Indie Cultist Simulator Land

So. Those of you who pay attention to this space (a number somewhere between two and ‘several thousand people’) may have seen that I posted something this time last week, wherein I claimed to be delayed by E3 and promised that I would, and I quote, “try to have something up for you as soon as I can manage”. And then a week of stone cold silence ensued. What happened?

Cultist Simulator is what happened, as anyone who follows me on any kind of social media might have spotted. Weather Factory‘s magnum opus grabbed my brain by the folds and refused to let go: I started playing somewhere late Sunday last week, and eight days later I have a little over 50 played hours clocked. Hell, that Sunday itself I only intended to take a quick look, and ended up playing until 3 AM or so.

This is not going to be a traditional Indie Wonderland review. For one, Cultist Simulator doesn’t really lend itself well to my review style. If I took you through the first play session blow-by-blow, my mechanical spoiler counter at the start would have to read for the love of god, don’t read this review. Moreover, for two, Cultist Simulator is a… particular game. Not niche, per se, but… challenging to grasp. I don’t know if I have the confidence to try and pull apart what parts ‘do work’ and ‘don’t work’, either ‘as intended’ or ‘in general’. Hell, I’m not even sure still why it is that I like it so much as I do. I do, obviously, just…

So, I’m doing something different. Instead of reviewing Cultist Simulator in this space, I’m going to be talking about Cultist Simulator. I’ll explain why (I think) it appeals to me, and what that says about the larger game. I might try to drag some points of praise or criticism out of the whole affair, if such points seem to present themselves. It’s going to read slightly more like the ramblings of a madman than usual, but then again, I feel that might be appropriate this time around.

(Spoiler levels: Narrative, as low as I could manage. Mechanical, ditto.)

(Game source: Backed it on Kickstarter.)

After the break: Cultist Simulator, Or: Down I Go…

E3 Delay

Heya folks. Got a little wrapped up in poking fun at E3 the last few days, which impeded writing efforts. I’ll try to have something up for you as soon as I can manage.

Cheers,
– Jarenth

Indie Wonderland: Safe House

One of the neatest aspects of doing this repeated indie game reviewing gig over the years is that it’s exposed me to tons of games I wouldn’t otherwise have seen or played. It’s part of the reason I started the whole thing, really. And this has only gotten better as I got onto a few indie game review mailing lists, meaning I semi-regularly get announcements in my inbox about dates and review opportunities for games that, from my perspective, just sprung into being fully-formed.

Case study: Labs Games‘ recent Kickstarter success Safe House, a game about building and managing an undercover spy headquarters. Tell me that doesn’t sound potentially very cool.

(Spoiler levels: Narrative, low. Mechanical, high.)

(Game source: Developer review key.)

After the break: Safe House, a game that was tricky to find online, since both that combination of words and ‘labs games’ yield a range of possible results.

Indie Wonderland: Spartan Fist

Glass Bottom Games is one of the few development teams whose work I actually follow. Mostly due to serendipity, though the cat-heavy focus of their games probably weighs more than I care to admit. Jones On Fire: Kitties Are Cute And Should Be Saved was the first-ever game that I bought to play on my tablet — man, remember tablets? And I wrote about Hot Tin Roof: The Cat That Wore A Fedora in the early days of 2015, back when things were calmer and we hadn’t lived through 2016 yet (review here).

And now we’ve got Spartan Fist. Which doesn’t have a lengthy side-title like its older siblings, but if it did, it would be ‘Punch Dudes So Hard They Explode’. Because that’s what you’ll be doing in this game.

I don’t need to explain why this review exists any further, do I?

(Spoiler levels: Narrative, nope. Mechanical, medium.)

(Game source: Patreon funds.)

After the break: Spartan Fist, a game in which no kitties are ever punched – they’re present, but no direct punching happens. Dudes, however…

Indie Wonderland: The Swords Of Ditto

One Bit Beyond‘s The Swords Of Ditto rather unceremoniously exploded onto my Twitter feed a few weeks ago. I hadn’t heard anything about it before that, but then, you might know that I don’t actually follow games news all that closely — either way, it came as a surprise. But a pleasant surprise: From screenshots, The Swords Of Ditto looks engaging and colourful, and from early discussion, it seemed to center around an interesting procedural gameplay system: ‘If your hero dies before defeating the dark lord, the next hero of prophecy has to deal with the consequences’. It was enough to get me to pick it up, and as such, here we are.

(Spoiler levels: Narrative, somewhat high. Mechanical, medium.)

(Game source: Patreon funds.)

