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Pony Island (This game is currently FREE on Humble Bundle, link in title)

This game is a mashup of a mediocre puzzle game, an intentionally bad side-scroller, and an interesting metagame.

The puzzle and side-scroller elements are both very easy (thankfully, since I suck at side-scrollers), which allows the story/metagame to come through unhindered. I only did one playthrough of the game, I didn’t replay it to collect all the tickets.

Overall I’d rank it as an “OK” game, it’s quite short (and it’s currently FREE), so I’d recommend it on that basis as an interesting experience :).
Post edited August 11, 2017 by 01kipper
Dishonored PS4.

I got stuck on it about a year ago and gave up. Restarted a new game a few days ago and actually finished it, turns out I gave up on the last level :P I thought the world and graphic style was amazing. I might try to go back to the original Thief games that I was terrible at.

I loved it so much I got 2 yesterday only to find out there is a 13gb update... that's still downloading.
I've been checking out a few a games on Kongregate and these are the ones I finished:

Kingdom Rush - You can check it out for free on kongregate, but the steam version looks and plays much better. All in all an excellent tower defense game with a great sense of humour. I especially like how you have to take some of the units created by some towers and move them around battlefield (in a radius around the tower) giving it a slight rts feel.

Burrito Bison Revenge - Uhm, not really sure what type of game this is. A catapult game? Don't know. Crazy fun though. Starts of slow but before long turns into a power-slam-gummies-from-the-clouds type game.

Larry and the Gnomes - Very well made brawler with great controls and which is surprisingly violent. For instance, you can decapitate a gnome and use his head as a weapon against his buddies. Nuff said.

Sword and Spoon - Very fun 2D side view tower defense type game in which you keep your troops alive and fighting by feeding them potatoes. Was pleasantly surprised by how fun it was. Kinda tricky though.

Learn to Fly 3 - Poor man's Kerbals Space Program. Pretty fun and easy to finish in one sitting. You'll start by launching a penguin in a trash can from a loaded spring and end with by dropping a massive rocket in an exploding nuclear reactor.

Fleeing the Complex - This one can be finished in under 20 minutes and it's pure comedy gold.

As for needing to spend money to unlock stuff ingame (seeing as it's kongregate), it doesn't apply to all of these, and those it does apply to one need not even bother. The only one where it will have a noticeable effect on gameplay is Kingdom Rush. For $5 you can buy 15 stars, which is what it costs to unlock heroes (you can easily earn stars ingame - 5 per level - but most you'll want to spend on tower upgrades). Imo it's better to sidestep this by simply getting the steam version which has heroes unlocked from the get-go.
Post edited August 11, 2017 by Matewis
Devil May Cry 3 HD (360)

This one is like 5 times harder than the first game on normal difficulty. Every boss took me a trial run or two, some a lot more, to get a feel for their moves and attack openings. I got all of them legit except the final boss fight against Virgil...I cheesed that one! By that time I was getting a bit DmC fatigued and wanted it over quick, so I used all my saved up red orbs and bought 4 holy waters which instantly got the sucker down to 50% health...and even then I only just finished him off on my last sliver of health. And that was on something like my tenth try at him. Honestly I think he was a bit of a cheap and dirty boss fight, so I don't feel so bad about using a cheap method to beat him.

So yeah, way more of a challenge than the first game. Despite the fact that most like the third game best, I still enjoyed the first one a bit better. I'm not a specialist at these types of brawlers and I simpler preferred the first games easier to learn mechanics and bosses. But I got there in the end and still like DmC 3, just not as much as the first game. The second game is just different...plays more like the combat from a simple action RPG instead of a fighter/beat em up type of game.

Strangely, I feel the graphics in DmC 3 are the lesser of the HD trilogy. It's like the first two games got more of a HD upgrade than the third for some reason. Anyway, I'll get DmC 4 onXbox next CAPCOM sale. There's never a shortage of CAPCOM sales after all.
Post edited August 12, 2017 by CMOT70
<span class="bold">Dungelot: Shattered Lands</span> (Android)

Another Android game I got with a Humble Mobile Bundle (although it's also available for Windows on Steam). With its simple design and its portrait orientation, it's clearly designed to be played on a smartphone, and so I did.

It's nominally a roguelike, but I'd say it's more like a roguelite, with particular emphasis on the lite. It's also described as a dungeon crawler, but mechanically it resembles a puzzle game more than anything else. Basically, you've got to beat many different dungeons, each one with between 5 and 50-something levels. One dungeon run can then take from a couple of minutes up to about half an hour, so it makes for a good commuting game.

