Monday, April 30, 2012

I've been holding off on my Phyrexia mod for Dungeons of Dredmor because a. I've been waiting for the new patch to come out and b. I haven't actually played much Dredmor lately.

I had a completed version of the mod already, except it broke. I have no idea why. I can't find any errors in the code that I recognize. It just stopped working; dunno what I changed. So I guess I'll have to start from scratch.

The first skill is Infect. It passively makes all your attacks give the target a -1/-1 counter (gives -1 melee power and -1 HP). Seems okay, right?

I want to have Living Weapon allow you to sacrifice a piece of equipment to summon a robot familiar. I'm not actually sure how to do that, but I think it's possible with the new patch. I've never done a minion skill, though. Trial and error, I guess?

Somewhere along the line is Proliferate. I think I want it to be a curse that lasts a super-long time and gives a -1/-1 counter every turn. So like you target them once and their death is inevitable. That's flavorful, right?

And there'll be Phyrexian Mana, which is a straight-up simple buff, reducing your life but boosting your Savvy and mana regen.

Four skills does not a skill tree make, though, so I'm thinking I want Phyrexian Obliterator as a skill. It should trigger a damaging blast around you when you get hit. Beyond that I haven't decided the specifics.

And then maybe cap it off with Yawgmoth's Will, or Yawgmoth's Bargain, one of the classic broken Phyrexian powerhouses. Except I have no idea what they do.

Oh, and I should mention that you start off with a Contagion Clasp hat, which clings to your face and reduces your stubbornness and sight range but boosts toxic/putrefying damage and sneakiness.

That's what I have so far. I dunno if it's any good. Maybe it's not even worth the trouble. I'll think about it some more.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Not the best value.

I guess I forgot to mention that the Groupees Be Mine 2 bundle added an extra game at the very last minute before it ended. But I don't really want to add it to my Quest for Value because it's a point-and-click adventure game. Those games are lame.

It's called Scratches: Director's Cut, and it's (apparently) a point-and-click survival horror adventure game. And really, I am just not very interested in the whole style of gameplay. More than any other control scheme, it pulls me out of the experience and makes me aware that I'm clicking on things on a computer screen. And it's so easy to hit a wall and be completely unable to proceed. And also there are these other things I don't like and...I dunno, I just don't really like it...

Okay, I played a little bit of Machinarium, just a few screens. I admit that the art and animation and general aesthetics on that one were very good. The little robot is pretty adorable. But aside from the visuals, it didn't appeal to me all that much. I mean, I guess a lot of RuneScape quests have the same kind of problem-solving gameplay, and I like them, but...

...Sigh. Alright, I guess now I'm going to have to play the damn game just to be able to articulate the things I don't like about it, huh? Okay, it'll have to be an intellectual exercise. But I'll do it tomorrow, okay? I'll just try it and keep an eye out for things that I like or dislike, and I'll write them down, and maybe I'll learn something from it. It's probably going to suck though.

Speaking of games added to bundles, the Indie Gala 4 unlocked its third game. It's Steel Storm: Burning Retribution. Which I already have, so...disappointing. I actually liked it at first, but it got repetitive and annoying pretty quickly once I unlocked some stronger weapons. As soon as I unlocked the homing missiles, the correct strategy became "Spam homing missiles constantly and never bother trying to actually aim or hit-and-run or kite or anything" and all of a sudden it was boring and tedious instead of exciting and suspenseful. To say nothing of the awful sound effects. I have Babo: Invasion now, which seems like a better-executed version of the same concept, so if I'm looking for a top-down shooter I'll just go with the Madballs instead.

They also added Alien Shooter 2 and Really Big Sky to the bundle for people who pay above the average. Which I didn't. I was waiting to see what they would add. Well, Really Big Sky looks like a decent "bullet hell" shooter, but if I wait for a Steam sale I can get it for $2.50 which is actually cheaper than paying an extra five bucks to upgrade my Indie Gala that's not good value at all. And it's hard to be excited about Alien Shooter 2 when I don't even know if the first game is any good yet. How many Alien Shooters do you need?

