Forbidden Arts, The (PC) Early Access Preview

Developer/Publisher: Stingbot Games || Outlook: “.5 /10”

Today we’re reviewing… The Forbidden Arts… which… I don’t know where to start. That’s a lot of ellipses (that’s the plural form, get off my case), but the nicest thing I can say about it is that it runs when you start it. Everything about this is a mess, even conceptually. It was an excuse to make a character anime-ninja-run around getting their shit ruined by wolves and elves.

First off, the writing. You’re a young man having a hot-flash-inducing dream where someone says “It’s time” but in a manner that doesn’t convey urgency. I guess you’re supposed to be a guard in town, even though you don’t look anything like the other guards, and being asleep at the job isn’t really kosher. You get kicked awake by a “I have it worse” guard that recommends an ice cold glass of whiskey to beat the heat (what?) and instructs you to see the local druid (what??) because the store is closed for the afternoon. The dumb guard claims that bears and wolves are no match for my pair of daggers (what???) despite my lack of any armor, including bare arms. He was wrong, by the way: wolves in this game will two-shot you and spin on a fucking dime. Before I leave, I get to see the wimsey of the world my character lives in, including blocking outcroppings of rock everywhere you go. Seriously, here’s the first town:

I don’t know why everything is so square, or why the well is in such an inaccessible place for most folk. After you walk out of the town, you’re sent to the overworld map area, a concept that goes as far back to Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior. In The Forbidden Arts, the overworld map looks like this:

It looks like some sort of half-assed Super Mario 64 level. The town is represented by this huge-ass tavern or shop or something. The forest is a tree. That water in the screenshot will kill you, by the way, and the field of view is all sorts of fish-eye when moving around. It’s not pleasant. This alone needs a revamp, as it doesn’t feel like an overworld. Anyhow, time to go to the forest to talk to this druid, Elia. A forest makes sense for a druid, in that this is what a forest looks like in The Forbidden Arts:

Blocky, square caves? Well, not caves; those tend to not bask in the sun. I don’t know what the hell is going on here. That wolf, by the way, is no joke. I beat Cuphead on fucking expert, and these things make me want to find some expire ipecac to guzzle. Movement is mushy, even after some supposed improvements way after the initial release. Sure, I know this is early access, but even the basics are fucked. There are dozens of examples for “good” side scrolling and platforming mechanics, even outside of the metroidvania genre itself.

Moving on.

After climbing on some vines I made it to the druid. Now, there’s a way to handle silent protagonists that doesn’t come off hammy or juvenile. Does this exchange pass? I’ll leave it up to you. There are six frames, you can follow the conversation by following the number in the lower corner.

I don’t know how they could make this any more happenstance, even with the injected random flashback for her. You just happen to have a dream, guard just happens to send you to her, she just so happens to know what your thing is, and it just so happens that the guards that spoke to her earlier (Why is she out here? She’s not a part of the village. She’s in the “woods.”) are dealing with the thing that you just so happen to need a feather from. Yeah, I took a stab at this quest, but I didn’t enjoy it. I gained the ability to suck up camp fires to shoot fireballs, which didn’t really seem that handy in practice.

I get it, making your first game is tough. I’ve made a few on my own in BASIC back in the day, I’ve toyed around with a few projects, but as soon as you start selling it you open yourself up to criticism. This game should never have been sold. It lacks the foundations of what make gaming a hobby that’s enjoyable or even addictive for some, and that’s not that hard to do. Set up some rules and don’t change them, give the player a goal, and give the player an avatar with a level of control appropriate for the challenges you’ve set forth. There’s more to it than that, there’s gameplay design, level design, and even, these days, in emergent gameplay design in games like Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I think, however, that even with the basics down something can be honed into an enjoyable experience. I don’t think this game has a grasp of that.

I don’t want to be too hard on the guy making this. I know it sucks to have someone come and piss on your work, but this needs too much work to be fun, and some of the choices are so bizarre I feel like I’m playing a game version of Birdemic or Sharknado, as in choices so poor that they must have been intentionally poor choices. From the Naruto-run and Sauske stylings of the protagonist to the ho-hum plot and grotesquely cubic levels, all the way down the the mushy jumps, poor voice-acting and interrupted animations. It’s a 3D RPG Maker game with a plot written by SquirrelKing, and it runs. I’ve played thousands of hours of games. I know when something is too flawed to continue pushing through on. This is one of those times.


