Oddworld Abe's Oddysee is one of the earliest games I remember playing. This game is super nostalgic to me. It atmosphere in this game is just Godly. The early levels of Rupture Farms especially, which I'd play through over and over as a kid, are just iconic to me. The huge factory with barrels in the background and blood all over the place. It really is unmatched in setting the tone of the horrible world this takes place in, and then you get beautiful locations like the stockyard at night, and the areas with all the giant statues of the unique creatures that inhabit Oddworld.

The game controls very well thanks to the consistency and tightness of controls, like a jump will always move you 2 spaces and a running jump will move you 3.

Gameplay varies between slow stealth sections that involve a lot of waiting, some puzzles which will have you feeling satisfied once you figure out how all the pieces come together and some intense chase sequences with split second decision making to add some faster paced gameplay into the mix. The faster paced parts are a nice break from the majority that require a lot of patience. I don't mind that, but what I do mind is the times when you need to throw a rock/grenade perfectly, and if you miss you need to waste time going back to get more.

It's not perfect, and there's some inclusions in the sequel that this game desperately needed, such a quick save to help with those stingy checkpoints - especially if you're trying to save all the Mudokon's. Also the fact you can only ever have 1 person following you at a time becomes a real time waster in some parts.

I'm also not a big fan of the Elum sections as he tends to be very slippery which makes those jumping sections that require perfect timing harder than it is with Abe who controls so smoothly.

Basically the game is unmatched in its aesthetics, while gameplay is generally very fun and unique, but can become a bit too slow, or even trial-and-error'ry at times.

Anyway I saved 98/99 Mudokon's and now I'm kicking myself for missing 1 and being unable to set the game to mastered :')

Very satisfying fast-paced racing across excellently designed tracks, with plenty of fun things like jumps, half pipes, full pipes and loops.

One aspect of F-Zero X I love is the attacking mechanic. Winning a cup is not all about coming first in every race. While that IS an option (though I tend to think less likely in higher difficulties which require perfect driving), it's much more viable to take out the person currently winning the overall ranking (conveniently labelled "rival") so they get 0 points for a race and effectively remove them as an opponent for the rest of the cup.

The attacking mechanic is also a big risk vs reward factor, as missing a hit could instead have you slamming into a wall, losing health and slowing you down.

Speaking of risk vs reward, making the boost and health system the same bar is so evil and I love it. You really have to balance your greed.

A few things I wasn't a fan of, such as the fact the Ai blatantly cheats. As I mentioned, taking out your rival is a huge part of winning on higher difficulties. Unfortunately the cpu cars basically go way faster than you, so you tend to have only a single chance to knock out a rival at the very start, before they speed past you and get to the front of the pack for the rest of the race. Of course if you're good enough to consistently get to the front in a race you can have another chance, but if you're driving that perfectly AND want to risk your placement by trying to knock out an opponent, I'd say you're good enough to win even without knocking out your rival (at least on Expert, I never tried master and don't intend to).

I know it's a big skill issue, but the #1 tip I always saw for this game was double tap turning. While I could do this perfectly on truly sharp corners, and hairpin turns (which ironically made the later cups slightly easier as that's where they tend to be), it never worked for me at all in the corners that weren't necessarily sharp, but just enough to make me skid if I tried to take them raw. Anytime I tried to do it in those cases I'd just slam in to a wall, and I could never work out how to do it despite watching videos. That bugged me the whole time knowing I could be doing better, but could never get it to work how it's supposed to.

Supposedly the N64 version is the best because the sensitivity of the control stick, and the Switch pro controller just ain't built for the precision needed. That's why I did not feel bad about using save states between some races to win lol.

Anywho it's a really fun game, with exhilarating speed and tracks, with mechanics that can really turn you pro if you want to dig deep, otherwise expert may be a little frustrating (I only did it because it was needed for the credits).

This review contains spoilers

I've played 2 souls games before. One I thought was just below average, and one I thought was just above. So the cultish obsession of this game was a unrelatable to me. So did I feel it up upon playing it? Well...kind of. In the early hours of this game I did love it, but the problem with FromSoft is that it has become clear after playing only 3 of their games that they are unwilling to do anything more than their bread and butter combat and exploration model. It works fine enough in the shorter games, but Elden Ring is a MASSIVE game, and their lack of any kind of change in how they do things becomes all too apparent in the boredom I felt before the half way point.

