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  1. Game: Dogurai Analysis: I bought Dogurai when it was on sale for the disgustingly low price of $0.49 way back in June 2021. That's nearly 2 whole years ago! Why Dogurai? If you're a game that's on sale for under $1 and the trophies even seem somewhat obtainable, I'm probably going to end up purchasing you eventually. For one, the name is amazing. A dog... with a samurai sword? Fantastic concept. I remember scouting out the trophies ages ago and being satisfied with the platinum rarity hovering just over 10%. It was just a game that checked off all the boxes for me to make the purchase. Why the long wait? Quite simply, it didn't feel right until just now. You see, I'm going to be absolutely swamped come the final days of May, and in order to keep pace with my 4 completed games a month, I needed another quickie to follow up Drawngeon after the marathon march that was Invisble, Inc. Everything clicked together for me to finally check it out and boy was it surprisingly pleasant! Gameboy Goodness - Did y'all own a Gameboy? I did. My memory of playing games on it is incredibly vague. I remember Shrek and Donkey Kong... and not much else. Dogurai seeks to bring back that old template by making you play on a relatively confined rectangular screen during your playthrough. There is no crafting. There are no skill upgrades. Your objective is to take out enemies, platform, avoid damage, and beat the final boss of each level in order to advance. Having played some rather complex or odd games for the last few weeks... this was just... so refreshing. I don't have to micromanage anything. Tackle the challenge in front of you and turn your brain off. But don't turn it all the way off. Because this game is NOT easy. It's not insanely difficult either. I know those sound like incredibly conflicting statements but allow me to explain. In Dogurai, you essentially play through 8 levels (1 tutorial, 4 normal levels, 2 final levels, 1 last section with just boss fights) You will likely spend much of your first playthrough getting your ass handed to you. This is the Gameboy era, remember. You have a limited amount of lives if you're playing on Hard Mode. Die too much at a certain tough section? Start from the beginning again. You're likely to get frustrated. I know I sure was while getting my ass handed to me by the lava flood in the volcano level. To make matters worse, the game isn't very forgiving on platforming errors. Fall into a pit? Instant loss of an entire life. While this may be quite a trying ordeal at first... the thing you need to realize (and I realized myself after practicing so many times) is these levels are SUPER short. Dare I say not even 3-4 minutes in length if you get really good at them. Once you know the course, nailing the execution for 1-2 tricky bits each level is your only real barrier. With Bones (default, melee character) this will still likely take you quite some time to master but if you're persistent, I fully believe anyone, even the most platforming-challenged of you, could conquer it. The Trophy Journey - I have to pause everything I'm doing in this review to give some love to a trophy guide walkthrough creator. @greenzsaber. If every trophy guide can be like yours, I'd want it to become reality. Not only do they earn the platinum and show step-by-step every maneuver they make with zero cuts (which is actually helpful, because nothing is more annoying than following the only collectibles YouTube video for a specific game only to have the neanderthal creator make a harsh cut so that you don't even know where to be when getting the collectible or how to navigate there) They also managed to do it in SPEEDRUN fashion achieving the 2nd fastest completion on the leaderboard. You don't even need to read this paragraph to learn the trophy path necessary. Just follow that video like I did, it's all you need. In all seriousness, the game's miscellaneous trophies are quite straightforward. Getting through the lava flood section without any damage took me longer than I'd like to admit. With Rider (an enemy you unlock after getting the true ending w/ Bones) it is 100x easy as he does range damage and his shurikens can take out rockets from a distance. You have to find a few hidden NPCs but again, nothing that a guide can't easily help you with. In reality, this game only has one stopper for the platinum and it's time I detail my battle with it. My Deathless Playthrough Experience - You read correctly. You know that pit you kept falling into 30 times in a row while first learning the game? You now need to execute it perfectly during a single run or else you need to start the level from the very beginning! I initially thought this was going to be impossible for me. Thankfully, there are some helpful tricks. 1) If you die or fall into a pit, dashboard, close application, and open Dogurai back up. The death will not be counted, you just start from the beginning of that same level and try again. 2) Rider cheapens almost all the bosses and can hit enemies through walls. He is amazing. Use this to your advantage to take out foes from a distance and preserve your health. 3) Play slow and steady but don't hyper analyze every maneuver. I personally found when playing that if I kept pausing every time I was reaching a new section to watch the YouTube video example, I'd goof up and jump too early or double jump at the wrong time. Maybe do it once or twice when going back to a level for the first time but the best thing you can do is learn the layout by your own memory to the point that you can go into autopilot through most of it until reaching those 1-2 sections that are the trickiest (typically endless pits where the slightest miscalculation is game over). Oddly enough, I found the early half of the game with the first 4 levels (fire lava, stupid ice, that damn sand bike) to be the trickiest and took me the longest to get through flawlessly. The backend while longer, only has a section or two that gave me a headache. But perhaps I just came in with renewed energy after stopping play for the day which helped my reaction time. The final boss is a joke with Rider who can shoot upwards with ease. I earned the 10.93% rarity platinum in 1 day and 20 hours, making me the 28th fastest achiever to date! Would I recommend Dogurai? If you're into retro games, 100%. If you're someone who is not a fan of platforming, let alone games that require you to be quite precise, I'd say it's a hard pass to save yourself from mental insanity. I really grew to appreciate the game the more I played it. Once you really get familiar with a level, it becomes a bit of a rhythmic dance what you need to execute and when and since the levels are so short, it's one of the rare few games where I can actually mentally juggle and keep up with all that's going on. It's likely not going to be taking any awards when I do my wrap-up post for the year but I enjoyed my time with it. I was also quite happy to discover that the developers, Hungry Bear Games, are a small indie studio based out of Brazil! That's my 2nd game this year that I've platinumed that was created by a Brazillian developer (with the other being Dandara) Shoutout to them for leading the pack when it comes to game development in South America! Now that I've got May all wrapped up and my 225th platinum around the corner, I've got some dream games I've had on the backburner that should make for one hell of a June. Can't wait to share and review them with y'all! Panda Score: 6.88 / 10 Panda Difficulty: 4.73 / 10 P.S. - Video games have taken a backseat for me these last few weeks as I think right now, and I'm trying not to be hyperbolic when I say this, but I'm living in a once-in-a-lifetime moment when it comes to my sports fandom. Let me explain for those who don't follow sports (though I imagine those who don't won't even get this far). I am a South Florida sports dork. Dolphins, Heat, Marlins, & Panthers. (I'm not going to lie to you and say I follow Inter Miami... I do watch every Real Madrid UCL match I can) At the time that I wrote this review, the Panthers, for only the second time in franchise history, have clinched a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. But it's not just the fact they're in the SCF. It's the way they've done it. As the equivalent of a #8 seed in the conference, they trailed the Boston Bruins (the team that BROKE THE RECORD FOR MOST WINS EVER IN A NHL HISTORY) 3-1 in a series and won 3 straight to stun the world. They then proceeded to beat the league's most popular team in Toronto (after they FINALLY got out of the 1st Round) and just defeated a great Carolina squad in the closest 4-game sweep of my life. (4 OT, OT, 1-0 Game 3, 4-3 last second victory Game 4). They've done all this being led by Matthew Tkachuk, a player they acquired from Calgary this past offseason for a fan favorite and team legend Jonathan Huberdeau. Huebrdeau proceeded to have a career-worst year while Tkachuk has had one of the best debut seasons in NHL History. Sergei Bobrovsky (a goalie signed from Columbus) a few years ago for $10 million per year was viewed as a colossal failure these first 3 years has returned to form overnight. Our vets in Barkov & Ekblad who have been with the team through thick and thin are finally getting their moment. It's genuinely moving. That in and of itself would be one of the Top 5 South Florida sports fan-favorite runs of the last decade. BUT SOMEHOW, SIMULTANEOUSLY, SOMETHING EVEN CRAZIER IS HAPPENING WITH THE MIAMI HEAT. So, I won't lie, while I love all 4 teams, the Dolphins & Heat hit a little bit differently. The Heat are a historically amazingly well-run franchise. They made it to the Eastern Conference Finals of Game 7 last year vs Boston. They made the NBA Finals in 2020. They've won the two most recent championships down here in the back-to-back of 2012 and 2013 with LeBron, Wade, & Bosh. So what's so surprising? This year, they finished as the #8 seed in the conference. Falling off hard from a #1 seed the year prior. There's a number of reasons for that, I won't get into it. In basketball, #8 seeds do not win. Since 1984, only 5 had won their series over #1 seeds. So what do the Heat decide to do when I'm fully expecting Milwaukee to shove us in a locker as the team with the best record in the NBA and the 2x MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo? JUST BEAT THEM IN 5 GAMES (fewest ever for a #1 seed to lose) and for our superstar, Jimmy Butler, to score 56pts in a Game 4 at home where he had ZERO help. We were down 15 & 16pts in the 4th quarters of both Games 4 & 5, as well, as if that weren't enough. We then proceeded to beat up the Knicks (4-2) in the 2nd Round who serve as a great equivalent to Toronto if we're comparing the NHL/NBA runs, and now, in the Eastern Conference Finals, against a team people gave them a 3% chance to beat (as they are admittedly undermanned talent-wise), they won 3 straight games and currently lead the ECF 3-1. We still have to clinch, it won't be easy, Boston is incredible, but if they pull it off, the Heat will become only the second #8 seed in NBA History to make the NBA Finals. TL;DR - I am rolling the sports equivalent of achieving both the Super Meat Boy platinum AND Crypt of the Necrodancer platinum at the SAME time.
  2. Game: Drawngeon: Dungeons of Ink and Paper Analysis: I bought Drawngeon when it was on sale for $0.74 back in very late January 2023. We've got another niche indie title ladies and gentlemen! Why Drawngeon? Oops. @Cassylvania did it again. I remember having read their review of the game back in early January and I can just say that I will essentially buy any game for under a $1 unless it's truly dreadful. I had no idea what I was signing up for. This is a very retro-style game. You play on a grid and the controls are incredibly funky to get used to early on. You're not allowed to move the camera but rather must control your guy from the controls that are constantly displayed in the bottom right-hand corner. Managing your inventory is HELLA clunky. Like, you're 100% going to keep accidentally keep dropping, equipping, and picking up items all while struggling to close the menu for your first hour or two before you finally learn how to manage everything. That being said, once you learn all the mechanics needed to survive and win a run with a character, the game becomes mind-numbingly simple and you can ignore a lot of the more obtuse elements. Stranger in a Strange Land - Once you get past the impediment that is learning how to actually move your character, the game is extremely straightforward. Basically, there are a bunch of doors scattered around the hub world that you can enter that are mini-dungeons with varying levels (3 to 5). Inside each level are typically treasure chests containing loot & equipment that you can either wear, sell, or eat! Yes! This game lets you eat equipment! For the low low cost of 2 hero points (obtained super easy early on), you can eat equipment to heal. For the very low price of 2 additional hero points, you can eat equipment and gain a small portion of that item's stats to your character's overall build. Given the unending amount of loot you'll find, this makes it very easy to eat your way to a 20+ damage character that one or two-shots every enemy in every dungeon essentially. Combat is easy. Hit square to attack, if you connect before the enemy finishes their jumping forward animation, you win! There's not a whole lot of.... depth. But it's not a game designed to be played for hours on end. A lot of what you'll be completing on your 1st playthrough is miscellaneous tasks. Such as getting through 24 levels of dungeons for the 24 cats. All these miscellaneous tropheis are fairly nonsensical and shouldn't take too much time. Once you're done taking care of business, open up the gate (near the initial house with the man with the spiders) and proceed on to the Mysterious Tower. There's a few strong enemies but nothing you can't heal past with the hundreds of coins you'll have clogging your inventory (seriously, there is 0 incentive to ever buy anything and you should just eat money to heal always as it's practically infinite. There's a metaphor here about the US healthcare system somewhere...) Once you make it to the end, your guy will become deformed and simply step into the white twirling void to end the game. That's right, there isn't even a final bloated health sponge boss for the end! What has indie development BECOME? The Trophy Journey - I highly recommend you check out this video. For one, it's just a super helpful video showing the trophy basics. Secondly and more importantly, I love how dorkily the commentator presents the trophies and talks about the game. He just comes across as a swell fella. On the real, there's not much here that should pose too much of an annoyance. Upgrading the inventory and getting all skills won't take too long. You need to complete the game multiple times anyway for the other character completion trophies. I managed to get somewhat lucky in obtaining the "monocle of inversion" & "mask of nosferatu" from the cats while naturally progressing through the game with both characters. I suppose it is plausible to get screwed on RNG and have to do a few other additional quick runs of collecting 6, 12, & 18 cats in order to keep trying your luck. "Bestiary" should unlock naturally as you kill stuff on your first playthrough. There is one character, the Neoh, only found in the Mysterious Tower that is a bit obnoxious to kill as it teleports away after you hit it one time but just track it down and register the kill and you'll be fine. A somewhat kind "glitch" I found was after I beat the game with the trickster (my 3rd and final one after having won as warrior & wizard), the black knight trophy also popped for me gifting me the platinum saving me an extra playthrough of the game. I wasn't going to complain! Even though grinding up to enough health to survive the final tower only takes 30 minutes, I'll take it! I earned the 21.25% rarity platinum in 2 days and 23 hours. Would I recommend Drawngeon? Eh, maybe. I think the game is fine. It's clearly a cute indie ambition project by a small Russian developer and that in and of itself is a huge achievement. That being said, the game has a lot of tedium in it and I don't think some of the wonder and novelty of the game is worth going through some of its more obtuse elements. The two most egregious being the following. 1) Within 1-2 chests your inventory will already be full if one of those items is a large weapon. It's so obnoxious. Your inventory is so stupidly small even after a few upgrades that you can't even loot a dungeon's full level without running into issues. It's not an impediment in terms of progression given how easy the game is but it's like... why did they make this so inconvenient? Who was this for? 2) The backtracking after completing a dungeon. There is no teleport at the exit. Instead, you have to walk your ass all the way back through each door of each level to make it all the way back outside. The only exception to this is the teleportation scrolls you receive at the start but there's only 2 of them and they're so stupidly huge that you may just throw out or get rid of them in order to have inventory space when you start out as a fresh character. Both of these downsides took away some enjoyment out of an otherwise brisk and unique experience. I'll also concede it's probably one of the more forgettable titles I've played this year and by December during my 2023 GOTY Awards I'll probably say to myself: "oooooh yea I DID play that game lmao" Panda Score: 6.27 / 10 Panda Difficulty: 2.48 / 10
  3. Game: Invisible, Inc Analysis: I bought the game when it was on sale for $4.99 back in early March 2023... ladies and gentlemen, my rarest trophies cabinet looks very different now! Getting Over The Scary <0.50% Platinum - I am not someone who considers myself a very good player of video games. Don't get me wrong, I'm not bad either. But you can absolutely tell the difference between a player who instantly has a better grasp of a new environment and mechanics compared to those of us who will struggle greatly until really beating out heads against it in order to get it down pat. If you look at my rarest platinums, by-and-large, they're sports games. Madden & FIFA's. I grew up on those games. While they may be intimidating to non-sports gamers, I'm so familiar that all notions of their difficulty fall by the wayside. I know the lay of the land and thus, to this date, I'm a Top 10 both first and fastest achiever of a 0.78% rarity FIFA 20 platinum. But away from sports games? Woof. I become a lot more cowardly. Furi/Jotun as boss rush games? They kicked my ass, but I persevered. Unravel Two? I had to make it my 100th platinum. Ash of Gods? My love for the grid knows no bounds. But all those games were >1% plats... Invisible, Inc is another realm of unventured territory. 0.42%? You kidding me? You're telling me nearly 55,000 users with PSNProfiles accounts attempted the game (or at least booted it up), and less than 250 actually have the platinum? Nonetheless, I took the leap. In no small part due to @Cassylvania insisting to me that the game had no business being as rarely rated as it was. I come to you all nearly 60 hours later with the affirmation that yea... it probably shouldn't be that rare. Doesn't mean it was easy though! Why Invisible, Inc? Normally I make this paragraph of the review the introduction but I think it actually serves better as a follow-up to that introduction. It's a very reasonable question. Why, of all the super hard super ultra rare platinum games to attempt... did I take a crack at this one in particular? Blame @DrBloodmoney. I love people with delightfully detailed OP posts on their trophy cabinet threads, especially when they come with power rankings of their favorite games. The Doc's had Invisible, Inc rated in his Top 5!!! With over 400+ games reviewed, that is a mighty prestigious honor. Many of the other games rated that highly are some of the biggest of this generation. Elden Ring, Portal 2, Persona 5 Royale, Hitman. I also knew for a fact that the creators of Invisible, Klei Entertainment, were also the designers behind Mark of the Ninja, a game I platinumed last year. While I did not love the game, I did enjoy it, and could absolutely see that the brains over at Klei have a knack for game design. Given the fact that I had also been recommended by Doc, Griftlands, a card game by the same studio, I couldn't keep ignoring this studio or this game any longer. What if they were Supergiant Games: Diamond in the Rough Tier? It was time to take the plunge, and so I did! Early Beginnings - Invisible, Inc pulls no punches early on setting the stage for your dire circumstances and the fragility of your mission. You are the underdog. You run with a crew that is fighting against corporations across the globe. The chances of survival are slim. You have a limited time frame to complete your tasks, both on a micro and macro level. This can be seen on the very first level. An alarm will slowly constantly be rising from Level 1 to Level 6. As it rises, you will have to deal with more security cameras, more guards, stronger enemies, and eventually, your location on the level will be out revealed. Be quick, do the job, get money, and get OUT. On a macro level, this sense of urgency persists. You have a limited amount of time, 72 hours, to complete a series of increasingly difficult operations against dangerous foes to prep for Day 4. Hopefully, you've upgraded your agent's abilities and acquired enough useful items to survive. Assuming you do, you then have a final 48 hours to prep for the final mission. Everything you do in Invisible, Inc builds upon itself. If you go on a series of consequently poor missions where you don't complete the main objective (obtaining a rare item, getting a vault access card, freeing an agent), while simultaneously failing to loot many security crates for $$$... you're going to feel the pain later in the run when you're under-equipped for the ever-increasing power of your enemies. I felt this on my first run. I didn't really know how the importance of looting as many security safes as possible. I just sort of made a break for the exit every time. I barely survived Day 4, made it to Day 5, and with my agents so underequipped and ill-prepared, I eventually got crushed on a level and lost my entire team to some Sankaku drones that dusted my party. Consistent returns are the key to success in a game where your odds are decreasing and you need to keep pace with the new challenges the game throws at you. Finding My Groove with Gameplay - My 2nd run proved far more fruitful. Due to the distance, I went on my 1st attempt, I unlocked Derek, an agent part of the Contingency DLC pack that will likely quickly become a staple of your rotation as he became for me. Why is Derek so good? Well, prior to acquiring him, you always needed to worry about making sure all of your agents make it to the end-level teleporter in order to get out alive. It's risky to leave one agent isolated as if they're ever caught in a pinch, it can be difficult to get them back with the crew to a safer location. But Derek? He comes with a nifty particle envelope & transport beacon. How did I use this to my advantage? I'd give the transport beacon to my other agent (in this case, Internationale) whose sole responsibility was to hawk power from a distance (as that's her personal specialty and can do it through walls) as well as hunt for the exit. Once there, she plops down the transport beacon, and for the low low cost of 4 power, and transport Derek all the way from across the map while corned by 3 guards to safety and I can exit the level with ease. It's so damn good it almost feels unfair. I was able to loot so many safes and complete so many objectives by throwing Derek into peril that I otherwise wouldn't have done with any other agent (as I'd then have to escape with them from the dangerous spot I've put them in) that I could just avoid with ease with him on my team. Combined with Rush (another agent who I rescued from a detention cell) who had the unbelievable luck of looting a lock decoder (bypasses all security 1 card locked doors with 2 turns of waiting), I was able to achieve my 1st victory without losing a single team member on the final mission! So Many Diverse Ways to Win - Something that impressed me so much about Invisible, Inc is that despite reading many common strategies on a variety of websites, due to the randomness of the game outside of picking your initial agents, your runs can drastically change on what ends up being the key item to your success. I'll list a few examples. In terms of agents, I found incredible usefulness out of both Banks (an agent whose special allows them to unlock all security passcard 1 doors from the get-go) as well as Archive Prism (has a disguise ability to conceal herself as a guard for 2 power per turn). The latter being so utterly broken that was the MVP for both my Expert Run w/ 0 Rewinds & Endless Day 20 run. In terms of hacking abilities, there's a wide array to choose from. You'll start off with a normal Lockpick that can breakdown 1 firewall for 2 power. But you can also snag certain wrenches that break down huge amounts of firewalls for far fewer power. I loved fusion & seed. One particular one I found useful was "ping" which can create a noise distraction that keeps a guard busy while your guys escape unscathed. Finally, I absolutely have to mention the wide variety of gadgets that game gives you which can totally transform your playstyle. 1) Cloaking Rigs. I did not use a single one of these during my normal story playthroughs. I simply never found any. But on endless? I HAD 6 OF THEM. They are so ridiculously OP. I love them. 2) Buster Chips. Don't consume power, allow you to bust into safes in a jiffy, great to always have one on all your agents. 3) Paralyzer. It is super comforting to be able to take an enemy out for 5+ turns and know you can progress through the rest of the level without needing to sit on an enemy and hold one of your team members back. 4) Stims. Oh my goodness. Stim III? With that low cooldown? If you get these, treasure them, never know how useful it'll be to have some bonus AP until you really need it. So Many Diverse Ways to Win (Part 2) - The reason why I'm compelled to mention all of this is it's amazing the number of strategies from tip forums that I DIDN'T use. Shock traps? Never used a single one my entire playthrough. Portable servers and EMPs? They didn't get any run either. Invisble, Inc is a unique game in the sense you are much more incentivized to stealth rather than to fight enemies head onwards. On Expert+, this will cost you by raising the alarm. You can only knock out enemies instead of killing them for the vast majority of weapons. The theme of the game of you being the underdog and out of your depth and constantly just barely scraping by is constantly with you while facing all of these impediments. There's more I could add here from the augmentations that can really shake up a run (adding armor piercing, lowering cooldowns, increasing AP) but I have to draw a line somewhere. I didn't even get to play around with as many agents as I would have liked due to my hyperfocus on trophies but there's so much more to chew on here if you really wanted to master every potential combination. Incognita, in all of her awe, looks down upon your pathetic humans and laughs at how goofily you can fakeout an enemy guard by just sprinting one step and jetting off in the complete opposite direction Two Big Obstacles (Day 4) - During your story mode playthroughs, you attempt will be made or broken by these two missions. Allow me to describe them in detail. On Day 4, you will have a 2-part mission to complete. The 1st phase involves you scouring the level as normal for the exit, before being able to leave, two of your team members will simultaneously on the same turn hit two relay switches in order to open access. After they've been found (they're typically quite distant from each other), you will need to escape as a group through the teleporter. (PRO TIP: I discovered this and thought it was hilarious. Monst3r, the temporary team member you will have just for this mission, carries an overclocked neural dart gu with 3x armor piercing. You can take this item off of him, pass it to a team member, and for the rest of your run, have this new awesome gun that can help in a jiffy. The best part? On the final day mission, Monst3r will magically have found another overclocked neural dart meaning your weapons arsenal just doubled!) On part 2 of the Day 4 mission, you will need to either move as a crew (or get a helpful solo member like Archive Prism who can navigate in disguise by herself) all the way to a room with a macguffin that needs to be retrieved. You will need to wait 20 turns before you can leave with the teleporter, even if you get and retrieve the item by turn 7 or so. What methods did I find most useful for handling these challenges? 1) For the first part of the mission, you need an agent who can run solo. Maybe they have a useful weapon. Maybe they have an OP ability (cloaking rig iii, archive prism disguise, Derek teleporter) as that can help them get back with the crew in case things get dicey with security. 2) On the second part of the mission, I found the best strategy to be to hide 3/4 of your crew in the initial room as some occasional guards will stroll through the middle of the room. Take your OP agent and have them solo the level and make it to the macguffin, come back, and hide with the rest of the crew until the turn is up. It'll be a lengthy and laborious process, but it's far better than alerting the guards on like... turn 11, and then needing to stall out or scramble for the next half of the matchup likely resulting in MANY rewinds. Two Big Obstacles (Day 7) - Now let's talk about the final mission. This oddly enough is only a 1-parter, so in a sense, it's easier than Day 4. Your enemies will be at their strongest. Some will have 2, 3, or even 4 armor protection. Hence, it's super helpful to get that Monst3r gun from earlier in your run just for this level alone. I think have an armor-piercing 3 melee weapon is also helpful. You need to get Monst3r to the security hub to hack the system. The catch? HE NEEDS TO SIT THERE HACKING FOR 6 TURNS. That's an eternity in a turn-based grid game. As if finding the room won't be difficult enough on its own, with enemy guards barreling down your throat, you'll then need to escort Mons3tr to the corporate mainframe along with Central (the bitchy older woman who has been clowning you every day of your mission for not completing X mission or not accessing Y inner vault) in order to upload Incognita. This mission can get very ugly very quickly. Thankfully, you don't have to do things cleanly. As this is your final mission, you can send your agents to their deaths as a distraction device away from Mons3tr/Central and they'll have fulfilled their noble duty. I personally noted 3 things that can be helpful. 1) Treat your first few turns as mere scouting.. find the actual locations of both rooms. Sometimes you'll get amazing RNG and they'll be 1-2 rooms next to each other which makes things a breeze. Other times, they'll be on complete opposite sides of the map which is a thorough pain in the ass. 2) It is amazing if you have distraction items. Ping is great for this. Send all those mad, bloodthirsty guards in another direction. Go send a sprinting agent to another isolated room to buy time. 3) An item that can do wonders is a flash grenade. You won't find them every run by looting guards but phew... when you have 3 enemies all together and need a miracle, that'll feel heaven-sent. It won't be easy, but it is doable with enough trial-and-error as long as you've accumulated enough assets up to this point. Bring Incognita home and finish the run! Expert (0 Rewind) Experience - After taking care of Experienced, Expert, and Expert Plus runs (all with 99 rewinds of course), it was time to try my hand at what I felt would be the hardest trophy in the game. Trying to beat it without having rewinds available. How did I find it? Tough and tedious. Why? I decided to beat it WITHOUT the Contingency Plan DLC (oh yea, I haven't mentioned this until this point. The DLC adds the Day 4 Mission+48 Hours. Without it, you have 72 hours (3 Days) and then the final Day 7 mission immediately). Why did I try and tackle this trophy this way? I figured it would have been more obnoxious trying to survive the Day 4 mission rather than going straight to the final mission where I could sacrifice some agents. I think I did... okay. I ran with Archive Prism + Banks. Didn't add any agents. You have to play cautiously as you don't want to get greedy, blow a level at the end, and then have to reload from your Cloud save and play those 25-30 minutes all over. It still took me 4+ hours. I had to reset many times. I was SO insanely fortunate on the final mission that the security hub and corporate mainframe were stupidly close to one another (just two rooms apart) that it allowed me to ignore 70% of the map. I think completing this without the DLC is easier as it shortens the playthrough and as long as you've learned how to beat the game without ALWAYS relying on Derek's teleporter, it shouldn't offer too much of a fuss. Day 20 Endless Run Experience - Oh lord.... this bloody trophy... okay. So up until now, I had been quite sincerely enjoying my time with the game. It isn't a 9.0 elite tier, but I 100% respected the craft put into all of the game systems and legit respected that despite being on my 3rd and 4th playthrough to completion, I was still having to think hard around my plan of attack in order to survive a level. This trophy is a GRIND man. Endless means there is no final mission. You play until you die. I rolled with Archive Prism+Central as I heard the latter becomes a nuclear power plant once everything late in the game all has Daemons. That proved to be true. I also rescued Dr. Xu (whose EMP special was INSANELY clutch for quite some time) & Rush. Here's my issue though. My Day 8, check out the loadout for my crew. Your eyes do not deceive you. I had Prism with 3x cloaking rig iii + 2x stim iii. This meant she was essentially able to solo levels by herself. With Central constantly providing +5 power from daemons and Prism keeping guards distracted while the other 3 scooted away in the teleporter, all risk and difficulty in the game vanished. I got caught plenty by guards. Too bad they're utterly useless when you go cloaked. The 3rd version of the rig makes it so you're invisible for two turns, and with an augment to lower cooldowns, I was always one turn away from being totally untouchable. This meant that survival was not challenging, but laborious. By like Day 10 with all my agents maxed out, I ignored all objectives, raced for the teleporter, and then used Prism to scout the level for the power relay + exit access card from security safes and then immediately exited. It felt like it took an eternity. Even doing 12-hour distant missions, that's 2 per day just to advance. For over half of this ordeal, it felt like the difficulty was completely trivialized and was moreso an annoyance trying to get my non-cloaking friends to the exit rather than a proper sizable obstacle to overcome. Why I Don’t Love The Game - The more I played, the more I questioned how I felt about the game. It fit beautifully into the repetitive loop that I can love and chew on in many titles that have become my favorites yet... I don't hold it in that esteem. Why? I've diagnosed a few reasons. 1) The stuttering/lagging. Good lord. This MUST be a console issue. I have never played a game that stuttered this much. Just moving the camera and all of a sudden the game will freeze for 5-7 seconds. It happened... 100+ times? Sometimes I'd feel like it would be getting worse and worse so I'd close the application and open it back up and it'd feel a bit better. Is the game seriously this poorly optimized from just a few guards moving about? Why is this so egregiously poor? It didn't ruin my enjoyment, but it did put a damper on it. I'm just relieved it never crashed as that would have REALLY sucked. 2) Along with this lagging, the game's grid disgustingly exposed my PS5's controller stick drift. Huh? How is that the game's fault? I know, I know. It's a bit unfair. But this game with its grid made it obvious how shoddy the craftsmanship of Sony's fancy new DualSense really is. The # of times my characters went north just because the stick had a mind of its own and I clicked X was pathetic. I need to either change my deadzones, get a new controller, send it in to get fixed, or some mix of all 3. We're not Nintendo fans, Sony. We're not going to blow smoke up your ass and pretend the issue doesn't exist. How tf does a billion-dollar company release this crap? 3) I loved The Banner Saga because of the tactical grid life-or-death implications AND character interactions. Invisible, Inc lacks the latter. There's no way around this glaring flaw for me. Do you know how awesome it would have been if at the end of each Day, each dire mission where I was so relieved to finally make it out in one piece, I could have had some 1-on-1 or character interactions with my agents? Given them a personality? Explored their backstory a bit more as opposed to through a text box? It would have made them feel so much more personable but nah... Klei didn't touch that department. 4) After 8 playthroughs and victories, the game does wear a bit thin. This isn't an action game like Dead Cells where my thumbs always need to be on point to survive the TimeKeeper no matter how many times I've faced it. Eventually, some mix of the drones or safes or turrets or security cam zones become repetitive enough that you know what to do. It's just about doing it. I didn't want to do it anymore by the end. Would I recommend Invisible, Inc? Maybe. I think Invisible, Inc is an extremely well-designed game. I enjoyed my time with it. Not just because I enjoyed going after a new rarest platinum of All-Time, but because it's a game with solid meat on its bones and one I'm glad to have finally dissected and really sunk my teeth into. That being said, I don't think it's very shocking to see why the plat is so rare. Most people don't have this sort of affinity for going through the ringer time and time again on a grid. Especially with a trophy so laborious such as the Day 20 endless run that by Day 16 or 17 you'll have repeated the Interstellar line: "this little maneuver is gonna cost us 51 years" back to yourself for the hundredth time. If it sounds like your cup of tea, give it a whirl. I ultimately earned the 0.42% rarity platinum in 2 weeks and 6 days, making me the 41st fastest achiever of All-Time! With Inc in the books, I'm going to try and play some shorter games before going for another grind for my 225th platinum. That means it won't be too long between now and my next review. See y'all around! Panda Score: 7.85 / 10 Panda Difficulty: 7.4 / 10
  4. I figure it'd be criminal if I didn't throw at least a few games out there... what I'm doing to see what to recommend you is looking at this catalog of PS+ subscription games, comparing the top ranked games on my thread, and just checking to see if you've played them or not. Dead Cells (welp I see that's already on your profile) Ash of Gods: Redemption (admittedly a grind, but if you ever want to scratch that Banner Saga itch and can overlook some difficult controls (at least to learn at the start), I think you can enjoy this. Me and @Briste have super lengthy reviews of the game in case you want a decent road map) The Forgotten City (add it a 2nd time on your last. It's that bloody good) Desperados III (you may have told me you already purchased this... I forget tho. Get on them Shadow Tactics Cowboy Edition) Jotun (boss rush game. if you're in the mood to get your ass handed to you) Paradise Killer (OKAY CASSY THIS IS MY LEGIT BEST RECOMMENDATION, pls review it. I'm on an island as being one of like 7 people who've played it on this website. It's relatively short, narrative-focused, put on your detective hat and have fun) I'll stop there. If you have to select just one, take PK.
  5. Game: Last Day of June Analysis: I bought LDoJ when it was on sale for $4.99 back in early February 2023. Good to be back y'all, its been nearly a month! Why Last Day of June? It was time for my monthly 100% and I wanted something that took less than 3 hours. Last Day of June has been on my radar for quite some time as I've seen it receive rave reviews for its narrative. After doing some brief research on the game I also uncovered that the developers, Avantgarden, are based out of Milan, Italy. All the games I've ever played from there have been incredibly crappy racing games such as Motorcross & Gravel so I wanted finally give them a fair shake with something creative to whet my appetite! OH NO NOT AGAIN - (HUGE SPOILERS AHEAD) As this is a narrative-focused title, I can't help but discuss it without unveiling huge plot points, forgive me. Umm... I did connect with the story emotionally. Which will sound awful after I describe it to you. You play as the bald man with the big spectacles on the dock. That is your wife, June. One day, riding home from a nice day out together, you end up in a car accident. June dies. You are permanently crippled for life and are confined to a wheelchair. The goal of the game is to control different characters who had an influence on that day and try to "rewrite" history, so to speak. It'll be controlling a child whose soccer ball kicked out onto the road and made you swerve into a tree. It'll be strapping down a woman's many boxes on her truck to prevent them from falling out. OR, it'll be a hunter who steps over a cliff edge that falls and collapses on your car. All these incidents sound horrible. But good lord... I could not stop cracking up at the sheer ridiculousness of it. Oh you made the boy go fly a kite instead of throwing the ball around? NOW A CLIFF EDGE CRUSHES THE BEAUTIFUL COUPLE. OH WELL. You stop the hunter from standing on the cliff? NOW THE DOG STANDS ON IT AND THEY DIE ANYWAY. I couldn't help but crack up every time. The actual core gameplay loop is trying to find the "solutions" on each level to evade catastrophe and its all quite surface level. Some scenes were nice and cute and the game is by-and-large inoffensive. Something moms would enjoy. Why Some 100%'s Hit, Why Some Miss - So something that I thought about why playing is I asked myself... why did a game, centering around a relationship between two people, such as South of the Circle, land relatively well with me, yet this one missed? I think I found a few reasons. 1) There is no dialogue in this game. All speech and emotion are conveyed with gestures and ruffled sounds which let you get the gist of what is being said. It's cute. It's simple. But it's not going to stick with me like some of the social dynamics in SotC did. 2) Good lord the faces without eyeballs is mortifying. I get that it's the game's style but wow... when your guy doesn't have the glasses on it, it's really exposed. 3) The puzzle mechanics failed to engage me. While super simple, which is something I tend to prefer, each character has one trick. The kid throwing his ball, the best friend opening gates looking for rope, and the hunter shooting trees with birds. I know gameplay was not the focal point but when the narrative doesn't grip me... I just sorta slog through it. At the very least SotC had me curious with mystery and intrigue with what was about to happen next but this game let me down, I kind of saw where the ending was doing and with him "accepting' fate... he swaps and sacrifices himself for her place in the end. Would I recommend Last Day of June? Ehh, maybe. If you're someone who doesn't mind a quick 100% as a palette cleanser, I think you could do worse. I have no doubt some will connect with it as it does have rave reviews. Especially if you have an older couple you know whose relationship reminds you of the one depicted in the game. The trophy experience is insanely simple. Go scoop up a few collectibles that are very plainly scattered about the world and simply unlocked or accessed by opening the path with other characters. I will say that some guides are misleading and suggest "Menace!" can be unlocked on your 1st run as the boy. It cannot. Only pops on your 2nd when you knock over the fifth vase, despite what the trophy description says. Aside from that, this game will offer little to no stress in the hunting department. I earned the 45.32% rarity 100% in 13 hours and 27 minutes. The reason why I've been away for so long is I have an all-new rarest platinum of All-Time for my account that I don't foresee being broken any time soon. I guess I should talk about that game next, eh? But first, Heat vs Knicks Game 6! (Please close out or I'm going to smash my television) Panda Score: 6.37 / 10 Panda Difficulty: 2.2 / 10
  6. YOOOOO! It's so nice to finally meet someone who also enjoys the Batmobile lmao 😂. It's hilarious how some games will have the same tired complaint regurgitated a hundred times. For Legend of the Zelda: BotW, it was the weapon durability. For Batman: Arkham Knight, you can't throw a pebble in the landfill that is game discussion without hitting someone who complains about the "tank simulator". I thought it was fantastic and did a great job of breaking up the typical Batman loop. I played the games in a very weird order (Knight, Asylum, City) and in hindsight view it as a technical marvel the way they were able to implement it and make it feel such a core part of the experience. Never have I seen so many casuals care about story details like "who the hell is Riddler paying to build all these underground race tracks?" OR "why would the Arkham Knight not fill every random few of those battle tanks with people since he knows Batman doesn't kill". So nice to have you back though! I love the way you portray the games you play and you have a unique voice. I've never played Arkham: Origins as I don't own a PS3. My entire enjoyment of the game was done vicariously through 2BC (hockey YouTuber who loves Batman) playthrough from way back when and I loved it. If it by some miracle were to ever make it to modern consoles in a remaster or something (hey Rocksteady... that could be a great way to win your reputation back after bungling Suicide Squad), I'd be 100% down to play it to get my Arkham combat fix!
  7. LMAO. I got whiplash with this opening paragraph. I saw you liked my review from ages ago and got giddy because I was like: "FINALLY somebody I know is going to play and review this game" since despite the success of Furi and some decent marketing, I feel like NOBODY bought it. You made me re-read my review from then so I'm looking forward to seeing how we contract in our experience! 100% with you on this. It's one of the reasons why I enjoyed their dynamic so much. Yesssssss! Game looks great. I agree sooooo much on the loading screens. They're adorable. I DO remember now that you mention it there being an absurd amount of loading screens (for basically every island you move to in the game) but at the very least they put something interesting visually to catch your eye until they start repeating. AWWWWWWW C'MON CASSY. I will concede that yea... if you're not into lovey-dovey romance, this is probably not going to be your cup of tea lmao. I love seeing couples happy together. I am a complete sucker for it. Seeing all of the dorky stuff one does when you're intimate and don't have that layer of insecurity. I also understand that there are people who wanna roll their eyeballs outta their head at it. Agree to disagree! LMAO I had forgotten about this but yea... I even wrote that in my review. WHY DO WE HAVE AN M RATING EXACTLY IN THIS GAME? IS IT BECAUSE OF IMPLIED SEX? Because it kind of boggles my mind. On one hand, I notice in your review that you comment on how the game is mega horny. But... I GET WHY IT'S MEGA HORNY. These two just escaped what was for them a prison where they coudn't be together and now they're completely on their own free to finally act and do as they please. That being said... either go all-in on the M rating rather than skirt around the sex (we couldn't even get a GoW mini-game?) OR avoid that and go the kid's game healthy relationship route as you mentioned. My movie stats tracker says out of the 552 movies I've seen, 98 have "romance" in the genre type. I think this is where you and I disagree a bit. As someone who loves the genre, it is extremely simple and safe to show the "meeting, blossoming, and eventually blooming" with some ups-and-downs along the way of the relationship. You don't see the parts of the movie after the couple get married since typically it's not "compelling" unless an issue arises. What made me so excited about Haven is... they were going the ambitious route of NOT playing it safe. They were going to just try and show a happy relationship without that core conflict (until the end) and... DAMN THAT'S BOLD AS HELL. You have to have the writing and enough mechanics around it to support it (which I think the game lacked, and you certainly also think it lacked) but.. I love trying for that as opposed to going down the typical path. Although now that I think about it... would I play a prequel with action combat of Yu & Kay's forbidden romance aboard the Apiary where we see them fall in love and have to fight their way out before getting happily ever after? That sounds like a pretty good game. It STILL BOGGLES MY MIND!!!!! Like... I wrote in my review that I could have stomached it if every other element of the game was excellent. If the traversal was a blast, I could do without some mindless rock-papers-scissors combat. BUT HOW DID THE FOLKS WHO MADE FURI (A 9.0, ONE OF MY FAVORITE GAMEPLAY ACTION GAMES OF ALL-TIME) THINK THAT THIS WAS ENOUGH? It's like the hit artist who is so sick of people hearing more of the same song that they decided to release an album in the genre of country jazz to make people shut up forever. It's clear to me they didn't want combat to be the focus, but if it was going to be this poor, they shouldn't have included it (but that prolly would have exposed how little else there is to do in the game) Tell us how you really feel Cassy, lmao. Nah but I get you. If I hadn't enjoyed Yu/Kay's dynamic, I probably would have scored the game in the 5's (not a 4 since it's too short to have been that miserable). I'm still optimistic about future iterations of the genre. I wanna see more games make romance/relationships the focal points that aren't VNs. Just... with a lot more to them. I still trust the folks over at The Game Bakers. Hopefully their next game they get back on track! Thanks for playing the game even though you ended up thoroughly disliking it. It's one that I had been waiting for someone else to play to actually have someone to discuss it with. I hope Tunche scores better 😭
  8. Aww Cassy, I don’t know if after all this you sound like you disliked the game or just “needed some space” from it after 50+ hours which…. DAMN! I think the trophy guide estimate is on the lower side (20 hours) but I went back to my archives and saw that it took me 24-25, and that was with my total incompetence on the kintaro-bear/holy cow levels which took me 5 1/2 combined for just those two items. I guess the estimate didn’t really seem that egregious to me given I know that if I was simply a better player, 21-22 would have been realistic. I just… can’t fathom how it took you 2x as long as it took me? I don’t think I was very good. I WILL say I did use the 180 turnaround maneuver a lot and never found myself having issue with the timer on levels except for when I was learning the mechanics early on. Your final comment made me crack up as it reminds me of what I felt having played Valkyrie Chronicles 😂, basically “glad I played it, get why it’s beloved, but I’ve had my fair share for the series.” aww, sorry it was such a grind for you too Smev. I remember you commenting after my review and saying you were excited to get back to playing it 😭 That being said… I somehow did NOT know the 2nd game will be getting remastered so thank you for that!
  9. Game: Lair of the Clockwork God Analysis: I bought LotCG when it was on sale for $2.99 earlier this very April 2023! Get in now if you got an itch for Brits! Why Lair of the Clockwork God? There's no need for me to drag this section out. @Cassylvania hammered on the table for it after enjoying it back in July of 2021. That was all I needed to hear. They're as close as we're going to get as a tastemaker on these forums and even if I don't end up loving a game as much as they did, I genuinely think I would be stunned if I ever bought a game they enjoyed and actively disliked it. I can happily say that streak continues even after this review! A Wonderful Concept - I'm sure almost all of you have once played a game with a concept so good and evident to everyone's eyes that you can't help but think: "how the heck didn't anybody make this sooner?" (See: Rocket League, soccer, but you're controlling cars). LotCG is one of those guys. You play as two main characters. Dan (short fella on the left with the big hands) and Ben (red puffy jacket with the bindle). The former is all about embracing modern customs of gaming which is why they can jump and sprint. They've got to stay relevant! They're a platformer. Ben on the other hand yearns for a simpler time. Back before all your wacky antics and nonsense gimmicks. He's a point-and-click-adventurer. He doesn't jump. He doesn't run. He slowly walks from place to place and can interact and comment on the environment while Dan cares about absolutely none of that. The driving force behind the game is this dynamic and the give-and-go of their relationship. It's so good that I'm shocked it hadn't been done by now. Honestly, it almost feels a little bit overcooked as the idea that the platformer is "hip" is honestly a fair bit dated by this point. It's much tougher to mock open worlds and bloated RPGs on an indie budget though so we'll settle for this! Where Vulgarity Works - I'm not someone who considers themselves a prude (then again, do prudes consider themselves prudes? Probably not). That being said, I have an extremely low tolerance for forms of entertainment with 1) poop/vomit/bodily fluid jokes, 2) incessant swearing to where it borders on ridiculous. Just not my cup of tea. I saw that this game had an M rating after having purchased it and kept waiting for when it would... "pop" in so to speak, as it isn't immediately evident when Dan & Ben first start acting. Soon though, I saw it made sense. They'd react in outlandish fashion when something obscene would occur. It properly conveyed shock or sarcasm. The game isn't nothing but these jokes (I liked the insistence on crafting being used instead of combining, Ballon Head's backstory, and everything to do with the "Hope" level mocking the faux deepness of many stories) but it will literally have you pissing a grave and a wide open wanking booth with humor regarding semen. While every joke didn't land with me, there's a lot of good nuggets for those who like poking at every nook-and-cranny of dialogue a game has to offer. The game reacts very well to your choices and will typically have a comment to make on your actions if you're deliberately doing something to try and get a reaction. (See: a trophy for having precognition and cheating using a guide by inputting a code before you know it) The Level Design - The structure of Lair of the Clockwork God is quite an interesting one. Basically, the game is divided in two sections. On one hand, you have natural levels that you need to explore in order to help a Robot discover and recover emotions (joy, fear, feeling old, disappointment, anger, grief, suffering, hope, & regret). You also have these in-between sections where you need to explore the headquarters facilities in order to unlock RAM chips to discover more of these emotions. Here's my conflict: Uhh... even when you're making light of point-and-adventures and how ridiculous they are, they're still obtuse and laborious. I did not enjoy a lot of the sections where I played strictly as Ben. His movement is debilitatingly limited and you're basically following every step of this Neoseeker guide in order to know what to do as I don't wanna jump through hula hoops of experimentation trying to find the right answer. It's not egregious, the humor the first time around keeps things light and makes sure the dialogue takes center stage, but I won't be itching to replay the game any time soon. Dan on the other hand feels okay as a platformer but you can definitely tell it's unpolished compared to a platformer that has been refined and polished down to pristine excellence. In terms of my favorite levels, I found "Feeling Old"'s out-of-touch with the youth and being "liberal... for the 90's maybe" to be fantastic. Disappointment was great as the game hypes up this big horde that never comes. Grief for its increasing ridiculousness. You can tell the studio has a bunch of fantastic creative talent and it comes through with how good some of the ideas turned out. My Trophy Experience - As the game presently has just a little over 200 owners despite being out for 2 1/2 years, I thought I'd mention some details from my experience. The Achievement Guide in the Neoseeker walkthrough will get you most of the way there. I'd say play it safe and make sure you get all 3 invisible walls (and the 4th at the end) in one playthrough. I see no reason why that wouldn't be poppable in chapter select but better to play it safe than pay the price and have to play 5-6 hours all over again. I didn't find the Luxomails annoying to collect as they're all in the hub facility which means you don't have to backtrack through every level for it. There are 3 levels that require completing without dying. Only "Anger" is obnoxious and it took me 30 minutes worth of attempts. "Chronophobia" is explained in this TrueAchievements post. All in all, it's a fairly brisk experience and given the brevity of most levels, I'd still say the game is worth checking out even if it doesn't sound like it's exactly up your alley. I earned the 26.57% rarity platinum in 5 days and 6 hours. Would I recommend Lair of the Clockwork God? A conservative yes! I think the fact that half the game is dabbling in point-and-click adventure mechanics is what has held the game back from receiving mainstream appeal. Unless you're Return to Monkey Island or Grim Fandango, good luck getting anybody's attention or isn't on the ground floor trying to uncover new enjoyable indies. I'm glad Cassy sent it my way as it wasn't on my radar whatsoever and I enjoy sampling games that poke fun/comment on games as there's always more to dig at on that front. I've already hit my games quota for April which is good as I'll be away for a few days. Kinda tempted to start up Invisible Inc. Let's see if I have the cojones to do so. 'til then! Panda Score: 7.22 / 10 Panda Difficulty: 3.1 / 10
  10. One Man's Quest to Conquer the World - South America Six months have passed since my original article detailing my desire to broaden my horizons and make it my goal to try to play as many games from as many different countries as possible. I return having devoted myself to the cause with an update on a continent that is near and dear to my heart in South America. As a Spanish speaker in South Florida, it's extremely common to meet people from these countries and I thought it'd be a fun test run to see if I could pull off the experiment with any amount of success. When you think of video games, it's pretty much US/Canada, Europe, & Japan as the heavy hitters which come to mind. Would I struggle to find games made for consoles? Would any of the games that I find actually be worth playing? It's such an oddly specific endeavor that I didn't quite know what to expect and figured if this experiment totally bombed, I could end it with SA with not too much suffering given the relatively limited amount of countries available. Here are my findings! Countries With Games Played Argentina (1) (Forager) - I don't think I can sum up in a single paragraph every emotion I felt while playing Forager. Fascination, intrigue, disappointment, and emptiness should serve as a rapid-fire summary of one of my more exhaustive reviews. Still, I don't view the game with scorn or distaste now that I've had some distance from it (despite the glitched trophies scars that still remain). It allowed me to check off one of South America's biggest countries off the list having played it! The indie scene is really the only viable I see myself being able to enjoy in the future given the one major studio, Nimble Giant Entertainment creates multiplayer games such as Rocket Arena. I very much enjoy playing games from different countries, but I don't enjoy it enough to put myself through the hellish landscape of trying to earn trophies and platinums in exclusively multiplayer games. Brazil (2) (Flatland Vol. 1, Dandara) - Unsurprisingly, the country with the largest population (over 200+ million people) has the most games played. Flatland Vol. 1 and Dandara were both indie titles and I imagined to find enjoyment in both of their designs. The prior is unique and antiseptic to showing off any culture from the region given its all about shapes but the latter in Dandara takes some of its inspired narratives from a real Afro-Brazillian warrior from the 1600s. This Wikipedia page helped me find some more studios from the country. Studio Pixel Pink made Unsighted. Bombservice made Momodora (which I've purchased and have in my backlog). But despite that seemingly long list of choices, the vast majority of the studios make games exclusively for mobile devices or Steam. There are a few others found here such as Chroma Squad & 99Vidas but it doesn't compare to some of the heavier hitting lists I'll give down the line. Chile (1) (The Deadly Tower of Monsters) - I have to give props to Chile and the folks over at ACE Team for surprising me with the amount of fun I had with TDTOM. I had extremely low expectations and had heard shockingly little about the game that I was surprised to see it so cohesive and well put together. ACE Team is quite possibly the longest-lasting major independent game studio in South America? They have a number of series that catch my interest. Clash: Artifacts of Chaos, The Eternal Cylinder, & Rock of Ages series. If it wasn't for some glitchy trophies on the last title I'd have absolutely snagged it up by now given its on sale for $5. Sadly, outside of ACE, there's very little to be found on the indie front. Colombia (1) (Cris Tales) - If you thought Chile's options were limited, go ahead and look at Colombia's. It was Cris Tales or nothing, take it or leave it. Thankfully, I took it. I fondly remember the dommy mommy's and characters such as Matias & JKR despite the game slowing to a glacial pace with the amount of random battle encounters. There's not much else to say on this front given you'd be hard pressed to find any articles from even indie developers on how game development is progressing over there. A lot of the crap you'll find is "video games set IN Colombia" and you'll find for South American countries it's always Call of Duty and the Tom Clancy series clogging these lists. Peru (1) (Tunche) - If you thought Colombia's options were limited, look at Peru's! It's like the list is getting smaller and smaller the further we go! Though, I will say, this Wikipedia's list lack of