Saturday, 28 March 2020

Enderal: The Petrified

[Part of the Cursed story line]

We find Mael strung up on the theater stage but alive, and in front of him a priceless gem stolen from the Golden Sickle caravan long ago. Dijaam tries to grab it but is immobilized by a dart trap, leaving myself to deal with the puppet master - Pennypouches who is suffering from Red Madness!

One of the hardest fights in Enderal.

He sends his two hired Petrified goons (they really work for anyone) to deal with me in what becomes a really long battle! I end up using a lot of my potions and ammo to defeat the two fools before finally killing Pennypouches and administering the cure to Dijaam. Despite Mael's very vocal protests and threats, we promptly abscond with the gem to a secluded beach where Dijaam can properly reward me.

In the morning, she and the gem are gone having left a note that reads "I'm sorry". Knowing Mael is not one for empty threats I decide hideout in Duneville for awhile, and run into Esme en route - just in time to save her from some bandits, and to rejoin her search for Tara.

Insight: The battle against the two petrified is one of the toughest ones I've come across due to the mechanic. You need to knock both down at the same time and keep attacking while they are down to deplete their psychic shields / do any damage. Easier said than done for an archer.

Friday, 27 March 2020

Enderal: Pulling Our Strings

[Part of the Cursed story line]

Stealing the info from the the spooky manor is pretty straight forward, so Jespar and I return to Ark where a courier kid gives me a letter from Dijaam. Jespar goes ahead to report in while I visit the merchantess at an Undercity tavern and accept her request to assist in finding out who set her up to take the blame for the Golden Sickle ambush.

A speedy investigation has clues that quickly point to Mael, the Golden Sickle grandmaster, so Dijaam heads to the Sickle base in town to confront him but only find a shop full of workers. Things escalate quickly which results in their massacre! For this, Dijaam is quickly apprehended by the city guard and taken to prison.

Hang in there, pussy cat.

Fortunately I am a lot stealthier, and with no witnesses putting me at the scene of the crime I am free to head to the prison and break her out. Unfortunately the guards have had their way with her by then and I find her battered, beaten, and "thoroughly" searched, but she did learn from them that Mael is actually missing too. We conclude that whoever is pulling our strings is trying to put on a show and head to the old theater on a hunch.

Insight: Generic enemies respawn after a few days have passed, so don't assume things are clear if you haven't been there recently.

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Enderal: Teammates

[Part of the Cursed story line]

With the bandits dead and Calia having disarmed the traps, Lishari's crew is able to descend to do their work. Since everything is under control here we head back to a myrad tower where I run into Esme, who is about to go do something stupid and/or dangerous. I volunteer to assist while Calia myrads back to Ark to report in.

We sneak into the Dark Valley, taking down the numerous Lost Ones and a random huge werewolf wandering within until we reach the haunted ruins of Castle Bleakstar that is inhabited by one stubborn phantom. Once it's dispelled we find proof that Tara may have fallen in with some nefarious cult with clues suggesting they moved to a location near Duneville. I hope it's not that suicide crew I found before.

Esme, you can't sneak with a lit torch...

Esme myrads ahead as I receive word of another urgent mission for the Keepers. This time I'm partnered up with Jespar to try retrieve knowledge from an eccentric artist at his distant, puppet-filled manor with specific instructions NOT to use violence at all. A small detour on the way to the manor rewards me with... a dragon fight!

Insight: Unlike Calia, Esme isn't a great fighter or tank. In fact, all she's good at is giving away your position to the enemy so expect to do some heavy lifting and prep health potions before hand.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Enderal: You're F-Hired!

[Part of the Cursed story line]

Returning from Duneville I manage to wrap up a number of lose ends at Ark - completing a relic collection for the SHOES guild, an egg collection for crazy Kurmai who wants to start an aviary in his floating "Star City", and the ingredients to reproduce the poison Mael was interested in - but not before first warning his rival Dijaam that she's under suspicion. Since she confronts Mael directly about it, I promptly get fired from the Golden Sickle.

Just as well as right after Calia and I get promoted into the Keeper guild, and Grandmaster Tealor puts us to work immediately - sending us to assist a nearby dig crew to retrieve an ancient artifact. Turns out this crew is led by Lishari, and her progress into the site is being held up by trap savvy bandits who have made a home of this place.

I happen to stumble into one - a giant pit but luckily land deep water. From there I can work my way back up, assassinating the entrenched bandits as I go. Only their leader gets the drop on me but Calia, who also fell into the pit but managed to hang onto something to find a different exit, shows up just in time to save me - using her menacing "shadow form"? She later explains that she has some other being in her that comes out to kill people from time to time.

More than just a pretty face.

Insight: Even without her shadow form, Calia is a decent tank and does good damage with her two handed sword so let her take point in combat. Comparatively Tharael does more damage with his twin swords but can't take many hits.

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Enderal: A Sandy Vacation

[Part of the Cursed story line]

After the crazy events in the temple I need a change of scenery so I travel East into the Powder Desert, home of big cats, mini rhinos, and gorilla trolls - eventually reaching the little underground village of Duneville.

Here I help where I can - acting as cupid for a couple of villager, helping the watchdogs solve a murder, hunting bounties down including a wild myrad who is luckily a terrible shot, and exploring a distant isle that seems like some suicide cultist resort now over run by rats, bone rippers (death claws), and one scary spider.

Myrads are so cute! This one is a little shy...

I also do some artifact hunting and solve a ruin comprised entirely of puzzles which is easy thanks to the hints at the start. It's a good vacation, but with all the tasks in the area completed it's time to return to Ark. I have a graduation ceremony to attend after all.

Insight: While it's in the air, just strafe to avoid the myrad's breath attack. Once it lands it gets a lot more accurate so take cover!

Monday, 23 March 2020

Enderal: Winning until you Lose

[Part of the Cursed story line]

Before we can start the ambush, the Father reveals he knew about Tharael's plan all along. Furthermore, those children he took from the orphanage were all dying of disease and he tried save them the only way he knew how: transcending them into simulacarums. In fact, his own body guard was once Tharael's best friend and Tharael himself is in a false body.

Unable to process this, Tharael beheads the body guard and begins to fight the Father (who I'm pretty sure is a dragon in a mannequin). I stick to the plan and partake in the epic fight, sniping the Father and his summons while Tharael holds his aggro.

It is a long though simple battle for a well placed sniper, and we take the Father down... until we don't. He literally gets up and defeats us with his voice. The last thing I remember is him leading his chosen Rhalata to the ascension chamber, stating that us merely "existing" is punishment enough.

When I awake properly, there is a gaping hole where the ascension chamber once was. Tharael, standing at the edge says he saw it go in a bright flash of light. He doesn't know if the process worked or if the temple simply killed them all. What he does know is that he doesn't deserve to live and commits suicide by gravity... stepping off the cliff.

It was all for naught.

Insight: When the Father summons illusions one will always be beside Tharael, and the second one beside YOU so look out!

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Enderal: Temple of Abomination

[Part of the Cursed story line]

It isn't long before the Father summons me, having heard good things from the First Seer. There in his lab he describes the Rhalata belief that one must transcend their own body. He even has simulacarums (fake bodies) that he had tried for years to ascend to but the process is flawed.

To this end he is assembling an expedition to an ancient temple from a past civilization that already achieved this, and wants me as one of the mercs on the tip of the spear. I accept and we ship out post-haste. I am grouped with Tharael and a female sell sword named Zar'ah to be one of the many squads exploring the temple.

Tharael watches the giant rise.

Horrid abominations are fought within, including one tower sized one, and Tharael executes Zar'ah as a sacrifice to get one door open to reach the ritual ante-chamber. As planned, he then summons the Father and his bodyguard - sealing the gate behind them. The time for murder is now!

Insight: The towering abomination moves FAST. I barely had enough time to shoot him down from the very edge of the room.

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Enderal: Kidnappers

[Part of the Cursed story line]

As the graduation ceremony will take time to prepare I head on back to Arkham and find card-shark Esme in the district, and give her the log book from the Morning Dew which indicates her girl, Tara, disembarked early to meet a noble in town. I help her snoop a bit in the absent noble's residence until she gets a new lead to follow.

Afterwards we part ways as Tharael makes contact and wants to take me to the Rhalata temple to meet the First Seer. Goes without saying they are a strange bunch, and the First Seer assigns me a test to kill a defector hiding among savages and return her heart.

This is pretty easy, and the defector herself asks for death as she suffers from prosopagnosia (can't see faces) so I oblige. This impresses the First Seer who says words of my deeds will reach The Father's ears. Just as planned. While that happens Tharael and I revisit his childhood orphanage deep in the Undercity which is now crawling with Lost Ones.

Prosopagnosia as depicted in Hannibal.

There he spills the beans on how the Father bought children, his friends, from the caretakers. Those children were never seen again.

Insight: Can't get by through archery alone anymore as the mob density just keeps going up. To this end I'm using a sword and shield when an enemy horde draws near. It also means I open by sniping the hardest hitters first - enemy mages and those carrying two handed weapons.

Friday, 20 March 2020

Enderal: Selection by Drinking

[Part of the Cursed story line]

While selling the loot from the deep ruin, I run into the mage Firespark again who suggests that the Grandmaster of the Keepers (the religious-militant order here) is interested in me joining their ranks and if I'm interested, should join the try-outs at a nearby Myrad tower.

I decide to do just that, meeting up with squad leader Jorek and recruits Dunwar and Calia. They aren't thrilled that an out lander like me is doing the trial, and are even less so when I rope them into helping take down a bounty nearby.

As expected, this is a stupid ritual.

Apart from fighting a few pus beetles and Dunwar executing a person with Red Madness on the road, we easily reach the "holy test site" which simply involves drinking a hallucinogenic potion. I awake back in Ark, which according to the also awake Calia is a sign that I passed the test. Dunwar on the other hand never wakes up. Turns out failure is death.

I make a note that my first suggestion for this order is that they remove the "pilgrimage" part of the test. That's just idiotic.

Insight: Pus beetle spit puts a poison stack on you. Having multiple stacks can kill you quickly so evade! On the flip side, drinking multiple health potions at once will heal you faster than consuming one at a time.

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Enderal: Arena Upset

[Part of the Cursed story line]

Warping back to Ark from the starship, I make it just in time for my next arena match - this one against a giant undead brute, except he is immediately cut down by a Rhalata thug who challenges me instead. I beat him easily and he teleports us out upon surrender - introducing himself as Tharael.

The fight that didn't happen.

Having experienced my combat skill first hand he asks for my help in killing the leader of the Rhalata - "the Father". As he effectively ended my arena career (no one fights friends of Rhalata as win or lose they would die), I agree and start out by helping him shake down some lowlife in the Undercity for information. A lowlife he kills afterwards.

While he has to set a few cogs in motion before the next stage and because we are near the ruin of the Blind Miner, I opt to go exploring again - this time sneaking past the invulnerable Miner and clearing the rest of the massive ruin of Lost Ones as well as the hive of spiders at the very end.

Insight: I used the same solution for all the arena fights - run forward past the enemies and time stop, then jump up to the rocks on the left, which is a safe sniping spot.

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Enderal: Starship Trooper

[Part of the Cursed story line]

From the shipwreck I then head East into a massive ice valley guarded by powerful Lost Ones and Starling machines!? Luckily I can just sneak past the lot of them and into the ancient Starling Starship entombed in the glacier.

Would have been nice to see this vessel in its entirety.

Inside I meet Pahtira again (guess she is sneaky too), and help her collect a power source from the vessel while fighting off Starling machine spiders, Starling centurions, and a handful of frost spiders that had nested in the vessel.

All goes well, until Pahtira enacts her "surprise" plan to transfer her consciousness into one of the Starling centurions with the belief that a robotic body is superior to her flesh one. She decides to see just how powerful she has become by fighting me!

The answer is pretty powerful, but also very slow. As an archer she has no chance to catch me while I dart around the room and disable her mechanized form. It's pathetic to see a big robot beg for mercy so I unplug her (she's now in soul gem form) and keep her in my pack - which is an odd place to put a prisoner.

Insight: The game rewards exploration! Collecting magic sigils gives XP while Ice Claw mushrooms permanently increase your carry weight by one.

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Enderal: The Journey North

[Part of the Cursed story line]

I am soon venturing away from Ark again, back towards the Frostcliff mountains and on the way try cure a farmer's wife of bellyworms - though the potion fails because the diagnosis was wrong. She had rabies "Red Madness" and killed the farmer. Sigh.

I also retrieve a stolen painting for a painter hermit but it turns out the "paintings" are people she traps in there magically - hence the work is so life like. It seems she only does this to douche bags but I tell her to stop or I will come back to end her. She agrees.

Upon reaching the snowy North I begin encountering Frost elementals and wisps. The elementals are easy enough to snipe but those wisps are great at dodging. There's a whole bunch of them with Lost Ones in a ruin that I decide to clear, the final hallway of which is one massive trap. Luckily I can use the minor time stop ability to outrun the chopper fans at this stage.

Those are some strange crystals.

Eventually I reach the shore and find Glacier hounds (walruses) who are aggressive and tough but thankfully very slow and it's not long before I find the shipwreck of the Morning Dew,  taking the she-captain's log book for Esme from her cold, dead hands. I suppose I was lucky she threw me off the boat when she did.

Insight: Frost eles have radiant cold damage if you are within melee range so have heals ready if fighting up close.

Monday, 16 March 2020

Enderal: Arkham

[Part of the Cursed story line]

On the way back to Ark I run into a Golden Sickle caravan getting raided by some black clothed thieves who flee after a short skirmish. I initially thought they were Rhalata but apparently they belong to a different guild called the Petrified. Odd name.

