The Game Table – LIGHTNING ROUND 1

By Nickolas Brooks

nibrooks@lc.edu

 

Header Image and Captured Images by Nickolas Brooks

 

(SPOILER WARNING! Do not read this review if you are interested in playing these games for yourself!)

I would like to welcome you all to my first Lightning Round! When a Lightning Round Review occurs, it includes four to five games created by indie developers or games that are smaller in terms of gameplay time and development. These reviews will be shorter and will not include anything too detailed.

 

First Game – Superliminal

“Superliminal” is a first-person puzzle game developed and published by Pillow Castle, this being the only game they have made so far. It was initially released on Nov. 12, 2019 for Windows and MacOS on Steam. It got a console release on July 7 a year later for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. The game received mixed to positive reviews. While it received praise for its core mechanics, it was criticized for its lackluster story and overall lack of potential.

 

Plot/Overall Opinion

The player is a test subject for dream technology called SomnaSculpt at the Pierce Institute. This technology is designed to provide dream therapy for any future patients if the test is successful. When the player is put to sleep, they are placed in testing environments inside the dreamworld. In this dreamworld, the player is able to change an object’s size based on perspective view. However, when the player fails to wake up at the time they were supposed to, they end up stuck in the dreamworld.

 

The message behind the game is to think outside the box and to not be afraid to think of different solutions to fix a problem. If you keep going for the same solution that doesn’t fix said problem, then you won’t be able to grow as a person, something I very much agree with.

 

The soundtrack is so beautiful and relaxing to listen to! My favorite being Indefinity Cinema.

 

I’m giving Superliminal a 9/10. The level design, soundtrack, gameplay, mechanics and the message behind the game were outstanding; it reminded me of Portal in a way. While the game only takes two hours to beat, it is a very worthwhile two hours.

 

You can play Superliminal on Steam, PS4, Xbox One, or on the Switch.

 

Second Game – Friday Night Funkin’

“Friday Night Funkin’” is an indie rhythm game developed by Newgrounds users Ninjamuffin99, Phantom Arcade and evilsk8r. Kawai Sprite is the composer for the game’s soundtrack. It was released on Nov. 1, 2020 as a free-to-download game on itch.io and is currently available to play on Newgrounds.

 

Plot/Overall Opinion

The plot is short and sweet. A character named “Boyfriend” must beat several other characters in rhythm-type rap battles so he can date his love interest, “Girlfriend”… That being said.

 

The game sparked popularity when YouTubers CoryxKenshin and Kubz Scouts made several videos on it.

 

There is surprisingly a good amount of lore and fun facts regarding the characters of the game. Such as Pico (one of the biggest icons of Newgrounds since the ‘90s) being Boyfriend’s ex-… boyfriend. Get it? Or, what Boyfriend’s real name could be. Or, Girlfriend’s favorite video game being Tetris.

 

My favorite song out of the soundtrack is South, which is the second song for the Skid and Pump level (Skid and Pump are guest characters created by YouTuber Sr Pelo. Check out his “Spooky Month” videos to learn more). The instrumental of the song gives me heavy Memphis, Tenn. rap vibes. It also reminds me of the soundtrack for Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition (a street racing game created by Rockstar Games).

 

The gameplay I am mixed on since the difficulty for this game don’t exactly hold back. Having to go through the same song after messing up on the keys can be time consuming, and not in a good way.

 

This game also has huge mod support! Some of my favorites being the Whitty mod, Mid Fight Masses, CG5 and Elegant Night Dancin’.

 

I give this fun little game a 7/10. This is what happens when you take Dance Dance Revolution, PaRappa the Rapper and Jet Set Radio and mix them together in a pot. I am happy that a game like this exists; it screams “Newgrounds” and no other website.

 

You can check out Friday Night Funkin’ right now on Newgrounds or on the itch.io link provided above.

 

Third Game – West of Loathing

“West of Loathing” is a western, comedy, role-playing game developed and published by Asymmetric Publications, who also developed Kingdom of Loathing. It was initially released on Aug. 10, 2017 for Steam. It would then be released for the Nintendo Switch on May 8, 2018 and on July 1, 2020 for Stadia. They also hosted games and attractions such as Infinity Plus One, Bee On Drugs and Krakrox the Barbarian.

 

Asymmetric currently owns a podcast called “The Hot Dog Network” where they pre-record podcasts about their work on Kingdom of Loathing, other games, pop culture and advice. The game received positive reviews from critics and fans alike for its humorous writing, music and its surprising detail in design.

 

Plot/Overall Opinion

The game takes place within the Kingdom of Loathing universe, but in a western setting where the player (you get to name the character) must leave their home and journey out west to seek their fortune and help anyone in any way they can.

 

Each character that you run into has some sort of wacky tone to them, or an overall interesting personality. Your character’s personality is based on the decisions you make. 

 

The soundtrack for the game is quite awesome too, since it’s a western themed game. 

 

The two issues I do have with this game is that it can be a little slow and I tend to get sidetracked with the high amount of side quests that I do.

 

I am giving West of Loathing an 8/10. For someone like myself, who is not into RPG games that much, this is an exception. For a game with such humorous writing, to the point that it almost can’t be taken seriously, there is a lot of detail put in. Specifically, in its gameplay. It is turn-based, but it still looks so silly.

 

You can play this game on Steam, Nintendo Switch or Stadia.

 

Fourth Game – Untitled Goose Game

Untitled Goose Game is a puzzle/stealth game developed by House House (who also developed the game Push Me Pull You) and published by Panic Inc. (who has also published Firewatch and Nour: Play with Your Food). It was initially released on Steam and the Nintendo Switch on Sept. 20, 2019, then released nearly three months later, Dec. 17, 2019 for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The game received positive reviews for its humorous, yet creative gameplay, but was criticized for being shallow and repetitive.

 

Setting/Overall Opinion

Untitled Goose Game is set in a village that could be similar to one in the United Kingdom. You play as a domestic goose going around annoying humans and doing tasks like setting up a picnic, shopping and dressing up a bust. Once you are done doing tasks in a certain location of the village, you move on to the next location.

 

The only two issues (one major and one minor) I have with the game are how the goose maneuvers when I am turning left or right while running and how some of the tasks given can be difficult to complete due to humans getting in the way.

 

I am giving Untitled Goose Game a 9/10. Simplicity can sometimes be a positive when it comes to gaming. Minecraft, Thomas Was Alone and BIT.TRIP RUNNER are games that are simple and wonderful. I would throw UGG in there too!

 

Untitled Goose Game is currently available on Steam, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

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