Nimbatus- The Space Drone Constructor


I’m one of the small minority who actually really enjoyed the Gummi Ship parts of Kingdom Hearts. Yes, the interface was clunky and there was basically zero benefit to building anything beyond the standard design, and after a certain point in the story you never needed to use the ship again as you could just teleport between places. Still, for this Star Fox veteran, the chance to build your own ship (yes, entirely out of guns) was too much to pass up, and I always left the experience sad that there wasn’t more to it.

Ostensibly a roguelike, Nimbatus’ main game mode sees you traversing the galaxy gathering resources with which to build bigger and better drones, all while being chased by the Corp, who inevitably will catch you and kill you and you’ll have to start all over with nothing to show for it. Normally that’d be a Bin by itself, but it turns out Nimbatus’ developers are super cool people who also included a Sandbox mode with huge customisability, which essentially lets you play the main game while removing the permadeath mechanic. The breadth of options available in sandbox mode are praiseworthy and let you tweak pretty much every facet until you find the game you want to play. You can, of course, also play in full sandbox mode, with every item and upgrade available to you immediately with no cost or penalties, for those of us who just want to build the biggest scariest spaceship imaginable.

Drone building is fun, but there needs to be a purpose to it, and that’s where Nimbatus lets me down. All the planets and missions are procedurally generated, which I typically dislike. It’s used in games like this to ensure no two planets are the same, but in practice it often results in every single planet feeling the same. The story is no different here- when you’ve recovered one black box, you’ve recovered them all, and there just isn’t enough variance to engage me.

Fin or Bin:

But the planets aren’t the fun part, building a giant spaceship entirely out of lasers and rocket engines is the fun part! And that’s what I did, for the last 20 minutes of my hour. I did enjoy it, but I’ve done it now, and I don’t really see much reason to come back and do it again. For a player who enjoys receiving scraps and putting together the best machine they can out of the scatter there’s a lot of fun to be had here, but for me it’s time to disassemble all the parts and put them back in the Bin.

(Steam) (Comic – Awkward Zombie “Gunship”)

Zwei: The Arges Adventure

Despite being in the industry a good thirty years at this point, Falcom games always have a wonderfully indie feeling to them. The term ‘indie’ has become somewhat nebulous of late, so for clarity, my definition of indie is rooted firmly in the mid-2000s, with titles such as Cave Story and Iji being quintessential examples. Not quite janky, but certainly rough-hewn; carved squarely by a single vision rather than being smoothed over by the waves of dissonant voices, caught in the middle of designer and corporate interests. Entirely unafraid to defy convention, for good or ill, and try something new even if it doesn’t pan out.

Falcom’s flagship is surely the Ys series, of which I am a fan, but they also have plenty of smaller projects, among them previously-featured Gurumin and now Zwei, an RPG where you do not gain Exp from defeating monsters but by eating food, and every single environment was drawn by hand.

Pipiro and Pokkle are step-siblings (yes, alarm bells rang out for me too, but apparently the game doesn’t go there) who live a pastoral life in a pastoral village. It’s about as JRPG as it gets, as indeed one day the village is beset by a mysterious stranger who steals the items of plot significance, and so our intrepid duo must go and get them back.

No prizes for originality there, then, but XSeed’s typically-entertaining localisation does a lot to alleviate the sameness of it. The opening scenes took up the bulk of the hour, in some amount due to poor signposting (instructions to talk to a specific villager with no indication of where said villager might be found, for example), but the dialogue is fun enough to retain engagement.

Combat and dungeoneering… is less so, and although I didn’t get to experience a lot of it I don’t have particularly high hopes. While in the beginner dungeon I encountered several switch puzzles whose solutions could only be divined by trial and error, and along one linear pathway (the only route I had available to me) I came up against a monster who could kill me in two hits and survived anything I tried to throw its way. Whether that was supposed to be cautionary or just the way this game goes, I’ve yet to discover.

Fin or Bin:

The experience in the dungeons certainly left me questioning where Zwei should go, and reading up about the levelling system similarly worries me- many people saying finding the right foods is a grindfest that quite often results in simply no reward from fighting monsters at all. Despite all this however, I trust Falcom to deliver a fun if not praiseworthy game that is worth seeing through to the Finish, whether or not its rough edges give a few splinters along the way.




The vertical shooter is my bread and butter. Ikaruga, the Touhou series, and former BBacklog Challenge title eXceed 3rd are all games I regard highly, and have sunk many many hours into each. I always get excited when one comes up on the BBLC (Mushihimesama is on there aaaaaa). You would think this fervour would survive a 90-degree spin clockwise, but somehow horizontal shooters always leave me cold.

I’m not sure why. My best guess, having moderate experience with both, is that vertical shooters tend to focus more on bullet patterns, while horizontal shooters are more about enemy placement. The difference is narrow on the surface, but greatly change how the game is approached. A game focused on bullet patterns is played far more defensively, while one focused on enemy placement needs an aggressive approach.

Sorry, Revolver360, for using your entry to muse on the minutiae of game sub-genres; the truth is, I just don’t have much interesting to say about you. Thankfully, as I’ve said many times before, this is a blog more than it is a review site, so I’m allowed to do that.

