Indietail – Beat Cop

Those of you that are a bit advanced in your age may know those old hard-boiled detectives or cops in older crime shows where the protagonist has to take care of cases by the lawbook but in the end uses his own methods to find the culprit. People in my age group may know Brooklyn 99, which is a rather comedic take on the genre of cop-shows, or Lucifer which is going into that direction as well. In older shows, there’s usually some overarching scheme or plan that the antagonist has come up with and the protagonist usually gets clues on that antagonist while working on other cases that have to do with it. 

In today’s review, we’re taking a look at Beat Cop, a game in which we’re an ex-detective who is being framed for crimes he hasn’t committed. On his last case, he got into a Senator’s house, only to find a burglar of sorts who has already been taken care of and an empty safe. He’s accused of having stolen the diamonds that were in the aforementioned safe and hence gets demoted to a Beat Cop, having to patrol the streets – or rather one street – in Brooklyn, write up tickets, catch thiefs, and prove his innocence. 

Developer: Pixel Crow
Publisher: 11 bit studios
Genres: Indie, Retro, Adventure
Release Date: March 30, 2017
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Copy was purchased

Let’s get down to business.

Your first steps revolve around writing up tickets. You check a car’s tires, lights and the parking-meter and then get it towed after leaving your ticket at the front window. You then patrol the street, talk to different people and shop owners and take care of their needs, while fulfilling your quota on certain tasks. The game’s played with your mouse only, resulting in a point-and-click-like feeling. The ticket-writing-process kind of reminded me of Papers Please, which I found rather nice. At first, this gameplay may seem rather boring, especially as you’re usually left with no music at all, but when you’re getting busy and you’re running out of time to fulfil your quota, shit goes down. 

To make it harder for you, the game gives you different tasks every day. Sometimes you’re left with a guest of sorts, sometimes you’ve got to run errands for different people and some other times you need to tow every car in the street as a VIP of sorts is coming around soon. Every day plays differently!

While you’ve got your daily tasks, the game also throws certain distractions at you!

While you are peacefully writing those tickets, you get an alarm via radio that a thief has been reported on your turf, resulting in you having to chase the thief down! In some cases, you’ve also got to help a kidnapping-victim in dire time, stop a man from lighting himself up or removing cult-propaganda in the neighbourhood.

There’re also two gangs in the area that you may want to help now and then. On the west of your street, there’s The Mafia, run by Italians, while on the east-end there’s The Crew, run by Black people. If you help one side, you end up improving your standing with them while also worsening your standing with the other. The Mafia is running a pizzeria and take care of certain people, while The Crew is mixing things up with drugs, weapons and other crimes. 

Not only does the game change things up with different events happening on each day but it also pressures you to take care of the “main quest” in finding out the truth of who’s framing you for their crimes by sending you warnings. Your former partner gets murdered right in front of you, your boss hates you and tells you that you’ll be suspended after 21 days if you don’t return the diamonds, that you don’t have, there’s also the fact that you’ve got to collect money from paychecks and bribes to pay your ex-wife’s alimony. 

Overall, you’ve got timers ticking down in the background, pressing you for time, like the doom clock-timer in Majora’s Mask. To find clues, you’ve got to improve your standing with the gangs eventually. To pay the alimony, you’ve got to accept some bribes here and there or turn a blind eye when some radios get stolen. While I was rather rightful in the beginning, my playthrough became rather corrupt eventually as well. 

Choices matter!

In dialogues, you’ve often got different options to deal with the conversation, resulting in you being a people’s man (and letting tickets go, for instance) or being a douche (by just doing your job). In my playthrough, this didn’t feel that well executed. You shouldn’t become a douche when you’re doing your job and you shouldn’t be a hero when you’re just corrupt. Also, it didn’t really feel like the game’s punishing you hard enough when you accept bribes. You lose a bit of standing with the Police and earn a bit of standing with the people of your neighbourhood, but usually, the police-standing gets evened out by fulfilling your quota. 

The presentation is good, I guess, but also a bit lacking in some regards. 

While the art-style is rather detailed for a pixel-art style, it’s not too special when compared to other games that came out in 2017, like Dead Cells. The music is great!… when you hear it. Usually, you’re left with the sounds you encounter in the street which is rather boring and doesn’t add much to the game. I found it quite disappointing. It’s got slice-of-life vibes here and there with the ordinary tasks of being a beat cop and with the lack of music, I guess, but I doubt that that’s intentional. Here and there you hear music when there’s a boombox nearby but the mixing feels kind of off as well, as it gets really loud when you’re right next to it but is already silent when you’re only a few steps away. 

The humour, however, is rather great… for the most part!

The game tries itself at some darker humour by not only involving subtle jokes like that one German guy at the drug shop wanting to help out anyone apart from the Jewish guy, which took me a few seconds to realise. There’re also other darker jokes here and there that are rather direct and could be applied to today’s day and age – e.g. a black kid being surprised at you helping her instead of shooting her on sight. Oof. 

But here comes a big problem with the game: I don’t know where the line is between black humour and racism. 

The devs call this game “an homage to old cop shows that they used to watch as kids” but at the same time, there’s a ton of racism going on in it with slurs being spurted out in nearly every conversation. There’s also the fact that the one female coworker at your police department is getting sexually harassed daily while some other “bigger” coworker is being openly bullied by everyone else. Black people are referred to as “darkies”, Italians as several pasta-references, the Chinese are called “yellowies”, gay people are being called the f-slur, women get called the c-slur, and the list goes on. 

I don’t get it where they are drawing the line. Calling black people “darkies” or whatever is as bad as calling them the n-word in my opinion. The devs don’t want to overstep that line, so they try to pull back and tone this part of the game down… and yet, they don’t pull back when it comes to gay people or women? Calling all women the c-slur and all gay people the f-slur seems to be no problem to the devs. They are being openly sexist and racist. I guess you could argue that it’s “just an art form of sorts” but I personally don’t believe that provocation for the sake of provoking is any good. If people were to say “Heil Hitler” on the streets over here in Germany, they wouldn’t get away with saying “it was just a joke” or “it’s just an homage to old times”. They’d get fined.

I feel like the constant use of the c-slur and the f-slur as well as the constant harassment that some of the people are undergoing are creating an atmosphere where it’s alright to discriminate against women and against gay people “because they’re different from us”. Meanwhile the name-calling is just horrible in regards to the people of colour, featured in the game… and I know that it’s just a game but I don’t think that it’s alright to draw the line when it comes to racism but not draw the line when it comes to sexism, homophobia and other things. It’s just horrible.

My solution for this would have been to have an option where it censors all slurs with stars or where it doesn’t call people of colour “spaghetti” or “yellowies” or “brownies”. If you activate that “sfw-mode” or “clean mode”, you end up with a version of the game where you can enjoy the actual gameplay and the actual plot of the game (good parts, actually). If you don’t have that activated, you get a bad game where people are getting called slurs – for the sake of… edginess?

