Friday, January 20, 2017

Overview of StarBlog 2016

Written: January 12th-20th, 2017

Hello everyone, StarBoy91 here; passionate about video games, big retrophile, and fan of all things 16-bit, and welcome to 2017=)  Since this is the start of the year basically, I'm going to do something I've never considered doing before now: an overview of all things StarBlog (during 2016), which is probably wise so I can keep track of how I did.  If you're wondering why there's no new review this month I wanted to take a break as I enjoyed Christmas and the New Year's as well as relax, as for the video game review itself I want to word it as best as I possibly can and do the best job I can reviewing since it's one of my top favorite games ever made... no, I won't give away what it is, but if you stick around to the end of the month it will promptly be published and ready to be read.

In the meantime I'm going to do an overview of my StarBlog moments during 2016, for the most part I consider the year to be good on my part (but it's really sad how many celebrity deaths there have been) for there have been many good points but also a few low points which I will highlight as well; think of it as a mini-awards post for the games I reviewed.  Some might not like that idea on here, but that's okay as (again) it's something I haven't done before so it might be divisive (although some might be okay with it, I'm not sure); of final note is that this is all my personal opinion and if you find yourself disagreeing with me you have every right to do so, but please be courteous and civil about it, thank you.

Before I begin I would like to address something so I don't have to worry about it later:
in my SFC Xak: The Art of Visual Stage review I wrote that you had to contend with many monsters including spectral ones which your sword could not hurt, which is not true.  During my most recent playthrough for it I discovered if you decided to magically upgrade your equipment at the magic shop not only would the current equipment be twice as potent as before but you could now attack the spectral baddies which you could not hurt before.  That was a blunder on my part, I should've realized it before making the review.  =(  I'll leave an update in my review that links to this page.  And now, the Overview of StarBlog 2016!
๐Ÿ˜žMost Disappointing Game I Reviewed๐Ÿ˜ž
With a legendary series of animated funny shorts spanning more than three-quarters of a century, a video game license to Tom and Jerry should've been easy to craft and make for an enjoyable romp, but the one (and sadly only) Nintendo 16-bit take absolutely failed in that regard.  With unbelievably short stages given complex layouts to disguise their brevity (including swimming at a snail's pace in a tank), a nonexistent soundtrack, and lacking pure energy as well as the charm and sense of fun and slapstick that the series was known and adored for, Riedel Software Productions just doesn't get the appeal of the Hanna-Barbera series (which I liked since childhood, I expected something decent from this) made even more unforgivable with a platform later on set so unreasonably high that is so frustrating to get to legitimately that you may as well use a code to bypass the stage entirely (that's flat-out bad design).  Mediocrity, thy name is SNES Tom and Jerry.
It's funny that the first stage literally has a marquee that's there to advertise Tom and Jerry: The Movie (which hadn't come out in the US when this license came out) as this game makes a compelling case that the movie is the better option, which really says a lot because while the movie is not good either at least you're only watching that as opposed to playing it.  =|  Also, for me it's the...
๐Ÿ‘ŽWeakest Video Game License I Reviewed in 2016๐Ÿ‘Ž

๐Ÿ˜’Most Pointless Sequel๐Ÿ˜’
Rushed in every sense of the word as a way to compete with Ancient's Streets of Rage 2 which had come out five months prior, the 1993 Super Famicom sequel to the 1989 arcade phenomenon Final Fight 2 represents Capcom at their laziest (and it doesn't help that a title like "Final Fight 2" is redundant); doing absolutely nothing new to make it as fresh as its predecessor if not improve upon it with virtually the same kidnap plot, the main boss that goes out the same way as Belger did, and gameplay that is literally 100% like the first Final Fight.  "Uninspired" is an understatement as it starts with promise but doesn't take long before it starts to feel repetitive and overlong, and is not very fun to play on your own.  Skip ahead to Final Fight 3 or play the superior beat'em up Rushing Beat Ran — Fukusei Toshi (or Brawl Brothers, even though it's a lesser version) and avoid this stale follow-up.

