It seems that I lied in this post where I said I wouldn’t play Apartment 666. Because I did play it. And I completed it. Go me!
I struggled a bit though. Not in the “it’s too scary” way that I was expecting, despite it making me jump a few times. No, it was the fact the game was waaaay too dark for it’s own good that I had problems with. Three times I reached a point where it was too dark to see, and I had no idea which way I was facing or which way I needed to go. All I could do was quit and restart from the last checkpoint.
Hiding items you interact with in this impenetrable darkness didn’t help either, and nor did the jerkiness. As for the game itself, it was short, badly voice acted, and the sound mix was all over the place. Since atmosphere is the only thing Apartment 666 was aiming for, when all these things fought against it the game is ruined.
Not fun. Not interesting. Not even that scary. I can’t tell you the plot (because of spoilers), bar that you effectively repeat, with slight differences, the same short walk through your apartment over and over. I’d avoid it, if I were you.
One Night Stand is a graphical adventure game, which starts off when you wake up in bed with a sleeping girl, but you can’t remember how you got there.
There are 12 endings, 10 of which I’ve now seen, each one reached depending on how you interact with the girl and the objects in her bedroom before you inevitably leave. You can poke around in her purse and on her laptop to try and find her name, or question her to find out more about what happened the previous night.
It was interesting, but although I think I got the “best” ending, it’s still not ideal – you part on good terms, as friends, but nothing more. I’m pretty sure the girl drugged me, but I can’t prove this and none of the routes through the game I took seemed to show it for sure. One came close, when she went nuts at me and asked if I thought that was what she did, but I ended up kicked out the house soon afterwards.
And there’s the ending where you steal her knickers, leaving wearing them. Ace.
It’s a common story – man enters judo competition, finds shrine, warps to parallel world, meets two boob-woman soldiers obsessed with him, meets two boob-woman fox spirits also obsessed with him, all the women get accidentally naked every seven seconds, and then four bad boob-woman slime spirits turn up and it’s up to you and all the friendly boob-women to save the day!
All interspersed with barely-covered boobs, barely-covered bums, and lots of conversations about knickers.
It sounds like filth, but in actual fact, it’s really very tame. The story is nonsense, the dialogue is full of spelling mistakes and is embarrassing for non-sexy reasons, and it’s not actually much of a game at all. It’s a picture book with one (or maybe two?) decisions that need to be made, neither of which appear to affect anything bar the following couple of sentences.
Having four women constantly undressing for you either accidentally or on purpose but at the same time both they and you are in a state of permanent bashfulness isn’t as sexy as it sounds (not least because nothing is ever actually exposed anyway) and frankly it just gets in the way of the story. Which also isn’t very good. It’s a Carry On film set in ancient Japan, with fox spirits instead of Barbara Windsor.
Filling the five-minutes-here-and-there hole left by Gunpoint, is this – McPixel. It’s sort of like Warioware in that you’ve only a few seconds to complete each level, but different in that you have more seconds, and that to win you mostly just randomly click on things with little or no logic. A speed point-and-click adventure game, if you will.
McPixel is funny, and I mostly enjoyed it, but too many of the levels involve finding an almost imperceptibly different background tile, or a few indistinct pixels to click on, sometimes in combination with other unrecognisable items in order to beat them.
I can’t recommend it for anything more than novelty value, unfortunately, but since I got it for free I’m not going to complain too much. And I completed it (although didn’t stretch to the bonus and DLC levels), which counts for something, perhaps.
I’ll tell you what’s actually missing: the rest of the game.
Missing: An Interactive Thriller, is rubbish. Not so much the game itself, which is very much in Zero Time Dilemma/Room Escape style only with actual full motion video, more the fact that this is it. Episode One, it seems now that I’ve finished it and looked for the next in the series, is all that they’ve made, or will ever likely make.
It’s not a fantastic game, as the puzzles are mostly too simple, or too vague (needing you to move the pointer over everything), and there are a few “CLICK HERE!!!!!11!!1” QTEs which don’t quite gel with the rest of what’s going on, but it isn’t really bad. The acting of everyone bar the main guy is poor, and there are pangs of Night Trap about it, but I did enjoy it enough to want to play the rest.
Which won’t happen because there isn’t any. So I can’t really recommend it any more than I can the first chapter of a book.
The irony is, you don’t have a gun to point. At least, not until near the end.
Considering all the games I’ve completed in the first half of 2016, I’ve been a little bit lax recently, it would appear. The main cause is, of course, the fantastic Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE (which I’m over 55 hours into now), but I’ve also been catching up on demos on the Wii U and 3DS – I may post about those later.
