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10th March 2019: I Just Want A Cherry

After all the tinkering I've been doing recently, I decided a game needed to be finished. To that end, I ran through a very short game that released about a year ago. This thing, which is called Chuchel, was an absolutely bizarre experience. It's supposed to be a point and click puzzle game, but it didn't really feel like that to me, as there was very little to work out. You just have to click on a few different things on each screen, and the weird little characters would do their thing and let you advance to the next level.

The basic plot is that a strange little creature really wants to eat a cherry, but things keep transpiring to prevent him from getting to it. Very reminiscent of Scrat after the acorn in the Ice Age films.
The art style was very fun, and strange, almost in a Monty Python kind-of way, and it was a refreshing change to go through.

Don't you dare take my cherry!

Don't you dare take my cherry!

Yep, this happened

Yep, this happened

Just give me back my cherry!

Just give me back my cherry!

Evil snow man does not like it when I piss up him

Evil snow man does not like it when I piss up him

Little Chuchel turns to the dark side

Little Chuchel turns to the dark side

Spooky ghost!

Spooky ghost!

2nd January 2019: I'm Too Sexy For My Mask

Just got done with another short puzzle game from a couple of years ago, that goes by a very strange name.

The weird name is because it's named after the game's setting, a huge hotel/casino called The Sexy Brutale. In this casino, the same twelve hours play out over and over in a Groundhog Day-style event, during which all of the guests are murdered by the staff. You play as Lafcadio Boone, someone who up to now had been just like any of the other guests, murdered over and over, but who has now broken free of this cycle of death with help from a strange ghostly woman who is covered in blood and looks like she is missing her skin. Lovely.
As Boone, it's now up to you to travel around the location as the day repeats and do whatever you can to prevent the murders. If that wasn't tricky enough, you have to do all this without being seen by any staff or any of the other guests, instead changing the surroundings and manipulating events to achieve the goal.

I've got to say, for the most part, I really liked this game. It was a very interesting idea to have to follow the NPCs around for a day or two, learning their patterns and who they interact with, and trying to figure out how to save them when the day inevitably resets. I don't think I've ever played a game even remotely like it before.

There were one or two frustrating things in terms of the puzzles, mostly because I didn't have my thinking cap on at the time, and they all seemed so simple when I realised the solution. If there were any real problems with the game it was just with the narrative in general, as when it's all explained at the end, I thought the story was pretty crappy.
There were also some things that didn't make mechanical sense. For example, most of the items you could pick up during the day would be lost when the day reset, and could be found back in their original positions. But some remained with you through the reset, and I didn't understand why.

I also didn't understand the significance of all the masks. See, every character in the game is wearing a mask, and when you save them, they take their mask off and leave it for you to find. Each mask gives you a special ability that was possessed by its owner, such as lockpicking for example, which will then help you progress and save other people. I just didn't get how putting a mask on could give you powers. It was a bit weird.
But then again, the whole game was weird, especially when you find out what the whole thing is all about at the end.

Overall, certainly worth a play through, and hopefully I'll play it again in a few years when I've forgotten it all.

Apparently it's normal around here to dissolve into a pool of blood

Apparently it's normal around here to dissolve into a pool of blood

Spying on two of the other guests/victims

Spying on two of the other guests/victims

Someone getting mojo'd by a voodoo fish

Someone getting mojo'd by a voodoo fish

Flamin' eck!

Flamin' eck!

Strange character hangs in a pool of his own tears

Strange character hangs in a pool of his own tears

19th December 2018: Go Go Gorogoa

Just quickly blitzed through a very short puzzle game that I recently picked up from GOG, called Gorogoa. The game's design, and the concept of its puzzles, are all very interesting.

The entire thing is played out on a 2 by 2 grid, with each square acting as a sort of picture frame. Within these squares, you drag around and manipulate the provided images to build a path for a small boy to move through the strange landscape, as he tries to collect five coloured fruits or stars that he has seen on a monster or dragon. Well at least, that's what I think was going on, but to be honest I have no idea.

All in all it was a pleasant, short, brain-bending experience. Though even on sale at £6 it was still quite steep, as it only took about 2 hours or so.

Trying to figure things out

Trying to figure things out

Making some progress

Making some progress

I have no idea what's going on

I have no idea what's going on

I think that means I did it?

I think that means I did it?

23rd August 2017: Using My Little Grey Cells

Today I finished Agatha Christie - The ABC Murders, a game based on the book, and featuring Hercule Poirot as the main protagonist. I thought I'd like this, not only because it looked like a puzzle game, but because I used to like watching Poirot in the early 90s with my folks. Alas, unfortunately, this game was pretty bad.

At heart, it is a point and click adventure game where you, as Poirot, have to unravel the mystery of the ABC murders. These are a series of linked murders where the killer is choosing victims and locations in alphabetical order. I was hoping for way more puzzles than what I got, or at least, for way more thinking and putting clues together. But there was very little of either. Even the puzzles that were in the game were pretty crappy and in most cases made no sense. For example, at one point Poirot wants to play a record on an old gramophone, but you have to go through this whole mess of opening secret panels and entering codes to get the thing to work. It left me wondering if that was needed every time someone wanted to use that gramophone, and if so, why? Made no sense at all.

The character animations were pretty weak and basic, especially for Poirot who had this weird, awkward walk. I guess good animations aren't really necessary for a game like this, but they would have been nice. What is needed though is good voice acting, and this game fell way short in that regard. Whoever voiced Poirot, while getting the accent pretty much right, kept pronouncing words wrong by missing out entire letters. It was strange. I guess he might not have been a native English speaker, but wow. Where was the voice director for those cock ups? The worst actor though was whoever voiced Inspector Japp. If you've ever seen Richard Ayoade's portrayal of Moss in the IT Crowd, imagine that type of voice, but by someone who has no talent or interest in the job he's doing. It was awful.

Overall, it was a pretty clunky thing to get through, with constant fade-outs not only to transition from one scene to another, but even within the same scenes. A good job it was such a short game, and as such it didn't waste too much of my time.

Mon ami, Mr. Moustache

Mon ami, Mr. Moustache

Putting some clues together

Putting some clues together

Time heals all things, except these crazy eyes

Time heals all things, except these crazy eyes

The killer strikes again

The killer strikes again

Poirot's observation skills seem to be lacking

Poirot's observation skills seem to be lacking

I didn't realise Jenny Agutter was alive in 1935

I didn't realise Jenny Agutter was alive in 1935

There is a murderer amongst us

There is a murderer amongst us

Naughty boy

Naughty boy

28th November 2016: Brothers & Transistors: A Tale Of Two Games

Next up was Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons. This was an interesting little platformy-puzzle-thing where you control two brothers at the same time, one with the left stick and one with the right. I was surprisingly ok with this, and could control them both simultaneously for the most part, as long as I kept the left-stick brother on the left side of the screen and right-stick brother to the right. If they ever got mixed up for any reason then my brain would soon get all muddled and I'd have those kids running in completely the wrong directions.

The plot is simple, and follows the brothers as they set out to retrieve a cure for their dying father, after losing their mother before the start of the game. Along the way they meet all kinds of weird and wonderful characters who will either try and help them or hinder them.
It seems to be known mostly for being an emotional narrative-driven game, and I've seen reviewers online gush about the effect it had on them. Call me cold or soulless, but I didn't get that much of a response from playing it at all. I guess the biggest reason for that was the length of the game. As it only lasts about 3-4 hours, there's not really much of a chance to get invested in the characters at all, especially as they don't even speak (or at least, speak in a language we can understand).
The end of the game also annoyed the hell out of me. For a start, the main villain, who up to that point had already displayed incredible feats of strength and agility, gets absolutely destroyed by two little children in very quick fashion. Just wouldn't happen. And to top it off, the writers of the game came down with a bout of sheer Lord Of The Rings-itus when a weird owl/cat creature shows up out of nowhere to save the day and fly the cure all the way back to the starting location so that the father can get it. I just didn't understand how that creature even knew where the kids were to go and help. Had me groaning with disappointment to be honest.

Narrative issues aside, it was a perfectly fine game to play through, barring a couple of little irritations. Mostly, I hated how the camera kept rotating automatically all the time. I dearly wished it would just stay pointing forward. Also, it wasn't always clear when I had to keep hold of the interact buttons or when I could let go of them. Quite often, a cutscene would start as I interacted with something. Sometimes, this cutscene would play even if I let go of the button, but other times it would cancel the cutscene and I'd have to start it again. A minor quibble, but a quibble nonetheless.
Overall though, definitely worth a playthrough, but like Transistor, it's highly unlikely I'll ever play it again.

Troll dude throws them kids off his front lawn

Troll dude throws them kids off his front lawn

To me. To you. To me.

To me. To you. To me.

WTF

WTF

The brothers have a goat race

The brothers have a goat race

Someone's been playing Trine

Someone's been playing Trine

I wanna go for a ride on that!

I wanna go for a ride on that!

Not one for the arachnophobes

Not one for the arachnophobes

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