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The Alphabet Challenge

ESkemp

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So Northmark: Hour of the Wolf? Pretty easy. Beat it in under 3 hours.

It is, basically, a deckbuilder RPG. Choose one of four classes, build a team of up to three minions, assemble a deck of spells and equipment, and then go running around doing quests and fighting in PVE arenas to accumulate cards and gold to purchase more cards. Probably the most unexpected thing was that some locations have hidden areas, so there are secret stashes and chests to find, and the chests have riddle-locks to crack. Which was a nice diversion.

I liked it better that I expected. The story was a ball of fantasy cliche with a few references (like running into an orangutan librarian), the art was pretty average, there were a lot of typos/translation errors(?) in the final encounter, and the actual card battle game itself wasn't hard. There were a couple of points where I had to step back and rebuild my deck for a tougher opponent, but the difficulty curve was pretty gentle. The standout for me was the music: whoever they got to compose the soundtrack, it was almost Skyrimish in some points, which made it rather easy to keep playing. It was a relaxing way to while away twenty minutes or so at a time.

Which brings me to O. I'd already picked out the game I wanted to play here a while back: Open Sorcery, a text-based game in which you nurture the burgeoning sapience of an Elemental Firewall -- an elemental bound with C++. I don't know much of anything about programming, but the game has received a fair amount of praise, and I admit I'm intrigued. This one probably won't take me too long, either -- it strikes me as the sort of game designed to encourage many playthroughs so you see how the narrative changes, and by necessity that means they're probably short. How Long To Beat puts it at about an hour. But attractive as the short length is, I'm really more fascinated by the premise.
 

Aspeon

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Got to the credits in Full Bore, but I'm not done with it yet- only 45% world completion, and after the credits they give you another lead to follow up on story-wise. I don't plan to 100% it, but I'm going back through the first area right now, and it's interesting how what I've learned later in the game makes the early puzzles easier.

Thanks for the advice, everyone, Guacamelee sounds like the winner for the Gs. The sequel came out last year and the reviews for it sounded like the series would be something I'd enjoy.

(I already have the next two queued up: Hitman: Blood Money and Iconoclasts)
 

evilmrhenry

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For E, I played Epistory: Typing Chronicles. Missed a couple collectables, but don't feel like going out of my way to grab them. It has themes of rebuilding the world, which isn't something I see all that often. My main issue is the level of difficulty. Specifically, you don't have health, so any monsters can kill you with one hit. It has adaptive difficulty, but I sure died a lot. I enjoyed the story, but it suffers a bit from Dear Esther Syndrome, where the story is so heavily focused on emotion that it doesn't bother to tell you what events the emotion comes from. You end up taking half the game to figure out what's actually going on so you can emphasize properly. It's nowhere near as bad as Dear Esther was, but the ending still caught me by surprise.
 

Pieta

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Still working my way through The Chariot. I gotta say, this game is beatiful. Hauntingly so, even. The visuals, the music, even the way the wheels of the chariot rustle in the grass and the wind rushes past you if you get up to a decent speed, this game is amazingly well done.

I managed to make it through the mandatory platformer ice world. Slippery platforms are something else when you have two "bodies" to take care of, each with their own momentum, and only one of them under your direct control. It could get quite frustrating at times. On the other hand, it was an experience quite unlike all the other mandatory platformer ice worlds out there. Very memorable.

Next up - lava world. I see a lot of sudden death in my near future.
 

Phantom Stranger

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I am now relegating Freecell Quest to 'when I have ten minutes or so in my day' to continue, having burned through about half of it in 23 hours.

Up next: Grim Fandango Remastered.

Progress Meter:
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
(Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, Big Pharma, Carmageddon: Max Damage, The Detail, Ellipsis, Freecell Quest, Grim Fandango Remastered)
 

evilmrhenry

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Completed Frogger 2: Swampy's Revenge (PS1). (All coins on all levels, though I didn't play all of the retro minigames.) This game is somewhat unusual, based on rapid and precise movement on a grid instead of the pixel-based movement found in most action games. (I've seen this in the Frogger series and Zapper, and no place else.) I played the original Playstation era Frogger when I was younger, and this was basically what I expected from the sequel. (And those cutscenes! Early CGI for the win, I guess?)
It is on the short side, but the mechanics aren't really deep enough to support a longer game.

