It’s highlighted a weakness of my format- I played Milestone One some time ago and my initial impressions were positive, if muted. Further play revealed a story that went places I wasn’t at all expecting and I ended up having a really great time with it, with no real way to go back and update that “6/10″-feeling post.
So, let me fix that here- Fault Milestone One is great and if you have any kind of stomach for kinetic VNs and probably-too-much-impossible-to-pronounce terminology, you should definitely go experience it.
Milestone Two, then, and already I can’t really say anything about it. The story starts hard, and I couldn’t possibly explain anything about it without spoiling what made it so great. Let it suffice that I was left open-mouthed gawping at the screen just five minutes into Milestone Two. Legit mindblown. This isn’t a VN that is happy to stay constrained within the usual limits of the genre, and that’s commendable.
Fin or Bin:
Yeah, I’m on this ride until the end. There’s another part of the story that hasn’t come out yet, titled Side:Below, so I’m sure this one is going to end on a big juicy cliffhanger. Can’t wait! Fin!
(Edit: I should probably re-read old posts if I’m gonna link to them, huh. I remembered being kinda “meh” when writing up Milestone One, but having actually read it again it seems I raved about that one too. Well, let it be testament that this series is really good, even on first impression.)
It’s the third game in the series, and really nothing’s changed. Luke and Layton solve another set of really-quite-clever puzzles in a sort-of steampunk version of London, this time solving the mystery of the Prime Minister’s disappearance. Luke receives a letter purporting to be from his future self, and the duo find themselves accidentally transported through time. It’s complete nonsense as usual, but entertaining nonsense.
The best part of these games is how much of a dick Layton is. His soft-spoken and gentlemanly-worded insults towards Luke are as cutting as ever. Be assured, “that certainly would be an interesting solution Luke” is British English for “you’re a moron and I’m amazed you can remember to breathe”.
Fin or Bin:
I 100% finished the first one, and did most of the second. As long as there aren’t too many tangrams (ugh) or sliding puzzles (UGH) in this one, there’s no reason I won’t Finish this one too.
This game is completely free, so you should go click to download it and then come back to read this while it installs.
If that seems like a forceful recommendation- well, it is. Khimera puts in my mind a similar feeling to the older school of freeware indie titles- Cave Story, Iji, AnUntitledStory; there’s a certain I-don’t-know-what essence to the indie games of that era that more modern releases don’t share. I don’t mean to imply that somehow makes them better (or worse!) than what’s being released lately, but it does make them feel very nostalgic, especially to someone who used to run a youtube channel showcasing the best the scene had to offer.
Whatever that essence is, Khimera manages to capture it. The closest comparison I can think of gameplay-wise would be Shantae; a mostly linear melee-combat platformer with some occasional exploration to do. There’s a touch of Megaman in there too, with an open progression through the levels and new abilities unlocked each time you beat a boss.
Chelshia the chimera is no more than a few seconds old when pirates ransack her hometown and she is given the task of hunting them down and beating every last treasure out of them. There’s some entertaining dialogue along the way and the many varied NPC designs are all a delight.
Combat’s a little tough to get used to- Chelshia’s range is limited to how far she can swing her arm, so finding the sweetspot between landing a hit and taking a hit is a skill that’ll take longer to develop than the hour I’ve given it. Luckily she has a forgiving amount of health, extendible through finding the hidden monsterchef Gourmet Gal in each level.
Fin or Bin:
There’s a heaping pile of collectible stuff to grab, and various challenges (100% treasure, no death, etc) for the achievement-crazed to sink their teeth into. No-death challenges have never been that interesting to me, but I’d like to at least Finish the collectible aspect.
“I am you from the future. There’s no time to explain!” says… You, from the future, immediately before being nobbled by a giant crab and dropping their (your???) blaster.
Dilligently picking it up, you (from the present) then use the immense pushback from the laser cannon to propel yourself across platforming challenges. If you’ve ever used the Machine Gun in Cave Story, it’s that, but the entire game.
Unfortunately, I had to duck out after ten minutes. The screen shakes violently any time you fire your weapon- which is to say, it shakes constantly. It’s utterly nauseating and while trying to find a solution, I found a post from the developer saying “complaints about the screen shake will be thrown in the goddamn trash!”