Skully finally meets Terry's sister - Wanda, who is rather upset and forces us to run from a tidal wave. That level was a pain since I was not used to being rushed. After escaping Skully discovered a new form which could run (giving him extra momentum for long jumps) and move platforms around with telekinesis.
Started playing Skully - a 3D platformer where you play as a skull rolling around in the environment collecting flowers and avoiding the water (since the soil god is what gave you life). Later on you unlock a bigger form necessary to knock down walls and defeat enemies. The controls of Skully are similar to Rock of Ages where you gain momentum as you roll faster, but sometimes they are difficult to manage since the game requires precise jumps and nearly any contact with the water is a death sentence.
Decided to give All-Star Fruit Racing a try. It's a colourful kart racer themed around fruits and has all the features you'd expect - drift boost, weapons and map boosts and shortcuts. It controls well enough and each character has a specific weapon, but the weapon mixing system can be a bit confusing at first. I did pretty well and I didn't notice and rubber-banding issues so common for these games. I can definitely recommend it to people looking for a decent kart racer.
Upon completing a couple of more levels in the castle, which seemed easier than previous ones, I got to face the evil queen DeRezzia and saved the princess. Then we got the usual happy ending (with some quips) and a light sequel bait.
Overall the game is alright, but nothing special. The form switching mechanic is all it has going for it and the attempts at humour become somewhat cringey towards the end. The levels are well designed and finding the villagers could be challenge if you are not using the locator item, but you don't get all that much from rescuing them aside from some of them appearing in the village with a line of dialogue. The controls are tight and the checkpoints are enough so that you don't lose too much progress upon dying (which will happen from time to time if you don't bounce off correctly). I can recommend it to fans of 2D platformers when the price is right for them.
Got the Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection and aside from a little bit of Mario 64 I haven't played any of these games. Decided to start with Mario Galaxy since it was so highly regarded. The game starts per usual of Bowser kidnapping Peach, but this time around he takes her into space and Mario has to collect stars to power up a spaceship to pursue them. Rosalina is a new princess guiding you in which galaxies your quest should continue and she seems pretty nice. It took me some time to get used to the gameplay since rather than a flat 3D environment most of the time you are on a sphere, which makes precision jumps a bit tricky. I guess this is why they gave Mario a spin attack an a 3-hit life bar to compensate.
Started playing Adventures of Pip (I feel there's a "The" missing in the title) - a quirky 2D platformer, where you can switch your character's abilities depending on how many bits you have starting from a single pixel, a more agile 8-bit form and a heavier sword wielding 16-bit hero. The story seems pretty basic with an evil witch trying to downgrade the entire population of the world using a princesses' powers. The levels are well designed and the controls are tight even if they take a bit of getting used to.
Decided to go back and do some exploration and to check out what the portals in the Library do. One of them was a gate to the Tower of Misery, which was a series of combat challenges finishing with a battle with Harina - the shopkeeper at the Library. She likes her bullet hell attacks and does significant damage much like all the other bosses. Unfortunately you don't get anything special for defeating her.
Time for the final showdown with the witch behind it all - Princess Poeme. She deals crazy damage and requires careful utilisation of all your available incenses. Upon defeating her you get a choice to let her sister finish her or not. Despite the revelation that the Church did it's own share of bad things, these witches genocided entire villages and cursed multiple people into monstrous forms, so I decided that some divine retribution is in order for the person behind it all. Fran and Semilla get ascended into sainthood and you get the option of a new game plus and easier exploration with fast travel to different areas.
Overall I really enjoyed the game. The combat is responsive and there's a good variety of spells to use. That being said some of the available items for purchase are not as good as others. For example the ability to launch a projectile with your melee attack costs 7 coins (out of 40 in the whole game) and it only does around 15 damage with a limited range or a 5% damage reduction when you die in 3-4 hits regardless. I think this would've been better if there were 3 passive slots, but that's nitpicking. The story is somewhat basic and a bit ambiguous, but I'm pretty sure the game wanted you to side with the witches even a little bit. The Metroidvania elements are light, but there're plenty of opportunities to explore to find more about the world via archives or coins needed for upgrades. The levelling system doesn't change much, but eventually you do get to breeze through most low level enemies thanks to heighten damage. I would definitely recommend it to fans of 2D action games.
While exploring the castle I unlocked a new ability - an air dash, which much like the double jump serves also as an attack. I also learned that the Archwitch' true name is Minoria, which is also the name of the forest the witch princess is trying to summon since it contains Minoria's essence.
With some exploration I found quite a lot of coins and managed to buy a lot of useful passive incenses. When I reached the castle the levels became larger and more complex than what was seen so far. I also found the sword Persephone (apparently belonging to the witch Satariel), which has a fantastic range. I also figured out that aside from different animations some weapons have a different charge move, which is pretty much a screen clearing attack, so it might be useful to switch to those in a midst of a heated battle.
After finally reaching an defeating the next witch Olivier betrays the nuns and poisons them. He was working for a thief named Frikka who kills him in the end, so he got what he frikken deserved (sorry). In the dungeons I learned the upward slash ability serving as a double jump useful for exploration. The Princess also went missing and I suspect she might have mutated into a full witch.
After an Ash Aragami attacks the transport, Claire's mysterious cargo turns out to be an Aragami girl with hidden powers. Phym as she's later known reminds me a lot of Shio from the first game (and I suspect they might be related), but unlike the latter I don't dislike her because she's an anime trope. The way Phym follows you around thinking you are her father is pretty adorable.
