xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
Woke up to the power being out, so I went back to sleep.

Woke up again to the power still being out, so I rolled over and figured out how to get my phone to connect to the sky and dug around and found the wireless keyboard and ...

..oops, too long, out of memory error, no dream found.

So this is ... recording that I actually HAD a dream but have forgotten it.

Make something up, it'll make as much sense anyway.
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
A short pixelriffic pointyclicker where you're trapped in a cave and your goal is to solve puzzles.

I mean escape.

But mostly I mean solve puzzles, because you're not escaping until every puzzle in your way is solved and every piece of inventory is clicked on something else, be it in the world or elsewhere in your inventory. You can collect hint coins and I used a few, because some puzzles were not only not intuitive, but I think the solution for them in the gameworld either didn't exist or was extremely obtuse.

That said I solved a couple of puzzles by accident so there's also that.

Anyway this was twenty minutes of puzzles and not bad. Sometimes you just want to solve adventure game puzzles because you're there and so are they. This is for those times.
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
Woke up with a piece of music that was on the radio in my dream still in my mind.

Daft Punkian "we can afford this lyric, one drum machine and a vocoder" sort of production values. (EDIT: Maybe Nine Inch Nails? Something.)

For this to have defeated me
I have to be in a state of insecurity
For this to have deleted me
I have to be in a state of insecurity
For you to have mistreated me
You have to be in a state of insecurity
There is no getting rid of me
You can't keep me in a state of insecurity

S'catchy, I'll give it that.
xyzzysqrl: (Sqrl-Bit.)
This wasn't as spectacular as its sequel, but for a starting place and home base for the series to work outward from, it was pretty strong. Any mystery dungeon is better than no mystery dungeon and this sure was some mystery dungeon gameplay, with things not really getting difficult or engaging until the final dungeon's lengthy climb skyward.

The story was present and written decently, if pitched ... well, a bit young. (Yes, in this children's monster collecting game. I know.) There were still a couple of times where I was like "Oh my gosh you're flashing back to STUFF THAT JUST HAPPENED" but that's one problem that got WAY worse in the sequel, so things flowed very smoothly here.

Mostly I feel sad I never developed any strong emotional connections here. I just wasn't feeling anything. This is unlikely to show up in the end of the year awards, I'm afraid.

Does make me look forward to Super Mystery Dungeon though.
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
After failing to beat SRW X, I was concerned that maybe I was burned out on the entire series for a while.

SRW T neatly clipped that thought off at the root. It's good, it's REAL good, and I played it nonstop until it was done.

Part of it was the series roster. Cowboy Bebop was a neat inclusion, Gun X Sword had the incomparable El Dora V team, G Gundam and Gunbuster and GaoGaiGar are three of my favorite series...

More importantly, this one felt like it had a theme and a storyline it wanted to tell with the inclusion of most of the series, instead of SRW X which felt strongly like "Uh, we're all here, now. I guess. Because... we have robots."

This was a deeply satisfying installment, and it feels good to have played through. Looks like I'm gonna keep on buyin' these every year, huh?
xyzzysqrl: (Challenger)
Sqrl: "In the criminal justice system, there are two wolves inside you."

Woof: "Their battle will be broadcast on pay-per-view to pay your legal bills."
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
There's a tomato in the fridge, because we're going to have tacos later.

(I have not had tacos in like 20 years. That is a separate story.)

But, there's a tomato in the fridge and for some reason my subconscious is like "ARRRR LYCOPEAN SUSTAINS US. GO PICK UP THAT TOMATO AND BITE INTO IT LIKE AN APPLE."

And I'm like, "No. That tomato is for taco and also I am not going to slurpnomf a big juicy tomato, brain. That's weird. You're weird."

And my brain is like, "You're right."

And I'm like, "Thank you."

And my brain is like "YOU SALT IT FIRST. SALT IT UP GOOD. THEN BITE. BITE THE TOMATO. doitdoitdoitbitebitebitebite"

Not for the first time do I silently sit here in a darkened room and try to figure out what the fuck is going on in my head.



Sqrl: "Whatcha doing?"

Woof: "Cuttin' this tomato up for taco."

Sqrl: " it entirely cut up?"

Woof: "No, there's this bit here that's like... a third of the tomato, why?"

Sqrl: "...can I eat it."

Woof: "What, plain?"

Sqrl: "No, with salt."

Woof: "...uhhhh. Sure?"


Sqrl: "God damn it, that tasted really really good and I'm mad about that."


Woof: "???"
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
Can I declare a VN complete when I've only seen two of the routes? Yeah I think I can.

So this was Lovers of Aether, the April Fool's joke dating VN from the makers of Rivals of Aether. I am of two minds about this sort of thing.

On one hand, I don't believe "lol it's a game where you don't hurt people you just talk to them and enjoy the writing ISN'T THAT HILARIOUS" is inherently a funny joke. Joke VNs are usually a low-ball pitch that only serve to re-enforce negative stereotypes about the genre. I love playing stuff like this, and "It's a visual novel now, that's the whole gag" is kind of demeaning to the genre as a whole.

On the other hand I'm a giant piece of furry trash who wants to date the absolute hell out of some fightgame characters, so here I am playing it in spite of ideological objections. And you know, it's okay? It's fairly basic, some characters seem to have more complex routes than others (there's a few that demand you live up to their standards, and with one the question is "how do you even get an inward angle here?"), but the art is sharp and the writing is...

...well, it's a high school full of fighting game characters.

Most of them are jerks to some degree until you get them to take their walls down and open up.

So I took the joke game seriously, yeah I'm an idiot, but I had a good time here and can see myself going back to try to 100% this. It's real short but sweet enough.
xyzzysqrl: (Sqrl-Bit.)
... Somehow the new Super Robot Wars game (it is fantastic, thank you) has re-awakened a REALLY old fandom in me. The first three anime series I tried to collect (at $20-25 per two/three episode tape) were:
Cowboy Bebop
Martian Successor Nadesico
and Magic Knight Rayearth.

I eventually bought full DVD sets of Bebop and Nadesico but I never did finish out Rayearth, and seeing the Hikaru/Umi/Fuu trio hanging out and doing things like giving Inspiring Speeches of Hope to the Gunbuster cast and all have REALLY made me itch to pick that show up again.

Naturally it is not on any service that will stream to me, because anime rights situations are a butt that poo comes from.


if the show used to be $20 per tape, $60-100 for a ten disc box set isn't THAT expensive comparatively right
xyzzysqrl: (Play with me.)
Back when I played this game originally I wrote "Pillars of Eternity was really, really good." I stand by that. I still played on Easy. I still, after two playthroughs, do not understand exactly how the combat system works.

I understand the underlying mechanics of this thing less than I understand Icewind Dale, and IWD was D&D 2E, the game system so obtuse it launched an entire cottage industry of fantasy RPGs trying to be marginally more understandable. That said, I mostly loaded my slots up with potions, enchanted my gear up as awesome as it would go, made sure I had two tanks and some mix of ranged and melee DPS at all times, and set the AI to "don't be an idiot please". It largely worked.

This is still one of the most-written fantasy RPGs out there. Text comes at you in thick crunchy blocks and you have to eat it fast or you'll choke to death and give up and just start button-mashing through conversations. I can't imagine doing that, particularly as I was playing it largely as a visual novel with extended super-murder interludes.

It's a really great novel though. Very reactive to choice. More reactive than I, uh, anticipated. Particularly with regards to sidequests. And infants.


Apparently Pillars of Eternity 2 has a "bring your shoplifted daughter to work day" mode. I'm interested in how that works out.
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Moogle)
Woof: "Okay, what do you want to order for lunch?"
Sqrlmog, hungry and befuddled: "Uhhh. Hm. I... I don't... What DO I want to order for lunch?"
Woof, deadpan: "You want a clown car full of velociraptors."
Sqrlmog: "...yes, but not to EAT..."
Woof: *facepalm*
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
A clock repairman is called to a deserted island manor to ... repair the clock, why else do you call a clock repairman anywhere? It is not a normal clock, but he is not a normal clock repairman...

This is a solid little puzzle adventure (with platforming sequences) that can be solved in about an hour. Great pixel art, but an over-reliance on having you cover every room of the (blessedly small) map every now and then to find which hotspots have become freshly available since the last time you solved something.

I can't fault it, not at that playtime and that price. I had a good time here.
xyzzysqrl: (Bubbles)
For a decade or so, all I knew about this game is that it was THE WORST FINAL FANTASY EVERRRR, the one that we got instead of Seiken Densetsu 3, the franchise-attempted-murderer no one wanted to remember. The one so easy that Japanese people mockingly called it "Final Fantasy USA".

Well, y'know, it's actually not that bad? It is absolutely the "RPG for Beginners" it positions itself to be.

(Or, it would've been back in the SNES days. Hilariously I've now played RPGs that felt easier than Mystic Quest unintentionally, just by dint of their design choices!)

That said, having a lighter, more casual JRPG out there isn't actually a bad idea. Having battlefields where you can go to grind and level up takes some of the agitation out of the genre, and it is again funny that while one of the complaints at the time was that it didn't have random battles like a REAL RPG did, there's been a steady push to kill them off completely from genre fans.

In general, time's been kinder to Mystic Quest's goofy, self-lampooning plot and laid back gameplay mechanics than I ever figured it would be. I'm glad I finally sat down and worked through it.
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
In last night's dream I was being regularly cursed by three witches. I remember someone leaving a comment to specifically link me to the forum where they were cursing me, and I remember posting here to confirm that I was aware of it and probably deserved it and to please not go poke the wasp nest with a stick.


Upon waking up and reflecting, yeah that's pretty much how I'd actually handle that situation.
I wonder what dream-me did. Probably they were kind of an asshole. When I think about my past, I usually end up thinking "Huh, I was kind of an asshole."
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
Well this is a slightly weird one to categorize. Let's start mechanically: With a rock-paper-scissors-y battle system that draws from Dragon Warrior, Earthbound, Final Fantasy and a variety of other sources this RPGMaker-based adventure has decent dungeon design and slightly tedious battles with little flash but decent substance. In spite of the RPS-esqe color system, you'll often just find yourself spamming out your strongest attacks and using the plentiful items to refuel, so there's less strategy and more bashy-bashy.

There's a decent load of sidequests and the whole thing can come in under ten hours, so it's not like there's a lot of hardcore grinding here. This is a good way to kill a couple evenings, particularly if you like pixel art and chiptunes.

The story, though ... man.

One thing I've got to say is that while there are player-targeted jokes and parody in here, the characters in-world take it all completely seriously, which gives sometimes bizarre situations more gravitas than you would expect. It's easy to start caring for the little dudes and what they're going through. The writing is heartfelt and earnest, and if there are a few tropes that play out exactly like you'd imagine they'd play out, think about this: You didn't buy a game called "8-Bit Adventures" looking for a totally new and surprising experience, did you?

In conclusion I missed one achievement this game is literally unplayable 0/10 stars.

(No for real I loved it. On board for the sequel.)
xyzzysqrl: (Play with me.)
Man this is... not balanced. This is not bug-free. This is not colorful. It's awkward, has weird difficulty spikes, and is ENTIRELY predicated on RNG for whether you get loot or not. But I had a great time with it even in spite of finding multiple ways to break it over my knee.

The premise is this: You've been sealed in a book by a group of do-gooding heroes. This is because as an evil sorcerer, you were well on your way to taking over the world with your minions. As you rouse in the dusty confines of a dungeon, you realize you will spend your life in here unless you find some way to break out, so you summon as many minions as your power can sustain and...

...what? No, this isn't Wizardry IV. Wizardry IV didn't have a book in it. It's a totally different story.

Anyway, you adventure and hack and slash through like 10 dungeon levels, divided into various subsections. It's pretty good, but getting the proper loot for your party is -entirely- random, so if you're like me you'll end up like "What's in this box? It's another goddamn axe! Nobody knows how to use an axe in this group!"

Also instead of the power of magic I chose the power of having a greatsword and splatting people off the dungeon walls. This was an A++ choice and I feel great about having made it.
xyzzysqrl: (Sqrlish RAGE)
I just cannot get into this.

Axiom Verge is a Metroid. I mean that in the sense that it does everything Nintendo's Metroid series does, and also in the sense that when I load it up, it attaches to me and sucks out all my energy until I feel exhausted and despairing.

The atmosphere is depressing. The plot is ... also depressing. The music is piercing, but often very ... hm.

