For quite a while now, I’ve been hearing great things about the Yakuza series. I mean, thanks to Humble Monthly and Choice, I own Yakuza 0, Kiwami and Kiwami 2 already, so it was only a matter of time until I’d play one of the games and despite me being late to the party here, I was quite overjoyed with having played and beaten Yakuza 0!
Note: This is not a review… It may look like one… but it’s not… I just played through the game and made a post about it… Enjoy the post! Also remember to hydrate properly because Kiryu and Majima make me thirsty!
So, so,… where do I start? Uh, we play as two characters in the game. Kazuma Kiryu who’s a young yakuza in his 20s and who’s part of the Dojima Family gets framed for a murder he didn’t commit (because he canonically never officially killed anyone) and that’s quite bad for the Family since yakuza don’t kill civilians. Since Kiryu has been taken in by Kazuma, Kazuma is supposed to be held accountable for Kiryu’s murder, which is why Kiryu’s trying to leave the family and to find the actual culprit. This whole thing, however, is part of something much bigger because of the empty piece of land that the murder was committed on. Meanwhile, we also play as Goro Majima, an ex-yakuza that runs a cabaret in Sotenbori to pay off a debt and to get back into the yakuza. There are a lot of circumstances going on but eventually, his story gets intertwined into Kiryu’s and it all becomes a bit of a mess that can be a bit overwhelming and confusing… but in a good way. I won’t spoil anything but I loved it and loved seeing the parallels between the characters’ ideals and playstyles. Similarly, I had to pause the game now and then to think about what the implications and revelations meant for the story and why things were turning out the way they were turning out. There are a lot of parties involved, a lot of characters get introduced, and a lot of things happen, resulting in a brilliant story that ends up getting resolved with basically no plot holes left. I enjoyed it.
At its core, though, Yakuza 0 is an Open World Action game where you fight off enemies using three different fighting styles (per character) and a plethora of weapons and techniques. It’s fun, it’s entertaining and kind of challenging, at first. For my playthrough, I played on the Hard difficulty and struggled quite a bit against the first boss, Kuze, but after that, the game turned out to be rather easy… which may be due to the upgrades I got. I ended up abusing the food system that lets you heal even during combat and ended up investing all of my money into my own body to unlock new abilities, more health, and stronger attacks. The damage you receive in fights can be healed using food from your inventory or by visiting eateries outside of combat. There are also a lot of side-quests and activities around town to get you sidetracked and make you lose your time. You know that amazing story I mentioned? Yeah, I delayed by an hour to play Shogi instead, after learning in the game how to play shogi… and then I delayed for another two hours after finding out about Karaoke and Pocket Circuit, the local racing game.
The substories are the best part of the game, though. These sidequests are hilarious and ridiculous and it suits the game a lot. The rewards may not be worth it at first… but eventually, when you progress through the game, a lot of the side characters return to help you out, which is quite nice. And the ridiculous stories fit quite well into the game because of the fun little conversation choices and the over-the-top-combat. The story may be serious but when I can ram a bike into someone’s head and they still survive that, I can’t take a game that seriously… I mean… Again, the story is brilliant,… but at the beginning, I didn’t think that the main plot would be so good, judging from the amusing combat experience. Eventually, I ended up rushing through the game as I wanted to finish it before NieR Replicant comes out, so I ended up not doing too many sidequests for a while and didn’t regret that actually, at all. I even cried for a bit during one of the scenes.
You may notice that I’m a bit all over the place right now but I still can’t believe that I’m done with Yakuza 0 already… and I’m a bit bummed out about it but there are still 34 achievements for me to collect and I really wanna clear them all… or at least most of them! Apart from that, the game’s somewhat old… I mean, it’s from 2015 as far as I know… but it still aged well! Don’t look at the water and you’ll be fine, though. The rest of the world is super pretty and the characters look and sound amazing. The Japanese dub is great and I loved listening to the fun soundtrack, too. It certainly aged well for a game that is six years old – I’ve seen newer games that looked a lot worse!
Now apart from that, there are a few things I don’t like. For starters, food is overpowered. Once you stock up on Sushi Sets you are nearly invincible. The combat felt great at the start but eventually, I noticed, that on Hard Difficulty the fights just turn into a button-mashing contest. Two styles aren’t that good in my opinion while the other two are overwhelmingly good, so there’s a balancing issue. The “Breaker” Style that you unlock later on, for instance, lets you deal with a ton of enemies at the same but it’s also great in One-on-One situations. I won’t spoil the other ones but I noticed that eventually I was quite strong and I frankly didn’t have a hard time at all. Fights were just me getting the heat gauge up and then smashing the enemies with motorcycles and stuff. Until the final chapter, combat felt somewhat easy, to be honest, so again, balance. I would have enjoyed a more even difficulty curve that would steadily make things harder, either by equipping guns onto them and other stronger weaponry or by buffing their damage more. There is also this one guy that you defeat a bunch of times and he just doubles up on health but doesn’t get stronger, in my opinion, making him a bad boss fight in a way…
So, I’d love to talk about characters that get introduced more but that’d be a spoiler… the story then? Oh, right, that’d be a spoiler… The minigames? Well, one of them can get you banned on Twitch, but the rest are fine. Also technically spoilers. I’d recommend Yakuza 0 to anyone and everyone. It’s a great game and after 42.7 hours in it, I don’t think I’ll be done with the game just yet. There is still so much to do! I want to be good at most of the minigames and be friends with all the NPCs and fight Mr Shakedown until there is none left… and then there’s the different fighting styles I need to improve, all the food I need to taste, and just so much more. Great game! Looking forward to Yakuza Kiwami!
What are your opinions on the Yakuza series or Yakuza 0 in particular? Have you played it yet? Do you plan to? Let me know!
Over the past couple of years, I’ve always had a fable for Action RPGs and Dungeon Crawlers. Heading into an unknown place full of enemies and loot, exploring it, slaying foes, finding better gear and repeating that gameplay loot always felt intriguing and fun to me but as time went on, I didn’t find too many games that piqued my interest… until recently where I found The Slormancer, a new 2D ARPG by Slormite Studios that just released on Steam. Hence, today I wanted to take a look at it and tell you about my thoughts and impressions.
Developer: Slormite Studios
Publisher: Slormite Studios, Abiding Bridge, TILT
Genre: Dungeon Crawler, 2D, ARPG, Hack and Slash
Release Date: April 6th, 2021
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Copy was sent by the devs.Screenshots were taken from the Press Kit. I forgot to take screenshots during my playtime so far.
The story is somewhat irrational. You were born with absolutely no skill whatsoever but kind of end up being the hero that everyone needs, even if you don’t really want to. I guess you do have some talent after all but it’s the motivation that you’re lacking, though peril seems to be the best motivator. So, you end up being wound up in the apocalypse as the Slormancer and his underling try to conquer the world again. Long story short, you pick one of three classes and try to rescue the townspeople that have vanished.
Combat is quite classic for an ARPG. You have your health bar and your mana bar and have to watch over those resources since you need mana to cast spells and health to live. You get overwhelmed with a plethora of different foes that each on their own may not be the strongest… but the hordes can really get to you if you don’t watch your step. As you move on you unlock skills that give you powerful abilities, specific to your class. I spent most of my time playing as the “Mischievous” Mage who’s got a lot of AoE spells and high damage spells at the cost of defence… and I’ve been having a blast with it. The “Mighty” Knight was described as a tank that can take a hit but deals less damage while the “Fierce” Huntress is an agile archer with lots of attack speed. The reason why I didn’t play the other classes as much so far is probably just that I’m having way too much fun with the Mage.
The three classes have over 200 unique abilities, upgrades and passives each with unique combinations. Skills can be upgraded as well and there are a lot of different aspects that you can change the skills to. The degree of customization also extends to the randomised loot that comes in normal, magic, rare and epic grades. The properties get randomised but legendary items have more than 80 unique affixes and can be upgraded infinitely. Similarly, there are 120 unique and game-changing weapons called “Slorm Reapers” available to every class that can be levelled up and evolved as time goes on.
My favourite part about The Slormancer, however, is probably the art style. It’s this charming pixel art style that I really adore with pretty backgrounds and interesting character designs. I really like it. The spell effects look amazing and satisfying, the enemies look unique, the combat feels good most of the time and the soundtrack is beautiful, in my opinion. Presentation-wise this game is really alluring and charming which is a great change from the grim styles that other ARPGs go for usually.
Apart from that you can change all the keybindings, play with the controller if you want to, change a lot of the settings, rebind your spells and even get a free refund on the skill points you invested previously. Classes can be changed later on as well with no issue at all and there are expeditions, bosses, and lots of content available in single-player… but that’s a bit of an issue for me personally as I mostly enjoyed playing ARPGs with friends and the roadmap doesn’t indicate any plans for multiplayer… I’d love to play it with friends but maybe the devs will consider some way of implementing that into the game eventually. The game is, after all, still in Early Access.
Personally, I didn’t have any issues with the game really. I could see myself sinking a lot of time into this and I’m looking forward to seeing how the next chapters will turn out and what the end game will have to offer. I’ve really liked it so far. I’ll probably stream it in the next few days, too, over on my Twitch channel, if you wanna see some of those dungeon runs for yourself. There will be bugs probably although I haven’t encountered any… So, take everything with a grain of salt, but I’d recommend checking out the Early Access as it is quite a lot of fun so far… or at least wishlist it over on Steam.
