Indietail – Elden: Path of the Forgotten

I’m a huge fan of all things eldritch and Lovecraft’s stories left a mark on me. The way his words entrap you and pull you in until you’ve absorbed every single one of the letters feels astonishing at times and while I’m obviously not a fan of the racism featured in some of the stories, I feel like the stories that don’t involve any bigotry are probably some of his best works. Either way, today we’re taking a look at a game that features eldritch themes and is very much inspired by Lovecraft’s works but that doesn’t use words to describe its story. Today’s review is about Elden: Path of the Forgotten.

Developer: Onerat Pty Ltd
Publisher: Neon Doctrine (formerly known as Another Indie)
Genre: Action, RPG, Adventure, Challenging, 2D, Eldritch
Release Date: July 9th, 2020
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC, Switch, PS4, Xbox One
Copy was sent by the publisher.

Elden is a 2D-Action-Adventure where you follow Elden who witnessed a ritual performed by his mother that dragged her into another world. Set on saving our mother, we follow her steps onto the Path of the Forgotten into a world filled with brutal enemies and a lot of combat. The game’s art direction is inspired by 8-bit and 16-bit titles which looks amazing when it comes to bosses and some of the enemies but I feel like the world is lacking in some regards. There is a cathedral that looked stunning but all the other areas look somewhat bland. The first two areas feature a lot of the same colours and while I understand that pixel art is hard, I would have loved to see more texture in the ground and the vegetation.

Moving onwards, I’d have to say that I love the ominous sounds and the enigmatic soundtrack that is befitting of an eldritch theme. You swing three different weapons: A sword, a spear and an axe that each excel in different areas. The sound design makes hits sound powerful and in a way satisfying… but some of the enemy sounds are a bit confusing at times and left me at a loss. Combat itself isn’t groundbreaking or new. You have directional attacks with your weapons and can use spells to damage your foes. The game is rather punishing at times and while the combat system is somewhat average in itself, it was nice to see that strategy and timing are a lot more important than actually dishing out a lot of damage. You’ll have to decide when to hit and who to hit while dodging enemy spells and kiting enemies. On top of that, you need to balance your mana pool and your stamina bar while keeping track of your health gauge. It’s interesting in a way but some of the hits don’t feel like they connect. Sure, when you hit an enemy, you hear it land and it damages the foes as seen in their health bars. When you hear it, it sounds good, but sometimes you don’t really hear it. The different weapons work quite well against different enemies. The axe hits slow but hard while the spear gives you range at the cost of damage. You can hit rather fast with your spear while avoiding enemy attacks and poisonous slimes but more often than not you need to line up correctly and hit them while you can. Moving even a pixel downwards can already make the spear a lot harder to hit, which is a bit of a bummer. Meanwhile, the sword is the allrounder between all of these weapons allowing you to deliver decent swift strikes at the cost of range and stamina. Spamming it will leave you breathless, not allowing you to roll. You’re also rather close to enemies and they may land hits on you, too.

Combat is hard and punishing, often setting you back countless times. There aren’t many healing items and some of the items may have effects that you may only find out after using them a bunch of times. Since there are no item descriptions, a lot is left to your understanding. Trial and error are key here, I guess, but it often doesn’t feel as rewarding as it should feel when you find something out and I would have liked some guidance in terms of that here and there.

The lack of item description ties into what I was alluding to in the beginning: The world you entered features a different language and cryptic symbols that you cannot understand. More often than not you find yourself wondering what you’re doing here and where you’re exactly headed. What are these creatures? What does this switch do? What is going on here? Questions over questions and not too many answers. In an interview I had with the lead developer, he talked a bit about environmental storytelling and about how the player finds out about the story using drawings and pictures rather than words and letters and I personally find that Elden is doing a semi-good job at that. While it is a very neat concept and while the game tries very hard to do a good job at it, I find it hard to grasp the plot or the lore through the game as the game doesn’t give me much here. I think to make this concept work, Elden: Path of the Forgotten should have added more statues with poses, more paintings, drawings and picture books to the world. The player can’t learn a lot about the game unless there is something to learn from and so far I didn’t find too much here.

My main issue with the game is the challenge level. Dying is frustrating as it sets you back a bunch. You don’t really have a map so you may easily miss something or get lost in the world. The gameplay loop consists of fighting enemies, finding a switch or keys, opening a door and fighting a boss before heading to the next area… but it doesn’t have many new enemies and it feels a bit lacking in a lot of regards like new mechanics. On top of that, the estimated game length is on the shorter side with 2-5 hours. I don’t mind a good challenge in a game when it is rewarding to overcome the challenge. Elden doesn’t give me that reward really, which was a bit of a letdown. And then there’re the clunky controls that hurt you more than they actually feel good, which is the biggest issue with this game.

All in all, I’d like to recommend Elden: Path of the Forgotten but I can’t since there is so much amiss here in terms of reward and satisfaction. The environments feel bland, the sound design confuses me, the controls and the hitboxes are your biggest enemy and overall, it is not my type of game. Hence, no recommendation here unless you’re very into challenging and frustrating titles.

Cheers!

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

Indietail – Hardspace: Shipbreaker

Ever since I was a child, I’d end up gazing up to the night sky in awe as it was brightening up with the light of distant stars and other planetary objects. It was fascinating to imagine what it was like out there and I always dreamt of becoming an astronaut or travelling space someday… but I knew that I’d never actually make it up there, especially because space is actually quite terrifying. Either way, it’s amazing that people are already able to shoot space ships up there and travel to space stations with drones making their way to Mars and scientists searching for other exoplanets. It’d be amazing to live in a time where humans have set foot on other planets in the solar system already and where people could live far, far away from this problem-ridden planet here called Earth. Well, today’s review is about a title that plays in exactly that sort of time, Hardspace: Shipbreaker!

Developer: Blackbird Interactive
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Genre: Simulation, Sci-Fi, Space, Early Access, Physics
Release Date: June 16th, 2020
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Copy was purchased.

In the aforementioned age of planetary colonisation, space ships have become more and more common and companies have taken command of space travel and turned into their own business. I guess this is somewhat realistic if you think about how Google, Tesla, and other companies are being idolized nowadays and how these companies are getting contracted by countries and governments. Anyways, in this day and age, where many humans have fled to other planets, there is one company that owns and operates a network of massive rail gates that let you warp through the inner solar system. This company called LYNX is actually also your boss in this game as you’ve signed away your rights and as you became a cutter in order to pay off your massive debt of a billion credits.

Being a cutter entails taking apart ships during your 15-minute shifts and processing the parts to make money for LYNX and to ultimate dig away at the aforementioned debt. It may seem daunting but in the future, this is your only option really, which is why your playthrough is dictated by efficiency and debt. You own nothing. Not your tools, not your home, not even your life. If you die, you get resurrect since LYNX owns your DNA signature. This process of resurrection costs a hefty amount of money which will be added to your debt. So, let’s dive in and play some Reverse-Lego, shall we?

Another day, another job!

You, as the player and the so-called “cutter”, own a set of tools that help you with your work orders. For starters, you own a tether-powered grapple that can be utilized to move around or push/pull ship parts into the appropriate places. Raw metal belongs in the furnace. Nanocarbon goes into the Processor. Salvage-able parts like seats, terminals and cargo belong in the barge. In case you don’t know where a part goes, your UI will tell you, so don’t worry too much about it. Another tool of yours is a laser cutter that allows you to take apart the ships at certain points in it, as well as a scanner that can be used to locate rooms, objects and potential threats. Yes, there are threats in this game… Not only can you run out of oxygen or get melted in the furnace but there are also power cables that can electrocute you, fuel tanks that can burn you to a crisp and reactors that can blow up on you. Naturally, you’ll be cloned and hence, resurrected… but again, that costs money, not to mention that explosions will cause a loss of money.

Let’s upgrade our Grapple some more!

But overall, the game’s very chill. I wouldn’t worry about min-maxing your shifts or getting everything done in one go… I wouldn’t worry about the certification grades or whatever. Play the game at your own place. There even is a mode that allows you to play with only one life while another game mode allows you to engage in free play or play without a time/oxygen-limited. The game is meant to be relaxing. If you enjoy the challenge, there are weekly challenges in the game as well with leaderboards and an active community… but really, this is my go-to “chill out” game for when I need to calm down, relax, or distract myself. Taking apart space ships is amazing, the game looks stunning, and the soundtrack is wonderful. Pair that with the wonderful eye candy that has been added recently and the humour in some of the dialogue and you’ve got a fantastic game that is already quite polished despite being in Early Access.

Inside the processor it goes! This should give us some good money!

