No Man’s Sky

No Man’s Sky

The last time in recent memory that a game created as much controversy as No Man’s Sky. If you’re interested in what I think of the hypetrain and all those broken promises, well just go look up totalbiscuit. The idea that the devs were less than responsible with their hype train pretty much sums it up for me. I think that if this were any other game, based on the promotional materials provided, gamers would have cautioned each other. “No Pre-Orders” and “Don’t believe the bullshots” are common phrases before release, and instead people embraced these things with No Man’s Sky. But if we strip away what was promised and only look at what is presented, what sort of game are we left with? What core gameplay mechanics can we boil the game into, check our crucible and see if we can find that elusive rare material: fun. If you’re not familiar, a quick rundown: No Man’s Sky is a procedural (but not randomly) generated universe which contains a bevy of flora, fauna, races, elements, planets, moons, stars and civilizations. This means as you wander about, you have no idea what you’re going to come across and unless someone else was there first (which is unlikely) you can even name your discoveries. At least in theory you can name them because apparently Hello Games didn’t implement semaphore locks in their databases, meaning an offline player can name something because they never got the notification it was already named. Weird game design choice, in my opinion. So that’s what exists, but how is the player left to interact with it?...
A Story About My Uncle

A Story About My Uncle

I’ve enjoyed many a game that were short and linear. Portal, Papo and Yo and Grandpa’s Leftovers were all great experiences with each one crafted around a very solid core mechanic. With Portal, we had the eponymous portals. With Papo and Yo, the giant monster switching between rage and peace. With Gandpa’s Leftovers we had the delightful ‘geometry slicing’. Add to that list one ‘A Story About My Uncle’, the best web-slinging game since Spider-Man (and probably the only one not carrying that title).   Beginning with the narrator, a father, telling his daughter a bed-time story we are dragged into a world of wonder located in an ephemeral ‘somewhere’. From caverns to floating islands, ice caves and the uncles cabin, we zip along as the narrator describes for his daughter a grand adventure about searching for his inventor uncle. Of course, needing to navigate this Jim Henson-esque world you need a certain mechanical mobility and to that end you use an energy whip. It delivers you from one solid surface to another. Limited energy keeps you from just staying aloft forever, although upgrades to the gauntlet and other gear enable you to expand your movement repertoire and you’ll need to as late in the game will be some rather devious puzzles (although nothing too strenuous for most gamers).   While the game isn’t all that long (3-6 hours, depending on skill level) and has a very limited cast of characters, it feels very well polished and iterated upon. The puzzles are never unfair, the game never leaving you with the need to know what happens next and aside from...
Doodle God

Doodle God

Doodle God is a mobile game, brought over to PC. I’ve never had the chance to play the original game, but I’ve always liked the concept. It’s a puzzle game where you mix the various elements available to you (starting with hellenistic ones and moving on towards ‘elements’ like birds or people) to achieve your goals. Since I’ve never reviewed the mobile versions I will not be making comparisons in this review. So how ‘PC’ have they converted the game? Well judging from the settings options and the fact that it’s a 6 dollar game with microtransactions, the answer is not far enough. But that’s not to detract from what is otherwise a very fun game. For tablet gamers (I have a Windows 10 Asus tablet that is perfect for this game) this is an excellent choice. While these ‘porting’ decisions may turn some off, if you’re still interested read on into what you’re getting by buying the game. Quests, Artifacts, Puzzles, Tournament and ‘Main Game’ are the options provided to you. Quests are ongoing achievement like goals. Artifacts are special unique items to hunt down. Puzzles are very specific challenges where you have a limited number of resources and you have to build a specific item. This doesn’t sound hard until you realize using up a resource removes it permanently (unlike the Main Game). Tournament has you using in game credits to play online vs other people and finally the Main Game is just open sandbox. Presentation wise, everything is very ‘mobile’ with large, friendly buttons and colourful art. Unlocking new elements causes them to show up on...
Ark: Survival Evolved

Ark: Survival Evolved

It’s no secret I love dinosaurs and it seems in the last few years we have had more and more games include dinosaurs even if they aren’t centered around it. While I hope that it doesn’t overstay its welcome, the dinosaur fad is one I hope that never really goes away. Today, a new game was announced for PC/PS4/Xbox One. It’s a survival game like Rust or The Forest, but instead of having cannibals or naked players threatening your everyday life it’s giant terrible lizards. I can’t wait for it, but I’m going to have to since it’s not out yet. So here are a bunch of games with dinosaurs to check out for those impatient gamers like me.   Primal Carnage (and Extinction): Recently having reviewed this game, it’s a simple deathmatch setup of Dinosaurs vs Colonists. Each game has slightly different balance from each other, although they’re essentially the same.   Orion Prelude: A game that revels in their negative reviews because the developers sat down and took a huge amount of criticism to heart. They worked hard for three years and now you can get the game for a buck off Steam and it’s really quite fun.   Jurassic Park: The Game: This game from Telltale has all their trademark characterization and narrative, but lacked a little in having meaningful choices. The third best licensed Jurassic Park game in my opinion (first is Operation Genesis, second is Trespasser).   the Hunter: Primal: At the height of the popularity behind the Deer Hunter series, every other company tried creating their own. One of my favourites was “Carnivores”. Literally deer...
Fatherhood and Gaming

Fatherhood and Gaming

Image from Google Search   Something many look at going forward in life is becoming a parent. It’s not for everyone, but for those who DO want to (or find themselves falling into the lifestyle) many things take a backseat. Mostly hobbies. But as gamers, this isn’t an end to our habits, instead it simply changes them. We begin with these little bundles that don’t require much because they sleep so often but every few hours wake us up. During the times we can’t get back to sleep, a few (centuries) rounds of Civilization fills the gap. Eventually, the little bundles sleep through the night and we find ourselves capable of staying up for spans of time we only really did in our college/high school years. A few hours of Madden, Counterstrike or Total War bridges us from the living room to the bed room.   Eventually growing into toddlers (I’m keenly aware of this one, since that’s where my own daughter is at right now) they gain great amounts of interest in every part of our lives. Sitting them on our laps and allowing them to hold a controller (unplugged of course) and you have their attention for a while. My nephew was actually capable of playing shooters and minecraft after watching his Dad and he was only three. Now he’s turning seven and can’t wait to show me the new games he has when I come over. One day, he’ll even beat all the adults regularly enough to make us all rage quit.   The point is, and this isn’t a long post because it doesn’t need...