Source: Cashmoneys Price: £2.09 Where To Get It: Steam
Catgirls have served many purposes in fiction. As horrific huntresses. As comedy characters. And yes, sometimes, like real cats, they’re horny. And so we come to this game, where the setup is that a retail saleswoman is gifted a catgirl by her auntie. Yes, catgirls are intelligent. Yes, they are pets. No, it doesn’t engage with that, except to note that there’s basically catgirl breeds, care information, communities… Oh, and catgirls in porn. I’m reasonably sure that was referenced. So that, and the fact it’s a kinetic visual novel (No branching points, just sit back and enjoy the story), and that it’s short (Depends on reading speed, but I clock it at sub 2 hours) are the major points out of the way.
Source: Cashmoneys Price: £13.99 (Soundtrack £1.69) Where To Get It: Steam Other Reviews: Early Access
Tower Hunter, the somewhat procgen action platformer, has hit release. And how do I feel about this game, after Early Access?
Okay. Some improvement was made. Let’s recap, before we get into
that. Tower Hunter is a procgen action platformer, in which you, the
titular Erza, must clear a magical tower, defeating its inhabitants,
for… Nope, still haven’t remembered. In any case, there are five
main weapon types, with you randomly getting a possibly
different weapon before each run (and being able to find other,
better versions of weapons, if not the one you started with
sometimes, in the dungeon), and, should you die, you start over
again, losing some of your powerup “chips” and money (gems) in
the process. Which… Usually isn’t that bad, to be honest, because
you’re usually spending gems on upgrades for much of the game, and
the chips are in plentiful supply, so it’s only if you’ve lost some
seriously good ones that it’s a setback, and it’s very much a
Last time I looked at this, the mechanical aspects were somewhat interesting, such as a large bevy of upgrades, multiple unlockable special attacks, the powerup chips being replaceable in play if you find others, recycling of items you don’t want or need into gems, and an improvement of your abilities should you beat the increasingly difficult requirements (Bronze, Silver, Gold for each of the five or six stages, themselves broken into two levels, and, another relatively recent upgrade, an actual boss of a stage. We’ll get to that shortly.)
But the visual flair was somewhat lacking, the seams of the level blocks very clear, and the animations… Well, so so, for the enemies. Oh, and the poor translation into English, which, while I could deal with it in general (It’s not the most plot heavy of deals), is, admittedly, a turn off. Sound alright, music alright…
the animations have gotten a little
better. And the bosses do have some visual flair to them, more
attention having been lavished on them than, perhaps, the bread and
butter of the basic enemies (Who, nonetheless, feel a little more
organic in their movement. Not consistently, alas.)
mechanically, it remains interesting, rewarding speed and
exploration. And it has, to be fair, improved visually somewhat (The
levels themselves remain… Well, a bit blah. You have to work harder
to make procgen 3D areas fit nicely, and harder still to make them
look… Well, not like it’s a collection of single assets.) And
now… Actual bosses. I haven’t faced many so far (two of the five or
six), but so far, they have been both unique, somewhat of an
improvement over the basic enemies (Admittedly, uniqueness is a part
of that, I feel), and… Somewhat frustrating.
game, as is, has a battle of attrition in the levels before a boss.
Most enemies can be stunlocked to oblivion, or murdered quite
quickly, but ranged enemies are introduced early, and some enemies
are frustrating to hit because their
preferred attack vector is… Well, out of reach unless you hop. Add
in traps, status effects like blinding (thankfully, only a
of your vision, rather than total blindness), and the occasional time
your character just doesn’t seem to respond properly (uncommon, but
it does happen), and… Those health potions you have to help cope go
relatively quickly, even with resting areas between each of the two
levels and before a boss. And then you get
to the boss…
first is not so bad: The Cockroach King is clear, you can dodge all
of his attacks just fine, and, apart from the boss thing of breaking
stunlock (and being immune to it after 50% health, with desperation
moves being added), he’s a decent fight. Also one I was glad to beat,
because he was a braggart asshole, and possibly skeevy to boot. The
Centaur Knight, on the other hand… Is mean.
Jump the dash, don’t try to dash dodge it, because it plain doesn’t
work. Shields often, doesn’t always telegraph too well, and while
your attacks don’t seem to do anything to an offscreen enemy, his
definitely can affect from offscreen. He is, to put it bluntly, a big
ol’ pile of dicks. I’ll beat him, eventually, I’m sure. But he is
definitely quite the spike, compared to the first boss.
So… Do I recommend it? Its core ideas remain interesting. It has shown some improvement on the aesthetic front, although not as much as I’d like. And, apart from those odd glitches (Which I’m sure are being worked on), it’s a solid, if still not-so-visually appealing procgen action platformer. So… A tentative yes.
The Mad Welshman, alas, is a Vaudevillain, and so the very definition of a Pattern Based Enemy.
Source: Cashmoneys Price: £13.99 (£18.78 Digital Deluxe, £4.79 Digital Deluxe upgrade) Where To Get It: Steam
“Argh, why did the Eldritch Horror bite my face off?!” asked the primary worshipper of the “Eldritch Horrors Biting People’s Faces Off” cult. That’s a good way to sum up the general story of Sea Salt, in which a town’s archbishop, of the Church of Dagon, the fish god, refuses to go quietly when he is ordered not only to sacrifice others (which he’s alright with), but himself.
You are Dagon, who summons your horde from afar, controls them from
afar, and slaughters the chosen townsfolk and anyone who gets in the
way. And, while the game is alright, and aesthetically works quite
well, I do have some problems with it. So let’s talk gribbleys.
The basic idea is just fine: You start a level with some kind of
creature, you surround townsfolk and murder them by leading them with
your cursor to an enemy, then holding SPACE once you’re reasonably
sure they’re surrounded. Nearly every enemy in the early game will
panic once you’re close enough, so, even with ranged enemies becoming
a thing very early on, this, and the idea that not holding
space allows your gribbleys to navigate hazards like fire are the
basics (but not bullets, or the impending fire of a molotov
cocktail: Those, you just have to deal with, one way or another.)
When you find a summoning circle, or simply collect enough gold from
townsfolk, you can summon more, of any type that you’ve unlocked in
the playthrough so far (yes, this includes restarting entirely.)
And that, plus the narrative of a church leader deceiving his people
into thinking this horde is a test of faith, rather than a punishment
for the leader of the church refusing to be faithful, is
pretty interesting. Hell, even the bosses are interesting, although
they may frustrate the first time you meet them. But it’s okay,
you’re not expected to win in one go. Play an arena. Try again
with different folks. You’re still progressing toward unlocking new
cult leaders with which to try something different.
Aesthetically, it looks pretty good. Good, gothic music, the UX is
well presented, the sprites for the various townsfolk, monsters, etc,
are evocative with a low pixel count, and the world is suitably
It is perhaps a shame then, that it’s been an utter bastard to
screenshot due to problem number one: Yes, there is a windowed mode,
via alt+enter. No, it isn’t in the options. Yes, it’s tiny, and you
have to manually resize. And if that were all, I wouldn’t mind so
much, and this wouldn’t be getting the thumb being waved back and
fore uncertainly. But it isn’t. The game being somewhat slow, I
understand. It gives you room to think, even if it doesn’t
particularly feel great.
But the fires causing this godawful blur effect that makes my eyes
hurt is bloody terrible, and it only gets worse the more fire there
is. No, there isn’t an option to turn that off, although there is for
“Ye Olde School Graine Filtre” Similarly, while the UX is
alright, what isn’t alright is the lack of clarity in the menu
organisation: When it says “Start” , it means “Continue”,
and, when leaving an arena, it asks “Retry” when, in fact, it
means “Back to menu.” And the difficulty starts spiking pretty
If you like playing the monsters or villains, as I do, and want something a little different, this one’s a moderately good pick. But I know I’m going to be waiting until the eyestrain inducing post-effects can be turned off, because that’s the kind of Eldritch Horror I’m not into. Where I’m going, I will need eyes.
