Back once again for the... Renegade Master’s profile

My favorite game genres are RPGs, simulation/management/building, and turn based strategy or tactics, but I enjoy a variety of mostly single player games. Rocket League is my most played game on Steam that I still keep up with on occasion.
I’m a patient southern US gamer who buys bundles regularly and often gives away what I don’t want to SteamGifts groups like mine (Balancing Act Guild). On occasion I accept trade offers and may buy some games during seasonal sales.
My rig is evidently an upgraded gamer build from 2012: Intel i5-3570K, GTX 1060 6GB, 24 GB RAM (~7GB RAMDisk), Samsung 860 EVO 540 GB SSD, Seagate Barracuda HDD


October 2019 Progress Report

Gaming the first half of this month was okay, but I’ve really enjoyed the second half since I dipped into my November queue! Unfortunately I expect to have limited gameplay in the coming month due to travel plans and other IRL stuff that’s come up. This is a weird time in my life to say the least, but its great to have unwavering support of my family and even work.

End of October Stats

708 games (+22)
74% never played (-1%)
9% unfinished (+1%, +5 games)
12% beaten (+2 games)
2% completed (+1%, +1 games)
4% won’t play

Games I Beat

    Shark Attack Deathmatch 2

    Shark Attack Deathmatch 2

    12 hours playtime

    It brings a few additional elements to an FPS death match, but after playing every map its not very polished and seems DOA after leaving Early Access recently. Natural Selection seems to be a better choice for monster vs human death match based on reviews, though I’ve never played it.

Slay the Spire

Slay the Spire

28 hours
10 of 44 achievements

Easily one of the best card-based games I've ever played on PC! It was satisfying to beat the game the first time, and was a big reason why I didn't beat a couple other games this month. Its not perfect, but the game is well balanced and progression feels meaningful even if the number of unlocks per character is fixed. Daily challenges and custom games add great variety to gameplay. The only time I felt like rerolling an instance of RNG was when I was given the opportunity to Transform 3 cards, and I wanted to transform 1-3 curses in a daily challenge that gave me 5 curses by the time I reached the final boss. As long as I didn't progress to the next event, the outcome of the Transform action would not be saved.

Games I Completed!

    Glass Masquerade

    Glass Masquerade

    12 hours playtime

    Glass Masquerade: A chill puzzle game putting together stained glass clocks around the world. A great value for being in $1 bundles. Puzzles took an average of 10-20 minutes each to complete, and I learned that matching shapes (especially outside pieces) seemed to become more important than matching colors. Easy to 100% the achievements, which requires playing the demo DLC levels. If you already have most of the DLC like me, then you have to play the one from each DLC that is actually the demo.

Games I Got Stuck On

    Aporia: Beyond The Valley

    Aporia: Beyond The Valley

    9 hours playtime

    The first Crysis-engine game I’ve played is an FPS puzzle. It looks pretty good visually, but even with fully maxed settings seems not as visually crisp as some other AAA games within the last few years - Perhaps outdoors & nature are tougher to pull off. The “story” which isn’t told through voice or other people in your game world is somewhat interesting. I think I'm more than half way through, and I’ve gotten tired of watching a walkthrough to find other puzzles. The puzzle I’m on with the stone towers seems literally broken despite using techniques in a video and restarting the game & saves multiple times.

Concrete Jungle

Concrete Jungle

28 hours
3 of 23 achievements

A unique deck-building city builder that was engaging to start with. I got through the beginning levels but can't get past the first "versus" match with the AI. The abilities to add cards via "pick 1 from 4" and abilities while playing a match is mostly cool, but I think I'd rather have all the cards up front then unlock abilities as the match progresses. There's already so much strategy to placing buildings and choosing between the 2-3 buildings in your "hand", that having to choose which cards to add borders on overwhelming to me for some reason.

Games I’m Pausing for Now

    EARTH DEFENSE FORCE 4.1 The Shadow of New Despair

    EARTH DEFENSE FORCE 4.1 The Shadow of New Despair

    8 hours playtime

    Its a mindless arcade style third person shoot em up that looks like its from the late 1990s to early 2000s. Tons of weapon variety with what’s been unlocked so far, but can seem overwhelming in a way.  I played the first 10 levels, but as soon as I saw that the campaign includes 140+ levels, I was like "there's no way I'm playing all these missions without co-op". I got it from a Humble Monthly but so far it was not worth it for that game alone since I don’t play local co-op and I've had bad luck playing online. I have tried to join online matches on multiple occasions, but the hosts or other people in those matches wouldn't start the game despite me readying up. Its not like I won't play this game ever again, just that I got what I want out of it for now, and may revisit it later.

Pool Panic

Pool Panic

8 hours
5 of 32 achievements

The least realistic pool simulator that in many ways embodies a wild psychedelic trip through personification of billiard balls. There's more levels here than you can shake your pool cue at. I enjoyed the several hours I put into it, but despite the significant environmental mechanics and varied ball types I lost interest in it for now.

