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Star Wars! / yah-dah-dah Star Wars! / yah-dah-dah Star Wars! / Yah-da-da-DAH

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Overall: This follows the same formula as the other Lego games. We beat it in about 10 hours and didn’t feel much need to go back and find all the secrets; we just don’t have that kind of time at this point in our lives. Perhaps in a few more years, ARR will be able to join us for these games.
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A mercenary (“geohound”) named Ryudo is hired to accompany Elena, a songstress of Granas, in sealing the remains of the evil god Valmar. Unfortunately, the sealing does not go according to plan, and they both end up on a quest to find the other pieces of Valmar before he revives are destroys the world.

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Overall: There's plenty here. The systems are complex but understandable, the plot is decent and the dialogue is nicely done. The PS1-era graphic system drove me nuts. On the whole, I don't think it's much that I couldn't get from a KEMCO game--and the latter is portable and costs a buck. I apparently should have played this ten years ago rather than letting it sit on my shelf. Despite some decent concepts, it hasn't aged well.
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Slash or Die - The name is misleading, implying that some amount of slashing would, in fact, prevent your death. It will not. You will die, many many times, regardless of your ability to slash. Fortunately, your experience and gathered souls remain every time you die, and you can use them to upgrade your hero so as to hopefully survive longer next time in this mouse-driven slash-em-up. Repetitive, but moderately fun.

Fenix Rage - A puzzle platformer game with some Sonic inspiration. Jump/dash/go fast to collect cookies and avoid enemies in small, self-contained puzzle levels. I was underwhelmed, as there's certainly a puzzle element (which way you go, how you dash, etc), this is mostly dependent on your twitch reflexes, which I don't really have.

HassleHeart - A pixelated arcade-style game in which you play a rapidly-discharging robot. You need to lure various sorts of humans with power-ups that attract them (drugs for junkies, sushi for soccer moms, cash for bankers) and then punch them and steal their hearts to use for power. It’s cute, but very one-note.

EvilMorph - Balls-hard puzzle platformer with the gimmick that you turn into enemies you kill (in each stage), gaining their powers. To give you a good sense of the difficulty, I'll note this gives you achievements for dying a lot. It's strangely more fun than it warrants, but I did eventually get tired of pixel-perfect blind jumps and “gotcha” traps.

Obulis - An interesting take on the falling-marble puzzle game: The marbles are suspended by chains that you need to cut, in the right order and with the right timing, to get them to fall or bounce into the correctly-colored holes. I didn't find it particularly entertaining because the timing matters so much; even early on, being able to see a solution didn't necessarily mean you could implement it without half a dozen tries, and that's frustrating.

About Love, Hate and the other ones - A puzzle-platformer starring Love (a blob who can attract things) and Hate (who can repel them). Similar to Obulis, I give them credit for coming up with a new twist on a standard puzzle setup, but my brain didn't really click into it and I lost interest quickly.

Crazy Pixel Streaker - I guess this is a “dodge-em-up”? You're a streaker at a soccer game, and you need to attract fans to join you and fight off the players and security guards trying to stop you. From there it's pretty much a standard arena-fighter, of the variety you often see with hoards of zombies. Funny concept, not much game behind it.

VolChaos - A fun little puzzle-platformer without a lot of bells and whistles: You play an explorer who lost everything important to him in favor of just grabbing gems and outrunning lava. And you spend the game doing exactly that. Each level is timed and everything (especially the rising lava) is trying to kill you. Not much beyond that, but good for what it is.

Button Tales - A match-3 game with the twist that you can “flip” the buttons over to reveal other buttons, and those flips don't count as moves but can still make matches. You have limited moves otherwise, and there are an assortment of limited-use power-ups that you receive over time; and there are the usual assortment of goals that change for each level. And a framing story about rebuilding the button kingdom, but whatever, that part's forgettable. This requires a bit more patience than some other match-3 games (you really need to take the time to flip if you want to get anywhere in the later levels), but it's fun. I may play more of it over time.

Moorhuhn: Tiger and Chicken was also in the bundle, but I couldn’t get it to run without crashing.

Overall: This ended up being a decent collection of “that was fun for half an hour, now I’m done” sort of small indie games. Nothing I'd strongly recommend unless you're really into that genre/style, but entertaining for the price.
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Mad Bullets - This was the standout of the bundle: An arcade-style Old Western shooter to be played with your mouse. Procedurally-generated segmented areas so playthroughs aren’t always the same. Plenty of sub-missions to undertake. Doesn’t take itself seriously. Only mildly racist (as per the genre). Quite a lot of fun, really.

