Indietail – Fall Guys

As a kid, I used to watch “Takeshi’s Castle” whenever I came home from school and I loved it. Both the candidates and the commentary were hilarious. The game modes were extremely cool as well… and then there was the final round against Takeshi himself where everyone storms the castle and it was just great! Well, today’s game has a lot in common with Takeshi’s Castle, so I thought I’d talk about that first.

Developer: Mediatonic
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Release Date: August 4th
Genres: Multiplayer, Battle Royale, Casual, Platformer
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC, PS4
Technical Beta key was received for free. 

In today’s Indietail, I’m taking a look at the Fall Guys: Technical Beta!

Fall Guys could be described as a “wholesome Battle Royale” game that takes a lot of inspiration from game shows like Takeshi’s Castle and that uses “mini games” to separate the winners from the not-winners!

I don’t usually like Battle Royale games since there is too much shooting going on and I am not too good at them. A lot of times you just get outplayed by FPS-players as a Non-FPS-player and alas, I didn’t really get into it too much. BR games that I do enjoy are ones that are different, just like Fall Guys. Instead of shooting others until only one person or only one squad is surviving, you try to manoeuvre your way through a bunch of mini-game rounds with a ton of other players around. I guess it’s not exactly a BR-game but due to the “Survive until there’s only one man standing” aspect of Fall Guys and BR games, I would call it that… but whatever.

Controls feel quite alright. You’d expect something similar to Human Fall Flat or Octodad with cute characters like that but they actually control relatively normal with AWSD and Space as your main button on top of the mouse controls to leap forward or push others. Overall quite intuitive!

The game modes get rotated through randomly with a bunch of them queued up one after another. There are a bunch of parkour-style mini-games requiring you to reach the end of the way and dodge all kinds of moving and rotating objects. It’s incredible fun to see someone in front of you getting yeeted (Yoted? Yoten? YEET!) off the platform and respawning behind you at the last checkpoint. There are also some mini-games where you just need to survive until enough people didn’t… and also a soccer-style minigame where the winning team gets to proceed.

And that’s cool! A bunch of variety and mostly about three rounds before you get to proceed. It’s hilarious to see you and other players wobble through the game… but it still gets quite competitive. I could see myself and friends play this together but I’m not exactly sure if they’d stay friends afterwards. After all, I’ve seen people push other people off the ledge or jump over there head, leaping into the goal. I’ve seen people win with the cheapest tricks… and it can also get frustrating.

There has been one round where other people constantly where jumping over my head and where I had some latency issues as well, making some jumps quite impossible. And then there were some other rounds where I didn’t have latency issues but people ganged up on me and pushed me off into some Slime… so that’s been a bit of a bummer. I also had one round where my team did little to nothing in the soccer minigame, resulting in us losing and me not qualifying for the next round… And that’s the spirit of Competitive Games – even when they’re cute, it can get frustrating or annoying. Overall though, I really enjoyed the game.

“YAY, I WON!” – this guy… not me… oof.

And most of my enjoyment came from the presentation probably. It’s still fun to get competitive. It’s incredibly fun to dwell in nostalgia, thinking back to TV shows like Takeshi’s Castle. And the presentation is just fun as well – I guess that’s the best way to describe it. “Fun”.

After completing rounds, you’re awarded Season Pass progress and you get to unlock new customs or spend your in-game currency for new cosmetics, emotes, etc.

It’s got vibrant colours and a very energetic and neat soundtrack that essentially provides the optimal tunes for the game. It’s fitting and enjoyable and different. And having a “different” soundtrack is important in this case as I’ve heard similar tunes in other games and as I got annoyed by them. That wasn’t the case in Fall Guys.

But despite all the fun I had with this game, there are some points that I didn’t like or that I’m worried about.

For one, it might get a bit too frustrating when you’re paired with people in team games that just don’t really want to play with you or that just don’t want to defend or whatever. It can be difficult and I hope that there’s going to be some sort of regulation as to how many team games there will be in the game… I’d rather like this to be more of a “Survival of the Fittest” situation than a “Get lucky with the team” situation. Of course, you could say that people probably are not intentionally losing those… but if a few of the players are having latency issues, it’s incredibly hard to win the round and alas, you get hindered by your team and lose the game based on something that isn’t your fault.

I guess you can talk about latency issues as well in this review-section but I didn’t have too many issues on that front apart from one or two rounds… and it’s in the Technical Beta phase… so of course there are bugs or issues. Duh.

On the other hand, spectating the game after you have fallen out of the competition is a pain in the butt. You don’t have to do it but I found it hilarious to watch the other participants until only one person is remaining. Betting points on participants could be quite interesting for a mechanic to make it “spicier”. Queuing up only to spectate could be a fun idea. Right now… it just needs a mechanic that shows you the leaderboard and where you can choose to spectate certain players without having to click through all of them. Might be quite nice for potential tournaments as well.

So in the end, I did enjoy this game. If you like Takeshi’s Castle and want to get competitive without having to “gid gud” at shooters, I’d recommend this game to you. It’s quite enjoyable and I think that a lot of the issues will get fixed in the actual release.

Cheers!

The “To The Moon” Play-Along – Act 2

“It’s the second week of the To The Moon Play-Along and alas we’re getting right into Act 2!”, is what I would have said if I wasn’t late with this post. Alas, an explanation:

I was not at home to play the game and therefore couldn’t write a post on this prompt. I couldn’t play through Act 2 as I only had my laptop with me and as it (probably) can’t run TtM, but in return, I had some time to write up five other posts instead that I wouldn’t have gotten to over here… weird, innit? 

Anyways, we’re back home again since yesterday and alas we’re heading into another Act of To The Moon… this time it’s a tad shorter and alas only features four questions. If you still haven’t played the game and don’t want to get spoiled, don’t read this post. If you’re completely new to the Play-Along I’d recommend checking out the “hub”-post over here where you’re able to find not only my last post but also the other posts by the other people participating! 🙂 So, let’s get into this, shall we?

