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.
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.
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!