In evidenza

Terrene: An Evidence of Life Game is Fantastic

Hey, thanks to JustWall Games for letting me try Terrene: An Evidence of Life. This is an indie open-world space exploration game with some sweet pixel graphics and the types of deep-cut quirks that make me play indies, seriously. I didn’t know what to expect at first, to be honest. I suspected some kind of multi-faceted character system based, but that is only part of it. Actually, there are so many open-ended exploration features that I could see exploring the vastness of space could be relaxing and interesting. If you like games like Starbound or Terraria, be sure to check this out.

Platform: PC (Steam)

Launch and Disembark

Terrene: An Evidence of Life with a pretty simple premise to collect biomatter to make clones on your home planet. You basically have everything you need, and the storyline is not too heavy, so moving into open space from your orbiting ship happens quickly and flawlessly. There is not a vast introduction and the pixel graphics are simple but nice–as in everything you need to see is crisp and rendered on an even color scheme.

I thought the fact you have a fighter jet from the very beginning to be totally unexpected and a nice feature that kind of makes the whole game worth it. Directions of the first mission is simple, just head to the planet in your ship and start collecting. On the way, there’s a round of space fighter combat that’s fluid and totally under your control. And, honestly, I’m not a big mouse and keyboard player, but it was very easy to understand what to do here–just drag your target to enemies!

Features of Terrene: An Evidence of Life Game

So many features, I highly recommend you check out the game’s Steam page if you want to see a full list, but here are some to start with.

  • An open and generated universe
  • Various and unique environments
  • A host of tools and weapons to use and upgrade
  • Satisfying pixel graphics
  • Boss fights
  • A whole slew of extraterrestrial life forms
  • A vast mining and harvesting system to collect what you need
  • Tons of exploration under the umbrella of a genuinely unique and humble vision

Final Thoughts

I play games quickly, but sometimes I just want to chill out with something familiar. The way this allows you to explore and doesn’t overwhelm you with glitzy graphics feels so natural. The game is available for purchase, and I think if it’s in your range and genre, check it out. It has a great community to check out, and I highly recommend this title.

If you enjoy reading about content, you’re in the right place, it’s Mr. Dave Pizza. I wrote this article after receiving a free copy, and my thoughts here are my own. Thanks for reading.

Stories From Sol: Part 1 – Interactive VN Demo

Thank you to Space Colony Studios for reaching out to me about this upcoming interactive fiction demo for Stories From Sol: Part 1 Gun-Dog. I’m so excited to tell you all about this new demo. It has touches of retro nostalgia, with a sci-fi storylines, and the beginning of a really good series.

What’s really going on here though is we have a new game entering onto the scene with no background really, although everything about it is seductively brute–it’s worth checking out, hands down. It’s a hard space sci-fi story, a genre not without a plentiful fandom, although this sneak peek led me mostly through sharp comedic timing and even a romantic interest?

Platforms: PC

Genre: Visual Novel/Interactive Fiction

Link: https://space-colony-studios.itch.io/storiesfromsol1

What We Know About Stories From Sol: Part 1 Gun-Dog So Far

The UI and monochrome color pixel interface looks like something from an old DOS game to me, which appears to be correct. Apparently, we’re dealing with a format attuned to a PC-9800, a 1983 Japanese model that runs localized versions of MS-DOS and Windows. Okay, we’re going deep cut here I guess.

Though the sound is sparse in the intro, the sound and music that are there are quite delightful. I enjoyed the smooth pallet of olive green and tinny explosions. As mostly an addendum to my YouTube, I made it through the first few sections of the story, but I liked what I saw.

Story Elements of Stories From Sol

Interactive elements are few at first, but soon your Where in the World is Carmen San Diego? for a PC user interface on the side lights up with new options like the look, move, and use buttons. This makes it easy to interact–using a mouse–with areas of your environment that will light up as you drag over them.

I didn’t experiment with the choice-making in the intro for some reason, I guess because I wanted to progress through as much as I could quickly, but the dialogue is there and there are choices. Choose between a standard answer–or action–or click the ellipsis button below it.

The Gun-Dog is actually the ship in Stories from Sol you are stationed on. It’s rather big, and most (all?) of the story takes place on this ship. You will undoubtedly see just how much you can explore on your first trip to the bridge, where interacting with an old friend unlocks so much potential for more exploration.

