Reviews by Ruzinus

90

Straight outta your unconscious mind.

Ruzinus | June 9, 2013 | Review of Anodyne

In many ways, Anodyne is a Zelda tribute. You play Young (or is it Yang?) as he explores his unconscious. "It was all a dream!" isn't some twist here, it's just the basic premise. As a premise, it's much cooler than as a twist, because it means that you're basically exploring a human's psyche.

Young clearly plays a lot of Zelda. Other than the clear visual link (...oops) to LTTP and Link's Awakening, the world is also filled with any number of little Zelda jokes.

And yet, the gameplay is clearly its own thing. One of the things that clearly identifies a Zelda game is its signature dungeon design: You enter a dungeon, you have to find ways to get around without a critical item. Eventually you fight a midboss and get a new toy, and the new toy completely changes your ability to interact with the dungeon.

Anodyne does not do this. Anodyne gives you no new toys. You gain the ability to jump, and you gain a certain cool ability as an endgame reward. But the dungeon design doesn't rely on that central Zelda trope. Instead they just get trickier as you go. But they don't hardgate you with items, they just force you to get better at knowing what Young can do and at solving puzzles. It's actually entirely possible to do dungeon 3 before dungeon 2 (I actually did this), and to do dungeons 4, 5, and 6 in whatever order you like.

But it still essentially feels like a Zelda game. You move through an overworld. You enter dungeons. You solve increasingly difficult puzzles, and eventually you fight a boss.

It's just what a Zelda game might be if it broke down the fourth wall and realized what it was.

Anodyne isn't as cool as Link's Awakening, but it's a hell of a lot cooler than Oracle of Seasons. If you like old school Zelda, play this game.

90

A story machine.

Ruzinus | June 9, 2013 | Review of XCOM: Enemy Unknown (NA) -

The beauty of this game is that it generates stories which are unique to each player.

The soldiers you command, the victories they pull off, their battlefield stories... those are all unique to you.

And those moments when your awesome soldiers die... it hurts, but its kind of beautiful too. Because its not some pre-decided piece of plot, its not some scene that everyone that plays the game will witness. It's a bit of story that will only ever happen in YOUR file.

Also its just nice to see a strategy game where the graphics seem to belong in this millenium.