GameLogBlogging the experience of gameplay (PS4) - 07 Aug 2017 - by jp I've spent a few hours during two separate evenings evenings playing the end of a mission. And failing. A lot. It's basically a really long firefight that I've been getting better at - but it's one mistake and you have to start the whole thing all over again. The worst part is that I actually beat the fight once! The lights went back to normal, I wandered around and picked up some ammo and stuff and then activated an elevator I thought would take me to either the next area or the end of the level. And then? Some baddies warped in and killed me. And there was no checkpoint so I had to start the whole thing all over again. Sigh. I also don't want to turn down the difficulty level, still on the fence over whether I should continue playing or just move on to the next game. I think by now I've got a good sense of what the game's about and how it works (and, to be fair, I have really enjoyed it so far!)jpMon, 07 Aug 2017 23:29:32 UTC Flight (PS4) - 07 Aug 2017 - by jp this a bit more over the weekend and I finished the first "area" (unlocking the next one). It's more of the same, to be honest, with minor changes or variations. The novelty this time around was a mission where I had to catch fish - basically move in fast and collide with them while they're in the air. The fish jump up pretty high. I'm not sure how interesting the rest of the game will be - I get the sense that it's a bit of a one-trick pony. But, a great trick - this is now my 2nd "go to" game to show people who have never tried VR. It's "easy" in that you don't really need to hold on to the controller and it's not that hard to navigate (I do find that I tend to "drift" because it's so easy to turn instead of tilt).jpMon, 07 Aug 2017 22:58:18 UTC's Your Daddy (PC) - 06 Aug 2017 - by dkirschner so...I'd heard about this before, but some friends showed me another video about it and we decided it would be fun to play. Last Saturday, I paid $4.99 and downloaded Who's Your Daddy (no question mark in the title), a silly, stupid, buggy, funny, morbid two-player game. One player is the daddy and the other is the baby. The baby's job is to get into everything a baby shouldn't and kill itself; the daddy's job is to make the house safe and stop baby from dying. Baby can do things like take pills, drink bleach, burn alive in the oven, steal daddy's car and crash it, eat batteries, etc. Daddy can prevent these accidents from happening by putting pills and deadly things in high places, locking all the cabinets, locking the oven door, following baby around to fish it from the pool if baby crawls in, etc. And that's it. Pretty good fun for half an hour. There are some solo challenges to practice with each character and some achievements to unlock. You can also wear an assortment of hats and sunglasses. Yes, the baby can too.dkirschnerSun, 06 Aug 2017 20:07:01 UTC of the Endless (PC) - 06 Aug 2017 - by dkirschner, long time no updates. I haven't been playing much of anything for about a month. I am chilling in Montreal this week before a conference though, so I find myself playing some games instead of working on my conference presentation. I've officially retired Dungeon of the Endless, which a friend told me about at the tail end of this summer's Steam sale. Sounded cool, and I had some good times with it. Dungeon of the Endless is a roguelike tower defense game. Interesting merger of two genres that works well. There is some threadbare story and some "narratives" between characters that play out in small dialogue snippets on the elevator between floors. Your ship crash lands and you have to escape the dungeon...But there are some characters who are jailors and others who are prisoners and a couple other types...including Team Fortress 2 characters for some reason. None of that affects anything. You choose two characters to begin the game, and you start at floor 1, trying to work your way up to floor 13 (with the basic ship; you can unlock other ships that crash deeper into the planet, meaning you have to go up more floors to escape). You begin in a room with a crystal. This crystal is important. It generates a resource called "dust." With dust, you can power new rooms. So basically, open doors, acquire dust from doing so, power rooms. But it's infinitely more complicated. If you don't power a room, monsters might spawn there every time you open a door. Of course there isn't enough dust to go around. So you're going to have to build "towers," aka "major modules" that generate other resources and "minor modules" which are a variety of weapons, buffs, and debuffs. Major modules generate three other important resources: industry, science, and food. Industry is what you need to construct modules. Science lets you research new and upgraded modules. Food lets you level up your heroes and heal them in battle. So be smart when choosing among modules to build. These resources also let you buy things from merchants, who will sometimes appear and charge one of the three resources seemingly at random for their items. If you don't generate much industry, you'll have a hard time building modules. Not much science, and you won't be able to upgrade modules very well. Not much food, and your characters will be lower level, which means they'll have lesser stats and fewer perks. Always a tough call! So. How do you clear a floor? You need to find the power source for the crystal. It's hidden somewhere on the floor. Once you find that, you can carry it to the crystal and escape with whoever is in the room. I learned that the hard way one game where I escaped with no one but the hero carrying the crystal, and I lost all my party members. Terrible! As soon as you pick up the crystal power source, be warned that monsters will spawn from every unpowered room. So you need to power a path from the power source to the crystal and ideally power other rooms such that monsters don't