The Stray Sheep #24 – GamesCom-Interviews #6 – Kingdom, Flotsam and Foundation

So, today’s the last day of Blaugust and also the last post about interviews I did at the GamesCom! Today’s Stray Sheep features the devs behind Kingdom, Flotsam and Foundation. Three strategy games that I’m quite excited about! 

While Kingdom has been out for quite some time and while I’m a fan of it ever since the first game, which is now called Kingdom Classic, I really looked forward to talking to the devs at the GamesCom since I wanted to do that ever since the first game came out. The Kingdom games are beautifully crafted strategy-games with tons of tactics and mechanics while only having two resources: Money and Population, though more money means more population! On top of that, the devs developed the second game “Kingdom: New Lands” where you travel to other islands, basically creating a new challenge every time, and “Kingdom: Two Crowns” with multiplayer, new mounts, tons of new content, as well as new buildings, jobs, more islands, and the feature to travel back to old islands and actually building a kingdom instead of a few cities across all the islands. There’s also new content for Two Crowns which I’ve had a chance to play, which is quite nice. 

But let’s get to the questions, shall we? I’ve interviewed Gordon Van Dyke who’s “building” the studio Raw Fury.

What was your biggest inspiration for the game?

“To be honest, Thomas van den Berg from the noio-studio, [who] is the original creator of Kingdom, brought me on to the project to help with the design of the original game and basically his inspiration was […] just making a game. So, he started experimenting and it started off with a horse. He wanted to animate the horse in pixel-art, so he studied the running and walking of a horse and started to learn about how low he could go resolution-wise to create a believable horse with pixel-art. 

And then it just started to kind of unfold: He was like, ‘Maybe someone should be riding on it’, so he put someone on it, like a Prince or King. And then he was like, ‘Oh, now he needs something to do. And the horse needs to eat. And now there needs to be grass.’ 

[That led to] it [starting] to grow based on experimentation!”

“It just came out of a creative place and it was more about imagination than anything else. So, I think that that’s one of the reasons why it’s so easy to fall in love with Kingdom because it came from a place of passion and unfiltered creativity!”

Gordon Van Dyke

What’s your favourite part of the whole franchise?

“Well, probably Kingdom: Two Crowns because that’s the one I did all the design myself. So, it was the first game where Thomas took a step back and let me do all the design and changing the different elements, from changing it from rogue-like- to campaign-style, managing multiple Kingdoms, having Co-Op […], challenge islands and doing these things to build a bigger game than we had before. You know, we took the original foundation of Kingdom and build on top of it to expand to more content. We kind of painted us into a wall with New Lands and [Kingdom Classic].”

So, now I’m going for those weird questions because I don’t want to sound like a professional.

(He laughs out loud)

So, if you were a superhero what would your hero name and superpower be?

“[…] I would probably end up with a very useless superpower like… the power to remember the past. And they would call me, ‘Yo, Reflection Man!'”

That’d be quite useful! I always forget if I’ve got my keys on me and have to check three times before leaving the flat if I’ve got them in my bag, and five times after I’ve locked the door. If I were like Reflection Man, I wouldn’t have to worry so much about it!

(he laughs)

So, if you could meet one character from a game in real life and plan out a whole day with them, who would it be and what would you do together?

“[…] I would probably meet Samus and go out to fight those aliens. Going on an adventure together and go somewhere really abstract where I couldn’t go before.”

So, that’s the interview with Gordon Van Dyke. It’s been a lot of fun and I really enjoyed the Plague Island that I got to test out at their GamesCom-booth with the raised difficulty and all that! 🙂

Flotsam is another title I’m excited about as it reminds me of Water World, a cool movie, and Raft, a cool game. On top of that, it has that nice Cell-Shading-style going which I adore! And it also is about recycling, which is great, because of… well, environment. I actually have a bag full of Dr Pepper cans that I wanted to recycle into a nightstand. Right now they just chill here on my flat but… maybe in the future, right? So, recycling is cool and all that, but I also love city-builders.

I really enjoy playing BanishedCities: SkylinesGoblins of Elderstone and Universim. Which is why I’m so excited about Flotsam because it’s unconventional and interesting!

For this interview, I talked to Stan Loiseaux, Co-Founder and Artist of Pajama Llama Games, who describes the game as a resource-managing- and building-simulator where you need to collect garbage in a completely flat world and to make your town. You can recycle all kinds of staff and make different buildings, boats and machines. You need to keep your villagers alive by collecting food and drinkable water. […]

What was your biggest inspiration for this game? 

“Well, at first I made an animation movie that I never finished in this setting. That was the starting point of it. We wanted to make a building simulator. Some inspirations were definitely Water Worlds, for the style we looked at Belgium Comics – we’re from Belgium btw – so that we can have a colourful building-style but in 3D. For games, we looked at games like Don’t Starve, Rim World and Frost Punk.”

I see! So, what was the most fun part about working on this project?

“Well, I’m the artist so mostly art. I’m actually a 2D-artist, so in 3D we tried to make it feel like a handpainted or 2D-game although it’s not, which was quite exciting.”

What’s your favourite game of all times?

“That’s a good question! I don’t have one favourite but I really like Don’t Starve, I also really like older games like Dungeon Keeper and Warcraft 3.”

Dungeon Keeper is a great one!

“Yeah! Stuff like that and other building-games but also Nintendo-games like Zelda and I don’t really have one favourite. 

If you could visit one videogame world for a day, which one would you chose?

“Oh my, that’s another hard question. […] I’d like to catch Pokémon, so that’d be cool. Or rather walk around all kinds of fantastical worlds, like Zelda and that kind of stuff. But I guess most worlds have a lot of Monsters, so I guess that might not be the best idea. But I guess stuff like that.”

So, that’s basically that. I really liked the style and the concept and will look forward to playing it eventually. 

And last but not least, Foundation! It’s another medieval city-builder but it’s got this organic-city-building going on which is quite neat: You basically build the most important buildings and roads to shape your city but the citizens build their houses on their own near the important places, meaning that it’s a lot more realistic, in my opinion. The idea sounded quite nice but I sadly didn’t get to play it.

Anyways, for the last interview, I talked to Philippe Dion, Co-Founder and Creative Director of Polymorph Games, the studio behind Foundation!

What was the most fun part about developing Foundation?

“That’s a great question! For ourselves, the two Co-Founders, this is our dream project! We always liked city builders and games like Anno and the Settlers. And we really wanted to do something different with the organic world. The most fun we had was when that organic-feature actually worked. So, when people walk around, roads and paths will form there, too, and when you build the different buildings, they will build their houses around them where the area is desirable. All these mechanics are the result of us working together and when you realise that it’s all working now, that’s an awesome feeling to have!”

So, by “organic” you mean that one only builds a few buildings and the people build their houses around it?

“Maybe it’s easier to understand by saying that you build everything except for housing? The villagers will decide where to build their houses depending on the desirability of the area, the roads and that kind of stuff. The player will use the zoning-tool to ‘paint’ a residential area into the city so that houses will only be built there.”

In what stage is the game currently in?

“The game is already in Early Access on Steam, so we’re updating it constantly. It’s far from finished at this point, but it’s probably around 50 to 60% of the content. We don’t have an estimated date of release, yet, though.”

So, what’s your favourite game of all time?

“[…] For me it’s not a city-building game but actually a different genre. My favourite game is Resident Evil 4. The most perfect game I’ve ever played. I really enjoy Dawn of Discovery, aka Anno 1404, [too].”

And yeah, that wraps the interview up. I’m quite intrigued by all these games and while I’m not sure if I’ve understood the part about organic-city-building, I kind of imagine it to be similar to Cities: Skylines where you build everything apart from Industrial, Commercial and Residential areas (and the later stuff that I never get to because of my cities being a mess!). Maybe I’ll be able to check it out quite soon but we’ll see about that.

Anyways, this post ended up kind of long but I wanted to wrap the interviews up by Saturday (today) and in hindsight, I probably could have put the “Kingdom”-interview into the same post as the “Ring of Pain“-one since Kingdom used to be a rogue-like-game, too, but then again I never thought that it’d be so much work to transcribe these interviews into a written format, then do the layout-ing and all that. In the future, I’ll be planning better questions, work on my recording methods, and prepare the posts in advance so that I’ll be able to just get those posts out in little to no time at all. 

Okay, so that’s it for the interview posts and that’s also it for Blaugust! It’s been really challenging but I made it to 31 posts on 31 days even though I had a few small issues with WordPress on two days. Feel free to leave feedback on these interviews and comment on what games you’re excited for! 🙂 

Cheers!

This post is part of a contest/challenge called Blaugust! The goal is to post as much as possible and participants are awarded with different prizes depending on the goal they achieved. My aim is to post on all 31 days of August and if you’d like to know more about this “event”, you should check this post out.

The Stray Sheep #23 – GamesCom-Interviews #5 – Tunic & Overland

Look at this cute little Fox here! Awww!

Okay, so today’s Stray Sheep will cover the interview with Rebekah Saltsman, the Publisher of a small cute game called Tunic (which, btw, has incredible combat and features an insanely cute fox as the protagonist) and the Co-Founder and CEO of Finji Games and one of the Devs behind Overland, a turn-based survival game set in a post-apocalyptic world! 

You’re the CEO of Finji Games but you’re also a publisher, right?

“[Yes], […] Finji is the dev-studio that is making Overland but we’re also an independent publisher, so we’re also publishing Tunic […] and overall small teams that need the skills and expertise that my studio has.”

So, what makes Overland unique from other Survival-Games?

“Oh, there’s actually not much in that genre. Strategy-games are hard to make in the first place. Because we’re Indie, we’re actually allowed to break a lot of rules. So, what makes Overland a unique one is that we’ve been focusing on appealing to a hardcore strategy-player but also be legible enough, be clear enough in the UI and [other ways] to allow newer players to the genre that don’t play video games to be able to play the game and actually learn it as they go. That’s been a pillar for us.

And I joke about this: People like me, like a 30yo mom like me, to be interested in playing strategy games. But like outside of these moms, anyone who doesn’t play strategy games should be able to play the game and learn it while doing so. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t hard, it means that the game is approachable. 

So that’s the main piece. People always talk about the artwork, this like very isometric-diorama-kinda-look to the game. All the credit goes to our art-director. And also the thematics in our game are unique. Overland is a game where you run a post-apocalyptic road trip across America. So, you’re meeting people and you’re making friends, you’re collecting supplies and the most important thing fuel since that is what keeps you driving. You’re [trying to make] as little noise as possible since the monsters are drawn towards that. 

And the thematic is actually unusual to that genre. […] The people that are part of your crew are procedurally generated. […] Every time you play the game, the people are going to be different, the areas are going to be different, and the scenarios that you’re getting into are going to be different.”

