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Monster Garden – Mr. Bobo’s Booty

Monster Garden was a game I got to preview at Busan Indie Connect in September 2018. Burpy Fresh went out for Puffer Fish Soup with the developer. I don’t know if I need this disclosure or anything, mostly just that I know where the good soup is in Korea if anyone wants visit and chat about games. 

Time moves ever forward. It presses upon all creations as it moves inexorably further into the void. Eventually reaching towards the inevitable heat death and ensuing peace that will end this, the darkest of all timelines.

The weird and wonderful monsters that we all are somehow find a way to shamble forward, forever hungering and searching for whatever it is that our particular monstrous appetites require. And, as this is a dark uncaring corner of the multiverse, we often never really find it.

But… consider… there are infinite different timelines all centered around the choices we and the singular oddballs that travel with us make.  Because we have only the infinite to consider a single point of light can be seen from an infinite amount of angles. So, this is simultaneously the darkest and most hopeful of timelines. I think… Maybe? That all depends on you. And Mr. Bobo. Always, Mr. Bobo.

This garden is a mess.

Mr. Bobo is a monster. He is at a crossroads. He wants to clean up a garden and then have a party. These are admirable and noble goals for a monster to have. This is a good way to combat the darkness. He will need friends. His friends all have circumstances of their own to deal with. Mr. Bobo might help them.

Mechanically Monster Garden isn’t much to write to monster home about. It’s a basic JRPG style walk and talk game. You walk and push the button to talk. There aren’t any combat situations, and no real fail state. But… that’s not really the point is it?

I have nightmares about this thing.

What is the point then if everything thing is pointless? I dunno, man. Chill out and make the hard decision to live your life better. Maybe have a party with friends?

Some points:

  1. The art. It is all well crafted by this Zach Wood guy who made the game. The monsters look that combination of weird and cute that make the pleasure centers in my brain feel pleasant. There are a bunch of monsters to meet. A lot of them have cool things to say. 
  2. The story. The story is a chilled out tale of a bunch of weirdos trying to be the best weird that they can be. I can dig that and way emphasize. We are all on the same trip. Each of Mr. Bobo’s friends has little side stories you can explore by selecting their responses during dialogue trees. And there is a remarkable amount of thought put into the dialogue. It’s clever, funny, and philosophical. I walked away from Monster Garden with some new ideas up in my head. And that has ever been my definition of Good Art.
All the Bobos.

Ultimately, this is the weird and unique type of indie game that I like to see. You can complete it in about 40 minutes, with some added replay value trying for all the dialogue possibilities. It’s entertaining, breezy, and tried to teach me something about life. Ain’t too many experiences out there the do that like a good game. Like, man, you have to choose your own adventure, dig? Adventures is what keeps the universe from collapsing in upon itself for another day.

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Blog (Pre-Medium)

Busan Indie Connect 2018 Rundown

Okay, a couple weeks late, but here’s your Belchy Burpy Recap of Busan Indie Connect 2018!

Wooooooo!

BIC is good times for those of us based in Korea. It’s nice to have something on our home turf where we know all the good restaurants to take people too. Makes us feel important. Always fun to meet devs from all over the world. I thought the whole festival was a bit better organized this year, so a big thanks to all the people who made this happen.*

Musing on the Nature of Busan Indie Connect:

  1. Much like last year, Korea is a very different space than Japan or the States for these types of meetups. Indie Devs want to break into Korea, but there aren’t the big dogs here to wine and dine. In Kyoto everyone all up ons Nintendo trying to get some of that sweet plumber action like they alls in a cliche porno. Or Sony. Or Microsoft. Not really that kind of party here.**
  2. That being said, Korea is a big market and devs want to figure out how to get their stuff out here amongst the sea of mobile shovelware that dominates the market. I had a lot of good conversations with devs about ways to sell small scale games across East and Southeast Asia. But…
  3. I’m not sure BIC was really a great conduit for connecting indie devs to publishers. There were some good speakers, but I’m not sure there was any coordinated plan for getting Korea indie publishing and development on the map. I say this with some caveats:
    1. I’m not really privy to the business side of things, so I’m kind of burping out my rear end here. Which is to say farting.
    2. I’m not sure that breaking into the Korean market was actually a purpose of BIC. I think it could and should be, but maybe I’m projecting my dreams onto it.
    3. Ultimately, I don’t think there are any good answers. There are millions upon millions of mobile phone gamers who aren’t going to download a small scale game on Steam. If I had the answer I would share.

