Bio
gamer, streamer, writer, grad student, goon who likes the gameboy advance library a little too much

Reviews are almost always written on the fly, though I do enjoy keeping notes on my playthroughs, and its these notes that might influence talking points I bring up in these off-the-cuff reviews. You can visit the obsidian publish site I've linked to see some of these more detailed notes on little parts of a lot of games I've listed here. I have a loose review scale, but generally any game that I considered at least moderately enjoyable will get 3 - 3.5 stars.

I also make video essays on some of the games I've played, you watch them over at www.youtube.com/c/voltage1202, and I stream on twitch at www.twitch.tv/voltagevo .
Personal Ratings
1★
5★

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Replay '14

Participated in the 2014 Replay Event

Popular

Gained 15+ followers

Donor

Liked 50+ reviews / lists

Pinged

Mentioned by another user

1 Years of Service

Being part of the Backloggd community for 1 year

Best Friends

Become mutual friends with at least 3 others

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Gained 3+ followers

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Gained 10+ total review likes

N00b

Played 100+ games

Favorite Games

Pokémon Black Version 2
Pokémon Black Version 2
Chrono Trigger
Chrono Trigger
Kirby & the Amazing Mirror
Kirby & the Amazing Mirror
Mario Tennis: Power Tour
Mario Tennis: Power Tour
WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$!
WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$!

243

Total Games Played

016

Played in 2024

093

Games Backloggd


Recently Played See More

Cat Planet
Cat Planet

Jun 18

Sonic: After the Sequel
Sonic: After the Sequel

Jun 18

Sonic: Before the Sequel
Sonic: Before the Sequel

Jun 18

Sonic R
Sonic R

Jun 09

Ultimate Flash Sonic
Ultimate Flash Sonic

Jun 06

Recently Reviewed See More

[The Void is Deep and the Mind is a Sponge] (Minor Spoilers Ahead)

The squeeze of the Void is one that you won't notice until you're no longer diving deeper. It's only when you're finally out of the darkness, gazing at the stars that you can breathe again.

Void Stranger is, for lack of a better way of putting it, really fucking exhausting. The Sokoban-style puzzle premise is simple: move floor tiles and blocks to navigate through a series of obstacles to descend deeper into the dungeon. That's not ALL Void Stranger is, but it's enough to sell someone on the premise.

Sokoban-style games can be exhausting through their often repetitive nature: the movement, the music, the puzzle solving, the graphics, these can all blur together if the game is crafted without dedicated care. As much as I love Snoopy, Snoopy's Magic Show is an example of this type of game. It's got some wonderful ideas, but the game gets tiring after bout twenty of its... let's see here- ONE-HUNDRED AND TWENTY LEVELS?! And you're telling me that Void Stranger has more than double that many floors? Is that why void Stranger is an exhausting game?

No. It's not. Of course it's not. Look at the rating I'm giving this game. Of course that's not the reason why. I played this game for almost 40 hours. Why would anyone spend forty hours playing a Sokoban game if it wasn't one of the most gripping gaming experiences I've ever had?

No, Void Stranger is an exhausting game not just because of how many puzzles there are. It's the size of the puzzles. The scale of the puzzles. The depth of the puzzles. The way the puzzles make you think. The way the puzzles make you move. The way the puzzles subvert your expectations. The way the puzzles stick in your mind long after you've closed the game because you're too tired to keep playing tonight. Like all marathons, it gets tiring. Sure you feel smart when you solve a puzzle. But then you have to move on. You're allowed and encouraged to revel in a moment of success. The game will not move on until you do. But then you have to do it all over again. You have to reset your mind, throw away almost everything you knew about the room before and start from a tabula rasa once again. And then you have to start thinking all over again.

Void Stranger knows that puzzle games are only experienced in their intended form once and takes every opportunity to capture that experience as often as possible. Even when some rooms are revisited, never are the processes of navigating a room exactly identical. A first playthrough will be without any power-ups and will your true raw puzzle solving skills. If you were paying attention to the puzzles within the puzzles as you descended, you might start a second playthrough with new power-ups known as "burdens". These include a pair of wings that allow you to hover over a single empty tile to reach other sections of a room, a sword that allows you to attack enemies in the direction you face, and a cube that lets you talk to rocks (or "void eggs"). The former two powerups are invaluable when replaying the first 255 rooms, they make it tolerable and offer a new way to approach a similar puzzle. "Okay", the game says, "you've demonstrated you understand what's going on here on the surface. You don't have to do it again if you don't want to.". And we appreciate the game for it. The last thing Void Stranger wants is for people to get bored solving the same puzzles over and over again. It's this third burden, the cube that lets you talk with void Eggs that I find to be the most interesting. There are rocks littered through rooms in the game. On a first playthrough they appear as little more than obstacles in he path that can be used to activate switches, for example. On repeat playthroughs with this Cube burden, you can now speak to the void eggs. You can listen to their hints about secrets with treasure chests. You can listen to them tell the tails of the eight Void Lords. But mostly, you can listen to them wallow in despair, sadness, misery and dread. These are the voices of the people who have given up. These are the voices of the people who fell into the void and relinquished their selves. These are the people who have accepted defeat here in the halls of hell. These are the voices of the people on steam who will complain that the game was too hard and that they couldn't do it and how dare someone make a game on their own terms that didn't have mass general appeal.

Void Stranger's greatest strength, therefore, is also the reason that I struggle recommending this game to just anyone. If you're serious about diving down into the void, do it and accept that you will have your brain faculties pushed to some strange limits that you didn't think were possible in a video game. Your head will hurt. It will feel like your mind is being squeezed like a sponge for every drop of liquid. Just when you think the clench couldn't get any tighter, Void Stranger wrings just a little bit more, until you're completely out of juice and somehow playing System Erasure's other game ZeroRanger, again (whether by choice or otherwise). And then it keeps squeezing. I am the sponge.

I've had Void Stranger dreams. I've dreamt that I'm stuck solving block puzzles, going deeper and deeper into the void, stuck in a cycle of stress and elation and despair. I wake up at the sound of my alarm in the morning in a sticky sweat, waking up from this weird dream. But I didn't stop playing the game. I felt like a character out of House of Leaves, the way I couldn't stop myself from digging deeper and deeper into this non-Euclidian realm filled with traps and trolls and weird little merchants who have a character theme that plays weird sound effects if you wait long enough. but I had to keep going. I wasn't satisfied saying "that's enough for me" after reaching the bottom of the void for the first time. Nor was it enough after I made it to the bottom of the void without dying. Nor was it enough after finishing New Game +, nor was it enough after playing New Game ++. Nor was it enough when I finally found out the truth. Even as I write this review I find myself wanting to know more. I want to keep digging, I want to go deeper, I don't want to stop.

But we have to all find satisfaction at some point. If we don't we'll only go deeper and deeper forever. The pressure of the void increasing with each level lower we go. I have reached that point. I know that I have reached the conclusion of Void Stranger in a way I can live with. I have been wrung dry.

In the final puzzle room of my journey, a void egg told me something that broke me. Three lines. These void eggs have spouted almost nothing but misery and hopelessness. So why did this one break me? Why did its words resonate so deeply? They won't make sense here. They won't make sense to you if you haven't journeyed deeper into the void than you should have. Go find this void egg and experience it for yourself. You'll know it when you find it.

The magic thing about a sponge is what happens when there's no moisture left in it. Suddenly, it absorbs everything from its surroundings and becomes entirely saturated with the fluid in which it is immersed. It becomes filled up with all the of knowledge of the struggle, of just what they went through and the wonderful feeling is it be fulfilled. It's hard to appreciate just how difficult these puzzles were, and how much determination I put into solving them until I finally reached a point where I could stop and stare at them. In the span of three weeks I spent almost forty hours grinding myself down only to experience one of the highest highs I've ever had playing a game. What might be an exercise in masochism to some, was one of my favorite gaming experiences ever. An experience I don't think I'll ever experience again. An experience that has been so meticulously crafted to weed out all but those who are truly as dedicated and willing to experience as someone like me: someone who is willing to put themselves through one of the most confusing and complicated and mind-warping experiences a game has to offer.

Beings of darkness who live in the void must feel sad. They cannot know how dark their world truly is until they're out looking at the stars, air in their lungs, free from the pressures of the Void.

oh this is some good orange and green shit lemme tell you

One of the main reasons I had not replayed Kirby's Dream Land 2 in almost fifteen years were the visuals. Regardless of how I might protest otherwise, graphical presentation does, in fact, matter to me, especially when it comes to older games. Kirby's Dream Land 2 is a very nice little game and a solid Gameboy game on its own, but when played on even a Gameboy Advance, its tri-color presentation tends to bring out the feelings I have with the rest of the game; a sense of dull apathy. A "yeah, this is alright I guess, but I'll stop after this level's over". Dream Land 2 on its own is simple, relatively uncomplicated, and doesn't really have any stand out features beyond the introduction of Kirby's animal friends (and the secret level layout in 5-5). So if I'm me, 25, choosing between Kirby's Dream Land 2 and something similar, like Kirby's Adventure, I'm more likely to choose Kirby's Adventure because "haha it looks pretty".

Well, no longer!

Kirby's Dream Land 2 DX is the exact upgrade the original game needed: a direct port to the Gameboy Color. With the added color, the visuals pop! These neat little background details are now not only visible, but actively interesting too. Maybe it was just because the colors had folded into the flaps of my brain, but I did not remember how detailed some of the level select maps were in this game. Red Canyon, and Cloudy Park are my personal favorites. The former takes on this deep rusty-orange color scheme that accurately reflects its name while still having little tufts of green that add some lovely contrast. The latter now has so much more detail in its background, like little spires and tints of yellow on the clouds, which provide a tasteful contrast against the soft purples and grays of the mountain landscape. These two are made especially more impactful upon reaching the final zone, Dark Castle, which still maintains a tricolor aesthetic, now just with purples, grays and black. This trichromatic final zone really stands out as a "dark imposing site" with the addition of color to every other zone in the game. It has to be seen to be experienced in full.

Dream Land 2 DX is absolutely the definitive way to play Kirby's Dream Land 2. Beyond the obvious improvements with the visuals, there are also a few measures taken to reduce any slowdown in the software, which is a godsend against later bosses. I distinctly recall being quite frustrated fighting later bosses and having my inputs eaten because I was trying to both move, jump and spit at the same time. While still not perfect, Dream Land 2 DX makes me feel like I have slightly better control over Kirby. This control really makes a difference in the last few parts of the game, especially against the fight against the boss at the end of Dark Castle (even if its still bullshit at times).

If you're looking to play Kirby's Dream Land 2 in any capacity, I cannot recommend this version enough. It's worth your time to find a cute little emulator, a corresponding rom of the game, and patching it with the excellent work done by kkzero. It's a short game, that still holds up quite well for a game turning 30 next year, and its made all the more interesting and fun with the addition of color.