Underneath my yellow skin

Hodge, podge, and a little bit of dodge

Still on that Cozy Grove (Spry Fox)/Binding of Isaac: Repentance (Edmund McMillen) tip on the daily. Every morning, I do the loop in Cozy Grove and it goes like this. First, I gather all the resources that are available. Flowers, minerals, nuts, and fruits. Then, I feed all the animals/imps that need feeding. After that, I go to the spirits who need help and do their quests. While I’m doing their quests, I have my divining rod on hand so I can divine as I tromp across my island. I also dig up any resources that are around–onions, sweet taters, taters, etc. Once all that is done, I go to Mr. Kit (and Mr. Kat, the mouse on top of his, a fox, head) to sell my goods. If I overpacked my backpack while gathering resources, I go to him to sell off the flowers. Man, you can make a pretty penny by selling all the flowers.

Once I’m done selling, I turn to buying. First, haircuts. I remember when I first tried a new haircut and realized I couldn’t get my old one back unless it went on sale, I was crushed. Now, I switch it up on the daily and it’s so much fun.

Side Note: It’s interesting looking back on the first few weeks and recalling how stressed I got when I didn’t have enough money to buy something or ingredient to make something–specifically cocoa beans.¬† There was no way to get except to buy one a day from Mr. Kit and…several at a time from Pandam once a week. And the former was only after you expanded his store–which wasn’t cheap. Everything was scarce and I felt as if I would never be able to make certain items, such as the Bon Bons.

Fast-forward over a month later and now, I rarely have to worry about resources. Money is not an issue at all. Cocoa beans? I have them laying around my tent just gathering dust. I will say, it was still sticker shock when I had to buy a 50,000 old coins item for the mayor today, but I had it on hand. I dropped it like it was no big thing.

The biggest surprise is how much I’ve grown to care about the spirit¬† bears. They each have a story and most of them are heart-wrenching. I want to help each and every one of them, even though I know that means I’m bringing them closer to their release. They each have a distinct personality and I can find something to love about each of them. There’s Charlotte, the embittered ranger who used to be a Spirit Scout like me. There’s Allison, the pig bear and baker who likes to use, um, unusual ingredients in her creation. There’s my dear, sweet Arjun (ram bear) who has Alzheimer and only wants to be with his beloved wife, Lily. There’s Flamey, my campfire who does so many things for me. There’s Mr. Kit, the tall and silent fox merchant with Mr. Kat, the mouse, sitting on his head. There’s Pandam, the poor red panda wandering salesman who is cursed and miserable.

I’m far enough in that I’ve met all the bears but one, I think. I just checked. I’ve met 14 of 17, so I have 3 left to meet! I haven’t finished the story of any one bear, but I’m getting close. I’m curious as to what happens when one of the bears find closure, but I’m also dreading it. It reminds me of Spiritfarer (Thunder Lotus Games) when I had to take characters to the Everdoor. It broke my heart every time, even with the characters I didn’t like. I put off bringing Gwen for way longer than I should have because I loved her so much. I know I’m going to sob like a baby when I finally lose one of my spirit bears.

The thing, though, is I have no idea when that will be. This game is meant to be played over a year (at least) and I’m not even on Day 60 yet. I have gotten the ‘play for two seasons’ badge, which is sweet! The new season started June 1st and it’s exciting! New seashells, new flower and fruit bushes, and I assume new fishes at some point. It’s really nice to have new stuff. Anyway, this wasn’t supposed to be about Cozy Grove and it’s not about Repentance so I won’t even talk about that game right now, but I had to gush about CG just a bit more. Even though this are my mains, I have tried several games. I want to do a quick rundown on them so here we go.

Control by Remedy. Oh, Control. *deep sigh*. I wanted to like this game so much. I had seen the first hour or so and heard so many people rave about it. There was so much about it I should have liked. A strong female protag. Paranormal activity. She’s psychic in some ways. I dig the aesthetics as well. But, alas, it didn’t turn out that way. I find the protag irritating and the controls are floaty for me. The combat is not fun and I find the writing tedious. I’m not saying it’s a bad game–it clearly isn’t. It just didn’t click with me. I gave up because I’ve reached a point in my life that if I don’t like something within the first hour, then I just let it go.

