Play This Set

Kidou Senshi Gundam F91: Formula Senki 0122 (SNES)

Game Console Genre
Kidou Senshi Gundam F91: Formula Senki 0122 Kidou Senshi Gundam F91: Formula Senki 0122 SNES Strategy

Kidou Senshi Gundam F91: Formula Senki 0122 is an interesting and fairly unknown game, as shown by being one of the former choices in The Unwanted. Taking place in the UC Gundam universe, post Char’s Counterattack, you play through a total of 12 acts with a unique strategy and action combo. The closest thing I can compare it to is the Super Robot Wars series. You control your Gundam as a pawn on the map screen, moving in a turn based style until you make contact with an enemy squadron.

In combat, however, the game takes an action-oriented direction, giving you a 360 degree battlefield resembled by a radar. You’re able to move in any of the four cardinal directions as well as turning your Gundam left or right with the shoulder buttons, all in order to line up enemies in your weapon’s field of fire (a roughly 90 degree cone in front of you). Once you manage to have one or more enemies lined up for a shot, you can choose one of (eventually) six different weapons to use, each with different power and accuracy depending on the range they’re at.

As for the set, it’s pretty basic yet effective. Playing through each act awards an achievement, totaling 190 points. Another 20 will naturally be gathered along the way assuming you level your Gundams to the max by using them in missions. The remaining 240 points are gathered through performing a specific task in each act. These tasks are mostly a variation of killing an enemy mobile suit with a specific Gundam and weapon. All except the 4th act (worth 50 points) are fairly easy, and can always be done on a suicide run if necessary since the game will restart at the beginning of the act. The main recommendation I add is the use of the fast forward function, specifically for animation shots. While pretty and a nice touch to the combat section of the game, seeing you blast a Zaku for the 100th time with a beam rifle gets old real fast.

Recommended for Gundam fans, or simply people who want to get a nice 400 (or 450) points added to their account with a little effort. :)

Picross 3D (Nintendo DS)

Game Console Genre
Picross 3D Picross 3D Nintendo DS Puzzle

For anyone fond of puzzle games, I highly recommend this one. It takes the conventions of normal Picross and changes them in a way that makes it feel unique. It’s simple to learn but challenging to master. The aesthetics are pleasant and filling in the categories feels rewarding.

The set itself is straightforward, focusing on completing sets of puzzles. Getting every star for completing every puzzle quickly without making mistakes is the main challenge here. It may take some practice, but it is entirely doable.

Fingers crossed the DLC puzzles get added someday.

Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo (PlayStation)

Game Console Genre
Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo PlayStation Puzzle

A game I found through RA that I thoroughly enjoy is Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo. This is similar to a typical puzzle versus game, where you match colors together and clear them to send “garbage” to your opponent. One of the reasons I enjoy this game is because of the various aspects included, which I wouldn’t have discovered without the set (shoutout to TeddyWestside TeddyWestside). There are many secret characters included, and difficult challenges to get a different opponent than normal at the end of the arcade mode. This game is no doubt challenging, and the set manages to bring a new pile of challenges to the game that I never would’ve thought of.

~Homebrew~ 30 Years of Nintendon’t (Mega Drive)

Game Console Genre
\~Homebrew~ 30 Years of Nintendon't ~Homebrew~ 30 Years of Nintendon’t Mega Drive Action

Now here’s a silly one: if you’re of a certain age, you may remember SEGA’s in-your-face 90’s attitude that went into nearly all of their marketing efforts. Among the “Play It Loud!” era motifs, one phrase trumped them all: “SEGA does what Ninten-don’t.” Dr. Ludos appears to have taken those pithy words as a thesis to program a homebrew game.

The gameplay is simple: once the action starts, you run a Sonic the Hedgehog holding a Genesis toward passersby holding other consoles. Collide with someone and a prompt will display a classic SNES game along with three choices of Genesis/Mega Drive games to ‘recommend’ as an alternative. If you select the game that most closely matches the genre, the pedestrian will walk away with a Genesis instead of a SNES, and SEGA will capture 1% more of the gaming market share. You only have about 30 seconds to start, but each correct answer will add a couple more to the timer. Try to capture the entire market… and beyond?

The highlight in this game are the nostalgic pulls of many classic games with iconic images in the trivia choices. It won’t take long before you see repeats, and that’s actually part of the strategy: to complete the hardest achievement, you’ll need to know right away what the correct answer is. Aside from this challenging achievement, the rest are pretty straightforward, making this an easy 30-minute max mastery choice for anyone looking for a new badge. For a meme-y homebrew game, it doesn’t overstay its welcome or annoy with bad controls. Take a trip down memory lane, or maybe even learn of some classic games you never heard of before, with Dr. Ludos’ 30 Years of Nintendon’t.

~Hack~ Pokemon Radical Red (Game Boy Advance)

Game Console Genre
\~Hack~ Pokemon Radical Red ~Hack~ Pokemon Radical Red Game Boy Advance RPG

This is for Pokemon players who like the battle system more than completing the Pokedex (like me, who hasn’t mastered Ultra Violet because I’m too lazy to complete that Pokedex).

