*: Ludi is Latin for "games", I thought the alliteration was nice ;]
Hey there, dear reader, and welcome to my gaming journal! This here is my excuse to ramble about the games that I play. And, thanks to a certain cool challenge here in VG I have that extra tad of motivation to actually finish the games I start!
Disclaimers: finishing games not actually guaranteed. Order of the journal could be as chaotic as the brain of the writer.
Challenge goal: Finish thirteen games before the end of 2022. Progress: 1/13
See? I can finish games!!
• The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
• Later Alligator
• Genshin Impact
• Slay the Spire
• Pokémon SoulSilver (joint Soullocke with user gimmepie)
• Escape Simulator
• Bug Fables: The Everlasting Sapling
• Final Fantasy Tactics Advance
• Baba is You
• Tales of Zestiria
• Baldur's Gate EE: Siege of the Dragonspear
• The Whispered World SE
(I told you I was terrible at finishing things...)
Finished (!!) games:
• Ori and the Will of the Wisps
One of my favorite aspects of video games, if not the best aspect, is exploring a new world, wondering what might be hiding behind the next corner. This is the main reason why I vibe so well with metroidvania games. It makes sense then, for me, to pick up Ori.
As far as that exploration goes, the first Ori game was... alright. Perhaps Hollow Knight has just spoiled me and set the bar too high. Nevertheless, the game was so beautiful and emotional that it's well worth playing for those reasons alone!
Will of the Wisps is just as beautiful as its prequel, perhaps even more so. And it comes with some nice little improvements, such as being able to teleport to wellsprings from anywhere, a spirit sword attack that's much more interesting, and lots of lovely NPCs to meet and get upgrades from instead of what was perhaps the most boring skill tree ever. The people you meet also share rumors and give quests now, very exciting! So far quests have mostly been fetching an item from a cave and trading it in for something useful.
Hmmm, that makes me wonder if they couldn't just have put the useful thing in that cave instead, not much difference except... this does allow the game to involve the other characters and share their goals and history. And I'm not going to lie, the characters are all very unique and interesting! And their animations are as gorgeous as the world they live in too! Tokk is the best character, just saying.
The presence of the other characters makes the world feel more alive. And that on top of a most alive world anyway! The world of Niwen is very responsive to Ori's movements, branches tilting by Ori's weight, vines slinging back and forth when grabbed and floating pieces of wood bobbing when landed on. When in this beautiful forest, I don't feel like I am jumping from platform to platform, but I really am traversing these very real lush woods!
And that, really, adds to the fun of exploring the world! On its own, the dungeon has been fairly linear following a plot, though with lots of side caverns and extra challenges for some sweet, sweet loot. A quest marker tells me which way to go to, so, obviously, I head to all other paths first. This can't just be me, right??? And yes, occasionally that means I follow a path for a while only to find out it eventually ends in a "Ability required to proceed" barrier of sorts. Oh well.
My latest exploits in this adventure were freeing a mill to let the fresh waters flow again - this seems to be a recurring thing in the series - by defeating a big evil monster there. Or, well, running away from the monster until it ended up killing itself really. A bit of an anticlimax that. But it also made me realize, Ori is not game about battling monsters, sure it happens, but its focus is about the platforming. And I have to say, Ori is nimble and quick and super fun to jump around as!
Then I went back to big guy Kwolok, told him I made the water Good again, so that the road to the creepy forests opened up where a Bad Thing happened. It seems the only way to resolve the Bad Thing is the will of the wisps. OOOH TITLE DROP!!!
Exciting stuff, let's see where it's going to take us!
That might be the longest "currently playing" list I have ever seen.
I knowwww... ;-; I just have the worst attention span when it comes to video games. "Currenly playing" only counts very loosely though, since I haven't touched some of these in... two years? But I do plan to finish everything on the list at some point probably!
When compiling my list I didn't realize I already got my thirteen games right there, damn. But then again, we all know I am not going to finish all of these before the end of the year anyway hehe...
I am a big fan of deckbuilding card games, RPGs and rogue-likes. Naturally, Slay the Spire is a game that just clicks with me instantly. The game is rather unique – ignoring the few games very obviously inspired by StS – in expanding the boundaries of genres to combine these three. And they go hand-in-hand flawlessly!
