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    Humanity (PC)    by   dkirschner       (Jul 23rd, 2024 at 07:05:16)

    Retired this because I've lost interest. I hadn't picked it up in at least a week (I was stuck) and hadn't picked it up another week before that (stuck on the same level!). Well, I finally beat the level I was stuck on, which felt great, but being stuck for two weeks is an indication of how tough it got. Predictably, the following levels stumped me too. I eked my way to the end of the third chapter and called it a day. I did look online to see what new rules the game introduced and, yeah, I made a good call.

    Humanity is a puzzle game that reminded me of Lemmings. You control a dog that runs around the puzzle area placing commands (interesting, the dog placing commands and not being commanded!) for the humans. Humans emerge from specific spots in the level and walk in a straight line unless commanded otherwise. Your job is to get them to the goal. You have extra challenges in that there are special "Goldy" humans (golden giants) that you can pick up too. Basic commands are like "turn" and "jump," so you can route the humans around the level. It starts introducing all sorts of mechanics like movable blocks, pressure plates that do things if people are walking over them or if a block is moved on them, conveyor belts, wind, and later on even enemy humans.

    New chapters introduce new rules. I was actually getting bored of the game, and then chapter three did something I liked. Previously, you run around placing commands as the humans are walking. This gave the game an "action" feel, but I wanted to be able to pause or issue commands before the humans started walking. Well, in chapter three, it makes you do just that. You have to set everything up and then you aren't allowed to pause! As such, chapter three was my favorite. If you make a mistake, you can easily restart the level, and there is a handy option to either keep or delete the commands you've placed. If you keep them, you can edit and then start. I'd delete them sometimes if I needed to try and look at a level with a fresh set of eyes.

    There's a light story here, something about humanity losing their way and being guided toward the light. There are some mysterious entities, you (the dog), some boss fights (neat), and "others" (aka bad people [or are they?]). But, it's the puzzling that'll get you interested. The weakest part of the game, I think, is the dog. One reason I liked chapter three so much is because I didn't have to control the dog in real-time, like while the humans were moving, and do the puzzles simultaneously. I wanted to just not be the dog and place the commands myself using the mouse. See, to place a command, you actually have to move the dog to the tile. This is often annoying. The dog doesn't control all that well, and although it can jump, it can't jump over everything, so you can't easily get to all the places you want to put commands. I'm not sure why there is the need for the dog. If you remove it, it takes nothing away from the experience (at least as far as I played), and the controls would be more intuitive and easier. Did they just put the dog because people like dogs and would think it's cute? I have no idea.

    If you want some Lemmings throwback, this is a no-brainer. The puzzles are smart, the levels really well designed, and you're gonna have to think hard! Ultimately, it didn't hold my interest though, and I stopped playing about a third of the way through.

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    Lil Gator Game (PC)    by   dkirschner       (Jul 23rd, 2024 at 06:40:36)

    Cute little adventure. You're a lil gator who just wants to do fantasy role-playing with your big sis, but she's home from college and glued to her laptop working on assignments. Disappointed, you round up your friends and create your own fantasy village and role-playing game, hoping to impress your sister enough so that she'll shut the laptop and come play too. It's sweet, well-written, funny, and reminded me of the carefree days of being a kid.

    Gameplay is Zelda-lite. You can jump, attack, climb, and use a variety of toys (the dart gun fires foam darts; the teddy bear lets you ragdoll and just toss your limp body around, funny to watch; the variety of "shields" [a cardboard box, a pot lid, etc.] let you slide down hills; you can wear different hats; etc.). As you set about your adventure, you'll meet dozens of other kids, help them with their problems, and recruit them to your fantasy town.

    Chill few hours of a simple, fun, clever, well-thought-out game.

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    Rollerdrome (PC)    by   dkirschner       (Jul 22nd, 2024 at 16:06:28)

    This one didn't land with me. It's like Tony Hawk with guns. And I just played Solar Ash, which had skating, in a way, but this one is more Tony Hawk because you have to do tricks. Note that I always disliked skating and snowboarding games where you are supposed to learn tricks and rack up points with combos, just skating around urban environments or whatever. I always found them really boring. So, I immediately was like "ugh" with all the tricks.

    But that's only half of it. The other half is combat. The premise of the game is that you're a new entry in this year's Rollerdrome tournament. In Rollerdrome, contestants are pitted against "house players," who try to disable the contestants. You have to eliminate all the house players to clear the level and move on in the tournament. You not only need to eliminate all the house players, but you need to complete various achievements (reach a certain high score, do certain types of tricks, kill enemies in certain ways, etc.) because subsequent rounds of the tournament are locked behind you having completed a certain number of achievements.