Phoning Home

Phoning Home

7 hours
11 of 52 achievements

This is not "Wall-E: The Game" because Wall-E had a lot more wonder & adventure than this survival game that can at times become about preventing rust and staying powered. The first couple of hours it was enjoyable to hear the dialog between the ship, my robot, and the environment. As long as you grab all resources that are near your path the crafting will seem less grindy. However after meeting the second robot (I'm not spoiling it, look at the thumbnail), I can see how many people would feel tied down & held back by the second robot who can slowly accumulate permanent rust if they don't have armor and don't stay in shelter during storms. Another personal annoyance is that I had to look at walkthroughs twice to figure out where to find resources or how to get the second robot to move/follow me initially. The environments are fine but there are some long stretches of "walking" that I think could've been cut in half to appreciate the ambiance instead of resenting how long its taking for you to get to the next waypoint.

Click each panel to see a short impression/review. Please excuse any formatting weirdness, as I’m new to web based BLAEO generators which by default occasionally added a review score that I attempted to remove via HTML. I can automate setup and teardown of enterprise cloud services, but my HTML-fu is weak, lol.

November 2019 Queue

If I play anything, it may be limited to some party games (like Jackbox) and the few cross platform games I have on mobile and PC, so that I can transfer progress between them: Door Kickers, Talisman, maybe Knights of Pen & Paper 2 Free Edition. I may not even do a mid-month update. There’s a laptop I might be able to use, but dunno what it will be capable of running and if it has enough hard drive space.

October 2019 - Mid Month Update

I was happy to get some quick wins in at the beginning of this month, but none of my games this month I’m finding to be particularly awesome yet - They’re just ranging from meh to good. I’ll be sure to pick some awesomesauce next month when I get some more focused game time near Thanksgiving.

Games I Beat

    Shark Attack Deathmatch 2

    Shark Attack Deathmatch 2

    12 hours playtime

    It brings a few additional elements to an FPS death match, but after playing every map its not very polished and seems DOA after leaving Early Access recently. Natural Selection seems to be a better choice for monster vs human death match based on reviews, though I’ve never played it.

Games I Completed!

    Glass Masquerade

    Glass Masquerade

    12 hours playtime

    Glass Masquerade: A chill puzzle game putting together stained glass clocks around the world. A great value for being in $1 bundles. Puzzles took an average of 10-20 minutes each to complete, and I learned that matching shapes (especially outside pieces) seemed to become more important than matching colors. Easy to 100% the achievements, which requires playing the demo DLC levels. If you already have most of the DLC like me, then you have to play the one from each DLC that is actually the demo.

Games I’m Stuck On

    Aporia: Beyond The Valley

    Aporia: Beyond The Valley

    9 hours playtime

    I’ve gotten tired of watching a walkthrough to find other puzzles, and the puzzle I’m on with the stone towers seems literally broken despite using techniques in a video.

Games I’ve Been Playing

    Dex

    Dex

    6 hours playtime

    2D non isometric Deus Ex about a woman in a bleak raw hacker world. It has a good amount of polish, but doesnt bring a ton of new stuff to the table. So far it isnt as engaging as Shadowrun or most other big name RPGs, but it hasn’t totally lost me yet. Perhaps that’s in part because its combat and story aren’t as deep.

    EARTH DEFENSE FORCE 4.1 The Shadow of New Despair

    EARTH DEFENSE FORCE 4.1 The Shadow of New Despair

    6 hours playtime

    Its a mindless arcade style third person shoot em up that looks like its from the late 1990s to early 2000s. Tons of weapon variety with what’s been unlocked so far, but can seem overwhelming in a way.  I got it from a Humble Monthly but unless the online play is awesome, I’d say so far it not worth it for that game alone since I don’t play local co-op.

Click each panel to see the short impression/review.

November 2019 Queue Preview

Since I’ve completed, “stuck”, or am playing everything in my queue, behold what I may play next month:

September 2019 Progress Report

This was the first month where most of the games I played I got annoyed with because I felt stuck after a while and didn’t feel like looking at a guide or something.  Before I reached that point with those games, I otherwise enjoyed playing them. The one game I beat was very satisfying and I would pick up again sometime - So that’s what matters.  :)
I expect to get less game time for the rest of the year with the exception of holiday seasons, as I will be travelling for a while at least once a month.  Steam has a list of games that formally support mobile Remote Play (aka Steam Link), but I dunno that I want to have my PC on 24/7 when I’m gone just to support the presumably little travel downtime I’ll have.  So instead I will likely play mobile games that happen to have cross-platform saves like Gladiabots, Door Kickers, Talisman, etc.

End of September stats

686 games (+43)
75% never played (+1%)
8% unfinished (-1%, +4 games)
12% beaten (+0%, +1 games)
1% completed (-1%)
4% won’t play

As you can see, I enjoyed Fanatical’s BundleFest and got a few SG wins.  On SG, I reached level 6 with my contributions to the recent community train, and it will also be interesting to see how my own SG group will pan out now that we allow some whitelist giveaways.

