Thursday, September 4, 2014


So i haven't played again since last i logged off, having slaughtered (clickity) the mangled scorpion which had wounded a nearby troll.
This gap has left me with a day to think about WoW a little and what i had expected going in. I expected a robust, lore driven, detailed, lovely world which has been crafted for my unique character to tromp about in having adventures and juggling loot.

I logged in to a bland space for my cardboard character to run through animations while i click on things.

I've very deeply concerned that my goal, to create an orc with an axe, was met within two minutes.. since character creation was the orc and i started with an axe.

I have since downloaded enough to get to the 'optimal' play point, and i am level 5 now, so perhaps something will explode and catch my attention.

One can only hope.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


One hour in!

hugely unimpressed.

sadly so.

Early game content is usually pretty fluffy, to try to get you used to systems and introduce you to the feel of the setting and whatnot.

So far i feel like this is a world filled with lore... somewhere else - while i run around and click on something from time to time. I can't really understand why people slag off on games like proteus and shelter as walking simulators, and i've not really seen anyone level the same hammer at this.

for the record i didn't particularly enjoy either of those two titles either, finding them tedious at best, but it was apparent that this was part of the core. Shelter is supposed to be drawn out run from a all the way to b, proteus offers its' scenery as exploratory fodder. Thus far, WoW has area to cover between click points, which them selves only seem to offer breaks for all the area to cover.

I also hate the inventory system. It seems oddly fiddly, coming from the guys who basically set the template for inventory management styles.

Hm. That's enough for now.


So first things before i get started;

Im happy to get free things. This is known. When i got the free play time, i didnt have to do anything. no activation, not kes, no transferring data, no CC details, it was already loaded up in my launcher. this is great. To get me on board make me do as little as possible between wanting the experience and having the experience.

Secondly, i notice as the download progresses that there is the option to play ahead of the full down load. almost streaming you might call it. there is a minimal mark and an optimal mark and you can play as soon as you've hit the minimum without waiting for the entire thing to get down the pipes. similar to what i've just said to get me on board, make me wait as little as possible between wanting the experience and having the experience.

so far so good.

I've had a friend express concern about going down the rabbit hole, but im happily in control of my addictions and since i've got no costs associated with this little adventure i'm happy to jump in.

and a final peice of the puzzle is because of this process i've worked out a technical issue with my network adaptor so im coming into this with spirits high.



So in 2001 having freshly 'graduated' from high school and living in my uncles' basement living area, word was out of blizzard making some kind of online world where i could be an orc. not any old orc but a blizzard orc, like the ones i had shuffled around and sent to their victo.. doom, usually, for years.

i cant be bothered going back and framing this as a researched thing with release dates and boring factual crap, but i was excited. I thought it was a great idea from a great company doing great things. I was all the way down on Diablo 2 at the time, making characters up to level 20 and burning them away to make a new one. Why? .. i dont know. Because clickity clickity, i guess.
But i never played WoW. It's 2014 and i never got around to playing. not even once.
When i moved out from said uncle, i left behind cable internet and went back to dial up. I had no steady income to pay for this preposterous subscription nonsense and that was about it really.

I have since been quite aware of its existence and the shadow it casts across gaming as a whole, from influences obvious in dev's trying to clone the lightning and sell it as their own, to those who would rather hold wow up as what they are not. To genres even dipping their toes into the brine of RPG to any depth the effects this hulk of an entity shoes its' presence.

I've been playing hearthstone for a couple of months now (super casually) and in doing so received an email telling me i get a 30 day free time gift for wow.

I rather think it's about time for me to make this orc.

Zug zug.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Steam Summer Sale 20014 pt2

So it's all wrapped up and I think it's turned out to be a lot more interesting than I'd previously suspected. Valve seem to have dealt with the concerns that I (and possibly many many other people have had) and made a sale that is both more relevant and exciting. It's day to day function was still fairly mechanical and nothing inspired beyond the minus percentages, however the sales actually had meaning. Unless I'm mistaken, which is admittedly possible, the final day didn't do the last round up of the biggest and best sales to rehash.
This is crucially important to my mind. I like that I can check in and cast my vote and have something to do as part of a meta-event in the sale but the sale itself has lost all meaning when spenders understand the best way to farm the system.

