June 4, 2023 - Day 155 - NewPlay Bonus Review
Total NewPlays: 172

Game: Dead Rising 2

Platform: Steam
Release Date: Sep 30, 2010
Library Date: Nov 4, 2017
Unplayed: 2038d (5y7m)
Playtime: 74m

After yesterday's Dead Rising review, @Averagegoob responded to me suggesting that Dead Rising 2 was better than Dead Rising.

He wasn't wrong.

It definitely improves on some of the weaknesses of Dead Rising. The new protagonist, Chuck Greene, feels like he moves faster than Frank West in Dead Rising.

The stakes feel higher here. Frank has a daughter he needs to keep safe, as well as [spoilers] that give him (and thus the player) an impetus to keep fighting.

Combat feels cleaner, and a little more fun as well. A nice addition is the ability to create combination weapons, which make things a little more gory, with a side of black humour.

On the downside, you still have to find a toilet to save the game, which is a little annoying, but overall, it's a step up from Dead Rising.

Dead Rising 2 is:

3: OK

#DeadRising2 #ThirdPerson #Zombies #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

June 4, 2023 - Day 155 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 171

Game: Underhero

Platform: Steam
Release Date: Sep 19, 2018
Library Date: Feb 29, 2020
Unplayed: 1191d (3y3m6d)
Playtime: 41m

Underhero is a quirky little 2D pixel art platformer with timing-based combat.

The game opens with you controlling a fully-levelled herp who is seemingly at the end of his quest to rescue a princess.

Then he gets killed by a minion.

You are now controlling that minion, and things only get weirder from then on.

Fights are timing-based, and you get extra points for hits on the beat. There are some RPG-lite levelling antics going on as well, and the whole thing kind of sits together quite well.

The quirky humour is what pushed it beyond "meh" for me - it's still a pixel art platformer, after all, but one I'll keep around for when I'm in the mood.

Underhero is:

3: OK

#Underhero #2D #Platformer #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

June 3, 2023 - Day 154 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 170

Game: Dead Rising

Platform: Steam
Release Date: Aug 8, 2006
Library Date: Jan 20, 2023
Unplayed: 134d (4m14d)
Playtime: 49m

Dead Rising is the first in the series of Dead Rising third person action-adventure zombie games.

I bought it, after starting this project, because of one of the rules I set for myself that I wouldn't play a sequel to a game unless I'd played the predecessors.

Since I already owned Dead Rising 4 from a bundle (still unplayed), I decided I had to start at the beginning with Dead Rising, & bought it on special.

This rule was a mistake, as was buying this game. Changed the rule to add "if I own them".

It's not a bad game, per se. It's just that it was released almost 17 years ago, and is competing with zombie games like Dead Island and Dying Light.

It's got quite a lot of character in the main protagonist, Frank West, a photo journalist trapped in a mall full of zombies. However, his loping run feels frustratingly slow, and the zombies seem to be either ignoring you, or swarming you with little warning.

I got quite frustrated, but was slowly making progress, and then I died. Games in 2006 weren't really big on autosaving, something you don't miss until it's not there.

After more than 40 mins playtime, I found myself at the start of the game again, and quit.

Dead Rising has fallen to:

2: Meh

#DeadRising #ThirdPerson #Zombies #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

June 2, 2023 - Day 153 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 169

Game: Shadowgrounds

Platform: Steam
Release Date: May 8, 2006
Library Date: Oct 5, 2011
Unplayed: 4258d (11y7m28d)
Playtime: 30m

Take the basic feel of Doom, & move it to Ganymede; mash it up with an early 2000's boomer shooter, make it top-down, limit ammo, add AI companions, who frequently stand in your way, preventing you from moving to get away from the mobs overwhelming you because you'd run out of ammo.

That's Shadowgrounds.

Setting the game options is done in an external app before opening the game. It seems I'd opened the configuration app and closed it again, at some stage in the last few years, meaning that the game has actually been unplayed for over eleven and a half years.

Oh well.

To try and say something nice about the game, it uses light, shadows, and jump scares very effectively.

It's also a 17 year old game where you cannot *aim* at the mobs you're trying to kill to conserve ammo, so you're just doing a spray-and-pray in their general direction, and hoping you don't run out out of... nope, I'm out of ammo. Again. Back to the pea-shooter.

Nope, overwhelmed by mobs and dead. Again.

But at least you respawn... a total of five times, apparently.

Even as I wrote the review, the rating on this just kept slipping.

Gotta give Shadowgrounds a big *old*:

1: Nope

#ShadowGrounds #BoomerShooter #TopDown #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

June 1, 2023 - Day 152 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 168

Game: Slipstream

Platform: Steam
Release Date: May 22, 2018
Library Date: Mar 4, 2019
Unplayed: 1550d (4y2m28d)
Playtime: 18m

Slipstream is a retro-styled arcade racer. It's not 8-bit retro, so much as a throwback to the arcade racers I sucked at in the early-mid 1990's.

One of the things I find myself struggling with is that the more games I play, the more reference points I have, and the harder it becomes to enjoy some games.

If I open an MMORPG, I played WoW for over a decade, but that burned me out on MMORPGs. So an MMORPG has a lot to overcome.

If I open a survival game, it needs to grab me as well as Subnautica... used to. Until I played Breathedge. Friendship ended with Subnautica, Breathedge is my survival friend now.

For arcade racing games, it's Forza Horizon 4*. Slipstream is a very well designed arcade racer, and leans heavily on nostalgia for that era of games. It's just that I don't have any nostalgia for that style of game.

So while it's well done, it doesn't offer me something that I don't get from another game, in a more enjoyable way.

Sorry, Slipsteam. You're just a bit:

2: Meh

#Slipstream #ArcadeRacer #Racing #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

*Almost 18 months ago, I found a literal showstopper bug that causes FH4 to crash, regularly. It took months for the Forza team to accept that it was a bug.

It's STILL not fixed. Much disappoint.

May 31, 2023 - Day 151 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 167

Game: Max Payne

Platform: Steam
Release Date: Jul 25, 2001
Library Date: Dec 7, 2017
Unplayed: 2001d (5y5m24d)
Playtime: 30m

No, that is not a typo. Yes, this is the original Max Payne. No, I have never played it. Yes, this will be hard to review.

Max Payne is a... come on, you know: third-person shooter, undercover detective is framed, goes rogue to try & get his life back.

I'd started Max Payne at some time in the past, & closed it after three minutes. Possibly because it's buggy as hell.

As the game starts, "Remedy" pops up on the screen; "Wait... the people who made Control?" It added a new lens with which to judge the game.

Unfortunately, it doesn't help much. I can see why Max Payne was so groundbreaking in 2001, but almost 22 years later, it hasn't aged well.

Firstly, the face-tech that was amazing in 2001 makes Max look constipated, and that's a hard thing to get past. It makes the game feel cheesy now.

Secondly, it is quite buggy. Kudos that it still runs in 2023 (at 2K res!), but audio dropouts & random freezes make it tough to want to keep playing.

However, there's a core to the story there, and a foreshadowing of Remedy's future storytelling prowess. I can see why they're remaking it; I think I might wrestle with it for a bit longer.

Max Payne, even 22 years later, is:

3: OK

#MaxPayne #ThirdPerson #Shooter #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

May 30, 2023 - Day 150 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 166

Game: Ori and the Blind Forest

Platform: Steam
Release Date: Apr 28, 2016
Library Date: Mar 12, 2023
Unplayed: 79d (2m18d)
Playtime: 26m

Ori and the Blind Forest is a Metroidvania platformer, and it's utterly gorgeous.

The prologue broke my heart a little bit. I don't know quite what else to say about this. The sound design is also wonderful, immediately drawing me into Ori's world.

It seems that Ori's goal is to restore life to the forest, but I haven't played enough of the game yet.

However, I wanted to keep playing, which is a significant change since the start of the year.

One of the odd things about playing so many platform games over the past few months is that, in something that has genuinely surprised me, I do seem to have improved at my platforming skills.

It's still a struggle, and I'm not going to be playing anything on hard mode (or probably even normal), but on easy mode I find that platformers go from something that just provides me with endless frustration, to a challenge that feels rewarding.

Ori and the Blind Forest is captivating, and is:

5: Excellent

#OriAndTheBlindForest #Metroidvania #Platformer #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

May 29, 2023 - Day 149 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 165

Game: Northgard

Platform: Steam
Release Date: Mar 8, 2018
Library Date: Apr 7, 2019
Unplayed: 1513d (4y1m22d)
Playtime: 49m

Northgard is a real-time strategy game about Vikings. Slightly cartoonish Vikings, but Vikings all the same.

Having watched his father the King, and clan slaughtered, Rig the now-very-angry seeks vengeance, by way of taking several years to build one single village, to build a longboat, and set sail to Northgard, where his father's killer has gone to invade and colonise.

I get that the seasons are a necessary part of the RTS process of this game, but it took three years of in-game time to get to the point I could follow the guy across the ocean.

He could be dead by now, for all I know. OK, he probably isn't, but still.

In any case, build a building to process wood, assign villagers, build a scout building, train scouts, etc etc.

The game has its own charm, but on the surface it appears to be a pretty run-of-the-mill strategy game.

Not going to complain, but not itching to jump back in.

Northgard is:

3: OK

#Northgard #Strategy #RTS #Vikings #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

May 28, 2023 - Day 148 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 164

Game: Sable

Platform: Steam
Release Date: Sep 23, 2021
Library Date: Mar 10, 2023
Unplayed: 79d (2m18d)
Playtime: 1h55m

Sable is a third-person open-world adventure & exploration game. Unlike... any open world game I've played, as far as I can recall, it has no combat.

Sable is the coming of age story of the eponymous main character, and leaving her clan to embark on her "gliding".

Apparently inspired by Breath of the Wild, Sable's quest takes her climbing and solving puzzles across her home world of Midden; seemingly a post-apocalyptic wasteland, Sable rides her hoverbike from destination to destination, picking up quests.

Her goal is to collect a series of masks, which (if I understand correctly), will ultimately lead her to a ceremony to choose a final mask, which seemingly represents her permanent role within her society.

Sable has a quite lovely cel-shaded graphic style with a dynamic colour scheme that changes based on a day & night cycle, and has an almost ethereal soundscape.

Sable is:

5: Excellent

#Sable #ThirdPerson #OpenWorld #Adventure #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

May 27, 2023 - Day 147 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 163

Game: Hue

Platform: Steam
Release Date: Aug 31, 2016
Library Date: Dec 22, 2017
Unplayed: 1982d (5y5m5d)
Playtime: 27m

There are some technically unplayed games hidden in my library, and Hue is one of those games. It's a game I started at some point in the past but quit out of immediately. I still count those games as unplayed.

In the case of Hue, I suspect it was in my "I CAN'T USE A CONTROLLER" phase. One of the nice discoveries during this project is that my controller skills have improved over the last few months.

Hue is a lovely little platformer with an interesting gameplay mechanic, in that the puzzles in the game are based on different colours, and switching between colours at the appropriate times.

There are still timing-based puzzles that rely on jumping-and-switching-colours-and-moving, which I still struggle with (darned fine-motor control issues), but as platformers go, this one is pretty good.

I picked this specifically, though, because not only was it unplayed, it's currently free on Steam through to the 9th of June. Link after the hashtags.

Hue is:

4: Good

#Hue #Platformer #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

May 26, 2023 - Day 146 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 162

Game: Tell Me Why

Platform: Steam
Release Date: Aug 27, 2020
Library Date: Jun 2, 2022
Unplayed: 358d (11m24d)
Playtime: 82m

I was talking with some trans friends earlier tonight and mentioned that I was going to have to dip and play tonight's game, and one of them suggested "Tell Me Why".

As it turns out, Tell Me Why IS one of the games in my pile of shame. I grabbed it last year when it was released free for Pride Month, and I'm kind of glad that I didn't play it immediately, as it hits differently on the other side of coming out, and starting to transition.

Tell Me Why is a point-and-click adventure game from the makers of Life Is Strange, that tells the story of two twins (one of whom is a trans man), their psychic link, and the murder of their mother.

There's something very realistic about this game. This is (so far) a world that feels lived-in, with an environment that feels like it has an actual past.

The voice acting is excellent (with the trans character being played by a trans actor), but also telling a story that's interesting, moving, and not just a "trans story".

But, it is *also* a trans story, & it evoked some incredibly strong emotions as I saw a young character engaging with their transness in a way that I could not at that age.

This game may take over my weekend.

Tell Me Why is:

5: Excellent

#TellMeWhy #PointAndClick
#Adventure #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

May 25, 2023 - Day 145 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 161

Game: Demon Pit

Platform: Steam
Release Date: Oct 18, 2018
Library Date: Aug 17, 2022
Unplayed: 281d (9m8d)
Playtime: 18m

This was the third unplayed game I played today. First was Due Process, a free multiplayer shooter with no players. Quit, uninstall. Then Bomjman, which had an auto-translated and generated voiceover that was so bad, I quit and immediately uninstalled it too.

