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    Steamworld Dig: A Fistful of Dirt (VITA)    by   jp       (Jan 20th, 2021 at 23:08:00)

    Finished! Clocked in at a "breezy"(?) 8 hrs. I was JUST starting to get a bit tired when, oh, time for a final boss fight. I thought this was unusual because there was nothing else like it in the game but, fortunately it wasn't TOO hard (a few attempts and I was able to clear it). It all tied into the story somehow, but wasn't really all that memorable. The game is really just about the grind/loop of mining/selling/upgrading with not much else in terms of variety. Sure, there were secret areas, and the upgrade to see loot on the minimap was a great idea - it encouraged me to go back and farm some more loot. I didn't have enough to buy all the upgrades, but oh well. Not really complaining here.

    I did reboot to see if there was a newgame plus or something like that and apparently not, so - on the shelf it goes!

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    Night of Full Moon (iPd)    by   jp       (Jan 19th, 2021 at 19:14:50)

    I saw someone I don't know recommend this game to someone I do know on Facebook of all places. So, I've been playing it and having quite a bit of fun with it.

    I guess I feel like I'm on a "weak" spree of wanting to play deck-building card games and I had not heard of this one (I still have a hard time remembering what the game is called, I confuse it with many other games).

    So, it's deck-builder like Slay the Spire - with a few differences and simplifications. Overall I get the sense that the game is simpler/less deep - but that's ok. It's also possible that the difficulty curve was toned too low (easy) for my own skill/taste in this game. I've only lost once - and I've cleared the game multiple times with the starter characters though I'm still working my way up the difficulty chain. I'm curious what the hardest difficulty will feel like and as I continue to clear the game I keep on unlocking new favors (similar to artifacts). I also discovered a secret bonus 4 act which was harder than the rest (that's the only time I've failed, on a 2nd run through the 4th act)

    Differences with Slay the Spire?

    (a) You don't know what the enemies will do on their turn. So, planning is harder in that sense - you just go with it.

    (b) Enemies have their own decks/hands of cards. Some of which are like the ones you may have. This is pretty neat because it opens up the design space to mechanics that involve your using your opponents cards, messing with their deck, countering their cards, etc.

    (c) In a full run there are a lot more opportunities to upgrade your deck as well remove cards from it. I really like this aspect since it feels like you can be more strategic.

    (d) Every turn you can choose what to do from three options - so each "node" in the map has three things, if you complete one, then a new one takes its place. I like having more choice at this broader level. You can also eliminate choices (I'm not going to fight this monster) - which you might need to do strategically (e.g. remove a store and hope it refreshes with an opportunity for healing so you can fight a monster)

    (e) There are equipment cards and you have equipment slots (which you can increase). You start with equipment cards already on the table - if you have many and more slots that can be a huge boost/incentive. And there's also interesting strategy in picking which equipment card you want to start with.

    (f) You level up - and unlock special abilities that operate on cooldowns (cooldown is based on encounters/fights - so you'll get the ability back after 3 more fights). I find myself using these rarely or only on emergencies - but overall it's a neat idea. The levelling up is nice because they do things like increase your hand size or give you a chance to pick a card from two options.

    There's more differences, but those are the key ones? I've enjoyed all the classes and I'm on the verge of just paying for all the DLC even if I don't play it....

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    Steamworld Dig: A Fistful of Dirt (VITA)    by   jp       (Jan 19th, 2021 at 19:00:09)

    There's a couple of things I've found interesting in my experience so far (I've made it to the 3rd "world/area/depth").

    The game is persistent in the sense that those tunnels you dig - stay dug. If you dig more - those will stay as well. This is pretty cool and it means that I'm effectively designing my own levels - passages, tunnels, etc. It works really well - though I'm curious if the locations and layouts of things (e.g. the special "tunnel entrances" where you pick up powerups are fixed or not. In other words, I wonder if the levels are designed or generated. I guess it could be either?

    The basic loop of the game is delve deep, get things to sell, sell those things for money, spend money on upgrades to make it easier to delve deeper. Most, but not all, of the upgrades are permanent - but there are some that are consumable. My favorite is the teleporter - and I always try to have one in case I paint myself into a corner of sorts - so I can teleport out to safety to sell my warez.

    However, I'm curious as to whether it's possible - via poor play/management to screw yourself over? I'm pretty conservative when it comes to spending money on consumables and such but I didn't know when I started if the minerals would "replenish" or if the levels were super large such that, if you really wanted to, you could farm/grind resources for a long time. As far as I can tell, resources are actually pretty limited - so in theory you could spend them poorly and then be stuck in a position where making progress is really onerous and frustrating.

