Didn’t Make the Cut – itch.io Racial Justice Bundle

All filler, no killer.

Another week, another set of games from the itch.io racial justice bundle. These are primarily games that simply didn’t get their own full article about them, either because there wasn’t really a lot to say (LAZAKNITEZ), I couldn’t play them (Troika), because I refuse to do so out of spite and dislike for the game (Oikospiel). Having said that, let’s get to the games

LAZAKNITEZ – PC/Multiplayer/Singleplayer
LAZAKNITEZ almost works for starting a trend of games with names that are nonsense words, until you boot up the game and realize that it’s just a very 90’s spelling of Laser Knights. And that’s exactly what the game is. You slide around a 2D plain, jousting on the back of your laser horse, and firing from your laser lance. I played this one for a few rounds and then put it down. It’s not bad. Just very light on things to do/see. Once I’d played a bit, and felt like I had seen most of the powerups, I was done.

Oikospiel Book 1 – PC/Singleplayer
I don’t like Oikospiel. I think that it’s stupid. It plays and looks like a fever dream made by someone who just imported every 3D model they could get their hands on into Unity and it should also probably come with an epilepsy warning.

Oikospiel is what you would get if you took Timecube and made it into a video game instead of a website. I have some questions for whoever made this game, and primarily they’re things like: “Are you okay?” and “Do you need help?”

TroikaPen and Pencil RPG
Mechanically, I didn’t see much in Troika that impressed me, but I also didn’t actually run a game. The initiative system seems neat, in which you randomly draw tiles from a bag and then whoever’s tile you drew takes a turn.

The flavor though, is incredible, and I honestly wish there was more of it. It has a very old-timey science fiction sort of vibe, and the closest thing I can think to compare it to is The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore, or perhaps the sorta of weird science-magic of The Wizard of Oz.

For example: the book has stats for a sort of snake that doesn’t sneak up on you, but instead offers reassurances and a well placed “It’s alright, I’m here now” in order to get you between its coils so that it might crush and eat you. The starter adventure in the book involves convincing a sentient gas in the elevator with you that you would really like it if it could take up a bit less of the elevator, on account of the fact that it’s drowning you. The stat block for a “Tea Set” gives you a bonus on etiquette checks as long as you have time to prepare tea for the person you’re trying to impress.

The reason that Troika doesn’t get a larger section to itself is primarily that since this is a website for reviewing games, and I haven’t run a game of it yet, I can’t review it. But definitely worth a read.

Wrap-Up

Nothing this week that really jumped out at me. I loathe Oikospiel, LAZAKNITEZ reminds me of the sorts of things I’d play for 20 minutes before switching to something else on sites like Newgrounds. Troika is a fun read, but I feel like it would be tricky to pull off without a party that was really willing to lean into the weird-wonderness. If playing these games is the art of separating wheat from chaff, this week was all chaff, no wheat. Take care, and I’ll put more stuff up as events warrant.

What We’ve Been Playing – October 2020

It turns out that actually writing “reviews” for games when you’re employed full time doing something that isn’t related to video games is actually kinda hard. Who would have thought? In any case, I’m gonna try to start writing these little lists of stuff I’ve been playing, or people around me have been playing. There’s no particular order or anything to it.

For me, a large portion of last week was spent in attempted extraction of wealth in Spelunky 2. Key word is “attempted,” because more time is spent dying painfully than getting gold, gems, etc. I’d love to write a review of some sort of Spelunky, but given that I’ve only ever reached the first boss after 20 hours, I’m not sure I’d give the best feedback.

I may be switching over to Crown Trick though, another game in which you loot roguelike dungeons, albeit not in real time, and also in a different set of two dimensions. I saw the demo for this at PAX Online, loved it, and I want to love the full game more, but the “One More Run, Oh Christ It’s 1:00 AM” of Spelunky 2 has kept me from it for the moment.

In the larger demographic of “People who aren’t me,” it seems like every other person I know is playing Hades, which is apparently pretty good? I’ll see if I can cajole one of those folks to give me a write-up for it. Supergiant made Bastion which I liked, Transistor, which I own and have never played, and then Pyre which I played a demo for, and now Hades. I’m just not sure I need another rogue-lite at the moment.

In terms of co-op-esque stuff, the Genshin Impact is still impacting, and there’s some Monster Hunter World shenanigans occurring, primarily in the Iceborne DLC.

