Wednesday, 29 March 2023

Waiting for Duviri: The Frightening Fifth

After all that fighting it's horror time!

Slain - Back from Hell

This pixel platformer beat em up is basically the same plot of Altered Beast, but with a more metal backing track and less impressive graphics and game play. That's kinda sad as Altered Beast was released in 1988.

Rising Hell

Another pixel platformer with a very vertical slant as you need to escape from hell by going UP while taking souls on the way. Interestingly you get a power up shop to spend said souls almost every 30 seconds which is awesome and goes a long way in breaking the tedium of doing the same thing over and over. Now you get to do the same thing over and over... with breaks!


A top down horror survival where you must scavenge for gear and can only see active threats the direction your character is looking. This means checking your pack and crafting lets you see NOTHING. The lack of color is certainly a stylistic choice, but one that makes the game very bland to look at. That said if you like skulking around dangerous places and having to board up your doors and windows at night (because that's when they come for you) and don't mind a non-intuitive interface and clunky combat this might be for you.

Hell is Others

In this top down horror shooter (which has the same visibility constraint as Darkwood), you need to feed your bonsai with blood while doing a bunch of fetch quests in the horrifying city streets prowled by monsters and "others" (other people: because PvP is easier content to create). Luckily bullets grow on plants because you'll need them... if the matchmaking ever finishes loading. LOL. Should be renamed, Hell is Matchmaking.


Ever miss the days in a FPS where you didn't need to reload guns that were smart enough to shoot up and down without you looking up or down, where pistol ammo was the same as chaingun ammo, and where pushing on every wall was the way to open secret passages? If so this nostalgia trip is for you. It's just Doom, with new maps.

Ring of Pain

This is a strange game that displays your encounters as a ring of cards and you can either deal with or try skip a card on the left, or a card on the right which rotates the entire ring. Finding the exit card brings you to the next ring and so forth, provided you are still alive by then as the monsters get very dangerous quickly - and you'll probably only be wielding a bent spoon and have rainbow socks for armor when you meet them. Props for a different idea and art style but not one that could hold my interest for long.

Amnesia: Rebirth

It's time to forget again! After Dark Descent and A Machine for Pigs, this new protagonist suffers the same memory loss as the previous ones but her story has much better graphics, much better dynamic lighting and ... much more boring!? What? Yep, a stupid protagonist and way too much walking to make space for narrated exposition doesn't help - to the point that I lost interest in it entirely. If you are looking for short and sharp horror, this isn't it - instead go for the original game with the Justine DLC which remains my favorite, proving again that simple and elegant will always beat something fattened with filler.

Tuesday, 28 March 2023

Waiting for Duviri: The Fourth Fighters

After all that adventure, it's time for battle!


This side scrolling platform brawler sees characters from the Warner Brother's IP duking it out because kids love violence! There are a bunch of attacks per character and the idea is that as a fighter gets more damage accumulated, the worse the knock back is - because that's the only way to "kill" people - knocking them off the screen. Definitely a strange one as Shaggy can beat Superman. All but one fighter starts off locked but there's a rotation of free to play ones. My question is... why? When looking for a match I could only fight against an AI. 

Not all crossovers are a good idea.
Recent Update: This is now doing a surprise shut down until 2024.

Knockout City

This PvP game revolves around futuristic dodge ball on a 3D field, and you simply score a knockout by hitting someone twice. While there's other extra things like everyone has gliders, sometimes the balls explode with goo etc, the core mechanic is quite good and I got into a 3 vs 3 match really quickly. It's a bit weak on the character customization front which probably explains all the cross dressers in that match, but it was fun nonetheless. Sadly this will be closing on June 6th this year so you only have until then to try it out.

Divine Knockout

Operates exactly like Multiversus except the characters are various "gods" (and King Arthur for some reason), have less attack variety but gain some easy to use cool down abilities and the game play is 3D like Knockout City. This is a vast improvement from Multiversus - and again I quickly got into a 3 vs 3 player arena which means its quite active! While I personally prefer Knockout City to this (because it uses HP hearts instead of "ring out" KOs), if you like knock out games, this one should be on your radar.