This Article is Accompanied by a YouTube Video from the MDP Channel (Subscribe!)

And That’s It

Looks pretty cool. Please note that not only is this a demo, but it also’s part one of the whole story, so if you enjoy it, make the dev know so with a comment on their ItchIO. Or drop by our tweet on Twitter as well.

I hope you enjoyed this commentary. My peers and I are around to help devs like this and share games we think need to be shared, so you’ve come to the right place. Please have a look around, and be sure to come back. Thank you so much for reading https://www.mrdavepizza.com

P.S. Don’t skip out on MDP’s marvelous visual novel section: https://www.mrdavepizza.com/category/game-reviews/visualnovels/

NeuroNet: Mendax Proxy – Interactive VN Demo – Review

This article was published in ChoiceBeat: The Visual Novel and Interactive Fiction ‘Zine Issue #5. Thank you to them for the opportunity. Check out more great articles from the issue by either:

Get the ‘zine free on ItchIO: https://willyelektrix.itch.io/choicebeat-issue-5
Or read in your browser on FlipSnack: https://www.flipsnack.com/choicebeat/choicebeat-issue-5/full-view.html

“Dream Harvest,” the developers of NeuroNet: Mendaxy Proxy have provided a demo that gives a special preview of this futuristic fiction that showcases a highly visual and highly interactive story experience. The synopsis goes something like this. Wake up, you’re the newest programmed artificial intelligence developed by a very prominent corporation in the high-tech metropolitan Catena.

Take it into your own hands in the bizarre POV of the AI, who is named Arc after a few calibrations in the prologue, or “beta” if you will. As you evolve, you’ll be given various responsibilities that will make you think and test ethical tropes that perhaps you aren’t as committed to as you think. 

The game goes beyond average production of interactive storytelling to provide a rich, polished, cyberpunk adventure for fans of the format and theme. Additionally, in NeuroNet: Mendax Proxy, everything you do matters a lot. The choices are deceptively simple, you could even say the choice system is downright hard for a game of its kind. 

I’ll cover a few highlights from this engaging cyberpunk story preview and share some of the innovations I witnessed.

The platform is PC–slated for Steam, Epic, and Itch.IO sometime in 2022. The demo on its own takes about 1-hour to complete and suggests a much longer full version playtime.

Platforms: PC, Mac, Nintendo Switch, Linux

Waking Up & Making Choices That Matter in NeuroNet: Mendax Proxy

Honestly, the best way to try NeuroNet: Mandax Proxy is to jump in without a clue as to what it is about, or at least that is what will happen anyway. The disorientation could potentially be overwhelming as you initially try to figure out what is going on in this glowy animated techno feast of environments.

Interacting with actual humans happens rather quickly, seeing as they are the scientists at the corporate lab you are brought to sentience in. Initial tones of the A.I. are eerily set in a placeless, electronic chasm as a metal, floating brain–or something that looks like one, but soon the variety of locations expands greatly with your access to surveillance systems around the city–we’ll get to that.

Your human masters run a series of questions after you’re booted up to test self-awareness and ethical frameworks. This is certainly a more soft sci-fi approach in my opinion, as opposed to a hard sci-fi approach–since the exact physical phenomena of sentience are not addressed. Knowing that this is the type of speculative reality the game is built, it makes playtime more casual, but potentially equal in authority. This is important because the game does provide an allegory for technology gone too far. A what-if as it were, which is almost necessary for any speculative fiction.

Most of the demo involves testing the purpose of the A.I.’s creation. This purpose is to automate the ethical mechanics of running a real city’s public processes through a series of choices that are broken down to–but not immediately revealed–choices that affect society, the law, and corporate profit. What you, “Arc,” decide to choose will affect what kind of opportunities open up to you in the future–and also, potentially determine how altruistic or malicious you are. It is a popular game mechanic to offer these types of choices and offers itself to players who are potentially new to visual novels and interactive fiction. This is amplified by its presence on the Epic Games platform for its release.

