Beating games is okay, but you can always do better 翔子’s profile

I like a lot of things most people seem to dislike.

I can also get snappy if our opinions clash - in case that happens, please tell me and I’ll try to adapt.

If I don’t have anything cool to say, I’m probably playing: Coloring Game, Coloring Game: Little City, Coloring Pixels, Dot to Dot Puzzles

For my ABC Challenges, go here: General, Hidden Object Games, Point and Clicks, Visual Novels.

Monthly themes I took part in: May 2019 (actually totally forgot about that one), July 2019, August 2019, May 2020, June 2020, July 2020

See dem sweet Steam stats here.
PlayStation stats are here.

Progress report: December ‘20 (a.k.a. Finally Done With This Shit…)

Remember my ridiculously heartfelt post from last year? Looking back on it, it doesn’t really seem that way, but I think I felt really emotional writing it. This time around, it’s way past 5 AM here and I haven’t taken a sip of kiddie champagne :<
Anyway, I’m convinced that I’m not the only one who’s absolutely and fully fed up with what 2020 served, so Happy New Year! May 2021 be better to us; I really don’t think it’s a lot to ask for. Perhaps I should be emotional in this post too, since my age is going to turn into a nice, round number this year…
…but first, my gaming progress! Speaking of nice, round numbers, I’m ending 2020 with a count of 90 completed/beaten games. I was essentially forced into giving up a lot of potential Steam playtime when my old laptop broke down (that saga spanned over a few months’ time), but I put all that time into console and mobile gaming, which I did my best writing about, too.
And this year around, I have a goal I hope to achieve! According to BLAEO right now, 61% of my library has never been played… and with some simple math, knocking that down to 55% should be easily doable. 50% might be a stretch, unless I put time into short games… and have enough time to play so much in general; but still, that would be amazing to reach. Naturally, that would also mean I don’t buy more games, unless…! …unless it’s a sequel to something I’ve enjoyed or something my friends have been nudging me to play (and there still are a few of those titles…). There’s something else I’ve wanted to shift my “monetary focus”, so to speak, so I don’t think that’s too much of a sacrifice when I still have such a big backlog.
Okay, now that I’m done rambling - what have I completed this month, you might ask?

Bishoujo Battle Mahjong Solitaire - If you’ve played any of the other Zoo Corporation games, you know exactly what this is - mahjong with anime girls. This time, they’re all from a game called りっく☆じあ~す (Rick G. Earth; whatever that name is supposed to mean/refer to), which is most likely unvoiced, because here, too, the sound design is lacking… ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

It Comes Around - A Kinetic Novel - I guess this was supposed to be a terrible Corpse Party bootleg? I vaguely remember reading about the ritual performed in this one somewhere online before playing the game, and past that… everything was a blur. The characters suffered from same face syndrome and their dialogues lacked authenticity, especially considering that they mostly converse through text messages. Glad it was so short and kinetic; it numbed me so much I might as well have skipped through it and my opinion wouldn’t have differed.

Kotodama: The 7 Mysteries of Fujisawa - Truth be told, my mind is mush after all the grind I had to go through to 100% this game. I believe this was PQube’s first attempt at development, and to me, it fell flat on its face. Kotodama follows you, the new student of Fujisawa Academy, as you try to get acclimatized. You also have a sidekick in the form of a demon you made a pact with. She will never let you forget her existence, sometimes interjecting during conversations with remarks so obvious it made me groan. But it’s not like anyone besides you can see or hear her, so it’s okay, right?! If that wasn’t weird already, you quickly find yourself recruited to the school’s Occult Research Club for the purpose of figuring out the titular seven mysteries. They end up ranging from somewhat insignificant (why are high schoolers so invested in a random white dog, anyway?) to the actual climax of the game, which I will not talk about to avoid spoilers. While you’re working on uncovering the mysteries, Mon-chan (aka your demon contractor) reminds you of Kotodama - that is, the power you wield. With it, you can access your target’s soul (?) and get information they would not disclose on their own out of them. You do that through… a weak parody of HuniePop. Rings even more wrong after Mon-chan says that the target might feel affected by what you do to them in the magical dimension, which you follow up by undressing not only your first, but all the other targets. That, and nearly all of the cast is high school students. Yikes. I will also gladly point at how unimportant the option to pick your gender is; even though I picked to be female, most of the targets are also female, which naturally led me to feel like I’m playing as a guy anyway (not that there was anything that would make me feel otherwise past the initial choice, though). The way this VN is constructed as a whole will force replaying and checking side menus on a consistent basis, which I now know I am definitely not a fan of. I find the soundtrack too short for a game that took me over 20 hours to complete and the voice acting… you can easily tell the same people voiced multiple characters. The interface and the menus have a really poppy, colorful aesthetic which I might be sick of after looking at it for so long. Story-wise, I don’t think it was worth it, I was only really pushed to the finish by my completionism. Not the worst game from PQube’s catalogue (cough Root Letter cough), but certainly not the best. Guess I should have played Steins;Gate 0 instead.

