SteamWorld Heist Gameplay Trailer Released, Qvadriga Impressions, Wrestlemania Thoughts, Courtney Barnett
SteamWorld Heist Gameplay Trailer Released
SteamWorld Dig was completely off of my radar back when it was initially released, but I later got the game and really dug it (pun totally intended, deal with it). It was a game that was on the short side, but had the good sense to end once it was out of things to say. Almost as soon as you had fully explored the world and gotten all of the upgrades, you were at the end of the game. And so it is that I am intrigued by Image & Form’s follow-up SteamWorld Heist. The trailer above is the core gameplay, which shows the game’s 2D tactical gameplay. Still, there does not appear to be a release date for the game, and I will have to wait to see what made SteamWorld Dig so compelling to me – the constant upgrades and well-paced world exploration – will transfer over to SteamWorld Heist.
Pointing at Wrestlemania Signs
It’s pretty rare that I watch an entire wrestling event in a single sitting. Even one hour shows like Lucha Underground and NXT are broken up so that I can work them into my life. I was bent on watching all of Wrestlemania XXXI on Sunday night and I did, although I started it about 30 minutes late and only caught up in time for the main event. I really enjoyed both of the kick-off matches, the tag match more than the battle royal. I was glad to see Cesaro and Kidd win the match and retain the titles, although there isn’t another team I actually want to see challenging them at this point. The battle royal was, of course, interesting for signalling the end of Miz and Mizdow. I heard Roderick Strong suggest on the Straight Shoot podcast that he would have liked to have seen that be the end of the match, but I didn’t mind Big Show winning, if nothing else so that we can stop hearing people point out he’s never won a battle royal. I was disappointed to see Curtis Axel not have a good run, I did enjoy seeing Bo Dallas’ return, and I was glad to see Hideo Itami, although I wish that they had let him show a little bit more of what he can do. I actually enjoyed the ladder match less than I expected, which was disappointing since it was the match that I expected to like the most. It was not bad, but I always find that ladder matches with that many wrestlers are almost always oddly paced. It was good to see Ziggler and Bryan really laying it in hard at the end, and Bryan winning certainly opens up some good possibilities moving forward. Similarly, I thought that Orton-Rollins was a very good match, if not a great one. The ending was pretty great, though, although I find myself now – two days later – having to strain myself to remember anything else about the match. Triple H – Sting, on the other hand, may not have been a mat classic, but it was basically memorable beginning to end. There was a weird entrance disparity that I’ve heard others mention and the match did seem to be a chance to remind us that WWE won the war, but the match was well paced and I enjoyed seeing both DX and the NWO run in. AJ Lee and Paige versus the Bellas probably needed more time to work properly, although everything else was good about the match, with AJ taking the victory. Cena – Rusev was a very, very good match and it did a good job of keeping Rusev strong while taking the undefeated record off of him. With monster heels, it is always hard to take that first loss, but I don’t think Rusev was weakened at all either by the loss of the US Title or by losing to Cena (especially since it was not an entirely clean finish). I suspect I enjoyed Undertaker – Wyatt more than most. The Undertaker looked great and was really running hard throughout the match. It built slowly and then led to the end, with Wyatt losing, but taking two tombstones to put him down. To engage in fantasy booking for a moment, it would be neat if the Undertaker wanted to go out on his back that he could giver Wyatt the win back in a casket match down the road. Of course, if he wanted to come back next year and do another match with Sting, that would be pretty great, too. Finally, I thought Reigns – Lesnar was great. Seriously, both guys really let the other have it, with Lesnar still looking dominant, but Reigns coming back for me. Plus, the ending was great, with Rollins taking the title by taking out Reigns, meaning that Lesnar never actually lost. Overall, I thought the show was great and certainly shows a lot of promise for a more exciting direction going forward.
Qvadriga from Slitherine Games is a turn-based game where you control a team of charioteers. It is also incredibly brutal. It has, of course, been out for quite a while now, but I could never get myself to fork over the full $19.99, but when it went half off recently, I jumped on it. I have really enjoyed the game, which is part (as mentioned above) chariot team manager and part turn-based racing game. Each race, you select one of your three chariots, each of which is made up of horses, a chariot and a driver (each with their own abilities, at least to a certain extent) and head into the race where you can either play in a true turn-based style or in a mode where you have to choose your next move before the counter finishes. If you head into corners to fast or get crashed into by other chariots, then your chariot and horse can be damaged (or your driver can be killed) resulting in you having to spend your money to replace them. The campaign takes you around across several circuses (what they called the places where the races were held) and, finally, win three races at the Circus Maximus (in the epic campaign, you must also have the auriga with the most wins in the world, as well). It’s not a game quite like any other I have played, and I’m really happy that I grabbed it.
Courtney Barnett – Pedestrian at Best
Pinnacle releases Stone and a Hard Place for Deadlands Reloaded, S.O.R.S. – Kind of like Papers, Please but with doctors, The Dirty Nil – Cinnamon
Stone and a Hard Place Released for Deadlands: Reloaded
Pinnacle Entertainment Group has announced the release of Stone and a Hard Place, a new supplement requiring both Savage Worlds core rules and Deadlands Reloaded. Stone and a Hard Place expands the Deadlands: Reloaded setting into the American Southwest and includes setting information, new Edges, new setting rules and a Plot Point Campaign. The PDF is available now for $14.99 and a hardback (which also includes a PDF now) looks to be coming soon for $29.99. The book was Kickstarter just a couple of months ago and is the third Plot Point campaign for Deadlands: Reloaded.
