Wings of Fire: Darkness of Dragons (Tui T. Sutherland)

I guess even Sutherland realized Darkstalker has trouble carrying a story because the first third of this book doesn't even have to do with him, it's Qibli dealing with family shit and Sandwing royalty drama. Once Darkstalker does enter the picture, well, I thought the book was going to end with Turtle disguising one of the anti-Darkstalker earrings as Darkstalker's anti-Animus earring, somebody tricking him into putting the wrong earring on, and him turning to dust as his true age catches up with him. Sutherland didn't take that route, so congrats on surprising me, even if the route she went down relied too much on convenience and macguffins characters literally find lying on the floor to get something resembling a happy ending.

Oh, and Darkness of Dragons finally tells us the limits of Animus magic: it can't bring back the dead. Boy, that sure makes all my questions from before kinda silly, doesn't it.

The main theme of Darkness of Dragons is the cycle of hatred, or "violence breeds violence" as Metal Gear Rising: Revengence's final boss theme would put it. And as poignant as the resolution of the big Icewing/Nightwing war is, it's undermined somewhat by the knowledge that it only works because Darkstalker, for whatever reason, didn't cast a spell on all the Nightwings to make them immune to Animus magic other than his own. See, these are the kinds of storytelling problems that arise when you give your villain the power of "can see the future and literally do whatever the fuck he wants except bring back the dead."


BOXBOY! (3DS, E10+)

My first game in almost a year that isn't Wario related!

It's a cute little puzzle platformer, based around a little box boy who can sprout a trail of boxes from himself to build platforms, navigate mazes, and hit switches, constantly adding new hazards and gimmicks to keep things from getting too stale. It might not be the most challenging game, I blew through most stages on my first try. Not exactly much else to say about it, really.


Fragrant Story (3DS)

I knew full well what I was getting into when I played this, otherwise I would have been far angrier. As is, I'm more baffled by it. When the 3DS was shutting down this was on sale for only two bucks, and at that point I had to snag this bizarre bit of insanity and see it for myself.

The name is an obvious play on Vagrant Story, but that is not the weirdest thing about it. The main character is voiced by Gideon Emery, the voice of Balthier? Yup! The soundtrack is by Hitoshi Sakimoto, composer for Final Fantasy Tactics, Vagrant Story, and Final Fantasy XII? Indeed it is!

And the game is ten minutes long? ... wait, what?

Yeah, the entire game consists of three levels with only a handful of enemies each, and the final boss is a werewolf that makes gardening puns. There's a small handful of challenges you can unlock (the one with the swarm of bees is hilarious with the right unit), and the entire game can be seen in half an hour. Either the developer was some nobody who blew the entire budget on Emery and Sakimoto, or this is some elaborate joke by Yasumi Matsuno that Emery and Sakimoto were in on. I don't know which is funnier.

I don't even know what to rate this, it's more a troll than an actual game.

Rating: ???