Is another review needed?

Some games out there are real gems but will never get any attention. And that’s sad, so I started reviewing games on this blog and recommending underrated games to friends and eventually, this became a big part of my life. It’s a hobby that I’ve been doing for more than a year now and it’s always fun to find gems and recommend stuff and write down my thoughts about all of these things. Lovely!

Meanwhile, other gems out there are well-known and have their own dedicated communities. People know titles like Slay the Spire, The Binding of Isaac, Stardew Valley, etc. already. Do they need more reviews or should I even write about titles like that?

Note: Since I forgot to take any screenshots for most of the games I’m mentioning in this post apart from Hades, I’ll only use screenshots from Hades. I’ll keep it spoiler-free, though, so no worries about that.

That’s something that I’ve been thinking about a lot for the past couple of months. I’ve got countless posts sitting in the drafts about titles that I wanted to review and that I wanted to talk about. Just when I was about to get ready for the finishing touches, I ended up hesitating: Do I add something to the world by just saying what is already known? There are too many reviews for me to add any new thoughts to the same topic, after all, right? 

And that’s where my opinion changed recently: The fact that it’s a review by me should be enough to make my review different from other reviews.

The Steam Curator “Can you pet the dog?” would now say “yes, you can pet the dog”, I guess.

Even though everyone has probably said everything about every popular game out there, I can’t be 100% sure about that without having read all of the reviews out there. Obviously, that’s not possible. I can’t read every review out there and honestly, I don’t want to. In the first place, I don’t read reviews on games that I’m reviewing until after I’ve posted them as I don’t want to get influenced by other people’s opinions on the matter. I feel like that’s quite important, especially as I don’t want to accidentally or subconsciously write something similar or maybe even the same sentences as someone else has. 

Alas, I kind of changed my opinion on the matter. Of course, countless people probably know about Graveyard Keeper, Monster Train, Celeste, and the like, but I think that my opinion should matter as well. Maybe I actually do have something to add to the giant pool of reviews out there. Maybe I actually do have a different point as to why a game should or should not be bought. 

Every opinion matters, after all, and alas, every review is important. There probably is someone out there that hasn’t played Celeste yet or that has been hesitating to play it because they don’t like Platformers… and only recently, I played it for the very first time and enjoyed it a lot! It made me feel good about myself as a person that plays games as I was dashing through the air in levels that other people thought were really difficult. Meanwhile, Celeste was thought-provoking and challenging in other rooms when people said that it was an easy level while I was struggling to figure out what the intended way was and whether or not my way was doable, at all. There are countless reviews on Celeste out there but I’m not sure if any platformer-haters out there have taken a look at the game only to say that it’s actually great as an introduction to platformers. I don’t know if people that hate the genre would pick it up. Alas, my opinion as someone like that, as someone who hates and sucks at platformers, matters! My opinion matters and in that instance I probably have something meaningful to add to the ocean of reviews.

Well, who would have thought that there’s lava in hell, eh? What a surprise… /s – no spoiler. ūüėõ

Or take Hades, for instance, the game that got updated so much during Early Access that I ended up having to rewrite my review a total of nine (!) times because things that I didn’t like got changed or updated and suddenly with new implementations old weapons and boons actually were incredibly strong or powerful. I suddenly enjoyed those, so I rewrote a few paragraphs, only to realise that it all didn’t work out too well, as my style changed in that time. When I was done with rewriting it for the ninth time, it has already been released with its version 1.0 and everyone hopped onto the hype train, resulting in me feeling like my review wasn’t needed. Again, that mindset is bad. 

I can praise and love Hades as much as I want to and I’ll do so eventually. I’ll be able to add a lot to the discussion as I’m a mythology-crack and as I love Transistor and Bastion. I probably have other takes on the game that other reviewers may not have had.

Alas, since I have had different interests in my life and since I’ve been enjoying different games, movies, books, poems, shows, and other media, my reviews may already have a different take on things. Just because I am obsessed with mythology, I may already have different bits and pieces of information to add to the discussion. Just because I’m into Drama and plays and stuff, I may already be able to connect lore pieces together or laugh about something that other people may not get. 

No turning back now.

I’m not saying that I’m better at reviewing games than other people or that my reviews are better or worse. I’m just saying that every review is unique and that every reviewer has different tastes, interests and takes on the same topic, making them unique and special and alas, their opinions are important. 

What does this mean for me and my blog? Well, I’ll revisit all of those drafts and try to publish some of my older posts throughout the year and rework them to fit my current style and you’ll probably see some newer games in there as well as some more popular ones. There will be the odd one here and there with a very underrated and unknown game and I’ll just hope that it’ll get more attention. 

I hope you liked my take on the matter. I feel as every take on a topic is important even if some if not all points are the same. As long as it’s written independantly it should be allowed to exist. As long as it’s a different person writing it, it already should be able to provide some new thoughts and opinions on it. And well, obviously, the people that read my blog posts are not the same that read Frosti‘s or Krikket‘s, right? 

Alas, I hope you enjoyed this post and the next few on other stuff. Have a nice day and stay awesome!

Cheers!

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

Happy New Year! – 2020 in blogging and streaming recapped

This is a scheduled post and I hope that it’s not December 32nd now as I really want 2020 to be over.

2020 has been a difficult year with Covid being an issue for the most part. At the beginning of quarantine and the lockdowns and all of that, I ended up starting to stream five days a week instead of three days. This was mainly to give people a way to relieve their anxiety and give them some entertainment and chill times. At one point, we played Amnesia and joked about the Zombie virus and how there is a fungus (similar to the virus/fungus in TLOU) that infects ants and controls them to get eaten by birds‚Ķ who then spread the spores. Very interesting. We also joked about how we would fare in a zombie apocalypse‚Ķ I’d try to mediate as much as possible, and I would most likely die first‚Ķ yup.

At the start of 2020, I was also messing around, saying that there is always a plague in the 20s. Guess I jinxed it. Yikes.

Overall, this has been not too much of a bad year for me personally, though. While I had my fair share of panic attacks, anxieties intensifying, depressive phases, social problems, and other problems, I also had a lot of good moments, like getting a lot of traffic on my blog and hitting some bigger milestones when it came to streaming. I also managed to overcome some of those problems and learn how to deal with them. I think I even grew as a person due to some of the struggles this year, which makes me feel more confident in handling rough situations in the future better! At one point, I also joined a Stream team which wasn’t that good since I’d always compare myself to other streamers and stuff‚Ķ So, I ended up leaving Wild Abandon.

