The Legend Of Tianding – First Impressions

Recently I was granted access to an early version/demo of The Legend of Tianding, a 2D Beat ‘Em Up game about the legendary Taiwanese folk hero Liao Tianding. Explore the dazzling streets of Colonial Japanese Taiwan in the early 20th century as you rob the rich, feed the poor, and expose the darkness lurking in the heart of Taipei.

Developer: CGCG
Publisher: Neon Doctrine
Genre: 2D, Platformer, Beat 'Em Up, Action, Indie
Release Date: TBA
Key was provided by the publisher.

The game itself utilizes a somewhat simple but really satisfying combat system where you can chain up special techniques and normal attacks to overpower the many foes that stand in your way. You can disarm enemies using your waist sash, taking their weapon and beating your enemies with poles, guns, swords, axes, and other weapons. As you move on, you’ll unlock techniques that will help you, both in combat and in traversing the areas. The Legend of Tianding allows you to perform a kick in the air for instance giving you more vertical movement while you can perform a rising kick to gain extra height and reach new areas. I found the movement and the combos to be quite dynamic and satisfying personally and even though I’m not that good at platformers, it didn’t seem too hard for me to solve some of the jumping puzzles!

Enemies vary from corrupt police officers to goons hired by evil officials and other people. Relatively early on, you’ll see how the antagonists are unscrupulous as one of the early antagonists, for instance, robs even beggars. Either way, you’re not just any other guy but actually, a folk hero that fights for justice and comes to people’s aid. Lia Tianding aka Liāu Thiam-Ting is a vigilante that is wanted by the Colonial Japanese authorities. 

The art style is very comic-like or more accurately inspired by Chinese Manga and provides stunning visuals. The game’s cutscenes are presented as comic panels that make the story relatively easy to follow, even though I would have liked it if the subtitles and page flips would have stayed longer on screen. This in particular is important to me since the plot is very interesting. It’s based on real events, real people and real situations and what’s more intriguing to me is that this time and place is rarely presented in games and gets overlooked in media in general.

On top of that, you can also customize your character using a bunch of talismans found through exploration. These magical equipables grant you bonuses that essentially make it possible for you to even the battlefield and try out different playstyles. Take less damage, restore more health, deal more damage with certain weapons, and other talismans let you cover your weaknesses and make the game more enjoyable, overall.

And apparently, you can also take on side quests by other people to help them out while helping out beggars with the money you acquire… and you can play a traditional Taiwanese board game that looks interesting on the store page.

I’m honestly quite happy to see this era get covered in games and I’m looking forward to seeing the finished product by CGCG. You can wishlist The Legend of Tianding on Steam! The Release is yet to be announced.

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken. If you like what you see here and want to see more, you can check me out on Twitch and YouTube as well.

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. If you like what you see here and want to see more, you can check me out on Twitch and YouTube as well.

Indietail – TASOMACHI: Behind The Twilight

Back in February, I covered a lot of the Steam Game Festival demos but sadly didn’t get to cover all of them. One of the titles that looked very promising but didn’t get covered was Tasomachi, which is a 3D Platformer in a charming fantasy world. In TASOMACHI: Behind The Twilight, you step into the role of Yukumo, a young girl traversing the world in her beloved airship. Upon arriving at a certain town her airship gets taken down by a mysterious force, which is why she now has to explore the town in search of parts for repair… but something’s wrong since the town has fallen silent with no trace of its inhabitants.

Developer: Orbital Express, nocras
Publisher: PLAYISM
Genre: Atmospheric, Fantasy, 3D Platformer, Exploration
Release Date: April 14th, 2021
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Copy was sent by the devs.

First of all, I’d like to mention that the world is beautiful. Usually, I’d talk about the presentation later on in the review but I feel like a huge selling point for this game is the wonderful art and the atmosphere in the games. The artist-turned-indie-dev, nocra, has been known for contributions to the art of Final Fantasy XIII-2, XIV: A Realm Reborn, freelance 2D art on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, as well as Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Hence, it comes as no surprise that the world of Tasomachi is beautiful, mysterious and enigmatic. The world is pretty and feels livelier every time you complete the challenges of the different places and every time you bring back more people. The music by Ujico*/Snail’s House certainly adds to this feel as well with chill and cosy vibes during the day and relaxed melodies during the night. The challenges that you complete feature some somewhat funky and futuristic sounds as well that certainly mix things up and overall, I love the presentation, the soundtrack, the art style and the character design to bits and feel like it’s outstanding.

The gameplay loop consists of you visiting these different places in the world, trying to collect Sources of the Earth, which are necessary to lift the fog and bring the towns back to life. By completing the challenges and getting the protection of the Sacred Trees, you essentially revitalise the places and get some repairs done for your ship, resulting in a bit of a Zelda-like experience minus the combat. There are a bunch of puzzles like mazes and switch-puzzles as well as some platforming challenges that involve mechanics that get introduced along the way. Some of the sacred trees also grant you powerups, like a mid-air dash or a stomp, that you can perform to get to Sources of the Earth around the map.

While I usually hate platforming in games, I actually don’t mind it in this game. The puzzles feel interesting and innovative in a way with mechanics you may know from other games but used in different ways. Similarly, I like that Tasomachi features multiple short sections that you have to overcome instead of one long painful course of jumping puzzles, which overall makes it more enjoyable. If you fail it a couple of times, it can get annoying but it’s not as bad as in other games which is why even I got a bit competitive. “Just one more time! This time I’ll get it” – And well, if you don’t want to do it, you can use coins to skip challenges completely. Usually, I don’t think highly of skip-buttons like that but the game has more than enough challenges for you to experience, so I don’t think it’s that bad to be able to skip a challenge or a few to make progress. The coins can be found around the map in random spots and they tend to respawn quite quickly, too, meaning that you don’t have to grind or anything like that. Once you got rid of the fog in a town, you also can use the coins to purchase decorations for your room in the silent valley or buy concept art and costumes, which is a nice little touch, in my opinion.

And then there’s also your trusty airship. I like the feel and the controls of it, especially as the areas are stunning and more than enjoyable to fly through. The plotline of your ship breaking down, sadly, puts a bumper into this as you’ll have to get through a few areas first before you can soar through the skies again… but once you get through that part of the story, it’s more enjoyable than it would have been before due to the revitalised towns and areas that now feature boats, new challenges and even more areas to explore. It’s an interesting take, in my opinion, especially as you can use your ship freely at that point, too, to fly through courses or flutter between buildings. On top of that, I love the nice little touches that the world has to offer like the day-night cycle and the animations and particles that your airship uses. It’s overall a very pleasant experience. I’d imagine, however, that the developers could maybe add some more life to the world in form of bugs, birds, and other critters to enhance the experience even more.

