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Twelve by Pies
May 4, 2012

Again a very likpatous story


That is one thing I feel that TTYD did very well, was letting you walk around Rogeport and look at all the crazy stuff going on like the noose in the square, the rival mafia gangs fighting for turf, the general shady dudes hanging out in alleys, all that stuff. It let you get a bit of the feel of the world before throwing you into a dungeon like Bug Fables does. It's even slightly worse in Bug Fables since even after you complete the dungeon Eetl railroads you into the castle and doesn't even let you examine the statue. I understand it's story reasons (trying to show the Artifact is a really big deal) but it would have been nice if you could explore the town a bit before Snakemouth (though have the castle itself blocked off).

Snakemouth itself is also a bit long and actually surprisingly involved for a first dungeon. Like it isn't a maze or anything, and the areas are fairly short, but having the path split into two (and both of them be required to advance) can sort of make it feel a little tiresome after a bit.

Explopyro posted:

v1.1 does add the "food blogger" NPC in Metal Island, who will just sell you recipe book entries for berries. I guess that's helpful? It's a shame it comes in such a late area though.

It also seems you can only buy a limited number of recipes. I was tired of cooking so I figured I could buy the ones I was missing from him (though there's a handful of recipes he won't sell you, Big Mistake is one as are the specialized meals), but after buying a bunch he said he didn't have any more recipes for me, and I was still missing about fifteen recipes. Maybe he has more if you wait a while and come back but it does seem like you can only fill out a small portion of your cookbook through him.

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Torrannor
Apr 27, 2013

---FAGNER---
TEAM-MATE


This is a very lovingly crafted world. Ever since Pigmin, I have a soft spot for seeing human "artifacts" used as building blocks for the environment. The characters are still quite charming, making the humblebee a shy singer was really cute.

I wonder whether the current ant queen will be the final boss, what with her pretty domineering attitude, and the game constantly pointing out the contrast to the much more loved first ant queen.

vilkacis
Feb 16, 2011



Oh, i like that big mistake. Both the description and the censored icon are Good.

Hwurmp
May 20, 2005

I LIKE TO MAKE VAGUE THREATS TO PEOPLE ON THE INTERNET BECAUSE I AM TOUGH GUY. P.S. ASK ME ABOUT THE TIME A GIRL BEAT ME UP IN GRADE SCHOOL. HER NAME WAS SUZIE SHE DREW A BIG WEINER ON MY FOREHEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Torrannor posted:

This is a very lovingly crafted world. Ever since Pigmin, I have a soft spot for seeing human "artifacts" used as building blocks for the environment. The characters are still quite charming, making the humblebee a shy singer was really cute.

I wonder whether the current ant queen will be the final boss, what with her pretty domineering attitude, and the game constantly pointing out the contrast to the much more loved first ant queen.

not until she finds a magnifying glass and becomes the Demon Goddess Ascend-Ant

Alxprit
Feb 7, 2015

A lady after my own Soul-Heart.

I really love what they end up doing with Elizant II but I dare not say more.

FoolyCharged
Oct 11, 2012

Somebody call for an ant?



Dang that bank nerf is huge. I guess they dont want you walking around with 999 berries at all times. Leaving the game on while I was at work was too strong, i guess.

Explopyro
Mar 18, 2018




Procrastine posted:

No way, what kind of hosed up bug would run a fake bank scam?

Hah, you caught that one! I seem to recall they make that reference even more explicit in a later line.

I haven't actually played Hollow Knight, so I might miss a few, but there are definitely multiple references to it in this game.

Procrastine posted:

Since my last post I've now played through the game and seen the credits, though there's still more left to do. Game good! I feel like Chapter 1 is a rough start? Snakemouth Den is kind of visually unappealing and there's no NPCs, things get way more interesting starting here. Maybe I'm just making excuses for having played Chapter 1 some months ago then abandoning the game until now

Yeah, I think this is a common opinion. I definitely think the game only gets better as it goes on, and that Chapter 1 can make a bad first impression. (I've also seen some critics point out that the evolving title screen is neat, but means that new players will necessarily be greeted with the most boring and lifeless version of it, which doesn't make a great first impression.) For better or worse, the game doesn't put its best foot forward. I think this is at least partially a consequence of the development cycle, Chapter 1 was completed early so it could serve as the demo and barely changed.

I can see why Snakemouth could be unappealing (I don't think I quite realised just how dark the whole thing is until I was taking screenshots), but it never bothered me. I also really enjoy how it structured the tutorials and built them into the escalation of the dungeon itself.

Twelve by Pies posted:

That is one thing I feel that TTYD did very well, was letting you walk around Rogeport and look at all the crazy stuff going on like the noose in the square, the rival mafia gangs fighting for turf, the general shady dudes hanging out in alleys, all that stuff. It let you get a bit of the feel of the world before throwing you into a dungeon like Bug Fables does. It's even slightly worse in Bug Fables since even after you complete the dungeon Eetl railroads you into the castle and doesn't even let you examine the statue. I understand it's story reasons (trying to show the Artifact is a really big deal) but it would have been nice if you could explore the town a bit before Snakemouth (though have the castle itself blocked off).

This is a good point, and I think in retrospect this game might've been better served by blocking off less of the town at first. Maybe blocking off the palace and the residential area, but leaving the plaza and the commerce district open? (This way they could've teased some medals and items too, so the player would know what the currency they're collecting is for.)

I have mixed feelings about TTYD, honestly (I definitely prefer PM64 and did even at the time), but Rogueport was great and you've absolutely nailed why.

Twelve by Pies posted:

It also seems you can only buy a limited number of recipes. I was tired of cooking so I figured I could buy the ones I was missing from him (though there's a handful of recipes he won't sell you, Big Mistake is one as are the specialized meals), but after buying a bunch he said he didn't have any more recipes for me, and I was still missing about fifteen recipes. Maybe he has more if you wait a while and come back but it does seem like you can only fill out a small portion of your cookbook through him.

Wow, really? That's just weird. I'm going to have to do some testing when I get there in the LP, then. I've never actually bought a recipe from him, in every one of my prior playthroughs I'd already had the recipe log filled (or near enough) before meeting him so I have no idea how it actually works.

Torrannor posted:

This is a very lovingly crafted world. Ever since Pigmin, I have a soft spot for seeing human "artifacts" used as building blocks for the environment. The characters are still quite charming, making the humblebee a shy singer was really cute.

I can't say often enough how much I love the worldbuilding in this game.

Torrannor posted:

I wonder whether the current ant queen will be the final boss, what with her pretty domineering attitude, and the game constantly pointing out the contrast to the much more loved first ant queen.

Hwurmp posted:

not until she finds a magnifying glass and becomes the Demon Goddess Ascend-Ant

A lot of people seem to get this impression very quickly (and/or go "are we the baddies") after the throne room scene.

Alxprit posted:

I really love what they end up doing with Elizant II but I dare not say more.

Same, and same.

FoolyCharged posted:

Dang that bank nerf is huge. I guess they dont want you walking around with 999 berries at all times. Leaving the game on while I was at work was too strong, i guess.

It's weird, because I definitely thought the whole idea of the bank interest was to make berry management become obsolete past a certain point. It still does that even after the nerf, honestly.

vilkacis posted:

Oh, i like that big mistake. Both the description and the censored icon are Good.

I know, isn't it great? (Although, technically, Breath of the Wild got to the blurred-out icon joke first with "dubious food", I'm not sure if this was inspired by that or just convergent evolution.)

Alien Arcana
Feb 14, 2012

You're related to soup, Admiral.

Explopyro posted:

Hah, you caught that one! I seem to recall they make that reference even more explicit in a later line.

I haven't actually played Hollow Knight, so I might miss a few, but there are definitely multiple references to it in this game.

There's one specific reference I really loved, but we won't get there for a while.


Explopyro posted:

Wow, really? That's just weird. I'm going to have to do some testing when I get there in the LP, then. I've never actually bought a recipe from him, in every one of my prior playthroughs I'd already had the recipe log filled (or near enough) before meeting him so I have no idea how it actually works.

In my first playthrough I was missing at least a dozen recipes, and I was able to buy them all from him at once. The wiki says there's a few specific recipes he won't ever sell you, maybe that's it? Or maybe it's a bug. (Yes, of course it's a bug. You know what I mean, dammit.)


Explopyro posted:

I can't say often enough how much I love the worldbuilding in this game.

Ditto. It's really well done.


Explopyro posted:

I know, isn't it great? (Although, technically, Breath of the Wild got to the blurred-out icon joke first with "dubious food", I'm not sure if this was inspired by that or just convergent evolution.)

Something I love is that if you cook two Big Mistakes together, you get... a regular Mistake.

Explopyro
Mar 18, 2018




08: Sidequesting in the Ant Kingdom (Part 1)

17 - Ant Kingdom

When we left off last time, we'd gotten a bunch of sidequests off the quest board. It's time to get to work on them, though there's one other thing to do first.



We can finally go inside the theatre.

22 - Fine Arts



It took me a bit to realise what was going on here, but if you look at the gears on the side, and the tumbler to the right of us, it becomes clear this building is a repurposed music box.

Ain't this place fancy.
A bit too fancy. It's straight out of the Bee Kingdom. Yuck.
You know, Vi... for someone who cares so much for treasure, you dislike most high-class establishments.
It's just too pretentious! Use money to eat good food, or go on a trip!
I hate when bugs use money just to look important!
Ah, Vi. You're not too bad after all.
What's that "after all" supposed to mean?
Just take the compliment, Vi. Just take it.

I like this one, but I do think it's worth pointing out that Vi's feelings about this sort of thing are a bit inconsistent. What happened to "I want to put statues of myself everywhere", Vi?





Here's one of this game's trickier hidden items (or at least one that eluded me for quite a while!). Attacking the drum with Kabbu's horn makes it rotate, and if you get it going fast enough a Crystal Berry pops out. (It also plinks out a few notes of the game's leitmotif while spinning, a nice touch.)



What's he doing here anyway?
This place will fill up with fancy folk. Maybe he is selling expensive items.
We should speak to him, perhaps he has something of use.

Fuzzo's relocated in here, explaining why we didn't see him outside by the caravan. He normally travels around with them. Let's see what he's up to.

Heh. You look like smart bugs.
Some of us are.
Can we help you?
Heh heh. Sure you can. I've got an offer you just can't beat.
Gold? Some legendary berry?
Perhaps a powerful medal?
Heh heh. Take a look... at THIS!



Kabbu's reaction here is priceless, there's no way I wasn't going to GIF that.

...! Is... is THAT...!?



Only 10 of them were ever made!
Eh. It's alright, I guess.
...Bug Ranger?
P-please, esteemed merchant... name your price!
Oi, Kabbu!
Heh heh. For you, how about 40 berries?
Hngh! A bit steep.



......
Kabbu.
D-Don't worry, you two.
I shall save up and buy it myself.
Fine. It's your own money.
Heh heh. I will be waiting.

I'll explain what exactly this is in a minute. Needless to say, this is what I was saving my berries for earlier, and the reason I didn't buy another medal or open the bank account.



(No thanks) Heh heh. This offer won't last forever, mind you.

(But of course we're going to buy it.)

Heh heh. Nice doing business with you.

05 - Key Item!







Well? Are you happy now?
I am happy beyond words!
We don't see the appeal of this doll.
You've been missing out!



They're just actors, but they inspire young bugs all over the land! Even in the north!
The power of propaganda.
They're good, alright? And sometimes they do reruns at this theater!
Say, Leif. Next time they're in town, we can all go watch them!
Maybe you will take a liking to the Blue Ranger!
No way! Yellow Ranger is the best!
...Heh. Thank you. It sounds like a fun time. We'll take you up on that.



So, yeah. The Bug Ranger Plushie. Kabbu becomes a total dork over this thing, there's no way I wasn't going to buy it for him.

What is it for? You'll see soon enough. (For anyone playing along, it is absolutely not a necessity to buy this now and you might well want to prioritise something more practical, but for purposes of the LP I have no choice.)

We can also check out the proprietor of the theatre, who's waiting on stage.



That's not a real name, is it?
Nah, but no one knows who he really is!
No one has seen him without his mask!
Half of his face is visible...
That part is a mask too!
What?
Unbelievable! I must go rip the mask off myself!
No! You're staying right here with us!

I don't know why Kabbu gets so aggressive over this guy. That said, half a mask, in a theatre, I think this guy might be a reference to Phantom of the Opera?



Hello, what are yo-



Heh, yo-



As much as I want to keep this going, we should probably just go.

This is what you get if you talk to him, though. (Also, it was surprisingly difficult for me to catch screenshots of the lines he interrupts so I could transcribe them, his interruptions come in automatically. It also plays the "shocked" sound each time that happens.)

That happened, I guess.

17 - Ant Kingdom



With our new plushie in tow, let's finally get started on those sidequests. First up, the inn requested a review of their services. It's over here, the last building in the square we haven't explored.



This painting catches our attention before we talk to the innkeeper.

Ah, the inn founders.
Indeed. We owe these cozy beds to them.
They'd be happy to know that every new owner took care of the inn with equal passion.
Say, why do you think that is?
How they could work just as hard for something they didn't create?
...
If you ask me, I think it's not about being the founders.
They probably shared the same ideals, that's all.
You two are getting all sappy. Sounds like nap time!
Yawn... Maybe I am a bit tired...
Shall we call it a night?



You probably guessed where this was going. Yes, this is another discovery!







As per usual, after we have the discovery, inspecting it again yields only a short message.

Ah, that is the Innkeeper. The 7th owner of this inn!
This place has seen better days. Our support would do some good.

Short banter about the innkeeper. Let's actually talk to her.



Heya. We've come to write a review!
Oh, by the Queen! Really? I am so glad you've come!
Be glad after the review.
Our standard fare is 3 berries a night.
So for you three, that would be 9 berries - with a free Honey Drop on the house!
But since you're writing a review for the inn, you can stay here for free tonight.
For free? I won't complain, but...



O-oh, um...
Worry not, Innkeeper. We will accept your generous offer.
Please make sure we have the same experience as all your guests.
And we will keep the price of stay in mind for our review.
Phew. Alright, then. Your room is upstairs. I hope you'll have a lovely night!
We hope so, too.
Please come talk to me when you wake up, so I can get your review.

20 - Night at the Inn



We get this nice little fade-out animation and a variant on the game's leitmotif when we go to sleep.



Waking up, we've fully recovered our HP and TP, and as promised there's a Honey Drop for the taking on the bench there. While it's not quite free healing from a crystal, at least the inn is nice enough to feed us. We didn't even have to pay to stay this time! Guess we'd better go downstairs and deliver on the promised feedback.





Gulp...
I slept pretty well. The Honey Drop you left was great!
We haven't had a bed so cozy in years. Or any bed, really. It was good.



Alright! Service's still got it! I needed the confidence boost...
You're great! I Can't wait to come again!
Mhm.
Heheh. Come back anytime!



And that's it for this quest. Yes, really. We don't get a reward, either, unless you count a free stay at the inn and that Honey Drop. I guess it's fair enough, this was trivial to do; I think this is really here just to introduce us to the inn.

