when you encounter
one of your kind
you must use their own
weapons against them
four types of poets.
can you best them all?
The answer, if you’re wondering, is “no.” The concept of a slam poetry sim might sound silly–and Edda is quite lighthearted–but it took way too many attempts to best even one out of the four poets, demonstrating that silly or no, these poets aren’t kidding around. To my great shame, I had to look up what an eddic poem is and learned that they are alliterative and rely on unstressed syllables, at which point I gave up understanding and started forming the silliest or faux-profound phrases I could. I’m particularly proud of to see the fire / with land aflame / with land weary / with land awake, though don’t ask me to explicate it.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015||No Comments »|
Three Fourths Home reads a bit like it was ripped from my nightmares, or at least the ones that involve talking in circles with my mom for several hours while I’m quizzed on my aspirations and ordered to come up with a 15-year plan on the spot. For that reason alone, it’s easy to recommend Three Fourths Home, though I very much suspect that some people will be frustrated by the simplicity and its artsiness.
Three Fourths Home takes about 20 minutes to complete. It has a narrative to tell and while there is space for player input–primarily in the creation of your family, your relationship with them slowly revealed through a series of choices–it sticks to its guns. Kelly’s not necessarily on bad terms with her family, but she’s an independent 24-year-old who finds herself chafing under house rules, and sometimes she just needs to get…away. On her way back home, however, she finds herself caught in a storm and ends up driving through the rain while taking a phone call from her mom.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Tuesday, April 21st, 2015||No Comments »|
Proof that text adventures aren’t synonymous with plain, Code 7 is a sci-fi horror game that manages to feel futuristic instead of retro. Taking place in an abandoned AI-research facility, the game opens with a two-man hacker team attempting to find each other, navigating puzzles and corpses alike while struggling to find out what’s happening.
But things are never simple, of course.
You play as Alex, a hacker whose communications system has been stripped down to text only. Your companion, Sam, needs your help to make her way through the locked doors. Death lurks around every corner, something’s lurking in the computers, and inputting the wrong command can lead to a game over, as I discovered to my chagrin a few times. The occasional hacking puzzle slows progress, but they are a minor frustration in an overall creepy and dark game.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Tuesday, April 7th, 2015||No Comments »|
In case you’ve ever dreamed about working inside AAA development, The Writer Will Do Something is here to deliver a cold dose of dream-crushing reality. Six months from shipping, your follow-up game to the highly successful ShatterGate(TM) series is facing some serious problems. Josh, your creative director, has called an emergency meeting, ostensibly to discuss the game’s problems but really to point fingers.
The Writer Will Do Something is a Twine game that manages to tap into true horror, horror that everyone can relate to. I dare you not to feel the same kind of panicked deer-in-the-headlights stress that the lead writer does as everyone unanimously blames you for the game’s problems. The sense of betrayal is thick, the urge to murder your coworkers is strong. Is there a way to salvage the meeting and find a solution that makes everyone happy?
My money’s on no.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Thursday, April 2nd, 2015||No Comments »|
I bought Sorcery! a while ago, but Inkle Studio’s 80 Days captured me so thoroughly that I basically forgot that they had other games. Which is a shame, really, because while 80 Days is a beautiful and captivating reimagining of a classic, Sorcery! takes on Steve Jackson’s magnum opus and translates it to the portable screen to frankly thrilling effect. The biggest change that Inkle Studio makes is including sound for an even more immersive experience.
The user interface is, unsurprisingly, changed to suit tablets and phones, but I’d argue that the fighting scenes are an improvement over rolling a set of dice and allow for more strategy on the fly. Text is kept fairly minimal, appearing in small chunks that you can read quickly before pressing onward for more options.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Friday, March 13th, 2015||No Comments »|
Clickhole is known more for their mockery of Buzzfeed than they are for their presence in video games, but demonstrating that there are no limits to their satire is The Mysterious Shadows Of Skullshadow Island. Spoofing text-based adventure games, The Mysterious Shadows follows the adventures of two mystery-solving brothers (TM) as they paddle out to a strange island that is rumored to be haunted.
Or, you know, be infested with drug dealers. Whichever seems more likely.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Wednesday, March 11th, 2015||No Comments »|
I don’t know who you are, player, but I want you, for at least a few minutes, to feel loved.
So writes the developer of Cat Petting Simulator 2014, a game that I entered with low expectations but was pleasantly surprised by. The warm fuzzies are overwhelming. I don’t know what it says about me or my expectations that I expected the cat to seize my hand and claw my palm, or for the toaster oven to burst into flames, or for something to burst through the door, but either way, I’m happy to see that my paranoia was unfounded. Cat Petting Simulator 2014 is really just a short text-based game about petting your cat and making her happy.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Thursday, March 5th, 2015||No Comments »|