Then came Demon Pit. Apparently I bought a bundle of mash-up games on the same date. Unlike yesterday's game, though, Demon Pit did not scratch any itches.

It's a retro-styled first-person boomer shooter, with a grappling hook, like a mashup of Doom and Just Cause. You're in a single arena where you need to kill a set number of mobs to end that wave, then you get a new weapon, the arena re-arranges around you, and more mobs spawn.

Keep going until you die.

It's a short review because... there's not a lot to it. The grappling hook mechanic is OK, but you frequently get flung past your goal into more mobs.

It gets repetitive very quickly, and it's just not much fun after that.

Demon Pit is:

2: Meh

#DemonPot #FirstPerson #BoomerShooter #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

May 24, 2023 - Day 144 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 160

Game: Unmemory

Platform: Steam
Release Date: Oct 14, 2020
Library Date: Aug 17, 2022
Unplayed: 280d (9m7d)
Playtime: 1h42m

I had my little rock baby earlier tonight, and within a few hours I felt like myself again.

Just in time to play a game, and review it before bed, 15 minutes and I'm away.

The best laid plans of mice and women and all of that...

Unmemory is a murder mystery puzzle game, via a novel, mashed up with Christopher Nolan's "Memento", and a multimedia demo CD from the mid-1990's, packaged up like a tar baby for the unwary #AuDHD gamer.

Last night's game kept me distracted. Tonight, on the other hand, I was hyperfocused as this game scratches multiple itches simultaneously. Lots of small details to take notice of; pieces to put together, patterns to match.

As the main character (gender unclear), you wake up with amnesia, covered in blood, and find yourself trying to solve the murder of the woman in the bathtub. Who is she? Am I responsible? What is going on??

I've tried not to spoil the game with any details of the storyline in the review, because it's just downright enjoyable to learn what's happening as you go, and start finding order within the chaos.

This is genuinely the kind of game that suits the term "multimedia", and it's not as an insult.

Unmemory is:

5: Excellent

#Unmemory #Puzzle #Mystery #Multimedia ##MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

May 23, 2023 - Day 143 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 159

Game: Just Die Already

Platform: Steam
Release Date: May 21, 2021
Library Date: Sep 25, 2022
Unplayed: 240d (7m28d)
Playtime: 2h25m

I spent most of today in the hospital for what turned out to be a kidney stone. I'm still in a lot of pain (waiting for it to pass) so I planned to knock out 15 minutes of a game, write up a quick review, head off to bed.

Just Die Already came as part of the September 2022 Humble Choice bundle. It's an "old people mayhem sandbox" game, from the developers of Goat Simulator, a game that did not particularly grab me.

Because it's built on Unreal Engine 4, it's got that same kind of Fortnite graphics feel, that I'm not particularly fond of.

On top of all of that, it's a sandbox game (I think the first one I've reviewed?) and sandbox games just do nothing for me. I need a goal to focus on.

Which is why I was taken aback when I finally quit out and I'd been playing for almost two and a half hours.

As an angry senior citizen who's just been kicked out of their retirement home, you set out to cause ultra-violent gory-but-cartoonish violence everywhere you go.

It's absolutely not a kind of game I'd choose to play, yet it kept me distracted from the pain all evening, which is sometimes exactly what I need from a game.

Just Die Already is:

4: Good (!)

#JustDieAlready #Sandbox #Mayhem #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

May 22, 2023 - Day 142 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 158

Game: Agatha Christie - The ABC Murders

Platform: Steam
Release Date: Feb 4, 2016
Library Date: Mar 14, 2023
Unplayed: 69d (2m8d)
Playtime: 76m

Agatha Christie - The ABC Murders is a point-and-click 2.5D puzzle/mystery game.

IIRC it came as a free mystery bonus gift with a Fanatical purchase.

The most annoying thing about it is that it absolutely sucked me to keep playing it. I've never read an Agatha Christie novel, and the only things I knew about Hercule Poirot is that the character is French, and has been played onscreen by David Suchet multiple times.

This is not a David Suchet voiced version of Poirot. Yet, 76 minutes in, and I've completed around a quarter of the game, in spite of having little desire to do so. It's just... scratching an itch.

I don't think it will be a particularly long game; the puzzles aren't overly complex (so far), I just can't understand quite why I felt so compelled to keep going until I completed the first chapter.

No connection to the character, no particular affinity to this kind of game, no emotional drive to play it, yet I'm going to probably keep playing it, which I find mildly irritating.

Agatha Christie - The ABC Murders is:

3: OK

#AgathaChristie #TheABCMurders #PointAndClick #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

May 21, 2023 - Day 141 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 157

Game: ReCore: Definitive Edition

Platform: Steam
Release Date: Sep 15, 2018
Library Date: Mar 20, 2023
Unplayed: 62d (2m1d)
Playtime: 36m

ReCore is a third-person action-adventure platformer with a female protagonist and robots.

The game opens in medias res with Joule and her "corebot" dog Mack, trying to find out what's gone wrong in the post-apocalyptic desert where they're located.

Joule is on the trail of an unusual energy source reading, and as you go, the game introduces you to the core gameplay mechanics, which was pretty well done.

One of the unusual mechanics is that the corebots that attack you all have energy cores that can be extracted mid-fight, once you've done enough damage, by essentially entering a tug-of-war after firing your extraction device.

Occasionally, there's an "instant extract" option, but I'm not sure what triggers that. Fight through to the end-of-mission boss, defeat, extract core, return to your "crawler" home base, repair, upgrade, next mission.

I quite enjoyed it, and am interested to see how the underlying storyline of "New Eden" and what's gone wrong there develops.

I would have kept playing, but sleep is coming on fast. Again. Will be glad to be over this virus.

ReCore: Definitive Edition seems fun so far, so it's:

4: Good

#ReCore #ActionAdventure #ThirdPerson #Platformer #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

May 20, 2023 - Day 140 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 156

Game: A New Beginning: Final Cut

Platform: Steam
Release Date: Dec 11, 2012
Library Date: May 14, 2019
Unplayed: 1467d (4y6d)
Playtime: 30m

A New Beginning: Final Cut is a mashup of a point-and-click adventure & a graphic novel, and it does neither very well.

Today almost didn't have a review. I've spent a chunk of the day asleep, and being sick seems to have supercharged my ADHD.

I'm 16 games ahead, I could have skipped today... kind of wish I had.

I scoped my unplayed games, & saw this. Most of the time I remember at least activating a particular game; this one was a complete mystery.

It's a heavy-handed environmentalism-focused point-and-click "adventure". Not the fun kind of point-and-click, either.

