SORE – The Meaning Behind a Meaningless Game

I wonder if I got the job?     Did the interviewer like my resume?

I wonder if he enjoyed my personality?    Did he think I was boring?

I’m boring    What’s wrong with me?

Why am I so boring?    I need to change

 I hate myself

Without haste, people drift towards escalating problems easily to suit societies standards, similar to the example provided above. People always tend to search for the “bigger picture”, but when you look too much into the future, the smaller, simpler things can be overlooked. These insecurities can snowball until questions turn to issues, issues turn to actions, and actions can be fatal. Simple things can sometimes make the human mind very anxious and doubtful. Each case of anxiety is different, as the human mind is our most fascinating, yet fragile feature. Unless you suffer from the illness, you can never fully understand the heartache, but SORE gives you a taste in the life of uncertainty by providing just one task… simply leave a room.

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Before I continue, I must say that this review is based on my interpretation of SORE, the mystery behind the game is still unknown.

You begin this dark tale as a ghost stuck in a small room. The sounds of rain splashing against the roof fill your ears, accompanied by an occasional crack of thunder. Shadows engulf this chamber, with only a gleam of moonlight peaking its way through the one window in the room. Within the shadows sways a man, hung from the ceiling. It seemed as if suicide was his only option. The ideal scene set for SORE left me both apprehensive and curious in the best ways possible. Feeling uneasy but ready for more.

It will not take long to find out what your first objective is. Locate and use three keys to unlock the solid door restricting you from the neighboring room. SORE provides little to no information on why reaching the other room is of importance, making me feel no ambition in reaching my goal. SORE begins to get interesting once you peek your head through the window on the door. Interacting with the window allows you to see what the other room looks like. Is it gold? Is it a path to freedom? Is it an even more complex room? No… its a room just as simple, and just as eerie as the one you navigate through the whole game. The only difference is this room has a living man inside. He has the option of saying a variety of different phrases. Some are just random corny jokes, while others are clues to help you find the three keys. What lies in the middle of those two categories is rather disturbing nonsense. If you talk to this man long enough, he will begin to mention that we never talk back to him. It was then I realized something that made this game seem much more eerie… the man does not know we are dead. He cannot see us as a ghost, but instead a hanging corpse. Only his view of the rope is blocked by the walls of the room, so he can only see a motionless and silent man. To his awareness, we are very much alive and well.

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SPOILERS

The first two keys were uncovered rather quickly, but that third key kept me stumped. I spent about 45 minutes searching for the final key until I got hungry and retreated to my kitchen to make a sandwich. Upon my return, I saw the gleam of heavenly light shine out of the wall… the door was open. I entered to room with caution, expecting another set of challenges. The screen grew dark, and then an old-school computer crash screen appeared

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As anyone would be, I was left in confusion. I ran to my trusty friend, the internet, and read how to actually beat the game. The only answers I found left me in anger. There are two ways to beat SORE. You either stand still for six minutes or go up to the door and press “X”. Really? That’s it? Yup! From what the community has found so far, there is, in fact, no working key to unlock the door

I felt cheated…bitter…enraged! I just spent 45 minutes trying to find a key that didn’t exist. On top of that, the door leads to your game “crashing”, leaving you with numerous unanswered questions. I was ready to uninstall the game and abandon the review as a whole, but then I got to thinking. Yes, the game could just be bull**** to waste everyone’s time, or it could be much more profound. Upon looking deeper behind SORE’s unfulfilling story, I have come up with my interpretation of the ending.

Remember when I mentioned how “People always tend to search for the “bigger picture”, but when you look too much into the future, the smaller, more simpler things can be overlooked.”. That is exactly what this game intends for you to do, search for the bigger picture. Once I entered the world of SORE, I immediately started creating a checklist of what to do.

I have to search here, under that, and above there

No one would ever think that all you had to do was press one button, or stand still for six minutes. That would just be way too simple.

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SORE made me irritable. Not only at the game, but at myself as well. As each minute ticked by I was starting to blame myself for not being capable of finding this missing key. I finally gave up, thinking that this game got the best of me.

The pain and anguish could have all been avoided if I took my time and stuck simply. Overthinking can lead to much more pain than a problem has to be. While SORE may have been unfulfilling and quick, this dark mystery teaches a valuable lesson. The lesson is deep and is only understood if you take the time to attempt the impossible… finding that last key.

Enomview Score: 5 out of 10

Check out the game: http://store.steampowered.com/app/690060/SORE/

Figment – A Playful Approach to the Mind’s Trauma

Bedtime Digital Games is back with a new game called Figment. The action-adventure game released in late September of this year has the player controlling Dusty, a guardian of the mind who is needed once again. Chasing down the traumas inflicting the mind, Dusty and his trusty bird friend Piper, travel great distances to seek out and destroy the suffering. Their journey takes them around the brain to areas such as the appropriately named Cerebrum city and Freedom Isles. Join Dusty and Piper in a grand and beautiful world solving complex puzzles and defeating the anguish inflicting the mind once and for all.

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Starting up the game, I immediately plugged in my controller to see what Figment would best be played with. I was in for a pleasant surprise as the controller felt just as good in my hands as the mouse and keyboard, if not better. The vibrations, easy controls, and nostalgia of playing my Xbox sealed the deal for me as I continued the game with the controller. Figment includes more than just a story to follow and enemies to tackle. It includes many sections that aren’t mandatory to continue the story. These usually include memories or as the game calls them, “Remembranes”. One of these Remembranes includes a young boy named Todd who says “Go away, you jerk. I never want to play with you again!”. Remembrances are an insight into why the mind is experiencing all the trauma we see and fight.  You can also knock on the doors of local residents of the mind, and listen as they express their concerns or say a witty comment. Details like this make or break a game and Figment is definitely a stellar example of how including features like these really add to a game’s enjoyment.

The first 10 minutes of the game was basically an introduction to the mechanics and one of the main villains, Nightmare. Dusty obviously isn’t new to the whole saving the mind thing, as Piper drops many hints that they have known each other for a long time. Piper asks Dusty for help once again but he’s reluctant saying that the mind has moved on. Only when Dusty is personally affected by the Nightmare, a skinny purple entity with four arms who steals Dusty’s martini and scrapbook, that he decides to go after it. We retrieve his sword, solve an abundance of simple puzzles, and meet the mayor, who oddly talks only in rhymes, and sends us on a mission to destroy the three sources of trauma.

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From there Dusty and Piper travel into the right hemisphere of the brain, which is a huge change of scenery. We go from a dull, dark and rainy region of the brain, to a bright, vibrant and lively area which is no doubt in reference to a more creative part of the mind. Musical instruments are abundant as guitars, trombones and flutes are placed all over the land, some of which serve as plant life. Within the first five minutes of arriving, we are introduced to the second villain, Plague man. Plague man seems to take advantage of our fear of sickness as he spews toxic gas and summons rodents that sneeze and do damage. As a side note, I’m a fan of how Dusty dies in this game. If you take too much damage from the gas or the rodents, Dusty poofs away in a cloud of smoke only to quickly reappear at the last checkpoint. The death animation isn’t overly done and you are quickly returned to play the game once more.

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As you progress through the game, the puzzles become more and more complex. Figment isn’t a type of game that you can breeze through. It requires thinking, patience and the occasional YouTube walk through and for some people, this is their cup of tea.

