Ranneko has Escaped

I am going on holiday! I will be travelling for a week and even after I get home we have visitors and I don’t know that I will get time to record, edit and encode more let’s play episodes. Which means there will be a one to three week period where there will be no new Ranneko Plays episodes. See you later!

In the meantime why not go back and watch some of the old episodes again?

Indie Delay-Land

Heya, readers.

Due to some poor planning on my part, this week’s Indie Wonderland is delayed until tomorrow. Sorry! You’d think I have a handle on this weekly timing thing by now, after four years of doing this stuff, but here we are regardless.

Check back on Tuesday for what should be a riveting dungeon-crawling adventure.

Rocket League

Rocket League Footage 8/29/15 (Part 1)

Since we streamed for about an hour yesterday and not everyone who wanted to attend got the chance, I figured I would upload the footage in 10-15 minute sized chunks on the ‘tube. Expect the rest throughout the week, or something.

Some noteworthy notes:

  • This was my first time streaming with a webcam! I wasn’t sure where to stick the webcam box, so I stuck it in the top-left. I forgot that that’s where the customization box is. So in this episode as well as in later ones I specifically try to show viewers some of the customization options, and nobody gets to see it, because my face is in the way. Whoops. Hopefully my gorgeous hair makes up for that!
  • Since I also forgot to do a sound test, I’m considerably louder than Jarenth and Val. Again I say, whoops.
  • Let us know if there’s any other advice you can offer, or if you’d like to see more of this. I wouldn’t mind making Rocket League streams semi-regular. I don’t think I’ll be bored of this game for some time.
  • Seriously, guys, Rocket League is awesome. If you have a PS4 or a decent gaming PC, check it out.
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Rocket League Stream 8/29!!

You may already know this if you follow me on Twitter, but Jarenth and I have sort of fallen in love with Rocket League ever since it was gifted to us by our friend and occasional guest-writer Thanatos. If you somehow haven’t heard about the game thus far, it’s essentially soccer but with everyone driving rocket cars and attempting to punt a giant bouncy ball.

It’s a concept that absolutely should not work — an online multiplayer physics-based game about intensely fast-paced precision — but the fact that it works as well as it does is a testament to the wonders of modern technology. It is immensely fun, even if it constantly makes you feel like an idiot for missing the ball or knocking it the completely wrong way. Major League Gaming has picked up the game as an official e-sport, and this prospect thrills me.

So we’re going to stream the game on our Hitbox channel. Jarenth will be there, I’ll be there, and Ranneko might be there too! We’re aiming for 21:00 UTC. Here’s the time-zone converter if you need it. Come watch us form incompetent rocket car pileups in real time.

UPDATE: Ranneko clarified to me that he is not coming. Come watch Jarenth and I form incompetent rocket car pileups in real time though, that’s still fun to watch!

Early Access Week – Oran Trial

YouTube Link

Orion Trail is what you get when you decide to mix a Star Trek parody with a combination of FTL and Oregon trail. I knew almost nothing about it going in having done only cursory research before accepting the key from a friend of mine who ended up with a spare.  Basically I looked at the pictures on the steam page and googled it to find out it had been kickstarted some time ago.

I’m not sure what the best strategy is, I suspect that you should be looking at focusing on probably just two skills per sector. Makes it pretty likely you will get at least one option in the right colour and have the greatest possible chance of success in that option. I also really like the way redshirts work in the away mission, where though you are relying on a single officer’s skills, your redshirts basically act as a bonus to all tests, but if you used one to succeed, that redshirt died.

What I don’t like is the apparently pretty small pool of events, I had a couple repeated over two runs in two different sectors and I am always a bit wary seeing repetition that early, though obviously with 3 different skill choices for each event it is a chance to see the other possible outcomes. I don’t think I would be happy to see Space Weasels a dozen time of the course of finishing the game. It also seems like the game is rigged to ensure you are running very low on supplies by the end of a sector, failing an event often loses a punishing amount of resources and winning often won’t even give you enough supplies to cover the trip to the next star, this is definitely not a sustainable space adventure.

That said I will keep an eye on it, they only seem to have implemented a relatively small number of the planned sectors so far and it will be interesting to see how it changes as the game fills out.

Early Access Week – Torment: Tides of Numenera Alpha Systems Test

YouTube Link

Continuing Early Access week I thought it was time to give the alpha systems test of Torment: Tides of Numenera a go. The aim of the current test is to demonstrate the very basic skills test systems and show off the writing for the introduction. It is a relatively modest ambition but it delivers. I can see how the Numenera effort system works its way into the conversation based test, though here we also lack any skills or assets which could impact any tests, so we are trying the system in its simplest form.

I enjoyed the writing in the introduction but really hope that they provide a bit more art, I think at the very least the voiced sequence at the beginning could do with even just a series of still images to show some of what you can see below you as an Earth a billion years older than the one we know is spread out before the main character. Right now what the intro shows is a lot of text and a little sound, it would be great if there was something else to see to augment things.

 

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Discourse Dojo: Invisible, Inc.

Hey everyone, Ninjustin here. The audio for this podcast was recorded a few weeks after the release of Invisible, Inc., which means I’ve needed to edit and upload this damn thing for literal months. So long, in fact, that our friends at the Diecast have now talked about the game firstLife is hard.

Direct download (ogg)
Direct download (mp3)

And in Youtube form:

Note from Ninjustin:

Man, I really should have uploaded this when the game was just released! But I stand by everything I said. If you haven’t played a game like Invisible, Inc., you haven’t played a game quite like it. It delivers a whole new breed of stealth gameplay that works fantastically and delivers consistently unique and interesting levels for sneaking, hacking, occasionally stunning/killing guards, and dashing to the exit. All this is conveyed through a pitch-perfect cyberpunk lens, under the framework of rebelling against a corporate regime using cunning tactics. Thematically, tonally and mechanically, the game just works so well. I love it and so should you.

Jibe from Jarenth:

Those of you who’ve been following my work for a little longer now probably know that I’m usually not big on repetition. I know a lot of games build themselves up on the joy of replayability, but that’s almost never been my jam. I much prefer one single good telling of a story over running through minor variations on the theme repeatedly, and I just tend to get bored with doing the same mechanical stuff over and over and again. As a rule, I’d much rather play something fresh (from the ever exponentially expanding list of available video games) than participate in the same experience twice, or thrice, or more.

I am really feeling the desire to go play Invisible, Inc. again.

Without wishing to repeat Past Podcast Jarenth, let me just say this: Invisible, Inc. is excellently built for repeated play. It builds up your staple of characters and tools to choose from, it has enough micro-variation in missions and corporations to feel fresh, and any single run through the game is both long enough to feel meaningful, and short enough not to feel like too major an investment.

In fact, looking at it like I do now, it’s almost a mistake to judge Invisible, Inc. as a story-driven game. It’s much more analogous to games like The Binding Of Isaac. Or sports games, almost. You have the same basic mechanics, goals, and tools every time, but it’s the actions — both yours and your opponents’ — that shape each individual narrative.

So yeah, Invisible, Inc.. It’s rad, it’s unique, it’s twenty dollars. Try it out, yo.

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Early Access Week – Ran Signature Alpha

YouTube Link

Rather than leap into a new extended game I thought I would spend this week trying some of the alphas and early access titles sitting in my steam library. In this case Heat Signature, the next game from Gunpoint’s Tom Francis. Getting at this game is kind of unusual, rather than being a separate game in my steam library it is currently built into Gunpoint. Until the 30th of August , owners of the Exclusive edition DLC for Gunpoint get an option on launch to instead play Heat Signature.

It is pretty bare bones at this point, but the basics are there you have enemy ships, a procedural mission structure and a surprisingly satisfying stealth system. I enjoyed sneaking up behind guards and beating them unconscious with a wrench possibly a little more than is reasonable, but my favourite feature is the ability to blow sections completely out of enemy ships via explosives or shooting fuel storage. That it was possible came completely out of left field. The game feels pretty procedural but I really hope that Tom can build a funny and interesting story into it like he did with Gunpoint.

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Indie Wonderland: Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?!

Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?!, capitalization and punctuation marks non-optional, combines two of my self-professed great gaming loves: my love of running item stores and bilking world-saving adventurers out of their hard-fought cash (a la Recettear), and my love of playing games with ridiculous names (like last week’s Tembo The Badass Elephant).

I first ‘discovered’ this game when a helpful Steam friend launched it five times in a row, giving me ample time to soak in that name. Holy Potatoes. Holy Potatoes. A… weapon shop? I was immediately enthralled by it. Then, I checked out the Steam page, only to be further taken in by what looked like a bright, optimistic, happy game about… well, about bilking world-saving adventurers out of their hard-fought cash.

And then I suddenly owned the game. Funny how that works, huh?

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

(Game source: Bought it myself.)

After the break: Holy Potatoes. *And* a Weapon Shop, somehow. How are potatoes even *related* to weapon shops? The answer *may* surprise you.

Ranstotzka in Red

YouTube Link

It has been barely over three weeks and my great new opportunity afforded to me by the labour lottery has been an utter nightmare. The rules change nearly every day, my bosses are suspicious, hostile and spineless. EZIC are the only group that seem to actually want me to achieve something and are willing to award me for doing so. In the mean time with the mix of constantly changing rules and increasing amounts of paperwork to cross reference my job is getting harder and I am currently only able to keep afloat via bribes. I couldn’t even afford to give my son a birthday present.

I have been asked to deal with the man in red. It just comes down to another key and a slightly different gun. I can do this, really is it any worse than what I did to Khaled? Only because there is no doubt as to the consequences this time. There will be no delay there will be no question. Within the week I will be dead, but EZIC will see my family to safety. It will be over.

Thus ends my Papers Please Let’s Play. It was interesting playing the game pretty out of character and then trying to justify my mostly mechanical actions with in character motivations. This is probably the most egregious example, I am well aware that if I chose I could load a save and avoid this ending and the game goes on for at least another week. If I do so however it will be some point in the future, this game is remarkably well crafted but it ultimately is a stressful paperwork simulator. It immerses me in the stress and the need to just keep going a little too well and I don’t think I could maintain the focus needed to push through to the end.