MotherGunShip

If you know me, you could be forgiven for thing i’ve been too busy to review MotherGunShip over the last few months, and that’s why I haven’t reviewed it yet. However, that’s not true this time. No, i’ve been sitting on this one for a while to figure out what to say. See, I know how I feel about the game, but i’m still not sure why. I kind of hate MotherGunShip, and i’ll be the first person to tell you I don’t think I should. It’s not broken in any meaningful way; it’s the game I was promised in the trailers, the very ones that got me hyped to begin with. But the second I got my hands on the game I just….didn’t like it.

My big issue with the MotherGunShip is the movement. See, much like the developers last game, Tower of Guns, this bills itself as a first person bullethell. While i’ve never been the biggest bullethell fan the idea did intrigued me. But once I started playing I found the character moved too sluggishly. There were a lot of hits and deaths I felt could have and should have been avoidable, but I just couldn’t motivate the player character to move his fat ass fast enough. Hell, I think you could have stuck my literal fat ass in the game world and I could have more easily avoided more of the giant lumbering bullets the game throws at you. I was expecting a much faster paced game, and not getting that pretty much single-handedly killed the game for me.

 

The levels are also a huge issue. MotherGunShip suffers from the roguelike problem; i.e. in order to make the game repayable, the levels need up feeling repetitive and never stand out. I don’t think any of MotherGunShips levels are randomly generated, but they feel like it. It’s one metallic hallway after another. Now, I play and like plenty of roguelikes, but this is always a hurdle they have to overcome to be enjoyable to me. They gave to do something to make the game entertaining. And like I said earlier, I just didn’t find MotherGunShip all that fun to play. So all this did is exacerbate my not liking it.

 

{“DRSAppName” : “towerofguns2-win64-shipping.exe”, “DRSProfileName” : “Mothergunship”}

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Again, I really, really wanted to like this. I was super excited for the game when I saw the trailers. The game does seem to be doing well with other critics, and I can’t say I don’t see where they are coming from. I know I didn’t say much about the game, but I just don’t have much too say. I just did not have fun with MotherGunShip. I know this is the single most useless thing a critic can say but: if you’re interested in the game, see if there is a demo.

 

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Flipping Death

cover.jpgFlipping Death is a platforming puzzle game. The game focuses Penny Doewood and her life or unlife as it were. She sorta dies and is trying to figure out how to get back into her body, but Death being a halfwit, doesn’t listen to her for even 3 seconds. He just assumes she’s a demon because of her outfit so he gives her his job so he can go on vacation because she must be the temp he requested over a thousand years ago. Why he wants this break… well I’m not sure because he’s never shown working or being even remotely useful. Regardless, you’re assumed to be the temp agent here to take over for him for a while and he forces it on you; then fucks off to the moon.

1.jpgIn the game, you’re trying to figure out how to get back into your body and back to living your life, in a very literal way. In order to figure this out, you need the help of the ghosts that inhabit the land. They all have unfinished business which is why they’re still there in the first place. The only way they’ll help you is if you fix their issues so that they can move on. This usually requires you to possess someone and solve little puzzles to get things moved around in the land of the dead to solve issues. A good example of this was in one of the chapters you scare a firefighter to death so that he can put out a fire in the land of the dead.

Sometimes the puzzles aren’t obvious and they’re really hard to figure out, however to counteract this there is a hint system. The hints are singular pictures that show what actively needs to be done to move on in the level. They’re all static so they don’t change based on whether you’ve done something already or not. However if you’ve already completed what a hint showed you or was going to show you to do, it’s grayed out so you can’t view it, that way you don’t get confused trying to redo something. The puzzles are pretty obvious with the aid of the hints thankfully.

3.jpgAll the characters are quirky and attempt at humor though some of them fall flat to me. A good example of this was again, that same firefighter mentioned previously, he has a heart condition that he knows about. He also loves horror films and is a complete chicken shit. When you’re not possessing him he’s in the fire station watching a horror movie. The on the other side there’s individuals like the dentist who hates his job but does it with a smile acting like he does, beyond that he lacks any real personality.

In order to possess people you have to collect ‘things’, which are floating skulls. They aren’t actually given a name in the game. There’s three different types the normal ones which always respawn after a short period of time a moving some distance away from them. The other two types are provided to you for doing specific things. One is a collection race where you have a limited period of time to collect all the skulls, there’s no time piece or number it gives you to know how much time you have left or how many skulls you have left. The other is running around a creature trying not to let it hit you until a unseen timer again runs out and the creature explodes giving you the skulls it held.

2.jpg

Gotta get all the special skulls

Each person that you possess has their own special skill. The firefighter has a fire extinguisher; Tina has a brace face and teeth of fucking steel, and there’s even a pigeon that poops on cue. Yep you read that right, a pigeon that poops on cue. These abilities are used to solve puzzles. You can also read their minds while they’re possessed. Sometimes this adds some amusing information about the character and sometimes it provides information about one of the puzzles you need to solve in that level.

There’s no combat or anything really in the game, just collecting the skulls so you can unlock everyone in the level for possession and solving the puzzles. There’s only 7 levels but they can take a while if you have trouble with the puzzles and don’t want to use the hint system, like me. Just use the fucking hint system, it won’t count against you and it’s not super in depth as it’s only a single picture that looks like a drawing. However because of this, the game can feel boring on occasion. Because to me anyways, it sometimes starts to feel like a point and click game, which I don’t particularly like. Overall though the game is great fun, the story is hilarious, just don’t play it all in one sitting, I suggest an episode or two a day.

header.jpgFlipping Death was developed by: Zoink! Games

Point of Sale: Steam, X1, PS4, Switch

$20.00: Not even Death shuts them up.

 

The Seal.pngA review copy was provided by the developer Zoink! Games.

darkmikasonfire has awarded Flipping Death The Indie Gamer Team Seal of Approval

 

 

 

 

Posted in Nintendo Reviews, PC Reviews, PlayStation Reviews, Xbox Reviews | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Shovel Knight (Boss Fight Books)

I was excited to hear Boss Fight Books would be covering Shovel Knight. It’s rare to be able to get an inside look into what it takes to make a successful indie game.

Boss Fight Books publish a series of documentary-style books focusing on classic video games, telling stories on game development, game design, narrative and even personal gaming experiences. While previous books mostly focus on mainstream and retro games, one of their most interesting books was on the indie hit Spelunky, written by the game creator Derek Yu. Derek provided an insightful look into what it took to make a game by himself and his journey to finish his game. I was anticipating David Craddock would deliver a similar experience, and much like Shovel Knight the game, my expectations were exceeded.

Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove_20181021135932

I really dig Shovel Knight

Shovel Knight was always an intriguing game to me, it was released in 2014 and got great reviews and had wide media coverage and even has an Amiibo I wish I had bought. I still think it’s strange that they released free expansions to owners of the game. When mainstream games have a season pass milking players for money and mobile gaming is filled with predatory in-game purchases, Shovel Knight was a breath of fresh air. Drawing inspiration from great 8-bit classics like Duck Tales, Castlevania and Mega Man, games that focused on game play. I was interested to find out more about who had made this game, what they had done to make it so successful…and why a knight with a shovel?

Yacht Club Games clearly had a passion and went to great lengths to make a game that evokes nostalgia but still holds up as a great modern gaming experience today. David L. Craddock explains how Yacht Club Games was formed, the difficulties they faced and goes into great detail on game design decisions and story elements.

I found it amusing that the in the chapter on the Kickstarter campaign they made it a point not to include the Yacht Club Games team but yet this book was focusing on them.

Craddock’s explanation of design decisions and game theory made me appreciate the work of Yacht Club Games even more. A key part of Shovel Knight is the checkpoint system, it was interesting to learn about the iterative process of designing this feature, how it was eventually implemented to reward risk rather than punish players.

Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove_20181021191037

To break or not to break, that is the question.

I also enjoyed reading about the process of tuning the story around Shield Knight, during the NES era of games the goal of the game was often to rescue a helpless Princess. Yacht Club Games designed the character and created the story of Shield Knight to empower her rather than just be a helpless damsel called “Beloved”.

Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove_20181021140005

Shield Knight, not just another damsel in distress.

This book is a great read and as cliché as it is, I couldn’t put it down. If you are a fan of Shovel Knight or indie game development you should read it.

After finishing the Shovel Knight book I’m now excited to go back and replay the game, after all…the only thing more fun than reading about the game is playing it!

Shovel Knight by David L. Craddock is available at Boss Fight Books or through Amazon.

A review copy was provided by the publisher.

Posted in Book Reviews | Leave a comment

CrossCode

banner.jpgCrossCode is an incredibly fast-paced 2D isometric 16-bit styled RPG/platformer that’s heavy on puzzles. The game focuses on the story of an obscenely adorable amnesiac girl named Lea inside the MMO CrossCode. It deals with her personal story trying to remember who she is as well as trying to find a few people for a helpful stranger named Sergey whose patched into Lea’s visual and audio sensors. Think of him like a hologram that generally only she can see and hear, which totally wouldn’t make her seem batshit insane or anything.

Anyways, in game, the MMO is different from what we’re use to, instead of just logging into a computer and playing a character in a digital world created with 0’s and 1’s, this place is a real landmass. The world is on a Moon so the MMO world is a real place people could feasibly visit although that would be considered cheating and likely heavily against the law in their world. The CrossCode MMO world is therefore physically built, and ironically the places under construction are still called patches.

2.jpg

Sergey, and Lea on a boat, tutorial time baby.

The entire player world is created of something called instant matter, a super lightweight material that fragile but fast and dissolves when it gets too wet. This includes even your avatar. They mixed the world with augmented reality in such a way that the augmented bits affect the world around you. Only those logged in or those wearing special headsets can see the avatar’s weapons; a set of dagger/sword like weapons and balls they throw. It’s weird and really cool to think about honestly. There are characters in the game who are real people and don’t have headsets, they can see your avatar and they also see instamatter boxes, your avatar can destroy the boxes by throwing balls at it, the person wouldn’t see the balls but would see the box suddenly poof into nothingness. It’s an interesting concept that explains why avatars are so fast, why they can’t swim, and why people don’t just leave the planet with them and wreak havoc in the real world.

Lea actually starts off outside of the game world which they call the Playground, basically it’s like a WoW elf waking up inside of a youtube comment section instead of on WoW, it’s not where it’s suppose to be, like at all. It seems Sergey put you on a ship to bring you back to the Playground, the ship is one of many that does work hauling stuff to the game world for maintenance. Here you’re given a tutorial and then introduced to the Playground; so that you aren’t labeled a cheater, you’re put into the last starter dungeon that everyone is suppose to do. You finish it and go on your way in hopes that the game will make you remember who you are.

3.jpg

Smug Lea is best Lea.

Lea is a semi-silent protagonist, her speech module is broken as such she’s mute, however she’s given words on occasion that are hand coded into her avatar’s complex code by the ever… kinda helpful Sergey. When you’re given new words, it’s one, just one at a time most of the time. The speech module issue is known as a thing that happens in the MMO but is super rare in the game’s world, and because it’s so rare no one thinks of it, so everyone thinks Lea is just really quiet. It’s honestly comedic gold, almost every conversation becomes a joke at your own expense but it’s still great. Along with this I should also mention, everyone is technically a silent protagonist in this as there’s no voice acting, as such get prepared for a LOT of reading, it’s not just in cut scenes either, occasionally your allies will say stuff about landmarks or even enemies.

Combat can become extremely hectic, if you wanted you could kite all the enemies together on the entire screen and fight them all at once. I really don’t suggest that, I’ve done it by accident, it wasn’t fun, I died so… so fast. Anyways, you have a guard but it’s weak and is destroyed fairly easily. Instead it’s about dodging in and out of combat, attacking with melee when you can, or you can be like me and be a chicken shit who sucks at the game and you can uhh… yeah, you can smash your balls into their faces, yeah you read that right. Eventually the enemies get tougher, having elements they use, but you get stronger alongside them, gaining access to new elements with every major milestone in the MMO world’s story progress. However the process of fighting never really changes, you just get to attack enemies with what they’re weak against. Well if you’re smart anyways, I usually did the opposite cause I panicked… yeah… I said I sucked for a reason.

There’s two types of puzzles in the game and sometimes they mix together but usually not. The first is platforming puzzles which are all about you trying to get to a chest. These start out easy; eventually you have to go halfway across the map to find different areas to jump to, to get to a chest. All of the chests are worth getting though as many include amazing equipment or good to rare trade items. This is sometimes really annoying because there’s a couple large maps and you can get lost fairly easily even with the game’s map because it just tells you which large section you’re in instead of anything pinpointed. The second type of puzzles are elemental puzzles, these are the real deal. You typically need to throw one or more of your powers in a ball to power a switch. Later on as these become more complex and you have to use more powers. Often you have to use their unique tendencies like the fact that the electric power follows along walls, and the fire one causes steam, etc to solve issues in order to power the switch. These can get extremely complex looking, thankfully, though most of them are actually fairly simple once you know how to do them. But looking at them, oh man is it daunting. Many of the later puzzles also require pretty good timing as you have to create, open, and block different pathways while your powered up ball is moving towards its target. The timing bits can get a bit tedious if you’re like me and aren’t very good at them because often they require good timing and precision throwing of your balls and that’s just a lot to do all at once. Also because of how complex some of them look at first, they can get really hard to figure out and all you wanna do is bash your head against the table. I had to look up guides here and there to get through some of the puzzles because they’d introduce something new and none of it is explained which can make puzzles difficult to understand.

4.jpg

Just a fragment of one of the many puzzles in the game.

There’s two types of puzzles in the game and sometimes they mix together but usually not. The first is platforming puzzles which are all about you trying to get to a chest. These start out easy; eventually you have to go halfway across the map to find different areas to jump to, to get to a chest. All of the chests are worth getting though as many include amazing equipment or good to rare trade items. This is sometimes really annoying because there’s a couple large maps and you can get lost fairly easily even with the game’s map because it just tells you which large section you’re in instead of anything pinpointed. The second type of puzzles are elemental puzzles, these are the real deal. You typically need to throw one or more of your powers in a ball to power a switch. Later on as these become more complex and you have to use more powers. Often you have to use their unique tendencies like the fact that the electric power follows along walls, and the fire one causes steam, etc to solve issues in order to power the switch. These can get extremely complex looking, thankfully, though most of them are actually fairly simple once you know how to do them. But looking at them, oh man is it daunting. Many of the later puzzles also require pretty good timing as you have to create, open, and block different pathways while your powered up ball is moving towards its target. The timing bits can get a bit tedious if you’re like me and aren’t very good at them because often they require good timing and precision throwing of your balls and that’s just a lot to do all at once. Also because of how complex some of them look at first, they can get really hard to figure out and all you wanna do is bash your head against the table. I had to look up guides here and there to get through some of the puzzles because they’d introduce something new and none of it is explained which can make puzzles difficult to understand.

Lastly for any of you who are like, tell us how you really feel. I put just shy of 118 hours into this game in around sixteen days. It’s music is beautiful, Lea is great, the characters are hilarious, and the story is a bit cliched but has some nice twists. The puzzles are phenomenal and can get really difficult, which I personally like and the combat is pretty fun even though I suck at it. Who needs to dodge anyways, you can always tank it or die. I fucking love the game and the devs are adding some more free content to it hopefully this year including a New Game+ mode, which I can’t wait for. They’re thinking of a paid for DLC in the future to continue the story which is highly enticing to me right now. Cause honestly I just really want more of the game right now, I put in that many hours but I still want more, it’s like a good book when you get to the end it’s never enough.

 

end banner.jpgCrossCode was developed by: Radical Fish Games

Point of Sale: Steam

$20.00: Girls with scars are badass, as says Lea.

 

AThe Seal.png review copy was provided by the publisher Deck13.

darkmikasonfire has awarded CrossCode The Indie Gamer Team Seal of Approval

 

 

 

 

Posted in PC Reviews, Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment