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teogames [userpic]

HI THERE

December 13th, 2035 (11:31 pm)

This is an alternate sub-account for kjorteo. If you like my writing or want to start watching me more closely or something, that's really where the action is. This journal is basically for reviews, reactions, rants, and general commenting on whatever video games I happen to be playing at the time. I make no promises that any of it is anything other than pointless, but it was that or keep spamming my main journal with it.

teogames [userpic]

COMPLETE: Hanano Puzzle 2

January 28th, 2017 (11:33 pm)
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If you're not familiar with Hanano Puzzle 2, it's the latest release from Japanese indie dev team Qrostar. If you're not familiar with them, their other work mostly includes Jelly Puzzle and (obviously) Hanano Puzzle 1. You can generally tell it's a Qrostar puzzle game from the following elements:

  • Simple yet effective graphics--never excessively fancy or polished, but they look fine for what they do.
  • Music and backgrounds that change up every few levels so you don't get sick of them. The music itself is more gentle and relaxing than, say, the Bubble Bobble theme, yet still just as likely to be stuck in your head for days.
  • Puzzle rules and mechanics much like the graphics: simple yet effective. 2D single rooms with very basic, easy to understand general rules, usually revolving around having to use "swapping" style controls (think Hatris, Yoshi, etc.) to bring pieces where they need to be to solve the level.
  • Actual room/level/puzzle design by Satan.


For those who've played the first Hanano Puzzle, the sequel is... well, it's 35 more levels of that. It has new music and Pac Man-like intermission animations every 10 levels and at the ending, but don't expect a different experience beyond that. If you're new to the series, Hanano Puzzle is about moving blocks to touch flowers of the same color, at which point the blocks bloom with same-colored flowers of their own in whichever direction the arrow on their face was pointing, thus turning into either 1x2 or 2x1 blocks from then on. (More advanced puzzle solutions involve taking advantage of how the blooming tends to displace things, like putting something on top of an upward-blooming block to lift the object when it blooms, pushing things with horizontal blooms, etc.) The goal in each level is to get all the blocks in the level to bloom. Like any Qrostar game, the objective is simple enough, except for the fact that the level/puzzle designer personally hates you.

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I knew I was in for the classic Hanano Puzzle experience when the game's download page included a note that level 7 is solvable. Unless you're Team Ninja, that's generally not a thing most developers have to specify.

In fact, all 35 levels of this game are solvable, though I did get stuck enough to need a hint on the first few moves for two of them (26 and 33.) I almost caved again on 34, but I finally got it on my own right before I was going to. When I did, I actually cackled as if my creation were alive. The last level actually wasn't that bad, but only by comparison.

I typically tend to pass on 3D or physics-based puzzle games because I get lost very easily and just can't visualize anything properly. By contrast, I've always loved Qrostar's games for staying in realms my brain can understand yet still working it out like a mental triathlon. I can't even begin thinking with portals, but I can beat Hanano Puzzle 2. Oh my God, though, do I feel like I just climbed a mountain when I do. I earned this Complete entry.

teogames [userpic]

COMPLETE: Labyrinthine Dreams

January 23rd, 2017 (07:51 pm)
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I was expecting the next finished game to take months or years, not... two days, and this one wasn't even on my to-do list at all. I'm as surprised as you are, believe me. It all happened by accident: I bought this game because it was part of some Humble Bundle or another alongside other games I wanted, I started it mostly just to see what it was (I had the shortcut right next to also-unplayed Sweet Lily Dreams and I couldn't remember which one was which,) and I finished it because it looked short and easy and hey, finishing things feels good)

Labyrinthine Dreams is an indie RPG Maker puzzle game/navel-gazing walking sim by Solest Games that I probably wouldn't have played on purpose had I know what I was getting myself into, but I was right about it being short and easy (and the achievement being nice) and I don't regret the experience, so yay.

The game focuses on our heroine, Beth, as she navigates through a surreal dreamscape of gimmick maze after gimmick maze (seriously, the first few rooms in the game are a forest where you have to get around narrow hedge mazes while only being able to move in clockwise circles because you can move to your character's right or forward but not left or backward) accompanied by gorgeous imagery and sad flashback narrations. Think if What Dreams May Come were an RPG Maker puzzle game, basically, up to and including the fact that Beth is navigating coma dreams while on the verge of death.

