Derelict Void (Review)

Source: Review Copy
Price: £15.49
Where To Get It: Steam

Being hurled into the depths of space with very limited resources is a solid fear. A terrible fear. Especially when what you can salvage will either be minimal… Or just broken.

This looks like it’s going okay. But I’m overloaded. I can jettison certain buildings. And you really should do that before you travel, because otherwise, you’re wasting time and fuel. No, it doesn’t account for that during transit.

Kiiinda wish we had leeway on the food and water, though. People can survive a certain time without it, after all.

Ah, what the hell, let’s say it’s an abstraction. Any which way, Derelict Void can best be described as “Bastard hard.” I would say it’s good that a survival game like this is so, but… It also means individual runs end up pretty short unless you luck out, and it’s a little depressing to see lots of buildings you need, but none are in good enough condition, you don’t have enough to repair them, you’re foundering under hull weight… You’re basically having a bad time.

Still, it’s easily understood, on the base level. You travel to places, some of which are resources, some events (quest chains that might help you out, like improving your engines), some hulls, which contain resources and buildings (and can be safely jettisoned if they have sod all in them, reducing weight), and, well, you try to make your ship as self sufficient as possible while keeping your food, water, and oxygen above zero. Since anything can be converted to fuel, well, you’ll sometimes end up using one of those three to get where you’re going. The game’s also friendly in that it has a modular difficulty, so you can make the game much easier or harder. It’s not like it appears to be scoring you.

But I played on default, just to get a feel for it. And it ain’t friendly.

Like I said, it’s not bad.

Anyway, aesthetically, it’s alright. Bit workmanlike, bit grubby, but it’s not an eyesore, it’s pretty clear, no colour problems, because most of the important stuff is shapes, and the music is okay too. The art within the various events isn’t bad, so there’s that going for it. It could also do with some text scaling options, as the UX is sparse enough to allow it.

Overall, with the adjustable difficulty, it’s not a bad game. But it’s… Kind of blah. Perhaps give it a go if you like procgen survival type deals, but it’s not really entry level, and I wouldn’t really say it’s a must-have.

The Mad Welshman, on the one hand, wouldn’t mind going into space adventures. Mostly yeeting the 1% into the sun though.

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Legend of Keepers (Review)

Source: Cashmoneys
Price: £15.99 (Supporter pack £7.19)
Where To Get It: Steam
Previous Reviews: Early Access

Let’s see here… Welcome back, Legend of… Kepers? Oh, Keepers, sorry, that was hard to pronounce. So, as you know, you’re here for your review meeting, in which we go over what you’ve learned, how you’ve improved, your general suitability as a procgen , your ability to show what dungeon keeping is like, the hassle, the danger, the awful marketing department, so on, so forth…

Place your monsters carefully, for maximum effect. Go for consistent builds. Murder the hell out of those self righteous twits.

A little improvement, not much change? Ah, well, that’s to be expected, you were pretty polished the first time around, didn’t really have many complaints. You’re still nice and presentable, that’s quite the accessible look you have there, presenting yourself clearly, very understandable… We’re always fond of pixel art here at WelshCorp, especially hi-def pixel art, very nice look! You’re not all that musical, but not everyone has talent in that area, and you’re certainly suitable.

Now, let’s see, you still have three classes, each with their own skill tree, each with their own gimmick… The brute, the trapper (actually very good at ruining morale, that’s nice!), and the damage-over-time specialist (poor dear, she gets in so many fights, I’d consider her the hard mode, honestly…) The brute is, alas, still a little bro-ish, but we can’t help our little quirks sometimes.

Marketing: They’re still jerks. But

Oh dear, that awful random party shuffle man is still in your department? Well, he adds a little tactical spice, but customer reports state that he’s really not popular with people. Well, at least he generally dies quickly.

Oooh, a little storytelling too as you progress through the seven two year stints of the game (week by week, with events?) Well, it’s only a small addition, but it’s a nice one, so you definitely score points there with us.

Well! I can see you’ve only improved slightly, Kepers… Keepers? Terribly sorry. Also, why is your first name not Legends, plural? It’s just your name? I’m nitpicking now, terrible habit of mine. Yes, you definitely pass muster among those players who’d like to explore the world of strategic and tactical rogue-sort-of-maybe-kind-of deals, and, of course, veterans of the field looking for a challenge!

So, since this is your final review session with us… Oh, you didn’t know? Well, our budget has been slashed, so we’re having to cut the fat, as it were. You’re lean, mean… Ahaha, well, we’ve replaced you with a cheaper employee. But you get a very nice severance package, why, it’s all of 120 gold!



