Indietail – HARTS ISLAND

You’re instantly there… on Hart’s Island. Home to millions of corpses. Corpses of the unknown, the unidentified, the poor and the sick, dead bodies found somewhere or people too poor to get a private funeral. Among them, an actor called Luck Miller.

Developer: ben lunato
Publisher: ben lunato
Genres: Walking Simulator, Adventure, Narration
Release Date: June 1st, 2020
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Copy was provided by the dev(s).

In today’s Indietail, we’re taking a look at HARTS ISLAND by ben lunato, a one-hour long narrative experience bringing us to this small island where millions are buried.

The narrator on some tape explains to us what kind of people are resting here. We march forward and walk along in the black and white area only to stumble across the next eye-catcher and a next narrating tape. I feel like I’ve entered some kind of exhibition. Some experimental play where artists are showing off their art and where you walk around from place to place while some weird music with only a few tunes here and there is playing in the background. You hear these tapes in different places but you won’t understand anything until the end of the exhibition… if at all. You have to think with the story and make it work until you at last get to puzzle it together… again, if at all.

During the short experience, we get to find out about this actor and his work. We get to hear several tapes from different auditions (I guess?) and we listen to these tapes inside of differently shaped buildings at different places and possibly different times.

I feel like I could talk and talk about this game but it would probably ruin the experience. This game has its strong points and its flaws. There is little to no direction as to where to go. There are areas that you can explore on your own until the tape is over. There are plot points that get revealed over time but if I speak too much of it, I’d end up spoiling it all, I guess.

So, I guess I’ll just cut to the chase?

Harts Island features a minimalistic approach to story-telling as it gives you little to nothing to orientate yourself within this black and white world: You’ve got sounds and eye-catchers, which I personally found rather interesting and quite cool in a way.

The game gives you little to no direction. There is no hand-holding, no tutorial. HARTS ISLAND just shows you where to go in the same way art exhibitions lure people in. You get to see these art pieces or experiences in different rooms and you walk around from room to room and later on come to a conclusion about the whole exhibition. You hardly know anything until you get to see it… You don’t walk somewhere because there was some big pointy arrow or some narrator that told you to do exactly that. You just go where you think is the right direction or you come back to a point at a later point in time.

And then there’s obviously the unique art style, featuring black and white as the only “colours” in a sketch-like presentation. It’s not too special. It may resemble some streams of impressionism in a way or maybe you could just consider it “minimalistic” but overall, it’s really just sketchy. Apart from that, there’s the soundtrack that either features a soft melody or that encases us in a very ominous and threatening manner with dark and monotone tunes. Obviously, the soundtrack may be the best part about the whole presentation as well as the way the story is presented but the game still has a bunch of flaws.

You have no menu and get thrown into the game, just like that, upon start. When you hit “E” or “Escape”, you get to the pause-menu, featuring “resume”, “settings” and “quit”. I would have loved to stop while playing the game and starting it up at a later point in time. I would have loved to have more options regarding saves or even other settings. I can’t turn subtitles on or off. I can’t change the language. I cannot turn the volume up or down. If you are not hearing that well, you’re gonna love this game with its own settings that you cannot change at all.

And then there are some issues with the game design.

To progress you either have to reach certain points or turn around or listen to a tape for a fixed amount of time… but it never is consistent. Sometimes I would have loved to explore more. I would have loved to see how much love got put into this world and how much more there is to the map. I would have wanted to return to the tape and pressed a button to continue.

In other places, you wait and wait for the tape to end since it earlier helped you out, but there is nothing to do here. You are wasting time. The game doesn’t do anything. Then you leave the building and get teleported away in an instance. Hell, sometimes you can even miss the point of interest completely and just walk around the move without progressing at all. I would have loved if the way the game does things would be consistent with just one way of progress. A tape that you listen to to get to the next area or to get through the “chapter”. Something like that.

And then there are some issues with the world and certain ledges and objects. The game is meant to be a walking simulator of sorts and yet there are a bunch of areas that you can’t access due to invisible walls while you can get stuck in other areas that have nothing to offer but do not feature invisible walls at all. I know that I said that I hate invisible walls but personally I really would have loved to not get stuck in some hole somewhere among floating rocks and inside of some draw bridge under the water’s surface. I would have loved to see more of the game but inconsistencies like that are a bit bothering for the whole experience. Getting stuck somewhere and having to restart the whole game and reply everything up to that point is annoying at most. It’s not “intentional game-design”.

And last but not least, the story. While it’s interesting at the beginning as you wanna see what happens… it… uh… I didn’t like it. No spoilers here. I might turn this into its own post later on with spoilers and everything.

So, to sum it all up: Would I recommend HARTS ISLAND?

In short, no. I wouldn’t.

It’s an interesting experience that is playing with concepts like a sketch-ish art style and structures in the world that could resemble something deep and meaningful… but every interpretation that I could deliver on it would be just a stretch and meaningless. In the end, I’d end up speculating more than I’d actually be able to analyse the game, the story, the art and the sound.

The gameplay is interesting at first but gets frustrating once you get stuck once or twice. There are quite a few spots where you can get stuck, so that’s a big bummer, and even when you get past that and end up playing through it the game doesn’t actually provide all that much value either, resulting in a bit of a letdown at last. The story is not that rewarding and alas, I just can’t recommend it.

I hope you enjoyed this review! Thanks a lot to ben lunato for providing me with a few keys for this game.

Cheers!

Indietail – RogueJack

RNG was always has been a part of the rogue-like genre, from what I’ve seen. Surely, some games don’t rely on RNG at all, be it in the form of items, levels, enemies or stats. Some games don’t need to have that element of chance and randomness in their code but I wouldn’t call “RNG” itself bad as you always, somehow, have to make it work. “Hate the player, not the game.”

But in today’s Indietail, we’re not looking at a game that doesn’t rely on RNG at all but rather one that takes the best out of a lot of rogue-likes and combines it with gambling, or more precisely Blackjack. Today we’re taking a look at RogueJack!

Developer: Ponywolf
Publisher: Ponywolf, LLC
Genre: Casual, Card Game, RPG, Indie, Dungeoncrawler, Rogue-lite
Release Date: May 27, 2020
Available on: PC
Reviewed on: PC
Copy received for free.

In RogueJack we’ve got to crawl through a dungeon and beat enemies in order to level up and evolve our character, ultimately to find some sort of ancient amulet. In our adventure, we fight enemies, dodge their attacks, and get stronger by looting treasure chests and “trusting the heart of the cards”.

The rules are simple: You get two cards and then get to decide whether or not you draw one card or stay at your current number. Face cards grant 10 points, number cards grant their value. Some cards subtract points while others add. Before 10, an ace grants eleven points, and you win fights by getting as close as possible to 21. If you step over it, you lose the fight and the enemy damages you. If you hit 21 (BlackJack!), if your enemy gets more than 21 points or if your number is higher than the enemy’s number, you damage them.

And well, of course, some enemies have bonus effects and “move-sets” of their own. Some enemies win in case of a tie, others tend to play it safe and only play until 16 while others even poison, freeze or set you on fire when you get damaged.

Your damage depends on the items you collect. A six-shooter-gun, for instance, grants you more damage if you’re a cowboy while the Staff of Divination grants you two damage, more vision and even grants you a higher chance to actually see your cards before drawing. There are also shields that block damage before breaking, potions that heal you or cure status effects, daggers, swords and other weapons that grant you more damage and overall, it all depends on what you find and if you can make it work.

In your journey, you’ll encounter a vast variety of enemies in different colours and with different properties. More often than not you’ll try to fight them, to earn money, which you then may use on vending machines to gain more items. Ultimately you are not relying on item-RNG too much nor on any stats but only on your luck and the way you make the cards work. Get greedy and overstep 21. Play it too safe and the enemy hits BlackJack while you’re staying at 16. Ultimately, it’s a card game, but I did quite enjoy it. When you die, you’ll get a second chance. Die again and you’re out. You then get the chance to retrieve your exp and money and continue from the previous level or start anew from Floor 1, your choice.

When you beat enemies, you level up and unlock new characteristics. The Rogue sees all cards, for instance, but while these effects sound over-powered in a way, they are balanced by the fact that it doesn’t help you to know what’s coming when you’ve got bad cards. After you level up, there is no coming-back either. You can’t change your class. You are who you are until you’re someone else. It’s all a game of sorts, a gamble.

And well,… that’s it. The premise is a gamble, too. It can either work out or it doesn’t. I personally really liked the game and only disliked the slow turn-based movement and the unnecessary “freeze”-effect. Once you get rid of that, you can have quite a bit of fun, unless you lose to the cards, or rather the RNG. BlackJack is combining two interesting concepts: The only card-game I really understand… and dungeon-crawlers. The fact that you can’t change your class unless you reset, is interesting. The variety of weapons, enemies and classes is quite fantastic.

In a way, I’m conflicted on whether or not this really is a rogue-like as it actually resembles more of a dungeoncrawler-character… but I guess the borders from one to another are rather fluid and in the end a game is a game, right?

The presentation features a nice pixelated art-style that I found rather pretty while the soundtrack features… one song… that kind of reminded me of older Zelda games and which was fun at first but once it looped for the 42nd time, you probably will turn it off, too, and turn on some music that you enjoy. I would’ve wished for more variety in that regard.

In the end, the game’s premise and looks, the gameplay and the RNG-dependence of the cards are either hit or miss. You either love it or you hate it. I personally liked it so far but I wonder how much I’ll play it. It’s probably one of those games that I’ll turn on every now and then but for not too long per session.

If you already enjoy card games or more specifically BlackJack, you’re gonna love this iteration of the genre. If you enjoy dungeon-crawlers or rogue-lites, you’re going to find this game interesting. So in the end, I’m recommending it and I hope that you have a nice time with this title.

Cheers!

Arachnophobia intensifies – Venturing into the Deepnest

I’ve talked about my fear of spiders in the past before in this post and even in this one… but ever since I’ve visited that spider-convention nearby and had that tarantula on my hand, I have not really encountered any spiders in my flat. And apart from “Kill It With Fire”, I haven’t seen any in any video games, either, so I wasn’t sure yet if I’m over my fear…

Well, I wasn’t sure until I got to make more Progress in Hollow Knight and ventured into the Deepnest.

But first of all, let me clarify: I love Hollow Knight. I love the soundtrack, the gameplay features, the difficulty of it as well as the fact that you can heal yourself with the Soul you gather from hitting stuff with your Nail. I love the aesthetics and personalities of the enemies and characters in the game and from what I understand… I love the story. I just wouldn’t have thought that, even though I saw it coming, there’d be an area that I’d struggle with so much.

If you haven’t played it yet and don’t want story spoilers, skip the next two paragraphs. (I’ll separate them with pictures!)

The game sends you into this world to rescue villagers and find and “slay” (?) these Dreamers (deities of sorts?) to lift some curse (I guess?). It’s still very blurry to me and while you learn bits and pieces here and there, you hardly get the bigger picture until you read up on it or until you got further into the game. I personally love that about this game. It’s bits and pieces from different times and you just have to puzzle it all together to understand what is going on with the Pale King and all of that.

And well, in my last play session on Wednesday, I finally reached Deepnest, an area near the Distant Village, where Herrah the Beast used to rule. Herrah was one of the three rulers and she is one of the three Dreamers that you’re trying to “slay” (I still don’t know if we really slay them… it seems as if we absorb their souls into our Nails?).

Welcome to the “no story spoilers” part!

My problem with Deepnest was that, just like with other areas in the game, the enemies are based on one small critter from the world of bugs and worms and… well… spiders. There are spiders in Deepnest. And I wouldn’t bother with it, too much, but it’s just the way the area is presented, that freaked me out (Twitch Clip). There are webs and strings everywhere and some enemies come back in the form of spider-zombies! There are spiders falling down in front of the screen, which is seriously tripping me out, and there are a ton of disgusting sounds.

I hated this area so much, just because of those effects, that I didn’t bother exploring it too much more and kind of rushed through the area!

I just hated it. It freaked me out and I had some moments where I felt this weird jiggle that your body does every now and then. The shivers crawling down your spine. I felt something crawling or itching at my head and on my skin every here and there, too, which is just terrifying. Even now, watching the VOD and writing this post, I’m terrified of the potential of there being a huge fucking spider behind my monitors or in the corners of my flat.

So, I guess I’m still afraid of spiders. And confronting my fears wasn’t really helping it… if anything it made it worse. I’m not getting any nightmares from it and I even managed to capture a spider alive and release it into the wild the other day… but I still hate them a ton. I don’t know. Maybe it will get better over time once I get used to capturing and releasing them more often… Oh well.

So, that’s it for this post. Hope you enjoyed it!

Cheers!

Indietail – Ayre

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you could fly on a majestic creature like a dragon? Have you ever wanted to surge through the skies and explore vast areas? Have you ever dreamed of true freedom with no boundaries whatsoever? 

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions or if you’re just wondering what I’m on about, then you might like this following review of Ayre!

Developer: Gordon Little aka Gord Games
Publisher: Gordon Little
Genres: Casual, Adventure, Indie, Dragons, Flying, Simulation, Third Person
Release Date: May 27, 2020
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Copy received from the Devs

Ayre is a new dragon flight simulation that is coming out on Steam soon. Mount your bonded dragon, Red, and explore vast areas while testing your flight skills in sky races hidden across the lands and discover the history of an ancient civilisation with their own customs and traditions as well as a story that is quite interesting. And then there’s the Crystal Comet, an organism of sorts that has been scattered across the lands and asks you to unify it again. 

Yeah, true freedom. It’s great. You’ve got an open world with gigantic, snow-covered mountains, vast plains, beautiful valleys and sparkling rivers that is completely accessible to you and your scaley companion. Across the world, you find collectable crystals and Monoliths telling you the story of a civilisation of the past. 

It’s an interesting experience to be able to go anywhere you want with little to no guidance and no boundaries set by abilities that you need. The controls may take a while to get used to if you – like me – don’t play too many flight-simulation-games but once you get the hang of it, it is rather fun. If you want to challenge yourself, there are plenty of ring-races that require you to reach a goal as fast as possible. If you then still want to step up your game, then I recommend checking out the advanced flight options that are less simplified and need you to watch the speed your flying at and control your dragon more precisely. 