The last few months of 2020 were a bit troublesome when it came to streaming, though. My internet speed was getting slower in the evenings, resulting in me dropping a ton of frames. Alas, I changed my schedule to morning streams as they seem to work a lot better for me. Numbers-wise that proved to be a good decision as well as it has lead to me meeting a lot of awesome people. I’m lucky to slowly build a community like this and I’m looking forward to growing this Crypt of mine steadily over time with more Undead joining in to enjoy games together without having to fear bigotry or toxicity.

Back to blogging: We hit a few milestones, including one year of blogging, one-hundred followers, and also my participation in both Blapril and the Blaugust Promptapalooza! The latter felt a bit off and I was certainly struggling with providing content on my blog, especially as a lot of the prompts didn’t scratch the itch too well‚Ķ but we managed to get a fair share of posts out in that time and the link-backs certainly helped guide new readers to my blog, I think. At this point, hello new readers. Pleased to meet you. Even though we don’t actually meet. Uh, pleased to write you? Pleased to read you? Doesn’t really work, does it? Uhm,… I’m pleased that you’re reading my stuff. Thanks for that!

Traffic-wise, I hit over a thousand views in some of the early months with the trend increasing into later months, so that’s something that I’m really proud of. It kind of proves to me that I’m doing things right and that the topics I post about actually resonate with people. I sometimes wonder how a post will do, especially when I try out something new or when I review a game that is just coming out. Seeing the number of interactions with the post or the tweets, however, brings a smile to my face and actually helps a lot with that “posting”-anxiety that I feel at times.

“Posting”-anxiety is probably not a term that exists but what I mean by that is that kind of fear that you have before publishing anything. Similar to how my heart starts racing once I’ve hit that “go live” button in OBS, resulting in me needing about ten minutes to calm down and be my reserved self that is actually happy to be live again. It’s a bit of an issue. What if nobody shows up today? What if nobody reads my blog post? What if nobody likes the game that I’m recommending here, even though it is a great title? Will people lose faith in me as a curator?

It really isn’t that bad with blogging, but at times I just tend to overthink anything and everything, which is something I want to get better at in 2021. I want to have more faith in my blog posts and my streams, and take better care of myself & my mental health. I want to have fun with what I’m doing and enjoy it while it lasts and while I’m able to stream and blog.

Speaking of Mental Health, I’m looking forward to going to therapy again. Due to my financial situation, I wasn’t able to visit my therapist anymore and ended up having to call all of the meetings off, as I just couldn’t afford it anymore. In the same fashion, I need to eat proper food again once 2021 starts and actually take care of my needs. Showering often, going to sleep early, waking up early, getting enough rest, taking enough breaks, getting enough steps in, taking a breather every now and then. Those things are really important and while I managed to get that kinda stuff sorted for a lot of 2020, which helped a ton, I also ended up falling back into old patterns of skipping meals, staying up all night long, eating too late and hence not being able to sleep, and so on. But then again, we had that post yesterday, so uh… y’know… read that for more in-detail-stuff.

Let’s go over my blogging goals, at last:

In 2021, I wanted to familiarise myself with the Classic Editor and all of the blocks in the Gutenberg Editor. So far, I’ve only been using the Gutenberg Editor but the Classic Editor has some features that looked more than promising, as far as formatting goes. I’d also like to meddle with all the different blocks that are available in Gutenberg. I haven’t played around too much with the different galleries, as of late, and there are plenty of features that I haven’t tried at all, yet.

That’s something I want to change. I want to bring the best out of Indiecator and get the most value out of my reviews and other posts. I wanted to be more consistent with the Monster Hunter Log and the Late to the Party posts as well as the occasional Stray Sheep and Lookout Post‚Ķ post‚Ķ yup.

I want to try out new things and see how it goes. Something that I haven’t tried at all, yet, is uploading playthroughs to YouTube or embedding the first hour or so of gameplay into my reviews to give people a better look at the game. There is only so much that I can do as far as explaining goes‚Ķ and people will have the option of watching it or not watching it. Obviously, rendering stuff is going to be a pain in the butt, as well as editing videos again‚Ķ as that’s something that I haven’t done ever since I got that workshop for Magix back in 2012 or 2013‚Ķ so no clue really if my knowledge is going to be good enough for other programs. I’ll look into it, starting this year.

Apart from that, I started doing digital art in Krita in late-2020 and been really enjoying doing panel art and emote art for my own stream and other people. I have yet to think about whether or not I wanna take commissions but I’ll let you know when I do. I’d love to get into animation and bring some of my emotes to life on-screen‚Ķ looking forward to GIF-creation and potentially creating some animated alerts for the Stream as well.

As far as streaming goes, there are a plethora of goals that I have in mind for that:

There plenty of things that I’m working on right now and it all is a Work in Progress! So stuff changes and improves over time! Patience is key! The other day someone offered to animate things for free for people, so I messaged them if they were serious and if I could really ask them to do something for me… free of charge. As I was completely broke at the time, I was more than happy to hear that I’m able to get an ultra-awesome Stinger transition for my Stream as well as a super-duper-awesome animated “Starting Soon” screen that is in-line with my current branding. I’m really excited to implement that into my stream and once it’s out I’ll write about it again and credit the artist and all of that. Really looking forward to seeing how people react to it! I, for one, am deeply in love with it!

Aside from that there are some other goals:

  • Always say “yes”, unless uncomfortable.
  • Use Drama experience! (for entertainment, voice tone, volume, acting, etc.)
  • Educate myself on Mental Health and LGBTQIA+ related topics so that I know more about them and so that I can spread more awareness on those topics and how to handle questions on those topics.
  • Make the Stream more accessible. (Closed Captions, Content/Trigger warnings)
  • Be more positive in general about myself and towards others.
  • Work more on my emotes.
  • Be more consistent.
  • Think up more creative ideas for the Stream and the Branding.

Now, the post is already really long, as is, but let me just quickly clarify something: When I say “always say yes” then I mean that you take an opportunity in chat and turn it into something entertaining. It’s basically the backbone of improv and I want to use more of that and my Drama experience in my streaming to an extent but I don’t want to tolerate trolls, bigots or toxic people, so I won’t *always* say yes… just when it’s an opportunity. The other day, someone said something about One Direction, so I took that and said that I’m their biggest fan. Then I mentioned something stupid about how my favourite song by them is “Sucker for you” (which is obviously not by them) and how my favourite member of that band is Logan (who was in some other band as well), resulting in someone in chat really liking it. When someone comments on how I died, I’d say that I can’t die since I’m undead. All of that is merely an illusion. When I’m not good at the game, I can play it off as giving people a chance. When I am good at it, I can act as if that’s always the case with an ironic wink or whatever. There are plenty of ways to turn something boring and use it spontaneously to make it work for you and I feel like that’s something that I want to do more often.

