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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Progress report: September ‘21 (a.k.a. First Post Away From Home!)

If you’ve read last month’s post, you may know that I’ve officially moved out for uni. I’m currently living in a share house with four other people (of which I’ve met three so far, and they all seem nice enough to not have any trouble communicating in regards to doing stuff around the house), within walking distance to my uni. I’d like to think I’ve settled in, but time will tell, as I’m going back to school in a few days…

…but before that, my assassinations!

A Short Hike - It really feels like everyone and their grandma’s played this by now, and I’m the only one late to the party. A Short Hike follows Claire, a young bird looking for phone reception on an island full of lush greens and flowing rivers. You can run, jump, fly and glide to get around the island. You’ll also find a whole bunch of characters - some more, some less local - to talk to and make friends with (some call it Animal Crossing lite and despite never having played AC, I can believe that). It’s a small, neat game that I absolutely loved for those exact reasons. Also, the quirky pixelated art style. Also also, how the BGM and weather dynamically changes based on your location. I realise it’s hard for me to write comprehensively about things I like, but I really can’t think of a single bad thing about this game. If you’re looking to unwind in a virtual world, I wholeheartedly recommend A Short Hike.

Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons - If you want to talk games that require a controller (and I know I did, before moving out), this one has to be the most recognizeable for that alone. As the title suggests, Brothers follows two… brothers… yeah. They’re color-coded, the big brother being blue and the little brother - orange. (Never explicitly named anywhere, but I’d really like to call the younger brother Na(y)i and the older Na(i/y)a, as that’s what they seem to refer to each other as.) Brothers is a puzzle game, its main gimmick being “single player co-op” a.k.a. having one player assume control of both characters using the controller’s sticks. I found the puzzles straight-forward and relatively easy, which is no complaint, considering I usually bullshit my way through pure puzzle games anyway. I do think, however, that the auto-jumping and invisible walls feel like the game’s holding your hand… but then again, the devs could have made the death sound less jarring. I’m also not big on fantasy settings, but this game managed to keep me interested. All in all, a pretty swift, 4 hour-ish (I fumbled my way around trying - and potentially messing myself up - to get a certain achievement; if you know, you know) romp through the high and low, more and less mysterious parts of this unnamed (?) virtual land.

Draw_Love - See Lovers’ Smiles.

Hex-Up - Now this is one puzzle game I didn’t cheat at! Maybe cause it was straight-forward enough, but still. In Hex-Up, your task is to move around a level made of tiles in a way that will let you cover all of them. Everything about this game - the design, the UI, the SFX and BGM - is minimalistic, so there’s really nothing more to say, nor do I have any complaints.

Neverending Nightmares - About halfway through the game I realized this is a little early for Spooktober… oh well, it’s done now! Neverending Nightmares calls itself a psychological horror, taking inspiration from the creator’s struggles with depression and OCD. Whether or not you yourself have been battling either of those disorders (I know I felt the scenes where the protagonist hurt himself spiritually, despite never imagining anything quite as gory), I think the only psychological horror here stems from doors. Yes, you read that right. Doors are the thing you will be interacting with the most often in this game, and a lot of them don’t even lead you where you’re meant to go. The game’s lack of direction and “black-and-white, with a chance of red” art style only serve to make the experience worse in the long run - although it’s not scary, but rather exhausting. Some of the levels have enemies, which may look scary at first, but as soon as you figure out how to avoid them, they become no more than another nuisance. There are a few story branches, but I found none of them or the endings that came out of them were really satisfying - all the endings were abrupt and served to explain nothing. At the very least, it seems some Japanese players really enjoyed it, having published a manga adaptation over on pixiv. I believe I must have gotten my copy of the game from some bundle or other, because otherwise I would not have bought it. I completed the game in a little under 3 hours, and even that is because I started browsing the game’s discussion threads in the insanity of trying to navigate the huge mess of multiple same-y looking rooms. And so, as I’m sure countless people have said before me, I think the $15 price tag is outrageous. If you ever feel like you want to experience this game, grab it in a bundle or during a sale - otherwise, you’re much better off spending on some other game you want more.

Over The Phone - Seeing as this is free now, I would have kept it for another free game month, but I couldn’t resist. In Over The Phone, you’re Jake, a photographer who meets a nice girl while on a call with his internet service provider. Much like a visual novel, your interaction is boiled down to making choices when prompted. I’m glad this game went free to play, having played it now - it could be considered a step-up from the dev’s previous game, Drinks With Abbey, but it also feels really barebones, seeing how easily the most important part of the plot is fully left to the player’s imagination. That being said, it looks very good, it features voice acting and again, it’s free! …so take that how you will.

Remember When - Remember When is a short point-and-click-esque game about Noah and Sarah, a married couple taking a trip down the ol’ memory lane while on a phone call. Interacting with certain objects at suggested times will show you memories of certain events. I liked the art style and found the voice acting solid, but the way the text is displayed could use a fix - instead of showing whole sentences all at once, the game will reveal them as if they’re being written out when the characters say them (wow, that’s harder to explain than I thought it would be), which, with how the dialogue is progressing, makes it flashy and hard to read. I originally meant to play this one back in June, for the free game special, but I was convinced I got stuck before I could really interact with anything - there have been a bunch of complaints in regards to that in the game’s discussions. If that happens to you, don’t get discouraged, just try again - even despite the text being hard on the eyes, it’s worth it.

Ripple - A pretty simple puzzle game… or so I would be authorized to say if I had actually figured it out on my own. If you’ve read any of my other posts, you know I quickly give up on these types of puzzle games and look for a walkthrough to copy the solutions off of. Ripple was no different. It’s built upon a basic concept: you’re presented with a figure made up of dark tiles and by clicking around on them, you need to light all of them up. What I don’t like about this game are its time-related achievements; to get them all, you need to play the game for at least two hours. Totally doable if you’re adamant on solving all the puzzles yourself, but the way I did it, I still had almost half an hour left to idle. It’s painfully obvious that those were put into the game to stop people from refunding it…

Tell Me Why - Alyson and Tyler, twins born in the fictional town of Delos Crossing, Alaska, have been separated for ten years. At 21, they have the chance to finally reunite and take care of family matters. Tell Me Why is a walking simulator, not unlike DONTNOD’s other titles, but it also features other mechanics, such as memory recall, which plays an important part in some of the decisions you can make, as well as an inner voice the twins can use to communicate with each other. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed exploring the remote Delos Crossing, seemingly stuck in an eternal winter (the epilogue plays out in May, yet it still feels cold) and solving riddles here and there, to get down to the truth of Alyson and Tyler’s family. The voice acting is fantastic, the UI is beautiful and the sound design - highly believable! Some of the sounds, like the forest animal calls or the random plane you can hear flying overhead (and it doesn’t distract from the story!) really made me think of home. A small personal gripe would be contradicting achievements, but 1) if you’re not a completionist, this won’t bother you and 2) DONTNOD know players don’t have time to sit around and watch all the cinematics again, so there’s a skip option - might seem cruel, but it gets the job done. I normally don’t talk about this, but this time around, I feel like I should mention that Tell Me Why features a transgender character and deals with family loss. While the latter is the focal point of the story, personally I’m glad the former didn’t take away from it or shift focus, as wrong as this may sound. As someone who can’t relate to the subject, I can’t say much more than that, as well as that I believe the developers’ statement on the matter. Last, but not least, Tell Me Why (particularly Alyson’s epilogue) really made me feel confident about my desire to live in my childhood home later in life. Despite having played it at home, I felt distant, yet close to it at the same time. The game has been free-to-claim throughout June for Pride Month, so if you’ve wanted to play it before, you most likely have added it to your account, but if for some reason you didn’t know about it or missed it - I’d say it’s worth it, as long as the content doesn’t put you off.

See yooou next month… 8D

Progress report: August ‘21 (a.k.a. The Prodigal Configuration of Being Returns!)

First off, I would like to say “it’s only natural that I haven’t played any Steam games for almost two months after completing so many free ones back in June, it balances itself out”, but really, I’ve got no excuse. If there is one thing that’s going to keep haunting me until the day I die, it’s my Steam backlog. …and my physical manga backlog, but we don’t talk about that one.
cue the Psycho shower scene BGM

Aaanyway, my one excuse is that as the holidays started, I naturally got into working on some anime watching challenges over on MyAnimeList (most specifically, ones that require you to watch one movie/OVA etc. for a set period of time), as I have done for the last… checks nervously …f-five years? Yeeah, that would be it. Then, since I had more free time, I started chatting with a friend over Discord… but since she’s US based, I have once again remembered I’ve got no self-control when it comes to talking to people and so I’ve been staying up until anywhere between 2 AM and 6 AM just about every night. I started playing a new mobile game since she recommended it, then I suggested streaming another game for her to play along with… and lordy-loo, now I’m here. To my defense, however, I have been putting some time into PlayStation games, completing a long list of four titles! (lol) Currently, the plan is to squeeze in some more playtime that requires and/or is more handy with a controller, since… aahhh, I don’t even want to think about it, but… now there’s less than three weeks left until I have to actually move out for uni… and I don’t dare to take even as little as the DS4, cause I don’t have $60 for another one in case something were to happen to it in transit. I will definitely take my Vita, though, having a case for it and everything.

Speaking of which, I feel it could be good to pose this here: I don’t plan on taking my TV and home consoles with me when I move, but people keep talking like I’m overreacting. Last time I checked, I was moving for university, not for fun. That, and I believe the room was too small to fit a TV. I’d like to know your thoughts and opinions.

And for the hardy ones, here’s what I assassinated in August:

  • Lozenge

    9.9 hours playtime

    11 of 11 achievements

  • Midnight Carnival

    0.5 hours playtime

    no achievements

  • Potatoe

    0.0 hours playtime

    no achievements

Lozenge - A nice, casual game that encourages logical thinking by having you fit an assortment of shapes into a limited space until… whenever you mess yourself up, essentially. I’ve only put almost 10 hours into it at this point, because my last achievement - scoring over ten thousand points in one game - was proving hard. Usually I’d finish a game around the five-six thousand mark, but recently I got down to it and managed to get it done. It’s an interesting little title, but I find the music annoying, the lack of an automatic game over inconvenient and the fact that some shapes don’t rotate in all possible directions infuriating, so take from that what you will.

