Indietail – Original Journey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until the next time, cheers!

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

TSS#48 – Indietail? – RimWorld and some other games

Indietail’s been a format on here for quite some time now and I love showcasing games and recommending stuff to people that don’t know those games yet… but there are some great games out there are too popular to be recommended and I don’t really know how to feel about them. 

Just recently I’ve gotten into RimWorld and it’s such a great game with so many possibilities and a steep and unforgiving learning curve but overall it’s just great and reward once you master it. The art style is alright but does its job. If anything, it adds value to the game using the derpiness of all the characters and models and it kind of is cute, I guess, in its own way. The music isn’t really noticeable and I really enjoy the base-building aspect of it as well as the strategy-aspects as well as the “fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck everything is burning and my pyromaniac nudist here called Jim is burning everyone and everything down while all the other colonists are bedridden with the flue fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck what do I do what do I do?” moments.

But everyone knows RimWorld. It’s a great game. Everybody knows that and hence I don’t think it’s worth writing about it as I’m not sure if I’ve played it enough as if I could highlight anything that nobody else has highlighted before. I can’t add value to a recommendation on something that was already recommended so much that it’d be a dead meme at this point. 

Another example would be Stardew Valley. It’s great and lovely and you, again, can do just so much in that game. You can live the capitalist life… you’ve got mods and can break the game. You can be an adventurer or a forager. You can live like Linus and just live off of berries and not farm or sell anything (aka the communist-solution). You can marry a whole bunch of people, no matter what gender you are. And it keeps getting updates for all kinds of platforms. I just recently got it on my phone as well as I love to play a day or two during some long bus rides. But well… it’s nothing new. Stardew Valley has been out for so long now that hardly anyone doesn’t know about it already. I doubt that any of my readers have not set foot into the world of Stardew Valley yet and if so, raise your hand and I’ll recommend the heck out of this game! — by pointing to all the positive reviews on steam as Stardew Valley is very close to what someone idealistic would call a “perfect game”.

If you like farming sims and RPGs, SDV is pretty much your wet dream but covered in Dr Pepper flavoured peanut butter. If you don’t like those genres, you still might like SDV as it’s that much of a good game. 

And then, of course, there’s Minecraft for instance but I won’t get started on that. Or on League of Legends, the famous game made by the small indie company called Riot Games… 

I guess there’re some games out there that I really want to recommend but can’t as I don’t really have anything new to say about it. Instead, I’ll eventually make a post about one of my RimWorld colonies… and maybe I’ll make a post about which wife or husband in SDV is the best (subjectively speaking)… or I’ll just shut up about it.

Similarily I had an issue last year with a game that I’d really recommend if it wasn’t made my assholes/trans-exclusionary radical feminists. If you don’t mind supporting two assholes with your money, I’ll recommend a certain game to ya but I just can’t do that on here without feeling bad about it, just like I can’t recommend a game on my blog that already got covered everywhere as I can’t add any value to it. 

And hence, uh,… this is a post about games I’d recommend but that will never get covered in reviews as everyone already knows about them. Thank you. Have a nice day. 

Cheers!

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

Indietail – Adore

What happens when we mix rogue-lite mechanics with an isometric perspective, an up-beat and rather colourful world, monster-taming and kiting-mechanics? Well, we would probably end up with a title that would be quite similar to Cadabra Games’ Adore!
Welcome to today’s Indietail where we see what this new Brazilian studio has to offer and if their first project is worth backing!

Developer: Cadabra Games
Publisher: Cadabra Games
Genres: Rogue-lite, Isometric, Action, Indie, RPG
Release Date: February 18, 2020 (Early Access)
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Copy was purchased.

In Adore, we’re playing as Lukha, a young lad who’s able to tame and summon monsters to fight by his side. We create special bonds with them and train them in fights in rogue-lite fashion.

Well, the God of Creatures, Draknar, is losing his power and is placing all of his hope into the hands of Lukha, the – presumably – last of his tribe of young Adorers (Summoners). Our mission is to venture into different areas and to free the creatures that are getting possessed and harmed by a mysterious curse. On our journey, we not only discover many secrets of the immense and enigmatic world of Gaterdrik but we also unravel a conspiracy to kill Draknar!

