The Rob Blanc Trilogy – In space, I don’t know where to go…

space squid

I’ve always been fascinated with space in general, since probably the early age of Me being two or three years old. It was around that time for sure, as I remember that it was then, when I learned how to read properly. It all started with old encyclopedias, which I can still eye across my desk right now – All in fairly decent condition. If anything, my family was very caring towards books in general. Then, my love for space carried over to educational magazines and comic books. I was really having a blast in the 90s with all the reading material that I acquired, but truly, a huge step towards my total space- fantasy satisfaction, love-love, was the time when my brother rented the forth episode of the “Star Wars” saga. Afterwards, I fell hard for the franchise, what with watching the episodes when they aired on TV after midnight or with the various video games that I was later introduced to. Darth Vader seemed so awesome and cool to young Me back then…

Of course, other franchises made their way into my heart as well, like “Alien” and not “Star Trek”. I’ve never seen any movie, episode, Christmas special or whatever of it. “Star Trek” will probably remain an unexplored territory for Me, as honestly, I’m not really feeling it as a whole. At least not from the bits that I have seen or have been told about by my English teacher at university. Ugh…

I will always remember the time when they aired “Alien: Resurrection” and I was curious to watch it, despite my grandma’s warnings. Look, I loved space and the idea of existing aliens, but honestly, that was probably the scariest thing seven years old Me has watched, up until then!

I also played a lot of “Star Craft”, which seemed to me like the most complex game at the time. That’s how games usually feel like when you are new to them and lack proper experience.

Rob Blanc I DONE!

“The Rob Blanc Trilogy” is a composition of THREE, old adventure games, created by Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw, that take on the whole space science- fantasy, exploration nation, aliens and heroes of all kind, vortex comedy night stand genre. The three games were made on an early version of the AGS engine, which was based on the MS-DOS system… I was not aware that something like that was a thing, until now, I’ve gotta say! Thanks to the power of MS-DOS emulation though, running these games on a modern operating system is quite the easy task. Thank god! Thank god for people with functional brains!

Each one of the three “Rob Blanc” games is fairly short in length and easy regarding difficulty. The plot follows a guy named Rob Blanc, who is picked by god- like beings [?] to become defender of the universe and fight evil that might pose a threat to it. The story escalates pretty quickly towards a climax or more like, anti- climax, leading towards the ultimate end where I ask myself: “Is it just me or the second and the third game feel rushed towards the later parts?” The first game and the early parts of the other two titles feel decently designed, but after that it’s just the obvious – You are in one small room, here’s this one item, use it on the one possible object in the room. Maybe that’s just me, maybe I’m being harsh for no real reason on these games! I enjoyed them for what they are though. They are not “Monkey Island”, but if anything, they feel like a good first pick for someone who might want to get into adventure games. “The Rob Blanc Trilogy” might not live up to modern standards, but honestly, even the MS- Pain graphics ain’t as bad as the author himself states it during the gameplay of the second title and that silly, main theme [?] tune is still suck in my head. How odd…

My honest score for the whole trilogy is 4.7 out of 10. It was decently amusing.

Out There Somewhere is a game worth your crackers!

out there somewhere

This is a game that I casually grabbed when it was on a sale, without really giving it much of a thought. As usual, it was left untouched for a few months, which is of course a classic tradition when it comes to the STEAM platform. Once I came around to finally play it, I was left with a pretty good impression. Upfront I am willing to say that this game was way worth for what little cash I payed for it.

In the game, you play as Yuri – A guy-space man on a space ship who, with his crew, fight against a conqueror-villain person named Grigori. The game starts as a classic horizontal SHMUP, which seemed like a pretty plain part of the game to me. Not too long after ten minutes of me fighting the unbeatable boss that popped up at some point, I realized that the game MIGHT be expecting me to lose so I can proceed to a further show composed of neat CGs, all and all leading to the actual game.

The ship crashes on an unknown, mysterious planet and it’s up to you to help Yuri navigate through various platforming sections in search for parts needed for a repair. The game does a good job of giving you a proper introduction to some basic movement controls and not too many screens later, it introduces you to the bread and butter of the game: Teleportation gun! Whenever a bullet fired from the gun gets into contact with a terrain [-?beam/laser], Yuri will be instantly teleported there. Now how cool is that? I found it to be quite the great gimmick! The game really goes places with it, without even being shy about combining it with a classic, basic gimmick – That being the other gun, which shoots normal bullets that cause death and destruction. The puzzles in “Out There Somewhere” are nothing too mind-blowing, but they are definitely impressive. Enemies also exist, which you can avoid via your portal gun or you can slaughter them for your own personal survival and satisfaction, once your obtain the normal gun. Their attack and movement patterns are fairly basic, so it’s nothing a young and courageous- planet explorer can’t handle!

Out There Somewhere DONE!

“Out There Somewhere” is a pretty short game, with moderate difficulty. You are in for some great music and graphics, along with a decent sized- world to explore. The various NPCs that you meet during the game are more on the simple side in terms of dialogue and design, which reminds me a bit of the Knytt games and other similar titles. Also, the people who made this game used the Ogmo-Jumper-Ogmo engine, which explains why this game gives me additional familiar vibes. The controls are really smooth and responsive, to the point where I had trouble getting used to them. Such is the hardship of a person who plays mainly games with horrible controls…

I liked the atmosphere in the game. When it comes to planet exploring, the game managed to impress me with its own share on the idea. What I also liked about the game was the usage of checkpoints – While most people might be used to them as being a bland save option, for once they also serve as a way to trackback and undercover certain areas. You would think that this game might feel like a Metroidvania, but honestly, that aspect is pretty minor. The game is pretty linear, but it has a really decent replay value.

What I didn’t enjoy about this game was the ending sequence as well as the final boss, wherein I think there could have been more to them, especially the latter. It’s not like they are ruining the game in some fashion, but they are clearly not adding much to it.

It’s an overall 9 out there somewhere around 10!

Harbinger – Now with 27% more plasma!

harbinger-robot-1[1]

I want to escape the heat of the summer!I’m sick and tired of all the people buying watermelons,ice pops and jeeps!I can’t handle all the misunderstood teens and bweens!

I wanna go to space!I wanna board a giant freakin’ space ship!I wanna shoot at robots, aliens and giant insects with my plasma gun,while treversing through the billion corridors of the ship!

I wanna go to HARBINGER!

A game which people in my time used to simply call “Diablo in space”.A title which showed that you can take and use an existing formula to make something in a whole new different aspect,while keeping the magic burning pretty bright.Play as the Human,the Gladiator robot or the Culibine – Each character has their own story,special additional stages prior to the main story,as well as their own different playstyle.Become tanky and unkillable with the human!One-shot every enemy and boss with the Culibine’s nova attack!The Gladiator freakin’ sucks!No,really!He doesn’t shine at all with anything whatsoever!Here’s why…

Unlike in other “Diablo-like” games,the battles in “Harbinger” require the player to position,dodge and kite.Tanking direct hits and using melee attacks would usually lead to the loss of huge amount of your character’s HP.[Or death.Mostly death.]While each of the three character have their own ranged and melee attacks,only the Culibine’s nova attack is good enough to actually obliterate things effectively.HOLD THAT THOUGHT!It’s actually the one attack that seems to be WAY to effective to even obliterate the bosses in the game in two-three hits.THAT’S CHARACTER BALANCE AT ITS BEST!The Human’s and Gladiator’s melee attacks aren’t all that great,which sucks,given the fact that the Gladiator was probably meant to be a character that advances in melee skirmishes!

While you won’t be able to hire mercenaries to help you along the way,each of the three characters in “Harbinger” can use various gadgets to make their life easier.The Human can plant various landmines with different effects,the Gladiator can place and take control of a remote cameras that can explore and attack and the Culibine can use her AMPS – Flying ball objects – to protect herself or attack nearby mobs.Here’s the thing about the gadgets – You are either going to use them a few times and forget about them or not use them at all!For all I know,they are not all that efficient and if anything,would just consume more time while providing low results.[They are also a bad investment!Their droprate is quite common,so save your UAN for better goods!]

Speaking of goods,”Harbinger” offers a good amount of gear for the three character types.While some items are only available for a specific class,they still tend to drop during any playthrough,making them unusable,but a fairly good income when sold.During the whole game,the only place where you can trade is by the NPC “Ona”,who would buy anything and sell items specific to your class/character.Gradually,over the course of the game,Ona will try to sell you better and more expensive items,so saving your money for the late game is a pretty good strategy.Items vary from armors to weapons,gadgets and chips.Specificly “Ruffles” and “Lays”,which can be put into various items who have the slots for them.The chips in the game enhance your equipment,by rising various stats or by giving you additional type of attacks for both your ranged and melee weapon.Pretty similar to the gems in “Diablo II”.You can equip and unequip them at any time,which lets you gear up the right way before you go to a certain zone.

Harbinger 1.1 DONE!

As far as the game goes,the gameplay is pretty linear and on the easy side of difficulty.The game saves your progress constantly and the penalty for dying is pretty much nonexistant.You can’t grind in the game,since enemies don’t respawn and usually,once you finish a certain zone,you can’t get back to it.So make sure to grab anything that seems useful or would make a pretty good money.The game provides you with an additional inventory space in terms of an EZ Stash,which is similar to the Chest Stash in the “Dibablo” genre.However,during your travels in some zones,you might end up finding other EZ Stashes,which connect with the one at your base,making collecting and storing items a pretty easy task.

The zones and the enemies in the game vary,but most of the time you are going to end up fighting in the ship,usually storming through Vantir or “Bugs”.As I like to call it: “After shooting through 50 robots that spew out plasma when they die,you have to kill 100 more!” The Vantir are not robots though and they are not made out of plasma.They are a goo creatures in suit of armor and who the hell even cares?

ALSO!Some enemies tend to be weak to certain attacks and more resistant to others,but usually,plasma does the job just fine.USUALLY!There are also bosses,which tend to be pretty impressive during the first encounter,but then again,first encounters regarding most things tend to be impressive,so there’s that.Expect every boss battle to be a long kite festival.Otherwise you are bound to die in two or three hits.Some zones are optional,which means that you can skip them,thus missing on loot and experience,so I wouldn’t recommend it… [Leveling up usually ends up at level 35,as long as you haven’t skipped any areas.]

So after this huge wall of text,here’s my honest opinion about this game: I really like it!I used to play it quite a bit back in the days,but even now,my impression on it is still the same.The graphics are pretty well-made,the music is pretty atmospheric and to be fair,both of these factors make this game a really good “I am on a space ship” experience.There is a good depth to the NPCs characters and they never bored me with their dialoge!The dialoge is really good in Harbinger!The characters feel like real people who are willing to give me a piece of their mind,going even further in.Even the greedy Ona would go to an extension where he can describe how art feels to him and how much he despise young tumblr girls.

And Wik is my favourite!

I am the Wik!We all are the Wik!

The plot is pretty decent and there are quite a few secrets that can be found on the ship,which adds even further to it.[As well as additional stuff for your character!]

I am giving this hidden chip a 8.7 out of 10!

BUT WAIT,why?Isn’t this game super-great?

While the game has a lot of impressive work to offer,there are still few things about it that are a decent turn-off.One example is the unresponsive pathing.Sometimes your character ends up not moving on attacking,especially around tight corridors.Another big bummer is the repetative battles.While the enemies show a bit of an A.I. in terms of shooting at you and making group attacks,the learning curve to reading them ends up pretty fast.”Harbinger” is a pretty easy game to master.Some zones tend to go for way too long,thus,creating a bit of annoyance for the player.Various bugs can still be found in the game,that tend to create quite a bit of silly situations.

…and yeah!That’s “Harbinger”!Personal favourite title,would recommend trying at least once…

Also,cinematics!Only two,but pretty neat!

Ikachan – I don’t freakin’ care if it’s a kid or a squid!

ikchan

It’s the alright-fun-time-package game,where even if you get weirded out by the controls,that still won’t prevent you from finishing the game and leaving it with some pleasant memories and experience.Indeed!I do think the controls are a bit weird and I would really like to see how a person who is not used to playing lots of video games reacts to Ikachan.I don’t know what’s gotten into me about this game,but I would really love to show it to someone unexperienced at video games and watch them as they go through the game.I have the feeling that they might have trouble with it,more than I would like to believe…

Still,Ikachan is one of those classics where everything is nicely done,both in terms of graphics,gameplay and music.[And pretty silly plot!]For a game involving swimming,that is quite the thing to achieve!The game’s length and difficulty feel quite alright and…yeah.It’s the game where everything is pretty solid.That’s one thing about short games – It’s quite easy to make them that way if you put some good and actual effort into them!

Swim ikachan done!

Well,alright!To be honest,the pace of the end game boss battle feels a bit slow.Hitting Ironhead and pushing him in the walls and then waiting for him to come back and attack can be a bit annoying.Then again,maybe that’s just me experiencing the whole boss battle in a way that it shouldn’t be,but hey!…

…every possiblity counts…

I think that 6.1 out of 10 feels just about right for this game.

Saira – Lonely Space Adventures

Sairaart

When I think of space adventures,I think of flying through space,dodging asteroids,fighting other spacecraft,visiting new planets – new worlds,and potentially wipe out their whole existance.Also,enslaving potential races and life forms and bring them back to my exper-…Well,ANYWAYS!

Saira is a game,where space feels like the way actual space is being described.I don’t know.I’ve never been in space.I can’t be sure.They could be lying to us,for all know!So,you play as a girl named Saira,who flies her space ship to various planets in search for parts that she needs for her broken teleporter,due to reasons and PLOT!By that I mean reconnecting with the people she cares about and…WELL PLOT!I liked it though.The plot had a really nice flavor.It’s your typical Nifflas spicy-flavored-kind-of-plot.

We also have the typical “Hello,my name is good atmosphere in a game.Enjoy your stay!” for a Nifflas game.I have to say,him keeping to this standart in different themed games really provides the player with a whole new experience each time.Even if you play all of Nifflas games one after another,you just can’t get tired of it.The art of fine craftsmanship!We have all these different themed planets,[The Dark planet with the deserted settlement was really great!]with their own gimmicks and atmosphere,along with some really nice little details that just add up to the awesome points in the game.I really liked the fact that Saira changes her outfit on various planets to fit with the different themes.It’s pretty sweet!

Actual gameplay consist of mainly solving puzzles or platforming.I did not enjoyed the platforming bits as much as I liked,due to the fact that the controls were not really that great.They did not felt comfortable.The platforming requires you to use a certain amount of momentum when it comes to climbing walls and jumping off them.There is also the fact that Saira tends to refuse to face the direction you tell her to,thus,not being able to grab onto walls and climbing them,which can screw you up in some parts of the game.You get used to the controls eventually,but even then,you still feel that weird feeling of “Lack of control”.Also,weirdly enough,most platforming parts of the game were pretty much time-based,which seems a bit weird.I don’t know.Something about time-based platforming with certain uncomfortable controls did not felt right…THE PUZZLES HOWEVER!They were really awesome!Clever and pretty original.My favourite thing in the whole game was just solving all the puzzles that were inside the various consoles.They just had a really great flavor to them.Then again,the other puzzles throughout the game were really well done too.If anything,I think the puzzle solving is the strongest point of this game.You even have this neat gimmick of having your own camera,which you can use to take photos of important clues that you find through the levels.Surprisingly enough,the potential usage of this gimmick is expanded as the game goes on,which further enhance the experience of this game.

Sairadone

You know what’s great?Being able to see all the different endings without having to replay the game.This is how Saira rewards you for finding all the items.What a kind game!Don’t get me wrong,this game is great!I just really hate doing a “Replay game for different ending” thing,ESPECIALLY if the game takes a long time to beat.

I really liked the bad ending where you get stuck on the planet with the zombie creatures.There is something really exciting about seeing people being stuck in a place with potential danger to their lives,without any means for them to get out.Hmm…

HMM…!Well,this one gets 8 out of 10.