Category: Gaming


My thoughts on Tiny Galaxy

Where to start..

I got a free download of the PC version of Tiny Galaxy by @ArcanePixel when I made a donation to the Epilepsy Foundation during @IndieGamerChick‘s 26th birthday. Looked like a cute enough platformer, for PC and soon WiiU – great!

Quick overview of the game: you run on the outside of planets, jumping from one to the other while being attracted by the next one’s gravity pull, collecting enough stars to open a black hole to get out of the level and go to the next one. All that to get back to a bully who stole your headphones (…yeah whatever).

I played the first world for about an hour… after 30 mins I thought to myself I’ll finish World 1 and that’ll be it.. but I finally got to level 9 (out of 10 for that world) and decided I had quite enough 🙂 I’m not a big fan of tough platformers (for example, I have no love for playing Super Meat Boy while I can appreciate it is really well made) and that probably won’t change much as I just get to be an older and older fart.

I did have time to take down notes of stuff that annoyed me.. Really not to bash the game, but because they all seemed to be things that could be improved (I’d say easily, but maybe I’d wait to have actually made a game myself to push it there :)) :

  • The game should tell you how many stars you have collected on the level so far
  • There should be a sound when the black hole appears / when all stars have been collected
  • The total number of stars listed on the selection doesn’t mean anything, since you have to collect all stars to clear a level (after getting all stars on 8 out of 10 levels of World 1, it didn’t seem to open up anything new)
  • The one-hit-restart-the-whole-level thing was annoying. Maybe allow to take 2-3 hits? Call it easy or grandpa mode.
  • The font used to number the levels on the selection screen.. yikes.
  • There’s NOTHING indicating what levels have been completed on the selection screen
  • PC: play levels with keyboard, select levels with the mouse. Annoying to switch back and forth. Guessing level selection on the WiiU is touch on the pad. Bad translation to PC controls if that’s the case.
  • PC: no controller support ?!?!?
  • Loose the superfluous exclamation points (World 1: “Meadow!”)
  • Seems to be a bit of lag between the camera shifting the whole level view when you start/stop running around a planet, especially noticeable on small ones
  • Controls could be tighter / jumps felt a bit floaty at times (what I called camera lag contributed)
  • On level 6 jumping from a planet to the final one, close to the black hole, I was actually pushed away from it and out the level..!
  • Would have liked the possibility of zooming out a bit to see more of the level to look for remaining stars
  • Graphics are ok but firmly in the programmer art category
  • Could use more music
  • Saws going back and forth in a straight line freely while in the same spot gravity pulls YOU in different directions doesn’t make sense. Mechanically ok, but doesn’t tie in with the theme

So this one is really not for me, but I can see people liking it no problem.. But I still think it could use some more time in the oven to add polish everywhere – maybe as an eventual update.

pigHello, my nick is Txster, and I can’t say no to a gaming deal 🙂

Seriously! I almost never pay full Day 1 prices for games (only recent exception: Rocksmith 2014 bought Day 1, and Guild Wars 2 which stayed at Day 1 prices for over a year) but that doesn’t mean I spend less. I just get (a whole lot) more for the buck… On consoles I’m years behind the releases so I save a lot, on PS3 the Playstation Plus subscription pays for itself in freebies and rebates, on PC there’s indie bundles and infamous Steam sales… Most of my disposable income goes to gaming, in video or more recently tabletop form.

I do get the most out of them, I tend to want to finish a title when possible and I’m a self-proclaimed trophy whore, but my backlog literally contains hundreds of titles. For any sane person this should be an incentive to slow down the buying — but I just can’t say no to a good deal.

Now the year’s getting in getting near, there’s a new generation of consoles available, there’s the hints of the Steambox maybe coming out in the next year…. and I just bought both a WiiU and a 2DS 🙂 I’m spending a bit of time wondering about my gaming budget and how I should go ahead in the next year. A kind of personnal State of Gaming post.

PS3: I have over 100 games on the HDD (I do delete them after they’re finished) and a whole shelf of untouched items.. On the good side, I expect a lowering return on the PS+ investment since they added Vita and PS4 into the mix, and disc releases will trickle down quickly. Still some stuff to hunt down and get, but should be getting easier on the wallet in 2014 compared to 2012-2013.

X360: A handful of downloads on the HDD, a smaller shelf list than the PS3. Has been basically dead for me recently, I also let go of my Gold subscription. Related: working on getting Achievements on some titles on the PC before GFWL (Games for Windows Live) goes away next summer (I did mention the trophy whore aspect, right?). Outlook for 2014: 0$. I usually get the PS3 version of stuff and I’m not into Halo.