Red looks like such a happy boiii in this one. Like some cute doggo but better!

The music and the colourful, simplified presentation make the game shine in a new light as well as you get to enjoy the world without having to fear any threats or dangers. If you fall off a cliff, your dragon is there for you and rescues you in time, too!

And the different biomes are rather intriguing. During the time I played, I found some ruins here and there as well as forests and a wasteland of sorts. There are different structures hidden in all kinds of places, from a temple in the mountains to a small port in a river. You may swim across some Deltas and travel by foot, too. If you get too far from your dragon, you just whistle and Red comes to pick you up. It’s just enjoyable. 

Crystal in a temple fits quite well!

Overall, I really enjoyed the game to this point but I noticed that it still needs some polishing and some more updates here and there. I’d be intrigued to see how this game fairs in VR and how people would enjoy it in that context but at the same time, me and my fear of heights don’t want to try that out, haha.

It’s only going to come out and I only got a key for review purposes, so some of the following issues might have been gotten rid of in the future, so I’ll probably revisit this game by then as well… but yeah, there are flaws. 

I love this area so much!

For instance, it feels really slow to travel on foot. Quite often I’d call my dragon and I’d just fly a small distance to get closer to a crystal I wanted to collect, or I’d just ride it on the ground to reach a point. 

There are also some spots here and there where the world feels a bit janky. Your character, for instance, can’t seem to climb up ledges all that much and often seems to struggle with going up the smallest hills. There are also areas where your dragon struggles, like when you run into a hill while attempting to fly up and your dragon just lands again, which can be a bit annoying but you get the hang of the flying and starting rather quickly, so that may be overlooked.

We’re a fast boy! And if we beat this race, we get a speed upgrade for our dragon!

I also noticed that some features seem to not be implemented into my version just yet, like different markers on the map or story-parts on different monoliths. I’d find a monolith in a new area but can’t seem to interact with it at all, so I guess it’s going to get added very soon after or even on release. 

And then there’s an issue that I have with the crystals. Some of them are placed in interesting ways like on the palm of a giant statue or at the top of some ruins but it can be quite hard to get to them due to different polygons of the game and the weird difficulty your character seems to have with them. There also some spaces here and there where you’d seemingly get showered in crystals while other areas are rather scarce of any at all. I would love it if you had to collect less in total and if the crystals would be rarer or if the movement speed of the character got buffed a bit more so that it feels less like a hassle in these areas. 

So fabulous!

For the first story-piece from the Crystal, as an example, you need to collect five crystals while you need fifty crystals for the second fragment of a story. It seems like a bit of a jump and I would rather have enjoyed smaller steps like a new fragment every 25 crystals since the story is the hook that keeps you playing. Without the story and the exploration part, you might get bored eventually after two to three hours of flying around. 

But regardless of that, I would say that it’s a solid premise and, while it needs some polishing, it is definitely worth checking out for anyone who likes the idea of it and enjoys truly open worlds without invisible walls

Yup, a pidgeon on a skateboard.

So, in the end, I’ll have to revisit it in the future once it got updated a bit more or once it hits the release and possibly gets polished more. I can definitely feel the love that got put into this world and the game in general and I really enjoyed my time. While there are flaws, I would say that this game is like a gem that just needs a tad more polishing. I feel like that describes it quite well. 

The game already is available for 12 USD on itch.io, which in my opinion is a fair price for what you get out of it. The steam price will probably be somewhere around that, I guess.
I definitely will come back to this game every now and then as it’s quite relaxing and rather colourful, especially when it gets updated more in the future!

STORY TIME!

I hope you enjoyed this review. Thanks a lot to the dev, Gordon Little, for providing me with a review key for this game. Please check out the steam store page and wishlist this title when it comes out. And please take care, the whole pandemic-business is still not over. 🙂

Cheers!

Uh, Bloglovin exists!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Never really used this… but apparently my blog is on there anyways… so, you might as well consider following it, if you’re using Bloglovin’.

Question for you:

Who even uses Bloglovin’? Let me know, I want to recruit them!

Eventually, I’ll be big enough for a Dr Pepper sponsorship so that I’ll never run out of Dr Pepper again! That’d be sweet!

Take care! Cheers!

(Yup, that’s it for this post.)

Indietail – Catlateral Damage

If Earth was flat, cats would have thrown everything off of it by now. 

In today’s Indietail, we’re taking a look at a game about doing just that: Flipping stuff off shelves, tables, and basically making a mess. After having been left alone by our dear owner, we’ve got to trash the owner’s place. We’re cats after all. 

Understandable…

Today, we’re reviewing Catlateral Damage!

Developer: Chris Chung, Fire Hose Games
Publisher: Chris Chung
Genres: Simulation, Cats, Casual, Destruction, First-Person, (VR)
Release Date: May 27, 2015
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Copy was purchased.

