2017 Game Review Haiku, #82 – Dark Heritage: Guardians of Hope

Philosopher’s stone
Find it, look into eyeballs
Unsure, keep clicking

I can’t believe I’m still doing this. I can’t believe I’ll ever stop. These game summaries in chunks of five, seven, and five syllable lines paint pictures in the mind better than any half a dozen descriptive paragraphs I could ever write. Trust me, I’ve tried. Brevity is the place to be. At this point, I’ve done over 200 of these things and have no plans of slowing down. So get ready for another year of haikus. Doumo arigatou gozaimasu.

Adding to the Backlog – Three More PlayStation 2 Titles, Woo

I’m not out to collect every single PlayStation 2 game ever made, because they sure did make a whole lot of them, but I have a list of several titles that I missed during the console’s heydays and am genuinely interested in acquiring and, when the time is right, playing. Yes, playing, because I love games of varying ages, especially JRPGs from this specific era in the industry, for reasons I’m not totally clear on just yet. They don’t make them like they used to, and when they try, they don’t always succeed. Anyways, for a good while there, I was able to find some PlayStation 2 cases at my local GameStops, but they eventually needed more shelf-space for other things, like amiibos and virtual reality gear, and stopped stocking them.

Recently, at a comic convention last April, I was able to grab a working copy of Dark Cloud, which I once had and was actually the very first game I got for my system as a young boy with some steady income before being dumb and trading it in for something else. The game, not the system. I’m still rocking my original PlayStation 2 because I take good care of my stuff. Right, the last time I added a bunch of old-ish games in one solid lump was back in February 2016, with me stocking up on an astounding ten games for my collection; you’ll not be surprised to learn I’ve not tried a single one of them yet. Sigh. One day, when the world is full of free time and no consequences or guilt-laden clouds.

Over the weekend, while Melanie was taking a buttercream flowers class, I had an hour or so to kill in Somerville, NJ, and so I stopped in Retro Classics to peruse their wares. I’ve been in the store before, picking up PS2 copies of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and The Hobbit for my constantly growing assemblage of all things related to The Lord of the Rings, but the last time I went I forgot to bring a list and found myself second-guessing whether or not I had this or that copy of said title and was reluctant to make any purchases. It’s always good to be prepared, and this time I totally was.

Here’s what I got:

That might not seem all that exciting of a haul to you, but Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Böse is something I’ve never seen out in the wild, and my love for strange JRPGs from this era was too strong to resist grabbing a copy for around $15.00. Perhaps I now have more of a reason than ever to finally play through the first game, eating up those lengthy anime-driven cutscenes and e-mails and card-based minigames, knowing there is actually more to follow. The store also has a retail copy of Xenosaga Episode III: Also Sprach Zarathustra, but it was a little too pricey for me at the moment. You can see that I also nabbed Wallace & Gromit in Project Zoo, which pairs nicely with my case-less copy of Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, and X-Men Legends so that I can go back to the beginning of when these comic book hero videogames became more RPG than mindless punching and optic blasting. I’m pretty pleased with the trio.

Anyways, that’s all for now. Alas, most of my list of desired PS2 games are really obscure beasts, like Summoner 2, Frank Herbert’s Dune, and Legaia 2: Duel Saga, and I just don’t think I’ll ever run into them at a store and I’m too timid to try and find them online for a “good” price and deal with trusting a stranger somewhere in the world to deliver on their promises. I’ll keep looking, but I won’t hold my breath. Because I’ll run out of air rather quickly. Until then, looks like I have some other things I can play. Y’know, when I find the time.

2017 Game Review Haiku, #81 – Gravity Bone

Spy on a mission
Follow voice. to poison, birds
Alas, ends with fall

I can’t believe I’m still doing this. I can’t believe I’ll ever stop. These game summaries in chunks of five, seven, and five syllable lines paint pictures in the mind better than any half a dozen descriptive paragraphs I could ever write. Trust me, I’ve tried. Brevity is the place to be. At this point, I’ve done over 200 of these things and have no plans of slowing down. So get ready for another year of haikus. Doumo arigatou gozaimasu.

2017 Game Review Haiku, #80 – Kith: Tales from the Fractured Plateaus, Episode One “Fetch Quest”

This game’s long title
Says it all, click on people
Fetch them what they want

I can’t believe I’m still doing this. I can’t believe I’ll ever stop. These game summaries in chunks of five, seven, and five syllable lines paint pictures in the mind better than any half a dozen descriptive paragraphs I could ever write. Trust me, I’ve tried. Brevity is the place to be. At this point, I’ve done over 200 of these things and have no plans of slowing down. So get ready for another year of haikus. Doumo arigatou gozaimasu.

