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BrawlMan

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I finished Missile Dancer 2 on Normal and got a 1 coin clear. It's one of the easier rail shooters, but still a challenge in a fair way. I have not tried Hard nor Expert, so I don't know what is different. This is already one of my favorite SHMUPs ever made, and is the best After Burner sequel we are ever going to get. Any huge SEGA Arcade fans need to play this game. The soundtrack is fire too.
 

meiam

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Played most of the way trough colony ship, a traditional isometric RPG. Somewhat mixed feeling, one of the selling point is that you can play trough the full game without getting into combat. The problem is the game is super uninteresting this way, you just get into situation, pick the option that will obvious use your speech check to resolve the situation, and moves on. There's nothing interesting about it, unlike something like disco elysium that's built from the ground up for non combat RPG interaction. And it also make large section of the game pointless, no reason to loot stuff since its all combat gear, exploration doesn't really matter and even money is worthless since you don't need to buy gear.

So I tried to play by going both non combat with my main character and use the rest of my party for combat. But then the problem is the way the levelling system work with that. When you get a level up, all you get is access to a new feat, the only way to gain skill point is by using the skill, including combat skills. So if you avoid too many fights by using speech check, your fighter will have low combat skill and will struggle in combat, but if you do too many fight you end up with too low speech check and then can't do the speech sequence. And because you only get skill point from using them, if you ever fall below a certain threshold of skill level, you can't ever get back into it and are locked out of future interaction. I was still able to kinda do both way, but it got really rough eventually with almost every fight being down to the wire. The combat system has a couple of fun stuff, but the UI isn't very good and it's really hard to know some basic information, playing it purely combat wouldn't be that interesting imo.

The story is a fun setting made not very interesting. You play as descendant from people who tried to leave earth on a non FTL ship bound for another world and are still mid flight, fun unique setting. But then a rebellion happen that screwed everything and for all intent and purpose you're just playing fallout in space, minus the space. The game has three factions, all of which are too cartoonish to take seriously, yet you still need to pick one and align with them. I kinda get that they need to quickly show what the faction are like and so they exaggerate them to quickly get the point across, but this is a pretty long RPG with lots of texts, so you just get repeated the same cartoonish stuff about all of them over and over again rather than use the extra text to make them more interesting and nuance. There's also a lot of stuff that are pretty half baked, you often have to pick between different people to support in a quest in the very same scene where you meet them, with just 2-3 lines to figure them out.

But what ended up killing it for me is that the game has a bad habit later on to lock you for no reason. I got into a situation where I had to do a fight to progress but was otherwise free to wander around. My guy are pretty crummy at fights, so I wanted to put every advantages my way, an important one required me to leave the town and come back later, something you can usually do. But if I tried to leave, the game told me I would fail the quest, for no reason, there's no time element or anything stopping you from leaving. That wasn't the first time either and just got kinda annoying after awhile, especially since supply of things like grenade are pretty tight, often forcing you to go back to town and resupply.
 
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NerfedFalcon

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I finished Missile Dancer 2 on Normal and got a 1 coin clear. It's one of the easier rail shooters, but still a challenge in a fair way. I have not tried Hard nor Expert, so I don't know what is different. This is already one of my favorite SHMUPs ever made, and is the best After Burner sequel we are ever going to get. Any huge SEGA Arcade fans need to play this game. The soundtrack is fire too.
I never played After Burner, but I did sink a fair bit of time into Space Harrier in Yakuza 0, as well as a few other Sega AM2 games in the other games in the series. Might have to look into this one.

OT: The Runescape clan I joined just announced that they're going to hold a bingo competition starting in a couple of weeks. The clan's leader sets up a bingo card with in-game objectives like getting a certain drop or defeating a boss X many times, and divides the clan members into teams who compete to clear as many tiles as possible. Everyone I've heard about it from says it's some of the most fun they've had playing the game, so I'm looking forward to (and putting some work into preparing for) the main event.
 
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BrawlMan

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I never played After Burner, but I did sink a fair bit of time into Space Harrier in Yakuza 0, as well as a few other Sega AM2 games in the other games in the series. Might have to look into this one.
Please do. Fire up MAME and give After Burner a shot as well, if you get the chance.

I managed to do a 1CC of Final Fight 2: Adjusted on Normal with Haggar. I've already beaten the game on Expert and it's not worth the 1CC.
 

Johnny Novgorod

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Finished Braid.

