Tag Archive: Steam


Forget title

The tree of life.

It is said that any who discover the true heart of its being would truly inherit the power of the gods. The gift of life. It is something so precious that it is nigh unfathomable to even consider the possibility of its creation by almost unusually normal means. But what if…what if it were possible? Just imagine the difference it could make…

In one of the most vibrant, dark and quirky titles that I have played recently, Forget Me Not: My Organic Garden by Cavyhouse and Playism creates a glimpse of a world unlike anything you have ever seen. The view from a small town shop where a young witch performs alchemic experiments, a young boy wishes only to be strong enough to play with the other children, a girl wishes to talk with her cat and a ferret wishes only to feeds its family. That is but a small glimpse of the cast and clientele that come into this particular shop and they all come for one extremely rare and unique ingredient: organs (yes, the human kind – what were you thinking?).

Forget witchIrene’s shop has its own brand of alchemical and magical flair to it in that she has discovered a means of growing organs through a special variety of trees raised carefully in her greenhouse. As her apprentice, Organa, it is your job to care for these trees and harvest organs for the shop while filling customer’s orders. Organs can be harvested in Excellent, Great or Normal form while the scraps make the perfect meals for small animals – let nothing go to waste! However, as with most dealings with alchemy there is always a risk and reward to keep in mind: you may transplant a new organ in a living or non-living being and it may gain new life and/or abilities but it may be at the cost of its original soul.

Forget Me Not: My Organic Garden may be described as a uniquely spirited organ clicking game (or perhaps a very dark humored gardening simulator). As Organa, players will slowly but surely grow and learn to care for this unique garden. Starting with one tree and learning how to water and when to harvest it will then transform into quite the undertaking once the entire greenhouse is filled with various organ plants and other creations (such as a meat mincer and pickling jars). Various animals can be bought to help aid in the process of growing, ripening, pickling and mincing the organs to place various orders of variety, size and quantity that customers request. There is but a small amount of timing actually involved and most of the harvesting can be done at your own pace. As the garden grows and things become more hectic, Irine will often grant Organa new ways to mass water or harvest organs and help make the entire process less tedious.

This all probably sounds quite odd and there is no denying that fact. The various characters that come in and out of the shop  are so very twisted in each of their own ways that it comes full round from psychotic to endearing in a way that you will likely never quite understand. They are a small sampling of stories that truly paint a picture of what having such a resource can do for society – the good and the bad.

In my playthrough, it took me around 20 hours to 100% this game and complete all quests, stories,Forget ferret objectives and both endings (which just let me say, the true ending is adorable). It is a simple concept overall that you will tweak into your own form of perfection in gathering the various qualities of organs needed for quests and moving the story forward. I will forewarn you – it is a point and click grind of soft music and random birds chirping for about 90% of the game. Personally, I enjoyed the weirdness of the story and just overall atmosphere of the game – it is such a brightly colored game and yet the content is something you might hear of in a horror story just before everything goes terribly wrong. It was worth it to grind through the quests and they really required very little thinking to accomplish (i.e. it was perfect to play in the background while listening to music, watching a movie or even just to play by itself in a weirdly therapeutic way I suppose).

It may not be action intense, puzzle heavy or in-depth story driven but it is a unique experience for those willing to give it a chance. Perhaps it is simply a dark and playful side of my spirit that found the charm in this game but it won me over despite its slow start and grinding repetition.

In the end, you have to admit there may be a small part of you that has been missing out on growing life granting organs from trees alongside hummingbirds, lizards and humunculi to fulfill the wishes of your fellow townspeople. Or maybe not, but that is for you to decide.

Forget garden

Melody Title

Please don’t stop the – Please don’t stop the – Please don’t stop the music!

Moving to the beat of your own music is probably one of the best philosophies that a person can have in life. Whether someone is happy, sad, playful, angry or nostalgic, music simply has a way of impacting people inside and out.

So how awesome would it be to gauge a game off of the very tracks that make up your own music library?

MelodyDoing just that, indie developer Icetesy’s Melody’s Escape is a runner/rhythm PC game that feeds off the music found on your own computer and creates a unique fast-paced quick reflex course for Melody to traverse for each track that is played. From the slowest sonata to the fastest techno beat, each track becomes an instinct based battlefield of directional and specific button sequences for the player to navigate – with perfection being the ultimate goal!

At the end of each music track a rating of 1-5 hearts is given as well as the highest chain sequence and a breakdown of how each obstacle was hit or missed. Additionally, achieving that perfect chain score proves to be no easy task on any of the four difficulties ranging from relaxing to normal to intense and finally to overload!MelodyThumbnailAnimated200px

Similar to other music based games, Melody’s Escape is primarily based on quick eye-hand coordination and fast reflexes. What makes it truly spectacular is that it does not submit the player to its own quirky nondescript electro-beat music but rather utilizes the players own music library – adding not only enjoyment but additional replay value in seeing what new tracks and courses may be created.

Overall, Melody’s Escape is a simple yet challenging and enjoyable game that spices up simply listening to music to experiencing it. The game can be purchased through Steam and played via keyboard or controller.

To see some of my own gameplay, check out the video below: =)

Music: Choir Jail by Suzuki Konomi
Official Site: http://www.melodysescape.com/
Steam store: http://store.steampowered.com/app/270210/

(Only thing owned by me is whatever skill (or lack there of) seen above!)

Achievement

Achievement Unlocked!

Oh what beautiful words! That small tiny icon of instant praise telling me, ‘Hey! I did something!’ showing up at the corner of my screen, controller in hand, and you just can’t help but smile at the recognition. Sure, achievements and trophies are a thing of more recent years but even despite that they have caused quite a ripple in the gaming realm and even affect how some people play the games they so dearly love.

Think back to the days when the Nintendo 64 battled head on with the Playstation 1: Was Zelda Ocarina of Time better than Final Fantasy VII? Well, arguments on Internet gaming forums and in High School cafeterias would be the battleground for that death match; but did it really matter? You played what you liked because you wanted to. Did I really want to find every skulltula in Zelda to free that poor family from the horrid arachnophobic nightmare curse? Well, honestly, not really – and I didn’t. What if there had been an achievement for doing so, what if that would have been the last thing standing between me and that blessed 100% completion rating? Nope, still wouldn’t have done it (because I loathe spiders and that family can just rot in misery…far away from me). However, this inclusion just may have pushed people that extra mile to get every last item and complete every optional side quest to perfection. This represents a small view of the love/hate relationship that many gamers have with the achievements, trophies, and gamer scores that preside over the gaming world today.

achievement trophy

Achievements have ruined my life! Some gamers may state this as they now have lost that childlike awe and wonder when looking at the games they long to play. They don’t simply play the game as they want to and leave it at that because now there are achievements! Ooooh, the shiny achievements and I must get them all! Missed one halfway through the story? Damn, well better restart the game or reload a save file from three hours ago. Really, it’s true, there are many gamers who are purely achievement hunters; their gamer scores are astronomical and there is rarely a game logged in their library without that gold or platinum mark on it unless it is still in progress. They claim they can’t look at games the same anymore because they want to gain as many achievements in as few playthroughs as possible then move on to the next game. Surely this raises their score and bragging rights, but really it is all just to show off. Here’s a small and possibly unheard of secret that I will let you all onto: achievements are completely OPTIONAL. They are fun and offer some extra challenge but they are not necessary and missing a few will not diminish the enjoyment of a game. If you claim that achievements have destroyed your gaming life, don’t blame the games – you do it to yourself.

achieve cake

With that out of the way, I think that the addition of achievements/trophies is a great asset to the gaming industry. As I alluded to in the intro, I adore getting those little pings of ‘Good Job!’ a midst my gaming but at the same time, I don’t make it my life goal to see every single one of those pop up on my first play through. When I first get a game I play it how I want to. If the only achievements I see during that run is ‘You beat an enemy’, ‘You beat this boss’, ‘You beat the game’, well then so be it – time for round 2! That is one of the greatest reasons that achievements are in place: they add additional replay values to games that developers put so much time, heart and effort into. Not every single player game is 80 hours long and it may well be worth the time to go back through and see what you may have missed on the first run. Maybe choose option 2 instead of option 1, let a character die instead of saving them, go good instead of evil, get different endings and see it all play out to the fullest. Even multiplayer heavy games such as the Call of Duty franchise have numerous achievements that extend the life of the title. Maybe you get tired of being the elite sniper on the team and to add a little difficulty change to grenades only (I’m sure there is an achievement for that as well). So step out of the cozy comfort box and try something new – the Devs didn’t put it in there for it to be completely ignored, even if it may not be the best way of getting from point A to point B.

achieve Easter-Egg-2

Speaking from the developer standpoint, it takes years to develop games and oftentimes a team of devoted individuals with varying skills and assets to make their dream come to life. From my standpoint, adding in extra achievements (whether it be 10 or 187) just helps show gamers that there is so much more they can do and get from playing their game. Sure there are some nearly impossible achievements added in for those hardcore masochistic types, but from what I can tell, most of the achievements that I miss my first play through only lead me to explore every aspect within that game as I pursue them on following runs. I know if I was a developer I would want people to find the snarky little hidden messages in secret areas or discover this beautiful character interaction point off the beaten track or know what it is like to team up with a friend and take out an entire enemy team without dying. Plus, they add a level of difficulty to the game that you may not have realized. Oh, the game seemed too easy that run? Well now try beating it while keeping your main character at level one the entire time! It may sound insane to some, but it offers a unique challenge and play style to games that people may not have normally come up with (plus, if it is an achievement, then it must be possible to do…right?).

achievements steam

If you look at any of my gaming profiles you will find a decent library of games of various genres and find that very few of those games on any platform have that glowing 100% next to them. Most I am still working on or will go back to; others, well, they may be a bit ridiculous or I may just not care for the game enough to replay it 5 more times. I am okay with all of that. I enjoy hunting achievements but they do not control how I play games or how much I enjoy them – and that is how it should be.

Think of achievements as a fun little side quest to your gaming life. So what if I didn’t want to hunt down every evil skulltula in Zelda? Well, I don’t really care that I missed that other achievement either. At the end of the day I’m still going to enjoy what I love to do, and really, that is all that matters.

“They’ll give you a second chance, and they’ll let you relive your life.”

“All the way…from the very beginning.”

“Change one thing, fulfill one wish.”

“You know what you’d wish for, don’t you?”

“But just remember…”

“It will be the last thing you ever do.”

2020142-to_the_moon_launch_poster_medWhat defines a thing of excellence? Is it money, fame, or notoriety? Maybe, but oftentimes it is none of these things. Perhaps, in the end, it is the most simple and pure of things in life that truly make all the difference.

Imagine a machine that can make your one, true dream become reality. However, this machine cannot simply be utilized at any given moment; rather only at the very end of one’s life, in their very last moments. It is less a physical accomplishment and more a subconscious effort where those in charge of the machine traverse through cherished memories in order to find that one place in time that will set you on the correct course to fulfill your final wish.

In Freebird Games title To the Moon, it follows the last days and memories of Johnny Wyles and those that risk everything to make his dream come true. Two doctors of Sigmund Corp are assigned to Johnny’s case: Dr. Eva Rosaline and Dr. Neil Watts; and these two soon face a heart-wrenching trial in completing their assigned task. Johnny’s wish is to go to the moon. Sounds simple enough, right? But here is the catch: he has no idea why he wants this so bad; which not only makes things more difficult for the doctors, but ultimately gives them no place to start from. Memory by memory, Eva and Neil must transcend various years of Johnny’s life from his current age to his childhood to try and discover why he wants to go to the moon and then implement the idea to his younger self and make it a reality.

Playing more like a visual novel than your generic platformer, To the Moon takes audiences by their heart strings through Johnny’s story, through his life. Laughter, smiles, confusion and tears will accompany your journey as you take control of one of the two doctors and piece together memory fragments throughout each period of time.

To the Moon is truly unlike any game, any story, any experience you may have had; and what makes it all the more incredible is that it isn’t accomplished by an outstanding graphical achievement, diverse soundtrack or fluid controls. The mastery itself lies in the story this game weaves. A story that admittedly starts out a bit slow yet draws you into its inescapable grasp before you even realize it.freebird_games_to_the_moon_1162681_g1

In regards to graphics, music and controls; none of these features are particularly notorious by any means on their own, but they are not flawed either…they simply might not be what you would normally expect to find in today’s gaming world. Graphics reigning from a colorful 16-bit era show everything you need as you side scroll the characters throughout the areas finding intriguing clues and dialogue via simple keyboard and mouse controls. The soundtrack of this game comes through piano solos and serenades; which stands not only as a fitting accompaniment but also holds significant relevance to the story. Its one alternative being a singular vocal track, sung by Laura Shigihara, at one of the most pivotal and emotion moments in the game.

Even as emotion driven as the main story is, let’s not pretend the game doesn’t hold a fair amount of humor and mockery to it as well. From snarky remarks between the doctors to amusing situations within Johnny’s past, there are many moments that will literally have you laughing out loud. The game also makes many classic references to various TV shows, anime and trends of current and past years to include: Neil screaming “Kamehameha” as he breaks through a memory shield, fighting zombies by throwing cactus plants at them, a final fantasy-esque battle between Eva and a rampant squirrel and even mention of those little Tamogatchi virtual pets (to even give a small glimpse as to what is in store).

I feel as though there is so much to say about this game…yet I would never deprive anyone of having the experience of playing it for the first time themselves. Going into this game with naught but a recommendation left me entirely unprepared for what I would be witnessing. The people in our lives, our dreams, our hopes – what does it all come down to in the end? Everything seems to simple, yet within that simplicity lies one of the most heartfelt, beautiful and well told stories I have ever heard.

If you could go back, back to the beginning, and change anything to make just one dream come true…would you?

“Until the stars all fall down”

“They empty from the sky”

“But I don’t mind”

“…If you’re with me, then everything’s alright.”