Spring Falls (Review)

Source: Cashmoneys
Price: £5.19 (£7.87 for game + soundtrack, £2.89 for soundtrack)
Where To Get It: Steam

There’s little I love more than a relaxing puzzle game, with chill music, that makes itself clear from the get-go. And then adds things that you can’t help but experiment with. I also quite like beautiful flowers and grassy landscapes (And, indeed, I pay the price for that pretty much every summer. Hey ho…)

Will this… Will this work? I’m not sure. It looks dicey.

So Spring Falls, a game about, essentially, trying to make water fall in such a way that the grass grows in a line around your water… That leads to one or more flowers. Of course, the falls part becomes obvious pretty early on… You have limited space to work with, and, being on a cliffside, if the water falls off the edges, or falls lower than it needs to to water a plant… Well, might as well restart. And, for the most part, you can only pull hexes (for lo, tiles are hexagonal) down. Well, mostly…

A nice, simple premise, no? It adds things later on, but let’s take a break from that, and talk about the game’s aesthetics. It’s pretty, a minimalist kind of pretty that’s also clear, and the music is so very relaxing… Sound wise, there’s not a lot, some stings, flowing water sounds, and pops… But there doesn’t need to be a lot, because what sounds there are are both clear and pleasant. Indeed, the puzzles use some pretty restricted space, in order to get you to focus on a relatively small number of moves. Hrm, this cracked clay sort of block, what does it… Oh! It rises when it’s watered! And, from then on, bam, you know what it does, and can immediately identify it.

So pretty… <3

And the game tutorialises pretty damn well. At first, the clay block rising was a good thing. But then it got in the way, and I could see no way around it to the flower, except… AHA… It can be dragged down not only one level, but to its original height!

Beyond this, and a problem I seem to be seeing a lot this month (That the volume can’t be manually adjusted in game, only the sound turned on and off), there really isn’t a whole lot to say about Spring Falls, precisely because it’s a tight puzzle game where the objective becomes clear from the get go, so all you have to do… Is relax… And think. You’ve got all the time in the world. Drink it in, like a flower.

The Mad Welshman, even with his hayfever, appreciates flowers. So many lovely sights and (ACHOO! …sniff) smells

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Detective Kobayashi (Review)

Source: Cashmoneys
Price: £9.99
Where To Get It: Steam

Detective Kobayashi is a detective game in the rough style of Phoenix Wright, where a key mechanic is rebutting statements by an antagonist, and you can read the protagonist’s thoughts. Which, er… If it was a flagship feature, I wouldn’t exactly say it’s all that hot. Thankfully, it isn’t, and the game is… Pretty solid.

Detective games in this vein work in a pretty similar fashion: Explore scenes and talk to people until you have all the evidence you need, at which point it kicks you into deduction mode, either picking dialogue options that opens the door of truth a little further, or present evidence to contradict statements.

Which would be just dandy, if it weren’t very easy to trap yourself in these contradiction exposing segments. Each one has three possible statements to contradict: Only one of them is the one you should attack. Generally, you are only using a few pieces of evidence, out of… A lot. And you have to make sure you’ve got it in the right order.

Yes, everyone outright states the introverted child has a lot of trouble making friends, and yes, he left his newest and his favourite toys at home… But neither is the way to progress in the first case… Although I do seem to recall one is mentioned in the domino chain that comes next. In the second case, you play the deduction game if you pick the wrong culprit… But while you can get to a certain point, and the third case (of four) unlocks regardless, you will lose the case. A classic Dead Man Walking scenario.

Sometimes, it’s multiple choice answers for debating a viewpoint. This is one of those scenarios, and… God I hate this smug fuck.

Oh, and you can’t save during these particular parts. That’s a problem too. Along with having to remember the numbers you’re given to text people you haven’t met.

The first two cases, however, are interesting, in that the first doesn’t result in an arrest even if you solve it (I won’t spoil it, because it is legitimately a good twist, and the foreshadowing is subtle), and the second, the solution is foreshadowed very early on, as is the culprit, and I’m kicking myself for not noticing it the first time I yelled “J’ACCUSE!”

As to the writing overall? Detective Kobayashi himself does have a heart, as the first case shows, but it’s hard to like him considering what a pushy horndog he is, always trying to get his female partner, Matsuda, to admit she likes him (She… May or may not. Again, won’t spoil things.) There’s also a transphobic and fatphobic line in the second case early on that predisposes me to dislike him. The other characters… Some of them are quite interesting, some are a bit flat, so, overall… The writing is… Okay? I’m not hating it, I’m not loving it, so, yeah… Okay.

