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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.