Saturday, January 22, 2022

I Am A Camera

Graphically, Chimeraland is an odd duck. Sometimes it looks as though I'm playing a game from a decade or more ago, other times it's breathtaking. I'd love to see what it looks like on a tablet but Google Play tells me it's "not available for your device". I get that a lot. Maybe I should upgrade.

Sometimes, it's not my fault, or my kit. This week's patch fixed the problem I was having with the in-game screenshot function, which wasn't saving locally despite telling me it was. I'd been using FRAPS, which I still find amazingly straightforward and reliable, but the native "View" has a lot more options in terms of filters and framing so I've mostly swapped over to that.

Using either is somewhat fiddly, at least if you don't want the UI in shot. There's no single-press "Hide UI" key. You have to go through a menu, as you do for just about everything in the game. It's inconvenient but inconvenience has its upsides. Chimeraland is one of those games where I have to force myself to stop taking screenshots, so anything that makes me think twice before snapping is probably a good thing.

The problem, not that it is a problem, is that there's something strange, amusing, weird, striking or gorgeous to see every few moments. The whole world (Which is HUGE, by the way...) teems with bizarre creatures, many of which look like they've been inspired by my childhood favorite, Foldees, two animals melded together. I just this minute realized that's why the game's called what it is...

Some of the chimeras are normal-size, some are big, some are gigantic!  There's a heirarchy - giant, grand, noble... I haven't got the order straight in my mind, yet. I've watched plenty of fights, where players try to take the monsters down, but I'm not even clear on what happens if they succeed. I thought it was about loot but half the gameplay seems to revolve around catching creatures and feeding them to others. I haven't ventured into the eugenics of it all but it's coming.

For now, I'm quite happy exploring and taking pictures of everything I see. I'm a sucker for luscious, brightly-colored foliage in video games and for lens flare. Seriously, lens flare's like a drug to me. And who doesn't like a technicolor sunset? Chimeraland is top of the range on all of those.

Then there are the houses. I'm very pleased what I've built so far. My riverside home is tasteful and understated, or so I like to think. It's also a lot better-looking than most of the eyesores nearby. As I travel the lands, however, I'm constantly reminded of just what a shack it really is. That's not my house, below, by the way. I can only wish it was.

Chimeraland has a very interesting progression system for housing. It's not quite like anything I remember seeing before. You can't just settle down to mining and treefelling, storing up stacks of materials to build the castles of your dreams. You have to follow a plan, of a kind.

Housing levels up just like you do and each level has a cap for how many blocks you can place. Leveling up requires you to have a certain set of materials, increasing in both quantity and quality each time, plus enough "build points" invested in the structure you've already created. My housing's at level eight now and leveling further is becoming decidely non-trivial. I have a lot of work ahead of me if I'm going to build my dream home. 

I'm determined to keep at it. Chimeraland might not have the best housing system I've seen but it's up there. It manages to combine the free build flexibility I loved in Landmark with the hand-holding simplicity of snap-together parts that made Valheim's housing so addictive. 

I can also see, as the days tick by, how much more there might be to come. Just last night I started to notice splashes of color in the neighborhood, homes that were drab wood and plain stone suddenly coming to life with bright painted finishes. Every housing level opens up new options and possibilites.

The initial "this is so easy!" rush has faded. My character is level 25 now and according to the tool tips the server I'm on has a level cap of 44. I have no idea if that's the current max level or if different servers have different rulesets. 

I'll have to find that out at some point but for now it doesn't really matter. I have no immediate plans to push into whatever the endgame might be. I'm a lot more interested in seeing the world, working on my house and collecting more pets and companions (Or "Assistants", as I think they're called in the game.)

I also want to make a few more characters. I don't even know how many you're allowed. Even though the advice at character creation assures you it won't make any difference which race you pick or which continent you choose, I can't help feeling that can't be true. Every hill will have something new to see on the other side and every character will experience the world slightly differently.

For an explorer, that is the endgame.


  1. You make me wanna try this out on my PC. Cool beans. :D

    1. It's free so why not? I wasn't expecting anything from it and here I am, still playing a couple of weeks later.


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