Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Borderlands 2: Get that Booty!

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

Concerned about future attacks, Firehawk asks our team to go gather funds to strengthen Sanctuary - and what better funds to look for than some lost treasure?! PIRATE TREASURE! ARRRRRRH!

The three of us head to the town of Oasis to begin the search where Jim finds an amazing Fastball grenade mod that features a tiny explosion but can be thrown far and insta-kills most regular enemies. Once DL repairs a nearby hovercraft it becomes really easy to murderize all the sand worms and pirate themed enemies in our way.

It's not long before another pirate - Captain Scarlett, invites us to her ship for a parley. She too is looking for the lost treasure, and is willing to split it with us if we help her find it. Since she's kinda hot despite missing more than a few body pieces, we say "Aye!"

She's the only one other than Moxxi who has "shrines" dedicated to her.

We need to assemble a lens that will reveal where the treasure is buried and she saves us time by simply giving us the first piece. We get the next two easily from the Pirate Union (flying their own hovercrafts) and a Hyperion convoy guarded by loader bots - easy prey for ramming. The next one is given to us by some old coot at the rustyards, but since it's in a locked chest - DL shoots it open and damages the part! LOL WHUUUUT? Thus begins a long trek to a refinery full of pirate-bots (obviously) to repair it.

Finally, with the lens complete - we head up to a really high lighthouse as per Captain Scarlett's instructions and use it to show to the world where the great treasure is buried. It's at this point she sends her crew to kill us while she herself races to the loot. Why Scarlett? WHYYYY! I THOUGHT WE WERE FRIENNNDS....

Insight: Unlike the previous vehicles the hovercraft is a freaking tank which more than makes up for the weaker arsenal they can carry. To this end, it's faster to ram everything to death (where possible) instead of shooting them.


Blaugust Bonus: "Tell us about your physical creative space, and how it influences your content creation." -Krikket

My desk is full of loose papers which act as the diary for various games I play. Each side is titled and numbered so I know what they link to and having them in front of me encourages me to continue the notations.

Monday, 10 August 2020

Borderlands 2: The Stuff of Movies

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

With our fresh supplies of teeth, eyes and bombs we head on to the Hyperion Info Stockade which is like a giant library in the shape of an iridium refinery and guarded by a HUGE robot called Saturn! I think they named a planet after this thing! Good thing it's slow so Jim dual lazers it to death. DUAL LAZERZ!

That robot is taller than this house!

Using our supplies we find Jack's location and head there with a full assault team led by Slabby and Mordecai to counter all his Hyperion defences. Jack himself uses the Vault Key to summon "the Warrior", a giant flame humanoid stolen right out of Nausicaa. What? I watch Anime!

Much like it's anime counterpart, this Warrior is flawed and has a weakness we greatly exploit: bullets, lazers and rotary-axes into the heart! It dies without too much fuss and before Jack can beg for mercy DL puts a bullet in his head and saves Firehawk. We're totally badass heroes now! YEAH!

I wonder if they'll ever make a movie about us, one that Hollywood won't screw up... oh shiiieeeet. Too late!

Insight: Empty your pack before the final fight because the warrior is one big loot pinata!


Blaugust Bonus: "What's your process when creating a blog post?" -Paeroka

If I find a game I can write a story about, I keep a diary of loose papers on what I do in it and then much later condense all of that into blog posts. If it's more leaning towards a simple review, I try type that down within a week of playing/experiencing the media so it's still fresh in my head.

Once a post is ready in my digital text document (yep I use notepad), the corresponding papers get shuffled away into a drawer. Only after all the posts of that game are actually posted online do I then toss the relevant papers out for recycling.

Sunday, 9 August 2020

Borderlands 2: Just Take It

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

While the leaders of Sanctuary plan a counter attack, we three amigos first go to distant Lynchwood in search of a "cursed gun", which Jim finds is really cursed since it prevents movement while drawn. Lynchwood is home to the bunny bandit army though, with respawning bad guys regularly -pooping- popping out from every shack. They are definitely allied with Hyperion too so we blow up their train and railroad, rob their bank and kill their female sheriff!

Turns out she was Handsome Jack's girlfriend so he's not very happy that I put a rocket in her mouth. He's even less happy when we go to the site of his nearly complete utopian city "Opportunity" and wreck the place for fun - destroying his statues, flooding build sites, exploding construction equipment and oh yeah... murder all his laborer bots and engineers!

The size of said rocket.

Since we're already in the process of destroying his hopes and dreams we then join the Sanctuary army to take the fight to their main base and assisted by Slab buzzard air support, battle through the soldiers, destroy their flying bunker and kill his evil suicidal bitch siren daughter! Just as we are about to take the artifact like taking a baby from their candy, Roland and Firehawk show up and make a mess of things, getting killed and abducted in that order. Uh, I mean, respectively! Yeah.

So Jack gets away with everything and we are left with nothing. While Slabby and Mordecai the birdless plan the next move, we kill some time hunting a giant skag, fighting in Moxxi's Ore Chasmic arena (against Hyperion), and nearly falling for Jack's traps by going to check on his grandma as well as nearly jumping off a cliff for money. He's a sly one this Jack fella. Good thing DL and Jim managed to hold me back!

Finally Slabby gives us a mission to get some supplies (and by supplies I mean bombs) from another gang called the Sawtooth. Shouldn't it be Sawteeth? Well it doesn't matter. They don't have teeth or eyes or bombs anymore. We took em. We took em ALLLLLL!

Insight: The most upstairs part of the flying bunker fight (just before the water) is a good spot to fight as the structure there provides a lot of cover.


Blaugust Bonus: "Tell us about some of your favorite protagonist(s) and explain why. Or talk about characters in which you can recognize yourself or parts of yourself." -Endalia

John Constantine, because he gets things done often via the hard choice even at the expense of his friends. Not seen so much with the Keanu Reeves movie version but every iteration voiced or played by Matt Ryan does this. Also, Batman because even if he keeps people alive, most of his allies end up disliking/hating him since "the mission" comes first. I don't have their gear nor talent, but if it comes down to sacrificing popularity or people for my own goals - you bet!

Saturday, 8 August 2020

Borderlands 2: Flipping the Bird

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

While exploring, we stumble upon Fink's Slaughterhouse which serves as an arena for the locals. Naturally we participate and thanks to the shiney gear DL has pulled and shared out using his golden keys (it gives super gear), smash through the first four rounds with only little difficulty. It's fun to make midgets bleeeed!

The fifth round is quite bad though with Jim and I both getting KO'ed but DL still manages to pull the win with his turret! Afterwards we head on to the Hyperion Wildlife Preservation Park to help Mordecai find his bird, which Hyperion had stolen from him recently. The park is like a zoo, only with monsters that are undergoing mutation testing - FOR SCIENCE!

With Mordecai providing flaccid sniper cover, we break in. Free the souls of the captive beasts and find his bird, which is now enlarged and evil! Despite our best efforts to save it by shooting it with bullets, Mordecai's bird explodes at the climax. He is left bitter and birdless.

In retaliation for this, we go back through the Wildlife Preservation Park to free all the trapped animals. It's a nice to have skags and stalkers on our side for a change! We also find a super helpful guy running an arena biome with said creatures.

He lets us free five rounds worth of the animals and even pays us to boot! The badass fire thresher in the last round manages to KO Jim, but he is freed too - just like his friends. Freed from all their suffering, freed to the great beyond! MUAHAHAHAHAHAH! *buzz saw sounds*

Roland then radios in and gets us to travel to the Thousand Cuts region to try make an alliance with the local bandits, "the Slabs", to unite against Hyperion. We diplomatically kill anyone who refuses to join. Eventually the Slab King, frenemy of Roland whom I shall dub "Slabby", officially agrees when the nearby "main" Hyperion base launches a full scale attack, sending the Slabs retreating to Sanctuary.

Yeah, nahhh... your name's Slabby mate.

Insight: Clusters of enemies are the best targets for a psychos buzz axe rampage. Each kill restores your health to full. Just remember to take cover again afterwards.


Blaugust Bonus: "If you had a mascot to represent you, what would it be?" -Rambling Redshirt

It's a shadow that you can only occasionally glimpse for a split second from the corner of your vision and also whispers things to your mind. Perhaps you've already encountered it before?

Friday, 7 August 2020

Borderlands 2: Overlooked Help

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

Only after dismantling another Hyperion facility and killing a Shai'hulud Thresher do we finally reach the Highlands that Sanctuary is floating over. Can't just warp to it though, no sir. For that we head to the village of Overlook to get the warp machine programmed properly, all while Hyperion sends more bots.

I get to really show off here, as all the enemies are clustering towards a fixed point we are meant to defend. DL and Jim get overwhelmed a lot, but rampaging through the enemy (in melee) keeps me aliiiiive! Hahaha I will kill your death! As expected the programming finishes after all the fighting, and we are free to teleport back to Sanctuary for a heroes welcome! Or... not. Actually I doubt most of these meat sacks realize the city is now airborne.

While the Crimson leadership continues to plan the next move, we're kept busy by a sudden influx of new jobs at the now flying Sanctuary, the highlights of which include finding a murderer in which we accuse the wrong suspect - letting the culprit get away, inviting people to Claptraps birthday party which no one attends, helping Ellie put an end to a gang war which we helped start, and retrieving a safe for Marcus from some big blue elemental which we abandon since it is immortal thanks to a bug.

The killer is one of those four guys...

We then return to the town of Overlook with Dr. Ned's meds to help them cure their brain disease then proceed to assemble a town encompassing shield to protect against further Hyperion attacks. Naturally this shield needs to be tested, so we raid the nearby Hyperion outpost and after breaking all the guardian mechs use their super mortar and fire it right at the town.

It goes as well as you might expect!

Insight: The only way to "fix" the blue monster was to leave the area and come back. We got him on our second visit.


Blaugust Bonus: "What skill do you want to improve on the most?" -Stingite

Currently, anything music related. Finding time to do that is really hard though... Maybe I should change that to focus on time management skill instead? :P

Thursday, 6 August 2020

Borderlands 2: Trainwreck 2 - the Wreckening

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

Before going to steal the key to save the planet kinda deal, we opt to have some R&R first - delivering pizza to ungrateful lab rats, winning live grenades at the slot machines in Moxxi's bar (owie), and re-purposing a robot AI into a gun. A really cool, sentient gun.

Mmm that's some sexy pizza!

It's then off to the Tundra to hunt varkids (giant bugs) and meet with 13 year old bomb maker Tina. Varkid hunting is kinda slow thanks to local sniper Mordecai kill stealing all our shit. Anyway, Tina wants us to collect both bomb parts and tea party guests to help us steal the key, tasks that are pretty easy until an inebriated Jim murderizes the last tea party guest. Hah, and I thought I was the psycho!

Good thing Tina still makes us the rocket bombs, casually dressed as bunny dolls which we use to derail one of Jack's trains which was supposed to have his key. Of course, it's a trap. There is no key, just metal and circuits and bullets and rockets in robot shapes that we dismantle. At the same time Roland tells us that Sanctuary has come under heavy attack, and using some special gizmo Scooter rigged plus Firehawk's magic - gets the entire city airborne and teleports it of there. Our next job is simply to catch up!

Have you ever chased a flying, teleporting city before? There's a lot of ground to traverse. Ground slick with blood of the things in our way. Especially those annoying cloaking mini-dragon things. I like to hit them with corrosive bullets since the acid remains visible, even if they don't.

Insight: Letting the varkids coccoon and hatch into stronger versions is a good way to get loot.


Blaugust Bonus: "What is a favorite Quote/s, and tell us why." -Wilhelm Arcturus

"Happy wife, happy life." because it's true! :P

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Borderlands 2: Un-Netted R35CU3

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

Before leaving the Dust to rescue Princess Roland, we decide to first do the very important task of burning an evil volleyball net in the base of the local bandits who also have air support. These buzzards reaaaallly suck as I can't reach them with my buzz saw!

Anyway, we finally burn that net (and the rest of the village) before returning to the Bloodshot Dam with a bandit technical. This time dum dums open the gate. I love it when the enemy is all clustered up together, muahahahaha!

Sure enough, the idiot Bloodshot leader is continually broadcasting his demands on the loud speaker - trying to sell their captive princess to the Hyperion corporation. Hyperion has a different idea though, and just as we reach his cell a robot breaks in and abducts him... again! Some "leader" this loser is turning out to be. We chase the captive screaming bitch princess up the dam, but the constructor bot W4R-D3N that holds Roland at the top is one tough cookie, creating more bots on the spot - some even of the badass variety!

Getting to W4R-D3N through them is too tough, and eventually it takes to the air and flies off like some giant, wingless stone bird with Roland in tow to the Hyperion outpost in the Dust. Obviously we give chase and end up killing the entire base to finally rescue him before he can be probed too much for information.

Terminate all the damned robots!

Back at Sanctuary he spills the beans that Hyperion's leader, Handsome Jack, is intending on opening another vault and to release "the warrior" within which is a bad thing apparently. Jack's just waiting for the key he already has to charge up. We're gonna need to steal it before that happens.

Insight: A buzzard's weak spots are the pilot and the engines. Robot weak spots are the glowy lights, or the unarmored joints which are fun to destroy as it maims them. Kill the drone planes as a priority though. Those little bastards resurrect/repair the bots.


Blaugust Bonus: "Everyone has specific rituals that they follow, tell us about one of yours." -Everwake

Before going to bed, I always double check that unused power outlets are switched off/unplugged and all the doors and windows are locked. Common sense really.

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

GTFO (Early Access)

Silly title. Amazing game.

This first person horror survival game is best played cooperatively with up to three allies. Set in some horrible and dark facility crawling with ugly monsters who are for the most part, asleep - you are tasked with various jobs such as lugging heavy objects past doors with alarms, turning on reactors and other very loud objectives.

Before dropping into a level you are free to select your load out to whatever suits you. Just know there are no other weapons to pick up during a level and there are no special skills to unlock. There is no character progression, and you can't buy better ways or unlock skills to finish missions. Everything relies on player cooperation, coordination and ultimately skill.

