I first saw Omno thanks to a demo in one of the Steam Next Fest event. The demo wasn’t very long but I liked the way it looked and played. I stuck it on the wish list where it sat for a few months. When the Steam Summer Sale rolled around this year, Omno, was a strong contender for a purchase. At the time, I was looking for more casual exploration games which Omno looked to fit the bill. When it came time to finalize my purchases I wasn’t as excited to play it over other games so I passed on it.
I was pleasantly surprised to find it in this month’s Humble Choice.
Things I Liked
The Puzzles: As I’ve mentioned before, I like puzzle games when they’re on the easier side of the difficulty spectrum. There are orbs in each level to collect that require you to solve a puzzle. These tend to be jumping puzzles which test your platforming more than your logical thinking abilities. In fact, I’m suprised at the platforming skills needed to complete some of the later levels. It’s nothing crazy but more than I was expecting from a game like this. It was fun to figure out how I was suppose to get somewhere and then figure out how to execute the platforming correctly.
The Visual Syle: The world is gorgeous. I couldn’t stop taking screenshots the whole time I was playing. Just wondering around the world I found some great opportunities to take a picture. The cuteness also provided some good shots.
I couldn’t help but notice as I traversed the world that this would look great in VR if it were first person. The art style has a chunky, cartoonish, look that seems to work well with VR titles. To be clear, this is not a VR title, but I would totally play a first person version of it in VR.
The Minimalist UI: I like a UI that doesn’t get in the way. Especially in a game like this that wants you to focus on the world around you. There are a few menus in Omno but they only appear when called up. Aside from a few interaction prompts the UI is almost non existent during gameplay. This made taking all those screenshots even easier!
Things That Could Have Been Better:
The Story Glyphs: Going in to this game, I thought it would be more like Journey. It just had that kind of look to it. Journey is incredibly good at telling it’s story through the world around it without any text. Omno has glyphs scattered around each level that are pieces a story.
The story tells of a tribe on a pilgrimage to a door of light that will lead them to a better world. It’s unclear if these messages were left behind for the player character to find or if they’re the player character’s own thoughts as they progress through their pilgrimage. They’re written in a sort of flowery, prose that I’m not too keen on.
There are also, stone carved murals throughout the game that, more or less, tell the same story but in a simpler, and in my opinion, a better way. I would have liked to see more of these as they felt like they were more a part of the world than the floating, esoteric glyphs.
After I finished up Yonder I was looking for a similar game to play. Prideful Sloth has another game called Grow and while it looked interesting it wasn’t quite what I was looking for. So it was off to the internet to see what other people were recommending. I kept coming across recommendations for Summer at Mara. It had no combat, a vibrant art style, some farming, some exploration, and a lot of fetch quests. Sounds like Yonder to me!
Summer at Mara just happened to be on sale at the time I was looking for something new to play. I thought about waiting for the Steam Summer Sale but $10 was a good price point for me. It helped that it was bundled with the OST and one of their other games, Deiland, which is Deck verified.
Things I Liked:
Story: Unlike Yonder, Summer at Mara’s quests are much more story heavy. There is a main story which revolves around the main character, Koa.
Koa, lives on an island in the middle of the ocean with her grandmother where they run a little farm together and take care of the island. Unfortunately, after the tutorial, Koa’s grandmother passes and she’s left alone on the island. She repairs her grandmother’s old boat and sets off to explore the rest of Mara.
There’s a whole host of supporting characters along the way. Each have their own sub plots and lengthy quest lines that intermingle with one another. I found these side quests much more interesting than the main story line and loved seeing all the characters interact with one another.
Quests: There’s just something about this that tickles my brain in all the right ways. This is another game full of fetch quests. You’re either bringing an item from one character to another, growing or crafting items a character needs, or going out and finding someone who sells the needed item. I found myself saying I’ll just do one more quest before I save for the night..over and over again.
Exploration: The exploration aspect of this game is done just right. At first you’re only able to sail to a few islands around the main town. As the story progresses you’re given the opportunity to upgrade the boat which opens up a bit more of the map. There are a few quests that can’t be completed until you find the right crafting material so every time I unlocked more locations I had a reason to visit each one to find the right items.
