Christmas Nights – Sega Saturn Retro Game Review – Special Limited Edition Disc

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – at least in the Retro Sega Saturn Special Disc called Christmas Nights. I received this game as a kid when I purchased a gaming magazine (I can’t remember which magazine now though as this was back in the 90s).

But if you didn’t grow up in the 90s, you can still play Christmas Nights after beating the HD Remastered Nights into Dreams at least one time.

Christmas Nights is a special game that expands on the great gameplay of Nights into Dreams. Players can play as either Claris or Elliot and explore a Christmas themed rendition of the first level of Claris’ Spring Valley dream, including the battle with Gillwing at the end of the level.

Although the game is short, it has high replay value because you earn presents which will unlock additional Nights related content such as special artwork, story content, or even the ability to play additional levels, including a sonic the hedgehog/robotnik themed level.

Perhaps the best feature, is the use of the internal clock which changes the game levels depending on how close it is to Christmas. For most of the months, the game is simply “Nights Limited Edition” however, in the month prior to and the month following Christmas (November and January) the game’s title changes to “Winter Nights” and the typical bright green graphics and scenery are replaced with mountains of snow. In December, the title changers again to “Christmas Nights” and Christmas trees, Christmas presents, wreaths, bows, lights, and garland decorate the screen. The music also changes to reflect the seasons.

For those who have never played a Nights game, the gameplay consists of flying around 3d level designs, where you can go anywhere, any direction, explore, do tricks in the air, and collect orbs which you need to advance through different check points. You’re also racing against the clock (literally) if you fail to complete the level in a certain amount of time, you will fall to the ground and most complete the level on foot while running from and avoiding a giant alarm clock. (If it touches you, it’s game over).

The more tricks you do, and the faster you complete each level, the higher your score. You need to pass with I believe a C or higher to move on to the next level.

At the time of it’s original release, back in the 90s, it was a revolutionary game due to the style of gameplay floating, flying, and racing around the map.

The game itself is short on story and in fact, plops you down into the first level without a clue what’s going on. As you complete each level you will see brief bits of a very simplistic story which is a bit childlike.

You can pick Claris or Elliot, each with their own levels to play, and each with their own story. Both children are afraid of failure and it’s holding them back from accomplishing their dream. For Claris that dream is singing, and for Elliot, that dream is playing basketball. When they become Night, it gives them courage and helps them realize they can accomplish their dreams.

The story in Christmas Nights is one where Claris and Elliot are trying to find the missing star on top of the christmas tree in the town square. I also got the vibe that Clairs and Elliot are a couple now, as it depicts them holding hands in some of the scenes.

Christmas Nights is too short to have any real story, but the story that is there is presented with nice still frame animations that are quite attractive and give a warm and fuzzy feeling. It’s a very cute but simple story.

While it’s mainly a demo/teaser of Nights, or meant to be enjoyed by Nights fans due to the bonus content which you unlock while playing, I think Christmas Nights could stand alone as it’s own game as well.

Overall: 55/80 69% D+ Average Game For Girls.

Geeky: 

Sweetie: 

Concept: 10/10 for good use of internal clock, fun way to expand Nights world, and fun bonus content. Keeping in mind, this was a free game, it was intended as a “christmas gift” from sega to fans of the original Nights into Dreams.

Gameplay: 10/10 Nights and Christmas Nights both feature really fast, fun, and addictive gameplay with the ability to do tricks while flying and the free range 3d environments with lots of objects to interact with along the way.

Story: 3/10 There is a story, but it’s not great. Christmas Nights at least presents some story before dropping you into the game; but the original Nights into dreams just thrusts you into the first level right away. Clearly this is a game that focuses on Gameplay, and it doesn’t really need a story to be fun; but for gamers who like story centric games, this isn’t one of them.

Characters: 3/10 There is some character development, watching the children overcome their fears; but they’re just too childlike and too simplistic for me to identify with, and that’s true of even when I was a kid myself back in the 90s.

Graphics: 5/10 The game looks ugly now, even the High Def remastered version on Playstation Network and Xbox Live. It has not aged well. Of course, when it first came out, the graphics were amazing, but now, 20 years later, not so much. The textures especially look bad. And the bright garish color scheme (made even more gaudy in Christmas Nights) just looks tacky and trashy.

Music: 10/10 Nights does have a good sound track, and Christmas Nights use of the internal clock to christmas-ify the soundtrack is very clever.

Replay Value: 10/10 Christmas Nights has even higher replay than the original Nights into Dreams, because Christmas Nights has so many unlockable bonus items.

Overall: 55/80 69% D+ Average Game For Girls.

Note: If We don’t take into account the story and characters then this game becomes a 49/60 or 82% B- Very Good Game for Girls which more accurately reflects my enjoyment of the game.

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Christmas Nights – Sega Saturn Retro Game Review – Special Limited Edition Disc was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

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Rogue State Indie PC Game Review

In the interest of transparency and full disclosure, I received this game for free along with another game, “Dungeon Souls”, in order to do a review (of Dungeon Souls) which I still need to do (Dungeon Souls is pretty difficult, I’d like to not be a complete newb when I record a video for it. – Look for some gameplay footage of Dungeon Souls next weekend along with a write up of the game.) I was not asked to review Rogue State, but I spent much of today and lastnight playing it, and I really enjoy the game, so I thought I’d tell my readers about it since it seems like the type of game they would enjoy too :) All opinions expressed within this review are my own.

Title: Rogue State

Publisher: Little Red Dog Games

Genre: Political Simulation

Platform: PC

Where to Buy: Steam

Geeky

Sweetie

Overall: 63/80 79% C+ “Good Game for Girls”

Concept 10/10: You have been put in charge of leading a newly independent nation. You must balance the interests of different party members, your cabinet, foreign and internal government officials, and the general population. Unfortunately, your brother seeks to undermine your success and take power for himself; however he is too popular with the people to be denied a position in your government. You must decide which sacrifices to make in order to minimize the damage that your brother creates.

Gameplay 10/10: Time passes as you build infrastructure, train your troops, create new policies, or call upon your neighbors and allies. You can raise taxes to get income but this will lower the support of your people. You can use a series of sliders to adjust your stance on many different policies trying to strike a balance between preserving your culture and heritage, but also progressing and building a profitable and sustainable future for your nation.

One of the interesting things is that your cabinet members, allies and neighbors are all randomly generated; so sometimes you’ll have a wide mix of conflicting political beliefs, and other times you’ll find less diversity.

As you make new policies, new opportunities for bigger and better policies will unfold. You can also visit the situation room and work on improving your military, invade your bordering nations, or undergo massive research projects which require a lot of capital and time but produce big benefits and earn you more support if successful.

Almost always at some point, your brother will try to overthrow you; depending on how happy the different political factions are, and also depending on how much you’ve researched and advanced, you will be able to successfully defend his onslaught.

Other things like the recession of the economy of the united states, or various natural disasters, or environmental conditions may also occur at random which will greatly impact your reign and your treasury.

At the end of each turn you’ll face a political or moral dilemma which will force you to make a decision which will shift your support and political alignment.

If you can survive 5 years in office, you will get to choose whether to give up your political office to allow the country to elect their own leader, or cling to that power indefinitely for yourself.

At the end of each term in office you must give a speech where you’re presented different dialog options to choose from. You must put together a cohesive speech using strong sentiments that tie into the overall message you want to send. You should align this message with your gameplan for the next term. If you want to focus on bolstering your military for example, give a speech to increase patriotism. Or if you want to focus on helping the poor; give a speech about healthcare reform and education; or if you want to increase profits, give a speech targeted towards capitalism and deregulation.

You need to keep everyone happy while also keeping your treasury profitable. Several military, policy, and research options will require an ongoing upkeep fee which will be deducted at the beginning of each new turn.