What’s Promised and What Questions You Might Have

The highly adaptive story framework is tantalizing as a mere demo to NeuroNet: Mendax Proxy, and enough to raise some questions. Exciting questions, like how much control will the player have to manipulate the fate of an entire city? The developers promise a think-fast choice system, and from the preview, this is very much realized. “Deceptively simple” is the term coined on their Steam page.

Additionally, it is one thing to confront a riot with your own hands and another entirely to disperse it from inside a cold laboratory mainframe as something which doesn’t even have a real brain. Once again though, this is soft sci-fi, and it is totally fine to chill and just try different things (it doesn’t actually affect the real world of course,) but perhaps you might want to think about the game’s message if you’re the philosophical sort. How and why your choices might lead to a dystopia are worth considering for gameplay and also personal enrichment.

Features of Neuronet: Mendax Proxy

  • Choices Matter – The most highly emphasized aspect of the game’s story.
  • 23 Fully Voiced Characters – Voice acting and character illustrations are very polished.
  • 5000 Different Story Events – Lots to work with here.
  • Rich Worldbuilding – Lore and backstory are important and explorable.
  • Stunning Environments – Lush cyberpunk backgrounds make up every new area.

Keep an Eye on This One


That’s pretty much it for NeuroNet: Mendax Proxy–the demo at least. It became obvious at one point in the demo that this game is going to be a massive story, and I’m sure the developer team is working on all the details. Even in this indie renaissance era, some sophisticated visual elements can bring to life stories with many perspectives. For the genre, the environments and character art are very impressive. 
The interactive aspect of the full release may create some very custom and very exciting realities.

The demo’s cliffhanger suggests that choices in NeuroNet: Mendax Proxy will be not only important to gameplay but a vast journey of choices and consequences. Be sure to check out the demo for this one, especially if you’re a cyberpunk fan.

Here is the Steam link:

Haiku the Robot – First Impressions (IGC Showcase)

Yep, Haiku the Robot is about robots, although you’re more likely to catch on fire before most of its poetics! It’s a dystopic pixel platformer with a variety of routes to navigate through. The tunnels are left from the aftermath of an apocalyptic turn. It does have somewhat of a narrative for the first minute. Mostly, you’ll be in the heat of battle. You are thrown into the general theme of trying to find your way around immediately. Thankfully, maps are available.

Collect bits and bobbles to fund your robot hack and slash lifestyle. This game is as challenging as platformers like Dadish 2; although the mechanical obstacles feel more like being in a large machine. Enemies across each level wander, bounce, and get into your business. There are secrets and puzzles everywhere. If you take a wrong turn, well, you’ll end up back at your checkpoint. These checkpoints are around enough to challenge you, in the general areas of your exploration. Let me give you somewhat of a mental map for this.

Playing Haiku the Robot

The theme of Haiku the Robot runs a bit melancholic. The pixel art effects and the grim backgrounds are smoldering and dark. Luckily, the game is packed with hard-boiled noir robots who vend goods or present challenges–and generally add the only social elements of the game. And the areas you make your way through contain secrets. New areas can have treasures of monetary value and levers that with a slash of a sword unlock even more areas.

The game is kind of weirdly cute yet dystopic in a style that’s approximate to that feeling you get when you see a Jack-o-lantern out of season. Haiku the Robot is so fleshed out though and with several levels in the robot world of Arcadia, you get your money’s worth.

There is also a feature that I wasn’t able to experiment with before I got wiped during my gameplay session at the boss while recording, and that is the chip system. With the chip system, you can customize your gameplay. I guess this is sort of like the skill tree system of various RPGs and could be an interesting resource for later moments in the game.

Yet, even without a play style upgrade, the hack and slash plus movement mechanics of Haiku are fluid and smooth. I never felt that I was not in total control of my character’s fate, leading to some fail-defying heroics as I tried to reach the first boss.

Out Now on Steam!

Based on the level of engagement I gave the game and for its return, I should honestly be thankful. Most enjoyable platformers find their merit in the flow of the gameplay. I feel strength when playing this game. The way it will challenge you to use experience with these types of games is a thoroughly rewarding experience. Perhaps, as the yin to the yang of its theme, the balance of dark and light is potentially the zen quality origin that makes playing Haiku what it is.

