Wednesday, 16 August 2017

All peasant and correct

It turns out that Peasant's Quest was made by the people behind Homestar Runner (I never really watched any of it back in the day, so I didn't recognise Trogdor, etc.). So, it was pretty funny and pleasantly short. It's a spot-on parody of some of the tropes in the old King's Quest games. You travel across screens speaking to strange characters, finding items and solving quests. The graphics and text parser (yes, you have to type in commands, just like the original KQ) are present and correct, the puzzles are obtuse and there are terrible minigames that make the whole thing much harder than it needs to be. It's all good fun, though, and some of the text is genuinely amusing. It did at times reach the point where it was a step too far - e.g., ridiculously difficult arcade segments were an annoying feature of early Sierra games, and it's fine to poke fun at that, but that could have been done by the character acknowledging the ridiculousness of it and finding another way through. Just putting an annoyingly difficult arcade segment in your game that I'm forced to get through to proceed does nothing but make me annoyed. Anyway, other than that it was well worth a play through, and because it's Flash it's still available and easy to play on the Net (or at least it will be for the next couple of years before they finally kill off Flash...sniff!).

Next up on the randometer is...Mechanic Escape! Never heard of it, but it's on Steam, so I must have picked it up in a bundle somewhere. Looks like an indie platform game, so could be quite fun.

In other news, I forgot that a few weeks ago, before I went on holiday, I finished a game called Dream Quest on my phone/Steam. It's a bit like Desktop Dungeons mixed with a card game. The graphics are terrible - full on programmer art - but that fades into the background once the game gets its hooks into you. You choose a character from a variety of different classes (each with a special ability) and then move around a random dungeon fighting monsters in order to gain money and experience to gain more cards for your deck. It's not a massively strategic card game, but it's enough. The skill is in building your deck to give you the best chance of drawing your best cards. You can play as many standard attack cards as you have in your hand each turn, and then a limited number of spell and action cards depending on your spell/action points. Different character classes have different styles of play, so mages obviously have loads of spell points and cards for building up your spell point pool in order to cast powerful spells, while thieves depend on churning through action points, with fast decks full of cards that have small effects but then generate more action points and draw more cards so they can chain lots of small attacks together. Fighters, of course, have lots of attack cards, and also have an affinity with equipment cards that provide permanent abilities. There are loads of classes, and you unlock more as you play, so there are loads of strategies to try. Each game only consists of 4 or so levels, so it's easy to complete a quick game in a lunch break. It's addictive enough that I can see myself returning to it for a quick blast every now and then in future. Good stuff.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Dominotmuch

It's been a busy old month of work craziness followed by holidays, so I haven't had a lot of time for gaming. On getting home and fancying a game, I'm afraid Dominus just didn't really hit the spot. It looks like it could have been good fun back in the day - a mishmash of genres boiled together in a fantasy setting sounds right up my alley, but there's a lot to learn and the manual doesn't explain it very well at all. There's no denying that the developers threw a lot of idea into Dominus - you have to manage troops, defend your castle, wage war, research spells, talk with your generals, forage for components, build and set traps, send spies, capture invaders and torture them for information, summon monsters, cast spells, swoop down and go toe-to-toe with invaders... the list goes on. All the ingredients are there for something special in the vein of Master of Magic, but the end result just fell flat for me. I think part of the reason is that it's a much more defensive game than a pure RTS/Strategy game. You're always responding to invading threats rather than taking the fight to them (in as far as I got with the game, anyway), and there's no real world map to explore and war over. It also felt just a bit too fiddly. The trap setting didn't seem to work that well (at least outdoors, it may have been better in the confines of the castle) and my spies never succeeded in getting any information from the enemy. I also didn't really get a sense of any great narrative - I was just defending my castle, and I never really felt invested in it. It was a little disappointing really, the graphics were there and the setting was there, but it just lacked the spark of fun for me. As I say, though, it didn't really catch me in the right mood, so maybe on another day it would have been better. Onwards!

Next up on the randometer is...Peasant's Quest! Hmmm... As you can probably guess from the title, it's a homebrew spoof of King's Quest. It'll be interesting to see what it's like, but hopefully it won't take too long.

In other news, I've decided to make more of a concerted effort to try and get through my PS Plus list of games. This is for a couple of reasons - first, they've just raised the price, and I feel like I can't really justify it anymore. Second, I have a feeling they're going to stop doing PS3 games soon, so I'm either going to be stuck paying for PS4 games that I can't play, or they're just going to stop the PS3 service altogether and I'll lose all of those games I've been paying for but have never played. This means that I'm probably going to be burning through them rather than spending my time trying to complete them, but hey, I feel like I've been doing that with most of the PS3 games I've played recently anyway. On that note, I'm going to wave goodbye to WipeOut Fury and Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-powered Battle Cars. I've never been much of a fan of racers, so WipeOut was never really going to be the best series for me, and so I thought I'd just fire it up, do a lap or two, and shut it down. However, I surprised myself by slowly getting into the groove of it and really starting to enjoy my time with it. I wouldn't say I ever got that good, but I feel like I could have spent a lot more time racing and completing challenges, and that's not something I ever thought would happen. Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-powered Battle Cars is the
precursor to Rocket League, and is actually virtually the same game. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to tell them apart. It almost feels like the developers were a bit miffed that their game didn't sell so well and so decided to re-release it with a more palatable name - and Rocket League went on to sell in the millions, so it obviously wasn't a bad decision. If you own Rocket League, though (as I do), then there's no reason I can see to go back and play this. It's still great fun...but why would you?