Oh, and I guess Dota 2, and MTG Arena. But, like, we’ve been playing those forever. So yeah, that’s what is currently eating our time, and hopefully we’ll have write-ups for Spelunky 2/Crown Trick/Hades later in the week.

Genshin Impact

Free to play, more expensive then a trip to Vegas if you actually want to buy anything in game.

I’ve been wanting to write about Genshin Impact, but I’ve had a hard time doing so over the last week. This is because Genshin Impact might be the highest quality free-to-play game ever made, but discussing the game without talking about the monetization model would be crazy. It’s like discussing a tiger, without mentioning the teeth or claws, and just discussing its fluffy-wuffy tail. Let’s start with that fluffy tail though.

Genshin Impact is a free to play RPG for everything except your Nintendo Switch. It has cross-play for pretty much everything, and cross-progression for everything that isn’t a PS4. You can actually close the game on your PC, then open it on your phone, and just… keep playing. The same game. From where you left it on your PC. You can do cross-play between phone, PC and PS4. It’s incredible.

And when I say RPG, I mean RPG. You’re presented with a massive world to wander around, search for treasure and do quests in. There are world bosses, and hidden secrets, and all the good stuff. Mechanically, the game borrows a massive amount from Breath of the Wild. You can just climb up mountains and hills and walls, and you also get a glider fairly early on which lets you drift around.

The combat system is also pretty neat. You build a party of 4 characters, and as long as you aren’t in a Domain (Dungeon) or combat, you can swap characters out as you wish. Each character has a weapon type, basic attack, ability, and ultimate ability, all on separate cooldowns. Each character also has an element, and elements interact in various ways. For example, if you launch an Anemo (wind) character’s ability into an area with fire on it, it will Swirl, and create a fire tornado. Put ice onto a character affected by water, or vice versa, and that character will freeze. There are about seven of these elements, and in addition, things like walking through puddles will make both you and enemies wet.

There is a day night cycle as well.

These abilities can be used outside of combat to light torches, trigger pressure plates, and do other puzzly stuff. You can even use ice attacks to freeze and then cross lakes and oceans. Theres an entire quest line that requires you to take advantage of this to get to a hidden island that doesn’t even show up on the map.

Moments like this are Genshin Impact at its best. When you’re just running around, fighting monsters, climbing terrain, and discovering things, you might even forget you’re playing a free to play game, and if I had any gripes with the game as it is, it would most likely be that the climbing behavior can occasionally be a bit funky. You can climb all over every mountain, and every hill in the game, and there is treasure everywhere. Every mountain top has hidden collectibles, there are puzzles in every cave.

Okay, so now lets talk about the bad part.

If the moment to moment gameplay of Genshin Impact is Breath of the Wild, the meat of the game’s advancement system is classic mobile gacha. If you’ve ever played Puzzles and Dragons, Azur Lane, Fate Grand Order, or Dragalia Lost, you’ve seen this sort of thing before. You have Resin (Energy) which recharges over time and is used to collect treasure from world bosses and dungeons. These include advancement materials that are used to increase the max level of your characters and weapons, books that are used to upgrade their talents, and artifacts that can slotted in to give set bonuses, and extra stats.

You can spend in game currency to refill your energy, and honestly, as frustrated as some people are by Resin, I don’t take too much issue with it.

What I do take issue with is the drop rates and costs of the Wish system, the system by which you get new characters, and most of the higher rarity weapons. I refuse to call these micro-transactions, because there is nothing fucking micro about them.

ONE roll of the Wish system is 160 Primogems/Genesis Crystals. A SINGLE ROLL.

These are the prices, and after you buy the first time bonus, they change to this.

$Primogems / # of Rolls
0.9960 / .33
4.99330 / 1.83
14.991090 / 6.06
29.992240 / 12.44
49.993880 / 21.56
99.998080 / 44.89

So if you’re looking at this, and thinking, “This seems a bit expensive,” then yeah. It fucking is. But here comes the kicker: the drop rates are AWFUL.

The Wish system in Genshin has multiple different tables you can choose to roll against, usually called banners. For the featured character in a banner, the drop rate is 0.6%, or 3/500. The drop rate for an weapon OR character of the highest rarity is 1.6% total, or 2/125.

Ed Note: I think fractions do a better job illustrating how low this is, which is why I’ve included them here.

Keep in mind, a single roll costs $2.20 at its cheapest, if you buy the $100 currency pack. This gets you just over 44 rolls.