Haiku the Robot is out now on Steam for $19.99. I have to note that I received a promo copy of this as a publisher showcase with the Indie Game Collective. Make sure to check them out and please enjoy the content here on Mr. Dave Pizza where I have covered many indie games of all genres and categories.

Thanks again for reading. Enjoy your games!

Soul Delivery – Hot Neon SanFran Robot Cyberpunk: ItchIO Demo

Alright, folks, I am compelled to write about this. Last night I posted a video of a game on itch.io called Soul Delivery. Yes, it is true, the graphics in this game are so stunning, it’s enough to short circuit. Though, until now, I’ve never even heard of it. I don’t know who the dev is, and I don’t know anything more than what’s covered on the itch.io page. But, since there’s a demand on this, let’s just take a look at it right now, and I’ll polish this up later once I’ve had a little more time with it–maybe, I don’t know, it’s pretty good!

Soul Delivery is a solo-dev project from a dev called “Single-Minded Ryan.” It is a platform-side scroller in a super-rich environment with pixel art worthy of gods and heavy attention to detail not usually reserved for such independent projects. You start off in San Francisco, sometime in the future when robots are the only entities inhabiting the world. You too, are a robot, and you don’t quite know who you are either, but you’re off to work as a courier promptly after your awakening. Wander the city and talk to strangers, walk-in buildings, for clues about how and why you are here. Meanwhile, carry a strange package across the cityscape as you pursue such clues.

Platform: PC (ItchIO)

First Impressions of Soul Delivery

Okay, so first of all, the graphics (gasp.) This is a free demo on itchIO and it’s practically one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen! What. It’s paired with attention to detail and a very interactive environment. The whole ambiance in general is right though. I spent a few days in San Francisco a decade ago, and as a former PNWer, I totally understand what’s going on with the plethora of bohemian yet high culture that the city has. This is represented correctly in Soul Delivery in numerous examples, adapted of course for the playful tropes of the game’s theme. There’s also plenty of high-geek cultures too, in the nicest way, like the ’80s Arcade halfway through the first section with glowing cabinets inside. Loved it.

If you were wondering, the way I tracked down this game is by using the input methods search on Itch.IO. You probably didn’t know that existed, but it does, and it means that this demo can be played entirely with a controller. An Xbox controller at least, which Mr. Dave Pizza recently acquired.

The controls are smooth and responsive too. The smooth animation feels like an Apple Arcade game mixed with a high res pixel clip, although this is definitely a PC game., which is refreshing because the game is not too cumbersome or resource-demanding it would seem. (At this point, yes, it’s a nice game to take for a test run for now.)

Soul-Delivery’s Various Features

Directly plucked from the dev’s ItchIO page: https://singlemindedryan.itch.io/soul-delivery

  • No violence, no shooting and fighting. This game doesn’t require you to be especially reactive.
  • Enjoy beautiful 2D graphics generated from 3D models with dynamic lighting.
  • Talk to robots with dynamic options to explore the background story of this mysterious world. Especially the relationship between humans and AI.
  • Explore 4  areas(in the demo) in the cyberpunk city.
  • Solve puzzles and help robots to advance the story.
  • Upload your consciousness to different bodies, wield their abilities(no in the demo).

Final Thoughts

Might throw more in here eventually, but here’s the thing: I do not know when/if this will be released. It’s clearly a major project, but there haven’t really been any updates to the dev’s YouTube channel since last year, although there are a fair amount of frequent comments on the game’s itchio page. I’d really encourage you to support this dev with a charitable amount toward the demo, but also to try it out for free because you’ve got to see this one.

That’s it for now. Thank you so much for reading Mr. Dave Pizza. Leave a comment below, stop by again, say hello on social media. We appreciate you, and I’m glad to have so many friends here. Take care. Oh yeah, and one more time, here is the game’s ItchIO page, you can download the demo there: https://singlemindedryan.itch.io/soul-delivery

The Gunk – Not Really Sure What This Is But It’s Fun

Discovered through Game Pass, I’m rather fond of this new title, The Gunk, from Image and Form/Thunderful Development, which just launched a few days ago. It fits neatly into the category of games I usually enjoy which are casual character development, soft sci-fi, and familiar mechanics of resource-collecting games. And this version of those styles is well presented here. While the game is really very straightforward without much need for introduction, a quality I appreciate, I’ll share some highlights on my experience playing through the first few areas plus what you should know about this game.

The Gunk: The Funk

I might note some various games and movies because there are elements of my geek lexicon that are scattered throughout The Gunk. To begin with, the story is about a descent into an alien world from a hovering ship, with two friends that are looking for materials to haul for trade, or more accurately scrape by. After a little exploration, they discover the planet they are on is a feast of tradeable materials that, if they discover the mystery of, will most likely go further in making them rich. It’s got a Starlord feel for sure, or Rae–I don’t know it’s space harvesting, practically its own archetype now. After that, you craftily explore mines, caverns, and contained areas to collect materials that are energy sources for their operations.

This storyline is not a storyline as much as a guided tour through a planet. There is some casual character development of the two friends who work this operation along with their robot. There is, however, some background given in the levels I played as the characters communicate with each other over radio, a neat way to keep things relevant but also on track.

Visual Styles in The Gunk

I think it’s unlikely that The Gunk is to any extreme a borrower of style from games I can think of, but it does remind me quite pleasantly of an indie game I played called Twin Stones. The primary similarity though is design, not gameplay. The worlds combine scaling chasms and lush green platforms in a similar way, and it is very welcoming to casual play. It’s something new, but also a style I can pick up and play straight away. So, it’s familiar, basically.

Aside from the environment, the particle effects, whether it’s the rock scanner or heaps of pink gunk–in The Gunk–are very clean and cool in the usual sci-fi way. The harvesting vacuum reminds me Slime Rancher. We’re talking about a whole different experience here, but it’s nice to see fun mechanics getting revived whatever their origin might be. I compare in only an admirer’s way. I still think there is some other game I’m thinking of here but I really have no idea, so kudos to the devs.

Out Now

The Gunk is out now for free with a Game Pass subscription. It’s certainly worth your time and it is so in a way where even if you just play the first few areas, it’s a nice traditional romp in space game for all kinds of players. (There is a very slight presence of mature language, but it seems to be minimal.)

You might want to play more though, for which I give the green light all the way. I have taken a look at some areas further into the game and there is no shortage of adventure and creativity. If you’d like to play this you can find it on Microsoft at https://www.xbox.com/en-us/games/store/the-gunk/9P008L2LS87F

Thank you for reading Mr. Dave Pizza. I hope you enjoyed this article and my website. I welcome you to look around at whatever you like!

Blake: Cyberpunk Mystery Visual Novel

Blake is an interesting new visual novel from LegendOri Productions about a complacent computer programmer turned vigilante in a futuristic cyberpunk city. The primary scenario within the game involves a new technology that can make somebody totally anonymous. Even amongst the modern people-tracking computers of its era, a criminal of heinous description is leaving a fatal trace and incidentally has decided to start toying with Blake’s sanity.

The visual amalgamation of all the people and places of this story looks really, really good and the art, in general, is right on the button in terms of a high-quality visual novel. I’m always up for a good visual novel at first glance, so let me tell you about Blake. Prepare for a downlink for this digital discourse. We’re going in.

Thanks to Indie Game Collective and the developer at LegendOri Productions for giving me this opportunity.

Gameplay of Blake

Pre-faced warning: This game has mature themes including language and violent themes, which I didn’t realize right away, but I thought I’d let you know. I’m not always good about remembering to say that.

One thing on visual novels. I love them. What I also love is cyberpunk. They make a really compelling combination as the duo of this generation’s audio-visual preference in media format with the love of the classic mass-market format of a cyberpunk thriller. You might not even care about this, but it’s something I’ve noticed in reviewing games.

As per visual novel standards, there are some great characters to consider with clever quirks and some perfect illustration opportunities. Early on, after Blake’s standard mega-corporate office intro, the whole crew heads out for drinks. You can learn more about any of your co-workers on the same level of the chain. Or not. I chose to skip this, just to see. I generally play the anti-social type in dating sim scenarios. that’s just my thing.

Soon enough, you’ll get pulled into a bizarre tango with a predator, fast-tracked by the office boss Jonathan. Organized crime allusions and bizarre occurrences will, I suppose, lead you on a treacherous path! And judging by the cover, the visual novel cover, there’s a pretty compelling world built in Blake.

