Metroid : Samus Returns

Metroid_Samus_ReturnsDate Completed: 11/23/2018

I wasn’t a Metroid person when I was younger.  I knew a few people who owned it for the NES but I never had access to it long enough to accomplish much.  Metroid Samus Returns is a re-make of the Gameboy game ‘Metroid II’ which according to one random internet ranking I read is ranked 9 out of 13.  Since getting this game for Christmas last year I had been looking forward to playing it unfortunately I was in the middle of Bravely Second and would be so for many, many months.

I finally got to start the game a few weeks ago and I really enjoyed it.  My youngest son also really enjoyed it and irritatingly insisted on hanging off my shoulder whenever he noticed that I was playing it.  He had borrowed it from me a few month ago and made it about 20% of the way into the game before being distracted by something else so he was very helpful at first.  Afterwards he kept bugging me “Are you done yet?  When can I play it again?” so I was fairly motivated to finish the game so that he’d stop bugging me.

My favorite part of the game was upgrades.  Samus starts pretty tough but by the end of the game has picked up some many upgrades that you feel like a total badass.  It’s really satisfying to run through rooms blasting and destroying where you once had to tread carefully.  I’m pretty sure most of the upgrades weren’t in the original ‘Metroid II’ but they were awesome.

I had a lot of fun with this game and my son had a lot of fun watching.  He is no longer bugging me asking when he can borrow it and is now bugging me asking how to get to the next area.

According to the same random ranking ‘Metroid : Samus Returns’ is ranked 5th out of 13 which is quite an improvement!  Well done!

  • Is it fun: Yes
  • Score: 8/10
  • Length:  ~8 hours
  • System: 3DS
  • Genre:  Action / Adventure

Shovel Knight : Shovel of Hope

Shovel_knight_cover(1)Date Completed : June 16th, 2018

As mentioned much earlier in my blog, I purchased Shovel Knight : Specter of Torment when I originally bought my Nintendo Switch because my copy of Zelda didn’t include launch-day delivery and it was the cheapest game available.  Eventually a deal was offered for a significant discount on Shovel Knight if you owned Specter of Torment so I bought it too.

Shovel Knight is a lot like Specter of Torment except instead of Specter Knight you are the titular Shovel Knight.  Shovel Knight isn’t quite as satisfying to play as Specter Knight was but the game is still a lot of fun.  My kids enjoyed it as well and my boys both tried playing with varying degrees of success.  Shovel Knight hearkens back to a simpler time when games required skill to succeed and my kids were frustrated quickly.

In conclusion I’m very happy with Shovel Knight.  Great concept.  Fun game.  Shovels.

  • Is it fun: Yes
  • Score: 8/10
  • Length:  10 hours
  • System: Nintendo Switch
  • Genre: Action / Platform

Horizon Zero Dawn : The Frozen Wilds

Date Completed: February 10th, 2018

Holy late blogging Batman!  It’s that time of the year again when I realize that I’m almost an entire year behind and that I should play some catch up.  Fortunately this wasn’t a full game, only an expansion so it should be quick.

Horizon Zero Dawn is one of my favorite games ever and my daughter still refers to it as ‘The Mommy Game’ because she decided that the heroine was like her Mommy.  I never owned the game originally having borrowed it from my brother-in-law so when the Game + Expansion combo pack was made available I put it on my Christmas list.  Luckily Santa Delivered!

I had a lot of fun revisiting the world of Horizon and my daughter was very happy to sit on my lap and watch me play (She was only three at the time, I was careful to only let her watch when we were exploring and not the violent parts of the game).

Overall a great expansion to one of the greatest science fiction stories of our time.

Shovel Knight : Specter of Torment

Date Completed : March 6th, 2017

Nintendo Switch launch day happened to be my day off and the local Fred Meyer is often overlooked by console hunters on launch day.  I wanted one really badly but my wife suggested I call and ask if they had any in stock.  The sales guy coyly said they did have a few left in stock and after that I pretty much had to get one.  It turned out that Fred Meyer had a giant pile of about 30 consoles and we had our pick.  I had taken my daughter with me and I let her pick the color.  I got the console home but I hadn’t purchased any games so it was a pretty expensive paper weight.  I poked around the eshop looking for a cheap game but the only cheap title I could find was Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment for about $10.  It turned out to be a great purchase!  Specter Knight has a really satisfying ‘dash slash’ ability that I found particularly enjoyable to use.  I had a lot of fun with this game and I’d consider looking into other Shovel Knight games in the future.

  • Is it fun: Yes
  • Score: 8/10
  • Length:  ~5 hours
  • System: Nintendo Switch
  • Genre: Action / Adventure, Platform


Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze

Date Completed: February 19, 2017

I had this one sitting on the shelf for a long, long time.  I really enjoyed ‘Donkey Kong Country Returns’ and I was still hoping the Wii U would catch on when this game was announced so I was excited.  It too me a long time to get around to it and I ended up disappointed.  The level design didn’t really click with me like the previous game.  It’s not a bad game but it’s not great.  I was ready to move on when I was done.

  • Is it fun: Yes
  • Score: 6/10
  • Length:  ~12 hours
  • System: Nintendo Wii U
  • Genre: Action / Platform

Never Alone

Date Completed: February 7th, 2017

According to my current count I’m about 11 games and 10 months behind in my blogging. After some self reflection I’ve decided that the biggest issue preventing me from being more timely with producing these little blurbs is that I feel like I should try and do a good job.  Unfortunately this has resulted in dedicating additional time that I do not have hunting down screenshots, collecting my thoughts, reading and re-reading what I’ve written to see if it makes sense and eventually giving up and publishing when I realize I have no talent for writing. Well, no more of that! I’m going to change my format up to be shorter and try and get these things out within a few days of finishing the game.

Never Alone was on my radar before it was made one of the free games of the month on PlayStation Plus. I would have paid actual money for the game but once again Sony proved to me that only chumps pay for games anymore. Wait long enough and sooner or later you’ll get every game for free.

I installed the game on my PS4 but I didn’t get around to playing it until February this year when the city was covered in ice and snow and the entire family got sick. My wife had both bronchitis and pneumonia at the same time and all three kids cycled through various infections and treatments of antibiotics. I stayed home from work to help out but between feedings everyone mostly slept so I had some time to sneak away and get some gaming done.

Never Alone is based on Native Alaskan folklore and follows a young girl and her Arctic fox companion as they attempt to save her village. The game involves you solving simple ‘puzzles’ by switching between controlling the girl and the fox. The ‘puzzles’ are easily solved and don’t require any serious thought. There is really very little about the gameplay that is particularly interesting. Sometimes you run from a Polar Bear, sometimes you jump over a pit. The in-game physics are frustrating and the game isn’t particularly fun to play.

Surprisingly that doesn’t ruin the game. The characters in the game have a certain charm to them that transcends crappy game play. The story was interesting enough to keep me playing and the game includes ‘Cultural Insights’ that discuss the Native Alaskan people (and that you get trophies for watching).  The game is short enough that I didn’t get too frustrated with the game play.  Overall I’d say the experience was worth it!

  • Is it fun: Yes
  • Score: 5/10
  • Length:  ~3 hours
  • System: Playstation 4
  • Genre: Action / Adventure, Platform