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 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: 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! :)

Progress report: January ‘21 (a.k.a. Still Not The Best Time For Games?)

…welp. So much’s been going on I don’t know what to focus on anymore. These past few years I prioritized games over anime, since, well, I actually paid for the games… but seeing as I am now in university (studying Japanese, no less), my focus seems to have naturally shifted back to anime, as it is not only easier to digest than a game, but also provides a listening environment (and before you say anything - yes, I know, anime sounds nothing like real people speaking the language).
Still, I did manage to play a feeewww…? games - and here they are:

Late Shift - The truth comes out: Amitte would let a handsome stranger give her a car ride for seemingly no reason at all. …god damn it. rolls eyes In all seriousness, this FMV ain’t half bad. You play as Matt, a university student working the titular late shift, which turns out to be anything but the “nice, quiet night” his superior had tried to predict. The plot is ridiculous to some degree, there are a few mistakes in the subtitles and the amount of times you need to replay the game to get all the endings is beyond its actual replayability, but it’s still worth a shot. Even in a serious FMV, there should be some cheese, and this one definitely has it.
(Also, ever since I’ve first seen Joe Sowerbutts, I’ve had this nagging feeling that he really looks like someone else! Anyone got any ideas?)

Lorelai - At last… the closing part to the “Devil Came Through Here” trilogy is here… and I’ve finally completed it. Oddly enough, I think I found it… somewhat underwhelming? Having loved both The Cat Lady and Downfall, I’ve naturally had high expectactions for Lorelai, and I’m not sure what it is, but it feels like something stopped it from reaching the same level in my book. Who knows, maybe it was the graphics, making certain parts run like a snail even on the lowest settings. That’s not to say it’s a bad game, however. It’s made of all the same dark vibes, heavy subjects and abstract visuals as its predecessors, so at the end of the day, it’s worth checking out. And I’m still interested in seeing where R Michalski is going to take his games next.

NekoPara Vol. 0 - Stated to be a fandisc to vol. 1, but it’s just a bunch of vignettes from the Minazuki household. I guess the “fandisc” treatment really just means “play vol. 1 first or else you won’t know who all these girls are”, but it’s not like there’s muuuch more plot in vol. 1

See you next month! :)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you next month! :)

Kill Five: November 29th, 2020

Gone In November

0.6 hours, no achievements

Click to expand

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

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

Kill Four: November 28th, 2020

The Walking Dead: Season Two

9.4 hours, 40 of 40 achievements

Click to expand

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

Next up: Thought this would fit right in.

Kill (?) Three: November 17th, 2020

Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1

40 hours, 34 of 45 achievements

Click to expand

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

Next up: This has been long overdue!

Kill Two: November 4th, 2020

The Haunted Island, a Frog Detective Game

0.8 hours, 6 of 6 achievements

Click to expand

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

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

Kill One: November 4th, 2020

Corpse Party: Book of Shadows

27.6 hours, 33 of 33 achievements

Click to expand

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

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

Kill #0.75: 14/10/20

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

Mushroom Cats 2

0.3 hours, 37 of 37 achievements

Click to expand

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

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