dkirschner's GameLogBlogging the experience of gameplayhttps://www.gamelog.cl/gamers/GamerPage.php?idgamer=1269Gravity Rush 2 (PS4) - Thu, 23 May 2024 08:09:13https://www.gamelog.cl/logs/LogPage.php?Log_Id=7718This was a neat one, and recommended with caveats. I'd never heard of Gravity Rush before looking through the PS4 catalog for anything it looked like I missed before I "finish" the console. The gimmick of Gravity Rush is that your character controls gravity. She doesn't "fly" by propelling herself forward; rather, she orients herself in whichever direction and "falls" that way. Traversing the environments, especially the spans between islands, was consistently thrilling. In tighter spaces though, and when aiming for precision as during combat when you need to hit a specific core on a monster that's moving around, movement and the camera can be extremely frustrating. The episode where Kat (the main character) and Raven have to go inside the ship monster and destroy the gravity engine, sliding through tight corridors and breaking barriers, was especially bad on this point. The other caveat is similarly something that I liked at times, too: the story. I was hooked on it for the first half. It was coherent, following the main character, Kat, and the somewhat mundane everyday challenges of the Banga fleet, a group of people living on a flying settlement. I really enjoyed this part of the game because there is great character development, not just for Kat, but for a host of notable story characters, as well as minor characters. I got to know them a bit, understood their relationships, their history, and so on. This is done largely through side quests, which are varied, interesting, and usually teach you something about this or that character that adds depth. I completed about half the side quests before deciding to focus on the main story and finish up. After like 20 or 25 side quests, although they remained creative, I was losing interest in the larger story, and there were so many side characters in Jirga Para Lhao (the second main area of the game, a bit city that the Banga fleet docks at) that I stopped caring all that much. I also thought at first that you would get worthwhile rewards from side quests (gems to level up abilities, talismans to equip that make abilities stronger), but I don’t think I ever got gems. You occasionally get a special talisman. Usually, though, it’s a costume or a decoration for Kat’s room, neither of which I care about. It also turns out that talismans are unnecessary. I hardly paid attention to them the entire game. I also hit on some frustrating side quests, like the one where you have to pretend to be Hekseville’s (the third main area of the game, a city that Kat gets to from warping through a gravity rift) hero, Kali Angel, and go around getting people to notice you, then once a bunch notice you, eat ice cream to drum up excitement about an ice cream shop. But they can’t notice you too much! Otherwise, they’ll realize that you’re not really Kali Angel and you fail the mission. Amusing, yes, but frustrating in practice. Some of the side quests took me half an hour or more. Another maddening one was the one where I had to find a dog’s frisbee, slowly being led around by the dog until we finally found it in the possession of a spoiled little girl, whom you can only convince to give you the frisbee by teaching her how to play fetch with the dog. Thereupon you play a little “fetch” minigame, attempting to toss the frisbee to predetermined locations from where you are standing. The frisbee, not obeying any known laws of physics, flips and spins and spirals and often lands outside the target zone. I tossed that frisbee like 50 times to build up the dog’s “joy” meter because when you miss the target, the joy meter decreases. I hated that side quest so much. Anyway, there were enough frustrating ones, and my own joy level was decreasing, that I finally stopped doing them. Back to the story…the Banga fleet arrives at a Jirga Para Lhao to stock up, where Kat and the fleet become involved in business and political intrigue. I liked all this stuff! But then, about halfway through, the game takes a turn. A giant evil city appears and after you kill the city, you get sucked into a gravity rift and appear in the city from the first game, Hekseville, where there are a lot of characters Kat knows but I don’t (and here is really where the side quests quit being interesting because I haven’t been with these characters for half the game and the story is going off the rails). The game just starts throwing crazy story beats at you. Did you know that the nice mayor whom everyone loves is also a mad scientist?! He’s going to freeze time to save his daughter!! And the city’s guardian, Kali