I mean, really… the game is just being edgy with this. There is no “black humour” in this case. Calling a women the c-slur and constantly making it seem as if harassing women at your workplace is alright, is not black humour: It’s a dickmove. It tells a lot about you.

Calling gay people the f-slur and just making fun of them for the sake of laughing about it, is just edgy. It’s not “an homage”, it’s just homophobic. And looking back at the fact sheet… this game is from 2017 and yet the game devs seem to be just edgelords that are trying to say that discrimination is alright when it’s in a game or when it’s set in the 60s…

Provoking for the sake of provocation is not cool. The slurs and the insults are not adding any value to the game. It doesn’t become more “like in the 60s” by adding a couple of “c***s” and “fa**ots” into the speech while censoring yourself when it comes to the n-word. It’s just being edgy and running away when it goes too far, tail between the legs. I just feel like I’ve talked too much about this already. This part of the game sucks. Inherently it’s a good game but the devs just tried too hard to be edgy and ruined a lot of the fun experience for me.

Overall, I did enjoyed playing this game. It was fun. It took its time for the plot to pick up the pace but eventually, I was rather excited about it. I also managed to double or even quadruple my quota while at the same time collecting bribes, running errands and doing missions. The time-management aspects in this game are rather interesting and there hardly have been any times where I had to restart a day and try again. I also haven’t encountered any bugs yet and am quite hyped about unlocking those other endings there. 

However, I cannot recommend this game to anyone who’s easily offended by certain slurs and discrimination overall. While I did have fun with the original game formula… I didn’t enjoy these sexist and homophobic aspects of the game’s characters… at all. They don’t add value to the game. They make it worse actually.

So, final verdict:

While I did enjoy the game, I cannot recommend it to everyone. It can be really offensive and inappropriate. If you don’t care about that, go for it. Good game. If you care about discrimination and stuff, don’t necessarily buy this game. It has got some issues.

Anyways, have a nice day and be careful where you park your car! We don’t like those tickets!

The Stray Sheep #36 – en passant 2

It’s been a while that I slept well and it’s also been a while since I posted anything. “Coincidence? I think not.”

For the past couple of days, I didn’t sleep at all at night or woke up way too early, leading to me getting tired at Uni, then coming home, falling asleep on my desk, then waking up in the night (kinda well-rested), working on Uni-stuff at night and not getting to blog at all, lately. 

So, yesterday I then ended up pulling an all-nighter in order to fix my sleep schedule. It’s been hard. I really needed the sleep. During the day, I had a geometry-lecture that I went to before going back home and trying to stay awake until at least 10 pm before then going to sleep. The result was me waking up 2 am (unlucky) but still getting to fall asleep again. It’s nearly 8 am right now. I got ready for my next Uni classes, got my coffee machine running and I should have my sleep schedule fixed for now. I hope it stays that way. 

At least I got to work on a few reviews in the sleepless time BUT I figured that I shouldn’t post them yet for several reasons – mainly as they’re not that good yet and one of them is scheduled for November 2nd for the sake of fitting a certain Mexican holiday. I hope you don’t mind that you’ve got to wait for that one but I’m sure it’s going to be great. 

Yesterday I also got to play Beat Cop, which I really enjoyed. A review on that should follow soon as well, so stay tuned for that one. 

This weekend is going to be quite interesting as well, btw. Tomorrow I’ll get introduced to my girlfriend’s grandparents, which I’m quite happy about and which is one of many reasons why I had to fix my sleep schedule as soon as possible. 

On Sunday, I’ll go to a tarantula convention. I hate spiders (as you probably already know). I’m really afraid of them, so I hope that having some tarantulas and other spiders put on my hand or seeing them up close helps me overcome my fear. It wasn’t my idea but it sounded like a good one. I’m already shivering at the thought of it, but I’m sure it will go well…. or get worse. Who knows? 

So, I’ll cover Beat Cop soon on my blog and then work on other game reviews for titles like The Great Swindle! There’re also some other drafts laying around that I still need to work on. One of them is about one of my favourite decks in Legends of Runeterra that is similar to the Bomb Warrior in Hearthstone. I’m really excited for that one but I cannot post about it for now as the next preview patch of Legends of Runeterra is available in a few weeks and the last one has already ended. 

Another thing I wanted to talk about is the fact that I’ll get into streaming soon! I’m currently saving for a new PC and right now only waiting for the money to arrive (four more days?) so that I can order the remaining parts. Apparently, the Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti is really overkilling what I plan to do spec-wise, meaning that I won’t need an upgrade in quite some time… but it also is really cheap right now, so I can’t complain too much about it. 

Once that PC is ready and set up, I’ll be able to stream games on Twitch every now and then. I’m really excited about that as I’m planning to do some sort of “Live Reviews” format where I play a game for the first time and post about it afterwards on my blog. With my current laptop, I wasn’t really able to post any more “Late to the Party” posts without encountering game crashes, FPS-drops, and other problems, so there’re going to be a lot more posts in that column! 

But why do I want to stream?

Well, I first encountered Twitch when I saw that ChestNut from the Blaugust-community is also on Twitch. To date, I still haven’t seen her streams nor do I know what kind of person she is but she seemed friendly on the Blaugust Discord, so I figured “Why not just search for her?”.

When I wanted to check out her stream, though, she was hosting a channel called Aeyvi which was rather small at the time, had a comfortable atmosphere going on and was pretty nice! There have been no trolls and I not only got to talk to the streamer herself but also other people in the chat without getting “spammed away”. When I mentioned me getting a new PC, I got referred to Jimb0 who is really great at tech-stuff! Hence, I followed and eventually also subbed to him as he makes great content on Twitch and, again, has a great community.

Another day he ended up raiding a streamer called XilentFlex who’s also great and very positive! I now basically hang out at these guys’ streams nearly every day, or watch JustKt_HursheyCrispLazyLJButterscotch_27FaustDaimos, SymastusYawwn_SoloPersephoneSeas, and other streamers. I like these streamers and their communities a lot and haven’t encountered any sort of toxicity in their streams, mainly as most of them are in the Plant Army stream team who are very inclusive and friendly. 

So eventually I decided that I wanted to stream, too, as a hobby and combine it with my blog, resulting in me being to broadcast Indie Games to more people which helps smaller devs. On top of that, I’d also be able to provide reviews with a Vod of actual gameplay, improving my reviews and my blog overall! I think that might be interesting. 

So, that’s today’s little update. I hope you all don’t mess up your sleep schedule and I hope that you’ve got some great days ahead of yours!

Carpe Diem or something!

PS: If you want to follow any of those people on Twitch, tell them that Magi sent ya (hehe). Jokes aside, I linked their twitch accounts on their names and if you look up my twitter, I also linked their twitter accounts over there in a thread about this post.

The Stray Sheep #35 – en passant

So, I thought I’d talk about the new headers I made for my blog (which I’m rather proud of!), how uni has been (as it just started), and what the current situation/final decision on the Heartbeat review is & something else.