Most dungeon levels consist of a grid of tiles, one of which is the door to the next level and the rest remain unrevealed. Each turn you have to uncover a tile, which can either be empty or contain a consumable, a spell, a monster, or the key that opens the door. You don't need to kill all the monsters in a level, and in fact one learns rather early to avoid them as much as possible.

You start with one character (a paladin), but as you make progress you can unlock up to 3 more PCs: a vampire, a witch, and a troubadour. Each one comes with their own spells and passive abilities, which are further expanded as you beat certain dungeons. Plus, after each dungeon run you can spend your loot to purchase more equipment and passive buffs for all your characters. All this progression helped to keep me interested for a while, but by the time I had unlocked all 4 characters and bought most of the gear and passives it all became a tedious grind in order to beat the latest dungeons. And no matter which character I used and what gear I equipped, the only winning strategy seemed to use a blessing totem to buff the health of my character to the max and hope the RNG was benign so I didn't need to battle too many monsters during my run.

I wanted to complete the game with all 4 characters, but after beating the final boss with the first of them I decided I already had enough and didn't want to play any more. Plus, to add insult to injury, there's not even a real end to the game, only a brief cutscene with a hook for a potential sequel.

So yeah, it's a rather mindless puzzle-y dungeon crawler with limited entertaining value. Give it a try if you enjoy this kind of gameplay and you find it on a sale with a high enough discount.

My list of finished games in 2017
<span class="bold">Job Lozenge</span>

I had this on my radar for quite some time, so when I saw it 60% off on (and will remain so until next year), I immediately jumped on it. And long story short: I bought it, downloaded it, uncompressed it, played it and beat it in about 20 minutes. No kidding.

Now, I honestly think it's a good game, but I also think 40% of its full asking price is still a little too much for what I got from it. In my opinion its main problem is that you either get what's it all about rather quickly, in which case you'll finish it in no time, or you don't and then chances are you're gonna quit it sooner than later, as it's a repetitive game by design.

As its trailer (voiced by Kevan Brighting of Stanley Parable fame) explains, you're hired as a 'crate displacer' and your sole duty is to pick up all the crates you can find and throw them down a cliff at the edge of your rather small working and living area. After successfully disposing of all the crates, your supervisor gives you permission to go home and rest. Next morning there'll be more crates to take care of, and so on. There's probably a metaphor somewhere in it.

The trailer also made me think this was a first-person game, but it's actually shown in an oblique 3rd person perspective. It's also got the lowest resolution you'll ever see in a modern game. Heavily pixelated and with a 2-color palette, I'd gladly pay to watch some members of this forum's "Anti-Pixel Brigade" playing it before collapsing from a seizure. :P

My list of finished games in 2017
For Honor (SP Only)

I was just thinking about For Honor earlier this week. How the playerbase went way down, but that I would still be interested in playing it for the singleplayer campaign alone, considering the mechanics seemed so interesting, as long as it had a very deep discount. Well, free is even better, so I played through the whole campaign during this free weekend.

First of all, the story is balls. It's not what will draw anyone to this game, and after playing it you will rightfully forget almost all of it. The campaign is divided into three chapters comprising the three big factions: knights, vikings and samurais. They all have their own heroes, but they have virtually no personality (the vikings are a bit more lively, but even then they are mostly indistinguishable amongst themselves). The game has one central villain, Apollyon, who makes for a striking figure, but in terms of personality she is also pretty generic in her "I want to start a war to separate the strong from the weak" motivations.

The gameplay is the star of the show, as is to be expected from a game with an online multiplayer focus. It's basically a 3D fighting game. There are combos, parries, counters, feints, animation cancels, grabs and stuns. You have three stances available to you that can be cycled through. If you match the stance of your opponents attack you can block it, and in order to attack you have to try and hit him with a different stance. The game has mooks and low level knights to fight, but it really shines when you are fighting one-on-one with another character that is a mirror for one of the player classes. That's when you will be on your toes, both cycling through stances trying to catch the other off-guard, if he tries a strong attack maybe you try a quick and cheeky interrupt, or perhaps risk for a last minute counter. The classes tend to follow some archetypes, there's usually a heavy-hitting slow class with a big two-handed weapon, a defensive shield-wielding class, and a fast dual-wielding/spear-wielding class. Beyond the weapons they do cater to different playstyles, for example the vikings' Raider is good at hitting stuns and has followup combos, while the samurais' Orochi has a neutral stance so that you can try to attack quickly, giving little time for the opponent to adapt to your stance.

The campaign itself was fairly barebones, 6 hours long and mostly just leading a series of attacks with your army, leading to very straightforward fights, meant to prepare you for the multiplayer. It seems unimpressive at first, since it's not as extravagant as the set-piece filled campaigns of Call of Duty, and other similar games, but if you compare it to fighting games, it does offer more than just an arcade mode with cutscenes inbetween fights.

Had I bought this, and not taken it as a part of a free weekend, I would probably have tried to beat it again on hard mode, maybe even try my luck at finding a game online. My previous plan was to buy it if I saw it at a deep discount, either 75% off, or some 50% or 60% after a price drop. I think if I had done that I would have left satisfied with purchase, but at the current 50% off the full price, it is still far too steep.
A couple of free Android games I played during a weekend:

<span class="bold">Black Blue</span> (Android)

Two-player puzzle-ish game. You either play as blue or black and each level/match consists of a bunch of points that form a figure à la join-the-dots. You pick a couple of points, and so does the other player, and the figure is formed. Whoever's colour dominates in the finished figure, wins the round. You need to wine three rounds in a row to win the level/match.

When playing against the CPU it gets tedious and boring rather quickly as you've gotta wait till the AI (who goes first at picking points) makes a mistake. Otherwise it's impossible to win a round. Luckily the game supports a PvP mode (hotseat) as well as a PvE mode, so it can be still be enjoyed against a human adversary

<span class="bold">Caterpillar Logic</span> (Android)

Highly interesting inductive (as opposed to deductive) logic game, that challenges you to figure out the logic behind some sequences. Those sequences are presented as four-coloured caterpillars of varying length, and each level shows you a couple of valid caterpillars/sequences, and a couple of invalid ones.

You've got to guess the governing rule by formulating hypothesis and testing them. When you think you've got it, the game poses you a 15-question test and you need to classify the caterpillars you're shown as valid or invalid. If you suceed you've beaten the level; if not, you need to scratch your hypothesis and start anew.

So basically it is a "guess what the devs are thinking" kind of game, but one that does it right, as you need to apply the scientific method in order to get to the truth. The game's validation tests are supposed to be exhaustive enough as to rule out any hypothesis that's not the intended one, but since it never actually tells you the rule it is technically possible to beat a level with a wrong assumption. In that case, good for you for finding an alternative solution!

<span class="bold">DROOM 夢門</span> (Android)

Simple and quite easy game with an undeniable cute charm. I guess 'DROOM' is supposed to be some sort of abbreviation for 'Dream Door' (which is what Google Translate tells me the two Chinese characters mean). And in fact, looking at the game, this makes a lot more sense than anything related to 'Doom', which was my first thought.

Anyway, as I said the game is rather easy: you're a little bunny and you need to, errr... collect? eat? black or white pellets in order to match the code in the door that grants access to the next level. As simple as it is, it's got a certain replayability value as some levels have two different exits and thus you don't get to visit all the levels in a single run.

My list of finished games in 2017
Divinity: Dragon Commander

Despite what I have heard about this game around the internet, I found it extremely enjoyable and full of fresh ideas.
Following the Divinity timeline, Dragon Commander takes place in a very distant past, where steampunk machines allowed a powerful trio, the human Emperor, the wizard Maxos and the mysterious Architect, to found a global empire and bring peace to all Rivellon. Yet, the Emperor started to become weaker and weaker, hit for the tragic loss of his lover (a Dragon), killed by the envious Architect. Due to this, his children started to become power thirsty, slain their father and divided the empire, ravaging war for supremacy once more. You are the half-dragon bastard son of the Emperor, and the council of the races (under suggestion of Maxos) has chosen you to put an end to your step brothers folly and unify Rivellon once again.

This RTS is not as refined as many other: there are indeed many units and different tactics to be deployed, but the maps are quite simple to navigate and usually the best strategy consists in overwhelming your enemy before he does the same to you. Each fight starts with the base troops you produced in your factory, then you have to set out to acquire centers of recruitment to allow the population to rise and join your army. The recruits will be used as workers and “currency” to build more factories, barracks and units, thus expanding your starting forces with local militia. The difficulty curve is quite steep in the beginning, for if you don't know what to do the clever AI will mercilessly ravage your forces. After a few tries though it becomes easy to get the grip of the mechanics, and the odds even out. Important to say, you can choose either to autoresolve a battle by using one of your generals (each one specialized in a different tactical field) or enter the fray in first person as a Dragon, being both the commander of your troops and the most powerful, upgradable unit in the game.

