What games are you playing 2: The revenge

Into Indivisible now.

This is an incredibly charming game.

I played through the preview demo a few times, so the mechanics were no surprise. It hasn't changed much from the backer demo as far as that goes. It basically had no story elements and minimal voicework and was really just to show off gameplay.

Basically how it works is that you travel around with light metroidvania style traversal. You need specific items to open certain areas, and there's backtracking with hidden items and such that can't be reached until later in earlier areas. You are surprisingly agile from the start, with a dash and wall jump ability available immediately.

It reminds me of a Shantae game in some ways, though it is a very different thing.

Combat is real time turn based. Each character in your party is controlled by a specific face button [ABXY] with directional inputs affecting how they attack. Simple inputs so far, just hold up or down to do different things. I haven't run into any fighting game half circle inputs or anything like that yet and don't know if the game does that or not.

Each individual attack has a timer that fills once it's used, and you can chain and combo moves together using different characters. Generally, you'll want to wait until all of a characters available moves are full and then chain them to do the most damage.

You also have a "super meter" style bar for a bigger more powerful attack that is shared among all characters.

You also are fully healed between battles. Item management doesn't seem to be a thing as there is no inventory.

It's deeper than it sounds, as where an enemy is positioned matters as well. For example, the opening attack for one character might only be a ground attack that will miss flying enemies, followed by two other attacks that will hit enemies in the air. However, if you use a character that has a knockdown air attack first, then it will knock the flying enemy down enabling you to connect with that first attack with the other character.

You can block with individual characters using their attack button during an enemy attack animation, with more damage blocked based on timing your block closer to the attack. There is also a "block all" button, but the individual block stops a little more damage.

Boss battles include a mixture of the turn based and platform style gameplay in some cases.

The writing is very good and the characters are fun. It's got a nice Indian themed anime thing going for it. The opening animation was done by Studio Trigger, and it doesn't look that different from the in game animation.

Most of the game is voiced, and it uses still character portraits with different poses for most character interactions. It works well enough.

It's very well animated during gameplay, which isn't a huge surprise given that it's from the people who made Skullgirls. Overall the designs are neat, with characters, enemies, and settings looking interesting.

The music is also pretty on point as well so far. Again, going with that Indian fantasy theme, but also keeping some of that anime feel to it as well.

So yeah, this is completely worth checking out. I'm hoping this does well enough that we'll see more of it.
 
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Still playing Indivisible.

The writing follows a lot of tropes early on, but quickly becomes its own unique thing as the game progresses. The writing in this game is top notch, even though it seems like a somewhat standard plot early on. The character interactions carry the story through until the narrative itself opens up and becomes far more interesting.

It also has legitimate character development and does a lot of cool things that you might not expect.

The combat system is a weird hybrid of real time turn based and a fighting game. Which makes a weird sort of sense given the dev's last title was Skullgirls, which is a 2D fighter with a similar hand drawn art style. It's what sold me on backing this.

At any rate, you combo similar to how you do in a fighting game, you can get some extra hits with certain combos, and you can chain the attacks of multiple characters together.

You don't really see this until a few levels in, as early on your characters are limited to one or two attacks per turn each, but once you get three attacks and have some of the weapons, things open up a lot more.

It's also not nearly as complicated as it sounds, as all the inputs are either hold up and attack, hold down and attack, or just attack. It's just what they do and how you use them that varies from character to character, leading to some very interesting combinations.

At any rate, think like a fighting game when stringing together combos.

There's also an element of synergy involved between different characters and so far they all behave in very different ways gameplay wise. Some work really well together, others not so well. There are also a ton of playable characters, more than 20. Plus at least two more coming in a future patch.

The platforming that you have to do during some of the boss fights can be a bit frustrating, but it really helps a lot when you realize you can block any attack, and air recover to brute force your way through some segments. Also, the axe is your friend, as you can hang off a wall and time your next move.

The platforming itself has also gotten a little trickier, but is also very forgiving. Dying while platforming doesn't send you back to a save point unless it is during a boss. You just end up nearby at the last safe standing position you made it too. If you die during a platforming segment during a boss fight, you have to start the battle over.

There are some difficulty spikes, but none of them are huge. A battle can go bad quickly even against minor enemies if you miss a block, especially before you're in the battle state. However, it's never impossible to recover from.

Also, the save menu has an interesting mechanic. Each individual save slot represents 200 saves. So you can save continuously on the same slot and never have to worry about not being able to go back. You can use the other slots, but there is no need to bother with it unless you want to start a new game.

I'm really liking this game a lot, as it's a weird hybrid of Metroidvania, Real Time Turn Based RPG, and Fighting Game. It all works really well together as well.

Seriously, check this game out. Everything about it is better than it has any business being.
 
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Cookie Clicker. (Google it.)

It's a thing that you run while your browser is open and you make cookies.

Many cookies.

And grandmas. And cookie farms. And jungle temples. And spaceships. And other things I haven't discovered yet.

And cookies. Billions on billions of cookies. It's addictive in a "I'mma watch a couple of shows on Netflix and check the tab with Cookie Clicker, see what's happening there, maybe upgrade the efficiency of the horde of grandmothers I have making cookies" way.
 
Postal 4.

It's early access. The game isn't anywhere near done.

The game is in an Alpha state currently. It is playable, but there's a lot missing and it's clearly just a framework.

The are is there, you can fully explore it, there are NPCs wandering about.

However, their AI is very basic. No one seems to have "ownership" of anything giving you free reign to go pretty much where you want. Well, not entirely, some NPCs seem to be tied to their homes, but businesses don't have owners or employees for the most part. There are no cops wandering around, and after about an hour I've not seen any more aggressive NPCs that harass you the way that certain NPCs do in Postal 2.

There is a lot of empty space as well. It is neat to wander around and check out, but there does seem to be a surplus of pointless area.

Weapons work and it's a mildly fun sandbox in the current state. As I said though, it's very basic and there isn't much to it.

Lots of bugs, terrain issues, and various other problems are present.

If you want to play Postal right now, go play Postal 2.

If you want to bug test Postal 4, want to keep up with and support the development, and don't expect anywhere near a finished game, then Postal 4 is a relatively safe bet for an early access title given that Running with Scissors is the developer. It is unlikely to be abandoned and they've got a good track record for being reliable as developers.

It's not anywhere near done though, and this is about as early access as early access can get. It'll probably be a year or two before the game is actually out of beta given what I've seen so far, as the game needs a lot of work.

Postal 2 will give you a better and more complete experience, but Postal 4 is neat as a novelty for now. Having access to it in the future and watching it grow into the finished game will be interesting, but if that doesn't sound like something you're into, just wait for it rather than jump in now.

It was cool to run around in and mess with for a short while, but I probably won't be playing it again for a while.
 
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Earth Defense Force Iron Rain.

So, another EDF game was released on PC, and yet again I had no idea and it just sort of showed up. It's a spinoff thing and not a main entry title.

As usual I am going for a hardcore solo playthrough. I managed for EDF 5, so I think I can handle this as it seems easier so far. I think I read that it has around 50 levels, so it's half as long as EDF 5. "Hardest" is available right away, not sure if a higher difficulty unlocks once it is finished or not.

A lot has changed so I'm not entirely sure how unlocks work just yet. It's prettier than the last game at least and seems to have even more modernized controls. They seem to have scrapped the timing based reload mechanic as well.

There is also an "overdrive" system, which basically ups your fire and reload rate by quite a bit and gives you infinite stamina for dodging. You can only use it once per level, but it is a fairly powerful buff that can get you out of some sticky situations.

Weirdly, you can strafe faster than you can move forward.

You seem to get currency of some sort [four of them actually] in game, which is then used to buy weapons. Not sure how weapon drops work as I didn't find any in the level, but still managed to unlock several after finishing one.

This does make it so that your loadout is more limited, as the crystal type currency is a lot slower to gather early on.

On the plus side, it seems like any class can equip any weapon this time. So you can pick your favorite playstyle and still use any weapon you want. You also switch classes by switching gear rather than moving to a new character, and have the option to be male or female in any class.

Health upgrades also work a bit different, with you buying them with the easiest to get currency, which is coins rather than gathering them from the battlefield in drops. You need all four currency types to buy weapons it seems, but just coins are needed for health, which caps off at 10k.

You also have a lot of character customization options, which is nice since it's an online focused game. There are also DLC weapons and a few items. I bought those and it didn't come to much, especially since everything is on sale right now. You don't automatically unlock them just by buying them either, still have to unlock them in game, and they are expensive so you won't be able to just buy your way to an easy victory with them.

There are also a bunch of outfits you can buy as DLC, and I don't care about that and never will.

You can also buy currency, which I also have no intention of ever doing. EDF was always grindy, and this one doesn't seem any worse in that regard. I don't think they bumped up the "frustration" factor just to force people to buy currency. At least it doesn't seem that way yet.

I will say that you do have to buy new weapons though, and don't just have them once you get them in drops. This isn't really a bad thing, but does mean you need to be more selective about what you're unlocking and using as you can't just try everything out. It may be worth buying a lower level weapon if a "special type" has some weird quirk that doesn't fit your playstyle. A higher rank doesn't automatically mean a better weapon.

So far, the microtransaction presence here seems unintrusive on the whole, sort of like it was in Devil May Cry 5. Though I'm holding back on saying that for certain until I see how this currency drops later in the game. As long as I can always afford to keep a decent loadout without having to grind an unreasonable amount compared to other entries, I won't complain.

EDIT: Can confirm that drops do indeed improve enough that it's not too bad. Larger enemies drop more, and color types seem to be based on what type of enemy drops them. This means they are easily farmed once you find a level that has enemies that drop lots of certain colors.

Coins you get just based on your rank and build up quickly, it's the crystal currency that really limits what you can buy. I can tell I'm going to have to grind a bit later on, but that's normal for an EDF game.

This seems to have a bigger budget than other EDF titles, and seems to be targeting the west. It has more polished visuals, but the gameplay seems...slower I guess?

It's better than Insect Armageddon by far, but still seems pretty niche. As a hoard loot shooter it seems pretty okay so far, but I'm only in the first few levels.

To its credit, after the opening missions, I was able to buy an interesting laser sniper rifle right off the bat with what I had gathered. So there's that.

Again, I'm still early on, but it doesn't seem any more grindy than the last few I played. The multi-currency system seems to be the weirdest addition, but I should be able to max out my gathering with the old "leave one bug alive" tactic. Just leave an ant or something alive, preferably away from any surviving squad, and just run around collecting loot. Kill the last remaining bug to trigger the next wave, and keep doing that until you finish the level. Not particularly difficult.

This seems to be an EDF game that was made to be more accessible and modern than the main franchise. It also seems more "international" where as previous EDF games mostly take place in Japan. I'm thinking it will still get hard fast, but won't be nearly as difficult to solo my way through as EDF 4.1 or 5 were.

Should keep me busy until Outer Worlds comes out anyway.

EDIT: Probably not. While fun and somehow managing to keep the spirit of an EDF title, it is considerably easier. I managed to get through fifteen levels without a single death, and I only have one A ranked weapon and two B ranked, so it's not like I'm blasting through everything more easily than intended.

I doubt this game will take more than a day or two to finish unless there's a massive difficulty ramp.

The game actually seems more balanced weirdly. Weapons aren't as overpowered, but are pretty universally effective. You also have less to deal with at once and it seems to be trying to provide a smoother difficulty curve rather than the spikes that EDF usually has in it.

Enemies are easier to avoid, tend to shoot less crap at you, stun lock less frequently, and dodging is more effective. In fact, you can generally move around easier in this game than in most EDF titles. Not that it was particularly hard before, everything is just smoother, making avoiding damage easier to do.

I've yet to see a huge massive swarm on the scale of even the first area of EDF 5 yet, and the game tends to throw smaller amounts of bigger tougher enemies at you. There are big swarms in the game, it's just not nearly on the same overwhelming level EDF proper games throw at you. They also tend to come in more distinct waves.

In previous EDF titles I could set off other waves of enemies by wandering too far into a level, here they seem to be exclusively triggered by killing off the previous wave. Arenas are also smaller with a lot less running around across a huge map.

Flying enemies aren't nearly as much of a pain as they were in main line EDF games. They move slower, don't take as much damage, and are generally easier to deal with.

Healing is easier due to how items work. Heals still drop from enemies on top of that. It's generally harder to die as long as you're paying attention.

It's good, but kind of EDF light for the west it seems.
 
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I've figured out something that has been low key bugging me while I play EDF IR.

It sounds like my squad is an older knock off version of the kids from Captain Planet.

Also, one of the armors lets you ride the giant bugs for a short while, which is nice.

You seemingly unlock everything you can for purchase after playing through a level once. Replaying just gains currency, not additional weapons. That's both nice and not so much, as it's not really a loot shooter anymore, but also means you're not relying on RNG as much.

This is much more simplistic than previous EDF games on the whole. Not nearly as difficult either. It likes to throw smaller groups of bigger enemies at you rather than huge swarms of smaller ones. The swarms it does use are also considerably smaller than main line EDF games. While you do face a lot of enemies, and it escalates as the game goes on, it never feels like the seemingly unending waves of other EDF games where the enemies are simply everywhere around you.

I mean, it's still a lot compared to other shooters, but it is never the hoplessly overwhelming hordes you'll see in other EDF games.

It does look nicer overall, but seems to have sacrificed scale for that somewhat. On the one hand, that means less running around a huge empty level, on the other hand, it means everything feels smaller.

On the other hand, there are some interesting new ideas here, as well as some much needed quality of life changes that I'd like to see the franchise overall adopt, such as weapons being universal, armor being gear rather than a class, and more modern controls.

This is a very westernized EDF game overall. Which isn't bad per say. It's kind of like the US Godzilla franchise in a lot of ways.

EDF Insect Armageddon being the 1998 Godzilla movie everyone wants to pretend doesn't exist, and this one being more like the 2014 Godzilla film. Sure it looks great, but there is less of the things you want to see than in the campy rubber suit movies. When it is there, it's great though.

EDIT: There is an irritating problem later in the game. There are pillars that if you shoot them will create a large explosion like field of energy damage. This does a ton of damage and is an instant kill if you don't have several thousand health.

The problem here is that the AI shoots everything all the time. It shoots at enemies sure, but it also shoots at nothing, it shoots when the level is over and all the enemies are gone, it fires at the stupid pillars that it repeatedly tells you not to shoot.

It doesn't make the game impossible, or even that much more difficult. However, you do need to pretty much retreat out of range immediately on any level that has these things because the AI will constantly set them off and kill you. This pretty much forces you to cheese these levels and not play them as intended, and it is a little frustrating to deal with for a bit.
 
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