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This week, Yahtzee reviews The End is Nigh and Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles.

Transcript Edit

You know, in this age of fear-mongering, populous takeover, increasing class divide, and Ed Sheeran cameos in Game of Thrones, a lot of people seem to take comfort in the fact that the mushroom cloud will probably drop soon and burn our eyes out while the radiation agonizingly dissolves our bodies from the inside out. Well, it's a lovely fantasy, millennials, but sadly we're an infuriatingly adaptable bunch, and if nuclear stormfire couldn't save us from the Bay City Rollers, it's not gonna save you from - discreetly Googles current Billboard Top 40 - Imagine Dragons. You're probably just gonna have to tough it out, but in the meantime, there's no harm in a bit of wholesome escapism with Edmund McMillan's new game, The End is Nigh.

Edmund McMillan is a game designer forged in the old 2000's Newgrounds Flash game era when everyone was learning that lack of censorship plus extremely low barrier for entry equals an awful lot of super-violent, poorly drawn cartoon games and animations about poo. McMillan stood out by making such games as Super Meat Boy and The Binding of Isaac, actually quite well-designed super-violent cartoon games about poo. McMillan's hallmarks, besides poo, include high difficulty, a simplistic but highly animated art style mainly centered around squashy blobs of flesh, an obvious enthusiasm for retro games, and a grandiose apocalyptic sort of thing, so The End is Nigh represents all of his squishy blood-leaking poo monsters coming home to roost, so to speak.

It begins as a squashy blob of flesh retro playing video games before realizing he has to step into the grandiose apocalyptic setting to make things highly difficult for himself. The game is a 2D platformer with much of Super Meat Boy about it, except slower-paced and is theoretically open-world as opposed to Super Meat Boy's level-based structure. In practice though, each room is an individual challenge and there's not much point in coming back to each one once you have the bandage- I mean, tumor, so it might as well have been level-based for all it mattered. Well, I suppose you might want to come back if you get off on watching water balloons full of gravy explode, but there are plenty of places where you can enjoy that particular spectacle, such as every square inch of the fucking game!

Hey, look at me, world! I'm about to say that this high difficulty game is too hard! That's right, now you have a whole brain cell dedicated to me saying that and you'll never get it back! Yeah, genius, it's supposed to be hard, but a slower difficulty ramp-up would be nice. Difficulty curve, not difficulty wall, not difficulty overhang slick with eagle jizz.

Feels like every time a new element is introduced, it's demonstrated precisely once and then we're immediately called upon to pixel-perfect footsie-jump off it with the exact timing necessary to miss a gargoyle's deadly swinging bellend piercing by one eighth of an inch. And if that's what you want, then I can recommend The End is Nigh, as well as possibly hiring a therapist to work through your self-destructive urges.

I like hard games, you know that, but The End is Nigh just isn't grabbing me, and I think it's because I don't get a sense that there'll be any reward for putting myself through the trials. I repeatedly pound my testicles with a hammer because I'm trying to save money on a vasectomy, not just for the sake of it. Super Meat Boy had stuff to unlock, a squashy flesh-blob princess to rescue, a dizzying array of secrets, a lively air of fun, and a varied pallette of blood-reds and poo-browns, and End is Nigh just feels like Super Meat Boy with none of any of that. Your only reward is more harder challenges. Fucking hell, at least Sisyphus was getting regular exercise!

In brief, I don't think The End is Nigh has enough going on. I turn on, it goes "Hello, everything has gone to shit. I'm shit, you're shit, the world is shit, why don't you come outside and see how shit it is and will continue to be whatever you do?" And then I turn off the TV news and play The End is Nigh instead which gives a very similar vibe, and I don't feel particularly motivated to stick with it. I'm not saying it needs to promise me chocolate buttons and snuggles under a rainbow, just something other than more opportunities to get remorsely pounded like I'm a turd that's trying to stomp through a shower drain.

Moving on...

I thought I'd better play something from the opposite end of the open-world spectrum as well this week, if only to stave off the voices, and Steam obligingly belched up the rather ungainly titled Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles, an open-world, crafty-explorey, hoarding time-wasty, ooh-nicey-strokey-animals game.

The vibe I was getting from it was Harvest Moon by way of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: build a farm inside a freely explorable sandbox world, and help lots of people who are all perfectly alright, except they're missing five moose scrotums for their husband's sausage factory. Also, the art style reminded me of a Playmobil pirate ship I used to have when I was a kid, especially at the beginning when you're on a pirate ship although thankfully this one didn't have the spring-loaded cannons with the projectiles that get lost in the carpet for the guinea pig to one day choke to death on.

A ship in an intro sequence to a fantasy exploration game is of course an equivalent to a helicopter in the intro to an action game, so naturally it's wrecked for no adequate reason and we're deposited on a beach to start our quest. What was our quest again, Yonder: The Cow Tipper Chronicles? "Uhhhhh... pick up some stuff." Anything else? "Uhhhhh... talk to those guys." I talked to those guys, Yonder, and they told me to pick up some stuff. "Well, there you go then."

I think the key phrase that sums up the Yonder experience is "What the fuck am I supposed to do with this?" It is the final destination for every path that you take.

You explore the island, find a hidden ore vein in a cave, mine it for copper, then you have some copper. What the fuck am I supposed to do with this?

Oh look, a place where I can build a bridge if I bring it twenty sticks, ten vines and a tube of Pritt Stick. It leads me to an island with a treasure chest containing a vajazzling kit. What the fuck am I supposed to do with this?

I think we're supposed to be setting up farms, so we search the land and find the places where farms can be built and build farms on them. What the fuck am I-

"Wait, now we can find a wild cow, wave a Curly-Wurly under its nose and lead it back to the farm to make it your cow."

Okay, what the f-

"Tu-tu-tu-tu-tah. Now find an NPC whose face you particularly don't like and you'd like to go away. Feed it the entire contents of your fridge and they'll go off and run your farm for you. There, you see? Now you got free milk coming out of the farm whenever you want it."

And what the fuck am I supposed do with-

"Look, if you like directions so much, maybe we can get you a fucking kaleidoscope!"

As far as I can tell, Yonder is a game about becoming the island's random crap baron on the offchance that some of the random crap will be required for one of the many fetch quests or crafting recipes, thus resulting in you having even more random crap. You can't even sell the random crap 'cos the shop will only exchange it for different random crap! It's like dealing in fucking Bitcoins!

Honestly though, Yonder's main fault is a failure to commit. Either do the free exploration scavenger hunt or the farming sim because they don't mix well. One is about constantly moving on, and the other sitting in one place, behind a cow, elbow-deep in colon like the sorter at a punctuation factory.

Addenda Edit

  • The end of this video is nigh: Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw
  • Of course not every Newgrounds Flash game is about blood or poo, some of them have tits as well
  • Funny how no one talks about 'I Wanna Be That Guy' anymore
Episodes
2007 - 2010
2007
Q3 The Darkness Demo · Fable: The Lost Chapters · Zero Punctuation (Episode) · Heavenly Sword and Other Stuff · Psychonauts · Console Rundown · BioShock · Tomb Raider: Anniversary · Manhunt · Peggle
Q4 Halo 3 · Tabula Rasa · The Orange Box · Super Paper Mario · Medal of Honor: Airborne · The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass · Clive Barker's Jericho · F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate · Assassin's Creed · Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock · Mass Effect
2008
Q1 Super Mario Galaxy · Silent Hill: Origins · Crysis · The Witcher · Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles · Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare · SimCity Societies · Yahtzee Goes to GDC · Uncharted: Drake's Fortune · Devil May Cry 4 · Burnout: Paradise · Turok · Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
Q2 Army of Two · No More Heroes · Condemned 2: Bloodshot · Super Smash Bros. Brawl · God of War: Chains of Olympus · Mailbag Showdown · Grand Theft Auto IV · Painkiller · The World Ends With You · The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion · Haze · Metal Gear Solid 4
Q3 Webcomics · Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures · Alone in the Dark · Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures · The E3 Trailer Park · Ninja Gaiden II · Prince of Persia Retrospective · Soulcalibur IV · Braid · EVE Online · Too Human · Spore · XBLA Double Bill
Q4 Mercenaries 2: World in Flames · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed · S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky · Silent Hill: Homecoming · Saints Row 2 · Dead Space · Fable II · Fallout 3 · Guitar Hero: World Tour · Mirror's Edge · Left 4 Dead · Sonic Unleashed · The Year in Review - 2008 · Prince of Persia
2009
Q1 Awards for 2008 · Tomb Raider: Underworld · Far Cry 2 · Gears of War 2 · LittleBigPlanet · Thief: The Dark Project · Skate 2 · F.E.A.R. 2 · Spider-Man: Web of Shadows · The House of the Dead: Overkill · 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand · Resident Evil 5
Q2 X-Blades/Halo Wars · Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars · MadWorld · Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X · Siren: Blood Curse · The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena · Valkyria Chronicles · Velvet Assassin · Duke Nukem Forever · Bionic Commando · InFamous · The Second Annual E3 Hype Massacre · Prototype
Q3 The Sims 3 · Ghostbusters: The Video Game · Overlord 2 · Red Faction Guerrilla · Wii Sports Resort · Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood · The Conduit · Silent Hill 2 · 2.5-D Hoedown · Tales of Monkey Island · Wolfenstein · Batman: Arkham Asylum · Beatles Rock Band & Guitar Hero 5 · Darkest of Days
Q4 Scribblenauts · Wet · Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story · Brutal Legend · Washington D.C. · Uncharted 2: Among Thieves · Dragon Age: Origins · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 · Assassin's Creed 2 · Left 4 Dead 2 & New Super Mario Bros. Wii · Demon's Souls · Holiday 2009 · The Saboteur
2010
Q1 Awards for 2009 · Torchlight · Darksiders · Bayonetta · Dark Void · Borderlands · Mass Effect 2 · Dante's Inferno · BioShock 2 · Aliens vs Predator · Heavy Rain · Battlefield: Bad Company 2 · Final Fantasy XIII
Q2 April Fools 2010 · God of War III · Red Steel 2 · Just Cause 2 · Silent Hill: Shattered Memories · Splinter Cell: Conviction · Nier · Dead to Rights: Retribution · Monster Hunter Tri · Alan Wake · Red Dead Redemption · Alpha Protocol · Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands · E3 2010
Q3 No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle · Super Mario Galaxy 2 · Singularity · Crackdown 2 · DeathSpank & Limbo · Shadow of the Colossus · Split Second: Velocity · Transformers: War for Cybertron · Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days · Mafia II · Metroid: Other M · Video Game Voters Network · Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Q4 Halo: Reach · Dead Rising 2 · Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow · Enslaved: Odyssey to the West · Fallout: New Vegas · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II · Call of Duty: Black Ops · IPhone Games · Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood · Splatterhouse · Epic Mickey · Holiday 2010
2011 - 2014
2011
Q1 Top 5 of 2010 · World of Warcraft: Cataclysm · Fable III · Minecraft · A Shadow's Tale · Dead Space 2 · DC Universe Online · MindJack · Two Worlds II · Bulletstorm · Killzone 3 · Kirby's Epic Yarn · Dragon Age II
Q2 Pokémon White · Yakuza 4 · Crysis 2 · Nintendo 3DS · Portal 2 · Castlevania: Symphony of the Night · Mortal Kombat · Brink · L.A. Noire · The Witcher 2 · Hunted: The Demon's Forge · Duke Nukem Forever (for real this time) · InFamous 2
Q3 Alice: Madness Returns · Shadows of the Damned · F.E.A.R. 3 · The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D · Call of Juarez: The Cartel · Bastion and From Dust · Catherine · Red Faction: Armageddon · Deus Ex · Deus Ex: Human Revolution · Driver: San Francisco · Dead Island · Resistance 3
Q4 Gears of War 3 · Hard Reset · Rage · Kinect · Batman: Arkham City · Battlefield 3 · Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 · The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim · Saints Row: The Third · Assassin's Creed: Revelations · The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
2012
Q1 Serious Sam 3: BFE · Top 5 of 2011 · Super Mario 3D Land & Rayman Origins · Sonic Generations · Star Wars: The Old Republic · Amy · Resident Evil: Revelations · Darkness 2 · Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning · NeverDead · Syndicate · Mass Effect 3 · Twisted Metal
Q2 Yakuza: Dead Souls · Ninja Gaiden 3 · Silent Hill: Downpour · Kid Icarus: Uprising · Fez and I Am Alive · Prototype 2 · Risen 2: Dark Waters · Sniper Elite V2 · Diablo 3 · Max Payne 3 · Dragon's Dogma · E3 2012 · Lollipop Chainsaw
Q3 Quantum Conundrum · Spec Ops: The Line · Walking Dead · Inversion · The Amazing Spider-Man · Half-Life · Wreckateer and Deadlight · Steam Roundup · Sleeping Dogs · Darksiders 2 · DayZ · Guild Wars 2
Q4 Borderlands 2 · FIFA 13 · Resident Evil 6 · Dishonored · XCOM: Enemy Unknown · Medal of Honor: Warfighter & Doom 3: BFG Edition · Assassin's Creed 3 · Halo 4 · Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 · Hitman: Absolution · Far Cry 3 · ZombiU
2013
Q1 Top 5 of 2012 · Paper Mario: Sticker Star · Black Knight Sword & Hotline Miami · Anarchy Reigns · DMC: Devil May Cry · The Cave · Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch · Dead Space 3 · Aliens: Colonial Marines · Crysis 3 · Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance · Tomb Raider · SimCity
Q2 The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct · BioShock Infinite · Lego City Undercover · Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon · Injustice: Gods Among Us · Star Trek · Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon · System Shock 2 · Metro: Last Light · Next Gen Buyer's Guide · Fuse · Remember Me · E3 2013
Q3 The Last of Us · Deadpool · Animal Crossing: New Leaf · Ride to Hell: Retribution · Dark · Mario & Luigi: Dream Team · Rise of the Triad · Papers, Please & Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons · Pikmin 3 · The Bureau: XCOM Declassified · Saints Row 4 · Killer is Dead · Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
Q4 Grand Theft Auto V · Lost Planet 3 · Beyond: Two Souls · The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD · Batman: Arkham Origins · Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag · Call of Duty: Ghosts · Exclusives Showdown · Ryse: Son of Rome · Dead Rising 3 · Super Mario 3D World
2014
Q1 Top 5 of 2013 · Knack · Killzone: Shadow Fall · Survival Special · Broken Age · Might & Magic X: Legacy · The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds · Dark Souls · Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII · Strider · Thief · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 · Dark Souls II
Q2 Titanfall · InFamous: Second Son · Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes · The Elder Scrolls Online · South Park: The Stick of Truth · FTL: Faster Than Light · Child of Day-Light · The Amazing Spider-Man 2 · Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure · Wolfenstein: The New Order · WATCH DOGS · E3 2014 · Murdered: Soul Suspect
Q3 Tomodachi Life · Enemy Front & Valiant Hearts: The Great War · Shovel Knight · EarthBound · Transistor · E.T. · Firefall · Sacred 3 · Risen 3: Titan Lords · Daikatana · Lichdom: Battlemage · The Sims 4 · Destiny
Q4 D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die · Hyrule Warriors · Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor · Alien Isolation · The Evil Within · Bayonetta 2 · Sunset Overdrive · Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare · Assassin's Creed: Unity · Far Cry 4 · Dragon Age: Inquisition · Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric · Top 5 Games of 2014
2015 - 2017
2015
Q1 The Talos Principle · Elite: Dangerous · Five Nights at Freddy's and This War of Mine · Lords of the Fallen · Saints Row: Gat out of Hell · Dying Light · Grim Fandango · Evolve · The Order: 1886 · The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D · Resident Evil Revelations 2 · Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number & Ori and the Blind Forest
Q2 Battlefield: Hardline · Bloodborne · Half-Life 2 Update · Axiom Verge & Stealth Inc 2 · Mortal Kombat X · Grand Theft Auto Online · Broken Age: Act 2 · Wolfenstein: The Old Blood · Cyberpunk Double · The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt · Splatoon · Hatred · E3 2015
Q3 Alone in the Dark: Illumination · Batman: Arkham Knight · Yoshi's Woolly World · Cave Story · Godzilla · Rocket League & Tembo the Badass Elephant · King's Quest: A Knight to Remember · Nom Nom Galaxy & Freedom Planet · Everybody's Gone To The Rapture · Volume · Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain · Mad Max · Gears of War Ultimate Edition · Until Dawn
Q4 Super Mario Maker · SOMA · Rock Band 4 · Assassin's Creed Syndicate · Halo 5: Guardians · Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 · Rise of the Tomb Raider · Fallout 4 · Star Wars: Battlefront · Just Cause 3 · Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
2016
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2015 · Devil's Third · Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam · Assassin's Creed Chronicles · Xenoblade Chronicles X · The Witness & Bombshell · Gravity Rush · XCOM 2 · Firewatch & Layers of Fear · Far Cry Primal · Stardew Valley & SUPERHOT · The Division · Salt and Sanctuary
Q2 Republique · Shadow Warrior · Quantum Break · Dark Souls III · Ratchet & Clank · Star Fox Zero · Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door · Uncharted 4: A Thief's End · Doom · Homefront: The Revolution · Overwatch & Battleborn · Mirror's Edge: Catalyst · E3 2016
Q3 Mighty No. 9 · Inside & Shadow of the Beast · The Technomancer · Furi & Song of the Deep · I Am Setsuna · Headlander & Quadrilateral Cowboy · Quake · No Man's Sky · Grow Up · Deus Ex: Mankind Divided · Metroid Prime: Federation Force · The Curious Expedition & Mother Russia Bleeds · ReCore
Q4 Capcom Five · Clustertruck & Lichtspeer · Paper Mario: Color Splash · Mafia III · Gears of War 4 · PlayStation VR · Battlefield 1 · Titanfall 2 vs Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare · Dishonored 2 · WATCH DOGS 2 · Final Fantasy XV · The Last Guardian
2017
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2016 · Let It Die · Dead Rising 4 · Hitman · Gravity Rush 2 · Resident Evil 7 · Yakuza 0 · Nioh · For Honor · Nintendo Switch & Breath of the Wild · Horizon Zero Dawn · Nier Automata · Ghost Recon Wildlands
Q2 Mass Effect Andromeda · Yooka-Laylee · Persona 5 · Remastered Editions · Outlast 2 · Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 · Prey · Wilson's Heart · The Surge · Injustice 2 · Vanquish · E3 2017 · Strafe
Q3 Get Even · Hollow Knight / Dead Cells · Fifth Console Generation · The End is Nigh, and Yonder: Cloud Catcher Chronicles · Pyre · Splatoon 2 · Hellblade · Agents of Mayhem · Sonic Mania · Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle · Destiny 2 · Metroid: Samus Returns
Q4 Knack 2 and SteamWorld Dig 2 · Cuphead · Hob and A Hat in Time

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