7 Reviews liked by vogelscript

so, this is an extremely cool little game. it's also the second game I know of in my favorite new genre since Zachlikes: sci-fi games built around learning alien languages!
the basic concept is that you encounter a group that speaks a language you don't know, and then through context (and some guessing in my case) build up a vocabulary until you're able to solve whatever puzzles are there and move on to the next group. that might sound really simple, but it's actually really compelling and challenging at times, and I thoroughly enjoyed the process every time.
I think my favorite version of this is the couple of times where you have to translate conversations between two of the different groups. they don't all have the same sentence structure/grammatical rules, and they don't all have the same words for the same things, so it becomes a very cool little challenge (and I wish there was more of it tbh)
in general actually, that's one of the two issues I had with the game: I wish it was longer. I managed to beat it in under 8 hours, including getting every achievement (and I only even had to go out of my way at all to get two of them, the rest I got naturally in the course of the game). obviously there's nothing wrong with that, adding every new language must've been a huge undertaking, and taken a ton of work, but I definitely would've happily played significantly more if it'd been there, even with just the languages that're already there.
my other issue was navigation: I found it really easy to get lost or go the wrong way, even after I'd learned my way around the area. there's no map (except for in the world in some areas), and while I can appreciate that feeling of being lost as I'm first discovering a culture, it got annoying once I knew exactly what I needed to do but went the wrong direction multiple times. definitely a minor issue, but it was an annoyance at times.
I also don't want to say too much about the story, because this is the kind of game where going in as blind as possible is the best way to do it, but while it definitely wasn't the focus, what is there is well done and well executed, while still incorporating the language mechanics into the themes very well.
all in all, an excellent game. I would love to see a sequel to it someday, and it'll definitely be one of those games I'm recommending to my friends when they want something new!

There's a certain joy in not knowing. In avoiding trailers and hype, screenshots and terminally online discussion. You find certain sources - people, publishers, developers - that you trust, and then you simply experience their output and recommendations. No teaser needed, no hook to draw you in. They've earned the blind leap.
Which is how I came to Cocoon. Didn't know the genre, hadn't seen a single screen. Downloaded it, booted it up. Little beetle man, running around. Fairly standard lug and tug puzzles and then: the leap. Upwards and outwards into the understanding that the little world you were in is just that: a little world, subject to the same lug and tug rules. Instantly smitten, excited, thinking about all the ways things could unfold.
It certainly doesn't hurt that the game is wonderfully tactile, enigmatic and alive and alien. The soundscape resonates perfectly. Little musical swells let you know when you're walking into the solution of a puzzle, insectile feet clink and clank pleasantly. Lovely stuff.
The puzzles? Sadly, still those standard lug and tugs, with the occasional nod to the in-and-out world hopping. You collect more orbs - worlds - with different abilities. You apply them in safe, softlock-proof puzzles, each discrete enough that you run no risk of them ever overlapping. A little poking and prodding is all you ever need to get through, even in the eleventh hour when the game starts to twist its core mechanic inward on itself.
And that's the problem, really. Cocoon is clever but safe, polished to a mirror sheen. You gloss and glide over it, meeting little resistance until you find the end. It's fun, it's gorgeous to look at and listen to, but it's playtested and designed into pursued perfection, afraid to challenge the player in any meaningful way. Which is fine. It is what it wants to be, and time spent with it is hardly wasted. Nonetheless, it could have been more. As it stands, it promises the stars but delivers the moon.

