Indietail – Spellbreak

A while ago, I wrote a review on Hyperscape and actually recommended it. I mean, it was fun and felt like Quake, on top of being free-to-play. But then I stopped playing Hyperscape again since I wanted to play other games and when I came back to another round or two, I noticed how hard it is for a Non-FPS-player to react in time or to make the right decisions or to aim properly. On top of that, there were some balancing issues and it felt just very frustrating to play it.

So, then I got an E-Mail about Proletariat’s Battle Royale game, Spellbreak, which is available on Epic Games (among other places) and even features crossplay! I was eyeing it for a while before eventually realising that it should, in theory, be just my cup of tea. I mean… Magic…. Combos…. Boom!

My very first game and I won! Woohoo!
Developer: Proletariat, Inc.
Publisher: Proletariat, Inc.
Genre: Battle Royale, Fast-Paced, 3D, Action, Fantasy, Third-Person
Release Date: September 3rd, 2020
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC, XONE, PS4, Nintendo Switch
Game is free to play

In Spellbreak, you essentially play as a mage using two magical gauntlets to battle it out on a big BR-style map. Before the round starts, you’ve got the choice between six different elements to use for your primary gauntlet: Poison, Wind, Lightning, Fire, Rock, and Frost. This gauntlet grants you bonus effects whenever you level up. Those effects range from immunity to your own spells to utility to more damage, so it’s worth looking into those bonuses.

During the round, you essentially try to find equipment and scrolls, as well as gauntlets that have a different magical property to your primary one. For instance, if I were to play as a Conduit (Lightning Mage), I’d be able to pick up the five other elements but I wouldn’t be able to get a second lightning gauntlet. This is quite well-made since the different gauntlets influence each other in different ways. Using the Tornado spell for instance and infusing it with Lightning, Fire or Poison damage caused it to turn into a Lightning Storm, a Fire Tornado or even a Poison Tornado, which is quite nice.

Similarily the Poison Cloud can be infused with Electricity, Fire or Ice, resulting in either an electrifying poison cloud, a big explosion or a frozen poison cloud that entraps and poisons everything inside of it! Some elements don’t mesh well together while others are unique and have very good offensive capabilities, but overall you pick what you get or what suits your playstyle the most. After all, your primary attacks (aka not the spells) also change based on your elements. Rock mages only hit ground targets with their primary attacks but can generate shockwaves and armour using their class-specific skills. Ice mages are more precise but also rather slow while Tempest mages deal less damage but can shoot out a barrage of shots!

Another interesting mechanic in Spellbreak is the Mana bar that you deplete while floating or while shooting out your primary attacks. With amulets, you’re able to gain more maximum mana, while belts increase your armour and boots increase your movement speed. If you don’t find certain items, it can get a bit hard for you to spam or run all the times. Meanwhile, as a Tempest mage with a Legendary amulet, you could very much kite enemies away.

And then, you also have potions, shield shards and abilities. Abilities also have rarities like your equipment but basically enable you to use another set of utility. Chase enemies, fly through the air or become invisible. It enhances the playstyle and I really like how there are no offensive abilities for the Shift-Slot. Unlike Hyperscape, you have your damage in your gauntlets and spells, while you use the abilities to gain momentum, push forward or flee.

Poisonous Firewall!

And then there’s the art style. The game’s heavily influenced by shows and movies like Princess Mononoke, Akira, and Avatar – The Last Airbender. This is resembled quite well in the charakter designs and how the world looks. There are different parts to the map that all have a distinct nature to them and just feel different overall. That’s something that I really enjoyed. I really like the influences the game has in terms of the art, although it got a bit hard to discern certain damaging effects on the ground from normal grounds in certain areas, which is a bit troublesome.

An issue that I have with the game, though, is how you at times can get locked into walls and you just get combo’d away. On top of that, some enemies play quite good but you have no way of adding them or making friends, overall, which is a bit of a bummer, in my opinion. Unless you write down their names or memorize them or whatever, there is not really an option, from what I’ve seen.

Don’t mind me, just hiding in this push…

And at last, I had the issue of me having a hard time with the map borders. At times, I’d go and loot a place but then the circle would move again and suddenly, I’m more than 2000 meters away from the next safe zone and the circle just runs over me. This gets annoying and frustrating over time when the game just decides to place the inner-most circle on the other side of the map. I mean, the map also gets slower at a more drastic pace compared to other games, so personally I would have changed the interval or allowed bigger circles, potentially.