On What is Rad and What is Not Rad:

  1. Indonesia is RadToge Productions brought a really solid slate of games. Each with a different focus and style. And the people I talked to were all really nice and had great insights into the gaming industry. Southeast Asia is the future, man. Lot of people with good ideas and games coming from there in the future. Get on the train.
  2. Dungeons are Not Rad – Believe you me there is no one more aware to the debt we owe Gygax and Arneson for creating Dungeons & Dragons oh so many years ago. Reducing fantasy to abstract numbers was incredibly important in the history of game design. That being said, and I never thought I’d say this, I’m really tired of dungeons as a setting. Find something new? I recommend… luchadores?

 

Some Individual Game Thoughts:

Bread Attack!

Bossgard – Awesome brawler where the gimmick is that one player controls a boss monster while the others hack at it. The devs mocked us cruelly while beating us down with a giant monster slice of bread.

Gato Roboto – The new hotness from Devolver Digital. Basically Metroid except you are a cute kitty. I can dig on that.

Just Shapes and Beats – I’m a gameplay type guy who digs sick nasty chiptunes so this game is basically for me. You and your friends are shapes and you dodge other shapes while sick nasty chiptunes play. Now on Switch!

KlangM – Slick rhythm game with great art and a cool Thunderdome theme. I think we may indeed need another hero to play this.

Look at it’s cute widdle hat!

MagiCat – 2D platformer from Indonesia. At first glance seems real basic, but it’s remarkably well designed. There is a smoothness in the gameplay that I don’t know that I’ve seen in other platformers.

I’m glad this guy loves me.

Monster Garden – Weird low stakes adventure game about monsters trying to recreate a garden of monsters out of nightmares. This is the kind of weird little gem I love finding at BICFest.

WaveCrash – Fun puzzle brawler. I could see this being a really fun party game.

RPG Time!: The Legend of Wright – Cute reproduction of games created in Junior High School notebooks. You could tell the dev wasted a lot of his youth making these things during class time. Time well spent, I’d say.

I want to know more about orchids.

She and the Light Bearer – An adventure game out Indonesia with gorgeous art that recreates Indonesian fairy tales. One of the aforementioned great games out of Indonesia and one that I’m looking forward to spending more time with.

Sticky Bodies – From Q-Games, our gracious hosts during BITSummit, come what is basically a Terry Gilliam animation game. The world need more Monty Python themed games. Someday I’ll get on making a fish slapping dance game.

The Missing – New jam from SWERY. Creepy puzzle platformer where your protagonist much remove parts of her body to solve physics puzzle while being chased by some monster.

I dunno. I just don’t.

Wattam – I don’t even know, man. This game is weird. Fortunately I like weird things! Noby Noby boy an obvious influence. I’m going to have to play this a bit more.

 

*Canada apparently was a big sponsor. Who knew, eh?

**Though there were parties. Korea style. Introducing people to the cosmic horror that is Soju is always fun.

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Archive

Breaking Wheel – Cheese With Guns

Now I first encountered Breaking Wheel from Insane Mind Games two months ago at BICFest, was on… two months ago at BICFest when my friend and I went to Busan. It was the silliest game at the festival. A game where you play a wheel. A wagon wheel, or maybe a gear. Even a cheese wheel. You roll around and collect coffee and money. Also, there are goblins and orcs.

Those fiends.

For the most part Breaking Wheel is your basic 2D-Platformer. You move left. Sometimes you move right. Jumping is involved. Sometimes double-jumping. Spikes and fires and monsters keep tryin’ to make you dead. You collect coins. Also, you collect coffee, which is kind of funny. Cause why would wheels need coffee? WHY!?!? One interesting bit is that your speed and jump height is influenced by how many coffees you collect. Taking damage knocks away some of your coffee so you won’t be able to move so good. Which makes sense, as you have less coffee. It’s a neat little design that I can’t help but feel could’ve been a bit better explored.

The level design is quite clever in Breaking Wheel. The gimmick is that you periodically encounter intersections that shift the field of play by 90 degrees allowing you a new axis to explore. It creates an interesting grid pattern to the levels and makes for some unique exploration options. I don’t think I’ve ever come across a 2D platformer that handles it’s level design quite like this, and I think it goes a long way to creating the illusion of an interactive world within the confines of two dimensions.

Free the bombs.

The levels are also lavishly detailed. It’s pretty clear that the dev team has a background in Skyrim mods as much of the look and feel of the levels comes from Tamriel. Ancient crumbling staircases, fortresses built from sharpened logs, and ice caves populate Wheel World. A lot of work has clearly gone into to putting together the various backgrounds. It feels a little sacrilegious to be rolling a cheese wheel around in these environment. Really you should be like an awesome wizard. That would be more appropriate and also awesome.

A caveat to my enthusiasm is that Breaking Wheel is not a perfect game by any means. For as good as the graphics look some of the game-play elements lack polish. This manifests mostly as minor things like imprecise hit boxes or enemies walking on thin air*. I feel that I would be remiss in my duties as some wizard on the internet if I didn’t complain about a couple of things that bothered me.

Spider wheel does whatever.

First, the levels are simply too graphically busy. It can be really hard at times to tell what is a platform and what is a spikey thing that will steal your coffee. This can be a real bummer in a game the requires precise platforming as I felt that it lead to some cheap deaths. Compounding this is that on occasion foreground graphics block out the view of your path.

Second, the physics on your avatar are just plain off. Breaking Wheel can stop on a dime and doesn’t roll down inclines. You move more like Mega Man and less like Sonic. You just don’t feel like a wheel, feel me? There are a lot of physics based puzzles in this game, and I found it disconcerting when your avatar didn’t seem to affected the same way.

With those concerns in mind, I’m still quite fond of Breaking Wheel, warts and all. It’s currently about five bucks on Steam. Pick it up if you feel like supporting a small group of indie devs who enjoy making silly games where wheels of cheese blow up orcs.

*Maybe this is a deliberate bit of Skyrim influence. Zing!

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Blog (Pre-Medium)

GStar – Worth it? Probably not.

I finally decided to get off my lazy ass and go to GStar in Busan. Was it worth it? Kinda. Here’s the breakdown.

 

The Good

 

Vectorium at BIC’s booth.

 

1. Busan Indie Connect (BIC) has a fairly large pity booth at the side of the event. I’m pretty sure the conversation went like this:

 Busan Government : Let BIC come and play.

 GStar: But, but they’re not cool! They don’t even have any half-naked dancing chicks.

 Busan Government: Do you want to use BEXCO for like free or not?

GStar: … FINE. They can come, but I’m not talking to them any.

And so it went. The booths were fairly crowded, but it seemed like most people were just trying to get away from the throng in the main hall.

Now, don’t get me wrong, BIC is my baby, and it was the best part of the event. I got to see a lot of people, hang out, play some weird games. It was way more fun than anything else GStar had to offer. I’m just keeping it real yo.

 

Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds – Proof that you don’t need good music, art, design, or programming skills to make a popular game.

 

2. PUBG Tournament in the main hall. That was fun. The game itself is boring as watching paint dry, but spectating is kinda amazing. Having eyes on 75 people get herded into a increasingly smaller and smaller place while trying to not to be seen, creates some real drama, especially because when the spectating monitors have x-ray mode on so you can see people lying in wait. It makes me wish this was possible in the actual game, instead of just dying and wondering why.

 

Roof Rage

 

3. Roof Rage on the big screen. Okay, so maybe BIC and GStar did agree to a little big of crossover, though I’m not sure how much BIC had to do with this one. Roof Rage on the big screen was fun as hell to watch! Of course, action packed multiplayer lends itself well to these situations, but it’s nice to see some smaller developers getting some good screen time.

 

The Bad

 

1. Half-naked trade show models. (Not pictured above) Really? It’s 2017, let’s move beyond this. Not only is it creepy to see men drooling as they charge up to people just to take photos and run away, it doesn’t really have anything to do with gaming. You know what would be better? An effort to make gaming more inclusive towards women.  Oh wait. I forgot. Hell hasn’t frozen over yet, and pigs can’t even fly. My bad. Continue on. *

2. Why does it seem that all AAA games are either all handholdy 3D walking simulators with a sprinkle of something story-like, or “action”-“r””p””g”s that basically either play themselves or require a semi-continuous one-button input? I’ll fully admit I’m biased, but there was nothing I wanted to play anywhere in the main hall, and really, PUBG was only fun because of the event. So very boring.

3. Sooo many people, and such poor planning. When I got there at about 1pm on Saturday, the line to buy tickets was about 2000 people long. Luckily I was able to get a guest pass to avoid the 2-3 hour wait, but that’s a planning failure if I’ve ever seen one. Buy your tickets in advance people.

 

The Summary

 

In short, GStar was only worth it for me for hanging out with BIC peeps. I’m not sure if I’ll go back again next year, it really depends if BIC has a booth there or not. If you happen to be in Busan and are able to get tickets in advance (they’re really cheap) then I would say go for it for an afternoon, not really worth the trip though.