inclusion of Tunche makes me believe these archives may not be as thorough as I'd hoped they'd be. The reality is the number of games available by each country is going to get smaller and smaller the further we go and its a miracle I managed to find one as is thanks to a Peruvian website shouting it out. I'm so glad it did as Tunche is undeniably going to snag at least one award came the end of the year and that's not me engaging in recency bias! Venezuela (1) (VA-11-HALL-A) - Given the state of decline Venezuela has been in over the course of the last decade, it's nothing short of a miracle that we got the one game we did thanks to Sukeban Games. It's actually the first game from South America I played (unknowingly) and I think back fondly upon it even while acknowledging I was a fair bit critical in my review. Video game creation is going to end up taking a backseat for creatives when inflation is absolutely asinine and finding enough goods for the basic necessities of daily life is a hard enough labor to get by as it is. I know many folks who have fled to nearby Colombia and some who have even come to the US due to how bad things have gotten. There's nothing else much to say here as the situation is sad and you're not going to find anything on the 1st page of Google talking about games. Countries With No Games Played Bolivia - Sadly, with the limited number of options I had from the previous few countries mentioned, it came as no surprise to me that I'd eventually run into one that has no video games developed from the region at first glance. They have no dedicated Wikipedia article. Hell, all I found at best was a list of video games set IN Bolivia. It's a whole lot of Tom Clancy. Despite the relatively large size of the country, a population of 12 million isn't that much. I've done an exhaustive amount of Google searches trying to find the correct terms (video game studios, video games in Bolivia, indie game developers in Bolivia) and have turned up no promising results. The best I could come up with was apparently Bolivia as a nation was pissed off at the were they were represented in one of those Tom Clancy games. Incredible! Ecuador - Similar to Bolivia, you'll be hard-pressed to find much information on any gaming studios, large or small, in the country. Thankfully, persistent googling did pay off as I DID eventually find one article, on, covering an autobiographical indie title, "To Leave". The game was released back in 2018 and despite the fact it has less than 100 owners and I have some reservations about potentially glitching trophies and an a seemingly annoyingly obtuse gameplay loop as its a puzzle game "highly dependent on skill", I do have plans to eventually check it out down the line. It has never gone on sale according to PSPrices and I've struggled to find any more work from the creator so I think this was a one-and-done but I think I will fork over the necessary $10 at some point down the line just to give it a whirl. Paraguay - Yup, just as you guessed with Bolivia & Ecuador, you'll struggle to find much of anything online about game development in Paraguay. The best I could find was a generic article on Variety, how publishing sucks in South America, and a page listing some mobile game creators. There's not much else to say on this front other than the fact if there's a one-in-a-million chance I can find someone who knows SOMEBODY there making games from Paraguay... yo... list that on your website or your game trailer! There are weirdoes like me who enjoy that sorta thing! Uruguay - Last, but certainly not least, we have the most promising up-and-coming contender to make that cross over from the "no games played" to "games played" jump. Check out this awesome little discovery I made. There is an entire WEBSITE dedicated to Video Games being developed from Studios in Uruguay. I have heard some good things about the country from friends living in Colombia who have considered moving there due to the stability and social mobility provided. But holy crap! Who coulda thought of this? LOOK AT THE FILTERS FOR PS4/5 GAMES SPECIFICALLY! Whatever individual or group of people who made this website are some beautiful folks and I can't thank them enough for making this process all the easier. I will be extremely delighted to play Evil Wizard & Arcane Secrets when they wrap up development and make their way to the PlayStation Store! Guyana / Suriname / French Guiana / Falkland Islands - Yea, I include this bundle of nations at the end here since if you could imagine myself having trouble finding games developed from nations as large as Bolivia and Paraguay, what are the odds I have of finding some from developing countries of less than a million? Guyana, nothing pops up. Suriname, same deal. French Guiana is not even its own country. It should be green as I have played games from France and it is an overseas department, even forming part of the European Union. With a population of just over 300k, there is no surprise that nothing pops up on the video games front. Finally, the Falkland Islands, an archipelago with a population that wouldn't even fill 1/4 of Stade Roland Garros, shockingly does not have any video game studios. They somehow DO have a video game made about the war between Britain and Argentinean forces? Fascinating. CONCLUDING THOUGHTS - This has been a very educational journey for me and I've enjoyed making some fun discoveries along the way, most of all that awesome Uruguayan website and I'll be delighted to check some more countries off the list in the years to come if the opportunity presents itself. Where to next? Honestly, I think my best bet is trying to hone in on completing Europe as I have quite the gaps in my knowledge when it comes to the Balkans and many of the nations that formally comprised Yugoslavia. There's a lot of meat on the bone from the Serious Sam (Croatia) franchise to Disco Elysium (Estonia) to The Case of the Golden Idol (Latvia). All in due time I suppose. Until then!
  11. Game: Tunche Analysis: I bought Tunche when it was on sale for $9.99 back in mid-February 2023 and if this isn't the most lovable game I've played this year I don't know what is! Why Tunche? My conquest of South America this year has been slow but steady. I'm going to cover the full continent in an upcoming article and discuss the successes and failures, but allow me to make it very clear that Tunche (pronounced TOON-CHE (like Guevara)) is going to fall into the former of those categories. This marvelous little hidden gem is from a small development team based out of Lima, Peru. They're called LEAP Game Studio and while this isn't the first video game (made a few others for mobile, along with one other console game in Arrog), I would say this is their fast MAJOR mainstream release where they put it on every modern console from PlayStation to Nintendo Switch. I did some pretty extensive research on game studios based out of the country and what put it on the radar for me was this article which covered how the culture and narrative of the game are heavily inspired from Amazonia. I didn't even bother looking up how the game actually played as that's all I needed to hear to take a flyer on it. My First Ever Beat 'Em Up - It didn't take very long upon booting up the game for me to realize what I had just signed up for. "Oh hey... I recognize this sorta side-scrolling look.... this is one of those beat 'em up games! Like River City Girls! OR TMNT: Shredder's Revenge! OR that Scott Pilgrim Game!" I've always thought those games have looked pretty cool from a distance but never had the ambition to test one of them for myself. Quickly, I realized what the game was all about. You have a letter grade in the top left-hand corner. Get it up by punching enemies, avoiding damage, and diversifying your moves so you're straight stunting on these hoes. To my surprise, you have a huge array of attacks to choose from (by the time you reach the end of the game and you've unlocked all abilities) that I just... never quite made the connection with. I thought these games were largely smashing the square button like you would in a Dynasty Warriors game. I guess that goes to show me how little you actually learn from a title by passively watching a 30-second clip of a title. Instead, I found myself constantly juggling what I wanted to do and pushing myself mentally to try and keep every possible move in my head in order to raise my combo. This was of course my mentality towards the end of my time with the game. When you're just starting out, I was struggling to scrape by and resorting to the same moves over and over again as 1) I was a noob to this genre and 2) You have very limited options until you gain XP and unlock more attacks. All in all, I found the game very fun to play with a few minor qualifiers (which I'll elaborate on later) and found it remarkably easy to enter into a "flow state" which 40 minutes would evaporate in what felt like 10 from how comfortable I had gotten with the core loop. Learning to Love the Grind - While I've spoken glowingly about the game up to this point, I do feel the need to clarify that this isn't a brisk 5/6-hour adventure and you're outta here with your shiny platinum in tow. Get ready to grind bud. If Tunce was an MLB starting pitcher, it'd be Phil Niekro as this baby is an innings eater. The game will take you somewhere around 25-30 hours to platinum and that is due to the fact you're going to have to make a minimum of 20 meaningful runs. I'll dive into the exact breakdown necessary for trophy-related requirements but to put it lightly, Tunche is a heavy game. Roguelites are sometimes known for their snappiness. Think of how you can complete full runs in Hades in 30 minutes or Dead Cells. Tunche? Not so much. A full, victorious run of the game is going to take you over an hour in order to get through all 4 levels, with 10 encounters in each zone, you're looking at 30-35 fights with some variability depending on how many shops/challenges/health fountains you visit. The game lacks some of the quick twitchiness of other heavily refined titles. It's not egregious, the game never feels lethargic, but with some characters (specifically Qaru & Hat Kid who don't have the strongest melee/range) you'll sometimes think to yourself: "goddamn how is this enemy not dead yet." I'd have to play other side-scrolling beat 'em ups in order to be certain, but I have a feeling that's more the fault of the tropes of the genre rather than some failing of Tunche on an individual level. All in all, the grind is there, and it is present, but I didn't hate it. I listened to a lot of Joseph Anderson twitch streams and YouTube videos. Do yourself a favor and have some media ready to churn through while your thumbs go to town for run after run. So Adorable It Hurts - I normally don't dedicate a full paragraph to the art style of a game even if it's gorgeous as there's not much to say apart from: "hey, I liked it." But Tunche... Tunche is so freaking cute man. There's no other way to put it. Talk about some absolutely delightful character designs! My two least favorite were probably Rumi (poncho girl) and Qaru (little boy on the left) but even they're not so bad. Best boy is HANDS down Pancho (bro with the ukulele). Whereas other games jam the story down your throat to cause gameplay to come to a screeching halt, Tunche kindly gives you the chance to learn about the backstory of your character during each run at an optional interval and leaves it up to you to decide whether or not you car to engage with it. I did (cuz there was a trophy) and boy are these segments wonderful. They're not anything unheard of, honestly, they reminded me A LOT of the comic book story sequences you'd say in the beginning of chapters in Gravity Rush, but they are just so fantastically drawn and done in such an adorable fashion that you can't help but smile. Pancho has a backstory of a family that doesn't want him to pursue music. Nayra (best girl, she is hands down the best melee character and her spear is the best feeling weapon in the game. I got SSS rank with it) fights to hunt down the threat who took away her mother despite repeated ridicule from her father. There are even more characters and a twist I won't reveal here but let me just say that you can tell the developers poured their soul into this game displaying their culture and you can't help but smile and congratulate them for the whimsical fashion in which they were able to portray it. Can I give a special shoutout to Gears for Breakfast (Denmark) being awesome enough to loan out a super popular character of their own to be used by a different studio on another continent? AND they did her justice? Amazing! My Personal Tunche Favorites - As there is shockingly little information or game tips on Tunche out there, I figured I'd throw out some of my personal favorites in all regards to offer a leg up for those who take a chance on it. You can refer to my FULL STATS video here in case you need a visual of what I'm referring to. In terms of favorites, of the 5 playable characters, Poncho & Nayra were my favorites. They were the best melee attackers and can still do some damage from range. Rumi can still be a monster with a triple range attack but I found Qaru/A Hat Kid despite their speed to be a bit annoying as they lacked the range to take out huge swaths of enemies and didn't do enough damage even with upgrades to quickly whittle down opposing forces like the other characters could. I will say, as I haven't mentioned it up until now, if you LOVE Hat Kid, you'll love her in this. They do her justice in every way and bring a number of her items/hats from A Hat in Time over to Tunche. I found harvesters to be relatively useless. Didn't care for them much as their buffs were temporary. In terms of spirit orbs, my personal favorites were all related to healing. Vital Explorer, Second Chance, Leech Out, & Regeneration ESPECIALLY as that essentially gives you an infinite health pool of up to 100 as long as you can spread out the damage you take evenly enough to allow yourself to recover. As for actual combos, unless you're trying to style and get your grade up (which does have its advantages from A-rank upwards), I'd say balancing square+triangle attacks along with occasional triple triangle's to keep enemies distant and from closing in on you is all you need to find a recipe for success. Thoughts on Bosses & Enemies - I'd be remiss if I didn't talk about a few of the bosses and enemies in the game. In terms of enjoyment to fight, I'd say they'd go 1) Runapuma, 2) Tunche, 3) Boutu, 4) Mapinguari, 5) Prisoner (as he doesn't have really have an attack and all you're doing is fighting a greatest hits mix of enemies from all 4 of the regions). All of them have extremely predictable movesets and attack patterns which makes it a breeze to fight them without taking damage if you're taking the game seriously and not coasting once you accumulate too much health to the point you can hit-trade. The super strange thing is, I found 1-2 enemies in each region to be stupidly more obnoxious than any of the final boss fights on each zone. In the Amazon Trail (Level 1), you have those damn monkeys that swing down and instantly throw a projectile at you. They die in one hit so they're never a threat to your actual livelihood but I'd be ashamed to tell you how many of my combos they ruined by getting in a cheeky banana from halfway across the map. In Puerto Providencia (Level 2) you have those "caraprawn" or dumb cowardly wooden shell enemies that hit like a truck from the front if you're facing them and can also deal explode damage that does 30 hit points worth if you're too slow to get out of its radius. In the Temple of the Cat (Level 3) you have the "discharger" or idiotic green vomit clouds that have one of the quickest attack animations in the game which allows them to hit your from halfway across the entire level. If you're aren't actively aware of the fact they're about to attack, that is an instant 18 damage to your health GUARANTEED every time. Finally, in Tunche's Domain (Level 4) you have the absolutely broken hunter which I think genuinely hasn't been playtested. I don't know how to fight this enemy without hit-trading. It's impossible. It cheats. It teleports. You can't dodge. You can't do anything about it. I'm not exaggerating. Thank goodness only 1-2 of these appear every run as if they were a common enemy, I think I would have had to dock an entire 0.5 point off the game's final score. In general, the enemies were quite fun and I'm pointing out the exceptions here as they stood out in my memory. The purple enemy in Level 4 kinda reminds me of Jumba Jookiba from Lilo & Stitch. I enjoyed all of the creative takes on frogs & fish. Almost everything was excellently animated and predictable aside from these distinct examples I've included here. What Holds It Back From Greatness - Up until now, I've gassed the game up like it's a GOTY Contender. Sadly, Tunche does NOT reach those heights. There are quite a few reasons for this. I thought a lot about them while playing and just need to rapid-fire get them off my chest in order for me to remember the game's limitations years down the line. 1) Tunche needed to be designed for speedrunners. As I said early, it's never EGREGIOUSLY bad... but man.. why can't I instantly gather my item/collect my reward and go on to the next level? Why do I have to wait for the animation and portal to appear? LEMME GO FAST. 2) The loading screens. Somewhat combines with the previous issue. On their own, they're not terrible. But these are the longest loading screens I've felt in a video game in a minute. I play on the PS5. Apparently, the SSD can't resolve whatever is programmed into the game that takes a solid 15-20 seconds every time it needs to fire up a new level. Again, doesn't make the game unbearable, but it adds up when you're grinding run after run and minutes shaved off your time starts to add up. 3) Runs should take 30-40 minutes, not over an hour. I think this could have been accomplished by shaving off 2 encounters on each level (making it 8 per instead of 10 per) as well as eliminating the 2nd half sections of many fights. I know these may be a mainstay on side-scrolling beat 'em ups but I would have preferred more and more enemies to spawn on the current zone then force me to walk right so often which oddly annoyed me. All these subtle slowing elements contribute to the game feeling heavier compared to a snappier Dead Cells/Hades as mentioned earlier. 4) I am deeply troubled by the hard, rigid progression-based system that conflicts with your ability to "get good". Allow me to explain. You start off the game with 100 health, 100 mana. Every time you beat a boss for the first time, you gain an unlockable in your upgrade for that specific character that allows you to spend XP to increase your health by 100 as well as your mana by 100, and increase your base strength by 15%. Do you see how game-breaking that is? You just doubled everything. It feels like a minor ceiling cap put in by the developers to gate your progress. Obviously, it IS doable to do everything on the 1st run but I dunno... maybe instead of allowing you to get your limit up to 500/500, it should have been an every-other-boss upgrade. It was hard for me to tell how much better I was actually getting vs. getting rewarded by how much I was playing that unlocking more and more abilities/potions/strength that I basically turned the difficulty down by playing more. This isn't an issue unique to Tunche, it's a criticism seen for a lot of roguelites where the hardest difficulty is at the start and it actually gets easier the longer you play but it felt particularly notable in this case. It is downright criminal how much of an amazing character design Nayra is. She's a badass. I love her. Can the folks over at Gears for Breakfast include her in A Hat in Time 2? Bring some eyeballs over to Tunche please, it deserves it! A Warning For Older Folks - I can't believe I'm including this detail about a game given I'm not exactly an old fart but uhh guys... I think Tunche may have caused my first-ever gaming-related injury. it is a MIRACLE that it happened to this game of all games compared to something like FIFA where I concede a goal in the 90th minute and want to neck snap myself. I think due to the rigorous combos required and the constant button-pressing you'll be engaging with for hours at a time (if you fall into a lovely gameplay loop like I did), you'll find the inner portion of your right hand, beneath your thumb, to be annoyingly sore. I have never experienced this sensation before. I don't play fighting games, nor had I played a side-scrolling beat 'em-up, but I suspect this is due to the intense combos I was pressing myself to make in order to increase my score rank. I remember experiencing it after my 3rd day of playing and thinking: "damn... this hurts like hell." Did I probably go overboard on the play sessions and should have just rested a bit? Yea, probably. I'm still able to type out this review and it's my hand so I'm not being too big of a baby about it but I did feel the need to mention it. Pace yourself, take it easy, and learn from my errors. Some Trophy Assistance (Part 1) - As of the time that I write this, Tunche only has 104 game owners on PSNProfiles. There is no detailed trophy guide available for it on the internet and thus I thought I'd do some service time as a trophy hunter and offer my guidance and experience to those trying to venture into this unexplored terrain. It's a game about the Amazonian jungle, it fits! The majority of these trophies will be earned naturally so I'm not going to include any details for obvious ones or some that'll be intuitive on their own. "Power Overwhelming" asks you to obtain all spiritual orbs and as long as you're accepting them as they come along on each run, this will pop naturally. "Transcendence" asks you to buy all the skills for one character. I can confirm you do NOT need to max out the potion/health/orb-related upgrades in order for this to unlock. I bought everything else for Nayra and it popped all the same. "Devil May Care" asks you to get an SSS rank. This one may be a bit tricky. As far as I know, I don't think this is super easy to get until you unlock many of your character's available skillset. Here's my example of doing it on Level 2, though it is possible on Level 1 according to these videos. Basically, don't get hit, mix in different moves, (R2 to knock enemies up into the air and smashing them along with sprinkling in range attacks is a good way to quickly get up to B/A rank) and from there just stay loose on your feet to avoid getting hit while dealing damage. "Skilled Investor" involves successfully completing 20 of the llama's dumb games. These are always worth it for you to attempt. Some are BS but many are stupidly easy and given he pops at least once each run on each region, you should have no trouble getting it while playing naturally. Some Trophy Assistance (Part 2) - "Been Here Before" asks you to enter the jungle 50 times. In all likelihood, you'll have earned every trophy by the game before then. I got everything after 40 runs. All you need to do is enter a new run, kill one enemy, and then "back out to camp" from the menu. Rinse and repeat. Took me 10 attempts and I got it. "Real Heroes" deals with the harvesters you unlock upon reaching the 3rd level. Basically, you've got to pay them 15 gold 3 times each (45 total) in order for them to upgrade their houses so to speak. I've included what it should look like in my "FULL STATS" video from earlier. It's not tricky at all and as long as you go for this from the start, you'll gain it with plenty of time to spare before your final runs. Finally, we have the gran daddy of them all, "Their Story" which asks you to unlock all 4 stories for all 5 characters. This is the one trophy that has a thread on it on this forum. I was hyper-aware of it and aimed for them every chance I got when they appeared. Thanks to doing that, I think I spared myself many annoying extra runs at the end. In simple terms, if you every see a book symbol available during a run, TAKE IT. Always go there. See the story. It's worth it. As one commentator said, you want to have virtually no gold as often as possible. Stories tend to pop at the end of regions (sometimes in the middle, like 5th or 6th encounter). By having low gold, it prevents fountains/challenges/shops from spawning. Hence, lore becomes an option. I personally did 1 run with each character getting their first story, then did a 2nd run with each character getting their second story, and so on and so forth. This prevented me from falling in love with just Nayra/Pancho and ignoring the rest while also spreading out progress evenly so each character progressed at an even rate. It was fun! The trophy isn't that bad, and it's a worthy reward given the backstory you learn for each individual. That about covers it! I earned the 9.62% rarity platinum in 4 days and 23 hours making me the 4th fastest achiever to date! YA DUN! Would I recommend Tunche? Absolutely! If the extensive review hasn't been evidence in and of itself, I thought about this game A LOT while playing it, and for whatever reason it felt like my video game analysis/breakdown critical thinking was on point. I was highly cued in on what I liked and didn't like about the game and wanted to express it in a very clear manner given how shockingly little coverage the game has received. This is a GOOD game! It's not perfect, it's not a hidden Celeste/Hollow Knight, but it IS worthy of your time, especially if you're like me and had never sampled a game from the beat 'em-up genre before. I'd probably @ Cassy at this point in the review but I've done that far too much recently and I don't want them to file a restraining order against me. They'd love the entire game's aesthetic. That's all from me. I'd love to see more people play it and in case this review fails in that regard, just know I'm never going to shut up about it and include a subtle mention of it in every other review and article from here on until I keel over. BUH BYE! Panda Score: 7.83 / 10 Panda Difficulty: 4.4 / 10
  12. Why Are Some Gamers Awful to the People Who Make Video Games? I recognize even while having chosen this title that it sounds a bit ridiculous. There are fans of sports who hate players on their own team. There are children who hate their own parents. Of course there will be video game players who will hate those that make the entertainment that they partake in. But I was inspired to explore this question a bit after my experience with Forager. Despite that complicated review, one aspect of the game I DIDN'T cover was the backlash the main developer (Mariano Cavellero) received following some issues that came with the development of the game. Originally, he had a series of big updates planned, one of those including Multiplayer. That update was eventually canceled. There are multiple articles covering the controversy from both Nintendolife & TechRaptor but to make a long story short, the guy seemed to have underpaid his staff (such as the main artist/programmer), failed to take full responsibility when announcing the cancellation, and finally backpedaled after he received ridicule before vanishing off the face of the internet. The game's sudden closure has been a lasting stain on its reputation and the developer is not spoken of fondly by fans. But... even with Cavellero not being a beacon of integrity... I can't help but find some of the vitriol I read in comments regarding him to be distasteful at best nad harmful at worst. What fosters this sort of behavior amongst fans? #1. Promises Unfulfilled. There are few things that will go people in an uproar as easily as being told one thing, and yet receiving another. This is in part what led to some of the Forager backlash. He had promised multiplayer. He was not able to deliver. You set expectations and failed to meet them, now deal with the wrath of the masses. There are many examples of this within the last 10 years. Perhaps the poster child in this department is No Man's Sky. I remember browsing the subreddit pre-launch and nearly getting sucked into the hype. You have even more recent examples in the likes of Todd "It Just Works" Howard or the folks over in Poland who burnt all of the goodwill built up from the Witcher 3 days with the launch of Cyberpunk2077. On one hand, I know how frustrating it must be to be promised the world and end up with a deed pertaining to 5 square miles of Chernobyl, Ukraine. On the OTHER hand, SURELY players who get hyped on game trailers and have been around for the last decade should know better, yea? How do the gaming masses keep falling for the same trick? I know that these companies shouldn't gas themselves up to the degree that they do but that's marketing at this point and with this many examples of big-budget releases flopping or showing major bugs/glitchiness, we, as a collective, should know better. Stop getting so angry. (I say this with the very aware privilege of acknowledging I simply don't buy brand new games for $60 or $70 and if I did, maybe I'd understand the anger a bit more than I do) #2. A Perceived Intentional Slight. This is getting into a bit more of the sinister mindset amongst players where I believe by and large this pure delusion rather than any intentional maliciousness on the part of the developers. I'll give a few examples. X player has a certain play style or weapon or character that they LOVE in Y online game. All of a sudden a patch comes out to balance/tweak the game and X player's favorite thing is no longer as good as it used to be or works slightly differently. WHAT THE HELL????? WHY DID THEY DO THAT??? Cue the "kys" comments in emails and message boards along with a few racial slurs sprinkled in. Did the developers intentionally try to ruin little Jimmy's favorite way of playing their game? No. But it's a byproduct of a game that is constantly undergoing renovation or change. PLAYERS should know that going in. I remember loving playing "infiltration skellies" in Dwarves vs. Zombies (Minecraft online server game mode) which was a super niche role and eventually it got removed. I didn't threaten to burn Rawb's house down. Then again, maybe if I had spent hundreds of dollars on the game I'd feel differently? Even then, I think I'd show some humanity. Another example of this is the absolute nightmare that was The Last of Us 2's release. Go see Girlfriend Reviews video covering the harassment they received from merely liking the game. You can dislike it if you want. (I think there are some very fair criticisms as found in NakeyJakey's magnificent video). But thinking Neil Druckmann went out of his way to ruin your life with a "woke" story is a sign you need to physically interact with the GROUND. #3. A Thin Line Between Love and Hate. You could also call this "psychotic girlfriend" behavior. She's so obsessed with you that your own life may be at risk. This is best manifested in those really weird reviews on Steam where you'll see the person has over 8,000 hours played on a specific title and yet they'll leave a fat "Not Recommended" with a red thumbs down. How does that happen? Quite simply, at least in my personal life, there is nobody who can drive me quite up the wall as easily as my own family members. They know the exact button to push when they want to get a reaction out of you, even when doing so unintentionally. In the same way there's nothing quite like the wrath of fans after their favorite sports team lost in a big spot, gamers who LOVE a game will also respond drastically if the slightest thing changes. It could be an addiction (seen in the likes of League of Legends, World of Warcraft, or FIFA) or something more peculiar. This rule also applies to beloved IPs or franchises. (See: Star Wars fans) If you don't do right by the thing they love... good luck, man. I could go further and there are plenty more reasons than the ones I've listed here but it's something I'm going to be conscious of going forward. I've never written anything nasty to a developer of a game (even the ones I've truly despised) as at the end of the day... they're people, dawg. Chill. Move on. Thank you for the unbelievably flattering words, you're far too kind. I write this entire thread for myself at the end of the day but it's nice to hear that there are others who enjoy what I write and don't mind some of the odd obsessions I end up falling into. As for the spreadsheet, check out THIS link that I've replaced with the old one on the OP. You should be able to view the likes of "Grand Daddy Genre", "Country Counts", "Supreme Studios", etc... Yup, you're far from the only one. I have a bad habit of falling down a rabbit hole myself and it's precisely why I've avoided certain games (cough Genshin Impact cough) because I know for a fact they'd completely wreck my productivity to an irreversible degree. That's a wonderful way to put it. I can absolutely recall myself getting comfortable or cozy in a game that I'm familiar with and even if the gameplay isn't the most engaging thing in the world, I'm just hanging out with the characters and hanging out, so to speak. Your comment reminded me of DQ11 and I love that game to bits. Once I have that connection with a game, it's a lot easier to hang through the thick and thin. Yea... I can't help but feel a little bit guilty reading this comment after reading some blog posts by the main developer himself. He wrote a fairly brisk post-mortem after release and I couldn't help but find myself agreeing with virtually ALL of the aspects in which the game is genuinely GOOD... but good lord... the actual gameplay, brother, that's what you were missing! This bit in particular: Breaks my heart a bit. He seems to be doing alright now and wrote another piece a little over a month ago about how the game is being enjoyed by someone 5 years later which is nice. Hope he gets back on the saddle and I followed him on Twitter despite not loving his game as he comes across as a good bloke who is very humble about his experiences. Bought it today. I'll be playing it shortly while balancing it with Tunche. Looking forward to it!
  13. Game: Where the Water Tastes like Wine Analysis: I bought WTWTLW when it was on sale for $3.99 all the way back in mid-November of 2021. That means it sat in the backlog for a year and a half! Why WTWTLW? So one of the things that can happen when a game sits on the back burner for so long is you can forget the reason you even had for purchasing it in the first place. I'm having a hard time recalling what made this game stand out from others that made me take a flyer on it. At the end of the day, I believe it was some mix of the name sounding absolutely phenomenal (seriously, all those W's and T's bouncing off one another makes it sound like an indie hidden gem masterpiece) as well as the fact it was super cheap during a discount sale and with a reasonable platinum rarity % in the 20's, I figured it was worth a gamble. As it turns out, all that glitters isn't always gold. A Huge Disappointment - Yea there's no way I can bury how I feel about the game with any amount of flowery language or digging deep to try and compliment it. I booted up the game and enjoyed my first hour or so with it. The premise is quite intriguing from the outset. You speak with a dire wolf and he tells you that you must become a nomad across the United States of America. Your task is to both listen to stories from townsfolk scattered across the country as well as share some of the tall tales you've uncovered with those willing to lend an ear at various campfires that you can find near many of the major cities. It sounds quite good! There's voice acting. It's done with charisma (except for the fact that female characters in non-character-related interactions are just a guy pretending to sound feminine and it's a bit disorienting given they have female voice actors for all the female characters in the game). The issue is... THAT'S ALL THE GAME HAS. You move agonizingly slow across the US collecting stories, doing some slight choose-your-own-adventure options in those stories, search out campfires, interact with characters telling stories they wanna hear (scary, thrilling, hopeful, funny) and rinse-and-repeat. I am flabbergasted by the fact that... for a video game... this was the end product? I felt like there was some other layer that the game was eventually going to reveal to me to demonstrate how this was supposed to be fun and it never happened. A Lack of Gameplay Mechanics - Let's actually break down the mechanics in WTWTLW. 1) Traveling from place-to-place. You CAN walk agonizingly slow to each city in a leisure manner and sort of set your guy off in one direction while you browse Reddit or your phone and that is a justifiable way to play the game. You can hold L1 and have a little rhythm game pop-up with whistling that you can follow to move a bit faster. Your only other methods of travel are stowing away on trains (could lose health), paying for trains to neighboring cities, or using the fast travel function which you can use to travel to cities across the US once you complete the full story of various characters. Exploration and movement is not fun. WTWTLW is NOT a Strand-type video game. I award them zero points. 2) The "survival" mechanics. You must balance rest, money, & health of your skeleton protagonist. If you don't, dying has zero consequences. Rest can be recouped at campsites. Money can be replenished by searching randomly in buildings across the map OR by getting a job in a major city. Health can be replenished via random events or with money spent on items in cities. It is all incredibly shallow and I don't even know why they were implemented in the first place given dying is a minor inconvenience. 3) "Pick-your-own-adventure" story options when hearing accounts across the map. These are fine...? At least they give some player agency. Some of them can be fun (like the never-fulfilled birds where you can feed them like 5-6 times in a row, even sacrifice health as their hunger is insatiable). But by and large, they're just here for some minor flavoring above all else. 4) The Actual Character Pick-Right-Story interactions. In order to "upgrade" your relationship with a character, you need to tell them the stories they wanna hear. You must discern for yourself whether a story is scary, funny, hopeful, thrilling, or sad. OR you can use this steam guide. You can't tell the same character a story twice. But... there's just zero depth here, man. Once I had enough stories in my arsenal that were upgraded (from being told and told again in these interactions), I just repeated the same stories that I knew were thrilling (like the great storm one) or scary (like the winged goat) and would just use the "free space" characters other stories they give you to max out relationships. There was very little thought I put into it and the game never challenged me to rotate stories that I used time and time again on every character in the game. Eventually, the camel's back broke with how disappointing every aspect of the game from a player-interaction perspective was that my experience was beyond soured. Is There Something For You Here? - The tragedy about my experience with WTWLW is that... there IS some good stuff here. All the goodness is found in the storytelling and learning about the backstory of the odd crew you discover along the way. Some of the stories were fun and immediately had me captivated, and they're all so brief you briskly move at a good pace from one to the next. In terms of the characters, I liked what I saw from what I experienced. There's Jimmy, a preacher who talks about his military time and how America didn't appreciate him as a black soldier and it meant he was placed under the guidance of the French regiment. It's a fun and diverse cast including Native Americans and hippies. Some of the commentary was poignant. But... I didn't really listen to a lot of it. The game moves so incredibly slowly and with nothing fun for my goopy gamer brain, I just wanted to get through the experience as quickly as possible. I've discovered that I simply don't have the patience for a visual novel-esque experience. I NEED my thumbs to be entertained. I can enjoy story-focused elements in games such as Pyre or Persona 5 when they're a reward for progressing through the game or upgrading a relationship in-between action. I CANNOT really enjoy it if it's the bread and butter of an entire game and it has very little else to offer. This is a significant realization I've had about my gaming habits and I'll keep it in mind going forward when determining whether or not to take a flyer on an indie. Would I recommend WTWTLW? Probably not. I'm going to venture a guess and say that I'm far from being in the minority in saying that most players won't have the patience to endure tens of hours of storytelling no matter how great it is. Even WITH good voice acting and spectacular artwork. That being said, if you consider yourself someone who has sat through visual novels and enjoys chewing on a certain atmosphere or era, I think you could enjoy this. @rjkclarke and @DrBloodmoney both strike me as types who could find the GOOD in this title. One other minor detail here that I'll include is that while I found the travel unceasingly dull, it was kinda cool to see all of America scattered out and see how they designed the swamps of Florida juxtaposed against the plains of the Midwest. I discovered Billings is Montana's capital city. It was neat! As for trophies, almost everything in the game is earned by beating the main story. 32 of the 37 trophies are just character-related. The two most random are Carnivale which I earned when I wast at 208/237 stories and Friend of Mine which is a bit weird. I finally encountered the "winged-man" for my 185th story just around San Diego. I found the 2nd half of his story (after increasing its folk status by telling it to a character) in Charleston. Locations are randomized, don't treat my word like gospel. I earned the 23.83% rarity platinum in 3 days and 6 hours. I'm the 21st fastest achiever of All-Time. I think we're in a bit of a gaming rut at the moment. Just gotta push through it. Panda Score: 5.67 / 10 Panda Difficulty: 3.11 / 10
  14. I think this is an incredibly healthy mentality to have and I am in 100% agreement with you. I am quite thankful that I have all those NBA2k games from my sports-exclusive gaming days just because I could never even entertain myself with the possibility of keeping together a meticulous perfect 100% list. I think it's noble accounts that decide to go down that route but there's so many pitfalls that you could create for yourself to ruin the enjoyment. 1) The pressure of ALWAYS completing every game and ensuring every one you play is beatable for your skill level which means you may take games you enjoy off the table. 2) A hesitancy to play new titles out of fear or DLC or glitches. Very appreciative of the detailed response. Had no idea that Ys Origin made you feel that bad either. Keep it in the past! Lowkey Smevz that's kinda poetic and I never actually made the distinguish between the two until I read that. Thank you! Okay but I actually REALLY need to thank you for including this gif. I didn't get the reference and searched the clip on YouTube. I thought what i saw was pretty funny so I decided to watch the full movie on Netflix for the first time. That is the hardest I've laughed at a movie all year. I had seen gifs of the movie and references to a young Chris Evans but never actually SEEN the movie. There are a few jokes/bits I didn't care for (mostly the poop jokes) but holy crap I was in STITCHES over the "SHE'S GOT A GUN" 10 Things I Hate About You parody as well as the incestuous sister and the way she moans "only by blood". Never even had the movie on my radar but it's probably my 2nd favorite of all I've seen this year (after No Country for Old Men) We had our chances man... so many things we left on the table. Offense got off to an atrocious start like we did vs Drake. We survived that game cuz of the full-court press totally discombobulating them. In the 2nd half vs UCONN we cut it to 8 and 10 but just couldn't get that extra oomph. We missed SO many layups and Sanogo is a monster while that annoying dumb mountain Clingan literally towered over our entire squad. I can't be mad. It was a great run and I fully expect the Huskies to seal their 5th title tomorrow night (prolly by double digits). You're 100% right about them looking unstoppable as based on what I've read, they started the year insane, got tripped up by the Big East schedule, but everything out of conference has been themf easting. I'll take some small pride in knowing we've lost by the fewest points to them compared to anybody else all tourney 😂
  15. Game: Forager (Featuring a Philosophical Trophy Nightmare & A Deeply Personal Private Life Anecdote) GLITCHED TROPHY DISCLAIMER: Welp boys, they finally got me. After playing and trying to platinum 250+ games over the course of several years, I finally got sloppy and played a game with two presently glitched or unobtainable trophies in the form of "Tool Collector" & " Accessory Collector". Am I getting soft? I used to scout games like a fiend to ensure the trophies never presented any problems with popping. Yet with Forager, I was blinded by other factors and ignored the years-long worth of posts on the subreddit bemoaning this fact as well as multiple threads on here. I include this fact early in this post as I know some people come to this thread to see whether a game is worth playing or not. If glitched trophies are a no-go for you, well, you can't say I baited you into a lengthy exhaustive review and tacked on this little tidbit at the end. I'd appreciate it if other reviewers did the same if they ever encountered a game with this issue. FOR THE RECORD, I DO KNOW there are still ways to unlock these trophies. Even though I played the game on PS5, I could whip out my old PS4 and go get my Bachelor's in learning how to get 1.00 patch versions of digital games. The trophies only glitched after the devs included DLC, before then, they were fine. I ALSO know that if I were to buy a physical copy of the game from Amazon or some other vendor, I could also play the game in a glitchy state but with persistence, unlock the trophies in not too long of a time. But... well... to not spoil the review, I'll explain my reasons for not doing so below. This is quite possibly going to be my weirdest review of a game ever, I hope you enjoy. Analysis: I bought Forager when it went on sale for $6.99 this past early February 2023. Why Forager? Forager is a game I've known about since May of 2019 when my favorite anime game streamer Joseph Anderson did a video review of it. I've had the pleasant experience of playing a number of games he has reviewed on his channel (Return of the Obra Dinn, Minit, Subnautica, Hollow Knight, Edith Finch, Furi, & The Witness) and it's always incredibly fun for me to write and flesh out my thoughts of a game before rewatching his review to see where we agree/disagree. Forager never really crept its way onto my radar in any meaningful fashion until I made it a specific goal this year to try and play games from as many different countries as possible. As it turns out, the main developer behind the studio which created it, HopFrog, is based out of Argentina! Despite the country having over 45 million people, games developed from there are few and far between so I decided to jump at the opportunity to try and play it. My conquest of South America has been going quite well this year and I figured this would be quite the notch in my belt to knock off a huge part of the continent. Hah..... You're Always Chasing - By far the closest sentiment I felt when playing Forager was the sense of chasing after your next objective. I've described this phenomenon in two other game reviews I've done on here, Graveyard Keeper & Spiritfarer. I touched on it a little bit then but I feel like I understand the concept better now in Forager as it really presents the chase with no frills or distractions and focuses 100% on the allure of progress. Forager has zero story. It has "quests" but all this boils down to is gathering a certain set of materials or resources that an NPC needs. The "chase" takes front and center stage in everything you do in the game. You will be chasing after resources to get newer and better resources. You will be chasing after gold in order to unlock more islands which allows you more space to get more resources and more gold. You are a hamster on a treadmill and while that may not sound like the most rousing description for a video game, I have to say, I must have a pea for a brain since I was enjoying my time with it. WARNING FOR ADDICTIVE PERSONALITIES: If you are the sort of person who becomes obsessed with media and wants to gobble down entire seasons' worth of TV Shows in an evening or two or play games for absurdly long stretches, this game may take a sledgehammer to your daily personal routine. I say this as someone who struggles a bit in this regard (when I become fixated on something, it's all I can think about until I'm done with it) and that unhealthy mindset could pose a problem if Forager's loop gets its talons in you. An Incredible Sense of Scale - One of the most amazing sensations you'll get from playing Forager is the fact that big or somewhat medium-sized problems or challenges in the early game will feel totally inconsequential by the time you get to the mid-game. I'll give an example of this in one simple aspect, the shovel. When you start off, you can dig one block at a time and maybe sometimes get something or far more often than not not get anything. Yet as you upgrade it one at a time with bigger and better materials, its usefulness grows. All of a sudden you're guaranteed to get sand every time you dig, then gems, then the dug-out spots become automatically irrigated, then the range grows from 2 x 2 to 3 x 3 to 9 x 9, and all of a sudden you are gathering entire storehouses worth of resources in mere seconds by spam-digging the entire scope of your land kingdom. The game pulls this trick off in multiple other areas as well. Your pickaxe will always feel relatively decent in most biomes in the game until you reach the winter or fire environments. All of a sudden, he'll be struggling. Yet once you get to the end-game tier pickaxes, everything melts upon 2-3 clicks and you'll see cascading amounts of resources hit the floor ready to be gathered up. All of the subtle effects of the game work fantastically with camera shake upon XP level-ups to gigantic and bombastic title cards... it feels a little bit like you're in a casino and just hit the jackpot. But in a good way! You're not squandering away your life savings or bringing shame to any of your extended family members. Power Creep (with the Nuclear Update DLC) - By the time I started to reach the endgame, I felt like I hit a bit of a brick wall when it came to an all-of-a-sudden sharp increase in resources that I had no access to. After doing some research, I discovered that much of the endgame gear (void, cosmic, & nuclear) was not in the original base game but rather part of an additional content update the folks over at HopFrog dropped for free. This involves going into the "void" and progressing through levels of destroying enemies in a limited amount of time to obtain highly prized resources and then put those resources into your furnaces and factories to obtain ingot by ingot some of the most ridiculous items in the game. I've gotta be honest and concede this is the point in my journey where I began to stop enjoying my time with Forager. Everything up until now had obviously had a small "grind" to it but it all felt reasonable and I was making upgrades and advances in other areas that I never felt like I had hit a proper progression barrier. In the endgame, with so few things left to do other than to acquire stupid amounts of gold (literally a trillion), kill sigil bosses for legendary gems, and have a constant chugging factory of electronics to turn into void steel to turn into cosmic steel to combine with nuclear power cells to get nuclear machinery... it just felt a bit hollow. As if that wasn't bad enough, I encountered every trophy hunter's worst fear. A depiction of myself at 1AM contemplating what I was going to do with the fact I had finally encountered a game with some glitched trophies and debating internally what I was prepared to do, if anything, about it My Philosophical Trophy Nightmare - As stated from the outset of this review, I finally got caught with my pants down falling too much in love with my obsession of playing games from different countries that I ignored all of the warning scenes by multiple posters about glitched trophies. The hilarious thing is, I think I remembered seeing Forager years ago and putting it on my "do not buy" list and completely forgetting that fact just because I really wanted to play a game created in Argentina. After realizing my error, I seriously went through the feasible options possible to get the trophies to pop. There were 2 of them. 1) Buy a physical copy of the game and play it unpatched. 2) Bust out the old PS4, use PSX helper, get it down to digital edition 1.00 pre-patch, play the game in a glitchy state, dedicate 5, 10, perhaps up to 20 hours getting all the tools/accessories to max level, and finally rest like Thanos over this ridiculous, stupid, asinine quest of mine. I've ultimately decided.... no. I DON'T want to do all of that. I didn't want it badly enough. Would I like the green 100% completion on my profile? Of course, it sure as hell looks better than being marked white and looking as if I hadn't finished it. But... I don't care enough. The fire doesn't burn bright enough within me to put myself through all that. Am I Losing That Competitive Edge? - This realization made me have to confront the question... uhh... do I still have the passion for this hobby? Occasionally you'll find someone here who has retired from trophy hunting because of X goofy factor or Y limited time in their personal life. Is the fact that I'm not willing to go through this whole ordeal an indication of the flame wicking away? I don't think so. Just this past month, I put myself through a tremendous challenge of snagging the platinum in Frost despite some fascinating obstacles and literally corrupting my save to the point where I had to unlock everything again. I loved Inscryption in February and it's my GOTY for 2023 thus far. I thoroughly enjoyed the repetitive turn-based technical jargon that was John Wick Hex and remember it fondly a month and a half later. Part of what helps is the fact I did not fail to unlock these trophies due to a skill issue. It was not due to any personal failure on my behalf. If needed, I'd bash my head against a game until I "got good' enough to beat whatever challenge was impeding me from a trophy. These were glitched. That's simply out of my control. Even if there was a juicy platinum attached to the end of this instead of a mere 100% completion green checkmark... I still don't think I'd go through all the effort. Fundamentally, the reason why I don't want to play Forager again is because of the way it made me feel at the end of it. I've had a similar feeling before and well... this is the part where we get to the deeply personal private anecdote. PERSONAL PRIVATE LIFE STORY DISCLAIMER: You're probably going to like me less by the end of this story. I know I do. Private Life Story Illustration (Part 1) - In the not-so-distant past, I went out to eat on a Saturday night with a big group of friends. In our inner circle, there is a dear friend of mine who's a lady who I've gotten to become pretty good friends with over the past several months. She's funny. Suffers from a million mental illnesses. But I love her all the same. As we've gotten to be good friends, she's joked about having a friend she'd like to introduce to me. This friend was invited that Saturday evening mentioned at the outset and I got to meet her for the first time. She's incredibly shy and reserved and English isn't her first language so I could tell she was holding back a bit in such a big social setting. If you need a visual in your head, my buddy and I talked afterward and I mentioned that she reminded me of Anne Hathaway from the Princess Diaries BEFORE the glow-up and he thought the exact same thing. (I don't think this is a mean comparison. Hathaway still looks good before then for as much as they tried to make her look "lame". This girl also didn't have glasses so it's not like we're doing that trite and tired trope either) Overall, the evening went relatively decently. I talked her ear off the whole night and got a good few laughs. Her laugh is ridiculously cute as she shows off all her teeth which you don't see that often as she tends to be a bit stoic otherwise. The only problem was I had to keep prodding for conversation as if I didn't ask her a question, it was difficult for the dialogue to keep up with any meaningful momentum. All in all, I felt decent about the performance and if I had to give myself a statline for the evening like an MLB pitcher, I went 6 innings, gave up 3 earned runs, got 8 strikeouts, and walked 3 men on base. Private Life Story Illustration (Part 2) - A few months down the line, I was in a proverbial "mood" on a Friday and just... I don't know how else to describe it, man. I wanted to entertain someone that evening and dammit it could have been anybody. But I decided it'd be her. I slid into those Instagram DMs and asked if she was free that evening, if so, we could hang out. (She followed me first on Instagram) She said YES! All of a sudden I got a pep in my step and got a glow to me like I'm Bruno Mars. I will confess here that I don't do drugs. I hate marijuana, simply because I detest the smell. I don't drink alcohol. My narcotic of choice in life is the dopamine hit my brain gets when I make a woman laugh. It's indescribable. I was trying to overdose tonight. In the words of the immortal Woody & Sora Kingdom Hearts meme, I was tryna cook like Emeril Lagasse. She looked cute. That was all I needed. I take meticulous notes from every "hang out" session I have in my life and this has proven quite beneficial on follow-up hangouts as I can bring back up stories and details that they've previously told me. Those proved helpful. I told a few stupid funny stories of accounts that had happened to me over the past few months since we had met for the first time that I knew had made other friends laugh as I had practiced telling them and they were very effective. Overall, it was a fantastic evening and it was awesome to see her come out of her shell a bit more in a 1-on-1 setting as opposed to the enormous intimidating nature of a group get-together. and then it hit me. As this girl is giggling up a storm at the crescendo climax of some idiotic story of mine, I felt awful. Whatever nebulous fog that had clouded my judgment for the day finally cleared and I was hit with the realization smack of a bowling ball what I had just done. I had just used this shy, quiet woman for my personal gain. I did not actually like her. I did not want to pursue a relationship with her. All I wanted that evening was some attention from a pretty face and someone to laugh at my jokes to soothe my ego and make me feel good about myself. Due to the manner with which I initiated the hangout, if this girl were to develop feelings for me, I'd have to explain: "oh yea I was never interested in you that way I was just bored on a Friday and wanted someone to entertain myself with." I felt gross. I felt like a monster. The night petered out and I've made no further contact since aside from thanking her for her time and company the following morning. How This Relates Back to Forager - Unbelievably, that long-winded account of that Friday evening ties back into the feelings I got from Forager once I reached the endgame. A vapid and emptiness that just leaves you feeling bad about yourself and have a longing desire for a lengthy hot shower to wipe the filth off. When I was in the end-game stages of just farming stupid skeleton boss sigil after stupid skeleton boss sigil and gathering resources and bones into the millions and billions as I watched my gold banks turn over into trillions... it all just felt so soulless and a complete waste of time. The game (or I?) had "used" me in this lengthy, 35+ hour journey to gather all of these resources and see and do everything there was to offer in an effort to gain 100% completion, and in the end... why am I making all of these nuclear machines? With all things in life, you run the risk of letting in a small existential crisis if you're not careful but I think Forager takes the cake for leaving myself nakedly bare in that sentiment. The fact that in the end, I don't even get the small token of completion in a 100% completed list is a bit poetic. Would I recommend Forager? I don't freaking know man. I couldn't help thinking about @Cassylvania while playing. They love farming games and there's quite a bit to chew on here. I also thought about them again thinking back to how they got screwed over on the Indivisible DLC. The actual base game itself is a blast and comes at your hard and fast. If you're willing to wade through the waters of the convoluted path for those two glitched trophies, you have a tremendous help in this Neoseeker guide that offers you everything you need to complete all of the puzzles. The game is fun for stretches but it also leaves you with a bad aftertaste and some grossness for cheesing a bit and idle farming so you always have your console on to farm more and more gold and resources. You know what? Screw it. I'm going to enter this game into my pantheon of completed games even if the cold record doesn't say so. I earned the 2.30% rarity 100% completion in 2 weeks and 3 days. At the time that I write this, my banks have finally earned one million coins naturally and thus I have achieved "Completionist" from the base game. I think I'm going to take a few days sabbatical from video games to reset and refocus. Maybe take a cold shower. The Marlins beat the Mets last night so that was pretty cool! See y'all then. Panda Score: I Have No Freaking Idea Man / 10 Panda Difficulty: 3.4 / 10