You can build and improve your troops and learn new Dragon abilities by spending gold for their construction and research points for adding new elements to the mix; each of the territories on the tactical map (similar to that you may find in the Total War series) has a certain value in gold, population and research, and you can choose to add a special building like a goldmine, and academy, a tavern and many more to have a bonus in one specific department.

While the battles are good, they are really nothing special when you have already played games like Blitzkrieg, Man of War, Total War and other famous RTS titles. What really makes the game shine is the deep politic aspect Larian added to a fairly standard war game.
During the course of the campaign, you will have to act like a monarch and make hard choices under the pressure of your advisors and ambassadors; each choice you make will have a significant impact on the game. Not only some choices will always raise and low the public opinion of each of the six races, which will determine how much local support you will get from a territory, but you will also have to face the problems of a real modern State.
Will you be a socialist and allow for gay marriages, free health care, laborer unions, a constitution or even declare a Republic? Be prepared to have a lot of support from the people, but empty coffers for your military. Will you raise taxes, experiment on people, plunder the territory for new armaments, calling conscription and favor monopolies? Then be prepared to have a powerful army and efficient laboratory, at the cost of the hate and rebellion of your population.
The fun thing is that you can choose anything in between; for example, I fought for the right of women and gay people, approved a constitution, offered free health care but I banished laborer unions, repressed in blood autonomies and republicans and offended many races by steam-rolling over their tradition in favor of a pragmatic, Machiavellian approach to politics and war.
Each choice will change the relations with the races, the economy, the research and even the personality of your generals. What will you do? Will you be an hars ruler or a friendly one? And Absolutist, a Communist, a mad Capitalist? Will you help and give counsel to your generals, will you try to use diplomacy or only brute force? It is all up to you. Be careful, though: you CAN screw up, if you are not a wise ruler, and the game might be unwinnable due to you too many or too few concessions.

I warmly recommend you to give this gem of a game a try; the relative lack of depth of the battle phase is compensated by an extraordinary politcal apparatus, something I have never seen before and something I would absolutely love to see again in a strategy game. Also, the game is full of the peculiar Belgian humor and charismatic characters I have come to love from Larian Studios.
Don't miss it, it is worth your time!
<span class="bold">Hollow Knight</span>

What did I think of Hollow Knight? It's extraordinary, wonderful, magnificent, excellent, glorious, amazing, superb, outstanding, exceptional, first-class, superlative... (checks thesaurus)... masterful, terrific, transcendent, splendid... I still could go on for a while but I guess you've got the idea by now: it's my 2017 GOTY so far, by a wide margin.

It's received a lot of praise across the board, but also a fair share of criticism, so chances are you know pretty well what it's about. But for the three or four unaware among you, suffice to say it's a 2D metroidvania with a lot of influence from the Souls games. It's got a huge open world to be explored, with lots of bosses and mini-bosses to beat, abilities to unlock and upgrades to find/buy. Instead of bonfires here you can rest and save your game at benches, and as you progressively discover new areas you'll also open shortcuts to them in order to make your travels shorter and easier.

However this doesn't seem to be enough for many people, as one of the main complaints you can read out there is about the supposed scarcity of checkpoints and quick-travel systems. I don't agree with that at all: first, because checkpoints aren't really *that* far apart and it doesn't take you *that* much time to get back to where you died (and be able to recover your sou... I mean your Geo), and secondly because all that backtracking is only helping you memorize both the map layout and enemy locations so you can learn to breeze past many areas without taking damage (something that you'll no doubt be thankful for if you decide to accept a certain quest by a grieving widow).

The second major criticism this game has recieved is the lack of auto-mapping by default, and the fact that when you enter a new area you first need to find the mapmaker and buy that area's map from him. I for one found the extra added tension of not exactly knowing where you are, or the possibility of getting killed and not being able to return to the same place, well worth the inconvenience. Plus, most of the time there are both visual and audio clues about the whereabouts of the aforementioned mapmaker, so it's rather easy to find him if you know what to look for.

There are many other criticisms I could discuss, but instead I'd want to focus now on what everybody agrees: the hand-drawn artstyle and animations are ab-so-lute-ly gorgeous. There's also a great variety of different environments, each with its own enemy types, and a lot of secret areas to discover. Plus, I loved the fact that all the characters are different species of insects and other bugs: it makes it all feel more alien but at the same time more charming.

There's a lot of lore about the ancient Hallownest kingdom to be found out there, and in fact most of it you'll need to figure it out yourself from little pieces of information here and there. There were many things I didn't realize until I read a wiki after beating the game, so I don't blame you if you don't know exactly what's going on.