You can import and export goods across your borders too to help maximize your profits. Think carefully, you can only sell exports to one country at a time, and you will be locked into a contract for several turns after agreeing to trade to them. The price they are willing to pay depends both on the demand for the item as well as your political relations with the nation in which you wish to trade.

Story 5/10: There’s honestly, not much story, beyond that which I explained in the concept of running a newly independent country and the challenges that entails which will crop up randomly and change each play through.

Graphics 8/10: The graphics, and the user interface, have a very retro feeling to them. There is a bar across the top of the screen which can be accessed via hotkey or mouse press which is where most of the gameplay is carried out. You can also mouse over parts of the screen and if white text pops up it means that you can interact with that object. Your character will walk, sit, stand, and interact with things as you command them to. You can also choose between a male or female ruler; and the government seal is a basenji dog which is pretty cute. Some of the menus are confusing, such as I didn’t realize on my first playthrough how to activate political favors by clicking on parliament and then clicking on the cabinet member you’ve earned favors with, and then clicking on the square which indicates said favor. I think if they would’ve had a tab that listed “available favors” or something it would have been less ambiguous.

Music: 6/10 Ethnic retro chiptune style music, with a bit of comedic value, thanks to recent pop culture references such as Borat. The opening theme to this game reminded me of the national anthem in Borat.

Voice Acting: 8/10 The game is fully voiced and the ethnic accents help create immersion. The only flaw is most of the lines are word for word the same regardless of the different actors used. The delivery changes somewhat, but the dialog itself does not.

Replay Value: 10/10 The replay value is really high thanks to all the random events, and randomly generated characters thrown into the game. As your game comes to an end, for better, or for worse, you are awarded a score and based on that score, you will earn XP which can be used to unlock new campaigns, gameplay modes, or traits that can give you an advantage for your next playthrough, open new dialog options, or more. Each playthrough is fairly short, lasting 60 turns or less which makes it possible to play multiple times in a relatively short time.

Overall: 63/80 79% C+ “Good Game for Girls”

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Rogue State Indie PC Game Review was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

School Days Visual Novel PC Game Review

I was asked by a reader that I met on crunchyroll’s forums today if I would please review the School Days visual novel, from which the popular yandere anime is based. I actually picked this game up a few months ago in Groupee’s Visual Novel 2 Bundle sale. And I’m glad I did.

Now before we go on, this is an adult game, or hentai game as they call it. I won’t be putting any adult screenshots or going into too much detail about these scenes. There is a lot of REAL story elements and it’s more than just all about sex, but you should know that there is still a fair amount of Hentai in this game.

With that out of the way, the single coolest thing is that unlike visual novels that you click and read, Playing School Days is more like watching an anime. You only have precious few seconds to make a decision when prompted to do so or the story makes one for you lol.

Everything is animated, everything moves, everything’s fully voiced (in Japanese with English subtitles of course), and all of this creates a game in which everything feels so alive. And everything is happening in real time. That’s my favorite thing about School Days.

It’s even presented like an anime, divided into chapters (don’t worry all included in one game) that are separated by opening and ending theme songs and credits rolling. The opening changes too depending on whose route you’re on at the time. A nice touch to help further create the illusion that you’re watching an anime, instead of playing a game.

With the initial thoughts out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the mechanics of the game below:

Title: School Days

Genre: Visual Novel

Developer: 0verflow

Publisher: Jast USA

Platform: PC (there’s many console versions too but none of them were released in English)

Where to Buy: JAST USA

Geeky:

Sweetie:

Overall Score: 85/90 ‘A’ 94% Excellent Game for Girls

Concept 10/10: School Days is a fully animated “real time” experience which is quite different from most Visual Novel styled games. While watching the game, you’ll be presented brief, but numerous, choices, which will impact the game in a huge number of ways.

School Days has such a widely branching plot that there are still scenes I have not seen despite getting 2 good endings; and at least 1 or 2 more good endings that I know of. I first got the Christmas Eve Kotonoha ending and then got the Ending for Sekai in which she brings me Pastries.

