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What game did you play lately that positively surprised you?
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Julius May 30
Beat Invaders. Basically just a juiced up version of space invaders but it's loads of fun somehow.
scaine Jun 8
What a great idea for a thread!

Pretty much everything I've covered in my short Play it Now series.

A Short Hike [Steam] - Heart warming, simple and great gameplay.
Tesla vs Lovecraft [Steam] - Brilliant fun. Great twin-stick, albeit quite short (3 hours).
Manaspark [Steam] - did this inspire Children of Morta? Nah, they came out within months of each other, but it's a superb, less narative-driven, graphically simplistic version of that game.
Reassembly [Steam] - Steepish learning curve, but still the daddy (for me) of all the 2D spaceship builders.
MO:Astray [Steam] - Beautiful, satisfying gameplay.
Mr. Shifty [Steam] - low expectations and absolutely stunning gameplay shocked me. Short at 4 hours. Like Hotline Miami, but I never found that game fun. Mr Shifty is.
and finally...
Wildfire [Steam] - 12 of the best gaming hours at about £1/hour.

And so many more - Mothergunship, Wandersong (so sweet!), Tangledeep, Signal from Tolva and probably a tonne more I haven't played in ages.

I had zero expectation from any of these and they all surprised me by being awesome.
I bought the Etrian Odyssey bundle on Switch (that had a discount at the time) as I wanted a classic RPG style game to play. I'm still on just the first game in the bundle, but for some reason the simple gameplay style feels good. Though the battle system is very similar to what you would see in RPG Maker (enemy portraits up front, player character stats on the bottom, turn-based), I don't mind it. Also the music is pretty good. Dungeon exploration has the quirk of requiring the player to "map out" the dungeon's floors as you progress (I think this was originally a DS game, but they made it work on the Switch in one screen), so that was an interesting surprise. I'm not sure how they handle the dungeon exploration mapping on Steam, but I expect it to utilize the mouse to make it easier to handle. At first, the dungeon-mapping seemed tedious, but when you revisit explored sections of the dungeon, there is this feeling of satisfaction of knowing, "hey, I mapped this out and now I know for sure where everything is here". The game feels good as a classic-style dungeon exploration RPG.
damarrin Jun 14
I played one Etrian Odyssey (Millennium Girl) on the 3DS. It was great. The 3D was very nice for the environments and mapping out the dungeon on the bottom screen was good fun. When the 3DS store was closing another one got heavily discounted (to like 5 dollars) and it seemed rude not to pick it up. I'm not sure I'll get around to it before I die, but I'm happy I have it for my grid-based dungeon crawling fix.
scaine Jun 14
Quoting: damarrinI'm not sure I'll get around to it before I die, but I'm happy

Okay then.
Grogan Jun 15
I'm not easily surprised (though I've been surprised at the gall of some crap) so it took me a while to even think of something to share here. Kona fits this topic for me.


I initially bought that just because it had a Linux port (Unity). I wasn't terribly interested in a another sleuthing, walking simulator. I couldn't get it to work at all, never got past the main menu. It was pretty horrid and didn't respond to typical mesa gl override variables (didn't help I mean). So I sent it back.

A few years later, there's a Kona II Brume demo, that worked perfectly and looked nice. I was enjoying the wintery walk and examining artifacts in the mansion before the demo ended.

Time to try the first Kona game again, maybe things have changed. So I bought it again and nope... same bad behaviour. Dagnabbit, I wanted to see this game, so I switched it over to Proton where it worked well.

I ended up absolutely loving that game far more than my expectations and I've been through it several times. It's not exciting, but immersive to me.

The first thing that got me, was how well this guy captured wintery hell. Driving on country roads you shouldn't be on in snowing/blowing conditions, gave me the same feeling of dread. Similarly, getting out of the truck and trudging through calf deep snow. It made me glad that it wasn't me... that I don't do things like that anymore.

I enjoyed uncovering the story with my sleuthing (and some supernatural interludes taking place) too, but of course I already know it on subsequent replays. Still, I enjoy the immersion.

This game is also rich with mock brands of products. Stubby Canadian beer bottles with similar logos from my youth, "LeBrun 60" instead of Labatts 50 and "Apple Jacques" cereal boxes rofl!

Alright, fast forward again, Kona stops working for me through Proton. I tried different Protons etc. but before I gave up I tried the native Linux version again. Wouldn't you know (I didn't at that point), they fixed that up for the Steam Deck and it works very nicely on Linux now (at least for me). That was another nice surprise. So now all is right with this game for me.

P.S. I'm eagerly awaiting Kona II Brume, I hope development is going well.

Last edited by Grogan on 15 June 2023 at 7:57 pm UTC
Battlebit Remastered. i thought it was going to be a low poly Battlefield turns out it is a more hardcore massive milshooter. Works great on the steam deck. Thanks to the community for making great controller configurations. And its only 12 quid. Makes me regret dropping 60 on Bf2042.
amatai Jun 16
The Last Sovereign I download it on itch first as I was sorting all the itch adult games after itch start itching (hihi) towards making it more difficult to adult game.

I don't know why I downloaded it, the description was snobby and the image not very beautiful but I did and started playing it.

At first it seems like another adult game on RPG maker, but the writing had something, and the point of view was intriguing, so I kept playing.

At one point I switch to steam which has the last version for free and proton is, well, far more efficient than wine.

The gameplay of the game was expanding, the usual JRPG gameplay was soon joined by economic investment, high level politics, intrigue, and battles, even war mainly decided by them. Never a game has makes me feel more like a stakeholder of the world and never a game has manage choice & consequence this successfully.

I hope that future game trying to do choice and consequence will look at this game. He does it particularly right.
dpanter Jun 24
Another one I can mention, Escape Dead Island

A rather fun and short game set in the Dead Island universe. An action adventure zombie killing romp with entertaining story that goes a bit mental, worth a second playthrough which was unexpected. Many people hate on this game and much of it came from a rough launch, but the game is solid today with the Underwater Labs DLC adding a good chunk of extra content. Runs easily on Deck with 60 fps and it looks pretty good to boot.

It's on sale almost always, even now I can find it for less than 3 €. I spent ~18 hours over 2 playthroughs, had a blast the entire time. Definitely a worthy purchase, ignore the haters. I will say the ending fight section is quite annoying, you can't really skip anything in cutscenes, and if you want all the achievements you will need a guide because sections close off permanently as you progress.
Persay11 Aug 11
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Last edited by Persay11 on 23 August 2023 at 6:57 pm UTC
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