I had barely recovered from the Winter steam sale that here they go again with a new one! Well, this time I’m sticking to my guns and I won’t buy anything, or at least try to. Let’s go with the usual mix of genres and indie classics and relative unknown titles.
CITIZENS OF EARTH
Have you ever played Mother/EarthBound, the RPG developed by Ape? Good. Have you ever wished you could play Mother while impersonating a dumb political figure trying to rally supporters and votes? Well then, boy have I got a game for you…
Jokes aside, that’s exactly how Citizens of Earth feels. While the premise may sound relatively fun, the gameplay doesn’t seem to deliver, unfortunately. At times, the title plays like someone made a decent effort in RPG maker and then gave it a relatively professional coat of paint, along with voice acting. The basic 16bit rpg rules we all know have been placed on top of a story that doesn’t offer much in the way of laughs or reflections on current political climate.
If you really must play ever rpg on earth, then sure, go ahead cause it’s not bad really; otherwise I think there’s plenty other titles out there that deserve your time and attention.
Full price for Citizens of Earth is 12$ which is a tad too much for a game that doesn’t offer such a memorable experience compared to other “amateur” RPGs I’ve tried. Gingiva comes to mind.
THE LITTLE ACRE
The short time I spent on The Little Acre I kept thinking of King’s Quest VII. Maybe it’s the cartoony graphics or the simple inventory puzzles mixed up with simple action conundrums.
Even the switching between two characters (at times annoingly constant, like two seconds of walking and SWITCH) reminded me of more than one Sierra title. Unfortunately for The Little Acre, those games were designed by experienced designers who had been doing adventure for years. The game by Pewter Games is slightly less refined, the writing pretty average and never seems to go for laughs or drama, just sits there.
I guess it’s meant for a younger audience, I guess that writing for both kinds of public is hard work.
Also, I guess budget constraints kept the title pretty short, barely 2 hours, so I understand the problem of inserting enough valuable content. Still, introducing characters that the game is not gonna expand on just makes the whole thing feel kind of lifeless.
There’s another old adventure game I thought about, Alien Incident from 1996, a similarly simple game aimed at younger audience, that was also fun for adults and had more content than this.
Still, The Little Acre shines with its pretty graphics and a honest smile, its heart is in the right place so I can’t stay mad at it.
13$ for less than two hours of gameplay is definitely not a fantastic deal; should you absolutely want to introduce a young child to adventure games, it could do the trick, otherwise the same money is better spent on a Ghibli movie.
ORGAN TRAIL: DIRECTOR’S CUT
I’ll be honest, I’m cheating with this one cause I’ve been playing it on and off for years on various platforms, but since The Walking Dead is not coming back anytime soon, let’s just get it over with.
Organ trail is a retro zombie take on the classic Oregon Trail game: get in the car with your team and try to survive the zombie apocalypse. And yes, there’s also the unmissable dysenteria joke which never gets old. Actually it did, but this was 2013, so we’ll cut Organ some slack.
There’s something about a horror game with 8 bit home computer graphics that always gets to me. That’s why I also found Return of the Obra Dinn a joy to play. I find that kind of graphic style tremendously atmospheric, scarier than any 3D game; for me, it just works, it harkens back to a time where you were scared by the “unknown”, what you could barely comprehend even in the light of day.
Organ employs a rather simple “roguelite” gameplay (even though you don’t unlock anything since it was released way before it became a fashion) along with limited action scenes and a simple trade system.
It’s all rather straightforward and, sadly, random, which is the main reason you will die over and over again. No matter how much you’re careful and plan ahead, random events can bring you a game over in a matter of minutes.
The only real fault I find with Organ Trail is the action scenes, controlled with the mouse and a pain to play. So I just tend to run around, collect items and avoid zombies altogether. Organ Trail is still a small indie classic.
5$ is a pretty okay price, if you haven’t played it yet go for it.