April's Mini Reviews

All of my mini reviews were negative in February, but this month there are also some good games I don't have a full review's worth of words for:


Astro's Playroom
I'm a big fan

Astro's Playroom (finished 3/23, PS5)


It's the system demo that comes bundled with PS5s, and as many others have said, it's much better than it has any right to be. It got me excited for what full-sized platformers could do with these gimmicks, and I'd be happy to play a longer Astro game.



Nicktoons Racing
Spongebob has turned invisible because this game sucks

Nicktoons Racing (finished 4/6, GBC)


A game I accidentally finished as part of the GBC series. Accidentally finishing a game is easy when it only has four short tracks that offer precisely zero challenge. Even among all the lazy licensed cash-ins out there, this is an impressively low effort and quality.


Rounds
Randomly generated witty caption

Rounds (finished 4/2, PC)


Rounds claims to be a roguelite even though it does not have random levels, is not a game you're expected to lose repeatedly before finally completing a run, and in general has absolutely nothing to do with anything resembling roguelite mechanics. It's actually a 1v1 platform shooter in which the losing player gets to pick a random permanent buff after each round, which builds up to crazy matches between characters with tons of unique abilities by the end. It's that rare game that is actually great despite completely misrepresenting itself.


Puyo Puyo Tetris 2
And it does know a thing or two about dumb games

Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 (finished 4/10, PS5)


I am only reviewing the single player campaign part of this game, because that's what I care about. I'm sure the multiplayer remains great and that there are some fun challenges to complete, but I'm here to tell you that the campaign is a mess of wildly oscillating difficulty. Especially in the endgame, you can breeze through one level only to get completely blasted in the next, and the only way to get the difficult back to something reasonable is to turn "auto difficulty" on and off until it works. Still, its worst flaw is the skill battles, which turn PPT into a gacha game where the way you play is almost completely irrelevant next to your level and the quality of your cards. Introducing abilities is one thing, and maybe could've been fine if they were better balanced, but the cards and character levels are just inexcusably bad.


OpenTTD (finished 4/11, PC)


I'm sure mods and scenarios that can be downloaded separately would greatly improve this game, but what's there out of the box feels like the decades-old simulation game it is. There's hardly any attempt to actually simulate an economy, the interface is an unintuitive mess that's constantly flooding you with unimportant notifications, and after a certain point you spend most of your time upgrading old vehicles and deleting routes when the industries they serve have abruptly closed. It can be fun to watch towns grow into cities as you serve them, and I'm sure multiplayer is fun even though the tools you have to compete are incredibly threadbare, but even so I don't see much reason to play this.

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