But why do we fight? Why are we doing this? What is our purpose?

Hence, we venture into the world and bond with creatures/tame them. Lukha himself can’t fight and is hence relying on summoning the tamed creatures and using their different attacks, abilities and synergies to win the upper hand in battle while also kiting damage and dodging wild monsters whose curse hasn’t been lifted yet. To tame creatures we need essences that we get in most rooms after clearing them. But since we’re only an apprentice, we also need to adore Draknar at his statures to upgrade the creatures’ abilities and to unlock new slots to be able to tame more creatures.

These creatures level up when they slay enough beasts and have all kinds of different characteristics. While Abbu is a squishy arcane-type that shoots out magic projectiles at enemies from a distant range, Zella, for instance, is a balanced Nature-type that is able to charge at enemies for a normal melee-attack and stun them with her special ability!

Thus, there are a lot of different monsters that can be used in different ways but you shouldn’t focus on just the monsters whose attacks you like but also take a look at and strategize with the synergies they have to offer. Every creature has different sets of available synergies to them that they receive when you upgrade them or when they level up. Some already have certain synergies, some others develop better ones later on but overall they are quite random and you can even get the same ones multiple times, which can be quite fun.

But how do Synergies work?

Well, if my Abbu (I love it so much so I will probably use it quite often as an example) has a synergy with other Beast-type creatures then it needs a Beast-type to be in your “team” to get a bonus. This can be a temporary damage buff or energy for its special attack when that other creature hits a target but it can also be just a passive synergy where Abbu itself shoots three extra projectiles when there’s a Beast-type like Meecra on your team. There are currently Mystic, Nature, Arcane and Beast types and every creature usually has at least one set of synergies with each type.

Creatures get summoned using your Stamina, so the more you have, the more Stamina you’ll need. Whenever you pick up an Essence, you’ll receive an upgrade for your stamina or your movement speed or your health. I quite often prioritize Stamina over Movement speed over Health as you don’t need maximum health if you don’t get hit (pro-tip).

Well, overall, I don’t see a point in getting more health, other than the fact that you receive damage when your creatures die or when you get hit and the fact that you lose when your health reaches zero or when your creatures all die. Stamina is needed for dodging, summoning and kiting, so I definitely find that more important, especially when you are fighting with a lot of tamed creatures! And the base movement speed seems to be on the low end, which is why generally that is my second priority.

Also, there are items. These are quite interesting as they work off your monsters and generally, you’re able to always find something that fits your playstyle in the store, if you’ve got enough money to buy anything. One of my favourite items in Adore is, for example, the Dodge Claw (the actual name may be different) that essentially gives the next summoned creature a damage buff whenever you dodge and cast the summon button in the right time-window.

There are also other items that last for your whole run as well as use-items like keys and potions but upon returning to the temple of creation, you’ll start at zero again, which is what makes a rogue-like a rogue-like. You keep the “fragments” you earn and can use those for permanent upgrades, however, which is why Adore is more of a Rogue-lite than a Rogue-like, but then again a lot of people don’t see a difference between the two and generally the whole rogue-like genre doesn’t really have anything to do with the original title, Rogue…

Adore is a rogue-lite at heart and with its interesting mechanics and build-customization.

It really was interesting for me to play and I really enjoyed my journey with this title. You have a lot of ways to play the game and you can go for a more damage-oriented glass cannon build or balance out your comp for fewer weaknesses. I really enjoyed that part!

But as always there are flaws that need to get worked on. These would include the music and presentation being on the rather weak side. While the world is colourful and mysterious in a way, it really is boring to see the same levels over and over again, even with its procedural generation and different creatures – and the soundtrack is too similar from track to track. Even the boss-monster-fights are rather calm when it comes to the musical tempo. I don’t expect the devs to add in-your-face-metal to them but I’m sure they can add new tracks to the game.

And aside from bugs, that, of course, are a thing, there are rather boring synergies in the game right now. Not all synergies are boring but a lot seem rather passive and easy to use, which is not good for an Action game.

I personally would get rid of the passive synergies like “This creature gets more attack speed when you have another Arcane Creature” and add more interactive ones like “If this creature receives damage, empower all other creatures’ attacks for a short period of time”. That way you wouldn’t just stack Abbus for the sake of them being quite strong and having so much range: Instead, you’d have a tank that would trigger certain buffs and you would care more about healing consumables in shops, hence adding risk and a reward to the gameplay.

