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

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

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

If I don’t have anything cool to say, I’m probably playing: Coloring 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: January ‘20

Well, looks like another month has passed! I’ve been thinking about what to say here, and I really can’t figure out if there is anything interesting to say this month. (Update: There totally is! This is going to be my first fully active year on BLAEO, you’ll see! Update 2: Oh, and I knew one day BLAEO was gonna include restricted games! Too bad my play history for this month is inaccurately cluttered because of that…) I’m still dragging my dumb ass through this last year of high school, hoping to pass my final exams without trouble, so that I can get possibly the longest holiday in the history of my schooling. Oh, and I’ve also gone to prom! It wasn’t anything special though - I didn’t dance, I barely talked to anyone… I just ate food. I wish I could get the money and the time back.
Gaming-wise though, I can sum this month up as one where I basically just took care of the most casual of the casual games, just to get them out of the way of my progress, I suppose.

Enough of my rambling though, let’s get to it!

Coloring Game 2 - No idea what could be said about this one that wasn’t said about the first installment, except that the Raphael paintings were an overkill. From what I can understand, there won’t be any DLC content for this game, so hey, I suppose I completed it already. Nice.

Demon King Domination - This one is, ah… it’s… pretty special. As Malos, the titular demon king, you have to fight Dianne, a princess who wants to avenge her father and protect the people she rules over. Win the duel (or not!) to get one of four possible endings and, well, dominate Dianne more and more each time. The battling mechanics seemed like they were going to be tough to figure out the best course of action… but then I realized the developer made a step-by-step guide to all the endings, so I guess the game is actually just very linear. Oh well, can’t tell if that’s good or bad though. The art and voice acting (for Dianne) were average, the music and Malos’ voice were just about what you’d expect, the sex scenes were nice and the voice-only epilogues that unlock with each of the endings were a neat idea.

Pinstripe - If I had to name this tidbit, it would have been titled “Thomas Brush’s Pinstripe, or How a Game Made Me Hate Itself”. Don’t get me wrong: when I first heard about it, I was sold. I saw a trailer and I decided I was going to buy it on launch day… and so I did! I spent about 4 hours on my first playthrough, because I had no idea what I was doing and platformers aren’t a genre I’m into, but I loved it! It was magical, being able to discover the game all by yourself, with no spoilers (or tempting guides, for that matter) around. Can’t say much about the later playthroughs, but at some point I realized… the achievements I clearly fulfilled the requirements for weren’t unlocking, so with that, I decided to leave the game for a while to try and see if they get fixed (the publishers seemed responsible enough). Somewhere in that period, I did a few “meaningless” playthroughs (no achievements unlocked) already. Now, for some reason I decided I really want this to be my first finished game of 2020, so I just went for it… aaand I ended up doing another three playthroughs to earn all the achievements I had been missing. Yay for me, the one person who just can’t seem to go the easiest way. Anyway, because of that, my perception of the game shifted. At heart, Pinstripe is a simple puzzle-platformer with a story just mysterious enough to keep you going… but it does its best to pad out the playtime in the most noticeable ways. Even in New Game+ mode (which you will need to play at least once to earn all the achievements), you can’t solve the puzzles you already know the solutions to before getting the related hints in-game, which is frustrating, to say the least. There are, however, multiple things you can cut back on, which makes me wonder why they’re there in the first place (in New Game+ mode you’ll surely have more than enough money to keep replaying the game over and over without worry). The biggest offender, however, is the fact that at a certain point, you have to go all the way back to the location you start out at to carefully collect enough currency needed to progress further (to add insult to injury, the first time you play, you have to look around everywhere, cause you’ll only be able to get just enough to progress, from what I recall). That being said, to give up the game entirely at that part is ridiculous in my opinion. Whether you aim for perfection or not, Pinstripe will undeniably have a smooth art style, an endearing cast, a fabulous soundtrack and enlivening voice acting, which I, personally, will most likely still remember in a few years.

See you next month!

Progress report: December ‘19

It’s finally here! 2020 IS UPON US!

…well, it’s actually 2 AM while I’m writing this, but I digress. I don’t usually get emotional on days like these, but somehow I feel like this time around there’s a lot I want to say.

First off - Happy New Year! May what you all aspire for become real. If you like drinking, I hope you drank responsibly; if you prefer eating or celebrating in any other way, I hope you had a great time doing that! I just had some kids’ champagne - not one for the real thing.

Sometimes, when I watch movies I see characters writing in their diaries and I think “Aww, I wish I could write a diary too…”, which is then followed by a “Your life isn’t even interesting? What would you write about, huh?”. Now, I think that BLAEO might just be my special kind of diary - after all, gaming is a big part of my life. It kickstarted with watching other people play and now my own playtime could match up with that. It could be daring to share thoughts and opinions with other people, but what we have here is a pretty secluded community - since non-members can’t peek inside, I like to think this is a safe space for us all. This kind of thinking might be encouraged by how few of you I’ve ever talked to - but by all means, feel free to interact with me! I really feel like I want to get to know more of you.

As for the meat of it - the games - 2019 has seen a definite improvement, mainly because it was the first year I seriously picked up my gaming tools and went on in. (Too weird of a way to say it?) Compared to the first year I ever played something on Steam - 2016 - my completed game count is over ten times higher! (I-it’s eleven. Eleven, to be exact. Almost twelve, but still, eleven.) 106 is a pretty nice number, too. I can proudly say I’ve completed over a hundred games (and movies!) and it does fill me up with a sense of achievement. I’m glad I squeezed in that last game on the 31st; on a side note, I was also hoping to be done with Papers, Please before the end of the year, but ultimately, I decided against it - too much obligatory reading on WWII in school does its thing.

Other than that, I’ve been okay. I’m definitely not sick, my room is still a mess (much more contained than whatever has been going on those past months, but still nowhere near ready for a TV setup), my psyche might be weakened… but I’ll see if that’s anything I can work on sooner or later.

Oh, and I won’t be doing a summary of the whole year - I’ve already been catalogueing all the games I’ve assassinated during the year instead, so you can hop over to my profile and take a quick look.

Since I can’t tell if there’s anything I might have omitted, without further ado, here is the final progress report of 2019!

Adolescent Santa Claus - A series of short vignettes about the time “you” spend with a schoolgirl Santa Claus. It was cute, but tiring enough since all it did was reiterate the same things for half an hour.

Its your last chance in new school - You thought I said Hanae Novels’ creations were bad? Let me tell you, at least those VNs knew they wanted to describe some (mediocre) fucking. This VN, however… I don’t think it knows what it wants to be about. That, and the writing is terrible. The grammar is all over the place in the worst ways possible. I could forgive the generic chibi sprites if the story was good, but it’s simply not. I have no idea what the title is supposed to mean, the protagonist is some kind of sick weirdo and all the characters insist on being his friends from the first time they see him. (Oh, and you can’t tell them you’re not their friend, because God - yes, God himself - will “give you another chance”; as if you needed it). To add insult to injury, there’s a chunk of the VN that plays without the text box, so it’s pretty much impossible to even imagine what the hell is going on during that time. The endings are abrupt, uneventful and horribly disjointed from the whole thing. I’m not one to use superlatives, but for all I know, this might be the worst VN I have played yet.

My Brother Rabbit - Once again, Artifex Mundi brings their A-game. My Brother Rabbit is a point-and-click constructed much like The Tiny Bang Story - every chapter gives you a few locations to work with (multiple types of items to find and use in a certain way; not sure if that explains enough), although unlike TTBS, this game is aimed more at children with its easier (mostly) riddles and cute, but weird art style. Speaking of being a kids’ game, I have to say the overarching plot is surprisingly serious, albeit realistic and free of violence. That being said, I’d suggest this game to be appropriate for kids of age 7 and up, unless one’s willing to solve riddles together and explain the story. I wouldn’t know how it goes since I don’t have a kid. All in all, it seems my love for AM and their games won’t be running out any time soon.