Well, that's done with. On to the next one.



Ali, this bespectacled fellow who lives in the teacup house, has a problem with overdue library books.

Oh, hello there! Are you explorers?
Indeed, good sir. We've taken your request.
Oh, thank you! I really, really need you to return this book to the palace library for me.
It's... quite past the return date!
Huh? You're not an Ant though, right? How'd you take it out?
Oh, I asked Gen and Eri to get the book for me. They seem to be busy, so they can't return it.
Here's the book. You're really helping me out here!



Bleh, I hate being an errand bee...
The reward will be quite worth it! So please make haste, for the sake of my record...
Oh, and deliver it to Libren, ok? Brooke's scary enough without turning in late...
Sure thing. Leave it to us.

(He doesn't even realise the library don't know he has the book in the first place. Surely they'd blame Gen and Eri if anyone? Pretty sure Ali's reputation is completely safe.)

18 - In the Court of the Ant Queen



Heading into the Ant Palace, I make use of this convenient save crystal, because I'm definitely trying both options here.



We have a book to return.
Oh? Thank you!
It is a bit overdue... but I will forgive you as explorers are always busy.
Thanks for your patronage!
Alright. Let's return to Ali and get our reward.

That was straightforward and not terribly interesting. What happens if we go to Brooke instead?



We have to give it to her through the Key Items menu, like we do with Lore Books.

Wait, that book is WAY overdue!
W-we apologize.
Apologies won't cut it! Although Gen and Eri were the ones that picked it up, right?



Well, book's delivered. Let's go back and get our reward.

Not too different, really, but that's a little more interesting at least. It's a nice touch that they let you give it to either of them for different dialogue.



While we're here...

What?! That book is a disgrace to this library! Get that out of here!

Okay, okay, I didn't think she'd want that. (Especially since we know someone else who does. Let's go see him, since we're already right here.)



Says the Wasp. We saw your request.
You're, um, searching for terrible books. Correct?
That's right.



...Yes. But there's some sort of... angry comfort in witnessing their poorly composed narratives.
We're not here to judge, so... Any leads on these books?
Not really. I reckon other cultured bugs with a collection have bad books lying around.
They usually let bugs take them for free.
Yikes, you can't even sell those books...



I've made this library my den. I'll be here if you find something.



Ah! This is one of the worst ones! Let's see...
Hmph. "Tragedy on the Hills".





Uh, are you sure you want this?
...Yes. It's going straight into my collection. Here's your reward.



Two more should sate my urges... Let me know if you find more.

Sure, he paid us, but the real reward of this quest is getting his commentary on the books we give him I love Reeves.

Sadly, he doesn't have a reaction if you try giving him Lore Books, or the Overdue book from earlier. I did try.



Before we leave, let's try something special. What happens if we try to give Brooke the Bug Ranger Plushie?



I-Indeed... are you a fan of the Bug Rangers?
Well... yes. I love reading the comics.
Looks like you found a new friend, Kabbu!
Hehe... it's always nice to find other people that like the Bug Rangers!

Yeah. This is what it's for. Any time we're prompted to use or give a key item, we can choose the plushie instead of whatever we're meant to and it will usually trigger an easter egg conversation. There are some fun ones. I'll be seeing most of these for the first time now too; I never thought to do this in my prior playthroughs.

Sadly, Reeves didn't have a reaction when I tried it on him. I was quite disappointed.

We also have enough Discoveries to get the next reward from Libren.

Hey there! Came to turn in some Discoveries? Let's see how you've done!
This time you have 11 Discoveries, last time you had found 7...
Looks like you have enough for the next reward tier! Here you go!



An actually meaningful reward this time! Nice. We're racking up a lot of these things. Though, of course, we still don't know what they're actually for, and it'll be a while yet before we can use them.

Anyway, let's go report back to Ali.



It was a walk in the park.
Now you get to deliver our reward!
Of course. This should be enough, I think!



Nice! Hard, cold berries!





This is like, super inefficient! We're charging double!
S-sorry! I gave you all the spare berries I had, though...
It's alright, Vi. We can return it after a briefing!
That's not the point!
Just this once, Ali. We'll definitely charge next time.
T-Thank you... I'm very grateful!



Obviously, the Lore Book is the real reward for this quest. Let's go turn that in.



The Crowning of Elizant II. After tears were shed of Elizant's too sudden retirement, it was time to crown the new Queen. Elizant II's speech radiated power over kindness, leaving many uneasy. Although everyone cheered, doubt and fear festered amongst the populace. They could only wait and pray that their new Queen would be just.

This isn't really new information to us. Back to sidequests we go, then.





Tod requested we find his ball. He doesn't have anything to say, just asks if we've found it. We haven't, but I can try the Bug Ranger Plushie!

W-whoa, is that a green Bug Ranger plushie?! Can I really have this?!



Hee hee hee!
Aw man, what a bummer!

I do think it's interesting how what set off these conversations changes (they're usually pretty silly, though). With Brooke, the implication was Kabbu showed her the doll, or she just spotted him carrying it. Here, Vi snatched it from him and tried to give it to Tod without his permission!

Sadly for Tod, I'm putting his quest off a bit. It's more convenient to do the others first.

06 - Outskirts



Chuck wanted a Hearty Breakfast, so let's go take him one. I made one earlier during my cooking spree for just this occasion. Notably, the gate to Snakemouth Way is open again, so we can get to him just fine.



Snakemouth Way is unchanged so far; I fought a few Seedlings as I went and got the last few points needed to reach Rank 4!



More MP. More.



Kabbu learns a new skill at Rank 4!



Heavy Strike costs 3 TP and deals +2 damage compared to his normal attack. Like his normal horn strike, it ignores 1 point of defence. This isn't spectacular, but it definitely has its uses, especially early in the game: we don't have a lot of sources of burst damage, and one big hit can be particularly handy against enemies with high defence.



Here's a demonstration. The action command is the same as before, just with a longer charge-up. If this reminds you of Power Smash from Paper Mario, you're not alone.



This is new. Looks like someone put up a gate blocking the way to Snakemouth Den.



If you have any complaints please direct them to the Ant Kingdom Safety Committee.

There's an Ant Kingdom Safety Committee?



At least that old bug that lives nearby says hi sometimes.

The guard's been moved out here too, it seems.

Hey, isn't this the Ant we met at the gate near the association?
Indeed. It seems she was reassigned here after we found the artifact.
She looks so bored. I guess nothing really happens here.



It really is blocked off, we can't get through with the abilities we have. This does mean that players who missed any of the medals or crystal berries in Snakemouth Den will have to wait a bit longer before being able to go back for them, but there will be ways back in there eventually, so they're not lost for good.



However, this path (which our characters refused to take last time we were here) is now available.



It's Chuck's house!

Hmm. So this is Chuck's Abode?
Uh huh. I think he calls it a hut though.
Is there really any difference?
For someone so well spoken to make such a basic mistake...
W-What?
It's just such a shame.



Eh, there's no time. We'll tell you later.



Leif is such a troll.



Yeah, whoever that is.
Vi, you know fully well that's Chuck!
His hut has been coming along well. We should say hi.
Before he takes a nap.
Or he croaks.
*Grumble*

This is kind of mean.



Looks like Chuck has something in common with Kabbu.

Chuck, we saw your posting on the quest board.



Let's give him the wrong thing.



Go visit Fry in the commercial plaza. I can't wait much longer!

This is your hint if you don't know how to make a Hearty Breakfast. (He doesn't actually keep whatever item we tried to give him.) I'm not sure how helpful this actually is, though - I have seen some people find it by e.g. assuming "hearty breakfast" is descriptive rather than an item name and giving him a Fried Egg or the like, but the fact you have to pick the wrong thing to see the hint means a lot of people never see it. Anyway, let's give him what he wants now.







Whew. Thanks, you all. Yer always helping me out.
I was so desperate I ate a raw Mushroom. Never really liked them...
No problem. The breakfast platter is one of our favourites.
A bit too savoury for me...
I've got a better reward for ya this time!

10 - Medal Found!



That might look like a plain rock, but it packs a punch!
Just like me when I don't have food...
Thank you, Chuck. It was nice to see you again.
Be safe, now! If you ever feel tired, I'd be glad to lend my place to you!



That's it for this quest!



Let's take note of this boulder for the future. It shakes slightly if Kabbu tries to hit it, but nothing we do can actually move or damage it, we'll need to come back later.

Our reward for Chuck's quest is actually twofold. In addition to the medal he gave us, Chuck's home now acts as a free inn whenever we want it. (It's a little out of the way compared to the inn in the plaza, but it's not that hard to get here if you need healing. My first playthrough, I didn't realise you could actually rest here, and kept spending berries at the inn.)







Mighty Pebble is interesting. This is our first skill-granting medal; it's treated like a global medal, but equipping this gives Kabbu a new skill. Pebble Toss costs 1 TP. It's a ranged attack that can target any enemy, and can knock them down if they're flying, but it always does 1 damage. Always, regardless of Kabbu's attack power, exhaustion, enemy's defence, etc. 1 damage. You might be able to do some tricks with this later in the game, but honestly it's pretty underwhelming.



I'll put this on for now so I can demonstrate it. I have the MP to spare so it's no object right now, but I usually don't use this medal much.

03 - Where Adventurers Gather



The next quest we have is for Eetl, but on the way to meet him, we run into Kina.

Dear me... Kina's always worrying about her brother. Maybe a bit too much?
Can't blame her. Maki keeps running off by himself.

Short banter.



We saw him in our meeting with the Queen...
Didn't he go off to the Golden Hills?
Ugh, no luck. I've already checked!
A-Already!?
Kina, your brother is one of the most respected explorers! He will be okay!
I know, I know...
But the nerve of him going without me! We're an unbeatable team! What if he needs me!?
Maybe he wanted some alone time?



Holy Goddesses!
Uhh... nothing. Nothing at all.
That's what I thought!
S-She's scaring me. Let's get out of here!

The banter updates after talking to her. Now there's a new line at the end:

Dear me... Kina's always worrying about her brother. Maybe a bit too much?
Can't blame her. Maki keeps running off by himself.
S-she gets a bit scary. I don't blame HIM!

And if we talk to Kina again:

Just leave me alone. I'll worry by myself.
*Sigh* Good job, Leif.
We didn't do anything...

All right then. Let's go to Eetl.



So it seems. We can't imagine him questing, though.
He's gotta relax more, too!
Vi, please don't cause him any trouble.
I won't! ...As long as he doesn't cause ME trouble.

New banter about Eetl. Also, that line about him managing the quest board isn't a lie, that's a functional quest board behind him just like the one Utter manages in the plaza. These are all linked and have the same quests on them, and when a new quest becomes available it will appear on all the boards simultaneously.

Let's talk to him.



Is... that bad? We'd just like to help...
No, um, I just figured you were busy with more important stuff.
Don't sweat it! If it pays we'll do it!
A-Alright. Thanks a lot. Your team is more reliable than I expected.
It's a pretty simple job, really. Take this package.



What's in this?
Don't open it, okay? Just deliver it!
My friend's a diver ant in the Bugaria Pier east from the Association. To reach it, just keep walking!



She'll be waiting with a little something. No worries.
Cool.
We'll get going, then. Good luck with the paperwork.

This one's going to be a bit more involved, thankfully.

06 - Outskirts



This bridge we couldn't cross earlier is the way we need to go.





There's a banter about this ant guard.

Is this the soldier that was guarding the Snakemouth Gate?
Hm... No, this seems to be someone else.
How can you tell? Most soldiers look alike.
It's the glimmer in her eye! The aura she radiates!
...There's numbers on the armor.

I like this one.

(Once again, due to the character limit I need to split the update here. Sigh.)

Explopyro fucked around with this message at 12:59 on Mar 12, 2021

Explopyro
Mar 18, 2018




08: Sidequesting in the Ant Kingdom (Part 2)



This place ain't too shabby.
It's a popular hangout spot for tourists. And for, well, the Ladybugs.
With them, it's more that they have nowhere else to hang out...
Did the Queen really have to keep ALL of them out?
Don't ask us.
...These are things we cannot control. It's best that we focus on our mission.



Looks like there's a new kind of enemy here!



Oops.





You know the drill by now. Spying time!



If it digs under, we'll use magic to bring it up. Let's try to capture one... for research.

Underlings are a new Seedling variant, based on root vegetables. These guys are a big step up from the enemies we've been facing so far, they have 12 HP so it's unlikely we can take them out in a single turn. Let's see what happens if we attack.



This is Underlings' main gimmick. They counter any attack by burrowing under the ground. While underground, most attacks can't hit them. Right now, Leif's basic attack is the only thing we have that works on buried enemies, so let's do that.



Hitting it while underground forces it to surface. Also worth noting, as a plant-based enemy, Underlings are weak to ice.



Underlings have two attack animations while above ground, this is the other one. Both of these attacks do the same damage, but the timing is slightly different!

We finish it off.



Underlings are worth 7 EXP right now, which is good because now that we're rank 4, the basic Seedlings are no longer worth any. If I didn't explain this explicitly before, enemy EXP yield is a function of both their level and yours, so as you level up, familiar enemies' EXP yield will degrade, eventually reaching 0 (at which point Bug Me Not works on them). This encourages you to keep finding new enemies to fight, rather than grinding the easy stuff (though you can if you want to badly enough, because a battle will still give you a pity 1 EXP if none of the enemies gave any).



It drops a bunch of berries, and also a purple thing we've never seen before.



This is a new kind of item! It acts just like the Danger Shroom if we use it, poisoning for 2 turns. More importantly, though, this opens up a couple of new recipes, and some of them are good, so these are worth grabbing if you have room. Right now, killing Underlings is the only source of these; I don't know the exact drop odds but I'd guess it's around 20% or so.

What can we make with these?

Baked Yam (20)
Sell: 4 berries
"Cooking this yam got rid of its toxins, making it safely delicious! Restores 7 HP to an ally."
Made by cooking a by itself

Spicy Fries (21)
Sell: 12 berries
"These fries will make you see red! Restores 4 HP and boosts an ally's attack for 2 turns."
Made by combining and

Burly Chips (22)
Sell: 12 berries
"Chips with a dash of burly berry! Restores 5 HP and boosts an ally's defense for 2 turns."
Made by combining and

Danger Dish (23)
Sell: 7 berries
"A very, very dangerous dish filled with all kinds of toxins. Restores 2 HP to an ally, 2 TP and poisons for quite a while."
Inflicts poison (4 turns)
Made by combining and

These are some useful recipes! Making Baked Yams is convenient if you just have a glut of the things, Danger Dish is obviously meant as an enabler for poison-based strategies, and we have upgrades to the buff items. Spicy Fries and Burly Chips are already quite good, but there's a quirk with them we'll learn about later in this chapter that makes them even better; these are some of the best stat-increasing items for the first two-thirds or so of the game. Remember these recipes.