The game gets updated frequently and while the debt isn’t too much of a concern, it’s a bit annoying that your save file gets wiped whenever there is a major update. I’d love it if the developers would give you a way to keep your save file but still play the new update. Apart from that, though, there aren’t really too many concerns. I’d love to see more story-related interactions in the game, to be honest, but I don’t mind the lack of a story. There are data-boxes that you can encrypt with messages left by evil AIs, former crewmates of the ships you take apart, as well as other people involved with the crew, which is interesting.

We made a good profit in this shift… but the rental fees are wrecking me. -.-

As an insert here, I’d like to mention that my absolute favourite of the game is the ability to take apart ghost ships. They are seriously creepy, especially since they need to be “exorcised” by destroying AI Nodes… If you don’t do that, you may end up getting locked in by the AI, which is not only spooky but also quite fun. Apart from that, I also love the stickers you can put on your grapple and the cutter… and I love the little backstories you get from data caches.

There’s the power generator. Let’s take it out!

The game contains flashing lights at times, so I wouldn’t recommend this to you if you have any issues with that, but otherwise, it’s a very nice and chill experience in my opinion. It’s a lot of fun to take apart the ships and I’m looking forward to writing another post on future updates once there are more coming out. There may be bugs since it’s still in EA but personally, I have only encountered one crash in my 30 hours of playtime (so far) and I doubt that I’ll encounter many more since the game seems to be fairly polished. All in all, Hardspace: Shipbreaker is a very satisfying and relaxing game that lets you take your time in space while you destroy or blow up abandoned space ships and slowly get rid of that debt! Highly recommend it!

Anyways, that’s it for the post today. Hope you enjoyed it!

Cheers!

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

Indietail – Skul: The Hero Slayer

Roguelites can be rather difficult and sometimes even frustrating. At times it’s very important to see what you already and what you still need in terms of specific stats or items. Knowledge is key more often than not and can turn a bad run into a good run. That part specifically is what makes me appreciate roguelikes so much. I really like them. More importantly, it’s important to remain calm and not lose your head… or maybe you need to do exactly that like in Skul: The Hero Slayer!

Developer: SouthPAW Games
Publisher: NEOWIZ
Genre: Action, Roguelite, 2D, Platformer, Indie
Release Date: January 21st, 2021
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Copy was purchased.

After the Adventurers joined forces with the Imperial Army and the “Hero of Caerleon”, the Demon King’s castle has fallen. All of the castle’s demons were taken prisoner except for one lone skeleton named “Skul”… So, it’s time for us to step into the role of Skul who’s doing his best to save the Demon King by himself!

BEASTMODE ACTIVATED

Skul is a challenging Action-Roguelite-Platformer that seems to have taken some inspiration from Dead Cells and maybe even Majora’s Mask. Your character may not be the strongest but you can switch out your head throughout your journey and enable yourself to inherit its unique abilities and characteristics. There are 30 different skulls to find throughout your journey, ranging from a fast-hitting and agile thief to a slow archmage to a Dead Cells cameo. Being able to swap skulls on a button press, enables you to change your playstyle on a whim and pick a bone with enemies while covering your weaknesses with different synergies between characters. At the same time, you can enhance your character by acquiring items that on their own also feature unique abilities like dropping a bomb upon swapping or enhancing your physical/magical attack but that also feature synergies in the form of traits. Traits add another layer to builds and strategies in Skul: The Hero Slayer as they can stack and form your build as you move on. You can equip up to nine different weapons and two skulls as well as one equipment piece that you can actively use in combat. The traits you have work in a lot of different ways. The Chase Trait enhances your damage based on the distance to your enemy while the Endure Trait reduces the damage taken. There are also more elaborate traits in the game that summon spirits, magma balls or even increase the damage you take and deal by a percentage, enabling you to really add a lot of synergies and develop incredibly strong runs, which is amazing!

Is that a Naruto-reference? Of course it is!

On another note, you’ll encounter doors to other maps after you complete a map and clear the encounter. Similar to games like Slay The Spire and Curse of the Dead Gods, you can choose where you go and shape your build even more based on what you need. Are you in need of more gold or a new item? Do you want more bones or rather a new character? The doors lead the way. Duh. I like these small additions that on their own may not contribute to a lot but overall give you a lot of freedom as to how your build will shape out and how you want to play the game. There are also special maps like the Bazaar where you can heal up, buy items, get a skull or even other powerful pieces of equipment. There are also mini-bosses in the form of Adventurers that have been hired to deal with you, challenge rooms that can award you with amazing additions to your build but that will also pose a serious threat to you and your run, or even boss encounters where you face off against the Elder Treant or a mad Alchemist. There are five different areas in the game, each with their unique mechanics and enemies. The further you proceed, the more dark quartz and money you’ll earn. Money can be spent in the run itself while Dark Quartz is a permanent currency you use to improve your skull or get a headstart into your run through the power of vendors that you unlock as time goes on.

So many enemies… and only one lone skul.

Skul not only shines through the strategic potential and the challenging yet satisfying combat but also through the Art it uses. Each skull feels unique and looks amazing. The spell effects of your skills range from powerful energy balls and summons to blink and slash effects, and overall also look powerful. That’s something that is just as important to me as gunplay in shooters. If you use a spell and it doesn’t feel as strong as it is, it takes away from the overall experience. In Skul, however, you can summon a giant meteor and feel the impact through the screen as you see your enemies get obliterated. Your slashes feel fast and satisfying. Your stomps feel heavy and strong. Your arrows are alright. I love the art style and the effects and while the music in the game is nothing special, it still adds to the experience, at least a little bit.

UwU it’s a witch and a cute one at that! OwO

But apart from that, there are also a few weaknesses to Skul… For starters, the major bosses you encounter feel nice when you beat them for the first time but they eventually turn into annoying roadblocks instead of actual foes that you need to slay. They still are challenging but I would have liked to see modifiers in the game that make the bosses more challenging or add unique attacks to it, similar to how Hades does it or even Risk of Rain 2. At the same time, I’d like to make another comparison to Hades as that game showed how well story-telling can be done in Roguelites, so it’s kind of bad to see how poorly the (rather obvious) story is executed in Skul. I either would have liked a better story with more interesting dialogue or just no story at all. It’s a bit of a bummer but can’t be helped. 

I look so evil! I love it!

The characters in the game, though, are more than endearing and adorable. There is a shapeshifting witch and an ogre merchant as well as an evil druid that all help you out on your runs. Similarly, you get to free people and get rewarded for it and there are special encounters at times that are challenging but fun. The whole narrative of the bad guys (aka us, the skeletons, demons and the Demon King) actually being the good guys is something I love and adore and I want more of that. It’s nice to see a change of pace. The Pixel Art and Gameplay are amazing and while I would have liked a better story and more variety in the boss fights… and while some of the translation errors bother me at times, I can look past those weaknesses and say proudly that I love Skul: The Hero Slayer and that I can highly recommend it.

Cheers!

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

Indietail – Ape Out

When it comes to games, there are plenty of factors that make a good game great. In my opinion, you can have a relatively simple gameplay loop or relatively simple mechanics in a title and still make the experience incredible by adding your own style to it, giving the game personality, or by working with an interesting art style, nice animations, or even by working more on the soundtrack, the sound design, and the environment. A game that is doing all of that really well is Ape Out. Here’s my review!

Developer: Gabe Cuzzillo
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Genre: Beat 'em Up, Top-Down, Action, Indie
Release Date: February 28th, 2019
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC, Switch
Copy was purchased.

Ape Out is a beat ’em up game developed by Gabe Cuzzillo and published by Devolver Digital. As far as I know, it’s the first title by Cuzzillo but his work on the art and game design is phenomenal, to say the least. Some of the art was made by Bennet Foddy who you may know from VVVVVV, QWOP or Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy. And well, the soundtrack has been composed by Matt Boch, the former creative director of Dance Central. I’m starting here with the team because Bennett Foddy has been involved in plenty of interesting games and I kind of like that guy. Similarly, Matt Boch’s work on the game’s soundtrack is incredibly important for the game’s feel and presentation because of the way that Ape Out utilizes “emergent gameplay” and more importantly improvisation. 

In Ape Out, you control a gorilla who’s running through a maze while pushing, grabbing and evading gun-wielding enemies that are pursuing you. You’ve been caged and mistreated, so now you try to break out and achieve freedom. It’s simple but a lot of fun. The controls utilize only the AWSD keys for movement as well as the mouse buttons for your attacks. Gamepad controls feel good, too, although I preferred the keyboard controls. When you encounter enemies, you can simply run away, grab them and use them as a shield or you simply push, punch and slam them into walls. The Free Jazz soundtrack that accompanies you throughout the game interacts with your in-game actions, resulting in the experience becoming even more fun. Be it the drums, the piano or the sax, there are plenty of instruments in the soundtrack and they all seem to improvise and work together, blend together and have their own little solos. Free Jazz is amazing. It’s creative and innovative at times, which is why I personally absolutely adore this game’s soundtrack. The snares that you hear when you kill enemies, when you push them or when you slam them into the wall make it seem as if you’re part of the crew that is playing there on a stage. It’s fun and engaging. This is what emergent gameplay is about. Games like Untitled Goose Game did it before and honestly, it still works and brings life into a world that seemingly is only inhabited by you and your pursuers. But the emergent gameplay aside, the soundtrack is even more important because it reflects the gameplay quite well. Free Jazz is all about improvisation and creativity, just like Ape Out.