With 69 hours into the game – yes, I realize there is a joke there and no, I shall not mention it – I can honestly say Slay the Spire is one of my favourite games. I absolutely love collecting the cards through a run and finding new synergies to make deck that’s as smooth and efficient as possible! Progression between games in that sense is not based on a character levelling up or something like that, but instead I, the player, is “levelling up”, that is I am getting a better feeling of card synergies and a better understanding of the monsters I meet. It’s great!
The short rogue-like runs mean that this is an easy game to drop and pick up later at any point, which is great for someone like me who has a habit of dropping games too often. (And good stopping points also mean you don’t have to feel with the “AAAAAAH I really want to know what will happen next but I also should’ve gone to bed an hour ago, crying!!” feeling. I am sure this can’t just be me.) The four very distinct characters and the many ways they can each be played, on top of lots of different potential enemies and bosses, makes the game super replayable. I think this will be a game that I’ll continue playing for a long while.
What else is there to say? As far as the presentation goes, both in regards to art and music the game is… fine. Nothing bad, but nothing special either. And honestly that’s probably a good thing, too fancy art may only distract and make the game less clear.
In regards to story, there isn’t a whole lot. Just enough of a reason to go out there and slay monsters, nothing that would get in the way of the deck-building, monster-slaying experience. Through enemies and events, the world does feel coherent nevertheless and even the random events feel part of the whole. For example, this weird bird cult (I have no idea what their deal is) has several enemy cultists and a boss called the Awakened One, and makes some appearances in random events with shrines or a cult meeting where I can swipe their donation box without anyone noticing.
The only complaint that I have is that Slay the Spire’s luck factor is perhaps a bit too high. Being a deck-builder, you are of course mildly dependent on getting the right cards in your hand at a convenient time. Holding all your defensive cards when the enemy is not attacking means you can’t defend yourself on the next turn when it will. Part of the genre, I suppose.
But between battles there’s an even bigger factor. No matter how hard you try, if the cards up for grabs don’t fit with the ones you have in your deck, you are doomed. Sadly.
All in all though, Slay the Spire is a very enjoyable experience. One that I would certainly recommend!
Depicted on the banner above: Thrane, power couple Quilly and Adon (Thrane’s parents) and Malnoc.
There are a lot of games on my current "in-progress" list. So, which one of that big list will the next entry be about? The answer is, of course, none of them. Recently, I was gifted the game Wildermyth and naturally I decided to check it out!
Our story begins with two heroes, Quilly and Adon, whose home is assaulted by a monstrous deer.
Alecs, who wields a mighty spoon - which is somehow considered a wand – can do MAGIC. In the world of Wildermyth that means interfusing with an object and then blowing it a part to blow up your opponents. Depending on the material(s) the object is made of, you get to use a different magical ability and blow up enemies with either wood splinters, shrapnel, etc. Or my favorite, “Lore Dump” which is dumping a pile of books on someone. Magic here is actually super cool and unique!
Inter-character relationships are also important, both for events and for battle. Quilly and Adon quickly became love interests, which grants Lover’s Vengeance AKA bonus damage against enemies that attacked their crush. Very useful, certainly since Quilly became my tank and I gave her a muk ton of armor. Being attacked didn’t really mean receiving damage in her case, but that was still enough for Adon to invoke his vengeance.
Adon and Alecs on the other hand became rivals. They very quickly did a bet that Alecs lost, so now Adon gets to use a stupid nickname for Alecs. Their rivalry gives them cool powers too! They get an ability that’s literally called “Oh yeah, watch this!”, amazing right? It improves stunt chance when the other does a stunt. (Stunts are basically critical hits, but cooler!)
Together the three of them formed a band now known as "Those Guys". That's a name. Don't judge me.
Tuck was recruited from a random town and trained to become a Warrior with the power to set things on fire by swift action, which is fantastic since Adon got the ability to shoot ember arrows when adjacent to fire. This led to a great synergy that I have been exploiting for the rest of the game.
Quilly and Adon's relationship was challenged when Adon got a crush on a random girl he met in the bar. She knew about a treasure and they would go and find it together. How romantic! (Much to Quilly's annoyance.) However... not all was as it seems. Apparently, this girl had struck a deal with the drauven, some lizardlike people that I like a lot, to sell our poor victims as slaves. Well, she messed with the wrong people and we dealt with that mess! I'm sure this strengthened Quilly and Adon's romance too!
