Transistor – Cool Girl Games

Screen Shot 2017-10-29 at 14.20.16.pngHaving played this game immediately after playing Bastion, I can definitely see the trademarks of Supergiant Games across what they’ve done. That said, whereas Bastion I found myself engaged only by the gameplay itself and not by the outright bad dialogue and boring story and aesthetic, Transistor fixes up all these things.  I wasn’t 100% following the story until the end, but you’ve got this Blade Runner-esque world and it’s got this underlying love story between the character you play as, Red, and her partner who got killed and whose soul is now trapped in her sword. That’s pretty cool! Admittedly, it is an “Oh boy, another female character who’s only being a badass for her boyfriend’s sake” game, but she’s still being a badass, and there are critically few games with girls being a badass in the first place, so I will take it. It does feel though like it takes itself a little too seriously, especially for a relatively light-hearted and simple game.

Most of the games I’ve really loved to play are isometric real-time games— Starcraft, League of Legends (yea yea, I know I’m trash… it’s still fun though), and Transistor definitely follows suit in that pattern. It definitely seeks to put its on twist on the style of RPG game it is— rather than a default basic attack, you get four (I think upgradable to five) slots where you can put all your moves in, and you can upgrade every move with every other move, giving you a pretty huge realm of possibilities with your load out, and it makes you think strategically about how some upgrades may stack with one another. Then, it’s got this time-freeze instant action-y thing like Bleed, which especially at later stages becomes pretty vital for surviving some of the enemies. The parts that made Bastion an enjoyable game were the simplicity of the controls, but wide opportunities for customization, and Transistor definitely replicates that.

As in Bastion, the main flaw with Transistor is a lack of variety of baddies. The thing people often praise the Dark Demon Blood games for is how every enemy has its own attack pattern that you have to learn, et cetera. Transistor has maybe a dozen enemies you will fight, I think that’s total, including all the bosses.

I’m sure if I looked around I could find another isometric RTS RPG that does it better than Transistor, but you know what? It was $5 for a pretty fun game.

(Edit: I found out it’s also available as a mobile game. Honestly, I’d recommend that over the computer version. It seems pretty appropriate for that. I’m just a casual ez game gamer.)


Princess Remedy in A Heap of Trouble – Cool Girl Games

Sadly due to to my preference of Apple products over Microsoft, I can’t review the original Princess Remedy game, but this one’s pretty awesome. The thing that first drew me so strongly to Undertale was really just its tagline: “An RPG where nobody has to die.” That sounds great! That’s what Princess Remedy does too. Sure it’s a bullet hell game and you’re firing bandaids, needles, or frogs? at your enemies, but what you’re killing is the bacteria, and you’re doing it to heal the people! Isn’t that cool? Sure it’s all a matter of framing, but simple things like that make the game feel more lighthearted and enjoyable.

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Video Games Are The Apex Of Art

Broadly speaking, there are three types of learning: visual, audible, and kinesthetic. These categories are generalized so when people say they’re a __ learning that’s an oversimplification of their information consuming progress, but I digress. I encourage you to think of art in these three forms, though, for a moment.

Visual art at its most fundamental level is easily defined— paintings, drawing, etchings, sculptures, et cetera. Kinesthetic is too— basically dance. I’m going to expand by definition of audible art to include most forms of storytelling, though, because a story is a linear recollection of events, real or fictional, which is most innately similar to how we process sound. Furthermore, storytelling is largely based off of words or can at least be described in words, and the first words and story were entirely told audibly. So, by this logic, a book is audible art, even though we use our eyes to read it. The key here is that it is linear— you can have a painting tell a story, but your eyes aren’t typically drawn to different parts of a painting in a certain order.

Image result for cave painting

A defining trait of modern, postmodern, and post-postmodern (whatever you call contemporary) art is the multimedia shift (paintings on sculptures, digitization of photographs, there are endless combinations) and this intersects with the “three types of art” categorization in an interesting way. Prior to the 20th century, graphic novels were generally pretty fringe, the only exception to this I know of being the Bible (if I remember my history class right, they’d do lots of drawings in the margins of Bibles back when they were handwritten). Therefore, the only combination of two different categories that comes to mind is dancing to music, combining kinesthetic and audible forms of art.

