OC/DC's video game assassination log OC/DC’s profile

Welcome, weary traveler, to my log of video game assassinations!

I supplement my backlog system with info from my Steam Hunters profile.

So my rule for whether a game can move from “unfinished” to “beaten” is if it passes my profile average completion or my average SH points per game (i calculate that one manually for now).
This means that i don’t have to bash my head against really hard/grind-y games (measured here by having high total SH points), trying to get their completion higher than my average.
This also, however, means games can move back from “beaten” to “unfinished”, if both of my profile averages climb higher than its completion metrics.

I generally work through my backlog in chronological release order, and try to keep a limit on how many games can be in the playing pile at one time (see: my only list). Although, sometimes these rules can be temporarily broken (sometimes games just take your interest.. and sometimes they don’t).

I’ll try and write a post once a month - talking about the games i played, and any interesting thoughts about them or their achievements.


February 2024

Rhythmic violence and… economic commentary ?

Played: 12

Added: 4

Beaten: 7

Started: 7

Completion avg: 80.721% (-0.113)

Points avg: 4594 (+31)

Progress bar:

12% (145/1243)
24% (304/1243)
2% (28/1243)
55% (684/1243)
7% (82/1243)

Beaten:

Progressed:

Added:

Nicely productive month, and it's the shortest of the year! It's months like these that make me think killing the backlog is possible, but i try to avoid setting expectations like that. I'll just take the W and carry on as normal

For polishing this Feb, all i had was a weapon restriction achievement in Space Marine, and one to max out a character's level in Livelock. Also made two more runs in Final Station's DLC to (properly) beat that game. Aragami is practically beaten already, so that post should come soon, and i finally roped the partner in for Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes. Hopefully we stick with that enough to beat it soon

For the fresh beatens, i noticed most of them had a rhythmic and/or violent element to them - Thumper being the obvious poster child, but OlliOlli plays quite rhythmically after a while; Butcher is clearly has the violence, but its encounters often felt like a bit of a (gory) musical riff; Shadow Warrior just fits the violence; and Gonner is cartoonish violence, but has a soundtrack tied to the combos, so it gets both. It's just Wuppo and Spaceport Janitor that don't really fit the theme, and they both had an economic/societal commentary thing going on so.. i guess there's that... maybe the economy is violence ??

Anyway, for added games, i managed to avoid all Humble bundles this month, so only my weekly wishlist purchases. I can't remember how i stumbled on Arise, but it seemed cool, and was really cheap bundled with something i already had, so that was grabbed. Shadow Warrior 3 suddenly appeared with a deep discount (what coincidence i was playing SW2). The Solitaire Conspiracy was ridiculously cheap (and i like Solitaire games), and so was Slime 3K - I usually try and avoid Early Access purchases, but these devs seem to make okay games - i already own two - so not such a gamble

Well, that's me for the second month of 2024, hope you all had a good one (and year so far), and keep on fighting the good fight (the backlog).
A tiny bit early on this post, but i know i won't play any more before tomorrow, so off this goes

Tech Deck 2: Manual Infinite Combo

3.3 hours
5586

OlliOlli 2 is almost exactly what you would imagine a sequel to OlliOlli would be - the tricks library has expanded along with new skating mechanics; levels are more complex and wilder in aesthetic; there's a multiplayer mode; and the art style has changed slightly

The most significant addition is obviously the manuals, where instead of landing straight and banking your combo, you can opt to land on the front or back wheels as another trick. You still travel forward like this, and can still launch into tricks, so effectively this extends your combo infinitely (or to the end of the level, at least). There's also revert landings, which can be combined with manuals; and grind-switches, where you can change the type of grind mid-rail; both for bonus points and combo multiplier. OlliOlli 2 also added sloped surfaces now (the things they can do with computers), which means gaining speed passively, but also ramps that have a perfect launch system, similar to perfect landings and grinds

The left-stick trick library has been expanded (for some reason), with modifiers by holding bumpers, as well as reversing rotation directions on the stick (half-turn forward, quarter-turn back, release, etc), to add a whole bunch more tricks that i'll probably never execute even once. The whole amateur-pro campaign structure is maintained from the first game, and the level challenges incorporate these new tricks, which technically makes OlliOlli 2 harder than the first game, but fortunately i didn't need to complete them all, as there's new achievements for grinding out a bunch of the new mechanics, after which i could just skate without much pressure

I blasted through OlliOlli 2 in pretty much a single evening. I suppose it's all the time i spent bailing and restarting in OlliOlli 1 that helped that happen, but honestly it feels like i didn't even play the game. Maybe OlliOlli World will keep me for longer..


