Rat Attack!

Honestly, I didn't expect much from this game before I turned it on. I’d never heard of it, its box art is pretty ugly, and the developer didn’t exactly have the strongest of careers. But I gotta say, Rat Attack! is a solid game! It takes a simple, tried but true concept and throws so many wrinkles and wrenches into it that it becomes a chaotic yet considered cacophony of hazards, ideas, challenges, and triumphs. Qix is the kind of concept that’s hard to add onto, but I think this game does a really good job of expanding on the idea. Having to juggle dozens of rats while keeping hazards, power-ups, and pad locations in mind makes for a surprisingly tense and exhilarating experience.

Shin Megami Tensei: Synchronicity Prologue

Synchronicity Prologue is a delightful surprise of a game! Team Ladybug really didn’t have to go this hard and provide one of the most concise and enjoyable indie Metroidvanias for a marketing campaign. It’s commendable how well this game manages to capture the essence of Shin Megami Tensei while adapting it to an entirely different genre AND making it more accessible to people than most games in the series tend to be. It’s not quite as mechanically extravagant and refined as Touhou Luna Nights, but I’d go as far as to say that it uses its license far better than Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth does, it's one of the most successful SMT spin-offs in terms of its execution, and that it's one of Team Ladybug's best games!

Melpool Land

I really wish there was more to this one because on the surface, it’s quite the charmer. I get the impression there isn’t a single bad looking PC-98 game out there and this game is no exception to that assumption. Melpool Land seems like such a gorgeous, evocative world with fascinating characters from wildly different backgrounds, but a sampler of a game like this isn’t enough to make any of that sing. It’s a cute bonus alongside other things, but it still feels like it could offer so much more. As it is, it's a game worth playing for its gorgeous visuals and not much else. At least it'll only take you about 6 minutes!

Kung Food

If I had to sum up Kung Food in one sentence, I'd say it's "the Atari Lynx's Altered Beast if Altered Beast came out four years into the Mega Drive's lifespan". As you might be able to glean from that statement, Kung Food is a beat 'em up that focuses first and foremost on impressive visuals and large sprites. If you like large, chunky sprites, this game really delivers in that regard. Playing through Kung Food, on the other hand, can be quite the ordeal for a variety of reasons!

Miracle Ropit’s Adventure in 2100

There's some legitimately creative and cool stuff here in the year 2100, it all just needed a better wrapper of a game to fit into. I’m a fan of the variety of the alien world and how visually inspired each location is. In particular, this game actually does a remarkable job of using black backgrounds to establish atmosphere and mystery in the game’s later stages. I also really enjoyed seeing the variety of environmental hazards the game decides to throw at you, whether that’s plants floating in the void or doors that randomly push you away or send you back to an earlier point in the level. Even though the game is pretty dreadful to control, I found myself appreciating the boldness of its many eccentricities.