The Whitman’s House: A Halloween Story

I wrote this in 6th grade for class.  I preserved all of the bad grammar and/or spelling errors that might be present.

I. There was always something strange about that house in Hintelville. The house in Hintelville is so weird every time someone walks past it they is scared to death! Every Friday the thirteenth all the ghosts attack the town of Hintelville … the town where Anthony lives.

II. “Hey guys if we’re going to get to Anthony’s house by sundown we have to go NOW!” Dave and Matt’s dad yelled

“Just a minute dad!” Dave said. Dave is twelve years old, he hopes something exciting will happen in his life. He can hack into any computer system, and he has black hair and hazel eyes. Dave’s brother, Matt, has black hair and hazel eyes, is 11 ½ years old, and he can program games on computers. Anthony is their favorite cousin. He is awesome, at age thirteen, and has cool ideas on how to have fun. Dave was stuffing their clothes in his gym bag while Matt was getting their laptop computer in his bag.

III. When they finally got to Anthony’s (from a two hour car trip), they rang Anthony’s doorbell. In a few minutes Anthony opened the door. He said, “Dave, Matt what are you doing here?”

“We’re going to stay over for two weeks! Isn’t that great?” Dave said.

Anthony said, “Come on in, I gotta talk to you about something.” When they went to Anthony’s room, Anthony closed the door and said, “It’s really bad that you came today.”

“Why” Matt asked.

“Because tomorrow is Friday the thirteenth. At the stroke of twelve the ghosts of the old Whitman house attack Hintelville. Every Friday the thirteenth we’ve been able to stop them from taking over the town.” Anthony answered.

IV. So tomorrow was Friday the thirteenth. Everybody in the town was ready for action. The people of Hintelville had made a little “army” outside. While Matt was outside with the “army” Dave stayed inside with the laptop. Suddenly Dave heard screams, gun shots, and more screaming. Then Dave looked back to the laptop and opened a file called “Ghost Houses.” There were about twenty houses. Dave typed in “Whitman” and then he saw the house! Dave looked down at the “What you should do to make the ghosts disappear”: 1.Call the Ghostbusters. 2.Get outta Hintelville. 3.Hack into the house’s computer system.

“Hey, wait a minute! Since when does a haunted house have a computer system?” Dave said. Dave heard a bloodcurdling scream. Dave pressed on “Hack’em!” At the bottom of the page. Inside the Whitman computer system, there was were many types of ghosts and everything. “So the ghosts are all computer holograms!” Dave said.

V. Then Dave rushed to the window and yelled, “Everybody head for the house!” Everybody listened to Dave and started racing to the house. Inside Dave put on a bullet proof vest that Anthony had left him just in case. He also took two hand guns and a machine gun. He also took a helmet. Then Dave scampered to the house for the final confrontation. When Dave got outside all the “ghosts” had suddenly disappeared!

VI. When Dave got to the house everybody was waiting for Dave him.

Then Anthony said, “So, are we going to get in or what?” When he said that, they started banging down the door and breaking windows to get in. When they got in they started ambushing the bad guy behind it all. They chased him through the house. Finally they caught him. It was some guy named Antonio Pilowpioosowsomething. He said, “Dang, I almost captured the town.”



You Know You Are From A Small Town When…

You Know You Are From A Small Town When…

– The local phone book has only one yellow page.

– Third Street is on the edge of town.

– The “road hog” in front of you on Main Street is a farmer’s combine.

– You leave your jacket on the back of the chair in the cafe, and when you go back the next day, it’s still there, on the same chair.

– You don’t signal turns because everyone knows where you’re going, anyway.

– No social events can be scheduled when the school gym floor is being varnished.

– You call a wrong number and they supply you with the correct one.

– Everyone knows all the news before it’s published; they just read the hometown paper to see whether the publisher got it right.

– The McDonalds only has only one Golden Arch.

– A “Night on the Town” takes only 11 minutes.

– You have to name six surrounding towns to explain to people where you’re from.

– Headline news is who grew the biggest vegetable this year.

– You can name everyone you graduated with.

