Short Sessions, Part 10

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.

Magrunner: Dark Pulse

Developer: Frogwares | Released: 2013 | Genre: Puzzle, First Person

Another Portal clone, which I have completed a lot of by now. I usually like these well enough to complete them – however, this one rubbed me the wrong way.

It started in the usual training facility with room after room, wearing a glove for changing the polarization of magnetism. Boxes or platforms could attract or repel each other by applying the polarization – left mouse button for red and right mouse button for green.

The game didn’t hold your hand regarding the actual puzzles and I actually thought it was a little confusing at first. Some rules I had to figure out by myself, like how a box had to touch an electrical power sphere, or how a sliding strip with arrows was supposed to be used. Sometimes the room also increased the challenge in repellent ways such as e.g. putting a box in a nook where it wasn’t easy to spot.

I could see there was some charm in toggling the magnetism to pull or push in a certain rhythm and also strengthen the elevation by piling boxes near a platform and then polarize them. But somehow, it also felt like the game wasn’t always playing fair. Another room – so what is going to be tricky here?

A hotkey turned on magnetism fields – that felt like using a debug command.

To make matters worse, there was a lot of loading. After one or sometimes two rooms, I had to go back to a roomy elevator and listen to a scientist or a journalist babble while the next level was being prepared.

I have completed enough of these kind of games now to be a lot more picky. I’ve heard the last half of the game is pretty difficult and there will also be monsters. Thanks, but no thanks.

Pixel Puzzle Ultimate

Developer: Decaying Logic | Released: 2016 | Genre: Puzzle, Jigsaw

This was another jigsaw puzzle game, but considerably harder than the previous one I tried.

I completed one of the free puzzles. The pieces were floating around in the water baths in side, and I could collect particular pieces in the bottom containers. Each piece could be rotated, and there was a satisfying sound when one plugged into the right spot. And I could grab a fish out of a water bath!

As such, it was okay and even had several nice hint features, although I didn’t use any of them.

The egg slicer music quickly got on my nerves, though. I could change things like the theme colors, but not the music? Also, the title screen was incredibly messy to look at – quite overwhelming.

After completing the puzzle – which took about 1.2 hours to do – I had a genuine 😮 moment as I opened Steam to check on achievements. The game had the largest list of achievements I have ever seen. It scrolled forever – there must have been thousands of them!

The LEGO NINJAGO Movie Video Game

Developer: Traveller’s Tales | Released: 2017 | Genre: Action, Adventure

My brother is incredibly picky about movies. He demands that they have some degree of plausibility, and he cannot accept most fantasy or science fiction movies. He has never watched any Star Wars at all. I don’t have the same problem. I have always loved fantasy and science fiction movies.

But I do understand him, because that’s exactly how I feel about LEGO in movies and games. I just cannot take it seriously at all. So this was definitely gifted to me – no way in hell I would ever have bought it.

But it’s not that the game wasn’t pretty or well made. It started with a training sequence – first against dummies, then real attackers, and finally against a chicken on a moving dummy as the boss. I learned how to perform combos to jump and attack. Everything being hit spattered silver and gold coins everywhere.

This led into the chapters of the game. It started as a flying rail shooter in a detailed beach city. I’m not even sure I was doing the right thing there. The game didn’t seem to bother telling me what the target was. Then I was on foot fighting more baddies and then assembling a LEGO catapult to take down a drone.

Btw, the game managed to reboot my Windows 10 at one point. Please don’t ever do that.

The Culling of the Cows

Developer: Decaying Logic | Released: 2014 | Genre: Shooter, Defense

Much too crude for me. Primitive 2D graphics and amateur voice acting. I think the only positive thing I can say about it is that it took less than three seconds to download it from Steam.

The gameplay was simple – defend the farm against incoming zombie cows, coming in from the right side. Shades of Plants vs. Zombies for sure, but without the charm. I had a shotgun that frequently required reloading, and there were upgrade options for dollars, supply drops, cow variations, etc.

Vanguard Princess

Developer: Tomoaki Sugeno | Released: 2009 | Genre: Fighting, 2D

I managed to find another game that I totally abhorred. Even if the game had been decent (which it really wasn’t) I still wouldn’t have played it much. I hate fighting games – even more than sports games.

After fumbling randomly through a few screens, I had to consult the controls in a Windows menu. Turned out the movement hotkeys were T, F, H, B with action keys for fighting in a group to the left. 🙄

It was a classic 2D versus fighter with only female characters to choose between. There were powers. There were combos. There were some cuteness. There was even a story mode. I didn’t care.

See also: Short Sessions, Part 9

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