I actually just looked it up; and there’s a total of 20 different endings; and apparently 2 more dateable girls – I thought you could only date Sekai or Kotonoha – but you can also apparently date Hikari and Setsuna as well. Which means I need to play more lol.

There’s also Harem endings and even an Otome ending (not sure what that is? Typically an Otome game is where you date guys (but you usually play a girl) Maybe it’s a Yaoi or Boy’s Love ending since you always play as Makoto.)

Despite how the anime ends – the game is not that hard, at all. All you need to do is treat the girl you like well and sometimes that means being cruel or mean to the other girls. I did not reach a bad end on either of my first play throughs while trying to obtain either Kotonoha or Sekai. And out of the 20 endings, only 3 of them are “bad endings”

Here is some more info about all the endings. NOTE: THIS LINK HAS SPOILERS AND IS NOT RELATED TO MY BLOG. YOU’VE BEEN WARNEDhttp://overflow.wikia.com/wiki/Endings

Gameplay: 10/10 As mentioned a few times above; Everything happens in real time, the game doesn’t even need input from you to move on to the next scene, and sometimes saying nothing at all is a valid, or even correct, choice in the game. Everything is fully animated, fully voiced, and there are hundreds of scenes and 20 endings. You won’t have to watch for too long before you’re being prompted to make another important decision. There’s also a nifty skip feature to skip scenes you’ve already seen.

Story 10/10: The main premise is there’s a girl that you like, but you’ve never confessed to her before. Then one day, a classmate and friend of yours find that you have your crush’s picture on your cellphone. They suggest that since they are a girl, they could talk to them for you and help introduce you. The three of you become best friends, but the girl that helped fix you up is suddenly realizing she has romantic feelings for you too. Your friendships and relationships begin to change as you are forced to decide where your priorities lie.

Characters 10/10: You play the role of Makoto, a shy, quiet young man with a crush on a beautiful stranger which he observes from afar. Your best friend at school is a girl named Sekai who discovers your crush and wants to help you out. At first, Sekai feels it’d be fun, like a game. Her personality is very fun and you feel relaxed and comfortable around her. But you still can’t forget the beautiful girl (Kotonoha) who has now become your girlfriend thanks to Sekai’s intervention. Kotonoha is very reserved. She’s afraid especially of men because she’s been harassed due to her very mature figure. Despite how beautiful she is, you’re her first boyfriend, and she is very distant and hard to get close to. You feel you’re always watching what you say or do so that you don’t upset her; and you begin to wonder if this is really what a relationship is supposed to be like.

I really liked Sekai’s route a lot better than Kotonoha… I feel like Makoto and Kotonoha just don’t have anything in common and are in a purely lustful sexual relationship (at least from Makoto’s standpoint; I think from Kotonoha’s standpoint it’s more just, she’s lonely, and has become dependent on Makoto which she has translated to feelings of love.) Whereas, with Sekai, there’s a lot more tender, emotional scenes, at least with my experience; now I have not played 100%; but I did get 2 of the good endings, so I’ve seen quite a bit. My fave scene is the bonfire festival with Sekai. 🙂

I thought I’d like Kotonoha best; but in the end I’m much more fond of Sekai.

I didn’t realize at time of this review that you could date Hikari and Setsuna – I thought that was only in Shiny Days (a spinoff of School Days). So I can’t comment too much on their characters yet until I play back through it again.

The characters do feel very real though thanks to everything being fully animated; just like watching an anime.

Music: 10/10 I know I keep giving everything 10/10 it’s so unlike me lol. (most of my “favorite” games end up scoring 60-70% and getting a C.) But the Music here is another great point. Since everything plays out like you’re watching an anime, the music, as well as voice acting (scored seperately below) are all really important elements. I love love love the Opening theme. It’s so catchy, that I listened to it every time a new “episode” began.

Voice Acting: 10/10 – Can’t complain here either. It is fully voiced. In fact, if you can understand Japanese you can play without the subtitles on and then it’s even more like watching a movie, which is how it would be in it’s native format for Japanese gamers. The production values are just sky high.

Graphics: 8/10 – Alright I’m going to finally pick on one TEENY TINY thing. The way the eyes, especially the eyelids are drawn/animated really bothers me for some reason. But hell, that’s hardly anything to complain about at all! The whole game is animated. This is huge. Why don’t other visual novels do this? I wish every visual novel was presented this way. It’s so much more dynamic and engaging. But yes, I’m guessing that this is 3d, instead of 2d, although cell shaded to look like anime – there’s a few awkward things (like the eyes) which just don’t look right on the 3d models. Sometimes a hand-drawn art is more lovely. But I don’t mind losing some “finesse” in this case, to be treated to a game that literally plays like an anime series.

Replay Value 10/10: With 20 different endings and different scenes/routes/paths to take to get to said endings, the combinations are almost endless. This is a huge project, where every single replay is truly unique. Where most novels don’t branch until the end, School Days branches right away and continues to twist and turn, as you play each game. There’s also the nice skip feature, which makes subsequent playthroughs much easier. Therefore, there’s really no reason to not want to keep playing to see all the different endings, including the rather iconic “bad endings” as well.

Overall Score: 85/90 ‘A’ 94% Excellent Game for Girls

(or lets face it, with all the Hentai content, it’s an Excellent game for guys too hehe. But I really do think that girls who are not offended by the large amount of Hentai content will find this to be one of their favorite visual novels)

School Days Visual Novel PC Game Review was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

New Star Trek TV Series Coming to CBS in 2017

There’s going to be a new Star Trek TV Series according to this article in the New York Times.

It is being produced by Alex Kurtman who produced the 2009 Star Trek Movie and 2013 Star Trek Into Darkness. The new Star Trek Television Series will premier on January 2017 on CBS.

There’s also a new movie coming out next summer, but they say the TV series will not be related to this film.

It marks the first time in over a decade that new Star Trek TV episodes have premiered on Television and also coincides with the series’ 50th anniversary.

Star Trek has been a favorite for more than 3 generations of science fiction fans. It stretches the imagination, but yet, it seems like it could all be plausible in the not too distant future. Star Trek goes to great lengths to get into the technical nitty gritty of how all of the technology works and does so in a way which makes it seem realistic which is why Star Trek falls into Science Fiction while similar series such as Star Wars fall into fantasy since they use unexplained phenomena such as “the force”.

It’s been a long time since we’ve had new Star Trek episodes, or any technical “not too distant future” “not so fantasy based” Sci-Fi series.

Personally, I’m a HUUUUGE fan of the new origin movies (and have found childhood memories of the older movies from the 80s as well as the TV Series) – but I know a lot of people who hate them and refuse to even watch them because they “changed” certain things from the older series. I speculate that this new TV series will again change things up and potentially alienate some long time fans; but it will also draw in a whole new generation of fans who never grew up with the older TV show or movies. And that is a good thing. New Star Trek merchandise will also follow.

Are you excited for the new series or afraid that it can’t live up to your favorite stories and cast members?

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New Star Trek TV Series Coming to CBS in 2017 was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

His Dark Materials Triology Getting a new TV Series on BBC

According to this article on Time.com Golden Compass Fans are about to get the sequel they’ve always wanted. Kinda. Am I the only person that actually LIKED? no… LOVED the first movie? I’ve been DYING to see what happens next! (and no I haven’t read the books, sorry, I’m not a big “reader” these days. (I used to be, when I was in highschool, before this thing called the internet, which I think, kinda killed my attention span lol. ) (Not that I would never read a book these days, but I prefer watching movies, and sitting on my fat ass eating bag fulls of popcorn lol.). (mmm Popcorn (my favorite, its even better than chocolate)…)

Ok so anyways, I digress. This exciting announcement just went viral today that thanks to the BBC network, we’re about to get to see Philip Pullman’s whole trilogy in a TV series format. The trilogy is comprised of three novels, The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass.

