State of the Game: Summer Sale

Steam Summer Sale

The Steam Summer sale is coming to a close today. As it was my first experience with a major Steam sale (I didn’t use the platform much until the beginning of this year), I have come away with a mixed experience. Deep discounts were seen, though a lot of what was on offer were games that I already owned, or wasn’t interested in. A major complaint I had is with the trading card bit, as if you were under Steam level 8 you wouldn’t earn cards from voting, despite the original message saying you would get a card if you voted 3 times. As a result, the only way I would have been able to earn any of the cards was by spending money, at a rate of $10 per card. I unfortunately didn’t have that kind of money to throw around, so I earned a whopping zero Summer Adventure cards. I was only going to sell them anyway, so I guess it’s no big deal. Despite having not really participated, I did end up being on the overall winning team of the event.


So that earned me a badge worth 150 xp, so I’m now like 25 xp away from being level 8. Oh the irony. So despite being a broke ass, I still managed to get a few games over the course of the last couple weeks. Part of that was earned by selling cards and I actually received a gift from my wishlist. The games? Risk of Rain, Delver, Alan Wake and Sang-Froid: Tales of Werewolves. Three indies, one AAA, and I didn’t even spend a total of $10. I didn’t amass a huge number of games like some of my Steam friends, but I probably spent the least 😀 Overall, I think the Steam Sales are great to a degree, because you can end up with some decent games, but the selection seemed to be mostly older games and those with dying communities. There were many awesome looking multiplayer games on sale, but when I’d look at their populations they would be pretty dead. So those titles were avoided. I ended up sticking with smaller scope games, that I’ll be able to complete and then move on from.

What I’ve been Playing

So I started up my playthrough of Shadowrun Returns: Dragonfall. The expansion campaign is already shaping up to being better than the original. Check my playthrough here.

I also already talked about Risk of Rain, and posted a video of the game, in my 7 Awesome Rogue-likes post earlier this week. Without needing to go too in-depth, I have opened two of the characters now, and have posted a new highscore.

On this run I unlocked the Bandit while using the Enforcer

Delver is another Rogue-like that has been on my wishlist for some time. Good ol’ Doone surprised me with a gift copy, during one of the days it was on sale. He said something along the lines of wanting me to be his guinea pig for the game, because he had been interested but didn’t know if he’d like it. I find that it’s a pretty fun little dungeon crawling rogue-like, in first person with minecraft-ish graphics. It’s a little light on depth at the moment, but this is also an Early Access game (which I hadn’t noticed before somehow). I still recommend it to people who are fans of the genre, as it holds to most of the ideas, but is done a little differently. I’ve not managed to beat it yet (though I hear that it’s relatively short), but I did make it pretty far on one of my runs.

This is the stat sheet for my last run. Not sure why it doesn’t show the level I had gotten to

The game plays a lot like old-school FPS games. There’s no jumping, but there is mouse look. Melee combat mixed with archery and magic makes me think of Hexen. You have an inventory, and go up levels in which you can spend a skill point on a randomized selection of stats.

These stats are different every time

Overall the game feels pretty well balanced. The only thing that carries over after you die is your gold, and there are vendors in the base camp that will sell you items, so theoretically you can have an easier run if you net enough gold. However, gold drops are pretty sparce, as I’ve only earned a little over 50 gold total. It seems the game is lacking a sell option, and also a way to port back to the starting town to buy/sell. But, as it’s early access, some of these things might be addressed. A one man development team is working on the game, and I think he’s doing a good job.

Magic seems to be the most effective. Take that pirate boy!
Magic seems to be the most effective. Take that pirate boy!

Sang-Froid: Tales of Werewolves is the final Indie game that I picked up. This game is the most off-the-wall, yet still familiar enough to be intriguing. The art direction is different, mixing some cartoonish graphics with some gritty realism. The overall concept of the game is that it’s Tower Defense meets live action — somewhat like Dungeon Defenders. If you’ve been listening to the podcast, you’ll recall that Doone had been talking about playing it, and he convinced me it was worth the $1.50 it was selling for. I think it’s really a mix of Dungeon Defenders and Orcs Must Die.

Tactical View

The Tower Defense portion takes place during the day, where you are shown fate cards, and those give you information regarding the waves of enemies coming your way. Your sister and brother are holed up inside his cabin, and that’s usually where the enemies will be heading (though in later missions you’ll have additional structures to defend). You’ll see where the enemies are coming from, and install traps, like this:

A hanging net trap

From there, you’ll click “start night,” and the round will begin. Some rounds  have more waves than others, so sometimes you have to plan further ahead. When all else fails, you can whack/shoot your enemies to death.

Bastard wolves killed our horses!

So it’s most like Orcs Must Die in the sense of setting traps, and then attacking whatever’s left over. It’s like Dungeon Defenders for similar reasons, but also has the added skill trees and the town you can visit to get more gear from. It really is a bastard child of the two games, but in a more realistic setting (minus the werewolves, of course). Being an indie game, it’s a little different, and certainly easy to overlook, but it’s definitely worth picking up, particularly if it’s on sale.

You’ll get a new point each time you level. With a tree this big I’m guessing the game is relatively long.

Lastly,  the AAA game I picked up was Alan Wake. It’s a couple of years old, but it falls into one of my favorite genres: Survival Horror. When the game originally released it was for Xbox 360, and perhaps computer too, but I think the port came later. Either way, it wasn’t on something I had access to, so this was my first chance to check it out. Overall the game reminds me of Resident Evil or Dead Space, with the 3rd person over-the-shoulder view. The story follows a man named Alan Wake, who is an author. It opens quoting Stephen King, and I think that’s fitting, as it feels like a story that Stephen King would write. I don’t want to spoil the story though, for people who might not have played it. Suffice it to say that Alan has some issues going on, and the story seems to be unfolding in chunks that aren’t necessarily in order.

Why is my TV watching me?

The one way Alan Wake differs from other similar titles, is with it’s combat. Enemies are shadowy figures that spawn from the darkness. They can’t be damaged until you burn away their shadowy auras with light. That means that places with a lot of life are safe spots.

The yellow writing is only visible from shining light onto it.

This ends up being interesting and a pain in the ass at the same time. When aiming your light, you can “intensify” it by holding down a button. That drains your battery quick, but they seem to be easy to find. These bastards run up on you pretty quick, and though you have a dodge key it ends up being a constant juggle between your flashlight and your gun. When you get some of the better weapons the minions go down fast enough, but then they throw more of them at you.

At least they just evaporate and don’t leave a mess 😀

I’m enjoying this one, and it seems like the type of game that’s easy enough to run though. I doubt I’ll do excess playthroughs, but I am interested to see how the story ends.

That’s all for now. See ya next week.

#steamsummersale #alanwake #riskofrain #sangfroid #delver

Couch Podtatoes Episode 2: Player Rights


Welcome back! It’s time for Episode 2! This week we have a special guest, my good friend Doone. As one of the original brainstormers of this podcast, he’s going to have a monthly spot on the show, entitled “Doone’s Digital Frontier.” Because this discussion runs a little deeper than most, this episode (and other episodes containing the Digital Frontier) will run a little longer than normal.


Download this Episode Subscribe via RSS Download on iTunes Listen on Stitcher

Couch Podtatoes Epsiode 2: Player’s Rights (runtime: 1:02:34)

Breaking the Ice: what are we playing? (starts at 2:05)
Doone’s Digital Frontier (starts at 19:06)
Idiots on the Internet: Phil Fish (starts at 39:41)
Community Talk: Simcha’s Many Lives (starts at 53:59)

Host Contact information:

Blog: You’re here!
Twitter: @mevsmyselfandi

Blog: Healing the Masses
Twitter: @ausj3w3l

Blog: XP Chronicles
Twitter: @trredskies

Idiots on the Internet article:

Community Spotlight:

Her article that sparked this conversation: The Rise of Voice Chat and Decline of Inclusiveness

Music Credits:
“Level Up” by Cookie Monsta (from the Riot! EP)
“Lightbringer” by Pentakill (from the album Smite & Ignite)
“Built For Sin” by The Black Dahlia Murder (from the album Miasma)
“Jokes from the Back Seat” by PANTyRAiD (from the album Pillow Talk)
“Enchanted Rose” by Bury Your Dead (from the album Beauty and the Breakdown)

Couch Podtatoes is a podcast about gaming, though we might stray into other forms of media. Sometimes we use strong language, but we try to keep that to a minimum. All opinions expressed by us or our guests are our own and are in no way to be interpreted as official commentary from any companies we discuss. You can visit our official podcast page at Be sure to follow us on iTunes, and/or Stitcher Radio.

Questions, comments and feedback are welcomed and encouraged!

#podcast #couchpodtatoes #gamingdiscussion

July IGC

last month you may recall that I said that the new format of the Instant Game Collection was changing. It was going to end up being 2 games for each system, and they were all going to release at once, on the first Tuesday of the Month. I read that somewhere, maybe it was in the video, I don’t remember. Whatever the case, that information was incorrect for last month. There were two games for each system, but they were still staggered releases. In a recent Playstation Blog post, it was said that they will all be available at the same time, this month. Here’e the video:

This is the first update in a while where I’ve been excited about a game. I just might have to dust of my Playstation. Dead Space 3 is going to be the game of the month for me, as I own and beat the first two games. When this one released I was distracted, and to be honest I had forgotten all about it. I love Survival horror, and with this series essentially being Resident Evil in space, it’s right up my alley.

Also on PS3 is Vessel, which is an interesting physics-driven platforming indie title. I don’t remember hearing much about this one until now, but upon inspection it seems like a cool game, and another one I’m looking forward to trying. Much better than last month, where I didn’t play a single one of the free games.

On PS4, Towerfall Ascension looks to be the best on offer. It’s a platformer with co-op and pvp modes, and also has the retro indie graphics that have become so popular. Another great game that will have to wait, alas.

Strider is the other free game for next-gen owners, and as I already own it on PS3, I can attest that it’s a fantasic metroidvania. It feels arcade-y too, which is true to the series’ roots.

On Vita, there’s Muramasa Rebirth, which looks like a really cool fighting game, and Doki-Doki Universe, which reminds me of Machinarium. Which could be a very good thing, cause I did enjoy that one. Unfortunately I have yet to see that PS4/Vita bundle on sale anywhere, so more games for the backlog. My head is going to explode when I finally do get on board with next-gen consoles.

Overall it looks like a better month than the last couple (in my opinion).

#instantgamecollection #psplus #playstationplus #sony #deadspace3

Shadowrun: Dragonfall

After being distracted by some other titles, I finally got back around to Shadowrun. If you recall, I bought both the original game and the expansion in a bundle, so I just took a little break before diving back in. So here is the beginning of my playthrough of Dragonfall. Getting started, I had to create a new character for this new campaign. My last run was with an Ork Rigger, so I thought this time around I’d try a new combination. I decided I would try out a mage, as I always had one with me when I played through the base game. Dwarves had the highest starting willpower — a stat important for mages — so I created a Dwarven Mage. Potential Spoilers Ahead.

The Harfeld Manor Run


As the game opens, you’re a runner who needed to start over. You rejoin forces with an old friend in Germany, and she sets you up as part of her team. She already had a job lined up, to raid a vault inside of the Harfeld Manor. Grabbing your gear from the van, you head inside.


The manor is quite large. Large enough to fit a museum inside, and it’s tempting to smash and grab at this point. But, you have a job to do.


Once at the vault, Monika does her thing. (She’s a decker, and the best person to hack into the vault access terminal). Suddenly, she jerks, and falls over. She’s having a seizure, and it takes all of you to hold her down and un-jack her from the matrix. By then it’s too late, but she does utter something that you make out to be important. But at this point you have more pressing matters. The vault turns out to be a huge laboratory, and security is on it’s way.


