My ratings here skew high, since I try to avoid games I think will be bad, and I haven't bothered to rate a lot of games I've played over the years. VNs/VN-adjacents unscored.
1/5 - Minimal value OR destructive to the medium
3/5 - Inoffensive and pleasant OR major strengths contested by critical flaws
5/5 - Relentlessly polished, minimal flaws OR peerless and groundbreaking in some aspect
Personal Ratings



Played 100+ games


Gained 300+ total review likes


Mentioned by another user

Gone Gold

Received 5+ likes on a review while featured on the front page

Trend Setter

Gained 50+ followers


Gained 100+ total review likes


Voted for at least 3 features on the roadmap

1 Years of Service

Being part of the Backloggd community for 1 year


Liked 50+ reviews / lists


Gained 15+ followers


Gained 10+ total review likes

Well Written

Gained 10+ likes on a single review

Best Friends

Become mutual friends with at least 3 others


Gained 3+ followers

Busy Day

Journaled 5+ games in a single day

Favorite Games

Zone of The Enders: The 2nd Runner Mars
Zone of The Enders: The 2nd Runner Mars
Rain World
Rain World
Monster Hunter Freedom Unite
Monster Hunter Freedom Unite
Doom II: Hell on Earth
Doom II: Hell on Earth
Super Metroid
Super Metroid


Total Games Played


Played in 2023


Games Backloggd

Recently Played See More

Heisei Pistol Show
Heisei Pistol Show

Sep 19

Umineko: When They Cry
Umineko: When They Cry

Sep 19

The House in Fata Morgana
The House in Fata Morgana

Sep 19

Disco Elysium: The Final Cut
Disco Elysium: The Final Cut

Sep 19

Nioh 2
Nioh 2

Sep 09

Recently Reviewed See More

In a vacuum, this game is pretty good: that's what you get for inheriting one of the best combat systems of all time. But as a Monster Hunter game, it's hard not to see this as a big misstep in 2023, especially after Sunbreak. In retrospect, Rise reads like a 5th gen regression from GU, which is insane considering how scattershot and unpolished that game is. Some of it is undoubtedly because of Covid development issues (they literally had to add the last fourth of the game in post-release), but a lot is fundamentally misguided.
Last year I discussed many of my problems in the context of Sunbreak, and those all still apply to base Rise, but with even greater severity in some cases. Some additional points:
The nicest thing I have to say is probably the structure, which streamlines by picking some low-hanging fruit (minimal gathering quests, skip some overlapping village/hub progression). Of course this is also undermined by annoying aspects like Rampage (a worthless dev timesink similar to Zorah Magdaros in World) and obtuse unlock requirements for Switch Skills which hinders experimentation, but on the whole it's probably the best in the series.
What's crazy is that copy-pasting the GU Hunter Arts system would have been significantly better than the existing silkbind system, in the sense that the separate meters at least prevents one imbalanced move from sucking the air away from all the others, as well as encouraging aggression through meter buildup by attacking.
Moreover, GU's quantity over quality approach in styles and arts arguably worked better in producing actually fun playstyles, just by trying so many things that some ended up turning out well. Nothing in Rise is as blatantly busted as Absolute Readiness in GU, but on the other hand none of the parry moves in Rise are nearly as well-balanced as Critical Juncture from GU.
The increase in parry moves in Rise (and 5th gen more broadly) also goes against a huge strength of the series's combat: dynamic defensive play. As I examine in this post, one of the remarkable things about MonHun is how the roll iframes are balanced against the size and speed of the hitboxes such that the timing and direction needed is situation-dependent. Parries and lengthy iframe moves such as LS's foresight slash subvert this by covering a variety of situations with the same input, which in turn lessens the need for good positioning in advance. (Small note of praise: it seems like the base iframes on the roll have been reduced in Rise, which actually makes sense as correcting for the trend of smaller and faster hitboxes.)
Adding wirebug movement is cool in theory, but in practice, it's really difficult to imagine how they could have gotten this right. A huge tenet of Monhun combat is how your offense and defense are heavily intertwined through positioning, and it's easy to see how powerful fast movement is if you play Insect Glaive or Hunting Horn. Changing movement presents a huge risk of either breaking the dynamic or not really doing anything. Rise wirebug movement ended up being the latter, where it's mostly limited to catching up to a monster, occasionally dodging a few attacks like Mizutsune beam, or moving around the map (which is actually super fun!).
The difficulty of the game has been discussed many times, but even putting aside systemic concerns such as restock and damage values, what's baffling to me is how so many returning monsters (ex. Rajang, Nargacuga, Tigrex) are effectively slowed down versions of their GU counterparts, in a game which has the least player commitment and highest average weapon mobility. It's even more blatantly obvious in retrospect, after most of these monsters got extensive AI reworks in Sunbreak.
Brief dishonorable mention to the Hunting Horn: for a weapon which has always had great gameplay but lackluster damage output, Capcom decided that the appropriate course of action was to totally redo the moveset from a long range poking weapon with weird attack angles and buffs to a spammy close range washing machine that my friend described as "something out of God Eater."
This is something that I mentioned already in the Sunbreak review, but funnily enough has become one of my top sticking points with 5th gen MonHun: the gamefeel. I'm no animation expert, so I can't give a detailed dissection, but the less snappy animations somehow give the game this strange syrupy quality. I genuinely don't understand how something like Surge Slash GS in Sunbreak, which is the best weapon idea MonHun has had in years, feels so awkward to use despite really not being that different from an old MonHun weapon mechanically.
For what it's worth, I find it difficult to imagine them iterating on this set of mechanics in the future. But I'm sure MH6 will have many, many problems of its own making...