Midnight Carnival - This game has been in Early Access ever since I could remember, which always made for the perfect excuse for me not to play it. Now that it’s been close to five years since its initial release, I figured I might as well get it out of the way. Mostly negative reviews, citing anywhere between 15 and 30 minutes of playtime… yeeeah, there was nothing good about it. It was made in my least favorite VN engine, it’s poorly written, it doesn’t even fullscreen properly. I want to say it’s an incel’s risky dream, considering the main character’s outlook on life… but then again, the story is just so bizarre I can’t say I gleaned anything from it. Naturally, I didn’t expect it to be finished, but then it cuts at the most random point in the story… truth be told, I was only glad it was over. Choosing different options didn’t really do much either, so hey, hi, hello, illusion of choice. I know I must have gotten this in some crappy bundle or as a random mystery key, but not even that makes it worth it. Hell, don’t even try it if it goes for free - the only way to win is not to play, as they say.

Potatoe - A gift from Ylthin, no less - thank you so much! Unfortunately, there isn’t much to talk about when it comes to Potatoe; it’s one simple maze obscured by darkness which has, uh… diodes? randomly spawn in different places for you to collect. No win-lose conditions, no time limit, nothing to really compete about in the multiplayer mode (yes, that exists). However, the reviews for it are very scathing and for what reason, I can’t understand - there have been far less playable games that Steam has seen, but Potatoe is not one of them. It’s more like mindless drivel to be put on for background noise, or if for any reason you want to pretend to be hypnotised by your computer screen. Nothing to recommend, but I’m not enough of an adult baby to cry about it (lol).

See you next month! :)

Progress report: Fourth week of June ‘21 + what was left at the end (a.k.a. Full Sixty, Y’all!)

I am done! All my exams are over and I have passed each and every one of them! (still gotta write an essay for one of the classes but let’s just pretend that nonsense isn’t a thing)
Moreover, inbetween all the procrastinating, poor efforts at cramming, getting anxious and more procrastinating, I’ve played more games!
As the title of this report says, this month turned out to be absolute mastery, taking my idea of exploring free games to the max with sixty completed titles!
There’s still a lot more where that came from, though, so I’ll definitely have to do this again in the future. It also led me to a new list idea (or two)!
But first, let’s see those kills!

  • a Museum of Dubious Splendors

    0.5 hours playtime

    no achievements

  • Coloring Game: Little City

    47.8 hours playtime

    80 of 80 achievements

  • Guilt Free

    1.7 hours playtime

    10 of 10 achievements

  • Harem Girl: Alicia

    0.6 hours playtime

    12 of 12 achievements

  • Human Rights

    0.0 hours playtime

    no achievements

  • HUNGRY TEA PARTY

    0.3 hours playtime

    no achievements

  • Lucid Dream

    0.9 hours playtime

    7 of 7 achievements

  • Return NULL

    1.0 hours playtime

    no achievements

  • Sevgilim Olur musun ?

    1.5 hours playtime

    40 of 40 achievements

  • Sillyfun Valley

    2.1 hours playtime

    no achievements

  • Silver Creek Falls - Chapter 1

    0.9 hours playtime

    2 of 2 achievements

  • The Art of Playing

    0.5 hours playtime

    no achievements

  • The Cat and the Coup

    0.2 hours playtime

    no achievements

  • The Night Fisherman

    0.1 hours playtime

    no achievements

  • Yu Escape / Monday

    0.5 hours playtime

    8 of 8 achievements

a Museum of Dubious Splendors - A collection of stories interspersed with exploring an abstract museum. This wouldn’t be the first time I forgot to read up on a game before launching it, but… I didn’t expect to encounter so much reading. And it was pretty tough in terms of vocabulary, too! There were a whole bunch of simple mistakes in the texts, though, which is a shame. The game doesn’t really offer any direction, so I believe I might have missed some rooms in the museum… but to tell you the truth, I don’t really care. Still, the game was intriguing enough for me to check out the other ones someday.

Coloring Game: Little City - The Summer Sale is on, so I decided to splurge on all the DLCs for this one and be done with it. I believe it was supposed to focus on the happenings of some cozy city, hence the subtitle; I didn’t really feel that here, though. That, and because I’ve been running late with my progress, as well as finding the drawings tedious compared to the superior Coloring Pixels, I decided to idle the latter half of the game. Despite making me kind of mad for going against the purpose of the game, I’m kinda glad that the idle function is a thing, since these games (again, in comparison to Coloring Pixels) work more choppily. I also had the game close itself on me a few times, after which I would realize that the drawing I was working on hadn’t been saved despite auto-save being turned on. Long story short, I’m glad this is done, ‘cause I’ve still got three more to go.

Guilt Free - In this visual novel with minimal point-and-click elements, you’re in a relationship with Alice, who seems to be struggling with an eating disorder. Your choices will shape how the player character perceives her sudden mood changes and unusual eating habits. Will you two split up? Will you convince Alice to seek help from a therapist? Or will you support her wholeheartedly? Guilt Free features a relatively basic art style, remindful of charcoal drawings. If I had to nitpick, the text in the regular textbox looks oddly squished - no idea if that was a design choice or what. Also, there’s only a fast-forward option, no skip option, which is more of a con.

Harem Girl: Alicia - See Harem Girl: Nikki.

Human Rights - Considerably less inspired than Video World, Human Rights is a small game… or rather what feels like a tech demo set to a song of the same title by Monster Mansion. Knowing this existed, I’ve held back from listening to the song by itself, and as it turns out, it was… kinda pointless. Everything goes by so fast in Human Rights, you can’t really focus on it, vibe with it like Video World lets you with its songs. A letdown… but still free.

HUNGRY TEA PARTY - A “point-and-click” about getting invited to a macabre take on the Alice in Wonderland tea party. Utterly confusing, as there’s no dialogue to support the choices you’re making. The character designs are great, though; I feel like they were kind of wasted on this game. Still, if you want to check it out, you’re gonna have to do it sooner than later - the game is getting delisted in July.

Lucid Dream - Decent for its dev’s first title (and its price, of course), Lucid Dream is a point-and-click horror about discovering the true story behind a girl’s unusually vivid dream. It’s odd in the sense that it’s a point-and-click, but it still kind of wants to play like a survival horror. The dev is also originally Korean, so the game is translated… and very iffily so. I got as much as I could out of the story and figured it’s not something I’m going to be thinking about later, so let’s move on.

Return NULL - Originally, I was only planning to play the first episode, but since the second one got a deep discount in the Summer Sale, I figured I might as well get it while I’m at it. Since they both came out in 2015 and no news about the release of the third episode has been revealed since, I’m going to treat the game as if it’s complete. Return NULL is a point-and-click set in a cyberpunk-esque dystopian world. You play as Jack Drebin, a member of the Local Security Force. An accident that occurs during one of his missions sets the story in motion… I didn’t mind the comic book method of storytelling, but it was sad to not be able to move around the locations; Jack is merely drawn into each and every one of them in one select place. That doubles as yet another con - it’s hard, if not near-impossible to find half of the objects you can pick up in certain locations, as they don’t stand out against the backgrounds. I’m not big on the art style, but I still liked seeing the improvement it got in the second episode. It could have also used voice acting to keep up interest, it’s sort of weird to me to be clicking through dialogue that doesn’t present like typical point-and-click dialogue does. As much as I love cyberpunk, I ultimately wasn’t pulled in by this game at all. At least there’s not much else I could have bought for half a dollar.

Sevgilim Olur musun? - Translating to “Will you be my lover?”, this Turkish game is said to be a parody of Big Brother. It does seem like it, but since I don’t understand a lick of Turkish, I played this game purely for its achievements. Am I a hack yet? To put it bluntly, the game looks and sounds bad. I’d like to say you could enjoy it more if you know Turkish (if only because you would actually understand what is going on), but I’ve seen reviews from Turkish players saying that the game isn’t good either way. Just going off the visual cues, most of the achievements are related to continually poking fun at everyone, sabotaging their stuff, as well as dating (and bedding) all the female characters, so take from that what you will.

Sillyfun Valley - At this point I’m not sure where I got this from, but I believe this point-and-click is made mostly from free assets. Some of the dialogue is pretty funny (I especially liked how the main character has unique goodbye responses for all of the characters), but the voice acting is really bad. Just about all of the actors either don’t seem to know what they’re doing (makes you wonder if any of them know what they auditioned for), speak too quiet and/or sound muffled or just don’t match their characters’ looks in general. The humor apparently contains some inside jokes related to San Francisco and gets political at times, so I was both confused and unsure where I stand in relation to it. I didn’t dislike the game, but I didn’t feel strongly about it either way. I do wish it had a definitive ending, though.

Silver Creek Falls - Chapter 1 - The first of the three parts, this game briefly introduces you to Sara (or Sarah, the game itself doesn’t seem to know which one it prefers) and her newly appointed partner, Phillip, and throws you right into the mystery of Silver Creek Falls. More specifically, this part only really focuses on investigating the three crime scenes that may or may not end up connected to each other and gathering all the blood samples (as well as drinking one for an achievement). I liked the character models and the portrait art, other than that it’s a huge meh from me.

The Art of Playing - I can understand that this was supposed to tell the story of the industry in Austin, Texas specifically, but I feel like there was too much time dedicated to the making of Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon, which would have made more sense if this documentary was anything like Indie Game: The Movie. Instead I found myself enjoying the parts concerning Creative Assembly and diversity in the industry far more. The trailer roll for the indie movies Devolver Digital had been distributing back then was really cool as well, sad to see they’re not doing that anymore. (Side note: I launched this from the Steam client and it magically opened up in my browser, which might be why Steam itself didn’t track any playtime, but believe me, I really did watch it.)

The Cat and the Coup - I thought this was paid? Anyway, this is a short puzzle game leading you through the events of the titular coup, engineered by the CIA to bring about the downfall of Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh, the first democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran, as the store page states. Despite referring to real events, it appears very enigmatic, with an art style resembling a huge collage of cardboard cut-outs and newspaper clippings. I have to say, despite having notes about the chronological series of events, I really came out remembering nothing from the game.

