Friday 31 December 2021

The Mind and The Grizzled

A pair of cooperative card games.

The Mind

In this two to four player cooperative card game, players are given cards that have a number from one to one hundred and without talking or telling anyone what they have - put them down in numerical order from lowest to highest.

That would be easy if all numbers were handed out but nope. On level one, each player only has one card. On level two, two cards and so on (our best was level five). Somehow, this makes for a very fast and fun party game - even for spectators. Definitely better than I initially expected. Worth checking out!

The Grizzled

In this one to five player cooperative card game your goal is to uncover the "peace" card buried under 25 trial cards and have no cards left in any players hand. At the start of each round the leader says a number and that's how many cards dealt from that pile.

Then on their turn players will usually play a card, trying to avoid having any three of the same symbols on the trial cards show up. If this happens, the mission is lost. All played cards return on top of the peace card and cards from the pile on top of the "monument" card follow suit - one for each card still in a players hand (minimum of three).

Art by Tignous (RiP).

If the monument is revealed, the players lose. Also if any one player suffers four "hard knocks" (lasting conditions that are a pain to deal with) they lose.

While each player will be able to mitigate some dangers by removing cards from the battle field, or cards still in hand, or the above mentioned hard knocks, the challenge comes from not actually being able to tell your friends what is in your hand. A very neat and difficult game that requires some thinking. I quite enjoy this one.

Thursday 30 December 2021

December 2021 Review: Make Good Choices

It's been a bit of a board game month for me which is why you'll be seeing a lot of board game reviews and play throughs here for a bit. Also coming up is my play through of Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire which I could squeeze in while completing Neverwinter's decently rewarding and SUPER easy Echoes of Prophecy campaign (even the legacy weekly tasks award the currency for this one).  

Our Friday night gaming continues with GTFO and now Mech Warrior Mercenaries 5 beating down Ghost Recon Wildlands. Mech Warrior is an interesting game, but boy did we plug in a lot of mods to make it work for co-op.

Anyway, hope everyone has a Happy New Year! One that will be better for everyone, and one that we can all make good / better choices in. We'll see how we go! :P

That's not a good choice. Who the heck makes these ads?

Most Viewed Posts in the last 30 days:
Steam Discovery Queue - Crusade of the Free XXV
Steam Discovery Queue - Crusade of the Free XXVI
Steam Discovery Queue - Crusade of the Free XXIX

Ah, posts from that silly crusade. As I mentioned previously I'll still be posting about free games I find on Steam but this time just the ones I find interesting.

Wednesday 29 December 2021

A Gentle Rain

Tile laying solitaire.

In this small game, you are simply laying down tiles one at a time with the only rule being the flowers at the edge of a tile must match the ones you put next to it. If you can get four tiles to form a box, you can "grow" another flower in the gap (round token), as long as it matches an adjacent one and while the terms "win" and "lose" are not in the manual (instead the game "ends"), being able to put all the round tokens down seems to be the winning condition.

It's a little harder than it looks.

Very cool zen type game, especially if you listen to the recommended soundtrack while doing it. If that sounds like something you'll enjoy, then this is definitely worth checking out.

GTFO: R6C1 - Navigation (Main)

After beating R6B1, this level is a solid introduction of why GTFO is a bastard. LOL. Also, since this was an impromptu session only DL and I started (no bots) and Archer and Jim joined in later with the following loadouts:

Me: Pistol/Shotgun/C-Foam/Spear
DL: DMR/Sniper/Mines/Bat
Archer: DMR/Shotgun/Auto Sentry/Bat
Jim: Bullpup/Shotgun/C-Foam/Hammer

In this map you need to collect three data cubes, and they are in a set order. Map wise if you stand at the first alarm door Z144 this is North West, then West, and North East.

Heavy sleeper spawns litter the initial area so DL and I stealth killed the lot before Archer joined us to search for all the gear and handle the door to Z144 which is a class IV cluster alarm (initial scan + 3 sets of 8 small and fast circles). This first room has SIX doors into it but only TWO from the start zone which is where the waves will spawn from (DL mined them). For us, they came through the upstairs door with some giant strikers for good measure.

After looting the next tiny zone the next alarm door to Z145 is an ERROR ALARM. This means a single circle, but the alarm won't stop and enemies (strikers and hybrids) will constantly spawn every minute or so. Fortunately this alarm can be switched off, but you need to move fast and loud to do so (which is something Archer excels at).

While the error alarm is going advance quick while closing doors behind you and mine them to thin your pursuers (DLs job). You also need to handle the sleepers in front AND to find a key card at the same time (Archer and I) as the door to Z146 is locked. Once the key goes in, its just a regular team scan into the next chamber where the terminal is located (along the right wall, downstairs). Type in "DEACTIVATE_ALARMS" to finally end that error alarm sequence and back track to loot any missing kits. At this point Jim joined the game.

The door to Z147 is a regular scan and holds the first data cube. Picking it up teleports you to the rocky desert where you must survive against the flying things until you get teleported back. Then you must backtrack and head to the Western section of the map where there door Z148 is a checkpoint (soft save) scan. YAY!

Past that, the door to Z149 is a Class V alarm with two doors in. Enemies will come from both, but since we had two C-foam launchers at this point it was easy as both Jim and I did door duty (one each) and DL's mines and Archers turret upstairs took out everything. Inside this door is what DL terms "ATTACK ON TITAN". We ended up using a lot of our ammo killing the 9+ striker giants within who are guarding Z150 which is a regular scan door again.