Then there’s Hellpoint by Cradle Games. It’s a Soulslike in a…I can’t even describe the setting. It’s sci-fi/futuristic, I can say that as much. And the story is serviceable. Come to think about it, I don’t even know what it is. All I know is that I was a naked metal man having to kill other metal beings. I think? I’m not sure. Anyway, the combat is similar to Dark Souls and felt fine. But, the game itself was just…fine as well. It was fine, but it made the mistake of thinking the main point of the Souls games is that they’re hard. They are, but that’s not the focus of the games. It’s a big part of the DNA, yes, but it’s not the aim.

In addition, Hellpoint has two mechanics to it that make it unenjoyable for me. One, the enemies of an area respawn if you go out and go back in some time later. I don’t know how long it was, but I hate that. A lot. Especially as I did not find one single bonfire in the first hour I played. To die after an hour and not get anything for it….that hurt. A lot. Plus, my first death was to the floor not being where it should have been. I hate that kind of shit. The other thing is that when you die, you have to fight a nastier version of yourself. Not to get your stuff back, but just because? Hollow Knight had this as well, but it felt fairer there. Here, it was just as annoying as fuck. I made it to the first boss, who, oddly enough, wasn’t that bad. I rushed in because the opposite-me was chasing me hard and I was just so tired. I had no heals so I died, but I didn’t think the boss would be that hard in the end. If I wanted to figure it out. Which I didn’t.

I realized that I don’t actually like hard games. Or rather, I’m not looking to play hard games–if a game I like is difficult, then I’m willing to learn it. I wasn’t willing to take the time to learn this game because I’d rather be playing Souls–which was my gauge against which I judged all other games of the sort.

Next up is The Wild at Heart by Moonlight Kids. It’s a point-and-click with very mild combat. It has a lovely art style and a sad hook in the beginning. It’s charming with little impish creatures that follow you around. You can throw them and they do things for you. Again, very charming, but it just missed the mark with me. Plus, the controls are jerky and….wait. There was another game I played where the camera jerked around and snapped to the enemy that made me motion sick. Third person. Was it Hellpoint? No. Goddamn it. Ah! I remember–I’ll get to it next. Anyway, this game should have been up my alley, but wasn’t.

The game I was thinking was Immortals Fenyx Rising by Ubisoft Quebec. It’s an open-world game with a cute cartoony style. The main character is Fenyx, a woman who is…doing something to something something with the gods. Zeus and Prometheus are narrating and while the latter is fine, the former is annoying as fuck. He’s pompous, vacuous, and vain. I know Zeus is arrogant, cruel, probably hot as fuck, and has an electric personality, but I’m tired of seeing him portrayed as a one-note character. Hades did a good job as making him more nuanced, but this game–ugh. Plus, they seem to have Italian accents? What’s up with that? This is the game that has a jittery camera and snaps to the nearest enemy, making me nauseous. It’s a third-person game, so it shouldn’t be an issue. It is, though. Could I fix it? Maybe. Did I want to? Not really. I liked it and found it an amicable game. There are fun god-based skills that are pretty rad.

A funny note: There was a puzzle I had to do by placing big marbles on a plate with divots in it. I went to grab one of the marbles, didn’t notice that I was going off-track, and fell into a fountain. I couldn’t pick up the marble again, no matter what I did. This was just the demo and I wondered if I would have to start over. I pushed the marble to the side of the fountain, got out of the fountain, and crouched so I could grab the marble. The prompt flashed on and off as I tried desperately to find the sweet spot. Once I did, I was able to finally grab the marble. It took me about ten minutes to accomplish this feat. It was obvious they never expected someone to fall into that fountain so maybe they should have made it so you couldn’t fall into the fountain.

Anyway, it was a fun enough game. If I didn’t have the nausea issue, I could have gotten into it. I didn’t like it enough to fiddle with the settings–nor did I know if I could do so in the demo.

Finally, I tried the Going Under by Aggro Crab demo. It’s a tongue-in-cheek game about being an intern at an amoral games developer company. You have to kill goblins in the dungeons of the company, using the material around you. Computer keyboards, staplers, pencils, etc. There are also actual weapons like swords, bows, etc. The whole thing is done in a Mr. Bill art style which is goofy and pleasing. However, the combat is too bobbly and I did not find it satisfying at all.

I’ll keep working my way through my pile of shame, but for now, I’ll stick to Cozy Grove and Repentance. Well, at least Cozy Grove.

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