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Unread 12-28-2019, 04:12 PM   #1
BB
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8-Bit Theater Games of 2019

2019 as a year felt like it lasted two years, and a lot happened in my personal life. Got a new job, learned to drive, got my first car, moved out of the in-laws’ basement into our first real apartment, started my first long-term game of DnD (which in itself has involved a new relationship and an emotional breakdown)- and between it all I somehow managed to play 77 games. Backlog’s down to 35 titles, lads- at this rate, I’ll be down to zero by July 2020. (Not gonna happen.)

In 2020, I’d like to explore the SNES catalogue a little more, but before that happens we have to review everything 2019 brought me, in a somewhat chronological order.

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Near A Tomato

Carry-over from last year’s post since I was in the middle of playing it at the time. I definitely never quite got a handle on the combat and I think some of the themes went over my head, but I still had fun here, and the 9S hacking minigame never got old. It was a gift from an old friend who I miss. Was nice to reconnect.

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SSBU

With my new main Zelda, I cleared all of WoL and got every spirit on the Spirit Board. I never really used her before but she’s cute now! Really liked the attention to detail in the spirit encounters. Unfortunately, Cloud is still in the game.

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Mega Mans 1 2 and 3


I actually spoke about my experiences with the Mega Men in my BBLC post for Mega Man Eggs, so you should read that right now.

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Metroid Samus Returns


It’s Good. Like, a solid Good. Never Great, never Bad, just Good. It’s nice to see one of the least accessible games in the series get a remaster, but it feels very disposable, if that makes sense. Like they just needed a Metroid to keep people busy while they reboot Prime 4 development. AM2R is vastly superior, go play that.

One point of amusement- the game tells its story without narration, and also seems to pre-suppose you know Metroid lore. I was entertained by the thought of a newcomer to the series being completely mystified by the sudden space-dragon that comes out of nowhere to wreck you at the end of the game.

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Khimera: Destroy All Monster Girls

You can click here to download it, ‘cos it’s free, which is almost criminal. This is one of the higher tier games I’ve played this year. A little bit Mega Man, a bit Metroid, with hints of Touhou and Undertale, it’s pretty tough at times but never to ‘precision platformer’ levels. It’s a lot of fun and the dev deserves your support.

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Steve And Ollie RPG

Oh, I made this one. Making something else next year? Question mark?

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Prof Layton 3

Feels like these are getting weaker as they go along. The story has always been absolute boohockey, but the puzzles feel like they’re degrading in quality too. With over 200 in each game, that’s not super surprising, and I’m glad they didn’t bulk it out with a load of the awful block-slider puzzles. Still, it’s Layton, if you liked any of the other games you’ll like this cos it’s the exact same thing.

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Fault Milestone Two

Yo, there ain’t a damned thing I can say about Fault, so go play the first one and then play this and you’ll understand.

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Full Throttle

I never bothered to finish it. The obtuse old Sierra puzzlers were hard enough to deal with back in the day, and just feel kind of inexcusable now. I don’t have the patience for it.

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eXceed 3rd


Slick and fun bullet hell with a nigh-incomprehensible story and great music. Touhou fans will like it. Music by SSH who is relatively well known in doujin circles.

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ASAMU

Finished it before writing my BBLC post!

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Eternal Senia

Everything I said in my post rings true- do your best to look past the wonky translation, because there’s a heartfelt story underneath it. Very accessible gameplay, by design.

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Inivisble Inc

You have never before been, nor will you ever again be, so aware of having left a door open. I fully expected to hate Invisible, but I got hooked pretty hard. Quite tempted to do another run of it once the backlog is clear.

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Pyre

GOTY. Supergiant’s best game so far, and that’s not an easy thing to say for this Bastion veteran. I sobbed by the end. I’m not being dramatic- literally sobbed. Please play it. Music and writing and, just, heart, are all top tier. All the Nightwings are the best, but Hedwyn is the best best.

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Ellipsis

Finished it before writing my BBLC post!

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Just Cause 2


I found myself getting bored very quickly. The main missions are all identical (really, they are) and the side missions are very uninspired. Blitzing around in a jet or grappling around a mission target is a lot of fun but it feels very shallow. There’s a lot to do but not really any reason to do any of it. I dunno, it’s a kind of hollow experience, that I nonetheless had fun with.