Angel, is also his daughter and she’s also the sister of Cecie, who has been around since Banga fleet, but Cecie is also a gravity shifter really named Durga Angel, and then the entire city of Jirga Para Lhao comes through the gravity rift to help save Hekseville, and then you have to travel up a pillar because some old god appeared and said so, and when you get there, there is an ancient city and apparently you are the queen (???) of this ancient city (and honestly the part where you are the queen again was really cool; there are high points even when the story goes off the rails), but you were deposed 100 years ago and an insane child now rules the city, and the insane child releases an electricity monster (???) and you fight it and save the world the end. It was a lot of “this person is actually THIS person!!” and “this character is secretly doing THIS bad thing!! Bet you didn’t see that coming!!” type stuff. One thing that was consistent though is how upbeat the game is. Kat is a downright positive and fun character. That upbeat and fun tone is conveyed throughout most every aspect of the game, which kept my joy meter high save for a few frustrating parts. The game looks and sounds great. The animations in particular make it look like Studio Ghibli, and there’s great detail in the world. Kat can get emotes, and early on I was using them on people to see if they did anything. Turns out that the emotes often get reactions from NPCs. I “scared” a juggler and he dropped his pins. I waved at people and they waved back. I sang and they clapped. The coolest one was when I scared someone carrying a box of goods down some stairs. He dropped the box, and about 10 tomatoes rolled out of it and went tumbling down the stairs. Detail! So yeah, neat game for sure. I don’t think I’d sink the time into another Gravity Rush game, but I’m glad I played this one. Thu, 23 May 2024 08:09:13 CDThttps://www.gamelog.cl/logs/LogPage.php?Log_Id=7718&iddiary=13235Creaks (PC) - Tue, 21 May 2024 07:48:19https://www.gamelog.cl/logs/LogPage.php?Log_Id=7704I haven't played an Amanita Design game in a long time, and what a treat this was. I'd never heard of Creaks, but it was in some puzzle game bundle I purchased a while back. It’s got the exceptional art and music you expect from Amanita. The puzzles are creative and the concept is original. In Creaks, you are a guy who finds a hidden passage behind his bedroom wall. He turns on his flashlight and goes through the crawlspace. Turns out that below his room is a sprawling cavern with a massive tower, wherein live all manner of strange creatures. The anthropomorphic birds are the main ones, and they’ve got a problem. A giant monster is crawling around the outside of the tower, destroying everything. The birds are trying to figure out a way to stop the monster. You stealthily follow the birds down, down, down, watching what they are up to, solving puzzle rooms as you go. Eventually, they discover your presence and enlist you to help destroy the monster. The puzzles in Creaks are great! Over time, you’ll be introduced to various mechanics, but they basically involve manipulating creatures and light sources, which when shining on a creature, change them into furniture. The first puzzle creatures you encounter are dogs. The dogs activate when you get close and bark at you. When you get too close, they chase you. If you jump off a ledge or go down a ladder, they’ll stand there barking for a minute, then trot back to where they were. So, for example, if you need to get around a dog, you might get it to chase you, climb down a ladder, and climb up a ladder now behind it while it stands barking at the ledge you dropped from. Or, if you lure it to a light source, then turn on the light, the dog will change into a chest of drawers, which (as long as it stays in the light!) you can move or climb on. You’ll see jellyfish creatures, which have rules governing their constant movement; goat creatures, which run away from you if you go near, and which otherwise will move toward patches of grass to graze. Dogs will also chase goats. Then there are these weird plant (?) creatures. One type copies your movements and the other type does the opposite of your movements (e.g., you step left, it steps right). And so on. You are generally trying to position the creatures onto buttons or beneath light sources such that you can get past them and move to the next “scene.” There are something like 50 scenes. Not only is the puzzle design excellent, but the larger environment design is cool too. As you’ll see, the scenes are all interconnected in the tower. The difficulty is just right. Some of the puzzles had me scratching my head and then feeling clever once I figured out the trick. I got really stuck only