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

If I don’t have anything cool to say, I’m probably playing: Coloring Pixels, Japanese Women - Animated Jigsaws, Moe Jigsaw

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

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

Progress report: September 2019

If there was ever a month to be ashamed of progress, it’s this one. Not only did I barely complete anything, I also bought a lot of games. Like… a lot. Seriously.
However! I suppose there is one unfinished game that deserves a special mention…

  • A Raven Monologue
    A Raven Monologue

    0.2 hours playtime

    no achievements

  • Monster Prom
    Monster Prom

    23.4 hours playtime

    25 of 32 achievements

  • The Deer
    The Deer

    0.1 hours playtime

    no achievements

A Raven Monologue - Best described by its Steam store page, A Raven Monologue is “a short experimental silent story about a raven that does not know how to croak and his relationship with the people in the town”. To put it bluntly, I didn’t understand the story at first, but there is a pretty solid interpretation (one of many?) available, which helped me out. Artistically speaking, the visuals are incredibly pleasing to the eye and the theme song is quite nice (although the odd accent the singer put on some words was noticeable, inevitably). Definitely looking forward to other works from Mojiken Studio.

Monster Prom - Now this… this is a game I never expected myself to get behind… but then I did. When I saw a video of the alpha version, I didn’t see the appeal and completely forgot about it… until it came out. After watching a few videos of the final product, I decided I must have it. After I traded for it, I started playing and… it took up pretty much all of my gaming time for September. Honestly, it’s everything it says and more! The characters are highly likeable (literally can’t pick a favorite when it comes to potential dates!), the music consists of a bop after a bop and the plot is as nonsensical as it gets without forgetting of what the character shticks are. As I fell in love with this game, I couldn’t help but marvel at the fact that the second one is coming out next year… and then there are also three more in the works! THREE MORE! Even though I’m gonna try and take a break from it so it doesn’t dominate my life, I can’t help but aim to complete it… but that’s TBA, as it’s estimated to take a looong time.

The Deer - This has got to be the worst game I’ve ever received in a trade. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad, but… it’s bad. The way it’s made is what makes it a failure. Its presentation makes it impossible to tell what age group it was supposed to target, the information presented is wordy and forgettable (if you want to help children learn, do so through callbacks!), and the minigames are a joke. Even if you couldn’t care less about what your kid is playing, as long as they stop bothering you, it’ll be 15 minutes at best until they’re done with The Deer.

If there’s anyone curious about IRL, since September is now over, it means I finally have my new furniture! Woop woop! I wanted to show you all fellow assassins before and after pics, but I haven’t uploaded them anywhere to link in my post yet… maybe next month? I’m already late enough with this post.

Also, it’s finally October, which means… I CAN PLAY S P O O K Y G A M E S! …as long as I have time, of course.

Anyway, see you all next month!

Progress report: Fourth week of August ‘19 (a.k.a. No, It Did Not!)

Fvckin’ hell, I thought I had it in me for another game or two… but alas, I discovered a new YouTube channel and became invested in it instantly. But hey, at least I got the mosquito net on my window now… which means I can open it with 99.9% certainty that my room won’t become a biology classroom (that last decimal being at risk due to how my mom cut a small hole in the net when trying to cut off the excess… :/). Either way, life has to go on, whether we like it or not (as of this moment, I really don’t), so due to school starting again, I’ll be returning to monthly posts, as I will most definitely have less free time in general. (One thing there won’t be less of, however, is my ABC challenges! Let them catch your eye here: General, Hidden Object Games, Point and Clicks, Visual Novels)

Here are the last of my kills for this month:

Book Series - Alice in Wonderland - Having been around for over 150 years at this point, there’s no way you haven’t experienced this story in one way or another. This is basically the script of the original novel, made into a VN, therefore there’s no writing to be judged. The anime-fied versions of the characters look pretty good (the boobage on the Queen of Hearts though, holy moly). Most of the VN is accompanied by pleasant classical music, with multiple SFX used here and there to fit with the script. As far as the Book Series goes… it’s just about as good as the Sonic Storybook Series. At least it was the best VN I’ve ever seen made in TyranoScript so far (not counting the broken and incomplete gallery).

Home Darkness - Escape - To be honest, I feel dirty and ashamed calling this a point and click, but that’s what it’s closest to being. The game launches in a pretty small screen, gives no story or direction and is accompanied by a looping BGM that’s 10 seconds long, at best. With a walkthrough that’s three and a half minutes long (!), it took me a whopping… 11 minutes to complete the game. What is at the end, you ask? Do you escape the house? I don’t know! What I do know is that you get rich! Yes… you get rich. And the music that was meant to portray the happiness of getting rich doesn’t even erase the horrendous, royalty-free horror loop, it just plays on top of it! Man, I love shitty games.

Sisyphus Reborn - It looks, feels and plays like an art project from the previous decade. Not a complaint, just a fact. It seems to have been made with the same engine utilized by The Cat Lady and Downfall, interestingly enough. As for the contents - it’s half an hour of pure abstractism, accompanied by a really good soundtrack. Heads up though, the game runs in a 640x480 window, so you’d probably like to launch it in fullscreen mode for full immersion.

breathes in sharply, rubbing the tears out of her eyes That being said… the last day of summer holiday isn’t complete without some crying… I mean, see you next month! Yeah! Bye! Hang in there! goes back to crying in useless human being

Progress report: Third week of August ‘19 (a.k.a. Did It Go Well This Time?)

Another week of solitude has passed… and now I’m not alone anymore. (Self-explanatory, I suppose.) If everything goes well, I should get my new furniture this week! Finally! (EDIT: LOL NO, the carpenter came over just to tell us it’s gonna be done in two weeks… SIGH.) Oh, and a mosquito net for my window! Don’t want any of those pesky insects getting into my room (wasps are hellspawns; change my mind).

As far as progress goes on other platforms, I can officially call myself a Skyclad Observer; meaning I finished Steins;Gate on my PSVita. Amazing art, memorable music, unique characters accompanied by top-notch voice acting - an easy 10/10 for me.

And as always, here’s my Steam game progress:

Chilie Peppers - Okay, so… this one is about a girl whose name was… Jessica, I think? - but everyone just called her “Chilie”. The main character, Beth, kept her distance from Chilie during middle school, but high school changed everything. Through some twists and turns, Chilie (now much more sexy than in middle school, obviously) starts living together with Beth and her parents. The girls, being joined at the hip, one day realize they’re in love with each other. The end.

Flow: The Sliding - An endless rhythm game that looks simple enough, but has no instructions on how to proceed. The achievements relate to pressing all the letter keys, so after achieving a personal record of 65 points, I did that and ultimately completed the game in five minutes.

Paradigm - Jacob Janerka’s debut title - Paradigm is set in the fictional, Eastern European country called Krusz. You are Paradigm - the “handsome mutant” forced to go on an adventure to stop the CEO of DUPA Genetics… even though he only wants to finish his new EP. As random as pretty much everything in this game is, the gameplay is streamlined and intuitive - no Sierra logic, no way to die - without holding your hand. The voice acting is solid, the art is striking (character art, especially) and the music beatsies are as phat as can be. If you’re into point-and-clicks, Slavic memes and 70’s/80’s culture, Paradigm is definitely for you. As for me, it’s been a favorite for a long time now.

Tokyo Hosto - I knew it was going to be bad… but I didn’t expect it to be this bad. I don’t even feel like writing about it - here is a good review I found. Honestly, it’s outstanding that this game features three (!) VAs that later went on to voice girls in HuniePop. I bet they wouldn’t remember acting for this game until you asked them about it.

Train Journey - Incestuous Behavior and Lesbian Sex on a Train: The VN. Last I’m seeing of this dev, for now at least.

If you have any recommendations, feel free to tell me! I… might play them… One Day™.

See you next week!

Progress report: Second week of August ‘19 (a.k.a. Selling My Soul To The Devil)

This week’s progress is honestly embarrassing… and the reason for that is my sudden obsession with Coloring Pixels - for some reason I decided to get to finishing everything I can so far… we’ll see how that goes later. Oh, and I still don’t have my new furniture! :D

EDIT: I almost forgot - I officially earned my platinum trophy in Amnesia: Memories on the PSVita, which means I won’t be playing the Steam version until at least next Summer! …in case anyone out there really wanted me to play it :D

Dark Arcana: The Carnival - One of the many SG wins that have been long overdue. There’s only so much one can write about these if they look, sound and play pretty much the same. One personal problem I’ve had with this one is the use of an animal friend (not the only Artifex Mundi that’s done that, I know Grim Legends 1 did that as well); I don’t like being dependent on an animal. Also, there was one minigame in particular, in the bonus adventure, that lagged incredibly for reasons unknown to me.

Lily’s Night Off - Coming from Kyuppin, this time Lilypad Lily has a free night! Four years after the original release of Lily’s Day Off, I have to say the progress that has been made is astonishing. The premise is still the same - depending on your choices, the characters will construct the plot on their own and all the outcomes are hilarious. This time, you’ll also get to meet the other members of Lily’s unit and they’re just as cute as her! Speaking of improvements, the music is just as cute, if not cuter than in the first game, the menu and loading screens are animated, there’s an in-game music player, the CG gallery is a big mashup of different artstyles (which also makes for good achievement images), and there’s even a cool speed-up effect when skipping text! I could probably go on for hours about all the qualities, but this has to be one of the most beautiful VNs made in Unity. Oh, and I wish the extra scenario had an achievement pertaining to it - that could bring people’s attention to it - but at the same time, I know the struggle of having to come back to a finished game to do something new (the extra scenario was added some time after the original release).

missed messages. - Another amazing-looking game that still has limited features, cool. This one is the Steam debut of Angela He (aka Zephyo), who has already made a name for herself in the VN community (presumably because of the amazing art style of her works; can’t say much about the writing). missed messages. shows a seemingly normal day of a girl trying to focus on her uni assignment… that is, until goth gf’s iPhone airdrops her a photo. (Can’t get more on-brand than that, eh?) Accept or decline - this seemingly meaningless choice might have meaningful repercussions. As it is with such short works, saying more than that would spoil everything. The art is absolutely wonderful and the music is fitting as well. I’m not sure I should say anything about the writing, the plot wasn’t anything elaborate, really. One might say the VN is lacking functionality, since it was made in Unity (and god knows I don’t like when people do that), but this one is short enough to complete in one sitting, so it doesn’t need save/load functionality. Looking at the negative reviews, a lot of people seem to be complaining about the fact that the message of the VN was really bogged down by the playtime, but our lord and savior VNDB has come to remind me that this was originally created for Ludum Dare, so I think that excuses it.

Rogue Quest: The Vault of the Lost Tyrant - Picked this one up because HLTB told me it’s pretty short. In the end it took me longer than the estimate (like it always does), but I don’t mind that much. Rogue Quest follows Cassandra Nech, a skilled adventurer and treasure hunter, as she scavenges the caves previously occupied by none other than the aforementioned Tyrant. The few things worth noting are no pixel-hunting and a built-in hint system, which mean that the store page for the game doesn’t lie. Also, sadly, there’s no voice acting, so on one hand, it might be harder to stay on track if you prefer to trust your ears more than your eyes, but on the other hand, the music gets to shine because of that. When I saw Cassandra mention the name “Caos”, I also realized that the same people created A Tale Of Caos, so I guess that’s next on the list now, huh? Well, this was as fun as it could have been, but I got this game in a bundle and I can only recommend doing the same… or waiting for a deep sale. I’m not sure the whole price is reasonable for a game that’s an hour and a half long, at best.

See you next week! I’m 99.9% sure there will be more progress then! :D

Progress report: First week of August ‘19 (a.k.a. Now That’s What I Call Progress!)

The home-alone week has passed… and considerably more progress has been made! In the end I didn’t finish up to the par that shaped itself as I played, but that’s still more progress than I’ve had in the past weeks.

