Beating games is okay, but you can always do better パプリカ’s profile
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
- Christmas party
- Crush Crush
- Ecchi Girls
- Modern Tales: Age of Invention
- Mushroom Cats
- Oppaidius: Summer Trouble!
- Radiant One
- Redrum: Dead Diary
- Sex Simulator
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!
Progress report: July/August ‘19 (a.k.a. Motivation Loss?)
New furniture is not going to be a thing this week… sigh. I sure love when people just do something unexpected like that without telling you. This week also somehow felt like I’ve lost motivation to play games. I was trying my hardest to play another game or two to have more to talk about for this week’s post, but I ended up only focusing a certain game I want to finish for this month’s theme. Luckily, this week I’m gonna be home alone, so I hope I’m gonna get a lot done. Not to mention I haven’t played a single HOG in a month! That’s blasphemy! (But you can still look at my ABC challenges here: General, Hidden Object Games, Point and Clicks, Visual Novels)
Here are this week’s kills:
Jake’s Love Story - First creation of a national of mine, fairly new to the VN scene - Mikolaj Spychal, Jake’s Love Story is a very plain VN about two guys and two girls who become friends in their first year of high school and, as life goes on, have to go their separate ways after graduation. Over the course of those three years, you have to help Jake get closer to either Emma or Alice… or neither of them, if you don’t feel like dating. The art has a very textbook feel to it, but I like it that way. I appreciate that all the characters have at least one change of clothes - except Jake, for some reason. The music, as well as sound effects, compliment every event well. There isn’t anything else to note about this VN, except that I gave up on collecting all the CGs due to the only difference in them being Emma’s hairstyle and Alice’s glasses or lack thereof.
Pony Island - This is not a game about ponies. Insert your soul to continue. You’re an unnamed individual, tasked by Satan himself to play his creation. Will you obey? The very first time I tried playing this one, I completely disregarded the opening instructions to realize not too far into the game that I had made a mistake. Then I picked it up much later, using a proper mouse this time around and got really far, up until the level with Jesus in Act III. Seeing this month’s theme, I decided to take it on one last time… and I did even better than I thought I would! I was going to leave this as beaten and possibly never look at it again… but then I managed to not kill Jesus in exchange for the last ticket. Let’s just say that it was worth it.
Pursuing Susie - Man, I seriously don’t know what’s up with the people who make these VNs and their weird infatuation in regards to unhealthy lesbian lust. Pursuing Susie is Exactly What It Says On The Tin™ - one day, two girls in an open relationship make a new friend, Susie, and become incredibly attracted to her within moments; however, she keeps rejecting their advances, so they ultimately resort to drugging her and restraining her in a bedroom, which in time makes her relax and allow for a night full of furious lovemaking… and that’s how the VN ends. It’s pretty much on par with Hanae Novels’ creations, really. At least I got this one in a trade, as opposed to buying a cheap bundle.
Three Digits - The game’s in the name - your task is to pick random numbers from the ones presented in each level and mark them either green or red in a way that both the green sum and the red sum will match up. I, however, am not big on math, so when I noticed a full answer list, I decided to go with it and ended up finishing the game in a little over an hour.
Whispering Willows - It’s an incredibly lucky coincidence that I managed to hold off on completing this game until the new monthly theme came around - and since its state on my list matched the requirements, I decided to get back to it. (I previously abandoned it because I got stuck; turns out it didn’t take much to get “unstuck”, as it often seems to happen in games I play.) Whispering Willows puts you in control of Elena Elkhorn, a teenage girl looking for her dad at a mansion belonging to Wortham Willows, his employer. During her quest, Elena faces many strange and scary occurences; however, she is prepared to take them on. She possesses an amulet which allows her soul to separate itself from her body at will, which makes for a good mechanic. When taking control of Elena’s soul, you’ll be able to converse with ghosts haunting the mansion, squeeze through tight spaces and possess objects to move them. Gameplay is enjoyable for the most part; the game uses notes you can collect during the course of the game to tell its story, although it’s not as brutal as in Belladonna, where reading notes took more time than doing anything else in the game. Most puzzles are easy enough to be solved on the first try, except for the garden maze, where you will most likely die quite a few times before you’re done with it. The game’s horror aspect is based on spiritualism, which I found only semi-interesting. And last, but not least, I really like the art style! It’s highly reminiscent of your typical cartoon TV show and I wouldn’t mind watching such an adaptation of this game!
I know for a fact that quite a few assassins enjoy talking about other, non-Steam backlogs of theirs. Would any assassin reading my posts be interested if I did that too? (It would mostly concern VNs, as I don’t play lots of games outside Steam… or do much else, for that matter.) I’d like some feedback on that. See you next week!
Progress report: Fourth week of July ‘19 (a.k.a. Life is Hard, Man…)
Speaking of life… renovations still aren’t done, but they’ve come along nicely so far - a week or two more, and I should finally be able to start unpacking all my things and putting it on my new furniture. A few other things happened as well, but those are too private to disclose, I should say. And I mean, hey, at least they’re not taking games away from me! Haha. Okay, so here’s what I’ve done this week.
Draw Puzzle - I still remember seeing this game on some stranger’s profile while aimlessly browsing Steam and thinking it looked interesting enough for myself to wishlist… and during this Steam Summer Sale, I finally bought it. Draw Puzzle is, to put it simply, a cross between connecting dots and coloring - the task is to connect dots of the same color and number to color certain boxes on the grid. You can do so in three main modes - Classic, which contains dozens of random pictures, Jigsaw, which, as the name states, features bigger images you can reveal box-by-box to see them in their full glory and Challenge, which is essentially the same as Classic, but the faster you are, the higher score you end up with. Browsing Workshop creations is also possible, but I didn’t really bother. The game is really simple and incredibly fun, it teaches you to play itself over the many levels it throws at you. Considering it took me close to 20 hours (!) to complete it, I’m not even surprised at how savvy I got in relation to how this game works. The fact that you have to connect all the dots perfectly to ensure level completion alone makes it harder than just simple coloring, but I very often managed to complete levels in less than half the time the game estimates level completion to take (I suppose that should be taken with a grain of salt though, it’s not personalised or anything). Since it was a sale, I obviously got Draw Puzzle for cheaper, but having completed it now, I absolutely recommend it for full price. Especially if you’re into coloring games that aren’t necessarily designed with children in mind.
Girls Free - A game so simple you require 1 (one) brain cell to play it. Relatively short 100%, as they say, although the ambient BGM might not suit your taste.
NALOGI - This, ah… is another achievement fountain game. However, if that’s the only thing you want, twenty minutes at the very best and you’re out. I decided to play the whole game through and I can say… it’s nothing special. It is much better than Hanae Novels’ whole catalogue, but it could still use some more polish. It’s just your average, run-of-the-mill indie RPG game, but for some reason it ran poorly, especially in bigger areas. It also tended to crash, which is probably the main reason why it took me longer than it should have to complete it in the first place. The art was a total mix of everything - the main characters are cute anime-style girls (which goes along with the dev’s name, I guess), but there are also two men (who I assume are real-life political figures in Russia) that are drawn in a more realistic style, and generic enemies who look no better than the cliparts you’ve been using since the 90s. The translation of the game is bad and unfinished, too. Enemy names are plain ridiculous. Like, who the heck is “DED”? Does his name mean that he’s already dead? If so, why is he fighting me? So many questions! Speaking of which, the whole point of the RPG is to help out two Russian girls, Sophia and Anna, on the quest of escaping Russia… so I guess the fact that nearly everyone they ever encounter tries to kill them off is because escape is illegal… or just extremely hard, at least in real life. Here, the fights are balanced enough to make you feel worried about the characters’ stats a little bit, but always win the fight. And last but not least, I still don’t know what the title means. I know what the word stands for, but there’s no explanation as to why the game has been titled that. Well, this one is done and dusted, so maybe I’ll learn in the second one…?
NALOGI 2 - So I did get all the achievements, but I didn’t complete this installment. After the little I’ve played, I can hardly grasp what the plot or main objective is here. There is now an option to recruit a members to your party, including the protagonists of the first game, but you can only recruit characters other than them at the very start because of how little money you have. Then you have to pick a quest to embark on… and that’s where I failed. I picked the first quest from the list, but you can’t return from the quest until you’re done with it, and I guess I didn’t have enough items to use; sure doesn’t help when nearly everyone wants to fight you (including chickens!). So yeah, I just give up on this one. Maybe one day.
Sound of Drop fall into poison - Wow! I can’t believe it took me two months (and 16 hours of playtime) to finish this! Seriously though, 16 hours? I must have fallen asleep at some point, because most of the completion times I see around the net are less than 10 hours. Anyway! Sound of Drop is the story of Mayumi, an average middleschooler who is, one day, persuaded by her best friend Himeno to visit Manten Aquarium with the purpose of confirming whether the scary rumors concerning it are true or not. Mayumi agrees reluctantly, however… there is one important thing she forgot to mention beforehand - and that becomes the main plot point. Saying what it is will be spoiling the story, so I’ll stop myself here. Quality-wise, Sound of Drop is a really good, yet possibly still niche title. The character art is pleasant to the eye, each and every character stands out in their own way; CGs are no worse. The soundtrack is, for the most part, so good I unironically want to buy it and listen to it. I really liked the high amount of bad endings, but I wish some of them didn’t repeat (cause in the end they didn’t differ from each other and yet they inflated the ending list). And I wish the horror was more scary than it was disgusting. While I get that it was all happening at an aquarium, mysteriously appearing rotten fish aren’t scary, they’re just repulsive. But maybe I’m nitpicking. What I also didn’t like were the late-game “infodumps” about how the Red Manten Aquarium works. I wasn’t too interested in them and they were so convoluted I read them and I still don’t think I understood them. Additionally, the translation looked like it could use just a little more polish. In the end, I reccommend Sound of Drop if you’re really into VNs, prefer them short and are a horror fan.
The Invisible Hours - Ladies and gentlemen… tonight, I present to you - The Invisible Hours! Here, as a nondescript entity, you wind up on the island accommodating the mansion of a man who need not be introduced - the one and only Nikola Tesla. A murder mystery is afoot! But nothing is like it seems. Only if you follow each and every character closely, you’ll be able to get the complete story. Tequila Works are right in saying that this is not really a game (you cannot influence any part of the story), but exaggerating when they claim it not to be a movie - it’s all semantics, really; The Invisible Hours is the closest to being a movie and that’s what I’d prefer to call it. Gameplay-wise, it allows you to rewind, fast-forward and pause, which is very handy (I swear, my play time is this high only because I refused to skip some of the scenes I’ve seen before, for whatever reason). The object models you can interact with look very detailed, but as long as they’re not collectibles, they’re pointless, unless they were meant to attract VR players. The crouching mechanic is a joke, you only get a centimeter lower; half-crouching in real life would let me get lower than that, seriously. Quality-wise, the graphics look really good (although I don’t know much about that), the voice-acting is superb (the English one, at least) and I found the script very immersive. However, this game-movie isn’t without fault. While the subtitles are big and color-coded, they seem to show up however they want - you won’t see a line from the scene you’re engaged in, but you will see a line from another scene happening nearby. The mansion is huge, but all the characters seem to hear each other just fine from opposite ends of it, no matter if they shout or speak softly; unless it’s about intruding on each other. I mean, wouldn’t it be natural to want to check if everything’s alright in the next room when you hear people loudly arguing, even if you’re busy conversing with someone else? Then again, I have never been a murder suspect in a huge mansion, so I would never know. Looking at the reviews, I can also conclude that the game could use more graphic-related options and the VR functionality is messed up (even though the game was made for VR in the first place?). The latter might have been solved, but I can’t confirm as I played the non-VR version. All in all, The Invisible Hours is… just okay. I’m glad I got it in a bundle, because now that I know how short it is, I would have never gotten it for the normal price anyway. If you like murder mysteries, wait until this one goes on sale or winds up in another bundle.
Now the end of July is definitely coming sooner and sooner… See you all next week!
Progress report: Third week of July ‘19 (a.k.a. Time is Passing, Way Too Fast!)
What do you mean it’s already the last week of July?! I know I went to sleep and woke up a few times, but really? Time to panic!
To shortly describe what’s been going on in my life - I’ve been trying to divide my time between the devices I’m gaming on equally, which sort of led me to having a terrible sleep schedule… And my feet get numb real fast, every dang day. Not an actual medical condition, just plain annoying.
Anyway, I haven’t stopped playing games! Here’s what I did this week:
- be you
- Shrinking Pains
- The Mammoth: A Cave Painting
- They Came From The Moon
- What Never Was
be you - A 12 year-old in visual novel form. I can’t tell if any of it is serious or not.
Boobserman - I’m pretty sure this is reminiscent of another, much more popular game that I can’t remember the name of right now. In Boobserman, you’re some kind of weird construction worker who undresses graffiti of cute girls by planting bombs on them. Simple enough, right? Well, the game isn’t. The first level introduces you to what you’re going to be doing, but from the second level onwards the difficulty spike makes the game pure rage material. That’s because an enemy appears - a character with a paintbrush, here dubbed a “censor” - he’ll trace your movements and cover up what you already uncovered. The smallest touch between the player character and the censor - game over. You can also blow yourself up with your bombs, but that happens a lot more rarely if you’re moving fast enough. Additionally, the game uses a simple positive/negative powerup system - increase/decrease player speed/bomb size and such. I beat the game in less than an hour and that’s okay for me for now. If I’m ever really bored, I might try going for the remaining achievements - not blowing myself up is way easier than not getting caught by the censor.
Downfall - Another game from R Michalski, this time focusing on Joe and Ivy Davis, whom you briefly meet in The Cat Lady. (Or maybe you’re surprised to meet her in Downfall? Questions, questions.) The premise is simple enough - Joe and Ivy are a married couple, struggling to stay together due to Ivy’s sickness dominating their life. When on a holiday trip, they need to hide away from the oncoming storm and therefore decide to stay at a place named Quiet Haven, which, they will soon learn, is not really true to its name. Downfall is a linear point-and-click, short enough that after playing through it three times I’m almost certain I could speedrun it. For the most part of the game, you’re in control of Joe, who is on his quest to reconcile with his wife - and there are three ways you can do that. You can be the best husband she could ever have, an absolute asshole who doesn’t care about her or fail at being either and end up somewhere in the middle. As far as undrground titles like this one go, the voice acting and music are simply amazing. Well, for the most part. For example, I could see Joe perfectly from the more calm and collected side, but never the darker side - his voice actor is way too soft-spoken for that. That being said, 3/4 of the voice cast are people who played either The Cat Lady or the original Downfall and loved it - personally, I feel like that’s a great move on Michalski’s part. Furthermore, there are dozens of references to different franchises throughout the game, since Michalski is not only a horror nerd, but likes to see people speculate as well. Needs more The Shining, in my opinion. Also, I’m already writing this down way later than I should be, so I’ll say this - it’s become another favorite of mine, I’m gonna go back to play the original one some day and here’s a really cool interview with the dev. Oh, and I really, REALLY can’t wait to play the third game of the series, Lorelai! It’s oughta be good!
Shrinking Pains - A short vignette portraying the life of a person with an eating disorder. Ultimately, it never ends well. Reminded me how frustrating and disgusting I find eating disorders.
The Mammoth: A Cave Painting - Possibly the shortest game I have ever played on Steam. In the five minutes it’ll take you to finish this game, you’ll experience the feeling of adventure, loss, and newfound strength, all of it illustrated indeed not unlike a cave drawing and narrated by a beautiful female voice. Okay, this probably sounded a lot more poetic than I meant for it to, but you get my point.
They Came From The Moon - A shitty Lemmings/Flockers-type game. No joke, it looks and plays like a grade schooler’s first (and still) unfinished IT project. The game apparently contains 40 levels, but since the achievements are only related to the time you run the game for, I gave up at level 9 and idled the game for 100% completion.
What Never Was - A simple walking sim - in this one, Sarah, a biology student, comes up to the attic of her presumably deceased grandfather’s home. While looking through his things and deciding what she could take with her as mementos, she comes to realize there might be more to who her grandfather was than she could have thought back when she spent time with him as a little girl. I wonder if there are any plans to continue this story in another game, because the ending hinted at it; although I know full well this often doesn’t happen, because devs just want to tell a short story and leave it like that. Oh well, I guess we’ll see.
It’s interesting how I can never gather my thoughts properly when it comes to describing the games I really, really liked… oh well, maybe that’s just what my mind’s like. See you next week!
Progress report: Second week of July ‘19 (a.k.a. Renovating the House and Regaining Peace of Mind)
The second week of July is now behind us. I have to say this one was hard to get through. After over a decade of not changing my room at all (besides repainting the walls), this year I’m finally changing it up and suiting it more to my lifestyle, I suppose I should say. Neither my mom nor I are good at this renovating stuff though (even if we’re not the ones to do anything besides packing up our stuff), so we spent a few days in a row quarreling over pointless stuff… I’ve been so stressed out about this change, I’m not even that stressed out at school if I know I have an important test soon… I think that really shows how important it is for me.
Anyway! Here’s what I did this past week:
Kokurase - I would have never thought I’d be so happy to call this one done. Kokurase is a small (literally, the size of the window is just…) RPGMaker game about a group of high school students who call themselves “Kokurase” (my guess is that the name stems from the Japanese verb “kokuru” - “to confess one’s love”) and take it upon themselves to not only grant fellow students love advice, but to manipulate simple events (and people) so that they get the client (person who asked for help) closer and closer to the target (person the client has got feelings for). There are two core mechanics the player has to utilize: the ability to switch between members of the group, who all have different tasks to execute in different moments of the game, and the ability to use spoken or heard key phrases to communicate with different characters. Now, I know that the game is by default called “Kokurase - Episode 1”, but that becomes void after you actually purchase the next two episodes, which are available as DLC. The official statement is that completing the game should take about 4-5 hours; I have to admit it took me so much longer because I kept stalling thanks to the smallest things - for example, in one of the episodes the game introduces you to a mechanic that is only available for one character, and since it tells you the way to use it in that moment, you’re able to do that without a problem. But about half an hour later, it only hints at that same mechanic ever-so-slightly, which made me believe I got stuck, because I didn’t get the hint and was adamantly trying to use one of the key phrases (which, obviously, didn’t work). Oh, and before you think you can’t access the second and third episode after you buy and download them - always launch the game from Steam, it’ll let you choose just fine. As far as the plot goes… I liked the first episode, everything started out funny and bubbly, the client was cute, the target a douche, but they got what they deserved later on… but then the second and third episode were so much more fast-paced I struggled to wrap my head around everything. A bunch of new characters were introduced suddenly and easily a third of the story talked about how much of a gap there is between students with worse grades and better grades, because guess what, they separate them from each other. As much as I grew to like all the members of Kokurase and some supporting characters, I couldn’t be bothered to get into running around from place to place and plotting so much just to have the story turn out the way I knew it would because the official game picture spoiled it all before I even knew who the characters were. Last but not least, I was disappointed by the lack of continuation of the cliffhanger from the third episode, because that actually seemed interesting. I know for a fact there is at least one more episode available, but only in Japanese (with Degica saying nothing other than they don’t plan to release it in English, so that’s a no-no in my book). If you know Japanese and like the whole series though, you might also enjoy the manga, which is… also… only available in Japanese. Granted, it’s not something popular, but it’d still be cool to read. The art style is very unique - colorful and detailed, except for the character bios, which are just simple sketches of the characters and might not seem that pleasant to the eye. Oh, and before I forget! Every character you can play as has their own theme song! How dope is that? Even when a certain character resolves to change themselves, their theme song changes with them! Okay, I guess I wanted to leave this on a good note, so let’s do that.
Little Kite - Just like it was initially described, Little Kite is an expanded version of The Kite - the game is now in color, with a more distinct art style, more back story has been added, the existing segments have been slightly expanded and one, maybe two new segments have been added, warranting a much longer playtime. The general gist of the story is the same - a woman in her 30s (I assume) is a subject of domestic violence, trying her best to stick it out for her son, because it’s commonly seen as worse for a woman to be a single mother than to be in a relationship, even if it is abusive. Little Kite shows us the day she decides she’s had enough and aims to escape with her son. From the technical side of things - the writing is uneven (e.g. examining a sink returns a simple “This is an usual sink”, while examining a window makes the main character suddenly become a poet), most riddles are of passable difficulty and I discovered a bug towards the end of the game - you’re meant to force a certain character to leave a place, but when I went back to said place after they were supposed to leave, they were still there. Thankfully that didn’t break the game. The ending changed only slightly as well, but even though I fully know what the main theme of the game is, I still don’t feel rewarded enough. Maybe because I was really hurrying to finish this one when I was really tired and my laptop kept lagging, especially towards the end. Oh, and I used a walkthrough again. But only towards the end. Since there is no real walkthrough on Steam for this game, if I got stuck earlier on in the game, I figured out what I needed from multiple discussions scattered on the forum instead.
Pixel Puzzles: UndeadZ - Last puzzle game so far - done. Don’t even talk to me about Pixel Puzzles Ultimate. This one is all about zombies - running from them, killing from them, becoming them. You know how that goes. Speaking of killing them… this installment’s non-puzzle addition has to be just the worst thing ever. Every time upon launching the game, you’re presented with a minigame about killing zombies. Sure, it looks passable enough to be enjoyable for a minute… but then the achievements force you to play for at least an hour (to get the survival time achievements) and then for an additional 30-40 minutes to rack up 5000 kills. I kid you not. I strongly advise anyone who hasn’t done this yet to use grenades only, as they take out zombies in one hit (as opposed to the gun, which is three hits) and can kill two at once if close together. The aiming is very specific too, you have to observe the throwing animation closely, because if you move the reticle halfway through the throw, the player character will throw in the direction you moved the reticle towards, as opposed to where you were initially aiming it. This was an absolute pain in my rectal canal. Does that… even… exist… oh-kay, moving on. As I mentioned before, at the Japan installment, the first series of Pixel Puzzles doesn’t feature puzzle rotation, which in turn made the whole game pretty much half the time it would take to complete a Pixel Puzzles 2 installment. Whew… at least I’m done with those for now. Unless I win a new one on SG, I’m not playing any more of these.
I can’t wait to see what progress I’ll make this week! There’s a slight possibility for me to get back to Yakuza 0, so if I do, that’ll eat up all my time instead and I’d rather do quantity over quality, seeing how big my backlog still is… anyway, see you next week! :D
Progress report: First week of July ‘19 (a.k.a. Shorty-Shorts Galore)
Okay, so… since I know I have much, much more time for gaming now that it’s Summer (despite the weather trying to trick me into thinking differently), I’ve decided to break up my monthly post into smaller chunks to make it easier to read (and post, duh!).
- Freshman Year
- Just, Bearly
- Pink Rage Otome
- Summer Nightmare
- Surface To Air
- The Kite
- 永冻之壳 The Shell of Permafrost
Captive - This has easily been my first non-VN pick for this month’s theme, ‘cause for reasons that are unknown even to me, I just wanted to play it for the longest time. Captive is a very short game about a woman (her name’s Alice, apparently) who wakes up on the underground level of an unknown building. She’s also bleeding, so the player’s task is to lead her to safety before she bleeds out and dies. First of all, I appreciate that while similar, it isn’t (or doesn’t seem to be, at least) an RPGMaker game - everything is much bigger than in those games, so you can see everything more clearly - for example, how the player character is bleeding from a thin-looking wound on her leg - don’t think that would be possible to show if the sprite was smaller. The music and the lighting build up the atmosphere, even though I didn’t find the game particularly scary as a whole. There are a few flashing messages that appear at certain points of the game and they were probably meant to scare, but for me they balanced on the line between “a little unsettling” and “annoying”. The story of the game is never fully revealed and changes slightly between endings, but I’m not sure it’s not the good kind of non-reveal - hard to empathize with the character (or not) if you only get a single moment of exposition in the final scene and then the game is done. There’s also a stamina mechanic, but even though it recharges just as fast as it runs out, I didn’t like it too much. And last, but not least, my biggest problem with this game was that you could get most achievements on your first playthrough, but then you have to go back to see all the endings… all the while the game doesn’t allow you to save. I know thirty minutes doesn’t sound like a long time, but with how slow the text boxes and the character movement are, I’d appreciate it if there was at least one save slot, so that I wouldn’t have to go back and redo the first half of the game all over again - it’s so linear I ended up memorizing the order of all the tasks I had to do. Not to mention I had to use the walkthrough to get to any of the good endings, because the game is unintuitive enough to not tell you a door in a certain place magically unlocks after you’re halfway done with a playthrough (the first time you try to open it, you’ll get the message that it’s locked, so you probably won’t think to bother again). Oh, and the song used in the credits? Not something I’d listen to in my free time. Not to mention that whatever I discern from the lyrics doesn’t seem to make any sense in relation to the game itself.
Freshman Year - With a game that short, what do you expect me to say? One playthrough takes around 5 minutes to complete, depending on your reading speed. I managed to spend twenty-something on it just to explore all the possible choices. The music might fit the theme, but it made it harder to concentrate on reading, I think. The art style (especially the climax sequence; you’ll know it when you see it) looks like something that belongs in very old cartoons or independent art galleries - I like it, but here it felt more like “meh”.
Just, Bearly - Randomly saw this game on another user’s list and checked it out as the title caught my eye (I love me some puns). Just, Bearly is a short glimpse into the life of Bearly, who is a bear suffering from anxiety. The game consists of several “painfully relatable”, as the store page describes it, minigames. I admit I could relate to a few of them, even though I’ve never been properly diagnosed with anxiety or other related problems. Some of the minigames, however, I struggled to understand, more so in how I was supposed to play them correctly than relaying them onto real life. As far as the “comedy” of it goes (since the dev claims this to be a comedy game), I smiled softly once, maybe twice in the twenty-something minutes it took me to play through Just, Bearly. Other than that, I like the style of setting paper characters against real life backgrounds and the theme song is pleasant to the ear, in my opinion. Other than that, there’s one thing I have to warn you about: if you’re interested in playing, you’re most likely going to have to fix an error that prevents the game from launching properly. Thankfully I figured that out because of a discussion in the game’s community hub, but still… not cool.
Pink Rage Otome - Boy, this one’s a trip. Where do I even start? “Try yourself as a tsundere girl!”, the store page says, but there’s being tsundere and there’s also being an asshole. Guess which one describes the protagonist more accurately. While I don’t doubt there are things lost in translation (as it’s bad and it shows), Horror’s (yes, that’s the main character’s name - oddly fitting) attitude is most likely not one of them. She constantly tells all the guys they’re useless and that they can’t possibly accomplish anything good in their lives, and yet, for some reason, they still grow to like her. Which brings me to my next point - the story is on fanfiction level; not only does Horror manage to have a bachelor fall for her in 2-3 days, the story is also all over the place in other regards. For the first half of my total playtime, if not more, I had no idea what was going on. Now that I kind of know what is the general premise, I can say it sounds interesting if not for the faults I mentioned before. On the good side though, the character designs are really unique and eye-catching, and the CGs are pretty good as well. Shame there’s not a gallery for them, which is a feature that’s easily found in 99% of VNs that feature CGs. The theme song is also pleasant to the ear.