Watch those corners...

The levels don't even scale. They are balanced for a party of four, but you can still beat them solo if you have the patience, the talent and the balls to do so. Everyone always starts with a heavy hammer too, which is really useful for bopping heads while the monsters sleep. And these are truly monsters. If just eight of the weakest ones come for you at the same time, you will already be in big trouble unless you are skilled. Some maps send these in clusters of thirty plus.

Now this game is not for everyone and plays best if you have friends to go in with you, and more importantly, all of you must have the patience to keep retrying missions because you will fail. A lot. In my current 37 hours of play time, my group of three have only beaten one map. If that scares you then stay away from this game. For everyone else, I give this five giants out of five.

Insight: Stop moving/killing when things flash red if you want to maintain stealth, unless you are sure you can wipe them out before they scream.


Blaugust Bonus: "What type of content do you feel is severely underrated?" -Roger Edwards

Games like this, where there is no progression at all outside story/map advancement. No "better" armor. No "better" weapons than whatever you pick to start with. No better skills to earn or unlock. No different classes, no different "roles". I've always disliked "roles" anyway. With enough effort, everyone should be able to do everything just like in real life. No wussy wallet warrior methods to help. Everyone is given equal footing, and everything depends on your own mastery of the game.

I'd like to mention that in the earlier story arcs, the combat in Mabinogi was much like this as well. A level 1 character controlled by a competent player could absolutely win against "overpowered" foes which is why I really enjoyed it back then.

Monday, 3 August 2020

Borderlands 2: Firehawk - Ashes and Dust

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

On a quest to save Princess Roland, we three heroes find ourselves in pyromaniac valley - home of all things spicy, hot and burninating to find "the Firehawk" who supposedly knows which closet Roland is being held in. She certainly fits the bill.

Thinking with our fun heads, we mutually save each other from a massive attack by a rival gang - the Bloodshots. She says that Roland is in their castle, no doubt experiencing whatever it is Princess Peach feels while a prisoner to Bowser. But before we go rescue him the Firehawk wants us to check up on her cultists... they are actually really fun guys who seem only focused on setting themselves on fire. This is great as we get to help them burn. Win/win! They do go a bit far when they kidnap a few villagers for roasting though so upon Firehawk's command we ice them for good.

One of the best missions ever!

Then its off to rescue Princess Roland at the Bloodshot Castle Dam but they ain't stupid enough to open the gates for a random looking car so we have to drive all the way out to the Dust where we meet Ellie in her junkyard who offers to make us a "bandit technical" vehicle if we bring her the parts - which is really easy since we destroyed like ten of these cars before reaching her.

When asked why she's all the way out here and not in Sanctuary she says its to get away from her overbearing mom, Moxxi, and her creepy ex Scooter who also happens to be her step-brother. Yikes.

Insight: While in Gunzerking mode, Jim (Gunzerker) constantly regenerates health and ammo!


Blaugust Bonus: "What are some key sources of media (games/movies/etc) that have shaped your worldview?" -Mailvaltar

Ultima Online showed me early on both how evil some people can be as well as how awesome it is to work cooperatively. Hence I now always strongly prefer cooperative endeavors rather than competitive ones.

Sunday, 2 August 2020

Borderlands 2: The Evil H

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

Claptrap docks the boat at some non-snowy wasteland and after murdering and dismembering politely asking the local banditry, we activate a catch-a-ride garage that can spit out cars like bubblegum!

Naturally, DL is great at driving. Takes Jim a few goes to get the hang of it though, especially with one hand in a bag of chips and the other on his beer. Gunner ports are the best fun for me. Run over some yetis and skag dogs while collecting power cells as a welcoming gift for Sanctuary.

The gunner seat is FUN!

Jim plugs them in just in time to power the city shields as the giant, floating H commences planetary bombardment... to no effect! Take that, you evil letter! Inside, Sanctuary is full of familiar feces. I mean faces. Mad Moxxi owns the bar, the unlicensed Dr. Zed practices in the clinic, Scooter tinkers in the garage, Marcus sells guns in person, and Dr. Patricia Tannis runs the Crimson Lance Raider HQ.

The only thing missing is its leader, Roland, so obviously us new guys are sent to find him. Oh, and to kill a bunch of assassins hiding in the nearby waterworks facility first. Those assassins are tough SOBs and have many, many friends. At least they are carrying shineys. As I often say "I like my treasure like I like my baby steaks, raaaaare..." 

Insight: You can deploy two vehicles at once and one of the customization options is the main gun. Generally things that go boom are preferred as the driver can always use the forward machine gun.


Blaugust Bonus: "What is some popular piece of content/media that seems to be universally loved that you have never been able to understand?" -Dragonray

Lock boxes and basically anything that you pay money for to get a random return - especially when the odds are highly obfuscated. I think anyone that spends money on such things are either incredibly rich and/or incredibly stupid. Also, it is definitely gambling and has no place in mediums that minors can access.

To a lesser extent, the same goes for grinding the same enemies or activities in game for a chance of an item. If I happen to be in the right spot at the right time, cool - I'll help defeat the whatever or run that instance. What I won't do is stay for hours doing the same thing all day everyday for loot. Once is enough. If I get cool gear from it, sweet. If not, too bad.

The only time I find myself repeating things these days is to practice to improve my own real life skills. Or you know, things I really, really enjoy. :P

Saturday, 1 August 2020

Neverwinter Online: Path of the Fallen

Introduces cars to D&D.

Continuing on from the hell-bound Vallenhas Stronghold, players can explore more of Avernus is this mod which supposedly has the blood war between devils and demons raging. What's it like? Surprisingly a lot like Borderlands 2 actually, especially when it comes to the design of vehicles, wasteland and domiciles.Yes. Vehicles. Soul-powered vehicles.

 You get a car, you get a car, everyone gets a car!

It's not as terribly genre breaking as I initially feared and it's quite fun to race around the wastes. They do take it a step further with the radio though. Yep. Hell radio has talk shows, ads, and a lot of heavy metal music. Devils have electric guitars apparently.

What they don't really have is the blood war, instead letting the player base dictate which side "wins" per cycle by just keeping track of the type of mobs they camp. I do like that there are a bunch of quests that you can accomplish without combat though, or easy enough combat to progress the campaign. Big plus for that.

Also, I agree with Shintar that while most of the campaign is ho hum story wise the finale is pretty good. All up this mod isn't great but it isn't too bad either (unless you are trying to win the blood war to get a rare boss to spawn, in which case happy grinding).

Insight: Try to kill cambions first as they summon those very damaging flame circles.


Blaugust Bonus: "If you could change anything about one of your core fandoms, what would it be?" -Belghast

Despite it not being too bad, I still would have preferred it if cars and more modern stuff didn't get shoved into the realms of Dungeons and Dragons.