Voyage of the Space Beatle

14.6 hours
4785

Thumper is rhythm violence, exactly like it says on the tin. You play a metal beetle, skating down a track, forced to rhythmically move, flap and bounce to reach a floating head that seems to get angrier the closer you get

So what i wrote above is a creative stretch - i'm coming up with a story for the events of the game - but that's because Thumper is so abstract, things like theme and narrative just sort of, slide off. All that's left is the pure mechanical aspects, and some trippy visuals

Let's talk mechanics then. Well i'm not going to rewrite the whole manual, so please see here, if you don't know the moves already (don't worry, it's literally one page). The awesome part about Thumper is the music itself, which comes as much from the backing track as it does from each of these player inputs. As each obstacle arrives on the track (one measure/bar ahead) it makes a slightly different sound, which adds to the track being generated, but also helps a keen ear stay a step ahead

While the game is still very mechanical and abstract, it still managed to bring out emotions in me, which i guess is the whole attraction of music in general, that some arbitrary sequence of sounds can somehow be "sad", or "happy"

Also, it's just really rad to input a perfectly timed sequence of thumps, turns and bounces, for some unknown reason.
Also also, that ending… woah…. that was damn good


A game that’s slightly too real for how it looks..

10.4 hours
5044

Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor is kind of a depressing game - at least by its premise. It's set in a world of space-travel, dungeon-delving, treasure and magic, but where all of those things are eternally out of reach for you, costing more than you'd be able to make in several lifetimes

You play as the alien janitor of a spaceport, and the job is just as glamorous as you'd expect. The opening sees you resolving to explore the dungeons below the spaceport for treasure, so you can finally leave and start your new life as a space-faring adventurer. Unfortunately, you are almost immediately cursed with a floating (noisy) skull, and so your new goal is to get rid of that first. The spaceport itself is a crossroads for adventuring types - there are weapons and armor vendors, mages guilds, alchemists, and exotic food vendors - so someone here would know how to help, right? You just need to ask around..

But while you do that, you need to eat and sleep and generally take care of yourself, and that costs money. As a janitor, you get paid in municipal credits to incinerate trash around the space-port, and you could save money by buying the cheapest vending machine food, but that might make you sick, which could mean paying for medicine. And also you occasionally get itchy in your current gender, so you have to pay to get that shifted (four different choices). And sometimes the spaceport guards feel like you won't put up a fight if they just take some of your cash (you won't). All of these things paint a picture of someone living at the lower edges of society, just trying to make enough to survive one more day. This is the part that can feel quite grim

While tidying up the trash, sometimes you find something that looks like it could be sold for more that you'd get paid for incinerating it, but even though vendors are everywhere, they're only interested in certain items, and those interests change with the days, and you can only carry so much. It's tough, this game, and not in the classically "hard" game sense, more like the oppressing feeling weighing you down mentally that there must be a better way to be doing this, that if you could just make a really good sale, or save enough to have some security, things would be better

Sometimes things are better though; there are the good moments, where you catch a bit of a break, and it's genuinely relieving. Also, you get to know the area over time, so you develop a rhythm of when and where you can get a good deal. The curse you're under constantly drains your luck, so learning where the shrines are to pray at, becomes part of that daily routine as well. Keeping your luck up seems to have an effect on the items you find, and encounters you have, so it's generally a good idea. Also, the space-port is lively and colourful, and full of interesting people. At the end of each day, you're prompted to write what you did in your diary before going to bed. You have to write something, and of course you could just mash the keyboard, but why not take the time to reflect on your day? It's these moments of observation and reflection (and good fortune) that bring the bright feelings, in a largely dreary game

There's some side-quest-y type tasks you can do while you work towards breaking the curse, which are small but interesting, and most of them are rewarded with achievements. There's also however, a literal achievement peddler you can find around the red district. They'll sell some items that give specific achievements, but also sells an (expensive) item that will simply give a random achievement. The catch? Depending on your luck, there's a chance that you lose all of your achievements instead. You'll get a consolation achievement for this happening (which makes it required for 100%), and you can re-unlock everything you lost, but as a achievement hunter myself, i found this whole idea very amusing. Just an interesting side note

Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor is not a game for everyone. It doesn't reward hard work the way games normally do, and at times it's genuinely hard to keep pushing through, but i stayed around for those moments of happiness at the small joys


Is this what the socialist utopia will look like ?

