Blind


Nox

A unique, qwirky top down ARPG which has its own fun gimmicks and game mechanics. Recommend giving it a try out, see if you like it; comes pretty cheap.
Type Of Review: Blind Run
Total Story Score: +3
Total Gameplay Score: +1
Golden Number: 7.39
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 2 Days // 13.25 Hours
Time Reviewed: 11-18-2022

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Brickwork: Generally good brickwork
  2. Doodad: Surprisingly good doodad design
  3. Voice Acting: I will accept that the voice acting, while bad, is amusingly so
  4. Outro: The endings are quite silly
  5. NPC Set Dressing: Towns are surprisingly lively and have people (voice acted) commenting on recent and local events
  6. MSQ: The warrior story arc is surprisingly interesting and well done, showing hints of the mage vs. warrior bias plaguing the area

Story Negatives:

  1. Outro: The endings are… too short and too poorly constructed. I legitimately had issues understanding what was even happening in several of them, and it feels like they chop off halfway through
  2. Dialogue: The dialogue is… bad. It’s not goofy, it’s just bad
  3. Cutscene Incompetence: There is a weirdly large amount of cutscene incompetence going on… for everyone, really, pretty equally

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Intro: The initial dungeons are pretty legit, well itemized and well tutorialized in what you should expect and how to interact with the world, and of course how to play your class
  2. Level: The Mana Mine is a surprisingly well designed dungeon, with lots of strategically placed mana crystals, mostly enemies you are likely to already be able to charm, and a good spread of enemy encounters spattered with larger challenges
  3. Music: Generally good music (and it changes fluidly per area too!)
  4. Core Mechanic: Charming is a fantastic feature, allowing for a good variety of ‘pets’ who are of varying use throughout
  5. Core Mechanic: Conjurer Bombers are an awesome bit of tech; setting up traps in advance and customizing what spells they trigger in what order really rewards the player with either combos or forethought
  6. Sound Design: Some issues with spam aside, there’s some cool sound design
  7. Sound Design: Also, each type of equipment gives a different sound effect upon looting
  8. Kit: Conjurer is a reasonably fun class to play; the moment I shifted from ‘mage’ to ‘archer with some spells’ it clicked, and the pets are at least mildly useful
  9. AI: AI in general is pretty decent
  10. QoL Features (too many to list, but a lot of ‘smart’ decisions with regards to interactions and pathfinding)
  11. Hyperbeam Moment: So getting the finished staff of oblivion is pretty sweet, and the game gives you plenty of ways to really enjoy it (lots of enemies, bundled in tight areas, with lots of mana crystals to refill on)
  12. Outro: The final dungeon’s laser puzzles are unique, fun, and interesting
  13. Kit: The Wizard’s array of spells is legitimately interesting, especially with the mark and recall
  14. Replayability: Between the three differing classes and their respective unique areas, the game is moderately replayable
  15. Encounter Design: With a few exceptions, there is good usage of which enemies are balanced against which to make for some fun encounters

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Controls: The controls are… finicky. Movement is okay but attacking is awkward and looting is kind of awful
  2. Audio Spam: It… it gets pretty bad
  3. Difficulty Curve: Overtuning / difficulty curve issues (some pretty bad spikes here and there)
  4. Level: The entire ogre village invasion kinda sucks. Lots of high health, hard hitting enemies with few recovery periods or tools to use, and dull music and visuals compared to the rest of the game
  5. Itemization: So for the second time this week we have a game that has a nice long swath of gameplay with no vendor access. Which would work if designed around it, but it isn’t and it doesn’t
  6. Enemy Design: The fact that some enemies can random into one shotting you is ridiculous
  7. Difficulty Curve: A special mention for the friggin’ castle where you fight ogres (who can 2-3 shot you) and demons (who can 1-2 shot you)
  8. Encounter Design: And on the same castle, they like to bundle up large groups of enemies that are hard to dodge that can 1-2 shot you with no real variety or design on display, in areas with no real dodging
  9. Level: And finally just one big screw you to this stupid castle stage
  10. Padding: Essentially every level in the game really should be a bit shorter. Too many floors, too many enemies
  11. Outro: The Outro suffers the padding issue much worse than the previous dungeons…
  12. Outro: …to the point of being honestly pretty boring
  13. Outro: The final boss fight is… way, way too boring. The fact that she has healing is bad enough, the fact that she has infinite healing makes it much worse, the fact that she can teleport across a HUGE area randomly with no indications is even worse…
  14. Outro: …earning it two negatives for a colossal waste of my time

Paradise Killer

If you are a fan of surreal, abstract, or generally weird stories about lovecraftian cults, you will probably enjoy this game.
Type Of Review: Blind Run
Total Story Score: 0
Total Gameplay Score: +2
Golden Number: 3.66
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 1 Days // 6.82 Hours
Time Reviewed: 11-21-2022

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Doodads: Okay, the city is actually quite well designed overall visually
  2. Background Lore: The actual story is presented piecemeal throughout the background elements of the game
  3. Internal Continuity: The game does a very good job of keeping track of itself and its lies…
  4. Internal Continuity: …earning two positives
  5. Outro: The final trial was clearly the shining moment of the game, and really deserves recognition for it

Story Negatives:

  1. Voice Direction: Infrequent voice acting and usual problems
  2. Empty Text: As is honestly standard for games of this type, there’s a fairly large amount of repeat text all over
  3. Atmosphere: Nonsense. The game is just… too nonsensical. Too surreal, too abstract, it makes it legitimately difficult to even process the game, and it absolutely reduces my enjoyment thereof…
  4. Atmosphere: …earning two negatives
  5. Intro: The Intro made me want to put the game down almost immediately

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Guidance and Flow: Audio indicators of nearby items and roughly where they are
  2. Options: Accessibility options are quite good in this one
  3. All Roads Lead To Rome: The way the game has multiple crimes with multiple outcomes is already cool…
  4. Core Mechanic: …but the fact that you can pull the trigger at any time on the trial is actually pretty interesting and well designed
  5. QoL: The detect collectibles power up is rather useful, and the ability to see when people have something new to say is nice too

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Map: The map is… pretty bad
  2. Overworld: So there’s a weird, ‘bad’ design to the overworld in how it flows into itself, leading to some navigation issues throughout that make it kind of irritating to get around
  3. Pacing: The pacing of the gameplay is… absolutely awful. Huge swaths of exploration, talky sections that are way too dense, then tons of swaths again

The Bard's Tale

Do not play this game. This game commits so many gameplay sins it’s ridiculous. However, weirdly, I do recommend watching a playthrough on Youtube, as the parody and humor are legitimately worthwhile.
Type Of Review: Blind Run
Total Story Score: +6
Total Gameplay Score: -35
Golden Number: -63.17
Cheats: Yes (screw the hell out of doing this legit)
Total Play Time: 2 Days // 13.29 Hours
Time Reviewed: 11-30-2022

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Voice Actor: Tony Jay needs to be mentioned in a vacuum by virtue of being Tony Jay
  2. Storytelling mechanic: Narrator dynamic
  3. Voice Acting: General voice acting plus
  4. MSQ: The bureaucratic nightmare that is Bodb
  5. Humor: So the joke around Bodb’s death is legitimately well constructed (oh, and it’s funny too). I won’t recount the whole joke here but it’s a repetition joke that’s well timed and has 4 other jokes layered on top of it to ensure no empty repetition
  6. Humor: Everything around the Narration of the sword, falling into the pit, and the general humor
  7. Moment: The absolute out of no where musical interlude of the undeads having a dance off
  8. Humor: General well done humor throughout
  9. Dialogue: Believe it or not the dialogue is surprisingly tight in most of this game
  10. Humor: Speaking of which, the jerk answers for the Bard are almost always amusing

Story Negatives:

  1. Atmosphere: Tonal issues. The game can’t decide if it wants to be full parody or full generic RPG and suffers for it
  2. Cinematics: So the in game cutscenes are… rough. They’re really rough, and they often look more awkward or weird than anything good
  3. Voice Acting: Unfortunately I really do need to give a voice acting negative for periodic weird bad voice acting
  4. Outro: The endings all… kinda suck a bit. Too short, too underwhelming, too bleh

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Core Mechanic: The entire summon system is one of the better ideas the game has, and the idea of balancing a ‘party’ of summons with their own abilities and AI tendencies is neat

