Thursday, May 31, 2012

Humble Indie Bundle V!

Oh, that's right. Now I remember why I used to snap-buy these indie bundles. Because they were Humble Bundles.

Now that the new Humble Bundle is out, it's a little boggling how much those other bundles pale in comparison. This is an insane lineup. I mean, I haven't even played any of these games, but I've actually heard of them. Like, all of them! Look at that. We have Bastion, which I've heard is awesome. We have Psychonauts, which I've heard is really good. We have Amnesia: The Dark Descent, which I've heard is legitimately creepy. We've got Limbo, which I've heard is good. And we've got Sword and Sworcery, which...I've never heard of before now. But still!

I already own Amnesia (a survival-horror game) from the Potato Sack bundle a while back, and I can't get it to run on my computer, which is disappointing. But I've had my eye on Bastion for a while; I'm very pleased to scoop that one up. It's some sort of Action-RPG where you rebuild a post-apocalyptic world, and there's this narrator with an awesome sexy deep voice.

And I actually recognize Limbo mostly just from this video, which I thought was pretty cool, and to a lesser extent this other one which I also enjoyed. So now I want to play it. =P

And then there's Psychonauts, which in fairness I don't know a whole lot about...but I watched the trailer and it looks really good, and I've heard other people say they liked it, so I am happy to be snapping it up.

I watched some gameplay footage of Sword and Sorcery, and apparently it's an adventure game that was originally for iPad, ported to PC. I'm not too excited about it, but it's basically a free throw-in here, so I'll take it.

So yeah, snap-buying this, and snap-beating the average as well to get the beat-the-average bonus (which is Bastion).

The bundle has already raised more than $1.6 million and sold over 200,000 copies in its first day. Holy. Crap. And honestly, I'm not even all that surprised. These are big-name games at a dirt-cheap price. Even if you don't beat the average for Bastion, it's three really awesome games (and Sword & Sworcery) for only a dollar! Or less! Plus their soundtracks! I think this is the best value since Humble Indie Bundle 4.

Indie Royale Graduation Bundle

I dunno, at first I used to feel great about snap-buying these indie bundles, but I've gotten more conservative now. This new Indie Royale bundle, for example.

There are five and a half games in it--the sixth one is a beta so it doesn't count as a whole game.

The Void is one of those ones that just looks weird and surreal. The trailer is a mix of giant grotesque otherworldly horrors and naked women with bare breasts. No idea what the actual gameplay is supposed to be like or even what genre it's supposed to be. And it's like 5 gigabytes. There's a very good chance that I just skip this one completely because it seems dumb.

Dead Pixels looks cool though. It's a 2D shooter game where you fight zombies, and it's got like RPG elements and randomized levels and such. I watched the trailer for this one and it had actual gameplay footage in it, and I thought it looked pretty cool.

The Ship looks extremely lame, though. Like, it's some sort of multiplayer game where you are a secret assassin and you can't let the other players know you're an assassin, and someone else is also an assassin trying to kill you, and you've got to kill the other people without getting killed or letting slip that you're trying to kill people...I don't know, but it sounds more like a thought experiment than an actual fun gaming experience.

1000 Amps and LaserCat interest me. They're both platformers with simplistic graphics and an emphasis on exploration. They remind me of VVVVVV, which I liked.

And lastly AirMech appears to be a multiplayer third-person top-down shooter game, and it's still in beta. So it's probably buggy or some crap.

So I'm not really sure whether I want to buy this one. I'm interested in Dead Pixels and LaserCat and 1000 Amps, but The Void and The Ship look like garbage. And I don't know if the Beta one even counts. The minimum price is over $5 right now too, which is at the upper range of what I'm willing to pay for these bundles. The awkward part is that LaserCat and Dead Pixels, the two games I'm most interested in, aren't on Steam.