The kind where you have to mouse over every little thing on screen to try & find something.

When you do, the interaction model is terrible. Most point-and-clicks give you a right-click context menu. Here it's left-click-hold-down-the-mouse-button-choose-the-correct-option...

...then listen to the droning, "my life sucks & I just want it to be over" voice acting with a poorly translated script that disavows contractions.

This is not a game you play for fun, it's a game you play as penance for not sorting your recycling properly.

Play A New Beginning: Final Cut?:

1: Nope.

#ANewBeginning #PointAndClick #Adventure #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

May 19, 2023 - Day 139 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 155

Game: Moving Out

Platform: Steam
Release Date: Apr 29, 2020
Library Date: Sep 25, 2022
Unplayed: 236d (7m24d)
Playtime: 20m

Moving Out is an isometric couch co-op game.

First mistake I made was trying to play it with keyboard and mouse. Definitely designed for controller. Picked up the controller, it became playable.

Take your cartoony avatar, rush into the house, grab the highlighted objects, load them into the truck as fast as possible.

Rinse, repeat.

The moment I saw the option for multiple players, I should have twigged that this was designed to be played co-op.

I can see how it might be fun co-op, as you get in each other's way and coordinate to try and beat the timer.

Single player? It's not much fun at all. Is this the kind of game I'd pull out to play on the couch with friends? Maybe, if I had friends who came over to game, or a party.

Alas, I'm 49, and neither of those things happen.

Moving Out is just a bit:

2: Meh

#MovingOut #CouchCoOp #Isometric #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

May 18, 2023 - Day 138 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 154

Game: Elex

Platform: Steam
Release Date: Oct 18, 2017
Library Date: Dec 1, 2022
Unplayed: 168d (5m17d)
Playtime: 66m

Elex is a third-person open-world "sci-fi" ARPG. Apparently.

The game opens with a narrator drawling the story of the planet Magalan, and the terrible disaster that befell them, leaving them in a post-apocalypse that feels like the designs of Skyrim, Fallout, and Destiny 2's EDZ got put in a blender, but the devs decided to roll their own gameplay.

They kept the aspect of Fallout's "collect all the things just in case" gameplay, but while I managed to collect a stash of stuff, an hour in I still have no idea what to do with any of it.

Combat feels mushy, and the mobs I've run into feel overpowered.

...and then there's the voice acting. Our protagonist is a gruff emotionless white guy who's been done wrong, and left to die by his faction. Early on, he meets a character from a different faction, and the conversation itself felt like a grind.

To call the voice acting wooden would be an insult to trees.

Unfortunately, I think Elex is another game that might have been interesting in 2017, but suffers in comparison to everything that's come since, and there's little here that makes me want to keep playing.


2: Meh

#Elex #ARPG #ThirdPerson
#MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

May 17, 2023 - Day 137 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 153

Game: Batora: Lost Haven

Platform: Steam
Release Date: Oct 21, 2022
Library Date: Mar 10, 2023
Unplayed: 68d (2m7d)
Playtime: 29m

Batora: Lost Haven is an isometric action-adventure with RPG elements (RPGlite?)

It's another quite pretty game. It also has a female protagonist, which is frequently something that improves my chances of enjoying a game.

One of the small pieces of the puzzle in coming to terms with being trans was looking at all of the small signals strewn across my life.

Playing games, reading books, watching movies... when the protagonist is female, I connect with that story in a way that rarely - if ever - happens with a male protagonist.

Batora has an interesting "save the post-apocalyptic world" storyline, which has my interest; on the other hand, as often happens with isometric games, I find the fixed camera angles somewhat stifling.

Batora does allow you to zoom in and one by one level, but it feels like it could have used an extra level of zoom-in.

Batora: Lost Haven has piqued my interest, and so far it seems:

4: Good

#BatoraLostHaven #ActionAdventure #Isometric
#MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

May 16, 2023 - Day 136 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 152

Game: Bad North: Jotunn Edition

Platform: Steam
Release Date: Nov 17, 2018
Library Date: Dec 25, 2022
Unplayed: 145d (4m24d)
Playtime: 43m

Steam went down while I was writing this, which was a little disconcerting.

Bad North: Jotunn Edition is the "definitive edition" of Bad North, which I'd never played. It's a real-time cozy tactics strategy roguelite.

I threw "cozy" in there, because of all the games this reminds me, it's actually Townscaper that it comes closest to in terms of atmosphere.

It's somewhat minimalistic in design, but that gives it a unique character. You defend a series of islands against Viking invaders, so it's like the anti-Assassins Creed Valhalla.

I wish I had more to say about it, but I've come down with some kind of not-COVID (according to two tests so far), and couldn't stay awake last night to post the update.

I then went to bed and couldn't sleep, so it's a lose/lose.

I really must look up the difference between roguelike and roguelite, because all of these subcategories are doing my head in.

Bad North: Jotunn Edition is:

4: Good

#BadNorth #Cozy #Tactics #Strategy #Roguelite #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

May 15, 2023 - Day 135 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 151

Game: Lost in Random

Platform: Steam
Release Date: Sep 10, 2021
Library Date: Apr 9, 2023
Unplayed: 36d (1m6d)
Playtime: 26m

I've hit a weird inflection point in this little project. One of the things driving me forward was my list of unplayed games in Steam, that when sorted chronologically dated back multiple years.

Now the earliest unplayed date, in terms of sorting, is May 2022. It's not *entirely* accurate, because prior to this project, I went through a stage of starting each game and stopping it to try and reduce my mental load, but it's removed some of the tension & impetus.

Anyhow, we continue with a relatively recent purchase; Lost in Random is a third-person "action-adventure" game, that apparently inspired by gothic fairy tales. You play a young girl on a quest to rescue her older sister from an evil queen.

The game starts by thrusting you straight into combat, which shows how aspects are the game are driven by the randomness of dice rolls, before dropping you into the game-play proper.

It's another utterly gorgeous game; the graphics and sound effects are wonderful. Control is fairly simple, although a little counterintuitive, using "E" to jump down. My main gripe is the camera control doesn't always follow correctly, leading to some frustrating moments.

Even so, Lost in Random is:

4: Good

#LostInRandom #ActionAdventure #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

May 14, 2023 - Day 134 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 150

Game: Truberbrook

Platform: Steam
Release Date: Mar 12, 2019
Library Date: May 3, 2020
Unplayed: 1106d (3y11d)
Playtime: 25m

Truberbrook is an incredibly pretty point-and-click-adventure, set in Germany in the late 1960's.

I had look it up afterwards to find out exactly what was going on, because it looks nothing like anything I recall playing before.