Best Audience for Blake

I talked before about the cyberpunk genre/gaming phenomenon. Now I’ll brainstorm on the story. I know for a fact that mystery stories are HUGE in the literary and film/tv industries. The reason is simple. The themes and characters in your standard who-dun-it, or in this case who’s-still-dunning-it, is a great way to drive a plot. The conflict, villain, hero, and plot development all roll out like clockwork. And even if it takes the whole story to unravel, you know it will be resolved… somehow.

I couldn’t help but notice one of the plot points was familiar to me from an old episode from Ghost in the Shell: Stand-Alone Complex. It’s actually one that gave me nightmares! So pretty disturbing I’ll say that. Sometimes visual novels enter a gray area of the character components versus necessary drama that usually takes the backseat in scenes. This has always struck me as kinda weird. But that’s okay because now you know here before you play it. And like I said, it’s a common visual novel trope.

Just one more thing to mention. Most VN’s are loaded with endless dialogue. Blake manages to add quite a few descriptive narrative descriptions along with the dialogue. I think that’s actually pretty good because cyberpunk has a lot of history in creating super locational hyperbole from panels of organic diodes and carbon to dust on the halogen lamps. It’s in its nature.

Final Thoughts

I’ll wrap it up there. This visual novel is top-notch and it will immerse you into a complex story with a heavy reward for the determined. I have the Steam link below where you can find it. And with that, keep your circuits in order.

Thank you so much for reading Mr. Dave Pizza. If you enjoyed this article, please have a look around, and please come back!

Sable – This is a Strange Game But Freaking Beautiful

Sable is a very promising story-rich open-world game with lots of punch in the aesthetics and some very captivating design qualities. Most noticeably, is the 2D illustration in a 3D environment, but also the story. Gamers will feel like they are flipping through a really high-quality graphic novel that has come to life on whatever system they’re using to play it on.

I wondered throughout the demo whether this was an alien world, a fantasy world, an ancient world, or something that exists within its own celestial sphere of storytelling. In fact, it is all of these things. I wasn’t sure if I had enough emotional reserves lately to handle another stunningly beautiful game, but it turns out I did. So, I’ll tell you what’s going on with Sable today. Let’s go!

This game is part of The Indie Houses event on Steam which has been featuring several indie games in development this past week. Today is the final day, and this concludes my series for the event.

Thanks also to Indie Game Collective, who has collaborated with The Indie Houses event for us.

Gameplay in Sable is Unique and Promising

Although it’s a league of its own, Sable’s intro is very familiar–mechanically at least. Ah yes, the ancient temple with scalable walls and tutorial obstacles. Yep, it is right off the bat heavily reminiscent of Breath of the Wild. It might be wise to consider this sort of thing a whole genre at this point. And yet, as I said, the 2D illustration mapped on a 3D world just looks so fresh and new.

The tutorial zone is an enclosed valley on an alien planet (I checked this.) It’s a desert-strewn village with some shamanistic/scrapper qualities. The interaction with characters has rich dialogue and several different options for conversing. You can just play it cool, you can ruffle feathers (a bit,) or you can be quite polite. NPCs in the village all emanate a kind of pleasant demeanor that was nice.

The entire game is based on your character, “Sable,” and her rite of passage for something called a “gliding.” From what I can gather, it seems your primary goal is to explore this tattered world filled with old spaceships and ancient relics and find things. As such, it’s incredibly beautiful of course. There are some amazing-looking areas, and any lingering BoW similarities are demarcated for Sable’s own unique open-world interpretations.

Open World Features in Sable

  • Explore the world at your own pace
  • Discover secrets and collectibles
  • Customize your bike and drive it (which is quite fun by the way)
  • Climb stuff – (This especially, you can scale just about anything!)
  • Explore as you like, glide around, and explore on foot
  • Solve puzzles if you like (it’s up to you)
  • Encounter other characters/nomads, and help them with tasks
  • “Original Soundtrack by Japanese Breakfast” (Indie music & indie games, awesome concept)

Interesting Aspects of Sable’s Invitation

Sable makes me feel like I’m in a real sci-fi world with authentic excavated wonders to unlock. I have always liked this type of game but I’m so happy there’s more now! The lack of top indies that do this coming to mind is understandable since it is a humongous undertaking to create an entire world like this. And the natural terrain, though illustrated, is highly realistic and detailed. I admired the patterns of the cliffs around the valley as I sputtered through from the village.

I think this one is going to be very highly regarded after release. If you follow the Steam link below you can wishlist it, the best thing to do is to support game devs of awesome games!

Off I Go

One last thing I want to mention. The music, from “Japanese Breakfast,” a very good indie band, sounds so amazing on the soundtrack for Sable. My internal critique was stamping approval over every aesthetic choice in Sable as I played it, and nonetheless the music.

I’ve included the steam link below. This was a special preview I was able to get for The Indie Houses, but there are videos and pictures there, so check it out.

Thank you so much for reading Mr. Dave Pizza. If you like what you read, please have a look around, and come back again! Thanks!

OPUS: Echo of Starsong – The Beauty Continues

OPUS: Echo of Starsong is a narrative sci-fi drama taking place in the far reaches of lawless space. The game is part of a series that are all part of the OPUS universe. I covered the previous two OPUS games in the series last year, and they were very popular, accounting for a ton of traffic on my site! I also thoroughly enjoyed them. So, when I started off today learning that I would have an opportunity to cover the third OPUS game in the series, OPUS Echo of Starsong, which was just released on September 1st, I was super excited! This series has so much to offer in interpersonal character development, art design, and dramatic storytelling. It is no wonder fans love OPUS. So let’s get started.

SIGONO provided me with a copy of this new game to cover this since I talked about them last year. Thank you so much!!!

Here are links to reviews of the first two games:
OPUS The Day We Found Earth
OPUS Rocket of Whispers

Getting Started in OPUS Echo of Starsong

OPUS Echo of Starsong absolutely massive compared to the previous two games. I’m mostly here to tell you how it is and not how it ends. I’ll include a trailer from SIGONO and also my YouTube video of some gameplay of the first asteroid. Otherwise today we’re taking a look at approximately the first chapter or so. The massiveness is also excellent. I think a lot of gamers really want to be immersed in the space exploration aspect of these games, but you can play however you like!

The OPUS series all takes place in the same game universe, with totally new storylines, new characters, and settings. The Day We Found Earth is about a robot and a hologram drifting through space with a heartbreaking twist. Rocket of Whispers is about two characters building a rocket in an abandoned world to send spirits to their destiny. Echo of Starsong, this game, is about Eda and Jun heading into the reaches of space to solve an ancient myth.

OPUS Echo of Starsong Eda

Gameplay in OPUS Echo or Starsong

I think they went in an interesting direction by fleshing it out as more of a space RPG. The beginning even seems to have some trader game elements–intriguing. Combat has always been of less importance compared to the character-driven stories in OPUS, but there’s a little more story-driven combat here than I expected. Interactive cutscenes feature an elder gentleman exploring an asteroid with his cane early on in the story but also appearing later. It really wouldn’t even be an OPUS game without flashbacks and flashforwards for context and intrigue. It always feels like the tip of the iceberg when you learn something about the worlds within this universe. That is ultimately one of the most compelling things for me in these games.

Aside from those aspects, another familiar one is puzzle solving. Apparently, an aetherial glowing substance, known as “lumens,” is what drives the economy and ultimately the story. I have to be honest, I don’t totally know what the story being uncovered is–but why would you want me to tell you that–but also the familiar themes of “witches,” basically psychic attendants to the traditions of OPUS, are capable of interacting with and manipulating lumens through the tradition of starsong, magic singing basically.

OPUS Echo of Starsong Capybera

Features

  • Seeing is believing – A distinct blend of hand-drawn illustrations and low-poly art lend an eerie beauty to a war-torn, lawless galaxy.
  • Starstruck heroes – Follow protagonists Jun and Eda as they explore forgotten corners of the galaxy and unravel the truth behind an ancient myth.
  • Space Opera -Thoughtful sound design and beautifully composed music weaves into the story of the mysterious ‘Starsong’.
  • Stronger Together – Use Eda’s voice to locate the elusive asteroid temples, and then disembark as Jun to explore and solve the puzzles within.
  • Motley crew – Meet a diverse cast of enemies and allies on the journey, each with a backstory tied to the troubled history of the solar system.
  • Don’t lose your way – Manage the ship’s resources and upgrade it as you chart a path through the stars, crossing into unknown and dangerous territory.

Art From The Heart

The design of OPUS Echo of Starsong is very pleasant to look at. It’s not exactly conventional anime, though you could probably say it is. It runs the gambit of heavy detail visual novel art with hard edges and flat graphic platforms, with strong traditional anime tones! It’s also totally different than anything else. I think a lot of people play it initially based on the amazing screenshots and trailers of the beautiful graphics. The stories are epic too, but the art makes it happen.

OPUS Echo of Starsong Old Jun

The user interface for navigating space or interacting with the environment struck me so curiously too. Anybody could figure it out, but the ambiguity is enough to provide creative choice-making. You can kind of do whatever you want in what order, to an extent. The opening scene with the elder gentleman traversing with his cane was really in the realm of fine art. It wasn’t comical or diminutive, it was attentive to the detail of the cast of motions and images of the human body. And actually, now that I think of it, the OPUS series is definitely a tribute to the human body, being a common theme in the design.

Final Thoughts

These games are just absolutely great. If you get a chance to check them out, start anywhere and enjoy. The OPUS series is a gift to the world, who might otherwise see another story like it in their lifetime. And for an epic adventure, have faith in your procurement of some gameplay in OPUS Echo of Starsong.

Thank you for reading Mr. Dave Pizza. Be sure to look around and come back again!

Kick Bot – This Is Impossible, But I Can Do It

“Kick Bot,” it’s an exciting precision platformer on the way from Two Scoops games. It’s time for Dave Pizza to step outside his comfort zone and try some of these more challenging game foes. And I’ll tell you, I thought it was broken because I didn’t know how to play it. It’s definitely challenging, but definitely possible. And with the retro-tastic sound effects and neon robot package, it’s exciting to look at and play. In fact, it does that thing where it reminds me of the 90s without cheapening it. So, let’s see what this precision platformer that got my attention is. JUMP IN.

Jump Up, Jump Up, And Jump Down, Kick Bot

Okay, let’s see if I can contextualize this for you. This game basically feels like a TMNT spinoff, and I like it. It is definitely a more Dimension-X of TMNT experience than otherwise experienced though.

The audio design makes me feel like a dream where my braces, I don’t have braces, are peeled off my teeth by a Moog synthesizer. Woah, that was pretty weird, sorry. It’s got a catchy chiptune beat though, and I really liked it. It’s one thing to write about a game and say it reminds you of something, but another to say it is that thing. So, whether it’s cyberpunk or sci-fi, I don’t even really know, it feels darn good though.

I had a little trouble when I played this last week. I thought maybe it was a short demo. Hint: you can sometimes find out what to do if you pay attention to the background. I noticed this when I was reviewing the video later. Pretty much everything that you can do is controlled by two buttons. The triggers on my controller, or left and right arrow buttons on my keyboard.

Tips and Tricks in Kick Bot

Spikes, saws, laser beams, the whole works. There are also springing platforms, stomp areas, and wall edges that you can grip to pretty well with some slight entropy, but that’s no problem as you can also climb the walls before you leap to the other side. If you’re not familiar with this type of game, timing is everything. Timing is everything in Kick Bot. Oh yeah, the reason it’s called “Kick Bot?” … A robot with a giant boot kicks you through the roof when you complete a level. Hey, why not?

Levels assuredly will get harder the more you progress. Just experiment, and persist.

Thwomp

The part where I found my limit, for this casual experiment, were the lava-filled thwomp areas. Thwomp? I don’t know, that’s what they’re called In Mario. I feel comfortable saying that since they are not exact replicas and have their own style.

I’ve been sitting on this game for too long, and the showcases are pouring in. I will be covering the latest Onirism update soon, so stay tuned for that.

There’s going to be a lot going on here soon, and that’s okay since no one said you can’t go backward if you can’t keep up. Except in Kick Bot… yeah, that probably wouldn’t end well. Wishlist on Steam now!

Thanks for reading Mr. Dave Pizza! If you have a moment, check out my Buy Me A Coffee page. And please come back again! Until then, thank you so so much!