Okay, what the heck, there are a couple ones in there that look good. I'll buy it. I'll even toss the weird ones onto the Quest for Value pile, just for value. Let's hope it works out cuz it's like double what I normally hope to spend on these things.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Today I played Dungeons of Dredmor. I ran with a random skillset on the highest difficulty with permadeath on. And I made it to floor 11 before getting killed by a boss monster in a Monster Zoo.

I had Berserker Rage, Artful Dodger, Viking Wizardry, Fungal Arts, Wand Lore, Squirtle, and Magikarp. It was...not that great. Berserker Rage, Magikarp, and Squirtle made my melee pretty decent, although Squirtle felt a little underpowered; I think I need to tweak the numbers on it. I feel like Blastoise should learn Mirror Coat. Wand Lore actually turned out to be pretty good because I found out there is a bug with it--if you make your own wands, they can stack together in your inventory, and splitting the stack resets the charges. So basically, infinite wand charges. I got to abuse coral wands for infinite food. It was nice. Probably a bug, but Wand Lore is so painfully bad otherwise that I'm not about to complain. Gyarados wasn't the worst--good stat boosts and Hyper Beam did some work. Changing it to scale better helped a lot. Hyper Beam's blasting damage now scales with the Crit stat, and the conflagratory damage scales with the Haywire stat, and it's 1:1 for both of them.

If I hadn't had it on the 15-floor version, I could have killed Dredmor on floor 10 instead of dying on floor 11. Not only would I have gotten the coveted "Left for Dread" achievement for beating GRPD, but I would have gotten "I Can't Believe That Worked" for doing it with a random skillset. I guess it wasn't to be. Not today.

I did really well, though. The latest patch made the lower floors a lot easier on melee characters. I was terrified to go hand-to-hand with Muscle Diggles because they used to hit constant unblockable, uncounterable, undodgeable crits for like 40 damage. But under the new game mechanics, critical hits don't automatically override all your defenses, so you can still block or counter them.

So it was an encouraging run, if ultimately unsuccessful, and I expect I'll try again in the near future.

Monday, May 28, 2012

I finished the Morytania tasks today. That puts me at all task sets but Karamja complete. Not bad.

I don't think I'm far off of the Karamja tasks, either. I need 91 runecrafting, and I'm 90 so I can boost to that. I need 95 summoning, which I'm getting close to--currently 94.

And I need a fire cape, which I don't currently have, but it should be doable--my next attempt at the Fight Caves is postponed until I do some more dungeoneering for an Arcane Stream necklace to boost my magic. 30% more damage could make or break the final fight. The magic boost will also be helpful for fighting Glacors, which I am told are very good monsters to kill both for money and for charm drops to train summoning.

Of course, I don't think I'd actually know what to do with the rewards from the Karamja elite tasks. The upgraded Karamja gloves don't seem to have a whole lot of useful abilities. Some bonuses in the Brimhaven Dungeon and Agility Arena, neither of which I ever visit, some free apples, which are useless, a buff in the Fight Caves, which isn't so great once I already have a fire cape, and some free tokkul, which is...unexciting.

On the other hand, the Taskmaster emote is fairly sweet, so I wouldn't mind picking that up, I suppose.

Civ V, first attempt

So I recently got my hands on a copy of Civilization V on Steam. Apparently this is a popular game. I wouldn't know. I've never played it before. But I guess since I now seem to own it, I might as well give it a try, right? I'll have no idea what I'm doing, of course.

I picked Nebuchadnezzar because seriously, is that a cool name or what? Plus he gets to, like, Cabal Therapy them every turn, so that's gotta be good, right?


Seems fine to me. Gotta be better than Suleiman, since I'm pretty sure there aren't any Djinns or Efreets in this game for him to destroy. And none of the other guys even have Magic cards, so they can't be all that great. 

The first conundrum is what to research. That, and the mystery of "What the hell I'm supposed to do with this warrior unit," but the research makes a better screenshot.

Pottery, Animal Husbandry, Archery, Mining...geez, these all sound so boring. Okay, I'm going with mining because I see a mine right next to my city, so I want to mine that. Hi ho hi ho. 