Friday, 31 July 2020

Borderlands 2: Up Yours Captain Trainwreck

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

Hahahah, the train went boom! Didn't help that we were on it at the time though. Lucky the soft snow was nice to crash in, and put out our fires! Commando DL and Gunzerker Jim seem to be ok too, though they keep saying I might have brain damage or somewhat. Like whaaaaat? No way man. I feel fine. Just a little... psycho.

The annoying Claptrap bot survived too (supposedly the last of his kind?), and offers to take us to the safety of "Sanctuary". I try to break it but it's too stupid to die. Even to the six armed yetis that try to eat it. After painting the yeti's red we reach a village. Of bandits. Or pirates. Bandit pirates! They welcome us with bullets! Afterwards only one resident left. Tells us we need to take the boat of the bandit pirate captain to sail to the mainland so that's where we go. We welcome plenty more bandit crazies with bullets and reach their toll gate, guarded by a German Super-heavy howitzer!

Still no match for DL's placable turret and Jim's dual wielding guns though. So much killing, the snow is all red hahahaha! Finally we reach the dragon ship that shoots fire everywhere and find the super bandit pirate captain who shrugs off bullets - so I carve him up with my buzz axe from behind, right in his ass. The screams are delicious!

That fire breathing ship is AWESOME though!

Insight: Sell junk at any opportunity as your carry space is very limited.

Thursday, 30 July 2020

July 2020 Review: The Music "War"

Covid has really gotten me watching more youtube and two music channels in particular. Davie504 is a talented and entertaining bass player slapper while TwoSetViolin are a pair of classically trained violinists who often review music in TV and movie shows. I'm not sure where the battle began, but now the two are at "war" to try prove which instrument is better... and it's hilarious as they start giving each other challenges and ripostes.

Let the battle begin!

It's now gotten to the stage where they've made rap-style "diss" tracks against each other and involves instrument hostages? Lol! I'm quite enjoying this rivalry and I thought some of you might too, if you haven't yet been exposed to any of it. It's InTeReStInG! :)

The "war" even has anime fan art.

I guess I'll make this a fully music related post and include the more cooperative videos of Gary Barlow. One with JC Chasez with "Back For Good", and this one with Delta Goodrem with "You've got a friend". Excellent stuff if you just want to listen to good music.

Anyway, not much to report for myself other than I'm being surprisingly busy at work which is somewhat unexpected.

   End 2020 with less weight (-2 kg from last month, running total: +5 kg)
   Make 1 web comic page (nope)
   Make a board game (nope)

Just Cause 4 [free from Epic Games]
Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms [free on Steam]
Overcooked [free from Epic] (had enough)
Zombie Army Trilogy [gift]
GTFO [gift]
AER Memories of Old [free from Epic] (done)
Stranger Things 3 [free from Epic] (had enough)
Alien Swarm: Reactive Drop [free from Steam]
Dishonored 2 [gift]
Resident Evil 2 [gift]
Metro Exodus [gift]
Metal Gear Survive [gift]
Assassin's Creed Odyssey: Season Pass [gift] (done)
+Hue [free from Epic] (had enough)
+Killing Floor 2 [free from Epic]
+Lifeless Planet: Premium Edition [free from Epic] (done)
+The Escapists 2 [free from Epic] (had enough)
+NWO: Avernus [0/2]
+Warhammer 40k: Rites of War [free from GOG]
-+Next Up Hero [free from Epic] (had enough)
+Tacoma [free from Epic]

Board games:
Zombicide: Black Plague (10/11)
Mice and Mystics: Heart of Glorm (5/6)


One Year Ago

I was playing through Assassin's Creed: Odyssey and Neverwinter Online's Undermountain.

Five Years Ago

I'm pretty sure this is when I stopped playing Mabinogi, probably helped along since we were playing through Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army 2 coop while Batman: Arkham Origins took up my solo game time.

Most Viewed Posts last Month
Fallout Shelter: The Raiders
Inner Space
Farming Simulator 19 (lol what?)

Top Search Terms last Month
multiplayer 7 days to die
multiplayer battletech solaris l
multiplayer orchestra   

Guess some people are definitely getting lonely out there with the multiplayer searching? Haha. While I've not played 7 days to die, I did have a play through of BattleTech tucked away somewhere.

Wednesday, 29 July 2020


A rare game where you play as a heavily pregnant lady.

Trying to get rid of an unwanted pregnancy, Hadley makes the mistake of using the free option provided by the Cayne Corporation - who are clearly up to some messed up business practices! Despite being ready to pop, you play as Hadley who can still climb and survive more explosions than necessary in this horror point and click game. While the graphics are nice, and the voice acting is superb, and the monster is politely patient (just don't go near it), this game has a few problems.

Hmm, I think this room could use more blood.

First, the click zones for things are TINY. Even looking for a way to simply move to a door you can plainly see might take some time to find the right spot to click on. Second, due to the setting there's a lot of future tech. This is nice and all but it often makes it hard to logically get from point a to point b at times. Third, there's a LOT of reading. LOTS. And it's required too since there are codes and settings you will need to remember later on. Lastly, and this is just a personal one, it leaves more questions than answers. Certainly an interesting adventure, but not one I recommend. I give Cayne 1.5 grubs out of 5.

Insight: Things to look out for other than unlock codes are temperature settings and room ID numbers.

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Amazon Queen Temptress Teenagent

A trio of point and click adventures!

Flight of the Amazon Queen

I liked the navigation hub idea.

Having a business contract stolen from him is the least of Joe King's problems as the pilot for hire soon finds himself stuck in the Amazon jungle where a mad scientist is attempting to create an army of dinosaur women to take over the world! While this game doesn't take itself very seriously, the animations, voice acting, and most importantly - clue giving, is above par. That last one can really help when you get stuck. I quite liked their "over map" mechanic too. The only downside is the tremendous amount of backtracking involved in more than one area. Still worth a play, I give this 2 jet packs out of 5.

Insight: While you can only carry one at a time, you can come back to get more bananas and tree sap as required.

Lure of the Temptress

This pixel point and click adventure starts in a prison, which is fitting since the user interface is so poor that you will feel trapped regardless of your surroundings. Every mouse click will give you a few too many options. For example you can "Talk" or "Ask" or "Tell" (and a few more variations), all of which are different and you must use the correct one to progress in the story. My personal breaking point was clearly able to see a tap on a barrel, but having the character ignore it until you "look" at the barrel at which point the tap becomes an interactable feature. That's just fucking annoying and incredibly poor design. I knew from that point that this one isn't worth playing. 0 temptations out of 5. Not even worth a screen shot.

Insight: To get to the menu, move the cursor to the top of the screen.


Doing stupid stuff seems to be the key to success.

After being randomly selected to be a secret agent, you are sent for a brief stint at the secret agent boot camp before shipping off to solve a case of vanishing gold. For its age, the graphics and animations are actually quite decent here, and it comes with a good dose of humor and easy controls to keep you playing. It's also clear right from the get go that there are no game over screens. Alas, as you progress through the story not only does the pixel finding get more difficult, but the leaps in logic required to progress become really large. Would you really think to repeatedly insult a squirrel so much that it would throw a nut at you? Or paint something to look like a grenade which turns it into a real grenade? Didn't think so. Fun for a time, I give Teenagent 1.5 mouse traps out of 5.

