1255 Reviews liked by ResidentMelville

perfect sequel to an already perfect game. dont fix what aint broken - the three new characters were a delight and i like the variety added this time around.
RIP Mohammad Fahmi. I'm glad I got the privilege to play your game

This is the kind of "horror" game I enjoy.

as of writing this review i haven't finished this game yet, but i think i'm far enough in to give my thoughts on it.
for the longest time i've been wanting a mobile collecting game that scratches a similar itch that neko atsume did, and i went through quite a few games hoping to satiate that itch (funghi gardening kit, cats are cute, cat game, etc.). unfortunately i couldn't really find a game that clicked with me, and so i gave up on searching for a long while.
on september 3rd, i caught wind of a bunny collecting game that recently released for mobile and i was really endeared by how charming the bunnies looked and made a note to check it out, but never got to it until a few days later. fast forward to more than a week later and i'm still playing this game!
usagi shima (lit. rabbit island) is a casual bunny collecting game where you collect the bunnies by buying toys and buildings from the shop. like neko atsume, usagi shima has special bunnies that will require you to buy certain items to see them on the island. each bunny has a friendship meter that raises through playing very short minigames and they also have three favorite toys and/or buildings, so you'll have to spend lots of time with your bunnies to complete their profiles! when you reach max friendship with a bunny, you get a special item from them to put on your island as well as the option to invite them to permanently stay on your island. you can only invite three bunnies, but there isn't any drawback if you choose to reverse the invite. you also have the option to decorate your island as well as give your bunnies headwear! not all bunnies will like wearing things on their heads though.
so how do you buy things from the shop? by using two forms of currency: carrots and golden carrots. you’ll mainly receive regular carrots through playing minigames with the bunnies to raise their friendship. carrots will also grow in random places on the island (you can also tap on seashells to get carrots too) and some items from the shop will grow more carrots in the area the items are placed in. you can also receive carrots as tips when bunnies leave the island—a mechanic pulled directly from neko atsume. there's also a list of tasks that resets daily which allows you to get carrots, and once you complete all the tasks you can receive one or two golden carrots as a reward. there are quite a few ways to receive golden carrots: there are daily login stamps that you can get golden carrots from, and golden carrots can also grow on the island or be received as tips, but they are much much harder to come by (the more bunnies you have visiting your island, the more likely it is for one or a few of them to leave golden carrots as tips).
there is so much to like about this game! the overall atmosphere is extremely relaxing, probably even more so than neko atsume. the music actually changes based on four set times of day—sunrise, day, sunset, and night—and there’s even a day/night cycle in the game as well (a feature pulled directly from animal crossing, one of two stated inspirations for the game with the other obviously being neko atsume). some items will light up at night! some items even produce unique sounds if you zoom in on the bunny that’s using them! most importantly, the bunnies and all the other assets used in the game are drawn so charmingly, and the bunnies even have several animations based on the items they interact with!
as usagi shima has still only been released, there’s obviously some features that could be fleshed out further. when you have a lot of bunnies on your island, you will be asked to play minigames with them left and right. this is great for if you want to raise the friendship meter of several bunnies quickly, but when most of your bunnies are already at max friendship, it starts to feel really demanding and you’ll probably feel less inclined to play games with them and only want to play with the ones who aren’t at max friendship yet. and because there are only four minigames so far—petting the bunny, brushing them, feeding them, and playing hide and seek—this can start to get repetitive real quick once you get further into the game.
another aspect of the game that i feel needs to be addressed is the overaccumulation of carrots. after you get a lot of bunnies on the island, the amount of regular carrots you get starts to pile up quick. and because there’s not very many items in the shop that you can buy using regular carrots, those carrots just sit on the lower edge of your screen accumulating without any way to spend them. neko atsume did a great job of alleviating this issue by allowing you to exchange a certain amount of regular currency for golden currency, and i hope to see a similar feature implemented in the future! speaking of small amounts of things, i also hope to see more bunnies come to the game in future updates as well!
i should also mention that there are a lot of ads in the game. there's an option to double the amount of friendship and carrots you receive for a few minutes, and if you don't want to spend real money for it, you'll have to watch an ad. want to double the amount of carrots you get for a daily task? you'll have to watch an ad. want a building to be finished immediately? you'll have to watch an ad. i'm personally not too bugged by the prominence of ads in the game, but i know not all people can tolerate seeing so many ads in a single game. for what it's worth though, you can choose not to see the ads. you'll still be able to enjoy the game even if it means you'll get through it a bit slower.
usagi shima has a wonderful game so far, and i can't wait to see how it evolves in the future! it was created by a single person who has been working extremely hard to develop this game by herself! if you liked the game or are interested in playing it, please consider supporting her by donating to her kofi, as she stated that she got sick shortly after the launch from working on the game for 15 hours every single day. if you'd like to see more of the game, there's also an official subreddit where people post their progress on the game.

