Super Impossible Road

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I write this review as the game is still in Early Access. I say that not because I plan to go easy on the game or something, just as a heads up to those that will consider buying the game. I’ve always maintained that “Early Access” is not an excuse for how good or bad a game is. Once you put it on the marketplace, you’re fair game… in my opinion.

Super Impossible Road is a racing game. There’s really not much to say about racing games in general. You control a ball. You can modify your ball to have the stats that you want it to have but let’s be real here, does anyone ever care enough to min-max perfectly? If you do, please send me a message, I need to know what’s going on in your head.

The tracks have gates on them which fill up your boost bar. Using boost makes your ball go a little faster (obviously). Where this game differs from other racing games that I’ve played is that you can jump off the track to “cheat” your way to finish line faster. That’s why the game’s tagline “Winning is cheating”. Now you can’t just jump off the track and free fall to the finish line for victory. The game would be too easy in that case. Upon leaving the track, you have five seconds to return to the track. If you fail to touch the track in that time, you will automatically respawn at the last boost gate you touched. Which means that you have to be really careful about deciding when to ‘cheat’. Otherwise you may waste up to five seconds. If you see the writing on the wall that you’re not going to make it, you can force respawn early.

The tracks can be fairly complex. At this time, while there are only three ‘tracks’, the tracks are procedurally generated so it’s like having an infinite number of tracks? There’s also a daily track where you can compete with people across the world for the top score.

The game is aesthetically appealing (to me) with that ‘Tron’ feel. I’m not the biggest fan of EDM so there’s only one or two soundtracks that I like but it definitely matches the feel of the game. Excellent job.

While the game does have multiplayer, it seems it only has local multiplayer. Perhaps they will change that as it is still in early access. You can still have CPU racers and you can even race against your ghost. So it has some rudimentary tools.

Anyway, at the time of writing, the game is priced at $12. While I do like the game for what it does, I don’t think it’s worth $12 yet. Do it if you want to support the creators but other than that, I’d wait for it to go on sale or something for $5 or $6. I’m not the biggest fan of racing games so I won’t dump too many hours into it, but in my opinion, it does look promising. Thanks for reading.

Artemis Hunt

Super Impossible Road

Tallowmere

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Tallowmere is a dungeon diving roguelike. A return to basics, maybe. This game features all of your favourite people. We got bitches be spitting mad rhymes, Mike ‘Taze the Rainbow’ Pence, we got Allahu Ackbar, we even got President Donald ‘Grab em by the Pussy’ Trump.

Tallowmere (to my knowledge) is one of those endless games where you just scoreboard whore. Nothing wrong with that, just makes it a timesink rather than an experience. The controls are fairly easy to pick up and it has many ways to challenge players. The weapons you find each have unique controls even if some of them seem absurdly overpowered. I think with the exception of three weapons: the dagger, the club, and the grenade, all attacks home in on enemies and the differences between the weapons are usually how you’re affected as you use them. For example, the ice wand hand a weird range where it won’t angle up or down that much. The rocket launcher has a longer range and a faster projectile, but it knocks you back. Don’t use it next to walls or spikes (I have the achievement you get for suiciding by rocket). The katana has to be my favourite weapon even if I think it’s terrible. When you use it, you teleport to a nearby enemy and you can do this to easily bypass walls and traps. The drawback is, in rooms with large hordes of enemies, it’s easy to lose track of yourself. And when you suddenly die because you didn’t realize you had fallen into a spike pit, it can be annoying. But seeing myself fly across the room killing everything in 1 hit is just sheer delight that whenever I would get bored (usually around floor 50 or 60) I would just suicide using the katana.

Unfortunately, two things play against it. One thing is that you can sacrifice kittens for more health and that’s not okay. I mean, seriously, what the fuck. And you get an achievement for sacrificing all nine. Which I totally only did for SCIENCE! Also because I like to collect achievements.  The second thing (real thing here) that plays against it is that the difficulty curve drops off rather abruptly. After getting some good equipment on floors 1-10 it can become trivially difficult to kill all of the mobs and get better equipment which makes the future floors trivially difficult… The game becomes too easy. And this is why I wind up stopping or suiciding with the katana.

Overall, I think that the game is quite fun to play and well worth a few dollars if you have some hours to spare. Thanks for reading.

Artemis Hunt

Tallowmere

Hate Plus

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Hate Plus is the sequel to Analogue: A Hate Story. I played Hate Story on the recommendation of a good friend and I rather enjoyed it. I didn’t write a blog post review on it though because… I don’t know why. I wasn’t really in the habit of blogging at that point. But to put it simple, it’s a bit of a visual novel. You have some degree of interaction in the story, but overall you’ll be reading the same story every time. There are some options that are available throughout the story that change some dialogue, change some endings (I think the first game had 5 or 6?) and the joy is in the core story as well as how the character endings change. Fun stuff. Personally I tend to read visual novels for the women plot and while I tend to be bothered by adding clicks between me and the women plot I generally enjoy these.

I give this game(?) a VERY tentative thumbs up.

Hate Plus… is arguably a visual novel. It’s a visual novel in that you will be reading a story and it’s actually a pretty good story. The story is presented through decrypted diary entries which is great as a narrative device. Even though you’ll probably read the entries out of order, it’s actually somewhat engaging. It actually feels like the diary entries are more fun to read out of order because then we can piece together the visual novel ourselves. The stories are short enough (there’s one main story and a couple of sub-stories) that it’s actually possible to use this narrative style. This method doesn’t scale up well unless you’re really good at tying threads together with skill on the order of George R. R. Martin. These stories are only tangentially related, in A Song of Ice and Fire I don’t think there’s a single unimportant set of details. Yes, even the food scenes.

The characters are all fairly interesting with realistic interactions. I like how the character design is really thought out. There’s not so much on character development (the game is too short) but that’s fine, that’s not the point. These diary entries are just about… life. I guess it makes sense considering that the purpose of diaries is to write about life but I don’t really know any other way to put it.

The biggest flaw in the game is execution. The core of the game’s story is *Mute, the character depicted on the title art (seen at the top of this page). The *Mute of the past doesn’t quite seem to be the *Mute of the present so you get to dig around figuring out what happened, ultimately uncovering the beginning of the totalitarian regime that died out from the first game.

This game has a lot of fluff. That’s to be expected since it’s a diary game; but the amount of fluff in this game seems exceedingly so. In the prequel it took you maybe one to three minutes to read each diary entry. This game takes around five minutes an entry and while that may not seem like much, that’s an increase of close to 100%. The rule is not “Longer is better” but rather “Be as long as you need to be”. Unfortunately, from my point of view, some of these entries are too long. Don’t get me wrong, some of them are legitimately great reads, but they can drag on when you’re in “get to the point” mode.

I think that by far, the worst addition to this game though, is the time restricted setup. Yes, you can change your computer clock to skip it. No, I don’t care. Why was a mechanic like that put into the game in the first place? The rule is, you need to wait 12 hours after reading the day’s worth of diary entries (usually 12-18 entries). Why was this unnecessary barrier to content added? I paid for the whole game today. I didn’t pay for 1/3 of the game today, 1/3 tomorrow, and 1/3 the day after that. This is unreasonable and severely hurt my opinion of the game. There are also several sections of the game where you are literally forced to wait twenty minutes to an hour to proceed. This. Is. Frustrating. Design.

I’m actually going to sit on the fence here. It’s not a game that you can recommend to anyone. I personally found it to be… acceptable. But you have to remember that I’m a little bit weird. I liked the fluff even if it dragged on a little longer than it should’ve. I found the way the totalitarian regime began to be interesting. I like the characters. So while the time delay execution style is retarded, I tried to not let it get in my way. So my last word will be a conditional. If you enjoy fluff and reading about things entirely unrelated to the content at hand (even if only briefly) and you want to learn about the rise of a Confucian society, maybe catch this game on sale. If you need the linear path or even a mostly linear path to progress through your games, maybe give this one a pass. As always, thanks for reading.

Artemis Hunt

Hate Plus

Jotun: Valhalla Edition

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You know, I’ve always been a bit of a sucker for Norse stuff. I’m actually wearing my Fenrir necklace as I write this up. There’s just something so… raw and inspiring (and on occasion, messed up) about Norse legends. When I imagine myself a viking warrior, I feel so powerful. I’m a huge Berserk fan, and the word Berserk comes from the Norse language meaning “bear skinned”. Berserkers would wear a bear’s skin to signify that in combat, anyone was fair game. And there’s just something about that I can connect to. So when I saw Jotun, I knew that I would eventually purchase it.

