Though Ganryu 2 has plenty of highs between its excellent visuals and strong fundamentals, some of its more questionable design choices and unfortunate number of glitches ensure that building the level of trust needed to master the game and fully appreciate the intent of its developers will be far too difficult for most people to consider. I definitely enjoyed it, but I also can't see myself trying to master it in its current state. Knowing that my controls could suddenly stop working or level progression could break down at any moment and ruin my run is enough to deter me, which is a huge shame as someone who very rarely lets glitches get in the way of their enjoyment.
Wuz↑b? Produce: Street Dancer
Street Dancer is a perfectly competent game if also an unexciting one when you approach it as a conventional rhythm game, but because of how it utilizes the Wonderswan hardware, it suddenly becomes way more memorable. You could hypothetically tweak it to work on anything if you really wanted to since its core mechanics are very simple, but the game would be fundamentally different, and without that playful spirit at its core, that desire to get you to interface with your video games in a new way, what would the point even be?
Otenba Becky no Daibouken
The idea of a maze game or having to deal with pursuers using indirect attacks wasn’t new at this point, obviously, but the way that Becky is intentionally dis-empowered in most cases and only given true control in the most ideal of circumstances is genuinely creative and unusual to see. The randomized levels and variable speeds of the aliens can create a lot of problems that aren’t the player’s fault, but doing your best to work with what you’ve got can be engaging in its own way. Because of the constant disadvantage that the player faces, achieving victory becomes all the sweeter and it’s easy to gain an appreciation of every aspect of the mechanics because of how much thought has to go into every action. This isn’t a game you can save state or mash through, this is a game that demands you not give up and keep tackling it head on to eventually find a way further in.
Ganryu isn't the greatest game ever made, but it's exactly the kind of game that I enjoy and it's a dang good one if you ask me. It's a quick romp through feudal Japan that uses an interesting conceptual hook, features lovely visuals that thrive off of inspired choices instead of what's conventionally impressive, offers action that's both challenging and strategic while maintaining an excellent balance the whole way through, and it takes ideas from other games that I happen to really like and uses them effectively. I think it's one that's quite underrated and absolutely worth your time if you enjoy any of its inspirations.
It's easy to dismiss Pit Pot's particular kind of design as unfair or bad nowadays, but to do so would be a mistake. I always appreciate when a game is bold enough to ask you to really understand it to succeed and I think there's still a lot of value in that approach. Because of how intricate and mysterious Pit Pot is despite its conceptually simple mechanics and one button control scheme, I can easily see myself going back to it and continuing to poke at its many curious corners.