When a Uniduck Princess gets a random idea: Dungeons & Dragon BallZ

Hear ye hear ye Princess Pinkie has returned with another Geeky Lifestyle post.

Salutations loyal subjects and sweet island guests.  At night when princess goes to bed it always takes her a long time to sleep!   Thoughts run trough her head like crazy.. maybe she is insane, who knows. It was last night, from when I write this that I was working on a grocery list, while also thinking about Aquaman when suddenly a thought popped in my head! It was briljant and amazing! This is something I would turn into a thing!  That though was D&D … Dungeons and Dragon BallZ. A potential new Tabletop ruleset/world I would create Juuuust for fun. I thought I’d share that idea with you.

The Setting

Let’s start to begin my world, first of all it is NOT actually the world of Dragon Ball. It’s a fantasy variant of that world. Instead of being set all across worlds it’s a singular world with all the Dragon Ball races living in this world in “relative” peace.   There will be characters from the actual Dragon Ball world and some species will be renamed to avoid some confusion. Saiyans and Namekians for example will be renamed because Namekians are named after their planet and the terms Saiyan came from the off world as well.  However all quirks will be shared with the Dragon Ball Mythos… just in a “what if  Dragon Ball was high fantasy setting” Along with a tabletop ruleset and system. 

The goal of any given game of Dungeons & Dragon Ball’s is to hunt down the seven mystic orbs. Whatever the story is the DM chooses the story “HAS” to involve the quest for the seven balls of legend. Story suggestions that are given would be “to revive a hero of old, who knows the secret to defeat the final evil”  or to prevent a disaster like “the moon crashing into the planet” or to take away the “immortality” from a tyrant who has used the power of the Dragon Balls in the past. There would be a few modules for starting adventures, to help the rookie DM on their way. 

One of Dragon Ball’s  greatest assets is the simplicity of it’s world building, which allows a DM to basically build there own world to make every game different.  There is stuff like “Canyon”  or “The Ice continent”  Yet there is also “less” of a climate, you can move from Icy villages to tropical archipelago’s. So for world building I imagine something like a Catan tile system. You design your own layout using water tiles and land tiles of various elements  and each tile shows if it has a town, a hideout or  objects of interest.  Each tile is numbered  and in a manual the beginning dm can find some example layouts for that tile.  This can greatly help travel sections and encounters. Flight powers will be limited during a game of course and you will face some classic D&D encounters such as crypts or packs of ferocious beasts while out exploring.  However instead of  wolves and bears you encounter creatures  like dinosaurs. 

Races will replace the classic D&D races. Humans would of course stay humans but elves would be replaced by namekians, or slug-folk as they are called in this world. The Saiyan’s replace the Orc race as many of their quirks are quite similar. They will be called Ape-Folk   Maijin will replace the dwarves.  While seemingly not all that similar, their hedonist lifestyle and slightly oafish ways make for a good counterpart.  Just rather than ale they like candies and pudding. Majijn could keep their name or be called Magi-folk by common and less educated people, who only know of the common language. The demon race would replace tieflings. Tieflings have demon blood, many dragon ball demons have blue skin, like one of the more common tiefling colours. They are fairly similar. To keep naming conventions intact these people are often referred to as Demon-Folk as it will allow a DM to  create more “full blood” demons as well (think entinities like Janemba for example).  The Frieza race, would be called “Cold-Folk” and devoid of any empathic abilities the best comparison to use for these would be the undead.  Undead is not really a state to use in Dragon Ball due how after life would work. There are plenty of other races that could be replaced but the final one I shall reveal to you for now is that the Goblins would be replaced by Saibaman.. or Pod People.

The Classes

Yet how do we use all these folks and would it all be about punching?!  No!  While transformations will be a thing that play a role.. people can be more or less all the  classic D&D archetypes… with a twist.  Dungeons and Dragon Balls would force you to cross class at least a bit.  Each person has to chose a physical class AND a magic class.  To mimic Dragon Ball’s  style of fighting the best.  Each races comes with it’s own perks.. but what is more special each race is limited in what classes they can pick, this is to prevent people form only ever playing humans. Each race has three classes at their disposal within the real of magic and three more within the realm of physical.

For an example a Saiyan could be

Physical Class:

Magical Class:
-Blood Hunter

While humans could be

Physical Class:

Magical Class:

Depending on what class you combine it with you get access to new abilities. For example a Saiyan/Ape Folk  who builds as a Fighter Wizard, will act a lot like Trunks swinging a weapon while having some back up of blasts. Or the other way around, you can specialise in either magic or physical. (While leveling you can level up your specialty compared to your minor class with a 2 to 1 ration). Basically giving each race 18 playstyles/build types. 

A Druid Saiyan for example relies more on using their great ape form and can use techniques like the spirit bomb while a Wizard Monk focuses more on punching and deflecting.. while learning magical techniques such as the Kamehameha.The Blood hunter uses Ki/Magic to imbue their main weapon with magical properties and gets some neat tracking skills.

Humans can mimic the Saiyan’s most common build, the monk/wizard however they also often rely more on sneaky techniques and their agility and finesse. Thus they often are Rogues or rangers. The latter does not need to use sniping techniques but they can.  Humans often have animal companions as they are much more social than Saiyans and unlike Saiyans they often rely on the strength of others to fight with them.  Summoners have an archetype called Synthesis summoner, which basically allows them to fuse with what they summon, which is perfect for Tien’s extra arm technique but you can also think of a Rogue Summoner Yamcha, who is a bandit that can also summon a Ki based Wolf companion.  The possibilities are there to create some very interesting characters here.

The Ruleset

Normal D&D rules are quite complex with stats giving you bonuses to count many feats and other things. Dungeons and Dragon Balls will be a bit simpler. While there will be stats basically everyone starts at 0.  Every player gets 2 specialty points and humans get an extra one. These people can put on their stats which will most likely be something like. Melee, Ranged, Ki/Magic, Charisma,  Intelligence,  Mobility, Mental and Awareness or something.  Players also take a negative point in one department to gain another  specialty in another. 

The D20 dice will be replaced by 7 d6 and the goal is simple. You need to combine two dice to get the number 7. Per time you succeed you get one succes. (Easy tasks require only 1, medium tasks require 2 and hard tasks require 3 pairs). Say you are making a Melee check and roll 6, 6 , 6, ,5 , 4, 4, 1  You can naturally make one pair.  Yet depending on your speciality points you might get to reroll a dice.  Say your Melee is +1  you can reroll one dice of choice in the hope of getting a pair.  In this example you would reroll one of your sixes  or the double four because you can  turn it into a success by rolling either a 1, 2 or 3. Or you reroll that extra six so you can roll the same. However if you have a negative point in this stat the DM can let you reroll a dice, forcing you to reroll your 1 hoping it will turn into either a 6 5 or 4.  If you get 3 pairs in a single get a critical success and if you get 0 pairs in a single throw you get a critical fail.

In this ruleset the DM hardly ever rolls his dice. He decides beforehand if an enemy is either hard, normal or easy to hit. Damage will be a set number but is based on a number of factors that differ per attack.  Attacks like the player can be leveled up  and their level multiplies the damage.  This means you can go through the campaign leveling a single technique as your signature technique ..but if you are out uses you suddenly do no damage, or you choose a few techniques to give you a wider range of possibilities. Regular kicks and punches and weapon attacks  level up with the character level. 

As I said transformations would play a role in the game as well.  Each race .. and I mean every single one .. has transformation states.  Each working a slight bit different than the other.  Ape-Men might get a big damage boost, while Cold People will cause necrotic damage and negate damage reduction (necrotic damage will instantly kill you if a player hits 0 hp by it opposed to having a chance to be healed)  Humans transformed are allowed to reroll their entire dice pool once or  stuff like that.  However in a transformed state all spell uses consume double energy. At the beginning of each game all players will be given a destiny to fulfill.. a cryptic description of lines and if the story checks one of them off the player unlocks their transformation.. or the stage beyond. It will help the DM create stories for every character and make sure everyone has a spotlight in the campaign.

Dragon Ball Fantasy

It would be fun to build the world itself, as there is little to no technology there would not be a dragon radar nor a power scouter. Players would have to find tutors to teach them how to sense energies,  and discover rumors about the Dragon Ball’s locations. Each race in Dragon Ball would come with a number of roleplaying challenges as well.  The Cold-Race not having the ability to feel empathy for example could  make for some very interesting roleplay scenarios. Saiyans’ short temper would make them tricky to use and they transform during a full moon, losing control unless they are druids giving an interesting challenge with travel.  Though they can just prevent looking at the moon, it would allow for a whole lot of fun roleplay wise.

In the ruleset as well as abilities there would be a lot of focus on reducing your own difficulty or for the DM to give you negative dice. For example if you get attacked and the DM specifies targeting your arm you might lose a specialty in strength/melee while getting a death beam through the lung will hinder you from being mobile. In medieval times a broken arm is also not easily healed  so these negative dice can stack up later in dungeons.   There will be healing items like Senzu that heal you but how many penalties do you take before healing them all away?  You can not use them too early nor too late as damage output is relatively high and a character is fairly fragile.  A character needs to be finished off  which requires  a character to have the cruelty ability..or for the knocked out character being the only viable attack target in an area.  Yet overall there is a feeling of stamina… to this world.   Your attacks can run out, you can only take so many hits. Cloth will rip, armor will break.  