Jotun is the story of a young girl that has died on the seas, being sent to Ginnungagap to prove herself. She does this by going through several worlds, collecting runes, and conquering the Jotun that live there. All of this is for the purpose of “proving oneself to the gods”. There isn’t really any dialogue, just narration that I assume is in the nordic language. I wouldn’t know for sure though, I don’t speak it. The narrators are suitably… husk sounding. Tough sounding. Maybe it’s the language, I dunno.

The game is beautiful. Straight up beautiful. ‘Nuff sed.

The combat feels clunky at times. You have an axe. You have blessings from the gods that give you various buffs when active. You have a fast, weak attack and you have a slow, strong attack. The strong attack feels too slow. I took kendo for a year and the amount of time you spend with your axe above your head for the strong attack is unrealistic. If your weapon is above your head, it’s not protecting your body. This is just unreasonable. It also does less damage than the weak attack does in the time it takes to use. I’d only ever use the strong attack when my enemy was in the air so I could hit them as soon as they land and then switch to weak attack. Freya’s blessing also speeds up the weak attack so it becomes even more useful. You can get Thor’s blessing to power up your strong attack but… too slow.

The game is in 2D but the characters have 3D hitboxes. This becomes especially frustrating in boss fights with enemies that stand (so, almost all of them). because the hitbox when they’re standing is half the size of the one when they’re on the ground. Which, sure, it’s realistic, but it can become difficult to judge whether or not your strike will hit because the hitbox is so weird. The devs were nice enough to show us a shadow of our character when it’s behind a boss, but they weren’t nice enough to show us shadows of things falling from the sky that are behind the boss. So quite a few deaths of mine were caused by attacks I literally could not see coming. Not to mention that if your character is where a titan will stagger, it will get knocked back into those hazards you were avoiding. Extremely annoying.

Overall? Great game even if some fights are exceedingly frustrating. Definitely recommend. Thanks for reading.

Artemis Hunt

Jotun: Valhalla Edition

Titan Souls

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Titan Souls is not Dark souls.

So Titan Souls is a game in which the only enemies that you’ll find are bosses. If there are any non-boss enemies, I never found them. If there is a story, I was unable to discern it from the various clues given throughout the world. But that’s not a problem because if the game isn’t trying to sell you a story, you don’t have to judge it on its story.

You only have one attack, a ranged one. You fire an arrow from a bow. You have to be stationary to do it. You also only get one arrow, so if you happen to miss, you’re going to want to get your arrow back. If you press the fire arrow button, it’ll actually come right back to you, and the use of this mechanic is necessary to kill at least one boss but helps with a few others. You die in one hit no matter what, but that’s okay because every boss does as well. The boss fights themselves are very well-done, with few exceptions. They’re all creative in attack patterns. But remember that you only get one hit. Your margin of error is zero. Which means whenever you fight an unfamiliar boss, with few exceptions, you’re going to have a bad time. Sometimes I feel like death is necessary to learn the attack pattern and formulate a plan for the weakness.

The graphics are fabulous, but the game suffers from the same issues that (visually) isometric games often have. The problem of dealing with height. As a rule of thumb, if your game is only visually isometric, height should not be a factor. Ever. It’s too difficult for the player to discern height. The usual trick for players in visually isometric games is to watch shadows. Which becomes even more difficult when your enemy is coming from underwater. This is needless difficulty that doesn’t enhance the game.

I feel bad for the music designer. They probably put so much effort into these godly soundtracks, with a different one for each of the 20-ish bosses. But you only get to hear the first ten seconds of them, because you die so fast if you’re not prepared. But sweet jesus. Seriously. Listen to this stuff. I might actually prefer to have bought the soundtrack than the game itself.

Overall, an enjoyable game, but incredibly frustrating. I definitely recommend playing it though. Perfect speedrun bait. Thanks for reading.

Artemis Hunt

Titan Souls

Momodora III

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It’s weird how memory plays tricks on you. About a year ago I played Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight and I reviewed it.When I bought this game I was under the impression that I had left a glowing review of it. Looking back, not so much. I even said it was overpriced… Huh. Anyway, that was the fourth game in the series. I figured I may as well play the third game. Without further delay, let’s move on to the review.

Momodora III is a platformer action game. I’m not too sure on the story, but again, I haven’t played Momodora I or Momodora II. So maybe those games cover the pieces. You actually do meet Kaho from Momodora IV (and presumably, an earlier Momodora?) and help her with some shenanigans. There’s a mini-story where you can save/kill a fellow Kahonese pilgrim. I usually try to save her but I’m not the best at beating the bee boss so of my three play-throughs I only saved her on my 37 minute run.

