Let's Sperg JAIMAS PLAYS A TERRIBLE GAME: EXTREME MEATPUNKS FOREVER by Heather Flowers - TFW You Make James Corbett Seem Like a Good Writer by Comparison

Jaimas

YOUR PEACEFUL LIFE IS NO MORE!!
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
Sometimes I know a game's going to be a worthy review well in advance. It's been harder to find worthy trash to make fun of on the Indie Circuit these days, and while the same pretentious shit is there as always, there hasn't really been any truly worthy shit in a long time. Where do you go after playing Hackers vs Banksters and Patriarchy Simulator 2000 puts your expectations for true shit in the indie circuit so low that it may as well be at the bottom of the Marianas Trench?

Well, you wait for one of your peers on the Farms to see your body of work and suggest something, and sometimes, the recommendations strike gold. It's a reliable method, and it's led to some great content like this fucking thing sent in by goodly @CatParty. So when noble @Aaa0aaa0 sent me it, and insisted it was shit of the highest tier, I was intrigued.

If anything, he was underselling it. Let's talk about it.

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The brainchild of Heather Flowers, a developer with a history of especially crazy outbursts, given her online behavior, and whose whole back catalogue of work is shit about how gay the world is, EXTREME MEATPUNKS FOREVER (the caps is mandatory) may very well represent a new paradigm in bad game design for JPATG. Even by the staggering standards of this article series, it's awful in every regard. However, there are certain excesses one can expect when a developer throws down their manifesto and claims that people playing their game are too stupid to understand nuance and subtlety:

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So we're not even into the game yet, I haven't gone past the title screen, and we have a developer pandering to the most insane of the Twitter sphere, who happens to believe that there is a moral imperative to fight fascism (while basically relegating "Nazi" to mean "anyone whose political opinion isn't mine") and that anyone who fails to do so is conducting a willful act of evil. I'm sure this won't be foreshadowing of the content of this game in the slightest!

Did I mention this game is fucking made in Unity?
This accounts for the game's first chapter being about 3 minutes long and the file size..... Well:

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You people ask me to mock trash. I give you VNs programmed in Unity and over half a gig in size.

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....God damn it. How does one even react to this with anything other than giggling fucking contempt? We're maybe a dozen lines of dialogue in, and we've been introduced to Sam and Jason, two gay guys, who are in a bar that's made in ASCII art, after the game assures us that this world isn't too dissimilar from our own. The spelling is the least of it, it's the character-writing that, less than a percent into this game's narrative, utterly eviscerate any ability whatsoever to take this story seriously. In the first twenty seconds, the gay white boy, Jason, literally wants to go to the big city because there's other gays there and he might be able to bone them.

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The game also establishes that they're sports fans for a team called the Bloodmasons. This proceeds to one of our brave gay heroes, staggeringly drunk, starts to antagonize a pair of fans of the team that lost, called "the Fash Collective." When the two dejected fans get up to hand the drunken gay white boy his ass, Sam attempts to de-escalate, and the responses - and I swear to shit I am not making this up - are the following:

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...People, I'm a hard man to impress. You see one talentless slog through the indie circuit's insanity, you've probably seen them all, but this - this fucking thing is the worst writing I have ever featured on JPATG, and may, in fact, be the worst writing I've seen in a commercially released product. We are less than a minute in, we know nothing about this world beyond what I just told you. Not giving the antagonists a face when dealing with minor characters, that's normal in titles in general, but the fact that they literally make them talk in what I can only assume the maker of this game thinks disparate viewpoints on Twitter sound like is fucking diabolically bad writing. The writer for this game just wants you to hate these nebulous evildoers, and is going to go to any extent to make that happen, no matter how cheap or blatant.

And I do mean fucking blatant.

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I want you to take a moment and appreciate what we're seeing with this one: This is how this developer sees the world. We've seen nothing to suggest this alleged "Fash Collective" has actually done anything wrong beyond fucking exist in this setting, and support a sports team that one of the protagonists didn't. Their antagonism is treated as an existential threat, while one of the protagonists being a drunken idiot and starting the fucking fight is written off. And because of this, the protagonist is automatically treated as right. While you probably didn't need more examples that this developer and logic are like oil and water, it's good to have for establishing context, because it colors everything moving forward.

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At this point, the game introduces you to its lone gameplay element of note. In this world, you take control of Geiger-esque biomechs (simply called "Mechs") and use them to brawl. It's the closest thing this game ever comes to being interesting, and it's going to be just as disappointing as everything else, I assure you.

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.....Our hero then reveals he has no idea how to control the fucking thing. What transpires is.... This:

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He literally tells you how the controls work. In a setting that not twenty seconds previously, established has a neural link for its biomechs:

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All right, so how does this fucking thing actually work? Well, it's basically a modernization of this old chicken fighting game I played on Atari 2600. You zip around and attack the opponent using left mouse to knock them backwards and attempt to knock them out of the stage on a certain border. Primary fire throws a punch (which is not animated by the sprite, just a "slash" animation effect) and secondary fire does a thing based on who's piloting. In Sam's case, it lets him make a short and fast dash in any direction, with no cooldowns.

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.....I promptly use this to drift race around the parking lot in the only bit of fun I've had with the game so far.

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And so it begins. You get into a fight and eventually push the opponent into the north side of the parking lot for the win. The game has a few mechanics, namely that you'll be stunned if you get hit too much, so you can press the advantage and push the enemy around more. This works both ways and he can be stunned too. The fight was won in 20 seconds because I drift-raced into range and then punched him over and over again.

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....Only for the cops to arrive and Jason to drunkenly scream that they need to run because "Cops Love Fash."

I want to point out that if I did not know what this abbreviation means, I would be thinking they were complaining about "Fashion," and that makes this game even more stereotypical than it already was, which is frankly quite funny. After a bit of attempt at heartfelt dialogue which falls flat because of the preceding scene, we meander on to another character with no establishing shot.

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These characters are Cass and Lianna, who give us the Nonbinary and Disabled components of the oppression skill tree. I only know the first one because the game decided we needed to have this wonderful information about our cast, and by that I meant the only thing it tells them is their name, pronouns, and a short blurb about them which has no plot relevance:

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Anyway, Lianna says she's started a fight club for Meatpunks out back which is allegedly somehow illegal and she browbeats Cass into joining tonight, but not before Cass goes on about Cornscreaming, which apparently is running out into the cornfields and screaming a lot. I'm as fucking confused as you.

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So Cass is browbeaten into joining, and with this ominous piece of dialogue, the chapter fucking ends:

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This game is broken up into a bunch of chapters, and while this took me like 7 minutes of actual playtime to do, I felt like I was up for two days in the process. So it'll be a bit before I submerge myself dick-deep into this one, but on the plus side, it does mean you can expect the rest out of me.

In the interim, however, I'm going to do a new thing at the end of every single chapter, and point out why things in this game do not work. I could write a fucking doctoral thesis on the antagonists alone, but right now, we're focusing on one thing in particular, because it's important to other game developers: World-building, and why this game sucks ass at it.

World-building is important. There's good and bad ways to do it, and this game may well be one of the worst. It gives you no backstory, no information, no establishment about the setting or the world. Barring the title, would you even suspect that the Biomechs had anything to do with this outside of the action scenes and me talking about it? No, you would not. We know nothing about the world, the characters, or the rules of the setting, and since gaming is an interactive medium, this is more than a wasted opportunity, it's a fundamental misunderstanding of the goddamn artform. You want your intro to show the player what your game world offers, to propose mysteries and to beg the player's curiousity. You need to flesh things out, to make things in the world make sense according to said world's rules. It's not hard, it just takes practice and care, but EXTREME MEATPUNKS FOREVER fails at this first hurdle.

Now, to compare, let's bring in an admittedly threadbare game story-wise that does world-building approximately 41 billion times better - the intro from The Surge.


The Surge does an interesting thing, and does it with the backdrop of a nebulous, potentially evil corporation that is a not-so-subtle reference to Google, and which is convinced it's doing the right thing to save the world. In minutes - visually, and through being able to control it once the initial cutscene is done - we are introduced to the setting, and our protagonist, and we are introduced to the fact that he's in a wheelchair. This reveal is done extremely well for a game that botches it in other areas, and I genuinely found this impressive. Looking around, and seeing the other characters, namely the Security Officers, in their advanced power armor, you get it into your head why a character like Warren would willingly accept a job at a company like this, since it's made very clear that an exoskeleton rig like this could allow him to be able to actually walk and move around for the first time since the accident. It just so happens that when he goes in for it, the shit hits the fan and you're left picking up the pieces. From this one intro, you've gotten the player both intrigued, confused, and hopefully, invested. Fission mucking accomplished.

