I have a list of games.

It is a list of games that I have not played. There is no guarantee that I will ever play these games. There is no guarantee any of these games are good. But maybe someone else will play them. Maybe someone else will discover they are good.

In this episode, twelve more games are added to the Crashbook.

92/ ANNO: Mutationem

ANNO: Mutationem is an action-adventure game with RPG elements set in a cyberpunk world, featuring a unique mix of pixelated 2D & 3D graphic style with a rich, dark and bizarre plot.

Crash notes: It wasn’t the setting that drew me in – neon-scorched cyberpunk is so 90s – but the visual work in the cutscenes and the environment looked so good. Uh, I don’t know if the protagonist has to wear a vanishingly small skirt all the time.

Windows, Playstation | Steam Link | Released Mar 2022

93/ Techtonica

Techtonica is a first-person factory building game set beneath the surface of an alien planet. Work alone or in co-op to build factories, gather resources, research new technologies, mold the destructible terrain, establish a base of operations, and uncover long-forgotten secrets.

Crash notes: Factory building games are beguiling but I always worry they might turn into an addiction and keep me playing late into the night. Can’t have that, I’m only allowed to get addicted to something like Death Crown. Techtonica is my latest factory building siren call.

Windows | Steam Link | Unreleased

94/ SOKOBOT

SOKOBOT is an open-ended puzzle game where you place down cute robots, give them commands, and create infinitely-looping assembly lines that combine shapes together!

Crash notes: Shrugs. I don’t know if this appeals to me or not but I did get a kick out of a similar micropuzzle, Sokotron, in the Confounding Calendar.

Windows | Steam Link | Released Mar 2022

95/ Orbital Bullet

Orbital Bullet is a fast paced 360° action-platformer with rogue-lite elements, where all actions take place in a circular pattern. Fight your way through a variety of procedural planets and use body modifications, crafting and heavy weaponry. Kill. Die. Modify.

Crash notes: Although a distinctly modern game, I experienced a toxic overdose of nostalgia as the trailers reminded me Treasure’s Mega Drive bosses like Spinderella and the Core Guard System.

Windows | Steam Link | Released Mar 2022

96/ Regency Solitaire II

From Grey Alien Games’ blog on Jan 12: Ship Regency Solitaire 2 in Q3 unless we have a really good reason to delay it. (This is our main project at the moment for 2022 and we are committed to making it happen. We’ve got a good plan and it is achievable.)

Crash notes: Finally, the sequel everybody was waiting for. It’s happening.

Probably Windows, maybe Mac | Unreleased

97/ Logica Emotica

An emoji infused puzzle adventure for you!

Crash notes: From the developer of Yellow and all its sequels: Red, Black, Blue, Green and Pink.

Mobile | Twitter announcement | Unreleased

98/ THEY SPEAK FROM THE ABYSS

Venture into the Abyss and face strange and horrifying monsters in this bone chilling RPG. With the spirit Sophia at your side, you must venture into the nightmare-ish world of the Abyss in order to escape. Monsters will block your path, will you be strong enough to conquer them, or will you perish and join the other lost souls who roam the depths?

Crash notes: I’ll keep linking horror games and I’ll keep only playing one or two of them every year 🙂

Probably Windows | Itch Link | Unreleased

99/ Clash: Artifacts of Chaos

You are Pseudo, a fighter living in the strange land of Zenozoik. Everything changes for you when you take the Boy into your care. Crush your enemies and explore a punk-fantasy setting, never forgetting the sacred rules of the Ritual.

Crash notes: The latest Zeno Clash game. I was no good at the melee combat of the original and never finished it, but it’s ACE Team. These are beautiful games.

Probably Windows | Steam Link | Unreleased

100/ Shotgun King: The Final Checkmate

The Black King has been depossessed of everything… Everything except their royal shotgun. His wrath shall be his undoing, yet he cares not. In his dark folly, bits of white pieces will fly.

Crash notes: PUNKCAKE Délicieux push out a new game every month. They always look interesting but, of those games I’ve tried, I’ve failed to find one that really grabbed me. Shotgun King looks silly and fun: they’re transforming their Ludum Dare prototype into a commercial release.

Windows | Itch Link | LD50 prototype available

101/ Acolyte

Acolyte is a dynamic narrative experience that gives you your own Acolyte; a digital assistant you can talk to freely with unlimited dialogue options. Just like a real conversation.

Crash notes: It’s pitched as an “ARG/detective” game. I’m curious to see how well the “natural language input” works…

Windows | Steam Link | Free Demo Available, Full Release May 2022

102/ Loot River

Explore procedurally generated labyrinths in a dungeon crawling action roguelike that combines tense, real-time combat with spatial block-shifting – slide blocks of ancient ruins, fight bestial abominations, loot, explore, level-up, strategize, cast powerful spells, die and wake up anew.

Crash notes: The word “Loot” will never, ever sell a game to me. My hatred of the term is so strong that I couldn’t even abide the title Loop Hero. But Loot River looks lovely although I think the stats system and loot tree means it’s probably not for me.

Windows | Steam Link | Releasing May 2022

103/ CosmOS 9

CosmOS 9 offers a sample of the vast puzzle space, an intergalactic tour across the mind-bending. This is a collection of 9 games, each 30 to 90 minutes long, exploring an ever changing genre: Line drawing, platforming, tile placing, symbol decyphering, resource managing, programming…

Crash notes: This looks interesting, there’s an excellent chance I might actually play it if each game has a play time I can manage.

Windows | Site Link | Releasing May 2022

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10 thoughts on “Crashbook #7

  1. I do love these Crashbooks, just because it allows me to also spill a few beans on what I’ve seen (and thought)!

    So Techtonica… I played Factorio for a bit and it got overwhelming fast and I wasn’t a fan of the ‘scaling up’ of operations to account for ever increasing tech requirements (‘Now you need one BILLION tech points!’). Reworking entire systems was rough knowing each new discovery would almost necessitate it. I imagine this is big part of the appeal for some people! I can certainly appreciate streamlining and optimising but Factorio’s factories can get HUGE. Satisfactory interested me because, well, first-person. Techtonica fits that too. The Riftbreaker demo was a lighter mix of top-down mining, base building, tower defending and twin-stick shooting but I also got to a point with these games where I was like… ‘are we the baddies?’ I hated destroying these worlds to effectively strip mine them. That’s when I fell in love with Terra Nil’s demo! It felt wonderfully cathartic to boot us off these rocks and restore the natural world again.

    Orbital Bullet looks very cool and I’m fascinated by the visual and mechanical implications of a cylindrical wrap around.

    I really need to get back on to Zeno Clash II because I adored the weirdness of the first game. It was a lot more technical and challenging than I expected. Zeno Clash II appeared to lean even more into that! ACE Team’s games are just wonderful things to behold though aren’t they? Clash appears to continue that trend. What a glorious screenshot. Love all the hatching marks.

    Yeah, I’ve seen Punkcake’s stuff pop up on Twitter a lot (like Sokpop’s) but gah, I never find time to check them out. Shotgun King caught my eye too! Remarkable output from these devs.

  2. Loot River’s link is for Acolyte. Looks super good but I can definitely see the loot part getting in the way.

    Finished Cylinder so maybe it’s time I gave Xeno Clash a go!

  3. Yikes, I did rush a little pushing the post out yesterday. Anyway, I’ve corrected the Loot River link 🙂

    Also, I should have added Loopy Wizard on mobile to the list, which is a Broughlike. It won’t be on next month’s Crashbook because, uh, I’ve downloaded it.

    Gregg, I didn’t even notice the cross-hatching on Clash because I never opened the screenshot and took a good look! I’m often beguiled with the liks of Factorio but there’s always that worry about how *big* it can all get. Mrs. Electron Dance has played a lot of Cities: Skylines and she really loved it but… felt that her city wasn’t quite right when it was “finished” and the only real way to do it properly would be start again. Then again, some people would read this as replayability.

    And ever since I made The Minecraft Industrial Revolution, I’ve been troubled by exploitation mechanics because they’re usually just framed as “this is what pioneering about!” rather than something like a 4X game which is usually upfront about its cold, abstract meanness: I can accept that. It’s weird how much it bothers me. It’s a bit like playing any sort of war-themed game right now with a real war being beamed into the news headlines daily.

  4. Ah, a delightful list Joel. Techtonica has been on my wishlist since I first heard about it (like you, I am enthralled by factory games and lack your self-discipline). I tend to binge, get frustrated with my ineptitude, stop, and return months later when any latent skill I’d developed has rusted and I need to restart the process all over again. I’m going through it now with Dyson Sphere Program. There’s a game with many a glitch idiosyncrasy — plus dire need of professional localization — but if you can get past those ultimately minor issues it’ll keep you up all night.

    I didn’t even know they were doing another Zeno Clash game, but I liked the others. And Acolyte seems intriguing for the same reason you mentioned: just curious to see how well it works!

  5. I saw your tweet and grabbed loopy wizard – I’m not very good at it, but it’s neat. It’s tough retraining my brain from the “killing is cleaning is winning” loop that works for non-broughlike games.

  6. I saw a trailer for CosmOS 9 and it looks delightful! I also saw that thread about the brough-likes and, god, I really need to check out that genre because I feel like it’ll be my bag.

  7. OK, now I am going to dream about a game whose main mechanic is explained as giving me several million dollars.

  8. Steerpike, I’ve just taken a look at the Dyson Sphere Program page. Hoo boy. I’m reminded of the lean Pico-8 version of Slipways which I found out about in these very comments; “I’ll have a quick go” and BOOM THE HOURS FLY BY. On a PICO-8 GAME!

    Dan, LOOPY WIZARD IS GOOD. I think it will replace Mosaic as it’s tough keeping randomness under control in that game. (I still don’t think I’m being pragmatic enough in that game: just run, you idiot.)

    Matt, you should just set up your alternate “Dreambook” website and charge money for access to the ideas within. And then people will find there is just one idea. Which is giving you several million dollars.

  9. There are various ways that I could try to link the following comment to the topics under discussion but why bother: I logged off Twitter, and having got through a bit of work crunch I feel as though the main effect is that it frees up time to play games that can be done a bit at a time, and one of those is that I’ve got back into Slay the Spire a bit, and I usually fail on the True Boss, which has a power where everything you do does you a little bit of damage, which is really quite an effective substitute for Twitter.

    Actually I don’t like the final boss of Slay the Spire, perhaps I will talk about why it is important for roguelikelikes to give you health regeneration! But not for Broughlikes as much. Ooh, a connection to the topic!

  10. OK, so here’s why I think health regen is important: It dampens feedback loops. If a game doesn’t give you a bit of automatic regen, then little mistakes or mischances in battles accumulate. And often what this means is that you have to spend resources healing up, which leaves you in a worse position for the next battle, which makes it more likely you’ll take damage, which… While if the game gives you enough resources to recover from little mistakes, and you’re a bit more skilled or luckier than it’s expecting, you get overpowered quickly.

    This is something that’s a problem for me in FTL. On easy difficulty I finish the game drowning in scrap, on normal difficulty if I don’t get good luck early on I feel like I wind up fixing my hull or buying resources I’ve run out of instead of upgrading shields and systems, which leaves me underprepared for battles, which feedback loop ahoy. Part of it is that there’s a lot of pure chance in what you encounter earlier, including the results of significant events.

    Slay The Spire has this too, where healing (except for a few cases) is guaranteed to lose you a chance to upgrade a card, at the very least. And the levels are long enough that it’s hard for me to tell when I can afford not to heal. Really part of my issue is that I feel like I’m not getting enough feedback; on the main levels I have to pretty much guess how far to push my accumulating damage so I can survive the level boss, because if you survive that fight at high health you wasted opportunities earlier. And more important, the final final boss is such a curveball that my performance against other enemies doesn’t seem to correlate with my performance against it at all.

    Going against this, one thing I think about roguelikes is that they’re all about managing risk, which I’m not doing a good job of here (that’s why procedural generation is important for them). But a good one is also about flexibly adapting to the resources you gather, and something like the final fight in Slay the Spire which specifically penalizes certain deck styles seems to go against that.

    But Brouglikes don’t have to give you regeneration because they tend to be short and they’re all about careful tactical movement, so a single misstep should be hard to recover from! Which is fine in part because they’re short. If Slay the Spire is going to have 50 levels, I resent it if mixing up the order I play cards in on level 12 is going to leave me messed up in the final boss fight! Of course having said that I just opened the game to check how many levels there are and played over half a run. It’s fun, I just usually get through the main game fine and hit a wall at the very end!

    And then Cinco Paus, the Broughlikiest of Broughlikes, is long if you consider the streak as a game; but if you consider the streak as a game, it also has regen, because every new Jogo your health resets. And it is very much about managing risk and resources; for the midgame, if you play to get gems, your power should increase faster than the enemies’; but if you’re going to get a full Conclusao you have to minimize situations where there’s a chance of dying, which means knowing when to use up resources to preempt danger, and when to realize you’re getting your butt kicked and need to run away.

    Really I came here to say something that has no connection even to my previous comment: I tried Frog Fractions 2 and I did not like it at all! Instead of doing mind screws by suddenly changing the game genre, it does mind screws by actively making things unpleasant for the player!

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