Hope you enjoyed this post! Let me know what you think of this game so far once you get to it. Take care of yourself!
I honestly wanted to write about this title for a while now… In fact, you may have actually read my post on the demo before and then after I published it, the developers hit me up and I got a review key for the full game… and then I’ve been playing it for a few hours… and then I tried other classes… And now we’re here, way too late, and I’m lowkey-addicted to Osteoblasts. That’s a good thing. I like playing RPGs but I’ve been a bit burned out from the genre since it always seemed like the same thing being made with different storylines… and Osteoblasts does appeal to me on a lot of levels and makes it seem new and fresh.
Developer: Moonana, Anglerman
Genre: RPG, Turn-Based Combat, Adventure
Release Date: February 12th, 2021
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Copy was sent to me by the developer.
I mean, the premise is simple. You’re a skeleton, you get revived by a Witch Cat, and now you… do stuff. You fight against dogs, skeletons, ghosts, demons and elephants. You level up your character, equip new randomised gear, fight enemies, crawl through dungeons, and eventually, you’ll still understand nothing. The gameplay is satisfying, the story not so much. My issue with the story is that it’s just super confusing. On the one hand, the dialogue sometimes is hard to understand and whenever there is supposed to be a revelation of sorts, the NPCs just drop more riddles and mysteries onto you, making the story less of a satisfying experience, in my opinion. The gameplay, on the other hand, is excellent and while some of the dialogue can be hard to understand, most of the jokes and puns actually land and made me chuckle.
As you rise from your grave, you get to choose between six different classes ranging from the Shaman to the Scavenger to the Stranger. I would have liked it if you were shown example skills or maybe more info on the different characters. The game certainly is lacking in the clarity department and leaves you hanging when it comes to explanations regarding your class or skills. I noticed that weapons would have similar names but have randomised skills and stats. This is a great thing, in my opinion, as it adds replayability and lets you customise your class a lot more. In the same way, you have a lot of different stats that influence combat in a plethora of ways from enhancing your attacks to letting you counter attacks or making you heal more. Stats also determine whether or not you can draw out the full potential of your weapons. Skills often are tied to certain stats. Buffing up stats in combat using spells, however, can also enable you to use the according skills. Overall, I like that mechanic a lot but it took me ages until I figured it out. The manual didn’t really help me in-game and I feel like the tutorial should’ve given me more of a helping hand, even if I hate tutorials that hold your hand too much…
Being able to use your skills only when you meet the requirements is interesting since it also influences how you gear up for certain encounters. Equipping different gear shapes your character in a lot of ways, giving you more attacks and helping you out stat-wise. If enemies use debuffs on you, you may lose out on the stat-requirement for certain attacks, which adds a bit more depth to combat. Just like how they can stop you from bashing their heads in, you can also debuff enemies and reduce their stats, preventing them from returning the favour. It’s interesting and fun. I like that a lot about this game. Similarly, you attack enemies, they have a chance to counter you. They attack you, you get to counter them. It’s great to see that rules apply to all characters in the game and it’s refreshing that they have the same chances at taking jabs at you, raising the difficulty a bit more.
Exploration is fun. You don’t need to travel far away to get to different parts of the world and friendly villages. There are a lot of Metroidvania-ish roadblocks in the game that urge you to find other ways to get to the next area like keys that you get from different boss battles or boulders you need to mine with pickaxes. It’s interesting and exploration gets generally rewarded since you’ll unlock shortcuts as well along the way. Through Exploration you also find statues of the old gods. There are six different gods that you can pray to earn bonuses to your stats. On every level up, you get to pray to one of three gods that each grant you two stat increases. Meanwhile, the aforementioned statues grant you those regardless of the level up and also can give you passive bonuses, a checkpoint, fast travel points or even shops, making them quite the reward for exploration.
My favourite part about Osteoblasts, however, is the presentation and the personality that comes with it. The game’s soundtrack is amazing and adds a lot to the atmosphere, especially since the world’s tracks play in battles, too, making the changes from exploration to battle not too abrupt. Similarly, the art style is phenomenal with abstract background art in battles, cute pixel art in the overworld and amazing pixelated character models in the actual turn-based battles. The animations for the different attacks range from simple sword swings to spell effects that appear on the target. The sound design is fun and adds a lot to the game.
But yeah, clarity is the big downside to Osteoblasts. I had to try a lot and fail at it until I figured out that my stats are the reason behind me being able to use a specific spell… or not being able to use it. Similarly, I’d love to see the debuffs and explanations about the enemy by hovering over it, so that I can plan the battles even more… but the game doesn’t have that. And I’d love it if I could get more information on items but, again, the game doesn’t have that. Once you find out about things, you can have a great time,… but until then it can be frustrating unless you catch on quickly about how things work in this game.
Still, despite the clarity issues, I had and am still having a great time with this game. Osteoblasts breathes life into a genre that has been quite dead to me for quite a while now and is delivering a satisfying experience despite its shortcomings in terms of clarity and plot. I would say that you’re making a grave mistake (pun intended) if you don’t at least try out the demo. The full game certainly has a lot to offer and I can highly recommend it.
We Are The Plague (formerly known as “Plague in Us”) is a tactical turn-based game set in a hand-drawn dark-fantasy world where you join the Plague and seek your revenge. The story is very cryptic but you essentially escape from prison and, with the power of the Plague, you find other team members, get rid of enemies and fulfil these missions of sorts. It’s an RPG that looks quite interesting and I’m looking quite forward to it.
Developer: Forever Entertainment S.A.
Publisher: Forever Entertainment S.A.
Genre: Tactical, Strategy, Turn-Based, RPG, Adventure, Dark Fantasy
Release Date: Q3 2021
Played on: PC
Demo available on Steam.
The game’s going to come out in 2021’s Q3 but you can play a demo right now right here. It’s an amazing experience in my opinion, which is why I planned on writing about it and my thoughts on it.
From the get-go, I’ve been intrigued by this game. The story is quite cryptic and you’ll have to piece it together slowly whenever you get bits of information here and there. Who are we? Who or what are the Plague? What is our goal and what are we trying to accomplish with our crusade/revenge? What did they do to us? What’s happening in the world? Questions upon questions but answers are only slowly trickling in, which is why we need to move forward. The hand-drawn art style reminds me a lot of Darkest Dungeon and the amazing soundtrack adds a rather nice feel to the overall atmosphere, which really compliments the themes of the story.
You move your character around and can command it to attack or defend. Combat is initiated by walking into the line of sight of enemies. Then your party gets pulled out and you move around in turn-based and, I guess, RTS-ish fashion? You position your units in a way so that you can get some good attacks in, reposition or kite enemies away. Different units have more movement points and can travel further. The different stats also influence other aspects of combat, like defence and attack, for instance. The three characters that you play in the Prologue/demo each fulfil a class of sorts. Your main character is a knight of sorts that does pack a punch and does have a few hit points but it’s not a tank. Another character can reduce his health by half to deal double damage while your third character utilizes a crossbow and can hence attack from afar at the cost of being fairly squishy.
You can customise your characters using weapon runes and tattoos that grant you power. It’s an interesting mechanic but nothing too different from other RPGs. If anything, I’d say that the equipment that was shown in the demo leads to assuming that equipment itself doesn’t play too much of a role in the full game… I mean, I don’t know anything about other items that will come later, so it’s a bummer that nothing more is shown apart from one tattoo that you can put on one of your three characters.
What’s more pleasant, however, is how the side objectives in the story influence the game or give you new ways to play the game. There is a prisoner that you can choose to free or you leave him behind and your choice influences how the game plays out, making it harder to easier for yourself. I like that level of choice that you can have in the game and ultimately it adds a bit more of a challenge to the game. You can also level your characters and potentially unlock more abilities but some of the instructions feel a bit unclear.
I’d love it if there was a tutorial-section in the journal that allows you to look things up. How do certain stats work? How do abilities work? That kind of stuff, just in case you need to refresh yourself, you’d be able to look up what you learned so far, making the game more accessible, in a way.
Overall, it was pleasant though. There are some achievements in the demo and I got through the Prologue within two hours, so it was quite nice. I really dig the hand-drawn style and the overall aesthetic. I wonder how the story will pan out and what other weapon runes and tattoos there will be… Cool game! Looking forward to it!
You can try out We Are The Plague yourself by playing the demo!. You may also want to wishlist it, just in case! I hope you enjoyed this post! What do you think of the game? Have you played the demo yet? If you have or if you end up playing it now, feel free to share your opinions on it! I’m burning to see your thoughts!
Today I wanted to take a look at Anuchard‘s Demo. It’s a retro-inspired 2D Action RPG where you play as the Bellwielder whose job is to retrieve the souls of people that went missing in the dungeon. Dive into the dungeon, solve puzzles, fight monsters and restore the world’s fallen civilization!
The game’s release date is yet to be announced (TBA) but there is a demo available on steam right now. It starts off a bit clunky with you getting swarmed in a dream, dying and then waking up in bed… but the game is very much aware of tropes like that and makes fun of them, which is kind of interesting. You then get prompted to meet up with other people at the town hall where you end up finding the Audros Bell, an ancient bell that the Bellwielder uses to free the trapped souls in the dungeon. With it in hand and multiple spirits’ voices in your head, you end up venturing into the dungeon to free one of the villagers.