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I’m sure we can all think of a period in our life where our heads were filled with darkness and despair. We all go through it, everything in our life isn’t going to go as perfectly as we’d like to. Sometimes we are troubled with anxiety, depression, and fear and this is what the game bases its story off of. The antagonists in the game are our real-life fears visualized as quirky and humorous villains that perform the occasional musical performances. They run like cowards as you bravely continue your journey to rid the minds of the difficulties. Figment takes a playful approach to the very grim realities many people face on a day to day basis. It’s a game for all age groups and each group will enjoy and analyze the game differently. In the end, Figment is about facing your fears and how life is just one big game that shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

I enjoyed many aspects of the game and had little to complain about. The dazzling and elegant world the game had to offer was one of its finest qualities. It was filled with detail with more than just a story to follow. Knocking on the doors of the inhabitants, I found myself curious about what everyone had to say. Perhaps if the residents walked out of their house, and showed their faces instead of just lighting up a window, it would’ve added to the game’s great design. Although the combat was light, it was solid enough. Figment isn’t entirely about combat but when you slay your enemies you get the feeling of satisfaction that makes you want to do it all over again.The combat can feel a bit frustrating at times as the enemies routinely disappear and reappear as they cycle through their abilities. This is mostly solved as some of the enemies share a health pool, so once one of them dies, so do the rest. The puzzles can sometimes seem overwhelming as the setting zooms out and you can see all the different parts that you have to deal with. However, completing one, especially a long complex puzzle gives you a sense of gratification that keeps the game moving. Finally, the musical performances add a great touch to the game. The catchy tunes are placed perfectly with the situations and I found myself humming to them sometimes. Overall the game has good combat, thought-provoking puzzles, fetching music and a diverse and stylish environment that connects to the ever-growing anxiety, depression, and sickness around the world.  

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Enomview Score: 8 out of 10

Check out the game: http://store.steampowered.com/app/493540/Figment/

Steam Indie Game Recap – Week of the 21st

Indie games come out every day. Sadly though, many of the incredible titles released never gain the publicity they deserve. Here are three games released this week on steam that deserved to be checked out!


1. Witchkin


“You are being stalked by evil dolls in an old black-and-white film”

Witchkin is a first person ‘hide-and-sneak’ survival horror game in the vein of Slender or Five Nights at Freddie’s.

The player takes the role of a child attempting to find his abducted little sister in an abandoned Texas farmhouse in the 1920’s. This house is home to the Witchkin–a family of terrifying toys, the children of a deranged woman known as the Candy Lady. Using her “children” she will do everything in her power to keep all who enter the house from ever leaving.

The base play mechanics of Witchkin are primarily stealth. Sneaking, hiding, staying quiet and aware of the toys and your surroundings are skills required throughout the game. Witchkin boasts a very strong and unique art style reminiscent of early silent movies, painted in the eerie sepia tones of postmortem photos and the murky shadows of nightmares.

Witchkin is a one-man show, only one person created the game: art, music, voice (with a little help from family members), and programming.

Check out Witchkin on Steam, here:
http://store.steampowered.com/app/682170/Witchkin/

2. Damsel

Cause some distress in this fast-paced arcade platformer. Speed through each arena taking on vampires, rescuing hostages, disarming bombs, hacking servers and much more. Super tight and responsive controls let you take on the darkness with precision and style. Balance frenetic action with split-second choices, and watch your back – you never know what direction the next vamp will come from! Armed with her powerful ultraviolet shotgun, Ra, make the undead see the light; or get in close and personal with devastating melee attacks. Or maybe, save up your shots and use Damsel’s powerful (and deadly) dash.

String together attacks and movement while collecting the mysterious arcane skulls that litter each environment. Challenge yourself to pull off combos and special moves and wear your high score as a badge of honor! Experiment in each mission to discover that perfect sequence of moves and shots that maximise your effectiveness. Damsel is a ballet, and you’re the choreographer.

– Super fast, frantic gameplay with that “just one more go!” feel.
– Quick, nimble platforming in over a dozen beautiful environments.
– Bite-sized missions, for those with busy schedules.
– Use your enemies and environment to your advantage. Temp your foes into taking each other out, then go in and clean up the rest.
– Rack up massive scores and hit the top of the leaderboard by completing bonus challenges and performing tricky moves.
– Play through the game in campaign mode, where you can hone your skills, or arcade mode, a classic challenge that sorts the women from the girls.
– Coffin loads of extra challenges and bonuses to extend your play time.
– Awesome original soundtrack.