The Night Fisherman - I’m not getting the whole thing here, clearly. I came in knowing that, and I still came out unsatisfied. “Bite-sized” is one thing, but this was far too short for my liking. I wonder if it’s supposed to get off the hook haha get it, accidental pun because it looks good?

Yu Escape / Monday - I have to say I had high hopes for this game. The art style is great, there’s a sex scene and in the trailer, Shi has a voice… a really pleasing voice. Unfortunately, it turns out that you Yu is her boyfriend-slash-slave, which is backed up by him being forced to sleep on a separate mattress and implied to be pulled around on a leash. I’m all about femdom and pet play, but that was not funny or arousing. Neither was the sex scene itself. Turns out Shi actually talks in Nintendo style beep-boops (the ones representing her voice are more ear-grating than the ones used for the narration) and is very demanding (going “NOW!” in all caps like five or so times through the whole two, maybe three minute-long scene). The stamp DLC was interesting, but you know it’s a problem when having your character cosplay other well-known characters ends up being the most amusing thing about your game. Even on the discount it feels too expensive, but unfortunately I can’t get my money back now.

That was an especially productive month! About halfway through the year and I’ve almost reached my goal! Super pumped about it :D
See you next this month! :)

Progress report: Third week of June ‘21 (a.k.a. It Was My Birthday!)

As mentioned in the title - birthday, yay! I got a big gift this time around - a brand new, turquoise Nintendo Switch Lite, exactly the one I wanted!
…and then I looked through Nintendo’s digital storefront and remembered how expensive everything I want is. Welp, looks like it’s gonna be sitting on the shelf just like the 3DS is! ^^;;

  • 6 PEOPLE

    0.2 hours playtime

    no achievements

  • A Lazy Magic Teacher

    0.5 hours playtime

    no achievements

  • Clover Tale

    36.5 hours playtime

    40 of 40 achievements

  • Cooking Companions: Appetizer Edition

    1.0 hours playtime

    15 of 15 achievements

  • Hentai Honeys Jigsaw

    0.0 hours playtime

    no achievements

  • Hentai Honeys Slider

    0.4 hours playtime

    no achievements

  • how do you Do It?

    0.0 hours playtime

    no achievements

  • Kidnapped Girl

    0.5 hours playtime

    2 of 2 achievements

  • Maui

    0.6 hours playtime

    9 of 9 achievements

  • Space Between Worlds

    0.1 hours playtime

    1 of 1 achievements

  • Teenage Blob: Paperperson - The First Single

    0.2 hours playtime

    5 of 5 achievements

  • the static speaks my name

    0.2 hours playtime

    no achievements

  • The Supper

    0.3 hours playtime

    no achievements

  • Toy Tinker Simulator: BETA

    0.6 hours playtime

    10 of 10 achievements

  • Tree Trunk Brook

    1.3 hours playtime

    6 of 6 achievements

6 PEOPLE - An intriguing set-up for what could potentially be a good horror story. I say “set-up”, because this VN is 10-15 minutes worth of playtime, a third of which may or may not involve idling to experience riding the subway the story is set in (I’m still not sure if me clicking around did anything to advance it or not). The character art is so good it stands out, too.

A Lazy Magic Teacher - “In this visual novel you play as Mike, a fat and failing wizard, in his quest to uncensor a photo of a naked woman.” Conclusion: it was just as bad as it sounded. The art style is incredibly basic, the BGM doesn’t lend itself to reading and the VN is made in TyranoScript, which is easily my most disliked free VN making software. There also seems to be no good end (although I’m not sure I would even be satisfied with one due to how unflattering the art style is).

Clover Tale - Wow, wow, WOW! I actually managed to finish one of the endless games this month! Clover Tale is one of the many free-to-play casual games that utilizes an energy system (and can therefore include in-game purchases). I have not spent a single dime on the game and got through it just fine, if not frustratingly slow at times. This might just be one of the most, if not the most varied match-3 game I have ever played, with each in-game location setting a different completion goal. There are also a bunch of creatures that appear as you progress through the quest line - you can feed/scare them with the related items to get additional money, experience and some other items. Some locations were a breeze and had straightforward goals, the ones unlocked later had mostly unplayable levels (assuming you don’t want to keep being stuck and spending in-game money on access items), so I stuck to playing the first levels of those. I did my best to get better scores where possible, but it rarely ever happened. There clearly still are some things to be done in the game, but will I be going back? Nah, I’d have to have absolutely nothing else to do to consider picking this up again. But as far as the endless game bunch I’m pushing through right now, this is one of the better titles.

Cooking Companions: Appetizer Edition - An odd VN, that one. On one hand, you’re cooking and eating with the four people who live at the cabin. On the other hand, you’re playing hide-and-seek with Chompettes, the five living pieces of food. …all of that and you don’t even know who you are. Complete with a warning not unlike DDLC’s. However, the main game has an estimated release date already, so I will be watching that closer from now on.

Hentai Honeys Jigsaw - Exactly What It Says On The Tin™. The only difference between this game and the mahjong games is that, since it’s from a completely different company, I don’t yet know what games the ladies are from. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) I believe one of them might be on Steam. There are also DLCs for the more thirsty ones out there; I don’t see the point in buying them.

Hentai Honeys Slider - See Hentai Honeys Jigsaw.

how do you Do It? - Similarly to You Must be 18 or Older to Enter, how do you Do It? intends to bring back the memories of exploring sexuality as a child. This game, however, is much more colorful. Uhh… not much more to say about it, really.

Kidnapped Girl - A story about a kidnapping gone wrong. I have to say, I really like Alice’s design and voice (although there was background noise to her lines at times), but other than that… eeh. The plot is very thin and unrealistic. Still, not the worst VN to play on Steam, especially from Russian developers.

Maui - A short game based on/inspired by Hawaiian culture. You’re Maui, the brother of a princess who fell in love and changed into half a flower, to complete her lover’s other half. Your task is to call upon the powers of the gods and fulfill their trials so that they will bring your sister back. The game is pretty bland, with imprecise controls, occasional clipping into walls (although not game-breaking, at least from my experience) and one piece of BGM playing over and over. If you’re interested in Hawaiian legends, there is a section where you can read up on some of them, so perhaps that’s a reason to play it. Otherwise - avoid?

Space Between Worlds - This little experience focuses on the concept of proximity. It reminds me of Pretentious Game, in a way. (It’s probably just that it’s all about squares.) The whole thing is only ~5 minutes long, play it if you’d like to see a small hidden indie project.

Teenage Blob: Paperperson - The First Single - This seems to be a demo to the already existing Teenage Blob, a game based on an EP from Team Lazerbeam and The Superweaks. The title is sort of a lie, because inside you learn Paperperson is actually the second single. Still, it’s a cool song and you get to destroy the neighborhood with sandwiches, if you so please. I think I’m liking this new trend of promoting music through games.

the static speaks my name - This one is kind of legendary by now. I have seen it played on YouTube a few times before, but I still wanted to have it played on my own account. It’s so short there’s really nothing to say about it that wouldn’t spoil it, so I strongly encourage everyone to play through it themselves.

The Supper - A pixelated point-and-click about Ms. Appleton, the cook behind the titular supper. In just 20 minutes, you’ll get to help her prepare the supper, as well as learn more about The Voice, so briefly mentioned in the game’s description. The game’s atmosphere is great, even if this kind of playtime can’t really get you invested. This is one of those games that should cost at least a quarter.

Toy Tinker Simulator: BETA - I don’t really get the idea behind making another demo to the game, but there are seven more toys to fix up here… and I don’t believe anything except that changed. The UI still looks the same and the music is still very royalty free and very random. There could at least be the option to choose what color you’d like to paint the toy or what kind of stickers you want to stick on it (or if you want stickers at all). The game isn’t good, but it’s not bad either. I might wishlist it just for the sake of it.

Tree Trunk Brook - A relaxing game about hiking in the forest during the pandemic. There’s a nice blend of the clean, cartoon characters and photograph-sourced environments. While hiking, you can take photos, make friends with other hikers and pick up litter. It’s a cute experience, but I feel like the achievements for picking up litter should have been capped at 30 pieces, since that gets a little repetitive.

See you next week! :)

Progress report: Second week of June ‘21 (a.k.a. Still Going Strong!)

A whole new batch of targets, ready to be shown off! And this week, I’ve actually started to catch up with my schoolwork! We gon’ ace this! keeps panicking on the inside

  • Algebra Ridge

    0.6 hours playtime

    9 of 9 achievements

  • Almost My Floor: Prologue

    0.5 hours playtime

    8 of 8 achievements

  • Don't Kill the Cow

    0.2 hours playtime

    no achievements

  • Escape Lala

    0.2 hours playtime

    no achievements

  • Fingerbones

    0.2 hours playtime

    no achievements

  • Linda & Joan Prologue: “Four Months Earlier”

    0.7 hours playtime

    8 of 8 achievements

  • OH MY GOD, LOOK AT THIS KNIGHT

    0.2 hours playtime

    8 of 8 achievements

  • Samorost 1

    0.2 hours playtime

    no achievements

  • Summerland

    1.9 hours playtime

    9 of 9 achievements

  • Temporality

    0.1 hours playtime

    no achievements

  • The Mirror Lied

    0.5 hours playtime

    no achievements

  • The Old Tree

    0.2 hours playtime

    no achievements

  • Tukoni

    0.3 hours playtime

    8 of 8 achievements

  • vApe Escape

    0.3 hours playtime

    5 of 5 achievements

  • Video World

    0.6 hours playtime

    no achievements

Algebra Ridge - Despite it not yet having an entry in the VNDB, Algebra Ridge is a VN about a few students from Algebra Ridge University, who are swept away on a weird adventure as they take it upon themselves to bring back an artifact that’s just about the most important thing to their school. Since they’re studying math, the duels ensuing between them and the baddies are naturally quickfire math quizzes, featuring simple addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problems. It’s a little funny to see that all the characters have “same face” syndrome due to the art style, but other than that, it was just a decent way to spend ~40 minutes AND to remember I’m not a total math dunce!