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LiEat

It went over my head a little, but that’s more on me I think. These horror-esque, eccentric japanese RPG Maker games usually do. But, it’s neat, and short. If this sort of thing usually sticks on you, I think this is a good title.

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Shantae Pirates Curse

These games always felt non-essential to me; I’m not sure why they never stuck. They never really go below or above Good. Entirely enjoyable but I don’t feel like I’d have really missed anything if I hadn’t played them. It is, however, absolutely worth investing in for the utterly superb sprite work. That doesn’t sell a game by itself, I know, but Shantae is a pixel art masterclass.

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FF5

I’d more or less finished it by the time I wrote my BBLC post, so I don’t have much to add. It’s a refreshingly goofy entry in a series known for taking itself too seriously, even compared to its predecessor. Look forward to my entry for this game in my Games Of 2020 post, having played the Four Job Fiesta!

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Touhou 17

It’s mid-tier in the touhou hierarchy, IMO. Didn’t set my soul alight but I did enjoy it. Playing as Wolf Marisa makes the final boss too chaotic to really enjoy, but playing through again with Reimu made it more fun. I beat Extra on my third run through, which gave me false confidence that after 10 years I might actually be good at these games- to then be quickly humbled by attempting Th11’s Extra. Final Boss’ theme song has one of the greatest lead-ins of all time, especially given you start the fight by running away from her! Also really loved the Stage 4 theme as you barrel head-first into Hell (the real one this time), and the haunting, calm-before-the-storm serenity of Stage 5, overlooking the City Of Beasts.

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HackNet + Labyrinths

GOTY. (Yes, I know I already said Pyre was GOTY; it’s my post, I can have two GOTYs. Make your own damned post!) It’s hard to say what I loved about these games without spoiling too much- just know that they play very much like investigation games, and figuring out the puzzles feels great. Labyrinths technically takes place during the events of Hacknet, with a somewhat more Black Hat approach to things- despite this, play all of Hacknet first, and then play Labyrinths. The expansion introduces a lot of new stuff and much trickier challenges, such that going back to the base game afterwards to finish that would leave it a little hollow- a disservice to how great the ending is.

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Mega Man X

I said everything I wanted to say in my BBLC post, and anything I didn’t cover was better said by Egoraptor.

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Octodad

Finished it before my BBLC post!

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Chroma Squad

The final mission is disappointingly poor, but everything up to that point was pretty good. Huge variance and creativity in the bosses. However, the most fun I got from it was when I realised the game allowed me to customise my team name, transformation name, and other such terminology. Dave, Dayve, Davy, Davina, and Dehve shouting “It’s time to Chromatise, Chroma Squad!” very quickly became “It’s time to shit, you bunch of fucks!” and it was funny every single time. (Personal favourite bit of dialogue- “I tried to shit! It worked!”)

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Pyrite Heart

Finished it before my BBLC post!

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Starfox 2


Finished it before my BBLC post!

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Burly Men At Sea

Finished it before my BBLC post!

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Disc Room


Finished it before my BBLC post!

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Kokurase

Finished it before my BBLC post! Should have broken these ones up a bit!

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Metroid Rogue Dawn

Very, very impressive romhack let down by a distinctly un-fun final section. They managed to fix so many of OG Metroid’s problems, I’m surprised the gauntlet of terribleness that is Tourian escaped with only a cosmetic change. Nonetheless, it’s free, and the other 95% of the game is superb, even from a purely technical standpoint.

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Wuppo

I dunno what happened here! I was full of praise for Wuppo when I played it, but somehow I just couldn’t stick with it and just never felt like playing it. It’s a very aimless game, and I wonder if that might be why? It’s a shame, I feel disappointed in myself for not seeing it through, but ultimately I play games to have fun and I just wasn’t quite there with Wuppo.

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Super Mario Odyssey

I loved it, obviously. I wrote my BBLC post towards the end of my time with Odyssey so most of that stands- I do want to add that the controls always felt a little loose, like I wasn’t quite as in-control as I was in Galaxy. Also Mario prioritises walljumping over ledge-grabbing and it’s super-hard to unlearn that instinct after 20 years. Finally- Long Journey’s End is just bullshit.

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Secret Of Mana

Dropped it pretty soon after Finning it. There’s some logic to the way the game works, some kind of hidden turn-order system, that I could not at all figure out. My AI companions (useless, btw) would hit an enemy which meant I couldn’t, except sometimes the hit would still register but only actually go through 3 seconds later, without any way to tell which way it was going to go. It takes like 7 months for your character to get back up after taking a hit. It’s just, wonky, and I couldn’t solve the puzzle of how to make the game do what I wanted to do.

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Pokemon Shield

Still working my way through it. It’s- yeah, it’s pokemon. Get a similar vibe to Sun/Moon with it that it’s kind of unfinished- lots of small (and some not so small) parts of the game just feel like there were bigger plans that couldn’t be realised in time. I’m still enjoying it! They did a great job of making the gym battles, and the whole process of 8-badges-then-champion, feel like a spectacle. I think only the anime has managed it to this degree before.

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Earthbound

Man, I really, really want to like this game, but the battle system is terrible. I need to play through the game again buffing my party up with cheats or something, because it’s so unbalanced and cheap. Everything else about the game is wonderful, but I got so frustrated with the fights!

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Mario Kart 8

Didn’t play any of the single player this time, it was midgi’s christmas present so I just joined a couple of multiplayer games. Absolutely baffled that the game features F-Zero style anti-gravity courses, has Mute City and Big Blue, and even has the Blue Falcon as a selectable vehicle, but they haven’t put Captain Falcon in it. Like he’s ever going to get another game of his own? Let him have this!

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Carmageddon 2

It’s pretty clunky by now, being 20 years old, but still plays well enough. The physics are super loose so you slide around like your tires have been buttered. It was more fun when they were zombies instead of just normal people. Missions are brutally hard and should be skipped with cheats.

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Neopets

After 15 years of playing, I finally got a Ghostkersword. The site as a whole has gone through a lot, and certainly its heyday is long gone, but there’s no other game quite like it. I’m playing the Food Club every day, still.

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SIF


New phone can’t run the actual gameplay section well enough, so I just log in occasionally to grab free scouts. Here’s another one whose golden years are behind it, sadly, but I certainly still have a lot of affection for SIF.

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FF1


Mobile version, which fixes a lot of the bugs with the NES original. This year I completed a solo run with 1 Red Mage, a 4-black belts run, a low-level run, and a 4 White Mages run (which ended up being a lower-level run than the low-level run). I’m fairly comfortable in calling myself an expert in FF1, now. There’s still not really any other games like it- build a party as balanced or imbalanced as you like, and see how they fare. I’d like to build my own game in a similar style, one day.

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Re: Live

Gacha games and RPG just don’t mix! Both gacha and events do not gel with core RPG mechanics of your character(s) developing in strength as the game goes. It seems impossible to balance the game well- do you cater to the whales who spend and spend until they have the strongest teams possible, meaning the free players or the terminally unlucky can’t stand a chance, or do you cater to those players and give them no reason to spend for the more powerful characters? It’s a shame, because the anime was baffling but in that enjoyable way where you just kind of go with whatever it throws at you, and exploring that in a non-freemium game with a solid beginning middle and end would be really interesting.

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Tiny Thief

Mobile game that’s not available any more, I think my BBLC post covered it well enough.

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F-Zero

One of the criticisms most commonly levied against F-Zero is that it wont hold your attention for long. While that’s true, it’s not like you have to make a purchasing decision about it any more- it comes bundled in with the other games you’re buying, so the only investment is time. Ignoring that, it’s still fun to burn around the tracks, and the sense of speed hasn’t ever diminished. The music, too, is underappreciated, with Port Town being my personal fave.

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F-Zero GX

I can’t believe Nintendo hasn’t done anything with this ridiculous universe for 15 years now. The cutscenes are so hilariously overwrought, and the cast of characters is huge! It could so seamlessly intersect with the Starfox universe, too. There were rumours of a Starfox Racing title some time ago, and I really hope that’s the case. It’d work so well (by which I mean, a particularly enjoyable kind of awful). Anyway, the game still plays great, Story Mode is WAY too hard, Dr Stewart’s theme is a Tune.

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Stratosphere

This game is from 1998! Build a flying fortress, deck it out with fortifications and weapons and power supplies, then use it to destroy other fortresses. I only ever played the demo as a kid, never got the full game. Took some cajoling to get it to work on modern hardware, but eventually I got in and it wasn’t worth it at all. Wow, that performance, apparently it was designed to run at a terrible frame rate and it wasn’t just a result of my 1998 PC not being up to the task! A shame, but I guess it put one of my ghosts to rest.

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DKC 2

The best of the three SNES games, despite the inclusion (and protagonism) of Diddy Kong. Lots to love here, but the OST is top notch.

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DKC 3

Not as good as 2, but IMO better than 1. There was a much heavier emphasis on gimmick levels in 3, not all of which hit their target, but does provide a great deal of variety. Consensus is that 2 is better, but if someone claimed 3 was the best DKC, I’d let them get away with it.

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King Arthur’s World (SNES)

Speaking of putting ghosts to rest… We somehow always managed to get this game whenever we got a SNES, and kid!Beebs most certainly didn’t have the patience for it. Adult!Beebs barely does, either. It’s a very ambitious attempt at some sort of RTS/Puzzle hybrid, somewhat comparable to Lemmings? King Arthur must make his way from his starting position to the throne elsewhere in the map to claim it as his own, using the myriad abilities of his soldiers to get him there in one piece. I decided this year that I was finally going to play through the whole damn thing, start to finish, for the first time ever. With copious use of save states and rewinds, I was finally able to slay this demon. For as fiddly and frustrating as it is, I would still say people should check it out if they have the tools to do so- there’s not really anything else like it, on SNES or otherwise; you’re guaranteed a unique experience, if nothing else.

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Oscar (SNES)

Terrible.

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Spanky’s Quest (SNES)

With a name like that, how could I refuse? It’s a weird little puzzler, aping (wahey!) Bubble Bobble and Parasol Stars a little. You’re a monkey who can blow bubbles that stun enemies, but if you bounce the bubble on your head it gets progressively larger and can be burst to send a barrage of similarly-sized sports balls at your opponents to knock them out. You know, just like real life.

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Addam’s Family (SNES)

This easily-dismissible movie tie-in is actually a very competent platformer with some very, very light metroidvania exploration involved. Gomez has to go through Addams Mansion and rescue the members of his family who have been kidnapped by… something. There’s hidden secrets everywhere and the family can be rescued in any order you like. Genuine recommendation.

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Panel DePon/Tetris Attack

The only vs puzzler I enjoy (yep. Not even puyo puyo. I know.) I played the HECK out of this in my teenage years, and got crazy good at it. Tendonitis says I’m not allowed to do that any more, but once I shook the rust off I was still pretty strong! It was released as Panel DePon in Japan and was fairy themed, but for the western release they replaced all the fairies with Yoshi characters and renamed it Tetris Attack despite having nothing to do with Tetris at all. Up to you which you prefer- language isn't too much of a barrier here. Soundtrack is killer.

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Subsurface Circular

Finished it before my BBLC post. Still not decided if I liked the way it ended.

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Master Of Orion 2

C’mon. After playing three other pretenders to MoO2’s throne, I had to give the real deal a couple of spins too. It’s Civ 5 in space. Customisable race builds. A whole galaxy to bring peace to, by whichever means you prefer. Would love for someone else to get into it.

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Touhou 8

Last minute entry I just played yesterday ‘cos I wanted some Touhou and I haven’t played this entry in a long while. A Solo Marisa Normal Final B run, if you’re interested. Kaguya beast-mode tearing apart the Spell Of Imperishable Night at the end of the game is still an awesome moment, but it’s a shame you can miss the last couple of spells if you take some unlucky hits.

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And here’s the list of Bins, which are all covered in their BBLC post:

No Time To Explain
MoO
Skyborn
Jumpjet Rex
StH 4
Ballistick
Munch’s Oddysee
Outland
Project CARS
RiME
Magicka
Waking Mars
Urban Chaos
Divinity: Dragon Commander
Strike Suit Zero
Hell Yeah!
Lambda Wars Beta
Stranger’s Wrath
MoO 3
XCOM

Lots more Fins than Bins this year! Good to see!
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