currently playing: portal stories: mel
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.
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.
i’m pretty sure i saw a recommendation for this free mod on steamgifts. i wanted to check it out because i got pretty into both the puzzle-solving and storytelling in portal 1 and 2. for a community-made mod, it gets impressively close to the experience i got out of the official portal games. it doesn’t have an awesome glados song, the voice acting consistently mispronounced “aegis,” and the style of one of the voices was more overtly ominous than i could see valve using in a portal game. none of those really affected my enjoyment though, and overall it gave me everything i expected and more. if you’re a fellow portal fan and haven’t checked this out yet, you definitely should!
i bought the humble humongous entertainment bundle without having ever played or heard of any of the games. i have two kids ages 3 and 5 though, and i thought the three of us could enjoy the games together. i picked putt-putt joins the parade first and put it up on the tv and let the kids decide what to try next. they had fun solving the puzzles and i enjoyed listening to them think it through. since it’s a dos game from the 90s, it doesn’t have a menu and it’s not clear how to quit when you’re done (it also wasn’t entirely clear the game was actually over), but i remembered enough from my dos gaming days to try ctrl-x (pretty sure that was the one that worked).
if you’re not somewhere around 5 years old i wouldn’t bother this game, unless you’re going to play it with kids who are. in that case go for it – my kids loved it and i expect the other games from the bundle to get even better.
first of all, the lego movie is amazing and you should watch it if you haven’t seen it yet. i should probably watch the sequel sometime. it follows the lego game formula as i expected it to, which was mostly what i wanted. i played through all the levels in story mode and then went back to play them in free play to collect all the things and get into the areas that were inaccessible in story mode. i liked the instructions-based building mode where you had to find the correct piece to keep going, but i had some trouble finding the levels from the hubs when i was going back for story mode. the flying characters were a lot of fun but there are a lot of invisible walls when you do that, even in the levels where you have a superhero in story mode. in other lego games i’ve made a custom character that combined my favorite abilities and a cool look, but when i tried that here i couldn’t tell what i was getting for abilities. it was more fun to just use the many unlockable characters. there’s a dlc available for this game but reading what’s in it sounds like it wouldn’t add much. if you’ve enjoyed other lego games and / or the lego movie i recommend this game.
i don’t usually enjoy match 3 games, but somehow 10,000,000 got me to keep going until i beat it. most of the match 3 i’ve played have been mobile games and the match 3 part has felt more like a chore i have to get through to be able to do the part i enjoy. here the matching was enjoyable: partly because the tiles have different meanings so you have to match the right type for what you’re up against and partly because even bad runs still get you closer to the next upgrade. it certainly helps that there are no microtransactions so there’s no general feeling that they’ve made it almost impossible to continue without buying powerups.
since i got this game from a humble android bundle, i was also able to install it on my phone. i actually enjoyed it more there even though it doesn’t have achievements on the phone and i often had to hard-close the app if i switched away to a different app and then came back (sometimes losing a little progress). when i played through steam it was on my linux touchscreen laptop and it worked great! since i was fully upgraded before i pulled off a full 10,000,000 run and my two remaining achievements don’t appear to be within reach, i’m probably not going to play it anymore. i enjoyed it while it lasted and it’s nice to cross another game off my backlog!
roboblitz feels old. it uses an old version of physx (actually asked me to install it even though i install the latest physx with my video card driver) and the physics are noticeably strange. still, i had fun collecting upgradium and getting everything working again. until i got to the third round in each area, where there’s an almost zelda-style boss fight. not only do i find those fights tedious, but they’re buggy to the point of not actually working the way the hints tell you it should . . . unless you use a different program to limit the framerate to 60. there are 6 areas you need to visit 3 times each, and i did each area once before coming back for round 2 and then 3, which put all the boss battles in sequence. i think it would have been more palatable (and maybe the designer’s intent) to play all 3 for an area before moving on to the next.
while roboblitz might have made sense back when it was new, i definitely don’t recommend buying it today. i finished it in two 2-hour sittings though, so if you have it in your backlog it’s an easy one to move to completed, as long as you’re comfortable limiting the framerate so you can actually fight the bosses.
my first run to safe haven was quick but fun and i’m probably going to play more of this! i liked seeing one of the two games we were allowed to play on the computers at school reimagined as a zombie game. those who haven’t played oregon trail probably won’t get as much out of this as i did, but i think the things that made oregon trail great (besides being better than the lemonade stand game which was the only other option) still stand. it seems priced about right, so if your backlog is getting small i recommend picking it up!
finished the story mode campaign last monday. while it certainly feels like a mobile game in some ways, it only really got in the way after i came back to the game after a months-long break and tried to click the powerups where it showed how many were available instead of using right-click where i wanted to use a powerup and then picking the one i wanted. it also took me a while to re-learn what the powerups do.
i mostly ended up running the same squad of units through each map, but it was still satisfying to clear all of the enemy towers. while they do add new units and new towers and new powerups as you go, i don’t think it could have kept my attention for much longer than the story. i have possibly all the other anomaly games too, so eventually i’ll see if there’s more there. i probably wouldn’t buy this game by itself, but if you have it sitting in your library from a bundle like i did it’s worth checking out.
i probably played more like 60 hours of this game, but steam only reported the time i had the launcher open. it showed its age right away with needing compatibility mode to even run on windows 10. even with that it froze up on me 8 or so times, but it autosaves whenever you go through a door and load a new area and i quicksave a lot, so that wasn’t a huge setback. also it’s one of very few games that ignores that i set windows to use dvorak keyboard layout, so when it says press E and i press the key that’s labeled D but normally works as an E, that doesn’t work. of course i can just press the key labeled E, but this is one of 3 or so games i’ve seen ignore my keyboard layout.
coming from fallout 1 and 2 i appreciated hacking and lockpicking as minigames. hacking was a fun puzzle to solve to figure out which password is correct, but lockpicking as far as i can tell was just a random angle to put the bobby pin. also bobby pins seemed a bit scarce so i’d quickload and try again if i broke more than one on a lock.
i missed having to trade action points between movement and attacking (though maybe actions points came back faster if i was sitting still?) and i only got the option to have someone join me just before the ending. other than that it had everything i like about fallout games, and it was cool to see a 3d wasteland. definitely worth the sale price i paid for it on a site i’d never heard of before.
i love adventure games, especially the ones put out by wadjet eye games. when i first heard about unavowed i knew i’d buy it and play it as soon as i could, and i’m glad i did: it’s now my favorite adventure game!
most of the characters on your team were surprisingly deep and well-defined. while i’m not an addict myself, i do read and listen to a lot about addiction and the character who’s an addict fit amazingly well into my understanding of addiction. i’m also a father and my family is the most important thing in my life, so another character’s struggles with being apart from his family really resonated with me.
each chapter of the game presents a moral choice to resolve the chapter, but it doesn’t set it up as a clear good and a clear bad choice. what you choose has consequences later, and while i was happy with the choices i made my first time through i also enjoyed playing again and choosing the other way.
you get to set your character’s name, sex, and choose from three professions. your profession affects how you can progress through some of the chapters as well as setting your origin story. eventually you choose 2 teammates to take on missions, and depending who’s with you there are different solutions available. when playing again to get achievements for bringing certain characters along i got to solve the same puzzles different ways, which kept it feeling new.
since i was playing so soon after the game came out, i didn’t have much opportunity to look up solutions when i got stuck, but i think that only happened twice. both times were because i hadn’t noticed something i could interact with (a manhole cover, and then later a book on a table). the puzzles are logical and the missions are confined to a smallish area so you don’t have to worry about maybe running all the way across the map to get something you need.
the only thing i noticed that i didn’t like was that sometimes the story seemed to contradict what it had set up previously. the most obvious case is a character says “i will not allow that” but totally goes along with it if that’s what you choose.
i heartily recommend unavowed to anyone who appreciates adventure games or games with great story.