Little Misfortune - Another great point-and-click from Killmonday Games, Little Misfortune follows Misfortune (yes, that is her first name) Ramirez Hernandez, an 8 year-old girl who, under rather peculiar circumstances, embarks on an adventure in search of “Eternal Happiness”… whatever that might be. Revealing more would be spoiling the fun, but I definitely recommend this game (if you played and enjoyed Fran Bow, even more so!) for its dark humor and Misfortune’s wittiness.

Winter Novel - You could have called this game Work Sucks (For a Whole Week) and no one would have argued with you. I’m not a fan of the ASCII graphics, the music was pleasant to the ear, but overall, it didn’t make much of an impression on me.

Without Within 2 - The hilariously broke, yet aspiring calligrapher Vinty returns! This time, she received a grant for a trip to a calligraphy event in Melbourne. She’s hoping to witness the glory of her idol, Excelia, in real life for the first time (and not die from starvation before that)… After a brief introduction to Vinty’s lifestyle in the first game, the sequel picks up the pace ever so slightly. Vinty’s trip to Melbourne was described in great detail and accompanied by short clips of relevant locations IRL. I enjoyed the presentation enough to want to visit Melbourne myself, which is what I think is the ultimate selling point here.

See you next month! :)

Kill Five: November 29th, 2020

Gone In November

0.6 hours, no achievements

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A short walking simulator about struggling with mental illness. I believe I got it on sale outside of Steam for peanuts a while ago, but I've only decided to play it now, to cap off the month. As mentioned, the themes present in this game are serious, but… the presentation falls short. I'm not sure what to think about anything I've seen in the game, because the literary aspect is enigmatic yet never fills you in on what the problem is. There's "I can understand what this is without the narrative saying it outright", and then there's just pure confusion. This game gave me the latter.
Side note: when I was categorizing this game, I noticed Answer Knot, which I've completed earlier this year: it took me the same amount of time, its narrative was more engaging, it was free and it even had achievements. If you feel like walking around and looking at things, I suggest you check out that game instead.

Next up: I’ve decided to make this my last kill of the month and return to my original way of posting. See you in December! :)

Kill Four: November 28th, 2020

The Walking Dead: Season Two

9.4 hours, 40 of 40 achievements

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This was a well-deserved rest after my previous choice. I took a longer break from the franchise than I would have liked (mostly because I didn't own the other games until fairly recently), so it was nice to follow Clem as she takes on the walker-infested world. Maybe it's my memory failing me, but I feel like the crew from the first game might have been easier to grow to like as a whole. Season Two had some intense twists and turns, but I'm not sure it being good automatically places it on my list of favorites. Perhaps I wasn't able to get into it as well as I liked, or perhaps the magic of discovering the series wasn't quite there anymore. Don't know why I'm sounding so gloom, I liked the game! And I really can't wait to play more of it soon!

Next up: Thought this would fit right in.

Kill (?) Three: November 17th, 2020

Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1

40 hours, 34 of 45 achievements

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It has been 40 hours and I am tired. This game has been, dare I say, a Stockholm syndrome-esque experience. I don't really play RPGs (last time I touched one must have been when I played NosTale back in the day, and I can assure you, I sucked at it), so I've been looking forward to seeing where "baby's first JRPG" gets me… except baby picked what is possibly the worst JRPG baby could have tried. I will openly admit, I own nearly all of the Neptunia games because the girls look cute and there were multiple cheap bundles in the past. Now, I'm reminded of what my cousin once said when discussing buying habits - "I'd just buy the first installment and see if I like it or not". I can now say that this is where I messed up. But let's get to the point.
Hyperdimension Neptunia is, without a doubt, CGDCT… in an RPG setting, for some reason. The plot is supposed to be poking fun at the real life game industry, but it ends up being more of a metaphor for… religions. I don't hate CGDCT and I know I'm not the target audience for this game, but the banter between the characters was so utterly annoying I just wished I could go back to bashing stuff. And as far as bashing stuff goes, I think the difficulty curve was good… but that thought is easily overshadowed by the samey-looking dungeons pretty much anywhere you go and the unsatisfying quest system (most of the quests being repeatable, because the game wants you to be strategic about them). Seeing the multiple ways this game pushes you to play more (achievements linked to unlocking the CPU candidates, two different endings, item making and money saving), I decided it's about time I quit. As expected from a blind (or at least semi-blind) playthrough, it wasn't done very strategically - I managed to unlock one CPU candidate, set my Shares up for the True Ending [after a session of grinding] and max out the levels on all characters. I attempted to take on the final boss three times… and then realized how done I actually am with this game. My life is a mess (for reasons completely unrelated) and forcing myself to play this game further isn't worth it. I'll mark it as "beaten" for now (because I have to say, at this point I don't even care about seeing it through to the end) and maybe one day, after I've mostly forgotten that I ever played this game, I'll be able to get back into it just to grind.
For now though, it's goodbye.

Next up: This has been long overdue!