Almost My Floor: Prologue - An introduction to the world of the game of the same title, to be released in the coming months. Almost My Floor: Prologue has you control a guy (without a name, apparently), who gets the wrong kind of an elevator ride. That’s it, really. I think the art style’s okay, I guess? I’ll keep the main game wishlisted, too.

Don’t Kill The Cow - Well, actually… do it, if you want to see all of the endings. Yet another simple game from the dev of a bunch of the titles I played last week. There’s really not much to say about it, you either kill the cow or not.

Escape Lala - A short, pixelated point-and-click, reminiscent of the good old days. Controls like a mobile game, but that doesn’t stop it from being entertaining for the 15-25 minutes it takes to beat. My final score ended up being less than ideal, but since there isn’t a Steam guide on how to get a perfect score, I decided to pass on replaying. [EDIT: I know, I could look at a guide on some other side and play again using that, but there’s really no pay-off to it. Also, I’m lazy :P] I will, however, wishlist the sequel for the future.

Fingerbones - It’s, uh…. it’s a horror game? I was warned there might be jumpscares, but as it turned out, that’s not really the case. There’s just a lot of reading and an unintuitive password lock.

Linda & Joan Prologue: “Four Months Earlier” - As the title states, this is a prologue to the upcoming Linda & Joan, a game about “the worst year of your life”. In other words, it’s going to tell the story of Linda and Joan, the mother and grandmother of the developer, passing away within a short time of each other, and how he deals with it. This prologue, however, places us four months before that, as Russell and Linda are on a hike up to the Griffin Observatory in Los Angeles. It’s an interesting take on a walking simulator, combined with a long stream of conversation which is delightful in how real it feels. Add to that the minimalistic art style and the pleasant guitar strumming, and you’ve got yourself a pleasant ~30 minute experience. I will definitely be looking out for the full game.

OH MY GOD, LOOK AT THIS KNIGHT - OMGLATK is a story of a chick convinced he’s a knight, the one and only, the best in the land. …but is he really? In 15 minutes, you too can find out! I think I saw somebody play this online before, but I completely blanked it out of my mind until I found it on Steam recently and knew I had to see it again. It was okay, nothing amazing or terrible about it.

Samorost 1 - I’ve owned the third game for a while now, but I didn’t expect the first one to get a remaster released on Steam! Samorost is a point-and-click about Gnome, a tiny human-like being who lives on an asteroid. The first game has you help out Gnome as he sets out on a mission to change the course of another “planet” that’s about to crash into his “home planet”. Rather than like a traditional point-and-click, Samorost plays out in sequences of logical puzzles which help keep Gnome moving from screen to screen. I’m definitely ready for Samorost 2 now.

Summerland - Summerland puts you in the shoes of Matthew, a police detective made to relive parts of his past. It’s a short narrative-driven exploration game, which… seems to be poorly optimized, specs-wise. As for the narrative itself though, I enjoyed it, albeit not without having questions. Some points in the story contradict each other and the ending is left ambiguous, so perhaps keep that in mind if you’re thinking of checking this one out.

Temporality - Since this game is only 6 MBs, I will review it in exactly six words: It was nice. I liked it.

The Mirror Lied - Ah yes, the infamous short from Freebird Games, creators of To The Moon and Finding Paradise. Having played it, sadly I don’t have any more answers than most other people. It was just really… meh.

The Old Tree - In this point-and-click, you have to help some weird, apple-headed alien get to… what I think might be the titular tree? This game’s got a considerably darker aesthetic to it than Samorost (despite having the same ’00s point-and-click feel). Still a good way to kill 15 minutes.

Tukoni - A gosh-darn beautiful point-and-click about a forest spirit called Tukoni, who embarks on an adventure in the forest. It is also the hero of a series of award-winning books by the Ukrainian artist Oksana Bula, who I believe also had a hand in making this game. As breathtaking as the presentation is, I must say it is also an immense letdown. The game cuts to the credits after about 15-20 minutes of playtime, which is incredibly jarring to say the least. Still, if you want something to get your kid’s interest (for just about 15 minutes!), this might be what you’re looking for.

vApe Escape - An interactive comic-style point-and-click which places you in the position of an ape contained on a spaceship delivering… drugs. I don’t know the next thing about drugs, so I’m just going to say drugs. After finishing a playthrough, there’s an option to have it converted to a PDF comic book, which is kinda cool… but not so much if you happen to get stuck and click around on things.

Video World - Featuring songs from the EP of the same title by Monster Mansion, Video World is a “game-meets-music-video” thingy about being a video store employee. It’s a small “go here, do this” combined with a straightforward rhythm game. It features three modes, and I played all three of them - the “story mode” is the most appropriate to play, I feel. For a free game, this was nice and since the music is right up my alley, I decided to listen to it fully right after - I’m genuinely shocked that the artist’s only got a little over a hundred listeners on Spotify!

See you next week! :)

Progress report: First week of June ‘21 (a.k.a. Well, This is Interesting…)

I… didn’t plan for this. I just figured if I want to stop procrastinating on my studies, but still make progress on my backlog, I should look at the shortest of the short games… and since most of those are in the free price range, I’ve managed to knock out quite a few of them in just a week. (Still didn’t do any of my schoolwork though, aha! promptly breaks down into tears)

3 Blind Mice: A Remediation Game For Improper Children - Well, that was… an experience. The Government™ sees the need to correct you, a troubled youth… so you’re put up to the task of completing a game in which the three blind mice quiz you. Like one of the Steam reviews I caught mentioned, there’s just enough worldbuilding to make you curious, but other than that, this game falls flat. (especially when answering incorrectly attacks you with a jumpscare; been a while since one really got me) The voice acting could have used some work, too; there’s lots of unnecessary breathing present.

A long Time - Ten minutes’ worth of platforming created during a week-long game jam (and improved during an additional three days) and based on the theme of “It’s been a long Time [sic], but we’re not done yet.” If you’ve played a first person platformer before, there’s nothing surprising here. One complaint I could have (who knows if it’s a matter of the setting by default or just what it looked like for me), is that setting the graphics to the lowest option made the white/yellow-ish (?) sections blinding.

An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge - An “experience”-type game based on the short story by the same title. I can only assume it barely differs from the story; said story is less than 10 pages long, so I might try giving it a read, actually. What’s more interesting is that the dev of this title challenged himself to make a hundred games in a year… so I guess I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole of a sort.

Aurora - Inspired by the Mariana dam disaster, this game follows the titular Aurora as she runs around her… neighborhood? with trash flooding the surrounding waters and murking them up. Then, she sets out on a boat ride to some kind of terminal and lastly, tries not to get flattened by barrels as she makes her way into some building and gets disapproved of by some kind of shadow figure. I dunno, man, that’s just the kind of game this is. Not to belittle the trouble the aforementioned disaster’s brought to the inhabitants of the nearby villages, but this game kind of sucked. The boat ride in particular is an exercise in patience, as the game does little to explain your goal. And if you prefer making a difference, rather than walking around and talking about it, there’s a whole another game (also free) that I can recommend.

Bundle Kitt - Have you ever wanted to hang out with a cat as it lives its kitty life? Well, now you can, with Bundle Kitt! Bundle Kitt is a cat… and it does very normal things that other cats do. There is no cat worth your three minutes other than Bundle Kitt. (Unless you have a real cat, in which case, do give it the time and care it requires.)

Escape Room - The Sick Colleague - I launched this game… only to realize I didn’t really feel like playing a game with riddles. That, and there were so many controls to keep track of that I figured out maybe two answers and then went straight to the walkthrough. There’s… an interesting story to be found? I can also praise the devs for sticking to their promise - there are hints for everything you need to figure out, so you won’t be forced to do any random guessing.

Fox! Hen! Bag! - There’s a fox! A hen! And a bag (of grains)! And they all need your help! You’re going to want to help them get to the other end of the cable car ride… but you can’t risk the fox eating the hen. Or the hen eating the grains, for that matter. If you’ve been around for a while, you’ve definitely seen a form of this riddle somewhere; there’s really nothing more to it.

Mitoza - A simple but cool game (sort of remindful of old browser games) where you can choose one of two options to gradually develop the life of a certain seed. There’s a whole bunch of choices, not to mention endings. It’s good (and free) fun for half an hour.

OnlyCans Thirst Date - Easily one of those games I can’t believe are totally free. You get to enjoy the whole line-up of sodas from the ridiculously popular Shize™ brand, what’s not to love here? There’s a memetastic 2-3 hours to be spent on taking out all the cans and proving your love for each of them, as well as Shize™ as a whole. Which can will be the one for you?

Song Animals - A short point-and-click about animals rescuing other animals through the power of song. I liked the watercolour backgrounds, not so much the animals themselves. Since I saw a reviewer mention children, the animal designs alone could be why I personally would be reluctant to show this game to children.

The Flood - Have you ever dreamed of taking a casual boat ride down a slowly flowing river, as you look around and take in the sights? Well, now you can do all that from the comfort of your own home! Complete with Music To Relax To™ and Inspiring Quotes™. I’m not a fan of people going around and saying “this is not a game, 0/10” about every other visual novel or some other casual game out there, but this one’s really bland; especially more so if you consider that the dev might have thought it could make a difference, but really… people experience things like this and forget them right after. I sincerely hope the dev didn’t actually pay to have this on the Steam storefront…

The Good Time Garden - This short, abstract, oddly sexually charged experience was… exactly that. I could bet it’s all symbolism, but do I want to know what it represents? …not really. It had weird controls, which the devs preferred to explain on the store page rather than in the game itself, which led to dozens of people who don’t read product descriptions leaving negative reviews. It also has the ridiculous size of 4.68 GBs… sure, the art style is pretty nice to look at, but what the hell made this game so big, huh?

Toy Tinker Simulator: Prologue - As the name suggests, you get to tinker with toys here. Since it’s the prologue, you only get to play with three of them. It’s very much like House Flipper and other similar titles, in that you receive jobs, buy supplies and equipment required to complete them and get paid upon restoring a toy. Sadly, the visual presentation leaves a lot to be desired. I’m a sucker for this type of game, but as it stands right now, I’d rather just get House Flipper.