After the break: The Swords Of Ditto, which may or may not feature a Pokémon blacksmith. It probably doesn’t. But wouldn’t that be cool?

Ranneko Plays Analytics for 13-19th of May

Ranneko Plays Channel Update 2018-05-18

I am having real trouble keeping ahead on my tip videos, I have clear plans, but I am starting to spend my time increasingly on other games, meaning I have to specifically go back and replay sections of Into the Breach to gather footage. I am often up late on a monday night trying to put together the video for Tuesday. This is not a sustainable situation, I either need to get ahead or change game.

The last week’s releases were:

Saturday, Sunday, Thursday: Pillars of Ranternity
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: ShadowRan: Hong Kong
Tuesday: Hint To The Breach

Twitch Stream: There was no Stream this week, real life got in the way. The stream will return next Tuesday at 18:00 CEST

After the break, more about the videos that released last week!

Indie Non-derland: An Odd Realization

So there’s no Indie Wonderland this week. And the reason for that is weirder than usual.

I’ve been playing One Bit Beyond‘s The Swords Of Ditto, a cute and colourful Zelda-esque about delving dungeons and beating evils over many successive generations. It has interesting theming, both in the immediately visual way the world is shaped (ex. the ‘Toys of Legend’) and in the underlying story that slowly emerges as you recover more and more logs. As well as some other stuff.

The problem is that I think there’s more to this game than I’m currently getting. Without getting too in-depth, on a surface level, I started getting a little bored with The Swords Of Ditto in my second run. It’s mechanically not very tough, and the heavily-lampshaded repetition starts to grate soon. But all the same, it’s very strongly implied that there’s supposed to be more: That all the repetition and the strange game design and the heavy lampshading is leading to some sort of breaking of the mold. If that does happen, it has the potential to be very interesting.

I just haven’t found it yet.

So, in a fairly unprecedented Indie Wonderland move, I want to give The Swords Of Ditto another week. If there is something more, I’d feel bad about writing what’s essentially an incomplete review. But if I can’t find what I’m thinking to find in two weeks time, it doesn’t really matter whether it’s ‘really’ there or not.

Check back in next week for the exciting conclusion!

– Jarenth

Wish you were here?

Ranneko Plays Channel Update 2018-05-11

 

Travelling this week, so I can’t do my normal post with info on how the channel is going. I can instead show this lovely picture of Montreux

The last week’s releases were:

Saturday, Sunday, Thursday: Pillars of Ranternity
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: ShadowRan: Hong Kong
Tuesday: Hint To The Breach

Twitch Stream: Thursday 18:00 to 20:30 CEST playing Shadowrun: Hong Kong – Shadows of Hong Kong DLC

After the break, more about the videos that released last week!

Indie Wonderland: Frostpunk

A fun fact about me: I moved into Boston early this year, in the aftermath of (and somewhat delayed by) the weather phenomenon known as the ‘bomb cyclone’. My first two weeks were characterized by feet-high piles of snow bordering all walkways, public life slowly starting back up as the white-grey snow banks refused to melt, and perpetual cold winds.

So what I’m saying is, 11 Bit StudiosFrostpunk? A game about fleeing the crumbling remnants of a once-temperate climate to establish a whole new life in an unknown perpetual arctic wasteland? I might actually have the credentials needed to review this.

(Spoiler levels: Narrative, medium. Mechanical, high-ish.)

(Game source: Patreon funds.)

After the break: Frostpunk. If this game has Dunkin’ Donuts around every corner, I’ll know for sure I’m the most qualified person in the world to write about it.

Ranneko Plays reached 200 subscribers on the 4th of May 2018

Ranneko Plays Reaches 200 Subscribers! Channel Update 2018-05-04

Ranneko Plays reached 200 subscribers this week, in the past month I have gained more than a dozen subscribers. That is about a quarter of all my subscriber growth in the past year. Looking into the YouTube analytics, most of them have subscribed while watching a tip video. It seems that the time investment on those videos is really paying off!

Real life is interfering somewhat with my streaming schedule at the moment. This week’s stream was delayed until Thursday because the rest of my things from Australia arrived, so I was busy moving boxes and assembling a bed. Next week’s stream clashes with a meeting. Unfortunately I am then travelling from Wednesday through Monday, so there won’t be an opportunity for a make up stream.

The last week’s releases were:

Saturday, Sunday, Thursday: Pillars of Ranternity
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: ShadowRan: Hong Kong
Tuesday: Hint To The Breach

Twitch Stream: Thursday 18:00 to 19:00 CEST playing Shadowrun: Hong Kong – Shadows of Hong Kong DLC

After the break, more about the videos that released last week!