Yes, it's very cleverly designed and it very cleverly points the way so you can feel clever about figuring out every clever puzzle. It also has a brilliantly executed ending that makes up for its thin excuse of a story, all of which is dumped on you via text between levels. But I wish there was more to it, and not in the sense that I want a Braid open world with a skill tree, a forking narrative and 40 fortresses to liberate. I would've liked for instance not to be stripped of every new time manipulation ability at the end of each world, but to have puzzles build up on a combination of abilities instead of each existing in a vacuum. I would've liked for the ability to fast forward time to come into play (it's there but the game makes nothing of it). Maybe expand on the notion that rewinding time helps undo platforming mistakes - rather quickly there's no platforming to be done and no mistakes to be made. And yeah, maybe even more levels, too. I don't feel greedy for asking. Six worlds and half the levels mostly exist to tutorialize you.

But like I said in an earlier post, this and The Witness are all about marveling at the games' design and your own thought process as you navigate it. And on that note it's basically a flawless game with no chaff, no dull parts and a perfect learning curve, gameplay loop and reiteration of its structure. It's satisfying to figure out the puzzle and it's fun to go through the motions of solving it.
 
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Finished Braid.

Yes, it's very cleverly designed and it very cleverly points the way so you can feel clever about figuring out every clever puzzle. It also has a brilliantly executed ending that makes up for its thin excuse of a story, all of which is dumped on you via text between levels. But I wish there was more to it, and not in the sense that I want a Braid open world with a skill tree, a forking narrative and 40 fortresses to liberate. I would've liked for instance not to be stripped of every new time manipulation ability at the end of each world, but to have puzzles build up on a combination of abilities instead of each existing in a vacuum. I would've liked for the ability to fast forward time to come into play (it's there but the game makes nothing of it). Maybe expand on the notion that rewinding time helps undo platforming mistakes - rather quickly there's no platforming to be done and no mistakes to be made. And yeah, maybe even more levels, too. I don't feel greedy for asking. Six worlds and half the levels mostly exist to tutorialize you.

But like I said in an earlier post, this and The Witness are all about marveling at the games' design and your own thought process as you navigate it. And on that note it's basically a flawless game with no chaff, no dull parts and a perfect learning curve, gameplay loop and reiteration of its structure. It's satisfying to figure out the puzzle and it's fun to go through the motions of solving it.
If you’re still looking for more to chew on in this regard there’s another neat puzzler called The Bridge. Steam describes it as Isaac Newton meets M. C. Escher, to give an idea. It may not have quite the GotY-worthy charm or synergy of Braid’s design, but it otherwise gets the job done.
 

Johnny Novgorod

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If you’re still looking for more to chew on in this regard there’s another neat puzzler called The Bridge. Steam describes it as Isaac Newton meets M. C. Escher, to give an idea. It may not have quite the GotY-worthy charm or synergy of Braid’s design, but it otherwise gets the job done.
Thank you for the recommendation. I bought it years ago in a sale but never did get around to playing it.
 

XsjadoBlaydette

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Enotria Demo
It ain't out till later this year, so can't know how final product will turn out. This is a souls, let's not fuck around, like, the Devs certainly arent as they clearly state their ambition in what appears to be a hastily Google translated game description telling us this is intended to take the genre in the new direction of Italian folklore and culture.based more around wearing majora's masks and magic for the world building and combat/style. Weather at least looks a lot brighter and colour infused. While movement felt incredibly familiar, the overruling soulsie purity test of whether crates and barrels disintegrate as you roll through them took a minute longer to complete. The results are...yes. yes they do. They crumble like Drake under rap beef pedo allegations.

Game description;

Enotria: The Last Song is an Action RPG SoulsLike set in a fantasy world based off Italian folklore and culture.

It aims to take the genre in a new direction, with a vibrant and sun-lit world based off Italian summer where the gameplay allows you to alter the world & enemies in systemic ways.

It is defined as a Souls-Like but unlike other souls-likes we are depicting a world based off Italian summer colours, as we call it, ''Summer-Soul''.

The objective is to bring italian rich past and culture to the fore in a new way that is appealing to the broader public.
What we need to convey from the art direction is the colours, vibrancy and general feeling of visiting Italy.

Enotria: The Last Song wants to capture the heart & soul of souls-likes fanbase, with rewarding exploration, diverse player builds, varied enemy designs while giving a unique twist.

With Ardore, the player always has access to different strategies, allowing them to influence enemies behaviors, dynamically alter the world around them, solve puzzles & harness the very elements of Enotria.
Trailer;


Oh, only just noticed the generic sub title lol! Am sticking with Enotria. Fuck the last song, no more last songs!
 

