BenNoddy's Blog (6 followers)

Nov
09
Top/Least Horrible Ratalaika GamesPermalink
Since I played a fuckton of Ratalaika Games during the GTTSC, I thought a write up on the least horrible ones that would be fun in case someone’s looking to keep a streak going or get an easy platinum just for funsies.

To start, I would like to say that I’m currently not bothered by Ratalaika as a publisher. While I have no solid proof, I like to think they give some garage developers a platform to put their games out there with some easy trophy lists using trophy hunters as a means to get their games noticed. This will hopefully help them build a portfolio to be able to apply to some bigger studios to help keep the gaming industry going. Overall, not a bad plan as it does keep them in business as a publisher too, with so many different devs going through them.

Contrarily, worst case is they barely pay the devs and are just using trophy hunters as a way to make a lot of money real fast before publishing the next game. This would be horrible.

I’d also like to comment on a statement I saw that compared them to EA’s money-making schemes. I find it different, because EA uses a scheme that has players use real money to buy in game currency and then gamble with that currency to try and get better items, cosmetic items, rare/legendary/etc items. Ratalaika guarantees actual gameplay for much cheaper and the possibility of a platinum. While the cost of the game makes it seem like a microtransaction, to me, it’s not quite the same as one. You’re still playing (up to) 6 games for approximately $30 whereas $30 spent on an EA microstransaction provides no further extensive gameplay and is, more or less, only used to make gameplay easier, give you a cosmetic change you want, or to show off how lucky you got in the random loot boxes.

Anyway, soapbox done, onto the list, in no particular order because I’m on my iPad and doing copy/paste to get them in the order of best to worst that I could do is not aligning with the laziness I’m feeling right now.

1. Gravity Duck/Hoggy2
Let’s start with a critical favorite smile. The game play is easy and the levels are short, making them the fast platinums they are, but gravity changing platformer is not a bad genre. I actually looked forward to playing these two games six times each because of the genre. Playing beyond the platinum is really fun and I wish the trophy lists pushed beyond the point needed to get platinum.

2. Deep Space Rush
I WISH this game had more trophies. Such an easy and simple concept, I did play this one beyond platinum just to see how far I could actually get before death (pretty far, tbh)

3. Heroes Trials
Very much a low-rent version of the Nintendo DS Legend of Zelda games - Phantom Hourglass or Spirit Tracks specifically. Using a guide, it only takes about an hour to platinum, but it’s definitely an enjoyable one thanks to some easy to pick up gameplay. Only the time limits for the trials were weird (again, use a guide and they’re not a problem) and the aiming for the ranged attack is REALLY off, but once you’re accustomed to it, it’s workable to get through the game. The most mediocre game on the list, for sure.

4. Devious Dungeon (1 and 2)
If you’re only going to play one Ratalaika game EVER, make it this one! I LOVE this game. A short-ish rogue lite platformer that can be completed in 2-4 hours (for the first game), and I really can’t speak highly enough of this. Probably the most polished game of the bunch and the most fun. If you found Rogue Legacy too difficult, try this one instead. It’s pretty chill and a good game to relax with while providing enough of a challenge to not be boring. Devious Dungeon 2 also increases the difficulty so don’t worry if you find the first one too easy; the devs listened to the feedback smile and I hope there’s more in this series.

5. Daggerhood
Another game that I wish had a longer trophy list. A great platformer with a fun little concept and really well thought out levels that tests your platforming and timing skills without pushing you to the point of madness.

6. I and Me
Cute cats and challenging puzzles. Do you need anything else? laugh Sometimes challenging to the point of maddening, but only due to the challenge of the puzzles. The gameplay is smooth and easy to learn, but difficult to master. Earning this platinum gave me a good sense of pride for conquering the challenges this game presented. I look forward to doing more of the trophy lists for this game, having only completed one list for the GTTSC. The time it takes to earn the platinum wasn’t good for the faster demands of the GTTSC.

I’m sure there might be other games out there I could include, but I didn’t play EVERY Ratalaika game. Before I purchased any Ratalaika stack, I would look up a walkthrough to see if I’d even ENJOY the game and there are many I never even bothered buying because they just didn’t look fun.

Being someone that likes to boost my PSN level and earn a lot of trophies, these games were better suited and were a lot of fun for me and my gaming style. If you prefer higher ratio trophies and greater challenges that align more to that style of gameplay, these definitely aren’t for you. My hope is to at least put some of these into a light where they can be appreciated. I’m not sure who was in charge of the trophy lists, but a little more thought and care in creating the trophy lists would have made them more challenging and gamers would get more bang for their buck. Basically, the fast platinums are more a result of a lazy trophy list making - aside from Gravity Duck/Hoggy2. Even with longer trophy lists, I think they’d still be hour plats, but at least fun journeys to platinum.

If you’re looking for the most bang for your buck with these games, I recommend I and Me and Devious Dungeon 1 and 2 as all of those lists require you to complete the game 100% to earn the platinum and are both really fun challenges to work through.

Did I miss any? Any I should look up and play post challenge when I feel like getting an easy platinum? Should I do a worst list out of the ones I played?
Posted by BenNoddy on 09 November 19 at 08:56
Slayer1189 Interesting blog topic!

Ratalaika on the whole
First off, allow me to say that I agree with you on Ratalaika as a publisher. In fact, quite a while back I commented my virtually identical viewpoint on a thread on PSNP. Basically, that by leveraging trophy hunters they are getting some game devs a little bit of experience so they may go on to better things. Even if the pay is not great to the devs themselves, it is still better than they would likely get without Ratalaika and gets their games noticed. So I say carry on Ratalaika! toast

In the Ratalaika thread, they were also being compared to Hamster for releasing all the Arcade Archives and ACA Neogeo games which in their opinion 'no one would actually want to pay for a Ratalaika game or pay £5.79 for ancient Neo Geo games and clearly they were also milking trophy hunters and especially achievement hunters where each game was worth 1000GS'.

I pointed out to them that whilst I like trophies and achievements they generally aren't my goal when I am playing a game. For example, I tend to play games to the credits regardless of whether or not it is required for all trophies (Ihave doine this all my life). So, whilst I usually played Ratalaika games on Playstation, I play them beyond the plat requirements which kinda hurts their argument wink

With regards to the ACA Neogeo comment, I pointed out to them that I play them to the credits and that I have bought and played ACA games on Nintendo Switch where there is no incentive for trophies, so how do they explain that?

Ofc, rather than entertain the possiblilty that I was telling the truth and that these games do sell on Switch, I was an undercover shill defending the companies and/or trophy hunting laugh

The EA/AAA microtransaction method
Whilst I agree with you that the EA/AAA method is different to Ratalaika, I do not see a problem with the microtransaction model. Microtransactions allow for higher profits to come from a game without increasing the price and often also allows for more stable employment for the team that work on the game, as microtransactions can also mean live services which keeps a game supported, content being produced and devs in a job, which is great for the workers as well as the fans. smile

Additionally, It even allows certain games to be made free to play, which lowers the barrier to entry, providing high player counts and also letting those without a lot of money and children to have great access to high ended and very heavily funded content.

The only caveat I have is that I have no personal interest in playing PvP games where microtransactions give the player a competitive edge. It's not that I don't think they should exist or that others can play them if they want, but if I am a competitive multiplayer game I want everyone to be evenly matched/have access to the same toolbox dance.

So long as there is no competitive edge I am happy to play any game with microtransactions. If a co-op game has microtransactions that is fine with me as the person who buys them is simply a better equipped teammate against the AI. Likewise. in a single player game I do not care what the microtransactions are as they don't affect anyone else smile.

Your fave Ratalaika games
Out of those 6 you have put, I have only played Devioius Dungeon (which I played on Android, incase you notice that I don't have any trophies!). I found Devious Dungeon really boring, but then again, I really enjoyed Rogue Legacy so this seems TOO watered down.

Other than that I haven't played the other 5, so from your expert ratalaika view I mostly have some of their best ahead of me wink

Personally, Jack & Jill DX and Tetra's Escape were def two of my favourites, plus Tera's Escape certainly isn't super easy. Not hard either but definitely more challenging than most Ratalaika games! shock

Obviously they aren't great games, but I had fun with them for what they were. I am not a fan of Gravity Guy or VVVVV so I probably won't like Gravity Duck, but Deep Space Rush looks passable laugh
Posted by Slayer1189 on 09 Nov at 11:17
BenNoddy In a VERY unexpected twist, I have my posts set up to tweet out, and Ratalaika games read my blog and replied shock.

For clarification, for which they provided proof (and some of the devs replied reconfirming this - again, shock ), they don’t make more than the devs and really help small games or smaller devs get their material out there, so good for them. I like them even more now and I look forward to the next game I earn all 6 stacks.

RE: Microtransactions - I agree. I don’t fully see a problem with them and have purchased some myself. I FULLY agree that they shouldn’t give people a competitive edge in a PvP game. For example, I do like the AC model of using them to reveal collectibles on the map. For people that aren’t collectible whores and don’t need to have all the things, it makes for a cleaner map to not have those in, but for people like me, an extra $3-5 isn’t breaking the bank to have them revealed.

I forgot about Jack ‘N’ Jill DX, Tetra’s Escape, and Fullblast!

I think Tetra’s Escape and Fullblast would have made this list. Fullblast as a top down shooter because it gave me nostalgia of playing Zone66 WAAAAAYYYYY back in the day and Tetra’s Escape for the reasons you said - right amount of challenge, but still fun to play. Jack ‘N’ Jill DX is good, but not one of their best IMO. In trying to keep this short, there were several games that ended up in this category.

Anyway, I’m going to go freak out about every word I wrote and obsess about the tone and hope I came off ok to Ratalaika games. Thanks, anxiety and unexpected replies! shock laugh
Posted by BenNoddy on 09 Nov at 14:27
Slayer1189 laugh Yeah Ratalaika seem pretty active as publishers! They also responded to the PSNP thread I mentioned backing up what I said, which ofc to those with their mind made up just looked even more like I was a shill.

Fullblast was ok but that final boss left a sour taste for me. The Octopus was badly designed and also not in line with the rest of the game
Posted by Slayer1189 on 09 Nov at 16:41
BenNoddy We’re all just moles, aren’t we? laugh. I’m happy they’re active - it’s almost like more free promotion for their games. The 2 devs that replied to Ratalaika tweeting me are devs of games that I played and enjoyed (Mekabolt and Super Wiloo Demake) so I’m happy they had positive experiences and hopefully they continue doing what they love.

And I agree about the final boss, but I appreciated the nostalgia the game provided. I don’t think any game will really nail it in every aspect for us since the dev and creative team are typically the same person laugh
Posted by BenNoddy on 09 Nov at 16:54
Harris59 I'll never respected Ratalaika as a publisher and probably never will. I've seen and heard enough about them to know that they're just as bad as the likes of an EA or Activision, they're just too small to get the negative attention for if.

There are far far better publishers for small indie developers and I highly encourage devs try seeking out one of those if they can.

Ultimately, they're lazy, effectively doing their bare minimum whilst exploiting small time devs and financially exploiting their 'whale' types (as premium currency economies would call them) to resell the same game numerous times for a quick buck on top of everything else.

Many of the things I've heard that are so awful aren't even sketchy rumours too, they literally CAME OUT OF RATALAIKAS OWN MOUTH O_O on various occasions, whether it be forums or chats.

They know what exactly what they're doing and shame on them.

For a lot of people, the topic of Ratalaika games is always dissolves into two camps of 'booooo! easy trophies' vs. 'I love the easy trophies' bickering on forums. Rarely does anyone actually educates themselves on the bigger picture, the slightly less obvious and partially behind the scenes elements of them being an actual publisher.

I couldn't care less about trophies nor how many easy games are out there, they're not for me but they do make a damn fun GTTSC feed haha! But when it comes to shady publishers that's a different story. Ratalaika are up there on my list of worst publishers for sure.
Posted by Harris59 on 09 Nov at 19:15
UlvenFenrir @slayer youre actually wrong. it does affect everyone who is playing a game with microtransactions. that weather or not you care about microtransactions and not buying them it still affects everyone whos playing the game. if a game is designed around microtransactions, in game progress will be affected by this. look at ac oddyssey. the game is built around it, which is why you can buy a permanent 2x exp booster. everyone who doesnt buy it will have to endure unnecessary grind especially those who just want to beat the story.

play a game like wolfenstein young blood, and theres a glaring issue too. play a game like fallout 76, anthem etc. any game treated as a live service affects everyone. progress is halted in favor of trying to get people to buy microtransactions and those that dont are out of luck. thats why i hate them so much with a passion.
Posted by UlvenFenrir on 09 Nov at 19:46
BenNoddy @UlvenFenrir I’d forgotten about the double xp boost! Yeah, those are always a huge seller in the MT realm, especially when it comes to unlocking things or getting better perks.

@Harris I wish I’d seen those. All I know now is they have at least 2 devs willing to bat for them so I don’t know if things changed or they’re anomalies. Either way, I doubt there’s any publisher out there that doesn’t have some shady element to them. I know the 2K/Irrational Games incident was pretty big when the hammer fell on that one too.
Posted by BenNoddy on 09 Nov at 20:02
StingX2 They are at 51 published games, im waiting for 100 to do a top 100 list :P
Posted by StingX2 on 09 Nov at 20:43
Slayer1189 @Ulven - I 100% agree with you that mthe mere presence of microtransactions alters how the game is designed. Like your example of a 2x booster. They may have the game normal with the 2x XP boost, then halved the xp gain to pressure players into buying the XP boost for a decent experience.

The reality is that it then falls to consumers to dictate what they want from games and what they are willing to pay/play.

Interestingly though, World of Warcraft faced this exact same design issue back in 2004 before microtransactions existed. The design process is affected regardless.

The thing I dislike most about gamers is their complaints about games being too short. This message gets back to game devs/pubs and really hurts the industry. Too many games have been a casualty of this message.

I probably hate all the players who complain about games being short or the "I paid £40 for a 5 hour game" crowd with the same passion as you hate MTX, for the exact same reasons as you laugh
Posted by Slayer1189 on 10 Nov at 00:28