Thursday, 30 June 2011

Ten Words or Less: Mass Effect

Inexplicably makes me want to play it again.

Final Fantasy IV: Better Than Child of Eden

At least as far as price goes, anyway. A couple weeks ago, I walked into my local Gamestation with the intent of buying Child of Eden, but the price blew the steam out of my sails. 40 of my english pounds for a pretty shoot-'em-up was more than I could possibly justify, so I poked around and found myself taking Final Fantasy IV: Complete to the counter, much to my surprise. I've never been much of a Final Fantasy person, Breath of Fire is my JRPG of choice, but I'm always open to trying something I've never played before.

It's not the first Final Fantasy I've played, or even the first 2D one, those accolades belong to 7 and 1 respectively, it is, however, the only one I hadn't played up until that point. I was happy to discover that the story involves crystals, which every one up until 5 has. The ones which don't have a completely different feel - more serious, more epic. Which has its place, but I like a more friendly feel in my Japanese turn-based story adventures.

Anyway, long story short, you are Cecil, the worst Dark Knight ever, the Dark Knight with a conscience, who's having second thoughts about slaughtering innocent people to get the crystals for his King. The King realises this, promptly demotes him and sends him on a quest which ends up with him murdering a village of summoners by accident. Whoops! He saves a little girl, meets an old guy, finds old guy's daughter, who promptly dies, and goes on a journey to save the next crystal from capture, but not before curing his love interest's desert fever. Quite the adventure for two hours in.

The story is happening rather quickly. In two hours, two out of four of the world's crystals are in the hands of the corrupted King, and I am racing to save the third (which will undoubtedly fail, where would the story be otherwise?). I am wondering where the story has to go after he has all the crystals, but I guess I've got to play more to find out!

A brief comment on the sound. I'm not sure what it is about the music, but it hits my nostalgia brain cells hard. Which is strange, because I didn't play a FF game until I was almost 14, on the Playstation 1. Is it something about the SNES-ish sounds? I did spend a large amount of my youth on one of those things. Something to muse upon until next time, I guess.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

:B: - Tiny Tower

I've passed 5 hours on Tiny Tower, so I'm considering it beaten in liu of an obvious 'win' status. The only one I can think of really is getting all of the achievements, and that to me feels like more of a :C: status.

Play is slowing down a little now. Things are getting really rather expensive to build and my income isn't quite matching the increase. But I suppose that's a big part of the game, keeping you playing for longer. And more likely to buy TowerBux to speed things up. That sounds a bit cynical, but it is a Freemium game and so it's designed to get its hooks into you and get you to buy lots of little bits of stuff. I don't mind though, I have other things to play too, and this is good for bathroom breaks at work.

I've given it 5/5 stars because it is rather good. I might downgrade it to a 4 later if the cost of new floors keeps rising to ridiculous levels, but for now, I'm still having fun, and the things my Bitizens post on 'Bitbook' are still totally funny.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Annoying Things About Tiny Tower

  • Waiting for my money to slowly trickle in.
  • Restocking shops pretty much constantly.
  • The elevator never goes fast enough.
  • I always get the construction VIP when I have 1 minute left on my current construction, never when there's 7 hours left.
  • I have no friends to compare to on my friends page.
  • The Bitizens don't stay on screen so it can be difficult to find them when tasked to.

  • And, I can't stop bloody playing!

Might and Magic World of Xeen - Slowly Catches the Dwarven King

So I finally finished mapping out the original town, and, much to my chagrin, I found an in-game map button. However, my maps are 10x more useful, so I'm going to keep doing them. I've done the first quest, and the ungrateful mayor just gave me another one! Now I have to go to the mine to kill the crazy dwarf king that's taken over their local mine.

No problem! Or so I thought. My sorceror keeps dying to the orcs outside. Guess I've got to level some. Any tips for levelling up the back characters quicker?

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Tiny Tower - SimTower for Beginners

My latest iPhone obsession is Tiny Tower. It's one of those games that's ten times better than it sounds. You build a tower, attract people to live in it and earn money to put more levels on your tower. Sound familiar? It should, the concept is almost identical to SimTower.

However, Tiny Tower shakes it up a little. It takes cues from social network gaming in that you can compare with your friends, and spend some money to get a little ahead. Unlike Farmville and the like, however, there are no extra items for those with the extra kaching to spend. It also takes the idea that it should take time to do anything. Build a new level? You need to wait for it. Restocking items in a store? Also takes time, depending on the store and the level of produce. However, if you don't wish to wait, you can use TowerBux to speed it up. You can buy these, or perform little tasks like taking customers to a specific floor, or playing a little game of 'Where's Wally' with your citizens.

The people that move into your tower each have their own skills, and their dream job. There are five categories, Food, Service, Recreation, Retail, and Creative, and each category has many different kinds of stores, which is where the dream jobs come in. If you put a person into their dream job, the amount of time it takes to restock an item goes down, so it's preferable to put people in their dream job, or at least put them someplace they have a high skill in.

Needless to say, there is an addictive quality about this game. I've found myself coming back to it regularly all day. It's a fantastic introduction to the sim genre, and is something I've personally been waiting for for years.

Now, if only I could figure out how to consider it beaten.

Might and Magic World of Xeen - Slow Going

I have been playing Might and Magic: World of Xeen (which is 4 & 5 combined into one long game). The clock currently stands at 2 hours, 10 minutes. Do you want to know how far I've got?

This is my second attempt at mapping, too.
This is a map of the first town. I haven't even finished it. I keep getting lost, and once I had to start over because I somehow mixed the orientation up and the map was bleeding into itself. Moral of the story? Even in videogames, I suck at maps.

Having said this, I am quite enjoying it anyway. There's something about slowly piecing something together which is very rewarding. I am, however, playing it with the sound off. It's super-repetitive.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

:C: - 8-bit Girlfriend

8-bit Girlfriend, released on the Xbox Live Indie scene.

I just finished it, and all I can say is, what a waste of space and time. I want my 7 minutes back.

All you do is pick one of 4 girls, then figure out the right answers. Then you get an ending screen proclaiming that you got the girl, with poor music playing over it. It's not funny, it's got bad graphics... I just don't get why this exists.

I feel sorry for anyone like me who got fooled into buying this.

Earth 2140 - Savegame Frustration

I started playing Earth 2140 today - on Easy, mindful of how much I suck at RTS games. A few thoughts.

The music is ripped straight from the 80's. I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out that the developers just turned on the Magic music channel and just held the microphone up to the TV. It's a little strange, destroying my enemies to smooth jazz.

One of the units sounds like he's saying 'boner' when you direct it to move. This makes me chuckle every time. Yes, I am 5 years old.

Maybe this is because I haven't read the manual, but I have no idea what's going on. The main menu gives me two icons to pick from and no guidance as to which campaign is easier, who they are, why they're fighting each other, or even names! As far as I know, I'm the reddies, fighting the blueies because the blueies invaded my base one time.

And finally, how the bloody hell do you save? I clicked the save button, named my save, but as soon as I click outside the little box, the name dissapears and the slot is empty. I lost 5 missions of progress due to this and my googling is fruitless.

It's pretty cool, but needless to say, unless I can find out how to save, Earth 2140 is going in the 'broken' pile.

Geometry Wars - Pacifist

I've spent a little bit of time on Geometry Wars lately. There's probably not a lot I can say about this game that hasn't been said ten times over. I like it, but I'm not very good at it.

I'm currently aiming for the Pacifism achivement, because I'm pretty sure my skills aren't up to surviving 250,000 and beyond. I'm beginning to think it might be glitched or something. Several times now, I've got really far, and the shapes are catching up. I hear a sound effect but milliseconds later the shapes always catch up. Is the achievement supposed to pop with that sound effect? Am I just failing somehow?

Either way, I'll probably keep trying for a while - I've only clocked half an hour on it. It'll probably take a while to clock up 5 hours, given each game is less than 10 minutes (often less than 5 minutes, even). But it's pretty fun, so I don't mind.

Friday, 24 June 2011

An Explanation

Over the years, I have accumulated a great many games. Actually, this is a lie; since August 2009 I have accumulated a great many games. August 2009 was the month I started working at a store of one of the national videogame chains. I loved it. I got to chat to people about games all day, I got to borrow used games that we had more than two in stock, but most importantly, there was a not-insignificant discount. This was to be my downfall.

Most of the non-downloadable games on my Backloggery come from that store. With the discount, a lot of games fell into the "this looks interesting, it's fairly cheap, lets give it a go" category. A few were even free; a lot of PC games that people traded in were on the stock file as overstock - we couldn't sell them, we just had to throw them away. Not on my watch.

Steam has also been instrumental in increasing my videogame collection to the point of ridiculousness. I joined that in mid-2009 too. Between Thanksgiving, Christmas, weekend, midweek and for-the-hell-of-it sales, I have just shy of 298 games - and that's not including various compilations. I am embarrassed to admit that I have not played even a quarter of them. It's all Steam's fault for having an entire publisher's catalogue on sale for the same price as an individual game that I want from it. Buying the full pack was a no-brainer, free time be damned!

Currently, on my Backloggery, no games have a beaten status. This isn't true, I have played through quite a few games of mine, however putting all my games online was enough of a daunting task without progress notes as well. It will be updated in due course, as I browse through the list to figure out what I want to play next.

The rules of this little challenge I have set myself are to the right, and also below to give you an idea as to how this works.
  • Must play every game for at least 5 hours unless the credits roll before then. After 5 hours, if the game has no end, it sucks, it's too hard or it's excessively long (a la Monster Hunter), I can mark it as beaten.
  • If I give it 5 stars, it has to be played to completion.
  • No nulls, unless I can't get the game to work, or I don't have that console currently.
  • Games from compilations are only added as and when I play them.
  • Free games are only kept on the page after they are beaten if they gain a 4 or 5 stars.
So there we have it. Welcome aboard! Oh, and do wish me luck.

Thursday, 16 June 2011


I heard about Sequence a year or so ago. The Kickstarter page professed to combine an RPG with a rhythm game, and looked interesting, but the goal was so far away I pretty much forgot about it. So, imagine my surprise when I was browsing the Xbox Live Indie games and saw an RPG/rhythm hybrid. 'Hey!' I thought, 'Wasn't there one I saw ages ago that wanted to do that?' And lo and behold, it was the same one. So I used half of the last of the points I had to get it (the other went on Cthulhu Saves the World, but that's a post for another day).

First impressions are really good. The jist of the game is thus: You are in a tower, you have to get to the top. To get to the top, you have to synthesize keys and beat the guardian of the floor. To synthesize keys, you have to get them from enemies. The fights are the rhythm part. There are three fields, damage, spell and mana. The damage field is the attacks from the enemies, to void the damage you must press the buttons at the right time. To damage the enemies, you use spells. There is a spell selector, and once you have triggered a spell you have to hit the buttons correctly to use it. And mana is used to cast those spells - that field has buttons to press all the time to refill the gauge.

Outside of battle, your character converses with his guide, an unseen and sarcastic woman. The script is well written and often chuckle-worthy. You can also equip weapons, synth items and learn spells, and there's something moreish about replaying the enemies until you have enough items to synth all the recipes you gained on this level.

I am really enjoying it so far. Hopefully it'll keep giving me new songs to play to so I don't get bored.