Games You Played Today IV: Quest of the Avatar

Continuing the discussion from Games You Played Today ver.1.22474487139... - #2153 by skelephone.

Previous discussions:

@spacetown what exactly is kumon id always ride by that building on the 22

Games You Played Today IV: Quest of the Avatar


turned a bunch of forgotten credit card points into PSN credit for my new Vita and picked up some new-to-me stuff for “free”;

  • Gravity Rush is cool, enjoying the weird controls and delightful goofiness
  • Downwell is something I’ve played elsewhere but it’s good fun on Vita, feels well matched to the system
  • Phantom Breaker: Battlegrounds was an impulse buy but has turned out to be a fun little brawler I’m having fun with, feels like it really wants to be co-op but is hamstrung by the vita sadly
  • I picked up Freedom Wars, haven’t tried it yet though!

I’ve been mostly playing-yep, you guessed it-Warframe. In particular, I’ve been playing the new game modes added with the most recent update.

Void Flood: This one can be pretty fast if your team is into traversal. You’ll have a bunch of orbs spawning throughout the area that you need to scoop up by moving through (vacuum won’t collect them from a distance) and then drop off at a nearby portal by hanging out near it for an amount of time. Killed enemies can also drop orbs, but collecting the ambient ones is definitely the way to cycle it the fastest. Every few portals closed (I think 4, but don’t quote me) you get a little boss wave of Thrax enemies. They need their physical form destroyed by your weapons, and then you destroy their disembodied form with your operator.

It’s kinda nice having an “endless” mission mode where not getting tied down in unnecessary combat is rewarded. Biggest gripe is that it can be a bit easy to trip over teammates. Still, it’s pretty relaxed overall, and isn’t much of a scramble most of the time. If you don’t contribute to a portal, though, or are far away when it gets closed, you don’t get credit for closing it for a couple challenges related to closing them, though you can still get the rotation rewards for advancing the mission.

Void Cascade: Here you use your operator to clear a bunch of rifts around a objective (called an “Exolizer”), then the spirit inhabiting the injector. Which will then immediately spawn a Thrax enemy as above to kill. The goal is to keep as many of the exolizers in your favor as possible to keep the “Cascade” bar from filling out which ends the mission. Additional Thrax will spawn (a little too regularly to be entirely random) throughout the course of the mission, and will attempt to flip the exolizer back to their side. The cascade is suppressed when you have more exolizers than the enemy, as well as when you kill enemies within the circle of a friendly exolizer, making it very possible (especially for frames with enemy repositioning powers) to buy a bunch of time to flip possessed exolizers.

One of the things I really enjoy here is the effect of each exolizer having a finite life span. You’re kept on the move a lot, and it’s often beneficial for the team not to be stacked on top of eachother constantly. That said, this is Warframe, and pugs generally chase the biggest flashing light on the screen and will often abandon exolizers that are under threat by Thrax (which are called out on the minimap!) to swarm the next exolizer that has spawned 3 tiles away. Enemy spawn rate here tends to be higher than flood as well, and can get pretty overwhelming at higher levels/later rotations as more roaming Thrax and Eximus units will be on the field. Often together.

Void Armageddon: It’s Tower Defense. You have a couple outer towers and a central tower to protect. Losing the outer ones buffs enemies with the possible buffs changing from full round to full round, and the outer towers respawning at round start if previously destroyed. Buffs don’t carry over from round to round, either. So, the towers themselves are of questionable value, and what’s worth building varies tremendously with team composition. Also, the next wave can start attacking the tower opposite you while there are still enemies left at the tower you are currently defending so it’s usually a good idea to have one player designated to mop up. The end of each round is punctuated with a fight with mini-boss that involves downing it, entering another dimension as your operator, downing it there, and then downing it one more time back in the material world.

Overall I’m pretty lukewarm on this one. I like the concept, but the turrets are weak-both in damage and effect-across the board much of the time, doubly so against the Grineer. The fight with the boss can sometimes lead to it spawning far enough away that it takes awhile to get to, and occasionally it comes with enemies that will just casually obliterate one of your towers, buffing themselves and the boss for the duration of the bossfight. Or worse, they’ll spawn near what amounts to the central tower and annihilate it without you being made aware it’s taking damage until it is very low on health unless you’re watching its HP like a hawk. On the plus side, this is a fantastic mission for 'frames that are good at projecting CC, denying areas, and bubbling defense targets… often to the point of making the towers so redundant you fail to notice them. This mission type is basically custom built for Vauban, iykyk.

I kinda wish the mode restricted Warframe powers, but everytime anything does (FFS, people still complain about Nullifiers just about 10 years on) the community collectively shits the bed. One of the new bounty conditions related to the most recent syndicate (and the location where the new gametypes take place) requires you to complete a mission without using Warframe or Operator powers (they’re locked out, no accidentally hitting a button and failing a mission). No restrictions on weapons or companions or mods (save that ones that strictly related to powers aren’t gonna do you any good) or movement skills or, well, anything that isn’t explicitly a power. IDK, those were some of the most fun I’ve had in Warframe in awhile, having to make smart picks about equipment to play to my frame’s strengths and mitigate its weaknesses.

So, a tower defense mode that didn’t have the towers have to compete with (or risk being game breakingly strong by) powers has a good bit of appeal to me.


Making the most of my spare time (or am I?)

Sanctum: Barely know 'im! But anyway this is that old FPS/Tower Defense game from 2000-whatever and it’s competent but pretty unexciting. Probably would have seemed way more revolutionary had I played it closer to its time of release when I most likely got it as part of some very early Humble Bundle (Humble Indie Bundle, it would have been back then) or an Indie Royale bundle.

TOEM is cute, but I dunno. It’s kinda like Oops! All Fetch Quests! But since that’s all there is it feels like kind of a slog? Turns out I don’t like side quests if they’re not a break from a main quest!


