SingedFrostLantern's recent activity

  1. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    SingedFrostLantern
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    Wolfstride This mech-fighting RPG is full of SOUL. It does have many flaws as the steam reviews will tell you (which I agree with): slow-paced beginning with 2 hopeless fights before you can...

    Wolfstride

    This mech-fighting RPG is full of SOUL. It does have many flaws as the steam reviews will tell you (which I agree with): slow-paced beginning with 2 hopeless fights before you can customize your mech, a pointlessly time-consuming walking zone before each location purely for atmosphere, and grindy minigames that takes up more gameplay time than the actual RPG fighting if you want funds to kit out your mech properly early on or the rare drops that slowly raise friendship levels. On the other hand, it's an expressive world that kinda feels like a 90s anime to me, all that time getting sucked in and getting to know everyone in town a little more day by day as the crew starts winning fights. It's fully voice-acted which is something I definitely find impressive for something of its scope and with changing dialogue lines for the main crew every in-game day.

    So the pitch: a band of friends get back together after the recently deceased leader of their group gifts them a mech out of the blue. They aim to join the mech-fighting sport for cash, but the mech's a piece of garbage, the shounen protagonist pilot has zero training, the mechanic wants to sell the damn thing, and then there's Shade, the main character and manager of the crew. He's slick, dressed up in a suit with Kamina shades, and undoubtedly competent in funding their expenses and making the connections for their next fight. He's also a loser and he knows it, one who's running the hell away from his past, someone who is absolutely faking it until he makes it. I'd wager some of the game's flaws were intended if going a little too far just to showcase this aspect; Shade just having to go back and forth across town doing repetitive menial tasks to support the team, something he accepts because he has no goal besides drifting around so helping his friends achieve their dream gives him some purpose to his life.

    I wouldn't recommend it casually, but the story and characters certainly had the sense of style I wanted from playing the Zet Zillions demo so I felt I got my money's worth.

    Now there's some stuff I learned in Wolfstride's ending that is certainly changing my perspective of Zet Zillions' setting, some ramblings:

    Foam Gun being the capital-D Devil for one. I am even more certain now that the Trash are actual people contracted with her instead of supposed meat clone robots unless this is a completely alternate setting. The game over lines imply it's just a simulation, but that's questionable too since Foam Gun as the narrator constantly addresses the player and Shade's life is portrayed as a video game. I had also expected something to happen to Knife on account of his nickname being Pineapples, but pineapples being a special currency is just a thing in this verse.

    Deathloop

    Meh. "Dishonored with guns" is a pretty apt description honestly. Since there's no non-lethal method and no stealth run save-scumming to worry about, you can just let loose which makes it pretty dang easy. Normally, I get pissy about meta-currency, but all you need is a silenced weapon and and auto-shotty for when things get loud. I dunno, I just didn't feel as attached to this world which felt smaller with even less attachment to the characters.

    Troubleshooter: Abandoned Children

    Just a small update (and possible cry for character advice help), I'm putting this game on hold even though I pre-emptively bought the second DLC missions because the first DLC with the clowns is hard as hell (stuck on the ambush level where they're deploying robots and rangers, but that's on me for not turning the difficulty down). Albus (Great Swordsman) and Heixing (Ranger) are my one man armies, Sion (Black Mage) and Irene (Battle Mage) can hold their own, but I haven't developed the rest of the team well enough to do more than scratch damage to the clowns. I also don't have anti-armor (Heixing is built for poison currently) which is bad because robots are common now and wiping my team.

    Duelists of Eden

    One last shill for this since it came out last week. It's $5, a deckbuilder/fighter hybrid as a PvP sequel to One Step From Eden. It's grid-based so movement is easy to understand and you can take whatever 8-10 moves you want into your deck to cook up whatever crazy combos you can think of. It is a niche fighter, but I'm happy enough to learn the counterplay and positioning against all those people that can absolutely school me. I found it easy to learn as someone who's not into the traditional fighters and only okay at platform fighters, but that just might be the OSFE experience talking. The discord generally says that the experience doesn't transfer over, but there's something to be said about general card knowledge and having a feel for 4 tiles away.

    1 vote
  2. Comment on Steam Next Fest: what have you been playing? in ~games

    SingedFrostLantern
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    Zet Zillions This is a game that introduces itself by having you shoot a bunch of clones, labeled "Trash" in-game, out of your planet-ship cannon at other planets to break down their armor and...

    Zet Zillions

    This is a game that introduces itself by having you shoot a bunch of clones, labeled "Trash" in-game, out of your planet-ship cannon at other planets to break down their armor and overwhelm them at which point the demo deck's signature card is to destroy all the launched clones for massive damage. Your 3 lieutenants are the shark-toothed captain who is seen standing atop the cannon at all times during gameplay, a mad scientist dinosaur who gathers all sorts of hilariously dangerous fauna and flora to add to the deck, and what I assume to be a cheerful telepath who's in charge of brainwashing any resistance that they can't outright kill.

    The game's style just speaks to me, enough that I'm convinced to grab the dev's previous game Wolfstride.

    Well this is a 3-energy deckbuilding roguelite so what are the differences in gameplay?

    • The galaxy map is FTL style, with all the nodes and their connecting paths visible when hovering over and a powerful enemy force that steadily covers the map and prevents backtracking.
    • In addition to the HP bar, there's a stun meter represented by filling the enemy's population number with Trash. Naturally some cards interact with it, some enemies (the Planets) can be won against by filling their stun meter to gain bonus rewards, and some enemies don't have a stun meter at all which necessitates the need to determine the focus and balance of your deck.
    • Draw 5 per turn, no hand discard on turn end, hand limit 7. Card draw can be severely limited from not being able to play your cards or not having the right scenario for the hand so discard effects are important and there's a fusion mechanic that allows for combining cards in hand together though learning what happens or what's possible needs some experimentation though it's thankfully recorded in the in-game encyclopedia.

    Meta-Ghost: The Breaking Show

    Isometric action roguelite with light attack, heavy attack, defensive skill, and ultimate skill. It's a cyberpunk gameshow where contestants are sent in to fight robots for cash money while obviously shady sponsers manipulate things behind the scenes and blah blah blah we've all seen this.

    What sets this apart from the rest is that perks and relics drop like candy. Almost every room guarantees some sort of boost which can be built upon and synergized with right from the get-go; no useless filler rooms, no meekly wandering around with crap damage for the entire run's start. Even the money-only rooms can be cashed-in in the shops en-masse with a few shop refresh tokens.

    There are 2 meta-currencies for a global skill tree and per-character customization, but thankfully they're rewarded just for playing instead of like other games that would force you to pick between meta-currency or empowering your run.

    QUIT TODAY

    Beat-em-up about an company worker whose robot co-workers are trying to kill him because they think he's quitting so he decides to quit for real after working his way through each department. The interesting part is how the result of each room offers a choice between 2 upgrades. Air combos or ground combat? Eat faster or heal more from food? Even the intro scene offers a hidden choice of button mashing out of bed to get a 40% movement boost or hitting snooze and sleeping in to get an additional point of max HP.

    2 votes
  3. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    SingedFrostLantern
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    Troubleshooter: Abandoned Children Korean hero-based XCOM combat which I got a while ago purely out of reputation even though I'm not one for macro decisions in strategic games. I'm still in the...

    Troubleshooter: Abandoned Children

    Korean hero-based XCOM combat which I got a while ago purely out of reputation even though I'm not one for macro decisions in strategic games. I'm still in the early game just after Irene joined so I'm poor and have no idea what I'm really doing. Currently shaping units as follows:

    • Albus as an enemy phase unit with Wind Veil, Forestallment (Opportunity Attack for the D&D people), and Counterattack. Think I'm going to put bleed effects on him as the slots open up.
    • Sion I haven't actually built anything for lack of relevant masteries. May as well put offensive boosters on him and Impulse Fields to make sure he doesn't get one-shotted later on. Think I'll swap out Lightning Ball back for Thunderbolt due to the latter not having to deal with cover penalties despite lesser scaling and speed.
    • Irene has a lot of mixed scaling, so I'm not sure where to go besides putting Berserker on her so she can keep running in.

    I've had Albus and Sion KO'd in the last two missions by virtue of splitting the party and the Bull leaders exploding them, so that's a lesson to not do that even though the maps have so many treasure chests to loot.

    LONESTARS

    Took note of this during the last Next Fest and it just went into Early Access. It's a turn-based roguelite where you customize your spaceship in the random events between fights and allocate your hand of energy cards in the ship's weapons to deal enough damage to overpower an enemy's attacks. Each run has 12 fights (divided into 2 mob fights, elite, and boss each zone) and an optional victory lap where you can take on 5 bosses back to back (haven't had a build good enough to do this though). The new ship type allows for moving around the ship's systems a few times in the middle of combat so it allows for covering gaps in offense or maximizing the attack after moving the ship out of the way. Already have 7 hours, so I think this is a keeper just for that feeling of "I math'd everything out and avoided damage", though of course it's still developing.

    1 vote
  4. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    SingedFrostLantern
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    Was in a roguelite deckbuilder mood this week and the new Momodora came out. Momodora: Moonlit Farewell The fifth (and final?) game in the Momodora series came out Thursday and I'm just plain...

    Was in a roguelite deckbuilder mood this week and the new Momodora came out.

    Momodora: Moonlit Farewell

    The fifth (and final?) game in the Momodora series came out Thursday and I'm just plain satisfied as a fan. Took about 7 hours, which is more than the 4 hours of RutM and Minoria. It hit the right notes with me and I liked being able to see Momo and Dora in HD pixel. Gonna hop back into it for Arrange and Hardcore mode.

    Objectively, there's a few changes to the formula:

    • Bosses don't have a reward for perfecting them this time, so that's less FOMO and save reloads for the people worried about that. Shouldn't be anything missable.
    • The map is still metroidvania style, but the areas are unlocked in a linear fashion akin to III.
    • No active items besides the healing bell, but there's more passive items.

