Pine – Kickstarter Game Based On Personal Illustrations By Tom Booth

Pine is a successfully funded Kickstarter game about a grieving woodcutter who lost his wife. What makes the game unique and even more interesting is that it is based on an internet-famous set of images from illustrator Tom Booth.

For the past 3-4 years he has been creating the story of the Wood Cutter based on his own deeply personal feelings of dealing with the death of a loved one. No one knows the whole story because Tom has said he wanted to “try something different” to tell his story – so here it is. He has chosen to do a kickstarter game. read more

Coral Island Kickstarter For Inclusive Farming Simulation Game

Coral Island – reimagining the farm sim game

Stairway Games is raising funds for Coral Island – reimagining the farm sim game on Kickstarter! A re-imagined farm sim game inspired by classics. Grow crops, nurture animals, and befriend the islanders.

One good kickstarter deserves another I guess. This is the second kickstarter I’m blogging about today, and is in some ways quite similar to the previous Ova Magica. Both kickstarters are still active at time of this posting.

This next kickstarter is titled Coral Island, and it aims to make inclusivity a big focus of its game. Bringing in characters of different races and ethnic backgrounds.

The gameplay itself looks fun. You date the townsfolk while tending the farm. You even have children and watch them grow into teens. And the other people of the village also grow older as well. read more

Cattails Become A Cat – PC Game Review Like Stardew Valley But With Cats

Ever wonder what would happen if you took Harvest Moon, Rune Factory, Or Stardew Valley and replaced all of the humans with cats? Me neither, until I played Cattails Become A Cat on Steam. It’s on sale right now for the winter steam sale, the biggest sale of the year, for a few more days.

So what is Cattails? I’ve only begun playing the game today, but it’s advertised as being “Like Stardew Valley But With Cats” and near as I can tell so far, that’s a very accurate description. It also reminds me of the children’s book series “Warriors” about various cat clans and lives of cats. read more

Viz Media and Rose City Games Partner to Create Video Games

rosecity

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

VIZ MEDIA AND ROSE CITY GAMES PARTNER TO LAUNCH A NEW PUBLISHING PROGRAM FOR INDEPENDENT VIDEO GAMES

 

The First Original Game To Be Published Is The World Next Door

Portland, OR, and San Francisco, CA, February 6, 2018 – Rose City Games and VIZ Media announce a partnership to debut original, narrative-driven games. VIZ Media, publisher of popular gaming adaptations for POKÉMON, SPLATOON, THE LEGEND OF ZELDA, HOMESTUCK, MONSTER HUNTER and more, will deepen its robust connection to the gaming world. Rose City Games, a leader in the rapidly-developing indie game scene, will introduce new and diverse voices from the world of indie games to the massive pop culture audience VIZ Media has cultivated since its founding. read more

Curious Expedition – Indie PC Game Review

Title: Curious Expedition

Genre: Adventure Game, Rogue Like

Developer: Maschinen-Mensch

Platform: PC, playable over Steam and also right in your web browser, stand-alone DRM free client coming soon

Release Date: May 19th, 2015

Retail Price: $14.99

Where to Buy: Steam: http://store.steampowered.com/app/358130/The_Curious_Expedition/ or Direct from the official website at http://curious-expedition.com/

Overall: 58 / 80 73% C “Good Game for Girls”

Overview: 8/10 Curious Expedition is a rogue-like adventure game with retro style pixel graphics. It puts you in the role of one of several famous explorers from history and lets you compete for fame and fortune. If you become the most famous explorer, you win, and are honored with a large statue in your likeness.

That is, if you can survive long enough to even return home from your expedition. The game uses some interesting mechanics such as a sanity meter, which when it gets low, bad things begin to happen. Mutiny breaks out among your crew, or random disasters begin to befall the group.

You can restore sanity by eating, drinking, or sleeping. There are also certain units you can recruit, or perks you can receive that increase your max sanity, making it a bit easier to explore without going insane.