    While I die every now and then, the game isn't that hard - but I have realized that I need to be careful with my digging so as to make sure I have a path back out. Again, could I screw myself over? I think you can - which makes for a really interesting edge case that I wonder if the game "captures" or if you just need to restart? This could be really bad... but then again, you might only need to restart in the beginning?

    Hmmm, it's a tricky thing. I didn't know going in what kind of game this was - is it a roguelike where you just keep on going until you lose and then restart with more knowledge? Or is this a RPG-style progression game where you're always getting better (upgrades, skills, health, etc.) and you just need to make your way to the end? Now that I've played a few hours I know it's not a rogue-like but I really didn't know in the beginning...

    Either way, I've been enjoying the core experience even as its starting to get a bit grindy (I'm essentially doing the same activity all the time even if the scenery changes).

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    Senran Kagura Estival Versus (VITA)    by   jp       (Jan 17th, 2021 at 21:57:51)

    I finished the first two "days" and a bit more (technically day 0 and day 1) and, while I learned that you can skip all the cut-scenes and conversation moments (that I found really grating), I realized I wasn't that enthused by the actual combat/fighting. Yes, I did lose a few times and while the difficulty was "easy" (low) and would get harder as I made progress...the entire system just wasn't that interesting to me. I think I wrote about this before.

    There's a whole shopping side to the game as well that I only engaged with to see what it was about. You can buy outfits, movies (cut-scenes you've seen in the game) pictures AND there's a whole mode where you can pose three characters. It's quite..uhh..lewd? As you play you unlock different poses and they're all pretty provocative (but - no nudity). You can also switch between the outfits - including torn outfits (like you see when you take/do damage) as well as lingerie. This is all really not my jam at all...and I guess I can say now that at least I've played one of the games in the series and have a general sense for what it's about...

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    Terra Nil (PC)    by   jp       (Jan 15th, 2021 at 16:49:13)

    I don't know how I heard of this game - but I'm glad I did! It's a game on itch! (https://vfqd.itch.io/terra-nil)

    It's a reverse-4X game which is super peaceful to play. I've only played the first two levels/scenarios (there are a few more). Basically, the idea is to build buildings, power them up, etc. There's also a tech tree of sorts.

    BUT, rather than exploiting you're trying to do the opposite - you're restoring the environment! The 2nd scenario ends once you've restored different biomes (achieving a balance) and then you have to recycle all your buildings, use them to build a spaceship and leave the planet all pristine and restored!

    The experience of playing the game is strangely peaceful and also beautiful. I was genuinely surprised once I had restored the weather system to see it rain, hear thunder, and then see greenery spread over the areas I hadn't restored!

    I haven't quite understood some of the buildings and how they're supposed to operate - but, I guess there's time to play some more and figure things out?

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    Recent GameLogs
    1 : jp's Night of Full Moon (iPd)
    2 : jp's Steamworld Dig: A Fistful of Dirt (VITA)
    3 : jp's Terra Nil (PC)
    4 : jp's Moving Out (PS4)
    5 : jp's Senran Kagura Estival Versus (VITA)
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    Random

    Marble Mania (Wii)    by   dreamalot2007

    No comment, yet.
    most recent entry:   Saturday 9 February, 2008
    Gameplay:

    The more that I play this game the more addicted I become. Instead of becoming bored of it as I might with a single or possible even multi level multi player game, I can’t put the Wii mote down. This feeling is created for me by simplicity of the game as a whole. It is difficult to not fall off of the edge, but there isn’t a bunch of different combos to memorize or buttons to push. All you have to do is tilt your hand.

    The simplicity of the actions made by the player also helps create a sense of flow to the game. As you tilt your hand to the side the little panda glides across the screen in a sometimes ethereal way making cute little grunts. After you have had to repeat a level several times going through the level is like driving in a hover car. You anticipate turns and your marble doesn’t deviate from the center and inch. It feels like flying and makes passing the level smooth. The levels steadily progress in difficulty, which makes each new challenge less daunting.

    Design:

    One of the things that I particularly liked about this game was that it was a game of precision, not timing. I was disappointed when I got further along in the game and there were rotating lights that if you touched would send you back to the start. The game was adequate without this added challenge that in my opinion was overdoing a good thing.

    This game is very much single player oriented and doesn’t leave a large amount for discussion. In this way it is more an exercise of dexterity and a brainteaser than a possibility for social interaction.

    The interesting part of this game is that though it is a game of progression, there is no hint of a choice in the path that the player must take. It is made very clear that there is only one, often narrow way towards the goal. This path is also deceivingly simple. The challenges aren’t always easy to see as in fighting games (i.e. punch a minion three times and it dies).

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