Combat features mostly three buttons. I’d recommend using a controller since… while you can rebind keys on the keyboard it feels weird if that makes sense. You have a normal attack that does some damage and can strike multiple foes at once as well as a heavy attack that makes you dash forward a bit and launch a powerful attack that will launch enemies away. Enemies often have armour that breaks when they’re launched into objects or walls. Beating enemies can drop crystals that you can use to place down a spire that heals you. Overall, it’s somewhat simple but it works. I would have personally liked it if there was a dash or something in the game to reposition yourself or mitigate damage by rolling away. Apart from that, attacks feel slow at times and you have this weird delay after attacking a few times. I’d like a stamina system more where your attacks either get weaker if you end up spamming them… or where you can’t dash or attack anymore once your stamina is down.
The dungeons also feature puzzles that utilize the knockback mechanic – at least in the demo. There may be more and different puzzles in the game later on but in the demo, it was limited to two similar puzzles – one of them took me a bit to figure out as well, though. Once you solve puzzles or beat rooms, you end up unlocking doors, similar to the Zelda games, although the puzzles are less elaborate. Then you fight a boss, get a relic and use that relic to revive a villager.
Villagers rejuvenate the village. You unlock a chef, for instance, whose dishes make you stronger based on the ingredients, similar to Monster Hunter World’s food system, which is a nice touch. Later you find other upgrades and abilities, potentially, but the demo doesn’t really give me any information on that, so I don’t really know.
Anuchard is intersting. The art style, music and world feels good, the combat is a bit sluggish, though. I wonder how the full game is going to look and feel like. Only time will tell.
Make sure to wishlist Anuchard and maybe even play the demo yourself!
The Lich has thrown the world into a timeless loop and plunged its inhabitants into never-ending chaos. This time around it wasn’t me, though, as I stumbled across this game during the last Steam Game Festival and got hooked to its simple yet satisfying premise and truly addictive game loop. (Get it?) Today, we’re taking a look at Four Quarters’ Loop Hero.
Developer:Four QuartersPublisher:Devolver DigitalGenre: RPG, Strategy, Roguelite, Card Game, Idle Game (ish?)
Release Date: March 4th, 2021
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Copy was purchased.
Loop Hero starts by having the protagonist of the game walk away from an amnesia-like haze. The world is plunging into chaos and darkness as the Lich or potentially something bigger than him is destroying the world over and over again. But you have the power! You remember! You walk into the world and can reconstruct it using different tiles and equipment pieces to get stronger and shape the world. You don’t control the game, however, as the game controls you.
Your character walks down a fixed path and battles against monsters that spawn every few days. You can pause the game or speed it up a little bit but there isn’t much for you to do… until you beat some slimes up. Monsters either drop card tiles or items. Items buff up your stats and increase your chances of survival in this hamster wheel of an idle-ish RPG while tiles can be placed to restore the world. Mountains and rocks buff up your HP when placed next to each other. Groves will give you sticks when you walk through them but spawn ratwolves every few days. Villages heal you and grant you quests while battlefields give you a chest or mimic to fight at the start of every loop, rewarding you with items, but may also turn nearby enemies into Ghosts. There are various interactions between different tiles, creating new tiles and allowing you to strategise about how you want to rebuild the world. Placing down nine rocks or mountain tiles in a 3×3 shape will turn into a big mountain which also buffs you up furthermore with more HP but may spawn Harpies on nearby tiles. Meanwhile, other tiles can create interesting synergies, like Vampire Mansions that ransack villages and turn them into the count’s lands after three loops. It’s an interesting loop of fighting, levelling, equipping and placing before you fight again, but a lot of things are out of your control.
At any point during the loop, you can decide to return to the camp that somehow still prevails. If you continue onwards, you risk dying to the enemies that get stronger with every loop… and you may lose it all, so be wary of that fact! But speaking of the camp,… There is something about you that gives the people there hope, and as you gather resources like metal, rocks and rations, you’re able to upgrade the camp and expand it, unlocking new tiles, features and even new classes, which certainly reinforces the people’s beliefs in you. If you don’t return to the camp and end up dying, you’ll lose a lot of your gathered resources and be forcefully ejected to the camp. The world gets reset and you’ll have to go on an expedition, yet again, to rebuild the world slowly.
By placing down more and more tiles, you’ll fill up the world completion meter. Completing that will summon the boss to your camp. Each boss plays differently and can be rather challenging. The Lich’s health pool is bound to different temples near the camp, for instance, that can be removed with Oblivion cards while other bosses utilise other interesting mechanics that make every chapter more interesting than the one before it. Once you’ve reached the boss stage of the game, you complete your final loop and are graced with an amazing soundtrack created by blinch, one of the developers. The soundtrack is amazing and I linked one of the pieces above. The combination of the rather detailed pixel-art style that is a throwback to old retro titles and the chiptune-y and classically 8-bit tunes is amazing and works really well for the game… but more than anything, Loop Hero’s soundtrack gets me hyped up. It’s unique and fun and amazing and I love it to bits.
I truly love these interactions between cards and characters that suddenly emerge from the tiles. You encounter vampires, harpies, and bandits, and your character talks to all of them, triggering interesting voice lines, even with bosses. Loop Hero may fall into the idle game (ish) genre but adds its own twist to the formula and seems unique. Loop Hero has personality, which is something I really like.
And once you’ve built the different camp buildings needed for those, you can play as a Rogue or a Necromancer even. These come with different stats and mechanics. The Rogue, for instance, can only get items by exchanging trophies at the camp upon entering a new loop, which makes him quite hard early on but rather satisfying to play as once you get those fast attacks and big crits in. My favourite class, however, is the Necromancer (I may be biased) as you let your little skeletons tank and hit for you and turn the battle into a battle of atrocity. Will you be able to summon enough to deal with your foes or will they target you and end you before your army is up and running. Stats like “magic HP”, which is an over-health shield that protects the Necromancer at the start of every battle, or the Summon Quality, which dictates special skeletons’ summon rate, become rather interesting to play with. The Loot in general is very fun to play around with as your inventory is constantly fixed to the UI at the right and as all equipment pieces may grant you stats that are more important or less important for you. I kind of felt like I’m in Diablo 3 again where my specific build required more attack speed or higher skeleton levels and I had to wait for that specific drop with a specific roll. It was interesting and fun.
But despite all the praise, there are a few things that I didn’t like. For starters, the game can be sped up to double speed but doesn’t go further than that. I would have liked it if you could maybe speed it up to 4x or even more than that since the first and even second beginning loop can be rather slow after every run. At the same time, the world would have felt more immersive if some weapons, rings, and gear, in general, would have had special RPG-item-names that potentially get randomly rolled. I feel as if that would add a lot of flair to the game…
Other than that, I don’t have any complains really. Loop Hero is an interesting take on the “One Hero has to save them all” kind of RPG where your hero is actually trapped in a hamster wheel. The game can be challenging and unforgiving, like other roguelites, but overall, I enjoyed this one to bits and haven’t seen a game this polished in quite a while. It’s easy to understand, quite accessible and even has options that allow you to make the fonts dyslexia-friendly or to remove the CRT Shader for better visibility. Honestly, more developers should do add little features like this to their games in 2021!
Edit: As Naithin pointed out in a comment below, I phrased a sentence in a confusing way that can be interpreted as if every loop brings you closer to the boss. That is not the case. I changed the according passage to get rid of that confusing part and make it more clear. Apart from that, I also removed part of the sentences about the bosses as I figured that it would be more interesting if you saw it for yourself, aka I reduced the spoilers to basically little to nothing here, although it’s nothing big really, I guess.
Honestly, I’m not sure what to think about Outriders. I’ve been playing it for the last four hours and while I’ve enjoyed the demo, it’s mostly that I’ve enjoyed the abilities.
For anyone that doesn’t know, there’s a demo available for Outriders right now that lets you play through the first chapter of the game. There are four classes and you can level up to Level 7 and unlock World Level 4. Everything transitions over to the full game if you end up pre-purchasing or buying it…
Where do I start? Where do I start? Uh,… Earth is doomed and people hence travel to a distant planet. One of the ships blows up in space for whatever reason and down on the planet, there are these alien storms that are very lethal. For whatever reason, we don’t die by it but get altered instead… hence, we’re one of the “Altered”, on top of being one of the remaining Outriders (the military people that came with one of the ships). There is black goo that is infecting people, killer storms, and some mad scientist that commands the other ship that is still in space to come down despite us not being ready. God damn it! Alas, stuff happens and we get put into Cryo to be saved later… but we wake up 31 years later instead of the few days, weeks, months that were planned. Alas, once we arise from our slumber, we are involved in a war, we are left to die and then we end up helping our friends, including my favourite character so far: The charismatic and never-sober Jakub!