Check out Damsel on Steam, here:
http://store.steampowered.com/app/452410/Damsel/

3. Scrap Attack (VR)

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– Dive into virtual reality and blast away waves of evil robots in an immersive arcade style shooter.
– Defend the crystal from the 5 ruthless enemy types with awesome sci-fi weaponry.
– Three different arenas of varying difficulties for you to master.
– Compete in online and local leaderboards for the top score.

How far will you push yourself to protect the crystal from the robot onslaught?

Check out Scrap Attack on Steam, here:
http://store.steampowered.com/app/774401/Scrap_Attack_VR/

Indie Game of the Week – Summoners Fate

A fast and fun turn-based adventure where you use top-down tactical combat and collectible card mechanics to master your strategy. Summoners Fate is a top-down adventure that combines exploration, card collecting and tactical combat. You control the fate of your Summoner and command an ever-changing band of companions. Defeat monstrous hordes and reap the rewards of treasures, allies, and powerful spells as you advance deeper into unknown lands. Are these chance encounters or do they connect to a greater meaning? Combat in Summoners Fate is turn-based, quick and gratifying. Hide behind trees or play a card that brings them to life. Douse your enemies in oil and ignite them with a fireball. Set a trap with a gravity spell to pull an enemy into your clutches. The possibilities are endless.

Support Summoners Fate, here!

Robotic Controls – Fragmental Review

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Alright, let’s get this started. Got my robot guy ready, got my name entered, pick some bots, ready to go! Let’s f– Oh, I just fell out of the arena. Okay now I’m ready to– oh something just shot me outside of the arena and blew up my robot guy. Okay now– Oh I got pushed off of the arena. What am I even doing?

Yes, as you begin this game, you’ll be scratching your head pretty hard. First of all, there are no control options. The first few rounds of the game will most likely be spent figuring them out. I couldn’t pick up a weapon for a while until I discovered that you have to push space. Then comes the combat, which is not at all intuitive. Once you face your opponent, you may or may not be aiming at them with your gun. There is no indication that you are firing at them near the wall, or firing directly at the wall. Then there are things that look like walls but are actually chest-high partitions that you can fire over, but you won’t know this until you’ve been shot over it and killed.

The real problem with this game is the control. They are floaty and overly sensitive, so aiming in any conventional sense is an impossibility. It doesn’t matter whether you’re playing on a keyboard or a controller, they just don’t work. Within the first two seconds of a match, you could be dead. If an arena match goes on for too long, they will have a wall of death come from the edge of the arena and shrink in order to destroy the players.

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Fragmental is not based off a player’s skill, it is based on pure dumb luck. With the graphics the way they are, you can barely see your player avatar to know where they are facing. I hope you brought your eye drops because everything is so bright, pink, and shiny that you will be squinting through the entire game. This is not just the background, each robot, which is pretty much the same, has a neon color tinge to them so you can’t tell them apart, as they appear as a tiny spot on the arena.

One good thing that could be said about this game was that there is a decent selection of guns. The icons on the screen indicate what kind of guns are available to you. However, if you try to grab one from across the arena, you will more than likely get shot down by your opponents on your way to get it.

It doesn’t even have to be your opponent that kills you. Literally, anything can kill you in these arenas. Knobs can come from the edge and push you out of bounds, turrets can shoot you from outside of the arena and kill you as soon as it starts and let’s not forget those wonderfully constricting walls of destruction that will kill you in an instant if you touch them.

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So, let’s review. You try to take your time and approach your opponents with some sort of careful calculation, but you will be killed by something beyond your control instead. One minute is entirely too long for this game, you are not on your own schedule, you’re on Fragmental’s time at this point! Taking your time to aim and get use to the controls? Nope! Time to get shot by identical character models to your own! Slide across the arena like the roadrunner, only this time, Wile E. Coyote’s Acme Gun will kill you, no questions asked.

Calling this a game is being very generous. A game is something you can actually win with your own skill and progression through the levels. The control of this game is so awful and fast-paced to the point where you will lose several times before you even gather an inkling of how to play the mechanics that are set up. If you were looking for a challenge such as that, by all means, click the link below.

