PEGBRJE: Odd Realm and Night of the Consumer

Jacob ._.'
5 min readSep 15, 2020

Surprisingly enough, both games just ended up giving me anxiety for different reasons.

TIME TO BUILD

Odd Realm is a 2D survival base builder simulation-style game crafted by Unknown Origin Studios as their first title. Entering early access of last January, the goal is quite similar to others of this nature: grow your people and survive. Sharing a lot of similarities to Rim World, you assign different villagers to different tasks and can even set their priorities for different tasks to automate them. The fantasy setting allows for other races which is a nice twist, giving different advantages based on which group of people you wish to play as, even if there are only humans and skeleton people at the moment. It also gives a more colonial feeling, where there are many other groups of people just starting out on this landmass as you and there is subtle race to become the best. You can even get invaded by other groups, which abruptly ended my last playthrough as my people were all brutally murdered by one Rambo.

Where Odd Realm really shines is in the 2.5D nature of the world. The pixel sprites mask the actual 3D nature of the game as you peer down on a fixed 2D camera, yet you can scroll up and down between the layers. You can go all the way out into the clouds, or down into the depths of the earth to craft your village. This added depth gives players the ability to customize their base building even further, with multi-layered pathways and bridges to close gaps, or large mountainous fortresses in the side of actual mountains. While it took a little getting used to, it enables the entire 2.5D system to function properly so that I can get my roof onto the houses without them actually replacing the floor by accident.

‘The Hallowed‘ isn’t a very inviting name, sir.

Odd Realm’s other feature of note is the priority and level system for the villagers. Completing jobs in a certain profession levels up that villager in said profession, sounds simple enough. However, Odd Realm also gives the player the ability to toggle which villagers are automated to do certain tasks. Have a high level villager in woodworking, but need more wood cutters? Toggle on that skill and let them get to work. This does beg the question; why not turn on every skill? As with all level-based skills, higher skilled individuals can perform those skills faster, more efficiently or with greater results. Training folks is fine, but you run the risk of it either taking too long or losing resources. Carefully assigning which villagers to perform which tasks is key, and something that I actually enjoyed a lot while playing. Now if only they’d stop running across the roof to get to their objective.

It wasn’t all sunshine, unfortunately, as the tutorial felt a little lacking in teaching the numerous mechanics and systems that these games usually come packaged with. By the time I had figured out how to craft better rooms and organize my materials optimally, said Rambo from earlier showed up to murder my weaponless villagers. I cannot fault Odd Realms too much for that, as I’m not the most patient person and didn’t use the in-game pause to plan out a lot of actions.

I did enjoy my time with Odd Realms, and would easily recommend it to anyone looking for a fantasy city management game utilizing 2.5D as best as it can. The worlds are randomly generated as well, and can pick your starting location, so go have fun and start in a Tundra for some real hard core village crafting.

On the flip side, Night of the Consumers.

I now have nightmares again.

Night of the Consumers is a 3D horror game by Germfood, and offers a different kind of terrifying nightmare fuel that I hadn’t experienced yet from the Bundle. You play as a new retail employee in a ‘big box mart’-esque store and are tasked with finishing up stocking the shelves before the store closes. The only problem? Customers refuse to leave you alone, and once they catch you there’s no escape.

I worked in retail for most of my high school life, so I can understand the feeling that this game is attempting to invoke: rude retail customers are terrifying. They will jump you out of nowhere to ask for the most confusing things that you cannot assist with, chase you around the store if you’re assistance ‘wasn’t adequate’ and then complain about you to the manager. This game, however, decided that this wasn’t scary enough and decided to add extra atmosphere: you can constantly hear the whispering of the consumers as they attempt to find and track you down, constantly muttering incoherently about what they are attempting to purchase. I am horrible at horror games due to being somewhat of a nervous wreck, and jump scares are the worst. I’ve had customers jump scare me before. I’ve never had heard them whispering about their purchases.

The game attempts to give you some ability to win by ducking into the back before the customer catches up to you. If they do catch you, the game tells you the only choice you have is to throw the box at them to stun them. Except, that doesn’t work at all, and just flies through them. In a twist that is both exactly like real life and completely opposite of reality, throwing a box at a customer chasing you does nothing to stop them from keeping on your heels.

Just… aaaaaaaaaaaaa

I could mention how the graphics remind me of a few old computer games I used to play, or how I’ve never worked a shift that would let me stock shelves by just throwing them on without a care. But neither of those details are the main draw to the game. It’s the dramatization of retail working, the anxiety of being unable to talk back and only to run away in the hopes they’ll find somebody else. But they never do.

If this sounds like your sort of game, then I’d recommend therapy as I’ve never heard anyone willing wish to work retail, especially in a world where your coworker is introduced by throwing up and quitting. For the record, I actually didn’t hate my stint in retail, but perhaps that’s just me. Otherwise, Night of the Consumer will give you exactly the style of feeling that you apparently are craving: hopelessness.

Links to both games below.

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Jacob ._.'

Just a Game Dev blogging about charity bundles. We keep going.