Category Archives: Uncategorized

Indie Non-derland: An Odd Realization

So there’s no Indie Wonderland this week. And the reason for that is weirder than usual.

I’ve been playing One Bit Beyond‘s The Swords Of Ditto, a cute and colourful Zelda-esque about delving dungeons and beating evils over many successive generations. It has interesting theming, both in the immediately visual way the world is shaped (ex. the ‘Toys of Legend’) and in the underlying story that slowly emerges as you recover more and more logs. As well as some other stuff.

The problem is that I think there’s more to this game than I’m currently getting. Without getting too in-depth, on a surface level, I started getting a little bored with The Swords Of Ditto in my second run. It’s mechanically not very tough, and the heavily-lampshaded repetition starts to grate soon. But all the same, it’s very strongly implied that there’s supposed to be more: That all the repetition and the strange game design and the heavy lampshading is leading to some sort of breaking of the mold. If that does happen, it has the potential to be very interesting.

I just haven’t found it yet.

So, in a fairly unprecedented Indie Wonderland move, I want to give The Swords Of Ditto another week. If there is something more, I’d feel bad about writing what’s essentially an incomplete review. But if I can’t find what I’m thinking to find in two weeks time, it doesn’t really matter whether it’s ‘really’ there or not.

Check back in next week for the exciting conclusion!

– Jarenth

Much Punch-Do About Nothing

Hey readers. Jarenth here.

You know how all reviews are inherently subjective, because all reviewers are their own people with their own views and biases describing their own experiences with a game, each played in unique and irreproducible circumstances? Everyone’s different, everyone likes different things and experiences things differently — that sort of thing. There’s an argument that more skilled and practiced reviewers can step over that subjectivity to try and address game on a more ideally objective level, and it’s an argument I subscribe to, but still: There’s only so much you can do to step away from your intrinsic self.

I learned the hard way this week that I don’t really have a lot to say about fighting games.

‘I enjoy playing terrible characters that nobody likes for comedy value’ isn’t really a cutting observation.

My idea for this week was to say some interesting things about DRAGON BALL FighterZ, Bando Namcai’s long-awaited ‘it’s pretty much the cartoon distilled to only the cool fighting’ game. And, sure, here’s a thing I’ll say about it: They definitely nailed that aesthetic right on the goddamn head.

Down to the smallest details.

More to the actual point, I can see how a reviewer with more subject matter expertise could place DRAGON BALL FighterZ in the ecosystem of its peers. It’s a team-fighting game, which seems to invite comparison to games like Marvel vs. Capcom. It focuses on simple, quarter-circle-based special moves, making it more Street Fighter and less Mortal Kombat. And a significant distinction between novices and masters lies in the ability to string together long manual combos, something I also remember doing myself in Tekken (Tag Tournament, if we want to be specific).

It also allows you to play out wildly improbably scenarios, which I remember from Soul Caliber.

And that’s it. That’s the extent of my fighting game knowledge. What’s a BlazBlue? I don’t even know.

So yeah. Let’s call this week’s theme a lesson: Good idea, poor execution, highlighting the importance of recognizing your own limits. We’ll be back to normal next week with a game I can talk a bunch about, since it involves convoluted puzzles, giant robots, and messing up timelines beyond recognition for fun and profit.

Which, again, is *also* something you do in this game.

Spring Time Break Time

Hey everyone, it’s Jarenth. Hope you all had a happy non-denominational springtime-related holiday weekend? May your days have been filled with personally satisfying degrees of casual leisure, spiritual significance, and/or chocolate eggs.

I chose to spend my limited free time this week hanging out friends, family, and babies in lieu of playing indie games, so I bet you know where this announcement is heading. Regular service should resume next week.

Ninja Blues Writers Room: Jarenth

Hey readers. No normal review this week, sorry: It was the kind of week where I had very little time to play new games. Regular service should resume next week, assuming the universe is up for it.

Because I try to never leave you empty-handed, in lieu of a review I decided to this week write something that was requested in comments a few weeks back: An overview of / insight into my writing process. Behind the curtains at the sausage factory, so to say. I don’t know if this is of interest to any of you, and I have to stress that there really is no game review in the proceeding — I know, that’s something I would do, but I promise it isn’t. If you’ve ever wondered how I go about producing the content that I do, though, I guess today’s your lucky day.

After the break: Keep on reading, you strange soul you, for a look at all my writing secrets.

Ranneko’s Favourite Games Played in 2016

With the clock winding down on 2016 it is time for me to look back at the games I finished playing in 2016 and talk about the ones I enjoyed the most. The only requirement for a game to enter this list is that I finished it in 2016, either by reaching the end or deciding I never want to play it again. As a result you won’t really see any multiplayer focused titles here, because they are generally unable to be finished and I am reluctant to admit I have stopped playing them. I actually construct this list as I finish games during the year, so if you want to see what is happening with it at any time, just check it out over here.

Read on for Ranneko’s Top 10 of 2016

Volgarr Final Level Stream Thursday

Ninjustin here. Dude, were you there for the Volgarr stream?! (If not, here’s the archived broadcast. I plan to upload it to Youtube.) It was awesome! Until the moment it became terrible. I was playing through the game, occasionally fucking up but mostly kicking ass, and then right when I got to the secret final final world that you can only reach by coasting through the hard-mode versions of all the previous levels, the stream crashed. That’s not a joke. That’s actually what happened. And for twenty minutes afterward I tried to revive the stream. My internet connection was fine, but the stream refused to happen, so I’m inclined to believe Twitch was having issues. Maybe Twitch just couldn’t handle the epic secret final world on display. I don’t really know what happened, but either way, it was incredibly disappointing.

I’m not giving up, though. This Thursday (March 10th) I’m going to stream again, and this time I’m going to play up to the secret final level beforehand. I don’t want to make you all watch me play through the vast majority of the game again. If I start making that regular on my channel I’d probably be doing speedrun attempts.

Expect me to be on my channel at 3:30 CST. Here’s the time-zone conversion page for it. It shouldn’t take long — maybe 10 to 20 minutes. I may stream a celebratory Helldive afterward.

Fate doesn’t seem to want this to happen, but if that be the case, by Odin’s beard, I will fight fate itself.

Indie Wonderland: Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?!

Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?!, capitalization and punctuation marks non-optional, combines two of my self-professed great gaming loves: my love of running item stores and bilking world-saving adventurers out of their hard-fought cash (a la Recettear), and my love of playing games with ridiculous names (like last week’s Tembo The Badass Elephant).

I first ‘discovered’ this game when a helpful Steam friend launched it five times in a row, giving me ample time to soak in that name. Holy Potatoes. Holy Potatoes. A… weapon shop? I was immediately enthralled by it. Then, I checked out the Steam page, only to be further taken in by what looked like a bright, optimistic, happy game about… well, about bilking world-saving adventurers out of their hard-fought cash.

And then I suddenly owned the game. Funny how that works, huh?

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

(Game source: Bought it myself.)

After the break: Holy Potatoes. *And* a Weapon Shop, somehow. How are potatoes even *related* to weapon shops? The answer *may* surprise you.

Brief Indie Wonderland Update

Heya, readers.

Again, I’d like to apologize for the scheduled delay in Indie Wonderland services. Only one full column in three weeks is… more or less going on my worst-case scenario for these three weeks, honestly. I mean, it’s not as bad as zero columns. But still.

Also, true story: I’d originally planned to do a little half-column for today. Something to celebrate the end of my work spell and herald the return of Indie Wonderland Proper. I even picked out a good game: there was this Early Access game I’d gotten bundle’d and installed a long time ago, with the express purpose of keeping it for poor Indie Wonderland weeks. As an Early Access game, I wouldn’t feel bad only giving it a few days worth of short look, hence. So I just now opened Steam, looked up that game, and checked the store page for it…

…only to find it had exited Early Access in the meantime! The jerks. I only let their game sit for, like, five months, and they had the gall to actually go ahead and release a completed product.

Anyway, all jokes aside: I don’t really have anything in my library I felt comfortable firing off a one-day-short-look article about. Instead, you get this rambly explanation column. That’s like interesting to read, right?

Normal Indie Wonderland service resumes next week. And without wishing to bite off entirely more work than I can chew, the next Jarenth Plays installment shouldn’t be overlong either. March 31st if I’m judging my current workload correctly, April 7th if I’m not, April 14th if I’m really not.

Thanatos (Doesn’t) Play Dragon Age: Origins

Hey there, Ninja Blues Fans!

This is Thanatos peeking his head in for just a moment to bring you some, well. News.

My buffer for the Thanatos Plays Dragon Age episodes is currently all run dry, and I probably shouldn’t have let it, but that’s a long sob story you don’t want to hear. Point is, it has run dry.

Additionally, while typing up the Wednesday’s Episode, I noticed a thing: my computer is running really, really slow. Like, even typing this in I have to pause after every sentence and wait for the text to catch up to what I’ve actually written. There might be something seriously wrong with my computer, is what I’m saying.

I’ve tried all the normal fixes, restarting, updating software, manually checking through the installed programs to try and catch any errant ones and deleting them and, as I type this draft, there is a full system scan running in the background on my computer. While I systematically purge my machine of any stray bits of code, I’m not adding any new data to the cache (In the form of, say, documents to write the next chapter of the Let’s Play), and double-definitely not uploading any images to Ninja Blues and/or Jarenth on the off-chance that some little niggling bits of ‘ware stow away in the files.

What does this mean for you, the readers at home?

No Dragon Age Let’s Play this Wednesday whilst I’m locked in mortal combat with this (possible) virus-beast. I’ll make it up to you guys somehow. Probably. A thousand apologies for the inconvenience.