There’s also a pity system in place in which if you haven’t gotten a weapon/character of max rarity after 90 rolls, you will be given one. I want to point out that the real money cost of 90 rolls is just under $200. At this point, if you’re rolling on a featured banner, you will have a 50% chance to get the featured character. If you don’t, you’ll be guaranteed to get them at the next pity roll. Which means at this point, you’ll have to have spent over $400.

TLDR: If you want a FEATURED character in Genshin Impact, they can end up costing you $400 for a single copy of the character. In addition, the game has system by which characters are powered up for each duplicate you get of them. So getting a character to their max potential requires you to get receive them 6 times.

So yeah. That’s the state of Genshin Impact as of today, an incredible free to play game that is unmatched by anything on the market, with what I’m going to call “Macro-Transactions” that can easily total the same price of a new PS5 to get a single character. Play it. Enjoy the story, the anime bullshit, and the voice acting. Explore the incredible world, scouring every nook and cranny for treasure, and climbing every mountain.

But please don’t spend money on it.

Minit

Minit doesn’t utilize its unique mechanic effectively, and with that stripped away, it isn’t anything special.

Minit is well made, but I didn’t actually have fun playing it. The art and music is good, but the actual gameplay never delivers on the presumptive core mechanic. There. With that out of the way, I can now make a random introductory paragraph that only serves to set up the rest of the article.

After all the chaos that has been the last few weeks, I’ve finally returned to the itch.io racial bundle in search of gems and weird experimental stuff. And so I downloaded Minit, played it, and now I’m going to write this article. Like I mentioned above, I didn’t really enjoy Minit, but I need to describe the game’s core mechanic first in order to explain why.

Minit itself feels like it’s 2D Zelda inspired. You pick up a sword, venture around looking for treasure, and slowly get upgrades and equipment that allow you to progress further around the world. Oh, and you can pick up hearts to increase the number of hearts you have.

The unique mechanic, though, is that the game is played in one minute increments. At the end of 60 seconds, your character dies, and you spawn in again at your starting point. However, any progress you made in the world remains.

The minimalistic art style is neat though.

And this is my biggest problem with Minit: it barely ever uses this 60 second loop to do anything interesting. Instead, it just forces you to go fast, and to restart over and over again. There were three instances in the game that I saw where the loop was actually relevant. One is a character that doesn’t show up until the last 10 seconds of the loop that you need to talk to, one is plant that you water to grow between loops, and one is an NPC that talks slowly, so you need to talk to him at the very start of a run to see his full message. And that’s it. Not the most exciting things in the world.

Everything else in the game works completely independent of this 60 second loop, and it can turn things into a bit of a slog. While the loop does help by resetting puzzles that you can accidentally make unsolvable, it means that when you start wanting to explore or search for things, you’re on a timer. When you try to fight anything, you’re on a timer. There was one point where I spent several lives just walking around and dying because I missed a small set of stairs that were visible in the wall, and as such, I wasn’t sure what to do next.

I can’t recommend Minit, and I especially can’t recommend it at its $10 price tag. The game is very short, taking me just about 2 hours to beat. It doesn’t do anything interesting with its unique mechanic, and with that mechanic stripped away, it’s a very simple Zelda-esque title. If for some reason you still wanna buy it, here’s the link to itch.io, and it’s also available on Steam.



Iron Harvest – 1920

Iron Harvest, like its mechs, is cool, but also big, clunky, and frustrating.

Ed Note: This article should be read as a review of the campaign, and not the PvP multiplayer. We haven’t played pretty much any of the multiplayer, just a bit of campaign co-op. Even in the co-op, these issues were still present, but please don’t get the impression that we played enough to know if the multiplayer is balanced between factions and such.

This post was going to be about a different game called Unrailed, but instead, it’s about a different type of steam powered machine. Five second version of the article is this: I like Iron Harvest, but it has too many small problems for me to recommend at the moment, and its core gameplay systems don’t interact with each other well. Maybe it will be patched. Maybe the price will drop. But right now, it just costs too much for the issues it has. You can leave now, or you can stick around and read why I think that.

Iron Harvest is a RTS, more of the Warcraft 3 variety then say StarCraft. I’ve mostly just been playing through the campaign so far, and at about 18 hours in, I think I’m about two-thirds through. The two big parts of the game for me, are the story and the gameplay. So those are the two things I’m gonna talk about. Let’s start with the story/lore.