UNBEATABLE [white label] - This one’s only an intro to the full game that’s still not yet released, but I enjoyed the hour I spent with it. I’d say UNBEATABLE is one of the “easy to learn, hard to master” games, as it’s played with only two buttons, but the jump from all the beginner difficulty tracks to the one extra level track is straight-up harsh. I instantly fell in love with the visuals, as well as the mostly-pop punk soundtrack. As far as this goes, the score screen could use some tweaks, since it looks really bland and out of place. As for the full game, I will definitely be on the lookout for it.

You Must be 18 or Older to Enter - Do you remember the first time you’ve heard the word “porn”? Maybe the first time you learned what it actually was? How about the first time you looked for it online, constantly on guard in case someone were to walk in on you? You Must be 18 or Older to Enter explores the last scenario, complete with ye olde Internet dial-up sound and an old-school ASCII art style. In the end, though, it is nothing more than a simulation, which seems to only end one way. cue me poking fun at the dev team’s name

See you next… week? :)

Progress report: May ‘21 (a.k.a. Uhhh…)

I was going to post this one earlier… and then I procrastinated! That’s the theme of this whole month! Yaaay!
(forrealthoughihavefinalsinthreeweeksandimstuckplayingfreeendlessgamesohmygodsendhelpnow)

be you 2 - Let’s face it… I didn’t understand the first game, and I don’t understand this one either. I gave it a little over an hour and multiple playthroughs just to see that most of the script is the same no matter what you choose. It’s all absurd (and bear in mind, I don’t mind absurd), but to the point that unless you’re the author, you are literally not going to understand a single thing. Still can’t believe this dev’s games are getting mad positive reviews, either. EDIT: From what I understand, there’s a secret ending you can get by replaying the game over and over while changing the choices that do make a difference, but it also seems that you have to do it all in one sitting and I wasn’t ever so little as considering that, so whatever.

Dissolving - A short kinetic VN about a girl who’s got an ex nice enough to keep being friends with him. She comes over to hang out with him, even though he’s a shut-in. But he’s no regular shut-in, and she’ll realize that in due time… Dissolving looks better than it’s written, although the language quality in the VN is considerably better than the short stories you can find within the game. There’s also a separate scenario from a different POV hidden within the game and the devs do want you to find it. The plot of the VN is fine, I like this kind of stuff, but in the end either something got lost in translation or my cold is taking over my mind, because I didn’t really get into it.

Dr. Frank’s Build a Boyfriend - This one’s a free VN/point-and click hybrid about the (totally qualified) Doctor Frank, who one day falls in love… and ends up heartbroken not too long after that. To get his revenge, he sets out to create the most handsome, most caring… basically the perfect boyfriend. And how does that work out for him? Find out inside! I found the characters quirky and likeable, just like the overall humor of the game (although I did find it a tad immature in some places). The point-and-clicking was a welcome element. Also, always nice to see free achievements!

Drinks With Abbey - Exactly What It Says On The Tin™, this is a relatively straight-forward simulation of a first date at a bar. It features a realistic art style (which I’m not a fan of, but it’s still nice to look at), music that sounds like it would actually play at a bar (albeit including vocals, which distracts from reading) and an incredibly minimalistic UI. I would usually complain about that aspect, but here it’s just right. Your first playthrough should take about 30 minutes, and assuming you use the skip option, each consecutive playthrough will get shorter. There’s also a neat option to toggle between modified versions of the BGM (with added bar bustle) and clear ones, as they were recorded. As for Abbey and her story, well… take it from this reviewer.

Keyboard Killers - This is one of the dozens of games that were being given away for free during the pandemic. Still… it’s just not very good. It manages to do what it’s meant to: be a typing game, but the visual presentation leaves a lot to be desired. Plus, if you want to get all achievements, you’re much better off running a macro in the background than risking a broken keyboard and sore wrists.

Mystery Island - Hidden Object Games - A family of four sets out on a journey to find mysterious symbols that will help them prevent the end of the world… or something like that. HOG-ing ensues. This is one of those “moving” HOGs where you have to scroll left and right to scan the whole location, which I’ve never played before. I can only assume that most, if not all of the utilized graphics in the scenes are just photographs, cliparts, etc. but even then, some of them just look bad - they’re smudged or pixelated. The scenes are also littered with items - the game features three modes per scene, one of which is finding a set amount of variations on the same item, which means that if you notice during the regular search that the scene is full of cats, that’s what you’re going to want to look for later on. The BGMs don’t loop properly, which is equal part hilarious and bad. The game runs on an “energy” model, letting you explore only 5 new scenes per set amount of time, but since there are only 40 scenes in total, it doesn’t take too long and you could do much worse when it comes to “free” pay-to-play games. I won’t lie, I was only really in it for the achievements myself. EDIT: This game’s going pay-to-play this month. Sorry to all 0 people that were planning on playing it.

talesshop puzzle 테일즈샵 퍼즐 - Just a simple puzzle game featuring artwork of girls from tales#’s visual novels. It’s a really good-looking game, with a sleek UI and pleasant VN music playing in the background. The preview image is always visible and pieces snap together/into place when they’re near other pieces/the place they belong, respectively. (Shame that the devs putting out the most popular jigsaw games on Steam conditioned us to put up with content of much lower quality…) The only thing that’s missing is the ability to look at the puzzle after solving it; the game automatically flashes the completion screen, covering the whole play area with it.

The Silent Age - I would not have played this game any soon, had it not been for a few names I’ve started getting familiar with on the voice cast. The Silent Age follows Joe, who works a janitor at a big company in the 70s. He is but a tiny cog in a grand machine… or so he thinks, until a peculiar meeting sets him out on a journey involving time travel. Personally, I would think to leave some mystery in here, but since time travel is this game’s selling point (rightfully so), there’s really no need to do so. The game is fairly straight-forward, there’s no moon logic to be seen (although some funny choices can be attempted to get achievements) and everything you pick up eventually sees use. Everything about this game is minimal, from the art style, through the UI, to the voice acting, but in no regard is that fact a con. Unless you’re not into side-scrolling environments and reserving part of the screen for the UI, since that gives it an appearance not unlike a mobile game would have, you’ll be golden. As little as there was to learn about Joe, I found him believable as an ordinary guy, with perhaps lower than usual trivia knowledge, as he can be seen not recognizing political figures or mistaking a clownfish for an entirely different breed. All in all, it was a decent way to spend a Saturday evening.

The Wolf Among Us - Another month, another narrative-driven game! This time, it’s about the land of Fables… or rather what could have happened before the story told in the comic book series. As Bigby Wolf, the modified counterpart of the wolf appearing as an antagonist in dozens of classical tales, you stumble upon a gruesome mystery, and needless to say, you’re going to solve it. If you’ve played a Telltale game before, there are no innovations to the gameplay - I’ll just say I’m glad the game is very lax with recognizing the prompts you input - I always managed to progress the action scenes with pressing RT despite the game asking for LT. I thoroughly enjoyed the concept of characters from various tales and fables trying to find a way to live in modern day America, as well as the synth soundtrack accompanying the game. As for the voice acting, at first I expected Bigby to sound different, but as time went on, he really grew on me. The rest of the cast is no worse, featuring acclaimed voice actors, some of which have starred in other Telltale titles. Despite the mystery wrapping up with the end of the game, however, there still is a sense of craving more, and so I can’t wait until the sequel comes out. Seriously, I can’t imagine having to wait another eight years… and in the meantime, I might even check out the original comic.

See you next month! :)

Progress report: April ‘21 (a.k.a. I’m Not Quitting! And We’re Not Stopping!)

Wonder if I’ll even remember the reference I’m trying to make in the title later on…
Oh, hi there. Nice to see you reading this. Just kidding, no need to feel watched.
This past month has brought wonderful news: the PSP/PSVita/PS3 digital stores will not be closing down!
The fact that Jim Ryan signed the announcement himself lead people to believe in Sony recognizing that there still are, in fact, people buying digital content to use on those consoles (myself included). However, now that I’m in the “intrusive thought” zone of it all, I feel like all the money I save up (…and earn?) in the future will go to buy me more PS games, as my Steam backlog is, assuming I’ll have the time to finish everything at a considerable pace (100 games/year, anyone?), about nine, maybe ten years’ worth of games.
Still, I did my best working through both my PS and Steam backlogs equally.
And so, this month’s kills are as follows:

9 Clues 2: The Ward - Don’t suppose this relates much to the prequel, except for the detective mode mechanic, the detective from the first game and random photos of locations from Serpent Creek found around the game. I’ve also got no idea what happened here - did the characters look like this in Serpent Creek too? The cartoonish style is okay, but the way their faces move when they speak is outright freaky. The story was interesting, but it felt as though it lacked a more satisfying ending than just “police is taking the baddie, want some coffee?” The BGM loop that plays in the credits is also way too short. And last, but not least, achievements. Putting in a choice between HOG-ing and Mahjong doesn’t make the game have replay value… sobs

Batman - The Telltale Series - Y-you’re telling me… this was Batman all along? Holy shit! Listen. I’ve never watched a Batman movie, much less read a comic or played a different game, but this… this was amazing. I naturally had no knowledge about the villains that appeared here, so it was all exciting and kept me on my toes at all times. I’m glad I got to play the Shadows Mode, because it really feels like everything would look wrong in color. I’m also glad this game did a much better job of not cutting secondary characters off when you make a choice (damn you, TWD), because the voice acting is stellar. Now I can’t wait to play the sequel and see Joker in all his glory.

Beyond Eyes - An atmospheric walking simulator that lets you explore the world through Rae, a girl blinded by an unfortunate accident. I really enjoyed uncovering the world by walking around and did my best to see as much as I possibly could, but I still ended up missing most of the achievements. While the slow walking speed adds charm to the original experience, it really slows down the clean-up. Still, it was easy enough to go back and complete it.

Dead Horizon - It advertises itself as a point-and-click… and I gueeesss that’s what it is? Don’t expect any location exploration, though. It’s the Wild West, after all.

Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator - Ah yes, the first ever Game Grumps game. I’ve been excited about it ever since it’s come out and I watched other people play it before I had the chance to get my hands on it. It’s… good! It’s really nice, you get to create your player character (a “dadsona”, if you will) and, together with your teenage daughter (who is super cute, by the way. Amanda, I love you), you move into a new house… which really is in the same town (city?), but the cul-de-sac it stands in is chock-full of dads. Widow dads, divorced dads, not-so-divorced dads… we’re only really missing an adoptive dad, but that’s besides the point. The game is full of dad jokes, puns, nonsense and humor so American it goes way over my head at all times. The dads are fairly likeable, but I feel like the “three dates determine your future” formula does them a disservice; perhaps the comic books are better on that front? I’ve seen mixed reviews. Then there’s a secret ending, which is not canon, because “we [the devs] are horror buffs, but the Dream Daddy universe is still wholesome”… but I mean, come on! The moment you learn who’s the star of that ending, they start radiating that kind of vibe… ya dig? Also the BGM in that ending kicks ass. Also also there’s a great, if minimal, voice cameo. So yeah, that’s it for the good stuff. For the worse stuff… despite being very different characters in terms of story, Mat and Hugo just look a little too samey to me, hence me leaving them for last. Then there’s also the fact that the game was made in Unity, so you don’t get options which are considered standard for VNs at this point, like a backlog or an option to skip previously seen text. (Why, oh why do people make VNs in Unity?! cries) But most importantly, the minigames. They’re a mistake. Their artstyles differ immensely from the VN itself, which detracts from the experience. They also range in difficulty from mind-numbingly easy (Craig’s running minigame and Robert’s whittling minigame) through “what the fuck am I even doing?” (Joseph’s radio fixing minigame and Mat’s minigames) to “you gotta feel how competitive this is” (Brian’s minigames). I was utterly disappointed with Mat’s piano minigame, because my immediate thought was “hell yeah, I’m gonna get to play a rhythm game!”… but no. You just pretend to plonk away while a karaoke with some kinda gibberish (is that what ska lyrics really looked like?) [EDIT: I think they were referencing one of the Space Quest games… but still, what???] plays in the background. But the biggest pain in the ass - and if you have played Dream Daddy already, this will come as no surprise - is Brian’s minigolf minigame. It has an achievement tied to it, which has only been unlocked by a staggering 0.5% of players. To unlock it, you need to score 18 hole-in-ones in a row. “Seems easy, why have so few people unlocked it?” Well. It’s not a normal golf minigame. Oh no. You have to figure out the perfect angle at which to shoot, and do it as fast as possible, because the more time you take, the weaker the shot will get. And it doesn’t get better when playing through the minigame menu (if anything, it gets worse, because you can’t save halfway), it’s like the devs still want you to feel as if Brian is breathing down your neck (and he’s not really, he’s a good guy). And even though you can save halfway through the match if playing in the VN, you can’t actually quit the game because it will reset your progress on the achievement. Wonderful, isn’t it? It’s yet another magnificent example of something that doesn’t belong in the game it’s in (or any other game, for that matter), because it’s simply not fun. Doesn’t spark joy, if you will. Could extend the 15 hour playtime god knows how many hours more. I’ll keep the game installed for now, but only time will tell if I end up attempting it again.

Edna & Harvey: Harvey’s New Eyes - This series is convoluted! I mean, not really, buuut… let’s start from the beginning. Here, you play as Lilli, a little girl living at a convent along with a few other kids, including… Edna! How old is she again? Anyway. Life at the convent is supervised by Mother Superior Ignatz, who one day invites Doctor Marcel to come and try his new therapy methods on the kids… and that’s where everything really picks up. Despite seeming oddly like a prequel to The Breakout at the beginning, Harvey’s New Eyes is, in fact, a sequel, as multiple references to the first game are made throughout. As “knock-your-socks-off” as this game ended, I feel like there has to be something more than it. There have been a few rumors about a third game, so I’m going to keep my peepers peeled for that.

I Love You, Colonel Sanders! A Finger Lickin’ Good Dating Simulator - The only reason this has been festering in my unfinished pile was that I originally played it on a computer that wasn’t mine and got the bad ending, then for whatever reason didn’t care to go back to replay it for a looong time. Now that I’ve finally gotten the good ending, let’s get a few things straight. I can believe that the real Colonel Sanders had grown bitter upon seeing what the brand he created has changed into, and I can believe that the employees who got to witness/experience that bitterness didn’t exactly harbor the most positive of feelings towards him… but I mean, come on. The anime-fied counterpart is hot. And no, I’m not saying that because I’m under the spell of advertisement (even though KFC does have free drink refills, which is totally boss). I just wish there had been a little more pizzazz to the good ending.

Long Live The Queen - This one has spent a long, and I mean, a looong time in my unfinished pile! In Long Live The Queen, you control Elodie, a 14 year old princess, who is soon to become the queen of her land… that is, if she can use the 40 weeks remaining until her coronation wisely. The gameplay is simple, every week you choose what Elodie studies and how she spends her free time, which broadens her knowledge of the chosen subject(s) and impacts her mood accordingly, respectively. Depending on what you choose to study, certain events will trigger stat checks, which can impact the story only slightly, or outright kill Elodie, at which point the game ends. If you manage to keep Elodie alive for 40 weeks, no matter how you rule, she will get crowned Queen and you’ll win the game. Achievements are mostly strictly tied to exploring different events, however, so about halfway through my completion (if not much earlier… probably earlier, yeah) I gave up, knowing I wouldn’t have the brains to figure this game out and resorted to using countless (and I do mean countless) guides to get all the remaining achievements. On the plus side, the more guides you examine, the easier it is to pinpoint the more or less universal way to win the game. Still, I didn’t feel like fooling around and spending more time than needed in this game. It’s not bad, it’s just kind of… not my type of game, if you will. It’s just a shame I never kept track of all the guides I used, so I could upvote them. Maybe I should just go around and upvote all of them. (lol)

Pixel Puzzles 2: RADical ROACH - “I’ve had enough of those puzzle games”, I thought as I made this purchase. Luckily, the completion of this went smoothly. If you know any of the other Pixel Puzzles titles, this needs no explanation. Two things it could use, however, are a BGM change (is there anyone who likes putting together puzzles while listening to party music?) and the ability to make option choices permanent (as it stands, you have to turn off piece rotation every time you launch the game). Other than that, it’s perfectly standard.

Scribblenauts Unlimited - Scribblenauts Unlimited is a relatively simple text parser (is that what you call that, again?) game aimed at kids. You control Maxwell, one of the 42 kids of Edgar and Julie, a pair of adventurers. Having retired from traveling around the world, Edgar and Julie gave all their children gifts they’ve found in the past. Maxwell, and his only sister, Lily, received a magical notebook and globe, respectively. However, those things were so cool using them made the kids spoiled. So spoiled, in fact, that after Maxwell pulled a prank on a hooded beggar, the man cursed Lily to turn to stone! To reverse the curse, Maxwell learned that he will need to collect Starites, small, star-like objects. And that’s where you come in. Starites can be earned by doing good deeds, meaning you will be tasked with creating some objects and manipulating the quality of others to get all 106 Starites. I had a lot of fun with this game, but…! Most of the problems are stupid easy to solve - if someone is being attacked, just make the attacker “dead”, if someone needs a thing to disappear, just make that thing “nonexistent”. I’m not going to complain about the things I couldn’t solve on my own, because I’d rather assume that’s just my ineptitude. I’m also not sure how the devs thought implementing the Object Shards will go - for nearly all of them, I just sat there creating the things in one place instead of… I dunno, getting a chance to have fun with it? If you’re thinking of playing this with your kids, you might want to consider that while it’s not possible to input vulgar words into the parser, comedic violence is present. Personally, I enjoyed this game nonetheless and am looking forward to playing the superhero spinoff, despite the negative feedback I’ve seen on it.

Sherlock Holmes: The Secret of the Silver Earring - Another month, another SH game. This one, while not nearly as buggy as The Mystery of the Mummy, still refused to work properly without outside tweaking. Because of that, I can’t even tell what the default resolution was for this game and running it in 1024x768 got me constant visual errors (which, thankfully, didn’t actually impact the gameplay) like characters showing up outside where they were supposed to be and Sherlock getting too tall for the doors he was using as he got close to them. Because the outside fixes still weren’t enough to ensure the game didn’t crash, I completed it, walkthrough in hand. No regrets, as there is also a possibility of locking yourself out of completion if you don’t pick up a certain piece of evidence at the beginning of the game and the story will progress anyway. I honestly feel like I wouldn’t have been able to progress on my own anyway, but I guess whichever game in the series is the first one that doesn’t refuse to work will really tell me if I have a pea brain and the SH games are just too hard for me. And last, but not least… this game has two non-point-and-click sections - a stealth section and a time-limited section, both of which have no place in an adventure game such as this (taking the “adventure” name too seriously, Frogwares?), especially not with how particular the hotspots you have to click on to get around are. Oh well, done and dusted. Next up is The Awakened, I really hope it’s not a broken mess.

Time Mysteries 2: The Ancient Spectres - The cover girl is not the protagonist, I feel cheated. This game is almost completely unrelated to the prequel, but I wouldn’t have known that, had I not read the small glossary found in the Extras menu after finishing the game. Once again, you do your usual HOG-ing while traveling through time, however… eeh, this still isn’t as good as the standard later AM games have gotten me used to. The character models are ugly, the voice acting is terrible; one of the characters doesn’t even have a voice! I like the idea of helping yourself out through time - you plant a tree in, say, the year 1500, a hundred and some years later, it’s going to be a fully-grown, majestic tree. But when a few loose planks hammered onto said tree as a makeshift ladder in the past turned into a full-blown treehouse in the future, I had to laugh. What, did someone just assume this makeshift ladder meant we want to have a treehouse? Not to mention the place that tree grew in, that’s not really where you want a treehouse. At least I didn’t have to replay this game to do minigames instead of HOGs.

