Archive for the ‘Games Gone By’ Category:

Monster MonPiece (Going Back)

Source: Cashmoneys
Price: £7.19 (Full bundle £11.34, soundtrack/artbook/wallpapers £6.99)
Where To Get It: Steam

I love me monstergirls. I love me women protags, because, even today, they’re a relative rarity. And I have recently developed a weakness for Gacha style gameplay, where the character drops are random, and upgrading them is the order of the day.

You’d think my back’s against the wall here. And it is.

So, nominally, Monster MonPiece ticked all the boxes. But it does have some problems. Even if it’s not the ones you might be thinking of from the screenshot above. Although it is related. You see, weird sexualised minigames (along with other awkwardness about small lookin’ monsterfolk in bikinis), I am somewhat used to, having survived reviewing Senran Kagura (eeeeeeeesssh.) I’m not gonna say it isn’t weird, or a turnoff, because both can easily apply. But that speaks for itself. No, what isn’t seen here is that, despite this levelup with “touching/rubbing games” (ew) being a core mechanic, what’s gained is often unclear, while what’s lost is very clear.

Wait, my big ol’ buff warrior type lost attack? What did it get back? Where can I find what the hell it got back? Why would I want my main gal Fia to suddenly become an unmoving character, rather than raising hell? (Okay, that one, at least, makes a vague sort of sense… But others suddenly gain that property, while becoming, for want of a better word, crap.)

Gets a buff… Can’t move.

Anyway, yes… Basic idea. So, some monstergirls have been tamed, becoming friends with humanity, while others are still Lost in their urges (and so have some humans.) Cue our protag, who, at first, is a bit of a wet blanket, but her resolve hardens when her friend is made Lost by the villainess, and cue a shounen-like battle to collect the big magic things wot might be used to end the world but were previously benign. And, gameplay wise, it’s a mix of a card game and a tower attack/defense, with three lanes of monsterfolk being placed in your area, moving forward with each turn, whacking each other with sticks/bows, using special abilities… It’s pretty tactical, actually… And, the aforementioned gacha. After each fight, or when you pay the in-game currency, you get card packs, or individual cards, from a region based deck. Level ’em up via… Sigh… The rubbing minigame, plonk ’em down, rinse, repeat.

And it’s that rinse/repeat that’s palled on me. It takes a fair few battles to get to the next part of the story, and… They’re a bit nondescript. Little things change, new monstergirls slowly get introduced, but… The story isn’t enough, and isn’t common enough, to make this not feel like a bit of a grind.

Yes, I rubbed a nerd ghost. Don’t judge me.

Accessibility wise, the rubbing minigames are the worst aspect of things. Tap repeatedly. Waggle the mouse repeatedly… It’s hell on even my hardened wrists and fingers, and I can’t think how bad it would be for people who can’t use the mouse like that. And, aesthetically, it’s… Actually alright. The weirdness aside, the art is good, the music is alright…

But that doesn’t save it from feeling kind of eh. So, this isn’t really a recommendation or “Nah”, it’s just… Eh, I guess if the screenshots appeal, if the idea appeals, and if what you see on LP vids or the like appeals, then… Yeah? But it’s certainly a flawed title, regardless.

The Mad Welshman would like to catch all the monstergirls, but twitter keeps stealing his stash. Which is hella rude.

Disgaea 5 Complete (Going Back)

Source: Cashmoneys
Price: £29.99 (Arbook £3.99)
Where To Get It: Steam

Ever since I heard Disgaea 4+ Complete was coming to the PC, I’d gotten curious about the series. So I gave 1 a go… 2 a go… And, recently, 5. And it’s not hard to see how the series has evolved.

Seraphina’s… A little oblivious. And narcissistic.