Old_Hunter_77

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Yahtzee's review this week is making more interested in Another Crab's Treasure. I mean I likely won't be getting into any new games until June given my current schedule but if/when I do, that one looks adorable. It is getting positive praise across the board but the reason Yahtzee's review is especially resonating is because I remember his reaction to Elden Ring and all the souls-like mirroring mine, where we're both like... enough already. So the idea of not-quite-so-difficult soulslike with accessibility options and more irreverent, cartoony aesthetic is actually pretty appealing.

My only concern would be that the mechanics aren't perfect buttery smooth and that sort of thiing matters a lot for these games.
 

Johnny Novgorod

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I'm playing Balatro, a ridiculously addictive roguelikes deck-building game. You play poker hands to score points to beat the target scores of blinds (8 antes, 3 blinds per ante). You cash out after every round and buy cards in between: Joker cards which work as buffs (5 active tops), Planet cards which raise the value of poker hands, Tarot cards which work as one-time consumables, Vouchers which are permanent upgrades and then the regular cards with added effects like glass, stone and gold. It's a bit much at first but once you get a sense of all the rules the game is nothing but fun. There's a wealth of combinations and synergies to discover between hundreds of different cards and it's engrossing to just collect them and try them all to see what works best for you.

My only qualm with the game is that some boss blinds have some truly absurd game-stopping rules, like not being able to look at your cards before playing them, or only allowing a single hand to be played. Whenever I get one of these it's basically instant failure. How do you even play around that?
 
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NerfedFalcon

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My only qualm with the game is that some boss blinds have some truly absurd game-stopping rules, like not being able to look at your cards before playing them, or only allowing a single hand to be played. Whenever I get one of these it's basically instant failure. How do you even play around that?
When cards are drawn face-down, you can still make inferences about what they might be using the sort buttons. If you use a Tarot card that modifies a card, it'll flip over for a second - use it on a face-down card and you'll be able to see its face.

The 'only 1 hand' one only has the same score requirement as the Small Blind for the ante, so if you can knock that out in one shot, you're good; if not, you need to try and look for some immediate scoring jokers to add to your deck. Replacing your long-term econ or scaling hurts, but it gives you the chance to stay in the game.

(Yeah, I've played a little Balatro myself.)
 
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Drathnoxis

Became a mass murderer for your sake
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I'm playing Balatro, a ridiculously addictive roguelikes deck-building game. You play poker hands to score points to beat the target scores of blinds (8 antes, 3 blinds per ante). You cash out after every round and buy cards in between: Joker cards which work as buffs (5 active tops), Planet cards which raise the value of poker hands, Tarot cards which work as one-time consumables, Vouchers which are permanent upgrades and then the regular cards with added effects like glass, stone and gold. It's a bit much at first but once you get a sense of all the rules the game is nothing but fun. There's a wealth of combinations and synergies to discover between hundreds of different cards and it's engrossing to just collect them and try them all to see what works best for you.

My only qualm with the game is that some boss blinds have some truly absurd game-stopping rules, like not being able to look at your cards before playing them, or only allowing a single hand to be played. Whenever I get one of these it's basically instant failure. How do you even play around that?
The draw face down thing doesn't apply after a discard, so most of the time I'd just dump my whole hand, and like Nerfed Falcon said if you are going for flushes or something you can sort and have a pretty good chance of getting it anyway. For the 1 hand thing, hopefully by that point you have a pretty good synergy going on something so the only thing to do is to discard until you get your perfect hand and then play it.
 

Johnny Novgorod

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The draw face down thing doesn't apply after a discard, so most of the time I'd just dump my whole hand, and like Nerfed Falcon said if you are going for flushes or something you can sort and have a pretty good chance of getting it anyway. For the 1 hand thing, hopefully by that point you have a pretty good synergy going on something so the only thing to do is to discard until you get your perfect hand and then play it.
Yeah I need to get my priorities straight. I'm maybe a little too focused on making money, I almost never discard. But the face down thing absolutely applies after a discard. I've discarded face down cards only to draw even more face down cards.
 
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Drathnoxis

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Yeah I need to get my priorities straight. I'm maybe a little too focused on making money, I almost never discard. But the face down thing absolutely applies after a discard. I've discarded face down cards only to draw even more face down cards.
Oh, maybe. Looking at the list of blinds there are a couple that cause you to draw face down cards, a couple are only for the first draw but one is all cards.
 

Casual Shinji

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I played a bit of Indika.

This game is a bit of a freakazoid fever dream. You got little underwear men coming out of nuns' mouths and giant pigs, it's... odd.
 
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Old_Hunter_77

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Enotria Demo
It ain't out till later this year, so can't know how final product will turn out. This is a souls, let's not fuck around, like, the Devs certainly arent as they clearly state their ambition in what appears to be a hastily Google translated game description telling us this is intended to take the genre in the new direction of Italian folklore and culture.based more around wearing majora's masks and magic for the world building and combat/style. Weather at least looks a lot brighter and colour infused. While movement felt incredibly familiar, the overruling soulsie purity test of whether crates and barrels disintegrate as you roll through them took a minute longer to complete. The results are...yes. yes they do. They crumble like Drake under rap beef pedo allegations.

Game description;



Trailer;


Oh, only just noticed the generic sub title lol! Am sticking with Enotria. Fuck the last song, no more last songs!
Gave the demo a shot and, as you might expect given my turn against souls and soulslike, I hated it.
But why bother then you ask?
*shrug* I dunno I hate myself? Curiousity kills the gamer...

It's just really stiff and awkward, plays like what I imagine the original Demons Souls on PS3 might have played like. But with that annoying delay-to-parry thing that has become the norm for such games.
Verdict: *farts wetly*
 

Catfood220

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So, seeing as after 100+ hours, I finally beat it and got the plat (really easy plat, just play the game), lets talk about Unicorn Overlord.

I really like Vanillaware games, their games look fantastic, the characters and backgrounds are always gorgeous to look at and there are always little details going on in the background like leaves falling, or snow falling off of trees. Or if you use the Divine Rain spell, the next few battles will take place during a thunder storm. Its these little things that I always appreciate. Their games always keep me captivated too. This is a tactical RPG where you bulid up teams of up to 5 characters and march them into war. This is during the missions, outside of missions, you wander around the open-ish world and farm resources which you can use to fix up towns, which you can then man with guards who will farm the resources for you. As well as doing additional battles or feed goats. Its all good fun and Unicorn Overlord has been one of those games that has kept me playing into the early hours with its "one more mission" or, I'll just see what this area has to off sort of gameplay.

Some of the missions however, especially in the late game, can drag on a bit too long. Though surprisingly the final mission where you finally beat the big bad and his mate doesn't for some reason. The story doesn't really matter either, it is there to get you to go from one place to another, it is just there. And the writing is as dry as burnt, unbuttered toast, there is some humour in there but the game doesn't play it up.

Anyway, you are Alain, who after an uprising, is shipped off to a remote island to be raised by father figure Josef. Years later, he returns to retake his crown from the evil Zenoiran Empire. And that's about it. The story never really shifts from that one note, I was expecting Josef to be offed at any point to add a bit of tragedy and further motivating factor to his mission. But nope, childhood friend, Scarlott gets abducted early in the game, but is soon rescued. And this is my major gripe with the story, there just doesn't seem to be any stakes other than reclaiming your throne. Zenoira never feels like a threat outside of a few bad guys "mwuha ha ha ha ha" - ing at you and then they usually die. But as you liberate the map, there never seem to be any attempt to take it back, they just seem to sit back and accept that this upstart prince is just going to take over.

And then, about halfway through the game, it tells you that you must join the Unicorn Ring with the Maiden Ring, essentially get married. At this point, all of the female characters turn into love interests, no seriously, they all decide that they want Prince cock. When the time came to choose a partner, I almost chose one of the male characters I'd got a high enough relationship with just to spite the lot of them.

The music is a mixed bag too, some of it sounds pretty epic and reminds me of the great music from Valkyria Chronicles. And then there is the music of the area known as Albion. Which sounds like it escaped from South Park: The Stick of Truth.

While it seems like I've spent a fair bit of time bashing this game, but I really liked it. The game play is what carries this game through to the end, just don't go expecting greatness from the story.
 

BrawlMan

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just don't go expecting greatness from the story.
Vanillaware's last great story in their games is still Odin's Sphere. That was nearly twenty years ago now. After that they really faltered with story or don't care. It's been pretty clear though that they've always been gameplay over story even with their best titles. Odin is just the one that got Westerners invested in their future titles.
 
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meiam

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While it seems like I've spent a fair bit of time bashing this game, but I really liked it. The game play is what carries this game through to the end, just don't go expecting greatness from the story.
Its the fire emblem curse, all of them have serviceable but not interesting story and for good and ill that mean every tactical/medieval game need to have that too. I'm playing lost eidolon atm, a indie fire emblem clone, and it has the exact same issue, where the story is just paint by number. Worse, it has one big twist half way trough the game, but the game literally start on a flash forward of the big twist, so before you even meet a character for real, you already know they'll betray you.