Backloggin’ the Year – Paws’ Pilgrimage, November & December 2021
Welcome to Backloggin’ the Year, a feature that discusses the challenges and excitement that comes with working through your backlog. Site owner Anna Marie Privitere looks at where she’s at in terms of her backlogging goals.
The final two months of the year absolutely flew by in a flurry of gaming. Holiday sales have also come and gone, which of course means I’ve got a slew of new games added to my backlog. I also took a look at how my backlog grew over the year through a new metric! In 2021, I snagged a total of 66 games, and played 76; despite my lavish purchases, my backlog did not grow this year, which I’m pretty proud of.
However, I definitely purchased a lot more new games this year than years past, which meant my backlog could’ve been reduced down more. But that’s OK — with the number of games I play in a year, it’s maybe not a bad thing to have a backlog to begin with. First, let’s catch up on the games I did manage to knock out.
New Games: Curious Expedition 2, Shin Megami Tensei V, Pokémon Shining Pearl, NEO: The World Ends With You
— Anna Marie Privitere (@amprivitere) December 22, 2021
Through the last two months of the year, I dove into three new titles. You can already read my full thoughts on Curious Expedition 2 over at my review, and I’ll wrap up my thoughts of Shin Megami Tensei V as fun, but ultimately forgettable. I don’t regret the time I spent with it, but I’m not sure I’ll be replaying for any of the other endings either. I also finally went back and finished NEO: TWEWY, which I finally just looked up a guide to get through the day I was stuck on, something I should have done when I initially got stuck and stubbornly refused to.
Instead, I want to talk about my first Nuzlocke, Pokémon Shining Pearl. Of course, I picked pretty much the hardest Pokémon game as my first one, but hey, gotta start somewhere. The rules we abided by are in the Twitter thread mentioned above, but to summarize for those unfamiliar with a Nuzlocke, largely it revolves around catching the first thing on a route and giving all Pokémon a nickname, so that in the future when you accidentally KO them (and they are therefore no longer eligible to be used) you mourn their loss greatly. I ultimately failed my Nuzlocke — Bertha took out my Chum (Gyrados) with a critical attack, which meant I didn’t have him available for Flint, and that was the end of the run. I did finish the game normally, despite getting hung up on Cynthia’s Garchomp…twice. Now for 2022, I’ll be going down the rabbit hole of older game mods, Nuzlocke challenges, and randomizers. Looking forward to it!
New But Not New: fault milestone one, To The Moon, Healer’s Quest, 12 Labours of Hercules II: The Cretan Bull, Wizards of Brandel
— Anna Marie Privitere (@amprivitere) November 26, 2021
As the year stretched on, I started to jump into games that were new to me, but not released in 2021 — it gets harder to stick to the backlog the later in the year it gets. fault is one of my surprise sleepers this year, and might actually be my favourite non-RPG of the year. It’s a short engaging visual novel, with a fascinating story that sucked me right in. I even went out and purchased the sequel immediately after finishing it, though that’ll go into my 2022 backlog. To the Moon ended up being a bit of a surprise as well, a game I played in short fifteen-to-thirty minute chunks for several evenings, and it ended up resonating with me a lot more than I expected it to. Healer’s Quest ended up being a second surprise hit, and I couldn’t put it down. With engaging combat, witty dialogue, and interesting exploration, it comes highly recommended; watch for a full review coming in the new year.
The 5-Hour Rule: Grand Guilds, Figment
Grand Guilds was a game I bought on deep discount at a mere 2$ because reviews were very mixed on the game, and when it comes to such polar games, I don’t want to risk laying out a bigger purchase. It took only a few maps for me to realize I would definitely not have the patience for such sluggish gameplay, and moved on to something I enjoyed more.
Figment was a title I’d tried at a PAX many years before, but with timing-based puzzles being the primary driver of progress, I hesitated to purchase it until the price also dropped into the 2$ range. I actually had a ton of fun with it until I got to the final level, where the timing on the puzzles became more than my janky nerves can handle. I still think it’s a great game and would recommend it, and hopefully, there will be some sort of mercy rule in the second upcoming game in the series.
The Backlog: ikenfell, Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Infinite Combate
RPGs where you pet the cat to save are an automatic 5/5 #Ikenfell
— Anna Marie Privitere (@amprivitere) November 3, 2021
Fellow backlogger Sam Wachter has been bugging me to play ikenfell for ages, and I decided to give it a try shortly before Extra Life…and it ended up being the game that dominated my Extra Life time in a very good way. If you haven’t picked it up, definitely do so — it’s got a huge swath of customization options to make the combat just the right level of challenging for different playstyles, with a fantastic story, a diverse cast of characters each with their own fully-fleshed set of motivations, boons and flaws, and overall some of the funniest and insightful dialogue I’ve read all year. Even two months later, I think about some of the situations the characters landed themselves in and how “I’m sorry” can be the hardest thing to say, but comes with great rewards.
Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? is on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, and lives up to the mediocre reputation most anime tie-in games have. It’s a competent, if repetitive, dungeon crawler, with a completely predictable story, a middling localization, and lots of boobs. I had fun with it because mediocre anime tie-in games are somehow enjoyable for me, but it probably doesn’t rise to the level of a recommendation. It’s at least short enough it doesn’t overstay its welcome, and since that’s probably the kindest thing I can say about it, we’ll leave it there.
THE FINAL TALLY
Started: 12 (76 total)
Completed: 9 (50 total)
5-Hour Ruled: 2 (17 total)
New games played: 3 (23 total)
Backlogged games played: 2 (33 total)
That’s it for my year in gaming. I had a blast tracking all of my progress through the year, and I hope you all enjoyed going along on the ride with me. I’m looking forward to doing this again in 2022, with a new backlog theme. Look forward to seeing what my new theme will be for the coming year!