Sekiro is a ton of fun!

It’s been a while but I started playing Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and have really been enjoying it. I think there are a lot of reasons as to why I’ve enjoyed it so much so far… Hence, I’d like to talk about that today. So, I haven’t played a lot of Sekiro yet and I doubt that I’m anywhere near the end of it but I already got through my fair share of boss encounters! I’m currently 15 hours into the game and defeated the Horse Guy and Lady Butterfly already… I passed the Snake and did fight a fair few minor bosses… meanwhile I’m currently stuck at Mr Bowguy… and when I say “I’m stuck” I mean that I stopped playing since I’m frustrating and since I’m not good enough at this game.

Sekiro is a challenging souls-like Action-Adventure by From Software. In Sekiro, you follow a Shinobi known as the “Wolf” on his mission to take revenge on a clan of Samurai that attacked him and kidnapped his lord. After escaping death once, you’re given a second chance with a shinobi-tool arm-prosthetic that allows you to do new things… and all in all, it’s an interesting story that offers you a lot of challenge and lots of areas to explore. I personally really enjoyed it so far for a plethora of reasons:

Gyoubu Oniwa, a man on a horse wielding a naginata, is storming towards "the wolf" aka Sekiro's protagonist.
GYOUBU ONIWA! MY FAVOURITE BOSS SO FAR!

For starters, it’s very hard and frustrating but in a good way. Sekiro doesn’t feature stats or a stamina bar like in Dark Souls. Gear isn’t a thing and items don’t matter as much. It’s all about skill and mastery. Your enemy is your goal and to beat him is your mission. There are a bunch of attacks you can utilize from heavy and swift blows to special attacks you learn via the skill tree but overall, you mostly need to master the parry and the dodge skill in order to damage the enemy’s posture and bring them down in one fell swoop. As the wolf, you’re given a second chance after your first death, so don’t give up easily and fight on.

I personally found this very enjoyable. I never felt like an enemy was unfair. I never felt like the game was being unnecessarily hard on me. Instead, I’d rather have to learn patterns and tread carefully. Posture is important, something that is quite accurate in Iaido, the way of the sword. Alas, I enjoyed Sekiro’s combat and the way that From Software shaped the combat around “Samurai-culture”. From the design of all the characters and enemies to the stances and poses they take and even the sound design in the menu, the game feels rather polished and cohesive. There are instances of mythical creatures and ominous elements in the story that didn’t seem realistic, but Sekiro never claimed to follow a true story or anything like that. My point is that it combines real elements and values of Iaido and Iodo with mystical and magical elements and creatures and it… feels good. It works well. I, as a geek on that topic, can’t complain. I doubt anyone else really cares. The bamboo sounds in the menu, the stances that characters take in combat, and the different schools of sword fighting… Even if it’s only inspired by things that I loosely remember at this point and even if it’s not supposed to be “realistic”, it feels kind of authentic in a way, which is nice.

Anyways, I love Sekiro. And I’m currently stuck in this fight with General Bow-Guy (not his actual name). I get very close to the end but ultimately fail because I’m not good enough at the game yet. It’s not a matter of the fight being too hard… it’s a matter of me not being good enough and no matter how much I try, it never feels too bad really to fail because you have a chance! You immediately know what you’ve done wrong. That’s something that I love in this game.

Sekiro's protagonist aka the wolf is standing alone in a hall that is caving in and burning right now.

In Dark Souls 3, on the other hand, there are points where you can decide to grind to make the game easier for yourself… You need souls to advance your level and your stats. With stats, you’ll be able to dodge more as you have more stamina or to deal more damage due to your dexterity or strength going up. It’s nice and works well for an RPG but Sekiro is not that. Sekiro doesn’t need that. Instead of grinding for a certain weapon or for the next level up, you’re only relying on one thing and one thing alone: Your Skill.

Sekiro’s philosophy could be summarised using the words “If you suck, just get better”. It’s not about grinding the same area for ages but rather it’s about making the best out of the weapons that the game gives to you and mastering them. It’s about skill and mastery over grind and frustration. It’s about reflecting on your mistakes and instead of cursing the game… okay, you can add a bit of salt into the mix, too, which is understandable. Everyone gets frustrated at times, but what counts is that you have fun and for me, the fun comes with getting better and getting that super clutch kill all of a sudden after you lost your lives already in Phase 1 against Lady Butterfly and still managed to kill her not once but twice thanks to an incredible amount of luck and thanks to some form of transcendence that you’ll most likely never achieve again. Oh gosh, I hated that fight in so many ways!

Sekiro can be frustrating but it doesn’t have to be. If you die a lot, just don’t get hit. If you suck at the game, get better at it. If you don’t want to get killed, just kill the enemy before they have a chance to kill you. And I personally just love that about it. You can’t really avoid fighting. You’ll fight those bosses and you’ll murder them unless they’re optional. It’s fun. It’s hard. It’s rewarding.

General Bow-Guy asking Sekiro's protagonist how "grandfather" is.
There he is… General Bowguy!

Sekiro’s most frustrating moments made the victories, however small they were were, a lot sweeter, which is a nice thing that I enjoyed about it. I’m looking forward to getting gud again. I’m looking forward to beating General Bow-Guy in Sekiro.

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.

Late to the Party #9 – Yakuza 0

For quite a while now, I’ve been hearing great things about the Yakuza series. I mean, thanks to Humble Monthly and Choice, I own Yakuza 0, Kiwami and Kiwami 2 already, so it was only a matter of time until I’d play one of the games and despite me being late to the party here, I was quite overjoyed with having played and beaten Yakuza 0!

Note: This is not a review… It may look like one… but it’s not… I just played through the game and made a post about it… Enjoy the post! Also remember to hydrate properly because Kiryu and Majima make me thirsty!

Kiryu may be scary sometimes but he ain’t a killer!

So, so,… where do I start? Uh, we play as two characters in the game. Kazuma Kiryu who’s a young yakuza in his 20s and who’s part of the Dojima Family gets framed for a murder he didn’t commit (because he canonically never officially killed anyone) and that’s quite bad for the Family since yakuza don’t kill civilians. Since Kiryu has been taken in by Kazuma, Kazuma is supposed to be held accountable for Kiryu’s murder, which is why Kiryu’s trying to leave the family and to find the actual culprit. This whole thing, however, is part of something much bigger because of the empty piece of land that the murder was committed on. Meanwhile, we also play as Goro Majima, an ex-yakuza that runs a cabaret in Sotenbori to pay off a debt and to get back into the yakuza. There are a lot of circumstances going on but eventually, his story gets intertwined into Kiryu’s and it all becomes a bit of a mess that can be a bit overwhelming and confusing… but in a good way. I won’t spoil anything but I loved it and loved seeing the parallels between the characters’ ideals and playstyles. Similarly, I had to pause the game now and then to think about what the implications and revelations meant for the story and why things were turning out the way they were turning out. There are a lot of parties involved, a lot of characters get introduced, and a lot of things happen, resulting in a brilliant story that ends up getting resolved with basically no plot holes left. I enjoyed it.

Kiryu is such a cutie. I love it!

At its core, though, Yakuza 0 is an Open World Action game where you fight off enemies using three different fighting styles (per character) and a plethora of weapons and techniques. It’s fun, it’s entertaining and kind of challenging, at first. For my playthrough, I played on the Hard difficulty and struggled quite a bit against the first boss, Kuze, but after that, the game turned out to be rather easy… which may be due to the upgrades I got. I ended up abusing the food system that lets you heal even during combat and ended up investing all of my money into my own body to unlock new abilities, more health, and stronger attacks. The damage you receive in fights can be healed using food from your inventory or by visiting eateries outside of combat. There are also a lot of side-quests and activities around town to get you sidetracked and make you lose your time. You know that amazing story I mentioned? Yeah, I delayed by an hour to play Shogi instead, after learning in the game how to play shogi… and then I delayed for another two hours after finding out about Karaoke and Pocket Circuit, the local racing game.

GOOOOOROOOOO MAJIMAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

The substories are the best part of the game, though. These sidequests are hilarious and ridiculous and it suits the game a lot. The rewards may not be worth it at first… but eventually, when you progress through the game, a lot of the side characters return to help you out, which is quite nice. And the ridiculous stories fit quite well into the game because of the fun little conversation choices and the over-the-top-combat. The story may be serious but when I can ram a bike into someone’s head and they still survive that, I can’t take a game that seriously… I mean… Again, the story is brilliant,… but at the beginning, I didn’t think that the main plot would be so good, judging from the amusing combat experience. Eventually, I ended up rushing through the game as I wanted to finish it before NieR Replicant comes out, so I ended up not doing too many sidequests for a while and didn’t regret that actually, at all. I even cried for a bit during one of the scenes.

It burns… a lot…. it pains me in my kokoro to be called out like that.

You may notice that I’m a bit all over the place right now but I still can’t believe that I’m done with Yakuza 0 already… and I’m a bit bummed out about it but there are still 34 achievements for me to collect and I really wanna clear them all… or at least most of them! Apart from that, the game’s somewhat old… I mean, it’s from 2015 as far as I know… but it still aged well! Don’t look at the water and you’ll be fine, though. The rest of the world is super pretty and the characters look and sound amazing. The Japanese dub is great and I loved listening to the fun soundtrack, too. It certainly aged well for a game that is six years old – I’ve seen newer games that looked a lot worse!

The future is NOW! (The game plays in the 1980s btw)

Now apart from that, there are a few things I don’t like. For starters, food is overpowered. Once you stock up on Sushi Sets you are nearly invincible. The combat felt great at the start but eventually, I noticed, that on Hard Difficulty the fights just turn into a button-mashing contest. Two styles aren’t that good in my opinion while the other two are overwhelmingly good, so there’s a balancing issue. The “Breaker” Style that you unlock later on, for instance, lets you deal with a ton of enemies at the same but it’s also great in One-on-One situations. I won’t spoil the other ones but I noticed that eventually I was quite strong and I frankly didn’t have a hard time at all. Fights were just me getting the heat gauge up and then smashing the enemies with motorcycles and stuff. Until the final chapter, combat felt somewhat easy, to be honest, so again, balance. I would have enjoyed a more even difficulty curve that would steadily make things harder, either by equipping guns onto them and other stronger weaponry or by buffing their damage more. There is also this one guy that you defeat a bunch of times and he just doubles up on health but doesn’t get stronger, in my opinion, making him a bad boss fight in a way…

Gotta beat up the imposter!

So, I’d love to talk about characters that get introduced more but that’d be a spoiler… the story then? Oh, right, that’d be a spoiler… The minigames? Well, one of them can get you banned on Twitch, but the rest are fine. Also technically spoilers. I’d recommend Yakuza 0 to anyone and everyone. It’s a great game and after 42.7 hours in it, I don’t think I’ll be done with the game just yet. There is still so much to do! I want to be good at most of the minigames and be friends with all the NPCs and fight Mr Shakedown until there is none left… and then there’s the different fighting styles I need to improve, all the food I need to taste, and just so much more. Great game! Looking forward to Yakuza Kiwami!

What are your opinions on the Yakuza series or Yakuza 0 in particular? Have you played it yet? Do you plan to? 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.

Late to the Party #8 – For Honor

I’m not sure when but at some point in time, I actually got a free copy of For Honor on my account. I think Steam was just giving it away in 2018 or something… and then again in 2019… and again last year… So, I basically grabbed it for free a few years ago and then I just never played it and didn’t even bother looking at it. For whatever reason, I just figured that “freebies are nice” and that “For Honor is probably just another shooter”, so I basically didn’t really care about it… That was until Chris, a lovely streamer from the Stream Team that I’m a part of, streamed it and actually explained to me what it was about… so… now, I’m actually kind of enjoying it a lot. Alas, welcome to another post on a game that everyone but me has tried already. I’m sorry but it seems that I am Late to the Party.

Notice: This is not a review. These are my first impressions… sometimes also my second impressions. I tend to rant about games in ways that I wouldn’t rant about games I’m reviewing… I tend to praise games in ways that I wouldn’t praise them usually… Similarly, I compare games or cover non-Indie titles that I usually wouldn’t cover… Hence, these are no review posts. Just FYI. Move on.

“1v1 me bruh” – I won by spamming poison spears!

For Honor plays in an alternative timeline where Samurai, Knights and Vikings fight against each other… constantly… for territory and *For Honor*, I guess? There is a story of sorts but nobody really cares about that, as far as I know. It’s funny to see that not even Steam’s store page tells me anything about the story. You basically play as one of the three factions, deploy units on battlefields and play in a bunch of different modes from Dominion to Breach to Skirmish. But even if you belong to the Samurai faction (like I do!), you can still play Knights and Vikings and whatnot. It’s quite cool. Winning battles rewards you with different bonuses like experience for your battle pass, for your character and steel (which is the in-game currency that you need to purchase new heroes). Your character/hero can be customised once you buy them and you can level them up to unlock different skill variants to customise your playstyle. It’s an interesting concept, for sure, especially as you get to influence the battlefield with your victories and as you get to deploy units that you get from playing a lot in order to conquer a territory.

The season goes on for ages and within the season there are a lot of different campaigns and challenges and bounties to fulfil. I like this Real-Time-Battle-system a lot and really dig the whole idea behind it. As you complete matches, you end up conquering lands or battling it out with other factions and when your faction wins at the end of the season, you leave your mark in the world, as well. 

Between matches I can pretend to be a master strategist that is deploying units to these battlefields… noice.

Combat itself also has a rather high skill-ceiling. Enemies can strike to your left, right and top, so you’ll have to block accordingly and use feints or repeated attacks to trick your enemies into blocking the wrong way. Similarly, you can dodge attacks and cause the enemy’s stamina to deplete. There are also throws and a bunch of combos, specific to each hero, resulting in a rather in-depth melee-focused combat-system. But more important than the micro is obviously the macro in most games. You can be a mechanical god but it won’t help you unless you’re doing a 1v1-Deathmatch against other enemies. Most players seem to play Dominion, which is why you’ll need to keep an eye on the different points that you need to control as well as where the enemies are heading to, where your allies are, and all of that. Having a 4v4 mode like that is quite fun. There are also other modes like Capture the Flag and whatnot… but the activity in those modes is super low and I don’t have unlimited time to waste waiting on a match over there. If it’s not going to find a match in five minutes, I feel like I’m being cheated out of my time… y’know? Also, there has to be a reason that nobody plays those modes.

Now, while combat can be quite fun… I noticed that some heroes aren’t that fun to play against. For starters, I love playing Nobushi who’s an agile Samurai wielding a Naginata (which is basically a long spear… with a sword on top of it… and that btw really exists). Naginatas are annoying IRL… In For Honor, Nubushi also uses poison attacks, so, you just spam those attacks and win by default unless people know how to counter it… which… often doesn’t work because of latency. It’s annoying, to say the least. Similarly, despite being called “For Honor”, nobody honours the duel between two warriors and because of that, the most effective strategy seems to be that you group up as four people and steamroll over the enemies, especially in spots where you can easily gang up on them from behind without any issues. It’s annoying. It’s frustrating. There isn’t really a whole lot to do against it unless Ubisoft does something against it… it feels kind of as if Ubisoft is encouraging it, though, since there is no penalty for fighting together as four against one… and there is no penalty for killing the same people over and over again at their spawn…

Hooray, I’m stomping people!

And while the different bounties and game modes are quite interesting, I kind of feel like I’m burning out already from it. It’s a multiplayer game, so maybe it will be more fun once I get some friends to play it with me (on that note… add me if you wanna play?) but as it is right now, I just get frustrated because of AFKs in my team and people grouping up as four together against one single person… and that kind of stuff is just depressing. Unless of course, I get to play Nobushi because… then I can at least spam poison attack at the enemies to counter-frustrate them. 🙂 

Just kidding.

But personally speaking, I’d rather have a game where I can enjoy myself and where the enemies also have fun… than a game where every round is either a stomp by your team or a stomp by the enemy team. Sadly, that’s the case here. It’s either win or lose. It’s usually decided at the beginning of the game. It’s never really close or anything like that and you hardly ever see a comeback, which is something I’d really like in this sort of game. Instead of actual comeback mechanics, For Honor introduces “Breaking” which is something that prevents you from respawning when you’re getting stomped in games. It’s basically a mechanic that makes frustrating games more frustrating…

Oh well,… I’ll play it for a while and drop it again. At least I get to play as a Samurai here… that’s quite rad, y’know? Another game off the list.

Cheers!

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

Indietail – Really Big Sky

When I created my Steam Account in 2014, I spent a lot of time playing a game called Really Big Sky. It came out in 2012 and since I was really into Indie Games at the time, I spent a lot of time with this game in particular. I only have fond memories of this title, hence today’s question is whether Really Big Sky is just benefitting from the Really Big Nostalgia or if it’s actually a Really Great Game! We’ll see!

Developer: Boss Baddie
Publisher: Ripstone
Genre: Shoot 'Em Up, Space, Bullet Hell, Action, Arcade, Indie
Release Date: February 24th, 2012
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Copy was purchased.

The premise is simple. Just like in other Shoot ‘Em Ups and Bullet Hell games, you’re aiming for the high score and nothing but the high score. Try to survive as you’re flying through space debris, planets and gas giants and basically upgrade your ship to the max while you face off against alien invaders.

I mean, it’s really just that. There are a lot of different variables to the game, though, like different boss fights and special events that include black holes, wormholes, and other things. The game is hard as it tests your reflexes and your decision-making. You’ll have to dodge bullets, enemies, asteroids, lasers, and other projectiles. It’s quite literally bullet hell, which is fantastic. There are powerups in the game as well as space bits that you collect to upgrade your ship. Upgrades include random shoots at various angles as well as shield, speed and weapon upgrades. It adds a little bit of extra fairness to the game as you can upgrade your ship more and more throughout runs if you need to… but you can also make it harder for yourself by playing without that. Similarly, different game modes disable these features or play around with other aspects of the game like unlimited lives and a timer to get as many points as possible… I used to love to do the boss rush mode and challenge myself to get better and further into the game…

And the environments that you see are unpredictable and nearly random. Every run is procedurally generated from the way you play the game, meaning that everything changes based on your playstyle and how you do. If you’re getting better at the game, the game will get harder as well. Similarly, there will be fewer enemies and projectiles early on if you’re still not that good at the game. Really Big Sky analyses your movements and adjusts the game as you move on, giving you a rather interesting experience. As I moved on and on and got further into my runs, the game adapted and it got a lot better, going from an easier to difficulty to a much harder and more challenging experience within minutes. Once I started to lose more runs, it started to adapt slowly and change back, which is quite nice. On top of that, you can check out your data yourself after every run and compare your last run to the ones before that. It’s super detailed and there is probably more data in there than you’ll ever need but it’s quite motivating to see small improvements along with your playthrough and it kind of makes you want to strive forward and reach new highs!

The boss fights and special events are a lot of fun actually. One of them is a huge ball inspired by the death star and you’ll have to activate your drill to get inside and shoot the core… meanwhile, there is a different one that is literally too big to fit on the screen while another fills the screen with bullets making it harder to decide whether or not you want to aim at him or rather watch your step and dodge stuff right now. It’s interesting and dynamic. It feels satisfying to battle against these foes and eventually bring them down… and every run feels unique with the different events and the changes in the environment.

Those environments are generally bright and full of life and colour. There are a lot of different filters and particle effects that work really well with the space-theme within the game and its levels. The issue is that the constant flashing and some other issues with the rapid changes between filters and colours could cause issues for people that are sensitive to flashing lights. This is bad. There aren’t even any settings for it. You can turn down the quality of everything which kind of has an effect on the brightness of these effects, but overall, I’d just recommend not to play this game if you can’t deal with flashing lights. Even for people that aren’t photosensitive, this can be problematic since it sometimes is a bit hard to see where you are on the screen or what is actually damaging you right now. Clarity is important in games, in my opinion, and in that regard, this game certainly is lacking. I’d like it if your space ship would always be in the foreground so that you can basically always see it and detect danger. With the fog and the clouds and all of the other filters in the game, it can get very hard to dodge everything, which can get annoying or even frustrating.

At the same time, the game seems to have some issues with the menus and the resolution. If you play in 720p/fullscreen, you should be fine, but the game tends to struggle in 1080p a lot, even if that’s your normal resolution. Despite that, however, I’ve really liked the game and I enjoyed playing it again. I last played it in 2015 and really liked it back then, and well, even in 2021, I really am enjoying it. It’s a great game to play on and off… Part of the enjoyment comes from the amazing soundtrack. It’s a bummer that it has all those flashing lights with nothing really to do against it but other than that, Really Big Sky is a Really Nice Game to pick up if you’re searching for a quick and challenging fast-paced bullet hell game!

Cheers!

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

Indietail – Curse of the Dead Gods

You seek untold riches, eternal life, divine powers and in your attempt to satisfy your greed, you step into an accursed temple only to be trapped in a seemingly infinite labyrinth of bottomless pits, deadly traps, and various monsters. Today we’re taking a look at Curse of the Dead Gods, an isometric rogue-lite game that I’ve been eyeing for quite a while now. On February 23rd, it left Early Access which is why I figured that it was time for a review. Enjoy!

Developer: Passtech Games
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Genre: Action, Roguelite, Isometric, Dark Fantasy, Challenging
Release Date: February 23rd, 2021
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC, Switch, XB1, PS4
Copy was purchased.

Curse of the Dead Gods doesn’t offer you much when it comes to lore. You’re trapped in this temple and you want to get out. Your only way out is the temple itself that is filled to the brim with riches for you to collect and challenges for you to overcome. One misstep, however, can cost you your life and bring you all the way back to the starting point. Death isn’t the end. It’s just the beginning. So, your job is to do your best in these different temples and become stronger by using a variety of resources to unlock new weapons, features and skills for your next runs. The premise is simple, the game itself, however, is quite challenging.

While you start off with 1000 hitpoints, which is a lot compared to other games in the genre, enemies are many and most of them are vicious. Fight your way through waves in each room, dodge traps and utilize your environment in order to survive. As you move through the temple and conquer rooms, you build up corruption. Once corruption reaches 100, you’ll reset the corruption meter and obtain a curse in the next room. Curses are a bit of a double-edged sword. The fifth curse you obtain is the deadliest as it reduces your health every second… the other curses, however, can actually benefit you even when they’re designed to make the game harder for you. I personally really liked this system, especially as it gives incentive to avoiding damage, collecting gold or offering items to the gods to prevent corruption. Once you beat one of the bosses, you’ll be able to collect a weapon, remove a curse and get some riches. Overall, really fun mechanics!

Combat itself can be a bit overwhelming with projectiles flying at you while you’re dodging traps and lighting braziers, etc. You have a torch that illuminates the area and can light things on fire, which is important as you take more damage in the darkness. Meanwhile, you also have a combination of two single-handed weapons that you can use to chain attacks together and finish off enemies. During any time of your combos, you can weave in attacks from your main or secondary weapon, allowing for some rather satisfying moments and a nice skill-ceiling. Performing finishers and killing things quickly, awards you with so-called “greed kills” and more gold. While, obviously, riskier it’s also more rewarding to go for those as you need gold later on down the line. And then there’s also heavy/two-handed weapons that require stamina upon usage but hit rather hard. While Stamina recovers rather fast, it’s a bit tricky to not get hit for a while and know when you’re able to take a quick break in order to regain it.

Curse of the Dead Gods provides you with a map of sorts that enables you to choose your own path through the temples in a Slay The Spire like fashion. There are special rooms and guaranteed rewards at the end of them, allowing you to choose your own adventure, in a way. Do you want to go for more gold or maybe a new weapon? Do you want more relics to enhance your build or would you rather like to get a weapon upgrade instead? The choice is yours, which feels amazing and adds a bit of a strategic layer to the game.

Your build, your choices, your relics, your weapons – everything can be customised to your needs if you find the right items. Relics can be switched out for new effects and better properties that work better with your choice of weapon. At times, I had very bad runs but opted in for the two-handed hammer I was wielding, specialising into relics and stats that worked well with it… and I actually really liked the feel of it, despite me enjoying swift attacks more than heavy hitters.

The magic of Curse of the Dead Gods is that you can turn every run around. You get a bad run with weapons you don’t like that much? You can still win it and end up creating an amazing synergy of sorts that you wouldn’t have expected in the first place or you switch it up later through weapon or relic drops from enemies. I feel like there’s less RNG involved in Curse of the Dead Gods compared to other games. You know what bosses you’ll face and it’s mostly based on your skill.

While the gameplay-side of things is great and all, I would have loved to see at least a bit of lore. Maybe it’ll get added later on down the line, but honestly, I doubt it. The game is very stylised and the music sounds amazing. The temples have at times areas that feel very mystical and mesmerising to the point where I would have loved to read more about the world than just the Bestiary… so that’s a bit of a bummer…

But overall, it’s really enjoyable. It’s fun to get into, has a high skill-ceiling and can provide a lot of enjoyment for bursts of play sessions… I guess another concern for me would be that there isn’t really an end-game since you don’t have a story apart from wanting to get out. You do have challenges and a hard mode in the game as well as a bunch of achievements, unlockables, and even event dungeons and mixed temples… but the end-game may just very much be about challenging yourself rather than beating a story or something, which may be a downside for some people.

Anyways, I personally enjoyed Curse of the Dead Gods a lot. I could recommend this to anyone who’s looking for a bit of fun and a bit of a challenge. Fans of games like Hades or Dead Cells will probably enjoy combat a lot in this game… but the lack of a story can be a bit of a turn-off for a lot of people, so don’t expect any of that.

Cheers!

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

Late to the Party #6 – Assassin’s Creed 2

It’s been a month since I last posted an LttP post and so, today I’m covering Assassin’s Creed 2 – a game I just finished today on stream. FINALLY. Today, I’m going to cover my thoughts on AC2, the improvements over the first title, what I liked a lot and what I didn’t like.

Note: This is not a review. Hence, there will be spoilers. If you mind spoilers from a game that is twelve years old then… this post may not be for you. Also… the featured image for this is a fanart I did before I played it… I hope you like it.

So, Assassin’s Creed 2 picks off where the first game left off. We’re Desmond Miles in the present day who’s now escaping Abstergo and entering the Animus again, now by choice, to train to become an assassin through the memories of Renaissance Italy’s Ezio Auditore da Firenze. The graphics are more polished already and being in Renaissance Italy adds a lot of much-needed colour to the world with pretty structures and architecture in the world, lots of different colours and amazing weapon types. The world looks better and while the Animus-stuff is still in the game, we get booted out of the past only about three times during the whole game, including the end, which is why you have more than enough time to explore the world and not get bothered by this weird Animus-storyline that nobody cares about. I’ve heard that the later games drop it completely, which is great… because really, nobody cares about that.

Ezio Auditore wasn’t always an assassin. In fact, we know how to fight… kind of… and how to free-run… but the game tells the story of our family, the Auditore family, helping out the Medici familia to uncover the truth of a plot against the state… but we get betrayed and our little brother, our big brother and our father get hanged publicly for conspiring against the state. Driven by revenge, Ezio’s now hunting down the conspirators and putting a lot of different names on a death list. As time goes on, we get trained in the ways of the Assassin’s since our family belonged to the Creed, known from the first game. It might be a bit overwhelming at first but the storyline is already a lot better than the first game. We get to murder different historical characters and the fact that we get to meet people like Leonardo da Vinci and Niccolo Machiavelli in person and work together with them is amazing. On top of that, the game also ties in other historic characters like Dante Alighieri into the storyline and even mentions Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad, known from the first game. Amazing!

The little conversations between the characters are full of historic/political references which were nice. At the same time, the game allows itself to crack a joke here and there. I still can’t get over the fact that Ezio’s uncle introduced himself with “It’s-a meeee, Mario!” – It cracked me up.

The gameplay itself saw a lot of improvement as well. You don’t have the annoying content gating anymore. You can do sidequests whenever you want to and explore at your own leisure. Now and then, areas are still not available because they are from later story-lines and get unlocked later, which kind of sucks, but you can explore as much as you want to or just rush through the story within hours. The choice is yours. You don’t have to do side quests anymore, unlike the first game where you were forced to do three or more side quests to proceed with the story. It was annoying but Assassin’s Creed 2 shows that it’s a thing of the past and you’re not forced to do that… so you can do it whenever you feel like it, which I really enjoyed. Side Quests are great if you aren’t forced to do them. I’ll talk more about that later. Exploration doesn’t consist of 1000 banners or something like that to collect but rather is about feathers… that have some meaning, I guess… and you have statues and treasures as well as viewpoints. As you move around and explore, you’ll amass a lot of money… which can then be invested into new gear, weapons, tools and upgrades for the Villa. Upgrading the villa and adding new buildings, brings in more people and makes it come to life and makes it so that you earn money.

Earning money, investing it into the Villa’s/City’s value, and then making more money is amazing. It feels good and adds another layer to the game… it’s almost strategic in a way and you benefit from it through a steady income that can be invested into better gear over time. 

Now, exploration is cool and still features jumping puzzles and free-running. It’s a lot faster than in the first game, though, which makes it somewhat worthwhile. On top of that, there’s now Assassin’s Tombs and Templar’s Lairs in the game that you have to raid. These involve jumping puzzles that you need to complete in order to obtain treasures and seals. You need six seals for Altair’s armour… which is the best armour in the game, really, so it’s worthwhile. 

This actually looks pretty! AC2 aged well!

But from good changes and nice things to bad things: The game just drags on and on. While at first refreshing, the new missions feel boring eventually. There are races, beat-up missions, and assassination contracts among other missions and it overall feels like the same thing over and over again. Chuck in some Escort missions here and there or some slow missions where some NPC is telling you a story and you need to walk very slowly next to them. Instead of creating a cutscene for it, Ubisoft decided to go for these small missions that kind of slow down the pace and reduce the momentum momentarily, which is a bit annoying, to say the least. I didn’t like that personally speaking and would have loved it if they had just gone for cutscenes in those case or if we had to do parkour somewhere while Shaun is telling us the information or something. This trend continues into areas like combat with the combat mechanics at first feeling refreshing with a lot of different weapons and new animations as well as a lot of new systems and skills… but eventually, it just turns into a button-mashing contest where you spam X until people die. Especially with swift weapons like swords and daggers, it becomes a bit too easy, as you just attack the enemy over and over and over again until they die eventually. Even if they block most of your attacks or counter them, you can still counter their counter and continue attacking them, often stun-locking them into walls, until they die. Combat has plenty of mechanics like taunting, disarming, throwing, dodging, countering, etc. but it just feels like a button-mashing contest with some mechanics in it for the sake of style points. You can either dodge and attack three times… or you attack three times… it doesn’t make a difference, especially with how frequently you can heal yourself or purchase more healings.

At the same time, the game eventually has this plotline where everyone is an assassin apparently and we get initiated into the creed and end up chasing after the Pope who’s our last target… and to do so… there’s this siege at a fortress and a map we get and we have to save two children and kill nine lieutenants and it just is a bit of a mess. The first game? It was predictable. Oh no, our teacher and father-figure is going to betray us and be our last target? Who would have thought?! The second game… starts off strong and falls off after 20+ hours as you have no idea what’s going on anymore. The game suddenly introduces new enemies and you have to do these super tedious missions all of a sudden… and then… to unlock the final mission, you need to gather all 30 codex pages. Luckily, I got 28 already… but I had to backtrack for half an hour to find the last two so that I could beat the last two missions. The second-last mission was kind of fun… but that last one with the boss fight was just annoying. 

And well, the boss fight is… another mess that just could fill out a post on its own. Ezio has a piece of Eden and the Pope has one… and Ezio is the prophet and Pope Borgia is believing that he’s actually it, so they battle for the other piece of Eden to gain supreme power. The Pope suddenly has Yedi powers like Darth Vader and can fucking make us fly and stab us… but we still survive that with no issues at all for whatever reason… and all of a sudden we know how to utilize our piece of Eden and create four copies of ourselves that fight alongside us. When did we learn that? Never, we just had this Deus Ex Machina moment allowing us to pull that technique out of our arse. It’s not Ass Creed for nothing, right? Once we beat the Pope in a fist-fight during which he didn’t cheat for whatever reason, we enter the Vault… where Minerva… a Goddess… is revealing the truth and the prophecy to us. Minerva and the other Gods created us but they’re not gods… they’re aliens… or something like that. They were very advanced but got betrayed by the humans they created and lost because of the numbers advantage. And then Earth got fucked up by the sun or something… and that’s gonna happen again, so Minerva is speaking through Ezio to Desmond (yup) to warn him about the catastrophe that is yet to come and the templars that want to embrace it… and then the game ends.

Sadly there were no achievements on Steam available since I finished at least 75% of the content in the game after 30.3 hours in the game. I’m missing a few treasures, a lot of feathers and a few paintings but otherwise I should be done, collectible-wise. What frustrated me was the requirement of Ubisoft for me to start up the game on Steam… why? Idk…

So, I could also go into the sexism in the game and the at times janky controls but overall, I feel like it was an alright game. It was certainly A LOT better than Assassin’s Creed 1 but the story struggled later on and combat and the controls ended up disappointing me. However, I’m still looking forward to playing Brotherhood eventually once I get to that on stream.

Ass Creed 2 was alright. What are your thoughts on it? Did you play it? And if not, would you play it now? Let me know!

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.

Outriders – First Impressions

Honestly, I’m not sure what to think about Outriders. I’ve been playing it for the last four hours and while I’ve enjoyed the demo, it’s mostly that I’ve enjoyed the abilities.

For anyone that doesn’t know, there’s a demo available for Outriders right now that lets you play through the first chapter of the game. There are four classes and you can level up to Level 7 and unlock World Level 4. Everything transitions over to the full game if you end up pre-purchasing or buying it… 

Where do I start? Where do I start? Uh,… Earth is doomed and people hence travel to a distant planet. One of the ships blows up in space for whatever reason and down on the planet, there are these alien storms that are very lethal. For whatever reason, we don’t die by it but get altered instead… hence, we’re one of the “Altered”, on top of being one of the remaining Outriders (the military people that came with one of the ships). There is black goo that is infecting people, killer storms, and some mad scientist that commands the other ship that is still in space to come down despite us not being ready. God damn it! Alas, stuff happens and we get put into Cryo to be saved later… but we wake up 31 years later instead of the few days, weeks, months that were planned. Alas, once we arise from our slumber, we are involved in a war, we are left to die and then we end up helping our friends, including my favourite character so far: The charismatic and never-sober Jakub! 

Oh no…. a storm is coming!

Well, since we’re an Altered, we have up to three different skills that can be exchanged for different skills. The four classes play quite differently, although I haven’t played too much of the Trickster just yet (more of that tomorrow, hopefully). The Technomancer is an ice-based long-ranged support character that can drop turrets and other gadgets to help allies or fight their way alone through areas. The Pyromancer is a mid-range fire-mage, kind of… You can inflict a lot of elemental debuffs and damage and you have some crow control, so I’ve been enjoying this one a lot. The Trickster is a time-based short-range assassin that does a lot of damage and gets shielded on top of the healing (more on that later) when they kill stuff up-close. The Devastator is an earth-based tank that goes into short to medium range and heals from killing encounters up-close.

Now, every class heals in some way. The Pyromancer has spell-leech/spell-vamp and the Technomancer heals based on long-ranged damage dealt. I love playing mages and I love snipers, so I’m enjoying both of these classes a lot. There are also skill trees in the game as well as gear that changes your spell-attributes (similar to how exotics in Destiny have special attributes). Some weapons also may synergise quite well with builds, I’ve noticed. A sniper I got has a poison shot, for instance, which works quite well if I don’t one-shot a target with it while another weapon has bonus armour pen on the first shot after reloading… I’d imagine that other weapons deal bonus damage on burning targets or targets with ailments as that could work quite well with the Pyromancer for instance.

Selfie Time!

Either way, that’s been great and interesting, but overall it feels kind of… off? The gunplay is great with some of the weapons… but others feel lacklustre. In Destiny (and the comparison was inevitable) you’ve got weapons that feel like they hit their targets and like they’re packing a punch. The gunplay is funplay. Here… you’ve got snipers that just let out a quick “pew” before you have to aim again and it’s just not as satisfying. Not all weapons are like that… but a lot of them are.

In the same way, there are some mechanics in the game that feel kinda iffy like the missing jump-button and the whole guarding-mechanic that is very Gears of War ish. I both like and dislike the guarding mechanic. Sometimes it feels unnecessary or I forget that it’s a thing. I wanna jump over an obstacle and am suddenly guarding and clinging to the wall… feels weird. At the same time, it’s cool since I haven’t played many games with that sort of mechanic.

At last… the character creation… ugh… the male voice sucks btw… I like the female voice a lot more… but my biggest problem with the character selection is that the skin tones don’t work properly. Belghast has a nice comparison in his post showing some unintentional racism where skin tones aren’t the same for all heads… I wanted to create a super pale character because… I’m super pale and a lich and all of that… but all of the skin tones look brown-ish… which I didn’t feel that great about. Luckily, you can cover your head quite well with a helmet to brush over that fact. You also have presets for hairstyles, head shapes and beards… but I can’t customize the body or shapes or whatever. At the same time, I can select a beard as a man but not as a woman… and as a woman, I can have makeup… but not as a man? I don’t know. I like my makeup on male characters, so that would have been something I would have personally enjoyed. Generally, the character creation is also lacking a lot and I hope they add stuff to it, including actual functioning skin tones. I don’t have to be a pale vampire with red lipstick in every game… but you know… I don’t feel comfortable creating POC as a white person… maybe that’s just me but I feel like I could be labelled racist or something. 

Looking Dope!

Anyways, Outriders is fun but I’m not sure if I’ll play the full game unless it’s on sale or free or something… I mean, I wanna play a looter shooter again… maybe I’ll get into Borderlands again, who knows? But Outriders may not cut it for me at a price point of 60 bucks..

What are your thoughts on the demo? Let me know!

Cheers!

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

Indietail – Vigil: The Longest Night

We must stay vigilant for the night is long and full of terrors. Today we’re taking a look at Vigil: The Longest Night – a 2D action platformer with precise, technical combat and a strong narrative. The developers have taken inspiration from Salt and Sanctuary as well as Castlevania, resulting in a challenging game with Metroidvania-mechanics and a lot of endings.

Developer: Glass Heart Games
Publisher: Another Indie
Genre: Action, RPG, Metroidvania, Horror, 2D, Platformer
Release Date: October 14th, 2020
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC, PS4, XBOne, Switch
Copy was received from the publisher.

Step into the role of Leila who just absolved her Vigil training and returns to a town in fright. You thus have to attempt your best to save your hometown from the creeping evil that is infesting this world. You have a lot to do to help the people, including finding a missing girl or getting rid of some of the enemies. On top of that, you’ve got a vast world to navigate through between dream and reality, sanity and madness, all for the sake of uncovering the secret of the longest night and the monstrous entities invading your world.

Right from the get-go, you’re thrown into action as you encounter a mysterious rat-like monster that is threatening your life. Dodge attacks, strike at the right times and figure out the enemy attack patterns! Once you’ve struck it down, you’ll stumble across your hometown, Maye, where the guards inform you about the situation. While the combat feels fluid and fun, the story is actually somewhat skippable. You try to find out about the monsters that invade the lands and you are searching for your sister and all kinds of stuff is happening… but I can’t really follow it. Most of the story is rather cryptic and offers little to no sense to me. Sometimes dialogue felt clanky as well and I just wanted to get to the next area in order to fight more eldritch creatures. Despite that, however, there are a plethora of quests in the game that require you to kind of follow up on clues that you stumble upon. After finding out something interesting in dialogues and conversations, the notes get updated with meaningful information that you can use to get closer to the goal of your quests. This kind of mechanic reminded me of some mystery games that I’ve enjoyed in the past, and alas, I really enjoyed questing in Vigil, even when the actual story felt a bit too cryptic for my taste.

The combat that I mentioned above features five different skill trees and two different attack buttons. There is one skill tree for each weapon-class from heavy weapons and swords to bows and daggers. There is a fifth tree that is all about your stamina, health, items and other statuses, resulting in a lot of different options for your playstyle and specialisation. I really enjoyed playing with heavy weapons like the halberd, for instance, as the charge attack allows you to deal a considerable amount of damage on top of offering you a bit of range in your repertoire. Similarly, the daggers feel swift and rather mobile while the bows are nice additions to your kit. Sadly, there aren’t any staffs in the game that would allow you to utilize magic for your main attack but there are some spells that you can equip for like an item and just activate whenever you need them. All of your attacks use up stamina which can be seen below your health bar and one you’re out of stamina, it only slowly recovers, which adds an extra layer of difficulty to combat.