Sperm at work

1. When Eva was sitting, thinking about the reasons nothing at all changed in Johnny’s simulated memories — what conclusions do you think she reached? What conclusion did you reach?

My initial thoughts on the matter were something that Nicolas mentioned… “something happened” in the past that was extraterrestrial for them and maybe even a tad creepy. I would have thought that there was some supernatural or alien event that traumatized Johnny so much that he just can’t remember his past all that much. That was my conclusion at least.

Eva probably thought about it with her contract in mind and how she could potentially find a way out of this blockade. Later we find out that a different event traumatized Johnny and his mother… and that he had taken beta-blockers to (potentially) cope with it… so the side effects of those caused Johnny to forget about a lot of things.

I’m sure you did nazi those fascists coming when you landed on the dark side of the moon.

2. The block on the youngest memories and the use of beta-blockers… What do you think this will be all about? 

Well, *again*, I thought that there would be some sort of extra-terrestrial stuff going on but sadly was disappointed with what happened. With all the distortions and the black and white stuff between the memory links going on, I would have thought that it’s some trauma of sorts that turned Johnny into a creep… but uh… well, it was, I guess?

Small break for fresh air?

3. What about Neil taking off for a moment while Eva returned with the… ahem… Contained dead squirrel odour? What could have been so important to him?

Honestly, no idea. It just doesn’t make sense to me right now… I mean, he’s working for a company, he’s on contract and that contract is not fulfilled yet but he’s taking a stroll in the woods while his client is about to die. Everything seems a tad weird but I guess that’s Neil in a nutshell… in a good way. 

This is kind of a far-stretch but maybe he has some health conditions that required him to walk away to take some drugs or vomit or whatever – well, something that he’d have to do somewhere away from other people as it’s loud or unsightly. This assumption is based on the fact that we picked up some pain killers while sampling the odour and based on the fact that Neil’s health was already a bit damaged when we fought against the squirrel. Alas, I thought that Neil potentially could have some brain stuff going on or some side effects from the machine they’re using or something like that. I honestly have no clue so these are just some theories of mine on it… Maybe we’ll find out eventually!

She was young and needed the money.

4. We still have the third act to come. What do you think it will focus on?

We end Act 2 with trying to break through the inaccessible memories… using a dead squirrel’s odour… and uh… well,… I guess we’ll make it in time and get through the barriers? 

Initially, I thought that we’d find out about the past and that we’d influence Johnny to want to go to the moon by doing something with River since she’s a big part of his life. Alas, it probably focuses on River and that incident in Johnny’s childhood. 

“Hey, I ain’t a bastard!”

Either way, we’re done with the questions for last week! I didn’t like Act 2 as it was incredibly slow-paced and as it felt a lot longer than it was. For the length that it featured it just wasn’t that exciting, in my opinion… So, when I was getting bored, it was over already… and then I ended up playing some more to get through the first half of Act 3. Alas, while answering the questions I already knew a bit more than I should have known… but luckily I made some notes and alas was able to see my first impressions and theories on the story, so it’s all original over here. 

😛

And that’s it for this post. I’m looking forward to the third act as it will be the end of the main story… and then there’re only the minisodes to come which hopefully are a tad shorter and more exciting than Act 2. While I did like Act 1, I’m not entirely sure if the slow pacing of Act 2 is everything that I didn’t like. There have been other moments in the game that I didn’t enjoy as much, such as Johnny being a creep and some mistakes and logical errors here and there, such as the Animorphs reference in one part that they didn’t get right… The beginning of Act 3 was kind of cute but I’m not entirely sure if I’m liking the game all that much right now. Oh well. 

If you liked this post or if you have other stupid theories, let me know! 

Have a nice day!

Cheers!

Indietail – Void Bastards

What does it take to become a good mercenary? What does it take to outwit your opponents, to survive? What does it take to escape the Sergasso Nebula?

Well, according to today’s game, Void Bastards, it only takes water, prisoners, and a whole lot of sneaking.

In today’s Indietail we’re taking a look at Void Bastards, a rogue-lite Stealth-Shooter that could probably be best described as FTL meets System Shock. You play as one of many prisoners that get sent through the Nebula to eventually just escape its fangs. On your way, you’ve got to manage resources, fight or outwit enemies, chose between different paths to take, and routes to walk through.

Developer: Blue Manchu
Publisher: Humble Games
Genres: Stealth, First-Person, FPS, Action, Rogue-lite
Release Date: May 28, 2019
Reviewed on: PC
Available for: PC, Switch, Xbox One, PS4

The framework gameplay revolves around you navigating your tiny little escape pod through the nebula by choosing different paths and ships that seem to be procedurally generated. This aspect reminds me heavily of “FTL: Faster Than Light”, which was quite pleasant as it directly contrasts the seemingly action-heavy inner gameplay-loop that revolves around sneaking and shooting. There are a lot of different ships to explore from shopping ships, manned with only gun-point-turrets at max, to medical bay ships or cargo ships. Each of these come with different supplies, loot tables, allies, and enemies.

When you board these ships, you’ve got to find the next exit and loot the ships for items, resources, and materials. Obviously, you can also just move past the ships and skip out on potential dangers at the cost of loot but I usually ended up just going for the looting-experience as I felt that it would be too much of a waste.

The different ships all feel different.

There are different musical pieces as well as different layouts that these ships can have, resulting in a unique experience whenever you board a ship.

In the beginning, you’re only equipped with limited ammo as well as weak(er) guns but over time you’ll upgrade them – and throughout your runs, you’re able to keep all the upgrades as merely your player dies and as there are plenty of other convicts to send out in the Nebula, each equipped with their genetic traits, making the experience rather unique similar to how your genes make you taller or colour blind in Rogue Legacy.

