5 Reasons Why They Are Billions Is So Addictive

Featuring more empty, hungry husks of people than a city centre takeaway on a Saturday night, They Are Billions has swept across Steam like the infection afflicting its billions of in-game villains. What is it that makes the game so addictive? Let’s take a look at a few reasons below…

1. Difficulty Level: Insanity

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Everyone loves a challenge, and in They Are Billions, gamers have found a doozy. Strategy gamers, in particular, seem to be gluttons for punishment, seeking more and more of a tactical trial; and keeping your colony free from infection is one of the toughest in recent memory.

Just one zombie can be the catalyst for bringing the base you’ve worked on for hours to come crashing down. And when there are billions of the blighters running around, one slip can be all it takes to see the plague infecting all of your colonists, and the dreaded game over screen.

Add to that the feeling of triumphant satisfaction when you finally win, and it’s a recipe to keep gamers trying to reach that ultimate goal. After all, the more difficult the battle, the sweeter the victory…

2. Dem Graphics

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While zombies and steampunk are popular (and arguably, overused) choices for games, doing them both together is a winning combination in the case of They Are Billions.

Steampunk, when done well, is a striking and engaging graphic style that has served well titles like 80 Days, Bioshock Infinite and Dishonored, while zombies provide a universally recognised menace that almost anyone can immediately engage with.

Add to that the post-apocalyptic setting and you’re left with an absolutely gorgeous retro-style aesthetic, with vibrantly coloured human settlements holding fast against the endless waves of grey undead flesh.

3. Made Like They Don’t Make Them Anymore

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As many people over a certain age might tell you, the past holds examples of superior craftsmanship and style that have faded away with the inevitable progression of time.

In this instance, I am one of those people – RTS games never seem to be as engaging as I remember, with classic genre titles like Age of Empires II or Command & Conquer holding special places in my heart from my younger days.

As such it’s easy to see how They Are Billions captures the imagination of gamers like me, with its old-school RTS play style that embodies the best of those classics and updates them into the future. Sure, there are a few niggles like the patrol pathway system, but it is still in Early Access, remember…

4. Doom is Inevitable, Why Rush?

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Sometimes games fall into the “bigger and better” trap, where the solution to innovation is making things larger, faster or more complex.

In the case of They Are Billions, it’s almost as if the design process has taken a step back, and bucks the trend of trying to make games that require the reflexes of an alert cat and memorising twenty different hotkeys to play well.

With its pause system, the game encourages players to take as much time as they need to make decisions, plan a strategy, issue orders, and still end up watching your colony fall to the undead hordes. But at least you thought about it first, right?

5. Higher Stakes Than A Vegas Casino

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Despite the apparent safety net that the pause system affords, it’s really easy to forget that one tiny slip up can mean endgame for your colony.

In an era where loading up from a less perilous time when the going gets tough is commonplace, the ruthlessness of They Are Billions’ save state system forces gamers to really pay attention, even being impervious to alt+F4 rage quitting.

Knowing that at any moment, one teeny tiny zombie could infect your whole colony within seconds really raises the stakes – especially when failure means having to start again from square one.

Did we forget any? Post the things you love or hate in the comments. And check out EnomView’s review of They Are Billions here!

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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

AGDQ 2018 – Day Five!

Yume here, and we already got to day 5 of this years AGDQ.

As I had a non-existent amount of sleep, the coverage on tournaments will cut a bit short for once, but we’ll still talk puzzles for a bit.

But yeah, there’s a reason why the night was short and I had to sleep into the day. It was time for Awful Games Done Quick.

It is a kind of tradition where games with controls that are close to unplayable, or just really silly games, are shown in this block. It’s been a standing tradition over the last few GDQ events.

This year, the Awful GDQ could also be called “Animal Games Done Quick”, except for some games like Superman 64. Yeah, there are people that speedrun Superman 64.

Let’s go over some of the games though. And if you want to have a really silly and fun time with bad games, you should certainly watch and even play them at some point. The crowd is a big part of this as well. If you want to go over and watch the videos, the block started with Superman 64.

The first game I witnessed in the streaming room was the end portion of Arabian Nights. All I can say about this title is that it’s not really Rated-E and the dialogues are really silly.

After that, was the first game I saw entirely, Enviro-Bear 2000. Five speedrunners were chosen by the people that donate to the cause. The game’s graphics were made in MS Paint, and I’m not talking about the good version of it. You’re a bear that drives a car and has to eat fish and berries in a given amount of time to survive through the winter and enter your cave. “Eat the fish” and “To the cave” chants went through the crowd at appropriate times and made it a spectacle for everybody in the room. The atmosphere was awesome.

Following that, Dog’s Life was on stream. Standard setup: you’re a dog and your girlfriend was kidnapped by a cat lady to be processed into cat food. To be fair, this happens to me at least once a week. The game is rated E (3 years and older) but the dialogues and some cutscenes in the game are, well, questionable (for that rating to say the least). And as the first skip didn’t work as fast as expected, the dog we played was washed enough times so that fur and hide would have been gone. Also a great time and the runner made it a real blast to watch.

