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Recent reviews by Duke of the Bump

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Showing 1-10 of 31 entries
No one has rated this review as helpful yet
0.0 hrs on record
Yep you should buy this one too
Posted February 28.
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1 person found this review helpful
5.1 hrs on record
This recommendation comes with a big caveat: as other reviews have pointed out, there's no "rest" command, so the only way to get your health back if you don't have any potions is by repeatedly mashing the "wait" button or walking back and forth, which would take several minutes and make the game unbearably tedious in the later levels when you have a ton of health.

I used the free program JoyToKey to map one of the buttons on my controller to press the "wait" button 30 times a second, and this allows you to get health back at a reasonable rate. This function should be in the game, but I'm glad I was able to find a way around this problem, because other than that, I really like it.

It's a short-ish minimalistic roguelike - I finished it in 8 hours (5 hours on Steam, 3 hours with the itch.io version, which is identical but doesn't have those hot cheevos) which for the asking price is totally fine. It's pretty chill, and there's not a lot to the combat, but I found exploring the levels, discovering things and figuring out strategies consistently rewarding. The game I'd most compare it to is Fatal Labyrinth on the Genesis, which is my favorite roguelike, but this game's even more streamlined - there aren't even any ranged combat options, no rings to equip, no magic wands. Combat is essentially just math - the enemies have almost no variation other than their damage numbers, so it just comes down to whether you have the equipment and stats to deal with them, and if not, whether you have scrolls and potions that can help. It's about as basic as an RPG can get.

Despite this, I found it a pleasant experience. It's a good game to kick back and play while you relax and listen to some podcasts. If you're looking for a minimal roguelike RPG you can play with a controller, and you're willing to install JoyToKey, and you like games you can play with a podcast or stream on in the background, this is well worth the $3 asking price.
Posted February 15. Last edited February 15.
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5 people found this review helpful
9.5 hrs on record
A really fantastic puzzle adventure game. It's bursting with charm and personality, and has some of the best art and visual polish I've ever seen. It's not a challenging game for the most part, but some of the puzzles toward the end get delightfully devilish, Seymour, and solving them was super satisfying.

It does have a few quirks of older point-and-click adventure games that feel a little dated, but nothing that I felt got in the way. There's a small "click everywhere on the screen to find the hidden coins" element, but most of the coins are completely optional and it's not hard at all to find enough to finish the game. There was one puzzle about halfway through that I got stuck on, not from being unable to figure out what to do, but just from the game not being consistent in communicating what objects I can interact with, and the manner in which they can be manipulated.

For the puzzle where you have to make an anchor point to tie the rope before you climb out the window: You need to use the drill to make two holes underneath the window. You have to drag the drill from your inventory to two small spots on either side of the windowsill. The game didn't make it clear that this was something I could interact with, and I had to look up a video to see exactly what it was expecting me to do.

The only other caveat is that the game doesn't have cloud save support, and I encountered a bug when I tried to backup my save manually. I can load my save just fine, but it won't save any additional progress I make. I had to finish the last third of the game all in one go, because every time I saved and came back, it started me at the same point where I backed up my save. Luckily, I noticed before I made significant progress, so I only had to redo a couple puzzles (which I could do quickly because I already knew the solutions.) A small annoyance and one that won't affect many people, but something to be aware of if you play games on more than one computer.

Other than that, this is the best adventure game I've played in years.
Posted December 2, 2018. Last edited December 2, 2018.
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3 people found this review helpful
0.6 hrs on record
It looks and feels good, but the UI and amount of information it gives you is terrible. No description of character abilities - when I use my character's ability, called "step back", it makes the words "step back" appear on the screen and I can't tell what, if anything, it actually does. The crosshair is a light gray color that's too hard to see against the largely gray backgrounds and there's no way to change it. There's a brief description of what the items do when you pick them up, but no way to see what they do after that. There's a way to "store" additional weapons that's not really explained - I can press the 1 key and I get an icon of that weapon on the UI, but I don't know what that does. According to the control mapping options, I can press tab to cycle weapons, but nothing happens when I press tab.

You can only hold one gun. This seems strange in a game that seems to relish the lack of realism in old first-person-shooters. You can run at 90 miles per hour, you don't have to reload, you can shoot from the hip with perfect accuracy, all this is awesome, so why the hell do I have to choose between a pistol and a shotgun? How limited modern shooters are with regard to weapon loadout is one of the worst things about them, so you would think a game that seems to revere classic shooters would get this right. I have nine number keys, I know how to use them.

Finally, pick-ups blink out of existence if you don't get them within a few seconds, which is bizarre. I've never seen this in any classic FPS. This isn't an arcade game, you're not trying to suck quarters out of me, and it just seems unnecessarily punitive, and well, not fun. I don't want to have to scramble to pick up health and ammo. I didn't have fun in the first hour and don't see a reason to keep playing.

tl;dr:

buys Bunker Punks

You can only hold one gun, with limited ammo, and ammo drops disappear if you don't pick them up immediately

refunds Bunker Punks
Posted November 16, 2018. Last edited November 17, 2018.
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A developer has responded on Nov 20, 2018 @ 11:27am (view response)
24 people found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
55.0 hrs on record
I really enjoyed everything about the game until the halfway point. I was very excited about continuing. Until I discovered what happens after you defeat the second boss. Now I'm uninstalling it.

Levels 1-20 of the dungeon, if a character dies, you have two options to get it back: You can pay an amount of in-game currency to retrieve the character with their full inventory, or you could get the character back for free, sans any items they were holding. This was a good balance. When I lost a character it was disappointing, it was a setback, especially if I had found some good or rare items, but I wanted to get back in there. It was costly but not unbearable.

After level 20, for no reason, these options become "pay in-game currency to get your character back... or pay the real-money currency." The free option is gone. Lose a level 75 character and don't have enough coins to get them back? You're f----d. Have fun starting a new level 1 character and either grinding out the coins or grinding out levels until they're strong enough to kill your old character. The original character is as good as gone, forever. Did the second character die? Don't have enough coins, because they're slowly eaten away by a raid system you can't opt out of? Too bad, looks like you're starting a new level 1 character, what a shame.

This game is deceptive and abusive, and it doesn't respect your time. The first half of the game was designed well enough to make me think this is a rare example of a free-to-play game done right, but it's not, it's just a slow burn. Do not download this game.

UNCLE DEATH DESERVES BETTER.
Posted November 7, 2018. Last edited November 7, 2018.
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4 people found this review helpful
1.7 hrs on record
I don't play MMOs or f2p games, but I downloaded Maplestory 2 because it's free and because it's a Diablo-like you can play with a controller, which is something I like and don't see that often. Mechanically, what you do isn't terribly dissimilar to Diablo II, but it's covered in several dozen layers of meaningless complexity. It's an incredibly simple game that seems deliberately designed to look as unapproachable as possible.

I have no idea how anyone can become invested enough in this game to play longer than an hour, much less spend money on it, but apparently people do. The promise seems to be "trust us, once you play for 20-40 hours the complexity will become meaningful and you'll be really glad you learned all this stuff", but I have no idea why that's appealing. It doesn't even have the addictive loot grind of Diablo. I played until I hit level 15, and at least so far, enemies don't drop anything. All of the equipment is doled out as quest rewards at a pace which seems totally predetermined. About every 20 minutes, you get a new piece of equipment that's a couple points better than what you have.

The character progression is also totally one-dimensional. Most of the skill tree is level-gated, so you only have two or three options to put skill points into every level-up.

The character class I chose, Knight, starts with one skill that is so obviously better than the other ones that you have no reason to do anything else. It's twice as good as your basic attack, has no cooldown, and doesn't use any resources. (I have a "spirit" meter, and some of the skills say they refill this meter, but none of them seem to actually use it.)

The first 90 minutes of the game consisted entirely of walking from one objective marker to the next, skipping cutscenes, holding the left trigger + X, and occasionally spending a skill point or right-clicking a new piece of equipment. There were no meaningful choices to make.

X is mapped to your basic attack, and the game doesn't give you the option to remap it. There's no reason to ever use the basic attack, but the game forces me to use LT+X for the good attack instead of remapping it to just be X.

Finally, you can't use a controller in the menus, you still have to use the mouse.
Posted October 13, 2018. Last edited October 13, 2018.
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1 person found this review helpful
144.5 hrs on record
Dragon Quest XI is the best JRPG I've ever played.

On its surface, the story is a very traditional "chosen one vs. ultimate evil" plot, like every other DQ game and most JRPGs, and as someone who's tired of that sort of thing, I understand why someone would hesitate to get invested. But it's more than the sum of its parts. The tired good vs. evil narrative is just a framework on which the game tells dozens of short stories. It's about the friends you make, and the people you help, and the places you visit. The towns are beautiful and intricate. The characters are endearing and multidimensional. Each of your party members will have their own challenges you have to help them overcome. All of the characters grow both narratively and mechanically in really interesting ways. For the 80 hours it took me to finish the main game, I was never bored or frustrated.