If that wasn't BS enough, the next room contains 5 SCOUTS. As spear boy, I dealt with the majority with help from Jim c-foam grenading a couple and DL sniping the last. If you don't kill them, the door to Z151 is a regular stealth scan - which means no alarm but a lot of little circles to stand on. I don't like your odds of doing that with 5 tentacle bastards lurking around.

After that you'll find data cube number 2 and again be ported to survival desert filled with flying bastards. Due to ammo shortages Archer and Jim actually went down here, but we survived long enough to be teleported back (and both of them immediately revived). Now its time to head Eastward on the map and find Z152 which is thankfully a second checkpoint scan. YAY!

Beyond this is large chamber and the next security door needs you to type something in the terminal at the base of the huge 5 level pit below. Before you do this, collect all the gear as there is LOTS and you will need it. Archer also placed his turret facing the door into the room, while DL mined the inner staircase (the ones closest to the pit). Jim and I also iced said staircases just before the mines in hopes to catch more of them.

Once you are all set, the entire team needs to be at the terminal when you type the command in as this begins a MOVING TEAM SECURITY SCAN. Everyone must stay in the circle as it moves at walking pace while flyers, hordes of small strikers and a hybrid or two come to get you.

From the terminal, the scan will move out to the wall then AWAY from the staircase up following the outer circle. Eventually it will go up the stairs and then to a complete loop of that floor before heading to the next set of stairs directly ahead of the ones you just came up. This is choke point number one as baddies will be in front and behind you. Shotguns are useful if you don't hit each other.

The scan will push up the stairs immediately then advance along the right wall up and around the little raised section before coming out and then to the large doorway with stairs up to the top level. This is choke point number two. I used a c-foam grenade behind us to delay pursuers while the others brute forced past a hybrid.

Once you get to the top floor the scan will complete and you are free to scatter a little - but we went straight for the door and started the slow regular scan while finishing off our pursuers. Holy hell. It is super tense, but if you survive up to here, you are already good.

Data cube #3 isn't a survive segment, it's just a short "be afraid" teleport and the extract is a no enemy, fast circle which an excellent way to GTFO.

Monday 27 December 2021

Five Minute Dungeon

Stays true to its name.

The objective in this one to four player cooperative card game is to defeat a dungeon and the boss at the end before time (tracked by a voice over app or a simple timer on your own device) runs out. 

It has a uniquely shaped box too.

The dungeon is basically a stack of obstacle cards that you open one at a time. Collectively you must throw cards with the relevant required symbols to beat it before you can open the next obstacle, or in some cases use your characters special power to simply brute force past a particular type.

All of this expends your hand, which is bad since each of the five bosses all need a mixture of things to beat them. While the bosses and dungeon vary in difficulty (shorter deck of obstacles = easier dungeon) the time limit is always the same: five minutes.

And it will be a crazy adrenaline filled five minutes too. Quite fun if you are after a quick and light game. It is easier with more people though - we got really into it and simply crushed it twenty times in a row. Worth a look if that sounds like your sort of thing.

Sunday 26 December 2021

Monopoly Mega Edition

Better but still has the problems of Monopoly.

This board game version of Monopoly comes with a few extra board spaces and the important speed die which has a chance to either give a player a bus ticket (one use to move to any spot on their side of the board) or Mr. Monopoly which after your normal move (and pay rent/buy etc) teleports you to the next unowned property.

If you don't want to buy it the bank auctions it then and there and the highest bidder wins the deed. Once all properties are owned, Mr. Monopoly will start teleporting people to the next property they need to pay rent on, which speeds up player elimination (last one standing wins).

Some people like keeping things in order. I'm not one of them.

Also different in this version, if you own all but one of the same property color you can already start building houses to get more rent. You do still need all of a color to construct hotels though - and skyscrapers which are basically death traps to any non-owner who lands there.

It's a pretty good effort to speed up the game, but lets check on the bad mechanics. Roll to move? Check. Player elimination? Check. Runaway leader? Check. Long game? Not as long as the original, but still 3 hours for us. Ultimately best left for people that already like playing Monopoly. If you didn't like it before, this won't change your opinion of it.

Saturday 25 December 2021

Free Puzzle Presents

If you like exercising your noggin then here are a few free puzzle games on Steam you might want to try out. First up is the (ditsy) Victoria Clair and the Mystery Express, where puzzles are front and center as long as you can put up with the hand drawn art. The brain teasers are definitely varied in this one, but don't worry - your cat will give you clues if you can keep feeding it!

If you prefer your puzzles with a dash of horror instead, then Escape the Clinic might be for you. With jump scares and an overall sense of foreboding this might tick the box for some of you crazy people.

Horror isn't your thing? Maybe a first platform puzzler is what you need! EQI fills this role nicely, as its gimmick is you can rotate the map on its axis - changing where gravity pulls you (and a few other obstacles). Easy control and quick maps make it quite entertaining.

Or maybe you just want some WTF block-push solving. In this case, Helltaker is the game for you - so named because you play a guy picking up all the cute demon girls in each lair of hell!?! Very funny and the later levels are very challenging. Definitely worth looking at though!

I'll drink to that!

Friday 24 December 2021

Exploding Kittens

Needs to be played with the right crowd.

A competitive card game for up to five players where everyone starts with a "defuse" card and a random array of seven others. On your turn you can play as many or as few (none is valid) cards as you like, many of which are of the "take that!" variety.

Afterwards you draw a card and play moves to the next player, UNLESS the card you drew was an exploding kitten. In which case you must use a defuse card to remain in the game (and hope others don't cancel that). Otherwise you're out and get to watch everyone else play while idling and doing nothing (because that's fun).

Fortunately the game rounds are pretty quick and the last player who isn't exploded wins. My family found this hilarious but everyone played nice most of the time, never "noping" a defuse and usually only cancelling direct attacks on themselves. This is how we enjoyed it.

Obviously the mechanics are there to let you be more cut-throat if you want, so your enjoyment with this one really depends on what you are after and what the people you are playing with are after. As long as everyone's on the same page if there's a gentleman's agreement or balls to the wall take that (which it is by design) then it should be fine. Otherwise...

Take that!

Thursday 23 December 2021

Ho-Ho-Home Invasion of Magic Cats!?

Merry Christmas everyone! My gift for you this year is to stop that crazy Steam crusade I've been on... well more like, stop posting about it in its current format. Posting those daily soulless lists was about as much fun as reading them.

Now I'll just be posting about the ones I enjoyed, starting with the titular Ho-Ho-Home Invasion which fits this Christmas season. In this top down stealther you play as Santa who needs to deliver presents to everyone without being caught. It's pretty tough!

If you prefer your stealth to be easier and with a fantasy slant, try Curse that Magic Cat. It's a cute student made stealther where you play a cat who on each level needs to find three spell books before the bumbling evil wizard does.


And if you just want a top down absurd zombie game that features no stealth whatsoever try I MAED A GAM3 W1TH ZOMB1ES 1NIT!!!1. All you need to do is survive for the entire song, which is the main point of interest/creativity for me. Somehow I ended up playing this one way more that the first two!

All of those are currently free on Steam. Enjoy and have a safe and fun Christmas!

Wednesday 22 December 2021

Pop N Hop

Roll to move is bad, and its the main mechanic of this game!

In this four player competitive board game, you each start with four pawns who need to exit their base, run around a circuit and land exactly on a free finishing tile. If you land on another pawn you send that back to their base, and the winner is whoever wins the race!

Fun? - N - Nup!

Alas, there is almost no decision making to be had here as rolling the 1d6 determines your fate. A natural 6 lets you roll again you need one to even get one of your pawns onto the race track so expect many turns where you end up doing nothing! I recommend avoiding this one, as there are better games you can spend your time on.

Tuesday 21 December 2021

OSMO Detective Agency

A pretty cool where's "x" game.

OSMO is a game system that comes with a stand for your iPad and a top attachment mirror that uses the camera to detect physical spaces in front of it.

In Detective Agency, you are usually chasing after a thief (silly ones since it's target audience is kids) and must follow clues using the provided magnifying glass on the many provided well illustrated maps. The program will tell you want to hunt for, and all you need to do is place the magnifying glass on it to register - though you might have to also physically move the map to get it into the cameras range.

Great idea... if you like finding things!

While things like "find the Eiffel tower" are pretty easy I do like that they also have tasks such as "find three cyclists", "find the guy in the yellow shirt", "find the tiny briefcase", "find something in this shape (the hint is colorless)", and my favorite "find the thing described by a clue with no image provided" to test if you've been reading the educational hints as you find things.

The campaign is of decent length and features a lot of collectibles to decorate your office too. Pretty cool and makes a decent gift for kids into this sort of thing. As a bonus, they'll be able to then use any other OSMO games they get in the future!

GTFO: R6B1 - Hexahedrons (Main)

After beating R6A1, this level introduces fog mechanics - but thankfully its non-poisonous. Also while this facility seems pretty big and has multiple paths, there's actually only one path to go at any one time - so just lug around the Matter Wave Projector to the security door with the highest number you find and leave it there, even if you can't open it yet. Don't be afraid to just leave it behind too. Team loadout as before is:

DL: DMR/Sniper/Mines/Cudgel
Jim: Bullpup/HEL Gun/C-Foam/Hammer
Me: Pistol/Machinegun/Auto Sentry/Spear

You'll need a cell to open the next door so go West and defeat the Class IV alarm in your way. Mining the door and Jim going on c-foam duty to continuously ice while we did this makes it easy. Somewhere in here is the cell and also a SCOUT! Don't let those tentacles get you!

Quick scout recap: Snipe the head if its alone, or if you want to stealth kill it patiently wait around a corner for it to extend tentacles. When it retracts them, follow them back in while charging your melee strike and hit the scout in the head. Much easier with a spear now, but you still must abort your attack if the scout walks away OR if you start from the full extent of the tentacles (you simply can't walk up to him in time, hence you need a corner).

Most of the rest of the level follows suit. Explore, deal with sleepers, deal with scout, use mines and c-foam to beat class IV alarm doors, enjoy regular team scans, and especially enjoy the new checkpoint scans which soft saves your progress so if you die, you can start from that point. Just remember you don't need to visit EVERY room or kill EVERY thing. Stealth is actually an option if you are patient and have lock melters.