The Mad Welshman is accepting further produc- er, employees. He’s talking about games to review, not writers. Pay him lots if you want more writers.

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Atelier Firis DX: The Alchemist And The Mysterious Journey (Review)

Source: Review Copy
Price: £32.99 (or £74.22 for this, Sophie DX, and Lydie and Suelle DX)
Where To Get It: Steam

Time limits. My ancient nemesis. Why, I haven’t seen you since… Come to think of it, I haven’t played an RPG with time limits since Recettear. Huh.

Anyway, before I go on, I will mention they’re quite generous unless you want to do aaaaall the sidequesting, but, can’t lie, I’ve been spoiled by the recent ones and feel like it’s antithetical to cute alchemist chill times.

Well, except maybe in Escha & Logy, what with the whole “World on the verge of ruin” dealio. Anyway, bitching over, time to talk about cute alchemist funtimes. Because, oh look, it’s still a quality series.

I feel you, Firis. I feel you.

And this installment… Apart from the ones I haven’t played (most of the earlier ones), this is perhaps the saddest beginning. Little bird Firis, trapped in a stone cage, barred with an iron door.

I mean, the cage is actually a mining town, and she has a valued job because she can “hear” gathering points (ores is specifically what she was trained for), but… A cage all the same, and she wants to see the blue sky, feel the wind… The world outside, dagnabbit!

Well, obviously it’d be a short game if she didn’t find a way to leave, but… It’s an emotional beginning, all the same. And then, of course, it’s cute alchemist funtimes, with cute alchemist obsta-

Obligatory Random Barrel Text Screenshot. Also, yes, this is before I got to the actual building part of the questline.

Ah. Let’s talk a little about Flussheim. Flussheim is not my favourite place in Atelier Firis. In fact, it seems to serve almost solely as something to make the clock flow by. Long runs from objective to objective, a small mazelike portion of the map where I waste a day on average trying to get to the two shops there during their opening hours, and your first mass alchemy. Oh boy. I hope you were collecting ingredients despite feeling the time pressure, otherwise you’re going to be spending time gathering ingredients. 40 metals. 30 fuel. I forget the others, but in addition to the other quest item requirements, you can pretty much expect to be a pro at Ingots, and spend several days, probably around 20 or 30, just making this one thing.

This killed my buzz pretty quickly. Up to this point, I’d been happily gathering, getting new recipes, meeting new folks, chuckling as an old lady very obviously put us through the wringer with chores for the sake of putting us through the wringer (oh, you cunning old biddy), engaging with the turn based combat and making new friends to fight with, pretty much all of them useful in some fashion in the party, enjoying the aesthetic…

I didn’t check out during Flussheim’s final step. But god, I was tempted, and I think, honestly, this point in the game is going to be where people get put off from finishing. It’s a segment of the game that doesn’t respect your time. And what with the time pressure, it’s a frustrating, evil segment that brings the rest down.

Some of the combat animations are great. Suffice to say, she wrecks face with this skill.

The rest of the game is fine, and indeed, once you’ve gotten through the alchemy exam, the time limits go away, and it remains cute alchemist funtimes, with great music, well designed enemies, cool crafting with puzzle elements (Addition: Oh hi there, colourblind unfriendly ingredient colours!), interesting places… But I can’t say I’m fond of time constraints, however generous, and I’m even less fond of them after encountering Flussheim. And I’m also less fond of Atelier Firis.

In conclusion? Firis is one of the weaker entries I’ve encountered so far in the series.

Which is a shame, because otherwise, it’s a fun story.

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Atelier Sophie DX: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book (Review)

Source: Review Copy
Price: £32.99 (or £74.22 for the whole trilogy of Sophie, Firis, and Lydie and Suelle)
Where To Get It: Steam

Atelier Sophie, The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book, and indeed, the first in the Mysterious Trilogy of the Atelier series, starts off with a bang. In Lydie & Suelle, we had a missing mom, and trashdad. In Firis, we had the feeling of being a bird in a cage, needing to be free.

In Sophie, we encounter a talking alchemy book that has lost its memories. A very snarky talking book too.

Suffice to say, I like Plachta.

