n empty parking lot greets you as you exit Tim Hortons at 4 in the morning. You sit by an open drain, and gaze at your single, lonely sock. A six-minute laugh escapes your coffee-coloured lips, as you note the kinship between your footwear and your divorce papers. You fight back the urge for a moment, but you quickly post a photo on Instagram of your feet by the divorce papers with the abhorrent hashtag, “#sharethisdrinkofloneliness?” and also, “#dontstopbelieving”. Hopefully, his divorce lawyer finds it funny too. In the last two years, you’ve come to learn you should not drink more than twelve cups of coffee per day as you pour out the coffee. You make peace with your new inability to register the taste of coffee because you believe it’s time to try the taste of vindication. You curl up the soggy rim, stare back at that empty lot, and wait…
Playing Grimm Bros’ rogue-like Dragon Fin Soup (free for PS Plus members in November for PS 4 and PS Vita) sometimes feels like trying to win financial freedom through a Tim Hortons Roll Up the Rim contest. While the almighty RNG is ever worship-worthy in rogue-like RPG-style games, my well-being in the game overly relied on random happenstances instead of my own skills.
It’s too bad because the game can be occasionally charming. For one, the way the characters, NPCs, and monsters look during gameplay almost has that warm, welcoming allure of spritey sections in PS 1’s Wild Arms. The main character kind of looks and acts like the brazen and beloved B.B. Hood from DarkStalkers too. There’s a lack of story, but the dialogue writing is mildly witty too. Also, there are Penanggalan vampires in this game. As a kid who knew one shan’t pass water in banana trees in Malaysia, I can respect that deep cut in vampire mythology.
All that charm unfortunately gets kind of lost under some bizarre design choices. It feels like it was made for PC at times, as you drag items from your inventory into the merchant’s inventory to sell an item. Besides that, I had to sit four feet away from the screen to read some of the tiniest texts in gaming history. Furthermore, the randomly generated maps can be overflowing with clutter which makes it hard for players to see through all the visual cues. Another baffling decision is to present a prompt every time players exit or enter any building to establish their conviction to door-passing. It’s about as fun as Mario being asked, ”Are you sure you want to break that block?” every time he jumps under any block.
My main problem is how your ability to excel in the game is not dictated by your skill but waiting for a good drop. The drop rate is as random as the game's title. It fluctuates between either being too hard to get something relevant to your level or flooding your inventory with more fucking logs. Also, there's a Skill section in the game menu, but you only get Skills from opening treasure chests. I’ve read that some players got their first skill after 22 levels in. Besides that, the crafting system is affected too as I got a level 70 craft recipe while playing for two hours. I rarely got the ingredients I needed for lower level recipes which led me avoiding crafting altogether. The drop rate is fundamentally flawed for having such a large range that prevents it from providing a mildly-steady sense of progression.
I wished there was a skill tree to give my heroine a fighting chance against the creeping evil in the land. Instead, the only viable build in this game is the save-and-reload-outside-a-chest build. You can definitely find better ways to pass time until Fallout 4.