Elliot Quest - A clearly NES-inspired Metroidvania, featuring elements of Zelda 2, Metroid, Kid Icarus and Castlevania 2. It's got a world map that separates the action areas, a town, alternate endings depending on your actions, lots of good stuff. Unfortunately, it also has NES-level difficulty, and without a game genie, that's too much for me to deal with. (You have infinite lives, but lose XP every time you die. And dying is very easy, especially as you get past the first dungeon or two. So, yeah.)

Year Walk - There’s a fine line between, “mysterious and atmospheric” and “nonsensical and obtuse” and this is well into the latter. It’s an exploration game based on the Swedish myth of going on a “year walk” to try to divine the future. And there are puzzles that you can find and, if you thought Myst was easy, you might even be able to solve them.

Earth Overclocked - A ¾-view action/roguelike in which you have a limited time to gather the pieces of your time machine from “Distorted Earth”, where everything is trying to kill you. After it killed me—very quickly—several times, I decided to leave the world as it was.

Zombie Vikings - A delightfully tongue-in-cheek side-scrolling beat-em-up starring (you guessed it) zombie vikings, sent to retrieve Odin’s eye which was stolen by Loki. I thought it was okay, but I suspect the co-op multiplayer is the real meat of the game and I don’t have much interest in that.

This bundle also included Bloodsports.TV, Rack N Ruin, GemCraft - Chasing Shadows, which I already had from other bundles.

Overall: I got my money’s worth from Mad Bullets, and the others were fun to try, being reasonable guesses at things I might like that mostly just missed the mark.
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Shooting Stars! - This is a goofy shoot-em-up in which you ride a hoverboard and fire lasers at various celebrities and use memes for powerups; I played (and loved) the Android version of this and totally recommend it.

Nyan Cat: Lost In Space - A delightful 2D platformer runner game featuring a decade-old meme. I suspect most people would find it annoying, as it’s repetitive as hell. I rather enjoyed it.

Fort Meow - Build a furniture fort to repel flying cats so you can read in piece. It’s somewhere between a puzzle game and a pseudo-tower defense game, as you try to arrange piles of chairs and mattresses in the right order so that the cats get deflected, rather than landing in your lap.

The Purring Quest - Short, purrfectly respectable platformer with a story that's trying to be Up, except you play the broken-hearted old man’s cat. It’s fine, nothing special.

MouseCraft - A Lemmings-like puzzle game in which Dr. Schrodinger (the alien cat) must get mice to cheese by rearranging blocks. Credit for a solid tutorial, but it didn’t win me for long.

Pix the Cat - An arcade-style action/puzzle game that plays like a combination of Pac-Man and Snakes. You need to collect eggs, which become ducklings, which you much then deposit into nests, without running into ghosts or your tail. (I also had to manually copy DLL files from other games to get it to run. Oy, Windows.)

Beyond Eyes - An “artistic” exploration game in which a blind girl goes searching for her lost cat. It's absolutely beautiful—the watercolor world draws itself as you get close enough to hear or feel it, and reacts to the girl's fears with environmental effects. That said, the entire game is just slowly walking around trying to figure out where to go, and the scenery gets awfully repetitive very quickly. I'd love to see the “drawing the map on whitespace” graphical effect in a game that's more of a game.

Hot Tin Roof: The Cat That Wore A Fedora - An action/Puzzle/detective story starring a “Blockian” detective and a sarcastic cat. Very “satirical noir.” Cute concept, clearly a lot of work went into it, but it didn't interest me.

Samudai - A co-op 2D arena fighter played as cat-samurai. Meh?

Cat on a Diet was also in this bundle, but it would not run and I wasn’t interested enough to fight with it.

Overall: There’s a lot of “there’s nothing super-special here, but they’re perfectly fine examples of their genres that happen to revolve around cats.”
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You're a humble lad living in a humble village with your grandmother. There's a mysterious shrine in the caves behind the village, but nobody cares much about that. Then, after you go to the big city to find work, your home village is destroyed by a warmongering empire, and emissaries of a strange cult spirit you away and reveal what the shrine already knew: You're the heir to an ancient power that might save the world.

