Thursday, 11 March 2021

Otherworlds: Abzu's Greedfall Night in the World Next Door

Four games in one blog post!

Abzu

A whole new world under the sea.


While I make it sound like a Disney movie, Abzu is mostly a short, wordless under water exploration game with fantastic visuals and a sweeping orchestral music. The creators also love their fish and sealife with a multitude of digitized versions swimming around, some of the bigger ones even let you hang on to them for a ride.


It's like swimming in a painting.

Definitely worth a play, especially if you are interested in this setting. It will only take a few hours to complete the story, and for someone that has no interest in the ocean, I actually enjoyed it. Three great whites out of five.

Insight: Left mouse three times in a row to gain a big speed boost.

Greedfall

See new places, meet new people, and kill them.

This action RPG mostly takes place on a wonderfully remote and violent island in which the local natives, who are protected by nature spirits, are under threat from the scientific Bridge Alliance who enjoy studying taking them for study, and the religious nation of Theleme who have a "convert to our faith or die" attitude.

The player mostly represtents a neutral third party to mediate between them and is given a companion from each to really drive this point home. Decisions throughout the game affect your standing with each, but if you do all the side quests you will be railroaded into being allies with everyone. Indeed, if you are chasing the XPs it's really tough to be an evil scum.

While the scenery is quite nice and beautiful, the world actually feels a little empty - not helped by respawning monster groups and backdrop NPCs. The plot is average, with a few good exceptions, but having to continually return to your quest giver really breaks the pacing. All up a decent game, but not one of the best - I give it two and a half hoof fungi out of five.

Insight: Learn the stasis skill tree if you want an easy time.

A Night in the Woods

A good example of a poor protagonist.

After deciding to drop out of college and return home to her parents, Mae gets to experience "growing up" while catching up with her friends and getting into trouble. Despite the anthropomorphic people, the art style is great. The mini games are cool. And the non voiced dialogue is pretty rad, but verges on the side of pointless excess.


Worst protagonist ever.

While this little game has a lot going for it, it does suffer a major flaw: I hate the protagonist. She is very negative and prone to doing stupid shit that the player is rail roaded into. I get that she has a mysterious past (Oooo) but doing her daily "chores" is painful without any reward / without the plot seeming to go anywhere. At this point I would have preferred a mute and blank slate hero instead of this gutter trash. I greatly dislike this and strongly advise staying away from this gutter trash. One dismembered arm out of five. Not worth playing.

Insight: Stick your finger into the electrified hole if you get stuck trying to enter an apartment.

The World Next Door

It's a magical place - connected by the internet.

Emrys is a place full of magic and strange creatures and when Jun, the masked protagonist, gets stuck there it is up to her new friends to help her get home. This involves a lot of puzzle battles as Jun's magic is measured by her skill in tile matching.


Might look tricky, but it's not.

Three or more (to make it more powerful) and you can channel whatever rune it was you were matching. You can also carry/swap runes to make better spells or use your powerful ally combos, all while evading enemies of course! For a main mechanic, this was pretty neat and some of the non-combat puzzles are quite challenging.

There's also very pretty art but the plot is a bit shallow and the game a tiny bit short, but I guess there's only so much of one gimmick that can carry it. Not bad overall and while its much lighter than A Night in the Woods content wise, the protagonist is infinitely more likable. Two grievances out of five.

Insight: Identify loops in battle rooms right away, as dodging and luring baddies is pretty easy if they're all going one direction.

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