Upon encountering another witch things get a bit more blurry, since she's represented as a more sympathetic character and unsurprisingly the church have done their own fair share of purging. On the way to the next witch I discovered an ex-nun turned into a slug, who befriends you and offers new items for purchase.
Decided to try the only character available for Tournament mode - Azell, who is an archer created specifically for this game. After completing each level you can unlock a new colour and upon beating all 5 you get an artwork (which isn't viewable anywhere else since there's no gallery). After completing this a new character's tournament mode is unlocked. Why aren't they all available at the start is mind boggling. You may want to unlock a specific skin for your favourite character, but this is currently not possible unless you move through tons others that you may or may not like. Not sure who came up with that design decision, but it seems like padding to make the game seem to have more content. At least the price is cheap, but as it stands it's hard to recommend this game unless you can play it locally with friends.
Started playing Bounty Battle - a Smash Bros-like brawler with indie game characters. While the cast is great there are many issues with this title. I couldn't access tournament mode with Gully from Battle Chasers, so I opted for the challenge mode, which is apparently facing every character in the game, where your handicap grows as you progress and you can't summon your partner for some reason. The battles get quite brutal since your opponents can kill you in 4-5 hits which is where I started to notice balance issues and lack of hit impact. Plus they went a bit overboard with the blurriness effects, which makes interesting environments look dark and dull. Worst of all you don't get anything for completing the Challenge mode, not even an indication that you've done so. The entire game seems to lack content and polish.
Started playing Minoria - a 2D action game and a spiritual successor to the Momodora series (you even get some of the older weapons as a bonus like a leaf). You play as Semilla - a combat nun, who along with her companion sister Fran are on a mission to save the princess and combat the witches corrupting the land. The art and character designs are fantastic. The combat is tight and responsive and I especially enjoy how the parry is executed, so you don't just button mash.
After exploring the main city for a bit I received my Tamer badge and my first official quest to help the very rude Videll, who needs protection while exploring a mine. I still can't get over how many douchebags live in this world and the cat's 4th wall jokes are beginning to get annoying. Eventually our hero was cornered by Atlanta - a tamer with a really powerful Tyrant. She destroyed me since my party was really under-levelled to face that monstrosity, so I'll have to develop them a bit before trying again.
After some more stealth sections Kit meets Jules Verne, who has turned some of his works into reality and kind of looks like Doc Ock here. To my surprise there was a single puzzle ahead to reach the Node and you get to choose the ending by simply moving towards a group of people you've met so far. It felt incredibly jarring and all the endings revolve around Kit's life with her family and there's an incredibly vague one. Many of the questions are not answered (like how did she forget that her father was dead for 10 years) and what does Edison plan to do with the Node (judging by the "bad" ending - improve life for everybody).
Overall the game started strong with some nice puzzles, but once it evolved into a stealth game everything went downhill. I was interested in it for quite some time, but the unreasonably high price prevented me from getting it and given that it's only about 5 hours I feel even more disappointed. The story has an interesting premise, but it poses many questions that it simply doesn't answer - for example - how is the cat connected to the Node. The platforming controls with Hodge are a bit wonky, but I adapted quickly. Kit's movement speed is a bit slow and it feels like this was done for padding the play time. There's little replayability value aside from unlocking character profiles and level descriptions, most of which are pretty easy to find. I cannot recommend this game unless it's really cheap.
Some more historical figures show up like Nikola Tesla and Claude Debussy. Also unsurprisingly Thomas Edison looks to be the villain of the story. There were some platforming sections with Hodge and then some stealth gameplay was required, which mixed things up a bit.
Started playing Another Sight - an interesting puzzle game about a girl named Kit, who becomes partially blind and needs the help of a cat to get around. The game starts in the London underground, but becomes more fantastical as she goes through a portal. She seems to be related to Thomas Edison and there are other historical figures popping up like the impressionist artist Monet, making the level he appears in based around his style. The puzzle difficulty is progressing nicely and so far there's a good variety.
Started playing Nexomon Extinction. It's been a while since a played a monster hunting RPG like this, but so far my initial impressions are positive. I really like the art and I'm getting used to the battle system. Only being able to carry 6 creatures at a time seems like an arbitrary limit, but I guess it's better for game balance. The writing is interesting - there seems to be a deep dark story and characters have mysterious time-stopping powers, but this is somewhat in contrast with rather often 4th wall breaks.
After a frustrating stealth section (and a rather long one at that) Raji eventually got the chakram - a projectile weapon, that's rather overpowered and deals massive damage. Then she is reunited with her brother and had to face the evil mystic Mahabalasura. Upon defeating him in a awesome boss battle, things go south. His clones were a distraction and he accomplishes his goal of opening the gate to the Devas, essentially giving you a bad ending.
After a promising start the game quickly went downhill. The visuals and audio are decent. The combat had so much potential, but each new weapon you acquire is the best one, so there's little point in mixing them up unless you need the bow to reach a far away enemy. The multiple elemental powers are a nice idea, but they are completely interchangeable. There could be many fun puzzles somehow using those, but the game never goes beyond the complete the picture/statue ones. The story has an interesting premise, but it's all over the place. You don't really get to learn much about Raji and Golu even if some things are implied. I like learning about different Hindu myths, but just talking about them and not incorporating them in the game somehow makes them feel out of place. Then there's the 5 hours length of the game, which also contributes to the feeling of wasted potential. This is doubly a problem with the bad ending you get at the end, unless they are sequel baiting, which is an even bigger slap in the face.I can't recommend this game. Avoid it and wait for a deep sale.