Beating games is okay, but you can always do better {distant} May’s profile

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

1.9 hours
Kii-kii?

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

See you next week! :)

Progress report: Third week of July ‘20 a.k.a. Just So This Week Isn’t Left Empty…

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp

6 of 6 achievements

I've never had the chance to play an Animal Crossing game before, and, needless to say, I've been getting jealous of people who got the newest one for the Switch and have been able to put so much time into it… so I got this one and I have to say, it's just as fun as I expected it to be! For the time being, I got all the achievements and am aiming to keep it on my phone until I get to link my progress with a Nintendo Switch account.

Pokémon Masters

Pokémon Masters

2 of 10 achievements

I'm not big on Pokémon, so the intricacies of this game are probably lost on me, but the story seems straight-forward so far. I am aiming to bounce from the game when I unlock all achievements, but I'm going to try my best to keep it on my phone until I get a Nintendo Switch account to link my progress to.

The Sims: FreePlay

The Sims: FreePlay

8 of 51 achievements

According to release timelines, this game came out after The Sims 3… and it's better of the two mobile games I know of. In FreePlay, you can slowly build up a town made up of households, which you later move new Sims in, as well as buildings they can work or shop at. While a construction is in progress on the town map (and that's what you're always going to want to do), you can control your Sims individually to complete various goals and get rewards to progress further. The goals are what makes the game so addicting, if only because they don't stop coming (and they won't stop coming). I might as well try and play the game until I get some more achievements.

The Sims Mobile

The Sims Mobile

7 of 10 achievements

This one is basically The Sims 4 for mobile devices, however… it's bad. Really, really bad. You can only control one household, made up of the maximum of four Sims (and even that is only possible assuming you're willing to pay tons of in-game currency for it) …and everything is a boring clickfest. The game presents the process of deepening relationships, furthering careers and learning hobbies as "stories", but the reality is that you send the Sim on work shifts or friend/lover meetings and keep interacting with things that give you points until the event time runs out or you gather enough points to make it end earlier. Stuff's so boring I can't believe there are actual communities for it out there. However, since I've gotten most achievements easily (and they give a lot of points, too), I decided to try and see it through to the end… of the achievement list, that is.

UtaPri

Uta no ☆ Prince-sama: Shining Live

14 of 14 achievements

Ah, yes, I'm finally talking about the game my husbando is a part of.
If you ever played an anime-based mobile rhythm game, you might know how this works, but in case you haven't: while tapping along to the beat is an important part of the gameplay, if you want to end up with a high score, you first need to boost the levels of the cards representing your unit. The more rare a card is, the stronger you'll be able to make it in the end. To make it easier on you, when you start playing, the game will ask you to choose your favorite idol and you will get one of their UR cards as a freebie (which can already give you an immense jump; my current save is the third time I try playing the game and leveling up the first UR instantly never failed me). There's also a main story, spread over nearly 20 chapters at this point, side stories for all the available cards, as well as special stories that release during events. The whole game also contains many different goals, for completing which you receive items used to level up the cards or unlock bonus content (outfits, side stories, voice lines).
Remember how I mentioned you can choose one of the idols as your favorite? The game utilizes a "live 2D" engine, which not only lets you watch the idols move around and gesture in the stories; you can also tap your favorite idol on the home screen to make him say random things, more of which you can unlock by using his cards in the rhythm game.
The UtaPri franchise has been growing like a monster for 10 years already, but this might just be the best part of it for the Western audience (considering the fact that the original games have never been localized). If anything, it's the one mobile game I don't plan on giving up.

See you next week! :) You’re free to place your bets: will I be cured of my mobile game addiction by then or not?

Progress report: (Actually?) Second week of July ‘20 a.k.a. Stuck in Mobile Game Hell…

Just like the title states… I picked up the spare phone I got recently and after realizing I could totally play games on it… that’s what I did. I took way, way, way too many games upon myself at once and that’s why this post is the way it is.

5.7 hours
...with catgirls?

I've had high hopes for this VN ever since I learned of its existence… and then the rabid influx of catgirl fans absolutely killed it for me. More specifically, the sleek UI and the cuteness were on point, but the eroge staples… I feel like I never played one before, considering how annoyed I got at those. First, there aren't any males around besides the MC and his father (who never shows up in person), as if that's realistic. Following that, all the humanoid cats are female, as if that also makes any sense. Seriously, there's the usual "1-2 friend(s) and/or rival(s) of the same gender" staple, and then there's just unrealistic wish fulfillment. And it's a little creepy, too. The MC goes from thinking of the catgirls as his daughters (even though they're not) to straight-up dicking them just because they're in heat. That ain't it, chief. Still, I feel like I gained some resistance to all the "nyahaha~"-ing and "goshujin, goro-goro"-ing, so I'm curious to learn about the other catgirls from the later volumes.

See you next week! Hopefully I’ll be cured from my newfound addiction by then :)

Progress report: Second week of July ‘20

Is it the second week? Or is it only the first one? The concept of time is just all-around annoying at this point.

Gomo - Here, you play as Gomo, a stitched-up creature, who wakes up one day only to realize that its dog, Dingo, was abducted by an alien. The game is very limited, and therefore straight-forward, so it could be a good choice for kids (as long as your kid doesn’t mind the dark brown palette and the fact that Gomo single-handedly stops a war by launching a nuke). It’s one of those games that almost constantly get a 90% discount, which is the price I got it at during the Summer Sale and the price I would recommend getting it at any point.

Summer Fling - The premise is simple: you’re a soon-to-be college student and on the first day of summer break you gather up the courage to invite two of your beautiful female friends on a trip to your parents’ lake house. Then, you choose which girl you’d like to romance, or even if you’d like both - there’s a hidden harem route! The choices are mostly freebies, like “Which one of us do you like more? A/B/C - both”, although you also help the girls with choosing swimsuits and this is probably the first time I’ve ever experienced swimwear holding this much value in a game. While this was my first experience with a VN from Dharker Studio, I’m surprised this wasn’t their first VN - I’m not sure if I would be satisfied if I were a backer of the Kickstarter for it. The background art looked okay, the music was pleasant, but nothing special; the girls were both pretty, although they seem to suffer from the same-face syndrome (and the way their sprites slid from side to side when changing expression was kinda annoying) and the font choice was peculiar, but readable. I noticed that the game seemed to stop itself at certain points, so I went ahead and got the free adult content patch… it still felt like the game was holding itself back. The visuals didn’t even try to match the text and neither were very titillating - I’ve read fanfiction that managed to excite me more.

Transparent Black - Set in the same universe as Confess My Love, Transparent Black focuses on who seems to have been the love interest in the previous game (her name is redacted this time around, as is the boy’s name whenever mentioned). Maybe it’s just that it’s been a while since I played Confess My Love, but taking their relation into account, it’s hard to believe that this game makes sense. What I have to give it, though, is that it was less random than the other game and thus easier to complete.