There are other resources for you to manage as well, such as fresh water, ammo, first aid kits, torches to explore dungeons, ropes and climbing kits, and numerous other tools to help you discover treasure.

While out exploring you will sometimes enter into battle using various dice (amount of dice and colors of dice are determined by which party members you have with you at the time.)

You can always select from 2 different expedition routes, and are presented with a randomly generated objective to complete while on expedition. You can choose to return home after completing your objective, or continue to search for treasure to bring back.

Your movement speed is greatly reduced when your inventory is over burdened. This will make it even more challenging to manage your sanity and other resources. Terrain obstacles such as sand, snow, ice, mountains, and forests will also slow down your expedition and require careful resource management.

Perhaps the most unforgiving element is if you die, you get one chance to load your auto save, and then that’s it, you’ll have to start a new game. And you will die often. 6 expeditions may not sound like much, but I have yet to make it past the 5th.

The overall experience of the game left me both addicted, and annoyed. I have yet to successfully complete a full series of expeditions. But yet, I played all night, and can’t wait to get home to go on new expeditions.

Pros: Strangely addicting Gameplay paired with retro pixel graphics. D&D style dice-rolls and turn based combat system. Fairly large maps (I typically have to return home without fully exploring the maps). Rogue like elements make it great for multiple replays (but admittedly need some tweaks).

Cons: Normal mode is very challenging… like seriously challenging (There is an easy mode (which I have not tried) and an even more difficult mode as well though so this is not really a bad thing). My chief complaint of Curious Expedition is that there’s not enough choices in places to explore. Maps all feel very same-ish. Scenarios seem to repeat, and even when you get a new scenario, there’s nothing terribly unique about the quest to make it memorable or exciting. Need more maps, more variety in quests, more variety in classes, npcs, treasure, random events, etc. My other chief complaint is there’s no multiplayer mode. This seems like a great game for some multiplayer fun as it does show you how much fame/fortune your competitors are earning. It could even make a great persistent online game with credit going to players for being the first to discover new regions, items, animals, native people, etc. So much potential here for interesting multiplayer options, but instead, your competitors are always controlled by the computer. And lastly, my last complaint is that there’s no Steam Achievements. A game like this would be PERFECT for steam achievements. There are steam trading cards, but no achievements which seems once again like a missed opportunity to add some fun gameplay elements.

Geeky: 5/5 – The retro vibe and random rogue like elements, as well as references from D&D and other old school games make this a blast for all geeks who grew up with fond memories of the 80s/90s.

Sweetie: 3/5 – Although it is very text heavy, a lot of the text repeats and is not very interesting on subsequent playthroughs. However, there are some notable female playable characters that represent real women throughout history, which is just awesome. This game highlights women who did extraordinary things and emphasizes their brains over beauty, making this a great game for young girls.

Gameplay: 7/10 – When the game begins, you select which explorer you want to play as. Some will be locked and can be unlocked through game play to be used on subsequent playthroughs. You will be given a few supplies and some animal and human companions.

You’ll then be shown a map of the world. It will have many expedition points, but only ever 2 at a time will be selectable as your competition will be exploring the other parts of the world. Select one of the two routes and you’ll be offered a quest. You can either accept or reject the quest. I assume if you reject it, you can just freely explore the expedition area without a quest in mind. Or maybe you’re presented other quest options before embarking on your voyage. I’m not really sure.

If you can successfully complete a quest objective you’ll get a large bonus to fame and/or fortune. But if you fail the quest after choosing to accept it, you’ll lose a great deal of fame or fortune as well.

Before leaving the docks, you’re given time to buy supplies, and sometimes you will find new crew members who wish to join your expedition. You can only take 5 members at any time, so if you find new members you wish to recruit, you will have to part ways with someone else first.

