Justice Playthrough #159: CARBAGE

Fuck. Multi-player with no AI.

Page 19, Game 20: CARBAGE by HelloThereGames

This game looks great. It’s a goofy and cartoony game of driving cars — competitively! I looks like it could be a lot of fun. Unfortunately, the dev punted completely on the AI, so I can’t even piddle around with an easily defeated opponent just so I can get some sense of what the gameplay is like.

Early in the trawl I was forgiving of stuff like that, but I’ve grown steadily less sympathetic as time goes on. Bottom line, I’ve seen too many “multi-player only” games that actually had perfectly serviceable AIs. If you’re adamant that the best version of the game you’re creating involves multiple human players and that no AI could possibly capture the intricacies of having another living person playing your game … first off, you’re wrong, you’re just being lazy. But, fuck it, time is finite, and I have to assume it’s not easy to create an AI that provides a challenge without kicking the living shit out of your players. Lazy is defensible.

What I’m less willing to defend is having absolutely NOTHING for a single-player. Not even an arena where I can tool around and get some sort of feel for the game and see if this is something I’d even WANT to rope my friends into? That’s just shitty.

Instead, I’m left with controlling one car sincerely with my X-Box controller and using the keyboard to move the other one just enough to get some notion of what this game is like.

Doing this with Carbage does not leave me filled with optimism.

The first sign of trouble comes from the character selection.

That bear with the hay in his mouth and the derpy expression might be a bit problematic, actually

The four doofy goofballs you can get to play are on a turntable in the center. Drive you generic monster truck up on it into one of them, and that’s who you are.

Did you drive into the wrong one? Did you want to be Mohawk Guy and not Fuckwit Bear With A Pick-Up Truck? Suck it up and play your classist stereotype, pal.

Did you need to drive your truck around a bit while figuring out the controls, and are thus hitting the turntable from a sub-optimal angle? Ooh. That was stupid. Are you sure you can drive well enough to play this game?

Then, the game begins.

Where are the graphics?

That’s what it looks like. For real, the character selection screen is WAY more visually interesting than the gameplay, which looks like placeholder graphics. Wait is that what’s happening? Am I shitting on an alpha release?

Looking, and … nope. Not seeing anything on the game’s page stating that this is just an early release version. This is apparently just what it is.

Anyway. When you drive, those blocks will vanish. You want to be the last car to fall through a hole in the arena and perish in the uncaring void. Which means that if you don’t get your ass driving rightdafuckNOW, you will lose. I couldn’t fiddle around with this much, because the other stationary car would just promptly die on me.

That sounds like an infuriating experience, particularly if the other players involved are already comfortable with this game’s mechanics. Maybe you should just dink around in single player a bit until you get used to OH WAIT.

I acknowledge that it’s inherently unfair for me to slag a multi-player game without having actually played it. But I can ask the question: Is there anything about this game that makes me WISH I had another controller so my wife and I could give it a try together?

The answer here is a simple and clear “Nope.”

Will this next game likewise send me on a high horse about how classist stereotypes are gross and that punching down at poor people is still punching down?

Page 43, Game 6: Chimpology by themorfeus

“Internet was slow, because monkeys.”

I’m just gonna assume these are gonna be wacky silly trouble-causing monkeys and refrain from deploying my liberal outrage unless I’m quite certain I need it.

Justice Playthrough #158: Space Mining Clicker

It’s Repetitive Stress Injury: The Game!

These are apparently A Thing, according to my wife. They are definitely not My Thing. And even if they are Your Thing, I’d honestly be surprised if you’d dig this game.

Page 57, Game 14: Space Mining Clicker by Cold Coffee Studio

So. You have a mine. In proper video game tradition, your mine is a total piece of shit, but that’s okay, it’s going to get better.

It is a hole, and a place to put the things you take out of the hole

How will it get better? By your hard work, of course!

Normally, in a video game, the “hard work” is hypothetical, and will be done by your non-existent minions scampering around the screen with their little pixel tools. You tell them to dig a mine, and the little fuckers will dig a mine while you tend to other stuff.

Not here. Here, you will be doing the hard work. You and your clicker finger. Your poor, overworked clicker finger. Your success is limited only by your willingness to click. So, click. Click. Click.