Viki Spotter: Camping - This randomly popped up on Steam’s front page, so I decided to get it for a quick 100%. I’m not sure how fun it would be for kids, as the differences are super easy to spot. What I do know, however, is that the background music was a really annoying loop that I muted probably not even a minute in.

See you next week! :)

Progress report: (whatever’s left of the) First week of July ‘20

I’m still being called much more strongly by my console games… but I’m not giving up on Steam! There’s a lot of summery stuff to play!

Here’s what I assassinated in those five days, though:

  • Dr. Daisy: Pet Vet

    3.4 hours playtime

    no achievements

  • Pixel Puzzles 2: Christmas

    10.4 hours playtime

    27 of 27 achievements

  • Summer Rush

    2.9 hours playtime

    no achievements

  • THE AWKWARD STEVE DUOLOGY

    1.5 hours playtime

    3 of 3 achievements

Dr. Daisy: Pet Vet - This was baaad. So bad. Not even naming its release year (2008) can justify how bad it is, because by that time PlayFirst was already massively popular thanks to their Dash series, which follows the same concept. Dr. Daisy: Pet Vet is about Daisy - a main character so unimportant that I forgot her last name - an aspiring veterinarian, who just started her residency. And what a residency it is! During its course, she gets to treat animals in five different places, each one casually sending her over to the next every ten levels. (Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think many places, if any at all, are able to make up that kind of crazy residency period.) Then again, the gameplay is so lacking and repetitive that it’s impossible to look at it realistically. It all consists of check animal in - get it seated on an examination table - examine - run blood test/do x-ray (optional) - give medicine. Heart’s Medicine is about treating people and yet it did it all so much better! Also, while the Dash games weren’t necessarily aimed at children, Dr. Daisy feels very children-aimed, which is why it’s such a flop in terms of letting kids learn - the game thinks up pet-specific illnesses, which, while creative, are wildly impossible and might even go over children’s heads (Like elephants trying to work as stenographers or, uh… I think there was something about chickens banking or investing in stocks?), and even then, the medicine you give those animals is pretty the same all the time. It’s like the FarmVille controversy before FarmVille was even a thing. What also personally really annoyed me was the sound design. The BGM was already nothing to write home about, but then every animal has its own soundbite that the devs felt needed to play every few seconds, as long as the animal is in the clinic; as well as the soundbite that indicates patience loss. Now imagine playing a level with twelve different animals (the maximum a level can hold), all of whom are constantly losing patience unless you pay attention to them. Speaking of patience loss, that, coupled with the lousy and unsatisfying upgrade system (which, to add insult to injury, resets with every new stage) is what ultimately makes this game a repetitive, boring and yet fairly easy (with an occasional pinch of frustrating) clickfest. The bonuses that are supposed to help you are so weak at the start that you just want to upgrade them. Guess what? The upgrades are all decided by the game and mandatory, which means that you’ll spend half of them decorating the clinic instead of making the game less of a chore. Not that there’s any real payoff to the whole thing. All in all, I can’t, in good conscience, recommend this game to anybody. We should all do ourselves a favor and support Blue Giraffe/GameHouse instead, they seem to get it right.

Pixel Puzzles 2: Christmas - Christmas? In the middle of summer? Why the hell not? I could almost smell the pine while solving one of those jigsaws! If you’ve ever experienced any of the Pixel Puzzles games, you know the drill by now. A mildly annoying, but still playable jigsaw game.

Summer Rush - What better time to play a game about managing a beach resort than the summer… in the middle of a pandemic… Aaanyway, in this one you play as Jennifer, an FBI agent sent out to investigate recent disappearances - specifically, disappearances of beach owners. To be able to do her work undercover, Jennifer starts managing a very basic beach resort - and that’s where the player comes in. The gameplay is standard time management fare - get visitor seated and continue delivering everything they ask for until they leave. What I found unusual was that this game doesn’t have a mechanic for trashing items you don’t need - simply click what you want to carry and it’ll swap out the unneeded item. The upgrade system is just a little bit away from hitting the spot; right before you think you’ll be able to max most things out after the next level, the story takes you to another resort and locks the previous one behind you. I should probably mention that once in a while there will also be a HOG level, but while easier, those levels are just not worth talking about. And while there is a story, like I mentioned, it’s uninteresting, written in broken English and the ending is anticlimactic. I found the music okay, but it’s one of those looping track deals, so you might find yourself muting it fairly quickly; however, the voices of the clients were just outright weird (I found Jennifer’s “Hello!” at the start of every level particularly creepy). Other than the story mode, there’s nothing else to do (even though I’m not one to play endless modes anyway), so this is now completed. Progress on summery games, woo!

THE AWKWARD STEVE DUOLOGY - A two-in-one FMV about the misadventures of Awkward Steve. In both stories, you’re tasked with helping Steve survive (quite literally) the challenges he has to face. Thankfully, Awkward Steve is not much of a thrill-seeker, but… an introvert …and, as a fellow introvert, I found myself relating to Steve very easily. While the first story is the one that might be better at piquing one’s attention, I think that the second one was much more interesting, in the end. I also have to note just how awesome it is that this game was made just by one person - the man who played Awkward Steve - and released by Oh, a Rock! Studios, whom I’m starting to like more and more. I’m eager to check out more of their games now.

See you next week! :)

Progress report: Fourth week (+ last days) of June ‘20

Get it? Last Day of June? The game that’s still in my backlog? Aaanyway, that was weak; let’s move on.

Pretty much everything these days was fine and dandy… until yesterday. I tried eating a melon, like I would usually do when there is one at home… and suddenly, my mouth started burning. For context, I haven’t eaten anything else for a while before eating. Also, I’ve eaten only somewhat spicy things (not too good with that stuff) in my life before - like jalapeno peppers or… well, soups with too much pepper (that’s how sensitive I am)… and I recognized fairly quickly that this was much worse. So I tried seeing if anyone online ever had this kind of problem and I was lead to believe that it’s a minor oral allergy, which “shouldn’t go beyond an annoyance”. With my mouth still burning, I tried mixing the rest of the melon with milk and honey, which are known to ease burning in the mouth, and leaving it overnight to bite. However, I’m really not convinced by what that site said, since the stinging ended up lasting until I went to sleep (so for about 4 hours) and now that I woke up, I still feel numb where I got burned. This is all super weird, because until now, I’ve been convinced that I was never allergic to any of the things I know (save for a minor allergy during childhood) and I’ve especially liked eating melon, because of how soft it is and tastes. If any of you fellow assasins were interested enough to read the paragraph, I’d love your input on this (preferably if you’re not as confused as I am).