Every week/month I post, I’ve been trying my best to shill my ABC Challenges, save for a few posts I forgot to put it all in. Maybe I should stop doing that until I actually get close enough to finishing one of them? That’s why they’re not linked at the top of this post.
See you next month :)

Progress report: March ‘21 (a.k.a. Oh, Bother…)

This month I felt oddly lazy and unmotivated when it came to writing reviews. Playing seems to be another story though, seeing how many games I’ve completed. I’m getting notably closer to my goal, too, being at 59% never played titles! Woot woot! I even took the plunge and started buying some games from a local online marketplace (a third of this month’s kills are from there!) However… at the end of the month, Sony announced the closure of the PSP, PS3 and PSVita digital stores, which means I’ll be taking my time playing through as many PS3/PSVita games I can get my hands on in the coming months. Although seeing how many games I’ve got here, you’ll still undoubtedly be seeing some progress here, too.
Now, for this month’s kills:

A Mortician’s Tale - I’ve been very interested in what this game is like, seeing that it has to do with working as a mortician, yet has an eye-catching, goth aesthetic (I’ve met people who were interested in working as morticians or had relatives in the field, but I don’t think I’d have enough courage to keep asking about what it’s like), ever since I found it. Then, especially after it got bundled, people seemed to have been praising it highly… but I’m with those who didn’t share the sentiment. While most exposition as to what’s going on is presented through the emails you can read each in-game day, they’re not enough to let you care much about the characters, like a “found phone” game would. Every body preparation sequence you go through, the game holds your hand constantly, even when it repeats (and yes, it does repeat). The minesweeper minigame is randomly generated, and therefore more annoying than standard minesweeper; thankfully you can cheat it, though. It’s not required to progress in the game, but my favorite part was probably reading the newsletter the main character is subscribed to. While it does end in a good place, it’s a shame A Mortician’s Tale doesn’t expand further, giving the player a chance to get more invested in a story from the current ending onwards.

Cibele - This game advertises itself simply by saying it’s “based on a true story about love, sex, and the internet”. However - and I regret having to say this - you can not feel any of those three things in Cibele. While, yes, simply put, it is a story of a girl and guy that meet through an online game and convince themselves that they’re in love with each other, the way it’s all showcased doesn’t translate any feelings. I would be lying if I said I was never in a similar situation - meeting someone nice online, talking to them (semi-)daily and slowly confusing it for love - it happens; yet still, I was convinced that while there was a handful of photos from different periods of the MC’s life being showcased in the game, most of what the main focus of the story was is most likely locked away inside of her. Speaking of which, the note that ends the game is a definite sign that she was able to present this story through Cibele because she’s since moved on from it on an emotional level, or she really thinks what happened wasn’t… bad? Wrong? For her sake, I hope it’s the former. So while her in-game desktop is totes kawaii and the fictional game she plays looks pretty amazing (controling it is a whole another thing), Cibele is not worth its standard price… or even its lowest recorded price. The only reason I don’t regret getting it is because I bought it outside of Steam for peanuts… aaand I kind of knew what I was getting into? Let’s face it, I really wanted to see that fake game in action.

Frog Detective 2: The Case of The Invisible Wizard - puts on a comedic voice I bought the sequel… In all seriousness though, there’s not much change or anything - you just control Frog Detective (yes, that is actually his name) on a whole new case. Oh, and you get to decorate a notebook! This game foreshadows yet another continuation to Frog Detective’s adventures, but… huh, I wonder.

Hentai Hexa Mosaic - This completion marks the end of my collection (at least as it stands currently) of games with a blatant “hentai” in the title. I wasn’t really planning on playing it any time soon, since I thought that given its nature, this game is hard ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°); but as it turned out, multiple players posted screenshots of all the puzzles, which was enough to help me complete the game without any trouble. As expected, there wasn’t anything amazing. It does seem to proud itself in having music composed specifically for itself, but I’d rather listen to some generic Kevin McLeod tunes than that soundtrack… it sounded like being stranded deep in space, which felt alienating. No pun intended.

Indie Game: The Movie - This one was in unfinished hell for quite a while, because I wasn’t willing to cave in and buy the special edition DLC until just recently. I had watched the main movie… three times? before that, to get all achievements fair and square and I enjoyed it. Everyone featured in the movie felt like a friend by the end of it, but different kinds, in a way - Phil Fish is the crazy, overdramatic friend you’re looking to dump, Team Meat are the guys next door who feel like they need a pat on the back, and Jon Blow is the one friend nobody really understands. I’ve never been interested in games from a technical standpoint, since those kinds of things just go way over my head, but as a player, I liked getting a look at what game creation looks like from behind the scenes, with the emphasis on all presented titles being independent. The Special Edition DLC nearly doubles the runtime of the original movie, featuring a series of short vignettes such as Team Meat’s uncomfortable online encounters, Phil Fish’s opinions on the original movie or introductions to other well-known indie titles like Passage or Spelunky. All in all, a decent watch.

It’s Spring Again - It only makes sense that I would play this one on the first day of spring. It’s Spring Again is a short kids’ game about the four seasons. Through interacting the environment you’re introduced to the defining qualities of each season as it comes and goes. The lowest price point is definitely most appropriate, but I also think I lucked out with getting this game almost for free a while ago. (Although if it strikes your fancy, you could pay for the Collector’s Edition to watch the puppet show this game is based on! I gotta check that out some day.)

Jellyfish Season - Easily better looking (and sounding!) than tons of other indie Russian VNs, but it ends very abruptly and the conclusion is not at all satisfying.

Life is Strange - As it goes, I find I have trouble writing about games I like, so I’ll do my best to repeat what I’ve just gathered and written down somewhere else. I first played Life is Strange on the PS3, back in 2018. Being my first serious exposure to time travel (excluding something like Harry Potter, since it was never the main moving force), it reeled me in. I liked watching the different mechanics it manifested itself through and the consequences of its repeated use. I faintly remember being annoyed by Chloe’s extremely short fuse, yet willing to go along with what she wanted Max to do - perhaps because I could see myself in Max, or perhaps just because I felt Chloe is cool. Upon this replay, however… I realized LiS seems to be to time travel lore what Twilight is to vampire lore. Max’s powers expand for plot convenience as the in-game week progresses and there are a bunch of plot-holes concerning them. By the time I reached the final choice, the answer was a no-brainer to me. Having played Steins;Gate (which makes you more invested in time travel AND the whole main cast) and Amnesia: Memories (a much worse experience, but its story is moved by the same trope as the other two), I’ve learned one thing - if the universe wants someone dead, you have to let it happen to move on from it. Therefore, while the developers have stated that neither of the endings are considered “canon”, as it stands, my opinion is that sacrificing Chloe is the canon ending. Max and Chloe’s friendship, sadly, runs only on nostalgia of what happened years back, and in current time, is being fueled by the fact that Max can travel in time, with Chloe wanting to utilize that for things that are either trivial or potentially dangerous. Chloe (almost) dying multiple times throughout the week is just the cherry on top. If Max does opt to keep her alive and leave Arcadia Bay, who’s to say disaster won’t follow them everywhere they go? That’s one thing Steins;Gate showcases perfectly, in my opinion. While I do respect the developers’ choice to make a game with a female protagonist, who can (barely) romance her best friend, I dare say players might have gotten too wrapped up in that fact, while ignoring how toxic of a person Chloe really is. On the contrary, Warren is a character I really like, even though he didn’t get nearly enough screen time, just like the rest of Max’s class, but the developers decided to have his advances go nowhere, as Max notes that she sees him as a brother figure, being either unaware of how he might feel for her, or “too aware” of it, as players seem to like making him into a creep… guys, it’s not possible to see into a second floor window from outside ground. It’s really not. Moving on from all the spoiler babble - the art style has an unique hand-painted feel to it, but I’ve got no idea how it’s so detailed you’d need a high-spec PC to run it. I really hope it’s not that bad in the following games (or perhaps the remastered versions, whenever those come out). The music is great; while I don’t really listen to indie folk, I enjoy the songs that were licensed for use within the game every now and then; one of the songs struck an even more nostalgic chord with me when I heard it during my first playthrough - turns out my mom had been listening to it a lot, possibly before the game had even come out! The voice acting is on point, especially for Max and Chloe, although there is one thing I have to say - if you have the money for it, don’t hold off on hiring more voice actors. The more characters you get one person to voice - assuming you can tell it is the same person - the less impact they make. Especially when it’s the voice of the antagonist. Why, why, why did you get your antagonist to voice, like, four or five other characters? Sigh. On that note, I was ready to say Life is Strange is going on my Favorites list, but having thought it over, I decided to hold my breath. Now all I can think about is tackling Before the Storm in a few months and seeing whether or not Rachel Amber really was worth the MacGuffin role she took on here.

Lucius - One day some guys from Finland decided to make a game about the son of Satan himself… and now we’re here! Simply put, Lucius is Hitman, except instead of being hired, you are basically destined to kill. Throughout the game, you will learn how and why you’ve been born - and are recognized - as a member of that exact family. As for the gameplay, the first steps are easy, the game introduces you to new mechanics as they get unlocked, but it quickly becomes tougher, or, dare I say, nigh-impossible to figure most of it out without a guide. Where do I go? Why there? What do I have to get? Why do I have to place it in the one spot the game’s designated for me with a floating arrow? So many questions. And on top of that, the game is buggy. Despite having a glaring issue with objects clipping through walls, there is a sequence in one of the chapters where you need to levitate an object and drop it in a specific place. Couple that with a lack of sense for depth perception and you’ll have yourself a bunch of replays. There are also a few things to be said about the achievements. When you get to the end of the game, you have to choose to complete it the “action” way or else the last few story-related achievements won’t pop. There’s also an achievement for riding a bike not unlike Danny in The Shining for 10 miles… except either a part of the controls is inverted or they’re just stupid precise, because it’s a pain in the ass to control and I ended up just cycling in circles out in the courtyard. And last but not least… two playtime achievements… sigh Listen, man. This game takes 10 hours to complete at most, and that’s if you didn’t know what to do somewhere or kept failing in one way or another. You can’t just make me pretend I’m actively playing your game for another 30 hours… I did it, though. Not play, just idle. I’ve completed the game near the start of the month and kept idling it until just a few days ago. It was a passable experience, but I’m not too hot for the sequels; the demake might still be decent though.

