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    Tales From Off-Peak City Vol. 1 (PC)    by   dkirschner       (Nov 24th, 2022 at 22:33:49)

    This was a little less interesting than Off-Peak and The Norwood Suite. The art was less surreal and imaginative than The Norwood Suite. And whereas that game was self-contained, about exploring the life and death of Peter Norwood and his music, this was half a game, "Volume 1," which basically involves making and delivering pizzas. The former I appreciated for the art and culture in the world; this one, the best thing was seeing what customers said when you put weird shit on their pizzas. Granted, it was really funny and I definitely laughed a handful of times. But also as with The Norwood Suite, the conversations can get a bit long. Since they're so dang weird, it's easy to get bored, like, "Okay...where is this headed? Half of this game is people talking about pizza toppings..." It's building to something (an evil corporation destroying a neighborhood) and I'm sure I'll play Volume 2 when it comes out. Actually, I just searched for its release date and saw that Cosmo D has another recent game, Betrayal at Club Low, which is...maybe a sequel to Off-Peak City Vol. 1? These games are all so weird. I have no idea. But I'll buy it!

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    Marvel Snap (iPd)    by   jp       (Nov 13th, 2022 at 17:34:15)

    Huh. This one's an odd duck on more ways than one:

    1. You don't get new cards by collecting money for lootboxes. You get new cards by upgrading your existing ones that makes you progress along a track. The upgrades are purely cosmetic.

    2. Make a deck of 10 cards, but you'll (usually) only get to use 5 or 6. The game plays in 6 turns with an automatically increasing mana source - just like hearthstone, but it's all in the locations!

    3. There are 3 locations you play cards to - and the locations have effects and the effects are revealed on turn 1, 2, and 3. The effects can be pretty significant - setting game rules, adding cards, boosting, etc. The effects are super important in making the game work successfully because they add tactical considerations. In other words, how you use the cards you have for maximum effect has a lot to do with the location effects.

    I've enjoyed it enough so far that I paid for the season pass. Only 4 weeks though - which seems a bit short and it seems impossible to climb up the ladder to get the rewards. So, I'm feeling a bit miffed by that, but we'll see. I might be wrong on the ladder bit.

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    Spiritfarer (PS4)    by   jp       (Nov 13th, 2022 at 17:29:52)

    This game has a curious dichotomy: it's relaxing to play and not stressful in setting a tone of urgency, while it is also a game where I feel I'm busy all the time always with something I need to tend to next or worry about. Either the plants are going dry, or someone on the boat wants to talk, or whatever is in the kitchen is ready, or something needs harvesting, or I forgot to set the destination and get the boat moving, and so on.

    I guess that makes sense with the official website's tagline "a cozy management game". I mean, I have to manage stuff - but I'm not sure there's a fail state you can paint yourself into? So, just manage until you're ready to continue. I wonder if nighttime is when I'm supposed to be all about getting catching up? The ship doesn't move, and the game lets you advance time pretty easily (you go to bed and wake up next morning). I wonder if you can work all night? I don't even know if time passes at night? Oooh! I guess I want to try this out...

    So far it's pretty linear in the progression - boatmates make requests that usually align with the next thing to do in terms of progression (build me this room, which you need to get some resources for, and the next room unlocks more resources, and then you make the boat bigger, etc.).

    I've currently got three guests on the boat and I've built some stuff and even upgraded the kitchen so I can make some new recipes.

    It's pretty relaxing actually, slow paced, no urgency, and - so far, no real sense of having to grind stuff out. I'm surprised it's taken this long to get a character off to whatever the afterlife place is.

    I'm guessing I won't finish the game - but will play enough to see a few characters depart?
    Also, the 2-player mode is quite fun, the cat becomes playable and can interact with stuff - so, you can collect resources, cook stuff, and more.

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    King's Quest: The Complete Collection (PS4)    by   jp       (Nov 8th, 2022 at 00:32:58)

    I played the first chapter of the game Saturday evening. I never really played much of the original King's Quest games - any of the 7(?) in the series. It's kind of weird then to play this game - not really knowing much of the originals, and have it feel familiar to a vague sense of understanding of some of the things that happened in the original game. The characters hat (with feather) was pretty iconic - and it's referred to a lot in the chapter. But also I remember knowing something about a mirror and a dragon and stuff like that.

    The game is narrated in raconto (I think that's the term?) - so, there's an old man narrator who is telling his grandkids about his adventures when he was younger, which is what you're playing. So, when you screw up, the narrator addresses the error (sometimes one of the kids pipes up to complain). It reminds of the Prince of Persia Sands of Time which had a similar framing. It really works well.

    These kinds of games live and die by their puzzles and the writing - I enjoyed the humor in the first chapter, both from characters, situations, and even the art/modeling/animation. I thought it was interesting that there are multiple paths through the game - in this chapter there are 3 puzzles you can do, but you only need one to make progress (doing the other two, which I did, requires quite a bit of extra work - since the puzzles are "gated" buy requiring a coin which you spend on the first puzzle, so doing the other two (which also require a coin) means wandering around the game environment until you find where the coin might be.

    I also thought it was interesting that some of the "puzzles" are quick-time events and others are real-time (the one where you move the yarn around to trip the strong guy!). So, dexterity and hand eye coordination matter this time around. But, overall it was neat to see the variety in the overall experience.