The boss of the first chapter was a C’thulhu-esque monstrosity. After being defeated, it was not dead but still attacked Tuck - I hate it when they do that. Slithering some of its tentacles in Tuck's ear it used the poor man as a speaking puppet, until he was rescued. Half his face however is still a blob till this day.
Then years of peace followed as an intermezzo. In that time Adon and Quilly got married. How cute!
Tuck meanwhile for being a blobface got... zero cool powers from that actually. I think it just grants him -25 to charisma. No idea what that does in this game, but that does not sound positive. Poor Tuck…
Chapter 2: more gorgons, a lot more of them. There’s a time limit for this one, where the objective is lost if the chapter’s boss isn’t defeated within 300 days. However, each gorgon battle won adds 50 extra days to the clock. So of course that means I am going to scout and clear all the lands for more experience, loot and resources with only a little sadness if I have to fight something else if only because that didn’t mean 50 bonus days.
Not that it mattered really, there was plenty time. Nevertheless, Wildermyth makes such a good use of time as a resource. Travel takes time, scouting takes time, rebuilding an old town takes time but provides resources (you can even decide between doing it faster and finding an item), building bridges that are shortcuts takes time. And on the downside, the monsters grow stronger every x days. Characters grow older like real people, towards their inevitable retirement age.
It’s this (and all the cool event interactions) that makes the characters feel very real.
Also in Chapter 2: Malnoc joined Those Guys. Shortly after joinging, Malnoc was chosen to receive the blessing of the wolf god Lochias and could accept it to become a wolf man. The answer is of course HECK YES LET’S GOOOOO!
After another 11 years of peace, suddenly heavy floods start to plague the lands. Oh no, the gorgons are up to no good again! Every 150 (iirc) days a tile starts to flood! But eh, this is an RPG so that means we still need to use all the time we have scout all the new unknown lands. The unfortunate people near the coast can evacuate, right?
Happy news, during that time, Adon and Quilly's son Thrane (of whose existence I only heard now) has come to an adventuring age and has now joined the squad!
Chapter 3 ended with a battle against Ulstryx, the leader of the gorgons. (You know, the one that the campaign is named after?) His power was to yeet other enemies at my dudes. I kid you not! At the time, my team was really fricking strong, so we dealt with the final boss without any significant damages. Boom, campaign over and a big victory for Those Guys!!
I just got to say, I really, really love this game. I am very excited to see what the next campaign has in stock. I'll be sure to keep you guys (whoever is reading this) updated!
I’ve mentioned before that collecting a good combo of cards is a strong requirement to survive the perils of the Spire. This is part skill, learning what cards go well together, and part luck, that is, being given the option to actually collect cards that fit together.
Here’s one run I did with the Watcher that I did that worked well enough that I finally managed to beat the hidden final boss. I’ve gotten to beat the regular final bosses only a few times but everytime I decided to move on and got wrecked by the Heart. For some reason the game decided that dying after the normal boss still invalidates the achievement of beating the game with the Watcher. Ah well, now I got that achievement and the achievement for beating the Heart with her in one go!
The Watcher is a complicated character whose main gimmick is swapping between Calm and Wrath modes, timing these modes is key. But… for this build I mostly ignored them.
Early on in the run I picked up a Nirvana card. A power card that will, once played, give me a passive buff that gives free Block whenever I Scry. Without any options to scry at the time, it was useless clutter at the time but I had hopes!
Scrying is a very useful Watcher-exclusive ability that allows you to look at the top X cards of your deck and discard any you want, putting the rest back in order. It is super useful to cycle through your deck fast by simply getting rid of the weaker cards! And, with a Nirvana, the bonus Block makes it a free not-dying power too!
Cards like Cut Through Fate and Just Lucky are very good cards on their own with scrying as a little bonus. Now, they get a little bonus of extra block on top that little bonus too, fun! And it becomes even more fun when I added a second Nirvana into the deck.
I was also lucky to grab a Lesson Learned card. Whenever you kill an enemy with that card, it upgrades a random card in the deck. That resulted in a deck that much before the end even fully upgraded. I literally did not need it anymore so I actually removed this rare card from the deck later.
