Monthly Archives: July 2015

The Ranchanted Cave 2 – E5 – Time To Do Some Maths

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The longer this run lasts the more I am leaning on that heal spell, effectively I am substituting mana for health. This approach clearly has its limitations but they are pretty straightforward to work out, none of the information I am using is hidden. The cost of the spell is standardised and the amount I heal is shown every time I cast it.

So how much is a single point of mana worth? Well, depends on my magic, but at the start of this episode, 1 mana was a little over 6 (122/20) health. Even there that means that a single point of mana regeneration is worth more than the most health regen I have ever put on an item via enchantment. Time to slowly phase out health regen in favour of more mana. Heck spare mana lets me get away with a bunch of other things too, I can convert mana into attack via spells, I can convert mana into gold via transmutation and lastly I can convert mana into knowledge by revealing the entire level. I don’t know why I didn’t start this transition earlier.

Jarenth Plays Starships — Episode 10: Unification

In the last episode of Jarenth Plays Starships, I finally, totally, completely defeated Vadim Kozlov and his Galactic Union. I conquered planet after planet, one after the next, until nobody but the most foolhardy would dare even declare their allegiance to that doomed Purity crusade. And then I found the one planet that had a bunch of those foolhardy braggarts, and I smacked the upstart right out of them.

Now, with the taints of red and brown finally scoured from the galactic map, the ranting voice of Vadim Kozlov has finally fled my precious airwaves. His fleet has disbanded, on his orders, to become independent raiding parties… reasoning that if all his ships combined couldn’t make a dent in my power, splitting them up into tiny groups might be more effective? I wouldn’t be able to guess at the reasoning, to be honest. But whatever the reason, whatever the case, the last of the great non-Supremacy power blocs has finally fallen.

And as for me? Well, I’m doing alright. I’m doing very alright, if you’ll permit me a little brag. In fact, according to all power metrics, I can’t be more than one turn away from total galactic victory. And I’m sure I will reach total galactic victory, sooner or later, if I just keep conquering enemy planets…

…assuming I can build up the conviction to do so.

After the break: I don’t want to wipe Suzanne off the map. I really don’t. I *like* Suzanne! But honestly, what other choice do I *have*?

The Ranchanted Cave 2 – E4 – Gear is Useful!

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Today we continue our latest extended trip into The Enchanted Cave, reaching ever further trying to at least reach the next store before we return to town and I have realised that perhaps my focus on only ever using artefacts is a bit of a mistake.

It turns out that gear I have been ignoring because it isn’t gold bordered lets me boost my attack and defence much much faster than relying on the much less frequent artefact upgrades. As long as I also keep an eye out of enchanting tables I can really extend the viable length of this trip and with my shiny new Transmute spell I can even keep these otherwise temporary items. The ability to extend this trip is growing fairly important because there is an unusually large gap between stores here and my supplies have started to run dangerously low…

Indie Wonderland: Ori And The Blind Forest

Ori And The Blind Forest has repeatedly flitted in and out of view in my online social circles ever since its release in March of this year. Mostly in an overwhelmingly positive way: I’ve been told that Moon Studios‘ Metroidvania platformer is cute, charming, crafted well, colourful, challenging, and a whole lot of other c-level adjectives. But for all the positive buzz, ‘genuine’ review-attention seemed light; one person in particular lamented that ‘all reviewers who don’t talk about Ori are directly just aren’t doing their jobs right’.

That was March of this year. You may wonder what this means for the status of my video game reviewing prowess.

But hey! I could start giving you excuses for why I didn’t get around to Ori earlier, or I could start talking about the actual game! And don’t you want that? Don’t you want me to talk about this game? That’s what you want, isn’t it? Here, look at the shiny carrot! Don’t you want the shiny carrot? C’mon, follow the shiny carrot!

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

(Game source: Bought it myself.)

After the break: Follow the shiny carrot, everyone! Into Ori-review-land, and out of the dark boroughs of ‘Jarenth still hasn’t explained what took him so damn long to get to this game’.

The Ranchanted Cave 2 – E3 – Gotta Catch Em All

In this episode of Ranchanted Cave I unlock the Transmute spell, now literally anything I can pick up can be turned into an artifact and kept. Does that mean that they also get a slot in the museum? Do I have to collect everything now?