Happens all the time, Sophie, it’s no big! (NARRATOR: But it is a big)

In any case, best to mention the gist of the Atelier games, as this’ll be the first posted of the two parts of the Mysterious Trilogy I haven’t covered: Cute alchemists go on adventures, relatively low stakes until suddenly it’s not, with a puzzle-like crafting system, turn based combat (this time, it varies), and a beautiful world filled with characterful people. By this point, they’d been at the Atelier games for 16 previous games, iterating and testing each time, so for the most part, they’ve got the formula polished (although they experiment to this day.) It’s fun stuff.

It’s also the first Atelier game I’ve played (I have yet to play most of the series) where the stakes introduce themselves pretty early, in the form of a pair of very sus folks. We’ll not go into details, but suffice to say, there’s heavy foreshadowing in the game, and I’m okay with this.


Aesthetically, well… It be an Atelier game. Cool tunes, great character designs, beautiful landscapes to pick flowers and mine from and murder punis in… I haven’t had a complaint yet in terms of aesthetics, and this is no different.

So… Mechanically? Storywise? Any particular problem segments? Not really. The game has some small bugs, but otherwise, it has an interesting take on the usual alchemy funtimes (Where you can improve your cauldron for better effect, rotating parts, that sort of funtime), locations are more limited, but you can revisit them quickly (for greater risk), combat’s very much about chaining things together, although this isn’t terribly difficult, and the game has no timer. Plot is, in fact, based on unlocking recipes, which does, on the one hand, mean you’re grinding things out, but you’re going to be grinding things out anyway, because holy shit, you’ll need those bombs and unis and other weapons of alchemic destruction.

Crafting in Sophie and Firis is similarish, so here’s a good ol’ screenshot of making a nice, low stakes creation.

But while, of this trilogy, Lydie & Suelle is my favourite, Sophie comes a close second. I’m enjoying my time with the cast, many of whom return in later games. Including Sophie herself.

As with any Atelier game, if you like cute alchemists, crafting, low stakes gameplay until the latter half of the game, and JRPG funtimes, then yes, Atelier Sophie is a good pick.

Look, cute alchemists doing cute alchemist things, only needing to save the world in the third act? This is extremely my jam. Gimme the Dusk Trilogy. Do it. I’ll do a Going Back on those too!

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Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit In Wonder Labyrinth (Review)

Source: Cashmoneys
Price: £15.49 (OST £5.79)
Where To Get It: Steam
Previous Reviews: Early Access

So… Lodoss War. It’s a big, long (and cool) multimedia franchise, which is continuing to this day, with a fair few characters across the series, high drama, etcetera…

This guy is important. Except here, where he is a boss who says words.

It’s somewhat important to point this out, because one of Deedlit’s failings here is that it fails to get me interested in any of it (as opposed to the rest.) If I were just playing the game, without context, I know that Deedlit is a high elf, in love with a guy called Parn, after their many adventures together. I know there’s a dark elf in here who’s been a common foe, although I forget the name. Karla is apparently sometimes a bad person, sometimes not, but a schemer?

This… Is basically the extent of what I’d know, only some of which is dealt with in the intro, and some of which I’d have to google. Honestly, some of it I still had to google.

So, uhhh…

Why yes, these are the same screenshots. Arrow puzzles are actually kinda fun.

Mechanically, it’s a metroidvania, in which you get new weapons, abilities, and the like, and use them to get to new places, meet new monsters, and bash their faces in, occasionally fighting bosses. It’s more fun than that, but a fair few of the tools in your toolbox are given to you before you even fight the first boss: A sylph, which allows you to ignore water element attacks and float when active, a salamander, who allows you to set things on fire and blow things up (and ignore fire element attacks), and a bow, which you use to cut ropes and hit buttons, bouncing off metal walls in short, puzzle like segments.

You get more than that, of course, but these three things comprise a big chunk of the gameplay. And yet, it feels kind of empty. Part of that is aesthetic. Since the place is one big castle, there’s not a whole lot of variation. Ah yes, the bit with lava in. The bit where the pretty water effects are (honestly, hovering over the water is a joy, visually.) It’s a bit flat, even if it’s gorgeously rendered. This isn’t to take away from the rest of the aesthetics, from the clear UX, the well done pixel art, the character and enemy designs, some of which are kinda creepy. Giant centipede content warning, folks. And the music isn’t bad, if a little limited.

These guys remain utter gits.

But while, mechanically, it’s alright, and uses its element change mechanics to good effect, outside of that, there’s… Not a whole lot. It’s still a solid metroidvania, although the short playtime will turn some folks off (sod them), but… I still didn’t mesh with it, even at the end.

This just… Drained my enthusiasm, honestly. Or maybe I’m just already knackered right now.

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