I Play Porn Games For The Story // 04.12.2011

Oh man, it’s another one of these! Hello and welcome to my weekly blog all about videogames and visual novels! I sometimes also delve into other fine works such as anime, programming and stuff along those lines. Now, I didn’t write an entry last week, for which I apologize, but I had good reason. For the last, almost coming up on two weeks now, I’ve been mad ill. Like, for the first 4 days I couldn’t even move. I’m on the mend now, or at the very least, I’m well enough to type incoherent thoughts in a blog format, so here I am! Another thing that happened recently was my birthday, December the 1st to be exact, so that was interesting. I got myself an iPhone 4S, and one of my friends literally threatened to buy me Brink for my birthday. I outsmarted him by buying it myself; I wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction!

...I think I just got tricked into buying Brink.

Cave Story+

So a really interesting addition to Steam recently is Cave Story in the form of Cave Story+, which I believe is a PC port of the Wiiware remake that came out a while back, as it features all the remade graphics and music. It’s a pretty great package, though the biggest improvement to this version from the original PC release in 2004 is that you get to pay for this one! How great! Oh and there are like 75 Steam achievements, so obviously I picked it up.

For those who haven’t played Cave Story, first what the hell bro, and second, the game is sort of a Metroidvania-esque side scrolling platformer game. You go around a rather linear story, but able to find different health and missile upgrades hidden around the levels, as well as new weapons and the like. The weapons also have a basic levelling system to them, as you kill enemies you collect yellow triangles that fill the equipped weapon’s level meter. Each weapon get level up to level 3, and levelling a weapon can usually be done incredibly fast, and in most cases makes the weapon a lot more powerful than their level 1 counterpart. The other side of this system is, if you take damage, your equipped weapon also loses some of its power, meaning if you get hit too many times, your weapon will drop in level. It’s a system that I feel works really well, and rewards more careful play by letting you keep sometimes downright breaking weapons just as long as you don’t get hit.

So I decided in my infinite wisdom to try my first run in this game on hard mode. Now, I have completed the game ages before on the original version on the game, but it really didn’t prepare me to the hard mode here. The hard mode in question, gets rid of all health upgrades in the game, and doesn’t give you the missile launcher at all. This means I didn’t have one of the better weapons in the game, making the enemies harder to kill, but it also meant that I had to play through the entire game with 3 health. This means that, almost every single thing was a one hit kill, and that makes this had rather difficult! There are a lot of points in the game that are really messed up with this difficulty, including bosses that show up after an already long enemy filled platforming section, and, well, just all those spikes. As of me writing this, I’m currently at the end of the game with this difficulty, and I’ll say it right now I doubt I’ll ever complete it. The end of the game, excluding the best ending, is three bosses in a row. After tackling it for around 3 hours before, I can beat the first boss around 90% of the time fairly easily, and then the first half of the second boss every so often. I’ve so far made it to the third boss 4 times, every time I’ve spent approximately 30 seconds running away to a safe point to try and figure out a good strategy, and then get hit and have to go the entire thing all over again. I’ll obviously keep at it, because as Misery keeps telling me.

But apart from my amazingly stupid life decisions, this is still a great game, and this is a great version of it. There are four different endings to the game, along with one of the most annoying boss fights I’ve had in recently memory in the true ending, and a whole bunch of challenge modes. Considering I end up playing a lot more indie games than ‘big’ titles it’s probably no surprised that I really like this game, but I’m still going to tell you yo you should get it.

Fractal

After the quick look for the game, I figured I’d give a Fractal a shot, ad well also because I absolutely adore Auditorium. The object of Fractal is to make big hexagon clusters by pushing and making smaller hexagons appear. Pretty hard to describe when I actually try to, but that’s the best I can do. You can click next to hexagons on the board, which will cause all the hexagons in that line to move one position in that direction, and then a new hexagon appears next to the position the mouse was clicked. When hexagon clusters are formed, any small hexagons next to it are pushed off away from the big hexagon cluster as it explodes into points, giving an opportunity for crazy combos.

There are a few different ways to play the game; the main way is the campaign mode which has 30 different levels. In that mode, you have to collect a certain amount of hexagons using a limited amount of pushes. This mode gets rather difficult rather fast, at east for me, with the introduction of multiple colours. With multiple colours, you have to be extremely careful about where you push and what colour you’re pushing at what time. I ended up filling the entire board with hexagons and having none of them set off big hexagon explosions, just because, well, one I’m terrible at videogames, but because I would keep forgetting what colour was being created at what time. The second colour is introduced in level five, and with a grand total of 30 levels I’m pretty sure, and scared, that there will be even more colours to juggle later on.

GUYS I GOT THIS

While that mode is meant to be played incredibly careful, there is also an arcade mode, designed to be a lot more hectic. In this mode you get an infinite number of pushes, but there is a time limit. Every hexagon cluster you make you gain some time to your limit, so the object of the game is just make as many clusters as you can and fast. This mode feels like the black sheep of the three, as it’s the only mode that doesn’t encourage you to look at the board carefully and be conservative with your pushes. Having said that, it’s a lot of fun to just make as many hexagon clusters as you can.

The third and my favourite by far, is the puzzle mode. The puzzle mode is really a well disguised tutorial area for the campaign, as most of the situations involve you trying to create combos or clear the board under certain conditions. While some of the situations you’d probably never find yourself in in the campaign mode, some of them are really useful to remember for the other modes. That isn’t to say that this mode is only for teaching you to play the other modes, as the puzzles themselves might be the best part of the game.

While it's pretty hard to notice these specific situations in the other modes, it's still fun trying to figure out how they'd work regardless.

Despite the game having almost nothing in common, I get a Devil Dice vibe from this game. This might just be from the puzzle mode and its seeming purpose of teaching you to be better at the main mode. In the same regard, the puzzle mode of Devil Dice is my favourite part of that game, too. Literally I can’t think of any other reason why I get a Devil Dice vibe from Fractal, but it did mean after playing Fractal for a bit I went straight to playing a bunch of Devil Dice.

Devil Dice

Guys Devil Dice is awesome, do yourself a favour and play it, that’s all.

Just because I was bedridden didn’t mean I didn’t play visual novels. These things get ported to iOS devices dawg! I mean that’s probably really cool right, the format works well for the touch screen controls, and as long as the text is readable it should be a great experience. Though obviously there be no boning on the iOS versions, luckily I’m only interested in the story.

KiraKira

This week I checked out KiraKira, which before I actually played any attention to it I figured it was just a visual novel version of K-On... then again that would require K-On to have some kind of plot. Anyway, K-On is pretty hot in my life so it fired me up to play it all that more, let’s just hope this excitement isn’t just all smoke and mirrors.

The story stars Shikanosuke Maejima, you’re typical high school student who doesn’t really care all that much about high school, is part of a club but never attends, and only really pays attention to his part time job. Suddenly! He meets up with a girl called Kirari Shiino who, along with his childhood friend Chie Isurugi and typical rich girl at a generic high school Sarina Kashiwara, convinces him to form a punk band.

Yup!

They decide to present the band as an all girl band, and therefore force Shika to crossdress during their performance. Then, after a great performance at the high school’s culture festival, they decide to take the show on the road, cause fuck it! And thus begins an incredibly ambitious and spontaneous tour of Japan as a fake all girls punk band.

It’s a pretty silly concept for a story, but I feel it works. The characters, after learning about the punk way of life, just jump from the frying pan into the fire, so to speak, and practically run away from their homes to do this. The character’s do a lot of heat of the moment decisions, and it’s what makes the journey all that more believable and exciting. The game also handles the different character splits rather well. The game continues a common route until they all get burned out, and feel that they have one more performance in them. At that point, Shika will make the decision on where they should go, which will be different based on who he’s warming up to the most, and then the rest of that character’s route will happen when they get back to school. This is where I feel the story sort of goes up in flames. The common story I feel is really good and really shows off the main characters well, but when the story splits, they don’t really spark up that much more than the rather generic stereotype based plots, albeit with some punk band influenced infused in them, but it’s definitely the most charring part of the whole experience.

Once you complete the three different routes, you unlock a fourth ‘true’ route, that’s based on Kirari’s route, with one rather significant change. This is probably the weirdest part of the whole visual novel to me. Kirari’s route, in my opinion the best out of the three routes, was incredibly well done. The straight up fiery passion of the main character and what he goes through might have been one of the best stories and conclusions I’ve ever read in a visual novel. Not to spoil what happens, obviously, but the story does something rather drastic, and instead of just ending the story on that explosion, it lingers on what happens for a few good hours. It’s a great effect that, with the inclusion of the true route, really just makes all that effort burn to ashes. I understand why they probably thought that had to include the alternate ending and call it the ‘true’ ending to the story, I just think the other way around would have made the entire thing a lot better.

Now, like the checks I use to buy visual novels, I better bounce. Before I do, however, I did make a few stupid lists last week. Now, it should be rather obvious that I’m a fan of the movie Space Jam, mostly because it’s an amazing movie and EVERYONE should be a fan of the movie Space Jam. Well I compiled a list of the top ten greatest video game based ‘Space Jam’ mashups and the top ten greatest anime based ‘Space Jam’ mashups. You’re welcome.

14 Comments
14 Comments
Posted by Psycosis

Oh man, it’s another one of these! Hello and welcome to my weekly blog all about videogames and visual novels! I sometimes also delve into other fine works such as anime, programming and stuff along those lines. Now, I didn’t write an entry last week, for which I apologize, but I had good reason. For the last, almost coming up on two weeks now, I’ve been mad ill. Like, for the first 4 days I couldn’t even move. I’m on the mend now, or at the very least, I’m well enough to type incoherent thoughts in a blog format, so here I am! Another thing that happened recently was my birthday, December the 1st to be exact, so that was interesting. I got myself an iPhone 4S, and one of my friends literally threatened to buy me Brink for my birthday. I outsmarted him by buying it myself; I wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction!

...I think I just got tricked into buying Brink.

Cave Story+

So a really interesting addition to Steam recently is Cave Story in the form of Cave Story+, which I believe is a PC port of the Wiiware remake that came out a while back, as it features all the remade graphics and music. It’s a pretty great package, though the biggest improvement to this version from the original PC release in 2004 is that you get to pay for this one! How great! Oh and there are like 75 Steam achievements, so obviously I picked it up.

For those who haven’t played Cave Story, first what the hell bro, and second, the game is sort of a Metroidvania-esque side scrolling platformer game. You go around a rather linear story, but able to find different health and missile upgrades hidden around the levels, as well as new weapons and the like. The weapons also have a basic levelling system to them, as you kill enemies you collect yellow triangles that fill the equipped weapon’s level meter. Each weapon get level up to level 3, and levelling a weapon can usually be done incredibly fast, and in most cases makes the weapon a lot more powerful than their level 1 counterpart. The other side of this system is, if you take damage, your equipped weapon also loses some of its power, meaning if you get hit too many times, your weapon will drop in level. It’s a system that I feel works really well, and rewards more careful play by letting you keep sometimes downright breaking weapons just as long as you don’t get hit.

So I decided in my infinite wisdom to try my first run in this game on hard mode. Now, I have completed the game ages before on the original version on the game, but it really didn’t prepare me to the hard mode here. The hard mode in question, gets rid of all health upgrades in the game, and doesn’t give you the missile launcher at all. This means I didn’t have one of the better weapons in the game, making the enemies harder to kill, but it also meant that I had to play through the entire game with 3 health. This means that, almost every single thing was a one hit kill, and that makes this had rather difficult! There are a lot of points in the game that are really messed up with this difficulty, including bosses that show up after an already long enemy filled platforming section, and, well, just all those spikes. As of me writing this, I’m currently at the end of the game with this difficulty, and I’ll say it right now I doubt I’ll ever complete it. The end of the game, excluding the best ending, is three bosses in a row. After tackling it for around 3 hours before, I can beat the first boss around 90% of the time fairly easily, and then the first half of the second boss every so often. I’ve so far made it to the third boss 4 times, every time I’ve spent approximately 30 seconds running away to a safe point to try and figure out a good strategy, and then get hit and have to go the entire thing all over again. I’ll obviously keep at it, because as Misery keeps telling me.

But apart from my amazingly stupid life decisions, this is still a great game, and this is a great version of it. There are four different endings to the game, along with one of the most annoying boss fights I’ve had in recently memory in the true ending, and a whole bunch of challenge modes. Considering I end up playing a lot more indie games than ‘big’ titles it’s probably no surprised that I really like this game, but I’m still going to tell you yo you should get it.

Fractal

After the quick look for the game, I figured I’d give a Fractal a shot, ad well also because I absolutely adore Auditorium. The object of Fractal is to make big hexagon clusters by pushing and making smaller hexagons appear. Pretty hard to describe when I actually try to, but that’s the best I can do. You can click next to hexagons on the board, which will cause all the hexagons in that line to move one position in that direction, and then a new hexagon appears next to the position the mouse was clicked. When hexagon clusters are formed, any small hexagons next to it are pushed off away from the big hexagon cluster as it explodes into points, giving an opportunity for crazy combos.

