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I actually liked this less than the previous iteration (goats) - felt like this one was a bit slower, too many characters in the city? Idk. I get the want to be 'meditative' but a lot of the stuff in this was fairly slow, perfunctory - frustrating to try and establish a routine. I think fewer characters would have made the sense of stakes between the rural and city more coherent/interesting


I really like the density and variety of enemy placements when playing this game ability-less and with minimal floating, and on 3-health mode. There's something fun about the pacing of boss fights where it's not about constantly trying to get sword slashes or megaman pews in, but knowing when a boss attack will spawn a suckable star, and how to safely reach it, and THEN how to successfully hit the enemy with it.

Kinda want to go pick up the GBA remaster now..

I think there's a good, strong contrast between playing this with restrictions, versus playing with restrictions in the more kinda-bland-stages-and boss-difficulty-focus that kirby games fossilized into from Dream Land 2/3 onwards (that Forgotten Land slightly does try to move away from, although not successfully).


The human race must be punished for the birthing the unholy existence of of merge games


While I've yet to finish it, I think my perception of the game has more or less solidified almost to the end of world 6. I'm enjoying the game (I play co-op as Waddle Dee) and will probably play into the post-game.

The Kirby fundamentals translated well into 3D. Still present is the strange texture of its somewhat muddy difficulty. Even when the level design shines it's often possible to kind of fudge your way through it because of the generous health pickups and health bars.

I get the sense that if I self-imposed limitations (no healing, no abilities and floating except when necessary) the levels would probably be a lot more interesting to play? Floating lets you pay less attention the level geometry, generous health lets you pay less attention to hazards, generous attacks lets you pay less attention to enemy placements. It's actually a really well-balanced difficult level for people who haven't played many action games, which I respect - the boss designs feel juuust dynamic enough to surprise those players but also remain predictable enough to be manageable. The game even gives some tools to make life a little easier (stackable attack, speed and health buffs, upgradeable abilites). I haven't played many recent kirbies but this felt like a good way for the main quest in Forgotten Land to include trickier bosses while giving enough tools for any level of player to overcome things.

It would have been nice if the game included a way to enforce that the limitations I had in mind, but I guess as is it's still fun, and I could always enforce them myself.

The gacha collection system is kind of whatever - it's repetitive and you only get to decorate your home with three. It felt like it was there to pad out the levels with little dopamine boosts.

The Waddle Dee Village is fun to grow so far, but I feel like it could have been pushed to more interesting places than the few minigames and shops it gives out.

I like the missable side missions, but having the side missions be completeable the first time through always gave me a bit of an 'ugh' feeling when I would just miss one Waddle Dee and know I have to replay the whole stage to get it again. I forget, but I think progress is only saved when completing the level...? That seemed like a weird choice. The side missions do strike a nice balance between perfunctory (find 5 tulips) and interesting (kill a boss while transformed in a weird state).

The little challenge levels (that give upgrade materials) were a cute addition, but they feel repetitive after a while even though I like their design direction. Likewise, within main levels themselves, there are challenge rooms. These are cute but I feel kind of break up the pacing in a strange way, I get the sense they exist because the main level philosophy seems to be built around not enforcing mandatory abilities. However, it would be a waste if the designers didn't build some levels to take advantage of the unique moves each ability has, hence the challenge rooms and challenge levels.

Overall it comes off as kind of a weird, diluted kind of design with odd pacing. Some of the challenges are more perfunctory, but I feel like Kirby could work really well in a 2D-esque Zelda-dungeon setting? Of course, that would be abandoning Kirby's 'use any ability at any time' philosophy (which kind of points to the ways that those kinds of design philosophies can be awkwardly restrictive.) All that these isolated challenge roads really need to feel less awkward would be to slot them into a bigger level with a better arc of drama and pacing. Still, it's admirable to have the challenges anyways, I think it shows the designers' love of the ability sets.

Oh, the art direction - I thought it went between inspired/interesting, to like... out of place? (The regular looking cities.) A bit all over the place.

I have thoughts on the story/setting so far but I haven't finished so I'll wait. It feels pretty usual for Kirby as far as I can tell, but sometimes the dissonance of gunning down little puppies in an amusement park feels really odd! I don't think Kirby games need a deep story, but I do think if you're going to make a postapocalyptic wasteland setting then it should be justified somehow.. we'll see how it pans out.

Overall, a pretty solid base of a game, but I think it plays its hand too conservatively and safely a lot of the time to be a great game.


2022

A top-down, 3D action-adventure game with mechanical influence from Dark Souls, 2D Zelda Games, and puzzly-adventures like Fez. I got the Green and Red keys.

The dungeon design feels souls-influenced but the combat (outside of bosses), while having souls-y mechanics, has the kind of fluffiness of 2D zelda combat. I don't mind it, but it did feel a little repetitive after a few dungeons (killing enemies tended to have an ideal strategy, and there weren't many puzzles or other types of challenges to spice up the dungeons like in Zelda games). Finding secrets around the world is fun even after they started to feel a little repetitive (I found myself hugging walls a lot or throwing bombs).

Being able to reference an illustrated manual was really neat, although I found flipping its pages to be a little nauseating. I did find navigation/orienting myself to be a bit tricky, since the top-down view makes it hard to remember where landmarks are (one of the disadvantages when comparing top-down vs traditional 3rd person 3D)

Great music and sound design!


Played in Japanese on PS4. Got partway through the Quatre chapter (in the science town).