 

*How long till someone calls me a SJW snowflake cuck not-real gamer?

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Blog (Pre-Medium)

Arcane Musings – BICFest 2017

BICFest 2017 went down in Busan a couple weekends ago and your friendly neighborhood wizard* caught a dimensional portal down there to see what the fuss was about. BICFest is Korea’s premier indie game festival going into it’s third year. One-hundred twenty odd games were showcased, along with talks by industry professionals, indie eSport competitions projected on a giant screen, and just basic good old times with a bunch of friendly developers from all over the world. I feel privileged that I got to meet and hang with so many fun people over the weekend.

What follows are my impressions of some of the games I got hands on. My compatriot posted his thoughts a couple of days ago.

One of the coolest booths was the “Classic Korean Indie” booth. It showcased some games from the earlier part of the 21st century. One of the games, Her Knight, was designed for the Korean only handheld the GP32. Guys, I’m a video wizard and I didn’t know that thing existed! I want one to go on the shelf next to my Atari Lynx.

Agatha Knife – Spanish devs be off the hook, yo. A game where a young girl slaughters animals and creates a religion. This is one to keep an eye on. Devs carry knives.

Alice in Cube – Neat 3D Android puzzle with an Alice in Wonderland theme. Could see myself losing some time to this in the future.

Asura – Slick little Diablo-type RPG. The innovation here is a procedurally generated skill tree and a South Asian theme. Solid game.

Back Slash – 2D-Arena combat with WIZARDS!!!

Breaking Wheel – The silliest game at BICFest. And that, my friends, is saying something. You are a wheel in the Medieval Times and you battle against Ogres. Silly time are good times.

Maruta Escape – Isometric stealth game with a time rewinding mechanic. You can rewind your movements OR those of the evil robots hunting you.

Old Man’s Journey – Sweet little android puzzle game about an old man walking home through the hills. Probably the best of the mobile games at BICFest. Dev gave out temporary tattoos which endeared him to the westerners but kind of freaked out the Korean audience.

Pawarumi – Bullet hell shooter in the Treasure mold. Really amazing graphics.

Redout – Super polished futurist racer in the F-Zero mold. Reminded me of Star Wars Episode I: Racer, the best racer for the N64 and the best thing to come out of the Phantom Clone Saga Jar Jar Wars.

Shots Fired – Developers in from the Philippines. Talked to them about the up and coming scene out there. Super exciting to hear about how indie games are coming up all over the world. Game is Where’s Waldo meets Tinder meets the University of Texas tower shooter.

To the Hell – Retro platformer shooter that mimics those elevator levels from GunStar Heroes and it’s ilk. The dev apologized for the bad English in the title, but I told him it made it sond more awesome and unique.

Urbanøïz – I don’t really know what this game is about due to the language barrier, but check out the slick design going on: https://www.instagram.com/urbanoizcity/. Their booth was awesome and their swag was top notch. Adventure game about a robot? Or something?

Vectorium – Cool little arena bullet hell shooter with a BUMPIN’ soundtrack. The dev brought big old speakers to showcase his game. Turn up the volume if you play this.

Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles – Extremely polished 3D RPG billed as “Zelda without the violence.” Sort of a cross between Zelda and Animal Crossing. I’ll have to try this one out with my Junior Wizard.

동물의정원 – Cute animal management game for andriod. Designed by “Father Made Games.” I asked about the name and he said, “Well, I’m a father, and I decided to make games for my kids.” Can’t think of a better reason.

 

The Three Stars of the Match:

Do Not Feed the Monkeys – A personal favorite game at BICFest. A unsettling game about spying on other people and choosing whether or not to get involved with their lives. Part voyeuristic adventure, part lifestyle management. All with LucasArts style graphics. You’ll be hearing more about this from us.

Hyperun – This was another contender for the best game at BICFest. It’s a procedurally generated racer where you constantly have to do sharp drifts and sweet tricks. It looks amazing, the mechanics are simple and elegant, and it’s super fun to play. Review forthcoming on Burpy Fresh.


The American Dream – This is a VR game about being American. You have guns and infinite ammo. You use your guns to complete common household tasks such as feeding a baby or flipping hamburgers. Remarkably true to life. Feels like this could go up in Epcot center and no one would bat an eye, because guns. Bang bang.

*This is a lie. Wizards are not friendly. Nor do their live in neighborhoods. They live in towers.