    I've "soft" decided not to play the other chapters - mostly due to time (and huge pile of other games to get to) BUT, at least from the icons illustrating the other chapters - it looks like each one will tell a story from a different moment in the life of the King (main character). The character's portrait looks older in each, which I think is a neat thing to have in a game - you're living/playing through the highlights (presumably) of the character's life. This is a perspective that is not that common/usual in videogame narratives, so kudos for that. It also seems that the first episode is the highlight in terms of review scores, so perhaps it's best that I leave ahead as it where? I did like that once you finish the chapter you get a "picture" that has elements representing main decision points/choices you made in the game - so, did you spare the goblins (patience) or kill them quickly (speed?) and stuff like that.

    Perhaps the biggest surprise (and pop culture touch point) was meeting the short knight (whose name escapes me), but whose voice sounds exactly like the short guy in the movie the Princess Brid. The character that does the poisoned cup switcheroo game. And, lo and behold, there's a scene with that character, with cups, one of which is drugged and then you play a boardgame. I wasn't able to win "fairly" (but got some help by changing the color of the drink in one of the cups, and was then able to trick my opponent into drinking from the drugged cup, thus giving me a turn to set myself up to win). Yay!

    Is it cheating to cheat in a mini-game inside a game? lol.

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    Ring of Pain (PC)    by   dkirschner       (Oct 26th, 2022 at 18:35:00)

    Ring of Pain scratches a card game itch even though it's not a card game. Since my last entry, I've beaten it a couple more times and unlocked most of the items, like 290/350, and am at 52/122 (42%) achievements. I think I'm done though. It's pretty much exhausted itself; runs feel more rote, and the challenge more frustrating due to the game's randomness on harder difficulties. You can still obliterate the game by stacking a couple different stats. Speed + attack, for example, is great because with high speed you can always attack first, and with high attack, you can one-shot most anything. Get lucky and find some specific items, and you'll be sneaking past whatever enemies you happen to not be able to kill, gaining permanent HP every time you equip an item, automatically knocking back enemies you attack, and finding other items that are absurdly useful. Get a bunch of crap items though, or fail to synergize your stats, and you'll be hurting.

    The game has daily dungeons that are pretty fun. Each day, you can play a shortened ring that has two modifiers. These could be like, "start with 100 health and no potions spawn," "start with a full set of 'explosion' items," or my favorite, "all item drops are commons, but everything you have equipped evolves each room exit." All the RNG is pre-determined in the daily dungeons, so each day's ring has the same weapons, the same enemies, the same scrolls, curse potions always either curse or heal you, etc. This makes it so, if you're having trouble, you can memorize the beginning and get a better start. Even more so than the regular mode, your power accumulates in the daily dungeons and you will just be plowing through the final rooms. The reward for doing these is an achievement (for trying 7 daily dungeons) and getting on a leaderboard. I've at least temporarily held the #1 spot several times. I mean, not a lot of people play these, but still!

    So yeah, I really like Ring of Pain. It's simple, with a creepy aesthetic. I hope they update it with new mechanics, enemies, items, story bits, and so on. I'd totally come back. But for now, finished!

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    Recent GameLogs
    1 : dkirschner's Tales From Off-Peak City Vol. 1 (PC)
    2 : jp's Marvel Snap (iPd)
    3 : jp's Spiritfarer (PS4)
    4 : dkirschner's Hand of Fate 2 (PC)
    5 : jp's King's Quest: The Complete Collection (PS4)
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    1 : dkirschner at 2022-10-12 08:51:09
    2 : root beer float at 2021-11-21 13:15:48
    3 : hdpcgames at 2021-10-23 07:42:58
    4 : jp at 2021-04-08 11:25:29
    5 : Oliverqinhao at 2020-01-23 05:11:59
    6 : dkirschner at 2019-10-15 06:47:26
    7 : jp at 2019-04-02 18:53:34
    8 : dkirschner at 2019-02-28 19:14:00
    9 : jp at 2019-02-17 22:48:06
    10 : pring99 at 2018-11-15 20:17:00
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    Circle Pong Extreme (PC)    by   jmw194

    No comment, yet.
    most recent entry:   Thursday 5 March, 2009
    After the first 15 minutes of playing the game, the game is not very difficult. There is a help screen that tells you the basics of how to play the game, but does not explain any of the power ups and what the different colors mean. This adds some randomness to the game, but it is not really necessary to collect the power ups to keep the game going until the paddle gets really small. The power ups come so frequently that I was able to keep the paddle pretty big since its decays at such a slow rate. The power up which created multiple balls was pretty cool until you realize that it becomes a pain to keep more than two or three in the playing field so it was really just worth it to focus on one ball. Eventually I got a power up that made the ball really huge and slow, and once this happened I had no problem keeping the ball going. It made the game really monotonous and boring. Also the controls made it pretty easy since if you pass the cursor over the middle of the screen the paddle will quickly warp to the other side of the screen. Whenever you lose the game, the ending is simply a screen that says press F2 to start a new game, which does not help make the game less boring. The color scheme is pretty bland also with a plain black background and a small white line for a paddle. The red ball was pretty easy to follow on the background but total package just doesn't have enough to hold someone's interest.

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