Re: Polygonzo’s post about Mario Land 2, I played it on release and had a quite different reaction. Especially playing it soon after Super Mario World, it came across as lonely, hostile, mysterious and off-kilter. There were big empty-ish environments on a zoomed-in small screen, and Mario’s physics were the floatiest they’ve ever been, so every level felt a little bit like the surface of the moon. Wario came across as a menacing horror-movie-like evil twin.

The game still had a ton of ideas and core playability, so the cognitive dissonance didn’t sink the overall experience for me. Still, I wonder if that was one reason “SML3” switched to starring Wario. Nintendo was by then trying to define Mario’s brand in a more narrowly wholesome way and it’s tricky to do wholesome in low-res monochrome.


Nintendo’s “side story” type games are always a little spookier than the mainline entries, and I think that’s beautiful


i played this game as a child and i think i had a similar reaction to you - i always found that game so weird and uncanny. the stages are definitely original but at times it feels like monkey cheese randomness for the sake of randomness to me. like there’s no real consistent character or voice to the game. some parts feel a little underdeveloped too… like they thought of a neat idea but it didn’t fully work. the last area of the game was genuinely tense/spooky to me as a kid though.

of the mario games i owned for gameboy growing up (Mario Land 1+2, Wario Land 1+2, Donkey Kong) it’s probably my least favorite. but there are def neat things in it and i appreciate that it exists. but even compared to ML1 there’s something i find a little more charming about that game even though it’s simple.


as the most likely the lone idiot in the world to own every release of this game (yes, even the Switch version), let me tell you some things:

  • I am biased but you should buy the FM music DLC because the FM versions of the music are absolute bangers (or, you know, buy Overdrive)
  • the co-op in the game (off-and-online) is hamstrung by the fact that you have to level up and you can’t allocate stats and skills in MP between levels
  • the DLC characters aren’t worth it
  • you should probably go play Panzer Bandit instead
  • Ogre Tale is probably better than PBBG but I’m pretty sure it sold like ice in the Arctic
  • the motherfucking maze level they put a goddamn maze level in a beltscroller and then they had the audacity to joke about how bad it was in Ogre Tale it is literally an hour long on the highest difficulty I’m shaking I’m so mad (coincidentally, I think the Vita and Switch versions are the best because I can suspend and walk away and do something else instead of no I have to beat this goddamn maze fuck you)

re: “is there a good digimon game” digimon world 4 plays neither like the tomogachis (world 1, world: next order) nor like the tiresome RPGs (world 2, the ds games, cyber sleuth,) and is instead a top-down real-time dungeoncrawler that half-implements FF2’s systems but still also has normal level-ups, ends up taking hours between dungeons managing your store of items and various chachkes back at base once you’re far enough in, and taking any damage immediately closes your inventory or spellcasting menu. if you like stupid shit its probably the Good One

anyway. been playing Earthbound again to wash myself of poserdom, forgot i’d started playing it before getting sidetracked by paper mario and shining force. currently just got through the pyramid. game still slaps! it’s fun going through Moonside now with hindsight on what would come of indie games in the decades following the game, because moreso than every other part of the game, Moonside feels like the segment that Birthed A Thousand Indies.

have been, as i am wont to do, also been playing picross (i think i’m currently working through … Picross S6?) which is pretty much a constant for me, but i’ve been thinking a lot about it cuz i hadn’t played one of nintendo’s picross games for a while. most of my fill had been from Picross Luna II on my phone, which causes me pain on multiple levels because small screen. and, from my suffering through various other nonogram games on phone, i’d reckoned (and still think) that it and the original are the best ones on mobile.

so it’s kinda wild coming back to the ones made by jupiter, because, uh, they’re so much better holy shit. like, i have at multiple points while playing S6 thought to myself “wow that’s really good level design”. picross is about as close as you can get to solving newspaper puzzles on the toilet while still being a video game, but their scenarios are so well-built that i am distinctly aware of its medium. (of course, it’s not just that the scenarios feel more well-built, but it’s also that they always have only one solution. In luna, it’s not uncommon for larger puzzles to have, at the end, tiles which by the rules of the game have two positions that still would be ‘solutions’, but only one of them makes the picture and thus is considered an actual solution. which is kinda frustrating! anyway i think that luna was made by like one person and there’s a shitton of puzzles so i can’t be too upset that they’re not all perfect, but still)


the joke is that they do this in the maze level for Ogre Tale


I don’t disagree though to be clear this is what I found to be “charming” and “delightful” - Mario Through the Looking Glass!


i always felt like Mario Land 2 was more toy-like than random. so many of the levels feature mismatched sizes - giant ants, mario climbing a giant robotic version of himself, inside a whale. it’s like exploring a bunch of different playsets with a little lego minifig. i think it rules - it’s also really weird.


i guess to me it feels the closest any Mario game got to one of those Amiga/SNES platformers where half of the levels were in a maze of giant household objects and you had a weird floaty jump


Played some EA Sports Big titles today and it made me realize how much I miss that era of sports games. Also if you haven’t tried out Shox, you should definitely check out Shox.


honestly as much as I loved SSX Tricky/3 and NBA Street back in the day I think if you haven’t played a recent NBA 2K game you would be surprised by the expressiveness of movement abilities they give you — Live didn’t appeal to me at all back in the day, but I think “mainstream” sports games have largely closed the playability gap since. FIFA is another one that has, despite the knocks against the overall product, in recent times felt shockingly good

I really wish I could get people to play 2K and Fifa with me the way they do fighting games because I find them super interesting competitively but not at all compelling to play online


Super Mario Land 2 is the Sweevo’s World of Mario games.


you say that like it’s a bad thing

(it is objectively a bad thing)