Try it Tuesday: February 21, 2023
I’ve been working on a lot of things in the last week or two, up to and including my short thoughts on everything I played during Steam Next Fest. I’ll have a top 10 post and video for YouTube on that coming soon, but if you’re interested in the full batch of games I played, check out my Twitch VODs or TikTok for the short and sweet.
This week didn’t have a specific theme, though if you wanted to ascribe one to it, you could simply say all of the games had a single word title. Which is true! But there was no real driving force behind these, other than I had been sitting on them for a little bit, and hadn’t the time to put together one of these. After a week of Demo Daze, it was a little dizzying, but I knew I needed to get it done regardless. So let’s talk about those games!
Game links with an asterisk * next to them denote affiliate links.
Sonority was a surprising game, to say the least. What I was expecting from it was another complex puzzle/strategy game, not unlike The Witness or The Talos Principle. What I got was something that was a mix of those, as well as a game I played on a previous Try it Tuesday called One Hand Clapping – a very unique puzzle platformer where you use the sound and tone of your voice to control objects and move across the world. Sonority used the music scale that the character played on a panflute to solve puzzle rooms that ultimately teach you both in game and hopefully out of game of the importance of music. It’s a love letter to the fundamental basics of learning, and it’s very charming. It’s also quite challenging! Were I to give one critique, it’s that sometimes I did feel like I was brute forcing some of the puzzles, rather than solving them from what I’d learned. The game didn’t really offer much by way of tutorial, though there is a help guide in the menu to break down how the notes and scales work. Also, if that feels too obtuse, you can use numeric values instead of the music scale. I don’t believe you have to have an understanding of musical notation or sheet music to understand how to play Sonority, but I do feel some gentle guidance in the beginning would help more players slide into this charming experience. I’d love to return to this someday to see what the story is leading me to, because between a narrating raccoon and a bunch of humming stone heads, I have some questions!
??? out of 5 slabs
Links to the game:
A lot of sidescrollers with a grimdark setting are usually also paired up with the Souls-like genre, which has been rapidly growing in popularity. This one definitely has a Souls flavor to it, but not mechanically – no, Elderand manages to stay firmly seated in its Metroidvania roots, and I for one was pretty thankful for that. Elderand has you traversing through multiple biomes across what feels like a pretty expansive map. It’s got big-time hack’n’slash energy going for it as well, with a bevy of weapons at your disposal with various attack types to each one. Bosses are moderately challenging, and were I to draw a comparison to anything… I’d honestly steer towards Slain: Back From Hell, and insanely brutal platformer if I’ve ever seen one. Character customization somehow gives this a pretty solid RPG feel as well, and with crafting, merchants, plenty of loot, various Lovecraftian inspired enemies, and lore spread across the whole of the game… well, Elderand is quite the gem. I’ll probably sink hours into this on my Steam Deck, truth be told.
????? out of 5 slabs
Links to the game:
I played a demo for this at some point over the course of the last year during a previous Demo Daze, and really enjoyed it. I can see the vast amount of changes they’ve added to the game since then, and it’s really rounded out Inkulinati to be a fun and cheeky turn-based combat ride worth spreading the word about. Inkulinati is a strategy and tactics game at heart, but it blends a very unique hand-drawn art style with a few FMV cutscenes and a fun premise in such a way that the game doesn’t take itself that seriously, and neither should you. Have fun with it! You can battle in a campaign vs AI, or battle against other humans – whatever floats your hand-drawn boat. The light-hearted nature of it doesn’t mean it’s an easy ride either, the game can get quite difficult and has some surprising depth that I think even hardcore strategists might enjoy. Inkulinati is currently only in early access, so it’s hard to give it a proper full rating with potential changes coming down the road, and additions to either bolster or lessen the score. But I really enjoyed it and I see nothing but good things coming for the future of this game. Did I mention the art style? This is the definite highlight for me. I love the hand drawn aesthetic, I love how the battle is dictated in the book as you play. I love the photograph backgrounds and add-ins and I love the FMV cutscenes. This game is a gem. Definitely worth the price!
???? out of 5 slabs
Links to the game: