One for You, the Rest for Me - Pile of Shame July 2022

All good things must come to an end. Late to post threads are back, baby! The title reflects the number of on time posts you will get.

Some housekeeping notes.

If you're interested, trueheart78, has the 12 month 2022 pile plan thread over here.

A quick reminder, in order to be considered "Pile of Shame" the game needs to be at least three months old. Otherwise, it's just a new game you haven't gotten to playing yet.

Also, if you are curious about some of the previous threads, Picks of the Pile, etc... Please go here and check out the spreadsheet I setup.

This month's Pick of the Pile is


"Explore a land filled with lost legends, ancient powers, and ferocious monsters in TUNIC, an isometric action game about a small fox on a big adventure." (Official Site)

Battlefield 4 - AUs_TBirD
Close to the Sun - AUs_TBirD
Death's Door - iaintgotnopants
Dragon's Crown Pro - AUs_TBirD
Fallout 4 - iaintgotnopants
Fell Seal Arbiter's Mark - Stele
Final Fantasy XV - mrtomaytohead
Firewatch - mrtomaytohead
Golf Club Wasteland - bobbywatson
Metroid: Zero Mission - Forlorn Hope
Minecraft: Story Mode - Season 2 - AUs_TBirD
Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna) - AUs_TBirD
Road 96 - AUs_TBirD
Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time - mrtomaytohead
Tunic - brokenclavicle, mrtomaytohead
Young Souls - brokenclavicle

Delores: A Thimbleweed Park Mini-Adventure - AUs_TBirD
Wildermyth - Stele

Ratchet & Clank - bobbywatson

Nintendo Switch
Metroid: Dread - brokenclavicle, AUs_TBirD

World of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck - AUs_TBirD


Fell Seal Arbiter's Mark

Working on it with the JRPG & CRPG cross club Q3 game. So hopefully will finish this time. Resuming my game from back in January.

Bringing Metroid: Zero Mission (Wii U/multi) over. Not sure if I'll have energy for gaming this month either with the new job but one short game might be possible.

While I am playing Fell Seal for the various clubs, I don't believe I'll have the bandwidth or focus to get that out of the way by month's end, so I won't be picking that for the time being. However...

Metroid: Dread (Switch)
Young Souls (Multi)
Tunic (Multi)

These three above are all started and shouldn't take me more than a couple of weeks to knock out. Leaving enough time to polish any of them off if I run behind schedule.

Carrying Golf Club Wasteland (multi) for now. Otherwise I'm playing nothing but long JRPGs (and a replay of an older game), with no chance of completing any of them in July.

Got a few days of the house to myself, so of course I'm going to totally over-commit.

Formatted list:
Battlefield 4 - AUs_TBirD
Close to the Sun - AUs_TBirD
Dragon's Crown Pro- AUs_TBirD
Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna) - AUs_TBirD

Delores: A Thimbleweed Park Mini-Adventure - AUs_TBirD

Metroid Dread - AUs_TBirD

Carrying over Metroid Dread, which I'm about 20% through. Halfway through Dragon's Crown. The rest are basically new to me, but none of them are terribly long.
I'm feeling so confident, that I suspect I'll be adding to this list.

Pride before the fall and all...

Still working on Death's Door (multi). Thought I would have finished it last week but I was busier than I thought I would be.

Just started on Fallout 4 (multi). My old PC couldn't handle it when I first bought it. Haven't had a chance to get back to it since I upgraded until now. This will probably take me well into August (if not all the way through).

Already finished on the 3rd: Final Fantasy XV (PC/Multi)

Working on Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time (PC/Multi), and Tunic (PC/Multi) which released in March, so it should be eligible.

My latest ‘play all steam games in alphabetical order’ fizzled out again. I’m going to try going through the steam suggestions of what to play next for awhile to see how that goes. First on the list is Divinity Original Sin 2. I started and never finished the first one a whole bunch of times, and it seems like to large of a game to finish in July, but I’ll see how far I can get.

