Tag Archives: Today’s Ghost

REVIEW: Caroline’s Important Life Diary

I’m assuming that the story presented in Caroline’s Important Life Diary ($1.00) is meant to be a semi-serious meditation on the life and choices of a young girl trying to fit in, both within her circle of asshole friends (more on that in a bit) and the greater world around her. The title character is that perfect sort of non-descript type (as most of us are / were at that age), lost in the shuffle of faces  and voices and therefore invisible to society. But the actual story— if you want to call it that— is also lost, lost in translation1 and in some of the strangest sequences I’ve ever played in a game. And I’ve played a lot of XBLIGs; I should be immune to the peculiar.

The format is a hybrid mix of visual novel and simple minigames, with a graphical style that looks like it came straight out of the Atari 2600’s back catalog. With a little MS Paint thrown in as well.

Caroline and her friends comprise a unit formed from the initials of their names, the C.O.O.L.2 girls. It’s not known what the other girls in the crew have had to do to keep their street cred, but Caroline specifically has to constantly show her worth to the group. Her story is told both in text and voice-acted… strangely. Given the choice-heavy narrative, text would have more than sufficient. The decision to voice these characters— with some of the most cringe-worthy dialogue imaginable— is baffling and distracting.

Anyway, Caroline has to take part in various activities to earn C.O.O.L. points and keep herself in good standing with the rest of the club. These life events include spitting on random people walking by, dodging lasers on the way to school, and stealing knives from a store after closing time. Yeah, it’s a pretty odd and edgy life Caroline finds herself living. These choices and minigames net you said C.O.O.L. points (or take them away), which help steer the story.

In various scenes, you can yell at the crowd that came to watch your play, talk to your headmaster3 on the way to a party, ignore your friends’ requests to spit4 on any ugly kid, refuse to go along on a late night raid, etc. That being said, it pays the most points to be a jerk. So it would appear that the game wants you to be an asshole in order to be ‘cool’, amass points and win the game, more than make the morally-correct choices. That’s not me advocating one side over the other, just that the game is short enough already (about twenty minutes per playthrough), and being a dick to other people seems to be the surefire way to extend the story.

caroline-screen

Of course, it’s up to you. You don’t get much closure or view towards the future of Caroline’s life, but you are calling the shots in the present. There are multiple endings (how many isn’t exactly clear; I found three) based on your choices and the total number of C.O.O.L. points you’ve accrued by a certain point.

Though why you would want to take part in any of this is beyond me. Caroline’s Important Life Diary is not that important, and isn’t really a diary at all. It’s a bizarre series of scenes and text wrapped up in stranger plot points and bad dialogue, propped up by two or three ‘minigame’-style events that don’t do anything to redeem the rest of it. There’s plenty of indie games out there that do a stellar job at telling personal stories in various formats. Not so here. Caroline’s story probably deserves to be told, but not like this. Not like this5.


  1. To put it another way, the dialogue and story here would be like me trying to be witty and speak the lingo of teenage life… in French. I’m not French, so I’d be lucky if you could understand me, let alone think I was an authority on the subject. You’d probably say ‘Qui est ce connard?‘ 
  2. I love acronyms as much as the next guy, but there is not a single bone in my body that would allow me to form (or be a part of) a group of friends and label ourselves ‘C.O.O.L.’ by using our initials. That would simply be, not cool
  3. The headmaster bit as a whole is weird, and has a strong undercurrent of a predatory relationship. Early in the game, he calls her pretty, then later reveals to Caroline that he is the one who drives her to school each day. Why Caroline never seems to have noticed this before isn’t clear, but it’s not even the worst part. The headmaster tells her this is all because of some ‘deal’ he made with her father to drive her. Which is a little fucked up. For one thing, Caroline has a sketchy father that doesn’t seem to mind handing off his daughter to strange men, and two, Caroline probably needs to steer well clear of her school’s headmaster in the future. 
  4. These girls really like spitting on people. 
  5. Yeah, you’re damn right that’s a Matrix meme, son! 
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REVIEW: Last Stand

As you can no doubt surmise from the screenshots, Ghere Games’ Last Stand ($1.00) is a wave shooter1 featuring the ever so undead, set in a dreary-looking underground bunker populated by yourself— the only ‘living’ resident— and a horde of snazzily-dressed yet oddly-shaped zombies. You can probably guess what happens next, and what your job in this apocalypse is going to entail.