And then it wants to know what "Social Policy" I'm going to adopt? We've got Tradition, Liberty, and Honor. Meh, nothing too exciting. Order sounds nice, but that's not available yet, apparently, because Order wasn't invented until the Industrial Age. I'm going to go with Tradition because you might say every one of us is a fiddler on a roof, trying to scratch out a simple, pleasant tune without breaking his neck, and how do we keep our balance? Tradition. I don't want to break my neck, so I'm picking Tradition.

I really don't know what these warriors are supposed to do. I guess I just make them auto-explore? Don't see anything around for them to fight yet. 

One thing I'm noticing about this game is that it's kind of slow. I keep having these turns where I literally do nothing except tick down these counters another turn. It's supposed to do that, right? I'm not used to this.

Some other guys wandered into my area, but I don't understand what sort of diplomacy I'm expected to do. I suggested a friendship but none of them accepted it, and I asked them not to settle too close to me but apparently that annoyed them, so...

Also, I found a city-state and they gave me some gold to commemorate our...meeting, I guess, which was nice of them. Then some barbarians started attacking them and I helped them out a little, which made them like me. Yay? I assume that's good. 

I researched Writing and it gave me a free scientist: Marie Curie. Is she Babylonian? I thought she was French. Did I steal her from Napoleon? I hope he's not mad. In any case, she founded a University and now I, science points or something, I dunno how this works. 

I made a worker, but I don't actually know what workers do in this game. For now I just told it to auto-whatever, so hopefully it's smart enough to figure things out without my help. Do I build stuff faster, or what?

And some barbarians showed up near my city. I don't think I have the hang of combat. The only units I have are warriors. I could research Archery and get bowmen. Should I research Archery? I'll research Archery. 

I don't understand this game. But I've been playing it for almost two hours, so it must be okay.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Alien Hallway and Indie Gala V

Well, first off, there's another bundle to toss on the pile: Indie Gala V. For $1, I get four games. Uh, well, eight games, sort of, but...well, anyway...

Making History: The Calm and the Storm is a WWII strategy game, turn-based or something, I dunno. I'm assuming it's supposed to be like a Civ clone. It's got that whole "Risk" map and there's diplomacy and I don't even know. I guess I can try it.

Beat Hazard I already have from the Groupees bundle a while back. I've logged 15 hours on it and I think it's a fun game. This one doesn't have a Steam key, it's just a DRM-free download. But hey, since I already have it, I'll give it away instead. Post a comment on this entry if you want it.

Razor2: Hidden Skies is another shoot-em-up. Didn't I just get that Arkhelom 3D game, like, just yesterday? And Really Big Sky before that? Well, I guess you can never have too many shoot-em-ups...?

And then the last game is Ironclads except that it's actually five games. It's the "Complete Collection" which means it includes Ironclads: American Civil War, Anglo Russian War 1866, Chincha Islands War 1866, High Seas, and Schleswig War 1864. So, five different games. Except from what I can tell, all five games are, like, the same. So I'm just going to count them as one game.

So, dumping those on the to-do list, then. I wonder if any of them are any good.

Anyway, I also played Alien Hallway. This game is like a tug-of-war thing. There's your base on the left, and the aliens on the right, and the aliens send out aliens to try and kill you and destroy your base. However, you also get to send space marines out to go and fight the aliens and destroy their base. So you have aliens and space marines duking it out in a hallway.

There's various different types of units, and you get air strikes, and some of the units have grenades that you have to manually click when you want to use them. And you use Engineer units for resources--they roam around collecting energy from nodes to keep you summoning more guys.

Basically all you do is click on stuff when it's lit up. It's pretty easy. I beat the whole game, as a matter of fact--took me three or four hours, and I got five stars on every mission too.

So it's an easy game, but it's fun and cathartic. I wouldn't say it's the best game I've ever played, but it successfully entertained me for several hours, so I think it's a dollar well-spent.

