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


January 2019 Progress Report

I don’t know that I’m going to do mid-month updates like I used to, but I’m definitely motivated to share my backlog progress each month. This can help me avoid the feeling I had during part of last year that I was spending a lot of time writing or chatting about games compared to the time I am actually playing them.

Stats

Most of my new games I blame on the Humble Australia Relief bundle, but I’m happy that I beat nearly half the games I played this month.

818 games (+51)
75% / 614 never played (+38 games)
9% / 71 unfinished (+0%, +5 games)
12% / 95 beaten (-1%, +7 games)
1% / 11 completed
4% / 29 won’t play (+1%, +3 games)

On-Going Games

    Divinity: Original Sin 2

    Divinity: Original Sin 2

    9 hours playtime

    Started Chapter 2 in a way I didn’t expect, which consisted of fighting teleporting frogs and pulling a spear out of a talking skeleton.  Need to play this more often with a friend of mine.

    Motorsport Manager

    Motorsport Manager

    26 hours playtime

    Trying to save up money for a new factory building is tough when you can’t win a spot in the top 3 of any race.  Balancing that with upgrading parts to stay in the Top 8 so your team can make good money is tough.  Its a great sim, but it does so well simulating things that all that’s left is for me to grind a bunch of races until I raise funds for a new factory building.  I think I’ll pause this until I get an itch to play a sports management sim again.

Beaten

    Unrailed!

    Unrailed!

    5 hours playtime

    Multiplayer-only real time train track builder with train car management between checkpoints. Simple core mechanics with a variety of random extra train cars to choose from. Will definitely play again after it releases out of early access.

    Super Blackjack Battle 2 Turbo Edition - The Card Warriors

    Super Blackjack Battle 2 Turbo Edition - The Card Warriors

    55 minutes playtime

    Limited gameplay and broken online play made me refund this game to Steam. Each 1v1 “fight” is 10 rounds of Blackjack played against the house, and whoever wins the most vs house wins. AI is often dumb in betting big and losing early, though it doesnt make incorrect hit/stand card plays.

    SYNTHETIK

    SYNTHETIK

    14 hours playtime
    no achievements

    A unique top down shooter that trades in traditional twin stick bullet hell for variable weapon accuracy based on movement, unlocks over time, the occasional limited time OP experimental weapon, and weapon & ability shops in-game. Roguelike with procedural levels, enemies, and the occasional in-level side mission works pretty well. There’s a variety of abilities & classes for almost any play style, and plenty of unlocks makes progression more tangible.  The gameplay became more addictive than I expected.

    Her Story

    Her Story

    9 hours playtime

    Video based narrative where the gameplay consists of keyword searches to pull up interrogation clips based on their transcripts. Unique story telling and decent twists for me which hinged on which videos you find & watch at various points, while leaving things up to your interpretation. I revealed enough videos for the game to show a prompt that effectively allows the game to “end”. The game should have a mature rating for its descriptions of some sexual and violent stuff, plus some language.

    Battle Chef Brigade

    Battle Chef Brigade

    14 hours playtime

    The most polished Match 3 hybrid game I’ve seen - A must play on sale for fans of Match 3 games or competitive cooking TV shows. Cooking matches consist of an action platformer where you kill monsters and gather what they drop as ingredients, then you arrange, cook, and mix the ingredients. They took the battle chef gameplay concepts almost as far as they can go, just short of having online multiplayer.

Revisited

    Slay the Spire

    Slay the Spire

    56 hours playtime

    I revisited this roguelite deck builder to play through with the new 4th character, the Watcher. Its a stance driven character with some new unique abilities. I enjoyed playing with them just as much as the other characters, but couldn’t beat the game with it like I did with two other characters.

Stuck/Paused

    Retool

    Retool

    2 hours playtime

    A truly indie third person puzzle game with hacking and stealth mechanics. Nothing fancy, but hardly buggy either. Interesting puzzles, though frustrating at times.

    TERRORHYTHM (TRRT)

    TERRORHYTHM (TRRT)

    65 minutes playtime

    Hard to recommend this to anyone but the most hardcore of rhythm games, in the spirit of one finger death punch. Gameplay variety was meh, and hit & miss with my own music. The lowest 2 difficulties are too different for me to be consistently happy with either of them.

    Gunman Tales

    Gunman Tales

    75 minutes playtime

    Fun retro arcade shooter that’s better to play with/against friends. Its really difficult regardless of control scheme, and the map is pretty buggy. Also, it has the best western theme song ever.

Won’t Play

    Beholder 2

    Beholder 2

    16 hours playtime

    The Beta and full version interested me as someone who appreciated the first Beholder, but this is very different. I do prefer that almost everything in B2 is not time sensitive, whereas Beholder seemed to have a time sensitive ending. You play a “choose the right form” mini game to make money, while balancing that with other favors and things that advance the story while you survive, get promoted, and learn more about people. After doing a thing or two for your boss, the game gets a lot more graphic than the first game. I guess I’m not in an emotional place right now where I want to deal with the huge blatant dystopian despair depicted in this game, which seems to surpass that of the first one.