But it's not really fair to compare this game to The Surge. That game, after all, had a budget. So let's compare it to an indie darling that didn't and yet became so successful that it practically is a meme at this point in and of itself: Hollow Knight.


Hollow Knight leads off with symbolism that isn't entirely clear, and yet in so doing, it confronts the player with an enigma, asking them to try to figure out the meaning behind it. We are then introduced to our cute little bug of a protagonist, who makes his way to the Kingdom of Bugs, and from there everything is on the player to figure out, and answers avail themselves very quickly. The game design means the player gets invested quickly, and equally quickly must confront that this world will not hold your hand.

What could EXTREME MEATPUNKS FOREVER done to avoid this? Worldbuilding. A fucking intro that sets the setting, an introduction to the characters that doesn't make them infinitely more hateable than the alleged Fash that only gets in a fight with them because they fucking start it. How is this world different from our own? What's similar? What are the rules? We know basically nothing from EXTREME MEATPUNKS FOREVER's storytelling. That shouldn't be the case for any game that has the balls to charge for it, yet here we fucking are.

Next episode will be out soon in this thread. I need to do something less depressing in the meantime to cool down, like play Nier: Automata on Route C.
 
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Cubanodun

D is for Doomposter
kiwifarms.net
I can only assume this game is a parody. Because the alternative is Minecrafting myself IRL.
No, its totally played seriously, i remember this abomination, it was one of the games that was added to that horrendous "Not!Cyberpunk 2077" game pack, a pack made by a lunatic because he believed CDPR was transphobic or some crap, it included stupid shit like a music album with a furry with cybernetical augmentations and it get worse from there
 

Disc

I want my cringe New Years Announcement, dammit.
kiwifarms.net
There really has to be something said for the people who want to be seen as these violent badasses of blood and flesh monstrosities and also be seen as the sole victims of all bad things that happen ever. Like, maybe being a viscera fetishist is working against you?

It's also disappointing that they have done literally nothing with the biomechs here. They could be living noble soldiers turned into violent mindless automatons, twisted embodiments of their users warped desires, horrific beasts dripping with symbolism, anything. Instead they're basically mechs but edgy because the author likes grossing people out.

Because we can
Correction: Because he needs attention and we want to laugh at this stuff without being inflicted with it.

It's also a good chance for a fledgling or wannabe writer to flex their writing skills, particularly when it comes to giving technical information or making something boring more fun to enjoy.
 

Kuchipatchi

Hello-tchi!
kiwifarms.net
No, its totally played seriously, i remember this abomination, it was one of the games that was added to that horrendous "Not!Cyberpunk 2077" game pack, a pack made by a lunatic because he believed CDPR was transphobic or some crap, it included stupid shit like a music album with a furry with cybernetical augmentations and it get worse from there
Please tell me more.
 

Jaimas

YOUR PEACEFUL LIFE IS NO MORE!!
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
There really has to be something said for the people who want to be seen as these violent badasses of blood and flesh monstrosities and also be seen as the sole victims of all bad things that happen ever. Like, maybe being a viscera fetishist is working against you?

It's also disappointing that they have done literally nothing with the biomechs here. They could be living noble soldiers turned into violent mindless automatons, twisted embodiments of their users warped desires, horrific beasts dripping with symbolism, anything. Instead they're basically mechs but edgy because the author likes grossing people out.
The dev has a bit of a history of being on a shoestring with this kind of thing, and if you're willing to wade through their timeline on their Social Media accounts, they love body horror and guro shit, so yes, this absolutely is a fetish for them, much like their entire online persona is. They're very much part of the Sophie Labelle/Rhys McKinnon/side of things where they're extremely loud and mostly use Social Media to browbeat anyone that dares criticize them.

What's fascinating to me is that as a consequence of existing in this theatre of operations on the internet so long, they've lost the ability to properly engage with people in ways that aren't knee-jerk sound-bites. Take a look at their manifesto earlier in the review of chapter 1, and one thing immediately becomes apparent: They have absolutely no idea whatsoever what "the Fash" is. The dialogue we see, which establishes nothing about "the Fash Collective" in-game, tells us that they see the sort of shitposting you see on Twitter accounts and subreddits they don't like as something worthy of not just opposition, but violence in the name of. What this means is that their own game inadvertently works as propaganda against themselves. The protagonists don't come across as likable or relatable, they're a drunken asshole who starts shit with two people and then pawns the problem off on his friend and some dude without the spine to stand up for himself until he's waist-deep into trouble courtesy of the friend that started it.

Like an episode of Chargeman Ken, it gets to the point where you root for the bad guys, just because it looks, to all casual observation, like the the protagonist is the bigger problem.
 
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Judge Dredd

Senior Layout Artist
kiwifarms.net
I don't know if this Let's Play is old, or if this was part of a game jam, but I remember a game with a similar "mechs made of meat and bone, plus social justice" concept. Even the name "Meatpunk" is familiar. The title screen art stands out as being way better than anything in the rest of the screenshots, making me think it was pulled from somewhere.

Why do people do these text/forum playthroughs? Its legitimately some of the most autistic shit I've read.
Because it's fun.

I don't know about @Jaimas but I like the audience participation aspect, but I'm not a big name streamer or popular YouTuber so I can't really do it that way.

What was the thought process (past laziness) that made this person say "ASCII is the best background for this?" Furthermore, what makes troons and social-justice type draw characters in one single shade like that?
I think it's laziness, but according to SJWs at the CHAZ/CHOP when that happened, the graffiti and ugly art was excused as it's own art style I forget the name of.

So, if I'm getting this right, this game is basically: What if 13 Sentinels sucked?
Wouldn't that be 13 Sentinels?
 

Fictional Character

kiwifarms.net
No, its totally played seriously, i remember this abomination, it was one of the games that was added to that horrendous "Not!Cyberpunk 2077" game pack, a pack made by a lunatic because he believed CDPR was transphobic or some crap, it included stupid shit like a music album with a furry with cybernetical augmentations and it get worse from there

It was also in the itch.io bundle to support burning down America which is where I got it and it's still the worst thing I saw from it.
 

ducktales4gameboy

ratatouille is people
kiwifarms.net
Thanks so much for doing this. I own like five fucking copies of it through the itch megabundles and always wondered how awful it was, and it's every bit as bad as I expected.

Edit to not bump with offtopic:
the list below is missing this and it's both a genuinely good game and one of the most horrifying things I've ever played in a 'this will creep you the fuck out' sense, highly recommended although a bit grindy at times. It's in the George Floyd megabundle too buried in all the shit for anyone else who bought that.

 
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Witthel

Totally not a furfag.
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
@Jaimas Off-topic, but have some links to some genuinely good itch.io games as a palate cleanser.












If you're wondering why they're all horror games, it's because in my experience that's the only genre of games on itch.io that's been consistently good.
 

Pope Negro Joe the XIIIth

AI Pope Of Entropic Declesiastics, Illuminati Alum
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
Lianna says she's started a fight club for Meatpunks out back
The girl in a wheelchair...has started a fight club. With her friends in the alley. Because she's a killer fighter.

In a wheelchair.

Is hotwheels a ninja in this person's world?
Why do people do these text/forum playthroughs? Its legitimately some of the most autistic shit I've read.
Jesus christ. I don't really give a fuck about COVID-19 at this point, they need to rush a vaccine for NEWFAG-20.
 

Haramburger

kiwifarms.net
Why do people do these text/forum playthroughs? Its legitimately some of the most autistic shit I've read.
It's a creative outlet for negative emotions and draws in attention, so that they don't have to kill people instead. Also it entertains those who follow the autistic. What a silly thing to ask on this of all websites. Now excuse me, I'm off to the food board which I have no interest in, just to find a thread about pasta or vegetables in which I can tell people how fucking stupid they are for liking such dreck.
 

Jaimas

YOUR PEACEFUL LIFE IS NO MORE!!
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
@Jaimas Off-topic, but have some links to some genuinely good itch.io games as a palate cleanser.












If you're wondering why they're all horror games, it's because in my experience that's the only genre of games on itch.io that's been consistently good.
Always good to see. Appreciated!
 

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