While I used to just run and gun every ship, trying to get as far as possible with my limited ammo, I quite often ended up dying prematurely due to missing ammo and/or drastic actions, but that’s not what Void Bastards is about. In the beginning, I also didn’t see the comparison to Bioshock but over time I came to realize:
It’s a stealth game.

Awww, cute! It’s a tourist!

Just because you have a gun, that doesn’t mean you’ve got to use it.

You don’t have to kill most people and usually, you’ll end up getting killed if you take on too many or the wrong enemies. Essentially, the best way to survive in this game is to sneak past enemies, to lock doors, potentially trap enemies in different rooms while looting ships and making it further and further into the void. Your gun is your friend but more often than not you should just rely on sneaking and immerse yourself into the unique atmosphere that each ship has.

Every sound you make can be the last sound you make. A neat little gimmick that the game has is the fact that it displays sounds made by you or enemies on the screen. Thump, thump, thump… Step, step, step… BAM! BAM! You get the idea! It felt similar to XIII, a game for the original XBOX that used to utilize a similar comic-gimmick with the sound-displays, the cell-shading and generally the vibes that this game has as well.

But despite being able to take a trip down nostalgia-road with all the gimmicks and references to System Shock, XIII, or Bioshock… the game still has flaws that can’t get ignored, in my opinion.

For instance, the game gets rather monotone and repetitive over time.

Monotony-wise…
The soundtrack is monotone and seems to be lacking something as it only features 23 different tracks that all sound way too similar. The game doesn’t shine when it comes to the music, which is – in my opinion – a bummer as it really could have done more there and as it really could have been more fun if the soundtrack accompanied you during stealth- or action-passages.

As far as repetitiveness goes…
Part of the reason why I always wanted to rush through the levels was the fact that I felt rather uncomfortable having to face a game like this with its monotone music and all the stealth going on without any action at all. Once you realise that Stealth is your best friend, you have to get married to the idea of being sneaky. Sneaking through ships, looting caches while not getting seen… it’s the most successful way of playing this game and essentially you’ve got the whole game figured out if you get to that point.

And well, the whole gameplay loop may be flawed at this point…
I know that every run can’t be completely different when it comes to rogue-likes but I personally found that there wasn’t much replay-value there past the first few hours. You already have seen plenty of the game after a few hours of gameplay. Same goes for the campaign… I didn’t find it too entertaining for something that is supposed to take “12 to 15 hours”, resulting in a bit of a negative experience for me personally. The humour and the initial impressions with the comic-like presentation are rather cool and entertaining, I’d say, but they don’t outweigh the other issues in my opinion.

Alas, I don’t think that I really can recommend this title. For a game that costs thirty bucks without any discounts on Steam, I would have expected a bit more. If you aren’t bothered by repetitiveness in stealth-rogue-lite-shooters, I’d say go for this game… at a discount.

Either way, I hope that you enjoyed this post and I wish y’all a wonderful day. I was really excited about playing Void Bastards but in the end, I got a tad disappointed as the game became stale over time, which is a bummer.

Oh well, cheers!

Indietail – RogueJack

RNG was always has been a part of the rogue-like genre, from what I’ve seen. Surely, some games don’t rely on RNG at all, be it in the form of items, levels, enemies or stats. Some games don’t need to have that element of chance and randomness in their code but I wouldn’t call “RNG” itself bad as you always, somehow, have to make it work. “Hate the player, not the game.”

But in today’s Indietail, we’re not looking at a game that doesn’t rely on RNG at all but rather one that takes the best out of a lot of rogue-likes and combines it with gambling, or more precisely Blackjack. Today we’re taking a look at RogueJack!

Developer: Ponywolf
Publisher: Ponywolf, LLC
Genre: Casual, Card Game, RPG, Indie, Dungeoncrawler, Rogue-lite
Release Date: May 27, 2020
Available on: PC
Reviewed on: PC
Copy received for free.

In RogueJack we’ve got to crawl through a dungeon and beat enemies in order to level up and evolve our character, ultimately to find some sort of ancient amulet. In our adventure, we fight enemies, dodge their attacks, and get stronger by looting treasure chests and “trusting the heart of the cards”.

The rules are simple: You get two cards and then get to decide whether or not you draw one card or stay at your current number. Face cards grant 10 points, number cards grant their value. Some cards subtract points while others add. Before 10, an ace grants eleven points, and you win fights by getting as close as possible to 21. If you step over it, you lose the fight and the enemy damages you. If you hit 21 (BlackJack!), if your enemy gets more than 21 points or if your number is higher than the enemy’s number, you damage them.

And well, of course, some enemies have bonus effects and “move-sets” of their own. Some enemies win in case of a tie, others tend to play it safe and only play until 16 while others even poison, freeze or set you on fire when you get damaged.

Your damage depends on the items you collect. A six-shooter-gun, for instance, grants you more damage if you’re a cowboy while the Staff of Divination grants you two damage, more vision and even grants you a higher chance to actually see your cards before drawing. There are also shields that block damage before breaking, potions that heal you or cure status effects, daggers, swords and other weapons that grant you more damage and overall, it all depends on what you find and if you can make it work.

In your journey, you’ll encounter a vast variety of enemies in different colours and with different properties. More often than not you’ll try to fight them, to earn money, which you then may use on vending machines to gain more items. Ultimately you are not relying on item-RNG too much nor on any stats but only on your luck and the way you make the cards work. Get greedy and overstep 21. Play it too safe and the enemy hits BlackJack while you’re staying at 16. Ultimately, it’s a card game, but I did quite enjoy it. When you die, you’ll get a second chance. Die again and you’re out. You then get the chance to retrieve your exp and money and continue from the previous level or start anew from Floor 1, your choice.