Just like Kill It With Fire, House Flipper and other games in the genre, Catlateral Damage, the First-Person destructive cat simulator, is making use of the joy the player feels when they’re wrecking a place. It’s the joy you feel whenever you break some pots in a Zelda game or when you shoot big ridiculous enemies with big fucking guns in Serious Sam. The premise works, I’d say. 

Wow, that’s huge! We can’t possibly destroy that, too, right?

You’re a cat that is wrecking its owner’s place… or the supermarket… or the museum. There are a whole bunch of different places that you’ll be able to wreck and mess with and usually, there are hundreds of objects to toss around! 

The controls are rather easy and quite intuitive as you just move around with space and AWSD while striking stuff with the three mouse-buttons. While the game can be played in VR, I was not able to test that experience since I don’t own a VR-headset. But, judging from my experience, I would say that I personally would never try the game out in VR simply for the reason that I already felt quite dizzy rather often while playing the game… and I don’t want to deal with motion sickness in VR. 

Never mind!

The game features the Litterbox Mode (Sandbox) and the Objective Mode (Campaign). The Litterbox Mode has no time limit and allows you to just go into any level of the game and use a seed of your choice so that you can wreck a place as much as you like. The Objective Mode, on the other hand, brings you into a level and gives you a certain time-limit to wreck a certain amount of objects.

During the course of your playtime, you’ll encounter several in-game-events from “Disco Fever” to hunting a mouse around the house. There are a bunch of events that are just fun and don’t do anything for you while there are also others that reward you after you have completed a challenge of sorts. I personally really enjoyed one of the more “trippy” events where all of your stats are maxed out and where you jump around and strike things at hyper speed. There is also another one with “moon gravity” that allows you to… well… fall very slowly and jump very high. 

Speaking of rewards and stats, you have three stats that can be upgraded through upgrade-boxes or through event-rewards:

  • Swat (determines the force of your paw-strikes)
  • Speed (self-explanatory)
  • Jump (self-explanatory)

I found speed and jump to be the most useful, although having all of them upgraded usually helps you a lot with the wrecking and stuff. 

By striking certain plants and interacting with other (sparkling) objects, you’ll receive upgrades as well, which is a fun idea to change up the gameplay loop. 

Worst thing is… it’s still cleaner than my place even after the “Wreckoning”

Overall, I feel like the premise of the game is fun and interesting but the gameplay loop is rather lacking in a way. Having certain challenges like “the floor is lava” or some sort of race would certainly mix things up and provide more value for the money you’re paying. There are about twenty playable cats that you unlock through achievements and challenges, as well as a bunch of collectables that are just waiting to be found. On top of multiple secret levels, you can also find references to other games on DVD-covers or action figures, which is rather amusing, in my opinion.

While the idea of collecting pet pictures, is rather neat, I don’t necessarily find it that exciting. The game is fun at first, especially due to the rather colourful environment, the chill tunes and the “destroy everything before your human returns” premise… but it gets stale, which is a bummer. 

They even referenced Easha over here!

Catlateral Damage is available on steam for about ten bucks but personally, I’d wait for a sale on that game. After about two hours, I already got bored of it. I guess I’d get back to it here and there again but unless they add a whole bunch of new tasks and challenges as well as more gameplay-elements that up the challenge or add more variety to it, I wouldn’t be willing to play more of this or pay the full price of ten bucks.

So, would I recommend it? Yeah, but with a discount on it. 

Lovely kitty!

Hope you enjoyed this review. It’s been a while since I last posted but University is keeping me busy and my game time seems to be limited to the occasional stream, so I’m not really getting to blogging or reviews in general unless I do these reviews on stream. If you’d like to see me play some of these Indie Games on Stream and if you’d like to see the process of me playing something, talking about it and taking notes/screenshots of things, be sure to check out my twitch channel over here. 

Either way, I hope that y’all are staying safe over there!

Cheers!

Steam – PLAY NEXT

Steam has gotten a bunch of updates that were quite neat. I love the “new” (it’s not that new anymore) library with the dynamic and static collections, the new home screen, the updates being shown there at the front page as well as the fact that it all looks like a shelf where you keep your games.

As far as shelves go, you can set up a view of your collections, your recent games, your favourite games all your games, recent friend activity, uncategorized games, and…. the new feature:

PLAY NEXT

And that’s something that I’d imagine would be rather neat for a lot of people. The algorithm that Steam is using tells you about the games that you should tackle next. Steam helps you with your backlog and gives you a recommendation of games that you haven’t played yet but that you own. It’s like the “explore”-feature that I frequently use… but for games that I already have and that I don’t need to buy!

My Play Next features quite a bunch of titles that I actually wanted to play for a while now but never got to or titles that I might want to play again as it’s been a while!

So, next time I’m not sure what I wanna play, I’ll hit up this feature and just check the recommendations. Endless Legend/Space are options especially as I love the universe and Dungeon of the Endless… but right now I’m quite busy with Assassin’s Creed 1 and Hollow Knight. If I feel like Indie Games, I might check out Omensight’s predecessor, “Stories: The Path of Destinies”, or maybe Aragami, which looked interesting… and then, of course, there’s XCOM2 which I’m lately seeing everywhere and which is going to break my heart next time I play it again!

And I feel like that’s the biggest problem with a big backlog of games: You are not under pressure due to the size of the backlog… You are under pressure as you cannot choose between the many games that you might want to play. You only have so much time and this one game might be worth more time than this other one. Sure, I could get back into Kingdom again and just replay the old games or check out the latest update but I also could potentially try out something new like Deponia or Dishonored, although I’m not sure if I’ll like these games all that much, as I barely know anything about the franchises! 

Overall, I feel like this might become a feature that more people, other than me, use. I personally love the “new” library and stuff like the dynamic collections and the “unplayed”-category! I also love the “shelf”-look of things and how everything is in order now and how everything looks less dated. Again, this new feature might improve how I tackle games that I never played. Before, I used to scroll down with my eyes closed and stop at a random game! Usually, it lead to me playing something fun!…. or not! This might be the solution to that or rather a flat-out upgrade! Thus, I’m looking forward to that!

What are your thoughts on it? Is this something that you could see yourself using? What was your previous method of choosing what game to play next? Either way, that’s it for today’s post. Hope you enjoyed this one… 

Cheers!

TSS #61 – Blapril 2020 Wrap-Up

Blapril2020 is over and this is a wrap-up post! 

Just the other day, Belghast posted his Blapril-Rundown with all the stats, awards and participants and therefore concluded the event for now. 

“During the entire series run of March 29th through May 9th we had 48 total participants and they crafted 1124 blog posts. This works out to be an average of roughly 23 posts per participant.”

Belghast from aggronaut.com

Overall, what I learned from the Blapril-experience is the fact that two daily posts are technically possible… for shorter periods… but only when I don’t have Uni going on as well. I dropped the daily posts when I reached my 42 posts in April and only got three more posts done in the first ten days of May, resulting in a total of 45 posts! That’s the second-most posts among all participants (Bhagpuss has “beaten” me with three more for a total of 48 posts)!

Due to our post-count of 45 we not only get the Participation Award but also the Rainbow Award! Wohoo!

Two posts per day are rather hard to do, however. It’s quite exhausting to write up two posts, edit and publish them in time when you’ve got a set schedule that you want to commit to without having to rely on backdating and that kind of “cheatery”. So, I guess I won’t do any schedules for now and instead post when I’ve got the time. And while I could do at least daily posts, I don’t think that I’ll do that any time soon with all the uni-stuff that is going on right now. Currently, I’m falling behind on my studies right now, so I’ve got to sacrifice more sleep currently and cancel a stream or two here and there, so overall that’s a bummer.

As far as posts go, I managed to post seven reviews:

Three posts on First Impressions:

Four posts on Monster Hunter World:

and therefore managed to get to Iceborne (still need to post on that) in only seven posts, I guess.

I also did a couple of rant-posts, just because I had the idea during last year’s Blaugust but didn’t do it for a long time:

and we revisited Risk of Rain 2, and we took a look at May’s Humble Choice, to which we’ve actually beaten Naithin, which I personally found rather amusing!

Overall, I got to fill in all the gaps with a bunch of Stray Sheep and a few posts about Streaming and the like, which was also quite nice for the mix. April actually managed to rake in 813 views from about 405 visitors, which I found quite surprising! 

Now, I don’t necessarily care about my SEO (nor do I know how to do that kind of stuff) and I don’t necessarily care about growing my blog but at the same time, it’s not like I don’t get happy to see that people like actually read my posts and possibly get to see some of those games that I’m reviewing. Especially when it comes to new and unknown games like Gutwhale, I’m rather happy when I see that the review is getting a lot of traffic. Our blog also showed up on Google a couple of times as well as Bing, DuckDuckGo, Baidu and Yahoo Search.

In the future, I’d like to post more reviews again and also cover a larger variety of games and genres! The review of the manga, Girl by the Sea, that I did was interesting and I enjoyed writing that post up, but I don’t know yet if I’ll do that again any time soon, especially as I don’t get to read as much right now. 

I guess I could try out other review formats and genres and branch out a bit more into shows, movies and albums that I really did enjoy or that I wanted to write about… but I feel like I’m missing the expertise and knowledge to put my thoughts into words which can potentially really harm the quality of the review in the end, so, for now, I’ll just stick to video game reviews and eventually branch out into other genres once I’ve actually finished up a draft that I’m happy with. 