Game I Beat

    Into the Breach

    Into the Breach

    25 hours playtime

    A wonderful rewarding turn based strategy/tactics game that is balanced very well on nearly all fronts that I’d recommend to anyone who doesn’t hate that genre. The versatility in gameplay shines between squads, mech types, and item types. So I recommend unlocking squads and playing with them as soon as you get enough coins through achievements. Some common and some unique achievements can be unlocked with each squad type, including the ability to play a random or custom squad.

Games I Got Stuck On

    Human: Fall Flat

    Human: Fall Flat

    17 hours playtime

    This is a slightly easier but more amusing 3D version of QWOP in the form of a physics puzzle-type platformer. It has been walking a thin line between frustrating control and amusing gameplay, but its crossed the line into frustrating control.
    Occasionally awful camera views aside, I even tried using a controller, but that felt even more difficult to control.
    I tried several instances of multiplayer as well, but they weren’t particularly helpful or much more entertaining.

    Duck Game

    Duck Game

    7 hours playtime

    A fun arena action platformer that I’d recommend playing with a controller and with friends. It has a single player mode where you play a bunch of challenges: Complete course in X time, kill X enemies, make X laps, etc. I unlocked maybe one fifth of the challenges before I got stuck. Multiplayer was okay for me but not as enjoyable for me as Stick Fight.

    Mercenary Kings

    Mercenary Kings

    8 hours playtime

    A 2D shoot em up platfomer with crafting elements nails the classic console & arcade vibe, especially with its co-op capabilities. Crafting weapons and some things is neat and the gameplay is fine although the true-to-arcade control choices take some getting used to: No diagonal firing, jump to shoot downward, etc. There can be like a dozen missions per map, which is a double edged sword because it makes the enemies more predicatable but being more predictable makes gameplay a bit more samey. I’m hoping that the future maps are cooler. I got stuck with the first boss, even trying to use the shock bomb thing. So I’m going to pass on this game for a while.

Games I Started Playing

    Aporia: Beyond The Valley

    Aporia: Beyond The Valley

    8 hours playtime

    The first Crysis-engine game I’ve played is an FPS puzzle. It looks pretty good visually, but even with fully maxed settings seems not as visually crisp as some other AAA games within the last few years - Perhaps outdoors & nature are tougher to pull off. The “story” which isn’t told through voice or other people in your game world is somewhat interesting. I’ve been motivated just enough to get through at least half of the game, but its getting tougher and tougher to figure out where I haven’t explored yet to get the things I need to advance. Hopefully I’ll find more stained glass shards soon. Maybe that part of this game subconsciously compelled me to start playing Glass Masquerade, lol

(Click game panels above to see brief reviews)

October 2019 Queue

First impressions of each game: Ancient puzzling using glowing energy juices to find stained glass pieces, put together stained glass clocks, Shark vs Diver Deathmatch - Unity edition, 2D Deus Ex with a reluctant woman protagonist, EDF! EDF! EDF!

September 2019 - Mid Month Update

My games this month have been mixed bag between meh and awesomeness, but game time has slowed to a trickle as the month progressed since I’ve gotten busy with various non-gaming stuff. The rest of my month should be more fun though, whether I get much gaming time in or not. :)

With regards to my game library stats I noticed the percentages of each category now add up to 100% again instead of 101%, but my library now has the mark of the beast with 666 games - Oh noes. Fanatical’s bundle fest will save me, but I’m waiting to see more of the bundles before I buy them since their main bundle-only coupon has a minimum purchase amount.

If game giveaways are your thing, be sure to check out the latest SG community train, which I made some contributions to sometime after cart #1400.

Games I Beat

    Into the Breach

    Into the Breach

    25 hours playtime

    A wonderful rewarding turn based strategy/tactics game that is balanced very well on nearly all fronts that I’d recommend to anyone who doesn’t hate that genre. The versatility in gameplay shines between squads, mech types, and item types. So I recommend unlocking squads and playing with them as soon as you get enough coins through achievements. Some common and some unique achievements can be unlocked with each squad type, including the ability to play a random or custom squad.

Game I’ve Been Playing

    Mercenary Kings

    Mercenary Kings

    7 hours playtime

    A 2D shoot em up platfomer with crafting elements nails the classic console & arcade vibe, especially with its co-op capabilities. Crafting weapons and some things is neat and gameplay is fine, but it is weird to me that human enemies can shoot diagonal even when my character cannot. It is also not possible to shoot down without jumping. There can be like a dozen missions per map, which is a double edged sword because it makes the enemies more predicatable but being more predictable makes gameplay a bit more samey. I’m hoping that the future maps are cooler.

Games I Got Stuck On

    Human: Fall Flat

    Human: Fall Flat

    17 hours playtime

    This is a slightly easier but more amusing 3D version of QWOP in the form of a physics puzzle-type platformer. It has been walking a thin line between frustrating control and amusing gameplay, but its crossed the line into frustrating control.
    Occasionally awful camera views aside, I even tried using a controller, but that felt even more difficult to control.
    I tried several instances of multiplayer as well, but they weren’t particularly helpful or much more entertaining.