Insight: F1 to reach the menu. Move the cursor to the top of the screen for the inventory.

Monday, 27 July 2020

Bio Menace Stargunner Jill

Well, that sounds like a wacky and possibly adult Japanese movie.

Bio Menace

Die, battle toad!

When mutants invade Metro City (hmm, aren't there always mutants in Metro?), the CIA sends their top operative Naked Snake to recon kill them all. As a 2D action scroller, Snake must blast his way through the teeming mutant horde to also rescue survivors and find keys to doors to score points and advance to the next level... where he needs to do it all again only against stronger enemies! While the controls are decent enough there are simply too many annoyance factors in this game for me - all of which are present in stage 1. Stupid looking enemies? Check. Helpless while climbing ladders? Check. Keys hidden to force backtracking? Check. Dying restarts level? Check. Definitely not one for me - I give it 1 plane crash you can walk behind out of 5. Not worth playing.

Insight: Jumping up ladders is much faster than the regular "climb" action.


Ugh, who designed this ship? Oh right, I did.

Much like Biomenace, this 2D space shooter was also made by Apogee in which you must destroy some aliens, preferably all of them! Starting with a Star Wars type scrolling intro is usually a bad sign, and the game doesn't improve much from there as it becomes a stock standard spaceship bullet hell type fare. I do quite like the ship customization ability in between missions, but not being able to flip around to use the cannon you put on the bottom of your vessel and make it shoot up, even temporarily, is just stupid. Sorry, another one not worth playing. It gets 1 random voice over out of 5. If you want a similar old school game try Tyrian 2000 instead.

Jill of the Jungle

Pacman would like his ghosts back.

This three game series has players platforming around as the titular Jill, who moves with all the grace of an ox and can't throw daggers below waist height. The graphics are somewhat/really bad, the controls clunky, and the story near non-existent. While the sound effects choices are also questionable the music on some levels is really good - which is a welcome surprise!  Also, because most of the levels are short and dying still achieves progress (at least in the early maps) this actually turned out to be a fun distraction! Unfortunately it did start getting repetitive later on but still not bad given its age. It certainly did better than the two above! I give it 1.5 sexy pixels out of 5.

Insight: Don't bother jumping if you are in climb mode. Just use the direction buttons.

Sunday, 26 July 2020

Worlds of Ultima

These did not age well.

Akalabeth: World of Doom

Your deadliest foe is hunger!

Richard Garriott's early attempt of an adventure game is basic to say the least. With a fixed number of items to collect and absolutely no direction to be found - you must guide your character to ... explore places and not starve or be killed by wandering creatures who all seem to enjoy teaming up against you. In one instance I had a rat, skeleton and thief fight me all at the same time. It was very strange. While the basic art in the dungeon is ok, there's really nothing worth exploring here and by today's standards I have to give this half a rapier out of 5. It's just not worth playing.

Insight: Buy food or die.

Martian Dreams and Savage Empire

Apparently mars has oxygen and dinos aren't that big.

In the first, you are one of a rescue team sent to retrieve the leaders of the Victorian era from the red planet while in the other you are a time displaced adventurer sent to rescue a bunch of random people. While one is set on the empty, yet somehow breathable surface of Mars and the other in a claustrophobic, dinosaur filled jungle they both suffer the same problems: a huge map purely for traversal, lack of guidance on where to go, and quite simply a poor and unfriendly user interface. I'm sure there is an interesting story hiding in these somewhere, but I simply ran out of patience to find it. Ultimately I give both 1 "find the answer in the manual" out of 5, and for all but the most die hard Ultima fans - these are just not worth playing.

Insight: If you got these from GOG then you have a "secret answers.txt" file in the game directory to help you get past the old school copyright check.

Friday, 24 July 2020


Like Die Hard but with "The Rock".

Brand new, "modern" building? Check. Squad of bad guys who infiltrate it? Check. Protagonist's loved ones trapped inside? Check. Importance given to duct-tape? Check. Crawling in an air duct sequence? Ch.. oh wait.

 It has something like this instead?

No, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson doesn't fit into air ducts but fortunately he fits well into the action hero role as he goes through some pretty crazy stuff to try save the day and stop the bad dudes.

There's not much in the way of surprises here as everything is heavily lamp shaded right at the start but the action sequences and the decent enough performances are enough for an enjoyable, turn your brain off flick which is great for everyone that enjoys such things. Everyone else, stay away. Not much else to say as the plot is as shallow as the stage is tall. I give it 2 prosthetic legs out of 5.

Borderlands Pre-Sequel: Vengeance Begins

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

One piece of knowledge I gleaned from the vault was that one particular claptrap on the Helios has a special code locked inside it which holds more Hyperion secrets. Unfortunately due to the intense security protocols there was no alternative but to send a digital copy of myself into his subconscious - a crazy realm of malware, viruses, insecurity bots and bridges requiring defragging. Unlocking the code from its quarantine sector inadvertently releases a program calling itself Shadow-Trap who steals the H-source for itself.

I need to chase it deep, deep into claptrap hell and eventually fight it - along with mirror images of it, a giant mecha version of it and a flying mini-Helios version before finally putting an end to it and taking the code for myself. Since it gave me such a bad time getting the data I decide to simply destroy the claptrap product line, destroying all the little annoying bots in one fell swoop and dump their metal scraps in some snowfield on Pandora. Good riddance you absolute turd of a robot. Hopefully no one manages to piece one back together or anything.

That's me celebrating on the left!

In the meantime I assist some poachers for "King Greg" in capturing the alien guardians and their babies too to be used for testing, slavery and/or perhaps food. This will teach those pieces of shit that they messed with the wrong guy! It's great that everything is slowly going my way now... it might take a little more time but I will get to that vault on Pandora I saw in the vision and then... oh and then I will make all of them PAY!

Insight: On the "big" boss fights, aim for the turrets and launchers to make it easier for you. Also, just use the wings of the immediate main area for cover where the respawning ammo piles are. Leverage the cover to hit the "eye" of your target while at the same time not letting him shoot back at you.

Thursday, 23 July 2020

Borderlands Pre-Sequel: Vault of Elpis

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

Repairs on the Helios take some time, what with having to defend a Hyperion space supply drop from pirate space ships, getting the R&D specimens back into their cages, eliminating the plague infected worker cannibals in maintenance and dealing with a wandering alien in the trash compactor, so by the time all is back in order and I return to Concordia - Moxxi, Roland and Lilith are all long gone having stolen the coordinates for the vault I was meaning lay claim to on Elpis before the Lost Legion attacked! Fricking thieves!

I head to the location myself and make an ally in Captain Chef, some sort of space explorer claiming land for King Gril... Gilga... eh... "King Greg", but he doesn't really hang around to help fight the aliens guardians and lost legion eternals that are defending the vault. Gun loaders only help for the surface battles but deeper in it's just me and my digi-jacks that need to take care of everything - especially this four faced alien boss guy who gets HUGE for the second phase of his fight, which ironically is much easier than his first form.

