An interview with Yandere Dev

So, just recently I made an interview request with Yandere Dev, the developer of Yandere Simulator. The reason for that was because it interested me how development was coming along and what Yandere Dev’s thoughts on accessibility and representation are. I hope you enjoy this interview!

Yandere Dev’s answers are represented in bold/italic text while my questions are in normal formating. Hope it’s clear.

Hello! Can you introduce yourself and tell us what you do, what games you like, your hobbies, etc.?

My name is YandereDev, and I enjoy anime and video games. My favorite games are open-world sandbox games with huge worlds to explore and hundreds of activities to do.

Do you think that Yandere Simulator is a “good game”? (As context, I’ve heard from developers that they are never satisfied with their work. Do you as a developer feel the same. Do you think that your game needs a lot more work to be “good” or do you have other thoughts on this?)

The game isn’t done yet, so I feel that it’s too early to judge it. With that said, I think that I’m disqualified from being allowed to judge the game since I’m too close to it to be able to judge it impartially. I’ll have to let other people tell me whether or not it’s a good game.

I’m always finding new ways to improve the game, but I’m not sure if that’s the same thing as “never being satisfied” with the game. I don’t think I’ll be able to judge how satisfied or dissatisfied I am until after the game is completed.

At this point in time, the primary work that remains to be done is not gameplay-related but simply adding a few more characters so that the story mode can be complete.

What inspired you to create Yandere Simulator?

Before I started developing Yandere Simulator, I had a ton of other game ideas and developed a bunch of simple game prototypes. However, I lacked the models and animations necessary to actually turn those prototypes into finished games, so none of them left the prototype stage. I decided that my next game should be designed around models and animations that I had access to, so I could finally go further than prototyping.

I searched for models in an online store and spotted an “anime schoolgirl” character model. This made me try to imagine a game with an anime schoolgirl for a protagonist. I asked a friend of mine for suggestions, and he proposed a “delinquent simulator”. I tried to imagine the most extreme version of that idea, which made me envision a game about serial killing, instead of mere delinquency. I asked myself what kind of schoolgirl would kill people, and instantly thought of the “yandere” archetype – a character that kills because of jealousy.

I asked a high-traffic message board if they would be interested in a “yandere simulator”, and received a very positive response. All of my previous game ideas had not generated very much interest or excitement, so when I saw people getting hyped about this “yandere simulator” idea, I knew that it had potential to be a successful game. Just one thread about the game was enough to convince me to begin developing it immediately.

How is development coming along? I’ve seen that it’s been in development for seven years. How long do you expect the development to take? 

At the beginning of the game’s development, I was only concerned with one thing – going down the checklist of features that the game required. But, over the course of the game’s development, I observed that people were finding fun and interesting ways to enjoy the game even without an official rival girl to kill. This showed me how much potential there was for Yandere Simulator to bring people far more enjoyment than originally intended. So, I updated my priorities and started expanding the game in multiple different directions. Instead of focusing exclusively on core features and rivals, I filled the game with tons of content, features, and activities that were not part of the initial plan, and I took the time to collaborate with amazing people to make awesome videos for my YouTube channel.

This contributed to Yandere Simulator spending more time in development than I originally anticipated…but, that’s because the game has been evolving into something with much more potential than the game that was initially planned. And…I can’t really see that as a bad thing.

I observed what the community enjoyed, and I adjusted my focus accordingly. Instead of keeping Yandere Simulator locked to one path, I allowed Yandere Simulator to become something that is free to change and evolve whenever I make new observations and discoveries.

When I look in the Yandere Simulator Discord, I see an incredible amount of variety in what people are doing with the game. I see people showing off screenshots they made using Pose Mode. I see people challenging one another with Mission Mode codes. I see people showing off the mods they’re developing. I see people creating custom skins and sharing them. Yandere Simulator started out as “Anime Girl Hitman”, but throughout its development, it evolved into something way better – a platform that offers a wide variety of fun activities and experiences. And I feel happy that I’ve created something that gives people so many different ways to be creative and have fun.

I don’t think of Yandere Simulator as “A game that still isn’t finished after 7 years.” Instead, I think of Yandere Simulator as, “A game that has been regularly updated with new features and new content for 7 years.”

Do you plan on releasing it on any platforms like Steam or Epic Games? The Epic Games Store in particular is known for giving funds to developers. Is that something you ever considered?

I’d like to put it on Steam eventually. I’d be happy to strike a deal with the Epic Games Store.

I’ve heard in one of your videos that you’re describing Yandere Sim as a mix of Hitman and the Persona series. How do you plan on combining the disposable characters of the Hitman universe with the character-driven and story-driven aspects of the Persona series? How does this mix of these two vastly different games work?

Each character in the school can be of use to the player in some way. If the player befriends a character, that character can provide some type of service, be used to distract other students or play a role in certain scripted events. If the player kills a student, the player loses all of those advantages. However, a student can also be an obstacle, if they are protecting another character or are present to witness a crime. It’s up to the player to decide whether or not it’s worth it to kill a student and sacrifice the advantages that the student might have brought them.

What are some gameplay elements that are still planned for the future? 

Nearly every gameplay mechanic I wanted to put in the game is already in the game. At this point, only minor adjustments and tweaks remain.

When you’re working on Yandere Sim, what do you enjoy the most? Aka what part of your job is the most fulfilling and satisfying for you? Where do you take joy in your work?

Interacting with the fans is incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. It’s where all the joy of the job comes from.

What are your thoughts on accessibility in games?

I’ve always thought that it was very praiseworthy whenever a game developer puts in the extra work and effort to make their game accessible to people who may be dealing with a physical handicap.

How do you try to make Yandere Sim accessible to other people?

I’ve tried my best to make sure that nothing in the game relies on color so that the game can be easily played by the colorblind. With that said, a colorblind friend of mine has still been able to identify places in the game that use color for gameplay, so I still have some work to do in that regard. Aside from that, I haven’t yet had enough discussions with players to determine what could be done to make the game more accessible than it currently is.

How important do you think that accessibility is?

Ignoring accessibility means reducing the number of people who can enjoy your video game.

Will there be options to turn off graphical effects such as bloom, bright lights, colour filters, etc.? Do you think that features like that are important in game design?

These all sound like good ideas.

Will you be able to remap keys? How important do you think will this feature be for the enjoyment of players?

I’ve long wanted to provide the ability to remap keys, but it has proven to be difficult. A lot of players have requested this. I hope that I’ll be able to get it done in the future.

How do you feel about representation in games aka being able to create your character and customise their appearance, skin colour, sex, and gender? 

It’s a feature that I always appreciate having in games.

Do you think that players should be able to select a same-sex senpai? Are there any issues with that? How do you feel about LGTBQIA+ representation in Yandere Sim?

I’d like to offer a same-sex senpai, but it depends on the budget. It requires animations and voice lines, which would have to be paid for.

What is some advice you would give to other developers in regards to accessibility, player representation, and other topics that are important in game development?

I understand that what a game developer can do is limited by their time and their budget. The same expectations cannot be given to two different developers operating with completely different timelines and funding. So, there is no one statement I can give that applies to all game developers.

Over seven years, Yandere Sim has not only faced good press but also a lot of allegations. What is your stance on it? How do you deal with it and what is your advice for other developers when it comes to dealing with critics and bad press?

The first thing you must understand is that public humiliation is a very profitable entertainment industry. You can very easily get millions of views on YouTube simply by making a video where you shame and ridicule someone. It’s even easier to get views if you make a video about a YouTuber with lots of subscribers because YouTube’s algorithm will push your video to each of that person’s followers.

I’ve been targeted by drama YouTubers who make trashy tabloid-style videos where they demonize and vilify me because they know that these videos will get them tons of attention and money. The majority of claims they make about me are heavily exaggerated or outright false, and it’s trivially easy to debunk pretty much everything they say. However, people value entertaining narratives far more than they value truth and reality.

If I treat my fans like kings and queens, it doesn’t matter, because “YandereDev treats his fans bad” is a more entertaining narrative. If I am a competent programmer, it doesn’t matter, because “YandereDev sucks at code” is a more entertaining narrative. If I am attracted to adult women, it doesn’t matter, because “YandereDev is a paedophile” is a more entertaining narrative.

In short, I’ve been selected as a human sacrifice for the public humiliation entertainment industry because of my subscriber count. Numerous false narratives and untrue accusations have been made about me because the more scandalous the drama is, the more clicks and views people will get. I have been turned into a punching bag for the Internet to harass and abuse, not because I’m a bad guy, but because I’ve been framed as a bad guy.

It can all be summarized by one very simple statement: Your reputation is determined by what people enjoy saying about you, even if nothing that they are saying is true.

Do you think that the art and the artist should be looked at separately?

Yes.

Among the allegations, some people get upset about the fact that you can take panty shots of high school students. Is that still a mechanic in the game? If so, are there any plans of removing it or is there a reason why it stays/will stay? What are the alternatives for it?

It’s an anime trope. Anyone who gets offended by it is too sensitive. There are many alternatives to the feature, anyway.

Twitch also banned Yandere Sim on their platform. How do you feel about that? Do you think that this is justified? Do you ever believe that the game will be unbanned?

It sucks. It’s not justified at all. There is no content in Yandere Sim that is not present in other games that are not banned on Twitch.

What are your thoughts on (cyber-)bullying? Do you think games should be allowed to endorse topics or don’t you think that it may be a bit problematic?