Another Lost Phone: Laura’s Story - Man… this was boring. A total yawnfest. I was really on board with A Normal Lost Phone, because it concerned themes I was - and still am - very interested in. This, however, missed the mark for me. Personally, I find the theme Laura’s Story revolves around highly tiring and annoying. Not to mention that judging by some reviews, it seems I wasn’t the only one who figured it all out more or less upon the first contact with the phone. I wasn’t even engaged enough to try and think about the answers for the puzzles by myself, so I’m glad a guide is available. One thing that stays good, however, is the music - but as it happened in many games before, it’s not the kind that accompanies the process of reading well. I’ll be keeping an eye out for more games from Accidental Queens, but I’m not sure I could recommend this one to anyone.

Christmas party - You all know I can’t hold myself back… so I played this one as well. It’s Christmas in the middle of Summer! …except it’s really not. The “Christmas” of this VN is condensed into a short scene of decorating the house, having the characters cling to each other under blankets and a branch of mistletoe. What it focuses on more is gay love, this time around. Two guy friends with their girlfriends decide to spend Christmas in a cottage far away from civilisation. After having some fun with the aforementioned mistletoe, the girls decide to hook up together for the night and allow the guys to do the same. When the guys find themselves in the bedroom, they suddenly realize they’ve been in love with each other ever since they were childhood friends… and that’s how it ends. Another one for the books.

Crush Crush - Oh. My. Goodness! I finally finished Crush Crush! Well, Steam achievements-wise, at least. The devs keep adding new characters and I’m always scared that new Steam achievements will come out as well… and that I’ll have to work for them… again. (Though now that I think about it, that wouldn’t make sense in context.) Anyway, Crush Crush is Sad Panda Studios’ Steam debut - a clicker game about a white, blob-like being universally called “Marshmallow” (that’s you, the player), who goes on a quest to save the world… and seduce close to 20 girls. Unless you really want to pay your hard-earned real life money to unlock more girls, then hey, I mean, nobody’s stoppin’ ya. No matter your choice, one thing is for certain: you’re gonna have to work for it. Those girls will require you to date them, shower them with gifts, work hard, train hard and earn a lot of reset boost (which might be the thing that breaks you… unless you have what it takes to skip it all). If you do manage to save the world, kudos to you! As far as recommending goes though… I’m really on the fence with this one. It looks good, it sounds good (but annoying after a certain amount of time), the girls are voiced now (although it’s really hit-or-miss depending on the girls - Bonnibel is supposedly 23 and yet she sounds twice her age… plus various girls have at least one line that feels like it could have used another take), the character designs are plain awesome… but the technical side sucks. As far as the clicking goes, after a third of the game you’re most likely just going to give up and use an auto-clicker, unless you’re dreaming of getting carpal tunnel. At high levels, everything - relationship goals, jobs and hobbies - requires such a long time to progress that it’s impossible to comprehend. What do you mean you want me to wait over 2500 days for this thing to max out? That’s where you’re either gonna screw around with the time settings and finish the game in about 60 hours, or wait patiently for everything and clock out at about 600 hours. But either way, you can tell that the devs love their games - they’re constantly working on events, adding new girls and a side-game? side-mode? called Phone Flings, where you get to chat up entirely new and lovely girls without having to work for it. For posterity, my actual progress in Crush Crush would be - almost all in-game achievements earned, no DLC bought, Phone Flings finished up to the most recent girl (Honey).

Ecchi Girls - I really wanted to actually play this game… but for some reason (and I hope that reason is the way the laptop’s mouse was built), I couldn’t really rotate the pieces freely. I ended up solving one puzzle, then idling the rest of the achievements.

Modern Tales: Age of Invention - I mentioned before that I haven’t played a single HOG in over a month, so I randomly decided to pick up this one. And I liked it a lot! It looks good, sounds good (maybe besides the voice acting; I honestly can’t tell if all those accents different characters had were meant to be serious or not) and the collectibles are visibly marked, which makes finding them a lot easier! The only problem I had with this HOG was one minigame, in particular - you’ll know it when you see it - which is ridiculously hard and doesn’t have a reset button, for some reason. After completing the game, I had to replay it just to complete that minigame again. The in-game extras were really cool, too - concept sketches, background art, the soundtrack. All in all, a really good HOG, possibly even really close to being a favorite.

Mushroom Cats - I only have that much time logged in, because for some reason I couldn’t launch it properly on my laptop, no matter what I tried to do (but somehow I got the first achievement that way). When it opened up just fine on another computer… I finished it in 5 minutes. It really is just a simple kids’ game about finding hats and putting them on cats. Give it a try if you want to showcase some cutely drawn cats on your profile.

Oppaidius: Summer Trouble! - Here goes my first summery VN pick. Too bad its features are still limited. Oh well. Oppaidius puts you in the shoes of a guy who prefers to keep to himself, until he meets his new neighbor - a charming, well-endowed girl by the name of Serafina. One glance at her is all it takes for the protagonist to decide to fight for her peppermint creams. Clocking in at about 4, maybe 5 hours, Oppaidius is a charming 90’s-style VN about… well, boobs. The art is wonderful and the music is awesome (although in my opinion it’s not the kind that accompanies reading well), but if you weren’t into Leisure Suit Larry back in the 90’s, you might have a hard time picking this up. The only minor fault I could point out is the fact that you’re required to complete the poker minigame (I know nothing about poker) to complete the gallery, but I quickly got over that hurdle, so I suppose it shouldn’t be too troublesome.

Radiant One - A very short game about a man and his adventures with lucid dreaming. That’s all I can say about the plot, really. The controls are just like in a mobile game, which I wouldn’t mind if it wasn’t for the dumb “tap on time” mechanic. That singlehandedly made me give up on the “complete the game without dying” achievement. Getting in the needed clicks for achievements was easy (especially because you don’t actually have to click 5000 times), but the achievement relating to additional dialogues annoys me as well - I played the game to completion twice, and I barely made progress between the first and second playthrough. The only things that made this kinda cool were the hotel in which the main character finds himself the first night, making my first thought “Is this game pulling a Paprika on me?”, the subtle, but obvious reference to The Shining, and last, but not least what I could only assume was DOOM playing on a certain computer. That being said, I can’t remember how much I paid for it, but it’s not worth its Steam price. If you really want it, I recommend you wait for a big discount.

Redrum: Dead Diary - Finally had the chance to satiate my curiosity as to why this game has been titled Redrum and honestly… it was less surprising than I expected. In this HOG you’ll be assisting Rose, who is suspected to be schizophrenic and her uncle, detective Raven-something (already forgot his name) with solving murder cases and fighting the bad doctor, who coincidentally seems to be a cousin of a much more popular neurologist than he could ever be. As easy and short as this HOG is, I don’t recommend it. It doesn’t look the best… it sounds okay, but for a game that lasted 2 hours, there should have been more variety when it came to the BGM, in my opinion. The segments that involve cutting up a picture in pieces and making you find the matching pieces were new to me, but in the end, coupled with everything else, they were one big rinse-and-repeat deal. Judging by some reviews, the Steam version is also apparently much worse than the Big Fish Games version, which is supposedly available for the same price, so I’d be curious to hear opinions on that, if anyone here uses BFG. Last, but not least, I still wonder how the hell this game and its sequel haven’t been accused of copyright infringement due to their name…

Sex Simulator - Let’s face it… this was a joke gift from a friend - I linked it to him just to poke fun at it, and a few hours later he bought it for me. Said he did it out of boredom and that he expects a deep ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) review. Honestly… no, just no. It’s something you could get for free on any random sex game website, but someone decided to put a price tag on it. Achievements were hella easy too; the time-related one turned out to be, as I suspected, awarded for running the game for 2 hours in total, which is a common practice with those games - they don’t want you to refund, so they make you idle for it. At least it wasn’t long. I mean, it could be better, but… whatever, I really don’t want to go into detail with this one.

See y’all next week!

Progress report: July/August ‘19 (a.k.a. Motivation Loss?)

New furniture is not going to be a thing this week… sigh. I sure love when people just do something unexpected like that without telling you. This week also somehow felt like I’ve lost motivation to play games. I was trying my hardest to play another game or two to have more to talk about for this week’s post, but I ended up only focusing a certain game I want to finish for this month’s theme. Luckily, this week I’m gonna be home alone, so I hope I’m gonna get a lot done. Not to mention I haven’t played a single HOG in a month! That’s blasphemy! (But you can still look at my ABC challenges here: General, Hidden Object Games, Point and Clicks, Visual Novels)

Here are this week’s kills:

Jake’s Love Story - First creation of a national of mine, fairly new to the VN scene - Mikolaj Spychal, Jake’s Love Story is a very plain VN about two guys and two girls who become friends in their first year of high school and, as life goes on, have to go their separate ways after graduation. Over the course of those three years, you have to help Jake get closer to either Emma or Alice… or neither of them, if you don’t feel like dating. The art has a very textbook feel to it, but I like it that way. I appreciate that all the characters have at least one change of clothes - except Jake, for some reason. The music, as well as sound effects, compliment every event well. There isn’t anything else to note about this VN, except that I gave up on collecting all the CGs due to the only difference in them being Emma’s hairstyle and Alice’s glasses or lack thereof.

Pony Island - This is not a game about ponies. Insert your soul to continue. You’re an unnamed individual, tasked by Satan himself to play his creation. Will you obey? The very first time I tried playing this one, I completely disregarded the opening instructions to realize not too far into the game that I had made a mistake. Then I picked it up much later, using a proper mouse this time around and got really far, up until the level with Jesus in Act III. Seeing this month’s theme, I decided to take it on one last time… and I did even better than I thought I would! I was going to leave this as beaten and possibly never look at it again… but then I managed to not kill Jesus in exchange for the last ticket. Let’s just say that it was worth it.

Pursuing Susie - Man, I seriously don’t know what’s up with the people who make these VNs and their weird infatuation in regards to unhealthy lesbian lust. Pursuing Susie is Exactly What It Says On The Tin™ - one day, two girls in an open relationship make a new friend, Susie, and become incredibly attracted to her within moments; however, she keeps rejecting their advances, so they ultimately resort to drugging her and restraining her in a bedroom, which in time makes her relax and allow for a night full of furious lovemaking… and that’s how the VN ends. It’s pretty much on par with Hanae Novels’ creations, really. At least I got this one in a trade, as opposed to buying a cheap bundle.

Three Digits - The game’s in the name - your task is to pick random numbers from the ones presented in each level and mark them either green or red in a way that both the green sum and the red sum will match up. I, however, am not big on math, so when I noticed a full answer list, I decided to go with it and ended up finishing the game in a little over an hour.

Whispering Willows - It’s an incredibly lucky coincidence that I managed to hold off on completing this game until the new monthly theme came around - and since its state on my list matched the requirements, I decided to get back to it. (I previously abandoned it because I got stuck; turns out it didn’t take much to get “unstuck”, as it often seems to happen in games I play.) Whispering Willows puts you in control of Elena Elkhorn, a teenage girl looking for her dad at a mansion belonging to Wortham Willows, his employer. During her quest, Elena faces many strange and scary occurences; however, she is prepared to take them on. She possesses an amulet which allows her soul to separate itself from her body at will, which makes for a good mechanic. When taking control of Elena’s soul, you’ll be able to converse with ghosts haunting the mansion, squeeze through tight spaces and possess objects to move them. Gameplay is enjoyable for the most part; the game uses notes you can collect during the course of the game to tell its story, although it’s not as brutal as in Belladonna, where reading notes took more time than doing anything else in the game. Most puzzles are easy enough to be solved on the first try, except for the garden maze, where you will most likely die quite a few times before you’re done with it. The game’s horror aspect is based on spiritualism, which I found only semi-interesting. And last, but not least, I really like the art style! It’s highly reminiscent of your typical cartoon TV show and I wouldn’t mind watching such an adaptation of this game!

I know for a fact that quite a few assassins enjoy talking about other, non-Steam backlogs of theirs. Would any assassin reading my posts be interested if I did that too? (It would mostly concern VNs, as I don’t play lots of games outside Steam… or do much else, for that matter.) I’d like some feedback on that. See you next week!

Progress report: Fourth week of July ‘19 (a.k.a. Life is Hard, Man…)

Speaking of life… renovations still aren’t done, but they’ve come along nicely so far - a week or two more, and I should finally be able to start unpacking all my things and putting it on my new furniture. A few other things happened as well, but those are too private to disclose, I should say. And I mean, hey, at least they’re not taking games away from me! Haha. Okay, so here’s what I’ve done this week.

