Things from My Inbox: Releases, Demos and Upcoming Things #4

I added to the title of these things to clarify that these articles are focused exclusively on things that popped up in my inbox. This is not a general release calendar of things. Their inclusion on this list also doesn’t mean I won’t end up playing them myself, I am just very busy.

CHROMATOSE

Developer: Akabaka
Kickstarter End Date: April 10th

CHROMATOSE is a visual novel/RPG hybrid where you play as a fella stuck in a coma-induced nightmare world with amnesiac strangers that fell in the same boat. Each stranger has their own world and story that unfolds and advancing relationships with them will strengthen you in combat

A large inspiration going into the game is ATLUS games, which seems obvious, because the art and gameplay concepts give post-Persona 3 vibes. Hopefully, CHROMATOSE is less homophobic and transphobic than ATLUS games.

At the very least, the project clearly has a strong sense of vision. The game has a demo out to check out and I would like to check it myself when I get the time!

DARK FOREST VIRTUAL CHATROOM

Developer: Heather Flowers
Release: March 11

A game made by the creator of EXTREME MEATPUNKS FOREVER (a game that I’ve really been meaning to check out), you get to explore a server of an abandoned MMO, with only bots as company, who only serve to emphasize the lonely atmosphere.

Warsim: The Realm of Aslona


Developer: Huw Milward
Early Access Release: June 28, 2017

Simple ASCII art hides the vast amount of content in Warsim: The Realm of Aslona. Still in development, the game is an attempt to create what it’s like to be a king in a fantasy world, having you deal with subjects and other kingdoms made up of procedurally generated fantasy races. With lots of random elements, the game tries to create a large vibrant world told through a text-based space.

The game still gets regular support, with the latest update back on the 11th, and looking at the official Reddit, the developer regularly engages with his community, so you can probably hit em’ up with feedback from your experiences!


And also I released a demo for my own thing I guess.

Hypnospace Outlaw

Do you ever think about the history of the internet? Do you ever think about how the internet was like before Facebook and Twitter ruined fucking everything? Well, this game is a fictionalized time capsule of how the internet used to be.

Hypnospace Outlaw is primarily led by Jay Tholen (known for Dropsy) and published by No More Robots, with a team consisting of Mike Lasch, Xalavier Nelson Jr, Corey Cochran and Pip Hoskins. You are a volunteer enforcer for Hypnospace, an internet network people access in their sleep, tasked with striking down prohibited content as the big Y2K looms around the corner. It is an exploration game with a twist in that you’re not walking around vast spaces, but hopping around fake internet pages, clicking on links and traveling down paths that seem interesting, much like obsessive wiki binges.

Hypnospace Outlaw is actually a game I helped Kickstart, so I’m 2 for 2 on things that I supported on Kickstarter. I remember backing it back in freshman year because I fell in love with its look and I’m happy to say that all that waiting has paid off.

Continue reading “Hypnospace Outlaw”

Big Pharma

Whomst among us loves the debilitating, oppressive nature of the pharmaceutical industry? Have you ever wanted to be a big pharmaceutical titan yourself, exploiting the needs of sick people to reap millions out of their dying hands? Well buddy, I have a game for you.

Big Pharma is a management tycoon game by Twice Circled where you try to run a successful pharmaceutical company. For clarity, this write-up is about the base game and does not include content added by the “Marketing and Malpractice” DLC.

Continue reading “Big Pharma”

Bunker Punks

The year is (the rather foreboding) 2019 and the fall of civilization has begun. Within years, corporations have risen from the ashes to take control of the wastelands. A pirate radio host riles the masses against corporate control and the Bunker Punks emerge to take them on.

Bunker Punks is a game made by Ninja Robot Dinosaur, mixing punchy old-school FPS gameplay with roguelike elements. You guide your punks, the Zero Sum Gang, across a map to their ultimate goal of fucking up a corporate headquarters while raiding their procedurally generated bunkers along the way.

Continue reading “Bunker Punks”

Releases, Demos and Upcoming Things #3

It’s been a while since I did this and kinda long overdue. Been having some anxiety checking out new games because as somebody trying to make something myself, I’d hate to discourage another person if I think their thing isn’t good, because I feel that. But uh, we gotta get around to doing things eventually, so here’s some of the best stuff sent to my inbox!

The Magnet Trials

Developer: Tri Pie Interactive
Release: Feb. 22 2019
Price: $17.99

This is a first-person action puzzle game where you play as a scientist armed with a magnet gun. The magnet gun is used to pull together magnetic objects and invoke the laws of physics to fight hostile robots and solve puzzles. Hopefully the game makes the most out of its concept!

Game Soup

Developer: Game Soup LLC
Release: Feb 11. 2019
Price: $2.99

YouTube channel Game Soup gets into the game making fray themselves with their self-titled game. This is a WarioWare-esque collection of games that parody a whole bunch of games in general and man, there needs to be more WarioWare-type stuff out there.

This was one I actually wanted to play and was capable of playing but the download code they sent me was already used? I felt that I should have asked them to send me another but I didn’t want them thinking I was trying to finesse them for game keys. WarioWare experiences are good though so I’ll probably pick it up anyway some day.

Dictionary to the Known World

Developer: thecatamites
Release: Feb. 17, 2019

If you’re familiar with this blog, you know that I’m a fan of thecatamites and RPG Maker games. Both of those things have converged with his entry to the Lost Histories Jam, Dictionary to the Known World, which is a text dump of old RPG Maker experiences. As somebody that wrote an article on RPG Maker game preservation, it’s extremely my shit. Don’t come at me with the “this is not a game” nonsense, it’s good.

Bugs Must Die

Developer: DG Games Workshop
Release: March 29

A while ago I covered the demo of a twin-stick shooter called Bugs Must Die. I thought that it had a solid foundation but there were a lot of things I thought was messy about it.

This game was originally going to come out in January, but the developers actually decided to delay it to March so that they can polish it up, which I think is a good move on their part! As I said earlier, I’m scared of upsetting up-and-coming developers, so I’m glad that they’re taking my criticisms to heart!

Overcome

Developer: Overcome Studios
Release: Feb. 27

A 2D platformer made after the creator’s own traumatic incidents, Overcome is a platformer where you’re attacked by your inner demons. However, you may not have to fight them. With a shield in hand, you’re encouraged to push on through and jump over whatever adversities are in your way in a metaphorical journey about, well, overcoming.

Tetris 99 – let’s make it esports ™

99 players enter an arena and only one may leave a winner. That is the standard formula of the battle royale genre that’s gripped the esports world in the past few years. Am I talking about Fortnite in this instance? Or maybe I’m talking about recent esports up-and-comer Apex Legends? Fools. I’m not talking about shooters. Battle royales don’t necessarily have to be shooters and recent newcomer Tetris 99 proves that.

Tetris 99 is a recently introduced Tetris spin-off available for free exclusively on the Nintendo Switch. In that game, you play a game of Tetris alongside 98 other people in hopes of being the last one standing. As you play, you can target other players so that when you clear a line, you can drop debris on their playing field and prevent people targeting you from building debris against you. As more people drop out, the game becomes faster and people are more likely to target you (especially if you’ve got kills under your belt), turning it into the game of fast reflexes and thinking that competitive Tetris players can appreciate.

Tetris 99 has been well-received on release. On Twitch, the game enjoys a healthy viewership in the thousands. However, can Tetris 99 spin-off into something bigger?

Tetris on its own already enjoys a moderate competitive scene, being one of the oldest games there is. Small local tournaments can be found for the various versions of Tetris, from score competitions for the original Nintendo Entertainment System to head-to-head matches of Puyo Puyo Tetris.

In 2010, a bigger, more formal tournament popped up. The first Classic Tetris World Championship (CTWC) was held, with professional players competing in the original version of Tetris. The tournament’s foundations is interesting, as the tournament was originally devised alongside a documentary called Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters, which focused on the history of Tetris, its pro-players and the tournament to see who was the best out of all of them.

Since then however, CTWC has stuck around with yearly tournaments. More than 10,000 people watched the 2018 finals live, its YouTube video sitting at a healthy 3.6 million views. With the interest generated by Tetris 99 and the 2018 release of Tetris Effect, viewership for the next CTWC will likely top those numbers.