(Completed debt, game dropped afterwards)
Frustrating. Despite this being my least favorite Pikmin by far, I actually do see the gameplay vision, and the aesthetic is very charming! But this is simply not a game playing to its strengths, and filled with too many frustrations to list.
The most obvious change is that this game has no time limit. Pikmin 1's time limit was a non-issue if you were decently good, but its removal signals a shift away from time efficiency being the major driver. Okay, so what is the driver then? Well, the combat... kinda.
On paper, and to some degree in practice, this is actually a fine idea. Swarming controls strike a balance between immediacy and indirectness that makes positioning engaging, especially amidst the chaos that erupts while trying to aim thrown Pikmin, call stray ones back, and dodge attacks. Some improvements to the controls from Pikmin 1, especially around selecting thrown Pikmin, support this without hampering tactility too much, and the Pikmin 2 enemy roster is far more creative, challenging, and dynamic than 1's.
The problem is that the level design is consistently terrible at actually inducing these types of scenarios. Overworld stages are downgraded remixes of Pikmin 1 levels, especially embarrassing compared to Pikmin 3's Mission Mode. But the real meat of the game, the caves, is somehow even worse. This is some of the most dry, sterile procgen I've ever seen, almost deliberately placing obstacles to encourage slow, grindy, safe clears. Everything is mostly cordoned off into their own "handmade" rooms, so that you tackle enemies and hazards sequentially instead of simultaneously. Many "lock-and-key" effects like fire traps, poison traps, electric beetles, etc. are actually more flexible than they seem, but the player is given no impetus to ever use a non-matching Pikmin type save for rare, forced scenarios like Submerged Castle.
Speaking of Submerged Castle, shoutouts to the Water Wraith for being a fantastic (albeit very undercooked) addition, by reintroducing efficiency concerns in a natural and dynamic way that fits the style of the game and leaves lots of room for counterplay. Of course, this is Pikmin 2, so it's limited to this cave and never used again.
I have many more complaints, so I will phrase things a different way. The great version of this game as I envision it would do the following:
- Either revamp the overworld to justify its existence, or further minimize/remove it
- Generate caves that place varying threats in close proximity to each other, and everything in generally more dense and interconnected layouts
- Rebalance the game to avoid reloading floors and instead emphasize continuous resource management
- Allow most enemies to wander much further from their initial location
- Introduce a mechanic that incentivizes some efficiency, which will complicate treasure gathering and grindy playstyles
- Instead of creating sudden difficulty spikes through random events like bomb rock drops, use procgen, such as grouped difficult enemies, constricting terrain, high hazard density, etc.
- Vastly speed up the pacing of the game. Given the current quality level, half of the caves can be cut
If you put all this together, it almost sounds like a traditional roguelike or dungeon crawler! But this style of dense, systemically driven design is not something that Nintendo seems willing or able to make; BOTW/TOTK is the closest, and those games exist in spite of balance and structural issues.
What's shocking though, is how much the Colossal Caverns romhack resembles this, simply by squishing everything in the game into one giant, dense cave. Combat is more chaotic! Routing is more freeform! Resource management is more natural! It still falls short structurally due to its romhack status, but it's a testament to how much of the raw material is already present.
Ultimately, a disappointment. This could have served as a great example of seizing on the latent potential in a set of mechanics, almost like how classic Doom's combat was explored and developed, but Pikmin 2 is just too unfocused and inconsistent to make it there. Check out Colossal Caverns with a self-imposed time limit, it's fun!

