Tag Archives: Metroidvania

short;Play: A Valley Without Wind

One of the things that has always been good about the indie sphere has been its many developers’ willingness to experiment.

One company that has always been at the forefront of experimental gameplay is Arcen Games, who are very fond of blending disparate genres together to create something wonderful — and of throwing a healthy dose of procedural generation into the mix, too.

A Valley Without Wind was my first encounter with them… and it’s a game I’ve loved since I first came across it back in 2012. Take a look at the video below to see how it plays — and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Delving Into Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest – #3

I finished Simon’s Quest! Yes, indeed, even after my podcasting buddy and good friend Chris Caskie suggested that I wouldn’t be able to stick it out to the end… I did!

It wasn’t even entirely down to stubbornness or a desire to prove him wrong. I actually enjoyed the whole experience. Well, all right, most of the experience. I didn’t love the bits where progression was dependent on doing something arbitrary in an equally arbitrary location, and the three bosses in the game were all complete garbage, being both ridiculously easy and mechanically uninteresting… but aside from that, I had a great time.

Let’s review what I’ve learned from my experiences, then.

Continue reading Delving Into Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest – #3

The MoeGamer Podcast: Episode 17 – Death to Metroidvania!

Hello! Welcome back to The MoeGamer Podcast, featuring my deliciously fruity vocal tones along with those of my good friend Chris Caskie of MrGilderPixels.

The MoeGamer Podcast is available in several places. You can subscribe to my channel on YouTube to stay up to date with both the video versions of the podcast and my weekly videos; you can follow on Soundcloud for the audio-only version of the podcast; you can subscribe via RSS to get the audio-only version of the podcast in your favourite podcast app; or you can subscribe via iTunes. Please do at least one of these if you can; it really helps us out!

Or you can hit the jump to watch or listen to today’s episode right here on MoeGamer.

Continue reading The MoeGamer Podcast: Episode 17 – Death to Metroidvania!

The MoeGamer Awards 2018: Most Satisfying Sequel

The MoeGamer Awards are a series of “alternative” awards that I’ve devised in collaboration with the community as an excuse to celebrate the games, experiences and fanbases that have left a particular impression on me in 2018. Find out more and leave a suggestion here!

This award was suggested by Riobravo79.

While it’s nice to get brand-new, all-original games when we can, sometimes it’s a pleasure to see an old friend again… perhaps in a slightly different form.

The sequel has been part of video game culture pretty much since the beginning, and the fine art of recycling, refining and/or reimagining is way more prevalent in gaming than in pretty much any other creative medium. Developers have experimented with a lot of different ways of putting together follow-ups for well-received titles over the years… but what makes for the most satisfying successors?

Do you provide more of the same with minor refinements? Do you provide some sort of obvious “upgrade” while remaining true to the original game’s format? Or do you completely reinvent the formula, potentially bringing new players on board but also possibly alienating your original fanbase?

And the winner is…

Continue reading The MoeGamer Awards 2018: Most Satisfying Sequel

Xenon Valkyrie+: 16-Bit Procedural Platforming

You might think the “roguelike” subgenre is oversaturated (it is). You might think the term “roguelike” is widely misused (it is). But that’s not to say there aren’t still good examples of games with roguelike elements being released.

One such example is Xenon Valkyrie+, a game originally developed by Spanish coder Daniel Fernandez Chavez (aka “Diabolical Mind”) and enhanced for its PlayStation 4 and Vita release by solo French developer Fabrice Breton of Cowcat Games. If that pairing sounds familiar, you may recall we looked at their previous collaboration Riddled Corpses EX a while back.

Riddled Corpses EX impressed me a great deal, so when Limited Run Games offered a physical release of Xenon Valkyrie+ a few months ago, I thought I’d jump on it and see what else this dream team could come up with.

Continue reading Xenon Valkyrie+: 16-Bit Procedural Platforming

Shantae: 1/2 Genie Hero – Beyond the Pixel

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When I was growing up with computers and consoles in the early days of gaming, my dream of “what graphics will be like in the future” was not one of photorealism.

Okay, I’ll admit, attempts at photorealism — particularly in games that tackled this challenge early on, such as flight simulators — impressed me a great deal. But what I really, really wanted more than anything was that elusive thing: a game that truly looked like a cartoon; a true interactive animated movie.

Today, I have that. And it’s wonderful.

Continue reading Shantae: 1/2 Genie Hero – Beyond the Pixel

Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse: What a Lovely Day to Have a Curse

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There’s something really satisfying about the title “Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse”. It sounds like the sort of thing I’d have had on my bookshelf as a kid — part of a series I’d have almost certainly wanted to collect an entire set of. Remember books? They were pretty all right.

Anyway, Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse is the third installment in the Shantae series, marking a few fundamental shake-ups to the game structure we’ve come to expect by this point, an interesting new narrative, absolutely beautiful pixel art and some of Jake Kaufman’s finest soundtrack work.

Oh, and it’s also one of the slickest, most satisfying titles in the series in terms of gameplay, too. If you only play one Shantae game, play this one… although I hope I’ve made it abundantly clear by now that you should probably actually play all of them. In order. One after the other. As soon as possible.

Continue reading Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse: What a Lovely Day to Have a Curse

Shantae: Risky’s Revenge – Jumping Generations

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An interesting aspect of the Shantae series is how its presentation and execution has evolved over time.

While the first game, being released in the twilight years of the 8-bit Game Boy Color, represented the diminutive handheld being pushed to its absolute limits, the two subsequent installments in particular made a specific effort to be “modern retro” titles — games that emulated experiences from systems of the past while providing modern-day conveniences.

Risky’s Revenge, which we’re concerned with today, very much has its sights set on the 16-bit era. And it explores this concept with a clear knowledge and understanding of not only the classic 16-bit consoles, but also the earlier 16-bit home computers.

Continue reading Shantae: Risky’s Revenge – Jumping Generations

Shantae: You Stay

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The Shantae series as a whole is a wonderful symbol of endurance, and of holding on to the things you believe in.

I’m not talking about the narratives of the games themselves — though for sure this theme certainly makes an appearance numerous times throughout Shantae’s career to date — but rather the fact that series creator Matt Bozon and the team at WayForward have always believed in the quality of these games, even during difficult times.

It’s gratifying to see that, at the time of writing, the Shantae series as a whole is finally coming to see some mainstream acceptance and appreciation with its latest installment 1/2 Genie Hero. But this doesn’t mean the earlier games aren’t worth checking out. Quite the opposite, in fact… so let’s go right back to the beginning.

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Blaster Master Zero: Retro, Reimagined

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Blaster Master Zero for Nintendo Switch and 3DS is an interesting game in more ways than one.

Not only is it a loving remake of a very fondly regarded title from back in the NES era, it also incorporates elements of the Famicom game that was heavily reimagined to become Blaster Master. On top of that, it even acknowledges elements of the Worlds of Power novelisation of Blaster Master — which, in itself was something of an interesting curiosity in that it was later retconned into being “canonical” so far as the rest of the series is concerned.

None of this is required to appreciate the fact that Blaster Master Zero is a great game, mind you, but delve a little deeper into the lore and you find out all sorts of fascinating things.

Continue reading Blaster Master Zero: Retro, Reimagined