Summer Nightmare - First VN I played to fit this month’s theme. Good lord… I think it tried to be scary? The team behind it is Korean, and I think you can feel that in the horror, but it’s… so… fast paced and incoherent. Not as bad as the achievement fountains, mind you, I believe they tried doing something, which shows in the art. There are a lot of event CGs, even with the protagonist looking at his darn watch or a note he randomly found at one point. The script isn’t as good though. Lots of wrong capitalization, irregular ellipsis, I even found a case of the script misspelling the name of one of the characters in the most hilarious way possible. Back to the pacing problem, the VN presents you with a problem that’s been going on for some time now and then solves it in one in-game day (and night?). The protagonist is just forced to engage and that’s how everything mysteriously gets solved. Honestly? There aren’t any zombies in Summer Nightmare, but I bet you Dead Rising in VN form would have been much more enjoyable, and it lasts three days. Maybe that’s why Corpse Party is so entertaining too, given the fact that there’s no sense of time to speak of? Anyway, Summer Nightmare. A little nightmare-ish and not at all summery.
Surface To Air - A less-than-15-minutes long video about hydrofoiling told through the eyes of members of Artemis Racing. Short and informative, shot very much like a documentary. Personally, when I watch something dedicated to a certain activity or niche, if the medium makes me feel like I could do it even though, realistically speaking, I can’t, it’s good enough for me. Surface to Air did just that and now I wish I could fly around, if not on a hydrofoil, then at least on a quadrofoil.
The Kite - Okay, seriously now, do all the games from Anate Studio have to be about domestic violence? Don’t get me wrong, it’s a topic that is very much real, but I don’t know how long it can hold itself up for. The Kite is the original Little Kite, and I’ve yet to play that and see it more fleshed out. The soundtrack is mostly composed of classical tracks, the art style is grey and sad, and the game took me about half an hour only because I was so unenthusiastic about playing it, that I used a walkthrough to beat it. Not much more to say here, other than that you’ve got to appreciate how it’s all done by one and one guy only.
The Shell of Permafrost - A short (~30 minutes, is what the store page says), Chinese RPGMaker game, originally made for a game jam. It involves pretty and colorful graphics, and magical themes. Seriously, with its length I can’t say more than that or I’ll spoil it all.
Progress report: June 2019
Okay, this past month I have been in a much better headspace than back in May. I believe this let me get much more stuff done, game-wise. And now that I’m off school, I’m planning to get even more gaming time in! I mean, it’s Summer, so it’s time for summery games, am I right?! Oh, and I forgot to add: I categorized my completed games by the year I finished them in. Is anyone interested in that? I mean, I know I didn’t play much before 2018, but hey, life is peculiar like that. Would any nerds out there like categorization by month too? By all means, let me know :D
Without further ado, here’s the progress I made in June:
- Agent Walker: Secret Journey
- Angel's Love
- Mahjong Strip Solitaire: Harem Guild
- Midnight Mysteries: The Edgar Allan Poe Conspiracy
- Narcissu 1st & 2nd
- Pixel Puzzles: Japan
- Puzzle Agent
- The New Girl
404Sight - I have to admit, I watched someone play this game online ages ago and that’s why I thought I could try it out as well. I mean, it’s free and it has achievements, right? Riiight. I ended up not playing the game the way it was meant to be, and rather going back and forth between the levels just to fulfill requirements needed to obtain corresponding achievements. The game is so poorly optimized it hurts. Even on lowest graphic settings it worked awfully, which is why I struggled so much to 100% it. It has a definite feel of “baby’s first work” to it as well. (Makes sense when you consider that it’s the first, and, so far, the only game made by Retro Yeti Games.) The music is passable, but the longer you’re stuck on a level, the more it will grate on your ears. The jump pad mechanic was annoying in its own right - the game shows you clearly that you’re not supposed to move around when your character is busy jumping, but at times you’re gonna have to navigate to another jump pad to keep the sequence going… and then the character keeps either not reaching the ground or totally overshooting it. Why?! That should not happen. But whatever, I guess. After a combined 3 hours of raging and powerlessness, I’m done. Moving on to something nicer.
Agent Walker: Secret Journey - It seems this one has only been published by Artifex Mundi and was actually made by a Serbian studio - Brave Giant. Agent Walker follows a woman of the same name on her undercover mission to find the Spear of Destiny and assure that whichever side she’s on gets to… uh… win the war. Yeah, the story’s set during World War II. That aspect I actually find interesting. I’m not sure about the protagonist, I didn’t really… bond with her, I suppose? The only time you see her is when you look at the banner of the game before you buy it, and in the game itself, she doesn’t have a voice. As for the mechanics of the game - the HOS are really well drawn, objects are hidden, but at the same time… who invented those freaking objects that just morph into other objects? What, did you seriously think your game wasn’t going to be long enough without that or something?! There are a lot of minigames and most of them are pretty easy, but a few of them made me angry (I really don’t like gear placement and spinning dial minigames, ugh). Not to mention, the collectibles… they’re thematically appropriate and cool to look at after you find them, but not fun when you have to replay the game to find them all. All in all, it’s not bad, but not the best either. It might as well be closer to than farther from Dark Angels on my list, but I’m not sure it’s a favorite - there are still a lot of Artifex Mundi HOGs for me to go through, after all!
Angel’s Love - Disclaimer: I read this one after The New Girl. Yeah… What can I say? Angel’s Love is… is not good either. It features a certain trope which I can’t remember the name of - it happens when most characters have fitting names, but then a few of them just don’t - for example, you have a Lindsay, Mark, George, and then you have an Aiko. Or you have a Yumi, Haruka, Makoto and Steven. I’m really late with describing this though, it happens in most of those shitty VNs. They never look the way they’re described in the script, either. Bonus point if the original script had considered a certain name for any character(s), but then whoever wrote it into the VN decided to rename said character(s) without caring about the original script. Also, the UI is the same as in The New Girl, but I suppose I like it better in all white. Nothing more to note about this one, moving on.
Belladonna - I couldn’t believe how short HLTB claimed this one was gonna be, so I had to pick it up. And they were right! Belladonna tells the story of… well, Belladonna (although she’s not who you think she is, initially) and the twists and turns of her life. My main problem with the game is that pretty much all the lore is given to the player on pages torn out from journals belonging to the main cast. I admit it’s a valid concept, but it was irritating to have to read everything to get the whole picture and the chilly ambient didn’t help. I also expected to get more out of the ending than just a “The End” card. That being said, the basic premise was what got me interested and it didn’t disappoint.
KARAKARA - I originally planned to play this one for Golden Month, but ultimately finished a little too late… which doesn’t change the fact that this VN is incredibly boring. Its premise is ridiculous when you think of all its elements lumped together, and even with how weirdly thought-up it is, it’s still a slice-of-life and not a mystery and/or drama title. The characters are so one-dimensional it hurts. I’ve read reviews where people praised the protagonist for being one to sit down and think about his predicament before taking action, but I find that more often than not, it takes way too long for any of the characters to realize what’s been going on right before their eyes. If you’ve read about what’s the deal with X happening or Y being Z, you really don’t want to wait until the characters come to that same conclusion. Particular elements of the story are really interesting, but are being walked around as slice-of-life takes the cake. What kind of disaster fell on Earth? Why is Sagami Francisco the only town that currently exists? How were animal ears and tails supposed to help humans survive in tough situations? Who are the “Others”? Nah, screw that, let’s listen to the main cast discuss how they’re going to split the duties in their restaurant. sigh Other than that, the art style is pleasant to the eye, the sprites are dynamic (can change halfway through sentences), which is a nice touch and the soundtrack always matched the scene well, although I found that two or three tracks felt too distracting for a VN. And no, I won’t be paying 10 bucks for adult content, unless a friend of mine decides I should go back to the game just for that and gets it for me as a gift. (There probably aren’t even any scenes including Aisia, because it wouldn’t make sense in context, and at this point I can’t even decide whether I find that good or bad.) I guess I’ll play the second game whenever I feel like torturing myself again.
Mahjong Strip Solitaire: Harem Guild - Call games like this one out on being ridiculous attempts at erotica, but they’re far better than a lot of media being made nowadays (If you’re as interested in VNs as I am, you’ve definitely noticed the trend of Patreon-funded 3D “OELVNs” with 99% of protagonists named “Karl” and- eh, you probably get my point.). For me, getting this game was just like ordering my favorite sandwich at my favorite fast-food place - I knew its taste from before, I’ve had a craving for it, it’s just that they didn’t restock for too long. As to what’s inside, if you played Delicious! Pretty Girls Mahjong Solitaire, for example, it’s basically the same thing. There are pretty girls (who are also characters from various VNs) and you change their clothes/undress them by passing levels. Then you can get a better look ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) at them in the dressing room. That’s pretty much it. The only real difference is that in this game the characters were all from one and the same VN.
