Visions of an Apocalypse

I began writing this post, a review of two (now three) games that dealt with the end of the world about a year ago. In what remains of the draft, I had the line; “it’s the end of the decade, we don’t have time for details.” Eerily prophetic because in the time since the world really is ending and it’s doing so as T. S. Elliot suggested, not with a bang, but with a whimper.

As a species, we have been contemplating the end times since the beginning times. Poems, films, video games, even whole religions are based around imagining what it will be like when there no coming back, when progress reverses and we enter terminal decline. Something I’ve been thinking about, during our very real unfolding apocalypse, is that I need to finish things I start because at some point, this is all going to come to an end. So here’s three short reviews of three short games and their take on the end of the world.

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Pikmin 3 Deluxe – New Technology Discovered

A mysterious object has been spotted and gathered by the Pikmin. It appears to be a flat device with removable parts. Analysis shows this technology has potential, but we are unsure how to harness it yet. It could not produce new Pikmin when thrown in the onion, but perhaps we could use it to enhance our ship.

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Bulletstorm – Digital Bubblegum

It’s raining bullets, better grab my brella. Okay, now I’m ready to chew gum AND type into this nostalgic postbox. Can you believe people used keyboards to send messages in 2020? It was the first form of writing according to the credible historians of 2600. Ah yes, information has gotten much more accurate with media advancements.

Here goes… *publish*. I’ll set the date 600 years backwards and hope for the best. Pietriots.com? Yeah, that place is probably still going.

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Hollow Knight – Taking The Long Way Home

I don’t want to die. After a very difficult series of jumps and dashes, I was down to my last husk of health. I sat upon the single platform that wouldn’t kill me and felt the magnitude of the situation. With no safety in sight, my next action was critical. Hitting any of these spikes would mean instant death, and even worse, replaying that awful section again and losing progress. I thought that maybe, after a dozen downward-stab jumps across spiked enemies, the hard part was over and some kind of safe passage or reward would await me here. I was a fool. Curiosity had its way with me once again, and now my only way back was even more dangerous and uncertain than the journey that left me in this state.

I braced myself. The way forward was right there through those spikes, and I just had to do a flying dash through it. A regular dash wouldn’t make it. Regular jumps wouldn’t take me far enough. I knew it had to be a flying dash but the problem was, I couldn’t see far enough to see where my landing would be. With no other option, I started charging the dash.

WHOOOOSH!” I let go of my charge and flew across the screen. The spikes grazed my determined little ears as I flew through the gap. Immediately I found myself in a giant room with a hard floor and felt a small dose of relief, thank heaven- NO I’M ABOUT TO HIT A SPIKE WALL! BAIL OUT! I mashed every button in a desperate attempt to break out of my dash and collapsed on solid ground with a thump. What a relief. I’m alive. I didn’t know you could break out of a dash until now, when I absolutely needed to.

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STAY (Away)

STAY is the story of a therapist named Quinn who was abducted in the early morning and woke up to find himself in a dank basement with seemingly no way out and a computer hooked up to a private instant message conversation with you on the other end. You talk Quinn through the challenges he faces and the game also tracks how long you are not playing for, inviting you to ‘stay’ with Quinn long as your absence affects his mood and trust in you. It’s an original and interesting premise that is unfortunately let down by almost every other aspect of this game. If anything you should stay away from this game.

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Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles – Online Border Patrol

Can you believe it?! Crystal Chronicles is finally being released with online and cross-play! Yay! This extremely unique GameCube game that once required 4 Game Boy Advance to play is now becoming accessible with modern technology. Well, that’s what we thought.

In a throwback to the PAL days where people in Australia and Europe gamed on 50hz TVs out of technical necessity, Square-Enix has decided to bring back that restrictive nostalgia by region locking this game online. I live in Australia and this is what happened when I tried to play with my friend in the USA.