But then again, this game is in Early Access and there are frequent updates. It only just came out a few weeks ago and the plan right now is for it to exit Early Exit in 2021, so I will revisit this title again in a different post once more stuff got added into the game.

My Conclusion is…

I would say that it definitely is worth considering. The gameplay is a lot of fun and the customization can be quite rewarding even if some synergies aren’t as fun as some of the items and even if the levels right now are quite similar while the music is rather underwhelming. If you’re not sure if it’s worth it, you may always take a look at it further into the future when it got updated a lot more. Cadabra Games is really into this and judging from their discord and the frequency of their updates, I really feel like this game could be one of many good games in a few years that comes from this small and new studio.

Until 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!

Review – Girl by the Sea

I read another piece of manga and thought I’d share my thoughts on here. It’s in the review-section of my blog but called just “Review” because I couldn’t come up with a witty pun on Manga and Reviews and uh… hope you enjoy this one. Feel free to leave your puns in the comment section or give me feedback on this style of review and layout. Thanks!

The title I’m reading is Inio Asano’s “Umibe no Onnanoko” aka “A Girl on the Shore” or “Girl by the Sea”. Having been published from 2009 to 2013, it only has twenty chapters and hence features an actual end to it, which I found quite rare.

All the good manga seem to be endless and mostly get updated weekly until they eventually drag out so much that they lose everything that once made them good. There surely still are good pieces out there that work well in the long run and usually stay true to their original premises… but lately I’m feeling as if the majority of the “good ones” are either running out of ideas to keep it fresh or getting stale and repetitive.

A Girl by the Sea is short with only twenty chapters and only two volumes but it has a clear end and a clear cut that needs to be done to keep it entertaining. Inio Asano apparently is known for his creative ideas and his well-written stories, so I will have to look into his works more often but as a newbie to his works, I really got drawn in by his way of story-telling and the general premise of the manga from the moment I first came across it to the very end.

But what is this piece about?

In a seaside town where really nothing happens, Koume Satou’s heart gets broken by her crush which is why she ends up starting some sort of “friendship+” without the friendship-part with Keisuke Isobe whom she had previously rejected. As things go on and as they both fill their emotional voids with each other’s embrace, things are falling apart as their “unordinary relationship” impacts the lives of them and everyone around them, especially since actual feelings seem to develop between the unusual pair.

It’s sort of a weird mix between a romantic school story and a drama.

Chapter after chapter the author is able to tell us the story of their bitter love-story that just doesn’t seem to end well. It’s a harsh take on the romance-story and it features unusual outlooks on love, relationships and the emotions of not-quite-grownups.

Despite all the talk about love and relationships, it is a story about teens… and well, there’s sex. Of course, it’s not that graphic but Inio Asano doesn’t care about censoring his work when it comes to the actual contents. Teens will try stuff out and hence there’s some weird stuff in there. But if you just look past the short sex-scenes in between, you’ll find a thrilling story with a clean cut at the end.

What matters a lot about that kind of romance story is the fact that it’s different from “the usual stuff”.

It’s not the typical romance-story where they end up holding hands half-way through (if even) and where they kiss at the end (if even). It’s deeper than that. The characters evolve over time and so do their problems. There are certain plot strings that are open at first and before the end, they actually get followed through. And whatever happens, no matter how dark and distorted it really is, eventually it gets closed up, resulting in no loose strings and essentially a fulfilling story.

It’s a beautifully crafted work that features great development and a lot of unexpected twists, which I really enjoyed. I’ve binged through it in one day and had goosebumps throughout the ride after the first few chapters.

At one point, I thought it would turn into “just another” love-triangle and people getting emotionally abused, similar to Waiting in the Summer… but the story caught me off-guard and once I reached the final chapter, I couldn’t really think of any possible ways of the story ending. I am not sure if it was the ending I wanted but it was the ending it deserved. And that’s something I like about good stories, books, movies and franchises: An ending.