Midnight Mysteries: The Edgar Allan Poe Conspiracy - I can’t really write a lot about this one, seeing as I have no knowledge regarding Edgar Allan Poe’s works, other than what this game introduced to me. The hint-to-hard-to-find-objects ratio was balanced and the music got repetitive at times, but it’s always nice to play a HOG without achievements. And that’s also another SG win done!
Narcissu 1st & 2nd - So I only finished reading the first one at the time of writing this, but here’s what I have to say. You know, if you dive into the genre, you will probably hear a lot about Narcissu. After you learn about the subgenres, you’re going to realize that it’s also one of the staples of the utsuge (lit. “depression game”) subgenre. Which leads me to my next point - the plot of Narcissu is nothing surprising, even if you try your best to stay away from possible spoilers. It’s also a peculiar work - neither the visual nor the auditory aspect play a big role - everything is minimalistic. Voice acting is only provided for the main female character and it’s hard to judge it quality-wise - it just annoyed me more than it brought in value. The voice does not sound like a woman in her early twenties and the things she says aren’t interesting for the most part either. A conversation would usually look like this:
MC: Are you hungry?
MC: I’ll get something anyway.
MC: Aren’t you cold?
Setsumi: Not really.
MC: It’s freezing outside, I’ll cover you up with this blanket.
Setsumi: breathes out in a surprised-but-positive manner
MC: Oh, and also, can I rape all of the women in your family?
MC: Wait, really? You seriously wouldn’t mind?!
Setsumi: Not at all.
and that was really annoying. Also, I can’t remember which translation I might have picked, but it surely remembers the time when people didn’t care about quality and just took anything. I don’t suppose it was bad enough for machine translations to come out on top, but it was hard to read at times. Maybe I shouldn’t have been putting off reading this one for so long. Maybe I should have picked the other translation. Maybe I should have read it unvoiced. Maybe I should have been in the mood. I honestly don’t have any idea why it didn’t pull me in. I’ll try reading again for the sake of it, but I can’t promise it will happen soon.
Pixel Puzzles: Japan - Another puzzle game and another SG win, done and dusted! Looking at the guides to this one, it seems people figured out a trick the devs tried to implement into the game (or not?) - making solving puzzles easy by suggesting what piece you should pick up in order instead of letting you pick up whichever piece you think fits. As it usually goes for me, the trick was too complicated to perform, so I settled on solving the puzzles like a normal person would. Plus, music always helps. I like that this one doesn’t feature puzzle rotation, as opposed to the Pixel Puzzles 2 games (seriously, if you don’t believe me, check my playtimes). What I don’t like, however, is how blurry the images were (some of them, at least). And also, why would you implement “bonus” puzzles if you’re not even gonna mark the fact that I finished them in any way, shape or form? Anyway, I’m glad it’s done. Moving on.
Puzzle Agent - I have to say, I’m ashamed of starting this one, like, 2 years ago or so and then leaving it be. (I mean, Telltale Games went bankrupt in that time. Oops.) Anyway, having picked it up after so long, I had little idea about the plot aside the fact that I’m playing as the titular “puzzle agent” and the antagonists are gnomes. Puzzle Agent plays like a point-and-click, but its main focus are riddles you need to solve to do pretty much everything except for picking up hints and noting strange occurences. The riddles’ difficulty varies greatly - some are so easy it would be unexpected of anyone to come up with an incorrect solution and some are hard enough for me to actually want to show them to my family members to watch them be puzzled as they try to solve them. You can, of course, use hints and present incorrect solutions, but it will count towards the final rating of your solving process, which is in and of itself, an interesting concept. I also really like Graham Annable’s art style, maybe I should check out some of his comics in the near future. And, hey, I’m kinda sad Telltale Games is gone now. Hadn’t had a chance to say that online yet, I suppose. But then again, there were glaring faults in how the studio was handled, so there wasn’t any other way out of it. All that’s left to do for me is picking up the sequel whenever I’m up for some more of this kind of thinking.
Repentant - Picked this one to play because of its extremely short duration (according to HLTB) and realized that it’s actually related to Little Kite (which I do have in my backlog!) only after I booted it up. Oh, well. As for what the game’s like… it has to be the smallest point-and-click I’ve ever seen. Belladonna also took only about an hour to play and it had way more locations than this game. It also had better voice acting. Repentant is hard to stomach because not only does it have mediocre voice acting, it also has a terrible script and it doesn’t let you perform some of the most obvious interactions until you “are properly informed” that you have to perform them. The art is the only thing that stands out in this game and the cutscenes make for good screenshots, but other than that, it’s a big “meh” from me.
The New Girl - Did anyone want proof that I’m still not done with shitty VNs? Well, here you go. This one is from a studio named Bee’s Tower; honestly no idea what that might be related to. The premise of The New Girl is that the protagonist, who is receiving love confessions from pretty much all the girls at school (which he rejects, so people talk around about him being gay), and yet isn’t courageous enough to talk to girls without stuttering, is one day tasked by a mysterious girl to start dating his new classmate, who seems to be in a nearly identical situation as him - guys flock to her, but she rejects any further advances. The writing isn’t as bad as in Hanae Novels’ works, but it’s still tough to read. The music is pretty bad, although more often than not it tries its best to match the situation. The character depictions look really meh; I get the feeling they’re basically stolen from somewhere and cut out of the background they were placed against originally. The background images look cool for the most part, although some are very blurry. The in-game UI looks really nice, but I think the game could do without the annoying typing sound whenever any next text box was being written in. I suppose it was enough to warrant a 2/10 on my VNDB account, but at the end of the day, it’s just another dumb VN made in Unity by someone who could write fanfiction at best, just for the sake of putting another achievement fountain out there in the Steam world. Too bad it’s removed now (lol).
Progress report: May 2019
God… I planned to do a lot, and I mean a lot more with my backlog in May, but alas…
I went back to school and it, along with multiple other things, took a huge toll on me.
So I ended up with a “meh” on my first Challenge Me! and close-to-absolutely-no progress on my other stuff.
(Psst! If you’re curious, you can still check out my challenges here: General, Hidden Object Games, Point and Clicks, Visual Novels)
Siiigh… and to think I’ll be holed up in the hospital for half a week soon…
Anyway, here’s what I actually managed to accomplish:
- Catgirl Magic: Furry Duel
- Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist
- Elementary My Dear Majesty!
- Fran Bow
- Guilty Summer Kiss
- Guilty Summer Kiss 2 - Bloody Secret
- Rusty Lake: Roots
- SIMULACRA: Pipe Dreams
- Step sisters: Episode 2
- The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit
- Welcome To... Chichester 0 - Preview
Catgirl Magic: Furry Duel - Another one of those crappy anime-styled games, yaaay… I still can’t believe I’ve spent over 2 hours on it. As the name states, you’re a catgirl… and you duel. But more seriously, the game has a whopping 15 levels of kitty-dueling. “Well then, how do you duel?”, you might ask. After choosing your desired catgirl wizardess, you face off against opponents (Basically the same models. At some point you’re literally going to fight yourself. How stupid is that?) by making cats appear on the table standing between you and your opponent. Whichever cat has a bigger point value wins. Whoever loses a round… takes off a piece of clothing. Well, more like it disappears off of her body. Each character has exactly four pieces of clothing to take off, so the shortest duels last four rounds, but if you come to a draw, the duel could last even eight rounds (can’t remember if it took any longer than that; I’ve spent a while playing this on and off, actually). All the interactivity this game has to offer is mashing Space in order to put a cat on the table and even that doesn’t work instantly most of the time. I know I often caught myself waiting for the game to announce another round (because when that happens, you, obviously, can’t duel for a brief moment), when in reality the game just didn’t want to register my Space-pressing. What also doesn’t work in favor of this little game is its RNG. It’s unbelievable. While at times you’ll be winning two, three duels in a row, later you’ll come to a big halt because even though you can use stronger cats now, the RNG won’t let you pass. Speaking of which, the cats you use start differing in looks and point values as you pass levels, but it’s stupid that you only get a certain set of cats forced upon yourself. Maybe a deck-building element would make it more bearable. Because of that, I believe I only passed ten, maybe twelve levels and gave up on trying to go further (thankfully, there weren’t any achievements that would force me to); just had to grind the achievement I got last on the easiest duels not to make myself suffer too much. Oh, and another thing I just remembered. Whenever you put out the cats, both your character and the opponent shout. Every time. It’s only simple lines in Japanese, stuff like “Go!” and “Take this!”, but they’re extremely high-pitched and they often overlap, creating a cacophony, so I had to mute the sound almost instantly.
Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist - A short (and again, FREE!) game from the original creator of The Stanley Parable (which I’ve yet got to finish, achievement-wise), about an amazing heist… but not really. If I said anything more, I’d spoil it all. Just know that you’ll be led by an informative narrator (played by Simon Amstell, and I have to say, I really like his voice) and it’ll all be grand. I’d say the achievements are pretty unnecessary, but I guess they are a dealbreaker for way too many out there when it comes to free games (Seriously, people! How about looking at creator names or themes?). That being said, I got all the achievements, but it seems there’s one thing in particular that I’ve missed. Gotta remind myself to go back and check it out.
Elementary My Dear Majesty! - It’s tough to keep this one on the HOG list because of what the gameplay actually looks like, but I don’t suppose there is any other way. This game would probably win the award for most varied and disjointed locations in a HOG. In Elementary My Dear Majesty!, you’re a… knight? tasked with curing a princess who suddenly turned into some kind of alien creature. And if that wasn’t enough, she’s later abducted. Anyway, I assume this game tried to bring something new to the table - 3D HOGing - but that fell flat on its face. The locations use a weird rotation mechanic which barely turns them to a chosen side and everything you need to find step-by-step is contained within those few degrees you can rotate most locations. The objects are either in plain sight or hidden so well you have to use hints. The other riddles are either a piece of cake or trial-and-error bullshit. Seriously, it’s like being in school. You want to try to do something your way, but no one will even let you. (Besides, how am I supposed to know alien dressing etiquette?) The game provides scenarios that would only make children laugh, going as far as making an Eskimo so stupid he got buried in snow or mashing China and Japan together. The music is extremely repetitive, playing for the most part, a track that for some reason reminds me of this… possibly because they use the same flute (Or is that even a flute? I’m a music dumbass.) One thing I liked though was the timer in each location, which let me know how much time I spent (obviously) on playing said location, as well as a progress bar (so I could measure my suffering). All in all, it looks like it’s for children, but then again, is as complicated as if it was meant for adults. Not recommended.
Fran Bow - Fran Bow is a point-and-click which tells the story of… well, Fran Bow, a ten/eleven-year-old girl who’s believed to be insane and therefore is first met by the player in a madhouse. The task is to help her escape said madhouse and return home safely… and after a successful escape, that’s when it really picks up. Most of the time, you can make Fran take her “medicine”, which will briefly transfer her to an alternative, much more gruesome reality, and sometimes it’s there you have to seek out clues and necessary items. It’s a tale much like Alice in Wonderland, but a lot more brutal (And Fran does claim to know Alice at a point in the game, too!) - on the scale of different Alice portrayals, it would be somewhat of a mix between the Disney one and Madness Returns. The developers did a pretty excellent job with this game and I already can not wait for their next game, Little Misfortune! I’ve seen the demo at play already and it is plainly amazing!
Guilty Summer Kiss - It’s one of those games I knew was going to be bad, but I got it (and played it) anyway. You’re an unnamed guy and your nonexistent friend made you a bet that you won’t be able to pick up the three most popular girls at school. Your task is to prove him wrong (or not, that’s not hard either). The thing is, getting all the girls was way too easy. Really. It was harder not to get with any of them. The “visual novel” aspect of this game is watered down to “say what she wants to hear, or you’ll have to play a minigame to save your ass”, which is just annoying, as the minigames are partially broken. The interface looks very smooth, but the characters are weird (save for the pink-haired girl, for some reason I actually really like her design). There’s also nudity and it is… poor man’s porn. Not only that, but I didn’t even have the chance to see a lot of it anyway; the short video scenes were very laggy, even though I played this on a computer that’s way better than what I usually use. Guilty Summer Kiss is just really shallow and it’s only going on the Beaten list because I can’t seem to figure out how to get the rest of the achievements (even though I feel like I reached the necessary requirements). I heard the game has really changed from what it was before, so maybe that’s the… irreversable… problem… grits teeth Anyway, if any of you have played this crappy game and know how to get the achievements I’m missing, I’m all ears.
Guilty Summer Kiss 2 - Bloody Secret - Feeling dejected about the achievements in the first game, I quickly picked up the second one to see what it’s about. And it’s… a little different. It introduces a murder mystery, but honestly, the story is so shallow I didn’t care for it much. This time you don’t necessarily pick up any of the girls, you rather determine if someone’s going to save you (or if you will be saved) when you’re in trouble. The second installment introduces three new characters, which are more or less responsible for the dark themes (again, only one of them looks interesting enough in my opinion). It also has the nudie option, but again, it suffers from being poor man’s porn and laggy video scenes. Luckily, this one is Completed, as I managed to get all the achievements, some of which pretty much required to just peek at some of the most unexpected lines (I managed to play through the game a few times without getting the last achievement only because at one of the choices I kept picking the one that led me away from what I needed to read to be done with the game, such a pain).
HuniePop - Finally completed! HuniePop, if, for some reason you’ve been living under a rock for the last 4 years or so, is a dating sim where you pick up girls, aaand… well, sleep with them. And it all comes to fruition through playing an innovative and complex match-3 game. On one hand, it’s not surprising it took as long, given how strict some of the trophies are, but on the other hand… I’ve been playing it for so long I could almost recite the whole game from memory at this point. I absolutely adore this game. Not because I’m sexist or something, just… the humor. It’s pretty amazing. And you know, at the end of the day, if I want to fetishize fictional men, I gotta let people fetishize fictional women, right? As convinced as I am that the dev isn’t keen on making a genderbent version, here’s to the sequel, which seems to be coming closer and closer to release. Ha, get it? Coming… release. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
Rusty Lake: Roots - Remember the time you were ten-something and liked playing browser games after you diligently did your homework? (Or not, in which case kudos to you for getting on with life… or not? Anyway, back to the point.) This is what Rusty Lake: Roots plays like. It’s not a bad port of a mobile game, it’s just remindful of them. I was worried I wouldn’t understand any of the story, going into this one, as it’s not the first installment, but now that I’ve finished it, I think I wouldn’t understand anything anyway. Rusty Lake: Roots leads you through the lives of the members of the Vanderboom family. The wholegame has a sort of a roadmap - starting with James Vanderboom, who first came to Rusty Lake, you explore scenes from different, more or less major events and through some point-and-clicking and riddle solving, you gain the results or things needed to complete said scenes. Voice acting was sparse, but good. The art style fits the theme - it is a horror game, so don’t expect to be collecting cute animal plushies and the like. The sound effects were another thing that reminded me of browser games I played when I was younger. As easy as the gameplay sounds, there were places I got stuck, so I can certainly appreciate the creators making their own walkthrough of the whole game - not only is it professional, it only saved time random people who would have done that instead, I assume. If you like point and clicks and Twin Peaks (which is said to be the main inspiration for this series), then Rusty Lake: Roots, as well as the other installments are for you.
SIMULACRA: Pipe Dreams - I’m sad to say I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the original SIMULACRA. It did get grindy too, but… while I pretty much knew most of the solutions to the original game, it took a while for dozens (!) of fellow players to figure out the requirements for multiple achievements in this one. I don’t get what Cold Cases or The Gulf War have to do with anything, really… It was almost 10 hours of suffering (first playthrough excluded). But enough of that. SIMULACRA: Pipe Dreams is a found-phone game… but in this case, you (finally?) don’t find a phone, you’re just an unnamed person using their own phone. The focus of Pipe Dreams is Teddy, your friend, who recently got addicted to a Flappy Bird clone, to the point where he’s been unemployed for quite a while, his girlfriend left him, his flat is a mess and no one takes him seriously anymore. Oh, and he’s also having episodes of memory loss. In time, he’ll persuade you to start playing the game as well, and he’ll keep challenging you… until the point of no return. Similarly to the original SIMULACRA, there are four endings you can get in this one. There are, however, quite a few achievements related to the Flappy Bird copycat by themselves, which, if grinded right, could have taken less time than they did for me. The well-known IRIS OS also comes back, this time to plague your phone with… ads. First time you watch them, they might actually look funny, but when they start popping up randomly, not only do they serve as potential jumpscares (Seriously, Kaigan Games! Could you not do that?! I don’t want to fall off my seat every time someone calls!), but also solid cringe. At least the Simulacrum has a voice in this one, and it is positively chilling. At the end of the day, I really tried to empathize with Teddy, since some of the things he said were a little too real for me, but then his character was just all over the place… meh.
Step sisters: Episode 2 - This… is the last I’ll ever see of Hanae Novels. Thank god. It picks up where Episode 1 left off, and for some reason the titular sisters decided to read their mother’s diary to find themselves a mystery: Who did she lose her virginity to? They figured their aunt might know, cause apparently she knows way too much, so they went to visit and ask. She saw right through them being lovers and admitted to being the mysterious person that took their mother’s virginity. And after they left their house, they snuck around the back to peek into the window of her bedroom for what was obviously going to become voyeurism… only that it cuts off there. I literally just told you all the whole plot. God damn, those are awful. Now, onward to a different kind of bad!
