The Ugly Monster
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The Ugly Monster

Playing Every Game in the Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality

PEGBRJE: Celestial Hacker Girl Jessica and Dialogue: A Writer’s Story

So many colours, so many words.

Just me chilling with my rhino and satellite.

Celestial Hacker Girl Jessica is a neon-fueled puzzle adventure created by girl software, the indie dev that brought us Bomb Dolls. Players will take the role of Jessica as she travels through space in the pursuit of cake, the ultimate goal in life. Oh, and she is a marble and a hacker; that is also very important.

As this marbled explorer, players will explore many levels full of strange entities, all in the hopes of getting to the end to get the cake. Each level will have its own spin on the otherworldly aesthetic, from lava-filled regions of cubes to serene landscapes of bubble water.

Marbles are not known for their terrain traversal skills, but Jessica is no ordinary marble. She has the ability to jump slightly off the ground, swim through waters and climb veins. When players encounter strange black boxes blocking their paths, Jessica’s hidden technique of hacking can break these walls down and continue onward to confection victory. To achieve this, players will need to find a computer somewhere in the level and roll on to the keyboard, allowing Jessica to hack the blocker away.

What makes Celestial Hacker Girl Jessica so memorable is its approach to design. The game is built completely within the aesthetic of the ‘asset flip’ style. Everything first appears to be placed randomly, with neon colours flooding all directions and models placed willy-nilly. Yet upon closer inspection everything has been placed with a distinct purpose, the assets indicating where players may need to search while also being animated and clean. It’s a refinement of the aesthetic, one that brings the best of the absurdity and the simplicity. It’s hard to stay mad when a nightcore jpop song comes on while jumping around a cat.

Celestial Hacker Girl Jessica may not be for everyone, but the challenge it poses cannot be denied. The levels are cleverly built, and the colours are vibrant. There’s even a terrifying skeleton awaiting those that fall. What’s not to love? If you like this style of fever dream, then you’ve got it right here.

I’ve never thought about conversations this hard before…

Ever wondered the depths of a conversation? Dialogue: A Writer’s Journey by Tea-Powered Games did, and they’ve created a narrative adventure all about the art of the conversation. Players will follow the life of Lucille, an author currently working in the realm of science fantasy who becomes inspired by her new neighbour Adrian and his research work.

Dialogue creates interesting interactions through the robust engine that features equal parts visual novel-like conversations and a ‘conversation map’ of exploration. The visual novel interactions involve players making decisions within an allotted time, given multiple choices as to how to approach each situation. As with similar titles, like Oxenfree, not giving an answer is the same as giving an answer. This will drive the conversation as if Lucille decided to remain silent. Conversations can impact how the story unfolds, although there will be many that do not immediately impact opinions or feelings. So feel free to simply answer whatever feels right for Lucille.

Dialogue comes in to its own with the conversation map system, where Lucille will break down a conversation in to its components. Words will be highlighted for the player to select. This will take the player down a specific conversation route as Lucille gains information about the other person, making mental notes written as ‘thoughts’ on the bottom right. The map can be moved through at any time. If the conversation comes to a halt, the player can rewind back to re-examine a new area or return to a previous thread to start a new conversation.

The whole point of this is to answer her ‘thoughts’ by discovering the answers within the conversation. This will open up new dialogue options for her to explore. Lucille needs as much inspiration as possible, so finding any points of information is critical to her story’s success. It also highlights just how conversations branch from each other, where a person will make a statement and the other will focus on a certain aspect to ask about it and continue back and forth.

All this allows Dialogue: A Writer’s Journey to exude a theatrical aura. Lucille is able to examine how conversations work and what is going on while we as the player are able to see the inner workings of her mind like a monologue. We can return to her room to break up the scenes, reexamine old conversational notes and understand more about what we discussed before moving on, return to previous conversations to learn about anything missed, and even equip strange conversational ‘powers’ that let us diversify how we approach dialogue. It’s quite genius, and helps to expand how far narrative media can be explored. If you are wanting to explore this style, by all means give it a whirl.

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Fandom | Gaming | TV + Movies | Sci-Fi + Fantasy | Other Indecent Pursuits

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Jacob Vorstenbosch

Jacob Vorstenbosch

Just a Game Dev who decided to take on the monumental task of giving an overview of all 59 pages in the bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. We keep going.

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