Image result for handwritten bible medieval

Graphic novels and movies, however, introduced the combination of visual and audible art for the first time— you had visual occurrences telling a narrative. Yes, still images can tell a narrative too, but not to the same linear extent. The exceptions to this would works like Michelangelo’s paintings and other serial works. But combining words with pictures and pictures with motion was truly when audible/visual combinations began. Other ways of combining these categories sprang into existence too— music videos, hands-on art, the sort. However, it wasn’t until the 60s or so that even the f0undations of a medium combining all three categories existed— games. The modern video game satisfies the audible side by often telling a cohesive narrative and also having music, it satisfies the visual side by having things happen on a screen, and it satisfies the kinesthetic side by being something that the consumer *does* as opposed to sees. With a game, you experience the art rather than view it from an outsider’s perspective. Perhaps I am mistaken, but this is the first time such a combination came into existence while also being effectively one single medium.

Image result for undertale

That’s all I had to say on this, at least for now. #showerthoughts

Red Conquest as a MOBA

I think the core game mechanics of Red Conquest could be really interesting for a new MOBA game. Here’s why:

So the first thing that would come to your attention is that everything that isn’t a planet moves. Let’s make this a two-hero per team map, but three people per team. That third person could be the controller. You have two people using a hero with an ability set, and a third person who is directing where to position turrets within their side of the map to keep certain positions more secure. Also, aside from the map corners there are no hard barriers in Red Conquest. What if there were two lanes and asteroid fields in between and the controller had to position the turrets to watch for an opposing hero sneaking through? I’m imagining something like Foosball where you have a few lines that the turrets can be at and the controller would position the turrets along said lines. Maybe when your team takes an inhibitor, the controller can decide what super creeps are spawned? Maybe the controller can opt to skip a creep wave and devote money from that creep wave to repairing a turret?

All of these are just potential ideas. I think the core mechanics that set Red Conquest apart from other RTS would make an adaptation of it as a MOBA really interesting. I can come up with a billion other features this Green Siege or whatever you’ll call it would have. Anyway, short follow-up post to Red Conquest in general since while the idea of having all units in motion is not unique to this game, that combined with its other features give it a special niche in the RTS world.

Red Conquest – A Slice of my Childhood

Hello everyone! I was never much of a mobile app gamer, but there was a single game that I really did enjoy and play for hours: Red Conquest. This is a real-time strategy (RTS) game that is really awesome and I’d have loved to see a computer version of. It is set up like Starcraft or any other RTS where you start with just a base or maybe a base and a few troops and have to build your army and conquer your opponents.

Some of the features that make this game stand out include the fact that there are no squares. Like, seriously, everything you make just floats around in space. This means that everything you build is a unit, even if it exists to produce other units. Also, different races have different supply caps and production capabilities, meaning that the Zergiest race has extra incentive to win early and the Protossiest race has extra incentive to take its time. Since it was made as a mobile app, the supply caps are pretty low and the games are very short compared to most other RTS games. The tech tree is simplified mostly to the point that you can create one or two units and have all other options available.

So aside from game play I think it’s still a pretty great game.  The graphics are unconventional and make you really feel like you’re in space. Most of the units are transparent. Hey, in fact, the first time I used Photoshop was making my own fan ship (hehe, not the usual kind of ship I make) that I could imagine being in the game. The cut scenes, while pretty simple and with little animation, are pretty interesting too. Everything has a geometrical and abstract look in the game, which I consider a huge pro since I’m a massive fan of abstract art.

Oh! And don’t get me started on the music. Even the less gripping songs are WAY better than any other app’s music I have heard, and there are a couple tracks in particular that I can easily say are my favorite game songs comparable to anything from Undertale or Ib.

So bottom line, this game is old and there aren’t any new updates (to my knowledge) that have been made in a while aside from making it compatible with the new iOS. Regardless, for a couple dollars this game is definitely worth your money if you like RTS games as a genre and would consider buying an RTS as a mobile app. I’ve never seen anybody on the multiplayer mode to play with, but there is a multiplayer mode out there if you and some friends want to organize something.

Even if you’re not really into RTS games I would still say get it, since it costs next to nothing and is so well-made for a completely indie mobile app.


P.S. I did some snooping around to see if I could buy the soundtrack. From everywhere I looked it has not been released, but I’ll give y’all a hint and say that on Mac, while your iPhone / iPad is plugged in, go to the Apps and right click on Red Conquest. One of the options that will pop up is “Show in Finder.” If you open the file for the app with archive utility, you should be able to see the files within the app. There’s a little more to go from there, but I’m sure you can figure it out after that. 😉

P.P.S. The most updated blog for the developers of this game is