I will add Ratchet & Clank (PS4) to my list. After watching my roommate play it recently, I've decided to jump in as well.

Samurai Jack: Battle Through Time (PC/Multi) is down. A bit dated in many regards, in a way that feels like it was designed at the end of the original show's run, and then released after the final season came out years later, and it was updated in ways to smooth out the rough edges, so it mostly works.

Metroid Dread is down. Jaysus H. Christ, that last boss took some doing. I'd forgotten one could use the super mega bomb, and once I'd recalled that, it was considerably easier. That third phase, people!

I must admit my reflexes aren't what they used to be, now that I'm in my forties, but this was pretty challenging there at the end. That and the EMMI, which were suitably frustrating for a while, made the game a very interesting proposition. I loved that they brought in elements from pretty much all the 2D iterations, and hope that they let me use that super weapon one gets at the end in futures games.

Once thing that I keep wondering about is, when it comes to Metroid, once you get some of the more powerful weapon upgrades, you're pretty much at the end of the game. I wish they would have one go through a bit more bosses and the like with those powers. It often feels like once you get to be uber powerful, you're pretty much done.

This counts as a separate post,I think? What a beautifully sh*t game: Tunic. Great visual design; great world design. There are some really terrible encounters with the bosses and this is coming from a Souls-like fan. I find a lot of the trial and error game great if you have the patience or turn on the accessibility options to survive. I Think the devs need to analyze what they have done and adapt it. Not great, as much a I enjoyed the game.

Mind, these are drunken thoughts after completing the game.

I beat Ratchet & Clank earlier today! It was pretty good!

I am also dropping Golf Club Wasteland. The game is not fun enough, and the audio is f*cking depressing.

Finished Death's Door. Really good. I wish there was more variety to the combat other than swing a couple of times and dodge. The abilities all seemed kind of useless in combat because they took too long to charge. That's my only complaint everything else was great.

Still working on Fallout 4 as my main PC game. Not going to declare a new Deck game until I finish Stray.

Wildermyth (PC).

I'm hooked and might finish the whole thing this month. Fell Seal is in danger of carrying over but we'll see.

I can only fight on so many grids at once you know.

Soooo....I've been busy. Listing my declared games in the order I finished:

Delores: A Thimbleweed Park Mini-Adventure - 09 July


Delores is a prototype for a new game, but got out of control and developed into its own ...uh...mind-adventure. It uses Thimbleweed Park assets to take the player on a photo scavenger hunt through town, some time after the end of Thimbleweek Park. There are 30 photos to take in all, but you can only do six at a time before having to restart the game. It does save progress at that point though, so you never get the same assignments twice.
I do wish I had played Thimbleweek Park before playing this, as I think I would have gotten more of the jokes, but there was still plenty to laugh at. One thing that helped was being an old gamer who had played Maniac Mansion, so I certainly appreciated the subtle references to that pioneering classic. There's not much to say about the gameplay as it's classic point-and-click stuff. The focus is clearly on the location, characters and witty writing - and there is plenty of that (the credits are great, and a great "moment in time" snapshot as well). I got stuck on 6-8 of the 30 puzzles and had to look up some hints, so that's about average for these types of games for me. All in all a pretty good 2 hour diversion.

Battlefield 4 - 11 July


I had mixed feelings about playing this game given current world events - is it even appropriate to play a modern military shooter? - but somehow I also wanted to be able to vent some frustrations about said situation this way. I honestly didn't know how I was going to feel once I started playing. So, knowing nothing about who the opponents are in this game, I start the first stage and...I'm immediately fighting Russians. Mind you, Russians that seem somewhat more competent about combined arms than their real world counterparts, but Russians all the same (by the next stage I'm fighting the Chinese already). Feelings-wise, the frustration release won out over the "feeling icky about this" aspect, and I enjoyed the rest of the game.

Overall, Battlefield 4's campaign is fun, exciting, and at times intense. It's also rather pretty to look at. On the flip side, the story is barely comprehensible, the dialog is hot garbage, scenes that are supposed to stir some sort of emotion fall completely flat, and even 9 years after release, I got hit by some pretty major bugs in the campaign's first half (worst being the infamous swimming bug), as well as some minor ones (no voice track).