The map isn’t that large either. It never felt like a pain to get from one end to the other once I unlocked all of the locations. Once I built up enough money I was able to use the fast travel system to get around even faster. This is more of a convenience than a necessity and I would have been fine without it.
Summer Vibes: The colorful graphics, the island settings, the music, and the writing all make this game feel like a summer vacation. It’s so bright and cozy. The perfect game to play for the summer and probably even better to play in the winter.
The Flow: The more I got in to this game the more I started to developed a routine for each day. Summer in Mara has an energy and time which work together to limit how much you can do in a day. My daily routine was to harvest crops that were ready, plant new ones and water them, feed the animals, set out to the main town, Qälis, to buy more seeds and sell items as needed, run around doing quests until about 17:00, then return home to feed the animals again, craft anything needed for quests, and sleep.
Things That Could Have Been Better:
Controller Support: This seemed like it would be a good game to play with a controller. I was playing with an Xbox One controller until I unlocked the boat. When I got in the boat I was pretty confused why I couldn’t get the boat to move. Up until then, everything had been working flawlessly. As it turns out, the right bumper is suppose to be the button to sprint and accelerate. I wasn’t aware that there was even a sprint option until that point.
Apparently the fix is to start the game and then connect the controller via Bluetooth. Unfortunately, my computer doesn’t have a Bluetooth receiver. At least the keyboard and mouse controls weren’t bad.
I was expecting to write more posts about Yonder than I have. I had so much fun playing it that by the time I got around to writing about it it was over. Quite suddenly, I might add. The main quest actually isn’t that long consisting of only 5 or 6 quests that need completed. It’s gated a bit by the number of Sprites found but overall, if I was just doing the main quest, I bet I could finish it in two or three hours.The rest of my time in Yonder was spent doing side quests, finding sprites, clearing murk, occasionaly picking up lost cats.
I bought Yonder in 2017 on release and put about 8 hours in to it before bouncing. I don’t remember why I stopped but it was probably because something new and shiny came along. But it’s a good example of why I don’t get buyers remorse for games I buy and play for only a little bit. Eventually there will be a time and a place where I want to come back and play said game.
Yonder is the game I needed right now. It’s an colorful exploration game with no combat, no real lose conditions, and repetitive but satisfying content. It’s a game I was able to play in short bursts or for long periods when time allowed. It was also a great game to throw on a podcast and wander around or fish. There’s nothing ground breaking here but it is a nice little world to explore and if you really like doing fetch quests this is the game for you.
Things I Liked:
World Exploration: This game’s world map takes inspiration from recent Ubisoft open world games. The map is littered with icons and question marks pointing out Points of Interest. Most of the quests have big markers on the map and mini map of exactly where you need to go. In case, that’s not enough, there’s also a big blue line you can summon to point you in the right direction. Now this might all sound like a negative but when you’re looking for a game where you can turn your brain off it’s a big ol’ positive.
It also helps that the world is easy to get around on foot and it looks great! There were only a few instances where I couldn’t figure out how to get somewhere right away.
Changes with the Seasons: There are seasons in Yonder and things actually change when the seasons change. And I don’t mean just the weather. Animals migrate to a different area or leave Gemea entirely for the season. There is a Halloween event in Bobbintoff at night in the Fall. Even the lost cats only appear in certain regions in certain seasons.
The Fast Travel System: The more hours I put in tothe game the more I appreciated the “fast travel” system. I put that in quotes because it isn’t all that fast but I think it was done well.
There are Sage Stones in every region that lead to a central hub where other Sage stones can be accessed. Sometimes the stones are conveniently placed near a town but most of the time they’re in the middle of nowhere in the region. There are teleports scattered throughout that are portals from one particular spot to another. Some of the teleports are only active at night and some are only active during the day. I didn’t use these too much, I would go in them just to see where they led.
By far the best system was the farm teleports. Once a farm in a region is unlocked, a Traveler’s Knot can be crafted out of vine and stone that will teleport you to that farm. The farms are usually in pretty convenient places to access towns, crafting houses, and regions without farms. I used these the most.
But traveling through Gemea on foot isn’t all that bad. It helps that the total map size isn’t all that large. I found it big enough to find the fast travel methods useful but not so big it was a slog to go on foot. Traveling on foot also has the added benefit of finding treasure chests, tree planting plots, and cats I may have missed the last time I traveled through the region. Traveling in general never feels like a chore.
Things That Could Have Been Better:
The Barter System: I see what the intention here is and it is a unique system. You aren’t able to offload extra items in exchange for currency so wealth can’t be horded as easily. Inventory can fill up quickly if you’re adverse to outright destroying an item. Each town’s trader carries different stock, usually related to the Guild in that town and the stock is refreshed and items rotate every day. These traders are also want some items more than others and will pay more for items they need and less for ones they have.
The problem is, nothing is so expensive it can’t be bought with a few stacks of fodder or sticks. Items that are picked up relatively often while traveling. As I got further in the game and needed some more big ticket items to craft, I upgraded to trading berries since no matter where I went, except Mocha Bay with the Chef’s Guild, they were worth 50 value. My farm produced them like crazy so I was never strapped for cash.
Sure, I could have engaged with the system the way it was meant to be but I didn’t find crafting enjoyable enough to make items just to trade for slightly more than a couple berries.
Or maybe food is just scarce on the island.
Crafting: The crafting system is your standard collect materials to make a thing, craft more materials, and use those materials to craft a bigger item. I don’t mind that as a crafting system as it’s really common. The thing that made that particular crafting less enjoyable was not being able to pin materials needed for one of the bigger crafting items as check list. Instead, I found myself constantly having to craft a couple smaller parts and check the big ticket item continuously until I made enough to make the big item.
Now maybe I just have a bad memory for these things and this isn’t a big deal to most. But in a game where everything else has a checklist, it would have been nice to have one for crafting recipes.
How Does it Run on the Steam Deck?
It run’s great! The whole reason I started playing Yonder is because it was one of the first Steam Deck Verified titles that caught my eye in my library. Out of the box everything ran smoothly, all of the cut-scenes played. I didn’t limit the frame rate at all or make any performance tweaks. As a result, the battery usually only lasted two to two and a half hours. Plenty of time for me when it comes to playing on the Deck.
I only encountered on issue while playing on the Deck. I loaded up the game one day and it would start but immediately freeze once I got in to the game. I only had one save at this point and was panicing a little bit. Luckily, when I booted up the game on my PC everything worked fine. I immediately made 2 other save files and didn’t run into the issue again.
It’s always nice when a game that I’m looking forward to comes out unexpectedly. I’m not sure how long ago I put this one on my wish list but it has been a while for sure. Every few months I would see it on the list, click on the store page, and see that it still didn’t have a release date. Eventually, I just forgot about the whole thing. Until Thursday when I got a email from Steam that it was finally out. Which I found a bit odd as most things seem to release on Tuesdays.
As a child of the late 90s and early 2000s, I will always have a ton of nostalgia for the Turtles. It was one of my absolute favorite Saturday morning shows. Right up there with Power Rangers and Pokemon. Surprisingly, I don’t remember actually playing a TMNT game until I played Turtles in Time with Greg a few years ago on the SNES. There have been quite a few over the years but recently the IP has been used to either make mobile games or cameos in other games.
Things I Liked:
The Arcade Style: My cumulative experience with arcades and arcade cabinets come from the following places: Chuck E. Cheese, Mini Golf/ Go Kart Places, the occasional bowling alley, and those trendy Retro Gaming bars that are so crowded you can’t play anything. If you stuck this game in a cabinet with a CRT TV it would be right at home in any of those places. And probably in an actual arcade as well. This game knows exactly what it is and executes perfectly on it. Gameplay, Music, and graphics come together in one nostalgia fueled arcade dream.
The story mode may be short but it is perfectly paced. Any longer than the two and a half hours it took ups to beat and I’d say the game was overstaying it’s welcome.
The OST: Speaking of the music, this game boasts a fantastic soundtrack. You can listen to it in it’s entirety on Spotify and other music streaming services. Again, everything about it fits the style of the game perfectly from the stage music to the original songs. Some of my favorites include Mutants over Boradway!, We Ain’t Came to Lose, and Outworld Stamgeoids!
Multiplayer: It just works. Anytime I don’t have to fight with in game invites and google how to troubleshoot multiplayer issues is amazing. This was just a simple Steam invite and go situation. While I only played with Greg, I am curious to see if you can run a local multiplayer game and invite online friends in as well. I’m thinking this could be perfect for friends who don’t have the game to Parsec in and play with us.
Controls: Simple yet satisfying. There aren’t a lot of fancy combos to memorize and the inputs are very responsive. There is enough complexity to not feel like it’s just button mashing without the controls getting in the way of having fun. The few characters I’ve played feel different enough from each other that they feel unique even with the simple controls.
Replayability: We played through story mode on the easiest difficulty and it took us about two and a half hours to complete. That sounds short for a $22 game but any longer and I think the game would have outstayed it’s welcome. There’s also an Arcade mode with limited lives and continues that we haven’t gotten the chance to play through yet. Plus there are extra collectables to find in each level that we didn’t go out of our way for. I have a feeling this won’t be a one and done title for me.
It’s also on Gamepass if you find it too short to own.
At the end of these, I usually have a Things that could have been better section. I find myself unable to come up with anything this time. It was a perfect experience for me from beginning to end. I only wish I had 4 more friends to play it with and take full advantage of the 6 person multiplayer!
*I played story mode on the easiest difficulty with one other person. The Story mode may take longer on higher difficulties.
I got Sizeable in the Yogcast Jingle Jam 2021 bundle. A bundle I bought mostly to pick up Wildermyth and support charity. It also came with a few titles that had been on my wish list for year but never got around to buying. Sizeable was not one of these.
I was in the mood for a puzzle game and decided to look through my steam library first before going out to the store. A decision I should make more often than I do. That’s where I found Sizeable waiting for me. It seemed to give off the vibe I was looking for at the time.
Things I Liked:
The Simplicity: *Sizable* is a simple puzzle game. The goal is to find three pillars on the map. You’re able to shrink and grow most objects on the map and move them around. Some of them interact with each other or need to be placed in a certain spot or be a certain size. For example, on some maps, there is a pillar hiding in the trees that you won’t find until you shrink the tree and it falls out. I’m surprised this isn’t a mobile game as well. It seems like it would be a nice little game to play on a phone or tablet.
Collecting Turtles: In addition to the pillars, there is a hidden turtle in each level. They very in difficulty, from hiding in plain sight to secret compartments in the level. I found it fun to hunt for each turtle in the level before I moved on.
The Length of the Game: Overall, *Sizable* has a good chunk of content for what it is. There are 50 levels, each with their own theme and 10 extra secret levels. These are unlocked by finding all of the turtles. It doesn’t overstay it’s welcome but I wish it was just a little bit longer
Things That Could Have Been Better:
The Difficulty the Puzzles: I wish the levels were a bit longer. They don’t really vary in difficulty. Once you’ve done a couple of levels you’ve seen all the different ways to interact with the maps. I like my puzzle games easy but I feel like adding just one more pillar to find or an extra turtle on each level would give just a bit more playtime. With that said, some of the secret levels have interesting interactions. You can also play without the hints for the pillars on top if you wanted to. The game defaulted with them on so I left them there.
I picked up The Pedestrian from the Steam sale this year. It’s been sitting on my wishlist for a while and I had an itch to play a puzzle game. What caught my eye with The Pedestrian was that the puzzles appear to take place on street signs. As it turns out, it takes place over all sorts of signage: From Street signs to bathroom signs to blueprints.
Things I liked:
The Difficulty: I like puzzle games a lot but I don’t like when they get so hard I feel like I need a guide on another monitor just to play the game. The puzzles start out fairly easy and do get progressively more complex as they should. While I’d get stuck every now and then on a particularly challenging puzzle, I always felt there was enough information to figure it out. Whether that be something I overlooked or leveraging a mechanic in a particular way. I never felt stuck to the point of frustration.
The Mechanics: The Pedestrian is a 2d puzzle platformer. Each part of the puzzle takes place over multiple signs and you can connect the signs in various ways to get the stick figure out of the exit door and on to the new puzzle. You can move the signs around to make more connections between them. Some connections that don’t work at a particular angle will become available when the sign is moved. Breaking connections after you’ve started moving the stick figure will, in most cases, reset the puzzle. As the game progresses, a few more mechanics are added on. Some levels need you to connect the electricity between wires to open up new pieces of the puzzle. Some signs let you jump to another sign without a door. And some signs can be painted green so certain obstacles in the level aren’t reset when breaking a connection. I really enjoyed figuring out how the whole level fit together before I sent my stick figure out to the exit.