The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit - Gotta start by saying I absolutely loved this one! I’ve seen many people say it’s on the level of “not even worth it for free”, but it’s not the case for me. Captain Spirit is another creation of DONTNOD Entertainment, the studio behind Remember Me and the Life is Strange series. It’s described as sort of a demo, set between the events of Life is Strange and Life is Strange 2. In it, you assume the role of Chris, a 9 year-old boy who’s really into superheroes and is one of his own - his alter-ego, Captain Spirit. You have the opportunity to spend a beautiful Saturday morning in snowy Oregon - you could help your dad clean around the house or spend time playing instead; or even both, the world is your oyster. After almost 5 hours of playtime and going through the game three times to try pretty much everything I could, I’m kind of sad to see it ending the same every time; but without the ending being as it is, there would be no foreshadowing to LiS 2. Speaking of which, it was really cool to discover the numerous references! Besides the fact that you’re still in Oregon, just in another town, if you read everything you can find, you’ll discover that Chris’ mom went to Blackwell Academy, the same high school from LiS. Hawt Dawg Man is also still a popular mascot in-universe. For being as short as it was, it was a real treat, allowing me to go back to look at the childhood wonder that usually slowly gets lost on us as we grow older. And since the credits said Chris also appears in LiS 2, I can’t wait to play it now! If you liked Life is Strange, I definitely recommend you check out Captain Spirit as well!
Welcome To… Chichester 0 - Preview - I said I was gonna play bad stuff, and here I am again. As a frequent VNDB user, I’ve been seeing the title Welcome To… Chichester popping up way too often for my liking… so I noticed that this one was free and decided to take a look. It… was… ugh. When will people stop making bad games? I get it, indie and all, but I still can’t believe some people are proud enough to sign those with their name, and that’s what the creator of this one did. It was 20 minutes long, its grammar was terrible and while it might have linked to the rest of the franchise, it did a terrible job of explaining anything. I get that it’s just a “preview” and that it was basically the creator sort of playing around in VN-making software (there are two versions of this!), but I mean, come on…
Progress report: April 2019
- 4 Elements
- 9 Clues: The Secret of Serpent Creek
- Aozora Meikyuu
- Coloring Game
- Enigmatis: The Ghosts of Maple Creek
- Hatoful Boyfriend
- Keyhole Spy: Frozen Hotties
- Pixel Puzzles 2: Anime
- Samantha Swift and the Hidden Roses of Athena
- Snow White Solitaire. Charmed Kingdom
- The Cat Lady
4 Elements - I’ve been stalling this game for almost two years, that’s how bored I got with it. It’s one of the many games I discovered through Big Fish Games and thought they were cool back, like, 5 years ago or so… which lead me to believe this one was still gonna be cool, and, ultimately, buying it. To start off, 4 Elements is a simple game, although it’s hard for me to describe its main mechanics - the Steam Store page says “match-3”, but… eh, not really? Anyway, the story in this game is that some kingdom has lost the power of all the elements (which has been keeping it alive) and you, the player (assisted by a fairy) have to bring it back. Your task in each level is to clear the pathway for the energy, so it can reach what I assume would be the core. Each element has its book, each book has four creatures corresponding to it and each creature takes four levels to be unlocked, so you can do the math. The only things that stray away from the general concept are finding keys to unlock each book (HOG scenes) and the final step of restoring each creature’s entry in the book (spot the difference). I suppose the reason I’ve been stalling this game is because it got more and more tedious as levels went on. I kid you not, near the endgame I’ve had to replay multiple levels due to running out of time simply because there weren’t enough good combinations on the board, even to charge up the super powers. That, and it’s got its years, so it doesn’t look the best (fullscreened, at least). Also, fuck time-based achievements. Whoever thinks those up should turn around and walk away (not to get any meaner, but seriously, fuck time-based achievements).
9 Clues: The Secret of Serpent Creek - What on earth happened here? So glad I got another SG win done! And this one was a perfect fit for my ABC HOG challenge, too! I liked how the style of this one was more cartoonish than, let’s say, Enigmatis 1 - and here, the fast travel function worked too! The HOG scenes were… amazingly easy, for the most part. The voice acting was okay - I feel like one of the guys voiced two, if not three characters, and it was very easy to hear. The only reason I spent nearly 4 hours on this game (instead of the estimate, which would be 2 hours) was, again, achievements. Why, why, why, Artifex Mundi? I get that achievements make or break the deal for some, but putting them in HOG games is just… ugh… they’re either no-brainers or so strict you have to replay the game just to get them, which, again, was the case with this one for me, and honestly, that’s the only reason I don’t feel as good as I normally would about their HOGs. But at the end of the day, Artifex Mundi are my nationals and I wanna support them, so I’ll play all I have!
Aozora Meikyuu - The first commercial, as well as the first English-language release from an otherwise German studio by the name of Yume Creations. Aozora Meikyuu is the story of Aoi Takamatsu, a seemingly normal guy who dropped out of high school after the girl he confessed his love to rejected him, and became a hikikomori - living this way for three years, until one day, a mysterious, naked girl fell from the sky… and landed right on him. At first I had no idea how the confession part, having happened so much earlier than the rest of the story, would have any impact, or meaning, even, but trust me when I say it does. The protagonist is hard to sympathize with and the heroine is pretty much an expy of another heroine (looks-wise, at least) of a way more popular VN (hint hint: it’s Japanese). However, there’s one thing I don’t think I’ve seen done in any other VNs so far - whenever a character’s expression would change, the sprite representing that would slide onto the screen and replace the previous one, instead of… flickering. Some might find this annoying, but it wasn’t too bad in my opinion - rather, that way you’re sure you didn’t miss a sprite change. There’s still the discrepancy between the sprites of the heroine and the way she appears in CGs - her hair is either more pink or more orange, respectively - and neither version really corresponds to an in-game description saying that her hair is of “cherry blossom” color, as I see it. Other than that, the music is good, although a little too repetitive, the backgrounds are surprisingly good, the story becomes more and more obvious as you read on and there’s really no need for all the choices to be timed other than that the developers thinking it’s a good way to trigger a slightly different ending. And last, but not least, the “uncensor patch” is, for the most part, unnecessary.
Coloring Game - Quickly, before it stops counting as Completed again! This seems to be a statement from L. Stotch - lewd games are not the only thing he’s about! Coloring Game is, essentially, the same thing as Coloring Pixels, and thus, it will be compared in its entirety to ToastieLabs’ creation. First off, I’m glad L. Stotch used some words in the instructions for Coloring Game - lord knows stuff takes time to figure out if you only show pictures (just like putting together furniture!). The biggest issue I found in-game was the ability to invalidate colors - say you’re filling in number 3 after having filled in number 1, but those numbers are pretty much next to each other, so if you drag too far, you end up erasing number 1… who even thought of that. On the other hand, I like the fact that when picking a number, only the boxes with that number react to your input. To be fair, the update that came in while I was busy coloring the demo images, added the much needed color lock function… but removed movement with WASD keys - what the hell, dev?! “People have reported trouble”, my ass! First it was better than Coloring Pixels in that regard (since I play it on the laptop, apparently it doesn’t seem to think I have a mouse wheel, thus leaving me to navigate around images using the arrow keys, eternally), and then it just made itself worse in one update. It seems the game doesn’t recognize my mouse movement (or I’m too stupid to understand the new mechanic, with this guy’s games it could be either, really), so if it wasn’t for the smaller copy of the image letting me navigate I might not have been able to finish the base game. (Update: as of now, the movement mechanics have been modified again, this time for better, if I recall correctly… not too bothered to check.) Speaking of that part, it’s kinda cool to see yourself fill in the image, bit by bit, but on some images the colors just blend in too much, making it sort of useless. The bigger images were just a pain in the ass in general, too. All being said, I colored all the free images, but I don’t suppose I’ll be buying the DLC when it comes out.
Cursed - My first experience with Jetdogs Studios’ games. Frankly, I thought this was supposed to be a HOG… until I played it. It’s kind of a fusion between a HOG (in terms of how the story is told and what the game looks like) and a point-and-click (as the game doesn’t contain any HOG scenes, you just go back and forth finding stuff and using it). I really liked the availability of a fast travel mechanic, which, for some reason still isn’t a thing in all the other games (grits teeth looking at you, Enigmatis) and the fact that I could either have the inventory reacting to hovering the cursor over it or have it stay on the screen at all times (both options had their pros and cons). The cutscenes didn’t differ too much from the rest of the game (again, Artifex Mundi, I only played, like, two, maybe three of your games, but it seems you’ve never bothered to get better?) and the 3D animations looked pretty good (aside from the character animation, good god they looked horrible, opening their mouths in one and the same motion when “talking”). Speaking of characters… the voiceover was terrible, aside from the protagonist, who was voiced by Amber Lee Connors - it was really good listening to her. And it seems I have remembered her voice well already - she also acted as Beli Lapran in HuniePop! Uhm… anyway. The story wasn’t really profound, but that’s not something I personally expect from games like Cursed. And that being said, if you don’t mind the flaws I mentioned, then I suggest you pick up Cursed for yourself. I’m eager to see what else this studio has for me in store, I have quite a bunch of their other games still waiting in my backlog.
