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<span class="bold">Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken</span>

Another one-day game to help reduce the size of my backlog, which is still of gargantuan proportions, but I'm working on it. I must confess I had my reservations about this game before firing it up, mainly because of TotalBiscuit's first impressions video. But after beating it I'm glad I chose it as this game is both visually appealing and entertaining.

At first sight it may look like a side-scrolling shooter, but if I had to classify it I'd say it's more like a puzzle platformer with some action elements. You spend most of the time shooting at the enemies (and juggling their dead bodies in mid-air), but from time to time you'll have to stop in order to think how to open a certain closed door, or how to reach a ledge too high. And one of the recurring ways to do it is by using some mind-controller bugs, which allow you to possess an enemy and make it clear the way for you (without risking your skin, of course). I also enjoyed the level variety, switching from time to time between the aforementioned side-scrolling shooter sections and several twin-stick shooting levels whenever Hardboiled fires up his jetpack. But even during side-scrolling levels, things were kept fresh throughout the entire playthrough with the progressive addition of new enemies or mechanics. The only thing I disliked though were automatic gatling turrets that appear in the bridge level: they not only almost insta-kill you and are usually placed just after a screen transition, but they only give you the exact amount time to react and avoid them so there's no way you can survive them the first time you encounter them. I think I died as many times during that particular level as in the rest of the game combined.

The visual design is quite impressive. Except for some animations (or leack thereof) the characters look terrific, but not as good as the backgrounds. Add to the mix a pseudo-3D effect (which you can fine-tune in the options menu) and the end result is truly commendable. The same level of praise, or even more, is deserved by the game's music. The sound effects do their job, just like the voice acting, but the soundtrack is stellar and sets the mood perfectly.

After beating it I'm putting Rocketbirds aside, but I truly regret not having a gaming buddy available, as the co-op mode looks like tons of fun. It apparently uses the same levels from the solo campaign but it's presented as a whole new story, cutscenes included. Plus, the characters available in co-op are also new: a sort of marine/special-ops little birds, shorther than Hardboiled, that must sometimes pile up in top of each other in order to overcome some obstacles. Fun guaranteed.

Oh! I almost forgot to mention something: the baddies are penguins. And to me, as a Linux user, I got strong mixed feelings whenever I cold-bloodedly murdered an enemy (or worse: I made them commit suicide after they ceased to be of any use to me when possessing them), up to the point of wanting to quit the game.

Well... not really, but it still felt wrong somehow. :P

My list of finished games in 2016
It's exactly how I felt when I played it. I was not expecting something that good when I launched. It was pure fun the whole game.
Post edited May 28, 2016 by sebarnolds
Beat Blasters III

A typical case of "style over substance". While the graphics, the music and the game concept are great, the execution is mediocre at best. Even on easy difficulty several of the missions are tedious and frustrating. Especially the escort missions are bad, because the escorted persons move so ridiculously slow that it's almost painful to watch. Some of the boss fights are fun though.

In the end I had 30 out of 96 possible stars, but I have absolutely no desire to return to this game to get better or to play on a higher difficulty.

Complete list of finished games in 2016
Rise of the Triad 2013
Meh. Was kind of turned off by the outdated gameplay. The lack of regenerating health I actually welcome, but sharpshooting moronic AI? no headshots? infinite ammo? lots of skill jumps? cheap spawning enemies right behind you and in rooms you've already cleared? juvenile humour? Oh my...
Also, not my kind of soundtrack. Had much more fun once I muted the music and listened the the creepy parts of the soundtrack of the 13th Warrior movie while I played. ;)

Complete list of finished games in 2016
Post edited May 28, 2016 by Tannath
Just beat the last mission in the original Call of Duty. I liked it a lot. I thought of all the CoD games I've played so far I liked the way the first one played the most. Three weapons instead of just two, health packs, and the precision of the mouse and keyboard controls all helped make a very enjoyable experience. That is since all the other ones except for the demo versions of 2 and 4 I have played on console. Anyway, I didn't really find anything enjoyable about the British campaign honestly. I kinda liked the first mission since it reminded me of the bridge taking scene in The Longest Day, but that aside none of them were really that enjoyable to me. I really liked all the American missions, aside from the car ride, and I found the Russian campaign very enjoyable as well. I know it's a little silly a complaint since this one was the first, but I couldn't help but think about how much more glorious taking the Reichstag was in World at War than this one. That's all that's really wrong with the Russian campaign really. Overall definitely an enjoyable game, also an important piece of FPS history, right up there with Medal of Honor: Allied Assault and Return to Castle Wolfenstein, except those two games are available on GOG unlike CoD.
Victor Vran

This started out as a great surprise hit for me. I really, really enjoyed the first half or two thirds of the game, and I hadn't expected that I would. I think the main reason for that is I assumed it would be a game like Diablo or Torchlight, but despite all the hacking, slashing and looting, I got more of a Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light vibe from it (minus the puzzles).

It's not a big open world but split into shorter levels that you can quickly access on the map and replay at any time, and the level design is not random at all, everything was put where it is on purpose. And there are secrets to search for and bonus challenge to complete in every level. It's much more an action game than an RPG, you can even jump and do dodge rolls. The RPG parts on the other hand are very simplified, maybe not even worth calling RPG parts. There are no hard stats. Leveling up just means an increase in hitpoints and choosing between three random gifts. Your character 'build' is mostly in the weapons, clothing and tarot cards you use, and you can change it anytime. You can also change the game's difficulty whenever you want to. Those aspects might put off other players looking for an actual Diablo clone, but they actually appealed to me a lot. And I thought there was quite a lot of content, including optional levels and mini bosses that you can skip or do on the side.

The tarot card system is pretty neat. You can mix and match various cards with different feats at different stages, and you can craft new cards or better stages if you merge a few of them. There's also crafting of other items, but I didn't use it very much. The game has a lot of different weapons, each with their own three special attacks, but some seemed a lot more useful to me than others, and I didn't feel like their power increased all that much over the course of the game, so I was mostly using the same two weapons for the whole game, switching to others only in order to meet challenge goals (you can have two weapon alternatives equipped at the same time, but you always have access to your inventory to change them). This was a bit of a pity, but since I liked my weapons of choice, it wasn't such a big deal.

Anyway, despite all the differences in gameplay, the graphic style is a bit similar to Diablo 3, I think, and the soundtrack felt like something out of a Diablo game, too, by which I mean it was great. Voiceovers were quite nice, too. The story was bland and forgettable, but it didn't get in the way of my enjoyment. There is an off-screen voice making silly jokes now and then, often thinly veiled pop culture and meme references, not all that original, but while I might criticize that in other games, I actually thought that mildly amusing and entertaining in this one; since the game is all about action combat, loot and exploration and not about any serious story and lore, it seemed to complement the gameplay well enough and reminded me of the fun I had with Marlow Briggs and the Mask of Death.

So far, so good. But there were also a few things that I did not like. A minor one was that you can't quit a level without losing most of your progress in it. Next time, you'll have to start from the beginning and redo any challenges that you didn't fully complete yet. This is nothing out of the ordinary and I guess there are good reasons for doing it this way, but it means you can't just quit whenever you want to without being punished for it with tedious replays. Also a bit annoying, some opponents, especially champions, seemed bound to specific zones, which means they would return to their starting place, if they got too far away from it, and quickly restore their hitpoints when they did. I don't know if that was meant to help the players (preventing tough monsters from following the player throughout the whole level) or to punish them for kiting, but the levels are otherwise completely open to explore, and it's frustrating when all of a sudden you realize that you've crossed an invisible line that makes the champion return and reset in the midst of your fight.

