I know that we missed our Scrying post last Friday and I have to apologize. It was completely my fault. The writers all sent me their blurbs but I chose to head to Chicago instead of writing them up and, well, I’m so ashamed…
…There! I’m over it. Hooray for mind altering medication! This week we’re back with our selections for the weekend. Enjoy, and we’ll see you on Monday!
Epistory – Typing Chronicles
With even more snow rolling in, I’ll have plenty of time for gaming this weekend. Luckily, I’ve got a lot of great options on hand. I will continue working my way through Epistory – Typing Chronicles, because the game is awesome. It’s a typing RPG with a compelling story, cool papercraft art style, and exciting battles. You explore a world and as you proceed the story is narrated. You type out words to clear obstacles and defeat giant insects that want to eat you. Also, you ride a three-tailed fox, so that’s cool. It is clever, fun, and quite well designed.
I also picked up Aven Colony for half off on HumbleBundle.com and played through the tutorial missions and a decent chunk of the initial campaign level. It seems promising and I’ll likely put some more time in.
On the iOS side I’m rotating between three games. I started a new Warhammer Quest 2 game and am enjoying the return of ambushes (except when they happen on, say, three consecutive turns) and other tweaks made since launch. I’m also playing a good deal of Project Highrise, which just hit mobile, and had been sitting in my Steam queue for some time. They did a very nice job with mobile implementation and I recommend it without hesitation. Finally, I’ve dug back into Craft the World to feed my base building cravings while away from my computer.
- Epistory – Typing Chronicles for PC/Mac/Linux via Steam, $15
- Aven Colony for PC via Steam, $30
- Warhammer Quest 2 for iOS Universal, $5
- Warhammer Quest 2 for Android, $5
- Project Highrise for PC/Mac via Steam, $20
- Project Highrise for iPad, $4
- Project Highrise for Android, $4
- Craft the World for PC/Mac via Steam, $19
- Craft the World for iOS Universal, $5 (on sale)
Took an interesting punt this week on the allegedly middling Gravel, an arcade breather taken by rally constant Milestone. Now, I’m one to wring fun from the most broken titles available, but broken or middling Gravel ain’t. Cursory examinations suggest a rough soul brother to king-in-exile, SEGA Rally. If Sega can’t, our Italian friends can.
In a genre drowning in terminally-boring simucade, Gravel feels like somewhat of an outlier. It’s got some commonalities with the Forzas of this world, but the game is not content to put reality before the rush. Little bit of Blur, little bit of Revo. It can even sometimes rise above its budget and look quite marvellous. Having an absolute ball, and it will continue dominate this weekend in a sort of weird vehicular continuation from Jalopy.
After all, the heart of offroad arcade action is a tri-coloured 1993 Celica with Castrol painted on its arse.
- Gravel for PC via Steam, $50
- Jalopy for PC via Steam, $15
- Rogue Aces for Switch, $10.40
- Rogue Aces for PS4/Vita, $10.40
- Angels Fall First for PC via Steam Early Access, $18
Slay the Spire
Last week, in a moment of fiscal and personal irresponsibility, I purchased Slay the Spire. I knew it would consume me, yet the sale price on the Humble Store proved too good to ignore. It’s possibly my favorite of the successors to my beloved Dream Quest, but there are still some shortcomings despite (or because of?) its polish. First off, I resent that I have to play it on my computer. Maybe that’s selfish, but I’ve been spoiled ever since the release of Ascension on iOS all those years ago. Secondly, two (eventually three) classes feels downright anemic compared to Dream Quest’s selection. I get that there’s more build variety within the classes than in Dream Quest, but I’d prefer to have more choice upfront than depend on card selection during a run. The card draft mutator in the Daily Run (which is easily Slay the Spire’s best contribution to this little subgenre) that was just added goes a long way toward fixing that issue, and I hope we’ll get the option to mess around with mutators on our own in the future. Nitpicks aside, I expect the game will improve over its Early Access period, and I’ll be playing it for a long time to come.
Aside from Slay the Spire, I also intend on playing more Yakuza 0. I love a game where I can take a break from clearing my name from a murder I didn’t commit and just destroy kids in slot car races for an hour. I mean, just listen to that menu music!
Boardgames (and no cutting of wood)
This weekend, I’ll be meeting with an old and treasured game group. At previous meetups we’ve managed to introduce solid eurogame fare like Village and Tzolk’in, so there’s definitely an appetite for brain food. However, we’ll be bringing nine young kids to an indoor water park, so I’m expecting some exhausted parents. I’m bringing Isla Dorada and Codenames Marvel, because they’re convenient, easy to learn, and play six. Not every weekend can be an A Study in Emerald weekend.
I mean, I guess it could. Now I have to confront the weight of the choices which have caused me to own an unplayed copy of a game I’d very much like to play. I mean, A Study in Emerald, Sekigahara, Napoleon’s Triumph—there’s some doozies on that shelf. Ah, well—man’s reach should exceed his grasp, and all that.
- Village via Amazon, $40
- T’Zolkin: The Mayan Calendar via Amazon, $48
- Codenames Marvel via Amazon, $20
- A Study in Emerald via Amazon, $54
I left it for a month or two, but I’ve delved back into Factorio and its mind-bending efficiency puzzle over the past week. I’ve finally gotten to a point where my base resembles something that I’ve actually planned out (I haven’t) and is efficient enough that I’m never lacking for raw materials. I figured out how to use trains and not have them smash into each other and I’ve finally figured out how to transport and build using liquids that I’ve refined from oil. I even started to use a logistics network and drones to bring me materials automatically, making my runs around the base to pick up materials a thing of the past. If you haven’t played Factorio, I really can’t recommend it enough. It gives me the same sense of accomplishment that I used to get from games like SimCity or Children of the Nile. Games that let you sit back and contemplate your future and build at your own pace. The amount of stuff you can build, tweak, and manage dwarves any other sim game I’ve ever played, however, and the sheer size of the game is a marvel.
The devs recently released version 0.16 and have declared that version 0.17 should be the release candidate, finally bringing Factorio out of Early Access. If you want to wait for that before picking it up, fine, but the Early Access version is already polished and nearly flawless so why wait?
It’s also board game night tonight and I’ll be teaching 1844 to my group. Yes, another 18xx game, this one set in Switzerland. It’s a doozy, adding a lot of mechanisms on top of the typical 18xx fare, so teaching it should be an interesting ride. With luck we’ll wrap up before 2am.