Well, since we’re an Altered, we have up to three different skills that can be exchanged for different skills. The four classes play quite differently, although I haven’t played too much of the Trickster just yet (more of that tomorrow, hopefully). The Technomancer is an ice-based long-ranged support character that can drop turrets and other gadgets to help allies or fight their way alone through areas. The Pyromancer is a mid-range fire-mage, kind of… You can inflict a lot of elemental debuffs and damage and you have some crow control, so I’ve been enjoying this one a lot. The Trickster is a time-based short-range assassin that does a lot of damage and gets shielded on top of the healing (more on that later) when they kill stuff up-close. The Devastator is an earth-based tank that goes into short to medium range and heals from killing encounters up-close.
Now, every class heals in some way. The Pyromancer has spell-leech/spell-vamp and the Technomancer heals based on long-ranged damage dealt. I love playing mages and I love snipers, so I’m enjoying both of these classes a lot. There are also skill trees in the game as well as gear that changes your spell-attributes (similar to how exotics in Destiny have special attributes). Some weapons also may synergise quite well with builds, I’ve noticed. A sniper I got has a poison shot, for instance, which works quite well if I don’t one-shot a target with it while another weapon has bonus armour pen on the first shot after reloading… I’d imagine that other weapons deal bonus damage on burning targets or targets with ailments as that could work quite well with the Pyromancer for instance.
Either way, that’s been great and interesting, but overall it feels kind of… off? The gunplay is great with some of the weapons… but others feel lacklustre. In Destiny (and the comparison was inevitable) you’ve got weapons that feel like they hit their targets and like they’re packing a punch. The gunplay is funplay. Here… you’ve got snipers that just let out a quick “pew” before you have to aim again and it’s just not as satisfying. Not all weapons are like that… but a lot of them are.
In the same way, there are some mechanics in the game that feel kinda iffy like the missing jump-button and the whole guarding-mechanic that is very Gears of War ish. I both like and dislike the guarding mechanic. Sometimes it feels unnecessary or I forget that it’s a thing. I wanna jump over an obstacle and am suddenly guarding and clinging to the wall… feels weird. At the same time, it’s cool since I haven’t played many games with that sort of mechanic.
At last… the character creation… ugh… the male voice sucks btw… I like the female voice a lot more… but my biggest problem with the character selection is that the skin tones don’t work properly. Belghast has a nice comparison in his post showing some unintentional racism where skin tones aren’t the same for all heads… I wanted to create a super pale character because… I’m super pale and a lich and all of that… but all of the skin tones look brown-ish… which I didn’t feel that great about. Luckily, you can cover your head quite well with a helmet to brush over that fact. You also have presets for hairstyles, head shapes and beards… but I can’t customize the body or shapes or whatever. At the same time, I can select a beard as a man but not as a woman… and as a woman, I can have makeup… but not as a man? I don’t know. I like my makeup on male characters, so that would have been something I would have personally enjoyed. Generally, the character creation is also lacking a lot and I hope they add stuff to it, including actual functioning skin tones. I don’t have to be a pale vampire with red lipstick in every game… but you know… I don’t feel comfortable creating POC as a white person… maybe that’s just me but I feel like I could be labelled racist or something.
Anyways, Outriders is fun but I’m not sure if I’ll play the full game unless it’s on sale or free or something… I mean, I wanna play a looter shooter again… maybe I’ll get into Borderlands again, who knows? But Outriders may not cut it for me at a price point of 60 bucks..
So, for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been chilling in some discord calls with people that have been playing Valheim… and eventually, I got it myself… and then I started playing and immediately understood, why it’s so hyped right now.
Alas, I wanted to talk about my experience and that one fated Greydwarf Incident.
Odin essentially sealed some baddies in the 10th world and noticed that they have been gaining power again, which is why he also sent us (and other Vikings from Valhalla) down to Valheim, the 10th world. In an attempt to get back to Valhalla, we now have to forage, craft, farm, build, and fight ourselves through the world to get stronger and kill those aforementioned baddies. Hugins, the raven Odin sent, is also there to guide us, and I think that summarises the story quite well. The game overall feels quite good. I am having a lot of fun with it right now.
Honestly, I love how you can improve your skills by actually doing things. Running a lot lets you increase that skill reducing the stamina used, while jumping a lot makes you jump higher. Attacking things increases the damage you deal with the spear, knife, axe, club, your fists, or whatever weapon you’re choosing. There are a lot of different skills and it kind of reminds me of Runescape in a way… in a good way, I should say. Progress is tied to the achievements you get. Fighting the first boss means you’ll gain access to the pickaxe that allows you to farm resources such as copper and iron in some areas. To get there, I need to gear up and also find a deer trophy to activate the boss fight. I’ve been playing for 6.7 hours (but mostly have been buildings things, to be honest) and I already got some deer hides and trophies thanks to my trusty spear-throws. The issue is that I need more leather scraps for the tanning rack to unlock even better recipes. On top of that, I need to hunt more deer to get those leather tunics, etc., which are going to be a solid upgrade to the rags I’ve thrown over myself. Currently, I’m wielding a spear and a tower shield most of the time, although I sometimes go for the axe in fights instead when I’m dealing with skeletons, for instance, that attack rather slowly.
After settling on a nice spot over here as well and building up two beehives, a nice little hut and a warehouse, I’ve decided to explore a little bit upwards. My seed “DrPepper” features a black forest to the north with some very interesting areas. For starters, there is a dungeon there filled with skeletons… and they don’t like me which is weird since I’m a lich IRL… but whatever. Otherwise, I found some ruins with loot and skeletons as well as some other structures that looked interesting. Upon further investigation, I was swarmed by a bunch of Greydwarfs as well as a Greydwarf Shaman. Among the Greydwarfs were a bunch of red ones as well as a lot of blue ones. I decided to do my best and block off any incoming attacks to increase my blocking-skill. It levelled up to Level 10, which was nice, but I sadly also got hit a bunch by rocks thrown from afar. The Greydwarf Shaman was fairly tanky and was spreading a lot of poison around that only seemed to harm me. On top of that, the Shaman was able to heal his allies by spreading spores upwards. The heals are coming in seemingly endlessly while my food is running low, alas, I decide to block and slowly crawl backwards.
My kiting attempts and the occasional rolls actually worked out rather well, allowing me to get quite close to my base in no time with no further hitpoints lost. The Shaman seemed to protect something, which is why he stayed near that area. Alas, I ended up finishing off the small fry by stabbing my spear into them whenever they decided to turn their backs on me. At the same, I’d block all other attacks and eventually finish them off one by one. At last, I regenerated some health when the greed came over me. “Oh, Odin!”, I said. “Forgive me for straying from this path and not getting rid of these foes first. I decided to run but I shall run no more!” My flatmate probably heard my prayers and alas decided to knock on the door to ask if I was okay. “Uh, I was quoting something in class”, I said and he shrugged it off. “But Odin, I shall run no more and I shall rid this earth of these foes”, I continued, before heading back to the Shaman. The Shaman, now alone, posed no threat to me as I was able to roll away when he spread his poison while landing a few rather strong hits with my spear whenever he used his heal spell. He fell in no time and dropped nothing of importance. The chest he was guarding featured some gold and feathers as well as some Amber, but again, nothing major. Alas, I decided to explore more before stumbling across a Greydwarf nest. I struck it down and got rid of the remaining Greydwarfs only to notice that the nest here happened to drop an Ancient Seed, which according to a friend is required to summon the second boss. I held onto it tightly as I travelled back. Pressing it against my ear, lets me hear whispers. This shall be useful. “I shall burn their young and obtain their power”, I say, “but first I need to strike down Eikthyr.”
So, I basically need to gear up some more, prepare the area around the boss by chopping down some of the trees, and then I need to summon it in order to progress some more. I think I’ll leave that for the next post on Valheim. I’ve been enjoying this game quite a bit and since other bloggers have been posting about it recently, including Wilhelm, I’ve been meaning to make some progress so that I don’t spoil myself too much when I read their posts.
Have you been getting into Valheim? If so, how are you liking it? I personally am enjoying it but I’ve noticed that it is somewhat poorly optimised. It is pretty but a bit rough around the edges. The issue I’ve been having is that it does use up a lot of CPU from my Computer, meaning that I probably won’t be able to stream it. Hope they fix that soon.
We must stay vigilant for the night is long and full of terrors. Today we’re taking a look at Vigil: The Longest Night – a 2D action platformer with precise, technical combat and a strong narrative. The developers have taken inspiration from Salt and Sanctuary as well as Castlevania, resulting in a challenging game with Metroidvania-mechanics and a lot of endings.
Developer: Glass Heart Games
Publisher: Another Indie
Genre: Action, RPG, Metroidvania, Horror, 2D, Platformer
Release Date: October 14th, 2020
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC, PS4, XBOne, Switch
Copy was received from the publisher.
Step into the role of Leila who just absolved her Vigil training and returns to a town in fright. You thus have to attempt your best to save your hometown from the creeping evil that is infesting this world. You have a lot to do to help the people, including finding a missing girl or getting rid of some of the enemies. On top of that, you’ve got a vast world to navigate through between dream and reality, sanity and madness, all for the sake of uncovering the secret of the longest night and the monstrous entities invading your world.