Gunpoint, however, is something I’ve been playing off and on over the last week. Each level is pretty short, and you can save whenever you want (and if you die you can rewind a few seconds, which is a great feature), so it lends itself well to a few minutes play every so often.
The aim of the game is to infiltrate various buildings and retrieve/destroy/plant evidence or computer files, with the overarching plot relating to you being a freelance spy with hugely powerful spring boots working for three different sides, to various degrees, in a murder case. A case you’re involved in yourself, leading to bizarre situations like having to recover CCTV footage may contain evidence that would incriminate yourself.
Each level plays out with three main skills. You can jump really high, or far, and use this to scale walls, smash though windows, or pounce on guards. You can (after the first couple of levels) hack electronic devices too, rewiring the building so that, for example, a light switch now opens a door, or a security camera calls a lift. Finally, you can punch (and later, shoot) guards, although to score highly you need to be silent, undetected and refrain from violence.
Far from being a platform game like the superficially similar The Swindle, the emphasis is much more on puzzle solving, with often many solutions – sometimes clever, sometimes funny. Wiring up a motion sensor to a plug socket so that one guard electrocutes another elsewhere in the building never ceases to entertain. As you unlock more abilities (such as more powerful jumps or additional gadgets), more solutions present themselves. I realised that I could, on a very late mission, use a light switch to trigger a guard’s gun for instance – and he merrily shot his own guardchums.
Gunpoint isn’t a long game (three hours, perhaps?) but it’s clever, makes you feel clever, and is genuinely fun and funny. If only I could remember, like most of my Steam games, why I own it.
Yes, the game is really called that. Yes, you can defecate in someone’s soup. You can also do it on their heads. And on dogs. And everywhere. That’s the idea.
It’s a totally stupid concept but since it was just 52 pence (in fact, less than that as I had some free credit) on Steam I bought it, played it a lot, poo’d everywhere, got all the achievements, and have now classed it as completed.
No no, no no no no, no no no no, no no there’s no temple.
Well, I say Mac, but in fact it’s a web browser game built in TWINE. It’s a narrative discovery game in the same sort of vein as Gone Home and Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist, the latter of which is by the same people.
As it’s TWINE, and therefore basically a text medium choose your own adventure, it isn’t as technically impressive as those other games. The story is fun, self referential and sarcastic. It’s short, I’m not sure it’s possible to not complete it (unless you just quit, I suppose), but it’s definitely worth a play. And it’s free, so you’ve no excuse. You can find it here.
Emily is Away was an odd one. On one hand, it was very easy in the sense that you can’t really fail and it’s pretty short, but on the other hand it appears to be impossible to get a good ending. I’m not sure I missed anything, as I played it through a few times and although you can get different endings, none of them I’d suggest were “good”.
The game I’ve played before which is most like Emily is Away is probably the iOS game Lifeline. Whereas that played out like a Choose Your Own Adventure in real-time over a course of a few days, Emily is Away is real-time multiple choice AOL chat-alike played out one chat per year over five years.
You’re Emily’s friend, and you chat about music, school, college and friends. Depending on your actions, your relationship with her can be platonic, unrequited or temporarily requited (it seems), as you live apart for your college years and she ends up in a strained relationship with Brad while you offer advice from afar. Will she see your advice as interfering, helpful, or with an ulterior motive? That’s where the sometimes ambiguous multiple choice comes in.
Ultimately, all my attempts ended up with me being miserable, her being miserable, or both of us being miserable – and with us losing our friendship completely. See, no good ending. Actually, there’s an early tip-off that there’s no good ending when Emily tells you she’s really into Coldplay. That probably tells you a lot about Emily.
It was an interesting game to play, and since it’s free (or “pay what you want”, if you want) it’s definitely worth a look. Just don’t expect any sort of happy ending.
I’m going to keep this short, because not only is the game itself pretty short, but it’s something you have to experience and play yourself, rather than read what I have to say about it.
The Beginner’s Guide involves a walk through a number games written by the (presumably made up) Coda. The narrator tells you about them, Coda’s likely state of mind at the time, and various other facts about the simple games as you progress through them. There aren’t really any puzzles, there’s very little shooting, and each “game” is very short and mostly simple.
But, as usual in games of this type, that’s not the whole story. The narrator has more than just a history lesson to talk about.
I enjoyed it, although not as much as either The Stanley Parable or Dr Langstrom, with both of which The Beginner’s Guide shares DNA, but it’s worth the 90 minutes or so I spent on it. It’s just a shame it crashes so much on the Mac!
You know,”Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist” takes almost as long to say as the game does to play. On my first playthrough, I clocking in at just 23 minutes, and it would seem that’s pretty slow.
The title is also somewhat trolling. “Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist” contains exactly none of these things, except perhaps a tiger (although you never see it), since it’s actually set in a sort of behind the scenes area, backstage as if the game in the title is actually being played out for real by someone else (and you can’t play because they’re busy playing themselves).
Which sets you up for one of those mostly puzzle free “walking simulators” which are a thing now and have a terrible genre title. Simon Amstell talks you through the events as they unfold in his usual sarcastic and seemingly inept style, while you assist in the runthrough of the game itself – pressing buttons and so on.
Not a lot happens, although replaying it is on the cards to nab some achievements (which are, after two updates, still bugged and I can’t get most of them) and listen to some actually properly funny cassette tapes purporting to be a developer’s commentary (but… aren’t). The current most recent update added a load of pretzels to find, for no discernible reason, too.
Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist is free, humourous, and definitely worth a play. I do get the impression, however, that it’s a setup for the actual game in the title though, which may or may not appear at some point.
And here’s a video of me completing it, so, you know, spoilers and that.
Way back in the primordial past, when games were made from rocks and cost as much as a family car to buy, there was a game called Deus Ex Machina. I’ve never played it. I’ve read a lot about it, none of which makes any sense. From what I can discern, it was more an experience than a game, and consisted of some minigames that you played while listening to an audio tape. Because, of course, voices in early 1980s computer games were limited to “HNNGHSLUMMMNDMUH” (“he slimed me”) in the Ghostbusters game.
A couple of years ago, the creator of Deus Ex Machina (note the “Machina” bit – this has nothing to do with any cyberpunk first person shooters), Mel Croucher, Kickstarted a sequel. I gather it’s actually more of a re-realisation of the first game than a real sequel, using today’s technology to create what he imagined the game to be in the first place. Probably.
This week, it was cheap enough to be virtually free on Steam, and since I had credit gained from selling trading cards, it actually was free to me, so I bought it. I had no idea what I was in for. Having completed it in just over an hour, I’m still not entirely sure.
There are several chapters, each covering a different stage in a person’s life. Conception, birth, growing up, puberty, and so on until (and past) death. Christopher Lee poetically narrates the story, and each chapter has a fantastic and differently styled musical track to accompany it. Notably, Ian Dury provides lyrics and voice to some of these, despite having been dead for over a decade. I suspect his recordings from the original game were reused.
It’s the music and narration that make the game, as both are genuinely outstanding. Croucher’s clever verses make some great tracks, and the vocalists and musicians make music I’d happily buy on an album. Lee’s voice fits excellently as well. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t match up.
Of course, I say game when I really mean experience. Each chapter mainly involves your naked avatar walking, floating, and sometimes running, into the screen. You can vaguely direct either him or something else on the screen in order to collect or avoid various things (kisses on one level, medicine on another). As you do so, your “degree of ideal entity” score goes up or down apparently in tune to what you’ve collected or avoided, although it is not always obvious which way it will go. I suspect it doesn’t matter; mine was bumped up to almost 100% through a successful egg fertilisation, but dropped heavily when I chose the non-warmongering options in a later section. Who knows what difference it makes to the ending.
As I said, your avatar is usually only vaguely directable so your impact on his path and ultimately his score feels disconnected. It’s clear you’re going to complete the game any way you play, even if you chose not to control your man at all. It seems a bit pointless, but it’s so worth playing. Sorry, experiencing. That music.
We shall not talk about the content of the game. We shall only talk about how it plays. And how does it play? Very well, actually. Thanks for asking.
Basically, you chat to girls to find out about them, which give you “Hunie” points. You then go on dates with the girls which consists of a match-3 puzzle game. The dates give you “Munie”. You spend this money on gifts for the girls which generates more Hunie, and you spend the Hunie on stat improvements for yourself which makes your match-3 abilities more powerful in various ways. And round and round it goes. It works surprisingly well, and even without the very naughty girls in it the mechanics are much better than in many other similar games.
After you’ve successfully dated each girl four times, you get to take her home. Take all the girls home, and you win the game (and at life, presumably). So I did that. Apparently there are two more secret girls to find somewhere, but I’ve no idea where.
It’s been a few months since I started Mega Man 7. I think, after ploughing through Mega Mans 1-6 I may have had a bit of Mega Man burnout, and I was a bit disappointed with 7 anyway as it didn’t feel right. Anyway, I’m back on it now and have taken down the first lot of four Robot Masters. I’m enjoying it, and it does feel more like the NES games than it did a few months ago. Perhaps I just needed to give it some time?
StreetPass Zombies (3DS)
Nintendo released two more StreetPass games! In this one, your passes equate to weapons that you use to see off the (cute, Nintendofied, egg-headed) zombie hordes. It’s a lot of fun, and actually quite difficult.
StreetPass Fishing (3DS)
And this is the other game. Passes translate as different bait types which you use to catch different fish. There’s a sort of RPG element as you can level up and improve your rod (and get other rods), and a lot of “gotta catch ’em all” with the fish. Really enjoyable.
Pokémon Rumble World (3DS)
Another Free-to-Play Pokeymuns game from Nintendo, this time based on (read: almost exactly the same as) the Pokémon Rumble series, which despite being repetitive, I’ve had fun with in the past. This one has a real money mechanic where you can only attempt so many levels before your hot air balloon mode of transport deflates, and you have to wait or use jewels to re-inflate it. And jewels cost money. I’m open minded though – Pokémon Shuffle had jewels too and gave away so many for free it was unnecessary to buy any.
Yakuza 4 (PS3)
I’ve progressed a little further, moving onto Kiryu’s part of the story. Another incredibly unlikely coincidence occurs (another character washes up on Kiryu’s doorstep) and then another (Kiryu goes to the police station and happens to bump into “Lily”), and then some fighting. I’ll just say this: that head prison officer bloke from Saejima’s prison is pretty much immortal, isn’t he? No mere man can be smashed to pieces that many times and not only survive, but actually come back stronger!
Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don’t Know! (Wii U)
A few more levels finished on this in co-op. It’s a bit shallow, but is essentially Gauntlet, so I’ll let it go. The only real annoyance that I have, is that you can only quit the dungeon and save the game every five levels, meaning you really don’t want to die in that time or you have to do it all again.
Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)
The new tracks that were available this week are fantastic. Ribbon Road, in particular, goes way above a simple reimagining of the original GBA track by being probably the best looking part of any game ever made ever. Ever. I’ve not unlocked the new 200cc mode yet, so had to put in a bit of work to do that by improving my scores on some of single player mode. Never a chore, mind.
Technically, I’ve completed this. I’m not recording it as completed though, as there’s no real goal – you just explore a purposefully low-res alien city, see the sights and hear the sounds, and that’s it. There’s not even all that much to see, and I took the lot in in well under an hour. There’s no interaction, nothing to collect, no items to collect or anything like that. Still, it was funny and absolutely well worth a wander around. Download it for free here.
A lot of things, it seems. I’ve had a glut of new games over the last month and I’ve been playing each for a short time. I’ve yet to settle down and just work on one or two, so I’ve not made much progress in each. So here’s a list, in no particular order:
Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition (Vita)
My subscription to PS+ was autorenewed before I could cancel it (the whole service got DDOS’d and I couldn’t log in), so I thought I might as well make use of it. This is one of the rentals.
It’s Duke Nukem. A bit easier to control than the 360 version that appeared on XBLA, and with a nice (but often broken) rewind feature if you die. It’s the same game that it ever was, so great. Half way through the first episode so far.
At least, I was playing this until my family hijacked my save game. I’ve no idea what’s going on. You’re a snake which flies around bizarre levels bumping into things which sometimes react, solving puzzles that aren’t really puzzles, in an attempt to reunite with other snakes. I think. You’re just dropped into the game with no explanation and just expected to get on with it. It’s good, but I’m confused and lost. No idea why I bought it, although it was on offer.
Super Smash Bros U (Wii U)
I’m sure the Gamecube version of this was easier to control. I’m still sticking mostly to Mega Man, and I’m trying, but it does seem very vague as to whether I actually pull off moves or not. And I can never remember in the heat of the moment how to do the special moves that try to carry you back onto a platform when you’ve been punched off. It’s utter chaos, but then I suppose that’s the appeal.
Whoa Dave! (Vita)
Another PS+ rental. It’s an 8bit (or lower, perhaps – it’s more like an Atari 2600 title) looking single screen arcade platformer. Eggs drop from the top of the screen, and after a while they hatch. Baddies pop out and when they hit the lava at the bottom of the screen they “level up” and become more dangerous, and then level up again each time they hit the lava. You have to beat them by chucking eggs at them, or by destroying the eggs by throwing exploding skulls at them. Then UFOs appear and it all gets really hard. Really like this game, so much so I’ll probably buy it when it hits the 3DS. My high score is $1.76, in case you want a target (an easy target) to aim for.
I happened to be using my old MacBook, and Peggle was on it, and I couldn’t remember playing it on there before so wasn’t sure it would work and then I ran it to see and it did work and then an hour passed magically. It’s Peggle, and that’s what happens with Peggle. No idea how far I got.
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (Demo) (3DS)
I didn’t want to like this because I really wanted a Wii U version instead. Sadly, that doesn’t look likely to happen. It’s Monster Hunter, but made a bit easier to play (on the 3DS) as I’ve a shiny new New 3DS with extra buttons and a prodnipple, so it’s essentially got the same controls as the Wii U version of MH3U anyway.
I chose the Great Jaggi hunt as I know where I am with that, and picked a hunter with twin blades, not a class I’d used before. I don’t know if it’s the different weapons, or the different game, but the combat was so much swifter than I ever had on the previous game. Mind you, that was with a Great Sword and so slow and ponderous came with it. I like how you can now jump on the back of the Great Jaggi and slash at his (her?) neck, and it’s nice to have some new maps to hunt on. Do I want this now? Yes. Yes I do.
SteamWorld Dig (Wii U)
It’s the same as the 3DS game that I completed last year (or the year before?), but that doesn’t matter. It’s just as good, but all in HD and on the tellybox. I bought it as it was on offer and I was trying to spend enough in the Wii U eShop before the end of 2014 to get another £5 credit before they stopped running the scheme. Don’t know why I started this before the other games that I’d bought but haven’t played before – that’d make more sense, surely?
I’ve reached The Old World, and have a couple of upgrades from there. I’m pretty sure by this point in the 3DS game I had the ability to punch by now, so I’m wondering if I’ve missed something…
Rock Boshers DX: Director’s Cut (Vita)
Stumbled across this, and as soon as I noticed it was basically a brand new Spectrum game, I had to buy it. Turns out it’s a twin stick shooter, with Spectrum graphics and sound, and even had a two minute long load (which you can skip – I didn’t). The plot is incredible – you appear to be Queen Victoria, dressed as a man, who decides to go to Mars in a giant bullet shaped space ship that’s shot out of a huge cannon, and, when you arrive, you have to shoot guards and zombies and collect keys and avoid massive centipedes while looking for tea and jammy scones. YES. It’s the best thing ever.
Picross e5 (3DS)
I was having a look at the eShop the other day and realised Picross e5 was out and I hadn’t bought it. So I bought it, and started playing it. It’s Picross, and I like Picross, so I like this. Aside from different puzzles (obviously), it seems to be no different to Picross e4. That’s not a problem, as Picross e4 was lovely.
Oh, remember my 360? Never before has a console so frequently used in the past been dropped so quickly. Mine barely gets touched these days. In fact, the only reason I turned it on was because I finally decided to get Minecraft, mainly for my daughter. I’d a pile of free credit, and since the 360 is the only machine I have that 1) plays Minecraft and 2) I have two controllers for (for co-op), it had to be that version.
Created a “creative mode” map, which was far too vertical to navigate, so after a while we binned it and created a flat world – which we forgot to make “creative”. So cue all the baddies in the world appearing when it got dark and we hadn’t built any shelter because all I had were a couple of oak tree seeds and some dirt. Then we explored a lot and it seems everything wasn’t just flat, as we found a monastery (I think) and I fell in a well and couldn’t get out and drowned. Yay?
Skylanders Giants (360)
While the 360 controllers were out, and we’d just taken delivery of a cheap Skylanders Swap Force starter kit (for the Wii U – to hell with the 360 now!), I thought we shoudl probably finish off Giants.
So we worked through two more levels – Kaos’ castle, and a Ghost Ship. I’m sure the game it waaaay harder than the original Spyro’s Adventure, you know. We’ve about 30 Skylanders and ploughed through pretty much all of them on both levels.
Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don’t Know! (Wii U)
This was on sale and even though I know it’s not supposed to be very good, we are big fans of the cartoon and it was very cheap. And it’s multiplayer co-op.
It’s not too bad, actually. For the most part it plays like Gauntlet, complete with food and baddie generators and smart-bomb magic, but there’s also a Rogue Legacy style shop system. You can quit the dungeon after every 5 levels, and then spend your money to get better stats, but any money you have left is lost when you return to the game. The best bit is how the Gamepad becomes a giant Beemo face, who comments on your action with such gems as “food is where the hearts are!”. Excellent.
With various deals and cheap credit, I got this for less than £2. I’ve wanted it for a while, but keep being put of by people who say it’s rubbish. At that price I thought I’d risk it. And I’m glad I did as it’s pretty good.
It’s no Tony Hawk’s, obviously, but is instead an endless runner with things to grind on and ollie off. It’s all about timing, and the tricks are more like the Skate games in how you flick the stick to pull them off. Was getting well into it, and then it crashed. Bah.