When you beat enemies, you level up and unlock new characteristics. The Rogue sees all cards, for instance, but while these effects sound over-powered in a way, they are balanced by the fact that it doesn’t help you to know what’s coming when you’ve got bad cards. After you level up, there is no coming-back either. You can’t change your class. You are who you are until you’re someone else. It’s all a game of sorts, a gamble.

And well,… that’s it. The premise is a gamble, too. It can either work out or it doesn’t. I personally really liked the game and only disliked the slow turn-based movement and the unnecessary “freeze”-effect. Once you get rid of that, you can have quite a bit of fun, unless you lose to the cards, or rather the RNG. BlackJack is combining two interesting concepts: The only card-game I really understand… and dungeon-crawlers. The fact that you can’t change your class unless you reset, is interesting. The variety of weapons, enemies and classes is quite fantastic.

In a way, I’m conflicted on whether or not this really is a rogue-like as it actually resembles more of a dungeoncrawler-character… but I guess the borders from one to another are rather fluid and in the end a game is a game, right?

The presentation features a nice pixelated art-style that I found rather pretty while the soundtrack features… one song… that kind of reminded me of older Zelda games and which was fun at first but once it looped for the 42nd time, you probably will turn it off, too, and turn on some music that you enjoy. I would’ve wished for more variety in that regard.

In the end, the game’s premise and looks, the gameplay and the RNG-dependence of the cards are either hit or miss. You either love it or you hate it. I personally liked it so far but I wonder how much I’ll play it. It’s probably one of those games that I’ll turn on every now and then but for not too long per session.

If you already enjoy card games or more specifically BlackJack, you’re gonna love this iteration of the genre. If you enjoy dungeon-crawlers or rogue-lites, you’re going to find this game interesting. So in the end, I’m recommending it and I hope that you have a nice time with this title.

Cheers!

Indietail – Ayre

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you could fly on a majestic creature like a dragon? Have you ever wanted to surge through the skies and explore vast areas? Have you ever dreamed of true freedom with no boundaries whatsoever? 

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions or if you’re just wondering what I’m on about, then you might like this following review of Ayre!

Developer: Gordon Little aka Gord Games
Publisher: Gordon Little
Genres: Casual, Adventure, Indie, Dragons, Flying, Simulation, Third Person
Release Date: May 27, 2020
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Copy received from the Devs

Ayre is a new dragon flight simulation that is coming out on Steam soon. Mount your bonded dragon, Red, and explore vast areas while testing your flight skills in sky races hidden across the lands and discover the history of an ancient civilisation with their own customs and traditions as well as a story that is quite interesting. And then there’s the Crystal Comet, an organism of sorts that has been scattered across the lands and asks you to unify it again. 

Yeah, true freedom. It’s great. You’ve got an open world with gigantic, snow-covered mountains, vast plains, beautiful valleys and sparkling rivers that is completely accessible to you and your scaley companion. Across the world, you find collectable crystals and Monoliths telling you the story of a civilisation of the past. 

It’s an interesting experience to be able to go anywhere you want with little to no guidance and no boundaries set by abilities that you need. The controls may take a while to get used to if you – like me – don’t play too many flight-simulation-games but once you get the hang of it, it is rather fun. If you want to challenge yourself, there are plenty of ring-races that require you to reach a goal as fast as possible. If you then still want to step up your game, then I recommend checking out the advanced flight options that are less simplified and need you to watch the speed your flying at and control your dragon more precisely. 

Red looks like such a happy boiii in this one. Like some cute doggo but better!

The music and the colourful, simplified presentation make the game shine in a new light as well as you get to enjoy the world without having to fear any threats or dangers. If you fall off a cliff, your dragon is there for you and rescues you in time, too!

And the different biomes are rather intriguing. During the time I played, I found some ruins here and there as well as forests and a wasteland of sorts. There are different structures hidden in all kinds of places, from a temple in the mountains to a small port in a river. You may swim across some Deltas and travel by foot, too. If you get too far from your dragon, you just whistle and Red comes to pick you up. It’s just enjoyable. 

Crystal in a temple fits quite well!

Overall, I really enjoyed the game to this point but I noticed that it still needs some polishing and some more updates here and there. I’d be intrigued to see how this game fairs in VR and how people would enjoy it in that context but at the same time, me and my fear of heights don’t want to try that out, haha.

It’s only going to come out and I only got a key for review purposes, so some of the following issues might have been gotten rid of in the future, so I’ll probably revisit this game by then as well… but yeah, there are flaws. 

I love this area so much!

For instance, it feels really slow to travel on foot. Quite often I’d call my dragon and I’d just fly a small distance to get closer to a crystal I wanted to collect, or I’d just ride it on the ground to reach a point. 

There are also some spots here and there where the world feels a bit janky. Your character, for instance, can’t seem to climb up ledges all that much and often seems to struggle with going up the smallest hills. There are also areas where your dragon struggles, like when you run into a hill while attempting to fly up and your dragon just lands again, which can be a bit annoying but you get the hang of the flying and starting rather quickly, so that may be overlooked.

We’re a fast boy! And if we beat this race, we get a speed upgrade for our dragon!

I also noticed that some features seem to not be implemented into my version just yet, like different markers on the map or story-parts on different monoliths. I’d find a monolith in a new area but can’t seem to interact with it at all, so I guess it’s going to get added very soon after or even on release. 

And then there’s an issue that I have with the crystals. Some of them are placed in interesting ways like on the palm of a giant statue or at the top of some ruins but it can be quite hard to get to them due to different polygons of the game and the weird difficulty your character seems to have with them. There also some spaces here and there where you’d seemingly get showered in crystals while other areas are rather scarce of any at all. I would love it if you had to collect less in total and if the crystals would be rarer or if the movement speed of the character got buffed a bit more so that it feels less like a hassle in these areas. 

So fabulous!

