Breaking My Backlog #15 – Mini-Reviews

Over the past week, or so, I’ve played a number of games from my backlog that were either really short, or I just didn’t want to spend anymore time playing them. Unfortunately, that gives me very little material with which to write a full post. As such, I’ve decided to take a post to bang out a few real quick thoughts on each of these games.

Thor.n

Um, this game was really short, and it was kind of boring. I get what they were going for. In a world controlled by artificial intelligence, humans are raised by AI caretakers until their 21st birthday, on which they will graduate to become productive members of society, which means working to make uniforms, rations, and artillery. At least, according to the game. In practice, you basically click in-game computer screens to earn money, which allows you to buy upgrades to manufacture more quickly and at higher quality. Eventually, you earn enough money to automate each manufacturing station, after which you basically just wait until you earn enough money to buy more upgrades. Eventually, your “citizen” level reaches a high enough point that your AI caretaker sends you to another room. You enter the other room, an explosion goes off, and the game ends. This whole process took me about 30 minutes.

From what I understand, this was intended to be an early access type thing, where the rest of the game would be coming later based on player response. And, to be honest, I am kind of interested where the world would go from here. I just think it’s unfortunate that the developers chose what I can only imagine is the most boring 30 minutes in the game. Ugh.

Crescent Bay

Like Thor.n, this game was also one of those early access joints, but this one took me about 45 minutes to complete. This one was much more interesting than the previous one. You basically arrive at a friend’s apartment, which is actually in complete disarray, and there’s a blood trail leading out of one of the rooms. It just so happens, however, that you have a special ability to view the lingering spectral memories any location, so you are a perfect person to investigate what happened to your friend. You do this by examining different things in the room. As you do, words are added to a notebook. You then combine up to three words in an attempt to discover memories from within the room. Once you find all ten memories, you attempt to order them to determine the events that occurred.

Again, I really liked this one. The basic gameplay from beginning to end really resonated with me, and I would really like to see more. I don’t know if that’s an option. I don’t even know if the developer still wants to make it. But, if they did want to expand the idea, it’s definitely something I would check out.

Cat Girl Without a Salad: Amuse-Bouche

I don’t know about this one. It’s a shoot-em-up, but it’s also a platformer, and a turn-based RPG, and a rhythm game, and a golf game, and a Pac-man clone and other games. And I just don’t know. So, essentially, the bulk of the game is a shoot-em-up. You start at the right side of the screen and shoot enemies on the left side of the screen as you fly through space. Where the different genres come into play is through the weapons you collect. Rather than just change how the gun looks, or even just its pattern, each weapon you collect changes your gun into a different game genre. For example, if you pick up the “platformer” gun, you shoot out a little guy who runs across the screen. Each time you press the button, the little guy jumps, and if he jumps on enemies, he does damage. Likewise, the “golf” gun allows you to basically aim your gun and hit a series of golf balls that bounce around the screen.

It’s a neat gimmick, but it never clicked with me. I have a hard time focusing enough to play shmups anyway, so if you throw in different genres of games, which split my focus between my character and what the weapon is doing, I just get frustrated. And some of the weapons require a lot of focus. For example, if you pick up the rhythm game weapon, arrows start flying across the screen which correlate to the face buttons. As you try to keep the rhythm and click the right button at the right time, you are still controlling your character with the arrow buttons, attempting to dodge incoming projectiles and enemies. And if you get hit, you lose the weapon right away. It just got needlessly frustrating, and I ended up giving up on it in level 2 (of 3). It just didn’t strike my fancy.

So, there you have it. Three mini-reviews down. If I continue to play some shorter games — or just games of which I don’t have much to say — I might do this again. We’ll see.

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