Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Thunderdome

I polished off God of Thunder over lunch today. Things have been a little slow recently what with DIY and work taking over most of my time, so it's good to get a game finished, even if it is just a little indie number. God of Thunder is actually a pretty fun little arcade/puzzle game. You wander around the world in a zelda-stylee, visiting towns and talking to the good citizens, while throwing your trusty hammer at any passing monsters (of which there are many). The world itself is fairly standard, with broken bridges that need to be fixed before you can proceed, caves to pop into and out of the other side, and the usual tropes. The trick of this game, though, is that a great proportion of those screens contain puzzles that must be solved before you can proceed. There are two main types - switch puzzles, and sliding block puzzles, and they're both explored pretty thoroughly. For instance, with the switch puzzles, you can either run into switches to flick them, or hit them with your hammer. Your hammer is obviously the magical Mjolnir (have I not mentioned that you play Thor, trying to defeat Loki?), so whenever you throw it, it returns to you. This leads to some tricky timing puzzles where you have to throw out your hammer then run through half a blockage and as your hammer flies back and hits the switch on its way you can run past the final part. It keeps things challenging and head-scratchy. With the sliding blocks, they're sometimes mazes, but they're more often of the type where an invulnerable enemy will be firing at you, and you need to push blocks to form a barrier between you and them so you can pass safely. Again, some of them are pretty fiendish with multiple blocks and bad guys. There's also a more arcade themed version of those, too, where you have boulders rather than blocks. These roll along in the direction that you push them, so you sometimes have to set them off then run along beside them as a moving wall to stay safe behind, and other times you might have to push it in one direction, then run around beside it and push it in another direction down a different path to keep you safe. It's only a simple thing, but it was all pretty polished and fun. The game itself is split into three worlds, with a boss fight at the end of each one. None of them are too hard once you work out their attack patterns (I don't think I died on any of them), but they're nice bookends to each chapter. On the subject of dying, you have infinite lives in the game, and when you die you just begin the screen you were on again, so as long as you can solve the puzzles then there's an inevitability that you'll progress through to the end. I wouldn't count it as an amazing hidden gem or anything, but it was a perfectly solid and enjoyable little game.

Next up on the randometer is...Monster Slayers! Ha, that's interesting. I've actually been playing this a little bit on and off for a while now and have already completed it with a few characters. I guess I'll try and polish off the rest of them.

In other news, the moment finally came when Sony announced that from next year they're no longer going to include PS3 games in Plus. You'll still keep the games you have for now (as long as you continue to pay for them), but essentially I'll be paying for games every month that I can't play, so it's time I doubled down on getting through some PS3 games. On that note (although not actually on Plus), I did complete Diggs Nightcrawler with the kids at the weekend. It's a Wonderbook game, which is essentially an AR device where you have a physical book on the floor in your living room, and this is replaced on-screen with graphics from the game. This means that you can interact physically with the book - turning it, shaking it, hitting it - to see things change on screen. It works really well, and the kids love it. There's a little hint of magic about it, and it does feel really physical as you turn the book around to see behind objects on-screen or play whack-a-mole with creatures popping up from the pages. We've got a Walking with Dinosaurs one, too, that we tried a while back but didn't get as far into. My only complaint about the game is that it was really short, but that shouldn't be such an issue when I've got such a big backlog!

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