currently playing: fallout new vegas, parcel, cook serve delicious, slay the spire, the adventure pals (co-op with my 6-year-old), and lovers in a dangerous space time (co-op with my wife and 2 kids)
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 with steamgifts wins sprinkled in but i let some i’m more excited about skip ahead.
this definitely has a portal feel, which it seems to recognize with its “companionless cube” achievement. it’s simpler, shorter, and a bit less polished. i ran into a problem with jumping that i eventually decided to look up in steam discussions . . . turns out if the frame rate is above 60 then pressing jump often just makes the sound. worked fine once i set max frame rate to 60. the problem i wasn’t able to solve was the controls. i use dvorak and like many games it defaults to wasd but those keys are actually spread out for me. i remapped what i could in the launcher, but not everything was there. this meant my strafe right key (labeled D but actually types E in dvorak) was also still mapped to switch polarity because that has a nonconfigurable mapping for the E key. i fell through color-coded bridges a LOT due to that. it also needs you to select between keyboard or controller, so when i originally skipped the config options in the launcher and then found i couldn’t change controls in-game, i needed to quit back to the game menu to switch to controller and try that. i’m pretty bad at using a controller for first-person so then quit back to my desktop and changed controls in the launcher.
the puzzles had some interesting components, but most of it was pretty obvious for me. it’s also not very long — i finished it in less than 2 hours even with having to redo a lot of jumping sections before i had limited the frame rate.
i read there’s also a also co-op campaign, which was awesome in portal 2, but here it’s local only which means somebody needs to use a controller. i don’t think i’m going to try the co-op campaign unless they let it work non-locally so we can both use keyboard and mouse. overall i’m glad this is a thing but i could have really recommended it if they had kept going with it, fixed the bugs, and made the map spaces more interesting.
i didn’t expect to enjoy this much considering it says it’s a 3D match-3 game and i rarely actually want to play match 3. i didn’t get off to a good start with this one either — first it made me wait while it failed to connect to servers, then i tried again and it still couldn’t connect (which means it won’t award any achievements, apparently), and then it disappeared after i went to options to turn the music down. it didn’t totally crash as it was still running and i had to go to task manager to kill it and start again, at which point it decided it needed to do the initial setup again. not sure if that’s because it didn’t exit cleanly the first time or if it just always does that.
the game itself seems like an interesting take on match 3 assuming match 3 is something you want. the way it zooms in as more time passes without a match (zooming out some when you do get a match) is an interesting way to make sure you fail quickly if you’re going to fail. i played the campaign which was 10 levels, and i finished in less than an hour on casual mode (besides not really liking match-3 games, i’m also not very good at them). didn’t check out the other modes and was honestly glad to be able to knock it out of my backlog without putting much time in. i wouldn’t recommend critical mass even if you do like match 3 because of the server issue, which seems to have been broken for years. i can see leaderboards being on their server, but there’s an achievement for finishing the campaign on casual which it didn’t award me apparently because it couldn’t connect to their server, which makes no sense.
i thought i heard postal was pretty cool, but maybe that’s just postal 2 because this was really boring. i got the completed 10 levels achievement right around when my last card dropped so i checked how many levels it had and decided to finish up the campaign because it’s not that long. i can’t imagine there was anything here that you would help you get more out of postal 2, so definitely skip this one even if you are interested in postal 2.
it’s been a while since i played the first emily is away, but if you liked that i’d expect you to like this too. i definitely used instant messenger back in the day (though i preferred icq) so there’s definitely some nostalgia factor for me here. i would have liked to see more sound controls because i always found the AIM sounds annoying but i didn’t want to entirely mute the game. it confused me for a second with actually putting files on my real desktop outside the game for me to open, but it was cool how you could actually get help from the friend you were chatting with in the game.
chapter 3 frustrated me because there’s a point where 2 people want to talk to you urgently at the same time and both are impatient with you . . . i’m pretty sure it’s not possible to give them both the attention they want. i ended up playing a second time to hear what emily had to say, and i’m glad i did because she had an experience similar to one i actually had in high school but never told anyone about. helping her through it was actually a bit healing for me and maybe i’ll actually talk to someone about my experience in the next couple weeks.
i started playing evoland when i wanted something i could play from the couch with a controller, and it drew me in enough that i ended up playing a lot of it at my desk too. legendary edition contains both evoland and evoland 2, and i’m pretty sure it showed up in my library as a result of owning evoland 2 from the humble eye candy bundle.