The biggest problem I had was that, for as well made as it was, it was just so gosh-darn gloomy. Beth has led a fairly miserable life up to this point and now that she's dying on top of it, and I can't exactly tell someone in financial ruin with a dead parent and etc. to just lighten up already--her grievances are absolutely legitimate. Still, playing an entire game about this is just kind of a drag after a while, you know? Like, the very first screen in the game after you gain control is a lush forest with blowing leaves and then random hospital IV bags just sitting in the meadow (again, What Dreams May Come.) If you interact with the one closest to you, Beth quips, "If I survive this, I'll have the bills to look forward to. Great."

It's that kind of game.

It's mopey. It's tropey. It's not that I mind sadness (hi, some of my favorite games include To the Moon, Mother 3, and Undertale, and have you seen the novel I wrote) but that's more sharp feels, whereas this is general bleakness. It's the most depression-fueled game I've seen since Depression Quest, and given the overall presentation, I suspect it may have been marketed toward a similar demographic.

That being said, I am a very firm believer in "Even if it's not my thing, it's still someone's thing." This is a critically acclaimed game in general, and I can see why. It is a very high quality product. The visuals are gorgeous, as is the soundtrack. It even has some very high-quality voice acting on almost every line. Some of the maze gimmicks are more fun than others but there are a lot of clever and fun-to-play puzzles in here. It's just that I found "fun" to be a bit of a hard thing to have with Beth raining on my parade every other screen. Which, again, I'm not saying she's wrong, and I even liked the ending and thought it was a fair enough reward for getting through the rest of the journey, but....

I don't know. Like I said, I think I was the wrong person to be playing this. Still, it was 72-minute-long "I appear to have this game here and I'm not sure what it is, let's just go through it real quick" jaunt and I don't regret going through it.

Also, the nightmare monster was kind of cute

teogames [userpic]

COMPLETE: Stair Quest SE

January 22nd, 2017 (11:34 am)
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My inaugural game for this "steal xyzzysqrl's game writeups" idea is a lovely little indie gem from No More For Today productions, a name I am convinced is part of the joke (since you have to see that big NO MORE FOR TODAY logo with that stupid owl every time you restart, as if to mock you further.) It's a fond nostalgic recollection of classic adventure gaming... and by that I mean they took davidn's favorite part of King's Quest III and made an over the top parody of it.

The trailer sums it up perfectly, really.

Anyway, I'd beaten this one before, but I was compelled to go back and try it again when I heard they'd made a SPECIAL EDITION with two new rooms and one new obstacle in one of the existing rooms. Actually playing through to completion goes through this cycle where it takes that "okay this is incredible" feeling you probably got from watching the trailer, then keeps going until the joke starts to wear a bit thin, then keeps going even further until it wraps around the other side and becomes amazing again. The stairs become all, and all become stairs. Stairs start to consume your every thought and then things really can get interesting. Also, it is 100% worth it for the ending.

Also, I beat this game twice (normal and SE) without realizing you could move diagonally. That would have been really good to know in the SE yeti room, which I instead just barely cleared by gratuitously abusing the skidding mechanic, drift-boosting around every corner like one of those infuriating online pro Mario Kart players who actually bothered to get unstoppably good at the game even though it's fucking Mario Kart.

Anyway. Stairs.

teogames [userpic]

Remodeling

December 26th, 2015 (10:27 pm)
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The last time I actually played Minecraft was just over two years ago, when Zoey was staying with me. I tend to play this game like a spelunking dwarf whose main purpose is to find the nearest BIG HUGE CAVE NETWORK and gradually explore it, adding torches and signposts as I slowly carve secured territory out from the dark unknown expanse where monsters still tread. My bases are usually rather plain and pragmatic, mostly there to fulfill the basic need of having shelter. This world's base has a tree room, a wheat room, and a gigantic spiral staircase going down below the surface (which itself connects to a hallway-like tunnel I drilled into the cave network,) all just so I can get wood and bread and put things down between adventuring outings without having to go outside. There's a supply closet full of ores and minerals and building materials I've gathered that mostly go unused.