The deck managed to get super compact so that I always got good stuff. And the bits of clutter I could mostly just scry away. It did lack a decent damage output though, until, near the end, I managed to pick up three Pressure Point cards. They apply 11 Mark to an enemy, then deal damage equal to the total Mark. So the first time it does 11 damage, then 22, then 33, 44, 55, and so on... With three cards, you can imagine those number can go up rapidly!
Other fun cards in the deck are:
- Foresight: scry 4 at the start of every turn for free. Free scrying is useful. Free scrying plus free Block is super useful!
- Vault (×2!): a problem with the deck was it takes a bit for set-up. So hey, a card that literally gives a free extra turn is always welcome. No idea how I even managed to get two of these!
- Scrawl: no cost to play, and draw up cards until you have a hand of 10? Hell yes! Usable only once, but good to have if you start the game without a "free extra turn" card in hand
- Eruption: enter Wrath. That's double damage on all attacks (though sadly not the Mark). Downside? All enemy attack damage is also doubled. But ehh, who cares? This deck is able to produce an insane amount of block anyway. I AM INVINCIBLE!!
I haven’t been playing much of Ori in the last month. Surprisingly enough, the reason isn’t even because I got distracted by other games this time.
No, I got stuck.
After the title drop that ended my last journal update on The Will of the Wisps Ori was set out to find these wisps across Niwen, their positions now appearing on the map, one in every corner of the world. This suggested that the world was now opening up, with three targets to go to, which is cool! Time to explore!
...but it seemed only two new areas were open with the new abilities I've unlocked: Luma Pools and that one earthy area to the east whose name I've forgotten.
Now that the waters have been healed again, Ori can freely swim around the Pools. Which is a super pretty tropical area by the way! However, I wasn't able to get super far into the area. Lots of pathways did not seem to be accessible yet. That, however didn't stop me from trying, because sometimes... the distinction between an inaccessible path and me sucking at platforming is very small. I died a great many times attempting to get past a series of three dropping stone blocks trying to swim back and forth hoping to dodge them but only ended up getting instakilled every time (but often almost making it!). I don't know how many deaths it took, but eventually I decided that I should just come back later, perhaps I do need a powerup after all.
Instead I went to check out the area on the east.
The gimmick of that area is all about a new power Ori got: digging through soft soil. Half the area is filled with diggable soil. And while that mechanic is fun and does get some interesting uses in the platforming world, the game decides hanging earth motes are also a thing.
Nothing wrong with that on its own though! But… that means we now have the white flower thingeys that you can use to bash off from, the blue flower thingeys that you can grapple to and the earth motes hanging in places. And of course each has its own button to interact with. In practice that means I get to fall down because I pressed the wrong button in that short flying moment. And it gets worse when there’s a time trial challenge where you get to jump through the air on a time limit with all three of these alternating each other. Ugh…
And the fact that directing the bash isn’t the most keyboard-friendly thing doesn’t help either. (Maybe I should get myself a controller at some point, just maybe.)
This area was one that I was able to traverse through entirely! No wisp here though. Instead this area ended with a gate that requires the powers of all four wisps to open. Great. It took an annoying bit of platforming to get there too, and I know I’ll have to do it again later. Fantastic.
After that I went back to the Luma Pools to scout the area again to see if I didn't miss something earlier, since that seemed the only path to progress now. But nope, nothing.
There's a few other pathways that are blocked: one in the depths requires a music instrument of sorts (and it has a long windy path to get to too, without teleport points), one is blocked by a huge sleeping bear and there's a frozen area that I thought I could get into, but apparently it's completely blocked by ice in all directions not too far in. I do have a fire ability that sets everything on fire, but does that melt the ice? Nope. WHY GAME WHY???
Over the last few weeks I have opened the game a few times, only to quickly close up again because I got frustrated. Eventually I went to check Luma Pools again. After finding no way of progress, I decided to open up a walkthrough and hooo boy, was I a bit mad at the game there.
Apparently the one path forward was upward, which is unusual, certainly considering there was nothing there, and the one location to open that route wasn't even on one of the (several) edges of my explored area. Somewhere, at the center bottom of a lake cavern there was one piece of bubble making coral was blocked by a sea star. Ori couldn't actually attack underwater at the time so the only way to git rid of the sea star is bouncing a projectile from an enemy a bit further into the cavern into the right direction. That's a tad convoluted for something that I needed to look for in the first place, for one. But mostly, the game never taught me to look for sea stars in the first place! No wonder I didn't notice! It wasn't even in a room that I considered the key to the rest of the area to be in!
If there were more sea stars earlier in the game that needed to be broken (in easier to find places), then I would surely have kept an eye out. Now they just become part of the beautiful background scenery. That's the game's beautiful world biting in its own back!
But, after all that frustration, I did it! The coral made bubbles, I jumped on them and... I found one of the wisps! Then, about half a second later that wisp got eaten by Kwolok, who is suddenly evil. Perhaps the tentacle monster that attached itself to him has something to do with it.
A typical Ori-style chase scene followed where being to slow meant the enemy instakilled you. Until you got to the boss arena, that is, where the baddie got a health bar and started attacking you normally. I know this is supposed to be an awesome boss battle with an epic buildup, but this kind of gameplay segregation annoys me, perhaps more than it should. I know it's just a game, and I should think too much about it sometimes. But hey, I can't just turn off my brain, you know?
Anyways, boss battle. It went well enough. Setting the big toad on fire for ongoing damage, even when it was half submerging, was fun! Though I am honestly starting to doubt whether this fire ability is genuine fire at this point, heh.
One wisp down! Woo! After that I decided to walk around a bit more and found that one random gate that was locked this entire time - one that I hadn't bothered checking in a while since I haven't obtained anything that could possibly open it - had some NPCs in front of it. They opened it without much trouble using the opening mechanism in the background that I, of course, can't get to considering I am just 2D and all. Time to continue exploring, I guess...
This part was definitely a lot more frustrating to get through, to the point that I almost dropped the game. The gameplay is interesting enough though that I do want to see what else is out there in the world of Niwen. I do hope the next bit will at least have its pathways a bit easier to find, because I still consider that one sea star absolute bullmuk.
Later in the adventure I swapped out Ori's spirit sword for a big hammer. It attacks a little bit slower, but it packs quite a punch! And it can break some breakable walls too, so that I don't have to swap weapons around all the time if I find something breakable again.
I also realized that one of the equippable shards is a much stronger than you'd expect, to the level of being insanely overpowered even I'd say. The Overflow shard "converts excess Energy to Life and excess Life to Energy" according to its literal description. Sure, that's useful if either bar is full and you get, say, a health pickup. It'll be useful either way. Cool. No, not really.
But, now realize this... Ori has a healing ability to heal three Life for one Energy, so making sure to be at max Life all the time means a life pickup is now worth the equivalent of three life. And... sometimes healing is now free, or even costs negative Energy. An enemy hit you for one damage? Ok, just spend one Energy to heal the one and then have the other two Life being converted to more Energy. Not sure if it's intended to work this way, but once I figured this out, I felt like an invincible god!!
Continuing Ori's travels I had to figure out where to go to next after the Luma Pools debacle. No new paths seemed to open up, but maybe I missed something stupid in more places. I went to this one mysterious gate that was closed. However, this time a group of Moki (the cute little meerkat-like critters that inhabit this world) appeared and... just opened the gate for me because now is a good time to go there. The opening mechanism was in the background all along, and Ori is too 2D to go there, so obviously they needed the help from NPCs for this. Ok game...
Below the gates lay the Mouldwood Depths, where it is dark, extremely dark. This darkness makes it not only harder to navigate, but it is quite literally deadly. Stepping away from a light source, whether fireflies, glowing moss or a glowing enemy, for more than a couple of seconds instantly murders Ori. Intense! And while I thought it was annoying at first, but it provided a very interesting challenge that this entire area was well built around.
In the depths of the Depths, I beat a big spider, that, of course, too changed into a chase scene mid-battle before I could continue to whack her as normal. But it was okay, after I beat the muk out of here, she was pretty chill. It was just the darkness that had gotten to her. The reward was freeing another wisp and TM Flash, an ability that not only lights up the area around you, but also damages enemies that dare to come close by, at the cost of a little Energy. But I had a near-infinite amount of that anyway.