To mimic the style of Dragon Ball, armor and armored cloth is perishable. They have temporary hit points and  players can tap into them as a health reserve they can choose to  throw on their clothing.. but once gone the armor is destroyed. This makes resources more valuable.. players have to think .. I am in the wild.. I better take damage to myself rather than my armor because I might find healing items but there will not be armor around. In town armor and clothes will be cheaper than herbs and potions and the likes.  Slug-folks would often be healers but be a bit xenophobes, so while you’d find a namekian in big towns to help the people there, small towns often miss a healer like that. Maijin’s can heal as well but they would charge a larger amount due to their candy addictions. So the world would be quite interesting to flesh out. Demons would make for the best bard, their get a bonus in charisma and often take the more raunchy jobs like working with a brother.. or owning one. Saibamen are mischievous running around loving to blow stuff up.. fairly regularly blowing themselves up as well.

All in all I think it could be a fantastic setting for a D&D style adventure and I might flesh this whole roleplay set out a bit more!  What anime  would you love to see work as a tabletop setting?  Would you play a Dragon Ball tabletop adventure?  What race would you be ? Let me know in the comments! And after some Dragon Ball Zzzzz’s I will be back to answer as well!  Because remember, Friendship is Magic but dreams are even more wonderful. Oyasumi!

Pink Princess Uniduck Tagging the Rainbow! Tagging Stories With Colour Challenge!

Hear ye hear ye! Princess Pinkie has returned with a new Geeky Lifestyle and Blog-tag post

Greetings my loyal subjects and guests, Meg from A Geeky Gal tagged me for the Tagging Stories with Colour Challenge.  Be sure to check her blog out if you haven’t already! She is amazing!  Truly an inspiration to the blogging and vlogging community!   Her let’s plays on YouTube are very entertaining, she has cute doggo’s AND she can decorate her house very well! By the rules of this  tag I have to fear her superiority.. so I HAVE to make this post worst then hers…luckily I think I can do that. I think I was also tagged by Anime Rants for this a long time ago..or someone else tagged me , but back then I was going trough major burnout and writers anxiety… so whomever tagged me in this before! I am very grateful and let me know it was you so I can pay you some tribute as well!

The Rules

  1. Share your favorite stories—movies/books/anime/manga/drama/songs/games—by classifying them on these seven colors’ traits (listed below).
  2. Send this challenge invitation to at least one of your friends. Let them fear your superiority, as you—decide their fate.
  3. Link back to the original post here! And, enjoy!
  • red: passionate, exciting, invigorating
  • blue: peaceful, calming
  • pink: romantic, caring
  • orange: warm, motivating
  • black: mysterious, thrilling
  • green: fresh, unexpected
  • white: random

The Colours

Since I do movies, games, anime and stories on my blog I will feature them all in here. Pokémon is an odd one to place as it isn’t really known for it’s storytelling. I would place Pokémon Snap under blue, but it really doesn’t have a story and I haven’t progressed enough in New Pokémon Snap to tell you much about that story. Shadows of Almia is a funny and light story which I could place under white… but I talked about that in my previous post. So let’s focus on more story driven stuff for this one and I might do this one especially for Pokémon if I ever get tagged in it again.

Red is for Mirai Nikki

Passion at least in the lustful sense is an emotion I am severely lacking! I am passionate about things… but I don’t think we are talking about that kind of passion. So today I am talking about Future Diary.  I think the series is exciting as well but the story from Yuno’s perspective is one of passion. It’s not a romantic series by any means but the lenghts Yuno goes trough for her Yuki is certainly some kind of passion! Sakura Trick is another very passionate anime.. but a bit too slurpy for me.  Since I do not really relate passion to the physical , the actions of Yuno to me embody trough passion.. overly much so but passion non the less. She is willing to bend reality itself for her to be with the man *cough*  she is passionate about.  There isn’t even that much  connection throughout their entire time together.. but sometimes the heart just wants what it wants and that to me is why this story is definitely red.. the blood helps a lot as well, and made me fantasise about a yandere girlfriend! 

Blue is for Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley Secrets You May Not Have Found Yet - Page 5

So I know that Stardew Valley might not really be relaxing for it’s story! Yet sometimes.. the true story is the one we create ourselves.  So while I could say that the story about Stardew Valley is the story about a kid, inheriting their grandpa’s farm and they have three years to save  some pear like alien creatures called the Jumino’s in order to prevent your grandfather’s spirit being eternally everlasting disappointed in you, that is not the true blue story of the game. The true story is about you…or your proxy moving to a rural place.. building a farm back up, and finding your happiness in this new little lifestyle. Stardew Valley is that game I can play when I am super sick and lack the strength to do anything else. Stardew Valley is me living a life without worries, a blissful state of being. Me romancing Abby, who apprantely is very stinky… or Lea , the artist who punches her old love in the face because she likes me better. It’s about me helping my neighbour make some jam by giving him 3 apples I kept in a crate for 4 years.  Stardew Valley lets you be who you want to be.. if you don’t want to be a farmer you could be a dapper adventurer…if you don’t like working the land you could just have some cows… or become a full time fisherman!  It’s about something we have lost.. a bit of simplicity and it will always calm me down.

Pink is for Bloom into You

Floral Symbolism in Bloom Into You

The biggest problem with romance is .. it is over romanticized.. which is weird.. and sounds close to me saying that pink is too pink… But it is true.. the idea most of us have about romance is way to fairytale esque it’s. Love is great.. but it is not the beginning or the end of anything. One anime which got that wonderfully well was the anime Bloom into You.  A girl discovers she isn’t romantically attracted to anyone and feels alien. When she discovers a girl who is like her, that girl falls head over heels in love with her and lusts for her. While our protagonist doesn’t really mind most times and does appreciate this person… she can not feel that amazing feeling we all describe as love… yet trough the little things we do see her care for this other person, we see her struggle with expectations versus reality but trough it all there is this connection that shines through.. and I do think that is true romance and love.

It isn’t about candle light dinners, it isn’t about roses between your teeth. True romance is knowing things aren’t perfect.. but knowing that this other person makes it good enough!  To be it is a perfect pink as well.. it’s not the red of passion..but the cooled down version! Also this series has my main anime waifu… so how could I not mention it.

Orange is for School of Rock

School Of Rock! - School of Rock fondo de pantalla (25392514) - fanpop

I love Jack Black, not in the Pink or the Red form .. but in the Orange form!  He is extremely typecast, and he basically just plays himself. When School of Rock first came out I thought , this is going to be a super generic movie. In many ways it is.. but is something warms my heart and motivates me. It is movies like this… This one in particular. It’s about finding skills outside what is conventionally acceptable, it is about having fun in what you do and it is about being you even if it’s a bit odd.  Too me , being kicked out of his own band for being to much him  didn’t just provide Jack a lesson to learn.. it also  showed it was a place where he was not appreciated. While by the end he did  leave the spotlight to his kids rather than himself.. it doesn’t matter anymore because they already appreciate him as their teacher. That to me is what is motivating.. sometimes we are forced to move down a different life path, but that doesn’t destroy everything! Sometimes changing lanes allows us to find what we are looking for in unexpected places. That sounds like an orange story to me!

Black is for Layers of Fear

Layers of Fear Is A Splendid Haunted House Devoid Of Chills | Time

Horror lends itself perfectly for mystery and thrills, and many games lends themselves perfectly for exploring this. The Silent Hill series has some very good examples like with Silent Hill 2.  Yet there is a strength in experiencing this all in first person! I love these types of horror , where you solve a mystery through your own eyes. Few horror games impressed me as much as Layers of Fear,a very artsy game in more than one way, where the house you traverse is constantly shifting , you do not trust your own senses, did you really misremember or are the game playing tricks with you. Building up this sense of dementia to a grande conclusion that is great yet very subtly told through hints you find yourself. If you do not figure out enough, the mystery will consume you. While the story itself isn’t all that earth-shattering sometimes a story doesn’t have to be. Sometimes what matters is HOW you tell a story and it can completely shift how we experience it.. and because of how we experience it in this game I opted to make it my choice for Black.

Green is for Kyousougiga

Kyousougiga–Anime Early Impressions – FunBlog

In essence Kyousougiga is a story about family!  A very strange family! It is a story about how everyone is so different from each other that they often drift apart. It’s also about classic buddhist mythology and Alice in Wonderland blended all together in a very strange mix. There series has some action elements but also some weird slice  of life’ish mentality. It’s also an Isekai with buddhist mechas and two episodes that are kind of a travelling show with real  people, voice actors showing you all locations they used in order for the mythos to make sense or be appreciated more.  So it’s super strange and silly while deep and philosophical at the same time. There is very little rhyme or reason to the plot and there is no 3 act structure here. Not even the Kabuki 7 style structure. This tells a tale whose episode 0 begins at episode 4 then moves chroniclogically back up, makes some twists and it ends with a girl falling trough all sorts of worlds while her mother kisses her kinda in a way a mother should not kiss her daughter. Well it doesn’t end there stuff happens in between..but in the end all that matters is that family finds it way back together again.. and this was a very interesting way of telling us this.

