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Rants, Raves And Reviews

Browsing Posts published in May, 2018

Juicy Realm is an action shoot em up roguelike over 4 biomes where you have to blast your way through waves of fruit and veg along with some other edibles trying to make your way to find out why all these fruit have become sentient and are at war with humanity.

It’s easy to make comparisons to the binding of Isaac and enter the gungeon, and these similarities aren’t entirely unjustified although the gameplay in this game is room to room rather than being over a procedurally generated floor, and the variety of floors and enemies at least at time of review is rather limited. Don’t put this against the game though as the binding of Isaac first started with a small selection of bosses and enemies and as the game became more popular more and more was added to the game to play on the variety and make sure replayability remained at the top of the agenda.

There are a few things to unlock beginning with additional gameplay characters, but also mid point bonuses between realms that aid you such as the gun shop and the upgrade store from defeating the first two bosses of the game, I’m unsure if there are further unlockables due to the fact that anything you unlocked is not stated or shown in any way and you simply have to discover that you’ve unlocked the extra playable characters on your own, there may be more added to the game as time progresses but even as it stands now it’s a very playable game and very approachable.

I would suggest if you’re an experienced gamer to start on the hardest difficulty if you want to get the most out of the game as it might be a little easier than you would expect but don’t take this as a negative because this game might have been designed for a younger audience with the colourful fruit and veg enemies and the easy gameplay mechanics without complex and numerous varieties of combinations of powers and weaponry.

It is worth considering that the bosses are also very unique each with their own mechanics to be dispatched, with a watermelon who has a hide too thick to be pierced naturally that you have to stun him with explosives and expose his soft innards in order to defeat him, and the method to take down all the bosses have their own mechanics you have to master and learn in order to progress.

The characters themselves have their own powers and unique abilities so they are different to simply cosmetic choices although the main path to victory is finding the best weaponry on your run and ensuring you keep your ammunition and health at suitable enough levels to defeat the game.

Every run in the game traverses four worlds each with their own boss and the length of a run tends to be under an hour of gameplay from start to win even on the hardest difficulty which feels about the right game length especially if they wanted to consider adding daily runs with high scores or fastest times, although the level and enemy variety might want a little adjustment if they were to consider adding such a feature so that runs feel a lot different, but you can understand that there are set groups of enemies in each world and those are the ones that you will always encounter and this isn’t an expensive game and adding such features and variety would take up a lot more work and really require the game to be more expensive than it is, so taking the game as it stands and at the price they ask for the game it’s very reasonable and a game worth a purchase for sure, and if you’re unfamiliar with this style of game it’s a great entrance into the genre as very much a roguelight with some very unique and fun gun styles, and remains a fun action blaster to fight your way through to win.

The storyline could come or go especially as the end of the run seems a little anticlimactic and like the whole lore was pointless and remains unexplained throughout, or like there’s more to be added beyond the dark forests at the end. You won’t be buying the game for the story however, you’ll be playing it for the gameplay and the fun you’ll get out of it and you’ll have fun blasting all the fruit with all of the weaponry available as you discover how to defeat the bosses and work your way to your first victory.

Check out juicy realm for yourself on steam at https://store.steampowered.com/app/732370/Juicy_Realm/

Online privacy and the way your information is being shared by services you use seems to be a major issue lately and while many services have for years used the information you provide to them and use through their services to monetise the platform it seems that because of the mishandling of information and how freely facebook allowed companies to obtain this information through groups on their network the entire internet has been shook up to start being more open with how they hold and use the information they have on you to ensure that you are happy with the way that it is being used.

What began as a series of emails from every company under the sun who have ever had access to my email from ones that I know to ones that I don’t has now turned into an actual privacy checkup from my email provider itself and what I discovered during that privacy checkup was rather concerning with what they do with the information you send through any email and how they gather information about you from the content of your emails and where you send them along with the sheer number of companies both ISA approved and not that they sell this information onto in order to provide targeted advertising and emails direct into your inbox (or spam box)

This lead me to wonder what happens if everyone decides they no longer wish for their information to be shared in this way, would this perhaps make these services unaffordable after all these companies aren’t providing these “free” services out of the goodness of their hearts or any greater act of benevolence, but they are essential services in every aspect of our modern online world and if you have been using a particular service for years you might have linked it to so many of your other online accounts that it becomes invaluable and part of your online identity which you could never afford to lose.

