currently playing: eufloria hd
i have my unplayed steam library categorized by which bundle they came from plus a general unplayed category for games i acquired by themselves. for the most part i choose my new games from the oldest bundles but i let some i’m more excited about skip ahead, and ignore some that don’t look interesting.
with all the dlc maps there’s really a lot here! i played the main story on all the campaigns but didn’t bother with the various challenge modes. i’m a little sad to be done with it! i won this on steamgifts and then bought a bundle that included it later, then a few years after that actually started playing it. like most tower defense there are a set number of towers and the first few levels each tend to give you a new tower type, then most of the levels after that let you have all of them. there’s the variation you’d expect in tower defense enemies and tower that work better / worse depending on enemy type. while i built mostly gun towers i found it was much more effective to work in some towers that did heat, area of affect, or air damage too.
i appreciated the companion’s voice calling out what was coming next or getting excited about towers being effective. it’s possible that made it even more satisfying to build an effective system of towers. while it sometimes frustrated me, the time it took to add or upgrade a tower made an interesting strategic element. i often found myself waiting for a gap between waves before upgrading, or upgrading towers from a group one at a time so i didn’t lose too much firepower by taking them all down to upgrade at once. eventually i started using the checkpoint feature to go back and try something different, which is a nice way to let you really optimize your design if you’re into that (i got more into that the further i got).
the biggest downsides for me were that the maps are 3d but all you can do is zoom in and out. sometimes it’s hard to tell if a tower spot is too high or low to hit the path (definitely went back to a checkpoint a couple times because a tower didn’t reach where i wanted it to). a few maps even have paths that are go underneath other parts of the map, and it would have been nice to be able to tilt the camera angle to check if anybody was there.
if you enjoy tower defense games and somehow haven’t tried defense grid you definitely should. i have defense grid 2 on my wishlist but who knows when my backlog will reach a point where it makes sense to buy it!
hacker evolution: untold is a lot like the first hacker evolution game but a little less good. it adds a deletelogs command which i like, but the story isn’t as interesting. not sure if this was in the first game too, but the menus are sometimes weird. you can’t actually select your save to load it using the keyboard; i had to use my mouse. it’s a mostly keyboard-driven game.
just as in the first hacker evolution, i found myself wanting to optimize how i played each level for the smallest possible trace. nothing useful on that server? don’t bother hacking it. found an exploit for a service i already cracked? restart and get the exploit first. it also has a lot of waiting for decrypt and crack commands to complete, which you can make better by upgrading your components, but then you might accidentally spend too much to be able to lower your trace enough.
i enjoy hacking games, but uplink does it a lot better than the hacker evolution series. i’m still planning to play the last game in the trilogy because a mediocre hacking game is still a hacking game.
i like to play horror games when the nights are longer. stasis was my first one this season, and i was looking forward to it also being point & click. it even says it was named best adventure game of 2015, so that’s probably a good sign. unfortunately the writing and voice acting were not very impressive, and the isometric perspective kept me further from the horror than i was hoping for. i was interested enough in the story to keep going though, and most of the puzzles were reasonable. i got stuck for a while not realizing there was an exit at the bottom of the screen and had a couple puzzles where i still don’t know why the item i ended up using actually made sense to use there. i liked the way that you could make the wrong choice or wait too long in a dangerous spot and die complete with an animation, but wasn’t impressed by the items you could use on yourself to commit suicide. the idea that the main character would choose to give up in that way fit, but most of the suicide animations didn’t actually seem possible.
statis is pretty middle-of-the-road for me. i wouldn’t recommend buying it by itself but if you pick it up in a bundle maybe give it a shot.
i extended my enjoyment of halloween this year by starting costume quest the week after. while costume quest didn’t live up to my expectations, i still had a good time playing through it and the included dlc campaign. the dialog wasn’t voiced and was usually on a timer. i think it would let you skip the whole thing but i wanted to read it all and it wouldn’t let me advance to the next line after i finished the line that was showing, so i had to just sit back and wait. each area of the game has you doing the same things, just with a different visual theme and some new costumes to choose from.
my favorite part is the costumes – each time i unlocked a new one i was excited to see what it would do in battle. battle stamps are also a nice way to change things up (my self-resurrecting unicorn who could resurrect other characters felt pretty unstoppable). since you’re mostly against the same enemies (except for boss fights) you’ll probably just pick the strongest combination and go with that, or maybe your first character will be whichever map ability you needed last.
overall i’d recommend playing this if you want to get a little bit into a halloween world that would almost certainly have appealed to you when you were trick-or-treating age. if you don’t care about the halloween theme though you can probably have a better time playing a different turn-based rpg.