When this game was first announced I was excited, I had my concerns with Creative Business Unit 3 taking the lead but I had faith in them regardless. As marketing ramped up and more of the development team was revealed, my excitement rose but I kept my expectations level. With that being said, this game is the most fun disappointment I’ve ever played.
Unfortunately, this will be mostly negative so I’ll start by laying out the positives. First and foremost, the combat. The mechanics, encounters, and enemy designs are all flawless. Even with the repetitive nature of a lot of enemies, I never once found myself bored when in a combat scenario. The hunts are a lot of fun, and the main story boss fights, particularly the eikon battles, are out of this world. Some of the most brilliant spectacles I’ve seen in gaming, the sheer power you feel against Titan or the epic scale and emotion against Bahamut… it’s phenomenal.
There are some real loveable characters here too. With my favourites being Gav, Byron, Dion, Joshua, Clive and Cid.
The voice work is brilliant across the board, my only gripe is that I wish they assigned specific accents to regions rather than just having a congregation of like 30 different random UK accents.
That’s about all this game has for me in the way of positives, it does very very little else. In the cases it does something good, it will do 2 things bad to counter it. I’ll start with performance, in my first playthrough it was smooth unless I was in bustling areas but that’s not a problem. For whatever reason, on NG+ I found myself getting a lot more frame drops across the board and a few times it was actually jarring. The real issue lies with the motion blur, it’s insane that after over a week a patch hasn’t been put in place to toggle it, it’s even more absurd that in 2023 there are still game developers out there that think anybody wants motion blur. Stop it please I’m begging
Overall, I think the story is fine. Has some great moments for Clive but mostly it’s serviceable. I have no real complaints beyond the main villain being a bit pathetic, I won’t explain why I think that sorry he just stinks by the end.
As I mentioned earlier, the cast is solid, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some weaker characters in the main cast. The 2 standouts for me being Jill and Barnabas. Barnabas was the only character I had high expectations for, so I was VERY disappointed when it turned out he was nothing more than a puppet who showed his true self only in the last moments of the fight with him. Jill on the other hand was filled with potential, when we first encounter her in the Nysa Defile I was so eager to learn more about her but then she just takes a back seat until her very cool moment in the Fire and Ice main story quest. Which leads to her taking the backseat again until her and Clive’s beautiful beach scene. Not to mention the 2 times she gets kidnapped and rescued in between all this, I just wanted more from her because I still really like her.
Cutting this short because I’m bored… the sidequests. Awful, don’t waste your time. There’s about 10 out of 76(?) that give you meaningful payoff with a cutscene but the lead up to it is the most mind numbing, boring, brain dead gaming you’ll ever experience. Speak to person A, run (very slowly) to person B, to person A, to person C, to persona A, fight bandits, cutscene, end. It sucks. This was my main concern with MMO devs coming into this game, sadly it bleeds into the main story quests too. After every cool moment you’re met once again with menial, boring, fetch quests. It’s like they don’t want you to have any fun or keep any momentum going. Someone will say these are pace breakers and exist to give you a breather, go to hell. Cannot stress enough how much these ruined the experience for me.
The other worst offender alongside the quests.. the “exploration”. I swear you could cut out every open zone in between quests and the game would be no different. A complete waste of time running through empty open fields, no cool items to find (except the Masamune in Waloed but by that point you’ve already got a better weapon), no interesting side roads to explore, not a single point of interest, no memorable towns/villages. Valisthea is dead, one of the most lifeless worlds I’ve had the displeasure of playing in. I don’t wanna hear anybody rag on FFXV’s world after this. On the bright side the world looks really pretty! Or at least it does until you destroy the Mother Crystals on Storm and everything looks horrendous until you start a new game. I could go on for hours about how bad the world sucks
The “RPG Mechanics” (I don’t actually know what this means) are non existent. Not much to say. Swords, crafting materials, bracers or whatever else there is, all useless no point paying any attention to them. Every hour you’ll get a new a weapon that gives you 5 extra damage, just equip it and move on. It reeks.
A few comments on NG+, and specifically Final Fantasy mode… surprise surprise another disappointment. They boasted pre release about how different it would be when really all they do is swap a Minotaur for a Griffin every now and again, it’s boring. You will craft the exact same weapons and gear in the exact same order using the same materials you got from the same hunts. Even if you die mid fight, you will respawn with your health refilled and more or less exactly where you left off in the fight, FF Mode is a joke really. By mid game it’s just a slog, I’m only doing this for the Platinum there is nothing else to grind for since Ultima Weapon is an inevitability by end game.
The music… is ok. This is very subjective but for me it just didn’t hit. There’s a couple good songs but I really think Soken or whoever was directing him fumbled. Titan Lost is a really cool track and I wish there was more range like that, everything else felt like a grand orchestral piece which quite frankly got boring quick. Heard that same eikon fight song about 15 damn times, I already got bored of it before the game released. I don’t think the soundtrack is bad, but without playing every single other FF game I’m quite confident in putting this towards the bottom of the rankings. It’s a shame because I hear great things about FF14 music and I know Soken can do better.
Idk what else to say. I had a lot of fun also feel a little let down, a solid 7/10 definitely not game of the year for me. Please don’t let CBU3 near another mainline single player FF game again. Thank you

It’s a good game. Better than BOTW for sure.
I’m not sure if this is because of life circumstances but towards the end, I was just mainlining shrines on my hover bike.
Caves, stables, side quests? GTFO! I'm not interested anymore!
When I was first playing, I was touching every inch of the regions I was unlocking, avoiding the main quest.
So much so that I got the last sage first
So yea, I enjoyed it a lot.
But at some point I felt I was no longer progressing. So was just looking for the main line content.
It could learn from Elden Ring with how it manages openness while gating content.

I can't help but wonder if this game would be a 10/10 if I was viewing it with nostalgia, or disregard everything that has came in the last 30 years. It's remarkable how well this game holds up in 2020. I'd even go as far to say it's one of the few games this old to do so (funny enough the others are also first party nintendo).
Maybe the best 2D Zelda ever, and in contention for "best zelda ever that's not breath of the wild" which is remarkable given that, well, again, 30 years old. I wish Nintendo would give this the remaster treatment.
Looking at it objectively in 2020, there are cracks in the armor of Link. A game this old does feel dated in some regards. Combat positioning feels clunky. Hitboxes are funny. The game really does a poor job of telling you what to do and where to go and what secrets you need to find to continue. I think there's no shame in playing this with save states and walkthroughs (as needed) in order to dodge a bit of the frustration.
Check out our book club style gaming podcast, Garbage Game Club on A Link to the Past- https://open.spotify.com/episode/6m1T7IYw3n00AUVStdfEnt?si=l4ur3f8yR9Ch6wMVvCNK3g

Sparrow Solitaire is the best game on the Playdate. Chill vibes and a wonderfully presented version of mahjong solitaire. Perfect for Saturday mornings while I enjoy my coffee.

Criticism is a mixture of heart and head. But not in this case.
The game has its problems and they are obvious. Framerate drops, popping, visual bugs and sloppy performance of certain online features.
That's what the head says, and it's right. But its characters, soundtrack, designs, story and new mechanics have lodged in my heart, making the ninth generation my second favorite installment of the series.
Certain details denote that the staff at Gamefreak puts passion into these projects. They care about these games while are restricted by enormous time constraints due to a careless management.
I hope they get more time for future developments. Pokemon also needs to put the head aside and prioritize the heart. It has all the necessary ingredients for a flawless experience.

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