In Ape Out, there isn’t just one solution to all of your problems. Levels are similar but there seems to be a procedurally generated element to it. Each time you restart, die or pick the game up again, levels are slightly different, enemy placements change and the game feels different. Because of that, you’ll need to reevaluate your strategy non-stop. Do you slam enemies into the wall or do you just run leaving your enemies behind? Do you tackle them head-on or do you strategically take them out one by one? In one case, I grabbed one of the shotgun-wielding enemies and used him as a shield. Enemies that you grab, fire off a shot that can hit their allies. I used that to my advantage, taking out enemies with machine guns before eventually pushing my human meatshield into a crowd and taking out more enemies. I then proceeded to hurl legs, arms and torsos at enemies to give me some time to grab them, throw them, punch them again. Improvisation is key. Not everything goes to plan and while the game can be difficult at times, I never found myself getting frustrated. I got closer and closer to my goal and re-evaluated my strategy, reflected on what went wrong and more often than not spend many more tries to get that perfect goal.

But not only does the soundtrack add to the experience, but also the art direction that the game was taken in. Ape Out is incredibly stylized. Blood splatters are colourful while the world is dark at times. There are bright and vibrant colours wherever you go. The game changes colours frequently, plays with the environment and adds different mechanics to the game that add a different look to the game. The top-down perspective makes it easy for you to enjoy this art style a lot more while you’re still able to discern enemies, weapons and the like. There are 32 levels in total and they all are connected in one way or another. Instead of featuring a world-map of sorts, the game celebrates the jazzy soundtrack by splitting the game up into four disks with an A-side and a B-side, each. The four disks are presented with four different album covers, thematically tied to the chapters covered in the disks. The art style that the album covers have been taken into, or maybe even the whole game, kind of reminds me of 60s movies and Saul Bass’ typical graphical work. I love this minimalistic approach to the game. I really do. It’s amazing.

And, well, Ape Out is frankly a great game. It combines destruction and percussion, adds style to it, and lots of satisfaction… and it does it bloody well! I can highly recommend it. Try it out!

Cheers!

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

Indietail – A Short Hike

With A Short Hike, adamgryu managed to create a wonderful experience that I’ll never experience again in the same way I did just a while ago. The tunes by Mark Sparkling complement the carefree journey you embark on phenomenally and I absolutely adore this short little game that is all about exploration, although I also associate a certain kind of sadness with this sort of experience… but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves here.

Developer: adamgryu
Publisher: adamgryu
Genre: Exploration, Indie, Adventure
Release Date: July 30th, 2019
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC, Switch
Copy was purchased.

In A Short Hike, you take control of Claire, a young canary that visits her aunt at Hawk Peak Provincial Park. There she’s waiting for a call but can’t help but notice that she doesn’t have any phone reception… Hence, she sets off on a journey to trek towards the summit of Hawk Peak Mountain in hopes that the reception there is better… but despite Hawk Peak Provincial Park’s somewhat rural appearance, there are plenty of things to do on your way to the summit, which is why A Short Hike isn’t exactly about reaching a certain goal or about reaching the summit of the mountain… but rather about the journey there.

Since we’re playing as a bird, we can fly up into the air, glide and dive through the valley and reach areas that we haven’t been to before. Reaching the summit should be rather easy, right? Well, our stamina is kind of a limiter in that regard, which is why we have to collect golden feathers around the islands and complete quests to acquire some of them. One of the earliest encounters we find is a small frog at the beach who’s trying to build a sandcastle but is struggling to do so due to him not having the proper tool for his endeavour. Instead of a regular toy shovel, he’s using a full-sized shovel, which makes detailed work a bit hard for the little guy. Similarly, there is an artist around the map who is trying to find the perfect spot to paint a nice picture to submit to a gallery while another person is trying to collect shells. There are countless encounters around the map and a lot of activities to partake in. You can learn to fish or appreciate racing someone. You can collect hats, sticks and coins or even go on a treasure hunt. There are a lot of things to do but nobody forces you to. Whenever you complete a quest, you’ll earn a reward of sorts that in return can help you reach the summit easier. Similarly, you can find golden feathers that expand your stamina bit by bit throughout the map, resulting in you being able to reach places that you haven’t been able to reach before.

Exploration is rewarding and relaxing. I honestly forgot why exactly I wanted to reach the summit but then I got there and… it was nice. I was still able to continue with the game and fly around, collecting coins and going on fishing sprees… but the short hike really is rather short, though the many tasks and activities you encounter along the way can give you a bit more playtime, for sure. As I mentioned before, A Short Hike isn’t exactly about reaching the summit but more about enjoying the way there. The journey is the goal and the goal is the journey, you could say.

It kind of reminded me of how I would go out and explore the town as a kid and just go around town and see where different streets would lead to. I’d end up in a forest, eventually, or find a shortcut to a place I liked. I also ended up enjoying the exploration bit and the hiking, travelling and walking around a lot more than me actually finding something. Sure, when you explore a lot and end up finding a secret or a reference to a different game in A Short Hike, it’s amazing and rather rewarding but there were times where I was just hoping that the map would reveal even more passages and areas that I haven’t explored yet. I was just hoping that I’d end up spending all day exploring this peaceful and colourful world that I found myself in. Maybe it was that sort of nostalgia that I felt and referred to before… maybe some sort of escapism… but sadly, I had to return to the real world eventually again, which is why it was nice to find refuge in a little adventure game like this for once.

But while the exploration is fun and all, it also comes with a few points that made the experience at times nearly a bit frustrating. Not super frustrating and not so much that I’d have to ragequit or anything… but it could have been done better… For starters, you can’t really move the map around too much which can be a bit frustrating. You’re semi-locked into this one perspective with the map changing the direction a bit when you reach certain spots or when you dive/fly around. That’s a bit tricky to use and can put a damper on the experience in my opinion. At the same time, I loved exploring the map but found it hard to navigate through it due to the lack of a map. Sure, you can get a compass if you want to but it’s not exactly the same as navigating through an area with a bird’s view map of sorts that you could put markers on if you wanted to. That’s something that I personally would have loved in a game like this.

Other than that, though, I absolutely adore this chill and relaxing, gentle and beautiful game that frankly allows you to calm down and enjoy the ride as you move on. It’s peaceful and lovely. The art style and the mellow tunes are perfect for this sort of game and if you ever feel like you need a change of pace from the constant distress that the outside world is putting us under, I can highly recommend this game to you… But I need to warn you that while the first playthrough (around 3 hours at most, I’d say) is great, every other playthrough may not be the same anymore, which is sad in a way. A Short Hike is a short game that comes with a nice experience at a reasonable price. In terms of replayability, it is nice to explore the map, trek along the many roads, or attempt a speedrun, but you won’t be able to spend hundreds of hours in here.

Cheers!

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

Indietail – Luck be a Landlord

Sometimes life’s rough and you’ll struggle to pay the rent, afford food and all of that. There are times like that where you’re desperate and have to… take a gamble or get evicted. In Luck be a Landlord, your landlady is an asshole that raises the rent every time you pay it… because capitalism! Hence, it’s your job to gamble away, quite literally, at a slot machine located in your apartment, so that you can afford the rent and keep surviving or even quite potentially beat the landlady/landlord and chase them out!

Developer: TrampolineTales
Publisher: TrampolineTales
Gerne: Slot Machine, Roguelike, Deckbuilding
Release Date: January 8th, 2021
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Copy was purchased.

Luck be a Landlord is a casual Roguelite-Deckbuilder where you spin the slot machine and gamble away while building a strong deck, collecting items, and raking in the cash! There are a ton of synergies and elements to the game and it’s a satisfying experience overall, in my opinion, especially due to the game design.

You see, in Luck be a Landlord you use coins to spin the machine and earn money based on your symbols. Some symbols earn you a set amount of money, like cats and dogs that grant you one coin. Meanwhile, others interact with each other, destroy other symbols, multiply other symbols’ worth, or multiply their own based on certain conditions, like the Geologist that destroys ores and pebbles and stuff and adds one more coin to their own value, which can snowball by quite a bit. After every spin, you can add one symbol to your “deck” or skip. There are also other mechanics in place like Rerolls or Removal orbs that allow you to remove symbols from your deck or reroll to further change the shape of it and what you’re going for… or rather to increase profits and remove tiles you may not need anymore.