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Blog (Pre-Medium)

BIC Fest 2017 – The Best Fest

While all of you are galavanting around at TGS, the Burpy crew are enjoying a quiet weekend at home, nursing our wounds and sulking about how we’re not at TGS. It’s okay though, because we still have the memories of BIC Fest 2017 to get us through until BitSummit in May.

It’s going to be a long 8 months.

Until then, let’s talk about all the great stuff that happened at Busan Indie Connect this year.

  1. We went to Busan.
  2. A bunch of cool peeps came to Busan, too.
  3. We got drunk on the beach.
  4. I interpreted on stage for a bunch of cool people. @curttheinvert trolled Microsoft on stage.
  5. We played a lot of games.
  6. We got drunk at the beach.
  7. We forgot to learn what Azure was.

So much fun. Of course though, while it is super important to get drunk on the beach and meet with cool people, it’s also important to play video games. So many good choices this year, too. Project.99 was there in full effect with like a million games on a million laptops. To the Hell made what has to be it’s 3rd appearance at BIC. Racers: Dirt came back, but as a Sony title. It’s really nice to see the full circle on titles. Redout, too. They were heavily in development at BIC 2015, and now they’re on like every system. All good things.

However, with this post, I want to give you, in no particular order, my top 5 out of all the new stuff I saw this year. I mean, new to me at least.

 

Do Not Feed The Monkeys (Fictiorama Studios, Q4-2017)

Do Not Feed The Monkeys – Fictiorama Studios

 

Do Not Feed The Monkeys combines the text-based tension of Papers Please with a teensy bit of Phoenix Wright with um… Sliver? Basically, you’re duty bound by this secret society to watch unsecured webcams, called cages, and report back what the monkeys, the people you’re spying on, are doing. Your mandate is to only watch, but since the society doesn’t seem to pay you, you may be forced to make some… choices. You can take a job, or you can decide to start blackmailing the monkeys and see how far you get before the society comes in and shuts you down.

Honestly, there’s not a lot of gameplay here, but I pretty much had to be kicked off the demo because I hogged it for too long. There’s something about voyeurism and blackmailing people (come on, like there was ever a choice) that really draws your attention.

Oh, and I think one of the monkeys is Hitler.

 

HP Sword (TGB)

HP Sword – TGB

 

HP Sword is a decent platformer with a solid gimmick. The size and power of your blade is proportional to your HP. You can also use part of your HP as a projectile. This creates an effective risk/reward system by allowing the player temporarily losing power to get in a really good hit in, but it also puts a bit of pressure on if you’re doing poorly. Overall though, it’s pretty balanced. Very little information on it in English. I’ll do a proper review when I can get my hands on a copy.

 

Hyperun (Concrete Games)

Hyperun – Concrete Games

 

Hyperun is a racing game with no acceleration button. No brakes either. Basically, you just keep going, faster and faster until you fuck up. Using WASD lets you strafe, using the arrow keys lets you make an on-a-dime 90 degree turn. While strafing is pretty important to pick up speed boosts (and I think health boosts?) making those square corners at higher speeds is where the difficulty comes in. You can hold down an arrow key to drift before the corner, but I’ve found that it’s easier to just to try to time the corner well. I like the twist this gives to racing games.

 

Tiny Clusters (Thibaut Mereu)

Tiny Clusters – Thibaut Mereu

 

Tiny Clusters is a cute little game that you can get a demo of on itch right now. It’s a really good take on platforming puzzlers. You’re a little space dude, just trying to get by in this alien-eat-alien world… space. Luckily he has you to help him out by rearranging his world to let him get through. It’s surprisingly tricky, in a similar vein to Snakebird. I’ve only played the demo, so I don’t know if you get more screens to swap around, or if the different environments in each of the chunks will have different roles to play, but I’ll do a proper review on this one too when it comes out.

 

Legal Dungeon (Somi)

Legal Dungeon – Somi

 

This is another political game by Somi, who made Replica about a year or so ago. As far as I understand, in the US, a grand jury decides if the government will indict a person for a crime, but in Korea, the police and the prosecutors decide. This game is about that process, where you play as a cop going through documents trying to find clues that point to a person’s guilt. Knowing Somi, this game will be about the fine line between finding evidence, and placing that evidence blindly into the narrative you want to promote. I don’t see this game having as big of an appeal as Replica, but I still found it pretty engaging.

 

That’s it. @curttheinvert will be around soon with his round up. I’m going to go work our next game and try to forget TGS ever happened.