Also, yes, potatoes can really be poisonous, although I don't know that I've ever heard of them being this small. Like tomatoes and aubergines, potatoes are a nightshade cultivar. Don't eat green potatoes, friends.



There's a staircase to the south.



Down here is a waterfall, a cave entrance, and a flying Seedling.



Well, that's quite an escalation over the lone Underlings we just saw!



A well-placed Icefall helps us make quick work of the Seedlings.



Here's how Underlings attack while underground. This attack is slightly more dangerous than the ones it uses while aboveground, as it will cause poison (for 2 turns) if not blocked. After using this attack, the Underling stays above ground.

Time to clean up.



Proof that regular Seedlings no longer give EXP.



There's another sneaky secret here. Waterfalls often hide things in video games, don't they?



If you stand at the tip of the rock and throw Vi's Beemerang into the waterfall, it'll bring back this HP Plus medal! This is our third one.



Vi can have this for now. A lot of people like stacking all of these on Kabbu right now, and I won't deny there are good reasons to do that, but I personally like to give each bug one at this stage. 9 HP is a lot more comfortable than 7 when not planning around Taunt strategies.



Now to check out this cave.



This is all that's in here. We can interact with that dais, and it brings up the Key Items menu, but we don't have the right item (and for better or worse, it doesn't react to the Bug Ranger Plushie). There is, at least, a banter in here:

What a peculiar cave.
Huh... There's nothing here! Just a rock!
...We can feel magic coming off this cavern. It's hiding something.

Whatever this cave is, we'll need to come back to it later.



A stepping stone lets us platform across the stream.



There's another Underling here.



Underlings are really aggressive in trying to first strike, but if you have good timing you can get Kabbu to whack them as they're falling!



This is pretty similar to the battle we just had.



I decided to use this opportunity to demonstrate Pebble Toss. Kabbu just chucks a rock at them. There's no action command, and no way to modify the damage, this just hits for 1. I guess it's decent utility for knocking things down if Vi ends up dead, or something, but I honestly don't see much reason to ever use this. Maybe it could be a fun challenge to try to deal the final blow to bosses with this?



Also, here's a demonstration of poison. If you miss the block against this attack (and aren't wearing Poison Resistance), you're going to get poisoned.



Poison Defender kicks in, though!



Kabbu takes 1 damage at the end of the turn (after the enemies have finished taking their actions). Looks like I misremembered about it rounding up: poison damage is 10% of max HP, rounded down.



This skull icon next to Kabbu indicates the remaining poison turns.



And this icon of the Poison Defender medal indicates that it's active! This is how the game shows status effects and situationally-active medals; if there are multiples active at once (like now, Kabbu is both poisoned and under the effects of Poison Defender), the game will cycle between icons though only one is on-screen at a time. This is a decent compromise between not showing this information and crowding the screen, I suppose, though it can get pretty silly looking if you stack certain medals and rack up loads of icons. I'm sure we'll see that later.



Kabbu even looks purple in the battle-end screen, though he'll be cured once we return to the overworld. (Honestly, he looks good in purple!)



Before we leave this screen, take note of that little island in the distance! It's hard to see from this distance, but there's one of those suspicious dirt mounds on it.



We still haven't reached the docks yet!

Hmm... the route to the Lost Sands.
What's got you thinking, Leif?
Eh, not much. We're just glad to see they've built a bridge. Even though it's raised.
We used to have to hop on a bunch of small rocks. Seems the river's swept those away.
Personally, I'm grateful it was lowered when I came to the Association.
I wonder why it's up now, though...

Lost Sands is the desert area, to the north of here. We can't go there now, though, because the bridge is raised and we don't have the ability to lower it.



The Underling in this screen has brought a new kind of friend with it! There's pretty good enemy variety in this area.



I should try to take it out in one attack!

Midges are like mosquitoes, though I'm not sure what they are exactly, because we'll meet sentient mosquitoes and they look quite different. Maybe it's a kind of divergent evolution?

Vi alludes to them having a counterattack ability, but we won't see it in this fight. It only kicks in when we're fighting multiple Midges at once.



Midges have two attacks: this dive



and this HP suck, which heals them. I find this one pretty tricky to block.



Midges are worth a lot of EXP right now!



And that battle yields another Danger Spud.



Hopefully we're getting close to the pier?



Ouch! These Underlings are tricky to avoid getting hit by.



Wait, what's this? Vi's dead! And the Underling is nowhere to be seen? What's going on? What IS this thing?



It has unholy defenses...! Not even my piercing horn is getting through!
I need to think of a way to prevent its escape while we whittle it down!

Golden Seedlings are the Metal Slime, Amazy Dayzee, Shining Pom, etc, the rare-spawn enemy of this game. They have a 1% chance of replacing any Seedling-type enemy (there are ways to increase these odds later in the game, but for now it's always 1%), though thankfully they can't appear in Chapter 1.

As we've seen, they do a lot of damage. They're also prone to running away, and they have a defencive gimmick that makes them hard to kill. Specifically, damage dealt to them is divided by 10 (rounded up), so they usually take 1 damage from any hit, and most multi-hit attacks will only deal damage on the first hit (specifically, this applies to attacks like Tornado Toss which don't have new action commands between hits). And, of course, they give massive rewards if you manage to take them down, including a guaranteed item drop that's almost exclusive to them.



I'm running away (note the effect of Quick Flea!). I don't have a chance against this thing unless I start the battle with a first strike, so I'm going to regroup and try again (the spawn chance doesn't get rerolled, it'll still be there). At least I have the spy data now!



I fed Kabbu this Mushroom Skewer, I didn't want to enter the fight with two bugs on 1 HP, though in retrospect this didn't actually matter, it might have been better to give it to Vi.



That's a bit better.



Golden Seedlings are also immune to freezing, of course. It couldn't be that easy!



The trick to keeping these from running away is to have Kabbu taunt them (also, this animation is quite silly when an enemy is frozen). Unfortunately, they do so much damage that he's not going to survive this.



Yep. Sorry, Kabbu. (Incidentally, this damage number might look weird compared to earlier. I found it strange that the damage it dealt when first striking was lower. Like other forms of Seedling, these have two attacks, the ramming dash and this dive. Golden Seedlings' ram deals 12 damage, and the dive does 15, but it seems on a first strike the dive also does 12? I don't think I ever noticed this before.)



Here's where things stood at the start of turn two.



Sadly, I didn't have enough actions to kill it. Vi and Leif reduced it to 1 HP, I was left hoping it wouldn't run away (they don't always), but it did.



To add insult to injury, we don't even get any EXP for this travesty! (It looks like the pity EXP only kicks in if the battle started out having no enemies worth EXP. The only enemy we killed was worth 0 EXP.)

Looking back at this footage, I made some obvious mistakes here, and in retrospect there were two different lines of play I could have taken to get a different outcome.

1: on the first turn, I wasted Kabbu's second action killing the normal Seedling (which was frozen, so it was no threat anyway), when I should have had him relay to Leif or Vi and get another hit in on the golden one. Then it would have had 2 HP left going into turn two, Leif and Vi could have killed it and then whoever survived would be left to clean up the normal Seedling.

2: on the second turn, I could have had Leif or Vi use the Magic Seed on Kabbu, then had him taunt again (I had enough TP). This would have left only 1 action remaining, but that'd be enough to get it down to 2 HP, then Leif and Vi would be guaranteed to live to turn three when together they'd have enough actions to kill it.

I'm pretty embarrassed I didn't think of either of these while recording, but hey, at least you get to see how tricky these things are! Golden Seedlings. They're scary.

We'll talk about Tangy Berries (the special item they drop) once I actually manage to get my hands on one.



Thankfully, that's the last enemy in this area. Are we finally at the pier?

10 - The Sailors' Pier



Yes.

Woah. I'd never actually seen the pier up close before!
Up close, Vi?
Mhm. You can kinda see it from all the way up in the Hive...
It must be exciting to see those far-off lands!
I mean, kinda... But after Snakemouth, I ain't too fond of the water.
Say the word, and we'll freeze the whole ocean.
N-Now, it's enough to just tread carefully...



We can inspect this statue of a ship's helm.

What's this... uh... we don't really know how to describe it.
It's a steering wheel, Leif!
...A what?
It's to drive boats around in the water!
...Hmm. Even when you explain it, it's hard to imagine how it works.
Back then, boats were way simpler.
Well, you DO have to study a lot to drive a boat...
We feel quite outdated...
Keep your head high, Leif! There's so much to discover in this pier!



The helm statue is a discovery.





Apparently, there have recently been advances in boating technology.



The message after having the discovery.



Let's explore this area!



Looks like this is a restaurant of sorts?



Dan the Gourmet Beetle is here. Talking to him gives us a hint about a recipe, though this is something we can't actually make yet. Despite Leif being able to freeze ice out of the air, and there being rivers everywhere, those won't work, we need a specific kind of water to make tea.

We meet again...
He really is everywhere!
Hope you won't mind if we stay for a snack.

Let's see what's on offer.

Hello there! Welcome to Pier Stop! Nice day we're having, huh?



We are always open for business! Come back anytime!

We can buy food here. We've seen Roasted Berries before (notably, this is a tad cheaper than making it out of a Spicy or Burly Berry), but Berry Juice is new.

Berry Juice (15)
"A delicious berry juice! Restores 5 HP to one party member and heals any negative status effect."
Sell: 5 berries

This is something we'll eventually be able to cook, but not quite yet, it requires ingredients we don't have access to. It's not a bad item, but it's not something I find myself using much.

Pier food's got a certain something.
It's, uh, saltier?
It must be something in the area's water, perhaps?
As long as we don't get food poisoning, it's fine.





Wow, that's expensive. I don't think we'll be going to Metal Island any time soon.



There's a diver ant over here.

These ants are nuts! Who even wants to go into the water!?
Agreed. It's nuts.
I'm not saying I want to swim, but... isn't there a thrill to overcoming our insect limitations?
To break through that limit, to explore frontiers we never dreamed of reaching?
Nuh-uh! I wanna stay dry!
There, there. It's gonna be okay, Kabbu.
Siiiiiiigh.

Eetl's friend is over to the right.



It looks like it'd fit you just fine. Maybe you should ask.
No way! His horn would slice through it!
...! I didn't consider that...
You sliced through his hopes, Vi.
Oops...

Let's talk to her.



Hm? Aye. Why? Something' happen?



Of course we're going to do this.

Woah, I didn't know Eetl had this on him!
What!? E-Excuse me, not that!
Awww...



Ah! He got the thing, finally.
What is it!? A super rare Medal!?
Just a part to improve my gear. You gotta thank Eetl for me.
...Why'd he make such a big deal out of it, then?
What matters is it's been delivered safely!
What matters is the reward, Kabbu. The important part!
This should 'bout cover the walk. Thanks to you too.

10 - Medal Found!



This is a really good reward, making this easily the most worthwhile of these early quests! For just 1 MP, this ensures that our tribulations with first strikes are gone for good. (Weirdly, I never find myself using the equivalent Chill Out in Paper Mario, but First Strikes hurt more in this game, and the enemies are more aggressive in the overworld. Don't succumb to hubris, use Crazy Prepared.)





This is going straight on and probably never coming off. I replaced Mighty Pebble for now.

If we talk to her again:

Thanks for dat. Aye, good luck out there!



There are a few people to meet in this building.



That's all this person has to say.

That poor sailor...
What do you reckon happened to him?
Dunno... It's just the sea.
I feel like it'd be best if we didn't try to figure it out. It could be most unpleasant.



That is a functional quest board there, just like the ones in the Ant Plaza and Explorers' Association. No new quests, though.

This bug's fashion sense is impeccable.
What about me?
You're doing just fine.
Oi, just say I look good!

Leif would probably look good in a pirate hat.



To the east we find the actual pier.



This crystal berry is quite sneaky! A lot of people walk straight past it. It's a short drop off the back of the pier, but that means only the very top of the berry is visible and it's easy not to see it. (You can just barely see it peeking out behind Leif in the previous screenshot.)





The sign wasn't kidding. We can go to Metal Island if we want, but it's going to cost a fortune.

(Let's go) What?! No money, no trip! Get out of here!

(That's too expensive) Psh. Don't waste my time then.

There's a banter, of course.

Grr...
Err, Vi?
How can they charge so many berries for a boat ride? It's insane!
We thought you hated the water, Vi.
You don't get tired on a boat. And it's way less tiring than flying to an island!
The boat must be quite expensive to maintain...
I don't care! It's too many berries!
Guess we'll have to save up, or wait for a better deal.

This oh-so-subtle hint that there will be a discount later means it's not a good idea to save up for this, even if the game will absolutely let us go if we have the berries. Metal Island is worth going to eventually, but there's very little we could actually do there right now. There are some shops, with goods we currently can't access otherwise, but nothing so amazing it's worth paying 300 berries to get there and then however much more on top of that.

This captain will charge us every time we want to ride the boat, too (though a shortcut will open up once we get there, so there's no reason to ever pay him again).

Before wrapping things up, let's head back to the Ant Kingdom to tidy some loose ends. We have enough berries now to buy the remaining medals and open our bank account, for instance.





On the way back, I remembered I never showed this house in the Outskirts area (across from the Association). We can't actually go in, because the owner isn't home. Also worth remembering is that dirt mound (though how it got on top of that rock, I really don't know).





I bought Sleep Resistance and Poison Resistance.



and while I was there, had Fry make a couple of Baked Yams.



Let's open a bank account.

(If we say no) ...Hmph. Don't say I didn't warn you when you're broke.

But let's do it.

That will do nicely. Thank you.
Your account is ready. Talk to me whenever you want to do an operation.
This better pay itself off later...

And now if we talk to her again:

Welcome... Oh, it's you!





All done. Your balance is now 10 berries.
Your berries are safe here. Come back anytime.

And that's it for how the bank works! I deposited 10 berries as proof of concept, but between the signup fee and the medals, I'm pretty much broke again.

This seems like a good place to break things off. Next time, we'll finish the last sidequest we can do right now (finding Tod's ball) and get on with our actual mission. See you then!

Explopyro fucked around with this message at 18:27 on Mar 12, 2021

Alxprit
Feb 7, 2015

A lady after my own Soul-Heart.

I knew this game was something special from the moment I started doing sidequests in Chapter 2 here. For one thing, unlike TTYD's similar sidequest system you don't need to do them one at a time, and they amount to meaningful exploration and engagement with some of the game's core systems. I also did not know about the Ranger Doll unlocking so many conversations! I'm going to be greatly looking forward to that. And for another thing, revealing this mostly optional side path to the pier here gave me the impression that there would be a lot more optional content in the game going forward. And I was right!

Also didn't know about the hint about the Hearty Breakfast. When I went to Chuck and saw he didn't give me a hint just by talking to him, I didn't want to risk wasting food by giving him the wrong thing and also didn't expect the hint to pop up there. Oh well. This game's too smart for my own good, perhaps.

Twelve by Pies
May 4, 2012

Again a very likpatous story


quote:

What happened to "I want to put statues of myself everywhere", Vi?

I don't think this is a contradiction in her character. She doesn't like bugs that use money to make themselves look important. But of course, she actually is important so her putting up statues of herself would be fine. In her mind, her exploration exploits have earned her the right to a statue, whereas someone just having money doesn't make them statue-worthy.

Or at least, that's how I justify it. But we've already seen that there's some slight out of character stuff in the banter anyway, like Kabbu's angry rage over Maki, so it could just be that.

quote:

Midges are like mosquitoes, though I'm not sure what they are exactly, because we'll meet sentient mosquitoes and they look quite different. Maybe it's a kind of divergent evolution?

Midges are flies. It's apparently not an actual scientific classification, it's just "any small fly." If you live in the US, no see ums are a midge.

Black Robe
Sep 12, 2017

Generic Magic User




Twelve by Pies posted:

Midges are flies. It's apparently not an actual scientific classification, it's just "any small fly." If you live in the US, no see ums are a midge.

Midges are utter bastards.

vilkacis
Feb 16, 2011



I like "Danger Spud".

Torrannor
Apr 27, 2013

---FAGNER---
TEAM-MATE


Explopyro posted:

The Crowning of Elizant II. After tears were shed of Elizant's too sudden retirement, it was time to crown the new Queen. Elizant II's speech radiated power over kindness, leaving many uneasy. Although everyone cheered, doubt and fear festered amongst the populace. They could only wait and prey that their new Queen would be just.

Is that a typo or intentional?

Anyway, now that the game shoves "she's suspicious!" warnings at us, I'm starting to think that she may be good after all? It wouldn't be much of a twist if she was revealed as evil mastermind after all the game has done to make the player mistrust her. It's still shady that she banished a lot of non-ants from her place... Perhaps she had good reason? Or perhaps the devs want us to dismiss those warnings about her being up to no good, expecting a twist? And the real twist is that she actually is evil?

Anyway, the golden seedling wearing a crown is just adorable. Also, I'm totally here to hear insects react to insect power ranger plushies. The writing of this game is just very wholesome, I love it (and this LP!).

FoolyCharged
Oct 11, 2012

Somebody call for an ant?



Black Robe posted:

Midges are utter bastards.

Explopyro
Mar 18, 2018




Alxprit posted:

I knew this game was something special from the moment I started doing sidequests in Chapter 2 here. For one thing, unlike TTYD's similar sidequest system you don't need to do them one at a time, and they amount to meaningful exploration and engagement with some of the game's core systems. I also did not know about the Ranger Doll unlocking so many conversations! I'm going to be greatly looking forward to that. And for another thing, revealing this mostly optional side path to the pier here gave me the impression that there would be a lot more optional content in the game going forward. And I was right!

Same here!

Honestly, it's really amazing how two systems that are so similar in broad strokes feel so different in execution. I am what is generally called a "pathologically insane completionist" and even I tend not to bother with the sidequests in TTYD (okay, I definitely did them all once, but ugh, never again). You can only accept one at a time, they charge you a cancellation fee if you choose to back out, meaning you can't save time by planning a route to do multiple at once or anything. And then the quests themselves are tedious unrewarding busywork (both in terms of their content, and the fact none of them give you anything worth having except the Mowz one). It's enough to make one sceptical of the concept of a sidequest board entirely! (Even Koopa Koot wasn't nearly as tedious!)

Bug Fables made it work, though. I think it's a combination of the charming writing and characterisation in them making these quests feel like they matter in a way the TTYD ones often didn't, and the user-friendliness of letting you accept them all and do them whenever. The quests are also generally structured in a way to get you to explore and engage with the world and NPCs, they're just fun to do in a way the TTYD ones never were. And then they give rewards that are worth having.

They really packed this game full of side content, but that side content respects your time and wants to be enjoyed.

The only thing both systems have in common, I think, is making the quest board something that exists diegetically in-universe, the characters are literally going and putting requests up on it. This is always a thing I like to see.

Alxprit posted:

Also didn't know about the hint about the Hearty Breakfast. When I went to Chuck and saw he didn't give me a hint just by talking to him, I didn't want to risk wasting food by giving him the wrong thing and also didn't expect the hint to pop up there. Oh well. This game's too smart for my own good, perhaps.

I don't know if I'd praise the game for this, exactly; I do think it's a bit awkward to place the hint there. They could easily have had him say something similar if you back out of giving him anything and close the menu, and probably should have.

Twelve by Pies posted:

I don't think this is a contradiction in her character. She doesn't like bugs that use money to make themselves look important. But of course, she actually is important so her putting up statues of herself would be fine. In her mind, her exploration exploits have earned her the right to a statue, whereas someone just having money doesn't make them statue-worthy.

Or at least, that's how I justify it. But we've already seen that there's some slight out of character stuff in the banter anyway, like Kabbu's angry rage over Maki, so it could just be that.

Yeah, I wasn't actually trying to say it was bad characterisation! (Not this time, anyway.) I read Vi as being insecure and trying to compensate for that with overconfidence, and some of this ambivalence comes across to me as in-character rather than inconsistent writing.

I don't necessarily view the banters with the same level of canonicity as the rest of the text, because seeing them is optional and I think they expect most players to see a small fraction of them, and some of them are written with a bit more silliness (especially the Bug Ranger ones), but I think the overall characterisation holds together even including them.

Twelve by Pies posted:

Midges are flies. It's apparently not an actual scientific classification, it's just "any small fly." If you live in the US, no see ums are a midge.

Black Robe posted:

Midges are utter bastards.

I'm pretty sure I knew this, but it somehow never entered my mind in this context! (They're utter bastards in the game too, as we'll see next update.) That said, the Midges in this game are obviously not flies (I want to say Fry is the only fly in the game?), and the ingame bestiary compares them to mosquitoes.

Torrannor posted:

Is that a typo or intentional?

Typo, drat it (mine, not the game's). I'll go fix that.

Torrannor posted:

Anyway, now that the game shoves "she's suspicious!" warnings at us, I'm starting to think that she may be good after all? It wouldn't be much of a twist if she was revealed as evil mastermind after all the game has done to make the player mistrust her. It's still shady that she banished a lot of non-ants from her place... Perhaps she had good reason? Or perhaps the devs want us to dismiss those warnings about her being up to no good, expecting a twist? And the real twist is that she actually is evil?

No comment. I'm enjoying the speculation though, keep it coming!

Torrannor posted:

Anyway, the golden seedling wearing a crown is just adorable. Also, I'm totally here to hear insects react to insect power ranger plushies. The writing of this game is just very wholesome, I love it (and this LP!).

Haha, thank you! I wouldn't be able to do this without the prior example of so many LPs over the years, and of course the game itself is doing a lot of the work.

Explopyro
Mar 18, 2018




09: Golden Path (Part 1)

Last time, we completed most of the available sidequests in Ant City, exploring the eastern side of Bugaria Outskirts on the way to the pier. We have one more sidequest to do, but it's on the way to our actual mission, so we'll get started on that and make a detour en route.



I'm also putting Mighty Pebble back on, it might come in handy shortly.

06 - Outskirts



Well, at least when it's not raining.
It's a good thing rain is so uncommon. It gives us ample time to prepare.
Let's enjoy the view while we're here.

I took a quick detour to show this banter in the first screen of Bugaria Outskirts, I forgot to check there last time.



We need to head south, back toward the cave.



There weren't enemies last time we were here, but there are now.



Lots of Seedlings. These are barely threatening. I was tempted into using Icefall to expedite these encounters, which isn't a horrible idea but I think it's a mistake to spend too much TP here.





The second battle has even more Seedlings. Even when there are this many, they're not really a threat, and we only get pity EXP.



They do, however, drop a new item. I think item drops are actually tied to the enemy formations, rather than individual enemy types, because the Seedlings we encountered before couldn't drop these and they start showing up on this screen.

Hard Seed is a battle item. It can be thrown at one enemy to make an attack with power 2; this is subject to modification by the enemy's defence (but not by the thrower's stats).

That sounds pretty underwhelming, and it is. The only real reason to use these is, again, to knock down flying enemies if for some reason you don't want to or can't relay to Vi. That said, they're quite useful in cooking. I'm going to hold off showing new recipes for now (we'll be encountering a lot of new ingredients over the next couple of updates, so I figure I'll cover them all at once) except to say that cooking one of these by itself also makes Roasted Berries, and that's a lot easier to justify than using expensive Spicy or Burly Berries.



This doesn't look good!

13 - It's Getting Scary!



This really doesn't look good.



Hmph! The renowned Professor Neolith doesn't know anything!?





Assaulting someone who can't even fight... You have no dignity.
Stay out of this. We will eliminate any who get in the way!
Who do you think you are!?
You've made your choice. To protect my friend... I'll take you down!
Friend?

Kabbu apparently has a preexisting acquaintance with the professor here; I'm sure he'd be angry at seeing anyone harmed, but this fury seems a bit more personal.







We'll help out!
It doesn't matter how many of you appear! We will complete our mission, for the Wasp King!

King? I thought wasps had queens. That's weird.

Focus your efforts on one of them, we will handle the other!
We didn't need your help! ...But thanks! Let's go!

24 - Oh no! WASPS!! (Recommended listening!)





First things first, of course, we need to spy. I'll let Leif do the honours this time.



Regardless, if it's going to shake the peace, we'll freeze him in his tracks!

This isn't a miniboss, exactly, as the game doesn't count it as one, but it's definitely a step up from the normal enemies we've been facing (Golden Seedlings excepted). Those stats are quite scary - 2 defence is a lot when all your characters have 2 attack! Kabbu is going to be doing all the damage in this fight, as the others would barely scratch him (and then only if they're in front).

(As an aside, I think it's a bit strange they use male pronouns for the wasp soldiers; in nature, they would definitely be female. But these wasps have a king, so there's already something abnormal going on.)



Kabbu gets things started with a Heavy Strike. I don't have enough TP to do that again, because I wasted a bunch using Icefall against the Seedling hordes, but we'll make this one shot count.



Vi wouldn't be able to get through, so she gets to relay to Kabbu. (This fight is a lot harder if you forget you can do this; I've definitely seen people struggle here.)





The Wasp Trooper has two attacks, one of which is this spear throw. This would've been 5 damage before blocking; he's not messing around. Thank goodness for Levi and Celia; fighting two of these at once would be terrifying (we could do it, but it would be a close thing).



At the start of turn two.



Kabbu attacks.



And gets a relay to attack again. At this point, he has accumulated enough exhaustion that, taking into account the enemy's defence, attacking again would do zero damage.



But Pebble Toss can still get through! (This was completely unnecessary, and doesn't actually change the course of the fight in any way, we'd be finishing things the next turn regardless. But still, it's good to see proof that it always does 1 damage.)



If I'd saved some TP to do another Heavy Strike instead, I could have finished things that turn, but at least this way we get to see the Trooper's other attack animation. I have a harder time blocking this one, for some reason.



With the Trooper on 1 HP, this is over.



He's worth a nice chunk of EXP, too. (It should probably be more, but there's a cap of 15 EXP per enemy in normal battles, with only a few exceptions, and I think we're hitting it here.)



Looks like Levi and Celia were successful too.







And they run off. Typical villain lackey behaviour.



Think nothing of it. Explorers must support each other.
What a scare... Thank you all so much!



Neo! I'm so glad you're alright!
Kabbu, it was thanks to your timely appearance! This has to be fate!
So, uh, who's this Professor Neolith guy?

(Vi, always so tactful)

You don't know?! Professor Neolith is the leading authority in archaeology!
Oh! Nice to meet you!
(...Archaeology?)
Aw, shucks! I'm not that famous!



It was nothing, compared to saving me from that ambush!
Coincidentally, I was examining this tunnel linking the outskirts to the Golden Path.
I never expected to get assaulted! Although a less visited path does lend itself to it.
From what I overheard, they seem to be looking for artifacts as well?
I'll have to make sure to report that upon or return...
The wasps have behaved for a few moons, but they can't be planning anything good.
If it's going to be this unsafe, maybe I should cancel this trip and head back...



Phew...
Oh! Thank you!
We're on our way there as well, so we'll catch up to you eventually.
Heheh. It'll be a fun festival with everyone there!
Let's play some of the games later, Neolith!
Neo, stay safe. Let's hang out later!



And off they go into the cave.

(I'm genuinely not sure if it's writer intent or not, but I've seen quite a few people read between the lines a bit here and come out shipping Kabbu and Neolith. Honestly, I can see it? Nothing ever rules out the possibility, anyway.)



We're back in control now. Also, let's note we seem to have been healed to full after that fight (the game doesn't draw attention to that or offer any explanation, but I'll take it).



25 - Caves

This place is dreadful. Pretty sad, if you ask us.
It's not like anyone comes here often, you know? It does the job.
Indeed. If we cross quickly, we can leave behind this gray scenery.

Looks like nobody's really happy to be here. That looks like a new enemy, too.



The leaf animation here is new!



Does that snail have spikes on its shell?



I'll try to take some for myself when Kabbu flips it out of its shell!

This is hinting that Numbnails' attacks can put us to sleep. We've already found a Sleep Resistance medal, it shouldn't be too big a surprise that this is now a possibility. Also, remembering the hint to flip them with Kabbu is important.



Leif attacks. He only hits for 1, thanks to the Numbnail's defence...



And when hit, it retreats inside its shell, increasing its defence to 4. We're not getting through that, are we?



Wait, what?

This is another quirk of the battle system. Some enemies like this Numbnail have defencive stances, and those stances can be broken by flipping attacks. When you do that, in addition to breaking the stance for other characters to take advantage of, the attack that breaks the stance does full damage (as though the stance ended first before damage was applied).



Numbnails attack by shooting these weird lightning bolts out of their eyes. This will cause sleep (2 turns) if you don't block.



Kabbu finishes things.



Pretty good EXP from these!



Looks like it dropped a new item, too!



Guess Vi wasn't kidding about us being able to collect their sedatives. This is an attack item like the Hard Seed; when thrown, it attacks for 2 and attempts to cause sleep (2 turns). This is a tricky item to use, honestly, because of some quirks about sleep, which I'll explain shortly once we see it in action. It also has some uses in cooking. Contra what Vi said earlier, though, they won't really make us rich, they're only worth 4 berries to sell.





Over on the left side, there's another one of those boulders blocking the way, and this faded sign.



The next battle in here is just a lone Midge, which we can dispatch in a single turn. It has 7 HP and that's exactly how much damage we do with our three characters.



These are still worth a nice chunk of EXP too.



Apparently, these can also drop Hard Seeds.





The last battle has two Midges at once. Ugh. We'll get to see what these are really about, now.



Vi attacks to knock the first one down...



and immediately the other Midge has a shocked reaction and attacks Vi. It's not your turn, Midge!



Kabbu attacks.





And again, the other Midge reacts and counterattacks.



Leif finishes off the one in front.





This is the gimmick to Midges. It's really annoying! If there were three of them in this battle, we'd take two counter hits each time we attacked one of them! And, notably, these counterattacks are actually stronger than their normal dive attack (though not the HP vampire attack). The obvious solution if you have TP to spare is to try freezing them, they have 25% resistance so the odds are in your favour.