It's apparently using photogrammetry for textures, and it looks absolutely incredible.

The game starts with a cold open, where you need to get your motorcycle running again at a closed gas station in the middle of the night, which is followed by an intro that is watching a stylised Volkswagen Kombi driving up a mountain road, and it may have been skippable, but I don't know, because I was mesmerised.

I can't really speak to the adventure-ish side of things, because at the 25m mark, today's exhaustion caught up with me, but I'm interested in continuing to play and find out.

Truberbrook seems:

4: Good

#Truberbrook #PointAndClick #Adventure #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

May 13, 2023 - Day 133 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 149

Game: FixFox

Platform: Steam
Release Date: Mar 31, 2022
Library Date: Feb 14, 2023
Unplayed: 88d (2m29d)
Playtime: 37m

FixFox is a top-down pixel art sci-fi puzzle game. Fix machines with weird tools, try and escape the planet.

It's a "cozy" game, so it's very chill and laid back. There's a touch of Stardew Valley about it.

I read the description of it before it was released, and it seemed like it would be interesting, so I wishlisted it, and then was on special in February for 75% off, so I bought it.

I kind of regret it. Conceptually it seemed like a nice idea, but in practice it doesn't rise above the pixel art to grab me the way some other games have.

While it is kind of cute & cozy, it's also just... boring. I wanted to like it, but it just didn't do anything for me.

Sadly, for me, FixFox is:

2: Meh.

#FixFox #PixelArt #Puzzle #Cozy #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

May 12, 2023 - Day 132 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 148

Game: Everspace

Platform: Steam
Release Date: May 26, 2017
Library Date: Aug 15, 2022
Unplayed: 270d (8m27d)
Playtime: 42m

Everspace turns out to be a 6DOF roguelike space shooter.

The worst thing about it is that it's been sitting in my pile of shame for almost 9 months before I discovered it before work this morning; I was very nearly late to start work.

I've always been a fan of space combat games. From Descent, and X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter, to Star Wars Squadrons, and Chorus, many hours and more than one joystick were lost as I spun and turned and tried to shoot before I was shot.

A roguelike space combat game? Turns out it works, really well.

I have yet to see if it will works with my joystick and throttle, but even with keyboard and mouse, I feel like I'm going to lose quite a few more hours.

Everspace is:

4: Good

#Everspace #Roguelike #SpaceCombat #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

May 11, 2023 - Day 131 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 147

Game: Not For Broadcast

Platform: Steam
Release Date: Jan 30, 2020
Library Date: Nov 20, 2021
Unplayed: 568d (1y6m21d)
Playtime: 24m

Not For Broadcast is, apparently, a "propaganda simulator". When I bought this, I thought it was a mid-1980's TV studio broadcast simulator, which is, technically, true.

What I learned, very quickly, is that I don't want to play a TV studio broadcast simulator. Nor would I want to work in one.

I love the craft of making TV. I've spent hours upon hours listening to a podcast about showrunning.

Live TV? No. Too many moving parts that I had to pay attention to, and I ended up more stressed out than I was when I sat down to play.

It's a well-produced game, and reading up on it afterwards, it has an interesting storyline, but playing it through would just feel like hard work. It's times like this I wish you could gift a Steam game to someone who'd actually enjoy it.

Will I play Not For Broadcast again?

1: Nope.

#NotForBroadcast #Simulator #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

May 10, 2023 - Day 130 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 146

Game: Papo & Yo

Platform: Steam
Release Date: May 3, 2019
Library Date: Jul 25, 2021
Unplayed: 654d (1y9m15d)
Playtime: 71m

I'd played through all of my unplayed games up to 2020, and this was the only 2021 non-VR game that's unplayed, so that's a goal knocked on the head.

Papo & Yo is a 3D platformer-puzzler, with something deep to say, that isn't preached at you; it's built right into the core of the game.

If you'd told me this game was released in 2023, not 2013, I'd have believed you.

The graphics & atmosphere are lush, and gorgeous. The game's setting is a surreal representation of a Brazilian "favela" or slum.

As your character Quico runs across cobblestones, sheets of corrugated iron, and terracotta tiles, the sound of his footsteps change to reflect the surfaces, with the terracotta particularly breathtaking.

The game opens with a still frame dedication from the designer to his mother & siblings, on surviving their own monster; at this point I decided to stream it.

It took my breath away multiple times, but particularly as the storyline delved into the character's trauma. It took me to a place emotionally, that I had to end the stream to deal with the feelings.

Papo & Yo is lovely & deeply moving; quite simply, it's:

5: Excellent

#PapoAndYo #Puzzle #3DPlatformer #Adventure #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

May 9, 2023 - Day 129 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 145

Game: Rise of Industry

Platform: Steam
Release Date: May 3, 2019
Library Date: Jul 19, 2021
Unplayed: 659d (1y9m20d)
Playtime: 21m

I think I might have picked a bad night to play this game. It was right there in the title "Rise of Industry".

It's "tycoon sim", and it's quite a deep & complex sim at that; the entirety of my playtime was the 72-step tutorial, with many of those steps having a bunch of subtasks.

Given that I'm still somewhat sleep-deprived as well, it was a lot to try and take in, and I may need to take another run at it when I'm more awake.

Graphically, it's very pretty, and the interface is quite clean and modern in comparison to earlier generations of sim games.

I'll give it another shot, but it might be just a little *too* deep for me to engage with; I'm also not big on the whole entrepreneur/tycoon thing, and that might be enough to stop me going back.

Rise of Industry is a qualified:

3: OK

#RiseOfIndustry #Tycoon #Simulation #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

May 8, 2023 - Day 128 - NewPlay Bonus Review
Total NewPlays: 144

Game: AVICII Invector
Platform: Steam
Release Date: Dec 11, 2019
Library Date: Oct 25, 2020
Unplayed: 925d (2y6m13d)
Playtime: 30m

AVICII Invector is a rhythm game. You have a ship, you have to steer in through a futuristic course and hit the right buttons at the right times to the rhythm of Avicii songs, and it helps to be a fan of Avicii, because you're going to be hearing a LOT of Avicii.

There's not a lot to say here. It's not an overly complex idea, it just gets very complicated very quickly at higher levels.

Unfortunately, if you're someone with fine motor control & coordination issues, anything more than "Beginner" mode quickly becomes frustrating.

A lot time in game is spent in triangular tunnels; in Beginner mode, there's only the A button, left stick to to change walls, left or right as required, and the left bumper(!) to hit light-up track lines.

The use of the bumper left me feeling like I was going to drop the controller, so that was bit off-putting.