Either way, this week’s assassinations are down here:

Abyss: The Wraiths of Eden - You could have called this game “BioShock: The Hidden Object Adventure” and no one would have argued with you. …maybe except 2K, I think they would have liked their sales cut. I feel kinda lied to by the promotional art; while the protagonist does seem to look kinda like that, her function is different than her dress code suggests, if that makes any sense? Also, she’s voiced by the same woman AM seems to not let out of their voice booth; some original protagonist that is. Anyway, yeah, as much as I feel like I missed out on a lot of plot while playing BioShock, I strongly feel that Abyss parroted its themes. The minigames in this one were either stupid easy or really dang hard, in my opinion. It all required a second playthrough for achievements’ sake, but luckily, this one is a standalone, so there’s nothing more to see later. Done and dusted.

Answer Knot - Follow suggestions simulator, basically. The initial premise made it seem much more interesting than the plot twist ended up being. I’m not really a fan of aliens, after all.

Captain Firebeard and the Bay of Crows - I really am glad the monthly theme got me to complete this game, ‘cause otherwise I don’t think I’d touch it so soon, if ever. Captain Firebeard’s story is set in the 1700s and tells the story of an adventure the titular character and his crew set out on after learning about the Bay of Crows. The VN was made in my arch-nemesis of the dinosaur variety… but I have to say, it doesn’t look half as bad as most VNs running on the same script do. The writing of the whole thing is also much more better than True Lover’s Knot, which is another VN from this studio that I’ve had the (dis?)pleasure of reading. The director notes in his commentary (found in the DLC) that he took care to be as historically accurate as possible after the studio was called out on the inaccuracies found in another VN of theirs (yikes?), so I also have to give credit for that, although without personal comment, since I don’t know anything about pirates or sailing boats. Still, there are downsides. I believe the devs are, by now, well-known for including minigames in each of their games, and this one was no exception. The minigame present here was much less enjoyable than the one found in True Lover’s Knot (which seems to be one they default to more often) and for some reason its audio only worked in one ear, but at least the achievements related to it were lenient (and didn’t bug for me, thankfully, as I’ve seen reviews mentioning that possibility). Speaking of the audio… the voice acting is really “meh”. I have heard worse, buuut… Captain Firebeard is the most important character in the story and he looks like he’s well over 40 years old at least, so why does he sound like a twenty-something shouting and rolling the R in his room? The non-English characters are going in and out of their accents, the first mate gets the emotions wrong at times and it really irks me how they didn’t seem to know the right way to pronounce certain words or which word to put an accent on. Thankfully, there is one importantly British character and her voice is perfect, no audio or acting issues. All in all the game wasn’t a bad time, but I found myself thinking “please end now”… right before it ended on a big cliffhanger. It has been almost three years since the game was released though, so I’m pretty sure there was never actually a plan to continue the story; maybe except for the spin-off DLC, which I also happen to own, but discovered that it doesn’t work because someone at Sapphire Dragon Productions seems to have forgotten to include the executable with the actual game in the files. Here goes another yikes.

Self-Reliance - This one really caught my attention when I first found it. An FMV? Made in China? Focused on sexual education? And it’s free?! I originally thought of playing it for my Free Games Week, but had to give it up, as the videos wouldn’t play on the PC I normally use. Now that I finally got to it, however… I really can’t decide how I feel about it. On one hand, the atmosphere is campy at times and all the actors look like they could make good friends; on the other hand, the translation is almost nonexistent (three of five chapters are as raw as can be; so much so that the choices have been left blank) and where it does exist, it’s begging to be edited to look presentable, aaand then there’s one elusive achievement that has only been figured out and unlocked by the lucky 0.4% of people. If a translation update gets released, I’ll be interested, but I’m not counting on it. So far, I’m marking this one as “beaten” and extending a congratulations to all the people who made the game possible; I wish my school projects had been half as cool as this.

Tasty Shame in Silver Soul! - Honestly? I don’t get what this game is supposed to be at all. I mean, I get that it’s a piss-poor attempt at a VN-style story dominated by an ultra-obvious Candy Crush copycat, but other than that? It’s just bad. So bad that it was removed from the store quite a while ago. As for the specifics: the matching game wasn’t terribly hard, the short story scenes were easily forgettable and the language was terrible. (There is an individual being credited for translating the game from Russian to English, but I’d like to stop and ask one thing: have you ever seen a translation so bad that the game thanks you, the player, for being made? As if you were actually the developer? Because that is exactly what Tasty Shame in Silver Soul! does in its credit roll.) The only reason I didn’t finish it when I first played it is that the way it presented itself before the last choice made me think I would have to replay the whole game multiple times to get all the endings… which didn’t turn out to actually be the case. Oh well, at least now it’s finally done.

The Waters Above: Prelude - I have to say, if it wasn’t for my last minute monthly theme title swap, I probably would have never gotten to reading this. Boy, would I have missed out! The Waters Above: Prelude, as its store page states, is a story about sea nymphs who take care of stars. It’s made up of four vignettes, each of them introducing the characters and establishing their relationships. Even after reading all of them, the concept appears bizarre to me; I can’t tell where the sea ends and the sky begins. Sadly, I will never get an answer, as the full project has been cancelled a few months ago (and I originally kept myself from reading this in wait for the main game’s release). If I were to judge what is released, however, I’d have to say the VN is wonderful on all fronts. The background and character art are simply pretty, the UI artwork (which often doesn’t get enough attention) is absolutely one of the more beautiful (if not the most beautiful) I have ever seen in a Ren’Py VN, the music is a delight for the ears and each of the stories made me want to know more about the characters it featured. While I own Studio Élan’s other works (though have yet to play them), it’s a damn shame The Waters Above didn’t get to see the light of day, as I would buy it in a heartbeat.

This month’s theme is right up my alley… oh yeah, see you next week! :)

Progress report: Second and third week of June ‘20 (a.k.a. Oops!)

Yup, that’s me. You’re probably wondering how I ended up in this situation.

My answer to that would be that life derailed itself; thankfully for no reason more dangerous than a little too much caffeine and a bigger PlayStation backlog.
However! I (fortunately or not) also managed to expand my Steam backlog, which is what this post will be about (for the sake of sticking with it).
(Adding insult to injury, this post was meant to come out much, much sooner… the next week is already closer to its end, god damn it.)

Here’s what I managed to acquire during those past two weeks:

In total: 20 games from 6 bundles (2 of which were bought earlier), 3 (non-SG) giveaways, 1 trade and 3 freebies

See you next time! Don’t be like me :)

Progress report: First week of June ‘20 (a.k.a. Free Games Week!)

I mentioned something special last week, and here it is! Last time I checked free and unreleased games took up a fifth, maybe even a fourth of my wishlist… and since I can’t do anything about unreleased games, I decided to take a look at some of the free ones!

  • 9.03m

    0.2 hours playtime

    no achievements

  • Artificial Iridescence

    0.4 hours playtime

    no achievements

  • Banyu Lintar Angin - Little Storm -

    0.3 hours playtime

    no achievements

  • blue.

    1.1 hours playtime

    no achievements

  • Drowning Cross

    3.2 hours playtime

    12 of 12 achievements

  • eMemories

    0.1 hours playtime

    2 of 2 achievements

  • From Head to Toe

    0.5 hours playtime

    no achievements

  • Meteor 60 Seconds!

    0.7 hours playtime

    no achievements

  • Open World Game: the Open World Game

    3.3 hours playtime

    20 of 20 achievements

  • Oppaidius Tropical Cruise!

    2.3 hours playtime

    16 of 16 achievements

  • Session Seven

    2.8 hours playtime

    no achievements

  • The Mind of Marlo

    1.0 hours playtime

    10 of 10 achievements

  • The Secret of Tremendous Corporation

    0.7 hours playtime

    no achievements

  • Under What?

    0.4 hours playtime

    no achievements

9.03m - Reading about this one, I saw the term “empathy simulation” crop up a few times, and I suppose it is one. In this, um… empathy simulation, you’ll enter San Francisco’s Baker Beach and look for butterflies, representing possessions left behind by the victims of the 2011 Tohoku tsunami. Once paid to support the cause, 9.03m is now free for anyone to wander in. It’s hard to say whether it’s worth it or not, but it lasts 20 minutes at most. I experienced it and I invite you to do the same, if you have not done it yet.

Artificial Iridescence - This makes no sense. The premise is interesting, but the VN is ridiculously short. It’s supposedly related to the dev’s other games, which also means there was no sense in me playing it (considering I’m not interested). But I did, so there. Not worth your 20 minutes; not even if you’re really bored.

Banyu Lintar Angin - Little Storm - - Another motion comic from Mojiken Studio, this time focusing on three siblings and their daily life. Comprised of about 30 illustrations and accompanied by a track remindful of anime of the slice-of-life genre, it hopes to bring you back to when you were younger, or remind you to appreciate the simplicity of life itself. Personally, I found this one easier to digest than A Raven Monologue, thanks to lack of second meanings.

blue. - A narrative simulating gender dysphoria. While I understand that inverting controls are a crucial part of the gameplay, I can’t recommend blue. unless you absolutely don’t mind those.

Drowning Cross - A twenty-something with a drinking problem finds out his boyfriend got into a car accident and gets roped into the mystery of the titular cross. The visuals are great, everything stands out where it needs to, and the music was enjoyable enough for me to want the OST separately. However, the presentation wasn’t as good. While the mystery was unique, I didn’t feel for any of the characters (the environmental stance the dev shows through the main character was annoying) and near the end I found myself getting absentminded trying to hurry it up. For a free game, it was good enough that I wouldn’t be surprised if it costed at least a buck, but if it actually did, I might not have gotten it in the end.

eMemories - That’s all there is? Well, damn. This is a super short memory game; you’ll be matching pairs of beach balls, leaves and… Christmas ornaments? to reveal two sets of nudie illustrations. So bad I’d say it couldn’t be paid, even if the dev tried.

From Head to Toe - A short narrative about a couple wandering their home town during a snowy evening. All interactivity is within clicking or holding the mouse buttons when prompted. The art style isn’t my cup of tea (most notably the way the characters’ faces are drawn and the fact that they’re not animated when speaking), but I found the voice acting amazing. I was actually surprised there was voice acting in the first place! I wish I understood the ending a little bit better though… I know it’s meant to stay open, but sometimes it’s not enough and I keep craving more. Still, it’s a good way to spend 15 minutes.

Meteor 60 Seconds! - What would you do if you knew a meteor was going to destroy the Earth in the next 60 seconds? This game will let you find an answer. With a minimalistic art style and comedic dialogue (which could use a little polish, but I digress), this one is fun if you’ve got half an hour to kill.

Open World Game: The Open World Game - I have officially found the best open world game out there. Comprised of five vast locations offering over a hundred entertaining side quests and dozens of collectibles, which in turn yield enough experience to make your head spin, along with skill points. You can later spend said skill points to unlock three skill trees, each of them designed to suit a different playstyle. The main story is truly compelling and the sound design of the whole game is astounding - I can not believe this game is free. If you like open world games, you absolutely have to try this one.

Oppaidius Tropical Cruise! - Oppaidius returns with even more random and perverse humor… and a much easier minigame. Since Serafina from the prequel is gone, she’s now been replaced with another beauty: Angela, the songstress. There’s also another girl making an appearance, but encounters with her are a wasted potential. Sadly, compared to its predecessor, Tropical Cruise ends on a less than satisfactory note… however, that’s only because the next installment aims to continue the adventures of the protagonist with Angela. The art and the music are just like in the prequel; the abrupt ending aside, I can’t believe this is free. If you’ve been wondering about it, check it out! You won’t miss anything by skipping the prequel (although you get bonus points for having completed it in this one).

Session Seven - Enter Ryan, a husband and a father, who wakes up in the basement of his own house without any recollection of how or why. You’ll be helping him escape, and through that, discovering what led up to him being locked in there. Along the way, you’ll get a few choices that will shape up said backstory and determine which ending you will get (and there are a total of three). I didn’t understand one of mine, but my best bet is that the choices didn’t connect together very well. The art is fantastic and the music brings the atmosphere (although it forgets to loop sometimes, don’t know if that’s just my issue); for free this game is a steal.

The Mind of Marlo - In the same vein as How to Cope with Boredom and Loneliness, The Mind of Marlo introduces Marlo Davenport, a man diagnosed with Spontaneous Silly Head Syndrome. In this hour-long, documentary-style game you’ll get to learn about his past, as well as current life and help him as he attempts to battle his condition. Not too extravagant, but a good time; I’m eager to see what the devs could come up with next.

The Secret of Tremendous Corporation - Imagine a world where one game-making company is so great it owns a 100% of the market shares. Being its new recruit, you learn that there’s a secret behind its success. But what is it? The Secret of Tremendous Corporation was originally made during a game jam a few years back, and for a 48-hour project, it’s a decent 30-60 minute long point and click. The actual secret was kinda underwhelming when I think about it though. Aaand there’s one particular puzzle you might get stuck on like many others before you, so remember: it’s all about the sequence. Can’t believe I’m leaving all those nice games to fester in my library.

Under What? - A game-ified comic. Saying anything about the plot would be spoiling it, so I’ll just say that the art style is wonderful and the music sets the tone perfectly.

See you next week! :)

Progress report: May ‘20

Do I feel bad about completing so many games this month? No. Do I feel good about this post being incredibly long? Absolutely not.
I swear, I’m gonna post weekly now! (Stay tuned for something special this week!)
I might not be done with my exams yet (still waiting! >_<), but life has seen some progress - I finally set up the TV and consoles in my room! I originally planned to snap a photo, but it didn’t look too flattering and my room is pretty messy now, so it’s hard to get a good angle… if anyone’s interested, I might try for the next post!
(Hey hey… you. Yes, you! Why don’t you check out the ABC challenges while you’re here? They’ve seen some progress too! General, Hidden Object Games, Point and Clicks, Visual Novels)

Get ready for super length!

