PEGBRJE: Predicate and MORFOSI|莫法西

Boy do I love gifs.

Predicate is a bullet-hell variant created by Radio 13 Games, the pseudonym for Ben Martin-Wheatley or “Boboto” on itch.io. Instead of shooting and dodging, players will instead be piloting a strange shape with a massively long tail in the hopes of avoiding the projectiles and suffocating the opponents.

That sounds a bit hard to understand, so let’s dive in and clarify a bit. Predicate is still a hardcore bullet-hell at its roots, where players will be dodging out shapes as projectiles to ensure their meager health pool doesn’t evaporate instantly. Enemies will do whatever they can do eliminate the player, and only with their destruction can the player move on to the next level. This inherently is the first ‘divide’ so to speak between traditional bullet hells, for the player is not infinitely scrolling through glorious backdrops but instead navigating through a shapeless void of space to locate the few enemies and destroy them. Players also control their space-shape with only the mouse, using shift to lock the direction of the ship and strafe, but otherwise maintaining a one-handed approach to controls.

Where things get interesting is in that tail, which seemingly stretches infinitely behind the player yet does in fact end. This is the primary way to destroy the enemy, as wrapping the tail around them (they are circular) will cause them to constrict and shrink; the more it occurs, the smaller they get until they cease to exist. It creates this bizarre yet engaging gameplay loop where players are attempting to dodge the projectiles thrown at them while continuously spinning around an object, or threading a needle so that they can squeeze even more damage out of their target. The tail also has a secondary function, as players can click to fire off a single orb from their tail to get some damage in (hence the strafe button from earlier) — I don’t know how many shots it takes to shorten the tail down to a nonexistent level, but the fact that this is possible gives some extremely interesting gameplay features. Couple this with bosses of different shapes and sizes that require a different approach and there’s a bullet-hell masking as a puzzle adventure game within.

Predicate is definitely a different game, one that defies general conventions and stereotypes for its genre to try something completely radical, and it pays off. The movement is fluid, allowing for sharp turns without feeling too finnicky, and the enemies each have unique ways of destroying them to keep the variance high. The soundtrack is also a treat thanks to Joseph Bailey, and bops along to the game’s rhythm quite well. If you’re in need of something bullet hell-esque but are wanting a departure from actual shooting, consider this and see for yourself.

Why do I just… not want to open that door.

MORFOSI|莫法西 is a stealthy 2D horror game made by UniDot Studio, an indie team based out of the United States, and features the art of previously featured developer dino999z. Players will be joining their friend Jon in a driving car as Timothy, driving through a large forest and telling ghost stories before they arrive at their destination. Probably.

As the genre probably implies, the two end up in a crash, leading them to explore a mansion within the middle of the forest. Timothy still has Jon’s scary stories on his mind when a scream prompts him to explore and find his friend. Players will then need to navigate the mansion from a top-down perspective, managing to keep Timothy’s sanity bar high by keeping him in light sources so that he can see. There’s also some utterly terrifying monsters that lurk within these halls, and the only way to combat them is to hide in chests until they pass by. Many players will be familiar with this style of horror, the need to explore yet survive in darkness while the sanity bar lowers and images begin to appear that may not be real; it’s been done by many others, and is on full display here. The twist, without spoiling much, is that the farther players explore the more they will need to outwit these creatures through puzzles and distractions, gaining abilities that will help them do both. Every time the player gains something new, the same seems to happen to the mansion as a new enemy will appear to challenge the player’s mind once again.

Morfosi isn’t a long title, one I was able to complete within 30 minutes to an hour, but that’s part of the charm; its presentation is almost like a campfire tale, one to scare children and unnerve the adults afterwards when they are left alone in the dark. Much like how Timothy is at the beginning, funny enough. dino999z’s artwork and character design is on full display and compliments the atmosphere perfectly as players definitely know something eerie is going on regardless of how happy some of them may look, and the constantly fluctuating lights help to bring even more spooks. Thankfully, not many of the jump scare variety. If you like short horror tales that may have you scratching your head a few times in order to solve them, this is a fun little title to dive in to.

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Jacob Vorstenbosch

Jacob Vorstenbosch

Just a 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.