The story follows Lyra who inadvertently gets dragged into a war much bigger than herself. It features fantasy, and magic, and is often criticized for taking a very dark/negative view of religion. Pullman is a very vocal aethist. It’s even rumored that because of his “fight against religion” as the main reason New Line Cinema did not move forward to complete their trilogy of boxoffice movies.

I wonder if perhaps, if this TV series does well if we will see a reboot or perhaps the sequel we want from New Line Cinema. I thought the Golden Compass movie was every bit as good as Lord of the Rings, another New Line Cinema book to movie “triology” (or sixology I guess lol).

What I really liked about it was the strong female lead (I mean, yes, she was a child actress, but when compared to books and movies like Harry Potter who are “afraid” to put a woman in the main role or books and movies like Twilight which feature a very weak female, Lyra is a very adventurous and strong little girl with a big heart.) I also totally dig the concept of the animal companions which come from the children’s magic and abilities. Some of the different races are in fact animals with sentient minds such as the Polar Bears, etc. I also really like the underlying themes of family and what “makes” a family. Lyra’s mother is not a perfect mother, and her father is not in the picture, but appears to love Lyra very much. It’s an interesting, modern, and sometimes true interpretation of what a family unit looks like in this day and age.

I don’t see any word yet on how many episodes this new BBC TV series will be. I’m hoping it will be nice and long :) At least 3 full TV seasons. But I’d be okay too with just a 3-part miniseries. I just want to know how the damn story ends without having to read the book. lol. I could skip ahead, etc, but where would the fun in that be? I already know the main gist anyways from reading online, but it’s not the same as “seeing” it myself. :)

The series will be produced by “Philip Pullman, Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner for Bad Wolf, Toby Emmerich and Carolyn Blackwood for New Line Cinema, Bethan Jones for BBC One, and Deborah Forte for Scholastic”. (according to the Times.com article linked to at the beginning of this post)

Since New Line themselves are getting involved in this TV Series, that makes me want to hold out hope even more for them to bring it on back to the BIG SCREEN.

I hope beyond hope that this TV Series really takes off and does well!! And then I hope New Line Cinema will bring back their big screen trilogy too.

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His Dark Materials Triology Getting a new TV Series on BBC was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Sometimes Always Monsters Preview Sequel to Always Sometimes Monsters

While trying to promote my recent review of Always Sometimes Monsters over here I came across exciting news on destructoid that a direct sequel is in the works titled Sometimes Always Monsters. As a little aside, that title drives me crazy. I always forget if the first game is titled Sometimes Always Monsters or Always Sometimes Monsters. The only way I can keep it straight now is by reminding myself that A is the “first” letter in the alphabet “Always” and S is the first letter of “Second” or “Sequel”.

Anyways, it aims to preserve the continuity of the first game and be a “direct” sequel. You can import your saved data from Always Sometimes Monsters and your decisions, ending, etc all carry over to the new game.

The main gist of the story appears to follow the “good end” of the first game, in which you win back your love and publish a novel about your crazy journey. You’re now a successful author and you’re going on a book tour to meet your fans. As you travel from city to city, lots of things happen. Some people are jealous of your success, while others adore you and invite you into their lives. Along the way there’s many moral dilemmas and they claim only you can choose the right path. (though in their first game there were some choices which were clearly better choices and imperative to getting certain endings). Like the first game, it will deal with controversial real world issues and ask the player to make some very difficult decisions. The game’s art style seems very reminiscent of the first title as well. From the trailer below, the gameplay seems similar to the first game as well in a sort of “combatless rpg” or “visual novel” in which you can explore the world around you, but won’t find yourself in combat or leveling up or collecting loot. Instead, it aims to be an artistic story and put you on an emotional rollercoaster with very “real” feeling characters and their very “real” feeling problems.