How many different regions are you going to drive through on your road trip?

“There’s going to be about seven, I believe. The region you’re seeing here is the city-scape, the eastern edge of the game. After it you’re going to drive into the woodlands, and the mountains, and the desert, and each one of those regions is, one, at the size of this whole demo and, two, all have different environments and assets and some of the items that you’re going to access are going to change as you move into these different areas.”

“Although Overland is a rogue-like, we’re not cruel”, she explains. The game is huge, so you’re going to be able to continue from different parts onwards, as long as you’ve survived the road-block, which is the boss-level of each region. 

What was the most fun part of the work process for you personally?

“On the screen, […] every person has a past and a present. These are parts of the game that we call our story-hopes. What was really important to me, and Adam actually, from the beginning was having a strategy-game that encourages players to tell their own story. Throughout this entire design, with all these different criteria, we were intrigued by the idea of the players getting more and more information about the characters. The player is going to be able to talk about their own personal road trip as they play this strategy-game. These are all randomly generated, so Diana for example [in this demo] wanted to open a bar with her friend and has troubles waking up. What you think about Diana and what I think about Diana is completely different based on the people that we know and our life-experiences. And we now have put all these different people with random pasts and presents into a car with you but we also highlight other things and actions that happen to you. 

So, for example, if one of your characters murders another character, then you have a murderer in your car. If your character was revived because of someone knowing CPR, then your character is labelled as “has come back to life”. Now other players might think that your character is more vulnerable but that’s not the case because you’re reminded of all the past and present events that build their own little story-line. And that is what I’ve been working on with Adam for years now […]. 

So, let’s talk about Tunic, next. What is Tunic about?

“In Tunic, you play as a tiny fox who’s on an adventure in a big world and who’s fighting bad guys, obviously since you’ve seen that sword, and discovering secrets. And that’s kind of our one-line-pitch.

A lot of people will think, ‘Oh, it’s a Zelda-like’, but we don’t actually have the puzzle-dungeons or anything like that. Tunic is very combat-heavy so it has a lot of player-choice in the way you go in and engage in combat-scenarios. There’s a lot of different weapons and items that you get access and get a hold of as you play the game, and as you approach these combat-scenarios you can kind of engage with them however you want and it’s a lot done in Andrew’s beautiful style! It’s very whimsical, cause Andrew is really whimsical. 

So, the way the Fox moves and the way the world looks is 100% because of Andrew’s personality. He’s a very joyful human to be around, but also he’s an incredible combat- and level-designer. He’s approaching those points on how to make the combat and the exploration so much fun. That’s part of why he and Adam get on so well because they have these design-discussions about what is best for their particular games and how to take the game’s direction forward.[…]”

So, onwards to some “quirky” questions because “I’m no professional”. So, if you were a superhero what would your quirk and name be?

“Oh, if I were a superhero… I would want to re-do time.” (we both laugh)

“I mean, this literally because I’m in the middle of making this game right now. […] [Accessing] more time just by pausing it so that I’m the only one moving, I would want that. I don’t know what I would call myself as I’m bad with puns. I’d either would want that [super power] or I would want to clone myself into multiple versions of me.”

So, your name was…. *checks her sign* 

“Bekah”

Well, if you’d want to re-do time, you’d be Re-Bekah!

“That’s my name. Oh my god! Oh, that’s so bad! I love it! So cool! But also so horrible!”

*laughs* If you want to clone yourself it would also be Re-Bekah, I guess, and if you don’t want it to sound like your name and turn back time…well…Reboot-Kah?

“I could also mess around with RNA and DNA, and if you give me enough nerd-time, I could come up with some stupid genetic version of my name.”

Okay, next (and the most important) question: Dr Pepper is the best soft-drink ever, right?

“Uhm, my mom says so.”

Awesome!

So, if you could meet one character from any game in our world. Who would it be and what would you do with them? 🙂

“Uhm, I’d probably take Princess Peach shopping. That poor little girl’s stuck in that little dress forever. She needs, like, some jammies or something. That’s gotta be a heavy dress. So, Princess Peach! And I’d only do that because I play her in Smash, badly, but yeah.”

Oh, when’s Tunic and Overland coming out btw?

Overland is coming out this fall, so it’ll be out before Christmas, so stay tuned on all of them, including consoles. For Tunic, we don’t have one. Sorry. But when I do, y’all be the first to know. Don’t worry.”

Thank you!

So, yeah, that’s it for today’s post. I hope you enjoyed this little insight into Tunic and Overland. Both looked like great games that I’d have fun playing with! Especially since Overland‘s going to scratch my need for strategy-games and since Tunic‘s going to scratch my need for cute exploration-games with great combat! ❤ 

It’s been a lot of fun talking to Rebekah! 

Anyways,

Cheerio! 

This post is part of a contest/challenge called Blaugust! The goal is to post as much as possible and participants are awarded with different prizes depending on the goal they achieved. My aim is to post on all 31 days of August and if you’d like to know more about this “event”, you should check this post out.

The Stray Sheep #22 – GamesCom-Interviews #4 – Answer Knot, Nanotale & Necrobarista

So, today’s Stray Sheep is going to cover the next three interviews. This one features Naraven Games’ Answer Knot, Fishing Cactus’ Nanotale – Typing Chronicles and Route 59’s Necrobarista. After this, there’s going to be two more posts with interviews, featuring the dev/publisher of Tunic and Overland in one postand the devs of Kingdom, Flotsam, and Foundation in another post, so stay tuned for those!

Before we’re going into the actual interviews, I’d like to update you on what’s going to happen after all these interviews are posted: 

In two days, Blaugust is coming to an end which is why I’m going to feature three games in two interview posts from now on. On September 1st, I’ll publish a post about what I’ve learned from all this and that kinda stuff. 

Anyways, let’s get to those interviews. Answer Knot is a “short narration and exploration game about Zach, June, and a strange phenomenon”. You’re playing as Zach and you’re hearing June’s messages on your answering machine. To hear the next message and find out what’s happening outside of the house, you need to complete tasks in your apartment like checking if there’s beer in the fridge or turn on the radio. 

I talked to Julia Jeanneret, the narrative designer of Answer Knot, who, at first, didn’t want to do an interview in person in fear of me putting her on the spot – but I’d never do anything like that, right? 

What was the most exciting or even fun part about working on this project?

“The most fun part? […] I guess the photo-shooting was the most fun. That really was only fun. [When] you play the game, you see all those photos of these two actors, they don’t know each other in real life, […]. There’re the snow and the lake and everything was taken on the same day in Geneva! That was probably the most fun about it all.”

What’s your biggest inspiration for this game, the story and everything?

“The story-line was very heavily inspired by an audio-youtube video called ‘Colds‘” [remind me to link that one] 

“And game-wise it’s more inspired by Gone Home and all those walking-simulators.” 

[Due to it being quite late that day, I didn’t ask that many questions as I also limited myself to about 5-minute-interviews! And a few questions just kind of weren’t audible at all, so…]

Now, we’ll talk about a few fun questions. So, if you were a superhero, what would your superpower and hero name be?

“[…] I gotta think about my name… but I guess my superpower would be being able to make an entire game by my self because I don’t like relying that much on people. I love people, but seriously I’d like to be able to do everything by myself.”

Yeah, I hate people, too. 

“And for my name… I don’t know, I guess I’ll have to think about it a bit longer. […]”

Uhm, since you’re Julia… how about… Solo-ia. Okay, that’s quite bad, let’s proceed. 

If you could meet one video game character from any game in real life, who would it be and what would you do with them? 

“[…] Aw, I feel like I’m going to say something super lame and think later that I should’ve said something better.”

Don’t worry. If it’s super lame, I’ll cut it out later.

“Thank you!” (laughs)

 Just kidding.

“I think I would like to meet Nathan Drake.”

Who?

“Nathan Drake from the Uncharted Series and I would just hang out with him.”

Oh, okay. I haven’t played those.

“You haven’t played the Uncharted Series?”

Well, tbh, I think I own it on Steam but my laptop’s too bad to run it… so… yeah. Will try it out later. [Possible LttP-post here!]

“Yeah, you should. Then you’ll also see what a fun person Nathan is.”

What’s your favourite antagonist?

“I think, it’s GlaDos from Portal.”

Oh, she’s great! And what’s your favourite game right now?

“That’s something you shouldn’t ask.”

How about your ALL-TIME-favourite game then? 😛

“[…] I have several games that are linked to different parts of my life. There’s Skyrim, Life is Strange, God of War, Pokémon, Kingdom Hearts, and I guess it’s a mix of all these different games! But I can’t pick a favourite, that’s too difficult for me. 

It’s like what’s your favourite child?”

(Some other dev in the back): “Not that one.”

“Everyone but this one!”

So, yeah, that’s the interview basically. I had a lot of fun talking to Julia and I really enjoyed Answer Knot, especially since I’m one of those not-answering-people myself and I felt bad for June and stuff… The story took an interesting turn and I didn’t really expect it all that much. The puzzling was great and, well, I guess I can’t really say much about it because of spoilers and all that! It’s actually available on Steam for free right now, so you should definitely check it out, as it doesn’t even take that much time to play! Lovely! 🙂

For the next interview, I’ve talked to the artist of Nanotale – Typing Chronicles, Amandine Flahaut. Nanotale‘s a typing game and there’s lots of exploring and fighting/typing going on there.

What was the most exciting part of working on this game? 

“Uhm… Everything. […] I’m the artist, so I work at the art directions of the game and I created everything, so I created the world and I tried to keep the same art style as in [Epistory] our first game while still changing the world. […] Even coming here [to the GamesCom] and speaking to people about the game, is really exciting for me.”

How satisfied are you with the game at its current stage? Are there any plans for future updates?

“Oh, what you see is a demo. […] We’re improving a lot of things right now and we’re going to add a few more things and big areas like this one since this is only the first area. I want to make things a lot more beautiful but I [also] think that we’re doing great for now. […] The more you want to do now, the less good the result becomes.”

If you were a superhero, what would your power and hero name be?

“Oh, I already am a superhero. I am CUTTER GIRL! I am clumsy and imagine the world being in danger and you telling me to do anything but press that one dangerous button. Well, I’d manage to do just do that. I’ll [trip], something behind me falls and presses the button.”

And that’s your superpower?

“Eh, Yes! Because I can just leave the villains alone and when they escape something bad happens to them, so they’ll just wait there for the police to come.”

If you could meet one character from Nanotale in real life who would it be?

“[…] The green jasper! It’s some kind of a mix between an axolotl, a rabbit and a cat. It’s very cute. It has some kind of kink ears. And I think it would be great to have it in real life as well! Oh, and it smells of MINTS!”