Graphics are simplistic but nice. Enemies can be a pain. Especially the ones with bombs. I think bombs do damage every frame after they explode, so I got instagibbed by bombs a few times without realizing what was happening. What annoyed me the most is that when you attack, you’re locked in place. Playing games in… the current year, in almost every game I’ve ever played I’ve been able to move and attack at the same time or at least to some degree. There’s also no roll button which I tend to favor over jumps (because muh invulnerability frames).

So Momodora III feels like it was designed to be a speedrun game. It has six bosses (if I recall correctly) and it can easily be finished within an hour. My first playthrough took me… 1 hour? The second 37 minutes and the last, an hour again. Just depends on which bosses ruin your day. A perfect run can likely be done within 20 minutes, including the time travel section. The characters have limited interaction, though there seems to be a bit of a sidequest if you want the “good” ending. I won’t spoil the endings, but I will say that there’s not much of a difference in terms on content and it’s pretty easy to get both endings in a single play session.

Overall, the game wasn’t great but it wasn’t bad either. I did genuinely get engaged in some of the boss fights even if I was annoyed that I had no roll button. The game’s a little too easy though. You can obtain an item that doubles your damage shortly after the first boss and you can increase your basic attack’s damage after the fourth boss. I don’t feel like the enemy setups are terribly interesting and at some points seemed outright unfair. I’d say that this is a case of you get what you pay for. It’s a $2 game (at the time of writing). It’s worth it. It certainly makes the sequel seem far more valuable in comparison. Thanks for reading.

Artemis Hunt

Momodora III

Kingdom: New Lands

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Wow. Just wow. What an amazing game.

So Kingdom: New Lands is an RTS in which you play a Monarch that is trying to rebuild the kingdom of their ancestors. You recruit goons of questionable virtue and build a kingdom from a small fortune you found lying around. Lord knows how it got there but who cares. Use this gold to rebuild your kingdom. But it seems that someone knows of your attempt to rebuild your kingdom because every night you get assaulted by mobs and mobs of goons. But you couldn’t, nay, you’d never sully your hands by fighting the goons yourselves. So you have your archers fight the goons for you and you just have to sit back and pray that your walls are thick enough. If you’d like to stem the flow of goons, you can destroy portals using knight squads. Each knight can have three archers following them. The knights don’t attack the portal, they just hold the line so their archer squads can do the work.

Every few nights a Red Moon appears in the sky and during this night you get mobbed by even more enemies than usual. Normally this wouldn’t be that much of a problem but your archers have the accuracy of blind man firing a BB gun at a flea on your cat. The good part about Red Moons is that the enemies will only spawn from one side. I think there’s a possible exception if you destroy a portal right before it though.

There are various shrines you can offer gold to if you want to buff your units (and why wouldn’t you) but they can get pretty pricey if your income is stifled by… I dunno… the swarms of goons at your door. And then your knights are such pussies that if the wall gets low on health, instead of doing their jerb and holding the line they run back to an inner wall. And they bring their archer squads with them! The number of times I yelled at my computer because if the knights had stayed and let their archers keep firing, we wouldn’t have lost that wall! Christ.

And don’t get me started on the engineers. If you happen to accidentally mark a tree for removal out in the middle of nowhere, your engineers will continually suicide at it until they cut it down! And sometimes your archers will stay out hunting way past their bedtime and get gooned. And sometimes you need that extra gold coin and your archer will shoot like five arrows at a rabbit and miss every time. PUT. ON. YOUR. GLASSES. 

The only downside to this game (I would say) is that each level takes like two hours to complete. Oh, and if you want to clear the last island, it’s imperative that you set yourself up by beating a prior island (I chose the first island for ease) because the small fortune you find at the beginning of the game is a little tooooo small.

That said, it’s very absorbing. I accidentally played through the night until I had to get up for work several times. “Just one more attempt.” The game nicely works its way into itself for replays too. After your die, your new monarch will be the ghost that leads you to the new site. There’s a war horse you can ride that spawns in a battlefield. One of the background textures for that battlefield is the body of your old monarch. The little touches. 100% recommend. Thanks for reading.

Artemis Hunt

Kingdom: New Lands