Consistency and Quality are the backbone of streaming, so I want to up that, obviously. I want to brainstorm more on my branding which is what I do at basically any given time… Being more positive about myself and my looks and whatever is important for my mental health, so it ties into the goals from yesterday as well, but it is also important for the stream itself since a happy Magi is going to be more entertaining than a depressed Magi.

Talking about Mental Health and LGBTQIA+ related topics has been something I’ve enjoyed a lot in the past… educating myself on that is completely understandable as part of that. I want to understand what people go through and I want to be able to help. And at last, accessibility,… is tricky to deal with. There are a lot of things that I need to do but I haven’t figured them out just yet. Eventually, I’ll be happy with how accessible my stream is, but until then I’ll have to educate myself and look things up and try stuff out. Closed Captions are the first step towards that!

Either way, I hope you have a nice start to 2021. It’s definitely going to better than 2020, I think‚Ķ Take care of your mental health and your needs. Take breathers whenever possible and don’t overwork yourself. Even with vaccines on the way, try to stay safe and try to not endanger too many people. I’ll probably wear my mask forever since I’m just not used to not wearing it. Do you have any resolutions for this year? Let me know!

Again, Happy New Year!

Cheers!

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

Indietail – Summerland

Are you a good person? I guess most people would answer that with an immediate “yes”. After all, you wouldn’t want others to think otherwise, usually. But if you had a chance to relieve your past, take a look at cases where you weren’t at your best and see how you exactly acted in those moments, would you still stick to your answer? Would you still think that you’re a good person?

In today’s review, we’re taking a look at FYRE Games’ Summerland. This short narrative experience explores the question of morality and the afterlife. What comes after you die? Where do you go? Are you a good person? Summerland is aiming to make you think about these questions, and more.

Developer: FYRE Games
Publisher: FYRE Games
Genres: Adventure, First-Person, Narrative Experience
Release Date: December 2nd, 2020
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Key was provided by the developer.

But first things first: In Summerland, we take the role of the widower and single-dad, Mathew, who’s hardly scraping by with his detective job alone and is hence desperately in need for money to be able to raise his son properly and afford the pills he needs to treat his own sickness.

And apparently, we died. At least we’re in some sort of waiting area with a corridor and several doors. In the room that we wake up in, we can only find a rotary phone on the table that suddenly starts ringing. On the other side of the phone line is a man who’s telling us to go through several trials to relieve our recent past. This is important as that man needs to judge us to determine where we have to go.

It’s all rather mysterious and ominous at the beginning but eventually, it gets cleared up.

The trials that we have to go through basically are cases from our job or days at home or side jobs. We need to find certain clues or items, bring them somewhere else or get other tasks done. Most of the time, you’ll see a counter up at the top left count upwards but more often than not, you’ll miss that and be confused. I spend a rather long time in the first level until I noticed that I needed to click on a specific item on the ground, which was a pain in the butt. Once I had the eight clues needed for the first trial, I was back at the room and ready to go into the next trial.

As you go on and complete these trials, you’ll always find yourself back in the waiting room or purgatory or whatever you wanna call it. Yes, the room with the rotary phone. The phone rings, we get it, talk to the guy on the other side, and then we answer a philosophical question.

At one point, we’re being asked about our stance on the trolley problem. Do we kill one person to let five people live or do we do nothing to not become a murderer and let those five people die? Do we follow Kant’s philosophy or rather Bentham’s utilitarianism? It’s an interesting concept to add questions like these and as someone who does study philosophy, it was interesting to see that in this game‚Ķ but I think it felt somewhat pretentious. The question didn’t add anything to the thought process behind the story. The question may help some people understand the meaning of the game or whatever‚Ķ but it really is unnecessary in a way, especially as I’m not sure if it actually does influence the story in any way. Similarly, we are asked a few other questions, and I just personally don’t think that it adds to the experience at all.

The story, on the other hand, starts off a bit slow but eventually picks up, only to deliver a somewhat interesting plot. Sadly, we don’t get any choices or anything to influence the game. The puzzle-like trials break the story up too much. The characters don’t really have any development to them. It’s a bit of a tragedy. The choices that we take don’t end up reflecting in later trials. There is also just one ending, it seems. Make of it whatever you want to.

But if we let that slide since it’s a free and short game, we can still talk about the alright soundtrack and the graphics that are being powered by Unity and feel quite stunning. I found them quite pretty at first‚Ķ although I had to turn off bloom and a lot of other settings since the game was making me feel sick, which is something that has never happened to me before.

And speaking of things that I didn’t like: There are a lot of things like that.

For instance, I found it incredibly hard to get into the mood to play the game after I saw that I wasn’t able to change the settings IN the game. Whenever I started the game and wanted to change something to feel less dizzy but still enjoy the graphics, I’d have to go to the main menu, change the settings, head into the game and “continue”‚Ķ but since the game only saves AFTER the trials, I’d have to listen to that monologue at the beginning again‚Ķ and again‚Ķ and again‚Ķ until I found the right settings. It was annoying. On top of that, there were a lot of settings amiss like accessibility settings, keymapping and different sound/graphics settings that I would have liked to see. It’s 2020 after all – and this is a new game, so I don’t know why I can’t customize the sound settings more, etc.

In the game, the “puzzles” felt interesting but slow. They were refreshing at the beginning but as time went on, I just didn’t really want to bother with them anymore. They slowed down the story unnecessarily and ended up ruining my experience for me, a little bit. I’d rather have a walking simulator than a narrative experience that is also trying to be smart and philosophical on top of being a game with “choices” without choices – that also has puzzles for whatever reason.

The game is coming out on the 2nd of December, 2020. It’s going to be a free-to-play game. While I’d imagine that it’s an interesting title for people that want to think about morality without getting too deep into philosophy, I’m not sure if I’d recommend it. I just didn’t enjoy it too much, personally speaking, and am hence not sure if it’s worth the time spent. Especialyl when you consider that its main selling point was the questions about morality and afterlife, with the latter falling somewhat short.

I think, I would have liked it more if you had actual meaningful choices. It would have been great if there was a dialogue in the waiting area with the man on the other line. It would have been great if I had had the opportunity to think more about these aforementioned questions but at one point they just fell short. The plot was already in progress and while the story is telling you that it’s not a clear black and white thing, I just think that when it comes to morality it really is just that. I don’t want to spoil anything for you, so maybe you should check it out yourself if you want to. I just personally feel didn’t like a lot of the things in the game and hence am not recommending it.

