Nigma Box’s Best and Worst of 2012 Awards

Well, it figures that after trying to do some sort of super awards thing for several months in order to lower my workload would end up making me realize that, A. I am not happy with 90% of my stuff that I wrote before Darksiders II.  And B, I reviewed tons of stuff within a year.  67 game reviews, several impressions, 21 Anime Reviews, a 12 part series of some truly bizarre fanfiction, and a failed attempt at looking back at every Kirby title.  But I have the urge to praise some of my favorite titles I reviewed, with my top and bottom ten games, and top and bottom five anime reviews.  It’s unoriginal, but simple enough to do in two days!  Oh, and the ordering doesn’t follow the scores, because opinions change over time, and I have different standard for different products, alright?

#10 Favorite Game Reviewed in 2012

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective

There are times when I am just stumped to find a problem with a product, and this is pretty much the one where I struggled to find much, if anything to really critique.  A lovely tale that in itself lead to some of my favorite characters of this year, like that even matters anymore with the mass amounts of great things I’ve consumed.  And a very nifty logic based gameplay mechanic that recaptures the feel of a point and click adventure game.  The only real reason this is not higher on the list is just that I love the higher games only a hair more than this one.

#10 Least Favorite Game Reviewed in 2012

Costume Quest

I’ll admit that I am stretching here, considering the tenth “worst” game I reviewed this year was, in my mind, merely above average.  Well, I don’t play everything, and I can not justify this as a “good” game, so here it is.  While it nearly does ooze charm from every pore, with the artstyle and setting, the core gameplay of this RPG is so one note and simplistic, with a story that is basically wrecked by bringing it back in an additional campaign that raises more questions after a very solid end.  Hardly the worst, but far from the best.

#5 Favorite Anime Reviewed in 2012:

Yuru Yuri

I like to laugh, and I like to cry, as long as I feel a pleasing emotion, I have no problem confessing my love for something.  And here?  All the stars aligned and created a lighthearted comedy about middle school girls who live in a world without men, with the comedy either being the traditional and sorta odd lighthearted style, while being exactly what hits my spot with sexuality, where it is not about sex as much as it is the relationships of people who are attracted to each other…  In a monogender society… Hell to the yes!

#9 Favorite Game Reviewed in 2012

Kirby’s Super Star Ultra

Such flow, such grace, and such great pacing.  I examined this game deeper than I believe I have any other, but even while being so smooth, so much fun, and one of the best co-op experiences, at least in my opinion, in the entire medium.  Beautiful to look at and listen to, tons of variation to keep the game fresh, and a nice curve of challenge that constantly teaches you things that are not core mechanics, just quirks to how you play, and you have another game I could never possibly insult.

#9 Least Favorite Game Reviewed in 2012

Monster Tale

Some games can be a ton of fun, but to me, being a boring piece of entertainment that is trying to be the purest example of simple-”powie zowie”-fun, I expect it to be, well, stimulating.  While beautifully spirited, and filled with variety, I can barely even remember what I disliked about the game, let alone anything positive.  My only memories are of wonky combat, and a dull, rushed story with some characters who are only noteworthy in how plain and simple they really are.  Wanted nothing more than to love this $6 bargin bin title, but I was hardly lukewarm at the end.

#5 Least Favorite Anime Reviewed in 2012:


Part of me simply hates the fact that I dislike this show.  I was loving it for the first half, but then it got less interesting, more boring, and kinda collapsed in its own insanity and became, well, normal.  I’ll admit to having high hopes entering from early on, but an intro is suppose to put you in the mood for a show, and get you excited.  Here?  It was my favorite part of the entire program.  Singing along with Hyadain as he put his all into an unrelated song was like bringing out a legend of a medium to be the opening bit for a newcomer of an entirely different medium.  You just don’t do that!  I’ve heard of an abridged version, which might be better, but I no longer give two damns, and want to move on to something with a more stable chance of being funny than this had.