Protip: None of this line is cool, it’s somewhat shitty, on multiple levels.

Aesthetically though, it works. Good music, character designs that fit within the world, and give a little bit of added character (There seems to be a lotta hangdog expressions here. Not a criticism, just an observation), and, while I can’t say whether the VA is good or bad because I don’t speak enough Mandarin, or Chinese dialects in general, to be able to tell. Sorry folks.

Overall… Detective Kobayashi is pretty tightly designed in terms of the actual investigations, but the contradiction segments never really sat well with me, Dead Man Walking, even if it’s just the one, has definitely never sat well with me… But it does work aesthetically, and the writing’s alright (apart from that transphobic and fatphobic comment, which is definitely a turnoff), so… A “Worth trying if you’re into this sort of thing, but be aware of the above.”

A good detective understands other viewpoints. So… A good detective knows not to shit on other people. Just sayin’.

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DemonCrawl (Review)

Source: Cashmoneys
Price: £11.39
Where To Get It: Steam

Minesweeper. A logic game as old as Windows… Well, older than Windows, actually, but it was popularised (sort of) by its inclusion in Windows 3.1, right up until the present day. And the formula hasn’t changed. Like, at all. Click a square. Is it a bomb? No. Is it an empty space with empty spaces around it? Those empty spaces will auto clear, until, at the edges, there are The Numbers. The numbers that tell you how many Mines are adjacent. And from those, you have to deduce… Where the bombs are. Hit a bomb, welp, you die.

[Screams In Minesweeper]

Why am I explaining this, a thing known to many a person who just… Has a PC? Well, Demoncrawl is Minesweeper… But it’s also a roguelite, a game with progression once you lose, shops, items… And Hit Points. That’s right, you can fuck up more than once. Well, in Quest Mode. So long as the monsters (your new Mines) aren’t strong, and roll high on their damage, one shotting you. Or you’re sucking wind on hitpoints, in which case, welcome to Classic Mode in Quest Mode, sucker! But it’s okay, you can get magic items, and buy them, and there are strangers, people who’ll help you, and…

Look, it adds stuff to the Minesweeper formula, and it makes it still tough, and indeed some items (Omens) and status effects in dungeons make it tougher, but it also makes things more interesting. In a good run, I was collecting more gold than I knew what to do with, and when I had trouble, well, I had a magic bow, an explosive boomerang, a summoner of minions who would at least expose monsters, even if they didn’t kill them to make my life that much easier.

Oh… Dear.

On a particularly bad run… Well, let me explain the screenshot above. 3 curses in my inventory. One means there are ten more monsters on the board than normal, and there always will be until I get rid of it. One is “Chance of loot (at all) halved” … And this just after I’d gotten something that tripled my chances of a legendary item. And finally, “Levels always have at least one status, which is random.” And that random status? I lost an item on my first turn, and could have lost more. I was in deep trouble.

Somehow, I managed to solve it, and said “Fuck it!”, took a teleporter to a random level… And promptly died. At least I got a few tokens for buying new legendaries to drop, customisation stuff (mostly minor), and better chances at more tokens so I could buy them quicker. Oh, and a mummy avatar. I now have Resting Mummy Face. In EGA, no less. And all this is without mentioning other fun things in each level, like merchants, a very Audrey like plant that will give you things (in exchange for a lot of items), the Chaos Forge that… Well, adds chaos…

He later killed all of my kind. Just because I’d stepped on him.

To sum up, it’s an interesting take on Minesweeper that makes the game more enjoyable, has a fair amount of replay value and things to find, and I would recommend it for folks looking for a logic puzzly, rogueliteish time. Or one of the two and exploring the other. I’ve definitely enjoyed myself.

I am… Very bad at Minesweeper. It is embarassing.

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The Legend of Arcadieu (NSFW Going Back)

Source: Cashmoneys
Price: £4.79 (It’s also on Itch, but it appears to only be the SFW version, as opposed to SFW with free DLC for NSFW)
Where To Get It: Steam

Content Warnings: Bondage, Edging, Monstergirls, Rough Sex, Hair Pulling.

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Lovely Heroines (NSFW Going Back)

Source: Cashmoneys
Price: £3.99 (or the option to donate more on Itch)
Where To Get It: Steam, Itch.IO

Content Warning: Anal sex.

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