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Look Ma, no hams!

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Fifteen minutes of GAME: Secret Chainsaw Caves of Cogmind the Flea

Another six five games, played for fifteen minutes each, in the continuing quest to shrink my gaming backlog.

Secret Agent

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Secret Agent is - compared to most of my gaming library - a positively ancient 2D platformer. I can't say much else about it because I didn't play this for the whole fifteen minutes, and didn't complete a single level. It might have been great at the time but I have no nostalgic memories of it, or practice controlling the character, and quickly got tired of struggling with the old-fashioned gameplay. It's almost amusing that the features which probably made it a good game at the time (having to plan your path through the level, not entirely-linear level selection, the varied enemies and dangers) make it substantially less fun for me 20-plus years later.

Do I want to continue? No - and this doesn't bode well for several other games in my GOG library based on the same engine.

Caves of Qud

On the plus side, it has pettable cats.
On the plus side, it has pettable cats.

Caves of Qud is a roguelike set in (I think) a distant post-apocalyptic future, with the game's caves located under a ruined city and probably full of all kinds of technological wonders and horrors. But that's mostly a guess, because I never got near them. The fifteen-minute rule is a little unfair to roguelikes, since I used up a lot of the time setting up my character (unwisely, since the first never lasts long) and spent most of the rest trying to learn hotkeys and controls and other information. Nevertheless, I headed into the wilderness at random and was quickly killed, at night, by something I didn't even know was there. On my second try I managed to get a quest, apparently in the same direction I died last time, so ignored it and went the other way. For a long time nothing happened, and then I was killed by a raider (it didn't help that I was holding down a movement button at the time). At this point I had a sulk and stopped, but the timer was almost up anyway. The game has some interesting systems (physical and mental mutations among the most obvious) but I didn't get to experience them.

Do I want to continue? I thought this would be an easy yes, but I didn't actually enjoy playing it. Even the font somehow annoyed me. But I'll play it again eventually, when I have time to more than skim the in-game help.

Chainsaw Warrior

2+1 is practically nine, right?
2+1 is practically nine, right?

Chainsaw Warrior is a virtual card game, complete with animated dice rolls - it's presumably a direct copy of a real-world version - about saving future New York from a zombie invasion. In my first game I was smothered by a slime because I ignored a warning about instant death, and in my second game I got endurance confused with HP and effectively committed suicide (deliberately hurting myself to escape from an enemy when I was already almost dead). Even with these stupid deaths I... had fun. It has a good tutorial and helpful explanations, tolerable background music and flashy-but-quick animations. I didn't get that far into the game - and missed out on all the unique enemies/encounters and night time - but enjoyed what I did see. It's surprisingly suspenseful for a turn-based game that seems 90% chance! The game has a very touch-friendly design, and games have an enforced time limit (120 turns?), so I bet this is on app stores, but the computer version I used works fine.

Do I want to continue? Yes. It's not the kind of game you'd play for hours at a time (though I suppose you could) but I definitely want to get far enough to die to the things that are expected to kill you.

Flix the Flea

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Flix the Flea (not yet on the wiki) is a relatively simple game about... well, I don't think it really has a plot. It feels like a flash game in terms of animation and graphics, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. The controls are interestingly limited - you can only jump left and right, holding down the buttons to jump further. The aim is to get to top of a 'cave' containing various platforms, collectibles and instant-kill birds; once you reach the top, you proceed to the next cave, with the ultimate aim of getting high scores by collecting stuff along the way. I reached cave three before running out of lives; at this point, discovering that was the whole game and I'd have to restart from the first cave, I stopped playing with six minutes to go. The movement wasn't very satisfying - collisions with objects stopped the flea dead and you couldn't control falling, and though my jumping noticeably improved even in the few minutes I played it always seemed hard to judge what angle and speed I would launch at.

Do I want to continue? No. The game is inoffensive, and each cave at least has a different theme and layout - but without knowing how many caves there are, or any way to avoid starting from scratch each time, I'm not interested in getting further.


Choices, choices...
Choices, choices...

What's this, another roguelike? In Cogmind you're a robot, and you build yourself from parts, including those of enemies you defeat. I enjoyed it much more than Qud, though I suspect many features that impressed me - various animations and UI elements, mouse integration, etc. - would be much less important once I got used to game. Cogmind also had a much better introduction and interactive tutorial, and right from the start I knew what I should/could do next. I didn't get too far in (there was no character setup here but reading still sapped a good portion of time, and I wasted a minute comparing wheels and legs) but I experienced the various features of the tutorial level and part of the one following.

Do I want to continue? Yes, but… the portion of the game I saw was great, but Cogmind is still in 'alpha', so I don't know how much extends beyond the very-specific tutorial section. In addition I seem to be in a 'games with linear plots and definite endings' mood, recently completing several long-ignored adventure games, so despite all its positives I don't think I'll be getting deep into any roguelike just now.

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