Monthly Archives: July 2015

Spy in Ranstotzka

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After repeated citations since getting this job I decided to get serious. I have utilised the latest in recent technologies, the Post-It note, smuggled in from elsewhere in Europe and I have carefully transcribed the images and issuing cities of each region and attached them around the checkpoint allowing for much faster cross referencing.

Just in time really because this job continues to get more stressful as spies, diplomats and forged papers have started showing up on the scene, this is way beyond my pay grade but I suspect that simply saying no to any of these requests will not end well for me and my family so I will do what I have to do. Play to basically any side that makes a request of me. This cannot work out well long term, but it lets me survive in the short term. Long term does me no good if I can’t get there.

I just need to keep working, hopefully things will settle down and I have have enough time to process events and work out a plan, otherwise I am going to go enter some form of process blindness and start telling my wife “Papers, Please” after I get home from work.

Come Work In Ranstotzka

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Last time, after reporting to the Grestin checkpoint I began my new job as a border control officer. It was bit more eventful than I anticipated as dastardly Kolechian terrorists have twice launched attacks upon the checkpoint. Worse, each time they have had their papers in perfect order, not that anyone seems to care.

The Ministry of Admission is very responsive to not just these threats but the general public sentiment regarding foreigners which means that each day a fresh new version of the rulebook awaits me with extra rules for me to learn and incorporate into my verification routine. It is harder and harder to check every little detail and now I am finding I am making enough mistakes that my savings are starting to dwindle.

I am fortunate that family tradition means that we alternate eating and heating our dwelling each day. This significantly reduces my family’s daily expenses and allows me little luxuries like investing in a better booth to allow me to check more passports faster and hopefully start making money again.

Hopefully the extra security will discourage these untrustworthy Kolechians from launching further attacks but I have a feeling that things will get worse before they get better. In the meantime come work in Ranstotska, just make sure you have your papers, please.

Welcome to Ranstotzka. Papers, Please.

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Good news everyone. I just received a letter from the Ministry of Labor informing me that I won the October Labor Lottery. I have to report to the Ministry of Admission at the Grestin Border Checkpoint. It should be a pretty mindnumbing job and the class 8 dwelling that is provided isn’t very good, but it is vital that I do my part for the glorious nation of Ranstotzka.

Apparently I will get paid for everyone I let in correctly, and they will know because they already have someone whose job is to double check and they get paid for every mistake they catch so no doubt they will be paying very close attention and willing to pull any bullshit reason they can to show I made a mistake.

So I guess I just have to sit down, memorise today’s rulebook and practice my signature phrase: Papers, Please.

Indie Wonderland: Hand Of Fate

How about a nice game of cards? I was drawn to Hand Of Fate, Defiant Development‘s latest Kickstarted opus, on the promise that it combined interesting deck-building card game mechanics with the ability to punch people like Batman does. I was not drawn to Hand Of Fate on any accidental similarity to Manos: The Hands of Fate, either the movie or the apparently lovely Android tie-in, as my lawyer advises me any overlap between the two properties is probably legally entirely incidental. Legally incidental. So don’t even think about going there, other lawyers. Legal Steve over there can beat all of you. Undisputed World Lawyering Federation heavyweight champion, right there. Don’t make us go habeas corpus on your asses.

Anyway: Hand Of Fate, which is in no way a secret training module for the ancient art of law-wrasslin’. It looks rad. What more reason do I normally need?

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

(Game source: Bought it myself. No, I didn’t back this on Kickstarter.)

After the break: Hand Of Fate. I guarantee you that there is not a Harold P. Warren in sight. All we get today are swords, rats, tokens, and oh-so-many cards.

Ranacide – Shmup-Four

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Game Source: Press Key

Galacide is an upcoming game from Puny Human in the final stages of Early Access. It enters final release on the 28th and I game I entered almost completely blind. It is a blending of two genres that I would never have expected someone to try, Shoot Em Up and Match Four.

The results of the blending are interesting, I don’t play many shoot em ups, but in general this one feels slower because in particular it involves trying to progress through literal walls of blocks while also dodging enemy fire. You have to balance clearing out height in the wall to give you space to dodge with clearing out depth so you continue to have space to move forwards. In the starting ship you also have to pick at any given moment whether you are trying to move and aim a block, or if you are fighting opponents so any time you are interacting with the wall you are restricted to dodging. It definitely adds a fair amount of stress without needing to actually increase the enemy count or complexity that much.