In the end, Spellbreak is just another battle royale game. You have good players in there and bad players. Aiming is not as hard and important as in other games, though zoning, strafing and fast reactions are even more so.

Spellbreak has a certain tactical component to it but in the rounds that I played it always ended up being about me and other players butting our heads in when the circle stops by. It’s a battle royale, after all. It’s different from Fortnite and other games, for sure, but I’m not sure if it’s something I’m going to play forever. This is going to be something that I’ll play with friends now and then, I guess, and then I’ll get frustrated because of the meta or because of my lack of skills… and then I’ll play something else.

In the end, Spellbreak is a free-to-play battle royale game, so try it out if you wanna and don’t if you don’t wanna. I enjoyed it so far but I’d imagine that others wouldn’t. Due to the nice combo system and the mobility you have in the game, though, I’d recommend it to fans of the genre or fans of Quake and Unreal Tournament!

Cheers!

Bloggers planting blog posts

For the past couple of days, I’ve been playing Viridi while working on different stuff, which was quite relaxing. Suddenly, an epiphany came to me as I had a very good idea involving different bloggers… and these plants.

But first things first. What is Viridi?

Viridi is a chill free-to-play game that I’d like to review… but you essentially just plant seedlings and watch them grow… in real-time! This causes a problem for me. I want to take screenshots from the game… but the plants are all really small right now, so I can’t actually show much. Alas, I decided to play more of it until I can actually show some growth but it’s taking a while because the game doesn’t fast forward or anything like that. It just takes its time… just like real plants.

Hence, I thought about starting up a series of posts on this game where I talk about stuff while commenting on the plants’ growth and essentially, it’s going to be just The Stray Sheep but with screenshots from the game. Here’s the twist though: The stuff I’d like to talk about is blog posts that I’ve been reading. The plants will get named after different blogs/bloggers and if you’re interested in getting planted right here, right now, comment below and claim a plant!

Introducing to you: The Blaugust pot. [name may get changed in the future]

Currently, it’s inhabited by… 

  • a snail that is circling around the pot,
  • two Aloe Vera plants (one of them has grown a bit more than the other one),
  • three little Echeveria glauca plants that are all rather small,
  • one red Aeonium plant,
  • one gree Aeonium plant,
  • one green Pachyphytum fittkaui plant,
  • one small red Pachyphytum fittkaui plant,
  • and one even smaller red Pachyphtytum fittkaui plant.

These are the plants that are plant (puns…) to be named. The snail can also be named but I thought of maybe being the snail? Names can be up to 20 letters long, so it’s stricter than Discord usernames! And every week we receive a new seedling for free. I could also invest some money into new seedlings, but I’d have to sell some steam trading cards first for that!

The idea of naming in-game objects and entities after things and people that are outside of the game is not new at all. Despite people having done it before him, I’d still like to refer to Naithin over here who has a “blogger city” going on in Cities: Skylines with streets and buildings named after bloggers (though I gotta catch up on those posts). So check out the blogger city right there!

You can check out the screenshots of the plants throughout this post! I’ll have to water them whenever they are “thirsty” and I need to sing to them to make them grow a tiny bit faster which is something you do in the game by just zooming in on them and leaving the PC running while doing so. I’d reckon that “I’ll sing to the plants” while reading the according posts. 

Next up: Why? 

Well, as to why I’m doing this: I’d love to read more blog posts but quite often, I end up doing something else instead. Which is a bummer! By doing this series, I’ll have more of a reason to read the posts… since I’m playing the game anyways. I mean, I clocked in 72 hours already of this game… so, if I spend some of that time doing studies and working on things… but also read some blog posts and write about my favourite posts each week… I feel like that would be quite a lot of fun. 

And as to why I’d think that it would be interesting for others to “participate” in this: 

Growth, I guess? I’d link to the posts I’ve read and liked. I’d talk about different topics. It’s not a lot of growth but depending on how long we’ll do this for, we’ll end up with a few centimetres for sure! (haha) – All jokes aside, backlinks and that kinda stuff usually tend to generate a lot of traffic which then gets rated highly by Google which then results in Google promoting your blog more. It’s just like with Tags and the Blaugust Promptapalooza: You link to others and others link to you. Since the people you link to are “valid” or “legit”, you get traffic. Since you don’t get linked by a spam site, you also get traffic. It may not be much but it’s something… 

Mostly, though, it’s about Fun. I feel like it’s a fun idea and I’d love to name these plants after the different blogs and bloggers that are willing to participate! 

And next up: What other plants are to come? 

Honestly, depending on how I feel I may buy some from the steam store and add those in… Each week, I get a free seedling and I’ll be able to plant it and rename it. Therefore, there will be more plants in the future aka more spaces for more potted bloggers… and since the seed every week is random… I won’t know which ones I’ll get until I get them! 

How long will this go on for? 

No idea! Depends on how well these posts do. Depends on whether or not people are interested… Depends on whether or not I’ll ever stop playing Viridi. It depends! – For now? A long time!

Fellow bloggers, if you’re interested in “participating”, join in! 

This post is part of the Blaugust 2020 event. Wanna know more about it? Then check out my post on it or Bel’s post where he also linked everyone who’s participating! Be sure to check out the others as well!

Let’s talk about Hyper Scape

Hyper Scape is apparently “the new shit”. Though developed by Ubisoft, it seems to become rather popular as it introduces interesting mechanics to the BR-game genre. Here are my thoughts on it so far.

It’s a fast-take and less RNG-dependant take on the BR-genre and while I personally am not a fan of Ubisoft or battle royal games… I must say that they did a pretty good job with this title.

Drop down from the sky and plunder the city!

What’s different in Hyper Scape?

Well, first up, you’ve got a double jump and get to climb and jump around buildings which is very “Quake 3”-like. Some buildings and areas are blocked off by destructible barriers and provide you with loot – but there are no rarity levels per sé. Instead, you’re provided with a variety of weapons that you upgrade by fusing them with the same weapon, improving their damage, magazine size and other properties of them.

On top of battling enemies with shotguns, grenade launchers, your baton, snipers and other guns, you also have two abilities that you find in buildings, crates or on the ground. Essentially there is a vast variety of offensive, defensive and utility spells that allow you to outwit your opponents. By fusing them with abilities of the same type, you also enhance their cooldowns or other capabilities.

Did I hear something?

Overall, I really like this feature. In the few rounds I had so far, I didn’t really feel as if the game was dependant on luck. You’ll have to think about it in other ways: If you can’t find any upgrades for your wall-ability, you may as well try to make use of the other abilities you can find and try to upgrade those as much as possible. Even defensive abilities like the

Wall can be used offensively, as you block off escape routes for your enemies and shower them with your grenade launcher shells and mines, or you use it to boost yourself up and get some distance between yourself and the opponent.

Fashion > Damage – get some skins and stuff!

The way you use your abilities and weapons, the way you jump around the map and try to get your kit together faster than your enemies while destroying foes, is really cool and I did enjoy myself quite a bit. I also love that the rounds aren’t taking too long. You either go in Solo or with a Squad of three – and you essentially butt heads with other people until nobody’s left – or until “the crown” spawns which you have to pick up and hold for 45 seconds to win. By holding the crown, however, you also are revealed to your enemies.

Of course, the map also gets narrowed down bit by bit as the different Sectors of the Map are falling apart and turning into blue dust… i don’t know. It fits the game. Instead of just having a circle of death coming in closer, you get these different city parts that get destroyed, so you essentially know where enemies might come from and can position yourself accordingly to catch them off-guard and rain down on them.

And speaking of the Map: The city of Neo Arcadia is wonderful. It’s bright and colourful and really fits the more cartoon-y feel of the game while providing you with some nice verticality as you climb among the roofs, walk along the mono rail or hop into the theatre or other land marks. Being up on the roof gives you the advantage of being swift and mobile, though it also presents you to snipers rather easily. Meanwhile on the ground you have to be careful since the escape routes can be quite difficult.