Games Still Queued for This Month

AKA games I might play next month

August 2019 Progress Report

Seemed like I had somewhat less time to game this month and definitely encountered getting temporarily stuck more often than I expected, but it wasn’t any less enjoyable. :) This month reminded me that I have less patience for puzzle-type games because I get annoyed having to look up solutions when I can’t figure something out for quite a while, but unless the figuring-it-out part is super engaging I tend to not to take a long time to figure things out and instead go find a walkthrough video.

For September, I picked a mix of what seem to be quality games from my backlog, half of them SG wins. The only 3D game seems to be Aporia, which will be the first CryEngine game I think I’ve ever played. Will see if it makes my GTX 1060 cry and may pre-load most of it into my DimmDrive. I’m especially excited to play Into the Breach, which I was surprised to get in a trade for one of my Humble Monthly early reveals. Since I’m not a hardcore roguelite fan, I am optimistic that I will enjoy Into the Breach even more than FTL.

Also here’s a DARK giveaway (Ends Sept 5 @ 20:00 Eastern Time) and Warhammer: End Times - Vermintide (Ends Sept 10 @ 17:30 Eastern).

End of August stats:

643 games (+25)
74% never played (+1%)
9% unfinished (+0%, +1 game)
12% beaten (+0%, +3 games)
2% completed
4% won’t play
101% total (+1%, empirical proof my backlog is too big? lol)

In the upcoming month, I’ll remove some F2P games from my backlog that I don’t see myself playing anytime soon, which should bring down my game count a little.

Click a game’s bar to see its short review.

Games I Beat Mid-Month

    911 Operator

    911 Operator

    21 hours playtime

    I recommend the game on sale with all DLC if you who wants basic simulation of 911 calls and are ok with micromanaging location/dispatch of emergency vehicles. If you expect an RTS game or advanced simulation, you might have a bad time. I only used “Unique Stories” and custom cities mode since Unique Stories was recommended for a first playthrough and progresses through the different cities. It does some things well and others I wish it did better but nothing that breaks gameplay for me, on Hard difficulty. That doesn’t make me eager to play it much more.

    Evolvation

    Evolvation

    4 hours playtime

    Basic 6 DOF space fighter with a relatively dead multiplayer community but has decent bots plus thorough tutorials. I loved older 6 DOF games like Descent, but there's nothing to do other than basic pew pew here - Not even a campaign mode, hence why I marked this "beat" as a multiplayer only game. Would not recommend buying unless you have friends to play with who are really into that kind of game.

Game I Beat by End of Month

    Quantum Break

    Quantum Break

    17 hours playtime

    I finally beat the game spread out over a month, occasionally taking a break when I would get stuck on occasion. Overall, I really enjoyed the story and thought the third person action was decent. I had two minor disappointments with not encountering one potential type of enemy in Act 4 and I thought the very end was slightly lackluster, but overall still well done.
    I have two questions now: If I go to the Timeline and change a junction to watch the alternate show/video, does that wipe out all single player progress after that junction? Also, how much does changing junctions change gameplay outside of the show, if at all?

Games I Got Stuck On

    Road Redemption

    Road Redemption

    14 hours playtime

    Nails the Road Rage vibe and satisfying combat with good progression early to mid game. Roguelite fits okay, but in mid game to get enough XP per run to get meaningful unlocks requires lots of replay of very early levels. So I’ve labelled this as “Stuck” for now and playing other games instead. Procedural missions & tracks are okay, but dont add a lot to gameplay.

    When Ski Lifts Go Wrong

    When Ski Lifts Go Wrong

    14 hours playtime

    Definitely one of the more unique bridge building games available that I’ve enjoyed. I tried all 100 standard levels, but only completed 70-80 of the levels, and aced 40 of them.
    It not only has bridge type building, but also different kinds of ski lifts, in winter & summer. Being able to control the people for some levels totally changes the gameplay: Snowboarders, snowmobiles, bikes, BMX, etc.

Game I Started Playing

    Human: Fall Flat

    Human: Fall Flat

    16 hours playtime

    This physics puzzle-type platformer is walking a thin line between frustrating control and amusing gameplay. Even if you get great at controlling how you hold stuff, the camera views get awful sometimes when the human you control blocks view of what you are trying to grab. I’ve played through a couple single player levels (up to Castle), and hope to beat it before I try multiplayer which I’ve heard is hilarious. The hint system is usually helpful, but the hint things rarely pop up in the sections where I actually need them.

September 2019 Queue

August 2019 - Mid Month Update

Making okay progress this month.
In my queue, I swapped out Aporia for When Ski Lifts Go Wrong in my queue, as Ski Lifts became my first Playing Appreciated win on SG thanks to the MouseWithBeer 🐭🍺
PA requires playing won games within a month. So far they put me at a playing score of 94%, so hopefully I’m on track to 100% it as far as PA is concerned by the time I’ve tried all the levels.

Games I Beat

    911 Operator

    911 Operator

    21 hours playtime

    I recommend the game on sale with all DLC if you who wants basic simulation of 911 calls and are ok with micromanaging location/dispatch of emergency vehicles. If you expect an RTS game or advanced simulation, you might have a bad time. I only used “Unique Stories” and custom cities mode since Unique Stories was recommended for a first playthrough and progresses through the different cities. It does some things well and others I wish it did better but nothing that breaks gameplay for me, on Hard difficulty. That doesn’t make me eager to play it much more.

    Evolvation

    Evolvation

    4 hours playtime

    Basic 6 DOF space fighter with a relatively dead multiplayer community but has decent bots plus thorough tutorials. I loved older 6 DOF games like Descent, but there's nothing to do other than basic pew pew here - Not even a campaign mode, hence why I marked this "beat" as a multiplayer only game. Would not recommend buying unless you have friends to play with who are really into that kind of game.

Games I’ve Been Playing

    Road Redemption

    Road Redemption

    14 hours playtime

    Nails the Road Rage vibe and satisfying combat with good progression early to mid game. Roguelite fits okay, but in mid game to get enough XP per run to get meaningful unlocks requires lots of replay of very early levels. So I’ve labelled this as “Stuck” for now and playing other games instead. Procedural missions & tracks are okay, but dont add a lot to gameplay.

    When Ski Lifts Go Wrong

    When Ski Lifts Go Wrong

    10 hours playtime

    Seems like one of the more unique bridge building games available which not only has bridge type building, but also different kinds of ski lifts, in winter & summer. I’m through 60 of the 100 levels. After that I may try some non-expert custom levels available through the workshop. There’s a good variety of people, who you can sometimes move or control: Snowboarders, snowmobiles, bikes, BMX, etc.

    Quantum Break

    Quantum Break

    7 hours playtime

    Made it through Act 2 and got most of the way through the beginning of Act 3. I’m still really enjoying the story while the time effects are getting bigger and weirder. Now for some minor technical gripes: The one time I want to skip an in-game cutscene (not sure if its pre-rendered or not) before a boss-type battle, cutscene skipping results in a loading screen that took just as long as the damn cutscene! That is despite the game being on an SSD and having plenty of RAM & VRAM. Also, I started noticing that the show video between acts isn’t great visual quality when it comes to darkest of colors & blacks. Not sure if that’s because the Steam version streams the video instead of downloading it or not? Bandwidth shouldn’t be an issue since I have 100mbps down. Streaming via Steam presumably saves ~100 GB of storage compared to non-Steam versions given that the Steam version only takes up 70 GB. I wonder if the streaming is Steam/Valve hosted, or Microsoft hosted? That would suck if Microsoft decommissioned streaming (no different than decommissioning other games’ hosted online lements) and Steam owners would miss out on the show videos.

Games Still Queued for This Month

July 2019 Progress Report

I am very grateful to get recently added to the BLAEO Steam group. There’s two things I’ve wanted to contribute to it: A link to my 100+ Steam Reviews that I’ve posted here (I wish there were an easy way to extract the name of all the games I’ve reviewed) and a first giveaway to create for the group sometime soon :)
EDIT: Here and here are my group giveaways

Compared to the prior month, I didn’t beat or complete as many games but I am just as satisfied with the quality of the games I played. So I’m happy with my selections for July :)

For the new month, I’m trying to focus a bit more on games that I’ve won on SG or that seem to have an active multiplayer player base (according to SteamDB) before they dwindle down. See my August queue at the bottom of the page.

End of July stats:

618 games (+30)
73% never played (-0%, -4 games)
9% unfinished (+0%, +1 game)
12% beaten (+0%, +3 games)
2% completed
4% won’t play

Click a game’s bar to see its short review.

Games I Beat or Completed:

    Riff Racer – Race Your Music!

    7 hours playtime, 11 of 38 achievements (28.95%)

    I recommend Audiosurf 2 or Distance INSTEAD of this game unless you really want to race against friends’ ghosts or want something mindless to play while listening to music, as those two games have more varied visualizations and modes.
    This is a game that visualizes beats and procedurally creates tracks based on the music, which allows for two people to play the same exact race for the same song, but beats are the only thing it appears to account for. Its beat visualizations don’t “pop” as much as other games I’ve mentioned, and it doesn’t do anything different for low/mid/high frequency sounds. The “sync” to music system makes ghost racing work, but its somewhat confusing exactly how to get multipliers other than keep up to the racing lines that designate the current beat. Losing multipliers is clear: Don’t fall behind, don’t hit barriers, don’t fall off the track. XP seems useless except for maybe achievements?

    Train Valley

    26 hours playtime, 19 of 39 achievements (48.72%)

    A polished semi-simple train & track puzzle-type game which is relatively relaxing and I recommend on deep sale to fans of puzzle & strategy games. Its a micromanagement puzzle: You build tracks, control track switches, choose when a train leaves a station, and can stop or reverse a train. The latter may be limited with certain train types or levels, but that was never explained in-game. There are no notable differences between trains of different eras, nor can you choose between train types to deploy. You can only choose whether a train deploys early, which costs money because the sooner a train reaches its destination the more money you get.

    Robot Squad Simulator 2017

    8 hours playtime, 9 of 12 achievements (75%)

    Its an okay but seems legit simulator. The bots wouldnt be fast & super responsive as things in other games, as I expected. Keyboard controls are awkward but get the job done. Music is decent, but graphics are meh, with occasional pop in when turning fast. I like playing with robots, so I thought playing through the missions was worth it.

For the Train Valley review click here because my HTML skills are too rusty for fixing a panel and its a pain to re-generate 3 panels with reviews.

Re-beat with newly purchased DLC:

    Turmoil

    47 hours playtime, 20 of 31 achievements (64.52%)

    Heat is On is a great DLC which is basically a different campaign that has more tech, more gameplay options (like using magma), more artifacts to discover, and a different auction system for buying town shares. It’s kinda easy to beat as long as you consistently use gas to boost profits for part of you oil haul, but still rewarding and maintains its partially relaxing western vibe. There is a New Game+ mode available after beating it though, but I’m not so hooked on the DLC or base game for me to play it again.

Games I didn’t finish, but will keep playing (including any DLC):

    Quantum Break

    4 hours playtime, 8 of 42 achievements (19.05%)

    Loving the story & game so far. I made it to Act 2 and finally got from Scene 1 to Scene 2 - I just needed to use time power better to stun & damage big enemies. Now I just need to be more strategic when taking on bigger groups of enemies.

    911 Operator

    17 hours playtime, 9 of 18 achievements (50%)

    I recommend the game on sale with all DLC if you who wants basic simulation of 911 calls and are ok with micromanaging location/dispatch of emergency vehicles. If you expect an RTS game or advanced simulation, you might have a bad time. I only used “Unique Stories” and custom cities mode since Unique Stories was recommended for a first playthrough and progresses through the different cities. It does some things well and others I wish it did better but nothing that breaks gameplay for me, on Hard difficulty. That doesn’t make me eager to play it much more.

Games I marked as Stuck:

    Knights of Pen and Paper 2: Free Edition

    5 minutes playtime, 13 of 33 achievements (39.39%)

    I reached the point where gaining gems (in game currency is too slow after reaching the end of the mid-game quest pack I unlocked. I can only get 5 gems per day through an ad, then maybe get 5 per level up, and I need like ~150 gems to buy the next quest pack. I could tap a 5th character slot to aid in this, but I dont want to grind lower level enemies to catch them up to my other characters at level 20+, and I already have a ninja with low threat so I’d have a hard time making another low threat character suited for leveling up against higher levels. I’m not uninstalling it from my phone just yet, as I might play it when I’m waiting in a line or something boring, but I’m not optimistic that I will get unstuck. It was otherwise a decent well balanced game better than I expected for F2P except for the “level 15” daily challenge dungeon that has many higher level monsters in it, and the literal dungeon of the unbalanced.

    Card City Nights

    3 hours playtime, 1 of 8 achievements (12.5%)

    A cute animated CCG sim that I recommend to hardcore CCG players, but the deck building is too complicated for me: Cards have a variety of abilities, but cards can only be chained with other cards based on the arrow(s) printed on their sides, and chaining cards to do attacks or heal is critical to the game. There is no tutorial, aid, or more meaningful groupings of cards in deck building. So I’m putting this in the “stuck” pile and might pick it up again after I get some other card games under my belt, if that can even give me the experience or knowledge I need to build better decks in games like this.

    FORCED SHOWDOWN

    29 hours playtime, 28 of 81 achievements (34.57%)

    I recommend this game on sale to people who enjoy twin stick shooters & card elements while comfortable with roguelite elements. I wanted to love this game more, but I feel kinda friendzoned by it because of how slow card-earning progression feels at random times. I do NOT recommend DLC unless you can beat the first two regular “shows”. I’m having a hard time beating the second show.

August 2019 queue

July 2019 - Mid Month Update

Making some decent progress for the month so far.

Games I Beat

    Riff Racer – Race Your Music!

    Riff Racer – Race Your Music!

    7 hours playtime

    I recommend Audiosurf 2 or Distance INSTEAD of this game unless you really want to race against friends’ ghosts or want something mindless to play while listening to music, as those two games have more varied visualizations and modes.
    This is a game that visualizes beats and procedurally creates tracks based on the music, which allows for two people to play the same exact race for the same song, but beats are the only thing it appears to account for. Its beat visualizations don’t “pop” as much as other games I’ve mentioned, and it doesn’t do anything different for low/mid/high frequency sounds. The “sync” to music system makes ghost racing work, but its somewhat confusing exactly how to get multipliers other than keep up to the racing lines that designate the current beat. Losing multipliers is clear: Don’t fall behind, don’t hit barriers, don’t fall off the track. XP seems useless except for maybe achievements?