There are a lot of ways to play the game. There are a lot of strategies… and quite recently, they added a bunch of fun ones like the Holy Water that removes the Hex’ negative effects but still allowing to generate money. It’s a nice item that makes the Hex a viable option now. Similarly, you can go for builds centred around bees, flowers, honey, and bears… or maybe aim for a Geologist-build where your oysters produce pearls that your Geologist can eat to add more value to himself… or you go for a build centred around destruction, etc. Every time you pay the rent, you also have to select one of three items that work passively and help you out by increasing symbols’ values or that give you other effects. There are a lot of options and more often than not you’ll have to improvise to get to your goal. After all, every run is random. The rent is due every few spins but every spin is randomised and so is every selection of items and symbols. Luck be a Landlord is in essence purely about RNG and deckbuilding, which is fun, especially due to it being paired with its simple premise and the satisfying gameplay loop.

Holy Water makes it so that Hexes have no effect but still give coins.

What I love about Luck be a Landlord is that runs don’t ever last super long. Once you know the tiles well enough, you’ll be able to dash through the game quite easily and get through the slow early game quite easily and rather fast, too. Longer runs do exist, especially when you snowball out of control… but once you beat it, it probably won’t continue forever, if that makes sense. The difficulty of Luck be a Landlord comes from staying ahead of the curve. You’ll need to make enough money each spin to get to your rent, but you’ll ultimately also want to have some way of snowballing or maybe saving up money, even. Similar to other roguelikes, there are certain points you want to hit in your build… and once you’ve beaten the game once, you’ll be able to continue the game on a different floor with a higher rent at certain points, hence adjusting these aforementioned points, I mentioned, if that makes sense. It’s nice to see different modifiers getting introduced into the game that make the game more difficult while still keeping the premise the same, although I’d wish there’d be more varied ones like modifiers that change the tiles you find or that change the premise kind of. It’d be interesting to see weekly challenges or stuff like that as well. Maybe we’ll get some of that in the future!

But from good stuff to bad stuff: Luck be a Landlord is addictive… I mean, it’s gambling after all. I may be overthinking this a little bit but it is a slot machine simulation after all… so… it’s not good… and while you’re not earning real money or anything like that, it is still gambling, in a nutshell… So that’s my biggest critique for the game. I’m not too sure about how I feel about this… And apart from that, I hate the music. I hate it a lot. It’s alright at first and then it becomes worse and worse as it loops and loops more and more for longer and longer… you get my point. It’s repetitive like the gameplay and while the runs themselves are still quite a lot of fun every now and then, the music makes it a lot less enjoyable… to the point where I like to turn it off completely.

"You've reached the end of the Early Access version! Congratulations! This time your landlord was trampled by rabbits! Floor 2 unlocked!"

If you like roguelike-deckbuilders that are “not like other games” then Luck be a Landlord may be the game for you. You can also pet the dog btw. If you like doing that, this game is a winner. I’m sure you’re going to enjoy it. It gets updated quite frequently and despite it being in Early Access, I haven’t encountered any bugs yet. There’s even a countdown to the next update on the title screen, which is a nice gimmick, in my opinion. If you can look past the fact that this game basically glorifies gambling (again, I’m overthinking this a bit here), it can be very enjoyable… but I personally have some mixed feelings on that subject despite still enjoying the game.

Cheers!

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

A Stray Sheep on Reviews and Daily Blogging – 100 Days in a Row!

The last time, I made a post like this was in February. Today I wanted to talk about Daily Blogging and things I’ve noticed. Currently, I’m on a 102-day posting streak, so it’s been nearly 50 posts since I last did an update on this challenge of myself. Overall, I’m really enjoying it. It’s fun to see the blog’s readership grow and to see that we’re already halfway to March’s numbers, despite it still being the beginning of April. I mean, not that it matters too much but it’s nice to see how well certain blog posts are received compared to others and how many impressions my Steam Curator page, for instance, is leaving on certain games. Very nice!

One thing I noticed is that I’m falling a bit behind on reviews as of late because university’s starting again and stuff’s getting busy and overall, I need more time for a review post compared to a post like this here with just my rambling and fewer screenshots and a lot less editing going on. I already have a review scheduled for next Tuesday, though, and I can’t post it now due to the embargo that the publisher set. Hence, I’m looking forward to preparing a blog post on that day for the next day and potentially bank up on blog posts. Having one in the can would be lovely, especially with how busy things will be starting next week… Not having to worry about a post every day could also probably help out a lot with my routines. I enjoy writing these up in the evening but if I had a fixed schedule with posts in the mornings for instance that I’ve written the evening before, I’d end up freeing myself a bit more. It’s basically like procrastination but backwards… Recrastination? Doing everything early? Well, not everything… but you know.

I mean, I really like publishing reviews on my blog and would love to do that more often but as it is right now, I’ll have to play a game for a longer time, write down notes, write up the post, edit the post, add screenshots and formatting, and then I need to handle social media for that post (aka the Steam Curator page, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Discord) – and despite the latter taking a lot less time than the other steps, it’s all a lot of “work” or rather “effort”, without any negative connotations. After all, I love this. I love sharing my thoughts. I love bringing attention to small games like that. My blog may not be the biggest in the world but I like having certain standards and upholding them…

…and that latter point is me throwing shade at some bigger outlets out there. When it comes to reviews, I tend to not care about the big magazines too much. Sure, I may read an article by some of the bigger outlets or read the title of a review but I tend to go for small bloggers I trust rather than a big outlet that is getting tons of keys every day and that basically only plays it for an hour or so before writing up that post. Games nowadays seem to have the fun parts front-loaded into the first few hours… and then the issues arise later on down the line, resulting in these big outlets getting these keys, playing them for an hour or so at most (presumably) and then writing raving reviews about it. My review on Per Aspera talked about issues that nobody seems to care about because they probably haven’t played the game that far. While I like the game, I wouldn’t recommend it because of those issues, yet a lot of bigger outlets’ reviews that I’ve checked out after writing mine seem to either just not care about the problems in the game or they just don’t know about them, which is an issue.

And I know that written review may be a bit outdated, too. With everything turning towards streaming and video creation, written reviews that take a while to read are becoming rarer and rarer. People want to rather listen to a podcast (working on that!) or YouTube videos (planning for that!) instead of reading a 1k-word long review about a game they never heard about from a guy they hardly know at all. So, it makes sense that bigger outlets end up trying to milk posts for reviews by publishing a lot of shorter ones with less effort or less playtime… There are exceptions to that rule, of course, and I didn’t really do too much research on everyone’s playtime, but I noticed indicators for a short playtime in a lot of posts, basically. People not talking about the problems in a game or frankly mentioning “negative stuff” from the early hours, for instance. Before I used to write about games, I’d read up on these titles on all sorts of sites, then I’d end up buying it and playing it for myself only to then notice that it’s actually not that good… but I was past the point of refunding it and regretted the purchase. Alas, I lost my trust in some of the bigger sites and don’t really give a damn about their opinions anymore. If I were to do the same to be able to ship out more reviews, I’d end up potentially betraying the trust of readers that actually trust my opinions and my taste in games, resulting in me losing those readers… and what’s worse, wasting their time and money, making them regret things potentially, and making them sad.

Maybe I’m just overthinking this a bit too much but what I’m trying to say is that I want to post more reviews but I’ll have to figure out a schedule for how to do things and when to write when to edit, and when to post these reviews. Maybe I’ll switch from “doing everything in one day” to “doing a little bit every day and working on a different post on different days”. I think I have a plan when it comes to that and how to do that… Obviously, I could also do more guest posts. Obviously, I could hire people to write for me or have other authors as well… or even a ghostwriter, haha… but I won’t do that. This is my personal gig and I like doing this. More guest posts would be great but I’m not planning on actually having a permanent team in place anytime soon or turning this into some bigger operation like that.

Let’s sum it up: I alluded to working on a podcast-type of thing as well as potential YouTube content, and I’ve been talking about my thoughts on big review sites and why I don’t want to do certain things aka my values when it comes to writing reviews as well as why that doesn’t work too well with posting reviews steadily.

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 – Osteoblasts

I honestly wanted to write about this title for a while now… In fact, you may have actually read my post on the demo before and then after I published it, the developers hit me up and I got a review key for the full game… and then I’ve been playing it for a few hours… and then I tried other classes… And now we’re here, way too late, and I’m lowkey-addicted to Osteoblasts. That’s a good thing. I like playing RPGs but I’ve been a bit burned out from the genre since it always seemed like the same thing being made with different storylines… and Osteoblasts does appeal to me on a lot of levels and makes it seem new and fresh.

Developer: Moonana, Anglerman
Publisher: Moonana
Genre: RPG, Turn-Based Combat, Adventure
Release Date: February 12th, 2021
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Copy was sent to me by the developer.

