Play This Set

Play This Set is a showcase for our passionate community members to write about the games and achievement sets they love. Whether you’re an achievement developer looking to promote your work or a player wanting to spread the word about your favorite hidden gem, we’re always looking for new Play This Set submissions. If interested, submit your write-up as a private message to RANews RANews.

Pac-Man World 2 (PlayStation 2)

Game Console Genre
Pac-Man World 2 Pac-Man World 2 PlayStation 2 3D Platforming, Collect-a-thon

If you enjoy any of the Pac-Man games, I think you will find Pac-Man World 2 for the PlayStation 2 amusing. It’s your classic open 3D world where you collect everything in sight and work out some puzzle levels. There are so many achievements for this game that you can throw a cherry or a melon at. There are achievements that will please the completionists out there, requiring collecting all the Pac-Dots and fruit in each level, and then there are all the achievements that can be gained in the arcade area of the game by playing through the different variations of Pac-Man that exist throughout history. It’s a fun game to relax, and there are some easy achievements for those who are just chilling out walking through the levels and not getting absolutely everything. There are quite a few levels to munch through, so it will take up some time if you let it; grab some snacks, pop your headphones on, and absorb the playful music tracks that accompany it.

N+ (PlayStation Portable)

Game Console Genre
N+ N+ PlayStation Portable 2D Platforming

Ah yes, N+ - the naming of the game is so simple and minimalistic, yet it has lots of content to offer. It’s a platforming game where the objective is pretty simple: go through each set of 5 levels within the time limit. You can retry lots of times to finish the levels, but if you want to get all of the achievements, you have to do all of the sets without dying.

At first it sounds doable, right? Five short levels in a row, how hard can it be? Well then, the game goes south really fast with the random difficulty curve on some levels. It’s always been like this since the first N game, but if you practice the levels before doing the actual run, you can do it without any problems.

Overall, a pretty fun and challenging set. If you master this game, you might as well check out N++ on Steam; it will take you awhile to get the 100%! I actually had never heard of the “N” games before playing the Steam version to 100%, and recommended this game quite a lot too!

Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones (Game Boy Advance)

Game Console Genre
Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones Game Boy Advance Tactical RPG

The Sacred Stones, or FE8 for the main Fire Emblem gamers, is probably the most accessible retro Fire Emblem game currently available on RetroAchievements. Contrary to earlier titles, there are multiple ways to grind up your characters outside of the finite story chapters. Not only that, you can also grind gold and get stat items if you collected the access to secret shops. It’s a great way to get into the series mechanics without having to be an expert at the Turn-Based Strategy genre. In my personal experience, the story isn’t as “medieval fantasy” as The Binding Blade or The Blazing Blade, nor does it have the world building like Fire Emblem 9 on the Gamecube does. The mix of accessibility and core Fire Emblem gameplay still make this game a banger.

The set also does an amazing job of introducing you to all types of content the Fire Emblem universe has to offer, while still having enough challenges to even frustrate more dedicated FE-genre players such as Sines Sines. Yes, the Creature Campaign might not be the easiest post-game in the series, but the possibility of grinding does make it accessible in the long run for first timers.

If you were ever interested in Fire Emblem gameplay. this game is a great start. If you are more interested in it’s world building and more hardcore challenges, where no grinding outside of the arena is possible, make sure to check out The Blazing Blade.

Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie’s Revenge (PlayStation 2)

Game Console Genre
Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie’s Revenge PlayStation 2 Action-Adventure, Hack & Slash

There’s one film that I always enjoy to watch not once, but twice a year: Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. The movie is a timeless masterpiece, produced by Tim Burton, along with the memorable music composed by Danny Elfman. Of course there would be a VERY HIGH interest in a sequel, considering the great success of the movie, no doubt. Unfortunately that might never happen, however we did get some sort of a sequel in form of a videogame, made surprisingly by CAPCOM.

It’s often considered a dumped down, repetitive version of Devil May Cry, which is a description that seemed kind of selling it short for what it seems intended to be. It’s more of an accessible DMC experience, by Jack having a rather simple moveset. This, however, does not make it a simple game. The game also comes with a ranking system similiar to DMC that can be very challenging to reach the highest ranking, especially when playing in Nightmare Mode. Not only are enemies stronger, but the requirements are more strict, requiring some studying the level or a more strategic usage of Jack’s moveset. On the plus side, the game will save your highest rank in each category and still sum them up into a total rank of that level, meaning you can just do one run through of a level for just one category to make it less frustrating.

The game recreates the characters and the environments faithfully, with most of the cast of voice actors coming back to reprise their characters. Arrangements of the music from the movie are featured, some of which are used in duets between Jack (sung by Chris Sarandon) and the bosses, which makes them the highlight of the game. They are fun to fight, and the battles can transform into a rhythm game segment where you’re rewarded exclamation marks and dealing damage to the boss based on how good you were with the rhythm game.

Achievements in this set can take quite an effort to earn, considering that most of them require playing in Nightmare Mode. They ask you to do everything in the game, including secret chapters and getting everything from the witches’ shop. Damageless boss battles and a speedrun achievement are also included, and they can require a bit of patience and strategizing to succeed.

While it is certain that the game plays it very safe gameplay-wise and design-wise, it is still an enjoyable action game that especially fans of the film should be playing.

Simple 2000 Series Vol 116: The Nekomura no Hitobito | The People of Cat Village (PlayStation 2)

Game Console Genre
Simple 2000 Series Vol 116: The Nekomura no Hitobito | The People of Cat Village Simple 2000 Series Vol 116: The Nekomura no Hitobito | The People of Cat Village PlayStation 2 Action-Adventure, Real-Time Strategy

The Simple Series is a Japanese exclusive group of budget games created by D3 publishing. Some of these games went on to inspire spin-offs, such as the Earth Defense Force games. Others, such as The People of Cat Village, are just bite sized games that faded off into obscurity. This game features a cat who must rescue his fellow cat citizens and utilize them to combat monsters, solve puzzles, and save the princess who has gone missing.

Those familiar with the Pikmin games will be very familiar with the game mechanics here. Large items require multiple cats to pick up, and some items even require special handling by cats with specific jobs, such as swimmer, firefighter, or swordsman. You may need to return to a level after unlocking a new job to complete a new part of the puzzle. All items you capture are added to a collection and grant crafting materials you can use to decorate your home base.

Since the game is exclusive to Japan, there is no English language setting. However, MelodyAsh MelodyAsh has put together a fantastic guide in the official forum topic that gives you all the information you need to master the set. There is even a translation for the story, which are all silly takes on Japanese folklore stories. While playing, I’d highly recommend looking up the stories on Wikipedia to gain context for the jokes presented by the story.

This game was a surprise to me when I tried it for the PS2 launch event, but since playing it, I can’t stop recommending it. Don’t let the lack of language options stop you from playing this charming game!

PiCross (Arduboy)

Game Console Genre
PiCross PiCross Arduboy Picross

If you like Picross, then you get the idea: this is more Picross. Woohoo, right? Well, there’s a bit of a catch to this one that I think adds it a bit of flavor. Most Picross games become samey after you’ve played a lot; the same strategies will solve pretty much any board they try to throw at you. PiCross makes you dig a little deeper: there are some puzzles where the edges don’t give you 100% information on how to accurately draw the final picture. Normally, this is terrible for a Picross game, because the final answer would become logically unsolvable. However, PiCross fixes this issue with a simple feature: if you fill the board in such a way that all the rows and columns’ conditions are satisfied, then the puzzle is legally considered solved, even if you hadn’t drawn the picture you were theoretically expected to. This extra bit of difficulty combined with an extra bit of freedom makes for a probably unintentional, but nevertheless fun take on the genre. No longer are you bound entirely within the rules of logical deduction, if you can figure out a way to fudge the numbers, then it’s good enough. If Picross hasn’t been challenging you for a long while, this is a neat game to spice it up.

Mick & Mack as the Global Gladiators (Mega Drive)

Game Console Genre
Mick & Mack as the Global Gladiators Mick & Mack as the Global Gladiators Mega Drive Platforming

One of the most criminally overlooked games from Sega Genesis / Mega Drive’s vast library is Mick & Mack as the Global Gladiators. Yes, on the surface it is a game advertising McDonald’s and such stuff could sometimes possibly be brought straight from hell or from garbage (see M.C. Kids for NES), but this is a Dave Perry game, and it runs on the same exact engine that he afterwards would use for Cool Spot and his breakthrough hit Aladdin. So, it is kind of a mystery of why Cool Spot, being the same type of advertisware from the same developer, is much more popular than this awesome platformer. It has great unusual mechanics, it has lots of secrets that you’ll have to uncover, it has a funny, cool 90s vibe (even despite lame Ronald’s mandatory appearance), and it is challenging (unlike another McDonald’s advertisement Mega Drive game “McDonald’s Treasure Land Adventure”). Speaking of challenging stuff – the set made by NgNvNn NgNvNn is hard but fair and covers everything right. So, do yourself a favor and don’t miss this hidden gem of a game. It deserves much more attention than it gets.

Super Punch-Out!! (SNES)

Game Console Genre
Super Punch-Out!! (SNES) Super Punch-Out!! (SNES) SNES Sports - Boxing

A great addition to the Punch-Out!! series, Super Punch-Out!! is a great play for those both new and familiar. Test your skills by taking on all opponents in championship mode, or by figuring out the quickest way to victory in time attack mode. The revision made to the set a few months ago also provides many interesting challenges. Speedrun achievements as well as individual challenges have been added for each fighter, so if you’ve previously mastered the game, it’s a great opportunity to come back and get that re-mastery. I highly recommend trying out Super Punch-Out!! as your as your next set to tackle.

LostMagic (Nintendo DS)

Game Console Genre
LostMagic LostMagic Nintendo DS Role-Playing Game, Real-Time Strategy

LostMagic is a DS game developed by Taito and published by Ubisoft. In this game, we take control of Isaac, son of the White Night Bishop to stop the Diva of the Twilight, using the touch screen to cast magic and defeat the monsters and enemies along the way. You can also create your own monster team to help you in your quest. This game is a pretty hidden and underrated gem from the DS that more people should play. It’s so good, and the set is also pretty neat, with the No Monster challenges testing your magic skills (they really are hard if you don’t have a strategy). Even when I played it on PC (I heavily recommend playing this on a mobile phone/tablet), I still had loads of fun with the game!

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Game Boy Color)

Game Console Genre
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Game Boy Color Role-Playing Game

It’s rather rare that a book is adapted into a decent movie, and it’s even rarer for a great movie to be adapted into a high-quality video game; therefore, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets for the Game Boy Color is a rather pleasant surprise. Like Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone before it, this game is a turn-based RPG which was developed by Griptonite Games, and their passion for the source material really shows. The game goes through every one of the events in the film and even one or two that were omitted, like Sir Nicholas’ deathday party. Since a lot of the groundwork was laid out when building the first game (such as having to construct Hogwarts from scratch), it allowed the developers more time to expand upon the gameplay.

One of the more obvious changes comes in the form of the party system. While the first game restricted the player to outfitting and fighting as just Harry, this one frequently allows the player to use a party of two and sometimes even three characters. Most of the time, the additional party members are Ron and Hermione, but there’s a certain point near the end of the game where you also get to play as one of the professors. What’s really interesting is that each of the characters has their own special abilities and even varying levels of proficiencies with the different spells you learn throughout the game. While frustrating, it’s amazing that the developers even thought to include the chance for Ron’s wand to backfire when casting a spell after crashing the Weasleys’ car into the Whomping Willow.

Moving on to Prism Prism’s achievement set, it covers everything one would expect, and even a little bit extra. Plus, the badges look great. There are 72 achievements worth a total of 485 points. The obligatory progression achievements are spaced out fairly well, and there are also achievements covering each of the side quests, plus some more for upgrading all the spells and filling out the bestiary. I thought it was a nice touch that the achievements for collecting the famous witch and wizard cards were tied to collecting the in-game rewards rather than just finding all the cards, even if it can lead to some achievement spam. The little bit extra I referred to earlier was in regard to the mini-games, which are much more varied and interesting here than what was present in the Sorcerer’s Stone. I really appreciated that each of the eight mini-games has a couple unique achievements as well as its own leaderboard for playing on the hardest difficulty.

I would definitely recommend this game (and its achievement set on RA) to anyone that’s a fan of either the Harry Potter book series or the Harry Potter film franchise. It won’t disappoint.