After all those counterattacks, the Midge still gets its turn like normal.

After that nightmare of a turn, there's just one Midge left, and it's trivial to mop up.



Lots of EXP, at least! That's enough to get us to the next rank.





No special perks this time, just the stat increase we choose (which, of course, is MP).



I've seen people have a hard time finding Tod's ball. Cutting this vine is the first step.



Then we can step behind that pillar. You can barely see it peeking out in the front there, that rock in the foreground does a good job of hiding it!



That's what we came for. May as well head back to return this before continuing onward.



You're Tod, right? We've taken your request.



You really found it! Thank you! Mom won't get angry now...
Please don't tell her I went out by myself either, pretty please?
Here, have this for helping me out!



Alright! Another good deed, another reward!
Now, stay out of trouble. Don't worry your mother.
I promise... Thanks again!



That's it for this quest! Our reward is a second copy of Sleep Resistance. With all the Numbnails around, it might not be a bad idea to put one or two of these on. (Incidentally, if anyone was wondering, resistance medals do stack. They grant 50% resistance each, and you can put two copies on the same bug to get 100%, which works exactly the way you'd think it does and grants immunity.)



Let's take a quick look at our quest log. The two remaining quests (getting the Lore Books for Brooke, and getting Bad Books for Reeves) are long-running ones we won't be able to complete for quite a while. By the way, the Lost Books quest would have appeared on the quest board if we'd checked that before meeting Brooke; instead it got automatically accepted when we talked to her.

So far, so good. We're all caught up. (There are a lot of sidequests in this game, and if you're at all interested in doing them, it's probably worth trying to keep on top of them as they become available. Otherwise, they'll just pile up and become overwhelming.)



While we're here, let's give Amber the Hard Seeds and Numbnail Dart, we'll put those away to cook with later.



And let's put all our berries in the bank. I don't expect to get much interest, but every little helps and I'm not going to need them any time soon.

This post was, sigh, just barely over the character limit; this seems like a good place to split it. Back momentarily.

Explopyro fucked around with this message at 20:43 on Mar 20, 2021

Explopyro
Mar 18, 2018




09: Golden Path (Part 2)



Back to the cave. I wasn't planning to show the fights again, but something interesting happened with the two Midges:



I used Icefall and it froze one of them, but not the other.







After counterattacking, the Midge returns to its flying position! It doesn't matter in this particular case, but it's worth noting so you don't try to make a strategy around knocking multiples down at once.



To get to the cave exit, we're going to need to freeze this water droplet and use the ice block to help us up. That rock is just a bit too high to jump onto without it.



Like so.

26 - Golden Lands



The cave exit is a pipe? Anyway, welcome to Golden Path! This area has a nice autumnal palette (although I don't know why it's autumn here and not in the outskirts) and a lot of new things to see on our way to the Golden Settlement.

Ah, the Golden Hills! I have heard many stories about this place. They say Goddess Venus keeps this area in pristine weather!
Where are all these leaves falling from, anyways?
Just look up! That's the Bee Kingdom's tree!

This conversation feels weird to me, in that each statement seems a bit disconnected and doesn't quite flow into the next, almost like each of our party members is just independently making an observation.



There's a save crystal here, though notably, it's blue. They're definitely getting a bit stingier with the free healing.



Those weeds are a bit suspicious, aren't they?



There's a path back here...



with a hidden bouncy shroom that launches us upward!



That was a crystal berry barely visible behind the foliage. Sneaky!



A weed by the crystal has this new item in it. Clear Water is exactly what it sounds like, it cures status effects and does absolutely nothing else. Interestingly, unlike most items found in weeds, this respawns occasionally; I think this is the only weed in the game that does this. This is also the ingredient we need to make tea, as well as some other things like Berry Juice. On the pile it goes.



Is that another new enemy?



Another new leaf animation!



Let's give Kabbu a turn to spy.



But alas... It will be no match for my horn!

Acornlings are another Seedling variant. These have some armour, giving them 2 defence.





They can be flipped, though, and when flipped that defence drops to 0.



They're also weak to ice, being plants, so Leif and Vi can finish it off. We'll see what their attacks are like soon enough.



They're not worth quite as much EXP as Numbnails or Midges, but this isn't a bad haul.



Use the safe line express to reach the Settlement! - Golden Hills Tourist Center
(PS: In case the safe line is out of commission, please wait until an associate comes to escort you.)

The warning is nice, I guess, but somehow I don't think it's going to be that simple.



We can get up to this platform with the aid of the mushroom, but there's no way to interact with the pulley, and there's clearly no gondola or anything here.

What happens if we jump on the flytraps? (Also... Kabbu mentioned a Goddess Venus. Flytraps seem ominous, don't they?)



We can stand on them for a short time, but if we wait too long, they'll chomp us. If this happens, the game just resets us to the last stable platform we stood on, there's no penalty except having to try again. The timing isn't that hard, but you need to pay attention and keep moving.



The northern flytraps just lead to this dirt mound we can't do anything with.



The southern path is the way we need to go.



This Acornling is waiting for us at the other side; it's almost an ambush, it starts moving and trying to hit us as soon as we set foot on the platform.



This one has a regular (flying) Seedling alongside it. I'll kill the Seedling first so we can see the Acornling's attack.



Just like Seedlings, they do this dive-bomb, the timing is the same. (They also have a second attack, the same ramming dash Seedlings do.) They're Seedlings, just with a hard hat on.

It's worth noting, though, that this Acornling was flipped at the start of its turn, but it got up and attacked like normal, and stays unflipped after that. I don't think I explained it explicitly before, but that's generally how flippable enemies behave. (Unlike Paper Mario, where you can stunlock most Koopas by knocking them on their back.)



There's a mushroom to send us up.



And here's the other end of the cable car. Though it looks like there might be another path upward? Regardless, the vehicle itself isn't here, so we can't go up for now. Let's go further west.



More platforming on flytraps.



There's a Numbnail waiting for us on the other side.



It has an Acornling friend with it!



There isn't a lot to show with this battle, except that I got a bit careless with Kabbu's health. Both enemies hit him for 2 on the first turn, leaving him at 3, then on turn two I missed the action command and got him knocked out. I should probably have healed him; I think I've gotten into a bad habit of not doing so, I need to remember I can use items or spend TP on Secret Stash. That said, characters occasionally getting knocked out isn't exactly unusual, and especially on higher difficulties it's something you'll get used to and plan around.





That said, this wasn't a problem. Switching Leif in front, with the ice weakness and the positioning bonus, he can finish it off easily enough.



These battles are worth a lot of EXP, at least.





I fed Kabbu a Baked Yam after that fight, I'd rather not walk around with him on 1 HP.



This seems like a good place to see the banter for this area:

The Golden Settlement is a pioneer of wind-based energy, isn't it?
Uh huh. And for heavier stuff, they wind up cranks to move around.
It's a pretty clever way to move about. The bee engineers deserve some praise.
Eh, it's nothing special.
Most bees can fly. It's no wonder you wouldn't see the greatness in these inventions!
Hmph.



The technician seems to be sleeping on the job.

Darn. With the worker sleeping, how will we operate the cranks?
Leave it to me! Beemerang express is go! For a small fee!



I'm pretty sure she was fully intending to charge them until Leif threatened her with magic

There's also, of course, a banter.

Sleeping on the job is so lazy... Maybe we should throw some ice on him.
Oh, we could cover his face with honey!
Stop it! You will do none of these things!

Heh.



We know what to do. Standing on the platform, we can throw the Beemerang at the crank.



The platform slowly rises, until we can jump off at the top.



This battle looks very similar to the last one, but the enemies' positions have been switched. That actually makes things a bit easier, because we can take out the Acornling in a single turn with regular attacks, but we couldn't do that for a Numbnail.



I missed the action command when the Numbnail attacked Kabbu, and he fell asleep! So let's talk about how Sleep works.

When a bug is asleep, they can't take actions, nor block attacks. They will also heal 10% of their maximum HP, rounded up, at the end of the turn (after enemies finish taking their actions), as you see here. Being hit by an attack will immediately wake up a sleeping character.

(There's a nasty glitch with this on enemies: if you put an enemy to sleep, then wake them up with damage the same turn, they'll still skip their next turn. You can exploit this to disable an enemy while avoiding the downside of healing them. I don't plan to take advantage of this, but I'd be remiss if I didn't discuss it.)



Although, interestingly, a character being asleep doesn't stop you from rotating the formation, so at least we can get someone else in front and not waste the damage bonus.



Leif can do 2 damage, at least.



But this leaves Vi trying to get through 4 defence. That's not happening.



Kabbu still gets the healing the turn he wakes up.



And now he can finish things.



These battles are really showering us in EXP. That's another rank up!





Naturally, I choose more MP.



And this time, we do get an additional bonus. Leif learns a new skill!



Frigid Coffin is really, really good. It might not be clear yet from the description, but this is one of Leif's best skills and will serve us well throughout the rest of the game.

Frigid Coffin hits one enemy and deals +2 damage compared to Leif's standard attack. It also attempts to freeze, and has a duration of 2 turns: this is the only way to freeze for longer than 1 turn, so it's a much more effective way to disable an enemy than, say, Icefall.

Also, "a great chance to freeze" is a bit of an understatement. Frigid Coffin subtracts 30% from the enemy's resistance (provided the enemy has less than 100% resistance; immune is still immune) before rolling the RNG to see if it will succeed. That's even more important than it probably sounds at first; let me explain:

The game never explicitly teaches this (which I do think is a bit of a misstep because it's a great mechanic), but every time we successfully apply a status effect to an enemy, that enemy's resistance to it increases. You can't keep freezing the same enemy forever: every time you do, it gets harder to freeze it, and it will eventually become immune once that resistance reaches 100%. In the case of freeze (on Hard Mode), the increase is +18% each time they're frozen (an enemy with 0% resistance will reach immunity after 6 freezes). This means that, especially in boss fights, freezes are a finite resource you have to manage. That -30% goes a long way to help squeeze out those last couple of freezes once the enemy's resistance has built up.

When you want something frozen really badly (like, say, you want to create a window for a healing turn), Frigid Coffin has your back.

We'll see it in action soon enough. For now, let's get back to exploring.



Remember this crank for later; those rails are tall and it certainly looks like this platform can go up much higher, but right now we can only get it high enough to reach the flytrap on the left.



Like so.



Up here there are two cranks, and a bit of a puzzle. The left crank controls the left platform and makes it go up; the right crank controls the right platform and makes it go down.



We have to get the platforms into position by turning the cranks multiple times, then time our crossing carefully to get across, like this. Awkwardly, if you screw up and get stuck on the left platform at its lowest, there's no way back safely, you have to jump into the brambles so the game will respawn you on the platform.



Also, that looks like a new enemy, doesn't it?



Yes it is!



It's quite fierce, too. We should discipline it before it can give us much trouble.

Weevils are an interesting enemy. It has 9 HP, so without a first strike we won't be killing it in one turn...



Wait, what? It ate that Seedling and healed itself to full! They'll only do this when injured, and only to plant-based enemies. (This is a nice dose of realism, too: weevils are known for eating stored grain. Grain is seeds.)



The next turn, we still didn't kill it off, so it gets to attack. It's the same animation as eating the Seedling.



Decent EXP yield.



In the next screen, a Numbnail is waiting for us.



This one comes with a Weevil. (I do like how every battle in this area has had a different combination and/or formation of enemies, they do a good job at keeping things from getting repetitive.)

We take out the Numbnail turn one, then do some damage to the Weevil turn two.



We see a new behaviour from the Weevil on its turn! When on low health, they can do this and give themselves an attack buff, and then they still get to attack like usual.



When we get to the next turn it has this icon on it, showing the buff. Attack Up is always a +1 increase, the number shown is the number of turns remaining before it wears off. Weevils give themselves a 2-turn attack buff.

It doesn't matter right now, of course, because we're going to kill it.





We get another Numbnail Dart after the battle. I have the room so I'll keep it.



There doesn't seem to be a crank in sight. How are we going to get across here?

What a huge gap!
This place IS known for its hills.
No problem for me. I can just fly over em!
...What about us?
You would not abandon us, would you, Vi?



Guess they never did tell Leif what happened just before they met him, did they?



Anyway, the solution is to the south, this staircase is hidden behind a weed Kabbu can cut.



This is a hint for much later. The crank we need is right in front of us. (Also, just over to the left there, that white blip is the propeller of a flying Seedling, we're going to have to fight that because it'll get in our way.)



It brought some friends. Vi and Kabbu team up to kill the first Seedling, then I decided to have Leif show off Frigid Coffin and disable the Weevil.



The action command's a bit more complicated! This starts off the same as his normal attack, but then immediately goes to a 3-button sequence we need to hit (this can include the four directions, X, A, and B). Needless to say, that Weevil is frozen.



The start of turn two. The Weevil is still frozen.



One other advantage of the 2-turn freeze is that if we don't care about it being disabled a second turn, we can make use of that +1 damage bonus. When we were dealing with 1-turn freezes, we could get extra damage or disable, but not really both. Frigid Coffin is so good.





If you look carefully at the left side of this screenshot, you can barely see a bit of safe ground on the other side of the brambles (as that sign was vaguely hinting). There's no way for us to get there now, or even to see the entrance, but there's a cave over there which we'll want to explore once we can cross safely. Put a pin in this.



Turning the crank rotates the bridge. Now we can go back up and cross.



We cross the bridge. You can see the windmill in the background, too; there are a bunch of these in this area, but this is the first screenshot that you can see them clearly.



Another Weevil is waiting for us after we cross.



This one's pretty simple. I decided to have Vi and Leif kill the Seedling first so the Weevil couldn't heal itself, but I didn't necessarily have to: as long as I left it alone, it'd have stayed in the air and out of reach. Weevils can only eat grounded Seedlings.



There's also an Acornling here. (And another of those rock piles we can't do anything about.)



They're still finding new configurations to throw at us!





I had Kabbu flip the Acornling, then used Icefall with Leif. There's something kind of weird here, too: the Acornling is flipped, and shows the status icon for that, but its sprite while frozen is still right-way up! I guess they didn't make another sprite for being both flipped and frozen. Which is a weird oversight, because usually their attention to detail is quite good.



We've finally arrived!



The settlement's entrance is so pretty! I just love the sunflowers!
Heheh. It's so unusual to see Vi so... chirpy.
Make sure she doesn't hear you or we won't hear the end of it.

Let's talk to people.



You won't want to miss it... I'll see you there!

And, of course, talk about people.

So tall...
Hm. I imagine you're not used to that feeling, Leif?
We've got to admit we aren't. Not to this magnitude.
Bleh. It's all the same to me. Why is everybody else so tall!?
More like, why are you so short?
You wanna fight, Leif?
(Never mention height ever again.)

Of course Vi has a Napoleon complex. Of course she does.



Surrounded by these rocks to the south, there's another dirt mound.



The merchant caravan are here too! Cricketly and Huscada don't have anything new to say. It looks like they have something new in stock, though, replacing the Burly Berry they usually stock.



Drowsy Cake is an item we'll be able to cook later, but we can't now, one of the ingredients isn't available. That said, this item is actually quite good, and it's not too expensive. 7 HP and 7 TP is the best total recovery we've seen, and the drawback (2 turns sleep) can mostly be mitigated with Sleep Resistance medals (if we equip both on different bugs, it's essentially a healing item we can only use on 2/3 of the party). And, of course, used outside battle, the drawback is meaningless.

I didn't buy any but I'll probably pick up a couple later.



Wow, who's this? She's huge.

Woah, that's a big ant.
Really makes you want to wake her up.
You two...

Let's talk to her.



Sleeping on the job... Standards have dropped.







Whatever you say.
What's a miner doing all the way out here?
It's Diana, okay? I'm here on the Queen's orders!
I'm finishing up the tunnel connecting the Golden Path to the Ant Kingdom!
Goodness gracious, you've dug all that distance!?
Eh, it was kind of a team effort. I just have to cut the rope, really.
What are you waiting for, then?
Mmmph. Honestly, I worked so hard, I'm a bit tired. I need a good rest to power through...
Or if I ate some berries now, I could probably get it done right now! Like 15, maybe?
Oh, maybe we could help!
Kabbu! She just wants free food! We can just come back later and it'll be done!
Think about it, though. It'd be nice to be able to walk back, just in case.
Hmm, we will have to think about this.
Well, gimme a holler if you make up your mind.

Whenever we see Diana, she'll offer to open up shortcuts back to the Ant Mines, but we have to payfeed her.

There's a new banter now we've met her:

Diana seems to hold massive strength.
What if she joined our team? She'd punch holes through spiders!
It's a shame. If she wasn't so committed to her job, it'd be such a great help...

Honestly, she probably would be a fun party member. Oh well.



Let's see what happens if we refuse.

We should wait. We're on a mission right now, anyways.
It's always best to save and wait!
Eh. If we ever do need to come back, we could talk to her...
Aw. Fine. Just come back and talk to me if you want me to dig...

This is worth it, though, and I've got the funds.



Those berries don't even taste good...
We don't think her taste would be the only weird thing here...
Oi, I'm doing you a favor, okay? Just sit and watch!



Phew... All done! Thanks, y'all!
We might as well pay the paalce a visit, since we paid for this and all...
If you want to hop back into the palace, just talk to the guard standing near the tunnel, she'll guide you there.
Thank you, Diana. We'll be on our way.
Well, I'm off! See you some other time, folks!



And she's gone. We'll generally find Diana each time we reach a new town.



(Not now) Very well. Please talk to me if you ever decide to go.

And of course there's banter:

Hmm... It's a bit weird to see Ant Guards so far from the city.
With the mines, we could say they're not too far...
Mhm. These tunnels were a super great idea!
Guess we'll have to give the Queen credit for that...



If we go into the tunnel...



We come out here. The symbol of the Golden Settlement is on the sign above us, and to the left you can see the staircase up into the Ant Palace.

I don't actually have anything I want to do in the Ant Kingdom, so let's just go back to the Golden Settlement. This shortcut is very handy, though.



There's one last person to meet here, to the south.

Woah, that's a huge Tangy Berry!
No, Vi. That's a beetle... quite a cute one.
What is he doing!!? That rock is extremely heavy!
We must talk him out of it, before it's too late!



Let's talk to him.

Huuuu...
Excuse me, extremely round beetle!



This rock is extremely heavy! You will hurt your horn!
I'm a fully grown Tanjerin! I can do it. I can move this rock!
Let the little dude do his job, Kabbu!
I'm not little! I'll fight you right here!
It's so cute. How can we feel threatened at all?
I came from a veeeery far land, from the right, to prove my might!



I admire your spirit, but horns cannot withstand such pressure. You should take care!
My horn can never break, cuz I'm strong! Now I'm going right back to work!
It was cute at the start, but now I'm kinda worried...

Tanjerin is his name, not his species, in case his manner of speaking confused that. This guy has become something of a mascot for the game, and features in a lot of memes. We're not done with him yet.

So he came from a far land...
Any idea of which?
I've heard of one region where bugs look like seeds and berries.
I've heard of that place too! Err, in fairy tales?
So those tales could be real...
...We should go there someday.

We can also talk to him again.

Huuu... I can do it...
That little guy really does look like a Tangy Berry.
We wonder why?
I'm not little! And stop interrupting me!
Besides, everyone looks like this where I come from.
Is that so? ...Well, where are you from?
The east.
Er, you've told us so. But whereabouts in the east?
I dunno what that means. The east! I just walked to the left a lot, and got here!
Oh dear, it's not too smart.
Shut up! And let me work!
Sigh...
Heheh. You don't see Kabbu get mad a lot!
Let's just... go.

Doesn't look like we're going to be able to accomplish anything here.



Let's go into the settlement proper.



I know, right? It's such a good place to visit!
And on top of its beauty, the settlement provides many items this region needs.
Beautiful, AND useful... we have a high respect for this place.

Exploring the town will have to wait until next time, though. This place is pretty big and densely populated, there's a lot to see and plenty of people to meet.



The save crystal here is yellow, for a change. We haven't seen one of these in a while. That seems like a good signal to end things here; next time, we'll go out on the town.

Explopyro fucked around with this message at 13:35 on Mar 20, 2021

berryjon
May 30, 2011

I have an invasion to go to.

Explopyro posted:

I came from a veeeery far land, from the right, to prove my might!

The east.
Er, you've told us so. But whereabouts in the east?
I dunno what that means. The east! I just walked to the left a lot, and got here!

Well, this just confirms that the 'camera' is in the south. But he's making references to the directions on the playing field...

Alien Arcana
Feb 14, 2012

You're related to soup, Admiral.

Explopyro posted:

I think item drops are actually tied to the enemy formations, rather than individual enemy types, because the Seedlings we encountered before couldn't drop these and they start showing up on this screen.
That's correct. There are a few enemy types (such as Golden Seedlings) that get their own special item drops, but most drops are keyed to specific encounters rather than enemies.

Explopyro posted:

24 - Oh no! WASPS!! (Recommended listening!)
I love unconventional time signatures.
Bug fact: Unlike ants, not all wasps form colonies, and indeed we'll eventually meet a variety of wasps in Bug Fables that aren't part of any hierarchy.
The wasps we're fighting here, however, are yellowjackets, and those are social, so it makes sense that they'd have a monarch.

Explopyro posted:

The cave exit is a pipe? Anyway, welcome to Golden Path! This area has a nice autumnal palette (although I don't know why it's autumn here and not in the outskirts) and a lot of new things to see on our way to the Golden Settlement.
It's implied that Venus is keeping this area in perpetual autumn, which is... related to the region's exceptional fertility? Somehow?

Explopyro posted:

Although, interestingly, a character being asleep doesn't stop you from rotating the formation, so at least we can get someone else in front and not waste the damage bonus.
You're allowed to rotate as long as every character has at least 1 action remaining, regardless of whether they are able to use that action.
Being asleep (or knocked out) doesn't take away your action; if you used that Clear Water to wake Kabbu up he could act immediately.

Explopyro posted:

Frigid Coffin is really, really good. It might not be clear yet from the description, but this is one of Leif's best skills and will serve us well throughout the rest of the game.
It's a very cool move.

Explopyro posted:

If you look carefully at the left side of this screenshot, you can barely see a bit of safe ground on the other side of the brambles (as that sign was vaguely hinting). There's no way for us to get there now, or even to see the entrance, but there's a cave over there which we'll want to explore once we can cross safely. Put a pin in this.
You can get a look at the entrance if you drop down from the far side. You can't actually reach it that way, though, it's below an overhang. Trust me, I tried! (I'd have been softlocked if I did make it there, so in hindsight I'm glad I failed...)

Explopyro posted:

So tall...
Hm. I imagine you're not used to that feeling, Leif?
We've got to admit we aren't. Not to this magnitude.
I can relate to Leif here.

Explopyro posted:

The merchant caravan are here too! Cricketly and Huscada don't have anything new to say. It looks like they have something new in stock, though, replacing the Burly Berry they usually stock.
I like these guys, but their names sound like Pokémon.

Explopyro posted:

Whenever we see Diana, she'll offer to open up shortcuts back to the Ant Mines, but we have to payfeed her.
You can also ignore her and the shortcut opens automatically after you clear the chapter. Y'know, if you're a cheapskate.

Explopyro posted:

Oh dear, it's not too smart.
Leif is the best.

Qrr
Aug 14, 2015




Note for the shortcut to the ant kingdom, I believe you could have just waited and saved the 15 berries because they open up with plot progression. Cash just gets it open earlier.

Alxprit
Feb 7, 2015

A lady after my own Soul-Heart.

Feed the big bug, imo.

Explopyro
Mar 18, 2018




berryjon posted:

Well, this just confirms that the 'camera' is in the south. But he's making references to the directions on the playing field...

Tanjerin is basically given form, honestly.

Alien Arcana posted:

That's correct. There are a few enemy types (such as Golden Seedlings) that get their own special item drops, but most drops are keyed to specific encounters rather than enemies.

Good to have confirmation of this, thanks. I'm pretty sure I've seen a spreadsheet of all the formations and their drops somewhere, but I lost track of it, and thought that information was probably too arcane to be worth digging into in the LP anyway. One of the nice things in this game is that enemy drops are never actually required for anything, and every item obtained that way can be bought somewhere, so the drops tend to be a pleasant surprise rather than encouraging the player to grind for stuff.

Alien Arcana posted:

Bug fact: Unlike ants, not all wasps form colonies, and indeed we'll eventually meet a variety of wasps in Bug Fables that aren't part of any hierarchy.
The wasps we're fighting here, however, are yellowjackets, and those are social, so it makes sense that they'd have a monarch.

Sorry if it was insufficiently clear, what I was trying to draw attention to is that they have a male monarch, which isn't usually a thing in social insects. (I know some species of termite do have kings in addition to queens, and that will come up later in the game, but I don't know of any social insects with a male alone at the top of the hierarchy.)

Also, we've already met at least one independent wasp, in Zasp (although we haven't seen much of him yet); there will definitely be more.

Alien Arcana posted:

It's implied that Venus is keeping this area in perpetual autumn, which is... related to the region's exceptional fertility? Somehow?

I suppose this is fair (although yeah, the fertility thing is a stretch, I think it's probably just going for the vague association of "autumn is harvest season"). I won't complain about any half-decent excuse for environmental variety in a game.

Alien Arcana posted:

You're allowed to rotate as long as every character has at least 1 action remaining, regardless of whether they are able to use that action.
Being asleep (or knocked out) doesn't take away your action; if you used that Clear Water to wake Kabbu up he could act immediately.

Thanks for making this more explicit, I was trying to get at this in the post but clearly I didn't explain it well enough.

I usually don't use status cure items much anyway, but in this particular case, I deliberately left Kabbu asleep because I wanted to show how the healing works.

Alien Arcana posted:

You can get a look at the entrance if you drop down from the far side. You can't actually reach it that way, though, it's below an overhang. Trust me, I tried! (I'd have been softlocked if I did make it there, so in hindsight I'm glad I failed...)

Yeah, it would not go well to end up there now, so I'm glad they had the foresight to put the overhang there. (Although honestly, I think the better solution would have just been to give out the Ant Compass earlier, because that would invalidate the possible softlock, and I'm sure some people might have appreciated the challenge of attempting that area early.)

Alien Arcana posted:

I like these guys, but their names sound like Pokémon.

You know, they really do. (Incidentally, I actually have a Bug Fables themed Pokemon team. I'll be doing a bonus update about that at some point, although I haven't quite figured out when yet. Those two didn't make the cut for it, though.)

Alien Arcana posted:

You can also ignore her and the shortcut opens automatically after you clear the chapter. Y'know, if you're a cheapskate.

Qrr posted:

Note for the shortcut to the ant kingdom, I believe you could have just waited and saved the 15 berries because they open up with plot progression. Cash just gets it open earlier.

Alxprit posted:

Feed the big bug, imo.

I don't think I knew the shortcuts would eventually open up naturally (except for the Metal Island one which opens under other specific conditions), I've always paid her as soon as they become available. This is good to know, although it's certainly not going to change my approach, berries are plentiful and the shortcuts are usually helpful enough that I don't think it's worth waiting. Also, if you wait, you don't get to see Diana's excellent animations

Quantum Toast
Feb 13, 2012



berryjon posted:

Well, this just confirms that the 'camera' is in the south. But he's making references to the directions on the playing field...
Well, it confirms that he thinks west is left, anyway.

Twelve by Pies
May 4, 2012

Again a very likpatous story


I'm glad we've finally met the best character, Tanjerin.

Explopyro posted:

Incidentally, I actually have a Bug Fables themed Pokemon team.

Seems like it'd be pretty simple to get a full team with that, unlike my Kamen Rider Kabuto team which actually fits the show really well (hell, Heracross/Pinsir/Yanmega's shiny forms are almost spot on for the Rider colors) with the exception of there not being any grasshopper themed Pokemon to represent Punch/Kick Hopper, and of course Kricketune can't learn any punch or kick moves. So I ended up using a Scoliopede to represent Worms. Not the best solution but the only one I had.

quote:

I don't think I knew the shortcuts would eventually open up naturally

The dialog does more or less tell you that it will with Vi saying "We can just come back later and it'll be done" but I always pay right away too, so I'm glad to see confirmation that you can just wait and save the berries.

Quackles
Aug 11, 2018

Pixels of Light.


Twelve by Pies posted:

I'm glad we've finally met the best character, Tanjerin.

Ha, I get the feeling we'll be seeing a lot more of him at some point.

Explopyro
Mar 18, 2018




10: Golden Settlement

26 - Golden Lands



Last time, we traversed Golden Path and arrived in the Golden Settlement. It's time to explore a new town.

(Before that, I'd like to issue a minor correction. Several people in the thread informed me that if you choose not to pay Diana to open shortcuts, they will eventually open up for free, usually at the end of the chapter. I never knew this, because I've never done that. I still generally think it's worth getting them ASAP, and you get to see Diana's animations that way, but this is good to know.)



As we approach the stage in the centre, we can see a character with ! over their head, as well as Levi and Celia. Seems important. As soon as we get close enough, it starts a cutscene conversation.



The way to the hills is sacred. I will not sully it for any reason.
Please, won't you reconsider? The wasps could beat us to the punch!
They tried. They failed. I will not waver in my conviction.
They... failed?
I dealt with them, yes.
Ngh. As rushed as we may be, if there's no danger, I don't think we'll manage to skip the festivities.
Bummer. Guess we'll have to relax, for once!



Not sooner, not later. You must wait.
That's that, huh...
You heard her! Relaxing is the mission!
...
That goes double for you, Leif. Let's check this place out!
Alright, alright.
The main event starts at nighttime. Let's talk to Aria when we're ready.

After this, we regain control. We're free to explore the town as much as we like, until we come back and tell Aria we're ready to proceed with the plot, at which point we'll be forced to stay in the Golden Settlement until we're done with the festival.



Like so. We're not going to do this yet, though. (FYI, anyone playing along: if you do choose to start the festival right away, all you're going to miss out on is dialogue, and I'll be showing all of that in this update.)



We have little choice but to wait. I will be glad to relax with you, comrades.



Levi and Celia have a bit to say, though mostly it's just to reinforce the structure of this chapter. The artifact is somewhere in the Golden Hills, but we won't be permitted to pass until after the festival ends.

There are also new banters for each of them:

We really owe Celia. She was a big help against the wasps.
Eh, they weren't that tough. We woulda been fine!
That's easy to say, when they did half the work...

This is interesting, in that it's completely true in game mechanics also. Fighting two Wasp Troopers at once would have been really hard with our current stats, but definitely not impossible. (Also, we know what it's like to fight Wasp Troopers, which should probably give us some indication of Aria's combat abilities...)

Levi is formidable. I do have a question, though.



Isn't that just because of Celia? She's probably keeping an eye on him.
They seem to be friends. You believe she's merely the Queen's informant?
We have no way to know, unless we ask them.

The ladybug exile is still a bit mysterious, but it's nice to see the acknowledgment that it does affect characters we know. We can't actually ask for more information, though.

We can also talk about Aria:



Well, of all places, the Golden Settlement worships a very specific Goddess.
And it's worked out pretty good for them!
Indeed. It's not too uncommon to see devout followers around.
Every place has a different culture, huh.

One of the game's better subtle details is that Aria, the priestess, is a praying mantis. You won't find me complaining about puns, especially when they're that well-placed. (Also, is it really a pun when that very parallel is the reason the insect was named that?)



To the south, under this overhang, we can meet this mosquito.

Heyyyy! You look... thirsty.
You wouldn't care for some sweet Berry Juice, made right here in the Golden Settlement?



This isn't an awful price (though one more berry than we saw at the pier), but I don't need any right now.

Aww. Alrighty. Come back when you need to quench your throats...

She'll always be here selling these, we can come back whenever if we want some. Also, of course, there's a banter:

Hey, guys...
What?
How do you think she walks? That looks heavy...
Vi! There are things you must never ask!!!

Vi asking the hard questions. (Although, of course, we also have to wonder: what, exactly, was she drinking to get this full? Do big mammals still exist in this world, or do mosquitoes subsist on things like fruit juice now?)



We have a few open-air buildings to investigate on the eastern side of town.



On the left, we have a shop. Amber's in here too, if we need to access our storage.

Miss Amber's come to the festival too!
She's from the Storage Service... Pretty sure she's here for work.
That sucks, having to work on the festival...
Let's make sure to honor her sacrifice by making good use of the service.

This banter is new, but her dialogue is unchanged if we talk to her.



I'll give her this Numbnail Dart, I don't particularly want these clogging up my inventory.



The shopkeeper over here is a bit interesting.

(We're here to buy)

That's easy! Just stand near whatever you want and press (A)!
That way I can prepare the item for your purchase.

(We've come to sell)

...Sorry, I am not interested in buying stuff. If I were to, I'd go out of business!
Please consider purchasing something instead! Check out what I have to offer over on the shelf!

Unlike the other shops we've been to, this person isn't interested in buying from us. This isn't a joke, we can't sell items here. I'm not sure why it's set up like this, and it's a bit annoying (although I guess the caravan is just outside town so we don't have to go that far to sell things, Huscada is still perfectly willing to buy from us). In fact, if we check the banter, our party will explicitly suggest that:

Ugh. This guy.
What's wrong with him?
He won't buy out stuff! It's beyond rude!
Vi, you DO know the shopkeepers have no obligation to buy our items, right?
This is a plentiful area, they are probably overstocked more than anything else...
Whatever. I'll go sell to the caravan. They know a good deal when they see it!
(Poor caravan...)

Anyway, let's see what's on offer.

Hard Seed (3 berries)
Clear Water (3 berries)
Honey Drop (4 berries)
Aphid Dew (5 berries)
Aphid Egg (2 berries)

This is a nice variety. We can now buy Hard Seeds and Clear Water instead of having to go find them in the wild, and there's even a new item (which is actually exclusive to this shop). They're light on HP-healing items, though. What's the new thing?

Aphid Dew
"Dew from happily raised Aphids. Restores 4 TP and cures sleep."
Sell: 2 berries

This isn't too bad, if you want to carry sleep recovery, though it's a bit lacking in versatility. It's probably of more value as a cooking ingredient.

27 - Kut it Up!



Speaking of cooking, that's what's next door!



As we might expect, Dan can be found where the food is.

It's that gourmet from the plaza...
Yup. Anyways, let's go.
Can't we stay a bit? We wanted to drink some Aphid Dew together...
Leif, you've made friends without us noticing!
I'm... I'm so proud!
"Friends" may be a bit too strong a word...

This is cute. And also kind of cheeky of the devs: of course it happened without us noticing, we couldn't see any dialogue to that effect in the game!





Kut is the local chef. He can cook items for us, just like Fry. Let's have a demonstration:



Not apparent from these screenshots is how fast-moving his menu text is; he's very eager to show off his skills! I like this as a character thing but it can be annoying: it's very easy to misclick with Kut so always check here and make sure you gave him the right things.

Witness it! A life of skill and mastery put to use!



Here. You've never tasted a dish of this caliber, I'm sure.



Come again, when you're ready for more high cuisine.

So, yeah, this is how you actually make Berry Juice. You can also use a Spicy Berry or Burly Berry instead of a Hard Seed, but the Hard Seed is a lot cheaper so that's definitely the way to go.

There's also a banter about Kut:

Kut is quite the skilled chef...
But his attitude sucks!
Normally we'd avoid him out of principle, but...
His food is actually a grade higher than Fry's.
I'm inclined to agree, regrettably...
Eh. You know how it is. If you're really good, you can act however you want!
Let's make sure to get some good festival food, at least...

The items we get are identical, for better or worse. I guess the taste isn't reflected in their effectiveness.

There are actually some minor differences between chefs, but we won't learn about those for a while yet. Right now, they can be safely ignored, any recipe we've learned can be cooked by either Fry or Kut for identical results.

This seems like a good time to go over some new recipes, we've discovered a few more ingredients (Hard Seed, Clear Water, Aphid Dew) since our last cooking roundup:

Sweet Dew (19)
"This incredibly sweet drink will keep you up all night! Restores 9 TP and cures sleep."
Sell: 10 berries
Made by combining and

Plain Tea (44)
"Simple tea made from plain leaves. Restores 4 HP to an ally and cures any status effect."
Sell: 5 berries
Made by combining and

Spicy Tea (45)
"This volcanic spicy tea boosts an ally's attack for 2 turns, and cures their status effects."
Sell: 13 berries
Made by combining and

Burly Tea (46)
"This doctor-approved super tea cures an ally's status effects and boosts their defense for 2 turns."
Sell: 13 berries
Made by combining and

Aphid Shake (47)
"This super nutritious savoury shake raises an ally's attack and defense for 1 turn!"
Sell: 7 berries
Made by combining and

We have a few new options for recovery and buff items, thanks to the new ingredients we've been finding. Sweet Dew is the best option for TP recovery right now (as well as curing sleep), it's less cost effective than Glazed Honey but still a nice item. The various kinds of tea give an additional effect on top of curing status, and Aphid Shake is a cheaper alternative to Berry Jam if you only need the bonus for one turn.

Spicy Bomb (55)
"This bomb is very unstable! Toss it at enemies to cause some big damage!"
Causes 5 damage (ignoring all defence) to the targeted enemy
Causes 3 damage to other enemies in blast radius
Sell: 10 berries
Made by combining and

Burly Bomb (56)
"Somehow, cooking this berry reversed its effects! Toss it at enemies to lower their defense."
Causes 4 damage to the targeted enemy and inflicts defence down (2 turns)
Causes 2 damage to other enemies in blast radius and inflicts defence down (3 turns)
Sell: 10 berries
Made by combining and

Poison Bomb (57)
"This bomb has been infused with dangerous toxins. Toss it at enemies to poison them!"
Causes 5 damage to the targeted enemy
Causes 3 damage to other enemies in blast radius
Inflicts poison (2 turns) on enemies hit
Sell: 14 berries
Made by combining or and or

Sleep Bomb (58)
"This bomb's infused with Numbnail sedatives! Toss it at enemies to make them sleepy!"
Causes 5 damage to the targeted enemy
Causes 3 damage to other enemies in blast radius
Inflicts sleep (2 turns) on enemies hit
Sell: 14 berries
Made by combining or and

Clear Bomb (61)
"This harmless bomb clears out ALL status effects from everyone in battle."
When it says everyone, it means it (allies and enemies).
Sell: 10 berries
Made by combining with any bomb

Hard Seeds, combined with various things, let us make explosives! These bombs are a lot more effective than the battle items we've seen so far: they do respectable damage and can even hit multiple enemies if aimed well (the radius is comparable to Icefall, centred on the targeted enemy), and they can be used to apply various negative statuses too. They're pretty neat.



The documentation I had on Burly Bombs seemed a bit weird, so I went and did some testing to verify it. They do 1 less damage than the other bombs, but apply defence down status to anything they hit, which can really come in handy against bosses and such.



For some reason, though, it lasts a turn longer on the auxiliary targets (this is what I wanted to verify; previously I think I'd only ever used these against single targets).



I also found an interesting quirk with the targeting. You can't throw a bomb at an underground enemy, but if you target another enemy and catch it within the radius, it will be hit and forced to surface.

I'll be showing off bombs in action soon enough (though probably not for several updates yet). These are a lot better than they might look at first, and can be a cornerstone of strategy for low-level runs among other things.



That was a nice interlude, but let's head east now.



Looks like a nice little residential area.

So bugs do live here! I was wondering where they stayed.
Well, it's no Hive. But these are pretty cozy.
I wouldn't mind a longer stay, when we find all the artifacts.

There's a minor general banter here, but nobody has too much to say. I'm honestly a bit surprised Leif's anxiety about not having a home didn't come up.



No problem. Who needs sedatives when you've got ice?

Leif's reaction, while a bit callous toward this kid (how are they going to get ice, exactly?), is probably in line with what most players are thinking. This is also a nice way to hint at the resistances of an enemy we'll be facing soon; we don't know what Chompers are yet.

All moths look so different from each other...
Indeed. Leif, using your wings as a robe is quite unique!
Well, Father did it all the time. We ended up copying him.
I see. Your father must have looked very cool too!
You could start a fad!
Eh. It'd be no fun if everyone did it.

This is a nice banter, though. We get a bit of insight into Leif's background, and also his hipster side.



This butterfly doesn't have much to say right now either.

She's so... beeish.
It's not like she does it on purpose.
Nature loves to play tricks with our eyes. Although it sure enjoys the bee aesthetic.

I don't know if I see it, really? Bee mimics are certainly a thing, but she doesn't really look like one. (Also, I'm pretty sure Vi meant that as a slight on her attitude rather than her appearance, and the others, possibly deliberately, misinterpreted her.)





Inside the metal house, there's a diary we can read. (We're video game heroes, what do you think we're going to do?)

Day X: I am not sure if I believe in this story about Venus... I have always heard of her, but I have never seen her. Maybe this is nothing but superstition, but I feel I must follow my mother's footsteps.

Day XY: What have years of training been for? I still don't believe in Venus, even if the village does. And they say I'll be the next priestess? If I left the hills, maybe I could find a new purpose. Even so, I feel something calling to me from the top of the hills. If nothing there convinces me, I'll take my leave.

Day XXY: I saw her. Venus. She truly does exist! And she is so beautiful... I am not worthy of being her servant, after so many years full of doubt! Mother... As the new priestess, I shall spread the goodwill of Venus to all. I hope one day I feel deserving of having met her.

This is obviously Aria's diary. Seems like she wasn't always so devout.

Let's go back to the main square and see the rest of the town.



Samira's here too!





She offers her usual services. We can also get a new banter about her:

Samira's come to the festival too!
It's inspiring to see her put in the legwork to achieve her goals.
Yeah... Hopefully business will be good during the festival.

Let's check out this building.



41 - Bugaria's Latest Sensation! (Mothiva's Theme)

Some familiar faces in here, as well as some new people. And new music, there seems to be a show on! This is a tavern of some kind, though they also have a quest board set up (we can't check it right now, though, and in fact this particular board won't be available until after the festival ends), and there aren't any refreshments available to us.



She's the worst. I wouldn't take her money at all.
Vi?

Seems like Fuzzo isn't having the best of luck here, I guess not everyone can be as easy a mark as Kabbu.

Hey, it's that merchant that hangs around town!
He travels with the caravan, doesn't he? He seems to be striking a deal...
It's more like he's trying to strike a deal. Really trying.

Heh. I almost feel sorry for him.



Let's go have fun somewhere else.

Vi really, really doesn't want to talk to this bee.

Vi, you seem to have some beef with this bug.
Annoying, arrogant, smug... she's everything I hate about the Bee Kingdom!
You're acting like all bees are like this. What about you?
I'm an exception. End of story!
(Vi...)

She's willing to explain why, at least.



This is all the bartender has to say.

Hmm...
What's up?
I was once told the bartender of this settlement was an energetic mantis lady.
Suffice it to say, this fellow cannot possibly be her.
Who knows, maybe she quit or something...
...Have you all noticed how nosy we get sometimes?

Heh. Thanks, game. I always enjoy this kind of self-aware ribbing from games. (Also, the only players likely to see this dialogue are the ones it actually applies to. If you're skipping any banters, you'll almost certainly skip this one.) That said, I also like this way of dropping in background details (and having the characters occasionally have incorrect or outdated knowledge), it really helps make the world feel more alive.

Let's check out this show.



Oh dear! Mothiva is giving a live concert! Everyone, we mustn't interrupt!
(Those three... Hmph!)

Does she know us specifically, or is she just (quite reasonably) annoyed we walked onto her stage?

Wow... It's Mothiva! She is super popular!
Even I have heard of her from my homeland, it is such an honor to even be near her!
What exactly makes her so special?
She's explorer by day, performer by night!
Mhm. Most bugs struggle being successful, but it comes easily to her.
We'll give her music a try sometime, maybe...

Mothiva's popularity, you may recall, is the reason Samira struggled to find a job.



Someone's hiding backstage over here.



Not very talkative, is he?

Who's hiding behind this bush, though?
S-Shh! He will hear us!

Very mysterious.



That's all for the tavern.



Over here, it looks like there's an elevator up to the second floor. Before that, though...





Sneaky! There's no way to see this Lore Book, it's completely hidden from view. The only hint it's there is the cuttable weed blocking access. (We'll turn this in later when it's more convenient.)



Let's go up.



Unfortunately, we are booked full due to the festival! I apologize for the inconvenience!

This is the inn, but we can't stay right now, which might explain why there's a yellow save crystal in the square.

What a happy innkeeper.
It really makes you want to stay, doesn't it?
It makes me wonder how she's not bored...

I would've guessed she's happy due to the inn being sold out. Then again, the inn has one room, that's not particularly difficult...



There are a couple of ladybugs staying here.

Huh, I didn't know ladybugs could have orange wings.
Yeah, we didn't know bees could be explorers either.
...
...
I-It's a joke, V-
It better be.

Looks like they're still messing with her about this.



Oh, it's nice to see Bub again.
Again?
Well, yes. I ran into him back in the Lost Sands, and we had some nice talks.
Nothing too out of the ordinary, but back then, it was nice to be able to chat.
Well, don't let us stop you from saying hi or anything.
Just don't take TOO long!

I like that our characters clearly had lives before we started controlling them.



Out here on the balcony, we get a prompt to inspect it.



Yeah! It's the best thing about Sunset Inn! Totally worth the price.
It's alright. The Venus statue is really well made, don't you think?
I think it's a bit creepy. It doesn't have a face or anything...
Vi, no one has seen the Goddess Venus. It would be sacrilegious to paint her face!
Say, Kabbu. You're not a worshipper or anything, are you?
Not quite. I just like being well informed of the places I visit.
I bet you went into the palace library to read all about this place, didn't you?
...M-Maybe.
Cute.
Hmph. Let us go back to enjoying the view.

The beetle doth protest too much, methinks.



This is, of course, a discovery.







As per usual, once we have the discovery, we get this on further interactions.

That's the last thing to see in this central area, so let's head west.



It's the farms! It's so cool to see everything first hand!
Indeed. The big tree overlooking it is quite the spectacle too. I didn't take you for an agriculture enthusiast, Vi.
I'm not. But I sure like food... They work hard to make it easy for us!
You okay there, Vi?
What!? Can't I ever be grateful for anything!?

Is that... character development?



We would do it all over again, Neo.

So this is where Neolith went off to!

Vi, Leif... Thank you.
What for?
For helping me protect Neo. I am very glad to see him safe.
Oh, I forgot to ask Neo for a reward!
...
I... I was kidding! Just kidding, okay!?
Heh.



There's a crystal berry visible inside that windmill, but we can't get in yet. That crank over to the left makes the blades move slightly when we interact with it (either with Kabbu's horn or Vi's Beemerang), but nothing we can do right now will make the door even budge. This is one of those moments in games where the player can easily waste time faffing about trying to solve a puzzle, when the real solution requires an ability they don't have yet.



When we talk to this person, the camera zooms out and gives us a nice view of this pen.



The aphids don't fall behind...



That's a discovery too!







I quite like the details they've put into these agricultural practices. There's quite a bit of realism here, too: ants quite often have a mutualistic relationship with aphids, taking care of them in return for sugary excretions they consume. And cochineals, while I don't know of other insects ever doing so, have historically been used by humans to produce red pigments. (As a vegetarian this has caused me no end of trouble, it's still in some foods produced today. Look out for "carmine" on ingredient labels.)

There's also, of course, a banter:

Oh... The aphid farms. It's a joy to be here. This girl has the right idea.
They're really cute, aren't they!? Shame we can't own one.
We could always get an adorable pillbug. Team Snakemouth's mascot!
No.



What's that over to the left?





This guard clearly doesn't want us going any further, nor interacting with her pet.

Hmm. A lone bee, guarding a huge door.
Well, she is not truly alone. That aphid is keeping her good company.
It's truly adorable. Maybe we'll pet it.



Wow. That's a super death glare she gave ya, Leif.
Guess we'll settle for watching from afar.

I'm genuinely curious how they saw her face, considering the big visors the bee guards wear. (The guard's sprite never changed at all.)



This cute aphid... Did it escape the farm?
Heheheh. It seems to be giving this guard some company.
Hmm...
I'm sure it's fine.
We are grateful to be able to see it up close...

Leif's love of cute things seems to be the theme of this area.



It's the last shift before the festival... So we've got to be efficient!

Let's see what our party think.

I don't mean to judge, but is this ant doing anything?
Management must have some value, don't you think?
Standing around all day giving orders? Maybe I should be a manager!
Those poor workers...

Her comments about efficiency fall a bit flat when she's not doing anything, don't they.



It must be rough picking up berries all day...
Ants are extremely strong, are we right?
Indeed. Objects even I would find heavy are quite manageable for them.
Then this job must be like child's play to them.
This went from worst job to best job pretty quick... if you're an ant, at least.

It's a bit insensitive to have this conversation right in front of her, just after she complained about her job, don't you think?



There's another farmer hanging out down here. (Before you ask, no, we can't get any of these berries off the bushes...)

Venus seems to be held in high regard, even by the workers.
There's no real proof of her existence, but the land is prosperous without fail.
Blind faith... It must be nice being able to live so carefree.

That's the last of what there is to see. Let's go back to Aria.



This seems like a good stopping point. Next time: Festival games! Glorious combat!

Explopyro fucked around with this message at 04:19 on Apr 9, 2021

Quackles
Aug 11, 2018

Pixels of Light.


Ooh, will there be a Glitz Pit?

Alien Arcana
Feb 14, 2012

You're related to soup, Admiral.

Explopyro posted:

One of the game's better subtle details is that Aria, the priestess, is a praying mantis.
How did I never notice that. Goddammit.

quote:

Vi asking the hard questions.
Huh. I'd assumed Vi was talking about her giant nose. Isn't that just a cape or something she's wearing?

quote:

This is obviously Aria's diary. Seems like she wasn't always so devout.
It's honestly kinda creepy. "Skeptic suddenly becomes devout worshipper" is usually a sign that something nefarious is afoot. I know what the deal actually is, of course, but that was my reaction in my first playthrough.

quote:

Yeah, we didn't know bees could be explorers either.
Leif continues to be utterly savage.

quote:

This is one of those moments in games where the player can easily waste time faffing about trying to solve a puzzle, when the real solution requires an ability they don't have yet.
Ugh, it's always the worst when that happens. It almost seems like you just need to hit the crank several times in a row, but there's a bug [hah] in the game's engine that makes it really difficult (if you throw the beemerang twice without moving, the second throw will always be directly left or right, regardless of where you threw it the first time). So you can waste a lot of time wondering if what you're trying actually doesn't work, or if you're just having a hard time doing it correctly.

Slaan
Mar 16, 2009

I GAIN POWER FROM EATING PEOPLE, JUST ASSUME I'M ALWAYS VOTING TO EAT PEOPLE





Leif really is the best at zingers, though Kabbu's nerdy straight man is my favorite

Junpei
Oct 4, 2015

REAL TOP DOG SHIT
We Have Unlocked Woke Junpei Mode
Fuck Up Cops 2020
Beloved Forums Poster
Evolved Heightened Level Junpei
Junpei Is Not Ironic And That Is Why He Is Good

Since we're already at capacity with the party members and won't be getting any more, I wonder how we will be getting new field abilities?

FeyerbrandX
Oct 9, 2012



Alien Arcana posted:

How did I never notice that. Goddammit.

I noticed it when she said she dealt with the hornets.

Twelve by Pies
May 4, 2012

Again a very likpatous story


Kabbu being very religious but embarrassed about it, so he keeps making excuses to his teammates, is such a weird and neat character quirk. It's very different from how religious characters are in most games, where they're generally completely unconcerned, actively opposed, or a zealot.

Alien Arcana posted:

It almost seems like you just need to hit the crank several times in a row, but there's a bug [hah] in the game's engine that makes it really difficult (if you throw the beemerang twice without moving, the second throw will always be directly left or right, regardless of where you threw it the first time). So you can waste a lot of time wondering if what you're trying actually doesn't work, or if you're just having a hard time doing it correctly.

The worst is that some of the cranks can be turned by Kabbu's horn attack, which is how I turned a lot of them when I first played the game. Kabbu can turn that crank too, but it doesn't "count" even though you can get it spinning just as fast doing it that way as you can with how you're supposed to do it. It probably would have been better if Kabbu couldn't turn cranks because I was wondering if it was a door opening elsewhere, or something, and eventually I just gave up and looked at a walkthrough. I do wish games were more transparent about whether you're doing a puzzle wrong.

Explopyro
Mar 18, 2018




Quackles posted:

Ooh, will there be a Glitz Pit?

Not quite, sorry to get your hopes up. There's nothing quite equivalent in this game (which is kind of a shame, Grubba's random orders were a fun twist), but there is a moment later on that captures a similar feeling at least.

Alien Arcana posted:

How did I never notice that. Goddammit.

I know, right? It took me a while too, I definitely had to see it pointed out outside the game before I realised. I love this game.

Alien Arcana posted:

Huh. I'd assumed Vi was talking about her giant nose. Isn't that just a cape or something she's wearing?

The nose didn't register to me as unusual, especially in comparison to the other mosquito characters we'll meet later. She's definitely wearing a cape, but under the cape it looks to me like she has a bloated/distended abdomen and I assumed that's what Vi was commenting on. Hard to say for sure, though.

Edit: there's a picture of her whole sprite on the wiki page and you can see the abdomen a lot more clearly without the background.

Alien Arcana posted:

It's honestly kinda creepy. "Skeptic suddenly becomes devout worshipper" is usually a sign that something nefarious is afoot. I know what the deal actually is, of course, but that was my reaction in my first playthrough.

It's interesting, because this didn't register as creepy at all to me, but a lot of people have this reaction. I guess I see it? All the flytraps in the field areas do seem aimed at predisposing people to think there's something sinister going on around here.

To me it just came across as a nice repudiation of what I'll call the "David Eddings skeptic" trope. That guy was always writing characters who, upon being faced with direct evidence of the supernatural, say something like "I'm a skeptic. Therefore I am contractually obligated to disbelieve. Let me come up with an excuse to pretend it doesn't exist." or even "I'm a skeptic. Let me turn my back while you do magic so I can continue to pretend it doesn't exist." He really didn't understand what skepticism was, and it never failed to piss me off. I've honestly come across quite a few writers making this mistake, but he's the ur-example to me.

Twelve by Pies posted:

Kabbu being very religious but embarrassed about it, so he keeps making excuses to his teammates, is such a weird and neat character quirk. It's very different from how religious characters are in most games, where they're generally completely unconcerned, actively opposed, or a zealot.

Yeah, that feels weirdly realistic to me. Although now I find myself wondering whether maybe he recently turned to Venus as a coping mechanism for his survivor's guilt, and is still trying to work out exactly where he stands?

Junpei posted:

Since we're already at capacity with the party members and won't be getting any more, I wonder how we will be getting new field abilities?

We'll be getting a partial answer to this next update.

Alien Arcana posted:

Ugh, it's always the worst when that happens. It almost seems like you just need to hit the crank several times in a row, but there's a bug [hah] in the game's engine that makes it really difficult (if you throw the beemerang twice without moving, the second throw will always be directly left or right, regardless of where you threw it the first time). So you can waste a lot of time wondering if what you're trying actually doesn't work, or if you're just having a hard time doing it correctly.

Twelve by Pies posted:

The worst is that some of the cranks can be turned by Kabbu's horn attack, which is how I turned a lot of them when I first played the game. Kabbu can turn that crank too, but it doesn't "count" even though you can get it spinning just as fast doing it that way as you can with how you're supposed to do it. It probably would have been better if Kabbu couldn't turn cranks because I was wondering if it was a door opening elsewhere, or something, and eventually I just gave up and looked at a walkthrough. I do wish games were more transparent about whether you're doing a puzzle wrong.

Yeah, this is a thing game designers really need to be more diligent about trying to prevent. It's incredibly frustrating, and the player inevitably ends up feeling a bit stupid when they come back and do it the intended way (not to mention the frustration and second-guessing oneself in the moment). Or gives in and looks things up to make sure they weren't missing something obvious, which feels very unsatisfying especially if they've previously been playing blind.

The problem is that, often, it is good game design to present obstacles or puzzles that can't be solved immediately and hint at future capabilities. This is the entire principle the Metroidvania genre runs on, among other things, and putting together "oh, right, this new ability lets me interact with that weird thing I saw five hours ago" can be really satisfying when it works.

I think the real solution is just better signposting and making it more obvious that you can't do it now, especially in a game like this where there aren't that many puzzles of this kind.

Explopyro fucked around with this message at 21:21 on Mar 27, 2021

Junpei
Oct 4, 2015

REAL TOP DOG SHIT
We Have Unlocked Woke Junpei Mode
Fuck Up Cops 2020
Beloved Forums Poster
Evolved Heightened Level Junpei
Junpei Is Not Ironic And That Is Why He Is Good

quote:

"David Eddings skeptic" trope

rbakervv
Apr 1, 2008

For the Emperor!!


I bet that the "incident" that got ladybugs in trouble has to do with the aphid farms. A staple of ladybug diets is aphids. Not the dew or eggs. The aphids themselves. Farmers would get pissed if someone came by and ate all their livestock.

Yapping Eevee
Nov 12, 2011

STAND TOGETHER.
FIGHT WITH HONOR.
RESTORE BALANCE.

Eevees play for free.


Soiled Meat

Explopyro posted:

To me it just came across as a nice repudiation of what I'll call the "David Eddings skeptic" trope. That guy was always writing characters who, upon being faced with direct evidence of the supernatural, say something like "I'm a skeptic. Therefore I am contractually obligated to disbelieve. Let me come up with an excuse to pretend it doesn't exist." or even "I'm a skeptic. Let me turn my back while you do magic so I can continue to pretend it doesn't exist." He really didn't understand what skepticism was, and it never failed to piss me off. I've honestly come across quite a few writers making this mistake, but he's the ur-example to me.
Ah, the Seto Kaiba philosophy. Except he didn't even bother to look away, he just flatly denied magic that occurred in front of his face without giving a reason.

Explopyro
Mar 18, 2018




FYI, I realised I forgot to include a banter in the last update, so I've just gone and edited it in. Here it is for convenience, so you don't have to go reread the entire post:

I posted:

Ugh. This guy.
What's wrong with him?
He won't buy out stuff! It's beyond rude!
Vi, you DO know the shopkeepers have no obligation to buy our items, right?
This is a plentiful area, they are probably overstocked more than anything else...
Whatever. I'll go sell to the caravan. They know a good deal when they see it!
(Poor caravan...)

Next update is in progress, I think I'll probably have it up sometime tomorrow.

rbakervv posted:

I bet that the "incident" that got ladybugs in trouble has to do with the aphid farms. A staple of ladybug diets is aphids. Not the dew or eggs. The aphids themselves. Farmers would get pissed if someone came by and ate all their livestock.

This is definitely plausible. I know we get more of an explanation later, but I genuinely don't remember how much detail it goes into.

Yapping Eevee posted:

Ah, the Seto Kaiba philosophy. Except he didn't even bother to look away, he just flatly denied magic that occurred in front of his face without giving a reason.

This trope seems to be extremely common, doesn't it.

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Explopyro
Mar 18, 2018




Edit: This was the last post on the page. Update was originally here, I'm removing it so it can be first on the next page.

Explopyro fucked around with this message at 05:39 on Mar 31, 2021

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