Actual bullying that occurs in real life – not in the fictional realm of a video game – is unforgivable. Abusing, mistreating, and harassing others is never okay, whether it’s occurring in person or over the Internet.

Now, there are also other things that people bring up from your past that I don’t want to get into detail. How do you feel about that?

Digging into someone’s past to look for dirt on them to shame and humiliate them is deplorable behaviour, and should not be normalized. Every allegation made about me is disprovable.

Does all the negative press affect you mentally? What do you do to deal with this?

As a result of being portrayed as a villain by dishonest YouTubers, my life has been absolutely destroyed. I have been harassed in various ways on a daily basis for the past several years, and the harassment has only grown more intense with the passage of time. It’s safe to assume that I will continue to be harassed every day for the rest of my life and that the severity of the harassment will only continue to intensify. There is no reason for me to have any hope for the future. I don’t even have a future anymore. The harassment isn’t going to stop until I’m dead. Every time I ask myself why I should keep living, I fail to find an answer.

Being harassed on a daily basis for multiple years has made me severely depressed and robbed me of all motivation to work on the game project that I’ve dedicated 7 years of my life to. It’s impossible to be productive while experiencing abuse and mistreatment every hour of the day. The game that I’m developing definitely would have been finished by now if I had never been made the target of a multiple-year-long harassment campaign.

Even when I keep my head down and don’t do anything to attract attention, people constantly invent new reasons to harass me. My life is ruined and can never be repaired. The only thing I wish for is to live in peace, but I am not even allowed to have that.

Do you have any finishing words you’d like to mention to my readers? Do you have any general advice for game developers? If you could redo things, what would you do differently? 

The one piece of advice that I believe is most important is to start with small, simple projects, and gradually work your way up to more complex projects. Definitely do not begin doing anything complicated or ambitious until after you’ve gained a lot of experience with more simple projects.

Any finishing words on Yandere Simulator. Who would you recommend this game to? Where can people check out the game?

It’s for fans of anime and video games. You can check it out at yanderesimulator.com.

So, yeah, that was the interview with Yandere Dev. My opinion on Yandere Simulator changed over time and with me finding out about all these allegations, I wasn’t sure how to approach this interview but I think giving him a platform of sorts where he can talk about his feelings and opinions would be nice. Hope you enjoyed this post!

Cheers!

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

LudoNarraCon 2021 – Demos

I’m a bit late on this train but the LudoNarraCon has been going on since Friday and well, it will end today. I hence wanted to talk about some of the games that I got to play in light of the new demo releases presented by Fellow Traveller (the publisher of In Other Waters).

One of the titles that I’ve been especially excited about was Tunic but sadly I couldn’t get the demo to work. There are no settings in there nor are there any control schemes. You just spawn in and the game kinda tells you what to do when you need it but for whatever reason, it didn’t want to respond to my controller/keyboard inputs. After a while, it worked and I got some slashes into a slime-thing but then it stopped working again, so uh,… I guess the demo is VERY early, which is disappointing since what I saw at the GamesCom was amazing and worked just fine. But regardless of that, I’m quite excited about Tunic. Not only is it published by Finji but it also is an action-adventure that has a lot of exploration in it as well as some obvious Zelda references. The cute art style paired with the nice combat that I got to see at the GamesCom demo… It was amazing. Really enjoyed it. Looking forward to checking it out eventually once there is a better demo out or once the full game releases!

Moving on, we’ve got a demo here for a game called NUTS where we research squirrels and their behaviours. From the get-go, I’ve got to say that Melmoth Forest and our little research caravan looks stunning. NUTS is very stylised with few but very vibrant colours and a lot of interesting mechanics. In a way, this game kind of reminds me of Firewatch and maybe even Papers, Please? It’s an interesting title where we place down cameras to track down squirrels’ nests and nut staches and document it and I’m also looking forward to this title, although I’m wondering where the story will lead us. While the demo is rather short (at only half an hour), it’s quite enjoyable. I guess people could take less time in the demo but I was messing around quite a bit and also ended up failing the camera placement a few times, resulting in me taking eight nights to figure out where the nut stash is.

As for the next demo, it took me a while to get it but Mind Scanners seems to be a “Papers, Please!”-like simulation type game where you cure insane people or declare people sane. There is this big authority in that world that lets you scan people’s mind to figure out their mental illnesses and rid them of anxieties and other issues… but not all of what they’re doing is good and because of that it’s your choice if you want to listen to the orders from above or if you want to help the rebel group, Moonshine, to accomplish their goals. I had fun but the demo is relatively short, so I’ll have to see how the full game plays out.

Out There: Oceans of Time looked interesting but ended up being rather frustrating. It’s supposed to be a Roguelite-Survival game with Exploration and Space-RPG elements to it and there is this story about an Archon that you’re pursuing but the demo just drops you into that whole world and does little to explain anything. “These places have resources that you need, so go there if you wanna” and then you take your crew there and they have abilities (that the game doesn’t really tell you about) and you can scan planets and drill or probe them but it’s all super weirdly presented. Don’t get me wrong, I’d be up for a roguelike-survival experience with exploration, alien races and this sort of art style but I don’t think that Out There is going to be the game for me if there’s not even going to be a tutorial or any sort of help for new players.

Last but absolutely not least, Minute of Islands is a hand-drawn puzzle platformer about a young mechanic called Mo on her quest to repair a world on the brink of collapse. The art style is adorable and the world is… maybe a bit disturbing, which is something that I adore and love. It kind of reminded me of a mix of Little Misfortune and Adventure Time, in a way? Disturbing elements paired with topics like Mental Illness, Anxiety, and maybe even Depression all packed together in a very cute and adorable hand-drawn art style. I can’t get too much into any details here because of spoilers but I’ve really enjoyed this game to bits for the last hour or so, and honestly wouldn’t have imagined that this demo would go on for this long. I’m excited about the full game and I’m looking forward to potentially writing about it! On another note, this game’s developer, Studio Fizbin, is also from Germany and they developed The Inner World before, which is a very cool title that Ms Magi actually likes a lot. Hence, I’m really looking forward to playing that since I own it as well on some platform… maybe I’ll write about that as well since I haven’t covered anything by Studio Fizbin before.

Anyways, since I’ve been so englamoured by Minute of Islands, I didn’t get to play the other demos I had planned for today, hence here are some honourable mentions in case that the demos aren’t available tomorrow:

  • Exocolonist
  • Chicory: A Colourful Tale
  • Do Not Buy This Game
  • The Murder Mystery Machine

I would have liked to play those games already today but it seems like I’m running out of time,… so let’s hope that they’re still available tomorrow for me to check them out after university. My highlights today were definitely Mind Scanners, NUTS, and Minute of Islands!

Anyways, hope you enjoyed this post! Make sure to check those demos out yourself or maybe wishlist the games on Steam/follow them on social media for more updates. 

Cheers!

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

Looking forward to Bright Memory

Just recently I found out about a game that has been developed by only one developer using the Unreal Engine that combines action genres with the FPS genre and looks stunning. It’s an Indie Game that has been in development for quite some time and released last year in March, actually,… and I only just found out about it. Now, Bright Memory is amazing, and I wanted to talk about the first chapter that is playable over here for not too much of a price and I also wanted to talk about my expectations of the full version, Bright Memory: Infinite.

Developer: FYQD-Studio
Publisher: FYQD-Studio, PLAYISM
Genre: Hack and Slash, FPS, Action, Indie, Boomer Shooter
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Copy was purchased.

As already mentioned Bright Memory combines various genres into one smooth and satisfying experience. Take a little bit of DMC, a little bit of Bioshock and maybe even a little bit of Doom and mix it with a ton of nice graphics and a lovely soundtrack… and then you’ll essentially have Bright Memory. The game’s set in an alternate universe where the SRO (Supernatural Research Organisation) is researching the so-called “Kanshou and Bakuya”, 1000-year-old relic swords that contain a mysterious substance known as the “Soul of Jiu Xuan” that has capabilities that allow you to reanimate the dead. A terrorist organisation named “SAI” infiltrates SRO in an attempt to steal top-secret data and we, playing as Sheila (one of SRO’s agents), have to stop them but accidentally hit up that Quantum Transporter and get transported to the Floating Island, an airborne continent near the North Pole where the Soul of Jiu Xuan reanimated the various beats and corpses that once populated the island.

So, the story’s kind of packed and full of information but in essence, we try to not die and to retrieve the swords and other things…. and also there’s Carter who’s the Founder of the SAI and who’s trying to stop us at all costs… There are a few bits and pieces in the plot that aren’t clear just yet but it sounds promising so far… Now, but in the game actually, we only get to see the first chapter. I had to retrieve most of this extra info from the store page that goes a bit further than the first chapter… in a way, Bright Memory is a paid demo that is filled with a lot of satisfying action, actually.

For starters, the gunplay is amazing. You’re equipped with three different guns: A shotgun, a pistol and an assault rifle. Every shot fired feels like it packs a punch and it feels good to land them. Meanwhile, you also are equipped with a plethora of skills that can be acquired throughout the game as well as a bunch of other weapons, like an EMP Force Field, a Grappling Hook that you can use offensively, and a sword that can be used to slash up enemies, blast them into the air, juggle them, or deliver light slashes from afar! Combat itself offers a lot of combo potential as switching between weapons is nearly seamless and as you can quickly dodge enemy attacks via the Shift-key and the movement directions. I believe that the game has partial controller support but I’d imagine that it would work quite well if played with the controller.

On top of the high mobility that the game offers you, you can also rake in bonus points via the Combo-Meter that is very much like DMC’s… damaging enemies can keep the combo meter up and at the end of the chapter, you’ll receive a grade of sorts based on your deaths, the time needed, the combo-time you had, as well as the points and damage you achieved. In a way, Bright Memory reminded me of Boomer Shooters like Serious Sam and Doom Eternal, which is a good thing since I have wonderful connotations when I think of those games!

The gunplay is amazing and despite the game being developed by only one person, it is fully voiced and features an amazing soundtrack and there even are secrets, achievements, subtitles and different localisations.

The best part about the game, next to the pretty graphics that rival AAA titles, is probably the sense of immersion that I’m getting from it. Obviously, I wasn’t sucked into the game yet… but there’s a lot here that works quite well for me and for the experience. For starters, you don’t see any health bars and your ammo is only displayed through the hud on your weapons. You only see what Sheila sees with her HUD on. The same goes for skill-cooldowns and other information. I feel like that works really well for First-Person Shooters like this game, especially with this mix of swordplay and gunplay where every bullet and every slash counts. I think it would be bad if I had to watch more graphical elements on the screen like the bullet count in a corner of the screen or stuff like that. Instead, you have the bullet count exactly there where you’re aiming: On the gun. Love it! Similarly, the world feels alive with “Air Serpents” (aka dragons) roaming the skies, snakes and turtles occupying the areas and even other foes coming back. While there is an easter egg that kind of breaks the immersion, I didn’t quite mind it as I had a lot of fun with it!

Now, since I don’t want to get into the two boss fights from the first chapter, I’d like to go for some speculation… What do I expect from the full game?

Well, the full game, which will release sometime in 2021, will probably feature a bunch of different chapters. Chapter 1 has been more of an introduction/demo. I had fun with it for two hours… and during Bright Memory: Infinite’s development new features will be tested/showcased in this chapter, meaning that it might actually be quite nice to tune into it now and then. I got to play through the New Game and New Game+ about four times total… so I’d imagine that all chapters are somewhere between 30 minutes to 60 minutes in length with lots of achievements and secrets left on the level. I’d love to see this trend of the game just giving you checkpoints left and right since nothing’s worse than having to start over after forgetting to save for so long, you know? Apart from that, I’d love to see the skill tree getting developed more and there being new weapons, weapon types, and maybe even weapon upgrades. The combo system already feels quite nice but I’d like it a lot if the combo counter wasn’t present at all times and if there were some special interactions if you weave in your slashes between your gun rounds, etc. Overall, I like the game, don’t get me wrong… It’s just that there have been some things that I, if I had the know-how, would have done differently. Everyone’s a critic, right?
Apart from that, I’d love to have an endless mode or some sort of modifier in the game to make runs/playthroughs harder. The game is currently being remade/turned into a full-release, so I think that it will get added… Also, I’d love it if you could see lore entries in the game and if there were costumes that you could unlock in the game. There are currently four variants to Sheila in the game but having some variants of sorts would be quite interesting, like re-colours or even SAI’s armour on her… And yes, that latter suggestion wouldn’t make any sense at all… but neither does the “Schoolgirl Sheila Costume”, so there’s that.

Let’s summarise what’d be great:
– Full Controller Support
– More Skills/Better Skill Trees
– More Weapons/Weapon Upgrades
– Endless Mode
– More Customisation
– Slower Subtitles (didn’t mention it here… but yeah, just remembered that that bothered me and Idk where to put it here)
– More Chapters
– More Enemy types

I’m looking forward to the full release and can recommend trying out Bright Memory. It’s a demo. It’s short. I know. But there you’ll find plenty of information on the game, the graphics, and everything, so… Check it out and support the developers by wish-listing it! That’d be amazing!

Anyways, that’s it for today’s post. Have you played this game yet? Are you excited for the full release? Again, it flew completely under my radar but hey, I got to it eventually, right? What are your opinions on it so far or after reading my post? Let me know!

Cheers!

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

The Slormancer (Early Access) – First Impressions

Over the past couple of years, I’ve always had a fable for Action RPGs and Dungeon Crawlers. Heading into an unknown place full of enemies and loot, exploring it, slaying foes, finding better gear and repeating that gameplay loot always felt intriguing and fun to me but as time went on, I didn’t find too many games that piqued my interest… until recently where I found The Slormancer, a new 2D ARPG by Slormite Studios that just released on Steam. Hence, today I wanted to take a look at it and tell you about my thoughts and impressions.

Developer: Slormite Studios
Publisher: Slormite Studios, Abiding Bridge, TILT
Genre: Dungeon Crawler, 2D, ARPG, Hack and Slash
Release Date: April 6th, 2021
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Copy was sent by the devs.
Screenshots were taken from the Press Kit. I forgot to take screenshots during my playtime so far.

The story is somewhat irrational. You were born with absolutely no skill whatsoever but kind of end up being the hero that everyone needs, even if you don’t really want to. I guess you do have some talent after all but it’s the motivation that you’re lacking, though peril seems to be the best motivator. So, you end up being wound up in the apocalypse as the Slormancer and his underling try to conquer the world again. Long story short, you pick one of three classes and try to rescue the townspeople that have vanished. 

Combat is quite classic for an ARPG. You have your health bar and your mana bar and have to watch over those resources since you need mana to cast spells and health to live. You get overwhelmed with a plethora of different foes that each on their own may not be the strongest… but the hordes can really get to you if you don’t watch your step. As you move on you unlock skills that give you powerful abilities, specific to your class. I spent most of my time playing as the “Mischievous” Mage who’s got a lot of AoE spells and high damage spells at the cost of defence… and I’ve been having a blast with it. The “Mighty” Knight was described as a tank that can take a hit but deals less damage while the “Fierce” Huntress is an agile archer with lots of attack speed. The reason why I didn’t play the other classes as much so far is probably just that I’m having way too much fun with the Mage.

The three classes have over 200 unique abilities, upgrades and passives each with unique combinations. Skills can be upgraded as well and there are a lot of different aspects that you can change the skills to. The degree of customization also extends to the randomised loot that comes in normal, magic, rare and epic grades. The properties get randomised but legendary items have more than 80 unique affixes and can be upgraded infinitely. Similarly, there are 120 unique and game-changing weapons called “Slorm Reapers” available to every class that can be levelled up and evolved as time goes on.

My favourite part about The Slormancer, however, is probably the art style. It’s this charming pixel art style that I really adore with pretty backgrounds and interesting character designs. I really like it. The spell effects look amazing and satisfying, the enemies look unique, the combat feels good most of the time and the soundtrack is beautiful, in my opinion. Presentation-wise this game is really alluring and charming which is a great change from the grim styles that other ARPGs go for usually.

Apart from that you can change all the keybindings, play with the controller if you want to, change a lot of the settings, rebind your spells and even get a free refund on the skill points you invested previously. Classes can be changed later on as well with no issue at all and there are expeditions, bosses, and lots of content available in single-player… but that’s a bit of an issue for me personally as I mostly enjoyed playing ARPGs with friends and the roadmap doesn’t indicate any plans for multiplayer… I’d love to play it with friends but maybe the devs will consider some way of implementing that into the game eventually. The game is, after all, still in Early Access.

Personally, I didn’t have any issues with the game really. I could see myself sinking a lot of time into this and I’m looking forward to seeing how the next chapters will turn out and what the end game will have to offer. I’ve really liked it so far. I’ll probably stream it in the next few days, too, over on my Twitch channel, if you wanna see some of those dungeon runs for yourself. There will be bugs probably although I haven’t encountered any… So, take everything with a grain of salt, but I’d recommend checking out the Early Access as it is quite a lot of fun so far… or at least wishlist it over on Steam.

Hope you enjoyed this post! Let me know what you think of this game so far once you get to it. Take care of yourself!

Cheers!

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

Looking out for We Are The Plague

We Are The Plague (formerly known as “Plague in Us”) is a tactical turn-based game set in a hand-drawn dark-fantasy world where you join the Plague and seek your revenge. The story is very cryptic but you essentially escape from prison and, with the power of the Plague, you find other team members, get rid of enemies and fulfil these missions of sorts. It’s an RPG that looks quite interesting and I’m looking quite forward to it.

Developer: Forever Entertainment S.A.
Publisher: Forever Entertainment S.A.
Genre: Tactical, Strategy, Turn-Based, RPG, Adventure, Dark Fantasy
Release Date: Q3 2021
Played on: PC
Demo available on Steam.

The game’s going to come out in 2021’s Q3 but you can play a demo right now right here. It’s an amazing experience in my opinion, which is why I planned on writing about it and my thoughts on it.

From the get-go, I’ve been intrigued by this game. The story is quite cryptic and you’ll have to piece it together slowly whenever you get bits of information here and there. Who are we? Who or what are the Plague? What is our goal and what are we trying to accomplish with our crusade/revenge? What did they do to us? What’s happening in the world? Questions upon questions but answers are only slowly trickling in, which is why we need to move forward. The hand-drawn art style reminds me a lot of Darkest Dungeon and the amazing soundtrack adds a rather nice feel to the overall atmosphere, which really compliments the themes of the story.

You move your character around and can command it to attack or defend. Combat is initiated by walking into the line of sight of enemies. Then your party gets pulled out and you move around in turn-based and, I guess, RTS-ish fashion? You position your units in a way so that you can get some good attacks in, reposition or kite enemies away. Different units have more movement points and can travel further. The different stats also influence other aspects of combat, like defence and attack, for instance. The three characters that you play in the Prologue/demo each fulfil a class of sorts. Your main character is a knight of sorts that does pack a punch and does have a few hit points but it’s not a tank. Another character can reduce his health by half to deal double damage while your third character utilizes a crossbow and can hence attack from afar at the cost of being fairly squishy. 

You can customise your characters using weapon runes and tattoos that grant you power. It’s an interesting mechanic but nothing too different from other RPGs. If anything, I’d say that the equipment that was shown in the demo leads to assuming that equipment itself doesn’t play too much of a role in the full game… I mean, I don’t know anything about other items that will come later, so it’s a bummer that nothing more is shown apart from one tattoo that you can put on one of your three characters.

What’s more pleasant, however, is how the side objectives in the story influence the game or give you new ways to play the game. There is a prisoner that you can choose to free or you leave him behind and your choice influences how the game plays out, making it harder to easier for yourself. I like that level of choice that you can have in the game and ultimately it adds a bit more of a challenge to the game. You can also level your characters and potentially unlock more abilities but some of the instructions feel a bit unclear.

I’d love it if there was a tutorial-section in the journal that allows you to look things up. How do certain stats work? How do abilities work? That kind of stuff, just in case you need to refresh yourself, you’d be able to look up what you learned so far, making the game more accessible, in a way.

Overall, it was pleasant though. There are some achievements in the demo and I got through the Prologue within two hours, so it was quite nice. I really dig the hand-drawn style and the overall aesthetic. I wonder how the story will pan out and what other weapon runes and tattoos there will be… Cool game! Looking forward to it!

You can try out We Are The Plague yourself by playing the demo!. You may also want to wishlist it, just in case! I hope you enjoyed this post! What do you think of the game? Have you played the demo yet? If you have or if you end up playing it now, feel free to share your opinions on it! I’m burning to see your thoughts!

Cheers!

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

Looking out for Anuchard

Today I wanted to take a look at Anuchard‘s Demo. It’s a retro-inspired 2D Action RPG where you play as the Bellwielder whose job is to retrieve the souls of people that went missing in the dungeon. Dive into the dungeon, solve puzzles, fight monsters and restore the world’s fallen civilization!

Developer: stellarNull
Publisher: stellarNull
Genre: Indie, Action, RPG, Pixel Art, Adventure

The game’s release date is yet to be announced (TBA) but there is a demo available on steam right now. It starts off a bit clunky with you getting swarmed in a dream, dying and then waking up in bed… but the game is very much aware of tropes like that and makes fun of them, which is kind of interesting. You then get prompted to meet up with other people at the town hall where you end up finding the Audros Bell, an ancient bell that the Bellwielder uses to free the trapped souls in the dungeon. With it in hand and multiple spirits’ voices in your head, you end up venturing into the dungeon to free one of the villagers.

Combat features mostly three buttons. I’d recommend using a controller since… while you can rebind keys on the keyboard it feels weird if that makes sense. You have a normal attack that does some damage and can strike multiple foes at once as well as a heavy attack that makes you dash forward a bit and launch a powerful attack that will launch enemies away. Enemies often have armour that breaks when they’re launched into objects or walls. Beating enemies can drop crystals that you can use to place down a spire that heals you. Overall, it’s somewhat simple but it works. I would have personally liked it if there was a dash or something in the game to reposition yourself or mitigate damage by rolling away. Apart from that, attacks feel slow at times and you have this weird delay after attacking a few times. I’d like a stamina system more where your attacks either get weaker if you end up spamming them… or where you can’t dash or attack anymore once your stamina is down.

The dungeons also feature puzzles that utilize the knockback mechanic – at least in the demo. There may be more and different puzzles in the game later on but in the demo, it was limited to two similar puzzles – one of them took me a bit to figure out as well, though. Once you solve puzzles or beat rooms, you end up unlocking doors, similar to the Zelda games, although the puzzles are less elaborate. Then you fight a boss, get a relic and use that relic to revive a villager.

Villagers rejuvenate the village. You unlock a chef, for instance, whose dishes make you stronger based on the ingredients, similar to Monster Hunter World’s food system, which is a nice touch. Later you find other upgrades and abilities, potentially, but the demo doesn’t really give me any information on that, so I don’t really know.

Anuchard is intersting. The art style, music and world feels good, the combat is a bit sluggish, though. I wonder how the full game is going to look and feel like. Only time will tell.

Make sure to wishlist Anuchard and maybe even play the demo yourself!

Cheers!

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

Steam Game Festival: Demo-Impressions, Part 3

The Steam Game Festival is going on until tomorrow, so here’re some more games to check out! I’ve been kind of slouching with these posts due to the quality of some titles and the amount of time that I need to spend in some games to make these posts possible. Pair that with a tight schedule that keeps me from leaving the desk until I’m done with my studies… and then add a little bit of a lack of motivation to it due to me having to continue sitting at the desk in order to write these blog posts… and that basically results in me not being able to write these posts in time. It’s a bit of a bummer and the pandemic and everything isn’t helping, especially with winter ravaging outside and me not being able to leave the house.

But from all of this explanatory exposition to more positive matters. Today we’re playing more Indie Game demos and here are my first impressions on those!

The Longest Road on Earth:

This is an emotive interactive visual novel and auditory experience based upon intimate human connection and the journey we all must take. Just like Per Aspera which we’ve covered in the past, it’s also published by Raw Fury, which is why I was rather excited about trying this one out… It’s a bit of an interesting Adventure game. The anthropomorphic animals each have their own lives and roads to take and master… and while the art style is stunning, I was even more impressed by the fantastic soundtrack by Beícoli. The situations you’re facing are all kind of out of context and focus on small things like riding the bicycle or going to the canteen… but the at times mellow and at times melancholic sounds that have been composed for this title give every single one of these scenes some sort of meaning… For whatever reason, one of the earlier scenes made me cry just now while another lifted me up but if I had played it without the sound on, it would have been completely different, obviously, and I may not have reacted in that way. Similarly, I love it that the demo ends on an upbeat note with some mischief and a little bit of snowy fun.

Ashwalkers:

Ashwalkers is a highly stylised post-apocalyptic survival game where your group tries to find the legendary “Dome of Domes” and hence ventures into a harsh world without rules or judgement. Your choices matter as you always have different approaches to all kinds of situations. Do you sneak past wolves or do you yell at them to scare them away? The choice is yours! While travelling to the vast and grey areas your party members’ energy, food and warmth levels decreases. Alas, you’ll have to set up camp every now and then, distribute resources, schedule guard duties and allow your people to rest or chat in order to replenish energy or let encourage them again. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to face even more dooming challenges. Will your party members make it through? Try it out yourself!

Osteoblasts:

Osteoblasts is a dungeon crawler RPG about, by and for skeletons. Although I’d have to say that since I, as a lich, can still quite enjoy it, I’d imagine that humans like you would also potentially like it. The art style is utilizing some rather pretty colours, the soundtrack is lovely as fuck, and the story is… I don’t really get it but I’m looking forward to figuring it out later on! You are being revived as a skeleton and have to fight against dogs among other enemies. There are multiple classes and items that change your skills. To use skills, you’ll have to use some of your bone marrow… and whenever you level up, you can select between three gods to gain their skill bonuses. The full game will feature multiple endings and while I may not be the biggest fan of turn-based combat in games, I actually really enjoyed this title and am looking forward to trying out some builds in the future and potentially reviewing this game as well once it’s fully out!

Cats and the Other Lives:

Cats and the Other Lives is a narrative experience that explores the reunion of a broken family. After the passing of grandfather Bernard, all of the remaining members of the Mason Family return to their childhood home once again. Alas, we step into the role of the house cat, Aspen, and interact with the world in a point and click style fashion to touch on past hopes, disappointments and regrets of the Mason family. Through flashbacks to the time when Bernard was still alive we learn new things about the past and about the mysterious things that took place in this house, and alas it is our role to relief the family members’ frustrations, to toss things over and to uncover secrets. Overall, this is a rather cute game, though somewhat creepy in some ways. I love the idea of stepping into the role of a pet instead of playing as a family member. It is interesting how typical cat behaviours are put into the game and how the developers enabled the player to utilize those patterns in order to progress through the story. Apart from that, I’ve loved small things like the little bits and pieces of information and lore you can pick up from NPCs in the hallways and rooms as well as the soundtrack that gives the game a somewhat eery and mysterious vibe. Great demo!


And with these few games, it’s already over for me. I have hardly enough time to publish this post and also play more titles. As always there is just not enough time get through so many unless of course, you have nothing else to do than playing games. There are other games that I would have liked to feature but due to time constraints, I’ll just have to vaguely list them:

Dead Estate is an action-roguelike with a top-down-shooter-ish perspective and an interesting art style. It’s supposed to be gory, fast-paced and Halloween-y.

Everescape is a political simulation of an employee of the immigration department. You’re supposed to prevent the entry and spread of some virus and do so with the power of bureaucracy. This seemed like another “Papers, Please” clone but with the difference that it also features an art style that is very much similar to Paintbucket Games’ “Through the darkest of times” (at least as far as the character design goes), so I thought I’d check it out and see how different it is to “Papers, Please” and how well it is done.