Those are nothing against my main complaint though, and that is that I didn't enjoy the last part of the game at all. After falling in love with it at the beginning, I was completely bored and fed up with it at the end. Things started to go downhill when halfway through the game they suddenly introduced an obligatory scripted boss encounter in a very restricted arena that followed patterns and phases and severely limited me in the choice of tactics I could use. I found that rather tedious and frustrating compared to what made the game great before, which is the open level structure, very enjoyable free exploration and optional challenges aspects, and mini-bosses and bosses that were just tougher monsters with special abilities (as opposed to puzzles or arena survival modes). Starting from here on, there are at least two other scripted boss battles, and although this is the worst, the other two are no less boring. The final boss is just a terrible sponge. I would have liked the game a lot better without these scripted boss encounters. And on top of that, while the earlier levels were fresh and always introduced new opponents or settings, the later levels just felt like more of the same, except that it was more of the same monsters that take longer to defeat and less of the same monsters that you can just quickly hack and slash through, so the game also became slower and more of a chore, and I felt less powerful than in the beginning. In addition to that, there were more and more tedious challenges, like defeat the most annoying sponge monsters with the least effective weapons in the shortest time, so while at first I took on all the challenges and tried to get all stars in all the levels, in the last part I couldn't be bothered to care anymore.

The first part was an unexpected surprise, and I had a lot of fun in the beginning, due to the game's focus on action, free exploration and experimentation. That fun got severely marred in the second part by bland scripted boss battles, more of the same without any new monsters, and a rise in 'difficulty' that translated to slower and more frustrating gameplay instead of more excitement.
Post edited May 29, 2016 by Leroux
I just completed the Heart of Stone expansion for Witcher 3 on Xbox One last night. It was a pretty cool expansion with good story and characters. I definitely liked the extra challenge at the end after completing a certain side mission.

I plan to purchase and install Blood and Wine soon.
so far ive finished Dust an Elysian tale, star wars dark forces and dark forces 2, gauntlet, a few rpg maker games and Sherlock Holmes Crime and Punishment. meanwhile ive started about 20 more games and have at least 35 games im halfway through.
+Worms Forts Under Siege

100% complete. All campaign missions, all tutorial missions, all of "The Trials" missions.

Basically a game of Worms: you get a team of wacky worms and you commandeer them into annihilating the enemy worms using bazookas, and grenades and such, but with a touch of history and buildings (or forts). Built into the core of the gameplay is a tower defense system and mixed along with the traditional Worms gameplay. You either destroy the Stronghold (the base building) of your enemy or just wiping out the enemy worms altogether, whatever works as the situation demands.

The single player campaign packs some challenge into it, as well as "The Trials," an extra singleplayer campaign mode where you play in unconventional situations, such as starting out with no stock of weapons, forcing you to build a weapons factory to produce weapons for you AND destroying the enemy's weapons factory to deprive them of convenient weapon production. The multiplayer aspect of the game is also the same with previous Worms games, play a human team vs. a human team or a human team vs. an AI team (sadly still no A.I. vs. A.I.). Unlike previous Worms games, there is no terrain destruction.

The A.I. however is jarring. The same worm that can aim a bazooka in a random direction and rely on the wind to blow it towards an enemy building (that Is otherwise unreachable) will often crawl in circles as it tries to figure out how to jump back on a building again. Often the A.I. will skimp on obvious choices, which any human player can exploit.

Otherwise? The game still remains brilliant as it forces you to think out how your next move should play out. It forces you to think of how to turn the tide of battle to your favor and keeping away your enemies from making powerful moves. Tower defense and Worms.

See my other completed games here.
Post edited May 29, 2016 by PookaMustard
The Deadly Tower of Monsters

I liked the cheesy b-movie approach, it wasn't 'laugh out loud' funny, but amusing. And there was a nice variety of silly monsters and weapons. I also liked the exploration, the searching for collectables and the fulfilling of 'missions' (which are actually achievements, but you get rewarded with upgrade points for them). For that you often have to jump and fall down the tower you're climbing up, and I thought the most awesome feature was the button that lets you teleport back to the ledge you jumped from, while still in midair. There's also the jetpack that can soften your fall, no matter how long it was, and the fast travel points that allow you to quickly access any stage of the tower you've already passed. The latter two reminded me of Grow Home, and they worked just as well as in that game, but the 'teleport back in midair' button was original and very helpful. No more fear of accidentally falling down and having to climb all the way up again!

The music was quite good, but it can get a bit nerve-grating if you play for a longer time, because it's pretty over-the-top like the rest of the game. Voices were okay, but especially one of them has a slightly distorted quality like a tape that's about to tangle up, and even though that might have been on purpose, I found it weird, because it was not a consistent effect but mostly limited to one speaker, and for him it was active all the time, and that was getting a bit on my nerves, too.

What I also didn't like that much was the pre-set movement of the fixed camera that - although fitting with the theme - sometimes got in the way of exploration or aiming and may also have caused a certain dizziness in me when I played the game for a longer time. The save system is not perfect either. There are checkpoints that save everything, each time you pass them, so you can manually save your game by returning to them, but if you don't do that and you die before reaching the next checkpoint, you lose all progress since the last save, including collectibles, and that's bad, especially since the game doesn't warn you about it, neither before nor after the fact. You'll find out yourself when at some point you notice that secret stuff that you thought you had already found and picked up is missing in your collection and still waiting for you to pick it up again.

Another element that was badly implemented IMO was the choice between three different characters. They're essentially the same, except for appearance, sounds and one or two special abilities. Those special abilities are used for puzzles, e.g. you can only get to certain spots with one of the three characters, so you occasionally have to switch between them. This wouldn't be a problem in itself, but it becomes very frustrating because you can't switch between them at any time but only at certain spots. These spots are always accessible to you, but you may have to backtrack to them quite a bit sometimes. So you explore with one character and after much experimenting and jumping and falling or whatever, you finally reach that place you were trying to get to, only to realize it's no use because you need one of the other characters to go on. So you have to backtrack to the last switching point and then do the journey with all the jumping and falling etc. again.

This mechanic adds nothing to the game. If you can't switch between characters whenever you want to, but you need all of their abilities at certain points, it would have been better to just give these abilities to all three characters so you don't need to switch. Just one or two differing abilities that you only need at certain spots is not enough of a justification to force players into backtracking and getting a different character than the one they currently chose to play with. Also, no matter what character you're currently playing, when a cutscene comes, the game completely disregards your choice and picks who's most fitting for that scene (possibly so they only had to record the lines once and not for all three actors?), and that's just weird. The game might even excuse both of these flaws with cheap jokes, but that doesn't make the gameplay any more enjoyable in that regard.

It was alright. Hardly any challenge, with a few flaws regarding camera, save system and character choices, but entertaining enough due to its silliness and the exploration aspects.
Post edited May 29, 2016 by Leroux
Battle Academy

This is a turn based strategy game during WW2, it's a great game for those that are looking for something like this but it isn't complicated, really simple to understand and play.
While the campaing has a nice lenght (3 main campaings with 9 or 10 missions each) it's a bit shity from the devs to put all the other campaigns visible on the main screen, it's paid dlc, six other campaigns that cost 10€ each (well, you can still buy the complete bundle for 28€) but hey, it's published by Slitherine, what else to expect from them?

Back to the game, obviously it features units from that time and you must use them accordingly, if your tank can penetrate the front of an enemy tank then you can flank it in order to hit those weaker sides/back, troops are effective against other troops (might even destroy a tank with granades if close enough), use abilities like artillery, bombardment, heal, etc.

Like i said, has some depth but it's still acessible for those that want something more simple.
The Even More Incredible Machine - 3/5

All 160 levels (both the base game and the expansion levels), over the course of almost three years.

There are definitely some clever and fun levels. But mostly, the game is exploitable and filled with design oversights, weird glitches, and odd physics. And I really do mean exploitable - Several puzzles can be solved despite ignoring 90% of the objects in the level.

