Blind 2


Ultimate Admiral Dreadnought

The very beginnings of what could be a great game, but isn’t. Neat ideas (ship builder, naval invasion, indirect warfare, ship-based RTS) hampered by one of the worst control schemes and interfaces I have ever seen. I absolutely do not recommend this game.
Type Of Review: Blind Run
Total Story Score: +2
Total Gameplay Score: -26
Golden Number: -46.04
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 3 days / 19.23 Hours
Time Reviewed: 1-24-2024

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Storytelling Mechanic: Loading screens. Little tidbits of history and additional flavor thereof
  2. Atmosphere: While there’s not a substantial variance between the styles, the ships themselves do look and feel legit out in the open waters

Story Negatives:

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Core Mechanic: Ship building, being such a core part of the gameplay, is incredibly detailed in what it offers and allows. Dynamics and differences between lengths of turrets, armor placement and type and amount, shell styles, firing arcs, beam, and more than a dozen other options…
  2. Core Mechanic: …for a full…
  3. Core Mechanic: …three positives
  4. Core Combat: Naval battles. They’re honestly quite simple, but they’re still fun for what they are, and do offer some level of tactics
  5. Viscerality: There really is something enjoyable about the big guns in the combat mode
  6. Info In Game: This is a weird one, because essentially all the info necessary IS in game, but…

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Bug: 5 minute load times at start, and massive load times constantly. This is technically optimization but for organization purposes we’ll call this a bug
  2. Crashes: Crashes and audio glitches. Up to three crashes as of typing
  3. Controls: Similarly, the way the game controls during the sea battles is even worse. Ignoring the obvious near total lack of precise control over anything, or the related feedback issues, the game once again just controls wrong periodically. Randomly ignoring inputs, or deciding without rhyme or reason to combine navy groups (which actually completely screws with their ability to function), and a lot of obtuse and barely explained menuing
  4. Controls: The game controls terribly in the map and menus, without proper drilling down or up, awkward inputs on the map (one map speed combined with the map’s related issues), but what really pushes this past minor irritation into full negative is the controls during build mode which actively drop inputs, ignore what you’re trying to place or why (having to repeat ‘remove part’ three times, or clicking for several seconds to get it to recognize that you’re trying to pan the camera). This honestly feels like an outright bug more than anything, but it’s immensely irritating
  5. Strategic Layer: Campaign mode in general. For a mode that has as much going on under the hood as it is, it’s kind of puddle-deep in terms of gameplay, especially since so much of it is removed from player control. It’s a war game where you only control the navy, which probably could have worked with some real care and polish, but absolutely does not
  6. Core Mechanic: Naval Invasions (initial requirement). So… track me on this. It takes 100k tonnage to start an invasion, and the amount required to DO an invasion depends on the port you’re invading, often much less than 100k but it can be higher too. But you HAVE to have that 100k to start. (Almost nothing tells you this by the way, see: Tutorialization negatives) This is further compounded by the fact that Naval Invasions are actually a fairly complex mechanic that’s barely explained in game, and is one of only two methods of conquering territory in a game about conquering enemy territory…
  7. Core Mechanic: …for a full…
  8. Core Mechanic: …three negatives
  9. HUD: Lack of mouseover. There IS a mouseover function but it barely works right, inconsistency and weird ‘lag’ in it making it so I have trouble telling what I’m looking at half the time
  10. HUD: Lack of proper organizing and sorting to… everything. Related to the Controls issues.
  11. Info In Game: …despite so much info being in game, good luck FINDING it. There is no real pattern to its presentation making finding what’s going on an absolute chore, and all of that is on top of having no search or filter functions anywhere
  12. Info In Game: War reparations screen and the total lack of map helpfulness. Hope you have locations memorized!
  13. Interface: The interface in this game is not the worst I’ve ever seen, but it’s down there. It’s so bad we’ve pieced it out into multiple categories, but the interface as a whole deserves mention. I honestly find it hard to explain how much of a colossal pain this interface is to navigate and control. Bad placement with bad interactions with inconsistent inputs with variable HUD usefulness, but I think that ‘inconsistent’ thing is the worst bit to me, because it’s training me the longer I play it to ignore certain types of actions because I don’t know when I’m doing them right or wrong…
  14. Interface: …for a full…
  15. Interface: …three negatives
  16. Map: This isn’t the worst map I’ve ever seen, but it is one of the worst. First of all the map doesn’t wrap, which is… just bonkers, but then consider that there’s no filter or search on a map that relies on you knowing what’s where, and the aforementioned one map speed, on top of having badly laid out text that in some cases is literally hidden by other elements of the interface…
  17. Map: …for a full…
  18. Map: …three negatives
  19. Music: I played with music on off camera for a bit (to avoid Copywrong) and it’s grating and generic, but what really makes it a negative is the usual problem games have; short loops and lots of repetition
  20. Saves: Autosaves overwrite your manual save if you don’t swap slots periodically so… that’s cool. Also no loading from in game
  21. Seconds In Minutes: There’s actually less than you’d think, but it is there
  22. Sound Design: Buggy and disinteresting. Literal start-stop sound effects in some screens
  23. Tutorialization: So first the tutorials; there aren’t any. In a simulator-style game with ludicrous amounts of options and no designed tutorial
  24. Tutorialization: Then we have to talk about how much tutorialization the game requires and technically has in its built in wiki. Because good luck finding anything in that mess. This is actually several problems because first, not all the info is actually in the built in wiki (see; Naval Invasions details), but then we have issues with just FINDING the info. There’s no search function, and critical information is usually only placed once in the entire wiki, and not always in the section you’d think it’s in, essentially mandating you just read the entire wiki to figure out what’s going on…
  25. Tutorialization: …for a full…
  26. Tutorialization: …three negatives
  27. Party AI: Or lack thereof. They, again, aren’t the worst I’ve seen, but…
  28. Core Mechanic: Auto resolve. As with virtually every game ever, it’s awful
  29. Interface: Feedback, or lack thereof
  30. Early Game: Inability to really do much
  31. Mid Game: Getting mired in endless warfare
  32. Late Game: Mines, subs, research issues, and getting mired in slog

