I have faith in it!).
Edit: Just finished Fractured Minds; it comes from a genuine place, but the execution is really no so good or coherent. Ideas don’t feel very fleshed out, and just bounces from one to the next. I still respect that it was made by one person across a ten month span, and that the majority of the proceeds go to a video game/mental health charity (I forgot the name). It’s worth a try, especially to donate a few bucks, but Hellblade seems like a much safer and better bet.

My friends didn't get super pissed at me when playing so better than the real thing

Puzzles should be a standard part of all MTG video games.

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