The battle of the mustaches.

Bastion

(The King finally decides to write a blog about the Bastion, choosing to link to the one song he wished he heard more during his time in the Bastion.) Can't say I understand it, but the K....you know what? Fuck it. I'm not keeping that up for an entire goddamn blog. I don't care how great Bastion is (before you think about yelling at me for that, realize that I called Baby Cake's opus great), or how awesome the guy I'm referencing is; there's no way I can write so much in that voice. From here on out, it's a regular-ass blog.

Which, of course, means that I start with the story for reasons I don't completely understand. This time, though, I actually don't understand why I'm starting with the story, since there's not a whole lot I can say about it. In fact, I can sum it up with these three words: post-apocalypse story. I think you know what that entails: finding yourself alone, seeking out survivors, discovering how the world ended in the first place, and preventing the inevitable againening of the end of the world. Imagine Fragile Dreams (hell, it even has a low-key version of the memory items!), but with one cool addition: a narrator. There's a reason why I (incredibly briefly) considered doing the entire blog like him, and I know that my voice can't do it justice. So here's his, instead. Just listen to that grizzled voice of his. That's the voice you'll be hearing the entire game. If that sounds bad to you, shut up. Just shut up. There's never a single moment where this guy stops being so great. Even when he's justifying wanton animal murder (that's less a joke and more something that happens in the game), I was thinking "I'd love to have a beer with this guy". That's how well this guy can carry a story. I don't even care about how vague and folksy some of his pearls of wisdom can be, or that the game is a bit of a thematic contradiction (wait, I have to destroy the world to save it? What kind of Dark Knight riddle is that?), or even how the main villain is just Azel from Panzer Dragoon Saga; I just love the idea of the Colonel taking time off from being dead to narrate a video game. Combine that with the way the world unfolds around you, and the game suddenly becomes the only story book you read with a glass of whiskey.

I probably should have mentioned how awkward the actual character models look in the game worlds themselves. They look like 3D models awkwardly trying to navigate a 2D world (probably because that's exactly what's going on in this game). Trust me; it's more jarring in motion than it may look in a still image.

Then again, Bastion isn't a story book. (I covered that last week.) It's an action game, something that took me a while to figure out. At first, I thought it was some sort of action RPG, what with the focus on story and stats and everything. (More on that last part in a bit, though.) Turns out I couldn't be further from the truth; while RPGs usually encourage careful, painfully slow combat, Bastion's more about mashing the X button until everything is dead. Actually, that sounds far more spiteful than I intended it to be. In reality, I love the combat in this game. Why? First, because I'm the odd type of person who loves abusing the B button in games (keep in mind that I like Kingdom Hearts). Second, the game does an oddly good job of introducing a lot of variety. Turns out there's a lot you can do with button mashy combat, like burning down an entire forest, or shooting things from a boat or something else that sounds completely insane. Oh, and like the narration, it just never stops finding cool ways for you to murder anything that so much as breathes in your general direction. What's that? You've gotten tired of beating up random enemies? Well, there's still something there for you: beating up the environments. Yea, it's simple and a very minor part of the game, but there's still something oddly satisfying about ripping apart a storybook world, which probably explains why I'm legally prohibited from reading bedtime stories to children. (It's a long story.) Oh, and in case you're the type of person who doesn't like destruction, I'm utterly confused as to why you'd play this game. But no matter! You can still bounce around the levels themselves, searching out items and (two) characters and other types of goodies. Speaking of bouncing, it becomes a platformer at the end for absolutely no reason. So I guess there's something here for everybody.

