Psychonauts/Hollow Knight/Risk of Rain

So I have been playing more video games. It is a great release when I reach home after a day at work or something to do inside while it is so hot outside. I can only take so long of a walk outside these days before I start melting. I have to plug Good Old Games (gog.com) because that is where I have found many cheap PC games. Despite all this game playing, I have been pretty productive writing entries here on the blog. I am even writing a story and banking it to be released here later, probably when I need a vacation or if something comes up. I have also officially started writing for my Halloween event as well. Playing new video games has been inspiring me and allows me to zone out and let things swirl around before I write.


Psychonauts

The first game I will talk about is my replay of Psychonauts, this time on PC instead of Playstation 2. I bought it so that I have it saved on the cloud instead of relying on my physical copy and also it was cheap. I had played the game a couple times so I pretty much zoomed through it. The game is great, produced by Double Fine whose employees previously had made a lot of point and click adventure games for LucasArts. The game combines some of the structure of a traditional adventure game with a fun beat-em-up combat system. The game follows a young kid named Razputin who sneaks into a psychic summer camp run by superhero spies. You get to interact with your fellow campers while trying to get to the bottom of an insidious mystery. The main construct of the game is that you are able to enter the minds of people at camp and navigate their anxieties, their fears, their complexes, and try to help them fix things. It is really a surprisingly sweet game with a goofy and surreal sense of humor. The sequel should be coming out soon so I wanted to refresh my memory.


Hollow Knight

I actually had not added this game to my list despite how ‘beautiful’ it is because I knew that it was a very difficult game. I tend to shy away from notoriously hard games because they can be frustrating and I do not want to feel like I am banging my head against the wall. The price was dropped to a shockingly low level and I could not pass it up. I fired up the game and immediately there was a learning curve. The game was definitely difficult but I kept at it and my fingers started to learn the way the character moved. I died a lot. Over and over I died but never did any of it feel unfair. I always felt like I had almost gotten it and I was surprised whenever I got past a part that had previously stymied me. Part of what helped me was that the game saves often so when I needed to step back, I could do so quickly. However, I constantly found myself eager to go back to the challenge since I felt like I was so close.

The game is a Metroidvania game set in a world of insects. While all of the characters are insects (or arachnids or worms), the story is high fantasy. You play as a mysterious creature who has no memory and yet wanders into the town of Dirtmouth. You carry a nail at your side which you use as a sword. As you play, you meet many characters who help you to learn who and what you are and what your role is in stopping an ancient curse. The underground kingdom used to be made up of a diverse alliance of beings. The moths have departed, the mantises still defend the kingdom in the deep, and the spiders are corrupted. Every environment is beautifully crafted even though many would think it gross because of all the bugs. Like most Metroidvania games, the gameplay involves a lot exploring and backtracking once you have found keys or new abilities.

The game possibly the most difficult thing I have had to do in a video game. There is a platforming section called The White Palace which is optional but I wanted to try it to get a better ending. You must use double jumps, dashes, wall climbing, pogo jumps, and more to make it through an incredibly difficult course. One misstep leads to death and having to start the segment over again. By the time I made it through, my hands hurt and my mind was fuzzy. It was so zen and exhilarating to finish. It was actually fairly anti-climactic when I beat the game after that because I had already been through the worst. Most of the game involves having to fight numerous bosses most of which are undead insects. I did not finish 100% of the game but I may pick up again down the line but man, I need a break from that game.


Risk of Rain

I picked up a few other games lately and one that was dirt cheap was one I had seen touted by a streamer I am a fan of. I had no idea what the game was about but I was game to give it a shot, fresh from my victory with Hollow Knight. Risk of Rain is a 16-bit roguelike game in a science fiction setting. You are meant to fail over and over and explore to unlock things in the game and make it easier. The game is fairly simple to start, you face an unending onslaught of enemies designed to wear you down. You pick up powerups and upgrades to get stronger so you can make it through levels to the end of the game. It is a fun little game and I am really just getting started in figuring it out.

The story is that you were aboard a spaceship hauling cargo when it started to blow up and you are forced to flee to a random planet via an escape pod. You have to fight your way to teleportation gates that jump you to a ship to get back into space. The way that goes depends on what character you choose to play as. You start as The Commando but I have unlocked several characters so far. I have unlocked The Enforcer, The Engineer, The Rogue, the Sniper, a robot Loader, a combat robot, a robotic chef, and an acid-based alien. I still have a few left to unlock but I am slowly getting it done. Each character has a completely different play style. There are melee and ranged characters. Each new character leads me to basically relearn the game and some characters just are not my style. Still, I’ll keep giving it a shot.

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One Response to “Psychonauts/Hollow Knight/Risk of Rain”

  1. Lucy Grove-Jones Says:

    Hollow Knight looks absolutely gorgeous, but it sounds way too punishingly hard for me!

    I’ve been doing quite a bit of gaming lately (it’s helping with the pandemic stress, I find). Mostly Stardew Valley (replaying. Love it), Animal Crossing New Horizons, and the Mass Effect games (which I didn’t play when they were new because I’m not super into shooty games, but my partner loved them and has been really keen for me to play them as a sort of joint activity, so we’re doing that now, and I’m actually having a great time with them).

    Like

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