So, Nanotale is coming out soon. Check it out! It’s looking great and for a typing game, some fights felt quite intense, to say the least! I really appreciated the prototype for a holographic monitor that they had set up near the booth. Looking forward to how that one’s going to get developed in the future! 🙂 

Onto the last interview for today! Necrobarista is about a back-alley café in Melbourne where “the dead are granted one last night to mingle with the living”. It’s a visual novel with 3D-animation by Route 59. I’ve interviewed Ngoc Vu, the lead artist for this game.

So, what inspired you to make Necrobarista?

“The director, the 3D-artists and I sat together while we all studied together at Uni. We were all discussing how much we were loving Anime [and] how much we were loving visual novels and [since] we studied Unity during our university years we thought ‘why not just make a 3D-style visual novel?’. And that was the main pillar of the development of Necrobarista.”

So, Necrobarista is about a coffee shop were spirits and humans go to. Is it a rather peaceful game or does it get intense later on, too?

“It does get a little intense later on but I’d say that, for the most part, it’s quite a cosy game. […]”

What was the most exciting part about working on this project?

“The most exciting part was deciding how we are going to produce the facial features for all the characters. That was the part that has undergone the most iterations. I would say especially how we’re creating the eyes […] with all its features like pupils, eyelashes, etc. And pretty much every facial feature has its own engine.”

Are you satisfied with the game at its current stage and are there any plans for future updates, chapters, and that kind of stuff?

“We are very happy with the game. So, the story is finished. The artwork is all locked in. Currently, we’re polishing menus and UI and player experience. As for updates, we are planning to release a DLC which will feature four new side characters and hopefully it will come out a little bit after the release date.”

So, now I’m going to ask those aforementioned “quirky questions” because I’m no professional. (She laughs) If you were a superhero what would your hero name and quirk be? 

“I’m a bit of a sticky bee” (I think that’s what she said but I’m not too sure… hit me up with corrections if it was something else!)

“I’d like to read people’s minds. […] As for a name… Oh, I’m really terrible with coming up with names. Maybe, the Needle.” (Again, not sure if that’s what she said. It was quite loud at the place and… yeah.)

She hates Dr Pepper, so I’ll just leave it at that. Next year I’ll come up with better questions for sure. :[ 

What’s your favourite video-game antagonist? or if that’s too hard, your favourite Anime-antagonist

“[…] There’s so many. I’d say Vegeta [as my favourite anime-antagonist] from Dragon Ball. But he turns into a pretty good guy.”

Spoilers.

“Well, too bad for you, if you haven’t seen Dragon Ball after twenty years. 

Well, yeah, he’s my favourite antagonist.”

Okay, so if you could meet a video-game character. Who would it be and what would you do together?

“[…] I was about to say Tingle from the Zelda-series but maybe not now… with him. […] Maybe rather Dr. [Hershel] Layton?”

That’d be so awesome! I love the Prof. Layton games!

“We’d probably go find coins […] and go fishing for fountain coins. Or he’d give me math-problems and put me back into eight-grade high school.”

So, Necrobarista‘s coming out soon, too, and as I may or may not do a review on that, I didn’t really want to spoil myself too much by already playtesting it there! So, I can’t really say much about it apart from the fact that it looked really cool and that the team behind it seemed really cool 😀 

Anyways, that’s it for today’s post. A bit late again, I know, but I’ve got no schedule, so nobody cares, I guess.

Tomorrow’s post will be about Tunic and Overland. Stay tuned for that one!

Anyways, have a good morning/day/evening/night/whatever and don’t forget:

Sometimes coffee makes you sleepier after drinking it, resulting in you falling alseep even though you wanted to stay up.

This post is part of a contest/challenge called Blaugust! The goal is to post as much as possible and participants are awarded with different prizes depending on the goal they achieved. My aim is to post on all 31 days of August and if you’d like to know more about this “event”, you should check this post out.

The Stray Sheep #21 – GamesCom-Interviews #3 – Sea Salt and Elden: Path of the Forgotten

Today I started my job at a nearby school which is why today’s Stray Sheep may be a bit later than usual – but then again, I don’t have fixed times for my post anyways, apart from daily during Blaugust, so it shouldn’t matter.

In today’s post, I’ll share the next two interviews with you. This time we’re featuring Y/CJ/Y’s Sea Salt, an action-strategy-hybrid based on Lovecraftian horror stories, and Onerat Pty Ltd’s Elden: Path of the Forgotten, which is Hyper Light Drifter but in a lot more brutal and featuring eldritch creatures! I enjoy both games and, well, I’m also a Lovecraft-fanboy, so let’s see what the devs had to say!

In Sea Salt, you’re playing as Dagon, one of the eldritch gods of the sea, and you are in control of a horde of minions and monsters. You kill humans, get upgrades, increase your swarm, get better units with different benefits and so on. It reminded me a lot of Right click to Necromance, which is also quite a lot of fun! 🙂 For this interview, I talked to Christopher Andreasson, the programmer of the Swedish duo behind Sea Salt. The C in “WhyCJWhy” consists of Christopher, who describes himself as “little below average” on their homepage, and Joseph Martinovsky, the “kinda tall” Graphics-guy.

What was your biggest inspiration for the game?

“Well, we started making this game on a game-jam in Sweden and by then we loved Bloodbourne. I mean, we still really love Bloodbourne. So, for the art-style that was our heaviest inspiration – and Bloodbourne is in parts inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s work as well, so… it’s a huge inspiration by Lovecraft in the game. And at the game-jam, I wanted to do something with path-finding and A.I., so the idea of controlling a group of minions was something that we wanted to do there. Then I looked at games like Pikmin […] and Overlord but we didn’t want [the player] to control a hero character who’s using the minions as tools but instead, we wanted the player to control a group of minions, creating a path of death, fear and destruction.”

What was the most fun in the development?

“I think since it’s quite a unique way to control the game, I had the most fun at making the controls as intuitive as possible. At the start, we had a bunch of different buttons and the idea to activate different minions in a lot of different ways. I like how we then kept it simple, with the controls on one stick and a button to attack basically.

That made it easy for people to just pick it up and play. Like, we showed it to a bunch of friends and other developers and stuff. […] Making the tutorial for the game was also quite enjoyable, as we had a tutorial at the beginning that was very poorly made. As we showed the game to other people we always had to explain the same things, so now we just put those things into the tutorial. We also made a boss for the tutorial which is a lot cooler now.

When we were done with the tutorial, I was quite proud of it and overall I think this game was the most fun [whilst] developing it.”

Since you’re a smaller studio with only a few games developed so far, do you have any role-models that you aspire to be like?

“[…] My favourite would probably be Miyazaki […]. I also aspire a few other Indie devs whose names I can’t recall right now. […]”

In Sea Salt, you control a bunch of different creatures. What’s your favourite to control?

“Usually it’s the latest one we made, but now that we haven’t made one for a while I think the runner-up for the favourites is the Worm which is like one of the most basic minions in the game and it feels like a sleeper-hit because it’s super-strong but it looks so weak. It’s the first minion you unlock in the game.

But I think that my absolute favourite is one of the creatures that you unlock later into the game, the Toad. It’s just a massive toad that will jump to nearby enemies and they die in a huge explosion. It’s so satisfying when the toad jumps into a huge crowd of enemies and they all just die. Yeah, I think that’s my favourite!”

Okay, now we’ll continue with the previously mentioned “weird questions”.

“Yeah, sure!”

Dr Pepper is the best soft-drink, right? (I just had to)

“No. (laughs) No no, not at all.”

I just won’t mention that, jk. So, since One Punch Man has a game now, also with a booth at the GamesCom, I’d like to ask this: If you were a superhero, what would your superhero name and superpower be?

“I think I would like to stop time – and I know that wouldn’t work because of time-travelling and space-time and stuff. But like, just stopping it, pausing time. I would use it to sleep more, get more rest.

Oh! Maybe I’d chose teleportation instead. That’s so much better. Yeah, I’d chose to teleport!”

I mean, it’s quite similar, isn’t it? If you stopped time, walked somewhere and then unpaused it, it would be like teleportation, right?

“Nah, I would choose teleportation. Like, instead of standing in line here, I would just teleport home, to my apartment, go to the toilet there, and teleport back. Yeah, I’d be toilet-man!”

So, that’s the interview with Christopher! Quite a nice lad, apart from the Dr Pepper thing… oh well. Sea Salt will be coming out this year! Look out for that or maybe even wishlist it on steam!

But let’s talk about Elden now! Elden: Path of the Forgotten is quite a nice game, too. It’s a medieval, eldritch fantasy game that is relying on non-traditional methods to tell its story, which is also known as Environmental Storytelling! You are thrown into this world and can learn more about the story by reading books in foreign languages with pictures and the like in them. There’re also cut-scenes without voice that tell it, so a lot of the story is left to you, the player. I really enjoyed its combat and the art-style. So, for Elden, I’ve interviewed Dylan J. Walker from Onerat Games.

What was the muse for this game?

“Oh, well, obviously a lot of Lovecraft and things like Dark Souls… Or rather Bloodbourne, since, as well, more Lovecraft! And it’s the fear of the unknown, which is one of the best elements of Lovecraft.”

While we’re at it, what’s your favourite Lovecraft-story?

“Uhm, probably, just the Dunwich Horror. It probably has the most parallels to the story in the game.”

My favourite is actually The Colour Out of Space.

“I haven’t read it yet! I really need to. I have it on my phone, with me, and I wanna read it on my flight back.”

[At this point, I wonder if he has and how he enjoyed it. If you’re reading this, tell me! I’d love to hear! :D]

What was the most fun part of the work on this game?

“Probably working out how to tell the story with only visuals because I’m not a big fan of menus and that sort of thing, so there’s not a lot of menus in the game. There’s no text. So we need to bring it across without any of that. It’s been a really big challenge to solve the story with just that. But this bit of a challenge definitely was the most fun part!”

In your opinion, what’s the most fun part of this game’s combat?

“I tried to make it really reactive [so that] you can’t just stand there and click and expect things to die. You constantly need to be active and moving around. That for sure was the most part of it, for me personally.”

Okay, so now I’m getting to a few weird questions because I don’t want to sound like a professional. I’m only an Indie Blogger, hehe. So, if you were a superhero, what would your name and power be?

“Oh, you’re trying to put me on the spot! […] Well, super power.. it would probably be something like telekinesis. That’d be pretty nice, just controlling everything using my brain.

As for the name… I’m the worst in finding names. It took me two years to get my gamer-name.”

How about the name-finder then? After you capture the villains, you give them new names, so that they can start a new life after being punished and having been in jail and stuff.

“That works. I like that.”

If you could meet one video-game-character from any game and spend a day with them, who would you like to meet and what would you do with them?

