The Ugly Monster
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The Ugly Monster

Playing Every Game in the Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality

PEGBRJE: ‘Honor Cry: Aftermath’ and ‘Bear-ly There’

Grand Adventure and Comedic Nonsense

Imma touch that circle.

Honor Cry: Aftermath is a massive turnbased RPG created by SimProse Studios, an indie studio based in the United States. Players will follow the tale of two army veterans in the hopes of putting an end to a hundred year war.

Joining the righteous Commander Jerus and frightening Captain Verrel, players will wander from region to region in the hopes of reuniting with their troops and continuing their campaign in stopping the Cryum Empire. All of the familiar features of a turn-based RPG are here, from the party members being able to equip specialized gear to the distinct difference in exploration and combat ‘modes’. Players will find loot galore as they rummage through forgotten crates, finding brand new weapons to equip and items to bolster their chances at victory.

the majority of the combat encounters are randomized as players will always have a chance of triggering a combat encounter no matter where they go — the sheer number of encounters is a bit much, but there is thankfully the ability to escape. In combat, both Jerus and Verrel have their standard attacks and magic, called ‘disciplines’. They also each have a unique ability. For example, Jerus can syphon energy while Verrel can rage like a barbarian. Knowing what both of the two protagonists are good at is crucial to selecting which disciplines to buy. But there’s always the fun time of just buying everything for both of them by making money through the gambling minigame.

It goes without saying that this adventure is lengthy, as I have yet to come across an RPG that I found to feel ‘short’. The music is on point as you feel as if you are actually in a high-fantasy adventure no matter what you are doing, from fighting unsuspecting rats to toppling empires. Turn-based combat systems will not appeal to everyone, but if you enjoyed SimProse’s previous works or want an older school RPG to explore, this is worth a shot.

If only I knew how to swim

Bear-ly There is a quirky adventure created by Pale Moon Games, an indie team based in Canada. Originally submitted for TOJam2017, it was rereleased in 2019 with some shiny polish. So what is it, and how many puns have been fit within?

Our story follows Barris the Bear having woken up from a long winter of hibernation. Starving for food and needing to prepare for winter, he throws himself out of his cave and prepares to eat his fill. This is where players come in, and help navigate him to all sorts of food to fill the meter at the top. Unfortunately for Barris, time moves a lot faster than he can recall, so he only has just shy of 5 minutes to travel through all three other seasons before winter sets back in. The other issue? Barris isn’t as limber as he should be.

The quirk is that Barris controls like an exploding enemy ragdolling across a screen. By jumping, players can attempt to ‘move’ Barris in a way that is predictable, while also activating his mouth to eat the food. It becomes a hilariously difficult endeavour as Barris just flops around everywhere except where the player is trying to go. The only thing players can trust 100% of the time is that it won’t be consistent.

It’s a quirky and silly game designed as such, so Bear-ly There achieves its goal in spectacular fashion. Sure, it is unruly, but that is what it wants to be. You can just bounce along and try eating everything, leaving a trail of ‘relief’ as you go, and just ignore the fact that you are probably missing half of the food you tried to eat. Oh well. If you want something to take the edge off, then this is it.

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