The Golden Sickle guild master, Mael, is very impressed when he hears of my combat prowess and hires me on as a protector. The first job is to simply deliver a letter to a Dijaam, rival merchant representative who I find in the bath house. This simple task evolves into a dinner with the enchanting merchantess at the nearby tavern which goes well but is totally crashed by Lishari, now returned from her dig site, who has had too much to drink.

She works fast...

I must have too as on a whim, I decide to purchase a house in the Nobles District of Ark... which I call "Arkham" (couldn't resist).  The next morning Mael tasks me with reconstructing the trace poison used by the attackers of his caravan crew. Poison he believes was supplied by Dijaam. Argh. To clear my head I go win more arena fights.

Insight: Yes, you can name your house and you can manually decorate it too, though I am glad there's an auto furbish option that just costs a little more money to put it into a functional state.

Sunday, 15 March 2020

Enderal: Treomar

[Part of the Cursed story line]

While Pahtira secures the relic, I myrad on near the next quest spot of Fogville - fighting both Lost Ones and Arps (goblinoids) to retrieve more research and mushroom samples that could be used to heal a section of cursed wood, or as a bioweapon.

I opt to think on what to do with it at the Frostcliff tavern where a traveling gypsy named Esme challenges me to a game of Gwent "Battle for Treomar" - a card game involving armies. It goes without saying that I lose spectacularly. Esme eventually asks for my help in searching for her girlfriend who was a passenger on the Morning Dew (what are the odds).

It's like Gwent basic.

She's heard rumor that the ship ran aground near the frozen north of the island and I promise to look into it if I ever head that way. Not right now though, as I want to get back to Ark and hand those shrooms in for destruction. I don't think Enderal can handle any more plagues at this point!

Insight: Meshing works properly in this game and by that I mean you can shoot through a cracks in a wall or through a jail cells if you aim well enough. It also means head shots count - usually scoring as critical hits.

Saturday, 14 March 2020

Enderal: Lawbreaker of Justice

[Part of the Cursed story line]

Now cured by Lishari, I take my time heading back to Ark - doing some bounty hunting as well as killing a troublesome troll which earns me an "amazing" steed: Whirlwind... the Donkey. Such an insult! I then investigate a farmer for the Golden Sickle merchant's guild to find why he hasn't been delivering crop on time.

It serves its purpose.

Turns out his neighbor had been poisoning the soil below with giant spore shrooms as revenge for the farmer getting the contract with the Golden Sickle through underhanded means. As justice is balance, I get the farmer arrested and the neighbor a loan and a contract from the Golden Sickle in his stead. The Sickle Quartermaster, a bald man named Pennypouches, is unhappy with this result as it is a nett loss money wise.

I then Myrad off to another excavator camp also suffering from the local bandits. These ones are extremely tough for some reason, especially the wild mages who use frost spells to slow you down and fire spells to kill you simultaneously. Anyway, I manage to rescue one excavator, Pahtira, and manage to swipe the ancient device she was looking for from the bandit boss who is far too strong to defeat in combat. Luckily I had a few invisibility potions to get past him.

Insight: Myrad towers usually have secure chests. Also, myrads are super cute! :D

Friday, 13 March 2020

Enderal: Firefighting

[Part of the Cursed story line]

Opting to join the arena death matches, the first battle is a rookie free for all where I quickly learn the ropes. By that I mean I find a nice rock to stand on where they can't hit me and archer my way to victory.

Alas it will take a few days to organize the next match so left to my own devices and with no more tasks in the city itself, I venture out and head directly to Lishari's excavation and meet the buxom mage. She immediately asks for help as raiders had come, killed her team and are now torching her research on the lower levels!

Of course I agree to help since I need hers in return, so we split up and what follows is a crazy sprint through a dungeon to put out fires before they do lasting damage while fighting a large band of thankfully poorly armored thugs. We are successful in both saving the info and eliminating the scum. As thanks, Lishari performs a ritual to finally quell my arcane fever.

She likes talking dirty.

Again this is not a cure, but it significantly lessens the magnitude of the disease to more manageable levels.

Insight: As Arcane Fever worsens, so do your stats. At 100%, you die.

Thursday, 12 March 2020

Enderal: Sticky Fever

[Part of the Cursed story line]

Appearing in the marketplace, I immediately bump into Jespar who is now ready to take me to the "doctor", a mage named Firespark who happens to also be Jespar's employer. Firespark examines my fever symptoms and gives me a referral to one of his associates, "Lishari", who happens to be at an excavation outside the city at the moment.

Unwilling to leave until I've explored it fully, I thank them and continue doing in-city tasks including opening a bank account that actually gains interest per day! This is quite interesting, but not fast enough for my liking so I also rob as much as I can - including from the local crypt. Why is there a crypt when undead are rising? Sigh. Idiots. 

They aren't smart enough to remove bucket hats either.

The guards eventually catch wind of my sticky fingers and confront me so I kill them all? nope because they are immortal! pay the 40 penny fine and get all the stolen goods confiscated. Obviously I promptly steal them all back and sell them at the Undercity fence. On this trip, I also notice there's an arena down here... interesting. I'm starting to really like this place.

Insight: Remember to use your Meditation -shout- ability to unlock skill upgrades.

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Enderal: Bad Guys can't Jump

[Part of the Cursed story line]

As Ark is massive, I decide to explore its dark underbelly first where all the poor, sick and unwanted folk are. The city guards don't even patrol down here, leaving it up to the brutish enforcers of the Rhalata cult who happily extort beggars for money. Meh, I've seen worse.

They ignore me for the most part, and let me reach the deepest mine shafts beneath the city where I find some really tough bandits. Luckily there is a handy scaffolding I can jump to to snipe all of them down. Ah, jumping - the skill of heroes!

I suppose the Blind Miner classifies as a boss monster...

The mine shafts also lead to an ancient ruin filled with Lost Ones, but one in particular - "the Blind Miner" seems immune to everything I can throw at it so I'm forced to retreat back to the surface via teleport scroll as the elevator I used to come down has broken (as in bugged broken).

Insight: That elevator issue could have been a game ending bug. Make sure you have teleport scrolls handy - everyone seems to keep handing them to you anyway. Or look up the no clipping cheat so you can "fly" back up.

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Enderal: Across the Mountain

[Part of the Cursed story line]

With all the jobs in Riverville done, I go meet up with Jespar at the remnants of the teacher's house and find evidence that he was suffering from the "Red Madness", much like most of the wild life around.

Satisfied with the work, Jespar keeps his end of the bargain by leading me to the capital - Ark - to cure the sickness. Since the Riverville Myrad is sick (Enderal's fast travel system), we go on foot and it is a long walk through forests and over a mountain. Jespar isn't bad in a fight, but his twin daggers are shit for damage.

The city is an impressive sight from a far!

We eventually reach the visually stunning city and Jespar tells me to hang around for a day or so while he contacts whoever it is that needs to cure me. That's fine because Ark is HUGE and will take sometime for me to explore. It is much larger than Ust Natha!

Insight: There are "secure chests" scattered around civilized areas which are a god send for inventory weight management as they hold a global inventory. Put something in at Riverville and you can get it out in Ark, etc.

Monday, 9 March 2020

Enderal: Riverville

[Part of the Cursed story line]

Not far outside the tomb I encountered another mud elemental, and despite my best efforts can't slay the regenerating creature so I'm forced to flee down a waterfall... which happens to also be the front to a hidden pirate base? I decide to take their stuff, and their lives before following the crab filled coast to finally reach the town of Riverville.

Crustaceans grow big in these parts.

Not only is this near the place Jespar wanted me to go, it also has shops to sell items to and even more quests - from bounty hunting and retrieval of stolen property to exposing a rapist hiding in plain sight. I complete them all. Not bad for an outsider.

The pennies I earned are spent on skill books and salt to go with all the raw meat I need to cook. Having cooked food seems to be the best way to regenerate health outside combat. Inside combat, I have to rely on potions or spells - both of which increase Arcane Fever.

Insight: What a great gold sink idea! Earning levels gives a number of "learning points" which are spent in conjunction with consuming a skill book of a particular skill (+1). Lesser books are cheaper but are only effective to a point. Master level books are pricey but are the only ones that can get you to skill level 100.

Sunday, 8 March 2020

Enderal: Lost Ones

[Part of the Cursed story line]

Upon exiting the ruin, things just go downhill with this strange fever I found myself with. Luckily I run into a friendly merc named Jespar who welcomes me to this island of Enderal and is familiar with the symptoms and provides a potion of ambrosia to lessen the effects of this "Arcane Fever" temporarily.

A proper remedy is much more involved, and one he'd arrange if I helped him with his current job: to find out why a magic teacher went mad and decided to immolate his entire class. Without much choice I accept. Armed now with basic gear and a map, he sends me on my way while he finishes up hunting some bandits nearby.

Damn these things are scary.

It isn't long before I deal with some highwaymen of my own and fight a Vatyr goat man. Turns out the packs of deerstalkers are far deadlier! Exploring some land marks on the way I also meet the "Lost Ones" or undead who seem to plague this place. Inside one tomb I even kill a lich with stealth and archery. A useful combination.

Insight: The AI pathing can be easily exploited by finding vantage points to fire from while melee enemies can't hit you back. They will "take cover", but you can always lure them out by baiting them.

Saturday, 7 March 2020

Enderal: Dead Weight

[Part of the Cursed story line]

Stowing away in the cargo hold of the Morning Dew turned out to be a bad idea, but it was the most expeditious way to escape Ust Natha in the chaos caused by the deaths of that bitch Phaere and her mother. Having been found out by the crew, I was taken up to the deck where the she-captain decided to simply sink my plans. Literally.

Almost exactly what she looked like...

Tied to a weight and thrown overboard, it was only through sheer luck that I awoke on the sandy beach of some forgotten cove with no gear to speak of. Opting to venture inland I found some form of ruin, littered with blue crystals that made me feel sick every time I walked near them.

Of course, a troll lived in here too and with no gear to deal with it I had to lure it into an ancient trap to slay the beast. There was no such trap available further up in a room guarded by a mud elemental. I had to result to good old stealth to sneak past that one...

Insight: Traps do good damage on NPCs (and you), and can be reset for continued use.

Thursday, 5 March 2020

LISA: Joy

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

Winning the battle is not without cost as Brad - now bleeding, bruised and full of arrows and bullets stumbles forward towards his daughter. Lisa backs away, revealing that of everyone it is was Brad - her mean, terrible and awful absent step-father who hurt her the most by taking away her choices. With that, she leaves Brad in the dirt to die.

"Did I do the right thing?" Brad asks before everything goes dark...

"No, you did not."

Elsewhere, Stormlord returns to the wrestling circuit with his new tag-team partner Rage Metalhead while Guin, now free of enslavement, joins Yazan on his quest to find the mythical feline paradise.

The en...

Brad's eyes suddenly shot open. "Lisa..." he groaned in a monstrous voice.

Brad was no longer a terrible and awful person. He had become a terrible and awful Joy titan who had one goal: to worm his way towards his daughter... and...

The End.

Insight: Drugs are bad. Don't use them.

LISA: That's RANDO

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

Upon arriving at the island Fardy loudly proclaims what he's going to do to Lisa for stealing his boat, and for being the only female in the land. This leads to Brad killing him, and then proceeding to the lonely cave where he finds Lisa taking Joy while his old, abusive, and very much still alive father watches over her.

Despite his dad's change to be mellower, Brad flips out in a rage - exploding him into little bits despite Lisa trying to stop them mid-fight and getting hit for her trouble because Brad is a terrible and awful person. She runs away and steals Brad's boat. Royally pissed, Brad uses Fardy's corpse as a boat to give chase - eventually ending up on RANDO island where Brad finds a random creep leaving a permanent mark on Lisa's face with his knife. Brad annihilates the scum while Lisa runs away again - directly and purposefully into RANDO's army.

RANDO has a cool costume.

Brad attacks like a madman, finding some of his old gang - Crisp, Clint and Buff now among the RANDO forces each wanting a piece of Lisa. He kills them all with his massive supply of diesel firebombs (thank you empty bottles and unguarded generators). All 31 of them, to fight RANDO himself. Brad uses all his remaining firebombs but it is not enough - it comes down to a massive Karate battle before RANDO is defeated.

Insight: This fight would be much harder and longer without firebombs. You'll also want horse meat and RANDO rations for full heals as required.

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

LISA: To Build a Boat 2, the Epic Conclusion of Boat Building

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

When Brad's gang arrives at the Motorcycle crew's headquarters they are greeted by a horrible sight. All the crew save one are dead and partially eaten. The last remaining one has turned into a titan, and Guin takes most of the credit in taking it down. Unfortunately, bits of Beastborn are visible in a gigantic steaming turd nearby - probably having been the titan's first victim.

With no option but to look for more boat parts, the gang follows Birdie to a bath house he found. The door guard is a bit tough, but the mutant spiders within the maze like baths are no match. Neither is the yakuza gang chilling inside, as Stormlord zaps them all while they bathe. Brad takes their giant, oriental fan. They get lost on the way back out though and encounter a bathing titan which bites off the heads of Birdie and Olan before Buff slays it.

They do manage to rescue a child from within though, and blackmail his multi-sword wearing brother Crisp into joining the gang. Afterwards, the team checks out a large semi-trailer truck they bypassed earlier and find Satan inside. Rage, Guin and Yazan help Brad defeat the monster in an epic battle with Yazan being the MVP while Brad somehow survived getting his neck broken.

That's pretty close to what Satan looks like in the game!

With all the boat parts ready, Brad helps Fardy assemble it while his gang rests - and once it is complete promptly abandons his people to sail with Fardy to the island Lisa is at. This is because Brad is a terrible and awful person.

Insight: Rage is NOT the person to bring to the Satan fight, he wasn't very effective!

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

LISA: To Build a Boat

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

When Brad's naked and unequipped crew arrive at the next village they meet Tardy, brother of Fardy, who tells them the girl stole his boat and sailed to a nearby island. They can give chase, but must first assemble a boat of their own. To begin, they climb to the top of the mountain and defeat the American Football Gang there - making great use of Shocklord's AOE and Clint's debilitating attacks.

Those shoulder pads make his charges deadly!

Their leader, Buff, is disillusioned by his teams' weakness and joins Brad's instead - helping him take down the mountain titan higher up and providing a tool kit necessary to build the boat. Next, they visit the Pretty Boys again where Clint outshines their leader and takes his fine cloth. Alas Queen Roger, previously their hostage, had been killed and sold to RANDO's gang, to make their super RANDO rations. The Pretty Boys are all executed for this.

Collecting wood is next on the agenda so the team travels to the nearby hills where there is exactly one tree remaining. This is fiercely guarded by natives who are all killed, with Olan's rapid fire arrow taking down their chief. Brad then chops down the last tree on the hill, and perhaps on the continent with a single Armstrong chop. Brad is a terrible and awful person.

Brad hates it when I type that sentence, and so when Beastborn is kidnapped by the Motorcycle Crew while the team rests, he mounts a rescue mission to save his slave and prove me wrong.

Insight: If Brad suffers from withdrawal, use his fireball skills instead.

Monday, 2 March 2020

LISA: Hopes and Dreams

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

With the Bullies all dead, Brad pushes the team forward to chase Lisa - but stop at a nearby Wrestling establishment. Brad has always wanted to be a wrestler, so this is more important than his missing daughter. Brad is a terrible and awful person.

After passing the "test" by intentionally losing his first match, Brad is free to fight in three divisions. Free for all is just party EXP grinding. The solo circuit is easy, but the last match is another "fixed" one where he must lose  the match or lose wrestler privileges, and tag team where he is partnered up with Shocklord who joins the gang once the pair win the title belt!

This game has some really nice fan art!

Victorious, the gang press on, finding another one of Brad's "friends" who sold Lisa out. Brad kills him too, and just like last time is caught unaware when the Joy gang jumps them. Their leader holds out Lisa and makes Brad choose: either he cuts off one of Lisa's nipples, or he'll have his men shoot three of Brad's guys.

Brad chooses to protect the girl, and so Ajeet, Garth and Bo randomly lines up and are mercilessly machined gunned down like ugly, rabid dogs. During this, Lisa manages to slip away but the Joy gang doesn't let Brad pursue - forcing one more choice: for Brad to give up an arm, or for them to take all the stuff from Brad's team.

Brad cowardly lets them take all his gang's gear. The Joy gang does so, laughs and leaves Brad's gang naked in the wasteland.

Insight: I highly recommend joining the wrestling group if only to unlock a save point next to a safe "only wrestlers can sleep here" bed.

Sunday, 1 March 2020

LISA: The Fate of all Bullies

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

A music record held by the monstrous neck titan convinces Bo the bard to join, as does Garth the artist for dirty mags, Clint Olympic for a hell of a lot more dirty mags, and Ajeet Mandeep the joy hating playboy - just for kicks. With a decent sized gang now, Brad searches the area in earnest finding a cult of fast food worshiping nutjobs.

After using some TNT to kill the guards, his crew climb the "sacred mountain" and defeat their clown god in his restaurant. Entering a crack in the wall they fight past a cavern of mutated spiders and eventually find Lisa! Only, she doesn't want to go back with Brad. She wants to help the world. Brad won't take no for an answer. He's very rapey that way. Brad is an awful and terrible person.

You tell him, Terry!

As soon as they step out of the cave, the Joy gang ambushes them - takes Lisa and flees with Brad's crew in hot pursuit. Alas, the Bully gang gets in the way - whom Terry "can't beat em, join em" Hintz is now apart of. Despite that, they are woefully outnumbered and are all beaten to death by Brad's gang, save for the Bully leader who runs away feebly. Once Brad catches up to him, the Bully leader opts to shoot himself in the head instead of getting massacred like the coward he is.

Insight: Clint has low HP but his moves rock!

Friday, 28 February 2020

February 2020 Review

That back log list looks a bit better now, with How to Survive 2 taking over the Friday night co-op sessions while Metal Gear V and NWO: Infernal Descent fill out the rest of my gaming time. It's going to be a busy March for me work wise though, so here's hoping I can still get stuff done, especially since I'm re-adding a few "skipped" titles to the list for a "second chance" look.

Also, just for journal sakes - last month the WHO said "Don't worry about that Coronavirus in China, it's not as bad as the common flu." Yesterday they were more along the lines of "If people don't act now, everyone will be infected!". Sounds like they are incompetent morons.

    End 2020 with less weight (-1 kg from last month, running total: 0 kg)
    Make 1 web comic page (nope)
    hire landscapers for back yard (nope)
    +repair roof leaks

BACKLOG
How to Survive 2 (gift)
Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain (now at 68%) [gift]
NWO: Infernal Descent (0/2) [free to play]
+Carcassonne (PC) [free from Epic Games] (had enough)
+Ticket to Ride (PC) [free from Epic Games] (had enough)
+Aztez [free from Epic Games] (done)
+Faeria [free from Epic Games]
+Horace [free from Epic Games] (second chance)
+Observer [free from Epic Games] (second chance)
+Farming Simulator 19 [free from Epic Games] (second chance)
+Inner Space [free from Epic Games]

Board games:
Zombicide: Black Plague Campaign (10/11)
London Dread Campaign (1/4)
Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage (3/13)
Mice and Mystics: Heart of Glorm (0/11)

BLOG STATS

One Year Ago

I started playing Fallout Tactics.

Five Years Ago

I was playing Project Zomboid.

Most Viewed Posts last Month
The Cursed: Big Bluff
The Cursed: Almost the Last Lieutenant
The Cursed: Goddess of Snakes

Wow, nice to have my story posts top the views for a change!

Top Search Terms last Month
more and better prime day coupos online
online movie streaming triple threat
video games 3 year old    
   
Not sure what people are looking for with that set, though hmm - Triple Threat sounds like a movie I would enjoy. I should go watch that.

LISA: Pretty Boys

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

Not far from the Roulette Gang base, the gang finds themselves in a swamp and in the presence of Yazan the samurai and his cat, Kat. He says the girl is rumored to be in the area agrees to guide the team to a nearby outpost that features a bar - where Birdie the drunk joins, a brothel - where Queen Roger joins after Brad "helps them out" and a dojo where a Tigerman is killing everyone.

Exactly like this.

It is a long fight, but Brad's gang takes him down and enslaves him. Since Tigerman sounds stupid, Brad renames him to Guin. The party then proceeds across the snake filled swamp to a construction site, easily running over the construction crew with a stolen bulldozer. When faced with an enemy bulldozer, Queen Roger - high on Joy - destroys it with a club!

Too bad shortly afterwards the Queen is kidnapped by "the pretty boys" group, and while Brad goes there to negotiate - he finds he cannot pay the steep ransom so abandons the Queen to them. Brad and company then fight on through a village full of zombie creeps - subjects of joy experiments - who are easily distracted by Kat's cuteness, and fight their way down a dark cave to face a monstrous neck titan... and win. Brad feels that he might not be so terrible or awful after all.

Then he remembers he is currently under the effects of Joy.

Insight: Yazan's three wishes is great when he is taking Joy. Otherwise, Kat has a lot of debuffs.

Thursday, 27 February 2020

LISA: What Luck!

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

After the terrible events last time, Brad finds a motorcycle that all six of them can fit on and races across the desert in a bid to catch up with his daughter. This speed ends abruptly when he crashes into RANDO the skull faced leader of the RANDOs and wrecks the vehicle.

RANDO apologizes profusely and gives Brad's gang some super RANDO rations before getting into his limo and driving off with his gang. Before the team can make use of them another gang takes them hostage and drags them to their base! The Roulette gang have only one game on their mind - Russian roulette, and if Brad's gang can win three times they will be set free. Brad, not allowed to participate himself, must choose which of his guys to play.

It's not a fun game.

Fardy goes first, sucking down on that pistol in hopes it would favor him. It doesn't. He splatters his brains all over the wall. Percy is sent next - literally shitting as his turn comes up. Click! His opponent eats a bullet. Feeling more confident, Percy goes again but this time both pull 4 clicks and it's his turn once again. He drops a massive log as the bullet busts through his cranium.

Beastborn is sent next and casually wins against the next two enemies, winning the team's freedom! The Roulette gang honors their arrangement and sends them on their way. Beastborn asks if this means his slavery to Brad's gang is at an end too but Brad says no. Brad is a terrible and awful person.

Insight: I like that you can't die in the motorcycle part, it just resets if you fall off a cliff or something. On the other hand, there is no saving in the roulette part. Enjoy losing your team members! It's game over if all of them die.

Wednesday, 26 February 2020

LISA: An Acquired Smell

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

Using the bike to jump small chasms, the squad makes it to where Lisa is supposedly being held - a run down factory. Inside they fight the Manes Club, guys with ridiculous hair who take issue to Brad's baldness, and rescue the girl. Only it isn't Lisa - it's a dolled up truck driver named Fardy who joins the gang.

Fardy knows how to fix a nearby bridge that the RANDOs destroyed so while he gets to work, Brad and company explore a little more - accidentally killing a bunch of orphans by setting them on fire and then beating up wild man "Beastborn"  into slavery (he joins the gang too). They also save another man, Percy, who while taking a dump is attacked by a spider. Percy is so thankful he joins the team without cleaning himself up. Percy smells. Beastborn likes it.

Once the bridge is done, Brad, Nern, Olan, Rage, Fardy, Beastborn and Percy cross it - finding one of Brad's old friends who admits he's one of the ones that sold Lisa out. Brad brutally beats him with a spiked club while everyone else watches.

Definitely channeling his inner Negan.

They should have watched the hills instead, as they are all soon jumped by the masked Joy gang. Pinning down Brad, their leader gives him a choice: let him cut off Brad's arm, or kill Nern. Brad chooses to let Nern die, because Brad is a worthless and terrible person. The Joy gang slits Nern's throat and leaves, while the rest of Brad's gang starts to smell like Percy.

Insight: Nern's finger laser is useful, but not as useful as Beastborn's paralyzing whip.

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

LISA: Hot Wheels

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

Following the trail of bodies, Brad finds a man cowering in a tree. Cowering from a squirrel. Using his karate he obliterates the squirrel and saves the man, Terry Hintz - a tutor before things went to shit. The journey together briefly before being jumped by Brad's old bullies - the Bully gang.

They force him to choose: either give up all the gear they have, or give up Terry. Brad gives them Terry, because Terry is annoying. Also because Brad is a worthless and terrible friend. While the bullies have fun with Terry, Brad continues on his journey but faces a Joy withdrawal, weakening him severely and making him easy prey to dark cave dwellers who stroke him and make him feel weird (I'm not making that up).

I feel... weird...

Fortunately he is saved by two more guys: Nern the pistoleer and Olan the archer. At a nearby pub they Brad also hires Rage Metalhead the luchador to round out the team - handy against the roaming Barrel boys crew. They then help the Schoolboys gang get rid of encroaching RANDO thugs and are rewarded with access to their generator. Brad pours the generator oil into emptied beer bottles to make fire bombs and uses the explosives on a nearby titan monster at the playground to kill it and steal its bicycle.

Insight: Empty bottles are handy. Always pick them up!

Monday, 24 February 2020

LISA: She's been taken!

[Part of the Wasted Land story]

The world has gone to shit; most certainly in this land where there are no more women. Yet somehow Brad manages to find a baby girl, in the middle of nowhere whom he raises as his own for years with a few of his friends. To keep her safe, he locks her in the basement and forces her to wear a mask outside.

These decisions make her cry. These decisions force Brad to ponder his own shitty childhood using with his own abusive father. Unable to cope with his feelings since he's a weak and worthless fool, he self-medicates with the pills known as Joy.

Upon waking up from his drug-induced coma, he finds his house a mess - people dead everywhere, and the girl - missing. This cannot be! He can't fail her as a father like his father failed him! Filled with rage which suits his Armstrong style karate he begins his quest to find his missing daughter and journeys into the wasteland.

It is a dangerous place.

Insight: Wow. This is certainly NOT a feel good RPG. And I already cut out the more depressing stuff!

Sunday, 23 February 2020

Aladdin (2019)

Disney continues making live action versions of their cartoon hits.

When a power hungry Jafar (Marwan Kenzari) employs the street thief Aladdin (Mena Massoud) to steal a magic lamp, the boy becomes the accidental master of a powerful genie (Will Smith), and naturally uses his powerful wishes to try get with the Princess (Naomi Scott).

Somehow, this works!

That's a lot of names I listed up there, and it's because they are all great. I didn't have high expectations for this one what with Robin Williams genie being the one from my childhood, but you know what? This one is good too, and not in a "it's a competition" type way. They're both good. Will Smith's take on the genies behavior and songs makes it original to him, and I quite like it. Different enough to be entertaining, yet on the rails enough to keep the studio happy.

That's probably why it's so much better than Beauty and the Beast, and why I strongly recommend watching it. I give it 3 thieving monkeys out of 5 and would watch it again.

Friday, 21 February 2020

Ape Out

Exiting is your priority.

The plot is simple: You are an ape that needs to escape a heavily armed facility. The controls are simple: Move, grab, or push which is fatal to all enemies. The graphics are simple: Colored shapes denote you, the baddies, the walls and the blood. The goal is simple: Reach the end of the procedurally generated level. The game?

You can't cage the beast!

The game: is f-ing hard. This is one of those, fun for 15 minutes games before it starts feeling repetitive. Having the jazz music tied to your actions is pretty cool though, and it's not a bad program for what it is - but it's definitely not for me. :P

Insight: Grab guards and shove them into other guards.

Thursday, 20 February 2020

Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Stockholm syndrome to the max.

When an asshole prince his court are cursed to look other than human, they have no option but to capture locals that wander into their ruined palace and try to rape them. I mean, make them fall in love with them, but you can tell they tried option one first.

I don't recall how the animated version got away with this, but this live action one starring Emma Watson heavily falls into the Stockholm syndrome area - and the only reason people end up siding with the Beastly Prince (Dan Stevens) is that her other suitor, Gaston (Luke Evans), is an even bigger douche bag.

Oh, maybe it didn't...

Problem number two: surprisingly, the CGI doesn't do it for me here - especially the teapot and tea cup. Those looked particularly amateurish. Problem three: It is BORING. We were literally falling asleep while watching this, either because we knew what would happen next or bad pacing. At least there were some new songs, but for the most part if you've seen the cartoon movie you've seen this. Worse, the cartoon movie is superior. I give this one 1 candlestick out of 5. Skip it.

Superhot

It's not, really.

This minimalistic VR shooter is more a puzzle than an FPS as its gimmick is time doesn't move unless you do, and since a single hit can kill you - you are required to memorize patterns of movement to evade bullets, grab guns and kill all the bad dudes in each scene for a perfect "SUPERHOT" run.

Can't really plan since looking around advances time.

The lack of a HUD is slightly annoying for ammo count purposes, but more annoying is the plot which more than subtly suggests to stop playing the game. So I did. I give this 1 thrown gun out of 5.

Insight: In the "chat" parts, hold down the right arrow to type.

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Let's hope it ends here this time.

Turns out Anakin can't do anything right after all, as the Emperor Palpatine is quite alive and is busy orchestrating "evil machinations" through use of... his cult of engineers and secret planet of infinite resources? As usual, they have a ridiculous weak link in their grand plan which is exploited to an obvious outcome. You'd think they would have learned after the Death Star.

So much anger!

The story isn't about him though, it's still about Kylo (who is more likable on this film) and Rey (who is less likable). It helps that Kylo's arc is basically cooler while Rey is a moron. Not as bad as Finn though, who literally shouldn't have been in this movie (or the last movie). Would have been better had he died at the end of Force Awakens, but no - studio wanted a black dude because ... multiculturalisms!?

As usual the special effects are top notch and while this movie had a few problems, it was nowhere as bad as the Last Jedi - I give it 3.5 reanimated dead actors out of 5. This re-usage of dead people is really becoming a thing huh?

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Neverwinter Online: Infernal Descent

Hell introduces the Hangry Meter.

With the Vallenhas Stronghold pulled down to Avernus, the first layer of Hell, it has become the staging site of great battles between man-lings and demon kind as well as the best place to hunt a giant gorilla with a mace for a hand. Most importantly it now holds one of the best vendors in the game, Juma, who you will find conveniently locked away in the courtyard, instead of on the jumping puzzle rooftop where he was initially.

For new comers this place is tough! Special attention has to be given to the little pips/dots on enemies too which is their new difficulty rating - what I like to call their Hangry Meter. The more dots, the tougher the fight. As an example well fed Hell Hounds have 1 while ravenous hell hounds have 4. Juma's surprise bags will eventually drop the gear you need to thrive.

Even the blue dragon wants a piece of the ape!

I also quite like that there are a lot of evadable patrolling groups which adds some life to the place and the teleport glyphs save lots of travel time to the heavily modified stronghold map. For squishy characters, remember to use cover as there are a lot of ranged enemies - they won't shoot if they can't see you and they like turning corners blindly. In addition, try keep all fights in a small area to avoid extras from joining in.

Infernal Descent is a tough mod but one that gets my tick of approval.

Insight: If you are under geared, chase the +ape for a bit for the currency to buy Juma's bags. With luck, you'll get the stuff you need in short order. Also, don't be afraid to use zone chat to let people know an ape is on your channel to get reinforcements.

Monday, 17 February 2020

TowerFall: Dark World

Channel your inner archer!

In this co-op pixel platformer, players must defend their one screen tower from waves of enemies. Moving off screen warps you to the other side, this includes vertically - and everyone is armed with a bow and arrows. Very limited arrows (around 4 max) which means a lot of aiming and picking up of used ammo.

Not my cup of tea.

I only played solo but still managed to kill myself with my own arrow, so I can only imagine the chaos four players would endure! The Dark World expansion naturally features harder levels, as if the original set wasn't bad enough. A fun distraction, probably more fun with friends but not one I will linger on. I give it 1.5 arrows out of 5.

Insight: You can injure/kill some enemies by hopping on their head like Mario!

Sunday, 16 February 2020

SOMA

Questions what is means to be you.

A simple procedure leads Simon into a horrific facility filled with alien constructs and you must help him with his two goals: to find out what is going on and to get the hell out of there! This game does horror right. Not so many jump scares but the oppressive story and environment will have you crouch walking quite a lot! :P

The enemies too are nicely varied from area to area though some are real pains in the ass to get past. Also, the protagonist is a bit of a douche (required for story tension I guess), but the most annoying bit for me was the looking for stuff. Sometimes, something as simple as a button. Other times, like at the start, some medicine.

Will you be my friend?

I really wish there were better hints or indications of where to look for those, but to be fair some of the items are where you think they'd be. A battery will be in the power room for example. Right next to that weeping enemy. Great. LOL. Anyway, I found it to be really cool and definitely recommend it if you are into this horror genre. Just be advised it can be a little depressing (and very depressing if you don't play the after credits section). I give SOMA 4 omnitools out of 5.

Insight: The monsters have different "weaknesses". Near the start there are those that don't like being looked at, near the end there's a bastard who stops moving if you keep your eyes on him.

Saturday, 15 February 2020

Jotun

It's all about impressing the gods.

Having drowned at sea, Thora the viking finds herself in the otherworldly realms of Norse Mythology and must prove herself to gain entry to Valhalla by striking down the titular Jotun that reside within. The hand drawn artwork here is great, as are the Icelandic voice overs and each area has its own form of puzzles and rewards exploration through new powers or increasing your life bar - however this short game does suffer from the "empty space syndrome".

Not so empty in this fight though.

There are very few minion type enemies leaving most of the battles focused squarely on the handful of giant Jotun present in the game and while those fights are pretty cool, the sections in between are a little bit stagnant which is a bad feeling to take from an already short game. It's entertaining enough, but unless you are a die-hard art fan or Norse fan you would be better served playing other games - namely Bad North or Hellblade for a viking fix or Ruiner which uses this style of game play. I give Jotun 2.5 giant birds on an even giant-er(?) bird out of 5.

Insight: When fighting the last boss not only can you can dodge those seeking spears, you can also destroy them with a regular attack.

Thursday, 13 February 2020

The Terror: Infamy (aka Season 2)

With World War II looming, this series follows the lives of Japanese-Americans who are treated rather badly by their own country - in particular a family "cursed" by a malevolent, (and hot) spirit (played by Kiki Sukezane).

I quite like this shot in the intro.

You'll probably also be cheering for the spirit most of the time since the protagonist (played by Derek Mio) is written as a huge douchebag, especially at the start. I get that characters need growth but geez, I still didn't like his character at the end.

While the sets and gruesome deaths are still great, there is a noticable lack of "doom" which pervaded the previous season - mainly due to the setting and the "monster". That is why I only give it 2.5 babies out of 5 this time around. Not bad, but not something I'd actively recommend either.

The Messenger

Intentionally annoying.

In this old-school pixel platformer, you are given some vague directions to deliver a scroll "to the East" and must use your ninja skills to get past all the demons in the way. The game actually has a low difficulty at the start, but as you gain more skills (literally given to you slowly by someone you meet near the start because it doesn't occur to them to give them ALL to the "CHOSEN ONE" ASAP), it eventually stops becoming an option to use them and more of a required mastery to progress.

You "could have" powered up from the start of the game.
Just one of many annoyances.

Checkpoints also get farther and farther apart and the gimmick that revives you from death loves to belittle and mock your skill as a player. After a fair bit of this, the game suddenly becomes a platform explorer - where you need do back track (a lot) to recover key items. At that exact flip-the-script moment did my patience run out for this game as yes, you'll need to go back through all those hard parts. In reverse. That must have saved some design budget huh?

It's a shame this game breaks the number one rule of game making - IT HAS TO BE FUN. Getting players angry and annoyed at your game results in the opposite of that. Thus, I give the Messenger 1 turtle demon out of 5. If you are looking for a platform game, I recommend getting the more encouraging Celeste instead, as it has a better plot, better player encouragement, and all the really hard stuff is optional.

Insight: Against bosses with large hit box targets turn left and right when you attack as a single swing counts as double, ending a fight much faster than usual.

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Bad North - Jotunn Edition

The vikings are coming!

In this small scale and almost "cute" Unity made strategy game, you are in control of up to four units in the defense of various islands against a hoard of viking invaders. There is no structure building, only structure defense as each house still standing at the end of each quick round nets you gold to upgrade your forces.

What is really impressive is how easy it is to get into the game, and how difficult it gets later on. You only really have three unit types in this rock, paper, scissors type available while the vikings have twice the variation. In between the island skirmishes you also must tactically decide which islands you want to go to - more houses might mean more gold but harder to defend. Or that island might have an item, or a recruitable commander.

They just invade from everywhere!

All the while you must outrun the viking fleet itself as getting caught is an instant game over. A perfect example of a game that's easy to learn and hard to master, I really enjoyed Bad North and highly recommend it to everyone, even those who dislike strategy games (like me)! That's how good it is. I give it 5 giant archers out of 5.

Insight: Archers are quite versatile once leveled up. Before parking them up on high ground (probably near your pike men) let them fire from the beach to knock vikings into the ocean (instakill). You can also position them behind shield guys to provide fire support.

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Tefal Cook 4 Me = Fire Hazzard

This nice device really helps in getting meals ready, automatic a bit of the cooking process for you. Unfortunately, it comes with a design flaw. Basically, this little pot is a type of pressure cooker and releasing the steam/pressure is one of those automated processes to help out the user.

It's actually really handy; when not starting fires...

It does this through a vent in the back... which happens to be almost above where the power cord plugs in. Not a problem if it was only steam coming out, but so does some liquid (we make a lot of soups/stews). Liquid that drips into said power cord which causes a short! Lucky our breakers are working.

Anyway, due to this I strongly recommend NOT BUYING this product and if you already have one be sure never leave it unattended. Kinda defeats the automation at that point doesn't it?

Monday, 10 February 2020

QUBE 2

It's like Portal, but with boxes.

Waking up with amnesia in an alien structure is always worrisome, and that's exactly what happens to the protagonist of this game. Fortunately, she's wearing a special suit that lets her manipulate some of the cubes the make up the building and must solve her way out of there.

Yep, with a lack of baddies - or indeed, any way to die/game over - this is definitely a physics and logic puzzle game where you must beat each challenge room before being able to proceed. It's pretty easy for the most part, but there are a few head scratchers once you reach chapter 7 and up.

Aliens love cubes for some reason.

There's a weak story draped over the top with the whole alien thing, but if you just want a puzzle game that plays well, looks nice and doesn't take too long then this one is definitely worth looking into. I give it 2.5 cubes out of 5.

Insight: A few pieces for this one - you can "ride" green cubes and oil makes things slippery and flamable but flame burns oil away. If you need to burn something far away, think of setting up a few "oiled" cubes to chain react the fire - or to keep an oil spout active once it is lit.

Sunday, 9 February 2020

Technical Difficulties: the Burning Flood

Meanwhile in Australia... 

Plan = Not Drown?

Unfortunately neither of those are conducive to having a stable power supply so my regular posting might fluctuate for a bit. Just giving you a heads up!

Saturday, 8 February 2020

Tesla Model 3

I managed to ride one of these quiet beauties recently and boy, does it scream "THIS IS THE FUTURE" for me. Gone are your standard car displays behind the wheel. This time you just have a laptop sized screen that shows all the information plus navigation, music, and anything else you want to set down to seat, wheel, and mirror adjustments based on the user. I also quite liked the 3D rendering display of the car's immediate surroundings thanks to all the cameras lining the vehicles exterior.

Not only can you set these to record and save to both an internal USB and to your remote server on "Sentry Mode" to look out for bad dudes, it also uses it to literally drive itself. You can let go of the wheel and the car will handle speeding up to the limit you set or slowing down if something is detected ahead. Just indicate to switch lane and it will do it for you, again using the detectors to determine a safe gap to do so.

Not as clunky looking as the earlier models.

Yes, by the same means it can also park itself and using a "summon car" app on your phone (which is one of your main IDs to access the vehicle) it can drive itself to you as long as you are in range. I assume that means "parking lot" size and not "home to airport" distance, though the latter would be funny especially if you put a dog in the driver seat and set the car to "dog mode" (keeps the car cool even if "off"). Imagine some cops trying to pull that over!

Not sure you'd actually want a dog in there though as the interior is really slick and comfy, and the glass roof really makes it spacious. It takes around a full evening to recharge the car back to full (as your battery is now your gas) or much faster if you use a super-recharge station which will do the same in a matter of minutes.

There are limits though: The self drive ability only works on roads with lines, so freeways and such are the best use of the feature. Off road or joining/leaving a freeway is best a manual task. Also the car can "panic" if it gets confused which will cause it to wail loudly while returning manual control so no snoozing for you drivers! Obviously any service must be conducted by a Tesla shop too as your local mechanics might scratch their head at what's under the hood.

Lastly, the thing is basically a 2 ton app now and apps can be hacked, tracked, and the like. I mean, it already intentionally tracks itself (again, anti-theft device linked to your phone) but it really looks to be the future of the automotive industry. A second intelligence that helps prevent accidents? Hell yes! Would I get one? Definitely! Why don't I? Because it's super expensive. :P