The Ugly Monster
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The Ugly Monster

Playing Every Game in the Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality

PEGBRJE: The Last Librarian and Explobers

A Zelda-like and a thinky platformer.

Wouldn’t be an adventure without a ghost giving me a tutorial, would it?

The Last Librarian is an exploratory action adventure by Cloaked Games, a solo developer based out of the United States. After a traumatizing encounter with a skeletal wizard, players will follow Randal on their journey to rid the world of Chaos as the final Librarian in existence.

Being a librarian in this context is not quite the same as what it implies. The Librarians are an order tasked with defeating the Chaos wizard known as Last. Unfortunately, Randal is unaware of his heritage and is tasked with acquiring the spells to defeat Last that have been sealed throughout the lands. This will take Randal on a massive quest across the lands, through strange forests and meeting curious individuals as they hack and slash through enemies.

It has very similar gameplay to old 2D adventure games, like Legend of Zelda. Players will equip different items and weapons to use in combat and for traversing the environment. The best (and earliest) example is the boomerang, which players can use to attack enemies from afar while also activating beacons that cannot be hit with the sword. It even collects items dropped on the ground, which can be useful later on.

The draw of this and similar titles is in its sheer depth of exploration, and The Last Librarian lives up to its predecessors. This game is massive for its small file size, with dozens of bosses and mini-bosses to find and defeat to unlock new areas. Spells can be acquired to diversify the gameplay while also allowing for new methods of discovery, with hidden treasures and quests within every area.

Much of the game is optional for players to finish it. One could spend hours just solving puzzles, or they can beeline it to the final boss with only the bare essentials. It’s all possible, and actively encouraged.

It’s staggering how much is in the game. It can be a bit overwhelming at times if you’re new to the genre, but the Last Librarian helps players get in to the groove by keeping things simple as they expand their map and reach. The soundtrack helps to set the mood. Combined with its graphical style, it invokes that sense of nostalgia and wonder that many will instantly recognize.

If you love games that let you explore a fantasy world to your heart’s content, this might be a good title to look in to.

I’m abandoning you, my brethren. Sorry.

Explobers is a puzzle platformer crafted by John D. Moore, an indie dev based out of the United States. Unlike the previous entry, this is a game about platforming across hazardous terrain at the expense of those that came before. A tragedy, really; but necessary for escape.

These little critters are the Explobers in question, each with their own unique ability that will be necessary to exploit to reach the end. Players will have a ‘stock’ of them to start the level. It is up to their creativity and smarts to find a proper path to the ending without running out of Explobers. Think Angry Birds, in the sense that each coloured character is unique, but they are all expendable for the cause. In this case, the red ones explode in an area around themselves to clear out blue blocks, while the light blue Explobers create a block in space to jump on.

After using the ability of each block, the next one spawns back at the starting point, which is where forethought and planning comes in. If a block is placed in a region that is no longer accessible, it is effectively useless to the player without forcing their way back. This becomes even more intricate when multiple Explobers are present in the same level at the same time, requiring constant switching between them.

Levels can be restarted quickly if errors are made — which is guaranteed — but that means that everything is restarted. Sometimes players might restart just because they didn’t reach the ‘par’ that each level has for the number of Explobers used. This perfectionism might keep the player around longer.

Explobers is a unique take on platforming. Rather than a hyper fixation on precision, it gives players control of how they get to the goal through building their own platforms. You can spend hours trying to maximize each level, or simply throw yourself in to every problem and find the solution eventually.

There are 80 levels to defeat on the road to victory, and even more secrets and levels to uncover along the way. If you love platformers that challenge the mind more than the reactions and precision skills, this is definitely for you.

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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.