First Class Trouble

Six players must find key cards to escape from a space station before the air runs out, but two of them are murderous androids! Unlike Among Us this plays in real time and the environment is beautiful. It's also highly recommended to have a mic so you can talk to people in your vicinity. While the androids can murder people by themselves, two players can also cooperatively murder anyone. It took a little while to find a match, but when I did I was victim number 1 (no mic man lol) to a pair of bunny suited giggling schoolgirls. Yeah, I can see that happening. When you die, you can continue to remain in the match as a flying vacuum cleaner who can collect stuff and run virtual race courses in the area which I thought was funny. Better have a player group for this one, because solo is a hard sell (you'll always be the odd one/s out).


Taking place in WWI it's Russia versus Germany with soldiers who literally can't hold their Mosin-Nagant's steady, even when standing still so expect to die a lot in one shot while trying to take capture points from the AI hordes who fill in the slots of empty players. While I assume this FPS simulation was made for accuracy, I couldn't help but think the entire time: the old Battlefield series does this better, and that one has vehicles!

Eximius: Sieze the Frontline

This futuristic FPS has soldiers capturing a different variety of currency building points, which they then can spend on things like calling battle suits to drop in from space. :O No, their not mecha or Warframes, just armor (though there are vehicles). Somehow this is worse than Tannenberg, with floaty movement and enemies who can sprint strafe while shooting. Ergh.

Monday, 27 March 2023

Waiting for Duviri: The Third Trial

This third group is all adventure games, a genre I quite like! Let's see how these fared...

Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap

This 2D platform adventure game boasts some excellent art, nice music and absolutely terrible mechanics. Force player to repeat zone multiple times because they didn't exit the correct way? Check. Not have many save points? Check. Enforce back tracking? Check. This gets a big fat NOPE from me.


This action adventure RPG starts out as an old RPG maker game but quickly evolves to slightly better standards as you play through it, which is the main draw and not the generic but appropriate fantasy plot. It's also surprisingly short as it's one of the few that I actually finished! I guess if it kept my interest right until the end, it did something right. :)

Alba - A Wildlife Adventure

This happy, bright and relaxing game is just about exploring and taking photos of wildlife while doing nice things for the environment like picking up litter, fixing bird houses and the like. A little too zen for my liking but a cute little game nonetheless.


In this hack and slash FPS, you are a red toy man in a child's sandpit - tasked by the red king to find out why the town has no more water. This quickly spirals into a big quest of trudging across the dunes littered with rocks, lego bricks and other items in this surprisingly big game. While it's full of neat ideas, its problems stem from its jumping puzzles (thankfully there are jump pads that activate to help out if you stack it on more complex ones) and the notion that you MUST find the hidden barrels because they unlock the skills (like double/triple jump) for you to progress in the game. Not a great design idea, but still quite a fun game.

Spirit of the North

In this wordless but pretty game with nice music, you are a fox in some cold place who... frolics around with a ghost fox and gives staves to dead people so that their spirits can move on. You also get some fox powers later and that's around the part the annoying jumping puzzles come in. Most annoyingly of all though is this features my design pet peeve: huge spaces of traversal for no purpose other than traversal. The opening 30 seconds is probably you holding down the "forward" button. Just, no.

Toejam and Earl: Back in the Groove

This cooperative game has aliens searching for parts of their destroyed spaceship and the elevator to the next floor while avoiding enemies, shaking trees for money, and wondering what the hell the devs were smoking when they designing this. Not recommended.

Sunday, 26 March 2023

GTFO: ALT R1B2 - The Officer

This mission is another HSU scan with the tiny difference that all sleepers here are shooters (alarms will still bring strikers though), and you WILL run into single scouts in rooms with them (no longer optional). Now's a good time to remind you that if you simply strafe around shooters (provided there's space to do so) they'll never hit you. Alternatively just duck at the last moment as their tracking shot always aims for your head. Our load outs were as follows:

Me: Pistol/Precision Rifle/Sniper Sentry/Spear
DL: DMR/Presicion Rifle/Mines/Hammer
Jim: DMR/Choke Mod Shotgun/Cfoam/Hammer
[Bot]: DMR/Hel Gun/Sniper Sentry/Hammer

The general flow of travel will is "go North" and you will have a shortage of closable doors so SAVE them (by keeping them open) until you reach your Class IV alarm later. Stealth bop away. You also have the option to snipe the scout and just deal with the room - that's better than letting it scream. Just for fun though, one of our scouts DID scream but it wasn't a problem ammo wise BECAUSE...