catch you (you run slower with the power source) or don't make it to the crystal room. Enemies are all different. Some go straight for the crystal; some attack heroes; some attack modules. You'll be fine until floor 6 or so, then different enemy types appear and you can't just stand in a room and kill everything. You know what. I'm about halfway through describing all the systems in the game. If this sounds cool to you, pay a few bucks for it. I probably won't revisit it, and I never escaped, not even on Too Easy mode, but I had fun and found the game unique. Also I hope this was a decent primer on the "Endless" games, because I think I'm going to start Endless Legend next. dkirschnerSun, 06 Aug 2017 19:41:31 UTC Battle of Polytopia (iPd) - 01 Aug 2017 - by jp saw this described (in a tweet, of all things) as Civ-lite and so I immediately picked it up. I don't recall if it was free or super cheap, but I've played enough that I think I'm done. Mostly because I played twice on the hardest difficulty level and won a match on the 2nd game. I guess that's sort of like quitting on a high point? It really does feel like Civ-lite, and that's a good thing. As in, it feels honest to the last version of Civ I played...which was a while ago. In a nutshell you start with a city and then find others by getting barbarian tribes to join you. You can also get more cities by conquering them. Once conquered, cities produce a currency that you use to spend on either tech upgrades or cranking out military units. It's an all-out game of extermination, which I guess isn't really Civ (though mostly is?), but...I guess I was ok with that? I played (and won) with all of the starter civilizations (each one has a different starting tech unlocked) and wasn't really into paying to unlock the rest. I'm not sure what the rest really do, since the bonus ability is one that everyone can gain access to (it's also not uncommon to unlock the entire tech tree in a match). I like how the wonders worked - you don't have to research or pay for them. Rather, they're awarded (and they're not unique, so different civs can each have them AFAIK) when you complete a certain objective. For example, spend a number of rounds without attacking, or unlocking the entire tech tree, or exploring the entire map, etc. There's quite a lot of them so chances are you won't get them all in a single game - but you will get several. So, they feel like little prizes you get along the way. I don't feel like I purposefully chased them down (with a few exceptions), but I'm glad they're there. OVerall, glad I played, I'll be moving on to something else though..jpTue, 01 Aug 2017 19:09:07 UTC of Earth: Protonovus Assault (VITA) - 01 Aug 2017 - by jp seems like 2 crashes is my threshold. Especially when I'm eyeing a stack of other games I'm excited to look at and the game I'm playing is "ok", but starting to get a bit tiresome? At least that's been my experience with Aegis. I started enjoying it a lot more when I realized I could move the camera around and get a better view of stuff, but I started to get disappointed when I realized how much grinding I was going to have to start engaging in to make progress in the game. I've bowed at during mission #5, but with something like 35 odd strikes under my belt. I did unlock a second city, and it was interesting to see how it was different (because there are spaces in your rings that you can't develop, so there's a bit more trying to adapt to a city). But, it was still mostly the same kind of gameplay. The main exception is that I did get to use the "super gun" - it has an energy bar/meter that fills up as you play and for most strikes I never got the point where it was full. But then, I played a boss battle where I was able to use it. When you activate it, it switches to a sort-of-first person view, and you basically direct a laser at a target (you control it directly, unlike everything else) and then trigger it to "blast" and watch it severely deplete the boss's lifebar. There was also some new characters that appeared, and lots of chatting. The grinding was getting tiring. I realized that I would have to go back to the first city to do some strikes in order to get crystals that didn't drop in the second city that I needed to build structures in the 2nd city. I also needed cash. And since there's a fair amount of lengthy (unskippable AFAIK) animations in-between everything I just started to get a bit bored of the whole thing. So, when it crashed. And then crashed again...I decided I was done and have since moved on to something else.jpTue, 01 Aug 2017 12:34:02 UTC Esther (PS4) - 01 Aug 2017 - by jp last I can say I played this! I did enjoy the fact that it was short and it really does look beautiful and the audio work really impressed me. I can't say that I really understood entirely what it was "about" and I appreciated the spatial design in how it was able to wander around in the "right" direction most of the time. Once I finished it I immediately replayed the first chapter with the director's commentary turned on (thanks "Dear Esther Landmark Edition" I paid too much money for!). I'm glad I did because it clarified a lot of things for me, mostly about what the creators where trying to do and what their goals where. In a nutshell, they were aiming for an ambiguous narrative such that each player would have to make up their own mind about what was "really" going on. To achieve this, the audio clips that play were not the same for everyone (dunno if it was "random" or what) such that two people would have very different experiences. There was also some randomization in the props that appear in the world, which I thought was particularly interesting, but more on that later.... Purposefully wanting to design something you want your audience to struggle a bit with while providing enough that they can come up with a reasonable/sensible understanding is a tricky line to balance. I know this