#8 Favorite Game Reviewed in 2012

Cthulhu Saves The World

How did I nearly miss this gem?  Now, I feel bad for keeping some titles off of this list, and it really does boil down to which titles I had more fun with, but I’d be damned if this game wasn’t in my top ten.  From the lovely spin on several tropes of its JRPG genre(Provide a better term if you have one), to just being one of the most streamlined and accessible title in said genre, and I feel bad that I did not finish all of this game’s extra modes, because I love it that much!  All of Zeboyd’s titles have been brimming with charm thus far, but I just prefer this a bit more than Rain-Slick 3, not that you could go wrong with any of their titles, right down to the interactive novels.

#8 Least Favorite Game Reviewed in 2012

Solatorobo: Red The Hunter

Why must my biggest complain be that something is dull?  Because that is what can easily break a game or show for me, not enough stimulation!  And maybe it is due to how I did a New Game+ sort of thing, but the setting, story, combat, and even pacing of this title just felt a bit too played out or plain.  It just did not have a very good gameplay, with the main mechanic being to pick things up, even though you are riding a mini-mech that could throw some punches at the very least.  But instead, even through some pretty solid writing, there was just not enough to really make me sad if this title was forgotten, rather than be picked up by Nintendo of Europe and XSEED.

#4 Favorite Anime Reviewed in 2012:

Skip Beat!

I think that I can say that Kyoko is my favorite lead character of everything I’ve reviewed this year.  And damn do I find it funny when she is either goofy, or making me cream my knickers due to intimidation!  Aside from being an overall positive tale of forgetting revenge and expressing oneself with the help of seemingly unrelated skills.  This is one of those shows that made me grin from ear to ear regularly throughout viewing.  There are times when I take screen caps of expressions I like, and this beat any other series out by at least 120.  Now if only there was an actual ending, It’d be tough to keep it any lower than this.

#7 Favorite Game Reviewed in 2012

Shadow Complex

I have played through this game about six times as of writing this, and I still can hardly find a single thing that I dislike.  That is nothing short of amazing in itself.  But then it adapts so much that I like from certain older games, along with modern ones.  Metroidvania is a very debatable name for a subgenre, but 2D collectathon doesn’t sound as good.  Something about going through a big area with nothing but a loose objective is instantly appealing to me.  And throw in a control scheme that I just adore based on how it allows you to aim at 360 degrees in a 2D plain.  I’ve always said that you should focus on making a game better, rather than longer, and here is the textbook example why.  Can be cleared in a single sitting, but there are few games more rewarding.

#7 Least Favorite Game Reviewed in 2012

Mighty Milky Way

I just did not like playing this game.  Maybe it was the level layouts, how it had the pacing of a snail, or just felt like it was trying to make me calmer than I ought to be.  WHile beautiful and certainly well composed, I found no pleasure in leaping from planet to planet, in order to reach a goal that rewarded me with the same picture I saw three times before.  I did not actually best the game before reviewing, but the final boss was just a prime example of my point, it is a physics game with wonky physics that just never connected right with me, causing the deaths of many green alien French girls.

#4 Least Favorite Anime Reviewed in 2012:

Tari Tari

I did not care about this show after the first few episodes, and only finished it for a deadline.  I take up series by their premise alone, so I can get a wider variety of titles.  But after 13 episodes, I did not find much motivation for the characters to do, well, the plot.  Or even much reason for the plot to be important.  From what I can gather, I believe that the show is about people getting their living done before high school, because that is just what happens in Japan.  Why must it be done?  I dunno.  Why must it be done through singing?  I dunno.  Sure, the music is great, but for a show about music, it sure lacks the focus for me to say that without a bit of a sneer.  I still don’t know what to make of this, but I sure don’t like it!

#6 Favorite Game Reviewed in 2012

Ms. ‘Splosion Man

Flow, flow, flow!  I love it when a game seems seamless, and when I am the only one to blame for when I screw up.  Sure, once in awhile, the physics fart from time to time, there are few times when I can say that a game made me feel sheer bliss on a regular basis, while making me feel like a badass, even though I was not all that empowered.  From looking and sounding lovely, to just making the most of a great idea that received some much needed refining.  I’m just a bit sad this game misses my top 5 by a hair.  But hey, this is getting to be some of my favorite games of all time, and it’d be in the top ten regardless.

#6 Least Favorite Game Reviewed in 2012

Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition

Repetitive, tedious, boring, and also dull!  I did not find Borderlands to be engaging enough to play through without supplying some secondary audio.  Killing stuff in an RPG without any pretty graphics, tension, or music is just dull.  And even if you make the primary gameplay that of an FPS, the game still would leave people lukewarm at best.  I was expecting something funny that gradually declined in quality, but I got just the opposite.  Trying to solo a 100% run in this game had me hit a ditch of boredom when I was going through waves of zombies, that was only partially remedied into something that I could barely call above average near the end.  I originally thought this would be my least favorite game, and without the DLC that may be true, but with it, it picked up a good five slots.  But that could be some self-imposed peer pressure.

#3 Favorite Anime Reviewed in 2012:


I’m not huge into romance, so it kinda confused me as to why I’d ever watch something like ToraDora, and I don’t even remember what convinced me the first time.  But what I got was one of the least conventional love pentagons to actually end in a medium where love stories rarely ever do.  On top of being just very heartfelt and fun with very much appreciated bits of drama.  It is pretty much as good as I think it could get, but even though I could say it is the best, the list is about preference above all, and being number three is hardly an insult.  

#5 Favorite Game Reviewed in 2012

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Boy-De-Full! I love next to everything about this title.  From the elegant and bombastic aesthetic direction, the constant growth in power, or the fact that there is an entire second campaign locked up in this here bad boy.  But there is something about everything, right down to the counter intuitive manner that you use items, that makes me completely adore this game.  The hunt for secrets is always one of my favorite aspects about games, and I’ve never seen it done more stylishly than here.

#5 Least Favorite Game Reviewed in 2012


Uncreative, hard to follow, and just not very satisfying.  I don’t have a very good memory, and I tried to sugar coat my thoughts on the first Darksiders, but I just don’t have many good memories to utilize.  Sure, I thought Darksiders II was pretty damn good, but I just did not get a lot of what this game was trying to do.  Mostly just do to a combat system that I could not freaking stand!  Maybe it is the fact that dying halves yor health, or that it is a pain to get.  But I think I just did not like how I needed to block so much, and deal with such a screwy camera.  Also, how the hell was this game on Earth?  One hundred years my ass, this looks nothing like it in nearly every area!

#3 Least Favorite Anime Reviewed in 2012:

Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-Chan

Humor can be pretty tough when you are dealing with double G tits and dull gore… Do I need to say more?  Sure, you tried to be funny, but trying to be funny, and coming off as stupid just makes one believe that you are, and this show is!  From some baffling character actions that don’t feel consistent at all, boring visuals, and having a pretty good cast, who needs to deal with a script where they used the honorific suffixes in the dub.  I actually came up with a different focus for this show to pursue, and it ended up being based almost entirely on preventing a Pedophile to not rape children, and it sounded way better than what this show had, because it actually made some sense.

#4 Favorite Game Reviewed in 2012

Zero Escape Volume 2: Virtue’s Last Reward

I feel like I should be punished for not instantly loving the first title in this series.  And even after reviewing it, I find it extremely difficult to pinpoint its appeal in terms of being a game, per se.  Some might find the story to be a bit contrived at times, but if its often difficult puzzles aren’t an indication, this is the kind of game where notes are pretty much a necessity.  And maybe it was due to that, the stellar voice, work, or the sheer immersion to be found with vocalizing the main character of this interactive novel.  My only gripe is that some puzzles are insane, and they’re labeled as “hard”.  There are times when I love a game, and there are times when it is so good that my most anticipated game is its inevitable sequel.

#4 Least Favorite Game Reviewed in 2012

L.A. Noire

I’ll be honest and say that I barely remember this one.  But I sure do remember a lot of scattered, dull, and uninteresting junk.  Attempting to mesh multiple genres into one of the most ambitious titles that I have ever seen in this medium  would most likely serve as an excuse for it not being very polished.  But this was a game where I had an active resistance against playing, and several instances of sheer confusion as the plot tried to feel as a whole entity, with the best excuse that I was able to find being, “Well, it’s like a lot of Noir movies”.  But if I needed one final bit to go against it, it made me not want to play it, because I didn’t want to drive anymore, and the revolutionary facial technology made figuring out who was lying a complete joke.  

#2 Favorite Anime Reviewed in 2012:

Humanity Has Declined

In case you’re wondering, no I haven’t found the light novel’s translations, I’ve been busy.  But I would drop everything I was doing with this blog just to catch up on this lovely flavor of insanity.  There are times when I find things to be charming, and times when the sheer uniqueness encompasses all.  And this absurdist spin on an apocalypse, which as fairies as humanity’s successors, addresses so much stuff, and in such a grateful style, I don’t want to even revisit it until I can fully understand everything it has to say.  But I was really not a huge fan of its ending, and I think it should have been longer, so it’s staying at number two.

#3 Favorite Game Reviewed in 2012

Rayman Origins

Everything in this game is my definition of good level design.  Sure, there are maybe… 3 exceptions, but think about that.  So, I can only find three flaws with this entire game.  Everything else is some of the most beautiful, most smooth, and most fun 2D platforming that I’ve ever had the chance to play.  Hell, I love this game loads more than any of the oh so called “Golden Age”.  Taking everything good about challenge, bringing with my favorite flavor of co-op, and removing the cardinal sin of older games, lives, makes this my favorite example of the very genre.  To the point where I want to punch everyone in the face who would claim that this was only worth $10.  Namely g’d old David Jaffe.

#3 Least Favorite Game Reviewed in 2012

Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit

Personality, charm, and polish.  These are the three things that I was hoping for this title to have, and it barely has any.  I originally was really pumped for this title being an anarchic romp through tropes in the industry, headed by some absolutely nutters designers who would be bursting with the best kind of creativity.  Yet as it stands, I am glad that I have completely forgotten about this game.  From the absolutely broken combat where you were locked inside of a box where bullets couldn’t be fired, or just being a twin stick shooter where using both sticks is impossible.  But then it took my trust in creating something that felt different, by replacing it with something that I can best describe as an over saturated pile.

#2 Least Favorite Anime Reviewed in 2012:

Moyashimon: Tales of Agriculture

I know this might sound a bit odd, considering I really enjoy slice of life shows, but what is the bloody point here?  When the word agriculture is in your title, I’d assume your show to be about farming.  But instead it appears to be trying to be more of a character based drama, even though I never saw the characters as anything other than two dimensional.  I mean, there is a crossdressing gothic lolita serving sake to underaged charactertures, and I was not flipping out with joy.  Instead, I was just bored.  It is one thing to make me regret my decision by making it boring, but to go against some pretty obvious expectations, and lead to nothing that is remotely special in any way?  That is not bad, but it makes me dislike your product right from the get-go.  And with nothing appealing as far as I can remember, being more about alcoholic beverages than anything.  It is not bad, but I see no reason for it to exist.

#2 Favorite Game Reviewed in 2012

Mass Effect 2

I came really close in debating whether I enjoyed the second or third entries in this series better.  And even though “I think that the ending to Mass Effect 3 was the best ending possible for the series, because it provided absolutely no right answers in a series that pretty much had the opposite.” I still can’t help but love everything but the loading screens about this game.  What’s I say about planet scanning?  Opinions change, I even love that sense of involvement.  But more than anything else, this marks one of the first games where I loved pretty much my entire crew and found them to be well developed and appealing characters.  Along with silky smooth gameplay with multiple different styles and branching paths, and just being a 30-40 hour RPG where I still have a blast on the fourth playthrough.  It might be basic in some areas, but it is a game that I would probably play through once a year and never get tired of it.  Well, if I had more time anyhow.

#2 Least Favorite Game Reviewed in 2012


What was suppose to be appealing about this game?  I’ll never know.  3D on the DS is just crap.  It can do environments alright, but that entire early 3D time period in games makes several of them not even worth playing due to how murky everything is.  But on top of being just unstimulating, boring, confusing, and weirdly paced throughout, I’m surprised I even finished this game.  From just off feeling aiming, to enemies that rarely if ever felt intimidating, to odd hitboxes, and to drab and boring environments.  Before I could even get to some of the stupidly designed boss fights, most of which I won through exploits.  I bought this game for, what, $6?  I got $4 back and I still feel like it was a waste, that is how little joy I got from this game.  For a better example, I placed this game for sale as the credits were rolling, I hated it that much.

