GameLogBlogging the experience of gameplay Machines (DS) - 05 Dec 2017 - by jp this for a few hours - did 30 or so puzzles. I have no idea how many more there are but I think a lot! Two things I wanted to get down: a. It works remarkably well for a DS game since it seems to be running a physics simulations, uses the styulus and has all these (increasingly more) complicated bits and pieces that get added - gears, lights, explosions, fuses, balloons, etc. It's a pretty good "rube goldberg" game that feels closer to the really open-ended ones (e.g. Super Crayon Physics Deluxe) rather than the "there's a single solution to this puzzle, figure it out" games. This is mostly because I think I solved a few of the puzzles in weird/alternative/maybe plain lucky ways. b. I looked at the credits and it seems like the entire production team is/was Polish! Yay for happy discoveries like that and I've since learned that "City Interactive" is decent-sized publisher and developer with a ton of titles under its belt...jpTue, 05 Dec 2017 16:42:59 UTC Battle Brawlers (DS) - 05 Dec 2017 - by jp kids had Bakugan way back when though I don't think they ever played the "real" game - just had the figures. Since I picked this game up for next to nothing I thought it would be interesting to see what the actual game was about and how it was adapted into videogame form. I played for a few hours, with no real intention of continuing and I'm both impressed and disappointed... a. I don't really understand the basic stats/mechanics of the game - as it is played for "real". Your monsters have a value - higher number is better, and a "type" (element). Since combat in the videogame is resolved through mini-action games (swipe really fast, match your taps to these icons flying across the screen, follow this path quickly with your stylus, etc.) I have no real sense of how the stats matter and to what degree. If your monster's value is higher, I know you get an advantage, but I'm not sure if you can always make up for a disadvantage with, say, really good stylus skills. b. The real game has a dexterity component - I think - because you have to roll/throw your monster in ball form onto the playing field and get it to land on a metallic card, at which point the magnets kick in and the ball opens into a creature (a pretty cool toy if you ask me). Anyways, the same mechanic applies in the game and its implemented in a way that's pretty clever. You select a direction and swipe to launch your monster. Then, you can swipe more to move it around the play area (pick up bonus tokens) before trying to get it to stop on a card. There's additional stats that make this easier/harder (get more/less time to move around, ease in changing direction, strength of the magnet and a few more). So, for what is ostensibly a card game - with toys - it was neat to see that they made sure that dexterity mattered in the game. I can't think of other card games where this might happen, so I guess Bakugan is a more interesting game than I thought initially? c. AFAIK, the overall structure of the game is that you play in a series of tournaments - improving your Bakugan along the way, buying new ones, etc. until there's some showdown at the end (there's strong hints that your Bakugan is up to no good, so I'd expect some reversal at some point). I played the first single player tournament and almost finished the co-op tournament where you're paired up with an AI teammate against a pair of AI opponents. It works and is interesting UNTIL I lost a bunch of matches where I had no input (AI played AI, lost, played lost, and we lost the match). THat was a bit frustrating - AFAIK, I can't change what my AI teammate has/ I felt a bit powerless and at the whims of chance.. So, I decided it was time to move on!jpTue, 05 Dec 2017 16:29:40 UTC Typing of the Dead: Overkill (PC) - 29 Nov 2017 - by dkirschner was my "play at work" game since last semester. So it took me about 6 months to play 4 hours and beat this. Looks like I'm earning my salary. I've long been fascinated with this game since I first played it on Dreamcast in college. I enjoy typing and typing fast. When I was like 25-26, I worked as a transcriptionist for a company doing mostly medical and legal dictations for a year. Then I branched off on my own and started transcribing interviews and focus groups for researchers at UGA. So I appreciate a good typing trainer, especially this one where typing letters kills zombies. It's in the House of the Dead series, that old rail shooter everyone used to play at the arcade. So like. I don't really need to describe this. Instead of shooting a gun to kill zombies, you type letters, words, and phrases. Every zombie has some text in front of it. As they charge you, just type the text correctly. Finishing the text kills the zombie. And that's the entire game. Congratulations. Do that 5000 times. Boss battles aren't any different really. Since it's a rail shooter, you just worry about typing. No jumping, dodging, or anything else. The last boss was different though, and involved a poorly executed word association game. It displayed characters in the game and you had to type words associated with them. This was what I did today to beat the game, and it was a little difficult since I hadn't played the game since summertime at least. The main thing that breaks up all the typing, which does get repetitive (play the game in small chunks), is the grindhouse/exploitation film aesthetic. The game is full of sex and violence and probably more F-bombs than in any other game I've played. It's got its own style of self-referential humor, and it knows it's over-the-top, sexist, and generally offensive; occasionally there is some real cleverness in the dialogue. The characters were messed up enough to keep me entertained. So yeah. Easy, short different type of game. Check it out.dkirschnerWed, 29 Nov 2017 23:45:37 UTC Colors (DS) - 27 Nov 2017 - by jp it all the way to the 5th world and it's been fun. The game is quite like the classic sidescrolling sonics, but with new mechanics and things - there are these wisps that grant you a special ability. Also, there are boss levels, which are rendered in low-res 3D polygons. I only stopped playing because, in the underwater levels, I got tired of dying from running out of air while also experiencing weird checkpoint glitches. A few times I had to re-start really far back and, though this only happened in boss fights, the boss would get stuck in the "final mode" but not really be vulnerable in the way it should have. So, I got frustrated, looked at the pile of pending games and decided it was time to move on. :-)jpMon, 27 Nov 2017 12:20:58 UTC Torment (PC) - 24 Nov 2017 - by dkirschner has taken me forever to get around to playing Planescape: Torment. I somehow missed this when I was playing all the CRPG games of the late 90s/early 2000s and bought a copy on GoG years ago. This is NOT the new enhanced edition, which sounds like it has some nice modernizing features, but the older GoG version. I've had two play sessions, one for about two hours, and this one I just finished for about four hours (punctuated by occasional texting). After the first two-hour session, I was tempted to quit because (a) the game is old and has some seriously outdated UI and controls and (b) the combat is horrendous. But I didn't want to quit because (a) the story, world, and characters are really cool and (b) like every reviewer says it still holds up and is one of the best RPGs of all time. I went so far as to find out there are BOOKS based on the game's dialogue, and even downloaded a couple versions (one is 2000 pages long), but after reading forums, the consensus is that the books aren't that good, a couple lack context since they are almost all game dialogue, and that if you're going to spend the time reading a book, just play the damn game. Fair enough. However, the game is supposed to be about 50 hours, which is long for something so old and text-heavy with bad combat. But I decided to hunker down and try to get into it. I'm glad I did. I was more than engrossed during most of the four-hour session, and wound up getting a bit tired of it because you have a massive city to explore. I'm maybe 2/3 of the way through walking around and talking to all the NPCs. It's a bit overwhelming, but I'll make it through systematically. The writing is outstanding, really. It's definitely the best part of the game. I just want the combat to stooooop. I have two characters, and one of them has one special ability that I don't know what it does. So all combat is just clicking on an enemy to auto-attack. And I die a lot. And I've pissed off some big dragon thing in one part of town and every time I enter that part of town, it comes after me. I wish it would calm down so I could just walk through there. I'm not sure how linear the game is, as I've several times come across enemies that are overwhelming now. Anyway, looking forward to getting all this initial exploration of Sigil out of the way so I can get on with probably more interesting stuff in the game. dkirschnerFri, 24 Nov 2017 22:40:03 UTC Dungeon (PC) - 21 Nov 2017 - by dkirschner, I've sunk 15 or so hours into Darkest Dungeon and I think I'm good. It's getting really grindy and, as promised, is hard and punishing as hell. I'll describe: DD is a party-based roguelike with some strategy RPG elements. There's a hub town where you do normal things like upgrade buildings, purchase equipment upgrades, purchase trinkets, recruit heroes, and...wait this isn't normal...send characters to the tavern or the church to engage in stress-relief activities, send characters to get diseases cured, and look at the graveyard full of your dead characters. Oh no. Form a party and delve into one of the dungeons around your ancestral home. Dungeons can be short, medium, or long, and range in difficulty from level 1-6 (same range your characters can be...well no, they can be level 0 also). You explore from room to room, interacting with curios, avoiding traps, fighting enemies, managing your party members, and micro-managing your inventory to collect maximum treasures. Curios are very interesting, in that there can be all sorts of shit wrong with them that can harm you (e.g., they are cursed, trapped, diseased, etc.). You can use consumables, purchased in the "provisions" phase before actually going into the dungeon, to remove bad stuff on curios (like keys to unlock chests, holy water to purify cursed things), and you learn what these do by a process of trial and error. Once I figured out how to disarm all the curios, I was getting much better treasure and having fewer bad things happen to me. Now, party management is a huge deal in DD. This is not your typical game. Your characters have two main things for you to worry about: health and stress. Health is health, except that if you get to 0 health, you are at "death's door," and the next hit may kill you. If you heal while at 0 health, you are no longer at death's door; however any bleed effects or crits may be out of your control to trigger death. Stress is more interesting. This builds up over time as you take critical hits, as enemies use stress-inducing attacks, as your torch runs out, as you spend too much time in a battle or in the dungeon, and various other ways. If your stress reaches 100, the character makes a roll and either overcomes it or succumbs to it, usually the latter. When that happens, they develop an affliction. Maybe they will refuse healing, or they will randomly not want to act and skip their turn, or they will be paranoid and make your other characters more stressed out, etc. It's terrifying. If they continue to take stress, up to 200, they have a heart attack and die. Now, if you do manage to beat a dungeon (and you will; I didn't start having trouble really till the medium level 3 dungeons), you have to deal with your characters' accumulated stress, afflictions, and diseases and quirks (which they will randomly acquire at the end of even a successful dungeon). That's where the inn and church come in, so they can go pray or visit the brothel or whatever to feel better. This costs a dungeon cycle though, so you wind up with a big roster of characters (I was up to 16) of a variety of classes (maybe also 16 that I had, one of each that I'd seen). Oh, I didn't mention another important thing about combat in the dungeons. Your characters are in a horizontal line, and their positioning is crucial. Their abilities require them to be in specific positions in the formation (spots 1 [in the front] through 4 [in the back]), and their abilities affect enemies in particular positions also. Some abilities move enemies. So putting characters in good order is important. BUT, some enemy abilities will also move your characters. I almost had a party wipe one time because when the battle started my party was "surprised," which randomly jumbled their order, and I just got massacred. There is a lot of strategy to pretty much everything in DD, but a healthy dose of RNG too, which can be maddening / make you cry. When I lost my three level 4 characters to getting surprised and jumbled up, I couldn't believe it. But I pressed on. The game is about making the most out of terrible circumstances. As I press on though, I feel the entire game is on big terrible circumstance, and it stresses ME out so much to play it. I really like the game. I think it's well designed and is as difficult as it is meant to be. But I'm on the edge of my seat, and it's going to take me forever to progress. I wouldn't mind so much if there were more story, but as a roguelike dungeon crawler sort of game, there's not much. Grind characters that get harder and harder to grind. Then lose some of them and be heartbroken. Pick up the pieces and try again. Etc. I watched the final Darkest Dungeon levels on YouTube, and this poor YouTuber went into the first floor of the Darkest Dungeon (that's the name of the final dungeon) and just got beaten down with full level 6 characters. He lost them all. It was so painful to watch because I've been playing for 15 hours and have a handful of level 4 characters. This guy had his whole roster, like 20-something characters, at level 6. How long did that take?! Only to have his best ones wiped out. It was like 20 more episodes later in his YouTube channel that he finally beat the game (like 20 more hours of recorded content). And the bosses down there, no thanks! SO, glad I played, but glad to stop.dkirschnerTue, 21 Nov 2017 17:05:27 UTC Boy: The Video Game (DS) - 20 Nov 2017 - by jp was an Astro Boy GBA game that I really enjoyed (made by Treasure, of all companies) and so I picked this one up just for fun (and for not a lot of money, which is a common theme with me). When I booted the game up I was surprised that the existing save files on the cart indicated that progress had only been made to the second stage of world 1. Wow, that doesn't seem like too far, I thought - maybe the game had previously been owned by a small child who just didn't like it? My mistake. And I only made it to the 3rd stage before calling it quits. It's been a while since I've played a game that had so many issues in terms of gameplay and controls. It felt old school in a bad way, so - an experience so clunky and awkward that it might have been given a pass 20 years ago because we didn't know any better. But today? (well, ten years ago I