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Overall: A perfectly respectable 10-hour jrpg. The story is fun once you get past the terrible translation and the difficulty level is generally just right. Upper-tier KEMCO game.
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So, it occurred to me that I've played a lot of KEMCO's Android jrpg fare in the last few years, and I should probably try to actually look at the details and try to summarize it.

I have played 31 KEMCO-published games (25 to completion), virtually all of which cost me $1 or were free. That's on the order of 270+ hours of gameplay for around $25. Completed games average around 11 hours each, and Adventure Bar Story was the only one to crack the 20-hour mark.

KEMCO publishes games from four major developers, and though they're all retro-jrpgs, they each have their own style and evolution, which I've conflated in some places and becomes clearer as I've played more of their games.

EXE-Create made the Asdivine and Alphadia series, as well as the contents of the second KEMCO Humble Bundle (Fanatic Earth, Illusion of 'Phalcia, Journey to Kreisia, Revenant Saga). Their games tend to be longer, have multiple difficulty levels, rely less on IAP, and have the best translations. That said, their characters tend to be identical and the plot sequences, sidequests and worldbuilding don't change much from game to game. They have been steadily improving; I should probably try a few of their most recent offerings.

Hit-Point tends more towards games with monster companions and a variety of ways to grind. Several of their offerings (Crystareino, Justice Chronicles) were on Amazon Underground and I bought several others in their holiday sale (Soul of Deva, Chronus Arc). If you need to grind for materials to craft weapons, it's a Hit-Point game. On the other hand, they're most likely to to put actual puzzles into the dungeons. Their IAP is usually there to reduce grinding time. A bunch of their games were in the Humble KEMCO x HyperDevBox bundle, so it'll be interesting to see how those function without IAP.

Magitec tries the hardest to get creative with their plots, often to the point of cramming in too many twists. They also had a bunch of Amazon Underground games (Grace of Letoile, Soul Historica, Dead Dragons) and a bunch I got in the holiday sale (Covenant of Solitude, Chrome Wolf, Shelterra the Skyworld). They tend to go in for class systems, mission-based plot sequences, and very standard space-filling dungeons that have the same half-dozen styles (take the long way around to hit a switch; one-way doors/traps; sliding ice/walkways; damage floors you need items to avoid, etc). They'll often have cool stuff in their IAP, though sometimes it breaks the game more than others.

WorldWideSoftware provided the first KEMCO Humble Bundle (Eclipse of Illusion, Aeon Avenger, Fortuna Magus, Silver Nornir, Symphony of the Origin, Eve of the Genesis). They're most likely to hide story content behind IAP (if you aren't playing a Humble version), and their translations are sometimes rocky. They've gotten better at designing dungeons in later games, but it's not hard to improve from three open screens with two arrangements of enemies, which was the standard in their earliest offerings.

I suspect I'll continue to play games from a variety of the developers, but I'll likely seek out the WorldWideSoftware or later EXE-Create ones when I next go looking, unless I'm really in the mood for a decent plot and willing to handle the Magitec style to get it.
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A Bird Story - A virtually wordless tale told in RPGMaker, by the same developer as To the Moon. It's not a game so much as an interactive story, and it's clearly trying to be “art”. Though it's a short and cute little tale of a lonely, imaginative boy making friends with a bird, I think I preferred To the Moon for its much greater depth.

Gone Home - Katie arrives home after a year in Europe to find that the door is locked and her family is gone. First-person exploration of the giant, creepy house tells the story, and it doesn't turn out how you might expect. I quite enjoyed this; I found that the story played out reasonably well and the game didn't outstay its welcome or throw up any ridiculous barriers.

Eternal Senia - An action-rpg made with RPGMaker, that was an “impulse play” because it was free on Steam. The battle system is similar to the early Ys games, where you're mostly trying to ram enemies before their projectiles hit you. The engrish is pretty terrible. But there are some decent puzzles and a nice progression—this was clearly someone's labor of love.

Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs – Mithrigil recommended this to me because I like puzzle games and horror exploration games. I'll admit, I was hoping for a bit more "point and click adventure" and a bit less "first-person stumble around and get killed." You seem to be playing an amnesiac man--a butcher-turned-investor, perhaps?--who is searching the mansion house for his children. This house makes the hotel from The Shining seem tiny, mind you. The paintings are one-way viewing portals from the secret passages. The desk drawers and cabinets (and there are many) are all full of bottles. There might be a deep mystery here, but it’s too big for my patience and there’s too much actual danger for my skills.