#1 Favorite Anime Reviewed in 2012:


I have two complaints with this show, and I’ll begin by showing just how minor they are.  The series just kinda stops, but it tries to tie up several loose ends and succeeds as well as it could given the time constraint.  And two, the series has this really pretentious framing act where there’s a character who thinks that stories should never end, and he’s a prick for being that dumb.  Other than that, it is the tale of 1930’s immortal gangsters, and about a dozen more colorful faces going through a time skipping adventure through the great depression.  With everything from the stellar voice work, norm breaking art style, and jazzy music that fits like a glove, I’d be damned to find something that made practically hop up and down as the plot progressed, even during my second viewing.  A lot of it is the aesthetic, but hey, this is just what I like.

#1 Favorite Game Reviewed in 2012

Deadly Premonition

Everytime I think of this game, I achieve some sort of minor zen. My mind is cleared, my high emotions are gone, and I wonder, “What else was I wrong about”.  Going from a cheesy game where it doesn’t mess up the really important stuff, to something that made me question whether or not my definitions of quality were faulty and stupid leaps in logic.  I love pretty much everything about this game.  From the stiff controls, how you drive cars that use gasoline, enemies take 30 machine gun bullets to kill, and there are 50 side quests that you can do if you feel like it.  From canned pickles to the ending that I can only describe as ball-bustingly fantastic.  Never more did I keep a consistent grin while playing a game.  It looks like rubbish, but sounds like something I never thought could be real.  It nearly goes beyond basic entertainment, and becomes an experience in itself.  

And you bet your ass I’m hyped for the remake!  Going to be getting around to it this fall, because exclusivity, and because then I’d be playing my friend’s PS3, letting my backlog forever grow… Damnit!

#1 Least Favorite Game Reviewed in 2012

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

Boring, saturated, dull, uninteresting, repetitive, devoid of charm, bare bones, designed by the books, and I am unremorseful of the studio who died because of it.  Let me clarify that all of my Least Favorites have been blunt because of poignancy.  I’m harsh because I want these to be long paragraphs.  But here?  I just wrote about everything I disliked about the game, and it ended up being everything.  There is next to nothing that I feel this game does well that is not hampered by something else.  Like the visual style, dislike the repetitive areas it’s applied to.  Like the combat, hate how frequent and anti-experimentation it is.  This game stopped being fun long before I was halfway through.  And after the femo left me in a state of bliss, that’s pretty impressive for a game.  Maybe going for a 100% run was a bad idea, but maybe making a game this huge was also a bad idea.  I put it at #1 because of how much it screwed up, and how much I wanted it to be good.  I never buy things hoping they’re bad, I buy them hoping that they’re fun.  And this was the opposite come the end of the 47 hours, it became work, where the best thing was listening to people play Princess Maker 2.  Don’t ask!

#1 Least Favorite Anime Reviewed in 2012:

Master of Martial Hearts

Everything about this show is wrong.  How the hell did I not call this show filth in my review?  Because, I don’t care about anyone who was involved here, I’m breaking my rules with this exception. I regret most of my uses of the word, “hate”, but here?  No, nothing about this I respect, let alone regret.  Not even the second viewing, because it gave me nothing but more comfort that this was one of the worst shows ever produced, let alone reviewed here, on the Nigmabox.  I could go into more detail, but I said all I needed to with my review.  Read it, it’s only a week old, so I’m actually pretty happy with it.  

Stage Complete!

End of NigmaBox 2012!

Well kids, it’s been fun, and I’ve still yet to find a bunch of regulars to make my friends.  I rushed this out, but think it’s alright.  And you know what?  That’s something I want to do for this entire year.  Because, as I said before, most of my early stuff is very bleh to me.  And I want to avoid that come next year.  I’ve improved as a writer, or at least like to think so, and I’m signing out for 2012.  See you next time where I review one of my all time favorites, because I really just wanted to talk about it.  Peace out, and please read Nari’s Log… I worked hard on that!  Well, at least the hardest on anything I did for fun.

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