Short Sessions, Part 15

This is another post in my series about the odd games that I have decided not to complete, although I will at least try them out for up to an hour or two.

Orcs Must Die!

Developer: Robot Entertainment | Released: 2011 | Genre: 3PS, Defense

Fun game, if a bit repetitive. As one soldier with the ability to magically place traps, I had to prepare these before orcs and goblins broke through the door and started flooding in. Traps could be derived from a spell book and then placed after activating one on the action bar. There were all kinds of amusing traps. Spikes, springs, fire, arrows – you name it. And they could be upgraded too with skulls as currency.

I played for 1½ hours and it didn’t seem particularly difficult in that time. Apart from placing various traps in between the waves, I could always shoot at the enemies with a magical crossbow that had infinite ammo. And if some of the orc archers hit me, I could swap to a vampire glove for sucking health out of them. Best of all, the traps didn’t have friendly fire – I could walk on them without activating them.

Sir, You Are Being Hunted

Developer: Big Robot | Released: 2014 | Genre: FPS, Survival

An few islands were generated and I had to sneak around robots with shotguns, looking for fragments to bring back to a few standing stones. I could choose between various starting equipments. I chose “The Gamekeeper” – it gave me an axe, food, dynamite, alarm clocks and more.

Food had to be found to keep my vitality up, and some of it even had to be cooked on a fire. Booze made me drunk for a few seconds – a game trope I’ve never been fond of. It always gets old really quickly.

But the game itself certainly had something. It was tense and also quite atmospheric.

The island was big and it was possible to move around without robots nearby for quite a while. Suddenly two or three emerged between a few houses and I had to sneak carefully. At one point there were two robots patrolling around a fragment, which could always be spotted at a distance due the column of smoke rising from it. I planted an old alarm clock among a few trees and ran to the other side. The clock started ringing and the robots immediately darted towards it. I could then walk up and grab the fragment.

A weird game idea was that I couldn’t enter houses. Activating a door instead gave me the option to loot the house of items. Getting too close to the beaches sometimes also had robotic claws rising from the waters. A surveillance balloon was also patrolling the island with a spot light shining down.

My session ended when a robot got too close. I did kill him with two axe hits, but suddenly there were a dozen other robots right next to me – and they were all firing their shotguns.

Torment: Tides of Numenera

Developer: inXile Entertainment | Released: 2016 | Genre: RPG, Isometric

I was a Kickstarter backer on this one, and I too loved the original Planescape: Torment which I completed more than 20 years ago. I knew I probably wouldn’t have the stamina for a really text heavy RPG like this anymore – but since I backed it, I reckoned I at least had to try it out.

It was nicely designed. Sensible panels and really pretty 2D backgrounds, and the dialog and narration was well written too. I crashed down from the skies through a dome, and suffered from severe memory loss. After getting through a surrealistic sequence determining my class – I went for lots of intellect – I woke up in the dome and immediately gained two party members for traversing the city.

There was one fight just outside of the damaged dome, after which I started talking to a lot of people in the first area of the big city. Most of the NPC’s I clicked had a long story to tell along with a big laundry list of questions. I really tried to let the game grab me and played it for three hours, but I was right.

I wasn’t up for reading an RPG like that again. Too much telling and not showing.

I really liked the curved panels. Cyphers confused me at first, until I realized they worked kind of like scrolls. Combat, in this game called a crisis, was also confusing to begin with. Instead of action points I used might, speed or intellect, and I could use more points in one go for a higher chance of success. I could also use a big turret in the environment for spraying all over the enemies.


Developer: SHK Interactive | Released: 2023 | Genre: Puzzle, First Person

Wow, I didn’t really expect not to like this one – but I didn’t.

It was a first person puzzle game very much akin to the Portal series. In fact, it too had a portal gun and offered puzzles with momentum through them. It could also shift between two dimensions, where things were placed differently. It was made in Unreal Engine 5 and looked splendid.

However, the first annoyance of the game was that it was choppy on my 9 years old PC. I tried turning some of the effects down, but it didn’t really help much. Why wasn’t it possible to change the screen resolution? The developer had a reason for it in the Steam forum. I had to change the screen resolution in Windows, and then the game would use that. That helped, but I really didn’t like having to do that.

You could skip a puzzle if it took too long. Interesting that the game had this feature, don’t you think?

I sometimes overlooked portal surfaces in dimensions which kept me stumped for a while, and I admit that one was on me. I got better at being more observant. But generally, too much dexterity was required for my liking. Most puzzles in the five rooms I tried had me flying across the room through portals from ceilings or from skewered platforms. It also wanted me to perform jump puzzles while shifting dimensions, so a target platform appeared where I was supposed to land. That one had me fumbling a lot.

I was hoping the game had been a little more relaxed than that, with more cerebral puzzles. In fact, it did have one exception where I had to direct lasers through portals. If only it had been more like that.

I finally had enough in room 5. Apart from again having to fly across platforms, I even had to slow down time to have enough reaction time to shoot a portal on a different platform while falling. No, that’s enough of that nonsense. My reaction time is not getting any younger.

The Entropy Centre

Developer: Stubby Games | Released: 2022 | Genre: Puzzle, First Person

This game was also close to the design and style of the Portal series – but instead of a portal gun, the heroine was given an entropy gun to reverse the time of an object. Movable boxes, movable jump pads, and more could then be rerouted back to a previous position. Sometimes broken objects like stairs could also be repaired with it, just like in Singularity. It was even possible to stand on the object and be raised up together with it, as it was reversed. Time gates later appeared to prevent cubes from passing.

The levels graphics was very detailed and the atmosphere excellent. The voice acting was also good. The heroine had a voice, and so did the cute robot AI in the entropy gun. Its attempts at humor often fell flat, though. The puzzles were quite repetitive, and usually always of the kind where you have to do things in the absolute correct order. That was the meat and potatoes of the game, and it got old with me fast.

I did like the elevator puzzle, however. It fell to the bottom of the shaft while I was in it, and then I had to use the gun on it to raise it up to various floors that I could enter on the way.

Why the elevator drop itself didn’t kill her? Good question.

Sometimes there were also action set pieces, where I had to rewind time fast to survive. For example, a sideways trolley ride with pillars and bridges collapsing on me on the way. I found a bug there, by the way. After reversing time on a falling pillar, a box was in my way that I couldn’t move. I had to die on purpose and then replay that section, and lo and behold, now the box wasn’t in my way anymore.

See also: Short Sessions, Part 14

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