My progress for this month: Fnord’s profile

Because I’m terrible with keeping things like “currently playing” and my future plans consistent and up to date, I’ll just simplify things and make a list of my progress for the month, until I can come up with a good system.

If anyone is curious about my complete backlog, it can be found here

Games beaten
Transformers: War for Cybertron
Megarace

Games dropped


Dang it, forgot to select the option that makes it clear that these are clicky! All of these are clicky, so if you want to see a mini-review, just click on them.

Heroes of Hammerwatch

42.4 hours, 26 of 92 achievements

Heroes of Hammerwatch is yet another rogue-lite, with randomly generated levels, persistent upgrades and all that jazz. There are loads of them on steam, I've lost track of how many I have in my steam library at this point, and I only have a fraction of all the ones on steam.

Heroes of Hammerwatch is also very good. It gives a nice sense of progression, and each region feels really distinct from each other, so there's a good amount of variety in the game, which really helps when you're going to end up replaying the same areas more than a few times. The game also does a really good job with the different characters. They feel distinct from each other and have their own playstyles, which gives the game a lot of replay value. This game is also not overly punishing. While it's not a cake walk, just getting through to the end is realistic, and it does offer you several crutches, in case you get stuck. Grinding for permanent upgrades is of course one thing you can do, but passing certain milestones with each class gives you a permanent buff to all classes, depending on the class you played (so for an example, beating a few bosses with the Paladin will give you a permanent armour boost to everyone).

And finally, this is a really nice co-op game. While it does not have a whole lot of unique co-op mechanics & interactions, the way the game is structured makes it work well in co-op. Working as a team really speeds things up.


Pyre

8 hours, no achievements

I was worried that Pyre would end up being boring when I first heard about it. It's a VN mixed with basketball, and I don't like basketball games, and I don't tend to care much for VNs either. But Pyre was good. Really good actually. You're playing the manager of a team of outcasts, who were exiled from their homes due to some crimes they had committed, and only by doing the "trials" can they escape. And so you go from match to match, face off against an opposing team, and between the matches you have somewhat lengthy dialogue sections where you get to know the characters. And the characters are compelling, they all feel fleshed out and interesting in their own ways.

I don't want to spoil the story here, but one thing that does harm it a bit is the games lack of difficulty. Losing a match does not mean game over, the game seems to want you to persist, even when the goings get tough. There's just one problem, I was never close to losing a match, not even once. And that harms the game because that aspect of the story does not work with the gameplay. And before anyone asks, yes, I did have several of those "challenges" that you can activate later going at once.


Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear

20 hours, 39 of 68 achievements

An expansion for a game from 1998? Sure!

Siege of Dragonspear is an expansion to the classic CRPG Baldur's Gate, and it takes place almost directly after BG1 ends (so before BG2). So this story has no real impact on the overall BG plot.

Siege of Dragonspear is weird. You can tell that it was not made by the original team, as the style of writing is different, and the encounter design is very different from the original game. The encounter design actually reminds me more of Icewind Dale than Baldur's Gate (that's not a bad thing, I think IWD has superior encounter design). As for the writing, it's a bit hit or miss. I was never a big fan of Jaheira's 4th wall breaking comments, and they play this up a bit more. Only instead of being a direct 4th wall breaking comment, they make weird and unnecessary references, like one character might randomly quote the Beatles as her "idle" chatter.

4th wall breaking stuff aside, it's still pretty good. The conflict feels interesting, and fits in pretty well with the setting. And most of the side quests are given more backstory here than they did in the base game, it's not just random person needs you to do minor tasks, many of the side quests are given a fare bit of backstory, so in this regard it's more like BG2.

I think that's how I would sum this up. This does not feel like Baldur's Gate 1, it feels like a mix between BG2 and IWD, with some minor unnecessary things thrown in.

Oh, and if you're worried about the rumored "pushing a political agenda" thing…. there's one trans person in the game, they tell you about it in like 8 lines of dialogue, and that's only if you ask them about the significance of one of their possessions that you help them retrieve. People are just looking for an excuse to complain, it seems… Trans people exists in the real world, they existed back in the middle ages as well, I don't see how including one is in itself pushing a political agenda.


Age of Wonders 3

63.5 hours, 36 of 74 achievements

This is a game I started all the way back in 2014, and I beat the first campaign (both endings) in 2018. And now I beat the second campaign (both endings)!

I don't know why it ended up taking me so long, it's a great game. I guess the fact that these are some beefy campaigns might have been the issue. But I had no issues with playing the odd random map from time to time.

