Author Archives: St. Elmo's Fire

Hacknet

Hacknet is a game I picked up on Steam for cheap. Its premise is that it’s a “hacking simulator”: A prominent hacker has been murdered, and his deadman switch contacts you and gives you a copy of his hacking software. You’re told to investigate the truth behind his murder and the project he was working on. Sounds like a cool cyberpunk romp!

…But unfortunately, only a small part of the game is about that. Most of the campaign requires slowly building up rapport with various hacker groups, which takes the bog-standard form of accepting utterly trite and banal contracts like hacking someone’s video game account to give them more points or modifying a resume. Even for the potentially more interesting ones, you never get any greater context for who’s sending them or why, because you’re just a mercenary and anonymity is sacred.

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Christmas Steam Games (2019)

Another year, another crop. I put this off for a while because I was hoping to be able to rejigger a few games that had trouble playing on my computer, but no such luck. You’ll have to wait for reviews of FezMages of Mystralia, and The Talos Principle when (if) I upgrade my hardware.

Inside: Hexcells, Her Story, Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight, Gravitas, Disoriented, OVIVO.

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Twelve Forever

Twelve Forever is a cartoon about a girl who wants to be, you guessed it, twelve forever. This desire manifests through the ability to transport herself to an alternate dimension, the aptly-named Endless. In this world, she is granted the powers of a superhero and is able to play and indulge her childish fantasies to her heart’s content; however, on her twelfth birthday, Endless becomes haunted by the Buttwitch, a demon representing her fears of puberty and adulthood who seeks to destroy her and her paradise.

Unsurprisingly, like most of the story-based cartoons we get these days, this is a coming-of-age story about the fear of growing up. I therefore did not expect much of it, as I always feel a disconnect with the genre. I am an adult who has already come of age, and many of the typical coming-of-age stories hold little to no relation to my own experience, with many of them being uncomfortably normative in their push of heterosexual and neurotypical life experiences. (Can we please stop having stories about extremely flirtatious tweens finding their soulmates at age 12, it’s deeply creepy.) I can enjoy them as a narrative and even as a good message for kids, but I often feel at a very far remove on a personal level.

That was not the case in this show. The characters all felt devastatingly real and relatable to my own childhood and life outlooks.

There will be some vague spoilers here, so you should probably watch it yourself. It’s only one season because it was tragically canceled, but I think it still holds up well as a complete product.

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Bonfire Demo

Bonfire, which I reviewed years ago, is finally getting an expansion into a full game. The demo is out if you want to try it.

Bonfire is a tactical roguelike RPG. I greatly enjoyed the original alpha, though unfortunately, I have to say I’m finding the new demo less fun so far. In The alpha, there were no lasting consequences for failing a quest, but now, you’re severely punished with the loss of extremely scarce long-term resources for letting even a single character get defeated. This exacerbates the problem the alpha already had of locking you into very repetitive defensive strategies if you want to survive.

I do like the other changes, however. The alpha felt like a tech demo, but this feels like a full RPG, and some of the new mechanics address my other big criticisms of the original. Hopefully the rough edges can be sanded off by the time of the full release.

Coromon Demo

Hey everyone! A game I’ve been following for a while just got a demo release, so check it out maybe.

Coromon is a shameless Pokemon clone, warts and all. Random encounters? Yes. Glassy characters combined with lasting damage combined with those random encounters making every dungeon a grueling slog you have to level grind your way through? Yep. IVs? For some reason they made them not just a core gameplay mechanic but a central plot point as well. Does none of that bother you? Then you’ll like this.

I’d say this can best be described as “Pokemon lite” — the type system is severely flattened to a mere 7 types, only 5 of which are true elemental types, and there is no dual-typing. Only one of them has more than one weakness, so battles are almost always solved games with one possible counter to any opponent. I found this very disappointing, but I’m willing to see how it plays out in the full game.

Also, it has a non-silent protagonist! I know that is something that’s been discussed on this blog before, so you can see how that shakes out in practice.

Iconoclasts

A Metroidvania recommended to me by a games rec Tumblr I follow. It main claim to fame is that it was all made by a single person, over the course of a decade.

This is not a Metroidvania by my definition. It is completely linear from beginning to end, upgrades are minimal, and using new abilities in old areas is exceedingly rare.

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Final Fantasy Tactics, or, What Are the Real Monsters?

I just finished watching an LP of Final Fantasy Tactics. I had heard many good things about it, but could never get far in it when it came out, because the actual game is an overdesigned kudzu of a slot machine. But that’s besides the point.

The beginning lives up to the hype. Nothing else does. This is because it’s a bait-and-switch I have grown to become familiar with in fantasy video games, particularly Final Fantasy.

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Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2

So, I decided to try out Devil Survivor 2. I reviewed the first game a while back; this one is a spiritual successor kind of sequel, with no direct relation to the first game’s events. I did not like it nearly as much. The characters are a pack of annoying anime cliches and the plot is virtually nonexistent outside of the final Big Choice, which is just more “the answer lies in the middle” propaganda. I couldn’t even be bothered to do a NG+ for this one.

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[12] The Other Pokereviews, Part 154

Standing on the corpse of its mother was a young Cyndaquil who was crying for all to hear, which would only give its location away to those Pokémon who would see it as prey. From his location, Bastion could tell that the Pokémon was male.

“Poor little guy!” Bastion muttered out and seeing that the Pokémon was all alone he decided that he was going to capture and care for him.

From the sight of the creature, Bastion guessed that he was only a few days old and even then that could be a stretch. This would allow Bastion to capture the Pokémon pretty easily since the Cyndaquil had most likely not learned how to properly defend himself yet.

A few decent fics in addition to this, though.

Anime: 4

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The Other Pokeauthors, Part 153

“I type how I type, and how I type is how I type. You’re the only one to have brought it up so far. If it was something that was irking everyone, then I would have corrected it. But, people can understand what is being presented, so I don’t see a reason to go through and pick through all the little details…” But they do have time to whine about it, apparently.

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