~game log~

a log of short summaries on some games i've played. i will spoil most of the games i talk about, so please tread with caution!

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Even The Ocean - june2023

Even The Ocean is another analgesic productions game. Can you tell I enjoy their work? It’s actually the second game they made, it was released about four years after Anodyne 1. It is a 2d platformer; which is probably my favorite genre of game. So of course when I found it sitting in my steam library, with no recollection of me having bought it, I decided to play it.

I think the gameplay is the most notable part. You don’t have a standard health bar. Instead, you have a bar filled with two halves of energy- green and purple. Also known as light and dark, y and x, etc. interacting with obstacles and such will increment one or the other. I think it’s really cool.

The coolness factor is added to when you see that having a majority of green energy makes you jump higher, while with purple it makes you run faster. Just be careful not to fill the bar all the way. That’s what ends up killing you.

I think this is a very neat mechanic; though, it’s a bit underutilized! I think the balancing act is done relatively well, but you don’t generally have to overfill on one type of energy to clear anything which is kind of a missed opportunity. Maybe that could have been a cool side challenge, i dunno.

Something I also enjoyed about this mechanic is it almost entirely gets rid of the need for death pits. There’s really only one in the entire game. The platforming is very basic outside of this; puzzle elements are there but aren’t super intensive until like the final third of the game I’d say.

The art is really beautiful. It had a low res painterly sort of style coupled with pixelated character art which is interesting! Analgesic seems to be more preoccupied with making 3d games right now but I wish they’d make another 2d platformer like this. I think they could make something way more polished now...

violet and the lost colors - june2023

Violet and The Lost Colors is yet another freeware rpgmaker game, made for a past Yuri game jam I believe. It was made in MV and is quite polished actually; the level of which it is actually blew me away a little bit. i actually attempted to play it sometime last year but fell off it and eventually lost my progress. i decided to try it again recently.

It's a pretty simple love story, and extremely generically fluffy (I don't necessarily mean this in a bad way, mind you). We follow a witch named Violet who falls in love with a princess. The princess, however, falls under a curse that takes all her colors away. Now Violet must restore the colors, meanwhile exchanging letters with the princess throughout the story and becoming closer to her. There are also plenty of cute side characters which have quests you can complete for bonus rewards.

The gameplay is also a lot of what you'd expect; turn based combat, but the twist to it is interesting. You see, Violet can transform into a cat. The main differences between her two forms is that her human form is more spell-based, with any damage that's dealt being done so through arrows which you can run out of. The cat form is more combat-based, with many useful moves at the drawback that you can't really heal yourself. You can transform in and out of battle, but inside battle it will take up a turn to do so. Strategy throughout the game is sort of interesting with this in mind. I barely used human form except for certain difficult moments or when it was actually required, though.

You can also craft potions for certain lingering effects in battle, as well as healing, etc. it's kind of a cool way to make the drops from enemies into something useful. The way of implementing it was a bit clunky but as someone who uses RPGM, I like... get it.

My biggest complaint about this game was the boss battles. They felt really needlessly hard and kind of messed with the pacing of the game imo. The final boss was especially egregious, with some of the parts that make it hard feeling completely up to RNG. Overall, though, I did really enjoy the game. I love seeing more lesbian rpgmaker games out there, and would recommend it if you're not allergic to grinding like I am.

moon remix rpg - may2023

moon is a very interesting game, originally released in 1997 and advertised as an "anti-RPG". apparently it was ahead of its time and didn't do very well? but we aren't here to talk about that.

its also... a massive timesink, first of all. Much of the game is explored via observing the world and trying random things. i really love this. the amount of intricacy moon's world has really can't be understated, honestly. it feels really real to me.

that said, a lot of the later puzzles are pretty obtuse; and a bit too many of them just involve waiting. i don't mind it that much, but i remember having trouble figuring out when i was dealing with a situation like that or not.. i'm sure some kid out there DID beat this game when it came out, it does seem possible, but i imagine it was incredibly fucking hard.

i have some mixed feelings on the story, especially the ending. i'll be honest with you... i took a more-than-year-long break from the game and completed it using a walkthrough when i got back. in a way, i fell for the game's trap of completion and didn't understand what was expected of me until i already did everything. i kind of enjoy being tricked so thoroughly though. i still feel the ending, even the good one... lacks a certain something. the boy in the armor is never saved which makes me quite sad; since its kind of implied he isn't doing awful things of his own volition. but maybe that sort of distraught is intentional. i still have a odd love for this game, despite everything.

re:curse - may2023

re:curse is another freeware rpgmaker game that came out pretty recently at the time of writing. It is another new favorite of mine. it's narrative-driven and relatively short so honestly id recommend playing it yourself if you want

in any case, you play as a scientist dealing with time travel experiments that also relate to computer programs. One of these programs ends up becoming sentient, and doesn't really enjoy having been experimented on! uh oh!!

as someone with a deep fascination of programming concepts/glitches taken to "real world" extremes, i was immediately hooked. the presentation is so great from start to finish, i'm honestly surprised at how clean and polished it all is. i've also been enjoying poking around the files for secrets n such..

mothlight - april2023

mothlight is an interesting freeware rpgmaker game I had on my radar for a bit but forgot about. I was reminded of it again when someone drew a piece for it for RPZineMaker and I was like, fuck it, why not. I think the fact that it reminded me of OFF was what piqued my interest....? but it's actually pretty different. this is another game that doesn't rely on random encounters.. however you don't level up either. progression is more so defined in gear and items, some of the latter which will increase your health and rage (this game's version of MP). i thought that was a really interesting take on the formula, im honestly kind of inspired by it. Also the armors change the sprite of your character both in and outside of battle, which is pretty cute.

i think i have some hangups on the story and its need to tie sex and divinity into the same (traumatizing) light. Not that im really sensitive to those topics, but.. i think i wished we got to see a good side of it, i feel like the game treats them as just one-sided oppressive things that the protagonists acknowledge are fucked up but don't actually try to change very much. it felt a bit TOO edgy at times, is what im trying to say, i guess. but i did still enjoy the game overall

Sephonie - feb2023

Sephonie is a game about 3 scientists researching an island of the same name. Their goal is to learn more about the island by "linking" with the organisms there with special technological implants. The game is split between interesting 3d platforming/exploration and puzzle sections which are block puzzles which are very "tetris if it was turn-based, and wasn't tetris at all, actually".

The 3d platforming, by design, is a little strange to get used to. It's hard to explain, but the moveset is pretty unconventional- sprinting itself is something of a "move" rather than just "fast walking" (words taken straight from the game itself!). that all said, the game gives you a wide open area with little to no danger to practice getting used to its strange moveset... which I eventually did. You also get some cool and equally weird moves as you continue through the game.
The puzzle sections (hereon referred to as "linking") are also really fun. They're pretty forgiving and I never ended up seeing what the lose-state for them was.. But I still liked them a lot. Similar to the 3d sections, you get new block-pieces to use for linking as you continue the game.

The story...it's actually really beautiful, I think. Analgesic Productions really has a poetic and "floaty" sort of vibe with the feelings they convey, while also somehow staying down to earth. Does that make sense? Maybe not. Each of the three researchers has their own baggage to sift through, and we learn all about it over the course of the game. Them all having some sort of Taiwanese heritage is also touched on numerous times, in an all-encompassing way that just feels really... human... of course there are plenty of other "things" about it that really get to me, but it's a game I'd recommend to anyone who is able to get acquainted with its jankiness (meant lovingly).

I think there's just something about Analgesic's games that comes across as super personal in its presentation. In the UI itself, the devs speak to you almost directly... In the hint bubbles, they encourage you, refer to themselves specifically... They very regularly directly address that the game is a game by leaving things for players out of bounds.. it is as if the game itself is your close friend. Anodyne 1 & 2 gave me a lot of similar feelings, I wouldn't be surprised if it's something of a staple for them. I just find it really sweet.

The game also has a lot of collectibles you can get which shed even more light on the characters by showing you various mundane memories of theirs in text form. I wasn't able to collect them all, but it was fun to interact with the challenges that were posed by them.

Super Lesbian Animal RPG - jan2023

Easily one of my new favorite RPGMaker games. i think one of the main things I like about it is the fact that it focuses on the trials and tribulations of a predefined wlw relationship instead of being a love story (even though I LOVE a good fluffy love story every now and then). The writing is just very eloquent and emotionally mature. And really funny too!! I also really love how some of your choices in the beginning come up in unexpected ways during character dialogue... It's a really nice touch.

As far as gameplay goes I'm really happy to not have to deal with random encounters. The fights definitely require some strategy, but not like, a lot. It's genuinely really well balanced. The only thing I remember being annoyed by was trying super hard to get my characters all on the same level using EXP sponges but that was quite literally just something for my own satisfaction. I think I'm just not a huge RPG-head so my opinions on this are nothing special LOL

Of course I have to mention the art, which is probably one of my favorite things about the game. Ponett just has such a delicious and colorful dither-y style, I love it so so much. There's a lot of obvious detail & love put into every sprite and tileset. There are definitely a lot of other things worth gushing about with this game, but I'd honestly recommend playing it yourself if just the title alone has you interested.

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