guess - the game is that old) The game alternates (AFAIK) between platforming sections and sidescrolling shooting sections. Both are a mess. In the platforming ones, you have to punch your way through enemies - button mask mostly, but there are some that fire little fire balls that damage you. You can't really dodge them. Jumping is also awkward because you can jump up, but you can't jump to move sideways unless you press another button and then Astro sort of fires his jets and goes sideways or a little bit. But, you can't control him, so getting the timing right to land on a moving platform is way more effort than it should be. When you kill an enemy they drop an orb, collect enough orbs and you can activate a special power. I only tried three of the powers: a shield which was useless 'cause I activated it at the wrong time, a health restore, and Astro's butt machineguns which were a waste because he didn't seem to fire at the enemies surrounding me. Ugh.jpMon, 20 Nov 2017 07:18:47 UTC Inc. (iPd) - 14 Nov 2017 - by jp've been playing this for a week(?) now - mostly because I've been on a loosely investigative (experiential?) exploration of idle/clicker games. I think this is my 4th in the last month or so. The premise is fun, you're selling eggs - so you tap to get chickens and then spend all the money researching better eggs and improvements that make your entire operation more efficient. But, it's a weird game on a few fronts... a. The "core" activity - tap to get more chickens, never gets better/automated in any significant way. At the beginning, it matters...but once you're past the thousands...all you get is a bonus multiplier (small, in the grand scheme of things) that only lasts while there are chickens coming out of the hatchery - which is less than 10-15 seconds. b. The core driver of the economy comes from watching ads (you can't choose to do it, you randomly get the opportunity every now and then), tapping on drones (that randomly appear and fly across the sky), and random gifts (that appear as delivered boxes). So, to make significant progress in the game you can't play it idly - you have to pay attention, with your phone on. c. Offline benefits are super slim - I was NEVER able to buy/improve anything from having not played and coming back to the game. So, you can't "let your economy" grow - because it doesn't. A few drones and a minute of paying attention will probably get more progress than 2 hrs offline. d. The progression curve felt quite smooth until slightly over halfway through. I hit a cliff HARD. (going from Tachyon to Graviton eggs). It's so bad I decided to quit as soon as I learned what the next egg was (Graviton). So, it's a weird idle game because it's not idle. You make progress via the action parts, really. It's also not really a clicker game - because the clicking quickly becomes meaningless. It does heavily favor the re-start (prestige) which is weird/interesting because the core loop ALSO has a re-start loop inside of it. Each time you upgrade your egg you have to start over. But when you prestige start-over you get special soul eggs that give you a nice multiplier for everything else. Overall, the game feels weirdly out of balance - I never had issues with having enough hatchery capacity (the main thing you build/upgrade) and neither did I have issues with the transportation (you also buy/upgrade trucks to carry eggs away). I suspect this might become more prominent later - but so far it seems to easy and, well, mostly meaningless.jpTue, 14 Nov 2017 21:50:31 UTC Revolution: Black Friday (Other) - 10 Nov 2017 - by 641345340 wanna talk about the interrogation in my final entry. This part is one of the most important part of the story because it predicts all the dramatic conflicts. I especially like the voice acting of Asadollah Lajevardi who is the warden. Players have to make choices throughout the whole process. Asadollah will beat and threat you. There is a real sense of danger in this part. The game would be a totally different experience without the interrogation part. (This entry has been edited3 times. It was last edited on Fri, 10 Nov 2017 01:13:58.)641345340Fri, 10 Nov 2017 01:11:46 UTC Escape: Zero Time Dilemma (VITA) - 10 Nov 2017 - by edGarcia pretty far in the game this time around, I have to say that some of the kills are pretty gorey. The neck braces that blow your head off and the one with the chair and the revolver is also pretty intense. The way Sigma coldly calculates his death is pretty cool. I like how the players of the game learn to SHIFT and take advantage of this power to make the best decisions where everyone survives. The ending was decent. The thought that the choice to swap positions with the players who won the coin toss was a cop out from the writers. I mean at the end of the game they are motivated, but the virus is still going to hit and kill most of humanity.... also why do the decisions of a few adults decide the fate of the world? Overall I liked the game the dialogue could've been better but I think that I need to play the first two games to properly understand the story.edGarciaFri, 10 Nov 2017 00:52:10 UTC