    This all started out pretty fun for me, skating around, shooting people, dodging sniper fire. It quickly becomes really hard though, as new enemy types are introduced and there are more and more of them. It becomes something like a 3d bullet hell! Except in bullet hells, you can see everything because they're usually top-down. In this one, you'll get nailed from every angle, and you'll die constantly without knowing what hit you. You'll end up with four guns, two of which also have a sort of skill shot you can do. And you can dodge and slow time. Getting perfect dodges, doing tricks, grinding, etc. are how you refill your ammo. Killing enemies is how you refill your health. Doing both is how you rack up combo points. So, you cannot avoid doing tricks, or else you'll run out of ammo and there's no way you can dodge all the stuff flying at you for that long! Also, of the four heavily movement-focused games I have recently played, this one had the least fluid, least precise of them all (behind Neon White [which was perfect], Velocity 2x, and Solar Ash). It's hard not to compare.

    I was going to quit in the semifinals because it was getting too hard for me and because the narrative is practically nonexistant, and therefore nothing else was motivating me, until I saw that I could turn on invincibility and infinite ammo. Well there we go! No regrets, I turned it on, plowed my way through the rest of the game, including the last boss fight, trying to get achievements without fear of dying, and had some fun before finishing. To the people who beat this without cheats, I am impressed! The final boss looked crazy.

    I definitely thought this would be a bit different than it was. I expected less focus on arena combat and something more akin to roller derby or Rocket League (i.e., multiplayer). It is baffling to me that there is no multiplayer. This seems designed for it! And I always like a good racing combat game, so I admit to being disappointed that it wasn't roller derby with guns. That would have appealed to me more than Tony Hawk with guns.

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    Senua's Saga: Hellblade II (PC)    by   dkirschner       (Jul 22nd, 2024 at 15:34:36)

    Best looking game I've ever played. I hardly ever play new stuff, but thanks to Game Pass, I get to see brand new games! Seriously, you feel like you are walking over the volcanic rocks in Iceland, getting sprayed by ocean surf. The environment is amazing. The game has the most realistic rocks I've ever seen.

    The sound design is also incredible. Wear headphones. As with the first game, the "furies" (the voices inside Senua's head) are in your left and right ear, respectively, and other audio is also directional and will "swirl" around your head. Some cool effects. I found the furies to be less hostile to Senua in this game compared to the first. That's probably due to the fact that she has accepted her psychosis and sees it more as a strength rather than something that terrifies her. Indeed, she becomes something of a leader in this game.

    It's similar to the first game, but everything is refined. I re-read what I wrote 4 years ago, and I said that the combat and puzzles were tiring and frustrating. I had no problems with either in this one. I thoroughly enjoyed the combat and the puzzles. Combat may play largely the same, but it was more challenging than I recall, and it's really meaty. The puzzles may have been more straightforward than the previous game, where I said they were tedious. There aren't many of them, and most of them involve "focusing" on these spheres of liquid, which either hide or show various parts of the environment, revealing and concealing paths. You just have to figure out how to reveal where you need to go to line up the runes, like the last game. The game is linear, with side paths here and there for some additional lore.

    The only possible negative thing I can say is that some segments of the game are incredibly slow. One part in particular, Senua is pulling herself through some rocks on her back. It was s-l-o-w and took probably two minutes for her to pull herself through. There were a few other really slow moments like that. And I get the point of it. She's struggling, it's building serious atmosphere, etc. But man, I wonder how much game time would be shaved off if she moved faster.

    Anyway, I thought Hellblade II was incredible. The settings are jaw-dropping, the story is compelling, you're always moving forward. It sucked me right in.

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    Assassin's Creed Chronicles (VITA)    by   jp       (Jul 22nd, 2024 at 11:57:31)

    Sidescrolling platforming Assassin's Creed game? I've only played 30 mins or so - just part of the tutorial for the China section and I have questions: will there be a tutorial for each of the three locations? (China, India, and Russia) I hope not - but that's assuming that the gameplay and controls will be the same for all three. Or perhaps there's significant differences? (this would also make sense because you can pick any location and don't have to do them in order - so each provides it's own experience)

    Anyways, so far I'm pretty impressed with how smooth the animations are and how they been slowly introducing new buttons/actions that - I'm sure - I will get overwhelmed by at some point because I won't play for a bit, forget everything, and then have to relearn.

    So far so good!

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    1 : dkirschner's Lil Gator Game (PC)
    2 : dkirschner's Chants of Sennaar (PC)
    3 : jp's Assassin's Creed Chronicles (VITA)
    4 : dkirschner's Rollerdrome (PC)
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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
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    9 : jp at 2019-02-17 22:48:06
    10 : pring99 at 2018-11-15 20:17:00
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    Wii Sports (Wii)    by   thirdfloor329

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