In easy mode, the game adds the X button. The on-screen icon is a different colour, but the same SHAPE as the wall-change icon. I kept registering it as "move left" and missing the presses.

Even so, I don't mind a rhythm game to kill time here and there, so AVICII Invector is:

3: OK

#Avicii #AviciiInvector #Rhythm #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

May 8, 2023 - Day 128 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 143

Game: Total War: SHOGUN 2

Platform: Steam
Release Date: Mar 15, 2011
Library Date: Apr 28, 2020
Unplayed: 1105d (3y10d)
Playtime: 25m

Total War: SHOGUN 2 (TW:S2) did not get off to a flying start.

As this was the first run, it wanted to install Flash Player. I refused to allow that, and it seemed to run OK. Turns out that it was included to show ads on the main menu, so no loss.

In the case of TW:S2, I knew it was a strategy game, going in, and since I've had a pretty good run with strategy games over the weekend, I thought I'd give it a go.

That good run ended today.

I started with the tutorial, and it was just teeth-grindingly slow. I tried to persevere, and finally, after 15 minutes, I was about to engage the enemies on the main battlefield of the tutorial, after a couple of skirmishes.

...and it crashed.

I started it again, went into the campaign, one the first battle, but what little forward motion I had was gone, and I quit out a few minutes later.

TW:CS2 is, apparently, a "blend of real-time & tactics strategy, but it just hasn't grabbed me, and the random crash was enough to leave me wanting to spend time in other strategy games.

Maybe ones with Space Marines.

Total War: SHOGUN 2 is:

2: Meh

#TotalWarShogun2 #RTS #TurnBased #Strategy #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

May 7, 2023 - Day 127 - RePlay Review

Game: Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus

Platform: Steam
Release Date: Nov 16, 2018
Library Date: Sep 7, 2019
Playtime: 55m

I tried Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus at some stage last year, and I hated it; so much so, that it did what I do with any of the games that I "nope" out of: leave them running until I've got all the card drops, sell the cards on the marketplace, then uninstall it, and hide it from my library.

I reinstalled it today to see if maybe it made sense to me now, and it absolutely does.

While it's not as pretty as Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters, it does make sense to me now, but it's just not quite as engaging as CGD.

Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus is:

3: OK

#Warhammer40k #Mechanicus #Strategy #TurnBased #Tactics #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #RePlay

May 7, 2023 - Day 127 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 142

Game: Warhammer 40,000: Gladius - Relics of War

Platform: Epic Games Store / Steam
Release Date: Jul 13, 2018
Library Date: May 7, 2023
Unplayed: 0d (0d)
Playtime: 6h17m

Gladius - Relics of War (GRW) is a turn-based 4X (apparently) strategy game, as opposed to Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters' (CGD) tactical strategy.

Oh no...

After getting my head around CGD on Thursday night, I remembered I had a Steam key for Gladius - Relics of War (GRW) in my spreadsheet of shame (think pile of shame, but Steam keys I haven't even redeemed).

Not only that, I'd also gotten it free on Epic Games Store at some stage. On the chance I wouldn't "get" it and/or like it, I installed it on EGS (and I despise using EGS), with a view to adding the key to my giveaway list if I hated it.

4 hours and 46 minutes later, just after finally completing the *tutorial*, I discovered a missed alarm, when I got a phone call from the appointment I'd missed.

Tonight I installed it on Steam, started over, & completed the tutorial in 91m.

It's not quite as pretty as CGD, but it's incredibly engrossing, and I'm not entirely sure why. Civ 5, Civ 6, Age of Wonders: Planetfall didn't grab me like this, and Stellaris did my head in.

Gladius - Relics of War is:

4: Good.

#Warhammer40k #GladiusRelicsOfWar #TurnBased #Strategy #4X #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

May 6, 2023 - Day 126 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 141

Game: Project Cars 2

Platform: Steam
Release Date: Sep 22, 2017
Library Date: Dec 29, 2018
Unplayed: 1589d (4y4m7d)
Playtime: 25m

I don't like driving. As I've gotten older, this dislike has increased. It took me a long time to work out why. Once I was diagnosed with ADHD, it made sense; it requires maintaining focus for a long period of time, on something that's fundamentally boring.

Which brings me to Project Cars 2. This this a track racing game. It's just me, and my controller, and my complete inability to press the right buttons and the right times, over and over again - for a long period of time.

It takes me right back to trying to play some early Gran Turismo on the PS2, and hating every second of it, in spite of the fact that I wanted to love it.

I love arcade racers, particularly the Forza Horizon series. They're fun. Project Cars 2 is a Serious Racing Game, and in spite of the care that's gone into the game design, after losing my first kart race by more than a lap, and repeatedly crashing into walls in my second, I quit out.

Project Cars 2 is a good game, it's just not a good game for me. This is particularly unfortunate, as it also has SteamVR support.

For me, Project Cars 2 is a:

1: Nope.

#ProjectCars2 #Racing #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

May 5, 2023 - Day 125 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 140

Game: Samorost 1

Platform: Steam
Release Date: May 20, 2021
Library Date: Aug 26, 2021
Unplayed: 617d (1y8m9d)
Playtime: 16m

Given my current state of mind, I wanted to play something relatively simple, that didn't take too much thought.

The first game I picked was so dire, that I actually uninstalled it and as it was a free licence, removed it from my account.

Then I picked Samorost 1 out of the list.

At which point I began to wonder if I may actually have fallen asleep at the keyboard.

Not only was it the most surreal game I've played this year, it was also the shortest. That 16 minutes playtime includes stopping the game once to get it back into fullscreen mode, and unintentionally restarting it after I'd completed it, thinking I'd missed something.

It is, apparently, a 2003 game that was remastered with new graphics in 2021.

It's a weird as hell point-and-click puzzle game, which has had two follow up games, which I will more than likely play, given the opportunity.

I can't say more than that, because I don't know how, and it will take me longer to write the review than it did to finish the game.

It's free on Steam, so, uh... maybe just play it?

WTF just happened to me? Samorost 1 is:

4: Good... I think?

#Samorost1 #Puzzle #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

May 4, 2023 - Day 124 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 139

Game: Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters

Platform: Steam
Release Date: May 5, 2022
Library Date: May 4, 2023
Unplayed: 0d (0d)
Playtime: 61m

Given the date, I see now I missed a solid opportunity to theme my NewPlay, but what can you do?

Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters (CGD, OK?) is the first cab off the rank for this month's Humble Choice, and is the latest... (checks notes)... *turn-based* 40K *PC* game.

I honestly thought it was the latest 40K game, but I checked, and there have been FOUR 40K games released since this, with two new ones later this year.

