Most of this month’s free games from Twitch Prime fall around being five years old to having released earlier this year. But three games as part of the SNK bundle are significantly older, with all three releasing in arcades before I was born. I know next to nothing about them otherwise, so let’s get to playing!
Twitch Prime (a part of Amazon Prime) is giving away 21 free games to subscribers, so I decided to check them all out for just one hour each and give my early impressions in exactly 200 words. You can check out my reviews for Pillars of Eternity, Q.U.B.E. 2, and Battle Chef Brigade in the included link.
Metal Slug 3
I was actually able to beat this game in a bit above an hour. That’s because Metal Slug 3 was originally intended for arcade cabinets and was thus designed to kill you and eat up your quarters before you could get to the end. You of course get unlimited continues at no cost in the PC version of the game, but if you didn’t I would’ve had to pay $11.25, and I was playing on easy mode for most of the time! As it’s an arcade game, there’s no perceptible story, but the theming and animations still give everything loads of character.The gorgeous pixel art makes the characters and enemies look hilariously expressive, and the backgrounds are always gorgeous to look at. The soundtrack is very punchy and appropriate for the type of game this is, but it’s ultimately pretty forgettable. Gameplay really boils down to just shooting the enemies a ton while avoiding enemy fire. But although it feels like it wants to be a twin-sticks shooter, you just shoot in the direction of your character, which can be frustrating at times. It erases most stakes when you have infinite quarters, but it’s still a fun romp.
Twinkle Star Sprites
I beat it in half an hour, and it would’ve been far less if not for the difficulty jump in the final boss. There might be a story somewhere here, but the cutscenes are such a hilarious trainwreck filled with typos, grammatical errors, and just complete nonsense that i couldn’t tell you what it was. The music can be energetic at times, but has such a short loop that it very quickly becomes grating, even in half an hour. While most of the game’s difficulty was a joke, the final boss took me ten minutes to beat, an entire third of the game. It was only here that I was forced to actually learn some of the game’s mechanics, and while they’re not terribly deep, they have potential for competitive matches, which the game was clearly designed for. It’s essentially a shoot ‘em up, but you can use two bombs every match to wipe all enemies off the screen, and some debris will fly into the other character’s screen for them to dodge. There isn’t a single idea in this game that hasn’t been done better elsewhere. If you don’t have someone else to play against, this game isn’t worth your time.
The Last Blade
It’s certainly an arcade fighting game. Much like Metal Slug 3, the animations and backgrounds are full of personality and charm, and each character has their own style. However, much like Twinkle Star Sprites, the translations for the minimal cutscene dialogue is a train wreck, although not to the full extent of the former. There’s barely any music, most fights playing out in silence. Interestingly, you can choose each character to focus on power or speed, giving just a bit of customization. There are of course combos you can do which will trigger flashy animations and do a lot of damage if it hits, but I was usually way too inexperienced with the game to pull them off. After getting my butt kicked over and over at level 3 difficulty (8 being the highest), I dumbed the AI down to level 1, and still had a very difficult time getting to the final boss. But as tough as everyone else is, the final boss is ridiculous, and I never came close to beating him even at the easiest difficulty. Fighting games are always more fun when playing against a real person, however, and I unfortunately wasn’t able to test that.
Metal Slug 3, Twinkle Star Sprites, and The Last Blade are available for free together as the SNK bundle as part of Twitch Prime from now until August 2nd.
I thought it would be interesting to rank each game as I go through them, so here’s the current list, from best to worst:
- Battle Chef Brigade
- Q.U.B.E. 2
- Pillars of Eternity
- Metal Slug 3
- The Last Blade
- Twinkle Star Sprites