๐Ÿ˜งMost Painfully Longwinded Sequel๐Ÿ˜ง
Drakkhen on the SNES might not be a good game by any means but as a visual and audio tech demo it was purely enjoyable in its own right thanks to its immersive atmosphere and mythology, great "new age" music, and endless amounts of surreal quirkiness, making that game a guilty pleasure for me.  Dragon View is the kind of game that tries to be a console-exclusive sequel to the former yet ironically doesn't feel like a Drakkhen title despite the handful of moments that it does (lacking the unconventional approach, day/night system, and great music that permeated throughout the first game), even if tonally it's a bit uneven in places.
With a barebones plot and villain plus an underdeveloped protagonist, the slash'em up gameplay is actually not that bad (and would've been better if it was just that), but unfortunately is hampered by the huge 3D overworld that is consistently easy to get lost in to the point that you have to look up the map every single time to look up where you are which does nothing but pad out the length of this A-RPG.  Speaking of: because you can't speed up the dialogue after you defeat Giza, each set of dialogue pops up slowly to a pulp that the ending rounds out at twenty-six minutes total that I stopped caring the moment the fight was over, which is absolutely unforgivable>=(  This is a case of trying too hard that did not work in its favor.  It looks pretty, though, but I could not stand looking at Alex's putrid green armor in the majority of it, blergh!  XP

๐Ÿ˜ Most Frustrating Final Boss๐Ÿ˜ 
Dragon's Curse (Hudson Soft's PC Engine/TurboGrafx version of Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap, with Westone's consent) is an all-around solid game that for the most part is a fun romp to play and is largely manageable, but there is one point that becomes highly unreasonable and cheap and that's when you're confronting the final boss.  To survive you have to make sure that you have both three vials (provided your health is full) and a crapton of boomerangs (which you have to catch in order to reuse them)... but here's the thing: whenever you lose your health the vial refills a random amount of hearts (either one, or some, or all of them) and the final boss takes away a chunk of your health if it touches you, and losing to this boss means you have to retake the entire castle path all over again in order to face him.  >=(  This makes the game feel a bit repetitive and needlessly frustrating when you fail, which is a shame because everything else beforehand is actually not bad.  The final boss dragon sucks!

๐Ÿ˜ฎWorst Translated Game๐Ÿ˜ฎ
Some American gamers might not be aware of this, but Human Entertainment's cult firefighting game The Firemen also saw a European release outside Japan as it skipped out on American shores (before unofficial NTSC repro carts were made for it) which is too bad but in the case of the translation it may actually have been for the best because it is awful (it's almost Breath of Fire II bad, which is the bar set at its lowest)!  The fact that English-speaking Europeans read poorly-structured sentences and misspelled words such as
(among many others) at the time is incredibly embarrassing given it came out during the mid-'90s which would've easily been overlooked if its gameplay wasn't fundamentally flawed... I'll get to that.

๐Ÿ˜ฉWeakest Video Game Port๐Ÿ˜ฉ
SNK's Garล Densetsu Shukumei no Tatakai (Fatal Fury: King of Fighters in the West) had a rough start in its original debut as many people compared it to Capcom's Street Fighter II: The World Warrior and called it a clone of that, even though it was discovered later on that both games were being developed around the same time and would garner more love and appreciation over time.  When it came to the Nintendo 16-bit port of each respective title this game received the worst treatment done by Takara; with the two-plane system and two-on-one mode excised, a soundtrack that was converted poorly, and gameplay that often times felt unresponsive which lacked so much polish that the original coin-op edition had that it ended up affecting the balance negatively.  Takara would find better footing with the Nintendo 16-bit port of the sequel which is a hundred times better in every way, shape, and form.  While Tom and Jerry may as well be my worst reviewed game of 2016 for me given the disappointment factor at least it was playable to a point while this game required you to be less aggressive to your foes in order to progress forward.
Oh, and tire-kicking bonus games that are broken to the point where even if you miss one you'll still be given a "perfect", making me question if anyone ever tested this port that was made a year after the original edition came out.

