Every week on The Free Cheese Podcast, we begin with a segment called Now Playing where we talk about the games that we’ve been spending time with. In this article, we’re bringing a bit of that conversation to the written word because it isn’t dead yet.

We’ll share what we’ve been playing and we encourage you to ask questions or share your own thoughts on what you’ve been playing in the comments.

This week is nothing but Metroid. Metroid: Samus Returns released on 3DS last week and it’s all I’ve wanted to play not just this week, but for a while. We haven’t seen a new 2D Metroid game since 2004. Entire handheld console generations have come and gone without an entry in the franchise.

I’m not sure how far into the game I truly am, but I still have more than a dozen Metroids left to take out. I’m starting to hit a point in the game where it’s revealing a little more challenge than before, despite me earning new powers and skills along the way. One of the more recent fights with a Metroid really caught me in a struggle and forced me to think differently about my approach each time I tried.

I’m finding the game to be really satisfying from a combat perspective, with the addition of the new melee counter, but especially with the ease of control with regard to targeting and missile use. By simply holding the right trigger, I can activate missiles, and with the left I am able to freely aim Samus’ shot in any direction. It all happens rather fluidly in a way that doesn’t make the character feel weighted or anchored to one space. In the same time it takes me to lock Samus in place to aim my shot, I can just as easily let go of the trigger and roll into a more defensive maneuver. The aforementioned melee counter makes it easy to combat a charging enemy without the need to break my thumbs trying to fire off shots or rapidly jump away.

For the first time in a while, I’ve found a game that I’ve really desired. It’s not often that games like this come along, which in turn makes them so special. I really appreciate the fact that we only learned about this game three months ago and already it’s in our hands. There’s something about that level of surprise that has me really excited to see what the next year of Nintendo will look like. The narrative for the company has really shifted since the announcement of the Switch. We’re seeing shorter times between announcement and release, from the games to the console itself. It’s making wait times pass by obviously faster, but also keeping me on my toes as I’m not quite sure what to expect next.

I purchased the Oddboxx via Steam the other night. It was on sale for like $4 so I figured why not. It contains the original Oddworld games including Munch’s Oddysee and the one I played finally: Stranger’s Wrath. A spinoff title within the Oddworld universe. You play as Stranger, a rough looking bounty hunter who is capturing bounties to earn enough moolah for a mysterious live-saving operation.

I didn’t play too much of it, just enough to get the tutorial level out of the way and reached the town to turn my bounty in. I’ve always admired this game afar back when I’d see clips and advertising of it on G4 (pre Tech TV merge). I love the idea that Stranger uses live ammunition such as little furry critters and insects on his “double barreled” crossbow. He doesn’t like guns, but that doesn’t stop him from killing. You have the option to kill enemies or knock them out and suck them up into your little satchel that aparentlly carries a black hole of somesort. You of course get more money for turning in bounties that are alive as to dead. The game switches between first person and third person. First person for the live ammunition and thrid person for the melee combat and platforming. Another neat feature is health regeneration. You can use your stamina to shake-off health bar damage and recover. It’s a very unique game that I simply cannot compare to anything I’ve ever played before. I look forward to continuing this game. Maybe with a controller as to mouse and keyboard. I typically use M+KB for FPS, but the third person and low requirement for accuracy at the moment makes me want to try with a controller.

Posted by Joe Dix

Joe is the creator of The Free Cheese. He eats a lot of pizza and takes thousands of pictures of his pugs Oswald and Earl every day.

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