The Name Says it All – Planetary Annihilation: Titans Review

THUD! THUD! THUD! DUN! DUN! DUN! Give it up for the great intro music, and amazing game play scenery in the introduction! If you watch the whole thing it is a bit long, but every second is worth it. It is satisfying when a games introduction, music, and cinematic all tie together to get you in the mood to play that genre. Not only when all of the intro is finished, but when you’re in the intro screen it should continue to have perfect, on point sound. This game is one of the first games I’ve played in a long time where I didn’t have to immediately adjust the sound, or the like. It was perfect, and I’m not someone who usually focuses on the audio quality. I usually care more about details like graphics, storyline, and gameplay. However, I’ve been captivated. Quick, someone save me, hours of my life are about to melt away.

Like most games, you want to get into the action and start playing. So, what I did is just that. I knew I wasn’t ready for multiplayer and I headed towards single player and clicked the first option I saw available. It offered me a tutorial, and how could I refuse? “Tutorial Initiated”. This is how my world conquering began! After the first level of the tutorial I was a murderer, a destroyer, a conqueror, all in a giant robot. I knew I’d have to watch out though, Optimus Prime was out there. By the second tutorial I was again a conqueror, but this time starting with nothing and extracting the resources and building the army from scratch. I was reminded of games of my childhood. Like Command & Conquer. More pylons needed. Yuri is master.

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Depth, I was realizing very quickly how much depth their was to this game. Not only were you just attacking other players and killing their commanders, you were also conquering planets, and their starsystems. Searching them for new technologies, then using these technologies to conquer the universe! I mean, well one solar system at a time, and sometimes using moons as large rockets. Who’s counting? I’m just here to win! Oh, and yeah I was an hour into the tutorial and hadn’t even made a dent into the actual game yet, but I was enjoying myself. This tutorial was put together excellently. It puts just enough details in voice, visuals, and text that anyone can figure out this game. Its complicated, but it’s just like any old RTS you’d play. How did it differentiate?

Besides the space conquering, the planetary destruction, and all the things in between, the game takes you for a ride. It combines unique elements of all the different thing you would like in an RTS. A ton of units on the field crushing your enemies, while advancing through claiming systems, and leveraging both slow and fast play. Honestly, without ruining too much of the fun, I’d suggest trying this game now yourself. If you enjoy getting spoilers, continue reading!

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I joined my first annihilate them campaign and I was excited. I instantly figured out that I could collect technologies ahead of time by exploring non-occupied planets, which would help me in my battle. It was clear that technologies mattered because they decided the majority of the things that I could build. Next, I found all my paths blocked by rivals and soon I was fighting on the Death Star. Extracting resources is a haul, this must have been long after the Jedis fought here. In the present, the galaxy was found? This is when I noticed that the tutorial speed was increased to teach the player how to play the game, the game is set at the same speed of other RTS games. Where it takes time to build troops and extract resources. Which is good! Gives time for exciting strategies.

After losing myself in the game for several hours, I realized I could write a review no more! There is so much to explore, and enjoy in this game. For those who enjoy RTS, this is a must have.

Monster Tower Defense – Unleash Review

Unleash has a simple premise: build towers to defend your base and spawn monsters to attack your adversaries. The mechanics are easy to learn but hard to master, and with the sheer amount of variation for towers, walls, and monsters, it can be remarkably easy to find yourself knee deep in plans and combos, wondering where the time went. Hordes of monsters, strategy, epic base-building – these elements work in tandem to deliver a game greater than the sum of its parts.

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Sprawling campaigns might not be a thing in Unleash, but it’s bolstered by multiple game modes and maps to keep you occupied for a good amount of time. If battling a single bot seems too meagre an offering, don’t fret, because the game allows players to duke it out with up to seven Bots simultaneously. Those craving multiplayer experiences will also have their itch scratched as the game allows you to play with anywhere between one to seven friends. However you choose to play, either option is guaranteed to deliver an intense, competitive experience.

