Thursday, September 25, 2008

Flash Games Review/Guide: Beast Signer (Alpha Version)

I decided a few days ago I wanted to do some commentary on the games produced by Pseudolonewolf, a talented producer of free Flash games, because I've invariably enjoyed the experience of playing them. At some point I'll do an extensive writeup of even Fig Hunter, his oldest and a very incomplete game (and far and away the most primitive), but I'll start with Beast Signer, which is currently in Alpha.

(All images are the intellectual property of Pseudolonewolf, and are used only for demonstrative and occasional humorous purposes.)

The first thing you are asked to do in this game, as in most of his games (the major exceptions, ironically, are his "finished" games, the two chapers of Mardek, Raider, and Super Mega Extreme Cyber Ortek (Dragon) Flier). The selection is similar to and typical of his other games, that is, choose a gender, choose hairstyle, etc., with one twist-the element is assigned according to how you fill out a quiz. So here we go:

Wait a minute. There's no way that I'm water, dude. Try again. (If you aren't pleased with your results, simply hit "Z" and then "X" repeatedly until you get the quiz results. Anytime you aren't pleased, just use Z again and randomly fill it out until you get what you want.)

Once you've got the element you want, you're assigned a "Beast," a little Pokemon/Digimon type creature. "Training" these creatures is ultimately the primary focus of the game. (If you've actually played it at all, or even read some of his blurbs about it, this is blatantly obvious. I'll just mention it, though, because it's relevant.)

Eventually, when actual game play starts, you "wake up" in a bed in a little shack of some kind. Step out of bed and walk over to the little thing that resembles a computer and use "X" to "talk" to it, and you'll discover...

...a computer. It's a very simplified one, obviously, but the computers are well-put together, and are absolutely vital for the game's play, as I'll elaborate on later. For the moment, let's step outside.

Good question, Remnant dude. As this guy helpfully explains, you'll be sent "into The Machine" to become a "Signer." There, you'll capture ("sign") and train digital "Beasts" which are apparently nasty little menaces to the general society that lives in The Machine. (The Machine creates a virtual environment for people to live in, so they don't have to live in the wasteland of reality. This game gets pretty meta.)

Anyway, once you talk to some buddies and then go back (they're in one of the southernmost buildings in the place) to take a nap, you get rudely kicked awake to catch the Signer Bus. The Signer Bus has six wheels.

This game has an awful lot of waiting in it, by the way-while the above capture is from the end of that particular wait, it's a wait you can't really shorten.

After that wait, you have to have a medical examination, and you must, surprise surprise, wait in a waiting room.

We hope so too.
When you get in there, there's a guy I would never trust to put me under anesthesia who wants to put you under. He doesn't actually tell you this until you have no choice, by the way. After some waiting in a black screen, the game is ready to begin. (This will be the first time you are allowed to save-the control menu is explained as being accessed from a microchip installed in your brain at this time.) Now, it's time to go!

You may want to explore a bit first.

Oh really.

Anyway, once you emerge into the virtual world of Normos, you are immediately assailed by a so-called friend of yours.

I don't like the way he's looking at my (female) avatar there.

He wants to fight. Oblige him. And kick his booty.

If you're lucky, you won't need to waste any of your supplies in this fight; if not, it's not a big deal, for reasons I'll explain later. "Luck" in this case is the elemental matchup. Hint: The other guy's critter is Fire.

After the Beasts fall (and they will), you and the other dude cut each other with swords. If your beast goes down first, you'll probably lose; if the other guy's does, you'll probably win.

For those of you who are wondering, no, those are not from the same save. They are different characters I created primarily for the purposes of this review.

This guy here demonstrates a common theme in a lot of Pseudolonewolf's games-lots of minor characters have incredibly inane dialogue. I'm not complaining, though-it's terribly funny.

When I mention that you'll rarely need the supplies for healing your Beasts, this is why: There are computers all over the place, and you can simply click "Restore" to heal them all. They do other stuff, too. (You'll be seeing this screen a lot, by the way.)

You'll also see this chick and her house a lot-in the first village, she is nearly the entire population. There's about seven of her.

Anyway, when you get into fights with creatures, you can sign them in order to capture them. Whether or not it'll work is random. Some creatures seem a little more susceptible than others. A few notes on counterintuitive stuff in the battle functions: You can sign even if your battle team is completely full (the Beast will instead be stored on the computers-and yes, you can access your storage from any of them). Another note-you can select as many Beasts as you can have out to summon in one turn-just use X repeatedly. The last time you hit it, it'll know you're done and finish the process.

As tends to be the case in games like this one, a major focus is on evolution of the creatures. Whenever the creature evolves, it learns a skill, and it and its descendants remember that skill forever.

Descendants come about through Merging:

Merging makes an egg. You need two creatures of Stage 2 or higher to Merge. They collectively become a new egg, which will soon (shortly after you summoned it into a battle-and don't worry about it dying, because it's got a very thick shell) hatch/evolve into a new larval form.

Thus far, I've had quite a bit of fun with this game.

Perhaps too much fun. (This, by the way, is my sister's save. I was the one playing it, though.)

Anyway, as mentioned, this is still an Alpha version, and as such is kinda buggy yet (and also very incomplete), but it's still a pretty fun way to blow six or seven hours in one go. I've done so all too often already.

Another random note, as a little pet peeve: At least one creature only comes out at night. For some people, this is awkward.

Signing off, because I'm on here too late as it is.


david-blainey said...

Thank you gratefully, for I am interested in Pseudolonewolf and his games on quite a deep level! But I don`t want to play the game until it`s finished, because, uh.. that will create an *inappropriate* impression. I like to eat things at a stretch.
Anyway, Pseudolonewolf McPseudolonewolfington rules!

joe said...

Pseudos games are pretty cool