I dunno. I went into this game really enthused, and don't get me wrong -- it COULD be a good game for someone else. The entire thing was made by one person and it doesn't show at all. The pixel art backgrounds in the outdoor areas are incredible, among other things.

I'm two bosses from the ending, according to a guide. Unless I want to backtrack all over the place collecting more guns I'll never use and more pickups that raise my something by 1/5th. But I've already spent 16 hours getting to this point and I'm just so tired of this game.
xyzzysqrl: (Play with me.)
Two years ago I played the original "Dead Man's Switch" Shadowrun campaign, and quite enjoyed it all around. It was a simple and straightforward game, short but enjoyable.

Dragonfall ups the complexity a lot and plays sort of like the version of Shadowrun I assume they -wanted- to make the first time but didn't have the funds or experience to do yet. It's quite good, I don't know if I like it better than Returns but it's certainly got stronger writing and better mechanics.

You've always got a crew with you in Dragonfall, which means there's a lot less "hire some random guys and hope". On one hand, that drops the variety of ways to tackle missions (because you're always running with a handful of the same people) but it does inject personality. I sort of miss the random runners, but there's a couple in-game and I took them along now and then.

The game DOES introduce a permanent new character right before the ending, but unless your personal avatar can duplicate the skills of two different team members it's better to leave them behind, because Serious Things are unfolding at that point and you need all hands on deck.

Aside from that it's a well-structured campaign. One thing I want to really point out is that there's a LOT OF DIALOG in this one, with lots of alternate solutions and skill checks and extra routes. We're not quite at Obsidian levels of reactivity, but we're pretty close.

I tried out a mage this time, and that went over well. I guess next in Hong Kong (whenever I get to that) I'll try out some kind of gun shaman perhaps.
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
It's been a running gag in the small chat clan I'm in that Steam's algorithm finds the games Chroma Squad and Hiiro to be similar to every other game humans have created since the dawn of time. Now that I've played both of them, I expect Steam's secretmost compartment to unlock and present to me the True Games, the ones scholars whisper of. I will play these games and reach my fingers through the seams around me to manually turn the gears over which our reality is but a facade.

I'll probably get my fingers stuck in there too, because ow gears ow.

Anyway Hiiro is pretty good, fullstop end review.



Hiiro is a pretty good peaceful exploration platformer with a number of small hidden secrets. In a world where... something bad happened, your job as "the red guy" is to go collect a bunch of golden cubes and stuff will happen the end. The music didn't agree with me and I got irritatingly stuck for a couple hours looking for that one last cube, but on the whole this was not bad or unpleasant and I quite enjoyed the experience.

Also there's a bonus boss but that did seem bad and unpleasant and I decided to skip out on it.
xyzzysqrl: (Challenger)
From the sort of "Explore a temple to masochism!" mindset that brought you 1001 Spikes, La Mulana, and more to the point, Montezuma's Revenge comes Elena Temple. There's a sort of framework story about how this is an authentic retro game, playable on seven different systems, but it's only there to prop up the idea that this game feels old. The framework has no bearing whatsoever on the game itself besides allowing you to pick whether you want neon green and black, monochromatic sharpness, or DOS-y pixels you can zoom way in and just lick all around the square edges of.

Go on, lick the pixels. Slorp slurp. You know you want to.

Anyway once you've decided whether you want Game Boy-esqe tones or PC-speaker gronking tunes that make Aunt Xyzzy feel alternately nostalgic and older than pharaohs, you get dumped into a big grid-based map of distinct screens, each full of poison darts, moving platforms, coins to collect and of course spikes spikes spikes. Touching spikes is instant death so don't do that, but it's easier said than done. Elena Temple controls fine and all, it's just that you're navigating a big ol' archaeological death maze.

What are you looking for? Coins and diamonds. 120 coins (of which I found a maddening 118) and 8 diamonds (which you need all of to finish). Why are you collecting coins and diamonds? Because if you didn't want any coins or diamonds you wouldn't have thrown yourself into a death maze, would you?

So the frame plot's an excuse plot and the actual plot's ALSO an excuse plot but dangit I liked this game. Sometimes you just want to solve some jumping puzzles and collect some shiny objects, and this was two hours worth of doing that for a fiver. I think it's on the Switch too, if you want to get real recursive with the Game Boy filter.
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