The bigger they are, the easier they are to hit!

My reward for finally penetrating this vault? A silly little vault symbol that gives me flashes of future knowledge when I hold it. Of course, I only get around ten seconds with it before Lilith phasewalks in and brand-punches the symbol right into my face, promptly leaving me to get killed by the remaining aliens. Jokes on her as Captain Chef manages to pull me out and get me back to Nurse Nina at Concordia. My wounds are patched up, but I have a handsome mask made to cover the scar that Lilith bitch gave me. I am SO going to get back at her for this!

Insight: Kill eternals before they "ascend" or they will be fully healed. Also, double jump when the boss alien does a jump smash during phase 1 of his fight.

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Borderlands Pre-Sequel: Not Eye to Eye

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

With robot production underway I could take some time to get a few other things done like find Pickle's lost sister who just ended up leaving again with Pickle's hard earned cash, setup a live creature smuggling operation with a Sir Hammerlock on Pandora who subsequently seems to have let loose a specimen called "Threshers", and find a suitable suitor for Nurse Nina who has a penchant for killing them with her love. All pretty cool stuff, but not as cool as finally being ready to retake the Helios with my allies!

I'm sure that smuggling rocket won't attract any attention at all!

The Lost Legion don't make it easy though with further shields setup that hinder progress which the science team, led by Dr. Gladstone, seems to take their time in disabling. That guy just seems to get more and more shifty... so I order him and most his team to be thrown out of an airlock. Can't be too careful with traitors these days! In their place I put a Dr. Nakayama who seems... a little too into me, but has an intellect only slightly higher than a claptrap so it should be fine.

With more gun loader support we finally push to the Eye of Helios, defeating the Lost Legion commander Zarpedon *giggle* what a stupid name. Roland and Lilith are a little shocked that the eye is an actual eyeball from a dead destroyer creature harvested from Pandora, and subsequently betray me by destroying it and half of the Helios along with it before running off! As much as I'd like to chase em down, I have to stay and try to repair the station - starting with the eye. Despite my best efforts, all I get it to do is explode all over again. DAMNIT!

Insight: Ugh, the maintenance space walk section of the Helios is one of the worst experiences ever. Go slow and look for jump pads.

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Borderlands Pre-Sequel: Business Propositions

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

Since my previous action didn't sit quite well with everyone in Concordia I had to do some odd jobs to build up some capital and support like destroy some laser weapons for Mr. Torque (who hates them since they don't explode) and ally with some scav gangs only to then betray them for their sweet, sweet loot. Gotta hand it to the Lost Legion for getting people my side though because when they started using the Helios cannon to start blasting to the core of the moon and openly declaring their intentions to destroy it and everyone on it, that almost instantly made everyone in Concordia my ally.

The new plan is to retake the station with a militarized robot army so Roland and Lilith volunteered to look for a viable production plant while I looked for a suitable AI with a young scav associate named Pickle. He knew the way to a shipwrecked war class frigate that housed a top of the line AI that was eventually dubbed "Felicity". Of course, it was also home to pirates who made it really hard to reach the vessel and required more than a little explosive diplomacy to evacuate the premises.

We then joined up with the vault hunters at a run down Titan production plant and after removing the power suit enabled scavs there could finally get to work with constructing the robots with the help of specialist Dr. Gladstone and his small team of scientists. While there were some initial hiccups in Felicity refusing to become a weapon of mass murder, she quickly came on board after we scrubbed her personality and plugged her into a prototype constructor robot to become the mother of loaders.

Only obedience is necessary. Scrub free will!

Insight: The rocket version of moon zoomies is awesome. Keep shooting those infinite, enemy tracking missile salvos!

Monday, 20 July 2020

Borderlands Pre-Sequel: In Charge

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

I was expecting a few vault hunter visitors on Helios station today but not an unprovoked invasion by an entire fleet of Lost Legion marines! As expected, the maintenance loader drones and claptrap units are worthless in combat which left the station close to defenseless. Without any other option, I simply had to escape by myself to the moon called Elpis. In the rush, I kinda forgot that there is no atmosphere there but luckily a scavenger named Springs managed to save my bacon with her re-breather Oz Kits.

"Heart of Gold" always clears anything that comes before it.

In exchange for a few favors, like eliminating some competing scavengers, she also hooked me up with one of her Moon Zoomie buggies to get me the town of Concordia where I could ask for help in retaking the station. Unfortunately, everyone from the town mayor to the two vacationing vault hunters Roland and Lilith refused so I had to ask my ex-wife Moxxi instead. She's one hot and smart curvy package, and luckily I caught her on a good day!

Using some black market tech I managed to triangulate a jamming signal that was screwing with the rest of the Helios defenses... back to the mayor of Concordia! Yeah, I had to go talk to him about that and we came to an agreement. I'd get to turn it off and he'd get... a bullet to the head! I'm sure Springs can run the town much better than that ass hat.

Insight: The dots on the map are some natural oxygen vents where you can refill your tank.

Sunday, 19 July 2020

Civ VI: Gilgamesh Forever

[Part of the Civilization VI story]

It must have been a grim sight for the German knights as my army began advancing on their territory. With tanks, helicopters, a battleship that could fire missiles from their harbor and a bomber based in nearby Baghdad, their cities and the city-states allied to them felt the full force of Sumerian might and quickly fell prey to our superior firepower. Oh, and one village fell to the our allies in the city-state of Kandy. Yes, they got Kandy crushed by the knights of Kandy. Hahah!

Somehow the German capital was repelling us though, through the combined efforts of Gustave Eiffel, Alfred Nobel and general Napoleon Bonaparte - managing to destroy an entire tank column on their own. It was only when we dropped all the bombs and fired all the missiles at the same time did the city, and the civilization finally fall leaving me, the magnificent and most perfect King Gilgamesh, as ruler of the world... with my best buddy Enkidu!

"Kill more people Gil... Kill more..."

But this cannot be... my buddy Enkidu demands more WAR! More foes to defeat! I immediately instruct our top scientists to research space travel so that we can find enemies on other planets that I can conquer for the great crab! I must become the Master of the Universe!

Insight: Helicopters can't "fly" over water as they get packaged up in a transport ship  but are otherwise more free moving than planes.

Friday, 17 July 2020

Civ VI: Not so Great Wall

[Part of the Civilization VI story]

With only two other civilizations competing against me for world domination, I turn my attention to China next. These peaceful tea drinkers have setup quite a good defense with their alliance with the city-state of Jerusalem, making good use of their medieval cannons and cannonades to kill General Rani and many of her troops.

In response I rush the development of one of our new mobile weapon platform, the tank, researched both by Dmitri Mendelev and Albert Einstein with the monetary backing from the merchants Mary Katherine Goddard and Levi Strauss. This new vehicle of war crushes the Western Chinese border, right through their "not so great wall" while newly developed machine guns tear down the center. The Eastern border falls to my ancient battering rams backed by infantry, the same siege machines used against India so long ago.

Apparently guys with rifles plus an ancient wooden battering ram is just as good?

