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30 Days of Video Games - BONUS: Why Do You Play Games Pg. 142

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Day 21: Most memorable unlockable


Sorry, gotta have to go with Sonic for this one.




Green Hill Zone for SA2: Battle


Words cannot describe the amount of suffering I went through to get this level. The time attacks, the A ranks, the Chao raising, all of it was tedious and unpleasant. When I did finally manage to beat the last Eggman mission, though, all of that labor finally became worth it.


The space, oh the space. Playing the levels over and over made me realize how linear the levels are, and my want for something more, and at long last, I found the space I was searching for.


I was finally at peace with the world.



The fact that it's the original level design with a 3D touch to it is really cool, too.


Day 21: Complete

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Day 21 - Most Memorable "Ninja didn't even know this exists let alone have a chance at getting it" Unlock




Nothing stands out more to me that good ol' Super Sonic. Playing the classics as a kid, I had no idea such a thing existed in the game at first until that special day where I finally got all seven Chaos Emeralds. I was weirded out a bit when the text came up saying "YOU CAN NOW USE SUPER SONIC", so I was left to experiment around to find out what the hell the game was talking about.


Since it was Sonic 3 I was playing too, it wasn't immediately obvious when it was usable either, it was only on accident that I used the Insta-Shield and triggered the transformation, which was a bit of a shock V:. Once that wore off though, hot damn was I mesmorized. Sonic was invincible to everything (well almost....), and he was so much faster. It was just a big wow moment for me as a kid.

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It didn't really change much in the game (like the skate shop guy getting strangled in the background), and while they did put a bit of thought into it (his specials are pretty cool) the most impressive thing about it is that they managed to include him as a hidden unlockable without including two dozen copyright notices that spoiled the surprise, but when you say "most memorable unlockable" the first thing that comes to mind is "Darth Maul in Pro Skater 3".



It really helps that it was around the time when everyone still was in forced denial about whether Episode One was any good, and Darth Maul was still being treated in various popular media as if he was going to be the next Boba Fett. In hindsight Spiderman in Tony Hawk 2 was cooler, but that might be nostalgia talking (what was cooler in 1999 than Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2?); and still not as memorable.

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Day 22 - Favorite Art Style

btw both of these are in-game and just had their res boosted mmf ♥

Souls Series

I talked about the art style in the Souls games a bit in the Zelda topic recently. They're games that absolutely thrive on the masterful presentation of their worlds and characters, and they're unmatched there, in my opinion. See, the Souls games don't play out like your typical adventure RPG does - you're not a hero trying to save the world from destruction or stop an evil person from doing evil things. The world is already dead. You're just an adventurer who's come to end the cycle and let the suffering end once and for all.

Because of that, everything in Souls feels dead and ravaged. Whatever NPCs you meet often have ulterior motives or creepy characteristics, the world itself is, although sometimes beautiful, solitary and unnerving, and the monsters are some of the most horrifying and grotesque eldritch abominations I've ever seen in a game. Even the music has a
feel to it all at the same time. It's an incredible balance between awe-inspiring imagination and beauty, and truly unsettling horror.

It doesn't have to be cartoony or blatantly striking to be memorable. While some may criticize the style as "generic fantasy", I feel this is just missing the point. It's not just about the tools you use, but how effectively you use them, and the Souls games are some of the most expertly crafted games out there in that regard.

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Day 22: Facourite Artstyle

Sonic Unleashed

Without a doubt Unleashed. The art style is believable, yet still quirky. When playing the game, I felt like it was a Pixar movie in terms of how it looked and felt. It basically takes real life and adds a touch of cartooniness to it, and it looks really damn good. They even stylised the humans to fit in with Sonic, rather than having the jarringly real humans from 06.


I absolutely love this art style, and I would be really happy if the 8th gen Sonic games can provide these graphics with 60fps. It must be incredible to play the Unleashed mod for Gens PC at ultra settings with 60fps.

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Day 22! Favourite art style!


I know I've mentioned this game so many times before, but I gotta say this...Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker has the best art style of any Zelda game and best art style I've seen in any game I've played.




