This is an ongoing list where I attempt to do the following: Play, Complete, and Rank every video game in the known universe in order to finally answer the age old question "What is the greatest game of all time?" For previous entries find the links on the attached spreadsheet.
How did I do?
|Beat the game||Yes|
|Hours played||10 +|
I am sure during all of these postings, people have really taken away that I am a rich snob who only plays the newest and most expensive games. However, that couldn't be farther from the truth. I have been known to take advantage of a sale once or twice and especially during my first few months with the switch. Two games that I always saw on sale were Goblin Sword and Revenge of the Bird King. Now I'm not normally one to drop pricing information on these games, but I think I picked both of these games up for under a dollar a piece, and I want to say Revenge may have even been under 50 cents. Now that I have had a chance to beat them both, lets see if they were worth their asking price.
Our first game to talk about is Goblin Sword which is the more polished of the two (more on that later). Goblin Sword is a 2d Action Platformer, where in each level you need to make it to the exit while surviving not only the level itself and all of its traps, but also enemies who try to make your life difficult. Throughout each level, there are coins to collect that can be used in shops, hidden objects, and magic gems that all count as a pseudo score for each level. If you miss a treasure chest or gem you will see that on the level summary in case you want to go back and try again.
Goblin Sword is a port of a phone game from 2014, and while its menus and UI certainly show that legacy, that game handles pretty well on the switch. Now gameplay wise this isn't going to blow anyone's mind, because at this point a retro 2D action platformer is a dime a dozen, but it is competent for what it is. You jump over spikes, you slash at enemies, and generally go from left to right until you reach the end of the stage. Nothing crazy here, but I will give this game credit to its abundance of unlockable items/swords/magic etc. While you can find some hidden weapons and items in every few levels by looking for secrets, you can buy plenty of abilities and weapons from the shop. Weapons you equip can have different ranges and attack speeds, armor can make you jump or float higher, and on top of that you can attach accessories that perhaps allow you to find more money, or make it so you can walk through spikes without getting hurt. There are a lot of different things to move around to fit how you want to play this game. Now some of the items are clearly to help you find other secrets (and if you are going to get them all you will need to buy specific items) but if you aren't someone who has a compulsive need to 100% games, then you could find your set and roll through the end of the game.
To afford a lot of these items, you do need to make an attempt to collect everything you can in previous levels and that means finding all the secrets. While I don't know what I was expecting, the "secrets" in this game mainly amount to walls/ceilings/and floors that you can walk/jump through in order to find the hidden treasure chest. I know that other games use this technique, in Goblin Sword it is almost exclusively the only method used in finding hidden treasure, which means that you will find yourself jumping and walking into every wall/ceiling to see if this is one that will give way for you to find the treasure. That can be a huge pain in the butt normally, but when you get to later levels where the threat of dying is actually real, you might find yourself testing out if a wall REAL CLOSE to spikes is fake just to find that last treasure. Dying will send you back to the start of the level, you get to keep any gold you had collected previously, but all hidden objects have to be found again until you "save" by beating the level. Once you do beat a level, those treasures are saved indefinitely so you could play again, and not have to worry about re-finding the ones you already unlocked, but to me it just made sense to try and get everything in one go.
This game is also surprisingly long for a phone game. There are multiple worlds with bosses every few levels and plenty to find and buy, but the game really doesn't adapt or change from level 1 to the end of the game. Sure it gets more difficult, with more enemies, or longer spike pits.. but the levels don't really change all that much, I never really had to adjust my strategy for any level. If there is a change, it is seeing a spot in a level that absolutely requires a unique accessory to pass, but these are always just for treasure or an additional item, and not for the completion of the level.
All in all, Goblin Sword isn't the worst way to spend a dollar. I easily put in 10 or so hours into beating the game, and while some levels I really hated, I was still going for every treasure for no reason at all. Is it the greatest game of all time? No, of course not... but if you see it on sale again (like it is every week) and you want something cheap to play, you could do a lot worse. I'll put the ranking at the bottom after finishing the write up to "Revenge of the Bird King."
|Beat the game?||Rolled Credits, so yes|
|All collectables||You bet..|
|Hours played||~5 Hours|
Revenge of the Bird King was at one point on sale for a single penny. I don't know if it still is, but that should tell you where we are starting at with this game.
Revenge of the Bird King is a cross between Zelda 2 and Mega Man. Most of the game is played out in little Action Platforming levels, where you are doing your normal action platforming things. You have a melee weapon that can knock enemies back, or open up breakables objects. Your main weapons are different types of guns that you can use that you "unlock" by beating different bosses that behave a lot like Mega Man style bosses. The reason I use "unlock" in quotes is because by beating one of these bosses you only unlock the ability to buy the gun for money. Each use needs to be purchased, so if you want the leaf shotgun, you need to buy multiple uses of it, otherwise you only can fire it maybe 3 times. When you are not in one of the Mega Man style levels, there is an overworld that plays nearly identical to Zelda 2. While you move to an area you have yet to explore, random enemy shadows will appear and try to intersect you which drops you into a small level that is just filled with monsters.
Credit where credit is due, I haven't found any other games that ape Zelda 2. However, where things start to blur in the comparison is that this game offers no hints or clues to where you are supposed to be going, and while you learn early on that there are these bosses scattered throughout the game, you don't know if the area you are entering contains any of them or if this is a side mission. If you want to play and beat this game, you need to gather a lot of information on your own. If this is your first time through, you also struggle with not knowing what upgrades are out there, so if you find yourself at a hard level, its very easy to convince yourself that you should come back when you have different items, but really the secret is that any level can be beaten at any time barring the final level that requires you to at least have unlocked all the guns.
The game is hard though, and there were moments where I almost lost hope, but stuck it out for you fine strangers on the internet. Any death sends you back to the beginning of the level, unless you made it to the boss fight, and while the enemies themselves don't pose much of a threat, the problem lies in the platforming that can be brutal. It also leads to a design decision where they back load the hard stuff in a level before the boss just for the believe that they are going to send you back to the beginning right before you cross over. There are several parts in the game where you will die simply because you don't know what is upcoming and can't react in time before you die. You will be very familiar with the start of these levels as you play them over and over again, because the last 30 seconds of a level is brutal. You can look at it as an attempt to collect more money, or do just a little bit better, but ultimately it is barrier that makes the game less enjoyable as I imagine a lot of people would stop playing this game if they have to start the first level over 3 or 4 times before getting to the boss. You can buy a single use checkpoint that will allow you spawn at the spot where you died, but buyer beware because you can only spawn if a platform is onscreen to start you off at, and if you were to use your checkpoint after missing a jump into a bit and there is no platform on screen then you will have wasted your money.
I need to stress that the world map of this game is absolutely hideous looking. Like looking at something you might draft in MS Paint, and while I am not someone who normally complains about graphics, it makes finding the areas that lead to levels hard to decipher on the map screen. Which forest tile sends me to the forest world? Don't know, but just hit them all and eventually you will find it. The levels themselves don't look too bad, its not something you are going to get a wall print of, but I had no problem discerning what anything is once I got to the Mega Man style levels, its mainly just the overworld.
This game does have a broken level, its not one you need to play because it just leads to a bonus item, but there is a level where the game drops its framerate to a crawl until you kill the first two enemies of the level, and whether or not they are related if you fall in a pit on this same level, your character doesn't die, just stays offscreen until you restart the game. There are some other minor bugs I encountered with music cutting out, or level title screens playing twice that all lead me to believe that this game needs a ton more polish. Apparently this is the 3rd game in a series, and having not played the other 2 I don't know if this game is the most polished or not, but playing this game does not make me want to re-visit the previous games.
Honestly, there are more negatives then just what I listed with this game, but I don't need to air out the laundry list for a sub $1 game. Its difficulty will turn off people who buy this on a lark, and I guess the developer gets the money anyway, so they don't care, but this game seems like a very unprofessional fan game that I might have made when I was 12 or 13. Maybe it was made by a 12 year old, so good for them, but it also got a physical release that just leaves me scratching my head.
Are either of these the greatest game of all time?: How cool would it be, if a $1 game was? but no these are not the greatest
Where do they rank: I have "Goblin Sword" ranked as the 51st greatest game out of 61. It is flanked by other indie titles, #50 being "Wilmot's Warehouse" and #52 "Minesweeper Genius." "Revenge of the Bird King" gets its own distinction as it is the 61st greatest game out of 61. I have played worse games that are currently unranked, but I couldn't justify putting it over any other game I played.
Up Next: Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Anyone looking for it: here is the link to the list and more if you are interested in following along with me (this is not a self promotion). Here. I added links on the spreadsheet for quick navigation. Now if you missed a blog of a game you want to read about, you can get to it quickly, rather than having to scroll through my previous blogs wondering when it came up.
Thanks for Listening.