– School gets canceled for state sporting events.

– Anyone you want can be found at either the Dairy Queen or the feed store.

– Directions are given using “the” stop light as a reference

– It was cool to date someone from the neighboring town.


The Reason Pigs Fly: A Manifesto

There once was a town in east Oregon named baloopateeassssiville. Believe it or not it was a clown nudist colony. Now you may ask yourself. WHAT THE HELL ARE CLOWNS NAKED FOR! I am here to tell you. My name is Horatio the weasel clown and this is my manifesto.

It was a hot afternoon in mid September. The bees were out, the bees are always out. There are so many god damn bees. Back to the story. Well I was out walking my french poodle name Jose, when you know who I ran into? It was my ex-wife btichass the clown.. This was about 6 years before we became a nudist colony. That happened after the war. Well as I was saying I was walking when my little doggy took a little poopoo. Well you would not believe this but my ex wife comes and picks it up, puts it into a paper cup, adds water and PRESTO you have poop water. I was in the middle of throwing up when she asked what the matter was. I can’t believe you did that you swappy* bitch, that was dog shit yo (I was in the middle of the phase where I was talking in strange tongues). She said yes but it’s good for my asthma. I said yeah right skank, I challenge you to a duel. She said in a very feminine voice “Oh, is that like a party”. I said smirking “yeah kinda”. She said “Great, I’ll bring crumpets”. Her ignorance brought me to the point where I wanted to cut her and eat her heart. I settled for a piece of broccoli and corned beef.

Well it was the day of the duel and as was expected, she brought the damn crumpets. We sat down for a few minutes. We talked of the current japanese invasion of Virginia and caught up on the local news, movies, and books. I was almost beginning to revoke the proposal of a duel, when she brings out the biggest fish I Have ever seen. Even more amazingly, she had two. She said, I figured instead of a duel we could throw these fish. I said “I suppose so” with a sigh of relief. We mutually decided she should go first as she brought the fish. She threw it, and man the bitch could throw. Paranoia began to leap over me. What if I could not beat her throw I would be the laughing stock of the town. I began to sweat intensely and began drooping. She handed me my fish and said “Beat that if you can” she said. I said “I think I will if you don’t mind”. Well the winds had been kind that day and my throw was possibly a world record, I kid you not. That’s when the attack kicked in. I became dizzy and I was shaking like you would not believe. I collapsed in a sudden big heap. You would not believe the intensity I felt. It was like being reborn. They say I’ve lost it. But I’ve stopped listening to them. They can never take me again.


Billy Bob

Moo, Pennsylvania, probably the smallest town in America should go down in history. It has a population of twelve people, 436 chickens, 115 pigs, and an old dog that ironically has the name Puppy. The town consists of four houses, a one room school house that has four students, a gas station, and of course a KFC. Now in this town people have the choice of three careers–a gas station attendant, a teacher who teaches every grade, or a farmer.

Now in this town lives a man named Billy Bob. Fat, ugly and stupid, nobody likes Billy Bob. Due to his lack of social skills, Billy Bob has worn the same shirt and jeans for two years. For some odd reason, he smells like shoe polish. He’s very clumsy and almost always doing something wrong. In a town with a population of twelve people it’s easy for people to get on each other’s nerves. People were considering throwing him out of town.

One day while Billy Bob was working in the cornfields, he tripped over a bag and fell in some cow poop. He began to swear and punch at nothing, when he decided to take a look in the bag. In it was one million dollars in hundred dollar bills. Billy Bob immediately decided what he wanted to do with it. First, he wanted to buy a bunch of chicken wings, second, he wanted to buy a boat (this should show you what kind of an idiot he was, seeing as there was no water within 150 miles, and he had no car), and, third, he wanted to buy some gum.

He immediately went to the KFC and ordered 200 buckets of chicken wings. The waitress asked if he could pay for it and he showed her the bag. He began to eat his chicken wings. After he was pleasantly full, he walked outside and tripped over a pig. He hit his head on a nearby truck and broke his neck and died.

The waitress, noticing he had left his bag in the KFC, walked outside after him with the bag of money. The Mafia all of a sudden gunned her down, and they took the money. The Mafia then shot at the gas station to blow the town up. Their plan, however, backfired. Not only did they blow up the town, but themselves as well. The money hasn’t been seen since.

The moral of the story is don’t fire a gun when your right next to a gas station after killing a waitress who has a million dollars in her hand because a man named Billy Bob had stupidly forgotten it in a KFC. If you do this, you will die.



Panzazz was a cute, pink, little fluffball from the happy-go-lucky forest. Panzazz was so pink and fluffy one look and you could die from its fluffiness! This made Panzazz very dangerous and was the main reason there weren’t any other animals in the Happy-go-lucky forest. Panzazz got very bored because of this because there were no friends to play with, not even other cute, pink, little fluffball animals. This, too, was all Panzazz’s fluffiness-state of being fluffy fault.

You see, if there are more than one cute, pink, little fluffballs in the same forest, fierce competition breaks out over one’s fluffiness. As a result of this, the cute, pink, little fluffballs tend to eat each other. This isn’t all that good for their species, but they were doomed to die out any way. Humans have ground them up into colored marshmallows for as long as anyone in my family can remember. Anyway…Panzazz was very lonely, so he decided to go over into the nearby town to find some friends. This is very bad because, as I mentioned before, cute, pink, little fluffballs are lethal. Panzazz bounced, or flew, or however cute, pink little fluffballs move over to the city. The effect was lethal and everyone died, the end.


You Know You’re Sick When…

You know you’re sick when…

– you vomit and the vomit mysteriously spells, “fart.”

– you are butt-fucking a goat in the backyard while your mom and the whole neighborhood is watching you, regularly.

– you watch, “I Love Lucy” and fall in love with Ricky and the way he bongs on his bongos and can’t stop thinking how he’d bong your bongos.

– you think the Home Alone Series is intellectual and educational, and your favorite part is when Kevin’s mom screams.

– you have the game “Shaq-Fu” for SEGA Genesis

– you say “cheek cheeky boom boom” when you get arrested when they say, “whatever you say can and will be used in a court of law.”

– you get up in the morning and feel like reading the Encyclopedia Brittanica from A-Z with all the special issues and add-ons for the 5th time in 3 days.

– you throw marshmallows at someone you have a crush on

– you play Bingo with yourself and shout, “BINGO!!” when you get it, you also live with 4 friends that now think your crazy.

– you think a cool thing to do is to dangle a cap from a string and hypnotize people.

– you think walking into a church naked is a funny prank, but even better, is walking into a nudist’s church with clothes on.

– you eat your intestine as a bedtime snack.

– you stick pencils up every hole in your body and run through town, naked, with the pencils in your holes, screaming, “I’m a walrus!”

– you get bees up your pants regularly.

– you pelt yourself, and other people, with pudding every Sunday.

– you use “what is the name of your telephone number” for a pickup line.

– you beat dogs, just cause they show their butthole to the whole world and still “smile.”

You know someone in your family is really sick when…

– the telephone rings and your teenaged daughter doesn’t feel well enough to run and answer it.

– you offer to take your wife shopping for a new dress and she doesn’t feel well enough to get of bed.

– you visit your mother-in-law and she’s too sick to even talk.

– you give away your tickets to the Super Bowl because you feel too ill to go to the game.

– your seven-year-old stays in the house all day and is good as gold.

– your teenaged son gives you back the keys to the car and tells you he’s going to bed instead of to the drive-in on Saturday night.


Joke #5234: The Grounded Conductor

Tom is applying for a job as a signalman for the local railroad and is told to meet the inspector at the signal box.


The inspector decides to give Tom a pop quiz, asking: “What would you do if you realized that two trains were heading towards each other on the same track?”


Tom says: “I would switch one train to another track.”


“What if the lever broke?” asks the inspector.


“Then I’d run down to the tracks and use the manual lever down there”, answers Tom.


“What if that had been struck by lightning?” challenges the inspector.


“Then,” Tom continued, “I’d run back up here and use the phone to call the next signal box.”


“What if the phone was busy?”


“In that case,” Tom argued, “I’d run to the street level and use the public phone near the station”.


“What if that had been vandalized?”


“Oh well,” said Tom, “in that case I would run into town and get my Uncle Leo”.


This puzzled the inspector, so he asked, “Why would you do that?”


“Because he’s never seen a train crash.”