    Fights in Tight Spaces

    Finally got a win on Classic difficulty with every deck type. I do like playing it, but it's all too easy for a single mistake to wipe the run. It feels like the UI doesn't signpost the each enemies attributes enough (ex. the enemies that move when you do) leading to preventable mistakes, especially with the lack of a combat preview.

    Vault of the Void

    Stepping back into this, got 2 wins as Tempest, one with Power Walk + Wrath for massive attack multipliers and another with Amplify + Retaliate for constant multi-hit shocks. Unlike the other roguelite deckbuilders I have, this one always gives an overwhelming feeling for actually starting a game due to all the planning for the routing and fights, so it needs the right mindset to play at times. Still, it's always good to see the run come together once the deck starts shredding enemies apart.

    1 vote
  5. Comment on MangaLove, a series sharing thread: January 2024 in ~anime

    SingedFrostLantern
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    She doesn't know why she lives / Nande Ikiteru ka Wakaranai Hito: Izumi Sumi 25-sai by Anu Not as grim as it sounds, it's about a 25-year-old part-timer living with the anxiety and depression in...

    She doesn't know why she lives / Nande Ikiteru ka Wakaranai Hito: Izumi Sumi 25-sai by Anu

    Not as grim as it sounds, it's about a 25-year-old part-timer living with the anxiety and depression in her daily life. It's a mundane setting: Izumi can get out of bed in the morning, maintain her apartment, and go to work just fine, but she's weighted down a lot by her thoughts.

    I think it just portrays the subject well: all the little moments of self-doubt and second-guessing, the negative thoughts that lead to feeling guilty over not being better which spirals into more guilt and self-loathing, and Izumi just not feeling ready for the world which leads to her not wanting to face people. She's not suicidal, but she wishes she could disappear sometimes.

    I think the part that still resonates the most for me is how Izumi feels left behind in life and doesn't know how to fix it or have an answer for when she'll have a solution. I've got a decent job, but I understand the feeling of being lost and diminished in the pressure and expectations of constantly being asked about grades/career/finding a significant other and not being able to answer.

    3 votes
  6. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    SingedFrostLantern
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    Sea of Stars Just got to the marsh of Mesa Island. It hasn't been exciting besides spotting all the references to The Messenger. It feels really slow pace too, like I wouldn't even say the game...

    Sea of Stars

    Just got to the marsh of Mesa Island. It hasn't been exciting besides spotting all the references to The Messenger. It feels really slow pace too, like I wouldn't even say the game actually begins until commandeering the ghost ship a good couple hours in. It also feels lacking in the wit The Messenger had, with everything being played straight and seriously so far. Hoping it picks up sooner rather than later.

    WORLD END ECONOMiCA episode.01

    Linear VN about a teen runaway on the moon hoping to make it big via day trading and getting taken in by the small, local church. Episode 1 of 3 so I can't judge fully; I'd say it was an okay read, though with a stiff translation. Hard to recommend given A) a random fanservice CG of Hagana leaving the bathroom in just her panties which just felt out of tone B) Hal having frequent and casually misogynistic thoughts against Hagana and Lisa. I suppose if you were feeling generous, the latter could be attributed to him being an arrogant teenager who thinks he has everything planned out and doesn't like them lecturing him, but regardless, it just felt uncomfortable.

    Otherwise it's a tale of Hal choosing between his grand ambition and the people who've taken him in. The first half is slice-of-life-ish world-building which I preferred over the stakes and drama of the second half which felt like it moved too fast. I thought it was interesting that Hagana represented logic, yet also the bonds of the quiet, steady life Hal had formed during his stay with the church. Meanwhile, Barton represented emotion with the exciting glory and riches Hal was dreaming of.

    Credit where it's due, I did like the ending

    In so much media, the stakes are too high for its setting and tone. A city getting nuked or the world getting destroyed or every main character dying/sacrificing themselves to save the day. You just know it's not going to happen or will get reversed lest it leads to a very jarring tone shift. It's one reason I don't like certain sequels to certain games as they dramatically overshoot the scale when escalating and in some cases, still maintain the same tone while doing so.

    Here, the stakes are just believable enough: Hal has been suddenly entrusted by the local community with raising enough funds to pay off their debts in a week or else their properties will be claimed by an uncaring company wanting their land. And so you see it coming: Hal is well-meaning, but he consistently pursues the big dream over what's in front of him throughout the story. He heads out to his meeting rather than wonder why Chris and her father would abruptly show up to the church. He prioritizes the virtual tournament for the recognition to be scouted and prize money to give to Hagana so he can walk away without guilt rather than the real stock market to help people settle their debts. In the end, he trusts Barton's false advice over Hagana in one last bid to meet the deadline.

    In the end, he fails.

    Okay, Hal falling into a coma for 4 days and no longer being able to control his body due to the mental shock of being betrayed by his idol and the crushing weight of failed responsibility is overdramatic, but besides that. It's not failure for the sake of failure or to be dark and edgy. It's the end result of his overall choices, trusting the wrong person, and making the wrong gamble. It's just a feeling I prefer; instead of just "Surprise! Plot Twist!", it's "Of course things would play out this way."

    I'm not a fan of Hal, but I think the above is why Royal (Iconoclasts) and King Knight (Shovel Knight) are two of my favorite characters. They're entertainingly haughty and (somewhat) well-meaning, but as circumstances test them, they fall back to their flaws again and again until it's no surprise what happens to them.

    1 vote
  7. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    SingedFrostLantern
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    LunarLux 10 hour-ish JRPG with some Megaman Battle Network DNA woven in. Shorter than I had expected, but it was a fun and cute experience and there's supposed to be more updates from meeting...

    LunarLux

    10 hour-ish JRPG with some Megaman Battle Network DNA woven in. Shorter than I had expected, but it was a fun and cute experience and there's supposed to be more updates from meeting stretch goals, so I'll look forward to more of it in the future.

    Aside from its charming aesthetic, I'll comment on two aspects of its battle system:

    • The first is defense because you're given an S-rank for not taking damage. Depending on the type of move, you can either dodge or you're forced to use up a temporary shield to block it. You can generate more shields (that's where all my first skill upgrades went), so it's a somewhat interesting dynamic of balancing offense and defense, especially with 2 other skills that use up your shields for attacks.
    • The second is how intimidating the skill system looks and the accompanying decision paralysis for what to use and upgrade, and even moreso when you don't have all your options yet. The Active Skills are basically your moves and you get to decide for yourself which move is powerful/efficient enough for its SP cost and how easy the action command for it is. The Support Skills are basically a deck you build and after choosing an Active Skill, you pick 1 of 3 random Support Skills to use. Early game was mostly experimentation, while mid-late game I was pretty much able to stack flat attack boosts and multipliers onto the multi-hit moves which kinda snapped the difficulty in half.

    Baten Kaitos I & II HD Remaster

    On the first game, recruited the 3rd party member and took down a tank boss. I am making this much harder for myself because the characters gain more stat boosts when doing bulk level ups so the entire party is severely underleveled from me not wanting to waste EXP. Aside from that, Kalas has been an unrepentant dick which is nice and different for a JRPG protag and the normal battle theme goes hard.

  8. Comment on Steam Winter Sale 2023: Hidden gems in ~games

    SingedFrostLantern
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    Sorted by a mix of what I'd personally recommend, price, and general amount of steam reviews. The stuff in tabs are either in that zone of popular indie or pricier than $10 or not on sale this...

    Sorted by a mix of what I'd personally recommend, price, and general amount of steam reviews. The stuff in tabs are either in that zone of popular indie or pricier than $10 or not on sale this time.

    Way of the Passive Fist - $1.49 / 90% off / 159 Reviews

    Beat-Em-Up with the premise that you're only parrying/dodging to tire the enemy out and charge up your special moves. If you have any interest in the genre or parrying, then go right ahead. There's medal rankings for each stage, a remixed post-game campaign, and a random encounter/upgrade mode.

    Betrayal At Club Low - $6.69 / 33% off / 345 Reviews

    A single-player dice-rolling, pizza-upgrading tabletop session where you pick your skills and choose how you infiltrate the night scene of Club Low to extract another undercover agent there. The latest in the surreal Off-Peak series by Cosmo D and the tunes to match.

    Has a demo for the beginning area just outside the club itself.

    The Sekimeiya: Spun Glass - $6.74 / 55% off / 163 reviews.

    Mystery VN where 8 people are trapped in a building for 12 hours. The characters are weak and it can be played as a linear VN, but the story asks that you try to take notes and figure the mysteries out yourself. It provides a summary for each scene, a note section alongside it for you to use, and the entire text log for everything you've read with a search function for it for you to freely look back at past clues.

    Space Gladiators - $7.49 / 50% off / 310 Reviews

    Do you like the idea of Hollow Knight as a roguelite? Do you trust the Brotato dev? Well, this is the game they made before Brotato with the same artstyle and 8 characters to play as. 3 biomes + final boss.

    Has a demo under Space Gladiators: The Hole

    <=$10, >1k Reviews

    Iconoclasts - $4.99 / 75% off / 3.5k Reviews

    2D shooting platformer with lots of setpieces. There's lots of praise for it, but the main thing for me personally is the story and how dark it gets, the way everything just gets worse and worse because nobody can let go of their fatal flaws as the world gradually reaches its end.

    It's been cheaper and part of bundles though, so this is something I vouch for as a fantastic experience, but not the best deal.

    One Step From Eden - $7.99 / 60% off / 5.5k Reviews

    Megaman Battle Network-inspired deckbuilding roguelite. 16 starting loadouts from the 9 playable characters and the characters you're not using are the bosses you face.

    Paradise Killer - $7.99 / 60 % off / 2.5k Reviews

    This is a stylized first-person exploration game disguised as a murder mystery investigation. Wander around, grab collectibles, talk to everyone repeatedly, and unlock more of the weird cultist island as you investigate.

    Bug Fables: The Everlasting Sapling - $7.99 / 60% off / 4k Reviews

    Paper Mario-inspired JRPG. Though inspired, it grasps its own charm in its bug-themed world and 3 main characters instead of Mario having several partners to swap between.