Path of Sin: Greed - You know, I like being able to 100% my games - especially when they’re as simple as HOGs get (unless they’re bugged, but I digress) - and I almost thought I wasn’t gonna make it in this one, with an achievement for completing a HOG scene in less than twenty seconds. I mean really, what kind of sadist could set such requirements? Luckily, I earned it fast, so I was incredibly happy. To speak more generally about the game, though, I really liked it. I’m convinced I’m more into the realistic HOGs than the ones that are strictly confined to some fantasy realms, but I feel like the life-like aesthetic doesn’t always suit the game - I mean, I really liked the thumbnail art and it was one of the few things that made me so intrigued by this particular HOG in the first place… Also, similar to Agent Walker: Secret Journey, I wish I could have seen the protagonist in-game at least once. Agent Walker did have a voice though; however, some of the voices don’t fit the characters’ looks in my opinion, so I’m not sure a voice would help the protagonist here. All in all, this was a solid murder mystery HOG with a few odd achievements (the one I mentioned wasn’t the only one that fits this description) and some minigames I still wish HOGs would stop using, for the sake of keeping my sanity in check. Also, hey, doesn’t this title totally sound like it’s open for more installments? You know… the seven deadly sins?

Welcome To… Chichester 0 - Preview - I mentioned this one in a post before, but hey, it got achievements! So I spent, like, three whole minutes getting them all. End of story.

美少女麻将接龙 - Know Pretty Girls Mahjong Solitaire? This is that… but in Chinese. I didn’t write about the English version of this game, but it is identical to Mahjong Strip Solitaire: Harem Guild, which I did write about here. For reasons unknown to me, however, this version only launches on 64bit devices… and it took me twice the time to complete.

Wooh! There it is! Again, I wish you all an amazing 2020 as well as a fabulous new decade! (Wonder what the internet will have in store for us…)

Oh, and since we’re all assasins here at BLAEO: May your scope never waver.

Progress report: November ‘19

Yeah! I can’t believe it’s December either! Really nice to see the site hustling and bustling with progress reports - even more than usual, it seems!
As for me, I think I’m slowly getting better - my body has calmed down for the most part and I’m doing well mentally, I hope. My room is still a mess though. sweatdrops
Oh, and this time I can explain why there aren’t as many completions - I took a break from my PC for over two weeks to try and “detox” - didn’t work, spent all my free time watching movies and TV shows instead :’)

Here’s what I accomplished this month:

Break Ups - As the title suggests, this short movie is about a couple who tries to disappear from each other’s lives after making and breaking up multiple times. One day, however, they find a strange device that transports them back in time to various moments from their lives, just for them to see that breaking up might not be the best idea. I love me some time travel, but this didn’t do anything for me. There’s hardly any story to get, and whatever there is, it’s tough to understand - you get no information as to when they first started dating, why they broke up and why they kept mistreating each other. That, or the subtitles are poor - the characters did say three times more than the subtitles, which I don’t remember experiencing ever before, I think. All that’s left is to wonder if the version available on Crunchyroll is better in that regard.

Fairy of the treasures - I don’t wanna say I’m drawing a blank, but… man, there’s just nothing interesting to say about this game. It’s a stupid, 15-20 minutes long clicker game (and an unenjoyable one at that) hidden under a stupid premise of “People of X land have found tons of treasure chests… but only women can open them… and now you can help one of them!”… and then you click like a thousand, maybe two thousand times, and it’s over. Yeah. I swear, there are cool clicker games out there; this one just isn’t it… unless you’re looking for an achievement fountain.

MISSING - An Interactive Thriller: Episode One - MISSING (which is what I’ll be calling this game from now on) is an hour long FMV about a guy who has been kidnapped by an unknown individual (I feel like the achievement called “Mr. Grey will see you now” might have been supposed to act as a foreshadowing… that, or it’s referencing everybody’s favorite book), who keeps leaving woah-so-scary messages in chalk all around the vicinity. Oh, and there’s also a detective looking for the protagonist. The little story you get aside, pretty much everything else is really good - the FMVs are recorded with a stable camera, the actors are speaking loud and clear, the locations you interact with have doors or drawers you can interact with, and those are just… chef’s kiss …so smoothly animated. Then again, the last FMV I played was Press X to Not Die, which was a lot more QTE-heavy, didn’t let you skip around and was in general a lot more amateur, so I guess I haven’t set my bar too high (yet?). The only thing I could think of improving in MISSING would be some of the UI (seriously, why THAT font?). I still consider myself lucky having gotten this in a trade though, as even though the game was said to have its episodes released separately, this episode has been removed from the Steam Store, so I suppose it didn’t do all that well… shame, I like me some FMVs and would love to know what they had in mind for the next episodes.

one night, hot springs - In this first npckc VN available on Steam, you get to accompany Haru on a trip to the hot springs with Manami, Haru’s long-time friend and Erika, whom Haru meets for the first time that night. What’s more important, however, is that Haru has a secret - one she fears may ruin the outing altogether! As it often goes with the VNs I tackle, this one is just too short to say anything more without spoiling it all. I have to say I liked this one - the art style is very rounded and a pleasure to look at, the music suited all of the scenes well and I believe the story had been written with utmost care - I’m impressed that the creator didn’t omit anything you’d see in your typical slice-of-life anime hot spring trip (if anything, they’ve added more). From now on, I think I’ll be looking into more of this dev’s works. Oh, and if you decide to play it yourself - don’t forget to check out the gallery after getting all the endings!

See you next month! (…next decade?!)

Progress report: October ‘19

WOW! LIFE HAS MANAGED TO GET WORSE!

In reality though, maybe it’s because I have to go to school now (which in turn leaves less time for myself) that I got into this dark place…
Eh, I guess I just want to let you all know that I haven’t been doing the best lately. I think stress is genuinely consuming me at this point, which I never imagined could happen. Even something as small as getting this post done had me so tired just thinking about it…
But now that I’m here, I’ll do it! Oh, and like I mentioned last month - I managed to get photos of my room uploaded here!

A Salem Witch Trial - Oh look, I actually managed to complete a game related to the monthly theme. Salem, snooping out witches, executing said witches… how much more “on-theme” can you get? Well… at first I didn’t believe this VN could be that short, but then I realized the only reason for that is the game being too samey - the only different thing are the endings, and even then the epilogues are very similar. During the hour you’ll spend playing this, your task will be gathering intel on the person supposed to be the witch and, ultimately, choosing to believe one or the other side. Most endings will throw a straight Did I make the right choice? at you, blatantly pointing out that you haven’t seen the true ending yet. Simply put, it’s “Halloween for busy people”, which I guess is what you could call me this year. Aside from the samey-ness, the most obvious problems are the soundtrack (it’s like, three songs in a game that lasts an hour and a half… just imagine that and try to tell me it’s bearable) and the script (quite a lot of mistakes of such caliber that I’m convinced the writer is not a native speaker; although the VN isn’t just an unreadable mess like it would usually be in such cases).

Game of Puzzles: Animals - Small puzzle game with photos of animals. Easy 100%, that’s all.

Girls of Hentai Mosaic, Lady’s Hentai Mosaic, Topless Hentai Mosaic - What if I told you I bought (pretty much) the same game three times? Yes. Yep. I absolutely did that. I have to admit now, this is where I draw the line. It stopped being funny/entertaining/what have you. Anyway, getting to the point - the first one is a “shuffle puzzle”, the latter two are another type of puzzle which I’m not sure has a specific name. All three of those games were ridiculously easy and featured unappealing female models that looked like ’00s fanart of your favorite anime characters. ~20 minutes on each gave me 300 achievements and left me with a lingering sense of distaste.

To wrap this up in a way that is sort of unusual to my posts, in a way… I’ve been looking to get into anime… well, different kinds of anime. ’80s anime. ’90s anime. Idol anime. Magical girl anime. Obscure anime. My poor online presence makes it difficult for me to get personal recommendations, however, so I’ve decided to ask here. What are some anime you could recommend that fall under one or more of those categories? I’m eager to see and/or hear what you’ve got to say!

See you next month!

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!