Regarding the “en passant”, I thought it’d be cool to talk about how my week’s been now and then, like a diary – but public. And I like chess, so “en passant” felt like the right choice to make here!
Also “en passant” is a lot better than “Headerache!”, right? 🙂

The original pic

First things first, I love Dr Pepper and I thought the blog should resemble that.

But I needed more cans for that, so I had to buy three more cans which I enjoyed a lot (of course) and then I just shot the photo of this Dr Pepper Wall, made it look better (saturation and stuff?), then I’ve also added different “effects” to it. I really love the Pixel and Spiral one! Though the mosaic-esque (mosaesque? :D) is quite neat as well… Oh well, they’ll cycle through at random, so whenever you reload the page, you’ll see one of eight different header pictures! I may add more to the future and do special ones for Christmas and stuff but for now, these should be good enough.

The reason for me changing it at all was the fact that I actually wanted to do that quite early on when I created my blog back then in July, but then I kind of forgot and when I got annoyed by my headers being so different every time and also not cropped in the right way, I thought I should make a change.

That change was to crop them all in the recommended way, resulting in some games not being recognizable (as a friend mentioned, while someone else said that it sucks).
Also it didn’t make sense to see a header of “Cat Quest 2” when you’re reading a review on any other game.
Now, it looks better, in my opinion, and I’m kind of proud of it. Also, I can get rid of around 78 Dr Pepper cans. I’ll show you some in this post, I guess!

On to the other topic: University!

Uni has just started and I kicked it off with a fever, which was why I missed six hours worth of philosophy classes about Nietzsche, Freud, something about “objectivity, rationality and relativism” – and my Geometry course, which sucked. But apparently, those classes (apart from Geometry) were too full anyway, so that a friend of mine couldn’t listen to the Prof at all. I may have to change my Tuesday-lectures, which will be difficult and annoying to deal with.

Wednesday is my new Monday!

On Wednesdays, I’ve got Uni from 10 am to 6 pm and from 6 pm to 9 pm I’ve got literature club meetups. The courses themselves are quite full as well but really cool. I’m learning about thought experiments in one lecture while I’m trying to understand Machiavelli’s “Discorsi” in another. It’s quite cool actually. The other three hours are filled with math classes, so that’s that, I guess. On Thursday and Friday, I ended up having a huge migraine again, so I decided not to go to uni and instead ask a friend to send me pics of it.

So, I’ll be rather busy in the upcoming semester but I’ll also learn a lot for sure!

And the nearly-last topic is about Heartbeat, again.

I had a huge headache for quite some time now – and it may have been caused by me thinking too hard about whether or not I should review it. Recommending it means supporting a transphobic dev, while not recommending it would means giving some devs at Chumsoft shit for one dev’s views. Not writing a review about it, would be like denying that game’s existence solely based on someone else’s political views… in the end, I’ve decided not to post at all, which I’ve declared in a post-posting-edit, in “Large”. Thought I should say it here as well.

Last but not least: Drama with a person twitter

I don’t like it when people argue and I myself don’t like arguing at all, either. If possible I’d like to resolve things nicely. A while ago I got that rude message (which I’ve made a post about that was meant to be a bit uplifting as in “Don’t change yourself for others” or something like that).
Long story short, that person was rather rude to me in the private messages, called me a stalker in several tweets as I’ve answered to her message once and she kept blocking me, then unblocking me to write a rude and toxic message before ultimately blocking me again.

In the end, I decided to block her myself, too. Blocking someone doesn’t seem like something an adult should do as you should try to just avoid people on your own when you can’t get along with them. Blocking people is like running away while ignoring someone is a bit less childish, in my opinion, but I guess sometimes it’s necessary.

So, all in all:

Ever since I decided not to post about Heartbeat and ever since I’ve blocked that toxic person, my head’s been better, so I guess it’s all fine now. I’m quite sure that the Heartbeat-matter messed with me more but removing all kinds of saltiness and toxicity can’t be bad. Next step would be to stop playing League of Legends, I guess! (that’s a joke btw)

Tomorrow I’ll have to get some duties done and finish this other review here up, but I may as well post it on Monday or Tuesday, as I don’t want to stress myself too much, still being sickly and all of that.

Either way, I hope you all enjoyed this post and I hope that you all are well/not sick at all. Stay hydrated!

Cheers!

The Stray Sheep #34 – my dilemma

This week is full of posts because of creativity and me being bothered by something for quite some while at the same time hyped for the new Riot Games (who still is a small indie company for sure, kappa). A bit after posting that RoL post, my account was activated for Legends of Runeterra, which is awesome! But the post had not have had any views at all at that point, so I doubt that it had to do anything with it. 

On to another topic that is a bit heavier than other stuff. Naithin covered it on his blog already, but we basically had a discussion on the Blaugust blog just yesterday about taskbars. It’s really bothersome since my taskbar is on the right while apparently, a ton of people use it at the bottom (normies…) while some people use it at the top (hipsters…).. I mean, the right is perfectly fine and makes a lot more sense as you’ll be able to read more of your posts that way.

And of course, I’m just joking around. While it is interesting, it’s not today’s topic. 

I recently have posted about what’s up and my quick little break and the fact that I haven’t posted much and that I said that I was gonna cover three games quite soon: Heartbeat, Guacamelee!, and The Swindle. 

Cute little kitties and stuff that resemble some of Heartbeat’s characters.

This post is about something very bothersome about Heartbeat. 

So, Heartbeat is basically an Indie Game where you are a Conjurer who battles feral Mogwais and helps out people in your town. You then embark on a journey to find out about weird wisp that’s been stealing the cores (hearts) of Mogwais that are from The Den. To do so, you train, solve puzzles, battle Mogwais, find new friends and allies along the way who will fight by your side or help you out, and do lots of other stuff! 

The game is overall very cheerful and happy and embraces ideas and values about empathy, love, lesbianism, friendship and other great things! I love the soundtrack, the fighting system, the story, the characters and my little Mao, a cute little baby moth that you raise and that evolves depending on what you feed it. It’s got a ton of cute little system and you can fish in it (which is, as always, the most important reason), achievements, an arena mode of sorts, alchemy, interesting upgrade systems, tons of humour revolving around meta-jokes about it all maybe being a simulation and not real at all, which got me to chuckle quite often, and a lot more reasons why I love it. It has waited for so long in my backlog and I only know had the time and urge to play it, which I kind of regret. 

A gatcha minigame in the game.

If I had reviewed it in Blaugust, I wouldn’t have had this dilemma right now, as it all started in September. 

Nicotine, the lead dev’s girlfriend, is a TERF. By that, I don’t mean the slur or insult (as that’d be super rude, even for a TERF….) but rather the term that describes trans-exclusionary radical feminists, feminists that end up not seeing trans-women as women, excluding them from women’s spaces, and fighting against trans-rights. 

TERFs are basically shitheads. And while I don’t want to make my blog about political or other views, I myself am an LGBTQIA+ ally (apparently you can’t be pro LGBTQIA+ if you’re straight, so you gotta be an ally) and I’ve got tons of friends who fall into that spectrum and who had it tough with the coming out and all of that. Even in Germany, there are still people that believe that all gay or trans people have to die or whatever, which is ridiculous.

Thankfully the town I moved to and my uni are great places to be and there’s no space for trans, homo and xenophobia and all of that. If you’re a misogynist, a transphobe, a homophobe, a racist, or xenophobe, or even a TERF, please don’t comment any of that stuff on here or on my blog in general as I don’t want this to become a place for that stuff.

Back to Nicotine: She made clear that those things were “her opinion” and that she just listed it and that her girlfriend’s game has nothing to do with it. Shepple and Nicotine are in a lesbian relationship and should be fully aware of the hardships of people in the LGBTQIA+ spectrum and yet, they are TERFs. I say “they” but, so far, only Nicotine said stuff like that, right? 

Secrets!

Well,… actually… Shepple herself is getting accused of having said similar things in DMs and in a secret channel on her discord server.

Also, after a statistic came out. 

“The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute report the attempted suicide rate among transgender people is 41%. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims 35% of transgender high school students have also reported suicide attempts.”

And at the same time, Shepple (apparently coincidentally) put a discount on the game on Steam for 35% and 41% when combined with the game’s soundtrack. Absolutely. Disgusting. It can’t really be a coincidence, but at the same time, the Heartbeat community is full of transgender people and promotes empathy and love! 

So, there’s the benefit of the doubt there, but still…

In the end, one dev cut ties with Chumbosoft, the studio of Heartbeat. Other devs and Chumbosoft distanced themselves from Shepple and her views.

My dilemma is the following: I love Heartbeat and really recommend the game. But I can’t support a game whose lead dev is a TERF. I can’t support a dev who is mocking trans people in such a disgusting way. By recommending it I’d be giving a – rather small but still a – platform to possible transphobic thoughts or people that want to support Shepple or people that also TERFs or shitheads. I don’t know if I can do that. But I also cannot not-recommend a game that is so good and those many things that are done well along with the beautiful messages that should also count for trans people about empathy, love and everything. 

I planned on listing the shitheaded-ness of Shepple as a flaw. A paragraph on the end of my review but that’s not enough, I guess. 

“Here’s the game, it’s great, I love it. But that dev is a shithead and you’ll support someone who’s transphobic while also supporting people that distance themselves and that aren’t.” 

That felt like the best possible compromise, or just making a post about (which I ended up making). Naithin from timetoloot.com made a post about the matter and I hope that this post about the matter justifies the heaviness of the whole thing. In the end, I cannot not-recommend a game this good to people. I want to write a review on it. But I’ll add two disclaimers to it stating a short brief summary of the matter and what happened at the beginning and the end of the review, linking to this post here, before then reviewing the game. 

It’s similar to the dilemma of artists and their personal life, where you can’t support an artist who is also a child abuser as you don’t want to support a child abuser, but at the same time you cannot avoid his movie as you’d be missing out on that actor’s movies that are “this good”. 

I’d like to see personal views/life as a completely separate thing from their art and craftsmanship. But it’s not possible in every case.

I don’t know how many racists have made the comfy pants I’m wearing. I don’t know how many homophobes have worked on my jacket, and yet I wear them. 

I don’t know if really only Shepple is responsible for the whole 35%/41% thing and if there’s not a transphobe in hiding at Chumsoft, and yet I love Heartbeat. 

I bought Heartbeat a year ago and now this story blew up in September but Blizzard’s decisions are covering it up quite well, which isn’t good at all. 

This post is longer than usual. As a summary: I don’t agree with Shepple’s or Nicotine’s views, I support LGBTQIA+ in every way, if you’re a jerk, a misogynist or whatever, please don’t comment here, and I will probably review this game in a few days but will put a fat disclaimer about the situation and tell people to not buy it if it bothers them. I guess that’s a compromise that I can live with. 

My head feels like it’s exploding from this migrane that I’ve got for two weeks now and I kind of think that Heartbeat and my dilemma have been reasons for it but maybe I’ll just need to get a checkup at a doc’s. Who knows. Anyways,…

Edit: I decided not to cover it.

I wish y’all a good day and hope that you get to live your life to the fullest in every way possible! I love y’all.

Edit: Added hyphens and “phobes” to certain passages for better understanding. Thanks for pointing it out, Nathin!

The Stray Sheep #33 – Legends of Runeterra!

The Witcher has Gwent, World of Warcraft has Hearthstone, and League of Legends… has Legends of Runeterra! 

For League of Legends’ tenth anniversary, Riot Games announced not only that TFT is coming to mobile but also that there will be a mobile-variant of the base game, a class based tactical shooter (that kind of reminded me of Team Fortress 2’s and Overwatch’s lovechild) and actually and most importantly that they’re releasing a new card game spin-off where you face off against other players, trying to take out the enemy nexus by strategically making use of your units and outwitting your opponent. 

You get to play as your favourite characters from all of Runeterra, combining the strengths of different regions into your decks and making use of their advantages to claim Victory! 

I personally would love to play more card games if my drawing RNG wasn’t that bad. I used to play a bit of Magic The Gathering but didn’t get into it all due to preferences. I played a bit of Gwent but didn’t like it all that much, maybe due to the fact that I haven’t really played much of The Witcher before. I really enjoy Hearthstone at the moment, although I’ve never touched World of Warcraft! I love Slay The Spire, Book of Demons, Minion Masters and other games that utilize cards but aren’t just games of Trump, each time. And… well, I could see myself playing Legends of Runeterra! 

I’ve played League of Legends for quite some time now. I started in 2011 and ended up playing quite a lot of it, actually like Esports now and also enjoy playing TFT, Riot Games’ take on the Auto-Chess-Genre. I love League of Legends lore, the whole universe, and the world of it. And as I know quite a lot of LoL’s lore, I probably will enjoy LoR a lot more than people that know nothing about LoL and its lore. 

So far, from what I could see, you choose a region (Noxus, Demacia, Freljord, Ionia, Shurima, Zaun, and a few others) and use cards from that region to get a bonus.

There are “Support”, “Item”, “Spell”, and “Champion” cards that one knows from the games and you basically play them on the field while trying to defend your own Nexus (the equivalent of the Hero’s HP in Hearthstone) at all cost, by blocking incoming damage, attacking enemy units and trying to level up your own champions as quick as possible. All cards have certain conditions that allow them to either level up or cast some sort of spell. Some cards have familiar features that Hearthstone players might now, like “Deathrattle”, while other cards have special interactions based on their lore. 

For instance, there’s a Gunslinger/Marksman called Lucian whose wife, Senna, was taken from him by Thresh, a Soulcollecter who imprisoned her in his lantern. Those three will feature a special interaction in Legends of Runeterra. When Lucian or Senna see 4+ allies or each other die, they level up, gaining a special ability – on top of that, there’s an interaction with special effects and voice lines that get played when Tresh, Senna or Lucian get to be on the board together. There will also be other interactions between characters for sure as there is plenty of room for those with all the rivals in League of Legends’ universe! 

