Apr 27, 2015

Video Game Reviews

Spore – It’s been a long time since this came out, just getting to it. I do seem to remember people saying it wasn’t very good, that it was like 5 meh games cobbled together. That’s true. It’s like a couple of boring wander-around-and-eat-things games, then a couple civ games, and a 5X game. The 5X game is the only one that is remotely interesting, but it isn’t deep enough to last. I did all the standard stuff in the space section, I did not beat the Grox, it is just too much work. And the work is monotonous. Making money is boring, diplomacy is boring, war is boring. I like the size of the galaxy, there’s just not enough to do that isn’t repetitive. Oh well.

Offspring Fling! – This is a silly little puzzle platformer. It reminds me of super meat boy. But the game mechanism is that you pick up little baby version of you and chuck them around. It’s simple, straightforward, short, cute. It’s really just a flash game, I’m sure I got it as part of a humble bundle. But it was an okay palette cleanser after Spore before playing something bigger in scope.

The Basement Collection – This is a collection of simple games developed by the same person/people who made super meat boy. It might just be a bunch of flash games packaged into a group, I’m not sure. It is kind of fun, they are all simple. Some are very confusing and I couldn’t figure out. Some I played through. Fun distraction, not much else.

Alan Wake – This game didn’t really work for me. The mechanic is theoretically cool – enemies are harmed (or made vulnerable) by light. So there’s a lot of playing with that. I don’t feel like it’s super successful in making you scared of the dark, because you are forced to spend so much time there. Instead you are just using light as bullets (in addition to actual bullets), instead of running from light to light, though that does happen too. The story is kind of boring, didn’t catch my attention, so the game felt long. The game is fairly well done, it just wasn’t great for me.

Mark Ecko’s Getting Up – Nope. Much too frustrating to try to play in 2015. In my defense, it’s not because it’s old, it’s because it’s a terrible port. I can forgive it looking kind of assey. I can forgive it for the UI interaction being slow and clunky. I can’t forgive making no effort to map the controls to mouse and keyboard. Or not letting you reassign buttons. Or even change mouse sensitivity. Or that the camera spends more time glitching on wall boundaries than being useful. I didn’t even get two hours in, I have too many games to play to waste time on this one.

Stronghold Crusader HD – Another game I couldn’t get into. I got like four missions in and gave up. I didn’t even lose the last mission, it was just such slow going I couldn’t keep going. It’s also kind of oldish, but I struggle to think I would have enjoyed it then. It’s a pretty slow-paced RTS. It takes forever to gather resources, to grow a city, to build an army. The interface is janky, the battles are super frustrating. I feel like a modern version of this might be decent, but I wouldn’t risk it unless it was super cheap (and right now it’s $50, so, no thanks).

Hacker Evolution – This is a weird little game. It’s a faux hacker game, entirely run on a command line, which is neat. The “hacking” is really just three commands – to decrypt (whatever that means), to crack a password, or to apply an exploit. The game is to figure out, from files and clues, what servers to look for and hack. It’s simple, but different. You have money to upgrade equipment and manage your “trace”, which is basically health. It’s a bit hard because there’s only a subset of paths through the game (don’t buy too much stuff, don’t hack unnecessary servers) for which you will have enough money to make it. And as far as I can tell you can’t go back a level to undo spending too much money. At the end of the game, I literally sold off all my equipment to reduce my trace enough to win (including my storage space, despite the fact that one of the conditions of winning was taking a file that resided in said storage space…). If that hadn’t worked, and my only choice was to start from the beginning, I would have found an alternative choice called uninstall.

Rochard – This is a little side scrolling platformer. You have a gravity gun from Half Life, basically. You mess with gravity, solve some puzzles, shoot some bad guys (or, preferably, obviously, throw things at them), beat the bad guy, game over. Only took a few hours to run through, nothing amazing, but a few fun mechanics, fun game.

Sol: Exodus – This game got terrible reviews. It’s an indie space shooter. I didn’t think it was that awful. It doesn’t feel that great, but it’s not awful. But then two missions in the game decided to delete my save. No messages, no crashes. I finished a mission, it went to load the next level, but instead loaded the main menu with my save deleted. Not interested enough to play through even just those 2 levels to get back to where I was. Oh well.

The Void – I don’t know, man. It’s got great user reviews, people think it’s so clever. I find it super opaque and frustrating. Not interesting enough for me to push through that and figure out the dang game. I almost uninstalled, then gave it another shot, still had no idea what was going on, so removed it. Sorry, maybe I’m just too impatient lately.

Antichamber – This is a neat little first person puzzler. The graphics are very simple, kind of line drawings. The mechanic is a gun that can pick up and put down little colored blocks. As the gun advances it gains more control (duplicating blocks, making them move around, etc). It’s pretty interesting, pretty challenging. I figured most of it out, but struggled at the end. Had to use walkthroughs to figure out a handful of the puzzles. Maybe I would have gotten them eventually, but definitely not in the time it would have taken to lose interest, so I feel like it was a good call.

The Ship – This is a multiplayer game from a few years ago. You are on a ship, you are given a target. Everyone else has a target, someone has you. You wander around trying to look innocent, tracking down your prey and killing them with a variety of weapons you find laying around the ship. But don’t let the crew or security or cameras see you. I only played once and I’m honestly not sure if I was playing against humans. It might have all been bots. I won, which makes me think it was bots. Or maybe it’s so old that only people who aren’t very good are playing. It was kind of neat, probably a good party game, I might play it once more, but that’s about it.

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