So uh, wow. Right?
This end-of-year-rush isn’t showing any signs of slowing, and it’s great! 2017 has been a wild year for games. I’m super pumped to see everybody’s end of year lists, because outside of, say, Super Mario Odyssey and Zelda, I’m not sure what’s going to fill out the average Top 10. I’m fairly certain where mine’s headed thanks to a handful of wonderful surprises, (including one of the decade’s best platformers and one of the greatest multiplayer games of all time) but this year’s been such a smorgasbord of releases it’s hard to nail anything down for certain. And there’s still plenty more on the Horizon. But… let’s wrap September up so we can truck through Wolfenstein, The Evil Within 2, Mario, Assassin’s Creed’s potentially good soft reboot, and more. Jeez, there’s a lot to do.
Cuphead isn’t a game without issues. The platforming stages aren’t great. Too many of the bosses have cheap, unavoidable attacks leading to unnecessary trial and error. The discussion around the game has become so toxic that I feel like I need to distance myself from the worst of its fans. But still, I find myself wanting to return to its beautiful, brutal world again and again.
Though I don’t feel difficulty balance is among its strongest suits, Cuphead does do a lot of things well. It recaptures the feeling of facing off against a foe in a game like Mega Man or Duck Tales while amping up the scale tenfold. You’re still just a tiny dude with a peashooter, but now the boss battle is against a screen filling monstrosity with four or five forms. It makes an excellent case for boss-rush platformers… and if we don’t see a half-dozen riffs on this in the next couple of years I’ll be disappointed. And I’ve only barely mentioned the art, but oh man, that art. I would pay more money than I should for another handful of boss fights just to see what these brilliant artists would draw. Watching the bosses reel from an attack and change into an entirely different beast made each fight exciting, and I could never wait to see what was going to pop from the screen next. Remember when that boss girl was a blimp, then angels, then the MOON? Yeah, that was wild.
2. Gloomy Room
Grab Google translate on your phone to translate a bit of Japanese text, and get ready for the spookiest ten minutes of your life. Though the Gloomy Room demo isn’t the most complex room escape around, thanks to some stellar sound design and clever scares, it’s one of the most terrifying.
SPOILER: Kill some time in the first room if you escape too quickly and don’t get the hype. The part after the bathroom is pretty meh, so the first main scare is what you’re looking for here. Or just watch the first ten minutes or so of this.
3. SteamWorld Dig 2
…I bet the first one of these was really good too! This is my first entry into the SteamWorld series and it was a good one. Half Metroidvania and half grindy Skinner box, it somehow lands right in the middle and works well. Complete with surprisingly solid platforming challenges and more skills and upgrades than you can shake your Level 5 Flaming Pickaxe at, this one’s an early contender for best indie on the Switch.
Danganronpa V3: I bet if I had gotten further than the first chapter by now it would be much higher on this list. But hey, that first chapter was a trip, huh?
Golf Story: Again, a lot of stuff came out this month! My first couple of hours with Golf Story were good. I hope to have many more.
The Tomatoes are OK: Weird, surreal, and spooky. Me likey.
Metroid: Samus Returns: I haven’t enjoyed it as much as the hype surrounding it might have suggested, but it’s not bad by any means. The combat is satisfying, the upgrades come quick, and the pace is mostly solid. But, man, I do not enjoy killing the same boss 20 times in a row. Why did anyone think that was a cool premise?
Destiny 2: It’s more of what the first one was but slightly different! Yeah!