I definitely picked the wrong approach in this episode, starting at level 0 every time is technically optimal, but it isn’t really very fun, it just makes the game tedious as you wipe easy floor after easy floor on your way down to the challenging areas. At least the viewers can skip that part but it is something to keep in mind, maybe stop letting the early levels give rewards, or simply remove access to Max Depth-20 and above. I am sure the Necromancer can justify it somehow. All I know is that it made it a lot harder to go back to the game for the next episode even though I had entered that higher risk zone again.

Jarenth Plays Starships — Episode 9: Cleaning House

In the last episode of Jarenth Plays Starships, I rounded out my collection of Prior Pals just in time for two of them to wrap up their fusion dance. Samatar folded his United Collective into Vadim’s Galactic Union, creating a new and unprecedented combined faction which was… about as powerful as any of the other non-me factions currently on the board. About half as powerful as me. Not necessarily immediately dangerous, but respectable; a potential future contender to my throne, maybe, given enough time to grow and develop.

So obviously, I immediately hit them with the full force of my fleet.

I stopped short of capturing the Union’s new adopted home world of Lyrae 80, because… well, because it looked undefended, for all intents and purposes. And I didn’t trust it. Who leaves their most valuable planet wide open to attack? So, instead of blindly rushing into what could well be a trap, I decided to wait things out. Let Vadim and Samatar make their moves first, and see what happens. If they were waiting for me to fall for something, it’ll be hilarious to watch them get more and frustrated as I don’t bite. And if there really wasn’t anything going on, well… just because I didn’t roll over their home world then, doesn’t mean that I can’t do it now.

After the break: a move *is* made, surprisingly enough. But is it a galaxy-spanning trap worth taking extra precautions for?…

The Ranchanted Cave 2 – EP2 – One More Floor

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After our last couple of quick trips into the Enchanted Cave 2 we are geared up and ready for our first deep, long dive we need to try reach significantly further than we have gone before and uncover more of the secret history of this famous tourist trap. I quite like the justification for the set up here and honestly even knowing this why would we stop? We aren’t rich yet and we are definitely smart enough not to push our luck too far right?

I was caught completely off guard by the new NPCs that you can encounter occasionally in the dungeon and they are great. I love the way they make you reevaluate that decision. How likely am I to make it to the next pair of wings? Can I afford to rescue this person or should I keep it to myself just in case the next level is a bit too tough. Eh, I reckon I can take it, what is the worst that could happen?

Indie Wonderland: Fort Meow

FORT MEOW. I can’t even pretend to remember what games I was eyeballing for this week before I ran into Upper Class Walrus‘ FORT MEOW. It’s a game about building a furniture fort to keep out approaching over-cuddly cats so you can read a book in peace! That’s three out of three things I’m a major fan of. And have I mentioned it’s called FORT MEOW? I don’t actually think the name is capitalized, but it will always be capitalized in my heart.

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

(Game source: Bought it myself.)

After the break: Fort Meow. Will it be… purrfect? Sorry, sorry; I apologize for the lazy pun.

The Ranchanted Cave 2 – EP1 – On Wings of Greed

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The Enchanted Cave by Dustin Auxier was a free flash game and a paid mobile game where you play an adventurer exploring a mysterious cave full of monsters, gold, weapons and the occasional rare artefact. The aim being to push your luck, get as far as you can but stop before you die.

The Enchanted Cave 2 is very much in the same vein, except prettier, bigger and with a lot more story. I especially like the town which is a bit more dynamic than I expected. It really sells the idea of this cave as a tourist attraction, leaving it up to the player to actually explore the cave and find out why it exists. I doubt that it is just the fantasy equivalent of the World’s Largest Banana.

Ranneko Plays Pitiri 1977 – EP2 – A Twist Too Far

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Well… that was over quickly. This is not really a complaint, I would rather a game finishes rather than drag on until it ceases to really be an interesting experience. I was however expecting it to at least last out the week.

The ending does just try to pile up several twists in a row which I think is a real mistake. For a twist to pay off you need build up, you need time for the audience to reach a new equilibrium, get comfortable with it and then you can mix it up again with the next twist. Here we have:
– Actually the Robots are Evil

– Actually the Kidnapper was friendly and just trying to help

– Actually you have always lived on a space station, let’s fly off into the sunset.

None of that is particularly problematic but I just didn’t really care by the last one.  The alternative ending is no better, it just replaces always lived on a space station with “You have missed 5 years”, in a longer game these could have been spaced out and the same twists would have been more interesting.

There is a reason why a half hour long TV-show rarely has as many twists per episode as an hour long one.

Join me next time where I need to figure out yet another game to play. Dang.