Monthly Archives: February 2016

Indie Shortieland: Recursion Deluxe

Sometimes I’ll dig into a given game for review purposes, and then discover that it and my review style don’t really click. Maybe the gameplay isn’t compatible with my interests, or the style isn’t conducive to long-form review, or it’s highly spoiler-sensitive. Or it just doesn’t grab me for long enough that I get enough out of it to write about. These things happen; not all games are for all players and all writers, no big deal. And if I catch the mismatch early enough in the week, I can usually switch over to something else no problem.

But say that I don’t catch the mismatch early enough. Maybe I don’t spend a whole lot of time gaming that week to begin with, and a lot of my allotted gaming time is spent battling aliens on Earth and battling aliens on Super Earth. And I only discover that I don’t really know — that I really don’t know — how to fill a whole Indie Wonderland with the game I blindly selected that week. What happens then?

Recursion Deluxe, by developers Ursa Games and 2D Heroes, is such a game. Let’s see what I have to say about, shall we?

After the break: Recursion Deluxe. I’m so tapped out about this game I can’t even come up with a good ‘recursion’ joke here.

Ranneko Plays MouseCraft – Section 2 (Part One)

YouTube Link

I was having enough fun with MouseCraft last time that I decided to keep going. So far it has been a fairly well made puzzle game, it has the pacing of tools and puzzle complexity to keep me engaged and playing.

Predictably Section 2’s puzzles are taking longer than the first’s sections, I wonder how long the later sections will take me.

Of the new toys revealed so far I am enjoying the crumbling block the most, you are unable to directly control the mice release rate and it is great to have a tool to easily split mice between two different paths through the level.

Next Week’s Streams: Ninja Gaiden & Volgarr Spectacular!

UPDATE: I had to reschedule the Volgarr stream to Sunday, click here for details.

Ninjustin here, and next Thursday (March 3rd) I’m doing something that I’ve been meaning to do for a long time. I’m going to stream a best-ending-run of Volgarr the Viking.

I never wrote about Volgarr and I only streamed it once last year, but it’s a 2014 game I discovered in 2015 that calls back to the old days of challenging action-sidescrollers like Castlevania, Zelda 2 and Super Ghouls & Ghosts, while improving vastly upon them. I genuinely call it hard-but-fair, which is a label I don’t ascribe to every game — Dark Souls can suck it — and I played the hell out of it last year, to the point where not only did I beat the whole notoriously difficult thing, I achieved the secret best ending, which requires jumping through some serious hoops.

I wanted to either stream myself achieving the task or record a video of it, but I never bothered last year. Now that I’m getting into the regular stream scene, I figured it’s as good a time as any. If you’d like to watch me kick that game’s ass, I’m going to stream at 8:00PM UTC. Here is a time zone converter for the event.  EDIT: Here’s the correct time zone converter page.

Also, on Tuesday March 1st I’m going to stream Ninja Gaiden for the NES, which I’ve been doing regularly since I started streaming. The game is frustratingly hard and often blatantly unfair, but I like how it feels, and I’ve made it a personal goal to beat it so I can up my ninja level. (Ninja level is a thing, in case you were wondering.) Same time, 8:00PM UTC. Here you go.

Hope to see you folks on the channel! On Tuesday I will die a lot, but on Thursday I will conquer.

Surprise! I thought of a better mouse-over joke at the last second. These bits are guidelines, not hard-and-fast rules.

Jarenth Plays XCOM 2 — Episode 3: Hiring Practices

In the last episode of Jarenth Plays XCOM 2, I met a bunch of people and I shot a bunch of people. Not necessarily the same people, though there was some overlap. I also learned that XCOM isn’t the only force resisting the aliens: small resistance groups are scattered across the world, each fighting the good fight in their own ways. The Last Remaining Good Councilman told me in no uncertain terms that it’s up to me to forge these disparate groups into a powerful, unified resistance; fail, and the fate of humanity itself might well hang in the balance…

After the break: I go about the unenviable task of scouring the world for resistance sympathizers. This involves quite more ‘gunning down aliens’ than you’d maybe think.