Look at that. I mean, just look at it.

Overall, the story is solid, if occasionally stuttering. Set in the same universe as the board game Scythe, you play as a variety of forces in a 1920 Europe with diesel-punk tech. This includes the Not-Quite-Germans, the Not-Quite-Polish, and the Not-Quite-Russians. The only real gripe I have about the story is that for all of the emphasis on the value of human life, the actual gameplay will have you blowing up shit from hell to breakfast. Otherwise, I’d say it’s fine, and from what I’ve seen, it does a pretty good job of nailing the “World War 1 was a clusterfuck that should never have happened” vibe.

Then we have the gameplay. You create bases, build units, and generally do RTS things. I want to talk about the units in a bit more detail though, because they’re where I have most of my issues with the game.

There are three types of units in Iron Harvest: mechs, infantry and weapon platforms. Infantry is a single group of up to 5 units, mechs are large single-unit mechanized robots, and weapon platforms are things like mortars, machine guns, and cannons manned by infantry.

All three units share a few things in common. First off, they feel fairly expensive, at least in comparison to say, units from something like Starcraft. You cannot afford to just run them like lemmings to their doom. They also all have an experience system, in which leveled up units get access to more actions/better stats. For some units, this is fairly minor, and for some, the units are more or less useless without leveling up.

All units also feel relatively clunky, albeit in different ways. Infantry is inherently the most mobile and least armored, with the ability to take cover behind fences and walls. This would be fine, except some fences you can take cover behind, and some you can’t, and until you mouse over them, you won’t know which is which. You can’t actually move an infantry squad individually, you can only move the group. This can become very frustrating when you can’t get them all behind your defenses.

(As a brief example, you can order engineer units to build barbed wire, but you can’t control them individually, so it’s entirely possible to build a line of barbed wire, only to end up with half of the unit on the wrong side, and now forced to walk around the map to just get back home.)

Speaking of defenses, let’s talk about mechs, and the terrain deformation system. I’ve included a brief example below.

What a small lovely church. I sure hope nothing bad happens to-
Oh dear.
This isn’t even from attacking or anything. This is from just having that mech move through it.

This is one of the coolest, and at the same time, most frustrating things about Iron Harvest for me. Mechs will just roll over a fair amount of anything that gets in their way. Unfortunately, this applies to your defenses as well. Unless you are very careful with your command move orders, they are more then happy to just stomp through fortifications you just finished setting up. Trying to keep mechs from destroying your own defensive line is a real struggle. And given that your defensive line usually exists somewhere between your factory and the place you want the mechs to go, it happens a lot.

This might be deliberate given that they’re supposed to be these hulking multi-ton behemoths, but it can also be exceedingly aggravating. They control like slugs on crack: hard to get moving, and even harder to stop. Mechs take about double damage from attacks that hit the back of the unit, so you want to be able to put them exactly where you need them, but the game doesn’t always play toward this. Move commands will not always actually re-orient a mech, and the turn speed on many units is very slow. This means you can end up with your forces pointed the entirely wrong direction in a fight.

Finally, the weapon platforms. I only have one real gripe with these, and it has to do with how the game handles attacks. From what I can tell, Iron Harvest seems to have a physics-based projectile system for attacks. This is true for all units in the game, but it’s easiest to notice with infantry-manned weapon systems.

This means that you can actually benefit from cover and high ground, but it also means your mounted machine gun will sometimes fire directly into the defensive sandbags you set up in front of it, instead of into the approaching enemy forces. You might just deploy cannons and later find out that they can’t actually hit anything. And since your troops don’t automatically adjust, they’ll just sit there while a battalion of jackholes with flamethrowers waltzes up to sauté your ass.

I’m going to try to summarize my issues here but it generally works out to this: unit controls are too clunky micro effectively, and interact with terrain, but if you don’t micro, you get wiped out. Not using terrain will mean you have a decent chance of just shooting into a wall. The experience system encourages you to keep your units alive, but scouting the map often requires at least some sacrifices, and again, requires that ever present micro. And you need to be doing all of this at the same time.

This last bit illustrates my biggest issue with Iron Harvest, and I think if I had to summarize it, it would be, “It feels like there are several underlying systems at work that simply do not play well with each other.” The game wants you to build fortifications, but you can’t control units effectively enough to not destroy them. The bunkers you can build that don’t just get destroyed when they get walked over count toward your population cap, as do anti-mech mines if you have access to them. The AI both gives you very little control (you can’t individually position units, just issue move orders until you have them where you want) and at the same time, you’re asked to be as careful as possible with placement, for example taking double damage if you’re shot in the back.