There are a few different ways to play the game; the main way is the campaign mode which has 30 different levels. In that mode, you have to collect a certain amount of hexagons using a limited amount of pushes. This mode gets rather difficult rather fast, at east for me, with the introduction of multiple colours. With multiple colours, you have to be extremely careful about where you push and what colour you’re pushing at what time. I ended up filling the entire board with hexagons and having none of them set off big hexagon explosions, just because, well, one I’m terrible at videogames, but because I would keep forgetting what colour was being created at what time. The second colour is introduced in level five, and with a grand total of 30 levels I’m pretty sure, and scared, that there will be even more colours to juggle later on.

GUYS I GOT THIS

While that mode is meant to be played incredibly careful, there is also an arcade mode, designed to be a lot more hectic. In this mode you get an infinite number of pushes, but there is a time limit. Every hexagon cluster you make you gain some time to your limit, so the object of the game is just make as many clusters as you can and fast. This mode feels like the black sheep of the three, as it’s the only mode that doesn’t encourage you to look at the board carefully and be conservative with your pushes. Having said that, it’s a lot of fun to just make as many hexagon clusters as you can.

The third and my favourite by far, is the puzzle mode. The puzzle mode is really a well disguised tutorial area for the campaign, as most of the situations involve you trying to create combos or clear the board under certain conditions. While some of the situations you’d probably never find yourself in in the campaign mode, some of them are really useful to remember for the other modes. That isn’t to say that this mode is only for teaching you to play the other modes, as the puzzles themselves might be the best part of the game.

While it's pretty hard to notice these specific situations in the other modes, it's still fun trying to figure out how they'd work regardless.

Despite the game having almost nothing in common, I get a Devil Dice vibe from this game. This might just be from the puzzle mode and its seeming purpose of teaching you to be better at the main mode. In the same regard, the puzzle mode of Devil Dice is my favourite part of that game, too. Literally I can’t think of any other reason why I get a Devil Dice vibe from Fractal, but it did mean after playing Fractal for a bit I went straight to playing a bunch of Devil Dice.

Devil Dice

Guys Devil Dice is awesome, do yourself a favour and play it, that’s all.

Just because I was bedridden didn’t mean I didn’t play visual novels. These things get ported to iOS devices dawg! I mean that’s probably really cool right, the format works well for the touch screen controls, and as long as the text is readable it should be a great experience. Though obviously there be no boning on the iOS versions, luckily I’m only interested in the story.

KiraKira

This week I checked out KiraKira, which before I actually played any attention to it I figured it was just a visual novel version of K-On... then again that would require K-On to have some kind of plot. Anyway, K-On is pretty hot in my life so it fired me up to play it all that more, let’s just hope this excitement isn’t just all smoke and mirrors.

The story stars Shikanosuke Maejima, you’re typical high school student who doesn’t really care all that much about high school, is part of a club but never attends, and only really pays attention to his part time job. Suddenly! He meets up with a girl called Kirari Shiino who, along with his childhood friend Chie Isurugi and typical rich girl at a generic high school Sarina Kashiwara, convinces him to form a punk band.

Yup!

They decide to present the band as an all girl band, and therefore force Shika to crossdress during their performance. Then, after a great performance at the high school’s culture festival, they decide to take the show on the road, cause fuck it! And thus begins an incredibly ambitious and spontaneous tour of Japan as a fake all girls punk band.

It’s a pretty silly concept for a story, but I feel it works. The characters, after learning about the punk way of life, just jump from the frying pan into the fire, so to speak, and practically run away from their homes to do this. The character’s do a lot of heat of the moment decisions, and it’s what makes the journey all that more believable and exciting. The game also handles the different character splits rather well. The game continues a common route until they all get burned out, and feel that they have one more performance in them. At that point, Shika will make the decision on where they should go, which will be different based on who he’s warming up to the most, and then the rest of that character’s route will happen when they get back to school. This is where I feel the story sort of goes up in flames. The common story I feel is really good and really shows off the main characters well, but when the story splits, they don’t really spark up that much more than the rather generic stereotype based plots, albeit with some punk band influenced infused in them, but it’s definitely the most charring part of the whole experience.

Once you complete the three different routes, you unlock a fourth ‘true’ route, that’s based on Kirari’s route, with one rather significant change. This is probably the weirdest part of the whole visual novel to me. Kirari’s route, in my opinion the best out of the three routes, was incredibly well done. The straight up fiery passion of the main character and what he goes through might have been one of the best stories and conclusions I’ve ever read in a visual novel. Not to spoil what happens, obviously, but the story does something rather drastic, and instead of just ending the story on that explosion, it lingers on what happens for a few good hours. It’s a great effect that, with the inclusion of the true route, really just makes all that effort burn to ashes. I understand why they probably thought that had to include the alternate ending and call it the ‘true’ ending to the story, I just think the other way around would have made the entire thing a lot better.

Now, like the checks I use to buy visual novels, I better bounce. Before I do, however, I did make a few stupid lists last week. Now, it should be rather obvious that I’m a fan of the movie Space Jam, mostly because it’s an amazing movie and EVERYONE should be a fan of the movie Space Jam. Well I compiled a list of the top ten greatest video game based ‘Space Jam’ mashups and the top ten greatest anime based ‘Space Jam’ mashups. You’re welcome.

Posted by rmanthorp

Sonic 2 mash up is rather perfect.

Happy Birthday again, still playing video games huh?

Moderator
Posted by Video_Game_King

@Psycosis said:

Though obviously there be no boning on the iOS versions,

What the fuck?

Posted by Bocam

I've read KiraKira and loved it but I can't get pass the way the ears are drawn.

This ending is KiraKira's best ending
Posted by InfiniteGeass

Happy belated birthday. Thank you for this mash-up. It's freaking great.

Posted by Psycosis

@InfiniteGeass: I find myself listening to Space Jam based mashups at least 3 times a day, helps calm the mind.

@Bocam: To be honest I really don't like the art style in the game, which is absolutely crazy since it's just generic anime. I dunno, maybe it's the way all the characters are like leaning at a 45 degree angle, but something about it really... sparks a flame of annoyance.

@Video_Game_King: Can't have 18+ stuff on the store! It sorta sucks because all the text leading up to the scenes are present, and then it fades to black and just cuts to the text after the scene. From a story perspective the two parts don't ever feel natural with that section cut out, that's why while they're not the draw for me, I try and avoid versions of visual novels with the porn scenes cut out.

@rmanthorp: Yeah videogames are alright I guess.

Posted by Poki3

Would you recommend people buy Cave Story+?

I played Cave Story a long time ago. Got the Machinegun and abused the hover it provided. I didn't even know there were alternate weapons since I didn't read up beforehand on the game. Yeah, the 3 final bosses were almost impossible for me, but I somehow managed after a loooong time.

Posted by Psycosis

@Poki3: At the very least I'd recommend people play Cave Story, but recommending people pay for something that's already been out for free is kind of hard. If you like that style of game it's a good idea to support it by buying the upgraded version, and the new challenges such as boss rush seem like really cool additions. The updated graphics and updated music, however, I'm not a big fan of, and that seems to be the main reason to get this over the free version.

Despite that, it's effing Cave Story, of course people should buy it.

Posted by Devoid

Hm, maybe I'm ready to play Cave Story again. Loved it when I played it a while ago; Hard Mode sounds like just the right level of masochism to spend a stupid amount of time on.

Also, I may have stumbled across those lists sometime last week.. I want the hours I spent looking up random songs back. :P

MvC3's is still my all-time favorite.

Posted by Psycosis

@Devoid: Time spent looking up Space Jam mashups is never time wasted. I was torn about which should be higher, the MvC3 one or the BlazBlue one, then I realised I had the BlazBlue one on my phone and used it as my ringtone for the longest time. It's just too perfect.

And now I'm going to spend the next few hours looking up new Space Jam mashups.

Posted by ZombiePie

I just want to say that all joking aside Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden is a legitimately good game. I think the old 1Up team put it best in this video "review':

Moderator
Posted by Psycosis

@ZombiePie: I love Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden. Like, a lot more than I have any right to. Though it's been a while since I actually played it, the simple fact that it exists is amazing and the fact that it's actually fun to play makes it even better.

Posted by MisterWaingro

If this is too personal a question, feel free to just ignore it completely, but I'm curious, how much does an ad-supported flash game of a quality and popularity like yours stand to make these days?

I'm working on a flash animation myself. I'm not expecting to make any money off of it, but I was just wondering how much a really popular ad-supported flash game or movie would make.

Posted by big_jon

Anime people creep me out...

I mean the fans of it, the hardcore fans.