Typically collaborating on Bit By Bit, this week Janet and Jess pair up to take on the indie games and craft beer world.

Not A Hero paired with Anti-Hero IPA

It’s our patriotic duty to vote and, in the case of Not A Hero, that vote better be for BunnyLord. Full of tongue in cheek humor and arcade style gaming cliches, Roll7’s Not A Hero is a playable satire. Here’s a game that embraces what some love about video games (and what others can’t stand). It’s all blood, guns, violence, and over-the-top pixel action. It made sense to pair Not A Hero with a beer that also embraces rebellion in its title; this led me to Anti-Hero IPA — a Chicago craft beer staple.

Available on PC, Mac, PS4, and Xbox One, Not A Hero is an action-adventure game — emphasis on the action:

You play as Steve, an assassin turned campaign manager who is basically still an assassin. Your goal is to kill criminals and boost the approval rating of BunnyLord, who is running for mayor. You can increase BunnyLord’s approval rating by completing challenges presented in each level. The high the approval rating the more characters you unlock. Each character comes with their own strengths and weaknesses, of course:

That’s basically it. If playing on PC/Mac you move with the directional arrows and shoot with C, slide with X, and reload your gun with the space bar. There’s something incredibly satisfying about sliding into enemies and shooting them directly in the face.

And with 84 challenges, you’ll get plenty of gameplay out of this one. The smooth controls and inherent challenge of the game are its most redeemable qualities, but Not A Hero is nothing to write home about. A lot of the “story” is, admittedly, lost on me because I can’t help but skip over some of these cutscenes. I realize the writing is meant to be ridiculous and “bro-y” but that doesn’t make it any more tolerable.

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Not A Hero steers into the skid of gaming cliches and ends with just a solid experience. Players who are looking for unique and dynamic experiences may find this disappointing. Still, Not A Hero is a classic example of “video games as quick violent, fun, entertainment fix” and will be exactly what some players want.  Likewise, Anti-hero is jampacked with hops: a standard ingredient in beer.

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Much like this game, Revolution’s Anti-Hero beer takes what some love about beer (and what others can’t stand) and runs with it. In the case of this indie game beer pairing, I’ll stick with the beer. I can’t say I recommend Not A Hero, though I can see its appeal.

If you’re interested in this game, put it on your watchlist and wait for a sale. To me its standard price, $12.99 on Steam, isn’t worth it–which I mentioned to Jess during our discussion of playtime/gaming experience vs. cost.

~Janet

Sunrider Academy paired with Spiteful IPA

Janet and I talked about simulation games in one of our recent videos, and it got me thinking about trying new things. Enter Sunrider Academy, a stat and dating simulator where you are tasked with organizing various clubs at your school and landing a girlfriend by the end of the year. From what I understand, Sunrider Academy is part of a larger game series in which Kayto is not always a high school student, but more frequently a space captain… I decided not to delve too deeply into the other parts of the series until after completing this project since the academy version is the first one I stumbled onto, and I wanted to experience the game in its own right.  

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The game on the whole was actually super stressful for me! I’ve never played a stats game before, so it was difficult to meet all of the requirements each day, week, and month in order to maneuver through the game. I had to make sure I was studying enough to not be disqualified from student council, exercise enough so that I didn’t get sick, and socializing enough so that I could impress the female cast surrounding me. Not to mention juggling temp jobs around town so I could afford medicine if I did get sick and coaching all the clubs so they could do well at competitions. Failing to perform in any of these categories could lead to a “bad end” or game over, and it was surprisingly a lot to handle.

Despite the difficulty I had with the actual mechanics and requirements of the game, I found it to encompass a strange and charming universe. Everything is a little goofy and hyper-dramatic, but I think that might be a symptom of the genre.

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To me, the dating aspect of the game felt like an over-sexualized version of harvest moon, and I’m not totally sure how to feel about that. There were a couple moments that were ridiculous enough to make me laugh out loud, so it can be entertaining at the very least.

I chose to pair Sunrider Academy with Spiteful IPA from Spiteful Brewing. Get it? Because it’s a dating game?

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Anyone who knows my drinking habits at all knows that I don’t usually like IPAs. I’d kill for a dark, high ABV beer with undertones of chocolate and coffee on most occasions, but IPAs are generally too light and hoppy for me. Still, I was in the spirit of trying new things (like dating simulators), so I figured I’d give it a go. The downside of this is I’m not really sure what to take away from IPAs. They generally taste very similar to me since I don’t have a palette developed for this particular kind of beer.

All in all, I didn’t hate it. It was pleasant enough to drink and helped me cope with my stressful existence as Kayto Shields. That may tell you one of two things: 1) The Spiteful IPA is an exceptionally good IPA since, I, someone who doesn’t like IPAs, had an easy time with it, or 2) It’s really best suited for people who dislike IPAs and has some sort of non-IPA quality to it. Sorry if that isn’t helpful — the can sure is cute, though!

~Jess

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