Closure paired with Snaggletooth Bandana IPA

After last week’s disappointing beers and games, I felt the need to return to something more familiar and reliable. And, as a big fan of puzzlers and pale ales, that led me to Closure and Snaggletooth Bandana IPA.

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Developed by Eyebrow Interactive, Closure is a 2D puzzle platformer (admittedly light on the platforming). Closure is a strange game, one that’s highly open to interpretation and a bit confusing as far as story. But as far as goals, everything is straightforward. You have your standard hub world of doors that represent worlds/levels. And in each level your goal is to get to the door at the end. Simple. Closure‘s gameplay is centered on the player’s ability to manipulate of light and objects. Anything that is not illuminated does not exist.

Closure’s world can feel hollow because everything is black and white and the environment often appears as emptiness (until we shine a light on it). But the hauntingly beautiful detailing makes this artstyle far from minimalist.

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Like all good puzzlers, Closure starts off simple at first but gets progressively harder. But it never gets too challenging—which will be a pro or con depending on your taste. New ways to manipulate light are introduced throughout the game: such as placing the light orb pedestals, moving spotlights around, etc.

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As you progress through the game, the “story” also builds in complexity/strangeness. “In the dark and mysterious world of Closure, only what you see exists… [You] play as a strange spider-like demon who explores the stories of three human characters through beautiful, eerie environments…” (via Steam).

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While the description on Steam says it best, this is only because the game itself fails to convey the message about the tone of the game. The idea of exploring others’ lives, and having everything connect in the end, was not fully complete in my experience. I can’t say I walked away from Closure with a good story or even a clear story. But I take no issue with this. I never felt invested in the character(s) or longed to understand the narrative/themes. I fell in love with Closure because of the beautiful atmosphere and well designed puzzles. In the end, Closure was just a damn good game; a must play for anyone who enjoys puzzlers.

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Solemn Oath Brewery’s Snaggletooth Bandana is an American India Pale Ale (IPA). The brewery describes the beer as “massive grapefruit, pineapple, and super-ripe mango aromatics burst out of this medium-bodied IPA. Assertive bitterness is balanced by a subtle malt sweetness and more citrusy fun.” Much like Closure, Snaggletooth Bandana is described as a bit more than it is. Both the game and the beer are wonderful experiences, but neither quite lives up to their own descriptions. Still, I recommend Snaggletooth Bandana; it’s delicious. And while the aforementioned flavors likely play a role, none of them are well defined enough to make this beer stand out from others of its kind. If you see it on tap or on the menu, go for it. You won’t remember the details of this beer but you’ll remember it was good. Snaggletooth Bandana isn’t as creative as Closure but it’s a very solid choice.

~Janet

 I am Setsuna paired with Twisted Helles Summer Lager 

What better game to pair with a crisp and refreshing summer lager than the chilly and snowy I am Setsuna? While Tokyo RPG Company is technically a part of Square-Enix, the hiring process kept that information hidden. According to the PlayStation Blog, this was done so in order to preserve an environment of gaming based on pure passion; essentially, the game was crafted by a supported developer that ran itself like an indie developer. Regardless, the game was really good through and through.

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With that said, of course, I am Setsuna is a cold game. Nearly the entire experience is spent trudging through knee-high snow, leaving behind a trail of your voyage. Visibility is low in many areas, and the wind whips hard around your party. Combat is based upon traditional turn based battles in the same vein as Chrono Trigger. The story is rich and emotional, and the passion of the development team certainly pours through. I am Setsuna also boasts one of the best soundtracks I have ever heard, and it’s a purely piano based OST. I highly recommend this game to fans of traditional RPGs or those seeking nostalgia value. I am Setsuna delivers on all of those fronts, and it is worth the story, visuals, and gameplay, too.

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Now, what better beer to pair a freezing game with than a summer lager? The Twisted Helles Summer Lager beer is brewed by the Frankenmuth Brewery, one of my – if not my – favorite brewing companies. The beer is inspired by Michigan summers – summers that I’ve experienced my entire life (we’ve gone to Frankenmuth every year since I was a child). The beer is tinged with citrus, and it’s a popular summer beer for those in the area – from a brewery that’s been brewing for over 150 years. As the can says: “Twisted Helles doesn’t just taste like summer… It feels like it.”

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Normally, our beers have been kindred spirits to our indie games. I figured, however, that since I was including a technically non-indie indie game, I’d pair it with a beer that keeps you warm from a brewing company over 150 years old. Luckily, I obtained 24 cans this year from the Frankenmuth Brewery, so I’ll be set to enjoy my time with both I am Setsuna and a fresh Twisted Helles Lager.

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