As China falls I am sad as I could not field our new flying machines against them too, not realizing they have a leash range attached to their respective aerodomes. No matter, I will find a way to use them on my final rival... Germany.

Insight: In later eras moving across the sea is faster than most land travel.

Civ VI: The Sellouts

[Part of the Civilization VI story]

Attacking Scythia, Kongo and Arabia all at the same time might be daunting to a lesser ruler, but with the resources of an entire continent it is easy to field superior troops despite them arriving haphazardly over the oceans. Armed now with muskets or better, my infantry led by Rani Lakshmbai supported by field cannons easily subdue enemy horsemen and horse bowmen sent against them and to the immediate besieging of cities.

Hmm Tomris has a movie... I should check it out sometime.

It is now that Saladin uses an interesting diplomatic technique: he sues for peace, offering all his cities but one for a significant payoff. Tomrys of Scythia and Mvemba of Kongo quickly follow suit, so quickly that Kongolese general El Cid is captured due to my acceptance as I figure it eases the combat fatigue on my troops. Little did I realize that peace meant Tomrys' Zoroastrian disciples can no longer be branded as heretics!

Still, they are foolish if they thought they could bankrupt me or force me to disband my armies as their cities make more capital than I paid for. It also helps that I have great wealth managers such as Adam Smith and John Rockerfeller back on the mainland. During their short earned peace I move all my forces in position and once I am able to (after a forced period of agreed peace), declare a colonial war against all of these backwards savages. Within mere days all three capitals are captured by the might of Sumer, and all three leaders sent to the deep to feed the great crab! For Crablantisism!

Insight: Accepting peace means you cannot attack those countries for at least 10 turns!

Thursday, 16 July 2020

Civ VI: The World is Round

[Part of the Civilization VI story]

It takes many moons to research boat building and the wait is annoying to say the least. Fortunately the building is much faster as it is managed by the wealthy merchant John Jacob Astor. Now ready to begin the age of sailing, I send half my army West and the other half East in hopes of finding the remaining civilizations before they steal victory through some sly means.

Apart from some barbarian harassers, both fleets manage to find another mainland, or rather the same mainland as each other - simply landing on opposite ends of it proving that the world is round! We also quickly meet all the inhabitants of this land, the Germans who hold the frozen North, Arabia led Saladin on the Eastern shore, Scythia on the Western Shore, China in the South and Kongo with a massive territory right in the center.

I promptly executed all the morons in my kingdom who believed the Earth is flat.

Scythia is clearly the dangerous one as their religion, Zoroastrianism threatens to take over the globe faster than I can. The problem is she is allied with the Kongo, and all the city-states here obviously are controlled by local governments. Indeed, a problematic problem... for a lesser man. It's not a problem for me, because the solution is simple: ATTACK!

Insight: The more you research down the ship building tree the farther your land units can move into the water.

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Civ VI: Generals are Generally General

[Part of the Civilization VI story]

Nestled in the Southwest, Greece led by Pericles were not much of a threat based on the leaderboard what with all those rumored cults and assassins running around. But I knew simply being ON the leaderboard meant that he could be a threat one day. This would not stand! Immediately I sent my horde right at them, as well as mercenaries from the nearby city-states of Lisbon and the same ones still on call from Toronto. I sent general Ana Nzinga to lead them and she perished in her very first combat. Some general she turned out to be!

Pericles really needs a bigger helmet.

By comparison, Pericles had the generals Jeanne D'Arc who somehow convinced Lisbon to switch sides early in the war and Sun Tzu who was a man on a mission with his magnificent defense of Athens. Indeed, he manged to defend until the main force arrived much later. While many of my men died, many more were left standing to capture all their cities. Lisbon was the first to taste of the wrath of my new invention... the field cannon, and quickly surrendered upon doing so - burning Jeanne D'Arc at the stake to show their solidarity with me.

With Pericles and Sun Tzu fed to the crabs, this entire island was now the land of Sumer. I am victorious! Unfortunately this is not true, as a man named Gaius Duilius informs me of lands beyond the sea, and would show me if I could lend him a boat. As any great leader at the time would do, I asked "What is a boat?"

Insight: Military Districts are great city defense tools.

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Civ VI: Aztec Protest

[Part of the Civilization VI story]

Knowing I would need to up my game against Montezuma and his Protestant Aztecs, I allied with the nearby city-state of Toronto and formed the Riders of Sumeria - warriors who fought on horse back, which are pretty close to the magnificent beasts that were donkeys. As expected, Montezuma rallied forces from the city-states of Hattusa and Stockholm to flank my troops but the warriors and archers of Toronto out matched them, somehow capturing Hattusa in the process!

For Quetza-Jesus-lcoatl!

Much respect is to be given to Montezuma's Eagle Warriors though, as they took to school everything I sent at them, including my new horsemen. However, since he spent so much time training Protestant preachers, his forces were again badly outnumbered and once forced to retreat within city walls we had them. Even hiding his capital behind a mountain range protected by the city-state of Valetta wasn't enough for him to hide as we soon captured both. Montezuma perished on that final battlefield with a small victory, he killed so many of my archers that it became a cursed profession and was made obsolete.

Still I was now in control of most of the known land, so I recruited the scholar Thomas Aquinas to found a new religion to combat the Protestant plague... Crablantisism! Yes. The worship of the mighty crab is a sure fire way to win the peoples hearts, minds and souls. Alas, it doesn't really gain any traction as the merchant Jakob Fugger informs me of yet another civilization nearby which gets all my attention... Greece.

Insight: Trade routes can also spread religion!

Monday, 13 July 2020

Civ VI: Carnival Science

[Part of the Civilization VI story]

With the North completely under control I now focus on the Southeast of the continent where my scouts had found the current scientific leaders of the world, the Brazilians led by Pedro. It takes some time to get all my forces in position along his border, including mercenaries from Zanzibar which gives him time to bolster his crossbowmen defense no doubt introduced to him by the great writer Qu Yuan, which individually out do my own archers.

However, upon declaring war by marching into his territory they are ill prepared for the numbers that come crushing into their cities all at the same time. The Zanzibar catapults certainly help bolster the battering rams and after a short and fierce battles all their cities become mine. I have to admire Pedro who didn't beg and plead for peace at the end like all the previous leaders and simply took that catapult thrown boulder to the face like a real man.

A saying spoken by those who have never been beaten by sticks or stones.

Meanwhile Qu Yuan fled to the neighboring territory to the South East, where we found him already killed by the Protestants there (or perhaps he killed himself?). That faith is quite problematic actually, as it is currently ranked number 1 in the world and backed by the huge and not so peaceful Aztec civilization.

Insight: Cities can be tough but will be overrun by superior numbers. You'll need more numbers if you are behind on the tech curve however.

Sunday, 12 July 2020

Civ VI: The Warlord Ghandi

[Part of the Civilization VI story]

Led by their most violent war chief Ghandi, the Indian capital of Delhi was well defended with walls, elephants and archers! As this was our first experience against ranged weapons, my poor donkey carts were getting annihilated - I sent them around to raze the less defended Calcutta and Agra instead, angering them greatly! So much that the evil Ghandi proceeded to wipe out every donkey on the continent and rendering my donkey carts obsolete!