So, a refresher, even though we’ve reviewed another Disgaea game this month: Disgaea is an SRPG fantasy series, in which Demon Lords (with one exception in the series) face some sort of tribulation, having to rise through the ranks of their kind by beating the shit out of others, in small battles comprising chapters in the story. And Disgaea 5 is perhaps the darkest one, as the antagonist is a Demon Lord who enslaves and conquers other netherworlds, Void Dark. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have silly moments, it certainly has those, and in spades… But it also has, for example, a demon world where it’s revealed someone in a royal family was held hostage, the people were sent off to fight as disposable soldiers, and then… The royal family was slain and resurrected as zombies.

I can’t wait to murderise the demon lord responsible for that, to be quite honest.

Just run. Just run until you’re at least in New Game Plus.

In any case, as mentioned, the evolution is interesting. Fusions? Gone, replaced by a “Mon-Toss”, aka “Monster can throw you, even if they can’t lift you.” When you hire, it doesn’t cost Mana, but HL, and characters… Can be levelled up to the highest named character level. Mana, meanwhile, goes on Skills, the Senate, and later, the Chara World, which… Well, that one’s not great in retrospect, but it is a fun little game, even if you probably want to focus on skills in your first loop. And then there are quests, which allow you to get neat stuff, from skill scrolls, to new character types (at the time of writing, I’m working toward Sage. And got her before I finished this paragraph.) There are other changes, but those are the biggies.

Aesthetically, it keeps the cel shaded/hi-def spritework of its predecessor, with a great soundtrack (the one you’ll hear the most is the bittersweet base theme, vocals and all), and some solid voice and sound work. Accessibility wise, it’s okay… Turn based stuff generally is, and it certainly tries to have map design that doesn’t obscure shit needlessly, but, sad to say, this remains a problem with the series.

There is no such word as “Overkill” in Disgaea. It’s always “Not Enough Kill”

But, except for the changes, Disgaea 5 remains what the rest of the series is: A solid strategy RPG, where I’ve never felt pressured into worrying about whether my units fall or not (except in terms of “Damn, I need them to do damage”), where I don’t feel bad about the grind (even the grinding of the Item World gives you sweet stuff, especially on or around your level), and where the stories are this interesting mix of silly and dark that I quite enjoy. Although the mileage varies on individual Disgaea games, I do recommend them as a whole for dipping your toes into SRPGs, and for the devoted SRPG fan who wants really big numbers (over time, anyway.)

The Mad Welshman is not normally a fan of pretty numbers. But even he has to admit, SRPG Big Numbers are a good feeling.

GNOG (Going Back)

Source: Bundle
Price: £7.19 (With option to donate more on Itch.IO)
Where To Get It: Steam, Itch.IO

I love puzzle boxes. Hell, I enjoy puzzles overall. But I do love puzzle boxes. So, when asked “Would you enjoy puzzle boxes, but they’re a computer game?”

The answer is very obviously yes. And, after playing it, the answer is “More please!”

Don’t worry lil’ buddy, I’ll get your supplies back, thank god you still have oxygen, right?

So, GNOG, as you might have figured, is a game about puzzle boxes, those containers where the goal is to go through a series of steps that may or may not be clear, in order to open the box. That’s… Not strictly what happens here, but the goal is to open the box’s mouth, so we’ll count it as that, mmm?

And there’s a whole variety of them, such as submarines, giant frogs, a cartoonish tenement complex, all in this well put together, 3d mini-world. And there’s nearly always something moving, whether under its own power, or asking yourself “What does this [knob/button/switch/dial/OTHER] do?”

The puzzle home, splitting apart. And it’s our job to put it together again.

Aesthetically, it’s great. Bright, contrasting colours, clear differentiation, beautiful music, my only real gripes are that one puzzle in particular’s signposting is… Not great (HOM-3’s security floor), and that some of the interactions, even with mouse, are somewhat fiddly. But the storytelling through showing in each area is pleasant, from the simple “What does animal/person want, and what stops them”, to the subtle overarch of “Let’s piece together the things this boy loves in life, to reassemble the home wot we broke in the first puzzle.”, the music is fitting to each area, and fittingly uplifting as the puzzle boxes groan-sing in joy as they’re awakened, and the sound is good.