The Mad Welshman is more of a Labour voter than the Eldritch Horror Party, but he does support the “Great Cthulhu Eats The Rich” platform.
Source: Cashmoneys Price: £7.19 Where To Get It: Steam
Cats are magical creatures. But even I have to admit that a ghost cat with deadly psychokinetic hairballs is a new one on me. But this is one of the cats available to shoot with in Cat Lady, a roguelite twin-stick shooter that isn’t to be confused with The Cat Lady. Which isn’t even in the same genre.
The story is quite simple: You’re visiting Grandma’s house, but, oh
dear, it’s been haunted by a poltergeist, who is commanding a legion
of ghosts infesting household objects, and they’re out for Grandma
for some reason! Luckily for you, now her small horde of cats can
talk, and have gained magical abilities. Including the aforementioned
ghost cat, one who throws deadly kisses, a wizard cat you start
with… And this is without mentioning secondary cats and their
abilities (Personal favourite is Box Cat, who paws at anything near
where you told him to set up shop)
And, while the first few areas can be breezed through, not
only does it definitely show promise, I appreciate being able to see
everything the game has to offer. As far as the mechanical formula
goes, it’s not a new deal (nor does it have to be.) You walk into a
room, if it has enemies in it, it locks the doors until all the
enemies are dead, you pick up one of two kinds of currency (the
in-run Kibble, and the between-run Ghostly Spirits), you sometimes
trade up your primary and secondary cats, exit levels via stairs,
fight bosses (currently 3), and you get powerups.
Let’s take a brief digression into the powerups, because, while some
are a little iffy, they do combine, so when you have a good combo,
your shots break the game over their knees. For example, at first, I
made my life more difficult by getting erratic shots. I couldn’t
reliably aim at enemies, so… Whoops! But then… Bouncing
projectiles (cool, less worries), burst fire (Wow, that’s a fair few
bouncy projectiles!), giant projectiles (I… I’m having trouble
seeing what’s going on, but I’m reasonably sure everything except me
is dying), and finally… A poison effect.
cut a long story short, by the time I’d gotten halfway through the
third area, I
was filling the screen with giant, deadly, knockbacktastic and
And my box cat? Well, I could set him down, and he would be batting
murderously at a large portion of the room.
to say, I expect these powerups will get nerfed somewhat over the
course of Early Access.
I quite like it. It’s not quite
1-bit colouring (Black, and colour), but you, the room, and your cats
have one colour (determined by area), and the enemies have another
(determined by area), and the shadows are black. It’s clear, it’s
highly readable, and I appreciate that. The telegraphing of enemy
attacks is similarly good, and, indeed, the clear hurtboxes shown on
the screen are sometimes used cleverly, as with the first boss’s bite
attack, which has two forms in quick succession: A toothy mouth where
the hurtboxes are the teeth,
and, as soon as that one lands, it’s the inside
of the mouth that’s the hurtbox. Nice touch, that.
problems? Well, right now, the hitboxes for interactions are finicky
as hell, and buying something in the shop boots you away from the
shop, so you have to… Interact again to buy more. I found myself
shuffling back and fore, effectively pixel hunting for the area where
I could do the thing I wanted to do. And, although the hurtboxes are
clear, sometimes the attack lands before you think
it would land (a problem with the muscle bunnies and the weird
skeletal rabbit things that leap at you.) Some of the powerups seem
outright detrimental, although maybe that’s just me not finding a
Apart from that, though, while it’s currently moderately easy (Well, it becomes easy once you have a good powerup set), and there’s not a great amount to the game, it definitely shows promise, and I look forward to seeing where it goes. Nyaa.