Embarrassingly, I've tried multiple 40K games, & failed to connect in any genre. I went into last night's stream, not sure which which genre CGD was, and it's a turn-based tactics game.

CGD is both visually & aurally gorgeous, and was I not pretty much trashed, I could have gone on playing for another hour or two.

However, it feels very lore-dense, with some assumed knowledge, which might be off-putting if someone was buying it cold, without any 40K knowledge.

A few weeks ago it dropped to a historical low, and I was tempted, but decided against it, which meant that for once, Humble Choice paid for itself.

Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters is a really long name, but it's:

4: Good

#Warhammer40k #ChaosGate #Daemonhunters #TurnBased #Tactics #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

May 3, 2023 - Day 123 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 138

Game: Helpless

Platform: Steam
Release Date: Mar 11, 2023
Library Date: Mar 27, 2023
Unplayed: 37d (1m6d)
Playtime: 32m

Helpless is a third-person walking sim/adventure. You play a child in a post-apocalyptic world. While traveling with your ill mother to an unknown destination, your RV breaks down, and it's up to you to find help.

Helpless is free on Steam, and according to the Steam page, was built by a team of 22 students as their bachelor's degree team project, so I'm not going to judge it too harshly.

Stylistically, I can't really think of anything to compare it to, but it feels very coherent, and well thought out. The sound design is well done (particularly as they don't appear to have had a dedicated sound designer), but the game does feel a little bit linear.

The apocalypse in "post-apocalypse" appears to have been environmental collapse; with desert encroaching on what little of civilisation is left; there are no enemies as such, only the sun.

As you explore for parts to get back on the road, you find yourself darting from shadow to shadow so as to not overheat and die of exposure.

It could have used some tweaks in the UI & gameplay, and it doesn't seem like a long game, but for what it is, and *free*, there's definitely an interesting experience to be had.

Helpless is:

3: OK

#Helpless #WalkingSimulator #Adventure #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

May 2, 2023 - Day 122 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 137

Game: Redfall

Platform: Xbox Game Pass PC
Release Date: May 2, 2023
Library Date: May 2, 2023
Unplayed: 0d (0d13h)
Playtime: 55m

Arkane's latest open world first person shooter Redfall dropped on Xbox Game Pass at 10am local time, and I started playing it at 10:45pm.

I *tried* to start at 9:45pm, but in spite of preloading, it wanted to reinstall the entire game.

I discovered this year that in working through the Arkane games I own, I love what they do, and they just have some hook that gets in there and makes me want to keep playing.

...until now.

I'm not sure what it is about Redfall. The atmosphere is excellent, the game sent chills down my spine in the same way that Prey does, but it just feels like something is missing.

There was just nothing there that hooked me. I'm going to go back and give it another go, and see if I just didn't play for long enough, or if this is an unusual miss from Arkane.

At this point, however, I'm glad that I downloaded in through Game Pass instead of buying it, because if I'd dropped A$120(!!) on this on Steam, I'd be incredibly disappointed right now.

Redfall is:

3: OK

#Redfall #FPS #Vampires #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

May 1, 2023 - Day 121 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 136

Game: Paragon: The Overprime

Platform: Steam
Release Date: Dec 6, 2022
Library Date: Mar 9, 2023
Unplayed: 53d (1m22d)
Playtime: 33m

Paragon: The Overprime is a bit of an odd duck. It's a third-person shooter/MOBA with a history.

Many years ago, Epic Games decided to get into the MOBA space, & in August 2016 released an open beta called Paragon. In 2017, Epic released another new game, this time in the Battle Royale space, the little-known Fortnite.

For reasons lost to the mists of time, Epic chose to put all of their eggs (& devs) into one basket, pulling the plug on the Paragon servers in April 2018... then released all of the Paragon assets for free use in Unreal Engine 4.

July 17th, 2020: Strange Matter launched a game built from those assets called Fault: Elder Orb. On November 1st, 2022, Fault was shuttered.

December 6th, 2022: Netmarble released a new F2P MOBA, based on the same assets, called Paragon: The Overprime (a week after a *paid* game by different devs, called Predecessor, built on the same assets was released).

Having spent 33mins playing it, I suspect it will go the same way as its predecessors (no pun intended). There's just nothing there that isn't done better in other games like Overwatch, or more directly, Smite.

Third time probably isn't lucky for Paragon: The Overprime; it's just:

2: Meh.

#ParagonTheOverprime #MOBA #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

Apr 30, 2023 - Day 120 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 135

Game: Scrap Garden

Platform: Steam
Release Date: May 7, 2016
Library Date: Sep 26, 2020
Unplayed: 946d (2y7m4d)
Playtime: 34m

Sometimes I encounter a game where the visual design is gorgeous, the music is perfect, and then the gaming elements seem to be tacked on.

Unfortunately, Scrap Garden feels like one of these games.

Scrap Garden is a 3D-ish platformer. You control a small robot, apparently the only robot to survive a calamity that has wiped out robot society, and needs you to find out what went wrong and fix it.

The character design and atmosphere all blends together beautifully; it feels like all of the love and affection by the devs were poured into these elements, then the gameplay was just kind of pasted over the top, with a voiceovers & voice acting meant to patch over the cracks, that feels more annoying than informative.

It's not a bad game, by any means, but there are enough rough edges in the gameplay to leave me feeling just mildly frustrated.

The controls feel muddy, which is not great for a platformer; I felt like I was constantly fighting with the follow camera. Then in some sections of the game, it becomes a 2.5D platformer with a fixed camera, and a new set of frustrations with controls & obscured angles.

It looks like a gourmet meal, but tastes like McDonalds.

Scrap Garden is:

3: OK

#ScrapGarden #3DPlatformer #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

Apr 29, 2023 - Day 119 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 134

Game: Flower

Platform: Steam
Release Date: Feb 15, 2019
Library Date: Jun 15, 2020
Unplayed: 1048d (2y10m14d)
Playtime: 25m

Flower started it's life on Playstation 3, back in 2009, and was ported to several platforms before coming to Windows in 2019.

I'm kind of lost for words when trying to describe Flower. It's less of a game, and more of an experience. There's no score, no lives or deaths.

You just use the controller or mouse/keyboard to navigate a flower petal through the utterly gorgeous environment. The only issue I had with Flower was that trying to control the petals could be a bit janky and frustrating at times.

As you fly across the hills flowers will appear. Fly close, and musical notes will play, and a new petal will join you, eventually building to a melody, then a flowing harmony.

Each of your interactions with the environment builds upon the ones before, bringing the land to life before you.

It's truly a wonderful experience.