I bougth it on sale, but in retrospect I wouldn't have minded paying full price: I spent more than 50 hours with it and I still didn't 100% it. My blackest spot was not being able to beat the Trial of Fools after lots of tries, but in the end I decided to let it go as I would never be able to achieve a 100% rating anyway: for some reason I either lost the Elegant Key from my inventory, or I was never able to buy it (can't remember), so I never unlocked the Shade Soul spell. Luckily, the newly released free Hidden Dreams expansion will give me the excuse I needed to play it all over again in order to see the new content and to try to get that 100% once and for all.

My list of finished games in 2017
Tomba! 2: The Evil Swine Return

It's a 2.5D Metroidvania on the PS1, with a focus on missions and puzzles, for which I have quite a bit of nostalgia.

It's not the first time I played since I was a kid, I did it a few years ago, despite that I didn't remember the jumping being quite so floaty. Still, between the puzzles, the exploration, and the stiff PS1 voice acting, it was a really fun trip down memory lane.
Finished The Silent Age. It is a good point'n click : nice graphics, good story, good puzzles. The animations are a bit stiff and the game is not very long (~3h) but I liked it.

Full list here.
Dead Island + Ryder White campaign

Played the first coop with a friend and the 2nd one solo. All in all a ton of fun. Both the melee and ranged combat is very well done and extremely satisfying. And the level design is absolutely top notch. You never get bored with your surroundings at all. You start on the beach resort, move to the dilapidated city and then do a stint in a very cool looking jungle before you move onto the end game location. It's a pretty long game too. Think it took us about 30 hours to finish the main campaign.
It's very rpg like with things like quests, character leveling, skill point allocation and item rarity. There are also a ton of interesting weapon schematics to find, from a grenades made with bottles of deodorant, to a baseball bat with a spinning saw blade attached.
The only possible con is that it might get a tad repetitive sometimes, but luckily you have the story progression and curiosity about where the game will take you next to always keep you moving.
And if you really don't want such a long rpg like game, then there is the excellent Ryder White campaign, which at around 5-7ish hours is short and sweet. There are also no leveling or side quests like there is in the main game.

Definitely very highly recommended. Play the main campaign with a friend if at all possible.

Attached are a few screenshots from the Ryder White Campaign.
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<span class="bold">The Witcher</span>

It took me 56 hours, but I've just finished The Witcher :) I was expecting rather a short and boring aRPG and I've got something much better, the game that attracted me and kept interested to the very end.

What I liked:
* I know Witcher from Sapkowski's books and for sure it was great starting point for a good game
* the whole idea of alchemy, collecting herbs, reading books (recipes) and preparing elixirs
* the story is quite interesting, it offers some plot twists and a lot of choices with consequences; I also liked how the story is divided into chapters and how the world is changing with its progress
* brilliant journal with complete and perfectly organised information about quests, characters, monsters and alchemy

What I did not like:
* poor fighting system reduced to choosing a sword and fight style - and then just clicking
* very limited arsenal of weapons and armor
* not exactly the climate of Slavic mythology, I'd rather expect something more serious; but it's more about my expectations, because in general the list of monsters is really great - you'll find it fresh and interesting if you compare to other rpgs with boring fantasy settings
* some character models were identical for many different NPCs
* low difficulty level - I'm a poor player, so I started with Normal, but throughout the game I died only a few times - no challenge here, even in case of bosses
* some of subplots was designed, I suppose, strictly for Steam achievements - at the beginning it was interesting to me (especially collecting those cards, you know:), but over time I realized that they affect the game's atmosphere and distract from the main plot (for example, when in the most dramatic moment when the world is on fire and an important NPC offers your to play some poker)

If anyone wants to play the game on Linux - I really recommend using this script. With a single click it installs the game and everything it needs to run under Linux. Works like a charm, with nice performance and without a single issue.

List of all games completed in 2017.
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ciemnogrodzianin: <span class="bold">The Witcher</span>

It took me 56 hours, but I've just finished The Witcher :)
Somehow, I expected you to have finished that years and years ago.

ciemnogrodzianin: What I did not like:
* poor fighting system reduced to choosing a sword and fight style - and then just clicking
Saw that complaint before, and I still look oddly at it. Yes, there's not that much to DO, not many different skills (usually in my case about as much use of Aard stamina allowed, plus occasional Igni, and then yeah, click when the cursor changed and keep up the swings), but to me it seemed to just... flow, just feel right (unless surrounded and group style not being the best idea and having a hard time clicking on the right enemy, since I stuck to OTS camera). After all, it's not a RTwP party-based game to expect lots of stuff to juggle.