Last Stand - Screen

Following the well-trodden path of Call of Duty‘s formula for dispatching zombies, Last Stand takes place in a series of similar (like really similar, like exactly the same) rooms, walled off by barricades that can only only be felled by the hard-earned cash2 you get from eliminating those undead. The zombies themselves will occasionally drop ammunition and temporary buffs to aid in your quest for money and bunker space, such as double cash, double-sized magazines for your guns, and an insta-kill powerup.

That money can also be used to buy a trio of new weapons beyond your trusty starting pistol; a shotgun, a semi-auto rifle (think sniper), and assault rifle. Your upgraded arsenal comes in handy, as the zombies will get more powerful as the round goes on, requiring multiple shots to finally be put down.

Last Stand - Screen2

And you’ll wish they didn’t. The combat is dull and repetitive, as are the zombies’ damage animations, strangely morphing from walking, to crawling, then back to walking as you shoot them. Add to this a lot of other annoying little issues and glitches, such as getting stuck in doorways between rooms, zombies running in place (oh, and invulnerable to boot!), weird pauses and hiccups in the game, and it all makes for a very unsatisfying experience.

One you’d be keen to avoid. It’s functional (to an extent), but cheaply done, a drag to look at in motion, and even more lifeless3 than one of the developer’s previous, Zombie Hunter IV. Even excusing the use of the undead (which I’m not) and grading it solely as a wave shooter, Last Stand isn’t very competent, or fun. At all.


  1. Sort of. There is no ‘start’ or ‘end’ to the waves; the zombies are just always around. They never leave. 
  2. There’s some good life advice in that: Something standing in your way? Throw money at it, and it will disappear. 
  3. Pun very much intended. Because it’s zombies, haha. Get it? They’re dead. No life! Lifeless! Haha. …Haha…. Ha…. … I’ll stop. 

REVIEW: Sexy Flight

Of all the undesirable scenarios that have occurred due to Flappy Bird‘s existence as a thing1, the worst has to be the multitude of clones, knock-offs, and cheap imitations that the oft-maligned game has spawned. The better versions have expanded on the original idea and / or introduced new mechanics, while the most egregious copycats have used the Flappy Bird formula simply to advance their own nightmare of a concept, or worse, just to make an extra buck and do nothing different at all. XBLIG had its own influx of games looking to capitalize on the idea way back when, and now, in this wondrous, technologically-advanced civilized world of ours, in the year 2016, it doesn’t seem to be over yet. Cue Sexy Flight ($1.00).

Sexy Flight isn’t bad as a Flappy Bird clone, but it’s absolutely unnecessary and more than a little shitty for pushing skin over content. Not that you’d even know what kind of game Sexy Flight is, as the game’s lone screenshot (see above, and below) doesn’t give away much beyond the promise of not-even-nearly-nudity2, and the description mentions only a vague idea of flight. Then again, Snow-Capped Studios loves a good bait-and-switch (cough cough) something something awful awful Snowfall.

Sexy Flight - Screen... again

Something very familiar about this image, like I’ve seen it before.

Much like that game, the girls are meant to be the main attraction. Here, they cycle through as backgrounds as you fap—, sorry, flap away, and your high score is saved for the duration of your play session. You can watch the always-reliable Splazer suffer through the trial in five and ten second increments if you’re really that curious and / or never heard of Flappy Bird.

Which brings us back around to the central point of living in 2016 and still having to do this. What good can be said about Sexy Flight? Well, it’s just a passable Flappy Bird, and at least it’s not Snowfall. That’s not saying much, but it’s all I’ve got, with literally nothing else to redeem it. So save your money, friends. And your dignity. It is 2016, and we should all know better.


  1. For the record, I don’t mind Flappy Bird (or some of its clones). It’s a (potentially) addictive time-waster, a decent distraction when you have a few minutes… or hours. 
  2. Seriously, google ‘sexy flight’. You might find a listing for this review3, but you’re also going to find much more sexier flights than this one. Just make sure to lock your door first. 
  3. The site’s also under ‘tree masturbation’, if you’re so inclined. The strange things I’ve tagged in a post for the sake of XBLIG. 

REVIEW: Ultra Aktion!

Imagine if someone took yours and my beloved Contra, replaced every character and enemy with squares and rectangles, cut the game’s length down to a third, stripped it of most of its alien / 80s dudebro charm, and released it as Ultra Aktion!12 ($1.00). In essence, that’s what you’re getting here.

