Updated Thoughts on Prodigal

I should specify that the “Updated” in the title is due to already having a Prodigal review published on another website. This post will cover all that the linked review did not, which includes content added since the game’s release in late 2020.

Let me also specify that my thoughts / opinions on this title are not influenced by my good standing with the team behind it. My goal is to be as objective as possible, regardless of whether or not I have an NPC modeled after me in-game.

Now, some close to me are already aware that I enjoy Prodigal quite a bit. It was my Game of the Year in 2020 and is currently my fourth-most played game on Steam in terms of total playtime. Discovered by complete chance, the impact it’s had on my life is a rarity that I try not to take for granted. Games that fit your preferences almost effortlessly well do not come along often.

Quite a bit of content has been added since my initial review—which, until this past week, I had never gotten around to playing. Extended story elements, lots of postgame content, and menacingly difficult challenges make up most of what’s now on offer. At this point, Prodigal feels truly complete. Did it carve out a fate worth diving into?

Continue reading “Updated Thoughts on Prodigal”

Thoughts on Super Metroid

In case it was not apparent enough by the five Metroid-related posts since April and the multiple statements of Metroid being my favorite game franchise ever, Metroid is my favorite game franchise ever. Despite this, there always remained a sort of lingering absurdity with this claim. Prior to the other night, I had never finished what many consider the series’ magnum opus: Super Metroid.

Note the “finished” wording in the prior sentence. Prior to recently, I had actually attempted to play through the game via emulator with an off-brand SNES controller. The controls were floaty and occasionally unresponsive, and I could never get the hang of the game’s expectations. Such events soiled the initial impressions I got from it—not being able to defeat Phantoon didn’t help matters, either.

Hot off the heels of Dread, my desire to play through not just Super, but pretty much every Metroid title ever (including the pinball game; would not recommend) has skyrocketed to levels unlike anything felt in my adult life. Thus, on a whim, I booted up the subject of today’s post on the Switch Online SNES library and just went to work. It was here I learned that my first go at the fan-proclaimed masterpiece detracted me from something appropriately beloved.

Continue reading “Thoughts on Super Metroid”

Top 10 Favorite Games After Four Years With KeenGamer

I mentioned last year that my productivity in terms of titles reviewed was fairly low. While I cannot remember the exact number, this past year was pretty low, as well—only twenty games. This would imply that the ten games I cover today will make up a clean half of the games I’ve reviewed between September 30th, 2020 and the same day, 2021. Nevertheless, there’s a solid selection of titles I’ve come across that make up the best games I’ve played in year four of my KeenGamer career.

No personal input from me this time around; life’s been relatively good. Work has been steady and I have no major complaints. If there’s been any reason for the lack of games reviewed, it could just be the increased responsibilities I have now that I work for Keen full-time. That said, I’ve already published a Metroid Dread review since the cutoff and will likely have another review out in the coming days. Off to a good start for next year!

Small and maybe unwarranted note, but I don’t receive review copies for everything I review. Also, since I’ve formally reviewed all games in the following list, I won’t go into substantive detail here.

Continue reading “Top 10 Favorite Games After Four Years With KeenGamer”

Thoughts on AM2R: Another Metroid 2 Remake (v. 1.5)

This could arguably be an “Updated Thoughts” post, given I looked at AM2R already around the time of its release. Though as a technicality, this is version 1.5; back then was version 1.0. It’s different… technically.

Nevertheless, as a quick catch-up, AM2RAnother Metroid 2 Remake—is a fan-made remake of Nintendo’s Metroid II: Return of Samus. It was in development for a billion years and finally released in 2016, then was given a cease and desist notice by Nintendo shortly afterwards. However, as evidenced by its subreddit, development is steadily continuing. Updates to the current package will feature even more content than before and, apparently, will feature a complete graphical overhaul.

It’s been five years since I played this for the first time, and while my impressions were good, I had some reservations. In time, I would come to prefer Nintendo’s official remake in Metroid: Samus Returns. Now, I’m five years older, five years wiser, and five years removed from a fan game that has apparently received some added polish. My Metroid marathon this year wouldn’t be complete without going back to one of the best Metroid fan games ever produced.

Continue reading “Thoughts on AM2R: Another Metroid 2 Remake (v. 1.5)”

Thoughts on Pokémon Black Version 2

Surprisingly enough, I never played this game as a wee lad! It may have been a case of stubborn cynicism upon their announcement—”Why do these games need a sequel? I’m good with the originals.” Ironically, it wasn’t until much later that I would find out that this title and its White Version 2 counterpart are essentially pseudo-sequels. They take place at a later date in the same region, but it’s not all that necessary to play the originals to fully enjoy them.

Despite being wrong, I still never found the motivation to buy play them before being swept up in more recent Pokémon news/games. Now, thanks to a friend of mine, I was provided a physical copy to try out for the first time. Interspersed between my playthrough of Metroid: Samus Returns, I would learn whether Gen 5 is all that a specific subset of fans promise it to be. That, and whether the original games are a better representation of what this generation has to offer.

Continue reading “Thoughts on Pokémon Black Version 2”

Updated Thoughts on Metroid: Samus Returns

Some may see the title of this article and think, “Wait, updated? When did you ever cover it?” For those unaware, I am also a writer for online gaming publication KeenGamer, which houses many, many reviews for games I’ve covered since 2017. The very first one? Metroid: Samus Returns.

Writing it a couple weeks after its initial release, I had not touched it in the years since. Given Dread is coming in the next couple months, I found it dutiful to go back to pretty much any Metroid title I could get ahold of and re-coat myself in the sweet sci-fi aesthetic that I adore so much. Samus Returns was replayed over the course of late June and early July. Now, I have some re-adjusted things to speak about when it comes to the (currently) newest title in the franchise.

Continue reading “Updated Thoughts on Metroid: Samus Returns”

Twitch Streamer Shoutout: An Ode to GameJoyPod

Now we’ve arrived in June, and it’s very, very close to present time. Playing through Metroid Prime 3 ever so slowly, my Metroid fascination was still in high gear—this was even before the Nintendo Direct at E3! I wanted to watch more Metroid Prime, so I went looking for someone to watch to fill that urge. Always how these things start.

One streamer had a very “mechanical” name, complete with retro-esque icon that appealed to my old-man taste. A sort of simplicity that harkened to the very basics of games: having fun and beeps n’ boops. Joining in for the first time, they were pretty far into the game. As a veteran player, however, I immediately went into “guide mode” and watched intently as they tried to figure out the mechanisms present. One stream turned into two, and now it has well exceeded double digits.

Introducing GameJoyPod. (← Link to his Twitch channel.)

Continue reading “Twitch Streamer Shoutout: An Ode to GameJoyPod”

Twitch Streamer Shoutout: An Ode to JellyEllieFishes

Around the time of its release, I was looking forward to seeing if New Pokémon Snap would be worth the very long wait. Roughly a week after release, I was basically finished with the game—completing the main campaign and replaying levels aplenty. That did not diminish the interest in watching the game be played, however. All throughout May, Twitch streamers flooded the category with expected enthusiasm.

Around that same timeframe, I was leisurely browsing the category when a colorful Twitch icon caught my eye. Reminiscent of a cozy, intimate style one would find in an indie title featured in a Wholesome Direct presentation, I was immediately enticed to click. Within moments, what greeted me was an auditory onslaught of sweetness and tranquility, the likes I’ve never heard (outside ASMR).

Introducing JellyEllieFishes. (← Link to her Twitch channel.)

Continue reading “Twitch Streamer Shoutout: An Ode to JellyEllieFishes”

Twitch Streamer Shoutout: An Ode to verydarian

Disclaimer: Hair color is subject to change roughly every couple months. It is currently pink. The image within the cover may change by the time this releases. The Twitch icon has changed three times since April.

For whatever reason, Mario games tend to introduce me to a lot of streamers. In this case, it ended up being Super Mario Galaxy. You just can’t go wrong with any mainline 3D Mario game, y’know? Going through the category at random (another recurring theme), I came across a sea of lovely blue… hair. It caught me off guard—people generally don’t have blue hair. Curious, I clicked.

Something was immediately off. The vibe, the mood; whatever it was, there was an obscure aura about it. Wasn’t bad, only different. An energy subdued, but wittiness in place. Quietly bizarre and just a tad funny, complete with an unreadable host. I was intrigued, so I gave this blue-haired bozo a tentative follow. It’s no longer tentative.

Introducing verydarian. (← Link to her Twitch channel.)

Continue reading “Twitch Streamer Shoutout: An Ode to verydarian”