Cheers!

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

Blaugust Prompt #10 – The process behind my blog posts

Do I have specific routines for the process of creating a blog post? Are there differences between different types of posts? Do I only write posts on my PC? Do I only write at certain given times? Do I have a schedule for recurring topics? Well, this question and everything around the process of creating a blog post, in today’s Blaugust Prompt, hosted by Pae from NerdyBookahs

TL;DR: Yes, Yes, PC/Laptop, Yes, No, and more information!

The actual prompt is called: “What’s your process when creating a blog post?”

Now, I’d have to clarify that the process is different for every type of post. I tend to do Stray Sheep and other entries that are more wordy, ranty or just rambly in one sitting and edit them later. I usually sit down with a cup of tea or a mug of coffee, based on the time, and start writing… and when I’m done, my coffee is either empty or has gone cold, which is always a bummer. 

Speaking of “based on the time”, I tend to either write in the evenings or the mornings. During the day, I have to work on real-life stuff and study and do all of that, so I end up only having time to write when I get up and drink my coffee or when I am done with everything in the evening if there’s enough time before the stream. 

As far as to “where”, I tend to do it at my desk using my PC. Based on what I do, I can just use the second screen for music or research or whatever, while writing on the screen in front of me. When I didn’t have the PC yet, I would sit down on my bed and write on my laptop. I did try to edit a post on my phone once… but it’s incredibly hard to pull off and I suck at typing on my phone, even as a GenZ/Zoomer, “lol”. Alas, I usually go for the PC and just work on there. It’s the cosiest and most efficient, I’d say. I don’t have to tab in and out as much and I can type rather fast.

I have to rely on my laptop whenever I’m not at home or at my desk. I used to sometimes work on blog stuff at University in between breaks when I had too little time to work on university stuff and when I had just enough time to edit a picture and put it into a blog post or something like that. Over time, I ended up not doing that anymore, though, since my laptop has become slow and loud… and it can’t be helped since it’s already six years old but it still works when I’m at my parents and the volume of it doesn’t bother me there either, unlike in class. 

As far as schedules go: I don’t usually go for a schedule. I try to get posts out as soon as possible while not posting twice or even three times a day. Spacing out posts is important. While not my primary concern, I also want my posts to get read: Hence, I try to have a few days between reviews, so that some of the reviews can gain traction through Twitter, Discord, and the WordPress reader. At the same time, though, posts can also gain views when you post others and when people click off from them to others, so I try to space them out a bit but not too much. In the end, it’s a bit of a struggle between posting daily and potentially burning out but staying consistent enough for google to pick you up… and just posting every few days and potentially risk losing discoverability. 

I did once try to post a review every week with an additional post per week… but it ended up burning me out a bit and I posted fewer reviews for a while. Essentially Stray Sheep can be posted asap while reviews take a bit of work and cannot be mass-produced by me, at least with my standards and the value I put into them. The new Lookout Post also takes a bit of time to prepare as I want to get facts right or talk about certain games. The Gaming Journal posts also are more like gaming-related Stray Sheep that get posted once done.

Now, while other posts usually end up just being a write-up of sorts, reviews take a bit of work for me personally. Based on the game, I try to see every feature and every nook and cranny of it. Sometimes, you get the bigger picture already after a few minutes to hours, like in Fall Guys, but in other cases, it tends to take more than just hours. I’m working on a review of Outer Wilds right now and while it is written up, I fear that I’m spoiling too much. To find out whether or not I liked it, I had to complete the story, which didn’t take too long… Just 24 hours in total, according to steam. After that, I wrote up a post that is nearly 4000 words long (3870 words to be exact) and now I have to cut out words so that it ends up being shorter and less spoilery.

I essentially play games that I want to review, take screenshots wherever I can, and then take notes and write a post. 

Now, usually, posts can be as long as needed but reviews are a bit iffy in that regard, too. Reviews are supposed to give you insights on a game and whether or not you should buy or (rather) play it. Nowadays, people tend to not have the time to read through a post that requires you approximately 30 minutes to read through. Instead, people end up reading posts more that are shorter and more compact with more compressed information and essentially a TLDR at the beginning or even a summary that you can skip to when you’re in a hurry. 

But I don’t want to do that. I don’t want people to skip over my post. If they want to, they surely can do that, but I don’t want to enable them to exactly skip through everything, so I end up posting reviews that are long enough for me to see them as actual posts… but short enough so that people can finish them in a bus ride or in between. Hence, my posts are about 1000 to 1300 words long and get trimmed down to that. 1100 words are about 3-4 minutes of read-time, according to Grammarly and other sources. This varies based on the skill of the reader and the words of choice but generally, they are “long” but not “too long”. 

Back to my post on Outer Wilds: According to this post here, it would take a slow reader about half an hour to get through my review in its current state. Even a faster reader like me would need nearly 10 minutes for it, which could be considered too long already. So, I have to cut it down to about 1000 words or 1300 at max… or even a bit more, but not too much.

The other reason as to why I have to cut it down is spoilers. Outer Wilds is heavily based on exploration. Every screenshot, every information, every reference, every joke, every single word can ruin the experience. The same goes for my posts on Necrobarista or Milky Way Prince – The Vampire Star. Being visual novels, their story is really important for the experience of the player. Every single word that I could write, could be a word too much. Hence, I have to see what I can do about that, how I play around it, how much I can say and what I would consider a spoiler… or what information would be a key-information for me. In Outer Wilds, for instance, the information, that [no spoilers], was crucial to my understanding. Hence, that information would ruin everything about the game for the reader. Duh.

Hence, I need to get rid of all the information that people don’t need to know before they play the game. The screenshots mostly are either pretty or add to my information but never show any bosses from late-game or whatever… The information is always based on the first few hours of my experience while the issues are things that I encountered over the course of my playthrough. 

After I’m done writing the review, I then go and research some facts about the game like the Developer, Publisher, Release Date, Platforms, Genres and put them into a small verse-block to essentially give people a quick look into what the game is about and whether or not the game is something they might be interested in. I also look for a featured image since that’s going to be displayed on top of the post and since that one will be in the link text and all of that. 

At last, after all of that, I tend to go back to the beginning and write a pitch of sorts. Something creative that basically invites people to come to the post. In my review for Milky Way Prince: The Vampire Star, I ended up talking about idealization and intimacy by first alluding to the very first time I met my current girlfriend and the somewhat cringy but also very hopelessly romantic memory I had of that. That anecdote then relates to topics in the game and I refer to the summary of the story without telling too much about it. Afterwards, I welcome the reader to another review and head into it. 

That works quite often. 

Sometimes, I need to find other words for it though… I can’t just start every review with “Today’s Indietail is about [game name], a [genres] title” – that would make every review generic and less personal. Instead, I’d love to write a short paragraph or two about something related to it. In my review on Ayre, I asked questions about freedom and flying… and while not that creative, I couldn’t really come up with anything else, so I just went for that. Still better than nothing!

So, to sum it all up: I do work at certain times, I do have certain routines, I prefer my computer as a workspace, and usually I have some coffee or tea ready for the process of writing. Reviews take a lot of work and effort since I am considering these things and a lot more… and I tend to write posts up and then later worry about editing, layout, and the initial pitch… in that order! 

Thanks for reading this post so far! You’re a champ!

This prompt was hosted by Pae, so check her post out if you haven’t yet. The next post in line is by Krikket, so check her out as well! 

Cheers!

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

TSS#70 – Blaugust Prompt #4 – Underrated Content?

Today, we’ve got another more “difficult” prompt: ‚ÄúWhat type of content do you feel is severely underrated?‚ÄĚ

This time around the prompt’s not difficult due to me struggling with words but rather because of the ambiguity of it. Roger pointed in his post out that it could be referencing writing and blogging… but also could be about video games, TV, movies, videos, etc. 

But just like Roger, I’ll stick to the first meaning of the prompt as it’s a blogging event after all. Also, I think I might be able to actually work with this interpretation of the prompt in contrast to the other one. 

So, at first, I couldn’t really think of how to approach this post… factually, I should bring out numbers and stats that – at least in my case – indicate content that doesn’t do well… despite actually being good. The problem with this is that there are many factors as to why a post is not doing good. Maybe the category that I’m blogging in is just too saturated at the moment and hence, people pick other blog posts over mine. Or maybe I didn’t get picked up by Google or Social Media algorithms, hence not getting as much coverage for my post… another reason for missing views would be a boring prompt or topic… or the post just sucked.

My review on Necrobarista actually did quite well despite it being somewhat niche!

Either way, there are a lot of reasons for a post not doing too well but I know for a fact that a lot of the huge Indie blogs and websites out there rely on specific posts (i.e. tier lists, top 10 lists, clickbait-y articles, etc.) to reel in those views. These posts would be what I’d call “overrated content”.

Apart from “TOP 10 UPCOMING ROGUELIKE GAMES!!!11!” or other posts in that general category that could all be copy-pasted without anyone noticing, there are also other forms of more rentable posts. Recently, I’ve been featured in a “Top 40 Indie Blogs” list on Feedspot on the 11th spot, which I’m quite happy about, but I noticed that a lot of these blogs and websites that are being featured on there are essentially either platforms to buy games (Indiegala, itch.io, etc.) OR forums OR sites like Alpha Beta Gamer that are able to post three posts per day due to the small and compact posts. And there is nothing wrong with that but I noticed that in contrast to that my posts are doing considerably less well… which is because of my lengthy review format. 

“In today’s day and age”, people don’t want to read a post for five to ten minutes to get a conclusion on whether or not to buy a game. They’d rather get a TL;DR at the beginning summarizing the most important bits and pieces before clicking off the side. The actual post wouldn’t get read by those people since it’s not worth their time… With posts that are generally 1100 words long, mine are probably too long for most people. Even with my rather colloquial speech and informal choice of words, my posts may not be approachable for “the masses” as they are just too long. And I’m already cutting down on them – after all, it’s not 3.9k words anymore like with my Moonlighter review… 

Good question!

Therefore, I’d call longer In-Detail (see what I did there?… or what I didn’t do there?) Reviews “underrated”, subjectively speaking.

I used to play the games that I reviewed for a rather long time, then spend about three to four hours working on the actual post, writing it up, editing it, and all of that before then working on the layout, the screenshots, and other things that needed to be done. Overall, it took me ages to finish one review. Ever since I cut down on the length and went for 1k words instead of 3-4k, it has become less work although it still requires as much effort since I often write too much and need to cut down on unnecessary words, sentences, and paragraphs. In the end, it became a lot easier to write up a review or two per week.

If I were to cut down on even more words and essentially just go for a TLDR instead of the full review, I’d end up with micro-posts that could be shipped out daily if not even twice per day. The problem with those is that I’d need to play the games for a time to be able to write about them… unless of course, I do it like some of the bigger outlets that do not even write about their own experience with the game but just report on a game coming out. That’s essentially what I’m doing with the Lookout Post… but I try to be still quite subjective and rather personal about it. I’m not going to turn the posts over there into fact sheets about games coming out and hand out recommendations without actually having played any games. 

My post on Critters for Sale is a post that didn’t do too well view-wise although it’s a lovely game and although I feel like my post is quite neat… whatever^^

In the case of Children of Morta, for instance, I received a review key a week before release with an embargo for the review. I played about ten to twelve hours of it if not more before heading to WordPress to write about the game. If I had played more of that, I would have seen how repetitive it could get and how often it can turn into a grindfest of sorts… I also didn’t get to test out co-op at all… so that’s a bummer. If I had played more of the game, I would have known about that, but I also wanted to get the post out while the game is still “fresh” and “new”.

If someone bought the game and would have then regretted it after ten hours because it turned rather grindy… then that would have sucked for them and I would have felt bad for that… I still play it every now and then and I really do enjoy even the grindy aspects of it, but that’s not what my review is saying. Alas, I’ll have to revisit that review and post a follow-up eventually once I played even more of the game and even unlocked the new character. 

Bigger outlets, though, didn’t even comment on a lot of the issues that I noted down. They didn’t see a lot of the good points, either. They just commented on this game existing and it coming out with information about the first hour or two of gameplay, which is honestly quite the bummer. The bigger outlets are essentially mass-producing content like that: Short reviews with little to no insights on the actual game and with a lot of things shrugged off. I don’t personally like that and I want to create better reviews in the future and hence am sticking to the underrated content – also known as the long Indietail Reviews (now I did it!) instead of the overrated TLDR-post with 200 words at most and at least five pages so that they can farm more clicks.

Note: There are of course bigger sites that are doing a great job with their reviews… but those usually also care about the quality of their content or they have multiple authors that are doing that for a living, so it should be natural that they’re not shitposting for the sake of easy views. 

So, what’s the conclusion of this post… Longer reviews aren’t the best way to grow but I don’t really care because I don’t want to shitpost either. If I look at stats, I can see that a lot of my reviews are doing really well (-> which is something I’ll talk about in a different post) while some others are not doing as well but it just depends on different factors after all… And while longer reviews (I love reading them on other sites) are quite superior despite being underrated, I can still understand that shorter TLDR-micro-posts are the way to go for big outlets that earn money using those posts.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Any thoughts on long/short reviews? Got any other ideas for overrated or underrated content? Let me know! 

The next post in the “Big Blaugust Promptapalooza Blog Crawl” (BBPBC?!?!?!) is everwake whose post should already be out since I’m late. Check them and their blog out! You can find Roger’s post over here again, so give it a read! It’s always a pleasure to read a post by him, especially as he’s someone who shaped my view on languages. ūüôā 

Cheers!

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

Indietail – Necrobarista

At last year’s GamesCom I interviewed Ngoc Vu, the lead artist from Route 59, who at the time worked on Necrobarista. Now that the game is out I got a key for review purposes and, well,‚Ķ

TLDR: I love it. It’s a great game. Why? Find out here!

Developer: Route 59
Publisher: Route 59, Coconut Island Games
Genres: Supernatural, 3D, Story Rich, Visual Novel
Release Date: July 22nd, 2020
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC - but PS4 and Switch are planned soon as well!
Copy was provided by the Devs.

Necrobarista is about time. Time to move on – or time to stay. Somewhere in a backstreet of Melbourne, there’s a Caf√© where both the alive and the healthy come to. When you pass away, you have 24 hours to stay in that Caf√©, have a drink and then move on‚Ķ and Necrobarista tells a story about the owners of that Caf√© and the people that come there. It’s a story about the ethics of Necromancy, hipster coffee, and letting go.

Strap on for a haunting and innovative experience and a haunting, yet cosy, time!

Meet Maddy, Chay, Ashley, and Ned – as well as a bunch of other characters! Get to know them! Listen to them and have a cosy time. I really liked the characters as all of them had a certain depth to them (without spoiling too much here). There’re all kinds of characters in all kinds of shapes and colours, so there’s some degree of inclusiveness here with representation for all kinds of people, which is something that I really fancy.

Necrobarista has a certain cosy slice-of-life-ness to it that I really enjoyed while playing. On top of that, though, it also has some intense moments here and there as well as some rather emotional moments. Think about it: It’s your last day on earth. I’ll just leave that there and you can think about it all you want, get emotional or shrug it off. Whatever you feel like. The story leaves a lot of room for interpretation and analysis, which is something that I personally really enjoyed doing. At some plot points, it made me feel down a bit but other plot points felt really nice and wholesome in a way. And while overall cosy, it gets intense later on as well.

What’s interesting is that you don’t spectate the story from the lens of one character that looks at all the characters interacting with only them, like in a lot of other visual novels, but rather you get different perspectives and points of view. You get to see the characters from the POV of one character or from above or the camera moves around a bit, panning while you read the text. There are no text boxes on the bottom side of the screen. Instead, you see them floating near the characters. You always know who’s talking but they are always somewhere else, making the game feel more whole and organic. It’s lovely.

A lot of these feelings are conveyed through the colours and the soundtrack. Necrobarista’s soundtrack has been composed by Kevin Penkin who’s known for making the soundtrack of Under The Dog, Made in Abyss, and The Rising of the Shield Hero. I’d put Necrobarista’s soundtrack on the same level as Made in Abyss. I love it to bits. It’s cosy and joyful, endearing and amusing but it also can be intense and mystic, enigmatic and threatening. That – combined with the lo-fi style that uses not only gorgeous images and colours but also some slight animations here and there – makes this just a wonderful experience.

And while I would have loved this game to branch out into choices and a story with different kinds of stories that you can explore over time, it really is not that kind of game.

It’s linear but still quite rich. I love the story and the aesthetic. The characters are great. The soundtrack underlines the plot points and brings the best out of everything. Again, I can’t praise Kevin Penkin enough but after what he did in Made in Abyss, it’s no surprise that the soundtrack for this game turned out so great. It sticks to your head and you notice a “sound” that you ultimately recognize as “Necrobarista-like” – or at least that’s what I feel like when I hear those tunes somewhere else now.

The story is linear but doesn’t need the branches. Of course, there is still some degree regarding choices.

For instance, you get to pick words that you’ve heard from different people at the end of every chapter. These words get associated with different meanings and subjects or people depending on the context and the character that said them. When you pick them, you then gain memory fragments from different categories. You then can use these fragments in the Caf√© while walking around before continuing the story. You use them to unlock side stories or “memories” (essentially extra lore) that you can read on to learn more about the characters.

You click on “Blood” and get a fragment for “Magic” as it was mentioned in that context. You click on “Weather” and get a fragment for “Melbourne” as they were talking about a storm brewing. You click on “Minor Demon” and get a fragment for “Lore” as it’s part of the world that those exist‚Ķ and “bowl of peas” belongs to “Food” as Ned loves them. Use these different fragments up for some nice and short stories in between chapters and collect more to unlock more stories. At some point, you’ll get through the main story but you can always load previous chapters and load previous save states, so it shouldn’t be a problem to unlock all of them, especially as you can view what you need and what you have already in the “memories” section of the pause menu.

I liked this feature. It creates a bit of replayability which is quite nice overall.

And you also get to explore the space a bit to unlock more short stories. Visit the basement or the bar, the Caf√©’s upper area or the outside area. Look at different objects.

Enjoy the view. Take some pretty screenshots! I did, too! A lot of them!

But seriously. It’s a great game. I guess this is not a game for you if you’re not into reading or if you don’t like Visual Novels or anime or stories revolving around life and death‚Ķ or if you feel like there’s not enough action in this game‚Ķ but that’s your loss then. I highly recommend this game. I didn’t find any issues with it. The story, presentation, the characters, the gameplay, and the score were just great if not even superb and I loved it.

Necrobarista just came out on Steam! Check it out or wishlist it! Highly recommend it!

I’m glad that I saw it at last year’s GamesCom. I’m glad that I did that interview. I’m glad that I started this blog. Next week, the blog turns a year old and if it wasn’t for the blog I wouldn’t have been able to write about all kinds of topics and about these kinds of games. I love it. I hope you’re enjoying the blog posts, too. Until then.

Cheers!

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

Indietail – Train Valley

Trains are quite cool, aren’t they? They look cool and they’re fast and it’s a disaster when they crash into each other and I lost my train of thought, so I’ll just say that today we’re taking a look at Train Valley, a casual train-sim-puzzle by Flazm!

Developer: Flazm
Publisher: Flazm
Release Date: September 16, 2015
Genres: Puzzle, Trains, Simulation, Casual, Strategy
Reviewed on: PC
Available on:  PC, iOS
Copy was purchased. 

The overall premise of the game is rather simple.
The player has to build railways in order to connect different stations within a plethora of cities and times. They then have to manage the increasing traffic by creating crossroads and switches and by destroying old or building new tracks‚Ķ and while the player is doing all of that, they also have to try to not go bankrupt while fulfilling different goals such as “no train crashes” or a certain amount of money that needs to be earned or others.

The 2015-title features four different chapters with six levels each, letting you construct train-tracks in a total of 26 different levels and in four different eras and areas:
Europe (1830 – 1980), the United States (1840 – 1960), the USSR (1880 – 1980) and Japan (1900 – 2020). You also are able to get Germany (1880 – 2020) as a DLC for a total of 30 levels.

The different areas are insanely adorably designed feature a lot of details like different build styles and landmarks that the areas are known for. On top of that, the buildings also change their shape and style the longer the level goes on, indicating the progressing time, which is an interesting detail.

And well,‚Ķ you control trains. It’s quite cool.

By sending trains to their destinations you earn money while you lose money yearly or when the trains arrive late. By sending out trains to different areas, you also seem to develop those areas, resulting in villages turning into towns and towns turning into cities, which is quite neat. I really enjoyed this part of the game as I was able to see big skyscrapers rise when we just had small houses a while ago.

And while the premise is rather simple… the game can be quite tough actually.

There are some levels that are hard to crack as your funds are limited and as you have to watch so many different things. Destroying buildings costs you a ton, so you have to be careful or you end up bankrupt again, which is essentially your biggest enemy in the game.

If you’re not that much into puzzling but you still very much enjoy train games, fear not, this game has got you covered!

There is a sandbox mode for this game. Alas, you can create tracks and send out levels without any pressure on every level of the game, resulting in a rather pleasant experience. You can’t create your own levels, from what I’ve seen, but it’s still rather relaxing and enjoyable.

The experience is further enhanced by a total of fifteen different types of trains from steam-powered locomotives to modern-day high-speed-trains… and there are also eighteen different types of cars as well as a lot of other details hidden in the game, resulting in an overall rather pleasant experience.

Despite the initial praise, however, I’ve got to say that there are some issues here and there.

The music, for instance, is rather annoying once you played for a while. Each area has a different soundtrack and while it is quite neat in the beginning, I had enough of it after only two hours, resulting in me muting the game…

And then there are some levels that seem a tad too frustrating‚Ķ I would have liked a “hint”-button of sorts and I would have enjoyed it if you could access the next level even without playing the level before that. Sure, the next level is harder than the previous one‚Ķ but I really hate that one Tokyo level, so I don’t want to play it anymore and just go for the next one. Sadly, I can’t do that, which I personally find annoying.

Apart from that, there aren’t any other flaws, in my opinion. I played the game for a total of ten hours and really enjoyed my time, despite it being so simple. For ten bucks you get a bunch of value out of it. It’s quite relaxing and adorable, the presentation is nice, the puzzle-parts can be tricky and despite my rather long playtime for such a short game, I’m still not done with it!

Therefore, I can really recommend this game to everyone who likes trains. It’s a fun puzzle game with very relaxing train-sim-aspects to it as well as a super adorable presentation, only flawed by the music that I personally didn’t really like.

I hope you enjoyed this review. It’s a tad shorter but in the end, that’s alright, isn’t it? Have a nice day!

Cheers!

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

Indietail – ClusterFobia

There are all kinds of games out there with all kinds of presentations and premises. A lot of games in the Indie scene feature unique premises that may have not been explored all that much, just yet, and often also present us unique and interesting design choices that you either hate or love.

Today we’re talking about ClusterFobia, a puzzle-shooter by Ganin, that features exactly that: Interesting and unique design choices that are really hit or miss.

Developer: Kirill Azernyi (Ganin)
Publisher: Kirill Azernyi (Ganin)
Genres: Puzzle, Bullet Hell, Shooter
Release Date: December 10, 2019
Available for: PC
Reviewed on: PC
Copy is available for free.

In ClusterFobia you are some sort of creature that seemingly was drawn in paint and you shoot out bullets that travel from the left side of the screen to the right side of the screen. Your bullets hurt you. So do enemies… and walls. Hence you need to find a way to destroy walls and enemies with your bullets while dodging everything and surviving a bullet hell that you created yourself.

And that’s essentially all I can say about this game without getting into too much of a rant… which is ironic since there is more to this post than just that part, but uh… I tried to be friendly or just informational but I feel that I should rather be honest and give my honest review, listing the short-comings of a game that is… like this. The premise is interesting, I guess, but it’s really unripe and I’m still not entirely sure if the dev, who e-mailed me with a request to review his game, is serious about this.

But what’s the problem with the game?

Well, mostly it just feels like one big troll of sorts. You dodging enemies and your own bullets seems like an interesting idea. Hell, the concept is nice! It kind of reminded me of Gutwhale where you have to manage the space between your enemies, you and your bullets. While you have to recollect your bullets in Gutwhale, you’ve got to dodge your own bullets in ClusterFobia… but sadly, the execution is just a mess. It feels painful to play something where everything seems to work and not work as intended.

Not being able to aim all that well, results in you connecting events to the wrong cause like it did for me. I thought I killed an enemy with my bullets but it actually didn’t get killed by that but by the wall. It just touched the wall and the bullet at the same time. That’s frustrating. Some walls kill you upon touching while others require you to touch them to actually go away. It’s super weird and just annoying. I finished the first level. The second one is just annoying bullet hell… without the fun part of being a bullet hell. The third one? Didn’t bother with anything past the second level…

And I did boot it up multiple times. I really did. I did try to give it a second chance… and a third chance… and a fourth chance… and even a fifth chance, although I had to mute the game on the fifth attempt while blasting other music through my headphones to make the game at least a tad enjoyable. But no matter how many times I tried to play the game, I always ended up with the feeling of regret: Regret that I really did try to give this game a chance.

The game’s presentation is a mess as well. Objects that seem to act the don’t look the same. They change the colours on random, to the point that you might think that there should have been an epilepsy warning at the beginning. Nothing is polished. Everything seems to have been directly extracted from Paint. It’s hurting in your eyes.

Meanwhile, the soundtrack is so loud and noisy that your ears might as well bleed while playing the game. Shooting out bullets causes more noise on top of the noise while the whole presentation is just sad to look at. If you want to turn music off, you’ll have to use the audio mixer after all, your game closes when you hit Escape and the actual settings don’t provide you with anything to change.