But even if I praise this game so much, I’ll have to say that there are things that I don’t like. First of all, I hate that you always “respawn” at the dock when you fall into the water in another part of the town. I’d enjoy it a lot more if you would just get put back at the last save spot or the last time you touched the ground… Failing a jump somewhere and falling into the water doesn’t have consequences for you aside from the fact that you have to go all the way over there again. Also, there are lanterns around the map that you can light and I find it hard to keep track of them all, especially as the light goes out when you enter a building or a sanctuary. I was wondering if something special happens if I light them all up but I couldn’t really find out as I would either lose track of where I’ve been already or I’d end up resetting it by accident. 

And then there are the settings for the game… There are no keybindings that can be changed, for instance, which is bad for accessibility. You also cannot change the gamma settings or turn off some of the particle effects. There is also an issue with the “Medium Resolution” that cause the water to flicker when you move the camera around, which is quite annoying… I would have liked it if you could change independent settings like particle effects, motion blur, bloom, lighting, control scheme, etc. in the settings instead of just being able to change the resolution. Stuff like that should be a given in 2021 in my opinion.

Apart from that though, I like this game. The puzzles have the right amount of challenge to them and can be skipped if you want to. The game is beautiful on the high to highest settings and presentable on lower resolutions. The soundtrack is amazing. The art and animation are great. I like that there is a photo mode in the game. I can recommend TASOMACHI to anyone that is looking for a nice and chill time in a pretty environment.

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken. If you like what you see here and want to see more, you can check me out on Twitch and YouTube as well.

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. If you like what you see here and want to see more, you can check me out on Twitch and YouTube as well.

Indietail – Vigil: The Longest Night

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken. If you like what you see here and want to see more, you can check me out on Twitch and YouTube as well.

Indietail – Kernmantle

So, a while ago, a developer sent me a request to review their game via my Steam Curator page. The developer in question developed Kernmantle and I kind of put off reviewing this game for quite a while since I’m not sure how to start or end it.

The problem with reviewing games is that I personally want to give every game a fair chance of getting played and reviewed. If a game seems to be abysmal or anything like that, I tell the developers in a kind e-mail that I think that it’s for the better if I do not review their game.

Developer: North of Earth
Publisher: North of Earth
Genre: Platformer, 2D, Physics-driven, Adventure
Release Date: October 5th, 2020
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Copy was sent by the developer.

In the case of Kernmantle, I accepted the game and decided to play it until I noticed that it’s absolutely not to my liking, despite what it seemed like. For anyone wondering, it’s a physics-based 2D Adventure where you climb up a 2000-meter-deep canyon and attempt to reach the top. It seemed interesting since it works with lighting in a pretty way while having a rather simple art style and I guess some mechanics behind it. Hence I gave it a chance.

At last, however, I noticed that that’s about it. Simple style, no story, pretty lighting, annoying soundtrack, abysmal controls.

A game that is all about climbing sounds like fun in a way… but the checkpoints are far away between each other and when you fall down once it’s more frustrating than Getting Over It or any other game, in my opinion. That’s not because of the depth that you’ve fallen or the lost progress… but for a different reason.

In Getting Over It, a game that I adore to be fair despite not being good at it, I know that I fell down because I didn’t get enough momentum or because I aimed at the wrong spot. It’s basically just me being at fault.

In Kernmantle, the controls are super janky and sometimes do not respond. So, while I’m holding onto the trigger of my controller, the grip just loosens it despite there still being plenty of stamina left in my hands. And that’s annoying when it happens once. It’s annoying when it happens twice. It’s frustrating at the third time and I stopped after the fourth time when I realised that it all was for nothing since there seems to be an invisible wall ahead of where I wanted to go with no other way to go from there.

At the same time, the game is incredibly condescending. The signs that are supposed to explain the game to you always end with something along the lines of “you moron” or “you idiot”, which is just rude. I feel like the developer is trying to be funny when they’re just insulting people that will refund this game afterwards anyways.

The character design and controls feel similar to Mount Your Friends but for whatever reason don’t work like that, although ripping off the controls would have been a lot better, in my opinion. A controller is required to play the game while Mount Your Friends at least allows Mouse+Keyboard: A feature that is much needed in games like these.

All in all, it’s a mediocre game that would be better with keyboard controls, akin to Getting Over It or Jump King. Paying ten bucks for this would be a waste. I can’t recommend Kernmantel, at all. Play Getting Over It or Jump King instead if you really want to.

Cheers.

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken. If you like what you see here and want to see more, you can check me out on Twitch and YouTube as well.

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!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken. If you like what you see here and want to see more, you can check me out on Twitch and YouTube as well.

Let’s talk about Hyper Scape

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

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

Drop down from the sky and plunder the city!

What’s different in Hyper Scape?

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

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

Did I hear something?

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

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

Fashion > Damage – get some skins and stuff!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enter the Hyper Scape?

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

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

Cheers!

Indietail – Clunky Hero

Some heroes are known for fighting windmills! Some others are known for getting tossed coins at! And some others… well… they have buckets on their heads and fight evil stuff to save their wife! In today’s Indietail we’re talking about the latest demo of ClunkyHero!

Developer: Chaosmonger Studio
Release Date: March, 2021
Genres: RPG, Action, 2D, Platformer, Metroidvania
Available on: PC for now (+more as stretch goals)
Reviewed on: PC
Copy was received from the Devs (demo available for free)

Clunky Hero is a humouristic and story-driven Platformer-Metroidvania-title with RPG-elements by Chaosmonger Studio. It’s being described as a mix of titles like Hollow Knight and MunchKin. The game features a rather adorable 2D world filled with a lot of surprises, references and dangers. You can now support the game on Kickstarter until the 15th of June, 2020, so I’ll just quickly talk about the demo that I got sent by this small dev studio!

“Set in a far-away village, a dull peasant named Rufus and wife, Brunilde, lived an ordinary life. Everything was great in the village until the Evil One was awakened by a magical mistake that unleashed his army of minions into the world. In an unsurprising twist, the Evil One kidnapped Brunilde and imprisoned her in his Super Evil Bad Guy Castle Fortress.

Determined to rescue her, Rufus ventures onto a great quest, only equipped with an ordinary broom for his weapon and a sturdy bucket as his helmet. Labelled the Clunky Hero, Rufus sets out on his quest to save his wife and the whole village!”

What seems like a rather generic RPG-story á la “heroine gets kidnapped and the protagonist must save her from some evil guy” is actually a rather comedic twist on the whole trope of a princess that can’t seem to not-get-captured. The game mocks the trope and the generic RPG-games that feature the same twists over and over again by tackling the issue with TONS of humour. In fact, on stream, I ended up actually laughing out when I saw the intro for the very first time. The narrator and the whole plot premise are just hilarious!

Soon after getting into the game, you’re being presented by hand-drawn backgrounds and the option of going towards a dangerous story to your left or a town filled with generic NPCs to your right. The NPCs either tend to mock or make fun of you while selling you items, or they’re breaking the fourth wall with critique points and jokes at the cost of the devs while also giving out quests for you. I personally really enjoyed some of these dialogue options quite a bit. Again, the writing seems alright when you read/hear it for the first time, especially when all the NPCs are voiced with some made-up language that further enhances the experience.

In the demo, there are a bunch of enemies that you can encounter in the world from goblins to drunk bees to derpy knights to jumping heads (reminding me of Spirited Away!). They usually are tricky to deal with and can deal a bunch of damage to you, which is rather annoying when you think about the fact that you can only get healed by heal-items.

The gameplay seems to feature a lot of exploration, some not too complex combat and a bunch of enemies as well as a ton of humour but nothing too out-of-the-ordinary. It all seems rather unpolished to me, which may be part of the appeal of a demo, I guess? I’m sure that the following issues will get fixed in the full version… or rather I hope so,… but I don’t know for sure.

I’ve noticed a bunch of bugs and issues with the controls. Controller inputs were not getting registered while controls in the inventory just did not work at all for the most parts. A lot of times I’d feel like the hitboxes were not matching up which was rather annoying and with you not being able to heal without items it became quite frustrating… Especially, when you then have to start the game up again and listen to the same cutscene again… for the fifth or sixth time. I GET IT! WE’RE SUPPOSED TO LAUGH ABOUT THE DUCKFACE JOKE! Yeah, it’s not funny after a few times, but that’s the case with all unskippable intro-sequences! (Looking at you there, Borderlands!)

But these are issues that can be fixed rather quickly. The devs are aware of these problems and mentioned them in a pop-up that you see when you start up the game. It’s impressive to see a demo like this being put out after only 4 months of development.

The final result is supposed to feature 25+ levels, 15+ interior levels, six different skills, six+ different weapons, 20+ side quests, 30+ consumables, 10+ magic items, 10+ bosses, 20+ NPCs and 30+ types of enemies.

And in the end, I would say that these smaller issues that have been spotted in the DEMO (!) will probably not be featured in the full game, coming out in 2021… and I’d say that it still has some beautiful art, some hilarious moments and a great narrator… so I’d recommend the game if the quality continues to improve from now on… but we don’t know for sure.

And I know that it’s difficult to trust some name on some Kickstarter campaign with one’s money. You obviously cannot just trust anyone… but in this case, Nicola Povesan – head of Chaosmonger Studio -, has been rather successful with backed projects on Kickstarter. There are short films like Attack of the Cyber Octopuses and Robot Will Protect You as well as the video game Encodya (coming out on Steam in 2020), so if you’d like to, you could very much go and help the studio out over here at the Kickstarter campaign.

Clunky Hero is currently about 2500€ away from getting released in an All-Or-Nothing campaign. You’ll be able to find the demo on that side as well as some stretch goals, so you may consider doing that.

Either way, have a nice day and always remember to greet your neighbours with enough safety distance!

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken. If you like what you see here and want to see more, you can check me out on Twitch and YouTube as well.

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: Neon Doctrine (formerly known as 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!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken. If you like what you see here and want to see more, you can check me out on Twitch and YouTube as well.

Indietail – Haydee

In celebration of the #LoveYourBacklog-Week, I was browsing through my library and trying to revive games that I’ve played in the past and review those. Really Big Sky, The Plan, Among Ripples, Relic Hunters Zero, SpaceChem, Ori and the Blind Forest, and NeuroVoider are some games that I wanted to review and while I’ve finished reviews on a few of these games, a lot of them are still sitting in the drafts-section, waiting to get polished and to get wrapped up eventually (not today! But eventually for sure!). And then I stumbled across some other games that somehow (probably through free giveaways, random steam keys or Humble Bundles) have made it into my library, so I decided to play some of them without taking a look at screenshots and without looking at the Steam Store page of these titles. One of these titles was Haydee.

So, that’s how it came to be that today’s Indietail review is about Haydee, a game in which you’re playing as an overly sexualized female robot and where you essentially try to not tilt too much and where you want to know what the fuck is going.

Developer: Haydee Interactive
Publisher: Haydee Interactive
Genre: Metroidvania, NSFW, Platforming, Mature, Indie
Release Date: September 26, 2016
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Copy was purchased.

After starting this game up, I immediately thought that I’d regret it. I guess I was somewhat biased when I saw this protagonist’s model and realised that the Steam Store tags probably included „Mature“ or „Female Protagonist“ or „Nudity“ (and yeah, they do). We’re playing as a „thick“ robot who’s walking through maze-like rooms and solving puzzles. The game is accompanied by some futuristic and rather enigmatic tunes that got on my nerves rather quickly and the game is overly frustrating as it never tells you what you’re supposed to do nor how you perform certain actions nor how you save the game. Instead, you’ll have to figure out yourself that you can hang off cliffs by pressing crouch twice or that you’ve got to find certain (rather rare) terminals to save the game with (also rather rare) save chips. Hence, you’ll die over and over again.

The game expects you to die a lot, which is why I rather quickly got the achievement „Welcome to… Haydee!“ (Find your death in Haydee.) and „Moron“ (Die three times in a row in the same room.).

When performing certain actions, like jumping up, you’ll see that everything is jiggling in the most unnatural way and that everything about this game is rather oversexualized, which I personally didn’t really like. It’s not that I’m a prude or anything like that – it’s more that it seemed to be something that the game relied on too much. After all, NieR: Automata features rather sexualized characters as well… but it also has an interesting story, a great soundtrack, nice combat, an open world, a very creative customization-system, multiple endings and a lot more features that I can’t possibly list in this post.

But why did I keep on playing?

Mostly, because I’m stubborn. I don’t like Haydee at all and if it weren’t for a review (that I really wanted to write), I would have stopped playing this game immediately after my fifth death or so. But over time I got better at getting through the tutorial. Suddenly, there has been something nice about the game. A certain twist happened, as we unlocked a screwdriver that allows us to crawl through vents while we ignore the moon that is shining into the camera. There’s some exploration in the game happening which I wouldn’t have expected from what looked like a rather bad game. You’ll have to press buttons in some rooms, then go back and unlock other doors to proceed to the next rooms until you eventually can save again, wipe off the sweat off your forehead and rest assured that you won’t have to start over from the beginning again, as you’re dying over and over again.

There are some interesting platforming parts and while I really hate how the protagonist, Haydee, has to spread their legs and stretch out their butt and crawl over the ledge to perform a simple task as jumping onto a block, I really liked the idea of having these mixed elements in this game. A game that makes you hate it so much until you ragequit and a game that rewards those that stay for longer and play the game more than just twenty minutes. I personally took part in a few Drama projects and really liked the idea of performing something weird and experimental with a message so abstract that it either makes people hate it or love it. I’ve been to a performance one of a solo-actor and was fascinated by the fact that there’s been people prematurely leaving the room while others were confused and while I was just staring at that half-naked man performing one of my favourite plays, Woyzek, all on his own – a play with about fourteen and more roles in it played by one single man, with such a passion that it made people either hate it or love it (and I loved it absolutely).

Haydee is similar. Once you get past the hard bits, it gets rather enjoyable. You’ll be able to look past the over-sexualization, I think, and you’ll want to find out what Haydee is and what these strange robots are that aren’t like Haydee and why there are so many disposed Haydees on the pit of the cliffs you’ve already fallen into. There’s some sort of story that isn’t explained to you at all and I felt like I wanted to know what’s happening. I was intrigued by the mute character and the game that didn’t give a shit about me understanding it or not. There is no handholding when it comes to tutorials and even less when it comes to storytelling.

At some point, I found a gun and I knew that I’ll have to fight something, I guess. Maybe I’ll have to defend myself or maybe even hunt something down. Sometime later, I encountered some robots that apparently took down other Haydees and that have it out for me. Hence, I’ll have to make use of the gun and ammunition, I have to fight them off and survive the next levels and eventually… I stopped playing. I didn’t play through the whole game and honestly, I didn’t really want to as the frustration was outweighing the good sides by a ton, resulting in more or less of a rage-quit, I guess.

Question is, do I like Haydee?
Well, absolutely not.

I don’t like certain aspects of it, like the clunky controls, the missing handholding, the fucking jump scares that I encountered, the steep difficulty curve at the beginning and the unjustified difficulty of the game in general. You’re getting punished for messing up and you’re getting punished when the game doesn’t register the jump you did properly. There are no checkpoints in the game and you’ll have to manually save but you’re not able to if you don’t have to save chips. Eventually, you’ll fight against enemies but with no ammunition, you won’t last long, especially as stealth doesn’t seem to be an option. The aiming also feels rather off, the camera angles are weird and the third person only seems to be there so that the game can rub an ass into your face.

I think it’s just not my type of the game and hence, I don’t recommend it to people that value their time and money. If you want to try it out or if you think that everything I told you didn’t sound too bad, sure, go ahead, but I personally don’t think that I’ll play any more of it.

Anyways, I hope that you enjoyed this review. It turned to be kind of a rant in the beginning but then became a rather positive review before I eventually realised that the flaws don’t outweigh the good sides there are. The game turns good at some point but it continues with its flaws throughout the game and it just didn’t feel all that worth it, especially for the price you can get it at.

Until the next time, cheers!

Note: Since my screenshots didn’t get uploaded to the Steam Online Library (as planned), I wasn’t able to use them when I was editing this review on my laptop, resulting in me having to use the screenshots from the promo-material. Thought I’d let you know.

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken. If you like what you see here and want to see more, you can check me out on Twitch and YouTube as well.

Indietail – Risk of Rain 2

A while ago I reviewed Hopoo Games’ Risk of Rain 1 and it’s to-date one of my favourite games. It’s a lovely Indie-Action-Roguelike-title with a very nice combat system, a wonderful soundtrack and a timer that is increasing the difficulty the longer you take to complete the game. Hopoo Games released Risk of Rain 1 in 2013 and then announced that I wanted to develop a second game that would take place in the third dimension! A whole new game that would play like a third-person-shooter but still remain true to its core-values that made RoR1 a RoR-game. And well…. since March 2019 it’s Hopoo’s time to shine as Risk of Rain 2 released in Early Access and as tons of people discovered it for themselves, gave feedback on the discord-server, streamed it, made videos on it and wrote about it.

The Warbanner is, still, one of my favourite items! Here it provides us with a buff in this globe around it, upon level up!

But how do I like Risk of Rain 2 and do I recommend it? Let’s find out!

Note: In this review, I will be comparing the second game to the first game quite often, so I recommend checking it out over here. Of course I’ll review the game as usual in different aspects, so there’s going to be a lot of reviewing on parts that are new or that make RoR2 unique, so enjoy this review. 🙂

Developer: Hopoo Games
Publisher: Gearbox Publishing
Genres: Action, Adventure, Rogue-like, Indie, Third Person Shooter,
Release Date: March 28, 2019
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC, XBOX One, PS4, Switch
Copy was purchased.

For anyone who doesn’t know about the Risk of Rain games (I suppose, it’s a franchise now), you essentially spawn on a foreign planet and fight off monsters while searching for a teleporter to get to the next area. Fighting enemies grants you experience (that levels you up, increasing your stats) and gold. Gold can then be used to open up chests and receive items that grant you all kinds of special perks from stat-increases (like attack speed or move speed up) to game-changing elements (like poison damage or exploding enemies).

When you find the teleporter, you activate it to spawn the last waves of enemies and to spawn the boss who you then have to defeat to get rewarded with yet another item and to proceed to the next level. Dying never felt unfair and there were a ton of possibilities of item-combinations to make you super overpowered and it’s really great!

While Risk of Rain 1 better when using the gamepad/controller, due to its platforming-nature, Risk of Rain 2 plays better using the mouse and keyboard since it requires a lot of aiming. Don’t get me wrong, gamepad-controls still work quite well, but I’m better at aiming, using a mouse. Controls are rather smooth, you’ve still got your shooting ability, second ability and ultimate, as well as some sort of mobility-ability. You can remap the keybindings but I found the standard ones to work out just fine. There’s also a whole new sprint-button and as I’m not used to that being a thing, I forget about that button more often than not.

The aforementioned sprint-button is very convenient since the new levels are massive!

Being procedurally generated, they offer a lot to see with different biomes and different enemies depending on what level you are at. The chests and the teleporter are also located on different spots, so you always have to find them. I really enjoyed the wide areas and the feeling you have when you’re standing up close to the bosses. You’re just tiny compared to it all!

INTO THE ABYSS

Speaking of bosses, we can find a lot of RoR1’s enemies and bosses in the game as well.

From the Whisps to the Lemurians and Stone Golems (on the enemy-front) to the Magma Worm, the Wandering Vagrant, the Imp Overlord, the Scavenger, and the Stone Titan (on the boss front). These still have similar patterns to Risk of Rain 1 but since we’re playing in the third-person-view a lot of their attacks are wide ones with great areas of attacks and different moves. There are also new bosses like the Clay Dunestrider, the Beetle Queen, the Alloy Warship Unit and, one of my favourites, the Grovetender.

These new bosses either spawn enemies or pull you in, some have chain attacks while others have special conditions that need to be met before they can spawn. It surely is really interesting to see these new bosses in the game while still keeping some old fan-favourites in the game.

