Minoria Is Very Self-Indulgent

I’ve played a bit of Minoria and I don’t dislike it, but I don’t think I’d recommend it, either. I can feel myself giving it a lot of slack it doesn’t deserve, because I kind of sympathize with an imagined creator my subconscious constructed unbidden and now insists was probably the guy who made this thing. I don’t know a goddamn thing about the guy who made this thing, but I’m sympathetic to this hypothetical creator, and that’s biasing me in favor of this game.

So enough about my weird neurotic reaction to it, what is the actual game like? It’s a Metroidvania with the now standard estus-and-bonfires system about a sexy nun fighting evil witches. The sexualization is not subtle, despite generally being somewhat low-graphic this game still took time out to give several characters jiggle physics. I’m not really here for the sexy nun bit. My sympathy is more meta than that: This is a game with the basics of a genre (in this case, Metroidvanias in a post-Hollow Knight world, though the Castlevania influence in particular is very strong) but no real innovation on it besides a self-indulgently fetishistic aesthetic, and that is most probably the first video game I would make (indeed, might make soon) before moving on to other projects.

I wouldn’t expect that game to launch my career. It would be a learning exercise, and I’d make it really self-indulgent because the primary purpose of the game isn’t to have broad market appeal anyway, so why not make the characters all really sexy for me, personally? But as part of that exercise I’d want to make a totally complete and playable game, at which point I may as well toss it onto Steam for $5. Probably a couple of people would like it, the trickle of sales would be better than nothing, and if later games end up really popular, I might end up making more respectable returns on that first game just from people buying my entire backlog.

And hey, Minoria’s considered Very Positive after 1200 Steam reviews, so clearly “Metroidvania where you are a sexy nun” isn’t so niche it can’t find an audience, so who knows, maybe my weird self-indulgent learning exercise of a game would find a niche, too.

What’s Up With Spyro Achievements?

This is a weird, minor thing, but I wanted to tell somebody about it and I have decided to dump these weird thoughts into my blog. Sometimes they turn into longer, more interesting posts. Not this one, though, this one is short and weird and probably no one but me cares about its subject.

The Spyro Reignited Trilogy is, of course, three different games remastered together and released as a set. The original games did not have achievements. So you’d think that whoever it is that was making achievements for the trilogy would’ve been the same person or people making it for all three. But the Year of the Dragon achievements all have descriptions prefaced by the world they’re found in, which isn’t the case for any of the achievements in the other two. For example, Spyro 3’s achievement The Money’s In The Bag has the description “Sunrise Spring: Free Sheila the Kangaroo,” while the Spyro 2 achievement Buggin’ Out has the description “defeat 5 buggies while charging” – no mention of Canyon Speedway, the level where the buggies are located.

Have You Not Heard Of Me?

I’ve made it to the third Spyro game, which opens with Bianca, a sorceresses’ apprentice, stealing dragon eggs and Spyro chasing after her (Bianca is cute but the sorceress is ugly, so I assume the apprentice is getting a redemption arc). The opening cutscene dumps Spyro in the hub world, and I ran him around gathering gems for a minute before the apprentice showed up to warn me to just turn around and go home or her sorcerous armies would surely destroy me.

But, like, have you not heard of me? Spyro? The Dragon? Defeated the gnorc hordes across six worlds, killed Ripto in an aerial battle over an exploding volcano? Not ringing any bells? The third game’s Forgotten Realms (not those ones) are apparently pretty remote from the Dragon Realms where the first game takes place, and the second game takes place in Avalar, which is accessible only by portal and presumably is either extremely far away (making direct travel an impractical option) or a different world altogether, so my issue here isn’t that Bianca doesn’t recognize Spyro. It’s that Spyro doesn’t respond to her threats at all, leaving the impression that they should be taken at face value. But what makes Bianca and the Sorceress different from the last two supervillains?

Spyro 1 gets a free pass on this because Spyro is still totally unproven at the start of that one, so it makes sense that Gnasty Gnorc isn’t necessarily too bothered that, having successfully imprisoned all 80-ish other dragons in the world, he missed the spunky twelve-year old. Spyro 2 handled this better, though. The main villain Ripto is thrilled to arrive in a world without dragons, apparently the only creatures strong enough to defeat him, so the locals summon a dragon to fight back against him. Ripto doesn’t confront Spyro early on the way Bianca does (neither did Gnasty Gnorc, actually), but implicitly he takes Spyro seriously as a threat because he’s been set up to consider dragons worthy adversaries in general.

Now, Spyro 3 was not originally released as the third installment in a single remastered set. It was the third installment of an episodic platformer series, so this wasn’t necessarily the third Spyro game someone had played. Making too many references to previous adventures might’ve turned people off from playing the game as a standalone. But if Bianca’s going to show up to talk smack, and if she isn’t supposed to come across as in way over her head, she should be able to make some kind of show of force that establishes her as a threat to Spyro. Maybe she could do some kind of magic that gets the better of Spyro in the opening cutscene when she steals the dragon eggs (as it is, she and her minions steal them while everyone is asleep). This establishes for returning players that her powers are either stronger than Gnorc’s or Ripto’s, or just different from theirs, and either way that Spyro isn’t an easy favorite in the fight despite his track record, and for new players it’s just setting up the villain and the premise (i.e. dragon eggs got stolen) without making any direct reference to previous games.

Or alternatively, just don’t have Bianca show up to talk smack at all, but I assume this is phase 1 of a tsundere routine, so the game needs to have Bianca showing up and being very antagonistic to facilitate that.