Draw Puzzle - I still remember seeing this game on some stranger’s profile while aimlessly browsing Steam and thinking it looked interesting enough for myself to wishlist… and during this Steam Summer Sale, I finally bought it. Draw Puzzle is, to put it simply, a cross between connecting dots and coloring - the task is to connect dots of the same color and number to color certain boxes on the grid. You can do so in three main modes - Classic, which contains dozens of random pictures, Jigsaw, which, as the name states, features bigger images you can reveal box-by-box to see them in their full glory and Challenge, which is essentially the same as Classic, but the faster you are, the higher score you end up with. Browsing Workshop creations is also possible, but I didn’t really bother. The game is really simple and incredibly fun, it teaches you to play itself over the many levels it throws at you. Considering it took me close to 20 hours (!) to complete it, I’m not even surprised at how savvy I got in relation to how this game works. The fact that you have to connect all the dots perfectly to ensure level completion alone makes it harder than just simple coloring, but I very often managed to complete levels in less than half the time the game estimates level completion to take (I suppose that should be taken with a grain of salt though, it’s not personalised or anything). Since it was a sale, I obviously got Draw Puzzle for cheaper, but having completed it now, I absolutely recommend it for full price. Especially if you’re into coloring games that aren’t necessarily designed with children in mind.

Girls Free - A game so simple you require 1 (one) brain cell to play it. Relatively short 100%, as they say, although the ambient BGM might not suit your taste.

NALOGI - This, ah… is another achievement fountain game. However, if that’s the only thing you want, twenty minutes at the very best and you’re out. I decided to play the whole game through and I can say… it’s nothing special. It is much better than Hanae Novels’ whole catalogue, but it could still use some more polish. It’s just your average, run-of-the-mill indie RPG game, but for some reason it ran poorly, especially in bigger areas. It also tended to crash, which is probably the main reason why it took me longer than it should have to complete it in the first place. The art was a total mix of everything - the main characters are cute anime-style girls (which goes along with the dev’s name, I guess), but there are also two men (who I assume are real-life political figures in Russia) that are drawn in a more realistic style, and generic enemies who look no better than the cliparts you’ve been using since the 90s. The translation of the game is bad and unfinished, too. Enemy names are plain ridiculous. Like, who the heck is “DED”? Does his name mean that he’s already dead? If so, why is he fighting me? So many questions! Speaking of which, the whole point of the RPG is to help out two Russian girls, Sophia and Anna, on the quest of escaping Russia… so I guess the fact that nearly everyone they ever encounter tries to kill them off is because escape is illegal… or just extremely hard, at least in real life. Here, the fights are balanced enough to make you feel worried about the characters’ stats a little bit, but always win the fight. And last but not least, I still don’t know what the title means. I know what the word stands for, but there’s no explanation as to why the game has been titled that. Well, this one is done and dusted, so maybe I’ll learn in the second one…?

NALOGI 2 - So I did get all the achievements, but I didn’t complete this installment. After the little I’ve played, I can hardly grasp what the plot or main objective is here. There is now an option to recruit a members to your party, including the protagonists of the first game, but you can only recruit characters other than them at the very start because of how little money you have. Then you have to pick a quest to embark on… and that’s where I failed. I picked the first quest from the list, but you can’t return from the quest until you’re done with it, and I guess I didn’t have enough items to use; sure doesn’t help when nearly everyone wants to fight you (including chickens!). So yeah, I just give up on this one. Maybe one day.

Sound of Drop fall into poison - Wow! I can’t believe it took me two months (and 16 hours of playtime) to finish this! Seriously though, 16 hours? I must have fallen asleep at some point, because most of the completion times I see around the net are less than 10 hours. Anyway! Sound of Drop is the story of Mayumi, an average middleschooler who is, one day, persuaded by her best friend Himeno to visit Manten Aquarium with the purpose of confirming whether the scary rumors concerning it are true or not. Mayumi agrees reluctantly, however… there is one important thing she forgot to mention beforehand - and that becomes the main plot point. Saying what it is will be spoiling the story, so I’ll stop myself here. Quality-wise, Sound of Drop is a really good, yet possibly still niche title. The character art is pleasant to the eye, each and every character stands out in their own way; CGs are no worse. The soundtrack is, for the most part, so good I unironically want to buy it and listen to it. I really liked the high amount of bad endings, but I wish some of them didn’t repeat (cause in the end they didn’t differ from each other and yet they inflated the ending list). And I wish the horror was more scary than it was disgusting. While I get that it was all happening at an aquarium, mysteriously appearing rotten fish aren’t scary, they’re just repulsive. But maybe I’m nitpicking. What I also didn’t like were the late-game “infodumps” about how the Red Manten Aquarium works. I wasn’t too interested in them and they were so convoluted I read them and I still don’t think I understood them. Additionally, the translation looked like it could use just a little more polish. In the end, I reccommend Sound of Drop if you’re really into VNs, prefer them short and are a horror fan.

The Invisible Hours - Ladies and gentlemen… tonight, I present to you - The Invisible Hours! Here, as a nondescript entity, you wind up on the island accommodating the mansion of a man who need not be introduced - the one and only Nikola Tesla. A murder mystery is afoot! But nothing is like it seems. Only if you follow each and every character closely, you’ll be able to get the complete story. Tequila Works are right in saying that this is not really a game (you cannot influence any part of the story), but exaggerating when they claim it not to be a movie - it’s all semantics, really; The Invisible Hours is the closest to being a movie and that’s what I’d prefer to call it. Gameplay-wise, it allows you to rewind, fast-forward and pause, which is very handy (I swear, my play time is this high only because I refused to skip some of the scenes I’ve seen before, for whatever reason). The object models you can interact with look very detailed, but as long as they’re not collectibles, they’re pointless, unless they were meant to attract VR players. The crouching mechanic is a joke, you only get a centimeter lower; half-crouching in real life would let me get lower than that, seriously. Quality-wise, the graphics look really good (although I don’t know much about that), the voice-acting is superb (the English one, at least) and I found the script very immersive. However, this game-movie isn’t without fault. While the subtitles are big and color-coded, they seem to show up however they want - you won’t see a line from the scene you’re engaged in, but you will see a line from another scene happening nearby. The mansion is huge, but all the characters seem to hear each other just fine from opposite ends of it, no matter if they shout or speak softly; unless it’s about intruding on each other. I mean, wouldn’t it be natural to want to check if everything’s alright in the next room when you hear people loudly arguing, even if you’re busy conversing with someone else? Then again, I have never been a murder suspect in a huge mansion, so I would never know. Looking at the reviews, I can also conclude that the game could use more graphic-related options and the VR functionality is messed up (even though the game was made for VR in the first place?). The latter might have been solved, but I can’t confirm as I played the non-VR version. All in all, The Invisible Hours is… just okay. I’m glad I got it in a bundle, because now that I know how short it is, I would have never gotten it for the normal price anyway. If you like murder mysteries, wait until this one goes on sale or winds up in another bundle.

Now the end of July is definitely coming sooner and sooner… See you all next week!

Progress report: Third week of July ‘19 (a.k.a. Time is Passing, Way Too Fast!)

What do you mean it’s already the last week of July?! I know I went to sleep and woke up a few times, but really? Time to panic!
To shortly describe what’s been going on in my life - I’ve been trying to divide my time between the devices I’m gaming on equally, which sort of led me to having a terrible sleep schedule… And my feet get numb real fast, every dang day. Not an actual medical condition, just plain annoying.
Anyway, I haven’t stopped playing games! Here’s what I did this week:

be you - A 12 year-old in visual novel form. I can’t tell if any of it is serious or not.

Boobserman - I’m pretty sure this is reminiscent of another, much more popular game that I can’t remember the name of right now. In Boobserman, you’re some kind of weird construction worker who undresses graffiti of cute girls by planting bombs on them. Simple enough, right? Well, the game isn’t. The first level introduces you to what you’re going to be doing, but from the second level onwards the difficulty spike makes the game pure rage material. That’s because an enemy appears - a character with a paintbrush, here dubbed a “censor” - he’ll trace your movements and cover up what you already uncovered. The smallest touch between the player character and the censor - game over. You can also blow yourself up with your bombs, but that happens a lot more rarely if you’re moving fast enough. Additionally, the game uses a simple positive/negative powerup system - increase/decrease player speed/bomb size and such. I beat the game in less than an hour and that’s okay for me for now. If I’m ever really bored, I might try going for the remaining achievements - not blowing myself up is way easier than not getting caught by the censor.

Downfall - Another game from R Michalski, this time focusing on Joe and Ivy Davis, whom you briefly meet in The Cat Lady. (Or maybe you’re surprised to meet her in Downfall? Questions, questions.) The premise is simple enough - Joe and Ivy are a married couple, struggling to stay together due to Ivy’s sickness dominating their life. When on a holiday trip, they need to hide away from the oncoming storm and therefore decide to stay at a place named Quiet Haven, which, they will soon learn, is not really true to its name. Downfall is a linear point-and-click, short enough that after playing through it three times I’m almost certain I could speedrun it. For the most part of the game, you’re in control of Joe, who is on his quest to reconcile with his wife - and there are three ways you can do that. You can be the best husband she could ever have, an absolute asshole who doesn’t care about her or fail at being either and end up somewhere in the middle. As far as undrground titles like this one go, the voice acting and music are simply amazing. Well, for the most part. For example, I could see Joe perfectly from the more calm and collected side, but never the darker side - his voice actor is way too soft-spoken for that. That being said, 3/4 of the voice cast are people who played either The Cat Lady or the original Downfall and loved it - personally, I feel like that’s a great move on Michalski’s part. Furthermore, there are dozens of references to different franchises throughout the game, since Michalski is not only a horror nerd, but likes to see people speculate as well. Needs more The Shining, in my opinion. Also, I’m already writing this down way later than I should be, so I’ll say this - it’s become another favorite of mine, I’m gonna go back to play the original one some day and here’s a really cool interview with the dev. Oh, and I really, REALLY can’t wait to play the third game of the series, Lorelai! It’s oughta be good!

Shrinking Pains - A short vignette portraying the life of a person with an eating disorder. Ultimately, it never ends well. Reminded me how frustrating and disgusting I find eating disorders.

The Mammoth: A Cave Painting - Possibly the shortest game I have ever played on Steam. In the five minutes it’ll take you to finish this game, you’ll experience the feeling of adventure, loss, and newfound strength, all of it illustrated indeed not unlike a cave drawing and narrated by a beautiful female voice. Okay, this probably sounded a lot more poetic than I meant for it to, but you get my point.

They Came From The Moon - A shitty Lemmings/Flockers-type game. No joke, it looks and plays like a grade schooler’s first (and still) unfinished IT project. The game apparently contains 40 levels, but since the achievements are only related to the time you run the game for, I gave up at level 9 and idled the game for 100% completion.

What Never Was - A simple walking sim - in this one, Sarah, a biology student, comes up to the attic of her presumably deceased grandfather’s home. While looking through his things and deciding what she could take with her as mementos, she comes to realize there might be more to who her grandfather was than she could have thought back when she spent time with him as a little girl. I wonder if there are any plans to continue this story in another game, because the ending hinted at it; although I know full well this often doesn’t happen, because devs just want to tell a short story and leave it like that. Oh well, I guess we’ll see.

It’s interesting how I can never gather my thoughts properly when it comes to describing the games I really, really liked… oh well, maybe that’s just what my mind’s like. See you next week!

Progress report: Second week of July ‘19 (a.k.a. Renovating the House and Regaining Peace of Mind)

The second week of July is now behind us. I have to say this one was hard to get through. After over a decade of not changing my room at all (besides repainting the walls), this year I’m finally changing it up and suiting it more to my lifestyle, I suppose I should say. Neither my mom nor I are good at this renovating stuff though (even if we’re not the ones to do anything besides packing up our stuff), so we spent a few days in a row quarreling over pointless stuff… I’ve been so stressed out about this change, I’m not even that stressed out at school if I know I have an important test soon… I think that really shows how important it is for me.

Anyway! Here’s what I did this past week:

Kokurase - I would have never thought I’d be so happy to call this one done. Kokurase is a small (literally, the size of the window is just…) RPGMaker game about a group of high school students who call themselves “Kokurase” (my guess is that the name stems from the Japanese verb “kokuru” - “to confess one’s love”) and take it upon themselves to not only grant fellow students love advice, but to manipulate simple events (and people) so that they get the client (person who asked for help) closer and closer to the target (person the client has got feelings for). There are two core mechanics the player has to utilize: the ability to switch between members of the group, who all have different tasks to execute in different moments of the game, and the ability to use spoken or heard key phrases to communicate with different characters. Now, I know that the game is by default called “Kokurase - Episode 1”, but that becomes void after you actually purchase the next two episodes, which are available as DLC. The official statement is that completing the game should take about 4-5 hours; I have to admit it took me so much longer because I kept stalling thanks to the smallest things - for example, in one of the episodes the game introduces you to a mechanic that is only available for one character, and since it tells you the way to use it in that moment, you’re able to do that without a problem. But about half an hour later, it only hints at that same mechanic ever-so-slightly, which made me believe I got stuck, because I didn’t get the hint and was adamantly trying to use one of the key phrases (which, obviously, didn’t work). Oh, and before you think you can’t access the second and third episode after you buy and download them - always launch the game from Steam, it’ll let you choose just fine. As far as the plot goes… I liked the first episode, everything started out funny and bubbly, the client was cute, the target a douche, but they got what they deserved later on… but then the second and third episode were so much more fast-paced I struggled to wrap my head around everything. A bunch of new characters were introduced suddenly and easily a third of the story talked about how much of a gap there is between students with worse grades and better grades, because guess what, they separate them from each other. As much as I grew to like all the members of Kokurase and some supporting characters, I couldn’t be bothered to get into running around from place to place and plotting so much just to have the story turn out the way I knew it would because the official game picture spoiled it all before I even knew who the characters were. Last but not least, I was disappointed by the lack of continuation of the cliffhanger from the third episode, because that actually seemed interesting. I know for a fact there is at least one more episode available, but only in Japanese (with Degica saying nothing other than they don’t plan to release it in English, so that’s a no-no in my book). If you know Japanese and like the whole series though, you might also enjoy the manga, which is… also… only available in Japanese. Granted, it’s not something popular, but it’d still be cool to read. The art style is very unique - colorful and detailed, except for the character bios, which are just simple sketches of the characters and might not seem that pleasant to the eye. Oh, and before I forget! Every character you can play as has their own theme song! How dope is that? Even when a certain character resolves to change themselves, their theme song changes with them! Okay, I guess I wanted to leave this on a good note, so let’s do that.

Little Kite - Just like it was initially described, Little Kite is an expanded version of The Kite - the game is now in color, with a more distinct art style, more back story has been added, the existing segments have been slightly expanded and one, maybe two new segments have been added, warranting a much longer playtime. The general gist of the story is the same - a woman in her 30s (I assume) is a subject of domestic violence, trying her best to stick it out for her son, because it’s commonly seen as worse for a woman to be a single mother than to be in a relationship, even if it is abusive. Little Kite shows us the day she decides she’s had enough and aims to escape with her son. From the technical side of things - the writing is uneven (e.g. examining a sink returns a simple “This is an usual sink”, while examining a window makes the main character suddenly become a poet), most riddles are of passable difficulty and I discovered a bug towards the end of the game - you’re meant to force a certain character to leave a place, but when I went back to said place after they were supposed to leave, they were still there. Thankfully that didn’t break the game. The ending changed only slightly as well, but even though I fully know what the main theme of the game is, I still don’t feel rewarded enough. Maybe because I was really hurrying to finish this one when I was really tired and my laptop kept lagging, especially towards the end. Oh, and I used a walkthrough again. But only towards the end. Since there is no real walkthrough on Steam for this game, if I got stuck earlier on in the game, I figured out what I needed from multiple discussions scattered on the forum instead.

Pixel Puzzles: UndeadZ - Last puzzle game so far - done. Don’t even talk to me about Pixel Puzzles Ultimate. This one is all about zombies - running from them, killing from them, becoming them. You know how that goes. Speaking of killing them… this installment’s non-puzzle addition has to be just the worst thing ever. Every time upon launching the game, you’re presented with a minigame about killing zombies. Sure, it looks passable enough to be enjoyable for a minute… but then the achievements force you to play for at least an hour (to get the survival time achievements) and then for an additional 30-40 minutes to rack up 5000 kills. I kid you not. I strongly advise anyone who hasn’t done this yet to use grenades only, as they take out zombies in one hit (as opposed to the gun, which is three hits) and can kill two at once if close together. The aiming is very specific too, you have to observe the throwing animation closely, because if you move the reticle halfway through the throw, the player character will throw in the direction you moved the reticle towards, as opposed to where you were initially aiming it. This was an absolute pain in my rectal canal. Does that… even… exist… oh-kay, moving on. As I mentioned before, at the Japan installment, the first series of Pixel Puzzles doesn’t feature puzzle rotation, which in turn made the whole game pretty much half the time it would take to complete a Pixel Puzzles 2 installment. Whew… at least I’m done with those for now. Unless I win a new one on SG, I’m not playing any more of these.

I can’t wait to see what progress I’ll make this week! There’s a slight possibility for me to get back to Yakuza 0, so if I do, that’ll eat up all my time instead and I’d rather do quantity over quality, seeing how big my backlog still is… anyway, see you next week! :D

Progress report: First week of July ‘19 (a.k.a. Shorty-Shorts Galore)

Okay, so… since I know I have much, much more time for gaming now that it’s Summer (despite the weather trying to trick me into thinking differently), I’ve decided to break up my monthly post into smaller chunks to make it easier to read (and post, duh!).

Captive - This has easily been my first non-VN pick for this month’s theme, ‘cause for reasons that are unknown even to me, I just wanted to play it for the longest time. Captive is a very short game about a woman (her name’s Alice, apparently) who wakes up on the underground level of an unknown building. She’s also bleeding, so the player’s task is to lead her to safety before she bleeds out and dies. First of all, I appreciate that while similar, it isn’t (or doesn’t seem to be, at least) an RPGMaker game - everything is much bigger than in those games, so you can see everything more clearly - for example, how the player character is bleeding from a thin-looking wound on her leg - don’t think that would be possible to show if the sprite was smaller. The music and the lighting build up the atmosphere, even though I didn’t find the game particularly scary as a whole. There are a few flashing messages that appear at certain points of the game and they were probably meant to scare, but for me they balanced on the line between “a little unsettling” and “annoying”. The story of the game is never fully revealed and changes slightly between endings, but I’m not sure it’s not the good kind of non-reveal - hard to empathize with the character (or not) if you only get a single moment of exposition in the final scene and then the game is done. There’s also a stamina mechanic, but even though it recharges just as fast as it runs out, I didn’t like it too much. And last, but not least, my biggest problem with this game was that you could get most achievements on your first playthrough, but then you have to go back to see all the endings… all the while the game doesn’t allow you to save. I know thirty minutes doesn’t sound like a long time, but with how slow the text boxes and the character movement are, I’d appreciate it if there was at least one save slot, so that I wouldn’t have to go back and redo the first half of the game all over again - it’s so linear I ended up memorizing the order of all the tasks I had to do. Not to mention I had to use the walkthrough to get to any of the good endings, because the game is unintuitive enough to not tell you a door in a certain place magically unlocks after you’re halfway done with a playthrough (the first time you try to open it, you’ll get the message that it’s locked, so you probably won’t think to bother again). Oh, and the song used in the credits? Not something I’d listen to in my free time. Not to mention that whatever I discern from the lyrics doesn’t seem to make any sense in relation to the game itself.

Freshman Year - With a game that short, what do you expect me to say? One playthrough takes around 5 minutes to complete, depending on your reading speed. I managed to spend twenty-something on it just to explore all the possible choices. The music might fit the theme, but it made it harder to concentrate on reading, I think. The art style (especially the climax sequence; you’ll know it when you see it) looks like something that belongs in very old cartoons or independent art galleries - I like it, but here it felt more like “meh”.

Just, Bearly - Randomly saw this game on another user’s list and checked it out as the title caught my eye (I love me some puns). Just, Bearly is a short glimpse into the life of Bearly, who is a bear suffering from anxiety. The game consists of several “painfully relatable”, as the store page describes it, minigames. I admit I could relate to a few of them, even though I’ve never been properly diagnosed with anxiety or other related problems. Some of the minigames, however, I struggled to understand, more so in how I was supposed to play them correctly than relaying them onto real life. As far as the “comedy” of it goes (since the dev claims this to be a comedy game), I smiled softly once, maybe twice in the twenty-something minutes it took me to play through Just, Bearly. Other than that, I like the style of setting paper characters against real life backgrounds and the theme song is pleasant to the ear, in my opinion. Other than that, there’s one thing I have to warn you about: if you’re interested in playing, you’re most likely going to have to fix an error that prevents the game from launching properly. Thankfully I figured that out because of a discussion in the game’s community hub, but still… not cool.

Pink Rage Otome - Boy, this one’s a trip. Where do I even start? “Try yourself as a tsundere girl!”, the store page says, but there’s being tsundere and there’s also being an asshole. Guess which one describes the protagonist more accurately. While I don’t doubt there are things lost in translation (as it’s bad and it shows), Horror’s (yes, that’s the main character’s name - oddly fitting) attitude is most likely not one of them. She constantly tells all the guys they’re useless and that they can’t possibly accomplish anything good in their lives, and yet, for some reason, they still grow to like her. Which brings me to my next point - the story is on fanfiction level; not only does Horror manage to have a bachelor fall for her in 2-3 days, the story is also all over the place in other regards. For the first half of my total playtime, if not more, I had no idea what was going on. Now that I kind of know what is the general premise, I can say it sounds interesting if not for the faults I mentioned before. On the good side though, the character designs are really unique and eye-catching, and the CGs are pretty good as well. Shame there’s not a gallery for them, which is a feature that’s easily found in 99% of VNs that feature CGs. The theme song is also pleasant to the ear.

Summer Nightmare - First VN I played to fit this month’s theme. Good lord… I think it tried to be scary? The team behind it is Korean, and I think you can feel that in the horror, but it’s… so… fast paced and incoherent. Not as bad as the achievement fountains, mind you, I believe they tried doing something, which shows in the art. There are a lot of event CGs, even with the protagonist looking at his darn watch or a note he randomly found at one point. The script isn’t as good though. Lots of wrong capitalization, irregular ellipsis, I even found a case of the script misspelling the name of one of the characters in the most hilarious way possible. Back to the pacing problem, the VN presents you with a problem that’s been going on for some time now and then solves it in one in-game day (and night?). The protagonist is just forced to engage and that’s how everything mysteriously gets solved. Honestly? There aren’t any zombies in Summer Nightmare, but I bet you Dead Rising in VN form would have been much more enjoyable, and it lasts three days. Maybe that’s why Corpse Party is so entertaining too, given the fact that there’s no sense of time to speak of? Anyway, Summer Nightmare. A little nightmare-ish and not at all summery.

Surface To Air - A less-than-15-minutes long video about hydrofoiling told through the eyes of members of Artemis Racing. Short and informative, shot very much like a documentary. Personally, when I watch something dedicated to a certain activity or niche, if the medium makes me feel like I could do it even though, realistically speaking, I can’t, it’s good enough for me. Surface to Air did just that and now I wish I could fly around, if not on a hydrofoil, then at least on a quadrofoil.

The Kite - Okay, seriously now, do all the games from Anate Studio have to be about domestic violence? Don’t get me wrong, it’s a topic that is very much real, but I don’t know how long it can hold itself up for. The Kite is the original Little Kite, and I’ve yet to play that and see it more fleshed out. The soundtrack is mostly composed of classical tracks, the art style is grey and sad, and the game took me about half an hour only because I was so unenthusiastic about playing it, that I used a walkthrough to beat it. Not much more to say here, other than that you’ve got to appreciate how it’s all done by one and one guy only.

The Shell of Permafrost - A short (~30 minutes, is what the store page says), Chinese RPGMaker game, originally made for a game jam. It involves pretty and colorful graphics, and magical themes. Seriously, with its length I can’t say more than that or I’ll spoil it all.