A blue portal brings us to a whole new merchant that is able to provide us with new items… for a price!

Hopoo Games changed the boss-mechanic in a way, though. In Risk of Rain 1, once you’ve activated the teleporter, you’d have to defeat the boss and all enemies that have spawned in the next [time based on difficulty] seconds. This “clean up” of sorts was rather annoying but manageable in the first game.

Now, in the second game there’s no such thing as a “clean up”. Once you activate the teleporter, a globe around it is displayed with a red circle in which you need to stand to charge the teleporter up. In that time, enemies keep spawning while the boss (still) is attacking you. Of course, you can leave the area around the teleporter, but it won’t charge in that time and the boss will follow you around. Once it’s charged up completely, you can use the teleporter right away after defeating the boss, resulting in your excess money getting converted into experience points.

I really liked this change as it meant that you’d have to tackle bosses differently and as you couldn’t just wait the event out and then clean up slowly.

Into the next area!

The old enemies along the side of new enemies like the Brass Contraption and the Beetle Guards really make the world feel lively although dangerous.

There’re a lot of new attacks to look out for, coming at you from all sides. Lesser Whisps are rather weak but since they spawn a lot and since they are flying, you need to take care of them rather quickly as they do hurt a lot. And then there are the slow but sturdy Stone Golems who attack with a laser beam but need to charge up slowly after every attack. I really enjoyed this variety and new enemies are being added in every new update.

And then there are new items, too, along side old classics like the Soldier’s Syringe that increases the attackspeed-stat or Paul’s Goathoof that increases movement speed. I really enjoyed seeing these items again while also having new items like Little Discipline (which shoots out whisps from a container) or the Queen’s Gland (which spawns a Beetle Guard on your side that attacks enemies and can block shots for you).

Facing off against the Clay Dunestrider!

Just like in the first game the soundtrack, made by Chris Christodolou again, is awesome!

It’s very Risk-of-Rain-ish and fits the game like a metaphorical glove. It’s very space-y and futuristic while also atmospheric and, although it fits the game, it’s still all new and doesn’t rely too much on the first game’s soundtrack. I really enjoyed it. Along with the all new soundtrack, there is also a new style present in the game. Hopoo Games teamed up with Gearbox Publishing (whose dev studio is behind the Borderlands Games) and created an all-new style for this game. It now uses some sort of cell-shading-style that uses the same colour palette as Risk of Rain 1 and therefore remains true to its original colours but still has a new sort of freshness to it that looks quite rad, to say the least. I really like this new style and while I loved the pixel-artstyle of the first game, I can see how it doesn’t fit the new Third-Person-view and that this style is still fitting it quite well.

My favourite biome, the Scorched Acres! It’s so pretty and warped!

But while I love the Risk of Rain franchise, there certainly are some issues with it.

While Multiplayer has been fixed and is easy to set up, the devs’ fear of the MP overshadowing the SP came true and because of that I kind of feel like it’s not worth playing the game if you can’t play it with friends. Sure, it certainly is challenging and fun while alone… but it’s a lot more fun with friends as you can strategize a lot about who takes what items and how you build your characters.

And the other issue I had with the game was the fact that dying in MP means that you need to wait and spectate while your friends clear the level and venture into the next one. Once you’re there, you have less items than everyone else and therefore may be struggling more, resulting in a bad experience. I would have liked it if you’d spawn in as a “pet whisp” or some sort of enemy and play as that one for the time-being to either screw with your friends or help them beat the level. The current system really hurts the fun that I had with the game. And then there are the characters.

The Imp Overlord is back at it again! Scary!

Also, I found some of the unlock-criterias in the first game better than the new ones. But I guess that’s just a preference-thing. While I’ve unlocked a lot of items and new areas of the game, I think it’s worth mentioning that I have yet to unlock all of the characters, but since Multiplayer is a lot more fun than playing alone, I’ve experienced this weird feeling of not being as motivated to play alone as I was with Risk of Rain 1. I still start up occasionally and play a few runs, sure, but it’s not as frequent as I would have with RoR1, due to the fact that a lot of my friends don’t play it as often anymore. (If you want to play it with me, hit me up!)

And since the maps are so huge, I found it rather hard to keep track of the teleporter. Every biome has a few variants to it and the teleporter can be found in a lot of different locations. Quite often, however, I would have found the teleporter early on but would decide on actually getting more items first and then I’d get lost, resulting in having to find the teleporter again. I’d like it a lot if you could pull out a map (while the game’s not paused) to mark stuff on it or if the waypoints set with the middle-mouse-button were permanent, so that you can permanently mark chests and/or the teleporter. That’d be great.

Dio’s Little Friend (JoJo-Refernece much?) revived us here when the Imp Overlord let us experience his rage! Lucky!

Overall the game has a few flaws but since it’s in Early Access it constantly gets updated with a very dedicated dev team and a community that tries to give as much feedback as possible. The community for this game is great, the new additions to the game have been interesting and didn’t hurt the game’s spirit at all but rather helped it reach new heights! And it’s not finished yet. The journey keeps on going, so there’s more to be expected in the future!

So, I’d give it a recommendation.

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this review!

Cheers!

Note: Screenshots were taken from one run. As I didn’t want to spoil too much, I only featured these three areas and the blue portal but I can assure you that there’s a lot more to see!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken. If you like what you see here and want to see more, you can check me out on Twitch and YouTube as well.

Indietail – The Swindle

Being a student, I wasn’t able to fund my new PC until I found this job here. It seemed rather easy: Scout for flaws in the security systems, watch out for the guards, break in, take everything valuable and leave without getting noticed! 

Sadly, I’m not Kaito Kid or Lupin III and, hence, not a good thief.

Therefore, my new PC has still to wait but at least you get a review on The Swindle, a steampunk cybercrime rogue-lite about breaking into buildings, hacking their systems, stealing all their cash, and quickly running away again before the police show up. 

Developer: Size Five Games
Publisher: Size Five Games
Genres: Stealth, Jump 'n Run, 2D, Indie, Rogue-lite, Action, Platformer
Release Date: July 28, 2015
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC, PSV, PS3, PS4, Xbox One, WiiU
Copy was purchased.

> London, 1849_

> In 100 days, Scotland Yard will activate their breakthrough Artificial Intelligence technology,
> codenamed “The Devil’s Basilisk”_

> Its surveillance capabilities will be total. If the project is completed,
> your career as a master burglar will be untenable_

> Steal it before that can happen_

So, off we go onto some heists into the Slums! The clock is ticking before the Devil’s Basilisk is ready for Launch!

100 days seems like a long time but it only resembles 100 runs, no matter if we fail or if we’re successful. 100 runs to earn money to purchase new upgrades, skills and tools but also 100 runs to increase our affinity to unlock new areas and eventually be able to hack into Scotland Yard itself and win the game.

