Short Sessions, Part 9

This is another post in my series about the odd games that I have decided not to complete, although I will at least try them out for up to an hour or two.

Kao the Kangaroo: Round 2

Developer: Tate Interactive | Released: 2006 | Genre: Action, Adventure

Another one gifted to me that I’m pretty sure I would never have bought myself. It was clear within seconds of playing that it was a game for small kids. I’ve completed games for kids before but this one was a tad too childish for my liking. Low polygon graphics, animals easy-talking with a big font, LEGO colors…

Even so, I might still have considered it had it not been for the fact that it didn’t have mouse support. I had to walk around with the kangaroo (picking up coins) with direction keys while having a second set of direction keys for moving the camera around, plus a hotkey for aligning it behind.

In spite of the small and simple platform levels with plain graphics, it was still quite varied. I could double-jump, pick up a nut for throwing afar, roll around, smack enemies with boxing gloves, ride rivers in a barrel, and an NPC frequently popped up telling me what to do next.

The sound for smacking enemies was wonderful – I could almost feel it. I also smiled when Kao fell into water and his neck stretched up for breathing while walking around on the bottom of the lake. I was also impressed that Kao could grab onto ledges with those boxing gloves.

Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee

Developer: Digital Dialect | Released: 1997 | Genre: Platform, 2D

An old 2D platformer, now 26 years old. But although the graphics was crude as yesteryear and the sound effects low quality, it still had a distinct style and charm that held up even today. I must confess I’ve never played any in this series before. It’s still going strong – the most recent game was released last year.

Playing as the humanoid Abe, I was on the run through platform screens that flipped to the next by the edges or a door. Abe could walk, run, roll, and even perform more than half a dozen talk commands. The latter could be used to control the floor-scrubbing Mudokons, he met on his way. For example, I told one to follow me, and then I liberated him through a “bird portal” which was a ring of flapping birds.

So there was a little bit of Lemmings about the game too.

To spice up things, there were gun-wielding monsters. It was not possible to attack them directly – they were much too ruthless for that. I had to be cunning instead. For example, I could sometimes pull a sizable lever for opening a trap door beneath one, or I could sneak past if it was asleep.

I liked the news ticker throwing tutorial hints at me, I just wish it had been scrolling faster or maybe used smaller letters. The graphics were evocative and the animations great, considering the age of the game. It’s not hard to see why this game was a hit back in the day. I wish I had been there.

Pleasure Puzzle: Portrait

Developer: 冷笑黑妖 | Released: 2018 | Genre: Puzzle, Jigsaw

A very simple jigsaw puzzle game swapping bricks around to complete a drawn portrait of a very beautiful woman. And just in case you’re wondering – I didn’t buy this. It was also gifted to me.

There were a ton of portraits to click, each with a jigsaw cutout of 6, 12 or 24 bricks. Completing a portrait opened up for much more complex cutouts – I saw up to 100, but I bet that was not the limit.


Developer: CodeHatch | Released: 2014 | Genre: Simulation, Sandbox

This game was gifted to me a long time ago and that’s the reason it was still in my Steam library. The reason I’m saying this is that it was removed after the developer abandoned the game. Players were pissed – the trailer for the game promised a lot of things that was never added to it.

So, supposedly being a bugged alpha game, I started it with low expectations.

But the funny thing is, it actually looked promising to me. Admittedly, the 3D graphics looked crude even for 2014, but the drawing distance and the grassy landscape was enormous. Somehow, it reminded me of The Commonlands in EverQuest II, and I always liked the landscape style in that game.

The game was essentially a Minecraft clone, but with “normal” graphics instead of LEGO blocks. I spawned in survival mode just below a huge alien structure that I couldn’t enter. Although first person, I had body awareness and I could see I was only wearing undies. I did have a few harvesting tools so I quickly started gathering plants for fibers, drilling rock for ores, then crafting armor, a simple pistol, food and a smelting machine for producing ingots. Food was crafted into MR injectors for keeping things simple.

Apart from trees, rocks and caves, a few critters were also around. Some of them were harmless and ran away when I started shooting at them. One was a big bug with fluorescent stripes. Others, like a big spiky worm, attacked straight on when I got too close.

I only played it for an hour and thus I didn’t go deep. I know big buildings and vehicles can be crafted too. I didn’t really stumble into anything that gave the impression that it was an alpha build. No bugs and nothing that seemed to be missing. In fact, I quite liked the user interface. Opening the inventory swung in panels in each side of the screen, ready to craft or equip stuff.

Stories: The Path of Destinies

Developer: Spearhead Games | Released: 2016 | Genre: RPG, Action

Hm, another well received and generally liked game that just didn’t click with me.

It was an isometric action RPG controlling a sword-wielding fox character. I moved around by holding down the right mouse button (which I wasn’t really delighted about to begin with) and I could buy skills at an altar or craft new swords and gems at a workbench. The first skill I bought made it possible to grab a pole with a line and swoop past a gap. At least that part was pretty sweet.

Combat seemed easy at first, but it had this thing about melee enemies telegraphing an attack that I had to block in a timely fashion. This was difficult to do for me when sliding around the arena with the right mouse button, and I frequently died because of this.

One other type of enemy was more interesting – a “Beholder”-monster with an eye casting light in front of it. I had to hide behind walls and then attack it from behind, as it walked away.

I don’t know what it is with games and a lot of constant blathering from a narrator these days. This game was one of the worst of its kind. The narrator sounded like he was overacting a fairy tale to a small toddler, and he did it constantly to describe everything the fox was doing. Combined with boring drawn cutscenes and the cartoon-style graphics, I had a hard time understanding the fuss of this one.

See also: Short Sessions, Part 8

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