Blue Fire is a minimalistic action-adventure that kind of reminds me of Hollow Knight but in 3D. Apparently, however, it is somewhat short and the healing in it is frustrating on top of the game crashing quite often. I would have played it today, actually, but the demo got removed from the store, for whatever reason, so I don’t know how stable the build actually would have been.

Faith of Fate is an adventure game that apparently also has dating sim elements to it and that, according to Steam, is similar to Undertale. Looked interesting!

In My Shadow is supposed to be a puzzle platformer where you use these puzzles to confront your character’s past. The puzzles seemed interesting and I feel like the story could also present you with some nice interactions. Sadly, I didn’t like the art style too much, which is why I let it slide for now and which is why I didn’t play it first thing this festival.

Sands of Aura is an interesting mix of open-world exploration and souls-like action. The premise of it is that you bring life to a world buried beneath a sea of sand, which is something that kind of resonated with me. I like the idea of that world and I would have loved to try out the combat of this one!

Tasomachi is supposed to be an atmospheric 3D Platforming game in a fantasy setting, I guess. The world looked pretty and I would have loved to dive into it. 

Undying allows you to accompany a young mother in her journey to protect and raise her son, Cody, in a zombie-infested world. After being bitten by a zombie herself, she knows that her days are numbered, which is why she’s got to protect her son, search for safety and teach him skills while she still can. This sounds like a great game and I like the minimalistic approach to the art style and the perspectives, so I’m sure that this is a great title to check out. Wishlisted!

Either way, the Steam Game Festival will still be up until February 9th, 10 AM (PST), meaning that I still have about 19 hours left to play some of these demos, and potentially more if some of them still are around after the event. I’d recommend you to check out the titles listed above as well as the games that I didn’t get to. I still have a bit of time until then, so I will check them out. I will probably just not write about these last few titles as there wouldn’t be enough time.

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this (somewhat longer) post. What other discoveries did you make during this event? Did you find any nice titles to play? Let me know!

Cheers!

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

Steam Game Festival: Demo-Impressions, Part 2

Like yesterday, I decided to make another post on the Steam Game Festival and more demos from this event. Yesterday, we covered ten games on there with most of them being rather interesting and today I wanted to continue the trend with the next ten games that looked interesting and promising. You can check out all posts on the Steam Game Festival (the current one and the previous ones) over here if you want to. Without further ado, however, let’s head into some cool games.

First Class Trouble:

First Class Trouble is a party game where players work together to prevent disaster. Play as either a Personoid or a Passenger in this social deduction game. The passengers need to stop an evil A.I. that is aboard this ship while the Personoids have to stop them, even if it means deception, betrayal and lies. The whole aesthetic of the game is amazing from the customization to the soundtrack and the graphic. The demo itself had a few hiccups with the servers but when everything is patched up and ready, you can find a game within minutes and get ready to eject people out of the air shoot. I personally enjoyed it a fair bit, despite all of the bugs. Whether or not all of them will be squashed on release, remains to be seen! But until then, there’s going to be a lot of time for polishing and further development! 

Luna’s Fishing Garden:

This game is a cosy and adorable fishing and building game where you plant trees, catch fish, trade items for money (leaves) and expand your busine- I mean,… garden. You can upgrade your fishing rod, add plant life to the world, meet characters and bring animals to the archipelago. While the demo can be played through in about forty minutes (At least, I think that there aren’t any more fish in the sea.), I’m sure that the full release will offer a lot more content. On another note, it actually is great to see a new game by Coldwild Games. They’re actually behind Merchant of the Skies as well, so I have high hopes for this game!

Beacon Pines:

Beacon Pines is a rather lovely choose-your-own-adventure-style game by Hiding Spot in which you step into the role of the main character, Luka, and the narrator of the story. Utilizing different words (“charms”) that you find throughout the game, you explore a cute and creepy story within a magical storybook. Are you stuck in one place? Try going back, using the Chronicles, and revise your previous turning points. What could you have done differently? What charms could change the outcome of your fate? Try it out yourself! Incredibly cute game with some eery vibes and an amazing soundtrack. I can highly recommend it and am looking forward to the full release!

Dorfromantik:

Dorfromantik is a peaceful strategy and puzzle game where you create a beautiful and ever-growing village landscape by placing down tiles. There are a bunch of biomes in the game and different interesting tiles that work in different ways. To keep on going, you’ll need to place down your tiles with future tiles in mind. In a way, it reminds me of Islanders but with less creative freedom since you’re using hexagons in this one. Quite a short and somewhat challenging but still rather lovely demo!

Space Wreck:

Space Wreck looked quite interesting, being set in a post-apocalyptic world in space and having to deal with problems in different ways while utilizing TTRPG mechanics… but in the end, I didn’t get quite warm with it. It’s inspired by Fallout 1 and 2 as well as Arcanum, but I’m not entirely sure if I quite like it for a plethora of reason. While I love the art style and atmosphere in the first few minutes, the voice acting feels off and I would have loved it if it just didn’t exist in this game. At the same time, combat is somewhat weird and clanky and as someone who hasn’t played the three games mentioned above, I’m not entirely sure if it’s supposed to be this hard to get into but for a game that is coming out in 2021, I feel like it should be more beginner-friendly. Oh well…

No Place For Bravery:

In No Place For Bravery, we step into the steps of Thorn, an old and ambitious warrior, who roams a vicious war-torn world in search for his lost daughter. No Place For Bravery is a 2D Top-Down Action-RPG with a fantastically detailed pixel art-style and a wonderfully eery soundtrack. Combat feels smooth but has a steep difficulty curve with lots of parries, timings, and different systems to look out for. There are different weapons and items to utilize as well as a story that I don’t really get… but it was fun! Really enjoyed this one. Make sure to wishlist this demo!

And while I would like to talk about more games today, I’m actually rather tired and can’t really play too much more. Alas, I’ll write about more titles tomorrow in Part 3 and I’ll try to get to it sooner instead of leaving it to the last few hours of the day! I’ll also try to limit the time that I’ll spend on each and every demo, as time management is key when it comes to deadlines. I hope you enjoyed this post and I’ll see you in tomorrow’s post!

Cheers!

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

Steam Game Festival: Demo-Impressions, Part 1

So, as announced yesterday, the Steam Game Festival is here, which means that I have a lot of titles to write about. I picked 25 titles yesterday but then found four more titles again, within the last few hours, so I’m not entirely sure if I’ll get to those soon, but I’ll make sure to share my thoughts on most of these games… just like today! In today’s post, we’re taking a look at the first batch of games. Instead of going in rather in-depth into each of the titles, I’d like to try to share my experience in as few sentences as possible in order to allow me to cover a bunch of games within a post. The first time this event happened, I wrote mini-reviews on the games and ended up still writing about a lot of the titles way after the event concluded. Alas, I’d rather want to share my experiences so that you can check these games out yourself!

Timberborn:

Timberborn is a Colony Sim with City Building aspects that allows you to take control of a tribe of lumberpunk beavers! Build farms, houses, dams and bridges to make this land your own. Humans are no more, so it’s time for your beaver-brethren to shine and erect a civilisation that restores the devastated land that is plagued with deadly droughts. There is a lot of vertical architecture in the game and I love the aspects of controlling the rivers with explosives, terraforming and dams. It’s quite interesting how the game works and I personally really enjoyed it. The demo lets you play a fair bit but since it’s a pre-release demo, there are a lot of limitations to certain features and mechanics that will be there in the full version!

Potion Craft:

Potion Craft is an Alchemy-Simulation game in which you run your own little potion shop, invent new recipes, attract customers, harvest your garden for ingredients, and experiment. I really enjoyed it. The game offers a lot of creative freedom, allowing you to customize potions and add effects to it with ingredients while getting better at your craft. The customers are often quite funny with their reasoning behind needing a healing or poison potion. There are a lot of different recipes to uncover and the demo itself lets you play quite a bit! Really looking forward to the full release of it!

Gal*Gun Returns:

I played Gal*Gun: Double Peace ages ago (in 2017, apparently), and despite the premise being incredibly silly, I really enjoyed it. Girls are running wild because of something in the story-line that I can’t exactly remember, so you need to survive your school-day by sneaking away and shooting girls with a “pheromone gun”. Gal*Gun Returns scared me plenty of times, btw,… and I’m sure it will scare you, too. This rail-shooter demo lets you experience a level per heroine, which can be completed relatively quickly. While incredibly silly, it was rather entertaining. I still don’t get what’s going on but it’s all fun and games, I guess. 

Despot’s Game:

Despot’s Game takes Konfa Games’ Despotism-3K-universe and combines it with some interesting and rather tactical Roguelite Auto Battler mechanics! D’Spot, the game’s antagonist, is an evil A.I. (playable in Konfa Games’ previous game) that throws you and your fellow humans into an Arena of death. Fight against plenty of enemies, upgrade or purchase more humans, mutate them and use your head to strategically place them in order to proceed far enough into the game. If you survive the labyrinth, you’ll have to face off against the unstoppable end-game builds of other players and beat each other to death. The game itself plays itself similarly to other Auto-Battlers like TFT or DotA Underlords but it adds its own twist to it by combing the auto-battler formula with roguelite-elements and random events, known from the previous game. Incredibly challenging but also incredibly fun!