    CrossCode - $5.99 / $9.33 with post-game story DLC / 70% off / 13k Reviews

    This is the most popular game for this post in terms of Steam reviews and it absolutely deserves it. It's just a solid in every way SNES-esque action RPG.

    Has a demo


    Project Warlock - $2.76 / 77% off / 3.3k Reviews

    Retro-style FPS. I'm not normally into these with all the secret hunting in the genre, but the guns here felt super punchy to me and there's a lot of different ways to build the Warlock with the skill points and gun upgrade paths.

    Has a demo.

    Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight - $3.99 / 60% off / 9k Reviews

    The 4th game in the Momodora, this entry began mixing in Souls elements into the series' metroidvania style and is the most well known for it. The next game is releasing in January actually.

    The 1st and 2nd games are free on itch.io with the 2nd game being where the series found its identity as a metroidvania starring a leaf-wielding priestess with a bow. The 3rd game is the first of the series on Steam and felt more 8-bit along with going one stage at a time. Minoria is a spinoff made after the 4th game featuring sword-wielding nuns hunting witches and is apparently an alt timeline.

    Yoku's Island Express - $3.99 / 80% off / 2.5k Reviews

    Chill pinball metroidvania. I don't think anything else needs to be said because I don't think there's anything else out there that's like this. If there is, I'd want to know.

    Has a demo.

    Furi - $5.99 / $7.46 with DLC playable character / 70% off / 8.8k Reviews

    Sci-Fi boss fight game. You control a silent badass with a sword and pistol breaking his way out of his custom prison by killing all the jailers between him and freedom.

    Fight'N Rage - $7.99 / 65% off / 2k Reviews

    Beat-Em-Up with 3 main characters, co-op, and lots of different routes and content. I think this is the gold standard for an indie Beat-Em-Up.

    Shadowrun Trilogy Bundle - $9.97 / 80% off

    Fantasy Cyberpunk WRPG with the XCOM cover-based combat. I believe the first game was fan-ported to the third game's Steam workshop, so that's an option for a mechanics update. Otherwise yeah, choose what you want to play as, influence your companions, and what kind of runner you are.

    >$10, <=1k Reviews

    Tyrion Cuthbert: Attorney of the Arcane - $11.99 / 40% off / 492 Reviews

    Ace Attorney-inspired game set in a low fantasy setting with 5 cases involving magic. I'll try to say the following in a compliment-meaning way: the lack of breakdown animations for the witnesses gave me an uncanny valley feeling from how well the rest of the game drew me in and getting the sense that something was missing from the experience (it's a crowdfunded game apparently, so I assume there wasn't enough budget which still makes it impressive).

    Has a demo for the entire 1st case.

    Your Turn To Die -Death Game By Majority- - $13.59 / 20% off / 1.2k Reviews

    Deathgame VN with some puzzle solving and trial-esque sequences. The characters do actually die here, so the tone honestly mixes the horror and trauma well along with the human will to survive and cooperate with each other even when trapped like this.

    Well, you can actually grab this for free from vgperson's site since it started out as a translation project there and it was basically chosen as the official English translation I believe. The Steam version has some exclusive sidestories, is said to get updates earlier for the rest of the main game, and of course, supports the dev.

    The Wonderful 101: Remastered - $17.99 / 55% off / 468 Reviews

    Part of the Platinum Games catalogue of stylish action. Honestly, this game holds a warm place in my heart with all its Saturday morning cartoon goodness and I think the controls are more mechanically simpler than others of its genre.

    Has a demo that covers Chapter 1.

    Demons Roots - $14.99 / 25% off / 1k Reviews

    JRPG with an epic story (in the dramatic sense of the word) of being driven to the brink and fighting against oppression, though it is the type of game that'd be marked as private in Steam's library. I'll just say that Deathpolca is a refreshingly competent JRPG protagonist who walks into situations prepared and with an ace up her sleeve.

    Not on sale, but keep an eye out

    The Zodiac Trial - Previous low $4.49 / 70% off / 118 Reviews

    Very 999-inspired deathgame VN. 12 people are kidnapped and told to play a boardgame where the first people to reach the end go free while everyone else is executed. Lots of routes after the initial split and lots of death too.

    Has a demo that ends just before it branches off to a route.

    Rail of Möbius - Previous low $7.14 / 45% off / 286 reviews

    Timeloop VN. It's got the pseudo-science, the dread of death in every loop, and highschooler shenanigans. Translation is basic, but understandable depending on your tolerance for it.

    Has a demo.


    428: Shibuya Scramble - $20 / 60% off / 1.7k Reviews

    It is currently on sale, but its sale history shows it going between $10 and $20 so...

    VN with lots of viewpoint swapping and the key premise of figuring out what decision each character needs to make to avoid butterfly effect bad ends for everyone else to make it through. The live-action footage/screenshots might take a little getting used to, but this is oh so worth it once everyone's stories start getting connected to each other.

    6 votes
  9. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    SingedFrostLantern
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    Skimmed over Steam's Next Fest demos. There was a surprising amount that I want to keeps tabs on, but few that feel distinct in identity? Well, here's the stuff that felt different: AMEDAMA: It's...

    Skimmed over Steam's Next Fest demos. There was a surprising amount that I want to keeps tabs on, but few that feel distinct in identity? Well, here's the stuff that felt different:

    • AMEDAMA: It's a 7-day timeloop game where the main character is a recently-deceased spirit possessing different bodies to rescue his sister. I think the premise is interesting though I can already see some flaws:

      • It's a samurai game, so Guard Counters are pretty much the only DPS that matters.
      • The demo is the first chapter, so I'm really hoping the rest of it is more open-world timeloop rather than being shoved towards objective after objective.
      • The MC's personality amounts to "My sister!" which is understandable considering he was killed and she was kidnapped, but oh so dull.
    • Against Great Darkness: You know that game where you control a bar at the bottom of the screen and move it left and right to bounce a ball at blocks? This is that, except as a roguelite where the ball is your main DPS, all the blocks are shooting at you, and the premise is that you're playing as a pagan god who's climbing out of hell. I think this is a nice twist on the genre with a distinct style to it.

    • TEVI: Same dev as Rabi-Ribi. The demo starts off slow with no gear or skills but once the ball gets rolling, it's a whole chapter of Metroidvania goodness that speaks for its quality with in-depth combat. Went melee for the demo, but the different sigils look interesting for mana regen burst style. I should give Rabi-Ribi a shot anyways.

    • LONESTAR: Turn-based spaceship roguelite. This seriously scratches that itch of optimizing ship equipment and card hand to minimize damage and overpower the enemy's attacks in the beam-to-beam tug of war. First try at it was a successful 1H40M run that was constantly generating energy which powered up the the specific type of laser cannons that I had.

    • Rabbit and Steel: By the Maiden and Spell dev. It's a Co-Op bullet hell-ish roguelite, though the page itself compares it to an MMO raid with different classes, attacks on cooldowns, and cooperation needed unless you're playing solo. Tried out the Dancer due to the attacks having a chance of resetting the Special attack and that paired up well with items that triggered on Special attack.

    • Duelists of Eden:

      • Disclaimer for this one, I'm an alpha player who was fortunate enough to receive a key.
      • A sequel to One Step From Eden focused on 1v1 fighting. Draft up an 8-12 card deck and get to queuing. Like any other fighting game, it's a matter of figuring out your opponent's deck, threat range, habits, and combos in the back and forth. There's also an NA tournament scheduled for this Friday where top 8 get alpha access, so check that out if you're interested.
    Other games that seemed neat.
    • SpellRogue: Slay the Spire, but with dice. I think the main differences are having to choose between an artifact or deck upgrade after an elite, and being able to destroy cards to gain other cards or artifacts. From what I saw, the demo character is focused on dice manipulation, poison, and multi-hits. Had a successful run simply from having 2 good damage cards, and two cards that retained dice for the next turn and gave effects for doing so.

    • Pizza Bandit: Co-Op Objective Horde TPS. Honestly, it reminds me of Payday before it went full Payday so I hope it can fill that gap.

    • Skybreakers: Normally I'm not into Survivor-likes, but each character having a unique melee moveset with character-specific perks makes it more interesting to me. Played as the hammer girl, and the first perk I got was being able to charge up her golem by attacking it. This was already great on its own, but then I rolled a hammer affix that made it a constant whirlwind attack so that just played itself.

    • Darkblade Ascent: Roguelite First Person Brawler. It's a bit simple: your options amount to parry attack, dodge attack, cast spell off cooldown, and melee; the upgrades are all number/% stat boosts too. Despite this simplicity, I thought it just felt nice to play. Didn't see a brightness setting though, the lighting is just a tad dark.

    • Phantom Rose 2 Sapphire: Roguelite deck builder where your cards are all available, but go on cooldown when played even between battles and you have to get rid of cards if you're above the deck limit at camps. Each turn, the enemy shows the two cards they're going to play and you get to fill the remaining gaps on the board with two of your cards while each card gets activated in order. The game definitely has some mobile game DNA in it though; apparently the first game was originally on PC but then had the mechanics remade for F2P mobile.

    • Sovereign Syndicate: Haven't played Disco Elysium yet, but this game is reminiscent of it with the narration and rolls, though with Tarot Cards and steampunk. Felt a little railroaded in the demo, though it is the start of the game. The steam forum comments also cite Shadowrun as an influence, so I do hope this game turns out well.

    • Star Ocean The Second Story R: Classic realtime JRPG remaster. Haven't heard of the series before and the story so far is 90s JRPG, but it is holding my interest. Chose Rena as my main character, mostly casting a boulder before going in for dodge/melee combos.

    • Little Locked Rooms Small cutesy game of looking at a crime scene diorama and solving the mystery by answering each question of what happened.

    • Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley: I'm unfamiliar with the Moomins, but this felt like a wholesome pro-nature exploration game with mild stealth elements.

    • SUPER CRAZY RHYTHM CASTLE: This is a rhythm game except A: up to 4 people can join like a party game, B: the game is deliberately trying to screw you over with its scenarios which is a little frustrating until you accept that that's what this game is about.