Other mechanics that LoR will feature will be a system that makes use of Newton’s “Actio = Reactio”.

Every action has a reaction. Every turn one player gets to attack while the other player gets to defend – but both players get to play cards, resulting in this interesting game formula where you don’t want to play all your cards just because you can but think about the best possible outcome. When you played a Champion card, the enemy can do the same. You can also place “Secrets” of sorts, throw in some Spells in between fights, buff your units with item cards and overall bend the rules for possible sneaky wins. 

Legends of Runeterra will come out soon and you may pre-register here. You’ll need a Riot/LoL-Account for it but those are set up quite easily. The game itself will be free to play as well, with you unlocking new cards by exploring your regions or winning games. You can also earn “Wild Cards” that render you able to craft Common Cards to your liking. 

I am kind of worried about Non-LoL-players not getting warm with this game as they don’t know the champions, but as there’s a ton of Tutorials for all kinds of Regions, Interactions, Mechanics, and more I’m sure that they’ll get to know everything rather fast.

Overall, I’m rather excited about this new spin-off and I can’t wait for my account to get activated! What are your thoughts on this? 

Indietail – Sea Salt

Spooktober and Lovecraft? Sounds alright to me. Today we’re taking a look at Sea Salt, a dark reverse-horror action-strategy-game by YCJY Games who I’ve interviewed at this year’s Games Com in Cologne!

Developer: YCJY Games
Publisher: YCJY Games
Genres: Strategy, Lovecraftian, Reverse-Horror, Action, Indie
Release Date: October 17, 2019
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Copy received from the Devs

After getting denied what they owed you, you’re desiring for revenge which is why you, the Old God Dagon, send out your Apostles. Those Apostles will summon unfathomable horrors to blight the human lands and make them pay for their greed and treason!

For everyone who doesn’t know all that much or maybe even nothing about Lovecraftian Horror, it’s basically a sub-genre of horror that emphasizes on the so-called “cosmic horror” and the unknowable or unknown rather than gore, splatter or the like. It’s named after H.P. Lovecraft (August 20, 1890 – March 15, 1937) who has created tons of weird and terrifying horror stories, all bundled up in the “Necronomicon”. I really recommend reading some of his stories! My favourite is The Colour Out of Space, a short story about a meteorite that crashed into the “blasted heath”. That meteorite has a strange colour that begins to change the lands and people in those parts of towns! A lot of Lovecraft’s stories feature “The Old Gods”, like C’thulhu or Dagon.

Anyways, this post isn’t about Lovecraft himself or any of his stories but rather about Sea Salt

Sea Salt plays similarly to “Rightclick to Necromance”, as you control your “minions” or “summonings” with one stick (or the mouse in Rc2N’s case) and attack with another button! Controls are very intuitive, which is something the devs really cared about, as they mentioned in an interview I did with them. You basically try to surround your enemies and innocent citizens, attacking them from all sides, while avoiding enemy-attacks and fire.

It’s an action strategy hybrid where you summon an army from the seas to punish those that defied you. The most important thing is that this game distinguishes itself from games like Overlord by not making you a hero utilizing your minions to wreak havoc – instead you’re actually controlling your swarmers, crabs, worms and other minions yourself, utilizing their strengths to the fullest while trying to make up for their own flaws.

Every minion feels differently! Every minion has strengths and flaws!

By seeking altars or collecting enough Gold, you’re eligible to summon more minions. In the beginning, you start with The Swarm. These minions are fast but lack health. They come in packs of 10, making it rather easy to surround enemies and increase your horde’s size by a great amount! Later you unlock The WormThe CrabThe CultistThe Fishman and other units as the game goes on and as you complete more of the story. While The Cultist has high range and damage, they are slow and don’t pack a punch! The Crab is rather tanky and also resistant to fire but doesn’t deal as much as damage as The Worm for instance. 

The Apostles you select at the beginning of the runs, also have different starting units and different abilities like Aghra De Pesca, the Apostle you start with, who has stronger Swarm-minions, starts with 25 Swarmers and can let his Worms explode. I found this one rather enjoyable as he makes The Swarm stronger and as I like the whole idea of one Swarm growing and spreading horror among the lands, just like in Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm but in a pixel-style with more gore and more Lovecraft in it! I also enjoyed just taking crabs upon crabs.

The bosses are quite fun to play against!

At the end of each area, you’ve got to face off against a boss of sorts making use of new mechanics you learned earlier. At first, you’re fighting against the captain of a ship you’ve boarded, surrounding him with your swarmers while dodging his bullets. Some of the bosses and minibosses are rather easy to fight against, depending on your units, as one of the Flamethrower-guys who had to face off against my crab army (I could add Noisestorm’s “Crab Rave” here but do I want to?). 

Minibosses appear as normal enemies later on, too, creating a higher difficulty the further you proceed. While the whole idea of controlling a swarm of minions and killing innocent humans can seem rather easy, you actually die quite often if you don’t watch out. You don’t want to know how many times I died against Wharfmaster Glenn!

There’s a total of 16 different units to unlock, a bunch of different Apostles with unique abilities and quite a lot of story to uncover as you spread horror among the lands! Also, you can try to aim for those 19 Achievements or even bigger rewards in the game’s Arena, for all those completionists among you. 

The game really shines when it comes to the presentation!

The game uses a dark colour palette with a lot of dark-blue-ish and green-ish colours that really capture that feeling that I got from other games like Call of C’thulhu: Darkest Corners of Earth. When I think of Lovecraft, I kind of think of those kinds of colours. The dark seaside with its grey to green colours in the sea, the dirty wood among the houses and the fog and shadows that are crawling over the lands. The game is very detailed and stylized, offering a lot to see in between human-slaying! Once you finish an area off you may explore and find small animations that you won’t notice if you wouldn’t look. 

The animations are fluid, the special effects like blood and fire look nice while adding some sort of contrast to the dreary environment, and overall I really liked the whole presentation art-wise. 

The music fits quite well and offers a lot when it comes to variety! The sound-design also fits quite well with all the sound effects coming off your crabs, worms and swarmers. 

But let’s get to some flaws. 

Overall there aren’t many flaws apart from some tweaking that the game still needs when it comes to the A.I. Sometimes your minions decide to take quite a long way to get to the same point as your other minions, which is rather annoying as they don’t avoid fire anymore when you press the attack button and may end up getting a few of your creatures killed by accident. 

A different issue I had was the fact that there are no save files. You start a run with one Apostle and continue playing that specific run until you end up quitting. When you want to play more, you either click on Continue or New Game. If I wanted to play this specific Apostle later but wanted to try out a different Apostle I’d have to start a new game, losing all of my progress in my previous campaign, which I find rather annoying. I mean, the missions aren’t that long anyway, but you still need to skip all the dialogue and go through the tutorial and play the earlier and easier levels again from the getgo, which feels rather tedious to me. 

