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Attack of the Jelly Monster is a game by Antonin Boccara where up to 5 players compete in a race to roll dice to clean up the most goo.

The Attack of the Jelly Monsters box
The Attack of the Jelly Monsters box

Components

The game comes with 5 sets of 7 dice, along with 5 player screens, a round tracker, and a timer. There are 110 tokens; 80 are jelly tokens in units of 1, 5, and 10, and 30 are jelly pod tokens. The main board is made of 3 nested rings, and there are 8 double-sided district boards to attach to them.

The game's components laid out on a wooden table.
The game’s components laid out on a table

Many of the components are small and easy to lose, especially when you’re trying to do everything as fast as possible. There were multiple instances where we had to pause the game because someone lost a die or knocked a token off the table, which took a lot of time to find because they’re so small. If you play this game, do yourself a favor and don’t play next to anything with a small gap under it that would be inconvenient to move, like a cabinet or a couch.

A die and each increment of jelly token are compared to the size of a quarter.
Compared to the size of a quarter
A die compared to the size of a dime. The die is slightly smaller.
Compared to the size of a dime

I actually really like the box. Everything fits in pretty nicely and it feels only as big as it needs to be to fit all of the components. There’s no insert, which means things aren’t super organized and could be a downside for some, but I think it’s fine for this game.

The game's components in the box, with the rulebook off to the side.
The game’s components in the box

How to Play

Players are given a set of seven dice, a player screen, and two jelly tokens. When the round begins, each player simultaneously races to place dice in various districts in an effort to have the highest score and get that district’s reward. First they roll all of their dice, then they select one die to place, then roll all of their dice again. Some dice values allow you to use a special power. If the dice you play has a one or a two, you can move any player’s dice into the city in the center of the board. If it has a three or a four, you can move that district’s tracker slide which changes the reward for winning the round. When a player has placed all of their dice, they can use their player screen to lock down a district so no other player can play dice there. A player who runs out of dice can also flip the timer, so all other players only have 10 seconds to place the rest of their dice. When all players have placed their dice or the timer runs out, the round is over and scoring begins. Scoring for each district is based on the sum of each player’s dice value, while the city district is scored based on the number of dice. Players are awarded jelly accordingly. Then the players rotate the board and start the next round. After four rounds, the game is over and the player with the most jelly wins.

Setup for a four-player game.
Setup for a four-player game

Thoughts

The game isn’t very complex, and it isn’t trying to be. That’s not a bad thing; sometimes you just want a simple game that you can get into quickly without having to explain a lot of rules. However, it ends up kinda falling into this awkward place where it’s a little too complex to be explained quickly but not complex enough to be really engaging. This isn’t gonna win over your older relatives who don’t really get the whole board game thing, but you also can’t play it with younger kids, either. It’s recommended for players 8+. A big draw for rules-lite games is being able to play them with younger relatives who may not be ready for stuff like Dead of Winter or Fury of Dracula.

The theme is paper-thin. This game could just as easily be about holiday shopping or mining without any substantial mechanical changes. The titular jelly monster is not really present in any way, which is disappointing. Because the mechanics are so disconnected from the theme, this game could have actually been about fighting the monster, but instead you’re just a glorified cleanup crew.

The speed aspect is fun. It’s an enjoyable level of chaos, and there’s definitely something thrilling about getting to flip the timer and watch the other players panic.

Verdict

I give this game three out of five cthulhus. It’s not bad, but it’s not very good, either. There are better speed games out there with much stronger themes. You can check it out at the Amazon link below, but remember that we are an Amazon affiliate and if you buy anything from the links provided we will get some $ back.

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

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The Sinking City Review: Sunken Lovecraftian Lore

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The Sinking City is an open world third-person shooter developed by Ukranian developer, Frogwares, and published by Nacon. In this game, you play as a private investigator who has come to the city of Oakmont. In this half-submerged city you hope to find the cause of your maddening dreams and the mass disappearances plaguing the city.

Inspired by several H.P. Lovecraft stories, The Sinking City is a love letter to Lovecraftian lore. However, it takes the time to condone problematic themes in Lovecraft’s writings which is always appreciated. It has a massive open world that lets you explore the haunting world of a city driven partially mad. The neighborhoods are painstakingly designed and the found objects tell an enrapturing story. Riding a motor boat through flooded streets was mesmerizing. I also am fond of the novel detective mechanics. Even if they are a little basic, they are still interesting and tell a good story. 

A screenshot of gameplay from The Sinking City, showcasing a great character model.

I cannot stress enough that I wanted to love The Sinking City. The premise and the atmosphere were everything I wanted from a Lovecraftian horror game. But, the game just fell flat. Frustratingly enough, most of the issues with the game are simple quality of life improvements. I had consistent bugs, performance issues, and visual hiccups that prevented the game from coming into its own. The enthralling environments were tarnished by enemies appearing and disappearing and character animations not functioning properly. While the character models were exquisite, the dialogue was comically tacky, once again ruining the mood. I also wasn’t a fan of the combat, which felt undercooked in its difficulty and stealth mechanics. The Sinking City feels like the alpha release of what could be an amazing game. But in its current state I found it to be semi-unplayable.

That being said, the game has an amazing mod community on Steam. They have created community content to fix a lot of the issues I have with the base game, so I recommend checking that out if you already own the game. I have also heard that the game has better performance on consoles instead of on PC, where I played it. So that may be another avenue for enjoying The Sinking City.

Another unfortunate reason I can’t recommend the game at the moment, is current legal battles against Nacon the publisher. Nacon has been accused by several of its developers, including Frogwares, of pirating their game and uploading it illegally to Steam. The legal battles have yet to be resolved, however, it is unfortunate that these accusations have happened twice now by two independent developers.

Maybe one day we’ll have a good Lovecraftian horror game. But, it is not yet that day. 

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

However, in honor of Frogwares please consider donating to a Ukrainian Relief Fund as they actively fight on the front lines to keep their country safe. Additionally, consider supporting their new game Sherlock Holmes: the Awakened.

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Röki Review: Family & Scandinavian Folklore

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Röki is an adventure puzzle game developed by Polygon Treehouse and published by United Label and CI Games. In the game, you play as Tove, a young girl on a hunt to save her kidnapped brother. She must engage with creatures from Scandinavian folklore as well as her own guilt surrounding the death of her mother in order to save her brother from a grim fate.

This is a game with an immense amount of heart. From the art to the story to the sound design, you can feel the soul and care that went into Röki. And for the most part, it pays off. I invested emotionally into all of the characters as I played. I was also enraptured by the depth of the story and character interactions as the game progressed. The gameplay is similar to that of a point-and-click adventure game, where you collect items and drag them onto environmental objects to solve puzzles. The items and environments were intricate and satisfying to engage with the majority of the time. Especially in the first third of the game, I delighted at uncovering little secrets and talking with the inhabitants of the forest. When the game was rewarding, it really felt rewarding.

A screenshot of gameplay from Röki.

Despite its enchanting nature, the middle third of the game was a definite low point. As a game that took me about 10 hours to play through, about 3 of those hours were exhausting. The puzzles were especially tedious, requiring a significant amount of backtracking and/or convoluted solutions. Instead of feeling rewarded for solving the puzzles, I just felt thankful I could move on. The biggest issue wasn’t the solutions or placement of items, it was the annoyance that I knew exactly what I needed to do but had to spend at least fifteen minutes stuck in unskippable animations to complete it.

Röki is a gorgeous adventure game that immerses you in Scandinavian folklore through a combination of story and puzzles. However, if you don’t have patience for unskippable dialogue or frustrating puzzles you may want to try a different game. Additionally, I find the price of $20 a little high for how frustrating a third of the game is. But I would consider it a must-get for puzzle fans during a sale! Find Röki on Steam here.

3.9 out of 5 stars (3.9 / 5)

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Ring of Pain Review: An Addictive Dungeon Crawler

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Ring of Pain is a rogue-like dungeon crawler developed by Simon Boxer and Twice Different. In the game, you travel through layers of a dungeon collecting loot and killing monsters. Each layer holds a series of cards containing enemies, curses, boons, and exits. As a character, you gain equipment, spells, items, and stat increases that help you defeat your enemies (or just run away better). 

Ring of Pain is a fantastic game. I received it in a charity game bundle, but it had sat untouched in my Steam library for a year. On a whim, I decided to try it out, telling myself I would play an hour or two and then review it. I ended up playing for four hours, only stopping because I had prior engagements. Every time I sat down to write this review, I instead played another couple of hours in Ring of Pain. The point of this story is not my weak will, but instead the highly addictive nature of Ring of Pain.

A screenshot of gameplay from Ring of Pain.

The gameplay had a good mix of strategy and luck, making it rewarding to succeed. There are also many viable strategies to pursue, which means there are many ‘correct’ ways to play the game and still see success. As someone who can get frustrated with rogue-likes, I liked how each run was relatively short but rewarding. This meant that I didn’t feel like I was sinking hours into gameplay that led nowhere. Also worth a mention is the absolutely stunning artwork that masters being atmospheric, creepy, and comical. 

My biggest gripe is that I wish there was more diversity of items. I sometimes felt as if I was just getting the same boring equipment over and over again. That being said, the developers have been consistently adding new content to the game since it released. Therefore, my largest issue is being addressed. 

Ring of Pain is a great game, and I highly recommend it for those who enjoy quick rogue-likes with dungeon-crawling elements. However, try another game if you get frustrated by random generation that could be impossible to surmount. 

Available on Steam for $20, I would say the price point is a little steep for the diversity of content. However, it’s a must-get during a sale!

4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

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