{distant} May

Progress report: First week of August ‘19 (a.k.a. Now That’s What I Call Progress!)

The home-alone week has passed… and considerably more progress has been made! In the end I didn’t finish up to the par that shaped itself as I played, but that’s still more progress than I’ve had in the past weeks.

Another Lost Phone: Laura’s Story - Man… this was boring. A total yawnfest. I was really on board with A Normal Lost Phone, because it concerned themes I was - and still am - very interested in. This, however, missed the mark for me. Personally, I find the theme Laura’s Story revolves around highly tiring and annoying. Not to mention that judging by some reviews, it seems I wasn’t the only one who figured it all out more or less upon the first contact with the phone. I wasn’t even engaged enough to try and think about the answers for the puzzles by myself, so I’m glad a guide is available. One thing that stays good, however, is the music - but as it happened in many games before, it’s not the kind that accompanies the process of reading well. I’ll be keeping an eye out for more games from Accidental Queens, but I’m not sure I could recommend this one to anyone.

Christmas party - You all know I can’t hold myself back… so I played this one as well. It’s Christmas in the middle of Summer! …except it’s really not. The “Christmas” of this VN is condensed into a short scene of decorating the house, having the characters cling to each other under blankets and a branch of mistletoe. What it focuses on more is gay love, this time around. Two guy friends with their girlfriends decide to spend Christmas in a cottage far away from civilisation. After having some fun with the aforementioned mistletoe, the girls decide to hook up together for the night and allow the guys to do the same. When the guys find themselves in the bedroom, they suddenly realize they’ve been in love with each other ever since they were childhood friends… and that’s how it ends. Another one for the books.

Crush Crush - Oh. My. Goodness! I finally finished Crush Crush! Well, Steam achievements-wise, at least. The devs keep adding new characters and I’m always scared that new Steam achievements will come out as well… and that I’ll have to work for them… again. (Though now that I think about it, that wouldn’t make sense in context.) Anyway, Crush Crush is Sad Panda Studios’ Steam debut - a clicker game about a white, blob-like being universally called “Marshmallow” (that’s you, the player), who goes on a quest to save the world… and seduce close to 20 girls. Unless you really want to pay your hard-earned real life money to unlock more girls, then hey, I mean, nobody’s stoppin’ ya. No matter your choice, one thing is for certain: you’re gonna have to work for it. Those girls will require you to date them, shower them with gifts, work hard, train hard and earn a lot of reset boost (which might be the thing that breaks you… unless you have what it takes to skip it all). If you do manage to save the world, kudos to you! As far as recommending goes though… I’m really on the fence with this one. It looks good, it sounds good (but annoying after a certain amount of time), the girls are voiced now (although it’s really hit-or-miss depending on the girls - Bonnibel is supposedly 23 and yet she sounds twice her age… plus various girls have at least one line that feels like it could have used another take), the character designs are plain awesome… but the technical side sucks. As far as the clicking goes, after a third of the game you’re most likely just going to give up and use an auto-clicker, unless you’re dreaming of getting carpal tunnel. At high levels, everything - relationship goals, jobs and hobbies - requires such a long time to progress that it’s impossible to comprehend. What do you mean you want me to wait over 2500 days for this thing to max out? That’s where you’re either gonna screw around with the time settings and finish the game in about 60 hours, or wait patiently for everything and clock out at about 600 hours. But either way, you can tell that the devs love their games - they’re constantly working on events, adding new girls and a side-game? side-mode? called Phone Flings, where you get to chat up entirely new and lovely girls without having to work for it. For posterity, my actual progress in Crush Crush would be - almost all in-game achievements earned, no DLC bought, Phone Flings finished up to the most recent girl (Honey).

Ecchi Girls - I really wanted to actually play this game… but for some reason (and I hope that reason is the way the laptop’s mouse was built), I couldn’t really rotate the pieces freely. I ended up solving one puzzle, then idling the rest of the achievements.

Modern Tales: Age of Invention - I mentioned before that I haven’t played a single HOG in over a month, so I randomly decided to pick up this one. And I liked it a lot! It looks good, sounds good (maybe besides the voice acting; I honestly can’t tell if all those accents different characters had were meant to be serious or not) and the collectibles are visibly marked, which makes finding them a lot easier! The only problem I had with this HOG was one minigame, in particular - you’ll know it when you see it - which is ridiculously hard and doesn’t have a reset button, for some reason. After completing the game, I had to replay it just to complete that minigame again. The in-game extras were really cool, too - concept sketches, background art, the soundtrack. All in all, a really good HOG, possibly even really close to being a favorite.

Mushroom Cats - I only have that much time logged in, because for some reason I couldn’t launch it properly on my laptop, no matter what I tried to do (but somehow I got the first achievement that way). When it opened up just fine on another computer… I finished it in 5 minutes. It really is just a simple kids’ game about finding hats and putting them on cats. Give it a try if you want to showcase some cutely drawn cats on your profile.

Oppaidius: Summer Trouble! - Here goes my first summery VN pick. Too bad its features are still limited. Oh well. Oppaidius puts you in the shoes of a guy who prefers to keep to himself, until he meets his new neighbor - a charming, well-endowed girl by the name of Serafina. One glance at her is all it takes for the protagonist to decide to fight for her peppermint creams. Clocking in at about 4, maybe 5 hours, Oppaidius is a charming 90’s-style VN about… well, boobs. The art is wonderful and the music is awesome (although in my opinion it’s not the kind that accompanies reading well), but if you weren’t into Leisure Suit Larry back in the 90’s, you might have a hard time picking this up. The only minor fault I could point out is the fact that you’re required to complete the poker minigame (I know nothing about poker) to complete the gallery, but I quickly got over that hurdle, so I suppose it shouldn’t be too troublesome.

Radiant One - A very short game about a man and his adventures with lucid dreaming. That’s all I can say about the plot, really. The controls are just like in a mobile game, which I wouldn’t mind if it wasn’t for the dumb “tap on time” mechanic. That singlehandedly made me give up on the “complete the game without dying” achievement. Getting in the needed clicks for achievements was easy (especially because you don’t actually have to click 5000 times), but the achievement relating to additional dialogues annoys me as well - I played the game to completion twice, and I barely made progress between the first and second playthrough. The only things that made this kinda cool were the hotel in which the main character finds himself the first night, making my first thought “Is this game pulling a Paprika on me?”, the subtle, but obvious reference to The Shining, and last, but not least what I could only assume was DOOM playing on a certain computer. That being said, I can’t remember how much I paid for it, but it’s not worth its Steam price. If you really want it, I recommend you wait for a big discount.

Redrum: Dead Diary - Finally had the chance to satiate my curiosity as to why this game has been titled Redrum and honestly… it was less surprising than I expected. In this HOG you’ll be assisting Rose, who is suspected to be schizophrenic and her uncle, detective Raven-something (already forgot his name) with solving murder cases and fighting the bad doctor, who coincidentally seems to be a cousin of a much more popular neurologist than he could ever be. As easy and short as this HOG is, I don’t recommend it. It doesn’t look the best… it sounds okay, but for a game that lasted 2 hours, there should have been more variety when it came to the BGM, in my opinion. The segments that involve cutting up a picture in pieces and making you find the matching pieces were new to me, but in the end, coupled with everything else, they were one big rinse-and-repeat deal. Judging by some reviews, the Steam version is also apparently much worse than the Big Fish Games version, which is supposedly available for the same price, so I’d be curious to hear opinions on that, if anyone here uses BFG. Last, but not least, I still wonder how the hell this game and its sequel haven’t been accused of copyright infringement due to their name…

Sex Simulator - Let’s face it… this was a joke gift from a friend - I linked it to him just to poke fun at it, and a few hours later he bought it for me. Said he did it out of boredom and that he expects a deep ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) review. Honestly… no, just no. It’s something you could get for free on any random sex game website, but someone decided to put a price tag on it. Achievements were hella easy too; the time-related one turned out to be, as I suspected, awarded for running the game for 2 hours in total, which is a common practice with those games - they don’t want you to refund, so they make you idle for it. At least it wasn’t long. I mean, it could be better, but… whatever, I really don’t want to go into detail with this one.

See y’all next week!

aonrao

Oh wow, you’re going good!

{distant} May

Thanks! I absolutely ruined that streak by trying my best to finish all the pictures I can in Coloring Pixels so far… :’)

Ylthin

The main problem of “Another Lost Phone” is if you already played the previous game, you already know the gist of it, even more if you clicked on the documentation given with that one. While it’s true, it’s not as entertaining as the other one, for me the information given was interesting.
I still encourage people to play them, mostly because it’s easier to get interested to the topics of the game, through a game rather than giving them paper documentation.
I really liked the first, way more than the second, but the second felt like a lesson or a warning for me, I had a friend who were behaving quite the same way as the guy on the second one, isolating me and becoming more and more possessive. Playing the game reminded me that it wasn’t my fault, which did me some good.

{distant} May

Then again, this one literally gives you paper documentation as well - Laura’s notes from the conference are pretty formal and abnormally full for someone who’s casually typing it all on their phone. Not to mention that it’s amazing how us players can tell there’s something off with Ben from the start, but we have to watch Laura act like a bitch to her friends, because she doesn’t let herself think of that for a few months. Plus, I think the game would feel more genuine if it showed more of the possessive behavior coming from Ben; the things I remember the most were him calling Laura “his key” and postponing the creation of her spare keys; the rest came from Laura talking to her friends, and the deeper you got, the more of it there was. I know I can’t say I wouldn’t do the same mistakes as her if I were to end up in her situation, but really, this was just painful to read. The problems presented in A Normal Lost Phone felt more important, in the end.

Ylthin

I have to be honest, I didn’t have the same vibe. Especially regarding him as it’s super subtile, at least in French.
That actually may be the problem. That game is from a French developer so I played it in my native language instead of English, it’s possible that English missed out a lot of nuances depending on who they took as translator (I mean, there are a lot of stuff in French movies that sounds pretty off in English because of the words missing, it’s a pretty weird feeling, but I often have the feeling to be more rough and straight to the point when I speak in English while French gives off a different vibe).
I wasn’t speaking of those notes, but the documentation added to the game, maybe it’s not given in English ? Those notes are actual advice regarding real situation.

{distant} May

Well, I mean… no matter how much of a romantic you might be, the way Ben acts is offputting, if not straight up annoying. Then again, I read it in English, so I agree there might be discrepancies.
It depends what documentation you mean - I read all the trigger warnings, as well as the aforementioned conference notes made by Laura. Don’t remember reading anything else than that, really.

Ylthin

Ah, in French you had access to a real documentation about that sort of situation, it was aside the game and meant to help noticing if you’re yourself trapped by an that sort of manipulator, it wasn’t part of the game in itself, but you had access to it while launching the game before clicking on “new game”

{distant} May

Oh, I didn’t look into that. Due to the language barriers, the documentation could be different, but I hope they didn’t omit adding it in English, then.