Humble Choice – November 2020

For the past couple of months, I’ve been doing a few posts about Humble Choice and my choices. The idea for this originally stemmed from Naithin over at Time to Loot. I really like doing these kinds of posts but I feel like I haven’t credited him enough for it, so before I head into this month’s Choice, I wanted to stress how important it is to credit the original series of posts. Alas, please check out Naithin’s post on November’s Choice first before you head into mine. He’s probably got other views on this month’s Choice from me. I think that reading both sides would really enhance the experience, especially since he’s a great guy who’s really worth checking out! 

Just like last month, this Choice continues the trend of having great games and interesting choices!

RankGameDeveloperGenre
1Little MisfortuneKillmondays GamesDark Interactive Story
2Yakuza Kiwami 2SegaAction-Adventure
3DarksburgShiro GamesCo-Op Roguelite
4Smile For MeYugo LimboUnconventional Point & Click
5Darksiders 3Gunfire GamesHack & Slay
6Crying SunsAlt ShiftTactical Rogue-lite
7YouropafreclePuzzle Platformer
8TsioqueOhNoo StudioDark Point & Click
9Imperator: RomeParadoxGrand Strategy
10DarkwoodAcid WizardSurvival Horror
11Townsmen – A Kingdom RebuiltHandyGamesColony Sim
12Rover Mechanic SimulatorPyramid GamesSimulation

There are twelve games available and Classic/Premium subscribers get all twelve of them! Hence, I wanted to rank these in a similar way to what Nait does. The first spots obviously are games that I really am looking forward to while you could consider the last two spots “drop-outs” or rather game keys that I’ll gift to friends.

Little Misfortune is a game that I’ve been meaning to buy at one point eventually but I never got the chance to do so as “buying new games” is not a priority for me – especially with my 900+ game backlog… But I’ve heard great things about this game and I really like the art style and the direction they took this game in. While it looks all cute and innocent, it actually features a lot of mature, dark and potentially even gross topics. The narrator of the story is creepy while Misfortune is an innocent gem full of hopes and bad luck. The game presents some sort of deception as a friend of mine picked it up, streamed it on her family-friendly channel on Twitch (unaware of the 18+ tag that this game has) and deeply regretted it after a while. Personally speaking, I know only a few scenes from the game but stayed off from all sorts of media and articles on it since I didn’t want to spoil myself too much. I’m relatively sure that I’m going to play this game shortly over on Twitch and I’m looking forward to that!

As for the other titles, Yakuza Kiwami 2 and Darksiders 3 are games that I’ve heard great things about. The Yakuza series is a franchise that I haven’t looked into yet but from what I’ve heard it certainly is something that I’d enjoy, so I’m looking forward to that. This game being in this Choice just means that I’ve got yet another game in my library that I will play for sure, eventually! As for Darksiders 3, it has some interesting aspects to it with nice themes and a somewhat funny story about the apocalypse being initiated too early and one of the apocalyptic riders having to clean up (in the previous games), so I’m sure I’ll like it. 

Darksburg and Smile for Me are unconventional in a lot of ways. Darksburg focuses on co-op rogue-lite action, so I’m looking forward to maybe playing this with a friend of mine over on my discord. Smile For Me is a point & click adventure where you can’t speak and where you have to nod or shake your head to solve a mystery. I’m not typically a fan of point & click games but since Ms Magi is into those, I thought about picking some up and maybe enjoying them with her eventually. Smile For Me is also one of those titles that would be great for another Indietail

Crying Suns is a tactical Rogue-lite in the manner of FTL and some other titles and alas, I’m more than sure that I’m going to like this game. The style of it and the gameplay systems seemed quite interesting to me and as I no next to nothing else about it, I’m quite sure that I’ll review it eventually, too. 

Youropa is a 3D Puzzle Platformer about gravity and perception, I think. Apparently, it features some degree of Metroidvania systems in it as well, which is interesting. Overall, I’m looking forward to trying this out eventually and maybe writing a post on it. I’ve got a few puzzle games like this one lined up that I need to finish eventually and I love innovative puzzles a ton, so I’m really happy to have acquired this title. 

Now, Tsioque seems to be another Point & Click adventure but while I personally have no interest in it really since I don’t like the art style, I was thinking of gifting this to Ms Magi. I think this could be a nice game for her. 

Imperator: Rome is a Grand Strategy game by Paradox, so it should technically rank a lot higher than 9th place… but I’m actually not too keen on playing a game set in Rome. It’s something that I don’t like as much as I should maybe… the problem with Grand Strategy is that the tutorials can be long and that it can get quite hard to get into those games, at least for me. Alas, I’ve ranked this relatively low. Darkwood, on the other hand, has a new twist on Survival Horror Games but I’m not entirely sure if I’m going to like it, so I ranked that one also relatively low on the scale.