Checkpoint scans have a BUG: DO NOT be holding the Matter Wave Projector (or anything you didn't start the mission with) when standing in the scan or you'll be stuck holding it forever as I did if you need to reload.

Eventually you'll reach an awesome looking room where you need to plug the Matter Wave Projector in. Before doing so, deploy your remaining mines at around head height on the passage leading South back to the extraction point.

Once that's done, plug in the device, hike over to the terminal, type in the commands and quickly hide in one of the houses (lower one is better) before flying tentacle monsters come for you! Just save ammo and hide until you are teleported back to the facility.

Don't relax just yet, as you need to sprint back to the starting spot (or casually walk back if you bugged out like I did and were still carrying a matter projector) for the slow extract. The mines will help slow down these speedy pursuers. Also, learn from Rickon Stark and don't run in a straight line: they can't seem to hit you if you zig zag widely. Use the "drop box" as cover while holding them off (or take turns tanking) to eventually GTFO!

Monday 20 December 2021

GTFO: R6A1 - Artifact 7 (Main)

Been awhile since we've won any GTFO levels, and now that it's now out of Early Access with Rundown 6 is a great time to do so! There are new melee weapons now and the ability to have AI controlled allies if your party is short a few players. Being the stubborn mules we are, we still did this one with our three man team:

DL: DMR/Sniper/Mines/Bat
Jim: Bullpup/Shotgun/C-Foam/Hammer
Me: Pistol/Machinegun/Auto Sentry/Spear

Weapon notes: the hammer is the same as before, the bat is a faster hammer but with shorter range, the spear is slower but can hit farther. Also the Machinegun has way more recoil now making it much less useful than previously.

Since this is the tutorial level you are graced by an opening with zero monsters and three doors. One needs a key and the other two are just team scans, but this is a teaching moment about only opening the door you need so use the terminal to list and query the key then open the correct one.

You'll have light spawns of sleepers in here so practice your stealth kills while you get the key and head back to the locked door. This is a class II diminished alarm, and enemies will spawn from the door that is open. Crash course on alarm ranks: the number is how many sets of circles you'll need to complete (including the initial one at the door) before the door unlocks and enemies stop spawning. Diminished means less baddies than usual will spawn.

There will still be around 15-25 baddies to deal with. Finish the circles and clear them all before opening the now unlocked door to be introduced to giants. Sniper fodder. From here on you'll have light to medium spawns of sleepers and a LOT of ground to cover (they're showing off) but the basic gist is just keep heading North.

Eventually you'll reach the security door to zone 79 which is a class III alarm. We mined each door and c-foamed the two southern ones (they actually came from the SW door and East door for us) but it was fine. This is followed by a long chamber with a regular team scan door at the end. In the pit of the next room is the objective: the Matter Wave Projector.

Once you pick that up (and go WTF) you'll need to keep running North through to zone 81 which only contains an extraction point. Setup defenses quickly (mine the corridor, cfoam the floor, set turret) as the slow extract guarantees at least one wave of enemies reaching you. Survive that and GTFO!

Friday 17 December 2021

Steam Discovery Queue - Crusade of the Free XXXIII

Continuing freebies from last time... the one in bold is the best of this set.

Chromalition: A 3D platformer where you are a skating graffiti artist who can turn into graffiti? Poor controls - obviously not designed for PC.

Cry of Fear: A first person horror walking simulator with some jump scares. I assume there might be fighting and puzzles to solve too but I got bored traversing the large open areas of mundaneness. Opening the game in a pitch black map is also didn't help encourage me to keep playing, even once I did get to the lighted streets. Garbage.

Loopomotive: A colorful top down game where you must drive a train around a track for a particular amount of time to clear the level. If you hit any cars (or they hit you because they never stop) you fail and must restart. Bleh.

Mount Serenity - Guardian of the Spirits: 3D explorer and platform puzzler where you must send a friendly flying dragon to collect runestones to unlock each area. Slightly confused why the dragon just doesn't win the game himself.

Puzzle Box Palace: Student Made first person light platformer puzzler where you visit your grandpa's house which happens to be a puzzle box (in that walls and gravity moves around). Pretty cool and not overly difficult to solve.


Runo: A narrative first person walking simulator with nice graphics. I quickly ran into a game breaking bug with the red bucket though, and when trying again got stuck with the mundane stuff. Not recommended.

Souls of the Wind: A 3D platform puzzler with large areas to explore, but something distorts the sound for me when talking to other characters or in cutscenes.

Squared Up: A top down puzzle game with basic graphics where you play a geometric shape (starts as a square but you can shapeshift later) to navigate mazes and such.

Touhou Block Fall - Yukari: A hand drawn block matching game where symbols fall from the top (like tetris) while you can swap columns next to each other to try get them to match vertically (only) to clear them out.

Virtual Exhibition: A virtual photography gallery. Bleh.

Thursday 16 December 2021

Steam Discovery Queue - Crusade of the Free XXXII

Continuing freebies from last time... the one in bold is the best of this set.

Ann: 2D explorer horror set in a haunted school. Need to save the game a lot as danger and death are usually very sudden. You'll get it once that first piano kills you. Kind of annoying.

Blood Spear: A dark gothic horror that looks a lot like Dark Souls, except with the only weapon being a sentient and very blood thirsty spear. There are good visuals and action segments and one of the stand out parts is the death system. There are many "ghost knights" who do nothing but say one liners if you talk to them. Turns out, should you perish - the spear lives on, and you can fly it to one of the ghost knights to revive and possess. Very cool.