Bugs aside, it was a fun few hours of shutting my brain off and blowing up "bad guys" through varied environments. I still don't know what the overall story was about, but I didn't actually care either. No desire to try the multiplayer either, assuming people are even still playing it.

Dragon's Crown Pro - 15 July, as the dwarf


It took a while, but I got one out of six character endings (dwarf), and feel little compulsion to wade through dozens or hundreds of hours to get the others, especially since you replay most stages numerous times in just a single run. Gameplay-wise, it's a side-scrolling RPG brawler (think Golden Axe, but with leveling up and loot) for up to four players (or AI) at once. Each class has about a dozen unique abilities to unlock and upgrade, in addition to items with effects, special weapons lying about, and rune magic (more on that later).
The artwork is gorgeous, with large, well-animated 2D characters. Everything is hyper-exaggerated, playing off tropes of the fantasy genre. My dwarf's bare chest was literally the size of a barrel, a -VERY- large barrel. However, leaning into those tropes also includes some problematic representation that hasn't aged well at all. I'm not talking so much about lacking armor or over-exagerrated body parts on playable characters, but rather some of the event graphics ("female warrior monk" being just shy of straight up porn). What I'm trying to say is that the PEGI rating of "12 and up" is probably a few years too low.

There are lots of little nods throughout to other games and media, such as the aforementioned Golden Axe series, Dungeons and Dragons, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and lots of film and music references in the various death messages.

My main complaint about the game is that, anytime there are more than a few characters on the screen - especially if you have allies - it becomes nearly impossible to tell what's going on. I would be button mashing, thinking I was in the middle of a lightning-and-fire infused maelstorm, only to eventually realize I'm not in it, but rather walking against the edge of the screen, swinging at air, having lost my weapons whenever I got knocked out of that scrum. That happened a lot, and the colored indicators over your character (and weapon if you lose it) don't help much as they just blend in with the rapidly moving blur of colors.
The other gripe is the rune-magic system, which requires you to use the touch sensor on the controller, or the right analog stick to find and click on runes in the background and your inventory within a certain amount of time. Aside from it being an awkward way to select things, the fact that the camera is constantly moving if you have allies makes it an exercise in frustration. For example, I basically had no chance to caste the rune-spell that dispells undead until after I'd cleared the screen of undead so that the camera would hold still. Luckily, rune-magic is always optional except for a few rare situations where the camera mercifully behaves.

Obviously, the above complaints didn't stop me from grinding my dwarf up to level 34 and finishing the game with him, along with 15-20 of the 50 optional side quests. And I had fun doing it! I might go back one day with other classes (I did take an Elf to level 4), but that potential day is not in the near future.

Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna) - 18 July


Oh, now this one's a charmer! I knew nothing about Never Alone going in, other than you're in the snow, with a fox, it has "weird words" in the title, and it's short.

Think of a narrated LIMBO, but you're in frozen Alaska, playing through a real story of the Iñupiat - a first nations people. For most of the game you can switch between two characters (Nuna, the little girl, and her companion, a snow fox) to use their unique skills to overcome challenges and progress the story. In the process, you unlock "cultural insights" - absolutely fascinating videos about the life, culture and history of Iñupiat people. I learned much about about a world I knew next to nothing about.

My two points of criticism are that there are at least three sections with serious bugs that required me to restart the game to "reset" that area, and that I wish it were longer, as I wanted to learn more about the Iñupiat. Luckily, I may get that chance!

I got it for free via the Epic Store, but will be picking up the Switch version - not just to send the developer some money, but also to hopefully play co-op with the kids on the big screen.

Close to the Sun - 19 July


Preface: this is not Bioshock without the combat! Honest!
Nikolai Tesla's gigantic ship, the Helios, is architecturally absolutely stunning, and I got to explore it in this horror walking-simulator with puzzles and chase sequences. Early on my character's (Rose's) reactions to what is happening around her seem pretty unbelievable, but that corrects itself as the game goes on. The jump scares get a little old - especially light bulbs that blow out right next to you - but they also become fewer in number as the story begins to take off. At times, Close to the Sun really manages to turn the creep factor up, and at other times, the believability of the world is slightly marred (food that's been lying around for days still looks pristine, a shocking amount of wood flooring/wall paneling/etc used in sections where it seems like a majorly bad idea to do so, why can't Ada step over ankle-high obstacles?).
Overall, it was a tense, intriguing, and visually jaw-dropping experience that seems heavily influenced not only by Bioshock, but also Outlast. Little niggles hold it back, but I can definitely recommend spending 7ish hours with it.

Also finished some undeclared games!
World of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck (Genesis) - 18 July


It's the much easier sequel to Castle of Illusion, that I got to play thanks to my Genesis-mini. World of Illusion is an imaginative, though simple platformer that lets you play as either Mickey or Donald...or apparently both in co-op. The difficulty level is aimed at a younger crowd, but I had a good time playing it for two afternoons - my youngest loved watching, and always asks for the "Mickey" game when he sees it in the mini-consoles' game selection screen. Graphics are colorful and environments varied, characters and well animated and there are even a few voice samples. It's cute, charming, and worth playing even today. I can see it being a good co-op game with the kids someday soon.

Minecraft: Story Mode - Season 2 - 21 July (4 episodes on the 20th, final one on the 21st)


I liked season 1's story-based take on Minecraft, with its relatable characters, interesting world and the battle against the Witherstorm. Season 2 picks up an indefinite amount of time later, when season 1's characters are heroes that have mostly settled down into semi-mundane lives. That is, until one day, Jesse (player character voiced by Patton Oswalt) and Petra go off on an adventure, find a mysterious gauntlet, and all heck breaks loose. Now, Jesse must assemble a (mostly) new cast of heroes, including his assistant Radar, who bears quite a few similarities to his M.A.S.H. counterpart.
You know the drill. It's a Telltale game not long before they went bust, but when they were putting out some quality stuff at the cost non-stop crunch. It's solidly in the upper-middle of their catalog, and you'll have a good time for the 9 or so hours it takes.

My oldest played several episodes (and all of season 1) mostly on his own, but since he can't yet read, his choices were not very consistent.


I'm 2/3 through Metroid: Dread. Might finish it today, but probably tomorrow. Got several more things lined up that I hope to get to.

Oh, wow, I actually beat a pile game. Metroid: Zero Mission is down. I went into this just expecting "another Metroid" having beat Super Metroid and the Prime games but was pleasantly surprised by it. Despite the more primitive Game Boy Advance graphics, it oozed atmosphere. The music both familar and unfamilar filled me with nostalgic joy. I started out feeling a bit scared to explore since I was likely to get lost or overwhelmed but after I picked up more powers/upgrades, I started to feel really empowered.


Then they took everything away at the pirate ship and I feel scared again. But that made getting the suit back feel even better.

Looking forward to playing Metroid: Samus Returns next but I'm a little nervous since I hear it's hard and I'm not good at these kind of games. Zero Mission took me just under 8 hours for only 60% completion. I think I'm going to take a little break before that and continue Yakuza Kiwami 2 (Steam/Multi) which I'll probably be carrying over to next month.

Awesome. There's a Metroid series catch all if y'all want to talk more about them.

Forlorn Hope wrote:

Looking forward to playing Metroid: Samus Returns next but I'm a little nervous since I hear it's hard and I'm not good at these kind of games. Zero Mission took me just under 8 hours for only 60% completion.

If you can beat those games, you can beat Samus Returns. The main things that had me stuck on that one were not knowing you could melee counter bosses, that the game uses some powerups in unique ways


power bomb can be used to turn you into a projectile

and the feeling that the 3DS analog stick wasn't quite up to the task of a few challenges. It took me over 20 hours to get 100% completion, but I spent lots of time just exploring or bombing myself to areas I wasn't supposed to reach yet.