As for the last two entries, I frankly despise the art style of Townsmen and it feels way too similar to other games in the genre. In essence, all colony sims are… colony sims… and I love colony sims… but if a game doesn’t add any value to it or if a game doesn’t spin its own twist on the genre, I don’t feel too good about it. Rover Mechanic Simulator is a game that I also wouldn’t like at all. This title and Townsmen are titles that I probably would gift away to people that would probably enjoy them more than me. I have this one friend who is really into tech stuff and simulation games like this – so it would be a great birthday gift for him… but maybe I’m also just a bit worried that a Pyramid Games game is going to feel a bit janky or that it may disappoint me, on top of not being my cup of tea.

This sums up another Humble Choice. I personally never really liked the “list”-style post that I did for Humble Choice. Naithin’s approach of adding a table to the post and ranking the games, however, was something that I wanted to try out eventually, too, and I think I actually like it. While Naithin puts his own spin on things and has a different perspective on these games, on top of adding his own personality to his posts, I’m trying to justify the ranking or the reason for picking up these games. I feel like this adds a bit more insight into the post instead of it just becoming “yet another list” or “yet another top 10 post”. 

Now, lately, I’ve been trying to use affiliate links that I have at my disposal (as I’m a humble partner) more often in my posts. This was the case for my review on Submerged, for instance, where I plugged the link at the end of the post. I don’t want to do that sneakily and not disclaim it or use any other unjust ways of getting you to click on something that will ultimately make me profit a little bit. Alas, here’s a disclaimer: This following link is an affiliate link and if you subscribe to Humble Monthly using that link, I may get a little bit of money and it will support The Trevor Project, a charity organisation that supports LGBTQIA+ youth. This link here basically lets you sign up for Humble Choice if you want to

By clicking on it, you’ll get to the subscription page but you won’t have to subscribe or anything. It just leads you there and it has my partner-code in the URL as a referrer, as well as the charity-code for The Trevor Project. According to the Humble Partner dashboard, I’ll be able to get up to US$15 for every new subscriber and it would help me out but you, of course, don’t have to do so if you don’t want. New Subscriptions don’t cost more because of the link – it just supports me and that charity organisation.

I’m being a bit weird about that, so I’m sorry for that long paragraph. Anyways, I hope you had fun with this post. Are you picking up this month’s Choice? Are there any games that you personally really are looking forward to or do you have any other opinions on the type of games? Make sure to let me know and make sure to be kind to others and stay healthy! Always remember that you matter!

Cheers!

Late to the Party #4 – Bioshock 1

So, it’s been a while since I last posted anything related to the Late to the Party series. The main reason for that is the fact that I’ve been busy playing games that aren’t that old On-Stream while not playing as many games Off-Stream.

Either way, in March, I started playing Bioshock 1 (Remastered) for the very first time during a 24-hour-stream (the kind that I don’t do anymore) and I really enjoyed playing it for about six hours. After that, we didn’t touch it again for quite a while since I soft-locked myself. It’s a rough time when your save file is soft-locked, no matter which save-file you’re trying to load. But more on that later.

So, what is Bioshock? Why did I want to play it? Why haven’t I played it yet?

Bioshock 1 is an Atmospheric Horror-Action-FPS game by 2K Boston in which you’re playing a man named Jack in the 1960s that is exploring the world of Rapture, an underground city, trying to find out what conspired there. You have a wide range of weapons available to you but you’re also forced to modify your DNA to become an even deadlier weapon, slinging fireballs and summoning bees and doing that kind of stuff.

But first things first, after a plane crash, we get to swim to safety to an island with a light tower where a capsule of sorts leads us deep into the sea. Once we arrive in the destroyed city of Rapture, we get to meet our first Slicers, enemies that are going crazy to receive more Adam (which is the stuff you pump into yourself to get stronger) and they attack anything and anyone. While you make your way through the world of Rapture you find out about Andrew Ryan, a businessman and objectivist, that wanted to create a utopia for society’s elite to exist outside of the government’s control and limits. Through several audio clips and tapes found in the world, we learn more about the world, while acquiring more powers (through Adam) and trying to progress further and further into the game, intending to eliminate the mastermind behind all of this!

What I really liked about the game in the first six hours of my playtime was that you were able to see that something obviously wasn’t going great with Ryan’s plan. This place called Rapture was supposed to be a utopia but ended up in ruins with flooded and destroyed areas as well as corruption, elitism, and a lot of danger. We find out more about the source of Adam, the science and research behind it, the world and what happened, as well as how the few sane people in the world are managing to come by. We go on errands, completing missions, and we can do so however we want.

I loved it.

We were able to be stealthy or more like Rambo. We can shoot our way through the game or play a spell slinger of sorts. The game gives you a lot of freedom which eventually transitions into the choices as well. Jack is trying to find a way to escape Rapture and obviously, needs to get his hands on more Adam. To do so, we need to defeat the iconic Big Daddies (that even I knew about) and either harvest or rescue the Little Sisters. Harvesting gives you more but it will kill the Little Sisters. Saving the Little Sisters grants them a life free of Adam and risks but you’ll end up with less Adam, though you may get some other rewards. This whole thing is completely optional most of the time and the morality behind it influences the ending.

But then I got stuck and didn’t play it again until October the 7th and October the 8th where I played through the game during a Spooktober stream.

