PEGBRJE: The Dastardly Dairy Debacle, MonGirl Tile and SOMOS

For recording purposes, this needs to be mentioned; the first title, “The Dastardly Dairy Debacle” by Whim Independent Studios, is no longer available to be played as of November 2020. I’m uncertain as to why, nor could I find any evidence to suggest any reasons, so if you were wanting to play this game it is no longer possible. Apologies.

It ain’t looking good for this monster girl tamer.

MonGirl Tile is a tactical card and board game made by Xexus, an indie developer out of the United States. Players are a reclusive individual residing within a tower, minding their own business when a certain succubus comes a’knocking in the hopes that this unique individual can assist with the help of their half-monster, half human friends.

The goal of MonGirl Tile is to have the most tiles on the board by the time that it has become completely filled while the opponent attempts the same. The way this is done is that each card has four numbers, one on each side, which can ‘flip’ an opponent’s cards to their side if they are greater. For example, if the top of a card has a 6 and is laid down under a card with bottom number 5, that card flips over to the player’s side. Since cards are placed oriented towards whoever played it, a flipped card rotates around to the opposite side, and the same check is now done to all cards that are now touching it; if a card is now rotated and has larger numbers than those beside it, they too rotate around and join that player’s side. This is the heart of the game, balancing the orientation of how the opponent is placing their cards and exploiting weaknesses with one’s own deck. Some may go for a simple execution, maintaining the cards already placed and ensuring that the ‘outer wall’ cannot be breached, while others may go on the offensive, flipping single cards at all times leading to a more volatile board. This is then further complicated by the ‘strengths and weaknesses’ system — I couldn’t call it a weapon triangle, for it’s a pentagon. Regardless, the bottom right shows that certain elemental cards are strong than others, and vice versa. What this does is cause all elements to be treated as one less or more depending on the weapon triangle, and is indicated when a card is grabbed. This can allow for players to break that defensive wall with a well placed elemental card, turning the entire tide.

At the core of this is the deckbuilding, treated just like most deck building titles. Beating an opponent will grant a single card chosen from their deck, adding it to the player’s library. These cards can then be subbed in to a deck, customizing it before a battle to get the best possible RNG beforehand. Duplicates can also be merged in as ‘upgrades’, where players will choose one side of the card and upgrade one single number higher to make them stronger than the standard variation. Of course, this means grinding a lot of certain fights to gain extras, but players can turn regular cards into super cards if they put in the effort.

MonGirl Tile is definitely an interesting take on a deckbuilder, focusing mostly on positional placement of the cards to strengthen the deckbuilding aspects. The story mode goes more in depth about how the player is roped in to this situation, or just go in to a quick play and try your luck and skills there. If you’re interesting in different executions of card games and want to try something a bit different, then this might be exactly what you’re looking for.

I never thought colours were so stressful.

SOMOS is a monochromatic reaction-and-timing centric action game made by Sprawl, solo dev name for Alexis Lessard of Canada. This title features players attempting to ensure that the coloured circle never touches anything that infringes on their space through different click-based actions, depending on the game mode that is presented to them during that time frame. If that sounds confusing, it sort of is; so let’s break this down.

SOMOS is broken in to two halves, and features two universal rules; the first is that the circle will switch sides if anything is clicked on the side they are currently on. Click on enemy circles incoming on the centre? It switches sides. Randomly click on the right side when the circle is present? It moves to the left. The second is that if the circle touches anything that is moving towards the two centre ‘holes’, then that circle loses its life and a new one (indicated at the top) replaces it. These can take many different forms and usually are the same colour as the opposite region, so if using the top example we can see that those cube frames being spawned are the same colour as the opposite side. Now each form that they take is also important, for that dictates how players can click on them to get rid of them, such as how the cube frames need to be ‘dragged’ across to be destroyed or how the encroaching circle needs to simply be avoided. SOMOS then sets a game mode, such as survival to which players must not be hit until the timer runs out lest they gain extra time, or the counting mode in which the player must hit a certain number of items before it moves onward.

Because it’s hard to understand without a gif.

What this creates is a fast paced, almost rhythmic, puzzle action game where players need to be able to split their focus between the two sides in order to ensure that nothing reaches the circular avatar. It’s almost hypnotic in execution, sucking players in with the constant need to click on either side while watching the shapes slowly slide towards the centre. This also makes it bonkers hard, with certain maps being more brutal than others depending on how well players adapt to the style of the game and what style they create to solve any shortcomings — survival was utterly abysmal for me, as I would find myself getting caught right near the end only to have time added back on.

Since each level has some procedural generation to it, the possibilities are endless — especially since SOMOS features an endless mode with constantly new shapes to figure out. Thanks to the soundtrack reinforcing that rhythmic ideal from earlier it definitely falls in to the category of ‘so hard yet so satisfying’ as you attempt to finesse your way to the finish. If you love Super Hexagon and other titles of the similar ilk, ones that challenge the reflexes and the brain at the same time, then this is definitely one to try.

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