Justice Playthrough #38: Touhou Fan Game Jam Black Lives Matter Collection

O_o

What have you gotten me into, random number generator.

Page 30, Game 3: Touhou Fan Game Jam Black Lives Matter Collection by CopperChihuahua

All right, there’s no way I’m gonna look at this many games, so I’ll just HA HA FOOLED YOU LET’S DO THIS BITCH

Cirno The Rice Fairy!: Tiny. Teeny tiny. Why can I not make this larger? Why am I being punished for my decent monitor resolution? What the hell am I doing? No idea. Next!

Cirno’s BlockBuster: Oh, hey, it’s a Bejeweled clone, great. Except … huh, the jewels retain their position after I flip them. In fact, I have quite a bit of free reign to manipulate these fuckers, don’t I. Wow, I can actually use spatial reasoning and shit! This is way more engaging than Bejeweled! Has an issue with not scaling the difficulty fast enough, and for all I know it’s just a clone of a DIFFERENT Bejeweled-alike I’m simply not familiar with, but what the hell, for a game that I assume was slammed-out quickly as part of a jam, this was a fun little play.

Cirno’s Frog Freeze: Okay, this one’s a Tetris-alike, except my blocks are made up of bricks and … frogs? What do the frogs do? Well, they appear to cock-block me from clearing out the rows, so I don’t approve of that. But sometimes, there’s a chick in a blue dress who floats down with the bricks and frogs, what’s her deal? Oh, hey, she blows up any contiguous frogblocks she comes into contact with! So she’s kinda like an exterminator! Wait, did I choose her at the beginning of the game? So is there an asymmetry thing going if I choose a different character? Maybe. Oh, I guess there’s some power-up thing I wasn’t using. Whatever. This is kinda nifty. I dig it.

CookingCirno: I’m cooking for … fairies? Who look like waitstaff? I can move, them, I guess. I can move food around too. I guess I’ll throw a steak on this skillet? Why is there a timer? That timer looks ominous. I guess I’ll throw some peas into the microwave. Can I chop this onion? Wait, the timer’s down to zero, hey, those are customers? Oh, this is a tower defense game! Where your tower is the restaurant, and you’re fending off customers! That’s endearingly bizarre. Okay, there’s a game under here, but the execution is just way too half-baked (heh) for this version to be worth playing. Dev must have run out of time.

The Egg of Basan: This was, very sincerely, my favorite platformer of the ENTIRE Justice Playthrough thus far … riiiiight up to the point where I got stuck and couldn’t proceed any farther. You’re a cute little girl helping a kaiju rooster get his egg back from a scary ghost. As you jump around, you can crack-open eggs, which hatch chicks that follow you around. Get enough chicks, and you get power-ups! It’s adorable, endearing, and fun … except for the part where you loose your chicks (and therefore progress towards power-ups) if you die. I’m pretty sure that’s what happened; I got to a point in the game where I think it was expecting me to have FOUR mid-air jumps to work with, but I only have three, so I can’t get over that obstacle. Laaaaame. Still, I’d love to play a version of this where game-breaking situations like that have been ironed out. Fun gameplay, ton of personality, this is cool as hell.

Flight of the Baby Princess: You and the baby princess are in the bamboo forest. Flying above you are row after row of floating gold nuggets. Toss the baby princess into the air (by, I think, stabbing her?) to go get them! But watch out! Ladies on clouds also float by, dealing death and judgement! Don’t let them kill you — thwack them with your stab-powered baby, launching her further into the air up to where those REALLY valuable nuggets are! Get the baby princess moving fast and rack up the big gold-nugget-cloud-lady combos!!! Fun gameplay wrapped in a brain-shreddingly bizarre theme. I sincerely recommend giving it a try.

Formidable Alice: Chat up some girl named Alice … I think? By selecting randomly-offered conversation topics into the scripted conversation playing on the screen? Eh. Whatever idea the dev had in their head, I don’t think it came through here.

Frozen Dirt: Vertical scroller-shooter, kinda like 1942 but with all the airplanes replaced by anime girls. Very visually noisy, doesn’t bother trying to explain what your options are. I’ll pass.

Green 9 Deal: Factories are overwhelming the land! Go out there and fuck ’em up with your ice fairy powers! Protect the forests! Halt forest fires! Make sure to preserve renewable energy sources … except wouldn’t those encourage more factories? I’m an ice fairy. Hell do I care about solar or wind power? Eh, whatever. Your array of powers is interesting, and there are some potentially intriguing concepts in play, but the overall product is a bit too raw and muddled.

Inabatron 2084: Oh, you mean like Robotron 2084? Ah, as you mean EXACTLY like Robotron 2084, but with the graphics swapped and really annoying noises. Cute exercise, I suppose.

