20th November 2022: Dox In A Box
Recently played through an absolute brain-bender of a puzzle game called Patrick's Parabox.
Initially I was a bit cheesed off. I'd had my eye on this for ages on itch.io, where it seems to be DRM free. I was just waiting for it to go on sale. Then one day, I saw it on sale on Steam. I could find no information about its DRM status on that platform, but thinking a little indie game like this would surely be DRM free there as well, I took the plunge. It didn't take long to find out I had been incredibly mistaken, when I tried to back it up and play it on my main, Steam-less, machine.
So after I sighed my frustrations out, I got down to playing. So, what's it all about?
In this game, you play as a little square, and you have the task of pushing other squares around until the necessary spaces on the level have the correct kind of square on them. Sounds pretty easy, right?
Well think again.
Things start to get really weird really quickly, when you start pushing squares into, through, and out of one another, including into and out of themselves in seemingly infinite loops.
The game progresses through a bunch of different stages, where each stage contains a bunch of puzzles and side puzzles that all center around a similar theme or mechanic. As you would imagine, at the start of the game, these mechanics are quite simple, requiring only a little bit of thought. But as the game continues, some of these newly introduced mechanics and ideas started to blow my brain.
Each stage only requires you to beat a certain amount of puzzles in order to advance to the next, but early on in the game I planned on clearing all of the puzzles. However, a few puzzles started to creep in here and there which I simply couldn't wrap my head around. And before long, especially nearer the end of the game, I was finding it hard to beat enough puzzles to get to the next stage.
The last stage, called Multi Infinite, warped my brain so much that I put the game down for a week just to reset, before going back and managing to beat it. Phew.
I continued my adventures through the weird and twisted landscapes of DARQ, by playing through the two DLCs.
Both DLCs use a new mechanic, in that you can control your head separately to your body, by rolling it around through small gaps and such. The difference is that, in the second DLC, called The Crypt, this mechanic was overdone to the point of frustration. The amount of times I had to switch back and forth between my body and head to try things in a slightly different way or slightly different order had me ready to throw my computer out of the window.
The first DLC, The Tower, was a lot more enjoyable. The puzzles just seemed to make more logical sense to me, and there was less frustration.
I remember watching the old Karate Kid movies as a kid, and I guess I enjoyed them as much as anyone else did back then. But I've never really thought back on them with any kind of fondness like I do for films like The Goonies or Gremlins, for example.
So who would have thought that the Cobra Kai series would end up being one of my favourite things over these past few years?
A little while back, a beat 'em up game based on the series was released. It only seemed right that I grab Scoob and bring him along for some merciless beat downs on our opponents.
For the most part, the game is just like any other beat 'em up, where you travel from left to right wailing on opponents with a variety of different skills. But there's a strange thing about this game. Well, at least for a game that is supposedly based in "reality", anyway. And this is that the characters can unleash all kinds of strange attacks, like explosions and ice spikes and so forth. This is explained away by the whole plot being a flashback, with two of the kids from the show re-telling events to their school headteacher, and dramatically overexaggerating.
Now, we like beat 'em ups, and for the most part enjoyed this one as well. But all of these wild explosions and effects happening all over the screen often made it difficult to see exactly what was going on, and this brought the enjoyment down for us. It was just chaos all over the screen. There were also a lot of issues with the camera, like enemies being off screen and able to hit us, while we couldn't move the camera to see them and hit them back.
Add in the fact that the game felt like it took a lot longer to play through than most other games of this type, and because of this we've gotten a bit of burnout.
This means that, while we completed the Cobra Kai campaign, we still need to play through the Miyagi-Do campaign to fully complete the game. However, I simply don't know at the moment, whether we, or just I, will return to it at a later date.