Monthly Archives: September 2016

Indie Wonderland: Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander

You’ve all got Spoiler Warning Josh to thank for this one. Long-term readers will know that I generally don’t pretend to ‘follow game news’ or ‘be on top of recent developments’: I’m all about getting blindsided by the unexpected. And then Josh thought it’d be a good idea to launch Massive Damage Inc.‘s Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander while I was online. On Steam, where he knew I’d be able to see it. And once I saw Halcyon 6‘s Steam page — which describes it as a colourful pixel-art sci-fi RPG where you control a Babylon 5-esque border-guard space station — it took all of two minutes of self-convincing before I had it bought and downloading.

Let’s see if I’m gonna have to thank him, or smack him.

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

(Game source: Bought it myself.)

After the break: who am I kidding? It’s gonna be ‘smack him’, regardless of game quality. He knows what he did.

The Marvellous Ran Take – Stealing 101

YouTube Link

I don’t remember where I first ran across images about this unconventional stealth puzzle game but I was interested from the start. I mean you get to steal art in broad daylight during a galleries operating hours. That is pretty cool, some might even say Marvellous.

As far as initial impressions go, the Marvellous Miss Take is clearly a relatively simple game intended for multiple platforms. It’s options don’t even include a volume slider, merely a few discrete options for how loud you want your music and sound effects to be.

It is focused around mouse control but I found that it was much more fun using keyboard controls I find it a lot easier to get where I want to go without making strange pathing choices or reacting too slowly to changing circumstances.

I like its focus on high speed distraction based stealth rather than a slow methodical one. The gadgets I have encountered so far have been focused around either ranged distraction or adjusting that movement speed, it will be interesting to see what new elements they throw into the mix as the game progresses.

I am looking forward to playing more, hopefully you can join me in the audience. Once the series is over I will put up a post looking back on what I thought worked well and what dragged the experience down.

The Marvellous Ran Take runs every Wedensday on YouTube until Ranneko finishes up this game, if you want to buy it for yourself, check out the site for the game here.

The Pillars of Ranternity – The Long Bellyache of the Soul

YouTube Link

I have been meaning to finish Obsidian’s kickstarted old school roleplaying game for quite some time but other games and some offputting handling of backer content really hampered my drive. The success of Torment Thursdays however has shown me that some people are actually interested in my handling of a text heavy long roleplaying game and I thought it would be a great opportunity to rekindle my interest.

The truth is I remember having a lot of fun playing through the start of Pillars, the setting is an interesting variant of the standard medieval fantasy. You have strange races an interesting focus on souls and sorcery and a lot of time and effort is spent making sure you have the ability to reflect little choices your character has made.

The plan is not to try to do a post per episode or even a post per chapter. I will try to post whenever something crops up in game that I feel would justify me spending a few hundred words expanding upon. I have a feeling that with the way I play this game, this series will end up going even longer than Ranonauts did.

The Pillars of Ranternity runs on Ranneko’s YouTube channel every Monday and Friday until Ranneko either finishes the game or is driven off by some maddening feature of the game

Indie Wonderland: The Final Station

As a Dutch person, particularly one without a driver’s license, I can’t help but like trains. They get me where I need to go. As someone who started video gaming in the late 90s, I like pixel art. A blast from the past turned established cool art form of the future, what’s not to like? As a lover of the unknown, I like games that focus on mystery and uncertainty. And as a nerd in general, I think I’m supposed to be into zombies and the concept of a zombie apocalypse. I don’t make the rules here, I just follow them, shambling-like and groaning about brains.

So what happens if you put those four together? Trains, pixel art, uncertainty, and zombies? Would you maybe get something like Do My Best Games‘s The Final Station, a pixel-art game about driving a train through a mysterious zombie-infested landscape?

And, follow-up question: how long do you think it would take from me hearing about that game, to me playing it forever and always?

Might I even be playing it… right now???

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

(Game source: Patreon funds. I love you guys.)

After the break: The Final Station. If this game starts with a broken train and you never actually get to ride it — because it’s at its final station, you see — I am going to be some form of pissed.

Beyond Rans – Beyond Eyes Let’s Play

YouTube Link

While Ninja Blues was down I took the opportunity to take the conceptually charming little title Beyond Eyes for a spin. It was an opportunity to perceive the world through the senses of a young blind girl, not exactly the focus of a typical game.

It starts off fairly well with a quick dip into the tragic backstory of our heroine followed by a stroll around the garden playing with our cat. Unfortunately the hook of the game proves to be its downfall, understandably a little blind girl tends to move very slowly and uncertainly which makes exploration a pain. She also doesn’t know about obstacles until she is very close to them and the controls are awkward enough that you often end up stuck in small corners you have no way of knowing about until it is too late.

It results in a tedium that often overrides the wonder and beauty that the concept and art style otherwise would invoke. I literally had to stop myself from falling asleep in some parts of the second episode.

It is a real pity as the game sounds like the kind of different experience that I am often after when I look for new games.

Torment Thursdays 2-6 to 2-10 Catch Up Time

YouTube Link

Site outages are inconvenient especially since I find it difficult enough to keep up on my posts at the best of times. I should remind you, dear reader, that my YouTube channel was regularly updating even while Ninja Blues was down.

In the five episodes that have gone up since the last post an unsurprisingly large amount has happened.