Kill Two: November 4th, 2020

The Haunted Island, a Frog Detective Game

0.8 hours, 6 of 6 achievements

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I wanted to take a break from reading… and I accidentally got myself into more reading. An hour of it, specifically. The game is exactly what it presents itself as: you're a frog detective, tasked with solving the mystery of the haunted island. It's a simple talking-and-bartering experience that leads you to the bottom of it all. I wouldn't mind playing the sequel, but I'm not in a hurry to buy it, either.

Next up: Let’s see if I can run this thing!

Kill One: November 4th, 2020

Corpse Party: Book of Shadows

27.6 hours, 33 of 33 achievements

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This one's a big bag of goodies. There's replaying the events of the first game in greater detail, approaching never-seen-before scenarios in control of new characters, extended takes on bad ends… and the so-called "protagonist" of the whole thing is taking care of his sick teacher, because why not. Since this game has been around for years before getting a Steam port, it was frankly impossible to go into it without spoilers; hell, I even tried emulating the PSP version back when I couldn't even imagine it would ever find its way onto PC; I only got to the second chapter back then, I believe. What's most important, Book of Shadows saw a change in gameplay style, removing BloodCovered's RPG style in favor of a dungeon crawler-esque point-and-click. I've seen many players disapprove of this change, but personally, I didn't mind it much. Yes, it was mostly boring and yes, you should be able to get into a room by interacting with the door leading to it instead of picking it on the map… but when you are in a pinch (which doesn't happen a lot, but it's there), you won't keep losing over and over again because you failed to get away in style; I did struggle with that in BloodCovered. Other than that, I don't think there is much more to say, the game is still ~98% a VN, and an amazing one at that. It might just be one of the goriest VNs that have made a considerable ripple in the West, if not the goriest one. The improved graphics are a joy to look at, the voice acting is top-notch, featuring some of the most recognizeable names out there and the OST continues to outdo itself each new chapter.
Thinking about the franchise as a whole for a moment, I hope its legacy didn't end with Dead Patient (which I've still yet to acquire) and I wish it could get a better anime adaptation (would be quite a feat if it did).
And back to Book of Shadows… I didn't mind Satoshi's role here, but I really wanted to see him in the middle of everything - the franchise tries so damn hard to make him the protagonist and I just want him to do something more to actually earn that title. Oh well, at least he's cute. On that note, I've had my share of spooks and gore for a while, so I won't be tackling Blood Drive any sooner than around this time next year - and trust me, with a backlog as big as mine, it won't be particularly hard.

Next up: A change of pace, perhaps? (Now with dual-wielding! I forgot that if I kept only playing VNs, I might just join that party of corpses!)

Kill #0.75: 14/10/20

…yes, this post is late. I’m still working out ideas for the new look and struggling to motivate myself.

Mushroom Cats 2

0.3 hours, 37 of 37 achievements

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A paid sequel to Mushroom Cats, now with more cats, more mushrooms and more hats! If you've seen Mushroom Cats before, the formula is the same - finding hats and putting them on cats. How many more times can one say "cats" and "hats"? It truly is a mystery!
I bought this game on sale and meant to complete it earlier for a monthly theme; needless to say, that failed. Still, Mushroom Cats 2 was a short and sweet addition to my library. Recommended for kids and adults alike!

Next up: Ceee~le-brate good (?) times, come on!

Kill #0.5: 14/10/20

Half-Life 2

Sweet Story Bad Girl

0.1 hours
7 of 7 achievements

A surprise warm-up before I get into the real stuff!
This, uh… this wasn't good. The art is most likely stolen, the music - grating and I don't know if there even is any kind of a cheap thrill to be gotten out of this. There is a free +18 DLC, but since the achievements don't go that far, I'm not bothered to, either.

Next up… dancing with corpses?

Progress report: Wait, you’re still alive?!

Yes… I am. rolls eyes, sighing
Life really got me good this time around. My laptop noped out on me back in August, or so I thought… but then it didn’t really… but then it actually did. I’ve been trying to get my hands on a new one ever since then - I knew I would need it for school anyway - and due to… again, life getting in the way, I only got to start using my new laptop today. My mind is spinning from all the logging in and password recovery I had to go through today, but at least I’m back! And with a 64bit system, too! Yaaay! :D

Since I’m going back to school, though, I’m thinking I might try and start picking my targets off one by one.
First up, a game I’ve been just about dying to play~!

Progress report: Fourth week of July ‘20 a.k.a. …wait, that means it’s August already?

Mmm… yeah, nope, I’m still too busy fangirling on the daily. I just squeezed this one in an hour before Sunday ended.

1.9 hours

Upon Bangledeschler's suggestion, I got the Borderless Gaming app and this nightmare finally fullscreened properly for me. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!
Creature Romances is an indie VN in which the protagonist is the only human around. Sadly, no reason why is given, because the focus is spending time with his childhood friend, Kokonoe Kokoro… who is a grasshopper. I'm really not into bugs (and this VN did nothing to attract me more to them), so this will most likely be the only title about bugs I ever play. Besides the whole "lack of fullscreen option despite its existence in the menu" fiasco, I didn't have any other problems with this VN. Still, I don't see myself recommending it to anyone, ever.

See you next week! :)