Game Journal Feb 26 2023

I've fallen off DQ Treasures and Gotta Protectors for now. I have played a bunch of weird things in the intervening month though, so let's hit a few high notes:

Ikki Unite

(screenshot stolen from random steam user)

This game looks like shit, sounds like shit, and has astronomically high pings fror a multiplayer game (we're talking >200). So why did I play it for 4 hours in one shot?

Well, it turns out that 16 player Vampire Surivivor is a great idea. The fact that this works at all is a miracle, and honestly? The game is balanced way better than I would have expected it to be.

I really don't know anything about this game's history (it's based on some sort of "notorious kusoge" that I have no idea about), but that does seem to be the main reason it exists. Still, as something totally unique and bizarre, it's a blast to play with friends.

It's also something most games fail to achieve anymore: really mysterious. For example, in a full 16 player game, it seems like you're all on the same map. However, each person in the voice call I was in (which only had 6-8 people so we were playing with randos) was talking about being in a totally different season. My theory is that the team of 16 gets split up into groups of 4, and they play on the "same" map, but in a sort of parallel dimension. It's weird!

There are 16 unique characters as well, each with their own skills, and many of those are mysterious as well. Honestly quite a few of the skills didn't seem to do anything to me, but I'm sure I was just missing something! It's weird!

Anyway, If you can get 4-16 people together to buy this game, I recommend it extremely highly. It's a very memorable and strange experience and it's like, 4 bucks. It's worth it for just one play session.

Neopets: The Darkest Faerie

I normally don't talk about games I've played on my streams, but I'm making an exception here because I'm totally dedicated to completing this game. It's really, really bad, but I'm having a great time with it.

I would describe this as "the weirdest possible version of a mascot action platformer". It has...

  • Lots of NPC text (many random NPCs have 2-4 different lines if you talk to them repeatedly)
  • Maps that don't really represent reality. Checking the map, I often find myself outside the map just floating in space when in reality I'm just standing on a dang rock.
  • Incredibly nice and detailed animations for everything and everyone.
  • At one point, there were about 7 fetch quests in a row that were necessary to move forward
  • A single gambling game that's also sort of a skill game and is the best way I've found to make money in the game.
  • The worst combat I've ever seen in a PS2 game (this is saying a lot)
  • A complex and totally useless elemental weakness system
  • A number of foods that seem to basically do the same thing
  • Pet pets that will starve to death after less than 10 minutes randomly strewn about the world - I am still not sure of their utility
  • A very harsh penalty for death - go back to your last save idiot!
  • and more!

It's clear that there was a ton of money spent on this, but it feels like the game was designed by somebody who didn't...really know how to design games? In particular, the multiple fetch quests in a row really blew me away.

And the combat, hoo boy is it awful. There are lots of maneuvers you can do with your sword but the best thing to do is just tap the button and smack them repeatedly with a short poke. Everything else leaves you wide open to attacks, and everything does so much damage holy shit

Given the lack of reasonable design though, I'm really interested in where this will go. It's  just this weird, meandering thing with no overarching plot to speak of other than random cutscenes showing a laughing fairy. It does things like give the very first tutorials about combat 4-6 hours into the game, which is literally an hour after beating two different bosses. It gives directions to go to places without telling you where those places are. It's incredibly stupid and weird!!

Anyway you should be watching my streams so just watch those. I should be streaming this again this Thursday March 2nd!!

King's Bounty: The Legend
This was the text for the "wishing well of wisdom". It's great.

Yes, I'm still on this train!! I love this game because I can pick it up for 45 minutes at a time and make significant progress. The last quest I did went like this:

  • The king's brother, who relinquished the throne to study science, is requesting the royal seal: bring it to him
  • He needs the seal because he's in love with a scientific woman who lives in the swamp, but she'll only marry one of royal descent
  • He asks me to deliver his love letter to her in the swamp
  • Turns out she's a 100 year old witch who is trying to kindly reject this man, but she didn't realize he was actually royalty
  • She caves but says she won't meet him until she gets a regeneration potion from her mother (yes, her mother is still alive)
  • Her mother says she needs red lillies to make the potion, so I have to collect those
  • I come back and she already has the potion for me - she was just testing me!! Well, it's implied anyway
  • She also jokes about how she made one for her mother once, and accidentally turned her into a baby and had to clean her diapers

Most of this was a sidequest!! There are like, 30 sidequests so far that are all equally goofy like this, and it rules. I recommend this game very, very highly if you have any interest in it at all. The writing is phenomenal, and the game itself is a delightful puzzle box to slowly unmake. It's great.

I've also been playing The Sinking City finally, but I don't have my switch on hand to get the screenshots so we'll save that for next time!