one time, but put the game down for a week, played Firework, came back, and with a fresh perspective solved the scene in 5 minutes. Highly recommended for a creative, charming, chill puzzle game. Tue, 21 May 2024 07:48:19 CDThttps://www.gamelog.cl/logs/LogPage.php?Log_Id=7704&iddiary=13233Firework (PC) - Tue, 21 May 2024 07:04:53https://www.gamelog.cl/logs/LogPage.php?Log_Id=7711This is a point-and-click psychological horror game from a Chinese developer that one of my friends recommended. He's studying representations of traditional Chinese religious practices in games. This one has a sort of shaman woman, whom we never see, and spirits. The main character, a rookie police officer, can communicate with the dead, and he does so as he attempts to uncover the mystery behind a fire in a funeral home and the death of an entire family. The story was the strongest part of the game. Although it could be confusing at times, I liked how the protagonist occasionally recapped what was going on as he talked about the case with the teacher of the child who died, who was also investigating for her own reasons. One reason that the story got confusing is because of what I don't know about Chinese folklore. I kept thinking, "A person from China would have all the cultural context and knowledge to understand this," whereas I lacked such background assumptions. This might have been why the humans or spirits were doing some of the things they were doing, various symbolism, the significance of the grandparents going to see the shaman woman, how she or those visits might have been viewed, and so on. In the end, the story is really, really sad! The gameplay in this one is straightforward. There is nothing challenging about it. Puzzles are easy. The environments are tiny. You won't get lost or stumped. You generally navigate one or a few screens at a time, interact with a few interactable objects, perhaps pick up an item or two, perhaps solve a puzzle. All of the objects and puzzles affect something on the same or nearby screen, and it's very linear. In typical psychological horror game fashion, the environment changes (e.g., new object appears, color shifts, spirits appear, phone rings, etc.) in generally unnerving ways. There aren't many scares per se, but certainly the creepiness factor is present. The one novel mechanic was a camera that you can use to invert colors in certain places, which changes how the rooms look and reveals new areas or objects that you need to progress. Overall, the game kept me engaged through the intriguing story. Gameplay was slow-paced and easy, and it's good that the story consistently moved forward through exploring the environments (mostly the deceased family's house) or else I would have gotten bored. Not essential, but neat game. Now, I've got to talk to my friend about it!Tue, 21 May 2024 07:04:53 CDThttps://www.gamelog.cl/logs/LogPage.php?Log_Id=7711&iddiary=13232Portal Reloaded (PC) - Mon, 13 May 2024 12:38:28https://www.gamelog.cl/logs/LogPage.php?Log_Id=7713I played about an hour and it broke my brain. This is immediately harder than Portal Stories: Mel because of the time dimension. Reloaded adds a third portal. It is green and allows you to move between a "past" Aperture and a "future" Aperture. Various rules govern how time works. For example, you can move objects from the future to the past, which basically creates an extra object, but not vice versa. Manipulating an object in the past will change it in the future (but not vice versa). I struggled to understand how past and present objects affected one another, and didn't even make it to where you can shoot your own green portal; it was always placed for me. I watched some videos of later test chambers and there is no way in hell I would have figured them out. This was really like Mel-level difficulty plus a third portal and fourth dimension. Really neat, but nah, I'm not motivated to think about it that hard. Mon, 13 May 2024 12:38:28 CDThttps://www.gamelog.cl/logs/LogPage.php?Log_Id=7713&iddiary=13228Resident Evil 2 (2019) (PC) - Sun, 05 May 2024 14:19:33https://www.gamelog.cl/logs/LogPage.php?Log_Id=7708This one blew me away. Utterly engrossing and intense survival horror. I am sure I played RE2 way back in the day (I remember the police station), but this is the one I'll remember in the future. I was a little worried that the remake's excellent reviews were biased for nostalgia, but that's not the case. It's incredible in all respects. One thing I was thinking about while playing was how effective it is at making me tense. Other good horror games do some of these things too, but this one ties all these tricks into one package. When you kill a zombie, it might not actually be dead. By "kill," I mean shoot it until it falls down