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Metal King Slime
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Ghost's Towns - Gomie v. 2015 
 PostSun Mar 13, 2016 7:18 am
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This floor pattern is so simple but so cool. The shortcuts in this part of the game are a godsend, but maybe could've been more of 'em
Great horse joke, and the stuff outside the walls was kind of eerie.
Really? It looks like a spiderman action figure to me
There was a choice like this in C. Kane too.. I wonder if it's more important than it seems?
Key items have their own neat little system. Pity you don't get more of them.
Only two more games to go
This is a review of Ghost's Towns.

WARNING: I didn't know there was a run button when I wrote this review! Hold down R to run!

Here we are, the final 3 games I have left to review! These are games that I perceived to be extra long and extra good, stuff worthy of saving for last with plenty of time to savor. Got some family stuff to take care of so it's like 50/50 as to whether I'll actually finish on schedule but I'm still swinging. First up is Surlaw's Ghost's Towns, which I had anticipated was going to be very much like his earlier C. Kane.

It's got the same surrealism and then some, and it shares a bit of a dismissive attitude towards the stereotypical "indie game" but is otherwise its own weird little thing. There's no battles: You're just a weird green dude talking to people in a weird town where everyone knows more about you than you know about yourself. Your interactions with these people will earn you tokens, and the tokens can be traded for voyeuristic scenes. Are these little peeks relevant to what's going on? Maybe and maybe not (play the game, you bums!) but they're pretty effective at what they're trying to do.

In a game like this atmosphere is hugely important, and that starts with the right music. Ghost's Towns does a great job in that department, using a subdued soundtrack (No singing trees here!) to set a curious yet vaguely menacing tone. Some of the scenes are better than anything I've seen in a Halloween contest, though the art plays into that too. There's some great psychedelic effects and some little things that do a good job of keeping you on edge. A textbox near the end of the game kinda shits on this atmosphere to make a rib at the expense of the modern "indie game". To me, it felt like it was coming from a place of insecurity, a kind of... "I made this stereotypical indie game and now I'm letting you know I'm in on the joke, I hate those games too!.. you do hate them, right?" deal. Maybe I'm reading too much into it...

As always I have complaints. The player character moves a little slow for my tastes, especially as you reach the end of the game and have to backtrack for the last few tokens. One of the first puzzles isn't even a puzzle, it's a "moral dilemma" as seen in basically any modern PC RPG. Either thing you do earns you a token (With a cool token log on the menu keeping track of each one and how you earned it), but it makes it feel like every puzzle in the game is going to have a paragon and a renegade solution and I'm not sure that's actually the case. Double checking these possibilities would be easier if the player were faster too, but I can see how going too fast might hurt the atmosphere.

One thing I really really liked was a puzzle that involved pulling blocks. You see a lot of games with pushing blocks, but pulling them was a novelty. Getting them to the right place was fun and then figuring out how exactly to arrange them was even better. The perfect balance of hints and letting you solve it yourself.

I don't know if I'd recommend it or not. I'm not sure what emotion the author was trying to convey. I was invested in the game, which is a good thing. I feel something about the game, even if I'm not sure what. There's multiple endings, but it's not clear why each option leads to the ending that it does (or at least I couldn't figure it out).

I guess what it boils down to is the puzzles: If you like solving puzzles, you might like it. If you like ambiguous story telling and aren't afraid the author is just trying to get you to say you admire a random pile of his poop, you might like it. It's not particularly fun in a traditional sense, but it's an interesting narrative-heavy audio-visual experience

EDIT: The run button changes everything. Being able to experience the game more quickly makes it definitely worth a shot.
A Scrambled Egg
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 PostSun Mar 13, 2016 4:18 pm
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Thanks for playing bro.

Spoiler stuff: Dymphna spends the entire game mocking you, usually in subtle ways, and the indie game line is the most blunt of them. She's the closest thing to an antagonist here, and she's self-aware, doing whatever she can verbally to tear you down. Of course she's going to tell you you're wasting your time, she's an asshole.

The endings are tied to the way each persona "leaves" the world. The top of a high place, walking out the door, or trapped by a psychopath.

The turtle choice changes the ending in a slight way.

My favorite room is the Atari-style one and it's the most relevant to our cast of characters.

The subtitle is, more or less, the choice you're making by picking your ending.

You can hold R to run when you're outside, which I thought I'd documented, but looks like I didn't! Whoops.
Super Walrus Land: Mouth Words Edition
A Scrambled Egg
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 PostSun Mar 13, 2016 11:39 pm
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Non-Spoiler Things:

This is a good review for helping me fix a few little issues, including prompting me to add more shortcuts in the Tower. So, thanks for that, there's a new version online now with a few changes:

-Minor graphic alterations.
-Minor dialogue edits for clarity.
-Swapped position of Dead Lands and Crystal Swamp.
-New content for Neighsayer: His dialogue now changes after the third, fifth, and seventh floor Tower of Truth events have been viewed.
-New NPC added that hints at this information.
-Shortcut added after viewing events three and seven.
-Enabled run button to function in more locations than previously allowed.
Super Walrus Land: Mouth Words Edition
Metal King Slime
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 PostMon Mar 14, 2016 12:54 pm
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Awesome comments! Being able to run is a huge, huge improvement (was shocked to replay and see that it worked)

I hadn't picked up on the symbolism of the endings, but that's kind of cool. I also hadn't picked up on Dymphna trying to wear me down. I thought she was giving menacing, spooky-style hints. I'm still not a big fan of that particular fourth wall break, but I see where it's coming from now.

I also don't know how I didn't mention the Atari room at all! That place was psychotic. The violence didn't feel two bit, it was very intense. I maybe didn't enjoy it as much as I could've because I still had my head stuck up my butt looking for "moral options" to everything. I wasn't even doing a good job of looking because it took me a try or two to find the shield. Was a great room.
A Scrambled Egg
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 PostMon Mar 14, 2016 2:25 pm
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Dymphna also has a major connection to the dark spirit in the flashbacks. They're drawn and colored similarly, and whatever that means is up to the player. I retouched that sprite a little to make it easier to tell. But the basic idea is that some force (whether supernatural or The Evil That Men Do) is at play in both worlds and she's the common link. She's either trying to show you the truth (Neighsayer disagrees that anything here is true, but that's his nature) or gets her energy feeding on suffering. She's also got a (loose, not literal) religious connection with her name.
Super Walrus Land: Mouth Words Edition
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