No Stream Week (Week of 3-27-2017)

Ninjustin here, and I’ve got terrible news! I’m going to be on vacation for next week. I forget what the vacation’s about, something about getting on a giant boat with a bunch of other people to sail to some islands. Anyway, I thought I should let you folks know since Twitter is awfully impermanent when it comes to announcing things, and I wouldn’t want any regulars to show up to the stream (or lack thereof) and wonder what’s going on.

I also wanted to give a big thank-you to everyone who’s been watching my streams. I’ve been streaming regularly for the better part of a year now (had to check the calendar myself to confirm it) and it’s been a very fulfilling activity. Talking about games, while playing games, and interacting directly in real-time with the people interested in your words is incredibly engaging, and I’m happy to continue doing it.

I’m considering posting here regularly to give updates on what games I’m streaming, possibly even set specific games for specific dates each week so you can look ahead of time and see if you can watch me stream the game you’re interested in. Please let me know if you’d like me to do this!

If you’re curious, lately I’ve been mostly streaming World of Warcraft, For Honor, Elite: Dangerous, Hearthstone, WASTED, and just recently I started a playthrough of Skyrim: Special Edition with several mods that give it a survivalist edge.

Here’s a link to my channel, and as always, thanks for reading and for watching. See you in about a week.

Ninja Blues Writers Room: Jarenth

Hey readers. No normal review this week, sorry: It was the kind of week where I had very little time to play new games. Regular service should resume next week, assuming the universe is up for it.

Because I try to never leave you empty-handed, in lieu of a review I decided to this week write something that was requested in comments a few weeks back: An overview of / insight into my writing process. Behind the curtains at the sausage factory, so to say. I don’t know if this is of interest to any of you, and I have to stress that there really is no game review in the proceeding — I know, that’s something I would do, but I promise it isn’t. If you’ve ever wondered how I go about producing the content that I do, though, I guess today’s your lucky day.

After the break: Keep on reading, you strange soul you, for a look at all my writing secrets.

Indie Three-For-One Land: Ninja Abzû Blade

Hey readers. It’s been a while since I did one of these triple features. I usually do these either when I have a backlog of smaller games that I don’t think have enough meat for a full review, or when I didn’t get far enough into a larger game the previous week. Those of you who’ve seen my Twitter account devolve into non-stop Breath of the Wild screenshots may be able to guess the cause this time.

Not to say that the games I want to talk about this week aren’t interesting, though; there’s a reason I had each of them in my backlog. I’ve got a diverse set for you this week: one game about morphing, one game about diving, and one game about bullying. And jumping. And rolling. And delivering pizza. And piquing your interest enough to keep reading, hopefully.

(Or skip ahead to page 2’s Abzû, or page 3’s Morphblade.)

After the break: Pizza, water, and liquid metal, in no particular order or combination. That’d be rad, though, could you imagine?

Indie Wonderland: Night in the Woods

Yeah, let’s not even pretend to be surprised about this one. Last week’s social media timelines were positively abuzz with Infinite Fall’s Night in the Woods. Couldn’t go five posts without seeing big-eyed black cats or cyclopean foxes with cups on their ears. I… actually know very little about this game? As we’ve established, part of my crafty review strategy is to craftily remain almost entirely unaware of upcoming or anticipated games. Can’t buy into the hype if you don’t know about the hype, I always say. As a result, Night in the Woods is essentially a mystery to me. I’ve seen crisp animal graphics and I assume there will be woods, at night, but otherwise I’m living-under-a-rock levels of blind.

Which is the perfect mindset for reviewing a recent, popular-buzz game, if you ask me. Almost like I planned it that way.

(Spoiler levels: Narrative, medium, but as low as I can get it. Mechanical, high-ish, but at least I don’t mention the yarn.)

(Game source: Bought it myself.)

After the break: I did not, in fact, plan things this way. Anyway, how about that Night in the Woods?

Indie Wonderland: Sproggiwood

Heya, faithful Indie Wonderland readers. This week I’m reviewing a game called Sproggiwood, brainchild of Freehold Games. I am doing this because the game is called Sproggiwood. That’s my entire reason, and it’s a good one.

You might try to argue that I could be interested in Sproggiwood because its Steam page promises a neat combination of roguelike dungeon combat and persistent upgrading, the latter of which is incarnated in a cute voxel-art village that supposedly grows as you adventure. These are good points all, but I’m going to counter by saying Sproggiwood. Guys, it’s a really good work. Say it out loud. Sproggiwood. Really let it roll off the tongue. Sproggiwood. The other stuff helps too, I’m not gonna lie, but if this game’d been called something like The Adventures Of Bob, I probably wouldn’t have…

Actually, that’s a lie, I would 100% play The Adventures Of Bob and everyone here knows that I would. But if that game even exist, and as I write I find myself hoping that it does, it’ll have to wait until this. This week’s Indie Wonderland is 100% Sproggiwood, 100% of the time.