And well, just like in Darwin Project, there is Twitch Integration. Streamers are able to invite their viewers to play the game and they are able to decide on which sectors to get destroyed or which event to start next, which can be quite interesting for viewers but I can see some issues with streamers telling their viewers to vote in their favour… although viewers don’t usually equal slaves, so I guess there won’t be any issues with it and usually events like the “infinite ammo event” or the “zero gravity event” usually tend to harm and benefit everyone equally.

My first ever kill – it must be the scottish accent that’s giving me the skill and swiftness needed for that. Also, I survived and got spot 15! Pog!

The only thing I don’t like about the game so far is the lacklustre gunplay. The first thing I liked about Destiny 2, for instance, is that the guns actually feel like they’ve got OOMPH behind them! They actually pack a punch and it feels great to shoot with them. Meanwhile, you’ve got the guns in Hyper Scape that quite often don’t really feel as destructive as they may be. The sniper feels alright but all the others don’t really convey the feeling that they’re actual guns. And don’t get me wrong: I’m completely against guns iRL… but when it comes to games… made for your personal enjoyment… shouldn’t the gunplay feel a bit better? The noises and all of that included?

And apart from that, while the games themselves can be really fast-paced and quickly done… the time it takes before getting into the next round is just way too long in my opinion. It takes a few seconds to minutes to find a new game and you have to click yourself through the battle pass progress and the missions and who killed you and where you placed and all of that before heading into a lobby… only to find a game… and then it starts… and I’d love it if you could see the battle pass stats later or opt-out of the notifications as they get a tad annoying eventually when you have to click yourself through all of them one after one – only to start the game. I mean, you can look up what you unlocked in the Hyper Scape Hub anyways. It’s not exactly needed after every game… but maybe that’s just like yelling at clouds? I don’t know… it’s not the worst thing in the world and it doesn’t bother me the most, y’know? It’s just a wee bit annoying.

Enter the Hyper Scape?

I am really enjoying this game. I guess it’s still in its open beta, so we’ll have to see how the game gets balanced and how it’s going to be received overall. I feel like there’re way too many Battle Royale titles out right now, so it’s all the more important that games like this one try to take a different approach regarding loot and combat. I might not be the best at the game yet since I’m not an FPS player but I feel like I’m doing a lot better already even after only having played a few games of it, so the learning curve might not be too steep. I just have to get better at reacting quickly!

Either way, that’s it for today’s post. I’ve been playing this now for a bit and have really been enjoying it… you can sneak in “just a quick round” in between study breaks, which is quite nice compared to other games… you don’t usually go for “just a quick round of League” or “just a quick hunt in MHW”, so this has been quite nice every now and then. It’s probably going to be one of those on-and-off games of mine, although that might change if more of my friends get into it.

Cheers!

Indietail – Satan’s Workshop

Honestly, I’ve been staring at this blog post for way too long and no introduction that I could make up would be better than the description that Simon Boxer, Reuben Covington, Andrew Kasapidis, Abby Synth, and Jessi McNally came up with. What’s that about, you may ask? Well, I’ll quote it in a bit. After all, I’m reviewing a game called “Satan’s Workshop” today… Enjoy!

“Where do all the letters to Santa go? To Santa’s Workshop, right? What happens when those letters are accidentally addressed to Satan? Well, they go to Satan’s workshop. Satan is quite pleased with his new job and wants to put his best foot forward. Help Satan repair his bad guy reputation and bring joy to the world! “

Twice Different
Developer: Simon Boxer, Reuben Covington, Andrew Kasapidis, Abby Synth, Jessi McNally
Publisher: I have no clue. I guess Twice Different or the 10th Melbourne Global Game Jam? I'll link them both here...
Genre: Isometric, Sandbox, Crafting
Release Date: Early 2020
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Copy was free. It's a free game. 

Well, you heard it. We’re Satan in this game and we’re dealing with the naughty kids that don’t know how to spellcheck their own letters. Some of them are being really cocky, too, demanding gifts and presents while being picky about stuff like “eyeballs” or “coal” while some other kids even behave like heathens, neglecting the fact that we actually exist and claiming that we’re actually their parents.

This game was created by a few of the Twice Different guys who are currently working on Ring of Pain and who I’ve interviewed at last year’s GamesCom! The game was created during the 10th Melbourne Global Gam Jam using Unity and basically consists of you receiving one of a few letters that were written by, presumably, children. Once you’ve read them, you start using blocks and eyeballs to construct the children’s presents, usually creating some sort of abomination that is by no means fitting to be a gift for a child… but then again, we tried. And we’re Satan. Something like that.