and appears dead. I learned that these zombies will sometimes begin groaning again and get back up, sometimes as you walk past, and other times they'll be reanimated when you return to an area. If its head explodes (by shooting it in the head with a shotgun or occasionally with the pistol), then it's really dead, but if its head doesn't explode, I was always anxious that it would come back. And you can't just go around blowing up all the zombies' heads with the shotgun because, as a survival horror game, ammo is a scarce and valuable resource. Later in the game, there are these plant zombies that will always come back unless you kill them with a flamethrower. Another thing that constantly had me nervous were the corpses. Enter a room, see a corpse, and you have no idea if it's one that will animate or not. You have to go about your business always watching and listening in case it gets up. This uncertainly about enemy states is really nerve-wracking! Another type of enemy, the "licker," is blind. If you make noise (run, slam open a door, fire a gun), it attacks you. If you are quiet, you can walk around it. But if you get too close, it will become alert, although it won't *know* that you're there. When it becomes alert, it will start moving around, which means it might run into you, since you're trying to quietly creep by. Those things were scary. And THEN, as if I wasn't already holding my breath half the time, there is this hulking enemy called Tyrant (that you can't kill) who, at several points in the game, appears to stalk you through an area. Tyrant is attracted to noise. If you're running, slamming doors, you'll hear his footsteps getting closer and closer. When he finds you, he relentlessly pursues you until you can get far enough away from him so that he goes somewhere else. So, whenever Tyrant was around, I was being quiet. Being quiet for Tyrant and the lickers is hard given that there are zombies around, who may or may not reanimate! And you're constantly under pressure to conserve ammo, manage your inventory, and navigate these labyrinthine areas with maps and various keys and puzzles. In the police station, you do a lot of backtracking and criss-crossing as you gain access to new areas. One room was a darkroom where you can develop rolls of film. Every time you find film, you want to go to the darkroom. But, getting back to the darkroom meant going back through this terrifying hallway where there was a licker lurking and a few zombies strolling about. So, just finding a roll of film made me scared in anticipation of what I was going to have to do! Oh yeah, one other thing to note, which made me feel kind of dumb, is that you'll find gun upgrades in the earlier part of the game. I had three upgrade parts in my inventory for some named gun, and had assumed they were for a gun that I didn't have because I didn't notice that my gun had a name. Then I found a shotgun upgrade, and I had a shotgun, so I figured it was for that. Then I thought, "that's weird that they'd give me all these upgrades for guns I don't have and then give me a shotgun upgrade for a gun I do have. Did I miss a gun?! Is the pistol I've been using really weak?! Is this why I'm always out of ammo?!" Turns out that yes, yes my pistol was weaker and I was always out of ammo because it should have been upgraded three times already. Oops! The RE2 remake is a 100% score for sure. I have RE 8 queued up to play at some point. Super excited. (This entry has been edited1 time. It was last edited on Sun, 05 May 2024 14:25:45.)Sun, 05 May 2024 14:19:33 CDThttps://www.gamelog.cl/logs/LogPage.php?Log_Id=7708&iddiary=13221Portal Stories: Mel (PC) - Fri, 26 Apr 2024 17:11:51https://www.gamelog.cl/logs/LogPage.php?Log_Id=7699I had some Portal 2 mod sitting in my Steam library and then saw some other one released recently that was highly, highly reviewed. I thought, "I wonder what are some other fully self-contained Portal story mods with great reviews," and Portal Stories: Mel jumped out. Downloaded it, played it. It's ridiculously impressive, basically a full prequel to Portal 2. But man, is it challenging! I made it most of the way through without using a walkthrough, but eventually caved in and then relied on it to solve four or five levels. Initially, I had luck putting the game down and coming back to it later, seeing the puzzles fresh, but after a while that quit working. It's hard in part because it begins where the difficulty in Portal 2 ended. It's a full game, but not in terms of introducing mechanics. That is to say, it doesn't introduce mechanics. It assumes you know everything and are a portal genius. That's fine as a mod. So its puzzles are difficult, and they are really clever. You have to learn new tricks, not used in