You are prompted to survive for 9 turns. Some lowly security guards try to stop you, but they’re easy prey. However, when this big guy shows up with his mini-gun, you know this corp means business. After successfully avoiding your death (it doesn’t appear that he’s killable) an escape route lies before you.


Outside you’re confronted by a heated Eiger. I failed to mention that before Monika died, Eiger forced the issue of having a “next-in-command” in case something were to happen. I was made next-in-command (go figure) during that discussion.


Eiger claims that you were an incompetent leader, but the rest of the crew has your back, stating that you saved their lives. So it was back to your hideout to confer with the “boss.”

The Kreuzbasar


The “boss,” is Paul Amsel. He’s already guessed that something happened to Monika, and theorizes that she must have been set up (with your help of course). He sends you to talk to the person whom she took the job from. It’s just down the way, in the Cafe Cezve.


Altug Burakgazi is the contact, but he’s not the job giver. He says he can get you that information, but you have to do something for him. Cue the fetch quest! Sort of. He sends you around the little borough to reset some circuits. Then, he tells you that the guy you’re after is Green Winters, and he’s staying fairly locally. So it’s off to the U-Bahn, which is German for Sub way? Well, either way, that’s what it is.


Next stop…

The Drug Pit



The Drug Pit is a club/hotel that is filled with unsavory types. Drugs are on sale. Strippers are doing their thing. It doesn’t give off a friendly atmosphere. But, we weren’t here for the pleasantries. Gaining access to the elevator required some bribery, and digging through the hotel was a long process. Multiple floors needed to be searched, but eventually we found the needed information. Green was staying in room 405.


Plot twist: Green is dead. It appears that he died in the same way as Monika, but had actually broken his own spine while convulsing. Disturbing. We raided his room but before we left, his vidphone went off.


The mysterious man on the phone says that he’s in the Penthouse Suite, and that he needs help escaping. He was inadvertently captured by the “new management” when the entire place was taken over while he was still occupying the room. They didn’t say he was captured, but rather, they are now “employing” him. As an optional quest, I decided to go help him. We busted him out and he revealed that he is Blitz, whom is apparently a famous Decker. Upon our exiting the building, he joins the group. We headed back to talk to Amsel, whom we hoped would shed more light on what’s really going on.

That’s it for now. Stay tuned for the next chapter in my Dragonfall playthrough. If you missed my playthrough of the original campain, “Dead Man’s Switch,” you can read that here.

7 Awesome Rogue-likes

With the Steam Summer Sale going strong, I thought I’d take a look at one of the lesser played, less popular genres, and I’d like to point out that most of the titles I’m about to talk about have been on sale during this event. I narrowed my list to seven, and I’m probably missing some really good rogue-likes, but I didn’t want to bring up games I don’t own and haven’t played. There would be some honorable mentions here for games that fall within the category and that I’d like to own eventually, but I can’t comment much on games I haven’t played. So with that said, here’s 7 of my favorite rogue-likes (in no particular order):

1. Faster Than Light: Advanced Edition


FTL released a couple of years ago, but within the last few months has had an expansion of sorts. The game still plays the same and the end goals are the same, but new alien species and spacecraft have been added, giving the game that much more replay-ability. I for one always envisioned each jump being like an individual episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Similar in plot, if nothing else, seemingly helping the entirety of the universe to survive. Other tidbits like stores, random encounters and distress calls keep things fresh, as these are randomized each time you start a new game. The beginner ship isn’t the greatest, but eventually you’ll open up new ones and that will aid in your struggle to get to the end of the game. Sometimes you’ll die long before you get there, but the reward is experience, and learning how the game’s systems work, which will in turn help you in further playthroughs. This game is phenomenal. It has popped up on the Steam Summer Sale more than once already, so go get it while it’s discounted!

2. Rogue Legacy


Rogue Legacy is basically the Rogue-like variant of Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins. You have a very basic kit to work with, and it’s action-platformer meets fantasy. However, it has some subsystems that give it depth, along with the typical permadeath and random generation of the levels. I find it very enjoyable just from the platformer perspective, the difficulty is just right, mini-games are fun, and the bosses are epic. The subsystems of upgrading your “castle” (basically a skill-tree) and being succeeded by an heir after your death are entertaining. Eventually you will earn enough gold to upgrade your items and classes and passive abilities, and getting further into the dungeon will be a bit easier. Just don’t forget to lock your instance! Getting through everything in one sitting would be way too tough. This one has also popped up on sale multiple times, so get it while it’s hot!

3. Risk of Rain

This is one that I picked up specifically because it was on sale a couple of times recently (for only $2.50! selling steam cards has its advantages!). This is another action-platformer with rogue-like and RPG elements, but set in space rather than having the typical fantasy tropes. You start off with one class available, and like League of Legends or other ARPGs, you have a set of abilities on cooldowns that you’ll use while running around blasting enemies. It seems that the levels are actually set up in a particular way, but what mobs spawn and other factors are randomized. There’s also permadeath, but you can unlock new items and characters to play as even if you die early — it just depends on what you do with your time. There’s also an overall timer that adjusts the difficulty of the game as you go, so finding the teleporter quickly and moving on to the next level is a pretty good idea. Bosses are huge, and difficult. Eventually though you’ll get the hang of things and start unlocking goodies (you’ll see I opened a couple things during the video playthrough above, which is just a single level). One place where this game rises above the others is in the fact that it has 4 player co-op. I have yet to try it, but it sounds like it would be a blast!

4. Quest of Dungeons


Quest of Dungeons is truly indie in that it’s been made by one guy. It’s more along the lines of a traditional rogue-like, like Angband, but with better graphics. It also released more recently than most of these titles, but it’s still been on sale. I find that it’s not overly complex, but there’s all the elements of rogue-likes that I enjoy, and that’s enough for me. I enjoy the graphical style, the game controls solidly, and the difficulty is just about too easy most of the time, and then BAM you die anyway. There are four classes to choose from, and though they don’t affect the game play too much, they do all come with their own abilities and I’ve found that the ranged classes are easier to deal with. Another game I’d recommend picking up if you’re a fan of the genre.

5. Sword of the Stars: The Pit Gold Edition

I’ve talked about SotS before, and it’s still a great game. Both the original version and the Gold edition are on Steam, but don’t bother unless you get the gold, as it comes with all of the expansion content. The game plays much like QoD, in that it’s more traditional rogue-like, but it does have some differing systems, and is set in a sci-fi setting as well. There are a multitude of classes, skills, weapons, recipes and bad guys, more so than I’m going to go into now. Still, if you are a fan of the genre, this game is a must-have. It’s by far the hardest in my collection, and starving to death is a common occurrence.

6. Nuclear Throne

This one is a mis-mash of all kinds of genres. It’s a shooter. It’s a rogue-like. It’s sci-fi meets post-apocalyptic. It’s a little bit of everything, and a whole lot of nothing. Yet it’s a diamond in the rough. Don’t let the cheesy graphics fool you, this game is brutal. I have yet to beat it, despite my best efforts. The levels and mobs are procedurally generated, along with drops (guns) so no play through will ever be the same. It’s also twitchy (like Risk of Rain) because you need to be able to aim and coordinate dodging and timing. I personally love it, and though it’s in Early Access it already feels like a completed game. It’s $13 though, so the most expensive on this list, considering I haven’t seen it on sale at all.

7. The Binding of Issac

binding of isaac 2

This game takes the genre in new directions. The dungeons are laid out in a Legend of Zelda style, and you are stuck in rooms til you kill the enemies. Keys and bombs are the items you’re using the majority of the time, but eventually you get some pretty off the wall power-ups. Later you’ll even open up other characters who have demonic special powers. The game is creepy, wacky, gross, and funny all at the same time. It’s really hard to explain, but you need to play it. I haven’t seen this one on sale for a while either, but at only $5 it’s worth its full asking price.


So there you have it. A short list of Rogue-likes that I think you need to buy/play. It’s the Summer Sale so there’s no better time than the present! Happy Gaming!

#roguelike #steamsummersale