Edit: The developer ProjectMoon has been involved in an unfortunate controversy, which you can find details of elsewhere. Use your own judgement, but at the very least don't play a fucking gacha game.
This is a direct sequel to Lobotomy Corporation, before playing Library of Ruina you must finish that first or watch a story summary video! Also consider installing this collection of mods that fix bugs. (Mass Attack targeting change is balance-affecting and probably not needed)
Strangely enough, the video game that came to mind most when playing Library of Ruina was Persona 3. It's been many years since I played it, and I would almost certainly have massive problems with it now, but in theory there are aspects that I admire. The game takes multiple gameplay modes that are seemingly separate, and tries to frame them all around the core themes of malaise, time, and death to create a cohesive whole.
I recall Persona 3's final boss being a major high point of the game, but after going back and watching a video of the fight, it's clear just how much the combat system is holding it back (and a credit to the other elements which can pick up some of the slack). When you are limited to simple loops of attacking and healing, there's not enough space to evoke the kinds of different experiences that the mood and themes are calling for, and the monotony is even sabotaging the intended effect!
Library of Ruina is by no means perfect, and in a certain sense is less ambitious than Persona 3. But it executes that vision with far more craftsmanship, in a way that allows it to both function on a moment-to-moment level and integrate its elements together. Once again, as I mentioned here and here, mechanical and experiential appeal isn't a real tradeoff: on the contrary, they complement each other!
The most obvious improvement, and my usual area of "expertise", is the combat, and though my experience is limited, it's probably the best turn-based RPG without positioning I've ever played? (Someone I know with more RPG experience corroborates this) I suspect the reason is actually simple: instead of looking to other RPGs, they took inspiration from tabletop games (Source - Lobotomy Corp spoilers) while ditching a lot of superfluous structural elements like throwaway encounters and exploration that aren't central to the goal of the game.
Very quick mechanics rundown to give context, don't worry about understanding it all (also I'm leaving a lot of stuff out). You have 5 characters, each with HP, stagger meter, speed dice, light, emotion level, and their own hand and deck of cards. HP is self-explanatory. Empty stagger meter = staggered for the rest of the turn and the next one, which prevents taking any actions and doubles damage received. Speed dice are a character's "turns" to play cards and have a random number assigned each turn, higher goes first. Light is basically mana and is consumed to play cards, regain 1 per turn. Emotion level determines max light, mainly raised by clashing (more in a second). Hand and deck self-explanatory, 9 cards in deck, start with 4 in hand, draw 1 per turn.
Each card has a light cost and some amount of dice (example). Cards are played by assigning them to a speed die and targeting an enemy speed die. Enemy cards and targets are shown at the start of the turn, and higher speed dice can forcibly redirect the targets of lower speed dice to themselves. If two cards target each other's speed dice, then their dice clash, which means the higher roll uses its effect and the lower roll doesn't (in ties, neither use their effect). Example: if the above card clashed with this card, the above card would likely win and deal blunt-type damage equal to the dice roll, but there is a chance they tie or the other card wins and deals pierce damage. Clashing dice builds progress to the next emotion level for both participants. Cards can have multiple dice (example) which are rolled in order, and uncontested dice simply have their effects occur.
Apologies for vomiting the manual at you. There are obvious similarities here to tabletop games, of course (cards and dice). But more fundamentally, the game is about resource tradeoffs and options, in the sense of something like Magic the Gathering. Unlike Slay the Spire derived card roguelites, in Ruina, light/mana and cards in hand persist across turns, putting more emphasis on complex short vs. long term value. Trade cards for life and damage (use powerful cards to clash with enemy attacks), trade life for cards (take a hit and don't play anything), trade life for emotion level (take many clashes, some of which will probably be unfavorable), trade cards for light (play weak cards that restore light), and so on. The many timing-sensitive variables like speed dice values mean you'll be constantly having to evaluate the relationships and efficiencies of each opportunity within a turn.
How does this relate to all that stuff I wrote at the top though? Well, it's precisely because the mechanics are deep and solid that the game can actually make use of them in an experiential way. Abnormalities, the SCP-likes returning from the previous game Lobotomy Corporation, are a shining example of this. Fighting them is more puzzle-like than most encounters, and there is enough room in the possibility space for them to bend the normal game rules in idiosyncratic ways that evokes their characters and moods while still keeping you engaged with the fight itself. Pinocchio copies your cards while trying to sneak incorrect versions past you, the cannibalistic Fairy Queen tries to eat its own kind for health unless you distract it, and Little Red Riding Hood flies into a frenzied rage if you kill the Wolf before she can. Each fight emphasizes a different aspect of the mechanics, which feels viscerally different and allows you to actually connect that with the context! When this dovetails with story events, the result can be surprisingly immersive and moving.
This type of characterization should be somewhat familiar to anyone who has played around with a custom card generator, and reminds me of one of Magic's own famous city settings: Ravnica, the City of Guilds. Consult the Necrosages gives a window into the Dimir, focused on gaining and denying others knowledge in equal measure. Judge's Familiar shows how the Azorius's meticulous devotion to laws are used to obstruct others, for both justice and simple power-seeking.
Ruina often uses similar techniques to evoke its characters and setting through its cards. One of my favorite cards, Will of the Prescript, illustrates how the Index's acolytes strangely benefit (drawing cards) by subjugating themselves to its seemingly arbitrary dictums (only works if the deck has no duplicate cards).
Of course, much of this is resting on the story and writing itself pulling its weight. I feel very inadequate to discuss the story proper, but considering it's such a driving force in the game, I will try (in a spoiler-free way). Ruina is a game about the terror of humanity's reach finally meeting its grasp. Humanity as a collective could accomplish anything, but that collective is mediated by structures, and the structure of this world, The City, is both prosperous evolutionarily and nightmarish humanistically. Almost no one wants this, but fixing things would require awareness and sacrifice that is tantamount to reopening scars with a knife, and so the City grows. And if humans can simply modify themselves so their desires more deeply align with the vile rhythms of the City, then what purpose can such an anguished struggle really have? The question is psychological: what does one truly desire, what should one truly desire, and how can one bring themselves to seek it?
"The moment man devoured the fruit of knowledge, he sealed his fate... Entrusting his future to the cards, man clings to a dim hope." - Persona 3
"Use your own eyes to watch things as they are. Then you may see it. However, you will inevitably forget why you wished to see it once you reach that point. That oblivion is what creates anguish; that is why it is a tragedy." - Library of Ruina
"On some shelf in some hexagon (men reasoned) there must exist a book which is the formula and perfect compendium of all the rest: some librarian has gone through it and he is analogous to a god... How could one locate the venerated and secret hexagon which housed Him? ...In adventures such as these, I have squandered and wasted my years." - Borges, The Library of Babel
Though my experience is limited, I would consider this to easily be the best RPG in this style ever made. Hopefully that's enough of a recommendation for you!