Unleash is a game where minutes can stretch into hours due to the ruthlessness of the AI. The road to victory is a rocky one, and even easy Bots can give you trouble if you’re unprepared. The more challenging ones could serve you on a silver platter, complete with rosy apple and curled tail. Beginners and veteran players can expect themselves to be thoroughly challenged.

My first match saw me going up against a bot, and I was confident I could win without effort. It had the word ‘easy’ tacked on at end of its name, so my expectations were low. I randomly inserted towers or walls into the grid-based map and hunkered down to await the horde.

The first wave wasn’t hard to defend against, but as the minutes ticked by and the number of waves climbed into double digits, monsters began to blitz past my walls, rendering my defence moot. I’d also neglected to build anything past the first few lines – convinced I wouldn’t need them – resulting in a panicked scramble to finish off those that got past. I restarted the match when the stragglers ended up biting off a decent amount of my health.

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Despite how difficult things can get, the game remains surprisingly fun. Being walked all over didn’t feel trying or upsetting, quite the opposite in fact. Losing just made me come back for more.

The game offers no tutorial but one can learn a fair bit from exchanging blows with Bots. It’s startling how often I’d get thrown for a loop. For example, I had no idea I could chain tesla coils until I saw my opponent doing just that. Placing two tesla coils opposite of each other produces a deadly chain of lightning between them. The bot’s base was structured in a manner that forced my monster spawns to walk from one end to another, and by putting three evenly spaced tesla coils, the effect it had on my horde was tremendous. They never reached the other end.

Sending monster spawns that require certain weapons to damage them is another thing the Bot did. It would spawn Snowrippers to attack when my base had no flamethrowers. Snowrippers need to be doused in fire before machine guns could hurt them, and I found myself scrambling once again to unlock the specified weapon.

Monsters can also be evolved, resulting in veritable tanks. Doing this early in a match produces spectacular results. It’s cathartic to see your horde waltz through an opponent’s defences without as much as a scratch. I really like how Unleash provides numerous opportunities for you to devise strategies and turn the tide in your favour. It can make a world of difference to familiarize yourself with the advantages and disadvantages of each monster, or tower.

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Pair a diesel shooter with a flamethrower to maximize damage. Send a Snowripper to attract gunfire while an acid spewing monster takes down walls. The possibilities are just waiting to be discovered.

The origin of events in Unleash are an intriguing read, but it never comes into play. Knowing X and Y happened is cool, but it doesn’t affect the player if they go into the game without knowledge of it. There is potential in its setting, it just isn’t fully grasped yet. Players wanting deep, engaging lore will be disappointed.

The story, as of now, is also non-existent. I enjoy the gameplay immensely but fighting faceless enemies can get old, I’d be more invested if the Bots have some manner of personality or backstory. DeSync studios seem to be in for the long haul, though, so things might change with future updates.

Overall, Unleash is a great game, well-worth your attention and support. It’s not the best looking title, but with such solid and addictive gameplay, I’d be a fool to dismiss it.

EnomView Score: 8 out of 10

Check out the game: http://store.steampowered.com/app/621940/Unleash/

Robotic Controls – Fragmental Review

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Alright, let’s get this started. Got my robot guy ready, got my name entered, pick some bots, ready to go! Let’s f– Oh, I just fell out of the arena. Okay now I’m ready to– oh something just shot me outside of the arena and blew up my robot guy. Okay now– Oh I got pushed off of the arena. What am I even doing?

Yes, as you begin this game, you’ll be scratching your head pretty hard. First of all, there are no control options. The first few rounds of the game will most likely be spent figuring them out. I couldn’t pick up a weapon for a while until I discovered that you have to push space. Then comes the combat, which is not at all intuitive. Once you face your opponent, you may or may not be aiming at them with your gun. There is no indication that you are firing at them near the wall, or firing directly at the wall. Then there are things that look like walls but are actually chest-high partitions that you can fire over, but you won’t know this until you’ve been shot over it and killed.