Since I have learned that the request of finding the wisps arbitrarily opened up some pathways, it was time to check out Baur's Reach as well. The direct pathway from the village was still frozen over and fire still doesn't melt that. But! There's another tunnel that was blocked by a huge sleeping bear. Maybe that bear is suddenly gone? Well no, apparently not quite. There was, however, a Moki there I hadn't seen before who suggested tickling the bear. Okay then. My feather that's normally used to create gusts has a second use apparently. I tickle the bear's nose, it sneezes and then flies backwards. Physics! Or something.
Further into the cave I did find Baur the bear awake, who told me that all is doomed and that there nothing to be done before promptly falling back asleep again. Ok then, Baur. Good to know you care about frickin' Baur's Reach lmao.
Time to explore the frozen landscape of Baur's Reach to prove Baur wrong!
(Spoiler: I've actually already beaten the game, so expect more updates very soon!)
The frozen landscape of Baur’s Reach were interesting to traverse. And then to traverse again, when a region was unthawed by an ancient heating system that had to be turned on first. When the heat returned, walls of ice melted, slippery slopes became traversable, but... enemies unthawed as well. In this region, many platforms are actually snapping maws, much scarier when unfrosted, and vines are the tongues of a sleepy predator waiting for an unsuspecting platforming spirit to grab it in order to reach the next cliff.
This region was cool! (Pun intended.) A big complaint I have however is that the source of heat comes from boiling cauldrons that shoot a ball of flaming goop (that is to be juggled repeatedly to a heating system) when you flap a feather next to the fire. It happens the game told me to do this specifically, otherwise I would never have guessed. Honestly, this makes zero sense.
Near the end of the area, Ori also obtains an ability called Light Burst, that allows them to create flaming projectiles of their own. Yes, the ability that melts ice is the light-based ability, not the fire-based one. Let’s just say this game has made some interesting design decisions when it comes to progressing abilities and leave at that.
Because I felt that the temple on the east was the endgame area, considering entrance to it required having collected all the wisps and all, I decided to check again on the closed gate on the east. Some sort of musical instrument was required. I still had none. I did notice three hanging bright flowers which could maybe have a use. And surely, bashing against them makes sound.
I don't know whether I didn't have the bash ability unlocked the previous times I was here or whether I simply failed my perception check and missed these entirely. But I feel this one might be on me.
At that point I had found the instrument, but not the sheet music, so to say. I looked around for clues as to what notes to play and indeed I found them. It was subtle, but it was there all along in the background! Now that I actually know to look for something, it's not frustrating at all! Actually, I do really like searching for clues, certainly in a world that's as pretty as Ori's!
I played the required tune, the gate opened and below I found the Midnight Burrows. The entire situation - put away in the corner of the map, an unusual puzzle to access and a rather strange area - screamed like an optional side area. Surely it was! After traversing cavern filled with teleporters - praise Lupo the map maker for making this navigatable! - I found a hint for a second music piece that opened access to an upgrade that increases all Ori's damage by 25%. Neat!
After that I was ready. Time to go to maybe the final area! (Spoiler: it was actually the one-but-last location.) The gathered wisps opened the entrance to the Windtorn Ruins. Inside, there was only a linear path straight down, along which murals dropped bits of lore. The Decay had ruined much, not only was it responsible for all the threats and disasters we had come across so far, it had also taken over the dead Spirit Willow at the center of Niwen, destroyed all its spirits, and split the light of the Willow into the wisps that Ori has been looking for. The weakest, the Heart of the Forest, lies entombed here in the ruins. The Heart fused with the other wisps and Seir became whole again! And shiny yellow suddenly, denoting it is now pretty and powerful!
Seir told me to guide them back to the Spirit Willow (which would be the actual final area), but before they could even finish speaking, the ground started rumbling and a giant worm erupted and decided that Ori was delicious and chased them for a good while until Ori escaped through a narrow gap, the worm crashed and the ceiling collapsed on its face. Safety!
...safety for now that is. No doubt, worse perils await at Willow's Rest. And it's exactly there where Ori will have to look for trouble.
Willow's Rest very much gave the vibes of a final area. Right before entering the infected area of the dead Spirit Willow, Ori acquired the ability to launch themselves in any direction while mid-air. This, on top of their dash and grappling hook abilities, enables Ori to rapidly maneuver great distances between the many platforms, spikes, goopy rotating barriers and laser beams that fill up Willow's Rest in order to free it from the bits of Decay that reside in every corner of the area.
Once the good old Willow was cleansed of evil, the path was clear to beat the final boss of the game. Unsurprisingly, we were going to face Shriek, the big, scary, evil bird - evil bird antagonists also seem to be a recurring thing in this series - who's partially turned to stone, that we have met a few times throughout the game and that we've had to sneak by at some point. Now it was finally time to beat the muk out of them!
And to my surprise, this did not involve running away, but it was an actually true boss fight! Very exciting!
Halfway through the boss fight Shriek decided to up the challenge and destroy the platforms as projectiles started raining from the sky. Considering Ori is a platforming game, a lack of platforms makes the game inherently more challenging. In that sense, the dangerous projectiles were actually convenient, in the sense that they gave something bash up from. Bashing and launching myself around, and then trying to remember I also need to whack the boss occasionally while doing so, was a very exciting finale to the game for sure!
The old Spirit Willow has been long gone and thus the forest has been unprotected for a long time. The solution: become the new tree. That's right, Ori became a magical tree.
A beautiful cutscene followed in which we see tree!Ori grow to a massive size over the years with their old family caring for them. A very emotional and wholesome experience, without many words, like this series does in a fantastic way, as usual. And that was... the end.
That's right! I did it! I finished a game! Woo!
But I was not truly finished before I went back into the world of Niwen for some cleanup. There was this side-quest of almost endless trade to help out a bunch of people in all corners of the world, trading a hat for a lamp, a satchel for a bowl of soup and whatever for whatever else. I had a few trades to do and some NPCs to find until one of them gave me a map stone fragment. Aha! I remember an old map stone standing in the ancient ruins, they were a big thing in the previous Ori game, so I recognized it when I passed it and thought it was a nice reference to the old game. Inserting the lost piece into the map stone revealed the location of all collectibles on the map.
I was happy to see I had in fact already picked up most of what there was to collect. Most of the remaining pieces were hidden in areas with little to zero visible indication, with only a few where I thought "Hmm yeah, I should've spotted that one huh." All in all, proud of myself for truly completing a game now.
That is... 100% as far as one save file goes. There are still 7 achievements left that require another play-through, which I don't feel like at the moment (perhaps not at all) with insane requirements like not dying. Considering the amount of things in the game that can instakill you and my well over 200 deaths, I am not going to bother with those.
So with that... One game down for the year, only twelve to go!
The other day I did a run through Slay the Spire that was perhaps the wildest run I've had so far. About halfway through the game I thought I had made a mistake and that I had ruined my whole run, but then managed to turn it around and even managed to eviscerate a boss in one turn. (Achievement unlocked: You Are Nothing!)
I was playing as the Silent. Somehow, I had managed to obtain the rare colorless power card Panache (passive buff: for every five cards you play in a turn, deal 14 dmg to all enemies) twice. Thanks to a special relic, one of them always appeared in my starting hand too!
The Silent has a bunch of cards that create Shivs, which cost 0 energy to play, deal 4 damage and are then, poof, gone. The best part is that there's this card called Blade Dance that creates four Shivs for one energy. Playing that and then all four of the Shivs already counts as five cards to trigger the Panaches onece. Of course, I made sure to gather a couple of Blade Dance cards as well.
Then, there's a fun power card that increases all shiv damage by 6, which I had twice. That on top of a relic which increased all 0 energy cards' damage by 4 means all Shivs suddenly deal a whopping 20 damage. And remember that I could create four of those with just one card! (If you're too lazy to do the math, that's 80 damage, plus another 28 from instantly triggering the double-Panache!)
However, stuff got slightly weird when I picked up some sort of branch relic, I forgot what it's called. Basically, it creates a random card in your hand whenever a card is exhausted, which is exactly the thing that happened to my many, many Shivs I kept spawning. I regretted it at first because it meant I got a muk ton of clutter in my deck once it got round, but... by the end of Act 2 it was actually strong enough that I could beat every combat before I got through my entire deck. I made sure to add in a lot of cheap cards that helped cycle through the deck easily such as Prepared (cost 0; draw 2 then discard 2) that also helped free up space in my hand.
Against this one particular poor boss I ended up with a bunch of powered-up Shivs, played and exhausted all of them, got a hand full of random cards, most of which were not that good. One card though was... Storm of Steel: discard your entire hand and receive a Shiv for each card discarded. So I could play everything again! And then got a full hand of free new cards too. In that hand I got a Finisher (cost 1; deal 6 dmg times the number of attack cards you played this turn). You know what counts as an attack? Shivs!! So in the end that added a whopping 90 damage in one card.
Oh and I had used a potion that multiplied all that damage by 1.5 for three turns. Not that the boss got a second or third, for that matter though.
Spoiler: Final deck and relics
Game beaten on:
The Ironclad: Ascension 2
The Silent: Ascension 5
The Defect: Ascension 6
The Watcher: Ascension 0
Wildermyth’s second campaign focuses around the Morthagi, strange creatures built from bones and gears, strange roboskeletons of sorts. Pretty cool! Honestly, all the monster groups of this game are very cool and unique, very different than what you often see in games!
This new adventuring band, the Skelly Slayers, started out with a group of characters of the same three classes, but with different random powers to choose from, they ended up being very different builds compared to the first campaign.
Berric the warrior became a melee powerhouse, whose slashes could basically kill anything that wasn’t a boss very rapidly. He could also set things on fire.
Baydesse the mystic focused on interfusing with fire and would give passive buffs to allies adjacent to her magic flames and could give up to two free attacks on a turn to an ally - often the aforementioned powerhouse Berric. It was no surprise that Baydesse and Berric would become partners in the romantic way on top of just teammates. (Ok, well, in reality they became lovers very quickly into the campaign, but it took some time to get their abilities up to a level where they would synergize this well, but that's a detail.)
Swan the hunter was shortly joined by a second hunter named Medeem who became rivals soon after, whittling down enemies anywhere from a distance.
While dealing with killing these Morthagi - or rather, destroying, considering they are maybe not entirely alive? - the group met an old fellow called Elonward, who seems to be investigating. His tattoos that match those of the cult-like Deepists are nothing to be worried about. Clearly. It was merely leftovers from a past stage of his life when he was looking for a way to extend his lifespan. Hmmm. If it weren't obvious that the Morthagi were this campaign's enemy faction, this man would be so freaking suspicious, but it seemed he was cool.
In a random event, Berric protected a cool magical sword, which was apparently magical. As a way of saying thanks, it then turned into a cute golden pet bunny called Avenger - indeed, do not underestimate the bunny! - that joined him.
In another random event, warrior Zanlop went on journey of self-discovery and got into a world that represented his body. Apparently he was ill, so we fought off his bacteria. With a sword, y’know, like a real doctor.
Later, there was a wholesome conversation as Malnoc told Berric and Baydesse how he’s yet to find the one. Coincidentally, mere moments later, he spots a waterling (a nymph of sorts), falls in love, follows her and a soon enough they are married. It’s that easy, apparently. Also, Malnoc got a cool cloak from her, how romantic!
Between the chapters we have seen flashbacks of a woman first doing an experiment to become a Morthagi. She succeeded, much to the dismay of her spouse. Now, we have seen her talk to Elonward in the present, who told us that he has things to do and gave us the legendary axe Clockstopper as a gift. He wasn't in for fighting any more. He blamed age. Sure fair. But damn, that dude is definitely going to turn into a Morthagi.
After another decade of peace something very real happened. Berric and Medeem got old. They would retire at the end of this chapter...
I started using these two guys a bit less to make sure the rest of the team was up to a decent level to handle the ever-rising Morthagi threat. With Berric being around less for Baydesse to create the fires her build worked around, and Baydesse was not only missing a lover but also a strong striker who she'd just let perform three attacks per round. (Or occasionally less, since Berric was too good at the killing job, and there wouldn't be any enemies left within range.)
At that point, my main mystic on the team would have become Arkyn, who was, funnily enough, Berric and Baydesse's daughter. I love how, even with the same base class, I could give her a completely different build. Arkyn was built as a defensive front-liner whose mere presence could hurt enemies nearby. She was that bad-ass!
At the end of the fourth chapter we meet... Elonward again? He surely looks different. The madman! He did it, he finally turned into one of those roboskellies. Now, we just need to deal with the repercussions...