Especially since you can customize the shit out of everything. Holy hell, there's a lot to customize in this game. You have approximately a billion weapons to customize, a trillion skills for each weapon, a million potions to modify your little Kid, the Bastio-actually, that's just about the only area where customization falls apart, mainly because there is no customization to speak of. You're absolutely required to max the place out by the end of the game, so it's less customizing your society a la Breath of Fire II, and more simply checking off options on a list a la...Fable III? (It's harder to find a concept page for "customizable cities" than it initially seems.) That aside, though, there's so much to customize in this game. Hell, you can even customize the enemies, presumably because the developers ran out of shit to make customizable. Actually, that last part probably explains why the customization can feel a bit overwhelming in a few areas, one area in particular: weapons. I don't necessarily have a problem with how many weapons there are in the game, but just how damn often the game introduces new weapons. It seems like every other level introduces a new weapon, a trend that continues all the way to the end of the game. Shouldn't it stop at some point? I don't have this much time for all the upgrades and Proving Ground side stuff for each and every weapon when I'm trying to convince Azel to go back to searching for Edge or something. Besides, these new weapons often feel intrusive and useless, since by this point, I'm already accustomed to a certain set-up (Pike and Bellows, myself). Granted, I could give them their due time in New Game ++++++++++++++++ (it probably would have made more sense to call it New Game *), but....actually, why aren't I playing more Bastion? Maybe the next part of this blog will hold the answers.

Review Synopsis

  • Imagine Logan Cunningham reading this blog. That tingly feeling in your chest is your body sprouting a forest of chest hair to make you as much of a man as that very idea.
  • Well, it certainly knows how to do combat. That much I can say.
  • Bastion fans tried to create modding tools for this game before realizing that the game itself is a modding tool...to itself. I'm just as confused as you are.

My god! They've weaponized bitch!

Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine

(And with this game ends my streak of super effing long blogs.) It was nice knowing you for the four or five blogs you were around, but now, it is time to go. (Even though you'll likely make a guest appearance a few blogs from now before I shoo you away for a while.) However, this does not end my streak of modern games. First, because Bastion is in this blog (hey, if I forgot it...). Second, this is the Steam version of the game, which is modern en-WHAT DOES ANY OF THIS HAVE TO DO WITH THE GAME ITSELF? Absolutely nothing. So why am I wasting your time like this? Because it's a lot better than my alternative of unauthoritatively stating "it's good".

Maybe you're losing because you're facing the wrong way?

But before I get into the actual game mechanics and anything important, look at that title. Notice anything strange? Do I have to point it out? Might as well: it's a Sonic game that puts the villain front and center. Oh, and before you say anything: no, you can't play as Robotnik. I'm not even sure what that would add. Anyway, my guess is that since this was based on the Sonic cartoon instead of the games themselves, Sonic wanted to distance himself from Urkel as much as possible. Not sure why, though, as the game does a pretty good job of capturing the feel of the cartoon I never watched. Here's how it works: encounter a baddy, hear him talk shit about you, kick his ass, repeat until you get to Robotnik. Fairly simple, but it works. I'd say something about how corny the writing can be (if a pun can be made, it will be made), but with something like this, and given the source material, it's par for the course. The only real complaint I could levy against this would be...I don't know...it takes a bit long to get to the actual characters from the show? Will that work? Eh, I'll make it work.

As for the gameplay (AKA the reason you play Mean Bean Machine)...it's Puyo Puyo; what the crap do you want me to say? You spend the game dropping Puyos into the unfeeling abyss, only to match them up in fours and watch them die. Yes, it's ridiculously cruel (especially since allowing them to climb out of the pit results in failure), but it can actually be pretty fun. There's a good deal of complexity to be had in it, what with the chains and competing over who doesn't get the junk and everything. Combine that with how goddamn fast it can be (remember: Sonic), and it makes for a pretty cool competitive game. Of course, this is assuming that you're good at the game, something Robotnik isn't going to help you with. I know, weird complaint, but hear me out: nowhere in the game are you taught how to play the game. There's a practice mode, but I'm certain that's a trap for stupid players, since it teaches you nothing and will not let you out. None of this may seem like much, especially since the first few opponents are stupid enough to stack shit in one straight line (maybe they think all Puyo are the same...Puyo racists...), but give it time. Soon, those guys will be running circles around you as you hope that the next Puyo is the one that will kick their ass. (It won't be.) That aside, though, I'd probably recommend it if you have an hour and a fiver to spare.