What would you do if you were forced to make a decision between having to pay to keep this essential service or if it was to go offline? I have in the past used a service much greater than facebook before this ever existed which was part of my social online nature eventually renamed to profilenation after it was sued by some other site for using the term “face” in it’s name by a lesser website ironically not even facebook. This service eventually hit monetisation problems when adsense alone couldn’t pay for it’s growing popularity as it was a pioneer in the social networking sector having fully customisable profiles, including the facebook wall before this was ever a thing as well as bulletin board threads which became a big social part of my youth. It was adopted by the alternative youth and social groups I corresponded more with and as a result I felt like I connected more with people there than the countryside I grew up where most people had low intelligence and were criminals and thugs or snobby and rich and wouldn’t associate with me for my lower upbringing so I felt detached and made real friendships and even a relationship with a girl I ended up moving in with from this site.

Towards the end of it’s life profilenation started posting requests to donate due to monetary problems (obviously they never sold off your personal information and resorted only to advertising and eventually attempts to sell increased profile privileges in an attempt to pay for rising hosting costs to cover the traffic) I didn’t believe such a large and popular site could have problems with money and didn’t believe it was ever going to close, and thought “I’m sure they’ll just find cheaper services if necessary” however after a while the site did close down because it was unaffordable as a business to run, and it stands as an example of how anything you use online could eventually vanish. Of course the site eventually returned, a little too late considering facebook is now the primary social site and so feature heavy people are unlikely to revert to a site like this, but had it not closed I believe it could have been bigger than facebook, in fact when I first heard of facebook I suspected it was a return and rebrand of the site due to the fact you had a commentable wall (where on profilenation most profiles had someone comment “first” on their wall as their first post much like youtube video’s today because it was so common on the site for people wanting to be the first comment on a new profile)

Imagine how many services you have linked to your primary email, what happens if your free email service can no longer afford to be run? You might question that this will never ever happen but yahoo have literally just sold their services to oath, and Verizon bought yahoo in 2016. While there might be providers willing to purchase the email services at present if it becomes truly unaffordable without the ability to monetise through selling your personal information these services might eventually be forced into a choice between having to provide your information for sale, purchasing your email services for a monthly fee or having to close down entirely.

What would you do if your email services were forced to close? How many services would you have to update contact details with? How many emails do you have stored that you would permanently lose access to? How would you cope if you lost your primary contact email? I don’t think these are questions anyone ever wants to ask themselves let alone answer, but in a world where privacy is becoming more of a concern you may have to start wondering how much would you be willing to pay for your email services if you were forced to pay for them to keep them online?

You might think there are other options such as hosting an email service yourself but believe me this can be more hassle than it is worth especially when it comes to filtering out generic spam emails sent via a robot to every single permutation of an email and web domain under the sun until it gets a ping, and finding your actual emails amongst all of this can be rather difficult which is why using an established provider tends to be the most popular option rather than using your own domain and it’s why I use a generic provider rather than using my own domain.

With the privacy shakeup as well you might want to check out what information you share with your viewing preferences as services like facebook and google have integrated themselves so far into your browsers that you are always getting “targeted advertising” based upon your viewing history and often tries to get you to purchase an item off amazon or ebay you’ve viewed in the past whether you’ve decided to purchase it or decided I never want to buy that item it will always go hey you looked at this, let us advertise things you’ve already seen rather than anything new you might be interested in but have never heard of which is why I find targeted advertising particularly disgusting as it’s primary purpose is to show off ever website under the sun you’ve browsed and go hey we know you were looking at this.

Consider every site with adsense and every site with a facebook like button, those tendrils are all over the web tracking everywhere you’ve been, and that’s before the cookies advertising services plant anywhere else online and once you take these into account it’s all too clear how much of your browsing data these companies are tracking and that’s before you even consider that using google chrome allows it to see every single thing you look at ever and target advertising around that towards you.

