Author Topic: The Obscure Games Thread!  (Read 22529 times)

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The Obscure Games Thread!
« on: April 16, 2013, 04:02:33 PM »
Hey everyone!

As I'm sure is true for many of you, I don't care for many of the trends in modern gaming.  I don't like the emphasis on (bad) storytelling and graphics over depth and originality.  I don't like that most games are designed to be so aggressively easy that any player can win with minimal thought or skill.  So I have to turn to more obscure titles.

And I was thinking, hey, why don't we all share our best findings?

I'll start with Ys: The Oath in Felghana

This game owns.    It's like a way faster paced 2D Zelda, except you don't need a feather to jump.  You can jump whenever you want.  And halfway in, you gain the ability to DOUBLE JUMP.  It's got a great soundtrack, and some of the best boss fights in any game ever made.

It's got light RPG elements.  You level up, your stats go up, you get new equipment, new magic, all the basics.  You don't get to choose your character build or anything, but honestly the game is better off without that anyway.  It's a superb action game, and heavy RPG elements would interfere with that.  It has difficulty options ranging from extremely simple to really hard, so you should be able to enjoy it no matter what your skill level is.

It's available in English on the PSP and Steam.


So, fellow roguetemple posters, what are your favorite obscure games?

AgingMinotaur

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Re: The Obscure Games Thread!
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2013, 07:25:29 PM »
It's a bit more than ten years ago that I played Below the Root from 1984, so I don't remember the details so well (here's the wikipedia article). But I remember it as very captivating, a truly different game. It's a fantasy setting, situated in a psionic/pacifistic/animistic society in the tree tops. Your character can't die, I think, you just play straight through, exploring, following clues, solving puzzles and picking up new powers. The plot and setting and gameplay just got to me, I still remember some scenes and motifs vividly.

As always,
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Re: The Obscure Games Thread!
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2013, 01:21:38 AM »
You mean more obscure than Rogue?

Well I'm going to say my favorite game series is probably Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Not too obscure I guess, but you don't see it mentioned much on English websites. It's a empire strategy game series where you play a ruler in ancient china. You get the standard decisions to make, build economy, invade your neighbors, make treaties, etc...but the real meat of the game is wrangling your generals.

Each general has certain attributes making them better battle commanders, administrators, etc...they each have a nice portrait and a little bit of lore behind their personalities.

So say you are going to invade Dong Zhou, a powerful warlord. You train up your troops, arm them, lay in a good supply of rice and march on his stronghold. His impetuous young warrior, Lu Bu, comes out and challenges your ruler to One on One combat.

"We'll settle this war right here, you and me, no need for more bloodshed." You decline the offer, since Lu Bu is the greatest swordsman ever. Your troops, seeing this, start to desert you due to perceived cowardice.

With your remaining troops you are still able to surround Dong Zhou's fortress and capture him. You also capture Lu Bu...Lu Bu decides to join your cause now that you have shown your prowess on the field of battle.

In the next seige, this time of a the weak intellectual and descendent of Confucious, Kong Rong, Lu Bu proves his worth in battle by slaying one of the enemy generals in a duel. He then betrays your cause and joins Kong Rong, foiling the invasion.

You spend the next 2 hours of game time planning your vengeance.

Yep. Great games.

requerent

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Re: The Obscure Games Thread!
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2013, 08:09:17 AM »
Star Control 2. GPL'ed and available to download for free http://sc2.sourceforge.net/.

It's a space adventure game. Typically rates in the top 10 of 'greatest games of all time' rankings, but very few people have heard of it.

Anyhow, the writing is impeccable and the gameplay is riveting. I doubt that it is possible to live a genuinely full life without playing this game through.

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Re: The Obscure Games Thread!
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2013, 08:03:26 PM »
Good suggestions so far!  I haven't tried Below the Root or RotTK, but they sound interesting.  I can vouch for Star Control 2 though.  It's fun, nonlinear, and has writing quality way above what you usually see in games.

My offering for today is Umihara Kawase.

It's a sidescrolling platformer about a young girl with a fishing rod.  Its gimmick is that the fishing rod can be used as a grappling hook, and it's the best, most technical grappling hook in any game I've ever seen.

There's not really a narrative to Umihara Kawase.  You just go through levels and try to reach the end.  It has branching paths, and there are a huge number of places you can only reach once you've mastered some of the more advanced grappling hook techniques, so it's the kind of game that gets bigger as your skill level improves.

Umihara Kawase was released on the Super Famicom (Japanese SNES) and never received an international release.  It did get a sequel called Umihara Kawase Shun on the PS1.  It's worth checking out as well.

Nymphaea

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Re: The Obscure Games Thread!
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2013, 09:37:26 PM »
Hmmm, obscure? It has a bit of a cult following, but you could say it's obscure...

http://yumenikki.wikia.com/

Yume Nikki (Dream Diary) is a story about a shut-in who locks herself in her room and lives most her life in her dreams. Saying much more than that would have spoilers, but it is definitely worth a play through if you like out there games. The goal is to collect all 24 "effects", which are abilities that will help you get further into her dreams.

Note, there's no real fighting or action in the game, it's probably the most surreal game ever made. It is largely an adventure to see what you can find, so enjoy it :) Warning that the back story and scenes tend to get very messed up and dark.

