A MANIFESTO FOR ANIMALS 2K21: THE GAMES OF A YEAR
Here’s Privately Attack wheeling in the TV cart into the classroom in the form of short blurbs for every game I played in 2021. In this freestyle “HyperReview” format I likely won’t be making any grandiose statements and will keep pretentiousness down to a simmer. Let’s Enjoy Video Gaming!
13 SENTINELS: AEGIS RIM
Part tactical RPG, part visual novel, Vanillaware’s newest game proves that you just can’t go wrong with kaiju battles and giant robots. My PS4’s power supply decided to meet God right as I started it, but that gives me an excuse to pick up the switch version and enjoy the bonus content.
ANIMAL CROSSING: NEW HORIZONS: HAPPY HOME PARADISE
Nintendo discovered that in the event of an earth-shattering pandemic everyone and their mother will play Animal Crossing. This DLC expansion is almost it’s own game, and people have proven that if you can build a prison cell for Redd then it’s the game of the century.
I had a lot of fun with this game, right until I didn’t. It’s bombastic, gory, and oh so pleasurable to the ears, but it straight up made me nauseous at times. I think I need new glasses. . . .
A SHORT HIKE
DS nostalgia is all the rage in this cozy little game. It takes maybe 5 hours tops to finish completely, but it’s worth it’s weight in comfort.
For the price of two matinee tickets you can enjoy this short and not so sweet game. You already know how it ends going in, but the events leading to the credits are nothing short of enthralling.
A YEAR OF SPRINGS
Three girls, three stories, one collection! This visual novel collection brings the emotions, so keep a bottle of water nearby in case you get dehydrated from crying.
BABA IS YOU
It’s one of the few games besides Luftrousers that can run on my chromebook. I played about an hour before I realized that I just can’t solve like…any of the puzzles.
BRAVELY DEFAULT II
A 1994 RPG that got sucked into a vortex and landed in 2021. Fantastic music but that alone can’t help the game’s sterile visual design.
CAPCOM ARCADE STADIUM
Your third favorite Japanese developer is selling their old games yet again, but this time with different presentation! The arcade is built in RE Engine, which proves that Capcom will likely never use any other engine ever again.
Not since Sabotage Studio’s 2018 hit The Messenger (read aloud like “The BOUNCER”) Have I been this…broken by a Ninja Gaiden-like.
Part puzzle game, part RPG, part critique of the human condition- Onion Games’ little mobile game that could is now on consoles. If you like media that doesn’t take itself seriously then it’s worth the $15.
DELTARUNE CHAPTER 2
I played a good ten minutes of this before quitting, mostly because my friends and I have this long standing tradition of getting together and voicing the characters. Deltavariant was pretty bad when Deltarune came out this year so our playthrough has been postponed. Looking forward to it though.
DIABLO II RESURRECTED
I forgot to cancel my preorder for this game and well….I can’t play it without thinking of heinous things that have purged out of Activision Blizzard’s offices this year. It’s a shame too because the game rules and I know that there’s some good, talented people there.
One of the best RPGs of all time, hands completely down. Conversations feel like boss battles, just like in real life!
I’m still recovering from the absolute concussion that is this gem of a game. It’s a masterclass in JRPG battle design that begs the question:
“What if there was a little mouse that stole all your money?”
FELIX THE REAPER
Everyone dies eventually, and in this puzzle game a little dude shakes his hips to the beat and makes sure that the right people die at the right time.
This is the game that inspired me to start a tip jar for my writing. My time with this interactive graphic novel had me feeling every emotion in the span of an hour. It’s also probably the most grounded game I've played this year in terms of narrative. It’s just about a girl trying to make it work, whether that be her job, her social life, or her love life. One of the characters has a pair of Doc Martens with yellow laces, and that‘s pretty great.
Doinksoft must’ve gotten a different memo because they’re one of the few indie devs to make a Metroid and not a Metroidvania. You play as a cat in a mech suit. I don’t need to elaborate any further. This game rules.
GOD EATER 3
I played a few hours of this game before realizing that I already have a game that sucks my time away- Monster Hunter. A friend of mine played the absolute dog food out of the very first game on PSP, so I finally decided to give the series a try. It’s a great game, but I just have other things on my plate.
An indie game that critiques capitalism? What a crazy idea!
I jest. This game is legitimately fun and engaging, and pretty funny to boot. Office jobs suck and we all know it.
KENTUCKY ROUTE ZERO
Mystery, suspense, and fantastic writing awaits in this adventure game nearly a decade in the making. The less you know before playing the better.
This rougelite took everyone by surprise, and for good reason.
The game owns.
You can only watch as your little guy smacks skeletons and slimes, but in between battles you can set tiles on the grid to add more enemies for more loot, or give bonuses to the titular hero.
MELTY BLOOD: TYPE LUMINA
I was…somewhat aware of Melty Blood. I knew the memes, my friends and I used to fiddle with Actress Again at our local arcade, and I knew about the source material, but with this latest iteration of the 2D fighter I took time to actually learn the game. It rules, and I’m looking forward to the DLC characters later on down the line.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Literally right as of writing this a new character was announced for the game. I’m not calling myself some kind of gaming Nostradamus but I have been correct on many occasions regarding smash character predictions…
MONSTER HUNTER RISE
Some people have Destiny, some people have Warframe, I have Monster Hunter. At launch I would get off work, do some chores, sit back and slay monsters for nearly 2–3 hours a night. I fell off right when the big story update dropped so I’m likely going to binge on those quests right before the game’s Sunbreak expansion drops this summer.
MR. DRILLER DRILL LAND
I didn’t expect to play more than a few hours of this puzzle game let alone finish the damn thing. The late 90’s chibi aesthetic mixed with the wonderful soundtrack made every minigame in this remaster feel like a Saturday morning cartoon. Easily one of my favorite games this year.
NIGHT IN THE WOODS
God I wish I was 20 when I played this game. I would’ve figured things out so much quicker if I did. When the game came out I was like…24. Now at 28 I feel like these characters would look at me (an anthropomorphic possum) and think of me as like a parent figure or something. No you don’t get it! I’m still cool!
Why did I wait nearly 20 years to play this game? It’s basically feudal Japan’s Resident Evil- made by the studio that makes…Resident Evil. I hope there’s still plans for a remaster of 2&3, but apparently this port didn’t sell well enough for Capcom to put out the effort.
In this isometric roguelike you
Light shit on fire
pet the dog
mourn the dog’s death
pet another dog
mourn that dog’s death
Hey maybe I’m bad at taking care of dogs in this game. Overland completely owns, and it’s one of the few games that I played consistently throughout the year.
After this one hour arthouse horror experience I turned off my switch, got out of bed, and cut all my hair off. I’m not even kidding. I don’t know what that means, but I do know that between this 2018 classic and Adios GB 'Doc' Burford sure knows how to put words to paper, digital or otherwise.
Another game in 2021 that I was just completely surprised by. I played maybe an hour tops back on my old PC 20 years ago, but now as a spry young millennial I went hog-wild on this boomer shooter.
RESIDENT EVIL 3
Developed in tandem with Resident Evil 2’s remake, we have less of a shot for shot retelling and more of a light re-imagination of Jill’s trek through Raccoon City. A la cart it’s a mild action game, but paired with RE2 in a weekend it’s a good experience throughout. It makes sense that Jill has a dodge considering all the training she’s endured in STARS. You’re just hating.
SEGA AGES: COLUMNS II, LIGHTENING FORCE, THUNDER FORCE AC
Every year I buy a few games ported by the wonderful M2, and for 2021 I went with some of their latest work for Sega. Each game is sold separately, but I went ahead and took advantage of a sale and grabbed three at once. I’m including these together mainly because I had a habit of switching from one game to another back to back to back, so in my eyes I can’t have my puzzle game without my arcade shooter. They’re all great games, and this isn’t necessarily a review of any of them rather a review of M2’s work. In conclusion: M2 completely owns.
SHIN MEGAMI TENSEI III: NOCTURNE
In preparation for SMTV I went ahead and tried my luck at finishing this Atlus classic. What I got was a better story overall, but the gameplay feels dated even for 03’s standards. I still consider it required playing if you want to fully understand the meticulous mechanics that fill JRPGs today.
SHIN MEGAMI TENSEI V
For real though, if you like good game design check this RPG out. The story is lacking but you’ll be smacking around demons for several hours before you start to notice.
STREET FIGHTER V
Cold weather gets me in the mood….for fighting games.
In February of 2018 my city had a gnarly freeze, so with nothing else to do I sat in my bedroom with a cheap space heater on the table to keep my hands warm while I climbed up the rank in SFV’s Arcade Edition update. Three years later we’d see another weather anomaly (now with snow) and while one of my senators was taking a leisurely flight over to Mexico I sat in my apartment and played a good ten or so hours of Street Fighter. I’m definitely better than I was in 2018, and thanks to a better job and better opportunities I’m in a better set of walls. I’m grateful, always.
SUPER MARIO 3D ALL STARS/ FIRE EMBLEM: SHADOW DRAGON AND THE BLADE OF LIGHT
I told myself I wasn’t going to buy these games.
I am a fool.
If you didn’t know already Nintendo put a hard date on how long before you can buy these two games. After the clock struck midnight on April 1st the games would vanish from digital storefronts forever. That’s horrible. These gross business practices disappoint me to no end, but with that last stimulus I decided to grit my teeth and check out the fleeting sense of joy that is Super Mario Galaxy.
SUPER MARIO 3D WORLD+ BOWSER’S FURY
I have been itchy for a new Mario to play since Odyssey, and this seems to be the calamine lotion I so desperately crave.
It’s Mario! You know you’re in for a good time. Bowser’s Fury could’ve been longer but since it’s serving essentially as a tech demo that means that whatever new game they’re working on is sure to be great.
TACTICS OGRE: LET US CLING TOGETHER
For the longest time I considered Final Fantasy Tactics to be the definitive Tactical RPG, but after years of holding out I finally played Square’s remake of the 1995 classic. Everything from FFT is there, but better.
TAIKO NO TATSUJIN: DRUM N’ FUN
I got real into this one for like a month before slipping away into the abyss. I’m talking like….buying DLC song packs.
I don’t usually do that.
I played a lot of games in 2021.
I’m pretty good at not making “content” of a hobby, but I suppose in this case I just made content out of literally all the games I played. Thank goodness I don’t do TV reviews or else I would have no safe hobbies left. No one wants to hear my thoughts on Yellowjackets anyway. If you like what you’ve read and you want to throw a couple dollars my way i’m sliding the metaphorical tip jar here. If you want to see my growing collection of bad game takes then here is my Twitter. If you’re from Discord, Insert Credit, Twitter, or one of my mother’s friends that stumbled upon this after she shared it on Facebook then go ahead and give me a follow here.
What’s in store for 2022?
Same rule applies for 2021. One essay a month, albeit these next few will be shorter than usual, and possibly more experimental in nature. I’m planning on purchasing an Xbox Series S in February for a project i’m working on. Since you made it this far i’ll let you in on it…
“RECOLLECTION OF THE CRYSTAL: A RETROSPECTIVE OF FINAL FANTASY XIII”
The hard deadline is the end of May, mainly because that’ll mark 12 years since I finished the game. I went back a few times but for this series I’m planning on reviewing the entire trilogy. FFXIII-2 will be ten in just a few weeks so I at least want parts one and two of the series out this year. I only played Lightning Returns for maybe an hour or so when the game launched so I’m looking forward to that specifically.
“DEFINITIVE EDITION: FIGHTING GAMES”
I had teased this at the end of my JRPG essay last year and I want to assure you it’s still happening. Writing about a genre i’m not great at is proving to be difficult, and passion alone can only get you so far. It drops when it drops.
What didn’t make the cut?
Inspired by tim rogers’ “The Best Games of 2008: Ten Years Later”, I wanted to write a piece about my games of the year 2011. I had just graduated highschool, and with no real job to make money I didn’t buy any games. I received a copy of Portal 2 as a birthday gift, played Skyrim and Dark Souls thanks to Redbox, but that’s about it. I did purchase a 3DS at full fat price, but that’s less of a flex and more of a cry for help. 2012 is where I got my first “adult money” job, and with adult money comes purchases to quell the inner child. That’s right. I spent my entire first paycheck on videogames. I was a horrible monster.
Privately Attack: Published Essayist?
Starting this year Privately Attack is going on tour…to independent publications! I’ve started writing pitches for various outlets, and my personal goal is to be featured in at least one before December ends. I’ll be using my real name in other articles in order to differentiate between my personal content and work pieces.
This was my first year writing extensively, and I’ll say that these last 12 months have been pretty great for me on the site. My SMTV review eclipsed my Dragon Quest retrospective in terms of views, but rest assured I don’t plan on basing my brand around any one particular series/genre.
I love you all. Call me when you made it home safe.
It’s the show of the year. Great music, great cast, great writing. It is s t r e s s f u l l to watch though.