The Ugly Monster
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The Ugly Monster

Playing Every Game in the Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality

PEGBRJE: ‘Sorbetta: Gravely in Debt’ and ‘Hi-Score Boi’

Simulating the world.

Team Rocket have gotten a new makeover

Sorbetta: Gravely in Debt is an adventure RPG created by Undead Avian Publishing, a publishing studio based in Canada. Players will follow the life and times of Sorbetta, a necromancer and recovering gambling addict, as she attempts to pay off a massive loan from her cousin. Unfortunately, her cousin is a bit of a knob and raised the interest by an exorbitant amount. Sorbetta needs to make some cash the only way she knows how; finding treasure, killing monsters, and selling their possessions back at a profit.

As an RPGMaker game, those familiar with the style and the engine will immediately recognize the gameplay. Sorbetta will explore through world, starting in Shawping and maneuvering to a world map to venture between areas. Progressing the plot involves interacting with a colourful cast of characters. If things go south, she pulls out her trusty necro-chainsaw and combat begins.

As expected, this is a turn-based system with standard attacks, special attacks and mana pools to give some variation to the flow. Victory means that the enemies are dead, and their gold and loot are hers to go sell back to her own shop.

The first variation on the formula is that Sorbetta does not level up. Instead, all progression is gated by the gear acquired during her expeditions. Players can ‘farm’ gear through random encounters, getting some sweet drops so that they can make their character as strong as possible until they move on to the next quest. Since many regions are quest-locked, the game locks upgraded gear to those regions so that players do not get too powerful too fast.

Combat is not the central focus of the game. It’s more of a supplement to the main attraction; the plot. Sorbetta is a game of satire and poking fun, but somehow avoids the most obvious trope of “Typical RPG tropes are being reused but we’re laughing at them so it is funny!”. Instead, Sorbetta owns these tropes wholeheartedly and just makes them insane and strange, from the Pundragon egg that reveals treasures to kinky armor sets. It is fully aware of how silly these JRPG tropes are, and embraces their nonsense by going that much farther.

It helps that the characters are also written quite well, with Sorbetta’s snarky commentary narrating every conversation and engagement. Her cousin and primary antagonist Sherberta is as extortionate as one can be for absolutely no apparent reason, yet characters such as Key-anu the Mimic Piano understand that there is probably a reason for her attitude. It humanizes the characters in a way that does not seem entirely possible for such nonsense, yet is quite engrossing the farther one gets.

I was not expecting to dive so deep in to Sorbetta: Gravely in Debt, but the combination of gameplay and ridiculous dialogue made it worth the trek. Collecting treasures by blowing up mazes never gets old. If you enjoy nonsense in the form of JRPG fun, with some necromancy shopkeeping, then this is a perfect storm to try out.

Pretttyyy

Hi-Score Boi is a clicking relaxation simulation created by 88Domo, an indie developer based in the United States. You are a gamer attempting to achieve the one goal many can only dream of; become the ultimate gamer and gain the highest of scores. How one does that… is a bit more unique than expected.

How does one become the ultimate gamer? Well, they click; specifically, clicking the space bar. Each press increases the points by 100, and is shown as sweet particle effects on the TV. The more points that are accrued during a short amount of time, the more effects appear on screen until it becomes a light show in the dark room that the gamer calls home. Lower the space bar clicks below a certain frequency and the lights begin to dissipate, and the relaxing mood returns. The only other movement is the gamer themselves and their cat as they are uncertain as to whether they should sit on the couch, or sit on the floor.

I had no idea what I was getting in to when I booted Hi-Score Boi. I definitely was not expecting a clicking game, and after playing for a bit I’m still unsure as to the game itself. It opens up intriguing questions that not many would expect, such as how a gamer tasked with becoming the ultimate hero is doing so by clicking a single button. Yet that’s all gaming is, isn’t it? Clicking buttons and watching the onscreen effects that occur due to the inputs.

Whatever your feelings are, the music is definitely a nice addition to ‘vibe’ along to as long as your spacebar isn’t too loud (mine was…), and the little animations were smoothly done to add to the immersion. If you want to try this out and relax for a bit, then give it a whirl and see how high you can go.

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