previous Portal games, that it doesn't teach you. You just have to figure out, for example, that "destroying a cube" is occasionally what you need to do to solve a puzzle. It never would have crossed my mind that I would need to purposefully destroy a cube for any reason, but it pulls that trick a few times. Other times, you need to move a cube from afar using an excursion funnel. In the second level I caved in for the walkthrough, you combine these tricks, using an excursion funnel to destroy a cube, so that you can get a new cube in a different spot. In the third level I used a walkthrough for, there is actually a decoy button and panel that you don’t need at all. I spent a lot of time messing with that button and panel! That level honestly felt mean! There is also some guesswork involved in some levels in shooting a portal where you can’t see, which was also kind of a mean trick. One trick (that I figured out, go me!) that I saw a lot of people stuck on involved sliding a cube down a slope to break the paths of a series of lasers, which opened up a series of red laser grids so that you could get to the next area. That one took a while because, annoyingly, you have to slide the cube down the slope and get it to land in a portal. You have to open the other portal after you pass the red laser grids and get the cube. But getting the cube to slide into a good spot to be able to pick it up was a pain. All these super hard levels made me feel brilliant when I solved them (typical Portal!), and like an idiot when I saw the solution online ("Ah, of course!" Or actually in this game's case sometimes, "What the hell?!?"). The story and production values are great. You play as another test subject, there is another maintenance core, and there is another AI trying to kill you. It's a direct prequel to Portal 2, which you learn after the credits. Very cool. If you're a Portal fan, it's worth playing, but just know that it'll really test you!Fri, 26 Apr 2024 17:11:51 CDThttps://www.gamelog.cl/logs/LogPage.php?Log_Id=7699&iddiary=13217Wandersong (PC) - Fri, 26 Apr 2024 16:46:54https://www.gamelog.cl/logs/LogPage.php?Log_Id=7695This was a freebie from somewhere or another, and it is totally worth playing. I picked it up because it looked like it had an interesting "singing" mechanic. You use the right stick to navigate an action wheel, where each of eight directions is represented by a color and produces a note. Your character is a bard, so you're basically singing with the right stick. It's pretty simple, but it is implemented in a variety of ways throughout the game. For example, you don't select dialogue options like in most games. You use the right stick to choose the option on the action wheel and the bard "sings" the dialogue option, one click on the wheel per syllable. So, "I'm a singing bard" would be like right, right, left, up, down-right. For dialogue, it doesn't matter which notes you sing, just sing the syllables. Other times, you'll have to match colors like in a typical rhythm game, or during some very cool boss fights sing notes according to colors of projectiles and environmental cues. Like I said, it's not terribly difficult, but it is such a different take on how a character interacts with the game world, and it's done in such a playful way, that it's consistently fun. I smiled through most of the game. The entire game has a playful tone, not just the singing mechanic. The story itself plays with the typical RPG hero narrative. You aren't a hero; you're an overly positive little bard who thinks he can sing a song to save the world. There is a hero with a giant sword who calls lightning from the sky, and constantly foils your adventure, saving the world in the traditional way by killing all the bosses, but she's a jerk. The game is all about "believing in yourself" and "friendship" and "being positive" and etc. In most RPGs, you learn special moves, gain equipment to better kill enemies, get money (the bard never has any money), and so on. What does the bard find hidden throughout his adventures? A man in a mask who teaches him dances. Very silly dances. What purpose do the dances serve? None whatsoever, except to entertain you. You can dance-walk (instead of regular walk) at any time, and it is pretty funny. The writing is also consistently funny, and there are many characters to meet. The game is broken up into seven acts, some of which are more interesting than others. They generally have a "talk to all the people" phase, then a "complete the area (side)quests" phase, then a "puzzle platform" phase, then an encounter of some sort with a fairy or a boss or the hero or someone. Admittedly, there is a lot of dialogue, and yes, I read all of it because it's good. But the characters are talkative. And