Right from the get-go, you’re thrown into action as you encounter a mysterious rat-like monster that is threatening your life. Dodge attacks, strike at the right times and figure out the enemy attack patterns! Once you’ve struck it down, you’ll stumble across your hometown, Maye, where the guards inform you about the situation. While the combat feels fluid and fun, the story is actually somewhat skippable. You try to find out about the monsters that invade the lands and you are searching for your sister and all kinds of stuff is happening… but I can’t really follow it. Most of the story is rather cryptic and offers little to no sense to me. Sometimes dialogue felt clanky as well and I just wanted to get to the next area in order to fight more eldritch creatures. Despite that, however, there are a plethora of quests in the game that require you to kind of follow up on clues that you stumble upon. After finding out something interesting in dialogues and conversations, the notes get updated with meaningful information that you can use to get closer to the goal of your quests. This kind of mechanic reminded me of some mystery games that I’ve enjoyed in the past, and alas, I really enjoyed questing in Vigil, even when the actual story felt a bit too cryptic for my taste.
The combat that I mentioned above features five different skill trees and two different attack buttons. There is one skill tree for each weapon-class from heavy weapons and swords to bows and daggers. There is a fifth tree that is all about your stamina, health, items and other statuses, resulting in a lot of different options for your playstyle and specialisation. I really enjoyed playing with heavy weapons like the halberd, for instance, as the charge attack allows you to deal a considerable amount of damage on top of offering you a bit of range in your repertoire. Similarly, the daggers feel swift and rather mobile while the bows are nice additions to your kit. Sadly, there aren’t any staffs in the game that would allow you to utilize magic for your main attack but there are some spells that you can equip for like an item and just activate whenever you need them. All of your attacks use up stamina which can be seen below your health bar and one you’re out of stamina, it only slowly recovers, which adds an extra layer of difficulty to combat.
As far as enemies go, I must say that I really enjoyed fighting most of them. There are a lot of quick enemies or enemies with annoying attacks that you’ll have to dodge. In the same manner, most of the enemies tend to hit rather hard and punish you for making a mistake, which is very much like Salt and Sanctuary, from what I recall.
Both enemies and Leila are designed well. The enemies remind me of eldritch creatures you’d face in Lovecraftian games while Leila’s animations are fluid and fit the game equally. The attacks that you dish out feel and look like they pack a punch, which adds a bit of satisfaction to combat, even when some boss fights can be somewhat hard on you. A great feature that I love about Vigil: The Longest Night is the fact that your equipped armour and weapons can be seen on Leila in the game. This is not a given in most games and adds a nice touch to Vigil, that I really was happy about. In contrast to that, however, is the lack of character animation. I would have enjoyed the game more if Leila would change stances more often, be it in combat or while talking to people. Her always standing there, awkwardly, with her weapon in hand felt off to me.
At last, the game generally is gorgeous. I loved the small details they added to the game like droplets that you can see on the hud and screen when it rains or the changes in the colour scheme of different areas. It certainly adds a charm to the game that is unique to Vigil and can be best described as disturbingly lovely. At times, it kind of reminded me of Darkest Dungeon and the Souls games, at other times I felt as if I was strolling through the landscape of the Fable series. All in all, it’s a beautiful game with some interesting soundtracks and some great combat.
Despite all of that, I’d have to say that the lack of meaningful dialogue and the cryptic storytelling have been a bit of a turn-off for me. On top of that, I felt as if the huge maps that you can find in the game offer too much exploration if that makes sense. At times I’d be completely lost and wouldn’t know where to go whereas other games would provide you with at least some guidance in that regard. At the same time, a lot of the areas feature tons and tons of items, secrets and chests, but sometimes I would follow through a path only to be disappointed with a dead-end or a walled-off area. I feel like having more smaller areas would have been better for a game like this, although that may be personal preference.
Notwithstanding these last few issues, I can only highly recommend the experience of Vigil: The Longest Night. There are multiple endings, a bunch of cool boss fights, a lot of different weapons to collect, and there is a lot to do in the game with more updates coming out every now and then.
I hope you enjoyed this review. I ended up putting off writing about Vigil for a rather long time since I’d often get busy with other things and now exam-season has started as well, resulting in even less time for reviews. Luckily, I managed to finish one of my exams today and alas, was able to write up and edit today’s review.
I’ve always been a sucker for mythology. From Norse to Egyptian to Greek mythology, I’d take everything in and read up on all sorts of articles and myths and thoughts. I honestly loved it to bits. In the same manner, I love it when games incorporate mythology into their lore and build a universe around it that brings life to these old legends and stories. A game that does that really well is Hades!
Developer: Supergiant Games
Publisher: Supergiant Games
Genres: Action, Roguelite, RPG, Indie
Release Date: December 6th, 2018 (Early Access) - Left Early Access on September 17th, 2020
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC, Switch
Copy was purchased.
Dive into the underworld where the god of the dead and the king of the underworld, Hades, is reigning with an iron fist and where his son, Zagreus, is trying to escape hell. Meet a bunch of different characters, interact with them, romance some of them, gift nectar and ambrosia to your favourite people and the Gods of the Olymp themselves, and experience the story of Hades, one run at a time. Hades is an Action-Roguelite by Supergiant Games and in this review, I’ll tell ya why it’s such a great game!
Well, in this game, we play as Zagreus, who very much has a reason to leave Hell and to be angry at his father, which I won’t get into. Zagreus uses one of six different weapons in each of his escape attempts powered by Boons of the Gods of the Olymp. These weapons were used to slay the titans and are, alas, strong on their own already but as you progress further into the depths of Hell, you have to face stronger foes and more challenges, which is why the Gods help you. A variety of gods are there to assist you in your dangerous endeavour, most likely since they’re bored. From your uncles, Zeus and Poseidon, to your grandmother, Demeter, there are a plethora of interesting characters ready to provide you with their assist.
Your weapon tends to have a normal attack and a special attack which both are quite unique. Each weapon has four different aspects that each play differently and make use of different mechanics. On top of that, some weapons (like the shield) have other move sets that make use of holding buttons down or timing attacks properly. On top of that, you have dashes and the ability to perform dash strikes.
The various boons you encounter offer bonus effects to your character, making you stronger or more sturdy, or they change how your weapons work. Demeter is the goddess of the seasons, fertility, and death. Her boons help you afflict enemies with the “Chill” status effect, making them slower or dealing damage at certain conditions. Aphrodite helps you weaken enemies while Ares, Zeus and Artemis are all about that damage. There are a plethora of status boons, passive boons, and raw damage boons in the game and they all synergies quite well with each other, to the point where there’s also duo boons that combine the boons of two gods into one stronger perk. If you have high DPS, you may consider stacking Dionysus’ “hangover” status effect on enemies, while you may consider going for raw damage with Ares if your weapon is slower.
These boons can be acquired by getting through rooms. Gods tend to give you a selection of three boons and you don’t know what you’ll get beforehand. Rooms also can feature other rewards such as Gold to purchase boons and other items in the shop, gems and darkness to use after the run has ended, maximum health, hammers or other rewards. Each run can feature up to two Daedalus Hammer boons which basically change how your weapon is working, making each build stand out even more.
What I love about Hades is that a lot of it feels rather intuitive. You see enemies, you strike them. You see boons, so you go for ones that sound nice. You don’t really have too many “noob traps” in the game and generally, you can progress quite well, especially once you invest your Darkness into that mirror of yours – aka permanent character progression that helps you get stronger after your runs.
But apart from combat being very fast-paced and fun to play with and apart from the plethora of possible builds with each of the four aspects of the six weapons available to you, the game also has another component: The Story.
The Story of Hades evolves whenever you talk to characters. From Achilles to Nyx to Thanatos (I love him), there are a plethora of characters ready to assist you by guiding you or helping you out with trinkets. By giving nectar to the different characters in the game, you receive trinkets that grant you benefits in the run. On top of that, each of the characters in the game has a ton of voice lines and a quest of sorts where you try to help them get through some of their problems which ends up benefitting you as well. Simply speak to characters after your run whenever you see an exclamation mark on their heads and enjoy the fully-voiced and witty lines that both refer to mythology but also have a lot of character. Each of the figures that you encounter has its own problems, traits and personality, which is awesome as it brings life to the mythology that people often refer to as “boring”.
And the game isn’t over yet once you’ve completed a run successfully and escaped Hell as there are various things to do like renovating hell, helping the characters out, fulfilling prophecies, fishing, achievements, and completing the runs with higher difficulties that you can assign yourself to the run. Once you manage to leave Hell once, Hades puts up a pact of punishment onto the gate, resulting in you being able to complete runs again with rising heat levels and more challenges such as more challenging bosses and special enemies. But if you’re actually struggling with beating runs, I can also recommend activating God Mode with grants you a 2% damage reduction bonus whenever you die. You start at 20% already which is A LOT but you can gain up to 80% damage reduction to help you experience the story without getting frustrated with the runs.
And I haven’t even gotten into the amazing art style or the fantastic soundtrack or the wonderful voice acting. I haven’t even gotten into the romance options and the further challenges as well as all of the different secrets in the game and the different areas that each have their mini-bosses and mechanics and traps. There is a ton to talk about in Hades and while I once thought that it was a bit “grindy” at times when it comes to gems, that thought simply vanished after unlocking a few of the house contractor projects. So, I don’t have anything bad to say about Hades and I can understand why it was nominated as Game of the Year, among other titles, and why it won “Best Indie” and “Best Action”. I really can understand that as I haven’t seen a game as polished and as wonderfully crafted as this one in ages.
And more updates are coming out here and there, as well, adding a ton of things, which shows the love and care that Supergiant Games puts into their titles, to the point where I had to rewrite this review about nine times so far. I hope that you enjoyed reading about this game and that you’re checking it out yourself eventually.
For me personally, Hades might very much be my Game of the Year 2020.
So, a while ago, I played Raid: Shadow Legends for the very first time and didn’t like it at all. Eventually, after that, someone prompted me to try out AFK Arena since I was talking badly about it without having tried it out at all, and… yeah, they had a point. I was talking badly about idle games and them not being my cup of tea because I just don’t like them, despite not having tried every single one of them. I tried some… but not all.
In an empiric sense, I can’t make a judgement on idle games as a whole yet. I can just say that I disliked most of them so far…
Anyways: What is AFK Arena? Well, according to the ads that I’m getting on all of my YouTube videos, it’s an animated 2D turn-based idle-game with Gacha-mechanics and you don’t have to grind to get strong. There are misleading ads on YouTube that tell you that you have choices in the game and puzzles and some weird isometric thing where a lion-character called Brutus is performing a spin-attack on a lot of enemies that all drop a lot of gold.
And lately, I’ve been getting worse ads. There is a bad German dub on it and usually, you’ll see the same actors telling you about how good the common characters are that you get instead of the epic ones and how little you have to do in the game. Some ads share “tricks” to unlock free heroes. Others tell you about how video games are a waste of time and how they made them sick and how AFK Arena fixes that as you can, I guess, use your time productively? I’m getting mixed signals. Are games bad? Are mobile games not games, too? Isn’t AFK Arena also bad then if all games are bad?
Anyways, so I installed it and there actually is a story of sorts. Basically, the god of death was jealous of the peace in the overworld and hence created the Hypogeans, the main antagonist/villain faction in the game, to destroy Dura, the goddess of the Living, I guess. Dura, being super graceful and not wanting to die, sent mortals to fight the Hypogeans. That didn’t really work out since she got weakened a lot and used her last power to scatter seven divine artefacts over the world and now a lot of time passed and nothing happened but something will probably happen. Idk.
Note: I’m going to include pictures of characters from the wiki because I forgot to take screenshots. If you don’t believe me that I’ve played the game, I’ll reinstall it and shove it in your face. But I really deslike it, and here’s why.
Honestly, no clue why they created an actual alright-ish story if they didn’t plan on rebranding around it… “Legends of Esperia” or “Tales of Dura” or anything else could have turned this into some sort of Anime or show or proper game. Instead, we have AFK Arena, a game that is all about being AFK, as the name suggests.
Anyways, in the beginning, you get to chose between two heroes: Zaphrael and Lucretia, who kind of stand for a good vs bad kinda choice. Obviously, I have chosen Lucretia, the Betrayed. She’s a Hypogean character that is agility-based and does a lot of damage. Zaphrael wasn’t my cup of tea. I was hoping to get to play more Hypogean characters but haven’t encountered any at all so far really… which feels like a missed opportunity.
As time went on, we defeated enemies in combat and started accumulating more and more diamonds, gold and experience. Diamonds can be used to summon heroes (among other things) that most of the time are common, rare or sometimes potentially legendary. Most heroes can be upgraded into higher rarities, using copies of the same hero. It doesn’t have as “many” characters as Raid: Shadow Legends but it has a lot more unique ones that aren’t just recoloured, especially due to the faction-system.
There are seven different factions: Wilders, Graveborns, Maulers, Lightbearers, Celestials, Hypogeans, and Dimensionals. Having three, four or five heroes of the same faction in a team (max 5) grants your heroes up to 25% bonus attack damage and 25% bonus HP. Having three of one faction and two of another adds 15% bonus attack damage and 15% bonus HP, instead. Celestials basically contribute to this – so you can, in theory, play four Wilders and have Zaphrael in your rows to unlock the 5 Wilder bonus. The Hypogeans, however, grant you a bonus independently. Having one Hypogean grants you +30% defence, having more adds other bonuses. Hypogean heroes deal and receive bonus damage to and from Celestials.
The other four factions have an advantage-disadvantage-system similar to other games, with IE Wilders dealing more damage to Graveborn and receiving more damage from Maulers while also being neutral to Lightbearers. This adds a little bit of strategy to your game but most of the time you’d end up just playing your strongest characters or levelling up the character you like the most… and it works. Really well actually. I would have liked to play Graveborns but they just do not have any characters that I like… Wilders, however, are cute and interesting and have a lot of supportive characters that tickle my fancy.
So, there are different “classes” of characters and you get to level them up and try out different formations… so there is a bit of strategy involved in the game… Generally speaking, though, you can just put in anything and everything and it will work. While some characters are stronger against other ones, you don’t really have to care about that as you only care about having strong characters in your party. Just force your way through the game and you’ll be fine. Occassionally, you’ll notice how one character is underperforming so you replace them with someone else and you’ll be fine again. Changing the position of characters sometimes helps, too… having a healer is super important in later fights but then you’ll need to draw one from the gacha mechanic… and since luck isn’t always on your side, you instead have to level your characters until they’re overlevelled. Similarly, some characters come with only three abilities while others have four, so you eventually wanna get those with more abilities since they’re better than your normal ones. The game feels a bit pretentious as it gives you all of these classes, races, and abilities,… but in the end it’s pay-to-win anyways. The top-ranked players have put money into the game and continue to get better at the game since they have better characters. You can make it quite far into ranked against other people but generally speaking those that spend money at the game have a lot better ways of making it in the game. They have higher winrates and better success chances as they most likely have the better characters. The Guildmaster in my OwO guild approved of this statement, btw. AFK Arena’s PvP is pay-to-win-based. There is no skill needed.
Meanwhile, if you wanna play it casually, you don’t need to pay anything at all. You can grind away and chill… uh, I mean, there is no grind. Nope, no grind. Grinding is bad after all – that’s at least what the ads say! Alas, I started playing four Wilders+Lucretia for a lot of time and then eventually switched over to five Wilders because I like more damage. Then I needed to get the levels all the way up. There is a Crystal that you place heroes into, so that you don’t need to level them up. They instead take over the level of the lowest-level-character in your top five. Alas, you want to level your top-5 to be able to exachange heroes at any given time and keep the levels high. At the same time, you need good gear, and you want some of those uniques… and you also need to get missions done and use diamonds that you’re given to be able to afford the summons at the Tavern.
“You don’t need to grind like in other games”, they said. “You just AFK.” But I needed gold and experience… and the campaign wasn’t giving me enough and also was hard to get to, since you can’t target the enemies at all. Your character hit targets and if they don’t finish off the right ones, they’ll die.
“So what do you do to get stronger?”, I asked in chat. “Just go AFK”, someone else responded. “But can’t I just grind something to gain more levels or gold or whatever?” “Send nudes”, responded some other person. There was no report button, so I didn’t know what to do about that creep. “You don’t grind in this game. You just AFK.”, said yet another, and I felt as if they were just repeating words they heard in some badly mixed ad on YouTube.
In times like these, I would have loved a good grind. Like, when you want to improve your light level in Destiny 2 and farm some Strikes… or when you clear bounties to be able to get some mod for your weapons… or when you kill fifteen Ebony Odogarons in MHW and still didn’t get that Ebony Odogaron Mantle that is keeping me from posting about Monster Hunter World (there is the reason), so you go at it again in another session and kill it another five times with no drops… and then you’re tired and don’t want to play MHW again for a while so you just don’t do it anymore until 2021. It’s a bit annoying… but when it drops, it’s glorious and satisfying and you’re happy. In AFK Arena, it gets grindy inevitably. But you cannot grind without going AFK. So, if you really like the game, you don’t get the chance to play it, since you have to do something else instead. According to the ads, other games are bad, however, so… uh… mixed signals. What do I do? What do I do?
Ah, right, business! You gotta do business stuff and come back in two hours… or six hours…. or twelve… yeah, still didn’t have enough quite yet for the level ups you need… I guess I just need to hop onto two other guys’ shoulders and wear a trenchcoat in order to get more business stuff done…
Eventually, I uninstalled the game and returned it two weeks later, after seeing that Ainz Ooal Gown from Overlord made it into the game, and indeed I got gold and experience for not playing the game. It was stupid. When you want to progress and get the satisfaction of gearing up your favourite characters, you can’t because you need to wait for whatever reason. In the meantime, you’ll do nothing, I guess, or you play actual games with actual gameplay. Games where you control your characters and where you don’t just spin a slot machine to get more units to use.
Nemora, Arden, and Solise were my favourite characters by the way. I liked them a lot. I won’t miss them, I guess.
So, in the end, I kind of understood why people like the game: It’s basically a clicker game. When you’re not participating in the game, you accumulate gold, experience, diamonds, and gear by just idling. If you upgrade your characters and use them in the campaign, you get more and more gold through the AFK function. Eventually, however, it gets grindy. Which is understandable since it’s a game with a late-game at one point. But the game markets itself as this “non-grindy idle game that is a ton of fun and very strategic” when it actually is quite grindy and nothing like its premise, I guess.
And well, clicker games are great. You have to put in the work yourself at the beginning (or use an auto-clicker). Then you upgrade the different thingies to unlock more ways of clicking in the background. Then you essentially upgrade your thingies even more… and then you do it even more. And then you get bored and move on to other games because… it’s just a clicker game anyways.
Another issue with AFK Arena, however, is that it’s a glorified slot machine really… I’m not entirely sure about how I should feel about a game with a gacha mechanic when it also has cute and cool characters in it that kids could be drawn to… Like, the problem with Gacha games is that they reward you every now and then but often do not do it enough. So, you spin again and again until you get something good. You get dopamines, feel a kick, and suddenly you’re addicted. I guess it’s not that extreme in most cases but I still get a tad worried about loot boxes and slot machines and stuff in games. Not entirely sure how to feel about it, just yet, so I’ll have to think about that some more in the future. Potential writing prompt here, fellow bloggers!
At last, I don’t like false marketing.
Getting to level 100 didn’t take as little time as in the ads. There are no choices. There is little to no strategy involved. Sure, it’s free to play and there is technically no need for you to play it… but I’m not sure if those are selling points. The game doesn’t make you feel energized and healthy again. The common heroes suck.
I guess the ads don’t really have the goal of promoting the game but rather of provoking you into talking negatively about it. In one of the ads they draw ten heroes each to see who’s better at… gambling? And then someone wins because they get this overpowered character who seems to be broken… so uh, while it was about quantity of legendary heroes in the beginning, it suddenly was about who gets that broken character that I’ve never seen anyone use. In the same manner they were battling each other in a different ad, talking about how their characters are better than the other ones and then someone shows up and just brags about this max level character… I don’t know. The ads are super annoying at best and kind of want you to shittalk them because bad PR is good PR. Some of the ads want you to try out the game to see if it really is that bad after all… and some others are just weird…
I don’t think that AFK Arena is a good game at all. I kind of liked the idea of using Wilders and thinking about strategies and stuff… but once I realised that strategy doesn’t matter at all, I was quickly disappointed again.
Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk. See you next time. Happy Holidays.
I never really understand why games have to market themselves in that self-ironic way where they try to upset you in order to try it out yourself… or where they just lie to you in order to get you try out the game. There is an ad with an evolution-mechanic that you use in combat, which is just not true… One ad also shows an easy grind from an isometric perspective that isn’t part of the game. Generally, I feel like this is a bit of a problem with ads these days, especially on the mobile market. To get attention, you need to get lots of reviews or impressions of it… but reviews themselves mean nothing as they can be bought, while “impressions” doesn’t really describe it too well as the only relevant stat is the number of downloads.
AFK Arena doesn’t care about the player experience as long as you download the game, adding to their number of total downloads. I feel like that’s a problem of sites like the Google PlayStore and iTunes and whatever where downloads get put over average playtime and other scores. When people give it a negative review, it doesn’t really matter since at least ten bot accounts gave it five stars without writing a single word. Only caring about the number of downloads means that the same games on mobile app stores are in the top-ten, each and every year – and that’s a bummer.
At last, I don’t want to just shit on games like that. People that like the game are allowed to like it, just like how I’m allowed to dislike it. I feel like I’ve been fair about what I didn’t like and what I criticized about the game, its premise and the false marketing. If that stuff doesn’t bother you, that’s totally okay. You can enjoy the game regardless of my opinion and I’m not judging ya. It’s just an opinion that I published on my blog. So, no hate there.
If you wanna share your opinion on it or if you think I’ve been disrespectful or whatever, let me know in the comment section or hit me up via DMs on Twitter or Discord. Hope you have had some nice holidays and I wish you a great start into 2021. Stay awesome, stay healthy, and live and let live. 🙂
If you’ve seen “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids”, “The Ant Bully”, or “Antz”, you might like the following title. In Obsidian Entertainment’s “Grounded” you’re playing as one of four kids, shrunk to the size of insects and other small critters. You get to roam a lawn, exploring vast grass-steam forests while scavenging and foraging for resources to survive the dangers that come with not being normal-sized.
The world is beautiful if you look close enough – and well, with your size, you can get close to everything. Ants are as big as you while stink beetles and ladybugs are terrifyingly big! Of course, there are also small critters like mites that you can hunt down for food and… well… as the game tells you in the title screen, there are also spiders. But fear not, fellow arachnophobes, for there is an arachnophobia mode in this game that lets you turn those horrific and vile creatures into weird bobbly balls floating in the air. This also affects their creepy sounds, resulting in a pleasant experience even when you encounter them.
I constantly caught myself staring into the beautiful areas around you – I mean, when if not now do we get to see the world from this perspective?
Houses and benches are huge! We even get to explore “landmarks” such as some weird shrinking machine and soda cans. Resources seem to be rather lush and alas, we gather pebbles and sprigs, mushrooms and clover, so that we can get started with some simple tools for the beginning.
While you chop down trees in other games, you’ve got to chop down the grass, using an actual axe. Quite bizarre in a way but it does make sense. And well, despite stink beetles, spiders and mites wanting to kill you, there are also a bunch of friendly fellows around like ladybugs and ants.
I love ants. The ants in this game look incredibly cute, constantly scavenging for food, just like us, or carrying around sticks and pebbles. “In theory”, I thought… “In theory, I could attack them. I’ve got the spear and all of that already, after all!” – But I didn’t dare to attack such cute little fellows, mostly since I’m afraid that they might gang up on me after sending out their threat pheromones.
There seems to be a full-fledged story available to the game once it comes out but inside of the demo I was able to play for more than half an hour – and the story-part reached until we fixed the (presumably) shrink-reversal-machine that Spoilers blew up on us shortly after we “fixed” it.
Materials can be analyzed for recipes inside of the analyzer that is set near our research globe. Food can be cooked at a roasting spit and, in theory, we can even build a base of sorts with walls, doors and floors!
Honestly, I’m really excited about this game, especially since it does tickle that one itch that I have for base-building survival games! Especially as it also features unconventional aspects to survival. You’ve got to find water drops on grass stems to not dehydrate, for instance, which is a nice touch!
Multiplayer is also something that is going to be included in the full game, so this might get really cool really soon. Grounded gets released in Early Access on July 28th, 2020. It’s by Obsidian Entertainment, so it’s bound to be good, and well, the game so far has been looking great already, especially as this is only a demo!
The only thing that I’d wish for would be an option to turn the spiders into some cute beetles or something, as even the bobbly heads are a little bit triggering to me. I’d also love it if you could turn their sounds into something else that is less creepy. But maybe that’s just my arachnophobia speaking…
To The Moon! We’ve kind of forgotten about that, haven’t we? Well, I haven’t. I was just really busy… and didn’t really feel like playing the game. Act 2 was dragging on for so long and Act 3 wasn’t too surprising either and also felt quite boring so I stopped streaming the game (as it wasn’t entertaining to watch at all) and I planned on playing it… later… I wouldn’t have thought that I’d be a whole month late but whatever. The post is here! Hope you enjoy it! I’m glad that I’m done with this one. I didn’t particularly enjoy To The Moon due to Act 2 and Act 3 being somewhat slow and boring, I guess? I didn’t personally enjoy it as it felt really long and I just didn’t want to play it despite actually wanting to answer the question. Heck, I didn’t even read the posts by the other people over here yet as I didn’t want to spoil myself, just in case, it got better? Idk.
1 – Johnny… Joey… Twins. It seems after the accident Johnny lost his identity to his mother and became a replacement-Joey. Does it change how you feel about Johnny as compared to your Act 1 impressions?
Not exactly. I felt as if “erasing River” was a bad thing to do in Act 1, so I doubt it justifies it. Seeing that he wanted to “collect her” is still weird to me. I guess traumas can do all kinds of things to people and you don’t know what exactly could happen with these… I guess Johnny could have potentially turned out a lot worse, killing people and stealing their identities/faces, so at least he’s just some weird guy who wants to possess humans, right?
If I went as far as to excuse someone based on trauma, however, I’d end up also justifying all kinds of other sick people who do horrible things to other people based on some trauma they had in the past. And without naming any politicians, radicals, serial killers or whatever, I’ll just leave it at that.
2 – Eva and Neil have a verbal sparring match on their differing views of contract vs. what they now know (or think they know) about what would make Johnny happier. The outcome of Eva’s actions notwithstanding; do you sympathise with one view over the other here?
I feel like it’s wrong to change the memories/brainwash others. While it may make them “happy”, it won’t satisfy them. I don’t think “erasing” River was the right choice. Erasing their sad moments was a bad thing to do even if Johnny wanted it. Alas, I guess I’d side with Neil there.
3 – Throughout that same exchange, Eva asks Neil to trust her. He clearly didn’t. Did you?
Nope, I wouldn’t have and I didn’t trust her at all since she seemed to turn into a maniac doing all the out of line stuff with the drastic changes and all of that. Idk.
I would have expected it to go horribly wrong and Neil to fix it. Neil would do it just the right way with some Deus Ex Machina bullshit (because I’m a horrible writer) and his idiocy paired with some game-maker magic would end up saving the day while Johnny is flying off on the lighthouse to the Moon where all the rabbits await.. and then he dies…
Nah, even I wouldn’t write that bullshit. I guess if it was me, I would have written it to go horribly wrong and Neil would revert everything back to normal before Johnny dies, thanking the two for not altering his memories. I feel like that would have been a nice touch.