    Train Valley

    Train Valley

    26 hours playtime

    A polished semi-simple train & track puzzle-type game which is relatively relaxing and I recommend on deep sale to fans of puzzle & strategy games. Its a micromanagement puzzle: You build tracks, control track switches, choose when a train leaves a station, and can stop or reverse a train. The latter may be limited with certain train types or levels, but that was never explained in-game. There are no notable differences between trains of different eras, nor can you choose between train types to deploy. You can only choose whether a train deploys early, which costs money because the sooner a train reaches its destination the more money you get.

Games I’ve Been Playing

    Quantum Break

    Quantum Break

    3 hours playtime

    I made it to Act 2, but can’t get past a section of warehouses on Medium difficulty. I retry it periodically, and am trying to avoid lowering the difficulty for this section. Loving the story & game so far though.

    FORCED SHOWDOWN

    FORCED SHOWDOWN

    18 hours playtime

    This fantasy based rogue-lite twin stick shooter with card game elements is a game I want to love, but I'm kinda friendzoning it because the game isn't putting out all the features that work for me. The core gameplay is good but progression within an arena depends quite a bit on what cards you earn, which is only one-half to 1.5 cards per won “battle”. An arena has 4 to 8 battles, and each arena consisting of 8 levels and one boss. Every battle has random sets of modifiers that most of the time you can pick from, which increases gameplay variety & card playing strategy, but can make it more difficult depending on your deck which cannot be changed between battles - Only between arenas. After beating an arena, a base set of difficulty modifiers are unlocked, and can be used to earn a slight bonus to coins used to spin the fortune wheel for cards.

    Robot Squad Simulator 2017

    Robot Squad Simulator 2017

    5 hours playtime

    Its an okay but seems legit simulator. The bots wouldnt be fast & super responsive as things in other games, as I expected. Keyboard controls are awkward but get the job done. Music is decent, but graphics are meh, with occasional pop in when turning fast. I’m two thirds of the way through the 20+ missions.

Game I Previously Beat But Replaying with DLC

    Turmoil

    Turmoil

    37 hours playtime

    Heat is On is a great DLC which is basically a different campaign that has more tech, more gameplay options (like using magma), more artifacts to discover, and a different auction system for buying town shares. It’s kinda easy to beat as long as you consistently use gas to boost profits for part of you oil haul, but still rewarding and maintains its partially relaxing western vibe. I am two thirds of the way through the DLC campaign.

Games I Have Labelled as Stuck

    Knights of Pen and Paper 2: Free Edition

    Knights of Pen and Paper 2: Free Edition

    5 minutes playtime

    I reached the point where gaining gems (in game currency is too slow after reaching the end of the mid-game quest pack I unlocked. I can only get 5 gems per day through an ad, then maybe get 5 per level up, and I need like ~150 gems to buy the next quest pack. I could tap a 5th character slot to aid in this, but I dont want to grind lower level enemies to catch them up to my other characters at level 20+, and I already have a ninja with low threat so I’d have a hard time making another low threat character suited for leveling up against higher levels. I’m not uninstalling it from my phone just yet, as I might play it when I’m waiting in a line or something boring, but I’m not optimistic that I will get unstuck. It was otherwise a decent well balanced game better than I expected for F2P except for the “level 15” daily challenge dungeon that has many higher level monsters in it, and the literal dungeon of the unbalanced.

    Card City Nights

    Card City Nights

    3 hours playtime

    A cute animated CCG sim that I recommend to hardcore CCG players, but the deck building is too complicated for me: Cards have a variety of abilities, but cards can only be chained with other cards based on the arrow(s) printed on their sides, and chaining cards to do attacks or heal is critical to the game. There is no tutorial, aid, or more meaningful groupings of cards in deck building. So I’m putting this in the “stuck” pile and might pick it up again after I get some other card games under my belt, if that can even give me the experience or knowledge I need to build better decks in games like this.

Backlog Prioritization

Next month, there are 3 types of games in general that I am going to prioritize playing sooner rather than later:

  • SG wins

  • Games that might have non-dead online multiplayer based on steamdb stats - Any feedback here is appreciated

  • Games that are quick to beat (a few hours or less)

Low priority games in my backlog will be older games that seem not to age well, and games with free mobile equivalents.

August 2019 Queue Preview

June 2019 Progress Report

Aside from the games I initially planned to play in June, I was very happy that I had some extra time at the end of the month to get a few more quick wins done, and start some extra games for July. Evidently I’ve gained 26 games since the first of June: ~10 from barter, 6 wins from SG, and 10 from a few bundles or Steam Summer Sale. Aside from the DLC I said I’d purchase with Steam wallet funds, I bought a few games that were $0.50-$1 each with my remaining wallet funds. Comparing my month-to-month numbers, it looks like I’m chipping away at my unfinished games, yet any progress on “never played” and “beaten” games has been cancelled out by my increased game count.

End of June stats:
588 games (+26)
73% never played
9% unfinished (-2%!)
12% beaten
2% completed (+1%!)
4% won’t play (+1%)

Early June games

For details on these see my mid-month update.