Mark of the Ninja Remastered

First and foremost, the controls have quite a few issues. Sticky problems with walls and ceilings, and some odd choices that make the whole thing janky. But if you can get past that, there’s a very solid stealth platformer under here, with solid level design and great kit for killing, whether quietly or loudly. Big recommend.
Type Of Review: Blind Run
Total Story Score: +7
Total Gameplay Score: +16
Golden Number: 54.9
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 2 days / 7.97 Hours
Time Reviewed: 1-26-2024

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Brickwork: It’s vague and indistinct but the backgrounds add some lovely noir flavor to things
  2. Character: Ora is fascinating and arguably the best developed character
  3. Cutscene: The final two cutscenes are damned good, both audibly and visually, but also in what they mean for the rest of the game
  4. Cutscenes: Love the art style and direction thereof
  5. MSQ: The plot as a whole. There’s some good early tidbits showcasing where things are going, and the reveal is pretty legit
  6. Sound Design: Some great sound design adding to the scenes (crows, rain, lightning)
  7. Voice Acting: Generally high quality throughout
  8. Animation: Solid, very stylized, in and out of cutscenes

Story Negatives:

  1. Outro: Both endings honestly fall really flat for the build up

Gameplay Positives:

  1. All Roads Lead To Rome: It’s intermittent based on the stage, but several specific areas have multiple possible routes and actions to get through them
  2. Animation: Really solid feedback on the visual design
  3. Difficulty Curve: Really solid difficulty curve throughout most of the game
  4. Difficulty Options: Optional hard modes for rewards
  5. Intro: The entire Intro is just solid, between tutorialization, escalation, and general quality
  6. Kit: The killing kit is legit, with traps for stealth and fun quick kill stuff for loud
  7. Level: The Inner Keep is exceptionally fun
  8. Level: Generally great level design through out…
  9. Level: …for a full…
  10. Level: …three positives
  11. Level: Dosan 1 and the escalating difficulty based on the order you do the traps in
  12. Lives/Penalty For Failure: Gradient discovery failure
  13. Mid Mission Checkpoints: Here and there the mid mission checkpoints are really solid and compliment the per-room puzzle design
  14. Minigames: Optional mean puzzles which are fun
  15. MSQ: Hold The Line missions. There’s only two, but both are probably the best designed sections in the game
  16. New Game Plus: Exists
  17. Outro: The final stage (the actual final stage) is really solid. Good, multi-routed, properly difficult fun
  18. Power Progression Curve: The different modes, upgrades, and rewards for the optional hard mode stuff
  19. Sound Design: Really solid feedback on the sound design
  20. Tutorialization: There’s a lot of really solid tutorialization in this one, not just at the beginning but across the entire game as it keeps introducing new mechanics…
  21. Tutorialization: …earning it two positives
  22. Visual Distinction: Colors, shading, interactables
  23. Yoshi Drums: Good dynamic music depending on events and areas
  24. Replayability: Between options and modes and stage select, good second Replay positive
  25. Terrain Design: Varies, but generally good throughout

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Camera: The game really does not like letting me look at where I want to look, often interpreting where the camera should be and getting me killed more than a few times as a result
  2. Controls: So the controls… are not good. They’re serviceable, but a bit clunky and awkward, and the game does this weird thing where certain types of actions are spread out across too many buttons, and others are too ‘one button’ problem… in short, if you’ve ever played an old Assassin’s Creed you already know all of this. The awkward, semi bizarre scheme leads to a near constant irritation across the entire game…
  3. Controls: …for two negatives
  4. Core Mechanic: Stealth gameplay issues. Similar but inverse to Dishonored 1, where killing is fun and not-killing… isn’t. The kit is slanted towards killing, with lots of fun neat options, and not-killing is just irritating
  5. Graphics: Blur and lighting issues
  6. Level: Trial and error gameplay issues
  7. Mid Mission Checkpoints: It’s periodic, but here and there the checkpoints just kind of suck and require you to redo irritating segments over and over
  8. Options: Cannot rebind controller (which is weird because you can rebind keyboard)
  9. Visual Distinction: Blending and blur

Invisible Inc

First off, this is a full rogue-reset game, so progress does not carry over across attempts. If this is your bag, great, if not, I’d still recommend it for at least one playthrough. This is a very fun stealth turn-based grid-based tactical game with generally good design, visuals, kit, builds, and options for how to progress depending on your setup. I do however recommend a few mods to fix the UI scaling.
Type Of Review: Blind Run
Total Story Score: +7
Total Gameplay Score: +17
Golden Number: 55.38
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 2 days / 10.34 Hours
Time Reviewed: 1-27-2024

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Atmosphere: Corporate espionage, oozing from every pore
  2. Brickwork: General. Every area is the same tileset but it’s a well done one, and adds to the corporate espionage angle
  3. Intro: Starting on the back foot is a nice hook and a good setup for the campaign
  4. Voice Acting: Same generally high quality from Mark of the Ninja
  5. World Building: Little tidbits in the background
  6. Characters: Mostly centered around Central and Monst3r but they’re pretty legit
  7. Animation: General art style, especially in the cutscenes
  8. Doodads: Generally good Doodad design

Story Negatives:

  1. Outro: Same general problem as Mark of the Ninja; very abrupt and unsatisfying ending

Gameplay Positives:

  1. All Roads Lead To Rome: By natural consequence of the procedural level design and wide variety of kit
  2. Builds: Different agents, different augments, different equipment
  3. Core Mechanic: Incognita, programs, and daemons
  4. Core Mechanic: Knockout timers and pinning is a nice risk/reward thing
  5. Core Mechanic: Visibility indicators and interaction with line of sight and detection
  6. Difficulty Curve: Security Level escalation and related risk/reward with stalling or rushing
  7. Difficulty Options: Bonus points for having presets for the setup options labeled as difficulty options
  8. Difficulty Mutators: All the new options and alarm consequences of the DLC
  9. Encounter: Generally well designed spread of enemies throughout stages
  10. Enemy AI: Surprisingly well designed in how it reacts to things
  11. Info In Game: Lots of specifics on what does what, where, and how
  12. Kit: Augments, equipment, characters, and variety
  13. Level: General design (hard to judge in something this procedural, but there is some clear thought put into the puzzle pieces)
  14. Level: Special praise to the DLC only mission which had some cool enemies, concepts, and design to it
  15. Lives/Penalty For Failure: Rewind mechanic. Optional, with optional amount of uses, and a nice recovery mechanic if necessary
  16. Replayability: Lots of options for replay
  17. Starting Options: So many it’d take a hot minute to list them all. Tons and tons of options, and a good gradient of said options, that allow a tremendous amount of customization in your campaign…
  18. Starting Options: …for a full…
  19. Starting Options: …three positives
  20. Visual Distinction: Both colors and the ALT button
  21. Outro: The final mission and its additional agents and challenges was a nice setup
  22. Yoshi Drums: Dynamic based on alert, phase of mission, etc.
  23. Music: While a bit repetitive at times, there’s still some good stuff in this one

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Interface: Unscalable font size which is already an issue, but combined with…
  2. Interface: …the entire UI scaling badly (or rather, not at all) and the whole game becomes hard to read and parse, which isn’t great for any game, let alone a tactical stealth one
  3. Options: Resolution options, or lack thereof
  4. Visual Distinction: Some issues given how ‘high’ the visuals are for terrain and interactables
  5. HUD: Small but consistent issues with parts of the HUD literally obscuring other parts, making it hard to see what’s going on or what to do
  6. Tutorialization: More specifically, the tutorial itself, which skips over some critical information and is not very well designed as a whole

Oxygen Not Included

One of the better builder games I’ve played, with great HUD design, great at-a-glance, great interface filter and search design, great controls, with great and complex mechanics. There’s one, really really big caveat; Either look up a wiki, have a friend guide you, or find a proper Youtube guide because the in game tutorials are worse than worthless and do not explain over half the mechanics. Once you’re over that hurdle, however, it’s a very solid game that I absolutely recommend.
Type Of Review: Blind Run
Total Story Score: +4
Total Gameplay Score: +38
Golden Number: 88.91
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 5 days / 33.84 Hours
Time Reviewed: 1-31-2024

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Brickwork: Stylized and unique
  2. Animation: Hilarious and well designed
  3. Humor: Mostly due to the ridiculous nature of it
  4. Atmosphere: That particular Fallouty silly tone
  5. Background Lore: The tidbits of backstory peppered throughout

Story Negatives:

  1. Pacing: By necessity, but it’s worth noting that due to the massively backloaded narrative you can go huge, huge swaths of time in between issues

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Builds: Lots of options for setups and customization
  2. Controls: Hotkeys and keyboard layout
  3. Controls: Priority system and the well designed indirect control mechanisms related thereto…
  4. Controls: …for two positives
  5. Core Combat: Or more accurately, core loop. Need, requiring more, requiring more
  6. Core Mechanics: Air. Or, more accurately, gas… for there are many, and they require a lot of thoughts in how they interact with each other…
  7. Core Mechanics: …for two positives
  8. Core Mechanics: Comfort similarly has a lot going into it, between clothing, decor, and routing…
  9. Core Mechanics: …for two positives
  10. Core Mechanics: Food, similarly, is a whole thing. Relatively easy to cover early on but at the same time requiring very valuable time and resources
  11. Core Mechanics: Processing, turning things into other things, of which there is a great deal of depth
  12. Core Mechanics: Temperature, certainly a bit of a long term and late game problem but one that must always be kept in mind
  13. Core Mechanics: Water. Another situation, like air, that has multiple routes and solutions but all of them require some good work and thought…
  14. Core Mechanics: …for two positives
  15. Early Game: Challenging and brutal in all the right ways…
  16. Early Game: …for two positives
  17. HUD: Filters, lots of filters on what you see and how
  18. HUD: Lots of information readily available on the default screen and well readable…
  19. HUD: …for two positives
  20. HUD: Tooltips and mouseovers
  21. HUD: Visible modes, so many and with so much info…
  22. HUD: …for two positives
  23. Info In Game: Stats in wiki, and so many details…
  24. Info In Game: …for two positives
  25. Interface: Cross referencing. Lots of instances of proper cross referencing
  26. Interface: Searches and filters all over the place
  27. Late Game: Rockets and all that entails
  28. Levels: Biomes. There’s several, with their own design and style
  29. Mid Game: Automation and keeping the station working smoothly
  30. Minigame: Sandbox mode by itself deserves a nod
  31. Mod Accessibility: Steam Workshop of course, but also a Mod menu in game
  32. Mod Kit: Moddability
  33. Music: Audio issues aside, the soundtrack is legit
  34. QoL: Priority button, deconstruct, cancel, copy, and so many others…
  35. QoL: …for a full…
  36. QoL: …three positives
  37. Replayability: First, obvious…
  38. Replayability: …and definitely the second, for variety in playstyles
  39. Saves: Good saves…
  40. Saves: …good autosaves
  41. Starting Options: So, so many, I couldn’t possibly list all of them…
  42. Starting Options: …for a full…
  43. Starting Options: …three positives
  44. Starting Options: Sandbox mode and related options
  45. Visual Distinction: Everything is very good, very distinct at-a-glance…
  46. Visual Distinction: …for two positives
  47. Party AI: Jokes aside, the dupes are actually really well designed and really smart in how they operate…
  48. Party AI: …for two positives
  49. Sound Design: Good audio design in indications and problems
  50. Levels: The Lab levels and their manually crafted challenge mode stuff

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Bug: Cursor issue. Periodically and for no demonstrable reason the cursor just offsets on screen, and only restarting the game fixes it
  2. Core Mechanic: Power grids. Even with a few small fixes the system could work, but you have terrible and inconsistent power sources which barely provide that much power which bleed out power (nothing explains this of course) while being required for literally everything in the game… but even all of that I could stomach if not for the fact that the grid design is too realistic and has wattage limiters built into it, making dealing with power a nonstop hassle and aggravation the ENTIRE game…
  3. Core Mechanic: …for a full…
  4. Core Mechanic: …three negatives
  5. Info In Game: A few noteworthy holes. Sometimes simply finding what’s wrong is more obtuse than it should be
  6. Mid Game: Treadmill problem. Just… entirely too much spinning the wheels solving the same problems over and over
  7. Sound Design: Audio balance issues. Really had to finicky with sound design, and that doesn’t fix it in all cases too
  8. Tutorialization: The game tells you absolutely frickin’ nothing, in a way I can’t even properly type up. There is so, so much trial and error in this game it’s insane…
  9. Tutorialization: …for a full…
  10. Tutorialization: …three negatives
  11. Walkthroughitis: Everything to do with mid and late game. Hope you’re ready to trial and error or have a wiki up
  12. Walkthroughitis: Related to the tutorialization problem but good luck figuring out how certain mechanics work without just plain old trial and error (or Youtubing it)

RUINER

So this is a good twin stick shooter and I can recommend it buuut I need to warn people because it is an absolute sensory overload game. The sound, music, and visuals are all cranked to 11 for most of the gameplay and it can cause headaches, seizures, and nausea. If you are one of those unaffected by those, enjoy away! Also the game is depressing as hell.
Type Of Review: Blind Run
Total Story Score: +3
Total Gameplay Score: +5
Golden Number: 16.75
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 1 days / 5 Hours
Time Reviewed: 2-8-2024

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Brickwork: General. Most of the areas are hard to really appreciate, but there’s some clear design going on
  2. Visual Storytelling: Special mention to the Farm and the Furnace for being goddamned terrifying
  3. Hub: The ‘town’ area is actually quite well done
  4. Atmosphere: Yep this is bleak and depressing as hell
  5. MSQ: Horror and the Furnace and exactly what that place really was

Story Negatives:

  1. Writing: The overtness of the story kind of bothered me pretty fast (come along Puppy!)
  2. Outro: That was a weird attempt at a last minute twist, and it falls a bit flat due to being overly broadcasted and improperly followed through on

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Boss: Sick Sisters is the one good boss in the game, with multiple weak points, actual arena design, trash, recovery, and mechanics
  2. Builds: Good combos of abilities across the setup, and with the super respec option you can play with whatever
  3. Core Combat: The core combat loop is very tight and fun and didn’t quite have a chance to get old
  4. Enemy Variety: Not a lot, but it’s there
  5. Kit: The abilities and skills are varied and fun to use
  6. Kit: Weapons and their highly disposable nature along with variety thereon
  7. Mid Mission Checkpoints: Pretty good and pretty frequent…
  8. Mid Mission Checkpoints: …even in the middle of fights or encounters
  9. Music: It’s a bit of a sensory overload, but the music IS good
  10. NG+: Usual Dark Souls method of new game plus
  11. Pacing: Surprisingly good pacing for such a frenetic game
  12. Respec: So the respec is already there and infinite in both directions…
  13. Respec: …and also can be done literally in combat
  14. Tutorialization: Video shorts displaying how abilities work
  15. Minigame: Built in speedrun support, and the arena mode
  16. Viscerality: For all the noise, it is a fairly visceral game

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Bug: Aiming. The game aims just a bit wrong because it’s a 3D game pretending to be a 2D game so it’s just a liiiittle off which takes getting used to
  2. Camera: Nausea inducing
  3. Difficulty: Overtuning. Things will absolutely smash you
  4. Difficulty Options: Lazy difficulty
  5. Graphics: The glitchiness and red are neat but legitimately eye straining and headachy…
  6. Graphics: …for two negatives
  7. Level: Arena design… isn’t
  8. Padding: Boss refights (I mean HOW many times did we refight the cyborg?)
  9. Raspberry Jam: AND low health beedleeps
  10. Outro: The actual final level is an endless wave fight against stuff we’ve fought before in an empty circular room. There is no final boss
  11. Visual Distinction: Periodic, but occasionally it’s just hard to tell what’s going on

Tinykin

A very, very good collectathon 3D platformer very much in the style of Banjo or Spyro. Highly recommend for the chill, fun, engaging gameplay and for the surprisingly good visuals and presentation of the story.
Type Of Review: Blind Run
Total Story Score: +26
Total Gameplay Score: +27
Golden Number: 134.63
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 2 days / 11.15 Hours
Time Reviewed: 2-13-2024

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Brickwork: Level 1, City of Sanctar
  2. Brickwork: Level 2, Foliana Heights
  3. Brickwork: Level 3, Transidor Crossing
  4. Brickwork: Level 4, Waters of Balnea
  5. Brickwork: Level 5, Lands of Ambrose
  6. Brickwork: Level 6, Celerion Park
  7. Visual Storytelling: Not a lot, but we do see some here and there (especially in Level 2)
  8. Doodads: Level 1, City of Sanctar. The layout of the temple, the bedroom, the usage of the bookshelves and television…
  9. Doodads: …easily two positives
  10. Doodads: Level 2, Foliana Heights. Brush, bramble, exhibits, bug town areas…
  11. Doodads: …another two positives
  12. Doodads: Level 3, Transidor Crossing. Lots of debris here, but all of it the kind of things you’d see in a staircase
  13. Doodads: Level 4, Waters of Balnea. The toilet paper, the sink, the toiletries…
  14. Doodads: …for two positives
  15. Doodads: Level 5, Lands of Ambrose. This one’s really impressive, above and beyond the others, with a crazy amount of detailing in the cupboards, farmlands, fridge, sink, etc…
  16. Doodads: …for a full…
  17. Doodads: …three positives
  18. Doodads: Level 6, Celerion Park. Toys, kid’s stuff, beds, shelves…
  19. Doodads: …easily two positives
  20. Animation: Smart and bubbly
  21. Storytelling Mechanic: Text styling, showcasing tone and intent just in text
  22. World Building: Quite a bit, mostly about the politics and culture of the various bug peoples
  23. Lindblum Effect: This really feels a lot like an actual, lived in area
  24. Atmosphere and Tone: Light and bubbly throughout… with an undercurrent of real social politics and cultural divides
  25. Sound Design: Lovely, bubbly sound design
  26. Spritework: While it causes a few issues on gameplay, the 2D sprites are nicely drawn and animated
  27. Outro: I was actually impressed with this one. The entire sequence concludes the all but one of the arcs of the game, while still leaving some threads for a future

Story Negatives:

  1. Pacing: A whole lot of the actual plot is shoved to the beginning and end with only tiny tidbits in between

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Intro: Tight and well designed lead in to the primary gameplay loop
  2. QoL: Several with regards to controlling the tinykin (spawning on the spot and instantly climbing, accelerated tossing while holding button down, summoning from anywhere)
  3. Yoshi Drums: Extremely dynamic music. Each stage has its own song which varies based on which region of the stage you’re in…
  4. Yoshi Drums: …for a full two positives
  5. Music: Helps that those songs are bangers
  6. Guidance And Flow: Let’s get this out of the way; the guidance and flow on each stage is legit and worthwhile by themselves of a positive. Each stage has thought and effort put into how each region flows internally, and externally. This is true for every single stage…
  7. Guidance And Flow: …so one for Foliana Heights…
  8. Guidance And Flow: …one for Transidor Crossing…
  9. Guidance And Flow: …another for the Waters of Belnea…
  10. Guidance And Flow: …the Lands of Ambrose…
  11. Guidance And Flow: …and of course, Celerion Park
  12. Terrain: Extremely good terrain design across each stage…
  13. Terrain: …for a full…
  14. Terrain: …three positives
  15. Level: General level design for the beats not otherwise specifically covered. The City of Sanctar
  16. Level: The Foliana Heights
  17. Level: Transidor Crossing
  18. Level: The Waters of Belnea
  19. Level: The Lands of Ambrose
  20. Level: And the Celerion Park
  21. Visual Distinction: In the terrain, in the animation, in the HUD, in everything really, with usage of colors and outlining…
  22. Visual Distinction: …for a full…
  23. Visual Distinction: …three positives
  24. Tutorialization: Good and bad, but still some good
  25. All Roads Lead To Rome: Lots and lots of collectibles… the overwhelming majority of which are not mandatory, allowing the player to choose exactly how much they want to do and which things they want to do specifically
  26. Kit: The Tinykin themselves, of course. Grabbers, exploders, bridge builders, electric gappers…
  27. Kit: …but special mention for the portable tower guys which are a GREAT inclusion by themselves. Can plop down added height basically wherever, and however high you can make it based on how many guys you have
  28. Interface: Info on what’s collected and where, and well sorted
  29. Replayability: Yeah this one’s pretty solidly replayable
  30. Visual Navigation: Wonderful usage, per every single stage, of landmarking and navigation…
  31. Visual Navigation: …for two positives
  32. Core Mechanic: Fun factor in collecting
  33. Lives/Penalty For Failure: No lives, just location reset to last safe spot, helping with the all important flow

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Graphics: Some depth issues with the 2D sprites making some platforming aggravating
  2. Camera: So during the races the game removes camera control from you, which makes them even more irritating than usual (they are VERY tightly tuned)
  3. Tutorialization: For all the good tutorialization, there’s also really aggravating tutorialization
  4. Save: Forced ironman mode
  5. Save: Only one save slot
  6. Map: Or total lack thereof, which makes navigating between levels more irritating than it should be

Cogen Sword of Rewind

Okay so the story here is legitimately terrible, but ignore that for a second. The core gameplay conceit is fun and there’s plenty of optional ways to play and records to break if you’re into it, but I will admit this feels like a concept game or a tech demo rather than a finished product. The jump issue especially (in short, the jump is inconsistent) and the awkward and off hurtboxes make the game play worse than it really deserves to, but otherwise I love the time rewind as a form of health mechanic, and the bosses are (mostly) great.
Type Of Review: Blind Run
Total Story Score: -5
Total Gameplay Score: +11
Golden Number: 11.43
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 2 days / 6.4 Hours
Time Reviewed: 2-14-2024

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Animation: Great attack and movement animation
  2. Brickwork: Decent background designs setting the stages
  3. Localization: I’m honestly surprised at how good the localization is, considering
  4. Spritework: There’s only a bit (mostly the main character, Akasha, and your dad) but they’re really solidly done

Story Negatives:

  1. Character: Main character. She’s just… she’s so, so aggressively unlikable
  2. Dialogue: Excessive and unnecessary, almost to the point of Empty Text
  3. Humor: She’s so dumb isn’t it FUNNY
  4. Plot: Yeah so… sure… okay… huh? Even while tracking some of the plot, there’s clear holes in everything
  5. Voice Acting: Irritating and auto ducks even when off
  6. Writing: I’m sorry WHAT? Okay so there are these weird swaths of plot where they assume they’ve explained or exposited on things and they… have not. So characters suddenly are aware of plot points that have never been brought up and act as though they’re fully on board with said points
  7. World Building: Or lack thereof. In fact the game goes out of its way to destroy its own world building frequently
  8. Outro: So it’s already a wonderful culmination of awful, awful story in so many ways…
  9. Outro: …but then there’s the ‘non ending’ right at the end

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Boss: I’m really quite a fan of the Dad fight. He’s readable, reactable, and properly intense
  2. Boss: Stage 2 boss, the Grenademan homage
  3. Boss: Stage 4’s boss and so many variables to keep track of
  4. Core Combat: Reflecting, combos, and dash attacking
  5. Core Mechanic: OHKO mode in general. To be clear, the time rewind is functionally a health bar, but it changes the dynamic of how the game plays and makes for some fun moments
  6. Core Mechanic: Rewind, Rewind refill, does not allow suicide rewinds
  7. Difficulty Options: Actually changes how the game plays instead of lazy difficulty
  8. Intro: Solid. The stage is a bad tutorial, but the boss does the real heavy lifting here, being a well designed smooth tutorial of deflecting, avoidance, all while varying up combat per phase of the encounter
  9. Level: Stage 3, with some creative rewind and lava mechanics
  10. Level: Stage 4, really escalating the rewind interactions with the level design
  11. Level: Stage 5 is MOSTLY a good stage
  12. Music: Pretty solid bangers…
  13. Music: …for two positives
  14. Viscerality: Yeah no it’s pretty solid, mostly on the visual side of things
  15. Level: Remixed stages get a general polishing pass mutation positive
  16. Controls: Tight and responsive, as they need to be
  17. Enemy Variety: Pretty good throughout
  18. Boss: The remixed fights in general, but special mention to the final boss
  19. Outro: A decent stage and a nice hyperbeam moment
  20. Level: Level 0 bonus stages remixing

