Bio
Huge video game and cinema enthusiast. Always encouraging people to try new things and look at things differently. Old and new, it's all cool. I have boatloads of unpopular opinions and obscure/niche games that I'm hyped to share.
I'm working to put up some game/film analysis on youtube under Poefred as well. Thanks :)

Scale
★★★★★ - Perfect. No issues genuinely dampen the experience in any way.
★★★★ - Excellent, but not exceptional.
★★★ - Ok game, not impressed but I didn't hate it.
★★ - Aggressively mid. Generally playable or even well made, but I'm forcing myself to trudge through. Just boring.
★ - Almost no redeeming qualities.
½ - One could say I despise these ones. Beyond bad, beyond boring, some secret third thing.

Also I generally don't believe in technical quality equating to how good or bad a game is necessarily. I can appreciate a well made game but I'm not gonna hold a grudge 'cuz an automated loop killed me in sonic 06 almost 20 years ago.
Personal Ratings
1★
5★

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Favorite Games

Banjo-Kazooie
Banjo-Kazooie
Pikmin
Pikmin
Luigi's Mansion
Luigi's Mansion
Pathologic 2
Pathologic 2
Old School RuneScape
Old School RuneScape

221

Total Games Played

011

Played in 2024

000

Games Backloggd


Recently Played See More

Lunistice
Lunistice

Mar 19

Demon Turf
Demon Turf

Mar 19

Foamstars
Foamstars

Mar 04

We Love Katamari Reroll + Royal Reverie
We Love Katamari Reroll + Royal Reverie

Feb 26

Final Fantasy
Final Fantasy

Feb 06

Recently Reviewed See More

I'm usually very confident when I come to say why I don't really care for a game. But something about this game just never clicked with me, and I don't definitively know why? I've beat this on both Xbox and Steam deck with close to a year gap between them. And idk, just kind of, everything about it makes me feel nothing? I'm normally very good at stating what's objectively bothering me about a game, but here a lot of it feels not only subjective, but I also feel that I'm wrong for feeling that way.

Like for example the graphics and artstyle. I look at it and find nothing wrong with it, it looks great and all but I'm for some reason just not in love with how it looks. Maybe I don't like the super detailed landscapes in conjunction with the very metroidvania gamey platformer level design with no foreground? It's just kinda flat. Most of the enemies don't really have strong visual designs, maybe it's just that the world itself isn't grabbing me. The whole thing feels weirdly minimalistic which is at odds with how stylish it presents itself. I'm kinda just thinking out loud here.

Then there's the save system. You put your own save points down. Which is another area where I'm left thinking negatively and yet I think objectively this is my fault and I'm wrong. It's so frustrating losing all progress since your last save, which is a totally indefinite amount of time. Doesn't help a lot of your deaths feel very sudden and perhaps, not entirely your fault. Could do a few minutes of easy platforming, nothing is really happening so saving hasn't entered my mind, oh instant death from something you couldn't really see coming. Then you're annoyed at having to redo so much so you rush it and make more mistakes. And I'm just like mannnn, the level design isn't really that fun as it is now I'm having to replay it all 'cuz Ori dies if a stick cracks under him too hard - And it feels extra bad 'cuz it's actually my fault I didn't place a better checkpoint when I had the chance. Had this same problem in Demon Turf, but it's even worse here considering this isn't just an A to B level based platformer.

On a less negative note, I'll defend the combat. I'm all about non-conventional game design these days and conceptually I don't have anything wrong with it. Allowing you to constantly do damage while on the move allows the focus to be on your own positioning. You can dodge projectiles and dance around enemies as you take them down. Feels really good once it's upgraded too. But then the topic of enemy design comes up and I find they don't really take advantage of what this combat would allow them to most of the time. And half the time you're dying to enemies just because their projectiles blend into the background or the way they move isn't really well defined. So like seemingly everything in this game, it's fine but leaves me feeling nothing if not slightly annoyed.

Skill trees, I just don't like 'em conceptually. They're a game design crutch that rarely truly adds to any game. That said, in the context of a metroidvania, I'd rather find EXP chunks that help me get my next level up as opposed to say, my 35th missile upgrade so I guess it's fine here.

The escape sequences and moments with the owl are mostly pretty sick at least. Makes me wish more of the game was full of memorable set pieces. Maybe that's my problem. The game puts out the vibes of a modern cinematic story driven experience, but most of the time you're solving basic puzzles and killing blobs in nondescript locations. Like you're just grinding through standard metroidvania nothing level design just waiting for something cool to happen again. The heights the game reaches so thoroughly outclasses ANYTHING you're doing for 90% of the runtime, and they're so good while featuring almost nothing the rest of the game has you doing. No setting your own checkpoints, just a well crafted dedicated platforming section that says "do this from beginning to end". No random enemies put there just so the empty room won't feel empty, any enemies are explicitly there to move the section forward in a meaningful way. No handholdy exploration where you're looking for exp orbs to level up your skill tree so you can choose which part of the game to make even easier (including just showing you on the map where collectibles are)

Yeah, I think that's what it is. The best moments in the game are thoroughly disconnected from how the entire rest of the game is designed. There's completely wordless, effective storytelling? Great! Why does most of the game not lean into that and instead have Navi follow you around saying nothing of worth. Striking visuals are great, but most of the game you're spending it looking at absolutely nothing. It's got the ability to be a fast paced and engaging platformer with memorable levels, but most of the time you're navigating pretty unremarkable areas that aren't really that fun to explore anyway. With potentially horrendous pacing issues if you forget to place a single checkpoint. It's got nonconventional combat, which is rad, but it's also got a skill tree full of combat upgrades, which is extremely conventional. And none of what you can upgrade really matters all that much, if at all, during the sections I actually really like. Ori is an indie game darling, but actually it's funded by one of the biggest corporations in the world making it feel a tad overproduced in areas.

Dunno, I understand you gotta have peaks and valleys, it can't all be bombastic action set pieces. But I just find the metroidvania style isn't playing into the huge strengths this game shows it can reach. At least, that's what I figure. Like I said for some reason it's hard for me to talk definitively on this game, heck I completely forgot I beat it a second time just last month - I'm mostly trying to explain to myself why I don't "get it" 'cuz I don't like just saying -eh it's just not for me-

I just can't help looking at this game and listening to its soundtrack and thinking "Am I a heckin' buffoon of a monster for not really liking this?" The ost really drives this feeling home like, it's playing all the right notes, with all the right instruments, it's a huge emotional production through and through. But all I can say coming out of it is that almost none of the music really stuck with me, just kinda blends together and 99% of the time means nothing to me.

I can recognize this is a beautifully made game with a boatload of love and effort put into it, which is more than I can say for a lot of games I don't care for. Normally if I don't like something I definitively tear into it and call out every area that went horribly wrong -even if I understand why the game has its fans, as I do here-. But In this case, it's a game that feels a lot less than the sum of its parts. I just don't feel anything towards this game beyond liking the core themes of the story. Idk, I usually have very strong thoughts I love to actively discuss and defend, but this is a whole lot of yappin' to say I don't really have much to say about this game. It's like, okay I guess.

This game has absolutely zero market appeal, which is based as hec. A Tetris style puzzle game where you gotta connect intestinal tubes, trying to make them as long and twisty as possible before capping them off at every orifice. (Tho if you accidentally leave a single hole open and unreachable, the entire tract is now unusable save for the fairy coming along to mine some trash meat away if you manage to summon her)
A lot slower and methodical than a lot of games in the genre, and extremely punishing for any minor mistakes to compensate. Bit of an RNG nightmare at later levels but it do feel good to burst a digestive tract you just spent 4 minutes piecing together. It's like if Tetris let you clear the ENTIRE map from top to bottom instead of just 4 lines at max. But yeah when it starts spawning 3 pieces at once it can get pretty rough.

Perhaps just about any other game in the genre is more worth your time, but I like to think there's room for the unusual and unloved. Virtual Lab somehow has the Virtual Boy itself beat in those two categories. This game practically doesn't even exist. It's got obscene rarity due to the Virtual Boy being cancelled before it got to come out properly. So that's pretty cool. For what it is, it works and I don't have much bad to say about it. Nothing to really praise beyond the vile concept free of any tiring tropes. No marketable plushies or standard conventions here - connect those intestines with the trademark black and red VB visuals, a repetitive soundtrack that isn't exactly coherently written, and uh, not much else.

Somehow managed to get to level 33 after leaving the game on for 7 days and playing off and on. A year later someone beat my record by hitting 35. Borderline unplayable this many stages in but there's something to be said about the challenge of overcoming something that wasn't even designed to be beaten. A visceral connection very few well designed games can match.

If this dropped tomorrow on Steam or any other digital shop, it would be a breath of fresh air to me. I'm just so tired man, I've resorted to playing Virtual Lab because at every turn you're bombarded with "Gather materials and craft tools, build your base and survive the harsh randomly generated landscapes in this early access open world" Bro I don't got time for that I'm busy crafting intestines I can't be bothered to be picking up wood and stones I've moved on man.

A lot of my problems with this game are things lifted from Splatoon 2, and tripled down on. As a quick recap - 2's Maps are smaller and WAY more focused on nonstop PVP. Splatoon as a concept was designed originally for people who weren't really into traditional shooters, the maps in the original game were big enough to give you breathing room and genuinely strategize on how to help your team even if you couldn't 1v4 the enemy. Now in 3 maps are so cramped that some barely even feature floors to heckin ink dude. It's a nonstop teamfight and it sucks. I was never this actively frustrated playing 1 or even 2 despite the problem cropping up there. Even games where my team ends up winning I find I'm just straight up not having any fun.
Sploon 3's improvements are small but felt really cool at first. The lobby is nice, not locking hairstyles to gender is HUGE for making the male inkling a viable aesthetic choice. The hub is unnecessarily large which is nice coming off of 2's miniscule hub. Salmon run is more properly integrated and feels worth playing now. There's more to unlock than ever with a rotating free battle pass and daily loot box along with a fully customizable locker.

But at the end of the day, I find I'm only playing for worthless FOMO content. They really have us out here grinding for 50+ hours for a dabbing emote, png's, and objects to put in your locker that do absolutely nothing. Man having 2 of these games on the same console already really harshes the "keep it FRESH" counter culture anti-online shooter nature the series was founded on...But if I'm gonna be grinding out meaningless slop content I'd probably genuinely have a better time playing one of this game's contemporaries that have got this trash down to a science. Another splatoon comes and goes and I'm still a bit let down by how few stand out character customization options there are. Ten years of them drip feeding just a morsel of new pants and hairstyle options and almost nothing else has me going delirious.

And while I enjoy Salmon run's implementation more here...What the hecc is big run? I kept hearing people clamoring for it for a few months and we finally get it and it's just Salmon Run but on one of the turf war maps? Is this where we are that we're waiting months for lazy asset flip content? I just don't get it.

Complete with a fourth campaign that I've lost any and all tolerance for. An absolute snoozefest that's supposedly taking after the octo expansion? Idk, the octo expansion was already taking after base splatoon 2, which was "inspired" by the nothing single player of the original game. Batting 0 for 4 with no legitimate improvements here had me feeling burnt out and not wanting to even finish the incredibly short campaign. It's got some actual boss fights so it's better than octo expansion I guess, can't say I remember anything about any of 'em besides one of them being a mario sunshine reference - Love when mid games reference significantly better games to inject artificially positive feelings~ The lore additions aren't as interesting as Octo Expansion though so eh it's really whatever.

Splatoon 2 was carried for me by Pearl and Marina, their dialogue/dynamic made the Splatfests fun to participate in. I didn't even once use any of the crystal mushroom things you get, I just enjoyed playing 'em for the sake of it. That and the devs basically admitted they ruined turf war by making the only good turf war maps exclusive to the splatfests. They were a highlight of 2 that gave me the fun I needed to have positive associations with the game. This time around there's no splatfest exclusive maps, so even these events are hurt by the pvp first focus that Splatoon as a concept was designed to not be about. And I really tried but I just can't get into the new idols. I barely even know what they're babbling about half the time and I find their dialogue pretty dry and I don't really closely identify with any of them enough to fight for their side. The prompts are pretty mid and the system doesn't seem very well thought out as they've had to change it four times already. There was criticism towards how 2's victor was handled but I never felt like what I did didn't matter like in 3. 2's results being rigged was more of a conspiracy theory and in-joke than legitimate major design issues that hurt the experience much. Just like the normal game itself, Sploon 3 has me annoyed and feeling empty even when I do win. For the first time I found myself actively not caring when a Splatfest came around. I've done a handful of them but the tri battles aren't strong enough in their implementation to carry how nothing the rest of the experience is now. In 1 and 2 I always tried so hard to participate in as many splatfests as possible, rarely missing one. But 3? Yawn. Callie and Marie are sisters, Pearl and Marina are all but confirmed dating (I'm not usually a shipping type but I love these 2), but these 3 feel like co-workers that are at most throwing very surface level competitive jabs, not able to really cut very deep at any point. Pearl and Marina would get so fired up but these 3 sometimes can't even decide what side they themselves want to be on. 2's so quotable and full of lines that catch you off guard. 3's dialogue feels so phoned in and devoid of stakes.