I think the daily events still need some work. I think back to the christmas sale of 2011 (I think) which required certain achievements to be earned in game. This was really cool but obviously required dev's to make an effort to include new event specific goals and people to be able to download and get them on the day - not always a doable thing.

This sale event has been great, but something more meaningful than voting and chasing team swap tickets but less demanding than a full game download would be magnificent.

Go do that now Valve, nothing else on your plate.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Banner Saga

So I missed all the kickstarter stuff for this game way back when. I played a little bit of factions when it was released, updating every other day and limited right down, testing the waters. The art style is wonderful, forgoing anything 'digital' for a genuinely lovely hand-drawn touch and feel. I liked the combat, and was sort of getting better, though generally atill getting served morw than my ego was pleased with.
(There was also a big pile of legal drama in between, but who wants to rehash that crap)

Fast forward.. 2 years? I ended up grabbing it not long ago when it was available for the cheaps as part of the humble bargain marathon, whatever it was, since it was cheaper than normal retail and came with a few extras. Then I waited for a while because I'm lazy and easily distracted.

Anyway, im in love with it all over again. I've only played through to the 3rd chapter so far but it's got its hooks in deep. All of what I already appreciated is still present, but the single player also has this fully realised story with richly detailed maps, lore that flows nicely with more depth accessible on my terms and a level of storytelling and character development that seema both natural and weighty.

I know my choices will have consequence but I am not sure when they will surface, whatvthey will be, or how much they will matter.
And in the game.

I'm still pretty terrible at the combat, but rarely do I feel cheated - more that decisions ive made in placement or priority ought to have been thought over a little more.

Its my newest 'oh when do I get to play it again' game, thinking about it all times of the day and hanging out for the next chance I can get.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Steam Summer Sale 2014

So the madness begins, but ive noticed more and more as times go by the the madness is moreso the spectre of times gone than actual batshit crazyness. For one the structure these days is largely known and its just down to the theme mostly and the function of bonuses etc.
The more recent addition of trading cards narrows the field of expectation even further.

I dunno, I'm still excited though, all that said. Its a major event in my particular area of interest and it generates a lot of talk and focus.

I probably wont buy much though, if anything. I love the saley vibe but bundles are my vice of choice and I have a ridiculously long backlog.

Mind you I said that last time and still spent more than intended by a long shot.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Tilting and Tapping

Casting and firing.

Ridiculous Fishing is a game where you;
throw in a hook,
guide it to the lowest depths you can reach,
hook as many fish you can on the return,
break the surface and fling the fish into the air,
then shoot the fish out of the air,

With said profits you can purchase upgrades to your fishing kit, or your hunting artillery, or various hats and accoutrement to enhance rewards and appearance

That's really about it.
Thing is, explaining it in its simplicity does not adequately explain its addictiveness.
I played this on my android phone so the casting mechanic was tied to the tilting and shooting part was tapping all over the place. Wickedly simple, yet it gets its hooks in. You can drop in for literally 5 minutes of playtime and feels like you've taken steps forward for the upgrade dollars. Alternatively, you can waste a huge amount of time aiming for the depths or trying to collect all the wildlife.

I really appreciate the visual style, and the music was fun and catchy. There is a fun, aberrant humour present in the design and gameplay, which is reinforced by both the item and upgrade descriptions and the comments in "Byrdr" (an in game social media app auto-populated with comments from characters, which can be shared out into the twitterverse)

I acquired Ridiculous Fishing in a Humble Bundle, so the price was lost in the middle somewhere. It retails for around the $3 mark depending on platform and I think it's easily worth that price. It's the perfect mix of pick up/put down gaming with the hidden depth for longevity.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

And these children shall always be three!

Rogue Legacy is a combat platformer with light elements of RPG style progression set in a castle made of randomly pieced together preset rooms.
The gameplay is punishingly difficult, reminiscent of when arcade games were super challenging for all the extra monies, but continued play is rewarded with an understanding of patterns and style allowing you to make progression with your characters and in the levels.
When you die (and you will indeed die. And die again. And again. And then die some more when you think no dying could be left to do) you are punted back to the start screen. But each time you begin play you select a new toon who is the descendant of the guy or gal you just died with. As such, you inherit the family castle and the coin your dead former self had in their pockets.
This money can be spent in the castle to change things like hitpoints, chance to crit or new classes. Or you can spend coin at the blacksmith for new armour and weapons.
Then you sally forth into the castle to reap riches! And die some more. For the children.
Thusly, unless you run into the first room and straight into a spike pit without thinking there is always some move forward.