The mechanics are perfectly balanced, because it allows you to do as much or as little preparation as you want. With the exception of bosses, every combat encounter in the game is easily avoidable (except for one area which features random encounters, but the time spent there is relatively tiny, and as always there are spells and items to help you avoid those as well.) I didn't feel the need to grind through the entirety of the main game, and with none of the "Draconian Quest" options turned on, I felt like it was the perfect difficulty balance. I only fought enemies the first time I saw them, and when needed for a quest. I avoided the rest of them. This left me majorly underleveled for a lot of the bosses, and overcoming them was a satisfying challenge that involved using all of my characters and the tools at my disposal.

The combat is the best it's ever been. It borrows a feature from Final Fantasy X that allows you to swap any of your four active characters for ones in reserve at any time. They have to wait a turn before they can act, so there is some risk to it. Likewise, you can change as much of your active character's gear as you want when their turn comes up, before they act. This made combat more tactical than any JRPG I've ever played; I was frequently swapping characters in and out and swapping their equipment to adapt to whatever the bosses threw at me. Every boss felt like a major accomplishment. It nails that satisfying feeling of "you did it, but just barely." Because my party was under-leveled through most of the game, the XP from each boss invariably led to at least one level-up for each party members (characters in reserve gain XP at exactly the same rate as your active party.) Like with FFX, I never felt like any four of the characters were my "main party" - I would even find myself swapping out the "hero" when I felt like there was a better option.

If I felt a little underpowered for what I was trying to accomplish, rather than grinding, I would take a break to work on some equipment upgrades. You find books scattered throughout the world that contain recipes for better gear for your characters, and you forge them in a fun little mini-game that had a surprising amount of depth. You collect materials to forge equipment at random spots throughout the world, from enemy drops, and in stores. It never feels overwhelming - a lot of modern JRPGs really overdo it with the crafting mechanics, with hundreds of crafting materials that you can only get by fighting a monster that drops it or collecting it in the world. In DQ11, the vast majority of materials you need can be bought in one of the shops, until the post-game. The ones that don't aren't hard to get ahold of - you have an in-game list of every item, in what areas you can find them, what enemies drop them, and where those enemies are located. With some story-related exceptions you can cast a spell to instantly get to any previous location.

All that said, none of this stuff feels super essential to enjoying the game - if you'd rather chill out, put all your characters on auto-battle and just grind monsters until you can obliterate the bosses with zero effort, you can. If you want to turn on the Draconian options and really make the game miserable for yourself, you can. I think anyone who likes turn-based JRPGs will find something to enjoy here.

Post-game info follows (contains some pre-postgame spoilers)

I absolutely recommend everyone start the post-game after finishing the main story. It continues the story in amazingly novel and surprising ways. It has new cutscenes and writing, and feels essential in a way a lot of postgames don't. In some ways, it feels like an entirely separate game. As Tim Rogers said in the excellent Kotaku review (go look it up,) Dragon Quest games often "contain their own sequels". I'd have to agree, although I'm not as positive on Dragon Quest XI-2 as I was the main game.

For the first 40 or so hours, it feels exactly like an extension of the main game. I didn't alter my play style, I finished uncompleted side quests, I got new (very important) story quests to complete, and all was well. At some point, though, I found myself with nothing else I wanted to do. So I said, "alright, time to beat the game." I went off and started the fight with the final boss, which you have the option to do at any point during the post-game. And I got annihilated. The final boss was on another level of difficulty. I wasn't even close to prepared for it. We're talking "kill the entire party in two attacks before you even get to act" territory.

Which on one level was exciting - it meant I had a much greater challenge ahead of me than I thought. But I didn't know what to do. I had finished every quest I was able to. Which meant, well, time to put my nose to the grindstone.

There were two side activities I didn't engage with because I didn't find them fun. The first is a horse racing minigame you unlock very early in the story. The game forces you to do it once, and it makes it easy on you. After that, I never touched it again until I had literally nothing else to do.

It sucks. For as many things as DQ11 gets right, why won't anyone get the memo that nobody wants to go snowboarding, or play blitzball, or engage in a nonsensical tactics minigame, or dodge 100 lightning bolts, or play an inane racing minigame. No one has ever liked them. That's not why we play the games. Why does anyone still do it? Why do they want to punish their players for being completionists? "Oops, you like our game too much, sorry! Here's some dumb horse trash for you to do."

The second is a set of combat challenges. The "battle arena", in which you take on a series of increasingly challenging unique enemies for greater and greater rewards, is a JRPG tradition, and it's not always bad, but DQ11 messes it up by forcing you to complete them in a limited number of actions. There are four challenges of increasing difficulty, and each one has four different tiers of completion. The first tier, you always get the reward just for completing it. The other three tiers each requires you to finish the fight in a small number of turns. In addition, you can't use your entire party. Each challenge is broken into stages, and each stage can only be completed by one or two party members. The final challenge is four separate fights, with two of your 8 party members facing off against each. You don't know what the fight will be until you start it, so you have no idea which characters to pit against which monsters. It's just trial and error.

I don't find this fun. It completely disrupts the tactical combat I described in the first half of the review. I want to swap my party members. The time limit feels like a burden, and it makes surprising elements that the later fights throw at you (such as respawning monsters) feel incredibly frustrating.

I'm running out of space but basically I just started listening to podcasts and grinding for 20 hours until I could beat the last boss. I'm glad I did but I wish some of the endgame was better. The end!
Posted September 25, 2018. Last edited September 25, 2018.
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1 person found this review helpful
0.2 hrs on record
I skipped through the story to see what the mechanics are like, and there aren't any to speak of. I think there were 5 choices to make in the entire game, and all of them seem to be "go with character A" or "go with character B". Every scene in the game is just looking at a group of people facing the camera against a static background with nothing interesting in it. The different poses and expressions for the characters are just copied and pasted with minor edits, and the whole thing looks painfully uninteresting. The music is just some generic ambient loops. The story might be good, but I don't understand why it's a game. It feels extremely bland and low-effort, something you'd play for free in a web browser and say "huh, that was kind of neat. Hope they make a real game out of it."

Speaking of web browsers, on top of everything else, this is just an electron app. It's a website that they make you download a standalone browser to look at. The game assets consist of maybe two dozen JPGs, a couple Mp3s and a bunch of text. There's almost no interactivity, and they couldn't even code an engine to display text over images and let you click on a button occasionally. Why not use Ren'Py? There's no reason such an insubstantial game needs to be such a resource hog.
Posted September 22, 2018.
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8 people found this review helpful
0.7 hrs on record
I like simple puzzle RPGs like Puzzle Quest. They're not deep but they're relaxing and mildly engaging. I didn't know what the mechanics for this one were going to be. From the screenshots, I thought it was going to be something like "10000000" or "You Must Build a Boat". I like both of those games a lot, they're well-paced and reward you for finding good moves.

Dungeon Girl isn't like those games; It's a "SameGame[en.wikipedia.org]", meaning you just click the biggest group of blocks to make them disappear, over and over and over again, and that's it. Even the tiny amount of thinking present in a Puzzle Quest or YMBAB-type game is absent here. The presentation and progression also have issues, but it doesn't really matter because the basic central thing you spend the bulk of your time doing isn't the least bit interesting.
Posted August 8, 2018.
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No one has rated this review as helpful yet
13.6 hrs on record
Odallus is a very good sidescrolling action adventure platformer. You can call it a Metroidvania if you like. Some people might argue that it's not a "true" MV because it's not one big connected world, but whatever. The distinct areas are big and complex enough that they're still fun to explore. There are secrets that you can only get once you have the right equipment and going back through the areas when you're more powerful (and shortcuts are already open) feels rewarding. I never felt like the backtracking was tedious.

The movement and fighting feels extremely good out of the gate, and the mobility power-ups (dash, double jump, etc) are doled out at a satisfying pace. I wish there was a little more variety in the sub-weapons. You see all 4 in the first hour of the game and it makes the moveset feel more limited than it should be although there is a secret that gives each of the sub-weapons a secondary attack mode, and once I unlocked that they became a lot more interesting.

The best thing about the game that sets it apart from other Metroidvanias is that there's no map. You might think this sounds like a bad thing, but it actually makes the world much more fun to explore. The levels are very cleverly designed and I never felt lost. When you have a map on-screen constantly, it feels like you're just going through the motions, checking items off a list: "Let's see, there's a door here here and here I haven't been through, there's a part I probably need the double-jump to get to, I guess I just forgot to go this other way. Gotta fill in all these boxes." And that's fine for some games, but having a world that's well-designed and cohesive enough that you don't NEED a map is refreshing. (another game that does this very well is Castle in the Darkness, so check that one out too if you're into that idea.)

My only criticisms are with the writing. The "story" is horse trash, the text is riddled with spelling and grammatical errors (in the English script, at least) and the text is displayed on the screen e... x... c... r... u... t... i... a... t... i...n... g... l... y... ...... s... l... o... w... l... y... I figured out towards the end of the game that you can just press start to skip the text boxes entirely, and I wish I figured it out sooner. Even having to look at them, they're short and infrequent enough that it didn't sour me on the rest of the game. Highly recommended.
Posted April 15, 2018.
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Showing 1-10 of 31 entries