Monster League: Honestly, It’s Not Bad, Just Monstrous

It did The Mash! Monster League is essentially a complete kart racing Halloween game from the makers of Medieval Dynasty. It sits on the roster of Early Access titles and has since 2019, but fans are still playing it and are still nudging the team for a full release even now. Nobody really knows what is happening, but I had a lot of fun with this game and encourage you to purchase it at its fairly modest price for your co-op party, your Twitch, or just playing something different. At the very least, why not be a bit thematic and go for the Halloween vibe.

There are a few things that make this still a work in progress, and I will share them, but I see so much work that has gone into this project that maybe it’s hopeful, or not, it’s not bad though. Maybe this can be revived, or resurrected if you will, but I sure do like playing kart hockey as Frankenstein…

My Pumpkin, “Vincent”

Let’s Do The Mash

Okay, I’ll lay all of this out here. Currently, after purchasing the Early Access you get the full Monster League game with access to several maps and a handful of characters on every game mode. There is a kart racing mode kind of like Mario Kart, a Rocket League-style game, hockey (which was my favorite), capture the flag, and battle mode. Not a bad variety at all. I feel like most co-ops might give you one two or three, but here, six! Swoon.

Along with my affinity for the hockey mode, which involved crashing karts into large pucks in a Rocket League setup, I also enjoyed racing quite a bit. There are two ways to play. With nitro boosters, and without. Try both. I had to make it as easy as possible so I could record a video, so I put everything on beginner and turned of boosts.

Next, wow, this looks amazing! The graphics in this somewhat obscure project are actually really, really good. Rarely do I attribute the quality of a game to graphics alone, and of course this is no exception, but they did improve my personal score for the game and overall enjoyment really. The way you can see the fur on Wolfie’s back or the grains of sand in the track ground, it’s not a bad touch really. Do you see where I’m going with this?

Bobbles and Trinkets


Okay, now that I’ve bashed the mechanics inadvertently, I’ll highlight some more aspects.

Everything has plenty of features. More features than you’d probably see on most co-op games. It is not far off from a AAA release. I’m not even kidding. Vibration and UI updates, maybe a few more characters, possibly a little more patient in the handling, that’s all you would need for this game. It is intended to be a multiplayer or co-op game, you can try this feature online or just play up to four controllers on your PC. Yeah, this is all PC by the way, that’s not new here really.

Monster League: Features

  • 6 Game Modes – Race, Ball, Hockey, Battle Mode, Capture the Frog, and Golden Egg
  • 6 Characters to Choose from: Vlad the Vampire, Cleo the Mummy, Abe the Yeti, William Werewolf, Jack the Pirate Skeleton, and Frank the Frankenstein
  • Multiple Maps for every mode from towering castles to creepy woods and ancient Egyptian pyramids
  • Original Sound Effects and Soundtrack with spooky enough sounds to accompany every environment
  • High Definition Graphics with excellent attention to detail
  • Possibly More Someday

More Thoughts on Monster League

I didn’t mind this at all. Competition is always going to be stiff if you’re going against Mario Kart 8, but they aren’t trying to say that it isn’t. Actually, there are all sorts of fun games imitated including Rocket League. This is intended mostly to be a party game with multiplayer, something which sounds cool if you’ve got a good setup and compliant friends.

I mentioned the vibration and the dev drag enough here. The only other issue I had, which isn’t even really an issue, is the weird popping noise the item boxes make when running into them. I had to turn my sound-effect volume almost completely off because it was so loud. I hardly noticed it after.

And that’s it. I think this game is great, and I think it should be revived, however, it also has a lot of great content already and it’s a nice change of scenery. It’s especially suited around this time of year, and I’d gladly get some pumpkin flavor snacks and hot bubbling cider to go with it.

Wa, Hoo!

If you liked this article, please come back again. Consider supporting these independent views if you like them. And thank you much for reading Mr. Dave Pizza! Happy Halloween!

P.S. This game is also part of a compilation of 4 other Halloween games on this site here:
https://mrdavepizza.com/halloween-game-indie-list-spooky-station-and-4-more/

Wheels of Aurelia 1978 – This Game Was Shocking But Interesting

Wheels of Aurelia is an interactive-fiction-style racing game set in Italy in 1978. The left-hand steers the wheel of a gritty game that is full of themes of crime, punk, and danger. While the themes are a bit serious, its thematic integrity is in check by fun, innovative game design, and a serious historical snapshot. Drive through the coastlines in low-polygon graphics and talk to your passengers about anything.

Wheels of Aurelia: Clarification

There are a few things to make clear immediately here. As I said, the game is gritty. Some topics are about heavy life issues. I don’t find it any grittier than an average film though, or a classic novel.

The other is that a session in this game lasts around half an hour. That can either appear as too long or not long enough. That’s a beautiful aspect of the game as it were. Every time you play a different storyline can occur with new characters and different scenarios from deep reveals to high-speed car chases. There are 16 different endings that can occur any time you play, rewarded with achievements for keeping track. I don’t really know how to unlock the different endings but from my experience, this is probably possible by the evocative options of your dialogue.

How-To and Why of Wheels of Aurelia

Of course, you can play however you want! There are some simple things to note though. For one, this is a keyboard-controlled game. You use the space bar to accelerate, left and right to maneuver, and up and down to select what dialogue response you want to have. This ends up being a pretty exciting way to experience a visual novel-style story. You might be zooming between two buses on the road while choosing what music you want to talk about. Or there might be something really complex happening that you want to listen to. Of course, you need to watch the road, but I found the driving to be a little bit turbulent at first either way!

The story is inextricably sophisticated though. You play a young, punk woman on her way to France and a history of being kidnapped in a national scandal, while your passengers share all levels of true drama on their own. You won’t be bored in this game, and you’ll most certainly stay glued to the wheel and your enemies.

Hold On, More Here

Okay, I originally cut this way too short, my mistake, it felt as if I had written more. I do not know how to go too into Wheels of Aurelia, besides there are some heavy political and cultural topics. The main character, Lella, is a punk feminist who was kidnapped by a terrorist group in the early 70s. Her passenger asks her about how she can live and let live after such a thing.

I honestly am not sure if this is a real person aside from doing any research, but there are some authentic name drops. It’s also questionable whether they are identifiable as a Stockholm syndrome victim, the classic behavioral condition when a captive person grows fond of their capturer, due to proximity. There’s a momentary glimpse into this in my first run, when Lella goes a bit manic and dares her friend to either kiss them or kill them basically. Yeah, this ain’t lighthearted stuff! (excuse the Mark Twain’esque colloquialism)

There’s a conversation at the beginning with a famous racer too that hits on Lella, without real context. Seems Lella is a racer too. I can only spend so much time on these visual novels because sometimes they seem to have no end. I did enjoy the story in it though because it all fits in really nicely with my pathos of midnight drives or road trips along the coast. Relatability without sacrificing authenticity.

Roll the Credits

Alright, so not light-hearted, maybe less than most games I review! This should be enough context for what is a pretty casual game. Excellent atmosphere and style though. It had the vibes of 1970s Italian cinema. In fact, overall, this is a style of game that emulates cinematic tropes with craft. Reviews on Steam are mixed, but I think perhaps some reviewers expected something totally different. Steam says its release is 5 years ago, so that has a lot to do with it. I see this all the time. 2016 is all MMOs and FPS. This game is part of the ItchIO bundle and appeals to the new generation of gamers with fervor. They call that, “ahead of its time.” I guess maybe it takes time for people to appreciate some creativity.

I hope you enjoy this review. I love finding hidden gems and sharing them with you, so thank you so much for reading MrDavePizza.com. There are plentiful reviews of all kinds of stuff here so have a look around and take your time! Pizza out.

Orbital Racer – This Is an Awesome Space Racing Game

Orbital Racer is a realistic space-sim pilot racer originally released for PC in 2017, now available on Xbox One and Series X. At a standard indie game price for nominal quality, I think this is one of the best racing games I have ever played. Players are given a selection of ring-wing fighter jets that can be raced with or without combat. Each race starts off in an area in orbit around a planet in our solar system. You will navigate your ship through HUD point rings with beautiful space scenery in the background and collect power-ups to earn your place in each competition, which is also customizable. Even with video game perks like the power-ups, it is highly realistic and one of the best space racers out there.

I hope that was an appropriately generous tribute to this wonderful game since I truly loved playing Orbital Racer. Since I did mention the subject of realism in this game, do note that this game actually has two options: action or simulation. They’re what they sound like, perfectly appropriate oohs and ahs for the average action-seeker gamer, and simulation for those of us who are preparing for internships at the ISS, well I am at least.

I rather enjoy the action profile features of this game. Those of us that fantasize about space probably know it’s not all about making the spice flow and using the force. We have physics to account for. That’s also not as cool as drifting through a hud ring while deploying a plasma mine, however, I could go either way for Orbital Racer.

Orbital Racer: A REALISTIC Space Racer

My experience with Orbital Racer has some backstory. This past week I’ve been doing a sort of study on space games, read previous posts for more info. I kept searching for a realistic space racing game. It was a desperate situation I mostly play free games, but I saw this one on Steam and liked the look of the ring spaceships with extraplanetary space stations in the background.

I don’t really know what the purpose of a ring ship is, but it seems like it would do something realistic. It slightly reminds me of the ship that either Anakin or Obi-Wan fly in the prequels, I can’t remember why. Sorry, I am totally juicing on the force lately, perhaps I’ll remember to use that on May 4th, I doubt it though. Anyway, there are really not enough games like this out there to have a selection, so I narrowed in on a reasonable indie title and here I am!

So, alright, is this like actually… “realistic?” I don’t know. Space has taken us to some weird places, and I’m not just talking about Mars. Remember that space pen that they spent a million dollars on developing for space use until they realized that a pencil was actually cheaper and better? I don’t know if that is even true; I feel like I saw it in a movie, but we do things in space we wouldn’t normally do. We’re constantly looking to imprint our culture onto our scientific achievements. So, yeah, maybe we will build these crazy ring racer starfighters and hold competitions in space. I ain’t paying for it, but I will pay for this game to show my support!

In Terms of Games: Excellent

The thing I appreciate in this game has some to do with “science,” but a lot more with what I consider a good investment in a “science-themed game.” There are no tears here. Only dreams. And next time I feel like crunching an MK8 session, I might think, well, I could also play Orbital Racer. Or Hotshot Racing, but whichever. I like that kind of freedom. I often play racing games when I want to expand some priorities for a moment. It’s a good way to regroup real quick or refocus without getting way too deep into a game that requires me to focus.

What really makes me wonder is how on Earth did this game got so overlooked. I’m serious. It does have one major issue, which is no multiplayer, but I never play multiplayer so to me, it is pretty much perfect. I would love to see some DLC for this or heck, I’d even try the multiplayer at least once if it were offered, so I’m just putting that out there.

This is an indie game though, what a triumph. “I’m making a note here: huge success,” as GlaDOS sings at the end of Portal 2. Everything is just right. And even with a controller, it is stellar, even better. I used a DS4 with an app to emulate the Xbox controller and so can you. So arrive as you like, Orbital Racer is prepared.

Orbital Racer: Packed With Content

This game was released for Xbox in March of 2021, which may have brought you here. I played the Steam version, but I can only be certain that the Xbox version is also excellent. Some of the screenshots and videos I encountered seem to downplay the detail I found when playing this myself; I don’t know what that’s about. I suppose there have been patches and updates. And honestly, if you opt for simulation mode, with realistic physics, realism is the least of the qualities lacking. The cosmic background is astounding.

Do A Barrel Roll

Yeah, it’s all there, and it’s good! I’m going to be playing every aspect of this game until I’ve absorbed every detail.

I hope you enjoyed readings this. This really was one of my favorite reviews. I hope you’ll join me on more gaming adventures at MrDavePizza.com. I write about games, I say what’s on my mind. Feel free to look around and read as much as you like. It’s all free!

Art of Rally: First and New Impressions

Somewhere in my past, I played an awesome rally game that came fully loaded with mud-flapping corners and virtually no control over anything. I also know that these aren’t a grapevine of hits in the racing genre, but rather a genre unto itself. That said, I had no idea before Art of Rally that rally races have a rich aesthetic history that looks darn fine low-poly rendered on a computer screen.

Okay, let’s get meta.

Art of Rally: Go

I don’t want to bog this down with too much research, because I know there’s some treatise on the themes of this game out there which don’t need to have a lot of bearing on anything in it. What I can say, is that this game takes you on a journey from 1960’s Western Europe up unto the 70’s, the 80’s, etc. While a low poly tree or wiggly polygon representing a person don’t change dramatically through the ages, a vehicle or a country’s cultural context do.

So, that’s what I’ve gathered from this is there is a lot of attention paid to these variations. One thing you might notice upon loading up Art of Rally is it is very very minimalist. An off center cream colored window, some non-assuming text, and a kind of unintuitive menu scheme. I wouldn’t mention that if it was a criticism, but I do because this game likes to surprise you.

art of rally screenshot

It’s All About Controllers

The first time I played this, last year, which was entirely too long ago, I actually didn’t like it. I didn’t want to like it. I liked the graphics to an extent, but low poly wasn’t holding over my frustration. This is not a directed statement, or passive aggressive for that matter, but when I recently got my hands on a PS4 DualShock 4 controller, art of rally became a whole new game for me. A very enjoyable game. You could actually benchmark controller performance based on this game.

ps4 controller gif

I think the reason that is has to do with the completely important design of racing in the game. It’s always been something which discouraged me, no matter what the racing game, but when you start off, you usually start off with some sort of vehicle that you can barely control. It would be sort of hilarious if it wasn’t so frustrating.

What I’ve found in this feature is you’re probably “gonna have a bad time.” At least at first. It’s a blessing in disguise though. When you learn to control the junky top of the line rally car, you’ll start to have much smoother experience.

Unlike many racing games, focusing on the car is not the way to have the most control over your driving. It is actually the landscapes, I realized, that are important. Just get into a minimal gear and watch the way the trees pass by as the wisps of wind trace along the curves of the lengthy tracks. You’ll find running the track is a lot easier after this, very peaceful, perhaps reflective of the Buddha shrine featured for this review.

Umm, ‘Cause it Looks Cool. [really]

art of rally screenshot

This game is all about aesthetics. If you like classic European cars, low poly sunsets, and interesting Norwegian town names, you will seriously love this. Otherwise, it’s a cool indie game, with a cool premise, and actually pretty relaxing.

This game is class.

Thanks for reading MrDavePizza.com. I have a variety of content but mostly indie games, have a look around!