Jevnation's 2019 Challenge Post

#1

Jevnation here! Following up on my backlog, doing a challenge here on Grouvee makes things more interesting and fun! I’ll check out your other challenge sheets for the time being, so good luck! I’ll do some comments on the games I’ve finished to freshen up the topic along the way.

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#2

Once in a while, I’ll honor the challenge recommendation and post a batch of comments on games I’ve passed this year, whether they’re beaten or given enough time to play through. Hope you enjoy some gaming perspective here.

  • Dark Souls III - As the first Dark Souls title was put in my bucket list, I started with this game first due to my friend’s invitation to co-op. You play in a fantasy world as an undead, encountering some friends and lots of enemies of twisted kinds imaginable. The story is subtle as a whole and there are pieces of lore to be picked up, depending on your interests and attention to detail.
    Naturally, what can be expected from a Dark Souls title is that it will give you a rough time even from the start, demonstrating its rigorous nature that will force you to adapt early on. It’s punishable at times but well-adjusted enough to not make me drop it early on. Who knows how long I would have lasted if I didn’t go co-op from the time it was possible. But along the way, you’ll grow more skilled and face new challenges with the enemies, environment and especially the bosses that’ll make you think new ways to survive and progress. Little did I know in beforehand how satisfying it was to overcome the daunting adversaries and it proves how Dark Souls picked up the torch of difficult games with a meaning behind it once again. :estusempty:
    Similar games: Earlier Dark Souls titles

  • Serious Sam Fusion 2017 (Including the 2 games The First Encounter and 3: BFE - It’s time to get back to classic FPS as I check out Serious Sam for the first time. Fusion 2017 was featured as I purchased The First Encounter HD and serves as a hub for recent Serious Sam games for better experience and convenience.
    Following the story’s chronological order with the games I have, I started out with SS3: BFE and get treated with some proper 3D graphics by 2011’s standards. The First Encounter HD has its older graphics polished up and gets nearly on par with its sequel, with slightly different arsenal and enemy types. Soon enough, I find myself in heated battlefields throughout the cities and deserts as I take on alien hordes that are out to get me. Because, why not? I’m playing a one-man army who delivers one-liners and bullets of different sizes and forms that are effective in many situations and fun to overcome obstacles with. Heck, I even mowed down bulls and vicious kleers with a cannon that spews out uranium-loaded boulders! The variety of enemies are wide enough to make the playthrough open for various fighting maneuvers, especially in Serious difficulty level.

Serious Sam makes a good use of the maps’ large spaces to make room for large groups of enemies that you’re free to slaughter. The game varies enough with the map arrangements to keep the campaign mode fresh enough from wearing down but you might have to go through a number of retries such as in the arena battle scenes as the enemies spawn and surround you constantly. My biggest complaint is how the last maps of BFE end up getting grindy with the massive size of enemy horde pouring in and for the long duration of every battle that occur along the way. In that respect, it’s more worth playing in co-op mode instead of solo in cases like these. But it shows how the Serious Sam franchise preaches by-the-numbers shooter philosophy and executes it mostly right. :serioussam:

  • Defend Your Life - There’s a tower defense game in every sort of concept you can imagine fitting into and Defend Your Life takes you in to set up immune defenses in a human body against life-threatening microbes and viruses. The graphic style is taken along the cartoon direction and as the micro-bodies are given more sentient appearances, the game as a whole has a more family appeal in the looks. The in-game depth isn’t much with only 4 basic towers to set-up (not to mention the upgrades and a shop to suit your style), which work as an introductory tower defense game for people that are just getting into the genre. While the campaign takes you through the human body in every possible section, there is no story to be immersed into and the shallow impact from the audiovisual elements aren’t making the gameplay satisfying enough. Defend Your Life is a stable, relatively casual game to look into the genre by but experienced gamers can find better titles to enrich their tower defending pleasure. :rage_dyl:
    Try rather: Kingdom Rush (A cartoon-styled, fantasy TD game with similar mechanics but good variety), Defense Grid (3D-styled game with robots and a charming computer companion to be assisted by)