The whole dark and gritty aesthetic that Rapture presents to you is just lovely and scary. I got goosebumps from some of the score’s tracks alone, while the enemies are beautifully gruesome, scary and just creative. The Big Daddies, for instance, are bio-engineered humans in diver suits while Spider Slicers jump and crawl away, shooting you from the ceiling. Overall, enemies like that seemed super fun to me and I really enjoyed battling them in most of the scenarios while using these 60s weapons, magical powers, and using a water puzzle of sorts to hack turrets, vending machines and other objects.

Now, the issue I had with Bioshock was that there’s a postal office of sorts with a hotel and stuff where I was supposed to photograph one of the Spider Slicers… but that Slicer was stuck in the ceiling, so I didn’t have the chance to take a snap from it. Alas, I needed to restart the last save file – a file from over an hour ago.

And then I didn’t play it again until the beginning of October… but when I reloaded and made sure that I’d take a few snapshots of the enemies that I needed, I actually was able to progress smoothly with only one crash or two in total. The story progresses quite nicely and while a lot of the “missions” felt like errands, I did actually enjoy the game a fair bit.

Ammunition and EVE (your mana) are limited, so you cannot always just fight everyone and everything. This made the game rather fun, especially as I was able to customize perks and skills to fit my needs!

Honestly, I wish I had played Bioshock earlier. I’m looking forward to playing the second game eventually! Bioshock is a great game and 2K really outdid themselves with it!

What has your experience been with the Bioshock franchise and the first game? Did you play the games/this game? Did you like it? Can you recommend the franchise as a whole or maybe just certain titles? Let me know!

Cheers!

Indietail – Submerged

I enjoy exploration-based games a lot. That’s a statement that I made in the past when I reviewed Outer Wilds, a game all about exploration. Similarly, I really enjoy other games like Subnautica or Breathedge where you end up challenging the oxygen limit that has been placed onto you or where you try to survive at all costs and still explore the world. Today’s Indietail is about Uppercut Games’ “Submerged”, an exploration-based Adventure game playing in a post-apocalyptic world.

Developer: Uppercut Games
Publisher: Uppercut Games
Genres: Exploration, Adventure, Third-Person, Single-Player, Parkour
Release Date: August 4th, 2015
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC, PS4, XB1, IOS, Switch
Copy was purchased.

Our younger brother is sick, the world is flooded and the resources are scarce. Playing as Miku our main goal is to explore the world in search of rations, medicine and other items to help cure our brother. Other humans? We can’t seem to find any as nature seemingly won its fight against civilisation and as the city is in ruins. What has happened? What is this sickness? Is there a way to cure it? Questions among questions enter my head but luckily, the little drawings and journal pieces seem to help me out to understand the situation better.

What’s that place over there?

Since our brother lies sick in the little base we built, we need to find these rations. To do so, we map out the city, search for shiny objects on rooftops and other places and we set out on our fishing boat to take care of our brother. The premise is straightforward but it seems to work quite well. 

As we map out areas and look through our telescope, we find entrances to the ruined areas. While the movement on the ship is very horizontal and limited to the waterways, we get to climb these high places and ruins of hotels, libraries and hospitals. The game picks up pace as we climb higher and higher, explore different paths to find collectables, and eventually reach these red chests with the rations we need. The sudden verticalness of the game was much to my liking as you suddenly gain access to points that allow you to spy farther. Once you’re up at some of the high areas, you’re able to search for more rations and collectables. It works quite well together.

Gotta climb up this place!

These collectables range from drawings (lore) to boat-upgrades that increase the duration of your boost. As you go on, you get to see landmarks and fauna, eventually filling out your journal, which gives you a nice sense of accomplishment. The exploration aspects of the game seem more than satisfactory, which was surprising since I felt a bit overwhelmed with those sixty lore-entries and the landmarks, creatures and other collectables. Eventually, I noticed that it’s actually quite doable. 

In the beginning, I felt more than overwhelmed with how the game did things. I was just thrown into it and had to figure out stuff on my own. Luckily, the game’s premise and the gameplay that doesn’t rely on combat at all is rather simple and straight-forward: You start at one point and try to explore the world and when your eye catches something of interest, you go there and see if you can dock somewhere and enter the building’s ruins. Then you climb up and find stuff to progress the story. 

Very lovely landmark!

Personally, I feel like this game does that quite well. Thatgamecompany’s “Journey” also had this premise of exploring the world and just going to points of interest, also known as “eyecatchers”. In Submerged, you see a Ferris wheel for instance or the outlines of a bridge or a very high building at the horizon, so you’re naturally drawn to those and see the entry point where you dock your boat and explore the building. By climbing up ledges, ivies, boards and other structures, you end up finding what you need before seeing another cutscene. Exploration feels rewarding which is really important in games like these that rely so heavily on it. 

Meanwhile, we find and see the wildlife of this world over time. Whales, dolphins and birds accompany our boat as we travel alongside them. Are there no humans left, though? What happened to everyone? 

Oooh, pretty and foggy!

Again, these questions pop up and as you progress through the story, you get ominous clues as to what happened or what is happening. You slowly piece it together as the language is obscure and as you only get drawings for the lore pieces. 