I wanted to test out the Arena mode just a few minutes ago and ended up playing until Wave 15 where I ultimately died. Then I thought I’d try to play more of the Campaign before finishing up the review, as I really enjoyed playing Ivan Dorovich XIII just now and wanted to test out how many crabs are too many crabs. So, I hit Continue again and… I’m back at Wave 15 of the Arena mode. Really annoying! A quick little update or hotfix probably will result in this issue getting fixed and save files of sorts getting added to the game. If not, that’s a bummer but it doesn’t bother me personally too much.

Last but not least, the Conclusion.

Overall I’d say that Sea Salt is a highly enjoyable and quite challenging game that lets you be the bad guy once again – which I really like about games – while working with Lovecraftian themes and Eldtrich horrors to create the perfect game for in between during Spooktober. 

I hope you enjoyed this review! Feel free to leave feedback or comment on your favourite Lovecraft story. 🙂

Cheers!

Edit: Fixed a typo and removed one picture.

The Stray Sheep #32 – Early Access Titles

Today I wanted to talk about Early Access titles and my thoughts on it.

I sometimes get hyped about certain games even when they are in Early Access. Early Access, however, offers such a high risk in some cases. After all, you’re purchasing an unfinished product that still needs polishing, bug fixing and may even miss core features.

In the past, I’ve purchased Early Access games on Steam like Universim, Goblins of Elderstone, Dead Cells, Risk of Rain 2, Oxygen Not Included, Littlewood, Undholm, Slay The Spire, and Silver Knight. A variety of games, as you may be able to tell, that all had some sort of premise going for them that I found intriguing. 

I love base/city building games that require some sort of understanding of certain mechanics of the game while also some foresight and strategy when it comes to planning. Universim and Goblins of Elderstone are games just like that. 

In Universim, you are playing god, giving your little settlers a helping hand to have them reach higher stages. You work your way up from the Stone Age to Modern Age and… Well, when I played it there was still just the Stone Age or my colony just died at some point thanks to people getting stuck in the ground, getting sick but not treating themselves, starving although there’s food right next to them, or the A.I. just wandering off into the distance for no apparent reason. Highly frustrating. But the game keeps getting updates and I can be proud of being one of those guys whose names get featured on a Monument in-game for being there in Early Access and living through this journey. I saw different stages of the game so far, improvements to the game, minor and bigger updates, and eventually, I’ll see a finished game that I’ve seen from the get-go.

And just recently a new update came out that lets your expectation skyrocket (sorry, had to) through the roof! Awesome!

Goblins of Elderstone is similar to Universim in some regards, as it also is a City Builder that is being published by Cryptivo. GoE’s premise is completely different, though, in some regards as you are controlling Goblins, giving them jobs, making them survive waves of enemies and harsh winters while also expanding, trading, and eventually befriending other races or going to war with them.

In earlier stages of it, it was just a shell of a game with some basic features like placing buildings and assigning jobs, while not having much more content to offer. And well, over the course of time they added in new jobs, new functions, actual effects for the gods you worship, and just recently more features and two new jobs/buildings: The Kindler (+ Kindler building) who produces firewood out of logs, and The Enforcer (+ jail) who “encourages your Peons to work better” and who locks up rioting or mischievous Peons in his jail. Interesting mechanics and I can’t wait to see more of this game as I love those titles where you’re not the “good” humans who slaughter those monsters or who are super-advanced, etc., but that’s material for a future post.

While there are games like this that are getting updated frequently and have nice features going for them from the get-go, there are also games in Early Access that, from what I’ve seen, are quite polished or even nearly finished, with only a few tweaks and fixes needed . 

A game like that is Dead Cells!
When I started playing, I ended up binging it as the combat felt really fluid, the itemisation was interesting and lead to some strategy-possibilities, and as there were other takes on the Metroidvania and Rogue-like genre than the ones that I’ve already seen. I didn’t regret buying that game at all. Maybe it was due to the fact that the game has been in development for a while at that point and that I only found it rather randomly a few years ago… I mean, it left Early Access only half a year later if I remember correctly. A few months later, the game received another few major updates and I doubt that they will stop any time soon. The last major update was released on August 13th, while the latest (minor) update got out on Oktober 9th. Updates are quite frequent in this one and overall I just love the combat and the rate of new content. I can’t wait to see what the finished game looks like.

Also, Motion Twin, the studio behind Dead Cells decided to split up into two groups for Dead Cells’ Future: Those that won’t work on it anymore (aka Motion Twin) and those that “will keep on keeping on” (aka Evil Empire). Evil Empire will still work in the same building as Motion Twin and it’s still the same people working on it but in the end this means that there are going to be a lot more Dead Cells updates while also more interesting games in the future without having to compromise! I’m excited!

And yeah, those are good examples of Early Access Titles but there are also bad ones. Games where the devs have just given up. Games where the devs left the players with an empty shell or no game at all. 

Risk of Rain 2, a great game by Hopoo Games with tons of frequent updates!

Cube World was a big thing quite some time ago and the devs seemingly vanished due to personal reasons. There are circumstances that one can’t easily resolve and depressions (apparently they were a reason) are something severe that one shouldn’t just shrug off like it’s nothing. Releasing an “imperfect” game was one of Wollay’s fears! But Cube World indeed is a game where some people thought that it was a scam of sorts, though I doubt that that was the intention.

In Cube World’s case, the game was luckily released only recently and it had some drastic changes to its systems and mechanics, which I won’t talk about in this post. Also, those people that bought the Alpha version of the game, received this newer version of the game for free on Steam.

But there’re other cases of Indie Devs that players put trust into and that had a premise going for their games but that didn’t deliver at all, as it was in Silver Knight’s case. The game reminded me of Undertale but with more of a Rogue-like/Dungeoncrawler theme and while it sounded interesting, the game’s core mechanics are just.. unfinished or just not there. The hitboxes don’t align at all, the music is the same track in a loop wherever you are. You don’t have a save function at all nor a tutorial and in the end, you purchased an empty shell of a game that looked interesting but turned out to be a prank of sorts.

Those cases are bad for the players, of course, but also for small indie devs that may rely on Kickstarter or Early Access to fund their game careers. When people get scammed, they lose faith and trust, and that harms other devs, which I find quite bothersome as I’ve met Indie Devs that are great and that worked on their games with a burning passion.

Another great EA-title that only recently left the Early Access stage! Lovely!

So, I’d say that I’ll keep on trusting in some Early Access titles here and there when they show promise, and I’ll still hope that they make it to the end and can present us a great game that we all appreciate. 

If you didn’t read those posts already, I’d recommend The Stray Sheep #18-24 where I covered interviews with some Indie Devs at this year’s GamesCom. I highly recommend checking those devs out on Twitter and follow their upcoming releases! 

Anyways, have a nice day and take away whatever you want from this post!

Edit: Fixed some typos here and there while also linking Naihin’s post about Cube World in that paragraph as he talks a bit more about it.

