Replayed with the kids. The later levels and the treasure road portals make great use of every power. The hidden waddle dees push you to explore, sure, but also demand perfection for a few bosses. And the forgotten islands prove the developers knew exactly what they were doing - a few enemies get additional move sets that expertly increase the pressure. If anything, I wanted a dodge move to help me out some more.
I kept Easy on the entire play through and barely scraped by the back part of the game. Yet it’s always changing enemy and levels up enough that it never feels repetitive. If anything, I was left wanting just a taste more.
Overall, a great Kirby game and a great video game.

this review called it "against the storm but turn based" and uhh yeah. it's that. it's just, you know, i kind of felt i understood against the storm after playing a few rounds, and i understood this after playing even fewer rounds.
i like terraforming mars. it's neat (if, you know, morally a bit questionable - a topic the game seems happy to dodge in favor of 'ignore bad morale in favor of rushing towards terraforming asap'). the game makes it look neat.
i accomplished my goal and now i'm done. which is, like, fine. i'm just kind of left with thinking about liz's amazing essay on (among other things) One Neat Mechanic vs Anarchic Maximalism and im kind of feeling a little more anarchic maximalist than One Neat Trick these days. so it goes!

On the one hand, a city builder that has you endlessly iterating on what I find the most fun part - the beginning build orders and setting up supply chains - is a pretty genius idea! There are great ideas here: Pulling in the randomization of a 'roguelite' to shake up your ideal build order, allowing you to choose your difficulty for a purely chill vibe session or a tense push-your-luck race against time.
On the other hand, it comes with the normal roguelite caveats: it devolves into Optimal Strategies and metaupgrade grinding over the same gameplay, over and over. It never truly changes (unless a patch adds a new mechanic, until the community agrees on a new metagame).
So, it's fun! It's good! I liked it! It was laser targeted towards my interests and I played it for twenty hours and I've seen enough to say I'm done.

Went through this again with the kids, and it's a classic! The story sweeps you through, the extra challenges push you pretty hard, and in between is plenty of silly, funny, entertaining stuff. A perfect Videogame.

Even standing still, this game made my heart race. I knew I wasn't in danger, but the feeling of isolation and the promise of discovery just spilled through. I was excited. I was terrified. I couldn't wait to push through and find the next thing.

the first game meant a lot to me in so many ways that i was nervous (!) about approaching the sequel. what if the sequel was Cringe? wouldn't that color the first game as kind of Cringe? maybe neku really WOULD have been an unbearable protagonist instead of the kind of person who learns and grows and THAT means (etc, etc etc)
fortunately, the ways this game is mediocre don't taint the first game. the spirit shines through. it just falls apart in execution, with clunky pacing ("make dumb decisions so you can revisit them later"), painful combat (my rsi! my different flavor of pin evolutions! tin pin slammer!), and technical issues all over the map (a is cancel, b is accept; serious lag issues).
at least we got a high quality soundtrack this time!!! the music still rules!!!

when the creator of crimsonland makes top down arena action roguelite game is it a vamp survivors clone

perfectly cromulent but it's no barbearian

great unfolding complexity. started to get a bit too much right around the time the dev gave up so, uh, you know what, i'm actually in perfect synchronicity.

it absolutely kills me when a creative and weird premise is crushed by absolutely bizarre difficulty and pacing. i actually want to see where the story goes, i just don't want to do a bunch of tedious "guess the correct path to the next tower / whoops not that one, try again" sequences in between.

i keep making mistakes like misreading the tiny map or missing a small jump and getting punished with incredibly long walkbacks. i don't mind precision platforming and this is pretty generous as it goes but i am not good at these games. i really needed a reset button and as far as i can tell it doesn't exist

Bear with me on this one.
Management games can sometimes be like building a block tower. It's tactile and satisfying to put stuff into a need little grid and build up the bottoms of your tower (resources like food or wood) to support you as you aim to go higher and higher (more population, more progress into the tech tree).
and sometimes, its just fun to clack blocks together and its great. the game doesn't really get in your way. that's my relationship to e.g. urbek city builder. and sometimes the blocks all have different faces and personalities and needs and its really complicated and one of them is tantruming and pulled the lever that kept lava out of the rest of the fort and that's dwarf fortress, and that's fun too. but sometimes I am building and building and I stop and go "why am i doing this? i can see in my mind's eye exactly how this will go when i get 1000 blocks (people) or one million blocks and it's the same thing just kind of bigger" and i have to wait more and more time before i can place the next block on and I'm spending all my time waiting and... that's kind of how i feel about this game. it's fine.
it gives some information but not enough to make my life easy (How many woodcutters to charcoal makers do i need? managing jobs only at the professional level is rough!). it has some friction but not the kind i enjoy. it seems to get updates so that's nice?

i really liked anodyne 1 and 2 not only because they were great games but because i thought they pushed me right exactly to my skill level; unfortunately, sephonie has surpassed my skill ceiling.
it clearly has the stuff i love. writing with heart about little-discussed themes around ecology and being in relationship with nature. the platforming is unique, the level design is tantalizing, and hey, they even have the accessibility controls to tweak it in a way that means i could theoretically see this to the end.
i'm just.... not.... going to? i don't think? maybe i'll come back later?

oh my goodness what a gorgeous game. what great music. the first time i swung that sword and smacked someone, i felt it, man.
so im kind of bummed that i think it's a mediocre management game (no way to view all your cultists! trying to give everyone daily blessings to max their level is incredibly tedious!) and an ....ok-ish action game (great combat moment to moment, incredibly boring rogue-lite-like action design where you pile into a room with three monsters over and over again and then spend another 15 seconds smashing all the debris in case there's, like.... a mushroom.) do those two flavors taste great mashed together? sure do! is either half of that game really what i want to be doing at any given moment? not really.
i mostly wanted to be playing barbearian again, a game also about collecting followers while smashing shit with an axe in a journey of cosmic weirdness.

look, the new steam release still has some rough edges. you're still going to need to have the (excellent! well-run!) wiki page open a lot. there are still bugs, and things that might be bugs or might be misunderstandings, and lots of you fighting the interface.
but it's worth it. worth it for holding your breath to see if you accidentally flooded your fort when you forgot water flowed diagonally, and dug too deep. worth it for barely squeezing through a winter as animals help themselves to your weapons stockpile while you try to brew enough alcohol to stave off a fort-wide temper tantrum until you realize you forgot to clear out a rotting corpse and oops, all miasma! worth it for when a vampire or a dragon or a necromancer shows up and you realize you are just going to not survive this one, and Losing Is Fun.
And you know what? the community is really sweet about it. because we've all been there. sometimes it's just out of our hands. if you want to opt out, you can absolutely roll a map of even-tempered wildlife by a gently babbling brook (and sigh as your mayor gets his eyes pecked out by a wild parrot anyway). Or you can tempt fate and and wage total warfare as nobles sling demands at you and you dump them into lava pools.
i'm not going to pretend to be objective about this. I've been playing this game for over ten years. it means a lot to me, and i immediately sunk in to a new round. it's not the easiest thing to learn, but it's influence is wide and deep. it surprises me still. what else can you say in praise of a game?