I recently finished my first playthrough of Undertale, which has been well received as a game with traditional JRPG stylings on the surface, but a few notable twists in the formula. Finishing Undertale made me think of The Talos Principle, which was an excellent puzzle game that - like Undertale - had consequences to my actions that I wasn't expecting. If you haven't played them yet and want to, there are probably going to be a spoilers below - for Undertale it won't be so much with the plot, but with gameplay mechanics. For The Talos Principle it'll be the other way round, with plot spoilers but nothing on the mechanics.
It seems that every time I get round to doing another post about Cities: Skylines, they've released a new patch or expansion. This time it was the After Dark DLC, which I haven't bought... yet... but we'll see a big visual difference in this AAR anyway thanks to the devs very generously including the day/night cycle in the free patch accompanying the game, very wisely helping to not split the player base and the modders between those who own the DLC and those who don't. Last time covered the slow start of my city - the concept being a big focus on public transport, and having all the main industrial and commercial areas in one big urban space, while everyone lives in smaller towns and villages spread across the rest of the map.
The basics of Beast Boxing Turbo are fairly easy to sum up. Z and X let you jab left or right, you use the left and right arrow keys to move or modify your jabs into hooks, the up key modifies your attacks into powerful uppercuts, and holding the down key blocks. Punching or being hit costs energy - without energy you don't do worthwhile damage, and you move slower. If you can get multiple hits on the enemy without running out of energy or being hit yourself, you'll build up a power bar which leads to you being 'on fire' where your strikes do full damage. Keep on punching the opponent until they run out of health, and you'll win the round. Best of three wins the match. Pretty simple, right?
The Battle of the Bulge, though a popular theme for WW2 strategy games, isn't one I'm terribly familiar with. First released as a mobile game, Battle of the Bulge has recently had a PC release that finally allowed me to try it out. I'd read about it being a well made and accessible piece of strategy gaming, and I'm always keen on accessible strategy games. The question is whether they can balance ease of play with the necessary level of complexity to keep your attention. Battle of the Bulge has entertained me for four hours so far, but will I be coming back for much more?
In Dungeon of the Endless your goal is to explore a set of rooms to find the elevator leading to the next floor, while fighting off monsters that emerge from the darkness. The action is real time, but generally big things only happen when you open a door to a new room. That's when you get resources from your generators and new enemies appear. It includes elements from roguelikes and tower defence games - you can spend resources to place turrets and boosters, research new or improved structures, or level-up and instantly heal your heroes. Which structures you can research, which additional heroes you discover, and which items you find or merchants sell are all random. The only save games are when you quit. There is a lot I like about this game, but every time I lose a run, I find myself wondering if I really have the energy or inclination to try again.
I enjoyed the demo of Spintires a lot, a long time ago - so I was excited when the full game was released. I was less excited to find myself, seemingly regardless of which map I tried, starting in a garage miles from anywhere and surrounded by dirt tracks so churned up that they might as well have been swamp. In the basic truck you get to start with, I simply could not make it out to civilization. This was on casual mode, so I just gave up. Failure wasn't the issue so much as the fact that I couldn't even get to stable enough ground to explore a bit. Getting stuck on the way to a logging camp or awkwardly trying to manoeuvre through forested hills is all part of the fun, but that oppressive (and seemingly impassable to my unskilled driving) mass of mud and dirt outside the starting garages? Not entertaining. Luckily, I found myself yesterday browsing mods for the game for some reason, and came across something that just might do the job.
I've been dipping in and out of a few games recently, and I was going to write a bit about each of them. However, in the end I realized that I had plenty to say about the two above, but could sum up my experiences with the others in one sentence for the most part. Killing Floor 2 free weekend: fun enough but basically felt the same as the original. Won't be buying. Close Combat - Gateway to Caen: interesting, but I need to play more than a brief scenario and one campaign battle to get a feel for it. Company of Heroes 2: still excellent - the newly added British faction seems decent, but having not bought it I've only seen them in AI skirmishes so have no idea how they play. Regency Solitaire: it's a really nicely made solitaire game (actually I think I might want to write more about this one at some point). Now we go onwards to Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and Star Wars: Republic Commando.
In my previous post about traffic management I said that I wanted to try building a city in a different manner to my usual dense grids, and decided that I might as well try both of my ideas at the same time - a city focused heavily on public transport, and also one with a lot of smaller villages and towns surrounding the central urban area. In game terms, this means I'm going to class residential areas outside the city centre as villages (low density residential only, usually no services) or towns (mostly low density but maybe some high density residential, low density commercial, some smaller services). All my industry and offices will be in the city centre, along with most of my commercial. We'll see how it goes.
It's Ludum Dare time again, and as with the last competition I wasn't at my most productive. But nonetheless I managed to pull something together on the second day, and I'm pleasantly surprised with the result. The theme was You are the Monster and I made a turn-based game called Tasty Humans where you have to sweep levels and hunt down as many humans as possible, playing as either a Demon, Wraith, or Necroghoul. Try it from the Games page, or read on to hear more about the process of making it.
Invisible, Inc. was released back in May, but I've only just got around to trying it out - I played a bit of the early-access version, but not enough to form a solid impression of it. Going back in I've found it to be very polished and enjoyable, though I haven't spent a lot of time on it yet. However, while choosing a difficulty setting and reminding myself how the game works, I found myself musing on undo buttons in games (or the equivalent, save-scumming).
What's All this then?
I like making and writing about PC games - mostly strategy games. Expect after action reports, thoughts about design and gameplay, and maybe even a few prototypes.