PEGBRJE: Secrets of Rætikon and Ghost Grab 3000

Hello bird, I will now acquire this glyph and maybe build another bird and go survive or something.

Secrets of Rætikon is an open world adventure made by Broken Rules, the indie studio from Vienna that brought us Old Man’s Journey from earlier on in the bundle. Rather than being an elderly gentleman travelling to find something, however, players are a mysterious bird who has woken up in the Alps, unsure of how they got there and knowing little of the surrounding world. The only thing the creature can do is explore and learn, while interacting with the local ecosystem to stay alive.

Players use their powers of flight to explore this bizarre world, interacting with the environment to unlock new locations throughout. Everything can be grabbed, so the player can see what can move and what remains in place — this can lead to destroying objects, rebuilding statues, and even grappling with other animals in the hopes of survival. These animals vary in shape and size, from simple songbirds to fearsome birds of prey, from docile yet massive deer to agile cat. They all are perfectly content to remain in their own territory, searching for food and patrolling their borders until a certain bird decides to intrude. Many of the herbivores will run, but the aggressive animals will attack the player with vigor unless something ‘easier’ comes along. This is a core decision that players will be faced with constantly; how to ‘remove’ those that are going to kill me? Thanks to the above system of interactable, there are many options. Will players utilize the brambles, picking them up and attacking their assailants? Perhaps one might grab the attacker themselves and try to drag them into dangerous areas. Or in nature’s cruel fashion, will another creature be dragged in as a distraction?

All of this survival must have a reason, in the form of strange glowing triangles scattered throughout the world. These seemingly fuel large monolithic towers, which then give a strange super-powered triangle that attracts all of the wildlife upon grabbing it. They too go to a large collection of strange towers that can be placed. Their purpose appears vague, but that’s the joy of a title of exploration; uncovering what exactly is going on while soaking in the world at large. There may be clues within these tombstone-like tablets, but they require translations from glyphs that are scattered as well. What I’m trying to say is there is a lot of exploring to do in order to understand the situation.

Coupled with the gorgeous graphical style and engaging sound design and you are set to uncover what exactly are the secrets of these foreign stone objects and the world they have inhabited. Flying can feel a bit clunky at times thanks to a combination of physics and my inability to differentiate between foreground and background foliage, but that can slowly be smoothed over time. If you’re looking for a naturalistic exploration title with some hidden mysteries within, seek out this title and discover what exactly Rætikon is.

This wasn’t what I was expecting when they told me I would be ‘Ghost Busting’.

Ghost Grab 3000 is an arcade ‘bullet hell’ chain extravaganza made by Matt Glanville, maker of simple yet fun arcade titles such as the previous entry Switch ‘N’ Shoot. Here, players are GG-3000, a robot armed with a mysterious magnet that can latch itself to ghosts tasked with ridding the apocalypse‘d world of the wretched remnants of humanity. Or, in a nicer way, players are a robot armed with a magnet and chain that can destroy spirits, a buster of ghosts if I may be so inclined.

GG-3000’s unique ghost destroying technique is rooted in the idea that the magnet can latch to a single ghost while they continually spawn by clicking — it automatically targets the closest ghost. However, clicking again automatically destroys the chain and the ghost attached to it, which makes for inefficient ghost busting. Thankfully, this chain is the actual star of the ghost grabbing show, for if it touches a ghost the ghost is ‘added’ to the chain itself, allowing for multiple ghosts to be combo’ed together and destroyed at the click of a button. There is a mild catch in that only the chain segment closest to GG-3000 is carries this property — I’m going to blame power distribution — so only a chain that is connected to GG-3000 is powered to catch ghosts. If this sounds confusing, the screenshot above does a pretty good job highlighting the difference between the two, as the powered chain will always pulse multiple colours. The power I mentioned earlier is also an important tool for the chain, for the more ghosts hooked to GG-3000 the more energy is needed to vanquish them all. Energy can be acquired in various ways from not moving, random drops, or absorbing bullets with the chain. Even more is gained from actively staying still, which may be a tad difficult due to the swarms.

The chain is the main weapon in the GG arsenal, but GG-3000 does have a few tricks up their sleeve if things get a bit dicey thanks to those guns that the ghosts decided to keep in the afterlife. Two limited ‘panic’ buttons are the EMP and the Nuke, with the EMP pulsing an area around GG-3000 to destroy bullets and knock back ghosts, and the nuke: it does exactly what one would expect, it nukes the entire screen. As stated, these are in limited quantities and can only be resupplied by drops or by the reward at the end of every level, and since Ghost Grab 3000 goes until the player dies they shouldn’t be used flippantly. Or do, I’m not in charge.

Death is but the beginning, for all of those coins collected can be used to upgrade our little friend with Robot Mods to alter how players will approach playing. Some will give more health but less speed, some may just flip everything upsidedown, it’s completely up to you; and that’s the joy of arcade titles. They are relatively short, focus primarily on how players wish to approach their simplistic gameplay, and can be played on loop constantly just to beat your own high score. If this sounds like your kind of jam, GG-3000 is waiting for you on Earth. Well, not this one (yet).

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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.