To me the play felt the best felt when the wall consisted mostly, so I could concentrate on both elements without getting too bogged down in either. The problem is that when the diversity increases it slows progress down to a crawl, which seems really strange in this genre of game, I am used to being pushed along whether I am ready or not and the pace the game sets has to be quite slow for the bitwall puzzle to really make any sense. It makes the game feel internally conflicted. I don’t really know how I would solve this either.

In any case, if you want to try it for yourself you can grab it on Steam for ten of your american dollars, or a regional Steam equivalent.

The Ranchanted Cave 2 – E8 – Cave Conquered

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After 8 episodes and about 10 hours of play the Enchanted Cave 2 has been beaten. The dragon-man I started out with has taken down not only the Necromancer but his ultimate creation the demon he crafted using the souls of 999 adventurers and capped off with his very own soul.

For such a significant sounding threat, the demon was surprisingly passive. It seemed content to squat on floor 100 waiting for me to show up and in the meantime just the big evil thing it did? Make it rain. Once the summoning is complete the rain begins and does not let up until it is destroyed, I guess sometimes demons are a bit odd.

So What did I think?

Jarenth Plays, Intermission

Heya, readers.

As you may have read and/or surmised by now, Jarenth Plays Starships officially came to an end last week. Hope you all enjoyed it! I’ve appended the Let’s Play Overview page with a much-needed Starships Index; it will now be easier than ever to quickly find your favourite episode! Is it the one where I effortlessly kill everyone ever? Or the other one where I do that?

“Jarenth, Jarenth, when’s your next Let’s Play?” I’m glad you asked, Nobody In Particular! Short answer is, I’m currently working on it. I have two possible games lined up; once I finish harvesting gameplay material from both of them, I’ll have to decide which one to do — either ‘if any’, or ‘first’. I hope to get to this in a handful of weeks. Please yell at me if I haven’t started anything by the end of August, alright? Let’s use that as a soft social deadline.

Once again, thanks to everyone for reading my work and leaving comments! And if you like what we’ve been doing here, with Jarenth Plays in particular and Ninja Blues at large in general, please consider donating to our Patreon Campaign if you haven’t already! The support we’re already getting from our current backers is an incredible motivator to continually cast aside my social life in favour of writing more of these things.

– Jarenth

The Ranchanted Cave 2 – E7 – One Last Soul

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Last time we made it down to the Necromancer and instead of confronting him and taking him down decided that maybe right now was a good time to go get some fresh air, maybe a beer. Leave fighting evil and saving the world for another day, one where we are a little less concerned with self preservation and perhaps just a little less sober too. Today is that day let’s take down that necromancer.

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Indie Shortieland: oO

Heya, readers. Shorter Indie Wonderland this week, as I’m sure you can tell from the title. An unexpected one-two combo of stringent work deadlines and rapid-onset fever meant I couldn’t quite give my long-form attention to any game this week. This is the reason you’re getting a shorter game overview this week; no role is played, I take care to emphasize, by my brain hooking itself onto Marvel Heroes with renewed fervor, and deciding that grinding several characters to the level cap would be the best use of my time. That obviously didn’t happen.

The game I did look into this week is the enigmatically titled oO, by developer Rainbow Train. This game advertises itself as a “hardcore minimal indie “dodge-em-up / runner” arcade game“, whatever the hell those words in that order mean; from the screenshots, I thought it looked like a minimalist reflex-driven puzzler in the vein of Super Hexagon. I figured I could play oO for a little bit, and I’d find one or two interesting things to say about it. So I did, and I did!

They just weren’t the things I expected.

After the break: Ooh, a cliffhanger! So, do you think I liked oO? Or hated it? Place your bets now, ladies and gentlemen!

The Ranchanted Cave 2 – E6 – The Better Part of Valour

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Finally the long dungeon crawl reaches the end. I meet the Necromancer and epically run away. I like to try to learn from my mistakes and when I originally played this game just after it was released on Kongregate I had a similar run where I made it through half of the dungeon and then fought the Necromancer who utterly crushed me. Net result was that I was reset to outside the cave as if the previous run had never happened. This might have been fine for a short dip in the cave but for an extended run which contained a very large amount of progress. Well let’s just say I closed the browser tab and didn’t look back until the steam release.

In general I don’t really like losing large amounts of progress at a time, as much as I love Spelunky and NecroDancer, when I die in them I lose that current run, somewhere between 5 and 30 minutes of play. Losing hours of progress at a stroke is the kind of thing that gets me to abandon games, especially when they are built on slow and steady progress like an RPG.