There is an option to disable tracking, however using this service isn’t perfect as most sites will simply turn targeted advertising back on whether you want it or not just by visiting them, and that’s a bad thing because I am happy to get advertising and I always found the non targeted advertising to be far more interesting and perfect for me than targeted advertising ever is, you had more variety of adverts and were more likely to see something new that caught your eye and made you consider a visit to a site, however targeted advertising leads to non stop amazon and ebay “you looked at this” style adverts and 6 kfc adverts in a row on twitch, and other stupid repeats of adverts you clearly have no actual interest in but it’s targeted because of something you’ve visited or expressed a vocal mention of or seen a mention of from your friends.

As a result I would like to disable targeted advertising and just have generic advertising because this works better for me, I see more interesting adverts and I’m of course happy for these sites to monetise their services through advertising and I actually think they’re more effective at advertising something to me when it isn’t something I’ve already seen or expressed some vocal mention of because these things aren’t something I need advertised to me, where as some new wonder product or service I’ve never heard of might be something I’d have an interest in and might be interested in clicking on. I’ve never been one to be interested in repeats and I know it’s a thing in many regular peoples lives that repetition creates a closer connection and brands think if they’re engrained into their thoughts enough people are more likely to feel close to them and buy them but that doesn’t work with me and if you’re constantly in my face I’m actually more likely to be turned off.

So the world is becoming more careful with how it handles your private information and they are trying to ensure they only do what you wish with it, but you must consider the other side of the coin and how if you refuse to allow this information these services might become unaffordable and you might have to look elsewhere or start paying for these services, and this could lead to big changes in the online world so at what cost will having control over your private information hold in the end? That’s a question for another day

Check your online advertising preferences yourself at http://www.youronlinechoices.com/uk/your-ad-choices

Copy kitty is a modern retro action platformer from nuclear strawberry, having spent 7 years in development you can see how much effort has been put into getting this game right at every stage of the game from the sheer weapon variety, through the the many and varied bosses throughout the game.

This game stands out so much that I don’t hesitate to say you must own this game because not only is it a bargain at the price and you’ll get many hours of enjoyment out of it but there are elements that stand out above and beyond any other game in the genre. Many games with projectile weapons tend to be very limited in what they provide, whereas this game has the unique ability of combining many of the basic elements into what seems like hundreds of very different weapons from basic splitting and exploding weapons to super powered swords all of which vary depending on what elements you combine while also having solo weapons that can’t be combined.

The developers seem to have been quite clever getting guest developers in to design the boss battles, this not only helps make sure the boss battles feel very unique and different in style from the rest of the game and other battles, but also ensures you can include some special unique weapons for these battles also. Most developers would tend to have essentially reskinned versions of the same boss throughout with slightly different weaponry and fighting styles but the same repeating evil boss which can add to the identity of an evil you follow throughout the game trying to foil, like bowser or dr robotnik (also known as eggman) and this isn’t missed out entirely in this game either as a repeating miniboss half way through each stage inevitably becomes a greater evil towards the end and holds a following evil that gets more powerful everytime you defeat it, shadowing your copy ability in many ways.

There are two different playable characters and every effort seems to have been made to ensure they both play very differently to ensure much larger replayability when going through the same levels, in relation sonic vs knuckles did have a clever feature where knuckles was able to break through the walls and traverse a very different path through the game eventually leading to different levels and a different ending pioneering branching path’s in the genre this game does stick to the same pathing however because both characters feel very different you might not notice the similarities. Boki essentially is grounded but can gain access to special vehicles at times and has the ability to combine up to three powers together to create very varied and ultra powerful weapons whereas savant only has the ability to combine two powers together and is constrained to shooting them from his coding box. He varies by his ability to fly throughout the level and that his coding box is always separate from him so navigating the level and where your projectiles fire from becomes a bigger challenge throughout the game, also depending on which order you combine the weapons creates a very different outcome.

Another way that savant’s abilities vary is that the way his weaponry combines creates very different projectiles and weapons to what boki would create with the same weaponry, and these differences will make the playthrough feel very different without taking into account the fact that the storyline elements are different when playing through as boki and savant.

Separate to the main quest there is also an “endless” mode where you have to try and defeat 100 waves of enemies which become ever more difficult as you progress with only one life, and includes separate combination bosses to the original game and a hidden secret world unlockable by defeating a specific enemy within this mode. The difficulty of this challenge alone will add many more hours of gameplay to the game and you’ll be wanting to play more so it’s not an unwelcome addition to the game, and if that isn’t enough if you’re feeling up for a true challenge there’s not only harder versions of the main quest but there’s a marathon mode where you can play through the main campaign with only one lifebar and see if you can defeat the entire game without ever leaving it which would be a true challenge considering how many hours of gameplay the game itself has.

A final thought on the art style of the game, where many retro styled games would go down the route of saving graphics going 8 bit ignoring the fact that many retro games actually had very high res cute styles, this game creates a good balance between the high res and low res worlds with enemies having great art styles and very varied natures and looks while the world around can tend to be lower resolution much like the “simulation” world you’re stated to be in, of course it goes beyond this with the inclusion of a glitch world as a nod and homage to old games which would often glitch out and create obscure unintended elements, this game uses it to traverse from the simulation to what may indeed be a different reality in a different dimension which you may or may not be invading and defeating the boss to perhaps free savant from being locked in a simulated prison depending on how you take the storyline. I like that there does seem to be a hidden alternative ending if you give up to the final boss this is a clever feature, and when you’ve traversed the glitch world the nature of the universe seems a lot more realistic, and if you unlock the bonus world the nature of the way the game ends there certainly asks a lot more questions over the nature of the reality of the simulation.

I can’t wait for a sequel to this game, however you may have to wait a long time for this because of how long this took to develop. That being said with more funding and income from the sale of this and the essential ground work already in place a sequel may be able to come far quicker than another 7 year wait but even if it takes so long I’m sure it’ll be worth the wait indeed.

All of these features, with the great variance of gameplay and elements between the worlds and throughout the entire game and for a fantastic price is why this game has earnt an indelacio star, an award that only goes to something that is truly exceptional and goes above and beyond expectations. If you want a very fun and varied action platformer with great gameplay and a fun and cute storyline then this is the game for you and I would suggest everyone should own this.

Get copy kitty for yourself on steam at https://store.steampowered.com/app/349250/Copy_Kitty/

39 days to mars is a cooperative puzzle game with a Victorian papercraft style and a quirky storyline where two Victorian gentlemen decide to embark on a journey to mars on their home made airship.

The gameplay itself revolves around a series of puzzles designed to be awkward and obscure and require teamwork, so even though there is a single player mode available you will have to take along your trusty cat, and play both players in order to complete the puzzles (perhaps with a more lenient time factor) the game is quite unique with the fact that it is essentially a co-operative puzzle game with a series of quirky events which happen on your journey to mars trying to keep your poorly constructed airship from falling apart so that you can make it to your destination and be the first person to have a picnic on mars.

The puzzles are well designed and I do like the style the game has chosen to go down, and while you might think that the portion of the game that requires you to make a cup of tea before any puzzle is filler it definitely adds to the feel of the game because any true Victorian gentleman wouldn’t start their day without a good cup of tea, even if the only water available in space seems to be salt water.

The price might be a little offputting considering the game is very short and you’re likely to complete it in less than an hour, however saying that it is quite a unique experience so there aren’t many other options with regards to obtaining a two player puzzling experience like this. I would suggest as a single player you might have better options as this is definitely designed for two people to enjoy together and that is where the real legs of the game is, and once you know the puzzles it essentially uses up most of the replayability short of trying to speedrun the game or get all of the achievements. This being said if the price is too high for you I would suggest waiting for a sale until it comes down to a price you’re more happy to pay and then getting it then.

I did expect a few more hours of puzzles and gameplay out of the experience but still enjoyed very much what was there, and I can see that the multiplayer version of the game is very much the main selling point here.

If you’re looking for a casual quirky two player puzzle experience with awkward mild challenges then this is the game for you, and the fact that it has a quirky Victorian papercraft style is definitely a big positive for me.

Get 39 days to mars for yourself on steam at https://store.steampowered.com/app/504920/39_Days_to_Mars/