    1 vote
  10. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    SingedFrostLantern
    Link
    Rail of Möbius The cost of shouldering a burden by yourself, being able to rely on others, and having the acceptance to let go; these are the themes I came away with from this timeloop visual...

    Rail of Möbius

    The cost of shouldering a burden by yourself, being able to rely on others, and having the acceptance to let go; these are the themes I came away with from this timeloop visual novel that circles between highschool manhua levity and the horror of continuously enduring the death that comes from each loop. The time travel in this is perception-based, but internally consistent within those limits and the story as a whole runs on the emotional side. Something done here that I haven't seen before is the main couple being a pair of childhood friends who are so in sync that they have zero romantic interest in each other, but they would without question spend the rest of their lives together. I would also like to give extra points for having a rich ice queen tsundere that is actually believable.

    I stayed up until 4 in the morning to wrap up this 7-ish hour VN, so I think it's quite gripping for the price of admission. The translation does run into grammar and spelling issues, but the story and characters are quite understandable. There's a demo for it, so give it a go if you're interested.

    Summing it up - Spoilers for everything

    Ren is fated to die.

    Because he has died, he cannot be saved with time traveling back because his death is what triggered the motive of the Time Traveler's user. As the game keeps saying: it is cause and effect, the grandfather paradox, the world already having changed in accordance with causality. This is the insidious trap the time machine lays: by the time the initial grasp at hope has worn off and the user has realized how it works, it's already too late. Causality forces the world to create an additional victim as a consequence for each loop and the user is left between two choices: continuing the loops in a mix of sunk cost fallacy, the desperate hope that they can save everyone, and increasing numbness to blot out the emotional trauma or being worn down enough to finally stop looping and accept the deaths of all the victims.

    Denes was forced with this choice when she attempted to save her brother in the backstory a year ago. The experience left her emotionless with a constant fake smile to look normal and a building's worth of victims on her conscience. She would have kept going too, but she cracked enough that Luna noticed and intervened to end the cycle. This is how Denes and Luna know the pointlessness of time traveling firsthand.

    And yet Luna tries anyways for the 14th car after she becomes the user to take control away from S. She can't back down because she was raised as heiress to the Caesius family; she cannot say "please", "sorry", or "thank you" because the heir is above relying on others or making mistakes. To that end, she starts knocking out Ren at the beginning of each loop to minimize his interference after Denes shares her experience with him. There are 200 people on the train. Luna goes through 100 loops without any sign of stopping even though her perspective devolves to simply noting that everyone is dead by the 20s loop because she is incapable of stopping. Ren has to knock her out for someone else to become the user.

    This is in contrast to Cecilia, the 13th car's user S. She began the plot to save the most important person in her life and pushes herself to keep going despite the mental damage she's inflicting on Ren. By loop 48 though, she realizes she isn't capable of saving him. But she thinks Luna is. Through this, Cecilia is able to demonstrate the themes: she is able to acknowledge that she can't do it by herself, to let go of Ren, and to entrust him to Luna. And because of this course of action, Ren is able to discover that switching users causes everyone else's causality-based deaths to reset while setting the timeloop's starting point 12 hours earlier.

    And so, their attitudes define their endings. Ren chooses the person he believes will save everything.

    In End 2, Ren believes in Cecilia. For the 16th car, things end with minimal casualties because Ren has accepted his death and Cecilia, having been told about the past loops by Luna, chooses to join him to stop herself from using the time machine and to be with Ren. Despite the tragicness, I think this is the most fitting ending because it carries over the themes of trust and acceptance.

    In End 1, Ren believes in Luna. For the 16th car, Ren decides to ensure events so that Cecilia is cannot activate the Time Traveler. He comes up with time-traveling forward and using causality to make it so that Cecilia believes that he is still alive and thus won't think to use the time machine to revive him. But because Ren came up with this method, he also tries to cheat death and more importantly, he does not tell the others what he's about to do. As such, he time-travels forward and temporarily revives in his post-death body only to die once more. This gives Luna hope only to horribly rip it away from her along with the realization that she must have been the one who told Cecilia how to use the time machine. For Denes, the combination of seeing her lady like this and her trauma being erased due to time-traveling forward enables her to decide to activate the time machine again which escalates things to a world-wide scale because the time machine travels back far enough to leave the closed environment.

    There's another thing that separates End 2 and 1. In End 2, Luna realizes that the time travel can only break on the 2nd loop because a user must exist on the 1st loop and time travel due to the causality of starting the cycle. End 1 tries to end on the 1st loop which is why it fell apart.

    And then there's End 0, unlocked after seeing the two other endings, where Ren believes in himself. For the 16th car, he becomes both the user and the fuel, the cause and effect, the beginning and end of the loop. In short, he centers the loop around himself which prevents any other victims and effectively freezes the rest of the world to challenge the god of time to a staring contest in these countless endless loops.

    It is a miracle Ren did not pick death or go completely insane in this self-inflicted hell. During the main game, he went through 150 loops, a good majority of them unconscious and consisting of either 12 or 24 hours. Here, he puts himself through an eventual total of 10 years worth of 48 hour loops. He's already feeling the monotony within 30 loops, but forces himself to act normal so Cecilia and Luna don't catch on in the hopes that he can confront the god of time. Ren tries to act entirely on his own and degrades to the point where he almost considers killing someone just for something to be different. Thankfully for him, Cecilia does notice his deteriorating mood even if she doesn't realize the looping and becomes an anchor of sanity to him; he's able to lean on her because she recognizes that he needs change. When Cecilia expresses that she is happy just being around him, this perspective allows him to realize that he can still be happy here; eventually, he lets his guard down enough that Luna and Denes are able to overhear and realize that they're within a loop. Together, Cecilia and Luna are able to work together and save Ren from himself.

    Time travel here is based on perception. Therefore the plan is to deceive Ren into believing that help has arrived and he can truly go to the future without consequence. Through the desperate belief from the pain of countless loops and Cecilia understanding him by heart, it works. It's the happy true end, but realistically, the amount of suffering and mental scars from being put in that position makes me hesitant to think this would be the best solution aside from the overwhelming desire to live.

    TL;DR Cecilia is best. I did not mention Sol at all because he's irrelevant.

    Itorah

    Another Fanatical bundle grab. This is a nice looking but otherwise mediocre 2D platformer for just so many reasons:

    • Enemies drop a pittance of money. Once this is understood, there's no reason not to just run past everything which makes the 5 hour speedrun achievement easily gained.
    • Anytime you attack, there's a chance for a random crit that deals the power of 2 hits which roots you in place for the length of 2 hits anyways. So besides the fact that this "crit" makes you vulnerable and whiff, it also triggers when just interacting with puzzles and other random environmental items to pointlessly waste time.
    • The map doesn't mark anything, there's no fast travel, and frankly the world is just empty. The only collectibles are for HP upgrades (HP Bar, Flask amount, Flask power) or Stamina (next bullet point)
    • There's a stamina meter for 4 things which is pretty pointless besides making the experience a pain in the ass inconvenience: Sprinting (easily circumvented by sprint jumping), Rolling (should only need one to dodge), Aerial plunge attack (which makes a little sense because it's the safest attack, but you're forced to wait for the stamina to recover during platforming segments), and the Aerial uppercut attack (really just pointless to restrict with stamina).

    Really, I think the only fun I got out of this was carrying the slope sliding momentum into a double jump uppercut air dash. Most of that is unlocked later in the game, so even that isn't worth playing for.

    1 vote
  11. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    SingedFrostLantern
    Link
    SANABI An Early Access 2D grappling hook game where you play as a retired military general swinging into a cyberpunk city for revenge. It took me about 6-ish hours to complete the 4 out of 5...

    SANABI

    An Early Access 2D grappling hook game where you play as a retired military general swinging into a cyberpunk city for revenge. It took me about 6-ish hours to complete the 4 out of 5 chapters available, nice for a day's gaming with the inherent replay value of grappling hook swinging. I'd say the game really nails the feeling of being a badass with just the right amount of hitstun for taking out a foe and the areas designed well enough that you can just keep swinging without stopping (save for the Factory where you have to wait for the moving platforms to block the lasers). I do agree with some of the steam reviews though that the cutscenes and dialogue feel long for its genre and break up the action even if I do enjoy the story's surrogate father/daughter dynamic. The cutscenes are skippable and there's a speedrun mode for people who just want the gameplay.

    Genshin Impact

    Well no, I haven't played for a long time or done anything past the first area because I'm getting the F2P feeling of falling behind and not knowing how anything works. Still, my friend keeps talking about it so I owe it to him to actually give it go. Last thing I remember was looking up team comps I could form with my available characters which was some triple ice setup with Kaeya, Chongyun, and Barbara?

    I just know my general next steps are: do enough of the endgame area to unlock the F2P character there, do the current event with the new city, and get enough adventurer rank to unlock the 2nd region.

    3 votes
  12. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    SingedFrostLantern
    Link
    River City Girls Grabbed this from the recent Fanatical bundle, beat it as solo Kyoko on Hard mode along with the secret end. I'm really of two minds about this. On one hand, I think the...

    River City Girls

    Grabbed this from the recent Fanatical bundle, beat it as solo Kyoko on Hard mode along with the secret end. I'm really of two minds about this. On one hand, I think the presentation is fantastic: the visuals, animations, music, and full voice acting all blend together into a charming Beat 'em Up that doesn't take itself seriously. On the other hand, I think there are gameplay aspects that don't sit right with me:

    • Since enemies can start a full combo off one hit (worse if multiple are attacking at once) and they have a good amount of Z-axis tracking, it feels optimal to just hold Block until they attack and then punish to minimize health loss rather than try to be aggressive.
    • The game doesn't really teach the importance of buying food to raise stats. Enemies don't drop that much money and there's a 25% money penalty for dying so most of that money is funneled towards unlocking new moves to use instead, especially since the food and accessories just have question marks in their description until bought and used.
    • Enemies are knocked down for quite a while; you can either land 3 stomps in (which deal minimal damage judging by the damage numbers from UserXpMod) or learn to extend combos by picking up a fallen enemy and then dropping them into a juggle combo. I only have 7 hours in this game, so the most comboing I've learned was 3-hit attack string -> Down+Y into one of Up+Y, Up+B -> Side-B cancel, or Down+B because it was surprisingly difficult to trigger the aerial Y+B Volleyball Spike. The point being that normal mobs are relatively tanky and take a while to defeat for novice players.

    I do like the game's atmosphere, but the thought of having to grind up the other characters makes me think I'd probably put more hours into Streets of Rage 4 or Fight'N Rage instead.

    MARDEK

    On early Chapter 3 following the official guide up to the forest dungeon, main party consisting of Mardek, Zach, Elwyen, and Gloria. This is a trio of flash game RPGs from the late 2000s and it definitely feels like a snapshot of the internet then from all the parody NPC comments. It also shows its age from the wonky inventory system and the keyboard controls, but the latter can be fixed through Steam Input when using a controller. One of the things I like from this is the equipment mastery system which allows a character to permanently unlock an equipment piece's skills for themselves after using it enough, and the subsequent free allocation of skill points to mix and match skills between battles.

    Themes: A warning against self-righteousness - Mostly Chapter 2 spoilers

    When Emela accidentally kills Steele to stop him from executing a defeated bandit chief, she expresses a lot of shock over it, even if he was the poster child of toxic masculinity who completely deserves it as everyone agrees, and then over the random bandit mobs who didn't surrender to rescue the miners they took hostage. Though Donovan is basically the good cop here reasoning that what they've done was necessary to maintain goodness and Emela comes to terms with herself the day after, Deugan leaves the conversation agreeing with her and disliking what Donovan said about not thinking too hard about killing because they're Royal Guards.

    Deugan, privately to Mardek: "Because it makes us 'no use to anyone' if we think about it too much and break down on the battlefield? Hm... That's all we are, I suppose... Tools. Don't want us breaking..."

    Vehrn is an optional party member and a paladin who displays all the stereotypical arrogance with constant expressions of how YALORT guides him and enables everyone's victories and blah blah blah. He's recruited when the party finds him beat up by the dungeon entrance after he tried to solo it, but remains just as obnoxious.

    Similarly, The World's Saviours is a parody of a hero's party with a warrior, white mage, rogue, and dark mage. They're reoccurring bosses with the hero constantly challenging the main party because they're the heroes and all that jazz.

    While I haven't gotten through Chapter 3, Rohoph has made some concerning thoughts about how he finds the thought of there being balance between light and darkness distasteful when it could be all light. The boss of Chapter 2, a necromancer from his home planet, also felt pretty bullied by him despite Rohoph's thinking that they used to be friends.

    My main takeaway is that titles can be easily corrupted into bludgeons by assuming that your position gives you the right to act however you want because clearly you must be doing the right thing here.

    1 vote
  13. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    SingedFrostLantern
    Link
    Master Detective Archives: Rain Code Danganronpa's younger cousin made by the same team; instead of teenagers trapped in an academy being tempted to kill each other for freedom, it's about an...

    Master Detective Archives: Rain Code

    Danganronpa's younger cousin made by the same team; instead of teenagers trapped in an academy being tempted to kill each other for freedom, it's about an elite team of detectives sent to investigate the mystery of a completely isolated city, ruled by a hilariously corrupt & brutal police force that takes every opportunity they can to execute the main characters. I'm still sorting through my thoughts about the game though I think I'm settling on good but not great. While the dev team carried over many mechanics from DR, they also deliberately chose to contrast some designs which I believe made it worse since they were going out of their comfort zone rather than playing to their strengths. If there's a sequel for this, I'm certain it would refine the original's flaws and surpass it.

    Characters is one such element that suffers. Unlike DR's cast who are all suspects and active participants throughout the game, Yuma rotates partners with the other Master Detectives along with new suspects and Peacekeepers for each case. As such, there's less screentime for everyone aside from their dedicated chapter and everyone has fairly basic personalities.

    Mystery is another thing that is lessened due to the established rules of the Mystery Labyrinth. For one, Shinigami will not take Yuma there until he gathers enough evidence to solve the case lest he is guaranteed to die there. As such, the culprit and case is easy to solve just by looking at the gathered evidence and the cases that do get complex telegraph the solution just by progressing; there isn't any sudden testimony or evidence to shake things up and twist the case around. Because the Mystery Labyrinth plays fair and doesn't lie, it doesn't get to pull the rug under your feet.

    Executions - Slight Spoilers

    Shinigami performs the same magical girl attack each time to reap the culprit in contrast to Monokuma's cruelly ironic custom executions. This loses its flair, though it may have been on purpose in-and-out-of-universe to soften the fact that Yuma is condemning the culprits to death through his pact with Shinigami which he does feel guilt over.

    The Gumshoe Gabs are the friendship scenes which are leveled up by finding glowing but hidden collectibles around the city with some being chapter exclusive. This probably fits better than DR's gacha gift system & limited Free Time Events due to the smaller core cast, but it also means dealing with a pixel hunt instead or just looking on youtube after finishing the game.

    Overall, the game carries the bombtastic style of its predecessor, but doesn't reach the same heights or tension. If you're on the fence, I'd advise waiting for a PC port due to all the lengthy loading screens and at least half-off if you're patient.

    Case Review - Spoilers

    2>0>4>5>>1>>>3

    Case 0

    • How do you escalate and one-up the DR intro cases? Why, you kill off everyone you were just introduced to. For people used to Danganronpa's 2 kills limit, this is one hell of an eye-opener and serves as the beginning of a fantastic starting case.

    Case 1

    • This feels impersonal. Because there are 4 Nail Man Killings, each mystery is simple on its own with the evidence revealing too much along with some pieces outright saying who didn't do it.

    Case 2

    • This is my favorite case due to the use of Desuhiko's Disguise ability which allows Yuma to gather testimony and evidence by disguising himself as the different suspects with different dialogue and reactions for each, though I imagine others may find investigating the same area multiple times consecutively to be repetitive. I also enjoyed how everyone is a valid suspect with contradicting evidence pointing towards their innocence and guilt until it all comes together. I don't think it's a coincidence that this case takes place in an academy.

    Case 3

    • The worst case and definite filler. It's incredibly obvious who it is along with the evidence saying who it couldn't have been, the suspects are all unlikable for kidnapping Yuma to have him join their group and then preparing to kill him when he declines, and there is so much running around with QTEs because of the plot.

    Case 4

    • I think the case started out well with its mystery, but after the game signals how the locked room murder happened, it shifts to going for emotional gut punches. As mentioned, I don't think the characters were developed that well so it didn't quite have the impact it should've.

    Case 5

    • The final case is when the usual lore-dumping and conspiracy-revealing happens, but the evidence makes the mystery incredibly clear so it's less dramatic and more going through the motions aside from that twist which earned a chuckle from the sheer absurdity of going through it and the proper foreshadowing.
    Theme: Is the truth worth it? - Spoilers for everything

    Well it's a mystery game so the answer is yes, but let's examine the price of the truth.

    When Yuma asks Shinigami to bring him into the Mystery Labyrinth from not having enough time to solve the case in real time, it becomes a life-or-death affair: either he will die from being stuck in the maze or he will discover the truth and Shinigami will reap the culprit's soul. Yuma is aghast at taking someone's life, but he is forced to use it each time because he's about to be killed/arrested. The question though is whether it's worth it:

    • Case 0: The culprit is a Peacekeeper hitman so he never would've been punished otherwise and the news of his death apparently gives Yakou just enough time to step in and prevent Yuma's arrest, though it seems likely he could have prevented it anyways. Half points.
    • Case 1: Halara already knew who the culprit was and Shinigami puppeting the corpse ended up being pointless so this is a bust.
    • Case 2: The timestop and commotion prevents the two detective's deaths and the puppeted confession allows for Kurumi's release. This is fairly justified, though the game points out that 3 sympathetic killers died for it. What they did was fairly similar to what Yuma does too: discovering the truth of an incident and killing the culprit for lack of any other real option. Ultimately, Yuma sees the incident as another tragedy of the Peacekeeper's rule.
    • Case 3: Pointless again. The other detectives solved the case as well and stopped Yuma's execution by bringing in the culprits, though it's arguable that the true culprit could have escaped if he wasn't reaped.
    • Case 4: I was going to give it half points, but it deserves slightly more after thinking it over. It's because they went into the Mystery Labyrinth that they've gained the full context of the truth and in doing so, they bought just enough time with that knowledge for Makoto to intervene, though he wasn't going to let them die there. In gaining the full truth, they've also obtained closure for the incident. Additionally, the message of the case is to face the truth no matter how ugly it is because running away from it will be just as exhausting, a message that rings stronger because the case focuses on the two unmotivated detectives.
    • Case 5: This is where it gets interesting. Yuma actually chooses to die in the labyrinth after discovering the truth because he thinks his singular life is worth less than the lie that's maintaining the peace of Kanai Ward. It's after Shinigami knocks some sense into him that he changes his answer: to still stay and die in the maze, but also entrust the culprit with revealing the truth so that the city's residents decide what to do with it. The culprit wouldn't have been open to discussion until the Mystery Labyrinth is activated, but it still leads to sacrifice.

    I thought (and still think) the game was showing how excessive and unnecessary Shinigami's power is, though the above shows it to be a bit mixed depending on circumstances. It's worth mentioning that past Yuma thought the pact was needed because of the Peacekeeper's "shoot first, arrest the first suspicious person and any resistance" policy. The ultimate last resort in the face of extreme injustice then.

    The detective's creed paraphrased is to discard everything including emotions for the truth. The last time this is repeated is just after Yakou's death which makes it extremely hollow in the face of what the detectives have gone through. That's where Yuma discards it and fully accepts his reason for being a detective: to uncover the truth and bring happiness, as well as free those chained up by lies. So it's not so much truth for truth's sake, but rather truth with purpose to help others, accept reality, and stop injustice.

    2 votes
  14. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    SingedFrostLantern
    Link
    Running through stuff from Fanatical Bundles before Detective Rain Code arrives. The Last Friend Plants vs Zombies-style lane Tower Defense but with doggos as turrets and mixed with a Beat-em-Up...

    Running through stuff from Fanatical Bundles before Detective Rain Code arrives.

    The Last Friend

    Plants vs Zombies-style lane Tower Defense but with doggos as turrets and mixed with a Beat-em-Up because you play as a post-apocalyptic dude rescuing dogs against dognappers. Mostly ran SP recovery (because special moves mostly OHKO normal mobs, apply knockdown, always hit Off The Ground, and can be chained into each other for elite mobs), water and lvl 3 sniper turrets for CC, and walls for the last 2 worlds once the grenade spam started. There are a few brawler-only levels including all but one boss, so think about whether you're into beat-em-ups first. No post-game content besides the Boss Rush for grinding dog treats and the achievement challenges. It was 6 hours to complete, a decent way to spend an afternoon.

    Twilight Town: A Cyberpunk Day In Life

    It's a short linear Visual Novel clocking in at 40 minutes about a guy who lost most of his money gambling for funds to upgrade his illegal self-learning AI waifu out of loneliness. It's a mundane and surprisingly wholesome story about him realizing that the people around him are his friends and that life isn't so bad. Credit where it's due, it has a nice amount of pixel art for its length.

    Corpse Factory

    A 9 hour, fully English voiced visual novel with 3 choices total about a website that can kill people by request via sending the victim a photo of their corpse. That's the window dressing anyways because there must be so much forensics evidence lying around; it's really a psychological story about the temp office worker behind the site dealing with her various mental disorders (starving herself for beauty despite being paper thin, fear of unfamiliar locations, megalomaniacal ambition to bring death as Corpse Girl) and her trying to take back control of her life (making more friends, taking her medication seriously, bringing about death as Corpse Girl). That last part sounds like a joke but no, each terrible act gives her more self-confidence and her daily life improves because of her renewed will. I think the first half is nice, but Act 3 is when things completely fly off the rail and jump the shark in concluding the story.

    Spidersaurs

    Meh. I haven't played any Run and Guns in a long while, but this doesn't feel like a good one. There's just a lot of random bullshit that adds up and makes it unpleasant to go through:

    • Pits everywhere for powerups to fall in
    • A ghostly spidersaur will spawn and attack your location if you stand still for more than a couple seconds.
    • Enemies that jump in and out from pits to sneak bullets in
    • Enemies that leave a toxic cloud upon death
    • Enemy attacks go through walls whereas yours do not unless you're using the Laser
    • The Barrier weapon is only active when it's in the main slot and it swaps itself to the secondary slot whenever you pick up an upgrade for your other weapon.
    • The third-last boss has a huge neck which leads to instant contact damage whenever it turns around

    Well there's 3 HP to a life and both heroes have different sets of weapons so that's something to its credit? The Spreadshot sucks though with Crush being the best option here and laser/flamethrower being a close second.

    Exile Squadron

    I don't really have much experience in horizontal shumps, but I don't feel much desire to replay this one. On the plus side, the game lets you test out most of the basic lvl 1 weaponry before you decide what to upgrade with crystals (went with rocket launcher, flamethrower, and shield) and you get to new game+ your file which is nice. On the other hand, the graphics aren't stylized, it runs into the issue where what's the foreground and background isn't clear, and any contact damage will take a life with enemy ships and shots abruptly coming from off-screen at times. 6 levels total, not sure how much that is for horizontal shumps.

    1 vote
  15. Comment on Lets talk roguelikes! in ~games

    SingedFrostLantern
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    I never got into the traditional turn-based grid dungeon dives, so I'll mostly mention roguelites that hasn't been mentioned yet in the other comments. Platformers Spelunky: This is one of the OG...

    I never got into the traditional turn-based grid dungeon dives, so I'll mostly mention roguelites that hasn't been mentioned yet in the other comments.

    Platformers

    • Spelunky: This is one of the OG platforming roguelites. You've got the chain reactions that lead to stupid deaths, the random trusty rock lying on the ground that you will depend on for literally everything, and the perpetually angry shopkeepers who you'll start killing first in self-defense and because the shotgun they carry is just that good. No meta progression besides unlocking shortcuts.

    • Space Gladiators: It's a roguelite with Hollow Knight's gameplay made by the dev who would go on to create Brotato. 8 different characters with the same 5 difficulty ascensions. Some meta progression in that the characters level up to 5 times and items are unlocked via achievements.

    • 20xx / 30xx: These two games are if Megaman X and Zero was a roguelite with 2P Co-op. The first game you can brute force by just stacking attack power, but the second game puts more polish into customization and power usage. You can mix-and-match your difficulty as well if you're feeling up to the challenge. Lots of meta progression: meta-currency is collected for permanent upgrades and to unlock new items.

    First Person Shooter

    • Gunfire Reborn: A very polished 4P Co-op game that also has a Survivor-esque side mode. You've got 6 different characters in the base game and 4 DLC ones with different ways to build them during the run and different guns to synergize with. It also has a pretty unique aesthetic with animal people in fantasy Asia. A moderate amount of meta-progression to fill out the skill tree and unlock characters with meta-currency, but enough of it drops to be freely spent in the Reincarnation mode difficulty.

    • BPM: Bullets per Minute: An FPS where you shoot to the (half-)beat while playing as a Valkyrie defending Asgard. Lots of meta-progression: beating each difficulty with a character unlocks a starting ability with them, items need to be bought at the store for them to carry more stock, and the bank only accepts up to 10 coins for deposits each time it spawns.

    Deck-builders

    • Vault of the Void: 4 different characters with 2 starting loadouts each. Light meta-progression in that beating runs with a character lets you pick a card to be given as an option to start with in future runs (only 1 card per run to take out of 10 unlockables; meta-currency for cosmetics and challenges). What makes this different from other Slay the Spire-inspired games?

      • Your deck must carry 20 cards (not counting curses), but you can freely swap out cards between encounters.

      • Each floors has a hex map that falls apart as you travel on it so you have to route properly to plan for the encounters and rewards you want.

      • You're encouraged to discard cards for energy and you can leave cards in your hand when ending the turn at the cost of reducing card draw.

    • Alina of the Arena: Imagine Slay the Spire combined with Into the Breach. It's a hex grid with the typical 3 energy per turn while doing your best to deal damage and avoid getting hit. Movement is costly though because you only get one free movement card per turn that exhausts if not used first. Slight meta-progression with a meta-store at the start of runs that you can purchase goods from with the results from your previous run.

    • Dicey Dungeons: A bit different than the norm. You place cards in your equipment to be triggered by the dice that's randomly rolled each turn so you have to plan for the different results, what your deck is building towards, and the size of each equipment. 6 characters with 6 levels for each, though I would definitely call the Witch and the Engineer the trickiest. No Meta-progression.

    Mentioned elsewhere in the thread
    • Enter the Gungeon: It's just a fun twin-stick shooter with references everywhere in it's adorably gun-themed pixel aesthetic. 8 different characters (and the Cultist, the dedicated Player 2 character). I think it's actually easier on the twin-stick shooter side of things, it's mostly pattern recognition to learn what an enemy does with pretty low execution needed. Meta-progression is gathering meta-currency to unlock new items (and a meta-currency tax to play the boss rush).

    • One Step From Eden: It's inspired by Megaman Battle Network but with 4x4 grids for each side of the field instead and with roguelite deck-building. You have 16 different starting loadouts, 13 ascensions + the 1 hp challenge, and 3 different endings depending on whether you kill or spare the bosses. Getting lucky with the right card or artifact can definitely spiral the run out of control, but you can generally get by through raising Mana Regen and Max HP. There are accessibility options too to control the enemy speed and damage taken if needed. Light meta-progression: you can start runs with 2 random artifacts depending on your progress for the previous run.

    • Crypt of the Necrodancer: A traditional rougelike if all the turns take place in time with the beat instead. It's a super fun game with 11 base game characters and 7 DLC ones. Skippable meta-progression: you can unlock items and permanent upgrades by collecting meta-currency, but everything is already unlocked when choosing All Zones Run which is how the game is meant to be played.

    • Dead Cells: The modern hard but fair side-scrolling roguelite. RNG is for finding weapons and getting the right prefixes on them, but it's otherwise all skill. The recent updates have added accessibility stuff though like restarting the area upon death instead of perma-death and superpowers that are basically cheats, but they prevent moving on to the next boss cell. Moderate-High meta-progression: meta-currency for permanent upgrades and unlocking new items.

    • Slay the Spire: The deck-builder that basically kicked off a new genre. You've got 4 characters and 20 ascension difficulties to gradually up the challenge as you get used to things. Light meta-progression: each character has 5 levels to unlock new cards to use (a total of 15 I believe).

    • Monster Train: One of the deck-builders that catch up to Slay the Spire's reputation. When starting a run, you pick one primary and secondary clan out of the 5 (+1 with the DLC) classes to pair up with and a champion from that primary clan for a ton of variety. I would compare it to Magic where you summon monsters onto each floor of your train base to defend against the encroaching angels. Things can get busted if you know what you're doing and you can plan out the entire route of the game from the beginning. Light meta-progression: each clan has 9-10 levels to unlock new cards to use, and a new champion at level 5.

    • Nuclear Throne: Honestly I would call this more of an arcade game, but it does have more variety than the usual and it is that fun. Death comes very, very quickly for both the player and the enemy, but the endgame fun comes from seeing how far you can continuously loop the game. Just be sure to grab the Nuclear Throne Together mod for multiplayer and to remove the 30 FPS cap. Some meta-progression in bringing back a starting gun and unlocking crowns that modify the game.

    3 votes
  16. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    SingedFrostLantern
    Link
    Dream Swing It's a $3 dollar grappling hook game made by the same dev as Remnants of Naezith (which I own, but haven't really played yet). You get 5 minutes to collect as many of the 3 respawning...

    Dream Swing

    It's a $3 dollar grappling hook game made by the same dev as Remnants of Naezith (which I own, but haven't really played yet). You get 5 minutes to collect as many of the 3 respawning orbs around the arena as you can with the 5 game modes being Default Seed, Random Seed, Weekly Seed, Default Seed with no timer, and Random Seed with no timer. I think I like it because it's an open air area where everything can be grappled onto and you can go at your own pace, whereas a lot of other grappling hook (and parkour) games feel more like skill check obstacle courses where you have to go along the intended route or break the physics even further beyond the dev's intentions. This feels more free flow and expressive if I were to put it, something I would replay alongside Cyber Hook.

    Murder by Numbers

    The first thing I'll say is that this game is exhausting if you're not familiar with picross. Any piece of evidence is accompanied by a picross puzzle and the last two cases throw constant 15x15 puzzles at you. The game does offer easy mode and hints, but activating those means that minor scenes of Scout's memories are locked away unless you avoid using them. The third case apparently also has a secret puzzle that prevents S-ranking it if you don't find it.

    The second is that it's a pretty bog-standard, bright murder mystery story with an inclusive cast unless you choose to look at it as an unintentional critique of typical amateur detectives. Honor has no experience investigating besides playing a TV detective, but she barges onto crime scenes anyways with her one-of-a-kind robot buddy. This leads to stuff like regularly disobeying the local detective (ex. sneaking onto a crime scene despite being a murder suspect to prove her innocence faster; hacking into police databases for information), invading everyone's privacy (ex. looking through a friend of her best friend's finances because a murder happened nearby; "If you're innocent, you have nothing to hide!"), consistently calling a preemptive arrest for the first red herring suspect that matches the evidence (ex. a shady but otherwise innocent-of-murder loan shark panics because of her reputation in getting the wrong person (he's the second person in the case Honor accuses too after she got the first one wrong); she threatens an arrested suspect who she knows is innocent by telling them they'll be found guilty if they don't help find the true culprit). It's not as if Honor is blind to the breach of privacy aspect either because Scout innocently scans her measurements in Case 1 to see if she can move inside a vent and she tells him to delete that information the moment she finds out. It just leaves a bad taste because Honor is an unlicensed investigator who looks through everyone's things without permission or protocol and constantly oversteps the law, something that does get called out by the detective and a lawyer with valid criticism, but gets brushed aside by her because she's after the truth (or the thrill of finding the truth anyways).

    3 votes
  17. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    SingedFrostLantern
    (edited )
    Link
    Demons Roots Continuing from last week's post. The ending gave me hope, tore my heart out, and then gently placed it back with a warm hug. After all the suffering everyone goes through, after all...

    Demons Roots

    Continuing from last week's post. The ending gave me hope, tore my heart out, and then gently placed it back with a warm hug. After all the suffering everyone goes through, after all the party's efforts into reclaiming their world, there is satisfaction, ugliness. and finally peace. I'm glad to have played it, though also a little sad because I had discovered it from r/ gamedeals and r/ gamedealsmeta and I'm not going back to Reddit, so I don't know where else to find hidden gems aside from Steam250. People just gravitate towards talking about the big stuff, y'know? I guess I do have the rest of my backlog to play through.

    So once more, it's a Hentai JRPG, but with a damn fine story and a PG-13 mode in the options.

    Themes - Prejudice, misinformation, rumors, and propaganda - Spoilers for everything

    The very first scene is a fairy tale about demons told to children, how weak and pathetic they were after the Demon Lord's defeat with pets capable of defeating them and one specific demon dying by thrown poop. As soon as Deathpolca hears of that, she corrects it: those were newborn demons who dared venture to the surface to ask for peace, and they were mercilessly slain by fearmongering and the White Phantoms. That sets up the rest of the game: people judging by their preconceived notions rather than what's in front of their eyes.

    After the initial bloody unprovoked invasion, the demons are given absolute orders by Polca to not mistreat any humans under their territory and life goes back to normal aside from slaves now being treated fairly. Despite this, the Empire's propaganda and false flag operations ensure that countless people are unable to let go of their manufactured hate stemming from their great-great-great(x30) ancestors.

    Many of the party members suffer from being judged as well, and not even Polca is free of making wrong assumptions:

    • Ange is initially recruited because she's stuck in slave bikini armor and Polca wanted to hire her to prostitute herself for information; aside from that, all her fellow former soldiers of Lace considered her the most useless, clumsy knight there. Despite this, she holds onto her compassion and never lets go. Against other slaves, she has a special skill that has a great chance of instantly defeating them by negotiating a truce. When the party is up against the feared dragon riders that conquered her home kingdom, she is able to embody Lace's ideals of redirecting attacks to protect and she becomes the ultimate tank.
    • Kalinka is feared and hated even by her fellow gladiators for killing her competitors in the arena with a smile, and especially the Battle Goddess who gave them hope, her own mother. But that turned out to have been her mother's last wish when the two were forced to fight each other and Kalinka was bawling her eyes out: that Kalinka holds her head high, fights her opponent with everything she's got, and to smile so that she'll survive and one day punch out the sick bastard forcing them to fight. Polca also ditches her the first chance she gets, but Kalinka follows anyways and saves her life.
    • Sarasa is initially antagonistic towards the party and somewhat tauntful, but it turns out to be for very good reason: she read a history book from the future detailing the demons' entire war efforts and their inevitable defeat. She's afraid not just for herself, but her entire class who'll be punished with her if she rocks the boat. Yet she still places her faith in Polca because she can't stand her classmates being brainwashed from birth, sexually assaulted, and used as living batteries any longer.
    • Deathpolca herself turns out to have once been Saint Behelos, the one who established the starting kingdom and made it a place free of slavery. Despite the undeniable proof of her identity, many people simply reject reality because they can't comprehend that a demon is capable of kindness and benevolence.
    • Lily Killer is a serial killer who chops women up and develops an unhealthy obsession with Polca. Just a silly lesbian murderer who pops in and out of the party? Far more tragic. She was once a child princess who lived life stuck in a cave for safety during the war with the Demon Lord, but her possessed brother marked her for death by saying that she was possessed by a demon with all the guards hunting her out of paranoia with no proof. She and Polca actually became friends back then and protected each other, but Lily was captured and put through hell. She was made immortal with a thousand years of torture to break her down to be an obedient warrior and sex doll out of the absolute fear drilled into her. Once she was a success, countless other women were kidnapped and put through the same program as her. And that's what her serial killing was about: the only thing driving her besides her faint memory of Polca was mercy killing the other Dolls, almost all of whom choose death over their continued existence.
    • Mebius is a bit of a meta-example. Since Polca is the healer, Mebius is the guest party member who carries early game combat and is touted as the demons' strongest warrior. I'm sure you can see the death flags from here, especially since he's not a lady or a feminine dude like the rest of the party. The surprising thing is that he does join the party. He recovers, makes peace with the body he's inhabiting, and kicks ass as the father figure of the crew.
    • Not to leave them out, but Diana is an isekai'd, alcoholic FBI agent and Naje is a comfortably straight, crossdressing prince. I think Polca has accepted all the lovable weirdos with her by this point. After sleeping on it, they do deserve more nuance than that.
    • Diana used to be a child soldier, fed misinformation to be a tool. The first person to bring her out of that life kept her as a tool, a child spy sent to infiltrate and report on a drug cartel. That made the cartel boss the first person to genuinely raise and treat her as a proper human being, enough that Diana opposes him but can't shoot despite all his crimes because he was and continues to be a loving father to her. Because of that, a village is consumed by his drugs and Diana carries the weight of her mistake with her. But there's another layer to it that Diana finds out later: that village had a bioweapons laboratory. The cartel boss is a monster, but he still has enough sense to keep worse monsters in check.
    • Naje is a kind and compassionate prince, but his own brother framed him for the death of his mother and other royal siblings which is how he ended up with a slave collar despite his position. His reason for crossdressing is a bit silly, but he keeps himself honest, proud, and royally loud as opposed to his father who is filled with lies and shrouds himself with a veil. The goal that he's chasing, to become the Emperor and change the laws, is also built on a lie: the heir is simply body-snatched by the being possessing the Emperor's body. And that knowledge drives him as well, for his loving brother who became corrupted by the lie of power.

    And that's where the ending comes in.

    Ultimately, it's not enough to beat the root of all suffering on the continent or achieve world domination. A human assassin confronts Polca after the climax and shows her the history book from the future: it keeps changing in response to her actions, but the results keep showing the annihilation of demons and humans as long as she's alive. She kept the peace as best she could, but resentment from both sides bubbled up into mutually assured destruction. Whether the future can be changed again is irrelevant because despite the assassin's utmost respect for Polca, she believes that the information from the future and the hatred between species is inevitable; that is why she already coordinated with the resistance to attack demonkind during the assassination. As Lily places herself and Polca into a healing stasis, a war log scrolls up the screen showing the second war between demons and humans with the demons being annihilated in 948, 12 years earlier than the first projection of demons being defeated in 960. Through their efforts, slavery has been abolished but the goal of freeing demonkind has ended in ruins.

    Except...

    Centuries later, Polca awakens and is greeted by the surviving demons and the descendants of the party members who protected them. Her efforts haven't gone unrewarded; her story of liberation and sacrifice was passed down for generations as a lesson in equality and coexistence. It took time, but peace became a reality, unmarred by prophecy or the sins of the past.

    Loneliness is also a theme, except I didn't catch that like a dumbass until they kept repeating the word for certain people's backstories. Anywho, the party members were all alone before, but found each other, the end.

    As far as gameplay, battles with standard mobs have a bit too much HP and all the party members officially join at level 1. Didn't really go hunting for hidden items or obtain the OP ones from the R18 zone, so that may have affected my experience. Otherwise it's standard JRPG combat. There is a story difficulty that also unlocks all the scenes upon completion, but regular mode enables in-game achievements and New Game+.

    It's also a game about beating the absolute shit out of corrupt old bastards and their loyal stooges who force suffering upon others for personal gain, so that's a plus.


