GOG releases: “OPUS: The Day We Found Earth” + “OPUS: Rocket of Whispers” + “OPUS: Echo of Starsong”

SIGONO INC.‘s three sci-fi adventure games OPUS: The Day We Found Earth, OPUS: Rocket of Whispers, and OPUS: Echo of Starsong make their DRM-free debut on GOG.

OPUS: The Day We Found Earth, published in April 2016, is about the AI Dr. Lisa and her robot Emeth who try to find Earth with a spaceship, as the planet seems to be nothing more than a myth for mankind in the year 160000. But it’s the only way to save humanity, as it’s spiralling towards the end without samples of its earliest DNA.

The game is part adventure and part exploration, as one has to look through items on the spaceship that reveal something about the (missing or dead?) crew members’ past due to the mission being more than a few centuries old. One also has to scan stars with a space telescope to find Earth, making it an emotional and contemplative tale.

Official website

OPUS: Rocket of Whispers, published in February 2018, tells the story of two people who survived an apocalyptic plague, trying to build a rocket to send the dead to their cosmic homeland, as it’s the tradition of space burials.

It becomes clear that this is yet another emotional but quite different experience, as it fuses storytelling with exploration elements. So one has to collect enough material and craft the tools for the rocket, but also learns about the past of a planet now covered in snow by looking at antiques and artifacts.

Official website

OPUS: Echo of Starsong, published in September 2021, looks to be the most ambitious instalment in the series, as it involves young man and exile Jun who embarks on a journey to find the sound of asteroids called Starsongs, as these have unimaginable powers. He’s not alone on his quest, as young girl Eda accompanies him, because her ability to imitate starsongs with her voice is the key to discover an ancient myth deep in space.

It sounds and looks like a very epic experience, with both puzzle solving and resource management adding variety to the gameplay. During the journey one might also find people who either help or hinder one’s progress, so anyone loving classic sci-fi TV shows or movies should be catered for with how the story and characters develop.

Official website

OPUS: The Day We Found Earth is now available DRM-free on GOG with a 65% launch discount, while OPUS: Rocket of Whispers and OPUS: Echo of Starsong are off 55% and 20% their original prices. If one wants to experience the whole series, then the OPUS: Collector’s Edition is the way to go, because it includes all games as well as the individual soundtracks and artbooks. These can also be bought separately or with the respective deluxe editions for each game. All discounts last until November 23, 2021, at 2 PM UTC.

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Game release: “DYSMANTLE” (PC)

10tons Ltd‘s post-apocalyptic survival RPG DYSMANTLE has left its early access state behind.

Survival games are dime a dozen these days, and they usually show a world in dark/grey tones. This isn’t the case here, as the world one explores after one leaves one’s shelter looks much more colorful and beautiful. However, it doesn’t mean that it’s a peaceful and less dangerous environment, with monsters waiting to devour the player whenever they have the chance.

The title already refers to the main gameplay idea of breaking almost every single object into materials which can then be used for tools. Crafting weapons, clothes, and drinks helps in the survival process, as it to be expected, while hunting or farming provides food to fill the character’s belly. One can also discover ruins where hi-tech tools from a bygone era are hidden. So despite all the monster odds stacked against the protagonist, there are enough means to survive and improve one’s stats, with the final goal to escape the island one finds oneself on.

The game entered early access in November 2020 and is now finally out on PC in its 1.0 form with a 35% launch discount that lasts until November 23, 2021, at 12 AM UTC.

Buy the game for PC on
GOG
Steam

Official website

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GOG release: “Spacebase Startopia”

Realmforge Studios and Kalypso Media‘s sci-fi strategy title Spacebase Startopia finally lands on GOG.

Based on Mucky Foot Productions’ original Startopia (see this GOG release news) that came out in 2001, Spacebase Startopia puts the player into the role of a space station commander who has to build and manage it for all sorts of aliens living or being on vacation there. From the first looks of it and a hands-on session during gamescom 2019, it still retains the same sense of quirky fun and strategic possibilities.

It becomes clear that this isn’t a game one can sit idly by without the danger of things falling apart, because in addition to taking care of three main decks, one has to develop more sectors in order to please everyone or rather every alien. Being a mix of business simulation, building game as well as RTS, it sure is a unique proposition, especially since it doesn’t take itself too seriously thanks to VAL, an AI that comments on each decision one makes, which might not always be polite.

Spacebase Startopia was originally released in March 2021 and is now available DRM-free on GOG with a 40% launch discount that lasts until November 22, 2021, at 2 PM UTC. The soundtrack can also be bought separately.

Official website

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Disney+ watchlist: October 2021

Disney+ in October 2021 had the Muppets, Marvel, and an online game avatar come to life.

TV shows:
Muppets Haunted Mansion [6/10]

October was probably the best time to watch something related to Halloween, and what better way than with Muppets Haunted Mansion? It’s not really on par with The Muppet Christmas Carol, not only because of its short runtime of just under one hour, but because there’s not much content, despite the theme park attraction offering enough chances to deliver a good story.

Fans of the dark ride will be happy to see lots of references, e.g. the elevator scene with portraits changing and sudden darkness. It often feels just like going through various stages of the ride, presenting them with a mix of child-friendly scares and silly laughs. But unlike the ride it’s based on, one won’t remember much and wouldn’t want to watch it again every season.

Movies:
Black Widow (2021) [6/10]
Free Guy [8/10]

Black Widow is the perfect example of how stale and forgettable the Marvel universe has become. If it weren’t for a few bombastic set-pieces, especially towards the end, one would wonder what actually happened in those 2 hours. At times, it feels like a serious spy movie, at others like a family drama, then again as a parody of old superheroes.

The movie certainly isn’t as epic as other Marvel instalments, which is both okay and disappointing. The first 20 minutes or so hint at something much more ambitious, as they’re an emotional depiction of how children become assassins, something much more realistic and draining than the nonsense that follows.

Free Guy isn’t particularly new with its idea of showing life behind the scenes of a videogame and how a protagonist becomes aware of his role, as it’s a mix of Wreckin’ Ralph and The Truman Show. So it doesn’t come as a surprise that the business of money-making online games is ridiculed, too, with an over-the-top performance by Taika Waititi. Of course Ryan Reynold’s portrayal of the anti-hero is just as great.

What one is left with is some silly and emotional moments, and it goes without saying that anyone who has ever played or watched a massively-multiplayer online game will have the most fun with it, as it shows all the buggy movements and ridiculous outfits in addition to unnecessary but comic violence. Despite a clear focus on action and comedy, the movie manages to tell a touching story, something that can’t be said of many AAA blockbusters. If only the superfluous Marvel and Star Wars references at the end wouldn’t have made it into the end product…

It’s obvious that Disney+ wants to draw more people to its channel with exclusives and movies that were in the cinema only a few months ago, and doing this without forcing them to pay extra is certainly the best way to go, as can be seen with these three additions.

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Netflix watchlist: October 2021

It’s been a rather long time since the Netflix watchlist: January¬†2021 article, but I was curious to find out if Korean TV show Squid Game really deserved all the attention, so October 2021 was another month of binge watching.

TV shows:
Squid Game (Season 1) [6/10]

The main idea of Squid Game is certainly nothing new, mixing elements of the Saw and The Purge series and showing how far people would go to win. The aforementioned two inspirations are much gorier and brutal, but Squid Game doesn’t hold back with its depiction of violence, making it somehow controversial for a 16+ age certificate. It seems to be quite an vogue lately in Asian productions to add as much social criticism as possible to each genre, as could be seen with the overrated Parasite. So it’s no surprise to have characters that are so unlucky due to their circumstances in society that one understands their motivations quite clearly.

Be it as it may, what one is left with is a series of very stupid and boring children/school playground games and so much talking at times that one realizes why the concept had been rejected before: With a social message hammered down in every episode to make even the dumbest person understand it, the series is way too long for what it wants to tell. This becomes especially noticeable in the final episodes in which the acting also becomes cringeworthingly bad thanks to the introduction of American actors who surprisingly do even more overacting than the Koreans, in addition to a drawn-out ending with a twist that isn’t as clever as the series’ creators think it is.

In a nutshell, Squid Games is an overhyped series that is entertaining to a certain degree (except for that terrible music), but doesn’t add anything new or memorable to the thriller/horror/drama genre. Maybe the inevitable second season will be more imaginative and bonkers…

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