Sherlock Holmes: The Mystery of The Mummy - Remembering that Chapter One’s release might as well be right around the corner good god young Holmes has no business being that hot, I decided to get started with the franchise properly. And as life would have it, the first installment is… this. The Mystery of The Mummy had been released all the way back in 2002 and is now completely free to play on Steam. Why don’t people really check it out, then? The answer is simple: it sucks. One might say it contains multiple layers of suck. I don’t know what the gaming standard was like back in 2002, but something tells me this game isn’t up to it. The game launches in an 800x600 window by default (although I hear it looks better in the 640x480 resolution?), the cutscenes and character models presented in them are ugly, and frankly I can’t say I was invested in the story at any point of the game because of the thickest and most intrusive layer of shit - this game is, at its base, unplayable. It launches in a window to the left of your screen (which you can’t even move, because the cursor gets locked within), with your mouse going apeshit, rendering you unable to progress in any way; and even if you did manage to start the game and watch the opening cutscene, then unless you’re using a computer that’s half your age, the speed at which the screen moves would give you vertigo before you could do anything. What you have to do to run the game right is actually detailed in a discussion topic created by a fellow Steam user, and while it’s nothing intrusive or impossible to wrap one’s head around… it’s not something that should have to be done if you just want to play a game. I was willing to try for myself and try I did. If you’re thinking about playing it, but can’t quite make up your mind, feel free to skip this one.

SIMULACRA 2 - Finally! It’s been on my mind for days, if not weeks before I got it, so I figured it was time that I play it, seeing as I’ve already tackled the two other games from the franchise. While the first game talked about online dating and Pipe Dreams covered mobile games, this one is all about… cue dramatic inflection influencing. Your victim and potential suspects are all different types of influencers - you’ve got a fitness freak (might as well call her that) who greets her fans with “namaste” and claims vegetable smoothies are all you need to cleanse your body; you’ve got a fashion/beauty guru who’s bold enough to claim she’s affiliated with a popular, rich-people brand yet petty enough to bitch about having her “photoshoot wall” stolen from her (spoiler alert: it’s a public wall); an “entrepreneur” who runs a Ponzi scheme so obvious he has to correct his instinct to call its work plan a “pyramid” and can’t even be bothered to lip-sync properly; and last, but not least, a musician who claims she wouldn’t have fans if not for the image she built on lies and emotional manipulation, yet also insists on believing that deep underneath all of that she’s still herself. Simply put, they’re all different flavors of shitty… but then again, that makes it much easier for you to go straight down the road to a bad ending. Speaking of which, getting to the good ending is crazy contrived. I mean, sure, as you play the game again and again to get all the endings, you’re gonna know exactly where to get all the information… but then again, I feel like talking to everyone the right way and getting whatever you need out of them is kinda tricky. And as for the replayability… sure, there are different responses you can experience and other things to see, but at the end of the day, this is supposed to be a horror game and it’s not exactly scary to repeatedly go through the motions of scheduled jumpscares, unless you’re particularly jumpy. For me, the scariest jumpscare had still been the ringtone… and while I still don’t get the idea of the victim having a photo of themselves set as the phone wallpaper, the ominous Kubrick Stare™ that appears on Maya’s face as you get on the path to a bad ending is single-handedly the scariest thing in the game to me, and really helps imagine what the simulacra’s done to her. Kind of funny when I think back to being creeped out by Anna from the first game, since she turns out to be good and innocent all across the board. The encounter with the new simulacra is also chilling, with distorted pleas of its victims resounding in its being as it talks to you. I wanted to talk about how campy the acting is, but honestly, this has been a thing with the previous games as well and it’s exactly why I like them so much. Maya’s occasional Miranda Sings-style inflection does wonders to lower the scare factor. Verdict: unless Kaigan Games somehow find another aspect of today’s culture to base a sequel/new spin-off on, perhaps it’s time to step away from found phone horror and venture out into something different. I did notice that they’ve recently made a Doctor Who found phone game, but as I know nothing about the show, I will not be picking it up.

Skyscrapers Puzzle: Airi’s Tale - An unique blend of Exactly What It Says On The Tin™ - the so-called “skyscraper puzzles”, which, while sort of similar to sudoku, aren’t derived from it, I don’t think (?) and the tale of Airi, who also happens to be the face of the whole game. I went only through the tutorial on my own and while I was filling in all the solutions using a guide, I realized that either I still don’t understand the principle of how those puzzles work or that the puzzles conflict themselves… The whole VN mode contributed nothing to the game in my opinion, it was some random story about how Airi is actually an android and such… I barely even read it, just doing the things outlined in the guide for the sake of getting achievements. Quoting one of the commenters on said guide, “How do you even figure any of this stuff out…”

The Francy Droo and Friends Collection - Oh, a Rock! Studios, coming in with five of their VNs for the price of one! This collection contains the two Francy Droo (a name you can’t mistake) games, which were easily my favorites, Who Am I? The Let’s Play Disaster (a meta commentary on let’s playing and online presence), My Nigerian Prince and TRAPPED! In a Soap Opera, which are Exactly What It Says on The Tin™. I’m not good at describing humor, but while the kind contained in those VNs isn’t one to make you keel over laughing, I found it appealing. The minimalistic, MSPaint art style only serves it further and… you know what, just… if you have five bucks lying around and don’t know what to spend it on, get this.

Thing-in-Itself - A short experience (“not a game in a traditional sense”, as the devs will have you know!) based on Immanuel Kant’s philosophy of the same name. I’m not big on philosophy, but, uhh… I suppose this illustrated what it is? The hero saw everything there was to see in different ways depending on his state of mind… and even that is kind of a spoiler for what this is. I bought it for cheap and don’t regret it, but I’d never buy it for its standard asking price.

Unhack 2 - Checking back to see what I thought about the first game, I’ve realized that I completed it back in my most productive Steam gaming month - March of 2019! How cool is that?! Unhack 2 picks up where the prequel left off, with the main character still at work as an unhacker, this time accompanied by a whole new AI partner - Neonya. The sequel is a full-fledged VN, accompanied by puzzles alike the ones from the first game, which are spread evenly throughout the story and fully skippable without locking the player out of related achievements. As opposed to the prequel, Unhack 2 lacks voice acting, which could be said to be a con, but I think the graphical improvements all over the place make up for it. I’m glad to have finally seen this series through to the end and will be picking up InvertMouse’s other VNs in the future.

See you next month! :)

Progress report: February ‘21 (a.k.a. A Better Time For Games?)

I have officially passed my first uni semester! Five more to go before I can decide what to do with my life next! In the meantime and during my short break, however, I played games. And since I can’t think of anything else to say, here’s what those games were:
(Except! I’ve forgotten my ABC challenges are still running! Here they are: General, Hidden Object Games, Point and Clicks, Visual Novels)

7 Lives - Ugh. This story might make some sense if read in the language it was originally written in… AND if you’re its original writer. What this VN offers is 90 minutes of weird time jump/travel slash alternate dimension shit (something I like, without a doubt), which is then impossible to understand due to a lack of ground rules and terrible writing (and if there doesn’t seem to be a grammar or spelling mistake in a textbox, the sentence is probably left without a period). I read through it pretty quickly, but I also wasn’t really invested at any point. Avoid.

Alicia Quatermain 2: The Stone of Fate - She’s back, with a voice provider as uncredited as ever! This time around it’s been ~11 hours, and while I’ve passed all the levels, I still haven’t managed to complete them all with three stars. It really feels like the requirements are more tight, or maybe it’s me who’s not focused enough. I do admit I played about half the game listening to other things than the game music, as it wore me down quickly. If I do feel like spending more time on perfecting this game (and it does have collectibles tied to doing so again), I probably won’t mention it in the next update post.

Antenna Dilemma - An hour-long point and click about cubes that watch TV and a sphere that doesn’t. As usual, saying anything more about such a short game would mean walking right into spoiler territory. This game, however, isn’t finished, so I’d be excited to see its continuation, if it ever comes out.

D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die - “SWERY, darling… this is a masterpiece you’ve given us here” - me thinking about D4
D4 follows David Young, the most Bostonian detective there ever was (his accent will never let you forget it), as he investigates the murder of his wife, following the only clue she left him with in her dying breath - “Look for D”. As you can imagine, one letter of the alphabet can go a long way… but just as it gets interesting, the game ends. It was never finished due to some licensing mumbo-jumbo (please correct me if I’m wrong) and it’s truly upsetting that I won’t ever get to know more. Gameplay-wise, it’s a very rich point-and-click with collectibles to be found left and right, which was both annoying and satisfying, but worth it in the end. D4 definitely goes on my list of favorites for its colorful cast of characters and an intriquing story, left to be a mystery forever.

DISTRAINT 2 - Picking up where the first game left off, the main character, Price, is now facing his inner demons. Literally. Looking back at my review for the prequel, one thing has definitely been fixed - now you will definitely be able to tell who is who and when they’re talking. However, as a horror it still didn’t work for me. Perhaps that’s because I still couldn’t get myself to care for any of the characters.

Nephise Begins - I spent an hour running around picking up mushrooms and skulls. Also, I was convinced the name was pronounced “Ne-fiss”, but it’s actually “Ne-fissy”, huh? I got this game as one of the free pandemic deals, so I can’t complain, but… I have no idea what is anything or why or how it happened. Not at all interested in the other parts of the series.

Pickers - Pawn Stars in HOG form! Who would have thought it’d be this good? I’m not even remotely skilled in haggling, but I do enjoy watching the rare items get auctioned off for twice their worth. The string of sounds recorded for the auctioneer is right on the spot, too! Oh, and it’s so good to watch the HOG scenes get emptied out day by day. I know I’ve still got a few achievements to earn, but this game might already have to go on my Favorites list.

The Walking Dead: Michonne - Man, Michonne is a freaking BADASS! …or at least that’s what I did my best to make her. It’s a shame this one’s only a miniseries, I would have loved to see what became of her later on. Also a bummer that I couldn’t see how my choices compared to the global statistics, since they’re locked beyond the TTG account-whatever-thing. Sigh. Still looking forwards to continuing the franchise some other time.

Wurroom - I got to click around and watch surreal clay animation happen for about 15 minutes. It wasn’t bad (and it is free to play), although there are moments where the next thing you’re supposed to do is just let the cursor go and it’s hard to tell when that happens.

See you next month! :)