I mean, the premise is simple. You’re a skeleton, you get revived by a Witch Cat, and now you… do stuff. You fight against dogs, skeletons, ghosts, demons and elephants. You level up your character, equip new randomised gear, fight enemies, crawl through dungeons, and eventually, you’ll still understand nothing. The gameplay is satisfying, the story not so much. My issue with the story is that it’s just super confusing. On the one hand, the dialogue sometimes is hard to understand and whenever there is supposed to be a revelation of sorts, the NPCs just drop more riddles and mysteries onto you, making the story less of a satisfying experience, in my opinion. The gameplay, on the other hand, is excellent and while some of the dialogue can be hard to understand, most of the jokes and puns actually land and made me chuckle.

Btw, you’ll need to use your bonemark to cast spells/skills! Ain’t that fun?

As you rise from your grave, you get to choose between six different classes ranging from the Shaman to the Scavenger to the Stranger. I would have liked it if you were shown example skills or maybe more info on the different characters. The game certainly is lacking in the clarity department and leaves you hanging when it comes to explanations regarding your class or skills. I noticed that weapons would have similar names but have randomised skills and stats. This is a great thing, in my opinion, as it adds replayability and lets you customise your class a lot more. In the same way, you have a lot of different stats that influence combat in a plethora of ways from enhancing your attacks to letting you counter attacks or making you heal more. Stats also determine whether or not you can draw out the full potential of your weapons. Skills often are tied to certain stats. Buffing up stats in combat using spells, however, can also enable you to use the according skills. Overall, I like that mechanic a lot but it took me ages until I figured it out. The manual didn’t really help me in-game and I feel like the tutorial should’ve given me more of a helping hand, even if I hate tutorials that hold your hand too much…

Being able to use your skills only when you meet the requirements is interesting since it also influences how you gear up for certain encounters. Equipping different gear shapes your character in a lot of ways, giving you more attacks and helping you out stat-wise. If enemies use debuffs on you, you may lose out on the stat-requirement for certain attacks, which adds a bit more depth to combat. Just like how they can stop you from bashing their heads in, you can also debuff enemies and reduce their stats, preventing them from returning the favour. It’s interesting and fun. I like that a lot about this game. Similarly, you attack enemies, they have a chance to counter you. They attack you, you get to counter them. It’s great to see that rules apply to all characters in the game and it’s refreshing that they have the same chances at taking jabs at you, raising the difficulty a bit more.

Exploration is fun. You don’t need to travel far away to get to different parts of the world and friendly villages. There are a lot of Metroidvania-ish roadblocks in the game that urge you to find other ways to get to the next area like keys that you get from different boss battles or boulders you need to mine with pickaxes. It’s interesting and exploration gets generally rewarded since you’ll unlock shortcuts as well along the way. Through Exploration you also find statues of the old gods. There are six different gods that you can pray to earn bonuses to your stats. On every level up, you get to pray to one of three gods that each grant you two stat increases. Meanwhile, the aforementioned statues grant you those regardless of the level up and also can give you passive bonuses, a checkpoint, fast travel points or even shops, making them quite the reward for exploration.

My favourite part about Osteoblasts, however, is the presentation and the personality that comes with it. The game’s soundtrack is amazing and adds a lot to the atmosphere, especially since the world’s tracks play in battles, too, making the changes from exploration to battle not too abrupt. Similarly, the art style is phenomenal with abstract background art in battles, cute pixel art in the overworld and amazing pixelated character models in the actual turn-based battles. The animations for the different attacks range from simple sword swings to spell effects that appear on the target. The sound design is fun and adds a lot to the game.

But yeah, clarity is the big downside to Osteoblasts. I had to try a lot and fail at it until I figured out that my stats are the reason behind me being able to use a specific spell… or not being able to use it. Similarly, I’d love to see the debuffs and explanations about the enemy by hovering over it, so that I can plan the battles even more… but the game doesn’t have that. And I’d love it if I could get more information on items but, again, the game doesn’t have that. Once you find out about things, you can have a great time,… but until then it can be frustrating unless you catch on quickly about how things work in this game.

Still, despite the clarity issues, I had and am still having a great time with this game. Osteoblasts breathes life into a genre that has been quite dead to me for quite a while now and is delivering a satisfying experience despite its shortcomings in terms of clarity and plot. I would say that you’re making a grave mistake (pun intended) if you don’t at least try out the demo. The full game certainly has a lot to offer and I can highly recommend it.

Cheers!

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

Indietail – Iris and the Giant

While it has been a bit of a taboo to talk about Mental Health publicly in the past, the world is slowly opening up to the destigmatization of these rather important topics, such as Burnout, Anxieties, Depression, and other issues and emotions that humans tend to feel when they aren’t at their best. I think it’s important for the media to tackle these topics head-on and to spread awareness on how to identify them or how to deal with it. What do you do when one of your family members or friends is depressed or is experiencing a panic attack? How can you help them? Questions like these tend to remain unanswered since it’s rather hard to find a universal approach to all individuals’ issues. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to this kind of stuff but by sharing experiences and talking about these things, we actually can understand each other better and potentially help each other out. 

Games are a great medium to do this. By introducing these topics into the world of games, you can make them more approachable and interesting, in a way, while also sharing experiences or letting players experience these situations, thoughts and emotions, even if it’s only a little. Games like Night in the WoodsFlorence, and GRIS, to name a few, are really good at this. They share stories about grief, depression, loss, and other topics, and do so in a way that is more approachable for people that aren’t necessarily experienced in that area. Today’s review is about another title that is doing an amazing job with the destigmatization of Mental Health topics, Iris and the Giant.

Developer: Louis Rigaud 
Publisher: Goblinz Publishing, Maple Whispering Limited, Mugen Creations 
Genre: Roguelite, Strategy, Card Battler, Deckbuilding, Indie 
Release Date: February 27th, 2020 
Reviewed on: PC 
Available on: PC, Switch, Android 
Copy was purchased. 

Iris and the Giant tells the story of a girl named Iris who is struggling with anxieties and depression and who suddenly finds herself on the river Styx, which inside of her mind links the imaginary world and reality. There she has to face her inner demons, fears and sorrows in order to climb a mountain and overcome them.

In its heart, this game is a roguelike deck builder with some CCG and RPG mechanics. It’s an interesting mix with a cute art style and melancholic and crippling topics. Your will is the only thing that is guiding you through this world and thus, it is your lifeline. To protect your will from the demons you’re facing, you’ve got to use a plethora of melee weapons, ranged weapons, shields, heals, and spells in turn-based combat to protect yourself and march forward. The game itself is set up in a bunch of lanes from where enemies and objects come from. Hovering over anything tells you everything you need to know immediately and due to the turn-based nature of the game, you’ve got all the time in the world to overthink your strategy and the potential next move. Your deck can be customised along the journey by adding cards and upgrades as you move on. If you end up dying, you can start a new run with the new cards you unlocked, the skills you selected, and imaginary friends that function as a handicap.

What I really like about Iris and the Giant is the customization aspect of the decks and runs. You can opt-in for a lot of different builds and use the skills that you unlock along the way to further specialise in different aspects. What cards do you want to see more of? The choice is yours to make, no matter what you do and whether or not you decide to rely on these “memories” or to go in completely naked! In a way, it is very intuitive and beginner-friendly but then it also has a big learning curve and some real challenge to it, which is to be expected.

It’s a roguelike after all, so it is supposed to be challenging. While the tutorial actually explains a lot of things rather well, it took me ages to fully grasp everything. The game’s principle is easy to understand but hard to master and offers a lot of skill expression, in a way. 

The demons you’re fighting represent fears and issues that Iris has and struggles with and are inspired by creatures from Greek mythology, which is really cool. The story is told through the eyes of Iris in a rather sophisticated way, which is quite nice to see. I don’t think you’d expect a game that looks this cute to talk about some heavier topics so eloquently while portraying inner demons as actual enemies that you need to battle. The story is melancholic and grim at first but eventually becomes rather heartwarming and wholesome, which is incredible, and while the issues presented here are rather real, it all still is quite a lot of fun, which is important to me. In case you’re not up for an emotional ride, you can just skip the cutscenes and play the game, but if you like the story, the game offers you decreased difficulty and lots of handicaps to make it easier for you to see the ending of it. On top of that, there is also a harder difficulty for fans of the game as well as different game modes and challenges to complete, so overall, it’s quite accessible to different types of players.

And I haven’t even touched on the minimalistic style and the great soundtrack as well as the fabulous voice acting. I love the colours and the art style that the game has going for it. There are some colder areas with more blue-ish colours as well as some brighter ones representing hell, for instance, where you have fiery enemies and warm colours. The atmosphere changes as you go on, and I really like what direction the developer took the game in. It’s lovely to see a game this polished, although I’ve also got some minor issues with it.

For starters, the isometric style is quite interesting but could’ve been handled differently. Sometimes, you don’t see what’s behind certain enemies, which can lead to you potentially missing out on loot or maybe even not seeing an enemy that has been lurking there… On top of that, there is also the issue of the sound settings not being that well-designed. You can turn the game sound and the music on or off but there isn’t much of a menu here. Luckily, the graphics settings aren’t needed here since this should run on even the oldest laptop… but I still would have liked to see more options, especially in regards to the colours used in the game and so on.

But overall, I don’t think that the cons outweigh the pros of this game. I really enjoyed it and liked the approach the developer took in regards to describing depression and anxiety while also creating a fun game. If you’re into card battlers/roguelikes, I can highly recommend Iris and the Giant to you. Even if you’re new to the genre, you may still like this game for the lovely soundtrack, the cute art style, the amazing story and the well-made strategy elements.

Cheers!

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

Indietail – Breathedge

After your grandfather’s funeral ship crashed, you’re stranded in space. Just you, your immortal chicken and an AI/board computer that tells way too many jokes. Welcome to Breathedge, the “ironic space survival game” by Redruins Softwork that is releasing its version 1.0 today! I’ve been playing it on and off ever since it came out in Early Access two years and a bit more ago… and as time went on, I really wanted to like but… you’ll see.

Developer: RedRuins Softworks
Publisher: HypeTrain Digital
Genre: Open World, Survival, Space, Sci-Fi, Adventure, Sandbox
Release Date: February 25th, 2021
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Copy was purchased.

In Breathedge, you’ve got to survive hunger, thirst, radiation, freezing temperatures and the lack of oxygen in outer space. Easy enough. Throughout your playthrough, you’ll find resources floating around that you then can craft into tools and equipment to venture further into space or to access new types of resources, such as rubber, lead or paint. Your goal is first and foremost survival… but you also want to get to safety, which is why you’ll have to find ways to reach distant points of interest, such as an extraction point that is way too far away.

In the beginning, your oxygen reserves are limited. When you venture out from your shipwreck, you’ll find yourself quickly running out of oxygen, which is why you’ll have to come back to your ship and replenish your reserves. While this is somewhat interesting, especially with the fluid and fun movement in space, it also makes things rather tedious. Collecting resources and having to come back to base every time you run out of oxygen is annoying and while I get that resource gathering is key in these type of games… I don’t see a point in tool durability and having to craft a completely new drill whenever its durability/battery runs out… It’s quite maddening, to say the least.

Eventually, you’ll venture out and find the blueprint for the oxygen station that you can then use to set up balloons that you can refill your oxygen at, making the journey and resource gathering less annoying. You’ll also craft other upgrades for your suit to withstand the radiation or to increase your oxygen reserves, but generally speaking, I feel like it all is more leaning into the annoying to the tedious side of things instead of actually adding value to the experience. The upgrades you can get for your tools merely function as some sort of band-aid that lessens the frustration… but it is not enough, in my opinion. Getting rid of the durability mechanic completely would have made the game more enjoyable in the early stages. As mentioned before, you’ll also need to watch out for your food and hydration, which is standard-survival-stuff… Breathedge doesn’t completely re-invent the wheel or the formula for survival with these mechanics. It just does things because other games did the same things, which isn’t very exciting.

Now, where Breathedge truly shines is actually the exploration and the presentation. As far as exploration goes, you’ll find different wrecks of different spaceships floating around, functioning as eye-catchers that will allow you to pin-point more points of interest. Your oxygen reserves are, as mentioned before, limited, so you’ll need to test your limits, find something good to utilize in your next exploration attempts, and get back to base. Slowly, you’ll learn where to find different resources and where you have to go later once you have more oxygen available. It is very much a trial and error kind of thing but I personally felt as if it was rather interesting and somewhat innovative… until I realised that Subnautica and other games did it before as well.

As far as the presentation goes, Breathedge delivers really well. The art style is rather pretty, outer space looks amazing, and eventually, you’ll unlock base-building and you’ll be able to add windows to stare out into the void… which is just beautiful when you play with the highest settings. The soundtrack features some interesting tracks… and some rather pretty tracks… all in all rather satisfying… if it weren’t for the AI thing that narrates your journey.

Now, I’ll have to mention that the developers label the game as an “ironic” space-survival game. See it as Subnautica… but less serious. You’ll find yourself in a setting that is truly difficult to handle with depleting resources and oxygen troubles… but the AI that accompanies you constantly mocks the game and tropes of the Survival genre and the gaming industry, resulting in the whole setting being rather laughable. The plot itself is somewhat presentable and fun… but the AI makes it feel less enjoyable by constantly cracking jokes at anything and everything. Breathedge opens with a message about how the game is just trying to entertain and how it doesn’t want to offend anyone… but… the jokes are hit or miss.

Most of the jokes that the AI tells you or that you encounter in the game are seriously offensive and inappropriate. There are some good ones here and there with references to Mass Effect or other games… There are jabs that the game takes at other games but generally speaking, you’ll find yourself trying to ignore the jokes as much as possible. The notice at the beginning references some real offensive and inappropriate jokes in the game that aren’t fun or anything. I’m alright with explicit or even some more offensive humour if it’s within certain borders (“haha, like East Germany in”… Okay, I’ll stop.) but this game is just trying too hard to be offensive and thinks that it’s alright to do so if you mention it at the beginning of the game. At one point, I found the game making fun of men that wear makeup while at another part the game makes fun of “libtards”… Generally, I didn’t enjoy a lot of the jokes because they were tasteless or silly. Crafting an accelerator powered by farts is something that grade-schoolers would laugh at but they are hardly the target audience of the game.

Apart from that the game also suffers from pacing. You’ll find yourself held hostage and interrogated by coffin-robots that want you to tell everything that happens but as time goes on, you completely forget about it, which is just… weird. The resource grinding, the durability of tools, the constant trips back and forth for oxygen, food and water,… there are so many things that slow you down considerably and it makes the game just feel very slow to the point where you lose interest in playing more of it. When you die, you’ll have to pray that there was an auto-save an hour ago or something, or you’ll quickly end up ragequitting because of all the progress you lost. Alas, I just save every few minutes in case something happens that makes me want to reload the save again… or in case I die… and all in all, I really wanna like the game but it’s just not that fun unless you only play it on and off…

And again, the game is trying so hard to be like other games but also not be like other games. I feel like they could have tried out more innovative ideas regarding food and oxygen or other mechanics of the game. Breathedge frankly only goes where other games have gone before and it doesn’t really try to do things differently or be crazy and creative around its systems. It’s only a small step for the gaming industry but a big step for this Indie Studio. I mean, RedRuins Softworks are a Russian studio whose first project, Breathedge, has gained a lot of

Hope you enjoyed this post. It’s a bummer that the game has so many shortcomings and I kind of enjoyed it after ignoring the jokes… but I just feel like I can’t get into it for too long unless I take some long breaks in-between sessions. Oh well…

Cheers!

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

Indietail – In Other Waters

It’s always a pleasure to see well-executed world-building in games and media. Reading up on lore entries, piecing together a world and exploring every nook and cranny for potential hints at what holds the world together at its core (yes, that’s a Faust reference). It’s a pleasure to see games create an immersive experience that enables exploration and narration in different ways than what we’re used to, and while “immersion” has become more of a buzzword as of late, I’m more than happy to have played through “In Other Waters“, game that made me understand better what immersion actually is.

Developer: Jump Over The Age
Publisher: Fellow Traveller
Genre: Non-Violent, Sci-Fi, Underwater, Adventure, Exploration, Simulation
Release Date: April 3rd, 2020
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC, Switch
Copy was purchased.

In “In Other Waters”, you play as an Artificial Intelligence (or A.I. for short) that is guiding a stranded xenobiologist through a beautiful and mysterious alien ocean. Explore the depths of Gliese 677Cc and help Ellery Vas uncover the secrets that lie beneath the secret. After being called to this planet by Minae Nomura, Ellery finds herself in an abandoned base in an ocean of secrets with only you around to keep her company.

“In Other Waters”‘s non-violent Sci-Fi story is portrayed through the eyes of Ellery/EV who’s trying to find and rescue her old partner, Minae. To do so, she needs you, an A.I., to guide her through the ocean. Alas, you need to scan the environment, find points of interest and navigate towards them. You are experiencing the game through the UI, rendering the world around you in a topographic visual style. You only see the UI, which is interesting as a design choice. I found it rather intriguing and really enjoyed this take on exploration. These overlays, buttons and features at first feel clunky and hard to navigate through but eventually, these menus actually feel somewhat homely and suddenly, you actually know how to move through the world swiftly and what to look out for.

As time goes on, you’ll encounter life on this distant planet. Creatures roam the area, plants inhabit different biomes and areas. A click on them reveals information on their behaviours and once you’ve scanned multiple specimens, Ellery will end up naming them and adding theses to the taxonomy as well as observations and quite possibly even a sketch of them. The game actively encourages you to collect samples of plants and other matters by tying them into the world-building or introducing gameplay mechanics around them. Some of the plant seeds can be used to open pathways while others can protect you from vicious currents.