The game uses the classic "cast of 8" JRPG ensemble, characters introduced each chapter. I think this game is too long (I'm 2-3x as slow playing in Japanese due to the amount and difficulty of reading here), though part of that is exhaustion with playing in a second language. It's an 60-80 hour RPG with regular timing.

As a Trails fan (who frustratedly put up with the entire ho-hum Cold Steel series), Kuro makes some nice and positive moves for the series. The lead, Van, seems to actually have a canon romance, there isn't any creepy harem dating shit, and other characters seem to have romances of their own as well as interesting ties to organizations or their home cities.

I love the battle system changes - most of the time you can just hack away in dungeons, and more fast-paced Trails-y turn-based combat feels really good! I got the sense that it's easier overall than past games, but I play on Normal difficulty so who knows. That being said, there isn't any real tension in the dungeons. It mostly feels like padding before the next plot beat.

I still feel like the Massive Countries within the Kuro arc has similar problems to Cold Steel - you get a pretty disjointed sense of the entire world, and things start to feel cyclic/repetitive after a while.

Well, I'm not sure if I'll finish Kuro 1, but I'll probably still try out Kuro 2 (or at least watch the series to the end...what's gonna happen??)


I played most of this on Switch and then watched the final dungeon.

Unsurprisingly I was exhausted on the Erebonia setting at this point, the game still has a mostly airship/on-rails and disappointing portrayal of the country. It was a nice decision to start the game with rescuing Rean, but again the characters/writing really didn't make that very interesting.

I can't remember what happened for most of the game, but when they all go to Mishelam at the end before the final missions, that was actually a nice sendoff to the series and characters.


I played about 15 hours of this then skimmed the rest on YouTube. I think it was a good decision to limit the cast size, but the instructor/teacher moe stuff is really boring and I didn't think any of the characters had interesting development. Rean is an awful character.

The Sky callbacks are nice, but really, fictional characters should just... not reappear... it's awkward because their writing is worse, and even more caricatured feeling than it was in the original Sky. I know the whole "big same universe" crossovers are a cool part of trails, but...

Visiting Hamel was kind of interesting. Idk. I feel like there were a lot of possible points the writing could have been cool (Juna being from Crossbell, characters reflecting on Hamel), but the truth is that almost nothing seems to matter any more. Every single villain just gets redeemed, entire war crimes get excused, the game is more or less mostly a pile of stakeless JRPG fluff with some nice moments here and there.


Similar thoughts to Trails from Zero. This has more of the "big anime" stakes, some reveals, a few cool setpieces, but overall I don't remember much and some final chapters ran on too long.


A fun RPG with an okay cast, although you can really feel the series shifting more towards a more recent type of anime RPG moe. None of the characters really left an impression on me, although I recall some nice moments with Lloyd and Elie. Honestly, I think Zero marks the point in which Trails games stopped really being that interesting (although I did enjoy Kuro) and I should have played something else.

Battle system is 'better' than Sky, but I still didn't care for it. It was kind of cool learning about Crossbell, but I thought the way you travel throughout the world felt kind of like an awkward in-between of Sky and the terrible pacing of Cold Steel.


Kevin and Ries's story is nice and well done, I love the bonus content and emotional wrap-ups we get for all of Sky's other characters. It's an amazing sendoff to the Sky series and sets up the rest of the trails games nicely (even if those later games aren't that great)

Gameplay-wise, the game is a bunch of long dungeons, some REALLY sprawling and maze-like. I was already pretty sick of the battles by Sky 2, so I wasn't really into them here, either. Thematically, I did like the weird, distorted dungeons that were warped versions of areas in Sky, but playing through them was just kinda whatever...

Love some of the music!


(Spoilers)

Not as good overall as Sky 1 (retraveling over Liberl gets a little boring, the Ouruboros stuff instantly feels repetitive, visiting each tower gets repetitive...I still don't really care for the battle system), but the main cast stuff is good and the final chapter was really cool by bombastic JRPG standards. Orbal shutdown phenomenon was interesting too, letting you revisit the world.

A nice end to most of the threads of Sky 1, but the emotional threads feel more tied up in Sky 3.


trails in the sky! trails in the sky! a fun, kingdom-sprawling, feet-on-the-ground explorative and npc dialogue/story-focused jrpg with a nice light romance plot, and plenty of problematic 2000s jrpg tropes (oh well)

For better or worse, I've played (Though not completed) all the trails games, and Sky 1 is still the best.

What I like the most about trails in the sky is its slow pacing - the way you get to know each town, read the newspapers, setting up many of the emotional plot beats for Sky 2. Joshua and Estelle are journeying on foot to get better acquainted with their little country of Liberl, and it really makes sense and feels good to walk from place to place, no fast travel or flying around.

If you like more lighthearted JRPGs I'd check Trails in the Sky out. (If the first hour doesn't hook you I'd drop the entire series)



A 3D platformer with all the dramatic sense and level design cohesion of the deathbed hallucinations of a plumber as he watches his Mushroom Kingdom crumble through the window.


A trash heap of classically bad 3D Mario design, ideas which feel designed exclusively for 3 year olds or bizarrely outdated-feeling levels with a difficulty philosophy of instant death traps, impossible-to-judge depth and slopes, floaty jumps, ear-splitting, unmutable music and 10-second load times, reminiscent of Sunshine and 64's worst.

A game that doesn't understand what makes an EASY platformer fun or what makes a HARD platformer fun. A bag of nothing, the wilted celery of platformers.

To top things off, has an open world to swim around that feels like they went "What if 3D World's overworld and level icons were the real thing?" Some ideas are better left in preproduction!

Death to Mario.