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GRID Autosport – Online Class of 2020

The online patch has now arrived on Nintendo Switch! I’ve been playing it for a few weeks now, and thought it was a good time to do another writeup on it with the game currently on sale in Nintendo’s eShop Multiplayer promotion. You can read more about the game itself in my previous writeup here, but this one will be strictly about the online. Who’s ready to drive safely and considerately into the first corner with me? Nah? Okay well, I’ll spend the next few paragraphs catching you up.

u wot m8

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Metroid 1 – Where the Universe Began

Your health is getting low, and you’re lost in the depths of Norfair. The only light in this dark hellscape is burning hot lava. You can feel the heat threatening to chip away at your HP. Alien creatures sense your fear and hop towards you aggressively. You fight and push on as far as you can go. You’re not quite sure what’s up ahead, but the hope of an Energy Tank or any kind of upgrade is keeping you going. You could go back and farm for health, or you could risk the unknown for a big pay off. What’s there to lose? You can always respawn and try again with full health…. oh wait, no you can’t. Help is not coming.

Dying in Metroid punishes you by reviving you with 30HP, regardless of how many additional e-tanks you had. This means enemies can kill you in a few hits, and farming health back will take more than a dozen enemy kills to get. The odds are never in your favour, as you lose health much faster than you can get it back. This might seem unfair but it was essential in creating this feeling of danger while moving forward to the next room. How much are you willing to risk?

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Journey to the Savage Planet – New Lease on Life

Good morning. What year is it?

I fell asleep on Earth and now I’ve woken up after an unknown number of years, alert and refreshed. Kindred Technologies are just the best, aren’t they? They call themselves the “4th best” space exploration company, but they really speak to me as a normal human being. I didn’t have much to live for so I signed up for their “experiment”. The year was 2034 and I got myself into 5 million dollars of debt from working too much and… wait, is that how working is supposed to work? I’ve never had the time or energy to think about it. Anyway, I’ve been given an opportunity to redeem myself by being launched towards a random planet in an experiment to find a habitable environment for humans. I was feeling lucky and sure enough, managed to land somewhere in one piece. Let’s see what this place is all about.

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ReCore – Metroid Composite

What happens when you get the director of Mega Man and three people from the Metroid Prime team, then rush out a game with their names as the selling point? Something pretty forgettable, evidently. ReCore came out in 2016 with so many bugs they had to make a “Definitive Edition” on the same console a year later. Since then the game has been sitting in discount bins and Game Pass, tempting me with mild intrigue. I’ve been in a Metroid mood lately so I decided to see what this game was all about.

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Jump Rope Challenge – Seven Day Adventure

Once upon a time, a group of Nintendo developers were working in an office. Suddenly, a global event happened that forced them to work from home. At first they enjoyed the comfort, but soon began to miss going outside. They just weren’t getting the exercise and body stimulation they needed. To solve this problem, the developers ordered some copies of Ring Fit Adventure. Gaming and fitness at the same time? Now you can work out while you work! Unfortunately, the game is so sold out that Nintendo’s own staff can’t even get a copy. Gotta fill those pre-orders first. Not content with waiting until their bodies turned to dust, these brave Nintendo developers decided to take the challenge into their own hands and design a piece of software themselves. Jump Rope Challenge uses the Joy-Cons to simulate a jump rope, with a counter on the screen and cute art style for motivation.

This game is a free download, and was announced and released on the same day in this tweet. If you want to give it a try, all you need is around 70mb of free space and two Joy-Cons that come with the regular Switch. If you’re too lazy, just follow my journey instead.

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Lonely Mountains: Downhill – Open Air Time Trials

What a great day. There’s nothing like being out in nature, completely free. You don’t have anywhere to be, and you’re riding your bike happily along. You start riding a bit faster, not because you need to be anywhere, but because the mountain is daring you. You scoot around the corner to get a better view, then get faster and faster downhill. WOOOOO!! YEAH! Suddenly it’s getting twisty… better slow down. Nah, you can handle this!

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Doom Eternal – In the MOOD for DOOM

I’m on 3% health but I’ve never felt so alive. No ammo, no resources, no choice but to perform a Glory Kill. After a decisive stab, health spills out of the demon’s discarded head. I grabbed the health and turned around just in time to throw a grenade into a Cacodemon’s mouth, weaken an Arachotron with my super shotgun, chainsaw an imp for ammo, then turn back to the stunned Cacodemon and rip its eyeball out with my fist. If I ever stop moving during all this, I’m dead. DOOM is a game that doesn’t reward aggressive play, it requires it. The more ammo and health you lose, the more you’re going to get back.

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