I have trouble getting past the fact that this game appears to be named “sores”. I mean, I get that it’s a medical game but yck. Beyond that, though, and I really like the general feel and idea behind S.O.R.S., having spent some quality time with the game’s demo. S.O.R.S. is a Papers, Please – inspired game where you play a doctor that is new in a facility, but it turns out something is not quite right. As described on the game’s itch.io page “The game is set in the near future, where the earth’s population has grown to the point where mankind has expanded upwards, living in ever-growing skyscrapers, and criminals are sent to live on floating solar-powered ships in the sky.” From what I’ve played, there is a fair amount of trying to scan people to get good readings to give each patient the correct diagnosis and then returning to your email screen at the end of each day, with six different endings promised depending on the player’s choices. The demo, as well as the full game, are available over on the aforementioned itch.io page. It’s a very different sort of game, and I definitely feel the Papers, Please influence. The demo is pretty lengthy and shows how the game opens up over time.
The Dirty Nil – Cinnamon
Man, I can’t think of a week where there have been two AAA titles that I am not just excited about, but constitute real ‘must haves’ in my book. And yet, here we are with the release of both Bloodborne (sitting pretty on a 93 Metacritic score) and Pillars of Eternity (still to be released, but with very strong early buzz). Of course, I will not be buying either of them immediately. My backlog is far too deep, which I am trying to rectify. I am still playing through Inazuma Eleven on my 3DS, and also loaded up Crimson Shroud for the first time. Crimson Shroud is definitely not a game for everyone, but once you figure out what it is, it really does a neat job of getting the vibe of tabletop RPGs correct. I’m also still watching the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The Last Man on Earth, Lucha Underground, NXT and Community. I probably forgot something, but that is all TV that I am not interested in skipping, which makes it even harder to dig into my backlog. I’ve logged a pretty substantial amount of time playing Cities: Skylines and I think that it is fair to say that it is a very, very good game. It is mechanically super-tight and building a city is flat-out hypnotizing. With that said, I wish that the game had some personality, but that hardly matters when it is impossible to stop playing it. I dropped Divinity: Original Sin somewhere in the middle. I’ve never started Shadowrun Returns: Dragonfall or Dead State. I probably don’t have the worst backlog in the world, but I really do need to make some progress before I start buying a bunch of new games, especially if those games are going to be 40+ hour RPGs. At least with Cities: Skylines, I feel like I have a strong opinion of what the game is at this point. Leaving a game like Divinity just leaves a weird open loop in my mind and I always want to go back and close it out.
Wizard’s Academy Kickstarter
3DTotalGames has launched their Kickstarter campaign for Wizard’s Academy. As described by the Kickstarter page, “Wizard’s Academy is a cooperative game for 2-6 players in which you play as students trying to save their academy with magic that they do not understand. You may need to animate stone statues to fight off rampaging hordes, persuade an inspector that the academy is safe (and only slightly aflame) or tame a book that has learned to cast its own spells and delights in mayhem.” The components include 2 game boards, 17 room tiles, 40 miniatures, 6 character cards, 64 spell cards, and 70 disaster and location cards. The Kickstarter page also includes links to a print-and-play demo (which weighs in at 158 MB), as well as the rulebook. I haven’t gotten a chance to try out the print-and-play version, but I do rather like the graphic direction for the game and it does look neat, with the players moving about the rooms trying to protect the mana crystal by picking up glyphs that allow them to cast spells. The catch? You don’t know which glyphs combine to cast which spells until you try since you are, as described above, merely a student.
Humble Paradox Midweek Sale
The Humble Store has announced a midweek sale featuring Paradox Games, many of which I am rather fond of even if they are completely beyond my faculties. In particular, I think highly of Crusader Kings II ($7.99) and Warlock II ($4.99). Although I have had a lot of fun with CKII, I have never quite been able to get my head around Europa Universalis, which I believe to be more of a belief system than a game, although it certainly has its following.
Oh! Oh! Unrelated to Paradox, I saw that Qvadriga, the chariot racing game with RPG elements, is on sale for $9.99 down from $19.99. This may not seem like news to you, but I have been waiting for a sale on this game for a long time, ever since I played the browser-based version (I think it was, anyway) quite a while ago.
Boot Hill Heroes
I’ve been playing through Boot Hill Heroes Part 1 and, I really have to say, for a pretty traditional JRPG experience, I have found it to be rather solid. It’s also interesting to see the JRPG construct applied to the Wild West in a very straight way without any (to this point, at least) paranormal of steampunk elements. Graphically, it has a very strong Earthbound vibe to it and I really like the combat system. I will be honest and say that, at first, I thought it was just the most basic of combat, but you can only carry a few moves at a time, and waiting to use your moves once your enemy is no longer blocking and making sure you have a block up at all times is vital. I don’t know if it gets any deeper than that, but it does have a very fast, tactical feel that reminds me a little of SanctuaryRPG. There have been one or two parts where it has gone a little heavy on the old timey lingo, but – overall – it has been a very pleasant surprise.
Girlpool – Ideal World
Today’s track is “Ideal World” from Girlpool. As I listened to the song the first time, I was always afraid that it would skew too twee, but it never got there for me.