Ranneko Plays Finishing Up Renowned Explorers 2017-07-28

This week marks the exit of Renowned Explorers. I finally managed to make it through a full set of expeditions, though frankly, the last one was a victory lap. It turns out that you really only need to get more than 2500 fame, I assumed that there would be some kind of incentive other than score chasing to keep me going on that last outing.

I know that there is still plenty of content left to see, and heck there is even another expansion I could buy, but I would prefer to move on to something completely fresh rather than slowly find new bits amongst the repetition.

So from the 30th, I will release episodes of something completely different on the channel. A let’s play of a roguelike, age of exploration game, where the goal is to gather the most fame possible over a series of expeditions!

Also, I am still seeking feedback on the proposed new schedule. Finishing up the Curious Expedition would have been the perfect time to implement it, but I chickened out, I think I should spend some time and prep 4 or 5 tips so that once I am ready I know I don’t have to worry about the well running dry only a couple of weeks into the new schedule. It would be a lot easier if I had people who regularly commented, as I could potentially use viewers to provide ideas for tips, but frankly, comments are rarer than hen’s teeth which makes any plans relying on getting them fairly foolish.

Here is the schedule I am currently angling toward:
Mon/Wed/Fri: Long Game Slot
Tuesday: Tips
Thurs/Sun: Shorter Game or Oneshot
Sat: Syfro Saturdays

The current schedule is:

Saturday: Syfro Saturdays – Ranneko and Syfro Play Thimbleweed Park
Sundays: Ranowned Explorers: International Society
Monday, Wednesday and Friday: Ranneko Plays Massive Chalice
Tuesday and Thursday: Torment: Tides of Ranmenera

After the break, more about the videos that released last fortnight!

Indie Wonderland: Golem Creation Kit

We interrupt this regularly scheduled treatise on the games on my to-play list to bring you a sudden and unexpected look at Illuminated GamesGolem Creation Kit, a game that I just sort of spotted on the Steam front page one day. The preview materials show all the aesthetic and graphical appeal of a Flash-based hidden object game, and I’m 90% sure the title is primarily a play on Fallout‘s GECK. I wouldn’t be able to tell you what made me look at this game and immediately decide ‘yes, this is what I want to review next week’.

But all the same, that’s totally what happened.

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

(Game source: Impulse-bought it myself.)

After the break: Golem Creation Kit. Could it just be that I’m really into the idea of shaping inert materials into rad magical beings? Because if that’s the case, I have to wonder why I didn’t go into robotics instead of human-technology interaction.

Ranneko Plays Trying to Get Feedback 2017-07-21

I am still seeking feedback on the proposed new schedule. If I get myself organised I could potentially move to the new version early next month.

Here is the schedule I am currently angling toward:
Mon/Wed/Fri: Long Game Slot
Tuesday: Tips
Thurs/Sun: Shorter Game or Oneshot
Sat: Syfro Saturdays

The current schedule is:

Saturday: Syfro Saturdays – Ranneko and Syfro Play Thimbleweed Park
Sundays: Ranowned Explorers: International Society
Monday, Wednesday and Friday: Ranneko Plays Massive Chalice
Tuesday and Thursday: Torment: Tides of Ranmenera

After the break, more about the videos that released last fortnight!

Indie Wonderland: Unexplored

In this week’s continuation of the Desktop Text File Games, I have my eye on Ludomotion‘s Unexplored. A game that, I’ll be honest, I initially didn’t pay too much attention to. Can you blame me, in the endless barrage of quality games that is 2017? But then by chance I saw this article by Jack de Quidt. And that changed things, because…

Well, here’s the thing: I haven’t actually read the article yet. I want to, because Jack is a cool person and a good writer. But at this point in time I did already have Unexplored tagged as ‘possibly an Indie Wonderland game’. And you know what that means: Total media blackout until I can play it as blind as possible, to form my own opinion.

And thus, on the list it went. And here we are. I really hope that article is worth the wait.

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

(Game source: Patreon funds.)

After the break: Also, I hope that Unexplored is good, but that should go without saying. I hope all games always are good.

Ranneko Plays With Schedule Change 2017-07-14

As mentioned two weeks ago, technical difficulties have resulted in the temporary cancellation of The Ransistance and expanding Ranneko Plays Massive Chalice into its slot. This has had me thinking about how to handle my schedule from this point on.

The current schedule is a result of slow expansion in the number of videos I have been doing. I have slowly moved from Mon/Wed/Fri, to every weekday, and now every single day of the week. Each time I have added a day, it has been to add yet another game and to see how long I can keep it up.

