PEGBRJE: luminous corridor 0 and Don’t Take it Personally, I Just Don’t Like You: The Camping Trip

Word Titles.

Let’s go little mate.

luminous corridor 0 is a twin-stick infinite shooter made by Loren Schmidt, an indie developer with a knack for 2D byte-centric titles. In this particular game, players are attempting to reclaim the psi crystals from an evil force with the power of psionics, rippling muscles, and a sweet mustache. And perhaps a friend.

In traditional twin-stick fashion, luminous corridor 0 has players controlling their movement with one set of directional inputs and their firing with another. While the graphical aesthetic gives the impression that the title only supports the cardinal directions, it actually includes diagonal movement and bullet direction as well for better fluidity of movement and aiming. Players are then attempting to ensure nothing dangerous can touch them, which is to say nearly everything on screen; monsters and enemies are moving and shooting around and the cellular walls are deadly. Even the crystals players need to collect aren’t safe, as if a stray psionic bullet hits them they become volatile and prep to explode. Sure, this explosion is also deadly to enemies as it destroys everything, but that also means that players cannot gain points if a chain reaction of crystals occurs.

This interesting proposition of destructible points, along with the destructible environments itself, is what drives the interesting gameplay that luminous corridor 0 offers. I at first thought the crystals were simply bombs to help clear out walls to last longer, but after seeing my score being zero and rereading the sprites I realized that while they were helpful to destroy, it also meant I would be forever gaining nothing if I continued. These cellular walls that enemies can build and destroy are also destructible by the player, which is key to ensuring that nobody gets boxed in with enemies. Both enemies and players mold the empty battlefield as they fight, meaning that certain survival runs can be ended much quicker than expected due to an enemy locking the player in a small corridor to be blasted, or assisting the player in a last minute escape. Since there are so many enemies to follow and understand, keeping up with the sprites is crucial while avoiding the massive red warning barriers that appear before danger does.

It can definitely be tricky to get used to luminous corridor 0’s approach of ‘not just blindly shooting everywhere’, but at the same time it’s a breath of fresh air to experience. Everything is dynamic and requires being on your toes at all times, and if you add in a friend to join in the chaotic precision becomes even more intense. I will say, however, that it won’t be for everyone — but if you want a survival shooter that leaves nearly everything open to individual playstyles, then this might be what you are looking for.

Do note: at the time of writing this, the sound is defaulted to ‘off’ in the menu. At first I thought there was no sound and was struggling to find out how to turn it on, but thankfully before publishing I was able to find it and turn it on. There is also a discussion to be had about the keyboard controls, which default movement to the arrow keys and shooting to WASD which felt so alien to my brain that I had to cross my hands to play until I found I could rebind them. This is, of course, due to the fact that on controller the left joystick is movement while right has usually been the shooting, so having it the other way round for keyboard left my head in a tizzy. All’s well that ends well, though.

One that probably made their own language and is way too proud of it.

Don’t Take it Personally, I Just Don’t Like You: The Camping Trip is the lengthy title of a visual novel prologue by Christian DeCoster, an indie developer teaming up with Lofi Dreams to develop the iconic backdrop sound. As the protagonist of this story, players will be preparing to go camping in the woods for the weekend with some friends and a girl they’ve been ‘somewhat’ seeing, but how exactly these college camping trips turn out is never expected.

As one can expect from a visual novel, DTIPIJDLY involves the player making decisions in order to progress the story onward. After entering one’s name and preferred pronouns the player is slowly introduced to cast members through the 90’s/early 2000s aesthetic of flip phones and CRT-static filters. Even the dialogue boxes are old Window’s pop-up messages to really solidify the theme and setting. As is the case, this means that communication is done in person or through crudely texted messages, which could lead to the age-old trope of misinformation but thankfully the plot avoids that in favour of talking more about the problems of the individuals and their relationships.

The best way to describe the interactions are quite simply ‘messy early college relationships’. I can’t count how many times I had gone to (see: dragged to) parties in university to which I may not have known many people, made a few friends, and then attempted to make friends with their friends at another party. Maintaining relationships can be difficult enough on their own, but they seem to evolve in to a bizarre monster when entering that adolescent age to which one believes themselves to be an adult, yet their life experiences are still teenaged. Much of the conversations between the player and Rose, the girl that the player is ‘seeing’ carry that hilariously uncomfortable sense of possible inuendos, where she appears to be attempting to flirt while still maintaining a level of innocence and composure. Maria, on the other hand, lands on the opposite end of the spectrum as our resident loud punk who calls it like she sees it, vulgarity and all. Unfortunately it’s only a camping trip of three as the fourth friend Todd is seemingly having his own relationship issues, but that catalyzes the tension that players feel when they arrive at the camping ground. We get another emphasis on just how messy early friendships and relationships can be as the player originally starts out by being able to talk with both of them and hang out together, but over the night is torn between the two’s attention. The player doesn’t want to leave one of them out, obviously, but it becomes increasingly difficult when one of them is hitting on the player while the other feels like a third wheel — the fact that I can refer to both of them at the same time with that is what makes it that much more difficult.

Don’t Take it Personally, I Just Don’t Like You: The Camping Trip personifies those early college days as many will remember them, with the uncomfortable silences, discussions and dreams all wrapped in to ‘3am real talks’ about how the world works. It’s definitely a game that invests in its setting, knowing full well the style of conversations that occurs amongst those that drink deep in the woods late in to the night, and it helps that the two friends both wish to involve themselves with you in possibly different ways. Hilariously enough, I actually didn’t experience this on my first playthrough and got the ‘early’ ending by believing I should check up on Todd, which caused Maria to drive off and effectively end the game. Can’t say I blame her for wanting to unwind, but I couldn’t leave my friend alone like that. The fact that this was an option, however, solidifies the potential of the series; it wants you to invest in the characters, through the thick and the thin. Just ignore the possibly terrifying static, I don’t think this is a horror game.

If this sounds like your kind of visual novel, give it a whirl.