Unsouled:

Unsouled is supposed to be an “ultra-brutal Action-RPG with fast-paced and savagely rewarding combat” but it kind of feels like it’s lacking. The story is confusing, the combat doesn’t feel good at all with you having too many dashes and you being able to guard everything effortlessly. The game looks pretty but the gameplay feels clunky.

Loop Hero:

Loop Hero is actually a title that I’ve been excited about for quite a while. I’m really looking forward to March 4th when this title releases because I’m actually in the game. I, Magi the Lich, have thrown the world into a timeless loop and plunged its inhabitants into never-ending chaos, after all, so it’s your duty to go onto expedition and find out what’s wrong with the world and if there are any other survivors. Your hero loops on a path and battles on its own, so you have to place down mystical cards to create terrain, buildings, and enemies to fight. As you progress, you’ll receive loot and resources that can be used to equip and upgrade your hero and your camp. Once you return, you receive a new loop in your next expedition and you’ll have to try again to survive the loop! Incredibly fun game with some adorable and nostalgic pixel-art and an amazing soundtrack!

AK-xolotl:

AK-xolotl is as the name suggest a game where you play the cutest amphibian ever, an axolotl with an AK (duh!). It’s a top-down arcade battle-arena shooter with some bullet hell elements to it where you defend your pond from invaders to score big. It seems to have multiplayer and it gives me “Nuclear Throne” and “Enter The Gungeon” vibes, on top of featuring axolotl… So I HAD TO try it out. The art style is super adorable, there are costumes, it is challenging, the guns feel good and the soundtrack is fantastic! Pairing cute animals with guns and in-your-face-metal is a great idea that should be explored more often in games. 

SkateBIRD:

SkateBIRd is a game about Skateboarding… as a bird. Take control of a bird on a skateboard and perform tricks… it’s kind of relaxing and brings me back to the days when I played those Tony Hawk games on my Xbox… ages ago… but yeah, that’s about it. There are a plethora of easy to hard tricks to perform, the birds are cute, there are missions in the game, and the soundtrack is super chill. Try it out yourself!

Towermancer:

TowerMancer by Digital Synapis is a strategy tower building game where you gather resources, build rooms and face menacing threats. The story-line is about a lich that married the lichmancer and they got a lot of kids (lesser liches) and the youngest one is you, an aspiring lich that is trying to become a Towermancer. Nice! The pixel art style looked interesting, so I gave it a go, and… it’s quite fun. It’s a bit challenging here and there, although the overall premise of the game is rather simple. I really enjoyed building up the tower and coordinating all of the imps in order to rebuild what those fireballs have destroyed, and I’m looking forward to seeing the full game! The demo only lets you play the first few levels but it’s quite enjoyable, in my opinion.

Roguebook:

Roguebook is a new roguelike-deck-builder with unique mechanics from the developer of Faeria as well as Richard Garfield, creator of Magic: The Gathering! The game itself is similar to other roguelike-deck-building games like Slay The Spire, with the difference that it revolves around two characters. On top of that, you can summon allies, upgrade cards with gems, find artefacts and unlock skills. The two characters can be changed in the full game. While the game itself is quite similar to Slay the Spire when it comes to combat, it also features an overworld akin to Trials of Fire, a Card Battler that came out in 2019. The art style is amazing and the overworld adds another layer to the game, although I’m not entirely sure if I like that system. On top of that, the game has some flaws here and there where it doesn’t explain certain mechanics to you, which made my experience a bit less exciting. Regardless, the game is quite fun and I’m also looking forward to this title when it’s fully released.

So, that’s it for the day. We looked at ten different games and I did enjoy this quite a bit. I hope you liked this post as well! What games did you check out so far? I’ll try to write a post on the next ten games tomorrow and will hopefully wrap this series of posts up within the next two days so that you can get all the recommendations that you want.

Cheers!

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

The Steam Game Festival is here!

From February 3rd (yes, that’s now!) until February 9th (10 AM PST), the Steam Game Festival is held on Steam and you know what that means… There are a lot of demos to go through for upcoming games!

Alas, I wanted to write about some of my discoveries and my thoughts on them. I wrote posts on these events a couple of times already, so you can check out the previous posts over here.

Demos, I’ll try out in the next few days:

  • Despot’s Game
  • Luna’s Fishing Garden
  • Ashwalkers
  • Undying
  • Roguebook
  • Unsouled
  • No Place for Bravery
  • AK-xolotl
  • Derfromantik
  • Timberborn
  • Potion Craft
  • SkateBIRD
  • Loop Hero
  • The Longest Road on Earth
  • Gal*Gun Returns
  • First Class Trouble
  • Osteoblasts
  • Space Wreck
  • Everescape
  • In My Shadow
  • Dead Estate
  • Beacon Pines
  • Cats and the Other Lives
  • Sands of Aura
  • TowerMancer
  • Alien Scumbags

So, there’s a total of 26 demos for me to try out here. So, a bunch! Obviously, there are a lot more games on the Steam Store Homepage available for trial but I can’t possibly try out everything, so I decided to limit it to these 26 entries (originally 25 but someone on Twitter approached me with the last entry there). I’ll take a look at the first load of games tomorrow and will make another post the day after that based on how many are left. I think that should work out quite fine unless I’m too busy with uni-stuff… 

Hope you enjoyed this short post over here! I sadly am running a bit low on time and energy, so I’ll have to write more on these titles tomorrow… Looking forward to it.

What games are you trying out? Is there anything from this list that you’ve tried out, yet? Let me know!

Cheers!

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

Looking forward to Pawnbarian

One of the titles that I’ve been eyeing for a while now has been Pawnbarian! It’s supposed to come out in Q1 of 2021 and I’d be happy to review it once it’s out… but for now, I’ll have to make do with the first few impressions I got from the demo that is available here

Developer: j4nw
Publisher: j4nw
Genre: Minimalistic, Roguelike, Chess, Puzzle, Card Game
Release Date: Q1, 2021
Played on: PC
Available on: PC

Pawnbarian is a roguelike based on Chess. Play as a brave fighter of the Northern Chesslands, always on the lookout for a new challenge. Fight your way through the dungeon, one turn at a time! There are more characters planned for the full version as well and while the Pawnbarian may sound like more of a “more brawn than brain” type of character, he actually offers a lot of versatility. By moving to the top row, having three pawns in hand or by starting the turn at the top row, you get to promote a pawn into a queen. Other classes/characters will have other rulesets.

Combat is turn-based, leaving you plenty of time to plan out your next few moves. When it’s your turn, you have limited moves, indicated by the yellow pieces below the chessboard. Some of your pieces (indicated at the top left by a lightning symbol) refresh these moves, allowing you to move another time. 

The enemies also move in different patterns and all feature their own mechanics. Some of them are nimble, meaning that they’ll dodge away when you attack them unless they’re against a wall. Others spread blight, have more range or split into multiple enemies upon death. 

By hovering over enemies, you get to see these rules yourself and hence learn about them. At the same time, you can see how much damage you receive when you hover on different tiles. 

If you’re familiar with chess, you’ll know how the pawns, rooks, knights, and so on move. If you’re not, then the game will help you out by showing you the moves that you’re allowed to do with the selected piece. 

When you get hit, you lose hearts, indicated by the (anatomically correct) heart symbols below the chessboard. Hearts can be guarded via shields that you get for moving pieces with a shield symbol. At the same time, you can reacquire hearts in the shop that you encounter after every floor. At the top of the chessboard, you can see your current gold as well as a bunch of gold chunks and gems. Every turn one of those gold chunks vanishes but if you manage to finish the current floor with any of them left, you’ll be able to spend that gold in the next shop. This is a somewhat interesting mechanic as you have to try to solve these floors in the least turns possible… but at the same time, you’ve got to be careful and not get too far ahead of yourself as every floor can be deadly!

In the shop, you’re able to upgrade your deck by adding more effects to your pieces. At first, I thought that the pieces there would get replaced by other pieces… This was an oversight of mine as it actually says that you get permanent upgrades for your cards… in the tutorial… that I skipped. The tutorial itself is quite beginner-friendly. It tells you the basics of the game within seconds and lets you experience two floors before heading into the actual tutorial dungeon. I somehow completely missed the fact that there is a tutorial, although I’m blaming that on my headache.

What I love about this game (or the demo of the game, to be more precise) is the fact that the art style is super minimalistic. It shows you what you need to see without overwhelming you with all kinds of gimmicks, UI shenanigans or complicated tooltips. Instead, you see what you want to see immediately – and if you need to know more, you hover over tiles and pieces.

At the same time, the game is able to communicate rather well where the damage comes from, how much damage is dealt and where/how you died. After about 90 minutes, I actually was able to defeat the demo dungeon, which I was quite surprised about. The Blight mechanic, as well as the Nimble mechanic, were somewhat hard to deal with but I’d imagine that without those, the game would be rather plain and easy to beat. I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of other enemies the full game will have to offer.

Apart from the interesting and challenging mechanics, as well as the minimalistic art style, the game also features a lovely soundtrack so far that doesn’t get on your nerves after you’ve listened to it for an hour and a half. I mean, a lot of demos feature the same track over and over again, which can be quite annoying. In this demo, the gentle sounds convey this feeling of adventure quite well while at the same time allowing you to relax while playing.

