Category: Walking Sims

Always Sometimes Monsters

As is now tradition, Farla bought me a smattering of indie games for Christmas. Most of them will come in a quickpost, but this one was so awful it gets its own.

To begin with, this is basically¬†The Name of the Wind: The Video Game. The developers apparently thought the best way to tell a story about the grueling monotony of modern life was to force players to do grueling monotonous tasks. My final playtime was somewhere around 9 hours, and maybe half of that was actually spent on plot. The gameplay consists of nothing but walking around at a mind-numbingly slow pace, talking to people to advance quests, and money grinding. It’s totally superfluous and maddeningly dull. This story might possibly have worked as a novel or movie, but it does not work as a game.

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Night in the Woods

This game is really good and you should play it. I cried so many times. It’s a bit small for a $20 game, but definitely pick it up if there’s a sale.

I briefly mentioned Night in the Woods during my review of Always Sometimes Monsters, and I think it’s time to go a bit more in-depth on that. Night in the Woods is an amazing example of how to do realistic right. It doesn’t just have realism, it has verisimilitude. The whole story, from beginning to end, is amazingly, painfully¬†real, not because of cynicism and darkness, but because of sentimentality and hope. I saw myself and the people I know in these characters and their relationships over and over again. This is a story about finding something to cling to in a world that’s falling apart, which I think is something a lot of people need right now — and the ending is eerily topical for something that started development in 2013.

Also, Demontower is super fun and the central mechanic is really clever.

Only thing you need to know that the game isn’t very clear about: whoever you hang out with on the first day, stick with them through the rest of the game.

Feel free to use this as a discussion post.

Wandersong

jegus why are there so many innocuous-looking fantasy titles that are actually incredibly depressing

Wandersong is an adventure game where, instead of an action hero, you play as a bard whose only ability is singing. You’re told that the world is ending and the only way to save it is to sing the Earthsong, which can only be taught by the spiritual overseers of the spirit world, so you have to go on a quest, solving all your problems along the way with singing.

The story takes a big swerve about halfway in and is actually incredibly dark and bleak, with later segments even borrowing elements from horror. This isn’t one of those fantasy stories where the apocalypse is an all-or-nothing abstract threat; the world and the overseers are slowly dying and you see them deteriorate in real time, all while the protagonists and NPCs contemplate the end of existence. It got to the point where I was genuinely expecting the ending to be “LOL j/k, world ends everyone dies.”

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