General

Preview: Monochrome RPG

Monochrome RPG, a game made by DVNC Tech LLC, is a top-down role playing adventure dealing with lots of inspiration from the 1920’s aesthetic. It stars a young rabbit named Ottomess Bohlts, a joker just trying to live life until bugs start taking over his house!

As I booted the game up I received some exposition cleverly disguised as newspaper headliners. The Town of Vaudeville is under the pressure of seemingly bad things trying to get rid of amusement.

Otto realizes this when a Buzzers fly around his house univited. What’s even more is a rave of Creepers and a big boss known as The Grackle have taken over his basement. Otto takes it upon himself to protect him home and furniture to deal with the pests.

Upon first playing it, the radio inspires you to learn how to move thanks to the radio sponsor: WASD Movers. “If you wanna Move, use WASD. I gotta chuckle out of that. The other obvious puns were there, along with the bouncing furniture with faces that we’ve come to know and love. It’s nice to see that Cuphead has garnered appreciation for the classics, and it’s even nicer to have developers make games and give players more of what they love.

The controls are simple for moving around, but its the combat that is intriguing. Taking cues from Undertale, Otto has a couple of ways he can deal with the precocious home wreckers. He can usher creatures to attack (you gain creatures by winning them in fights), or he can tell jokes!

The jokes are various, mostly insect themed, and have four possible subjects to choose from.

You start the fight by clicking on the microphone in the middle of the stage, and selecting your creature, joke, or healing ability. The jokes are started randomly, but always need the same answer. The words of the joke will begin to light up like a karaoke song, and players must choose an answer either before the subject is inserted, or right as it about to be spoken. If successful, it will give the most love. Choosing late will not get much love from the creature.

Walking around the house offers Otto the chance to interact with lots of his appliances, furniture, and household objects. They can provide witty comebacks, puns, or advice.

Right now, the demo version is accessible on itch.io, and its a nice chunk of game to get a feel for what it will be. It’s in very early stages, losing all of your health means restarting the whole demo, and after the fight with Gackle, it’s finished.

I think there’s some definite potential with this little title. Like I said earlier, I like that developers are using more of the 1920’s cartoon style. The added black and white is a nice touch, it keeps it simplistic, which works to its strengths.

The music is spot on. The demo gives a few tracks and they stay just long enough to not wear out the welcome.

The battle mechanics are gruesome at this point. Just getting hit a couple times means game over, but as a counterpoint, that is also true for the enemies. It’ll be interesting to see how it matures, the early, perfect, and late mechanics are an interesting means of keeping the joke telling a fun challenge.

My overall observation was everything is slow. But I consider that a nitpick seeing how humble the game is. Ultimately, I’m wishing the best for this game, and I’m excited to see this Vaudeville that I’m supposed to save!

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General

Hidden Gem: Last Pick (series) by Jason Walz

I would like to shed some light upon a graphic novel series that takes place in a fictional United States. Aliens have invaded, they’ve taken a lot of people hostage, and are making their lives very difficult. They use them as labor force on other planets, or for entertainment. The aliens are particular about who they take, only fully functioning humans from young to near older age.

There is a small group that the aliens do not abduct and they are the physically challenged, and the mentally challenged. And our main character, Wyatt struggles, but also shines when they underestimate just what humans are capable of despite.

Wyatt is not alone. Though he searches for his parents, he has the aid of his rough-and-tough sister Sam. Together they sneak around post-invaded Kentucky gathering supplies, information, and people. They meet challenges every step of the way, pushing Sam and Wyatt to become better, to draw closer to each other, and ever closer to finding their mom and dad.

The story finds Sam and Wyatt getting separated, but their indomitable will to overcome the challenges from within keep them going, and finding strength in the people around them.

If you think that sounded a little too vague, well you’re right! But I’ll not apologize for keeping other specifics secret. Hopefully what I’ve said piques your interest to look into the series because it’s worth the time. The characters are three-dimensional, have feelings and goals, including the aliens. The sheriff antagonist I really enjoyed hating, and staying interested in his development. The characters also develop and grow, especially Wyatt, and it’s incredibly precious to watch him lead people and garner their respect.

Accompanied by the stylish art, the visuals are essential to the narrative. And they do what I’ve seen for the first time animate sign language.

The 3rd installment is coming out soon, and I am excited to pick it up. Now is the perfect time to get this series.

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General

Proverbs 13: 6

“Righteousness guards him whose way is blameless, But wickedness overthrows the sinner.”

Living right is like posting a guard for your life. Every choice for good sets into motion other opportunities for good. Evil choices follow the same pattern, but in the opposite direction. Each decision you make to obey God’s Word will bring a greater sense of order to your life, while each decision to disobey will bring confusion and destruction, The right choices you make reflect your integrity. Obedience brings the greatest safety and security.
—Life Application Bible Tyndale House

I don’t know about you, but with ADHD, confusion and destruction make life hard to enjoy, and see the goodness that God is, does, and brings. Seek righteousness.

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General

Anime Highlight: BNA

BNA | Netflix Official Site

You should check it out. BNA is about a young girl who was mysteriously transformed into a beastman; a tanuki. She travels to Anima City (animosity?) to seek refuge. But she finds the world of the beastmen is different than she expected. It’s not… human.

In a commentary on lesser races ruled by higher, it’s an interesting take since recent race issues are covering the news. I haven’t finished it yet, but it’s leading up to something different than the power of friendship it seems.

The animation looks highly similar to Gurren Lagann, my favorite anime of all time. Which helps keep up with the extreme humor and action BNA runs through.

The characters are nice. Nothing unique or strong. The wolf detective reminds me of Bigby Wolf from Fables.

But it’s totally worth checking out!

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Game Reviews

Crash on the Run

Crash Bandicoot 4 is still on the horizon, waiting for us to enjoy in the month of October. Meanwhile, the Crash mobile game mentioned months ago is resurfacing, with an official title, a new release trailer, and a pre-register gift. It’s still unclear when it will release, but the likelihood of Crash on the Run becoming available before October I feel seems likely.

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General

Recommended Short Stories

Hello!

It’s nice to get time to step away from games, and appreciate written literature. I have a few short stories that are some of the ones I really enjoyed.

1.) The Open Boat —Stephen Crane

2.) I’m a Mad Dog Biting Myself for Sympathy —Louise Erdrich

3.) Harrison Bergeron —Kurt Vonnegut

4.) Seasons of Glass and Steel —Amal El-Mothar

5.) The One Who Walked Away From Omelas —Ursula LeGuin

6.) The Hunter’s Wife —Anthony Doerr

7.) “A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies” —Alix E. Harrow

There you have it. No particular order, just some stories to invoke some thought. Hope you enjoy!

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General, Story Time

Hollow Knight: Silksong- Team Cherry Honors Legacy of Seth

The past three weeks fans of Team Cherry’s popular game Hollow Knight have been busy thanks to the creators moving silently and cleverly. They are moving about the game’s Discord like Tom Bombadil, creating excitement and intrigue for their latest game Silksong, yet to be released. But are we about to see more news of it’s eventual time on stage?

The riddles I spoke of earlier use Hollow Knight as a basis for gathering a password which Team Cherry drops every Monday in the Hollow Knight Discord channel, and the fans come together and with ravenous hunger for more Silksong news, they solve them and open up the digital treasure chest of goodies to find new characters and GIFs of in-game content.

But as of today, July 7, 2020 their newest puzzle is a little bigger, and a little heartfelt that touched the Void inside of us. The Marty Lyons Foundation assisted Team Cherry in helping grant a wish in little Knight, Seth Goldman. He gave Team Cherry a picture, and they turned around and made a lethal enemy for Hornet to face in her upcoming adventure.

Based solely on the images above it looks like the mighty warrior appears as a humble little guy that doesn’t move or attack once it notices Hornet. This seems to change based on something the player seems to do, whether that be try and enter a place passed him, or attack him.

Kudos to the whole fan community for uncovering such a treasure in this hectic time the world is going through. Team Cherry has cast a little ray of goodness for everyone, not just gamers and Hollow Knight fans, to enjoy.

Here is the note found with the images:

“The Voice… has chosen me.”
An eternal protector, waiting amidst tangled roots at the base of the Citadel. He guards
a secret long forgotten and will attack any who stray too close.
Imbued with stamina and strength beyond a normal bug, he strikes up close or from a
distance with blinding speed. With unwavering devotion, this ancient guardian will fight
until the very end, and beyond.
Many of the Citadel’s caste have fallen to this deadly warrior. Those who encounter him should turn back, or else prepare for a vicious battle.

The character of Seth was developed together with Seth Goldman, who’s a really cool young guy we were fortunate enough to meet and get to know. Thanks to the Marty Lyons Foundation for hooking us up with Seth. Huge thanks to Seth himself! And look forward to entering battle with his deadly bug warrior!

I reached out to the Foundation to find more information on Seth and this is what I received:

 I coordinated Seth’s wish earlier this year (pre-pandemic).

His father advocated strongly for him and all he wanted was a video call with the video game developers at both Team Cherry and Yacht Club Games, which both teams were happy to oblige.

As you can see- Team Cherry took it a step further.

Upon receipt of your email, I reached out to Dad, this was his reply:

SETH’S DREAM WAS TO MAKE CONTACT WITH DREAM.  IT CAME TRUE.  Furthermore, team cherry followed through with the development of a video game character and he bragged about it to his family and friends but didnt want to let anyone see it until the game was published.    Seths biggest fear was that he would die before the game came out.   He LOVED that game.

Sadly, Seth died from his cancer on  June 12 from unremitting and painful Ewing sarcoma.  He was buried with a video game console and his phone depicting the character that Team Cherry created for him.   

Seth had a real dream come true because of The MARTY LYONS Foundation.   

The family will be grateful forever.   Seth’s soul lives on in a video game and in the hearts of all that knew him.  

With gratitude and grief,

Corey Goldman  

Seth was only 16 years old.

While the Marty Lyons Foundation is happy to have helped connect him to Team Cherry – it was both his father’s dedication to his son having his dream realized and the generosity of Team Cherry that brought him tremendous joy in his final days.

-Krystal Monroy

Love in action. One son’s dream, and a father’s heart.

No parent should ever have to bury their child. But as this reminder of our little control gives us grief, it also can give us light. Team Cherry will tell Seth’s story. Silksong will mean just a little bit more than just a game.

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