Hec they let you skip the news now so that's probably why they put less effort into a good localization. Gamers just wanna grind their CONTENT they don't want EFFORT just let them GRIND. Genuinely any change to make the majority happy is a bad decision when it comes to gaming. I remember people debating the Japanese culture of curated experiences when the original game came out. America likes to preach the customer is always right, but anyone who's worked anywhere can tell you, they most certainly are not. I'll take a nonconventional approach made to give a legitimate experience over something that sheepishly gives into peer pressure and gives us nothing. Make Splatoon 4's news screens twice as long as 2's to filter out half the audience please. They've got restaurants in Japan where you have to literally catch your own fish before it gets cooked. Americans above the age of 40 can't even handle self check out machines that have been around for 20 years man don't listen to us.

The idea that I've just outgrown the series popped into my head so when I went to go visit my family I dug out their now extremely crusty, disheveled wiiU who's gamepad can NOT hold a charge to save its life...And I just had a blast playing the original game. Instead of the unfun uphill 1v4 feeling of modern Splatoon I was inking the walls and strategizing and flanking. With maps and weapons that were expansive enough to foster a healthy level of direct combat instead of it being the ENTIRE focus...And without all the slop slapped on to justify the existence of a sequel it just felt like a coherent experience instead of a complete chaotic mess. I wasn't just hopelessly grinding battle passes like any other generic online game...I was just playing because it was inherently fun, because the first Sploon was made to be the exact opposite of the unfun state online shooters had found themselves in. Watched a compilation of all the Splatfest debates 2 had and it was consistently a joy to revisit, and I'm so glad I was there to play them all live. I have my problems with 2 but it was a really fun game to follow. Here we are at the third installment and not only is it not fresh anymore, the series itself has forgotten why it was made to begin with and became what it used to stand against.

On a somewhat positive note I guess, I'll never understand the universal hatred Nintendo's online gets. Obviously it varies on location I'm sure and I don't wanna completely white knight them. It's a topic that warrants its own focused essay to properly do justice...But in most cases Nintendo's online works just fine. If it was truly anywhere near as bad as reputation would imply the Switch itself would never have popped off, a huge percentage of the library is online-first in its focus and the games are good BECAUSE the online is there. Like yeah they're missing some standard conventions in a lot of cases but if I wanna play mario kart online I can do that, same with mario party, tennis, smash, splatoon. It literally just works. Tends to be pretty no frills attached but Nintendo has ALWAYS competed with a high amount of actual games to play. 20$ a year with the Switch's lineup is giving a lot more value than over three times the cost on the competitor's side. That said sploon 3 succ I genuinely prefer Foamstars by a landslide 'boutta drop 100$ to play that online for a year or something 'cuz my PSPlus expired this month and I sad that I'm stucc with sploon 3 when Foamstars is a much better designed game in almost every way. But uh, +1 to the online working perfectly fine, Nintendo's online is no different than any of the other guys. I say as an American who's pretty sure we have some of the most genuinely trash internet options in the world in a lot of states.

Oh yeah they added some card mode thing. Was kinda into it and was waiting for them to add online matchmaking to it. Don't think that even ended up happening, so yawn.

Also dog did they really announce paid DLC that lets you use the hub world from the first game and then you'd have to wait a whole year for yet another mediocre single player experience? Was that any good? Dunno if I'll ever bother with it 'cuz this series really just gets worse every time they put out more content. Idk if I've just lost all tolerance but updates for this game in general really felt abysmally slow. Less dripfeed over a long time and more...absolutely nothing for months then the updates don't feel big enough to warrant the wait. I'll prolly look into it soon 'cuz Chaos winning the final splatfest in the previous game felt like it was leading up to something really exciting. Pearl went on about how things staying the same predictable thing is LAME. Leading into the most safe, inoffensive game in the series is such a missed opportunity. Splatoon 2's canonical ending we all fought for was an excuse for 3 to be completely insane and change everything. Then maybe it wouldn't have been such a nothing sequel fighting an uphill battle to justify itself.

-You're a kid now, you're a focus tested milked dry franchise with all positive qualities drained out noooowwww, you're a kid now, you're a-