Because, yes, Revolver360 looks like it should be 120% up my alley. A shooter with a gimmick (the entire game world can be revolved around the X axis to move impassable bullet patterns out of the way in three dimensions), but I just could not get into it. I had similar feelings for it as I did for Astebreed, in that most of the time I was just holding down the various attack buttons and moving around and the rest of the game seemed to play itself, although thankfully R360 keeps the anime nonsense to a minimum.

Fin or Bin:

My own leanings aside, Revolver360 succumbs greatly to the trap of style over substance. It’s visually very striking, entirely in shades of blue except for vital enemy bits, but that comes at a seriously high cost- I very often lost my own position on the screen and everything else was just kind of a blur of Things Happening. I was quite disappointed by Binning this one, as I fully expected to love it, but unfortunately it just wasn’t meant to be. 





It had to happen eventually, didn’t it? Famously- infamously by this point- roguelikes and I do not get along. Every time I encounter one on my backlog journey I enjoy it for about 30 minutes, and then I die and have nothing to show for my time, and I remember how much I hate roguelikes. And that is still the official line- I hate roguelikes.

Supergiant have never made a wrong step in their catastrophically excellent career, and so I took it personally when they said their next project was a roguelike. Because I knew, if anyone could make me add “except Hades” to that sentence, it was going to be them. So having played it…

I hate roguelikes… except Hades.

There, I said it. Goddamn, I said it. It wasn’t enough for Supergiant to make me full-on ugly-cry over a sports game, now they’ve gone and ruined the one constant in my life. I have to append “except Hades” to every roguelike post I ever make from now on. I hope they’re proud of themselves for making a rich, sublime, entertaining, fun game that I enjoy a lot. The bastards.

Now, that’s not to say I don’t get hugely frustrated at playing for an hour only to encounter a new boss fight, get absolutely mullered by it because I don’t know its patterns, and have to play that entire hour of random combat again before I get another chance to practice against those patterns (and lose, again, because the only way to learn how to avoid attacks is to fail to avoid those attacks). It’s not to say that rolling useless boon after useless boon doesn’t make me want to scream. And it’s certainly not to say that those bloody archers deleting 90% of my healthbar immediately before a boss fight doesn’t make me question every choice I’ve ever made.

But damnit, I’m 36 hours in and no matter how frustrated I get, 30 seconds later I’m back in Tartarus taking another swing at it. A significant part of this is simply that combat is hugely fun; zipping around volleying off shots and pulling slick dodges is just a rip-roaring good time and feels great. The moment-to-moment gameplay is exemplary, and I’d say damn-near faultless. Supergiant have honed this craft to a diamond tip and Hades’ combat is the culmination of the best bits of its forebears.

But for me personally, the biggest hurdle to my enjoyment of a roguelike is the sense of (or lack of) progression. Every single run of Hades is useful, somehow; even if you just come home with a few gemstones in your pockets, that’s a small step towards the next permanent unlockable which will in turn aid and assist your future runs. This is what killed FTL for me; having reached the final boss in that game and losing because RNG decided every single one of my attacks was going to miss, I was left with- nothing, absolutely nothing. Not even a new unlocked starting ship. In Hades, every run starts a little stronger than the one before it, and by reframing the expeditions as resource-gathering trips rather than considering each one an escape attempt, I’ve come to almost love the start-die-repeat cycle inherent to the genre.

Fin or Bin:

Listen, at this point, if Supergiant announced their next game will literally set its players on fire, I’d be willing to try it. I trust them implicitly. I understand that escaping the Underworld is in fact only the start of Hades, and I have no idea what constitutes as Finishing it… but I’ll find out.

(Steam, also on pretty much every other platform! With cross-saves!)

(I’ve been streaming Hades on my Twitch channel Mon/Weds/Fri 3:30pm EST and probably will continue to do so for a couple more weeks at least, feel free to follow and join in!)

Hey, I read your answer to that anon about Death’s Gambit. I played the game recently and I just wanted to add that if you don’t want to recover the feathers, you could always use them to increase your damage. You don’t lose them that way, and you can use Gaia’s leaves to heal. I usually had all feathers increasing my power unless I had to fight a really hard boss, in which I took like half of them to heal and the others to increase my power.I played Acolyte of Death (which means more save points because I figured I would die a lot in that first run, which I certainly did xD). I ended that first run with around 50 finesse, 30 intelligence (for the 3rd scythe skill), 25 endurance (to be able to dodge and attack more) and some vitality. I don’t know about the other classes that are in the game, but I quite enjoyed playing as Acolyte, so I recommend it to new players. I’m thinking of picking up the game again when the expansion comes, since I heard they’re adding lots of new talents, bosses, upgrades and more lore.


But if I boost my strength then I can’t heal 🙁 Lol I think this game just simply isn’t for me. I’ve made my peace with the fact, as sad as I was at the time- it’s beautiful and very finely crafted. I feel like I’m missing out on something, but! If you’re not having fun with a game there’s no need to keep playing it. That’s the key lesson I’ve taken from running this challenge, and as a result I’m enjoying my hobby much more.