Continue reading

HeadRander – Headlander Let’s Play

YouTube Link

A little bit before the site went down I started my let’s play of Double Fine Productions most recent game Headlander. A metroidvania game lead by Lee Petty, the same mind that brought us Stacking. I guess Lee likes the idea of taking over other people because there are some suspiciously similar concepts at play here.

In Headlander you are introduces as the head of the sole remaining biological human, encapsulated in a suit that allows you to jet around sucking off heads and taking over robot bodies to make ends meet.

You do this in a bizarre retro-future world full of robots effectively stoned out of their minds by the influence of the Omega gems and the control of the evil supercomputer Methuselah. For me the game lasted just about as long as it needed to, clocking in at about 4 and a half hours at near 100% completion. I definitely would recommend others check it out, or at least to check out the let’s play.

Indie Wonderland: Enter The Gungeon

Dodge Roll Games‘ and Devolver Digital‘s Enter The Gungeon has danced on the periphery of my awareness for a while now. People have been talking about it since late 2014, and for a long time I was sure I remembered seeing people play it in Steam Early Access. Which is actually impossibly untrue, so… My terrible excuse for a memory might have been confusing Enter The Gungeon and Nuclear Throne, but that’s neither here nor there.

Point is, I’ve been hearing about this game in whispered, misty rumors, always enough to pique my interest but never quite enough to commit to full investigation (and the fact that I was waiting for a ‘has been released from Early Access’ message that would never ever appear probably wasn’t helping). I still don’t even know what a Gungeon is. Is it, like, a gun dungeon? A dungeon for guns? A dungeon that is a gun? A gun that’s a dungeon? A dungeon full of Gungans? Had a good friend not interfered, I might never have had the opportunity to find out.

But a good friend did interfere, by giving me Enter The Gungeon as a birthday gift. And, well, here we are! If you’re as clueless as I am in matters of Gungeon as I am, let’s explore this mystery together.

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

(Game source: Gift from a friend.)

After the break: Enter The Gungeon. The verb does little to alleviate confusion: the titular Gungeon is probably a structure, but other concepts — like a tournament or a legally binding agreement — can also be ‘entered’. What to expect, what to expect…

Stream Update: New Channel & Schedule

Yay, the site’s up this month! Ninjustin here, and I’ve got some news.

Before I start, I really want to thank all the viewers (regular and otherwise) I’ve had on my stream. The past three months of consistent 3-times-a-week streaming have been really fun! I’ve streamed complete playthroughs of Arkham City, Shovel Knight and Doom 4, as well as streamed plenty of partial playthroughs, regular fun-time shenanigans and one-offs. Additionally, I’ve gradually refined my channel to have a chat-bot, a solid visual layout, and toys I regularly show off for the viewers!

Also, I got this rad balloon ninja commission pic from @sakurabutt!

Also, I got this rad balloon ninja commission pic from @sakurabutt!

I have no intentions of quitting the scene, but I’m making a few changes moving forward. First of all, I’m switching my stream to a new channel: I used to go by Wooogles on Twitch, but that caused a bit of confusion as people who know me from this site or Twitter would call me Ninjustin, but people who discovered me on Twitch would call me Woogles. Not a big deal, but I feel it’d be better in the long term if I stick to one name across all platforms. You know, #branding and all that. So if you follow me on Twitch, please follow the new channel so you can continue to see when I’m live.

Secondly, due to a change in work schedule (and my own desire to add a bit more variety to my streaming times), I’m adjusting my stream schedule. Namely, I won’t be streaming at the same time every day. This might seem a bit confusing compared to what was before, but there are reasons for it.

So, the new schedule is as follows:

  • Monday: 8:30-10:00PM
  • Wednesday: 1:00-3:00PM
  • Thursday: 8:30-10:00PM
  • Saturday/Sunday: Wildcard!

Bear in mind this is all North American Central time. Since I now have Wednesdays off, I want to do at least one stream a week in the early afternoon so that my international viewers (at least two of whom I know exist!!) can feasibly be awake to watch it. I’d like to set a consistent time for weekend streaming, but weekends are always a bit topsy-turvy.

So, quick review: Streaming has been super fun, which is why I’ll be continuing. Please follow the new channel, and come watch me stream whenever you’re able. And, you know, willing. That too. Don’t come if you don’t want.

And if you’re someone who would like to view my stream regularly but are not available at any of the alloted times, let me know when you would like to watch me stream! I can see if I’d be able to fit it in my schedule. I don’t have market researchers to tell me when to stream, so you’ll have to suffice.

Also, Overwatch is awesome.

Indie Wonderland: Headlander

‘Headlander’? What the hell’s a headlander? I’ve been out of the writing game for three weeks; did the English language change dramatically overnight when I wasn’t looking? Is anything of what I’m writing even making sense to you anymore? Any more so than usual, I mean.

We might never know what went through Double Fine‘s and Adult Swim‘s minds when they made a game called Headlander. But what we do know is that Headlander is billed as a fun, fancy, retro-futuristic Metroidvania-esque adventure game. “Set in a world ruled by 70’s fiction”, if the Steam page is to be believed. Honestly, I didn’t need to know much more than ‘new Double Fine game that is also a Metroidvania adventure’, the rest is just gravy. Not a whole lot of setup needed for this one; I suggest we just… head in.

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

(Game source: Patreon funds.)

After the break: Headlander. Maybe it’s about, like, a country with only heads? Or heads that land on things? Or something that manages to ‘land’ a lot… or maybe something else entirely!