So I think I'll pass on the bundle upgrade once again. There's just nothing there that interests me. I like value, but I'm not going to go that far out of my way to find it. I'm already bending over backwards to try and get value out of the games I already own.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Unstoppable Gorg

Unstoppable Gorg. Is this cheesy or what? Everything is a 1950s Retraux design. The aliens are people in rubber masks and the robots are people in cardboard suits and all the spaceships are hanging from highly-visible strings.

This is a tower defense game that riffs on the formula in a slightly different way--I place my satellites in orbits around my base, and I can rotate the orbits at will.

Much like Plants Vs. Zombies, there's a special satellite that generates money. Also like Plants Vs. Zombies, the enemies can attack my satellites (the green semicircle around them is a health bar). And that blue one in the middle with the Erlenmeyer flask icon is a research satellite--if I fill up the blue research bar by the end of the level, I get upgrade points that unlock the higher-level versions of the satellites.

My first new satellite unlocked. It starts me with the gatling gun tower, and here is the cannon tower. Old tower defense standbys, of course. At the beginning of every level it lets me pick which satellites I want to bring into the fight and which upgrades to apply where--right now, I have few enough that I can just take everything, but obviously that will change later on, so we'll see.

Well, this seems like a fun take on the old tower defense formula. There are two main things I see that set it apart. First is the swiveling orbit mechanic. I'm not sure how that's going to play out; so far the gameplay feels mostly the same as any other tower defense I've tried, except that the player is more active, repositioning satellites as needed. Second is the retraux 50s aesthetic, which I will admit is charming.

I haven't hit a full hour yet, but I am willing to tentatively say that this does still feel a lot like a tower defense. And really, if you've played one tower defense you've pretty much played them all. Are those two differences enough to make it stand out from the crowd? Well...probably not, but I can give it a chance. I'll reserve judgement a little longer.

Friday, April 27, 2012

How about another Who Would Win? Let's go with Harry Potter vs. Harry Dresden.

I think Dresden has the upper hand in a fight. He's older, smarter, more experienced, and more powerful. He should be able to kick Potter's tuckus halfway to next Tuesday. On the other hand, Potter is just a kid--Dresden probably holds back. But on the other other hand, Potter would be holding back too--he wouldn't be willing to fight dirty. Dresden is more pragmatic. He'd be throwing spells, but he'd be throwing punches too. And even if Dresden hesitates, Potter isn't skilled enough to capitalize on a brief opening like that.

Yeah, I guess this one's too easy...they're just in different weight classes. Dresden vs. Dumbledore, that's a better matchup, I guess. On the one hand, Dumbledore is the most powerful wizard in Harry Potter canon. On the other hand, wizards have a higher power level in The Dresden Files canon, and Dresden is definitely above average. Eh, Dumbledore is pretty badass when he cuts loose, though. I'd put the odds somewhere around 2:1 in Dumbledore's favor. Dresden is likely outclassed, but he's good enough to put up a decent fight and capitalize on any slip-ups. But I'll freely admit that I might be misjudging Dumbledore's power level--he doesn't show off much in canon, so it's hard to say. I do think the odds are definitely in Dresden's favor against any of the other Harry Potter wizards.

Well, there's another Who Would Win. Always a good brain-stretching exercise.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hack, Slash, Loot, and Indie Gala 4

I finally finished my scheduled hour's worth of Hack, Slash, Loot. I just can't stop dying in this game.

I did finally manage to get a character to the second level, though! This archer guy found an enchanted pair of boots that regenerates HP, which apparently is game-breakingly absurd because normally you have so much HP and it basically never goes back up (you can find healing items but they're uncommon), but with regenerating health, all those minor injuries that would otherwise chip away at you until you're dead just get shrugged off completely.

Then I got poisoned. Poison is the opposite of regenerating health. If you get poisoned, you're screwed because unless there's a healing item within a few rooms of where you're standing right now, you are stone dead and there's nothing you can do about it. Since I had regenerating health, though, they canceled each other out until I could find a cure.

I beat the boss of the second level, some dwarf king guy, and then I went to level 3...

...and I got dogpiled by some Orcs and Uruk-Hai and they busted through my regeneration enough to kill me. So my archer is dead.