“Oh, these are really hard questions. You really like putting me on the spot! […] Well, usually I like playing RPGs where it’s more about creating your own character. […] I’m thinking… I can’t think of the name. It’s from Metro 2033. Khan is also quite good but it’s not the one I’m thinking of right now… but yeah, I’d like to take control and [tell] people [to] do the tunnel-stuff!”

Okay, for the last and most important question: Dr Pepper is the superior soft-drink, right? (I know, I’m a fanatic, don’t mind me, I thought it’d be fun.)

“Yes! I actually completely agree with that! In Australia, where I’m from, you can’t get it anywhere but in America, when I go there, it’s like everywhere! And it’s very good! It’s bliss!”

Okay, so that was the Interview with Dylan from Onerat Games. It’s been a lot of fun and, well, Elden: Path of the Forgotten is coming out soon, too! Release in 2019! 🙂

While my job was quite exhausting and while I’ve got to head out soon as well, I found it quite relaxing to finish this post first before real life is trying to mess with me again. This could count as my contribution to Blaugust’s “Staying-Motivated-Week”: Don’t let your Offline-stuff mess with you. Fight it head on and write about it or escape from it and write something! Writing is great to escape but even better to treat wounds.

Anyways,

Peace out!

This post is part of a contest/challenge called Blaugust! The goal is to post as much as possible and participants are awarded with different prizes depending on the goal they achieved. My aim is to post on all 31 days of August and if you’d like to know more about this “event”, you should check this post out.

The Stray Sheep #20 – GamesCom-Interviews #2 – Through The Darkest of Times & Resort

Okay in today’s Stray Sheep, we’re traveling in time as we’re not only visiting the darkest of times (in Through the Darkest of Times) and the 60s/70s (in Resort) but also going back into the future (in a short bit about GravityLane). These are the second and the third GamesCom-Interview! Sadly, I couldn’t interview GravityLane 981’s devs, but I will for sure, next time!

So, for Through the Darkest of Times, I’ve asked the questions in German! This was, of course, because of the fact that the game is about Nazi-Germany and all that – not because of me and the dev being German. No, that’d be too much of a coincidence, wouldn’t it?

Anyways, I haven’t thought it through all that much since I, now, have to translate the dev’s answers into English again, although he could’ve answered in English all along. Yep. I’m stupid. But I didn’t have my morning coffee on that day, so I guess I can be forgiven.

Okay, so, Through the Darkest of Times is basically a strategic simulation based on the horrible events of the years of 1933 to 1945 where you lead an underground resistance group to fight the NS-regime.

After having played the game for a bit (and it was great gameplay at that btw), I had the chance to talk to one of the devs of Paintbucket Games, Jan-Dirk Verbeek, and ask a few questions about him and the game.

Since I’ve been too busy worrying about halls filled with people and my anxieties and all that stuff, I ended up not thinking up all that many different questions, leading to me asking every dev the same questions (apart from the weird ones). GG, I’d say.

That way we get the most interesting answers and can compare them! Yep. All planned. For sure.

What was your biggest inspiration for the game?

“The biggest inspiration for the game? Well, I’d like to point at Paintbucket Games’ founders as I joined a bit later. I myself was really intrigued by the topic. I found it really interesting to work on a game with a topic this dark that isn’t ‘funny’ but still ‘entertaining’.”

What was the most exciting part of developing this project?

“Oh, well, I’d have to think about that for a bit. I myself am only a programmer. I’d say, 80% programmer, 20% game designer. Most of the time [the most exciting part] is planning a feature or a game mechanic together with my other game designer co-workers and then to actually turn that plan into reality, as a programmer. It’s a lot of fun to find cool solutions to make it as efficient as possible.”

How satisfied are you with the game at its current state?

“Well, we fundamentally have built everything now and are now in the process of actually polishing everything. Now it all becomes really pretty, I’m satisfied, and of course, there are a few features that we’d like to implement before the release but other than that I’m quite satisfied.”

Gestapo knocking

Okay, so now we’ll get to a few “different” questions, cause there’s probably a ton of other, actual journalists that only ask the boring ones.

“Oh, so, now’s the point where I should flee, right?” (laughs)

What’s your favourite game?

“I’m developing games, I’m not playing them anymore. (laughs) Jokes aside, that sounds stupid but it’s really often the case that you don’t get the chance to play videogames as a game dev.”

Oh, well, then let me rephrase the question: Of all time?

“I really enjoyed playing strategy and roleplaying games, but also games like Desperados and [inaudible]. I’ve also played Gothic for quite some time. And, well, more strategy, I guess.”

If you could meet one videogame-character IRL, who would it be and what would you do together?

“That’s quite a difficult question! (thinks) Maybe going into some sort of Video Game Hell with Kate O’Hara from Desperados… I know, quite a droll answer.”

What’s your favourite videogame-antagonist?

“A really great antagonist? Oooh, I’ll have to think of something… I can’t name one right now but I really like it when you’re able to understand an antagonist’s motives even when you’re disliking his or her methods.”

Okay, so last question: If you were a superhero, what would your hero name and quirk be?

“Oh, man, if I were a superhero, I wouldn’t be here. No, (laughs) I’d probably just wait somewhere for something to happen and then jump into the action heroicly to save the day. Just kidding. (thinks)

Well, as for a quirk, I couldn’t give a real answer right now…maybe something with math and system engineering! I know, it’s really concrete for a theoretical answer…”

Reshaping the world…

“Exactly, just having intuitive knowledge about different systems and maybe the ability to manipulate them…”

Using an Apple Macbook (laughs)

“Nope, not that. I’m not an Apple user!”

Well, this hero remains unknown to the world since he always vanishes and clears the data cache and browser history of your minds! Nobody knows who he is! I guess that’s why I don’t have an answer to the hero-name-part of this question… That must be it!

Well, Through the Darkest of Times was really fun to play as I love managing resources, planning out missions and all that stuff. I kind of felt reminded of games like Beholder and Do Not Feed The Monkeys as there’re multiple ways of doing things here and as you’re able to play the game differently, every time you start it.

There’s also a rogue-like-aspects to it, as your character and crew always get randomly generated and as there always are different events mixed into the actual historical events that make the experience unique every time you start a campagne. Lovely!

Another German Dev I found was Matthias Nikutta from Backwoods Entertainment, the studio behind Resort, an atmospheric mystery-thriller-game where you’re interviewing people refusing to leave the former health resort, Larburnum Creek, as the writer Laura Tanner before a comet is threatening to destroy the whole area! “But there’s something rotten at the heart of this picturesque town. A story exploration game between dreams and reality.”

Of course, there’s a reason why I asked him the questions in german: I was lazy and stupid, which is why I now, again, have to translate the answers into English without losing the meaning (I’ll try my best!). I hope you don’t mind. The other interviews all are in English, though!

What was the most exciting part about developing this game?

“We’re still in development, at an early stage as well. It’s the first time that we’re showing the game anywhere in public. We’ve been working on this project for about a year now. We’ve developed a prototype before that but weren’t satisfied with that one, so we just threw it all away and started working on this prototype here. What you’re able to see is only about two to three months old, though.”

What was your biggest inspiration for this title?

“Story-wise, we’ve been inspired by a lot of tv-shows like Twin Peaks, X-Files, Fargo, and mystery-stories like that, and style-wise, we were inspired by games like Firewatch, Dead Static Drive, a bit of Kentucky Road Zero, and a lot of those 60s/70s nature park/resort posters. We used the latter for fictive world-building of some places and the setting in the game, which you can see here on these postcards and posters.”

Okay, so, Uhm, now I’m asking a few weird questions since I am no professional… If you were a super-hero, what would your hero name and your quirk be?

“My her name would be….. Matmoiselle and.. my quirk would be teleportation! That’d be practical.”

And Matmaiselle..?

“That’s my stage name.” (laughs)

Dr Pepper is the best soft-drink, right?

“Nope, not at all. I don’t like Dr Pepper at all, the name is cool but the taste is not. Sorry.”

Awww… 😦

If you could meet one videogame-character from any game in our world here to do something together for one day, who would it be and what would you do together?

“I really like Guybrush Threepwood from Monkey Island and […] just relax outside a bit. I like being outside.”

[We laugh about a joke I made that I can’t talk about on here.]

Okay, so what’s your favourite videogame-antagonist?

“My favourite antagonist? Let me think a bit..” (thinks for about 28 seconds) “Maybe Gravelord Nito from Dark Souls. He’s got a very epic character design, and…yeah.”

To round it all up, I really enjoyed talking to these devs. I should’ve known but I didn’t, at all, know that there’d be this many german devs. There were also ByteRockers’ Games who presented their homage to Portal, Gravity Lane 981, a game where you solve puzzles with a hamster-powered portal-gun that also is able to control gravity and do other things. Really interesting, but only in development for about four months now. Still looked really cool.

Since the devs looked quite busy, I ended up not interviewing them. But I’d be glad to check out their game once it’s out, since I’m a huge Portal-fan!

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed these two interviews! Feel free to leave some feedback and always remember:

If you’re 50 Gold short, destroy the enemy nexus! – LoL

This post is part of a contest/challenge called Blaugust! The goal is to post as much as possible and participants are awarded with different prizes depending on the goal they achieved. My aim is to post on all 31 days of August and if you’d like to know more about this “event”, you should check this post out.

The Stray Sheep #19 – GamesCom-Interviews #1 – Ring of Pain!

So, for today’s Stray Sheep I’m publishing the first interview I ever did. As for context: I’ve visited the GamesCom last thursday, for the first time, and not only did I check out a ton of cool new games there, but I also talked to a lot of cool devs and even interviewed some of them, including Simon Boxer from Melbourne, Australia. He’s an artist and indie game dev.

His studio, Twice Different, is currently working on Ring of Pain, a new rogue-like-dungeon-crawler based on cards which I reckon to be the new Slay the Spire! I really enjoyed myself playing RoP and had a lot of fun talking to Simon. For my interview with him I thought of a few questions about the game and its development, as well as some “weird and quirky” questions about him, so I hope you enjoy these!

What was your biggest inspiration for the game?

“The game has a lot of inspirations and it’s also kind of a reaction of the previous game I made which was called Bounce House and it’s a game about bouncing children off a bouncing castle and it was really super colourful and cartoony. After making that I wanted to make something really dark.

And so I was thinking about what could I make using my skill-set, ’cause I was originally an artist before I was beginning to program and so I thought a turn-based card-game could be something, something that I could probably do. And so, within that small scope I [wanted to] mashup things I love: Card-games, Rogue-likes and Dungeon-Crawlers. I tried to make something that was fresh and innovated in some ways to make something new and interesting.”

What’s planned for Ring of Pain’s future, update-wise?