Indietail – Chinese Parents

Today we’re disappointing our parents! Not our real ones but our virtual Chinese parents! Today we’re taking a look at 中国式家长 / Chinese Parents, a casual Indie-Simulation where we become a random Chinese couple’s child, grow up and become a parent in the next generation – in hope of being better than our former parents!

Developer:  墨鱼玩游戏 (Moyuwan Games)Co
Publisher: Coconut Island Games
Genres: Casual, Simulation, Indie, RPG
Release Date:
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Copy was purchased.

As already mentioned, you are born into a Chinese family. The game follows a “Spore”-Esque gameplay formula in which you’re living through different stages of your life. At first, you’re a baby/newborn, then you enter kindergarten, different stages of school and later you need to get married to a partner you’ve met along the way which starts a new playthrough with a new generation where you’re a child again! 

Along the way you’re trying to accumulate different stats, knowledge, skills, and traits, while also making friends along the way, meeting your parents’ expectations (or not), working, participating in fights, competitions and other events as well as maybe even finding love. It’s a mishmash of way too many aspects of the Simulation-genre which results in an overall enjoyable experience

Yep, I called my character “nobody” in this playthrough.

To accumulate different stats, you need to play a little minigame in which you spend action-points to remove a variety of bubbles in different shapes and colours. The colours determine what stat these bubbles are raising. There are different stats that can be raised through these from Memory to Imagination to Constitution to IQ and some others. There are also bubbles that give you more knowledge which is needed to learn skills. Some bubbles cost more action points but have special effects like revealing the whole stat-map, giving you more action-points, collecting all bubbles of one colour or collecting the bubbles around it. There’re also bubbles that grant you more stats per round, which is quite neat, I’d say.

These stats determine whether or not you’re good at certain tasks like Sports (Constitution) or Arts (Imagination)! The other way of increasing them is by planning your schedule for the day. To do that you need to assign tasks that have to do with the skills you want to increase into a time-table. Most of the time these increase multiple stats but also increase your stress-level which has to be kept minimal by mixing in some entertainments into the schedule. If your stress-level increases too much, your character becomes anxious, depressed or may even die, which you don’t want to happen, right?

Once your time-table is all set, your stats increase and a new day starts with new events and more stuff to do!

Overall this gameplay loop would be quite repetitive if it wasn’t for different events that are occurring. Every now and then there are events that involve you and other people. Sometimes your dad comes home drunk and keeps shouting insults at you, other times you are rewarded with a flower from your kindergarten teacher and your imagination and mood becomes better.

By learning new skills and using them in your schedule, you unlock traits… but what are they for? 

Well, actually traits are for bragging rights. Your parents sometimes get involved in “Face Fights” with distant family members, neighbours and strangers. There they brag about their child to decrease the “enemy”‘s HP to win the fight. Your traits are basically your “attacks”, which I found quite hilarious. The rarer your trait is, the higher the damage! 

There are also talent shows called “China Got Trait!”, an obvious parody, where you show off your trait in order to earn better stats, some money and more “face”. 

So, your parents are quite proud of you when you unlock traits but what about the aforementioned expectations?

Now and then you are faced with a “mission” of sorts where you need to reach a certain amount of stat-points in a certain amount of turns or where you need to learn a certain skill. The race for that is quite interesting and I found it rather enjoyable to strive for appreciation and acceptance! For once, I tried to not disappoint my parents and most of the time, I failed. It takes at least two to three runs to figure out what to do in what order to achieve one’s goal in Chinese Parents. Hence, there’s a learning curve that I found rather enjoyable, too.

But enough of the gameplay, what about the presentation?

Overall it’s relatively simple. The art style makes use of meme-ish and toddler-like drawings for comedic relief while using a bright colour palette in most settings. Usually, you see one type of scenery per stage with your character in the middle of it. The character models also change in every run, which is quite interesting. Quite lovely, I’d say.

But then there’s the music and it’s… the same in all cases. Sometimes there’s a different tune mixed into the game here and there but overall you get to hear one tune over and over and over and over again and it might as well drive you into insanity. After around 4 hours of gameplay, I noticed that the music still hasn’t *really* changed and that the main theme is super obnoxious, resulting in me turning the music off and playing some other games’ soundtrack in the background. This was quite disappointing, as I had a blast playing the game overall. 

Chinese Parents is a casual game in its core.

You play it now and then but you don’t play it for too long. It’s not stressful. It’s rather relaxing. It’s a game you can return to whenever you feel like it. There are achievements that can be unlocked, as well as a few different careers you can go for and a treasure hunt to complete as well! 

I had a blast playing it as it plays with different stereotypes of (Chinese) parents and as it has this interesting art style and a lot of different funny moments. The events that seem to be procedurally generated also brighten your day whenever you play it, I’d say,…

and I’d say I recommend this game as well. 

Anyways, have a nice day and try to call your parents once in a while. I should try to do that more often, too. …

Indietail – Cat Quest 2

So, today we’re taking a look at Cat Quest II. It’s a fast-paced open-world action RPG by The Gentle Bros. The other day, I covered the first game on this blog, so I’ll also cover improvements over the first game!

Developer: The Gentle Bros
Publisher: The Gentle Bros
Genres: RPG, Action, Adventure, Open World
Release Date: September 24, 2019
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC, Xbox One, PS4, Switch, iOS, Android
Copy received from the Devs

So, what’s Cat Quest II about?

“Under threat from a continuing war between the Cats of Felingard and the advancing Lupus Empire, Cat Quest II will tell the tale of two rivals, brought together against their will, on a journey of discovery. Can they put aside their differences and bring peace to their world?”

taken from the official page

Yes, this time we’re playing as a cat and a dog who are working together to reclaim their thrones. Lioner the Purrsecutor is ruling the Felingard Kingdom with an iron paw, only caring about the war against Wolfen the Labrathor and the Lupus Empire. In Cat Quest II, we’re facing off against two antagonists while meeting some familiar faces and joining in with new allies for an epic catventure!

Cat Quest II sticks to its roots when it comes to the gameplay formula!

We still are using one button to attack, dealing physical damage and gaining mana, while using spells to inflict magic damage and status effects to our enemies. Using scorch marks, the game tells you when enemies are about to attack and what spells they are using, so you need to time your attacks well and roll out of danger when you’re about to get hit.

Instead of the shield-mechanic from the first game, armour now reduces our incoming damage which is also reflected in some of the spells. There are a total of twelve spells that range from the classic fire-, ice-, thunder- and other spells that we know from the first game to new spells that buff our physical damage, increase our damage or even create an AoE-aura around us, healing nearby allies!

Playing Rock-Paper-Scissors against Catnip Bravo!

As we’re playing two characters, we’re able to switch between characters in-game, when playing solo, or play as two separate characters when playing co-op. Yes, there’s co-op now! It’s awesome!
Each character has their own health- and mana-bar but the level is shared. When one player is down, the other one has to revive him by standing near him. Reviving takes some time and enemies don’t stop attacking, so there’s a lot more action than in the first game.

For my playthrough, I ended up having a mage-kitty and a bruiser-doggo, equipping the dog with a melee-weapon, attack spells and armour that provides more defensive stats and equipping my cat with a wand (ranged magic weapon) and support-spells like healing and buffing.

A new ally? Hotto Dog!

Over the course of time, I encountered a lot more armour sets that have unique effects like more mana regen or other bonus stats, which lead to me equipping my cat with a white mage’s cap (bonus healing!) and the bard’s weapon and armour (more mana-regen!) while giving my dog a powerful melee-weapon, the bard’s cap (mana regen) and the knight’s armour (more exp).

There still are no set-specific effects that are unlocked when you’ve got all three parts equipped but in contrast to the first game, there are a lot more amour-specific effects which help you customize your playstyle and strategize a lot more, which I found rather interesting. Some weapons and armour pieces are rather powerful in one regard but have some sort of malus on them, reducing other stats, while others are less powerful but don’t have such a negative effect. There are also new weapon-types that use different fighting styles!

Cat Quest II has even more dungeons, side quests and puns than the first game, leading to it being a lot more entertaining when it comes to exploration and adventuring. Although we’re in times of war, the humour is rather light-hearted and entertaining. As we’re fighting against both Lioner and Wolfen, we’re not only exploring the continent of Felingard but also the Lupus Empire!

The presentation of the game hasn’t changed much at all in comparison to the first game..

The Lupus Empire is a lot rougher when it comes to the landscape. There are deserts, mountains and dangerous shrubbery that inflicts damage on contact while the Felingard Kingdom features colourful grasslands and a lot more vibrant colours.

Overall the colour-palette and art-style haven’t changed at all. The soundtrack also features similar if not even the same pieces as in the first game, from what I can tell, which I don’t really mind all that much.

Let’s get to Cat Quest I’s flaws and the improvements in those regards:

While you had to do some sort of loot-box-game in the first game, you now are able to upgrade your armour-pieces and your weapons at two different blacksmiths, which I found great! It’s a lot better than in the first game and takes less grinding and luck – an overall improvement!
What I didn’t like was the fact you’re actually only able to upgrade your spells at only one place in Felingard. Luckily, they added a fast travel system now, which makes up for this flaw.

Another big update is the fact that your health-, mana- and experience-bar are all located at the top-left corner! It’s a lot cleaner and easier to monitor that way, which I’m a big fan of!

The quests aren’t as repetitive as in the first game and also feature a lot of references and humour, which I found quite great.

One of my favourite ones was a quest in which we were finding Pandora’s Box and opening it for the sake of adventure – rather entertaining! There was also a quest that was rather unique and featured catscrimination against mages and a mage wanting to travel back in time to destroy the source of magic so that nobody has to suffer anymore. The reward for that one was…. an invisibility coat (which I found rather entertaining, as it still leaves your head and weapon visible. Useless but entertaining!). Before it gets grindy, you also would have to level quite a lot. Completing side- and main-quests, doing dungeons and killing monsters grants you gold and experience – and most of the time you level up after one quest. Around level 82 (out of 99!) I had to grind a bit more, which is quite understandable as you’re getting into end-game-territory.

On a distance island I was even able to meet the Devs! Here’s Syaz, who I talked to via mail and who now wants to delete my save-file.

What about Cat Quest II’s flaws then?

Cat Quest II features many improvements over the first game. The combat and humour is entertaining, the story is a lot deeper than the first game and while you are able to complete the main story in circa six hours, you still have a lot to do when it comes to dungeons, secrets and all the exploration and side quests that you’re able to to do.
While the main quest series is rather short in my opinion, I’d say that the whole game is ruffly twice the size of it. Apart from the game-length, the local-only-multiplayer (which can be fixed with parsec!) and the fact that your partner’s AI isn’t the brightest (when playing Solo), there aren’t any other flaws.

Taking everything into consideration, I’d really recommend this game for everyone who loved the first game.

In my opinion, it really is an improvement over the first game but nontheless those that played the first game will have a bit more fun with this title as they’ll understand some of the references and recognize characters like the first Governor and Kit Kat a lot better, which adds to the fun of the game. If you look at the game itself without knowing the first game, you’re still able to enjoy yourself with it. It’s rather family-friendly and never too hard, so I’d imagine that my younger cousins might enjoy this title, too, if we played it together. There also are other jokes that adults might find entertaining but kids won’t get, which I really enjoyed.

Anyways,

Have a nice day 🙂

PS: If you liked or maybe even disliked this review, feel free to leave a comment! Feedback is always welcome! 🙂

The Stray Sheep #31 – Quick little break before going full-throttle!

So heya, there hasn’t been any posts for a week now and I thought I’d give a quick little update on what’s going on and when I’ll post more again.

Basically, I’ve been having a lot going on IRL. University’s starting soon, so I’ve been preparing for that and also had to deal with other stuff like my schedule and literature club meetings as we’re publishing the fourth issue next month. It’s all getting relatively busy and I’ve also been writing more prose and short stories lately, so I kind of not had the time for reviews and stuff.

The other day I also had problems with my WiFi, leading to me not being able to edit my latest drafts. It’s all a bit of everything right now, nothing dramatic. Today I’ll be leaving for my parents’ for a few days and will return on sunday, the 6th. Hence,my next review will come out on sunday. Hope you’re excited for that!

I kind of feel bad for not being able to post all that much lately, but it’s mostly about not wanting to put out something that isn’t ready for publishing yet! Over the last few months, I managed to reach nearly 1.2k views, so I feel like I’m producing stuff that people actually read. I feel like I have a voice now! That’s super corny but I’m kind of hyped to publish more posts and improve on my writing in hope that small indie devs with great games get more players to play their game this way.
All the more so, I should try to give it my all to publish in more often, on the condition that the quality doesn’t drop.

Once uni starts, I’ll be trying to post at least once per week, maybe even twice, when possible! I don’t want my studies to suffer from the fact that I’m having this hobby here.

As for sunday’s post, I’ll be covering Cat Quest II, a great game by TheGentleBros, who’s improved a lot over their first game while still keeping their charm and adding a ton more puns! 🙂
I really enjoyed playing the game, so far, but sadly the review will have to wait until sunday. Sorry for that!

This post already has been all over the place, but I’m really excited to see my family again. It’s been a month already and my younger siblings are growing way faster than they used to, so I’m kind of missing out on all that ever since I moved out. I hope that I’ll be able to make up for the time I’m missing by visiting them again this (longer) weekend and then go full throttle on my studies from the next week onward.

As for future reviews, I’m thinking about covering The Swindle, Heartbeat and Guacamelee, soon! So stay tuned for those. Also I’ll be getting into streaming once I’ve got a bit more time when the issue of our uni-literature-magazine was published. I’m really looking forward to that! I already ended up ordering a few parts for my new PC and will have to order the last few ones once I’m back home from my parents’. It’s all coming together now 🙂

Anyways, I hope you’ll have a wonderful early weekend and that you all enjoy your day to the fullest! Sorry for the lack of content lately, but here’s a few reasons why I didn’t manage to post lately.

Cheers!