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

(Game source: Bought it myself.)

After the break: Sproggiwood. Now every time you see that name, reading this review, you’re gonna have to imagine that I’m savoring the word. Haha! You’re welcome.

Indie Wonderland: Holy Potatoes! We’re in Space?!

Two weeks ago, Daylight Studios emailed me (somewhat out of the blue) with a Steam review key for their latest game, Holy Potatoes! We’re in Space?!. They figured I might be interested in writing about it, given that I reviewed their previous Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?! earlier. And they’re not wrong. While my memories of the potato-based weapon shop game are mostly a mixed bag of ‘interesting mechanics’, ‘overuse of pop culture referencing’ and ‘endless grind‘, I can’t say I’m not curious how a sequel to a game about forging fantasy weapons for fantasy ren faires manages to translate itself to space.

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

(Game source: Developer Steam key.)

After the break: Holy Potatoes! We’re in Space?!. Seems like the game title itself isn’t quite sure how the move to space happened, either.

Indie Wonderland: Brigador

I picked up Stellar JockeysBrigador on a whim after spotting in in the Steam store. Mechs and tanks rumbling through a cyberpunk war-torn cityscape? Clashing hot-neon colours with electronic soundtrack to match? Dozens of available pilots with varying levels of deep and intricate backstory? I have no idea what we’re doing, but hell yes, sign me the fuck up.

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

(Game source: Bought it myself.)

After the break: Brigador. What even is a ‘Brigador’? I’m pretty sure I still don’t know, but who cares?! It’s mech-stompin’ time.

Indie Early Access Land: Vidar

Alright, enough for now of 2016’s Greatest Hits. Let me use this first February of 2017 to tell you about a game called Vidar. I saw this game in some Steam recommendation list or other, I honestly don’t remember where or how or why. I do remember liking the premise, adding it to my wishlist, and fully expecting to forget about it until it was released. Scant hours later, I got an email from Razbury Games, courtesy of a friend (you know who you are) who suggested they’d look us up. What are the odds, right? That I would eventually write something about Vidar was pretty much a given at that point.

Now, Vidar has very recently released into very Early Access. I’m normally not super comfortable reviewing Early Access games. In this case, though, Razbury Games did put me at ease that no major changes to the overall game structure were planned. That helps. And while I still don’t want to call what I’m writing here a ‘full’ review (for reasons that will become obvious), Vidar in its current state is definitely interesting enough to want to tell people about. Let’s see if I can’t convey what I liked about it.

(Spoiler levels: Narrative, medium. Mechanical, medium. Early Access level: Very early at time of writing, including some serious functionality bugs.)

(Game source: Developer key.)

After the break: Vidar. The game that’s fun, because it’s not!

Ranneko Streaming

Hey everyone,

I have some rare, actually prescheduled streams coming up! You should check them out over at twitch.tv/ranneko.

Sometimes they don't fall down

I am an excellent builder of bridges

On Thursday afternoon, starting at 16:00CET I am going to stream the indie puzzle game I am currently slightly obsessed with Poly Bridge. You may recognise it from the incessent posting of bridge gifs over on my twitter feed. I am pretty keen to try out its twitch integration which allows viewers to give suggestions to help me build new and terrible constructions that sometimes get the job down without collapsing catastrophically.

Then pretty much all day Friday I will be streaming Sunless Sea: Zubmariner, basically recording in bulk the next several episodes of Ranless Sea. I am itching to really dive into those stories again and Failbetter Games just made the previously kickstarter exclusive content available to everyone. Plus at the moment they are trying to promote the Sunless Skies kickstarter and they say they will be trying to drop into as many Sunless Sea streams as they can so hopefully they will be around for some of it to answer questions. I will kick off at about 10am CET and try to go for pretty much the whole day, with the occasional break for food, drink and other vital bodily functions.

Even after those streams are done you should remember to follow my channel, I sometimes stream the recording sessions for my let’s plays but unfortunately I don’t have a consistent recording time which makes it hard to have a consistent stream time. If you follow me you will get notifications when I go live!

Hope to see you there!

Indie Wonderland: Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor

Continuing the theme of 2016’s Greatest Indie Hits, I decided to spend the last week of January 2017 writing the Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor. Sundae Month‘s low-fi exploratory clean-’em-up was a Christmas gift from a lovely friend, and one of my 2017 resolutions was to give it a timely playthrough and review. And, er, here we are! Last week of January is pretty good as far as resolutions are concerned.

(Spoiler levels: Narrative, low. Mechanical, medium, I think.)

(Game source: Gift from a friend.)

After the break: my other resolutions include working out, supporting my friends, and resisting the rise of fascism in the West. But hey, how about that Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor?