Rannekos of the Lost Quark

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I may have picked this game based purely on the name. How can you pass up a game with the ridiculously long title Schrodinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark. It has everything, Indiana Jones references, physics, cats, how did this game not set the gaming world on figurative fire? I don’t even know what kind of game this actually is. Let’s dive in and find out.

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Indie Wonderland: Shu

You know me, readers: I often like to tell stories at the beginning of a review. I think it helps characterize and colour the review if you can see the thought and connections I had going into a game. Is it something I’ve been wanting to play? Was I looking forward, was I dreading? Did I back it, did I wishlist it, did I buy it on someone else’s say-so? Important context elements all.

But I’ve got nothing like that this time, I’m afraid. Coatsink‘s Shu was pretty much the definition of an impulse buy: I’d had a rough week, and I figured that an artsy platformer about bird people outrunning an evil storm sounded like perfect relaxation material.

Wanna see if I was right?

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

(Game source: Patreon funds. And can I just say how grateful I am that you guys make it possible for me to do this? Just take a chance on an unknown game review? It’s really incredibly generous, and I love it.)

After the break: Shu. I pronounce it like ‘shoe’, but I have no idea of that’s correct. ‘Shuuh’, maybe? Or ‘Shuh’? The linguistic sky is the limit here. Also, I talk about the game proper past this link.


Indie Wonderland: Heart’s Medicine – Time To Heal

I’ve written before how one of my favourite things about playing/reviewing indie games is that they allow for rapid variety. I play one for the week, gather my thoughts over the weekend, write, and then it’s on to the next one. In theory, there’s an endless breadth of game types to experience. But in practice, though, some interest-driven pigeonholing is unavoidable. How often have I written about deck-building games on this site? About pixel art? About primarily narrative-driven adventures? And in contrast, how much time have I spent total writing about (say) racing games, or sport games, or hardcore simulations? Or visual novels that aren’t poorly-disguised softcore porn? It makes sense, I get it: I have to want to review a game to actually do it, and my weekly play time isn’t what it once was. Still, I think it’s important — and maybe illustrative — to go outside my comfort zone every now and again.

Which is why this week we’re looking at Gamehouse‘s Heart’s Medicine – Time To Heal, a game that — for all intents and purposes — seems to be about playing an up-and-coming doctor in an E.R.-style drama-first hospital setting. Will there be romance? Will there be betrayal? Will there be mysteriously ill patients, only to be saved when the grizzled old doctor has an epiphany just in the nick of time?

God, I hope so.

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

(Game source: Patreon funds.)

After the break: I don’t even have a good title riff for Heart’s Medicine: Time To Heal. It’s so perfect. I can practically see the prime-time TV ads.


Indie Wonderland: Concrete Jungle

My continuing love of deckbuilding games has been well-documented on this site. There’s just something I really enjoy about shaping random starting conditions and unpredictable inputs into something that vaguely looks like you know what you’re doing. Like that cartoon thing where people fly through the air on a fire hose.

And given that I’ve never played a city-building-themed deck builder before — I’ve done kingdom building, space battles, fighting legendary monsters, and even restoring splendor to a curse-ravaged forest glade, but never urban development — ColePowered Games‘s Concrete Jungle seems, in more ways than one, like just the thing for me. Could I make a city so poorly developed that even I wouldn’t want to live in it? Only one way to find out!

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

(Game source: Patreon funds.)

After the break: joke’s on you, I have to live in cities or my agoraphobia kicks my ass on a daily basis. This opens up room for some terrible city development! Luckily, Concrete Jungle is more than happy to deliver on that front…


Indie Wonderland: Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander

You’ve all got Spoiler Warning Josh to thank for this one. Long-term readers will know that I generally don’t pretend to ‘follow game news’ or ‘be on top of recent developments’: I’m all about getting blindsided by the unexpected. And then Josh thought it’d be a good idea to launch Massive Damage Inc.‘s Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander while I was online. On Steam, where he knew I’d be able to see it. And once I saw Halcyon 6‘s Steam page — which describes it as a colourful pixel-art sci-fi RPG where you control a Babylon 5-esque border-guard space station — it took all of two minutes of self-convincing before I had it bought and downloading.

Let’s see if I’m gonna have to thank him, or smack him.

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

(Game source: Bought it myself.)

After the break: who am I kidding? It’s gonna be ‘smack him’, regardless of game quality. He knows what he did.