While out exploring you are shown a map with perhaps a few areas uncovered, but largely, hidden from your view. You click around the map to move and explore. Points of interest or interaction are designated by a white question mark symbol. As you approach, they will reveal themselves to be one of several different locale such as:

Native Villages: Here you can recruit members for your expedition, buy, sell, trade, rest to restore sanity, compile research, complete various quest objectives, and more. Your likelihood of success depends on the villagers feelings towards you. These are determined by how long you’ve stayed in the village, as well as decisions you make to story prompts both inside and outside of the village, as well as certain class roles of your crew, and any special status conditions possessed by your crew, and lastly, the amount of trading you’ve done with the village thus far.

Caves: If you have a torch, or a class member with “perception” skills (blue dice roll with white eye symbol), you can usually safely explore the caves. If you choose to loot treasure, you may anger the gods, villagers, or spring a trap, but it’s almost always worth the risk, as you can trade the treasure in for fame or fortune after you return home.

Stone Circles: You can use these monuments to reveal more of the map.

Temples and Pyramids: Similar to caves, mostly used as a place to loot treasure which usually has some negative consequences as mentioned above, but still is imperative in raising your fame and fortune which is how you ultimately win the game.

There are different types of maps / expedition areas such as:

Icelands, Jungles, Drylands, Deserts, Mountains, etc. I find the Jungles to be the easiest to traverse. Icelands can be conquered with Snowshoes and sled tickets. Drylands and Deserts requires you to carry more water.

While exploring your food and water rations deplete, and also your sanity begins to dwindle (rapidly). You must eat or sleep or drink to restore these meters. If you ignore them, you will suffer a lot of negative random scenarios, such as killing your crew, sometimes you’ll eat them though which will restore your sanity at least lol.

Encounters with various “monsters” (typically wild animals), happen when you enter an area designated by a red border, you can also see a circle icon representation of the beast in question as he also moves around the map. Should you draw attention, he will likely chase you, and be faster than you. Sometimes it’s better to face your opponents head on. If they sneak up on you, they get a free combat round before you can react.

Combat takes place using various dice rolls. Different items in your inventory, and different class roles of your party members, determines which dice you have available.

Each “turn” consists of 3 “rounds”. Each “round” allows you to either keep or re-roll dice. If you have a combination of dice that result in a combo move, they will shake on your screen. Mousing over a shaking die will show the other dice needed to activate the combo – they will shake too. If multiple combos or other dice had been shaking, their shaking will stop when you’re moused over a die from a combo they don’t belong to.

You can activate your combos each round.

For example, your first roll could reveal that you have 3 dice that activate a combo. You can click on those dice to “hold them” once all three have been held a dialog box will appear – click the box to activate the combo, then select reroll. Your next roll may have another 3 dice that activate a different combo, you can again play this combo in the same way, and roll again for your final round. Each time you hold dice, or activate a combo, however, will remove those used dice from your available dice pool, making it less likely to get good combo rolls as the rounds go on.

If you survive, you may be given items, or fame and fortune. If you should die, you will be taken back to the main menu where you can reload your game. Should you die again, when returning to the main menu you will notice there is no longer an option to continue and you must start a new game.

Also as you explore and fight your way to glory, you will be able to promote your party members to make them stronger. There are also numerous random events that may impact your party members’ skills, stats, and abilities.

Return home with your treasure. You can choose to donate to the museum for fame, sell for fortune, or hold onto various items. When you return home you’ll also be presented with any applicable quest rewards and allowed to select one “perk” from a handful of randomly generated ones. Some of these perks are really neat and significantly alter your gameplay, such as allowing you to do culture studies on native tribes, giving you additional dice rolls, permanent boost to max sanity, increased viewable map areas, or more benefits. After choosing your perks and preparing again for your next adventure you’ll again have an option of 2 expedition areas to explore and be shown a random quest.

Survive all six expeditions and have the highest fame to win the game.

Story: 5/10 – You write your own story. This game plays much like Oregon Trail, Horizons New Dawn, or Banner Saga, so if you’ve played any of those, you have an idea of what to expect here. Unlike Banner Saga, however, Curious Expedition is not very well written, nor engaging, simply because it is almost too random, and at the same time not random enough, so that when you hit subsequent playthroughs, it becomes a bit repetitive. I know the game is only just now at patch 1 point something, but after being out for 2 years now, that’s rather concerning too that there hasn’t been more big content updates. It needs more scenarios and random events, but even that can’t save the story because of the nature of the brief random encounters and quest. Lacking a central story, does not detract from how fun and enjoyable this game is, but for those looking for a solid story and great characters, look elsewhere.

Characters: 8/10 – There are a lot of randomly generated characters including various races, classes, genders, likes, dislikes, stat bonuses, ailments, and little quirks, that really make your party more interesting. There are a few, but not many, scenes that may endear some of these characters to you, but most of the time, they are of little consequence from a story standpoint. As mentioned earlier in the review, I am quite pleased to see the inclusion of many female and minority historical figures as playable characters. Curious Expedition is a great game with great rolemodels and unique characters inspired from historical events.

Graphics: 7/10: Pixel graphics are hot right now. I understand they’re not to everyone’s taste, but as an older gamer myself, I enjoy retro feeling games such as this. I did deduct a few points in this area though simply because of the “sameness” of all of the maps / areas / npcs / etc.

Sound: 6/10: The soundtrack is also extremely retro which gives it a fun 80s feeling with lots of nostalgia. But ultimately, the soundtrack is just not too memorable overall.

Replay Value: 9/10: Although it desperately needs some more variations, more options, and more items, npcs, places, and skills, the game does indeed present a fun randomly generated gameplay element that makes each playthrough unique. The challenge of the game also dictates the need for subsequent playthroughs.

Overall: 58 / 80 73% C “Good Game for Girls”

Other Games You May Like

Include Horizons New Dawn on SNES and Oregon Trail Classic or Banner Saga on the PC. read more

Pixel x Pixel Games Announces Guardian of The Rose Action RPG With Branching Plot and Multiple Endings Based On Your Choices

If there’s one thing that I love in a game, it’s a branching plot and multiple endings, as you’ll see from many of the games reviewed or news given here on this website. So I was really excited when Pixel x Pixel Games emailed me yesterday to promote their new Action-RPG.

This game looks really great for retro game lovers. It was clearly made with a lot of love and fond memories of someone growing up in the 90s playing all of the classic games.

I’ll just include the message I received from Pixel x Pixel Games below because it pretty much highlights all of the features that I would want to highlight about this game. I’ve bolded the bits that I thought were the most exciting. Check out what Pixel x Pixel Games has to say about Guardian of the Rose below.

Guardians of the Rose is a story of high adventure, taken on by a small group of companions, that are seeking to overthrow the Great Witches that have assumed control of the kingdom. You are a newly christened member of the Royal Guard, the magic-keepers of the king. With the Royal Guard now tainted by witchcraft you have no choice but to take it upon yourself to form a new Guard that will overthrow the witchcraft that has enslaved the kingdom. Encounters with river spirits, groundlings, giants, and dragons alike are some of the adventures that will befall you.

Open-Ended Adventuring – The world is laid out specifically so that you can choose to explore in any direction you want. You can choose to progress the storyline at your own pace while immersing yourself inside the lore and sidequests of the kingdom. These sidequests are not your typical “save my chicken” type quests but instead are designed to make the player feel like he is making a significant difference in the lands around him.

High Fantasy pitting Magic vs Witchcraft – Magic was taught to the people by a legendary hero that saved the world from the Great Witches long ago. Ever since, witchcraft has been outlawed and users of the craft have been hunted mercilessly by the Royal Guard. Now that witchcraft has risen to power again, you are tasked with saving the Kingdom but you have no magical ability like the great heroes of times before.

Compelling Story – Guardians of the Rose was heavily inspired by the classic tales of Homer, Viking Sagas, and high fantasy novels like Lord of the Rings and Winds of Fate. Not only is the main storyline compelling but there is a focus on enveloping the entire game in epic world lore.

Choose your own way to play – The player must choose what path to take, good or evil. The only goal of the game is to restore peace to the land. How it is done is up to the player. You can choose to incite revolution from the stealth of the shadows or you can wage all out war. With a completely customizable stats and skills system there is very little the player does not have control over.

Multiple Endings – Depending on how you play the game, which path you take in your exploration of the lands, and who you decide to party with, the game’s story and ending can change fairly drastically.

Guardians of the Rose is a story-driven 2D action adventure RPG. It controls like a modernized, fast-paced version of old-school Zelda and Gauntlet games with the RPG elements of the Elder Scrolls Series.

Along with the inspiration from classic books and stories the games style was inspired by old school Arcade games that I would play as a kid at Pizza Hut and the local bowling Alley.

Check out the press release provided by Pixel x Pixel Games below:

Press Kit

 

  • Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/broc/guardians-of-the-rose-story-driven-2d-action-rpg
  • Developer: Pixel x Pixel Games
  • Platform Availability: DRM-Free Download; Steam and all of it’s counterparts for PC, Mac, and Ubuntu/Tizen (Linux); Xbox One and PS4
  • Press Contact: broc.copeland@gmail.com
  • Socials: Kickstarter, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine
  • read more

    Third-person Action RPG *Anima: Gate of Memories* due June 3 on Steam (Windows/Linux), PS4 & Xbox One, North American PS4 launch to take place June 7

    The folks at Badland Games just emailed me their press release for their upcoming title: Anima: Gate of Memories which is based on a series of books. It is being developed by a small team and heavily involving the author of the novels.

    This looks to be a really fun, story-rich RPG with multiple endings, choice-based dialogue system, beautiful graphics, and fun combat system. I’m seeing if I can get a key so I can share some more details and possibly stream or upload some videos for you guys – but until then, enjoy the press release and official trailer below!

    Third-person action RPG *Anima: Gate of Memories* due June 3 on Steam (Windows/Linux), PS4 & Xbox One, N. American PS4 launch to take place June 7

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

     

    Action RPG Anima: Gate of Memories Available June 3rd (Steam, PS4, Xbox One)

     

    North American PS4 Release on Tuesday, June 7th read more

    LiEat Releases Tomorrow on Steam for just $2.99

    LiEat is a little indie JRPG-inspired trilogy of short games. The entire trilogy can be completed in just 2 or 3 hours. The game was originally Freeware made with a program called WOLF RPG Editor. I’m not sure, but am assuming that some enhancements were made for the Steam Release as is typically the case for free to play games which later get redone for steam.

    The story follows a con-artist trying to sell information in various cities and a dragon-girl named Efi who has the ability to turn lies into living things and then eat them. There are multiple endings and turn based combat when Efi encounters various lies who have turned into monsters.

    Synopsis from Steam “Welcome to the heart-moving world of LiEat, a fascinating trilogy of JRPGs that captured the minds of thousands. Follow the story of a dragon, Efina, who travels the countryside with her multi-named caretaker/reluctant guardian. Appearing as a young girl, Efina has a unique, magical gift: when someone lies near her, the lie will manifest itself as a living monster. Efina then can consume the lie for strength and sustenance: she can eat food for fun, but only lies make her feel full. As she explores the world, she meets other dragons with interesting powers, discovers bizarre and terrifying mysteries, and finds out about her own history as well as her guardian’s.”

    It also looks very kawaii (cute). You’ll be able to order the game from the store page in Steam tomorrow (2/26/2016). http://store.steampowered.com/app/373770

    Check out the trailer for the Steam Edition Below.

     

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  • read more

    Rogue State Indie PC Game Review

    In the interest of transparency and full disclosure, I received this game for free along with another game, “Dungeon Souls”, in order to do a review (of Dungeon Souls) which I still need to do (Dungeon Souls is pretty difficult, I’d like to not be a complete newb when I record a video for it. – Look for some gameplay footage of Dungeon Souls next weekend along with a write up of the game.) I was not asked to review Rogue State, but I spent much of today and lastnight playing it, and I really enjoy the game, so I thought I’d tell my readers about it since it seems like the type of game they would enjoy too 🙂 All opinions expressed within this review are my own. read more

    Sometimes Always Monsters Preview Sequel to Always Sometimes Monsters

    While trying to promote my recent review of Always Sometimes Monsters over here I came across exciting news on destructoid that a direct sequel is in the works titled Sometimes Always Monsters. As a little aside, that title drives me crazy. I always forget if the first game is titled Sometimes Always Monsters or Always Sometimes Monsters. The only way I can keep it straight now is by reminding myself that A is the “first” letter in the alphabet “Always” and S is the first letter of “Second” or “Sequel”.

    Anyways, it aims to preserve the continuity of the first game and be a “direct” sequel. You can import your saved data from Always Sometimes Monsters and your decisions, ending, etc all carry over to the new game.

    The main gist of the story appears to follow the “good end” of the first game, in which you win back your love and publish a novel about your crazy journey. You’re now a successful author and you’re going on a book tour to meet your fans. As you travel from city to city, lots of things happen. Some people are jealous of your success, while others adore you and invite you into their lives. Along the way there’s many moral dilemmas and they claim only you can choose the right path. (though in their first game there were some choices which were clearly better choices and imperative to getting certain endings). Like the first game, it will deal with controversial real world issues and ask the player to make some very difficult decisions. The game’s art style seems very reminiscent of the first title as well. From the trailer below, the gameplay seems similar to the first game as well in a sort of “combatless rpg” or “visual novel” in which you can explore the world around you, but won’t find yourself in combat or leveling up or collecting loot. Instead, it aims to be an artistic story and put you on an emotional rollercoaster with very “real” feeling characters and their very “real” feeling problems.

    You can pre-order the game already, but they warn there’s still no estimated release date and that it might be a long wait. It is a little pricier than the previous game, going for $15 on Vagabond Dog’s website here: http://www.vagabonddog.com/store/sam

    Also, Vagabond Dog is asking you to email them your save files from the first game, and they say that as they work on the sequel they will analyze and incorporate many player’s decisions into the sequel and also exhibit player data at PAX and other game conventions. You can submit your saved game file right here: http://www.vagabonddog.com/blog/continuity

    I am floored and excited by the announcement of a sequel. I loved the first game. If you’ve never played it, check out my review for Always Sometimes Monsters

  • Sony Still Considering ‘Robocop’ Sequel
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  • read more

    Review Shira Oka 2nd Chances Indie Visual Novel

    geeky

    Update: It’s been a few weeks without an update to my blog. I’ve been very busy with work, including traveling out of state for work and I haven’t had time lately to write any new reviews. But I’m back. Today I’m reviewing Shira Oka 2nd Chances. I played this game last year and really enjoyed it. Let’s take a look at it together below!

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    Title: Shira Oka 2nd Chances

    Publisher: Okashi Studios

    Genre: Visual Novel with Dating Sim and Stat Raising Elements

    Platform: PC

    Where to Buy: http://www.okashistudios.com/

    Geeky:  read more

    Humble Bundle Begins Monthly Subscription Service for Exclusive Game Bundles

    Humble Bundle announced today a new subscription service to get games that have never been in their weekly and regular humble bundles. The service costs $12 and the first bundle will be released on November 6th. Each subsequent bundle will be delivered via email to subscribers on the first friday of each month. You are able to sign up now to secure the first bundle. You can cancel at any time or continue your subscription to receive more bundles.

    I’m torn on this one. I would love to sign up, but the fact that you can’t see what games you’re getting makes it much more risky than just purchasing their regular bundles. This is also much more costly than the typical bundles which average $2 or $3 dollars.

    I don’t see any information about if there’s a “theme” to the bundle, at least that would give us a hint, similar to how nerd block and loot crate both promote their upcoming bundles with a theme such as “villains” or “outer space” etc.

    I also don’t see how many games are included in the bundle.

    But I have a feeling there will be some really great games, especially in this, their debut monthly bundle, because they will want people to tell their friends how awesome it is and get more sign ups; likewise, if they have a weak launch bundle there would be bad feedback and a lot of people would cancel their current subscriptions.

    What to do?! I have until November 6th to make up my mind.

    If you’d like to check it out, cruise on over to https://www.humblebundle.com/monthly

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    Unrest | Indie PC Game | Review | Multiple Endings and Branching Plot

    Title: Unrest

    Genre: RPG with Point and Click, Adventure Game, and Visual Novel Elements

    Publishers: Pyrodactyl Games and Kiss LTD

    Platform: PC

    Release Date: July, 2014

    Overall: 57/80 71% C- “Good Game for Girls”

    Geeky Factor: 

    Sweetie Factor: 

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    Concept: 10/10 Unrest is a different experience each time you play. The game jumps from perspective to perspective multiple times throughout the game, and it appears to be random each time. Sometimes you’re a human, other times a naga, sometimes a male, other times female, sometimes in power, sometimes oppressed, sometimes violent, sometimes a pacifist, sometimes good, sometimes corrupt, etc. But each time, you spend a few hours in the shoes of one of the many many different characters of this game. The choices you make do have consequences and do matter. It’s very unique. I highly recommend this game.

    Story: 10/10 The story in Unrest is also random at times, since you’re thrown from one point of view to another, and even starting a new game, you may begin as a different person in a different part of the world, there’s no way to tell.

    I’ll tell you about my experiences with the game and the story that unfolded for me.

    In my first playthrough I began life as a poor toy maker’s daughter in a very rural and poverty stricken kingdom, with barely enough food to eat and too many bills to pay. My parents in the game want me to marry into a family with status to raise my caste and move up in life. However, the man they want me to marry is repulsive to me, not just his looks, but his intelligence, cowardice, attitude, and even his family.

    I have two choices (at least 2, maybe more); I can accept my fate and marry him as my family wishes, or I can sneak out of the village and run away from home. Being the hopeless romantic that I am, I chose to leave my family and run away from the village.

    In the next moment, I found myself living the life of a beggar on the streets of a capital city. I was going to the church to beg for crumbs of food. I waited for several days, standing in the same spot, unable to get the food I needed to sustain myself, unable to leave the city, and unable to do anything to change my situation.

    Then someone tells me that they will give me the stale bread that’s left over, if I can help pass out bread and medicine to the homeless. I quickly learned the harsh reality; there’s not enough food or medicine to help all of the sick or hungry people. A woman needed medicine for her elderly mother. A mere child himself, needed food to feed his younger brother, by time I helped everyone there was not enough for myself.

    In the next moment, I’m playing a priest working for the church, the same church which earlier was passing out the bread and medicine. I’ve been questioning my faith for a long time, and the unrest outside the village further shakes my resolve. I question if I should leave the church, but I have taken an oath. I see corruption both inside and outside the church.

    In the next life I am a young girl who is part of a resistance. We don’t have enough men to outnumber the capital’s guards so my father has struck a deal with the Nagas, a race of serpentine characters who seek to profit from the war. We’ve made concessions for them to give them their own land and ability to sell items within the city which we know will take away jobs and opportunities from the starving, homeless, humans.

    In the next life, I’m playing as a knight fighting against this resistance movement; he cares deeply about his kingdom and the men on the battlefield, he is tasked with making very many difficult strategic decisions which could end up getting people killed or winning or losing the war.

    In the end, the resistance is offered a treaty, the people of the capital are imprissoned for humanity crimes, and a new leader is elected who will hopefully bring peace to the humans and nagas alike. It ends there with somewhat of an open ending; such as, peace is secured, but for how long?

    Curious as to just how random the game was, I start a new game, and this time my first character is a high class “princess” naga. So yes, it really is a different game each time you play. And who knows where the game would have went from there – someday I will replay it and find out :).

    Characters: 5/10 The characters are very interesting, however, your time spent in their shoes is far too short to ever form any kind of emotional attachment to them; however, it is very interesting to see how all of their stories and their fates intertwine. Wikipedia says there’s only 5 playable characters, but this can’t be right, as I know for a fact that I played as a Naga (and it was a life I did not experience at all on my first run) and it doesn’t mention that. I’m not sure how many different characters there are to plug yourself into it, but it’s definitely more than 5, and you definitely do not get to see all of the lives in one play through.

    Gameplay: 8/10 I’m not sure if my decisions are impacting which life I live; or if it’s completely random; I’m also not entirely sure how much free choice I actually have or if it’s merely an illusion of choice; however, there are several points in the game where I could have taken the road not traveled and the unique gameplay and complete randomness of it all is strangely fun and addicting. Although your time with each character is short, the game itself is fairly long for an indie game. As mentioned above; you will need multiple playthroughs to complete every character’s perspective in the game; which also adds to the length of playtime and replay value. There are many quests along the way, some are optional while others are required to move the story along. Completing all the optional quests will also add greatly to the required playtime to complete the game. The gameplay itself is based on solving puzzles, accepting and completely quests, talking to lots of NPCs and exploring the world, and making difficult decisions with widespread consequences.

    Music: 5/10 A year after playing this game, I honestly can’t recall the music; therefore it must not be very memorable, in either a very good or very bad way. Just kinda average.

    Graphics: 3/10 This game looks very dated. It looks similar to oregon trail or other 80s/90s PC games. It does have some nice colorful environments, but the pixel style artwork is very very retro feeling, and the faceless characters make it even harder to emotionally connect with the cast in this game.

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    Replay Value: 10/10 I mention this throughout the review; the whole game is based on experiencing different perspectives; and one playthrough is not enough to witness all of them, also there are some decisions which can change the story (although probably a fair amount of decisions that result in similar/same outcomes as well). I had a lot of fun, and I definitely do want to go back and replay it to see all the different points of view in the game.

    Overall: 57/80 71% C- “Good Game for Girls”

    Indie Gala Every Monday Bundle 66: Start Your Week In Japan – a Great Bundle for Visual Novel Fans

    I just got an email from Indie Gala about their Every Monday Bundle. And I jumped on it. It included the following games for just $1.99!

    Eden* I already have Eden* and it’s a great kinetic novel. What’s a kinetic novel? It might as well be a digital comic book, because all you do is read and look at images. It is NOT a visual novel because it does not have ANY choices or decisions for the player to make. ALL you do is read, and click, and read, and click. So if this turns you off, be warned. I bought it when it first came out assuming it had a branching plot IE I thought it was a visual novel, however IT DOES NOT. SO KEEP THAT IN MIND! It’s still a really really emotionally moving story, with some gorgeous artwork.

    X-Note – I have played many games from Zevia and followed her deviant art account for years. I love her cute artwork and great story telling. X-note is an Otome game (a dating sim featuring a female playable protagonist) in which you are searching for clues about your mother’s death.

    Higarushi When Cicadas Cry — I’ve been dying to check this novel out. I’m totally happy it was in the bundle, and really my sole reason for purchase. This is a dark horror visual novel, with a lot of psychological twists and turns. There is an anime, that was based on this game as well.

    Go! Go! Nippon! This looks like a cute visual novel for learning more about Japanese culture (and maybe some Japanese vocab words too). Looks mostly light hearted and comical in nature from what I can tell.

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    Blue Rose is an otome game, perfect for my readers. It’s been on my wish list for quite awhile. This is a western developed visual novel, and the art is somewhat amateurish in nature, however the plot and characters seem very solid.

    The Clans – a point and click rpg, looks like it was likely made with RPG Maker. Don’t know much about this one. Another somewhat indie/amateurish looking title in my opinion

    And two “bullet hell” games: Super Chain Crusher Horizon and Project Root.

    Head on over to indiegala.com and check out this deal before it disappears!