Weekplay 202224

I like Streets of Rage 4, I really do, but the game is a bit dogged down by its technicalities. The aggressive specials-cost-rally-HP system isn't too welcoming to casual players, for example.

Enter Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge. This game seems tailor-made for those casual players, while having some fun twists for veterans as well. The amount of players allowed (up to 6 online) is real good, but with a dodge button and a low-key allowance for button mashing, this is really fun to pick up and play. Once the details sink in, you can actually start to pay proper attention and get more out of it. Even though it isn't as technical as Streets of Rage 4.

The presentation more than makes up for it though. The bold colours and animations are great with some excellent callbacks and a reverence for the cartoon series that makes it a labour of love. Special mention goes to Tee Lopes' soundtrack. Sure it has some heavy hitting names on it, but the most important part to me is that it features those distinctive 16-bit Konami horns and orchestra hits. Some of the levels even have a short Gradius-style front-end attached. So yeah, definitely pick of the week.

Another week, another Playdate batch, but this time around both games caught my eye. Zipper sounds like a Konami arcade game from the 80s, but instead it's a strategic puzzle game involving ninja.

Move your ninja carefully and be sure to zip towards enemies and strike them down in one turn. However, position yourself into their movement reach and you get equally sliced and diced.

Great fun and I can see this one jumping to other platforms as well!

Hyper Meteor is the kind of game that innocently asks "what if Asteroids, but better?" Instead of shooting asteroids in this game, you just crash into their weak spots to break them up. The simplification of merging the shooting into the movement is facepalm-ingly good and the crank controls are just icing on the cake.

Definitely one of my favourite Playdate games.

Cyberpunk 2077 marches on and finally dropped its title card. Which was really unexpected considering how much of the game was already open to the player.

With that drop, the game shows its entire hand and the collectible quests start to pop up, while doing as much as breathing in a new zone will instantly cause its current crime boss to contact you. It feels like the game is desperate to throw content at you and it's a bit of a shame that all it manages to do is emphasize the classic open world game rhythm.

The main take-away though is a point that has been made right at the start already by various outlets: Keanu Reeves as Johnny Silverhand is just awkward. When Silverhand shows some form of kind-heartedness it's functional, but as soon as the character needs to exert himself it all falls apart. Reeves just seems incapable of displaying the amount of anger needed in this. He's a great actor and person, but I suspect his voice actor chops are still a bit minimal in that respect.

Tangentially connected to this is the annoyance of Silverhand being or not being present whenever he starts to talk. It's perfect in showing how irritating it is to have another person stuck in your head, but if the most immersive part so far is also the most annoying, it kind of makes you wonder what else the game is planning…