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Games I won’t review – Steam Summer Sales 2017 edition

So it’s Steam Summer Sale time. Usually I buy nothing at these sales despite always having 30+ games in my wishlist being on sale every time. But I was bored so I picked up a few games. So I figure I’d do a “Games I won’t review” post for this year’s “haul”.

The reason for them not getting a few review or a standalone “Game I won’t review” post is because they’re slightly older games and not really worth dedicating a post to at this point.

There’s 2 games I got that are newer and probably still relevant to make a fuller review of, so I’ll have that coming hopefully soon if I get far enough in them (otherwise I’ll “not-review” them in a similar post to this).

Let’s go!

Barony

Barony

This is a first-person action-RPG roguelite dungeon-crawler… That’s a lot of words. So you go into a semi-randomly generated dungeon, with random enemies, random loot scattered all over the place, random drops from enemies, and the exit to get to the next floor is randomly-placed. I do say semi-randomly because each floor is gonna have a lot of similarities through each run like the enemy selection and repeating room designs.

There’s not much strategy to the combat. You can attempt to block with a shield (or torch, because you’ll always be holding a torch or lantern if you want to see). I tend to just button mash and hope not to die. Your HP does regenerate overtime but it’s very slow. Healing items are very rare. So early game is always pretty tough.

The weird part of the game is the loot system. When you pick something up you start appraising it. It’s automatic, once the meter gets to 100% you start appraising the next thing in your inventory (you can fail appraisal, but it will restart… sometimes skip to another item at random). At first this is very slow. But as you pick up more items and appraise them you level up your appraisal skills. You should wait before equipping anything you find, since it might be cursed and unremovable (unless you find a scroll of uncurse). The most important loot is food, because if you don’t eat enough you explode… but if it’s old and moldy you’ll just make yourself vomit and hungrier. I find that part a bit too random.

There’s several types of skills, like skills for every type of weapon, trading, leadership, appraisal and magic. You level those up by using them. Each character class starts with different power in those elements. Magic is learned from books, but you need good enough magic skill to learn them.

Overall I think this is a pretty okay game. The graphics are a bit too Minecrafty to me, and I find the combat loses the little depth it has as you level up even just a bit and become nearly unkillable (unless the random minotaur comes into the floor you’re in). But since drops are random, you’re more likely after the first floor or 2 to get killed by hunger than anything else.

Note: When launching the game there’s an “Editor” option, maybe you can create levels or something? I dunno. Also there is multiplayer.

Downwell

Downwell

Hey it’s another roguelite. This one’s a.. falling platformer? You’re essentially going down a really large well that’s randomly generated. If you’re in the air you shoot downwards, which gives you a bit of upwards momentum so you kinda hover in the air. You also kill enemies by jumping on them, though enemies that have even the most subtle spikes will hurt you instead. Shooting uses charge, which recovers once you jump on an enemy or touch the ground.

The levels are randomly generated, and occasionally there’s openings that lead to gems, hearts or stores. Gems count as money to use in the store (there’s something called a “Gem High” if you get a lot in a row, not too sure what that does), hearts are actually different weapons (and also they heal you one HP), and in store you can get extra charge, healing, or extra max health.

The goal of each run is to get as far down as possible without dying, if you die you restart from the first level. Overall it’s a fun little game, it’s really simple and a decent time-waster.

Weird note: I had to go in the settings and download the “beta” version of the game for it to actually work. Without that I just had a black screen. Weird.

Guild of Dungeoneering

Guild of Dungeoneering

Hey look it’s another roguelite of sorts. Not exactly, but it has some elements, like permadeath and lots of randomness. You have a guild, which starts with just a couple rooms. You can buy more rooms by using gold you get from going into dungeons. Each room does something different, such as unlocking a character class, give a new choice of buffs, or unlock new equipment.

Dungeons aren’t exactly randomly generated. They are grids, and some spaces on these grids are filled up which is the same every time you go in that specific dungeon. The game plays in a turn-based manner, sort of. At the beginning of every turn you’ll have a hand of cards. The cards can be monsters, treasures and rooms. You place rooms in an attempt to get to whatever your objective is in this particular dungeon. Once you either end your turn by clicking the button or playing 3 cards, your character moves automatically. He will usually go towards a monster (or whatever the goal is if there’s a possible path to there), but you can grab the character’s attention with treasure. Once your turn is done, if the dungeon has enemies capable of moving, they’ll move. Note that you do want to fight monsters, since that’s how you level up.

If you end a turn on the same space as an enemy (or if they end their turn on your’s), you go into battle. Each character class starts with a small deck of combat cards, as does each enemy type. Cards will have a variety of symbols. Attacks, shields, hearts, cards, lightning, crossed out shields, and sometimes a bit of text. Shields stop attacks of the same color, unless there’s a crossed out shield in the opponent’s card. If there’s a lightning bolt on your card your attack will go off first (otherwise the enemy attacks at the same time as you). The goal of every battle is simply to get the enemy’s hearts to 0 before he does it to you.

If you win a battle (or open a chest) you get a prize, which will be a piece of equipment for one of your equipment slots: head, weapon, body, offhand. Equipment gives you new cards, and occasional stat boosts or buffs. At the end of a level you gain access to more missions, and your character gains battle scars (which may lead to behavioral changes, or buffs, or nerfs). If you lose a battle, your character dies. You’ll get a new character of that class after doing another level though, but any battle scars are lost.

Overall this is a pretty fun game, if you’re not into randomness though this isn’t for you. Even I find it a bit annoying, as you can sometimes lose battles just because you didn’t draw good cards (which can be mitigated, but not always).

The Legend of Dark Witch

This is a side-scrolling platformer very much in the vein of Mega Man. Very simple, jump, shoot, go right. Jump over holes, kill enemies, get to the portal at the end of the level and fight a boss. Shooting goes as fast as you can mash (unlike Mega Man which limits the number of shots on screen).

As you kill enemies you get butterflies, which are a form of energy called Tres, to come to you. Those fill up a Gradius-style upgrade menu. You can increase your movement speed, your wings (basically you can glide longer the higher level they are), line or comet shot (adds projectiles to each, but upgrading one brings you back to level 1) and power (amount of damage your bullets do). The butterflies are useful for more than that though, as, whether you beat a level or don’t, you keep them in the level select screen and you can buy more base updates beyond the ones you get from the Gradius-style system. In addition to those 2 upgrade systems, you can find power-ups hidden in the levels, 2 per level. Some by shooting invisible things (literally you won’t find then unless you randomly shoot everywhere and see a shot hitting nothing) or jumping in specific spots (which you won’t find unless you jump around randomly). Beating a level gives you the boss’ weapon, which can also be upgraded.

One of the unique things here is that you can actually block attacks, but it’s REALLY hard. Basically you need to press left or right at what seems like the same frame the attack hits you. While it’s not something you NEED to master, some of the bosses do like to send out lots of projectiles. I assume if you get good at this mechanics this game becomes a lot easier.

It’s pretty fun. Level design is really simplistic, the upgrade system makes it a bit easier to go through but it is quite difficult anyways since the boss battles are all pretty complicated.

Transistor

This is a game I probably should’ve bought quite a bit ago, but I kept forgetting. It’s by the makers of Bastion, which was a pretty okay game with a really unique presentation.

This game still takes on the 3/4 view of Bastion, but it’s a very different game. You play as “Red”, wielding big weird blue sword called Transistor. After some event (I still don’t know) Red lost her voice, so you have Transistor talking all the time. He takes on a similar role to the narrator from Bastion, but more directly involved. The game is beautiful, lots of cool colors that really blend nicely in this futuristic design.

As for the gameplay, so far I kinda fall about at the same place I did with Bastion. Not amazing, but not bad. This is an action-RPG. You have up to 4 attacks you can use, each set to one of the face buttons. But going all action isn’t exactly ideal. There’s a feature called “Turn()”, where you can stop time by pressing R2, plan out your movement and attacks, then press R2 again to execute. This does make Red move a lot faster than the enemies. However after doing that you have to run away and most of your attacks stop working. Jaunt() doesn’t, so you can dash away with that. You have to then wait for Turn() to refresh so you can attack again. That to me is kinda annoying. Maybe there’s something I’m missing though.

A lot of the game is played outside of combat, with you planning how you want your attacks to work. They’re called Functions, and they do several things. All of them are separate attacks that you can set to one of the 4 buttons. All of them are also modifiers that you can equip to your attacks (for various boosts). And all of them are also passive boosts you can apply to Red herself. You’re limited by the number of memory blocks you have (each function takes a specific amount), but that’s something that can get upgraded. This is actually quite cool since you can customize a lot and try all sorts of combos.

When you level up, you get a choice of 2 new functions, and you occasionally get choices of other things like Limiters. So your Red is quite likely to end up a bit different from someone else’s. Limiters are nerfs of sort, which serve to increase the amount of experience you get from battles.

Overall I do find it quite enjoyable, and at the point I’m at I do find the story quite intriguing. The gameplay is a bit iffy to me, but not bad at all. I like the idea, but having to wait like 5 seconds to recover after a Turn() is a bit weird to me since there’s not much you can do there and running around trying not to get hit isn’t exactly fun. Though maybe leveling up will just keep making the game better. (and I did just get a cool combo that helps with the running away thing)

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