๐Ÿ˜ฒBest Visual Tech Demo๐Ÿ˜ฒ
I know people scoff at the term "tech demo", but there are worthwhile ones out there.  Really more of a score-attack kind of game than a full-fledged one, mixing elements of both Space Harrier and F-Zero, HAL Laboratory's HyperZone was done to show off the Nintendo 16-bit's Mode 7 capabilities and in that regard is highly successful and honestly it is fun to play once in awhile, even if it's largely low on difficulty and has only one continue.  =)  There's not much in terms of length or depth (not even an in-game story), but the imagery is absolutely gorgeous as the Mode 7 is amped up to eleven and Jun Ishikawa's score is excellent as usual.  I played the Japanese version because the American version flipped the order of the first and third stages for no apparent reason.  =\  What the hell, '90s American mindset?

Year of the 7's
In 2016 I awarded eight games a 7 out of 10, so as a courtesy I'll put down the order that I liked them so you know where I stand.  It's only fair.
8. The Firemen (SNES Repro) - I imagine firefighting must be a highly arduous (and strenuous) job in real life, with many an obstacle to avoid as you're dousing out fires and saving the unfortunate who can't escape the deadly fire; which is absolutely the case with Human's foray to the firefighting genre as you can't afford to lower your guard for the fires may come from anywhere, especially since you have to use many of the controls in order to survive.  The soundtrack is good and the sound filter that lets you know if there's still any fire to take out is highly appreciated, and there's an anime charm to it, but it's bogged down by an aforementioned poor translation and its sense of repetitiveness at times not to mention its overwhelming relentlessness to it all.  I liked it enough, but at the end of the day I would rather watch Chicago Fire (yeah, it's clichรฉd at points but the characters and their interaction with each other make the show for me).
7. Castlevania: Dracula X (SNES) - Because Akumajล Dracula X: Chi no Rondo could not be ported over to a Nintendo format on account of its native NEC console-based origin Konami had to redesign it from scratch (with the same character and enemy sprites, gameplay, plot, and music) with differently designed areas and specific enemy placement which alienated people at the time (with the aforementioned title being Japan-only at the time) and even now, not to mention its difficulty.  Looking past that, however, it was nice to take control as Richter Belmont with his traditional vampire hunting prowess and incorporate the Item Crash when needed and I liked that there was replay value depending on which path you took later on and whether or not you saved Maria (not playable here) and Annet.  It plays solidly but it's the lesser of the two Castlevania games on the console and Akumajล Dracula X is an all-around better game.
6. Neutopia (TG16) - Basing its gameplay from The Legend of Zelda, Hudson Soft's take on Nintendo's action-oriented adventure game is the rare instance where I found the knockoff to be better than the original.  Neutopia I found to be a lot easier to swallow and make progress in (the sphere system probably contributed to that) even if the gameplay felt a bit broken at points due to faulty collision detection and enemy mapping and at times can feel repetitive (because you can only lunge your sword in four directions and when you lose a life you must refill all your health).  But for the most part it was fun to explore the dungeons and spheres and see what you could find.  I don't dislike the original The Legend of Zelda (I'd much rather play the sequels) and I appreciate its place in video game history, but personally, I prefer and love Ys Book I & II which I feel has aged a lot better.
5. Ufouria: The Saga (NES) - The first entry in Sunsoft's genrebending Hebereke video game series, this lighthearted and simple take on Metroid is engagingly surreal and adorable to look at with its colorful visuals and works thanks to the intuitive gameplay for each of the four characters you take control as.  Music-wise it's perfect in the Virtual Console release with the sped up tempo, and its nonlinearity makes for a really fun time to the end.  =)  Too bad it's so short.  =(
4. Shลnen Ashibe (SFC) - Delightfully charming and innocently cute, Takara's sea lion platformer may not have much difficulty or length going for it but damn if it isn't non-demanding fun while it lasts.  <=)  Purely uplifting feel-good entertainment for me.
3. Final Fantasy Mystic Quest (SNES) - Speaking of innocent, poor SquareSoft's innocent little starter-kit turn-based RPG keeps getting picked on even though it was made with the most noble of intentions.  =(  The hate culture can be very bitter and unforgiving more often than not, it's very sad; you people are mean!  Anyway Final Fanasy Mystic Quest is a well-designed game with good gameplay (you can jump, too) and an awesome rock soundtrack, plus you could save anywhere you'd like.  Yeah, coming out on the heels of Final Fantasy IV (II in the initial American release) probably did not help its case and it may be on the simpler (nothing deep or complex like the aforementioned RPG) and easier side of the spectrum, but oddly enough that's what makes it so innocently charming and fun for me; that and Ted Woolsey's great translation work.  =)
2. Super Earth Defense Force (SNES) - I consider myself to be largely inept when it comes to the serious shoot'em up genre (cute'em ups don't count) but there are a few that I feel I'm pretty decent at (at least to a point), Jaleco's take on the genre being one of them as it was one of the first games in the genre that I played.  I have a fondness for this game since I was introduced to it as a kid, and I like the leveling up and shield stock system and the moment you reach Level 5 things get really good (even if Homing is the only good option out of the eight that you're given in each prep screen), plus the soundtrack really enlivens things.  I think what helps me get farther is the graphic slowdown and the pause-unpause trick (outside of the Virtual Console savestates in moments that call for it), and while not without flaws I do get a kick out of it once in awhile.  <=)
1. Lagoon (SNES) - This A-RPG has gotten not so much ire so much as resentment by American and European gamers aplenty on account that it was the closest you got to playing a proper Ys experience on the SNES outside of the Super Famicom-only Ys IV: Mask of the Sun (before repro carts became a thing)--well, that and Nasir's deliberate pace and uncomfortably close-ranged sword.  But looking past that, Zoom's answer to Nihon Falcom's franchise is incredibly moody which combined with the awesome rock soundtrack lends it so much atmosphere.  I like the areas, dark color palette, and dungeon designs; I don't mind coming back to it once per year as an Ys enthusiast, not to mention that there's an odd charm to it that makes me adore it faults and all.  =)

๐Ÿ˜ถMost Obscure Game๐Ÿ˜ถ
Lagoon wasn't the only Ys clone on the Nintendo 16-bit console, for there was also the Tokai Engineering-developed port of Micro Cabin's breakthrough hit Xak: The Art of Visual Stage (the first in the series that unfortunately was the only one converted to this console).  Excellent rock soundtrack, intuitive eight-way gameplay (however you can only swing the sword in four directions), engaging world and characters, and a surprise shoot'em up segment, this Japan-only A-RPG was a genuinely good surprise after a couple years of curiosity.  With the aforementioned revelation I discovered with the magically enhanced equipment that I neglected to use in my first two playthroughs, does it make the game better?  Um, not quite--the bosses are still disappointingly short, there's a lot of mandatory level-grinding and money-farming, and you can't pause during the blue dragon shoot'em up segment--but it does make the experience more bearable (and shorter; my last playthrough clocked in at four hours and fifty-something minutes).  =)

๐Ÿ‘†Best Comparing and Contrasting๐Ÿ‘‡
If playing through one version of Brain Lord wasn't enough, then playing through two versions of the same game (though the way I did it was so unconventional: play through a segment in one version then do the same thing in another version and rinse and repeat until I finished) really puts things into perspective.  One thing that'll come as no surprise: the Japanese version is superior (the weapons potency is twice as powerful here than it is in the American version) and makes for slightly more solid entertainment, even if it doesn't really have much replay value and is short.  I still like it, though.  =)

๐Ÿ‘ŒBest Video Game Port๐Ÿ‘Œ
While the PC Engine port of Detana!! TwinBee might lack the huge color library and scaling effects of the arcade original as well as have an entire stage absent given the console's limitations this is otherwise a solid Konami conversion.  The code that enables the horizontal mode to replicate the arcade ratio is a good touch, and while not as great as the original version it's still a very fun and charming cute'em up to play in short bursts, and as the first game in the series I played I'll always appreciate it for making me want to try the other games in the TwinBee series.  =)

๐Ÿ‘Best Live Action-to-Video Game License๐Ÿ‘
Considering that this licensed platformer was Ocean Software's first game they made for the Nintendo 16-bit console it's surprisingly solid fare for what it is.  =)  Based on Barry Sonnenfeld's directorial debut, The Addams Family might have shades of Mario about it, but there is a lot of atmosphere throughout it and of the three licenses is the most manageable (on account of the convenient password system and Pugsley's den) and is also pretty challenging (unless you take into account replays where in my case took less time and lives) in of itself.  But I found it to be plenty of fun while it lasted and Jonathan Dunn's music was cool, and the best part was the secret rooms and corridors (from what I looked up the programmers had a lot of fun implementing those, and I believe that).