I love how expressive the characters are (having those big manga eyes certainly helps!) and how Link does have some sort of personality shining through in this game. I love the colourful cartoony graphics which, because of their cel shaded quality, have certainly stood the test of time and even without the HD port this game is gorgeous to look at. The enemies have really unique designs too and enemies like Moblins and Poe have been redesigned to fit in with the Wind Waker universe, all swirls and bright colours. And of course the NPC character designs are full of personality and work well in cel shaded style too.


This art style when first revealed was received with much animosity because Zelda fans thought it looked childish, but that's pure rubbish. It honestly it isn't childish at all and I think it was a great decision to make this game set mainly on a bunch of islands look like this.


Also, this game arguably has the best Ganondorf design EVER.






Honourable mentions; Sonic Unleashed, Super Mario Galaxy, Rayman Origins, Journey, Jak and Daxter, Ni no Kuni and the Mass Effect series!

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Welp, lemme squeeze this in.>.>


Day 21: Most memorable unlockable.



Playable Super Sonic in Sonic Colours.


We all know by now why Super Sonic is awesome by now. But to finally get him back in playable form since the classic game?! Incredible. And he's playable in 3D to boot. To just hear the announcer go "SUPER Sonic!"...he's excited for you too.  It's feels great to boost as Super Sonic in 3D. Especially in these colorful bright levels which make him look all the better. Especially in that one tight crusher section in Starlight Carnival. To just pull that through, feels great. And there is'nt a final Super Sonic boss battle which makes discovering him all the more sweeter. Getting each chaos emerald feels rewarding again instead of just a McGuffin. I hope this remains a mainstay of the franchise again...


Day 22: Fave Artstyle

Rhythm Thief and the Emperor's Treasure


I doubt there will be a favourite animation day by now so I've put this here. It could be an obscure pick. But this remains to be one of my favourite storylines and favourite rhythm game to date. It helps that it has a pretty face to boot. The animation and the sprites and soft but elegant, simple but classy. And the overworld Map oozes soothing, magical Paris. With its subtle lights and relaxing accordion music, it puts you in the mood y'know. And the cutscenes may be in 2D, I always put the 3D on due to how excellent it comes out partly due to layering and the animation. It just looks that good, like it was made with a big budget, even for a rhythm game.

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Every Fire Emblem game up until Awakening shit all over it's graceful artstyle.




I love Fire Emblem artwork. Even in-game the art is gorgeous. That perfect mix of Anime and Medieval Fantasy is gorgeous.


And you know what one of the best things was?




Armored women were rarely given the boobplate shit that is so common in the industry. Thanks for fucking that up Awakening.

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I really like art styles, maybe it's the graphics guy in me. So I'll talk about these:




Possibly a bit of a cheat, but Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions contains four different Spideys - and as such, contains four unique and brilliantly realised art styles for each of them. They all look absolutely stellar and makes each world a pleasure to go back and visit. This also benefits the game in a lot of ways too. Not only does it keep each area fresh and interesting since you switch between them a lot, but they all have a unique atmosphere which matches their Spidey brilliantly. Amazing feel cheesy and comic-y, Ultimate feels cartoony and young, 2099 is futuristic and high tech and Noir feels suitably dark, concealing and empowering. It still retains the title of the best looking (and playing) Spider-Man game to date for me for this reason and many more.




I don't think many people can deny just how beautiful UbiArt can make a game - but the loveable limbless wonder Rayman showed off just how brilliant the engine can look. In his stunning return to gaming with Origins with a beautifully constructed art style, Legends builds on what was there and somehow makes it look even better. Some gorgeous looking lighting and shading in environments and on character models make the worlds feel even more alive than before, which is noticeable especially when you go back and play the Origins levels and they look better than ever. Couple that with some amazing looking 3D models that look like 2D drawings come to life, and you've got yourself a winner. I'm hoping I can check out Child of Light soon since it uses the same engine and also looks stunning.




Wind Waker is known for shocking fans with its radical new art style which stood the test of time. And though others may disagree, I think the HD version made it even more beautiful. Wind Waker itself looks brilliant even now. Its unique cel shaded style was bright, inviting, expressive and just a damn good eye pleaser. In the HD version, everything gets a little more beautiful with some strong bloom and new lighting, making it feel more alive than ever when you sail across the Great Sea and see the islands in the distance slowly fade into your view. A really great looking game I'd recommend as one of the top Zelda titles to play.