Pawnbarian is a lovely chess-roguelike hybrid that adds its own twist to the Rogue-formula while sticking to the core premise of permadeath and turn-based combat. Personally speaking, I’m really looking forward to seeing the other enemies as well as the other characters that will be introduced into the full version. 

If you want to, you can check out Pawnbarian over here. It is also available on itch.io if you want to play it over there! Make sure to wishlist it if you haven’t yet – and if you want to, you can always try out the demo over there as well!

I hope you enjoyed this post! Feel free to leave feedback or any suggestions for other demos to check out!
Take care!

Cheers!

Indie Games in 2021 to wishlist right now

2020 had plenty of great releases. For starters, we had plenty of games that left Early Access and were well received when their 1.0 arrived this year, like Hades and Risk of Rain 2. There were also completely new releases this year that I really liked, like Milky Way Prince or Lightmatter, and a lot of other titles. 2020 has been quite a year but at least there were a lot of games to keep us company and brighten our days. At least, they often made my days, at least a bit better.

But everything has to come to an end and so, with the new year on the marsh, I wanted to talk about releases that are coming up in 2021 and that I’m looking forward to. I hope you’re going to enjoy this list. It’s not in any particular order or whatever but rather just titles off the top of my head that I have been excited about.


Eastward

For quite a while now, Eastward (developed by Pixpil, published by Chucklefish) has been sitting there on my wishlist, waiting to get released… and the release date has been sitting there as well on “Soon” but I don’t know if it’s going to be out sooner or later… I just hope that it’s going to be there in 2021. It’s an RPG game full of love and attention for detail. From what I’ve seen the art style is super adorable and the world is, despite the population’s decline, relatively lively and charming. We play as a little girl named Sam and an old man named John and revolves around exploring and solving the game by switching between the characters. John has an arsenal of weapons while Sam can stun creatures with a kinetic blast. The game also features a lot of quirky character, some interesting cooking mechanics, and a story that drives the adventure portion of the game. I’m excited! 

Anno: Mutationem

Anno: Mutationem (developed by ThinkingStars, published by Lightning Games) is an Action-Adventure with RPG-elements where we become Ann, a highly-skilled combat-trained lone wolf on a personal mission. The world features a blend of 2D and 3D gameplay of Action-Platforming and Exploration with portions of it having a cute pixel art style while other portions seem to be somewhat animated, I guess? It’s a blend of different directions, which I find intriguing. Pair that with a Cyberpunk setting, a lot of exploration, and a whole bunch of action, and you basically get a cyberpunk game that I’d like to play. The plot is being described as “dark” and “twisted”, which is something I rather often fancy in games and media in general. On top of that, a lot of the visuals seem cute, so I’m looking forward to seeing contrasts in the world and how they reflect on society, there and in general. On top of that, there will be a lot of customization and upgrades available to Ann’s weapons and her skills, using modifiers and chips. Overall, I’m looking forward to it!

Stray

Just like the previous title on this list, Stray (developed by BlueTwelve Studio) also has been confirmed for 2021. It’s published by Annapurna Interactive who also published Journey and Outer Wilds, so I’m kind of expecting something special here. Or cats. I love cats. Stray is a game about a stray cat that’s trying to untangle an ancient mystery of sorts to escape this cyberpunk city and find its way home. This game seems to be a game focused on mainly exploration, which is something I generally like in games. It’s an interesting direction to take a game in, so I’m wondering how it’s going to turn out. Stray is set in a cybercity and areas around it, which is why you’ll encounter a lot of neon-lit streets as well as a friendly drone, known only as B12. The game’s developed by BlueTwelve, a small studio from south of France, and I feel like this game could be rather charming and fun to try out. Annoying people… as a cat… but in third-person? Lovely!

Garden Story

During the Steam Game Festival: Autumn Edition, I wrote a post on this title among others. The demo seemed very promising and I’ve been looking forward to playing the full game eventually. Garden Story (developed by Picogram, published by Rose City Games) is about Agriculture and Exploration and you essentially play as Concord, a small grape-person, who is trying to unify the community as the newly-appointed Guardian of The Grove! Make friends, beat bosses, explore the world, gather materials, rebuild your home, and have fun in this small and adorable title. You take on requests, complete favours, and you try to inspire the inhabitants of The Grove to make the community great again. Defend against Rot and solve puzzles, find a plethora of equipment and other items, and cultivate a home with all kinds of structures to be rebuild. Honestly, Garden Story kind of felt like a mix of Heartbeat and Zelda, so I’ve been looking forward to it.


Honestly, there are a lot of great games coming out in 2021 and then there are a lot of EA titles that may get done as well and… overall, I really hope that 2021 becomes a great year for everyone. At the least, I hope that it’s at least a little bit less terrible. 🙂 I’m sure that’s possible, right?

I hope you enjoyed this post. There are other titles that I could have put in here but I wasn’t able to link their Steam Pages yet since there are none… other titles may come out a lot later… and then there are other titles that I haven’t heard any news about ever since April or May. Alas, I may do some more posts like this one or single posts for games that I have a lot more to say about. 

Hope you have a great day and a great start into the new year!

Cheers!

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

Steam Winter Sale 2020

Merry crisis and a happy new fear! It’s time for more anxiety as the Steam Winter Sale is approaching – the great disaster that leaves many a wallet empty. Hence, I wanted to talk about sales (like this one), some of my wishlisted items, and potential good deals.

So, first up: The Steam Winter Sale is here from December 22nd (aka two days ago) until January 5th (10 am PT) granting us the opportunity to save big bucks on many titles! Buy your favourite titles at lower prices than usual and earn points to buy cosmetic items and emotes for Steam’s social functions. Obviously, Steam’s competitor, Epic Games, is also running a Winter Sale but their concept of handing out coupons whenever you claim a free game kind of irritates me and honestly, most of the games that I’d like to get aren’t that much cheaper on there, even with the coupon, compared to Steam. Apart from that, I also like Steam’s functions a lot more, as well as the social aspect of it, so Steam’s the clear winner here, I think.

My issue with Sales is that they influence how you treat games and their value over time. Games are sold at a bargain during sales, so you effectively will more often than not refrain from buying a game on other times, so that you can grab it for cheaper later. At the same time, you’ll probably buy more on a Christmas Sale than on any other month as the sales are worth it more.

This idea of “worth”, “pricing”, and ” value” is a rather tricky topic and I’d like to elaborate on my thoughts and concerns about that idea in a later post… in 2021… once I’ve found some time to edit it and add pictures and stuff. 

Anyways, I didn’t really buy any games for the last couple of months due to my financial situation but since I’ll be paid back for the last couple of months, I might be able to spend a little bit of money on this sale. In that sense, there are a few games that I’d love to buy this Sale but I know that I won’t buy all of them. I’ll probably make another post on “my haul” in 2021 once I actually made all my purchases. 

Sundered: Eldritch Edition

Sundered is an Action-Roguelite-Metroidvania-Mashup by Thunder Lotus Games that features a chaotic and enigmatic hand-drawn art style as well as combat revolving around ancient eldritch powers that you either resist or embrace. The idea behind Roguevanias like this one (or Dead Cells) is actually something that I’ve really enjoyed in the past and I love it when you get to choose between the good or the bad side in games, so naturally, this title has been on my wishlist for ages. Currently, it’s 80% off on Steam, costing only 4€ instead of the usual 20€.

Fe

Zoink’s dark Sci-Fi-Action-Puzzle-title is about a creature called Fe in a nordic forest that has a lot of exploration to offer to you. Personally speaking, I have little to no idea what to expect from this title but it’s been on my wishlist ever since release in 2018, so I’m looking forward to potentially grabbing it and playing it sometime soon. The art style looks fantastic and I love the themes and the premise of it, presented by the trailer… but yeah, I know basically nothing about it apart from that. It’s currently 75% off on Steam, available at a price of roughly 4€.

Sunset Overdrive

Insomniac Games’ “Sunset Overdrive” kind of looked like Jet Set Radio to me… but with a post-apocalyptic and open world, as well as unique weapons and customizable abilities and stuff. Honestly, what I’ve seen from this title in clips and videos has looked like a ton of fun, so I’m really looking forward to grabbing this title eventually. Currently, however, it is 75% off, so check it out for sure.

Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Remastered

I know I said that I don’t like a lot of JRPGs but I love Level-5 as a Studio and I love Studio Ghibli for their movies and art styles, which is why Ni no Kuni has been on my wishlist ever since the PC-port was announced. I’ve been looking forward to this game for ages. Alas, it’s a pleasure to see that it’s 70% off on Steam, available at 15€ instead of 50€. This could very much be the game with the biggest bargain in my wishlist.

Moons of Madness

First-Person, story-driven Cosmic Horror… in SPACE?! Count me in! I think I’ve actually seen info about this title about a year ago at or before the GamesCom in Cologne and really liked the style of it and the idea behind it, so naturally, I put it on my wishlist, even though I’m such a huge scaredy-cat. At 12.50€ or 50% off, this one’s still a bargain, in my opinion, so it’s definitely going to be a title that I’ll consider buying later.

DOOM Eternal

Hell’s armies have invaded Earth, so it’s time to clean up, eh? This title came out only this year and is already available at about 20€/67% off, which is honestly quite great. I heard that it’s satisfying to play and that the soundtrack is fantastically brutal. Alas, I’m going to consider this one as well.

HUMANKIND

Being a fan of Amplitude Studios’ Endless series is probably the biggest reason behind this title being on the list. I love strategy games and 4X games and while I haven’t played too many yet, I’d love to get into more. Humankind is going to be a title that will allow you to play through the entire narrative of humankind, letting you create your own civilisation in our world that will be as unique as you are. What values, culture and history will you push for? 

Honestly, I’m really looking forward to getting this myself eventually. The issue is… it’s coming out in April 2021 if it doesn’t get delayed. Alas, I may pre-order it now while it is about 10€ off and enjoy it later in April as a late birthday present… to myself. 

Anyways, I don’t usually do lists like this one but I thought it would be fun as a post during the holidays. Obviously, there are a lot more titles on my wishlist and Steam has a ton more Indie games to offer… but I probably own a lot of the ones that I want to play and review already… or they’re not that cheap or they’re games that I’d buy at the full price anyways. Personally speaking, I don’t like spending too much money on Games these days, especially as I’ve been having less and less time to play games and as my library has been growing more and more as of late, too. Part of the reason for that is most likely Humble Choice as I’d sometimes forget to pause it or as I’d sometimes go for it even though I have too many games to play in my backlog… stupid decisions and no decisions, eh? Alas, there are plenty of unplayed games in my backlog and I’m looking forward to getting through the pile eventually. I’ll just have to practice self-discipline more often during sales like this one and limit my funds to spare more. 

Hence, I feel like a spending limit of at most 60€ would be quite appropriate. That’s basically my free-time-funds anyways per month and I guess I could go a bit above it as well if I end up buying Humankind, considering that I’ve never bought a birthday present for myself. 

That’s what people do sometimes, right? They buy something nice for themself, right? Right? 

Uh, either way, I’ll have to see how much money I have available to myself at the end of this month. I’m basically getting my funds from the state soon and will have to pay my rent and bills anyways, then I’ll have to decide my spending limits per week for food and stuff in January… Then, I’ll need to consider what to get for my little sister’s birthday… and when all of that is done and dusted, I’ll have some left-over money that I may save… or I may use it for “free-time-funds” aka buying games. Will have to see.

I hope you’re enjoying the Christmas holidays! Take a breather and relax for a bit. Enjoy your time. 2020’s end is nigh, so it’s time to hope that 2021 is gonna be better. Have some nice time off and some have a great start into the new one!

What purchases are you going to make if any at all? Have you considered games and not gone for them? Has a sale ever changed your mind of going for a game despite initially not having wanted to? Let me know!

Cheers!

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

I’m excited about Endless Dungeon

From time to time, I’ve mentioned in several blog posts how one of my absolute favourite games is Dungeon of the Endless by AMPLITUDE Studios. It has a nice gameplay loop of exploring, defending, and eventually bailing out with the Crystal, on top of having a phenomenal soundtrack, adorable pixel art, and a nice difficulty curve. 

On December 11th, however, I found an announcement in my Steam client on the Dungeon of the Endless tab! AMPLITUDE Studios announced their new title, Endless Dungeon, and with it a whole new trailer.

Endless Dungeon is set in the Endless universe, similar to all of Amplitude’s games, and will feature similar gameplay to Dungeon of the Endless. As its spiritual successor, Endless Dungeon will be a mix of Tower Defense systems and Roguelike-Action but more polished and more refined. A whole new art style will give it more vibrant and spacey vibes.

Overall, I’m more than excited or hyped about this new game. I loved the old game to bits and am really looking forward to the same old game but in an isometric perspective, with updated character models, new characters, new items and monsters, as well as a plethora of potential new gameplay systems.

Bunker!

Another great title that I count towards my favourites was Risk of Rain which got a successor in a new perspective as well last year: Risk of Rain 2. I love it when franchises take a new direction with their games and explore new dimensions, sometimes literally. 

I just hope that Endless Dungeon will be as punishing as the first game and that it features an equally enigmatic and wonderfully crafted soundtrack, as well as some fun lore to see how it ties into the rest of the Endless universe.

The trailer itself looks a bit more action-packed but the announcement they posted clearly states that it’s turn-based “take a breather before opening another door only to get swarmed by monsters” goodness, much to my liking… because I loved that about Dungeon of the Endless in the first place. 

Alas, I’m super excited to write about it in the future and potentially even review the full game once it releases. I’m already hyped about the music potentially taking a new direction. I really hope that the Beastmaster is in that game, too, as it’s by far my favourite character in the first game. Apart from that, I hope that characters from other games make it into Endless Dungeon as well, since I loved seeing the Team Fortress 2 characters come to live and interact with other characters from a different universe… all inside of an elevator. 

As far as characters go, there are a total of twelve planned for release with three already having been made public: Zed, Shroom, and Bunker. For Bunker, there is currently a vote going on over at the game’s website for an exclusive skin coming out on release (please vote for Braverheart, thank you). The characters so far look quite interesting with Bunker having some sort of Shielding-ability and Shroom being a special character working around research and using plants for combat, while Zed has some engineering capabilities. The weapon classes for these aren’t shown yet but Bunker and Shroom look like they’re using pistols/guns while Zed could potentially use some of the bigger guns. I wonder if they’ll change the weapon system or if it’s still going to be fixed weapons for your characters with a unique skill-system for all of the characters.

An improvement that I would like to see would be different build-paths for the characters with things you could specialise in or enhancements to make before the run, akin to how Hades is handling things. In a similar way, research and the skills/levels could be handled in a skill-tree fashion, potentially, which could look quite nice. Either way, I’m already loving the bits and pieces of lore that can be found on the website and the foreshadowing towards NPCs found in the Saloon of the station that you’re trapped on that could provide you more of a story than the first game.

You can wishlist and follow Endless™ Dungeon over here and if you wanna, check out Dungeon of the Endless™ as well… and let’s play some time together! 🙂 The game will be out on PC, the Switch, the PS4, the PS5, the Xbox One, and the Xbox Series X/S and I hope there are new news available soon.

Cheers!

Looking forward to Call of Myth

There is just something about H.P. Lovecraft’s universe and stories that one could describe as “out of this world”. The way Lovecraft manages to cast a spell on you and get you to devour his stories sentence after sentence, word after word, is truly enigmatic. Not to mention that the topics of his stories and the genre of Cosmic Horror generally offer a lot of creative freedom when it comes to other sorts of media like video games, movies, stories, books, etc.

Today I wanted to write about Call of Myth, an upcoming CCG with some rather interesting mechanics that you need to try out for sure. Just like in other CCG, your cards feature traits, effects, and stats. The attack stat determines the amount of damage your card deals to the target enemy while the health stat determines how much damage your ally can take. Apart from that, CoM introduces a sanity-stat that works around the Madness-effect that your deck has.

Developer: Kadath studio
Publisher: Kadath studio
Genre: Lovecraftian, CCG, Strategy, Card Game, Free-to-Play
Release Date: Soon! - Demo: December 15th, 2020
Played on: PC
Available on: PC, Android, iOs
Copy was sent by the developers.

When your creature dies, your terror increases, resulting in creatures with a sanity stat equal or below the terror stat to go mad. There are a few different statuses that madness can inflict, like Depression, for instance, which increases a random card’s cost in your hand by one per proc. Other madness statues include Masochism which deals damage to target creature equal to its attack, Despair which reduces the creature’s strength by half and Mania which reduces the cost of a random card in the opponent’s hand by two!

This Sanity/Terror/Madness mechanic is really interesting as it changes how you play the game. Hastur, one of the leaders, can make an enemy lose all of its sanity to activate your madness. Other cards destroy insane creatures, steal them or have other interesting mechanics among them.

On top of that, the game plays in two lanes, making positioning rather important. You can only place melee characters in the front row and gunslingers in the back, although there are also a lot of flexible characters that can be placed anywhere. Gunslingers can attack without getting attacked back while Non-Euclidean characters can ignore the Melee row to attack the enemy leader. There are a lot of possibilities with this game design and I really like a lot of its mechanics. Pair those with the items, spells, events, and other cards, and you’ve got a fantastic CCG that rivals in my opinion other more established CCGs without any issues.

Apart from that, there are also plenty of leaders with their own abilities and features. C’thulhu has regeneration when your health is at ten or below while Yog-Sototh’s events cost one energy less.

Every turn your maximum energy pool is increased by one whereas your Research-ability (draw a card) increases its cost with each usage by one, up to a maximum of twelve energy.

I feel like a lot of the mechanics in the game are rather solid and this could become a nice alternative to other CCGs for players looking for a more complex design that offers a lot of creative freedom when it comes to deck-customization.

Apart from that, the art style of the cards and the background is just awesome and fits the whole setting. A lot of the cards have interesting names and mechanics to them that fit the theme as well and while I would love to see some QoL-features akin to ones in other CCGs as well in this one, I’m sure that the full game will receive a plethora of patches or maybe even include those once it’s fully developed and out.

From what I’ve gathered, the game is still in development but you’re able to play a demo, starting tomorrow (December 15th, 2020). The full game will be free-to-play and feature an in-game-store where you’re able to get cosmetic items as well as card packs, akin to other games. Despite that, there are also plenty of ways to gain cards and items through daily missions and free currencies, although I won’t know how fast you progress until the full game is out.

Either way, I’m looking forward to this title a lot and can’t wait to play with some of my friends who’ve been getting bored with Hearthstone and Legends of Runeterra. You can wishlist Call of Myth over here on Steam.

Cheers!