Either way, that’s it for this post. I hope you enjoyed this wrap-up. I’m looking forward to this year’s Blaugust and can’t wait for it to start again since I’ll be on break then as well. 

Have a nice one!

Cheers!

This post is part of a challenge called BLAPRIL. The goal is to post as much as possible during the 30 days of April. There are different themes during some of the weeks and a lot of mentors, newbies and participants participating. Feel free to check this hub-post out and check out the other participants!

TSS #60 – Toxic People

This is a post about toxic people and toxicity in general, I guess. And to make this post less sad or personal or heavy, I’m also adding cat pictures into the mix – and I’m not adding any pictures of cats that I know and love but generic cat pictures from the wordpress library to make it less personal and more generic. I hope you enjoy these.

I’ve recently had to deal with someone whose friend I was for six years (or probably more at this point) and whose just company wasn’t doing any good for me at all. I didn’t know what to do about it. I always was hoping that it would get better eventually or I was making excuses as I don’t know what he’s going through, but that’s the point: After six+ years, I still don’t know a thing about this “friend” and I’ve never really had an actual conversation outside of video games and other interests with this person. And that’s weird. It’s scary to an extent. You think you “know” someone but you don’t at all. Everything you think you know about that person may be a lie. My girlfriend actually suggested that I cut ties with him and that that would probably do me more good and while I acted as if that’s something new, I actually knew that it’s something I’d have to do eventually.

Photo by Wojciech Kumpicki on Pexels.com

This guy would have no problems at all with judging others and cutting them off for the stupidest reasons, like getting into a girl’s pants, period. At the same time, everything that you’d do that wasn’t on his side got treated as “treason” and you’d essentially get guilt-tripped into thinking that you’re in the wrong, to the point where it fucks with your personality. He’s (probably) six years older than me. I say probably as I don’t know if he’s really 27 or if that’s a lie as well. After all, I don’t know if he actually has a job if he’s broke all the time or if he actually is studying right now if he seems to play games all day and know nothing about psychology or empathy or whatever. I was fourteen when I got to know him and he always thought of himself as someone who’s teaching me about all kinds of things when he really was just pushing his ego. And in hindsight, it really screwed with me to have a person like that around for that long at that age.

These 351 words here are probably wasted on him but since I kicked him off my discord, removed him from social media and just didn’t talk to him at all anymore and cut him off without a word to him or any other friends, I felt that I should maybe write about it. I should maybe talk about it. Just to get it off my mind. Alas, there’s this post here. This post where I talk about toxic people in my life and how I’m trying to deal with it.

Photo by Lina Kivaka on Pexels.com

I’ve had this teacher for nine years and he’d always blame me for all kinds of things even when I didn’t have anything to do with them. He would manipulate me and laugh about me and overall he was the biggest douche I know, to this day. The only reason for me to go to school was the fact that I was in that Drama club… but he would lead it and since everybody loved him and his fresh way of teaching, I couldn’t really speak up about it as I’d be the outsider who’s trying to be edgy and be against the mainstream (or something like that). I also didn’t want to get kicked out of the Drama club. So, I stayed in the club for nine years.

When I graduated, that teacher was basically patting himself on the back for those nine years where I have been an active member. That teacher was basically bragging in front of a whole gym hall full of people that he was the person that raised me to the person who I am now. And he’s not going to hear it from me now. After all, the only thing that is going to change if I talk to him about it or if I go public about it, is the way he’ll treat my younger siblings in class, giving them an even harder time and bad grades for no reasons. And when they graduate, it will already be too late for me to speak up about the disgusting human being that that teacher is – in my opinion. It won’t make a difference at all if I were to talk about the stuff he put me through. If he lost his job, he wouldn’t be able to feed his family at all. After all, he got married and has a child with one of his former students, and nobody wouldn’t want to destroy that, right?

Photo by Flickr on Pexels.com

So, what I’m trying to get at is: Fuck people. They suck. Most of them. I’ve met plenty of great people out there. The Blaugustans, my girlfriend, a ton of people who I met through twitch, and some other great friends: They are all great. I’m glad that I’m part of some of these communities and I know there’s plenty of other great people that I haven’t met in a while… but at the same, there are even more douchebags and jerks and hosers over there…

Recently I’ve talked to Roger from containsmoderateperil again and we had this discussion about how life is too short for a lot of things. He also found out that he’s older than my father, which apparently was not apparent… but either way…

Life’s just too short for all of those jerks and scumbags. Life’s too short to give a fuck about any of them. And life’s too short to keep any of them around or to be angry about them. I guess this post is pointless in a way. The person I recently cut ties with in my life didn’t even bother to reach out to me so that basically reaffirms to me that it was the right choice to make. Let’s just hope that he won’t cause trouble sooner or later. Same thing for that teacher or for a certain blogger who used to cause trouble but who just doesn’t care anymore.

