The Backlog is Bigger on the Inside lmxn’s profile

AKA The Doctor’s feeble attempt to play some games.

I’m the Doctor. I’m a Time Lord. I’m from the planet Gallifrey in the Constellation of Kasterborous.
I’m just a poor college kid with too many games but no time to play them ;____;

GIF: fulifuli

#25 | Rakuen

I love Rakuen. I love it so much I crawled out of my shell to write a new post (though I’m terrible at writing about stuff I love). It’s beautiful and cute and bittersweet. It’s heartwarming yet heart-wrenching. Rakuen destroyed me, but it’s totally worth the emotional ride.

  • Rakuen

    8 hours playtime

    15 of 15 achievements

When I saw that Steam had a To The Moon + Rakuen bundle, I knew I had to get it. I already own To The Moon (another great game full of feels, but I’m sure many of you already know that), so 55% off Rakuen was a steal, and I decided to indulge myself since I didn’t get anything in the summer sale. I don’t regret it one bit, in fact I think it’s well worth the full price. Installed and started playing immediately, and I’m so glad I did.

Rakuen is the favourite book of Boy, who is hospitalised. His Mom visits him and reads the book to him every night, and one day, she reveals that the fantasy world in Rakuen is real. The both of them thus embark on an adventure to explore this world in search for the Guardian of the Forest. On their journey, they learn about the stories of each of the patients on the same hospital floor, and help them through what they are facing.

I love that that Rakuen made me feel for all of the major characters. Despite spending so much time in the fantasy world, the stories are still very much real, and deal with topics like love and loss. These are stories that you can imagine happening in life, which makes the emotions hit harder, especially if they are relatable.

Also, music has a substantial role in the game, and the soundtrack is amazing. I’m actually listening to it right now. Build a Little World With Me and Jump are both songs that I’ll probably be listening to obsessively for the next few days.

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#24 | HOG Spree

In a desperate attempt to add more screenshots to the monthly theme, I decided to “cheat” a bit and finish a bunch of HOGs over the weekend - since HOGs are full of the most random of things. I managed to find 4 more screenshots, so that wasn’t half bad. I’ve come to accept the fact that I’ll definitely not be able to complete the screenshot challenge, and I think I’ll take a break from HOGs for a while too ^^”.

Fairy Tale Mysteries

  • Fairy Tale Mysteries: The Puppet Thief
    Fairy Tale Mysteries: The Puppet Thief

    3 hours playtime

    17 of 17 achievements

  • Fairy Tale Mysteries 2: The Beanstalk
    Fairy Tale Mysteries 2: The Beanstalk

    4 hours playtime

    11 of 11 achievements

Of the Artifex Mundi games I’ve played, Fairy Tale Mysteries: The Puppet Thief has to be one of the most unexciting. I’m not sure this is related to a fairy tale (since the second one is), but the story didn’t interest me at all. The entire game felt kinda empty - HOGs usually don’t have the deepest of plots, but in Fairy Tale Mysteries I felt like nothing that happened was important. To make things worse, throughout the game you frequently pick up notes left by your supervisors saying that they can’t help you much because they’re blocked by a magic barrier. These notes don’t help to progress the game, and are unnecessary and annoying. This was a disappointing entry in Artifex Mundi’s line up; there’s no need to play this unless you’re the biggest HOG fan.

The second game in the series, Fairy Tale Mysteries 2: The Beanstalk is slightly better, but still a rather mediocre HOG at best. The story is equally uninspiring, but this game introduces a new mechanic that I rather liked. When you encounter a point of interest that requires other items to make use of (e.g. bushes where you’re missing shears, pot where you’re missing ingredients for a potion, etc), the game shows you a list of items you need to find - which effectively turns the whole game into a huge HOS. I’ve mentioned many times previously that HOS are my favourite parts in HOGs, so it was a nice change from the norm.

Eventide: Slavic Fable

  • Eventide: Slavic Fable
    Eventide: Slavic Fable

    4 hours playtime

    25 of 25 achievements

Thankfully, Eventide: Slavic Fable is a much better game than the Fairy Tale Mysteries series. For the first time in a long while, I actually felt that voice acting in an Artifex Mundi game was well done. There are many minor characters that only get a line or two, but their voices all fit their characters and didn’t sound out of place. I was pleasantly surprised at that.

The story doesn’t stray far from the usual formula, but the well drawn environment and mixture of different types of HOS (i.e. you’re given a list of items vs pictures of the items you have to find) made it enjoyable. This is certainly one of the better Artifex Mundi offerings I’ve played so far (the Enigmatis series is still better though). If you ever find yourself looking for more HOGs to play, Eventide: Slavic Fable is a good choice.

