January Gaming Postcard: Phantom Transistor Shovel Chronicles

Introducing a semi-regular roundup of what I’ve been playing for the past month, and any random impressions or thoughts that I can’t be bothered to write a full article for!

Shovel Knight – Yatch Club Games – WiiU

More than just a lazy Mega Man knock-off, a very worthy marriage of old school design sensibilities and fairer modern practices. Also, as finale where you work with the damsel you’re rescuing to bring down the final boss together? Fantastic stuff.

Valkyria Chronicles 3 – Sega – PSP

About 40% of the way through this one. Really should have played it sooner! I thought the reduction of scale and squad size for the move to portable would restrict the gameplay, when actually it makes it more challenging and strategic. No longer can I rely on my lazy ‘snake’ tactic of two side by side tanks with the entire squad following behind.

As a result, the first encounter with the giant dreadnought tank is one of the most intense and challenging I’ve encountered in the series so far, betting a lot on individual units to seize and hold dangerous positions.

Plus the option to hook up with the tsundere rocket launcher girl instead of the generic perky JRPG heroine? Most unexpected and welcome!

Transistor – Supergiant Games – PC

Finally got round to this one, although for some reason it wouldn’t run on my ok PC, so I had to play it windowed on my less-than-ok PC, which took away some of the magic. The usual potent Supergiant atmosphere, with a battle system that is mostly versatile and empowering, but occasionally repetitive.

Metal Gear Solid V – Kojima Productions – PS4

Decided to skip Peace Walker for the time being as I just didn’t see myself having the time or patience for both this year. Liking what little I’ve played so far. The open world isn’t too open, the mechanics are tight and the design encouraging. And the Kojima crazy is definitely still strong.

Plus, any game which features, and brings more notice to, one of my all time favourite guilty pleasures of emotional 80s music gets bonus points from me:

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