While this game is already five years old, I’d like to mention that it’s beautiful. There is a day-night cycle in the game with its own weather and all of that but even when it’s raining, the game manages to look spectacular. Being a rather vertical game, the perspective tends to get switched up now and then, showing you climb up a ladder or balance yourself to the other side of a building from a different point of view, which really showcases the beautiful scenery. Despite being somewhat old, Submerged is a pretty game. Sure, you have some graphical glitches here and there and the graphics settings are somewhat limited but overall, I feel like it certainly aged well.

Slowly… Slowly…

But despite all of that praise, I’ll have to say that the game is not too accessible. While you’re able to remap keys on both the keyboard and the controller, I would have liked to see other options supported in the game, like audio subtitles for waves, animal sounds or other options for people that don’t hear that well. On top of that, the game is way too loud in the beginning and it’s really hard to adjust to a “normal” volume level without nearly turning off the beautiful music directed by Jeff van Dyck. 

On top of that, I was a bit bothered by the fact that there is no jump or sprint button. A game with this much platforming and freedom seems a bit limited by not being able to choose freely where you go. I would have liked it a bit more if I was able to go and climb wherever I want to, maybe with a stamina bar as a limiter or some gadgets or whatever. You certainly are free… and yet you’re quite bound to ledges that are rather conveniently placed on the buildings.

There is a photo-mode for your postcard-needs!

And while I get that the red chests are your main goal, I would have liked it if you were prompted something along the lines of “return to base?” instead of just getting teleported home. It’s just a small thing that annoyed me as I’d have to climb all the way up again and remember the other paths if I wanted to explore more.

Regardless of that, however, I enjoyed this game. The world is beautiful, the exploration is highly enjoyable, and while the story seems melancholic, it is also very lovely, despite not using a single word. I hence recommend this experience to all fans of combat-free and chill exploration-based games. 

A ship part!

You can find the game on Steam over here – but if you want to support me (and the Trevor Project), you may want to use this affiliate link of mine to grab the game over at the Humble Store where it’s currently 92% off for the next week or so. You can also use my link to make other purchases and I’ll get some revenue as well unless of course, you use the honey-browser extension as that one overrides affiliate-links.  

Oooh, Birds!

Either way, I hope you enjoyed this post. I had a lot of fun playing Submerged and was happy to cross off another game of my big plan-to-play list on Steam! I haven’t posted reviews in a while since the university has been keeping me busy but if you want to get notified immediately whenever I post something on this blog, consider joining my discord server and grabbing the Scholars role over there! 

Cheers!

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

One year of streaming on Twitch

Today’s the 19th of November and this day is special to me as it marked the day that one of my favourite hobbies, streaming, started. In the beginning, I just wanted to do it for the sake of trying it out and honestly, I had low hopes as to whether or not I’m going to continue doing it for a long time and after many technical issues and changes, I’m more than happy, after a whole year of streaming, to announce that I love it and that I’m happy with what I’m doing on this platform called Twitch and that I’m looking forward to the future and to what I’ll be doing on this platform. 

Now, to celebrate occasions like these, I used to do 24-hour-streams and stuff like that but I know that I’m not able to do that anymore due to the bitrate issues that I have in the afternoon and the evening. Also, it’s not the healthiest thing to do and while I was thinking of doing two twelve-hour-streams, I thought to myself that I should maybe borrow some inspirations from other great streamers that have inspired me to do this in the first place. Alas, in a similar fashion to other streamers, I’ll keep the celebration simple. 

We’ll be live on Saturday, the 21st of November, at 9 AM GMT, for a total of 12 hours! During those twelve hours of fun and necromancy, we’re going to perform a vast amount of rituals to summon the dead and raise hell, by giving away games, playing Jackbox and other titles, and doing some Twitch Sings. We’re also going to talk about a lot of things, like the games we played and vote on a lot of things using the poll-feature. Apart from that, we’ll review one year worth of clips and chat and maybe do some more Art as the time goes on. 

If you haven’t already, join the Discord server to stay up-to-date and bond with other undead and living, alike! 

Either way, I hope you’re having a fantastical day and that you’re doing alright. I have yet to finish editing the one-year-of-blogging-post that I have in my drafts, so look out for that one.

Cheers!

Indietail – Summerland

Are you a good person? I guess most people would answer that with an immediate “yes”. After all, you wouldn’t want others to think otherwise, usually. But if you had a chance to relieve your past, take a look at cases where you weren’t at your best and see how you exactly acted in those moments, would you still stick to your answer? Would you still think that you’re a good person?

In today’s review, we’re taking a look at FYRE Games’ Summerland. This short narrative experience explores the question of morality and the afterlife. What comes after you die? Where do you go? Are you a good person? Summerland is aiming to make you think about these questions, and more.

Developer: FYRE Games
Publisher: FYRE Games
Genres: Adventure, First-Person, Narrative Experience
Release Date: December 2nd, 2020
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Key was provided by the developer.

But first things first: In Summerland, we take the role of the widower and single-dad, Mathew, who’s hardly scraping by with his detective job alone and is hence desperately in need for money to be able to raise his son properly and afford the pills he needs to treat his own sickness.