Late June games

Games I stopped playing or got stuck on:

    Gladiabots

    Gladiabots

    6 hours playtime

    This has been too cerebral of a game for me to play on mobile, and with the other games I’ve been playing on PC its not as blatantly exciting as my other PC games.

    Lethal League

    Lethal League

    5 hours playtime

    I tried playing the single player challenge with a controller, but I actually did better playing with a keyboard. That’s actually the same experience I’ve had with Rocket League. I still couldn't get past the halfway point of the single player challenges, so I am officially marking this game as “Stuck” for now.

Games I beat or completed:

    Dreamstones

    Dreamstones

    27 hours playtime

    I recommend Dreamstones on sale to fans of brickbuster games or someone looking for a unique mostly chill game. It is a unique cartoonish brick busting RPG with city builder elements and a lighthearted text narrative driven story, which I completed in ~20 hours. My in-game completion % was 90%, but there were many in-game “all the X” achievements that puts my achievement % much lower.

    Chroma Squad

    Chroma Squad

    17 hours playtime

    I recommend this game on sale to anyone who enjoys tactical RPGs and even casual players given the wide variety of difficulty settings and charming story. There’s little to complain about within the context of it being a 2D game, as there are tons of different abilities, weapons, and gear that can be bought or crafted.

    Kabounce

    Kabounce

    14 hours playtime

    Kabounce is a well polished pinball-based parkour & multiplayer game that I can easily recommend if you have friends to play this with, but it is difficult to recommend to anyone else who isn’t a fan of parkour or at least multiplayer games in general. Multiplayer is cross platform with PS4 which helped me find a match relatively easily even late at night in the US.

    King of the Eggs

    King of the Eggs

    38 minutes playtime
    no achievements

    I played every mode on every map. No way I would recommend this at retail price, and this is tough to recommend even for couch multiplayer fans at a historic low price for several reasons: No configuration settings for audio or video, Four 4 player games in 4 different areas, The games are really simple with not much strategy. Would be good for kids to play I guess?, and Doesn’t work well with keyboard, needs controllers.

    Indecision.

    Indecision.

    25 minutes playtime

    Some cute pixel art style, but too obscure & abstract for my tastes, and at less than an hour I can only recommend it to achievement hunters who like indie arthouse games.

Game I started:

    Knights of Pen and Paper 2: Free Edition

    Knights of Pen and Paper 2: Free Edition

    4 minutes playtime

    This is another cross-platform game which I play almost entirely on Android mobile, but this one is F2P. Playtime here only reflects time on Steam, but achievements & progress between platforms carry over.
    So far the game has been relatively fair as long as I’m not super aggressive in taking on enemies that are higher level/power than my characters are. Plenty of side quests, main quests, and variety of monsters so far. There have been some times, especially early on, where I had to just fight enemies in order to move to a different location (movement costs gold) or level up, but hasn’t felt tons grindy yet on mobile.
    Earning in-game currency of gems is slow (upon level up and a ~daily video), but was enough for me to naturally buy mid-game adventure when my main questline was running low. Now that I’ve done that, I am concerned that I might run out of the main questline before I get enough gems to unlock one of the other 2-3 adventure packs with gems. One other gripe is that the “daily challenge” dungeon and the “Unbalanced” dungeon have inaccurate level indicators, but maybe they assume I should have 5 characters instead of the 3 I currently have?
    I didn’t want to fill all my character slots because they cost lots of coins, and character types/classes are unlocked with adventure purchase or progression.

July 2019 preview

Games I plan to play this coming month:

Games with newly acquired DLC I plan to play this month:

Summer Steam Sale and June 2019 Progress Preview

Are you tempted to buy additional games during the Summer Sale like I am? Here are some things to consider:

  • Is there any hardware or software you could buy that would make your games more enjoyable to play? For example: Earlier this year I got a different GPU, I got an SSD, I got a somewhat faster CPU for cheap, and I had to replace some RAM so I ended up with 24 GB total. I spent less on games so I could spend more on my hardware.

  • Do you have any extra trading cards or marketable Steam items you can sell? Augmented Steam browser extension can help make that easier. I reached Steam Level 30 recently through crafting badges and decided I didn’t need to craft anymore badges from cards. So I started selling the 700+ I still had. I now have ~$15 in my Steam wallet.

  • Are there any games you don’t want to start playing until you have DLC for them? I keep a list of these games and use ITAD to notify me when their DLC gets cheaper.

My 2019 Summer Steam Sale shopping cart (so far)

The Summer Sale drag race game is damn confusing other than which teams are ahead (go team Corgi!). I understand the “Driver’s Manual” and read all the FAQs but different terms are used in many different places on the Grand Prix page.

June 2019 Progress Preview

Here is a sneak preview of my progress, but without short reviews - Those will be posted near or after the month’s end.

Newly Beaten games!

Other games I’ve been playing:

Games I’ve been playing but have added to my “Stuck” list: