In the spirit of this being the second entry in my new ACTUAL Impressions series, I am featuring three games that are the second in their respective series. This was actually a coincidence, but a pretty neat one at that. Additionally, these are all sequels to games I have never played, so I have no prior knowledge on any of them. Again, these are games that are either unfinished or that I simply did not want to cover for my ACTUAL Review series.
Train Valley 2
Train Valley 2 is a fun little tycoon-style puzzle game that is currently only available as an Early Access title. According to the store page, the only thing preventing the game from being a full release is the addition of the last forty levels, a level editor, two more locomotive types, and modding support. The core gameplay mechanics and such are all there and I had no technical issues during my time with the game. I had actually expected more of a tycoon game, but this is more of a puzzle title than anything.
Each level has the player laying tracks and running trains to and from different areas, transporting people and materials in order to complete the different objectives assigned by however many cities are in the level. The game progressively gets more complex with each level, enough so that I was barely managing to get one star (out of five) on some of the later levels I played. Timeliness (or rather, efficiency) is key to getting all five stars in each level, something that I definitely need to work on this game.
The gameplay itself is fun though and can be quite challenging at times, especially when there are three or four trains running around and the player is having to constantly change the track switches. It can be played slow and methodically at 1x speed, but can also be sped up to 4x, which is immensely helpful considering that a lot of the early levels require a bit of waiting for materials to move around.
I do have a minor complaint though. I wish that the game started each level paused, rather than at 1x speed so that I would have some time to process what needed to be done before getting into it. The game e 1x speed. As it stands, I have to pause the game at the start of each level. A minor annoyance, but it really is something that should at least be configurable.
The game is expected to be in Early Access for a year, which does seem like a lot given that the bulk of what needs to be added is just forty levels, but even in its current state, the game is quite fun and easily earns my recommendation.
Shoppe Keep 2
This Early Access game has the player managing a shop in a fantasy village, selling all sorts of goodies to residents and visitors. Within the first hour I had set up a shop to sell apples, bottled water, red bandanas, and wooden shoes. Quite the variety of items to kick off the grand opening of Cub Emporium.
Anyways, the game is fun to play, but is heavily reliant on grinding in order to get anywhere. The player must constantly purchase new stock, restock the shelves, adjust prices, and pay taxes. I am not too far into the game, so I do not have access to the automation tools unlocked later on in the form of helper bots. I wish that these were available earlier, as it is a pain to constantly repeat the same actions.
As the game progresses, different vendors (such as the cook and blacksmith) are able to be purchased using the town’s tax money, allowing the player access to a wider variety of stock for his/her store. Additionally, with the introduction of these vendors, the game also introduces different gameplay mechanics. For example, when the blacksmith makes his way to the village, the player is able to begin hunting outside the village, even given a bow to do so. This allows the collecting of material without having to purchase it.
Outside of that, the game does have a skill tree, which is a pretty nice feature to have, but I feel that more skills should be added there. Maybe this is where some form of automation could be added, such as a skill to automatically purchase an item for restocking if a customer buys that item. Perhaps I am just lazy (or perhaps I have just played to much modded Minecraft), but the lack of automation until late game is definitely my least favorite aspect of the game. It also does not help that the late game automation is apparently buggy (having been disabled in a recent patch).
For an Early Access title, Shoppe Keep 2 is off to a decent start. I did not run into any bugs or technical issues outside of clipping through a door once, but even that is just a minor bug. The amount of content is there, it just takes a lot of grinding to get to it. As such, I would only recommend the game to those that can deal with such grindy content.
Acceleration of SUGURI 2
Acceleration of Suguri 2 takes the classic shoot ’em up formula and somehow transitions that entire genre to fit the format of a 1v1 duel. It brings with it all that one would expect from a shoot ’em up game, such as the classic “not being able to see anything because there is so much on-screen” feature. That is not a bad thing though, as there is definitely a crowd that enjoys that aspect.
Let me just say that I am not good at these types of games. I had to restart this game’s story mode and lower the difficulty from normal to beginner just to pass the first fight. I did end up beating the game’s short story mode, but even then, a couple of the battles were quite close.
Even so, I really enjoyed how the game combined ranged and melee attacks and allowed transitioning between the two seamlessly. I would dash in to do a melee combo, then dash out to unleash my ultimate laser attack. It was quite satisfying, even if I missed the ultimate laser attack half the time. It was also quite cool seeing the different abilities of each character, some having rather basic lasers and such, while others having some absolutely bizarre attacks that required me to change up my play style.
There are a variety of modes to take advantage of as well, the story is just a small sliver of the game. The different modes are reminiscent of a fighting game (which I guess Acceleration of Suguri 2 technically is), including arcade, local match, online, and training. As for the online, I cannot speak for it as I would have gotten stomped every single match had I tried, but at least the option is there.
Overall, Acceleration of Suguri 2 is a pretty cool shoot ’em up game. It is definitely for a more niche audience, but the concept is so unique that I imagine it could appeal to those outside that audience too. I do recommend the title, but more so for those experienced in these types of games, as the difficulty can be daunting for those that are not, like myself.
I was provided free review copies of the games featured here. Read more about how I do my game reviews/impressions here.