Deponia - Went back to get the remaining achievements. Thankfully, Daedalic, for some reason, has a separate page on their website for save states from different parts of the game, so this wasn’t too troubling (only took me about 2 hours, I’d say, including my laptop dying at one point, so that’s cool). Needless to say, I didn’t play the whole game again in Droggeljug mode - guess I’m just too lazy, lol. Anyway, I’ll be seeing this game again whenever I decide to tackle The Complete Journey, so this entry can go into the Completed pile now.
Enigmatis: The Ghosts of Maple Creek - My first Artifex Mundi game. I’ve beaten this one back in 2017, but decided to complete it only now. The one thing I want to say to myself is: let’s try not to beat HOGs, but actually complete them instead… The achievements I was missing basically forced me to replay the whole game. As for Enigmatis itself, it was… good. The HOG scenes balanced the ratio of items you can see straight away and the ones you have to really look for, some riddles actually took me a while to solve. The music was great, the story… didn’t conclude itself. The voice acting was okay by itself, but when paired with visuals - the voices didn’t really match the characters in my opinion. The animated cutscenes were also of bad quality when compared to the rest of the game, but a quick glance at the options made me realize I couldn’t change that in any way… welp. All in all, I wish I didn’t have to spend those extra three (four, even!) hours on completing this one.
Hatoful Boyfriend - Wow… this was an amazing ride. Hatoful Boyfriend is the one VN that people who don’t know call “the pigeon dating simulator”, and the people who do say there’s much more to it. Sure enough, after repetition, repetition, repetition… if you stick around until then, you’ll get to the dark underbelly, as I like to call it. Just be prepared, it’s a read longer than any of the routes by themselves. Not to mention, while the character routes are amazingly easy and light reading, the BBL route brings out the big guns - expect a story that is more or less half confirming the info you’ll be fed piece by piece before you get to it and adding more info on top of that. That is not to say I didn’t enjoy Hatoful Boyfriend for what it is - a story that has since been confirmed by its creator to lack polish. One thing I personally wish would happen to this title to make it better is script editing - there’s enough errors to warrant a patch at best. Letter swaps, word repetition, missing words and even excess use of ellipsis - they got it all here and it definitely catches attention. Even so, I think this VN was worth the close-to-15-hours that I spent with it. (I actually accidentally idled this one for about 2 hours, I’m so mad at myself, grrr) And since on the surface it’s an otome game, I have to say - Yuuya is best birb. It’s unusual for me (I sure do like flirty guys the least), but he took my breath away when I first saw his human form - I mean - glasses and hairpins? I must be dreamin’, y’all.
Keyhole Spy: Frozen Hotties - I’ve actually made the mistake of playing this one on my boyfriend’s PC. He hated me playing it so much that even I questioned my gaming choices (lol). The interesting thing about this installment is the “Battle” mode; the sliding puzzles are a joke and the match-3 is as annoying as ever.
Pixel Puzzles 2: Anime - Goood daaamn, I finally finished another one! I sure like to torture myself with those puzzle games, don’t I…? sigh Anyway, this one, as the name suggests, was full of pictures drawn in anime style (although in some cases they seemed to border on being fanart for series I know, I feel like). It also had a fairy that, thankfully, doesn’t fly around the whole screen (like the astronaut would jump in Pixel Puzzles 2: Space), but her voice is so annoying I’ve muted her almost instantly. She’s there to charge the hints - you can make her disappear, but for some reason that will also render you unable to use hints, which is just straight up BS. (I mean, if I can even see her peeking at the image in zoom mode, I’m gonna want to remove her, right? Or can it get even more annoying than that?) The last puzzle took me over 2 hours to complete and at that point I was just so done with the game… and that’s pretty much all I could say about this one. Puzzles looked nice, the difficulty was alright, the thing this one had to make the itself seem more lively (aka the fairy) was annoying as always and I still can’t believe those puzzle games take that much time.
Refunct - Finally got my boyfriend to complete it! (I don’t know how all of you dating assasins complete tough games together - me, I just feel like I’m a mega sadist asking him to do the tedious stuff…) Refunct is, at heart, a speedrunner’s game, and the dev knows that well, so aside from the collectible-based achievements, there are also three achievements pertaining to that. My thoughts on the game aside (it’s a really pretty and atmospheric parkour game for an extremely low price), it was interesting to watch boyfriend memorize the whole game to complete it and I was rooting for him immensely each time. That being said… this is the last update about you, Refunct. See you in the Completed tab.
Samantha Swift and the Hidden Roses of Athena - At the beginning, Samantha Swift felt nostalgic, being one of many games I first came into contact with through Big Fish Games, but then I realized it’s… actually not that cool. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. Samantha Swift is, to put it bluntly, a game for kids. Sure, names of some of the objects you have to find are probably unknown to children, but then again, come on! The art style is so cartoony and half (if not all) of the items in any HOG scene literally stand out! Not to mention Samantha’s scanner, which can show you the outline of any given item, and even the abundance of hints! HOG logic is also at play - a blowtorch working underwater? Can’t imagine that happening.
Snow White Solitaire. Charmed Kingdom - This game was charming and I don’t mind having spent 8 whole hours on it. It’s waaay better than the solitaire game I finished last month. In Snow White you have to help… well, Snow White restore her kingdom using your amazing solitaire skills and abilities of the friends she meets along the way. The difficulty is reasonable - at first I was struggling immensely, since I didn’t have any abilities, but when nearing the end of the game, I was pretty much kicking solitaire ass, using wild cards and character abilities interchangeably. There are a few things you have to note - there’s a limit of four wild cards, so if you pick up another one, it’s going to be used immediately; one of the abilities seems like it’s bugged, so if you use it on the last card of the level, watch out or you’ll end up using it on the first card of the next one too; and last, but not least, there are options that allow you to customize cards, which I only changed after finishing the game and wasn’t too satisfied with either way. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention that while it’s a solitaire game, Snow White introduces HOG scenes and puzzles at times - both of which are child’s play. Personally, I enjoyed Snow White, and so far, I think it might become my benchmark when it comes to custom solitaire games.
The Cat Lady - The Cat Lady tells the story of Susan Ashworth, a woman in her 40s, who doesn’t see a point to her life anymore and tries to commit suicide. Failing to do so, she receives an offer that might just turn her life around… saying any more would spoil the fun. The Cat Lady’s charm is definitely in its grittiness - most of the game is presented in black and white, the sprites look half-painted, half-pixelated, the UI is somewhat clunky, the music adds to the atmosphere wonderfully… but in the middle of all that, The Cat Lady is a grim tale of health issues, violence and death, among other things, so sadly, it might not be for everyone. Those who remain unfazed by this description; I strongly recommend you play it and tell others about it.
Aaand… that’s it from me for April! If you read all of that (or skipped through, I guess I don’t mind… too much), tell me: do you like monthly update posts? Or do you prefer weekly? Game-by-game? I’ve recently been thinking about trying something else and I’d like some feedback. :)
Sorry, I know I’m spamming immensely! This is the last one, I promise!
- Omit “A” and “The” in names (Come on, that would be just too easy.)
- No chickening out! (Obviously. I’m trying to beat a backlog here.)
- In case of more obscure letters, the game chosen must contain given letter somewhere in its name.
Missing letters: X?
List is subject to change.
|1||4 Elements 2019||100% (14 of 14)||about 9 hours|
|2||AER Memories of Old||0% (0 of 20)||0 minutes|
|3||Burly Men at Sea||0% (0 of 25)||0 minutes|
|4||Captive 2019||100% (14 of 14)||about 3 hours|
|5||Draw a Stickman: EPIC||0% (0 of 52)||0 minutes|
|6||Epistory - Typing Chronicles||42% (23 of 55)||about 3 hours|
|7||Fumiko! Won on SteamGifts||0% (0 of 20)||0 minutes|
|8||Gone In November||—||0 minutes|
|9||Hacknet||0% (0 of 11)||0 minutes|
|10||It's Spring Again||0% (0 of 4)||0 minutes|
|11||Japanese Women - Animated Jigsaws||21% (7 of 34)||about 2 hours|
|12||Koi-Koi Japan [Hanafuda playing cards]||46% (16 of 35)||about 2 hours|
|13||Light Fantastik||0% (0 of 23)||0 minutes|
|14||Murdered: Soul Suspect||0% (0 of 48)||0 minutes|
|15||Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna)||0% (0 of 19)||0 minutes|
|16||Oxenfree||0% (0 of 13)||7 minutes|
|17||Papers, Please||69% (9 of 13)||about 5 hours|
|18||QP Shooting - Dangerous!!||0% (0 of 36)||0 minutes|
|19||Rakuen Won on SteamGifts||0% (0 of 15)||0 minutes|
|20||Scribblenauts Unlimited||0% (0 of 25)||0 minutes|
|21||To the Moon||0% (0 of 1)||0 minutes|
|22||Unforgiving Trials: The Darkest Crusade Received through trades||—||0 minutes|
|23||World's Dawn||0% (0 of 30)||0 minutes|
|24||Yomawari: Night Alone||4% (1 of 27)||20 minutes|