currently playing: parcel, prey (solo), and the adventure pals (co-op with my 6-year-old)
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 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!
my third time getting into eufloria came with me finally completing the story mode. i first started before eufloria hd existed with the regular eufloria and i think eventually got stuck and just stopped playing. then eufloria hd came out and i got it free since i had eufloria, so i started over with that and apparently got just two levels away from the end of story mode before getting distracted away with something else.
the visuals and sounds were the strong points of eufloria for me. it almost feels like a casual RTS but i basically always ended up waiting for my seedlings to build up to where i had more than my neighbor and then sent them in to fight — very little paying attention to what the AI was doing and reacting to it. i guess sometimes it’s nice to play something slower-paced, and eufloria is definitely relaxing and pretty chill. i didn’t get enough out of it to recommend adding it to your backlog, so this one goes on the mediocre pile.
since CAYNE is a free game similar to the non-free STASIS, i was expecting a fairly mediocre experience. turned out i liked this one better though! the isometric view for a horror game still mostly makes the horrors feel far away, even when your character is standing right next to something horrifying. the melted fuse puzzle stood out as an example of how would you ever figure that out on your own, but for the most part the others made sense.
i enjoyed the story and exploration, especially the twist at the end which had me wondering why i hadn’t realized it at the beginning. while the name CAYNE will mean something to STASIS players coming in, you definitely don’t need to play STASIS first. i’m not actually sure which game happened first chronologically.
i definitely recommend CAYNE to anyone who enjoys horror and point and click. it’s free, so you already have access to it!
pretty sure i got this one episode at a time before it came to steam, and finally got around to playing it. i think my experience with the blackwell series helped get me excited for another point and click starring a red-haired woman. in the first act of the first episode things were already pretty gruesome, and each episode had plenty of that. maybe a little extreme for some but it made sense in the story.
most of the cut scenes were in this really great comic book style, which looked so good i was a little disappointed to get back to the bad 3d of the playable game. it gets seriously ugly at points with characters moving awkwardly and faces and body parts stretching and overlapping to distraction. the voice acting occasionally didn’t sound natural or quite match the feeling of the story. it was inconsistent about when it let me skip dialog, and would pop up unnecessary tutorial text that stayed up long enough for me to read 3 times.
it did well with the important parts for me though — interesting murder cases and an overarching story i could really get into with good puzzles. it’s definitely not one of the more polished adventure games i’ve played, but i had a good time with it.
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.