Speaking of beating games, that's not the only game I beat today.

I finished off the campaign mode in Alien Shooter. It took me a total of three hours to play it through to the end.

Those last levels got pretty intense. Giant laser rocket dinosaur aliens all over the place.

I took this screenshot at a relatively calm section of the level. Yeah that's right, ten dinosaurs with freaking laser beams attached to their heads are marching right at me and that's relatively calm. You should have seen the part where I had to run right into the middle of a giant nest of them to plant dynamite at the portal where they were spawning. Sorry, not one nest, three nests, in three different corners of a large room so that they surrounded me as soon as I walked in. I kept dying until I managed to find the Magma Minigun, which is the strongest weapon and the only one that can reliably kill the dinosaur aliens.

After several deaths I succeeded in destroying all the portals and exterminating every alien in the facility. Except, of course, for the one little green frog alien who gets to survive and escape as a hook for the sequel. All in all, it was pretty epic, and a healthy portion of fun. I'm willing to give Alien Shooter my official thumbs-up.

Okay, how's my list looking?

  • Alien Hallway
  • Alien Shooter
  • Alien Shooter 2
  • Altitude
  • Alien Zombie Megadeath
  • A.R.E.S.: Extinction Agenda 
  • Arkhelom 3D
  • Astro Tripper
  • The Baconing
  • Ballistic
  • Beat Hazard 
  • DeadEnd Cerebral Vortex
  • Defense Grid: The Awakening
  • Depths of Peril
  • Disciples II: Gallean's Return
  • Explodemon
  • FlatOut
  • Future Wars
  • Gear Grinder
  • Greed: Black Border
  • Grotesque Tactics: Evil Heroes
  • Hack, Slash, Loot
  • Inferno+ 
  • Ironclads
  • Lunnye Devitsy
  • Making History
  • Madballs in...Babo: Invasion
  • Plain Sight
  • Razor2
  • Really Big Sky
  • Slydris
  • Sol Survivor
  • Tobe's Vertical Adventure
  • Tompi Jones
  • Trapped Dead
  • Twin Sector
  • Unstoppable Gorg 
  • Wake
Geez, that's quite the list, isn't it.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Indie Face Kick

Here's another bundle called the "Indie Face Kick". It's $1 for three games. Only one of them is on Steam, though.

The only one on Steam is Alien Hallway. But I watched the trailer and it looks kinda neat. I'm interested in trying this one out. Apparently there's aliens in a hallway, and that's the plot right there. This is by the same guys who did Alien Shooter, incidentally.

Arkhelom 3D is some sort of shoot-em-up game. It's only on Desura; I can't download it directly. That's awkward. I wonder if I can use Steam to make a shortcut to a Desura game. In any case, I watched the trailer for this one too and it looks...well, pretty standard, I guess. I'm willing to try it out, for value.

And then the third game is called Tompi Jones, and it claims to be inspired by Donkey Kong Country, so I assume it's like a platformer. But it's not a real game. It's just an Alpha. The actual game isn't finished. And I don't get to upgrade my Alpha version to a real version once it is finished. So I'm not even sure that it really counts. I can see what it's like, but no promises here, I may just end up leaving it on the sidelines.

There are two other games if I pay more than, like, some other threshold or something, but it's just another Alien Shooter and some underwater thing, and no Steam keys for them. I ain't paying an extra four bucks for that.

So that's the Indie Face Kick. I hope it doesn't suck.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Another #MayaelFTW

Tonight I played a commander game against Jonathan Richmond (@norbert88) and Zack Levine (@metaknightmare) from Twitter, plus some other guy I don't know.

I'm up against Kresh, Baru, and Merieke Ri Berit. These are commanders I'm comfortable going up against. I assume Baru is a ramp deal with lots of creatures to take advantage of Baru's pump. That means I have to watch out for out-of-nowhere kills from him. Kresh could have any number of tricks up his sleeves, so I'm not sure what to expect from him. Merieke is probably a control deck with white sweepers, blue goodstuff, and such and such, so I'll be looking to play around removal and try to counter any stealing with Homeward Path if necessary.