the gimmick of the first evoland is, as the title hints at, a journey through the evolution of video games. it’s also full of references to well-known video games — likely more than i even recognized. playing the game itself is fun too but the video game stuff definitely made it better for me.
evoland 2 instead of trending toward better graphics actually lets you time travel between 4 graphics levels and varies genres. there’s a decent chance you will encounter at least one genre you don’t particularly enjoy (for me it was match 3), but that probably won’t matter much because most sections are short. it also has more of a story, especially around the player character, and it took me a lot longer to beat.
there’s a lot to like in both evolands and i recommend picking them up together in the legendary edition. the only downsides to legendary vs getting the games separately are limited save slots shared between games (didn’t matter to me since i only used one slot per game) and exiting from one of the games goes back to the legendary edition launcher making exiting take longer, but i got around that by usually exiting using alt+F4.
even with point and click being one of my favorite genres, i can’t recommend kaptain brawe. there’s no voice acting which could have been fine except the english translation was pretty bad, and even the writing behind that wasn’t great. the characters aren’t developed at all and while the basics of the story could have been interesting it just isn’t presented in a way to draw you in.
many of the puzzles required multiple steps but if you missed one of them it would just tell you that won’t work rather than a subtle hint about a step you missed. i also ran into trouble using machines that had multiple interactable parts labeled as generically as “hatch” that i had to figure out which one i actually needed to use. i wouldn’t recommend playing this even if you picked it up in a bundle like i did.
i actually bought prey along with dishonored 2 directly from steam during a sale (most of my purchases these days are bundles), and chose to play prey first because someone i follow on twitter recommended it. i liked it enough i played it twice — once as a hero and once killing everything in sight.
while the possibility of any object turning into a 4-legged alien spider creature and attacking me didn’t turn out to be all that important for me (the larger, less sneaky forms were more threatening), i definitely got into the world of prey and enjoyed the bits of story as they opened up. there were enough hints (some arrived at through dying) that i saw the ending coming, but that didn’t take away from it. i liked the way it wasn’t entirely clear who to trust: i changed my mind on alex a couple times.
i largely wasn’t interested in the combat but i did enjoy sneaking around and watching. until i didn’t enjoy it anymore because i just wanted to get through . . . so mostly i’d clear an area of enemies so i could run freely. the recycling / fabricating fed into my tendency to collect all the junk i can find and supports use of whatever weapon is your favorite so long as you can recycle enough junk into the raw materials to fabricate its ammunition.
definitely give prey a go. i rarely buy games anymore but i’m glad i bought this one!
i enjoyed the puzzles and quirkiness of the original puzzle agent, so was pretty excited for puzzle agent 2. it delivered exactly what i expected and i picked up all the achievements in my first playthough, just looking up a solution for that one type of puzzle that i’m just not good at. one puzzle was timed and i didn’t figure out how it wanted me to indicate my solutions until too late, but i was able to retry just that one after reaching the end. if you enjoyed the original puzzle agent i definitely recommend puzzle agent 2.
the story in brütal legend was every bit as jack black as i could imagine. i knew going in that the main character was voiced by jack black in story where metal music is a super power, and was pleasantly surprised to recognize some of the other characters as well. the first time i jumped in my car and its radio started playing “metal” by tenacious d i knew i was going to play the entire story. it may have less appeal if you’re not a jack black or metal fan (i rarely choose to listen to metal but definitely appreciate jack black — i only recognized 2 or 3 of the songs in the whole game and there are many).
i completed all the side missions that popped up and they were certainly repetitive, but at least short. the main story missions had more variety and were also more fun because they had more story. overall brütal legend is slightly better than mediocre, but the style kept me coming back. i didn’t bother with seeking out all of the collectibles (but did stop for them when i came across one) and didn’t try the multiplayer.
alan wake’s american nightmare was my first better in the dark game of the season. it’s been a while since i played the first alan wake, but this one definitely didn’t live up to it. while it added the time loop mechanic which was a little interesting, it was almost completely lacking in story and didn’t draw me in much at all. the fighting system felt pretty good with my controller. i wanted to like the other human characters in the game but they weren’t very developed.
even if you were really into the original alan wake i wouldn’t recommend putting any money into alan wake’s american nightmare.