Goat Simulator - It is everything that I heard it was, and more. You play an immortal, incredibly strong goat and can roam the world smashing and jumping on whatever you want. The physics take "ragdoll" to new heights (people flop around in the most absurd ways). The design philosophy was clearly "if it doesn't crash the game, leave it in." It also qualifies as "a game for the whole family", in that ARR was delighted to watch me jump around smashing stuff,* and Jethrien provided color commentary. There are actually a surprising number of things to find and things you can unlock--I had kind of expected it to be stupidly simple, but for a glitch-filled bunch of craziness it's shockingly deep. Oh, and despite all the things that didn't back up on the Steam servers when my computer crashed? My saves for this bug-ridden monstrosity were just fine. It got old after a while, but I had lots of fun with this.

Besiege - A construction-set puzzle game of absurd destruction. Each stage has a goal, and you need to assemble a siege weapon from an assortment of generic parts to accomplish it. Of course, that's never as easy as you might hope, because you can't take for granted things like “steering” or “aiming.” I suspect I was “really” suppose to destroy a house on the other side of a wall by using a catapult, but I opted to build a crappy makeshift airplane and crash that into the house instead. This is still in Early Access, so I'll likely want to revisit it once the later stages and features are implemented.

Quote: “It's okay; I'm a goat.”
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You live on a floating continent that's about to fall to the demon-infested world below. A princess and her stuck-up bodyguard hire you, a low-class treasure hunter, to find the magic stones that can save the world. Hmm...this actually sounds really familiar.

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Overall: Short and by-the-numbers KEMCO/Megitek jrpg; the challenge level was reasonable and it didn't outstay its welcome. Not bad, but nothing amazing.
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Kruz is an Imperial soldier that has uncovered a lie behind a mission to suppress the Rebel Army. Continuing the legacy of a fallen comrade, he defects from the Imperial Army and joins the Freedom Fighters. Kruz is devoted to fighting battles where the ideals and pride of a nation and its people are on the line...

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Overall: The thing is, this developer's (Magitec) dungeons tend to be uncreative and tedious; mostly excuses to fight very repetitive random battles with virtually no puzzles or interesting hazards. (Or even interesting scenery.) Combined with the tank battles being disincentivised and the plot being another fantasy racism retread, I just lost interest in playing it. Ah, well, I got my dollar's worth.
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This is the Sky Island “Forselia”
In an effort to maintain peace throughout the Sky Islands, the Lord must use his “Double Weapon Throwing” technique to do away with invading monsters.
Today he has taken on a request to exterminate a Wyvern, and is on his way to get it done.
This is just the beginning of a much larger battle, that will ultimately determine the fate of all Sky Islands.


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Overall: This is a casual game with a surprising amount of tactical depth; I was very excited to see a sequel and I think it is better than the original. I’ll update this post if I find more hidden items or if they add a postgame segment.
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I got this because I was intrigued by Always Sometimes Monsters, which I turned out to not really have the patience to play at length. (At least at this stage of my life.) I was underwhelmed with the rest of the collection, with one exception:

Shooting Stars! - Fire your nyancat at absurd parodies of internet celebrities in a touch-controlled shoot-em-up. I actually found it easier than most shmups, and I’m not sure how much of that is the game itself (at least some—the levels are short) and how much is the control scheme, which I quite like. It’s heavily a momentum game: If you can survive long enough to get power-ups, they provide you with the extra life or firepower to survive much longer. I played quite a bit of this and enjoyed my time with it.

NO THING - So…it’s a runner game, where you need to swipe to turn so you don’t fall off a ledge. But it’s a psychedelic, surreal one where commentary is being provided while you run. Which works terribly, because trying to pay attention to the commentary gets you killed; and trying to ignore it makes the game feel pointless. There’s a theory that the designers only had boring and repetitive gameplay ideas, so they decided to disguise it as ART.

Last Horizon – A space exploration/survival game with a decent concept (explore the galaxy, try to maintain enough fuel and oxygen by stopping at planets, and collect biological samples to eventually terraform your new home when you arrive) and a painful execution (the ship has no reverse thrusters and obeys physics, so you need to pivot and thrust to reduce speed, meaning that the meat of the game is trying to perfect landing on planets without crashing). I’m not interested in pixel-perfect landing simulator, thanks.

Circa Infinity – A circular platformer that feels more like a tech demo than an actual finished game. You need to dive through layers of circles, avoiding 8-bit demons all the way, until you reach the swirly one that ends the level. Dying knocks you back two layers and hurts your time. I give them credit for making a circular control scheme that I found tolerable, but after that there’s really nothing to keep you interested.

Space Grunts - A roguelike with a space marines theme. Again, as a top-down shooter with decent controls I’ll give them credit, but I think it’s more complicated than I’m willing to give a game where death is often instant and permanent. (I often find roguelikes frustrating, which should make it fun when I’m playing the Humble Roguelike Bundle.)

Cloud Chasers – An adventure / survival game in which a father-daughter team tries to make it through a desert, stopping for role-playing opportunities and harvesting clouds for water. I don’t think this was a bad game by any means; it had a lot of clever bits to it. But it didn’t grab me, probably because the survival genre isn’t so much my thing and the cloud-gathering gameplay wasn’t addictive enough.

Always Sometimes Monsters – This is a cross between a slice-of-life game and a visual novel made with RPG Maker. I’m interested in it; I’m curious about where the plot goes. But it’s rather slow-moving and I wasn’t falling into the story. I’ll likely revisit it later.

Cosmonautica – A deeply complex space trading/simulation game that makes my tablet cranky and doesn’t particularly interest me.

The bundle also included the Android versions of Tomb Raider 1 & 2, which aren’t so much my thing.
Overall: I was underwhelmed with everything but Shooting Stars, which made my $6 for the bundle totally worth it.
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Long ago, Ganondorf was defeated and his soul splintered into four fragments. Three of them were sealed in different moments in time, while the fourth was trapped by the Master Sword. But Ganondorf plots his resurrection through Cia, a sorceress who protects the balance of the Triforce while maintaining neutrality. Cia becomes fascinated with the spirit of the hero of legend, with her amorous feelings for the hero providing Ganondorf an opportunity to purge her inner light. As a result, Cia becomes consumed in her desires, opening the Gate of Souls, a portal to different time-space realities of Hyrule, to amass an army of monsters. Seeking to unite the Triforce and conquer Hyrule, she uses her subordinates Wizzro and Volga to wage war against Princess Zelda and the Hyrulian army.

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Overall: This was a lot of fun time spent pressing the attack button over and over again. Exactly what I signed on for.
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A puzzle platformer with a simple framing story about a father searching a mysterious swamp for his son. He finds a little light spirit whose glow can reveal hidden dimensions, and uses that magic light to reveal platforms, traps, wheels and other trickery.

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Overall: I can see why this won awards; the puzzles are very good, the concept is interesting and the graphics are very pretty. That said, the platforming difficulty level is awfully high and the controls could stand to be more responsive. I'd specifically recommend this to platformer enthusiasts with high-end computers.
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Lita and Adrian go seeking a mysterious magic ring in the elven ruins in the floating continent of Ara Fell, which floats above the Abyss, the Land of the Dead. Lita finds the ring and foolishly puts it on. Oops.

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Overall: An attempt at doing creative things with RPGMaker that was interesting, but ultimately missed the mark. The Amber Throne, which I got off the same recommendation list, is a much stronger game in my opinion. That said, if there was a sequel, I'd check it out to see what the author learned.
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Your workaday cubicle-dwelling city life leaves you hollow, so you accept your grandfather's offer to go live in his old farm in Stardew Valley. It...needs some work.

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Overall: The game has amazing “flow” and the “just one more day” impulse is strong. The potential for addiction is very high. I quite enjoyed it, and recommend it with caution.
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Millie - This is cute: It's a melding of Pac-Man with the classic "snakes" game. As you guide a centipede (Millie) through a maze and eat power pellets, she grows longer--and you have to avoid running into yourself. Collect enough power pellets and the exit opens; your score is determined both by time and how many other collectables you pick up. Later stages add one-way streets, tunnels and other complications. Virtually wordless but with some cute animations (particularly the help images).

16bit Trader - An underwhelming game of luck--guessing what prices will be in each city before you haul goods there, hoping to hit on something that actually makes you money. Did you like the "trading post" sidequest in Suikoden games? This is that as the entire game.

Merchants of Kaidan - Not quite sure what to make of this--it's a pseudo-rpg trading game, where you travel about doing fetch quests and looking for treasure, but mostly trying to arbitrage goods between cities. It’s better than 16bit Trader in that there’s more to it and there’s a bit less luck involved, but I’m still not wild about it.

Sparkle 2 Evo - Play as a hard-to-control micro-organism and eat various things you find to evolve into stronger, faster forms. You can shift up and down “levels” and the game is competitive, as each stage has opponent(s) that are trying to eat the various nutrients and possibly you as well. The graphics and music are going for “pretty and soothing”, but I didn’t feel that about the gameplay. I found the controls clunky and wasn’t enthused overall. This bundle also included Sparkle 3 Genesis, but I opted not to bother with it.

Violett Remastered - When her parents take her to a boring house in the country, Violett is sure it will be a terrible time. Of course, then she finds a magical amulet in the wall that shrinks her into a land of bug-people and fairies where she gains magic psychic powers. A King's Quest-style puzzle adventure game with the obtuse puzzles typical to the genre with an Alice in Wonderland sort of aesthetic. I suppose it’s worth trying if you’re really into the genre.

Frederic: Evil Strikes Back and Frederic: Resurrection of Music are apparently rhythm games (that play better via touch than mouse, according to reviews) but both of them hung at the initial loading screen on my computer.

Teddy Floppy Ear - The Race - As one of the “racing games” that ARR favors, this saw a decent amount of play. Honestly, though, I didn’t think it deserved it. It’s a mascot kart game without a significant difference between the different cars or racers; the power-ups are generally indistinguishable and three-quarters of the tracks are locked. The bundle also included two other games in the series, Teddy Floppy Ear – Kayaking and Teddy Floppy Ear - Mountain Adventure.

Iesabel - This is a Diablo-style top-down action RPG; decent system but not really my thing for the long haul. It’s obviously full of subquests; it’s got a full skill tree and a crafting system; and there’s a massive map for each of three acts. But the plot and game style don’t grab me (especially for a game likely to take dozens of hours to beat) and mouse-and-keyboard controls have never been my preferred style.

Overall: I was underwhelmed by this bundle, as many of the games seemed like they had potential and then just didn’t do it for me, for one reason or another. I mean, I definitely got my money’s worth, but I think I had hoped for better.
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Grey Cubes - This is a Breakout/Arkanoid-style "break the blocks by bouncing a ball" game, but a very clever one. There are 60 set stages, an assortment of power-ups, and while you have limited lives, you can sacrifice some accumulated points to regain them. While there was an occasional issue with a 3D setpiece blocking my view of the board, in general I thought this was well-designed and fun.

Close Order - A relatively slow-moving space shooter in which you control a small fleet that always flies in formation; searching for the remnants of a lost humanity but mostly just trying not to get blown up by waves of enemies. Meh.

AXYOS - An early access FPS online-arena game. The character customization is nonexistent (apparently the game isn't even really in beta yet) so it's mostly just "run around and shoot some dudes". It's playable, but that's all I can really say about it.

Stigmat - A "masocore" platformer, where not only are you likely to die a lot, that's pretty much the gimmick of the game, and it's clear in the very first level that they'll resort to nasty tricks to kill you early and often. The thing is, the graphics are dark and not very clear, and the controls are a bit janky, which means that many of my deaths just felt unfair due to the poor system, not because I was incompetent or because I was tricked.

Slipstream 5000 - A DOS-based flight sim/racing game where you apparently can shoot down foes--I say "apparently" because I could barely tell where I was going, much less find anything to shoot.

Broken Dreams - More like "Broken Fourth Walls," am I right? A puzzle platformer featuring a couple who try to get together with help from temporal shadows and similar trickery. It’s super-short, with only 25 levels and 5 bonus levels, most of which can be taken down in a minute or so. Not bad, but nothing I haven’t seen done better elsewhere.

PING 1.5+ - Get the bouncing ball (cube) to the exit in each level with a limited number of shots/bounces. There are vastly superior approaches to the concept; Luna’s Wandering Stars is the most prominent in my mind.

Vapour - A horror exploration / FPS game that has lovely graphics that are too dark to see, wonky controls, and apparently no HUD—which meant I couldn’t figure out how much health I had or, even with the “hints” activated, what the hell I was doing. It’s also full of jumpscares and inexplicable combat, did I mention? (Apparently, you’re playing a demon/human hybrid created by a cult but who escaped to terrorize them. Who likes to curse a lot.)