Chess: Uh. Probably would have been better if it was actually chess instead of whatever this garbage is.

Doorways - Old Prototype: First person platformer set in hell with developer notes lying around. Bleh.

Iraq War: Doesn't even start. Fail.

IWOCon Digital Convention: Argh. I don't just say that for the pirate theme, but this gives me the feeling of trying too hard. Yes, its a great explorer game but the main purpose of it - which should be the booths - are far too spaced out and are even divided by loading screens. Easily falls into that trap of lots of stupid space only used for traversal.

Plokoth: A hand drawn 2D platform with precision difficulty. Expect a lot of deaths and a high challenge level. Luckily checkpoints are very regular, as you will need them!

Red Button: Simple game where you play one of five world leaders in a bid for world domination. Each turn you pick one of three defense strategies and one of three attack strategies. The country that still has people left at the end wins.

tERRORbane - an introduction, mostly: A pretty good and short demo of an intentionally buggy (and hilarious) game. Pretty unique and worth a look.

Vedelem - the Golden Horde: A real time strategy game where you must build up your base and defend against hordes of Mongols whose main force arrives when the timer runs out. Might be interesting for RTS fans, which I'm not.

Steam Discovery Queue - Crusade of the Free XXXI

Continuing freebies from last time... the one in bold is the best of this set.

25 Layers of Pain: Bland 2D pixel platformer that requires precision jumps.

Captain Bones - Prologue: This action survival game starts out with you washing up on an island where you are lucky enough to have someone teach you the ropes. Combat is pretty clunky. I didn't get very far though as any game that needs you to balance hunger, HP and thirst (and you get thirsty if you eat) is too much work for me.

Demon Turf Trials: Cool 3D platformer with 2D sprites where you are trying to beat all the demon gangs into submission. Lots of loading screens and recommends a controller though, which is kinda shit.

EFO - Escape from Outerworld: Student made 2D puzzle platformer where you are an alien who has telekenisis that can move ruin blocks while under time pressure to reach extraction before the beacon expires. Fun for awhile but making your own staircases gets old fast.

From the Grave: Silly first person shooter where you must survive waves of zombies while stuck in a castle. Earn money by killing then buy guns and couches (to unblock passages). Bleh.

Go Home, Mr. Fisk!: A 2D platformer with intentionally bad controls since you are a fish trying to make its way out of a cooking pot and back to the river. Garbage.

Hair of the Dog: A short and funny point and click adventure game which is fully voiced but has lousy art. Still worth a look for the laughs if you have nothing better to do.

Project Exhibited: A student made first person sneaker. Only one map and pretty challenging too. Very good.

Don't get caught!

Project Hive: 3D shooter where you are trapped in a space mine and your worst enemy will be the unfriendly camera and controls. Also crashed my PC when trying to quit.

Rogue Planet 1 - Golden Hour: A first person shooter that has way too many loading screens and not enough shooting. Lolzor at the voice acting too.

Tuesday 14 December 2021

Steam Discovery Queue - Crusade of the Free XXX

Continuing freebies from last time... the one in bold is the best of this set.

Alone (Free) - A short horror RPG maker type game with way too much text but a fun timed section as the climax.

Biphase: A 2D platform puzzler in a world set in black and red. Each jump alternates what you can see and stand on. Gets more annoying as game goes on.

Contraband Police Prologue: Much like Papers Please, this first person game sees you as a border control guard whose duty involves taking note of any discrepancies in paper work of people driving in and to decide if you are forcing to turn them around. You earn extra for any additional (and correct) notes you add about their vehicle, which you are allowed to open and fully inspect. Pretty cool, but super long loading time.

The Darkest Tales - Into the Nightmare: Well voiced side scrolling platformer where you are an angry teddy bear with scissors. Repetitive though, especially since you only level up by killing.

Evergate Ki's Awakening: A beautiful 2D platform puzzler where you are a cute spirit sent back to Earth. You can shoot a "lazer" at a few things which do a variety of effects but it still ends up being annoying.

Fortuito Lost History: A first person action horror with poor graphics, which undoes most of the horror part - as well as getting weapons right away.

GranAge: Kiddie fantasy 2D brawler / platformer MMO with excellent music. Pretty good!

Neeron the Blade of Nature: In this 3D action game you play a blade wielding, weather changing bear man who fights against blade wielding robots. An abundance of invisible walls makes it annoying to navigate.

Project Morpheus Prologue: A very well done 3D action horror much like Resident Evil. Does a good job of getting me interested in the full game!

Needs slightly better controls though.

Remnants: Generic first person shooter where you fight drones for... elemental shards for no reason. Also XP is just lying around on the floor. Bleh.

Monday 13 December 2021

La Casa de Papel (Money Heist)

So much money. So many bullets.

This amazing 41 episode heist series from Spain focuses on a group of robbers and their complicated plans to escape with the loot - peacefully! While there are painful parts as characters do incredibly selfish things, it's actually still "in" their character which gets a pass from me.

"Bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao ciao ciao..."

It also helps that the cinematography and production values are excellent too. If anything, I'm surprised that for a show with this much gunfire not many people actually get shot. It is excellent at subverting expectations. Definitely one of my favorites and highly recommended, I give this a perfect five out of five and would watch it all again.

Sunday 12 December 2021

Cowboy Bebop (Live Action Season 1)

A good take on a good anime.

Following a crew of space bounty hunters, this series has the difficult job of being compared to the excellent anime it is based of. The slow first episode that includes bad guys who are really slow on the trigger is not a great start but the quality picks up greatly as each episode goes by. There are also changes to the plot which might bug purists, but I quite like this rendition of the show which blends equal measures of cool and dorky. My wife, who hasn't seen the anime, feels the same.

They try replicate shots exactly in a number of scenes. It's pretty cool!

Great visuals, great music (mostly the same Yoko Kanno ones from the anime) and a great main cast. I also like what they did with Vicious. Sure, he might not be the mysterious dragon he was in the cartoon but taking the time to flesh him out works better for me since he becomes a character rather than just an obstacle. I give this season three unkillable clowns out of five. Recommended, and hope there's a season two!

Saturday 11 December 2021

The Walking Dead: World Beyond

The latest of the Walking Dead spin-offs, the first to end.

In this two season show, humans have made such strong colonies against the zombies that the kids living in them are actually growing up without ever having to face one. Not to worry though, this show focuses on four of the said kids who decide to go on a trek across zombieland to find a mysterious research lab to reconnect with their dad. Well, the dad of two of them at least. The other two just join in for shits and giggles. For those who have actually watched the movie "Zombieland", rule #1 does not apply here.

That's a lousy spear.

While the plot slightly improves in season two, I don't think you'll ever get to the point of liking any of the characters. Certainly not the mains anyway. As a stand alone series I'd highly recommend skipping it and give it a score of one and a half stupidly designed spears out of five, but if you get into (or are already) a Walking Dead franchise fan then this has some minor tie ins to the other shows and is probably setting the stage for a future one. Your mileage may vary.

Friday 10 December 2021

The Cloverfield Paradox

In space (stations) everyone can hear you scream.

Somehow the Earth has run out of fuels to use (because tidal and solar power is shit apparently) so an experimental space station is launched to try create a new source of energy. This sci-fi horror focuses on the crew of said station who are in for a bad time when their experiments start causing dimensional tears.

Some bad stuff is happening? We'd better split up!

After a pretty slow start (so slow they actually fast forward quite a bit) it does pick up slightly as things start going wrong - but almost all the scary parts are foreseeable, especially when people start going off doing solo things (because that's a good idea in a horror, lol). Despite that and the slightly subdued pacing I thought it was OK. Nothing great though, nor is it one I'll watch again or recommend. I give it one and a half space worms out of five.

Thursday 9 December 2021

Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna)

The story of a girl trying to stop endless blizzards.

In this puzzle platformer you switch control between two characters to get past various obstacles. While the plot and graphics are good, I found the controls for the fox (especially towards the end) to be a bit challenging - especially when you need to switch quickly.

Can't let either of them die.

Still not overly difficult but the part I liked the best are the cultural insight videos you unlock throughout the game because I love learning new things. Not great in terms of replayability, but the one time through is enough to net three bolas out of five. Recommended!

Wednesday 8 December 2021

Gods of Egypt

 They are like transformers?

In the ancient times when towering gods walked among humans and occasionally transforming into CG creatures for fun, an upset Set (Gerard Butler) goes on a rampage in a bid to become ruler of the world and only his nephew Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) with the aid of a mortal man (Brenton Thwaites) have a chance of putting an end to his plans.

Yes. Very Egyptian.

Not the most unique of story lines and there's a major disconnect when things go into CGI mode, not helped in that every scene there is a god and a human, the gods have to be edited (or carefully framed) to look physically larger. Since I had zero expectations I found it entertaining enough for a no brainer flick. Not one I'd actively watch again though - I give it two silly giant snakes out of five.

Steam Discovery Queue - Crusade of the Free XXIX

Continuing freebies from last time... the one in bold is the best of this set.

Arc Apellago: Student made 2d platformer with nice hand drawn art. Annoying controls though.

Astra: Student made first person shooter where you are sent to an alien party planet to stop the DJ and his cronies from stealing the generators from other planets. Eh, its ok.

Devolverland Expo: A really cool first person sneaker shooter that lets you attend a cancelled game expo. Nice ideas, and pretty casual as it is meant to be a showcase of their new games.

A game that advertises games...

GashiShachiNoShachi: I... don't even know what is happening. LOL.

Helix Slider: An endless faller where you move your triangle around the inner edges of a pipe to avoid obstacles. Meh.

Hollow Mind the Lost Puppy: You play a puppy-kid in this 2D platformer set in a 3D environment, which makes it incredibly stupid. Level 1 has the best example: there's a thin pole in your way which any normal creature would just walk around. You need to use a teleporter to get past that obstacle. Stupid game.

Rise of Humanity Prologue: Doesn't even start. Absolute garbage.

Security Guy vs AI - The Dawn of AI: Decently addictive top down shooter where you are a new security guy that has to deal with rampaging robots. Camera angle can be slightly annoying especially when fighting the final boss.

Stellar Raid: Lousy side scrolling shooter.

Survival in Africa: Stupid 3D game where "Africa" is just some random zone enclosed by trees and inhabited by pigs, deer and zebra - whom you need to chase with your sword.

Tuesday 7 December 2021

Steam Discovery Queue - Crusade of the Free XXVIII

Continuing freebies from last time... the one in bold is the best of this set.