Photo by Natalie on Pexels.com

Life’s too short, so just don’t get overagitated about that kind of thing, I guess. :c Uh, but that’s also bad advice and probably is not always the thing to do. Sometimes it’s just easier to ignore it… or you set the bar super low to never get disappointed! Or you just surround yourself with pleasant things in order to prevent yourself getting damaged or whatever.

So that’s it for today’s post. Have a nice one!

Cheers!

Risk of Rain 2 – Revisited

A while ago, I’ve reviewed Risk of Rain 2 and had a blast, but since it got updated a ton over the course of more than a year now, I wanted to write about it again and… well… I recently got back into it again and had a blast, again. So, strap on for today’s entry in the “Revisited” series, where I post about Risk of Rain 2, a Third-Person Rogue-like Action Shooter by Hopoo Games who are also responsible for Deadbolt and Risk of Rain 1!

Let’s begin with the obvious: What are the biggest changes in the game?

Well, not only were there new items and characters added to the game… but also a ton of new features. By completing certain challenges, you can unlock new abilities for your characters and customize their loadout. Just yesterday I unlocked the ability to Surge into the Air and fly forever with the Artificer at the cost of losing his laser-beam. I also unlocked a few other abilities for my other characters like all the different weapons for MUL-T.

Oooh, what’s this?

On top of that, I’m only missing Acrid now, who we already know from the first game, before I’ve got all characters. There’s been plenty from the first game, which I found quite nostalgic, like the Huntress, MUL-T, the Commando, the Loader, the Engineer, the Mercenary, and Acrid. But Hopoo also added completely new characters like the Artificer who resembles more of a mage from the future of sorts as he shoots out fiery and electric projectiles and flies through the air, freezing enemies with walls of ice and doing all kinds of other cool stuff. There’s also REX who is an interesting character who has incredible healing capabilities but also uses some abilities that cost life as a resource!

My favourite survivors to play as are Rex, MUL-T and the Artificer, so far, but I have yet to play more of the Engineer, the Mercenary and the Loader. The Commando is quite basic, which is not a weakness but more of a strength, I’d say. The Huntress is a lot of fun with the right items! But personally, I just love the fantasy around the Artificer and Rex as well as the whole theme that our robotic survivor has with his MUL-T-ple equipment slots and different primary attacks. They all are played differently, which I find really enjoyable and overall, I’m excited to test out the other characters and unlock some broken combos!

I still love the Scorched Acres!

Hopoo is also working on yet another completely new character who should come out soon, so I’m rather excited about that one, especially since I got back into the game again now and since I’m unlocking all kinds of stuff now, too.

So, skill-load-outs (Skills 2.0) and unlocks (survivors, stages) aside, there’s also been the artefact-feature added to the game, just like in the first game that allows you to increase the difficulty by a lot again. So far I’ve only played with a few so far but they really do make the game more interesting. There are some new ones in the second games, like on an artefact that enables friendly fire for everyone or another one that kills everyone when one player dies, but also other ones that we already know from the first game like Command (Choose your items) and Glass (Deal 500% damage but have 10% health). So far I’ve only played around with Swarms (Monster spawns doubled, monster health halved), Vengeance (every 10 minutes your relentless doppelganger invades and tries to kill you), Sacrifice (Monsters drop items on death (chance) but chests no longer spawn), and Glass… and it’s been a lot of fun.

Secret area? Nice!

What I’ve noticed is that there’s a lot of stuff that I don’t quite understand just yet. For instance, to unlock the artefacts there is a hidden boss in the sky meadows that you need to fight but I couldn’t quite figure out how to actually fight him in my last run… so I’ll have to try that again. On top of that, there are a bunch of secret realms that got added to the game that you can access through a few of the new areas, as well as an ending of sorts.

You now have the option of looping past the last stage back to the first stage, and every three levels after the first loop, you’ll be able to catch the Celestial Portal that teleports you to “A Moment, Fractured” where you find the Obelisk that allows you to obliterate yourself from existence and end the run, unlocking a new character as well as a skin for your survivor. If you have the Beads of Fealty, you can also access a different alternative ending Hidden Realm, “A Moment, Whole”.

Nice to see you here, too! The Titan Boss from the first game! 🙂

So, the game is coming along quite nicely and I’m excited about the new skills, items, stages, enemies and the new survivor! I still really like Risk of Rain 2 and definitely think that it’s worth checking out! I’ll probably stream runs of it tomorrow and can’t wait to unlock more stuff, including Acrid.

Well, that’s it for today’s post. I hope you enjoyed this one! Be sure to check out Risk of Rain 2 on Steam and tell me about your experiences with it if you had any so far 🙂

Cheers!

This post is part of a challenge called BLAPRIL. The goal is to post as much as possible during the 30 days of April. There are different themes during some of the weeks and a lot of mentors, newbies and participants participating. Feel free to check this hub-post out and check out the other participants!