The lack of closable doors means the level has long sight lines especially to the South. Plonking down a sniper sentry facing the long bridge room (you can't miss it) and helping it was enough to handle the extra scout wave.  What will screw you up is if you don't use the terminals to QUERY your HSU, followed by the correct key card to access it. There are a number of keys on this level - don't open doors you don't need to!

The room with the first scout will also have a class II alarm - just put a sniper turret in that bridge room and leave the door open - then you'll find some fog and another big room with a class III alarm. The big room is only accessible via hole in the wall, so DL mined the opening and Jim iced a thick line before it. My sentry was beside the hole on a crate facing inwards to shoot them in the back, and I supported it from the bridge while they did circles. Both cases had fighting while doing circles. It's the games way of telling us to "get used to it".

Past that is another room with a scout and a bunch of key cards. Get yours and head back for the class IV scan. Ours was in the junction room where the first scout was, so this time we put the two sniper sentries facing down the ramp to the fog in the North, and Jim was on c-foam duty for the one door we saved to the South (which DL also mined). Scum will get through before finishing circles so just keep calm and carry on.

Beyond that door is the room with your HSU (unless you opened the wrong door). Clear it out, do the team scan and get moving back to the extraction point where you should quickly put down the sniper sentries to help you defend against the endless extraction alarm wave. As the scan isn't quick, you will need to defeat a number of strikers before you can GTFO!

Saturday, 25 March 2023

Waiting for Duviri: The Second Set

This second batch is much better than the first, and all could hold my interest if I give them a chance.


A Diablo style game, but in cute voxel format with silly and equally cute opponents to boot. Half of your treasures will just be different "skins" for your character with the other half being ridiculous weaponry like ice cream cones and laser machine guns. Despite most of the game play being mouse button bashing I ended up playing this for far longer than I should have. Bonus points for awarding XP upon dialogue completion too which encourages NPC interaction (even if they are just telling jokes). Better than I thought it would be and one I could easily lose a day playing if I start it up again. Apparently there's even a co-op mode?


This is an idle game with a war theme, as there are very few opportunities for you to interact with the battle field itself (which sadly is a small set of repeating maps). Most of the time you will just be buying a variety of units to immediately go out into the field and deciding how to spend XP they gain - either selling for money, increasing the XP to money trade, increasing your max number of units or ranking up your troops. You win a map if your forces destroy the enemy base and lose if they destroy your base, then do some minor tactical overland decisions and choose what troops to bring for the next map and so forth. It's simple but it's also addictive.


In the dark reaches of space are many abandoned derelicts and this game invites you to visit them with your drones to gather resources, supplies, and get terrified at silly red lines. This keyboard only game is mainly represented in a top down view where you can control your drones and get them to use their abilities. Maybe drone 2 has a power pack so it can power up a generator if it sits on top of it. Drone 3 might be able to tow stuff, like other destroyed drones back to your docking shuttle, and drone 1 might have the motion tracker that shows just how few doors there are between your team and the freaking monsters.

Oh, your drones can't really fight back and almost all commands must be TYPED in. Yep, while movement is the usual WASD you'll need to type "generator" to power up an area, or "d1" to open door 1 or "close d1" to close the same door before something horrible comes for you. It's mostly a puzzle game where you want to lock or herd the bad things away while you loot. Pretty unique and gives off that GTFO feel, the only downsides are the graphics are intentionally minimal and it feels more like work instead of being fun.


Another keyboard typing centric game, this time focusing on a girl riding a giant fox across a beautifully rendered, bright fantasy paperscape landscape that slowly unfolds as you explore. Excellent narration and an interesting story got me hooked here, and while you use WASD to explore it is typing that unlocks chests, plants flowers and fights enemies. Very cool but while typing gets old kinda fast, its not as fast as the big exploration segments of the game - lots of beautiful but empty space traversal which is a HUGE no-no in my book.