    ШП (ShP)

    ШП (ShP)

    6 hours playtime
    no achievements

    I’m not hardcore into puzzles, so I had to pass on trying to play this more, as its trying to determine patterns and cause/effect out of a bunch of nonsense.

Started Playing

    DESYNC

    DESYNC

    4 hours playtime

    A really challenging FPS with fixed spawns for each stage in a level. Great for people who like leaderboards or a real FPS challenge.  Really nails a retroish tron-type vibe.  Decent progression, unlocking various character & weapon mods or abilities. Hoping not to get stuck later on a level.

    Bomber Crew

    Bomber Crew

    11 hours playtime

    My first combat sim/management game in quite some time. I enjoy fighter plane games, though I rarely play them, so I’m enjoying it so far.  Though the controls take some getting used to for moving the crew around to the right places within the bomber plane. There’s a variety of different outfits, plane parts, and crew abilities that mix things up.

February queue

If I get through these games earlier than expected, then I’ll pull from my most anticipated games to play this year.

2019: Year in Review

I thought I’d reflect on the past year as it pertains to my PC gaming, and what I look forward to in 2020. This covers backlog stats, backlog strategy, my gaming rig, highlights from what I beat, and what I’m most eager to play next.

Stats

June 2019 (when I joined BLAEO):

562 games
73% never played
11% unfinished
12% beaten
1% completed
3% won’t play

End of 2019:

767 games (+205)
75% (576) never played (+2%, <182 games)
9% (66) unfinished (-2%, -? games)
11% (88) beaten (-1%, +26 games)
1% (11) completed (+0%, +2 games)
3% (26) won’t play (+0%, +1 games)

I’m somewhat surprised with my progress of beating games in half a year, averaging one game per week. Its not something I’ve shot for, nor can I think of any month or two where I’ve consistently had that pace week to week, so I guess that’s something to be proud of. Same with decreasing the amount of unfinished games relative to my overall backlog, though that’s likely more of a function of how many games I’ve acquired and haven’t yet played.

So evidently in the past 6 months I’ve won 37 games from SG.  Of the other 168 games I acquired, my guess is that I bought only ~10 of them outright, traded for 40, and got the 100+ others from bundles. I’ve tried to restrict most of my non-bundle purchases to DLC to prevent an unwillingness to play a game because I don’t own the DLC (when the DLC is meaningful).

Backlog Strategy

When I started out on BLAEO, I was mostly focusing on whatever I felt like playing with the occasional SG win while also avoiding games that were F2P, in Beta/Early Access, awaiting important updates (like Kentucky Route Zero’s last episode), or games with meaningful DLC that I don’t own yet.

As the year went on, my backlog strategy each month evolved into:

  • At least one SG win per month
  • At least one game with an active multiplayer player base (before its player base depletes) The latter shouldn’t be confused with online-only games, which I usually avoid because I have a history of getting hooked on online RPGs like I did with Warframe, Robocraft, and years ago MW:O.
  • At least one game with a known short time to beat
  • Whatever I feel like playing: Generally choosing from a variety of genres unless I’m hooked on a genre or a game I played in a genre disappointed me & the genre needs redemption of sorts.

My PC Rig

The only minor changes to my rig this year were:

  • 8 GB of additional RAM (24 GB total) - Nice for a little RAMDrive or a few more Chrome tabs, lol
  • Seagate Barracuda 2TB HDD to replace 5+ year old 1TB HDD
  • Internet connection upgraded to 100 mbps down/15 mbps up from 50/10 mbps.
  • Corsair HS 60 Pro Surround headset
    If I upgrade anything later this year, it could be the CPU/Mobo/RAM since those parts are over 5 years old and I’ve pushed them as far as they’ll go. It would cost a pretty penny to ensure I’m getting a big enough boost over my i5-3570K.

2019: Beaten In Review

Highlights

  • Card-Based: Hand of Fate. I found its progression and card unlocks to be more meaningful than Slay the Spire, even though its deck building strategy wasn’t quite as deep.
  • Puzzle/Construction: When Ski Lifts Go Wrong. The physics were solid and hilarious with a variety of challenges.
  • Park Builder: Jurassic World Evolution (no major DLCs). I love the JP & JW movies, so although the game is not very deep in terms of customization and park management seemed no better than Planet Coaster, it nailed the vibe & wonder of the franchise.
  • Social: Tower Unite. Lots of fun games (mini or otherwise) and decent multiplayer that doesn’t have much jerks or cheating. Planning to revisit as soon as the arcade update is rolled out.
  • Story Rich: Quantum Break. I was a sucker for time manipulation and its TV show.
  • Survival: This War of Mine (with all DLCs). A masterclass in relatively realistic survival with meaningful progression, emotion-heavy stories, and some brutal choices.

Best Game to Revisit

This War of Mine - It was great to play it again with all the DLCs having been recently released.

Most Disappointing

Human Fall Flat - I expected it to be one of the best physics platformers, but it literally fell flat for me with how unnecessarily wonky the camera and controls are.  Not much of a sense of progression other than getting to the next area or level, and my multiplayer sessions were meh.  The intrigue of getting to the next area wore off on me after the first couple of levels, and having to look up guides a couple of times.