I like it when there is closure. I don’t want to want “more”. I want to end up feeling satisfied with having heard about something, watching, playing or reading through it and then being done with it with nothing else to come. While surely, it’s great to see more of one’s favourite franchise, I don’t think it’s necessary to draw and stretch things out.

“Fillers are deadly”, is what a friend of mine would have said in that regard. But Girl By The Sea doesn’t feature any fillers, which is pleasant. It has its chapters with breathing room but they are not obnoxious and still give you a sense of pacing throughout the story while allowing you to catch your breath every once in a while.

If you wanna make money out of a franchise and stretch it out until it has 1000+ episodes, chapters, sequels, etc., it eventually will lose its appeal and will just die out. Rewatching a good and short show is better than having to stop eventually before it completely bled out.

And while I’m praising the story and the characters so much, I haven’t even touched upon the “realistic” design and the fact that the characters are being represented as real as they could be with no strings attached and no masks or other surprises. They are the way they are and they behave in a realistic manner.

It’s lovely how it gets so ugly.

And the art style also features panels without any people, picturing the vastness of the town. Everything gets bigger over time and the bigger the area depictured gets, the emptier it is. And that’s something that I could probably write a whole series of posts about it but I don’t want to spoil the fun of dissecting it. I don’t want you to already know how great the story works with the art style and the directions and the way that the world is portraying the characters’ feelings (oops?).

So, in the end… it’s a great one. I really liked this one and I honestly recommend it to anyone who likes darker stories that leave you with a satisfying ending and that catch you off-guard.

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Good night.

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

Indietail – Goat of Duty

In today’s Indietail, we’ll be looking at Goat of Duty, a fast-paced-FPS Game featuring Goats. Yup. A lot of them in all kinds of variations.

Developer: 34BigThings srl
Publisher: Raiser Games
Genres: Early Access, Action, Fast-Paced, Arena-Shooter
Release Date: July 10, 2019
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Copy received for free in a giveaway.

What first started as a “joke-review” for April Fool’s and BLApril2020 later turned out to be a game that I’m recommending heavily. I enjoyed this game quite a lot, despite the stupidity of the overarching premise of the game.

Goatruto is at it again, trying to become the next Goatkage!

We are goats and are fighting each other in an arena while equipped with not only horns but also a large arsenal of weapons.

There’re a bunch of maps and unlockable costumes, and lovely game-modes that you can join into. And despite the humoristic nature of the game, it demands a lot of you. In Fus Ro Arena, for instance, you need to watch your surroundings a lot more, as you’re trying to push off enemies into deadly pitfalls and even more deadly traps.

Using the ram-function or your guns, you can deal a lot of damage to goats before finishing them with a mighty bleat. Just hilarious. Again, it’s a rather stupid premise and meant to be a parody of sorts all kinds of shooter-games, including Call of Duty, but I feel like it’s got a lot more potential than other games with the fun that you have. There are no gimmicks. No fancy skills. No classes. No micro-transactions. Just you, your skill and a lot of other goats.

I managed to place third despite me being rather bad at fast-paced games or FPS games in general.

Finding a match doesn’t that long but I feel like there are plenty of issues with the Peer-to-Peer-hosting as your ping can vary from a good and steady 40 ms to a very annoying 400+ ms, which bothered quite a lot.

The community also doesn’t seem to be that big, which can cause you playing with the same people repeatedly, but then again… maybe that will get better once people stop playing Animal Crossing all the time.

I just find it hilarious. There are an awful lot of goat puns in there. It’s fast-paced. Very gore-y. The learning curve was steep for me at first, but over time I even placed third in one match, which I – as a non-fps-player – am proud of. And then there’s a bleat button as well as a play-dead-button, allowing you to confuse your enemies while you move around and ambush them from behind. Crazy!

Apart from that the graphics and the music, or rather the overall presentation, is quite fitting and not that demanding. I didn’t encounter any bugs, despite the devs pointing out that those are “intentional features” in one of their loading screens. I found it pleasant to see actual music in the game and to hear In-Your-Face-Metal on the main menu. The graphics are alright – I expected a lot less from a game like this.

A lot of different modes and maps!

Overall, I was quite pleased with this game. I enjoyed it quite a lot and may play more soon. Sure, the Peer-2-Peer-hosting is crappy but you usually can find a match with a reasonable ping after a few reconnects and stuff, so I wouldn’t bother counting that as too much of a flaw, especially as everything else seems to work.

Thus, I’d say that I’d recommend this game a lot to everyone who likes stupid games that are a lot of fun without putting too much effort into the story or unnecessary features and micro-transactions.

I wrote this post up on March 30th on my Twitch Channel and we had a bit of an off-topic-discussion there about Kotick, Activision and micro-transactions on top of enjoying the game together on stream. That’s why I feel like this works out just fine overall, and I might do more streams like this one in the future.

I heard that this is a CoD-youtuber-reference but I guess I’m not in the meta enough to get it.

If you’d like to join in or if you’ve GOAT any questions regarding the behind-the-scenes of my reviews or other blog posts, feel free to join in over here on twitch and ask ahead or message me directly on Twitter or Discord. Either way, I hope that you enjoyed this review and I wish you a wonderful time.

Stay healthy, stay safe. Cheers!

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

Indietail – 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.

Indietail – The Plan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Indietail – Among Ripples

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers!

Indietail – Lightmatter

When I was younger I discovered a game called “Portal” and I just fell in love with it. It was one of the first “better looking” games that I played. The puzzles were interesting, the aesthetics were great, I loved the music, the humour was really dope and made me chuckle a lot, and I ended up just falling in love with the game overall. Portal 2 was great as well as it added new mechanics to the game and as it really added a lot to the overall story. There have been just so many new layers to it and GLaDOS was just great in that one. Oh, and Co-Op. I loved the Co-Op campaign and playing through it. I still need to take a look at the Timemachine fan-made content and play through that eventually, so I’ll look forward to that.

But in today’s review, we’re not talking about the Portal-franchise but rather about a small Indie Game called Lightmatter by Danish Studio, Tunnel Vision Games! Lightmatter is essentially a homage to all kinds of first-person puzzlers, including Portal. It even plays in the same universe (which was made possible due to a contact with Valve that the Publisher, Aspyr, had!) before the first game and overall feels like a love-letter to the whole genre with its shifting and mind-bending mechanics involving… Light… matter.

Developer: Tunnel Vision Games
Publisher: Aspyr
Genres: First-Person, Puzzle, Indie, 3D, Adventure
Release Date: January 15th, 2020
Reviewed on: PC
Available on:  PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
Copy was purchased. (Full Game Upgrade)

Lightmatter can be described as “The Floor Is Lava!” but with Light and Shadows. Essentially, you’re in a scientific company, called Lightmatter, that tried to create a CORE which would be providing sustainable and renewable energy to millions, using a crystal that is able to materialize Light! Sounds great, doesn’t it?

Well… something went wrong during the launch and us, the protagonist, ended up not getting evacuated with the remaining guests that were part of the tour. So, the facility is falling apart and we have to get out of there: Though be careful: Just like Light, shadows also materialized and thus, you’re not allowed to touch any of them since they will absorb you and suck out any life you have in your brittle body!

Hence, Virgil, one of the CEOs of Lightmatter (voiced by David Bateson), is accompanying us throughout the facility in order to guide us into freedom and help us get out of here. Virgil is more of a sinister character. He’s unfriendly and very rude in the beginning but begins to open up over time as we solve puzzles after puzzles to reach the goal, in the end. He tells us about the project and his plans. He tells us about his achievements and what went wrong and over time he develops as a character, revealing his hatred towards journalists and his arguments with his former partner. He even compares himself to Cave Johnson, who was alive at the time before eventually dying to moonstone-poisoning, and he’s even putting himself over Cave.

Virgil’s first appearance!

David Bateson is able to breathe so much life into this wonderful character that Virgil is. He’s an overall fan-favourite in the community and is able to fill the gaps and pauses in between and during puzzles just wonderfully. When you take too long to open a door or move on, he’ll mock you in a cynic and rude way that just makes you chuckle. He’s like GLaDOS but male and less robotic (and less potato-y). He’s very charming and charismatic in a way and he really tried his best to provide the world with a… brighter future, even though all his efforts were for nought in the end, as the project ultimately failed.