Enomview rating: 3/10

Check out Fragmental on Steam: http://store.steampowered.com/app/424040/Fragmental/

Medieval Combat Done Right – Mordhau Trailer and Overview

Mordhau, planned for release sometime early this year, is a first-person medieval combat game which has recently been gaining a lot of traction.

While much is yet to be revealed, what we do know is that you play as a knight boasting a sword, slashing at the other players as they charge at you with their weapons.

The combat system is based around mouse-dragging, moving it from side to side to make the sword swing in different ways, at any angle. For example, you could be going up against someone trying to poke at you with their sword, while you come in and in 1 quick swoop take off his head. The system is largely based on Chivalry: Medieval Combat, however, it is said to get rid of the many exploits C:MC had.

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(Yes, this is an actual screenshot from the game)

The graphics in Mordhau are absolutely stunning! The game looks almost photo-realistic, with shimmering chain-mail all the way to the deep red blood. They put so much effort into the looks of every single aspect of the game. So much so that some screenshots almost look like they’re from real life! It’s a shame we can’t play it for ourselves yet.

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If you want to see more, you can go to their official website or their Twitter account.

Mordhau’s Gameplay Trailer:

Exploding Rodents – Tooth and Tail Review

It’s time to rally your troops! We need a fighting force. A team of soldiers that know how to use their weapons and defend the base. They need to be fed, so it’s time to farm up some resources to suit their needs. We’ll need proper defenses and the leadership needs to know how to bring it all together to take the fight to the enemy! We’ll need all of the ferrets and rodents we can gather, and don’t forget the warthogs!

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Yeah, you’re using animals to fight a war full of pistols, mortar cannons, and strategic structure building. Sounds normal to me, what’s your deal?

“Tooth and Tail” is a real-time strategy game that is very reminiscent of the Red Wall Book series by Brian Jacques. The artwork for the game is quite beautiful, and the graphics are nothing special, but they do work for the game quite well. The gameplay is quite simple and very fast-pace. As soon as you start the game, you are treated to quite the simple tutorial that goes smoothly and easily without over-explaining anything. Given the fact that there have been so many tutorials out there that grate against your face like a brick full of holes and interrupt your gameplay constantly, it is worth taking the time to appreciate these pregame sessions that do it right.

Compared to the normal RTS, this one is pretty simple. It has its high points, and simplicity is definitely one of them. One thing that this does entail, however, is that the gameplay is extremely fast-paced. Sometimes a little too fast-paced. There are levels where the enemy comes at you with a decent attack every so often, then there’s a stage where the opposing team will charge you with copious amounts of suicide bombers one after the other. There comes a time where kamikaze attacks just cannot be repelled. Your troops and defenses can only shield you against so many explosions. These stages get especially frustrating, and just downright impossible.

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Unlike your normal strategy army games, this one has you controlling a single unit that acts as a commander for the rest of the troops. The controls are extremely simple, and the tutorial captures that simplicity very well. However, the vulnerability that this presents is concerning, as it means that a single wrong move could kill your leader at any point. Still, on the flipside, it’s a good bit of challenge overall and adds the need to maneuver your character to the list of unique mechanics. It keeps you actively involved, as keeping your protagonist safe is imperative.

Still, despite its shortcomings, this game is highly addictive. Like any good army building game, you want to push your army as far as it can go. The battle sequences are satisfying in their simplicity and you will relish each victory as your furry friends take down more savagely cute animals. As you may have noticed, if you’re an animal enthusiast, this may not be the game for you.

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As stories go, it’s kind of lacking, but at the same time, it doesn’t get in the way of the enjoyment of the overall game. There are times when the game can be mercilessly cruel and unfair, but it is a lot of fun, especially if you are a fan of strategy games. Be sure to give it a look!

Enomview Rating: 8/10

AGDQ 2018 – Day Five!