XLambda

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Re: The Obscure Games Thread!
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2013, 06:04:50 PM »
Hmmm, obscure? It has a bit of a cult following, but you could say it's obscure...

http://yumenikki.wikia.com/

I love Yume Nikki from the bottom of my +5 heart of rogueliking. ;_; I don't know, I find Yume Nikki more sad and beautiful and bizarre than outright disturbing. Yeah, there are plenty of dark and creepy places. I was seriously creeped out by them a lot when I started playing. But it's the dreamworld. Everyone has disturbing dreams once in a while, right? And even in the scary places, there is beauty. I see no need to believe some of the more messed up theories - yes, the dreamworld is probably in some way a reflection of real life, but there's no need to make it more messed up than it already is.
And yes, the ending is just as messed up as the rest of the game. But it's romantic, darnit! I don't know, I just appreciate it in some messed up way. Everyone cries T_T
« Last Edit: April 20, 2013, 06:19:58 PM by XLambda »

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Re: The Obscure Games Thread!
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2013, 11:26:40 AM »
It's been a while since I've posted anything here, so today you get an obscure games thread double feature!

First up, we've got Blue Wish Resurrection by x.x.  It's a danmaku/bullet hell shooter with four playable ships, five stages, and no gimmicks.  It has a few features that make it a good choice for beginners to the genre, and a variety of difficulty options.  Its easy difficulty really is easy, its hard difficulty is fiendishly hard, and its normal difficulty is exquisitely normal.  It even has one of those super secret true last bosses that are so popular with the kids these days.

If you like BWR, check out the x.x's other games.  They're all pretty similar, so if you like one you should like the others.  Eden's Aegis in particular gets my recommendation.  They're all freeware, and can be found here.  If you're having a hard time finding the download link among all the Japanese, the button you're looking for is green and says "Download Now" in English.

Next is Maldita Castilla by Locomalito.  Basically, imagine a version of Ghost'n Goblins that isn't ridiculously cheap, and that's what this is.  That's not to say it's easy - it's actually pretty tough - but it's a good kind of tough.  It features a good number of secrets, and multiple endings depending on what you did, so there's some solid replay value.  Like all of Locomalito's games, it's free and can be downloaded at his site.  While you're there, I also recommend taking a look at Hydorah, a really nice horizontal shooter.

jim

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Re: The Obscure Games Thread!
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2013, 02:52:27 PM »
I'm a big fan of Locomalito. He's just one guy, and he creates incredibly polished, relatively short action games that tend to tell better, cleaner stories than full-length AAA RPGs. I managed to beat Hydorah and get the secret ending, but Maldita Castilla got the better of me. Spoiler: It was heartbreaking to lose again and again, after all of your comrades die. That second level, where you're all fighting harpies together, really creates this sense of being part of a fragile, heroic effort... and to have to give up after the noble sacrifice of my friends, just awful!


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Re: The Obscure Games Thread!
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2013, 08:31:42 PM »
Agreed Jim.

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Re: The Obscure Games Thread!
« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2013, 09:50:14 PM »
I'm a big fan of Locomalito. He's just one guy, and he creates incredibly polished, relatively short action games that tend to tell better, cleaner stories than full-length AAA RPGs. I managed to beat Hydorah and get the secret ending, but Maldita Castilla got the better of me. Spoiler: It was heartbreaking to lose again and again, after all of your comrades die. That second level, where you're all fighting harpies together, really creates this sense of being part of a fragile, heroic effort... and to have to give up after the noble sacrifice of my friends, just awful!

That's why you need to keep going until you get one of the good endings!  You can't let Luzfarel get away with that!

By the way, how many of you play shoot em ups?  I've gotten into the genre recently, and now I think of them as the roguelike's more actiony sister genre.  They both emphasize high skill levels, consistent play, and permanent consequences.  Like roguelikes, they tend to focus on gameplay rather than graphics and narrative.

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Re: The Obscure Games Thread!
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2013, 02:17:31 AM »
Oh yeah dude, used to love 'em. Arcade style games and Roguelikes share a ton in common. They are all part of the 'rule based', 'low narrative' and 'permadeath' club. Along with strategy games they make up my trifecta of favorite genres.

Ex

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Re: The Obscure Games Thread!
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2013, 08:59:43 AM »
I'm also a huge fan of locomalito. He's one of my favorite game devs of all time. I admire all his games.

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Re: The Obscure Games Thread!
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2013, 10:20:53 PM »
Anyone here play artificial life games/simulations? My partner is a huge fan of AquaZone, what with its surprisingly accurate genetics, but everything since has just been "ooh look at the pretty fishes" without thinking about, you know, biology.
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Re: The Obscure Games Thread!
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2013, 12:27:16 AM »
Anyone here play artificial life games/simulations? My partner is a huge fan of AquaZone, what with its surprisingly accurate genetics, but everything since has just been "ooh look at the pretty fishes" without thinking about, you know, biology.

I wasted way too much (cpu) time in the nineties playing Tierra and Core War. Although there's a definite lack of pretty fishes, generating random programs and watching how they evolve is much like a programmer's fish tank. It's not so much about biology as it is about evolution, but it'll make you think.