2020: Most Anticipated Owned Games to Play

SG Wins

Purchases or Trades

Nov & Dec 2019 Progress Report

I missed my November and December progress reports due to travel plans and other IRL stuff that’s come up during this weird time in my life.  I appreciate the unwavering support of my family as well as work, but will be able to return to my normal routines in the new year. I only played one game during November, but around Christmas time I enjoyed playing and beating a number of games.

Expect a “Year In Review” post from me soon about my PC gaming, looking back at 2019 and forward to 2020 =)

End of December Stats (compared with October)

767 games (+59)
75% never played (+1%)
9% unfinished (+0%, 4 games)
11% beaten (-1%, 5 games)
1% completed (-1%)
3% won’t play (-1%)

I bought a variety of bundles, and for the winter sales I only got a handful of specific game & DLC purchases.

Beaten in November

    Slay the Spire

    Slay the Spire

    42 hours playtime

    As one of the best card-based games I’ve played on PC, there are very few people I would not recommend this game to. That’s because of its satisfying gameplay and progression wrapped in an easy to learn but difficult to master package thanks to the strategies available to different cards.

Beaten in late December

    MageQuit

    MageQuit

    11 minutes playtime

    Played it a bit was annoyed by the controls that happened to be controller only, and nobody online to play with. I guess the game stayed true to its name, but for the wrong reasons.

    60 Parsecs!

    60 Parsecs!

    8 hours playtime

    Better & more choices for gameplay than the first game (60 Seconds) and clearer win/loss conditions, but less meaningful mode variety. Items are different but no more balanced than the first game. The 3-5 planet types provide different encounters, places to explore, and different win/loss conditions.

    The Stanley Parable

    The Stanley Parable

    2 hours playtime

    I recommend this game at historic low or bundle price to anyone who enjoys narrative driven gameplay, fourth wall breaking, exploring multiple endings, and some occasional story elements that are abstract or random. Though it was a short game having played through about half of the endings, it is entertaining and amusing for a walking simulator.

Ragtag (not selectable in BLAEO or post generator?)

I recommend this game to anyone who likes shuffle board or likes any other game from Windybeard (best known for GEO), but it is difficult to recommend to anyone else due to the shorter replay value: 3 hours on Campaign, but longer with Arcade. Ragtag is a turn based shuffle board-like strategy game where you place your squad, and “shoot” your squad members at enemies to knock them off the level/board. First team to knock off all the opposite team’s squad will win. I love shuffleboard, so it was engaging for me. Different character’s abilities add some gameplay variety but not a ton.

Re-Visited

    This War of Mine

    This War of Mine

    71 hours playtime

    After playing all the DLC for the first time, this is still my favorite survival game ever for its purposeful realism, emotional grip, and engaging gameplay. The DLC are basically different starting scenarios with their own unique storylines, some new locations, and new mechanics for the last two DLC. 1st DLC was ok but relatively linear. 2nd DLC was pretty good, and had clear story decision points. 3rd DLC is literally an elaborate masterpiece. I may revisit the game at least once more sometime to play “Final Cut” edition of the base game which has some new locations and minor enhancements, as playing it more may unlock additional characters.

Started Playing by end of 2019

    Divinity: Original Sin 2

    Divinity: Original Sin 2

    6 hours playtime

    Was gifted this by my best friend and we’ve been playing co-op from opposite coasts of the US. Definitely seems like a modest improvement over the first game, and look forward to getting past the beginning chapters of the main story. Look forward to getting through the first chapters and seeing more of the world.

    Motorsport Manager

    Motorsport Manager

    20 hours playtime

    This is the first game I’ve played dedicated entirely to sports team management. This one makes motorsports engaging and challenging as a management/sim.  Its nice to be able to jump into a league with a team at any position yet there is balance between the teams through earnings being tied to race position earned. I picked a team with moderate sponsor pressure, such that one of my two racers has to place in the middle of the pack or higher. Its really tough to earn enough money to get the building upgrade that I want.

Stuck

    Gauntlet™

    Gauntlet™

    5 hours playtime

    I have fond memories of this at arcades. Unfortunately the limited revive mechanic, whether co-op or solo, puts a damper on things. You dont get extra revives the more people there are in your party, as # of revives available are tied to enemy kills.  Meaningful progression is more about getting through levels than it is about developing your character’s abilities/equipment, the latter of which requires grinding.

Paused

    Dark Future: Blood Red States

    Dark Future: Blood Red States

    8 hours playtime

    An unique on-rails strategy game in the form of driving a Mad Max type of car. Its strategy game because time can be controlled or paused, as well as queuing a next action. Playing through one “season” as a character unlocks more abilities and characters, but the variances between those and mission types weren’t really worth replaying for me for now. I’m not sure I can consider this “Beaten” until replaying with all characters since the character specific narratives are central to the game and its universe, though has little bearing on gameplay.

January 2020 Queue

…and Balancelot, which the generator or BLAEO couldn’t pull up.

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