Gameplay-wise the game is working with a ton of different elements. Since shadows are dangerous, you need to illuminate your pathway to the next exit using lamps. These lamps, however, are rather heavy, resulting in you not being able to jump with them, ultimately making the game a lot harder than it would be if you could. You have to rethink your approach to a level quite often – and while earlier levels are rather easy to solve with just a button press needed, later levels get rather difficult.

James and Lux!

But while difficult, you never really get set back too much and it never really feels too punishing. And while every lamp provides only limited light to a cone in front of it, you never had to fiddle your way to the end. It was more about utilizing the tools and mechanics you learned and then bending the rules to fit your goal. The game also works with other mechanics like shifting platforms, buttons that are activated via light, and other cool mechanics that I don’t want to spoil here.

Even falling into the shadows just resets the level a little bit (your last lamp-movement mostly) and brings you back to the last checkpoint. The shadows are like an obstacle, not a punishment. And that’s something I really appreciate about Lightmatter. Dying doesn’t feel frustrating and the puzzles were challenging enough for me to have fun and yet not just rush through the levels.

THE CORE! IT’S SO BRIGHT!

Rushing through the levels would have been bad, after all, since most of them are riddled with small secrets and collectables. You can find out more about the backstory by finding tape-recorders with Elle’s voice. You can also try to search for Lux, the security manager James’ cat! Here and there you also find other little easter eggs like a bath duck in a corner or the Gravity Falls journal, so levels are really fun to explore.

And then there is the presentation. The graphics really play with the Lights and the shadows, and hence with a lot of contrasts. I feel like the levels were designed quite well and ended up providing a lot of detail in rooms that were mostly riddled with shadows or filled with light. It never was just one thing or the other. When there is light, there are also shadows, which also reflects the question behind the whole game: At what cost can you ensure a brighter future? What risks would you take to save millions? What’s one life when waged against many, or rather a few hundred against the rest of humanity?

Dev Commentary: Lasse and Ulrik talking about one leve of the game here.

The music is quite ominous quite often and really got into my head. While Virgil is talking about his arguments and his struggles to complete this plan, there is this ominous and enigmatic sound lingering in the background that is just quiet enough for it not to be overwhelming but also loud enough for you to notice it.
The game even provides you, when turned on, with the devs’ commentary if you want to play through the levels for another time and hear something about the development and different stages of the game.

But flaw-wise… there isn’t really much to talk about here. I think that Lightmatter really is a very well-crafted game that is able to create a wonderful experience when you play it through the first time or when you even play it for a second time to unlock a different ending. Here and there I felt like there are times where a small “hint”-button would have been quite neat as there are two levels that are a bit tricky to solve, especially when you don’t know about moving sideways, which is something that even the devs noted themselves. It’s something that FPS-players will find normal while other people might not find that understandable and which would take them a while. But overall it didn’t really bother me too much. Apart from that, having a few other ways to engage and interact with your environment and objects would have been quite neat. There’s a vending machine at one point that can be used but apart from that there is not much to click and push in the levels.

Coming to a conclusion, I’d say that Lightmatter really is a love-letter to First-Person-Puzzlers that manages to not only create a beautiful atmosphere in challenging puzzle-levels but also create its own identity, so that it doesn’t seem like “just another puzzle game”. It really is creative in how it unfolds the story and how it makes you utilize different aspects of the game and you can essentially taste the blood, sweat and tears that the devs put into this lovely game. I’m chuffed to bits.

Beating the game takes about six hours, I’d say, or more if you explore more or need to take more time for certain puzzles. It took me about two hours to get through the first half of the game and about three or four hours to beat the second half.. and to unlock other endings you can also just hop into single levels later on, so there is no backtracking needed. The Dev-Commentary also adds a whole new level to it with voice notes that are four to nine minutes long and tell you more about the process of the level-design and different changes in the game, as well as funny things like running-gags (a cat called Lux) becoming a real thing and getting put into the actual game. It’s well worth a listen if you’re into that kind of thing!

The first hour of the game can be played for free on steam while the rest of the game can be purchased with a single upgrade, which I find quite fair. It’s worth the full price, I’d say but of course, you can also wait for sales or just playtest the demo first. Definitely a recommendation from me!

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this review. Until the next time, have a nice day! 🙂

I wonder if they have Dr Pepper in there…

Cheers!

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!