January Update

First progress update of the year and loads of updates and games played as I had some playing time over the holidays.

New game pickups

  • Gran Turismo Sport Digital Deluxe Edition (PS4)
  • Inside (Xbox)
  • Unravel Yarny Bundle (Xbox)
  • Wolfenstein II: The Freedom Chronicles (Xbox)
  • Undertale (PC)
  • Refunct (PC)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes (3DS)

A number of new games picked up in the Christmas/New Year sales. That said I only spent about £30 on the above, as I had £20 in Microsoft vouchers. My one physical purchase was a Legend of Zelda game on 3DS but at only just over £10 seemed bit of a bargain.

Been playing (Grouvee)

  • Forza Motorsport 7
  • Rage
  • Ashen
  • Gran Turismo Sport
  • Dear Esther: Landmark Edition
  • Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP
  • Hammerwatch
  • FTL: Faster Than Light
  • Unreal Tournament
  • Overwatch

A lot of games started or played this month. I tried Forza Motorsport 7 again to compare to Gran Turismo Sport which I have just started. Fair to say both are great games that I need to play much more. I also started Ashen as this has recently hit Xbox Game Pass. Although early I feel like Dark Souls-lite or an easier Dark Souls is fairly apt.

Over the holidays I played some of the indie games in my backlog. I’ve reviewed Dear Esther: Landmark Edition, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP and FTL: Faster Than Light. I still need to spend time with Hammerwatch. I wrote about what drove me to try Unreal Tournament and I’ve been trying to get into Overwatch recently.

Completed, Abandoned & Shelved

Completed Dear Esther: Landmark Edition, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP and Rage. I probably won’t be that far behind in finishing with Hammerwatch or FTL but still want to play these games a bit more. Anyway off to a good start to 2019. Also I have shelved Hearthstone as I am just not playing at the moment.

So 3 games completed and 1 game shelved this month!

Updates

Loads of the stuff on the site. SSL encryption now fully enabled and upgraded PHP behind the scenes. Also did a number of minor edits and tidying up the site including: tiding up tags on some of the reviews and added a summary of games trackers to new Backlog page (was called rules before). I also tidied up my Grouvee shelves and games.

Up next

A few games on Xbox Game Pass I’d like to try. Also a number of games I stopped playing that I would like to return to.

Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP Review

Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP was first released in 2011 for iOS, although on PC it wasn’t released until the following year. A bit like Dear Esther which I reviewed recently it’s been in my Steam library since 2012 after picking it up from a Humble Bundle at some point. Also like Dear Esther it isn’t a long game, taking under 5 hours to play through.

The game can be best described as an indie 2d adventure game with some puzzle elements and a small amount of action. However some of these felt more like a rhythm action game in certain sequences. Without saying too much the story centres on one character who ventures into the mountains shortly after coming across some non-player characters in the game. The story is split into parts which you must complete.

Superbrothers: Sword & Brothers EP screenshot

Audio is an absolute strength of the game, both in the soundtrack and the sound effects. The pacing as well, being perfectly in-tune to what was going on in game. A professional musician helped with the soundtrack and it shows. There is a fantastic pixel-like style to the graphics and the whole package is just very well put together, particularly for the less than five pounds the game sells for on Steam (in the UK). It is a very pretty and charming game than made an impact with me.

That said there are two main issues I saw with the game. Firstly the controls on the PC version didn’t feel great. The biggest issue is that the touch screen controls have simply been mapped to the mouse with no use of keyboard of even joypad controls. This lack of direct control really dampened the experience for me. It plays more as a point and click game but at times I was having to click more than once because mouse clicks simply weren’t registered because of the touchscreen controls expecting you to hold down rather than press quickly. On top of this in fights I couldn’t be precise when needed to and therefore resorted to mashing the mouse button which made these parts more irritating than they should have been.

Secondly the game time-gates content to a real world clock. You can adjust your clock settings although you lose a perfect percentage score at the end. And there is an in-game mechanical for changing phases however this is broken (whether intentional or otherwise) if events have been completed in a certain order. This meant I had to wait over a week just to be able to progress the game. I’m not sure that was really necessary. Other than that some of the puzzles aren’t about logical deduction and become simple trial and error.

This is probably a game best experienced on touch screen and portable devices not just because of the controls that have been designed around a tablet but also the gameplay which is suited as a more casual experience and therefore something you can enjoy on the move. Overall a really abstract, weird and unique experience that I enjoyed for the most part.

Played the PC / Steam version.

Dear Esther: Landmark Edition Review

I purchased Dear Esther in 2012 for the princely sum of £1.74. It’s the perfect example of the sort of game that fills up my library on Steam. Anyway with a bit of time over the holidays I’ve managed to complete it. It is a very short experience and it doesn’t take much time at all to playthrough.

Dear Esther screenshot

I don’t really want to say too much about it because it’s one of those experiences that best enjoyed with as little knowledge as possible. Essentially it’s the original videogame that created the walking simulator genre that has since become quite popular. So a noteworthy videogame in that regard.

It’s difficult to summarise how I feel about it, as at times it feels too vague for want of a better word. That said it is technically well done, quite atmospheric and pretty in places. It’s also well voiced and the soundtrack in general is good. I didn’t enjoy it as much as other similar games and in that sense it’s hard to disagree with either those that don’t like it or those who enjoyed it and really appreciate it for what it is.

It’s worth mentioning that I played the Landmark Edition that was given away for free to owners of the original game to celebrate its release on consoles and includes a director’s commentary and was remade in the Unity engine unlike the original PC Source-engine release.

And finally just a note to say that the Steam Controller is pretty much perfect for this sort of game. I’m not a huge fan of that controller and prefer the main console controllers for multiple reasons. But here the Steam Controller works really well. Particularly the haptic pads which require less resistance to move.

Played the PC / Steam version.