Since you’re the UI of Ellery’s dive suit, you’ve also got to manage your oxygen and power reserves and keep an eye on them as you explore more and more. Your lifelines can be resupplied with plant matter and animal tissues, among other things. There are also other ways to create safe zones or help you out in the game and I found these interactions rather amazing as they added value to what you found out about the world and to how the world works. Frankly, you make an observation of the world around you and make use of that observation, which is a rather interesting take on gameplay, but I would have loved to see more of those in the game apart from the three or four that you have in there.

The immersion is further enhanced by the fact that different areas look differently in the UI. In the abyss of the oceans, there is little to no light, so your sensors can’t pick up on your surroundings that well, resulting in your UI being darker. In other areas, the colour of your UI changes completely due to rust and other materials covering your lamps and tinting them. It’s an interesting mechanic and with the bright colours that usually make up the world, I feel like these UI colour changes add a bit more to the world. It kind of makes sense, after all. You’re a program, a machine, after all, so you get influenced by that kind of stuff.

You are Ellery’s eyes and legs in this world, controlling every move and action. But you’re also Ellery’s friend and only companion in this somewhat depressing world. Frequently, Ellery talks about the observations she makes and her feelings on the events happening to you and her. Her discoveries are shared with you. In a way, it reminds me of Robinson Crusoe’s ball that acts as if his only friend for the early days before he eventually meets Friday. Talking to you keeps Ellery sane to the point where she asks you questions on speculations and theories, even if you’re just an AI. She asks for your input at times and you can answer with just a no or a yes… but while your options are limited in that way, it feels truly meaningful when you get a response from EV and when you actually can communicate with her and help her out from time to time. This aspect of the game felt really meaningful and awesome to me.

The gameplay mechanics range from research and exploration to these brief interactions with Ellery. You can read up on logs written by Ellery whenever you’re in your base or you can dive into the waters to collect samples and complete the taxonomy. In the lab, you’re able to analyse matters and unlock more entries for the taxonomy, too. Nothing’s ever forced and you can go on with the exploration and the story whenever you want to. This sort of pacing felt incredibly well-executed. If you don’t like the research, for instance, you can just go on with exploration or the story. Dying brings you back to a nearby checkpoint with no losses, which is quite nice. At times, I wanted to find out more about the story… at other times, I just wanted to roam the area more and find out about the world and see places I haven’t been to. When I died, I got set back a bit on the map but it didn’t feel too bad or frustrating, which is great as frustration would have ruined the experience for me.

All in all, I really enjoyed the experience and was able to play through “In Other Waters” after about eight hours. Depending on how much you explore and how long you spend in different areas, you may find yourself spending more time on this title. The soundtrack is amazing, the game is pretty, the story is interesting, and the world… is alive. Being the A.I. and seeing the world through that UI makes it all fit together and enables you to experience the game differently from how other games would have handled it and while I obviously haven’t been sucked into the game completely, I’d still call this “immersion”. I’m sure there is more to the term than just that but all in all, I can’t stress enough how great this game is and how “In Other Waters” actually is a great example of what “immersion” actually is, in contrast to the buzzword that big magazines throw around in their reviews on Cyberpunk 2077, for instance.

Alas, that’s my recommendation for today. I really hope you enjoyed this review. After writing this review, I checked what the negative reviews on Steam had to say about this game and overall, I just feel like people got into the game expecting something else entirely. The story is conveyed through text. The UI is the main feature. The world feels lively. I don’t get why people play a non-violent game about exploration only to complain about it being “actionless”, which is a bit of a bummer… Certainly, it’s not a game for everyone but if you tackle it in the right way, it can be certainly worthwhile.

Cheers!

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

A Stray Sheep on Blogging Daily

I’m currently on a 54-day streak on Indiecator according to WordPress. It just kind of happened over the last few days of 2020 and I ended up sticking with it after seeing that I accumulated a few days of daily blogging. Alas, I figured: Why not challenge myself in 2021 and see for how long I can keep this up? 

And well, today I ended up having no prompt and no idea what to write about. Thus, my prompt for today is just about that: Daily blogging and the pickle I’m in. Kind of a cheat in a way, right? When you can’t think of anything to write about, write about the issue you’re facing, eh? 

Over the past 54 days, I’ve posted twelve game reviews, including one that was just edited by me (aka Quietschisto’s guest post). Daily Blogging kind of helped me with just going for any game and tackling it head-on. Write about it since you wanted to write about it for so long but haven’t had the chance to do so. My review on Hades, for instance, is one that has been sitting in the drafts for ages and that got changed over and over and over again. I would just rewrite it so many times, resulting in me never posting it until everyone has written about it already, which gave me less of a reason to write about it. In a way, daily blogging pushed me to abandon that idea of “everything having been said already” on certain titles. I mean, I even made a post on Crywank, a band that I love and adore SO MUCH but that hardly anyone knows about – or at least it feels like that within my circles. I loved writing about it and some vague and interesting thought and prompt I had in mind and semi-analysing their song “Now I’m Sad”, effectively warping the idea of the song or the idea of one passage into something that I live by. And my Dr Pepper review? It was only semi-serious and kind of dumb but I’ve been meaning to make a post on that for ages now. Nowadays, it’s probably a lot less relevant since my blog’s and my stream’s theme doesn’t revolve around it as much anymore… but I still had a lot of fun writing about it.

I got to post about Bioshock 2Destiny 2, and even Valheim just recently, and I got to explore other ideas I had for drafts, effectively shrinking my drafts folder down considerably from the 100 something drafts I had to… 60… At least, that’s something! 

Publishing a post every day is a bit rough for me lately due to exams and other obligations. Potentially starting next week, I’ll have to go to my internship and hence I will have less time to stream and blog, which is going to be bothersome… but I’ll manage somehow. The biggest factor in all of this has been time-management. Balancing the time I study, the time I spent with Ms Magi, the time I need to take care of myself, food, laundry and other chores, as well as the time I invest in blogging and streaming… balancing all of that can be a bit tricky at times but learning about that now and setting priorities is a skill that I’ll have to learn eventually anyways. With my headspace being a mess lately and me procrastinating more often these days, all of these priorities are a jumbled mess and I’m having a hard time settling for appropriate times to publish posts or do things like laundry and whatever. Alas, that’s a bit of an issue, but I’ll manage somehow.

I think the biggest takeaway from releasing a post every evening for the last couple of days has been this sense of accomplishment after hitting “publish” again. I really have been enjoying this sense of winding down after a lot of studies (or other things) by making tea, sitting down at my desk and writing about anything really. Hitting “publish” means that I created something and finished it immediately. It’s done. Just like the day. Then I get sleepy and go to bed. A new day begins and I get to do other things before winding down with a blog post later. That’s been quite a nice feeling for me as of late, and I appreciate the fact that I get to write for people about things that I’m passionate about. I’d love it if I could continue like this forever.

And I know, I know… technically, I haven’t written the post yesterday. Quietschisto did. I frankly edited his post, added my editorial note at the beginning and end, formated it, added screenshots and that info box, before posting it… now that I think about it, it sounds actually like more than I did, but you catch my drift, right? It was a joint effort. And I was and still am glad that Thomas (and two others so far) offered themselves up for writing about games and reviewing them essentially on my blog. I hope that it pays out for them as well in terms of views, clout, traffic or whatever you wanna call it. I really hope it does. In the same way, I hope I get to write something for others as well once I have a bit more time for that. But still, I kind of have this feeling that that post doesn’t count as “my post” and that the streak is falsified through that… but at the same time, I posted 56 posts in 54 days, so I could technically argue that I’ve redeemed myself already… not that someone’s trying to guilt-trip me about that other than myself. I’m just being weird.

At last, a bonus of blogging daily has been that I’ve been able to generate more traffic for the blog, effectively. That means that more people have been around, which is cool, and more people got to read about the cool games that I wrote about, resulting in potentially new people finding out about these Indie gems… and I’m happy about that. Yesterday’s post even got retweeted by the developers on Twitter, which I’m really glad about. They thanked Quietschisto and me for the review with THREE exclamation marks! That must mean that they really liked it! Right? Right?! Right! Yup! Probably! I’m glad about that! 😀 

Anyways, I managed to fulfil my quota by posting yet again about my experience with daily blogging. Again, I didn’t really have a prompt for today until I had this prompt. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s post. 

Hope you enjoyed my rambling today! Take care of yourself!

Cheers!

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

Indietail – Do Not Feed The Monkeys [Guest Post]

Recently, I’ve asked people if they were interested in writing a guest post for my blog. Today’s review is written by Quietschisto from RNG and features a game called “Do Not Feed The Monkeys“, which is a dystopian digital voyeur simulator where you watch strangers through surveillance cameras. You invade their privacy and witness their most intimate moments… but you shall not interact with the subjects as anything could happen if you dare feed the monkeys! If you enjoy this post, make sure to check out Quietschisto’s Blog for more video-game related content. His posts mostly focus on how the games he played could be improved but Quietschisto also writes about food around the world and cocktails. 

Alas, enjoy Quietschisto’s review:

My name’s Quietschisto, and I’m super stoked to be here! Our host, the gracious Dan, has offered some spots for guest posting, and I was more than happy to oblige. Today I bring you a short review of a fun little game called “Do Not Feed The Monkeys“.

Originally, Do Not Feed The Monkeys was just one of many observation-based games (like Beholder or Orwell) I wanted to try out. However, I ended up playing through it in a single night…twice. That alone should tell a lot about the game’s quality since none of its main features are things that I normally would enjoy.

Developer: Fictiorama Studios, BadLand Games Publishing S.L.
Publisher: Alawar Premium
Genre: Simulation, Choices Matter, Resource Managment, Voyeur
Release Date: October 24th, 2018
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC, Switch, PS4, Android, XB1
Copy was purchased.

For example, I couldn’t care less about pixel-graphics, I’m usually not a fan of slapstick humour, and resource management/survival mechanics and time-limits are things I try to avoid most of the time. But “Do Not Feed The Monkeys” carefully balances all of its elements to deliver a fun, streamlined experience that lasts around two or three hours, plus more if you want to see other cages and more monkeys.

The core gameplay-loop is always the same: You obtain information mostly by watching the monkeys in their cages at certain times, listening to their conversations, and writing down keywords. Through making connections on your own and “googling” the correct combination of phrases you gain more and more information that you can use to affect the outcome of the situation, for better or for worse.

At the same time, you have to manage your sleep, hunger, health, and money, all while continually buying more rooms/cameras. For adversaries of resource management, this might seem off-putting at first, but these mechanics essentially only boil down to managing a single resource: Time. These mechanics and time-limits are pretty bare-bones, however, and I believe they are only in place so players can’t “farm” resources at the start of the game and then just breeze through the whole experience.

I don’t think the resource-management aspect adds a lot to the game, as I personally am against creating an artificial sense of urgency. Instead, additional cages could unlock automatically, and the optional objectives could have been mandatory. This way, I feel players could have been enabled to spend more time interacting with the interesting part of the game, watching the monkeys.

There is a game mode where your resource meters drain significantly slower (and achievements are disabled) as some sort of “easy mode” but I think this is a relatively weak solution since making a potentially unattractive feature less important makes players wonder why it is in the game in the first place.

Despite their simplicity, the puzzles or “cages” offer surprising depth and encourage multiple playthroughs. Due to the short nature of the game and relative density of the lore (as well as multiple endings for all rooms), Do Not Feed The Monkey never overstays its welcome, even when the player inevitably will revisit the same rooms over and over again.

Notice how I said density of lore instead of depth. While not connected, every room has its own short story going on, ranging from comedy classics (although some might call them “cheap jokes”) like a paranoid alien-conspiracy theorist, a discount Hitler, or a mind-controlling plant, all the way to more serious topics like an astronaut trapped on an abandoned space station or an ageing rock singer who suffers from a terminal disease. 

First and foremost, Do Not Feed The Monkeys is a comedy game, so the jokes are always in the foreground, although the “lighter” comedy elements were sometimes a bit too hamfisted for my taste. What impressed me was the elegance with which the “heavier” topics were handled. A lot of the rooms have at least one or two moments that can make you stop and think about what’s going on and what you’re doing there. At the same time, the game made it easy to ignore all that and just stroll along for some laughs if that’s more to your liking. Part of this definitely is due to the pixelated art style, which helps with the comic-like presentation and softens the blow a bit for the more serious (or gross) bits. 

Do Not Feed The Monkeys further adds to the comedy of the game by displaying the protagonist as a run-down lowlife, barely making ends meet through dead-end jobs. He’s unwittingly getting ripped off by his landlady and lives in a filthy apartment, yet he still believes himself to be above other humans. Even the sound design is used to reinforce this portrayal. You see, there is no soundtrack in the traditional sense. Instead, your “neighbours” are blasting distorted music throughout the day and even the night, adding a bit of a muffled sound to your observation while other times you get to listen to crickets, cars and other “sounds”.

All in all, I don’t think that Do Not Feed The Monkeys will make you see the comedy genre with new eyes but be prepared for a few all-nighters. The game is serious enough to make you stop and think about morality and empathy and other topics while it is also lighthearted enough to simply serve as a fun experience. Hence, I recommend this game to you.

Editor’s Note: Magi here. I personally really enjoyed Do Not Feed The Monkeys but haven’t had the time yet to review it or write about it. I honestly have some drafts on topics featured in the game but thought I should review it first before I could write about it. Alas, I’m glad that Quietschisto got to write about it. Make sure to check him out if you haven’t yet! He’s a great friend of mine and blogger that more people definitely should check out, in my opinion. 

Hope you enjoyed this post! Got any thoughts on Do Not Feed The Monkeys? Got any feedback for the guest post format? Let me know!

Cheers!

This post originated on Indiecator and was first published on there by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken. This post was written by Quietschisto from RNG.

Indietail – qomp

Today we’re taking a look at qomp by the guy behind Gutwhale, Stuffed Wombat! qomp is a small game about freedom. You are a ball. Your job is to escape. Become a free bird… I mean, ball!

Developer: Stuffed Wombat, Britt Brady, Miroko, Clovelt
Publisher: Stuffed Wombat
Genre: 2D, Precision Platformer, Pong
Release Date: February 4th, 2021
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Copy was sent by the developer.

Controls are rather simple as you only need a button for pausing and a button for moving. Movement is tied to a pong-style system where bouncing onto walls changes your direction while using your movement-button allows you to go upwards or downwards. While it’s easy to learn, the system is hard to master. In the beginning, you’ve got to escape that game of Pong while you, later on, have to dodge saw blades, press buttons, solve small puzzles, and in general, there are a lot of things that the game does with this simple system.

For instance, some levels are underwater and alas, your ball behaves differently while in other levels, everything only moves when you change directions (aka hit a wall). What I love about qomp is that these systems geet introduced without any text at all. In the beginning, you figure out controls yourself (again, rather quickly) while you quickly understand how certain features and mechanics work. Due to the checkpoints that are placed frequently, it doesn’t even feel that frustrating when you die once or twice to a new object or mechanic.

The game is rather short with an estimated playtime of one to three hours. I was done with 50% of the game after an hour, so I feel like the time estimate is rather accurate. There are a lot of mechanics as well as some boss fights in the game that all play out quite interestingly. In one of them, for example, you become the snake from… Snake… and you have to hit the boss three times while not biting your own tail, which is quite interesting and actually harder to accomplish than you think.

While the difficulty of the game isn’t the hardest, there are still times where you can struggle a bit, which is why the game offers some accessibility options from invincibility to zooming out, aim-assist and autofire, just to help you get through some of the parts where you get stuck. I like this approach as there is always a level that you may not enjoy and the developer clearly doesn’t want you to get too frustrated.

While I like the accessibility options in there, I don’t actually like the normal settings that are available to you. You can only turn the music and sound effects on or off but can’t change the volume of them. You can get rid of the bulging effect and the screenshake if those effects bother you but… I’ll get into those later. I would have liked it if there had been more options here to potentially change the brightness or the volume in detail. Obviously, you can go into your PC’s audio mixer to adjust the volume for any game and any program, but nowadays most games have options for that in-game. 

But yeah, speaking of the bulge and the screenshake, the game features some stunning presentation akin to Gutwhale’s with some lovely pixel art and an amazing soundtrack. I really enjoyed spending my time in qomp, especially due to the soundtrack by Britt Brady and the art by Miroko. I love and adore franek‘s pixel art but it’s nice to see other artists and art styles in the different games. Animations in the game were made by Clovelt and also fit the game rather well. Stuffed Wombat and his co-devs essentially created a stunning atmosphere in qomp that feels quite enigmatic in a way. The story is not that deep but the mysterious vibe, the amazing tunes, the lovely art, and the fun gameplay mechanics really bring out the game a lot and make it feel really good.

Alas, I’d like to say that while the game isn’t the longest game, I definitely think that you get your bang for your buck. It’s rather short but it also features challenges that you unlock after beating the game, and all in all, I really enjoyed and can recommend qomp a lot. 

It’s nice to feature games by the same dev multiple times. I really enjoyed Gutwhale and also really enjoyed qomp. It’s good to see developers creating interesting titles with simple premises like this one that don’t feel too simple or anything like that if that makes sense. I hope you enjoyed my review on this one. Let me know what you think about it! 

Cheers!

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