Author: Heart1lly

First Impressions: Flinthook

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Oh, crap. This game is difficult.

The first thing you need to know about Flinthook is that it is merciless in its mechanics. It’s a roguelike, so that means I’m back at the beginning of the level every two minutes or so. I’m having such a hard time just trying to shoot enemies, fire my hook in the right direction and not step in the bad stuff all at the same time. I loved Spelunky, where I felt like I was actually making progress in the caverns before dying a hero’s death (not really). Flinthook is not like that. Flinthook doesn’t care about your feelings.

On the upside, the game is beautiful and has really fun music. I mean, check this out. This is cool. I fell in love the second this started playing, not knowing that I would be crying within five minutes.

So, onto the combat itself.

You have a gun. It shoots plasma orbs. You can slow down time. I always forget this feature exists, because I’m too distracted. It would probably help a lot if I remembered to use it. I could not fathom playing this game with a keyboard and mouse, however, if you’re using a controller I hope you can get used to everything being mapped onto one side because you can’t change it. Hahahahaha!

Ha.

…Damn.

Honestly? This doesn’t bother me. While playing I never stopped to think, “man, I really wish I could reconfigure the controls.” Some people might, but for me, it wasn’t a deal breaker. I’m just bad at the game, and a different control scheme is not going to save me.

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Fortunately, even though I’m dying a lot I’m still making progress. I’m still leveling up and collecting items that will open up new worlds to explore. The downside is that the worlds are all a bit samey. I haven’t played far enough to see if this ever changes, but it seems like all the worlds are pretty much the same theme which might get a little bland after a while. It also seems like there’s a fair amount of grinding involved. This will either be hit or miss for some folks. I personally don’t mind shutting off my brain for thirty minutes on the couch while I grapple hook around and break things. It’s cathartic.

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So far, I like Flinthook a fair bit but I really wish it was on the Switch. I’d like to curl up in bed and play it.

Developer: Tribute Games (Shawn says he enjoys the look of their stuff but doesn’t actually like playing any of it. Shawn, you’re not going to like this one either. Go back to Spelunky.)

Release date: April 18th, 2017

Platforms: PS4 (played), Steam PC, Xbox One

Regular price: $14.99

Official website

 

In Memoriam: The Fur Babies of Gameluv

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My fiance and I were sitting in the veterinarian’s waiting room filling out paperwork for our cat. He was a stray, and I had no idea what kind of cat he was, let alone his actual date of birth. Still, we had to jot something down on the line.

“When did Super Mario Galaxy 2 come out?” I asked him. He shrugged.

“Uh, 2008? 2009, I think?” He replied.

“No, that doesn’t sound right.” I said as I quickly googled the answer. He looked at me like I was crazy for even thinking about a  video game at a time like this, but it was relevant to me.

“Ah, May 2010. I thought so!” I said and jotted down the date onto the paper.

I adopted my cat, Mocha, around the same time Super Mario Galaxy 2 came out and it’s the only way I was able to remember his date of birth. This may seem like a small, insignificant thing to everyone else but to me it meant something. I was so busy taking care of my new kitten that the release of a game I had been anticipating didn’t seem important. I never did get around to playing it. Mocha proved to be too much of a fun distraction.

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Years later, when it was time to make a logo for the Gameluv sail in the MMORPG Archeage, it seemed like an obvious choice to display our cats. Why wouldn’t we? Our precious pets were an integral part of our lives. They watched us game, they purred on our laps while we held our controllers. They meowed loudly for attention when we didn’t want to be interrupted, because that’s how cats roll. I’m glad that we paid homage to them on that sail, especially now when a few of them have taken the trip over the rainbow bridge.

I didn’t get enough time with my Mocha, he was only seven. That vet trip was his last, and what I thought was a “better safe than sorry” check up turned out to be our worst nightmare. He took the same trip Molly did recently, and I remember how painful it was to watch Shawn and Katy grieve her. She was a good kitty, too. If there is a special place where cats go after death, I really hope that Mocha and Molly can hang out with one another to compare notes on their gaming parents and how they are now immortalized forever in our hearts and on the Gameluv sail.

Rest in peace, fur babies. We’ll miss you.

Also pictured and deceased: The adorable orange kitty in the sail, who belongs to Gameluv’s Shane! Katy recalls its name being Maus. For some reason, I thought it was Tank. Perhaps Shane could let us know which beloved kitty is on the sail, but they also have a spot in our heart.

First Impressions: Thimbleweed Park

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It took me exactly one minute and thirty seconds to fall in love with Thimbleweed Park. A hobo laid in the dirt beyond a pixelated gate, and it was obvious he was drunk. Upon speaking to him, a variety of dialog options appeared.

“Are you a victim of the inferior American support system?”

And that’s how I knew I was in the right place.

Terrible Toybox (seriously, that’s the studio name and I love it) created a spiritual successor to Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion that you didn’t even know you wanted. In fact, it’s by Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick, creators of Monkey Isle and Maniac Mansion. The point-and-click adventure genre may be only in our distant memories but…oh, who am I kidding? No they’re not. This is 2017. We’re so obsessed with nostalgia these days we aren’t even given the opportunity to miss things. Was this game necessary? No, not at all. Is it good? Absolutely. In fact, I would even say it’s spectacular. But if you hated the point-and-click adventure games from the 90s, you probably won’t want to touch this. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

 

According to the Steam store page for Thimbleweed Park, a joke is guaranteed to happen every two minutes. I don’t doubt it. Every ten seconds I’m cracking up, but to be honest I kinda sorta just laugh at everything so you might not find the jokes as funny as me. For real, I laugh at most things. The game takes place in 1987, which was a pretty good year, I think (I was four, so it was probably the best), and follows a mystery surrounding a corpse found in a river. Pleasant! At first you’ll be taking control of two federal agents sent to Thimbleweed Park to investigate the death, but you’ll be switching off to different characters throughout the story. Be warned, one of those characters is an insult comic clown, so if you’re still scarred from the new It trailer, you might wanna pass.

 

There’s 80s trivia peppered throughout the game. I wish I could permanently forget about Max Headroom but this game forced me to remember him and that scary signal intrusion thing. Thanks, Terrible Toybox, for that nightmare fuel.

 

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I’m only a few hours into the game but so far I’m really diggin’ it. Did I mention the art is gorgeous? It’s so beautiful that Fangamer was a true friend and made some prints of the iconic scenery. Heck yes I am hanging that print up in my living room.

 

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The game is fully voiced. Some of the actors are awesome. Others are middling. I don’t think I’ve encountered anything I would consider ‘bad,’ like they just strolled in off the street to read a script. That happens way too often even with large studios.

 

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The soundtrack is pretty great, but I’m not rushing out to purchase it. The score is atmospheric and provides a decent enough background while you solve puzzles. As for the puzzles themselves…so far, haven’t been stumped. I also set the game to ‘casual’ rather than ‘hard.’ That’s something that I haven’t really encountered before – difficulty settings in an adventure game. You’re given the option to set it however you want in the very beginning and it says something about giving you more puzzles to do if you select the more difficult option. I’ll probably stream hard mode at some point so you can all laugh at me as I fall into a pit of despair weaved out of the strands of my own stupidity.

 

Whatever. Just so long as we don’t have any repeats of The Longest Journey’s duck fiasco, I won’t put my head in between my knees to cry. Promise.

The Longest Journey ducky: This picture legit still triggers me.

The Longest Journey ducky: This picture legit still triggers me.

 

Most reviews are complaining about the over saturation of easter eggs. To these complaints, I say…meh. Yes, there are easter eggs. They are numerous. Some of them are cute and clever (I liked seeing Maniac Mansion characters make cameos, for example), and then some are REALLY on the nose. You’re told upfront by a pair of sisters clad in pigeon garb that you won’t need to save your game often. Nope. You don’t have to. Because unlike Monkey Isle, you can’t die!

 

It’s true. You can’t die. You can explore freely as much as you want and not die. However, that does not mean freedom from consequence. I poked around an alley a little too much with one of my agents and then he was abducted by a monster and thrown into a sewer that became its own puzzle to escape from. It’s like when you get caught in Maniac Mansion by one of the weird family members and tossed into the basement, but nowhere near as dire.

 

Overall, I love the game so far and once I get through casual mode I’ll be hitting it up again on hard mode.

 

At the start of the game, make sure you pop into the menu settings to fix the toilet paper. Otherwise, all the toilet paper rolls are going to be UNDER, instead of OVER, and you don’t need that kind of anxiety and negativity in your life. You’re welcome.

Does this picture give you anxiety? Me too.

Does this picture give you anxiety? Me too.

 

Terrible Toybox

$19.99 ~ Xbox One, GOG.com, Steam, Apple Store

For Windows, Mac, Linux…damn they really put it all over the place. Too bad there’s no Switch version, that would have been cool…

Help, I’m drowning in the pool of my own back log

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This screenshot has nothing to do with the post, except that while I was typing up all the games I’m playing I remembered how Shawn told me Zoombinis was on Steam. Crap, I wanna play this too!

Hi guys. Long time, no write. You may recall me as being the woman who was strangely obsessive about a certain marine arcade game at the boardwalk. Still in love with it, by the way. So, you may be thinking that I probably haven’t been up to much, gaming wise. Actually, this post is a legit SOS because I have so many games that I need to either pick up or finish it’s unreal.

So, let’s see what I’ve got on my docket right now…

Thimbleweed Park – A game in the spirit of the 90s point-and-click adventure titles that Lucas Arts used to put out. I have an impressions piece I’ll be posting about this.

Yooka-Laylee – I’ve been waiting on this for forever. Reviews are…not good. Mostly they’re complaining that it’s very 90s to early 2000s adventure platformers. Way to miss the point, guys. That’s exactly what people wanted and why they kickstarted it to begin with. Anyway, the frame rate issues that people are reporting kinda scare me, but I’m going to remain optimistic.

Persona 5 – Yeah, so this game alone will end up being more than a hundred hours. Which would be perfectly fine…if this was the only game I purchased this year. Anyway, I’m about seven hours in so far and I’m really pleased with it so far. It’s so stylish it hurts and the soundtrack is of course, brilliant. But I have no idea when I’m going to find time to finish it. Maybe in twelve years. Just in time for them to re-release with bonus content or something.

Story of Seasons: A Trio of Towns – I feel so bad for neglecting my farm. Totally going to woo Ford, by the way.

Psycho Pass: Mandatory Happiness – I have the collectors edition of this dang thing, too! It’s really good. It’s just that whenever I lay down to play it in bed on my vita (yes, people still own those…or at least, just me), I end up falling asleep.

Runner2 – I just got this off Limited Run Games and I played it for a solid hour. Strangely soothing for my anxiety.

Flinthook – Hopefully will be nabbing this off Limited Run Games in a couple days. Found out this game exists from Fangamer, when I saw their awesome t-shirts. Ironically that is how I found out about Thimbleweed Park. I think their marketing teams need to step up their game a bit…

Ray Gigant – Another vita title I’ll be nabbing off Limited Run Games if I can manage to remember.

SERIOUSLY WILL SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME FINISH SOMETHING BECAUSE THEN…

Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Haven’t even TOUCHED IT yet. When will I be able to?! I still have WORK I need to do, guys. And then worst of all…

Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood – Let’s be honest. I’ll be playing this, mainly. Because it’s an MMO, which means it’s a horrible time sink.

I think I might just cancel my pre-order for Fire Emblem: Shadows of Valentia because let’s be REAL. I’m never going to play it. Not at this rate. Nope. Maybe I’ll get around to it in 2024. I don’t need to buy anymore games for another five or six years.

…But I know that once Supergiant’s Pyre comes out I’ll be throwing money at it. Geez, it’s feast or famine with the gaming industry. Last year I didn’t even really play anything other than Final Fantasy XIV because there was nothing interesting to me coming out. Now it’s a torrential downpour of games. What are you all playing? Are you collapsing under the weight of your back log or are you somehow managing?

That time I became a cab driver for a day

Yo ho, yo ho...

Yo ho, yo ho…

Let’s talk about Archeage, the game that allows you to be a pirate, a farmer, a player killer or even a cab driver.

Sure, the game has plenty of “kill x rats” type quests, but I’ve found that the true fun of the game revolves around situations where you aren’t killing things. Katy and Shawn were drawn to the game originally because of the housing and farming, which I do think is pretty cool. I haven’t done too much farming myself, but I definitely see the appeal (I love Harvest Moon, c’mon). But what I wanted to do immediately upon release was make a boat. So I raced through as much content as I possibly could in order to rack up enough gilda stars for a clipper. In my opinion, having a clipper early on gives you a lot of distinct advantages over people who only have a row boat. I’ll get to those later.

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