Weekend Gaming Review – June 2020

Greetings! We’re already at the end of June and it’s been a while since I wrote up another of my recap/ramble posts about what I’ve been playing recently. My summer has consisted of work, video games, coffee and working on weekly blog post ideas so far; pretty much the same as last summer, save for venturing outside for anything more than supplies. I’ve been busy working on my backlog of games as well as a few newer ones. Here’s a quick rundown of the games I’ve been keeping busy(?) with…

The Last of Us Part 2

The vast majority of time spent gaming this past week has been playing through The Last of Us Part 2 which has been out for just over a week. I’m not sure I’ve seen the lead-up to a game release being filled with the level of vitriol and hyperbole as TLOU2. I wanted to go through this experience myself and make my own judgement about it, and I’m glad I did. There’s a lot to digest and discuss concerning the game, so writing up a post of my thoughts of the game may take a few days. I’ve been pretty damn impressed with the game so far…

Overwatch

I’ve been playing a bunch of Overwatch on pc the past month after not playing it for some time. I downloaded it after putting together my pc as a game to get a little more acclimated to using mouse/keyboard controls after spending 95% of my gaming life playing on consoles. I’ve spent countless hours playing the game on my PS4 only to be disheartened a bit when the player base started to dry up, but it’s been far easier finding matches online since picking it up once again on pc and has revitalized my love of the game. I’ve even started to prefer playing games like this mouse/keyboard and find it a little restrictive and almost uncomfortable using a controller(what’s happening to me?). The Overwatch Anniversary Event ran from May 24 – June 9 and I had a blast (re)collecting all the different skins and sprays. Much of what I love about Overwatch is how it handles being a class-based shooter in contrast to the primarily run & gun approach of others like Call of Duty, striking a nice balance between ‘arcade-y’ and tactical shooters like Rainbow Six: Siege.

F-Zero

I wrote last weekend’s blog post about the original F-Zero, a game series that I’ve played here and there over the years but had never spent a significant amount of time with. I really enjoy the original SNES release despite a some annoyances around the “bumper car” physics and A.I. opponents. The fact the Mode 7 backgrounds in SNES games like F-Zero or the overhead levels in Contra 3 can end up causing the feeling of motion sickness not long after playing. I would like to track down copies of the following F-Zero games and continue to write about them over the summer as something resembling a goal further out than what I’m gonna do tomorrow. Next up is F-Zero X for the N64, a game I know my local retro game store usually has a couple copies of at any given time…

Summer Steam Sale

As someone who has spent the entire life playing games on console and the last decade using a Mac as their at-home computer, it’s pretty awesome not having to drastically limit your search results by filtering only Mac-compatible games. The summer Steam sale began this past week and I’ve spent a fair amount of time browsing through all the games as there’s plenty I wanted to catch up on. I’ve managed to limit myself to a few games here and there; a couple games I do have on PS4 but want to give a run on pc. There’s also a few games I missed out on in previous years like Max Payne 3 or Dead Space 2. I also picked up the Deus Ex collection as I’ve always heard of the games, but have never played anything more than a few minutes of Deus Ex: Invisible War that was included on a Playstation 2 demo disk years ago. As indicated below, I will have plenty of games to keep me busy with over the summer, not to mention both Ghost of Tsushima and Paper Mario: Origami King release on July 17th…

What games have you been playing recently? Any new pick ups from the Steam sale? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading!

Gato Roboto – A Charming Meowtroidvania Title

Greetings! Today’s post is about a game that I have played recently and really enjoyed – Gato Roboto, which was developed by doinksoft and published by Devolver Digital. Gato Roboto was released on Steam and Nintendo Switch on May 30 and I admit I was sold pretty easily upon first hearing about the game…Metroidvania, Cats, Mech-suits…YES PLEASE! 🙂

Gato Roboto begins with interstellar pilot, Gary responding to a distress signal coming from a seemingly abandoned research facility…sounds familiar, right? Upon arrival at the facility your ship crashes to the planet surface and Gary is trapped in the wreckage. Unable to proceed any further Gary entrusts his loyal companion – a cat named Kiki to complete his mission. Kiki quickly discovers an unoccupied mech-suit and begins the process of rescuing Gary and learning the origin of the distress signal. You begin at the Landing Site before making your way to the Nexus which acts as a “hub” for the interconnected regions of the game (Landing Site, Nexus, Aquaduct, Heater Core, Ventilation, Incubator, and Laboratory being the seven regions to explore in the game). As you progress throughout the different regions you acquire varying upgrades for your suit, such as missiles, spin jump, auto repeater – rapid fire ability for your main weapon. There is no grapple beam, sadly…you also don’t have to worry about missile upgrades as you have a temperature gauge which will allow you to shoot unlimited missiles, however you can only shoot a couple before you begin overheating. One unique ability in the game is the phase boost, which allows you to quickly dash between barriers, granting you brief invulnerability( I was familiar with this after playing Guacamelee); a skill that becomes necessary for boss battles later in the game.

As one would expect, you are not able to explore every corner of a given region as you make your way through the first time, you will need to gain certain skills to access specific areas. Once you acquire your spin jump you will be able to make your way up to that higher up ledge you noticed your initial pass through the area. The rewards for thoroughly exploring the regions are usually health upgrades, or palette cassettes, which act as a filter to change the appearance of your screen from the default black and white. There are a total of fourteen palette cartridges you can collect on your way to 100% completion; my favorites were Grape – a very bold purple, Meowtrix – a Wachowski-inspired neon green, and Virtual Cat – a headache-inducing bright red as a nod to Nintendo’s great(est) misstep of the 90’s. You can also acquire two upgrades to current weapons from the frog scientist(?) Rebba provided you’ve found enough palette cartridges. The Auto Repeater upgrade adds a rapid-fire ability to your main weapon, which is definitely worth the extra few minutes of tracking down those extra cartridges; you can simply hold down the fire button when shooting enemies, and bosses especially as they take a lot of firepower to defeat.

My favorite of the palette cartages that act as color filters – Virtual Cat. Just looking at this is almost enough to cause a headache.

I don’t want to simplify any description of Gato Roboto by saying it’s a Metroid clone; it certainly makes no effort to hide the fact that it’s almost a note-for-note cover of Metroid. The game outside of the phase boost, and the main protagonist being a cat, doesn’t really add anything to the formula that we haven’t seen before. If you’re looking for original gameplay and narrative-heavy storyline you will be greatly disappointed. I wrote about Back In 1995 a while back; a game that was created as an homage to a genre of games that had influenced the developers. My biggest critique of Back In 1995 wasn’t necessarily that it didn’t do something revolutionary for the survival-horror genre, but that it seemingly missed on what made the games memorable in the first place. Gato Roboto IS for all intent “Metroid, but with a cat”, but it does provide an enjoyable gameplay experience, along with some quirky indie-game charm which is all I was hoping for in the game. My only real complaint is the overall controls/jumping feel a little too loose and “floaty” but isn’t too much of a hinderance. The game isn’t overly difficult, outside of a couple boss battles and not particularly long, it can be completed in 3-4 hours. I enjoyed my first time through the game enough that I did play through a second time in an attempt to get a 100% completion. If you’re a fan of Metroidvania games, or just cats in video games, I can recommend Gato Roboto as a indie title you can play for under $10.

That’s it for this week! What are some Metroidvania games that you’ve enjoyed recently? How about just games with cats in them? 🙂

I realize I said “Metroidvania” about a hundred times, so apologize for that…AND the bad pun in the title 😉 I also thought of this recent article I read on Kotaku, lol.

https://kotaku.com/stop-calling-games-metroidvania-1836051152

Keep on playing…