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Tycho / on Wed, Oct 28 2020 at 12:01 am

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The Life Aquatic

(At this point, continuing to demand that Cyberpunk get released this year is just dumb. I'd celebrate a delay if I thought it meant a material easing of the process for the people caught inside it, but the last delay certainly didn't and I don't think this one will either. When I was a new father, learning how to feed a child, I did so according to a clock that I'd set to make sure they were getting enough to eat. I was cautioned against this by the midwife, who taught me instead to be conscious of the child I was feeding instead. It seems clear now that they're feeding a clock.

CD Projekt Red should simply do as we suggest in the strip, and consider a release date sometime much later.)

Roughly ten thousand years ago, Gabir and I met a couple youths at our San Diego Comic Con booth, introduced by their mother, to whom we stressed that her children were too young for what we do. She seemed to understand this also, but also understood her sons, and that was it. I kept in touch off and on with one of them, who gravitated toward games in a design capacity. Last time we spoke it was near the end of a Board Game portion of his oeuvre, and our conversation + the kind of shadow that hung from his brow indicated that maybe it wasn't going to work out. I've held onto that for years.

At a socially distanced synchronization with Kris Straub, of Local 58 fame, I happened to see this kid walking by, though I guess the term would almost certainly be Man now, and apparently the game he'd been working on - Going Under - had just come out. I'd played an early version submitted to the PAX 10 some time ago, and it was clever, but also very early. It now has a Very Positive rating on Steam, which is very hard to maintain. Well, hard to maintain if it weren't good, perhaps My eldest has defeated the game at about the same age this other dude was when I met him. Having a natural weakness for symmetries like these, I commissioned a formal assessment from said larva. Without further adieu, the revieu. I have resisted any urge to editorialize but it is QUITE STRONG.

(CW)TB out.

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Going Under: The Elliot Labs Review
By The Mysterious Gamer

Please note: this is a review of the Nintendo Switch version of the game. Some problems described here may not be present on other versions. Also, potential minor spoilers.

I first played a VERY early beta of this game at PAX 10. It’s come a long way since then, and I’m very happy about that. On with the review!

The Good:

The writing is incredible, full of puns and satire. I like those things, so I give the writing a “very good” out of 7.

The characters are unique and memorable, and I found myself talking to them so often I actually exhausted their dialogue long before I even got to the second half of the game.

The mentorship mechanic is interesting and useful. They each have their own upsides and downsides, and completing tasks for the characters to level up the mentorships is a great concept, even if some of the tasks are a little ridiculous. (Is it even possible to deal 50 damage in one hit?) Fern’s buffs are easily the best, and even feel a little overpowered at times, but that’s not a bad thing at all.

The combat is fast-paced and incredibly satisfying once you get good at it. I initially hated it, because the game is very challenging throughout and I felt weak and underprepared, but I eventually learned when to play it safe and not just rush into combat with half a heart and a single thumbtack. I actually got a Breath of the Wild feel from it, with the “using stuff you find laying around” weapon system. The dungeons are also very well designed, and all have their own identity and mechanics. The way they change in the second half of the game is also interesting and cool.

The Bad: (WARNING: BUG REPORTS AND NITPICKING AHEAD)

The game CHUGS when there’s a lot of enemies on screen. This may be exclusive to the Switch port, but it’s a problem I’ve experienced.

Items clipping into walls: funny when a spear gets caught in a wall and vibrates, not so funny when your only healing item gets stuck in a wall and can’t be retrieved. The apps and skills are great, but their descriptions are often too vague. With skills that are immediately obvious (like bomb dropper) this is fine, but with others, not so much. What do “supportive reacts only” or “that’s all she yote” even mean?

The Verdict: this game has come a long way from the demo I played at PAX 10. The gameplay is fun and satisfying, the writing is amazing, and the music is funky. It has a few issues, but these are to be expected from an indie game. Overall, definitely worth your money.

Final Rating: 8 outta 10


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