We’re heading into procedurally-generated houses and mansions in a few different areas, each more packed with security and possible loot than the other!

At first, we only have the Slums available – they offer low rewards at relatively low risk. In the beginning, we only have our jump-n-run-abilities available to us and have to try to be sneaky to get into those mansions. There are security guards, walking their routes, but none are equipped with microphones or dangerous guns and they all usually only pack one hit. More often than not, though, I got caught off-guard by some robot or was spotted due to my greed and stupidity. You are your biggest enemy, it seems. 

After every run, you get to either go back to your airship and upgrade your characters or just go for another heist.

Getting the level 1 hacking skill is of utmost importance, however, as it quadruples your profits whenever you hack a PC. Once you get that skill, you should try to unlock bombs, as the procedural generation sometimes leaves you with unaccessible rooms and dead-ends. There’re also times where the building itself has no visible opening, resulting in frustrating runs with no earnings at all, although that’s happening rather seldom. 

And then, eventually, you’ll be able to go into the Misc-Tree and buy your first upgrade to unlock new areas. Now there’s locked doors, mines, enemies that pack multiple hits, and overall it became a lot harder but your profits are doubled as well, resulting in faster upgrades and, in my case, in bigger greed. 

Yeah, the greed. The most frustrating part of every game, I’d say. When your teammates throw a won game as they wanted to earn some extra kills on their way, or when you just go for the last few hits on the raid boss and get killed thanks to your stupidity (or rather… mine… I should know better, you probably do). 

Greed’s the reason why the doom-day-counter was ticking faster for me than for everyone else (probably). 

Sometimes I died because of me forgetting about fall damage… Sometimes I died because of landmines that I failed to hack… Sometimes I died because of me greeding for another computer-hack instead of just bailing with 3-6k pounds. 

And before I even reached the fifth stage, I already reached Day 0: Gameover. 

I had to start anew from Day 100 on, losing all of my progress and upgrades. But while a few heists were frustrating, the overall game wasn’t. It’s highly challenging, seeing new types of enemies and mechanics is interesting. There is a degree of strategy involved in the selection of upgrades, tools and skills. I liked the game and kept playing for a few more heists – until I stopped due to having to get ready for the Halloween Party I wanted to go to. 

The colour-palette and music are interesting, and whenever your character gets caught, you respawn as a new character with a new look and a new name, both randomly generated! There’s also the world which is looking cool – but then again my view might be clouded due to my love for Steampunk games! 

The presentation is topnotch in my opinion and while the learning curve is rather steep in the beginning, I really wanna become a master thief like Lupin III or Kaito Kid, resulting in me enjoying the game in itself and its challenging aspects. 

But let’s get to some flaws, at last, before rounding up this review: 

There is a certain problem with the generation of the levels that I found rather bothersome, even though I only encountered it once in about 230 heists… being locked out of the mansion. There are cases where the mansion you’re scouting has been generated in a certain way where it doesn’t let you in through any doors, mainly for the sole reason that there are no walls. You either have to bomb your way in or you just leave and start another Heist, which is bothersome for the sole reason of you losing one day.

There’s also the fact that explosions should result in big sounds that the guards should notice – but they usually don’t notice you, unless they are equipped with a microphone – and even then, they hardly notice. I would like it if they A.I. would pick up on stuff like this but the game is already hard enough as it is, so I shouldn’t complain about that stuff! 

Apart from that, I didn’t encounter any problems or flaws in the game design. And while it surely is annoying when you lose a day or two because of bad level-generation, the game takes care of that by giving you the option of hacking Scotland Yard directly, for a price, of course, to give you a few more days until the Devil’s Basilisk is finished. 

Conclusion-time!

I enjoyed my time with The Swindle and, therefore, really recommend this game. I love the aesthetics, the gameplay and the overall idea of heists and the doom-clock-timer! I hope you enjoy it as well.

Anyways, cheers!

I’m taking part in this year’s #IntPiPoMo. If you’d like to participate or get to know the other participants, feel free to check this post out!

Note: I changed the date of this review to November 3rd as it bothered me that I accidentally posted two reviews on the same day. It’s a bit of an OCD-thing, so I can’t really help it. I’m sorry for that post-edit. Also, I put this little IntPiPoMo-section down at the bottom of this review after having already posted it, as I signed up for it after the day I posted it. Doesn’t make too much of a difference, though.

And another note: I did not perform any crimes IRL to fund my new PC parts. That was just a small introduction for the setting, similar to a small exposition. Please don’t call the cops. Thank you.

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken. If you like what you see here and want to see more, you can check me out on Twitch and YouTube as well.

Indietail – Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition

It’s time for Día de los Muertos – the memorial day of the dead! And for that we’re playing as the agave farmer, Juan Aguacate, who’s helping with the preparations in his village only to find his childhood friend, Lupita, be kidnapped by the undead villain Carlos Calaca to be sacrificed in a ritual to unify the world of the Living and the Dead and rule over them all! In our attempt to save Lupita, we are killed by Carlos only to find ourselves with the mask of the famous Luchador himself and some epic superpowers! Strap on for a review of Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition!

Guacamelee! Super Turbo Champion Edition (Trailer/Shop) is a Metroidvania-Action-game by Drinkbox Studios that is combining a colourful art style with 2D-Sidescrolling-Action, a lot of humour and tons of fighting!

Developer: Drinkbox Studios
Publisher: Drinkbox Studios
Genres: Action, Metroidvania, 2D, Platformer, Beat 'Em Up
Release Date: April 9, 2013
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC, Playstation Vita, Playstation 3 & 4, Xbox 360 & One, Nintendo Switch & WiiU, Linux
Copy received for free during a giveaway

It’s using classic elements of the Metroidvania like wide branched out maps, paths that can only be accessed using certain abilities, and a lot of exploring! To proceed we’ve got to fight our way through waves of enemies in arena-levels while solving Jump-‘N-Run-areas in some of the wider levels and overall follow along in this rather linear story. 

The story itself consists of going through different “temples”, fighting against Carlos’ generals and getting stronger to ultimately face Carlos himself and unlock one of two endings. 

The fighting makes use of a wide range of attacks, throws, kicks and special attacks that also help you to get rid of previously encountered roadblocks. It feels rather fluid and you can chain almost all attacks to one another and unleash incredible combos on your unknowing foes! Truly fun!

And yet, the game itself is rather lacking in terms of difficulty. In my first playthrough of the game, I didn’t have any difficulties with the enemies at all.

There are a few different types of enemies that come in different colours, giving them different properties and making you fight each in a different style but most of the time you’re able to send all of them flying with a few simple button-presses. Some enemies are more annoying than others, for sure, and there are times where you need to shift between the world of the Dead and the world of the Living to fight them while also dodging the attacks of the enemies in the other world but it seemed rather lacklustre when it came to difficulty which was quite a letdown.