And apparently, we died. At least we’re in some sort of waiting area with a corridor and several doors. In the room that we wake up in, we can only find a rotary phone on the table that suddenly starts ringing. On the other side of the phone line is a man who’s telling us to go through several trials to relieve our recent past. This is important as that man needs to judge us to determine where we have to go.

It’s all rather mysterious and ominous at the beginning but eventually, it gets cleared up.

The trials that we have to go through basically are cases from our job or days at home or side jobs. We need to find certain clues or items, bring them somewhere else or get other tasks done. Most of the time, you’ll see a counter up at the top left count upwards but more often than not, you’ll miss that and be confused. I spend a rather long time in the first level until I noticed that I needed to click on a specific item on the ground, which was a pain in the butt. Once I had the eight clues needed for the first trial, I was back at the room and ready to go into the next trial.

As you go on and complete these trials, you’ll always find yourself back in the waiting room or purgatory or whatever you wanna call it. Yes, the room with the rotary phone. The phone rings, we get it, talk to the guy on the other side, and then we answer a philosophical question.

At one point, we’re being asked about our stance on the trolley problem. Do we kill one person to let five people live or do we do nothing to not become a murderer and let those five people die? Do we follow Kant’s philosophy or rather Bentham’s utilitarianism? It’s an interesting concept to add questions like these and as someone who does study philosophy, it was interesting to see that in this game… but I think it felt somewhat pretentious. The question didn’t add anything to the thought process behind the story. The question may help some people understand the meaning of the game or whatever… but it really is unnecessary in a way, especially as I’m not sure if it actually does influence the story in any way. Similarly, we are asked a few other questions, and I just personally don’t think that it adds to the experience at all.

The story, on the other hand, starts off a bit slow but eventually picks up, only to deliver a somewhat interesting plot. Sadly, we don’t get any choices or anything to influence the game. The puzzle-like trials break the story up too much. The characters don’t really have any development to them. It’s a bit of a tragedy. The choices that we take don’t end up reflecting in later trials. There is also just one ending, it seems. Make of it whatever you want to.

But if we let that slide since it’s a free and short game, we can still talk about the alright soundtrack and the graphics that are being powered by Unity and feel quite stunning. I found them quite pretty at first… although I had to turn off bloom and a lot of other settings since the game was making me feel sick, which is something that has never happened to me before.

And speaking of things that I didn’t like: There are a lot of things like that.

For instance, I found it incredibly hard to get into the mood to play the game after I saw that I wasn’t able to change the settings IN the game. Whenever I started the game and wanted to change something to feel less dizzy but still enjoy the graphics, I’d have to go to the main menu, change the settings, head into the game and “continue”… but since the game only saves AFTER the trials, I’d have to listen to that monologue at the beginning again… and again… and again… until I found the right settings. It was annoying. On top of that, there were a lot of settings amiss like accessibility settings, keymapping and different sound/graphics settings that I would have liked to see. It’s 2020 after all – and this is a new game, so I don’t know why I can’t customize the sound settings more, etc.

In the game, the “puzzles” felt interesting but slow. They were refreshing at the beginning but as time went on, I just didn’t really want to bother with them anymore. They slowed down the story unnecessarily and ended up ruining my experience for me, a little bit. I’d rather have a walking simulator than a narrative experience that is also trying to be smart and philosophical on top of being a game with “choices” without choices – that also has puzzles for whatever reason.

The game is coming out on the 2nd of December, 2020. It’s going to be a free-to-play game. While I’d imagine that it’s an interesting title for people that want to think about morality without getting too deep into philosophy, I’m not sure if I’d recommend it. I just didn’t enjoy it too much, personally speaking, and am hence not sure if it’s worth the time spent. Especialyl when you consider that its main selling point was the questions about morality and afterlife, with the latter falling somewhat short.

I think, I would have liked it more if you had actual meaningful choices. It would have been great if there was a dialogue in the waiting area with the man on the other line. It would have been great if I had had the opportunity to think more about these aforementioned questions but at one point they just fell short. The plot was already in progress and while the story is telling you that it’s not a clear black and white thing, I just think that when it comes to morality it really is just that. I don’t want to spoil anything for you, so maybe you should check it out yourself if you want to. I just personally feel didn’t like a lot of the things in the game and hence am not recommending it.

Cheers!

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

Indietail – Behind Every Great One

Behind every great man, stands a great woman – but who stands behind that woman? 

From the makers of The Red Strings Club and Gods Will Be Watching comes a game that explores the life of Gabriel and Victorine, a couple in their 30s that live a comfortable life. Gabriel’s a famous artist who’s currently working on his next grand piece. Victorine, his loving wife and muse, is supporting him in every way possible but as time goes on, it all becomes a burden for Vic and we start to run out of space.

Developer: Deconstructeam
Publisher: Deconstructeam
Genre: Interactive Fiction, Adventure, 2D, Drama
Release Date: August 23rd, 2018 (updated: February 18th, 2019)
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC (itch.io)
Copy is available for free.