The real problem with this game is the control. They are floaty and overly sensitive, so aiming in any conventional sense is an impossibility. It doesn’t matter whether you’re playing on a keyboard or a controller, they just don’t work. Within the first two seconds of a match, you could be dead. If an arena match goes on for too long, they will have a wall of death come from the edge of the arena and shrink in order to destroy the players.

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Fragmental is not based off a player’s skill, it is based on pure dumb luck. With the graphics the way they are, you can barely see your player avatar to know where they are facing. I hope you brought your eye drops because everything is so bright, pink, and shiny that you will be squinting through the entire game. This is not just the background, each robot, which is pretty much the same, has a neon color tinge to them so you can’t tell them apart, as they appear as a tiny spot on the arena.

One good thing that could be said about this game was that there is a decent selection of guns. The icons on the screen indicate what kind of guns are available to you. However, if you try to grab one from across the arena, you will more than likely get shot down by your opponents on your way to get it.

It doesn’t even have to be your opponent that kills you. Literally, anything can kill you in these arenas. Knobs can come from the edge and push you out of bounds, turrets can shoot you from outside of the arena and kill you as soon as it starts and let’s not forget those wonderfully constricting walls of destruction that will kill you in an instant if you touch them.

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So, let’s review. You try to take your time and approach your opponents with some sort of careful calculation, but you will be killed by something beyond your control instead. One minute is entirely too long for this game, you are not on your own schedule, you’re on Fragmental’s time at this point! Taking your time to aim and get use to the controls? Nope! Time to get shot by identical character models to your own! Slide across the arena like the roadrunner, only this time, Wile E. Coyote’s Acme Gun will kill you, no questions asked.

Calling this a game is being very generous. A game is something you can actually win with your own skill and progression through the levels. The control of this game is so awful and fast-paced to the point where you will lose several times before you even gather an inkling of how to play the mechanics that are set up. If you were looking for a challenge such as that, by all means, click the link below.

Enomview rating: 3/10

Check out Fragmental on Steam: http://store.steampowered.com/app/424040/Fragmental/

Exploding Rodents – Tooth and Tail Review

It’s time to rally your troops! We need a fighting force. A team of soldiers that know how to use their weapons and defend the base. They need to be fed, so it’s time to farm up some resources to suit their needs. We’ll need proper defenses and the leadership needs to know how to bring it all together to take the fight to the enemy! We’ll need all of the ferrets and rodents we can gather, and don’t forget the warthogs!

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Yeah, you’re using animals to fight a war full of pistols, mortar cannons, and strategic structure building. Sounds normal to me, what’s your deal?

“Tooth and Tail” is a real-time strategy game that is very reminiscent of the Red Wall Book series by Brian Jacques. The artwork for the game is quite beautiful, and the graphics are nothing special, but they do work for the game quite well. The gameplay is quite simple and very fast-pace. As soon as you start the game, you are treated to quite the simple tutorial that goes smoothly and easily without over-explaining anything. Given the fact that there have been so many tutorials out there that grate against your face like a brick full of holes and interrupt your gameplay constantly, it is worth taking the time to appreciate these pregame sessions that do it right.

Compared to the normal RTS, this one is pretty simple. It has its high points, and simplicity is definitely one of them. One thing that this does entail, however, is that the gameplay is extremely fast-paced. Sometimes a little too fast-paced. There are levels where the enemy comes at you with a decent attack every so often, then there’s a stage where the opposing team will charge you with copious amounts of suicide bombers one after the other. There comes a time where kamikaze attacks just cannot be repelled. Your troops and defenses can only shield you against so many explosions. These stages get especially frustrating, and just downright impossible.

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Unlike your normal strategy army games, this one has you controlling a single unit that acts as a commander for the rest of the troops. The controls are extremely simple, and the tutorial captures that simplicity very well. However, the vulnerability that this presents is concerning, as it means that a single wrong move could kill your leader at any point. Still, on the flipside, it’s a good bit of challenge overall and adds the need to maneuver your character to the list of unique mechanics. It keeps you actively involved, as keeping your protagonist safe is imperative.

Still, despite its shortcomings, this game is highly addictive. Like any good army building game, you want to push your army as far as it can go. The battle sequences are satisfying in their simplicity and you will relish each victory as your furry friends take down more savagely cute animals. As you may have noticed, if you’re an animal enthusiast, this may not be the game for you.

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As stories go, it’s kind of lacking, but at the same time, it doesn’t get in the way of the enjoyment of the overall game. There are times when the game can be mercilessly cruel and unfair, but it is a lot of fun, especially if you are a fan of strategy games. Be sure to give it a look!

Enomview Rating: 8/10

It’s Not All Fun & Games – Game Development

“I want to be a game developer!” 15-year-old Timmy proclaimed triumphantly, planting a foot down and standing proudly to let the world know that he’d be the greatest dev there ever was.

A game developer you say? You wish to make games for a living? I should warn you, Timmy, that development at any level, from the little league modders to the world champ triple-A’s, is a notoriously grueling process; it is oftentimes a fight on multiple fronts.

“I don’t care!” shouts Timmy stubbornly. “I have been playing video games all my life. I love them more than anything and want to make them for a living.”

Well Timmy, that’s admirable, but know that many a Timmy before you have worn this path down beyond reason with the weathering of their own gruesome treks.

If you still want to be a game dev, Timmy, then here are some things to consider:


  1. Nobody cares about your unique idea.
  • Do not expect to get into a dev studio simply because you have an interesting idea for a game. As is often said, there is no room for a specialized “idea guy” in the video game industry. Everyone in a game development studio is an idea guy in their own right. They just have skills which allow them to make those ideas into a reality through some kind of creative medium. Which leads to our next point…

2. You need to have an actual skill.

There are a lot of disciplines to choose from, but you need to be good at one of them. Can you write a gripping story with few words that won’t be made into a victim of the game’s mechanics? Figure your way around a string of code? Model and animate cool characters, items, and worlds? Write a complete GDD with a feasible scope and make it into something with an engine like Unity or Game Maker Studio 2? If not, now’s the time to start learning. You don’t have to be the greatest, but you should be able to make yourself marketable.

“But I could be a playtester, couldn’t I? I could be someone who plays the games and gives feedback to the designers! It’d be just like what I did in my childhood.” Timmy said, giddy as ever.

Well, you can be a playtester, Timmy. Just know that you’ll be playing the same level over and over again until your eyes grow red and watery, and that you’ll only be searching for bugs; generally speaking, no feedback will be given to the designers. Oh, and the programmers will hate you.

3. You have to be good in teams.

Get ready to work with people you love and people you hate. Get ready to watch your precious ideas get shot down in broad daylight and left to bleed out by your cheery-faced team lead or project director. There are always people like Toby Fox, but it’s rare that anything quality ever gets made if it’s not a part of a collaborative effort. Professionalism, good character, and cooperation is paramount–just like in other fields.

4. Hurry up and wait.

It took over 100 developers roughly 4 years to make Skyrim. Development takes time–a LOT of time–and not just on the programmers’ ends. Get ready to stare at a screen for 12 hours straight and work well into the night–toiling away on a computer in some dark corner in the back of the room.

“I thought it was only the playtesters that had to worry about their eyes,” Timmy said, distraught.

If only that were true, Timmy. If only that were true.

5. It helps to know about game design.

There’s a reason why aspiring developers can take college courses on this stuff. While a sound engineer or a concept artist doesn’t need to know as much about a game narrative as the head designer, a knowledge of psychology behind games will do wonders for you as a dev. Whether it’s about keeping players glued to their screens like Valve has done for years with Team Fortress 2, or forcing out a ragequit like in Cat Mario, being able to dissect a game for its finer components helps–no matter what area you work in on a development team.

6. You need to be able to speak English.

This isn’t a problem for all, but a grasp of the English language will serve you well here. As time progresses, English grows increasingly mandatory in many fields in the mysterious realms of not-game development. If your career as a dev doesn’t work out, then be happy knowing that you’ll still have this universally marketable skill.

“I still want to be a game developer though!” Timmy cried, a fire in his eyes. “Games are my passion!”

Well, Timmy–stubborn or determined–know that I’m not here to (entirely) crush your dreams, because…

7. If you really want to develop video games, then you should totally go for it.

Just make sure you’re realistic. Don’t expect to make a living off of it and don’t expect all your plans to succeed. Start small, look to those of experience, and practice, practice, practice. Whether you’re a modder, a fan dev, or a blockbuster triple-A, you’re bound to have your ups and downs, just like you would at any other job. A life of game development is as equally rewarding as it is a life of hardship. If this is really what you want to do and you feel you’ve got the skills for it, then get out there and make it happen.

As a wise friend of mine liked to say: “Don’t wait for opportunity to come to you. Kick opportunity’s door down and fucking kidnap him.”

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Mighty Number Fail – Indie vs AAA (3)

Although there are innumerable times where AAA has defeated indie games in the rat race, there was one particular time where the failure was so great, it caught the eye of countless among the gaming community. Any retro gamer will tell you about Mega Man, released in 1987, and a great majority will tell you which one is their favorite, whether it be part of the original series of games or part of the Mega Man X series. Both parts of the franchise were legendary among gamers.

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Mega Man 2 is very popularly known as the favorite among the original series, while the first Mega Man X is held as the king of the second. Whatever side of the franchise they stand on, both factions will tell you that they were wholly disappointed by the crowd-funded passion project known as Mighty No. 9. Keiji Inafune had worked on the original Mega Man, and since Capcom hadn’t released a new Mega Man for several years (due to extreme franchise fatigue), he decided to take it upon himself to create what he called a spiritual successor.

The game was fully funded within just a couple of days and, by the end, it had reached around three million dollars, several times more than it was expected to reach. This is where a great deal of mystery enters into the fray. Despite infinitely more money than they could have ever needed, the scene became quite bleak. Though fans were still on the hype train with beautiful gameplay still frames, promising Kickstarter prizes and a game mirroring the greatness of the blue bot himself, they curbed their doubts. However, for reasons unknown, the game was met with numerous delays. Many questioned how they could be losing so much time with all of the budget they could ever want and plenty of time between the start of its production to its intended release. Still! They thundered ahead and readied themselves for the release!

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The fans were stomped with absolute disappointment. The graphics were not nearly as good as they initially looked in the original press release, the gameplay had very questionable extra, unneeded content, the voice acting rivalled Mega Man 8 for how terrible and stilted it was, and the story intermixed with constant interrupting character dialog was so very frustrating when you were trying to concentrate on playing the game!

Questions began flying at Inafune at a horribly extensive rate! His gross mismanagement of the game’s content and quality was called into question multiple times and their reaction to these questions boiled down to “At least you got a game.” Needless to say, contributors to the funding were not happy, and those old-school Mega Man fans were less than impressed with the game’s content. Mighty Number 9 reached the status as one of the Worst Games of 2016 across the internet.

Now, let’s be honest. It really was not a terrible game when you stand back and look at the forest for the trees. It worked, it was challenging, and the level design wasn’t terrible. Sure, some of the bosses were cheap and cringe-inducing in their tactics and while the story is abysmal, it still served its purpose for the most part. The reason the game failed in a massive cloud of hatred was because it tried to build itself as a return of a beloved franchise in the form of a fan requested game. It had all of the makings of a great game, but for one reason or another completely missed the mark.

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AAA titles have had their failures in the past, and many of them failed harder than Mega Man’s would-be successor. This should serve as a lesson on par with Icarus and the burned wings, but let’s face it, if they can build you up to their hype, development companies are going to do it. Inafune could have won big with this title but failed to pull it off in the end.

