Wednesday 30 August 2023

Orwell: Keeping an Eye on You and Cook Serve Delicious 3

Games that feel like work. >_<

Orwell: Keeping an Eye on You

Working for a government that allows spying on people for national security might sound like fun, until you play this game. In it you must track down potential terrorists by combing the internet for news articles and their socials and listening in to their chats and phone calls to build as complete a profile as you can on each of them and link them up on a neat looking digital crime web. It's quite novel at the start, but quickly becomes tedious as you repeat the process over and over. Oh no, don't put misinformation in the system because you'll be scolded again. Lol. Not recommended.

Cook Serve Delicious 3

Working out of a food truck is almost exactly like all those "bartending" games of selecting the right ingredients to mix into a drink. Only here you have multiple stations that can be doing different things on timers and in the time the van is driving between two catering points you get special orders that you need to make en route. Lots of timers in this game, and not a very good tutorial either. If the goal was to make it feel like "work" then, good job devs. I prefer games to be fun though, and this isn't.

Tuesday 29 August 2023

Dodo Peak and Loop Hero

Very repetitive games. Aren't most games this anyway?

Dodo Peak

Basically a game of snake, but here you are a momma dodo who needs to retrieve her eggs that fell out of the nest during a quake. The islands are smallish to start with as to serve as a tutorial and to introduce you to a whole slew of dangers including snakes, boulders, monkeys, and ... spike traps? What? Gems and coins are also up for grabs if you dare, and the ever present count down clock is there to pressure you into taking a misstep. Rescuing eggs hatches baby dodos that form a train behind you, and if you or any of the babies gets hit by and of the dangers - you'll need to restart the level.

Loop Hero

While it has some interesting pixel art, this is almost an idle game where you let your hero walk around a circular path mainly fighting slimes. Winning these battles awards you with either gear you can equip or cards you can play in the background (like, mountains and such) to give you instant stat boons and/or resources for camp or areas like spider nests and vampire castles to spawn different baddies to get better gear and cards. Eventually, through choice or death you'll get to the camp which you can upgrade for more card opportunities. I think this is the only permanent thing in your game, as when you set off again its back to an empty loop with slimes

Monday 28 August 2023

Sanctum 2 and Train Valley 2

Build things before time runs out!

Sanctum 2

This one to four player cooperative game is a first person tower defense where you will be scrambling to build walls, often in serpentine patterns, to force the waves of alien scum to pass right beside your variety of turrets. Block their path however and they'll just pick a wall to break! The game feels pretty ridiculous and floaty but at least you have something to do when you run out of resources to build stuff... you can shoot things directly! Right in their weak spot! It's ok, but obviously super shallow and there are many better cooperative games out there.

Train Valley 2

In this game you are given a small map and some money per level to build railways to connect workers to their labor sites, and you need to be careful to not let your trains derail or crash into each other as that costs lots of money to repair! Strangely, letting people die is ok since they naturally replenish but running out of money is a game over. Honestly I have not run into such a bad interface though. Connecting tracks is tedious, erasing tracks is tedious, and the fricking tutorial itself often derails your learning literally as it gets in the way at the worst possible times. Not recommended at all!

Sunday 27 August 2023

Werewolf by Night and Legion of Super-Heroes (2023)

Actually both superhero movies?

Werewolf by Night

This very short, one hour movie from Marvel tells a spooky, black and white tale of how a bunch of hunters all got together upon the death of a master hunter to go on a hunt to win his powerful doo-hickey. They really lean into the old style film trope here and while it was certainly done on a budget (count the number of sets) the story is quite entertaining with decent action pieces to boot.

Alas the last act needed to have something more to make this really shine but it just comes and goes with no weight or surprises. Still a decent attempt at doing something different, and I felt its better than Secret Invasion, but that's not a hard bar to clear. :P

Legion of Super-Heroes (2023)

This DC animated movie primarily focuses on Supergirl, who upon having difficulties blending in as a refugee on Earth is taught to be better by her family and friends sent away to a future school by Superman and Batman so that any problems she causes aren't their messes to clean up. Uh... Ok? Anyway said school is for the Legion of Super-Heroes ("the Justice League of the future") and they kind of suck, but that's intentional so that Supergirl can do her thing and save the day when things go wrong. That shouldn't be a spoiler, it's a superhero movie - things always go wrong!

