Metaverse Keeper – This IS Fun

It occurred to me today, as it does every day here in the Pizza Command Center, that I don’t quite know what my ethos is. And then it occurred to me during my game session with Metaverse Keeper that while most of my reviews are very clean, combined with my own yearn, my own challenge to write about these games and why I’m playing aren’t necessarily clear.

So, to clear this up, this game is E for Everyone, which is generally my target for content. It is also mildly hack and slash. If that’s not your thing, I understand; after all, I hardly cover that kind of stuff. With a pretty friendly art direction, rich with favorable themes though, I was fine with it.

This game has a very interesting concept behind it, one that I’m not sure the importance of, but, yes, story as it were. I just wanted to sink my teeth into something. It’s frustrating to dig through archives of games and rarely garner any affinity or flutter, but this was the one.

So, without anymore delaying, here’s Metaverse Keeper.

Metaverse Keeper Has a Story

Its actually a pretty good premise, although it might not totally be what you think it is. I was kind of relieved when it was mostly just a good ol’ colorful monster beater upper. The art was pretty much right for the content, no over–or under–stepping. Not just the graphics but the color choices and character design. The bosses and monsters in this are so oozerific and tentacley. And not impossible, which is a bonus for me.

Metaverse Keeper

This game is procedurally generated. As in, the dungeons exist the one time you play them and then they regenerate in a new arrangement the next time you jump in. Going Under, another game I wrote about, worked in a very similar way. Actually this game reminds me a ton of Going Under, but that only endeared me to it. Purchase confidence +10.

What is it?

I’m not totally sure how this game ends, but I do not think so. This isn’t that strange in light of most RPG’s or Co-op play. I did some searching and seems this game is pretty popular for multiplayer. And it’s coming to Steam, so it might get some further characteristics down the road.

Metaverse Keeper

The bosses are good! I absolutely love them in a way that you’d think blowing them to blubbery pieces would be an obstacle, but their short mission of existence in the game kind of turns all the proper knobs and lever.

It Kind of Works

I’m a sucker for aesthetically on point design, and this one spoke to me without demanding much. Luckily, I was able to discover that there was quite a bit of content further in the game. There’s a whole section of the game involving team members which you can switch between on your spaceship. This is a game that is very much setup for local and online co-op play. There are many customization stations on the spaceship, so you can build your heroes stronger and more effective.

It’s not asking much, just to spend some time squishing weird monsters and running around planets. Yep, I’m feeling good about this.

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OPUS Rocket of Whispers – This Is So Intelligent

Mysterious backstory, cosmic balance, ancestral duty. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Heavy topics, yes, but not to worry. This game is poetry, and these types of themes are in the prequel OPUS: The Day We Found Earth. It seems that there is even a theme in common between that game and OPUS Rocket of Whispers, but I am hesitant to say, conclusively, what it is.

I’ll give you a quick background on this game. It takes place somewhere that may be Earth or possibly a blue equivalent. You play two characters. Alternating as the story sees fit, John, a survivalist rocket part scavenger, and Fei, the rocket constructing witch and emotional support to John.

The title “witch” is not thrown around loosely like a support class, this is a title given to the shamanistic mystics that play a super important part in the story. Most of it is clear in the first 5 minutes, but it is thematically complex. Also, it has occurred to me that this is not really a game for all audiences. Some of the themes, although not rude, are a bit mature like John’s background. If you’re cool with that, then read on.

Genius Loci

Gameplay

Genius Loci, which means spirit of place in Latin. Fei and John’s world has a thick heavy fog of spirits and spirits who inhabit it. This is crucial to understanding the game. While making a rocket sounds like a nice escape scenario for a barren world, it’s actually project of Fei and John’s attempt to honor the tradition of their fallen civilization. This is a ritual known as “Space Burial.” It’s a rather sweet sentiment for a game story that’s given a courteous comfort zone. This doesn’t surprise me given my experiences with The Day We Found Earth. What I mean by that, of course, is that there are equal amounts of gameplay juxtaposed with backstory and the current plot–not just one long cutscene.

“Space Burial” is something spirits of these planets have had for decades. Because of the state of things, spirit inhabitants scatter throughout the land waiting for their passage into the cosmos via a rocket. Something which is the domain of “witches” from the “Church of Earthology” before the plague.

Spring Ahead in OPUS Rocket of Whispers

Here, 25 years into the future, these two characters face odd obstacles of mathematical equations, part acquirement, and John’s terribly debilitating condition of being able to hear the cries of spirits. It’s not really creepy or anything. John’s disposition is a bit troubled, but it lifts at times. I played this game for quite a bit and I did not encounter anything too disturbing. Warning though, some of the background story in OPUS Rocket of Whispers covered by the cut scenes is rather emotional.

OPUS Rocket of Whispers

John was a happy-go-lucky kid that now has to deal with a troubled past. He’s actually rather pleased when he’s not in grief though, even towards the beginning. Fei chides him for his cynicism though and the two banter in a rather melancholic way.

Gameplay in OPUS Rocket of Whispers

OPUS Rocket of Whispers

Okay, that’s enough story outline. What’s the gameplay here? Well, most of it involves a combination of actual mechanical necessity and some of it involves misdirection or more story unveiling. You’ll wander through a pixel art top-down map of your outdoor surroundings and things hidden within the general vicinity of the rocket workshop. It’s a humble environment but aesthetically pleasing.

The game’s progress requires some puzzles for collecting objects. Fairly soon, the spirits guide you to collection areas like workshop roofs and blocked ritual areas. This makes things a lot easier and also engaging. I found the quest tasks like making metal cutters or boots a challenge to me in the right ways. The ability to go anywhere new becomes encouraging because most of the story is usually in relatively close quarters.

The Emotional Message

OPUS Rocket of Whispers has pretty good intentions. The free mobile version of the game ends in terms of length and content just about as long as The Day We Found Earth. If you purchase it, either on the console or after playing for free on mobile platforms, there are about 3 more hours of gameplay with the purchased version.

OPUS Rocket of Whispers

I recognize in Fei and John something I’ve seen in myself. A friendly, but necessary banter, something or somebody that keeps you strong knowingly even though it is a struggle. A nudge to stay alert. It’s a genuine survival method, although I’m not even sure that’s it either. Personally, I’m satisfied with that level of uncertainty.

There are certain themes in life that exist continuously in the human spirit. This game fills the void of purpose in a purposeless environment. First, it’s space, then it’s civilization, then it’s humanity. Or maybe the other way around. Each one is disintegrated and sometimes rebounds regularly to keep us strong. That’s my opinion anyway. You might recognize the concept.

For Posterity

I really was hesitant to try this game, because the first one was so good. I guess I wasn’t sure if it could be repeated. It made me feel something that I haven’t felt that often though. I recently paid a visit to the developer’s website, and I’m happy to inform you that they have announced the third game in the series to be released this year called OPUS: Echo of Starsong. It looks just as emotionally complex as its predecessors, and I eagerly anticipate the wait.

Also, one other thing. The soundtrack on this is amazing. It sets an ambiance that I felt in the first OPUS. Very instrumental and relaxed. It is listenable on Bandcamp at this link if you are searching for it.

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OPUS: The Day We Found Earth: Beautiful Robots

I think I recently made a comment that, as I get older, the more I make the heartbreaking conclusion that mankind will never explore the galaxy due to physics and entropy. What a bummer. What if we had explored it though? And what if we went so far that we couldn’t find our way back? That’s what’s going on in OPUS: The Day We Found Earth.

OPUS: Data Briefing

This game is now reaching 6 years old with a release date by SIGONO INC. back in 2015. As I write these, I keep finding games around that era that are absolutely incredible for some reason. Once again, the creators of my current topic here really created something beautiful, something ingenious

This type of story is not unfamiliar. If you think about stories like Battlestar Galactica you are probably very familiar with this idea. That idea is humanity is on a mission to find Earth again.

I’m not sure what it is, but there is something about this topic that people really love. Maybe something about survival? We’re all working on that task every day. I occasionally entertain the idea in my head of living star-bound in a life-spanning intergalactic vessel like Parzival in Ready Player One or Dave Lister in Red Dwarf.

I had to mention it because the hologram character, in physical presence at least, is a touch like Rimmer. Her personality and identity are completely different though. I’m glad because there is a lot more delicate sentiment here about genuine existentialism. (I love Red Dwarf though.)

OPUS: The Day We Found Earth
Exo-planet
Galaxy

There’s More to OPUS, A Lot More

This is not quite that story though. OPUS: The Day We Found Earth is about robots! Actually a robot and an A.I. and their existential journey. Depending on your philosophical convictions about self-awareness or animism or spirit, there’s a lot to think about. Their names are Emeth and LISA. Emeth is a robot who has the task of finding Earth. LISA is an A.I. Hologram shared in the ship computer’s memory, that is a facsimile of Emeth’s trainer, a doctor named Lisa. There’s a large gap in the story though, as one moment you’re looking for Earth and the next you’re awakened as Emeth way into the future, long after the days of human involvement, and the story starts again there.

Let’s Try It Out

I wet my feet enough to learn that this game involves life as Emeth the robot, in a spaceship that’s been abandoned, which is actually a giant Earth-like-planet-finding telescope. You’re entrusted with finding Earth, quite the task. If it sounds daunting, it is at first, but then it becomes fun. You interact with your creator a bit and her partner and get to work.

I knew there was a story from the beginning, however, I did not realize that I would actually have to procedurally locate Earth by scrolling around the galactic sky. It’s kind of fun when you find an exo-planet (a term that I actually know about that means planet outside the galaxy.) A meter comes up and measures the components of these planets and you can even name them! I named one Pizzageuse as in the real star Betelgeuse, the tenth brightest star in our night sky… and pizza.

As you awake in the future, your creator’s, the doctor’s, hologram shows up as a companion and leader who has the same task and lightens the load a bit but mostly exists to drive the story. Zooming in on exo-planets with a space telescope is fun but there is more to this game. Not a huge amount else, the searching is important, but it is only an element in a “human” story, a pondering, about… robots.

OPUS: The Day We Found Earth
Emeth Robot
OPUS Gameplay
OPUS: The Day We Found Earth

I Love Robots

OPUS: The Day We Found Earth tugged on my heartstrings from the beginning. Even though it’s about robots, it really addresses some meaning-of-life-type themes. There is a metaphor for parenting, and I did a little research and it seems like the game might have an appropriate but very emotional ending. I like to have a little philosophy mixed in with my sci-fi, so maybe you do too.

The game won’t last very long, maybe a couple of hours. You’ll be able to grab it for under $5 most likely, it was $1.99 on eShop. There is absolutely nothing inappropriate about this game, but you should be ready to be hit with some serious topics packaged in this neat indie game.

If you want to play a game that’s as beautiful as Kurt Vonnegut novel but compatible with a mature but empathic film, this is it. This is Wall-E for grownups. And you’ll probably complete it in a couple of hours. Good luck. Robots are beautiful.

Closure

P.S. There is a sequel to this game called Rocket Of Whispers, which is an award-winning game as well. Here is my link to my review of that game! I’m glad I discovered this game’s existence, it is a game with incredible sophistication and so much integrity!

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