Category Archives: Site News

Indie Delayland

Hey readers.

So, my job ended last week. Temporary contract, planned end, I knew it was coming. I already have a new job lined up for January 2018 (with some 95% certainty), meaning I’ll be home free and on unemployment benefits for the next two months. So far, so ‘good’: You’d probably expect this gives me plenty of time to review a whole bunch of games.

Complication, though: My job ended halfway into last week. Between wrapping that up, preparing the new job, and a general sense of routine-busting panic (I am not a person who deals with change well), I haven’t had a lot of time to think about game reviews. I’m alright now, so the rest of November and most of December should go well. Just wanted to let you know that today isn’t going anywhere. Thanks for understanding.

As for late December… Well, we’ll get to that when we get to that. Again, I appreciate your patience and understanding, and I’ll try my best to get some good reviews going for these closing months of 2017. Twenty serpentine, indeed.

Hah, 'Traveler'. That's gonna be real funny in a month or two.

Allegations that most of my gameplay time this week went into the gun-shooting adventures of a space-age robot wizard remain, as always, scurrilously unfounded.

Indie Wake Me Up When September Ends Land

Hey readers.

You might have noticed that Ninja Blues is still fairly borked, what with the missing images and matte background and terrible load times. We’re still looking into it, but with limited success: Our best guesses at the moment oscillate between ‘WordPress is doing a thing’, ‘Cloudflare is doing a thing’, or ‘rampant computer gremlins’.

Between this and some personal stuff (figurin’ out my future), I’ve decided to take the rest of September off from Indie Wonderland. This should give me the time to figure out the site’s maladies, get my personal work done, and build something of a review backlog for later months (which may also get more hectic than I’d prefer).

I'll have none of this completely true slander

“And this’ll let you get ready for the upcoming Guild Wars 2 expansion” Now listen here

Let’s say that we meet back here… October 2nd. Have a good September, everyone!
– Jarenth

Indie Delay Land

Heya, readers and friends and friends who read. Stress and high workload over the weekend have culminated in a painfully overloaded writing arm today, so I’m delaying typing Indie Wonderland until tomorrow. Thanks for understanding.

– Jarenth

EDIT: In light of the website’s recent troubles, I’m postponing this week’s column to next week entirely. No sense rushing out work if the site won’t let anyone read it.

A Brief Newsie

Hey, readers. Happy holiday period!

It’s Wednesday, so you might at this point be wondering where this week’s Indie Wonderland is. I’m wondering that myself, too. I usually try to have these things up by Monday, consistently, but… Let’s just say that Christmas interfered. I had plans to write a review in-between dinner sessions and then that just didn’t happen. Sorry about that! The final VNADS will instead go up next Monday, January 2nd. My first review of 2017. It’s going to be a great one to lead in the year, I can just tell.

Unrelated, but mildly related, it’s almost time for another Josh And Jarenth Wrap Up The Year stream-a-vaganza. We’re still locking down the exact time and place for this one, which is a fancy way of saying Josh hasn’t fully decided / written it down yet. Once we’re sure of the whole thing, I’ll post the exact times and streaming channel here as well.

And any suggestions for what we should play on stream are, of course, always appreciated.

– Jarenth

Update: the stream times have been decided. 3:00 AM Central European Time, 2:00 AM GMT, or 10:00 PM East Coast time, whichever denomination works for you. It’s one hour earlier than previous streams; blame Josh, as I do.

VNADS 2016

Heya, readers! It’s November again, which, if you’re a long-time reader, you know what that means: it’s Visual Novels And Dating Sims month here at Indie Wonderland!

If you’re not a long-time reader, then hello! My name is Jarenth, and for reasons I can’t accurately recollect, I decided two years ago to devote every November (and sometimes December, too) to playing exclusively visual novels and/or dating sims. Hence, Visual Novels And Dating Sims month, or VNADS. I know, the acronym is terrible. It fits the games I tend to play. You can find them all under the ‘VNADS’ tag in our tag cloud. Here’s a link.