admittedly the quests are not always that exciting. And admittedly the puzzle platforming leaves something to be desired in terms of how well the bard controls and in terms of length (they almost always feel too long). But damn if the whole package isn't a 9 out of 10! It's definitely a little rough around the edges, which only added to its charm for me. The bard sometimes glitched into the terrain, so I'd have to exit and re-enter a screen. The pirate ship occasionally just refused to move in one act. Also, for some reason, when the camera was zoomed out, the dialogue could become unreadable. I assumed this had to do with the fact that the game ran in a low resolution on a TV, but it was the same on my laptop. I've watched videos where it looks fine for other people. I mean, it was like 1% of scenes that were unreadable. Most were fine, and at worst, some scenes were like looking at one of those "did u kno u can raed tihs senentce bceause the frist and lsat ltetrs are the smae??" things, which was...honestly kind of fun, like word puzzles. Obviously not ideal, but it didn't detract from how much I liked the game. So, a big hit for me that I never would have heard of had it not been offered for free. Definitely recommend for those who like RPGs and quirky indie games.Fri, 26 Apr 2024 16:46:54 CDThttps://www.gamelog.cl/logs/LogPage.php?Log_Id=7695&iddiary=13216Before Your Eyes (PC) - Sun, 14 Apr 2024 13:51:13https://www.gamelog.cl/logs/LogPage.php?Log_Id=7703I've been looking forward to playing this, especially after playing One Hand Clapping, which had a singing mechanic. That game activates your mic and you use your voice, raising and lowering pitch, to interact with the game. Before Your Eyes was similar in that the game activates your webcam and uses your eye blinks as input. Before Your Eyes works WAY better than One Hand Clapping, and it's the better game all around. I figure that detecting blinks (yes/no) is easier than detecting notes along the range of human vocal pitch, so kudos to One Hand Clapping for trying. Blinking in Before Your Eyes doesn't do anything unless you do it over a prompt (mouse over the prompt, then blink to interact) or unless you do it when the metronome icon is visible, which progresses the story to the next scene. The rules are simple, and it became a game in and of itself for me to blink strategically. I imagined that at the end of A Clockwork Orange, Alex's eyes are forced open so that he could successfully complete this game. At times, I felt like holding my eyes open with my fingers. This is because your eyes will get tired/dry/itchy while playing and you will screw up and blink when you don't mean to, skipping dialogue or ending a scene early. That's frustrating enough. Make sure you do the blink calibration, but I think that no matter how well you do it, it will still occasionally register some non-blinks as blinks. This really didn't happen much for me; through calibration, I think I turned the sensitivity way down, and I wonder what effect wearing glasses had. But like I said, it works surprisingly well. So, the game itself is narrative-heavy. It's an obvious play on the idea that a life can pass in the "blink of an eye." You're picked up by a ferryman of souls who asks you to tell the story of your life. Back in time you go to remember it: your childhood, your parents, your career, etc., blinking your way through each scene. I won't spoil the story, but there is a twist that I absolutely did not see coming (though I should have paid more attention to the mysterious dark scenes) that changes the narrative and the tone of the game. This is one you can spend time reflecting on. Aesthetically, it's got a simple visual presentation, sort of painterly, with some really nice piano music. The voice acting is good, with the exception of the girl-next-door (who sounds the same at 10 as she does at 40). For some reason, they also used the same voice actor for your dad and her dad, which made the one scene with her dad calling her very confusing ("Why is my dad at her house?!"). But I liked the dad and mom's performances. I was wondering through the whole game if your character was mute and/or on the spectrum because he doesn't talk--only through a typewriter later in the game--and otherwise expresses himself through his prodigious musical and artistic talents. But I think he's just a silent main character, not actually mute. Anyway, the game won a BAFTA for a reason. It didn't blow my mind, but it's a neat experience that's worth having. It's short too, doesn't waste your time. I'm considering incorporating it into a class. Sun, 14 Apr 2024 13:51:13 CDThttps://www.gamelog.cl/logs/LogPage.php?Log_Id=7703&iddiary=13212Stray (PC) - Sat, 13 Apr 2024 12:00:39https://www.gamelog.cl/logs/LogPage.php?Log_Id=7670Patrick and I have been playing this together this semester, and finished it a couple weeks ago. We were talking after beating it about despite how simple and straightforward of a game this is, it manages to be something new. Playing as a cat (and being able to do cat things like curl up and sleep, scratch things, knock objects off tables, etc., so cuuuute) was novel, and the setting and story were interesting. But really, playing as a cat. I smiled a whole lot throughout the game. The lil companion robot was cute too. On the other hand, I was often tired and bored while playing, and literally fell asleep during several sessions. Patrick would be making dinner or something in the kitchen, and I'd snap awake, cat walking into a wall, and I'd pretend I had not fallen asleep, and that I was just watching the cat walk into the wall and thinking. Like how my dad always used to claim he was "resting his eyes" when he'd fall asleep on the couch. I would not call the game exciting. It was a lot of wandering around the city and talking to robot NPCs, fetching things for them. The city is a really good-looking dystopia, and the robots are quirky, but I wish they had more dialogue. You don't get a sense that many of them have personalities besides whatever one-note thing they do. I mean, the lack of dialogue makes sense, and it's not really "dialogue" since the cat can't talk. The fact that you are a cat adds a whole layer of silly to the game. Like, why has this lil robot befriended a cat? Why are all these robots putting all their faith in a cat to save them? Cats don't understand what we're saying to them, and cats do whatever they want! Playing as a cat in a game where you're doing fetch quests (fetching is dog stuff!) and doing things to help people is very un-cat-like. But, you know what? The ability to play as a cat and do cat things trumps how little sense it makes, and I would play as a cat in this dystopia again. Idea for next time: more cats. And what do you think? Were there cats at the end?! Optimistically, I think so. Sat, 13 Apr 2024 12:00:39 CDThttps://www.gamelog.cl/logs/LogPage.php?Log_Id=7670&iddiary=13211Dorfromantik (PC) - Sun, 24 Mar 2024 19:54:36https://www.gamelog.cl/logs/LogPage.php?Log_Id=7698Got this for free at some point and decided to give it a shot since it is well-reviewed and seemed like something outside of my usual. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. It looks like a casual city-builder and mobile game. It’s definitely casual and definitely a builder of sorts, but it’s more of a puzzle game than anything. Your goal is to place various sorts of hexagonal tiles to build a landscape. Tiles can have, on any of their six sides, water, trees, grassland, fields, houses, and railroad tracks. You can rotate tiles and, ideally, match like sides. This nets you points. Not matching sides doesn’t net you points. You need points in order to get more tiles. If you run out of tiles, it’s game over. So, you have to strategically place tiles such that you maximize aligning edges with the same properties. To complicate this, some tiles have “quests,” which require you to string together x number of trees, houses, railroads, etc. So then you’re not simply matching sides, but you’re also trying to cluster certain types together in certain places depending on which quests you get. I found myself lost in it before realizing that I was almost out of tiles. I refocused and hit a stride, getting achievement after achievement for making long railroads, villages with tons of houses, etc., and built my stack of tiles back up. However, I have realized that if you don’t match like tiles early on, you’ll be disadvantaged later because you are “missing out” on points that you would have earned had you been more careful, and it will be difficult to “fill in” gaps that you’ve created. Another thing I realized is that you can’t “branch out” too much. You’ve got to remain clustered. If you branch out too much, then each tile you place can’t generate many points. It’s 10 points per matched side, so if you’re just like building a river straight out, each tile is only netting 10 points. If you are more clustered and placing each tile next to two or three others, then you’re getting 20 or 30 points per tile, and generating more tiles. It’s an interesting balancing act. There is no story; it’s a sandbox. There is infinite replayability to chase high scores and achievements. I’d be interested in giving it another shot and doing better, but I think I did really well for my first try. Maybe I’ll keep it on hand for a relaxing puzzle game. But I’ve got other stuff to get to! Sun, 24 Mar 2024 19:54:36 CDThttps://www.gamelog.cl/logs/LogPage.php?Log_Id=7698&iddiary=13207