Review Synopsis

  • It's That Sonic Cartoon: The Game! What a strange concept.
  • It's Puyo Puyo, alright.
  • I suck at Puyo Puyo.
25 Comments
26 Comments
Posted by Video_Game_King

Bastion

(The King finally decides to write a blog about the Bastion, choosing to link to the one song he wished he heard more during his time in the Bastion.) Can't say I understand it, but the K....you know what? Fuck it. I'm not keeping that up for an entire goddamn blog. I don't care how great Bastion is (before you think about yelling at me for that, realize that I called Baby Cake's opus great), or how awesome the guy I'm referencing is; there's no way I can write so much in that voice. From here on out, it's a regular-ass blog.

Which, of course, means that I start with the story for reasons I don't completely understand. This time, though, I actually don't understand why I'm starting with the story, since there's not a whole lot I can say about it. In fact, I can sum it up with these three words: post-apocalypse story. I think you know what that entails: finding yourself alone, seeking out survivors, discovering how the world ended in the first place, and preventing the inevitable againening of the end of the world. Imagine Fragile Dreams (hell, it even has a low-key version of the memory items!), but with one cool addition: a narrator. There's a reason why I (incredibly briefly) considered doing the entire blog like him, and I know that my voice can't do it justice. So here's his, instead. Just listen to that grizzled voice of his. That's the voice you'll be hearing the entire game. If that sounds bad to you, shut up. Just shut up. There's never a single moment where this guy stops being so great. Even when he's justifying wanton animal murder (that's less a joke and more something that happens in the game), I was thinking "I'd love to have a beer with this guy". That's how well this guy can carry a story. I don't even care about how vague and folksy some of his pearls of wisdom can be, or that the game is a bit of a thematic contradiction (wait, I have to destroy the world to save it? What kind of Dark Knight riddle is that?), or even how the main villain is just Azel from Panzer Dragoon Saga; I just love the idea of the Colonel taking time off from being dead to narrate a video game. Combine that with the way the world unfolds around you, and the game suddenly becomes the only story book you read with a glass of whiskey.

I probably should have mentioned how awkward the actual character models look in the game worlds themselves. They look like 3D models awkwardly trying to navigate a 2D world (probably because that's exactly what's going on in this game). Trust me; it's more jarring in motion than it may look in a still image.

Then again, Bastion isn't a story book. (I covered that last week.) It's an action game, something that took me a while to figure out. At first, I thought it was some sort of action RPG, what with the focus on story and stats and everything. (More on that last part in a bit, though.) Turns out I couldn't be further from the truth; while RPGs usually encourage careful, painfully slow combat, Bastion's more about mashing the X button until everything is dead. Actually, that sounds far more spiteful than I intended it to be. In reality, I love the combat in this game. Why? First, because I'm the odd type of person who loves abusing the B button in games (keep in mind that I like Kingdom Hearts). Second, the game does an oddly good job of introducing a lot of variety. Turns out there's a lot you can do with button mashy combat, like burning down an entire forest, or shooting things from a boat or something else that sounds completely insane. Oh, and like the narration, it just never stops finding cool ways for you to murder anything that so much as breathes in your general direction. What's that? You've gotten tired of beating up random enemies? Well, there's still something there for you: beating up the environments. Yea, it's simple and a very minor part of the game, but there's still something oddly satisfying about ripping apart a storybook world, which probably explains why I'm legally prohibited from reading bedtime stories to children. (It's a long story.) Oh, and in case you're the type of person who doesn't like destruction, I'm utterly confused as to why you'd play this game. But no matter! You can still bounce around the levels themselves, searching out items and (two) characters and other types of goodies. Speaking of bouncing, it becomes a platformer at the end for absolutely no reason. So I guess there's something here for everybody.

