2022 Roundup of Games I Didn’t Review – Zero Punctuation

This week on Zero Punctuation, Yahtzee does a roundup of all the video games he didn’t review in 2022.

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You fucking people. “Yahtzee, did you play Signalis?” “Yahtzee, have you heard of Pentiment?” “Yahtzee, are you aware of the concept of video games?” Yes, I am somewhat cognizant of video games, many I haven’t reviewed because what ends up getting the Zero Punctuation treatment is decided by a highly complex algorithm, a very small part of which is affected by commenters dribbling in my ear like a watering can trying to fill a sinkhole. 2022 probably set a record for most number of games people kept vocally recommending at me, usually on the basis that they’re like other games what I like, which is flawed logic. “Oh Yahtzee, you like masturbation, have you tried taking a sausage roll out of its casing over and over again?” So I figured, let’s cover them in the 2022 roundup of games I didn’t review and maybe they’ll finally shut the fuck up. And as long as I’m dreaming, I’d also like a magic carpet.

Signalis

Phwoar crikey could nobody shut the fuck up about this one, probably because it’s like Silent Hill 2 and liking Silent Hill 2 is the closest thing I have to religion. But Signalis isn’t merely influenced by Silent Hill 2, it feels more like the result of someone having played nothing but Silent Hill 2 for ten years and assuming that’s just how you make games. So it’s this retro-style survival horror about robot anime girls in an oppressive vaguely Germanic space future that cribs a few plot points and quite a bit more than a few gameplay elements, motifs and atmospheric touches from Silent Hill 2, right down to the glowing red save points and jumping down holes fetish. Still, it was doing enough to forge an identity of it’s own, but I didn’t finish it because I lost patience with the limited inventory system that meant I could explore all of about three rooms before my robot anime girl’s Hello Kitty branded fanny pack was full and I had to head back to the save point room to offload six ammo clips I had very little use for because I swiftly learned that combat is a mug’s game when the bad robot anime girls are rude enough to keep getting back up after a very firm shotgun to the anime knackers but weirdly polite enough not to pursue you through doors. It was all a bit too obscure for me, as well, although that might be because the game wouldn’t let me carry a flashlight without using up an inventory slot. What, you couldn’t hold it in your fucking mouth? Or is that a faux pas for robots? Like, it’s the equivalent of performing cunnilingus on a small dog?

Case of the Golden Idol

Next in the world of things what you’ll like ‘cos it’s like what you already like, like, a game like Return of the Obra Dinn if it was smaller, less cohesive and depicted entirely with Fuzzy Felt. In Golden Idol we play a hypothetical bodyless essence that for each mission must flit around the final moment of some poor bugger’s life rummaging through the pockets of everyone present and then fill in some blanks on a form to show that we comprehend the text. So it’s a deductive puzzle game with slightly off-puttingly MS Painty graphics. I wish it had better ways to catalog the information we find, and I didn’t have to keep ducking in and out of people’s trousers to confirm the details in the incriminating diaries they’re all ill-advisedly carrying. But it’s an amusing little brainteaser while it lasts and it builds a story that’s fun enough to look back on and piece together once you reach the end. As long as you can get past the fact that it looks like my old Amiga 600 threw up on a Victorian decorative hearth rug.

citizen sleeper

Continuing the theme, this one’s like Disco Elysium, except it’s about a cyborg in the future and instead of watching a pair of sideburns self-sabotage for fifteen hours you watch the exterior of a space station for five. It’s a neat little automated D&D campaign text adventure sort of game where you’re a tiny confused scrap of a person temporarily passing through this vast, incomprehensible world full of different threads to follow until you can find some continued existence to fall into, your path decided by dice rolls against your stats. It suffers a bit from letting you level up enough to be basically good at everything by the end, but I found it an absorbing and ultimately very human story about space people with egg whisks for feet.

sunday gold

Sunday Gold is a point and click adventure set in dystopian future London and transparently not made by people from London because everyone pronounces “twat” wrong, and attempts to merge the point and click puzzling stuff with turn based role playing. Doing anything costs action points, you have to end your turn to get more, and there’s a risk baddies will spawn in when you do that. It certainly stops me brute forcing puzzles by going down every key, piece of paper and rotting chicken carcass in my inventory and rubbing them on everything in the environment, but you use the same action points in the turn based combat and if you end combat with on the AP left and go back to point and click land, you immediately have to end your turn and there’s a chance of getting straight into another combat. Potentially infinite combat but limited healing items doesn’t add up on your game design tax return, I’m afraid, Sunday Gold, so swing and a miss, but I admire an experimental spirit. That’s why I tried to mix rose petal liqueur with sloe gin.

Thymesia

In my last video I began to open up about my struggle with soulslike fatigue, and it was while playing Thymesia that I realized I had a problem. It’s kinda like Bloodborne but with a plague doctor motif, and I stopped playing at the game’s first actual boss fight after I finally gruelingly nibbled their first health bar away and it unzipped its trousers to reveal a second one, at which point I went “This it’s too hard and I’m not having fun. Oh god. Too hard? Not fun? What happened to me? I used to happily slam myself up against the Gaping Dragon all night long.” It could be that I hated Thymesia’s unique combat gimmick where your hits only count if you get your other weapon out to give a second opinion, but Soulslikes in general have been fighting this arms race to keep pushing things even harder and borderline unfair, and at some point I feel I got left behind. “Why does everything have to keep beating me up? Why can’t I play a game about… being a friendly bear who makes pancakes?”
bear and breakfast

Well that’s more like it. Bear and Breakfast is about as cozy as cozy games get without being printed on a tea towel. We play a bear who lives in the woods on the fringe of human civilization, who in stark contrast to basically 100% of everything else with this setting, really likes human encroachment upon nature and wants more of it to happen so they can have more of our delicious trash. So they set up and rent out a bunch of holiday cabins in a light crafting management game. I want Bear and Breakfast to get together with Endling: Extinction is Forever, they’ll probably end up fist fighting in a car park. Anyway, it was providing the cozy light sim experience I wanted until about the two thirds mark when I realized that since furniture has different stats and there’s no real shortage of materials, optimal play is to just furnish every single room with the same shit, and I wanted to play a game about a bear who makes pancakes, not one who has to single-handedly construct a chain of budget motels where the staff spend three hours every morning cleaning out the suicide victims.

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