2017 Game Review Haiku, #79 – The Roscovian Palladium

Rat in museum
Examine human culture
Ask Margot about…

I can’t believe I’m still doing this. I can’t believe I’ll ever stop. These game summaries in chunks of five, seven, and five syllable lines paint pictures in the mind better than any half a dozen descriptive paragraphs I could ever write. Trust me, I’ve tried. Brevity is the place to be. At this point, I’ve done over 200 of these things and have no plans of slowing down. So get ready for another year of haikus. Doumo arigatou gozaimasu.

Windosill’s interactive environmental objects are a joy to click

gd early impressions windosill browser free

At some point last year while I was deep into Alto’s Adventure, the stylishly difficult endless snowboarder with runaway llamas, and conducting research on it for this blog post, I discovered a sensory-tingling clicky sojourn called Windosill, which clearly had an impact and influence on Snowman’s developers. Not necessarily from a gameplay perspective, as Windosill is all about logic/illogical puzzles and clicking around and less about collecting escaped llamas and nailing that third backflip in a row, but certainly from a visual standpoint. There’s a colorful, crispness to the flat, almost childish shapes in both games, and I think the simplicity works great and adds a surprising amount of character to the environments and their surrounding objects.

Anyways, I only played the first few levels of Windosill for free via the game’s website. I filed it away in my brain as a delight and something I should check out fully…y’know, down the road. Well, that finally happened. I got a copy of the game on Steam during the most recent summer sale for $0.98, along with Lilly Looking Through, Disney Mega Pack: Wave 2, and Voodoo Garden. I’m only calling those additional purchases out here so that I don’t forget about them because, until I just went through my purchase history now to figure out when I had acquired a copy of Windosill, I totally forgot about them. Oops. That’s the trouble these days, if you are me.

In short, Patrick Smith’s Windosill is a puzzle game with no instructions or words, other than the title screen text. You’re left to figure out how to unlock each level’s door and move the main character, which is a wooden, toy locomotive, on to the next level by sliding it through the opening. Which, by the way, is immensely satisfying. The end goal is the same for each level, but the journey to it varies greatly. You’ll have to interact with numerous items in the environment by clicking on them and seeing what happens. It’s all about experimenting and being curious, observing what happens when you click once versus holding down the mouse button or holding it down and dragging. What’s nice is knowing that everything you need to unlock the door is contained in the single level, and you will eventually solve the puzzle. It’s more of a drag, tug, and spin adventure game than a point and clicker.

Windosill is joyous. The game’s tone is friendly and dreamlike, and there’s a absurd creativeness to each environment that will leave a smile on your face and keep you guessing moment to moment. I both didn’t want to complete a level and also was super excited to see what came next. Each object you encounter, whether it’s a big ball on a tiny stem or a window in the wall or a plain-looking cone, has character, with its own weight and ability to be squished or stretched or manipulated. I messed with every single thing I could. I had some minor problems playing this on Steam rather than an iPad when trying to stretch or spin some items intensely or drag the cursor too far to the edge of the screen. Nothing major, but it definitely seems better designed for a touch-based interface. Evidently, the iPad version also has a sketchbook gallery, a level selection, and a translucent mode that allows players to see how levels are put together with 3D polygons. That’s pretty cool.

There’s a bunch of other strange, click-heavy freebies to try out on Vectorpark’s website, which certainly all look intriguing and similar to Windosill. However, with this sort of experience, where discovery is better than completion and experimentation is king, I might need to pace myself accordingly. Otherwise, I’ll end up in an alternate universe where I’m tugging, poking, twisting, flicking everything in my path, and no one wants that.

2017 Game Review Haiku, #78 – Excuse Me!

Flatulence crisis
Find the safest place to fart
Time is running out

I can’t believe I’m still doing this. I can’t believe I’ll ever stop. These game summaries in chunks of five, seven, and five syllable lines paint pictures in the mind better than any half a dozen descriptive paragraphs I could ever write. Trust me, I’ve tried. Brevity is the place to be. At this point, I’ve done over 200 of these things and have no plans of slowing down. So get ready for another year of haikus. Doumo arigatou gozaimasu.