    Light Fairytale - Episode 1

    It's not often I can say I'm dropping a 4 hour game, but here we are. It feels like someone only had a surface-level understanding of Final Fantasy VII, copied everything, and then changed their homework enough to make the characters and plot utterly generic.

    They also apparently have no understanding of how to make an RPG; the only two attacks the party knows is basic attack and Materia Thunder and the mage can only cast it 4-5 times before running out of MP. It just honestly doesn't feel good to play.


    Neon Sundown

    This is a mindless podcast game, but it does have me thinking about the difference between horde twin-stick shooters and Survivor-like games where you can aim because I like the former more than the latter.

    The design between skill and consistency vs RNG and knowing synergy paths? Not to say there aren't elements of both, just that games in the Survivor genre generally have more game-specific knowledge checks for item combinations and builds. Horde twin-stick shooters do have character differences, but it's usually about building up your ideal weapon and stats whereas Survivor-likes are all about the characters being different and forcing the right build to match them.

    Survivor games also have a trend towards including meta-progression; this I'm not sure if it's because Vampire Survivors did it or if it's a modern trend as many roguelites also include similar meta-trees and boosts. I've read many a comment about the feeling of progression or not having a wasted run, but I grew up in the SNES/Genesis era where you just turn the console on and get good so it's always an alien feeling to be forced to grind to in order to play the actual game and not be stuck at noodle damage/HP/movement speed, especially if there are leaderboards that ask you to grind to the max.

    I suppose the timer is more prominent in Survivor games? It's important in both genres to measure your power against the difficulty curve and to know when mini-bosses come in, but Survivor games generally aim for a specific time to end the game while horde twin-stick shooters let you go as long as you can.

    Thinking about it, the Risk of Rain series is also about having game knowledge to gather the right items and become an unkillable god for how many hours you can tolerate. Then again, I always activate Glass+Command artifacts for infinite HP infusion, so what do I know?

  18. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    SingedFrostLantern
    Link
    The Zodiac Trial The simplest way I can describe this game is as an ambitious 999 fangame that's hamstrung by lack of budget. 12 people are kidnapped, assigned a Chinese Zodiac animal, and given a...

    The Zodiac Trial

    The simplest way I can describe this game is as an ambitious 999 fangame that's hamstrung by lack of budget. 12 people are kidnapped, assigned a Chinese Zodiac animal, and given a timed board game where the first people to reach the end go free and everyone left behind is executed. It definitely could've used a flowchart to show how to access all the routes, but it tries to give a bootleg version where you can quickly pick your first few choices from the main menu. It also really could've used some visuals to explain the rules of some puzzles like for the Dog or Ace route, or more maps for stuff like Tiger's route. Still, it's 11 hours to complete all the routes for $9 on sale.

    I think the main thing about this VN for me is that the routes split early, and thus the murdering happens fast once the incentives are pushed with different traitors and victims. The routes and characters aren't exactly balanced in terms of focus, but the good parts do shine past the mediocre bits.

    If you're willing to give a chance to an indie thriller VN for $9 to finish in a spare day or two, then give it a shot. it's also got a demo covering the first bits of the game before the route splits.

    Light Character Rankings/Thoughts - Possible Spoilers

    Barely There

    • Pig, Sheep
      These 2 are the weak-willed, panicking types. Not much to say even on their routes.

    Bland

    • Horse, Monkey
      They don't really have depth. A hidden secret sure, but not depth.

    Almost There

    • Bunny
      The man's either friendly or being an ass with a smile. Just a bit more focus and he would've been solidly on the way to having a more punchable face.

    Competent

    • Mouse, Ox, Tiger
      This is the passable line. Mouse is smart enough as the viewpoint character, Ox is the serious mirror/partner character trying to keep order, and Tiger is just happy to be there.

    Pleasantly Surprised

    • Rooster, Dog
      They're unassuming being lazily jaded and self-absorbed comedy relief respectively so their presence isn't the same as the below, but once the spotlight is truly on them, the contrast gives way to a charming depth to their normal selves once known.

    Well Done

    • Dragon, Snake
      The gang leader with a soft side and the smart, shady "tilts glasses up" guy. These archetypes are common enough, but they perform well with a strong presence on almost every route. Dragon is metal as fuck with what she does on her route, and rest-assured, Snake is usually calculating.
    Route Ratings/Thoughts - Likely Spoilers

    Way too long

    • Horse, Dog
      The problem with these 2 routes is that the antagonist is revealed right at the start so any mystery is sapped away and everyone tries to challenge them one by one and fail which leads to a long drawn out "get on with it" feeling since Mouse is the one to deal with it in the end, and neither of these really contribute information to the other routes or overall story that can't be figured out there.

    Meh

    • Sheep, Pig
      I ranked these two the lowest as characters and their routes really reflect that since they're just desperate to survive instead of making things more intricate.

    Way too short

    • Ox, Tiger
      They're desperate fighting for their lives, but they're not out to betray the group so their routes suddenly end after their issues are resolved.

    More time in the oven

    • Ace, Rooster
      These two routes do have a mystery, but they're also pretty linear so I didn't feel the same level of suspense as the other routes.

    The Good Stuff

    • Bunny, Dragon
      These two are the blood-filled action routes where someone hit the "Fuck this, we're killing someone" button and things devolve into violence, "Us or them" mentality, and ruthless kills as everyone is pushed to their limit. It's a nice change of pace with imminent violence instead of slow-burn mystery in a high tension environment.

    • Snake, Monkey
      And these are the thriller routes as bodies are discovered one by one and the survivors dwindle down with logic needed to crack open the truth and force a confession.

    • Mouse
      And this is the Traitor route where you get to play as the villain and kill all the other characters to force a path to freedom. The dev commentary calls it non-canon since Mouse would confess her role 99% of the time instead of betraying the group, but it's a fun change of perspective.


    Demons Roots

    Started Chapter 4 out of 5. Steam says I'm 26 hours in, but the game itself says 38 hours which I assume is from high framerates. Taking a small break because I defeated a certain boss instead of grabbing my stolen equipment and all of it's left behind so I had to reload. The game does warn you with dialogue, but not stop you with an "are you sure?" as with other bosses.

    As every review of this game will mention, it's an RPG Maker Hentai game that's hiding one of the best JRPG stories out there. The game knows how to present its story with the right amount of seriousness and dramatics as the Demons invade the even worse Human Empire out of desperation with their pitiful home on the brink of collapsing permanently. It's a story of the oppressed, the demons and the slaves of the Empire, rebelling against the systematic cruelty that casually discards and degrades lives in the name of progress, control, convenience and plain old corruption. It's a story of forgiveness, each party member seeing the sin of their environment and gaining the will to fight and correct it, for themselves and a world where demons and humans can peacefully coexist. "Keep the promise."

    Most comments say the game is easy because Ange can protect the rest of the party, but I'm actually having a little trouble because she's getting shredded by enemy AoE spam at this point. Right now I'm reading the party as Najezta/Polca as the interchangeable healers/(de)buffers, Ange as the main tank, Kalinka as Physical DPS/Off-Tank if Ange goes down, Sarasa as Magical DPS/AoE, Diana as a jack-of-all-trades TP Battery, and a certain someone as an item caddy because of no damage.

    I should really feed my 2 newest party members EXP books.

    2 votes
  19. Comment on What games have you been playing, and what's your opinion on them? in ~games

    SingedFrostLantern
    Link
    Ender Lilies It reached a new historic low at $12.50 and all the reviews praise it as a wonderful Metroidvania so I picked it up from the steam sale and completed it. Unfortunately for my...

    Ender Lilies

    It reached a new historic low at $12.50 and all the reviews praise it as a wonderful Metroidvania so I picked it up from the steam sale and completed it. Unfortunately for my experience, I didn't realize how Souls-inspired it was and went in with the wrong expectations; I can certainly think of it as a competent 2D Souls-like, but it wasn't what I was looking for as far as a Metroidvania which is a little odd to me because I do see Momodora: Reverie Under The Moonlight, Minoria, and Hollow Knight as Metroidvanias with Souls-like elements. Perhaps it's because Ender Lilies kills your momentum when doing aerial attacks? Or maybe because those 3 titles still having living people to talk to whereas Ender Lilies' story is peering at the memories of the dead and infected? Either way, I do think there is a definite line design-wise that made it one and not the other.

    Well given how much recovery frames everything has, I leaned towards using the Magic Missile weapon first for range safety, and then to the claws and throwing knives for attack speed so I could respond properly with parrying spirits. As far as flaws, boss contact damage does as much as a regular hit and the limit break bar is unobtrusively on the bottom left, something I would call bad design considering how much it boosts your DPS and something that possibly soured my experience more since I didn't really use it until the second to last boss.

    Overall, I can see why people who enjoy Souls-like games like this, but I'll probably forget this in a week.

    30xx

    Picked this up because they have a release date for leaving early access and because I liked 20xx. It definitely refined the systems of the previous game, but it can also feel like a simple fresh coat of paint over the same core of roguelike Megaman, though that might've been because I was playing 20xx on my steam deck in my spare travel time.

    The balance is different, currency feels much rarer and/or items just being more expensive overall and there's a stronger emphasis on using powers. It trades the Flash aesthetic for a 16-bit look which definitely makes it feel more like a polished product compared to before. Still, someone unfamiliar with the series could pick up 20xx for cheaper or wait for a bigger sale on 30xx.

    1 vote
  20. Comment on What is "that part" for you in any game? in ~games

    SingedFrostLantern
    Link
    The Director's Cut of Deus Ex: Human Revolution integrates the DLC into the main story. By itself, it's a several hour DLC with lots of backtracking due to taking place in a multi-level prison....

    The Director's Cut of Deus Ex: Human Revolution integrates the DLC into the main story. By itself, it's a several hour DLC with lots of backtracking due to taking place in a multi-level prison. Placed with the main story, it's a pace-killer that throws you into a mini-adventure instead of nearing the main story's conclusion and puts you back to level 1 and takes away all your equipment. Fitting? Yes. A pain to deal with on replays? Also yes.

    8 votes