Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Oct 302023
 

Project Kat, which now has the full title of Project Kat – Paper Lily Prologue, is a short game about a girl preparing to perform a ritual in the school at night.

There are puzzles to solve along the way, as well as various options for how to interact with your classmates.

Puzzles have multiple solutions, so going with a method that feels less obvious could lead to a different outcome. Even something as simple as how much you talk to the other characters can have an effect.

Because of this, even though Project Kat seems simple on the surface, it’s more complex than you might think. I played through it assuming there might be 1 or 2 alternate endings based on choices I’d noticed along the way, only to look online and learn there are ten possible endings.

(I didn’t go back through to try to get them all, however.)

Project Kat is also surprisingly creepy. Despite the simple graphics and presentation, it uses what it has to great effect, with several unsettling moments.

As the full title suggests, it is a standalone prologue to an upcoming game called Paper Lily. Paper Lily – Chapter 1 is currently available in an early state, with additions to come in an update, and the game will potentially have 5 total chapters. After playing Project Kat, I’m interested in seeing what they can do in a longer game, although I’ll probably wait for the full release before playing.

Project Kat – Paper Lily Prologue is a short, spooky game worth checking out – especially for Halloween!

---
If you want posts like this delivered straight to your inbox, enter your email in the box below to subscribe!

Oct 272023
 

One game that’s been in my backlog for a while now that I finally decided to try this October is Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Heart of the Forest.

It’s based on the Werewolf: The Apocalypse tabletop setting, which I’m unfamiliar with, so I went into it not knowing what to expect.

You play as Maia, a young woman who keeps having strange, ominous dreams about the ancient Białowieża Forest. Seeking answers about her family and these dreams, she travels to the forest to see what she can learn.

It is largely presented through text, with illustrations in the background to provide somewhat of a visual novel experience, although I’d be more inclined to call it interactive fiction. Numerous dialogue choices lead you down different paths, affect your relationship with the other characters, and influence the story in other ways.

Depending on how you answer certain questions at the start, you end up with various stats that open up new dialogue options and may provide different ways to approach situations. You also have 3 stats to keep an eye on, health, willpower, and rage. These can be spent to make certain choices and replenished through others.

There are a lot of characters, possibly too many for the few hours a single playthrough will take. I had trouble keeping track of the cast, let alone feeling like I’d made a bond with anyone.

Now, I mentioned at the start that I wasn’t familiar with this setting going into it. If I was, I might not have been as surprised when it turned out to be an environmentalist story about trying to save the forest and the clashes between different groups with different opinions about what should be done.

Plus werewolves. Partway through the story, the werewolf aspect comes into play, although by that point you’re so deep into the game that it feels more like it should be setting up a larger narrative.

Despite a single playthrough being fairly short, there are several paths to take. Since you can’t manually save, however, you have to start over to try different options. Because of that, I decided not to replay it. I was happy enough with my outcome, even if some of my choices didn’t work out the way I’d hoped.

Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Heart of the Forest has some neat ideas, although it wasn’t quite what I expected. The werewolf aspect takes a backseat to the environmentalism, and it feels shorter than it should be. The premise feels like it should set up a creepy, atmospheric story, but it didn’t quite work for me. However, since it’s part of a larger universe, maybe it appeals more to fans already invested in its lore.

---
If you want posts like this delivered straight to your inbox, enter your email in the box below to subscribe!

Oct 252023
 

Today, we’re actually going to discuss a game that I’ll probably never finish but still want to give a shout-out in this year’s spooky celebration.

The Textorcist: The Story of Ray Bibbia is a bullet hell typing game in which you play as an exorcist standing against the forces of darkness.

Your demonic foes attack with tons of projectiles that you must dodge, and your means of fighting back is to perform exorcisms – by typing out the words as they appear.

(…It just occurred to me while writing this post that the forces of hell use bullet hell attacks; that has to be intentional.)

This is a bizarre blend of genres in which you’ll frantically dodge projectiles until you get a brief window between attacks, at which point you’ll type as fast as many words as you can before you need to dodge again. Of course, you can also try typing with one hand while you dodge.

If you get hit, you drop your Bible and need to retrieve it to continue typing. If you take too long to get it back, however, you’ll need to start your current prayer over from the beginning. And if you get hit when you aren’t holding the Bible, you lose one of your precious hearts.

The Textorcist is a little creepy, pretty funny, and such a unique idea that I can’t help but love it… but it’s also brutally hard.

I’ve never been much of a bullet hell player, and dodging all those attacks while finding time to type in between pushed the limits of what I can do. Fights also take a while, as they’re all lengthy boss fights and sometimes have dialogue partway through. Lose all your hearts, and you start the fight over. The game also only saves after each battle, so if you take a break from a fight and quit the game, you’ll need to watch the preceding scenes again.

(Technically you can skip dialogue, but it seems like it won’t skip anything with animations, so you need to rewatch some parts and skip multiple times if you’re repeating a scene.)

The Textorcist is a unique game that I wish I could finish, and maybe someday I’ll return to it, but right now the frustration of attempting these boss fights over and over and over caused me to reluctantly set it aside. However, if you love typing and bullet hell games, it’s well worth a look.

---
If you want posts like this delivered straight to your inbox, enter your email in the box below to subscribe!