Murder is Meat’s profile

Another belated report, this time for July.

So I got some games on the tale end of the sale, and I gotta report I for once have played a bunch of them, namely:

  • Goblin and Coins: This caught my attention before knowing the developer was so dedicated, and I have to report it is a joyful little title. It’s not perfect, but it’s dirt cheap and it oozes charm. Really looking forward to seeing how the sequel turns out. Beat it.
  • Destroy Space Aliens: A Gameboyesque game 2D shooter, apparently it gets somewhat Metroidvania-y later. It’s tough but I guess it’s fair even if it’s of the old school philosophy of facing you with lots of enemies, if you’re simply smart as to when you should engage them or not. Bosses were enjoyable even if a bit tanky. Just played four levels and I should go back to it.
  • Spooky Ghosts Dot Com: Another rather short Metroidvania. It’s flawed in many ways (it does have some cool ideas, including the general concept of the bosses, even if they’re not the best implementations), but it coasts on “cutesy charm” appeal.
  • Bone Appetit: Any lovers of mid-budget Metroidvanias (mid-budget by genre standards, it’s $8 and gets super discounted during sales) should pick this up. Lots of focus on exploring the relatively small but absolutely packed mapped with no “true” way forward (I guess there’s technically a critical path, just that you’re constantly going elsewhere for other items and powerups). Beat it, but there’s tons of secrets I couldn’t find or figure out, so there’ll be eventually a “round two”.
  • The Inner Darkness: This was a relatively good if simple and short puzzle platformer. What left it as a bad taste in my mouth is how it was very story focused and the resolution of it was bad, so I feel retroactively it’s a bit of a meh game. Not terrible by any means, but less than the sum of its parts.
  • Starman: Played the first couple areas of this on the last moments of GMT July, so this got lumped with August on the whole, where I’ve advanced a bit more. It’s a very chill puzzle game which plays around with physics, mini-games, and a bit of lateral thinking. Got interested in it when browsing for another game I saw on SteamDB, and I can’t complain. It’s pace makes it better for short bursts, though; they’re relaxing bursts nonetheless.

Month was once again topped in terms of gameplay hours by Hollow Knight, where I advanced a bit towards the true ending and did some endgame quests. I’m not the best at it so I am very unsure if I’ll 100% the achievements or even the ingame counter (neither of which even include some of the toughest challenges), but it’s fun seeing how far I can get.

Next up in major players of the month (which weren’t part of the sale), I had:

  • Sherlock Holmes versus Jack the Ripper: It was a chill experience, just not one I’m terribly pressed to finish. It’s decently written and voice acted, and progress is generally logical (a few times I did need the interactable object highlighter), it’s just that it isn’t quite gripping enough to have had me pining for the conclusion (I am not even sure how long until I get there).
  • Underhero: This runs rather poorly in my computer, but I am planning to finish it or at least try to do so because it’s a rather charming RPG with Mario RPG-ish combat (tons of active commands). It does show its low-budget roots at some points due to how empty the levels feel (okay, maybe the framerate is making it feel longer than it should), but I think the characters and general situations are good enough to make me push for the ending. I got until close to the first chapter boss (I think, the game does have some semi-convoluted scenarios).
  • Wooden Sen’SeY: It’s fun but the levels are very long with many branches where you are unsure which is the path forward which are optional, and every now and then there are long stretches which need more checkpoints. It’s a middling game, but I do hope to complete it (unfortunately during my last sessions I kept getting softlocking at some points of the level I was on, which wasn’t hard but it did feature one of those long checkpointless stretches, to add insult to injury).
  • BLACKHOLE: I got until the first “boss” level during the month and would have ragequit right then and there if it wasn’t a Playing Appreciated game. The levels are actually well thought out, but the physics are janky and the controls are inconsistent, thus not apt for the precision platformer it wants to be. It’s got ice with its corresponding physics as part of the very first world, for crying out loud.
  • A Case of Distrust: Finally finished this one. It’s a real gem. While I wish it had more reactions than what it does (it does contain a fair bit of non-essential ones), it’s still a great “chat ‘em up” detective game. Good artwork, killer soundtrack, interesting characters.
  • Devil Daggers: Finally tried this one due to the event. It’s fun, even if my best time was kind terrible. I’ll try again later, but I feel this is the kind of game you want to keep in check because it absolutely runs on “just on more try” (even if said tries are usually very short).
  • Peregrin: Another slow puzzle game, not entirely sure if just due to my current computer or it it’s meant to be like that. It’s got some great atmosphere and even if I don’t play it as consistently as I should (I started it over a year ago, but had to pause due to my monitor back then being terrible for displaying low-contrast areas), I do think the plot is engrossing enough. Puzzles are so-so with tons of busywork and “find the right spot” between actual thinking, but there’s definitely enough to keep one interested. Completed roughly two chapter’s worth of content this time.

Now, the odds and ends:

  • Egg Returns Home: Re-installed, almost ragequit, ended up advancing a few levels. It’s one of those intentionally awkward controls games, though there is a method to its madness.
  • SIMULACRA: Started, played a bit, but it was late and I’ll be lying if I say I was super hooked. Expected something more in line with a higher budget Replica (not necessarily with the same themes), got text conversation simulator with spoopy backdrop and occasional bizarre mini-game. I’ll continue and see a couple of routes, but I am quite unsure if I’ll 100% it.
  • Almost There: The Platformer: Completed a few more levels, beat old highscores of others. This game has zero plot and I am quite unsure if I’ll be able to keep up with the later levels, which get rather tough in terms of obstacles and pressure over “long” (tens of seconds) stretches. So it’s probably gonna get played in short disconnected play sessions over time.
  • 10 Second Ninja X: Replayed a few old levels to get more stars, got semi-shamed of not actually finishing its plot, but not enough to actually re-pick it up.
  • Reventure: Got a couple more of its endings. It’s still fun, but I think I did get past the major discovery/exploration phase. Might be rather wrong given the number of missing endings (other half of them still), but I’ll need to pick up some steam again to go at it properly.

Belated monthly report, go!!!

So, this month was almost entirely dominated by one game: Hollow Knight. The game absolutely earns its hype. It’s not perfect, but it’s incredibly charming. I had been stuck at tje Soul Master (rather early game, he’s the third named mandatory * boss turns out he’s technically skippable), but I got the first ending and am making my way to the true ending (the game has tons of optional content). There’s some real joy in getting lost, and even when your detours lead nowhere or to some very measly item, it always feels great.

Next in beaten games this month, I finished Detention (I put in about one hour at the tail end of May) and played the entirety of MINIT (a short game). Detention was nice, not exactly what I expected: the “survival” bits of the horror are actually just a few short sequences at the start of the game, unlike in The Coma where they’re a core part of the gameplay loop. I was slightly pissed the game didn’t give me the “check every checkable spot” achievement as I though I was rather thorough, but the core experience was rather good (albeit the plot and themes are slightly unwieldy). MINIT was a short and mostly tight experience. It did have me running in circles a few times; nothing gamebreaking. I’m semi-stuck trying to 100% it and am even unsure if I should just jump to NG+, given how short it is, but I did have fun.

Next category: odds and ends

I made it to before the point of no return of Gato Roboto and am slightly pissed that I didn’t actually get 100% on my own. Had to look up those final thingies, and though I will complete it, that did kill my impulse. It’s still a charming experience. Room design is rather limited which makes traversal not quite as fun as it could be, but it’s a fun mini-Metroidvania nonetheless.

Played a chapter and parts of two more of Munin and it’s erghhhh. Physics are kinda janky, with many failures feeling less a fault of my own and more of the game being clunky by design. The puzzle concepts aren’t bad, but the game does suffer from having various pickups in the same level be the objective and thus lead to a lot of busywork whenever you restart. It’s not even like you must route smartly to pick them up, at least to the point where I’m currently.

Played the opening of The Fall. Sadly my less than stellar setup did stutter a bit with this one. It’s still playable, but annoyingly the dialogue text shows up at snail’s pace. The overall game is quite good though: a bit of a mix of a Point and Click adventure with a Metroidvania interface.

Returned briefly to Deponia Doomsday. While my interest on the game overall has gone down after that terrible chapter in what I think is the middle point of the game, it’s gotten better. If I wasn’t still having Hollow Knight fever I might have completed it after the bits of progress I made.

Did a few more runs of Himno and am actually now more confused than when I played just a couple before. It’s a platforming rougelike. Not sure if the procedural generation is exactly fair in terms of where it puts the necessary elements and platforms, as I did at least once have an impossible setup. There’s also not that much variety. It’s chill, but not quite as relaxing as you might expect.

Speaking of rougelikes, had a couple of runs of The Binding of Isaac as Samson and it remains a fantastic chillax comfort game.

Those I really didn’t play

Opened Goodbye Deponia by accident. I guess I could go achievement hunting sometime, but the lack of a chapter select means that’ll take some time.

Remember what I said about my current PC being on the low end? Well, it turns out WarriOrb: Prologue is one of those games that it can’t handle, at all. I’m used to low framerates, but this is the first time they make a game unplayable as opposed to just a bit more difficult for a sidescroller. It is 2.5D so I should have expected it.

Belated May commentary

So, due to a mix of factors, this was not a “productive” month. Had to travel two weekends, so that absolutely influenced things. Also, I blame partially Deponia Doomsday, but more on that later.

  • Goodbye Deponia: Finished it. I didn’t hate its ending like other people did. Talked last month against some of its flaws, but overall it’s a strong game. There’s a sequence near the endgame wish could have used slightly better signposting as to what was the intended sequence of things, but overall it flowed well.
  • Deponia Doomsday: Haven’t finished it yet, but it’s underwhelming to say the least. Like, there’s a good puzzles and some of the chapters flow really well, but there’s also a whole lot of “but you must do it this way” involved, and other chapters are absolute messes in terms of how much they throw at you and how much pointless downtime you’ll likely spend trying to find the right bit to keep progressing. Oh, and lots of the achievements this time around are just plain dumb, requiring either unlikely or illogical sequences (two of them require you to repeat failstates repeatedly).
  • Gato Roboto: I love this so far. Some boss encounters could use slightly better balancing and it’s a bit linear/railroaded by modern Metroidvania standards, but damn if it isn’t cute as hell and fairly charming in its humour. If you picked it up for free a while back, play it, you won’t regret it.
  • Dustforce: Sucks that the only achievement is for 100% completion and that getting from level to level can be a bit repetitive, but… damn if it doesn’t feel great when you nail the levels. Shame the enemies basically kill your style score if you aren’t perfect at handling them (and you need those high ratings to keep unlocking levels), but when you get in tune with a level it’s super satisfying parkour. If you enjoy spectacle fighters, consider picking this up.
  • Detention Played the start of this at the tail end of the month, so I guess that’s why it doesn’t show up. Seems fairly alright so far, a Coma Sisters-lte experience with a somewhat heavier setting.

Finally retook Hollow Knight. I kinda suck at it (I was briefly stuck on a mini-boss, several platforming segments kicked my ass, and when I left I was struggling onthe third named boss of the main campaign), either due to lack of skill or some framerate issues on the computer in which I play. But it was still an awesome experience I will retake soon enough. On top of the absolutely charming presentation (you really love the world), the game absolutely nails the explorative aspect… getting “lost” and going in sidepaths happens very often, but it always feels rewarding even if you only end up at another dead end.

I won Goodbye Deponia on Playing Appreciated, so I dcided to play the previous two games first. The first one (Deponia) is a bit of a mess, with me getting softlocked about two hours in (well, less once you know what to do), and then due to time limit had to jump to the third game, which is much better in general at guiding you at what to do (usually). There’s a somewhat problematic representation of a trans woman through the series (like, they correctly gender her and even confirmation of her transness later is handled well, but in the first game it felt like she was there because “big burly man wearing lipstick and a dress is funny, hehe”) and a really uncomfortable sequence in this third game which again isn’t technically racist but has some bad undertones.

So what else did I play:
-Ageless: I had read the reviews, but guessed it couldn’t be that bad… unfortunately it is. The ideas are clever, but the mechanics are finnicky resulting in a precision platformer that’s not only janky to control but also basically requires you to guess when to use time stops (with damningly slow resets). Oh, and the checkpoints are somewhat far apart for the genre, so you end up doing a lot of busywork.
-Eventide 2: The Sorcerers Mirror: For some reason I’d begun this game and left if halfway through. It’s a decent HOG, with a very superficial morality choice system. It had one glitch near the end which robbed me of the “no minigame skipped” achievement, but still had fun playing it.
-Dustforce: I have no idea why playtime for this one didn’t show up. Played a few levels, and while the rating system is slightly punishing at how enemies (many of which you are unlikely to see the first time through each level), it still is a good example of how to do a “spectacle platformer”.
-Grimm’s Hollow: A short free RPG I sidelined but will continue sometime. Really charming presentation. Battle system is simple but it works with fair variety, and though the set-up for abilities leads me to wonder whether I overground at the start or if the game is just meant to be easy. The story has me hooked, even if it’s not too complicated.
-Elegy for a Dead World: More of a creative toy than a game proper, but it’s an interesting idea. Sadly the servers are down and the game gets stuck when you try to access online content, but I enjoyed my time writing and hope someday the servers come back.

These two I barely touched, but for the sake of completion I’ll add them here in my monthly report:
-LIMBO: Noticed I had only done so much progress in this version (I’d gotten the DRM version a long time ago and then noticed a few years later the Steam key did work), so played a few levels. The game is rough around the edges with a few puzzles relying more on trial and error than pure skill due to timing, but I guess that adds to the atmosphere.
-Reflection of Mine: I’d forgotten diffculty ramped up so much for this game. The framing story is kinda edgy (good ol’ “this is the inside of the mind of a teenager in an asylum”), but the gameplay will probably please you if you enjoy really hard puzzles.

I couldn’t actually get Little Miss Lonely to play, and it actually caused problems with my computer (it eventually launched, but ignored my commands other than menu features), which is how that time is there.

This was a semi-busy but overall productive month. Again, got more downtime than expected, but also got plenty done.

So, the big games:

  • Path of Giants Beat the campaign, but I’ll go back for the extra challenges. It’s a bit mechanically limited to the point that I only ever played in short bursts, but it really is charming on the whole. If you’re into simple character-centric puzzle games, you’ll have a great time.
  • Glorkian Warrior: The Trials Of Glork Got the highest cumulative points bonus. It’s fine, not the best balance which means if you get bad RNG the next few rounds will be painful, but the dialogue is mildly funny and the cast is charming.
  • Reventure This is amazing. Sure, some of the actions needed for some endings get a bit repetitive, but it has a great combination of funny scenarios with some minor Metroidvania-like progression in terms of finding new paths by either earning permanent shortcuts or figuring out mechanics.
  • The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters I got “stuck” at a point with some QTE. I’ll get back to it and give it another go or alternatively try a run where I “fall” for traps which could have been prevented. But back to talking to the game, it was a legitimately engaging experience. Great atmosphere, and while a few enemy encounters were BS (eg. when the stalker is up a flight of stairs), it generally managed to be creepy even when I was “safe”.
  • Trine Got to the third area. Damn, this is janky, partially in terms of design, partially in terms of what I assume are bugs (such as the knight character straight up not hitting anything with his sword). Will force myself to finish it since I have the sequel waiting, but this is some good ideas with less than shining execution.

Smaller ones:

  • Little Hidden City It was okay. No replayability and could have used with some in-game clues, but I won’t complain.
  • Ablepsia Just bad. Obstacles either provide no challenge or only serve o test your patience. Okay-ish pixel art and music, so I hope the artist for both (TeaWithTears) does some more work for better games.
  • Pink Gum It was more of an oh so slightly interactive art short film than a game proper, but it was quite enjoyable. If you’re into that, try it, and if you seriously disliked it and need $4 back, you will be within refund time. (I got it for free from the developer, but don’t think I’d have refunded.)
  • Savant - Ascent Fun campaign, albeit most of the challenge is gone once you have full upgrades. Boss took me waaaay to long to figure out, but it was still fun. Difficulty curve for the arcadey post-game is straight up a cliff, though.
  • UBERMOSH:SANTICIDE It’s the same old UBERMOSH we all know, this time having you be even more overpowered. Just played a few rounds, and will at some point get back to 100% it.

Others I wasn’t even planning to talk about, but might as well, lest I forget later:

  • Robot Heroes Pretty interesting concept, but I feel the gamespeed is in an awkward middle spot between a reflex challenge and the strategic/puzzlery challenge it hopes to be.
  • Minoria Kinda disappointing. Low speed, and I am unsure if it’s just my computer or if the game is really that clunky. Even if that wasn’t an issue, level design is uninspired and combat isn’t too fun. Gonna press on, but there’s better Soulsvanias, that’s for sure.
  • Vive le Roi Forced myself to beat a few more levels than last time I had picked it up and I stand by the fact this is just frustrating. There are good concepts here, but the implementation is a hot mess that’s less than the sum of its parts.
  • Em-A-Zurvival I decided to give this a second chance, and I’m glad I did. Main character’s writing might be cringey, but the overall game is strangely enticing for a game which for the most part plays zombie tropes extremely straight.

This month started out soooo well, but then I got derailed. Anyways, I did play a nice variety of games, and the one which took me the most time was Blasphemous, where I beat the content from the first free expansion, a bit of the second (I’ll get to those later, as unfortunately that’ll involve me revisitng the entire map again searching for the added pieces of content), and most of NG+ (the next to last boss was a pain in the regular playthrough, and so she’ll take a bit of extra gitting good to beat).

Hollow Knight still hasn’t been retaken, but I think that’ll be soon. I’m also getting close to “finishing” what currently exists of the Cube Escape Saga, being currently halfway through The Cave (that one is longer than expected) and I should be tackling the third premium game after that.

I hope next month I do take a healthy mixture of games rescued from the backlog void and completing sutff I’ve started (which as you can see by my stats, is not exactly my specialty).

So updates: didn’t get too far with those two major Metroidvanias I was planning to play and didn’t boot Edna & Harvey 2 after first play session since it came off as a bit daunting. I thus dabbled in a good variety of other games, including a few I got after the sale (long story short: missed my purchase at the very tail end of it, so there’s some great games I won’t get until later).

Kept playing the Cube Escape series and I’m now halfway through Theatre, which I’d played out of order a long time ago but I’m playing again for the experience. Puzzles in this series are a bit all over the place, with some brilliant ones, and others which beg the use of online guides. But it’s pretty engaging, and since I’ve won three of the premium games (Rusty Lake 1-3), I should soldier on (and possibly eventually grab the rest).

Oh, and got back to my eternal timewaster, The Binding of Isaac (original, though I should grab Rebirth sometime). I’m just missing two bosses now, and I officially made my way past the 50% achievement completion mark. I’m still not winning consistently, but I’ve certainly gotten better both at the main game loop and at strategizing on how to use resources.

I knew this had been a slow month in terms of play, but I didn’t realize so much time had passed. So, naturally, this is adventure game time. I should get back to Hollow Knight (first playthrough) or Blasphemous (first NG+ playthrough) soon, but at the moment I have some pointing and clicking to do.