State of the Game: Spice of Life Edition

This week I had much more variety in my game time, but I think I spent less time playing games than usual. I’m not sure, but it felt that way. I did spend some time playing Skyrim, and I picked up a Humble Bundle, got some games for free, and bought a couple others in the Halloween Steam sale. Overall I spent next to nothing, and had a lot to try out.

In Skyrim, I continued my playthrough of the Dragonborn DLC, and actually started on the main story quest.
Then I sidetracked to get the last trophy needed to earn the platinum, and made my ultimate brag-worthy post before the Bragtoberfest event ended.

I have another post’s worth of screens waiting to be written up, so I should have another one up by tomorrow. I believe I’m getting near the end of storyline at this point, and that means I’m nearing completion of the game. Maybe not 100% of all side quests but I think I’ll be done with Skyrim for a while after I complete Dragonborn. I’m ready for The Elder Scrolls VI.

So as you all know last week was Halloween, and as it came and went, there were a number of sales and giveaways around various sites that I frequent. A new Humble Bundle rolled around and I paid the low-end amount to get my hands on OlliOlli, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, and Tower of Guns. I already owned the latter, so I gifted the spare key. They were also giving away Teleglitch: Die More Edition for free to everyone, so I picked that up as well.

OlliOlli was the game I really wanted, as it’s a 2-D skateboarding game and I’ve enjoyed Tony Hawk games in the past. It’s been quite some time since I played a game of this nature, and though it is more limited than Tony Hawk (being 2-D and on-rails) it still brings a fair bit of challenge. The controls took a while to wrap my head around, but in the end I started to get pretty good at it. This game also has a fantastic sound track, and I’m not usually one to comment on that, but I really think it keeps you in the mood to grind some rails!

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I’d definitely recommend using a controller for this one, it seems like using a keyboard would be pretty wonky. Still, if you can manage a buck, it’s worth your time. Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is a Metroidvania, in that you have a character (in this case, a space ship) and you start off with basically no abilities, and as you move through the world you get new powers that allow you to gain access to other areas you couldn’t get to before. For example, you start off with a little radar dish that lets you scan objects. Later you’ll come across a gun, and after scanning it, you can then equip it. The gun allows you to shoot these tentacles so you can reach new areas. Later still you’ll get a claw device that allows you to move objects out of your way. It looks to be pretty fun but wasn’t really the game I wanted so I’ll get around to it eventually.

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Tower of Guns is a great rogue-like/bullet-hell game that I rather enjoy. I’ve had it for a while now and I’d recommend it as well. Again, you can get all 3 of these games for a buck if you’re cheap, so why not? There’s some other great games in the package too if you want to spend more, but I had a few of them already so I didn’t see the point. Last on the list from Humble, Teleglitch is another rogue-like, though it is top-down, pixellated, and has a semi sci-fi storyline. From what I’ve gathered it’s post-apocalyptic and you’re fighting mutants. It does have a neat line-of-sight mechanic, but otherwise isn’t anything extraordinary. Still, it was entirely free for anyone who visited the site, so you’ll have to see if you can still pick it up. I didn’t check. Sue me.

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Bundle Stars was giving away a free game called “Weird Worlds: Return to Infinite Space” and in most cases even when a title this obscure turns up for free I’ll give it a whirl anyway. I have been pleasantly surprised a time or two with these off-the-wall games. This one leaves me with mixed feelings. Graphically it’s nothing special, but the gameplay seems to have some depth to it. It reminds me a lot of FTL, though I will say that I immediately fell in love with FTL, whereas this game feels strange. Basically you’re on a universe map and can pick and chose where to go next, with random encounters along the way. I ended up picking up a mercenary ship to accompany me, and then found some aliens that sounded pleasant, but immediately attacked me. I was far outmatched and the game ended. Combat seems to be more like Gratuitous Space Battles in that you can’t control what happens once the fight starts. Overall it feels like a mix between the two games, but with uglier graphics than either of them. I’ll have to play it some more for a final verdict, but it was still rather weird, as the title implies.

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I don’t remember where the other free game was being offered, but my brother-in-law tipped me off. It’s a shooter from the early 2000’s, but from the screenshots it didn’t look half-bad. The game was called Nosferatu: The Wrath of Malachi, and it seemed rather appropriate given the time of year. I even read the reviews on Steam and they seemed mostly positive, despite the game being from an indie developer and being that old. I wasn’t impressed though, right off the bat. The graphics were dated sure, but I mean really dated. To the point where there was no redeeming qualities. Animations were horrible. The only bit that really felt ok was the sound, it was rather creepy. I played for a while and died, tried again, and then gave up. It does have trading cards, so I guess that’s a plus, but after I farm those I’ll be uninstalling this one. Yuck.

Speaking of Trading Cards, I had been selling them and saving up for a while and had a few bucks, so when the Steam Halloween sale came around I started digging through the titles. I ended up deciding to pull the trigger on a couple of games that I have looked at several times in the past, but decided against. Both were on sale for $0.99, so I couldn’t resist. The first, called “Deadly 30” seems to be a flash game that was ported to Steam. It has a hand drawn art style that I find appealing, but it seems to only run well when it’s windowed, and that makes for a very small picture to look at. There isn’t an option for 1080, but running it at 720 seemed to give a little bit of lag on the controls. Anyway, the game is about three soliders in the WWII era, all of whom need to survive 30 nights of zombie infestation. This equates to a sort of active tower defense game. You have a base with a generator, store and bed. You pick up spare parts from killing zombies and exploring during the day. This is also how you find the other survivors, but I have yet to find one. You also get experience from kills, so you open up new guns as you level. I’ve only been able to make it to the 4th day so far, but it has been a lot of fun. With the right support, this game could have been great for co-op, but the two-man dev team did a fair job with the game to this point.

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Finally, the last game I’ll be talking about this week is called Savant – Ascent. It’s basically an on-rails shoot-em-up, but it takes a different direction. You are the Savant, a mage that has had your tower taken from  you. Your goal is to climb the tower and reclaim it. This is accomplished by shooting random enemies that appear, and avoiding their attacks. You can jump between two platforms and shoot, that’s about it. As you kill enemies, pieces of CDs appear, and when you collect four pieces  you’ll complete a CD which will not only add to the soundtrack of the game, but give you a new power. This means you’ll have other ways to survive and make it further along. I’ve made it to the top of the tower but it seems like there is more to it, and there was a free expansion added to the game somewhat recently. It’s fun for some mindless shooting, and the soundtrack is fantastic, with some EDM and Dubstep tunes that really get you pumped.

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That’s all for this week’s round-up. Until next week, Happy Gaming!

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