You can pre-order the game already, but they warn there’s still no estimated release date and that it might be a long wait. It is a little pricier than the previous game, going for $15 on Vagabond Dog’s website here: http://www.vagabonddog.com/store/sam

Also, Vagabond Dog is asking you to email them your save files from the first game, and they say that as they work on the sequel they will analyze and incorporate many player’s decisions into the sequel and also exhibit player data at PAX and other game conventions. You can submit your saved game file right here: http://www.vagabonddog.com/blog/continuity

I am floored and excited by the announcement of a sequel. I loved the first game. If you’ve never played it, check out my review for Always Sometimes Monsters

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Sometimes Always Monsters Preview Sequel to Always Sometimes Monsters was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Always Sometimes Monsters Review

This game is one that you either love, or you hate. I love it; but there are a lot of people who give this game low and negative reviews. Your mileage may vary. It is not a happy sunshiney game. And since it is a visual novel, you’re not going to do much besides read, play a few mini games, and make some choices to reach a few different endings. It’s a very personal game, and you come to care a lot about the characters, which makes some (most) of the endings pretty gut-wrenching which enrages a lot of people.

The one thing I would like to point out, 99% of the negative reviews on steam, mention the scene where you’re moving boxes from conveyor belts and into a truck. YOU CAN STOP AT ANY TIME. People get bored here, and never play the game any further, or they bitch about this one particular scene (there are a few other similar scenes) and ignore the other more emotionally engaging scenes when writing their review. The game is only as “boring” and “repetitive” as you want to make it lol.

Title: Always Sometimes Monsters

Platform: PC

Publisher: Vagabond Dog

Genre: Visual Novel (I guess? or RPG without any combat. Visual Novel’s probably the closest description, but you get to wander around rpg-maker style maps and play a lot of minigames.) (Actually it played kinda similar to To the Moon; but is more about making choices, instead of just reading one story. There’s several stories within this story.)

Where to Buy: Steam for the PC version $9.99.

And apparently there are cheaper IOS and Android versions? Interesting.

Pick up the Android version on amazon here: $4.99 http://www.amazon.com/Devolver-Digital-Always-Sometimes-Monsters/dp/B00QXF3B7A

Pick up the IOS version here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/always-sometimes-monsters/id968827222?mt=8 also $4.99

Geeky: geekygeekygeeky

Sweetie: sweetiesweetiesweetie

Overall: 70 / 90 78% C+ “Good Game for Girls”

Concept: 10/10 This is a game with a lot of personalization and customization. It allows you to select the gender, appearance, and name of your main character (as well as your significant other) and then throughout the game, you are presented with moral dilemmas which impact the ending you receive.

Story 10/10: I won’t spoil much here. But the main overarching story is that your ex invites you accidentally to their wedding. This makes you realize that you still love them and that you intend to go to the wedding to confess your love or try to stop the couple from getting married. You have no job, no car, no money, and you need to get half way across the country. In order to do this, you do favors for people and little by little get rides in return that help you reach your destination. Often you have to sleep outside, eat out of garbage cans, and wonder if you’re making the right decisions. There are numerous setbacks and lots of plot twists as well. As mentioned, because it is a visual novel styled game, your story will be slightly different from any one else’s, and you can replay it to get different outcomes.

Characters 10/10: The script is written in a very “down to earth” way; and it makes the characters seem very real. There are some really strong emotions in this game. From anger, jealousy, resentment, fear, sadness, guilt, empathy, forgiveness, redemption, etc. Most all of the characters have flaws, from stealing, to infidelity, to jealousy, selfishness, indulgence, even addictions (gambling, drugs, sex, etc). This makes the cast very real and really helps with immersion.

Gameplay: 8/10 As mentioned, it plays a lot like To the Moon, an RPG-maker style game in which you do have free reign to explore the map and environment, but in which there is no combat. It also features numerous choices and decision points with branching plots and multiple endings, similar to a visual novel game. There are also numerous Mini-Games sprinkled in which help to break up the sometimes slow gameplay.