The last run I saw at the venue was Animorphs: Shattered Reality. It is a platformer with some kind of battle interaction that mainly consists of running into your enemy to deal damage and trying to not run into their attacks. The controls of the platforming sections were described by the runner Keizaron as this: “Take a Crash Bandicoot game and strip it off everything Crash Bandicoot does well and you have this game”. As a viewer, I have to say it couldn’t be more precise by what I saw. I also had a great time with watching this run, and it certainly deserved to be in this blog.

Next up, we head to the tournaments. Sadly, I slept in for the Puyo Puyo Tetris Swap tourney, where I saw a chance to be somewhat decent in. I caught some of the final rounds and the competition wasn’t really bad. But as a more or less all-rounder, this would have been my best shot at scoring a good placement today. For the ones who don’t know much about Puyo Puyo Tetris, Swap mode is where you play both games, Tetris and Puyo, in the same game. You have specific playing fields for each game and you play for 25 seconds on one game and change to the other until a winner is decided. The finals had some twist to it, PiePusher11 won the tournament. I’ll cover the twist in tomorrow’s article.

Right after that, the dedicated Puyo Puyo tourney took place where we played only Puyo from PPT. I kinda had bad luck with the bracket and got to play FFRPro21 right off the bat, and gave him a run for the money, but still couldn’t defeat him. In the losers bracket, I played against the organiser of the Puyo only tournament, HarpoonCanon, and tried to get around him with good tactics as I don’t hold a candle to him skill-wise. I can say I won 1 out of 5 games against him and gave him some problems, but I never stood a chance to win.

Also shoutouts to the Puyo Puyo Tetris community as a whole. They are a really nice and welcoming people. Be it speedrunners or online players of the game. Mainly, the respectful attitude towards others like me that are likely not the best players, but still give some top players a hard time.

And then I made the worst decision of this AGDQ, tournament-wise. I skipped the Rocket League tourney and instead tried out the Yoshi’s Cookie for SNES one. NEVER…EVER…AGAIN. I want to say I’m decent at the stage clear mode, but versus is not something up my alley. Heck, I tend to be a loud person and curse sometimes, and I could keep it together even in the Pokémon Puzzle League tournament, but this game has the potential to make me lose myself within 5 minutes of Versus mode. I have to admit that the players I lost against had more skill and more knowledge about the versus mode than I had, so there’s simply no need to go further into specifics or hate the game at all.

Well, that’s it for the tournaments that I had an eye on for today.

As for closing words. some communities hold workshops to teach other people some games or techniques to help them get better at designated games. And even I got some private lessons from a person I look up to:

Blinzer, the winner of the Pokemon Puzzle League versus tournament, taught me some techniques and it fried my brain and thumbs. His playstyle and the marathon mode (High score game) were too much for me. The training was a really nice treat from him though and is very much appreciated. In a mere hour, I learned a lot about the basic skills that I still lack as a player that’s only been playing for a year. I could double my speed for inputs in this short time to get it consistently, over what I’m used to. Hence, my thumbs didn’t appreciate it as much as I did.

This is also one of the reasons why these meetups are a very nice event to attend. People help each other understand the games better and show them skills they don’t have right now. It is good to see that people inside a community care for each other and try to help them in person when they finally meet.

Guess I’m signing off for today to get some decent amount of sleep again. A Link to the Past randomizer race coming up tomorrow with a short interview with one of the participants, as I won’t take part in it myself.

Have a great day!

Heres Day Six with some closing costs!

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?

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

AGDQ 2018 – Day One!

Well, that was a blast. Yume here and I’m gonna talk a bit about my experiences behind the scenes of Awesome Games Done Quick 2018, the winter edition of the biggest speedrunning event nowadays, over the course of this week.

Honestly, this day had a real slow start and there were not much “attractions” around yet, so I’ll cut to the general picture that I saw about the event today. Over this week, there will be a lot of events of different speedrunning groups that make a big part of these kinds of events in and of itself.

Being stationed in close distance to the international airport of Washington, the Hilton Washington is the location for this year’s event. The massive hotel offered space and everything needed to pull off this big event.

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The whole hotel is full of “Welcome to GDQ” posters. There’s a desk located in front of the streaming room where your badges are ready to get grabbed. For today, I’ll only have my attendee badge. I’ll organise a picture for a runner badge as well over the week, just because they are well made and look awesome in my opinion.

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Getting a bit of a look behind the scenes is a lot of fun, especially when you’re early on the first day. You see the organisers and crew getting ready for the first take before the speedruns start. Making jokes and refining their choreography to give out the best possible performance to the audience.

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As we are located in a big hotel, there are a lot of rooms this event can call their own for (these few days), like preparation rooms for the runners where they can practice for their runs that will take part in the event a few hours later. Casual gaming rooms, where people meet up to just play games with each other and talk, can also be found. This was kind of was where I got stuck for a long time. On day one I met a ton of people from communities I am part of for the first time.

There are also designated rooms where the community tournaments will take place and an arcade room with older and newer arcade machines. Sadly, it opened relatively late on this first day, but more will certainly be covered on one of the blog posts of this week, so stay tuned for that as well.

One event already took place on the first day though, the so-called Quiz-Bowl. Teams play against each other and answer questions to different gaming-related questions; a very interesting idea and sub-event of AGDQ.

As most of the stuff wasn’t accessible today or just didn’t take place on the first day, I’ll leave it at this. More stuff coming over the next few days while this amazing event continues!

Have a great day and stay tuned for more AGDQ 2018 blog posts!

Day Two, here!