The Marvellous Ran Take – Stealing 101

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I don’t remember where I first ran across images about this unconventional stealth puzzle game but I was interested from the start. I mean you get to steal art in broad daylight during a galleries operating hours. That is pretty cool, some might even say Marvellous.

As far as initial impressions go, the Marvellous Miss Take is clearly a relatively simple game intended for multiple platforms. It’s options don’t even include a volume slider, merely a few discrete options for how loud you want your music and sound effects to be.

It is focused around mouse control but I found that it was much more fun using keyboard controls I find it a lot easier to get where I want to go without making strange pathing choices or reacting too slowly to changing circumstances.

I like its focus on high speed distraction based stealth rather than a slow methodical one. The gadgets I have encountered so far have been focused around either ranged distraction or adjusting that movement speed, it will be interesting to see what new elements they throw into the mix as the game progresses.

I am looking forward to playing more, hopefully you can join me in the audience. Once the series is over I will put up a post looking back on what I thought worked well and what dragged the experience down.

The Marvellous Ran Take runs every Wedensday on YouTube until Ranneko finishes up this game, if you want to buy it for yourself, check out the site for the game here.

The Pillars of Ranternity – The Long Bellyache of the Soul

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I have been meaning to finish Obsidian’s kickstarted old school roleplaying game for quite some time but other games and some offputting handling of backer content really hampered my drive. The success of Torment Thursdays however has shown me that some people are actually interested in my handling of a text heavy long roleplaying game and I thought it would be a great opportunity to rekindle my interest.

The truth is I remember having a lot of fun playing through the start of Pillars, the setting is an interesting variant of the standard medieval fantasy. You have strange races an interesting focus on souls and sorcery and a lot of time and effort is spent making sure you have the ability to reflect little choices your character has made.

The plan is not to try to do a post per episode or even a post per chapter. I will try to post whenever something crops up in game that I feel would justify me spending a few hundred words expanding upon. I have a feeling that with the way I play this game, this series will end up going even longer than Ranonauts did.

The Pillars of Ranternity runs on Ranneko’s YouTube channel every Monday and Friday until Ranneko either finishes the game or is driven off by some maddening feature of the game


Indie Wonderland: The Final Station

As a Dutch person, particularly one without a driver’s license, I can’t help but like trains. They get me where I need to go. As someone who started video gaming in the late 90s, I like pixel art. A blast from the past turned established cool art form of the future, what’s not to like? As a lover of the unknown, I like games that focus on mystery and uncertainty. And as a nerd in general, I think I’m supposed to be into zombies and the concept of a zombie apocalypse. I don’t make the rules here, I just follow them, shambling-like and groaning about brains.

So what happens if you put those four together? Trains, pixel art, uncertainty, and zombies? Would you maybe get something like Do My Best Games‘s The Final Station, a pixel-art game about driving a train through a mysterious zombie-infested landscape?

And, follow-up question: how long do you think it would take from me hearing about that game, to me playing it forever and always?

Might I even be playing it… right now???

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

(Game source: Patreon funds. I love you guys.)

After the break: The Final Station. If this game starts with a broken train and you never actually get to ride it — because it’s at its final station, you see — I am going to be some form of pissed.

Beyond Rans – Beyond Eyes Let’s Play

YouTube Link

While Ninja Blues was down I took the opportunity to take the conceptually charming little title Beyond Eyes for a spin. It was an opportunity to perceive the world through the senses of a young blind girl, not exactly the focus of a typical game.

It starts off fairly well with a quick dip into the tragic backstory of our heroine followed by a stroll around the garden playing with our cat. Unfortunately the hook of the game proves to be its downfall, understandably a little blind girl tends to move very slowly and uncertainly which makes exploration a pain. She also doesn’t know about obstacles until she is very close to them and the controls are awkward enough that you often end up stuck in small corners you have no way of knowing about until it is too late.

It results in a tedium that often overrides the wonder and beauty that the concept and art style otherwise would invoke. I literally had to stop myself from falling asleep in some parts of the second episode.

It is a real pity as the game sounds like the kind of different experience that I am often after when I look for new games.

Torment Thursdays 2-6 to 2-10 Catch Up Time

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Site outages are inconvenient especially since I find it difficult enough to keep up on my posts at the best of times. I should remind you, dear reader, that my YouTube channel was regularly updating even while Ninja Blues was down.

In the five episodes that have gone up since the last post an unsurprisingly large amount has happened.

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