Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Smattering of Games

Life's been a tad crazy the past few days, so I haven't had much of a chance to sit down and think of a subject, so instead I'll just toss out a few games I've been playing the past couple weeks and some thoughts on them.

Pocket Stables

My relatively organized horse farm thingy.

The first game on the list is a game from Kairosoft called Pocket Stables. It's out for both Android and iOS, and if you've played Kairosoft games, you know what this one is about. Basically, you start a Horse Racing... Farm? Stable? Company? I don't know. You have horses, you have jockeys, you unlock training stations, like a dirt track, or a swimming pool, and you get to choose what races you enter, and then watch your horse race. As your horses get older, you retire them, and can breed the next generation and so on. Basically it's a simulation game. Not my favourite of theirs, but I do love me some sim games (though I still think Game Dev Story is still their best work, and oh my god, you people need to translate Game Dev Story 2 already!)


The game is pretty, and the UI mostly bug free, though sometimes I accidentally destroy the homes by misclicking, which is vexing.
So this is a God game, a lot like Populus from the days of yore. It's a indie game that's doing pre-Beta blah de blah pay to get access on Steam, and I figured, why not? It's relatively polished for both being indie and being an alpha.

You start with a couple followers, and your currency is their faith. The only thing you can do for the most part is modify the terrain. You can push it around, shrink it, grow it, and once you clear out space, your followers will build a home. Changing terrain costs Belief, and homes generate Belief (and you have to click the big pink bubble to get it). As you get more followers, more techs unlock, but to actually get the tech, you need to find resources, which is mostly a fun game of find the treasure chest inside the terrain. There's visual clues to where the chests are, but you have to dig them out yourself with your terrain modification powers.

The game clearly is missing features, but the first few hours were a lot of fun exploring how the game works, but it gets way too repetitive after about 8 hours. I have about 300 homes or so? And while you can make "towns" which will somewhat consolidate your Belief gathering, it's still incredibly tedious clicking all of the houses to get that currency.

Benefit of the doubt, though, I assume that's just because they've worked a lot on the beginning, but haven't gotten much complete on the mid-game or end-game. But constantly expanding your empire does get dull if there's no real conflict. It does have a pseudo-multiplayer, though, which are usually races to see who can grow the fastest, or dig out the most minerals. Definitely a lot of promise, but not quite there. It's missing something to be a game, and is rather just something to do than a game currently.

Bookworm Adventures

Items, Potions, Levels, and Big Words. What else could I ask for?

An oldie, but a goodie. I love me some word games, and an RPG word game is even better. Nothing says awesome quite like spelling a word like "evolution" or "fortunes" and obliterating an enemy with it. Once I even managed "unnilennium" which was freaking epic. Seriously, Scrabble the RPG (or Boggle, I suppose), not to mention the writing is actually moderately witty. And full of delicious puns. I own v2 of the game, but haven't finished v1 yet. Soon!

The Wolf Among Us

From the Telltale Games website. Our grumpy protagonist, Bigby Wolf, is in the middle. I love the art and storytelling in this game.
I have a weakness for werewolf stories, and while this game is technically not a werewolf story, I admit that mistake is what drew me in. I had never heard of the "Fables" series of comics before--for the uninitiated, the premise is a bunch of creatures/persons from Fables like Snow White to Little Red Riding Hood were driven from their homes and forced to reside and survive in the Real World. The Telltale Games story is basically a prequel to the comic series, and the storytelling in it is superb, as is the art style. I'm not as much a fan of the action sequences, though quick-time events work pretty well as a mechanic for what they're trying to achieve. The story follows one Bigby Wolf as he plays the role of Sheriff and Detective, keeping the Fable populace safe, from outsiders and each other.

My only complaint is Episode 2 hasn't been released yet, and it's apparently a pattern for the company to be extremely late on all of their episode releases. They want to aim for monthly, but they apparently mostly achieve every 2 - 3 months, and it may get worse now that they have 4 episodic games simultaneously. All of that could be bad. By then I may lose interest and not bother with more episodes. Gamers have notoriously short attention spans, myself included.

So that's what's on my playlist besides the games in my side-bar. What games are others playing or looking forward to?

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