Originally made for the Ludum Dare 42 with the concept of “running out of space” in mind, Behind Every Great One explores serious topics like gaslighting, guilt-tripping and toxic relationships by putting you into the role of one of those great women. Time passes slowly and you only have so much time to get done with your chores. 

Clean the house, water the plants, do the laundry, wash the dishes, prepare dinner,… there is way too much to do for just two people, especially when Gabriel is obsessed with his magnum opus and hence doesn’t bother helping at all. Slowly, the small rooms of the flat feel bigger and bigger. I felt so small when I tried to get done with my tasks. 

And there’s more to it. The conversations we have with our husband change over time. From him putting us on a pedestal at the beginning to eventually him blaming us indirectly for his problems.

Stuff happens and eventually, Gaby’s parents stop by and stay for a few days. Needing a place to sleep in, they take up the small library, which results in us losing our refuge and one of our hobbies. When we’re feeling down, we don’t have anyone to turn to. Gabriel’s mother is a viper and his father is often not the most tactful person. 

It’s hard to breathe air when these people quite literally take space away from you. When you feel like crying, you need to find a place to be alone. With more people joining, that’s not quite possible. Eventually, it all is too much to handle for us and only time will tell what we’ll do about it.

Though relatively short, Deconstructeam managed to create an interesting and deep experience that really captures the feel of toxic relationships well. Abusive relationships don’t need domestic violence. It can be a few simple words, sentences, and demands to ruin someone’s day, week or life. 

The game utilizes a minimalistic style and bright colours to show us the world we live in. It doesn’t matter who these people are or what they look like. They could be anyone and everyone. The bright colours contrast the dark feelings quite well and the changes in camera-movements and perspectives really add a lot to the experience.

A rather atmospheric soundtrack accompanies the experience that is fitting. For a game made in a day, I’m impressed at how well this all fits together.

Sadly, I’m not able to talk about anything else really since the risk of spoiling something is rather high with a game like this. It’s a short experience that still has a lot of surprises to offer that I haven’t touched upon in this review.

Personally, I really enjoyed the experience, although I hated the oppressive feeling that goes with it. I hated more toxic relationships that I had in the past and this game really reminded me all too well about those. It’s saddening that Victorine’s experience is so relatable. 

Hence, I’d recommend this title. It’s a really well-made narrative experience by Deconstructeam. You can find Behind Every Great One over here on itch.io.

Cheers!

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

I played Phasmophobia for the first time

So, Phasmophobia is a game that exists and is rather popular right now. Some friends of mine wanted to play it with me but I knew that if I were to pick it up, I’d end up playing it and then everyone would stop playing it suddenly. It’s a curse with multiplayer games that I’ve picked up in the past and hence, I hesitated on picking it up myself… but then MuddChi gifted it to me, so I played it for the first time with her and I had a lot of fun actually.

For anyone that doesn’t know Phasmophobia, it’s a game that explores the premise of investigating ghosts and paranormal activities. You take on jobs and search for clues that reveal the type of ghost you’re dealing with. These clues can range from temperature drops to it talking to you to flickering lights and other things.

For our first job, we went to a house where we found a random bone lying around. MuddChi took a picture of it while I was uwu-ing into the “Spirit Box” that allows me to talk to specific types of ghosts. We set up cameras and observed a “ghost orb”, a will-o-wisp kind of light that floats through the room. This already reduces the number of potential suspects from twelve to six! We then investigated the room more to see if we could find some fingerprints, using the UV light… nothing to be found. That means that it’s not a Poltergeist. My constant “uwu”-ing into the Spirit Box also didn’t result in any paranormal activities or other responses… the ghost must have thought that I’m an idiot. I tried asking it about its age, location, and whether or not it wants to hurt us: No response. 

We weren’t too sure if it was just shy or if it just doesn’t speak to us… but for now, we were able to rule out the Jinn, Poltergeist and Mare, leaving only the Shade and Yurei. The Yurei has a stronger effect on the players’ sanity while the Shade is really shy but apart from that, there aren’t any characteristics that would explain one or the other for now. Alas, we had to either detect Freezing Temperatures or an EMF 5 Reading… but since we couldn’t detect either and since we didn’t want to just guess it, we decided to go for a bold move: Provoking it.

Since it was in the main room of the house, right next to the door, we ended up having MuddChi check the activity while I’m throwing out insults at the ghost. The EMF reader was on the ground, giving out a reading based on nearby activity… and if it was nearby, it would either spike to a reading of 5 or I’d be able to see my breath. I decided to turn on the local voice chat and just constantly swear into my microphone, yelling “fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck” into my headset. With the crucifix on the ground, I felt safe, until the EMF reader picked up a strong signal. I tried taking a picture using my camera but was too slow. The ghost’s shadow appeared, scared the shit out of me, and vanished. I took a step back and was out of its reach – outside of the house. We got it, I thought. It’s a Shade! 

We cash in experience points and money and moved on to the next job. 

For the next job, at some small street house, we first checked out the basement to see if we get any readings or anything like that… but there was nothing. No significant temperature drops, no fingerprints, or any EMF readings. In the entryway, however, we found yet another bone and took a picture of it. There, we noticed a painting falling down and dishes being thrown around. Is this a poltergeist or does someone just not like to do the dishes?