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Boss: By contrast I am NOT a fan of the Akasha fight, which is mostly one long invuln phase which is just a wee bit too irritating to break her out of (the vulnerable points tend to hover in the air lowering the hits you can get in on them per round, and a lot of her attacks are guesswork as to which they are, which is important considering they require different approaches)
  2. Boss: Stage 3 boss. Both phases are, in a vacuum, decent… but the total lack of checkpointing is awful, and the number of instant kill attacks that come from off visible radius and the ease of being essentially softlocked in lava makes the whole thing more sloggy than it really should be
  3. Core Combat: Hurtboxes. I’m most reminded of Donkey Kong Country, where the hurtboxes are just… inconsistent, and not where they arguably should be
  4. Core Mechanic: Jumping. This one will take some explaining but (explain later)
  5. Level: The segment from hell on Stage 5 is complete bullcrap
  6. Pacing: Textbox interruptions, especially early on
  7. Tutorialization: First stage. For all the boss does right, the stage does wrong
  8. Mid Mission Checkpoints: So first there’s none in general in boss fights, which is generally irritating…
  9. Outro: …but the final boss fight takes the cake on this one. A generally fun fight ruined by lack of checkpointing

Pentiment

This might be the most Obsidian game I’ve ever played; extremely good story, lackluster but still positive gameplay. This is a fantastic variant on a Choose Your Own Adventure, where your choices and abilities change what options you have further down the line, and that’s on top of a unique art style, great animation, and Obsidian’s trademark excellent dialogue. Definitely recommended.
Type Of Review: Blind Run
Total Story Score: +53
Total Gameplay Score: +8
Golden Number: 71.92
Cheats: No
Total Play Time: 3 days / 24.18 Hours
Time Reviewed: 4-25-2024

Spoiler Pluses and Minuses +

Story Positives:

