PEGBRJE: Milkmaid of the Milky Way and Crashed Lander

Don’t mind me, just gotta churn some butter and make some cheese.

Milkmaid of the Milky Way is by far the most bizarre title I’ve read on this page in the bundle, and is a point and click adventure made by Machineboy, a solo dev from Norway. You play as the young girl Ruth who lives on a mountaintop farm alone, tending to her cows after her mother disappeared and her father died shortly after. Strange storms keep occurring and causing mayhem until Ruth finally discovers what is going on on her farm.

Point and click adventures are not my forte. I consider them to be atmospheric puzzle games with narrative elements, and as I may have mentioned I am horrible at puzzle games. Most of the game revolves around finding a specific item in the world and figuring out how they can be repurposed to be useful for the problem being faced, so puzzles are completely reliant on exploration and understanding the environments. Thankfully, there were only a few puzzles that I came across that were frustrating to the point of requiring me to google to continue, so I can safely say that it wasn’t a terrible time for me. However, I usually find myself quitting this style of game after the first ‘google’ need as I find myself not enjoying it. Instead, I finished Milkmaid of the Milky Way.

All credit goes towards the atmosphere and writing. The entire game is written like a child’s poem, every text box making sure to rhyme no matter who is talking. The world is soft and calm with beautiful colours and a soundtrack that soothes the soul as you perform mundane tasks like fixing the chimney and visiting the memorial to Ruth’s mother. Even when the game reveals its twist, my driving force was to make sure my cows were ok — I was more shocked at what was happening to Ruth’s cows than I was to the absurdity of the situation. It highlights the joy of a simple life and simple motivations, the bonds that people can have that are inherently quite basic and uninteresting to an outsider. Not many would think a friendship with a cow would compel me to finish an entire game, yet Milkmaid of the Milky Way did.

There were some questionable moments that drove me up a wall, but I don’t feel like they detracted from the overall experience that is Milkmaid of the Milky Way. If you need a title that tells a simple story with a bizarre twist that somehow still feels plausible, give it a try for a casual Sunday afternoon. You’ll be amazed how much you utilize the wooden spoon.

Crashed Landers is a physics simulation-esque game made by Don Whitaker, and is one of the older titles I’ve played so far in the bundle as it came out in 2015. You take control of this flimsy lander powered by 4 propane cans and your goal is simple: land on the platforms without crashing and find the hidden stars at your leisure. While this sounds easy, my 10 deaths on the first actual level of the game would like to have a word with that thought process.

Crashed Landers isn’t kidding around in the physics department: your propane cans give power, but only in the direction they are facing which is up. Tilting the lander does cause you to move forward, but also causes a loss of upward acceleration, which causes gravity to work its magic and bring you back down. It becomes a delicate balancing act of seeing how much forward momentum you can create without losing all of the lift previously gained, and that’s just to fly the darn thing. While it is called a lander, it certainly doesn’t know how to land very well. Those propane cans and rust aren’t just for aesthetics, this rover is legitimately ‘jerry-rigged’ together — land too hard once, and a propane tank might just fly off, and the balance of the lander is completely shot. With the timer continuously ticking upwards on the little guy, decisions must be made on whether to take that heavy landing and risk the lander exploding or slowing down to stick it while losing precious seconds off the clock.

Crashed Landers also does a neat trick with its tracking of the platforms, as it is built onto the lander. There isn’t much UI to speak off in this game, as all of the necessary information (besides controls) are displayed on the top of the lander, something I found to be a nice touch. When you aren’t cursing at the fact that the landing was a little rough, the almost alien environment of where ever this game takes place is a canvas to allow Crashed Landers to do whatever it wants with the backdrops, allowing for some really interesting platform placements.

I can’t comment much on the VR aspect, as 3.1 never launched for me — not that I have a VR headset in the first place. I could see this game being quite fun in VR, but I wouldn’t take my word for it and suggest finding someone who has played it in VR first. On monitor, it was a fun physics space platformer with enough levels to grind your teeth on to satisfy more than one sitting. There isn’t much else to it unless you want to turn up the level of difficulty or change up the modes, but it accomplishes what it sets out to do nicely.

Links to both titles below. I’m skeptical to comment more on the 3.1 version as it might’ve just been a ‘me’ problem.

Game Dev who decided to take on the monumental task of giving an overview of all 59 pages in the bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. We keep going.