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persona 5

It took me quite a while to get around to playing Persona 5: I don’t normally play games close to their release date, but given how much I liked Persona 4 and Tokyo Mirage Sessions, I would have expected Persona 5 to be an exception. But some of the stuff I’d heard about the game […]

baba is you

I wasn’t expecting to bounce off of Baba Is You nearly as quickly as I did: I think of myself as somebody who likes puzzle games and who is good at them, but neither of those proved to be particularly the case with Baba Is You? Maybe I like puzzle games with consistent rules? Maybe […]

return of the obra dinn

(If you’re super spoiler-sensitive, probably don’t read this, just play the game? Though if you’re only mildly spoiler sensitive, it should be fine, I’m just going to talk a bit about the approach to problem solving in a couple of places.)   Liesl and I played Return of the Obra Dinn together. It’s a good […]

ps4 remote play

A couple of months ago, Sony released an app for the iPad that lets you play games on your PS4. And I’ve been playing Persona 5 recently; it’s a long game that I enjoy but need to keep chipping away at, so playing that while Liesl was watching something else on the TV seemed like […]

hexcells

Hexcells is a puzzle game take on Minesweeper. Unfortunately, it’s been decades since I’ve played Minesweeper, so I can’t really comment authoritatively on that game, but it has you gradually unveiling more information about the game. This distinguishes Minesweeper from Nikoli/Conceptis-style paper puzzles where all the information is there at the start, you just have […]

gris

I have never seen a video game with an art style like Gris: I’m used to games striving for realistic approaches, and while I still think cel-shading is underused in games, there are a bunch of examples of that. But Gris is doing something else entirely, with some sort of of pen plus watercolor style. […]

hollow knight

Playing Hollow Knight reminded me of how it feels to play a horror game. I like to be in control, and I’m loss averse as a player; so part of me doesn’t enjoy walking through a new area, getting more and more nervous about what might happen, having made more progress since I last saved […]

brothers: a tale of two sons

From the double emphasis in its title, you would guess that Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a game about masculinity. And that suspicion would deepen as you watch the initial cut scene, in which the mother of the game is immediately fridged; we then see the titular brothers morning at her grave, after […]

card quest

Card Quest is, in many ways, right up my alley. It’s a roguelike with a card-based mechanic; I like card games, I wish I liked roguelikes more than I do, but I like the way Card Quest approaches the genre. The card mechanics put me in a state of mind where I’m expecting to lose […]

alphabear 2

So: Alphabear 2. It had been a while since the original Alphabear, I enjoyed it, so I might as well revisit it? And the gameplay mechanics are the same, and are pleasant. The only difference I noticed there was my reaction to them: I was hoping I could play Alphabear 2 while wandering around and […]

forza horizon 4

I used to play driving games a fair amount: they were never my genre of choice or anything, but I found them soothing. I’d gotten out of the habit over the last few years, but I’d been hearing good things about various Forza games for a few years; so when I finished playing through Shenmue, […]

ipad game roundup

Some iPad games I played recently: Paperbark A lovely art style, and lovely sound design. And I like the idea of having a world that appears as you walk around in it. The gameplay beyond that concept didn’t grab me, though. (Or, for that matter, the learning aspects: it’s an openly didactic game.) And, similarly, […]

limbo and inside

I really was not expecting my initial reaction to Limbo to be how soothing it is. But there’s something about the game (its color palette, or rather palette of greys, in particular) that made it immediately feel calming to me, like walking through a quiet evening. Limbo is not actually like walking through a quiet […]

hellblade: senua’s sacrifice

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice got notice for its portrayal of psychosis: Senua, the protagonist, hears voices, and sees things that other people don’t. The developers apparently took this seriously, consulting with mental health professionals and integrating the symptoms and themes into the game. This sort of treatment is, honestly, something that I’m temperamentally not particularly well […]

kittens game

I started playing Kittens Game because of a VGHVI symposium on incremental games. I’d played Paperclips a few times, but Kittens Game turned out to have quite a different rhythm. To begin with, it’s slower paced, in fact quite a bit slower paced. Fairly soon I got to a situation where I could productively click […]

mario + rabbids kingdom battle

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is an extremely well done game that I feel like I should have enjoyed more than I did, even though I enjoyed it quite a bit. Or maybe “should have” isn’t the right phrase, but at least the question of why I didn’t enjoy it more feels worth interrogating? It’s […]

flipflop solitaire

Some forms of solitaire are always straightforwardly winnable: they give you something soothing to do with your hands that keeps your brain lightly engaged. Most forms of solitaire aren’t: you have choices to make, but ultimately you’ll only win a fraction of the time, and while those forms give you choices that you can make […]

night in the woods

It took me a little while to get into Night in the Woods. I liked the art style; I liked that it was telling a relationship-based, community-grounded story; I liked that it was a little quirky. But I wasn’t entirely sure about the basic mechanics: I kept on hitting the A button when next to […]

animal crossing: pocket camp

I played the first Animal Crossing game literally every day for a year straight. Only about 15 minutes a day — I’d pick some weeds, dig for gyroids, check what was on sale, talk to the animals, maybe leave a message for Miranda or Liesl in their mailboxes, occasionally redecorate my house a bit — […]

splatoon 2

I haven’t played shooters much since grad school, and these days I almost don’t play them at all. Part of that is that shooting isn’t a mechanic I’m particularly drawn to; part of that is that shooter games have moved more in a multiplayer direction, which means dealing with dramatic skill ranges, assholes, and no […]