Alicia Quatermain: Secrets of the Lost Treasures - First clear-the-road management game I’ve played to completion (finally). Here, you assist Alicia as a manager of her workers - possibly weird, but makes sense in context. Nothing to write home about, except for mildly dodgy English and a plot that’s hard to care for (I mean, the antagonist’s name is “Boss”.) I really wish the perfectionist aspect had more care put into it (every level you complete with three stars puts a new object in Alicia’s office… but half the time I couldn’t tell what the new object was, and even then, it was just eye candy - no informational pop-ups or anything) - if Alicia wants me to finish all the levels with three stars so badly the devs put it in the tips, you’d think there would be some kind of reward for doing it - a celebratory screen, at the very least. I was also surprised at the lack of credits - Alicia really sounds like Beli from HuniePop and so I’d have liked to check if that’s actually the case. Other than that, a very self-explainatory and only mildly challenging game.

Away - This, uh… this was a thing? I just spent exactly four minutes of my time on this, making it my new fastest completion. It’s four minutes of a man giving you what I can only assume to be a life lesson of a dying man, as you go to the light. You’d get more mental stimulation in that same amount of time if you watched a short animation with a “dementia” genre tag. I just wish I could find some information on the man who read the script.

Break Into Zatwor - One of the many shovelware/asset flip games that were once made and pushed out onto Steam with the sole purpose of giving people an opportunity to get cards, make badges and therefore level up faster… or sell said cards and get back money, whichever’s preferred. Both the visuals and the sound design are outright atrocious. I’ve only completed this one now, because skipping through levels is possible and it pops the related achievements anyway, except for the last level, which can be skipped, but actually needs to be beaten manually because logic. Absconding Zatwor (can’t be skipped) and Fiends of Inprisonment (the last level is really pissing me off) might be coming next. For now, my completed pile of shame just got bigger.

Cats Make You Smarter! - Found this randomly while browsing Steam. It’s a memory game for children, featuring fifty unique cartoon cats. All the achievements are related to checking their profile cards (they feature the cats’ names and [mostly] cat-related quotes), which you can do by clicking on a tile with a cat you already matched - I feel I have to say that, cause I wouldn’t have figured it out by myself if I hadn’t done that accidentally; weird, I know. It’s short, it’s simple, it’s an easy 100% and you can play it with a kid.

Edna & Harvey: The Breakout - If you were ever interested in point-and-clicks, chances are you’ve seen the crazy visage of Edna; if that interest goes at least a decade back, you’ve probably played her games already, too. As curious as I was about this game, I would have held back on playing it, if it weren’t for the Spring Cleaning Event. I mean, it’s so old it needed to install Java to run! I was ready to give up on it, too, after it randomly closed on me twice (after all, this year’s Cleaning Event didn’t really care about your playtime - just open the game up and it’s done, eh?), but then I was all good. Right off the bat, I was pleasantly surprised to realize that Edna doesn’t sound nearly as low - or mad! - as I expected. Harvey’s got a good, flexible voice, which I feel is important for establishing mascot characters. Frankly, all the voicework is solid. But first, plot! You first meet Edna in her padded cell - she’s locked up in an asylum. While all the asylum workers consider her insane, she doesn’t believe so; so, what else to do, other than escape? Yeah! The gameplay is standard point-and-clicking, with no Sierra’s Unwinnable By Design™ qualities involved. The cast is as colorful and unique as can get - most of it does consist of asylum inhabitants, after all. The soundtrack isn’t big by any means, but it is memorable - whether it’s the chilling ambient with occasional mad laughing in the background that plays in Edna’s cell, or the more casual track that plays on one of the floors of the madhouse. The game branches off in two different directions just before the end - and if you still haven’t played it, I say checking out both ways is the way to go. I was so into the game I completed it in two sittings. Considering that there is a sequel to Edna’s (mis?)adventures, this ended on a peculiar cliffhanger, of sorts. But that’s for later!

Fap Queen 2 - There’s more to it! I played the original one back in 2018 (time flies so fast!) and found this unexpected sequel in the store recently. More characters, more things to do, more achievements to get… if you can read the title, you know what it’s all about.

Frisky Business - This one’s weird. Perhaps even “best of the worst”. Its quirk is the titular “frisky business” - the possibility of bedding one of your clients (or one of the other beauties you’ll come in contact with while dealing with the case)… but nearly everything except for that is good. The character art, as well as the background art, looks surpisingly good and the music really brings the “detective TV show” feel. The slapstick comedy SFX, however, make the VN feel more like a Japanese game show. The writing could use some basic editing, both in grammar and logic. The “frisky business” mechanic… consists of rubbing the cursor against the erogenous zones of the girl you’re getting it on with. The sound design of said scenes doesn’t do it any good, either. The engine sucks balls too, but that’s to be expected of Unity. Seriously, it took way too long to load up the game. Either way, after you figure out everything you need to do for the best ending (and it’s a little weird, given the writing inconsistencies)… you don’t even get much information on the case’s outcome then. It only slightly passes for the “ooo, there’s gonna be a sequel!” foreshadowing. Me, not having followed a guide from the start, I had to replay the whole game over and over again - and since the engine is terrible, there are no options to save wherever you please or skip through the text you’ve already seen. I could assume those two options would let me shave up to 3 hours off the total playtime and I probably wouldn’t be too far off. That being said, Frisky Business did scratch a kind of an itch - the itch for a lewd game that won’t be sophisticated by any means, but won’t blow any of its load ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) right from the start with how disgustingly inaccurate it is (like all those achievement fountain games I’ve had the [dis]pleasure of playing). According to its Steam page, the sequel had originally been slated for release back in 2018, and according to the devs themselves, it’s still being worked on - we’ll see where that goes.

Harem Girl Nikki - So I totally thought this was free when I first downloaded it… it was, but obviously not fully. Instead of removing it though, I decided I could spare a buck for an easy 100%. It’s Dharker Studios’ art, so at least it’s not blatant theft and the game isn’t terribly borked. Just a few simple nudie puzzles.

Moe Jigsaw - This might just be the best jigsaw game I’ve ever played on Steam. I love visual novels and in the time I was playing this game, two of the featured titles got licensed for a Western release! Woo! As for the jigsaw-ing, it’s pretty sweet. The pieces snap together even if not placed on the grid yet (accompanied by a crisp click) and their edges are never some crazy shapes (like in Pixel Puzzles, yikes). You can choose from a few preset song playlists (which I can only assume are VN BGMs) or input your own music, although that takes a little tweaking (and I imagine muting the game and playing some other music is easier anyway). There are also a few different background and puzzle tray colors to choose from, if you’re into that jazz. All the puzzles have three size options and you can choose whether or not you want to bother with rotating the pieces before looking for their place on the grid. The achievements only require you to finish the related puzzles of any size once, so thankfully the game didn’t get too long. Shame there aren’t more achievements for how many more DLC packs are available.

