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Liquid Metal Slime
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 PostFri Jan 20, 2012 5:01 am
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JSH’s 2011 OHR Game Blog #49 – Transylvania Girls by SDHawk and Gomey

Here it is, my favorite OHR game (well, there are still 5 to analyze I guess but for now I'm saying it is) of 2011. Yes, it has adult content. Yes, that means I can't vote for what I seriously think is the coolest game of the year without breaking the rules. Well, screwing the rules was a big part of my agenda in 2011, so I'm not gonna stop now! Disqualify me, Surlaw, you old curmudgeon, you!!!

Transylvania Girls is one of the best dating sims I have ever played. I'm not just limiting that statement to indie games here--I've played lots of games in the genre, it's one I have a soft spot for, and it really doesn't get a lot better than this. Just as in all dating sims with adult content that are actually worth playing, the sexual scenes play second fiddle to everything else. They're in here either for comedy or (surprise) to move the story along.

The addition of a hunt for Dracula's parts adds a TON to this game. First, it gives the game a timer and an objective! Yes, finding a suitable virgin is half of the end game requirement, but the other half is getting the parts. This means you must apportion your time properly and think about what you are doing to see the end. I love this, and if I have one complaint it's that the secret gives you a bit too much extra time to finish the game in.

Another great quality of this game is its interface. It's splendid and simple to use. The Castlevania music fits perfectly and gives the game a proper rockin' retro feel. Giz's graphics are completely suitable for the game (some of his best work!) and the animations go by quickly enough to not annoy the player.

Giz's writing is also quite solid. The dates are markedly either sappy, boring or hilarious, but always a neat experience. They do repeat, which is kind of a minus, but since you're bound to fail on a date once or twice, that's probably preferable to having to re-learn the sequence over and over. The story is silly and never gets too serious for its own good--it's basically black comedy about reviving Dracula with a virgin's blood. I'm sure it'll turn some people off, but I thought it was an interesting choice.

On that same note, the sex scenes in this game are also entirely played for comedy. I could see someone being offended by them, but it's quite honestly nothing you wouldn't see in a cheap horror B-Movie or R-rated Hollywood flick.

I hate to harp on the Best Games of 2011 Voting because I know people are tired of this crap by now, but I can't help but feeling the rule against ranking this is like saying a movie shouldn't win an Oscar because it's rated R. I'll grant that some of the games made for the SIAS contest are blatant pornography, but as long as you're old enough to see some boobies without losing your childhood innocence, there's nothing objectionable here besides a twisted sense of humor. I'm not running the poll, I don't make the decisions, but I am going to let my opinion be known: this game deserves the praise I'm giving it.

Transylvania Girls is one of the best OHR games there is, and it's easily my favorite of 2011.

Rating: 9.5 Drama Llamas out of 10
My website, the home of Motrya:
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 PostFri Jan 20, 2012 5:35 am
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JSH’s 2011 OHR Game Blog #50 – Castle on the Night Land by Willy Electric Warrior

I feel like I've been hard on Willy in this contest. Well, it's time to cut him a break. I really enjoyed Castle on the Night Land, and it's definitely one of the best OHR games of 2011 if you ask me.

Willy's visual style, excellent writing, and love for mazes suit the adventure/puzzle game very well! Castle on the Night Land presents the player with a big castle to explore and unearth the secrets of. You have to find items, sometimes by sniffing around for hints, and be careful to avoid enemies until you can take them.

It's not an easy game, but the challenge always feels fair and compelling. While I do think the monochromatic style hurts my eyes a little at times, it's hard to deny these maptiles are fantastic, and you can really get sucked in despite how unrealistic it is. Castle on the Night Land does a lot of what Star Quest was going for, but I feel its more compact and focused nature is a great boon.

Rating: 7.5 Super-speed Vampires out of 10
My website, the home of Motrya:
http://www.jshgaming.com
Liquid Metal Slime
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 PostFri Jan 20, 2012 5:59 am
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JSH’s 2011 OHR Game Blog #51 – First Fantasy by G-Wreck

First Fantasy is a neat little start to a game. If another version gets released, I'll gladly play it. What sets it apart from a lot of RPGs is the setting: First Fantasy takes place in an era of early man. This makes for a unique musical style that breathes a lot of character in to an otherwise familiar quest narrative.

The graphics are hit and miss. At times (the rivers in the forest... wow) they are quite splendid, and at times (the trees) they are jarring to say the least. All in all, it looks inconsistent. This is problematic, but it's passable enough that my eyes weren't offended.

The gameplay that's here is pretty minimal, standard RPG fare, so I guess I need to talk about the intro sequence. Holy cow, it looks nice. More OHR games need to do this kind of scrolling effect to tell a story. It looks really smooth, and at times resembles a cave painting (despite appearing to be made in MSPaint), which fits the game very well! My only problem with the intro is it's a really boring world origin story that, naturally, has little bearing on the plot presented to us in the early game. As such... I kind of feel like it should be cut. That pains me to say, as it's so groovy. Well, at least it's optional.

This is a game worth checking out, but we won't know its full potential until G-Wreck brings us another release.

Rating: 5.5 Promising Starts out of 10
My website, the home of Motrya:
http://www.jshgaming.com
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 PostFri Jan 20, 2012 7:12 am
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Willy Elektrix wrote:

Since you are being so critical, I'd like to be critical with you. I think your dismissive summary of Star Quest is uninformed and uninformative.

[...]

I might take you up on your challenge to write a legit review that makes sense. Although it will take some time because I prefer to play the games to completion to avoid making snap judgements.


While I agree that as a reader/player I prefer to have a thorough reviewer who will let me know whether a game is worth digging underneath its cover, I think JSH's shotgun reviewing style is of greater merit for the developers than it might first appear.

What happens when the average person downloads a developer's game? For most of our players, we'll never know how far they got or what they thought of it. So I think this style of hasty reviewing has a lot of merit for finding out what the average Joe would think about your game at a glance as opposed to a dedicated reviewer who has made it his job to dig underneath.

This greater mixture of reviewing styles (as well as opinions) is one of the things I was hoping to achieve with this contest, so I'm happy to see it's working. Of course, seeing your counter argument to JSH's haste will be quite interesting as well (I caught a livestream of the game last year, and it looked very confusing, but I'm curious as to what lurks beneath).
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 PostFri Jan 20, 2012 10:34 am
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JSH357 wrote:
JSH’s 2011 OHR Game Blog #44 – Escape from Strong Castle by Jesus Christ Enterprises

Confession time. I didn't replay this game for this review. I realize that this is terrible of me.

See, here's the thing. I remember this game well enough. You just hold a direction and travel through a billion floors to the end.

Except the boss is impossible or something like that. I used Control F1 to simply warp there myself. It wasn't worth it.

Rating: .5 Songs that Never End out of 10


First off, the boss was never impossible.

You have to use the spell Slide under the Sneak command, which is unlocked just for that fight, to kill him in one hit.

Second, jc is my initials, it doesn't stand for Jesus Christ.
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 PostFri Jan 20, 2012 2:13 pm
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JSH357 wrote:
It's not an easy game, but the challenge always feels fair and compelling. While I do think the monochromatic style hurts my eyes a little at times, it's hard to deny these maptiles are fantastic, and you can really get sucked in despite how unrealistic it is. Castle on the Night Land does a lot of what Star Quest was going for, but I feel its more compact and focused nature is a great boon.


Interestingly, Star Quest was a direct inspiration on Castle on the Night Land. I played Star Quest and then began planning Castle on the Night Land. The relationship is not coincidental.

SDHawk wrote:
What happens when the average person downloads a developer's game? For most of our players, we'll never know how far they got or what they thought of it. So I think this style of hasty reviewing has a lot of merit for finding out what the average Joe would think about your game at a glance as opposed to a dedicated reviewer who has made it his job to dig underneath.


That's true. Although, I would argue: Who cares what Average Joe thinks if he is only willing to play a game for 10 minutes? If Average Joe really needs a game to be instantaneously gratifying, then he should stick to playing cell phone games. That's my philosophy at least.
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 PostFri Jan 20, 2012 2:18 pm
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Star Quest was cool. The mountain maze needs a nerf, though.
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 PostFri Jan 20, 2012 2:56 pm
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OK, let's play.

First of all, I did play the bulk of these games all the way through or gosh darn near it. If I didn't make it far in to one, it's because it didn't grab me enough to do so, or in some cases the game was just too tedious in combination of not being interesting to me. This might seem unfair, but I assure you I do the same with commercial games, and I'll bet the majority of gamers do too. There are plenty of titles I have returned/quit on within an hour or two of starting them.

If I don't like somebody's game, it doesn't mean someone else won't; I have pretty particular tastes just like the majority of gamers. For example, I'm pretty unlikely to say much nice about a FPS title, but plenty of their audience wouldn't spend 10 minutes on an RPG.

Don't take my bluntness as a sign I don't like you or something, it's quite the contrary: I think just about everybody is capable of making a good game here, but it's important to know what made a player lose interest in your game, even if it's very general. I would be doing a disservice if I didn't let the creators know: I've had plenty of games that never got a single review, and near as many that never got any kind of comment: this is far worse to me than somebody telling me they hated my games because of x. Even if the reason seems "shotgun" or underdeveloped, I want to know. If you don't like that, or if you think what I have to say is effectively meaningless anyway, you're free to ignore my criticisms--they're just words after all.

Finally, these aren't really meant to be in-depth reviews: the contest asks for 3 paragraphs, I gave 3 (with some exceptions). Attempting to do more is certainly possible, but not something I'm willing to undertake, especially given the small appeal to me of some games released. I try to say something meaningful about a few of them if something jumps out, but it doesn't happen with every game. I applaud Giz for going a step beyond, but as he's told us in IRC he's struggling to do it with some of these. It's not a position I want to be in.

jcenterprises:
Glad to see you're still on the site. Hopefully still making games too. I apologize if referring to you as Jesus Christ Enterprises offended; I'll change it back. It's just a little joke that's been consistent throughout the contest, mostly for people who have numbers in their username or I forget their full username.

While I am now indeed recollecting how to get past that boss, to be perfectly honest, it doesn't improve the game. I think you probably know this (and if you don't, I think your should try getting a total stranger to play your game and ask for his honest opinion) and I think you should also know that you're capable of a lot better.
My website, the home of Motrya:
http://www.jshgaming.com
Liquid Metal Slime
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 PostFri Jan 20, 2012 4:23 pm
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JSH’s 2011 OHR Game Blog #52 – The Hall by Spectrum Studios

Uh, I didn't expect that title there to be literal. This game is a lot like Spectrum, the author's other game released in 2011. The only difference is that this game feels a bit less like it's a trolling attempt.

All you do in this game is walk down a hall. There are some monsters to fight, but they aren't interesting since you only have a physical attack. It all feels very pointless.

This game shouldn't have been released if it's really a serious effort. Now I'm just stretching to come up with more sentences. Believe me, if I had more to say about this I would.

Rating: .5 Blank Stares out of 10
My website, the home of Motrya:
http://www.jshgaming.com
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 PostFri Jan 20, 2012 4:45 pm
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JSH’s 2011 OHR Game Blog #53 – Forsaken by Master K

Forsaken is a mixed bag. In some ways it's a little better than Master K's other games that came out in 2011, but it falls victim to many of the same pitfalls. I'll start off with the visuals, as they illustrate this well enough. Master K does a good job animating his work: The intro looks really cool and the Boss Fight warning was neat. However, the actual quality of the graphics is fuzzier. Some things look like they're approaching a nice sheen, like the main character's walkabout, but then others look totally off, like the enemy thief walkabouts.

The game, like Cardians of Lore, also has vast maps that are simply unbearable to walk through as nothing happens on the way to your destination. I didn't even run in to any random encounters before the first boss fight, which was odd.

This was made further odd by the fact that the first boss fight is... impossible to beat, at least as far as I can tell. My physical attacks never hit the enemies, and my spells are both weak and cost too much MP to use repeatedly. I used F4 to get past this and in to the town, and I have to wonder if there's a way to win.

The town shows a lack of playtesting. There are NPCs you can walk on all over the place, and in general there's just an air of this being incomplete. Some of the dialogue is amusing, which I appreciate, but the game nonetheless feels very directionless at this point.

Master K is good at directing a scene when he does it well, but I think that more polish needs to be applied for this game to really mean something. As it is, I feel like my time has been wasted by playing 15 minutes of this, and it hurts because I know the game had a shot at being better.

Rating: 2 Magician Leads out of 10
My website, the home of Motrya:
http://www.jshgaming.com
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 PostFri Jan 20, 2012 4:59 pm
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JSH’s 2011 OHR Game Blog #54 – Deforestation 3 by Spoonweaver

You know, maybe it was fate. This game almost works as a summary of what went on all year in 2011. We have long-standing OHR characters being murdered and violated, reflecting what went on in the contest environment. One of these characters was depicted in the nude. We have dark comedy that was probably funnier to some than others. We have a conclusion to a series that was overall a mixed bag of results. Interesting.

Deforestation 3 is generally the best of the three films, although it's spotty. You can tell the most work went in to it as it's the longest and has the most characters. One has to wonder why Spoonweaver suddenly made a game like this after the first two, but at least it broke up the monotony.

I think this game treats the subject matter in a ridiculous enough tone that it's not too offensive. For what it is, it could have pushed a lot more buttons than it did. It's still not very good, but I'll give it some extra credit for being a fuller movie than its predecessors.

Rating: 4.5 Fava Beans out of 10
My website, the home of Motrya:
http://www.jshgaming.com
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 PostFri Jan 20, 2012 5:06 pm
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Willy Elektrix wrote:

SDHawk wrote:
What happens when the average person downloads a developer's game? For most of our players, we'll never know how far they got or what they thought of it. So I think this style of hasty reviewing has a lot of merit for finding out what the average Joe would think about your game at a glance as opposed to a dedicated reviewer who has made it his job to dig underneath.


That's true. Although, I would argue: Who cares what Average Joe thinks if he is only willing to play a game for 10 minutes? If Average Joe really needs a game to be instantaneously gratifying, then he should stick to playing cell phone games. That's my philosophy at least.


And that's your prerogative as a developer. Others may feel differently. That said, I would urge you to consider that the average Joe has more entertainment than he can shake a stick at, so he's not really being lazy or shallow by being brief. He just has a lot of stuff he could be doing, and digging through every game doesn't always pay off. Making it easier for him to distinguish your game from the pile isn't really a bad thing.
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 PostFri Jan 20, 2012 5:25 pm
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Well then time to finalize this with a LIST of JSH's Favorite OHR Games of 2011! WOO HOO!

Overall, I think this year was all right, but a lot of the released games were disappointing to me on some level. Still, it wasn't the worst year for OHR releases and we had a couple of great ones, so who's counting, right?

12. Bufanda: A Tale of Three Ghosts
A worthy text adventure that will be as good as it's going to get once it has a few groovy tunes

11. Virtual School 2
Giz's most mainstream-friendly game, which some might say can only be a good thing

10. There is Nothing Left
A disturbing experience that must be seen to be appreciated

9. Triangle
Basically a literal character assassination, but scores high for its art direction

8. Nordomin: Quest of Creole
The beginning of what I can only hope will be a versatile, entertaining full RPG

7. Ruin
Even with its faults, Meatballsub's opus is one of the best fully playable RPGs on the engine

6. Castle on the Night Land
A stylish adventure game with a mesmerizing quality

5. Labyrinth (RMSephy)
An innovative approach to the OHR battle system puts this dungeon RPG above others released in 2011

4. Heart of the OHR Tribute
Barnabus makes everyone smile and remember a contest fondly, somehow making this an entertaining game at the same time

3. Final Dragon Legacy
A wonderful nod to Dragon Quest that shows mastery of the engine by a new user

2. Spellshard: The Black Crown of Horgoth by Harlock and Shizuma
A sprawling epic packed with content and an undeniable attention to the details, not to be missed by any old-school RPG lover

1. Transylvania Girls
Turns the dating sim genre on its head, taking it somewhere it normally wouldn't go while maintaining a ton of character and humor
My website, the home of Motrya:
http://www.jshgaming.com
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 PostFri Jan 20, 2012 6:00 pm
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I actually missed the Star Quest review until Willy commented on it, but if you wanted a review from someone who somewhat enjoyed it: http://superwalrusland.com/ohr/issue47/sq/sq.html

I really disagree that anyone can create graphics like these and have them work. It takes a certain amount of effort to keep everything consistent, stylized, and coherent. There are plenty of OHR games with bad, simple graphics that don't get praised. This one works both because of the artist's grasp of basic figures that some of us still lack and because it fits the theme of a world run by arcade games, or whatever Star Quest's trying to say.

Overall I think it's got a good visual style and its writing fits the style well.

That said I really think the gameplay's pretty awful when it comes to the minigames. They ARE poorly scripted nightmares. You do have pretty much no guidance. I'd rather they actually be fun, but at the same time there actually is something charming about the whole weird, broken world of the game. It's not for everyone, and honestly I don't know if I'd recommend it to anyone I know, but I thought it was a wholly unique, bizarre experience and that gets a lot of points from me.

It's a game worth discussing and I'm glad to see people talking about it!
Super Walrus Land: Mouth Words Edition
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 PostFri Jan 20, 2012 6:09 pm
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Surlaw wrote:
I actually missed the Star Quest review until Willy commented on it, but if you wanted a review from someone who somewhat enjoyed it: http://superwalrusland.com/ohr/issue47/sq/sq.html

I really disagree that anyone can create graphics like these and have them work. It takes a certain amount of effort to keep everything consistent, stylized, and coherent. There are plenty of OHR games with bad, simple graphics that don't get praised. This one works both because of the artist's grasp of basic figures that some of us still lack and because it fits the theme of a world run by arcade games, or whatever Star Quest's trying to say.

Overall I think it's got a good visual style and its writing fits the style well.

That said I really think the gameplay's pretty awful when it comes to the minigames. They ARE poorly scripted nightmares. You do have pretty much no guidance. I'd rather they actually be fun, but at the same time there actually is something charming about the whole weird, broken world of the game. It's not for everyone, and honestly I don't know if I'd recommend it to anyone I know, but I thought it was a wholly unique, bizarre experience and that gets a lot of points from me.

It's a game worth discussing and I'm glad to see people talking about it!


I hate to keep beating this horse but you can't seriously tell me this is something special:



I'll grant that the computers in one of the other screenshots look interesting, but come on. This stuff is just blocks of fill-tool tiles. I mean, if people like that style, that's what they like. I just don't see it as high art or especially creative.
My website, the home of Motrya:
http://www.jshgaming.com
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