Yume here, and we already got to day 5 of this years AGDQ.

As I had a non-existent amount of sleep, the coverage on tournaments will cut a bit short for once, but we’ll still talk puzzles for a bit.

But yeah, there’s a reason why the night was short and I had to sleep into the day. It was time for Awful Games Done Quick.

It is a kind of tradition where games with controls that are close to unplayable, or just really silly games, are shown in this block. It’s been a standing tradition over the last few GDQ events.

This year, the Awful GDQ could also be called “Animal Games Done Quick”, except for some games like Superman 64. Yeah, there are people that speedrun Superman 64.

Let’s go over some of the games though. And if you want to have a really silly and fun time with bad games, you should certainly watch and even play them at some point. The crowd is a big part of this as well. If you want to go over and watch the videos, the block started with Superman 64.

The first game I witnessed in the streaming room was the end portion of Arabian Nights. All I can say about this title is that it’s not really Rated-E and the dialogues are really silly.

After that, was the first game I saw entirely, Enviro-Bear 2000. Five speedrunners were chosen by the people that donate to the cause. The game’s graphics were made in MS Paint, and I’m not talking about the good version of it. You’re a bear that drives a car and has to eat fish and berries in a given amount of time to survive through the winter and enter your cave. “Eat the fish” and “To the cave” chants went through the crowd at appropriate times and made it a spectacle for everybody in the room. The atmosphere was awesome.

Following that, Dog’s Life was on stream. Standard setup: you’re a dog and your girlfriend was kidnapped by a cat lady to be processed into cat food. To be fair, this happens to me at least once a week. The game is rated E (3 years and older) but the dialogues and some cutscenes in the game are, well, questionable (for that rating to say the least). And as the first skip didn’t work as fast as expected, the dog we played was washed enough times so that fur and hide would have been gone. Also a great time and the runner made it a real blast to watch.

The last run I saw at the venue was Animorphs: Shattered Reality. It is a platformer with some kind of battle interaction that mainly consists of running into your enemy to deal damage and trying to not run into their attacks. The controls of the platforming sections were described by the runner Keizaron as this: “Take a Crash Bandicoot game and strip it off everything Crash Bandicoot does well and you have this game”. As a viewer, I have to say it couldn’t be more precise by what I saw. I also had a great time with watching this run, and it certainly deserved to be in this blog.

Next up, we head to the tournaments. Sadly, I slept in for the Puyo Puyo Tetris Swap tourney, where I saw a chance to be somewhat decent in. I caught some of the final rounds and the competition wasn’t really bad. But as a more or less all-rounder, this would have been my best shot at scoring a good placement today. For the ones who don’t know much about Puyo Puyo Tetris, Swap mode is where you play both games, Tetris and Puyo, in the same game. You have specific playing fields for each game and you play for 25 seconds on one game and change to the other until a winner is decided. The finals had some twist to it, PiePusher11 won the tournament. I’ll cover the twist in tomorrow’s article.

Right after that, the dedicated Puyo Puyo tourney took place where we played only Puyo from PPT. I kinda had bad luck with the bracket and got to play FFRPro21 right off the bat, and gave him a run for the money, but still couldn’t defeat him. In the losers bracket, I played against the organiser of the Puyo only tournament, HarpoonCanon, and tried to get around him with good tactics as I don’t hold a candle to him skill-wise. I can say I won 1 out of 5 games against him and gave him some problems, but I never stood a chance to win.

Also shoutouts to the Puyo Puyo Tetris community as a whole. They are a really nice and welcoming people. Be it speedrunners or online players of the game. Mainly, the respectful attitude towards others like me that are likely not the best players, but still give some top players a hard time.

And then I made the worst decision of this AGDQ, tournament-wise. I skipped the Rocket League tourney and instead tried out the Yoshi’s Cookie for SNES one. NEVER…EVER…AGAIN. I want to say I’m decent at the stage clear mode, but versus is not something up my alley. Heck, I tend to be a loud person and curse sometimes, and I could keep it together even in the Pokémon Puzzle League tournament, but this game has the potential to make me lose myself within 5 minutes of Versus mode. I have to admit that the players I lost against had more skill and more knowledge about the versus mode than I had, so there’s simply no need to go further into specifics or hate the game at all.

Well, that’s it for the tournaments that I had an eye on for today.

As for closing words. some communities hold workshops to teach other people some games or techniques to help them get better at designated games. And even I got some private lessons from a person I look up to:

Blinzer, the winner of the Pokemon Puzzle League versus tournament, taught me some techniques and it fried my brain and thumbs. His playstyle and the marathon mode (High score game) were too much for me. The training was a really nice treat from him though and is very much appreciated. In a mere hour, I learned a lot about the basic skills that I still lack as a player that’s only been playing for a year. I could double my speed for inputs in this short time to get it consistently, over what I’m used to. Hence, my thumbs didn’t appreciate it as much as I did.

This is also one of the reasons why these meetups are a very nice event to attend. People help each other understand the games better and show them skills they don’t have right now. It is good to see that people inside a community care for each other and try to help them in person when they finally meet.

Guess I’m signing off for today to get some decent amount of sleep again. A Link to the Past randomizer race coming up tomorrow with a short interview with one of the participants, as I won’t take part in it myself.

Have a great day!

Heres Day Six with some closing costs!

AGDQ 2018 – Day Four!

Yume here from AGDQ 2018 with more tournament and arcade action.

Let’s start with the daily report on the tournaments that took place: Today we have two more tournaments covered.

Let’s dive straight into the first tournament to take place, Evil Zone for the PlayStation 1. I sadly didn’t see that much of that tournament, as I was preparing myself for my own matches, which began at the end of this event. It was fun to watch this kind of silly fighting game. From the mouth of a friend that participated, the game is fairly simple: You press one button to attack and one button to not attack. Just from the gameplay I caught, I can’t verify it easily, but it looked super simple.

The character and box-art design are very anime-esque. The graphics are kind of a serene simple, though. The soundtrack of the Japanese version seemed to have one J-Pop track that felt very out of place, which threw me off and made the whole scenario so much funnier. That said, this tourney is one of the traditions of the GDQ events, and from what I was told, had quite a few participants. It was a fun time to watch some of the games and the community around it that participated.

Sadly, I can’t say much more based on what I witnessed, as the tourney that started to take place afterwards was Pokemon Puzzle League, one of my main speedrunning games, in a versus format with a group stage, following a double elimination.

The PPL tournament had a pretty high skill ceiling as only 5 out of 7 players that actually achieved a sub-20 minute time in the S-Hard speedrunning category participated. I was a bit intimidated as I never got to play against very good players in versus mode, and the training sessions right before the event were not very encouraging.

For the people that don’t know much about the Puzzle League series, here’s a short resume of what the game is like: It is a simple three-match game with a playfield in which the player moves a cursor to swap panels. With combos, which are groups of more than three panels, and chains, which are matches of three or more that fall from previously cleared panels, you can send so-called garbage blocks to your opponent and clear said blocks with making a match that touches these garbage blocks. The target is to fill the opponent’s screen all the way to the top with the garbage blocks.

With that in mind, the tournament went way better than I expected. I got a tied 5th place with one of the people that had a sub-20 minute S-Hard time, only being defeated by Blinzer, the only top player that doesn’t play S-Hard, and FFRPro21 who scored the 3rd place in this tournament.

The finals were between BBForky and Blinzer. Blinzer got sent into the losers bracket by BBForky in the winner’s finals, but came back strong and swept BBForky in both matches with a 3-0 game, claiming a victory. Two matches because there is bracket reset if the winner of the losers’ bracket wins the first match against the winner of the winners’ bracket. Footage will be streamed on PuzzleGeneral after AGDQ as the other tourneys.

I know, it’s confusing for me too sometimes.

That covers the tournaments that I took place in or viewed.

Let’s go over to the daily arcade action with one of my favourites.

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For those who understood the deja vu reference from yesterday’s blog, it was clear that there will be Initial D arcade coverage today.

Initial D is an anime and manga series that started in the late 90’s. The focus of the game was drifting and speeding downhill, mostly with cars. There’s also the spin-off Densha de D where you actually drift with trains. No joke, a game where you drift dowhill in trains exists.

As a fan of racing games and the anime series, I had to cover this as one of the arcade highlights. Personally, I’m more of a simulation racing enthusiast and I’m really bad at arcade racers, which this game verified after over more than a dozen attempts. Nonetheless, it’s a ton of fun to drift down some of the racetracks you know from the series.

There are a few flaws with the machines though: You need an actual arcade card (that I don’t own) to save your progress and the gear-shifter is on the left-hand side. Sadly, I’m used to mainly having my left hand on the steering wheel, while shifting gears with my right. I still drove like that in that arcade machine, but it looked silly and was definitely not comfortable. There’s also the possibility to drive 1-on-1 races or team 2-versus-2 races against the AI. This was possible thanks to the multiple machines that were linked together.

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I have a lot of fun playing it and I’ll do a few more rounds before I leave AGDQ for sure.

I guess that covers Day 4 of the event! I’ll have to get ready for the Awful Games Done Quick block of AGDQ, where mostly weird and nearly unplayable games are showcased.

Have a good day and tune in tomorrow for some Puyo Puyo tourney action!

Click here for yesterday’s post!

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Here’s Day Five’s Post!

Silence Falls – Cobalt WASD Review

 

The problem with making a game that relies on a multiplayer community, is that as soon as people stop playing it, it basically becomes redundant. Unfortunately, that seems to be the case with the otherwise fun Cobalt WASD, developed by Oxeye Game Studio and published by Mojang of Minecraft fame.

If the name sounds familiar, it’s because Cobalt, also developed by Oxeye, was released about 18 months earlier.

Cobalt WASD starts off promisingly enough, with two teams of cute little avatars rushing around a multitude of arena maps trying to plant bombs in each other’s territory. If you’re imagining a hybrid of Counter-Strike and Worms, you’re not far from reality.

There are a few different items on sale; ranged and melee weapons, and different suits of armour that endow different abilities, like a stealth suit that allows your avatar to turn invisible. You start off with an initial amount of currency, and after victorious rounds, you earn more cash (and less after defeats) to change your arsenal.

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After a few rounds playing with bots, it slowly dawns on you that it’s such a shame that the online community for Cobalt WASD doesn’t seem to have taken off. It’s like wandering alone around a deserted amusement park; lots of the rides look like great fun, but the total lack of people makes it a bit of a soulless experience.

The other strange thing about Cobalt WASD is the decision to release it as a separate game. It would seem like a much better idea to introduce it as a game mode to its parent game, Cobalt, rather than fragmenting the player base into two different games.

Admittedly the game mechanics for each are totally different, and this perhaps has led to the introduction of the separate title; there was feedback about Cobalt that players missed the “mouse+WASD” method of other titles.

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That said, there is some mileage playing with the bots in single player, which have a satisfying amount of range in difficulty settings. And there are a variety of different maps to play on, each of which looks stunning in the retro, pixelated graphics style.

I especially enjoyed how each of them tells a story about why each side is trying to blow it up; for example, “Boulevard”, which depicts a feud between rival hipster bars; and “Hotel”, where both sides are disgruntled guests leaving pseudo-Trip Adviser reviews about their poor stay.

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It’s a good title to have a quick blast of, put down and then come back to later; there’s enough variety to engage for a few rounds and provide a bit of diversion. But unfortunately, it does all come back around to the fact that, at its core, Cobalt WASD is a multiplayer game that apparently doesn’t have any players.

Of course, you can host private matches and play with friends. But as of writing, I waited for over 10 minutes to find a public match with no joy; browsing the hosted servers reveal player counts of zero. Silence has fallen on what could be a fun title, if only there was a community there to support it.

EnomView Score: 5 out of 10