  • Super Sanctum TD - The original Sanctum game stuck out on its unique design of fusing tower defense with first-person shooter mechanics. Then this spin-off was released, scaling it back to traditional tower defense. The graphics are in 2D and more on the cartoon-y side in comparison to the main titles, aptly compatible with iOS. There is no story featured in the game but the campaign mode takes you along to play different scenarios across the Sanctum world and the XP functions allows you to unlock new towers, skills and perks to handle the upcoming challenges in new ways. The game’s block system is fundamental to your level performance in that it allows you to shape the enemies route to your liking and place your towers on those blocks. This is another one of accessible games to introduce gamers new to the TD genre but with slightly more depth with above-mentioned unlockables. But as there is no story nor much other immersion-based incentive for me to carry on, I’m satisfied enough with playing the first 10 levels and fulfilling some challenges for achievements. :skyesmile:
    Similar games: Defense Grid (once again)

  • OH! RPG! - The next RPGMaker game… with a twist. Many RPG games revolves around heroes that are set out to save the world from evil. Except for this one, as it starts out with heroes getting beaten by the final boss and the world is heading towards its end. As those heroes make their way home, this game focuses mainly on the characters that tend to be put on the sidelines. You’ll take on the roles of NPC’s in their respective chapters and get involved with situations related to the heroes journey home, as well as the environment. For such a dire premise that the game is built on, there are plenty of light humor moments to brighten the mood as you progress through including poking fun at the RPG tropes and almost breaking the 4th wall. Although you fight alone by default, you can call upon the heroes’ assistance to overcome battles when the going gets tough (and at times when needed to). Different challenges that appear in and out of battles are both hit-or-miss but enough to keep the playthrough fresh. As I finished the game, I was left with a somber feeling because this game has plenty of characters with their own charm and made for a memorable story throughout this tragic yet hopeful plot. Can mostly recommend this to JRPG fans! :ohrpgtherese: :ohrpgtherese:
    Similar game: Albino Hunter (A pretty humorous game with more freedom of carrying out the quests scattered throughout the game), Helen’s Mysterious Castle (Well-made game with only a single protagonist and a unique premise)

  • Thorne - Death Merchants - Thorne is a game series with several episodes planned for future releases. You play as the titular mercenary who has to unfold the mysteries around a village you got caught up in. Thorne has a medieval fantasy setting with mature themes, involving corruption and shady conspiracies, so it’s a pretty fresh take as a game running on RPGMaker engine. Rather than using the typical turn-based battle mechanics, you fight enemies actively on the spot by slashing and throwing weapons at them while maneuvering on the map. I appreciate that it changes the flow of the gameplay although the mechanics could get some further polishing due to blockiness and tedium of being surrounded by several enemies in a couple of key moments. Although the English translation is flawed in dialogues format-wise and grammar-wise, it doesn’t get in the way of the well-thought out plot too much to dissuade from continuing. You can finish this game in around 3 hours and enjoy the intrigue that unfolds along the way. This game and its sequel can be bought for a steal during sales. :thcat:

  • PLAYNE - Meditation is something I got familiar with for almost two years now, understanding the basics and benefits behind it. Despite that knowledge, implementing this practice as a daily routine isn’t my strong suit in the long run and have gone over more than a couple of apps that woul d facilitate it. PLAYNE comes into the picture on Steam and I got to say that it does help make meditation into a healthy game. Having tried it for over a month in its early access stage and as I write this, I’ve managed to play it daily (while I can) for a short session. The incentives that are featured here are:

  1. The story. If meditation needed a purpose nail to get it stuck on your wall of things-to-do, PLAYNE has its own story to describe its own, little world. The sole character Wolf (with an appearance of a fox, huh) tells the background tale of how it ended up as a the static plane of existence, devoid of human awareness of time, presence and such. As you count up the days of your meditation, Wolf will reveal more of the story. The story told is quite original and has a bit of quirkiness in how Wolf describes the characters in it. The dialogues with Wolf are written with a bit sense of humor strewn around, which lightens the mood for such an introspective subject. That way, if you feel intrigued to know more of the story or Wolf’s background, meditation will practically pay off.
  2. The world. PLAYNE is only centered on an island but its environment changes with your meditation progress in the long-term. For instance, new life-forms and phenomenas will appear after a certain amount of days you’ve put your meditation in, not to mention your campfire grows by the consecutive days.
    There are other features that encourage meditation and while I still have a long time until I reach the end-game to unlock the Evolve mode, this game passes off as a brilliant means to start building and maintaining a habit of mindfulness. If you’re interested in meditation but find it too boring to get by in the long run, I’d recommend this game for you to try out and see if there is something meaningful that unfolds for you to pursue.
    Although this game is checked off as passed in my backlog, it’s been integrated to my daily routine enough to faithfully come back and reap the healthy benefits. :blazingflame:
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#4

Rolling on the next set of games done this year… Cheers!

  • Speedrunners - A platformer racing game where you win by outrunning your opponents. For such a simple concept and content, the execution is just right enough to warrant a fair competition online, even. It’s easy to learn but I had to spend a little time learning the levels in order to overcome and use obstacles to my advantage. The tools and weapons that are picked up along the way add heat to the racing and over all the high-tempo hustle, I find it satisfactory enough to recommend it! :Unic:

  • Puzzle Chambers - Simply put, this puzzle game (duh) puts you into a facility of puzzle chambers (double duh!) that requires logical thinking to solve problems by the use of number tiles, mainly. Your venture is nevertheless plot-driven, as the game focuses on characters that are trapped within the facility and have to find their way out. As you solve some puzzles and making progress, you’ll unfold the story that involves conspiracy theories, supernatural powers and plot twists (and humor) to keep you intrigued to carry on. The puzzle tasks do get progressively more challenging and introduces new kinds of tools and solutions further along the game so only if you are enjoy some challenging, logical puzzle solving or even enjoy something with an original plot to drive you through, this game might be something to give a try-out. :loaded_dice:

  • Scheming Through The Zombie Apocalypse: The Beginning - A just-started adventure series situated in a modern, animal civilization that’s just been struck by a zombie apocalypse. The point ‘n click adventure features a duo that starts their own scavenging business to get by but stumbles upon unpredictable encounters that warrants amusing results, thanks to the witty dialogues and dark humour gracing the plot. A neat feature to be mentioned is your navigation of hired scavengers through sites and the choices you make that can affect their fate, for better or worse (and hilarious either way). For being a short episode, its replay value is a given, not to mention that the scavenging goods inventory and the bartering functions adds dependence on your performance and choices made. I recommend getting it on a sale, if you think about trying it out and curious about the plot that develops over the Scheming series. :zombieBall:
    Similar game: Hector adventure series (You play as a cynical cop in this cartoony point n’ click adventure; contains mature humour)

  • Influent - Some of us want to learn new languages for various reasons (mine for being a Russian raised in Sweden, hence my mother tongue) and so we may look for other means if not by school classes. Influent tries its own approach at teaching players their desired language, as far as their collection of DLC’s allows, and lets them interact in a 3D environment with free roaming inside their character’s house. The location and its objects are subject for translation in nouns, verbs and adjectives, letting you practice to the point you’ll master those select words. But as much as 420 words are plenty for you to get into your target language with visual interactivity and games, that’s as far Influent will benefit you in its educational premise. Don’t expect to learn grammar, because it’s only word-focused training. As there’s much freedom in interaction, there ain’t much structure to guide you forward. Influent is unique in the way it lets you interact and learn new words from the featured objects but the execution is too limited to immerse your language as a whole. It suits as a visual introduction and training of vocabulary but if grammar training was included, Influent would have been more reliable as a complete language training program at a basic level. :spacevole:

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#5

New batch and updates in…!

Super Meat Boy - My personal review ***

  • The Stanley Parable - It was just a Half-Life 2 mod during the first time I played it back in the old days. I thought I experienced it all but as I found the stand-alone release on sale, the “what the heck” impulse got into me. There are many changes and improvements since the mod release, which freshens up the experience yet again with new choices and the narrator’s dialogues. The latter is the most entertaining and essential matter that drives the narrative forward, working well with the game’s design in attempting to manipulate the player in terms of choice within the meta boundaries. There is a lot of tidbits to explore within this limited field of premise that the game is staged on and for its unpredictable nature, this walking simulator offers plenty of fresh twists to keep me coming back. Warmly recommended! :trsc_phone:

  • FootLOL: Epic Fail League - I’ve never cared much for sports games but when there are games that add twists on the traditional premises, then chances are that I’ll check it out. FootLOL has the simple concept of giving players the devious tools to manipulate the players, the soccer ball and the field for the benefit of the match. As it’s easy to get into it, this results in some wicked fun during a match that lasts briefly for a few minutes, normally. The unlockables of abilities and team stats add some depth for the player to try out new strategies along for the tournament or online mode. While the contents had me kept interested for a couple of hours, it’s enough for brief gaming sessions if you want to break the soccer norms for a while and wreak havoc on the field for some malicious fun. :flol_ball:

  • Finding Paradise - My personal review ****

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#6

Now adding in my future posts the challenge groups that my finished games were appointed to.

  • Evoland - My review here (***) (G8: Developer / Publisher - Debut of Developer)
  • Evoland 2: A Slight Case of Spacetime Continuum Disorder - My review here (****) (G9: The Wheel of Time - Containing Time Travel)
  • West of Loathing - My review here (****) (G9: The Wheel of Time - Western)
  • Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War - Dark Crusade - Picked up some Warhammer gaming again since I finished the previous title several years ago. Dark Crusade is pretty different, given its free choice of race in a freshly added meta campaign feature. I liked the fact that I could choose which territory to move my army to conquer or protect, as well as be rewarded with perks and hero equipments based on my accomplishments. The downside is that there isn’t much to the story being invested, besides the intro and event dialogues for each race, along with the dedicated lore put into the locations and characters. The missions have some variations and the decisive battles get mostly interesting objective-wise; it’s just getting a bit stale when I’ve learned to build my army to steamroll over my opponents during the remaining missions. Dark Crusade is still a decently fun RTS game that adds some interesting meta functions and may be suited for die-hard fans in the long run. :zombieBall: (G2: Video Game Genres - Strategy)
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#7
  • The Hex - I am afraid to give away too much in this little review for gamers who have yet to check this game out. Much like the dev’s previous game, Pony Island, The Hex’ strength and charm lies in its unpredictable nature and the meta narrative that unfolds along the way. The game keeps up its flow as I’m playing and familiarizing with the six characters gathered in a hotel with the owner, who have something in common with the mystery around a murder that’s been warned to happen. Each character’s story plays out (by you) by telling their past in form of different game types that bluntly references popular classics. They all tie in to the main narrative like jigsaw puzzles, which can take more than one playthrough to get the hang of. The hidden (and strange) tidbits lying around allow you to explore around and unlock the secrets that the achievements might hint at. Ultimately, The Hex follows up Pony Island spiritually in sense of subtle depth but lots of fun and shocking contents that catch you off-guard. Greatly recommended! :lazarus: (G5: Pile of Shame - Game from 2018)

  • Fallout 3 - Game of the Year Edition - I beat the main story over a few years ago but there were still a handful of DLC’s to finish, so I indulged myself in revisiting Fallout’s post-apocalyptic world again. It was pretty hard to come back to it since I had to re-acquaint myself with my old, stuffed inventory and re-learning certain mechanics. Some gameplay issues such as strong enemies that stand as bullet sponges would have been frustrating, had I not brought my supermutant companion along (though his absence in Mothership Zeta was duly noticed). I felt that since the main story was cleared, it was pretty much a sandbox with sidequests to find under rocks but thankfully, the world is built down to the detail that I find it consistently refreshing to explore new areas. The fact that there are more NPC’s with their own personality than I can count, along with over thousands of dialogues put into it, makes for a stand-out feat for Fallout 3. If you are into free roaming RPG with a post-apocalyptic setting, I can pretty well recommend it despite clashes with my preferences. Some compatibility issues are well-known but can be fixed through a few steps. :deadhead2: (G2: Video game genres - Open World)

  • One Finger Death Punch 2 - I already loved the first game but it seems the devs had more ideas to apply onto the sequel and make it bigger. The sequel carries on the kung fu horde-whipping with the two buttons-only controls but adds tons of new skills, game modes and tools at the player’s disposal to dispose (pun intended) of the mobs at a satisfactory level. With the fluid game mechanics, time flies by quickly as I sat and cleared stages quickly. It’s apparent that this product is a labor of love as the developers have polished thoroughly to give the player some momentum in the ever so hectic situations, such as transitions between finish moves and active fighting. With that said, I find this sequel a welcome continuation of the kung fu stickman hustle. :dragon2: (G3: Title that contains - Number)

  • Sorry, James - A relatively simplistic game where my task was to decrypt files in your work PC, which reveals fragments of chat logs between two individuals. The story with themes of relationships, sexuality and life unfolds as I make progress, although it’s more show-don’t-tell as pieces of a puzzle that’s left to be put together in the end. The puzzles are easy to solve but, for achievement’s sake, challenging enough when it comes to doing it without mistakes. Took me 5 hours to complete and solving the puzzles were satisfying enough, although the story was pretty underwhelming. :mantis_logo: (G10: Popular Themes - Psychology or depression)

  • Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault - Got this game for free on Origin, so it’s a non-Steam title checked off. The production value for a 2004 fps game is on a pretty high standard, although the game hasn’t aged pretty well due to sluggish interface and buggy NPC movements, to mention a few. The single player maps are pretty mixed in detail and scale, for better or worse. For the better here, the first maps based on the Pearl Harbor attack are richly built and tones down on the isolated aspect of a map design, which helps to create the immersion. To think how much script work has been put into such parts… For the worse, however, some missions are divided into several maps that serve little to no purpose other than sneaking through and shooting down obstacles. It’s usually only, like, 2-3 maps later, I get to point of the objective that’s been set since the beginning. Though it’s been a while since I played a WWII-themed shooter game, I don’t feel enticed enough to stick to the end, despite the peaks of production values that I have seen in it. :be_crosshair: (G7: Grouvee & Other Databases - Not available on Steam)

  • Divide By Sheep - A puzzle game with a simplistic UI where you have to rescue sheep and wolves from islands, on behalf of the Grim Reaper who is missing some “friendly” company. Since there is a lack of story development along the way and content width spread too thin, the carrot didn’t bring me beyond 2nd stage world but it should cater to casual puzzle fans who wants to train with sequencing tasks. :minit_eyepatch: (G5: Pile of Shame - Game from 2015)

  • Swag and Sorcery - I was intrigued when the devs added a story with humor about fantasy and swag, crafting as well as town and party management into this game, dubbing it therefore as a semi-idle RPG. It had a pretty good flow in the beginning with a smooth flow that adds to the addictive “just one more adventure/crafting”, only until the grind factor grew a lot when I have to gather crafting items, selling them and pay gold to level up the party members until they could match up to the next boss, rinse and repeat! The fashion competition is an interesting idea but pretty tough to calculate unless you bribe the judges to find out their preferences. At its freshly released state, the game could use some additional management functions to maintain the flow because it can get tiring with manually switching party members between different crafting locations and adventure mode. Swag and Sorcery stands out for its slight humor value and concept of “swag” (ugh) but could use with further polishing to prevent it from falling into the grind traps, common to other idle games for now. :sw_vile_magic: (B1: Games by regions / language - Slavic Country or Hungary)

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