For the first story-piece from the Crystal, as an example, you need to collect five crystals while you need fifty crystals for the second fragment of a story. It seems like a bit of a jump and I would rather have enjoyed smaller steps like a new fragment every 25 crystals since the story is the hook that keeps you playing. Without the story and the exploration part, you might get bored eventually after two to three hours of flying around. 

But regardless of that, I would say that it’s a solid premise and, while it needs some polishing, it is definitely worth checking out for anyone who likes the idea of it and enjoys truly open worlds without invisible walls

Yup, a pidgeon on a skateboard.

So, in the end, I’ll have to revisit it in the future once it got updated a bit more or once it hits the release and possibly gets polished more. I can definitely feel the love that got put into this world and the game in general and I really enjoyed my time. While there are flaws, I would say that this game is like a gem that just needs a tad more polishing. I feel like that describes it quite well. 

The game already is available for 12 USD on itch.io, which in my opinion is a fair price for what you get out of it. The steam price will probably be somewhere around that, I guess.
I definitely will come back to this game every now and then as it’s quite relaxing and rather colourful, especially when it gets updated more in the future!

STORY TIME!

I hope you enjoyed this review. Thanks a lot to the dev, Gordon Little, for providing me with a review key for this game. Please check out the steam store page and wishlist this title when it comes out. And please take care, the whole pandemic-business is still not over. 🙂

Cheers!

Indietail – Kill It With Fire: Ignition

It’s springtime… for spiders… in Germany! (Uh, I hope nobody minds that reference…)

Yeah, spring has already kicked in with its sweet scent of flowers and lawns, with pollen flying through the air (I’m not bothered by it), wasps bothering me on my balcony, with sunny and rainy days and generally a forecast that leaves me wondering if I’m dressed too warm or too cold. It’s springtime! And you know what that means:
I’m getting spooked by our dear eight-legged friends and even now I’m constantly in a state of panic as the last spider was bigger than the other one… and as I hated it so much when it came down from the ceiling Mission Impossible style and nearly landed on my hat before I swatted it with a roundhouse kick against the wall and started burning down my flat… again…

But all jokes aside, I really hate spiders and ever since having gone to that spider convention nearby, my fear of spiders has been brought to new levels. Luckily, I haven’t encountered any of these critters in Winter… but now that it’s getting warm again, these spiders are crawling out of their holes again and I’m just not good at all with them. At my SO’s place, I was tasked to capture this horrifying creature with a glass and a piece of paper – after all my girlfriend’s flatmate is vegetarian and doesn’t want to shed any animal’s blood… so, I essentially did it but it took me ages to approach this monster and eventually release it into the wild… Meanwhile, the two spawns of hell that have shown themselves in my flat were not as lucky… they did suffer my full wrath on top of my barbaric YAWP as I smashed them with my house shoe of DOOM and then vacuumed them with my vacuum of FATALITY.

And essentially, that leads me to today’s game which goes by the title of “Kill it with Fire” or in case of this demo (the game has yet to release!) “Kill it with Fire: Ignition”! A game that I’d describe as a demolitionist’s wet dream that allows you to kill these ugly critters with a flamethrower, bombs, shurikens, a shotgun and essentially everything that is lying around in your house.

Developer: Casey Donnellan Games LLC
Publisher: tinyBuild
Genres: Casual, Indie, Action, Destruction, Simulation, 3D
Release Date (demo): April 28th, 2020
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Copy was available for free as it's a demo. 

At the beginning of the game, you’ll spawn into your low-poly-house and are tasked with picking up your vase and opening a few drawers but little did you know that a spider was awaiting you in a spot nearby to spook you! Naturally, you follow it into the living room where you find the clipboard. Not only does this weapon smash spiders but it also shows you your different tasks.

Oooooooooooooh!

From there on, you’ll essentially figure stuff out on your own. There are drawers that require you to complete tasks from your clipboard in order to unlock new weapons. There are doors that require a certain amount of spider kills in order to unlock more areas (with more weapons and more spiders) and eventually, you’ll end up causing more harm to your sweet home than to actual spiders.

The game constantly accompanies you with a piano track that reminds me of Untitled Goose Game in a lot of ways. When you’re close to spiders, however, you end up hearing a very dramatic and threatening track that reminds me quite a lot of the JAWS theme. Once you’ve actually killed monstrosity, you get to hear a nice little tune that further underlines the wonderful comedic nature of this game. Lovely!

I gave “hot tub” a new meaning.

The game also makes use of sounds to show you where the spiders are! They usually are hidden behind or underneath objects, so you’ve got find out about the general direction by either listening to the spiders’ sounds (which are utterly disgusting!) or by using the spider-tracker that you can also use to crush these ugly foes.

The art style is quite colourful and really seems to convey the feelings of this being a nice and family-friendly game, until you eventually see those disgusting spiders that are actually rather big and really terrifying. When they survive your initial hit, they usually speed up and become even more terrifying, which results in quite a lot of moments where I noticed myself jumping. While the game itself is quite entertaining, I noticed that I’d get startled rather often, which is not necessarily a bad thing. I really enjoyed this thrilling experience.

Still tidier than my room :c

But what about flaws? Well, the fact that there’re spiders in the game should be considered a flaw in itself… but as you are exterminating these hideous lifeforms from Earth’s face in the most drastic and absurd ways, I’d say that one may be able to look past that fact… Of course, if you like spiders, then this game may not be for you… and if you hate spiders like I do but you don’t want to get spooked by them, then you may not like this game either… but overall, I really enjoyed this game so far.

The demo did amuse me for about an hour, challenges included. After that, I stopped playing as the demo didn’t have to offer all that much more apart from these few weapons and two apartments. The full game will be available in Summer 2020 and I definitely recommend checking out this demo if you found this review entertaining. Also, you may consider wishlisting the game so that you get to know when it releases!

But for now, I wish you a wonderful day without any spider encounters in your homes and I hope that all of you stay safe.

Cheers!

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

Indietail – Original Journey

In today’s Indietail review, we’re talking about Original Journey: A hand-drawn, sci-fi action-adventure where we join the Ato as they embark on a mission to a distant planet, known as the Shadow Planet, to find a certain crystal that can save our own species and even our dying planet.

Developer: Bonfire Entertainment
Publisher: Another Indie
Genres: Roguelike, Action, Indie, Adventure, 2D, Sci-Fi
Release Date: Aug 16, 2017
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
The copy was purchased.

After a bit of an epilogue, we get thrown into the world of the Ato whose last hope, their battle-ship, has finally landed upon one of the floating islands of the Shadow Planet. The main character of the vegetable-like species of the Ato oversleeps, of course, and therefore ends up being used by the Commander as a meat shield. After beating the tutorial where we learn about movement, aiming, weapons and turret-placement, the Commander is astonished at how well we survived and did, which is why he lets us take part in actual missions that revolve around exploring the planet and beating enemies to receive resources and crystals, which are needed for new weapons and new suits, each with their own unique characteristics.

Essentially, you can fly out and explore the planet, landing on one level after another, each with randomly placed enemies and special events. On some islands, we get ambushed while on other islands we prepare and ambush the ambushers, one some islands we help out other people while on others we get healed and we receive free loot and ammo. There is a lot of variety between special events and normal islands and a variety of enemies as well, each with different strength levels and different attack/move sets. We can use two weapons at a time and place down two turrets per island, although we need to recycle turrets upon leaving an island to receive some Ammo back. Ammo and resources are limited, which is why you’ve got to either take a risk or frequently go back to base again to restock on Ammo and Health, store your loot and possibly upgrade or unlock new suits and weapons.

Levels get increasingly difficult and the farther you go, the more of the story you’ll be able to unlock.

At some point, you really need to take risks. There is a fast-travel option but it requires a lot of Crystals (the currency farmed from enemies) which is also important for weapons and suits. Therefore every hit has to land on every previous island to not waste too much ammo. Sometimes you need to do base-stops and sometimes you just risk going for another island in hope that you get a supply drop on the next one to refill on ammo. At some point, levels get too difficult with way too much going on, which is why you also need to level up your character and upgrade your stuff to proceed.

The game very much relies on „rinse and repeat“, which is standard for a bunch of games, I’d say, but it also needs to be done well.

While the game seems easy at first, it gets harder and harder over time, especially when you still need to grind certain rather rare materials to get your next weapon. And the worst thing: You don’t know what weapon you get. You can test it out after you’ve unlocked it but there’s no name to it before you unlock, resulting in a bit of a frustrating experience where you get something for the sake of unlocking it and don’t know if you like it. While I enjoyed the Saber, for instance, the other weapons so far have been difficult to use and are absolutely not my playstyle. Thus, I’m only using the grenade launcher and the sword, mainly as the sword doesn’t require ammo and alas can’t run out of ammo, despite having the drawback of having to get close to the enemy.

There are also other annoying elements to the game. For example, your health gets completely refilled when you level up, which can make some levels extremely close and very fun to do… but there are no enemies in some of the boss levels to give you the necessary experience to level up again and save yourself or save a run. When you die, you lose your stuff and need to retrieve it… but in boss levels, that mechanic is missing completely… and I haven’t even touched upon the art style…

The art style is hand-drawn and I’d describe it as either hit or miss. You either really like it or you hate it. In my case, I liked it in the beginning and really enjoyed the interesting mix between a sepia-esque colour-scheme and the green colour as the only thing that is different (apart from the red health bar of course). BUT over time I noticed a few major flaws with the design. Sometimes you have other characters/NPCs in your levels that help you out and look fairly similar to you, making it rather hard to distinguish who your character or who the NPC is… there is a bit of a green dot above your character but it isn’t really helping all that much and can be easily overlooked with a ton of enemies on the screen and all of that.

Another problem with the art style is that I couldn’t really distinguish where damage was coming from in some of the (mainly boss fight type) levels. Sometimes there’d be elements to the level that were in the background and sometimes there’d be elements in the foreground, resulting in the levels being rather messy. You don’t know where you can hide behind, you don’t know where you can stand on. You don’t know what’s destroyable and you don’t know what’s hurting you. Especially when one of the bosses can summon stones and roots that hurt you, it’s unnecessarily hard for you to dodge stuff when you don’t know what’s happening.

A nice and easy fix for that would have been a green (toggle-able?) outline for your character and a red (toggle-able?) outline for enemies, projectiles, traps, falling objects, etc. It would have been that easy but there’s nothing like that and therefore I at some point ragequit after having seen most of the things there are to this game.

It’s frustrating to lose your stuff because of dying in the boss fight without the option of retrieving it. It’s frustrating to die because of not seeing your character or the damage source. And it’s frustrating to not be able to distinguish between your character and NPCs or to not be able to see a trap in the foreground and some item in the background.

The game is quite repetitive and after getting used to the fiddly controls or rather after getting used to the two weapons that I wanted to use instead of the other even more fiddle weapons, I ended up being frustrated for the sole reason of the game being badly designed in a way.
I guess this might be the right game for you if you like an unnecessary challenge game that (according to steam users) can be finished in anything between six and twenty hours, depending on your skill-level and play-style… but I personally can’t recommend a game that has so many flaws and isn’t able to outweigh the flaws with the good sides.

I hope that you liked this post. I was excited to play Original Journey as it has been sitting in my library for nearly two years now but sadly it kind of disappointed me, which is quite a bit of a bummer.

Until the next time, cheers!

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

The MonHunLog #0 – Pilot

I planned on making a few posts about my experience with Monster Hunter World and the monsters I’d encounter and capture or slay… and then I ended up forgetting to take screenshots. Well, now I’m at the beginning of the High-Rank missions with a good amount of hours in the game (37 hours used to be a lot for me a while ago), so I decided to stop procrastinating and actually write up some of these posts. This is going to be the first of (hopefully) many posts and it will essentially explain what happened so far.

In a world where monsters and humans coexist, we are a so-called A-lister Hunter who decided to join the Fifth Fleet of the Research Commission. The Research Commission is a team of researchers and hunters who specialize in maintaining a healthy ecosystem around the world by either culling a good number of smaller monsters or by slaying or capturing bigger monsters that are threatening the balance of the food chain and the whole area.

Every century, the most powerful monsters, the so-called Elder Dragons, traffic the oceans to reach the New World but for some unknown reason the frequency of this event changed and the Elder Crossing happens every decade instead! That’s why we, the Fifth Fleet, are travelling into the New World to find out about the reason behind all of this and to establish a healthy ecosystem.

That’s basically the plot so far. At the beginning of the game, we encounter a giant lava-monster called Zorah Magdaros that is as big as an entire island and that is on its way to the New World. This monster has been showing up in a lot of places and has been wreaking havoc. Due to spoilers, I won’t tell what happened to it, but I must say that it was great fighting it and its fellow elder buddy, Nergigante (although we only repelled Nergigante and didn’t get to fight it… yet!).

Anyways, that’s basically the story as far as I remember it. We essentially gear up, chose a weapon, slay monsters for quests and bounties, then forge new weapons and armour pieces out of monster-parts that make us look cool and that essentially help us get stronger… and then we rinse and repeat.

For the first few hours of the game, I played with the Defender Warhammer as it not only carries you through a good portion of the game but it also lets you stun enemies with powerful attacks. The Defender Armour Set is actually able to carry you through the Low-Rank missions. You don’t really take huge amounts of damage from a lot of monsters and there aren’t any better options for you at this point. It’s the perfect catch-up armour to go for when preparing for Iceborne Content, I guess, but since I haven’t played through the Main Game yet and since I don’t own Iceborne either, this armour set made my game experience a bit less enjoyable.

Hence, I sometimes switched to less powerful armour sets that offered me nice other skills and while it was quite challenging, I ended up having a lot more fun.

However, I’ve reached High-Rank now and the Defender Armour is actually not that good compared to other armour pieces, which is why I’ve got to grind up for other parts, like the HR-Legiana-Armour or even the Bazelgeuse-Armour. I’ll have to look into that and will keep ya up-to-date in that regards.

The overall concept of slaying and capturing monsters, grinding materials and then getting stronger was already known to me from other games but I’ve never actually played any of the other Monster Hunter games, resulting in this being a first for me. I found combat quite fun actually and a lot of the times I was just staring at the screen in awe due to the beautiful worlds, the vast variety of monsters and animals, and the cool looking armour pieces and weapons.

I really enjoyed the game so far but now that I’ve reached High-Rank (and there’s more to come), I’m really looking forward to crafting up weapons and armour pieces, grinding materials, and challenging myself with the newest types of quests and bounties. I feel like MHW is the right game for me. It’s scratching that certain itch that I needed right now. It’s so good that I can’t finish up my latest reviews or play more Destiny 2, wohoo. I like it a lot so far.

I’m pleased to bits with Monster Hunter Worlds and I can’t wait to play more of it. If you’d like to join me in my adventures, feel free to add me on steam or join our steam group, Indiecator. So far I’m only playing Monster Hunter World using the Gunlance, Hammer and Bow, but I have tried out other weapons and found some of them really interesting, so I’m quite keen on trying them out.

I’m really looking forward to playing more Monster Hunter World and to post about it on here. I only just started out in High Rank, so I can’t wait to see what’s coming next.

Until then,
Cheers!

TSS#38 – It has been a while

It’s truly been a while. My last post “LoL 10th Anniversary – 2012, Nami” has been almost three weeks ago and, well, I haven’t had time to post anything for the last few weeks, and to be honest I also was lacking in motivation. Hence, I thought it’d be time to make a quick update post and talk about stuff.

Indiecator! Now with some of my drawings! UwU!

So, uni’s been keeping me super busy lately and because of real-life stuff usually jumping in at the worst times possible, I didn’t really manage to post lately. I’m really behind on my math studies with me just barely making it through the math assignments right now and with the end of the semester (and hence, exams) approaching slowly. Over the last few weeks, I had also all kinds of other meetings to attend to, as well as doctor’s appointments – and I kind of ended up neglecting my blog quite a lot.

I also ended up streaming whenever I had the free time to do so and it’s been quite a lot of fun. I’d like to post at least once per week if possible with a few short posts here and there if my time schedule, as well as my sleep schedule, allows me to but we’ll see in the future. My blog’s not dead and I don’t plan on abandoning it at all.

So that’s it for the update. I thought I’d also talk about the LoL-Anniversary-series and.. well… I don’t really play any champs that came out after 2012, so I stopped posting about the Lore and builds and stuff as noted in my last post. I mean, there used to be a time where I played tons of Tahm Kench, Braum and Bard but Riot Games hasn’t really shown any love to these champions in quite some time. Next patch, Braum should receive a bit of a buff but I’m not so sure if I’ll play him again, especially as the meta’s currently a state with Support not being as fun as it used to be, for me personally (but that’s something I’d talk about in another post).

I’ll probably do posts like that in the future again here and there but I may separate the Lore & opinion parts into one post while doing the Showcase & Guide parts in a different post since those parts don’t really mix well together, I think… Not so sure, we’ll see about that in the future.

Other than that, there’s been some changes over here. My new PC is nearly ready to be built but I’m still missing the case which was supposed to arrive today but apparently will arrive next week instead as Amazon told me just now. Although that kind of sucks, it’s not that problematic as I’ve already waited two weeks for it and as I may as well wait another week, right? Patience is a virtue after all!