i played torchlight ii single player with the engineer class. it takes what was good about torchlight and adds co-op (which i didn’t try) and probably some other stuff that i can’t pick out because the two games blend together in my head. i don’t get into action rpgs all that much, but this one never got tedious. i’m happy to have beaten it and also will be happy to break it out again if i get a chance to play with friends.
i played both the castle and the desert solo as a ranger on easy. after completing the castle i tried a couple other classes for the desert on medium and then on easy and then went back to the ranger. after playing the castle i thought i probably should have chosen medium and/or a different class (it says ranger is easiest), but either of those changes left me unable to get past the first level in the desert.
i didn’t really try out the other classes, but maybe someday i will get some friends together and we’ll all pick different classes. i liked the way you progress by collecting money and buying upgrades, though it would have been nice to pick up money without having to get all the way on top of it. about halfway through the castle i looked at the controls and discovered strafe and auto-attack buttons that really could have been more discoverable. i played the whole thing with my controller set to the default fire in 8 directions mode, which meant i could only hit enemies from certain angles even though they could shoot at any angle. could have changed that setting or tried twin stick mode or mouse and keyboard.
this was okay as a single-player game, but i suspect it would be better in co-op. i’ll probably come back and try that someday, but for now beating single player on easy is enough for me.
i was intrigued by the style of stacking, and it turned out to be fun! i liked the discovering hi-jinks, which i first did because it’s fun to do things like fart on other dolls. the objectives all have multiple possible solutions, so after solving one way i could usually find another way, and once i ran out of ideas the 3-part hint was a nice way to get just as much of a hint as i needed to keep collecting solutions. there aren’t hints for hi-jinks or unique dolls though, so if you want to 100% those you need to experiment a LOT or check a guide.
the story is simple but fun, delivered as short clips in silent-film style — there’s never any voice acting but there is dialog. there certainly aren’t any twists or anything, but it did add to my enjoyment. didn’t try playing with keyboard and mouse but worked great with my controller.
pretty sure i knew about this while they were working on it and it was still called double fine adventure. considering point and clicks are my favorite games, i was excited to see how double fine’s quirky style would manifest. as is the case with most adventure games, there were a couple solutions that sort of make sense once you know what they are but are unlikely to occur to the player. the story and characters were amazing! i enjoyed talking to just about all of the characters for both the writing and the voice acting. and the world it takes place in is so crazy and interesting that it almost felt a little short. there were multiple times the story took a twist i didn’t see coming and was also a lot of fun to reckon with. looking at the remaining achievements after beating the game like i usually do i wasn’t motivated to go for 100%. the unexpected parts of the story were so satisfying when i didn’t expect them that i can’t imagine a second playthrough being as much fun. the puzzles were usually on the obvious side and occasionally too obscure to solve without a guide, but if the story and escaping into an interesting world appeal to you then you should definitely check out broken age!
i brought out this game when covid-19 started to seem serious. at first i felt a little better about humanity’s fate while i repeatedly failed to guide my plague through the eradication of all human life. then i got the hang of it that high infectivity is usually key and got bummed out. then i chugged on through all the plague types until i’d won all of them on normal. some of them like simian flu, shadow plague, and even the zombie one had pretty cool variations that made it feel a bit more like a game, but mostly this game is about figuring out a winning formula and hoping you can get to those pesky island nations before humanity really starts to fight off your plague. most of the variations felt repetitive to me, so this went down as one i was motivated to finish so that i could mark it beaten. didn’t try any multiplayer so maybe if a friend wants to try i’ll find that worth coming back for, but for the most part this game dragged on longer than my interest in watching my plague take over another country. if you already own this one maybe you want to fire it up now to get the hopefully once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play a game about global pandemics during a global pandemic.
i didn’t really expect a game focused on typing to be much of a game, but wow did i ever enjoy epistory! the two-handed movement controls were pretty cool once i got used to them, and i appreciated not needing to move my hands when going into battle mode where you have to type words as fast as you can. i can type pretty quickly, but that’s less true when what i’m typing is a bunch of random words versus sentences or at least phrases. maybe that’s not true for everyone, so if you’re faster at typing random (usually short) words you might get the two words-per-minute achievements i didn’t.
from the title i expected the story to be about writing, or to at least have a lot of focus on story. while it wasn’t what i expected, it definitely pulled me into its world and the vague struggle it seemed to portray. i wouldn’t say i came out having experienced a story, but i definitely got to explore an interesting world. i definitely recommend this one!