Spooktober Halloween Month!
So my computer decided to break right at the beginning of the month! I bought a new battery to see if that’s the issue but I still haven’t received it yet. October is my favorite month to play games so I’m pretty bummed about it. My boyfriend let me borrow his computer though so I got some games done. His computer is pretty old so they were very small games, but I’m still grateful. I made a little giveaway in celebration of October if anyone is interesting! DERE EVIL .EXE
5 hours, 13 of 24 achievements
This is the first lost phone game I've played and I really enjoyed it. I tried to play Replica right after but I wasn't having any fun with it.
Simulacra is a horror game where you find a lost phone on your doorstep that belongs to a woman named Anna. Something has happened to Anna and you must dive deep into her phone to discover the mystery, while hopefully saving Anna in the process.
Simulacra may not be that scary to horror game veterans, but it was pretty terrifying for a big baby like me. It was at least scary enough to keep me entertained but not so scary that I had to stop playing. The game doesn't rely on cheap jumpscares to get the point across. It has a couple but they are implemented well. The game instead uses imagery, creepy ambiance, and different phone effects to add horror and tension.
The gameplay consists of clicking around, a lot of reading, and puzzles. I'm not the best at puzzles, but they aren't very hard. If you pay attention or look hard enough you'll always find the answer. The only difficult thing was trying to get the good ending. I don't think I would have been able to get it without a guide. I got the worst ending first, then used a guide to get the good one. Overall there are 4 different endings. 1 good, 1 bad, and 2 neutral.
Overall Simulacra is creepy, easy to understand, and engaging. The only downside is that the voice acting is pretty bad and can sometimes take you out of the immersion. Other than that though I highly recommend it.
2 hours, no achievements
This game had a horror tag on it but it's not actually horror. It's more comedy. It still fits the theme though because it has monsters in it.
Nepenthe is a hand-drawn rpg where you play a character who lost his memory. Also it's your job to save the world. Ya know… the usual.
If I had to describe Nepenthe I would say it's… okay. Just alright really. I enjoy that it's hand-drawn. Even if the art isn't great. Hand-drawn art gives me nostalgia and it's always nice to know that effort was put in.
The story is pretty bland. The usual "save the world" trope with not many twists or turns. The humor is the selling point of the game. You either like the humor or you don't. It's that kind of wacky random humor that you'll see in games like Suits. It wasn't my type of thing, but it didn't bother me either. I can enjoy silly and meta humor from time to time, but usually, I like a deeper connection to a game.
The combat is heavily inspired by Undertale. You can choose story mode or adventure mode. Story mode is very easy and you just hit the attack. Adventure mode is the way the game was intended to be played. To attack, you have to hit the correct letters when they show up in a circle. Pretty much like quick QTE's. To defend you have to avoid the projectiles coming at you in the box, Just like Undertale. Also like Undertale, you can choose to fight monsters or leave them alone. The combat was more difficult towards the end, but it's still much easier than Undertale.
Nepenthe isn't a great game, but it's not a bad one either if you like meta humor and casual gameplay. There are three different endings. but it'll take you only a couple hours to get them all.
Seven Mysteries: The Last Page
3 hours, 19 of 26 achievements
Seven Mysteries is an RPG-maker horror game about a creepy high school and the secrets that lie within it.
The game is very story heavy. If you don't like reading a lot of text or watching long cutscenes, then I don't recommend this one at all. To prove what I mean, there is even an achievement called "survived the reading."
I personally love story heavy games, but the pacing between gameplay and cutscene wasn't very good. The pacing made the game feel much longer than it actually was.
Even with those issues, the story is still nicely done. You can tell the developer had a clear vision the whole time and it resulted in a sorrowful but endearing story.
The gameplay is your usual RPG-maker game. Read text, solve puzzles, and make some choices that result in different endings. It's a very casual game since the puzzles are hardly puzzles and there is little to no thinking required.
Seven Mysteries is a horror game, but it's not very scary. I've played spookier rpg-maker games for free. (Witches House being an old but good example). If you're looking to be scared, this probably won't scratch that itch. The horror theme did flow well with the plot and overall setting though. I wouldn't change the horror, I'm just glad I was able to play it with the lights off :P
Seven Mysteries does have some serious and avoidable flaws. The long dialogue/cutscenes coupled with the bad pacing was the first one I noticed. I actually thought the game was ending a couple times, when it was actually only halfway through…
The gameplay was also a little bit of a letdown. I know the program is limited, but I've seen very creative gameplay come from devs with rpg-maker. The puzzles were simple and unfulfilling. There was also a very frustrating stealth section that took half my playtime. I saw that it wasn't in the original version of the game and I wish they had just left it out.
Overall Seven Mysteries: The Last Page isn't anywhere near the top of my favorite RPG-maker games lists. (I've played a lot of these games. Guilty pleasure). It's still enjoyable though. If you play a lot of rpg-maker games then I recommend it for the story.
If you don't like these games, then this one won't sway you at all.
1 hours, 15 of 50 achievements
Death's Hangover is a "ball and bat game" (otherwise known as a twist on Brick Breaker) where you have to work your way up a castle and face Dracula.
The story is about two dead guys (who now accompany woman's bodies) who are sent by Death himself, to face Dracula in his castle. You work your way up the castle (each room being a level) until you get to the final boss.
The game plays like Brick Break. You have a paddle and a ball. You have to stop the ball from falling out of the level while also hitting blocks, enemies, chests, and doors. The doors open up the next level and the chests give you souls which you can use to revive after losing a game. There are also power-ups you can collect that make the game a lot easier.
It's pretty self-explanatory and it's a fun little hidden gem. One of the steam reviewers described it as "Arkanoid meets Bill and Ted." I think that really sums it up.
The game didn't feel difficult but I'm also not an achievement hunter. I assume the fun (and difficulty) of the game really starts when you try to collect all the achievements.
If you are looking for an arcade game similar to games such as Brick Break or Arkanoid, then I'd recommend Death's Hangover. Not for the dumb little story, but for the nostalgic gameplay and for the challenging achievement hunt.
Rusty Lake Hotel
2 hours, no achievements
Rusty Lake Hotel is an eerie and surreal point and click puzzle game. The less I say about the minimal plot the better, but the gameplay almost 100% consists of you going into each hotel room and solving puzzles. It has a nice variety of puzzles and gets more challenging each room, but never impossible or frustrating. If you love puzzle games then this is worth giving a try for the price tag!
Game related Story Time: (no spoilers)
When I got to the ending of the game, I was left very confused and disappointed. I didn't understand it at all. After using my top secret research resources (google) I found out that this game is part of a bigger series. The series being the Cube Escape/Rusty Lake series. Rusty Lake Hotel fits right in the middle of it all.
I'm not a big fan of puzzle games so I decided to watch a Let's Play of the entire series instead of playing them. I seriously highly recommend these games. They are all point and click puzzle games with an eerie "twin peaks" style to them. At first, they hardly have a story and barely connect. But then they start to form the overall story and world-building that led to Rusty Lake Hotel and the other games on steam (Rusty Lake Roots, Paradise)
The Cube Escape games are all free and very short (around 30 mins each.) The Rusty Lake games are not free but they are longer (around 2-4 hrs each). If you want to play I'd recommend them in this order:
Cube Escape: Seasons, Cube Escape: The Lake, Cube Escape: Arles, Cube Escape: Harvey's Box, Cube Escape: Case 23, Cube Escape: The Mill, Rusty Lake Hotel (on steam), Cube Escape: The Birthday, Cube Escape: The Theater, Rusty Lake Roots (on steam), Cube Escape: The Cave, Rusty Lake Paradise (on steam)
Anyway, this was longer then I thought but I wanted to give a little background to how to enjoy Rusty Lake Hotel a lot more. You can still play Rusty Lake Hotel by itself. The entire game works as a solo game and the only confusing thing will be the ending.
⭐⭐⭐✰✰ (rating does not include other games in the series even if I had a long discussion about them)
Costume Quest 2
9 hours, 8 of 18 achievements
Okay, I have a confession to make… I never played the first Costume Quest. I couldn't afford to buy it for this Halloween theme and I already had the sequel in my library. Now that that is out of the way, Costume Quest 2 is a lot of fun, even if you've never played the first.
The game doesn't explain everything since it's a sequel, but I figured it out on the way. Costume Quest 2 is an enjoyable and quirky RPG where you collect costumes and go trick or treating…. and also save the future of Halloween from a grumpy dentist who wants to ban Halloween forever.
The gameplay is a lot of fun. It gets repetitive fairly quickly, but the charm of the game pulls it through in the end.
In CQ2, you earn costumes by receiving a pattern and then finding the pieces of that costume in different chests around the area. Once you have the full costume, you can use it in battle. Each costume has different abilities and strengths. Pairing different ones up is what adds the most variety in the game.
In battle, you can use your special attack (which varies depending on the type of costume) or your normal attack which involves hitting the attack button right before colliding with the opponent. It does get repetitive as I mentioned above. Mostly because there are a lot of enemies to battle and not a lot to the battle system. There are some nice features though. Such as the Halloween cards that you can buy and collect that give you different effects to use in battle.
Other than fighting and knocking on doors, you also do a lot of exploring. There are some side missions, and some interesting areas. The characters in the game jump back and forth between future and present at times, so it's neat to see how some people or areas changed.
Costume Quest is very easy. I never lost a battle, and I'm not a fantastic player. Everything flowed perfectly, except for one mission that was so frustrating that I had to google the answer. Turns out other people had the issue and it was due to the game giving bad instruction.
The best thing I can say about this game is that it's charming as hell and it's perfect for the casual gamer. I didn't fall in love with it but I'm glad I played it. I would give it a 3 1/2 star but I don't know how to do a half star, and it's not quite a 4 for me. Still, I recommend it, especially if you have kids or just want to play something funny and wholesome.
1 hours, 4 of 11 achievements
Transparent Black is a dark and grim RPG game. I wish I could say more but I was actually pretty confused by this game.
The entire game can be completed in about 30 minutes, including all the endings. I know the basic of the plot, but I don't want to say due to the short play-time and the fact that the plot isn't on the steam page. I'm pretty lost on the details though. Either because of the imperfect English translation or the fact that I'm just bad at piecing things together.
Anyway I'll just explain the gameplay. The whole game takes place in one classroom. You can talk to the classmates, click on the objects around the room, and eventually discover all three endings.
For a $1 game, it wasn't bad. I just didn't enjoy it due to my confusion and it's short length.
Also, I did not play the DLC so if that adds to the game or sheds some light on it, then ignore all my rambling :P