“Oh, boy, VNADS! I can’t wait to see which terrible Sakura games Jarenth is gonna review this time around!”

Yeah, see, that’s… kind of the main reason I’m writing this intro post. I know my Sakura reviews are popular, for reasons I’ll never* understand; I can look at my traffic plugin and see all of them climbing the ‘most ever read’ rankings, Sakura Spirit still squarely on top. But I can’t do another whole month of these. Because a) I’d go mad, and b) there are other, more interesting visual novels that I want to play. Trust me! I’ve got one or two good ones lined up already. And the field is so large. To arbitrarily restrict myself to Sakura novels just for fleeting website hits… that’s just not what I do.

So, a compromise. Since my last Sakura game review, four new of these weeds have sprouted in the marketplace. Sakura Shrine Girls, a game about hosting a Japanese shrine while also dealing with two sexy cat girls. Sakura Space, a classic Sakura adventure where the lack of atmosphere and gravity will in no way hinder all the near-naked pool parties. Sakura Nova, an academy for aspiring knights that can’t seem to decide if it’s past-themed, present, or future. And Sakura Maid, the one that didn’t even make it to Steam, because Winged Cloud decided that putting in hardcore Patreon-only sex scenes was too juicy a proposition to let pass.

I’m going to review one of these. And I leave the choice of which one to play up to you, the readers. Cast your vote in the comments, with as much or as little explanation as you care for. Or, alternatively, go over to the Twitter poll I made for the purpose, which — from today — stays up for seven days. I’ll collect data at the end of the week, and then review the chosen game in the last week of VNADS. Something to look forward to, for all of you!

Now, in the meantime, why not take a look at the first game I actually reviewed for VNADS, Rose of Winter? You can find the review by scrolling just a little further down, or by following this handy hyperlink

Notice Of Service Resumption / Indie Tinyland: Dragon Sweeper

Heya, readers! After three weeks of being utterly adrift in the United States of America, I am finally and once again back in the Netherlands. Which is to say, back at my PC, which has all my fancy games on it. Expect regular Indie Wonderland service to resume from next week onward. I’d say I have some good ones lined up for you, but that would be lying; I don’t even know what I’m going to play right now, as I’m writing this. I still don’t know! Life is a mystery sometimes.

But as a small nugget of ‘thanks for your time and patience’, let me tell you just the smallest bit about Jesse Freeman‘s Dragon Sweeper.

Just a bit.

Dragon Sweeper is what happens when Minesweeper is also an RPG. Yes, I know that doesn’t make any sense. And yet.

You play Dragon Sweeper by clicking semi-randomly in a field of covered squares, slowly revealing parts of the field as you do. And then using the revealed information to fine-tune your searching. Your goal is to locate and neutralize several particular squares in as little time and as little clicks as possible. So far, so familiar, right? Sure, the ‘grid’ is actually an (irregular) island, and instead of numbers, you uncover open fields and forests and mountains, all conveniently surrounding and pointing to ‘monster lairs’.

There are two more monster lairs in this image. Can *you* guess where they’re placed?

But Dragon Sweeper diverges from Minesweeper in that you actually want to click on the monster lairs. Because that takes your character into the lair. Where you then fight the associated monster.

Using a simple, but not necessarily ‘easy’ rhythm game.

Oh yeah, you have a character. A Knight, Cleric, Thief, or Wizzard (sic). Each with their own special attack. And then there are levels, and hit points, and skill points, and gold, and towns where you can spend that gold…

There’s slightly more to it than meets the eye.

Dragon Sweeper is name-your-own-price to download, which means you can technically get it for free. Don’t do that, though. But for a few bucks, it’s a neat little twist on an established formula. Might get you through a boring hour or two. More if you share your computer with others, in which case there’s the scoring element to take into consideration. Less if you’re, like, really good at Minesweeper. And even if that’s the case, this game still has dragons in it — don’t count it out just yet.

Jarenth has eaten almost nothing but greasy American food for three weeks straight. Empathize on Twitter or hang out with him on Steam. And if you dig Indie Wonderland and Ninja Blues in general, why not consider supporting our Patreon campaign?

Discord Server & Stream Schedule (Indefinite Until Further Notice)

You can’t accuse us of being behind the times, because now we have our very own Discord server! If you look at the sidebar on your right you’ll now see a Discord widget that lets you see online members and connect with a button click.

Discord banner

So what’s Discord, you ask? Well now I see it’s YOU who’s behind the times! But anyway, Discord is essentially a text-and-voice-chat service where you can participate in multiple channels, make your own channel, and/or integrate your channel with your sponsored Twitch or Youtube channel. It’s very intuitive, it has customizable notifications, you don’t have to mess with IP addresses or port forwarding to voice chat, and all-in-all it feels like the next step forward for PC gaming chat.

Also, I now have it set up to notify all server members (unless you opt out) whenever I’m streaming on my Twitch channel that you all follow! You follow it, right?

stream HA HA GET IT?

Speaking of streaming, now that I’m switching from a weird janky ten-hour-days, four-day-weeks work schedule to a more standard Monday-to-Friday affair, I’m assigning myself a regular Twitch stream schedule that I’ll be using indefinitely until I post again to change it. The plan is that I’ll be streaming Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 8:00 to 10:00 PM Central time, and whenever I’m available and up to it on Saturday and/or Sunday. This will start on June 20th (this upcoming Monday) and I’m going to gauge how much I can handle streaming 3 days a week. I’d love to upgrade to 5 days a week, but, baby steps.

So mark your calendars, and hop on the Discord server to be notified and to engage. And to anyone who stopped by for my streams the past two weeks, thanks! And sorry I didn’t stream on Tuesday or Wednesday. Internet problems.

Jarenth, It’s Monday, Where’s My Indie Wonderland

Whoops. I totally forgot to post this earlier, didn’t I?

On account of a close friend’s wedding, I’ve spent the last three days in scenic Spokane, Washington. I’m still there, in fact! Scenic mountain far-sights are great for an agoraphobia sufferer, let me tell you.

I haven’t had a chance to play anything major this week, for two reasons: a) most of my time has gone towards this wedding, and b) the only laptop I have with me right now is a low-powered work laptop. It can technically run several games, but… let’s just say I’m not sure I feel comfortable reviewing anything new when I can’t reliably tell if it’s working well.

Consider this week, and the next three weeks, an overdue Official Indie Wonderland Break. I might be able to throw something together, and I’ll be a part of Justin’s streaming schedule as much as I can hack — I did actually remember to pack a headset and a mic. Otherwise, regular service should hopefully resume in July.

Thanks for understanding! Have a selfie.

No, not Justin, sadly.

Featuring *secret mystery guest*.

Indie Notification Land

Heya, readers.

No Indie Wonderland today, as you might have intuited. In fact, if you read last week’s review really carefully, you might even have seen the announcement in the footer on page 2! Go check, it’s right there! In order of time-claiming importance, my last week consisted of a lot of things denying me the time to play and review:

1) Work stress
2) Illness
3) Wrapping up XCOM 2
4) Curing cardboard diseases
5) Dark Souls 3
6) I was out of milk that one time

Regular service resumes next week.

And speaking of Jarenth Plays XCOM 2:

Good news is, I finished the gameplay parts of this Let’s Play. We’re looking at about 27 episodes right now, plus intro and epilogue. So expect this series to run about a month longer. ‘Bad’ news is, I’m afraid I didn’t get to all of you on the sign-up sheet. Sorry! I just… didn’t lose enough soldiers. You’ll still see a handful of new faces make their debut, but all in all, I’m guessing I got to about half of the names on the list.

Obviously I don’t want to leave anyone empty-handed who had the wherewithal and the fortitude to enlist in the first place. So one thing I will do, at the end of this Let’s Play, is add everyone who didn’t already show up to my character pool. And then that character pool will be made available for download right here — probably in the epilogue. That way, everyone can have their own Jarenth Plays XCOM 2 adventures! See if you are better than I at keeping this colour-uncoordinated group of schmucks alive.

– Jarenth