The life system hurts the game. If you run out of lives, you have to restart the level, but it requires a trip to the main menu and two loading screens to do it. Plus, you can complete the previous level with only one life, which means that your first mistake will leave you at the main menu, at which point you restart the level and get 5 lives. This could really have been streamlined a bit.
 

Pieta

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And just when I thought I'll have The Chariot all to myself, the kid suddenly remembered it and wants to play more. It's no surprise, the game is really fun... but our joint save is at the stage where the game starts ramping up the difficulty. Tonight it took us 78 minutes to get through a single level, and we skipped anything not mandatory. Some sections were really brutal - several minutes long sections where a single mistake could send you to the start; with turning the chariot over, an otherwise very common occurence, counting as one of those mistakes.

It's also interesting how having a second player could change which sections count as easy or difficult. Sometimes having the help of a second player is a huge boon, even when that player is seven; sometimes, conditions are so cramped the other players really gets in your way, or you're missing easy jumps because you had the platform you hoped to land on literally pulled out from under you.
 

Trilobite

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Not much to add to my alphabet this month, just C and L:

Cibele - I almost liked this, but man, the guy in it? Instant dislike for that dude, from the very first thing he said, and my opinion never wavered throughout the whole experience. It made it much harder to connect to this artsy little mood piece than I would've liked. The 'game' you play in it is bad, too, even without having to spend time with him. It's super-short, though, and the exploration of her character through what's on her computer is fun.

LEGO The Hobbit - It's a LEGO game, with everything that entails. It's cute, it's very straightforward when it isn't being maddeningly obtuse, it's amusing, you get to break a lot of stuff along the way. 100%ed this mofo, because why not? It's a mid-tier LEGO effort: fun, but no surprises.

(I also replayed Sleeping Dogs since it had been ~4 years and I felt the need to get a little Hong Kong martial arts melodrama into my life, but I'm not counting that toward this challenge.)

Done: ABCFILY
Remaining: DEGHJKMNOPQRSTUVWXZ
On Deck: Dishonored 2's still intimidating me, but I have to buckle down and finish it. E might be Else Heart.Break(). G's a toss-up between Grim Fandango Remastered or Gunpoint. Or maybe I'll let What Remains of Edith Finch jump the queue?
 

ESkemp

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So technically I've finished Open Sorcery twice, in less than two hours of play. It's a very quick text adventure with a lot of interesting factors: essentially, you play an elemental spirit bound by technomancy to protect a small network of a school, a nursing home, and the homes of your two creators, and over the course of roughly a week you can evolve, expand your parameters, and run into a lot of weird endings. So far I've managed to beat the final challenge twice, dying in the process once and just barely surviving a second time. It's the sort of game where there are a lot of achievements for things you can find in the narrative, from the Save Everyone perfect ending to betraying your creators.

With a good end under my belt, I'm going to count this as completed, even though it was so quick it almost felt like cheating. (The only faster games I've played to completion are The Eigengrau Menagerie, Monster Prom, and The Yawhg, so for anyone looking for very fast E, M, O, and/or Y games, here you go.) I do want to go back in and chase more achievements, see what a perfect run looks like, but it's the sort of game where that would be a nice breather activity between longer games. Like, play through P, do some more Open Sorcery, move on to Q, play R, maybe another Open Sorcery run, whatever. I don't want to get sick of this lovely little game.

So, yes... play through P, that's on deck now. I've had a largely narrative game streak from L-O, with a quick N diversion for a card/puzzle RPG, and it's time to mix it up more. Haven't played a platformer in a while, and turns out I've got a rather famous one in my library that I never got around to when it was on console. The one thing I know about it is that apparently I'm gonna hate the Meat Circus. Like Grim Fandango before it, I'm finally getting around to another Double Fine production in the form of Psychonauts.
 

Trilobite

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The Meat Circus is actually a little better now than it was on the original XBox release. It's still...well, it's still probably going to be your most hated level of the game, but at least the one ladder jump that was ultra-finicky is now significantly easier.

But man, it's a good game. Lots of fun.
 
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