Ninjas Cutting Onions – To The Moon

“Why do you want to go to the Moon?”

“I don’t remember.”

This was one of the most touching games I’ve ever played. I am actually having trouble right now finding the right words to express what an amazing experience this was for me. Some might think how silly it is that a simple pixel graphic based game can evoke such emotions. Well, those people are wrong.

Nowadays it seems graphics are the only thing people care about, which of course is understandeable, then again this results ever so often in poor to none storytelling. Not to mention, since people are so focused on visuals alone, they tend to miss out on gems like this one.

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The game was made Freebird Games and was so far the only one I have had the chance to play. They are going to release a new game this summer though and after finishing To The Moon, I am quite enthusiastic about that one.

As I mentioned already, this is a pixel graphics based game with some drawn “cutscenes” from time to time. The story is about and old man on his deathbed who hires a company which can grant wishes. Not exactly how we imagine this though. What they do is they implant a thought into your past memories which changes the entire process and basically you end up “living” a different life in your head right before you die. So in some way, you wish was fulfilled.

In this scenario our client wishes to go to the moon. Problem is not just that this whish is a bit far-fetched but he also cannot remember why he wants to go there. So our protagonists, the two scientists who deal with this kind of work, start digging deeper and deeper into the old man’s past so that in the end they can grant him his dying wish.

I am not going to go into the story any further, since I hate spoilers and this game is definitely one that people should experience on their own, not read about it. Just make sure you keep a pack of tissues close, you will need it!

Oh and just a sidenote: The music is amazingly beautiful! I rarely speak about soundtracks, because most of them are just there to… Well, to have something in the background. Many times I just turn them off and listen to my own songs. But not this time. Sometimes I just stood there and did nothing, just listened to the dazzling songs playing over and over again. The music set the mood perfectly, switching from happy times to sad ones, making you feel anxious and scared, making you reach for tissues (told ya they will come in handy!).

To sum it up in one sentence: BUY THIS GAME! It is a work of art indeed, a real masterpiece. Of course, if you are the type who needs 4k graphics and whatnot, then this game is not for you. But if you don’t mind, or can look past pixel graphics (which I think are actually pretty well done and look good), then get it. You will not regret it!

Playtime: ca. 4 hours

Steam page

 

Pixel Adventure – Bit Dungeon II

I have to say, this game was lots of fun! Nothing like a good old pixel game to raise your spirit after a dissapointing AAA title – looking at you there Mass Effect: Andromeda. Now that my term at university started, I will have less time to complete that game and review it, but I will get there sometime. Oh, we will definitely get there. In the meantime, here is this cute little game called Bit Dungeon II.

This game was developed by KintoGames who made this game for android as well. Mind you, I’ve played it on PC, so I can only talk about my experiences there. It had a prequel which was supposidly flash based and it came out as a PC version as well on steam, but according to reviewers, it failed tragically. This game however, is incredibly fun!

Don’t expect anything too complex tho. I can sum up the story in one sentence: You are in a world of monsters and will take your loved one’s soul back to her grave which was desecrated apparently. You get one life, which if you lose, have one chance retrieving. If you fail, you die and have to start again. This can get a bit frustrating at times, since you cannot save at all and lose all progress in case that happens. But anyone who has played Mario on SNES can relate to that and trust me, starting from scratch here is not nearly as frustrating. Besides, you get to keep you money at least if you had any.

During the game, you have to beat six dungeons to get to the “underworld” or what and then one last dungeon there and all in all if you map everything out at the very beginning, the game can be completed in a few hours, maybe 2-3 at most. I’ve played a bit more random, but in the end, ended up drawing a map for myself as well. Loot is totally random and you level up according to the stats your weapon prefers. Also, you cannot heal yourself, unless you find a little fireplace or you kill the purple puppies in the dungeons, those drop some healing items. Otherwise, nope, no healing.

The game leaves a lot to imagination as I saw myself as the brave adventurer who is fighting all kinds of terrors on his noble quest. There are also nice bosses, so you also got that going for you. Not to mention the weapons and armor all make you look really cool – or really silly. My dude ended up wearing a purple pointy hat, had a massive purple shield and axe while wearing green armor and yellow shoes. Oh and a purple cape, don’t forget that. But once I even had a yellow ox helmet. I think this was the part in the game I enjoyed the most.

