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Thread: Mystery game challenge - backlog reducin' with a twist!

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: the Sheeple Pen

    Mystery game challenge - backlog reducin' with a twist!

    Yes, another backlog reducin' thread, but I'm trying something a bit different here!
    The idea of the mystery game challenge is to pick any game from your collection that you know absolutely nothing about and give it a try. Don't look at any screenshots or try to look up any information about the game beforehand. Just install it and then play it for five minutes, or five hours, or five days (disclaimer: remember to sleep and eat in between!) or for as long as you like - it doesn't matter, as long as you can say that you've given it a fair chance. It's up to you what you want to do with the game afterwards.

    I don't know about you people, but at least I've got loads of games in my library that I really know nothing about. Most of them are from some random bundles, I think, but I can't say for sure where and when I've got some of them. My first two mystery game challenge trialists are GoNNER and Headlander.


    GoNNER
    This seemed so confusing at first, and I still don't really know what I'm supposed to do. I think GoNNER could be described as a roguelike 2D platformer. It reminds me a lot of Downwell actually, this one's just a bit less hectic. Here and there you'll find upgrades and weapons that help you to stay alive and get as far as possible before you die. There are also some glyphs that work as some kind of currency in the game. I had a hard time figuring out what all the different items do. I didn't find the game very fun at first, but once I stopped dying all the time and got a bit further a few times, I noticed that there's some potential fun to be had. I still think that GoNNER is missing some killer game mechanic that makes it stand out, so I doubt that I'll get back to it again. Then again, it's one of those games that you can play when you only have five minutes to spare, so perhaps I'll keep this on my hard drive for a bit longer.




    Headlander
    The little icon on Steam reminded me of The Swapper, and that's not too far off actually! In Headlander you're also sort of a swapper, as you control a floating head that you can attach to different robot bodies in the game world. The floating head is equipped with a rocket engine, and it also comes with a handy vacuum cleaner that you can use to vacuum off someone's head before you land on the body. Land your head... Headlander... Get it? Of course you can shoot someone's head off first too if you prefer violent solutions.

    Headlander is a very weird game all in all. It's all about the puzzles. You have to move your head from one robot body to another because they have different kind of functionalities. Sometimes the only option is to fly around with your head only when you have to fly through a small tunnel for example, but that also makes you very vulnerable. There are also gunfights which should be fun in a game like this, but the controls just don't work for me and I don't find the action bits enjoyable at all. Headlander looks surprisingly good actually and I kinda dig the 70's retro sci-fi style. It's also occasionally funny - not "ha-ha" funny, more like "heh" funny, but still.

    If you ever decide to give Headlander a try, make sure that you get past the tutorial stage. I found it pretty dull at first and it didn't help that the tutorial level was ugly and repetitive too, so I was just about ready to quit. It does get a lot better and more interesting after that, but I'm still not sure if it gets good enough for me to finish it.


  2. #2
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Oooh, good idea for a thread. I'm pretty good at keeping my backlog in check, but even so I have 3-4 games that I know next to nothing about that I could give a whirl for this.

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: the Sheeple Pen
    Go for it henke! I guess you don't have to be so strict with the rules; a mystery game might as well be a game that you don't know much about, or something.

    Anyway, I gotta say that this has been a rather fun experiment so far! There's something exciting about launching a mystery game while you have no idea what to expect. Of course I don't expect to like most of these games, but finding out what they're like can sometimes be more fun than the game itself.


    Treadnauts

    OK, maybe it would be a good idea to find out something about these games before I play them, but where's the fun in that? Turns out that Treadnauts is multiplayer-only. And not only it's multiplayer-only, it's also a multiplayer game that no one plays. I tried joining an online game and waited for more than five minutes for other players to turn up, until I gave up. There's a training mode that I tried quickly, but it's just boring target practice where you try to shoot down all the targets as quickly as possible. You control a tank that can jump and perform somersaults and stick to any surface, and apparently in the proper game you're supposed to shoot other tanks. There's also a local multiplayer mode but I don't know anyone who would play jumpy tanks with me.

    Verdict: This game is dead.


    Aaero

    Aaero is one of those rhythm games and you'll need a dual stick controller to play it. It's an interesting combo of Tempest, good old Skyroads, and um... Beat Saber? You're controlling a spaceship and most of the time you're speeding through a tunnel and trying to follow the ribbon. There's some electronic dance music playing on the background and the ribbon follows the tune; you move your spaceship with the left stick and try to follow the rollercoaster of high notes and low notes, and sometimes the ribbon goes all the way around the tunnel - it's hard to explain but you'll get in the flow when you hear the music. To make things more challenging, you'll have to avoid crashing into some obstacles too, and every now and then you'll be attacked by enemy spaceships and you'll have to use the right stick to shoot them down.

    I'm not a huge EDM fan, so I think that someone who's more into this kind of music will also get more out of Aaero. I only played a few levels (each level has its own music, and I can't believe that they chose the most annoying tune for the very first level!) and found it quite hypnotic at times, but it's also a very fast game where you're gonna need some quick reflexes, so it's not always as relaxing as I'd like it to be.

    Verdict: Not exactly my cup of tea, but I'll try to squeeze out some more fun out of it, so I'll play it again later.

  4. #4
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Wuppo

    What I knew about it going in
    It's some kinda platformer.

    What it actually is
    It's indeed a platformer, with a cartoony style and some surprisingly complex adventure-puzzling and item-usage. The game started with me getting kicked out of a hotel for spilling ice cream all over the place and then I went on a crazy adventure.

    I played the first: 90min

    What I thought of it
    It's very charming. I like it, but probably not enough to keep playing.

    edit: played a bit more. Befriended a primitive tribe-people and then killed their god. Was eventually let back into the hotel but had to clean up the mess I'd made. The story is still only beginning, but I think I've seen enough.
    Last edited by henke; 12th Mar 2019 at 13:54. Reason: played a bit more

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by henke View Post
    That story sounds like someone just emptied a barrel of random words and tried to string them together.

  6. #6
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    RŌA

    What I knew about it going in
    This came bundled with AENTITY so it's probably some artsy bullshit.

    What it actually is
    It's some artsy bullshit.

    I played the first: 4min

    What I thought of it
    Basically AENTITY but rougher and (I think) lighter on content. AENTITY somehow hypnotized me into playing for 50 minutes, but I get the feeling this is just a lesser version of the same thing, so... eh, I'm out.

  7. #7
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    TASTEE: Lethal Tactics

    What I knew about it going in
    Turn based tactics game. Possibly even simultaneous turn based tactics game? Has a terrible title.

    What it actually is
    It is simultaneous! The vague story has you leading a team of criminals on various CRIME MISSIONS. The opening cutscene plays the song "Diamond" by Klint, y'know, from the opening scene in Snatch. Or possibly just a song that's such a close rip-off of that song that it should be getting slammed with copyright claims.

    I played the first: 91min

    What I thought of it
    Very glad to see more games apeing Frozen Synapse's gameplay (it even has the same Simulate-function), but this one is a tad too clunky to feel as good as FS. There's a slight delay to a lot of actions that makes the whole thing feel sluggish. I'm enjoying it tho, think I might play a few more missions and see how it goes.

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Wait, what? Somebody else is doing simul-turns? I'll have to check it out.

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: the Sheeple Pen
    Quote Originally Posted by henke View Post
    It's some artsy bullshit.
    Gratuitous use of umlauts and other diacritical signs (had to look that up in wikipedia) in the title of a game almost always means that the game is some artsy bullshit.

    TASTEE looks interesting, but I haven't played Frozen Synapse either, so I'll have to check that out first. Wuppo looks really odd (but also fun)!

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Landahn
    Quote Originally Posted by Tomi View Post
    Gratuitous use of umlauts and other diacritical signs (had to look that up in wikipedia) in the title of a game almost always means that the game is some artsy bullshit.
    Brütal Legend says hello.

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: the Sheeple Pen
    Yeah, the metal umlaut is an exception, and it was actually Brütal Legend that made me add the word "almost" in my previous post. Speaking of which, I gotta get that game off my backlog some time as well!

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2003
    Location: flapping in the wind
    I thought Wuppo was a lot of fun even though I don't much care for platformers, but it felt more like a sidescrolling adventure game than a platformer as I recall. I gave up on it though because the bosses were frustratingly hard and that wasn't what I was there for. I enjoyed everything else about it though. Might give it another chance some day.

  13. #13
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Landahn
    Quote Originally Posted by Tomi View Post
    metal umlaut
    As a German, the fact that this is a thing still tickles me every time.

  14. #14
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    12 is better than 6

    What I knew about it going in
    Some kinda top-down Hotline Miami-alike.

    What it actually is
    Pretty much that, but with a more complex reloading/aiming/ammo-management system, and a minimalist hand-drawn aesthetic.

    I played the first: 20min

    What I thought of it
    There were a few tense and exciting moments in my short session where I was frantically reloading my revolver as baddies came rushing towards the nearest corner which I really enjoyed. But mostly this is too punishing and hard to be very enjoyable. The storytelling, graphics, and sounddesign also have an un-inviting amateurish vibe to them, which isn't enticing me to keep playing. I do get the feeling this might be fun if you got really into it tho, but I can't be bothered making the time-investment.

  15. #15
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    I ended up sticking with Tastee, played 4 hours of it now, here's a replay of a recent mission:



    edit: another one, because why not.



    I'm kinda a sucker for photo modes and replay viewers no matter what, so even if this one is extremely barebones I enjoy messing around with it.
    Last edited by henke; 16th Mar 2019 at 09:22.

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