11.4 hours
5022

I'm not even going to pretend that i understand what was going on in this game.. but i do love the sheer creative energy pouring out of it

Wuppo is ostensibly a side-scrolling platformer, but somehow has an item interaction system kind of like a point-and-click game. The strange things this system is used for never stopped surprising me. Wuppo has a environmental aesthetic that kept me smiling, and has a certain bravery about putting its players in odd situations that i really respect

A short one this time, but that's all i really have to say. "Platformer with the soul of a point & click" was my alternate title


Boomer Looter Shooter (Reboot)

44.1 hours
6067

The sequel to 2013's Shadow Warrior reboot, that i finally got around to playing. I quite enjoyed the first one (nearly a decade ago), so i really should've played this earlier

An interesting evolution between sequels though. It still has the signature melee combat, with special moves for strategic choice; as well as the simple magic moves - although they're bound to more usable button combinations this time (IMO). You have a lot of the same weapon types (pistol, sword, shotgun, crossbow, etc), they've just been adjusted to make a few models/variations for each type. Not infinite variations though - like a classic loot-em-up - all weapons are pre-defined; the loot variation instead comes from the upgrades you can slot into them. There's now an elemental damage system (of course), and so there are upgrades that add that, along with damage, fire rate, clip size, reload speed adjustments (the usuals), but also some interesting ones that would usually take the place of "weapon mod" style changes - a charge shot, a multi-shot, exploding bullets, piercing bullets, even a turret mod. Weapons have limits on which one of these they can take, plus you'll be taking a slot you could use for DPS, but what i liked is that this is technically left up to your judgment. At the end of the day, you're still at the mercy of the RNG gods, but it's nice to feel like you have a bit more control than usual

Instead of the straightforward skill-tree from before, Shadow Warrior 2 has a slightly different system; you can find cards along your journey that give isolated bonuses if skill points are invested in them. Most of them are fairly expected - elemental damage buffs, health/mana boosts, etc - but it's interesting that the character build is left to you. Also, just a guesstimate here, but after a pretty completionist playthrough, i only had about a third of the skill points needed to max them out, so you will have to make some sacrifices - where in the first game, all skills would be maxed out by the end, so the choices had a bit less weight. I do wish there were more wild skills though, adding/removing mechanics, something you could get freaky with

For story, it's fairly straightforward save the world stuff, but it's carried by the main character, Lo Wang, and his unflinching refusal to take any of it seriously. He antagonises every character he speaks to, makes constant terrible dick jokes, and insists that he's only here to get paid. Maybe it's the main character bias, but there's a weird charm to it, and by the end, i did have a semi-reluctant affection for the bastard. As expected from the change to looter-shooter, the story is told through a chain of main missions, with a bunch of side missions and bounty hunts spread over the top. It's nice to have all this extra content, but to be fair, a lot of these missions take place in the same areas, which can drag a bit. Combat is pretty good compared to other looter-shooters, but is a small step down from the more tightly designed linear shooters

I did have quite a bit of fun here though, it scratched the dual itch of FPS combat, and RPG skill and stat management (which is the same scratches that made Borderlands so popular, i guess..)


Manic Pixie Dream Game

7.7 hours
4801

GoNNER is a pretty difficult game to talk about. I actually beat it almost a week ago, but have been sitting on this review, thinking about how to describe it, and if i even really enjoyed it

So for story, the store page already describes more than you'll get from the game, as there are absolutely no words - written or spoken - in the game itself (besides menus, of course). You play as a humanoid creature (named Ikk, apparently), going on a vaguely defined journey to help their floating whale friend, Sally. There are many obstacles to overcome on this quest, which takes us to..

Gameplay: It's a rogue-like platformer. Levels are randomly generated across a few area types, and death kicks you back to the beginning. You can double- and wall-jump from the start, and landing on enemies damages them, which is a useful tip for surviving - you can opt to shoot them with your gun instead though. Enemies have many different types, all with unique behaviours, which does add interesting wrinkles when trying to combo your way through a level.
Including your gun, there are three important items to select at the beginning of a run: a head (or skull) which determines your hit points and movement abilities; a backpack, which determines your special move (on a cool-down); and a gun, which can… shoot - there are several different options though (laser, shotgun, grenade launcher, etc).
In traditional rogue-like fashion, shops appear every now and then, where you can purchase a different one of these items, swapping it out. Currency for the shop is earned primarily through killing enemies in a combo.
There are bosses at the end of each area, and i found the game fairly hard, only making it to the fourth area

As for presentation, it's definitely easy on the eyes. Everything is colourful, and is animated in a bubbly, squishy way - as if everything is made of some jelly-like substance. Music and sound effects are similarly bubbly and quirky, but of note is how the sounds raise in intensity as your current combo increases. Colours also start to pop even more, bleeding into each other, and eventually becoming literally rainbow-ed

A simple but enjoyable game. I worry i didn't make it far enough to properly judge its depth, but i don't exactly feel like more right now


2D DOOM

10.5 hours
4889

I usually feel a little self-conscious whenever i label a game in terms of another one (Indie Bloodborne, Procedural Dark Souls, Funko Fallout, etc). It started as a mild joke, but i think i genuinely perceive games (and other media) in that way. Just the way my brain categorises things i guess. Even so, i struggle to shake the feeling that i'm somehow diminishing the art by comparing it to others - like, shouldn't it stand on its own?