Source: Review Copy Price: £17.99 Where To Get It: Steam
Robots can be frustrating things. Colonists and their needs can be frustrating things. So… What happens when you put them together? Well, it sure ain’t cherry pie, friends. So… Autonauts is a colony building game, but instead of a group of colonists you control (directly or indirectly), it’s robots. Robots you… “Program.”
I would say we’ll get to that in a second, but no, it’s a core issue
with why I find the game so damn frustrating. It’s got a programming
language, programming limitations, but, apart from being able to
delete instructions, what is it actually? It’s monkey-see, monkey-do.
You set the robot to record actions, you do the things, and… Once
you’ve done that, you’d think it was over, right?
Well, not quite. You can change some conditions, such as loop
conditions, but without knowing that (It doesn’t actually teach
you that explicitly, you have to futz with that menu you see (or know
Scratch, and how it does that too) to know this.) But otherwise,
there’s not a lot of programming going on, and, since the
robots were designed by the Department of Cut Corners, the
early game is a massive drag for several reasons. Let’s start with
getting your basic industry up and running.
So, in the tutorial, it tells you you need three robots to log and
replant an area. Fine, cool, this is technically true. What it
doesn’t tell you is that, if you don’t want to be rushing
around trying to fill every one of their needs, from recharging (the
default bot’s battery life can best be described as “Shit”) to
needing tools when they break, you’ll want an extra two bots, one for
recharging, one for making tools, a set of crates to put those
tools in, and to go back and adjust the robots so they get a tool
from the crate when theirs is broken. Not to mention the log chopping
bots, the plank chopping bots, the storing bots, the recharge bots
for all of these, the mining bot, the stone storing bot, the charging
bot for those…
And until you have that basic logging and mining setup, you’re going
to be manually doing a lot of this work. Does it get any easier later
on? Not… Really. Because then, there are colonists. Who are
factories of a resource called, no joke, Wuv. Suffice to say, I have
very little Wuv for these parasites, because while I and the
robots are working our asses off to fill their pyramid of needs,
they… Well, they don’t really do anything except generate Wuv.
Which you need for research to improve their needs, and…
Oh shit. We’ve got more industries to deal with. Which you’ll be
setting up bots for. You can, to be fair, make this slightly
easier by… Building several robots to build robots, a specified
number, rather than an infinite loop. That way, you can just hit play
on up to four bots to build a more complicated bot. (their charging
bot is always active unless it loses battery, and no, another
charging bot won’t solve the problem, it’ll just delay
it a fair bit (Unless their batteries run down simultaneously early))
But I hope I’m getting across my main problem with this game: It is
perhaps the most busywork colony builder I’ve come across in a while,
because there’s not much breathing room for things to just work
without… Oh. Yeah. Doing the legwork to build, program, and equip
several bots for a single task that… I dunno, maybe those lazy
bastards we’re feeding, clothing, and housing could help with?
Aesthetically, by the way, it’s quite pleasing. Nice low poly look,
good sound, the music is… Well, it’s meant to be relaxing, but, as
you might gather, it hasn’t helped a lot. It has clear menus
(Although it should be noted that the Blueprint encyclopedia is also
the “What’s in the world” encyclopedia. So you know), the Scratch
interface for robots is somewhat clear (Yes, I missed
conditional loops for hours, so you can imagine how frustrated I was
before this small, but very significant detail was spotted),
so… This is alright.
But I have to admit, I’m not having fun with it. My colonists are parasites, my robots are flawed, and for every new task I need to do, there’s a lot more setup than is perhaps necessary, and I didn’t feel like the tutorialising was clear. Is it an interesting approach to a colony building game? Yes. Is it unfortunately an unenjoyable romp into this territory? Well, for me, at least, it was.
The Mad Welshman does count his blessings. At least it’s not the SP10 series we’re using.