Elephant archers are pretty tough!

Knowing I must fight fire with fire, I too begin sending archers (as elephants were just too hard to master) using India's own tech against them! In response, Ghandi's allies in the city state of Zanzibar began marching on my capital with catapults but my spearmen guards hold the line. Finally, my two battering rams arrive at Delhi and after suffering tremendous losses finally capture the capital and the final village of Mysore where Ghandi is hiding. For his crime of donkey extermination, he is executed by being sat upon by one of his beloved elephants.

Seeing him literally crushed, Zanzibar quickly changes it's tune and names me its suzerain. It has the opposite effect in Delhi where a large band of warrior monks begin an uprising but all of them are easily and immediately put to death as my army is literally still standing there when they choose to act.

Insight: Being suzerain of city states lets you temporarily control their military which works well in times of war, and all you need to do is send envoys... more than anyone else has sent them anyway.

Saturday, 11 July 2020

Civ VI: King of the Donkeys

[Part of the Civilization VI story]

In the beginning, there were donkeys and barbarians. Some of those barbarians decided to follow me, the great King Gilgamesh to fight the other nearby barbarians while others decided to follow women instead! What an insult! There in the West we found our first neighbor, a Queen Victoria who dared to offer us tea - so with my army of donkey powered war carts, we took control of London sending her fleeing to the nearby village of Sheffield.

Behold, the most dangerous unit at the beginning of time!

Hoping to secure peace, she then agreed to ally with us to fight her Northern neighbor Catherine de Medici and her French folk. With their warriors and scouts unable to stop my donkeys, Paris and La Rochelle quickly fell at which time I returned to capture Sheffield and their so called Queen. With their cities now flying my banner and both trouble makers sent to my donkey-harem, my legions swept to the Northeast where we would face our most difficult challenge yet... India and their elephants!

Insight: There are many ways to win this game, I'm going for the most boring: world domination! If you want a tale of how better rulers fared, be sure to check out the succession game on Time to Loot! :)

Civilization VI: The Conqueror's Tale

I decided to start up a play through story on Civilization VI because I was totally inspired by the succession game Naithin and company are running from Time to Loot! Please visit their playthrough pages as well to see how people better at this sort of game than me play through it. Why better than me? Because I take the view point of a hammer and see everything in this game as a bunch of nails. :P

Chapter 1 - King of the Donkeys
Chapter 2 - The Warlord Ghandi
Chapter 3 - Carnival Science
Chapter 4 - Aztec Protest 
Chapter 5 - Generals are Generally General 
Chapter 6 - The World is Round
Chapter 7 - The Sellouts
Chapter 8 - Not so Great Wall
Chapter 9 - Gilgamesh Forever

This story has concluded! Thank you for reading!

Friday, 10 July 2020

The Stanley Parable

A very fine walking simulator.

Stanley's sole job, sole purpose in life, is to press buttons that the computer tells him to. Now you can play as Stanley, but don't worry - the helpful narrator will help you get to where you need to go! This game is a most glorious example of a walking simulator done right. While you can't do much else other than walk, there is enough entertainment to be had from the well written and well voiced narrator (Kevan Brighting).

It's also a test of obedience.

Most importantly, it is short - so the repetitive loop factors are reduced significantly. I also believe it's a fantastic commentary on video game addicts (like myself) and give it 2.5 broom closets out of 5. It's certainly an easy way to spend an hour or two so why not try it for yourself? All you need to do is push the button.

Insight: Things go hilariously crazy when you deviate from the plot. After "winning" once, I highly recommend trying a different path for fun.

Thursday, 9 July 2020


Beautiful but slow.

Having heard that your grandfather is unwell you decide to visit him on an island full of cute and friendly mutants that need help with their gardens. GARDENER HERO COMMENCE! Just kidding (only sort of), this point and click adventure tells a pretty great story and has a whole bunch of memorable and quite well written characters. This involves a fair bit of reading as there is no voice acting but that works just fine. What's really amazing is the art and animation which was clearly lovingly crafted by the designers.

Nice creature designs too!

Unfortunately it does suffer from a slow pace and the cardinal sin of large open space purely for traversal. Walking through a few screens of beautiful art is fantastic but the appeal does fade the number of times you need to repeat the walk / slow jog - especially if there are no important interactive elements in them. Recommended for those who want to chillax and enjoy a bit of drama. I give Mutazione 3 seeds out of 5.

Insight: The fastest way through the game is to not explore and just do what the journal tells you to.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Ray Donovan

Gives new meanings to the word "Sure".

Liev Schreiber stars as the titular Ray Donovan, a stoic and often grumpy "fixer" who helps various clients with issues outside the law. If that wasn't challenging enough, he also has to deal with his family, his past, and his father Mickey (Jon Voight). This seven season show (holding out hope for an eighth) is a bit of a crazy ride. There are many dark themes and violent scenes that go hand in hand with hilarious moments (often when Mickey is on screen) which make for very interesting television.

Speak softly and carry a big stick.

For the most part, the acting and production values are good too though as expected in a story of this length, characters often take turns holding the idiot stick simply to get the plot to go where the writers want it to. In some cases I believe they hold the idiot stick purely to spite the audience - a role primarily filled by Ray's wife and children. Definitely not a show that's easy to categorize, but certainly one worth watching. I give it 3 boxing gyms out of 5.

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Anodyne 2: Return to Dust

Where you play as a vacuum cleaner.

In a world plagued by evil dust, you have been created to save everyone... by cleaning it away! This two person creation certainly has a lot of love put into it, but the dated graphics and the entire premise take a bit of getting used to. It also suffers from the "huge empty space" syndrome which is only mitigated by your character being able to transform into a car. If you thought that was odd, your main ability is to be able to shrink down into life forms (sometimes multiple steps down) to clean them from within!

Not the best quality graphics wise.

The shrink stages have a more 2D feel to them and is where most of the puzzles lie. Thankfully nothing is too hard in this game, and provided you stick with it at the start you will be rewarded by a decent story (expect a bit of reading). It definitely turned out better than I originally thought it would, so I do recommend it to those feeling adventurous and applaud the creators for what they achieved. All up, it gets 2.5 sparks out of 5.

Insight: The card finder is the only important item to buy with meta coins. Everything else are extras.

Monday, 6 July 2020

A Short Hike

Climb the mountain to learn more about yourself.

While the premise is something like Celeste "light", this little Unity game has a lot more going for it starting with the fact that it's not really a platformer. It also helps that your character is a bird who can glide, and that it is impossible to die. In fact, you gain all your abilities right away and while you have the option of strengthening them (also pretty easy) you can explore most of the mountain park and enjoy the many side activities right away.

Stick ball is great!

Obviously there's not much in the way of depth or violence but its still a fun hour - hour and a half of exploration. I definitely recommend it as a filler if you are in between games or don't have enough time for a proper session of one of your mains. It's kid friendly too! I give it 2 saunas out of 5.

Insight: The more golden feathers you collect, the easier your trek is going to be.