SpaceVenture

Read more “SpaceVenture”

Developer: Two Guys From Andromeda | Released: 2022 | Genre: Adventure, Point & Click

I was a Kickstarter backer on this one and was sent the game by the developers. For some reason it’s not on Steam, but I think I can guess why. If it’s what I think it is, perhaps it never will be. Why?

Because it’s a buggy mess with a daft user interface.

This was a game I really had to force myself to complete. The characters, the story, most of the puzzles, the humor and the graphics were all excellent. If only the user interface and bugs had not been a problem, it could have been a gem worth recommending to all adventure game fans.

The game itself was a spiritual successor to the Space Quest series, and it was even developed by the same two guys. Instead of a buffoon like Roger Wilco, the hero in this one, Ace Hardway, was more of a seasoned plumber with a rumbling voice. He reminded me of a similar character in the platform game Rochard. Ace also had a mechanical dog called Rooster with an extendable tongue for grappling things from afar.

Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris

Read more “Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris”

Developer: Crystal Dynamics | Released: 2014 | Genre: Platform, Isometric

This is the sequel to Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light which I completed back in 2015.

It was basically more of the same. Platform jumping from an isometric viewpoint, solving puzzles and occasionally shooting monsters. Because I was playing solo, the other three coop characters were always left behind. I even had the staff that one of the other guys usually wielded. The staff was good for blasting vases for gems, but could also raise specific platforms when held up.

Better weapons and amulets could be found and equipped in an old-fashioned inventory that looked like it was nicked from an RPG. I also had access to a torch for lighting braziers, and a rope for ascending a wall when clicking on a specific wall ring. Big spheres returned to be pushed onto switches or into cages. There was even a time bomb version that could have its timer slowed down by raising the staff.

I must confess I wasn’t always a fan of using the mouse to move a cursor for indicating the target of my weapon fire. When the going got tough and there were a lot of monsters chasing me around, I sometimes couldn’t see the cursor and I ended up firing away from the monsters.

American McGee’s Grimm

Read more “American McGee’s Grimm”

Developer: Spicy Horse | Released: 2014 | Genre: 3PS

Ever wondered what it would be like if a game had the classic fog of war mechanic as its primary gameplay element? Changing the state of the levels just by walking around in them?

This game was pretty much like that.

I only played the first episode, “A Boy Learns What Fear Is” – and it seems the game is no longer available at the Steam store. It took about 1.3 hours to get through the six scenes of this first episode.

The goal was to walk around in small arenas, changing the state of everything from clean-and-beautiful to dark-and-smelly. Sometimes I also had to buttstomp close to a e.g. building to change it or open access to the next arena. The character in control looked and sounded like a dirty little pirate. Whenever I stopped running, he immediately started peeing. No exceptions.

Impressive bladder indeed.

The Treasures of Montezuma 4

Read more “The Treasures of Montezuma 4”

Developer: Alawar Entertainment | Released: 2013 | Genre: Puzzle, Match-3

A few days ago I took a look at my backlog and decided I wanted to try out a short and mediocre game for my blog post series about short sessions. Let’s see. A match-3 puzzle game that looks like a mobile port? That ought to do, I thought, and installed the game. This will be over with real fast.

5 hours later I was still playing it.

And the next day I completed its story mode, taking up a total of 9½ hours.

After completing it, I bought it for my iPhone too.

This is probably the best match-3 puzzle game I have played, and I really loved Bejeweled Twist too back in the day. Nevertheless, this one overshadowed it. And the peculiar thing is, the full screen mode didn’t even work in Windows. I had to play it in a window with the desktop still visible around it, but I still loved it!

It was a combination of a casual mode that allowed me to continue the story mode without ever hitting game over, and a range of bonus and totem powers that felt fun and engaging. Bejeweled Twist had bombs and they easily ended the game, but not this one. It could go on forever. I really liked that.

Brütal Legend

Read more “Brütal Legend”

Developer: Double Fine Productions | Released: 2013 | Genre: 3PS, RTS

This is another one I should have played ages ago but kept postponing – mostly because I was worried about the real time strategy elements that pops up later in the game. Now, that I have finally visited it, I can only slap myself silly for not having tried this truly original heavy metal game some time earlier. So many things to like – Jack Black, the humor, well directed cutscenes, lovingly weird ideas…

  …and then they just had to put those dreadful RTS elements in it. More about that later.

I was playing as the roadie Eddie, voiced by the marvelous Jack Black. He got sent to sort of a heavy metal heaven, an open world landscape with dark themes everywhere, as inspired by the best heavy metal vinyl covers you can imagine. It was third person hack-and-slash to begin with, using a big axe and a guitar for attacks, later teamed up with a hot girl, and assembled an equally hot car for racing the roads.

I got a map of the world with primary and secondary objectives. Tab slabs – sort of shrines – could learn me new solos to be activated with a hot key, after which I had to hit the right notes for a few seconds to fire it off. It could be to e.g. summon the car, awaken supports, etc.

Quote from Gizmodo

Gizmodo recently posted an article about 500 top technologists and Elon Musk demanding an immediate pause of advanced AI systems.

I really liked this part of Snory’s comment to that post:

Let’s see a show of hands for everyone fearing for the future of their careers. I think AI will be a double edged sword for humanity, it will improve the average person’s lives immeasurably, but it will also take the fun out of so many creative and technical hobbies and professions, to the point of stripping away meaning and purpose for many people.

I’ve written about this topic in 2018, but I’ve been thinking the same thing again during these weeks of AI announcements. I think it’s absolutely going to be that bad. Almost no kind of human creativity will be safe.

Not even composing SID music.

Mafia II: Definitive Edition

Read more “Mafia II: Definitive Edition”

Developer: 2K Czech | Released: 2020 | Genre: 3PS

I played more than 2 hours of this one before bailing out, so I decided to let it have its own blog post. The version I played was the Definitive Edition from 2020. I never played the classic from 2010 so I can’t say how much better it looks. I did complete the first one, but that was more than 20 years ago. Way too long to report on its graphics now – the rose-tinted glasses get in the way.

What I can remember is that the game was a third person shooter driving in a city between mafia jobs. This second game was more of the same. I was in control of the handsome Vito, starting out with a little bit of military action in Sicily 1943. Back in the USA, Vito gets jobs from his friend Joe, such as stealing a car for Vito himself, getting money for a barber, and stealing gas stamps from a safe.