I've been told it's a lot like Diablo. Haven't played Diablo though. Basically, it is a top-down isometric ARPG (or was it a CRPG?) with three classes, all of whom have different routes according to the game's manual and readme as well as a GOG news headline. You do most of your fighting with the mouse, with the keyboard helping you along the way.

The game's story is quite limited but still delivers a message. As an ordinary American called Jack, you are sucked into the dimension of Nox to save its inhabitants from the plans of the sorceress and necromancer, Hecubah, and aiding you in your travels is an old fellow who owns an airship. You get into trouble along the way, but in the end, all of Nox relies on Jack's efforts to save it from an impending doom.

The game does throw a lot of ideas at you and make you think along the way. But describing it would be a doozy, so I'll leave it here. The average difficulty is medium. Not easy, not hard. Though as you advance, the game gets harder and harder. It becomes really hard by the final chapters, in which case you'll find yourself reloading from the last quicksave again. The game comes with quicksave support as you read, so you can retry as many times as you want.

See my other completed games here.
<span class="bold">Oscura: Lost Light</span>

This game has left me with mixed feelings. At first glance everything looks and feels up to par: it's got a nice gameplay, sound, music, animations and graphics. The 'black silhouette' style has been done many times already, but in this case the story kind of justifies it: the world has fallen into darkness after Oscura (which incidentally means 'dark -feminine-' in Spanish), the lighthouse keeper apprentice with an attention span shorter than a bunny's tail, does the only thing his master has forbidden him to do. In order to make things right again, Oscura will have to recover a bunch of crystal fragments and machine pieces to restore the light.

At first everything works pretty well, as I said: the game mechanics (4 different power-ups given by differently-coloured crystal shards) are slowly introduced during the first couple of easy levels, so the player can get used to them. But as the challenge level increases and more precise jumps are required, a big flaw of the controls became aparent: Oscura seems to increase his momentum when he double-jumps and I started missing my landings, much to my frustration. Then, by the time I reached around Chapter 10 or 12 and I had mastered the power-ups, levels started feeling repetitive and overstaying their welcome. Granted, every 5 or 6 chapters the background colour changes, and so do some of the enemies and hazards you must face, but not enough to my taste. Plus, a few particular sections (especially in the last 2 or 3 levels) required nothing short of the highest precision and perfect timing, and made me rage for a while. Luckily, the devs laid out checkpoints lavishly throughout the levels, but then they were considerably stingier on the later chapters.

But all in all, and despite the aforementioned flaws, I enjoyed playing this game. At least while it lasted, as I beat it in one short sitting. I guess the game tries to extend its lifetime by awarding three different 'achievements' after each level, depending on your performance: one if you complete it under a determined par time, another one if you die less than a certain number of times, and a third one if you collect all the orbs. But I'm afraid I'm not OCD-inclined enough as to 100% all of them, all the more so because those acheevos were pretty inconsistent: more than once and twice I did get all the orbs in a level, but I still didn't get the reward. In retrospect I guess I did the right thing not trying to replay previous levels, especially after my truly anticlimactic final boss battle: I managed to kill it on my first try, but I only did so after I got myself killed by a spiked boulder... which went on to finish the boss during my dying animation. That could have only been a signal that I should leave it at that, and so I did. :P

My list of finished games in 2016
Trine 3
So easy. Like wow. I usually play on normal or easy but my god. I'm sure for everyone else who played this game it was a cake walk.

Story I don't actually care about (surprising because I play games for story and not gameplay). The 3D aspects weren't as bad as reviewers say. Gorgeous visuals. Trine 1 & 2 were much more rewarding.

Hotline Miami 2
Great gameplay, great visuals. So confused on the story. Also my only other franchise I play solely for gameplay. Levels were challenging and rewarding.

I recommend Hotline Miami 2. Trine 3 not so much.
Post edited May 30, 2016 by opticq