My opening hand has Top, Boots, and land, so I snap-keep. I think this is a good hand. Swiftfoot Boots is a key card against the mono-green deck because mono-green has so few outs to Blazing Archon--if I can get an Archon in play and use Boots to protect it from Duplicant, Jon might just be putty in my hands. Additionally, I expect a lot of point removal out of the two black decks at the table, so the hexproof should be powerful. If I'm lucky, they'll have all creature kill and nothing for artifacts.

Jon comes out of the gates quickly with a Garruk into Garruk's Horde. Zack declines to cast his commander, which actually seems kinda sketchy in retrospect--if I'd been paying closer attention, I probably would have taken it as a hint that he's holding a Wrath effect.

For my part, I run out Top and Boots. I could try to hold the boots, but I have a gut feeling that the first Wrath this game will not be my own Akroma's Vengeance. I think if I can protect a Mayael, I should be able to drop enough fatties to wrest control of the board away from the mono-green deck. I feel better about this plan when I see a Gisela, Blade of Goldnight on top of my library with Top.

I cast Mayael and equip the boots, planning to spin the Top on my upkeep. Jon decides to point his 7/7 at the Kresh deck, which isn't unreasonable, since Kresh has been ramping quite a bit. I suspect if he'd seen the Gisela on top of my library, it might have been pointed at me instead, but as-is I only had to suffer attacks from the 3/3 Beast.

Incidentally, this It That Betrays is looking very bad.

I manage to find a sixth land, so I'm all set to start spinning the wheel next turn. Meanwhile, Jon has added a Baloth Woodcrasher and a Hidden Herd, while Zack has dropped a face-down creature (claiming in the chat that it is a Zombie Cutthroat). It's obviously not really a Zombie Cutthroat, since that card is unplayable in EDH; I figure it's something like a Vesuvan Shapeshifter, Willbender, or Bane of the Living.

Hidden Herd seems like a bad card. I don't think it should be in the deck. Yes, it's pretty much guaranteed to activate, but a vanilla 3/3 just isn't very good in Commander, even at 1 mana.

Zack plays another morph (loudly declaring that they are both Zombie Cutthroats), Jon accelerates with an Extraplanar Lens drawn off a Harmonize, and Captain America uses a Flametongue Kavu to dispatch Jon's 4/4 Baloth.

For my part, I don't draw a seventh land, seeing three fatties on top of my deck instead. But for now, I play land #6 and get ready to drop Gisela, who has been waiting faithfully on top of my library for several turns. I'll happily slam her to block Garruk's Horde if it comes my way, although I suspect that will not happen.

Instead, Garruk ultimates, and the green squad ranches at Captain America for 22, getting revenge for the Mind Shatter that just emptied his hand. The good Captain scoops...although even if he hadn't, I would have dropped Gisela after blockers to kill him anyway with double damage. But turns out it wasn't necessary.

Zack neutralizes Garruk with a Faith's Fetters, not willing to suicide one of his morph guys (although again, I would have dropped Gisela to make it trade with the beast). Then I finally slam Gisela at end of turn.

I choose not to activate Top in my upkeep here. I know I'm going to equip the boots to Gisela (because she is a monster and if I can keep her in play I will just win the game). If I Top, it means that even drawing an untapped land won't let me equip + activate Mayael, so I draw blind. It turns out it's a Seedborn Muse, which is much better than a land. I cast it, obviously, and pass the turn after hitting Jon for 10 with my angel.

Jon whiffs on the topdeck and attacks Zack, who trades off his two morphs for two beast tokens (turns out they were Willbender and Skinthinner) and goes to 21. I get to drop Akroma at the end of that turn.