Nintendo: I’ll bundle them together since they’re really doing their own thing.. On Black Friday I upgraded my first generation Wii (I say first gen because I did get it right at launch because of a friend with a GF in the local games industry that had access to buy one via internal employee programs :)) for a WiiU. More expensive at face value than I would have liked, but it did come with a 50$ gift card from BB, and I am selling the Wii to my mother, so that helps. Also got the same day a 2DS because… well because I wanted one, it was cheap and that’s it 🙂 Still have a medium to small quantity of Wii and DS titles to finish on the shelf. Outlook on the budget: HEAVY. Not so much on the 2DS, but since 3rd parties are running away from the WiiU and Nintendo titles almost never go down in price… ouch. Good to have a buddy with one too to maybe borrow some of them.

PC: Worst platform for me in terms of titles I bought and haven’t even touched yet. Damn you Steam Sales! A good chunk is also indie bundles.. I have no problem forking over 5$ to get one or two games I’m really curious about which a whole bunch more included to try out and be surprised with. I’m spending less and less each year in this one simple because of the fact that I already bought most of what I wanted! I still mark stuff for my wishlist, but I’m a perfect example of being Steam-Spoiled: “Huh? only 50% off? I’ll wait for 80% on Xmas…”

So… what to do about all of this?

Trying to sell stuff I don’t use anymore: I have never thrown any gaming stuff.. Even back to the NES and the Atari 2600 they were given away to someone who could give them another life. Right now I have 2 Gameboy color games, a whole bunch of Gameboy Advance games, a couple of oddities here and a there, my whole PS1 and Dreamcast kits… I really need to sort it all and get SELLING. Not looking for a huge profit, just good homes for them, more free space in my room, and a little something to build a gaming budget 🙂 Oldies need to go.

Gaming budget vs backlog: I have come to the conclusion that I must tie the two together… There’s really no use getting more stuff than I can finish! Most will call it ‘collecting’ (with significant others adding ‘dust’ to that) but really…. it is more of an addiction. I used to justify it by telling myself that it’d make for a seemingly infinite pile of toys for my daughter…. but life has a tendency to laugh at your plans and go another way — with only one ‘good’ hand, it is rather unlikely that she will develop a passion for videogames.. and anyway, I’ll keep on getting new stuff so it’ll be enough anyway.

I have some ideas about how I’ll go on linking budget and backlog into the new year… it is still a work in progress, and it’ll be the part 2 to his article, sometime soon…

 

Xmas shopping is starting

The Thanksgiving/Black Friday/Cyber Monday specials may still be on your credit card, but Christmas is already here for PC gamers!

Great prices to be had.. First there’s the Indie Royale Xmas Bundle which lets you pay what you want for a bunch of games, DRM free, with Steam/Desura keys when available. Really no downside! Always had smooth transactions with them since they’re started.

 

New comer to the ‘Indie bundle’ trend, Indie Gala, is also offering a neat bundle with a price tag of your choice. Like the humble and royale guys, part of the proceeds go to charity, for that warm and fuzzy feeling. They would work on a better logo, but let’s give them time 🙂

 

Then there’s GOG, Good Old Games, cutting prices by 50% on a lot of stuff. Old classics, lots of goodies included (wallpapers, mp3s, etc) most of the time. All bundled to work great on a recent OS/machine.

And it goes without saying, you might to keep in mind that Steam will most probably have another huge sale during the holidays.. poor, poor wallet! But it has really been a great year for cheap gamers.. or addicts on a budget like me.

If you’re a fellow Canuck with a Twitter account, you could do worse than follow @GameDealsCanada – great way to keep up on offers everywhere.

De Blob 2 cover

This one can be bought really cheap – I snagged it at 15$CAN last month, and it even went on sale on PSN for 10$ recently. I’m two levels in (completed with an S grade) and so far it is a HD version of the first title on the Wii, which is not saying it is a bad thing.

You, again, have to save the city from morosity by painting it over while freeing captive citizens and battling the forces of INKT. This time around there’s more power-ups letting you for example power dash heavy objects or automatically pick the right color to apply to buildings. The trees still need to be reanimated and propaganda posters redone as side objectives in each part of the city.

Really colourful and fun. Jumping with a button press is smoother than making a motion with the Wiimote (I don’t have the Move to experiment with its support) but I don’t remember fiddling that much with the camera in the original, especially to look up searching for collectibles.