What is Pokemon Radical Red? In one word, it’s “Knowledge”. It’s a game where you put all your knowledge of Pokemon, movements, match-ups, types, items, teams and everything Pokemon has in its PvP system like you are playing Pokemon Showdown on Smogon Servers. You can’t just pick six Pokemon strong against Rock-Type and expect to win against Brock, because he will counter your strategy easily enough; this is Pokemon Radical Red. With almost all the Pokemon from Red/Blue to Sword/Shield with Mega Evolutions, a lot of tweaks and changes to make the game more competitive, new moves and abilities, and new modes like “Hardcore Mode”, “Minimum Grind Mode”, “Randomizer Mode” and “Easy Mode”, you are going to play the same vanilla Pokemon FireRed, but with a whole new experience on the competitive side.

Talking about the achievement set itself, you can easily complete about 80% of the set playing on the normal mode, where you just need a lot of knowledge about Pokemon and gives you a rewarding sensation about knowing what to do. Heck, even the Pokedex achievement can be triggered easily since you have Audino with different levels for fast grinding, all the evolution stones available in Celadon City, and a DexNav to find every Pokemon in the current route. There’s even an FAQ/Doc Guide which you can download to show you every Pokemon location in the game.

The only hard thing about the game is the “Hardcore Mode” achievements, where sometimes (mainly on the Elite Four) it’s more about RNG than extreme knowledge, but it’s not that hard if you search for the best team against the trainer you’re stuck on Alola Darmitanian ftw.

~Homebrew~ Deadeus (Game Boy)

Game Console Genre
\~Homebrew~ Deadeus ~Homebrew~ Deadeus Game Boy Horror

Deadeus is an indie-retro horror title for the Game Boy that has fast become one of my favourite Homebrew games.

Without giving away too much, you play a young lad who experiences a series of terrifying nightmares that lead him believe the world is going to end in 3 days. It’s now up to you to venture out and find a way to not only save your village, but find a means to avoid armageddon.

There are plenty of clues to discover and paths to take that will affect the outcome of the story. In total there are 11 different endings to Deadeus, which sounds a little daunting for those who may worry on missing out; however, I found that the game was the perfect length to want to dive right back in as soon as I had unlocked a new ending. I was honestly surprised at just how much freedom of choice I had and never felt pushed into making an obvious “correct” decision. The “what if”s are what add to the replayability.

The music and artwork is excellent throughout and the simple, bright style of the village contrasts beautifully with the dark themes of cults and murder. There’s a spot of humour mixed in too, so despite its subject matter it never feels too heavy.

I fully recommend going in for your first few playthroughs without reading a walkthrough or even looking at the achievement list if you can help it. The game’s strength is often found in not knowing what is around the corner.

If you like spooky, oddball stories that don’t outstay their welcome, then Deadeus might just hit the spot.

Monster Tale (Nintendo DS)

Game Console Genre
Monster Tale Monster Tale Nintendo DS Platformer

To me, Monster Tale is the definition of a hidden gem for the DS. I discovered this game after just clicking through some of the games on the DS game list and decided to try it out after seeing Draco655 Draco655’s comment. Despite knowing nothing before getting into the game, I fell in love with it pretty quickly.

Monster Tale at its most basic is the combination of a Metroidvania and virtual pet simulator. You star as a young girl named Ellie who one night finds a mysterious band/bracelet in the forest and then awakes in a new land called Monster World. The main goal of the game is that Ellie wants to return home, so she sets out to explore Monster World to find her way home.

At first, all you can do is run and jump, but soon you will unlock the ability to shoot short beams out of the band (like Mega Man). As you progress through the game, you will find new abilities like a melee attack, wall jump, and a super blaster that shoots beams across the screen. What’s interesting about the abilities is that in order to balance the abilities that involve the band (because they do become really strong), they require a specific amount of energy to use, so you can’t just spam them willy-nilly. The way to recharge the energy is to use melee attacks. So, a good amount of combat in this game involves a mix of long range blaster and up close melee, which is pretty fun!

The main thing that makes this game stand out is unlocked soon after awaking in this new world and coming upon this egg. What hatches in this egg is a baby monster whom is named Chomp by Ellie. Chomp takes a liking to Ellie and joins her on her adventure through Monster World.

Chomp is pretty unique in that you can’t always directly control them at all times. Chomp can be on either screen at a time. When they are on the top screen, they can attack enemies and hit switches (can’t control this), or Ellie can directly use any ability Chomp has learned (can be done with the “L” or “R” buttons). Like Ellie’s band, Chomp has an energy meter that is intended to balance them out. While Chomp is on the top screen, this meter will slowly decrease. Also, if Chomp was to be hit by an enemy or if Ellie was to use one of Chomp’s abilities, the meter will also be reduced. If that meter is emptied, Chomp is sent to the bottom screen/touchscreen where they must wait until the meter is refilled to be sent back to the top screen. Chomp can also just be sent to the touchscreen at any time while they’re on the top screen.

While on the touchscreen, Chomp will regain energy and can play with toys that will give them additional stats and experience to level up and learn new skills/abilities. If Chomp were to play with enough toys, Chomp can also evolve into new and more powerful forms that learn new abilities for Ellie to try out in combat (which is really fun to try out and kinda break the combat by the end of the game).

So, with your new bracelet and monster friend, you’re set on exploring Monster World. On your journey, you’ll meet other kids who have also been brought to Monster World; however, they have taken over Monster World and use the monsters for selfish desires, so you’ll be beating them up as you go on. They’re pretty fun boss fights; one of them totally looks like Princess Peach and it’s funny to me.

Anyway, this game is great and the set is pretty good too. The only heads-up I would give to anyone that is going to try out this set is that the achievements for evolving to a specific form are technically missable. I had to reload an old save to get the Mysterious Power achievement because Chomp reached level 30 in a form before it was able to evolve. Some of Chomp’s evolutions require Chomp to play with specific items and gain experience from them for Chomp to evolve. However, once Chomp reaches level 30 (max level) in a form, Chomp stops receiving experience, so you’ll be locked out of the achievement. A minor headache, but I will still recommend this game to anyone in a heartbeat.

Legend of Heroes, The: A Tear of Vermillion (PlayStation Portable)

Game Console Genre
Legend of Heroes, The: A Tear of Vermillion Legend of Heroes, The: A Tear of Vermillion PlayStation Portable Role-Playing Game

Back in the early days of the PSP, Nihon Falcom and the Legend of Heroes series were quite unknown. Perhaps you’re heard of Trails in the Sky or even the Ys series. If you haven’t, that’s fine as well. What I want to introduce today is the lesser known trilogy: The Gagharv Trilogy. These games were released early in the PSP’s life and localized by Bandai (later Namco Bandai).

Legend of Heroes: A Tear of Vermilion takes place in a land called El Phildin. It’s one of three lands that were split from each other many years ago by a massive fissure referred to as Gagharv. El Phildin is a land that worships two gods: Bardus and Octum. Our adventure starts with Avin and his sister, Eimelle, who are orphans raised by the Bardus Church.

Avin and Eimelle are separated as children because of an attack by Octum’s Apostles. Avin is very determined to one day find his sister again and protect her as he failed to do as a child. He and his best friend Mile, both decide to leave on a journey.

A Tear of Vermilion is the story of Avin and Mile’s adventures as they search for Eimelle. They help many people, travel to new lands and gain many allies. Throughout the game there is much to explore and things to find. If you’re the sort of player who loves to poke around and find everything a game has to offer, then this game and achievement set are right up your alley. It’s a turn-based RPG with some low-key tactical elements that is meant to be simple and relaxing. The focus is far more on the story and worldbuilding. The story itself covers a struggle between two powers, but the story is far more about the strength our bonds of friendship and family can give us.

The only real negative points about this game are the rough localization and the fact that it’s a very easy RPG. There won’t be a need to grind to get past any points in the game, just to not avoid any battles. However, the localization definitely is not one of the best. It improves in later games in the trilogy, but A Tear of Vermilion sadly is riddled with many grammar and spelling errors. The port is solid with no gameplay breaking bugs, but it’s very clear the script wasn’t edited by a native English speaker. It speaks volumes that, despite this fact, the story and characters still shine. The localization is much better in the other two games in the trilogy.

What I can say is that if you’re looking for a turn-based RPG with a good story, characters, and world, the Gagharv Trilogy will be worth your time to play, and A Tear of Vermilion is a great starting point for the trilogy. Each game stands alone and is connected via some loose overarching plot threads regarding the mysteries of Gagharv and the three lands that are separated from each other. Sets are in the works for Prophecy of the Moonlight Witch and Song of the Ocean, allowing players to soon play all the games with achievements. No need to wait for the others when A Tear of Vermilion is a great starting point with its own satisfying conclusion.

~Hack~ Peach’s Fury (Nintendo 64)

Game Console Genre
\~Hack~ Peach's Fury ~Hack~ Peach’s Fury Nintendo 64 3D Platformer

Peach’s Fury is a delicious sample of what’s to come in Mario 64 wizard Kaze Emanuar’s upcoming project, Return to Yoshi’s Island. Modeled after the Bowser’s Fury mode in Super Mario 3D World, Peach’s Fury is an open single-level hack where you’re free to explore the area and collect stars in the order you please.

Where things get really interesting is in the technical marvels sprinkled throughout the game. The objects and environments have a level of detail that far surpasses that of the base game, yet it runs at a (mostly) buttery-smooth 60 frames per second, even on N64 hardware. Mario’s abilities are also expanded to include moves from Super Mario Odyssey (plus some extras) and every area has some sort of neat new object or gimmick.

Despite the game’s very, very short length (bolstered a bit by a couple of cool extra challenges in the set), I think it’s worth playing just to see what the Super Mario 64 hacking scene has become capable of. And if you liked it? Keep an eye out for Kaze’s next release, which is looking to be even better.