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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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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.)

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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.)

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Twitch Streamer Shoutout: An Ode to MrSkysenGames

Streaming!

An entity of unknown origins. A species that fluctuates forms to its will.

In early April, I had a nostalgic hankering for Animal Crossing—the OG title, not New Horizons. Searching the category on Twitch, I saw an unusual symbol: a striking “S” with a jagged exterior. Intrigued, I clicked and was met with another striking image: a cute little white dog in an Eastern-style bowl. From this dog came a voice; a booming, powerful voice unlike those I’ve heard before.

It fished. It ran around. It hit things with reckless abandon. By the end, it was only a taste, yet the alluring presence of this mythical being ended up pulling my hand towards the follow button. It didn’t even do anything; the player played and the viewer viewed. As it should be.

Introducing MrSkysenGames. (← Link to their Twitch channel.)

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Twitch Streamer Shoutout: An Ode to PumpkinWolfPlays

Fun fact: Every streamer I have written about so far this month has one thing in common—I followed them after one stream. This is not always the case, however, as occasionally I will hesitate to assure that commitment to people, for whatever reason. Maybe something about them seemed off, maybe I wish to attend additional streams to get a better understanding of what they can provide. Occasionally, I can be quite picky.

As history has shown me to be prone to, for those right on the cusp of a follow, I tend to keep tabs on them. Every day or every other day, I’ll search their names in the search bar to see if they’re live, or get an indication of when they may be live. A few have since fizzled out, with their streaming habits either random or inconvenient to my schedule. The streamer of today’s post ended up not just a beneficial return-to opportunity, but someone greatly vital to my Twitch experience.

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

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Twitch Streamer Shoutout: An Ode to Sammichann

2021 marked the beginning of a year that would (hopefully) see the end of the almighty COVID-19 pandemic. For me, it was just another number passed. Nevertheless, January flew by with a few new faces here and there, though no one so phenomenal that I felt the dire need to shout them out for this occasion (with all due respect to them). February ended up picking up the prior month’s slack.

A day before Valentine’s Day, I was on the cusp of a serious Metroid Prime binge. Searching the category on Twitch, I noticed someone I thought I had seen before. A one-time stream I joined weeks prior due to seeing someone cosplaying as Samus Aran in the thumbnail. Without hesitation, I clicked on the link, assuming I would be greeted with the same voice I had heard prior. I didn’t, but that ended up being all right. That single accidental click began a bond I cherish to this day.

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

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