Three choices will always greet you at the new character screen, with a random name, a random (from those available) class, a spell, and some traits. This is the first taste of the games' style of humour. These traits run from those which do not affect gameplay such as "the one" making everything look a bit matrix-y, to vertigo which will invert your view and controls which certainly takes some getting used to. Until you die.

Personally I think this game is tops. It's a great blend of traditional skill testing and current tastes in the roguelike roguelite rogue-esque (whatever) genres being thrown around the place. If.. When I die I rarely feel cheated, more either that i wasn't playing attention or that i made a stupid decision, rather than loose controls of a system that is unfair. No. It is actually completely unfair, but it doesn't cheat, which is a horribly important distinction.

I like the cartoony vibe to the artwork, and it really remind me of ghosts and goblins in both visual and game-y reference.

 I was gifted Rogue Legacy by my best mate, so it cost me naught (except years of listening to his crap) but I would 90% recommend this at full price which is $14.99 on Steam as of this writing. A cool tenner would be the perfect buy.

It's actually really easy to pick up and put down, but you won't actually want to put it down. This is both because the gameplay is engaging, and because the rewards of having just failed don't come to you until you try again. This is a powerful motivator.

Unless you died with 20 gold in your pockets. Idiot.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

For studious protagonists

Robot Entertainment has delivered many an hours' worth of fun in the form of Orcs Must Die and its sequel, so i had some very high hopes for this title.

Hero Academy is an asymmetrical turn based strategy game featuring colourful cartoon style sprites battling each other for dominance of the board. You select the team you wish you use, each featuring their own characters, spells and synergies and then off you go. Board is selected randomly as is your opponent, though you can select from your friends list.

Once play commences, each round gives you 5 action points with which to either place a unit, move a unit, attack with a unit, or cast a spell. Units and spells are randomly generated at the beginning of each turn to fill up to a selection of 6 items. Then you submit your turn and await the opponents manoeuvres in return.
You can aim to either wipe the board clear of opponents, or try to take out any crystals the opponent has on the board.
You can run more than one game at once which is great, and the game will notify you when a turn is ready to play your next round. so you can play this as a quick distraction game with two games running and login once a day or so, or you can start 20 games at once if you want a non stop session.

I'm pretty crap at it so far. I quite like it. It's easy to pick up how to play and nothing feels very unfair even given the random nature of the  but i haven't invested the time yet to have developed the skill set to be a worthy opponent. At any rate, I was a bit sold given the pedigree of the developer. I really like their style of art and the animations, they also have a talent for making tight gameplay, apparently across different game types.

So far ive had no major dramas, except the occasional server connection issue. I have an odd codec issue on my box when i play but im pretty certain that's gonna be me and my clunky nerdbox more than a game issue.

I scored Hero Academy in a Humble Bundle so the price was super sweet, it normally retails on Steam for about 5 bucks (with only two teams) which is well worth it. You can also get a two pack at a discount, to bring along a friend.
However, the addon teams are each almost as much as the game itself which actually seems pretty steep. Even though they offer a wholly different experience to each other team, its hard to appreciate the high cost.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Get to the choppah!

Jack lumber.

i actually quite liked this game, it just runs a little shallow.
you play as the chop happy titular character, avenging his grandmother after a savage tree attack.
you play through each level, a series of rounds as logs (and later, other items) are sprung into the air in front of you. Your job is to drag out a path that will chop each of the necessary items before the timer runs down.

the art style, sounds and characters are fun, with each successful level letting another woodland friend return to your cabin, which in turn unlock various upgrades and powerups to use while playing.

very straightforward, quite fun, a little bit more addictive that i expected.
its very easy to play through just one more round. we all know how tempting it is to go back and 3 star a level if we missed out.

the bulk of my experience was played through steam, because given an option i like all my stuff in one place AND i'm a sucker for cheeves. However, I also played it on my Samsung android tablet and its far superior. Touching and swiping is a much more natural motion than mousing around.

 i got jack lumber as part of a humble bundle, but i'd say its worth a gold coin for admission. just keep in mind the android version feels like the better experience.