RIP Solaire – I found out the other day 😦

Once I’ve got that PC, I’ll probably be able to cover more games on here since there’s Indie Games out there that my current hp-laptop can’t handle! Also, I wanted to revive the “Late to the Party”-posts but my laptop can’t handle Dark Souls or The Witcher 2 or the Bioshock-games, so I can’t post about those… and I’m really looking forward to playing Monster Hunter World! That’s gonna be awesome!

Uhm, that’s it for the update, I guess. To sum it all up, I’ll try to post about stuff at least weekly and maybe more often, depending on how much time I’ll have.

And to anyone who read this far through my post, I wish y’all a merry Christmas and a happy new year! Enjoy your time and don’t stress yourself too much over presents and stuff. 🙂
(and to anyone who hasn’t read this far, I wish y’all happy holidays, too, lol)

Cheers!

Edit: Also Crywank’s breaking up soon and now I’m sad (boo hoo)!

Another Edit: I kinda got the idea of putting out drawings from Frostilyte’s blog, so check his blog out if you’d like to and if you’ve got the time!

The Stray Sheep #36 – en passant 2

It’s been a while that I slept well and it’s also been a while since I posted anything. “Coincidence? I think not.”

For the past couple of days, I didn’t sleep at all at night or woke up way too early, leading to me getting tired at Uni, then coming home, falling asleep on my desk, then waking up in the night (kinda well-rested), working on Uni-stuff at night and not getting to blog at all, lately. 

So, yesterday I then ended up pulling an all-nighter in order to fix my sleep schedule. It’s been hard. I really needed the sleep. During the day, I had a geometry-lecture that I went to before going back home and trying to stay awake until at least 10 pm before then going to sleep. The result was me waking up 2 am (unlucky) but still getting to fall asleep again. It’s nearly 8 am right now. I got ready for my next Uni classes, got my coffee machine running and I should have my sleep schedule fixed for now. I hope it stays that way. 

At least I got to work on a few reviews in the sleepless time BUT I figured that I shouldn’t post them yet for several reasons – mainly as they’re not that good yet and one of them is scheduled for November 2nd for the sake of fitting a certain Mexican holiday. I hope you don’t mind that you’ve got to wait for that one but I’m sure it’s going to be great. 

Yesterday I also got to play Beat Cop, which I really enjoyed. A review on that should follow soon as well, so stay tuned for that one. 

This weekend is going to be quite interesting as well, btw. Tomorrow I’ll get introduced to my girlfriend’s grandparents, which I’m quite happy about and which is one of many reasons why I had to fix my sleep schedule as soon as possible. 

On Sunday, I’ll go to a tarantula convention. I hate spiders (as you probably already know). I’m really afraid of them, so I hope that having some tarantulas and other spiders put on my hand or seeing them up close helps me overcome my fear. It wasn’t my idea but it sounded like a good one. I’m already shivering at the thought of it, but I’m sure it will go well…. or get worse. Who knows? 

So, I’ll cover Beat Cop soon on my blog and then work on other game reviews for titles like The Great Swindle! There’re also some other drafts laying around that I still need to work on. One of them is about one of my favourite decks in Legends of Runeterra that is similar to the Bomb Warrior in Hearthstone. I’m really excited for that one but I cannot post about it for now as the next preview patch of Legends of Runeterra is available in a few weeks and the last one has already ended. 

Another thing I wanted to talk about is the fact that I’ll get into streaming soon! I’m currently saving for a new PC and right now only waiting for the money to arrive (four more days?) so that I can order the remaining parts. Apparently, the Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti is really overkilling what I plan to do spec-wise, meaning that I won’t need an upgrade in quite some time… but it also is really cheap right now, so I can’t complain too much about it. 

Once that PC is ready and set up, I’ll be able to stream games on Twitch every now and then. I’m really excited about that as I’m planning to do some sort of “Live Reviews” format where I play a game for the first time and post about it afterwards on my blog. With my current laptop, I wasn’t really able to post any more “Late to the Party” posts without encountering game crashes, FPS-drops, and other problems, so there’re going to be a lot more posts in that column! 

But why do I want to stream?

Well, I first encountered Twitch when I saw that ChestNut from the Blaugust-community is also on Twitch. To date, I still haven’t seen her streams nor do I know what kind of person she is but she seemed friendly on the Blaugust Discord, so I figured “Why not just search for her?”.

When I wanted to check out her stream, though, she was hosting a channel called Aeyvi which was rather small at the time, had a comfortable atmosphere going on and was pretty nice! There have been no trolls and I not only got to talk to the streamer herself but also other people in the chat without getting “spammed away”. When I mentioned me getting a new PC, I got referred to Jimb0 who is really great at tech-stuff! Hence, I followed and eventually also subbed to him as he makes great content on Twitch and, again, has a great community.

Another day he ended up raiding a streamer called XilentFlex who’s also great and very positive! I now basically hang out at these guys’ streams nearly every day, or watch JustKt_HursheyCrispLazyLJButterscotch_27FaustDaimos, SymastusYawwn_SoloPersephoneSeas, and other streamers. I like these streamers and their communities a lot and haven’t encountered any sort of toxicity in their streams, mainly as most of them are in the Plant Army stream team who are very inclusive and friendly. 

So eventually I decided that I wanted to stream, too, as a hobby and combine it with my blog, resulting in me being to broadcast Indie Games to more people which helps smaller devs. On top of that, I’d also be able to provide reviews with a Vod of actual gameplay, improving my reviews and my blog overall! I think that might be interesting. 

So, that’s today’s little update. I hope you all don’t mess up your sleep schedule and I hope that you’ve got some great days ahead of yours!

Carpe Diem or something!

PS: If you want to follow any of those people on Twitch, tell them that Magi sent ya (hehe). Jokes aside, I linked their twitch accounts on their names and if you look up my twitter, I also linked their twitter accounts over there in a thread about this post.