Nightmares from the Deep: The Cursed Heart - The third monthly theme game and my last completion for this month. Standard AM fare, not much to talk about here. Since it was one of their earliest games though (and was both made and published by them), I can, however, say “well, at least it wasn’t as bad as Time Mysteries”. The voice acting is on par, the art isn’t uncanny valley and personally, I was surprised that the player character isn’t the girl from the cover art. I know, I’m spoiling everything! It’s got everything I’m not into, which is pirates and, uhh… sea…?; but it wasn’t half bad! Actually, it was good enough to get sequels, which I’ve won on SG years ago, so I’m incredibly behind on this particular series. Until whenever I complete the sequel! (oops!)

Papers, Please - “Congratulations. The October labor lottery is complete. Your name was pulled. For immediate placement, report to the Ministry of Admission at Grestin Border Checkpoint. An apartment will be provided for you and your family in East Grestin. Expect a Class-8 dwelling. Glory to Arstotzka.” If, for some reason, you’ve been living under a rock for the past 7 (!) years, you might not have heard of this game. Papers, Please puts you in the shoes of a newly chosen checkpoint inspector. You’re going to spend a full month checking people’s documents and validating (or not) their entry into your country. Might sound simple and/or boring, but it gradually picks up the pace and won’t let you catch a breath. More documents to check mean more reasons to deny entry, so you need to keep being sharp. That, and you’ll experience some encounters more memorable than others. There’s even a whopping 20 endings to the game! Personally, I liked the game so much before I even got it that I watched probably four people play it online. Must have been my all-time record. The art in the game is fantastic and the few musical pieces it features are highly memorable - I wish I could buy them separately. I love how this simple concept can still evoke emotions with its scheduled events. That has to be why it has such a strong following. This one will definitely go on my Favorites list, if only for the passion I felt for it even before I got my own copy.

Papers, Please - The Short Film - Took me a little after completing the game to get to this. The film goes through three of the scheduled events: Sergiu’s lover, Elisa’s appearance; the husband who has his documents in order and the wife, who does not; and last, but not least, the Kolechian suicide bomber. Just in those 11 minutes, the film evokes emotions just as well, if not better than the original game. The film being Russian surprised me as well, but that’s probably because I seem to have completely different outlooks on which real countries are represented by the fictional countries. I did enjoy the orchestral version of the main theme that played during the credits, but I feel like it lacks the oomph the game’s soundtrack has. However, I felt that the ending was too abrupt and it took me by surprise. Why did the husband, a man from Obristan, kill “for Kolechia”? Is it just that Obristan (or at least the man) sides with Kolechia in the Arstotzka-Kolechia war? I really hope that’s what it’s about and it’s just a case of me being out of the lore loophole.

Pixel Puzzles Junior - Hey, it’s Pixel Puzzles, but for kids! How fun! There are 50 kid-friendly illustrations to choose from, with their sizes ranging from 9 to 56 pieces. The achievements unlock regardless of the piece count, so you can solve every puzzle in 9-piece mode and never look back… or you can continue solving them in all sizes for the little completion marks. Word of advice, the music and the mechanics are as annoying as always.

Pleasure Puzzle: Sexy Girls - Not much different from Pleasure Puzzle: Portrait, which I completed recently, except the theme and… wow, there were so little images to solve - I was stuck redoing all of them over and over again. I also noticed that holding down the right mouse button lets you see where all pieces should go. Seems like this game just really wants you to get the 100% and never look back, huh?

Samsara Room - I’ll play this one, ‘cause it seems like everyone’s playing it now, yeah? Well, I did. And I think I’m a little more salty than I was after completing Rusty Lake: Roots; I forget to keep in mind that I really don’t like escape room puzzle games (never did, actually). Add on top of that most of the instructions being minimalistic to the maximum (funny, huh?) with some solutions impossible to come by unless you spent a considerable while clicking around and you got me pissed. As much as I don’t like watching walkthroughs (and here I did, again), I still appreciate that there’s a series of official ones. The plot was once again, way over my head. That being said, Rusty Lake Paradise is still in my backlog.

Shan Gui - I originally read this one back in 2016, just a few months before I started using Steam and realized it (and many other visual novels, of which I still haven’t read a lot) is there for sale… legally (oops). The Spring Cleaning Event picked it for me in one of the categories and so I decided I might as well give it another go. Shan Gui is a short kinetic novel about a certain university student who took a summer trip to the mountains, hoping to visit the places she remembers from her childhood, when unexpectedly, she meets a cute girl who offers to become her guide. It’s basically an hour and a half (two, at most) of these two girls visiting various tourist spots (which are real and even linked to their respective Wikipedia articles in the VN - big plus from me) while also getting to know each other as beautiful piano songs play in the background. The art is like a dream - nearly every background and/or CG (YMMV) is wallpaper material. I do, however, see a few things worth picking at (especially since this VN has had two releases and I don’t think I’ve read the earlier one) - the voice acting for one character in particular - the quality of the recordings is so bad she might as well have been recorded through a wall. Get her a better microphone! The other problem would be the text itself; from what I’ve experienced, Chinese always seems to end up having grammatically horrible translations. This isn’t the worst I’ve seen, but there were a few lines that sounded odd, like they didn’t match the conversation, as well as multiple points where the text didn’t exactly match what was presented on the showing CG. If you like cute girls, accurate real-life sight-seeing in fiction or Chinese media, do check out Shan Gui. It’s cheap, but it’s worth it.

Sherlock Holmes and The Hound of The Baskervilles - Another fresh Spring Cleaning Event choice. While most Sherlock Holmes games out there are point-and-clicks, this time the devs decided to place the most famous detective in the world in a HOG. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know either. While it is an odd design choice, it didn’t end up poorly. The Hound of The Baskervilles, as the name suggests, focuses on the Baskerville family, who believe they have been cursed to eventually die, one by one, by the hand (or paw, rather) of a big, hound-like beast. After his uncle gets killed in that exact manner, Henry, presumably the last surviving Baskerville, decides to ask Holmes and Watson for help in solving the mystery of the curse. The game will have you reconstruct the coat of arms of all the Baskervilles who died from the curse through visiting each of their rooms, up to the point where you figure out the mystery. The ratio of HOG scenes to minigames is balanced, I’d say; and all except one or two minigames are easy enough to figure out by clicking around (they don’t have any instructions to them, however, which is a con). The voice cast for Holmes and Watson is the same as in Frogwares’ point-and-clicks and therefore, very familiar and one-of-a-kind. (It only hit me when playing: Watson sounds an awful lot like Teddy Floppy Ear! And if that’s the case… my god.) Henry’s voice acting, however, is very hit-and-miss; some lines were delivered fine, others just didn’t have any feeling in them. I can’t say much about the music, as only one track stuck with me when playing and it felt a little too much like it was trying to hurry me up, which is not something you’d want from a casual game. Still, I feel like there are two things other HOGs could learn from this one (particularly Artifex Mundi HOGs) - marking locations as “complete” after you do everything you can in them (reduces backtracking) and letting you use multiple part items without having collected all parts (lets you feel like you’re making progress even while you’re stuck and reduces the size of your inventory). Personally, I find the ending a little confusing (I’ve never actually read any of the original works, so correct me if I’m wrong, but I can’t really imagine Holmes as someone who would just accept a puppy like that; I feel like he’d have trouble with it, for some reason. Is that ending canon to the original story?), but other than that, I enjoyed this one. Now, to the day I tackle one of the other Sherlock Holmes games!

Shiver - A super short and free point-and-click, where you play as a man who gets into an accident and ends up seemingly in the middle of nowhere. As you do your best to try and call for help, you realize you might not be alone after all… Atmosphere is key in this game - it’s built up really well for such a short amount of time. However, I feel like the story could be expanded upon, since the few scary moments felt odd, too. Either way, I’m glad I got it for free, since older reviews suggest it wasn’t before and having played it now, I don’t think I would have spent money on it.

Sprout - I still remember playing this one back in the “after-school-Flash-games” days. Can’t recall ever getting to the end though. Anyway, this time I did. Sprout is a small game about the life of a sprout. Most sprouts just become what they were born from, but the one you’re going to control aims higher than that - and so, you’re tasked with helping it get to its dream destination. The hand-drawn graphics are a reminder of the simpler times and the sound design ties it all together. Short and sweet.

Teddy Floppy Ear - Mountain Adventure - After I played this for the monthly theme, it occured to me that I finished Kayaking back in March of last year! That’s crazy talk! This time, Teddy Floppy Ear went on a trip to the mountains to visit his uncle and, after said uncle gave him a task, it became the titular adventure. The easy point-and-clicking, colorful visuals and intertwined minigames make this (as well as Kayaking) perfect games for even the youngest kids. The game is available in English and Polish, and for me, the Polish voiceover really made it that much better (I played Kayaking with an English voiceover and it’s just not the same). It was a huge throwback to other games based on old Polish cartoon characters like Reksio or Koziolek Matolek, even if it is one or two guys talking to themselves half the time. The game isn’t without fault - the voice lines kept cutting out at the end and it seems that the opening and ending cutscene were only recorded in English (I turned on Polish subtitles just in case, and they weren’t available for the cutscenes either) - I really hope someone out there can correct me on this, cause if that really is the case, that’s just sad. Still, I had fun on this unbelievably short mountain trip. Only one more Teddy Floppy Ear game to go.

Time Mysteries: Inheritance - Remastered - Boy, oh boy… if this is how the Remastered version looks, I don’t think I want to see what the original was like. This, from what I gain, was Artifex Mundi’s first HOG title and long story short, it looks like a lot of other HOGs you might find being made nowadays that haven’t found their own style like AM has over these years. I didn’t find the story engaging (and I love time travel!), the character models scream “uncanny valley”, the voice acting is mostly devoid of emotion (I could swear one of the characters was voiced by a speech synthesizer), the soundtrack is disjointed, the minigames barely have any explanation to them and the HOG scenes look particularly bad. You can tell a HOG is bad when all the items you’re supposed to find are in clear view, but not being able to find the last item in nearly every scene after clicking around the whole screen is also a problem. Feel free to pick this one up if you’re curious to see how far AM has come, otherwise avoid.

美少女夏日欢乐! - I played the English version of this game back in July 2018 (!) and barely gave any insight on it back then. I only bought this version recently, thinking “Oh yeah, that was a light and easy arcade game”… WRONG. Well, partially. About 90% of this game is smooth sailing, then the levels get mad packed with enemies that swim and bump all around the level, to the point where it’s pretty much impossible to play without using powerups (especially the time-freezing one, good lord) and those can spawn in hella random places too, so you have to wait for ones that appear close to you, or else you’ll get absolutely destroyed. It really does go from zero to a hundred. That being said, I spent as much time on this one as I did on the English one, so I’m convinced I didn’t get any worse through the momentary rage.

See you next week! :)

Progress report: April ‘20

Being holed up in quarantine isn’t fun when you know you’re still gonna have to take exams later.
(Seriously, Poland, get your shit together! …or else I’ll inevitably overheat and faint <3)

That being said, I love seeing my fellow assassins’ happiness in regards to backlog progress! Let’s keep it going! :D
Here’s what I assassinated in April:
(Woops, I totally forgot! Here’s your usual reminder about my ABC challenges! General, Hidden Object Games, Point and Clicks, Visual Novels)

!Dead Pixels Adventure! - Ah, yes, an achievement fountain game. I am inclined to believe that this one doesn’t offer anything else besides the two levels it wants you to run through just to get its achievements going. I did just that and then let it idle. The game has no plot or visual consistence and the only cool thing about it is the track that plays in the background… but it’s the only piece of music that just keeps on looping. Still - achievements, eh?

A Game About - About what?, you might ask. I was planning on answering that question, but then I realized it would spoil everything. Besides that, all I can say is that the art is reminiscent of a preschooler’s, but I think that’s its charm. Also, the dev’s handwriting is very neat. Also also, you might want to keep in mind that this game isn’t very feel-good, in case you’d like to check it out.

Barro - Possibly the simplest race car simulator ever made. I decided to snatch this one up while it was free on Steam after noticing that most of the achievements are no-effort; didn’t take much time to get the rest either. The whole game seems to be made out of basic assets and looks more like a prototype than an actual game. There are over a dozen of tracks to choose from and you can input up to 99 laps, if you so desire. (But why?) However, there are only four types of cars to choose from and it doesn’t seem like they differ from each other, quality-wise. There’s apparently both an arcade mode and a time trial mode, as well as multiplayer compatibility; I just blasted through to 100% the game and call it a day - I can’t imagine myself not sucking at a racing game and I got this one done in 40 minutes, if that tells you anything about the difficulty. If you wish to spend more time with this game though, I recommend you put on your favorite music in the background, or else you’ll go crazy listening to the roaring engines.

Coloring Game 3 - When is L. Stotch going to stop? IT’S TIME TO STOP! I swear, if I see Coloring Game 4 becoming a thing, I might just go after the guy. More seriously speaking though, these really bring nothing to the table, except different images. Coloring Pixels still plays more smoothly and I don’t much care whether the images are animated or not. The only difference between the two sets of images seems to be the expanded palette, and so, after finishing the first half on my own, I used the automatic coloring system (which I believe was a thing in previous iterations, too) on the second half. I regret nothing.