  1. Storytelling Mechanic: Built in glossary, helping with historical information about areas, places, concepts
  2. Animation: The animation in the game is… weirdly good. There’s not many frames to it, but they do a lot with what’s there, and there’s tons of little details that are almost imperceptible but add to the believability of the scenes. This one easily gets…
  3. Animation: …two positives for animation
  4. Brickwork: I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan of the style of artwork, but I’d be an idiot not to recognize how well done it is. The detailing, the brush strokes, the accurate depiction of this sort of ‘medieval’ style of art, it really makes the town and surrounding areas pop…
  5. Brickwork: …for an easy…
  6. Brickwork: …triple positive
  7. Spritework: Same story with the sprites. Each character is easily distinct from each other (harder to do than it sounds with such stylings, and very important when it comes to a character driven game like this), and is well drawn and well presented…
  8. Spritework: …earning another…
  9. Spritework: …triple positive
  10. Storytelling Mechanic: The text rendering. Different font, fixing issues, changing ‘writing’ speeds to indicate tone, even little sound effects that vary based on tone…
  11. Storytelling Mechanic: …for a double positive
  12. Doodads: Weird to think of in this case since it’s mostly static images, but it still counts. This is especially true for the indoor areas
  13. Animation: Background brickwork animation, really helps make the scenes look better than still paintings or otherwise lifeless
  14. Storytelling Mechanic: The books themselves. Characters entering and leaving them is interesting if pointless, but what pushes this into positive territory is how they will frame themselves within the stories they enter. Illuminita standing before the burning woman and kneeling in prayer as she laments her lot in life, to name one example
  15. Storytelling Mechanic: Thought bubbles! Another way to see insight into our character’s thoughts, and to add flavor to ourselves, the scene, and our choices
  16. Lindblum Effect: Background elements, lots of named people with their daily lives and mannerisms, pets and how you interact with them, things like that
  17. Animation: I must give a bonus point to how much detail goes into the animations. Tiny, little stuff that I appreciate tremendously
  18. Atmosphere: Historical vibes and attention to detail in the grounded nature thereof
  19. World Building: This is a weird one, since this is just real life history instead of something crafted, but effort and care was still put into researching and properly using history and historical norms in culture, technology, song, visuals, etc.
  20. Atmosphere & Tone: The down-to-earth, grounded nature of the story does it tremendous credit and is a continuous thread throughout…
  21. Atmosphere & Tone: …earning two positives
  22. Dialogue: The dialogue pops (of course it does, it’s an Obsidian game) and while there are only a few ‘voices’ in the cast, they’re still there and they’re still distinct. Each exchange feels like a real conversation and doesn’t stumble over itself…
  23. Dialogue: …earning a double positive
  24. Internal Continuity: As it essentially needs to be for a detective, mystery style game like this, the internal continuity is extremely tight. The game absolutely has details everywhere and keeps track of them well…
  25. Internal Continuity: …for a full…
  26. Internal Continuity: …three positives
  27. Secondary: There aren’t many, but the few optional side quests are surprisingly engaging. Helping a family pay their rent, or an old man get some ointment, things like that
  28. Intro: A nice, slow burn. Establish the town, the characters, the setting
  29. MSQ: Act 1. The murder of an awful, awful man who has power and wealth, and thus we have our threat. The stakes are very high, but very personal, and as you unveil more of what’s going on it just gets better
  30. Visual Storytelling: The meals. Every meal in the game does something to indicate the standing, the situation, the family’s relative wealth, and their character. It’s brilliant, subtle, and incredible…
  31. Visual Storytelling: …for a full…
  32. Visual Storytelling: …three positives
  33. Moment: The revelation of the fate of August is exactly as impacting, awful, and powerful as it should be
  34. MSQ: Act 2. Once again we start off somewhat lower tier, but with high stakes; a rich noble, an oppressed peasantry, and us smack dab in the middle. The escalation throughout the Act…
  35. MSQ: …deserves its own positive and mention, as things keep escalating from the moment the murder happens onwards. As things continue to spiral out of control we reach a critical point…
  36. Cutscene: …the Act 2 finale. Everything about this sequence is just great, culminating in the most horrifying moment of the game…
  37. Moment: …everything will go back to the way it was before
  38. MSQ: Act 3. The change in perspective, the changing of things, things getting less bad
  39. Cutscene: Christmas Eve. The long shots, the details in the background of how people are reacting to the dinner, great stuff
  40. Moment: Andreas’ return. It was well foreshadowed, but it’s still a great moment, and seeing him and Claus reconcile and lay things out was legit
  41. Cutscene: Andreas’ descent, and return from his own mind
  42. Outro: The final ultimate reveal of Thomas’ motives and involvement, and the reveal of Amalie as the final victim
  43. Character: Andreas. The broken man, broken further by the events of his home and the chapters of the game, as so wonderfully shown by his thought bubbles, dialogue, and interactions
  44. Character: Thomas. I say without hyperbole this might be the most evil character in fiction. There’s layers to him too, and he’s fleshed out quite a bit across the whole work, and at no point do I think he’s too much or too little, but instead he is exactly on brand and in character… and it’s absolutely awful…
  45. Character: …for a full…
  46. Character: …three positives
  47. Character: The Brothers, Fathers, and general abbey cast. They really manage a full gamut of variety of a typical clergy here; corrupt, harsh, considerate, rules-mongering, kindly, helpful, and rule-bending
  48. Character: The Sisters. Just like the Abbey, the Convent is a good spread of different types of people from different walks of life
  49. Character: The Gerter family in particular gets special bonus points for being more well developed than most of the characters in the game, and investing me in their fortunes more than once
  50. Character: Magdalene and Claus, effectively carrying Act 3 on their shoulders, especially with the tragedy that befalls Claus
  51. Character: The supporting cast in general are very well fleshed out. Distinct, varied, and memorable. We also see a lot of different perspectives from a lot of different walks of life…
  52. Character: …earning the townsfolk two positives
  53. Themes: The one right there in the title; the truth under the obfuscation, and all that that implies

Story Negatives:

Gameplay Positives:

  1. Options: Decent accessibility options, including built in TTS!
  2. Choices: The choice of who to dine with is a surprisingly subtle, well done point. It changes options, quests, and gives plenty of additional lore
  3. Choices: Act 1. As should be true in a game like this, our choices are king. They change who we can convince, what information we get, and how time passes…
  4. Choices: …for two positives
  5. Choices: Act 2. Even more so than before, with a much tighter time budget, and much less clear paths forwards…
  6. Choices: …for two positives
  7. Choices: Act 3 doesn’t have as many, with a fairly linear path, but you still determine how characters’ stories go and how the mural ends up
  8. Core Mechanic: Time management. You can do many things, in many orders, but the game (usually) warns you about something that will advance time, and you are always on the clock
  9. Core Mechanic: Limited information. This is a true oddity (usually I’m in favor of MORE info in the player’s hands) but here it works for what is functionally a logic / detective game. You’re always working with limited info, what info you have depends on your choices, and you aren’t given the ability to get more really
  10. Intro: The player can actually rush through this very quickly if they’d like, but if they want they can also really take their time here, and that’s awesome, putting total control of the pacing into the player’s hands. It also establishes the general concepts and mechanics of the game quite nicely
  11. All Roads Lead To Rome: There’s some branching and some pruning, but mostly each act funnels into the same destination… but the path you take is very, very player dependent. Near as I can tell there’s no actual failstate here, which is fascinating and actually works for this structure of gameplay
  12. Replayability: Too many choices and options not to get the second Replayability positive

Gameplay Negatives:

  1. Bug: Movement controls are… wrong. It can’t take ‘held down’ inputs, and doesn’t always acknowledge ‘repeated press’ inputs
  2. Controls: Hard to describe, but there’s a wonkiness and weightiness to it that just plays badly
  3. Saves: Mandatory autosaves and no ability to load separate saves
  4. Seconds In Minutes: Scripts, walking around, a few tidbits here and there definitely add some padding that drags a bit