Monday, June 1, 2020

Review Round-Up - May 2020

Some might say the remake of Trials of Mana leaned too closely to the original for their liking,
but I loved nearly every minute I played of this wonderful remake!
SuperPhillip Central finished off the last full month of spring in style with four reviews this past month. It's once again time for the Review Round-Up! Beginning with the incredible remake of Trials of Mana (earning a B+), which also is SPC's Game of the Month for May 2020, it was a month of games from various genres, all mostly enjoyable.

From Trials, we went full indie with games such as Team Reptile's superb "Smash Bros-style gameplay meets Custom Robo-style customization" with Megabyte Punch, which scored a B-. We then went from destroying robots to destroying our bikes (though unintentionally) with the fantastic, zen-like Lonely Mountains: Downhill, getting a B+ for its tremendous effort. Finally, despite my love of mini-golf (which perhaps is why it was all the more disappointing for me), Golf With Your Friends failed to deliver a competent putt-putt experience, coming out well over par in the end with a D+ grade.

As usual at the end of these Review Round-Ups since the end of last year, I have excerpts from all four reviews posted last month as well as a reminder to check out the SPC Review Archive for every review ever published on SuperPhillip Central.

Trials of Mana (NSW, PS4, PC) - B+
...Trials of Mana doesn't delve too far away from what made the original game memorable and beloved. While Final Fantasy VII Remake offered a bold new change to its original work and brought with it much more complexity, Trials of Mana offers a soothing and refreshing bit of familiarity. There's a fine sense of simplicity here, whether it's in the combat, the brisk pacing of the game, or the story--which might make it a bit too faithful to the original for some players. While Trials of Mana is not a remake that reinvents the wheel, for me, it successfully does what it sets out to do in recreating what was once a lost game from the Super Famicom era into a more modern and enjoyable game, warts and all. Just play on the Hard difficulty if you want something resembling a steadier challenge.
Megabyte Punch (NSW) - B-
Megabyte Punch isn't a particularly lengthy game, but that all depends on one's skill level and--with certain boss battles--luck. However, a plethora of parts and color combinations to collect, as well local multiplayer with bots or other players means that there is enough bot-bashing goodness to enjoy for at least a fair amount of hours. The lack of online hurts the chances of the game having a lasting impact in my Switch's library, but at the same token, I'm quite pleased to have finally played Megabyte Punch.
Lonely Mountains: Downill (NSW) - B+
Lonely Mountains: Downhill comes complete with dozens of in-game achievements, countless unlockables, and plenty of hidden areas on mountains to explore. You'll discover a lot to do in the game and on the mountains themselves. Sure, you'll have to deal with the occasional, unruly, inconvenient--dare I say--"rocky" hitching of the frame-rate, which turned some prospective runs into violent ends for my rider, but overall, Lonely Mountains: Downhill is a smooth enough ride. So, take the plunge, hop on your bike, blaze a trail, and get riding with Lonely Mountains: Downhill.
Golf With Your Friends (NSW, PS4, XB1) - D+
And, really, that's what word Golf With Your Friends can be summed up with: "frustrating". Whether it's the overly lengthy and overly designed holes that test your patience with the "everything and the kitchen sink" approach they have, to the often unpredictable physics and bugs rampant within the game. The concept of Golf With Your Friends is an immensely creative one, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. With more players putting at once, I can see the uncontrolled chaos of the game being more tolerable--after all it is Golf With Your Friends (plural) and not Golf With Your Friend (singular), but no amount of customization, cheery skins, hats, and trails for one's golf balls, or whimsical course designs will suddenly make a game fun if the base foundation is one that is shoddy. Unfortunately, Golf With Your Friends' round of golf is one that is disappointingly over par.
A trio of indie games also joined Trials of Mana to round out the rest of the reviews
posted in May on SuperPhillip Central.

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