Is this becoming a gaming blog? I have a list of various blog topics and notes in a folder, but never seem to get around to writing them up. Anyone desperate to hear my tales of Malaysia and Spain? Anyway as the end of the year approached I tried out a few more games - I even finished two of them!
Fort Triumph (7hrs): The hook of this cartoonish top-down turn-based team combat game is destructible environments (so a valid tactic is pushing you opponents into areas where they will be crushed by falling or flying objects). There is also some team management and base building. The style and story is standard fantasy with some attempt at a comedy that landed flat for me. It is a decent game and kept me interested for a little while, but it is fairly generic in the end.
Pillars of Eternity (60hrs): I backed this classic top-down RPG on Kickstarter in a burst of nostalgia for similar D&D-based games from the late 90’s. It certainly succeeds in meeting expectations - it is a very good and slightly updated recreation of the old Black Isle style games. However, I at least have moved on since then. Taking 60 hrs to complete a “ok” story in an “ok” world with decent combat-based gameplay (but occasionally annoyingly stupid team members) is excessive. Much of the game is spent travelling between sites or reading text and making unimportant conversation choices (the blurb says they make a difference to the story, but I couldn’t see much effect). I completed the main story out of bloody mindedness. At half the size (or half my age) I would have thought this great. Instead I doubt I’ll play a similar game again - you can’t go back!
Driftland: The Magic Revival (4hrs): There are a lot of ideas (many of them good ideas) in this cross between a fantasy RTS and a battle-heavy 4X. I didn’t have the required patience to learn the details (not an uncommon condition in 4X games), especially given the weak tutorial and lack of tooltips. Having the game played on floating fragments of a destroyed world and joining them together with little bridges is a nice touch. A decent game that needs a better tutorial.
Dominion (6hrs): a computer implementation of the original boardgame deckbuilder. It is basically exactly the same as the tabletop version - including paying for numerous expansions. It is fun, but slightly dated and limited compared to the best modern computer deckbuilders (eg. Slay The Spire). Probably only for those who are already fans of the game - like me, so this is staying on the desktop.
Sheltered (2hrs): A postapocalyptic base-building survival game with lots of crafting. Nothing in the previous sentence excites me, and this game did not exceed expectations. It is fiddly, with clunky controls, and a need to know recipes to get going. It seems to require study online before starting as the tutorial is threadbare (I kept losing and had no idea what I was doing wrong). Not for me.
They Bleed Pixels (1hr): A super-hard 2D platformer with pixel graphics. Looks good, but way too difficult for me - I couldn’t even get through the prologue. No game for old men.
Iris and the Giant (7hrs): Cute little deckbuilder, where you play as a young girl fighting her inner demons. It has the interesting mechanic that cards can only be played once and are then gone - if your deck empties it is game over. Also a clever way to defeat the final boss (which took me way too long to discover). There is a lot of replayability with secret paths and powerups, but once I got the end I felt I had done enough. A worthwhile game.