This game is frustrating because it feels like I have no control over what happens. Everything is blind luck. Hit or get hit in combat? All controlled by a roll of the dice. Get poisoned? Sorry, you're dead and there's nothing you could have done. Find a power-up? You got randomly lucky, good job. You can't stockpile items to save for a rainy day because there's no inventory system. You can't do anything meaningful to affect combat because you only have one attack and one set of gear. All you can do is cross your fingers and pray. I keep dying and having no idea what I possibly could have done differently. A couple times I died in the first room, to the enemy who spawned a few steps away. What exactly did the game expect me to do?

Is there any reason to play this when I could be playing Dungeons of Dredmor instead? Dredmor has deep, varied gameplay, far more appealing visuals, a more sensible combat system, a satisfying level-up mechanic, customizability through game mods (which I even know how to make myself, if I want to)...this game is just worse in basically every way. And by the way, worth noting, they're the same price in the Steam store.

I'm going to have to disapprove of this game. It could be worse, I guess, but I like it less each time I try it. I just feel like I have no control over the outcome of the quest.

Anyway, the Indie Gala 4 is out. I paid the minimum price for it. The beat-the-average games didn't look very interesting. There was some multiplayer airplane-dogfighting-thing which I doubt I would have ever played, and some strategy-type game or something...neither of them looked like they were worth an extra five bucks. But I got two games for a dollar and they're adding a third one at some point. That's a fair enough price.

A.R.E.S.: Extinction Agenda is a side-scrolling shooter of some sort. I dunno. Whatever.
 Alien Shooter is a top-down shooter where you shoot aliens. Straightforward enough, I guess. It was originally released in 2003 so it's pretty vintage.

  • Alien Shooter
  • Alien Zombie Megadeath
  • A.R.E.S.: Extinction Agenda
  • Astro Tripper
  • The Baconing
  • Ballistic
  • Beat Hazard
  • Defense Grid: The Awakening
  • Depths of Peril
  • Explodemon
  • FlatOut
  • Future Wars
  • Gear Grinder
  • Greed: Black Border
  • Grotesque Tactics: Evil Heroes
  • Hack, Slash, Loot
  • Inferno+
  • Madballs in...Babo: Invasion
  • Plain Sight
  • Slydris
  • Sol Survivor
  • Tobe's Vertical Adventure
  • Trapped Dead
  • Twin Sector
  • Unstoppable Gorg

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

5 bad things about 5 good things

The bad thing about donuts is that they're sticky, so your hands get all sticky when you eat them if you're not careful.

The bad thing about chocolate chip cookies is that when they get cold, their quality drops dramatically. There's a big difference between a cold cookie and a warm cookie straight out of the oven.

The bad thing about the comics page is that you have to subscribe to the whole newspaper to get to it, so the whole rest of the newspaper is a waste of money.

The bad thing about nice warm weather is that if I'm not wearing my coat, I don't have any pockets to carry my Kindle in.

The bad thing about warm laundry fresh out of the dryer is that it's all staticky and it sticks to things and makes your hair stand up.
So I'm biking to school, right, and I'm going through a roundabout, turning left, minding my own business. And this girl comes up behind me and tries to pass me on the left so she can turn right. Except I'm turning left, so I hear her shout "SHIT" behind me and then she crashes into me and falls over. So now I'm feeling pretty bad because even though I couldn't have known she would try to do that, it still feels like it's kind of my fault, right? I mean, I'm fine, I didn't even wobble, hardly, so I stop for a second to mumble "Sorry" and then keep, it's not as if I should have been signaling the turn. It's a roundabout...that would be pointless.

Anyway later I tripped and fell on my way out of lecture so I guess it's even.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Avacyn Restored review for Mayael.dec

I basically have one EDH deck, and it's Mayael the Anima. She's lots of fun; I like spinning the wheel and slamming a random fatty every turn. Here's my thoughts on how Avacyn Restored affects the Mayael deck.

Avacyn is obviously absurd. Spearbreaker Behemoth is one of the best fatties in the Mayael deck, and Avacyn has the same effect with no mana activation, vigilance, flying, +3/+3, and protecting everything. She dominates the red zone as an 8/8 indestructible vigilant flyer, hoses opposing removal, and combos with your own mass removal in a pretty unfair way. (Why yes, I think I will cast Armageddon and keep all of my lands, thank you for asking.) Any Mayael deck that leaves her on the sidelines is probably making a mistake.

I am not a fan of one-for-one removal. Even with the tucking, I don't think this is good. Yes, it hates on generals, but six mana is a lot of mana, and if you pay the Miracle cost you're stuck with sorcery speed, which is very awkward. You could be playing Hallowed Burial instead and getting much more value. Or Terminus, which I'll get to. Or if you really need a targeted tuck effect, I'd prefer Oblation. I mean, this isn't stone unplayable, but even with a big library manipulation package, I would not play it.

I like this card a lot, but not for this deck. It's a pretty durdly enchantment that doesn't synergize very well with Mayael. Even in a token-heavy build, there probably just isn't space for it.

This is a nice big splashy effect to ramp into, but the Mayael deck doesn't want X-spells, it wants actual creatures that work with its commander, so this doesn't really fit (as fun as it may be). Luminarch Ascension is a better card, and I don't run that, so I'm certainly not going to run this.

This is a good card, and a good choice for this deck. It's better than Final Judgment, which I currently run. You only have room for a certain number of Wrath effects, but I feel like Terminus is definitely a contender for one of those slots. Most of the time it will be a slightly overcosted version of Hallowed Burial, but there will be times when it's your only out and you get to cross your fingers and pray to topdeck it so you can slam it and follow up with an awesome dude. I don't know if it's the best Wrath out there (since there are a lot of good Wraths), but it's certainly up there, and well worth considering.

It does work with Mayael. This is another dumb fatty in the same vein as Serra Avatar or Hamletback Goliath or Multani, Maro-Sorcerer. I'm not a big fan of dumb fatties like that. If you want them to be good, you can put trample effects in your deck and make them good, but it just seems better to have good abilities. Worth noting, though, that this guy is a one-shot with Gisela, so style points if you get that going. Overwhelming Stampede is a good one as well.

This is an odd effect that makes you want to play land destruction. It's good if you have blink effects like Tawnos's Coffin or whatever, but the chances of hitting just one land are too high for me to want to run it. There's already a 7/7 for 7 that punishes them for playing lots of creatures: it's Novablast Wurm, and I am pretty sure it's better than this guy.

Not a fan. Mayael makes you want to get dudes out at the end of their turn, in which case this is a vanilla 5/5. The potential to be a sweet finisher is certainly nice, but unless you build the deck with creature swarms in mind, I doubt this is better than Triumph of the Horde or Overwhelming Stampede. (Probably better than Titanic Ultimatum.) I won't write it off, but I'm not very excited here.

I sort of like this one. The library-flipping effect overlaps pretty well thematically. I'm not sure what to do with it, though. Tribal Beasts, I guess? Eh...

See, look, it's a trample guy for that deck I mentioned earlier with the mega-vanilla fatties. If you run a bunch of Serra Avatars and Malignuses (Maligni?), a card like this might actually be playable. And of course it is an auto-include in the Pauper version of the deck.

It's like Genesis Wave, except way better? Wow, this is basically Incoming! in a black border. So yeah, even if you're not mono-permanents, it should be very difficult to cast this and not get insane value. Powerful, powerful card, will win games if you cast it. If you're a competitive version of the deck, you should probably run this (although if you're a competitive version of the deck, it will probably be worse than Tooth and Nail for Kiki-Jiki + Village Bellringer).

Not worth six mana. For six mana you should be activating Mayael, not durdling with Creeping Molds. Pass.

This could be playable just as a fun little value card, but it's probably just worse than a real Wrath effect. You're in white, so you shouldn't have to resort to this sort of thing. Miracle here is basically irrelevant, too, since you want to hold this card until the right moment. You could play this for cute durdliness, but I don't think it's an actual good card here.

This isn't terrible, but it's probably worse than Regal Force, and Regal Force isn't exactly the best creature in the deck. You could play this guy, I suppose, but I don't expect him to be very exciting. Compare Rampaging Baloths, which I would say is better.

Cute. Fits the theme, but...not actually good. I guess if you like flavor, you could run it.

This would be sweet in the Pauper version, but sadly it is an uncommon.

Well damn, that is a ridiculous card. Double all your damage? So she attacks for ten flying, first striking damage all on her own? And double all the damage your opponents deal to each other? And, wait, she also plays Ghosts of the Innocent for your side, basically making all their attacks horrible against you? Hell's bells. Sign me up. This is a snap auto-include in every Mayael deck ever.

Significantly less exciting than the other two legendary angels in this set. 5/5 is not very big and hexproof is not very relevant. The anti-sacrifice ability is good against Eldrazi, though, so I'm pegging Buttercup here as a metagame call. If you expect to see Eldrazi or other sac effects, shuffle her up. She's also good if you're trying to keep your curve low, but what sort of Mayael deck tries to keep its curve low? I mean seriously.

It's nice to incidentally hose the graveyard, but you want to play your mana acceleration too early in the game for it to matter, and if you draw it later on, hitting just one card at sorcery speed is not going to be relevant. So it's pretty much just a Manalith. Much, much worse than Darksteel Ingot or Recross the Paths, not even close, and this isn't exactly a deck that's in the market for a Manalith in the first place. This is not a good card for this deck.

This isn't going to be a reliable fixer even if you're a tribal deck, since it doesn't work on activated abilities or noncreature spells. I don't think it's good here. There's too many other colorless-producing nonbasics fighting for space, and this one doesn't do enough to justify the slot. Given the high price it's guaranteed to fetch, it's just not going to be worth it.

This is a good card, but is it good enough? Like I said, there are already hella colorless utility lands fighting for space; I'm not convinced this one makes the cut. If it turns out to be affordable wallet-wise, I'm willing to test it, but I am skeptical. (I guess it's good with the "Put your library onto the battlefield" sorcery--maybe that's enough.)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

My main beef with My Fair Lady is that the score doesn't quite mesh up with the pacing. That is, there are these songs in there that are just there for no real reason. They go into "Wouldn't it be loverly" and everything stops while they do a number that doesn't advance the plot or develop the characters or anything.

This is not necessarily bad, and I don't pretend to know exactly what makes a musical number work well and what makes it fail. But I definitely think My Fair Lady is hit-or-miss at best. "Ascot Gavotte", for example, is a hit--it's funny, and it does a good job of characterizing the upper-crust aristocrats. "Get Me to the Church On Time" is a miss--it's a fine song in a vacuum, but the scene itself is a throwaway bit that doesn't need a song and dance number. It's a memorable piece, true, but it doesn't support the pacing or the tone of the play.

That being said, it's certainly possible to go too far in the other direction and end up with songs that move the plot along very nicely while being forgettable and bland, so maybe it's better to err on one side or the other. In opera, they just sing everything and it seems to work out.

...And another thing, what's the deal with Freddie? What a weirdo.
It's time to once again revisit a vitally important topic that's always relevant in our day and age: who would win in a fight?

Today's matchup: Superman vs. the cast of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

I think Superman wins. He's just too invincible, and the ponies don't have any kryptonite. Normally Superman's weakness is that while he himself is invincible, he has to protect others. If we assume the fight is happening in Equestria, Superman has nobody to protect, so he can take the gloves off. But even if we bring the ponies to Earth, they're not going to be the sort of characters who are willing to take hostages, so Superman is just going to be overpowered.

Granted, the ponies have magic. They can control the weather and do telekinetic stuff. But what's that going to accomplish? The biggest magical heavyweight on the ponies' side that we've seen in action is Discord. Superman already has a recurring villain with the same MO, though, and he's managed to repeatedly defeat Mxyzptlk pretty handily. Princess Celestia has some powerful magic too, but since she never uses it onscreen it doesn't count. And there's the Elements of Harmony, but since Superman is on the side of good he probably won't be affected by it.

So, Superman wins. Easy enough. A more interesting question is, what would it take to turn the tide in favor of the ponies? I think if Team MLP is going to have a shot, they need to catch Superman by surprise and try to capture him. If the ponies caught him unawares, they might be able to trap him in some sort of magical binding and seal him away, like they did with Discord. Alternatively, Superman gains his power from the sun, so as a last resort, they could let Nightmare Moon block out the sun and gradually run Superman out of energy through attrition.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


I kept having this problem with Hack, Slash, Loot where I couldn't move or do anything. But then it somehow started working again so now I'm fine and I tried another quest!

Here's my Elf Archer, traipsing along through a dungeon looking for treasure and--

Dammit, I died. This is going to happen a lot, isn't it? Oh, you roguelikes and your "difficulty". Always with the dying and the game overs. 

Speaking of dungeon-crawling, I played Inferno+ today. It's not bad.

It fuses "dungeon-crawling RPG adventure" with "Geometry Wars-style twin-stick shooter". Instead of doing all your shoot-em-up stuff on a single fixed screen, you explore dungeons, collecting treasure and trying to find the exit. And you level up as you progress, unlocking new abilities with a Point Build System for upgrades. And every ten levels (I believe), there's a boss fight.

It's got solid enough gameplay and some colorful laser-light-show visuals, although I don't feel like it's knocking anything out of the park. Still, reasonably good value--it's a different take on the twin-stick shooter concept and it works okay.
  • Alien Zombie Megadeath
  • Astro Tripper
  • The Baconing
  • Ballistic
  • Beat Hazard
  • Defense Grid: The Awakening
  • Depths of Peril
  • Explodemon
  • FlatOut
  • Future Wars
  • Gear Grinder
  • Greed: Black Border
  • Grotesque Tactics: Evil Heroes
  • Hack, Slash, Loot
  • Inferno+
  • Madballs in...Babo: Invasion
  • Plain Sight
  • Slydris
  • Sol Survivor
  • Tobe's Vertical Adventure
  • Trapped Dead
  • Twin Sector
  • Unstoppable Gorg
That makes 11/23 complete.

There's also a new Humble Indie Bundle out today, but I'm not really interested in this one. It only has three games. All of them are point-and-click adventure games, which, frankly, are pretty lame, and I already have one of them (Machinarium), so I will probably not be adding these to my Quest for Value. I notice, by the way, that the Humble Bundle now requires a minimum $5 instead of $1 in order to get the Steam keys. This makes me sad. Quintupling the price is not good value. =(

"Quest for Value"?

Psst, guys, it's me, YtHaar Troacctid, Jasper's RuneScape character. I snuck into his blog here and can you believe this guy? He's been doing this whole schtick where he goes and plays a whole bunch of different games, and he's calling it a "Quest for Value". How many games does the guy need? There's Castle Wars, Soul Wars, Trouble Brewing, RuneLink, Gnomeball, The Great Orb Project, Mobilizing Armies, Pest Control, Temple Trekking...need I go on? RuneScape has loads of games in it. Could've invited me along. But no, I get left behind for a bunch of namby-pamby Steam games. 

Hey, I love quests as much as anyone! I do all sorts of quests! I have a quest cape! No way you're going on a quest without me.

Let's see what he's got in these notes. Indie Royale Spring Bundle?

Unstoppable Gorg: Says here "Tower defense game with 1950s B-movie aesthetic." Come on, man, you've already got a tower defense game. How many tower defense games do you need? They're all the same. What's wrong with Orb Defence? Remember FunOrb? Aren't you paying two bucks a month for that?
Depths of Peril: "RPG". Okay. Stop right there. This is an RPG. You know what's an RPG? RuneScape. So let's talk about this. Uh, not that I'm insecure or anything, but we're still cool, right? Because we've been together for more than four thousand hours of gameplay, and, y'know, I thought we had this thing...well...uh...anyway, uh, yeah, I, uh, read some reviews of this game and it totally sucks, so you should just skip it, yeah, no point playing it, it's a terrible game. Yeah. Hmm.
Tobe's Vertical Adventure: A platform game? RuneScape has platforms too, you know. I can do platforming. We could run some agility laps. That would be fun, right? Hey, maybe I could go for 99 agility. I just don't see why you need these other games.
Inferno+: It says "Twin-stick shooter action RPG". Twin sticks? Is that like dual wielding? I could buy some Torag's Hammers. They're twin sticks with giant hammers for bashing skulls in. Now that's action, right? And we've got the RPG covered, obviously. So it sounds like this is a waste of money.
Slydris: "Tetris variant where you slide blocks around". What does that mean? I don't think we have Tetris in RuneScape, but sliding blocks around is definitely a thing. Clue scrolls, right? Sliding puzzles. We never do clue scrolls and they're all about sliding blocks around. So I can't see what you'd see in this game.
Ballistic: What is the deal with these twin-stick shooters? I can shoot things. I have crossbows and hand cannons and arrows and magic spells and I just got this cool Eggsterminator gun that shoots giant marshmallows at people. RuneScape is practically all about shooting people. Twin sticks? Use a Dark Bow! Shoot two arrows at once: twin stick shooting. And it's terrible DPS, so I don't see what the fuss is about.

Quests are great, but really, committing six hours to these lame games? In six hours I could finish off 93 summoning, or level up those Temple Trekkers the rest of the way for Morytania Legs, or who knows what. It seems like such a waste of time when you could be playing the obviously superior RuneScape instead.

Ugh, well, I better go before he catches me here. To anyone reading this, play more RuneScape!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Alien Zombie Megadeath

It's an arcade-style shoot-em-up game.

You can run around and hop up and down on these platforms, and the goal is to shoot the aliens. Sorry, the alien zombies. It's pretty straightforward. When you kill the aliens--sorry, alien zombies--they explode into crystal things which you grab to increase your score and your multiplier, and occasionally giant crystals and powerups spawn around the level for you to grab.

The idea is to get as high a score as possible and earn medals and such. There's some tension because you want to be close enough to the aliens...alien grab the crystals when they die, but not so close that they, y'know, kill you.

There's also the occasional variant level. Sometimes bombs spawn around the level, and you have to carry them to a certain section of the stage to disarm them before they explode. Some levels have a jet pack for you to pick up and you get to fly around the stage blasting everything--think Yoshi's final smash in Smash Bros. Brawl. Some levels have baby astronauts who bounce around, and the alien zombies try to eat their brains and you have to save them. And of course there are boss stages.

Also, you can play as Santa Claus? >_>

It's kind of fun to blast aliens...uh, alien zombies, yes, right...but the gameplay here isn't all that deep. It has the feel of a casual iPhone game that you'd play to pass the time on the bus ride home, or a dinky flash game you'd mess around with for a little while when you're bored. It's very good by those standards, but not normally what I'm looking for in my PC games.

There's a local multiplayer mode for 2-player co-op survival, but I'll probably never end up playing it. There's also some achievements, but meh.

So anyway, I guess it's okay. A cute casual shoot-em-up for when you want to play a cute casual game. Nothing terribly offensive here; nothing spectacular either. *shrug*
  • Alien Zombie Megadeath
  • Astro Tripper
  • The Baconing
  • Beat Hazard
  • Defense Grid: The Awakening
  • Explodemon
  • FlatOut
  • Future Wars
  • Gear Grinder
  • Greed: Black Border
  • Grotesque Tactics: Evil Heroes
  • Hack, Slash, Loot
  • Madballs in...Babo: Invasion
  • Plain Sight
  • Sol Survivor
  • Trapped Dead
  • Twin Sector
That's ten down, seven to go. The next Indie Royale bundle is in the pipeline too, and Indie Gala is coming out with another, and who knows what else. I've got to keep this value train rolling!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Avacyn Restored set review: Limerick edition

Here's part three of my AVR set review!
It's written in verse, just for you!
Click here for part one
And after you're done
You can click over here for part two

Let's start with the Herald of War
It's obvious what it is for
Cast Angels all day
(Humans? Cheap anyway)
Til the enemy's knocked to the floor.

Goldnight Redeemer can heal
With flicker effects, she's ideal
Though lifegain is bad,
There's fun to be had--
She's got Casual/Limited appeal.

An enchantment that makes all spells cheaper
I've heard people claim it's a sleeper
Five mana's a lot
So I think that it's not
But feel free to try and go deeper.

Latch Seeker's a Limited card
Not something you should disregard
It's a clock on its own
With pump spells, it pwns
You drafters should be on your guard.

This new Wheel of Fortune is nice
It can come at a discounted price
Guess some decks will love it
Not sure what to think of it
Draw seven? It's worth looking twice.

The blue-red utility land
Lets you filter the cards in your hand.
I don't need to tell you
It's excellent value,
So if you've got the colors, it's grand.

They've also revealed the red-white one
For Mayael, it's a card that I might run
But vigilance and haste
Aren't quite to my taste
And my deck's manabase is a tight one.

Rhyme is restrictive.
Next time, it's back to haiku.
Part four coming soon.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Babo Invasion and Sol Survivor

What the hell is a Babo?

Well, whatever they are, there's some sort of invasion going on or something. I don't know. But this is a third-person shooter and I'm playing as this giant eyeball who rolls around the level shooting things. Apparently in this game you play as round...thingies (Madballs, I guess?) and you roll around shooting things.

It's not bad. I like it. Good action. The different characters each have their own special abilities and there's different kinds of enemies and the levels have secrets scattered around for you to find and there's all these different guns...seems nice. I'm enjoying it. Weird, cute aesthetic.

There's all these cool multiplayer modes too. Shall we try one out?

Oh, there's literally nobody in the multiplayer lobby? Okay, well, never mind then. That's a looked like a lot of fun.

Well anyway, I like this game. I give it a thumbs-up. Good value!

So how about Sol Survivor?

It's a tower defense game. And I opened the first level and it felt like I was playing...every other tower defense game I've ever played. Yeah, there's not a whole lot of variation in the genre, really.

Well, starting with the campaign...

This is "normal" difficulty. And it's way too easy. The creeps can't even get past the first bend before they've been turned into swiss cheese. I'm going to have to ratchet it up to hard.

Here's the next level, on "hard" difficulty. This time the creeps made it almost past the second bend, but still less than halfway across the track. And I'm not even calling in orbital support. This is too easy. It's boring. Let's try "insane".

This is more like it! Just barely lost at the final wave. Okay, so all I have to do is take the hardest difficulty level right off the bat.

So I guess the big question is, what makes Sol Survivor different from every other tower defense game out there? With Defense Grid: The Awakening, it was strong fundamentals: high-quality gameplay, graphics, and sound, with a decent story and strong voice-acting. With this game, we've got a few things.

First, orbital support. You get an energy meter that lets you call in airstrikes. There's an orbital laser, gas bombs, napalm, artillery strikes, and some others I haven't unlocked. It's a nifty mechanic that makes the player more active than in competing tower defense games.

Second, character selection. You get to choose a commander, and depending on who you pick, you'll have access to a different set of turrets and orbital strikes. That's kinda nifty. Not something I get to explore in the first hour of the game, since these guys are, like, unlockable, but it's a feature that I like. It adds some depth and lets you pick different characters depending on your playstyle. A nice touch.

Third, multiplayer. You can play locally or online, with a variety of game modes. Let's try it out!


Other than those things, it's pretty standard, and from what I've seen of it so far, it looks well-executed. So if you like tower defense games, you should enjoy it.

Well anyway, it seems like I need more than just an hour to get full value out of this game, but my first impression is positive. It looks like a decent take on the formula. For the best value, I think you want to play this with a friend, because the multiplayer looks like more fun than the solo campaign. Same goes for Babo: Invasion too, really.

So yeah, these two games seem nice.
  • Alien Zombie Megadeath
  • Astro Tripper
  • The Baconing
  • Beat Hazard
  • Defense Grid: The Awakening
  • Explodemon
  • FlatOut
  • Future Wars
  • Gear Grinder
  • Greed: Black Border
  • Grotesque Tactics: Evil Heroes
  • Hack, Slash, Loot
  • Madballs in...Babo: Invasion
  • Plain Sight
  • Sol Survivor
  • Trapped Dead
  • Twin Sector
 9/17 complete. And that's also all but one of the games in the Be Mine 2 bundle (only Plain Sight is left), and thumbs-up on all of them so far, so I am feeling very happy with the value there.