So, Tetris 99 has a base as a spectator sport. However, while it has the base, what it currently lacks is the means.

What Tetris 99 needs is a lobby system. As it currently stands, people that play Tetris 99 are sent into random lobbies. A method of creating private lobbies would greatly benefit the game. Not only would it make organizing tournament play possible, but it can help casual play in that it can let friends play together; datamining of the game revealed that a mode with computer players will be added, so computer players could take up the blank spaces if need be.

If tournaments only want the cream of the crop to participate, tournament organizers could limit participation based on player level. Players of Tetris 99 can level up, but as it currently stands, it’s there as bragging rights, acting as an indicator to show off who has spent a lot of time playing the game. Player level can be put to practical use to filter in top players (or at least, ones with a lot of experience) to participate in tournaments.

An improved way of spectating would also make the game more suitable for watching. On the sides of the playing field, players can see miniaturized versions of other players’ games and the shots crossing between them from successful line clears. Upon death, a player gets a live feed which players are forced out, allowing spectators to see who lives on and ultimately wins the game. However, spectators don’t know who’s who until they’re out, which makes it difficult to gauge how a match progresses. A way to switch between the views of different players could fix this.

Tetris continues to be a competitive darling decades on. As the 35th anniversary of the original Tetris approaches, Tetris 99 presents new possibilities for people to engage in the series’ competitive scene and could potentially be something more serious.

The Endless Empty

Middens, by John Clowder, is considered a quintessential RPG Maker game, throwing players into a collage world that’s almost sandboxy in letting you run around to talk to people and kill whoever for the sake of a talking revolver. It was a game that I loved, even though it lacked any real story. Then it turned out its creator was a bit of a creep.

The Endless Empty, by Erik Sheader, fills the space that Middens used to take in my heart, while filling in its narrative flaws.

Normally, I don’t like to compare games to other games too much, but also, Middens does not deserve nice things and I’d like to point to an alternative for it.

In The Endless Empty, you are a manifestation of identity in the dying thoughts of a song writer that committed suicide. Teaming up with Trigger Finger, the neuron that willed the finger that pulled the trigger, you travel through the surrealistic, fragmented mindscape of your host, gathering a crew of powerful aspects of his mind while Death stalks you in hopes of finding escape – or at least, proper closure.

Continue reading “The Endless Empty”

Nepenthe

I was wary going into this game because it described itself as something “inspired by Earthbound.” A lot of indie RPGs that claim to follow in the vein of Earthbound tend to fall flat. For this blog, I played an RPG Maker game called Tantibus and Citizens of Earth, both of which disappointed me in different ways. And of course, there was the discourse over YIIK (or, the YIIKscoruse), a game that had a huge asshole protagonist walking around in a world full of bad game design decisions. However, this game, Nepenthe, looked unusual, so I decided to give it a chance.

Nepenthe is an RPG Maker MV game made by a fellow that goes by Yitz. I don’t quite remember how I found this game. It might have been something that was in my Steam explore queue. I bought the game in a bundle called the Surreal RPG Collection, which also contains the game The Endless Empty, which I’m excited to also try out.

In Nepenthe, you play as a hero tasked to save the world from the apocalyptic threat of Nepenthe. Well, not quite. You actually play as a mailman that was supposed to deliver the letter to warn someone of the threat, but after a shipwreck, you lose all your memory and you just sorta fall into the role.

Continue reading “Nepenthe”

Kio’s Adventure

You ever dove into something thinking that it’d be good but end up bailing on it because it absolutely disgusted you? That’s what Kio’s Adventure is and Kio’s Adventure is a personal lesson to me to actually read Steam user reviews.

Kio’s Adventure is an adventure horror game by Spacelight Studio. You play as a young girl named Kio, awaiting to start school with her friends named, uh, Illusion and Domini. However, while eating out at a restaurant, an earthquake happens and Kio finds herself locked up in a dungeon in a world turned upside-down.

So: content warning for pedophilia and rape. Yeah.

Continue reading “Kio’s Adventure”