the ball starts out showcasing its weird storytelling and not-so-good voice acting, but then it shows off its nice (though mostly the same color) graphics and gives you the titular ball. then the puzzles start, and the puzzles are the part that kept me wanting to play almost all the way to the end. it was a little too long to hold my attention the whole time. i played all the way through the campaign but then didn’t have any interest in trying out the survival mode.
it almost feels like a co-op game where your partner is the ball. that’s actually pretty cool and they do some interesting things with it like sometimes lock the ball out of reach and suddenly you’re defenseless and just really want it back. it doesn’t feel mean or anything; you just solve the next puzzle either without the ball or by guiding it indirectly and then you get it back.
the puzzles don’t appear to have multiple solutions and the gameplay felt mostly linear, but the puzzles were still satisfying. i recommend checking out the ball to anyone who likes puzzle games and doesn’t mind if they don’t really have a story.
i had some playtime in anodyne because it was one of the first games to get steam trading cards. hadn’t actually gone beyond the main menu until recently though. i always thought it looked interesting as it stared at me from the top of my badges page, so i finally decided to actually try it out. it felt like what i wanted the original zelda to be for me, which i never really played because i couldn’t save (maybe i should try it through an emulator though).
anodyne does great with storytelling, graphics / sound, and exploration. there’s even some extra exploration at the end to find additional cards using the last tool you get, but that was a bit too much exploring for me so i just used a guide. the only achievement i didn’t get is one about doing it again but within a time limit. i’m not much of a speedrunner.
while the length felt right to me, it might be a little short for $10. if it’s in your backlog though i definitely recommend giving it a shot, and if you’re in a position to buy more games i’d watch for a sale on this one.
i installed lexica because it showed up in the steam spring cleaning event. apparently i got it free from failmid, but i don’t even remember what that is. while i couldn’t try it on my touchscreen laptop because it doesn’t support linux it sure feels like it’s designed for touch, and the size and shape of the window definitely make it feel like a mobile phone game. it doesn’t have ads or microtransactions though, so you can just keep going through the puzzles as fast as you can solve them.
the worst part is how obscure a lot of the words are. as far as i can tell i have a larger-than-average vocabulary and approximately every other puzzle i found myself thinking, “is that actually a word?” there was only ever one per puzzle though so i could at least make the other words and if what was left seemed at least pronounceable it might be right. i found myself enjoying lexica more than i thought i would for a casual puzzle game, so if you’re looking for something along those lines to play through steam instead of on your phone, this is a solid choice.
this sounded like it could be an interesting point & click so i had it on my wishlist for a while . . . and then episode one became free! i played through it a couple days ago and it’s not a complete story. it all just felt like the lead up to something, but i don’t know what that is because i don’t have episode two . . . and now it just feels like too much to get the next episode based on what i got out of episode one. if you’ve played episode two and think i should keep going though, definitely speak up! my impression for episode one is that there wasn’t enough story to split into multiple episodes but they did it anyway, so this is just the beginning. looks like they plan to have 3 episodes total and episode 2 is the middle of the story with the conclusion in episode 3, which isn’t out yet. i’d definitely recommend getting the whole thing before you start . . . but maybe you don’t need to play it at all.
i’m continuing to play the putt-putt games with my kids. this time we put it on the htpc and my 5-year-old daughter used the trackball on the wireless keyboard to control it. they were able to figure out almost all of it without my help. they continue to improve a little with each new game — this one added a quit option you could click on and included a fun song about the zoo. had to run up the playtime to get all the cards to drop after the kids had beaten it, and they got at least halfway through the first time but then had to go to bed and started over next time because there’s no save.
this one was about what i expected after playing the first 2, which is what i wanted it to be. we’ll keep playing these every so often.
for this one i tried letting my kids (3 and 5) control it on my touchscreen linux laptop. it’s fairly similar to the other putt-putt game we played together (putt-putt joins the parade) where near the beginning it sets you up with a list of things you need to collect, and once you collect them and turn them in you win. my kids were a little more into the moon story than they were for the parade story, and this time it was clear we had actually reached the end since there were credits.
i noticed a couple issues trying to play the game with touch. the first is that you don’t get the visual cues about what you can click by hovering because there isn’t really a hover without a click. second, something happened (maybe due to an operating system notification or maybe from looking at the list of things we needed to collect) that made taps not hit the part of the screen we actually touched. ended up needing to finish using the touchpad. the emulator doesn’t allow switching out to a different application and i’m not aware of any way to save (though my kids finished in just over an hour, so not normally that important) or i might have tried to fix it.
just like probably all of the putt-putt games, this is pretty boring if you’re not a child or playing it with a child. my kids and i had a lot of fun with it and i recommend it for anyone looking for games to enjoy with their children around age 5.