Hello and welcome to the new format I'll be using to review game content!! While the old format was fun, it felt a little too restrictive. I want to be able to just talk about video games without putting them into categories; plus I realized it was kind of silly to have categories labeling games as "bad" or whatnot. I've decided that if I simply don't like a game, I just won't talk about it here. But almost every game has something I *do* like in them somewhere, and as much as I'm sure to complain and criticize, I'll include games here because they're worth playing one way or another.
Starting with something I wish I had checked out sooner (and definitely a game worth playing), Picross is a pleasantly fun puzzle game that I recently picked up (I'm playing Picross S8 on the Switch, but you can play it for free on sites like http://liouh.com/picross). Each Picross title will give you a large number of nonograms to solve, which reveals a cute little pixel art image when you've completed it! It's a fairly simple concept but the puzzles in Picross S are a fun challenge and there's a variety of kinds of puzzles to choose from (such as Regular, Big Picross, and Color Picross) that keeps each type feeling fresh. I haven't played a true, pure puzzle game in a while so I was expecting to be a little bored with Picross but I think the straightforwardness actually lends a lot to how enjoyable Picross is; it's easy to pick up whenever, whether for a long session of puzzle cracking or for when you need a quick 20-ish minute break. There are a lot of different Picross games, but if you'll pick up any of them, I've seen it recommended that you start from the most recent title and then work your way backwards in release order. I think I agree with that, since Picross S8 has a lot of helpful tutorials and general gameplay polish that I really enjoyed having, and which might not be available in earlier games.
...And also, speaking of complaining, I finished the new Pokémon Violet game that came out last month. I'm in a place where I've decided I'm not going to be buying Pokémon games anymore because their release schedule and quality drops have really started to grind on me, but thankfully I have found ways to play Violet without...spending 60 dollars...so I did that. Without that price tag I was technically able to play the game without the pressure of large personal investment, but that didn't stop the cracks from showing on this one. Honestly it's a perfectly fine game; I had plenty of fun with it, and would end each session excited to get back to playing later. I sunk a good 30+ hours into this thing, so there's definitely something there. Any way you go about it, Pokémon has always had a pretty solid and enjoyable gameplay formula, and despite the new open world feature that element is still very much intact here. However, as much as I enjoyed it, I feel a fair amount of my enjoyment was centered on the story, my favorite parts being the animated cutscenes, which look genuinely amazing. In contrast, when I had to do Pokémon battles inbetween this unraveling story, I found myself getting increasingly irritated, as it started to feel like unengaging and unnecessary padding. The ending of the whole thing is brilliant, and generally feels worth the time I spend getting there, but I can't help but wonder if I could have gotten the same amount of enjoyment out of watching someone else play, or better yet, a highlight reel that cuts out all the slog and boring bits (which there is plenty of). I definitely did not run through all the content and sidequests, but after the credits rolled, any urge I had to ever pick it up again just kind of evaporated. If I ever do, it will probably be when the DLC is released, which I will maybe play, and either way gleefully not pay for.
Aaaand that about wraps it up for my games played over the last few weeks! Not much to talk about for now but with school workloads I haven't had a lot of time to play or to get into new stuff. Hopefully during the next few weeks I can get to some indies I've had my eyes on for a while.... >:-]!
Picross S8 is available for $9.99 on: Nintendo Switch
Pokémon Violet is available for $59.99 on: Nintendo Switch