Color Phase: A 3D puzzle platformer where you play an alien who can absorb colors, and can only interact with objects of the same color ("be red to press the red button"). Bleh.

Creepy Pizza Arcade: A very strange 3 in 1 game where you get a pizza version of space invaders, a fortune teller, and a game where you play a kelpie and must drown the humans in the river.

Evil Inside - Prologue: A walking simulator in a house with jump scares. Emphasis on "walking".

Gravulse: First person platform puzzler where there are some wall and ceiling surfaces you can walk on just to mess with your head. Kinda reminds me of Prey (2006), just without the violence. Small levels make it easy to retry.

Hargrave: Futuristic 2D pixel platformer with frustrating controls and many death traps. Bleh.

Lucidscape: 2D platformer based in a warped hospital. Large areas with lousy checkpoint system.

Monster Adventure: A game designed for kiddies which teaches things like road safety and good behaviour. Even the "bad" looking monsters give helpful tips like "make sure you wear something bright in dark places so cars can see you" etc. Decent for what it is.

Motorcycle Mechanic Simulator 2021 Prologue: Takes super long to load. Also helps if you know motorbikes as I was completely lost simply looking for where to refuel one, much less remembering all the parts to put a wheel back together. Sigh.

Toy Tinker Simulator - BETA: A strangely relaxing yet addictive game where you disassemble old toys, clean and repair them then put them back together good as new. Helps that the in game radio has some nice tunes too (and that toys are much easier than motorcycles parts wise lol). I enjoyed it so much I went through all 10 of the free toys - very good Beta, makes me want the full product. :)

Dang, I guess I like cleaning things?

Video World: A short rhythm game about a guy trying to spook up the video he works at for halloween, and encounters a talking pumpkin who will help him out - for a few songs! Pretty cool songs at that. Thumbs up!

Monday 6 December 2021

Steam Discovery Queue - Crusade of the Free XXVII

Continuing freebies from last time... the one in bold is the best of this set.

Alphadeck: Pixel card battler where your cards are weapons instead of the usual minions/monsters. Bleh.

Astro Sentai Jarbonder: Side scrolling pixel bullet hell with awful music. Garbage.

Dream Dasher: A hard core 2D pixel platformer where you are either a dream catcher or a beholder. Good music and quick rooms make it addictive. I gave up at the upside down levels.

Flak: An odd game about purchasing and sending out air planes to fight the enemy. I didn't get into it.

Greed Knights: Pixel idle game of boredom.

Lirica: A very cool student made 3D game with a nice story and heavy emphasis on music. Despite there not being an ounce of violence, I really like this game.

I actually played through it twice.

Puzzle: A 2D puzzle platformer where you are a rectangle with a face mask. Bleh.

Shu's Misfortune: An odd RPG Maker game where you play a princess who wants to kill their father so you set out on your quest with a chainsaw and aminoacids? WTF.

Tree Trunk Brook: A point and click exploration game where loads of people decide to go hiking into the forest with face masks because of COVID, and then lose shit that you have to find. Stupid. Also, don't these people know of self-isolation? Walk speed is annoyingly slow too.

We're All Going To Die!: PvP top down shooter. Bleh.

Saturday 4 December 2021

Steam Discovery Queue - Crusade of the Free XXVI

Continuing freebies from last time... the one in bold is the best of this set.

Collision Hero: A bad side scrolling platformer.

DEAD: Top down pixel shooter where you need to survive against waves of zombies. Bleh.

Ghosty: A cute pixel adventure where you are a ghost. Alas it also features lots of big, pointless areas purely for traversal. When will creators learn we don't need the whole [insert location here]? Sigh.

Janosik: A very cool 2D pixel action platformer where you must rescue your compatriot drinking buddies. Thumbs up despite the sections of grind.

Is It Wrong to Try to Shoot 'em Up Girls in a Dungeon: Side Scrolling bullet hell of mundaneness. Bleh.

Markus Ritter - The Lost Family: A retro video point and click adventure like Gabriel Knight 2 with some amateur acting, but you don't really see games like this anymore. Space bar for tips really helps progress the game.

Rare to see live action games these days...

Power of Ten Demo: Top down pixel space shooter where you need to mine asteroids and deliver resources to planets so they can power up their shields, all while protecting them from enemy space craft. It's not bad, but it could use a soundtrack or something for non-combat periods.

Toast Defense: In this tower defense game, ducks are coming to eat your toast. Cute but dumb.

Tomb Rumble: 2D pixel PvP platformer where you are meant to (violently) compete to claim a treasure and escape. Death turns you into a monster to continue harassing the survivors. Bleh.

Vectromirror 0: First person platformer with annoying controls. Bleh.

Friday 3 December 2021

Steam Discovery Queue - Crusade of the Free XXV

Continuing freebies from last time... the one in bold is the best of this set.

Air Attack: In this funny little 2D game that plays like "Worms" you must defend your hill with your RPG against waves of aircraft. Pretty neat as the landscape around you inevitably gets wrecked.

Baby Coyote: A 2D hand drawn platformer with an upbeat track but lousy gameplay.

Chroma: 2D platformer with decent controls and the bonus of having your corpses remain on the maps. Super short demo though.

Dungeon Delver: An odd turn based wave fighter where you are a magician going deeper into a dungeon. Spamming abilities 3 and 4 seems like the way to win, but gets boring quick.

Future Fortune: Oh god, another idle game. This one with a cash shop attached. Hell no.

Goblin Dungeoneer: 2D pixel platformer with intentionally bad graphics but nice chiptunes. Later death traps too frustrating.

Mandew vs the Colorless Curse: Pixel 2D platformer which quickly becomes like a black and white Mario, just with worse controls.

Stan Lee's Verticus: Infinite runner faller where you must save the Earth from a Doomsday device while taking orders from Stan Lee. I don't like many infinite x games, but this one is really cool. Helps that it has cool music too.

Saving the planet one bomb at a time!

Tales from Yeoldeburg: A huge WTF game, possibly made by someone tripping balls. Yep.

Tomorrow: In this well rendered first person horror you have entered a subway to try save your bunny, and must avoid a well dressed clown in the process. Pretty neat, but lots of irritating trial and error.

Thursday 2 December 2021

Steam Discovery Queue - Crusade of the Free XXIV

Continuing freebies from last time... the one in bold is the best of this set.

1 Screen Platformer - Prologue: 2D pixel platformer with numerous death traps and poor controls. Yuck.

ButtonMash: A hand drawn 2D pixel platformer of irritation. Bleh.

Codename TIARAS: Student made 2D platformer with bad controls.

Dodge It!: A game about breaking your space bar while collecting black dots and evading red dots. Garbage.

Gun Witch: A 2D action platformer where you are a student witch who must use her magic kalishnikov to kill the baddies, and graduate from school. Super grindy.

Last Soul: 2D pixel platformer with bad controls. Mouse to shoot, e, D to go right, shift to sprint, F to dash? Nope.

Shotgun Witch: Since demons  stole your spellbook you set out to get it back... with your shotgun! Better music than Gun Witch, but this game is a bullet hell shooter. Not for me.
Phantom Project: A high quality "walk around in the dark and avoid the monster" game. This one did get me frightened, best one of this genre I've run into in these crusades so far.

There are things in the dark, and that candle does nothing against them.

Phi: Student made top down maze navigator where you are a soul eating slug. Eww... and bleh.

Warlock Bentspine: 2D pixel platformer where you play the titular warlock who moves far too slowly to make this game worth playing.

Wednesday 1 December 2021

Steam Discovery Queue - Crusade of the Free XXIII

Continuing freebies from last time... the one in bold is the best of this set.

Flatline: Student made side scrolling platformer where you are a future age ninja. Not bad but the controls for wall hopping feel a bit clunky.

Pixel Poops: So... you need to lay huge turds to trap the people passing by to score points. If too many get away, you lose the game. W-T-F.

Project Kat - Paper Lily Prologue: A well made exploration game with low horror vibes because the protagonist is pretty gutsy. Backtracking here is ok since the map is small, movement speed is fast and there no obstacles in the way. Makes me want to play the full game!

Her reaction to the supernatural: "Meh".

Rival Rampage: Seems to need multiple people to play. As usual, no one is playing it. Fail.

Rocket Bots: Nice graphics for a first person shooter, but its just wave combat against silly looking bots. Bleh.

Rhythm Brawl: A pixel "fighter" that involves pressing buttons to the beat, but the buttons don't seem to match up to the song. Bleh.

Space Warfare: A 2D clicker/idle game where you need to focus on upgrading mines and factories on various planets. All the spaceship fighting stuff is automated. Bleh.

SPACE/MECH/PILOT: An idle/clicker set in space. Bleh. I think I'm going to just skip all idle games from this point.

Ties: A kiddy 3D platformer where you play as someone with a parasite head crab who can grapple to some ledges and constantly talks to you in baby speak. Cute but... bleh.

Unity Invaders: Invaders made by someone learning Unity? Bleh.

Steam Discovery Queue - Crusade of the Free XXII

Continuing freebies from last time... the one in bold is the best of this set.

Amarok Dreams: Walking simulator in the dark where you can only walk on the maze like walkway. I assume there's some sort of monster too, but the walking part got too boring for me to find it. All the flashing screens don't do this game any favors.

Arcus: You play a mercenary archer who goes takes contracts to defend villages against undead, then spend your earnings for more gear. It plays a little like a shooter where you must manually fire your bow from the defense towers. I quite like it.

Cool idea.

Bounty Below: An idle clicker game with some nice piano music while digging rocks. When the shop prices reach past the quintillions you can tell this was designed to be left on for a long time. Not my sort of thing, but damn haunting piano track kept me going for too long. :P

Consternation II - Another "walk around in the dark and avoid the monster" game with Minecraft level of blocky graphics. Bleh.

Cyberplug: An odd platformer I didn't get into. Doesn't help that everything was in Spanish.

The Hidden Room: Did not like my graphics card, but is basically a first person "solve the room" game. I gave up early at the QR code segment but others who like puzzle games might enjoy this.

Incremental Epic Hero: Go on an epic quest... while idle. Eh, Bounty Below is better.

Psych: In this 3D action adventure you play an escaped alien lizard who has to escape from futuristic slug ghost people. Got boring very fast.

Ruka: A cute and short grid puzzler where you need to navigate through each room in a haunted house with a set number of moves. Not bad.

The Scary Square: No walking in this silly horror - you simply sit across from the monster the whole time while playing various sounds. Lol.