Then Zack plays a Martial Coup for 5 to destroy all creatures. This means, as Jon points out in the chat, it's time to mise an Avacyn! I don't hit the Avacyn, but I hit Moldgraf Monstrosity, which is the second-best possible thing--it bounces my Akroma and Seedborn Muse right back onto the battlefield.

This lets me untap, re-cast Mayael, give her haste with the boots, and immediately get right back to dropping an endless stream of fatties. I attack Jon for 6 with Akroma (cleverly remembering the Beast Attack in his graveyard and leaving my smaller guys back) and pass the turn, untapping my stuff.

I flip a Terastodon off the top, which hits three of Zack's mana and eight of Jon's. At this point, I think the game is a lock for me. I have my combo rolling, the Merieke deck that has all the removal that could stop me is stuck on four lands with no black sources, and the green deck has no cards in hand or on the field and probably has little to no outs anyway.

And indeed, I manage to quickly close the game from there after flipping Woodfall Primus, Primeval Titan, and Avacyn--although truth be told, I'm pretty sure that I could have been flipping vanilla 5/5s and won just as easily.

This game really showcased the power of Seedborn Muse. When Mayael and Seedborn Muse are rolling, it's very difficult to lose. It's an obvious interaction on paper, but seeing it in action really makes you appreciate how busted it is.

More subtly, Sensei's Divining Top was an all-star as well. If not for Top, my hand would have been clogged with fatties I couldn't cast. Thanks to the library manipulation, I got to make that Gisela and red-Akroma float on top of my deck while I pulled lands out from underneath them to draw instead. That's a very big deal, and I think it won me the game.

The boots were good here too. If Mayael hadn't had hexproof, she probably would have died to Captain America's Flametongue Kavu; instead, one of my opponent's creatures got blasted. The haste bought me two full Mayael activations as well, thanks to the turn I re-cast her with Seedborn Muse in play.

Gisela was sweet. When she's on the board, it's like I'm invincible. I mean how do you even beat that card? Moldgraf Monstrosity was also great here; this game got to showcase how good it is against sweepers.

On the downside, It That Betrays was a waste of space. I am more and more convinced that this is just a bad card. I threw it into the list just for fun because I had oen in my collection and I wanted to see how it would play out, and it's been underwhelming at best. I think replacing it with Ulamog proper is the right play here--one less mana, two more annihilator, free Vindicate, prevents me from getting decked, and indestructible, in exchange for losing an ability that is never relevant. Yeah, obvious upgrade.

Akroma, Angel of Fury was underwhelming as well. I saw her in my library with Top, and again on a Mayael activation after shuffling my deck, and both times she seemed pretty weak. In her defense, she's in the deck for some pretty specific matchups, but I think she's one of the weaker fatties and she'll probably be on the chopping block soon enough.

Akroma, Angel of Wrath is still better, I think, although she's not irreplaceable either. Her main strength is being great on defense with six first striking power in the air and protection from two colors--the haste and vigilance is a nice bonus, but while she can poke them, six damage isn't super impressive on offense. I like how difficult it is for red and black decks to deal with her, but I have other cards that are good in those matchups, so I could see dropping her from the list at some point.

Jungle Weaver was sort of awkward. I was a little too tight on mana to cycle it this game, so it just sat there durdling in my hand. I still like it, though. Boosting the Mayael hit percentage is a subtle advantage, but it's real, and it's not as if a 5/6 reach is irrelevant--it blocks reasonably well.


There's so many of these indie bundles on the market these days.

Now there's a new bundle on the bandwagon called "Bundle In A Box", and it's themed around...oh come on, really? Point and click adventure games.




I don't think I'm going to touch this one. Not unless the price drops really low (they're dropping the price as more people buy it).

One of these days I'm probably going to have to write about why I don't like that genre. One of these days. But I'm not sure how much explanation it really needs. I mean, what else do you expect me to explain? Should I explain why I don't want to stab my genitals with rusty needles? It's just not fun, okay? Yeesh.