And finally, you have a destructible terrain system feels equally likely to fail you when you try to move a larger mech, and accidentally take out a line of barbed wire, because the AI simply follows orders.

Iron Harvest is full of interactions like this. You can station units in buildings, but you can’t give them hold fire orders. Attack move commands feel more like a suggestion. Units will repeatedly fire directly into walls, because they “see” enemies, but their attacks are blocked. Mortar and ranged units don’t have a “hold and fire” option. You can’t necessarily fire into fog of war.

These issues are less of a problem on the smaller levels, where you control a small number of units. Some of these levels are my favorite in the game, including one where you escort a train with a massive cannon. Another level has you using small sets of infantry to infiltrate and take out defenses, all the while avoiding larger patrols. These missions, where you have the time to focus and micro, where you only have a few units, and where you can really keep them alive, are where the games feels fun. You have the space to plan and watch, and figure out how to use all of these systems in your favor.

It’s when the game tries to have truly massive fights that everything just starts to fall apart. I found myself mostly just face-mashing my way through certain levels. I would try to build diverse unit compositions, but the second I lost a critical unit (longer range siege, anti-mech infantry), I would have to retreat and regroup my forces, as I would eventually run into a problem I didn’t have tools to deal with.

Iron Harvest is just too rough right now for me to see it as worth its price tag. The moments of fun are just not balanced out by the massive slog and frustration some of the larger levels can become. The quality of the campaign is varied, and doesn’t always play to the strengths of the game as a whole.

Iron Harvest is currently $50 on Steam. If you really love the aesthetic, and think you can put up with the issues above, you can buy it there if you want.

PAX Online 2020 – GAME DEMOS – PART 6 of 6

This space intentionally left blank.

In what turned out to be Part 6 of 6 of our demo coverage, thus allowing me to go back and enumerate everything else, we take a look at eight more demos. Why not three for each part, you ask? Like all the others? I don’t know either. But here they are, the last eight.

Format is as follows:

GameName of the Game
Demo LengthHow Long it Took me to Finish the Demo
GenreType of game, based on my impressions
Quick Thoughts3-4 sentences based on what I thought of the game
Play It HereLink to the Demo
GameMoo Lander
Demo Length14 Minutes
Genre Adventure?
Quick ThoughtsI think I spent more time trying to figure out what to put in the genre box above then I have spent thinking about Moo Lander. It’s not bad… it just didn’t really grab me? It has some nice art, and amusing writing, but nothing about the demo screamed “BUY ME” to me.
Play It HereLink to the Demo
GameCrown Trick
Demo Length2 Hours (got to final boss, didn’t beat it)
GenreTurn-based Roguelike
Quick ThoughtsI love Crown Trick. Crown Trick does not love me. Crown Trick thinks it’s okay to put you in a room with three fairly massive bosses and just beat you into a ever-loving pulp. I want to play more Crown Trick, and I want to beat it.
Play It HereLink to the Demo
GameNeon Abyss
Demo Length10 Minutes
GenreRoguelike
Quick ThoughtsNeon Abyss seems to take ideas from a bunch of places, including Binding of Issac, Dead Cells, and Enter the Gungeon. It’s a fast-paced roguelike where you collect stuff and get better. The demo was fun, and it’s actually out already, but there wasn’t anything in the demo that screamed that I had to buy this game.
Play It HereLink to the Demo
GameNeko Ghost, Jump!
Demo Length1 Hour
Genre2D/3D Puzzle Platformer + Speedrunner
Quick ThoughtsA lot of stuff about Neko Ghost, Jump! right now is very crude, including the art, music, and animations, but the gameplay is awesome. You can swap between 2D and 3D, and it tends to get used in some really clever ways. The most unique platformer I saw at the show, and have seen in quite a while. Worth keeping an eye on.
Play It HereLink to the Demo
GameEldest Souls
Demo Length5 Hours/2 Hours from a friend who is good at Dark Souls
GenreDark Souls
Quick ThoughtsThe genre is technically called “Soulslike” but if you make a game where I die for three hours in a row to the same single enemy, you’ve made a Dark Souls. I’m not good at Dark Souls style games, and as I learned with this demo, I might be really bad at them. The game is pure boss rush fights, and my friend who likes Dark Souls games liked it a lot. I mostly liked watching him play after I beat the demo, and reminding myself that I’m not bad at video games, sometimes they’re just hard.
Play It HereLink to the Demo
GameGreak: Memories of Azur
Demo Length40 Minutes
GenrePuzzle Platformer
Quick ThoughtsI liked Greak, but again, not enough for it really leave a permanent lasting impression. The idea of controlling multiple characters is really neat, but I struggled with the controls, mostly because they were set up pre-bound for Xbox controllers, so a lot of the prompts were off. The one mini-boss was the area where I died the most, and trying to do combat with both characters at once never clicked for me. Still, if you like games like Trine, this might be for you.
Play It HereLink to the Demo
GameLovingly Evil
Demo Length1 Hour (I played really slowly)
GenreVisual Novel/Dating Sim
Quick ThoughtsI don’t really play visual novels/dating sims. I was gonna have someone else play it, and do a write up, but life happened, so I did it instead. Look, I think if you play this sort of game to begin with, you’ll be a better judge of if you’d enjoy it than me.
Play It HereLink to the Demo
GameWerewolf: The Apocalypse – Heart of the Forest
Demo Length22 minutes
GenreVisual Novel
Quick ThoughtsIf nothing else, the writing for this game drew me in really quick. I’ve got to wonder how much of the writing is actually variable, and how much is scripted, but if the goal of a demo is try to get me interested in the full release, this one worked.
Play It HereLink to the Demo

PAX Online 2020 – GAME DEMOS – PART 5 of 6

The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Format is as follows:

GameName of the Game
Demo LengthHow Long it Took me to Finish the Demo
GenreType of game, based on my impressions
Quick Thoughts3-4 sentences based on what I thought of the game
Play It HereLink to the Demo
GameJack Move
Demo Length41 Minutes
GenreJRPG Mechanics with a Cyberpunk Theme
Quick ThoughtsPerhaps the most interesting thing mechanically in Jack Move’s demo is the ability to swap out your spells mid combat. Everything else is pretty standard, but well executed. If you’ve played a JRPG, you’ve seen most of these mechanics before, but the presentation is fun. This could turn out to be really good for folks who already like the genre.
Play It HereLink to the Demo
GameDrone Swarm
Demo Length28 Minutes
GenreReal Time Puzzler/Strategy
Quick ThoughtsIn Drone Swarm, you control a spaceship that has a drone swarm. The writing is painfully campy, and the whole “Oh no aliens please don’t attack us” thing, where you are then forced to blow them up (even though mechanically, you can pretty easily survive without damaging them) rubbed the wrong way. On the other hand, the actual mechanics are neat, since you do stuff by drawing patterns and shields. If nothing else, Drone Swarm is pretty unique, making this demo warrant a play.
Play It HereLink to the Demo
GameDestiny’s Sword
Demo Length12 Minutes, but I just Stopped “Playing”
GenreI have no idea.
Quick ThoughtsThe Destiny’s Sword demo does not do a good job of selling Destiny’s Sword as a game. As far as I can tell, it looks like a glorified mobile game with some troop management mechanics. Honestly, this was just such a poor demo that I stopped playing, since it was kinda hard to figure out what you were even supposed to be doing, and you can’t really interact in the battles outside of a few “Tap to activate” abilities.
Play It HereLink to the Demo

PAX Online 2020 – GAME DEMOS – PART 4 of 6

This excerpt space for rent.

We’re running out of clever things to put at the top of these articles. Please follow us on Twitter? Subscribe and like? Offer us your immortal soul so that we may use it to please the Dreadmother of the Night?

Format is as follows:

GameName of the Game
Demo LengthHow Long it Took me to Finish the Demo
GenreType of game, based on my impressions
Quick Thoughts3-4 sentences based on what I thought of the game
Play It HereLink to the Demo
GameMorbid: The Seven Acolytes
Demo LengthJust over an Hour
GenreDark Souls, but 2D
Quick ThoughtsI am not a Dark Souls person; this game is a Dark Souls. As such, it took me forever to beat, and at least 4-5 tries on the final boss alone. Did I like it enough to buy it? Not sure yet, I’m not a masochist. Overall, really good.
Play It HereLink to the Demo
GameInkulinati
Demo Length1 Hour
GenreTurn Based Tactics
Quick ThoughtsOne of the neatest things I’ve played so far at the show. Art is great, music is great, gameplay is great. Only real gripe I have is that the AI in the demo seems very weak in terms of letting you just shove the enemy captain Inkulinati off the ledge. But, y’know, demo. Worth keeping an eye on.
Play It HereLink to the Demo
GameExophobia
Demo Length39 Minutes
GenreSingle Axis Shooter
Quick ThoughtsI wanted to put “I can’t believe it’s not Return to Castle Wolfenstein” in the genre section again, but then remembered I’m supposed to be professional. Nothing amazing, nothing awful about Exophobia. The opening is very slow. This is one of the demos where I think you can play it and know if you’ll be interested in the final game. This one just isn’t for me though.
Play It HereLink to the Demo

PAX Online 2020 – GAME DEMOS – PART 3 of 6

The wheel of fate is turning.

Round 3! Ready? FIGHT!

Format is as follows:

GameName of the Game
Demo LengthHow Long it Took me to Finish the Demo
GenreType of game, based on my impressions
Quick Thoughts3-4 sentences based on what I thought of the game
Play It HereLink to the Demo
GameRangok Skies
Demo Length8 Minutes/48 Minutes (More on this below)
GenreShoot Em Up
Quick ThoughtsI have two lists of times up above, because 8 minutes is how long it took me to clear the demo, and 48 minutes is how long it took me to clear the demo on one credit. SHMUPs are not a huge part of my gaming diet, so I’d be curious to see someone more familiar with the genre play this. Regardless, I liked it.
Play It HereLink to the Demo – You may need to set your refresh rate to 60hz for the demo to work properly. The publisher has confirmed the devs are working on a fix for this that is expected to be released in the full game.
GameNeurodeck
Demo Length1 Hour
GenreDeckbuilder Rougelike
Quick ThoughtsI am really conflicted on Neurodeck. Right now, it feels like playing a prototype more then playing a demo. The mechanics are interesting, but currently feel untuned, and the enemy scaling is ridiculous. It doesn’t feel like the mental illness tone of the game was built with those mechanics in mind, more that the theme was added after mechanics had been decided on. There are also some bugs.
Play It HereLink to the Demo
GameUragun
Demo Length15 Minutes – Only one level, but it took a few tries
GenreTop Down/Twinstick Run and Gun
Quick ThoughtsUragun is neat. The demo is pretty short, but it’s fun. Twinsticks aren’t really my cup of tea, but you lose nothing by grabbing the demo and seeing if it’s something you want to keep an eye on. It has some really neat enemies, like these little dudes that form blocker walls.
Play It HereLink to the Demo

PAX Online 2020 – GAME DEMOS – PART 2 of 6

Part 2 of what is starting to look like a substantial haul of demos. I was trying to come up with something interesting to say like “Grab your pickaxe as we go into the game mines,” but honestly, this is the easiest convention experience ever in terms of reviewing stuff. This is more “Click install on Steam and just play stuff.” So here we go.

Format is as follows:

GameName of the game
Demo LengthHow long it took me to finish the demo
GenreType of game, based on my impressions
Quick Thoughts3-4 sentences based on what I thought of the game
Play It HereLink to the Demo
GameOperation Tango
Demo Length20 Minutes
GenreAsymmetric Real Time Co-op Puzzler
Quick ThoughtsMy standout game of the show so far. A really cool puzzler, with one person playing the Hacker, and one playing the Agent. Neat puzzles, really nice art style. You will need a friend to play with, so find that person, and keep an eye on this one.
Play It HereLink to the Demo
GameBlack Skylands
Demo Length1 Hour (including some messing about)
GenreTop Down Run and Gun/Town Builder
Quick ThoughtsLots of potential here. Developers describe the demo as a “Vertical Slice” which in my experience means “Held together with tape and prayers”, so it will be interesting to see how this ends up maturing. I generally enjoyed playing it, and I’ll keep an eye on it.
Play It HereLink to the Demo
GameMayhem In Single Valley: Confessions
Demo Length1 Hour
GenrePuzzle?
Quick ThoughtsI did not have fun with this demo. Outside of some nice art and music, I have no praise for it. The demo was buggy, inconsistent, and exceedingly confusing and janky. Disagree with me? Go play it yourself. I can’t tell if it’s just not for me, or what, but this didn’t sell me on the game at all.
Play It HereLink to the Demo