Ultimately, I want to be able to handle long games in a reasonable timeframe, while not sacrificing the opportunity to do shorter series for shorter games at the same time. Ideally, I also want to leave one day a week free for more polished, short tip videos.

I want to return to tip videos for two reasons. Firstly, I like to highlight things that otherwise can be easily missed, especially if they can have a high impact on someone’s play. Secondly, my tip videos are by far the most consistently successful ones on my channel. I have I have been starting to gather ideas for those tips, but could always do with more. If you have any small tips for particular games that would fit in a 1-5 minute video I would love to hear them.

Here is the schedule I am currently angling toward:
Mon/Wed/Fri: Long Game Slot
Tuesday: Tips
Thurs/Sun: Shorter Game or Oneshot
Sat: Syfro Saturdays

What do people think? The final schedule probably won’t be implemented until Torment: Tides of Ranmenera wraps up, but any feedback would be appreciated.

The current schedule is:

Saturday: Syfro Saturdays – Ranneko and Syfro Play Thimbleweed Park
Sundays: Ranowned Explorers: International Society
Monday, Wednesday and Friday: Ranneko Plays Massive Chalice
Tuesday and Thursday: Torment: Tides of Ranmenera

After the break, more about the videos that released last fortnight!

Indie Wonderland: Salt and Sanctuary

I have a tumultuous relationship with the Dark Souls games. No, not that kind of tumultuous. Well, also that, but I mostly mean that I’ve never really played any of them for too long alone. I tried getting into Dark Souls (1) for an hour or so before quitting in bored frustration, only returning later with a revolving cadre of at least two accompanying friends at any time. Dark Souls 2 I didn’t even attempt solo, playing as far as I did — not to the end — strictly as a co-op adventure. And Dark Souls 3… I probably played the farthest solo of any of the three, determined as I was at the time to give it a shot. The last thing I remember was finally getting into some swampy castle past the giant crabs, only to get one-hit-killed by a Black Knight. I told myself I’d be back soon. That’s… been a while.

It’s for this reason that games that (unironically) advertise themselves as ‘like Dark Souls‘ have a special place in my heart. I do appreciate a lot of what Dark Souls does, from a design and mechanical perspective, even if it never really gelled with me the way it has with others. Every game that tries to emulate and improve on those lessons seems to me like another chance: One more shot to try and experience that magic in a setting that isn’t already awash with bad ludic smell memories. Ska StudiosSalt and Sanctuary seems like it might be a game like that. Maybe this‘ll be the one that grabs me? Or maybe I’ll bounce off this game much like I bounced off its famous progenitors.

That probably wouldn’t make for a very interesting review, so I guess for your reading sake and mine I’m hoping it’ll be the first one.

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

(Game source: Bought it myself.)

After the break: Either an interesting and in-depth Salt and Sanctuary review, or nothing but the words “Nope, that wasn’t it either”.

Indie Wonderland: TumbleSeed

It’s as true for gaming reviews as it is true for any field of critical analysis that you can’t engage in the activity for almost seven years and counting (give or take) without starting to think in patterns. Very little is ever as unique or as groundbreaking as it’d like you to believe, and it becomes both a useful shorthand and a method of thinking to categorize and compare games on similarities to past design. Oh, this game uses shooting mechanics based on Doom, but with a dash of Shadow Warrior. That game has a visual palette reminiscent of Limbo. Such-and-so game has a moral choice system that’s less Kotor and more Mass Effect. This game is like this, that game is like that; we all do it. It’s rare enough to find games that buck similarity expectations on any given area, let alone several.

And yet, it’s exactly that which drew me to TumbleSeed (by ‘Benedict Fritz, Greg Wohlwend, Joel Corelitz, David Laskey, and Jenna Blazevich’). Far as I can tell, in this game you play as a brightly-coloured… plant seed? With eyes? That rolls up a mountain, for various reasons, which involves dodging giant holes and fighting banana snakes and spiders with back-mounted turrets? And… you don’t move the seed directly, but instead, you move up some sort of plank from the bottom of the screen? And the seed balances and rolls on it?

Listen: I’m not saying TumbleSeed has no inspirations. The website itself claims that TumbleSeed is based on “the forgotten arcade classic Ice Cold Beer“. What I’m saying is that I don’t see any. TumbleSeed might be the first game in 2017 that I genuinely don’t have a frame of reference for. Might being the operative word: Could be that long-forgotten memories click into place once I start playing. My memory’s weird like that, it wouldn’t be the first time. I think.