White is for Curse of Strahd/Ravenloft.

Mists of Ravenloft | Curse of Strahd Campaign | Obsidian Portal

I am not a big book reader anymore, I want a broader experience and though I love making things up and imagining a fantasy world before my very own eyes, books don’t always do it anymore for me.. but there is a kind-of-book-like medium , that I reallly like. That is D&D , both homebrew as well as modules.  One of the most iconic D&D stories is. Curse of Strahd.  Otherwise known by the name of Ravenloft. It is this D&D module that actually serves as the inspiration for the Castlevania video game series.  I had the pleasure of playing trough it once, and the characters that are there, the side stories and the twists and turns truely were amazing.  In Ravenloft , a group of Roma, known ast the Vistani task you with defeating an evil in the great country of Barovia.. a nation you find yourself trapped in with endless mist. By finding relics and traversing the region you discover the secrets behind Strahd and his castle and of one of the coolest vampire campagins ever! I love vampire stories and because of the D&D format the story is yours to give shape.. like a blank sheet of paper.. Which is white! 

The Tags

And that my loyal subjects are the colours of the rainbow!   Now I have to tag a minimum of one person, but do a few! 

Iniksbane is the first person I will tag. His website has featured me a great many times! I used to do this with my sunday posts  but do summaries anymore..because I heard people might not be wished to be associated with bloggers at times. Though  in honesty chronic migraines and large energy dips made it tricky for me to constantly browse the blogosphere anyway. I read a lot, but I might hurt people by thinking someone’s post is better than another. What I am saying is.. I really respect what he does, and even though I can’t do it myself anymore I want to show I respect him as a writer and think he can turn this tag into a clever story! So even if I can’t repay his kindness directly, maybe this will help.

SushiRainbow is a website that deserves more love! It has a lot of very personal style updates and that is actually my favourite style! I don’t interact with Sushi enough because when I read their posts it’s always on mobile and WordPress won’t let me interact on there properly! Same goes for a few other people, the ones that are part of my morning routine. I guess I gotten my life long dream, Sushi for breakfast.. anyway with Rainbow in the name, how could I not tag them.

SpaceWhales is a blog WordPress won’t let me follow without e-mail subscribing. I thought I subscribed but you know how techy stuff works! I haven’t seen much blog tags from them before, so I wonder if they take them on but I would like to give it a try!

Winst0lf is an amazing blogger that loves video game stories and I think he can turn this tag into something neat that is a bit less on the anime side of things! He deserves it and he comes over to shuffleboard on Paradise very regularly…the only problem is he always brings along Barry Manilow! So maybe by giving him this tag we can talk less about Copa Cabanna and more about his answers!

Naja is someone who I just know will nail the pink and the red colour… but are there Otome games that follow the other colours! I am curious! Of course she could go with a different route and answer those questions with anime or other stories…but then I will forever be left to wonder if there are those who meet the colour requirements.. so I challenge her to a special version of this tag with otome games only! Of course is free to ignore the challenge, but it would be a fun way to see the tag be used.

Olive Unicorn shall be my final tag! She is a make-up blogger that is pretty geeky herself! So I would really love to see her take on this. Maybe it will help a few new people connect more and we can expand our community a bit beyond just staying in our niche! Olive often has fairly similar tastes , except she looks quite a bit better in bright make up! Yet I would love to see more of the person behind the make up! What stories touch her! That would be a neat thing to behold.


Tag done! Princess fatigued! Time for you guys to make yourself heard about my picks in the comments! What is your favourite colour, would you like to see a pokémon edition of this tag? I’d love to talk to you about these because remember! Friendship is Magic! But dreams are even more wonderful! Oyasumi!  *Quack*

Yay! I am a Pokémon Princess: Pokémon Royal

Hear Ye Hear Ye, Princess Pinkie is here with a new Pokémon Post

My loyal guests and subjects, it is with the utmost delight that I am here to tell you about a Pokémon Fan Game that has eluded me for a while! I did not know of it’s existence until some sentai looking guy on YouTube told me this was among the best Pokémon fan games out there… he was not wrong!  Today I shall share my experience of the Pokémon Royal version with you!

Princess Pinkie in the Aristo Region

When I write this , I have only recently taken up the mantle of princess of Paradise Island , so I googled games in which you can be a princess. Not a lot came up, except for this super difficult Steam game with lots of stats and menus. I got bored and went looking for new Pokémon games to play!  Trough a YouTube Video I heard about Pokémon Royal! A game in which you play a princess.. or prince. As the youngest child of King Arthur and Queen Guinivere you are to embark on your very first pokémon journey… however this time.. if you win you do not just become the champion.. you the future king or queen! However for some strange reason, while you travel across the lands searching far and wide, something strange is happening, alternative forms of Pokémon show up.. not regional forms..but Pokémon from different times. It all seems to connect to a mysterious organisation named Team Knight! 

The Aristo Region features a classical Pokémon adventure, where you have to earn 8 gym badges, fight an evil team, can capture some legendaries here or there, and can capture pokémon from all 8 generations, as well as some counterparts for them of forgotten times. What’s more is the game isn’t as insanely hard as Pokémon Reborn, Insurgence or the likes, but instead ditches the “useless” stuff like worthless moves or “dead” abilities. It results in a fast paced Pokémon game that teaches you how to play at a semi-competitive level and think like a real trainer. The second gym already gives you Scald as a TM  which  is one of the best water type moves in the game and it really teaches you to keep a healthy balance between physical and special attackers, without feeling overly difficult.. it offers you plenty of variety but also shows you how a pokémon is properly kitted out.

The journey you take feels very much like Sword and Shield.. but from beginning to end basically let’s your monsters level from level 5 to right up to around 100 for the post game. When you get there though you are already around level 90.  The game throws you an exp share right away that works like the one in Pokémon Sword and Shield .. thus you can very easily get the team you want trough fairly minimum grinding Though keeping the challenge level of the orginal games with just a bit more oomph. The game features an original story that only uses Arthurian legend for namesake. Yes you will encounter Merlin, Morganna , Percival , Gallahad and Lancelot, but there is no magical sword there is no relation to the mythos .. it really is it’s own tale, that feels very Pokémon, not overly dark.. it completely feels like a legit pokémon game!  Which is nice for a change!  Fan games are either a lot darker or a lot sillier but this one gets the balance right.  Plus it does make me feel like a princess.

Pretty Princess, Silly Subjects

The game has been made by a fairly large group of people under the group of Norfolk Gaming.  They manage to create one of the best Pokémon regions I had the joy of playing trough. You bounce all across the map, unlock items to replace HM’s that willl grand you access to some part of the world but that path isn’t always in front of you. It really has puzzle elements and travel elements that remind me of Johto  and Hoenn and I mean that in the best way possible. We aren’t just walking circles, we trigger events that allow us to traverse a dynamic map! The battles are great , with trainers being much less bound to typings , unless it makes no sense otherwise (Swimmers due stick to water pokémon). The world feels alive, even bug catchers know to carry a pokémon that covers their weakness or so. 

As a result the game forces you to keep switching around in battles, healing items are a lot more sparce at least early in the game and revives aren’t available until after the fourth gym, which already is around the late level 30’s or early 40’s. This means the challenge isn’t so much in incredibly hard battles that constantly forces you to carry teams that are super effective against a specific type of trainer or gym leader, but rather invites you to build ONE team that covers everything and has some synergy amongst each other.. this is how I think Pokémon should be. I don’t enjoy those Kaizo roms. This makes you think.. yet still allows you to have fun and choose your own team…as long as it is at least semi functional. There aren’t much non functional Pokémon available anyway. No one would use shuckle for a game playthrough so why put it in the game… that’s this games motto and it makes  things great. The Temporal Pokémon, the special variants have super fun mechanics and puzzles are never a hassle so when it comes to your journey it’s such a delight.

For all the gameplay talent these developers had in their stable, they sincerely lacked pixel artists, their custom sprite work is  not good. When you see King Arthur for the first time you think… Oh boy.. this is gonna be a rough one… but no the game is great.. just the sprite work….and the name creativity I guess.   The third gym leader is a pirate, which for example uses Drake’s sprite.. but with a pirate head added to it.. but it doesn’t bland because colours aren’t adjusted. It just shows the creators aren’t sprite artists at all and at times it can really show compared to how polished the game is otherwise.  Most Temporal Pokémon are just recolours and they don’t always work.. with some great exceptions like my Hakomo’o!  Pink armored dragon yay!  But yes.. sprites can look a bit wonky and on area’s with special tiles the game can drop frames quite a bit. Which will be a constant reminder that this is a fan game, which is not a bad thing.. but some of these sprites would litterally take a minute or two to fix.. like Pirate Drake, or even King Arthur, he looks nothing like his back sprite or overworld variant.

Fit for a Queen

Like the models, the writing can be a bit hokey at times as well, plot twists are REALLY obvious and names of things are a bit to on the nose, no Morgana is not the leader of the evil team .. it’s still just names but seemingly innocent lines characters spout clearly show a hidden intention that is not revealed until much later.  There is a time travel element to this story that really reminded me of a movie about a time travelling prince, in fact the plot of this game is eerily similar to that movie.. but pokémonified.  It is not bad by any means but it is very by the numbers. It makes sense as a plot..but maybe it makes too much sense?! Every character has a counterpart it seems in the regular Pokémon world with your dad being a bit like the way Oak was originally intended and your brother being a Gary, even though his sprite is Hau… given how his mother and father look.. Hau did that happen *badum tsss quack*  While I point it out as a negative, this is really in line with how normal pokémon stories unfold though… and besides the lack of creativity here and there.. I really have no gripes with this game.

So much suddenly makes sense in this game, people actively mention that they would not like strangers in their house, but they welcome the Princess.. who may very well be their new queen, people are very friendly and helpful to you in this world as you are a somebody in this world.  So it’s not just.. “hey look a random 10 year old.. let’s give him a bike” .. no it’s OMA (Oh my Arceus)  the princess just walked into my bike store.. here have one of my bikes!  The whole Pokémon League and elite four thing is also much more a test to see if the Royal family is ready to defend the region! An elite four makes a lot more sense in a scenario like that.. as it is the gateway to a final tournament. People acknowledge that some parts of the world are more dangerous and have more dangerous pokémon so these areas are shielded from people who do not have enough badges, rather than them being locked because there is a sleeping pokemon in the way.

Areas and routes have much more a type bias with route 1 having bug and normal types, while route 2 may have some water pokémon and maybe some flying types.. The game starts you out with picking from a Dark, Fighting, Psychic core, with Zorua , Riolu and Espurr rather than the standard Grass Water Fire Core, which allows the routes to be more dynamic. Rather than hunting for random Pokémon you can hunt route 3 for a grass addition to your team, route 12 for a good ground type etc. This means you can build your party much , much more intentional with less clutter Pokémon. The Temporal Pokémon can diverge from these  biases though as do other event pokémon, which usually are good against upcoming gym leaders which makes exploring often worth your while as well, while the more generic pokémon you encounter often struggle against the gym leader.  For example when you cross the haunted forest, you’ll face the dark type gym leader next, when you travel through a rock Pokémon filled cave, you’ll fight the ground leader next.  However in case of the latter, you can find some event based water type pokémon by going off the beaten path!  I love this format! 

At the end of each track to a new town you encounter a repeatable trainer that can be challenged over and over again… so say you are stuck on the dark type leader you can go back to the route where you can find a lot of bugs or fighting pokémon, add it to your party then head back to the trainer right before the gym and repeat to make use of your exp share and level up your counter against said leader. Grinding can be knocked out within an hour that way meaning that even if you swap out your party a lot, you won’t end up putting THAT much time into grinding.. the game features a nifty speed up button that makes most grinding a matter of .. 30 minutes (provided you grind with at least some semblance of a plan).  I managed to beat the game in 5 evenings of playing with  the final stretch being a nice weekend day with a game I loved. This game has so many great ideas that it is worth picking up, and even if it doesn’t always stick to the landing of things it tries to achieve.. this game is a really great fit for any pokémon gamer who just wants another pokémon game! It might not be a Royal Flush.. but it is certainly a full house Queens over Kings!

Steampunk D&D The Videogame? Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura

Rusted Geared Greetings my lovely island guests! Some of you might now I am very into D&D  and often reference it! It is my favourite game to play by far as I do have enough imagination to imagine the worlds we visit and see them unfold in better graphics than any engine based game could! I petted a dragon, I yeeted a huge cyberpunk golem into a black hole and I can distinctly visualise those worlds. Today I review the game that brought me closest to this experience I have been with a video game. That game is Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura!

It’s a D&D  Game

Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura is a game by Troika Games, you might have heard of them from their game Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines. One of my favourite RPG’s and BY FAR ..FAR …FAAAAR my favourite vampire game! I still simp for Jeanette!  I think that is how I used that word right?!  Troika games is pretty well known for deeply complex games built on actual roleplay games mechanics. If Arcanum is an actual roleplaying system I do not know. Yet this game feels the most open world (ish)   D&D like that I have ever played.  Mimicking the playstyle of a Pen and Paper RPG the most of everything. This starts when you  realise that the manual for this game is completely available online from the start up.  There is no tutorial, no hints on how to build your character, limitless possibilities with minimal and vague descriptions.  Descriptions like “Int” You can raise this stat to raise Intelligence, Some crafts scale from this stat and some magic.  Luckily there is the manual…which uses pretty pictures.. a very tiny font.. and has 185 pages.  And that is a single language! (European Manuals often were multi-lingual hence the clarification to  those who might not have grown up with that). I was arrogant enough that I believed I could do this without the Manual so I made Elle.. my OC in my Isekai series and other media as well.

In D&D classes there exists this game, much like Vampire the Masquerade and Aberrant as roleplaying systems offer you the ability to do anything.  Which is amazing! Yet somewhat overwhelming. Choosing between genders races and Portraits gives you about 50 ish choices of what character you want to play as.. of which about 5 have different stats. Based on your race. Then you pick from well over 30 backgrounds that all hugely affect the game. I made Elle an Half-Elf with the background Nitzsche’s  Poster Child. Which doubles her critical fail chances but gives her a permanent 10% experience boost! I wanted to give her ice magic.. but that was lacking so instead she got the first offensive spell I could find.. Harm.  In regular D&D once you have selected your character and race you distribute your skill points and choose from between 6 stats to level up. The rest is altered by those base stats.. and your class which levels up.. semi separately from the character. In this game however there are no classes! Everything! … EVERYTHING! Is leveled by the same points. So upon start and level up..instead of choosing out of 6 stats..you get to choose out a few more!  You can choose out of 50 things to put your points in.

It did not take me long to realise I had not built Elle properly to survive at the start, I kept dying before even exiting the starter area and because I am reviewing here I played the game on easy! Still I kept getting washed as Elle kept falling over! While very much in her character I wondered what was causing it. Was it the Nitzsche thing? No! It was the fact that if you are out of Mana you fall to the floor! As Elle had no Melee investments she could not put up reliable DPS without crashing. Or so I though!  Because experience is not based on how much you kill in this game! Experience is based on how much you hit! How many actions you take and all that stuff. I of course still could not hit enough to get away with so much little “mana” which is called fatigue in this game so I had to redo it. So Elle’s much more competent Twin Emma was born. She was Elle’s counterpart.. instead of clumsy and socially awkward she was physically apt with a hint of magic and she had an extreme personality which makes people react to her very hostile or very friendly!  I trained her to be skilled with a sword and gave her some magic for a ranged option. As she would grow during our adventure she would develop in a semi rogue, with trickster spells.  A bit of a chaotic neutral type player tethering more to the evil side.  For those who ask.. yes this game also features alignments.

It’s a D&D Video Game

Emma discovers a lot of things while playing.  I was walking to towns but apparently you need to quick travel, or you will travel for hours through empty lands. During travel however you can not rest easy as encounters may pop up! This can be disastrous or a fun challenge depending on what  your level is, what your settings are and what kind of gear you are rocking.  The game features the ability to play it real time, in which case it plays very similar to Diablo..but shittier.  Or you can play it fully turn based in which it kind of plays like Divinity Original Sin 2….but shittier.  More on those negatives later! I play the game in Turn based so it felt more like a tabletop and that was the less shitty of the three options but again you will have to check the next section for that. First let’s tell you about the size of the game! Which is sizable… even with many mock locations you can still explore the map with fast travel to discover points of interests. For example, I encountered many mysterious shrines I had come to investigate!   Then there are a few important towns connected by railway stations and tech, but also travable in the classic way.

This is what makes this game so interesting. The setting is quite unique, and when I say that I mean it is quite Identical to Fable 3.  The Industrial Age in a fantasy setting. However this game leans WAY  heavier into it and besides a good and evil alignment your character can either perform well in Steamworks OR Magick Obscura… You choose a side if it were. Though nothing works as well as just hitting things hard with a big metal object which for me .. kind of was a fun change of pace. Don’t get me wrong.. Sword is not the only playstyle.. but it is by far the easiest and it still isn’t easy. Let’s say Sword is Normal Level difficulty.. maybe even Intermediate. Magic is Hard and if you go Tech..well that is by far the hardest to a point that for me personally it is unplayable. It is doable but there is a lot of searching for parts, tinkering , leveling crafting levels to keep things up, leveling traps to use traps, leveling the stat to use it and of course raising your defence so you live long enough. It by far is the biggest package of skills you need to manage, but I am sure that will be someone’s dream playstyle.. save it for a second run though.

A second run is quite playable and manageable because there is lots to see and lot of choices to make! So high points in replayability. In this story you play the only survivor of the Zephyr a blimp that got taken down by Ogre Aviators.. who did not know how to fly a plane so they just tried stuff and took themselves down  by  flying into the blimp and just exploding against it.. it worked though and only a tiny halfling or gnomish man survived long enough to hand you a ring with some intials on it as your only clue! This person is important to the faith of the world the gnome says. Then a priest shows up and tells you , you are an incarnation of a god.. but since he is just a rookie priest he doesn’t know anything more than the legend. He teams up with you and so an epic journey filled with lots of shady figures and people out for that ring and/or your life begins.  While I haven’t been able to complete the game yet, I made a large enough dent in the story that I have a fairly good impression of the world building and it is quite amazing.  There are very many ways to move through the story.. so I won’t tell you mine as it might ruin the fun.. because this is not a game you’ll want to play for the gameplay.

It’s a Video Game

The game is a harsh one, there is no backing out of conversations, there is no regret , there is no autosave!  If you make a choice it is locked in unless you remember to save before it.  You don’t always know when these moments come up so save plenty!  For example, fairly early in the game, my character sides with a thief and I destroyed supplies for another … which gave me access to thieves guild.. but the town disliked me!  I never got very good sale prices after.. luckily I helped them stop a bank robbery earlier so I was in a more or less neutral position. I befriended a big Ogre that helped me a lot in combat..however I got sent back almost an hour of dungeon crawling when he reached 0 hp.  As far as I am aware.. if a character reaches 0 hp it’s dead forever.  So I learned to save plenty. I sided with a group of necromancers  , I figured since my character used necromancy herself she would not be against it. This does have an effect on other events later on. That kind of world building is pretty standard.. but it is implemented very well here.. but where this game really shines is the side quest.

In the first large city you encounter I got a quest to track down a painting that was stolen.. it plays out a bit like a detective story of sorts, it looks like the husband may be involved but he is hard to find. Unrelated I stumbled upon another side quest  to deliver a letter from a shady guy. He kept saying to me I should not open it! Yet Emma is curious and she has a big strong ogre to protect her so she opened it anyway! It directions to a house with a brief but ill foreboding bit of text. Upon delivering the letter they find out I broke the seal and they try to kill me! They kill that monk guy that tagged along so I restart and do the fight better.. These guys were gonna pull a heist or something it seems. However it turns out that in that house you now can rob yourself.. is actually THE painting you’ve been looking for.  Quests OVERLAP and I don’t think I have ever seen that. Of course if you decide to deliver the letter like normal you do not go to the house and I am not sure if the painting then would change locations to house you delivered the letter to or if they leave it.. but this world changes so much from you interacting with it.. and  what you do in one side quest or what order you do them in can change how events unfold and for a 2001 game that is hella impressive. Even today we don’t see that kind of thing a lot. 

Unfortunately mechanically the game is super wonkey! Combat feels super finicky and if you play it in real time mode it feels super floaty and often derails in click spamming, if you have any skills you want to use you are almost forced to play it in turn based mode. Real time does work.. but weird things happen, there is a quick select for example to use skills like in an MMO but they are not telling you which key is what. So I thought for the longest time I had to click them , still real time combat feels muddy and lacks the tactics you can use in turn based.  That itself is hindered by hitboxes and context sensitive spells but without proper feedback! For example casting harm on a friendly unit can be done when it stands in front of an enemy. It will say you target your ally but target the enemy instead it feels super unnatural.  It looks murky and boring as well in most places! The steampunk elements look super creative , but especially the wilderness is extremely repetitive.  It has beautiful music but it loops too often and all in all.. it is kind of a bad video game. Because almost all elements are wonky! It is too hard, it looks bad, (for 2001 standards and did not age well either)   it sounds generic and combat and movement feels super floaty and I had a lot of frame drops!   IN a 19 year old game!  So while it is an interesting video game .. it is also a bad video game.

What is it?!

In the end that is the fatal flaw of this game. It’s not good enough to be a strong video game and it is too limited to be considered a proper D&D adventure. What we get is something that is kind of smack in the middle of it! It wanted to be more a pen and paper game and compromised too little to be a video game. It doesn’t work. Combat is done poorly and unbalanced. A melee hit does less damage.. but costs less stamina and acts faster (mostly)  however since hits count towards XP and not  kills.. magic deals TOO much damage. You get less xp and more damage because of your build.. it is a system where you can do everything and you can beat it with everything.. but it is also a system that REALLY REALLY REALLY favours Melee and violent characters. Gameplay and idea don’t overlap.. as if they are from two different worlds.

So this will not appeal to those wanting a great RPG and not to those who want the liberty to play tabletop! That being said however I loved this game .. because it is pretty much for people like me! I’ll admit it is too hard and tedious for me.. so I can only stomach it in small sessions , like an hour a day!  But I really want to play that hour a day to see Emma get stronger. She isn’t going to be the character I really REALLY want her to be.. but a more functional build of what I want her to be and that is ..mostly fine.  There is such an interesting world to explore that I will take broken mechanics for granted. It is no Final Fantasy VI but it is the closest I can come to experience being a player in a tabletop game for now! It’s harsh, punishing and I really stress out while playing it.. but those nerves also are that of a D&D player on low HP.  Simply for the world alone this is such an unique game, and it is quite loved among recent players who like games like this.. It really has this niche audience and I belong to it for the most part! I am still annoyed by it’s flaws or my own limitations to play it more freely so for me it’s fine.. for anyone who thrives for difficulty and freedom.. this is an absolute and rare gem.

The Screenshots I used are not of my own Journey, I was unable to produce my own screenshots properly due to some technicalities, imagine these.. screenshots but with an leather armored girl with swords and the disarm spell for my journey!
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Gods, Bugs and a Kraken: Divinity Original Sin II Review

So a while ago I told you how COVID tore my D&D group apart for a bit! While there is nothing wrong with online tabletop , when 3 players and a D&D read body language of other players to make plays or steer the story.. you end up in trouble!  So I ended up breaking it off for now..keeping an online game.  Now for my blog anniversary, my friend The Multifaceted Ocelot gave me the gift of a game that would allow me to play a D&D like game..but on my pc! Without people that were being mean to me! I could also play it WITH people that were nice to me.. however.. for this review I played by myself! Did I like it?! Find out in this review!

Pinkie the Sourcerer

Divinity Original Sin II (DOS2 after this)  is a game made by Larian Studios. Launched for pc in 2017 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in 2018 and for MacOS and Switch in 2019.  It’s not to be confused with Divinity II which is a whole other game.. and a much lesser one at that.
DOS2 managed to sell very well selling a million copies within two months and is considered among the best role playing games of all times by fans and critics alike. This game is a multi character top down rpg being comparable to games like Planescape Torment and Baldurs Gate.  To me it was very comparable to the Dungeon Siege series.. but much more open ended with a lot more inspiration from classic D&D tabletops and less crappy movie adaptations. 

In this game you pick OR create an avatar, which goes on a quest to ascend to divinity to free the lands from some horrible eldritch bug like creatures known as the Voidwoken. You yourself are blessed with the gods and with up to three other god woke you shall travel the world in pursuit of this Divinity. At the source of it all is….. well.. It’s Source. A powerful form of magic that comes from life itself it seems or from the gods..and it’s users are called Sourcerers heh, puns!Yet there is much more to this world than this simple quest and ritual that repeats every so often. There are plenty of factions who all want to be the one to produce the next divine for their own reasons. Will you stand in their way or with them?  For a healthy chuck of this ..the choice is yours. You will meet colourful characters along the way, whom you can recruit, kill or just leave them to their own devices and whom you will interact with will decide the faith of the world. Through real time overworld interaction and turn based tactical combat.. you make your way across this world and power yourself up.. readying yourself for divinity.

For this playthrough I created a custom character. A flesh devouring elf that can read memories of the dead by feasting on their body parts. She could also speak to animals.  Her occupation was a witch.. which actually meant she was a necromancer..who can summon mosquitoes for some reason! Maybe it’s an UNDEAD mosquito… She was also very good with a bow.. because life drain and ranged .. is such a neat little combo! Being part Hunter made her able to leap around the battlefield and haste herself. ..How do you call an insane Elf who talks to the dead and Animals? Pinkie of course! She teamed up with three named characters for my adventure and did it on the Story playthrough difficulty. I did not get to choose so I assume it’s either normal or easy!  Pinkie’s journey began when she woke up on a ship with a green glowing disk around her neck. What the heck! So unfashionable!

The Illusion

I shall not tell you how Pinkie’s journey went because.. spoilers! There would be a lot of them! I shall just tell you it is one of those games where you have a whole lot of options to get from A to B. Yet in the end you are still traveling from point one to point two. It is a great game that offers you “the illusion of choice”  rather than choice itself. As a DM I know the Illusion of choice often leads to the best story telling. This game uses it a lot. While it seems like a negative it is actually quite strong for story telling. For example you can follow a plot thread of one of your party members, listening to their request and doing exactly what is asked to the letter. This will maybe result in you discovering some evil guy or gal is tormenting them and you need to deal with them.  However if you pick another party member you can still do that story. Through rumors or exploration one way or the other the game will put that quest on your list.  If your mission is to deal with a certain character and you spare them, they either betray your trust  or have to lay low for a while pretending to be dead. So while you made a unique choice.. in the end it all results in the same narrative.Each choice feels as valid as the next one because all are enforced by the plot of the story. During the credits the effects of those minor  choices are shown at a custom ending narrative but in the world everything has a certain flow.. nothing feels out of place and everything is structured very nicely.

In a lot of moral choicey games we see faction A clearly being more fleshed out than Brotherhood B so if you join those guys.. you get the better flowing story. Here the story auto-corrects itself.. without you really noticing and as a result we always follow a strong narrative. You can side with an evil bastard but eventually his plans will always involve discarding you.. so you never get narratively stuck.  Having played Kingdoms of Amalur recently that game was a good example of doing that wrong. You reach multiple points where the story should end..or E.V.O. Search for Eden on SNES where your morale choice can lead to an early game end..  so instead after that the game is just reset. Divinity walks a golden path! I felt like I was in control of the story.. Yet a great story was still being told to me that makes sense no matter what decision I would take.  This means there can be extra factions, extra sides within those factions so the world feels incredibly vibrant.  Like in real life everyone has their own agenda and what you do .. doesn’t really affect that agenda it just influences it slightly. A guy planning to murder you doesn’t suddenly trust you because you brought them a single stone. 

Since Necromancy is a thing in this world , it can even get around any limitations of conventional storytelling. If you kill a character that has a new thing you need to know.. that info will be available to you through a multitude of ways still. Be it you talking to spirits , eating their flesh to gain their memories or even them being pulled back into the moral realm now as undead. Death isn’t that final in DOSII and mostly in a good way.  There are a few characters the game designer really likes though and those can be brought back painfully often… at least if you try to do everything.. because this game is long. There are a lot , and I mean A LOT of  things for you to do. Quests that chain rather impressively.   I tried to do as much as I could explore but I decided not to go for 100%. I roleplayed my character a bit so if a thing did not make sense for my character to visit I did not have her go there unless she happened to stumble upon it. The game really allows you to approach this in any way you want. I got enough experience points to reach level 20, which is the max level in D&D  and it was enough to face the final battle.. with a few attempts so my way of doing a lot but not all certainly worked.  If you do not do a lot some party members will abandon you and you can get more experience points making it possible as well. Again an illusion of choice but in the end the experience is more or less the same.

A Divine Experience

There are very good reasons why this game is named amongst the best roleplaying games. Not only is the way you can interact with the world incredible , the combat system is amazing as well.  It is so tactical and fun, yet forgiving enough to run a build you like.. you do not need healers, you do not need to balance magic and melee equally. You just need to adapt your strategy to your way of playing.  And for the love of god never pick the glass cannon perk.  If you don’t want a healer, buy potions, if you do not want to focus on swords balance all sorts of magic out including some closer ranged.  Have one character focus on summons cause summons.. deal melee damage!  (most of them anyway) Every spell or ability has a range, a cooldown and can combo a bit with certain perks or other abilities. 

For example a Geomancer can toss a rock containing oil.. a Pyromancer can set that oil ablaze. A Hydrospoholist can create a raincloud to put out the fire on your party members, an Aerothurge can shock that puddle of water once enemies are walking over it.. or the  Hydro person itself can freeze the water to slow down her opponents. You can also run a healer on your team.. along with a necromancer.. the necromancer diseases the enemies and now the Healer can cause damage on the diseased person because.. the diseased condition reverses healing. There are so many field effects you can cause.. you can even create divine fire which turns fire into a field of healing. If you do not use a lot of spells, you have arrows and grenades to set those effects, your options are endless.

Out of combat you can use persuasion to get yourself out of trouble, you can sneak , you can search for hidden objects using your wits, you can steal your way to success or spread out your party members by disassembling your party, you can change field of views by having one separated party member talk to a person and when locked in dialogue allow your thief to take advantage of their change point of view. You can position your party members to a high ground allowing your tankiest one to engage the enemy at first.. only triggering combat when you are in an advantaged situation. The amount of freedom you get is amazing.  For the most part.. later in the game that liberty does take a serious dip but more about that in a bit.  For 70% of this game or so you can be super creative with these things.  You can sneak past objects you should not be able to sneak past if you are clever enough. You can use combat skills outside of combat for this.. for example how I used Tactical Retreat to sneak across some magical turrets I could not defeat at the time.  Then using a magical pyramid to teleport my party to me.  You are given so many tools that this world really feels like your sandbox. A magic mirror in your homebase constantly allows you to respec without a money penalty or anything so if you ever find yourself to be stuck.. you can just swap your stats and spells around until you find a solution that works for you! It is very much amazing! This truely for the most part is YOUR game.

Crisis of Faith

For 70% of this game, this may very well be the best RPG of it’s kind that I have ever played. In fact during the first 4  and a half chapters this IS the best rpg of it’s kind I have ever played. However in the final city and a bit before troubles show up.  As the difficulty picks up your options become significantly more limited. Mostly when it comes to solving quests.  There is a point just before the final city that you must make a choice. If you haven’t done enough quests for your party and your avatar’s (the character you picked first)  persuasion isn’t high enough your party falls apart. There is no real work around for this other than maxing out persuasion on your avatar, which to be fair at that point in the story you are easily able to do.. but this is your only real solution remaining at that time.  Losing a party member just because you must be a certain quest giver earlier and make your main character a bit shy can feel a bit harsh.  Realistic but.. harsh. I was fully invested in their story and wanted to complete it.. now I always run persuasion on my main character.. but MultiFaceted Ocelot was not as lucky and he lost his favorite character.. which later turns out to have MAJOR implications on the story in the end . A single persuasion check means failed forever.. so it means a reload.

Reloading would not bother me as much except for one little fact, autosaves happen way to few! Only when entering a new location  you hit an autosave. If you run back because you aren’t strong enough yet.. and later forget to quick save you can find yourself in trouble. In total I have lost almost 3 hours of progress like this. Part of the reason is my laptop does not have standard F keys.  I need to hold a button to make them F keys..sometimes I forgot and just pressed the button.. not doing anything in game. Upon loading I found my last save was an hour ago.  Of course catching up is quicker but still quite annoying. Sometimes you do not get the same item back either.. which can be doubly salty! But that is mostly a laptop issue. I rerouted the keys and this made it manageable.. However in this day and age we are so used to constant autosaves that you should at least be aware that this game is really REALLY stingy with autosaves.  Since it is very possible to just run into death as well or battles you can not win it should at least be noticed. Save oftenly and save with names.  Sometimes a choice will only come back to bite you in the ass after a little and if you are ill prepared that could be fatal. For example I did not want to finish off a little void invested chicken.. it was cute! But then it turned into a monster and killed me… I had taken a lot of damage from battles before and I thought a chicken delivery can’t hurt that much!  Yet due to a series of unfortunate misses.. and having the Glass Cannon Perk still .. I got send back! Waaaaay back! Because that last save file gave me no options as I accidently quickly saved a bit late!

In Arx ,the final town, puzzles can get a bit frustrating as well, as usually there now is only one solution.  There is a painting you need to make complete to open a hidden door. No matter how high your wits are, there is no other way to enter that new room, followed by you being forced to carry a heavy painting this means no matter what you build one character has to have strength investment.  My adventure nearly ended early on when a quest item I needed got bugged out of existence. Luckily a lockpick would help me..but it meant leaving a dungeon , selling supplies , finding a vendor who sells lockpicks, wearing a certain set of gear , because at that level your skill cap is lower than the threshold needed..  so you need certain pieces of gear.  Which resulted in my character not having the armor they should have when combat starts.. which meant I had to reload.. to a point where I was before that door.. with no lockpicks. You can even softlock yourself.. if you are like me.. there is a church which I went in.. and quick saved as it had a puzzle.. however I needed a few items to solve that puzzle, which I did not have.. if you fail that puzzle it keeps instantly killing you.. if you played the way I did .  So I had to quickload again.. and ended up in front of a door which needed a key.. with no lockpicks in my inventory. 

There are a few other gripes as well. Some of the later fights really require you to have source points active to use a certain skill to get around a certain enemy mechanic, usually revolving around them being reborn. The controls aren’t always tight.. if you click next to an enemy in stead of on it your action points will go to to waste as they will run up to him (Action points are how many things you can do per turn) and these hitboxes can be finicky.
Sometimes you get persuasion choices mid battle but it reroutes to the character whose turn it is not your persuasion character.. so these almost always fail unless you know in advance and very specifically plan around these..which still almost never works. There are also a fair few glitches that can get you stuck or make quests non completeable, for example there is a magical chest that is being firebreathed upon.. my thieving character though can stoneskin to avoid damage and he picked the locked of the chest.. but now the quest doesn’t trigger. I completed the quest to open it yet nothing happens and I miss out on some sweet exp! It doesn’t really make your experience THAT much less fun.. but it is noticable!

Just one step from heaven

The final chapter requires you to  actually read some of the tomes you find in the game, to keep an oversight of your quest logs and play a bit more rigid characters, to my knowledge the final puzzle in the game isn’t solvable unless you have an elf or a necromancer with at least a point in water magic s well.. Maybe there are arrows that can help you.. maybe grenades or maybe you can just attack a party member.. but it felt very specific. It makes sense as a continuation of the difficulty of this game and the final puzzle itself was quite nice, but with a softlock being in place in front of it.. a few scenes that deadlock you into leaving an area even if you still have quests outstanding and a much more subtle way to tell you what to do .. the last part of this game I had to play with a guide.  Not because I could not solve the puzzles but because they differ from the way you had to think before.  Instead of “I can find a way around this”  it becomes.. I need a way to solve this.  If you aren’t at the right place at the right time.. you may find yourself having to deal with a lot of frustrating stuff. Which is a eternal shame.

Had the game ended the way it was played at Driftwood, the largerst part of the game, this would probably be my favourite RPG game ever, it offers me so much. It really still does and anyone who likes tabletop rpgs I can recommend this game.. yet in the end it becomes a little bit frustrating to do it all.. too many things are too obscure and having to constantly switch between the gear you want and the gear you need is just needlessly frustrating.  My advice! Keep some gear that boosts thievery, keep some gear that boosts persuasion, preferably a ring or a belt and update the rest of your gear accordingly. Had I sold those gloves that boost thievery I might not have been able to beat the game. It is amazing but there are a fair few glitches.  Save plenty however and most annoyances will be avoided. Still I can’t give this my highest rating as the last part I just did not enjoy playing through all that much.. That gripe however pales in comparison to the other 70% of this game so it’s still very amazing. It might not be divine..but it is god-woken I guess? And with 60 hours in a single run (Which is faster than most people complete it in) you are getting a lot of bang for your buck!

If I had to compare the game to something I would say it’s like a long island ice tea. There is lots of flavour, enough to get you drunk on.. it’s well worth the money you pay for it but even as you get buzzed it does leave a slightly bitter after taste. How bitter you are however depends fully on how drunk you would have allowed yourself to get from this game! And any cocktail that gets me drunk on it’s own I’d flavour as….

Have you played this game? What did you think about it?! Can you commit to 60 hour+ games?! What game should I play next? Let me know in the comments and let’s make Paradise a nice and chatty place!

Pinkie Playing as Evil Minion Hero: Underhero

We have all played through our classic RPG’s .  Find the Three Crystals of the elements than you can access the castle to defeat the final evil. We have all been that hero and we loved it. Yet how did that world come together? Why is the crystal there? What happens to a magic world after the main character gets a game over?  Questions like these are answered in the game Underhero.


Underhero is an RPG that mimics the gameplay of the old Paper Mario RPG’s. To a certain extent. It was gifted  to me by a multifaceted ocelot, which is a close friend of mine. So keep in mind that I did not spend $15,- dollars on it.  Which may make me a bit more positive as I REALLY got my money’s worth. Is it worth 15 dollars? I’d say yes.. probably. This game can start out a bit rough, especially when you do not have an Xbox controller to hook up o your laptop like me. Still perseverance pays off , after having finished this game, up to a point where I only missed on a few achievements simply for not wanting to backtrack for stat upgrades I no longer needed.  I did most what this game had to offer and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I guess one facet of that ocelot is giving me good games. 

In Underhero you take on the role of a noble hero who is ready for the boss fight against the evil boss Mr Stitches. I figured he would whoop my ass and I would have to level.. much like what happened in the first Paper Mario. Yet two steps in and you die. A Masked Kid.. which is something like a Koopa or Goomba compared ot the mario universe..thinks outside the box and drops a chandelier on the hero. Now that the hero is dead your Boss Mr Stitches thinks he can finally conquer the kingdom of man.. so he sets the captured princess free as he doesnt need her anymore and assigns the masked kid.. which is now you.. to return the three magical stones that the hero needs back to their original bosses. When looting the dead hero though, the kid finds a talking sword hilt named Elisabeth IV who tells the Masked Kid he is now the hero who must defeat the dark and evil lord Stitches. And so begins your reverse quest that shows the logistic side of video games.

In Stitches, laughing out loud.

Underhero is not a serious game, it’s lighthearted and fun and spoofs yet embraces RPG traditions. We never knew but the evil rulers in video games have a complete business set up that deals with how to get certain minions at certain places. We  see how the castle houses the evil monsters in tiny apartments, we see they have a cafeteria and even unions. There are work meetings, office party and they even have Taco Tuesdays.. which are very beloved by the employees. If monsters are born with a different colour they either get send to another area or become a Miniboss.  This castle functions as your main hub from which you begin your adventure to return the stones for a new hero to come.. but to still defeat the bosses there so you level up.. that’s what really matters anyway. Elizabeth IV the talking hilt functions as your Navi you can even talk to her by pressing a button…but she gets very annoyed if you do this a lot. 

Elizabeth gets annoyed a lot because she has been through this a lot of times already. Each time you have to find a key she is annoyed, especially when things turn out to be more complicated as you originally thought.  Like when you enter a dungeon and can take an elevator to the boss floor.. but a fuse is blown, the fuse lays behind a door which of course is locked.. and the key gets hidden behind a racing event. The little hilt is annoyed how this always keeps happening to her and constantly berates any unoriginal events that happen in the game. As Masked Kid you are unsure where your loyalties lie.. Will you follow Elizabeth or  your widely beloved boss Mr Stitches. Not long after the first dungeon, Mr Stitches has become aware that the game is lasting longer than originally.. he now can actually start to siege the hero town hub.. but well since they never go on this long.. there is no more money. Budget cuts have to be made…. Taco Tuesday gets cancelled. Now that you realise how evil Mr Stitches truly is.. he really must be stopped or this cycle will continue forever. I truly enjoyed the corporate humor, this game offers and was oftenly laughing out loud. It’s silly but it really works.

Not very Heroic

Not playing a heroic character comes with a few advantages.  A fair few enemies are skippable because they do not think you are a threat.. after all you are a minion as well. If you want something from them you can always reason with them. Even when engaging combat you can small talk with them before you hit them. They will tell you rumors about treasures or maybe some lore.. which you may need later on. Enemies , except for smart enough sub-bosses will never attack you first.. you as the hero need to defeat them but they don’t know you are a hero. You might be a hero but your still you , you still served evil.. so if you do not feel like smacking your coworkers down or  if you are running low on health and do not wish to start a fight you can always try to bribe your opponents. Just toss a few coins at them and they will usually let you go… this is just a job to them after all. Since Elizabeth is just a hilt she can take on the form of several weapons. Her main form is a sword, for quick clashing action, a hammer for big damage or a slingshot to hit enemies that are far away.
Masked Kid is no slouch himself…. he can jump to avoid attacks or duck to avoid attacks. Outside combat he can climb vines and hover using his cape.. he is also pretty good at figure skating. Yes our little guy is an ice dancer. That’s……..

The game balances, sort of turn based,  battles with puzzle platforming and exploring. With just a hint of adventure gameplay. A combination that works out reasonably well. When controlling Masked Kid with a keyboard you will definitely notice you are dealing with an indie developer.  Paper Castle Games made a very good game but in terms of control and subsequent gameplay I had a few gripes. Jumping feels very floaty and when platforms are on multiple levels you can always walk through platforms even if the ledge you are standing on seems to have a solid edge. Key mapping to using potions on <- arrow made me waste a few potions, and the level up system is kind of off. Each level I could choose between three stat boosts, health, stamina and damage. Health upgrades are completely useless as they are found in abundance, stamina recovery you get trough dodging a lot which means you do not have to take a lot of them. As a result the game has this “unpolished” feeling throughout. It’s nothing that you can not overcome but since this game mimics Paper Mario so much you will notice this sure ain’t no italian plumber game.

Saving the world

I finished this game in about twelve hours and like I said I only missed some shield upgrades, as I mastered the art of parrying (and thus did not need a high hp shield)  and one weapon upgrade stashed in the apartments. The difficulty curve of this game I’d say is pretty perfect for what it is. Each time an enemy defeated me, a hindernis stopped me in my tracks or I died through a setback , I learned to understand those enemies better, discovered how a mechanic worked better and got closer to defeating the game.  Except for a certain rival battle , i dd not need more than three attempts maximum to get around anything. Which is perfect for me for a game like this. A funny and lighthearted game like this.. in which coffee works as a full restore and where punching clocks work as save points you should not have to dig to deep for results. It’s not a breeze but not a slog either. The final battle is incredible the whole idea that that final level a hero goes trough is only a certain area of the castle is hilarious to me as well. All in all just a very good but clunky game.

The five worlds you visit in this game are cleverly designed varied, though stereotypical, forest, haunted house, volcano, a sci fi water level, and the evil castle.  There is lot of fun to be had in each world. Along with some classic tedium and fetch quests, but that is part of the heroes life. Each world has their own unique little things,mostly show from their clever writing. An Ice Skating Party and House party in the ghost world, A moth with a split personality constantly showing up, a road block of labourers that want more Fedora’s or a Salsa Dancing spanish speaking enemy who is implied to maybe have a romance with the boss.  This game is best in it’s flavoring, it’s dialogue , it’s story and its general sense of humor. I thoroughly enjoyed this game, but less for for the gameplay and more so for everything else. It was a unique and charming adventure that can be a true delight if you are well versed in classic game tropes, this game’s world be very charming to you and you can surely enjoy it despite its flaws. If you do not care about story, do not read dialogues and just want a game to beat.. I suggest you look elsewhere. For a game filled with cute enemies there was not enough pink things though.

Flavour Time! Underhero scores :
A bit lighter on berries than my usual cocktails but still good!

Review: Pokémon Infinite Fusion

Hello again, little monsters. It’s Saturday for me again, which means I am free to write about ANYTHING I want. Something Something Saturday features a review today. A review of a very unique Pokémon game, that you can download for free. Today I review Pokémon Infinite Fusion (v 4.4)

The Concept:
The game takes you to Kanto again which by now I even know better than the layout of my 20m² apartment. It mostly follows the original story of Red’s journey to become a Pokémon champion, however since this is an RPG-Maker game and NOT a Romhack there are quite a few twists and turns in both the story and the very way the game plays, because in this game you combine Pokémon into a “new” Pokémon. These Pokémon consist out of a head part, which takes 2/3 ‘s of its original HP, Special Attack and Special defence along with ⅓ of the stat whatever you use for a body, and the body provides ⅔ of the physical stats and ⅓ is given to it by the head. With this you can create some awesome combinations of typings, movesets  and abilities. All you need is some DNA Splicers and some room on your team. A great concept for both casual players, who want to create some fun fusions or for hardcore battlers who want to create their perfect lifeforms. The sprite style is based on the Pokémon Fusion Generator website, so it consists of somewhat sloppily pasted headsprites and pallet swaps, but these combinations can be utterly hilarious. Would you rather prefer some decent sprites for your beloved creatures like me? No worries! The game has an amazingly healthy community on both Reddit and Discord where plenty of helpful people will help you obtain some amazing custom sprites, which are very easy to use. In terms of the game concept , I would even go as far as to say that there is no better game out there, this is the most unique yet still Pokémon feeling fangame I have played.

Story and Flavour:
The game also features a story about Team Rocket trying to use the fusion to conquer the world. The way the game delivers it is truly phenomenal, the story felt more compelling than Firered and Leafgreen playthrough, and also blew Let’s Go Eevee’s storytelling out of the water. Giovanni feels a lot more fearsome and his goals quite a bit more tangible. This time he ACTUALLY has a half decent plan. You will meet new people and fight Team Rocket alongside allies at times, which gives the game some much needed gravitas. Do not worry however the game also is quite lighthearted , it will never be as grim as Pokémon reborn, yet also never as silly as Pokémon Clover. By doing so the game keeps the feeling very much intact. Dialogue has been changed to reflect our modern  world a lot better and is rich in fourth wall breaking humor and plenty of easter eggs. Gone are the NPC’s who don’t really say anything, these people feel much more alive. When you walk into an apartment in Celadon city , people of different floors will interact with each other, gossip about the guy upstairs being into weird shit, or have issues you can only resolve by talking to a friend of them first. It makes the whole package feel much more interwoven, something that is often lacking in the main series and that is certainly missing in plenty of fangames.
The picture portrayed of a Pokémon world where there is over 90.000 species of Pokémon to catch is done very well, contributing to a compelling and immersive experience.

Technical Stuff:
Before we address the main thing, the gameplay lets go over the technical thingies an umbrella term for everything from music to graphics to…uhm.. like controls and stuff, forgive me for the crude terms, I am a very atechnical woman.  Let’s begin with the looksies first. It features a Gen III/ Game boy advance tile and sprite set, as well the options to go into a quasi 3d like in the fourth gen games. You have the choice from 3 different menu sets and few screen sizes. Let’s talk about the negatives first so we can end on a positive. Their own design layout named Next Gen is very very ugly, not just bad looking, no like if Muk had a mother in law and she woke up with the wrong goop out of the bed ugly.  Luckily we can choose the classic Gen III layout so that problem is fixed. The game features some custom locations, like the Rocket Sewers , Virtual Reality and “the nightclub’ as well as Johto of the past that all look lovely and well and cleverly designed…. well except virtual reality..that’s colorful so I like it..but mapwise it’s a tad lazy. The biggest gripe I have with the graphics is that there are huuuuge frame and speed drops when things get visually spectacular.
Ice Beam looks very pretty but you will always see it in slow motion. Virtual reality makes me happy when I run through it…unfortunately I ran at slower than a Slugma.
Other than that there are a few graphical glitches, you can glitch through some rocks, when you walk under cycling road you glitch onto it and some doors and stairways look bigger than their actual ‘transportation zone’ On a positive note, there are no weird resizing glitches or sudden pop up, and should you ever get stuck the game features an item..as well as that it rebranded teleport to an alternate to fly, for an easy fix. I do love the music in the game, Team Rocket bases of less consequence oftenly feature the “Prepare for Trouble song’ the Arcade features Pokémon Stadiums Minigame theme, and some songs now have variants with more intensity. In case of the “Prepare for trouble’ song however I must add that , each time you get into an encounter it reloops, which can get annoying. So bring some repels on your journey if you don’t want to go insane. The custom tracks would also benefit from a bit longer runtime in general before looping but that is just a nitpick. All in all technically , I have played better games but nothing except for the massive slowdown is too much of a dealbreaker to me.

Onto the biggy the actual gameplay of Infinite Fusion. Here I can happily say that this is THE single best Pokémon-fan game I EVER played. In fact it might even be in the top 3 favorite pokémon games whatsoever for me. I adore this game. It manages to balance things exactly right. Want to play it a bit casual, you can do that, want to hunt for the greater teams, you got options for that as well. The difficulty is spot on, dead drop perfect. Many fan games like Reborn or Pokémon Insurgence tend to go over the top with their difficulty.  Pokémon in my eyes has always about building your very own dream team, Reborn’s special gyms kinda force you to bring specialised teams and run a dozen mon’s at the same time, while Insurgence can be quite grindy if your intentions is just to try out some of their new Pokémon, it also almost wants you to do EV training, which I will flatout say is not fun. No matter how good you are as a battler EV training SUCKS. Fangames that force me into such antics really kill my high. Infinite fusion has non of those antics. Yes you will not be able to outlevel bosses like Giovanni if you run a 6 mon team, not unless you do some serious grinding, no you cant willy nilly trough an Igglybuff and Smoochum together because they look cute and expect it to be a powerhouse. You will have to be smart about what moves you pick, gone is the days of just four attacks of both special and physical, you will have to build your mons.. but that is what this game is about and it hands you the tools accordingly.
NPC’s tell you how fusions work…more or less, trainer school is a good place to visit, and all the moves you are given by gym leaders (non randomised)  and the moves npc’s give you help you build actually decent teams. Status Moves like inflicting burn , poison or paralysis are no longer unpractical time stallers, they actually matter in the battles. The amazing randomiser, (where you can very specifically determine stat pool differences)  makes this game a true gem. Though you have to save your game in a normal slot first, you can randomise your second games. I really recommend anyone to play randomise, because the level of surprise when encountering these fusions in the wild is just priceless… and beats finding a pidgey or rattata again by a million times over. The game offers you every tool you need to have a good time. Do you want to run multiple mon’s , the game offers you near infinite repeat battles so you can grind a new one up toute suite.  Do you want to switch up movesets easily? No problem, HM’s are forgettable and as soon as vermillion city you encounter the move tutor who learns you old moves for a mere 1000 pokedollar. Do you like the casino? It’s there.. and every single game is playable. Battle frontier like battles? Present after beating the third gym. Except for follower Pokémon(which with 90.000 possible combinations would be quite impossible)  everything you can possibly want is there.
Well , the game only features the full Kanto and Johto dex along as some Hoenn and Sinnoh guest appearances.  Around the time you reach Erica, the game starts to deviate from R/B and FR/LG quite a bit, new puzzles, new stories, new npc’s and these puzzles are often more challenging takes on old classics or sometimes even completely new ideas. For example , in the post game you go to the Slowpoke well in Azalea town and find out it’s clogged with shelders. To solve this you have to push Slowpokes with strength towards them so they evolve and are no longer clogging the draining hole. What a clever idea. Whitney’s gym puzzle being based on the counting game from Pokémon stadium featuring all kinds of cute mon’s a stroke of brilliance, and I loved the added challenge of the Silph Co dungeon.
This game walks the perfect line of challenge versus frustration and will make you into a better Pokémon trainer, even if you are a casual player, without forcing you to hatch a gazillion eggs and slay fifty gastley’s just to get some stats.
You still can decide how you play this game. With a clever team you can easily take on opponents of up to 15 to 20 levels higher and still come out victorious, do you play to have cute mons , there is plenty options for you to get them strong enough to beat the tougher bosses, and with not one but TWO active daycare centers as well as pokeballs that improve iv’s or draw out hidden abilities the competitive trainers can enjoy this too. Clever items such as miststones, which evolve any Pokémon regardless of method or level as well as side quests to get special items or moves allow for maximum customisation. With a super solid campaign and a very health after game including Johtho and Gym Leader rematches, (the best postgame since Gold.. and maybe Omega Ruby) this free game is very much for every type of player, for any amount of time. With a very alive Reddit community, expandable box system and so many options, I am even tempted to catch them all.

My rating
Though some mon’s look very cobbled together, and other technical problems are bound to incur, there is nothing like this game that even remotely compares for me in terms of fangames. I would rate this an absolute MUST PLAY, this may very well be the best Kanto based game I ever played, it feels alive, vibrant, and real. I was completely immersed during my time with Infinite Fusion. If you have some time to kill, a love for the games and a creative spark in you, this is definitely a game for you to. Become a better trainer, and have more fun than in any other Pokemon Fan game, this one game I truly love.

So how about you my little monsters? Have you played Infinite Fusion yet? What is your favorite fangame? Let me know in the comments. Keep fusing your Pokémon, keep playing games and most of all stay pink! Until we read again.