And much like Contra, there’s not much to Ultra Aktion! other than said dudebro3 shooting. ‘Evil is bad / Kill evil with guns / Save world’ is the game’s entire justification (albeit satirical) for its setup. Not that it needs much of a setup. It’s pure side-scrolling shooting with a solid feel, replete with familiar Contra-esque gun powerups (the ‘spread shot’ is still God, all these years later) and blocky environs that vaguely resemble the style of those retro levels.

You can play though the rather paltry three levels alone, or with up to three others in local co-op, but there’s not much reason to. The whole thing can be completed in less than fifteen minutes, with the levels just looping back around until you run out of lives (the game isn’t that difficult) or just give up and return to the menu. Minus the aforementioned powerups, Ultra Aktion!‘s casual design doesn’t evoke much nostalgia, and plenty of other games have done far better at mimicking what makes Contra work.

Ultra Aktion! - Screen2

So it’s hard to figure who would be interested in Ultra Aktion! The game is honestly and correctly labeled as a ‘short’, which is probably meant to excuse its simpleness and brevity, but that’s not to say it should be forgiven for it. Were the aktion…. ummm, action… onscreen a little more competent or unique, it might not have mattered. As is, Ultra Aktion! is better to listen to for its chippy soundtrack than take part in its terribly uninspired gameplay.


  1. Not sure of the reason for the deliberate misspelling of ‘action’, unless developer Fun Infused Games just prefers the German form of the word…. …. maybe? 
  2. Also, no Konami code? That’s just unfathomable. 
  3. Well, duderectangle, I guess. 

REVIEW: The Sexy Exorcist

Everyone needs a profession. If only for that fact that everyone has bills, and those bills need to be paid, one way or the other. Options for legitimate employment abound. Some work in construction or law enforcement, others are doctors or nurses, some peddle penis pills on the internet1, while still others take up being an amateur exorcist that meets strange women in public bathrooms and pulls the lever of a slot machine over and over (…and over, and over, and over, and even over-er, again). That last profession winds up to be the unhappy sum of The Sexy Exorcist‘s ($1.00) parts.

The Sexy Exorcist - Screen

Does that ‘slot machine’ bit sound familiar to you? It might. Though The Sexy Exorcist is its own game (well, being ‘new’ only by its date of release, I assure you), it’s really just Date The Boss with some additional artwork and a different story. Which isn’t a vote of confidence. Both games share a developer (DUALHAZE) and an island inhabited by one-dimensional characters and gameplay, and both suffer the crushing fate of being nigh unplayable and nauseating if playing it in anything more than five minute increments2.

You see, just like that game, The Sexy Exorcist is a series of ‘buy / trade for items’ quests, with said items being required to progress. You accomplish this by befriending the local populace (i.e., girls) and finding out what their interests are via the game’s built-in social site, Douchebook3. The hook is that you’re perpetually broke and uncool, requiring you to constantly earn more cash to impress your new lady friends and meet inane mission objectives.

The Sexy Exorcist - Screen2

This is where that infernal slot machine comes in, as gambling and leaving it all to chance is your best bet4 for making money to buy those increasingly-expensive gifts (oh, you can also ‘guess’ which card a fortune teller is holding up, which is equally ‘bleh’). If continuously mashing a button sounds fun to you, trust me, it’s not. From there, it’s basically on repeat, with only a few diversions along the way, each section culminating in an interrogation / questionnaire by a possessed girl, one which happens to be your only client. Fail to answer her correctly three times (only the very last question is timed, so feel free to cheat), and you’ll have to start the whole thing over again. Oh, cruel fate, what have I done to deserve this?

Unfortunately (and not at all surprising), the entirety of The Sexy Exorcist is a monotonous waste of time, a lever-pulling nightmare that you should most definitely miss out on. Bad gameplay ideas are easy enough to come by, but reusing those bad ideas and dressing them up in a different outfit? That’s just unforgivable.


  1. And I swear it’s not me! The very first email you receive in-game is from a guy named ‘Tim’, a poor soul suffering from ‘size’ issues. Could be coincidence, or it could be the developer’s subtle way of paying me back for slamming his previous games. Can’t say I don’t deserve it. Karma is a bitch. 
  2. Sadly (in this case), XBLIG trial demos last for eight minutes. 
  3. Okay, not gonna lie; that one’s kinda funny. 
  4. Forgive the pun. It was too easy.