Almost done with Metroid: Dread myself - that one seems harder than I remember Samus Returns being.

Finished Firewatch (Multi) last night which was an unannounced game. It's a really well done game in a genre I'm not likely to ever return to. I enjoyed most of the story, but always was left with a big groan when asked to walk across the map even if it was filled with beautiful vistas and conversation.

Stele wrote:

Awesome. There's a Metroid series catch all if y'all want to talk more about them.

Cool, I'll have to check that out.

AUs_TBirD wrote:

If you can beat those games, you can beat Samus Returns. The main things that had me stuck on that one were not knowing you could melee counter bosses, that the game uses some powerups in unique ways


power bomb can be used to turn you into a projectile

and the feeling that the 3DS analog stick wasn't quite up to the task of a few challenges. It took me over 20 hours to get 100% completion, but I spent lots of time just exploring or bombing myself to areas I wasn't supposed to reach yet.

Almost done with Metroid: Dread myself - that one seems harder than I remember Samus Returns being.

I also used the restore points at a few irritating spots in Zero Misson which I won't be able to use as a crutch in Samus Returns. But I probably can get through it with some patience. Good to know about that spoilered part. My plan is eventually to get to Dread but I'm in no rush to get there. Just going to enjoy the ride.

Dread has a generous continue checkpoints right before boss doors in most instances. The only caveat there is if you close the game, you load back in at the last save station you used.

I didn't get to finish off Tunic as I got sucked into working on all the extra puzzles instead of bashing my head against (what I assume is) the last boss and I've also been playing it only when the kids could watch.

Took longer than I thought, but knocked off my final declared game yesterday morning:

Metroid Dread - 31 July
Pro tip: don't try to take on the final boss when you've been exhausted all day and yet you're still up at midnight. You'll just get your face stomped for over an hour. Come back the next morning and take him out on the second try.
This was so great! Most likely third place in my GOTY (so far) after Control and Psychonauts 2. Finished in 13 hours and 44 minutes with 77% item collection. Huge world to explore, interesting story (that final battle!), great action, tight controls (mostly - I never could figure out how to instant-shinespark), and a good challenge level. Not such a huge fan of the doors that were one-way only, even at the end of the game, which just meant huge detours just to collect another missile upgrade.
Can't wait for the next 2D Metroid!

Also finished some undeclared games!
Road 96 (PC/multi) - 28 July
Most likely you've never heard of this, but Road 96 is a very good roadtrip take on a Telltale game, complete with multiple endings and the ability to fail, yet the overarching story goes on. Not only that, but given current events, it's unexpectedly relevant, as you control young people in 1996, fleeing a fictional police state rich in oil in which they see no future for themselves. Along the way your players meet a crazy cast of characters (over and over again) whose stories all intertwine, and likely hold a few surprises along the way. Sometimes touching, sometimes scary, and occasionally very tense, this is a story worth experiencing. It starts off slow, but let it grow on you. The trippy dance scene (for me, near the end of the game), was worth any rough edges all by itself! The weirdest part of the story to me, however, was how there seemed to be no settlements in this dystopian country, just little bunches of trailers, and yet the roads were often filled with cars.
Highly recommended, and it also has a fantastic soundtrack!

...and a not pile eligible credit roll:
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge (Switch/multi) - 31 July
Finished the story mode with Donatello in about 2 1/2 hours. Everything you loved about Turtles in Time is here and more! Lots more moves, more variety, more playable's just...incredible! They lean into the late 80's/early 90's pop culture extremely heavily, with lots of references back to the Turtles of old. The ending music is just....*chef's kiss*! Several fantastic references to Turtles in Time exist throughout, including an early stage name, spoken in a perfect imitation of the announcer on the SNES.


"Big Apple! 3p.m."

Just like Streets of Rage 4 (my GOTY last year), this needs to be played if you have any interest in these types of games! I can't wait to do some couch co-op runs with the kids when they are old enough for it!