After a while, MuddChi found fingerprints, reducing the number of ghosts to a measly five: The Spirit, the Wraith, the Poltergeist, the Banshee and the Revenant. Since the fingerprints were nearby, we threw down our tripods and cams to observe potential ghost orbs and placed our ghost journal with utmost care. No Ghost orbs meant that it’s not a Poltergeist, leaving us with only four potential ghosts! Since the Spirit and the Wraith both can be found via the Spirit Box, I tried speaking to it. The other two ghosts would need EMF readings but I already had the Spirit Box with me. 

I really wanted to talk to it and maybe make a new friend, so I stayed in the vicinity of the Ghost Journal and started asking questions. “How old are you?” got an answer: “OLD.” I was surprised. It’s either the Wraith or the Spirit. I should be able to soon see Ghost Writing or Freezing Temperatures to identify which one of the two it is. I didn’t see my breath yet and the Ghost Journal was empty. I tried talking to it again, asking what it wants to do. “HURT”, the ghost responded. Shivers went down my spine and I hated every single bit of this job. 

Why is this so scary? Why am I so scared of this when there’s really just a voice speaking to me and nothing else? “Who do you want to hurt?”, I ask. No response. “Do you want to hurt us?”, I clarify… No response. “Are you here?” – The ghost didn’t seem to like my questions as the activity went up again and as it seemed to not like answering it. “Give me a sign”, I spoke, and candles started falling down from the desk. I let out a small “Oh, fuck” only to see that the Ghost Journal was filled with something. “DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE”, it said. I was both anxious and relieved. It’s a spirit. Ghost Writing, Fingerprints and Spirit Box? Yup, a spirit. We entered the evidence into the journal, packed up and closed the hatch. Our trunk went off and we got our experience and money. It was a successful day and while it was really scary… I’m somewhat looking forward to playing another time. 

So, Phasmophobia is quite scary. It’s more about psychological Horror and you do your best to actually get the right clues and find the ghost. It’s a nice game and I hope that it gets the necessary funding to eventually receive even better and more elaborate updates! For this play session, I was joined by MuddChi who does stream on Twitch more often than not. She’s a great streamer and a close friend of mine, so I’d highly recommend checking her stream out if you haven’t already! The game itself is great but I seem to get enough of it after a job or two since it can be really scary and since I’m a scaredy-cat. 

You can find Phasmophobia over here on Steam. It’s currently in Early Access, so it’s still in development and can feature a lot of bugs and crashes, potentially. So beware of that. Personally speaking, I’d recommend it, although I’m not sure if this post gives you any insights on the game and its issues or why it’s so good, so this is not necessarily a review or anything like that. If you ever feel like playing Phasmophobia with me and some friends, be sure to join the discord and chat with us!

For now, though, I’ll try to get some sleep. I just did two jobs with a few friends and I’m actually quite scared. I hope you enjoyed this post! 

Cheers!

Edit: This post was in the wrong category and is now properly placed in The Gaming Journal instead of The Stray Sheep. Sorry for that!

MonHunLog #8 – We’re all about that cat!

Last time in the New World, we noticed that we’re a bit too weak to fight Velkhana. The goal I’m aiming for? The Nether Vajra! I need that dragon elemental damage and the elder seal to properly fight Velkhana! But first… someone else needs a powerup, and that’s our Palico, Tammy.

Tammy was rocking the Vaal Hazak armour for the most part and it looked fancy but the armour values weren’t that great, especially since it was only an HR armour set. Luckily, Velkhana dropped a few materials already when I first attempted slaying it. Hence I was able to craft the Felyne Rimeguard Mail Alpha+ already, which looks quite good as well, sadly, the helmet had to wait for a bit until my next attempt, at least.

Apart from that, Tammy has been using the Vigorwasp Spray and the Coral Orchestra for most of our journey, but I felt that I should try and get those other tools. So that’s what today’s MonHunLog is about!

At the beginning of the game, our Palico is only equipped with the Vigorwasp Spray. It allows your little furry friend to heal you, using Vigorwasps. Levelling it up increases the healing due to the proficiency increase. As you level it up, you unlock the Vigorwasp Station and the Vigorwasp Delivery. At last, it will also allow your Palico to revive you once on the spot with half your health, which can come in quite clutch!

Generally, for most of the unlocks, you’ll have to find Grimalkyne Doodles in the different areas and then talk to the Lynian Researcher. Sometimes, you’ll have to complete some quests in the area, progress with the story, unlock campsites or just recruit some of the Grimalkynes when you encounter them.

I unlocked the Coral Orchestra that I already levelled up quite a bit from a quest that the Grimalkyne in the Coral Highlands issued. We were supposed to hunt two Tzitzi-Ya-Ku as part of the quest called “Troubled Troupers”. The Coral Orchestra is similar to the Hunting Horn in that it grants you attack, defence, and status resistance buffs. At level 5, your Palico can use a wind instrument, and at Level 10, you can call your Palico to use a drum instrument. There is also the gong that essentially stuns a monster for a short duration, which can be useful, but I mostly make use of the other instruments.

So, for the Flashfly Cage, I actually had to visit the Ancient Forest again! In Area 17, you can find a Bugtrapper and by following it, you essentially are rewarded with the Flashfly Cage that basically enables your Palico to blind large monsters for a short time. At later levels, you can manually summon a Flashfly and have your Palico place down Shock Traps. It also does that on its own, although those traps seem to be a bit weaker… Overall, a nice gadget to take with you, especially since you can only carry one Shock Trap per hunt unless you restock at a camp.

Over in the Wildspire Waste, we have the chance to unlock the Shieldspire gadget. Essentially, we need to find the Grimalkyne tribe in the lower levels, near the big cave where you find Diablos. They tell you that their friends are in danger and that you need to rescue them. You then need to sneak up to them (the Ghillie Mantle really helped me) and then capture them using your Capture Net gadget. Then you deliver the cats and earn yourself the Shieldspire, a defensive Palico gadget, that allows your Palico to taunt monsters and block damage… but I haven’t levelled it up too much just yet.

Down, in the Rotten Vale, you can get the Plunderblade that my friends have been recommending to me… despite me not having it unlocked yet. So, uh, to get it, I needed to head to some semi-secret area near Area 12 or Area 13 and find a big chunk of meat that was laying around there. Essentially, the Odogaron in the area tends to carry some with it. You let them drop it off, take some of their meat with you and try to not drop it. Then you try to look for the Grimalkyne in the area who first will get lured out by the smell of your meat (heh) but who will then run away. After a while, they won’t be reachable, so essentially, you just drop some normal raw meat and wait for them to come out on their own. They thank you with the Plunderblade which is used to farm materials and items that can be sold or used for crafting.

At last, there’s the Meowlotov Cocktail (I love the name)! After unlocking the previous items, the Lynian Researcher wants you to find Gajalaka doodles and report to him. Essentially, Gajalaka are also Grimalkynes and he wants to establish a cultural exchange and friendly relations with them as well. To do that, we have to find Gajalaka doodles on all the different areas, including Elder’s Recess. For this, I just sorted through the map using the endemic life filters and searched for the spots with Gajalaka, since there are doodles nearby, usually. After visiting three locales, I ended up having enough doodles and talked to the Lynian Researcher again who wanted us to come to Elder’s Recess with him at night. There, you can see the Gajalaka dancing and you’ll have to try and sneak around them to get access to their hideout. Using a Ghillie Mantle is something that I’d recommend since it makes it a lot easier. They can’t spot you! Once you’re in their hideout, they’ll grant you the Meowlotov Cocktail which essentially deals damage to monsters that is based on the element of your Palico’s weapon. This can be really nice to add some more DPS to your hunt in case you don’t need the other gadgets…

Originally, I thought of using the Meowlotov Cocktail against Velkhana and have Tammy use a Fire Weapon (since that’s one of Velkhana’s weaknesses) while I’m using my Nether Vajra (that I still don’t have) to apply dragon damage, especially with the dragon damage bonus that I get from my Kinsect… but the Vigorwasp Spray with the extra healing and the utility seems just too good to not use in that fight. Also, I didn’t want to level up the Meowlotov Cocktail just now.

It doesn’t look too good together but this armour certainly is going to help against Velkhana… although, it’s also made out of Velkhana materials.

There is still one more Palico Gadget that you can grab after this, but I haven’t gone for it just yet and you’ll have to unlock the other gadgets first before you’re able to grab that in Iceborne.

Unlocking these gadgets granted us another two nice perks: The ability to recruit Gajalaka and specific small monsters to fight alongside you and your Palico as well as the ability to use the tailrider gadget to move swiftly across the map and visit a target monster or go to certain other points of interest really quickly. I love it. Much needed, especially with fleeing monsters or monsters that use tunnels that aren’t accessible to you.

Oooh, nice! Meow new friends!

For the next MonHunLog, I wanted to grind some Odogaron (potentially, using the Plunderblade) to get that Nether Vajra! We may also upgrade our equipment further and get some extra defence. We’ll see!

Hope you enjoyed this one. The gadgets are somewhat tricky to unlock. Most of the time, I just didn’t bother with them since I was so happy about the Coral Orchestra – but I can see that they can be quite useful for different scenarios. The Shieldspire is going to be great against Barioth, Diablos or Tigrex if I ever decide to hunt those again. The Meowlotov Cocktail might come in handy as well eventually against some monsters with multiple weaknesses. The Plunderblade is going to be great for later fights and for grinds while the Flashfly Cage is going to be useful to blind fast enemies that are more difficult to hit or flying enemies that I wanna bring down to the ground. They all have their specific uses so I’ll level them up eventually along the journey.

Onto the next quest!

Have you unlocked all the gadgets, yet? What’s your favourite gadget? Do you dislike one by any chance?

The Iceborne gadget allows you to call upon Grimalkynes to help you out, I’ve been told, so I’m looking forward to getting that one eventually! More hands are always nice to have… or rather paws in this instance.

Cheers!