The game is often criticized for only giving the illusion of choice, but actually there are different outcomes in the end. Most of the endings are “imperfect” with some part of the game, some character, or some circumstance, always being unhappy in the end. This is also often criticized; but that’s the point of the game, which it tries to stress. Humans become victims of the choices they make.

For me, the ending I got was quite satisfactory. I won back my love, and the person that had done wrong to me over and over, the person that had been just moments ago in a position to redeem themselves but had chosen to continue to be a “bad person” well karma kicked their ass – one way or another, there’s a couple of different endings and ways in which they can be punished. I found it immensely satisfying that the tables had been turned so to speak.

The one caveat in the gameplay, and the reason I can’t in good faith give it a perfect 10, is that there are some (or at least one for sure) choices that if you don’t pick the “right” answer, you get a pretty shitty ending. I picked the “correct” choice because I wanted to “be the better person”. Despite what this other person had done to me, I wasn’t going to be a “monster” to them. There’s a lot of weight on this one choice at the very end of the game, which then it kinda makes me feel like the other choices in the game do not matter. No matter how good or bad you are up until then, it feels like if you do or don’t do this one thing, which then leads to another similar do or don’t do this one thing, then you get or don’t get the good ending. I don’t like that one choice being so weighted. But such is the nature of visual novel games; it is totally possible to get on/off of a certain branch in the plot just from one bad/good choice. Therefore, its not necessarily a fault of Always Sometimes Monsters, but perhaps a fault of this genre of games in general.

There are also SOME moments which are slow and bogged down in this game. Such as the box moving scenario which I mentioned at the beginning of my review. Some people exaggerate this element though. As I prefaced my review by saying, the gameplay is only as boring as YOU make it. You can quit these scenes at any time; you might not realize it at first, but it’s all about “free choice”. Move 10 boxes, or 100, or 1,000. Your call. But yeah, I will agree, some parts of the game are not terribly interesting; but, no where NEAR as bad as the negative reviews make this seem.

The other odd thing in gameplay is, does eating have any impact on the game? I don’t think it does, yet you have a hunger gage and you have in game currency and must eat and buy food. They say if you don’t eat and try to go to bed something bad might happen? Does anything bad really happen if you don’t eat? I don’t know.

Music 6/10: The music had a fun and funky retro vibe to it, which I really enjoyed. Ultimately though, it’s not very memorable. Just kinda average. It’s been about a year since I played the game now, and I can’t really recall any specific tracks from the game.

Graphics 7/10: The graphics also went for a retro feeling. I like RPG-Maker games and 16 bit games, so this is fine with me. But a lot of gamers may not really dig the retro style. I gotta give high marks for allowing you to customize your and your ex’s appearance and I feel the character art/portraits are quite good. The sprites themselves and the tile sets used in the world are sorta reminiscent of games such as pokemon, earthbound, or other 90s era RPGs. The sprites have a cutesy feel with big heads and very large eyes. The game environment is nice and colorful too. The area in which I feel it loses some points is that there are no what I call “CG” or “Event” scenes. Which are pretty common in almost all visual novels. These scenes are usually high quality still or panning camera shots, which show key moments with a more detailed and stylistic art style to help highlight certain scenes and events. This game doesn’t have any of those.

Customization 8/10: This game allows you to have same sex relationships if you would like. It also allows you to choose your race and gender and appearance of yourself, and your ex. Most of all, it gives you freedom to play the game the way you want, and make the choices you want to make; you just might have to live with the consequences of those choices later on.

Replay Value 5/10: This is a long, and sometimes slowly paced game, and the only time the plot branches significantly is at the end. This makes replaying not as much fun if you’ve already reached a satisfactory ending. However, I enjoyed this game and would say, it’s a title I could see myself replaying at some point, just because, I had fun. I mean, I have replayed completely linnear games with only one ending before lots of times too if I like the game. And Always Sometimes Monsters is a game I like.

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Overall: 70 / 90 78% C+ “Good Game for Girls”

Always Sometimes Monsters Review was originally published on Geeky Sweetie