4 – “He can always find another ‘River’… But he’ll only have one brother.” Again, pretending for the moment you don’t know the outcome of Eva’s actions and what she (suspected) would happen… Do you agree? What about in this context of overwritten memories as opposed to life as it was?
I guess you can always fall in love with someone else but I wouldn’t agree that someone else means necessarily the same to you as the same person. Despite us all being “humans”, we’re all “individuals”, after all. Each with our own personalities, flaws and traits – each with our own ways of thinking, communicating and all of that. Saying that you can always find someone else to love or whatever would be somewhat true as there are many other humans out there… but personally, I’d say that it’s not the same as having a true soulmate that you’re destined to meet and that you love and honour in good and in bad times. You know?
Same thing with brothers: While it may be true that you only have so many blood-relatives, I would not agree that you can’t find people in your life that are equally important or that could replace those gaps. Joey still is with Johnny in his heart (that sounds cheesy) but he also has friends, I’d reckon, apart from Nicholas, so I’d reckon that you can still find new people that are equally as precious.
Some people in the world are not blessed with “normal” or “good” family members and alas have to suffer through a lot. Some people get abused – mentally and physically – throughout their whole life while nobody is listening to them and while it all gets shrugged off. Some people get treated badly all their life and have to go through harassment, insults and violence, always fearing that they might get hurt once again. Some people don’t have the luxury of having family members that they love or that love them. In those cases, you can cut ties with them. In those cases, you can still find new people to replace those family members. You can still find new family members or people that are equally important to you.
So, while you always can find someone else to like, I wouldn’t agree that family members are that much more valuable on a social level compared to someone you’re destined to meet with. You can find new family. You can find new friends. You can find new love. But it depends on your relationship with your old family, your old friends and your old love. You can’t just say that no family is replaceable and that every love is. It all depends on you and others.
5 – Anything you wish I’d asked you about that I haven’t, for this act or any of the others? Answer that question for this one. 😉
Uh, the answer to that question would be “Take 42 – Electric Boogaloo”. (You see the error to that phrasing? “Answer that question for this one” doesn’t necessarily imply that I need to mention the question as well, right? All jokes aside, I don’t really think that there are any question that I could have potentially answered for this one. I feel like the Play-Along was a lot of fun overall (mostly due to me being able to read other posts related to my own posts or rather due to me being able to see the answers that other people had compared to my own ones, I guess?). Uh, I didn’t like To The Moon… I mean, I kinda liked Act 1 and Act 2 felt super slow despite being shorter… and Act 3 dragged on as well… so whatever. Good job, Naithin. You made me play this game. 😛 Again, jokes aside, the planning was cool. Hope you do something like that again in the future. 🙂
Well, that’s it for the post. Hope you enjoyed it. It’s super late but again, I didn’t really enjoy To The Moon all that much past Act 1 and I’m really happy that I only have to go through the Mini-Sodes now.
Not too long ago, we’ve taken a look at Omensight, a game made by Spearhead. Omensight combined a beautiful world and a lot of different characters with some cool mystery-solving mechanics and some insanely fun combat! This time around, we’re taking a look at its spiritual predecessor, Stories: The Path of Destinies! Strap on for another Indietail!
Developer: Spearhead Games
Publisher: Spearhead Games
Release Date: April 12th, 2016
Genres: Adventure, Action, RPG, Indie, Mystery
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Copy was purchased.
What is Stories: The Path of Destinies about?
In a world with anthropomorphic animal characters and floating islands, we’re taking control of the fox Reynardo, who retired from his brave adventures when his mother took her last breath. One day, the Empire is attacking our hometown in search of a book in our possession. We, the sole survivor of the royal assault, are escaping on our airship, we join the Rebellion and try to take on Isengrim III, the vicious toad emperor who is trying to use forgotten magic, ancient artefacts, and the elder gods who once destroyed the world to rise to power! And, well, it’s our duty to stop that from happening!
In its core, Stories is an isometric action-RPG with mystery elements. We have to solve different loose ends of the game’s story to find out how to stop Isengrim’s plan, who to trust and what exactly is going on. Just like Omensightm, Stories is based on replayability. As Reynardo reads the magical book, he finds out that it allows him to travel back to the same day upon death. With newly attained knowledge, we get to chose different options and make other choices to influence the outcome of the story.
But not always do different choices lead to different outcomes. Often, we need to find out information beforehand to actually influence the outcome of a different route, and alas we have a total of 24 different endings to discover, a whole bunch of levelling and fighting to do, and a whole bunch of characters to investigate.
Do we save our old friend Lapino, a goofy and sly rabbit who is currently being held hostage by the Empire, or do we ditch him in order to find the old artefacts that are capable of potentially sealing away the banished evil gods and defeat the emperor? The choice is yours!
A lot of the times, the story branches into different paths, resulting in a bunch of new areas to discover, information on lore as well as new dialogue options!
And not everything is as it seems. Who can we trust? Who is a traitor? Are the leaders of the Rebellion as trustworthy as we think they are? What about our old love, Zenobia, the Emperor’s daughter? Is there a way to reach out to her? And is Lapino really who we think he is? The story allows us to form our own fate and managed to surprise me over and over again with complex characters that actually change their minds or show their true colours when we go the right way.
There are about four choices in each path to make, all featuring two or three options that split the path into different branches. The branches usually end with either the world getting destroyed or you getting captured or killed, which then results in the book bringing you back in time where you can start all over again. There are four branches that reveal four truths, required to reach the final ending and the end of the game. These four truths are linked to Isengrim, Zenobia, Lapino and the ancient evil gods. When travelling back in time, your book leaves you with guidance, telling you how the choices are reflecting themselves in your future… though no future is set in stone yet as you get to play them yourselves and make a different choice at any point.
As far as combat goes, it is best describes as a simpler version of Omensight’s combat. You get to slash enemies with your sword, using a vast variety of swings and attacks, as well as abilities that you unlock through skills, counters and blocks. Using different materials, you get to upgrade your sword, adding bonus effects to it like fire damage or more attack speed. On top of that, you get to customize your character with different gems that grant you resistances or other passive effects. Overall, I felt like the combat is rather solid and a lot of fun to play. Spearhead Games learned a lot from Stories: The Path of Destinies and implemented it into Omensight which turned out to be a bit more difficult but also a lot more fun. So, I was quite satisfied with both games’ combat systems.
And then there is the world and the soundtrack: It’s beautiful… but that’s no surprise as Spearhead Games have proven themselves as a lovely studio that is very talented in world-building and game-making. The narration really adds more to the game, too! You could say that I’m a huge fan of Spearhead Games, especially as I just adore Omensight’s world and soundtrack. So it should be no surprise that I enjoyed Stories, though I’ve got to say that there is a weak point to Stories as well…
And that’s its cast of enemies:
Over time, as you go back and re-visit old areas, you’re presented with the same enemies over and over again. Of course, you find new enemy types over the course of the game and you get to fight stronger versions when you get stronger, but I never truly felt as if the game was challenging me a lot… as time went on, I struggled a bit more, but it usually was rather doable and never truly hard, so that was a bit of a downer. The combat is a lot of fun but I would have loved to see more variety in the cast of enemies that you’re facing.
But other than that, I couldn’t really find any issues with the game. It runs smoothly, the game’s plot, characters and the soundtrack are awesome, the combat is fun (though it could have been more challenging) and the exploration is quite neat as well. I highly recommend this game to any fan of well-made action-RPG games and for players who are interested in solving a mystery that involves the end of the world!
I hope you enjoyed this review! It’s been a while and I thought I’d publish it today, especially as this game is really good on top of being different from the other titles that I’ve reviewed so far.
I’ve enjoyed my fair share of shop or tavern keeping simulations from Recettear to Moonlighter to Shoppe Keep 1 & 2, so it was a bit of a no-brainer for me that I’d try out the demo for Traveller’s Rest.
But what exactly is Traveller’s Rest?
In Traveller’s Rest, you take charge of a rundown Inn, serve guests food and ales, and where you farm your veggies, hops and grains yourself to become self-sufficient.
Since your tavern/inn’s kind of run-down, you’ve got decorate, clean and unlock a bunch of features as you progress through the quests that the game offers to you. As you gain experience and level up, you also unlock skills, tech trees, and features like ordering ingredients, renting rooms to guests, hiring staff and a ton of other things!
The demo starts off somewhat slowly as you’re being told how to build, clean and serve – the basics, basically. Over time, the Inn gets rather busy with guests swarming in and you having to clean after them when they trash your place, calm them down when they get mad and get rich when they pay up and leave!
I feel like Traveller’s Rest has a bunch of everything in there. The music is nice, the progressing feels steady and overall, it’s a nice little game with all kinds of features. It honestly kind of reminded me of Graveyard Keeper since the style is similar and since the malting and fermenting are quite similar as well. The only thing missing are the corpses that you throw down the river, but I doubt that would fit into Traveller’s Rest.
Overall, I had a lot of fun with this two-in-game-days-long demo, despite the fact that it was a tad annoying that you’ve got to wait so long for the fermenting or malting or whatever to be done. I guess, a speed-up-option of sorts for those kinds of things would be quite nice, like meditation or something.
The game’s coming out in Mid 2020. Be sure to wishlist and follow the game on Steam if you’re interested in supporting a solo-project.