But either way, wouldn’t that make for an interesting review?

(Spoiler levels: Narrative, not really a factor. Mechanical, medium-high-ish.)

(Game source: Patreon funds.)

After the break: TumbleSeed. I’m still a little confused about the whole rolling uphill scenario. What are the odds that’ll be explained in the first five minutes?

Ranneko Plays Technical Difficulties – Channel Update 2017-06-30

The Ransistance wraps up prematurely this week. I was having a great time, but unfortunately, some interaction between mods and my install has resulted in significant instability. I have recorded a couple more episodes but then I encountered a landed UFO mission that always crashes XCOM 2 when I finish up the mission. I spent way too much time trying to either fix the initial interaction or at least avoid the crash trigger, and I found a way to partially avoid the initial crash, but even loading an old save and playing normally will have the game crash after 15 minutes or so. I could restart the campaign, but with War of the Chosen only a couple of months away, I figure I should way for that to release and start a campaign then. If you have signed up to be a soldier don’t worry I will export all of the characters so they will show up in the next run!

As a result, from next week Ranneko Plays Massive Chalice will run three times a week, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Hopefully, that will take us roughly to the release of War of the Chosen and then that will run 3 days a week.

The current schedule is:

Saturday: Syfro Saturdays – Ranneko and Syfro Play Thimbleweed Park
Sundays: Ranowned Explorers: International Society
Monday and Friday: The Ransistance
Tuesday and Thursday: Torment: Tides of Ranmenera
Wednesday: Ranneko Plays Massive Chalice

After the break, more about the videos that released this week!

Indie Shortieland: OneShot

One particularly neat aspect of running a small video games website and indie game review column essentially as a hobby is that I get a lot of opportunities to chase down and play that catch my eye for silly reasons (and then write them off as Patreon business expenses). This was the case with Little Cat Feet‘s OneShot, where I was drawn in the esoteric-sounding Steam blurb:

OneShot is a surreal top down Puzzle/Adventure game with unique gameplay capabilities. You are to guide a child through a mysterious world on a mission to restore its long-dead sun. The world knows you exist.

And just like that, onto my list of To-Play Text Files it went. Including, just maybe, a little *sneak peek* for the coming weeks?

Conversely, one aspect that people rarely tell you about is when you sit down with a game, pour two or three hours into it, and only then realize, quietly, “I can’t actually review this game“.

I mean, obviously I can write about OneShot. I’m doing so right now, as evidenced by the fact that you’re reading this. But… Regular readers will know I have a reviewing style that could be described as ‘exhaustive’. I’m a scientist by trade, after all, and what do scientists do when faced with something new and unknown? We dissect. We prod and poke and take things apart as far as possible, then describe the individual pieces, as a process of building up to describing the larger whole. Yes, even in the social sciences. Especially in the social sciences.

Some games can withstand this sort of clinical analysis with their gameplay experience intact. Other games can’t. OneShot is such a game. It’s a really interesting game, and I really want to talk about it in more detail. But if I just tell you all the cool things that happen, there’s a good chance that will come at cost of spoiling those cool things for you.

Hence, a Shortieland. I’m still gonna talk about OneShot, because like I said, it’s really interesting. I’ll just… try my best to hint at the specific things that make it cool. So if you’ve ever wanted to see me very obviously dance around an issue for a little under two thousand words, you’re in luck, I guess.

(Spoiler levels: Narrative, as low as I can get it. Mechanical, as limited as I know how to convey.)

(Game source: Patreon funds.)

After the break: I’m only gonna get one shot at getting this review right.

Ranneko Plays Forgetting To Post – Channel Update 2017-06-23

A habit once broken can be pretty hard to rebuild. I used to ensure I wrote these posts on Thursday nights in preparation for Friday, with the intent that at least the video links would be ready so that some of my lunch break on Friday can be spent doing any last minute revision. On Thursday nights I now have Karate which disrupts that schedule a little bit, and I of course then followed this up by having Friday off due to Midsummer here. What I am saying is that life is hard and sometimes I don’t prioritise.

The current schedule is:

Saturday: Syfro Saturdays – Ranneko and Syfro Play Thimbleweed Park
Sundays: Ranowned Explorers: International Society
Monday and Friday: The Ransistance
Tuesday and Thursday: Torment: Tides of Ranmenera
Wednesday: Ranneko Plays Massive Chalice

After the break, more about the videos that released this week!