Kogasa’s Lunar Fright Mission: Side-scrolling game of jumping around and clobbering enemies with your umbrella-weapon. Definitely feels like the early draft of a game, though a potentially fun one. Has some half-baked ideas, like a trap-laying mechanism I couldn’t find a use for, or a crafting system that isn’t presented well enough to matter. Certainly not awful.

Little Ideology: Lots of effort spent on the backstory (a treacherous spirit-creature wants to trick a tiny princess into stealing a wish-granting mallet for her), but the game itself is raw as uncooked chicken. I could jump around a bit and toss around the little princess, but I’m kinda lost as to what the tutorial is trying to teach me. Just looks like it didn’t get quite get to a playable state.

Lovely Fairy Action: Side-scrolling shooter staring Cirno the ice fairy (who I guess was a big part of the underlying game jam all of these came from), but instead of shooting bullets and bombs, it’s been re-themed to be all about fairies shooting LOVE at one another. So … did I just play a game that was effectively a massive fairy lesbian orgy? It is possible. Cute, engaging, and reasonably polished, but one of the mechanics seems a tad half-baked; getting up close enough to “flirt” with a fairy seemed like a good way to get shot by love, repeatedly. It was much safer to stay back and spray the fairies with my love at range. Oh, God … I’m suddenly very glad these fairies are all explicitly female.

Memoir of Phantom’s Fortitude: An adventure game, minus the actual adventure. Makes a good first impression. The opening backstory consists of three simple images: little girl with her daddy, who has a sword; little girl is grown up into young woman and has a sword just like daddy’s; young woman is kneeling, apparently mourning the daddy who is no longer there. Simple. Effective. Doesn’t fuck around. The fucking around is for the actual game; as the young woman, you wander around and click at things until you either step on the random square or click at the random thing that will parcel out some plot to you. I’m still not sure what’s going on (I’m half-human, I guess?), and definitely don’t have any sense of direction. Feels like this is simply the wrong medium to tell the story the dev wants to tell. Also, a ghost sperm is following me, and I have no idea why.

Mighty no.(9): Doesn’t run. Also, appears to have triggered a Norton security alert. Not fucking cool. I’ve alerted Itch.io; this particular page doesn’t have comments turned on. (A decision I can respect.) So, you know, avoid this one.

Mochi Making Mischief: What an odd duck; it’s a rhythm game, minus the rhythm. Jaunty music plays. Letters — W, A, S, and D — roll across the top of the screen, from right to left, until they get all the way to the left, at which point you’re supposed to hit the corresponding key, causing your avatar to beat some dough. This feels like it should be in time with the beat of the music, but it is not. Also, why those keys? This does not work ergonomically. Then, when the timer runs out, on to the next stage. How did you do? Who cares? You have more dough to beat and more buttons to push. This is at least a few revisions shy of being an actual game.

Nitor Inc Demo+: It’s a bundle of minigames — yes, within a bundle of games, which I purchased within a bundle of games. I was three bundles deep playing this thing. But the bundle IS the game; you’re presented with a bundle of ludicrous, shitty little games that you have three seconds to figure out and beat, like “don’t let your mermaid get eaten by that crayon cat monster thing” or “cut the fish in the right place” or “give the letter to that other hand.” Did you beat the game? Hooray! You get a point! Did you lose the game? You lose a pickle. Run out of pickles (you start with four), and it’s game over. This is such a preposterous little trifle that it sincerely is more than the sum of it’s parts; the absurdity of it had me laughing my ass off. Whoever is responsible for this, well done.

Rumia Roller: Physics-based puzzler where you’re controlling a marble that can hop around and roll up walls and such. Feels like the early stages of a potentially promising game. The controls aren’t responsive enough; “jump” implicitly has a “… whenever you can get around to it, no hurry” suffix attached to it. The levels ramp up the difficulty WAY too quickly. I have no idea why I’m trying to guide my fairy inside the marble (the omnipresent Cirno) to some sort of spray-painted smudge thing. Too raw to really be compelling right now, but the potential is there.

Scarlet Midnight: Click-n-read semi-interactive story that Game Over’s you after its own introduction.

The Grimoire of Alice: “Okay, first directory, there’s a “Game” folder and a file called “Grimoire of Alice.pdf”. May as well crack that open and see how to play this game … meh, password-protected. That was sloppy of the dev to include it. All right, we’ll learn this sucker the hard way … okay, top-down Zelda-esque perspective, I appear to be a very Wonderland version of Alice. Oh goody, this is going to be another game where I look for things to stand in front of and click at them in the hopes that the story will fall out of them. Sigh. Let’s give it a try, at least. Bookshelf my avatar finds boring, note from parents pissed that I’ve cut my hair, book on the nightstand … yup, this is the titular Grimoire. Alice has never seen it before. And is perplexed by the fact that it has a password….”