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Controls: The game is… rough to control. There’s a big, variable delay between attacking and the swing happen, and movement is weird and janky
  2. Camera: Too low and weirdly angled
  3. Encounter: The bug bear dungeon and fight caaaan go straight to hell. He can stunlock you, there’s no indication he’s going to pop out of the wall to hit you (not even a ‘hole’ he might be reaching out of), he hits like a TRUCK, and then the actual fight is boring
  4. Level: The Fnarf Chase sequence is reeeally dumb. It’s the same thing repeated over and over and over again; Run up a few feet, have the guy yell at you, kill Trow ranged, rinse and repeat…
  5. Level: …earning two negatives
  6. Save: Infrequent (and selectable) rarity of save points, and limitations on saving
  7. Level: The Forest Tower is honestly just kind of awful. I fear this is repetition on my part, but it’s just the same two enemies, and way way too many traps, in levels that are too long, and all combined with boring samey corridors…
  8. Level: …so the level itself gets two negatives, but THEN it gets worse, because you then have to go all the way DOWN the tower, which would be a third negative in a vacuum…
  9. Level: …but then they actually have the gall to make you fight jackass enemies and reset the damned map so you’re not even sure where you’re going so these ‘technically two’ dungeons get…
  10. Level: …actually four negatives
  11. Overworld: So then there’s the overworld, which… kind of isn’t, but the ‘random encounters’ are straight up DQVII problematic
  12. Level: The tomb can go to hell. Oh it’s a decent enough dungeon, but the enemy spam problem was real
  13. Encounter: Sssso the first timer spam enemy garbage at the beginning of the tower is a big flat open terrainless room with a timer and enemy spam
  14. Level: Then there’s the mechanical tower. Small, boring, narrow hallways with terrain that’s easy to get stuck on, absolutely glutted with hundreds of enemies that melee swarm, move fast, and chain knockback / stun. This place ssssuuuucks…
  15. Level: …earning it two negatives
  16. Level: THEN you have to go back DOWN it and somehow they made it WORSE by swarming it with even more druids, who now have a ranged stun/knockdown attack that will hit you THROUGH the walls…
  17. Level: …earning two negatives
  18. Level: Aaaand then there’s the no magic tomb area. Doing a dungeon around reducing your kit or resources can work quite well if you design around it. If you don’t, you get the no magic tomb area
  19. MSQ: You like escort quests right? Who demand you’re right next to them to move, move very slowly, while infinite respawns of enemies swarm him? Yay
  20. Level: The underwater ferry section was less bad then most of the rest of the crap, but still retained that lovely boring touch
  21. Combat: The combat in this game is extraordinarily dull…
  22. Combat: …made all the worse with the severe Factory Worker Syndrome as a consequence of everything perfectly making the game a total slog to play
  23. Enemy Design: A lot of this is down to downright unfair and arduous enemy unit design, many enemies designed to simultaneously annoying and still murder your face off…
  24. Enemy Design: …legitimately making this some of the worst enemy design I’ve ever seen
  25. No Music: This game… just straight up has no music (other than the musical numbers) aaand it suuuuucks…
  26. No Music: …not the worst I’ve ever seen, but pretty bad
  27. Interface: This is a pretty bog standard bad PS2 interface
  28. Audio Balance: WHAT audio balance? Instruments are too loud, voices are too quiet, and the audio sliders barely help
  29. Difficulty Curve: Ha! I’ve rarely seen a game this unfettered in its brutality for its curve. This is absolutely bonkers bad…
  30. Difficulty Curve: …earning a full…
  31. Difficulty Curve: …three negatives
  32. Audio Spam: Good LORD. I’ve rarely seen audio spam this bad before, it’s kind of crazy just how bad and how often it is…
  33. Audio Spam: …earning it a full…
  34. Audio Spam: …three negatives
  35. Outro: The final dungeon is… literally… the same room copy pasted 12 times. Enough said
  36. Boss: Bleh boss design across the board

Quest For Glory 1

A unique part of gaming history and well worth it for anyone wanting to experience this slice of point and click adventure games.
Type Of Review: Blind Run
Total Story Score: +7
Total Gameplay Score: -7
Golden Number: 0
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 1 Days // 7.47 Hours
Time Reviewed: 12-01-2022

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Brickwork: The game is legitimately well constructed brickwork wise, further emphasizing the…
  2. Spritework: …well done art for the people and monsters within
  3. Deaths: The many Sierra deaths and their many snarks
  4. Writing: Surprisingly tight writing
  5. World Building: This is technically more exposition than anything, but the world is designed in a way that it’s clear someone(s) spent some real time and effort laying everything out and making it connect and make sense, so the world building happens simply by navigating said world
  6. Dialogue: Amusing and reasonably well varied dialects in dialogue
  7. Banter: Erasmus and Fenus’ banter is honestly pretty legit

Story Negatives:

Gameplay Positives:

  1. MSQ: The core quest design is surprisingly good, with most of the progression and puzzles having the solution either well presented or something you can divine without much external influence necessary
  2. Guidance: The game has surprisingly good overall flow to it and letting you know what you can interact with and how, which ties nicely into the…
  3. Visual Distinction: …surprising for the genre, the visual distinction is actually quite well done
  4. All Roads Lead To Rome: Most quests having multiple methods of progression is honestly pretty legit
  5. Itemization: Good spread and usage of in game resources (gold being a big one)

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Save System: Very cumbersome and generally frustrating
  2. Interface: Clunky, cumbersome, and awful
  3. Interface: Too many clicks for basic information
  4. HUD: Lack of clarity and cross referencing
  5. Audio Design: The audio balance is all over the place, but on top of that the volume slider resets with every reset
  6. Bugs: Crashes and graphics glitches with the VGA version
  7. Music: The songs that are there are entirely too short looped, and most of the rest of the game lacks any
  8. Info In Game: The game has a very strong tendency to not explain… much
  9. Map: The total absence of a map wouldn’t be as bad if not for the repeat usage of forest ‘tiles’ with little to no variation
  10. MSQ: The bandit infiltration mission is… very trial and error design, in a very bad way. It’s designed to give you hints, but only as you fail
  11. MSQ: Okay so then there’s Yorick’s Room. It’s counter intuitive, way too sketchy, literally requires switching between control methods, makes NO sense, and is literally bugged…
  12. MSQ: …earning it two negatives

Quest For Glory 2

A severely flawed game that tried a lot of things and was very experimental for its time. Interesting for the historical perspective, but would recommend a guide to avoid aggravation.
Type Of Review: Blind Run
Total Story Score: +7
Total Gameplay Score: -16
Golden Number: -16.94
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 2 Days // 9.57 Hours
Time Reviewed: 12-03-2022

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Brickwork: The game is legitimately well constructed brickwork wise, further emphasizing the…
  2. Spritework: …well done art for the people and monsters within
  3. Deaths: The many Sierra deaths and their many snarks
  4. Writing: Surprisingly tight writing
  5. World Building: This is technically more exposition than anything, but the world is designed in a way that it’s clear someone(s) spent some real time and effort laying everything out and making it connect and make sense, so the world building happens simply by navigating said world
  6. Dialogue: Amusing and reasonably well varied dialects in dialogue
  7. Banter: Erasmus and Fenus’ banter is honestly pretty legit

Story Negatives:

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Fast Travel: The in city fast travel (and warp back to town with your mount) features
  2. Replayability: The different side quests and outro, and very minor changes to the elements, means a very small amount of replayability

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Save: Usual cumbersome save system
  2. Interface: The fan remake is better about some interaction but it’s still the same core interface underneath
  3. HUD: Same issues as last time with lack of info and cross referencing
  4. Hub: What in the world were they thinking with this city map? Just getting to step one, the moneychanger, literally took a walkthrough despite having both maps from both manuals to help!
  5. Intro: So because the option exists to simplify the streets, that city is merely going to get one negative for being literally the tutorial quest / Intro, because it’s no where near as bad in this version, but good lord is that an awful barrier to entry for your game. If I’d played this back in the day I would have put it down before ever even hitting the moneylender
  6. Bug: The built in combat system is literally bugged
  7. Interface: So you can change options, but if you reload a save prior to changing those options? They’re reset
  8. Music: As with the previous game, the music inconsistency problem is real
  9. Overworld: The desert can go directly to hell. The sameness of the tiles and the vast array of nothing make it legitimately awful to navigate
  10. Encounters: Oh also there’s the random encounters which are a pain to avoid and honestly screw with your navigation
  11. Bugs: Several NPC interaction bugs
  12. Core Combat: I… get what they were going for but it’s a weird, janky version of rock paper scissors except it tries for complexity and it fails really, really hard
  13. MSQ: So there’s flags for doing things, even when it makes ZERO sense (direct example; You cannot lockpick a door, it’s impossible, until you’re asked to, at which point it becomes possible)
  14. Grind: Yeah so it’s the use it to level it system like in the first game, but the extended cap (200 instead of 100) and ‘speed’ of leveling make it worse… especially given how high some of the skill checks are
  15. Boss: The Pizza Elemental fight can go straight to hell
  16. Core Mechanic: So the game is set on a hard calendar… events can only happen on certain days. This is ironically bad in both directions; it’s too punishing if you don’t know what you’re doing, and too lax if you do, so you’re either panicky or bored
  17. MSQ: Reseir really starts to get railroady pretty fast… more typical ‘one solution, multiple failures’ approach to design
  18. Outro: The final challenge and final boss are… not good. They are, at best, trial and error and at worst, boring

Quest For Glory 3

A fascinating example of a game… Still worth it for the historical perspective, but what’s interesting about this one is it starts really strong and finishes pretty badly. I honestly think if this one stayed strong throughout it’d be the best one so far.
Type Of Review: Blind Run
Total Story Score: +6
Total Gameplay Score: -14
Golden Number: -15.87
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 2 Days // 6.32 Hours
Time Reviewed: 12-05-2022

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Characters: Some generally good supporting cast
  2. World Building: As with the previous games, there’s a natural exposition that informs the game world
  3. World Building: I actually rather like the different cultures and how they interplay off each other
  4. Characters: Personal touches really help with some of the smaller side stories
  5. Internal Continuity: The game keeps a pretty solid track of its own continuity
  6. Plot: The core plot of the war itself is actually quite engaging
  7. Brickwork: Generally good brickwork
  8. Atmosphere: The general looming threat of war and the three tribes is great

Story Negatives:

  1. Dialogue: Some really rough and bad dialogue, especially early on. Way too much repetition
  2. Outro: So that Outro is… uh… it’s VERY rushed, even if you ignore the cliffhanger, and just sort of feels thrown together

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Overworld: I do actually rather like the idea of the overworld and visible landmarks and random navigation
  2. Replayability: Once again, with the three classes there is definitely some replayability there

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Save System: It’s just as bad as before
  2. Interface: So yeah, the bad interface returns…
  3. Interface: And is clunkier than ever
  4. HUD: The HUD issues… the HUD issues never change…
  5. Seconds In Minutes: Some severe delay problems throughout, especially with the interface
  6. Combat: So you can interrupt yourself, the ‘timing’ aspect is barely there, and the delay is awful
  7. Sound Design: Some very stock sound effects and, as usual, sound balancing issues
  8. MSQ: The flag dependencies are back
  9. Music: What in the world is this music
  10. Music: The music is also very inconsistently presented
  11. Grind: The grind is back (and mandatory)
  12. Backtracking: So the game doesn’t have walkthroughitis, but the built in backtracking (learn what to do three full overworld screens away from where you can get the item kind of stuff) is awful
  13. Leveling: Leveling certain abilities is a horrific combination of arduous and awful, which is made worse by the fact that…
  14. Leveling: …leveling OTHER abilities is piss easy. To the point of being a joke. The whole skill system is hilariously lopsided
  15. Bugs: A fairly buggy game
  16. Bugs: And those bugs get in the way

Quest For Glory 4

As with previous ones, it’s at least worth playing for the historical context, but it’s probably the best of the initial four I played. A solid story, great narration, and solid characters with… less terrible gameplay.
Type Of Review: Blind Run
Total Story Score: +16
Total Gameplay Score: -6
Golden Number: 20.19
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 2 Days // 9.18 Hours
Time Reviewed: 12-06-2022

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Voice Acting: The voice acting has a few issues, but there’s still some surprisingly good stuff (mostly from the side characters, like the trio of busybodies, or the skeleton head)
  2. Voice Acting: John Rhys-Davies as the narrator gets his own positive for positively nailing it
  3. Doodads: Some truly excellent doodad design in the backgrounds
  4. Visual Storytelling: Lots of usage of the backdrops as a way to sell the story
  5. Brickwork: Some of the better backdrops in the series…
  6. Brickwork: …earning two positives
  7. Spritework: Similarly a positive for the sprites and their usage and animation
  8. Atmosphere: While I’m not a huge fan of the ghouly aesthetic, the game manages it quite well
  9. Humor: More than a few times the game got a real laugh out of me
  10. Writing: General writing quality
  11. Character: Most characters don’t have the screen time for individual plusses, but they’re all good to some extent or another…
  12. Character: …earning them two positives
  13. MSQ: The entire quest involving saving Tanya is surprisingly moving, played surprisingly straight, and actually hit me in the feels
  14. Internal Continuity: As with previous games, the game does a good job with keeping things tightly contiguous
  15. Intro: A surprisingly effective ‘dump you into an unknown situation’ Intro
  16. World Building: The usual good exposition situation

Story Negatives:

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Core Mechanic: The autoresolve puzzle option
  2. Aggregate: Minigames / Health, Stam, Magic display
  3. Party AI: Auto-Combat is surprisingly well designed, especially since you can adjust it (on the fly) to deal with the different types of enemies
  4. Core Combat: To my shock, the core combat… isn’t all that bad
  5. All Roads Lead To Rome: The usual multiple solutions quest design
  6. Music: For the first time, I actually rather dig the music and it works for the game
  7. Replayability: Yep, as per before

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Interface: The same interface issues of the previous games…
  2. Interface: …as usual
  3. HUD: Same HUD design problems as usual
  4. Save System: Same save problems as usual
  5. Controls: The game controls… weirdly this time
  6. Visual Distinction: I know I’m blind and all but I had REAL trouble discerning things I could interact with (or things at all)…
  7. Visual Distinction: …earning two negatives
  8. MSQ: The flag / trigger problem returns
  9. Core Mechanic: Somehow, pixel hunting has returned…
  10. Core Mechanic: …and is honestly worse than ever
  11. MSQ: The ‘rescue Tanya’ quest with the ridiculous maze (and trapped doors) is just kind of awful
  12. Core Combat: So I know I gave a positive to core combat, but at the same time it is janky as hell, poorly timed, and awkward to control
  13. Outro: Sadly the Outro continues to drop the ball, mostly with more of the same but it’s still irritating

Once Upon A Jester

Short, simple, fun, engaging. Highly recommended.
Type Of Review: Blind Run
Total Story Score: +12
Total Gameplay Score: +4
Golden Number: 40.72
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 2 Days // 4.1 Hours
Time Reviewed: 12-07-2022

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Voice Acting: Generally good, surprisingly well stylized voice acting (deliberately ‘off the cuff’)
  2. Pacing: Weirdly well paced… if this took longer it’d fall apart, but it doesn’t
  3. Humor: Yeah okay this one is self explanatory isn’t it? This game gets…
  4. Humor: …a full…
  5. Humor: …three positives to humor
  6. Storytelling Mechanic: The audience sound effects really add to the plays themselves
  7. MSQ: The entire woods segment
  8. MSQ: The… entire city segment
  9. MSQ: …the… entire village segment…
  10. Atmosphere: This is a weird one but a plus for how… wholesome the whole game is
  11. Banter: The way the actors play off each other is legit
  12. Doodads: Surprisingly good doodad usage (this is technically an aggregate, for it also includes the visual storytelling in general)

Story Negatives:

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Choices: Weird for a game like this but there’s a lot of choices gameplay in how the actual plays turn out, forming the primary gameplay loop in fact
  2. Core Mechanic: The ability to either dynamically adjust the playable notes to the sung notes on the fly or (more likely) math out all possible notes on both axis to harmonize with one another is not only impressive but actually makes the player feel like a part of the song
  3. Core Mechanic: I honestly have to give a second positive for the interactive songs. The best part is they are totally optional
  4. Music: What’s there is pretty legitimately good

Gameplay Negatives:

A Short Hike

Very short, very dense, very fun. A perfect chill game, surprisingly well constructed, hugely recommended.
Type Of Review: Blind Run
Total Story Score: +5
Total Gameplay Score: +5
Golden Number: 24.99
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 1 days / 2.7 Hours
Time Reviewed: 03-07-2022

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Prime Opt: Anxiety Painter!
  2. Dialogue: The dialogue is honestly very well written
  3. Atmosphere: The chill atmosphere is honestly great
  4. Brickwork: For how simple it is, the visuals really add to the work
  5. Outro: The final phone call, the flight down, and sharing with our aunt

Story Negatives:

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Core Mechanic: Golden Feathers and how they tie into the…
  2. Kit: …exploration kit as well as the…
  3. Traversal Mechanics: …general flow of traversal
  4. Guidance and Flow of Exploration: The game does a great job of helping you to find and explore, which is good especially since it’s the primary game loop
  5. Music: The game’s soundtrack is honestly very legit
  6. Yoshi Drums: And I love how it flows based on activity

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Camera: The camera really does not like me and likes to just sort of… do its own thing, actively getting in the way

Helltaker

Short but sweet, like some chocolate pancakes. Highly recommend it. Especially since it’s free!
Type Of Review: Unfamiliar Run
Total Story Score: +2
Total Gameplay Score: +5
Golden Number: 17.51
Cheats: Yes (tired)
Total Play Time: 1 days / 1.87 Hours
Time Reviewed: 03-14-2022

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Dialogue: Hints and related dialogue
  2. Storytelling Mechanic: Portraits and poses

Story Negatives:

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Music: I mean there’s not that many songs buuut they’re boppers
  2. Pacing: Between the restart mechanic, shortness of stages, and shortness of game, the game is well paced
  3. Boss: There’s two, and they’re both quite fun
  4. Cheats: Built in skip option
  5. Core Mechanic: General puzzle design quality
  6. Tutorialization: Through level design, which I’m always fond of

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Difficulty Curve: More like difficulty spike

Thomas Was Alone

Okay so if you get the music bug, just… listen to the soundtrack separate from the game. The core game is janky and bad, but the story is legit and worth a playthrough.
Type Of Review: Blind Run
Total Story Score: +5
Total Gameplay Score: -5
Golden Number: 0
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 1 days / 4.77 Hours
Time Reviewed: 4-24-2023

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Humor: I’ll admit it, the story made me laugh more than once
  2. Character: The surprisingly distinct characters and the way they’re demonstrated in gameplay
  3. Visual Storytelling: The way they literally show the bots developing in stage design is honestly quite legit
  4. Plot: Weirdly enough the plot was actually pretty engaging. It became obvious very early on what was happening, but it was fascinating watching it do so
  5. Voice Acting: The narrator, enough said

Story Negatives:

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Levels: There’s a general flow to the later levels that works much better, probably because it’s focusing on being creative with each individual ‘power’
  2. Outro: The last few levels were actually pretty legit

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Interface: Total lack of proper resolution options
  2. Interface: Aaand exceptionally bad font scaling which compounds the previous issue
  3. Controls: Imprecise, odd and often bad buffer inputting
  4. Core Mechanic: Physics jank…
  5. Core Mechanic: …which is a constant irritation
  6. Level: 4.8. The timer is already irritating, having no checkpoints doesn’t help
  7. Bug: The music… how to explain this… every song never STOPPED playing, and each time a new song started it just layered over the previous ones. This is exactly as awful as it sounds

Mega Man Legends 2

While still having some problems, still overall more enjoyable than the first one, and still worth a playthrough. Falls under the category of ‘better with a walkthrough’, so I heartily recommend the aforementioned walkthrough.
Type Of Review: Blind Run
Total Story Score: +8
Total Gameplay Score: -19
Golden Number: -20.65
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 3 days / 14.9 Hours
Time Reviewed: 4-26-2023

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Animations: Weirdly good animations in cutscenes
  2. Atmosphere: The same light-hearted tone and adventurous feel from the first game
  3. Brickwork: Sprites are legitimately good looking, even today
  4. Characters: The Bonnes
  5. Cutscenes: Generally good cutscenes, in camera usage, blocking, pacing, etc.
  6. Doodads: Insides, primarily, but surprisingly good doodad design across
  7. Humor: Gonna admit it, game makes me laugh more than once
  8. Intro: The opening Cinematic, which is quite good even by today’s standards, along with the initial premise
  9. NPC Set Dressing: As with the first game, a good amount of supporting NPCs
  10. Voice Acting: While there are some outliers, the voice acting when it’s good is good

Story Negatives:

  1. Voice Direction: When the voice acting is not good, it’s really bad… some noticeable flaws in direction and sentences
  2. Writing: It’s hard to summarize this but there are just… multiple issues with the core plot. The year gaps, the lack of information about the two systems and why they interacted the way they did, more info on exactly what the Master was and why they did what they did, what the 3k year gap was even there for, etc.

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Enemy Variety: Surprisingly enough there is some decent enemy variety in this one
  2. Kit: While irritating to swap, the different weapons and their usage is neat
  3. Level: Yosyonke Ruins isn’t the best level in the world but it’s probably the best one to-date, with decent looping mechanisms, good landmarks, some neat gimmicks, and a decent boss fight
  4. Outro: Color me shocked, the last boss was actually decent

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Controls: Move backwards while firing, which is a near constant problem with how dungeons and encounters are designed
  2. Controls: Then there’s the fact that you have to hit the circle button to progress in some cases, and the x button in others
  3. Controls: THEN there’s the fact that you have to be at the right angle to interact with some things. This is a constant irritation in general, but made worse because in some cases you have to be really sure if you tried to loot objects in the overworld, lest you miss an important upgrade or item
  4. Levels: Dungeon design, or lack thereof. Most dungeons are pretty vanilla corridors with semi randomized enemies
  5. Camera: It controls better at least, but it still runs into problems of visibility in boss fights
  6. Boss: Boss design is pretty lacking throughout. There’s two types of bosses we tend to encounter; Those that can be effortlessly defeated by circling them (or in worst case, just standing there) and firing, or…
  7. Boss: …bosses that are just way, way too irritating to fight
  8. Kit: So for some reason you can only have one special weapon equipped at a time. That’s fine, functionally, but having to talk to Roll each time to swap it is ridiculous, especially given that several special weapons are purely for exploration and quality of life stuff
  9. Grind: Semi optional, but good luck if you don’t
  10. MSQ: The entire Nino section is riddled with problems. Irritating turret sections with irritating enemies while dealing with relatively easy-to-lose progress if you’re not saving constantly and also it has several escort missions peppered throughout…
  11. MSQ: …thus giving the entire Nino section…
  12. MSQ: …three negatives
  13. Level: So… Nino Island Ruins, aka ‘the water level’. Good… God. This place is honestly just a bog standard ‘bad dungeon’ on the face of it, but three things really drag it down. First, and most importantly…
  14. Level: …is the damned…
  15. Level: …underwater gimmick. The slowdown is intolerable to the point of no longer being funny. Every hit taking arduous seconds to finish playing out, every jump being one long slog endeavor, and an excess of verticality in a game that doesn’t have much in the way of camera or map that helps you see layers in a dungeon
  16. Level: Then there’s two other horrible, horrible things that drag the Nino Island Ruins down even further. First, the boss fight (which you fight twice) is boring at best. Second, you have to slog all the way BACK through the dungeon, thus literally doubling the padding…
  17. Level: …for two additional negatives
  18. Save: But then there’s Nino Island Ruins’ greatest sin; it has ONE save point in the entire dungeon, towards the very end, and it GOES AWAY after you beat the first boss. I don’t even have to explain how awful this checkpointing is, but I’m very glad I spent literal hours grinding prior to this point so that I would not have to explore just how awful this could be in real time
  19. Save: Also the save system in general is lacking due to the gap in between save points, which is wildly inconsistent throughout the game
  20. Core Mechanic: Jumping. This one feels criminal to list in a Megaman game but it’s honestly the same issue Legends 1 had; There’s depth perception issues, you’re committed to the jump once you’ve started, and thanks to the relatively small arenas and the wonkiness of collision on platforms, good luck trying to do precise jumping while dodging a frog, tadpoles, bubbles, and blades (to use a specific example)
  21. Sound Design: As with the first game (and honestly several other Megaman games) the audio design is just not great
  22. Outro: So… boss refights. Yep.
  23. Outro: Also, the final dungeon is not just the same old same old in dungeon design, but likes to really repeat the same graphics and patterns as it goes, making it a bit more frustrating than most

The Misadventures Of Tron Bonne

A silly, fun, and short romp but make sure to either cheat or use a good walkthrough (if you can find one) to train up your ServBots.
Type Of Review: Blind Run
Total Story Score: +5
Total Gameplay Score: -4
Golden Number: 1.78
Cheats: Yes (to skip the ServBot grind)
Total Play Time: 2 days / 6.12 Hours
Time Reviewed: 4-27-2023

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Voice Acting: Generally good voice acting across the board
  2. Atmosphere: Cute adorableness
  3. Characters: The minions. Yeah, no, they’re amusing
  4. Character: Denise is just… weirdly engaging of a side character who I just feel so bad for
  5. Cutscenes: Generally good cutscene design, as with MML2
  6. Brickwork: Generally decent spritework, as with MML2
  7. Doodads: This is a weird one cuz it’s mostly in the pre-designed areas on the ship, but they did a decent job with it