I’m still waiting to see if the difficulty ramps up annoyingly quick in the last third like the original, or if the upgrade system helps this somewhat. I also have yet to ask my gf to control the robot to test out the limited coop mode..

Great start, looking forward to playing it again. Looks like a perfect palette cleanser between more hardcore stuff.

Done: Dead Rising 2 (PS3)

Dead Rising 2 guitar attack

I try to stay spoiler free, but since this is now a Great Hits title it is old and well known enough that some might slip..

I’ve been obsessed with this for the last three weeks. I’m only missing 6 trophies out of 50, and it’s been responsible for a few ‘Oh shit it’s 2am already ??’. A buddy of mine is responsible, telling me simply that I _needed_ this. I suspect he mostly wanted a Coop partner for the platinum, but he was right !

I have not played the original DR on Xbox.. Reading about it and learning about the time limits was a major turnoff. Demos were not as available back then, and there was the whole HD/SD TV font fiasco, so I let it slide. I did buy Case Zero on XBLA, and that was tons of fun. I think it also helped that I thought Frank West looked annoying, and Chuck Greene looked more apt at surviving a zombie infestation.

Long story short: Chuck Green’s wife has been killed in the Vegas outbreak, and his daughter Katey has been bitten and now needs a shot of Zombrex each 24h to prevent her from turning into a Zombie. Chuck is a participant in a zombie-killing TV show in Fortune City (which is basically a Vegas wannabe city) to finance the Zombrex. Someone lets the zombies out of their pens, bringing an outbreak to the city, and the whole thing is pinned on Chuck. He now has about 72 hours to find out who did it to clear his name, while keeping his daughter safe and when possible rescue survivors he can find.

The 72 hours is really a schedule, not a hard limit; if/when you die (or fail the critical missions or Katey’s doses) you can start the storyline from the beginning but you get to keep your level, combo cards, special moves and vehicule keys. Technically you failed, but you probably still made progress that will help you next time around. I think I might have restarted from the beginning maybe 8 or 9 times total. Not bad. Planning ahead helps, it is better to decide on a grinding or a story related run instead of kinda doing both badly..

The items, weapons, outfits and the combo weapons are really fun.. that made all the ‘use all melee/ranged/explosive/firearm wepons on zombies’ trophies enjoyable. Finding hidden stuff in the city was fun. The Psychos are really messed up, and will totally destroy you during your first attempts while you’re low level — making it even more satisfying when you finally kick their asses later. I did get the DLC suits, which made the game easier, but for 4$ I consider it a rather good buy.

I was so into it that I took the info from a wiki site to make a visual aid to plan on survivor rescues: it’s on Google Docs.

I’m giving it a solid 9/10.

What’s left for me to do: redo all cases in Coop mode, kill 72,000 zombies in one run, and get better at the ‘online’ mode, which is a series of minigames in the TV show refereced at the beginning of the game.. It gives you cash to use in the rest of the game, but I don’t need it anymore. Yup, I’m a trophy addict.

Right now I’m reading that ‘Dead Rising 2: Off the Record’ is an alternate version of the story of DR2 using Frank West instead of Chuck Greene, with some added areas and stuff changed around, but.. meh. Too similar imho. They should have worked on a whole new title instead of a v2.5.

Done: Stacking (XBLA)

Fun adventure game, easy-to-medium puzzles (with a hint system if you get stuck). The quirk is that your character is a russian stacking doll, going after the 1930s-style Baron to save his family members. Really, really charming. You can stack into dolls that are slightly bigger than you, and then can use their abilities.

So people will complain that it is short.. If you only hit the main plot points and puzzles it’ll be over before ou can blink an eye for sure – you really need to hunt down all the dolls, alternate puzzle solutions and hijinx possibilities to make it last. I finished this 100% in 3 sittings.

1200 MSP on XBLA (some will find it pricey — anybody paying for PSN+ on their PS3 can get it for free this month I hear). 9/10 for the originality charm and humour. I want more, either DLC or a whole new title (Yeah I’m a Double Fine / Tim Schaffer fan). Make more use of combos.

ColorZ

I will say it again.. I love the quirky stuff on WiiWare.. Even if this one looks like it’d make me swear a lot, looks cute! Maybe after Ikaruga I’m just freaked out more easily about matching colors on the fly.. Take half a point off for the …Z name, tho.

Colorz trailer

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories

Looks quite nice, if you ask me.. Reminds me a tiny bit of Shenmue, somehow.. Hope there’s something like the first games’ freaky radio.

And another, more hi-res video on IGN.

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