Ranonauts – Base Hunting

YouTube Link

This base assault was… less successful than the first, probably because the Indochina team lacks the awesome power of a vehicle rolling out behind them but overall the squad performed well in fairly difficult circumstances. I suspect that a typical game of Xenonauts contains a number of base assault missions, likely of variable size as we continue through. It does mean that these earlier ones are easier but it also means that any given base assault has less of a punchy impact.

I am getting really sick of the suppression being used against me. A suppressed soldier loses a massive amount of AP lost when that happens, and the soldiers suppressed that way tend to be the ones I want to use the most. Unfortunately the time unit and ammo costs of bursts makes them very difficult to use to generate suppression in the same way for my forces. I should try to find out if there is anything I can do to make suppression less likely, does bravery impact suppression chances at all?

Finally I assumed we had captured an alien commander in the command centre of this base, but from the end stats it looks like none of the aliens we got are a Ceasan commander, I am really not sure why. Maybe we got this base early in its development or something? If so that is both good and bad, I mean we need to get an alien commander sometime, either we will have to get a more developed base or wait for even bigger badder ships to come down here and my airforce simply isn’t prepared for bigger, badder alien ships yet.

The Ranonauts Project would like to offer it’s congratulations to:

  • Ceasan Psion for time wasting as it ran between two doors
  • Vacated for surviving their third mission
  • Vacated for getting 4 kills on this mission

The Ranonauts would like to offer its condolences to the families of the following officers:

  • Zaitlin
  • Allison Parker

To date Ranonauts has:

  • defended the earth for 3 months and 17 days
  • lost 39 soldiers
  • killed 218 aliens in 25 ground battles
  • captured 35 aliens
  • shot down 27 alien spacecraft
  • had 1 aircraft shot down
  • received $8,092,621 in funding

Ranonauts is in desperate need for new recruits after recent… incidents, if you or a friend would like to become a soldier in this Xenonauts Let’s Play please leave a comment or fill in your information here, the next set of new soldiers will arrive in episode twenty-three.

Torment Thursday – The Order Of Truth

YouTube Link

With this episode we are finally post all of the alpha test content and into the rest of the game. I was really pleased to be able to test inXile’s word that you could in fact bypass the initial Reef crisis. I wanted to go into this playing a character who would try to avoid direct violent confrontation and it is always nice to see that succeed and the scene that follows it is also pretty great we get to see a side of Qorro I really doubt we would have had an opportunity to see had we gone straight to combat.

The order of truth emphasises just how much time I am going to spend talking to people and feeling out devices, what I want most from this game is the chance to explore the strange elements of Numenera’s setting and I suspect that most of that will appear in dialogue because that is much cheaper than creating animation and visuals to go with the descriptions. I want to see more elements like the strange machine that takes a year of your life to create a golem or the slightly comedic alien whose obsession is the study of procreation. I was impressed with how they took a joke premise and retained the comedy whilst still making the character sympathetic. I think we are off to a good start here.

Ranneko Plays MouseCraft – Section 1

YouTube Link

After Kumoon last week I was after another puzzle experience and at some stage I got my hands on MouseCraft by Crunching Koalas, a studio which despite the name, is based in Poland. MouseCraft sees you controlling a some kind of bizarre scientist cat who is running experiments involving Mice, Cheese and Tetronimos. There is a story that vague justifies why our science-cat wants to get these mice safely to the cheese but I have to admit I haven’t paid that much attention to it, there is some kind of a mysterious sponsor and crystals but really these crystals just serve as bonus objectives for any given level.

When I grabbed MouseCraft I was hoping for was a well paced puzzle game, a game which delivers puzzles of slowly increasing complexity; both in the amount of steps and attempts needed to solve a puzzle and the tools available to solve it. I wanted the later puzzles to be clearly related to the early puzzles but contain a new mechanics and tools and take much more time and mental effort to resolve. This was something Kumoon really lacked, the early puzzles and the later puzzles were basically the same, there weren’t new block types or shot types, they just took longer. MouseCraft on the other hand has already introduce block bombs, mecha-rats, crystals and jelly blocks in the first set of levels and the difficulty has progressed from puzzles that could be by just leaping in to puzzles that take a little thought and often a few attempts to iron out the complications. I am pretty pleased with it so far and you can expect to see more MouseCraft next week.

Surprise! I thought of a better mouse-over joke at the last second. These bits are guidelines, not hard-and-fast rules.

Jarenth Plays XCOM 2 — Episode 2: Roll To Hit

In the last episode of Jarenth Plays XCOM 2, I discovered that the world has changed a lot during my twenty-year involuntary nap. The aliens are in power now, ruling through ‘kindness’ and ‘gifts of advanced technology’ — and the occasional bit of brutal military suppression. Led by Steve Bradford, the remnants of XCOM have been fighting them at every turn… as well as they managed to, anyway. But with me rescued from alien clutches and back in the command saddle, things are finally looking up for the beleaguered Resistance. In fact, the results of my first active command are returning to base as we speak…

After the break: I learn about soldiers, and I learn about engineering. And I learn just how frustrating a single missed shot can be.

Ranonauts – Can We Use Their Guns?

YouTube Link

I have no idea why or how Emma went out to face the alien menace with only a medpack and some grenades, reviewing the footage I can clearly see her equipment was reviewed before the engagement but for some reason no action was taken to ensure she had a weapon. Regardless this ridiculous mistake has lead to an important discovery. We can use the alien weaponry. Emma and some of her fellow soldiers were able to pick up and effectively utilise the alien armaments. Which leads me to another, even more important question: Why am I spending so much of my paltry funding making my own?!

For some reason my idiot staff have been using their own initiative to pawn off these valuable weapons to other sources, sure we are somewhat strapped for cash but we only seem to be able to get a fraction of what these weapons are worth. What is worse for some reason I am entirely unable to countermand those orders, we should have been able to stockpile vast quantities of alien arms by now, our soldiers have killed or executed well over 200 of these foul beasts, even if ammunition were scarce the spares in the alien supplies would be enough to outfit a dozen squads. I do not know what is worse, knowing my own forces are acting so foolishly or being unable to stop this farce from continuing despite the loss of life caused by it.

Between this and an Alien Base being located in Western Australia it does not look like a good week for this project.

The Ranonauts Project would like to offer it’s congratulations to:

  • Emma for demonstrating the usefulness of alien arms
  • Farmer With Shotgun for personally killing two reapers, a zombie and a Sebillion, if only I could have recruited him.

The Ranonauts would like to offer its condolences to the families of the following officers:

  • Bartosz
  • Conan
  • Andrey

To date Ranonauts has:

  • defended the earth for 3 months and 17 days
  • lost 37 soldiers
  • killed 210 aliens in 24 ground battles
  • captured 30 aliens
  • shot down 26 alien spacecraft
  • had 1 aircraft shot down
  • received $8,092,621 in funding

Ranonauts is in desperate need for new recruits after recent… incidents, if you or a friend would like to become a soldier in this Xenonauts Let’s Play please leave a comment or fill in your information here, the next set of new soldiers will arrive in episode twenty-three.

Indie Wonderland: Road Not Taken

Road Not Taken is one of those marvelously mysterious games where I just… have no idea where I got it from. Seriously, I couldn’t begin to tell you. A cursory search through my Gmail archive only suggests ‘Road Not Taken Seriously’ and ‘Road Not Taken King’, both of which I’m choosing to ignore. So where did it come from? Steam sale? Bundle? Gift from a friend? Developer key? Planetary alignment? It’s always been in my library, watching, waiting? Your guess is as good as mine.

What I do know is that Road Not Taken is a product from Spry Fox, otherwise well-known for games like Triple Town, Panda Poet, and (more recently) Alphabear. And given how many hours of my life I’ve put into Triple Town — more than I planned to, because that’s how it goes with these games — it’s safe to say that I like Spry Fox. And Road Not Taken‘s fancy art style appeals too, from what I’ve seen of it. Consequently, a game-launching link has been palling around on my desktop for months now, just waiting the right time to unleash its possibly hidden potential.

Let’s see if it actually does anything for me.

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

(Game source: Bought it myself, I… I think?)

After the break: yes, you could say that Road Not Taken was something of a road I haven’t ever taken yet. Aren’t you clever?