Screenshot Challenge Summary

Big shout out to SevenDeck for organising such a fun theme. :D It’s a bit of a pity that I didn’t manage to complete the entire challenge, but I did find 16/20 screenshots, and also finished many amazing games this month. So, yes, this was great and I look forward to more similar themes (and more creative themes too!) in the future.

Tier 1 A Bloody Weapon Fran Bow A Torch Ori and the Blind Forest A Body (in an Awkward Position) Fran Bow The Writing on the Wall The Purring Quest
Tier 2 Twilight Sky Ori and the Blind Forest Stars The Purring Quest A Pretty Flower Fairy Tale Mysteries 2: The Beanstalk Garden Equipment Fairy Tale Mysteries 2: The Beanstalk
Tier 3 A Terminal Fran Bow Lasers Ori and the Blind Forest My Pimped Out Ride A Message in Neon The Purring Quest
Tier 4 It Has More Than Two Eyes Fran Bow A Mythical Beast Eventide: Slavic Fable A Spider Ori and the Blind Forest Man’s Best Friend Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna)
Tier 5 The Massacre Death by Fire Up Close and Personal Got You in My Sights Eventide: Slavic Fable

I probably won’t be playing as much in the next month as my exams are coming up. D: All the best for your backlog slaying in the meantime!

  • Fran Bow
    Fran Bow

    9 hours playtime

    18 of 18 achievements

#23 | Fran Bow

I’m not a fan of horror at all. I actively avoid horror movies, TV shows, games, etc. (Except The Walking Dead, if it’s still considered “horror”. Also slightly irrelevant: season 7 premiere destroyed me. WHY ;___;). That said, I decided to give Fran Bow a chance because all I’ve been hearing about it are good things. And the visuals seem kinda cutesy, so they can’t be that bad, right? It seems I have made the right choice.

Fran Bow is a creepy point-and-click which (thankfully) doesn’t rely on cheap jumpscares as a horror tactic, yet the entire game still gave me an unsettling feeling. Fran Bow (the protagonist) is a little girl with a mental illness, and she sees things that others can’t. She brought me to places I didn’t want to go… and gave me feelings I didn’t like. I think it should be mentioned that there are triggers for suicide, substance abuse (kinda), depression, and rape. I might have mentioned elsewhere that I enjoyed it, but the more I think about it, the more I feel that “enjoy” isn’t the right word. Fran Bow isn’t a game you enjoy. I don’t actually quite know how to feel about it, but it’s definitely a great game.

One thing I really liked about the gameplay is the pill mechanic, which allows you to view the world in an “alternate reality”, which added a lot to the creepy factor of the game. So effectively you get to explore the same scenes twice, and you have to switch between both realities to solve the puzzles. Also, which is real? Or are they both real? In one of the chapters, instead of pills you get to switch between the four seasons, which was nice too.

A huge part of the story is left open to interpretation, which I have a love-hate relationship for. On one hand it’s interesting to read all the theories about it and form one myself, but I also really, really want to know what the creators thought happened. Do the five realities exist? Are Itward, Palontras, Remus, etc, real? Did Fran Bow kill her parents? Answers we might never know. D:

Scavenger hunt progress: A Bloody Weapon, A Body (in an Awkward Position, A Terminal, It Has More Than Two Eyes, The Massacre. (I’m aware there’s more than 4, I’ll remove one by tomorrow.) There’s potentially also Garden Equipment, The Writing on the Wall, but I didn’t use those.

  • Ori and the Blind Forest
    Ori and the Blind Forest

    18 hours playtime

    42 of 50 achievements

#22 | Ori and the Blind Forest

Ever since I found out about Ori and the Blind Forest it’s pretty much been on the top of my wishlist, and I was just waiting for a good sale to throw my money at it. So I was glad when they gave owners of the original game 75% coupons for the Definitive Edition, and I was lucky enough to get a coupon with the help of Shirl. :D I had high expectations for the game, and it exceeded them. That’s how much I enjoyed it.

Ori and the Blind Forest is one of the most gorgeous games I’ve ever played. Every location is great screenshot material - I can’t help but keep taking them. No words can do it justice, so here’s a link to my screenshots. And oh god, the soundtrack is perfect.

Besides ear- and eye-candy, the game plays beautifully as well. Controls are very responsive, you can save pretty much anywhere you want - well, except for the hardest parts of the game. Speaking of difficulty, Ori and the Blind Forest is not an easy platformer. You will die, and you will die hundreds of times. I think I died about 900 times… Mostly because I’m terrible at platformers. The difficulty doesn’t come from badly designed levels or poorly placed platforms; it’s entirely your fault (and in my case, lack of skill) if you die. So while it gets a bit frustrating after dying many times (especially during the escape sequences), it’s super satisfying once you beat it.

Storywise, the narrative combined with the stunning cutscenes work extremely well in telling the story, which is a rather emotional one. I found myself starting to feel for the main character, and even the “villain”. Prepare a few tissues, you may need them.

I had some problems with achievements unlocking way before I actually got them, and some not unlocking when they should (like the achievement for finishing the game ;_; - so I got screenshot proof), but I understand they’re fixed in the Definitive Edition. Also, if you’re planning to find all the secrets and collectibles, be sure to explore fully before entering Mount Horu - you can’t exit, and I think the game tells you that too and once you complete the game you can’t continue playing with that save file. This seems to fixed in the Definitive Edition as well, so they’re all minor issues.

I’ll definitely be giving this a few more playthroughs, to get the remaining achievements. But I have a feeling the no deaths achievement is going to be impossible to get “legitimately” - you can create multiple save files and keep overwriting them with your current one when you die (I haven’t tried that, but sorta feels like cheating…)

I’ve noticed I’m really bad at writing about games I love… I tried… Anyway, do play Ori and the Blind Forest if it’s still sitting in your backlog. DO IT!

Scavenger hunt progress: Found A Torch (or multiple torches), Twilight Sky, Lasers, and A Spider (or two).

  • The Purring Quest
    The Purring Quest

    4 hours playtime

    23 of 23 achievements

#21 | The Purring Quest

The Purring Quest is a great game. What’s not to love? You play as a cat (!!!), run around, kill mice, avoid dogs, basically just doing cat things. All while trying to find your owner slave, and saving other cats.

If you love cats, play this game.
If you have a cat, play this game.
If you want to be a cat, play this game.

Ok, in all seriousness, The Purring Quest is a short and enjoyable platformer which the developers have put a lot of love into making it. The animation looks great and actually accurately depicts the way cats run and jump. If you let your character idle for some time, you can even see it start licking its butthole. :D All the cats in the game (except your character) are based on actual cats in real life, which makes the game extra cute. The developers even wrote a list of trivia and “easter eggs” they added into the game (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) - just goes to show how much effort they put in. Makes me love the game even more (:

Big thanks to fellow BLAEO member and cat lover Gequila (TopDeer) for this lovely game! <3

Scavenger hunt progress: Found The Writing on the Wall, Stars, and A Message in Neon.

#20 | Some SG Wins

Completed two games, and both happen to be SG wins. ^^

  • Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna)
    Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna)

    7 hours playtime

    19 of 19 achievements

Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna) is a rather simple platformer with some puzzle elements, where you get to control a little girl and her furry friend on their journey to find the source of the never-ending blizzard. The game is set in Alaska, home to the Iñupiat, and as you progress through the game, you unlock short clips that tell stories about the Iñupiat and their culture. These videos are my favourite part of the game - I could feel the love the interviewees had for their home and I learned so much about them. The in-game story revolves around the contents of the videos, which makes the game feel like a beautiful piece of art - but unfortunately the game is riddled with bugs which takes away some of the immersion.

My characters would get stuck in random places, and the controls were terrible. It would be that bad if timing and precision didn’t matter, but it did, and cost me many deaths. The worst bug I encountered was that the next segment of a level (during the escape from the ice giant, the tree that could bring me across the river wouldn’t start moving) didn’t trigger which essentially meant I couldn’t progress. But for the longest time I thought it was my lack of skill (and the unresponsive controls), so I kept trying and trying to no avail. Turns out it was a bug and I had to exit and relaunch.

I also completed the Foxtales DLC - gameplay is similar but less platforming and more puzzling, and is based on another story. The DLC had a few jump scares that I hated - jump scares are rarely necessary, and even less so in a game like Never Alone. Get the DLC if you like the base game.

Scavenger hunt progress: Got Man’s Best Friend with a screenshot of the girl and her fox.

  • KAMI

    6 hours playtime

    no achievements

KAMI is a nice little puzzler with beautiful minimalistic origami-style graphics. Minimalistic graphics seem to be very popular among puzzle games. Not that I’m complaining - I love simple when it’s done well. I first played the free version of KAMI on mobile - which only included the first few levels. I couldn’t get enough of it but couldn’t justify spending a few bucks on a mobile game either, so I was really glad when I won this on SG. The basic mechanic in this game is to “flood” the whole board with a single color using the smallest number of moves.

The puzzles weren’t too easy or too hard - I solved all but one without any hints. (The last one I “cheated” a little and used a hint because I had spent 2 hours trying to find the optimal solution and was getting frustrated.) It’s a really good game overall and recommended to all who enjoy puzzles.

  • Epistory - Typing Chronicles
    Epistory - Typing Chronicles

    32 hours playtime

    55 of 55 achievements

#19 | Epistory - Typing Chronicles

So when I was about 7 or 8, my parents got me this educational game that teaches kids how to type. It did its job, but wasn’t fun after I completed the basics (because my typing speed couldn’t keep up.) This is not that game. Epistory - Typing Chronicles is a typing game, but it doesn’t actually teach typing. But that’s all it is - you type to kill enemies, destroy things, open chests, do magic - it’s all typing. The typing is pretty good fun though and a fresh mechanic, so I still recommend it, though it does have a few flaws.

Epistory looks gorgeous, really gorgeous, but they might have sacrificed a bit of gameplay for aesthetics. There’s some sort of blurring filter applied to objects that are further away, but that means the enemies’ words are blurred too. It’s really annoying when you can almost see the word so you take a guess, but get it wrong (of course…), and then lose your combo / die. It also tries to have a story, but I didn’t get it until the end, and I’m not sure I get it entirely either. Despite that, the voice narration was really good, and would have been better if she was given a better story to tell.

Also, I guess now I can say that I know how to spell several new words and yet I have no clue what they mean. (e.g. Ecdysis, sphenogram, unciform, etc.) Totally useful. :P

Side note for achievement hunters: Epistory has lots of grindy achievements - type 1,000 characters without a mistake, kill 10,000 enemies, and a bunch of type xxx words - largest was 17,000+. Main game took me about 10 hours (I had killed about 3,500 enemies), the remaining time was spent trying to get the other achievements. There’s a small bug(?) that can help for the no mistakes achievement. If you erase a profile and create a new one with the exact same name, your current no mistake streak carries over and continues from there. Useful if you’re prone to typos like I am, since the words are shorter and enemies are slower at the start of the game.

#18 | Mid-September Update

2 months since my previous post and I finally decide to stop being a lazy ass. It takes so much effort to write these posts. :/

I have a confession to make. I haven’t been tackling my backlog diligently enough… There are bouts when I play 5 hours a day, and then afterwards I don’t log in for a week. Despite that, I managed to complete some games in the past weeks, though they’re mostly short ones. (But hey, any progress is better than no progress, right?)

Completed Games

  • fault milestone one
    fault milestone one

    8 hours playtime

    12 of 12 achievements

fault - milestone one was quite an unexpected experience for me, but a really good one. The only other visual novel I’ve played so far is Hatoful Boyfriend, and I didn’t know what a kinetic novel was, so I went in expecting a lot of choices. Man, I was so wrong. There is only one “choice” you make in the entire game, and it only changes the next few lines of dialogues. So, yeah, the story is linear, and there is no replayability (unless you can read Japanese - then you can play in its original language). Despite that, I actually really like this. It’s the first in a series (trilogy?) of kinetic novels, but a major portion of the game is pretty much self-contained. The overarching storyline isn’t featured much, except in the beginning and end, and it ends on a cliffhanger - which makes me want to play the next one so badly. D: The story starts out pretty serious, is kinda light-hearted in the middle and gets rather dark (and sad) at the end. The soundtrack is pretty ok - the track on the menu screen is wonderful, but some of the others aren’t as memorable.

One issue I have with the game is that the beginning is too content heavy - it serves as an introduction to the world the characters are living in, but I felt that it could have been done gradually throughout the game, instead of throwing out all the information right at the start.

  • Time Mysteries: Inheritance - Remastered
    Time Mysteries: Inheritance - Remastered

    3 hours playtime

    10 of 10 achievements

  • Time Mysteries 2: The Ancient Spectres
    Time Mysteries 2: The Ancient Spectres

    4 hours playtime

    11 of 11 achievements

  • Time Mysteries 3: The Final Enigma
    Time Mysteries 3: The Final Enigma

    3 hours playtime

    11 of 11 achievements

Completed the Time Mysteries trilogy, but not in time for the August theme. Where is my TARDIS when I need it? :P I can’t help thinking that Artifex Mundi could do better than this, when playing these HOGs. The first game is excused, since it was released a long time ago, so it can’t be compared to the more recent Artifex Mundi offerings. But the 2 sequels had me feeling like I was just finding a key here, to open that door to that room, in which I’d find another key to open this chest in another room, and so on. Some of the hidden object scenes were also way too easy as the objects I had to find didn’t fit that well into the background. The time-travel device was interesting for a while, then it got tedious to keep switching between the different time periods. The Enigmatis series was much better. Something in common about these HOGs though: they should do away with voice acting as they’re all terrible.

Side note: I still think the Mystery Case Files series are the best HOGs I’ve played. Only a few of them are on Steam though.

  • Hexcells

    73 minutes playtime

    6 of 6 achievements

  • Hexcells Plus
    Hexcells Plus

    7 hours playtime

    6 of 6 achievements

  • Hexcells Infinite
    Hexcells Infinite

    23 hours playtime

    7 of 7 achievements

I may or may not be slightly addicted to Hexcells. Just slightly. Finished all three games over a long weekend, and it’s now my new favourite puzzle game. :D It’s kinda like a cross between nonograms and minesweeper, and I love how every puzzle can always be solved logically - no guesswork involved. That was one thing I hated about minesweeper - I’d have two cells and one bomb left, but no way to know which is the bomb. The difficulty of the puzzles increase gradually, and across the games too, so Hexcells is kinda like the “tutorial” for the next two games. Which is also why my playtime increases by so much (though for Hexcells Infinite I was playing while doing work, so actual playtime is probably 4-5 hours less). Everyone should play this, especially puzzle lovers!

In Progress

  • Renowned Explorers: International Society
    Renowned Explorers: International Society

    16 hours playtime

    57 of 148 achievements

I only found out about Renowned Explorers: International Society when I got it in that Humble Monthly ages ago, and have wanted to start since then but didn’t. Several posts here gave me the extra push to start playing, and I’m very glad I did. Super fun turn-based strategy game, and I expect to be putting a lot more hours into it.

I don’t think I’ll be participating in this month’s theme, as the games are all too long to fit into my limited playtime, which is only going to get less as more schoolwork pile up. :/

#17 | Clues, Critters, and… Tears?

9 Clues: The Secret of Serpent Creek

HOGs always seem to be easy completions for monthly themes. They’re short and give me a sense of achievement (extra motivation to complete games - yay!), so I finished another one before the end of June. (:

9 Clues: The Secret of Serpent Creek was slightly different from the other HOGs I played. There’s an extra “sleuthing” mini-game, where you click on areas that are clues in a crime scene. That’s probably why this game is called 9 Clues. It’s interesting enough, but I don’t find it very believable that the detective (me) can tell exactly what happened in that scene just from those clues. (I don’t know if forensic scientists / detectives can do that in real life, so correct me if I’m wrong!) Story-wise it’s extremely obvious who was behind the whole thing from the start - time to up your game Artifex Mundi! But then again I can get behind all of that, because my main purpose of playing these are for the hidden object scenes, and they’re good fun as usual. ^^

The Book of Unwritten Tales: The Critter Chronicles

The Book of Unwritten Tales: The Critter Chronicles is a prequel to The Book of Unwritten Tales, and tells the story of how Captain Nate and Critter met and became best buddies. Knowledge of the first game isn’t needed but you’ll recognise a few locations and characters if you’ve played it. This is basically the same, except without Wilbur (!!!), with more critters, and the same amount of pop culture references. Some that I remembered includes Portal, Star Wars, Super Mario. Play this if you enjoyed the first one, and avoid this if you hate Critter - a significant amount of the game has you controlling him. Their gibberish language starts to get on your nerves really quickly…

I’ve finished this on expert difficulty, but I have to do another playthrough to get the normal mode achievements (and 1 achievement that I missed). I hate it when games do that.

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth

Oh, this is my absolute favourite game. I’m not sure if I can count The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth for the monthly theme? I started playing ages ago, but I got some achievements this month. It doesn’t really matter whether it gets counted or not, just trying to show that I’ve been working hard through the monthly theme. :P (I’m so hardcore I started the monthly theme months ago!)

#16 | The Stanley Parable

The Stanley Parable

Finished The Stanley Parable for now - second game for the monthly theme! The only achievable achievements left are pretty much those that test your patience… of which I don’t have.

I’m not sure how to describe this game… It’s probably best for you to experience for yourself. There’s a lot of possible endings - ranging from slightly creepy to downright ridiculous. I haven’t seen all the endings yet, but I don’t feel the desire to replay the game. It’s not exactly my type of game. The narrator is really good though, I’ll give them that.

In other news, I’m back to installing a bunch of games and playing them for a little while before moving on. D: I discarded whatever semblance of a “plan” I had because I didn’t want gaming to become a chore - not when real life is as tiring as it is.