Zoey, by contrast, was a builder. She liked to make visually impressive houses and exterior structures. One time, I let her into my world and showed her around my base and set her loose outside before I ventured into the caves, and by the time I came back, she'd transformed my base into a house with a pitched roof and checkered tile pattern floors. An almost Metal Gear Solid 3-sized ladder (which definitely was not there before) led up all the way through the mountain and came through at the peak outside, where she was working on an unfinished tower-like structure. The ladder opened up into another tiled floor, and from there a partial staircase went up along a partially-made wall and terminated abruptly, leading to open air. With completely open space where walls should be, no lighting to fend off monsters, and the sheer drop from the top of the mountain, the construction zone could best be described as "dangerous."

The bottom of my base was beautiful after her transformation, but in its current state, the tower area was a mess. Alas, I never got to see what the Zoey's tower would have become. Her stay with me ended before she got to finish it, and we broke up before she ever came and visited me again.

I dusted this file off again two years later, and since I'm pretty sure she's not coming back to my world anytime soon, I went ahead and finished up that area. I took out the staircase entirely, made the corner pillars more even and symmetrical, finished up the walls, and even added a glass ceiling. I changed one wall to glass and added a door to another (which leads outside to the mountain) in case I'm ever trapped on top of the mountain after dark and need to get back inside without leaping off the cliff. I then knocked a hole in the glass wall I'd just made and expanded it into a long catwalk, with a glass bottom in the middle but a continuation of Zoey's checkerboard pattern on either side. (It took some trial and error to figure out what she had originally made that out of so I could replicate it.)

The catwalk now leads to a bubble-like glass room suspended far above the world. It doesn't really serve much of a purpose aside from giving me a view to enjoy, but then what in Minecraft ever does? It is a nice view, at least.

I was never the builder or decorator. Zoey started my base renovations and I had to finish them up with no guidance or resources other than my best impersonation of her style. I will never know what Zoey intended for this room. Given that she appeared to be building up before I took out her staircase and made a horizontal bridge instead, it probably wasn't this.

But this is nice.

teogames [userpic]

Photos from Cyrodiil

December 13th, 2015 (10:26 am)

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I was in an exploring mood in Oblivion. I helped the smugglers against the slavers just because I happened to be in the area anyway and it was there. On my way out from Red Gill Cave, I saw two other Argonians "fishing" (sprinting around with broadswords drawn, throwing themselves at every mudcrab and slaughterfish in the area as if they were at war,) and, once the carnage had settled, I followed one of them back to his home in a quaint little floating fishing village. Then I climbed a mountain and just looked around and took pictures of the view before finally moving on to my next quest. It was just a nice, lazy stroll around the Panther River area. I'm level 33, the main quest is over, and this game is almost ten years old. I'm allowed to take it easy and enjoy the view while I pick at the new modded-in quest lines.

teogames [userpic]

Undertale full version live reactions: day 10

October 2nd, 2015 (12:22 am)

The End. For real, this time. Well, until the upcoming Team Hatoful LP.

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teogames [userpic]

Undertale full version live reactions: day 9

September 27th, 2015 (12:43 pm)
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The End. For now.

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teogames [userpic]

Undertale full version live reactions: day 8

September 24th, 2015 (12:54 am)

Greetings from Rainfurrest! I played this stretch with davidn and another friend physically in the room and watching me and many laughs were had.

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teogames [userpic]

Undertale full version live reactions: day 7

September 22nd, 2015 (10:12 pm)
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Not day 7 chronologically because that was technically yesterday but I didn't get to play yesterday OH WELL I'M OFFICIALLY GIVING UP ON NUMBERING THESE PROPERLY. Also I'm flying out tomorrow for Rainfurrest so updates may be a little sporadic! I'm going to try to make more progress in my hotel room or something because being around an entire convention full of furries will spoil everything if I haven't beaten it already, but I may not get around to posting the reactions in a timely manner. Maybe. We'll see!

Anyway today I fall head over heels in love with a dorky lizard.

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