HunieCam Studio - This HuniePop spinoff is a management simulator that lets you take control of your own camgirl business. You can recruit girls from the original game (excluding the secret ones) or brand new girls (who will presumably be appearing in the sequel to the main game, whenever that comes out) and train them, make them go shopping, collect some fans or put them straight to work. The more fans you collect during the three in-game weeks, the better the trophy you get. The game might seem overwhelming at first, but the guide I used to power through laid out an easy strategy that would have probably gotten me more stuff, had I used it earlier. The game itself is very pretty - the UI is sleek and the art is much more cartoonish (if HuniePop’s art is considered “anime-esque”, HunieCam’s has more of a “Western animation” feel to it). There’s also a whole another mode you can unlock called “Rock Hard Mode” and all I can gather from that is that it’s… well… harder, but after all the time I spent just 100%ing the game (I’m confident I did one or two runs that gave me nothing in return, so that’s wasted time) I didn’t even feel like checking it out. But yeah, if you’re also waiting for the HuniePop sequel and you don’t mind a time management game, I can definitely recommend picking this one up.

Lovers’ Smiles - Another game I picked up for free recently. It’s a simple drawing puzzle game; basically a re-skin of another game that is now removed - Draw_Love. If you have either of them, you basically have both. As for the quality, well… the menu can be hard to navigate, the hints are helpful only about half the time and the physics of the game can get weird. Other than that, it’s a fairly easy 100%.

Redrum: Time Lies - Y’know… the first one was much better. It had achievements and it could actually be classified as a HOG. This one is more of a point-and-click hybrid with puzzles. Said puzzles get increasingly more and more challenging (and the skip charge takes a solid moment), so thanks to not having any achievements relate to the gameplay, I could allow myself to skip a few. The ending also shows that the devs wanted to make another sequel… honestly, I think I’m glad they didn’t.

Simple Story - Alex - That was… well, a game. It’s as simple as RPGMaker games get… but it’s super uninspired and the English is terrible. On one hand - hey, it doesn’t make you go around collecting things for over 2 hours, just so you can’t refund it afterwards, but on the other hand… the plot is… wow. Just wow. I don’t care where you’re from, alcoholism isn’t normal and, uh… yeah, that’s all I can say about that game. But hey, at least I got to claim it for free.

The Deed - Also known as “Murder Your Sister Simulator”. One rainy evening, you arrive at your family home under the guise of celebrating your father’s birthday, but the only thing on your mind is the inheritance… which, due to how strained your relations are, will be passed on to your sister. And that is where The Deed comes in. There are a variety of things you can choose to use as a murder weapon, as well as multiple things that, when placed correctly, will serve as evidence framing someone else. Choose the perfect combo and you might just send someone else to juvie… or the case will remain unsolved. I’m not a huge fan of amateur-looking RPGMaker games, but I found this one worth completing, if only for the easy 100%.

The Pizza Delivery Boy Who Saved The World - I liked this one a whole lot. There’s just something different about VNs using photos of people instead of art. This one’s humor is pretty much all about the MC being the One Sane Man™, so if that’s not your cup of tea, you might want to hold out on this one. Oh, and I really want some pizza right about now.

There Is No Game: Jam Edition 2015 - This is one of those games I watched people play on YouTube and decided I didn’t need to play myself, since I’ve seen everything there was to it. Lo and behold, it’s on Steam and it has achievements. Naturally, I dedicated half an hour to playing it. There’s not much to say about this one; if you’ve seen it once, you’ve seen it all. However, if this is the first time you’re hearing about it… there might just be a game… as well as a few other things.

True Lover’s Knot - I find it hard to believe that this was made by Americans, because while the English isn’t bad… it really feels like your typical Russian VN. The humor is stale (don’t get me started on “Bye bye PewDiePie?”), there’s an overload of flavor text and it’s super weird to look at anime-style sprites being placed against backgrounds featuring real people. Hell, the title of the game isn’t even that meaningful! Oh, what does the title relate to, then?, you might ask. Well… “True Lover’s Knot” is the name of the recently popularized virus that seemingly only the MC can remove and/or fight… and then pretty much every device any character uses gets it at some point in time, just so you can play a minigame. Frankly, as crappy as it looked and as unnecessary as it was, the minigame was my favorite part of the whole thing. I mean, the VN’s attempt at being an “otome game” really failed too, because I’m not into guys that are only interested in their work, nor am I into guys who try to get into my pants with how cocky they are. Speaking of which, this game’s roundabout way of talking about sex was disgusting. It could have been better if it were actually funny, but here it was just uncomfortable. (If you want a VN that approaches sexual content in an over-the-top and comedic fashion, I highly recommend Oppaidius: Summer Trouble!) Last but not least, here’s two things to remember if you ever want to play this yourself: watch out for the “party” cutscene - it’s about twice as loud as the rest of the game and should probably have an epilepsy warning; and the achievements are locked from triggering in the latest build for some reason, so you’re going to want to save at the branching point, close the game and download the old build attached in “Properties > Betas”.

Twickles - Another puzzle game I decided I don’t have the time or patience to solve by myself. Luckily, someone posted their solutions to all the puzzles and thanks to those, I got done in minutes. Twickles consists of 75 levels with the goal of “get the ball from point A to point B”. To do that, you can rotate corridors for the ball to slide through as well as the whole board you’re working on. As the levels progress, new elements are introduced - sliding blocks, fans and portals that will either help your ball or frustrate you to no end (depending on how well you’re doing, that is). The game looks really good and runs with no issues even on my potato laptop, so if you’re into puzzle games, look no further.

Woodle Tree Adventures - I honestly have no idea why this gets lumped in with all those really crappy non-games. It’s a cute little platformer where you control a living tree stump tasked with collecting water drops. There is, however a noticeable lack of polish - no indication of which creatures can hurt you or not (most can and will, but one type for some reason will just say “Why are you hurting me? :(“ when you try to hit them, and I felt bad about that), constant clipping through other textures (which could work both ways, really) and checkpoint irregularities (if you fall off halfway through the level, you’ll end up back at the start of that part, but if you fall a few steps further in, you might get transported back to the very beginning) are what comes to mind. It might as well be my new favorite platformer (but that’s just because I don’t play many anyway). I applaud it for not only being cute, but adding some challenge on top of it. It got slightly rage-inducing at times, mostly due to the checkpoint irregularities, but in the end, I didn’t have a bad time. I wish there was also some better way to set the camera up when it gets out of control and I can’t see anything else than my character’s barky back and the huge, berry-filled backpack. I did play it using the keyboard though, so maybe it would be different with a controller; I was advised to play using one, after all.

Yes, Master! - This is the kind of game you’d find on a website with strictly erotic games, rather than Steam. At least on Steam it has achievements. The plot is lackluster and only serves for more sexual action, so it’s your usual deal. Also, I’ve never closely known a person going through PTSD/trauma, but I’m convinced they wouldn’t stutter that much. (Additionally surprising that the same devs seem to have made Metropolis: Lux Obscura, which I have yet to check out, but it initially looks a lot more appealing.)

See you next month, and keep on assassinating! :)