AoW 3 is a turnbased strategy game, in the same general vein as Heroes of Might and Magic or Masters of Magic. And it's a darn good one at that. While the main story is nothing to really write home about, the gameplay is great. Unlike HoMM (well, I guess apart from 4) your heroes are units on the battlefield, who level up and get stronger, and this gives a nice sense of progression to the game. You've also got a very nice amount of variety between different "classes". And that's one of the things that sets AoW 3 apart, you've got race and class here. Race are things like goblin, elf, orc and so on, and class gives you a set of different units and spells. All the races play the same and have the same set of units apart from one unique unit, but the units have slightly different stats and abilities (an orc will hit harder in melee but have lower magic resistance, a dwarf can cross mountains and so on), and then you've got the class which is the main thing that decides how you'll play, and the exact stats of the class specific units are also modified by race (an engineer has a blunderbuss (ranged weapon) and repairs mechanical units, but an orc engineer also hits a bit harder in melee, and a dwarf engineer can still cross mountains). All of this adds up to quite a bit of replay value for the skirmish maps.

I would say that AoW 3 is one of the best games of its kind. Well worth playing, and if you were one of the people who grabbed it when it was free, then give it a shot!


It’s been a little while since my last roundup post. This has not been the most productive backlog-tackling month… Still, I beat two decently-sized games. Well, one game, and one DLC.

Age of Empires 2: Rise of the Rajas

16.1 hours, no achievements

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The final DLC for Age of Empires 2, Rise of the Rajas deals with east Asia. 4 new civilizations (Malay, Burmese, Khmer & Vietnamese), and 4 new campaigns, all of which are quite good. Malay as a civilization is up there among my favourite AoE 2 civs in terms of just how fun they are to play.
In my last post, I talked about the African Kingdoms expansion, and a lot of what I said there still holds true here, the campaigns are better than those in the base game, and more inventive in general. And unlike African Kingdoms, the campaigns seem to have been better tested and polished in general. Units did not get stuck, and I did not find any leftovers from early versions of the levels. So thumbs up for this expansion, it's great!


Alicia Quatermain: Secrets Of The Lost Treasures

4.4 hours, 20 of 20 achievements

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This is yet another time management game in the vein of 12 Labours of Hercules. In fact, this is pretty much just a reskin. Yes, there are a few details that are different between them, but they are still really similar. I thought this one felt slightly worse than the Hercules games though, the levels felt like they were a little bit more haphazardly made.

At first when I noticed that the bad guys were basically Nazis without swastika (look at the obvious villain on the store page for this game) I could not help but sigh. Making the bad guys Nazis and just leaving it like that is generally just a sign of someone having no imagination. but then it dawned upon me that the main character is more or less a female Indiana Jones, and then it made sense. So I'll give them a pass on that one.


Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced edition

35 hours, 36 of 129 achievements

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It's been ages since I played the original BG, apart from a false start I had a few years back. And this was the first time I really got to experience both the Enhanced Edition content and the Tales of the Sword Coast expansion (which I did not have back when I played through the game for the first time).

BG still holds up surprisingly well. It has a few design issues, the balance is really poor and so on, but it's still fun. The main issue with Baldur's Gate is just that Baldur's Gate 2 does pretty much everything better, which makes this game look a bit worse in retrospect. Pillars of Eternity & Tyranny also both dodged some of the issues that this game has.

The main story is actually not all that good. You've lived your life in a secluded keep where the inhabitants were more keen on studying books and discussing things with each other than to go out into the outside world. One day your foster-father tells you that you need to leave, and so you do. Just outside you get attacked by an armoured man who kills your foster-father, and you now need to find out what's going on. And like any good RPG you quickly get distracted and start exploring random dungeons and tombs, and help farmers who have lost their cows. In terms of gameplay, the game is at least solid. Combat is tactical, you've got a wide range of options and the enemy mostly follows the same rules as you.

I did have a lot of fun with BG, despite knowing the story, and the Enhanced Edition content was mostly quite good (even though one of the new characters was super weak through most of the game. Monks in AD&D are among the weakest characters at low levels, and only get decent at around the max level that BG allows). And as for Tales of the Sword coast, the new areas were generally very good (apart from an over-reliance on traps, which is one of the things I never found to be very well implemented in the games that use this engine), but they were not really integrated into the main game in a way that made much sense. For an example you end up taking a long journey out at sea for some reason, even though your mission on the mainland is (supposedly) quite urgent.


Dinocide

1.3 hours, no achievements

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Do you like Adventure Island or the older Wonder Boy games? Then this game is for you! It's very similar to those old games. You need to constantly be moving forward, and picking up food, or otherwise your character will die. There's a meter on screen that tells you how close to starvation you are and every time you pick up something to eat it fills up a bit. The main difference between this and those old games is really the controls. Where in Adventure Island, the controls were overly slippery, here they are a bit too stiff. The levels are also a bit more complex. But the fundamentals are still the same.

This game is quite alright, but I feel that the price is too high for what you get. 10€ for a short, rather simplistic 2D platformer is too much to ask these days, even if the game does have a bit of replay value due to branching paths. This is the kind of game that's worth playing if you get it in a bundle, but it's not worth buying even for 5€.


Dream Tale

0.8 hours, no achievements

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Dream Tale is a simple 2D platformer about a child with a big head that's dealing with loss. I think. It fits the mold for those at least.

The gimmick in this game is that different types of stars give you different abilities. Some lets you jump in the air, others let you hover, and each have a limited amount of uses, but you can refill them by touching another star of the same type. It works alright, not really to complain about, even if the hit detection felt a bit sloppy.
The biggest gripe I have with this game is that you're expected to scour each level for keys, and you need to find them to progress. You can beat a level without finding the key needed, and in fact many levels have multiple different paths, which are mutually exclusive, and only one will have the key, so you'll have to replay levels several times. Had the keys unlocked optional stuff I would have been fine with it, but to be frank, I don't think this game is good enough to warrant replaying levels several times just to get those keys.


Third mini-rant:

Don’t you hate it when games force you to go back and do secondary objectives in order to progress? You’re at level 20 and suddenly the game puts up a roadblock and says “hey, you’ve not got enough secondary objectives done in the previous levels. Now go back and do those!” And worse yet when each level have multiple paths through and you need to just guess which one has the secondary objective in it, so you’ll need to replay the level several times just to find it.

I’m perfectly fine with games hiding bonus levels, upgrades, or other such things behind secondary objectives, but I never liked it when the primary path requires you to go back to replay past levels just in order to be able to go forward.

Note that I’m not complaining about things like how the stars work in Super Mario 64, where each level has multiple objectives, each giving you a star, and you needing a certain number of stars to unlock the next part, that’s a different thing. I’m talking about things like when games have regular levels, and each level has say an objective where you need to find a certain object, get a certain number of points and killing a certain number of enemies, and the game forces you to have to have completed an average of 2/3 secondary objectives on each level in order to progress

So the big steam sale is over, and I guess it’s time to make a steam sale haul post! This is the smallest one I think I’ve ever made. The sale did not exactly inspire me to spend much money.

  • Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear
    Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear

    0 hours playtime

    no achievements

  • The Room Three
    The Room Three

    0 hours playtime

    no achievements

  • Heroes of Hammerwatch: Pyramid of Prophecy
    Heroes of Hammerwatch: Pyramid of Prophecy

    0 hours playtime

    no achievements

  • Crowtel Renovations
    Crowtel Renovations

    0 hours playtime

    no achievements

So, just 4 things, of which 2 were DLCs.
I’ve been meaning to pick up Siege of Dragonspear for a while now, and now I finally did it. I’ve started a new Baldur’s Gate character already, and will be doing a complete playthrough of both the base game, the original Tales from the Sword Coast expansion, plus Siege of Dragonspear. I’ve played through Baldur’s gate once before, but it was without any expansions (I even have my CDs in that original paper case they came in)
The Room Three is, as the name implies, a sequel to The Room Two, and at that low price, it was hard to resist. Both The Room 1 & 2 were really fun puzzle games.
Heroes of Hammerwatch has been a game I’ve played a fare bit recently in co-op, and this DLC adds a new area plus a new class. The discount was not amazing, but Heroes of Hammerwatch has been fun enough that it’s still probably worth it.
And finally Crowtell renovations, which is a cute looking platformer that was removed from Steam a few years back after the developer submitted a summer sale discount a day or two too late, and Valve chose to nuke the game from the storefront instead of just not applying the discount, and then seemingly refused to talk to the dev (valve don’t take actions if
developers who post fake reviews, or actual harmful software get back on the storefront, saying that everyone deserves a second or third chance… but submit your discount a day too late and you’re the devil!). The game looks quite fun, and now I’ll finally be able to play it

  • Ms. Splosion Man
    Ms. Splosion Man

    0 hours playtime

    no achievements

Well that’s annoying. This month’s theme seemed like a great time to play one of my older won games that I’ve not got around to yet. Turned out that despite this game supposedly switching from GFWL to Steamworks in 2014, it still starts GFWL, and that does not play nice with Win10! So the game just locks up and I need to kill the process. Great. Guess I’ll not be able to beat this one then.

It’s been a little while since my last post, but I managed to beat some more substantial games this time around. Well, the most time consuming one was actually a DLC for an ancient game, but still.

Age of Empires 2: The African Kingdoms

20 hours, no achievements

It's impressive that a game this old is getting more expansions, but African Kingdoms is a relatively recent one, that gives you 4 more campaigns and 4 more civilizations. And this is good stuff actually! The two sub-sharan civilizations are among my all time favourite AoE 2 civs, as they're both flexible, but in different ways.

The 4 new campaigns are generally quite strong. They're better than the campaigns in the base game, and I would say that they're better than the campaigns in the first expansion, if not for one thing: They seem to be rather poorly tested. Conceptually many of the levels are great, but I found spots where units can get stuck, I found what I guess is leftovers from previous iterations of the levels and so on, and that's clearly not great. They're still well worth playing for anyone who has an interest in AoE 2 though. And it's nice to finally see a game deal with sub-Saharan Africa without it either being set during the modern or colonial era.


Kult: Heretic Kingdoms/Heretic Kingdoms: The Inquisition

13 hours, no achievements

Kult: Heretic Kingdoms or heretic Kingdoms: The Inquisition, depending on where you're from, is an old ARPG with an interesting twist. You're playing as an inquisitor in a fantasy kingdom, only you're not really an inquisitor in the traditional sense. Your job is to prevent any religion from taking root. And the game makes comments on this. It's refreshing to see a game actually talk about religion and religious views in a way that's actually rather sensible. Because this game does take a stance. It does not like dogma, and it's also critical of those who try to force their views on religion on others.

The game has two neat gimmicks. The first is that you can travel to the "spirit world" with the press of a button. The spirit world is simply mirroring the regular world, but most creatures in the regular world can't directly interfere with the spirit world, and the reverse is also true. Some creatures are able to exist in both at the same time though. The spirit world becomes a useful tool for dodging enemies, and in some battles you're encouraged to move in and out of it frequently.
The second gimmick is the "attunement system", which basically works like equipment did in FF 9, in that each piece has a skill attached to it, and by fighting while wearing that equipment you'll permanently learn that skill. Then you've got a limited number of slots for those skills, and you're encouraged to experiment a bit to find good combinations. By the end of the game I had managed to create a combination that was completely broken though. No armour (makes you attack faster), with a powerful bow, a skill that made me crit more often, a skill that made it so that I had a chance to stun enemies that I crit, and a skill that made it so that if I crit, I have 100% crit chance until I miss. This kind of broke the game…
I liked Kult. It's not a flawless game by any means, but it's fun. Well worth playing for ARPG fans at the very least.


OPUS: The Day We Found Earth

1.5 hours, 19 of 31 achievements

OPUS is a cute and rather short puzzle game, where you're playing as a robot who needs to scan solar systems in order to find Earth. You've got a bunch of candidates, and as you complete one a new one gets unlocked. And these all come with a clue, that gets progressively more vague as you go along. Early on the game might say "Look at these coordinates" and towards the end you get relative positions. It's never particularly challenging, but the game also tells a compelling story, which really makes the game worth playing.


iBomber Defense Pacific

4.1 hours, 17 of 25 achievements

It's a tower defense game. You know how these work. Enemies wander towards your base, you build towers along their path, and try to kill them before they reach your base. Rinse and repeat. Each level is basically a small puzzle, and you need to be efficient with your towers. There's nothing particularly great about this game, but nor is there anything particularly bad. It's just yet another tower defense game.


The Walking Dead: The Final Season

0 hours, no achievements

It's a massive bummer that this ended up being Telltale's last game, as they're showing some great improvements here. This is the first game since the first TWD that actually innovates. You've got some more interactive gameplay segments, you've got more exploration and so on. Don't get me wrong, this is still very much a Telltale game, it does not change the core gameplay, but it does tweak it. There's one thing I don't think was good about their changes though, and that's the introduction of collectibles. While collectibles is not inherently a bad thing, the implementation actually spoiled parts of the game.

This really is the final season, at least for Clementine and co. You get an ending, a proper ending that does not feel like it's building up to something else (unlike the last game, which very much felt like it). Clementine is 16 here, she's been caring for A.J since the second game, and he is starting to grow up a bit. So this game is focused on that, it's focused on who A.J. is becoming, and the effects of raising a child in such a harsh world. And for the most part it does a very good job at it. I can believe that A.J. really did go through a lot, he did learn different values than those who got to experience the world before the zombies, and it's interesting to see how others react to it.
This story is also more focused than Season 2, and that's a good thing. Geographically this game covers a very small area, and you get to know it in a way that you never could in Season 1 or 2. And this also means that characters are not really introduced and killed at a rapid pace either, instead you get to know a few key characters, and you get to see what these last 8 or so years have done to them.

This is a top notch game, a must play for those who liked the previous TWD games


Maybe I should give the TWD comic a try? I’ve got a few issues of it on humble.

I think I’ll give up on this month’s theme. The dropped game for this update really made me lose any and all motivation to play any more boat games. And can you believe this was the fixed version, and that the original was even worse? Now I’m almost curious about how broken that game was!