“We’re aiming to do an Early Access early next year, and when we’re in the Early Access we wanna be doing consistent updates with community feedback […] about new features and continue to build it out from there. There’s a lot of stuff that I want to add that is yet to get into the game and obviously, we haven’t released it yet […].”

What was the most exciting/fun part about working on this project?

“I think just having creative freedom […]. I have full creative control to decide on what direction this is project is going to take with a very dark and cryptic narrative that is laid on this world that is presented as a distorted place of fear and delusions.

So, it’s been really enjoyable to just try and decide on this work and the creative direction and just keep on improving and improving it until it becomes something interesting.”

And now some personal questions I guess. What’s your favourite game? Of all time!

“OF ALL TIME! Oh wow! I have so many favourite games, I mean, I started playing games, like, in the 90s. Some things that are very close to my heart are the Ultima series even though that’s very different, like I learned a lot playing the Ultima games especially Ultima 7 which I’ve played a lot, so I really love those and that might be something to call out.

And as for newer things, obviously Slay the Spire, as that had a big influence on my game, The Binding of Isaac […]. Yeah, I love so many different games. Like, I play Rocket League, I play FPS like Apex […], strategy and puzzle games like The Witness […], and a lot of genres, so it’s hard to find a favourite.”

Dr Pepper is the superior soft-drink, right?

“Yes, definitely! Dr Pepper is great!”

(Thank you)

Okay, so for the final question I’d like to ask: If you were a super-hero what would your hero-name and your superpower be?

“My Superhero-Name would probably be just Simon but with a P in front of it, so it’s like Psimon. And I definitely wanna be teleporting around, like I just don’t wanna use my legs anymore.

I wanna teleport around, especially between countries cause being from Australia it takes actually over a day to get to this side of the world.”

So, well, this was the first interview. I’m really excited for Ring of Pain and can’t wait for the release! As a side-note, I should mention that, since the GamesCom is such a huge convention and since I wasn’t recording with an external microphone, some parts of the audio weren’t audible.

After a while, I resolved this issue by adding “[…]” to the answers to indicate (no pun here, move on) that there’s been two or three more words that are missing. I’ve only exluded them because of the fact that I couldn’t understand them. Next time I do something like this, I’ll probably use an external microphone or even something else instead of my phone.

But that’s where this post ends. I hope you enjoyed this post! Leave some feedback if you want to and stay tuned for some more interviews that I’ll release in the following days.

Anyways,

Stay cool! And hydrated!

Note: I’ve added the pictures after I’ve published the post. I only just found the press-kit, meaning that I now have more than just one screenshot available.

This post is part of a contest/challenge called Blaugust! The goal is to post as much as possible and participants are awarded with different prizes depending on the goal they achieved. My aim is to post on all 31 days of August and if you’d like to know more about this “event”, you should check this post out.

The Stray Sheep #18 – The GamesCom-experience!

Okay, so for today’s Stray Sheep I wanted to talk about my first impressions on the GamesCom. In d(i)etail. Have fun.

I originally planned to play Bioshock today as “Late to the Party #2” but I should get this small little article out asap since the last day of GamesCom was yesterday (Saturday, the 24th of August). Also, I wanted to post the interviews I did in the following days… So LttP#2 will have to wait! For now.

For this post, I planned on talking about what I did before and at the GamesCom and then reflecting on what I could’ve done better in the same paragraphs.

So, I basically went to the GamesCom this year, for the first time. It’s, according to Wikipedia, the biggest gaming-convention on Earth! So, naturally, you’re going to have to book in advance. Since I live in Wuppertal which is only a 40-minute-train-ride away from Cologne (Köln Messe/Deutz, I didn’t have to plan for a place to sleep at and hence I can’t talk about that stuff.

GamesCom starts at 10am but I went there a bit late at 10:30 am since usually people storm the place to get an early look on Tripple-A titles like Borderlands 3, FF7 Remastered, Cyberpunk, etc. without having to wait for too long. My train (the RB48) was a twenty minutes (which is a bit of a German Meme, btw. “Sänk ju for träseling wis Deutsche Bahn!”), so I was tempted to take the RE7 (which also would’ve gone to Cologne) but it was way too full and I didn’t want elbows to end up in my stomach for forty minutes.. So, instead, I took the RB48 that arrived a bit after that one.

Since people think that the first train possible is the fastest, they usually just take that, leading to the next train to be relatively empty. I was able to sit down and enjoy conversations during that 40-minute train ride and had the comfort of having no elbow in my stomach.

So, keep in mind: There’s usually an empty train after the full train.

Once I got there, I got in quite easily. Security was really fast and since I had my ticket on my phone, I didn’t need that much time to get into the actual halls either. Most people print their tickets out but having them on your phone works, too. Most tickets also come with a train ticket, so you can save up on that, too.

But you should check what bus/train lines you’ve gotta take and what’s covered by the GamesCom-train/bus-ticket! Getting caught without a ticket on the train leads to a hefty fine of 80€ (about 90 US$)! Just don’t risk it. It’s not worth it.

In the halls themselves, I’d recommend getting a plan of the halls and stuff since I got lost quite often. Also if you want to play games that require you to be 18+ you should get one of those bracelets that can be acquired at most corners. Just bring your ID and it’s done quite fast. They’re also neat souvenirs – and I feel like I missed out on them, but I didn’t need them for the games I wanted to play.

I recommend talking to people! You can meet quite some cool people there. I met someone from Regensburg who was cosplaying Teemo from League of Legends. While meeting new people isn’t my favourite thing to do, it’s a lot easier to navigate through the halls when you’re with someone experienced.

This year, they increased the width of the hallways, so that it’s less cramped. If you’re claustrophobic, the GamesCom may not be the best goal for you but there’re also a lot of ways around the masses of people in wide outdoor-areas!

I previously mentioned Tripple-A-titles like FF7 and Borderlands 3 but I didn’t line up for any of them. The reason for that was the fact that I only was at the GamesCom for one day. I planned on making use of the full 10 hours and most of the waiting lines for those games required you to wait for 3+ hours which I just couldn’t be arsed to do.

If you want to wait that long, go ahead, but you should bring some sort of box to sit on or even a folding chair with you, as it can be quite a long wait. Also, don’t forget enough water, some food and a book as the wait can be quite long and as the halls are really hot with that many people!

I ended up checking out the new Indie Hall/Indie Village. I had a great time there talking to a lot of Indie Devs and even testing out new games that I’ve been excited about for quite some time, like Ring of Pain, Tunic and other games!

I sadly didn’t get to play Children of Morta since it was only accessible in the Business-area. The same goes for Cat Quest 2! I was really bummed out about that, especially since I’ve been searching for those games for a full three hours in between interviews only to find out that I just couldn’t get to them anyway. Sucks!

So, I guess next time I should find out in advance which games are in the Business Area (for “actual” journalists) and which ones are in the Normie-Zone.

I never got a chance to play ScorcheBringer since seemingly the testing-spaces were always occupied when I went there. So, next time I should stick around a bit longer for games like that. A fifteen-minute-wait is nothing compared to the half-hour wait for Blacksad (that I’ve stuck through, although I’m quite an impatient lad) or the three-hour wait for FF7 (that some people go through).

At last, I’d recommend talking to the Devs. They’re awesome! I love the whole Kingdom-franchise from the first game (at the time it was just “Kingdom” but it’s now called “Kingdom: Classic”) to the last and I always wanted to meet the devs! Even got to hug them and ask them some questions about their inspiration and development, which was really interesting! Stay tuned for that one, as well 😀

So, this is the “Guide through the GamesCom”, I guess?

As for my impressions, at first, I felt really lost but after a bit, I started to warm up and enjoy myself by quite a lot! I got to test out about 70% of the games that I planned on playing and if I had maybe booked for more days, I probably could’ve finished even more and even done other stuff like visiting the event-area or the cosplay-village.

At this note, I’d recommend booking tickets in advance, as they are sold out quite fast! Also, the event gradually fills up more and more. Wednesday was the emptiest, according to a friend who’s been there on both Wednesday and Thursday, and apparently, the weekend doesn’t get emptier (as more people have more time to go, duh). According to their website, blogs of my reach don’t count as journalists and can’t get into the business area, which I’m a bit bummed out about, but that’s life, I guess. I’m no professional, after all.

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this post of mine! The Interviews are coming out soon as well, so stay tuned for those.

Until then..

Always breathe through your pants in a relaxed way.

Note: I planned on working with pictures I took at the event here, but… I forgot to take some without me on them, so there’s not much to be incorporated here. :C

This post is part of a contest/challenge called Blaugust! The goal is to post as much as possible and participants are awarded with different prizes depending on the goal they achieved. My aim is to post on all 31 days of August and if you’d like to know more about this “event”, you should check this post out.

Indietail – Miracle Mia

Today we’re taking a look at Miracle Mia by Shademare Studios who’ve provided me with a review-key pre-release. Miracle Mia is their first game and the studio describes it as “a weird, interesting and fun game”.

Developer: Shademare
Publisher: Shademare
Genres: Action, Adventure, Indie, Anime
Release Date: August 23, 2019
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Copy received from the Devs

But what is Miracle Mia actually about?

That’s a good question! It’s about Mia and Nia, two sisters, that accompany their big sister, Lia, on a train to their cousin Coco. On their way, they get attacked by the dangerous Geo – geometrical monsters from the Void. Using a tennis racket you fend off enemies and try to save Lia and the world from the Void’s threat, in this 2D-platforming-game.

The game consists of 24 chapters (and the prologue) with different areas and a variety of enemies. In the beginning, you’re fighting by waiting for the enemies to shoot at you and then fending off the shots, using the racket. Later you also acquire other means of fighting, like dashing through enemies, stunning people using an energy ball, beating the hell out of your enemies and lots more. Combat feels good for the most part, though the difficulty only rises slowly which lead to me getting a bit bored after the first four chapters. Near the sixth chapter, I also encountered my first few bugs and a few fps-drops although the game itself shouldn’t be that demanding. After that chapter, however, it all became playable again and the difficulty was rising, too.

A problem I can see with the game is the fact that Checkpoints are not spaced out evenly. In the beginning, you’re getting checkpoints after every small jump & run passage, even when you can’t die at that part. I guess there could have been fewer checkpoints, in the beginning, to make it a bit more challenging. Every checkpoint also fully heals you, making the game quite easy at earlier stages.

In later stages, you’ll encounter new enemies with different types of move-sets and also fewer checkpoints, making it a lot more fun. The story became less linear, too, which was a surprise since I would’ve stopped playing Miracle Mia after the first few chapters were that un-challenging. So, if you grab Miracle Mia for yourself, definitely stick to it for a bit more.

My favourite part about the game was probably the boss-fights. They all felt unique and I enjoyed them quite a lot! Especially when you had to first spectate them to understand their patterns! Really enjoyable!

Each area is quite linear, but now and then you can also find secret areas with optional mini-bosses that grant you a block for your health-bar, meaning that you basically can shield off one hit per shield. This shield also only charges upon checkpoints. Later you also gain a grappling-hook, a double-jump and Mirror Mode which is an AoE-stun that makes enemies vulnerable and more fragile.

The story had a few twists, which was quite a miracle for me, as I found it quite linear earlier on. It was entertaining and engaging, though the voice-acting of the game contributed to that, too. In most cut-scenes, there’s full voice-acting for the main characters. In a few dialogues, characters only say one word or something like a catchphrase instead of the full dialogue, which was quite nice to have.

As far as the presentation goes, it’s very anime-ish. The main characters look unique, though most of the Maidens look like Nia, which I found kind of weird. The environment felt different in each area and the music was quite nice, though a bit repetitive. There’re a few tracks that seemingly are played over and over again, though it’s also a rather small studio, consisting of a father-&-son-dev team (which is quite cute, tbh) and it’s also their first game, so I’m looking forward to later projects.

Do I recommend this game, though?

Well, there’re a few bugs here and there which lead to a bit of frustration. The music can be repetitive, the first few chapters are relatively easy and quite boring, to be honest, and here and there I encountered a few camera-issues with enemies attack from out of the screen, which was quite annoying. Also, the game is relatively short with 24 chapters at a playtime of about four hours…

But I still enjoyed playing it and while there’s a bit of room here for improvement, we shall not forget that this is the studio’s first game. So, I’d say that I’d recommend it to you!

Anyways, have a nice day!

Note: Shoutout to Rakuno for pointing out that my Info-box didn’t get saved. 😀

This post is part of a contest/challenge called Blaugust! The goal is to post as much as possible and participants are awarded with different prizes depending on the goal they achieved. My aim is to post on all 31 days of August and if you’d like to know more about this “event”, you should check this post out.

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

The Stray Sheep #17 – One Game and Literature Editing

So, today was quite the busy day for me, so I couldn’t write down my impressions nor work on another review nor the interview. Hence, I’m talking about the following question:

If you had to chose one game to play for the rest of your life, which one would it be?

Well, for me it’d be Stardew Valley, I guess. There’s always so much to try out right now, so many levels to grind, so many ways to play the game and no hurry as you can re-evalutate your farm. To be honest, I should play it more.

Apart from that I thought I’d talk about my work at the editorial team of our uni-magazine. It was quite a lot of fun but really exhausting, too.
Basically there was a set topic and people would send in poems, peotry slams, prose and other stuff that we then had to read. We received about 351 pages from 58 authors in total! Quite a lot!

Yesterday, we then had to vote which is going to make it into the magazine and which is not. There were writings that didn’t fit in at all, sometimes the quality wasn’t okay either, some stuff was awesome! Like hella rad! Some other stuff wasn’t okay because of certain metaphors used that we just can’t publish in this way. All in all, it was a nice experience to see how this stuff plays out. Now and then, we even argued about some authors and their works and if we should have them in the magazine. Literature can be quite lively and really exciting, even though some may find poems and the like quite boring.

This post felt kind of half-hearted, so I ended up editing it, post tempore (afterwards). I hope you don’t mind having it talk about two different topics and seeing a better version now. As for the final GamesCom-articles: They’re still in progress. But more about that soon!

Anyways,

Keep your ears stiff!

This post is part of a contest/challenge called Blaugust! The goal is to post as much as possible and participants are awarded with different prizes depending on the goal they achieved. My aim is to post on all 31 days of August and if you’d like to know more about this “event”, you should check this post out.

The Stray Sheep #16 – Brief GamesCom Briefing

So, in today’s Stray Sheep I’m briefly going to talk about the GamesCom-Experience! Or rather the TLDR-version of an upcoming post that I’m going to write (tomorrow I believe? Maybe even on Saturday? I don’t know, tbh.).

So, I went there at around 10:30 am – to the GamesCom in Cologne, which is (one of the biggest if not) the biggest gaming-event/convention in Germany and I really enjoyed myself there. I stayed until 8:30 pm (so about ten hours) and while it was quite cramped here and there, it still was enjoyable. Also, they improved the space that you’ve got in the hallways and stuff, I’ve heard, so it’s a lot better than the last few years. I mostly spent my time talking to devs and playing Indie Games while also getting some interviews going and I was chuffed to bits that I got the chance to talk to them.

Game-wise, I’ve gone for a whole lot of games and managed to play most of them. I didn’t get a chance to play some games like Foundation, Flotsam, Sea Salt and ScorchBringer but I at least got an interview with the Devs of the first three (I somehow never was able to find a ScorchBringer-Dev at the stand and there were always people playing the game. The most I had to wait for a game was about ten minutes, which was quite delightful. I know people that have waited 3+ hours to play Borderlands 3, Final Fantasy 7 and some other Tripple-A-titles but I just didn’t feel like waiting there when I just arrived.

My highlight was probably the funny questions I asked some of the devs as well as meeting all those new people there and finding out about new games. I sadly spent quite some time searching for Dead Mage’s “Children of Morta” only to find out that they were in the Business Area (where I wasn’t allowed to go to)….yep. Quite sad. But CoM is coming out in September, so it’s fine, I guess! 🙂

There were some interesting games that I’m really hyped up for. But I guess I’ll report on those in another post as I’m way too tired right now and as my back’s killing me, right now.

In the next few days, I’ll follow up with some Interviews and an article on the GamesCom (which is probably going to be more of a First-Impressions thing) and then I’ll soon publish another review as well! Once I’ve got a bit more time. 🙂

Anyways, cheerio!

This post is part of a contest/challenge called Blaugust! The goal is to post as much as possible and participants are awarded with different prizes depending on the goal they achieved. My aim is to post on all 31 days of August and if you’d like to know more about this “event”, you should check this post out.

The Stray Sheep #15 – Gamescom!

So in today’s Stray Sheep, I’m talking about the upcoming Gamescom-Event, what I’m planning to do and what else I’m currently working on.

This is a rather short update since I need to bring my SO to the hospital. Hope you don’t mind!

So first of all, Shademare Studio has provided me with a review key for their upcoming game, Miracle Mia! I’ve been playing for a bit now and wanted to bring out the review today but sadly RL-stuff is more important right now (hence this update). Material-wise, I’m excited to write this review as it’s quite a small studio and I’d love it if their first game found their fanbase!

As for the GamesCom in Cologne, I’ll be there tomorrow during the day (and I don’t know how long I’ll stay). If anyone else here is going to be there, hit me up on Twitter or leave a comment and we might be able to meet up and stuff! The more the merrier, right?

As for content, I’d like to publish an article about my first impression on the GamesCom, I guess. If I’m not able to do that, time-wise, I’ll probably come up with something else. There’s a few games at the GamesCom that I’m excited about, especially since there’s going to be an Indie Hall for the first time now. Maybe I’ll even manage to talk to some Indie Devs and get some insights on their games and works, write up some Interviews and stuff. I think that might be quite fun 🙂

There’s also a ton of games that I’m really excited for, especially in the “Indie Village”! So, I’m looking forward to that (as well as Borderlands 3, cough cough)!

Anyways, cheers!

This post is part of a contest/challenge called Blaugust! The goal is to post as much as possible and participants are awarded with different prizes depending on the goal they achieved. My aim is to post on all 31 days of August and if you’d like to know more about this “event”, you should check this post out.

The Stray Sheep #14 – Hopoo Games

This year’s Blaugust (and my first to participate in) is steadily progressing, leaving us at a 20-day-streak (including this post) – that leaves us still at the Silver Award but in five more days I should qualify for the Gold Award if I truly am able to keep up the daily posts. Of course, my ultimate goal is improving my writing and getting to know all these awesome people in this lovely community, but getting the Rainbow Diamond Award would really be awesome! Because of Rainbows! & Diamonds! UwU!

But today’s post isn’t about me but about a Dev Studio I really like. It’s about Hopoo Games!

Risk of Rain 1

Their first game was Risk of Rain. Their earliest build for RoR1 was November 24th 2012 even though the game was released on Steam on November 8th 2013. Originally Hopoo Games was a two-student-team at the University of Washington, consisting of Duncon Drummond and Paul Morse, that developed Risk of Rain via Game Maker. Later, Chris Christodoulou joined the project giving it its awesome soundtrack!
Risk of Rain combined a very spacey soundtrack with a lovely artstyle, great combat, unique classes and the best part of every Rogue-like-game: OPness through Items! I put in way too many hours into RoR1 and was hyped for the Sequel ever since it was announced.

Deadbolt

Deadbolt, their second game, was another great hit among the Hopoo-fanbase. The team still consisted of Drummond (art+programming), Morse (business development+PR) and Christodoulou (Soundtrack) for this game but also had another new addition: Jordan Fehr, responsible for Deadbolt’s sound design. The three musketeers were actually four after all, just like the guys at Hopoo Games – while working on Deadbolt, that is.

This title is another one of my favourite games as it isn’t only quite challenging and hard but also has these stealth-slashing-strategy-vibes that the recently reviewed Party Hard also possesses. Chris also did another awesome job with this very jazzy soundtrack that suits your journey as the grim reaper on your mission to reap some undead souls! Expect a review to come out on this title! As I frankly am lovin’ it!

Risk of Rain 2

With Risk of Rain 2, Hopoo not only released another awesome game (you can see that I’m a Hopoo-fanboy!) but also were able to work together with a major studio like Gearbox! RoR2 came out on March 28th of 2019 in Early Access on Steam and basically packs the same punch as it’s predecessor with another whole dimension on top of it! Now in 3D you can battle against all kinds of enemies, bosses and time it self, as the game, still, increases the difficulty.

I love how they managed to not only stick to Risk of Rain 1’s core mechanics and keep its fun combat mechanics, but also improved the whole Multiplayer-Issues that were there in the first game, while also changing classes and adding new ones to the game without accidentally having the game lose its flair. Also Christodoulou, again, managed to create an overwhelming soundtrack, though I’m hoping that there’s even more to come, as the game is still in its Early Access stages and there probably is a lot more to be anticipated!

Overall, I’m a huge fan of this studio!

Now and then, I replay their games for many hours and I even listen to Chris Christodoulou’s music on my way to uni quite often! I love their general approaches, their art style and the way that they try to work with the community in their newest game, RoR2. It’s a lot of fun to see a small Indie Game Studio like theirs pop up on Twitch and YouTube on major gaming channels and it’s even more enjoyable for me to see that they don’t seem to be stopping here. I really appreciate Hopoo Games’ works and am looking forward to all of their future releases! ❤

Anyways, cheers!