Alan Wake didn't really click with me entirely because for something framed like a tv show it seemed to pull itself into being a really drawn out and bloated game. American Nightmare cuts out the filler moments like driving, and extended moody exploration for a more direct and to the point game. Which ends up working way more as a tv-like game, and Night Springs is the perfect vehicle to use. Dialogue and story here is much lighter in tone but still as odd and mysterious especially with Mr. Scratch who is played to perfection honestly a really great inverse of Alan Wake's morals brought to life in an at times creepy, and most times funny way. The performance had great hints of American Psycho (2000) in the glipses you get into the typical box TV we know from Alan Wake. The biggest improvement is the gunplay, and it is a night and day difference. Every gun feels good to shoot and use, Alan's movement feels snappier, and the flashlight's battery is almost a non-issue to manage. New enemy types are good too with exception of the small Spider's. Importantly it removed crows as an enemy type which were awkward and weird to fight before but now transform into humanoid taken. Narratively it's alright this is a simplistic "time-loop" or "story-loop" since characters remember events (which is used to speed up the game's plot.) But every character here is fun to talk to for the most part I would say for much of the dialogue though it wants you to stand around, which applies to the radios/TVs too. This could easily be improved with a handheld radio/walkie-talkie so Alan could talk to his fellow loopers while cleaning up manuscript pages. Cleaning up Alan's pages I did to completion something I never felt interested in doing in Alan Wake. It's a small 3-5 hour additional experience with mileage that can extend with the bonus or optional Arcade mode which makes use of the good gunplay. While not doing anything special in particular it enriched the world of Alan Wake with Mr. Scratch as an expanded and interesting Antagonist as well as recontextualising Alan's relationship with Alice in a better light.

More Alan Wake: Cooool!!!
Repeating the same three sections three times: Not cool!! Not cool!!
Yes, that was an Ed, Edd, and Eddy reference.

It's actually wild how talented some people are with bitsy

One of those games that just feels truly depressing to play. Not what most people wanted, but an artistic statement that will stand the test of time.

this is so fucking insane. i want more games with this vibe

As someone that enjoys playing games while working out as a sort of distraction from the sores, I found Ring Fit Adventure to be the perfect way of working out for me. And I can say from experience that it really works if you commit to it, which doesn't take a lot out of your day. The stages are designed with the intention of giving your workout variety so that you are encouraged to not be constantly repeating the same exercises. Workouts having cooldowns in combat also adds to this factor.
The story... exists, and I don't really like the ring character but they are sorta necessary to the how the game was designed. so I don't really mind it.
If you're able to work out from home and have a Switch, then I highly recommend it. The only real downside I can think of is that I've felt the joycons need to be calibrated very often. I've had several instances where I needed to go down until I was practically sitting before the game counted it as a squat.
Unfortunately I had to shelve it due to my current living arrangements not being ideal for playing this game (flats and their shitty flooring, amirite?)

If this game's story went anywhere, it might be a little easier to recommend as a simple and short experience. But instead it's intensely sentimental while also not actually allowing any of the characters to have any defining characteristics. Incredibly frustrating experience.