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.

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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.

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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.

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Imagine an arcade game that descends into hell, where the horde of enemies that tries to kill you hates each other as much as they hate you.

This game is called <a rel="noreferrer noopener" aria-label="Forget-Me-NotForget-Me-Not<R, developed by ERYNGI. I was attracted to the game because of its cover art, which looked like the official art for Mementos from Persona 5 that looks way better than the real Mementos. In this game you wander around mazes picking up flowers, which all goes downhill pretty quickly.

Starting on the main Quest mode, you’re thrown into what looks like a standard Pac-Man looking maze, making it feel deceptively straightforward. There are flowers scattered around the maze like pellets and there are enemies roaming about, get to it.

Then the illusion is shattered when you see that your character is constantly shooting. Okay, maybe that’s helpful. Except it’s not. Like a traditional arcade game the screen wraps so your shots will wrap around – and hit you in the back. A first-time player’s first death might come from them accidentally shooting themselves apart. So, your first priority becomes getting the key. Aside from opening the gate that appears upon collecting the majority of the flowers on a level (getting all is a heal), keys protect you from back shots.

The problem is that enemies can also pick up the keys for themselves and use them as shields. This just adds to the peculiar nature of Forget-Me-Not<R’s enemies: they feel like player characters in their own right. Enemies are capable of harming other enemies and can also hurt themselves. Some variants of enemies can actually pick up flowers and other collectibles as well. I will have the nerve to say this: imagine 100 characters spawning into a Pac-Man maze for a battle royale game. That’s what this is.

Forgive the audio quality

The nature of the game’s enemies gives a chaotic feel to the game in that while you’re collecting flowers, enemies can be off killing each other on the other side of the map. There is no peace in this world, even between fellows. You can try sitting yourself out of the action, but screw around for too long and the screen is consumed by darkness as a Spelunky-like ghost roams around, making things significantly harder. For a quick glimpse of hell, try playing on a mode besides quest mode, where the monster spawn rate is hideous and everything will quickly spiral into madness. Pondskum mode is the best demonstration of this, as it’s essentially a survival mode.

The aesthetics of Forget-Me-Not<R reminds me of the remixed retro look found in Pac-Man Championship Edition and Space Invaders Extreme, though not as flashy. There isn’t any music, though as the game goes on, you don’t really need it, as everything becomes a chorus of sound effects anyway.

Forget-Me-Not<R is a cool arcade experience that distinguishes itself with a chaotic game world. It’s available on Windows, Mac and Linux, though my impressions are based on the Windows version. It used to be available as an iOS game, but because new iOS updates love to leave games in the dust, it unfortunately no longer exists. Thanks Apple.

Hidden Folks

Do you appreciate hidden object games? Do you want a hidden object game with the sense of whimsy that you got from the antics of Waldo and searching the intricate photographs of I Spy? Do you like funny noises? Then I have a game for you.

Hidden Folks is a take on the hidden object game genre primarily led by game designer Adriaan de Jongh and illustrator Sylvain Tegroeg . With hand drawn graphics that gives the game the impression of a hidden objects picture book, you are tasked to find certain people and objects across increasingly elaborate worlds.

There are six themed worlds in the game with different numbers of levels. The flow of the game has you starting each world with a small, introductory level that you could blast through in a minute before deciding that you’re ready to go on to the more complex levels of the set. As custom, you’re given a list of things to find before you can move on the next level.

You might end up resorting to clicking on everything while playing, but that’s okay, because you’re encouraged to. Misclicks don’t punish you, but reward you with the game’s sound design. All of the sound effects in Hidden Folks are made by the glorious instrument called the mouth, giving a goofy feel as you click around. Clicking on ground creates a poofing noise, cars make “vroom vroom” noises or mouthed out beeps, notable NPCs give excited grunts, worried moans, etc. Native Americans do chants, though I’m not sure if it’s bad, as it’s not my lane.

The game does not have music, but it has a lot of chatter depending on where your screen is positioned. Move over the scene of a busy street and you hear the cars come and go in a chorus of mouth noises, go over a crowd and you hear a bunch of people make a variety of wacky noises, etc. The sound design of Hidden Folks is excellent and gives a whimsical atmosphere that instills this child-like joy in me. It makes me think back to poring over I Spy books, which, in my opinion, are superior to Where’s Waldo. You too can harness the power of these mouth noises as the developers put out a pack of sound effects to use, good for any non-commercial use.

Hidden Folks is also a puzzle game to some degree. While there’s figuring out somebody’s location through their description, some characters and objects need some work to appear. For instance, there are several characters that need to be in a certain state to be clicked. For example, you can spot a rock fan you’re looking for in a crowd, but they have to be rocking out first to be clicked, so you need to poke around to get some music playing. These simple puzzles and the lack of punishment for clicking on the wrong things encourages you to engage with the game’s world more closely than you would with a standard game in the genre.

There are also a few levels in the game that bizarrely turns into an escort mission, with you clicking around to get rid of things in your subject’s way. I kinda got stuck in the first type of this mission because you need to click and drag things, which is something that doesn’t immediately occur to you and it’s something that you need to know to get some things in the game.

Otherwise, Hidden Folks is a solid, short time. It’s a goofy game where you can just kinda click around to hear things make funny noises and I found it to be a nice game to relax with. I got my copy of the game through itch.io, but it’s also available on mobile devices and the Switch, which I see as perfect fits for this game.

Citizens of Earth

As we start swinging into 2019, I wanted to start things off with a longer game, something that I’ve had in my backlog for a while. Today we look at Citizens of Earth, a game by Eden Industries. It was a Kickstarter project that originally failed, but Atlus picked it up and got it released in 2015. It was released on PC, PS4, Vita and 3DS, but for the sake of this review, we’re talking about the PC version.

You are the Vice President of Earth, who has returned home after a successful election cycle. After being woken up by his Mom in standard JRPG fashion, he finds a whole bunch of protesters rallying against him. Enlisting his own family and some locals to help get rid of them, he decides to swing by the local Moonbucks and winds up stumbling on a bizarre alien base that sets the game’s plot into motion.

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Bugs Must Die

Finals is finally done and IGMC 2018 finished up, with its games in the review process. I finished Let’s Make a Game and I plan on checking out the games of my fellow participants and I’m also planning on doing a proper “Game of the Year” list for this year, which you can vote on here. But first, I want to get back into the swing of things with Bugs Must Die!

Bugs Must Die is a twin-stick shooter by DG Games Workshop where you are a member of the Galactic Pests Control Company, a secret paramilitary aimed at wiping out a bug alien menace. Oh don’t worry, the aliens take their own civilians hostage, so I guess you’re the good guy. You play as Agent-M to pilot war machines to take on this threat, which apes human culture for whatever reason.

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Unholy Heights (Switch version)

I decided to Switch things up this week by checking something out on the Nintendo Switch, because I welcome the Switch’s ability to let me play stuff while curled up in a blanket. For Black Friday, I got a few indie stuff for Switch that I’ve been meaning to check out.

Today, we’re looking at the Switch version of Unholy Heights, a game made by Petit Depotto. In this game, you are literally and figuratively the devil, acting as landlord for a tenement building in a blend of simulation and tower defense. Gather minions by renting out apartments to wandering monsters and have your tenants fight your battles while you seize rent from them on a quest for world domination.

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Anodyne (PS4 Version)

Before getting into this, allow me to get a bit personal.

Many years ago, I had a netbook, a cheap laptop aimed for basic internet use and nothing more. The netbook’s lack of power and me being a teen without the autonomy or money to just buy things really limited my options to get games. So I looked around the Internet for free things that I could play that wasn’t from Newgrounds (I wasn’t really into the flash game scene), which led me to getting into RPG Maker games, and I’ve been in RPG Maker hell ever since.

But I wanted more. And that’s when I read an interesting Kotaku article: a game called Anodyne was up on the Pirate Bay, which the creators stood by and used as promotion. I thought the game looked cool and if the creators were cool with it, I might as well go for it.

And so, outside of RPG Maker games, Anodyne became the first indie game I ever played. It’s a game that I hold close to my heart because it really showed me what a handful of people were capable of putting together. I remember reading through the game development thread a bunch. I remember reading through the Even the Ocean thread a few years later when it was still Even and Ocean. When I was able to buy things I finally formally bought the game off Steam and recently, I won a giveaway for the newly released PS4 port. Sure, I have a backlog and a bunch of e-mail requests to check out games, but if I’m getting one of my favorite games for free, you sure as hell can bet I’m on that.

Anodyne is a game made by Analgesic Productions, consisting of Sean Han-Tani and Marina Ayano Kittaka (note: the opening credits uses a previous name she went by), with the PS4 port done by Nnooo. Anodyne throws you into the Land, the dream world of Young, a youth armed with nothing but a broom on a grand quest to save the Briar (maybe).

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Danmaku Unlimited 2

Writing about this was on the back burner for a while. Like, a long while. I even recorded a video back when my computer could actually handle that well. But then my computer had some weird nonsense happening and I kept getting distracted by stuff, you know how it is. It was only recently that I started looking at my backlog of stuff I had that I could play for this blog that I remembered that I should have written about Danmaku Unlimited 2 by now.

DANMAKU UNLIMITED 2 9_7_2018 10_35_26 AM

Danmaku Unlimited 2 is by Doragon Entertainment, a one man indie studio. As the name indicates, it’s a bullet hell game. It’s a generic title, but thinking about it, it’s rather fitting.

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