In fact being FromSoft's bread and butter means it also comes with many of their positives and negatives. A satisfying feeling combat system, which despite barely changing from day 1 has had some additions to vary things up. Though of these combat options many you won't be able to use properly depending on your build, and many are just useless compared to other options. You have "difficulty" that comes in the form of enemies that hit faster and harder than you, with longer reach, and come in groups (though to be fair this game is easily the least guilty of this of the ones I've played - except Haligtree, fuck that area). You have amazing enemy designs and (mostly) fun boss fights. You have lack of QoL features touted as being amazing game design because they don't "hold your hand" when in reality it's just ignoring decades of game improvements, because there's nothing special about making you waste time testing thousands of spells and spirits because the game can't be assed telling you their stats, or making you go in and out of menus because they forgot to implement a comparison feature in shops. And for every quest that actually gives you enough information to complete, there's 2 more which are so needless cryptic on where to go next, or if the game will even hint that the quest DOES continue, so your only options are to look it up, or luck into the next checkpoint and happen to find the next step by accident, which is especially rare now that the game is open world.

I remember one of the best feelings I had with this game in terms of tone was very early on when I spotted a travelling caravan. A bunch of enemies, a caravan and 2 giants pulling it. Killing them was at the time the hardest thing to do, outside of some optional bosses in the early area clearly not made for a new player, so it was fun to face these gigantic threats and get a reward from said caravan. But as you go on you realise you can't judge books by appearances and every area will feature strong and weak enemies no matter how much effort goes into their design. A regular ass bear is one of the most terrifying things you can find in the overworld. Thus any sense of emotion I got from seeing any kind of enemy was nil because its physical warning signs could mean nothing, as opposed to the tiny thing next to it which can pull off a 50 hit combo with no openings.

I know people love to shit on "checklist" open world games, but I at least like them for giving you more stuff to do. Yeah it might just be a bunch of tasks and minigames like races, but I'll take that over literally nothing but the main gameplay played on loop for 100+ hours.

The open world part of the game does help though, mostly in terms of not being roadblocked by a single boss. Being able to go anywhere means you always have options to go explore something new, get stronger and better equipment. But this does of course create balancing issues, in many ways. Though I almost don't think this balancing issue is even DUE to it being open world. The simple fact that most the equipment you find in late game areas being worse than a lot of early game areas is something that should be easily avoidable. One of the best weapons in the game is available right near the starting area... Like I know they probably want to incentivise exploring, but you can still have weapons that are stronger-than-average for the area, while keeping even better weapons in areas that are meant to be played later.

Speaking of exploring though, this is definitely something you can feel them padding out gameplay with. The hundreds of caves/dungeons/mines etc that have basically zero identity because 90% of them feel the same as all the others, and the rewards for them are something you'll likely never use. That's basically what a huge chunk of the playtime in this game boiled down to for me; going through optional areas, fighting through tough enemies and platforming sections so I can get a chest with an item that is worthless.

I guess there is some benefit to this though, since having so much content, but making so much of it pointless, means you never have to worry about missing stuff. I did a TON of things in the game, but I still know I probably missed many hidden locations, or quests etc, and I don't necessarily feel like I missed out because I know what I found in them wouldn't be used by me anyway.

Anyway that's my jumbled thoughts on this game I guess. I'm sure I could say a bunch more stuff if I just sat and thought about it, but I'm about ready to move on from this game. When it started I was thinking of giving this a 9, but by the end I was forcing myself to go through the same motions with nothing to excite me, and all I can give it is an unenthusiastic 7. It's a 50 hour game in a 100+ hour body.

This game gives some great tools for a run and gun game, such as a satisfying dash move, which deals explosive damage at full health, a "counter" which turns projectiles into health, or reflects them back to the enemies, and 6 weapons balanced around their power and ammo drain.

The problems I have with Alien Soldier are that the actual levels feel tacked on. It's effectively a boss rush game, but for some reason you spend about 30 minutes in small corridor sections getting past easy enemies. It's not that these sections are completely pointless, they essentially let you get health and ammo between bosses, but they're so easy and short that you wonder why they bother putting enemies there at all instead of just giving you the free stuff between short corridors.

The game needed to be able to automatically swap weapons when one runs out of ammo, or have weapon swapping be a single button press. Trying to change weapons in the middle of a boss battle is a guarantee hit because of how little breathing room there is.

Some weapons also just flat out don't work on some bosses and I wasn't sure why that was.

Bosses themselves generally vary too much in difficulty, and definitely not in a linear way. Some of the earlier bosses were way harder than some of the ones in the later ones. In fact stage 20 has by far the hardest boss in the game, not only because it's 5 phases, but because the last phase is some true bullshit where you need to hit very specific parts of the boss (and the homing weapon doesn't work here), while dodging mines AND the bosses limbs. And since you're floating the entire time you can only dash left and right, not up and down. By contrast the stage 21 boss was one of the easiest in the game, and even the final boss is a complete joke once you work out how to damage it.

This game has all the tools for a fantastic game in its genre, but instead kinda just does the bare minimum with it. At least the bosses are generally fun, with 1 or 2 exceptions.

This review contains spoilers

Psychonauts makes full use of its concept, allowing it to make every level thematically different while keeping to a more structured story. This even extends to collectibles, as you have things like "emotional baggage" or "mental cobwebs". The basic collectable equivalent to Mario's coins are "figments", neon coloured flat images representing static memories. The whole premise also means each level delves a little bit into a characters personality.

Not only are the levels themes different, but even their general genres, as you have platformers, action or puzzle based stages among others.

All this does lead to a bit of inconsistency in game quality, but I don't think there were any truly bad levels, just some that were better than others. And even the less enjoyable ones to play were kept entertaining thanks to the games comedic qualities.

The hub of this world is pretty well designed too. At least for the first half, as you have all the camp kids spread across the areas of the camp, each with little their own little stories going on. As I said though, this only extends about half way, as the kids all become literally braindead after that, so the hub world exists merely to get from point A to point B.

The game is an overall really fun playthrough, with a very 2000's Nickelodeon charm to everything, with a pinch of Tim Burton character design. It shows its age a little with the mechanical aspects, most notably the camera, but never becoming a hinderance, more just realising how far we've come since 2005.

Pretty fun with, as the title suggests, friends. Some extremely interesting course designs that often feel more like puzzles or rollercoasters than golf courses. Visuals can get glitchy though, especially when playing user created levels.

The course design improves so so much on the first game. Not only are there more imaginative themes (Micro Machines did a pinball and music track before Mario Kart), but the use of elements from the themes are so much better implemented, like riding a sponge.

It feels a lot faster, which is complimented by an actual braking feature. Unfortunately the screen size still makes it near impossible to play without knowing the tracks beforehand. Not helped by the insanely buffed Ai in single player modes.

I think this game would feel amazing to master, but for someone just trying to get a rush of nostalgia, it can be a bit of a frustration trying to compete with perfect Ai on courses that move way too fast for you to react.

This games ability to turn every day settings into race courses is charming. Things like the race track lines changing depending on the location, such as using cereal in a kitchen, is creative. And you even get different vehicles for each of these settings, with their own speed and handling. Though that's not always a good thing...

The main problem I have with the game is that the camera makes it nearly impossible to play a lot of the courses without memorising them ahead of time. You have split seconds to react to turns and obstacles. In some vehicles this isn't too bad, but some of the faster ones can be a nightmare. The worst of these by FAR are the sports cars in the classroom stages. They're super fast and their handling is pure shit. Plus they decided to make these the courses with the most obstacles and falling points?? While I could at least say all the other vehicles and courses could be played well if you know their layout, the sports car stages are pure frustration. Trying to line your car up to a tiny ruler bridge after a turn is near impossible. They are single-handedly the reason I couldn't do the 25-track-straight single player mode.

Basically the game does a great job at making use of the theming of the tracks to create unique track elements, but the camera angle makes it very unforgiving to anyone not intimately familiar with the courses already. And classroom tracks can go to hell.

This review contains spoilers

Act 1 starts the game off incredibly strong with a good mix of atmosphere, roguelike elements, puzzles and most of all a fun card game. The game takes full advantage of being a single player digital card game in its creative bosses.

Act 2 hurt the game a lot. It's now a deck building game with no punishment for dying. The pixel art style doesn't have anywhere near the same effect, and for a card game it especially sucks as there's no cool art on the cards anymore, which especially hurts as the game gives you a ton of new mechanics, so trying to learn the new cards based on crappy pixel scribbles makes deck building more tedious than it should be. It does more or less keep the good writing and fun bosses from before though, and while I think the puzzles aren't implemented nearly as well, there's still some rewards for exploration.

Act 3 basically puts itself in the middle, by bringing back the roguelike elements of building your deck based on random choices, but you can no longer pick which path to take and thus which kinds of choices you'll be given. Instead its just a case of randomly finding buffs or new cards on the ground. It also brings back "punishments" for dying, but being relatively light and only setting you back to the past checkpoints.

I felt like act 3 had the weakest of the card games, and while they expand some mechanics as you progress (which were already seen in act 2...), by the time you've finally got an interesting card game to play you only have a couple of opponents left. But the highlight of act 3 is definitely how it capitalises on the crazy bosses. Act 3's bosses are some of the most memorable not just in card games but gaming in general.

The epilogue had some neat ideas, but it was purely story and the card games are just window dressing. This is especially the case in the very last one, which presents a really neat Yu-Gi-Oh set up, but then takes like 5 minutes of mindless playing with zero strategy as the story slowly happens in the background.

Overall I'd say Inscryption is a game that starts very strong and while it never gets "bad", 2/3rds of the game are simply only playable thanks to the huge effort on part 1 to hook you into the world and story.

This review contains spoilers

Kirbo and the Forgotten Lands is the first Pink Puffball game I've ever really gotten in to, so the transition to 3D wasn't really that big of a deal for me.

Ultimately the game is very fun, but nothing overly special. Comparing it to 3D world is pretty apt, though I feel 3D world did a better job at keeping levels fresh with a bunch of gimmicks and unique locations. Kirby switches between fun locations like malls and theme parks, but also has a bunch of levels that are just generic video game worlds in desert land, ice land, water land etc.

It has a much smaller amount of copy abilities than I was expecting, but at least they can be upgraded multiple times to keep things fresh. The mouthful mode was fine, but for the most part it seemed overused and only for the most basic of basic puzzles. I preferred the traversal ones like the car, rollercoaster and flying for the sake of switching up to a faster paced gameplay compared to "Get a mouthful of water and shoot at the gooey stuff".

The last boss is absolutely wild with how you take it down. One of the most memorable final boss cutscenes ever.

The game also has a fairly challenging postgame which was nice. It basically takes another page of 3D worlds book by reusing old levels and bosses and essentially making it "hard mode". A tiny bit grindy if you're going for 100% thanks to the gotcha capsules though.

The Ai in this game is built different. They used cheat codes to unlock 200cc two decades early.

Interesting physics based puzzle game which is kinda let down by the flappy bird mechanics and unnecessary auto scrolling.

It is a very hard game, but luckily its super generous with checkpoints and load times, so a death is never a big deal and you find you'll just brute force your way through most levels. God help the person who tries to 100% the game though.

A big issue I have with this game is the structure. For the first 60% of the levels it has a very constant process of introducing a new mechanic/power-up and then having 10 levels based on that before introducing a new one. But the levels are pretty long, so 10 of them in a row gets very repetitive. The thing is, after you get through those first 60 levels the last 40 (20 main game + 20 bonus levels) all take a different approach of having a different gimmick for each level, making them all fresh and make the game feel far better paced. If it was just bonus levels I guess I'd understand, but I don't get why the last 20 levels in the main game itself has such a massively different, and better, approach compared to the stagnant feel of the majority of it. If the whole game was like these later levels, I'd probably give it a 2.5, or I might have even given it a 3.

It's a port of a mobile game on consoles and yeah it feels like it.

This review contains spoilers

There's a ton of activities to do, some of which are story heavy, some are puzzles, some will test your skills in particular areas of combat and some are nice quick easy stuff you can do if you don't have much time. And I'm glad for the downtime because this game is heavy on dialogue. There's so much of it, and the fact a lot of it comes from dialogue trees makes conversations feel really unnatural most of the time. It doesn't help that the main characters voice has exactly 1 emotion and all her lines are delivered with the exact same bored voice regardless of context.

The story is decent, and it sets up a sequel perfectly. But I just really think the game is too exposition heavy which bloats the amount of time spent listening to long-winded conversations. Then there's hundreds of datapoints to be found and read which is something I never like in games, much less in one that already has you sit through this much talking just to get through a side quest. They obviously like world-building and it's nice to see how they differentiated all the tribes and whatnot, but...damn sometimes I just wanna play the game without worrying I need to read this small villages entire history before I can go save random NPC from a machine y'know?

Battle system is really fun with dozens of ways to approach it. Especially when fighting the truly huge machines. It really feels like an event to take them down, more so if you're trying to shoot off certain materials.

While it's been a long time since I played the original game, I know there's at least a few QoL additions, especially being able to gather more material than you can carry as the extras go into your stash. You can also fly on machines now in the end-game. It is at the core the same game though, just bigger.

I know the "checkbox" open world games get a lot of flack, but I find them quite fun to go through. Plus going through skill trees as you get rewards for the checklist items is satisfying.

Some parts of Chocobo GP are really good. The actual racing is fun, though a bit weightless feeling, so it has the core part down. It has a ton of characters, each with their own unique vehicles which show off a ton of personality, and each racer also has their own "ultimate" move, which admittedly doesn't feel like they balanced them, but it's a kart racer so I don't care about one ability being a little better than another that much. The item system itself is great, using something that makes sense in-universe while also being a more complicated system than most kart racers. You can hold up to 3 tiers of an item to keep it boosted, so you're constantly figuring out whether the best play is to use your item now or wait and strengthen it up. Even the item boxes have some nuance to them as there's 3 types - copper is basically trash that just gives a random item, blue will give you +1 of whatever item you're currently holding, and gold will give you 2 items at once. So the best play is to get gold first then blue. But of course in the heat of the race it isn't always possible, and sometimes copper is all you can grab. It adds a whole layer to the racing and it's great.

Story mode is...fiiiine. The dialogue is super cheesy and cringey, but it also has its own little charm?

Online mode is interesting. It's a 64 person tournament where you need to play in the top 4 to move to the next round. It's fun, and adds a bit more strategy since other than the finals you might be more interested in making sure player #5 doesn't pass you than using your items to pass player #3. But it has a big problem - the lack of regular online races means this games online will be unplayable before long. Needing 64 players for one online game is not going to work well for a game that will likely struggle to hit those numbers in a couple of weeks.

But the whole game is let down by 2 big things. The first is of course the microtransactions. Literally everyone has spoke about them. The fact they exist in a paid game is just disgusting. They should have made it a free to play game if they wanted a battle pass system.

But the other big problem is the damn tracks. Now, they LOOK great (aesthetically anyway, visually they're fine but not gonna be noted for being good or bad), but there's a huge lack of them. There's 9 "themes" and then most themes have 2-3 variants. The problems with this is that most variants don't feel different enough, so it really does feel like there's only 9 tracks, but also every damn track is super short. There's one track that's just a circle, like baby park, but it sticks with the 3 laps. The variants of tracks tend to fall into (Short) and (Long). Short ones can tend to be finished in under a minute and long ones are lucky to last 2 minutes. It's such a huge disappointment because the tracks themselves are really good, but the fact there's so few of them, and the fact they're over so quick means the game looses a LOT of replayability as you go through its minimal content so many times in such a short span.

Boosting lap amounts to 4-6 depending on track length could have helped, but it'd still have felt low in variety.

Chocobo GP already had some balls to show up as an exclusive on the console with the behemoth that is Mario Kart, but it could still have at least been a niche title for Final Fantasy fans, or just kart racers who wanted something new. Instead feels like a huge waste of potential as you have so little to race on, and get so much locked behind paywalls.

Loses points for having a bug that completely reset my progress when I started the DLC. I won't really review the game itself since I've got individual reviews of the main game & all DLC.