Indietail – Party Hard

It was another rainy day when she walked in like the Great Depression. She was a blonde that would make a bishop kick out a stained glass window. In a situation like mine, one only grows fond of moments like these when trouble approaches and you feel the thrill of breaking out of your daily life.

my try at the whole hard-boiled detective monologue thing from noir movies.

In today’s review, we’re taking a look at Party Hard, a tactical stealth slasher game about a mass murderer who’s killing people at parties across the United States. His motive? Getting his revenge on those pesky party-goers that are so loud when he’s trying to sleep.

Developer:  Pinokl Games, Kverta
Publisher: tinyBuild
Genres: Indie, Strategy, Stealth, Slasher
Release Date: August 25, 2015
Reviewed on: PC (Windows)
Available on: Android, iOS, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS, Fire OS
Copy was purchased

Party Hard‘s story is about Mr West, a former police officer who is being interrogated by other policemen on the case of the previously mentioned party-mass-murderer. He’s telling the officers his story of tracking down the killer.

One of the early levels in which we need to kill 47 innocents for being too loud at night.

The killer, or rather the protagonist, is travelling from one party to the other, covering all kinds of possible settings, all unique and stunning. There’re roof-top-parties, BBQs, boat parties and many more, all with their own music and graphic styles! Your ultimate goal is to “Kill them all” as the game tells you in every level, as well as “Not getting caught”.

In the beginning, you’re going for the stealth-approach, picking off targets that are separated from the group, like a dangerous predator going after their unaware prey. In later levels, you’ll have a hard time with this approach once groups of 50 and more people are being thinned out so that you just slash your way through them.

As for gameplay, you usually try to make use of items, traps and other methods to kill those monsters that have robbed you of your sleep. Every time you (re)start a level, some elements of it like events, traps, items and even bouncer-positions are procedurally changed, which leads to an always fresh experience with different opportunities to plan out your hunt. It’s always unique and challenging – sometimes more than other times, though always beatable! Items range from fresh clothes that change your appearance and help you escape the police to smoke screens to actual bombs or poison. There’s also traps like trucks running over your targets or other ways to kill masses of poor youngsters. Now and then, you’ll get events that make it easier for you, like a bear just randomly passing by and killing everyone for you, U.F.O.s kidnapping humans or even Zombies contracting a virus, turning other humans into more Zombies that are more dangerous but also can be killed in broad public without behaving suspiciously.

Only eight more left at this Ranch BBQ…

There’s also the mechanic of carrying sleeping or dead bodies to hidden places, boxes or manholes, leaving no evidence of your doing behind. You sometimes may even leave bodies behind, so that someone finds it and frames someone else for the murder. Another mechanic, you’ll encounter is “listening” for tactical purposes, and “dancing” for comedic ones.

After every successful mission, you’ll dance to the beautiful sounds of Party Hard‘s soundtrack while engulfing in a moment of comedic relief.

The level-map is designed like a detective board with clues and the like that connect the parties to other parties in the case.

But let’s talk about flaws.

Every game has flaws and with Party Hard it’s mostly the repetetiveness of levels. While levels all are unique and quite fun when you first encounter them, there’s still a bit of a redundant aspect to clearing them after you used up the traps and items to clear most of the victims and now have to clean up with your knife. Quite often I got caught with only a few targets left and ended up getting really frustrated about it, as I had to restart again.

I’M ON A BOAT!

Also you’re not able to influence people to move somewhere with your own methods. It’s mostly random and you either have to wait for the party goers to pass out so that you can carry them away or you wait until they’re seperating themselves from the group or you dance near them and hope that they’re disgusted by your dancing style and walk away. The latter option is what you’ll mostly use, since the first two options are RNG-based and take a lot of time….as well as patience. But even the dancing option can result in them getting angry at you and fighting you, or them actually liking you and joining in.

The deck’s covered with corpse bags and I just fed one of the party guests to the sharks.

The fact that you aren’t in control of all that much apart from corpse-moving and traps, becomes quite bothersome when you suddenly are left with five suspicious targets near a bouncer (for example).

In one of the levels, you’re able to play as Mr West’s daughter, Katie, who’s a fan of the Party Killer!

Party Hard was released in 2015 and quite controversial at the times, after all you go to a party and kill innocents for no reason, right?
I, however, find that it’s actually quite fun to play, as it doesn’t take itself too seriously while also being an interesting title with a mix of the playstyles of Hitman and Deadbolt. The art style is great, the levels become more and more challenging and on top of that, there’re also unlockable characters, a bonus DLC, a sequel and tons ‘n tons of replay-value.

I’d recommend buying Party Hard if you’re a fan of games that don’t take themselves too seriously but still surprise you with an engaging story that really has those Detour and Stage Fright vibes in its narration,

but

on the same train of thought I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who gets frustrated quite easily or who’s not patient enough for runs that may take a bit longer. I really want to recommend to everyone but I can’t. It just lacks in some aspects and the fact that it’s getting repetetive after you’ve been caught a few times on the same level….it’s bringing the game down a bit.

I guess, the middle ground here would be to recommend the game when on sale if you are intrigued by its Hitman– and Deadbold-like features, the cool story and the phenomenal soundtrack.

Anyways, cheers!

Note: Because of some saving-shenanigans with WordPress the final paragraphs didn’t get published which I only just now (August 20th) have noticed. Excuse this little mistake as I’ve overlooked it.

This post is part of a contest/challenge called Blaugust! The goal is to post as much as possible and participants are awarded with different prizes depending on the goal they achieved. My aim is to post on all 31 days of August and if you’d like to know more about this “event”, you should check this post out.

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Indietail – Book of Demons

Book of Demons is the first part of Thing Trunk’s “Return2Games”-series and is currently in the Early Access Phase on Steam.

The genre of Hack and Slay games is known for its combat, its looting and levelling, and its big and dark areas? Well, yeah, mostly, but there are also games that don’t follow that same pattern out there! Today’s game is a card-based ARPG called Book of Demons that dares to change up the formula of hack and slay games a little bit and mix it with a well- “crafted” world and some interesting mechanics.

After a long journey, you’re returning to your hometown where seemingly everything has changed. Everything seems darker and you’re recognizing feer in your old friends. That’s because the old priest of the local church has been kidnapped by a dark force into the depths of the catacombs and even bigger dangers seem to be awaiting you! That’s why you have to embark onto an adventure into those depths to save the world from fear and loathing!

What seems to be the most generic story of all time, is the story of the first part of Thing Trunk’s Return2Games-series. Thing Trunk is planning on releasing six more parts to this big project although those haven’t been announced yet. In Book of Demons (Trailer/Shop) you’re playing an adventurer who has to save the local priest and defeat all evils that are lurking in the shadows. For that, you’re embarking on instance-based adventures and can decide on your own how long you want to explore and what abilities you’re using, but I’ll tell you about that later.

The warrior class with three of his skills.

Before starting your dungeon-crawling-experience, you’ll have to choose from one out of three classes: The warrior, the rogue and the mage.

To unlock the mage you and the rogue though, you’ll have to play the warrior to level 5 first which may seem tedious but is done quite fastly. This has the advantage that you’re able to play as a rather sturdy class before playing one of the more fragile characters. Every class has its own skills and cards and is played differently although it all is different compared to other hack and slay games anyways.

For instance, you’re not using normal attacks and abilities but have to click and use cards. Instead of roaming big areas, you’re chained to paths and have to kill enemies that can roam freely. In the beginning, you may feel very restricted because of that. Sometimes enemies are in the way, so you have to slay those first before you’re able to proceed which on the one hand seems unlogical since you could walk past them  but on the other hand also is kind of nostalgic and reminded me of old JRPGs where you could either fight or run but never just walk past enemies.

The rogue on one of the paths

When enemies are approaching you’ll have to click on them to deal damage. You can also hold down the left mouse button to more damage if you don’t feel like spamming your mouse button. If you don’t do anything, your character also attacks by itself but at a slower rate as when you’d click. While the warrior might be a melee unit in most RPGs you’re still able to slay enemies that aren’t directly near. I guess that’s due to some insanely long limbs or weapons or just a quality of life change. The rogue, on the other hand, is fighting with a bow and has more range and more attack speed. I had some trouble seeing the advantage of the rogue over the warrior since both seem to be ranged and since the rogue’s arrows have to travel a distance first before they hit a target while the warrior’s attacks are instant. This is where the right click comes into play: Every character has a special ability that can be used via right-clicking.

The rogue is able to shoot a long-range arrow that is able to hit enemies and objects that aren’t in sight yet. This makes it rather easy to thing out waves of enemies that can’t be targeted at this point so that you don’t get overwhelmed by them. The mage, however, also has ranged attacks but is able to shoot magic homing missiles that can’t be blocked by enemies that stand in front of the target that you’re aiming at you, which is an advantage that the mage has over the rogue. So while the rogue has a higher distance and can attack more frequently, the mage is a tactician that is able to precisely shut down enemies and isn’t hindered by enemies that stand right in front of him. The warrior, on the other hand, is rather beefy and a hybrid between those two with instant attacks that are slower than the rogue’s and with less damage than the magician.

Artwork of the Rogue

While the combat system is something rather unique, the skill-system is rather similar to other games’: Slain enemies drop experience points and once you have enough of those, you gain a level. On top of the experience-resource, you also have mana, health and gold. Gold is dropped by enemies but also can be acquired by looting alongside items and even permanent health- or mana-points. Health and Mana can be increased at every level-up. While the warrior with his beefy nature has a lot of health but less mana, the mage, for instance, has a lot more mana than health. The rogue, on the other hand, is rather balanced on those fronts.

But let’s talk about the cards. I already mentioned that this is a card-based hack and slay/dungeon crawling title, so I’m now going to talk about those. Each class has different available skills to them which are unique to their class. On top of that, you can also acquire runes, artefacts and items through looting.

Runes are needed to upgrade your cards. For example, you can get a sun-rune to upgrade the fire-spell of the mage. With that rune and some gold that spell card’s damage increases and it has a higher chance to ignite the floor and enemies hit by it. To upgrade your abilities you’re in need for different runes and quite some gold, so eventually, you’ll have to grind it if you want to proceed into the late game. I for my part enjoyed that part of the game quite a lot but it may seem tedious for some people since the grinding takes up quite a lot of time in this game.

Artefacts are useful things that give you passive Boni. There are all kinds of artefacts from shields that have a chance to block attacks to amulets that recover your health and mana over time. The latter is basically a must for most builds since both health and mana have to be recovered using either potions or mana/health-pools like in other games such as Torchlight or Diablo or by levelling up. When you use artefacts, they not only take up a card slot in your card bar but also lock a part of your mana, turning it from blue to green and making it unusable until you unequip the artefact.

Items can be used to do all kinds of things like healing and buffing yourself or escaping out of the dungeon. For example there’s the health- or the mana-potion that fill the respecting bars in times of need but get used up permanently. Although that sounds not that useful you will agree that these are quite handy, especially since the drop rate for them on explorations doesn’t seem to be that low. Surely, you won’t find them every now and then but you can always use your gold to recharge them in town!

While every class has all runes, artefacts and items available to them, skills are exclusive to every class, as previously mentioned! Skills are equipped in the card slot and activated by right-clicking onto them. The warrior, for instance, has abilities to either deal damage to enemies, to disarm them, to protect himself or to throw poison bombs and the like into hordes of enemies. For example, there’s the ability “Mighty Blow” that costs only one mana point but deals quite a lot of damage. Meanwhile, there’s another artefact-like skill called “Shadow Sword” which blocks a bit of Mana but gives you an extra hit on every click passively.


The rogue, on the other hand, is the DPS-class and therefore has abilities to buff her arrows or escape via invisibility. I really liked how you could create poison arrows and split them into many enemies.
But my absolute favourite class was the mage who’s using elementary spells. He’s able to create frost-novas, fireballs, ice walls and create golems. While he’s really fragile, he’s still able to position himself somewhere safer via teleport-spell and overall he’s got quite a lot of utility and burst-damage which I really liked about him.

Book of Demons uses a new approach for the same system. The classes seem to be the same as every ability-wise but are played differently from other games but in its core, this is still the typical ARPG-adventure – just with some cards instead of everything else.

In town, NPCs will tend to your wounds and help you out whenever they can.

When you want to rest from your expeditions in the dungeon, you’re returning to the city where you’re able to identify cards at the sage’s or where you can unlock more card slots. The other NPCs all have their own useful sides to them: You’re able to read about rumours, inform your self about enemies that you’ve spotted, upgrade your cards, charge some other cards with gold or visit the Barmaid:


The barmaid has a cauldron where you can “store items”. Whenever you put a skill point into your mana, you gain a skill point for your health in the cauldron, and vice versa. Also when you loot items, you’re able to gain runes, experience, experience boosts, gold, artefacts, cards, more skill points and other items in the cauldron, but the price for buying them rises the longer you wait and all items except for skill points are lost when you die. So, it’s kind of a risk-reward-minigame if you may call it like that but it really helps out to balance your character and make the mage a bit less fragile, for instance.

Mini-Boss Jelly-belly Bomb with different stages and minions.

While the game is set in a Paperverse with its pop-up-book-like style and is able to draw you in with its atmospheric soundtrack, it truly sticks out with its session-based exploration system:


I really liked this feature since you sometimes may not have all that much time to go on a quest that lasts for an hour or more. When I play games like League of Legends, for example, I need to plan in the time it takes to find a game, hover your champion, ban a champion, pick those champions, set up your runes and then there’s also the loading screen that may be faster or slower depending on people’s wifi connection and rig, and then you’re in the game and it may last for 20 to maybe even 60 minutes depending on how long people drag it out or how much of a stomp it is. You don’t always have time for that. In Book of Demons, on the other hand, you’ve got the Flexiscope-Tool that allows you to match the size of the dungeon to the time you have. You can choose between “very small”, “small”, “medium”, “big” and “very big” that each takes a different time to explore and to clear. On top of that, the game analyses your playstyle and give you an approximate time it will take you to clear those dungeons – since some people try to play it safer while others are going full-Rambo when it comes to ARPGs.

Next to the approximate time that it will take it also displays you possible loot-possibilities. It shows you an average between the lowest and highest gold you may get, possible items and the progress towards your quest to save the priest. For example, in my newest session, it showed me 25+ rewards (including cards or new cauldron-items) for “big” on top of 22,353 Gold and 10% towards the next boss-enemy. As for the time, this would take me about 41 minutes, based on my playstyle as the mage. While this seems to be a very rewarding session for me, it would also take quite a lot of time, so I get to plan it out more precisely if I still have something to do afterwards. And you’re always able to just quit and come back later if you have something urgent coming up.

The deckbuilder is available in the Dungeon as well but the game doesn’t get paused while you’re in this menu. Time only slows down for enemies that may approach and attack you.

On top of the procedurally generated levels, the session-system and the different classes, Book of Demons presents you with 70 different enemy times (at this point of time) that all have different abilities, attack patterns and loottables. With that you’ve got quite a lot of re-play value. Later you can also go for the Freeplay-Mode to play your favorite quests with higher difficulties and you may as well consider using one of the different modes, such as the Rogue-like-mode where you can’t buy Health-, Mana- or Rejuvenation-potions and have to pay gold to revive in the city. Eventually you’ll run out of recources which makes the game really hard and if you can’t buy the increasing price for revival, your character gets deleted instead. There’s also the daredevil-mode with permanent death for those of you that like the extra thrill in games.Usually you’re revived in town for free and just have to collect your items in the dungeon again which makes it less frustrating, but if you don’t want to go for that easy-going playstyle, the daredevil-mode might be just for you!

To summorize I’d like to say that this game has a lot to offer especially due to its concept and its overall presentation, although it surely has some negatives to it. Usually you’ll have to grind in ARPGs which may seem tedious to most people, especially when you don’t get the drops you needed. This is also the case in Book of Demons where you eventually have to grind gold for card upgrades, card slots, card charges and the cauldron while also farming runes and the like to be able to upgrade your build to the fullest. For that you’ll have to enter the dungeon over and over again which seems repetetive but is actually not that bad since you’re able to use the session-system to manage your time used at the game.

Due to its Early-Access-status there’s always some little bugs that you can find but those get patched so often that you might encounter it today and forget about it tomorrow. With the ranger for example, I had an issue where an enemy was stuck behind a pillar and I couldn’t reach it due to the fact that I’ve got projectiles to shoot, which was quite frustrating, but going back into town and coming back fixed it for me quite easily. Also you’re able to report every bug to the devs at every point of the game via a small tool at the side of your screen which is a nice addition that every Early-Access-Game should have, in my opinion.

I’d recommend this game to every fan of ARPGs and Dungeon-Crawlers since it has a lovely artstyle but still captures the dark nature of games like Grim Dawn and Diablo. It is available on Steam and for the XBOX One!

Anyways, cheers!

Note: While I’ve (or have I?) posted shorter reviews until now, this post has been scheduled for quite some time now and is therefore not going to get changed as I need to compare this one’s reception to the short reviews’ to decide if I’m going for shorter or longer ones in the future. I hope you don’t mind this and if so, it’s too late anyways. Future posts will be fresher (or rather have been? I’m writing from the past!)!

This post is part of a contest/challenge called Blaugust! The goal is to post as much as possible and participants are awarded with different prizes depending on the goal they achieved. My aim is to post on all 31 days of August and if you’d like to know more about this “event”, you should check this post out.

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

The Stray Sheep #13 – YouTuber Appreciation, I guess: Brit, Cry, and the Cat

In today’s Stray Sheep I thought I’d talk about a few of my favourite YouTubers.

So, I used to watch Let’s Players and video game channels on YouTube since I couldn’t afford games too much and also didn’t always have the time for that. My first actual PC games were “Sonic Adventures DX Director’s Cut” and “Beyond Good And Evil”, great games at the time! Later I then also played Oblivion, Tomb Raider, Might and Magic and other games, but my first two games were those two and they left a mark behind.

And just like every kid at my age at the time, I wanted to make YouTube videos on video games, become a Let’s Player. Quite embarrassing, I know. So, when I was 14 I ended up recording videos on “Sonic Adventures DX Director’s Cut” and a game called “A Story About My Uncle” which wasn’t in its current state at the time. I played quite an early version with a few bugs here and there but I loved the game and the fact that it as well could be a CardsAgainstHumanity-card (wink wink nudge nudge).

But I dropped that for several reasons.

Mostly, it was because of me not having the most important equip. I had a shitty mic, a Windows Vista PC at the time (and later a Lenovo laptop that didn’t even run Minecraft smoothly) and also my voice was quite cringy (as I found at the time). Also, being the perfectionist that I was at the time, I ended up messing up stuff I said and just deleting the save and the whole session. Yep. I was stupid. Even with good equip, I never would have posted anything. In the end, it was more of a hobby and a dream of some sorts, to eventually do the same thing as a few of my favourite YouTubers at the time.

But I still kept watching YouTube videos on video games and I kept on reading stuff on that blog I followed (that I’ve mentioned quite often lately….yeet). And eventually, I found a channel called Cryaotic who has a great voice and produces lovely, relaxed content – and quite often on older games like Call of C’thulhu: Dark Corners of Earth. What I loved about his content was the fact that he didn’t do clickbait-y titles and clickbait-y thumbnails like other YouTubers at the time (and today) and also he was really relaxed during the whole time and quite often kept silent, unlike some people that post content where they’re constantly screaming and acting like…children, I guess.

Also, Cry does stream and also records himself while doing so and then cuts it into 40 minutes to hour-long parts sometimes, which leads to me often watching it in the evening before going to bed and which is often really amusing.

Another YouTuber I found, later on, was SplatterCatGaming who mostly covers Indie Games, which I’m quite fond of! He’s doing first impressions on most of them and while he is also quite relaxed and rather professional, I often feel like he’s spacing out and being derpy because of pressure (I guess?) which leads to him often missing stuff or him not playing that well, which is still quite fun. I really enjoy his content, but I haven’t watched his stuff in a while now since he didn’t really cover games that I liked… which is fine. You don’t always need to like everything, right?

And a while ago, I found The Spiffing Brit who’s making videos on video game exploits which often are really hilarious and I often enjoy those quite a lot. So, I watch his content quite often – also I love tea! And he promotes Yorkshire Gold quite often, which I found really lovely, indeed. He’s also using stock images in all of his videos to create comedic moments on top of other insiders like the coffee-hate, saluting to the UK-flag and praising the queen. I love it. There are also on-going things like him buying titles online if videos hit a certain threshold and it’s ridiculous. I really enjoy his content and his voice and you should probably check him out as well. It’s quite fun.

And that’s basically what I’ve been watching lately. Hope you liked this small little post. I kinda injured my fingers, I think, so I wasn’t able to type out the review I was planning to do, in time, and then I struggled with some weird WordPress-Shenanigans called “Version Conflict” and I kinda fixed it by not putting in pictures at all apart the Blaugust-B-Logo.. I tried stuff out, but it didn’t work, and then I just removed pictures and apparently that fixed it, which is fine, I guess. I’ll try putting in new pictures later once I’ve figured out what WordPress’ problem with me is.

Until then….

Cheers!

This post is part of a contest/challenge called Blaugust! The goal is to post as much as possible and participants are awarded with different prizes depending on the goal they achieved. My aim is to post on all 31 days of August and if you’d like to know more about this “event”, you should check this post out.