Friday, 24 March 2023

Waiting for Duviri: The First Failures

Taking a Warframe break before Duviri has given my time to catch up on some other free games I've been collecting in the background. Alas, this set just didn't do it for me from the outset.

Drone Racing League Simulator

This game should really say you need a controller. Using a keyboard takes any move TO THE MAX which makes it hard to follow a three dimensional race course. To its credit there was some one setting up a public game while I was crashing into everything during the tutorial so at least it isn't a "dead" game.

Chenso Club

In this side scrolling platform brawler, you need to stop an alien invasion with violent and gory means. Usually that works well for me, but the disparity between the gore and cuteness is really strange, there's no method to skip comic cutscenes, you lose a life for trying to leave a room with enemies (not just through falling, exiting left or right as well) and what really irked me is that the game basically froze in the tutorial because I wasn't fast enough to kill something. Sorry devs, if you make a possible path a player can take - ensure it goes somewhere, even just a game over screen. This alone was enough for me to confirm this game is shit.

Bloons TD

Or in layman's terms: Balloon Tower Defense. Yep, you are being invaded by balloons and must place monkeys who throw darts, shoot bows and other defenses to stop them and said monkeys can gain XP and get upgraded etc. It looks well polished but I'm not sure who the target market was here as the concept is stupid, even for children. The cringey voice acting doesn't help either. But hey, maybe there are too many "serious" tower defense games out there and this one is the only ridiculous one right?

Wild Cat Gun Machine

Empty is what this game feels like as your chibi sprite runs from room to room avoiding bullets and killing the baddies that teleport in amidst the spartan decoration in each identical chamber. Save points act as shops and there's very little in the way of story and theme. If you want a similar game that does everything better, play Hades.


A party platform racer where the constantly changing background color determines what floors and walls you can step on or move through. Other than the "party" segment there are other platformers that better make use of the same mechanic. Also didn't like that again, it's designed for controllers and there's no easy intuitive way to find out that "jump" (default F on keyboard) is what you need to press to start a game.

Thursday, 23 March 2023

GTFO: ALT R1B1 - PID Search

If you went OK last time then you should be fine this time too. We had almost the same load out:

Me: Pistol/Shotgun/Cfoam/Spear
DL: DMR/Presicion Rifle/Mines/Hammer
Jim: DMR/Choke Mod Shotgun/Cfoam/Hammer
[Bot]: DMR/Hel Gun/Burst Sentry*/Hammer

*Stuff we didn't use.

From the drop you will soon come to a large crossroads room with your security door options being a key-locked one (non-option for now), a 0-alarm door and a class II alarm. The objective of this level is to get 12 PIDs which seem to be distributed in groups of 3 per zone so you have an illusion of choice. Jim rightfully called that we should do the class II alarm first so that enemies can only spawn from one direction: the way we came in.

The slow moving scan line which obviously will make you go downstairs ensures you will fight the wave which includes giants. These are probably the same set from the last mission you've already beaten twice (including giants), only this time you have no door. We used only guns and melee, forgetting that the bot had a turret...

Beyond the door is just regular stealth bopping while collecting the PIDs (and key card) until you come across the next class III alarm - we cfoamed and mined both doors but the baddies were only interested in the downstairs one. Then repeat until next alarm door (class IV I think) with same defense (only one door to hold) and that last area is huge and has some non-poisonous fog but always small sleepers throughout. Once done return to the crossroads with the 9 PIDs.

We chose the key-locked door next (0 alarm once unlocked) and this area is dark, foggy and has giant sleepers. After all that stealth practice this is the exam! It helps that the terminal was in here (up on the right hand walkway) so I could ping the PIDs while my brothers stealthed around - lock melters definitely handy (and also the bot knows how to use them, just give him space).

With all 12 PIDs its just a sneak out and return to the drop point for an easy extraction. :) If you are wondering what was behind the other 0-alarm door from the crossroads room, darkness, strikers and a scout apparently. Definitely the type of room you'd bring a biotracker into.