It's very hot today.

My air conditioning is functionally broke and my brain is melted.

Having just bought this house and now needing to make major repairs to the HVAC means that my wallet is about melted too.

My desktop is located in the upstairs and warmest part of the house. So actually playing the games I want to right now is uncomfortable at best.

Nonetheless, Blaugust waits for no man.

On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, Episode One
Platform: Steam
Time to Beat: ~5 Hours
Completion: Storyline Completion

This isn't a fresh review as technically I completed this game right before I started this blog. I have altered our deal, pray I do not alter it further.

Every night as I fall asleep I have been doing a reread of all the Penny Arcade strips and accompanying blogs posts. About a week ago I made it to the 2008 portion of their archives when their first go at making a game was released. Remembering that this was a fairly quick playthrough, I decided it was worth a quick tour.

I vaguely recall playing this when it was new. But Steam didn't have achievements then and it doesn't seem to keep track of hours played from that far back. I don't actually recall beating it then.

And having just finished it now I can see why maybe I abandoned it. There simply isn't a lot of meat on these bones. The art is pretty good but held back by the realities of a late 2000s indie game budget. The writing is...there. I enjoy Jerry Holkin's writing as a rule, but what's here feels very much like Sam & Max-lite, instead of Holkin's usual style. There's flavor text all over the game but the actual main story line just serves to shuttle the player from MacGuffin to another.

It's also lack depth as far as being an RPG. The combat is system is mostly a standard turn-based affair, but special attacks require the execution of a Quick Time Event. There are no random battles; in fact, there are a limited number of battles in the entire game. Getting "Overkills" by doing specials on enemies that are almost dead provides a permanent stat boost for a character, up to 15 times. But if you miss too many opportunities to get these Overkills then the limited number of battles means they are lost forever. This is exactly what happened to me as the mechanic is never explained and you have to pick it up on your own. Having my progression artificially limited in a RPG is one of my biggest pet peeves.

This is episode one of what eventually became a three part series. My player character is supposed to carry over to the second episode, but the third episode dropped this feature and was created by another developer.

I'll give the second episode a try. I already own it and the run time for these games is only an evening of play. I do hope the team learned from the mistakes of this game, and that the story line, combat, and character progression pick up the pace.


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