So, the first game I tackled was Downwell, and this was a recent purchase from... wait. 2015? I've had this on my account for that long? What the fuck is wrong with my memory? Ok, so I know I bought Downwell during a winter sale, because... purchase history, but also because I didn't even know of this game's existence until I checked through the Discovery Queue. That little tool does too good of a job of separating me from my money. It reminded me of Newgrounds favorites, like Toss the Turtle and Goin Up, except the opposite, and I assumed I would start in on it immediately. I also assumed I bought this last December. I need to stop assuming shit.
Downwell is a GameMaker Studio creation heavily inspired by Spelunky, and was the result of Ojiro Fumoto utilizing the game-a-week strategy for effectively practicing development without the worry of overwhelming oneself with unrealistic goals. It's similar to the Four in February challenge, and is highly recommended for amateur developers, musicians, artists, and writers. Typing of which, I really need to get back into daily practicing on my tablet. That thing won't draw MS Paint atrocities on its own, after all.
The concept is easy enough to understand. Your character has weaponized kicks and a body that's immune to fall damage. Some enemies can be stomped, others must be shot, and the convenient bunch die either way. Thanks to a limited color scheme (along with numerous palette swaps to unlock), enemies are visibly distinguished to help streamline the experience... most of the time.
|Welcome to (the palette of) Hell!|
|Collecting gems quickly enough will increase your firepower.|
Downwell's soundtrack is unsettling, especially when you look over the song list. It's certainly not the kind of music one would expect from such an action-oriented experience. Water is found midway into the fall, rather than at the bottom, the shopkeeper is a Jizō (a being commonly associated with the gates of Hell), and your reward for reaching the end would have absolutely no chance of actually being there considering what you just went through. It leaves a curious mind to wonder, doesn't it?
There's really not much more to this game. It's simple, yet challenging fun. After several playthroughs, I do have a few tips to share if you give a shit. If not, skip on down to the next game. I don't care.
As far as upgrades go, my advice is to get Knife and Fork, since you'll want to have as much health as possible for the last fight, Gem Powered and Gem Attractor to provide a near-endless supply of ammunition, and the pair of Popping Gems and Gunpowder Blocks to stop the more troublesome enemies chasing you from above. Drone support helps tremendously near the end of the game, too.
I prefer to use the Arm Spin Style, because shop items become increasingly expensive, despite minor changes in their benefits, and are also randomized. By the time you come across a shop while utilizing this style, you'll more likely have enough gems to actually purchase something.
Learn to use all the weapons, even Burst, simply because it's a waste to ignore the gun module bonuses, but when you're nearing the end, try to hang onto the laser. It tears right through the final boss.
If you manage to ignore all the caves up until you reach the entrance to the final boss, there will be a delicious prize waiting for you.
My next choice had everything to do with music and colors. It also featured an achievement about beating the game with all the visuals, which made me curious. I don't commonly view Pac-Man as a game one actually "beats." It's like Tetris. Even when I maxed out my score on the DS version, I never actually won. It just kept going until I lost.That's how I view a traditional Pac-Man title. So, after seeing that achievement's description, alongside these amazing (and a little blurry) visuals, I chose it as my second game of the month.
Pac-Man Championship Edition DX+ is a whole lot of fun. Rather than merely clearing a maze of its pellets, you must guide Pac through outlined paths with sleeping ghosts that block off routes until you wake them up. What follows is a fast-paced game of Snake offset by sudden slow-motion warnings of collision that do a fair job of throwing the player into a panic. Finding a power pellet while fleeing from one of these Benny Hill rainbows will create an exceptionally rewarding chain reaction, encouraging the player to make far riskier decisions later. Why are you so happy? It was only fifty ghosts in a row. I know you can do a lot better than that!
Separately, I would never recommend purchasing the DLC, since most of it is merely cosmetic. Either pick up the base game at $10, or chip in an additional Lincoln for the whole package at $15. If that's still too rich for you, Humble Bundle will commonly offer it at a much better deal, so keep a look out on it. It's the best variation of Pac-Man I've ever played, and I highly recommend the soundtrack, as well.
Third on the list was provided by a co-worker, who knew me well enough to bundle it with the OST. Thank you Adam. You're as generous as you are sexy.
I chose Bastion after looking at a single screenshot and reading that it was a quick game to finish. That's it. Hey, I got roughly a week to finish each of these, so it's best I don't go diving into something like FF9.
|Bastion is Supergiant Games's first impression, and, man, is it a strong one.|
Bastion plays in a similar fashion to Diablo, especially during moments where swarms of enemies come rushing towards you. Too bad it also mimics a lackluster combat system trying to compensate with a wide variety of button mashing options to choose from.
As you move about, the floor will form under your feet, creating all sorts of glorious scenery throughout the game. This also helps the player to figure out which way to go. If that's not enough, Rucks, a narrator vying for the coveted Tachiki award for outshining the protagonist, will frequently toss out bits of advice on what the player should be doing at certain points in the game. He'll also comment on everything else you do in the game, along with stuff you don't do, and on stuff you'll try doing again. The man talks a lot. It's wonderful.
Bastion tells a great story, though not a particularly deep one, supports its visuals with a soft, hand-painted style, and possesses a relatively high replay value thanks to New Game Plus, a score attack mode, and ten punishing gods willing to change the experience from casual to Kaizo (or anywhere in between) at your leisure. I ran through it twice, and I had planned on a third go to obtain the achievement for the Score Attack Mode, but I didn't really have time to start over at level one with no weapon upgrades. After this, I might go back into it. Of course, I rather give my final game a second chance, since I kinda sorta rushed through it and missed some of the good stuff. Some of that gud shit. Some of that real guuuuuud shit. That guuuuuuuuuuu... moving on.
My final selection was chosen due to my interest in Greek mythology. I mean, I like mythology in general, but I have a particular fondness for the Greek and Roman beliefs. The unique presentation made the decision that much easier to make, as well.
|See that, folks? Alientrap clearly didn't want to deal the same nonsense The Witcher 3 had to suffer through.|
In Metroidvanian fashion, Nickelodeon can freely explore most areas at any time, but is conveniently provided with markers to help guide players wishing to progress, rather than wander around like clueless fucking idiots, which is the norm for similar titles and why I don't particularly care for the subgenre.
|Boss battles are surprisingly entertaining.|
|...or totally confused.|
Unfortunately, Apotheon isn't without its flaws. Among them, the most obnoxious would be controlling Nickiminaj himself. He is a such a fucking pain in the ass to use when you really need to be precise. The game also suffers from a few bugs and will even periodically crash, but, since there's an auto-save feature in place, that's really more of an inconvenience than a game breaker.
If you wish to explore the entirety of the game, make sure not to bother with Zeus a second time. You got his power now, so go show it off to the rest of Mount Olympus that isn't underwater.
|I never came across any large, terrifying sea life in the game,|
but the boats certainly creeped me out.
Of the bunch, I'd have to choose Bastion as my favorite. It should be Apotheon, and that might change if I make the effort to check out the rest it has to offer (there are gods you can skip entirely), but I type of going back to play games all the time. Chances are, I won't bother, and if I don't, I probably won't care, either. My mountain of must-play titles is so tall now, I can't even see the top of it anymore, and I'm still sitting here pondering whether or not I should stare at the ground some more. **Update: I just spent my entire day off posting nonsense on Newgrounds and earning every achievement on this game. The Aphrodite fight is rather comical.**
Anywho, did you manage to complete your Four in February? Did you even bother? If so, did you discover a game you feel is worth recommending? Is anyone actually bothering to read this? *looks around* Sigh, fuck it. I'm going to bed.