๐Ÿ‘€Best Animation-to-Video Game License๐Ÿ‘€
An infinitely better Nintendo 16-bit rodent-starring licensed platformer than Riedel Software Productions' sorry Tom and Jerry adaptation, Viacom New Media's Bugs Bunny Rabbit Rampage loosely based on the short "Rabbit Rampage" has got the charm and humor of the Looney Tunes shorts down to a T, but that's just the icing on the cake.  =)  It's a gorgeous game to look at, the gameplay is versatile, the soundtrack is good, not to mention that it's legitimately funny (the stages' titles are deliberately absurd; the final one gets a huge laugh on account of just dropping the title scheme all together).  The only downside is that its sometimes frustrating structure kind of cheapens the experience (but at the same time makes the experience bearable because you don't have to start the boss battle from the start after you lose a life) and each stage ranks you after it's over that are counted against you if you beat the stage after losing just one life (thereby lending a condescending feel), but aside from those flaws I find it to be a largely fun game that is better Bugs Bunny entertainment than a single episode of Wabbit.

๐Ÿ˜‡๐Ÿ˜ŠMost Innocent Feel-Good Entertainment๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜‡
I may not have played the sidescrolling predecessor Makai Prince Dorabotchan (I don't own a PC Engine console, the only PC Engine/TurboGrafx games I played were ones I downloaded on the Virtual Console) but I absolutely adored this fun A-RPG.  The Twisted Tales of Spike McFang doesn't have a mean bone about it, its tongue is firmly planted on its cheek that it lends the experience a purely innocent feel that makes it enjoyably approachable.  It's also really charming, is unapologetically quirky, and looks inviting with its colorfully vibrant visuals, and it plays great too.  The only real blemish is that it's very short, but the fun gameplay and innocent charm while it lasts is enough to fill my heart with so much happiness and I could just smile throughout it.  <=)  And the best part: there's a fun golfing spin-off on the Super Famicom, yeah!

Best PC Engine Reimagining...... ish
I may not have played Valis IV (or any preceding Mugen Senshi Valis game for that matter, but I hope to rectify that one day), but I honestly found Telenet Japan's Super Valis: Akaki Tsuki no Otome on the Super Famicom to be surprisingly fun given it was reduced to a thirty-minute arcade-style game (with the same sprites, backgrounds, and most of the gameplay).  Its gameplay is smooth and polished (in and out of comparison to Castlevania: Dracula X), its visuals are good, and the soundtrack is great; it's also a game that's exhilarating to try to beat in one life or two.  Once the entire game is over you are ranked after the credits based on collective time and item bonuses which is better than being ranked after each individual stage like in Bugs Bunny Rabbit Rampage.  Between Konami's PC Engine reimagining and Super Valis, this is the better alternative for me.  =)

While all this was out of order (save the "Year of the 7's"), the last category will be done in the order that I enjoyed it the most; last, but not least:
๐ŸŒŸMy Top 7 Best Reviewed Games of 2016๐ŸŒŸ
7. Xandra no Daibลken: Valkyrie to no Deai (SFC) - Okay, let's address the elephant in the room before I start: this review inadvertently cost me three viewers which in retrospect had to do with both how long it was (because of how screenshot-crazy I got with it) and I lingered too much on the remorse side because of how hard I was on it in 2014 (which had to do with me being depressed which was my fault and not the game's) which I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that it made my readers feel awkward reading it (and if that was the case, I am so sorry), but I did get four new ones since then (so make of that what you will).  *shrugs*
As for the game itself I'm glad I gave it a second chance because in doing so I got to recognize and appreciate its good qualities: Krino Xandra is a likable protagonist who you want to succeed due to his selfless drive and resolve to save his dying son in spite of his lack of experience outside his village, its charming and lighthearted tone (okay, the intro's a bit dark), Namco's good storytelling prowess used to advance the game, its breathtaking instrumental soundtrack (Krino's theme is outstandingly emotion-driven), its pastel-toned visuals are really good, and while the four diverse jumping controls took a bit to get used to learning to time those right will get you very far.  It's also on the challenging side--but so was ActRaiser 2 which most people gave up on before they got very far in it but I didn't (so it's ironic that I gave up on Xandra no Daibลken the first time around, although the upward scaling waterfall segment turned out to not be as impossible as I once thought it was)--but when all is said and done I did find it to be rewarding.  =)  It's neither perfect nor for everyone, but I ended up loving it; in fact, I was wrong to say all those mean things about it years ago and I take it all back.
6. Brandish (SNES) - I said from the get-go that I considered this A-RPG to be genuinely good and I still feel that way the second time around.  =)  Not only did the literal direction-changing make Brandish feel a bit ahead of its time, but the gameplay is really intuitive (and its so fun to jump ahead two steps as well as alter the game speed setting when called for) after a bit of practice.  While I'll admit that visually it left a bit to be desired in terms of variety I did appreciate the simple look it had going for it, its sense of seemingly endless atmosphere kept me thoroughly engaged from start to finish, and its soundtrack further complements the respective areas' atmosphere.  It's the kind of game that's not for everyone but one that I personally enjoyed.  Next step after this: give Brandish 2: The Planet Buster (which I wasn't as into which surprised me since I loved the first game, but I didn't dislike it from what I had played) a second chance and try to finish it.
5. Mรคrchen Adventure Cotton 100% (SFC) - My foray to Success' Cotton cute'em up series and Datam Polystar's first collaboration with the company, this lighthearted romp is bright and colorful and is so much fun to play while it lasts!  =D  The cutscenes are humorous to watch with the interactions between Nata de Cotton and her fairy sidekick Silk, the gameplay is great and versatile, and it's got a good amount of challenge and difficulty, not to mention that its music is highly enjoyable.  Cute'em ups over shoot'em ups in my opinion on account of them being more manageable and playable for me.
4. Wild Guns (SNES) - Shooting gallery video games have never been more fun than what Natsume offered with Wild Guns which I consider to be their second best game after the original Pocky & Rocky=D  A futuristic cyberpunk setting with Western vibes all over?  I'm sold!  The action is incredibly fast-paced with highly intuitive and versatile gun-toting gameplay (the Vulcan gun rocks), the soundtrack is awesome, there's an impeccable sense of visual detail, and it's a very fun endeavor jam-packed with explosions which makes up for the fact that it's on the short side.
3. Breath of Fire (SNES) - The game that made me love turn-based RPGs (albeit on a weak crappy-sounding GBA format years before I rectified that with the beautiful-sounding SNES original on the Nintendo Wii U Virtual Console), Capcom's original Breath of Fire just doesn't get enough love as it should these days.  =(  I loved the memorable soundtrack, the engaging and well-written story (bolstered by Ted Woolsey's good translation prowess), the emotion, and the high difficulty level (which unfortunately scared some away from it); I'll always love it for getting me to play other turn-based RPGs because it made me care=D
Even if that were not so, I could never really get into its exasperatingly overrated sequel Breath of Fire II no matter how many times I tried (no, I'll never review that game and I thoroughly explained why in my review but here's the CliffNotes version for those who haven't read it), for each time I lost interest in it because of how bored I was from its unfair fundamental gameplay flaws (instead of each getting say "1500 EXP" after each battle it's divided by the number of people in your party which is a big no-no, and characters have to be swapped in order to level them up) and lacking soundtrack and needless sense of padding (not helped by a hideous translation done by an overconfident Capcom who frankly should not have bothered)... and yet there are many people who apparently like it more than its more reasonably playable and enjoyable predecessor, which makes me sad and feel like a pariah because I could never for the life of me understand why (seriously, what's the appeal?).  The game that started it all is superior to me in every way, shape, and form because it was structured in a bearable fashion unlike the direct sequel.
2. Equinox (SNES) - The second and final game in Software Creations' Solstice diptych series (its sequel bait ending did imply another installment but sadly The Spyral Saga got cancelled), Equinox is my favorite game that John and Ste Pickford worked on for the Nintendo 16-bit (sorry, Plok).  It's gorgeous to behold with an incredibly rich sense of detail, the isometric gameplay feels polished and smooth (and not frustratingly loose like Climax Entertainment's overrated Landstalker), the puzzle-solving is well thought-out, the dungeon layouts are complex, some of the boss fights are intense (because you die in one hit), and Tim and Geoff Follin's soundtrack and ambient sound choices make this hugely atmospheric and immersive fun for me (Atlena, especially).  =D  Yeah, the lack of the platforms' shadows does add some difficulty but at least you can tell when Glendaal is standing in front of, behind, or below thanks to his shadow.  Purely underrated fun.
1. Pop'n TwinBee (SFC) - From most viewed 2016 review (at a hundred-ninety-six views as of December 31st) to least viewed 2016 review (at twenty-three views), TwinBee's official Nintendo 16-bit foray is my favorite game that I have reviewed this year.  Eye-pleasing pastel-toned visuals, great soundtrack, great play control, exciting boss fights, little to no slow down, lots of charm, and tons of replay value thanks to the difficulty settings and subsequent quests after the initial one is over.  Plus, how many other cute'em ups do you know of you can actually punch bullets out of the way?  It's also here where you soar over the Great Wall of China and have to overcome an avalanche of pandas, fly over an airship emanating from beneath the clouds, and even survey an armadillo race at one point among others.  =D  One of my top favorite Konami games.

This year I had also made a 2016 Bucket List of Video Game Reviews which I actually got to finish.  Some might think it's no big deal but as someone who's got poor prioritization skills I did start some things that I didn't finish in this blog: to name a couple, years ago I tried to make a The Lost Vikings (SNES) visual walkthrough stage per stage but stopped at Stage 10 and when Wander Over Yonder came out I thought of sharing my thoughts on each episode but stopped at the Alien-themed episode "The Pet" which was the sixth episode that had aired and the first full-fledged one because I didn't have screenshots for the subsequent ones and screenshots take time to get (maybe that's my problem, I'm screenshot-reliant).  So the fact that I promised last year to talk about nine games before 2017 arrived and managed to cover them all makes me feel a sense of relief and accomplishment.  =)  The only downside to making something like that is trying to uphold to it which isn't necessarily impossible but it does take a lot of hard work; that's why I'm more comfortable randomly selecting games to talk about because at least there's a surprise that way.

Anyway, that's it for this post (and I apologize if my one-paragraph summarization skills aren't good), I look forward to talking about more games and sharing my thoughts and insights on them and I hope to do a good job in the process this year.  Did you like this "mini-awards" idea from me, if so do you want me to do another and if not, do you think I should just leave this as it is?  Thank you so much for following me and reading my reviews over the years, please leave me a comment (I won't tolerate spam) and let me know what you think.  Happy 2017, and take care!  =D
<( ^o^)^TO EACH THEIR OWN^(^o^ )>
P.S. I saw La La Land last Wednesday (11th) which I thought was a really good throwback film and I can see why it's getting good praise: the choreography is good, it's visually arresting, the chemistry between Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling is genuinely good, and the music was delightful (with or without songs).  And what better movie to follow up on that the following Wednesday than the 65th Anniversary rerelease of Singin' in the Rain=D  Getting to experience it on the big screen was incredible (it's the first time I've seen it from start to finish, I think) and it's a beautiful movie to look at (the color and lighting is amazing, especially the Gene Kelly/Cyd Charisse fantasy ballet sequence), the songs were enjoyable, the choreography is incredible (they make it look so effortless), the characters are appealing (even Debbie Reynolds' Kathy Selden, RIP), it's very funny, and man I loved its feel-good quality.
P.S. 2 Soooo, W. Bruce Cameron must feel pretty awkward about agreeing to let Universal adapt his book A Dog's Purpose in light of recent upsetting news.........  =\  Poor dog.

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