Click!

Click!

CLIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICK!!!!!!!!

Seriously. This is the game. Clicking. Clicking is the game.

Click the mine, get ore out of the mine. A ship will drop by periodically to convert your ore into money. You can spend your money on the mine. By far the smartest thing you can do is–

Not play the game. Sorry. That zinger showed up in the middle of that sentence, and it was simply too true to ignore.

But if you drop into a headspace that’s a combination of unwarranted optimism that something interesting might happen soon and spite-fueled hate-fucking, your best move is to upgrade your mine such that you get MORE ore when you click.

Naturally, the price of shit increases exponentially, so that no matter how much more material you extract, it’s still just as hard to make actual progress. Also as you’d expect, there’s an entire infrastructure of shit you’ll also need to upgrade in order to keep your treadmill churning.

One of them is “supplies,” which is apparently a euphemism for “potatoes.” The more buildings you have, the more supplies you’ll consume every second. You get those supplies by — you guessed it — clicking your potato field. However, unlike your ore, while your potato production increases exponentially, your potato usage increases linearly. Thus, when the best version of your potato farm is churning, you just have to keep an eye on your stockpile of supplies and, when it starts dipping low, spend a few seconds frantically clicking to correct it.

In this game, you may win at potatoes.

Why are you mining ore? To fund your side! Yes, that’s right, there’s a war brewing, and you have to decide which side you’re on!

What the hell, it’s an attempt at context

This mostly takes the form of defining your frenetic-click-related goals. Also, there are some in-game difference. I think the united colonies have better robot workers? Robots will harvest resources independent of your clicking. Their efficiency increases linearly as you develop your mine, so they quickly become completely pointless. Lazy fucks. They don’t work nearly as hard as me.

Also, the game will cycle through a small set of background events. Some are good, like a gold vein giving you more ore per click, or an ore shortage, preventing you from clicking at all! (Go tend to your potatoes. Take a break. Appreciate the gift the game has given you by not letting you play it.)

I feel like a game like this needs to give you a sense of progression; something interesting needs to happen to reward you for your time and willingness to risk carpal tunnel for a shitty indie game. Stuff happens, sort of, but calling it “interesting” is a step too far. Mostly, you just get to build your facility — which is just a matter of upgrading the next thing in line. There’s no decisions to be made, there are no subtleties of placing the Thing next to the Other Thing that will make me more productive, I just need to get the cash for the next level, then … do the next level. Maybe I have to upgrade my command center and/or power grid, but that’s really it.

Achievement never felt so hollow

What finally gave me an incurable case of FuckThisItis was when I managed to “complete” the “good” event giving me the “opportunity” to get something cool by clicking my mine 720 times. Not get 720 ore; no, that shit was trivial now. Click the fucking mine 720 fucking times in the 180 seconds the game allotted to me.

I did it. I needed help from the radar stations that expand the duration of the “good” events and speed-up the “bad” ones, but I did it.

What did it get me?

 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Didn’t catch it. Did it give me something? I’m sure it gave me something.

One day later, my arm is still sore. Though I’m pretty sure that was from stupidly playing Hades deep into the night. That game is fucking awesome, even if that one boss fight is PLENTY FUCKING TOUGH ALREADY without a SECOND STAGE TO THAT FIGHT WHAT THE FUCK GAME WHY ARE YOU DENYING ME THIS VICTORY.

Hades, however, is awesome, and I’ll totally play it some more.

Space Mining Clicker, despite looking and feeling like a perfectly credible professional game, is an aggressive waste of time and is by orders of magnitude the most pointless and repetitive thing I’ve yet encountered in this trawl. Even if time-wasting clickers are in fact your jam (no judgment), I am, despite having basically no familiarity or other experience with the genre, absolutely confident you can find a better game than this.

Will the next game inspire me to ask “Jesus, what the fuck are you doing with your life?” while I play it?

Page 19, Game 20: CARBAGE by HelloThereGames

“Couch Party Game, Multiple Modes”

Ah, it’s going to remind me that I cannot have parties on my couch or anywhere else because the fucking world is ending. So that’s a big ol’ “Yes.” Probably not the game’s fault, though.