What I've Been Playing
Dragon Quest XIs - It's taken just over 70 hours but my time with DQXI has came to an end and what an incredible journey, seriously this game is special. However I should state 70 hours is only the tip of the iceberg as there is so much content left in this game I could explore if I was so inclined but I'm not. I've hardly touched the side quests as I just didn't enjoy them as they were very fetch questy or jumping through hoops which I've never enjoyed, I've also not touched the 2D mode or dabbled too much with the forging. These 70 hours have seen me beat acts one to three so I've beat the normal boss and the super boss. Personally I absolutely adored act 2 but act 3 left me somewhat underwhelmed, I'm glad I played through it but I think it hindered the game more than it added. This topic has been a source of heated debate between @Nucleus and myself and it's been a debate I've loved actually as I just want to talk about the game, unfortunately however act 3 is impossible to discuss without heading into massive spoiler territory. All I will say is act 3 has a few awesome moments sprinkled in with some padding and personally I think it takes away from the act 2 story somewhat. However I still really enjoyed the segment and I found myself glued to the title until the end, it really is a complete package. I've gushed about this game for three months now so there is no point repeating myself and I can't add anything new due to spoilers, so I'll end by once again saying this is a game of the generation contender and one of the best JRPG's ever made. If I played this last year it would have been my 2019 GOTY.
Poi! Explorers Edition - This game was such a welcome surprise to me! I picked it up knowing it was basically a clone of the old school collectathron 3D platformer with Mario 64 and Sunshine being the obvious inspiration, yet I found the game extremely enjoyable, in fact I 100%'d it! Good 3D platformers are a rare breed now a days and being transported back to a place in time I'm very nostalgic about really helped this game push on another level, if you told me this was a Mario 64 ROM hack without the Nintendo polish I'd believe you, it even has the Mario triple jump! The way the world is right now this jump back in time was very much needed! Anyway Poi! is set up basically identically to the previously mentioned Mario games where you have a few worlds which you repeatedly return to to gather medallions which is this games version of Stars/Moons/Shines (it also has collectable fossils, locations and a photo quest). Earning medallions consists of many things like beating the levels boss, collecting 100 coins, collecting keys and various mission based objectives and while they offer nothing new I still loved the game play loop. Like most 3D platformers the camera can be iffy and landing jumps can be awkward at times but I quickly adapted to it's limitations, especially as the game is pretty forgiving thanks to the variety in movement and limited repercussions for failure/death, it's actually a pretty chill and easy game in general. The only area of the game I felt was lacking was the boss battles and the combat in general but it never really took anything away from the experience. Presentation wise the developers chose a cell shaded look which is very appealing on the eyes and suits the world they've built while I also loved the soundtrack, the sense of adventure in the music was almost infectious. Poi! however is a short game as I 100%'d the normal play through (you unlock a new game +) at roughly the 10 hour mark but I actually loved it's length as it didn't out stay it's welcome and just scratched that itch I didn't know I had. I picked up a physical copy for £10 and for the right person this is an awesome hidden gem, it's very old school in design and it instantly sent me back to the N64 and Gamecube platformers of old and I loved it! One to look into I think @Rob
Pokemon Shield/Home - Thanks to continuous trading on the GTS I finally have a complete coloured collection of the Florges line, I tell you now trying to get the white versions of the middle and final stage was a ballache! I've also grabbed the three versions of Wormadam and Burmy for the variety collection. It's pretty much complete minus all the Vivillon forms now which is nice. I also managed to wonder trade a shiny Rowlett and Unown! Likely hacked but they're dudey!
Disney Classics Collection - I'll talk about the games individually but as for the collection it's a neat little package tbh. Obviously it comes with Aladdin and Lion King but it comes with various versions of each, including the handheld consoles versions. The Lion King has the Nintendo and Sega versions as well as the Gameboy and Gameboy Colour version while Aladdin only has the Genesis version console wise (Snes version is a completely different game made by Capcom and not Virgin), however it includes various versions of this game including a final cut which is a more polished and edited version. The package also includes DVD like special features with behind the scenes interviews, development information and promo art, for example they made Aladdin in around 90 days, hence the edited final cut. This collection is a really cool piece of history and as a massive Lion King fan I'm delighted to own it, however it is expensive for the amount of content available as both games are fairly short if you use the accessibility features like the rewind button (6 odd hours for play through of each and watching features). I'll get my money's worth just to have Lion King on an accessible system as I know I'll return to it for years to come but I think this is a collection purely for those that love the included games.
The Lion King - I've spoken about The Lion King at length numerous times as it's one of my favourite childhood games, it's up there with Super Mario World and GoldenEye for me as a top tier nostalgic title. Admittedly unlike the other two games I've mentioned Lion King isn't actually that good as it's cheap with a stupid difficulty curve but I love it regardless, I do absolutely adore this game. However I've never actually beaten it legitly as it's just so hard, although I have finished my first play through of this game on this collection thanks to it's rewind feature. I've "beaten" the game before using the level selector but as for a "straight" play through this is my first time. Obviously I fully acknowledge that I used cheats to achieve this but now I've got the game on an easily accessible system and not just the original cart on the SNES I hope to one day finally achieve a completed non-cheating run. The game consists of 10 levels following the plot of the original film and I can consistently get to the 8th level which is when everything turns to shit for me, I hate that larva level with a passion lol. Most of my rewinding occurred in that level as it's when the cheapness really steps up a gear, everyone usually mentions the second level with the monkeys and the annoying double jumps but I can handle them decently well. The developers of the games were ordered to make the game difficult because it was short to insure people wouldn't just rent it and beat it, so it was made stupidly difficult to push sales! Anyway I remember getting to the ninth level a few times as a kid but by then I was usually low on lives, as a kid I know I never got to the Scar fight any way, it was in my older years when I learnt about the level select cheat code where I finally faced off against Scar.
Aladdin - I was super excited to play Aladdin as I've always heard good things and thankfully it is easier than The Lion King with a more balanced curve. It is still challenging though, especially towards the end but with a more balanced curve and with multiple ways to increase your life count it's a fairer challenge than Lion King. However I did abuse the rewind feature as why not, I was playing Aladdin to experience it for the first time and not to beat it. While Lion King is a straight platformer with the aim of going from A to Z Aladdin changes this up slightly with a few more exploration based levels included where you have to collect certain items to progress. I will say however the animations and graphics of both games are absolutely fantastic and hold up so well, it really is a massive accomplishment and watching the special features really showcases the efforts the teams went to to bring these games to life. I enjoyed playing Aladdin but these are games from their times, they both hold up superbly imo but they have traits of the times they were made like frustrating difficulty spikes and blind jumps but all in all they're fun titles.
Game Of The Year
First Time Played This Year
1. Dragon Quest XIs
2. Steamworld Quest Hand of Gilgamech
3. Poi! Explorers Edition
Recent Pick Ups
I said I'd try not to buy any games this month and I technically succeeded in that aim....Kind of. It depends how you see the purchases of the following three titles 😂.
Tetris 99 Physical - Switch - £19 - I made no secret of my surprise love in with Tetris 99 last year as it featured in my games of the year list, however I've now picked up a physical copy of the free to play title* (*with an online subscription). Why you might ask? Well the simple answer is my Nintendo Online subscription ran out this month and buying a new one is £18, however Tetris 99 physical is available for £19 and it comes with a 12 month subscription code, that's not all however as it also includes the £9 Tetris 99 DLC on the cart which includes offline modes and local multiplayer. I've intended to buy this package when my subscription ran out since it was announced as it's a cracking deal and now was the time, the added benefit is I'll now have access to Tetris 99 for life as the included offline features means it'll be playable long after the online servers are closed. Admittedly I've picked this up more for the online code but to add a cartridge to my collection for £1 is a no brainer.
Remember that $10 I won ages ago which I dragged out to buy a few Eshop titles? Well those purchases left me with $0.03 cent in my US account I thought I'd never use, however when browsing Twitter I saw chat of two 1 cent games so I jumped online and bought both, which got me 2 cents in gold coins back so they essentially cost me nothing 😂. This $10 will never die!
Conduct Together - Switch - $0.01 - A train conductor puzzle game by the looks of it, I dunno it looks odd but it's £19 on the UK Eshop so for 1 cent we'll see.
Revenge Of The Bird King - Switch - $0.01 - Another retro style platformer which seems inspired by the second Zelda. It looks okay but I can't say it's one I'm chomping at the bit to try out.
I may have already been naughty in April with two purchases......Yes it's 8am on the 1st of April 😂.