At some point during the final levels, you encounter two new enemies, though, that can give you quite a hard time. At first, you face them as mini-bosses but then you encounter them on the next few levels as well, which is a lot more challenging. The sudden rise in difficulty rose my total deaths to a two-digit number (not factoring in the final boss fight), but I would have loved to see a more consistent rise in difficulty as you might see in other games. 

On top of just brawling your way through enemies, you can also find collectables in some interesting side-quests and puzzles, or upgrade your abilities and health/resource bars. But adding more damage and survivability to your character could be a reason for why the game felt so easy in the first games. On top of that, there’re way too many checkpoints in the early levels, even in areas where you can’t possibly die. Meanwhile, in later levels you’ve got to do Jump ‘N Run passages in dangerous spots with checkpoints that are far away, making a sudden misstep even more frustrating.

A great of making your way harder, however, is to buy costumes.

Costumes provide you with special perks that most often come with negative debuffs! For instance, there’s one that grants you “massive damage” but you also receive “massive damage”. My favourite one, though, was the El Diablo costume that grants you enhanced attacks and lifesteal but decreases your maximum health by a hefty amount!

But setting the difficulty aside, it was rather fun. There’s a lot of humour and even when you’re just smashing buttons and chaining attack after attack, you can have quite a fun time with this game. The game is mocking itself constantly, working with Mexican stereotypes and referencing other games while also adding running jokes into the mix that made me chuckle quite a bit here and there. 

There’re collectable Choozo Statues (a direct reference to Metroid‘s Chozo Statues), for instance, or posters in some cities featuring Luchadors of all sorts from all kinds of different games! Next to “Los Casa Crashers” (Castle Crashers), “La Mascara” (The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask), and “Mega Hombre” (Mega Man), you can find a lot more references in the game, which is most often a true delight!

The aforementioned art style is capturing that Mexican vibe quite well!

There are a lot of bright and vibrant colours involved while you’re in the world of the Living – while you see a rather dark and enigmatic colour palette in the world of the Dead. This mix of colours is quite pretty and caught my eye when I first stumbled across screenshots of this game. The music is rather fitting for the whole aesthetic and the overall Mecixan feel but it didn’t stick to my ear all that much. It’s not a soundtrack that I would recognize in a playlist or something like that, which is a bummer of sorts, I guess.

To conclude, I’d say that Guacamelee! is a delight to play. It’s a lot of fun and while it is rather short with its estimated ten hours of gameplay, there are a lot of sidequests and backtracking that one can do. There’s also the devil’s challenges that one may want to finish, on top of the Hard Mode which did a lot right for me. I guess that using the Hard Mode the game’s worth the recommendation, however, I’d recommend using the Super Turbo Championship Edition as well as it adds a lot to the game in terms of costumes, powers, puzzles and Hell, itself

So, while I do recommend this game, I’d still say that it might not be something for everyone. Those that want a bigger challenge might not be satisfied with the main game but might have more fun with the Hordes-mode/Arena. I guess, the game is worth its money but, when in doubt, one can always wait for a sale on steam, right?

Hasta luego! (I hope I used that right..)

I’m taking part in this year’s #IntPiPoMo. If you’d like to participate or get to know the other participants, feel free to check this post out!

Note: I put this little IntPiPoMo-section down at the bottom of this review after having already posted it, as I signed up for it after the day I posted it. Doesn’t make too much of a difference, though.

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken. If you like what you see here and want to see more, you can check me out on Twitch and YouTube as well.

Indietail – Risk of Rain

Dizzle, Rain and Monsoon? What sounds like the weather forecast of London is actually something that has to do with an awesome game by Hopoo Games. Stay tuned for a review on my favourite game featuring a great soundtrack, some cool combat and a small risk of rain.


In today’s review, we’re taking a look at Risk of Rain (Trailer/Shop), a game developed by Hopoo Games, in which we crash on a mysterious planet where we have to fight through waves of monsters to get to the teleporter and…more about that later. I actually heard about this game about four years ago while following a blog called petebackwelcome with reviews on movies, games and all kinds of other stuff which I found really interesting. Later I bought this game since it got recommended by one of my favourite bloggers. And it didn’t take me all that long to find out about this game is one of my favourite games of all time!

So, let’s get started with the menu: Here we’ve got the option to choose between singleplayer and local or online co-op. The online-multiplayer is a pain in the arse to set up, so we won’t bother with it all that much for now. In the singleplayer “Campagne” of this rogue-like-title, you’re then able to choose between different characters that were on board of the ship that just crashed. Once you’ve chosen one out of those twelve characters that all have different playstyles and skills, you’re basically set to choose the difficulty and artefacts.

These difficulties are Drizzle, Monsoon and Rainstorm. These are basically designed for newbies (Drizzle – it’s really easy but achievements and the like are disabled), casuals (Rainstorm – the normal experience) and hardcore-gamers/pros (Monsoon – quite hard at the beginning but once you get used to the game you’ll basically want to play this mode!). Artefacts are also available to make your game harder but I’ll explain those later as well.

Here’s the commando and his abilities, feature damage, stun+damage, a dodge-roll and more stuns + more damage. Quite decent. Quite basic.

At the start of the game, you only have one character available to unlock the other characters: The Commando. He’s basically an allrounder who’s not only able to deal good amounts of damage but also has two stuns in his kit and a dodge roll to mitigate damage that may have been taken. Once you start your run you’ll spawn in one of many procedurally generated biomes. Those biomes have similar layouts to each other but still work with a small number of tilesets, meaning that there’s chests, shrines, and shops at different points of the level. You’ll start at level 1 and have to kill enemies to gain experience (to level up) and gold (to gear up). So, just like in most games, you’ll be looting and levelling to become stronger and beat more enemies and bosses. Items can get through those shrines, chests and shop but you always have to pay a price of gold for them. To get to the next level, you’ll need to find the teleporter and activate it so that the last few enemies and the boss of that level can spawn. Once you defeated the boss, you’ll be able to collect a new item, get rid of the last few enemies of the level and once you cleared those out, you’re free to either open the last few chests or just proceed to the next level. Proceeding to the next level however converts your gold to experience, leaving you with no gold in the next level.

Relatively early you’ll find out about a timer that can be found in the upper right corner. It shows you how long you’ve taken so far and increases the game’s experience based on the time taken. The longer you take, the stronger the enemies get. You’ll have to fight through more enemies and have to deal with elites that have different properties and more health. In the ideal scenario, you’d of course want to proceed even faster and get to the highest level possible asap, right? But that’s where you’re wrong as well since you’ll still have to level or else you’ll deal little to no damage to future bosses. So, naturally, you’ll have to find the right balance between farming mobs and speedrunning the levels.

