The Ugly Monster
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The Ugly Monster

Playing Every Game in the Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality

PEGBRJE: There Will Be Ink and Garden Match

Hand Drawn Happiness

FOR THE PENLAND

There Will Be Ink is a tactical 2D shooter created by summitfever, a solo indie dev based out of Canada. Players will enter a world of pen and paper. But, unlike all the TTRPGs I’ve covered, this time we will create battlegrounds full of stick figures in order to find victory. Viva la FLASH game era, because stick games are in and we are going to shoot ink bullets.

Gameplay is broken in to missions, where the player will obtain an objective. These objectives can be defeating an enemy stronghold, wiping out all enemies on a map or surviving for a certain amount of time. Players will enter the game, selecting one of the foot soldiers to control as they attempt to perform the objective. Combat is in real time, so players can shoot, move and throw grenades at any time; then again, so can the enemy. Each barracks has a spawning symbol to show how long until a new ally will appear in the hopes of replenishing troops, but depending on the battle this may not be fast enough.

Gameplay in There Will Be Ink is quite difficult to get a handle on at first, feeling reminiscent to a real-time X-COM game. All shots have spray, which is increased if the player is moving. Grenades cannot be thrown that far, meaning that they’re only useful if the player’s soldier can get up close without dying. Cover is imperative to keeping each soldier alive, especially since players can only control one soldier at a time; the rest of the time, those soldiers are controlled by an AI. Even in what appears to be full cover, a stray bullet can hit a soldier, so be careful and stay aware of enemy positions.

Thankfully, the gameplay can evolve as the player gains experience. Showcased on sticky notes, successful missions will reward experience based on what weapons were used and how many kills each got. These points can upgrade weaponry to allow for more bullets, better firepower and more, allowing for players to customize how they approach each mission. Experience can even be retained in a loss if the player opts to ‘retreat’ during combat, failing the mission immediately while retaining all experiences gained to allow for a renewed attack later. It’s a good way of assessing the battlefield, while still giving players enough incentive to try.

There’s more to discuss in There Will Be Ink, but the underlying feeling of nostalgia remains thanks to the fantastic usage of the theme. Drawing stick figures is something we’ve all done in our notes to pass the time. The aesthetic captures this imaginative feeling perfectly. With all the upgrades and fun to be had, this is a fantastic game for anyone that wants a challenge while also being strategically pressed. Or you can just turn on arcade mode and shoot away. Up to you, really.

I could go all day, game, you can’t stop me.

Garden Match is a Match-3 game crafted by Out Of Phayze, an indie studio scattered across the USA. In this comfy game, players will match coloured flowers together in the hopes of either solving the puzzle, or going til there are no matches left.

As with Match-3 games, players will match the same colours together by sliding adjacent pieces to another space to match at least three in a row. Successful matches then remove those pieces, and fill them in with falling pieces from the top.

Where Garden Match deviates is in its special tiles, coming in the form of dragonflies, butterflies and cages. Both insects appear when matching flowers above three, and then can be used to match with other flowers for various effects. Dragonflies can eat away at those surrounding them. Butterflies will pollinate all of the flowers matched, clearing the entire board of that specific colour. Cages are a bit different, acting as stopgates as they cannot be moved. Their removal requires a dragonfly to be matched with them, so that it can remove them without worry.

Once the formula has been acquired, it is smooth sailing from there. All you need now is to decide which mode you want to play. Infinite lets you play forever, only stopping when matches run out. Puzzles give a bit of progression, requiring a certain amount of colour matches within a time frame, which is a lot trickier than expected. Regardless of your mood, you can play this game as a relaxing way to bring in the springtime feeling.

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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.