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The backlog.. the backlog never changes.


RONIN: The backlog is dead


  • RONIN

    9 hours playtime

    8 of 8 achievements

  RONIN is an action game with a twist, where the combat is turn-based in a 2d platformer environment. In your turn you can either move, kill an enemy if you're close enough or use a special ability. It's inspired by Gunpoint, a game which I played around 5 years ago for about an hour so you'll forgive me if I can't make any comparisons.

  Right off the bat I'm going to say I don't dislike the game, but it has a lot of problems. For one, the turn based combat mechanic is barely developed throughout the game, with barely any enemy, location or weapon variety. The skills *sort of* bring a little spice to the gameplay, but half of them are useless or extremely situational.

The Skills

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   There's only 4 skills, with a couple of power ups for each, but I only found two skills useful throughout the game. You need stamina to use skills, which you get by knocking(1 stamina) or killing enemies (2 stamina). All good here, so what's the problem? Any other non skill action also takes stamina away from you. Unless you fall on an enemy directly from above, you're going to push it further away from you when knocking it, which means you have to use the stamina you just gained from knocking him to get near him again to kill him. Not knocking him means he can use his turn to shoot you, and you don't want that, since one shot will kill you. Let's take the sword throw as an example. This skill (as some others) has the condition that you need to be airborne to use it, and it requires two stamina. So, you kill an enemy, get two stamina, and go airborne, which uses up one stamina. Now, you're left with just one stamina so you can't use the sword throw. This is just one example but the stamina system really limits the times you can use skills, and it's just one of the problems this game has.

Another problem: Variety. I think I understand why there's only two 4 skills: the game's really short. I'm guessing the dev didn't want to overwhelm the player with too many options or didn't want to make the character too overpowered, and the solution to that was limit the number of skills. The problem with this is that more choices would add replayability and you could allow the player to adjust to their own preferred playstyle, not to mention making combat more fun, which brings us to the next problem of the game: The combat is too bloody repetitive.


The Combat

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   The combat is too repetitive. There's only 4 unique enemies. 4!! Introducing: Guy with gun, guy with machine gun, guy with sword and guy with phone! Gun guy shoots at you every turn, machine gun guy shoots at the same spot twice, basically suppressing fire, guy with sword does a dash, and can only be knocked down and subsequently killed by attacking him. Guy with phone triggers a lockdown of the facility after 8 turns, and that's it. This four enemies are all you're going to see for the whole game, so you better start asking names so you can refer to each other on a first-name basis. There's also civilians, which you're not supposed to kill, but they are more a nuisance than a meaningful game mechanic. The only diversity in later levels is that more guys show up to the party. I'm okay with not having many enemies when the ones you have are complex and interesting and make for varied gameplay, which is sadly not the case here. Every battle is 90% similar to the last, and after a while you either get annoyed because the amount of enemies is frustrating or because it's too easy to win small fights since you already know what to do.

Since it's turn based, I'm guessing the developer wants you to approach combat as if it were chess, but since skills are extremely restrictive, enemies are boring after a while and there's little to no complexity to the gameplay, I'd say you have to approach it more as if you were playing a very action packed game of UNO. The icing on the cake: Controls are also extremely restrictive.


The Controls

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   If you're not in a fight, you can jump, move and throw hooks at your heart content. During a fight though? Well, obviously it's very bad etiquette to move during fights, you can only jump in wide arcs and waste a turn throwing a hook without knowing exactly what trajectory you're going to make when swinging from it. We're all familiar with the concept of gravity, right? If you're hanging from a thread, you can't apply force on the thread to propel yourself towards the sides, you need to go straight down! Any deviation from this would destroy modern science as we know it, clearly.

Seriously, though, you'll be fighting the controls almost as much as you'll be fighting the enemies, but mostly because sometimes they don't act as you initially intended, and while it may not always kill you, it will frustrate you to no end when it does. I had way more fun with the game when you weren't on a combat situation, and I was stealthily swing from roof to roof killing unsuspected enemies, free from the shackles that was the turn based gameplay.


The Closing Thoughts

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   I enjoyed my time with RONIN but I wouldn't play it again, ever. It feels like it could have been of one of those amazing hidden indie gems, if only the developer would have put a little bit of time to polish all the things they half assed, or at the very least spent some more time playtesting their own game. I saw on the forums that the game was on early access at one point? That confuses me to no end because unless the dev released a demo and then made the rest of the game through early access this doesn't feel like something that went through a lot of development after the base completion and release.

I also want to mention New Game + (didn't know in which category to put it, combat got a little long), the story and the artwork (too short to make it it's own category). NG+ it's pretty much the same as the first playthrough. There's one enemy that gets an upgrade, making him a bit more deadly (or frustrating, however you want to call it), and other than that I didn't notice any other major change. The story is almost non existent, since every mission it's "do some hacking", and you get a couple of phrases thrown at you at the start of the game and at the start of the some missions. I like the artstyle and animations are nice and smooth but it also feels like a regular flash game, not a game sold on steam for 13 bucks, but I guess that comes down to preference.




Up next: Hey! It's been a while since we last talked, how have you been?! Yeah, I know, I forgot about the website again (sorry!). I'll try to do a big post with retrospectives on all the games I played on the last two years, either finished or shamefully abandoned, but I don't know how that will go or if I'll even have enough recollections for an adequate post. Then again, I wasn't expecting to make a fully fledged (by my standards) review for RONIN, I guess after not writing one of these in 2 years I needed to scratch the itch. As I keep saying every time I remember this website exists, I'll try to post more often! I'll also try to play shorter games. I'm sort of addicted to huge games that take a sh*t ton of hours to either finish or master, but I want to have more gaming experiences and try to experiment what cool things and stories can be told through the medium. Additionally, if you have any thoughts on how I could improve the way I transform my thoughts into digital signals, please do tell. So yeah, ramble over. Until the next post!

Contrasting 1001 Shadow Dragons


  • Fight The Dragon
    Fight The Dragon

    109 hours playtime

    60 of 60 achievements

This is a great tool for making small rpg hack 'n slash adventures (2-20 minutes long), but the problem is 99% of the content is community based, so 90% of what you get is uninspired, simple and mind-numbing. A lot of the adventures I encountered were titled "My first try" or "Small dungeon/map/whatever" and you could probably not tell the difference between them. The other 10%, however, are great experiences that make great use of the adventure editor and managed to impress me. Of course, I didn't play ALL the available maps (there are over 10000), but I'm fairly certain the percentages remain the same throughout the whole community content, having played 500 (give or take a few) adventures.

  • Shadowrun Returns
    Shadowrun Returns

    18 hours playtime

    no achievements

This is what you could consider another rpg making tool. I haven't played any community based stories yet, but based on the main story made by the developers, this kind of rpg tool might be a little bit more refined. Gameplay is turn based strategy, with a linear storyline, and I found it pretty fun, maybe a little too easy in Normal difficulty. Something that bugged me though, is that in the last mission you need to carry at least two people with a special weapon. If you just bring one you can't progress at all. Luckily, you can "rewind" filesaves, but I still think some warning would've been nice. I really enjoyed the story, and the different classes of characters might give it a bit of replayability value.

  • 1001 Spikes
    1001 Spikes

    39 hours playtime

    25 of 25 achievements

1001 ways to repeat a level!

10/10 platformer. Hard as nails. Really puts the laughter in slaughter. Excellent level design, and every mistake made is only your fault. You will die a lot and your whole body will go into a self-induced paralysis as you attempt that jump for the hundred time, confident you'll make it this time. Finishing a level might give you a god complex, and it might feel so good you'll never be able to enjoy life again, because nothing will amount to what you just did. Or maybe I'm exaggerating. Either way, a must for platformer fans.

  • Contrast
    Contrast

    7 hours playtime

    22 of 22 achievements

It was okay. For some reason I had it pictured as a great indie gem, but it's just another 3d plataformer with a twist that, in my opinion, was underdeveloped. Story is okay, nothing too great but not forgettable either. Puzzles are kind of repetitive and in some cases were frustrating for me because the shadow mechanic glitched out and I had to start over, several times. Game lasts about 2 hours or around 3-4 if you want to 100% it's a fairly easy 100% too. All in all, I enjoyed my time with Contrast, but with a little more thought put into it, it could've been something truly special.



Up next: Who knows?

    How to: Overthrow a goverment.


    Another chapter in the Do It Yourself: Anarchy Edition series!

  • Streets of Rogue
    Streets of Rogue

    15 hours playtime

    22 of 22 achievements

In the very very near future...!
  

  In this little RogueLike shoot 'em up hack 'n slash RPG you are part of a group called "The Resistance" that is trying to kill a corrupt mayor in order to free the town. To do that you must travel through different environments divided in 3 segments, and you start again if you die. NOW, the game is in a state of pretty early alpha, meaning the current amount of actual gameplay is small and limited. There's a huge amount of items, weapons and characters, but the game itself it's only those 3 levels, which get really repetitive after a while (8+ hours did it for me). Easy 100% but it takes quite a bit of grinding: you need to finish the first and second level with 5 different characters. That took me a while since some characters are backed into a corner sometimes due to their abilities not being useful to finish the level missions. Good thing is that there is not just one fixed way of finishing a mission, depending on your character or rng luck you'll have a ton of possible approaches, and this aspect really helps replayability. It also has a kind of goofy-meta humor, that I personally really enjoyed.

I got this game in the Humble TinyBuild Bundle $15+ tier, which I think was a bit much for a game that is in an alpha state, but the developer seems dedicated to the game so in my opinion I paid third tier for the possibility of a third tier game (although this is highly subjective so take it with a grain of salt).   


  Next up: Another 2 months of silence.

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Assassination Aftermath: Radioactive content ahead.


  • Fallout: A Post Nuclear Role Playing Game
    Fallout

    22 hours playtime

    no achievements

I'm ready for the apocalypse now! (I actually played around 35+ hours total (some on offline mode)).

  

Now this is the definition of a classic. Great from start to finish, with all the defining qualities of a good rpg: Lots of choices, customization, interesting quests and Dogmeat! A lot of people don't like the graphics, think it's outdated and it didn't age well. I completely disagree with those people. I see it as a graphic style that is unique to that game, like Borderlands, MadWorld, Heavy Bullets or The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Granted, I didn't play many games from before the 2000 in 3d, so that may be why it's so unique to me. The only problem I had with the graphics was that some objects blend into each other because of very similar colors, but it wasn't a huge issue. I got the ending in which the super mutants invade most of the settlements you saved and I will definitely come back to it to get other endings, but besides that I feel the game doesn't offer much in terms of replayability, chances are that after your first playthrough you will have seen most of what the game has to offer, except maybe random encounters that are based on luck.   









One SG Win in the bag! All of the other ones remaining!

Cellular update


  • Hexcells
    Hexcells

    2 hours playtime

    6 of 6 achievements

Just finished HexCells!

  

Short puzzle game a la minesweeper. Except minesweeper relies on rng and logic, while in Hexcells it's a predetermined grid, and sometimes you have to guess. That is basically what infuriated me more about this game: it drags you into a corner and it's up to you to decide which of the 3 or 4 grids has the one blue space. It didn't happen many times but even if it happens only once you'll remember it because it's a very short game. Apparently I'm just a dumb individual. I'll definitely pick up the other two installments in the series since I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Great for short sessions.

  







Finished original BoI


I ran into some problems with this one. The last achievement popped up before hand, so now it looks like I got it before actually finishing the game, but the game’s so full of bugs I won’t even bother fixing it with SAM. This one is CONSIDERABLY harder than Rebirth, because the optimization sucks huge enormous balls is bad so you’ll get a lot of lag if too much is going on in the screen, among other problems. I hadn’t picked this one up for a long time because I was playing rebirth, and I have to say I don’t like it as much as I did with my first 200+ hours. It’s still good, but now that there is Rebirth there is no point in playing the original simply because Rebirth actually works. Either way I’ll still enjoy it in 50 years when I decide to replay some “retro” games of my youth.

  • The Binding of Isaac
    The Binding of Isaac

    267 hours playtime

    99 of 99 achievements

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    And now I finished both isaacs!

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    Look forward to our next broadcasting where we finally stop fucking talking about The Binding of Isaac!

I DID IT!


2 games have been assassinated


I recently finished both Refunct and A Boy and his Blob. Refunct is a short (very short) first person platformer that doesn’t have much going on for it, but it compensates by the fact that it’s only half an hour long. It also asks some pretty deep questions that will hurt you philosophically. All in all a fun experience. Extremely easy 100% that will only take you half an hour.

Now A Boy and his Blob, that’s a whole other deal. I have conflicted opinions, because on one hand, it does so many things right, and on the other, it fails where it matters most: the gameplay. The game is slow, and frankly, boring. There’s no sense of challenge and everything is so easy you could probably do it with your eyes closed. The only challenge lies in the awful controls, and that’s never fun. But I will say that I enjoyed it enormously. The art is gorgeous (to my taste), the music is beautiful, and the characters are unique and charming. Crushing the black goo enemies is fun and trying out all of the blob transformations is also entertaining. So all in all if you want a relaxing experience without any difficulty other than trying to adjust to the controls, I’d definitely recommend it.
It’s also a pretty easy (albeit time consuming) 100% if you are looking to increase your completed games count.

On a side note I’ll have 100%ed The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth in exactly 4 days.

Stay tuned for our next broadcasting where we show you how to make a magic trick involving just 4 cards and backlog.

What’s up, assassins? Max here. And I have to be honest: I’ve been broken.

Just today I finished the last needed run on The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth (Afterbirth plus edition) with the character Eve against Delirium. It was epic in a way (there’s now a 5% chance of instantly going to the last boss, skipping 45% of the game’s progression, which is what happened) that I wasn’t really under-prepared but I wasn’t overpowered either. Now I have that feeling of emptiness you get after you finish a really good series or a book, that you never really wanted it to end. TECHNICALLY I didn’t 100% it, but the last achievements require me to do 11 more daily runs (easy since you just have to participate in them) and get all the items (of which I already have around 99%). So yeah, sad but inevitable, it’s the end of an era for me. And on the bright side, it means less backlog, right? And what backlog this game was!

Games that broke me  
Binding of Isaac: Rebirth

On a more positive note, I got accepted into the cool kids group. Yay!

LAST MINUTE NEWS

We interrupt your current flow of backlog assassinations to bring you special news. Max Thunder has currently reversed to the state of having no achievements, and soon will revert his ageing progress too, until he no longer exists. This will also be true for the universe itself, therefore eliminating all backlog imaginable, and also therefore making everyone reach enlightenment.

Stay tuned for next week where we reach -1 backlog and become omnipotent assassins.