O_o

This is a lackluster game with a fucking KILLER central conceit. You have a “Grimoire” that exists entirely out of the context of the game, and is filled with stuff to click and context-free clues you’re going to have to figure out how to apply to the game world. The game itself is, sadly, about walking up to things and clicking at them, which may trigger a puzzle that you’ll have to solve or get Game Over’ed. There’s no goal, no narrative, I’m just wandering around, looking for stuff to do. I want the core idea to have a better game than this surrounding it … but that core idea is so awesome I might just come back.

The Heart’s Illumination: An odd but endearing little game. You’re lost in the blizzard, looking for your precious masks. A lantern spirit would like to help you find them. You solve puzzles. You flirt. You seem to be falling in love. THEN YOU MUST FACE THE BIG MOTHERFUCKING WINTER BOSS BATTLE CHIP THOSE PIXELS OFF OF HER DODGE HER MANY ICE ATTACKS BLAST AWAY WITH YOUR BOMB POWER and wait wtf? I enjoyed this game, and played it through to the end (the ending where a winter boss monster handed me my own ass), but I can’t help but feel that the dev got locked into some genre conventions, and that other choices might have been more appropriate for the story they were telling. Still worth a look, though.

Touhou History Eater: Sloppy Pac Man reskin where in order to turn the tables on the mean girls chasing you through the library as you eat words, you must grab the power-up AND answer a trivia question. How many horns does an Oni have? Erm, fuck off? Is “fuck off” one of the answers? Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s the correct answer.

Youmu is a Zombie!: Lo-fi puzzler that’s a few rounds of refinement shy from being one of the true gems I’ve discovered thus far. Poor Youmu — she’s a zombie! You’re a friendly spirit, and you need to help her get her soul back. It’s over there, in the snot bubble. (She sneezed herself to death, you see.) You can push her soul around, but not much else. You can possess her to move crates and such; that’s good for clearing a path to her soul. Watch out for fairies! They’ll kill you! However, if you can kill THEM, you can animate their corpses, so they’re actually a pretty valuable resource. And watch out for other ghosts! Though they’ll leave you be if you’re already possessing Youmu. Ghosts respect squatters’ rights, bro. The gameplay is a tad clumsy, not all the concepts are described particularly well (I still don’t have an intuitive grasp on how fairies move crates), and the graphics are actually sometimes poor enough to obscure visual information … and yet. This is a cool, clever little game, and I quite like it.

All right, I’m through all the games in the mini-bundle! Wait … the page for the bundle lists games I don’t recognize….

OH GOD DAMMIT. The “All Games” download does not, in fact, include all the games.

Sigh.

Eternal Memory for a Poltergeist: HTML game. Wants your browser window to be a VERY specific size. Scrolling left and right is the heart of the game. Does not appear to actually, you know, work.

Gensokyo Ninja Warrior: Norton does NOT advise running this file; it’s too new, and Norton doesn’t have enough data on it. Sorry, Gensokyo Ninja Warrior, but one of your bundle-mates already inspired my anti-virus software to shit itself in terror. It’s not that I don’t trust you … except that’s precisely what it is.

Mimi-Chan’s Ballistic Adventure!: Angry Birds clone that actually does have some interesting innovations. The cannon shells will follow your mouse after you fire them, and will even slow way the hell down if you hold down the left button — albeit with a big reduction to their stopping power. That adds a worthwhile new twist to the gameplay. But … WTF has Mimi-Chan done to me?! I assume that’s the name of the fairy I’m shooting at (and her clones). Why I gotta blow her up?! Those egg-stealing motherfucking pigs, sure, they deserve my eternal birb-rage. But what have those fairies done to deserve a thorough cannon’ing?

And that’s the end. I think? Yes. Yes, it is.

tl;dr

Unlike the main Justice Bundle, this mini-bundle remains available, at a pay-what-you-want price. There are actually a few games in this pile of weaboo fanstuff that are worth throwing a buck or two at.

The Egg of Basan would be the stand-out (and one of the better games I’ve encountered in this entire playthrough) were it not for its ability to trap you in a cul-de-sac if you dare execute sub-optimal gameplay; even so, it’s still well worth checking out. Flight of the Baby Princess is fucking bonkers, and remarkably satisfying. Nitor Inc Demo+ is also so bizarre and fun I can recommend it as well. Youmu is a Zombie! has a lot to recommend it as well, so much so that I’d gladly buy a more polished version of it a la carte. The Heart’s Illumination is a bit schizophrenic but if you get the bundle, it’s worth a look. Cirno’s BlockBuster and Cirno’s Frog Freeze were both fun little timekillers. And while the Grimoire of Alice is a bit clunky as a game, it has a cool enough idea at its core to be worth investigating.

You probably shouldn’t play Gensokyo Ninja Warrior. You definitely shouldn’t play Mighty no.(9).

Next.

Page 49, Game 19: Dead 4 Dress by Yifat Shaik

“Make your own Zombie for Halloween!”

I’m guessing this is a silly dress-up trifle.

Well timed, Dead 4 Dress. A silly dress-up trifle sounds lovely.