The music is very spooky and yet kind of Christmas-y, which I personally found really intriguing. I kind of heard some bells and other tunes that reminded me of Jingle Bells… but at the same time it’s very creepy and fitting for Santa’s Workshop, I guess? I haven’t been there yet but it probably would have some song like that playing on the radio… nonstop… yup.

As far as the gameplay goes, it’s really just that. It’s a funny idea and it gets repetitive rather fast past the first laugh but it’s free, so I guess it’s really worth the laugh and the small time that you’ll enjoy this for.

Also the game has cookies in it. Very nice. Eat them all.

Hence, I’m recommending this game (wow, that’s a short review!). Have a nice day!

Stay healthy, stay safe! Don’t buy facemasks on Amazon for 120 bucks… because they’re not worth it if you stay at home and get your groceries delivered… yup.

Cheers!

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

Indietail – The Plan

In today’s Indietail review, we’re taking a look at The Plan – it’s a short free-to-play Indie Game that I played ages ago and that I liked back then. Just now I started it up again and I just like it all over again. It’s by Krillbite Studio who also made Among The Sleep and Mosaic, two award-winning games that were highly recommended to me and that I’ll have to eventually play myself as well.

Developer: Krillbite Studio
Publisher: Krillbite Studio
Genre: Indie, 2D, Experience, Short, atmospheric, Free to Play
Release Date: February 10, 2013
Reviewed on: PC
Available for: PC
Copy was free to play.

But what exactly is The Plan?
Essentially it’s a game where you play as a Fly. You start up the game and after clicking on „Play“, you immediately are thrown into the game where a fly is sitting on some foresty ground doing what flies do. Just sitting there. You don’t get any instructions until you eventually figure out that you can lift off the ground into the dreamy atmosphere of this beautiful experience. Using AWSD you’ll be able to manoeuvre through the air and explore the small world that you live in.

Eventually, you’ll see forests with its trees in the distance and fly higher and higher as you encounter threats of source like falling leaves that you have to dodge or strong winds that push you around. Overall the game is quite relaxing though, as there is no game-over for you. You just get thrown into this small world of a small fly and as you fly higher and higher you’ll see that the world grows bigger and the fly becomes smaller and smaller. Eventually, you’re seeing stars and a night-sky with its figures and dreaminess before eventually reaching your goal and succeeding in the plan.

The Plan is accompanied by a very atmospheric soundtrack, enabling you to get captured into the soundtrack while also providing a dreamy tune of sorts that you can listen to while enjoying your flight.

There is not much there when it comes to the gameplay but I can see that that’s not the goal. It’s more about the experience that the player has while playing the game. It’s interesting to see the world from a different perspective, even if it’s just in 2D.

The Plan succeeds in telling the tale of a fly and its pointless and brief existence. The “plan” being it leaving its birthground and going out into the vast world to eventually reach its goal and die – just like in real life. Our goal is essentially dying and nothing matters, as some philosophers would say. I really like these aspects of philosophical overthinking that is possible to some degree.

The Plan features one achievement called „Hey, Listen!“, which I found hilarious, and delivers a nice experience overall, even if it’s a bit short. You can have fun with this game and essentially just uninstall it later, nothing is lost. I enjoyed this short experience quite a lot and since it’s free, I’d definitely recommend The Plan to you guys as well.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this rather short review on a rather short game. There isn’t much to talk about when it comes to The Plan. I liked it, so I write about it – even with the review being just 569 words long, that’s okay in this case as I don’t think I could stretch it at all without spoiling any of its surprising elements.

Anyways, I hope that y’all have a nice morning, day, evening, night or whatever. Until the next time – Cheers!

Indietail – Among Ripples

In today’s Indietail, we’re looking at a short relaxing eco-system-management-game that is called Among Ripples. In this game, we control a pond’s ecosystem by adjusting the oxygen levels of the water, adding new creatures into the pond and seeing what happens.

Developer: Eat Create Sleep
Publisher: Eat Create Sleep
Genres: Free to Play, Casual, Simulation, Relaxing, Indie
Release Date: January 22, 2015
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Game is available on steam for free.

In the game, you spawn in Dace fish by clicking the spawning grounds in the middle of the lake bed, Perch fish by clicking on the spawning grounds on the left of the pond, Clams by clicking on the right spawning ground on the lake bed, Crayfish by clicking on the left spawning ground on the lake bed, Pike fish by clicking on the right spawning grounds, and finally the otter by clicking on the left reeds at the surface of the lake.

There’s a limit to how much you can spawn in at the same time. Once reached, you’ll have to wait until they either grow or die. While this is somewhat realistic as an eco-system cannot sustain itself if there are too many of just one species, I thought of it as rather bothersome as you couldn’t mess with the pond’s system by filling it all with just clams or just lobsters. That was kind of a let-down, to be honest.

By clicking and dragging the mouse to the left or the right, you can adjust the oxygen levels which affect algae growth but also affects each creature differently. Algae is the foundation of the food chain as the smallest fish usually feast on it while bigger fish feast one the smaller ones and so on. Oxygen levels also affect the life-span of the different species, although the otter seems to only be able to starve to death. He can’t suffocate as he’s never swimming to the surface and that’s just a bummer, I’d say. Of course, I find otters cute, and of course, I don’t want them to die but more or less I would have wanted some sort of realism. Otters that can’t find food migrate, for instance, and mammals that don’t have air, try to get it if that makes sense.

There is also some pollution in the lake, which is why you need to spawn in some clams here and there so that they can clear or rather filter the water. Clams seem to not like high oxygen-levels and are usually eaten by lobsters. Lobsters on the other hand also keep the ground clean as the dying fish create pollution of their own. It’s rather interesting to see these connections and to find out more about these animals, but I’m not too sure about the accuracy of these and honestly, I don’t care enough to research about it myself. Instead, it would have been quite nice if there was a toggle-able tooltip that explains what’s happening or what the different creatures do or what they like. Maybe it could have been some facts from different sources so that you learn more about these animals. Maybe there could have been a scientist-log where you discover different habits of the creatures.

For a simulation or a sandbox type, your options are rather limited in this game. You can’t spawn in too many creatures, you cannot speed up the game, you cannot spawn in any food of sorts to artificially grow columns of fishes or kill off the otter who’s eating everyone and everything. You cannot change the water temperature or add and remove plants from the pond. Instead, you’re given the task to “watch” the eco-system and “spawn creatures to see what happens” but there’s not much else to the gameplay, which is a bummer.

Other than that, the graphics are fine. Changing the settings doesn’t do much for you and doesn’t drop the framerate at all. The creatures and the environment are really pretty and seem to be hand-drawn which I applaud a lot.

The music is quite serene and fitting for the game. The devs promise a soundtrack that changes with the different seasons but there really isn’t much to it. The seasons aren’t noticeable at all and the music doesn’t change much. It’s more or less the same music but looped for the whole game. After listening to the same song for an hour, I can’t seem to get it out of my head, though that’s a bad thing in this case.

I think that Among Ripples is a game that you start for a few minutes, play around a bit, and then drop and uninstall later again. It’s free on steam and quite interesting at first but loses its replay-value eventually, which is a bummer. I think it’s worth trying out even though I don’t think that it’s to everyone’s liking. I played an hour of it in hope that the gameplay or my understanding of it gets changed dramatically as time passes but it honestly was more of a letdown, so while I reckon that it’s worth checking out (it’s free after all), I don’t really recommend it as there isn’t much to it.

As a side note, the Kickstarter campaign for Among Ripples: Shallow Waters has just started on the last Tuesday and seems to be quite promising. It looks like more of a Tycoon-type of game where you add plants and rocks to the pond, change the terrain, and work with other scientists in-game to rehabilitate lakes that have died out, have been polluted or even destroyed. You create families of fish and can spectate them in third-person. You will be able to research more tools and other species during the story-campaign for your mobile research-base.
While this first game seems to be more of a relaxing experiment, the second game seems to be a lot more ambitious and it’s actually something that I’d like to play.

Anyways, that’s it for today’s review. I hope you enjoyed this little dive into the pond. Check out the Kickstarter campaign if you want to or even support if you can spare a buck or two.

Cheers!