Ah, that wonderful bass fits FR-0G the best…

Essentially, if you like puzzles with cool, low-poly aesthetics, then GNOG is good. If you like puzzle boxes, GNOG is cool. And, since I like all of these things, I recommend GNOG. It’s as simple as that.

The Mad Welshman Starts singing tenor if you gently boop his nose, tickle under the ear, and headpat him. True facts!

SUPERHOT (Going Back)

Source: Cashmoneys
Price: £17.99
Where to Get It: Steam

Ah, SUPERHOT. One hell of an interesting premise, both in terms of mechanics and story. The gist? Time only moves when you do, including looking around… And you’re in some extremely hectic situations in which it’s kill… Or be killed.

But hey, it’s only a pirated in-development game sent by a friend, and you can always restart!

MAKE HIM FLY.

Haha… Hahahaha… Haaaaboy…

It’s kind of amusing, really, how such a simple premise can be stretched out, and, with the story, each area of progression retrospectively makes the levels you’ve already completed something you can feel a vague sense of guilt about. But it’s only vague, because you’re hooked, the enemies are low-poly faceless red people who want you dead, and you want to see more.

Good boy…

Time for some… Dentistry. With bullets.

Aesthetically, that low poly look, the glittering reds of what you need to kill, the blacks of what you can use to maim and stun and kill, the slow sounds of glass shattering, bullets firing, and the sterile white of the rest of the landscape makes everything nice and visually clear, yet disconcertingly off… And that discomfort rises when… Ah, but you thought I was going to spoil something, didn’t you? Well, as far as this review goes…

guruCHAT – so old, it’s riskier to log in than not. Who knows who might hijack your chat?

You are not in control.

After all, I want people to experience the twists. That slow, dawning “The fuck?” as they happen, as you have to get ever more creative, to not rely on any one thing, be it guns, your fists, or things to throw, to help you survive. Or at least enjoy dying as a means of exploring what you can do, and to find the (really annoying) secrets of the game. After all…

Bodies are disposable.

The Mad Welshman’s reviews are good. Money is disposable. Support is the new… Okay, okay, but you have to admit, it was worth a shot!

Puzzle Puppers (Going Back)

Source: Bundle
Price: £3.99
Where To Get It: Steam Itch.IO

I must admit, when looking through my current collection of “Puzzle Snake”, I had a difficult choice. 3D? Mmmm, got its issues. Top-down? Mmm, works, but lacks that certain something.

Cute brightly coloured doggos!

Doggo snake puzzle? With cheery barks, nomming noises as they reach their bowl, cheery music, and bright colours? YES. This is it. And so, here we are, with Puzzle Puppers. Where for good results, the pups must get to their bowls, made difficult by rushing water, paired tunnels, and, of course, each other. Click a dog, click somewhere for them to stretch to (for lo, they are stretchy doggos), and test things out until you’ve got the cute little pups to their bowls.

And, for the best results, which unlock extra levels? Get all the meat in the level too. Another tight puzzle game, with self contained levels, and a single best solution for each. It’s aesthetically pretty nice, with some relaxing music, and… Ah. Yes, two of the pups can easily be confused, the yellow and the orange one. Maybe if the orange one were a little darker? Anyway, the sounds are also cute, so, for the most part, it’s got aesthetics going for it.

Cute stretchy brightly coloured doggos!

Apart from that, though, there’s… Not a whole lot to say. It tutorialises well, it’s cute and relaxing, and my only real gripe, apart from the potential colourblindness issue, is that it puts you back at the start of the level selection when you go back to said level selection. Which is a niggle.

A good puzzle game, with cute, brightly coloured doggos… It’s a pretty easy recommendation. When dogs are still cute when they’re stretchy, and act cute as their little tails wag and they pant happily, occasionally barking, it tends to relieve the stress of a puzzle such as this pretty easily. For puzzle fans, this one’s a good choice.

I spent just over 300 words saying why this is good instead of just pointing and saying “Doggos. Puzzle. Cute stretchy doggos.”