Pokémon Brilliant Diamond
Date Finished: January 5
God, I feel so conflicted on this one. I enjoyed my time playing it, but at the same time it felt like something was missing. It definitely could have used some more time in the oven, but I wouldn't call it bad either. The lack of Platinum content definitely hurts as well. Maybe in a couple years when we know for a fact no new updates are coming out I'll have a more concrete opinion.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus
Date Finished: January 30
This game was really great and definitely a step in the right direction for Pokémon. The gameplay feels really good, though when playing my brain often randomly thinks I'm playing Breath of the Wild and gets surprised when I can't jump. Getting to fight Pokémon yourself is a bit weird and I found those parts of the game kinda hard, but fortunately there's not much of a penalty for losing and you can hop right back in where you left off. I'm really surprised that no DLC has been announced? There's the free Daybreak update but nothing else. I hope this style of Pokémon is brought back someday, it would be a shame if we never got a game like this again.
As much as I enjoyed this game, there's a sorta shitty aspect to the story I've seen people talk about that I feel would be irresponsible not to address. I'll try not to spoil anything, but a core aspect of the story is that the Galaxy Expedition Team is essentially creating a colony in Sinnoh. This becomes uncomfortable when you consider that Sinnoh is based on Hokkaido, which was colonized by Japan in real life. I hope the devs didn't have any bad intentions when writing this, but it's not great regardless. Hopefully future Legends games won't have the same implications. If you'd like to learn more about the Ainu people of Hokkaido and their plight, you can do so here.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land
Date Finished: March 26
This is the HD game that Kirby deserved. I like Star Allies just fine, but Forgotten Land is an improvement in almost every way. There aren't many copy abilites this time around, with fewer moves for each, but this is made up for by the ability to upgrade them into different stronger forms. The lore implications of this game are crazy....I won't spoil anything but there's a certain postgame boss that made me lose my mind
The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap
Replay? Sort of?
Date Finished: April 27
The first time I played this game I remember not enjoying it all that much. I never made it past the final dungeon. I decided to replay it on my N2DS and it turns out it's WAY better and more fun to play when your hands aren't cramped. This time I really enjoyed it, going as far as to 100% complete it! Definitely one of the best 2D Zelda games IMO.
Date Finished: June 2
Another game that was on my list for a really long time. You could only get a physical version in Japan, but luckily the English translation is baked into it so I was able to get that. This game is absolutely GORGEOUS, it looks like a painting come to life. Amaterasu is very fun here, I like that she's this all powerful beloved highly respected goddess but she's ALSO a silly doggy. Every time Issun speaks to a female character I want to squash him so bad
Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land
Date Finished: June 7
This game is.....fine. I don't know, something about how Kirby controls here just feels....off? It's hard to explain, but his movements don't feel as good compared to other games. It's a very visually appealing game though, and the level designs aren't super crazy but still pretty good. Haven't tackled the extra game or Meta Knightmare yet, maybe someday.
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Psychic Puppets
Date Finished: June 16
This isn't a full game, just a short romhack, but I wanted to mention it anyway. This was really good! It feels a lot like one of the Special Episodes from Explorers of Sky. I like the portrayal of Mewtwo as sorta naive and clueless, but ultimately well-meaning overall. If you've played one of the Rescue Teams and want to check this out, you can download it here.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Date Finished: June 21
Another game that's been on my list for a while. I died playing this game way more times than in any other Zelda games for some reason? I don't know if it's just me but a lot of the enemy damage outputs felt really unfair, especially in the early game. Emulator save states are a lifesaver here. The dungeons are pretty straightforward, which was nice. You can really see how everything in this game laid the foundations for the rest of the series to come. It definitely deserves its status as a classic and is a good game, but there's other 2D Zeldas I'd rather play instead. I used the Redux hack to play this, which can be downloaded here.
Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
Date Finished: June 30
This game is one of those where it's definitely best if you go blind, and yet is SO hard to talk about without spoiling anything. Gameplay itself isn't the kind of thing I'd usually go for, but the story more than makes up for it and kept me invested. I'm not entirely sure I'm satisfied with the ending, but it's fine and I'm still glad I finally got around to this game. For the love of god please play it (but don't pay the ridiculous eBay prices, just emulate it lol)
Pokémon Ultra Sun
First Time (I already played Ultra Moon)
Date Finished: August 12
Was pretty busy this summer and just wanted something familiar to relax with. Alola is very special to me for a variety of reasons, so it was nice to visit again. This game admittedly doesn't have much of a reason to exist, though I do think it's an improvement on the original Sun & Moon in a few ways.
I feel conflicted about the story....on one hand, Necrozma and the Ultra Recon Squad were pretty cool and felt like organic additions in my opinion. I do feel a bit disappointed that Necrozma wasn't actually evil like I had expected when I first played Ultra Moon. The concept of a Pokémon beign the main villain is really cool, and something I wish more games would attempt. (They later did something similar to this with Eternatus in Sword & Shield, but we still don't know if it's actually evil or just acting on instinct)
I really really hate how this game tries to redeem Lusamine. It would be one thing if we actually saw her change and become a better mother to her children but she just.....doesn't. She just kinda jumps from point A to point B and it doesn't feel earned. The Rainbow Rocket episode was a joy to play through though, and a good send-off for Pokémon on handhelds. I plan on shiny hunting the Ultra Wormhole legendaries once I've finished the 'Dex.
Date Finished: September 10
Finally this is out! It feels like an improvement from 2 in so many subtle ways. The story mode starts off like that of the previous two games, until a boss fight occurs and the rest begins, becoming much more like Octo Expansion, albeit much easier. Having Mr. Grizz be the villain is great and I love that he's an actual bear because of how much I know it pisses some people off. I also really like how Deep Cut serve as villains/bosses for most of the story, it's the first time we've had something like that. The final boss fight is great too, I love how Octavio helps you out instead of being the final boss himself. I am a bit disappointed that we didn't really get much more Salmonid lore, but maybe they're saving that for the DLC. Little Buddy I would die for you