April 10, 2022

Enough Gaming

Tags: Games, Video Games

Enough! At least as far as writing games blog posts (not for actually playing the games). I should some posts about other topics for a bit, rather than these easy but repetitive game short reviews. Anyway, are you interested in what have I been playing since the start of year? You are in luck, read on…

Regency Solitaire (15hrs): Many hours of the card game solitaire with unusual card layouts and little powerups. Not particularly hard, but can get a little grindy in the middle as you build a collection of powerups. There is a basic regency story told between rounds (like a simplistic Jane Austen plot). Nice game, delivers exactly what the title promises, kept me playing until the end.

System Crash (8hrs): Cyberpunk themed card battler with some deckbuilder mechanisms. The theme seems strangely applied, you are supposed to be a hacker, but almost all the cards are people who fight physically. Deckbuilding UI is a bit awkward. The battles are conventional (at least at first) with a decent implementation, but not enough to keep me interested. Everything about this game is “ok”.

Circle Empires (5hrs): Fast casual mini-RTS where the playing area is a grid of small circles each usually containing a bunch of enemies all drawn in a cartoony style. This game (at least on single player) devolves into a process of build a big army as fast of possible and then steamrolling your opposition. Very simple and not very deep, but then it is supposed to be casual. I’m surprised I only played 5 hours, I thought it would be more as I got gamified trying to get extra awards and game settings. I like that it plays fast, this game delivers exactly as promised - I enjoyed it.

Inscryption (16hrs): WTF. Well that is the standard review for this game out of the way. This is a game of surprises and secrets, thus best unspoiled. The basic gameplay is a deckbuilding card battler. It seems to be broken and unbalanced on purpose, so it is not the best by itself, but never outstays its welcome before things change enough to renew interest. The main point of the game is discovering what is going on, and that mystery is a decent story, although I personally found Act 3 to drag a little - not uncommon for me in story games. A good game about the experience, not so much the mechanics.

Lost Ark (5 hrs): An action RPG MMO from Amazon. Your laconic avatar bashes their way through hordes of monsters with an impressive array of powerful and pretty attacking moves. Gives the player a sense of being overpowered, while not seeming too easy (at least to me) - nicely done. The story feels strange with so many other players running around doing the same thing - mini-bosses would spawn and die repeatedly in front of me (bigger bosses are instanced). There are sooo many cutscenes! Art style is glossy JRPG and well done. Free-to-play with loot-boxes. Polished, well-made and impressive game, but I can’t imagine an MMO will hook me - and I definitely won’t be paying real money for it.

Eve Online (too many hrs): Just wanted to go back and see if Eve was the same as before (see here). Yep, still the same. Grindy or focused on multiplayer - neither are for me.

Endless Space 2 (20 hrs): Space 4X are a weakness of mine, and after a single 16 hour game, this is certainly a compelling one. It attempts to create stories with little chains of events, and has some interesting factions. Although it suffers from the standard problems of the genre (in my opinion) - it is too complex with many fiddly game mechanics, so that by the late mid-game it becomes a chore to manage your systems. The “game feel” is very similar to Stellaris, so you probably don’t need both, but now I own it, I will give it another go.

112 Operator (4 hrs): A management sim game where the players acts as the dispatcher for the emergency services (police, ambulance and fire brigade). You even occasionally need to answer emergency calls yourself (using multiple choice responses). There is a campaign, but I didn’t see much of a story, just escalating difficulty. The big draw is being able to play on a map of any city in the world, although when I tried to play on my home town it just crashed :( Ultimately this game didn’t grab me, the scenarios got bigger and increasingly hectic, but not more interesting.

Popup Dungeon (7 hrs): Dungeon delving rogue-like designed to look like paper miniatures and cut-outs as if it was being played on a tabletop. This theme carries through everything including the slow diegetic menus. Although the fantasy theme strangely applied as it includes superheroes and sci-fi characters. At one point I found myself in a modern fast-food restaurant. Continuously tries to be funny, but completely failed for me (and that distracted hugely from enjoying the game). Slow and RNG heavy with big difficulty spikes this just couldn’t maintain my attention.