Squidlit

0.6 hours, 3 of 18 achievements

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A cute and very short little platforming game where you play as an octopus that needs to travel through some strange lands to save its village. As you might be able to tell, this game is quite heavily inspired by the original gameboy, and is using music and sound effects that it would be able to play, has a colour palette that's the same as the gameboy and even uses the same resolution. It's a simple gimmick, but it works. The only issue is that at some points some things blend in with the background, but it's not a common issue. Overall, this game was quite fun. One of those super cheap steam games that are actually worth playing.


Star Wars Episode I: Racer

3 hours, no achievements
Origin version

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I had forgot just how fun this game was! Star Wars Episode I: Racer is by far the best thing to come out of the prequel trilogies, and it's even one of the best Star Wars games ever made, with only the KOTOR series being better (and even that's arguable). This is a Wipeout-style racing game, where you play as a very fast hovercraft that need to navigate some tricky levels. One thing that surprised me about it, apart from how well it ran on a modern machine, was how easy it was. I played through all the levels, including the 4 bonus levels, and I only did not get first place once, and it was on the second bonus level. So yeah, that I guess is a bit of a negative, but overall, this game was a blast to play.


Minecraft: Story Mode - A Telltale Games Series

13.1 hours, 50 of 50 achievements
Well this was a bad idea

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What would you expect from Telltale making a Minecraft-based adventure game? Probably something better than this, to be honest.

Minecraft: Story Mode uses the very typical Telltale formula, set by The Walking Dead. It's clearly a game meant for a slightly younger audience, with a rather simple "save the world" main story. It does get a bit dark at times, and there are a few jokes that kids won't get (like they talk about dropping the f-bomb, that is to say the "Formidi-Bomb"). Had this been all there was to it, Minecraft: Story Mode would have been an inoffensive, but not very good game, with some charming scenes, but an otherwise forgettable story, but it had some major issues. Namely a plethora of bugs, and a story choice that I think was made because the first episode was free.
-Dialogue keeps cutting off. This is kind of serious in a story-driven game, when plot-important dialogue cuts off constantly. This was at its worst during episode 1, but it kept being an issue through the entire game.
-Flickering textures & models. This was a more common issue later, but there were some serious issues with flickering models & textures.
-Disappearing models. This mostly happened in the first DLC episode, where a cutscene that was meant to hold nearly 10 character models could end up only having 2-3.
-Characters "warping" from place to place. This happened during a bunch of cutscenes, most of which were from the DLC, where instead of walking from one place, characters would just instantly "warp" from one location to another. This was always a short distance, but it was still jarring.
-Facial animations were buggy. This was particularly true for bearded characters.
-The game would suddenly stop letting me interact with objects, which also happened when I re-loaded my save-file. Only way to fix this was to "rewind" to an earlier point in the chapter (at least the game let you do this). This was entirely limited to the first DLC chapter, but it happened twice there.
-The game would suddenly decide that all hotspots in a scene were for the same thing. If you had lava, a pig, a sheep and a door in a scene, the game could suddenly decide that no matter which hotspot you were trying to interact with, it would be the pig. This mostly happened in episode 5.
-Sometimes audio de-synced

I hope I got all of them. This game was in other words nearly as buggy as Telltale's Jurassic Park, and I was really tempted to moving it into my "broken" category on steam and never look at it again.

And about the story issue. The main story is limited to episode 1-4, with episode 1 going out with a real bang. But from hereon it would be quite hard to actually keep things interesting through 5 chapters. It would have been better to leave the end of episode 1 to around the halfway point of episode 2. Instead episode 5 is just setting up the DLC.

Overall, I would say that this is a safe skip. Had the game not been such a broken mess, I would have said that it might be fun for a child (one old enough to watch movies like Disney's The Hunchback in Notre Dame, but good grief, it's like Telltale was trying to make this their most broken game yet.


Vendetta - Curse of Raven's Cry

2 hours, 1 of 58 achievements
And I guess this one was worse...

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From one broken mess to another. Vendetta actually starts pretty alright, and showcases some good ship to ship combat, that is a bit more complex than what Assassin's Creed: Black Flag had to offer. But it's all downhill from there. The main character's voice acting is "alright", as is the main supporting character, but then after a little while you run into someone who seem's to have recorded their lines using a lower mid-range gaming headset in their bedroom. Combat also turns out to be rather problematic, as the game flat out refuses to detect hits against enemies who stand on any kind of sloped surface. Yep, if the enemy is standing on some stairs, or on a gently sloped gravel path or anything like that, you can't hit it! Also, combat against multiple enemies is pretty much broken, as the camera keeps spazzing out and even if you target on specific enemy, the camera will still start panning rapidly between enemies.
And this combat is supposedly greatly improved compared to the games original release! It should be noted that the original release of this game is sitting at a metacritic score of 27/100. And really, that's more than this release of the game deserves. Even Ride to Hell: Retribution works better than this thing, and I had to stop playing Ride to Hell because the game would not load in the stairs for a staircase.


A bit over a week later, and it’s time for another post! I’ve got a really questionable game this time around, one I’m not sure was worth the time I put into it… Two of the games this time around also had a really annoying heartbeat sound that was used to indicate being damaged. Both of those games were incidentally from 2007!

Rot Gut

0.4 hours, 9 of 9 achievements

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Rot Gut is a simple 2D platformer set during the 1920. You're some agent who needs to shoot up evil gangsters or something. It's about as simple as it sounds, and the game is really short. I could not get my gamepad to work with it, but the keyboard controls are good enough, and the game is just generally very easy. The game is fun enough, worth a playthrough if you got it in a bundle or very cheap, but nothing worth going out of your way for.


kuso

0.6 hours, 0 of 25 achievements

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I managed to get 0 achievements during my playthrough of this game!

If you played LOVE, you know exactly what this game is about. It's more of the same. kuso is a 2D platformer that's both very punishing, and forgiving at the same time. Your goal is to simple make it through a gauntlet of different stage hazards, where a single hit kills you. You can place down respawn points on any solid ground, which is what makes it so forgiving. I enjoyed this game, much like I enjoyed LOVE, but it's a very short playthrough (this game also has some levels from the original game, but it lets you chose if you want to play through just the new levels, or all of them, and I just beat the new levels).


Hard to be a god

24.8 hours, no achievements

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This is a very "questionable" RPG, based on a famous Russian sci-fi novel.
I wrote a review for it if you're interested in more details, but the short of it is that this game is not very good. It's very buggy, and the translation is absolutely atrocious. It was oddly compelling at times, but the second half of this game is a real slog. Also, this game has a really annoying heartbeat sound when you're wounded


The Sea Will Claim Everything

2.9 hours, 12 of 19 achievements

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The Sea will claim Everything is a short Point & Click adventure, that's very dialogue heavy. Some of the dialogue is genuinely very entertaining, and the whole game has this surreal sense to it that I really enjoyed. Sadly the actual puzzle solving leaves a bit to be desired, and some of the pixel hunting you need to do, while hardly the hardest ever, felt like it just slowed down the game a bit too much. This is the kind of game that might well be best played with a guide. Not one you follow to the letter, mind you, doing a bit of exploration and talking to the stranger creatures that inhabits this world is a must, but having a guide that helps you past some of the pixel hunting would be a good thing.


Disney Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End

3.9 hours, no achievements
Why is the pirate gay?

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The second game in this update that had a really annoying heartbeat sound that was meant to indicate damage!

Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds' End is a mediocre game based on an even more mediocre movie. I remember watching the movie at the cinema, and being mostly bored. Well, this game is also mostly kind of boring. It has an alright combat system, the issue has to do with the encounter design, which remains pretty much identical through the entire game. You've got next to no actual variety with the enemies , and only on a few occasions are there stage hazards that could get in the way (and these generally did not make things more fun). If you've not seen the movie, the story to this game will seem completely disjointed, as I think they've cut out a lot of intended cutscenes. Considering the cast of the movie are not actually voicing the characters here, they don't have the excuse of not having access to the cast, they just skipped a lot of scenes between the levels, which makes the story make absolutely no sense.

Also, in regards to the "Why is the pirate gay?" thing, that was something that the Disney higher ups actually asked when they made the first movie. They did not get Jack Sparrow, they thought Johnny Depp was playing a gay character, when what he in actually was doing was playing a washed up rockstar (his reasoning was that pirate captains were basically the rockstars of the era, so he should act like a washed up rockstar).
Oh Johnny, how far you fell. He really added a lot with his ideas to the first movie, and seemed to have been a key part in the creative process, while in the last movie he could not even be bothered to show up on time, and did not want to learn his lines, so he had an earpiece, and was told his lines through that. He also seems to have turned into a rather abusive and unlikable person.

It's also funny how the higher ups at Disney had already decided that pirate movies would always flop, and even when the shooting was pretty much done (which had to be done behind their backs for the most part), they wanted to cancel the movie, because they "knew it would fail". And somehow the lesson they got from this movie was not "making good movies with actors who do their job well is likely to earn them some success", what they "learnt" from making this movie was "Giving Johnny Depp stupid hats is a recipe for success". Hence why we got things like The Lone Ranger.

You know, the things going on behind the scenes of the Pirates movies, and the business side of it is a lot more interesting than this game ever had the chance to be. It really highlights how the higher ups in the entertainment industry really don't "get it". They're pretty much always looking for simple answers. "Movie was successful-> it was because Johnny Depp had a stupid hat", "Movie was unsuccessful->This entire genre of movies is dead, nobody wants to see them anymore"! It's the exact same thing with the video game industry.

And that was a needlessly long explanation about something that was only tangentially related to the game


Tiny Guardians

3.5 hours, 4 of 16 achievements

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I've had this game installed for about 3 months, playing a level here and there. There's not a whole lot to say about this game, really. You play as a wizard that slowly wanders across a level, and you summon different "guardians" to protect you. It's like a mobile tower defense game, with many of the mechanics you would expect from a regular TD. It's fun, but nothing exceptional.


Rock of Ages

6.9 hours, 12 of 19 achievements
Think this might be the longest time between starting and beating a game ever for me (without starting anew)

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I started this game back in 2012, and now finally decided to actually beat it!

Rock of Ages is a weird one. Imagine Super Monkey Ball, only with RTS elements, set in a world seemingly inspired by the animations made by Terry Gilliams (Monty Python). You roll the ball down a hill, avoiding obstacles, until you hit he enemy gate. Then repeat the process until the enemy gate is down. The enemy is trying to do the exact same thing to you. Between bouts of rolling downhill, you place traps & structures on your opponent's side, trying to slow them down and hopefully even breaking their rock.

It's fun. Really fun actually, and the animated sequences between levels often made me smile due to how silly they were. It's also a rather fun competitive multiplayer game (which is why I first got the game, back in 2012).


The Walking Dead: A New Frontier

0 hours, no achievements
Non-steam version

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The third season of The Walking Dead feels like a mild return to form for Telltale. Unlike many other games released during this time period, it actually feels like this one was given the proper care and attention (you had no weird rotating necks, no things done out of sync with the music, no strange clipping issues and so on). That said, it's still not Telltale's finest. This one takes place a while after the events of Season 2, and you mostly follow a brand new cast of characters, although it's no spoiler that Clementine is in the game (she's even in the banner image!).

I liked this one more than Season 2. This game does not feel the need to move at quick the same break-neck speed, and you get enough time to really get to know the characters. There's less zombie killing, and more talking, and I think that that is a good thing. The characters are also more consistently written here than in S2.

You play as Javier, who's been spending the time after the zombie apocalypse with his brother's wife & kids. They've been on the road for so long, and it's wearing on them. Things do, as they tend to do in stories like this, quickly go south for them, when they come into contact with new people, and they need to figure out what they actually want to do, where they want to go.

To me, this game feels like another side story. The events here do at most feel like they're setting up the events of Season 4, they're not really advancing the plot to any major degree. That said, it's not bad. While I did not care as much about the characters here as I did with Clem & Lee in the first game, they were still human enough, and sympathetic enough that I wanted them to succeed.

While the game feels quite polished, you can tell that they're pushing the engine a bit too far. Everything close to the camera looks nice, but the zombie hordes, and any motion in the background had a tendency of looking weird. There was only once odd instance of a character not moving its mouth. It's not an important character, but he's close to the camera on two occasions, yet he keeps his mouth completely shut the entire time. I guess they never actually made the character model so it could open its mouth, but it looked weird. If he had been a dedicated background character, then fine, but the way he was used ended up taking me out of it.
They also seemingly re-use one location as two different ones. I can't swear they do it, but they looked similar enough that I strongly suspect they did.

Still, if you liked TWD S1, I would recommend this one.


Speaking of The Walking Dead, I’ve had the closest thing to a movie & TV series binge that I’ve had in ages (a decade or more!) in the last few months. Since November last year I’ve managed to watch 4 movies and 2 seasons of a TV show. That’s about 3 movies and 2 seasons more than I usually watch. And they’ve all been zombie-related.

Fear the Walking Dead Season 1: This one showed how the zombie invasion started, You get to see the daily lives of people, as the events are slowly set in motion. This was interesting. It was a short season, at 6 episodes, and that felt just about right. Heck, they could probably have managed to make it a little bit shorter even, but still, 6 episodes was a good length. Not a whole lot of padding, enough time for you to get to know the characters, and it was interesting seeing how things started.

Fear the Walking Dead Season 2. Welcome to padding city! This was 15 episodes, and it should have been 5. There was so much filler material. It also had a scene that reminded me of this scene from Austin Powers, where a couple of people drove up to shoot at a bunch of zombies, starting quite far away from them as the zombie horde slowly shuffled towards them, and one of them decides that he needs to reload his gun, and just stands there, not even thinking of walking away from the zombies when they’re within arm’s reach. He did of course get eaten. It was just so silly that it made me laugh at it.

Night of the Living Dead The classic zombie movie that kind of cemented what we think of as zombies today. I expected to turn it off after 30min, and never go back to it, as it’s an ancient black & white zombie movie. How good can it be anyway? Turned out, really quite good. Romero was smart enough to focus on the people, and not the zombies. Yes, it has its scenes where it shows its age, but I genuinely thought this was a very good movie.

Dawn of the Dead The most famous of Romero’s zombie movies, and one I’m far more torn on than Night of the Living Dead. When it works, it’s quite good. I liked how the movie started, and I liked the scenes we got in the mall, when the characters are settling in, and trying to decide what to do. But it was tonally quite inconsistent. We had another Austin Powers scene here, well kind of. During a zombie invasion one character in a sombrero just decided to strap himself into a machine that measures your blood pressure, even though he’s surrounded by zombies. That was the worst scene, but it had a few others that ended up just being silly, in a way that did not fit the movie.

Day of the Dead the darkest of the movies thus far. The earth has been overrun by zombies, and you get to follow a small band of people living in a bunker. Tension rise between the soldiers, and the scientists, and you get scenes that makes you wonder if the zombies really are the real monsters here…
This one was more consistent than Dawn of the Dead, but also less interesting. It’s a perfectly fine movie, one I did not mind watching, but it was not good enough as to prevent my mind from wandering.

World War Z. What a complete piece of utter garbage this movie was. It does not really care about introducing its characters, and its reason for having the character fly around the world is so flimsy and out of character for the movie that the RPG adventures I wrote when I was 10 were better put together, more consistent and made more sense. Also, they could not even get the zombies consistent. Why are the zombies played by real actors completely different from the CG zombies? And why does the CG zombie movement seem so “weightless”? This zombie makes the Resident Evil film series seem like consistent masterpieces in comparison (and the Resident Evil series is not good…)

Sword of the Samurai

2.7 hours, no achievements

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I wrote a review for this on steam.

It's really quite good. Graphics might not be great, but it's a fun game!


Warhammer 40,000: Armageddon - Ork Hunters

8.2 hours, no achievements
SG Win

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I wrote a review for this one as well!

It's also quite good. Actually, I would argue that this DLC is better than the base game!


GOD EATER RESURRECTION

2 hours, 4 of 33 achievements

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This game was frankly just boring. The game is on a very short loop. Get a bit of story, do a <5min mission where you fight a few monsters, back to base, get a bit of story, go out on a <5min mission when you fight a few monsters, rinse and repeat. After 2h of this, I just gave up. It was not fun, I did not particularly enjoy the combat (fighting monsters with oversized weapons "should" be fun, but these monsters are not even particularly solid, as in their hitboxes don't really match their models and your character can end up just standing inside them). Also, the game loved just telling me how hot one of the women was. Every character just kept blabbering on about how hot she was. Something tells me that she will die at some point, and I'm supposed to find it sad because she's hot, or something (of course this is a game, so "hot" in this context means that she has big breasts and wears clothes that would be better suited for a trendy expensive night club during the summer than clothes that you would use when fighting monsters)


Spiritual Warfare & Wisdom Tree Collection

0.4 hours, no achievements

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Christian propaganda games. I made a post about these. Needless to say, they're not good.


Сartoonway: Mini Cars

0.1 hours, 8 of 54 achievements

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A boring endless runner with alright graphics. The biggest issue with this game is that the music is on a very short loop, and it's rather annoying. The game also has some cyrillic text in it in its interface (which frankly is not a huge issue). Not a great localization. Other than that it's just a bit dull.


RIP

0.2 hours, no achievements

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You control a turret that sits in the middle of a field and you shoot incoming enemies. That's it. It's rather boring, and feels like a flash game from Newgrounds.


Bad Bots

0.9 hours, no achievements

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At first, this game was not so bad. It was an alright 2D platformer. Damage avoidance was hard, and the game compensated for that by just giving you an ungodly amount of health, which is not really the sign of a good game, but it was not terrible or anything. Enemy variety was kind of low, but that was also fine. Then game the "arena rooms". Before the arena rooms the game gives you boatloads of ammo, to the points where I wondered why it even bothered with an ammo system to begin with. And then the first arena room hits, about 40 min in and you get swarmed by loads of basic enemies. It was intense, and while the over-reliance on massive health rather than damage avoidance combined with questionable hit detection made it far less fun than it should have been, I did not hate it. Then almost instantly thereafter comes the second one. Exact same enemies, but now it felt a bit easier. And then another one, but now the game kind of starts running out of energy, and instead of sending swarms of enemies it starts sending 2-3 at a time, and just draws it out after the initial rush. And directly after that another one, only now it sends 1-2 enemies at a time towards you! And you guessed it, another one directly after that, only now it's not even trying, and it just sends 1 enemy at a time at you, and makes it take a really long time. And then after that another one, and this is where I hit alt+f4.