My only problem was that the “battle” system is a bit… Well, you just basically throw yourself at the enemy, depending on what kind of weapon you have. And you also press “space”. A lot. Which can get you into unpleasant situations, since “space” is also used to pick up weapons. Not once did it happen to me that while running around in a wild craze, instead of the epic weapon I had, I picked up some crap on the way and there is no way you can go back for what you’ve lost. So yeah. That part sucks.

Also you need to grind a lot if you want to be strong enough to finish of the bosses and not die repeatedly. Then again, if you want to see all that there is, then leveling won’t be an issue at all.

In any case, I would recommend this game to fans of indie and old school games. It’s not much but for the price it sells for, it is definitely worth buying.

Playtime: ca.  6 hours

Steam page

Potato, Patata – Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?!

I kinda feel like I should apologise for not publishing anything for some time, but life has been crazy and Mass Effect: Andromeda came out, so I was partly busy adulting and partly playing that. I wanted to put up this review sooner, but it got delayed more and more. Finally I have some time to sum up my thoughts about this… Whatever this is.

You should know, since I have way too many games in my steam library, I had to put them into categories. Most of them speak for themselves, like ‘Racing’, ‘Fighting’, ‘Action’ and so on. But I kinda had to add an extra category for all the other special items I had, most of them I didn’t even specifically buy but ended up getting in a bundle. This category is called ‘What is this?’. As you might have guessed, I bumped into this game while browsing that and I couldn’t help but wonder: What the actualy fork is this game? Long story short I quickly installed it and got to playing. So let’s see what we have here.

The game is made by Daylight Studios and co-published by Daedalic Entertainment. We have had a look at one of Daedalic’s games so far which didn’t leave such a big impression on me to be honest. From what I could tell, this studio didn’t churn out any other games besides this one.

Now, this game started out quite fun: You actually play a potato. No kidding. One could even say that this game is a potato simulator and one wouldn’t be far from the truth. It is a tiny bit more than that. Remeber when you play your RPGs as the mighty hero who saves the world? Well, where would a hero be without their mighty weapons? No weapon, no glory! And this is what it all comes down to.

You, the potato, are actually the heir of a legendary potato weaponsmith. You sort of inherited his workshop and his evil, shady, money hungry co-founder colleague potato. He puts you to work for him and shows up ocassionally to take your money. Luckily you are so dumb that you don’t notice how wrong this is.

2017-02-19 16_58_47-HPAWS

You hire a few people and start up your smithy, making crappy weapons, selling them, making a profit, expanding business, etc. Your fame increases the more stuff you sell and the better you make them with extra trinkets you find during explorations. You research even more weapons, become better, move to a new world. The whole thing could go on for many-many hours. To be honest, as funny as it started out to be, as boring it became after 5 hours. I am not the type who can sit in front of casual sims. After a while I found myself just mechanically repeating what was necessary without thinking, like a grind, while my brain was slowly leaking out of my ears. I guess this can be the perfect game for a terrible hangover, since it does keep you busy and there is no need for any brain activity.

In the end, after 5 hours I just got fed up and deleted the game content. If you like these kind of casual, no brainer games, then this is the one for you. It is filled with funny game references and the potatoes are adorable. But if you are looking for something more complex which uses at least 1% of your brain, then move along. The game is not bad, it is just… Boring after a while. And it never got me to come back to it the next day.

Playtime: ca. 5 hours

Steam page

You’re a Wizard, Barry! – Magium

Oh, how I used to love the ‘Choose your own adventure’ (CYOA) books as a child! I had a whole shelf full of them and spent hours on end reading then, scribbling notes for myself, throwing dice, getting frustrated when dying, cheating a bit… I still have a few of these books, but rarely do I pick them up nowadays, since modern gaming has brought us all them graphics and fancy things where I don’t even have to use my imagination anymore. So when I stumbled upon Magium in the play store, I was just about to go on a short trip away from the city and as the wave of nostalgia hit me, I figured I’d give it a shot. And boy, was it worth it!

I don’t really want to spoil anything for anyone, so I will not write anything about it’s content, but trust me on this one: This ‘game’ is amazing! The writing style is not too complicated, it fits the style of the CYOA genre well, since it doesn’t spent too much time on descriptions and keeps the story fast-paced and exciting. What makes Magium special though are the characters you get to know along the story. I fell in love with each and every one of them! Not to mention the story itself. I could barely stop playing it and whenever I stopped, I was craving more instantly. Also, this ‘game’ has an insanely high replay value, since some of your choices change the story entirely. This is one of the most addicting games since anything that Bioware made (okay, not anything, but we don’t talk about Dragon Age 2 and Mass Effect 3 – that ending still haunts me).

The ‘game’ consists of several books, not all of them actually written yet, so far I’ve finished the first one which you can access for free if you can tolerate all them ads popping up during your playthrough. You can also get the available parts of book 2 for free if you complete 25 out of 35 achievements, which I might do, since I am already curious what a different playthrough would be like. If I understand it correctly, the game is still sort of in the making with new chapters and books coming out as time passes, which can be a bit discouraging for an addict like me. Still, I will most likely end up buying the game, because it is more than worth its price (which is approximately 3 Euros currently).

I’d say this game is a must for every CYOA fan out there.

Google play store

 

The Elephant in the Room – Distraint

Now, this was an interesting experience. I got this game on a BundleStars give-away and finally got around to finishing it. I think this was one of the shortest games I’ve ever played, only reaching about 2 hours of playtime. Still, the story itself was quite amazing and also pretty disturbing.

The game is developed by a guy named Jesse Makkonen who as far as I can tell only made one more game besides this one, so he is quite new in the field of indie game developement.

The game is described as sort of an indie-drama-horror type which follows down a linear path. Don’t hope to change the course of the events, this time you just go with the flow. I have to admit, this did make me angry a few times, since I am an avid RPG played and most of the times used to the freedom (or at least pretended freedom) of choices I have. Well, in this game, you have none, zero, nada, null, *insert other words meaning zero* choices, even if you disagree with what’s happening, there is nothing you can do about it. Luckily the story flows well and I could sort of become one with the main character, even if once or twice his annoying decisions made crawl up a wall (was that too Hunglish?).

There are also some puzzles to solve which made the game quite interesting, since (most of the time) they made sense, but were not too obvious. For me, the perfect puzzle experience.

The music gave the whole game a really nice atmosphere, sometimes scaring the living crap outta me. And about the horror part, well, I think it was not that scary, rather disturbing, which is fine by me. I hate these jump-scares, this is why I also avoid most horror titles like the plague. But this one was pleasant, or as pleasant as a horror game can be. Made my stomach turn a tiny bit a few times though.

All-in-all, I would recommend this game to anyone who is not too hung up on AAA titles and 4k graphics, since the story is pretty damn amazing (though not the best I have ever played, but still better than most games nowadays). The game itself is 5 Euros on steam when it sells for full price, if you find it to be too much, wait for a sale and buy it for cheaper, like for example the current sale price for 0,69 EUR is more than worth it. And since I was lucky enough to get it for free, I feel like the Gods have smiled upon me and blessed me with this small gem of modern game developement.

Oh and I’ve heard it is also available on Android for all them mobile players. Not sure how it plays on that though, only finished it on PC.

Playtime: ca. 2 hours

Steam page

Google play page

I’ve Raised a Psychopath – Edna & Harvey: Harvey’s New Eyes

This was a rather bizarre adventure. Or should I say, point and click adventure? It is made by the German company called Daedalic Entertainment who are responsible for other titles like Deponia and The Whispered World (and those are in my library too). I would guess since this is not the only title I have from these guys, I might have gotten a bundle of these games at some point, still this was the 1st one I have played through so far. The perfect start for my little project.

The game was kinda entertaining. The beginning shocked me like crazy, since I was expecting a light hearted, cartoonish, kiddy flick while I got a pretty gruesome piece filled with the darkest humor known to humankind. This gave a really big boost for me in the beginning, but my interest slowly faded as it just simply got… well, boring after a while. The puzzles stopped being interesting and the only thing I still kept looking forward were the minigames.

I do have to mention that I am not the greatest living fan of point and click games, but I did play a lot of them and even if this is not my nr. 1 genre of choice, a good game will be a good game, no matter the type. And this one, I felt it fell flat after a while.

I have to add, that this was the 2nd episode of the game and I have not played the 1st one. Go figure, for some reason that was not in the bundle. This might be while I felt a bit unimpressed when some characters turned up during the game, expecting an applaus and the usual “oooh” from a fan. The game relied quite often on that, especially in the end, which again, didn’t do it for me.

So who would I recommend this to? Definitely people who have played the previous installment and loved it. I think you guys would have way more fun with this than I had.

Playtime: ca. 7 hours

Steam page