Sometimes games fuck with you. Sometimes they really do. Sometimes games are made for you to figure them out and eventually get over the obstacles that are blocking your way. In “Jump Knight” you need to reach the top by jumping through a rather difficult parkour part starring some unforgiving jumps that set you back a bunch! In “Getting Over It” you also need to make use of a pickaxe to reach space and beat the game while risking to lose footing during all of those jumps, only to eventually get set back while the narrator makes fun of you in one way or the other.

The “Dark Souls” franchise or even the whole SoulsBorne genre is known for difficult and challenging but also frustrating gameplay that tests your patience and skill, and, well, it’s successful.

And I only just started to play the third game and died nine times at the tutorial-boss, the Iudex Gundyr, who taught me important lessons about the game that I probably will need in future boss fights! But I’ll post on that, too, so expect more Dark Souls in the future.

Meanwhile, ClusterFobia is just frustrating. You may consider it “challenging” as well but I’m not sure if there is a way to beat that level. I’m not sure if you can actually get past the first level and even if you do‚Ķ there are apparently more levels to it and I’m not sure if anyone really wants to play through all of those as well.

Other games can be frustrating or challenging, too, but at least you see how you’re supposed to do it. At least you get to figure it out. At least it always seems “this close!!” so you try again… in ClusterFobia you just get tired of trying. You end up losing your nerves as you try more and more; as you try to not quit this game. I quit the game multiple times but always thought that I’d have to try again and get more info on the game for the sake of a review. “After all, the dev seems to be really proud of his piece here, so I should do my best!”

I’m quoting the dev here:
“ClusterPhobia is maybe all about figuring out where to shoot and how the objects relate to each other (‚Ķ) and also about knowing exactly when and how to shoot so that you don’t get killed by your own bullets and don’t destroy something critical for solving a level. If ClusterPhobia had a philosophy, that would be: [The] player is not supposed to know much about how [the] game works beforehand, but rather understand it out of his or her own experience – and yes, at first it might be annoying, but once the connection between objects is understood, and all actions are smoothly performed, it might get satisfying.”

But here’s where the problem lies:
It’s not healthy for a game if you can destroy a level by shooting at something critical to the solution of said level. It’s not healthy for a game to have no correlation between different events in the game. If you shoot a wall or an enemy and it gets destroyed, you’ll think that all walls or enemies of that type would get destroyed‚Ķ but if the game doesn’t stick to that, the game becomes stale, frustrating and painful to play.
If there is no pull for the player to keep on playing, they’ll stop playing. If you don’t give a damn about explaining mechanics and sticking to your own rules, then the player won’t play the game. “Trial and error” is not fun. It’s frustrating. Learning patterns of sorts while some game is shitting into the player’s ears is just bad game design.

In the end, I’d have to say that this is poor game design. When a game is so frustrating and painful to watch and play that you’d rather kill puppies than play more of it, then it’s a bad game. Hence I can’t recommend the experience, despite it being a free game‚Ķ

Cheers.

(Note: The dev calls the game ClusterPhobia but the actual game is called ClusterFobia in the installer and in the URL to the gamejolt side, so I’m not sure whether or not it actually is spelled like this or that.)

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

The Stray Sheep #36 – en passant 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But why do I want to stream?

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

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

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

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

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

Carpe Diem or something!

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

The Stray Sheep #29 – lazy

To be honest, I’d like to blog daily, but today I’ve been lazy. I didn’t really have many ideas today, so I think from now on I’ll try to stay with a few posts a week instead of daily posts since I don’t want to post for the posting’s sake. Also, I really need to work on some “Indietail”-s.

Next week’s going to be quite busy. I actually got some uni-stuff to do as well as work and other stuff. Posting daily for a while has been quite fun but it really isn’t my cup of tea, I guess.

So, today I’ve been lazy. I didn’t get much done and I still need to do some chores, actually. Tomorrow I need to get up early to get the dishes and all the other chores done before work. After work, I’ll have to clean up my room and then I’ll have to finish these last few drafts (still need some more screenshots from these games here, on top of some more playtime). I’d like to take the blog into more of a review-direction instead of just posting about all kinds of stuff, aka Stray Sheep.
So, yeah, the next posts won’t be daily, instead, there’s at least a weekly post, maybe even more. We’ll see.

Anyways, have a lovely evening or day! ūüôā See ya!

The Stray Sheep #10 – Longer and shorter reviews

In today’s Stray Sheep I thought I’d like to talk about my reviews and my work process on them. Also I’m going to add some album that I’m really enjoying at the moment to most if not all of my future Stray Sheep posts for you to listen to while reading, so stay tuned for that!

My reviews tend to get quite long and that may also be a reason for why the process of getting to a finished post takes so much time. I usually play the game and do my research and in general, I’ve got quite a fair share of time that is involved in that review, as I may have mentioned somewhere before..

So, I’m going to try to go for shorter reviews in the future, or rather I’m going to put longer against shorter ones and will see how people like one or the other. I’ve already got a few reviews prepared that are rather long (with about 2000 words) which all will and have aired on Sundays, but I’m going to try to go for a few shorter ones that still will have plenty of details in them since that’s my style, I guess.

Vincent from Catherine Classic

After all, there are people out there that may consider buying a game. The only spectacle hindering them from buying it, however, is the fact that they don’t know how the combat feels, how certain aspects work, how much replay-value there is in the game. They don’t know if the soundtrack’s any good and they maybe cannot be arsed to check for themselves, so they read a review. They read someone’s opinion on the matter and they may trust them in that or go for a refund later.

I frankly enjoy exploring as much of a game possible before starting to write the review. I want to include as much as possible in the review and I want to talk about all aspects so that everyone knows about every feature without getting spoiled too much. That’s why I’m an advocate of long reviews but I can still understand the cons that those have.
Frankly, I’ll post a few shorter ones in the coming days and will see for myself if my readers (that’s you btw!) like those reviews more than the ones that I (that’s me btw!) have posted so far. We’ll just see.

My healer in Swordsman Online, which was called “Magician” which was already taken so I went for “Magichan” as it was one of those female-only classes and uhm..yeah. Also SPIDERS!!

And this is isn’t something unchangeable either. I can just go for shorter reviews when I’ve got less time, and give it my all and 10% more if I’ve got more on my hands. That’s no biggie. It’s rather about advancing my style, improving my writer-skills and levelling up as an author on this small indie-blog called Indiecator!

From Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist

On the other note, it’d be awesome if you could leave comments with feedback! I enjoy it whenever I’m able to improve in any way and I’d be more than happy to see people getting involved with me and my blog and telling me their thoughts on a matter. That’d be cool. ūüôā

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.