As far as enemies go, I must say that I really enjoyed fighting most of them. There are a lot of quick enemies or enemies with annoying attacks that you’ll have to dodge. In the same manner, most of the enemies tend to hit rather hard and punish you for making a mistake, which is very much like Salt and Sanctuary, from what I recall.

Both enemies and Leila are designed well. The enemies remind me of eldritch creatures you’d face in Lovecraftian games while Leila’s animations are fluid and fit the game equally. The attacks that you dish out feel and look like they pack a punch, which adds a bit of satisfaction to combat, even when some boss fights can be somewhat hard on you. A great feature that I love about Vigil: The Longest Night is the fact that your equipped armour and weapons can be seen on Leila in the game. This is not a given in most games and adds a nice touch to Vigil, that I really was happy about. In contrast to that, however, is the lack of character animation. I would have enjoyed the game more if Leila would change stances more often, be it in combat or while talking to people. Her always standing there, awkwardly, with her weapon in hand felt off to me.

At last, the game generally is gorgeous. I loved the small details they added to the game like droplets that you can see on the hud and screen when it rains or the changes in the colour scheme of different areas. It certainly adds a charm to the game that is unique to Vigil and can be best described as disturbingly lovely. At times, it kind of reminded me of Darkest Dungeon and the Souls games, at other times I felt as if I was strolling through the landscape of the Fable series. All in all, it’s a beautiful game with some interesting soundtracks and some great combat.

Despite all of that, I’d have to say that the lack of meaningful dialogue and the cryptic storytelling have been a bit of a turn-off for me. On top of that, I felt as if the huge maps that you can find in the game offer too much exploration if that makes sense. At times I’d be completely lost and wouldn’t know where to go whereas other games would provide you with at least some guidance in that regard. At the same time, a lot of the areas feature tons and tons of items, secrets and chests, but sometimes I would follow through a path only to be disappointed with a dead-end or a walled-off area. I feel like having more smaller areas would have been better for a game like this, although that may be personal preference.

Notwithstanding these last few issues, I can only highly recommend the experience of Vigil: The Longest Night. There are multiple endings, a bunch of cool boss fights, a lot of different weapons to collect, and there is a lot to do in the game with more updates coming out every now and then.

I hope you enjoyed this review. I ended up putting off writing about Vigil for a rather long time since I’d often get busy with other things and now exam-season has started as well, resulting in even less time for reviews. Luckily, I managed to finish one of my exams today and alas, was able to write up and edit today’s review.

Cheers!

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

Late to the Party #5 – Bioshock 2

During the Spooktober of last year, I played through the first Bioshock game on Twitch. I loved it. I loved the universe, the soundtrack, the combat and the way the whole world is fleshed out. You can read about all of that in my post on it from November 28th. Alas, I recently got into the second game on Stream as well and we managed to play through it just a little over a week ago. Alas, it’s time for another LttP post!

Note: There may be minor to small spoilers for the game. I didn’t talk about certain things to not spoil them or ruin the effect on you… but I guess you wouldn’t read this if you didn’t know already that there could be spoilers. In any case, you’ve been warned about potential spoilers. Enjoy the post!

First things first, I’d like to say that the Bioshock games are somewhat old already. Alas, I played the Remastered version of the second game as it’s just a bit more pleasing on the eyes. There are also fewer bugs in it and the sound doesn’t have as many hiccups as the original version, which is great. I guess you could argue that it’s not the same as playing the actual Bioshock 2 game but honestly, I don’t see the point in differentiating between the two games. The Remastered version did perform better on my newer PC, alas I just played that. 

While we were playing as some sort of agent that infiltrated Rapture in the first game, the second game lets us play as one of the most iconic denizens of Rapture, the Big Daddy. We explore through the decrepit and beautiful fallen city, chasing an unseen foe named Lamb, in search for answers. Our little sister was taken away from us as we were asked if we would kindly shoot ourselves. Somehow, though, we survived and got revived in a vita chamber in Rapture, which is where our story begins.

From the getgo, I was in awe. I love Rapture and the Bioshock universe but in this game… it’s just more rotten and devastated. The sunken city is incredibly pretty, especially when we get to explore the underwater world in our Big Daddy suit. I loved the new perspective on things as we hear the ground trembling as we stomp through the areas. While we’re somewhat slow, the game equipped us with a powerful drill as well as a bunch of different weapons and powers to add to our arsenal. 

Just like in the first game, you’re able to sling spells, so-called “Plasmids” at our foes and opponents, all in order to survive. If that’s not your style, you still have the option of using guns or melee attacks. What surprised me was that while I wasn’t unsatisfied with combat in the first game, I really enjoyed the changes to combat in the second game. For instance, we’re able to use plasmids and weapons at the same time, resulting in some cool interactions. Our drill is powerful but requires fuel, which adds a new type of ammunition to the game. If you’re out of it, you won’t be able to use your drill’s charge attack but you can still wack enemies rather well, smashing their faces and breaking their spirits. Apart from that, the camera that you use to find out about enemy weaknesses now doesn’t require ammunition anymore.

On top of that, you now have a hacking tool to remote-hack turrets, cameras and doors, which is lovely. Even the hacking tool, however, can be used as a weapon to place down miniature turrets that deal a good amount of damage.

Hacking in the first game was kind of janky in a way. Often, you’d rely on luck rather than skill as you were pressured by the time running out and as you needed to guide water through a circuit board, which didn’t typically make sense. The mini-game was fun but kind of unlogical in a way. Meanwhile, in this game, you’re able to hack enemies while in combat and you actually have to prove your skill as you hit certain areas in a smaller sized mini-game. It obviously isn’t the best solution but it is one that exists and that doesn’t utilize water, which is a good thing. 

Overall, the second game offers a lot of quality of life changes that improve combat and hacking. The soundtrack is still amazing. The game looks stunning.

But the issue with Bioshock 2 is that you don’t really have an enemy of sorts for most of the game. You hear about Lamb here and there but you never really know who that’s supposed to be. In the same manner, you’ve got Sinclair who just stops by and suddenly starts to help you but I couldn’t just get attached to him as a help, especially as our helper in the first game ended up betraying us. By the end of the game, I felt a bit let down as Sinclair didn’t betray us at all… that’s a shame? I guess? Or not? I don’t know.

The world-building is well-done and the game feels immersive. Characters have an actual backstory and their own motivations and ideals but in the end, the story overall feels somewhat lacking in a way especially as you go through the first few areas with little to no clue about who you are, who Lamb is and what your goal is. You need to free your little sister but that’s about it, I guess? Why do you go that far and what makes you special from other Big Daddies? 

Another nice addition is that, after defeating Big Daddies, you get to adopt (or harvest) their Little Sisters. You then get to harvest bodies for Adam while defending your Little Sister in order to attain more of that scarce resource that you need for your upgrades. Lovely! 

Just like in the first game, you have a good and a bad ending. Harvesting the little sisters ends up giving you the bad ending while adopting and rescuing them gives you a good ending. On top of that, you have these scenarios in the game where you can kill the leaders of the different areas or you spare them. Each of these decisions also influences your ending a little bit. In one of the early areas, I had the option of killing an unarmed black woman. She put us through hell but I decided to walk away. She then realised that I wasn’t some sort of baby-snatcher and monster but rather more than that: A human being.

Alas, she provided us with some support and she got to live. I would have liked it if we would have heard more of her later on… but in the end, that didn’t happen. No idea what happened to her. 

So, the story feels a bit weaker but in the final hours, it got rather emotional and nearly brought me to tears. The additions and improvements to the game felt great. The new spells and mechanics are interesting. The story, while at first somewhat weaker, made me feel… things. On top of that, we finally were able to see through the eyes of a Big Daddy (and more, wink wink). And all in all, I really enjoyed this game. I hope that I get to play Bioshock Infinite soon. I’d also like to play the Bioshock 2 DLC “Minerva’s Den” eventually… but that will have to wait until it goes on sale. 

For now, this just means that there is another game that I played through (in a time of nearly 10 hours with 27/53 achievements completed) and I really enjoyed it. The backlog ended up shrinking a little and hopefully, I get to have more fun with other titles in the future again.

Nice.

What about you? Did you play Bioshock 2 and if so, did you enjoy it? Let me know! Also, are there any other titles that you’d like to see featured here that I may not have played yet? I’d love to get into the Fallout Games eventually and maybe write something about Borderlands 3 (as I still haven’t played that game in the franchise) or about NieR Replicant which is coming out soon. But that will have to wait until I get to it and until I have a bit more time. 

Cheers!

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

Indietail – Darksburg

These are dark times with God having left us and Zombies swarming our beloved town of Darksburg. Alas, it is our duty to rid this town of this plague – if not for our beloved fellow citizens, then at least for the sake of survival. Alas, let us dive into this adventure with up to three other comrades and… kick some Zombie Ass.

Today we’re taking a look at Darksburg, which is an isometric and cooperative Action-Roguelite in a Medieval setting and with Zombies. It has a bit of an ARPG style going on with hack-and-slashy combat, hordes of enemies and perks to level up your abilities with. 

Developer: Shiro Games
Publisher: Shiro Games
Genre: Isometric, Co-Op, Action, Roguelite, Hack n Slash, Zombies, Medieval
Release Date: September 23rd, 2020
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Copy received via Humble Choice.

The game features five different characters ranging from Damage Dealers, Tanks, Supports, and other characters with their own unique characteristics. Every character has a normal attack, a passive ability, as well as four abilities, with each character playing around different mechanics. Varag, for instance, is a wild wolfman that can dish out damage but at his core, he is very tanky and blocks damage for his allies with his shield, only to then unleash a powerful counterattack once he has absorbed enough damage. My favourite characters, however, are Abigail and Dr Dolorosa. Sister Abigail is another melee-character that can deal a lot of damage but she also features a great utility-spell called “The Bell” that draws nearby enemies’ attention towards the bell. Meanwhile, Dr Dolorosa is all about her experiments and is embarking on this journey to find a cure for Zombies,… although her experimental cure mostly kills them. She utilizes poisonous knives and her kills allow her to collect samples that decrease her Asphyxiant’s and her Experimental Cure’s cooldown. At the same time, she applies a lot of damage over time, making her a great damage dealer, in my opinion.

On level up, you get to select one of three perks, each upgrading some aspect of your kit differently. This allows you to create your favourite build and experience a different playstyle that might suit you better than what others might recommend. So, while you may enjoy an auto-attack or ability focused build on Rose, you could also enjoy going for a build revolving around Rose’s pet squirrel Twig, adding more utility to that ability or increasing its damage. You get nine level-ups throughout each run by killing enemies, and alas can create countless of different builds with other priorities based on how you’re doing. This was something that I really enjoyed in my runs so far and I’m not done yet with experimenting more in this game.

When you embark on your run, alone or with friends, you spawn in an area of Darksburg that is swarming with enemies. There are four areas in the game: The Harbour, the Marketplace, Faubourg, and the Graveyard. After that, you’ll have to face off against Baron Manfred von Darksburg himself who has been infected himself and must be defeated to rid Darksburg of this plague. To get through areas, you need to defeat the Infected and Revenants, achieve side-goals like blasting open walls, lighting fires, finding items, and more, and eventually, you’ll have to get to the end of the level. While the beginning is rather easy, new enemies have introduced every few levels as well as traps and other events that happen, which is why you’ll have to explore and find so-called artefacts that you can use on top of your kit. Artefacts can be upgraded by picking another artefact of the same type, unlocking new abilities. These can enhance your build even more and grant you mobility, more damage, utility or even survivability based on what you get. 

On top of that, you also find chickens in each of the levels that then can be used to unlock skins for your survivors, as well as Dreadium Ingots that you use in the Cabinet of Curiosities where you exchange the ingots for so-called “Curios” that further enhance your build. This adds a bit of permanent-character-progression to the game, although it probably is more of another way of customizing builds.

But while the gameplay itself offers a lot of creativity as far as your build goes and while it is fairly accessible with the amount of remapping and control-customization that you can do, I still find the game kind of lacking. Once you beat the final boss, you unlock Ascension levels, granting you more challenging runs, but apart from that, there isn’t much to do. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed myself so far, partly thanks to friends I’ve been playing with but also because a lot of builds make you feel quite strong… but at the same time, the game definitely is lacking content for a game that costs 20€ on Steam Store at full price. On top of that, the loading screens at times are stuttering, the audio can bug out as well, and while bugs are a thing, I just feel like the game isn’t optimized too well, especially with these graphics.

Another issue I found was that the voice lines that the characters use get repeated quite often, which loses its charm after the first few times. More variety here couldn’t have harmed the game that much… and while the levels are procedurally generated, I would have loved seeing more areas, different enemies from time to time, as well as some variety as for the colour-scheme and the soundtrack. The music of Darksburg is alright but I wouldn’t call it “great”, simply for the fact that I hardly remember any songs from it. It just doesn’t stick to your ears that well and you wouldn’t immediately recognize it unless its the only game you’re playing, I guess.

In the end, the lack of content and bad optimization are the biggest drawbacks here. The game only came out in September of 2020, so maybe they’ll add more characters, more levels, more enemies, and more bosses to the game as well but for a game that costs 20 bucks at full-price, I feel like it’s not worth it. I’d recommend this game if you’re looking for a fun challenge to go through with your friends. I wouldn’t recommend this at the full price. We may revisit this in the future again if there is another update coming in that adds more levels to each run or other content but right now, I just don’t really see how this would be worth 20 bucks.

Hope you enjoyed this review! If you grabbed November’s Humble Choice, you may actually already own it, so let’s play some time! Do you feel similarly about this game if you already checked it out? Let me know!

Cheers!

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

Indietail – Hades

I’ve always been a sucker for mythology. From Norse to Egyptian to Greek mythology, I’d take everything in and read up on all sorts of articles and myths and thoughts. I honestly loved it to bits. In the same manner, I love it when games incorporate mythology into their lore and build a universe around it that brings life to these old legends and stories. A game that does that really well is Hades!

Developer: Supergiant Games
Publisher: Supergiant Games
Genres: Action, Roguelite, RPG, Indie
Release Date: December 6th, 2018 (Early Access) - Left Early Access on September 17th, 2020
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC, Switch
Copy was purchased.

Dive into the underworld where the god of the dead and the king of the underworld, Hades, is reigning with an iron fist and where his son, Zagreus, is trying to escape hell. Meet a bunch of different characters, interact with them, romance some of them, gift nectar and ambrosia to your favourite people and the Gods of the Olymp themselves, and experience the story of Hades, one run at a time. Hades is an Action-Roguelite by Supergiant Games and in this review, I’ll tell ya why it’s such a great game!

Well, in this game, we play as Zagreus, who very much has a reason to leave Hell and to be angry at his father, which I won’t get into. Zagreus uses one of six different weapons in each of his escape attempts powered by Boons of the Gods of the Olymp. These weapons were used to slay the titans and are, alas, strong on their own already but as you progress further into the depths of Hell, you have to face stronger foes and more challenges, which is why the Gods help you. A variety of gods are there to assist you in your dangerous endeavour, most likely since they’re bored. From your uncles, Zeus and Poseidon, to your grandmother, Demeter, there are a plethora of interesting characters ready to provide you with their assist.

Your weapon tends to have a normal attack and a special attack which both are quite unique. Each weapon has four different aspects that each play differently and make use of different mechanics. On top of that, some weapons (like the shield) have other move sets that make use of holding buttons down or timing attacks properly. On top of that, you have dashes and the ability to perform dash strikes.

The various boons you encounter offer bonus effects to your character, making you stronger or more sturdy, or they change how your weapons work. Demeter is the goddess of the seasons, fertility, and death. Her boons help you afflict enemies with the “Chill” status effect, making them slower or dealing damage at certain conditions. Aphrodite helps you weaken enemies while Ares, Zeus and Artemis are all about that damage. There are a plethora of status boons, passive boons, and raw damage boons in the game and they all synergies quite well with each other, to the point where there’s also duo boons that combine the boons of two gods into one stronger perk. If you have high DPS, you may consider stacking Dionysus’ “hangover” status effect on enemies, while you may consider going for raw damage with Ares if your weapon is slower.

These boons can be acquired by getting through rooms. Gods tend to give you a selection of three boons and you don’t know what you’ll get beforehand. Rooms also can feature other rewards such as Gold to purchase boons and other items in the shop, gems and darkness to use after the run has ended, maximum health, hammers or other rewards. Each run can feature up to two Daedalus Hammer boons which basically change how your weapon is working, making each build stand out even more.

What I love about Hades is that a lot of it feels rather intuitive. You see enemies, you strike them. You see boons, so you go for ones that sound nice. You don’t really have too many “noob traps” in the game and generally, you can progress quite well, especially once you invest your Darkness into that mirror of yours – aka permanent character progression that helps you get stronger after your runs.

But apart from combat being very fast-paced and fun to play with and apart from the plethora of possible builds with each of the four aspects of the six weapons available to you, the game also has another component: The Story.

The Story of Hades evolves whenever you talk to characters. From Achilles to Nyx to Thanatos (I love him), there are a plethora of characters ready to assist you by guiding you or helping you out with trinkets. By giving nectar to the different characters in the game, you receive trinkets that grant you benefits in the run. On top of that, each of the characters in the game has a ton of voice lines and a quest of sorts where you try to help them get through some of their problems which ends up benefitting you as well. Simply speak to characters after your run whenever you see an exclamation mark on their heads and enjoy the fully-voiced and witty lines that both refer to mythology but also have a lot of character. Each of the figures that you encounter has its own problems, traits and personality, which is awesome as it brings life to the mythology that people often refer to as “boring”.

And the game isn’t over yet once you’ve completed a run successfully and escaped Hell as there are various things to do like renovating hell, helping the characters out, fulfilling prophecies, fishing, achievements, and completing the runs with higher difficulties that you can assign yourself to the run. Once you manage to leave Hell once, Hades puts up a pact of punishment onto the gate, resulting in you being able to complete runs again with rising heat levels and more challenges such as more challenging bosses and special enemies. But if you’re actually struggling with beating runs, I can also recommend activating God Mode with grants you a 2% damage reduction bonus whenever you die. You start at 20% already which is A LOT but you can gain up to 80% damage reduction to help you experience the story without getting frustrated with the runs.

And I haven’t even gotten into the amazing art style or the fantastic soundtrack or the wonderful voice acting. I haven’t even gotten into the romance options and the further challenges as well as all of the different secrets in the game and the different areas that each have their mini-bosses and mechanics and traps. There is a ton to talk about in Hades and while I once thought that it was a bit “grindy” at times when it comes to gems, that thought simply vanished after unlocking a few of the house contractor projects. So, I don’t have anything bad to say about Hades and I can understand why it was nominated as Game of the Year, among other titles, and why it won “Best Indie” and “Best Action”. I really can understand that as I haven’t seen a game as polished and as wonderfully crafted as this one in ages.

And more updates are coming out here and there, as well, adding a ton of things, which shows the love and care that Supergiant Games puts into their titles, to the point where I had to rewrite this review about nine times so far. I hope that you enjoyed reading about this game and that you’re checking it out yourself eventually.

For me personally, Hades might very much be my Game of the Year 2020.

Cheers!

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

Indietail – Disc Room

Are you ready to get sliced? Are you ready for science? Are you ready to die? If you answered any of those questions with anything, then fear not, you’re on your way on one helluva ride with today’s review, Disc Room!

The year’s (not 2021 but) 2089 and a giant disc has appeared in Jupiter’s orbit. Now, it’s your job to explore said Disc… FOR SCIENCE! Explore a majority of rooms filled with deadly discs and survive until all the goals of the room are completed. Compete against your friends, solve puzzles, unlock abilities, and die! 

Developer: Terri (Vellmann), Dose(one), Kitty (Calis), JW (Nijman)
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Genre: Action, Adventure, 2D, Violent, Difficult, Indie
Release Date: October 22nd, 2020
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC, Switch
Copy was purchased.

Disc Room is a Race-Against-The-Time-ish Action-Adventure where you dodge deadly blades, discs, or whatever you want to call them. In about 50 different rooms, you need to keep all your eyes open and look around you in 360° to be able to dodge everything and anything. There are a plethora of disc types from big ones to small ones to homing and time-slowing discs. Dying at the hand of different blades can result in you unlocking abilities that help you survive, like the time-slow ability, the dash or the cloning-ability.

At first, the game seems rather simplistic and not that challenging – but eventually, you end up having to solve puzzles in the rooms. How are you supposed to die in less than 0 seconds? How do you die while there are four discs in the room, when there are only two, to begin? What does “Feed ????? 4 ?????” mean, and how do you accomplish it? The game grants you a lot of different puzzles that revolve around using the game’s mechanics to survive or not-survive in creative ways, which is awesome! 

Once you end up fighting so-called Gatekeepers aka Bosses and unlock new areas, each with their own themes, the game’s pace really picks up, as you get to explore each area independantly as long as you complete some goals. Just backtrack later and check older rooms out again once you feel confident in doing them! Each of the areas is special with different enemy types and new mechanics introduced. 

On top of that, the game offers a lot of replayability because of… a little friendly rivalry! I played it for the first time while watching my friend Jimmi play it on Stream. Whenever he beat a room, I was already on beating his time and surviving longer than him. I loved it when he was shocked to see that I was already at 24 seconds in one of the rooms when he was stuck at 16. While he tried to beat my 24-second-record in said room, I was beating his other records. Eventually, he got better than me, but if I try very hard, I’ll manage to screw him over again, for sure! I love it. 

I feel like the goals of the rooms and the Metroidvania-ish aspects of it (solving puzzles and problems with abilities that you unlock later into the game) really make this game special and a ton of fun, especially since these aspects are paired with tons of achievements, collectables, and the friendly rivalry integrated through your Steam friend list. 

The art style is simple but the game really doesn’t need to be more detailed, to be honest. The animated cutscenes are cute and offer a bit of mystery about the game’s story while also providing you with some interesting comics here and there. In General, the game has this web-comic-vibe that I really fancy. 

On top of that, the soundtrack is awesome! It’s a real SpaceWave/SynthWave banger that I could listen to for ages. Good thing that you can buy the Soundtrack as well over here, featuring 53 tracks. It’s anthemic, adrenaline-inducing, and just great! Might become one of my favourites!

All that being said, there are a few issues with the game. Being a game with saw blades and a lot of Violence, you may encounter a lot of Gore, which is unsettling and displeasing… but you have a warning for that on the Steam store, so that’s completely fine. My issue with it is that some of the rooms contain flashing lights and effects where the light turns dark and then bright again, which really messed with my eyes. Personally, I don’t have a problem with epilepsy but since it even fucked with my eyes, I’d imagine that other people could have real problems with it… but there is no warning about flashing lights and potential epilepsy triggers in the game, which is somewhat upsetting.

Apart from that, while I love the puzzles, I feel like it sometimes is a bit hard to get to clues on your own. A few times, I had to ask friends for input on the golden discs and what they think. I would have preferred if a room on the other side of the map would offer a clue to the puzzles in some way rather than you just have to do things.

At the same time, the game sometimes needs you to die from different disc types… but apparently, the different boss forms also count towards that, which is annoying, to say the least, because it shouldn’t be a thing. If a boss is already accounted for, why does the boss’ husk count as something separate. Otherwise, I’m completely fine with the difficulty and the challenge of the game but that little thing there just annoyed me a little bit.

Overall, however, the game’s great and provides a lot of entertainment, especially with the Achievements, the Steam Leaderboards, and the awesome soundtrack. I’d love it if more people could check this title out over here.

Post review commentary:

Anyways, I hope you’re having a great start into the new year! Personally speaking, 2020 has felt like a meat grinder (haha) – but I have high hopes for 2021! Hope you do, too! Happy New Year! Today’s review is the last one that I’ve prepared before going to my parents at the end of last year. Hence, look forward to more *fresh* content with that 2021-flavour in it!

Cheers!

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