Choose My Adventure: Losing myself roaming the realms of Nightingale


This edition of Choose My Adventure might strike similar notes as last week, but I suppose that’s to be expected considering you told me in the polls to continue exploring the astrolabe forest of Nightingale. Similarly, my delight in doing this exploration of the realm will be pretty much as effusive as the last time. I dearly hope you all are ready for me to squee at a very chilled out experience overall.

Even so, I will start to admit that things weren’t always quite as perfect, and that’s not just because of this game’s usual wrinkles and jank. More specifically, I believe I have once again found the walls of the tutorial tunnel that I’ve been alluding to all through this series.

Before I get to that, I’ll go ahead and recount what I was up to. I pretty much picked up right where I left off the last time, only I managed to ignore the urge to further plumb the Cavern of Bears and Spiders and instead headed toward the essence trader in hopes of finding new recipes and blueprints. It was a generally straight shot for the most part, though I did pause for a moment as I saw a construction project in the distance that was waiting for materials to be dumped into it.

I was also being distracted by the variety of towers that were placed randomly across this realm. Most of these towers were basically set dressing considering there was no obvious way to scale them, but there were others that looked like landing platforms that I could climb up. For the most part, though, doing so didn’t really yield too much, as only a bare few of them had some treasure chests with interesting goodies inside. I’m very likely missing something more – maybe these are bus stops for the zeppelins I see flying around the skies – but I had other things I wanted to do.

I finally managed to stop being distracted long enough to get to the essence trader and found mostly disappointment, as there was only one refinement table blueprint that I didn’t have; everything else was otherwise unlocked, and there weren’t any new and interesting recipes for me to gather. Crestfallen, I decided to head back to the construction project and while away some time eating rocks, trees, and plants. It was a chill and relaxing break, but ultimately ended up also not being rewarding, as the treasure chest that usually opens when all the materials are deposited didn’t open up. I’m kind of chalking this up to either being a bug or me not seeing what other things need materials.

The wandering continued in the astrolabe forest realm, as I moved through another occupied ruin that had lots of goodies, a bastille of agility, and finally climbing my way up the realmic transmuter. Doing this didn’t really matter for me in terms of the minor cards I have in my inventory – most of them are actually demerits and not boons – but it did mark all of the POIs on the realms map… and friends let me tell you that there were a lot of them. Which kind of put me in a bit of analysis paralysis and sent me back to my abeyance realm to deposit materials and regroup.

It was there that I decided to switch gears and walk through the home realm I’ve started off in as a sort of mental reset as well as to ensure that I wasn’t missing any other required blueprints. Some of the rewards for my journeys in the astrolabe forest included little tool items that unlocked additional things to craft, but weirdly it didn’t look as if I had the right crafting tables unlocked, so I elected to revisit the essence trader at home just to make sure I wasn’t missing anything.

I wasn’t. But I was missing advanced roof blueprints, which ended up making my little dump of a starter house look nicer – which is very important, obviously.

A final experiment to see if I was missing anything here led me to plumb the dungeon that would unlock the provisioner’s realm major card. I was once again waylaid by melee and ranged combatants in a series of extremely narrow mining tunnels, which saw me suffer my second death, but I regrouped and persevered, using the twisting tunnel network to find a way behind enemies and get the drop on them. The final boss fight was once again versus another large robot, only this time I couldn’t cheese my way through the fight. Still, I was able to win purely by kiting it in circles, plinking at it with my pebble-launching crossbow and reviving my companion along the way.

Still, nothing new unlocked. But hey, I do know now that I can open another fresh realm later and perhaps even survive in it pretty well. But that’ll be a project for another time, as I’m pretty certain I’ve guessed what has to happen next: I need to open the desert herbarium realm that the main story quest is guiding me to, which will very likely open up further recipes, materials, and wider progress. In short, I found the tutorial tunnel walls again, which was kind of disappointing, but I’m basically happy that it took this long for me to do so this time around. And I’m still going to go my own way for a bit longer; I’ve got a whole lot of astrolabe forest to discover, after all.

Overall Nightingale and I have something of an understanding. I appreciate that this game has some weird jankiness to it, but nothing that’s so far marred my enjoyment of it all. I can understand why people want an offline solo mode simply because a lot of my delight has been gained from going at my own pace, but I would still like to play this with friends. I’m learning that the activities across the map are same-y, but I’m still having fun with it all. And I’m appreciating, albeit begrudgingly, that there are still tutorial things that I need to do before I’m allowed to fully cut loose.

Basically I’m still having a good time. My appetite for early access games is probably better than most, and I don’t fault anyone for watching and waiting from the outside in. I also will not fully say that Nightingale is a fully feature complete experience, as there is still clearly work to be done in terms of refinement across many of its systems. Still, sometimes you just fall into a game regardless of the warts and ugly bits, and I love exploring these realms and will continue to do so, both for my own enjoyment and to report back in now and again for all of you.

This of course does lead us into April’s CMA adventure, which has yet to be fully decided, as last week’s second poll has once again ended up in a tie between checking out New World or The Division 2. So that means this week’s poll is the tie breaker.

But seriously, which game should I play next? Decisively Choose My Adventure!

  • The Division 2. (47%, 21 Votes)
  • New World. (53%, 24 Votes)

Total Voters: 45

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As always, polling closes at 1:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, March 29th. For the time being, I’m going to now gleefully feed my exploration need. The leash is off, and Wolfy will now go sniffing around.

Welcome to Choose My Adventure, the column in which you join Chris each week as he journeys through mystical lands on fantastic adventures – and you get to decide his fate. Which is good because he can often be a pretty indecisive person unless he’s ordering a burger.
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