Monthly Archives: February 2014

Indie Wonderland: rymdkapsel

rymdkapsel. What’s in a name, huh? My lupine friend Varewulf actually told me that ‘rymdkapsel’ is Swedish for ‘space capsule’, which makes a certain degree of sense: Grapefrukt‘s tenth and latest game does seem to take place in space. The story checks out.

Except it would, but I’m also Dutch. And while ‘rymd’ is meaningless to me, ‘kapsel’ is actually a word in my language. So for the remainder of this review, look forward to the many, many times I will be referring to rymdkapsel as ‘space haircut’.

(Spoiler levels: Narrative, none. Mechanical, quite high, so be careful.)

After the break: I refer to rymdkapsel as ‘space haircut’ exactly two times in this review. These were it.

Welcome to Ninja Blues!

Hello there, dear reader, and welcome to Ninja Blues! This is the new blog where up-and-coming Internetters Dylan ‘Jarenth’ Schouten and Justin ‘JPH’ Hall write about video games. Chances are high that you’re here because you know one or both of them and they’ve led you here, but if you want to know more about either of them, you can read our About Us page.

Jarenth runs a column called Indie Wonderland, where he reviews an indie title every Monday. Justin’s got a column called Talk of the Ninja, where he writes about games small and large, as well as general gaming topics. We have plans to write collaborative reviews, Let’s Plays and more. Stick around for lots of reading material!

Indie Wonderland: Octodad: Dadliest Catch

A long, long time ago, in the wayward mists of 2013, I reviewed a game called Octodad. I thought it was a quirky, fun, mechanically interesting game that mostly needed a layer of additional polish to become particularly great, and expressed interest in playing more of it later down the line.

Apparently I wasn’t the only one with this interest, as development studio Young Horses was created more or less with the express intent of bringing the world more Octodad. And last week, a little under three years after setting out, they’ve deliver Octodad: Dadliest Catch: another game about an octopus masquerading as a human man, except this time the title also has a dad joke and a pun. And if that doesn’t immediately make the sequel the better game in your book, your metrics are wrong.

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

After the break: the continued adventures of Nameless Human Man!

Talk of the Ninja: A Game About Love

We praise games for many things. We praise games for having responsive controls, for presenting difficult and engaging challenges, for conveying captivating stories, and for having beautiful visuals and soundtracks. But one thing we don’t often praise games for is their ability to convey themes and tone. Games have an incredible ability to use all its different elements at play together in order to create a particular mood.

This concept is kind of hard to explain, so let me use an example…

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Indie Dudland: Not Nidhogg

Good afternoon, readers! Poor news: due to an expected trip to Cologne this weekend combining with an unexpected illness during that trip, I’ve found myself unable to produce the same level of high-quality Indie Wonderlanding you’ve come to expect of me. Which is to say, I got drunk and I got sick in no particular order and that left me with no time to write about people that may or may not be squids. My apologies. Regular service should resume next week, my insides willing.

Now, in fairness, I did have a feature planned for today where me and my co-host JPH ‘Woogles’ Ninjaton would take a look at Nidhogg, the lo-fi high-complexity fencing tug-of-war simulator that’s been sweeping up indie game prizes like an overambitious vacuum cleaner due a promotion. But, hey, illness, what’cha gonna do. This feature is, therefore, currently still in the works. In order to not leave you completely empty-handed this week, though, as I do, I’ve created a brief mood impression of our first time playing Nidhogg over voice chat.

After the break: *STAB* “Bullshit!

Talk of the Ninja: Plants vs. Zombies 2

Hi! I’m Justin. You may know me for writing on my own gaming blog Ninja Game Den, or my personal blog Ninja Lounge House. Or if you’re from Blue Screen of Awesome, you might know me as that guest writer that wrote the Indie Wonderland piece about Rogue Legacy, as well as half of the Tower Wars piece. Anyway, I like writing, and I like games. Coincidentally, I like writing about games! Jarenth does too, but his writing style differs a bit from mine. I guess you’ll see how as we go along.

My column here will henceforth be called Talk of the Ninja, and in it I’ll talk about games old and/or new, small and/or large, popular and/or obscure. I’ll mostly just be writing whatever I like to write about at the time. Hopefully that will translate to some sort of entertainment value for you.

Now, onto our feature presentation…

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Indie Wonderland: Risk of Rain

Risk of Rain. Kind of a weird game name, don’t you think? Or maybe I just think that because I’m Dutch. After all, we don’t really understand the concept of ‘risk of rain’. Had this game been developed by a Dutch studio, it would have been called Absolute Goddamn Certainty Of Rain At Exactly The Most Inopportune Moment.

But Risk of Rain wasn’t developed by a Dutch studio: it was created by two-man team Hopoo Games and published by none other than Chucklefish, who, so hot on the heels of my Starbound review hold the semi-prestigious honour of Studio Referenced Most Often In The Shortest Amount Of Time. But don’t worry about any overlap between the two reviews! After all, Starbound is a 2D action-platformer about one or multiple intrepid space travelers exploring a large variety of procedurally generated pixelated worlds, fighting off semi-random monsters and powerful bosses to retrieve items and increase in power while attempting to unravel the mysteries of their surroundings. Whereas Risk of Rain is…

Oh.

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

After the break: Risk of Rain, a game that’s nothing like Starbound unless you get real creative in your description.