The Visuals: The mix between 2d puzzles on signs and complex 3d scenery in the background made this game feel very unique. The music mixed with the slightly cartoony backgrounds made me feel like I was playing a Pixar short.
Things That Could Have Been Better:
Then Music: This isn’t to say the music wasn’t good because that’s simply not the case. I wanted the music to play more frequently than it did. The pauses in between the music felt slightly too long and there wasn’t much background noise in between. It lead to a bit of awkward silence, especially if I was stuck on a particular puzzle for a while.
The Length: The Pedestrian is a short game and while it doesn’t wear out it’s welcome I wish it was a bit longer. Just when I was getting a handle on the more involved mechanics of the puzzles it ended. I will most likely replay it in the future!
I haven’t done one of these in almost a year. Has it really been a year since I beat a single player game? There might have been one last year that I beat and didn’t write about. But yeah, it’s been about a year since I completed a game.
World to the West has been on my to play list for a very long time. I’m not exactly sure how it ended up in my library. A bundle no doubt. I’ve started and stopped it many times and had accumulated 2.5 hours in it according to Steam. But I’ve wanted to sink more time in to it because I there was a lot to like about it. I remember the writing being funny, the graphics were nice and cartoony, and the gameplay was fun. But I never got around to it.
World to the West is the standalone sequel to Teslagrad. I vaguely remember playing Teslagrad as one of my first PS Plus free games many years ago. I had no problem following the story here and actually don’t feel the need to play through Teslagrad after finishing this one.
Now that I’ve gotten around to playing it all the way through I can confidently say “I should have done this sooner!”
Things I Liked:
The Gameplay: Always important to like the gameplay of a game right? There are 4 characters each with their own movement set and each character is needed to progress through the map. I loved finding all the different ways of getting one character from one teleporter to another. I also found that unlocking locations and finding batteries gave me that “one more turn” feel.
Usually, with puzzle games there’s a certain point where they seem to get really complicated. This didn’t happen in World to the West which could be a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it. For me, I felt like there was just enough challenge where it felt good to figure something out but not too much to break the flow of the game.
Overall, I found the gameplay itself totally engaging. I even went through and collected all of the batteries on the map for the achievements. Something I never do!
The Writing: Big props to the writer here for the dialogue alone. There were plenty of times I laughed reading through the dialog in this game. The story itself was pretty straight forward but the way the characters and NPC’s talked to each other made me want to see every conversation.
The Music: Each area of the map has it’s own track. The tracks are long enough between repeats that it doesn’t get annoying to listen to. Which is great considering there are a lot of times I found my self backtracking or getting stuck figuring out an area. I even found myself bouncing along to some of the tracks as I played. I especially like the one that plays in the tavern in Carte Blanche: Ukulele of Time. I went in that tavern just to hear that song anytime I was in town….I’ll probably listen to this entire soundtrack on it’s own a number of times.
Things That Could Have Been Better:
Boss Fights: The only thing I didn’t like about this game were the boss fights. The controls work great for the puzzle/exploration portion of the game but feel clunky when doing the action oriented boss fights. I was playing with a controller and found it hard to aim quickly or get out of the way when I needed to. Because of this, I had to repeart fights 3-4 times before I understood what I was suppose to do and do it quick enough to beat the encounter. It really put a stop in the flow of the game every time one came up.
I’ve had The Fall recommended to me many times over the years. It’s the kind of sci-fi story I like with philosophical questions, a lot of atmosphere, and robots. Who doesn’t like a good story about robots?
I picked this up a week or two ago when the Indie MegaBooth sale was going on. For the low price of $2 I got a short little game with a solid story. It’s a point and click adventure game with some light combat elements.
Things I Liked:
Story: The game follows A.R.I.D an AI onboard a military-grade combat suit. After falling from who knows where and landing on an unknown planet, Arid wakes up with the sole purpose of protecting its pilot. We later find out that Arid has crashed on a domestic robot manufacturing facility and anything deemed faulty is disassembled. To get to the medical bay Arid must pass eight tests designed for domestic AI as a military AI.
Arid: It’s a cool idea to have the player be an AI controlling a suite with an unconscious human inside. As an AI, Arid has a set of directives it must follow: Must not misrepresent reality, must be obedient, must protect the active pilot. Arid does all of these things but in a “creative” way. There are a lot of systems locked behind “organic operator approval” but these can be unlocked if Arid finds a way to make them necessary to protect the pilot. Things like getting shot at by a turret to unlock the camouflage system. Technically needed because the pilot’s life was at risk but it’s also a contradiction to put the pilot at risk to protect the pilot. This game is full of interesting decisions made by Arid to achieve its objective.
The Domestic AI Tests: These tasks take up the middle of the game. In order to leave the facility, Arid has to be marked as a domestic AI and in order to do that, it must pass eight tests. Things like cleaning, getting a baby to stop crying, walking an old woman across the street. Except Arid is a military AI so it goes about solving these problems in a “unique” way. I don’t want to give anything away here but if there is one reason to play this game it’s the creative ways Arid gets through these tests.
Things That Could Have Been Better:
The Controls: First and foremost this is a point and click adventure game. There are a lot of items to interact with and places to put them. But you can only see these when your pistol and flashlight are out. Eventually, you get a laser sight for your pistol to make it easier to aim. You lose the ability to see the interaction points when the laser site is out so I found myself constantly switching between modes which I found slightly frustrating. Also, while interacting with objects you have to select the X in the middle to get out of the interaction menu. But if you forget that and hit the escape button instead it doesn’t do anything. Which is fine, until you leave the interaction menu the correct way and the main menu opens…this was really the most irksome thing about the controls for me.
Combat: It’s playable, it does its job, but it’s not great. You can take cover and fire your weapon. It all seems a bit clunky but luckily you don’t have to engage in combat often. I wouldn’t let the combat dissuade anyone from playing the game.
Other Things of Note:
This is part of a trilogy. This game came out in 2014, its sequel The Fall Part 2: Unbound came out in 2018. The third game is not out yet and I couldn’t find any information on its development.
With that said, this feels like a complete game. It has an ending that feels final and feels like it could continue at the same time. Some episodic games have a tendency to leave cliff hangers to get you on board for the next one. I would rather have a complete story with room for more. The Fall does this very well. I could never play the other game and feel like I got the whole story.
The puzzles could be challenging at times but I got through them without looking at a guide!
This is the second 40+ hour RPG I’ve beaten this year. I can’t tell you the last time I put 2 of these away so quickly, relatively speaking. I think the last long RPG I played before Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning earlier this year was Tales of Zesteria in 2018.
Tales of Berseria is the prequel to Tales of Zesteria. Besides being set in the same world, a few character cameos, and one re-occurring character, you wouldn’t know it. Tales of Berseria is it’s own game even if you didn’t play Zestiria. That said, I’m glad I played Zestiria first because the little references here and there were fantastic.
Things I Liked:
The Story: The story is long. It involves a lot of characters. It has so many moving parts. It’s engaging but it’s not overly complex. The main thread is that Velvet’s brother was sacrificed to a god by her sister’s husband, Arthur, to “save” the world. Velvet got turned into a demon and Arthur became the Sheperd, the savior of the world. Velvet’s single motivation throughout the game is to kill Arthur to avenge her brother. Along the way she meets a cast of characters with their own goals that line up in a way that helps her reach her goal.
The Skits: Everything in Tales of Berseria is voice acted and its voice acted well. There are optional “skits” that pop up everywhere. The skits are usually banter between the party or an event that serves nothing more than a bit of fluff. But these skits are what I like most about Berseria. I get to know the characters better through these inane conversations and it never feels like a waste of time. There’s also voiced NPC conversations that do nothing more than provide a little flavor to the world. I stopped to listen to each one and I never regretted it.
The Characters: In the beginning, I liked the characters but I didn’t think they were as good as the cast of Tales of Zestiria. As I got further into the game I started to like them more. By the end of the game, I genuinely will miss spending time with these characters. Which is exactly how I felt at the end of Zestiria.
The Combat: In Zestiria, the attacks were on the face buttons of the controller and on the D-Pad meaning you could have 16 attacks on each face button depending on which directional button you pressed. Tales of Berseria has attacks mapped to the face buttons which leaves you with 4 per button. It’s simpler and some might say that’s a bad thing. I found it easier to remember combos and which attacks were coming next. I enjoyed it more because I had a better grasp of what I was doing and I wasn’t just mashing buttons and hoping I was hitting the right attacks.
Things That Could Have Been Better:
The Mastery System: The first time I tried to start this game I completely missed how this system worked. This second time around I actually read the tutorial and its not your typical RPG armor system. Each piece of equipment has a mastery bar. When filled it gives a permanent stat to that character. If multiple characters can wear that piece of armor then each character has to master it. This leads to a ton of swapping armor around characters for the stats and also leaves you equipping much lower level gear for the stats. I felt like I was constantly having to equip weaker items and that just didn’t make sense to me. Even at the end of the game, I was picking up items that were worse than what I was wearing. The final dungeon I equipped everything with the highest stats and disregarded the mastery system.
Some Interesting Statistics:
There are these titles you can unlock when certain requirements are met and some of the requirements provide some interesting stats I’ve never seen before.
Skits Viewed: 361 – I watched as many of these as I could I knew there were a lot but that was a much higher number than I would have guessed.
Total Encounters: 750 – This is the number of times I was in combat. First of all, how great is it that it’s a nice even number. Second, that’s a much lower number than I would have guessed.
Battle Time: 405 minutes – Out of 49 hours I was in combat for 7 of them. Each battle lasting around 1.5 minutes
Menu Time: 265 minutes – This is the one stat I’ve never seen before nor gave much thought to. Out of 49 hours of gameplay, I was in the menu for 4 and a half hours. I wonder how much of the time I spend in the menus of other games…
Here’s the kicker if you add up the battle time and menu time you see just how much of this game is watching cutscenes and running around. 11 hours of the 49 hours were spent in battle and making decisions in the menu. That leaves 38 hours of cutscenes and world exploration. I can tell you I definitely spent far more time in cutscenes than running around. And I’m ok with that. It gave this game feel very much like binging a good TV show.
I didn’t learn to type until the year after I graduated from college. I had a job that required a lot of data entry and it was frustrating relying on the ole’ hunt and peck method. It turns out, typing wasn’t actually a hard skill to pick up I just never put in the time. It would have been so helpful in college, especially since I majored in history, so much time would have been saved on papers. Oh well.
This might be weird but I find typing oddly…relaxing. So when I found a game that relied solely on typing I wanted to try it out. I had played this before for about 2 hours. As always, I thought I had gotten farther but my original profile was only on chapter 2 so I decided to start over from the beginning.
Overall, Epistory is a solid game with a fun mechanic. If it taught me anything it’s that I’m good at typing 3-4 letter words and anything more trips up my fingers!
Things I liked:
The Narration: As you progress in Epistory, the narator will often pop in to give you some story tidbits. Combined with the visuals, this makes it feel like your playing a pop-up storybook. It’s a really neat effect.
Typing Combat: It’s like stressful Mavis Beacon software but in a good way. The monsters spawn with a list of words above their heads. To defeat them you have to type all the words. You end up with four abilities: Fire, Ice, Spark, and Wind that all do different things to the monsters. Fire will burn the next word in the list for that monster making it easier to kill them. Spark will jump to bugs and erase the next word on their lists. Ice will freeze the monster and wind will knock them back. Where it gets really fun is the nests where your stationery and have to fight multiple waves of enemies before you can progress.
Exploration: It’s just fun to run around the zones and find the collectibles and new areas. While it’s still a fairly streamlined experience there are a lot of chests that require a bit of exploration to get. I didn’t end up getting all the collectibles in my playthrough but went out of my way to find most of them. It would be a much shorter game if you just went from dungeon to dungeon without looking around a bit.
The Arena: There’s an arena mode where your just fighting waves of enemies for a high score. If you find that you enjoyed the game and want more this is the perfect mode,
Things that could have been better:
The Story: While the narration makes it feel like a storybook the story itself feels jumbled. It could be because there’s a lot of time in between the narration that I just forgot what happened last time. It didn’t bother me too much though. I figured a jumbled story fits a game that focuses on typing random words very well. I will admit, I didn’t see the ending coming.
The Controls: The movement keys are E,F,I,J. It’s so that your fingers rest on the home keys and you have an easier time typing quickly. It took me half the game to finally understand how to move in this new way. It wasn’t until I finished the game that I read switching the movement keys to ESDF would have the same exact effect!