Especially since you can customize the shit out of everything. Holy hell, there's a lot to customize in this game. You have approximately a billion weapons to customize, a trillion skills for each weapon, a million potions to modify your little Kid, the Bastio-actually, that's just about the only area where customization falls apart, mainly because there is no customization to speak of. You're absolutely required to max the place out by the end of the game, so it's less customizing your society a la Breath of Fire II, and more simply checking off options on a list a la...Fable III? (It's harder to find a concept page for "customizable cities" than it initially seems.) That aside, though, there's so much to customize in this game. Hell, you can even customize the enemies, presumably because the developers ran out of shit to make customizable. Actually, that last part probably explains why the customization can feel a bit overwhelming in a few areas, one area in particular: weapons. I don't necessarily have a problem with how many weapons there are in the game, but just how damn often the game introduces new weapons. It seems like every other level introduces a new weapon, a trend that continues all the way to the end of the game. Shouldn't it stop at some point? I don't have this much time for all the upgrades and Proving Ground side stuff for each and every weapon when I'm trying to convince Azel to go back to searching for Edge or something. Besides, these new weapons often feel intrusive and useless, since by this point, I'm already accustomed to a certain set-up (Pike and Bellows, myself). Granted, I could give them their due time in New Game ++++++++++++++++ (it probably would have made more sense to call it New Game *), but....actually, why aren't I playing more Bastion? Maybe the next part of this blog will hold the answers.

Review Synopsis

  • Imagine Logan Cunningham reading this blog. That tingly feeling in your chest is your body sprouting a forest of chest hair to make you as much of a man as that very idea.
  • Well, it certainly knows how to do combat. That much I can say.
  • Bastion fans tried to create modding tools for this game before realizing that the game itself is a modding tool...to itself. I'm just as confused as you are.

My god! They've weaponized bitch!

Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine

(And with this game ends my streak of super effing long blogs.) It was nice knowing you for the four or five blogs you were around, but now, it is time to go. (Even though you'll likely make a guest appearance a few blogs from now before I shoo you away for a while.) However, this does not end my streak of modern games. First, because Bastion is in this blog (hey, if I forgot it...). Second, this is the Steam version of the game, which is modern en-WHAT DOES ANY OF THIS HAVE TO DO WITH THE GAME ITSELF? Absolutely nothing. So why am I wasting your time like this? Because it's a lot better than my alternative of unauthoritatively stating "it's good".

Maybe you're losing because you're facing the wrong way?

But before I get into the actual game mechanics and anything important, look at that title. Notice anything strange? Do I have to point it out? Might as well: it's a Sonic game that puts the villain front and center. Oh, and before you say anything: no, you can't play as Robotnik. I'm not even sure what that would add. Anyway, my guess is that since this was based on the Sonic cartoon instead of the games themselves, Sonic wanted to distance himself from Urkel as much as possible. Not sure why, though, as the game does a pretty good job of capturing the feel of the cartoon I never watched. Here's how it works: encounter a baddy, hear him talk shit about you, kick his ass, repeat until you get to Robotnik. Fairly simple, but it works. I'd say something about how corny the writing can be (if a pun can be made, it will be made), but with something like this, and given the source material, it's par for the course. The only real complaint I could levy against this would be...I don't know...it takes a bit long to get to the actual characters from the show? Will that work? Eh, I'll make it work.

As for the gameplay (AKA the reason you play Mean Bean Machine)...it's Puyo Puyo; what the crap do you want me to say? You spend the game dropping Puyos into the unfeeling abyss, only to match them up in fours and watch them die. Yes, it's ridiculously cruel (especially since allowing them to climb out of the pit results in failure), but it can actually be pretty fun. There's a good deal of complexity to be had in it, what with the chains and competing over who doesn't get the junk and everything. Combine that with how goddamn fast it can be (remember: Sonic), and it makes for a pretty cool competitive game. Of course, this is assuming that you're good at the game, something Robotnik isn't going to help you with. I know, weird complaint, but hear me out: nowhere in the game are you taught how to play the game. There's a practice mode, but I'm certain that's a trap for stupid players, since it teaches you nothing and will not let you out. None of this may seem like much, especially since the first few opponents are stupid enough to stack shit in one straight line (maybe they think all Puyo are the same...Puyo racists...), but give it time. Soon, those guys will be running circles around you as you hope that the next Puyo is the one that will kick their ass. (It won't be.) That aside, though, I'd probably recommend it if you have an hour and a fiver to spare.

Review Synopsis

  • It's That Sonic Cartoon: The Game! What a strange concept.
  • It's Puyo Puyo, alright.
  • I suck at Puyo Puyo.
Posted by Guided_By_Tigers

Its actually the best Puyo Puyo game because of the music and it doesn't feature dumb characters from random Japanese RPG games.

Posted by TaliciaDragonsong

I loved Mean Bean Machine, it got really hard fast when you go to the twins and up.
 
Never really understood why Kirby was walking around in the middle but sure, I didn't care at that age either!

Posted by Video_Game_King

@Unknown_Pleasures:

Are you saying that there's a Puyo Puyo game where Prince Richard gets to fight the Love Quest protagonist? Or are you saying "anime; therefore jerperger"? Because I'm pretty sure that those are original Puyo Puyo characters. (You know what I mean by "original".)

Posted by Video_Game_King

@TaliciaDragonsong said:

Never really understood why Kirby was walking around in the middle but sure, I didn't care at that age either!

I think you were playing Kirby's Avalanche.

Posted by Guided_By_Tigers

Compile developed dungeon crawling RPGs before making the Puyo Puyo games, some of the character from their RPGs were featured in the Puyo Puyo games....I was initially going to say random anime characters but I changed my mind, both are true though.

Posted by TaliciaDragonsong
@Video_Game_King said:

@TaliciaDragonsong said:

Never really understood why Kirby was walking around in the middle but sure, I didn't care at that age either!

I think you were playing Kirby's Avalanche.

Oh wow, I'm stoned out of my mind it seems.
I played Mean Bean too, and I think I meant those chicken and robot dudes, then managed to mix it up with Kirby's Avalanche.
 
I loved them both though.
Posted by Ravenlight

Continuing the proud tradition I started last week (the week before that?), I'm just gonna throw out my thoughts as I read this tower of terror of verbiage.

  • d00d, Bastion!
  • I think the underutilization of Build That Wall helps to further elevate that song to the top spot in the wholly awesome soundtrack.
  • It took me a couple reads to realize you were writing for Rucks. While that was pretty funny, I'm glad you dropped it after two sentences.
  • The lack of exposition beating you in the face every two minutes is part of what makes Bastion great. Recently, I got about an hour into both Ghost Trick and Radiant Historia and quit because everyone wouldn't shut up.
  • Yeah! Shut up if you hate awesome narrators!
  • I don't know anything about Panzer Dragoon -_-
  • You realize that the caption is twice as big as that image, right?
  • More like mashing the A button constantly with carefully planned X and B taps interspersed.
  • Yeah, why DID it become a platformer?
  • I have never played any of the Breath of Fire games either.
  • Math jokes are always funny.
  • I can totally feel my chest hair growing!
  • The game is a modding... what?
  • Duder, just say "it's good"
  • I hate games where you have to match shit but I love games where you abuse cute characters. It's a conundrum.
Posted by Video_Game_King

@Unknown_Pleasures:

All I know about Compile is that they made the Aleste games, and Aleste is pretty damn awesome.

@TaliciaDragonsong said:

I loved them both though.

Probably because they're essentially the same thing.

@Ravenlight:

d00d! The first comments on Bastion! I'll respond in kind:

  • I am, too. It would be fucking impossible to write like that for four long paragraphs. It's why I won't do anything on Beavis and Butthead.
  • You quit Radiant Historia!? THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU!?
  • Play Panzer Dragoon, then.
  • Damn formatting issues!
  • I think it was more like mashing the X and B buttons :P.
  • No idea.
  • Play those, too.
  • Wait, I said it was a modding? I'm confused now.
  • It's good.
Posted by Hailinel
@Unknown_Pleasures

Its actually the best Puyo Puyo game because of the music and it doesn't feature dumb characters from random Japanese RPG games.

No, it's worse because it features characters from the crap Sonic The Hedgehog cartoon.
Posted by Enigma777

I disliked Bastion. The potential was there, but the execution was so lacking. Would have been a much better game if it had a $20 million budget and more than one artist.

Posted by Ravenlight

@Video_Game_King said:

@Ravenlight:

  • You quit Radiant Historia!? THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU!?

Well, it was mainly because the *cough* actual, physical "Nintendo DS" I was totally using to play the game I purchased and was playing 100% legitimately had some "hardware issues." Also because sitting through exposition is a snore-fest.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@Ravenlight said:

Also because sitting through exposition is a snore-fest.

NOT WHEN IT'S THIS DAMN AWESOME! (If you're wondering what my blog on the game's gonna be like, expect something similar to this.)

Posted by Ravenlight

Oh yeah, what does this blog have to do with mustaches?

Posted by Video_Game_King

@Ravenlight said:

Oh yeah, what does this blog have to do with mustaches?

Well....

and...

Or it's just my way of saying I can get away with shitty titles as long as they're random enough....I can, can't I?

Edited by Mento

Hey VGK, tyPING AS usual I see?

Bastion's not bad. It's certainly a contender on its particular tier of $10-$15 downloadable titles. I don't know how unfairly critical this will sound, but when I see a game like that I can't help but think "man, what that studio could do with the funding and staff of a group developing on-disc games". I guess we're sort of heading to a place in gaming where that matters less and less, but most Indie games seem so limited in what they can do with their budgets. Bastion's gameplay is more creative than the usual puzzle platformers and tower defense, but I'd like to see Supergiant Games get bigger and make something even more off the wall next time.

As for Mean Bean Machine, well, Puyo Puyo games are sort of tough to write about. I can empathize, since I added the two UK Hebereke games to the database. Not much to say other than "beans come down, anime things do weird shit".

Moderator
Posted by Video_Game_King

@Mento:

Knight tries to reference an out-of place meme. Perhaps he's inviting the K-damn it, I said I wasn't going to do this!

Is everybody thinking that? I don't think I thought that when I played through Bastion. I was just thinking, "Man, eff these proving grounds. Who needs...uh...whatever the hell's in these things, anyway?" (Also, I thought the game was pretty good.)

Anime things doing weird shit? Sounds right up my alley.

Posted by ImmortalSaiyan

Goodness, I dislike Mean Bean Machine.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@ImmortalSaiyan said:

Goodness, I dislike Mean Bean Machine.

......What the hell do I say to this that could possibly lead to discussion? "I thought it was cool, despite how painful the experience was for me"?

Posted by ajamafalous

Dude I fucking love Mean Bean Machine

Posted by PeasantAbuse

The last level of Mean Bean Machine is crazy hard. I basically just had to keep playing it over and over again until the boss screwed himself over at the very beginning of the match.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@PeasantAbuse:

I suck so hard that that's how I approached most of the game.

Posted by MikeGosot

Puyo Puyo's pretty fun. I think it's better than Mean Bean machine because... because i played it first. Also, you're just talking about mustaches because i had to kill(Yeah, kill.) my mustache, right? You're trying to hurt my feelings, man... That's not cool.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@MikeGosot said:

Also, you're just talking about mustaches because i had to kill(Yeah, kill.) my mustache, right?

H....how does a demonic robo-furry even grow a mustache? Hell, chickens don't even have hair or fur, so how the fuck would this scenario make sense on any level?

Posted by MikeGosot
@Video_Game_King said:

@MikeGosot said:

Also, you're just talking about mustaches because i had to kill(Yeah, kill.) my mustache, right?

H....how does a demonic robo-furry even grow a mustache? Hell, chickens don't even have hair or fur, so how the fuck would this scenario make sense on any level?

I think a demonic robo-furry is already a scenario that makes no sense in any level.
Posted by RecSpec

Fun fact: All of the characters in Mean Bean Machine are in the first episode. Hell, there is even a scene in that episode that mirrors the continue screen.