Doodle God - Combine the four base elements to make everything else in the world in a puzzle/casual game. Most of the combinations aren't terribly intuitive (at least to me), but randomly trying combinations is moderately fun. I think the biggest problem is that it's a guessing game more than anything else, and there are a LOT of combinations that do nothing but you'd think would do something. Why on earth does Sand + Egg make Turtles, for instance? Shouldn't that be Lizard + Stone or Lizard + House?

A Wolf in Autumn - A horror exploration game in the vein of The Moon Sliver. Warns you in advance that it has no save system and takes about an hour to complete, which is helpful to know. The strange story of a girl in a shed with an abusive mother who speaks via transmitter boxes, as the girl solves various puzzles to break out. I think I’ve found other games in this genre most intriguing, but it’s moderately interesting and technically decently designed.

Overall: Grey Cubes won me and Doodle God was entertaining. The rest of the lot I’d generally recommend other examples of their genres over them.
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These were all games with some potential—I do rather like rpgs—but also likely to be not worth the time to play through.

Hero of the Kingdom - This is a strange melding of point-and-click adventure / hidden object game, and a storybook rpg like Sorcery! You can’t actually lose; the game is mostly about finding all of the hidden objects and managing your resources to complete all of the quests. Which means it’s very simple, but in turn strangely entrancing.

The real key to the game is that there's an infinite money loop that you can access fairly early on. If you buy sacks of grain from the farmer on the north map (30 gold) and have the miller turn them into flour (5 gold), the farmer's wife on the north map will bake them into six loaves of bread each. Those loaves can be sold on the game's second screen for 9 gold each (54 gold, for a profit of 19 gold for each bag). This radically cuts the amount of hunting and fishing you need to do to afford hiring and outfitting soldiers, which in turn makes the game more pleasant.

Bardbarian - Arena fighting / defense game in which you play a barbarian warrior who traded in his axe for a lute, and now commands a group of warriors against the endless goblin hoards. Each time you fail, you can spend the gold you'd acquired on various upgrades. Moderately entertaining as a casual game.

Stick RPG 2: Director's Cut - So, the "stick" part is that all of the characters walked out of an XKCD comic. The game world, on the other hand, is a general-life rpg, in which you wander around trying to earn money and increase your stats. My starting stats were barely enough for a job at Starbucks, which decreases your stats randomly as you do it. There are much better approaches to this style of game.

Demonicon - Action RPG, third person view, gigantic files and an attempt at pretty "real is brown" graphics. (Though the character models hit the uncanny valley hard.) We open in a world when the summoned demon was overthrown but most of the land is still held by dark wizards, and our protagonist is entering an evil mountain to find his sister, who is fleeing her arranged marriage. The combat is rather clunky, and I was barely twenty minutes into the game when I apparently went into the wrong path and triggered a battle but not a trap, which meant there was no way to get out of the trap once I took the right path. And it auto-saved there. I'm not playing ten hours with more risk of that bullshit.

Sudeki - Action RPG, with a style that reminds me a bit of the land-based Drakengard combat. I found the timing for the combo hits obtuse and if you can't get combos down, then the combat is just boring and repetitive (run into an area, kill everything that spawns there, repeat). There was something about the world being split in two and legendary heroes returning from a battle against the dark god, but that didn't really matter to a soldier on the ground.

Drakensang - This and Demonicon are apparently both based on a German tabletop rpg system called "The Dark Eye", originally created because the developers were too cheap to license D&D. I was potentially interested, but this won't run properly on my PC, and given my lousy impression of Demonicon, I'm not going to go out of my way to make it work.

This bundle also included Deep Dungeons of Doom, which I played in a previous bundle. Key is available if anyone wants.

Overall: The games that were trying to be something other than traditional rpgs actually were much more fun; though to be fair, I’m going to be a lot more picky about games that require dozens of hours of investment to get through.
chuckro: (Default)
Orion lives in a remote village where he is the youngest person, as few children have been born and people keep dying off. His wedding to the youngest woman in the village is meant to bring hope for the future. But a chance encounter with a strange blue woman indicates that much more needs to be done if the world is to actually be saved.

Read more... )

Overall: Very short, relatively easy, a little clunky but some interesting ideas, and it stands out from the usual Exe-Create/KEMCO games in a bunch of ways. And I couldn't argue with the price.

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