Story Negatives:

  1. Voice Direction: Same issue as before really
  2. Cutscene Incompetence: Despite the entire game showcasing Tron being on top of things and more than capable of outmaneuvering and outfighting the police, locals, and Glyde’s pirate gang, she fails miserably everytime she goes to interact with Loath and in no way anticipates his extremely predictable betrayal

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Core Combat: Simple, but fun
  2. Boss: Some surprisingly fun boss design, even in the mines

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Controls: Yeah it still controls pretty badly
  2. Encounter Design: The ‘fights’ in the mines just suck. Wonky controls, very limited melee range, easy to get hit while attacking
  3. Level: A general lack of level design in several areas. The dungeon-crawler is whatever, the town levels are okay, but then there’s the farm levels and, worst of all, the ‘free’ dig area
  4. Difficulty Curve: Much as I hate to admit it, the game’s difficult curve is actively bad. It bounces back and forth between being too easy and too irritating
  5. Interface: This is sort of an aggregate, but there’s a lot of little irritations in navigating the game. The menuing is finicky, there’s too many button presses to navigate towards needed info, and there’s really no indicators of what items are where and whom to give what outside of pure dull trial and error
  6. Grind: This is related to the difficulty curve, but the game absolutely leans on the idea that you’re doing the ServBot ‘grind’. And the core combat is too simple to be able to bypass the simple statwalls of the later bosses and encounters

The Last Guardian

While I absolutely have issues with the controls and general gameplay, this is still a unique and interesting game I’d recommend people give a playthrough of if they have the time and availability.
Type Of Review: Blind Run
Total Story Score: +10
Total Gameplay Score: -8
Golden Number: 3.65
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 2 days / 12.57 Hours
Time Reviewed: 4-28-2023

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Animation: Trico’s animations are honestly just amazing, and a rarity but I will give…
  2. Animation: …a full two positives just for this one creature’s animations. Several people clearly put a lot of thought into this
  3. Sound Design: Similarly the sound design is one of the best I’ve ever heard, it sounds like it actually should, from the movement to the scraping to the splintering to just footsteps, it’s hard to describe if you’re not hearing it but it’s absolutely legit…
  4. Sound Design: …earning the game…
  5. Sound Design: …three positives
  6. Cutscene: The flashback scene after the second antenna is honestly pretty good, and informs a lot of what’s going on
  7. Lighting: When it’s used properly the lighting is honestly quite legit, really adding to the tone and vibe of things
  8. Atmosphere: The entire ‘dead AI facility’ vibe the whole game has going for it works really well, and the creepiness factor of the central ‘processing’ tower definitely accentuates that
  9. Character: What else? Trico
  10. Outro: The parts of the outro that sing really do sing, good music good direction and some good moments, especially everything surrounding the final dungeon and the final encounters
  11. Integration: The interactions between the boy and Trico and how they develop

Story Negatives:

  1. Outro: While it does a lot right, there’s a bit too much vague and a bit too much meandering in the ending

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Level: The sequence where you had to jump and maneuver out over the abyss with the one crystal blocking the path was actually pretty legit
  2. Mid-Mission Checkpoints: They’re fairly frequent and fairly well designed
  3. Level: General. The game drifts in and out of frustrating and fun, so this is for the snippets of fun throughout
  4. Viscerality: Ripping the heads off, lighting, and general vibe of Trico
  5. Integration: The interactions between the boy and Trico and how they develop

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Visual Distinction: Very hard to tell what you can or can’t (or should) interact with
  2. Level: So when you encounter the first antenna, there is absolutely nothing indicating what to do to move forwards, even now I’m not 100% sure what worked, and then it’s a supposed-to-lose (also with no indications)
  3. Walkthroughitis: The number of times moon logic is employed to progress is a bit ridiculous
  4. Save: The usual forced ironman save problem
  5. Seconds In Minutes: There is so, so much extra time in everything in this game
  6. Seconds In Minutes: Everything, literally everything, takes way too long
  7. Visual Continuity: This is a bit tied into the backtracking but the game honestly looks far too samey and it’s hard to tell where you’ve been before
  8. Level: The god damned ‘carry the barrel up the hole’ section
  9. Controls: The game controls so badly it’s honestly hard to explain properly. You spend the entire game constantly wrestling with trying to get it to do what you want…
  10. Controls: …and it only gets worse as the puzzles and platforming requirements get more strict later on
  11. Controls: Honestly this is one of the worst controlled games I’ve ever played
  12. Music: Or lack thereof. This is definitely a No Music scenario
  13. Lighting: There are far too many sections where the lighting is just too bright and actively physically hurts to perceive

Firewatch

While simple and short, it’s surprisingly well crafted and quite enjoyable on the story axis. A definite recommend.
Type Of Review: Blind Run
Total Story Score: +6
Total Gameplay Score: +2
Golden Number: 8.95
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 2 days / 4.44 Hours
Time Reviewed: 4-29-2023

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Voice Acting: Henry’s okay but Delilah (and the others) are much better
  2. Characters: Surprisingly memorable considering
  3. Banter: Great banter between Delilah and Henry
  4. Dialogue: Obviously, it carries the game
  5. Brickwork: Some legitimately brilliant visuals for how low fidelity they are
  6. Atmosphere: Between the sound design, tone, and vibe, the game has good atmosphere going for it

Story Negatives:

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Overworld: Flow, logic, and design
  2. Choices: Flavor, as per usual for this type of thing
  3. Minigame: Developer commentary is, as usual, a neat bonus feature

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Traversal: Movement kinda sucks, and the ‘holding w’ problem

King's Field 4

I do not recommend this game.
Type Of Review: Blind Run
Total Story Score: -10
Total Gameplay Score: -65
Golden Number: -230.57
Cheats: YEEEEEEAH
Total Play Time: 2 days / 14.1 Hours
Time Reviewed: 7-1-2023

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Visual Storytelling: It’s not much, but it is there. Placement of skeletons and enemies and items
  2. Outro: The visual continuity and visual storytelling of the final descent into the sealed Darkness realm
  3. Humor: YEEEEEEEAAAAAHHH

Story Negatives:

  1. Intro: Vague, uninformative, unhelpful…
  2. Intro: …and badly presented and voice acted
  3. Brickwork: I’ve seen worse…
  4. Brickwork: …but not by much
  5. Plot: Or absence thereof
  6. Writing: Do you like vague nonsense? Cuz I sure don’t
  7. Presentation: Good luck actually finding the plot critical info in one random room or two with blurry textures on blurry walls
  8. Outro: So the bad ending is already vague and disinteresting…
  9. Outro: …but it’s literally pathetic, just three sentences against a black backdrop, sucks to be you!
  10. Outro: …earning it three negatives
  11. Outro: Then there’s the GOOD ending which is better, by far, but still vague and boring as hell
  12. Doodads: What doodads!?
  13. Localization: Inconsistent and unhelpful

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Viscerality: The spells are, honestly, pretty cool looking
  2. Kit: And for what it’s worth, the spells themselves are pretty legit

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Backtracking: Mandatory and pretty bad, so…
  2. Backtracking: …it earns a second negative on the outset
  3. Backtracking: But then there’s the problem with how there’s no real indication of when you should and shouldn’t backtrack, making it even worse
  4. Boss: The fire and earth lords are honestly pretty boring
  5. Combat: Hitbox issues. Good luck figuring out where you are to avoid stuff
  6. Combat: Hurtbox issues. Good luck hitting that enemy directly in your face
  7. Controls: It’s hard to put into words how badly this game controls unless you have it in your hands. You move slow, turn slow, but it’s overly sensitive to attempting to turn, and has a tendency to stutter and stop because there’s certain angles you cannot turn at, and you can’t properly diagonal without already having momentum, and all of this is on top of inconsistent interactions and awkward attacks…
  8. Controls: …making for…
  9. Controls: …three negatives, for this issue is a constant nonstop thorn in my side
  10. Core Combat: So… there’s no nice way to put this, combat is absolutely terrible. Slow swings followed by a waiting period with awful hurtboxes against enemies that hit much harder than you, with no real dodge or avoidance, which means combat isn’t hard… it’s boring. Boring, slow, and just… takes forever…
  11. Core Combat: …and worse…
  12. Core Combat: …it never gets better throughout the whole game
  13. Difficulty: Poison. Just… poison
  14. Difficulty Curve: Early game hell
  15. Enemy Design: Or lack thereof
  16. Gotcha: There’s… honestly a lot of asshole design in chests, traps, pits, et cetera
  17. Gotcha: …earning two negatives
  18. Guidance and Flow of Exploration: Or lack thereof. I have never felt so goddamned lost in a game before, but what made it all the worse was even just figuring out where I was to be able to start to backtrack and find where I was going or where I’d been was a colossal pain thanks to the awful repeated textures, bland colors, and general visual style and lack of landmarks. I hate exploring in this game…
  19. Guidance: …leading to…
  20. Guidance: …three negatives
  21. Interface: Good lord is it hard to navigate some of how this game functions. Interacting with stuff, using items, all that fun stuff
  22. Interface: Inconsistent message distribution
  23. Interface: Menu visibility and navigation problems
  24. Interface: Pixel hunting and inconsistent interactables
  25. Intro: Early Game Hell is really bad in this one
  26. Intro: So the game has seemingly normal parts of the terrain which kill you instantly, enemies that can three shot you, and gotchas here and there… right
  27. Itemization: The distribution of gold and the prices on shops is honestly just awful
  28. Kit: Far too little mana for spells to be worthwhile except as emergencies or as needed for dungeon crawling
  29. Level: Ancient castle. Dull, boring grey with confusing layout and 3D area? Sounds like a winner to me… honestly it’s the worst damned part of the whole game
  30. Level: Ancient castle, mark 2
  31. Level: Ancient castle, mark 3
  32. Level: Egg field. Imagine going at a snail’s pace across narrow walkways with one save at the very beginning of it (so any screw up is a restart of the whole area), which have gotcha segments and terrible controls…
  33. Level: …earning Egg Field a second negative
  34. Level: Initial caves… dull, boring, disinteresting
  35. Level: The entire forge area is needlessly confusing and made much worse by the initial foray in when it’s completely coated in blinding white light
  36. Level: The lower levels are better, but they’re still bad
  37. Level: The Passage of Light. Flashing lights and irritating music combined with dull appearances and flying enemies. Nope
  38. Level: There’s this entire section where you have to go do a five hour sidequest (with no direction of course) to bypass some flames. Suffice it to say…
  39. Level: …screw all of that
  40. Music: Short loops and… honestly, no thank you
  41. Prime Opt: The side quests to get the best ending are vague and meandering and involve a crap ton of backtracking…
  42. Prime Opt: …earning them two negatives
  43. QoL: Friendly fire in spells
  44. Raspberry Jam: Low health beedleeps
  45. Save System: Save point distribution is aaawful
  46. Save System: Earning itself two negatives
  47. Seconds In Minutes: The entire game is padding central. I’m not sure I’ve ever played a game with this much seconds in minutes. Moving, turning, reloading, saving, fighting, stamina regening, even RUNNING is slow in this game…
  48. Seconds In Minutes: …earning it…
  49. Seconds In Minutes: …three negatives
  50. Sound Design: There really… isn’t any
  51. Visual Continuity: There just… isn’t any really. Which hurts navigation
  52. Visual Distinction: Or lack thereof. It’s legitimately hard to see interactables, enemies, and often-times just the terrain…
  53. Visual Distinction: …honestly this is one of the worst visual distinction games I’ve ever seen…
  54. Visual Distinction: …earning three negatives
  55. Walkthroughitis: Good luck! No, seriously, if you think Soulslikes are bad with direction, get a load of this monster…
  56. Walkthroughitis: …this game honestly has some of the worst walkthroughitis I’ve ever seen
  57. Outro: Boring song, boring visuals, too many boring enemies, and it’s a dull pseudo maze…
  58. Outro: …even before we reach the final boss…
  59. Outro: …this is absolute garbage
  60. Outro: So how about that last boss… it just… sits there, with no final music, no nothing, while waiting for you to hit him (with melee only!) while infinite arrays of irritating enemies respawn…
  61. Outro: …oh and hope you like being slowed and surrounded by instant death pits
  62. Info In Game: As per usual for this type of game, good luck figuring stuff out
  63. Traversal: It’s slow, boring, dull, and frustrating to go from point A to point B…
  64. Traversal: …earning it…
  65. Traversal: …the coveted three negatives
  66. Tutorialization: Or lack thereof
  67. Song: The Passage of Light

Bloodstained Curse of the Moon 2

A bit different than the first game, higher combat focus with faster pace, and a bit more spread out. Still a damned good platformer and still definitely recommended.
Type Of Review: Blind Run
Total Story Score: +10
Total Gameplay Score: +32
Golden Number: 116.00
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 1 days / 4.64 Hours
Time Reviewed: 7-28-2023

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Brickwork: Stage 1, Dragon’s Silhouette
  2. Brickwork: Stage 2
  3. Brickwork: Stage 3
  4. Brickwork: Stage 4
  5. Brickwork: Stage 5
  6. Brickwork: Stage 6
  7. Brickwork: Stage 7
  8. Brickwork: Stage 8
  9. Brickwork: Stage 9
  10. Brickwork: Bonus brickwork for general quality throughout
  11. Banter: The little vignettes in between stages

Story Negatives:

  1. Outro: I… what??

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Boss: Beelzebub
  2. Boss: Gladiator Dozer
  3. Boss: Gremory
  4. Boss: Lubius
  5. Boss: Mephisto
  6. Boss: Titankhamun
  7. Boss: Vepar
  8. Controls: Precise, well utilized, programmable…
  9. Controls: …for two positives
  10. Co-Op: Campaign co-op
  11. Co-Op: Co-Op exists
  12. Core Mechanic: Health management across party members
  13. Core Mechanic: Swapping on the fly
  14. Difficulty Curve: Smooth and upwards
  15. Difficulty Options: There’s even a ‘hard’ mode now
  16. Enemy Variety: Decent
  17. HUD: There actually is one now, including some basic but functional features (like boss health!)
  18. Intro: Usual excellence, showcasing branching stage design as well as enemy types and platforming, and a decent tutorial boss
  19. Kit: Dominique
  20. Kit: Hachi
  21. Kit: Robert
  22. Kit: And, yes, everyone else
  23. Level: Preparing to Launch (so this isn’t quite a level positive, it’s more like the added dynamic of having the slowly increasing party size as you redo the stages)
  24. Level: Stage 2, Enchanting Deception
  25. Level: Stage 3, Raging Chariot
  26. Level: Stage 4, The Queen’s Dirge
  27. Level: Stage 5, Chains of Fire
  28. Level: Stage 6, The Titan’s Sarcophagus
  29. Level: Stage 7, Muted Cries
  30. Level: Stage 8, The Demon’s Crown
  31. Minigame: The shoot ‘em up section is exactly as awesome as it needs to be
  32. QoL: Boss health retaining through attempts
  33. Outro: Good checkpoint design in a properly challenging dungeon with an interesting last boss
  34. Replayability: As per standard for the type
  35. Terrain Design: Same as the first game

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Controls: Hachi hover. So, you can only hover on the initial part of a jump (no hovering on the way down), also you can easily accidentally hover simply by holding the initial jump button a few frames too long, and then you can’t ‘tap’ to activate but can tap to cancel… the whole thing is irritating
  2. Unskippable Cutscenes: Yyyep
  3. Boss: Lavamandra

Spiritfarer

While there is a core nugget of emotional impact and interesting story underneath this game, it is buried in bad story presentation and absolutely awful gameplay that is poorly thought out and poorly executed. I would highly recommend watching this rather than playing it.
Type Of Review: Blind Run
Total Story Score: +10
Total Gameplay Score: -18
Golden Number: -14.40
Cheats: Yes (skipping grind and boat trips)
Total Play Time: 4 days / 30.95 Hours
Time Reviewed: 10-9-2023

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Animation: Yeah the animation is just top notch throughout…
  2. Animation: …easily earning two positives
  3. Brickwork: Not quite ‘brickwork’ in the usual sense, but the visual style itself deserves recognition
  4. Character: Jackie is an astonishingly well written character, top to bottom
  5. Characters: Beverly and Summer, the dimensia and cancer patients
  6. Characters: Generally good characters
  7. Internal Continuity: The game keeps pretty consistent track of its own story arcs
  8. Moment: Daria actually being helped (for once) by something as simple as someone connecting with her
  9. Moment: Goodbye, Alice. I’m sorry you weren’t yourself in the end
  10. Moment: Goodbye Atul
  11. Moment: Goodbye Summer
  12. Moment: Gustav and his philosophy
  13. Moment: If there isn’t a good afterlife waiting for Stanley I’m going to slam through that door and punch God in the face until there is
  14. Moment: Jackie’s passing
  15. NPC Set Dressing: Lots of good flavor NPCs in the town areas
  16. Outro: Exactly as depressing and dark as it seems
  17. Visual Storytelling: Lots. The animal choices for the people, their houses, and their flower choices and the related symbolism

Story Negatives:

  1. Empty Text: Quite a bit of text padding
  2. Pacing: The story has absolutely lurching pacing, with long pauses in between several story beats all over the place actively hurting their narrative threads…
  3. Pacing: …for a full…
  4. Pacing: …three negatives
  5. Integration: The game’s gameplay actively hurts the story. It’s… uniquely terrible, and deserves recognition for how much it hampers the entire game’s enjoyment on both axis…
  6. Integration: …for three…
  7. Integration: …negatives

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Core Mechanic: Time management is the closest thing to gameplay the game has
  2. Fast Travel: It’s not the best, but it’s there
  3. Info In Game: In general there’s good info in game
  4. Interface: For the most part the interface is quite well designed
  5. Level: Daria’s sequences
  6. Minigames: Generally fun little minigame stuff (if a bit too backloaded)
  7. MSQ: Elena’s challenges are the first bit of actually good gameplay content in the game
  8. Music: Generally good music
  9. Sound Design: Audio feedback
  10. Co-Op: Exists

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Backtracking: On top of the grind problem, ‘grinding’ involves backtracking…
  2. Backtracking: …lots and lots of backtracking
  3. Early Game Hell: You are seriously resource starved early on
  4. Grinding: Also getting the resources you need is an absolute chore…
  5. Grinding: …easily earning two negatives
  6. Info In Game: Or lack thereof, especially regarding side quests
  7. Integration: The game’s gameplay actively hurts the story. It’s… uniquely terrible, and deserves recognition for how much it hampers the entire game’s enjoyment on both axis…
  8. Integration: …for three…
  9. Integration: …negatives
  10. Interface: Improper UI scaling and text box bounding
  11. Interface: The interface on the world map has a terrible design decision where it’s inconsistent with its presentation, making figuring out what you’ve found and what you haven’t unclear
  12. MSQ: Mandatory crap quests to progress
  13. MSQ: Some of the quests are honestly terrible
  14. Pacing: Pushing the most time-consuming, wait-heavy quests to the very end of the game, where they fit the least
  15. Pacing: The gameplay lurches like mad, between frenetically trying to be efficient and then sitting there literally just waiting
  16. Pacing: I hate the pacing of this game
  17. Padding: This might be one of the most padded games I’ve played lately. There are huge, huge swaths where you cannot progress until just plain old ‘time’ has passed…
  18. Padding: …and that’s before you consider the sheer quantity of other dull activities…
  19. Padding: …for a full three negatives
  20. Secondary: This is a good time to mention that the Shenanigans (Secondary quests) all suck
  21. Seconds in Minutes: There’s… so, so much of this…
  22. Seconds in Minutes: …thus…
  23. Seconds in Minutes: …earning three negatives
  24. Terrain Design: Platforming issues (mostly with not being able to see where you’re jumping)
  25. Replayability: This game is antithetical to replayability due to its time wasting nature
  26. Itemization: Drop rate woes
  27. Late Game: The end game stuff is absolutely terribly designed and wastes your time while, worse, not being well paced or positioned
  28. Minimap: Or lack thereof

Lunar Silver Star Story Complete

This is a fascinating bit of JRPG history. While not the earliest nor the most innovative, it’s clear how much Lunar was pushing JRPGs forward and how influential it would go on to be. If you’ve never had a chance to play it I recommend it from a historical perspective, but otherwise I would probably skip it.
Type Of Review: Blind Run
Total Story Score: +20
Total Gameplay Score: -16
Golden Number: 7.21
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 6 days / 33.67 Hours
Time Reviewed: 1-16-2023

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Brickwork: It’s simple but it does what it’s supposed to and does it quite well…
  2. Brickwork: …for two positives
  3. Character: Jessica. The girl hiding from her father while being a paladin who has fallen in love with the wrong guy
  4. Character: Nall. Probably the most consistent source of humor, but also the one who gives us the best reactions to events and people
  5. Character: Ramus. Color me shocked, but his arc from being the stupid kid to being the successful businessman is great
  6. Character: Supporting Cast, in general. Fairly large swath of decent characters throughout
  7. Doodads: Varies in quality but there’s some good stuff here and there
  8. Humor: It’s intermittent, but the game did make me laugh more than a few times
  9. Humor: Okay yeah I’ll give you a second one, mostly for the Outtakes
  10. Lindblum Effect: Honestly it’s surprisingly solid. Lots of NPCs, they change their dialogue regularly, and they constantly reference the world, each other, and the neighboring cities and events…
  11. Lindblum Effect: …for a full…
  12. Lindblum Effect: …three positives
  13. Localization: Despite some debatable references and jokes, the overall quality of the localization is honestly top notch and deserves praise…
  14. Localization: …for a full…
  15. Localization: …three positives
  16. Moment: The library isn’t quite a ‘moment’ but I do like the various books for flavor, humor, or lore
  17. Moment: The tower of wisdom, the answers, and the sculptures
  18. Storytelling Mechanic: Portraits and their usage in conveying emotion and tone
  19. Background Lore: Quite a bit of little details in the background
  20. Storyboarding: Cutscenes are done surprisingly decent for how simple the techniques are
  21. Moment: The darkest moment before the final dungeon is actually a pretty good scene
  22. Outro: Possibly an Innovator here, the playable Outro in Meribia and allowing us to follow through on and talk with a lot of people after the post game…
  23. Outro: …for two positives
  24. Dialogue: Part of the localization, but each character has decent and distinct dialogue
  25. World Building: General, but existent. The tribes, the terraformed moon, the towns and their reaction to each other

Story Negatives:

  1. Character: Nash. Take one part arrogant prick, one part elitist jackass, add in a touch of betrayal, boil and serve
  2. Character: Kyle. He keeps coming close to being more than a one dimensional asshole and keeps failing at it
  3. Moment: While I prefer the final outcome, Luna deciding to leave, making a big deal out of it, then literally the next scene rejoining is just… what?
  4. Cutscene Incompetence: There’s a few minor examples, but we just… stand there and stare for literal minutes and do nothing during the finale cutscene
  5. Outro: 1 minute retirement, and several bits of general writing… issues

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Encounter Rate: While it has its issues, seeing the enemies (and their movement patterns) on the map is nice and selectable/avoidable
  2. Fast Travel: The dragon wing (takes a bit to get it, but it’s there)
  3. Kit: I’ve seen better, but there’s not a bad spread of buffs, debuffs, and spells
  4. Music: Especially the overworld themes
  5. Party AI: General and presets is surprisingly well designed, especially for such an older game…
  6. Party AI: …for two positives
  7. Party AI: Multiple presets, even, so you can set up for multiple scenarios
  8. QoL: Memory cursor, L & R navigation, equip in vendor, colored HUD stuff, auto A…
  9. QoL: …for two positives
  10. Saves: Save anywhere out of combat
  11. Level: The Grindery is, weirdly, a decent level. Decently designed enemies, heal and recovery spot in the middle, nice looping
  12. Animations: Enemies and bosses indicate what attack they are about to use

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Audio Spam: So… so much
  2. Difficulty: Boss scaling in general, per level and each stat scales, not just health or the like
  3. Difficulty Curve: The game’s difficulty curve is very weird. Trash is almost always harder than bosses, and varies wildly both in how difficult they are and another related problem
  4. Difficulty Curve: Second…
  5. Difficulty Curve: …and third related negative
  6. Encounter Rate: Despite the visible enemies, there are plenty of cases where the enemies are just straight up blocking your path, can trap you against a wall, or just avoid terrain to directly encounter you
  7. Grind: Related to the difficulty curve
  8. Interface: The whole of the interface is just… awkward, though I’ve seen worse
  9. Intro: The whole Intro feels off in tuning, and that’s on top of being a generally generic, boring cave with disinteresting enemy design
  10. Inventory: The inventory is downright awful. You already have general interface and control issues, but then you add in the aggravation of accessing, giving, and using items…
  11. Inventory: …on top of an extremely limited inventory space
  12. Level: Garden. Confusing layout, narrow corridors, and absolutely brutal enemies out of nowhere
  13. Level: General. Almost every dungeon in the game isn’t really… great
  14. Level: So there’s a ‘puzzle’ in Myght’s tower. It has no hints and no nothing, not even an indicator of the TYPE of puzzle it is, which is absolutely awful since even with random guesswork you could be trying to solve the wrong type of possible
  15. Level: The water dragon dungeon. Good lord. Most dungeons in this game are a bit samey, but the pseudo two way teleportals, where the wrong ones lead to encounters… yeck
  16. Level: Volcano. Enemies that hit like a truck with way too much health that give LESS exp than the previous dungeon, in a mazey dungeon filled with damaging tiles… yay
  17. Music: Restarting music problem
  18. Power Progression Curve: Related to the difficulty curve, the amount of exp and silver that enemies give feels… undesigned. You can go from a dungeon which gives low exp to another, much harder dungeon which gives… the same, to another one which actually gives LESS despite being harder
  19. Power Progression Curve: Second…
  20. Power Progression Curve: …and third related negative
  21. Song: The Lyton song, before and after
  22. Trash: There is definitely some Factory Worker Syndrome going on here. The only times the trash feels acceptable is when you’re going all out and blowing all your mana every single round on every single fight, and even when doing so the trash is still capable of 2 or 3 shotting anybody with some bad luck…
  23. Trash: …for two negatives
  24. Unskippable Cutscenes: Pretty usual for the time
  25. Outro: The final dungeon is good stuff, but that final BOSS… is absolutely awful. Too much health, bullcrap moves, and honestly worst of all… he says the same line for EVERY attack, AND to top it all off, that line has an audio glitch in it that plays every single time
  26. Outro: Oh yeah so… AFTER the last boss fight you can, easily and effortlessly, die. Just straight up die, and have to redo the last dungeon AND last boss fight (unless you happened to save). What in the world. This is such a monumental level of last minute, spiteful bullcrap…
  27. Outro: …that it deserves…
  28. Outro: …a full three negatives by itself

Wildermyth

Honestly one of the best grid based turn based tactical games I’ve played. It suffers from having entirely too many campaigns which just drags down the longer you play it, but there’s very good kit in classes, great builds in how you set them up, good interface, good HUD, a good save system, good enemy design and variety, a great difficulty curve that offers options for how you progress, good mod support, proper campaign co-op, and some great options. If you pick it up I recommend not doing all 5 campaigns… or spreading them out substantially.
Type Of Review: Blind Run
Total Story Score: 0
Total Gameplay Score: +40
Golden Number: 79.76
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 7 days / 40.18 Hours
Time Reviewed: 1-22-2023

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Storytelling Mechanics: The entire storybook motif and their method of doing cutscenes
  2. Humor: So bad it’s good… at least in the first chapter
  3. World Building: The various enemy factions we fight throughout are pretty interesting, varied, and all have their own backstories and reasonings
  4. Brickwork: Mostly on the stages. I’ll admit the art style is not my thing, but I’d be a fool to deny the style on display, and it does a good job of setting the scenes
  5. Characters: Supporting cast of All the Bones of Summer, most especially the Drauven

Story Negatives:

  1. Dialogue: So this is mostly focused on the original campaign but the ‘dialogue’ in the original campaign, hilarious as it is, is absolute gibberish. I legitimately suspected it was AI written at first…
  2. Dialogue: …for a full two negatives
  3. Writing: The ‘jigsaw puzzle’ approach to things has several noticeable flaws. The quickly repeated side stories, the ending slides which similarly repeat, and several cutscenes which just lurch awkwardly forwards
  4. Empty Text: Huge swaths of weirdly empty dialogue, usually via literally repeating dialogue
  5. Themes: The repeated theme of death being good and natural order being good is admittedly problematic, but the real issue is how it’s badly presented constantly

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Build: There’s a whole lot of build potential in this one. Lots of different, mutually exclusive abilities, most of which are useful, lots of which combo with each other, and of course go across classes…
  2. Build: …for a full…
  3. Build: …three positives
  4. Controls: Rewind, skip, and always access to character sheets, good usage of space
  5. Co-Op: Exists, and has…
  6. Co-Op: …full campaign co-op
  7. Core Mechanic: Banding, actions that end turns vs. those that don’t, two actions plus one swift action, and of course Retirement which passes on a huge chunk of exp or legacy points
  8. Difficulty Curve: Benefit of sweeping (exp and gear and resources), buffs enemies, incursions and time also buff enemies, but finishing chapter also reduces buffs. There’s other layers to this but the jist of it is that the difficulty is largely in the control of the player, and from experience works well whether you’re sweeping or skipping…
  9. Difficulty Curve: …for a full…
  10. Difficulty Curve: …three positives
  11. Difficulty Options: Changeable at will on the overworld map
  12. Difficulty Options: Optional hardcore mode, generally decent options for tactical and strategic layer
  13. Encounter Design: Or more accurately, card escalation and resource spending to diminish, which forces you to think about how many of what types of encounters you do…
  14. Encounter Design: …plus general thought put into combos of enemies in story missions
  15. Enemy Design: All the enemy factions have decently good design to them, with multiple different types of enemies and abilities, and buffs and weaknesses…
  16. Enemy Design: …for two positives
  17. Enemy Variety: Similarly, each faction really feels like fighting a different type of foe, especially as things escalate into the higher tier enemies…
  18. Enemy Variety: …for two positives
  19. HUD: While it has some issues, the HUD has a fairly large amount of information quickly available at a glance…
  20. HUD: …for two positives
  21. Info In Game: A fairly large amount of nitty gritty info on what does what, where, when, and how…
  22. Info In Game: …for two positives
  23. Kit: Infuse deserves its own individual positive for being inventive, fun, and situationally useful
  24. Kit: Melee. The entire melee class has a lot of directions it can build into, be it ranged, tanky, maneuverable, hearty, avoidy…
  25. Kit: …for two positives
  26. Kit: Mystic, in addition to the aforementioned Infuse, can also buff itself into a melee fighter based on nearby party members, how many infuses they have going on, or just straight up conjuring fire on the enemy…
  27. Kit: …for two positives
  28. Kit: Ranger, which can melee or ranged of course, with traps, debuffs, dots, insane range and movement, and the ability to just straight up ignore terrain…
  29. Kit: …for two positives
  30. Level: The final Moth mission. Holding the line, irritating the queen, her spending irritation points to move forward into the trap
  31. Lives/Penalty For Failure: Death with a last hurrah, or permanent detriment but survive, which also varies based on your setup and transformations…
  32. Lives/Penalty For Failure: …for two positives
  33. Log: Shows events and comes with mouseovers
  34. Mods: Accessibility. It’s quick and easy to grab, install, enable mods…
  35. Mods: …for two positives
  36. Mods: Depth. Didn’t see much past cosmetic stuff but there were a few more in depth mods
  37. Mods: Tools built and baked into the game…
  38. Mods: …for two positives
  39. MSQ: The Morthagi campaign’s multiple paths and tons of resources (optionally)
  40. Options: Honestly pretty good options and settings. Colors, animation speed, text size, it’d take too long to list it all but it’s well above and beyond and should honestly probably be the standard…
  41. Options: …for a full…
  42. Options: …three positives
  43. Power Progression Curve: Meaningful gear, making each additional piece a noticeable upgrade
  44. Power Progression Curve: Meaningful level ups, with each talent and additional stats being significant…
  45. Power Progression Curve: …for two positives
  46. QoL: Good little details like letting you pause whenever events happen, quickly skipping through things, everything being hotkeyed, etc.
  47. Saves: Mostly of the Auto variety, but quite frequent
  48. Saves: Save anywhere, multiple saves, quick and easy to save
  49. Starting Options: Character creation
  50. Starting Options: Procedural campaign mode
  51. Strategic Layer: It’s entirely boardgamey but I rather like it, and it manages a good balance point between being optional and fun yet rewarding and punishing
  52. Replayability: A wide variety of options and different builds and playstyles

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Visual Distinction: Some issues here and there, especially with the stylized interface
  2. Music: Repetition. There’s like… three songs in the entire 40 hour game
  3. Music: General. Not a huge fan of the music and how unpleasant it is to listen to for any length of time
  4. Terrain Design: Quite sadly for a tactical game, the terrain design… isn’t. The same maps being repeated endlessly where terrain essentially doesn’t matter is so frequent a problem that the first map where terrain DID matter was actually noteworthy…
  5. Terrain Design: …for a full…
  6. Terrain Design: …three negatives
  7. Padding: Too many chapters where the MSQ is ‘do everything’
  8. MSQ: First campaign in general
  9. Padding: Final campaign
  10. Level Design: Or lack thereof. Entirely too many stages with entirely too little thought put into it
  11. Level Design: Bonus negative for all the repeated random encounter stages
  12. Replayability: The bizarre mish mash of random events repeating kind of hurts any desire to replay