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However, once again, at least we have our silver lining. Evidently, Capcom caught onto Mighty Number 9’s Kickstarter success and decided that they would release their own game and do it properly this time. Mega Man 11 is set to release later in the year 2018 and it already looks smooth! Inafune may have spent multiple millions of dollars on failure, but at least his failure managed to cause another AAA win.

 

Wait, what am I saying?

Through Silent Hills on Allison Road – Indie vs AAA (1)

The argument between the two forms of game development has been going on for quite some time. While it is true that there are pros and cons to both small house indie development teams and big name AAA companies, there has been a noticeable trend of the games they have been producing. Though it is quite often that the big name developers have stomped the indie game competition, the opposite has also been very true. Then there are times when both types of game developers have dropped the ball for one reason or another.

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A very infamous example of when both types of developers failed to produce a single promised product was the game demo simply known as P.T. (or Playable Teaser). Konami was in the works for the new project of the franchise Silent Hill, titled Silent Hills. The hype train was so huge for this game that many were already calling it the ultimate in survival horror without even knowing the actual core game mechanics. However, the P.T. was so innovative and so amazingly detailed in its tone, atmosphere, storytelling and graphics that no one could possibly blame them. It was a horror experience that did not rely on jump scares to creep a player out. Both Hideo Kojima and Guillermo Del Toro were matched up to produce this game themselves, and what they were planning was seemingly made of pure awesome sauce.

However, as many of you know, what the fans got was a big goose egg. Without warning or explanation, Silent Hills was cancelled and the fans were not happy in the least. Another party that was not happy about this was their shareholders, as Konami’s stocks plummeted as a result. Soon after, Hideo Kojima was fired from Konami… more or less sealing themselves to a fate of their own making. While they did survive the backlash from that decision, it was not a fun day for anyone.

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But alas! A ray of hope came about gamers in the form of a group called Team17 and their upcoming project, Allison Road. Gamers were treated to a brand new spectacle of survival horror very similar to P.T., in fact so similar to P.T. it was very quickly called the spiritual successor to the non-game Silent Hills. For an indie game, the preview looked amazing, creepy, and surprisingly well detailed. Beyond anything, Allison Road gave Silent Hill fans some solace from the heartbreak of Konami’s screw-up. After scaring the pants off of onlookers and showing us that we may still get a swell consolation prize, once again, fans were completely shot down by disappointment. Team17 cancelled production of Allison Road. Once again, fans’ faces hit the dirt with an audible THWACK.

Now there is something of a happy ending to that tale, as the project Allison Road was picked back up soon after its cancellation by another group called Far From Home. However, with very little to no updates on the production’s progress as of January 2018, it is clear that we will not be seeing Allison Road anytime soon.

The good news, though, is that after two complete failures by both an AAA Gaming Company and Indie Game group, a third and successful attempt was already in the works. The P.T. style of survival horror was noticed by yet another AAA Gaming company. Capcom took notice of P.T.’s success, and since Konami pulled the plug on their game, they decided to pick up the slack and produce one of the best games of 2017, Resident Evil 7.

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So, in the end, yes, it was an AAA Gaming company that saved fans from a completely dismal experience, but what a bumpy ride! You would think that such a focused concept would have been handled a little better, especially with such an enormous fan feedback. It got to the point where people started to suspect the whole concept was cursed; doomed to failure before its own inception. While the whole story is still fraught with unanswered questions, in the end, we got a game of the year out of the deal and the Resident Evil series has had a soft reboot to a seemingly much brighter style of gameplay. Let’s hope they can keep the ball rolling.

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AGDQ 2018 – Day Two!

Yume here with some more AGDQ behind the scenes things going on. Not as sleepy anymore, which is why there was no daily blog entry yesterday. But here it is:

Let’s talk a bit about the speedrunning marathon for a bit here, because I’ll have a short interview with one of the runners of the marathon right here for you. As part of the puzzle community, I could tell that hype was big for the Wario’s Woods run on the morning of Monday. The interview will be with our very own Peteyboo, who did that run at AGDQ.

It was a big highlight for all of the puzzle community members attending the marathon, as it is our only showcase for this AGDQ. But, the two runs afterwards were my personal favourites, and I couldn’t wait for them. There was a Donkey Kong Country 2 No Warps run and Donkey Kong Country 1 Reverse Boss Order. The first run was pretty high on my priority list as DKC2 has a lot of interesting tech and mechanics, as well as the two runners that raced it are very good at the game. Of course, KC1 was even more interesting as it showed a lot of Wrong Warps that are possible inside the game, which means you can skip levels, kind of at will, if you manipulate the game in the right ways. If you are a fan of the DKC series you should check out the videos on Youtube for sure.

But let’s cut to the short interview peteyboo (@peteybooLP on twitter) gave me for his run of Wario’s Woods.

[Start Interview]

What was your reaction when your run of Wario’s Woods was accepted for AGDQ ?

I was really surprised as I tried to get the run into AGDQ for years and it finally worked out. After the game appeared at last year’s NASA (North American Speedunner Assembly, an event held in Canada last year) it was much easier to get the game into an event like AGDQ. And of course I was really happy about it.

How did you prepare for your run?

For the most part I did no reset runs (Means that you don’t reset training runs when you get bad time and just wing it with how it is going), doing some practice with a fellow speedrunner, Montucky (AKA montySR), which also showed me some fast and easy solutions to certain patterns here at AGDQ to make the run even more consistent.

How did you feel before the run ? (As we checked the stream before his run there were about 88k viewers, just as a note)

I felt fine and just as usual. I wasn’t nervous after already doing the run at NASA last year, and with having a good coach by my side that would go over the games mechanics as me, I could focus on the run.

And how did you feel during the run?

I was very focused on the run and didn’t feel different than before the run.

How satisfied were you with our performance on the run?

I was pretty satisfied with the run. Getting a time that is just half a minute shy of the sub 20 minutes was pretty solid for a marathon run.

Any other things you want to say?

Not really much except a big thanks to the whole Wario’s Woods community and the crew I had in my back, as they helped to make it a great showcase of this game.

[End Interview]

That’s it with the interview folks and mostly with the blog post for Day 2.

And…Oh shoot, I forgot something about the general stuff in the Day 1 Blog post. Of course, besides all the “attractions” I covered there is one more thing I didn’t have on the plate that is pretty usual for a speedrunner meetup. Board games, and a lot of them. There is a whole floor of the openly accessible part of the hotel designated to board games of all sorts. There are even people that take care of you when you enter the room and can’t decide on a game to play. Which is good, as the pile of board games the attendees brought is huge. Oh, and like 30 different Rubic’s Cubes, of course.

But yeah, that’s it for real now with the Day 2 Blog post. Sorry again for being late with this, Day 3 will be up soon as well.

Have a good day.

Day 3, here.

A Profound Adventure That’ll Reach Your Core – Home is Where One Starts Review

Have you ever felt like no one cared? Like you were alone in a world much too big? That’s the feeling of your character while playing through Home is Where One Starts.

The journey begins one day as you wait at the end of your driveway for the bus you had already missed. After you wait for the bus, you’re allowed to explore the area around your house. All the while your character is reminiscing about memories of her past. You can interact with items that spur more memories or allow you to continue with your story. The game also has wonderful music playing throughout your play-through, which is soothing and helps to guide your mind to better understand the character you are being shown.

The world looks beautiful, but that beauty is overshadowed by the pure sadness shown through your characters voice as she relives her past. She talks about the good aspects of her home, but also the bad things. The very bad things. She mentions her father, who is never seen, but from the mass amount of cigarette butts and liquor bottles you can make a guess at what he’s like. Eventually, you’ll find a small graveyard, this allows you to remember something in your fathers dresser, something that will help you get away.


As for the areas, there is a small house which you and your father lived in, your shed in the woods, the hay bales across the street, and even a torn down house next door. Each of these areas help to further the story in their own way, but the one I liked the most was the field behind the house. There wasn’t much there, but just walking through the field was calming and felt almost like a break from the sadness in the game.