There are some games however, that are so clearly inspired by other games, that it would feel weird to not mention - so we have Butcher, or as i've labelled it: 2D DOOM (original Doom though, less so the modern one). It's got a similar one-word title, with a similar all-caps font; the character on the box-art is reminiscent of Doom-guy, with the art-style being close; your gameplay role is the same - a space-marine-type that warps to a zone and kills everything there with maximum violence; the game brands itself as brutal and unforgiving - the tagline is "The easiest difficulty is Hard"; hell, it even borrows the same screen "melting" visual effect on level start and finish. Story is nearly nonexistent, but it appears that the premise is reversed: you seem to be an alien invading force on Earth, and most of your enemies are humans (although with futuristic weapons tech)

So yes, Butcher is 2D Doom. Low level gameplay follows the same fundamentals: move fast, shoot before you're shot - the fastest reflexes wins. It's a platformer at it's core, with free-aim shooting on the right stick or mouse. Your resources are health, armour, and ammo, and they're all regenerated by corresponding environmental pickups. Gun-play is snappy and lethal (in both directions), and so battles are over in seconds. Death kicks you back to level start, which is frustrating if you had the exit in sight, but thankfully most levels have run-times in the minutes (single digit). Overall, Butcher is a nice short bit of blood-soaked fun in between other games


Virtual Tech Deck

18.8 hours
5022

I started playing OlliOlli a while back, because i liked the vibe it was giving, and i remember enjoying the PS2-era skating games so i wanted to see how this one shakes out. It starts out fairly simple, but already quite demanding. You have one button for pushing (gaining speed while rolling on a flat plane), and you use the same button for landing after a trick, with more points awarded the closer to the ground you are when you press. This is crucial because not only are points the main goal of every level, but a sloppy landing takes a few moments to recover from, likely making you fumble the next trick

Tricks themselves are mostly executed with the left stick: while rolling, pull the stick in any direction to crouch, then release to launch - each of the four directions is a different trick. The left stick is also how you grind - holding it in a direction to keep grinding, then releasing to launch off the rail. Each direction is now a different kind of grind and landing on a rail has the same perfection mechanic as landing a trick

So hang on, four directions means… four tricks ?! This is where we get funky; you start a trick by holding a direction, but if you rotate it before releasing (quarter/half/full circle, either direction) you modify that trick into something more complicated (and more point-worthy). Plus you can do this while grinding, causing you to launch from your grind into that trick. This is how we get a whole library of tricks, and build a stylish combo system… and one that is nearly impossible to master as well

Once the level challenges got hard enough to require me to trick more and more, all these pulls, rotates and releases of the joystick become rapid enough to just be flicks, and actually reminded me quite a lot of playing with those tech deck finger-skateboard things. I don't know if that's what they were going for, but if they were, well firstly very appropriate, but also they nailed the kinaesthetic. It was also around these harder levels that my skills were tested a bit more than felt enjoyable, so i dropped it for just over a year, coming back this past month to finish up the last few (amateur) challenges

OlliOlli is 2D skateboarding with a seemingly simple control scheme, but demands intense focus to keep from bailing. It still leaves room for expression and experimentation, but the threat of tripping and face-planting is always present. Is this how skateboarding is in real life? I've never got into to it myself, but i'd like to think so..


January 2024

Steam life on Deck

Played: 11

Added: 7

Beaten: 6

Started: 4

Completion avg: 80.834% (+0.24)

Points avg: 4563 (+42)

Progress bar:

12% (145/1239)
24% (298/1239)
2% (27/1239)
55% (687/1239)
7% (82/1239)

Beaten:

Progressed:

Added:

Yooo, the Steam Deck is actually such a game changer for the way you play your games! I'm really happy that i finally got one

Finished up Arkham Night right after New Year, followed by Lost Castle, Redout, The Final Station, and Just Cause 3. In between those, it was really easy to dip into other games for polishing (Kingdom Rush: Vengeance & Shrouded in Sanity), or progress (Helldivers)

After finishing Just Cause 3, i found myself with the tricky decision of starting a fresh new game, or waiting out the month by playing unfinished games that have been gathering a bit of dust. I went with option 2, and spent a bunch of time on Stardew Valley. After finishing up the community centre, i took a little break with OlliOlli, which i miraculously managed to beat on the last day of the month (i'll have to do my write up after this report)

In terms of new games to the backlog, i won Doom Eternal on Steam Gifts (first win in a while), and then bought 2 small games off the wishlist, before grabbing the Humble Monthly (must not forget to donate the remainder to SG)

Anyway, good start to the year, and back to the grind i go