Flower is:

4: Good

#Flower #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

Apr 28, 2023 - Day 118 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 133

Game: Unfortunate Spacemen

Platform: Steam
Release Date: Jun 13, 2020
Library Date: Jun 14, 2020
Unplayed: 1048d (2y10m14d)
Playtime: 31m

Unfortunate Spacemen feels like a first-person mash-up of Among Us, Dead By Daylight, and Alien. It's a free multiplayer survival game that's suffered the same fate as most of the other free & paid multiplayer games that sat in my Pile of Shame for too long: no-one is playing.

The game starts with a slightly over-the-top tutorial playing as one of the titular Spacemen. It's frustratingly slow as the voiceover drones on endlessly, switching out halfway through in what was (I guess) supposed to feel funny, but just felt odd & forced. There's nothing here you don't already know from every other FPS.

Next, the "playing as the monster" tutorial. You start out disguised as one of the spacemen; you can then switch into monster form to kill a spaceman, then back to spaceman again, or even take on the identity of whoever you killed.

The gameplay feels a bit janky in the way it plays, but the biggest problem is the same one experienced by most F2P PvP games: get big quick, or go home.

The servers are still running (unlike many other games), but there aren't a lot of players, & apparently most are just griefing.

Which makes Unfortunate Spacemen a:

1: Nope.

#UnfortunateSpacemen #FirstPerson #Survival #PvP #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

Apr 27, 2023 - Day 117 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 132

Game: Phoning Home

Platform: Steam
Release Date: Feb 8, 2017
Library Date: Mar 13, 2018
Unplayed: 1871d (5y1m14d)
Playtime: 95m

Phoning Home is a third-person open-world robot survival sim. It is also free on Steam (which is why there's a link at the end).

Phoning Home was developed by ION LANDS, who went on to create Cloudpunk, (one of my all-time favourite games).

I've mentioned before that I'm not a big fan of sandbox survival games. Valheim left me cold, and V Rising genuinely left me regretting spending the money on it.

Phoning Home, on the other hand, is a narrative driven survival game, which takes the exploration and construction and gives it purpose.

I only intended to play this for 15 minutes before work, and was an hour late starting work, so deep did it suck me in and make me want to keep playing, and further the story of the cute little WALL-E inspired robot, ION.

To the point that the new Warframe expansion The Duviri Paradox dropped today (it's free too!), and if I'm to have any hope of giving it a fair go, I'll need to play that first, because otherwise I suspect I'll be up all night playing Phoning Home.

Which means this is:

5: Excellent

#PhoningHome #OpenWorld #ThirdPerson #Survival #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

Apr 26, 2023 - Day 116 - NewPlay Bonus Review
Total NewPlays: 131

Game: Honkai: Star Rail

Platform: Standalone Launcher (Win)
Release Date: Apr 26, 2023
Library Date: Apr 26, 2023
Unplayed: 0d (0d)
Playtime: 65m

Honkai: Star Rail is the long-anticipated latest release from HoYoverse (previously miHoYo), the developers of several games, but arguably best known for Genshin Impact.

Like Genshin, H:SR is an gacha-driven third-person RPG. Like Genshin, H:SR you collect multiple characters, 4 of which can be added to your active battle team.

I could create a list of parallels, because H:SR fundamentally feels like a sci-fi-themed reskin of Genshin Impact, right down to the button locations on the UI - but for one critical change.

The main menu is on the right, instead of the left.

Seriously though, while that IS true, it's the combat system that's fundamentally different.

Instead of the frantic character-switching active combos of Genshin, combat is a turn-based attack system from a fixed perspective.

This change does make the game feel significantly different, at least in the hour I played it. There are still character synergies at play, but with all characters in play simultaneously, it becomes a question of how you form your team to balance defense with offense.

While I'll need to play longer to give a more in-depth review, initially, Honkai: Star Rail feels:

4: Good

#HonkaiStarRail #RPG #ThirdPerson #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

Apr 26, 2023 - Day 116 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 130

Game: Polygoneer

Platform: Steam PC
Release Date: Aug 25, 2017
Library Date: Jun 6, 2019
Unplayed: 1420d (3y10m20d)
Playtime: 18m

Polygoneer takes Asteroids, fixes the "ship" in the middle of the screen, rotating on a single axis. Backgrounds distort & change colour, affecting your aim, the acid house(?) music hammers your ears.

It is not a long game; I've (technically) completed it.

Polygoneer is a 2D vector-ish arcade game that throws colour-coded shapes at you; match the colour of the shape with your shot colour, rotate left or right, shoot the shape before it hits you. Rinse, repeat, and survives as long as possible. I honestly wondered how I was going to even get to 15mins.

X, A, and B buttons on the controller map to blue, green, & red respectively.

There are 5 levels; levels 1-3 each introduce a new colour, with level 4 speeding up the three-colour action.

Each subsequent level is unlocked by surviving for at least 60s in the previous one.

Then there's level 5. A black pentegram spins against a psychedelic background, while all you need to do is just try to shoot (no colours) & survive. My longest attempt on L5 lasted just 14 seconds.

I got it free; it's currently A$0.42 on Steam, and is definitely worth the buy for a few minutes of frantic fun.

Polygoneer is a surprising:

3: OK

#Polygoneer #Vector #Arcade #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay

Apr 25, 2023 - Day 115 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 129

Game: Sir, You Are Being Hunted

Platform: Steam PC
Release Date: Aug 19, 2013
Library Date: Nov 24, 2017
Unplayed: 1978d (5y5m1d)
Playtime: 15m

Sir, You Are Being Hunted is a first person stealth survival game.

If you've been reading up on my reviews, you might assume how this is going to go, and you'd be correct.

Up front, though, let me say how utterly refreshing it is to have a game where the gameplay voiceover heavily features a gendered honorific, & allows you to change that from "Sir" to "Madam" with a button at the main menu.

Unfortunately, any potential gender euphoria from this change is overwhelmed by playing a stealth survival game.

For the newcomers: I'm not a big fan of survival games, and even less so of stealth games where you're primarily helpless; this is both. Not great for a woman with anxiety issues.

If that's your cup of tea, have at it; a game set in a quaint & creepy English countryside, where you're being hunted by robots was always going to be a big ask, & it was a "please be over, please be over" every time I died and checked the clock.

There's a whole layer of real-world subtext for me about being hunted by English people who want me to not exist that really drives the final nail into this game's coffin.

Sir (Madam), You Are Being Hunted is a big old:

1: Nope

#SirYouAreBeingHunted #FirstPerson #Stealth #Survival #MastodonGaming #Gaming #Project365ONG #Project365 #NewPlay