Much like the last Back(log) to the Front, I’m still not really in the mood for games. You want to know just how not into games I am currently? I’m re-watching Dragon Ball GT. That’s right, the BAD Dragon Ball series. I’m even passing out at 9:30pm instead of 11pm every night. Maybe I’m depressed. Maybe I’m just tired. I’m just all out of sorts currently.
So I’ve been trying to not get too deep into any one game. So instead I tried playing smaller bite sized games. Here they are:
A Bird Story
One of the very first games I played this year in my attempt to conquer (part) of my backlog was To The Moon. That was where I realized there were two other games that I don’t remember taking off the way To The Moon did. A Bird Story is the middle game piecing To The Moon and the true sequel Finding Paradise.
Much like To The Moon, it’s very narrative based with even less interaction as a whole. Despite the similarities both in the narrative and how it plays, it’s the method of storytelling that is different. A Bird Story has ZERO dialogue. Everything plays out almost like a silent movie with certain instructions being given using arrows and prompts from the controls. When the game needs to direct you to a certain item, a speech bubble with a picture of what is needed or where you need to go will pop up. I can see many people disliking this approach, but the story still comes across very well.
A Bird Story won’t keep you busy for long. Clocking in at under an hour and a half, it’s a quick experience of emotion. It balances many of those emotions quite well though. The moments of whimsy don’t outweigh the humor and charm and there’s a touch of sadness in there as well. Being able to convey all of these without the use of voice or text, especially in a video game, is an achievement that the team at Freebird Games should be applauded for.
The actual plot is relatively simple and benign. A Bird Story is about a boy who seemingly has no friends. He is unhappy and lonely until he befriends an injured bird. The game is simply their friendship together while coming to terms with inevitable decisions he has to make. It isn’t groundbreaking in any fashion, but it is a sweet story that has me wondering how this feeds into Finding Paradise as the ending teases you for that game.
If you want a game to make you feel something emotionally, A Bird Story will do just that. There isn’t much to it as a whole, but its “show, don’t tell” approach works remarkably well and has me eager to see what the follow-up has in store for the main character.
I saw Refunct recommended by others as a carefree platformer and that’s exactly what this is. It isn’t long running at roughly a half hour, but I enjoyed my time with it nonetheless.
In Refunct, you leap and bound from pillars that rise from the depths once you locate and hit a beam of light projecting from a button. That’s it. No real bells and whistles, just jumping around hitting buttons. None of them are particularly challenging (especially once you realize you can wall jump), but the mood is serene and relaxing making it that much more enjoyable.
There are collectibles to be found as well in the shape of Motherbox looking squares floating on platforms too. Inconsequential as they may be, it does provide another goal in this short game and seem to be where the achievements were stemming from mostly if that matters at all to you.
There really isn’t anything else to really say about Refunct. It’s a very chill game that one could use to break up the monotony of most major video game releases while not overstaying its welcome with the little there is in the game. If that sounds like a game you need in your life now or later, Refunct is a great pallet cleanser.
Another visual novel, though more horror centric than A Bird Story. Also incredibly short but with multiple endings depending on how badly you screw up throughout the story.
The plot itself is something from a cliche’ horror movie. Out on the internet is a site to download a game called “Bad End“. It is a myth among gamers that if you die in the video game, you die in real life. So of course a couple of the characters put this to the test and find out the truth.
The most interesting thing about the game itself is the “Choose Your Own Adventure” approach. The choices themselves don’t give enough details to sway your decision and instead give bland choices to randomly pick for no reason. For example, trying to escape something gives you an option to choose your path. Left, right or straight ahead. No descriptors to give you an idea of what makes these paths different and that is a shame when it’s the best thing in your game.
As I mentioned, there are multiple endings to the game. These usually came with wrong decisions to the choices you make. Thankfully, you are not required to start over and can instead load the game back to your last choice. Even if you make the mistake of starting over or choose to do so willingly, holding the left mouse button causes the text to breeze through quickly.
I wasn’t wowed with the story of Bad End and found it more of a time waster. For the price and length of time, I can’t complain too much. It wouldn’t be my first suggestion to anyone, but if someone wants some quick satisfaction come Halloween, this could satisfy them until they are up for investing into something longer and scarier like the Corpse Party games.
For the next few weeks, I think I’m going to…dive…into Subnautica for the first time. I’ve always been interested and I’m eager to finally give it a shot. I look forward to the horrors of the deep and discovering my own stories after hearing everyone else’s back when it released.