because I witnessed a student team struggle with that same idea. I wish I could have told them to play Dear Esther and to listen to all of the developer's commentary. I assume they played it, but I don't know for sure and not having played it myself at the time I wasn't able to help them pin point what Dear Esther was doing, why, and whether or not it was effective. It took me a bit, but I also learned to appreciate the dead-ends different areas have that did not have an audio snippet as a "reward". I was really expecting that they would trigger, but more often than not I'd get to the end of a long detour to not hear anything. Then I noticed there was stuff lying around that was meaningful/relevant to the story. A broken car door. A pile of soggy books, all the same, and so on. I wonder if those props were "randomly" placed there to coincide with the story bits I was listening to? My guess is yes.jpTue, 01 Aug 2017 12:23:35 UTC of Earth: Protonovus Assault (VITA) - 25 Jul 2017 - by jp looked so intriguing that I bought a copy blind...from abroad. This is not usually how I buy games. Especially the blind part. Well, unless they're super cheap.... I'm a few missions in (and 9 strikes, missions is not the same as strikes..) and I think I'm starting to get the hang of this game. It has required me to go into the menus to read a lot because the tutorial-style text that is meant to explain things is really poor at explaining things. For example, at one point the character's (they're all my assistants, I'm playing the commander of a city) all started talking about how we could now merge units, that we could merge 2 units, that it was a shame we couldn't merge three units yet, but that we could merge 2 units and that it was all a great improvement. I had no idea what merging units meant, how to do it, what it cost, etc. I wasn't able to find any info in the units-related menus... Eventually I discovered a menu with some help/glossary-type text and said something to the effect of "merging units happens automatically when they're next to each other". Oh. I still didn't know what THAT meant, but I was able to figure it out later during a strike. There's a lot of things like that in this game - that you sort of realize by having to pay careful attention to things you thought would have been explained either directly or more clearly. The game plays as a sort of tower defense game where you place towers in your city. Your city is a set of concentric rings that have empty slots where you can build the towers. You also have to leave room for residential areas, parks, and a power plant. The idea is that you're running a city, and you need to keep your population happy and growing. As expected, you can upgrade all the things you build and as your city grows and you level up (you, the commander character) you get access to new units (towers) and other stuff? So, there's base building/development and then strikes - which is when you fight off waves of invading monsters. Here's where the concentric (4 rings) circles that make up your city come in. Enemies come at you from any direction and you can rotate the city's rings such that the towers are in the path of the oncoming enemies. If two towers line up (radius-wise) and they're of the same type, they "merge" into a better version of that tower. In the beginning I was REALLY getting annoyed during the strikes, because although there's an indicator of the direction of approaching enemies, I had towers that were fighting off-screen enemies and, due to the camera perspective, you couldn't see any enemies on the bottom of the screen. I though that was a really dumb idea and I was sure there must be some way to change the camera view. I pressed all the buttons. No luck. I pressed all the buttons some more, no luck. I checked menus for configuration options. No luck. Then I tried the second stick (right stick) and there it was - move the camera around! So, now - the strikes are a lot more interesting...and playable. I'm not enjoying how chatty the characters are though...and there's unexplored gameplay there for now - each character has a special power or two, which I haven't looked into and I only realized I had more than 6 characters because I got a message before a strike asking if I was sure I wanted to field a character who was very tired. I was able to swap him out for another character...but then I realized I didn't have backups for anyone I'm not sure what happens if they all get tired?jpTue, 25 Jul 2017 16:41:30 UTC (VITA) - 25 Jul 2017 - by jp got to a level I wasn't able to pass and I wasn't really making any progress on it at all. I just couldn't get the beat of the song for my taps to work. So, I decided to sigh and move along...jpTue, 25 Jul 2017 15:44:47 UTC Chrome (PS4) - 19 Jul 2017 - by jp a few hours with my son the other day and I'm really interested in figuring out all the stuff the game has going on. There's an overarching rogue-like/lite structure that I'm intrigued by, and it helps that the base twin-stick shooting is fun. The overall structural stuff I'm curious about are: a. You spend money to get upgrades that are permanent. Are they really? (we're not sure, but we haven't gotten that far such that early levels SHOULD be really easy) b. You can spend money to upgrade weapons - but we think that's only for your next playthrough? c. Weapons also level up, but that's only during a play session - we're not sure which is the stronger effect: weapon leveling or the permanent upgrades. It's hard to disentangle them... d. After the first boss, you can choose to start from that point - we're not sure yet if that's a good idea, why would you NOT want to do that? We're not sure if starting at the boss means starting at a power-level appropriate for that level? (e.g. with weapons that have levelled up to a point that similar to what you'd get if you'd played all the way to that boss). COol beans!jpWed, 19 Jul 2017 19:16:24 UTC