While the main plot is weak, I did enjoy the little character development we got and very much enjoyed the excellent art style on display here. Not enough to get a recommendation from me though, so stay away unless you are a Supergirl fan.

Thursday 24 August 2023

Tower of Fantasy: Tower of Music

[Part of my Tower of Fantasy journal]

With the cult dealt with I have some time off which I spend at Mirroria where I moonlight as a bodyguard for a young DJ who in turn moonlights as an animal rescuer. I also go on patrol with a rookie cop which eventually leads to her in a coma. LOL. Fortunately the two previous comatose victims, Ruby and her mom, are now fully awake and since Ruby's birthday is fast approaching Lin asks that I help her assemble a band and act as their manager for a surprise performance for the kid. Members include the most unlikely of choices (wasn't I in the middle of chasing one of them?) but after a low effort quest line the performance is actually pretty cool.

Afterwards I bid farewell to the crew for its back to Innars for me, and actually back down to the active volcano where the abyssal rift remains open. Scanners sent in detect a new land that it bridges to and I'm sent to investigate, popping out in Domain 9 which basically is China - if China was made of islands floating in midair. I help the inhabitants here fight the gray entities too, which they refer to as "the Darkness", and it looks like this set is led by some strange, flute playing lady.

Magical floating leaves can support the motorbike so it must be safe!

Most of the darkness is sealed up in an underground vault but the Domain 9 master reveals the power that keeps it that way is dwindling quickly. In preparation for the coming war they have begun research and development of combat capabilities for Smart Servants - AI Companions of the cute chibi variety you can bring around with you. And that unfortunately is where I leave Tower of Fantasy for now at level 51 as I've consumed all the main storylines. Maybe I'll revisit again in a year or so. :)

Wednesday 23 August 2023

Tower of Fantasy: Tower of Abduction

[Part of my Tower of Fantasy journal]

Hykros sends me to follow up on a weapons order they put in at Banges but its being delayed by the resource slow down at the nearby Crown mines which in turn is caused by two problems. The first is easily solved as its just a large presence of thugs led by an overweight queen that harass the miners regularly, which translates to simple vermin clearing for me.

The second is a strange illness spreading through the miner camp, causing them to strike, and the ineffective medicines being provided to them. It turns out both the disease and the "cure" are just experiments being conducted by the cultists who have paid the mine leaders for this easily accessible batch of test subjects!

Once I find this group of cultists I chase them all the way out to the snowfields I first encountered them at and wreck their factories and raid their fortresses, rescuing many of their abducted victims including robo-Shirli who reveals the cult plans to build some sort of time reversal device to try fix the world. Ironically this is the same thing Hykros attempted which wrecked the world previously but whatever... This is also the excuse they use to "wall" off high level zones to lower level players: you are too low level to withstand the radiation and take continuous damage over time.

Surprise bullet hell stage.

Anyhow, the cult leader and his elite guard manage to escape to attack the Tower of Fantasy, but we pursue them up there and after some oddly placed puzzle solving and jumping tests, we kick their collective butts outta there and force them back into hiding. We're not going to hear from them again any time soon.

Tuesday 22 August 2023

Tower of Fantasy: Tower of the Ocean

[Part of my Tower of Fantasy journal]

With the tunnel to the grand sea operational again, I'm sent there for a crash course in diving because as the name might suggest the majority of this HUGE map involves water. Luckily all weapons still work just fine when fully submerged but strangely, if you try swim on the surface and tire yourself out you might drown but if you just dive - you'll be fine. Our destination this time is Innars city which is deep near the ocean floor.

It's a long way to get here / anywhere in the water.

Good thing there are current generators to help speed the journey along because it's lengthy paddle down there. The Innarians are quite hospitable upon our arrival but curiously do not report any increased grey entity activity as we were led to believe. A simple scouting swim around shows that the grey spacers are indeed hiding in caves here and the drones meant to detect them have been hacked, meaning there's an Innarian traitor/puppet! Once this person is outed and executed, the massive army of grey spacers dive down beneath Innars and reactivate a dormant volcano there. Seems there's a theme of building cities right above dangerous spots in this world...

With reinforcements that include some cultists who have called a temporary truce (because a world threatening event is bad for them too) we pursue and combat the gray army and defeat them and their trio of abyssant leaders, including a lava dragon! Work then commences to seal the volcano and I'm rotated out of the front lines as the cultists call off their ceasefire.

Monday 21 August 2023

Tower of Fantasy: Tower of Deception

[Part of my Tower of Fantasy journal]

Instead of continuing the pursuit, Lin calls me back to Mirroria for an urgent mission. The doctor who we saved from the Abyss has come out and in of her coma just enough to warn everyone that the gray space entities are amassing in the grand sea, and as communications to the city there has recently been cut off we're tasked with investigating the relay stations in the marshlands between.

Sure enough the marshes are full of the more animalistic gray spacers and the paths trapped with a tangle of explosive webs. While one rookie staff member is rescued at her outpost, the remained are being used as birthing pods for egg laying creatures.

As each relay is also destroyed it soon becomes evident that this was an inside job and the rookie we rescued is actually being used as a puppet by the voluptuous abyssant that has its long digits deep inside her. We slay the creature and then call for the engineering teams to repair the communications and tunnel passage that leads to the grand sea.

While waiting for that I'm tasked with assisting a floating carnival, run by robotic children and a single tech, to deal with some low level raiders which is easy enough. It is then revealed the tech is working on subduing robo-Shirli for the cultists who have abducted her!? I would have given chase but then this awesome song started playing with fireworks and everything and I was mesmerized. Apparently if you are in the right spot in the right in game time you get treated to a light show and some awesome tunes.

No warning, no cutscene, and no doubt one of the best experiences in the game.

Anyway, the cultists escaped with Shirli and the tech escapes punishment as apparently Hykros higher ups have history with her.

Sunday 20 August 2023

Tower of Fantasy: Tower of Rebellion

[Part of my Tower of Fantasy journal]

While people in Mirroria recover from comas I'm sent to the Banges region to chase down a rogue agent who has stolen simulacra data. Hykros really needs to sort out their security. Just as I arrive the main port comes under siege by those same cultists as last time and they manage to kidnap the town leader and his sickly son, leading to a merry chase where I basically wipe out camp after camp of them only to learn they don't actually have the captives.

The leader had paid for his town to be attacked so he could make off with some valuable resources to try better his kid, but upon finding them in a hidden lab his cure just made the boy a rampaging aberrant which smashes the fool before I can put it down. A map to hidden lab #2 which is on an offshore island leads to the rogue agent who is actually not linked to any of these plots.

She just stole the simulacra of her deceased friend, because she was sick of other people "wearing her". Just another reason for people to hate Hykros, outside of the whole "they screwed up the world" thing that the cultists ride on. As the rogue agent's trap prep is very good she escapes, but at least I now have a cool arsenal of guns at the ready. You can have three weapons ready to go, and it usually helps if they are of different elements not just for fighting but for getting the random currencies lying around - you might need fire to burn vines or ice to cool lava etc.

Had I known I'd have to chase you later, I should have just left you here...

Saturday 19 August 2023

Tower of Fantasy: Tower of the Abyss

[Part of my Tower of Fantasy journal]

That's a handsy enemy.

After hunting some desert beasts at a nearby oasis to harvest residual radiation from them to act as a power source (because why not turn wild life into batteries), robo-Shirli is ready for action and even saves an expedition force against a particularly grabby abyssant. When its remains are brought into Mirroria for study there is an attack in the city which puts Ruby in a coma, and then I am promptly told to scoot because... I'm not high enough level. WHAT!?

Fine. I warp back to Astra Shelter and explore all of it, killing all the enemy camps until I'm interrupted by Hykros (the crew at the top of the Tower of Fantasy) to help them collect simulacra data that was stolen from them by some cultists hiding at some snowy place. This is all pretty easy with my new dual guns which is a big upgrade from the bow. Anyway, once I'm leveled up enough I'm called back to Mirroria to join Lin's squad to look for Ruby's "mom", a reclusive doctor who had a secret lab deep in some spider caves.

Apparently the lab wasn't deep enough as evidence points to her having ventured into the Abyss, the home of grey space entities, for research purposes. Where is this abyss? Right beneath Mirroria! For some reason the gaping chasm is actually what's keeping the city afloat? Anyway, its down down to goblin town (the gray space entities look a bit goblin like) and finally here's an unpleasant and difficult to navigate environment (I'm glad I got lots of practice in Mirroria) with quickly respawning enemies. We find the doctor has turned into an abyssant and so naturally we save her through BATTLE! Though I may have over done it, as now she too is in a coma. Greeeeeat.

Friday 18 August 2023

Tower of Fantasy: Tower of Fan Service

[Part of my Tower of Fantasy journal]

Next stop is that floating pyramid!

As my mechanical companion needs more fixing we're sent to Mirroria, a flying pyramid city in the desert and are attacked en route by a giant abyssant worm thing but are saved by the local city defenders which includes one eyed Ruby and her guardian, the fan favorite Lin. I'm certain her super short skirt has nothing to do with that. With robo-girl deposited in the hands of a mechanic I'm free to explore the massive city interior which is freaking huge to the point that you can use flying cabs to get around (or wait for trains that never show up). That jet pack I got from Astra is also super handy here.

While I'm at it I also do the numerous side quests on offer, most of which are the "help find my lost xxx". The part time job at a game studio which lets you design a boss and fight it is pretty cool though, and has turned out to be my most difficult combat so far where I had to out archer a robot centaur. Now's a good time to talk about equipment too, this is not like your usual MMO where you walk up to a shop and buy stuff (well, for misc things like food yes). This is a GACHAPON game. What does that mean? You collect a variety of currencies while questing / exploring then spend them for A CHANCE at something. And it is literally beamed down from space for you! So... I got a bow. :P

Worse is that most weapons have a simulacra attached to them, which is a collectable, often female character who you can then use as your own character. Lin, Ruby and robo-Shirli are just three of the ones available. What happens if you get the same item from the random gachapon I hear you ask? Well, you get to combine the duplicates to make the item STRONGER. Yep. No crafting here, just gachapon away! If increasing your DPS isn't compelling enough then you'll be happy to know that improving said weapons also makes the simulacra have more (less) clothing options and abilities! But but but... what happens if you run out of currency to gachapon? Well, there's always the cash shop... and that's how this game is still afloat.

Thursday 17 August 2023

Tower of Fantasy: Tower of Pain

[Part of my Tower of Fantasy journal]

Waking up with amnesia is a cliche, but it does set the scene nicely for the "WTF is going on with this game" feeling that you experience upon being introduced to Astra shelter, which is basically a settlement built around a downed spaceship. Shirli, one of the natives, is most helpful in giving us the tour around the super colorful place, and I'm impressed at the amount of voice acted lines though the mouths moving don't match but I suppose that's a translation thing.

While combat against what seems to be the midgets from the Borderlands series is mostly a click fest, the game greatly rewards exploration - and that's why I think I'm quite hooked on it at the moment. It also helps that almost every surface is CLIMBABLE. What!? Anyway, I put the exploration aside to just push through the main story which feels like Shirli is just getting us to do her chores for her until she is injured in an attack and becomes infected with incurable aberrant energy and is well on her way to turning into a science-zombie: another common enemy in the area.

There's the titular tower.
While the shelter's MO is usually to simply execute anyone with these symptoms, Shirli is just too cute and likable so they make me take her to the titular Tower of Fantasy which serves as the base for Hykros a police/teleporter hub and through the magic of technology they save Shirli by basically throwing her into a meat grinder and convalescing her remaining parts into a cyborg-robot companion. Ok I'm a bit hazy on the details because it felt like there was a bit of a time skip ... Anyway, I like it when stories REALLY hurt their characters. One more reason to stick around. :D

Tower of Fantasy

I thought this would be my usual trial and forget runs but to my surprise, I'm still playing this MMO which means I'd better make a journal for it. Obviously I find it way better than Genshin Impact. :P

1 - Tower of Pain
2 - Tower of Fan Service
3 - Tower of the Abyss
4 - Tower of Rebellion
5 - Tower of Deception
6 - Tower of the Ocean
7 - Tower of Abduction
8 - Tower of Music

Tuesday 15 August 2023

Warframe: Kullervo

Enjoys the stabbing.

To get this melee focused warframe you need to beat him up multiple times in his Duviri prison which only appears during Anger, Sorrow or Fear spirals and in these fights you'll definitely find him using two of his available abilities against you: a rain of daggers and a teleporting, heavy attack which is boosted by his passive that makes it hit harder and swing faster. He might be troublesome if you face him early but if you stack on some decrees you'll be able to curb stomp him easily.

His other two skills are cone of curse, wherein if any of the cursed take damage the others also take a portion of it and recompense, which is his main mechanic - activating his daggers which then autoseek any enemies to deal damage to and at the same time heal Kullervo and give him overguard (because he has zero shields). Any daggers that don't find a target in the short time frame attack Kullervo instead, a punishment for being too far from melee - so you'll want to turn that on before teleporting right into the thick of it.

Pretty cool frame but the lack of shields with a melee game style is pretty risky, though still better than a number of others on offer thanks to the overshield. Mmm, still on the fence with this one. He hasn't been fed to my helminth... yet.

As an aside, I'm now Legendary 1 (which is the next step up from True Master). Whee! :P

Tuesday 8 August 2023

Dungeons and Dragons: Honour Among Thieves and Secret Invasion

Mindflayers among us? Just kidding BG3 fans.

Dungeons and Dragons: Honour Among Thieves

After escaping from incarceration for theft, a bard (Chris Pine) and barbarian (Michelle Rodriguez) are out to reclaim what was stolen from them but face numerous and often hilarious complications along the way. While the story at its core is simple, this excellent cast of characters, effects and fight scenes makes it very enjoyable and a big step up from the previous films while adding all the little technical details and cameos D&D fans would enjoy. Highly recommended, even if you aren't into D&D! 

That's better than a club!

Secret Invasion (TV Series)

When shapeshifting aliens threaten the safety of the world, who else is there to turn to but the Avenge... I mean, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson)? Literally anyone else actually. This six episode series unintentionally depicts just how irrelevant he is, which is kinda bad given he's meant to be the main character. Guess what, if you remove him from the story entirely it can still play out just the same as there are characters already doing his role in almost every scene. The best thing this has going for it is the nice opening song. Not recommended.

Monday 7 August 2023

Jurassic World: Dominion, 65, and Second Extinction

All about the dinos!

Jurassic World: Dominion

Thanks to the events of the last movie, dinosaurs now co-inhabit the Earth with humans and somehow that's not a violent thing? I mean, can you imagine the size of the shits being left around? Somehow they manage to make this not about the dinos at all yet at the same time get all the protagonists of the franchise together. While I'm not super impressed with the plot the CGI is quite good and its enjoyable enough. Still not sure why people don't just shoot the dinos though - at least even in self defense!


Millions of years ago an alien space craft crashes on Earth and said alien (played by a very human looking Adam Driver), must survive the horrors of dinosaur-times but he isn't shy to absolutely annihilate those reptiles with future tech which is great! The only problem is that it makes for an incredibly light story. Not recommended. Maybe that's a clue why Dominion didn't go that way. Guns curb stomp dinos to the point that its boring.

Second Extincion (Early Access)

In this up to three player coop shooter, dinos have fully taken over the Earth and humanity had to flee to space. Now they send teams down to try retake the planet with missions like  "lets steal some T-Rex eggs for science (and breakfast)"? With tech that literally takes you in and out of space its a bit strange that you need to be boots on the ground to fight the endlessly spawning dinos (who never fight each other). It's also ridiculous to see giant monsters be so... acrobatic? That coupled with a class being tied to one of their six woke characters kinda kills it for me. They should have uncoupled that at least like how Aliens: Fireteam Elite did. Not recommended.

Thursday 3 August 2023

Murder by Numbers and Impostor Factory

Games with MURDER!

Murder by Numbers

With an awesomely animated upbeat opening its hard not to get into this game which features bright art and follows a newbie detective and a flying robot who are thrown into solving MURDERS mainly through discovering items via grid puzzle imagery that use numbers outside the rows and columns for hints.

For a simple example a 5x5 grid that has 1,1,5,1,1 on both the top and bottom results in a cross or plus sign +, and none of the puzzles are that simple. Pretty cool and easy to get into as the story is nice and the good art and music really draw you in. My only downside is the puzzle solving can be repetitive. Still recommended though.

Impostor Factory

From the makers of To the Moon and Finding Paradise comes this horror comedy that starts with you being invited to a spooky mansion on a stormy nights along with a number of other guests... and soon enough things turn MURDEROUS! It's a pretty good change from the previous games actually, but that lasts just for the opening act - after which its back to tugging your emotional strings with some awesome story telling.

And this team are really good at doing that. While I'd rate this game better than Finding Paradise, you probably should still play To the Moon before this one if you haven't already. Much less puzzle solving here, but more laughs for sure. Recommended.

Wednesday 2 August 2023

August 2023: The New Blaugs

It's been awhile since I've done a blog status post, so I totally missed announcing that DL managed to get our Guild Hall to level 20 in Neverwinter Online early last month! Also, it's been a minute since I've revisited anything Blaugust but it looks like there's a whole slew of new participants and while I'm not joining those festivities I'll be adding each one to my blog roll as time permits. Just as well since my list was whittled down to 28 over the gap period, so it's time for some new blood. Or new blaugs as it were.

Anyway, it's time for some cool links that I've come across. Mainly "I wish" links. Like, I wish I was this good at archery, or I wish I had Hikaru's precognition(?) of chess, or I wish I had the voice control of Avril Lavigne who can still sing like she's a teenager. Those are all super impressive for me.

If you prefer the funnies you can read through Warframe's red text shenanigans (Red text being the global chat alerts that take place when an update occurs). Or you can watch this amazing clip from an Indian daytime drama. Or relive Neon Genesis: Evangelion, condensed into 10 minutes of live action!

That's it for this post. Have a good day everyone! :)

Tuesday 1 August 2023

Gloomhaven: Hail to the Void

[Part of the Party Time journal

To seal the void gate we discovered last time, we meet with the ghost-like aesther magician Hail who resides in an abandoned tavern in the city. The price to secure their aid is a frost orb high in the mountains guarded by hungry wolves, angry spirits, and very chill frost demons but the worst part of that mission is the long winding path that tires out Juris and Jim soon after opening the final door. I too, would have been exhausted but my final card combo defeated the last enemy and winning the mission!

Apparently sealing the portal is a multi-mission mini campaign though, as next Hail needs a magic censer located in a nearby tomb which, to no ones surprise, has Gloom cultists doing their thing in. The only difference here is that Hail is with us, is not particularly sturdy, and has only one move of taking two steps forward, UNLESS AN ENEMY IS IN A DOORWAY. Which is like, every single doorway? Sigh. Ambush spawns from the rear mean Jim and DL have to hang back to guard the fool while Juris and I push forward. Jim's new spiderbot is pretty helpful in doing that.

Finally with the censer in hand it is time to close the rift (in a 3rd separate mission) where we simply have to guard Hail for 10 rounds in a single, medium sized room. DL makes good use of the Cragheart's stone summoning to wall off some of the spawning demons but those flying AOE tossing Sun demons are really dangerous! Jim keeps Hail alive through healing while the rest of us basically buy time with stuns, mind control and murder until eventually the aesther mage seals the portal and insta-killing the remaining demons with it! With this victory Gloomhaven's prosperity has increased to the next tier which offers new gear in the shops.