I also wanna give mentions to:

  • Mario and Luigi: Dream Team - the Mario and Luigi series has always stuck with 2D sprites which I've adored, however in 3DS title it combines some lovely looking 3D environments with some incredibly details sprite work which almost looks 3D, and the game looks stunning for it. 
  • Batman: Arkham Series - using a noir, gothic tone to its streets, the Batman games create a level of tone and atmosphere which is far better than Spider-Man Noir creates. It's immersive, amazing to look at, and really creates a level of authenticity within the games that helps sell the "be Batman" element fully.
  • The Walking Dead/The Wolf Among Us - Telltale's two story based adventure games look like animated comic pages ripped directly from their source material, with some great colours and lighting to make the areas feel suitably atmospheric.

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Day 22 - Favorite Art Style




Wind Waker.


Yes, me too. The art is gorgeous. The characters are so expressive, they're "alive" and not just standing there in a generic expression. I love cartoon-ish art style and this one doesn't disappoint. Easily the best 3D Zelda game for me with the best graphics. I've played it again on the GameCube last year and it did age well. I wish they'd had released it on 3DS too :)

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Day 22: Fav. Art Style


Takehito Harada or Disgaea/Phantom Series


Gotta make this quick before the power goes out again. No doubt this is to be expected as I'm heavily attracted to the art style and character designs of Takehito Harada, who is probably most known for his work in the Disgaea franchise.

He inspires me so much and is capable of creating a large range of unique worlds and characters.

Take a look at Laharls Castle.




It's totally bizarre, yet works. The lights in the windows also give some rooms an evil face like look.

He also has his own mascot character that frequently appears in various games, her name is Pleinair. You must've seen her around.



His art style has often been described as "crazy and bizarre" because it features everything from cute pre-teen demons, to freaky pigs in royal clothing. And the unique way he colours them is really appealing. They kinda look like they've been painted, not that I'm an expert of traditional art styles or anything...

The new HD sprites even share his art style. I don't think they'd had him draw every sprite, that would be a ridiculous task for a single person. But I can't be sure or anything.




He naturally has his own website. Link

Anyway, I should go before I lose connection and everything I just typed...


Again with the promise?!


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Day 22: Favorite Art Style






Man I love this game so much. The art style is just eye candy, with electric lighting everywhere you see. It's everywhere and when put in contrast with the realism of the rest of the game and perpetual nighttime, really comes alive. There isn't a whole lot that can be said for the energy-esque mass of colors approach ala Geometry Wars without actually showing it; it's a treat for the senses and naturally draws your attention to it, keeping you captivated while you race along at 150 MPH.





I would kill for another game with this art style.

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Day 22: Favorite Art Style


Please allow me to direct you towards


The Modern Sonic style is my jam.










This style is absolutely beautiful, and it perfectly matches the colorful nature of the 90s era of platformers, while adding a fantastic modern edge to it. It's like playing through a Pixar movie, and I love it.


And when it's properly optimized...


(watch in 1080p for best effect)



...it can be absolutely incredible.

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OK, this is a bit of an odd choice, since the game in question hasn't been released yet, but...








I'm digging Shantae: Half Genie Hero's look - it's got that beautiful, colourful hand-drawn look to it, which is really cool. I like games that are like that, and even want to make one with such a style.


Which is why the fact that my art doesn't even come close to this level of quality and likely never will just makes me sadder.

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Day 22:

My favourite art style goes to:


Ultimate Spider-Man. This game uses a style of Cel-Shading which makes it look more like it was inked for a comic book, and boy did they nail it trying to make it look like a comic. The black shading on the muscles, the city is colourful and again, what you'd expect New York to look like in the comic series. All of the characters look great, and. I love Venom's look too:


Not to mention, the comic book feel really shines in cutscenes where, which are pretty much comics if the panels were animated. Also, during gameplay, if the game thinks you need a hint or needs to give you information on something visually, small comic panels appear on the screen, and gives you even more of a comic sense.

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Day 22: Favourite Art Style






The Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm series


These games probably have the best anime looking graphics IMO. Screenshots don't do the game justice cause you'll have to see it in action to really appreciate how good looking these games really are.


The games look better than the anime, by far. Boss battles in particular are when the games really shine. Combine the beautiful cel-shaded graphics will stellar animation, and it can really be a sight to behold at times.


I would love a DBZ game and a Tales game to have these graphics. It could happen. They're all owned by Namco Bandai after all.

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Day 22 - Favourite Art Style


Ah, I've been waiting for a question like this. There sure are tons of different art styles and some game series love to jump around and try new things. Two that come on the top of my mind are the Sonic and Zelda series. They've got so many unique art styles and it's a bit hard to choose a favourite. In the end I think my choice is mostly based on nostalgia but here it is.




The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker


The Zelda series was pretty unknown to me when I was younger. The first game I ever saw in action was Ocarina of Time and it seemed like a fun enough game. However I never really played a game until Twilight Princess after hearing a heck of a lot in the series. I have to admit, I wasn't a fan. The gameplay, artstyle and overall feel didn't wow me. I then looked up other games in the series and found a very interesting one. The Wind Waker. It sounded awesome, looked awesome and was available on a console I own. I bought a used copy online for quite a nice deal and started playing. 




It was then when I fell in love with the art style. The beautiful cel-shaded graphics amazed me even if it was from a last gen game. And the gameplay wasn't that bad either. Sure, it was easier than other Zelda games, but it was a nice beginner entry for me. I love how characters have a lot of expression in them and how the story is more lighthearted. The artstyle just kinda brings everything together to make the package work. I recall when looking up this game that many people hated the art style because "too kiddy", but honestly I think it's one of the best artstyles the Zelda series has had. 




I'm sure a lot of people can agree with me that The Wind Waker has a magnificent art style and that the game will continue to look fantastic, especially with the new remake on Wii U. 

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Unique, stylized artistic directions always help a game feel more singular. A well designed art style won't depend on advanced graphics to look good. The great thing about stylized art is that it's essentially timeless. Think of Wind Waker or Team Fortress 2. One was released 2003 and the other in 2007. Both of these games look almost as good as they would if they were released today. And yet if you look at many other games in their respective dates with more realistic styles you'll find they look very aged due to relying on outdated graphics. One of my favourite games in that aspect is the original Spyro trilogy:




Woah, doesn't look like a 1999 PS1 game, does it? Sure, maybe in the pixels, but if you play it today the game doesn't feel at all aged or outdated. The bright, colourful theme of the levels and the characteristic appearances make every stage a pleasant experience. And each location has its own identity; take the second game, for instance: Summer Forest is nice and calm, Skelos Badlands is raw and bright, Magma Cone is fast and open...




Visually interesting locations are essential for platformers that heavily involve exploration, and Spyro does a marvelous job. The fantasy tone works well to bind together these different environments, and the fact we see so many variation (from ancient castles to military bases) done with the same consistent art style is part of what makes it so good. You'll never get bored of the game with so many exotic, attractive settings.

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Day 22: *staaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaare* oh wait I have to actually play this...


Is it cheating for me to pick a game that's not even completely out yet (outside of arcades)? Because I really want to talk about...





One thing that hasn't changed about me: I'm a sucker for cel-shading, especially when it blurs the line between 2D and 3D. Guilty Gear Xrd takes this route and deviates from the series' traditional use of hand-drawn sprites, and good god, it looks damn good, ESPECIALLY in motion. 




It looks great, and the use of cel-shading allows for sweet-ass, dynamic camera angles. Still the same stylish Guilty Gear action with a beautiful new coat of paint.

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Favourite Art Style. 



Spyro 2

Spyro%20the%20Dragon%202-Gateway%20to%20  Wintertundra.jpg





There's something about the art style in Spyro 2&3 which makes those games come cross incredibly beautiful when Spyro is either standing still or in motion. The screenshots (above) of the 3 hub worlds in Spyro 2: Gateway to Glimmer have a kind of ancient design - kind of medieval setting which suits the feel of the game. It really helps enhance the experience and definitely improved upon the look and feel of the first Spyro game.





Sonic The Hedgehog CD



This game is fucking gorgeous. The use of colours and level art for me makes this easily stand out as the best looking 2d Sonic game.



Act 3 of Quartz Quadrant - Good Future - is the best looking act IMO. That turquoise city beautifully compliments the blue and yellow platforms and purple mountain in the background. 






I adore the level art in Tidal Tempest which gives the stage a kind of ancient-ruin feel to it.







The greenish carnival in Stardust Speedway's Good Future might seem like a bit of an odd choice mixed with the purple platforms, but it really helps this stage stand out, especially with all those little details in the background. It suits the fast-pace setting of the level.






I play this game a lot on my phone, partly because I love the gameplay but also because I just find it so pretty to look at.

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Wow what an impressive looking game this was.  Puppeteer is a 2D platformer for the PS3 that is entirely set up in the style of a live theatre puppet show.  Every character and piece of scenery looks hand-made out of real material.  Every time the scene changes, the lights dim and everything on screen gets moved aside piece by piece and the new scene is put together in front of your eyes - no exceptions, even for a new camera angle of the same scene, the stage is reconstructed - as it would be if it was a real show!  There are of course some cheats - clouds of smoke may be two-dimensional but they still spawn and disappear at the top of the column out of nowhere - they don't go so far as to animate strings onto all of the moving objects - and the platforming areas scroll in all directions in a way that would be next to impossible to do in real life, but damnit 90% of it is so authentic you really don't mind.  The lighting is perfect and really makes you feel like you're in a theatre.
My only complaint is that the plot doesn't take full advantage of this theatre setting.  Theatre shows tend to be quite conservative with characters and focus on a small story, whereas Puppeteer, despite a seemingly strong opening and likeable cast who look like they're going to be regulars, quickly goes into an "episodic" nature, where each "world" introduces a new area, a new bad guy, and what they're doing and why you must stop them etc.  Very rarely we cut back to the characters from Act 1 and see what they're up to, and one or two of the seemingly episodic characters make a return later on, but generally speaking the story is a little on the segmented and "saturday morning cartoon" rather than "pantomime theatre".  In addition to this, the audience laughter and boos and cheers can sometimes be a bit late to the mark or just plain confusing, like they tended to laugh at the opposite things to me way too often.  It is a Japanese made game though so perhaps some of the witty lines in the localisation were added in and weren't there originally.  ANYWAY I'm straying away from the actual art design, which is amazing.  You guys should play this game anyway, it's a solid 2D platformer and was refreshingly traditional after I feel the download market has gone overboard with twitchy or heavily puzzley/super hard platformers with a bazillion tiny levels, which is not my thing.
...But speaking of puzzley platformers.
Lucidity is a delightful little pseudo-platformer that sort of plays like a more fast-paced, less precise version of Lemmings.  Sofi walks along by herself and you must keep her out of danger and get her to the end of the level using randomised pieces that act as platforms, steps, springboards for vertical jumps and slingshots for horizontal jumps, bombs to destroy enemies and walls etc.  This is all made engaging through very pretty music, a simple but very sentimental and relatable story, and gorgeously minimalistic yet colourful scenery, which slowly progresses in tone across the game as Sofi goes through dream-like locations representing wonder, fear and courage.  The style is so soft and reminiscent of picture books you read as a kid, with the animation being smooth and evocative of... well the animated short films of those picture books.  This game is far from perfect, it's a little repetitive and the story isn't anywhere near as deep or clever as that of indie games like say, Bastion or Braid, but it's sweet and honest, perfect summer's evening playing.
Just to go through some that don't need screenshots because everyone here knows them:
Sonic Unleashed - Hell yeah, so gorgeous.  No other Sonic game has captured the sensation of getting to "be Sonic" in our world, yet still having a slightly surreal, stylised twist.
Paper Mario series - Each game has gone one step further than the last in making the world genuinely look made out of arts and crafts, though I will say I have a special place in my heart for the chunky, simplistic, more typically video game scenery of the first game.
BioShock Series - Gorgeous art direction all around.  The locations are believable despite how fantastic they are, and the characters are just SLIGHTLY stylised so you can still believe them to be real people, but dodge the uncanny valley entirely.
The Last of Us - In the opposite sense to BioShock that dodged the uncanny valley through style, The Last of Us leaps right over that valley.  The characters look, talk and move like real people, and are completely believable.  The environments could have been grim and generic, but they took an angle where non-human life has not been curiously wiped out in the apocalypse.  Fantastic.
Skullgirls - I'm not into fighting games much and Skullgirls is no exception - but man I wish I was.  Amazing art, amazing animation, ladies who are "fun" sexy rather than the "gratuitous" sexy of most fighting game girls.
Pretty much any Kirby game from the GBA onwards - Seriously just take a moment to look at the backgrounds in any 2D Kirby game from the GBA or DS.  They're works of art.  Fortunately, Kirby's Adventure Wii and Kirby Triple Deluxe have not neglected to continue this legacy despite moving once again into a 2.5D style.

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Man, it's a shame I've haven't touched upon this franchise before now.






As in, the original Rayman. This franchise has a long history of being ultra stylised in its graphical presentation, and it really helps to sell the games to you. The latest examples, Origins and Legends arguably take this up to eleven and make them the most stylised of them all. But if I had to pick one, it would actually be the very first Rayman. Yes, it's hard as balls. Yes, I haven't even gotten past the first world in my time of owning the game. The game still has a great visual charm even as it's kicking my ass all ways to Sunday. It's got the cartoonish tint that its later siblings would have, while being pleasant and soft like, say, Yoshi's Island. The great use of colour palette really assists in design as well, favouring bright but pastel-ish hues. Combined with the bold character design, this makes it a cute visual treat no matter what you think of the actual gameplay.

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Yeah, I hate to be one of those guys, but this game's graphics made a huge impact on me. I might be more fond of the Donkey Kong Country trilogy's ACM graphics, but nobody wants to hear about those and this game arguably shocked me more, as I was old enough to appreciate a jump in graphics when I played Wind Waker.


It's like playing a cartoon. It's magical. It's amazing. The gameplay is so smooth, too, nothing is lost due to this graphical style. I want a game that looks like this again in a different type of world, something that isn't an ocean with mostly green islands.

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Here are some of the days I missed in brief:

19. Favorite antagonist


Bowser from Paper Mario. Bowser in these games probably has the best personality I've seen from this dude yet; he's a big dork who's desperate to hold onto his status as main antagonist and fucking enjoys being an evil king. His minions fear and yet completely adore him at the same time, and occasionally you feel like even he's sometimes weirded out by the kind of troops he leads. He also happens to be one of the most sensible and yet outright clueless characters in the series. In TTYD, he tries his hardest to keep on top of things and get an understanding of what's going on, which probably would work if he weren't so many steps behind Mario (and, or so he believes, Luigi of all people) and the real bad guys of the story. Bowser in the M&L games never endeared to me as much and in BIS he comes off to me as outright obnoxious, but Bowser's attempts at being a badass in Paper Mario are understated and have much better comedic timing, at least for me.

20. Favorite side character


The mom from EarthBound. A bit of a weird choice but since the game is relatively fresh in my mind, I like any opportunity to be able to talk about her. Despite not being important in the grand scheme of things, I love how she unconditionally supports Ness on his journey while still treating him as her son first and foremost (ex. "Your teacher called, but don't worry, I got you covered!"). Even after Ness and co. defeat Giygas and he comes home, she warmly welcomes him home and asks him to talk about his adventures over dinner. EarthBound is a game with a lot of heart, and I always cite Ness's mom as a good indication of why.

21. Most memorable unlockable


Unlocking Meta Knightmare from Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land. Playing as this guy finally was really fucking badass, and he has a lot more moves up his sleeve than Sword Kirby does which allows him to solve every puzzle in the game. Some things are more difficult with his smaller health from Extra mode and you can't save your game at all which is a shame, but otherwise it's a really awesome campaign that can be completed in a little under an hour and I always have a blast with it when I revisit it. Meta Knightmare Ultra is also cool, but it's a lot longer and less of a surprise than it was in NIDL.

22. Favorite art style


Epic Yarn ranks as one of the easier Kirby games (unless, once again, you try to go for 100% completion which can be brutal), but to me that's not really a fault when compared to everything else this game has to offer. This series has an undeniable talent for making each experience enjoyable in its own right, and EY is an absolute joy to play through just through sheer visuals and a charming soundtrack. I loved playing through the game just to see what the next level would look like, and the gimmicks made use of the game's yarn theme very well to the point where I can't see this game working if it looked like something else. Unlike most Kirby games, I prefer to move at a leisurely stroll rather than double-tap the D-pad to run every time (partly because running is a bit slippery anyway) so I can take everything in at my own pace.

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