The game does have a deep story which will draw you in, but the problem is that there isn’t much to do and there is no guiding point on where to go either. It felt less like a walking simulator, and more like a wandering simulator at times. I stumbled around for quite a while before finding the final of my journey. But for all the wandering I went through, it was worth it to get to the end and see the final scene of the game, and the first bit of real happiness that your character is allowed to have.

EnomView Score: 6 out of 10

 

Dead in Space – Space Pirates and Zombies 2 Review

If there’s ever a game that delivers exactly what it says on the tin, it’s Space Pirates and Zombies 2. You’ve got your pirates, and you’ve got your zombies. Dozens of each. And they whizz around space blowing holes in each other until one wins.

It almost seems like it could be the result of a crazy drunken conversation, like the answer to who’d win in a fight – a caveman or an astronaut? Space pirates or zombies?

But once you get past the initial incongruous premise, there’s a surprising amount of depth that the apparently silly name belies. The unfortunately abbreviated SPAZ2 delivers a persistent galaxy containing 200 unique space captains, each with their own ship and equipment, who can all do exactly what you can as the protagonist.

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This ranges from simply flying around the galaxy map, picking fights and evading stronger rivals, to building starbases and harvesting resources. You can issue bounties, gather allies, and eventually defeat the zombie threat that rears its ugly head again.

I say again, because of course Space Pirates and Zombies 2, as the number at the end there signifies, is a sequel. Not being familiar with the first title, I occasionally got a bit lost with the cast of characters that kept reappearing, and past events being alluded to.

However, the plot is structured in a way that playing the first title isn’t necessary. And there’s a great lore system that lets you unlock historical facts about the background of the franchise and familiarise yourself.

But enough about idling on the galaxy map and the historical facts – the real star of the show in Space Pirates and Zombies 2 is the combat system, paired with a rich and diverse catalogue of parts to customise your perfect mothership.

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There are several types of part – cores, wings, noses, weapons, knees and toes…maybe not the last two. But each part provides different bonuses to shield strength, armour, turn speed, acceleration, and other factors. Weapons operate in a similar way, but different types causing various damage types to enemy ships.

All of these different modules make for an extremely robust and varied system to construct the perfect ship for your playing style. Personally, I opted for a speedy little number that could close in to point-blank range, quickly blast the opponents’ shields away with front-mounted shotguns, and then ram their hull into oblivion.

But equally valid would be a long-range sniper, an artillery ship, a carrier fielding dozens of smaller craft…the variations are extremely diverse. Combat is really fun, and put me in mind of Rebel Galaxy, with the added benefit of being able to skip all of the long haul journeys by switching back to the galaxy map after combat is over.

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Even better is that there’s an arena system that lets you try out pre-configured ships with different styles. And of course the other 199 captains in the galaxy can each upgrade their own ships.

The result is a constantly evolving mass of faction politics, betrayals, and sectors changing hands from one group to another as combat rages across the galaxy. And that’s even before we throw the zombies into the mix.

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The undead menace in Space Pirates and Zombies 2 are presented as a mutation of flesh and technology, but essentially, whenever the zombies beat another captain, they join their ranks as per the classic rule of the dead rising again with a hunger for flesh; or biomatter and technology, in this case.

They can be healed by spending a large amount of the game’s sparse and precious fuel source, Rez, or repeatedly battled. Fortunately for the captains of the galaxy of SPAZ2, being defeated doesn’t necessarily mean death; as a last resort, an escape pod takes you to the nearest starbase, or for their vanquished undead counterparts, a spore pod.

The main story will take about 15-20 hours to complete, and there’s a sandbox mode to extend the fun indefinitely. Space Pirates and Zombies 2 is a fun game that balances humour and peril adeptly; it’s pretty to look at, and offers a rich and diverse combat system. You could definitely do a lot worse with a name like Space Pirates and Zombies 2!

EnomView Score: 8 out of 10