We’re back again with another dose of our weekly gaze into the future and see what everyone in the writers’ room here at Stately Play plans on fiddling with over the weekend. Personally, I was up until about 3:30am playing Civilization VI last night, so I’m going to keep this intro nice and short. My brain isn’t quite working the way it should [we can’t really tell a difference -ed.] so let’s get on with it.
Banner Saga Series
I just finished Banner Saga (I’d started but not finished it before), and I’m on to Banner Saga 2, which I played a lot of right after it came out on iOS… then decided I needed to play these story-games in order, and abandoned that game. Anyway, Banner Saga 3 is coming and I’m looking forward to it. I “bounced off” Banner Saga the first time in part because my first impression of combat was poor, and in part from how marginal the female characters felt. Oddlief concluding that she couldn’t be clan leader because she was a woman tore it for me. I came back in part because [Tof’s going to drop some spoilers -ed.] you get a choice of leader in Banner Saga 2: Rook or his daughter, Alette. IMHO, it makes hash of the game’s plot if the player sacrifices Alette and lets Rook live at the end of the first game.
Also, the story for the Banner Saga games has been written in Ink, the scripting language developed in-house by inkle Studios and used in all their games, from Sorcery! for 80 Days. Recently, inkle released Ink with a open-source license, so now anyone can use it, royalty-free. I’m teaching Ink in my graduate class for the first time this semester, so I’m hitting two Dredge with one arrow here.
Other than that, I expect to be playing Kirby Star Allies with my 7-year-old. Like Kirby games before it, it’s a fun game with a lot of powers to explore, and a gentle difficulty curve. Blissfully not Dark Souls-like, it is a forgiving, fun, family game, with enough optional challenges to keep the interest of more skilled players. Boss fights are more button-mashy than I’d like, but it’s in keeping with the Kirby spirit of game as romp.
- Banner Saga for iOS Universal, $10
- Banner Saga for Android, $10
- Banner Saga for PC/Mac via Steam, $20
- Banner Saga for PC/Mac via GoG, $20
- Banner Saga 2 for iOS Universal, $10
- Banner Saga 2 for Android, $10
- Banner Saga 2 for PC/Mac via Steam, $20
- Banner Saga 2 for PC/Mac via GoG, $20
- Kirby Star Allies for Switch, $60
Salt and Sanctuary
The weather is warming, finally, so I’ll be outside more and gaming less. I’m in a bit of an action-RPG mood, so that will likely dominate the gaming I do fit in. I picked up Salt and Sanctuary on sale from Steam yesterday and man is it fun. The game is very visceral with a super satisfying crunch and splatter of blood as you hack-and-slash your way through foes. It looks fantastic and is really challenging—often frustratingly so, especially the boss fights—but with that comes a feeling of elation upon success.
Once I get too frustrated and need a break I’ll move on to some Path of Exile where I’m enjoying leveling a ranger. The character progression is quite rewarding with a huge skill tree and tons of equipment to help customize, and optimize, a build.
- Salt and Sanctuary for PC/Mac/Linux via Steam, $18
- Salt and Sanctuary for PS4/Vita, $18
- Path of Exile for PC/Xbox, free
I’m deep in Tempest Citadel at the moment, and will be for those gaming windows that open over the weekend. There’s a review in the works, which will delve into this curious science-fiction colony manager, nested in oodles and oodles of lore. It’s good. Especially if you’re a sucker for meaty SyFy channel pulp. More to come.
There’ll be more Maelstrom, of course. I want to get good. And by good, I mean at the very least not the first bounty of the match. Also, today is the day Halo Online gets its big 0.6 patch! I’m a Project Cartographer man myself — you cannot beat the king — but seeing how the carcass of this Russian territory-only F2P Halo was saved from cancellation and proffered free by indefatigable fans is great. Doing what Microsoft doesn’t. Such is life for us Halo PC boosters.
Otherwise, it’s SHED WEEKEND. Over the last year, via slivers of time fossicked from between the cracks of day job, writing and family, I’ve been building the kids [read: Dadcore project] a 1:4 scale armoured vehicle. The might South African Ratel, hero of the Cold War. Though differing slightly in dimensions and detail to Sandock Austral’s original, this pull-along monster is coming along nicely and should be done by 2076, which will mark a century since the incredible vehicle rolled onto the veld. [pics or it didn’t happen -ed.]
Since last week’s post, I’ve only fallen more in love with Yakuza 0. Part of me regrets taking so long to start playing it, but there’s so much stuff in the game and there were so many huge games last year that I don’t think I would have had the time to properly enjoy it. It’s also preventing me from spending money I don’t have on current “it” games like God of War and uh… Yakuza 6, so that’s good. The wacky subquests have replaced my “watch an episode or two of Frasier” routine before bed. I can’t progress the main quests then, or else I stay up way too late because of the soap operatic cliff-hangers the game likes to set up between chapters. But those little substories are the perfect length for short play-sessions and are incredibly varied. So far, I’ve infiltrated a cult, helped a guy who tried to propose with a crossword puzzle but made it too hard, trained a dominatrix, became a TV producer, and even more beyond all that. Yakuza 0 contains multitudes.
- Yakuza 0 for Playstation, $60
- Picross 3D Round 2 for Nintendo 3DS, $30
- Honeycomb Hotel ULTRA for iOS Universal, $4
- Honeycomb Hotel for PC/Mac, $20
My daughter’s Nintendo Labo Variety kit will be arriving today, so I have to hope she assembles some of it before she goes to sleep so I can play around with it after bedtime. I’m still assassinating people in Ptolemaic Egypt, which remains more satisfying than I expected. It appears to have been a good call to give Assassin’s Creed a year off. I also got invited to the closed Scythe beta (yay!) which is Windows-only (sigh), so I’ll be looking through windows wistfully. I recently had a run which persuaded me that I’m finally figuring Cinco Paus out, totaling 122 jogos over 6 pontos, but then played badly enough to puncture that balloon. So I’ll be looking for another taste of that sweet, rare competence. Such is the dramatic rollercoaster of my gaming life.
- Nintendo Labo Variety Kit for Switch via Amazon, $70
- Nintendo Labo Robot Kit for Switch via Amazon, $80
- Assassin’s Creed: Origins for PC via Steam, $60
- Assassin’s Creed: Origins for Xbox, $60
- Assassin’s Creed: Origins for Playstation, $60
Craft the World
Nick has a knack for testing the tensile strength of my marriage. It’s not bad enough that he introduced me to Factorio a couple months ago, but in last weeks’ scrying post he mentioned a couple of other games that sounded right up my alley. One was the highrise simulator, Project Highrise, and the other was a Minecraft-y builder/sim called Craft the World. The latter looked silly, blocky, and not at all interesting, while Project Highrise screamed, “We’re not Maxis, but we’re close and you’ll buy anything Maxis created pre-Sims!”. A week later, Project Highrise has been shelved. I’m hoping to do a full review somewhere down the line but let’s just say that building vertically in 2D has its limits. Craft the World, on the other hand, has sucked me in and won’t let go.
Originally released on Steam back in 2014 and iOS in 2015, Craft the World isn’t exactly the new kid on the block. Still, it’s giving me a lovely Factorio vibe with the twist that a herd of dwarves are at my beck and call. You can control each dwarf if you wish, but it’s more fun to give them orders and watch them
suffer under your yoke be dutiful followers who just like to help. There are monsters that come at night and a timer when a huge wave of monsters arrive, but it’s mainly to force you to craft new weapons and armor. I’ve never felt close to losing a game due to one of these invasions. That separates it from Don’t Starve, probably its closest relative that I’ve played. The difficulty level being lower is a bit refreshing, allowing you to explore and build without constant threat of doomsday.
Other than that, of course I’ll be playing a ton of Civ VI to give the new Macedon and Persia civs a spin. I think the two of those will keep me awfully busy through Sunday.
- Craft the World Pocket Edition for iOS Universal, $5
- Craft the World for PC/Mac via Steam, $19
- Craft the World for PC/Mac via GoG, $19
- Civilization VI for iPad, free ($30 to unlock full game — currently 50% off)
- Civilization VI for PC/Mac/Linux via Steam, $60