The best way to get stronger is by getting items. These have a few different grades from uncommon to epic and can be found in chests and the like. There are active and passive items. Active items have to be used in order to deal damage, heal you or do other things like opening all chests nearby (there’s an achievement for that btw!). Passive items, on the other hand, are able to increase your stats, give you bonuses or other boosts which can be really helpful. Most of them also stack, so that you can get the same stats over and over again, like three syringes for three times the attack speed of a normal syringe. Opening a more expensive chest means having a higher chance of getting a higher grade item. While chests give you a random item from their loot table, bosses always grant you better items while shrines grant you a random item as well. To activate shrines, you’ll either have to donate gold or health in order to get a chance of getting an item. While this might sound like a huge gamble, there are actually strategies where you try to fail them a few times in a row to get increased crit chance with a certain item. On top of that, there are also shops that either already show you the items you can purchase or question marks with a random item.

Once you start the teleporter, one out of ten bosses spawns. These range from the magma worm that jumps out of the ground and ignites the ground around its impact to the Colossus who’s quite tanky and able to spawn golems around him to the Imp Lord who also spawns enemies and shoots rays at you to the wandering vagrant, a flying creature that roams the map and attacks you freely while doing so. On higher difficulties, these bosses can also spawn as normal enemies or come in pairs or even in elite-versions with different properties to them than the normal version. Even if you slay the boss, you still have to wait for the teleporter to charge up which takes different time from a minute to 90 seconds depending on your difficulty (Dizzle, Rainstorm or Monsoon). In that period of time enemies are still able to spawn until the timer runs out. After that you have to clear out all remaning enemies before getting to the next level via teleporter.

The magma worm. One of the first bosses and probably the boss I died most to.

The best thing about Risk of Rain, however, is apart from its soundtrack the combat-system. Each character has a normal attack, two normal abilities and an ultimate ability. While there are characters like the commando who are focused round shooting fast and dealing tons of damage while moving around a lot, there’s also melee-classes like the Enforcer who has a stun grenade and a shield that blocks enemy-attacks that come from one side of him. There’s also a sniper and an engineer which also play differently. Over all every class feels unique and is insanely fun to play. Once you understand how to use your character, you’re getting better in the game quite easily and may as well try out higher difficulties and artefacts. What I really like about the system is that no matter how you die, it never feels unfair. You always know what kills you and how you should have positioned yourself. With enough items, you get overpowered quite fast but you’re still able to die quite easily.

Combat feels fluid since every character/class has some sort of gap-closing ability with invulnerablity-frames and the ability to dodge attacks and fall damage and the like. You can play the game with the controller and the keyboard and while the controller feels more intuitive, I must say that the keyboard isn’t that unhandy. It still works.

Overall the experience is very space-y and positive. The soundtrack by Chris Christodoulou (Bandcamp/Steamshop) who’s also responsible for other games by Hopoo Games like Deadbolt and Risk of Rain 2 is absolutely awesome and even Total Biscuit (rest in piece at this point) paused his commentary for a while in his WTF is… Risk of Rain video to listen to this incredible soundtrack. My favourite track from the OST is Coalescense, a song found in the final level “Risk of Rain”, right before you encounter the final boss.


The soundtrack uses everything from drums and electric guitars to electronic elements and that’s why it’s able to create the perfect atmosphere for every level since every level is different. There’s quite a lot of different biomes from a hive to highlands, from cold tundras to hot volcanos, from dry sandy areas to wet and overgrown jungles. The artstyle is using pixels but seems to have quite a lot of detail for every enemy, class and biom which adds to the overall atmospheric feel of this game as well.

But let’s quit the fanboying for now. What I really didn’t like about Risk of Rain was the fact that the multiplayer is a pain in the butt to set up. While the local multiplayer is easy to handle, I would have loved to play with friends that aren’t closeby, but I couldn’t since the multiplayer uses an ip-port-thingy that doesn’t seem to work – or at least you need to use third-party-programs to get it to run which I find quite bothersome since so many other games on steam use the steam-friendlist to make it work. Luckily this isn’t the case in the sequel Risk of Rain 2 which only came out this year and makes use of your steam-friendlist. It would have been a great feature to have in the first game as well though.

The second run on one of my last runs.

But apart from the online-co-op there’s another problem with the multiplayer. Whenever I tried out the local one, items and experience didn’t get shared at all. This means that one player kills a mob and gets the experience and gold for that enemy-kill while the other one doesn’t. Same goes for items from chests and shrines: One player can get them while the other one doesn’t, meaning that one player ultimately might end up underleveled or underpowered and struggles with enemies that are just stronger than him. When one player dies, the other player has to deal with more enemies on his own but then again gets the experience for himself only. In the next level, the second player respawns, though, so he may get some new items but is still underleveled, leading to the same problem. This problem has been solved in the sequel, too, where all experience is shared. Items still are only for one player but that isn’t a problem with the right coordination.

Even though I played this game so much, I still haven’t unlocked most of these items here. But quite a lot.

The problem could have been easily solved with an option of item/exp/gold-sharing that could just have been ticked on or off for the sake of more difficulty. But the two-headed team of Hopoo Games said themselves that they won’t work on that since the singleplayer shouldn’t be the shadow of the multiplayer, which I can understand.

Apart from that there’s not many other points that could be criticized, in my opinion. The game is fair, every character feels unique and strong on its own and I haven’t encountered any games in the game at all in all of my many hours that I put into the game. The game has quite a lot of replay-value with fifteen steam achievements and a lot of other unlockables in the game such as new items, characters, artefacts and monster logs.

For those under you that want the extra-challenge, you can opt in for those artefacts that need to be unlocked in the game and that add extra difficulty to the game. There’s artefacts for basically anything. One for example makes corpses explode into bits, dealing huge chunks of damage to everything, another makes enemies (and you) run faster when on low health. My favorite artefacts are Glass and Command. Command allows you to chose the items, you’d get from the chests, while Glass gives you 500% damage but only 10% health – “glass-cannon-mode”, eh?

The Monster Log for the Rock Golem. He’s quite cute, isn’t he?

 To sum it all up, I’d say that Risk of Rain not only has a lot of content but also a lot of fun prepared for every lover of the rogue-like-genre. The presentation is great, the music is absolutely awesome and I’d really recommend it to everyone who likes games like Dead Cells and Gonner

Anyways, cheers!

This post is part of a contest/challenge called Blaugust! The goal is to post as much as possible and participants are awarded with different prizes depending on the goal they achieved. My aim is to post on all 31 days of August and if you’d like to know more about this “event”, you should check this post out.

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken. If you like what you see here and want to see more, you can check me out on Twitch and YouTube as well.