Man, I've been playing tons of PC games lately, haven't I?

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( Didn't I beat a PC game right in my previous blog?) Actually, you can't answer that, since nobody bothered reading it (I guess there aren't a ton of Zenki fans on the site), but I did. And...well, the blog before that was a revisit, but before that was Lugaru. And before that was Bullet Candy 3D! What's going on? And more importantly, why am I complaining? Saira's a pretty cool game, isn't it?
Actually, like Bullet Candy, it's an obscure game I got in an obscure free deal, meaning you probably don't know a lot about it. In fact, look at the screenshots alone, you'd probably guess that it's some shitty Flash game, and I can't blame you for thinking that way. After all, just look at it. The protagonist looks like she was cobbled together from every Photoshop technique available, and I'm fairly certain that the background artist for the game is Google Images. I realize that indie game developers usually don't have a lot of money to fund these games, but at the very least, they could make a game not look like the poster boy for Newgrounds. Actually, I should have said "poster girl", because as my use of pronouns hinted at earlier, the protagonist is a girl named...Saira? That was too obvious for me to remember. Anyway, she's searching for a way back to her boyfriend after a teleporter accident sent her to a far away planet. Unfortunately, her quest involves hopping from planet to planet in an effort to repair said teleporter, bringing up the question of why she can't just drift her way to her boyfriend, but that's not the biggest problem. Instead, that goes to post-planet cutscenes, which depict...something. I have no idea what's going on with these things. Something about tentacles and a girl in a spaceship and your perverted little mind filling in details that aren't there. I have no idea what any of it means. Like the story aspect of this blog, I wonder why it's even there to begin with.
  Oh, and Saira's clothes change from level to level. Sexism was never so well implemented.
 Oh, and Saira's clothes change from level to level. Sexism was never so well implemented.
Uh......uh....hey, look! Parkour platforming! That's awesome, right? Saira has tons of it. Expect to wall jump like crazy, slide down walls like cats in cartoons (I've never seen cats slide down a curtain like in cartoons), and...use Naija's Spirit Form? What? Coupled with the spaceship tentacle thing I said before, I'd call this a weird game, but it really isn't. Besides, there are weirder things about this game, like how the levels themselves aren't very parkour. It's just the mechanics that are parkour; the rest is as video game-y as you can get. Hell, Gass Umbra alone looks like a Super Meat Boy rip-off, even though Saira came out months in advance. (I apologize for that video. That's really all there is on Saira on Youtube.) It's like a really cool mix between Prince of Persia and Machinarium. That last word may have confused you, since adventure games and platformers don't mix ( I know), so allow me to explain: remember what I said about collecting parts for the teleporter? They're scattered on every planet in the galaxy, but locked behind doors erected by a race of assholes, most likely (the game doesn't go into detail, but I'm sure they were assholes). It's your job to traverse these levels in search of all the hints necessary to get these items. Now remember what I said about it being a cool mix of Persian royalty and Russian robots? It becomes satisfyingly clear once you finally figure out the precise way to wall jump like a madman.
I think that should have been your hint that Saira is focused a helluva lot more on puzzles than platforming. In fact, there are so many puzzles in the game that I can categorize them into two categories. First up are the logic puzzles that justify my earlier Machinarium comment. However, unlike Machinarium, wherein the amount of aneurysms I experienced per puzzle increased exponentially, the puzzles here are actually pretty manageable. Maybe Machinarium turned me into some kind of mental mega-badass (had to preserve the alliteration BY ANY MEANS), but I found that a lot of these struck that perfect balance between challenging and doable. Of course, by "these", I mean "the logic puzzle ones", and not all puzzles, for there is a dark side to the puzzles: the gate puzzles. These are pretty much the type of puzzles where you have to jump around the level until you find the key to the door. There's a lot of overlap with the logic puzzles in this category, leading to solutions literally plastered on the wall for you to take a picture of. (Oh, I forgot about the photography element. It's pretty much there to help you solve puzzles.) Or in a FAQ. That's what I don't like about these puzzles: artificial lengthening without any redeeming qualities. I know that I can look up solutions for the logic puzzles, too, but at least it's possible for me to work them out and feel smug about that; with the gate puzzles, I feel like I'm wasting time. That's not a good thing in a game that's already proud of how short it is (there isn't a single planet with more than two items on it). Then again, that does mean more jumping and wall climbing and Naijaing and....Wait, why was I complaining about all the PC games again? I might as well check my Steam library to s- OH FUCK!*

Review Synopsis

  • I still can't get over how much it looks like a Flash game.
  • Imagine Prince of Persia got in a high speed collision accident with Super Metroid. Now stop remembering the GBA version of Sands of Time, because this isn't that.
  • Only the best AND worst of puzzles for Saira.
Oh, now I know why so many Japanese people like Romancing Saga: they're effing idiots. I also like how the top comment literally translates to, "It's musical rape.' Stay classy, Internet.

Mystic Defender

( Who the hell thought I'd manage to connect two parts of my blog like that?) For those of you who are (understandably) confused, follow these instructions: look at all the links from before and eliminate every single one that isn't related to PC games. Music doesn't count. That leaves you with Spellcaster, a Master System platformer/adventure game hybrid that wasn't very good. For some reason, though, it received a kind of sequel in the form of Mystic Defender. It removed the crap adventure game parts, and predictably, the game was less crap! And OKish times were had.
Hey, did I mention that this is a launch game? No? Good, because it wasn't. It came out a year after the system, and it shows. Between levels, there are load times. I think. I'm not sure if the game is actually loading anything when the protagonist Hadoukens the screen, but I wouldn't put it past the development team. After all, they clearly weren't familiar with the Genesis hardware. Just look a... oh....right. I actually have to describe what the game looks like. It's an OK looking game, especially for something so early, what with all the detail and parallax scrolling and everything. Then again, it's very clear that Sega was using a template for this because...OK, I can't really describe it, so just go look at the game and tell me that I'm wrong. Hell, two of the levels are essentially the same, at least graphically. I'd have said something about the story, since it's (apparently) based off a manga and everything (fucking déjà vu all over the place),  but all I can say is BOOBIES! No game understands what gamers want more than Mystic Defender. Not even Mystic Defender.
  Like this, but kinda better.
 Like this, but kinda better.
Odd that the story doesn't play a large role in this game, because as we all know it's an adve-what? They got rid of that? Oh, right, I remember now. I guess that leaves us with the platforming bits. There's honestly not a lot I can say about the platforming bits. You jump through levels until you get to whatever part involves not jumping, which oddly involves a bit of jumping. Somehow. There's one kinda cheap part with platforms that sink only when you touch them (it's not well implemented, to say the least), but that's about it. If you want some actual meat, look at the magic system. There are about four or five spells, like a regular magic shot, a human flamethrower, super balls of death, a lightning dragon thing,....that's pretty much it. That may not sound like much (if a human flamethrower doesn't impress you, I don't know what will), but there's an oddly high amount of strategy to be had in it. Do you take out that enemy spawning vagina with your deathsticles or your upward reaching flame shot? Shit! More enemies from the rear! You have two choices: charge up your attack or don't charge up your attack. Those are your only two options. What do you do? Too late: more enemies!
I think I got my point across rather well. If not, then.....agh. Your stupidity has me baffled. Just leave for now, OK? Wait, what was I talking about? Oh, right: TONS OF ENEMIES. Numbers do not go high enough to count the number of enemies in this game. "Infinite" would be selling it short. Part of the problem is that they regenerate a lot, usually from the aforementioned monster spawning vaginae. A larger part of it, however, is that you can't damage enemies off screen. I know that sounds like an odd complaint, but you'll understand once you see an enemy not take a hit because they weren't entirely on screen. Compare this to the bosses, who fall a bit on the easy side. OK, so one of them is essentially the Yellow Devil, only made of spiders, but a lot of the other bosses fall into easy to dodge patterns that give you plenty of time to Hadouken them in the face. So what difficulty does it eventually settle on? I have absolutely no idea. I even looked at the difficulties in the options, and while it seemed to be the exact opposite of I Wanna Be The Guy (choosing Normal means that your protagonist walks through all levels with a pair of truck nuts plastered onto his sprite), it was in the cheap-o old video game "here's more lives" difficulty. No different levels or damage or anything like that. The more I think about it, the more I realize that I have absolutely nothing to say about this game. I could have left it at "this is a game" and it would have been just as good as all that. So why did I write all that?.....................................................

Review Synopsis

  • I always welcome boobs as a reward for hard work.
  • I'm also partial to decent magic systems.
  • The difficulty can't decide on what it wants to be. Man, there is absolutely goddamn nothing I can say about this game.