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Hey, Talking Time, Whatcha Playin?

Playing Cattails after it was $2 on the eShop last week. Lots of things that could be better, and hunting is horrible until you level it up... a lot. But there's a lot of things to do and the music is a lot of fun (this track is one of my favourites for sure). Doubt I'll beat it but happy I got it. I would not pay full price but if it goes under $5 again here or on Steam I'd recommend it.
I think I like Oblivion more than Skyrim (but also significantly less than Morrowind).

It probably mostly comes down to quest design. In Skyrim it seems like every major faction quest is about some different version of a hero's journey where you become the most important chosen being in the universe. In Morrowind and Oblivion, the quests feel like they're about exploring the world. There's more of a sense of just . . . wandering into weird situations and getting in over your head.


Gravity is overrated.
@estragon; That's the definite and unfortunate trend-line of The Elder Scrolls over time, especially the switch from Morrowind to Oblivion. Daggerfall was particularly notable for having a main plot where you're an agent of the Emperor, but barring that you're just one speck of dust in a world that doesn't give a damn about you for the most part. Daggerfall Unity is feature complete to the original and is frankly a better experience than the original EVER was at this point, plus mods and I could go forever.

Playing the Zelda Link's Awakening remake on the Switch as an early holiday gift. Sure its got issues with the framerate and I felt absurdly wronged by the fishing pond being harder in this version, but I guess I'm on the side of liking the graphical style. Some of the hit detection on bosses is WEIRD, and the overworld theme doesn't have the higher tempo unique feel of the original... but yeah yeah I like it. Only just finished the third dungeon though.
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I really liked the Morrowind approach where maybe you're the chosen one, or maybe you're just an Imperial psyop in the right place and at the right time to be used in a proxy war between a bunch of gods (which also kind of necessarily suggests, what would the difference even be?).

I'm interested in Daggerfall but I have a horrible sense of direction and it's infamous for huge labyrinthian semi-randomized dungeons, so I think it would be a bad match for me in its vanilla state.

I think I would need a mod for smaller dungeons, and it looks like there's a promising one in the testing stage right now. Probably someday!


Gravity is overrated.
@estragon Daggerfall Unity has a smaller dungeon option as a base feature in the game, I've been using it for over a year now and infinitely prefer it over the madness of the older HUGE dungeons. Its a command line option in an .ini file that is quite easy to switch on.


Gravity is overrated.
Never had an issue with it, thankfully. I'll back off the DFUnity deal now so as not to flood you and the rest about it - but if you have interest and want information/have issues with DFUnity then let me know; its one of the absolute best medieval fantasy games if you're trying to AVOID yet another heroic journey game.


chat.exe a cessé de fonctionner
Staff member
@estragon; Playing the Zelda Link's Awakening remake on the Switch as an early holiday gift. Sure its got issues with the framerate and I felt absurdly wronged by the fishing pond being harder in this version, but I guess I'm on the side of liking the graphical style. Some of the hit detection on bosses is WEIRD, and the overworld theme doesn't have the higher tempo unique feel of the original... but yeah yeah I like it. Only just finished the third dungeon though.

Buddy if someone is complaining about the art style send them my way so I can throw some hands. Ironically the nigh constant frames rate issues have made me into a believer of the Switch Pro/2/whatever. There’s no way Nintendo would deliver such a poorly optimized game when part of the appeal of such a clean art style would be smoother-than-silk frame rates. If Nu!Switch runs the game at 60fps 1080p that would be fine ... 4K would be amazing I’m sure (though there’s textures in there that are blurry at 1080p).

Also please, Nintendo, I am BEGGING you to remake LTTP in the same engine.

Myself? Watching my cousin play Zelda: Age of Calamity has seen me get back on my BoTW bullshit poste-haste. It has to be the fiftieth time I’ve replayed it but I never get less amazed to just wander the world, find neat little secrets, and keep interacting with it.

I’m gonna put the rest under spoiler tags, just in case. Breath of the Wild is a pretty amazing game to discover on your own, even if it’s been out for a long time.

This time I went vanilla, since I’ve done Master Mode the last few times. One thing Master Mode does a bit poorly is the way they deal with higher powered weapon drops earlier. Placing them in the sky just ruins the view. Were I to make my own master mode, I’d change two things:

1) enemy health doesn’t regenerate

2) remove the sky loot

For the former, it takes away from more strategic take downs where you might weaken a group with a rolled rock or an explosion. Exploding TNT crates and it barely dinging health that immediately regenerates isn’t particularly fun.

I see why they wanted to try it, but that leads me to no. 2. With plentiful power weapons from the sky, it no longer matters that enemy health can regenerate. But even if they added a few more weapons, more powerful ones, in different places than sky octorock rafts, would benefit it more.

This isn’t to suggest that Master Mode is bad, or that playing through it is useless: I really enjoyed my time on it, but there’s a certain mystique about playing from the beginning on normal mode. The way that gear, enemy placement, and secrets are all deliberately designed and placed tends to feel more fulfilling. So it’s nice to put the original version through its paces again.

This time I’m gonna try and avoid using dodge type flurry rushes. I never did master shield parrying other than Guardian Beams so this is the chance to do that.


Aging Hipster Dragon Dad
Moving this to the appropriate thread...
So I’m only 30 minutes into No Straight Roads, but so far I’m pleasantly surprised after the cool reception it got at launch. I’m especially surprised at how well it runs on the Switch. I was expecting Hat in Time levels of performance, but got 60 fps with only occasional frame rate hiccups while loading new assets instead.


Aging Hipster Dragon Dad
One caveat on the graphics is at least undock it looks to be running sub 720p. It’s not Xenoblade bad, but it’s noticeable. Still, given the stretchy animation style, I’d prefer that and 60 fps to full resolution and 30 fps.


hardcore retro gamin'
My biggest complaint with the Link's Awakening remake isn't the art style, it's the fact that they force me to use the analog stick for digital movement. Come on.

Anyway, I still think the Game Boy original is better overall. I love some of the small quality-of-life changes, though, in this new port. And honestly, I'm still disappointed that they never ironed out the frame rate issues.


Post Reader
I think I like Oblivion more than Skyrim (but also significantly less than Morrowind).

It probably mostly comes down to quest design. In Skyrim it seems like every major faction quest is about some different version of a hero's journey where you become the most important chosen being in the universe. In Morrowind and Oblivion, the quests feel like they're about exploring the world. There's more of a sense of just . . . wandering into weird situations and getting in over your head.
I think Skyrim is a better game but glad I'm not the only one who likes the quest design in Oblivion.


Slay the Spire. It's a lot of fun. I had previously played Pirates Outlaws on my phone, which was basically a free to play version of STS, and suffered for it. The real thing is much better; progress is quick and there's way more variety.

As far as deck builders go, I'm a huge fan of Dominion and I haven't liked others I've tried as much. But, STS is different enough that it doesn't really compare directly. Dominion is all about quickly building toward your strategy then deciding when to start clogging your deck with victory cards. STS feels like it takes the middle of a game of Dominion and stretches it out about as far as it can go. You're just constantly refining your deck around whatever strategy you can cobble together. Plus, it meshes well with the videogamey RPG combat template. So even though the core idea is somewhat similar, it stands on its own.

In my current run I'm an Ironclad, and I'm in the third area. My build is focused on drawing lots of cards, adding a ton of block, and then bodyslaming enemies, using the armor to attack. It seems really effective so far.

Beta Metroid

At peace
(he/him and such)
Replaying Ori and the Blind Forest in anticipation of getting the sequel for Christmas. Game's absolutely gorgeous, the music is moving, and the story is a shining example of "bittersweet." I absolutely love all of your mobility options, especially going for the Definitive Edition-exclusive abilities as early as you can (I don't think I realized in my previous playthrough that you can Bash off of your own light orbs, which opens up a lot of crazy possibilities). The bashing mechanic is what really makes Ori unique, and it's a really inventive idea that's executed well. Throw in a triple jump, (ground or air) dash, wall climbing and jumping, gliding, and super jumps that can be executed from floors or walls, and it is just so satisfying to go anywhere in this game.

What's not satisfying is the combat. Although bashing enemy projectiles back at them should make things more interesting, it usually feels like the ideal option is just spamming them to death with your basic attack. You can avoid enemies, but some of the fun mobility options like the triple jump have to be unlocked in the skill tree. And then I feel like I have to spend hard-earned points on boring stuff like "the same basic attack, but stronger" so stronger enemies don't take forever to kill. Ultimately, it's no big deal. The platforming in this game is absolutely masterful, and the combat just pales in comparison. Really looking forward to the sequel!

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
Happy to report that the combat was the single greatest improvement that Will of the Wisps has over Blind Forest.

And you get Bash much earlier on.


Field of Glory: Empires, by Ageod. It's a turn-based strategy game / map painter spanning 310 BC - 190 AD, i.e. 500 turns starting from slightly before the Antigonid state collapsed.

Capsule review

+ Tall vs. Wide: This is the first such game I've seen since Civ 4 that implements a positive and nuanced disincentive (rather than Paradoxian fake "roleplay", or e.g. Civ 5's no-fun-allowed punishment-per-city) to absorbing more territory at every opportunity, because your realm's stability is tied to a "culture"/"decadence" ratio; the former requires you to build specific infrastructure such as theatres and cult sites, which usually has no economic benefit otherwise. It is also tied to the ratio of accepted-culture citizens to total population; small states can thus rack up "progress" quickly. "Decadence" arises from some otherwise-useful economic buildings such as gambling parlors and slave markets, aside from sheer nation size and (fittingly) whether your nation is already "glorious" in everyone's eyes. In an amusing spin, public schools reduce decadence.

+ Rise and Fall: Tying into the above, this is the first game set in this period in which I've seen not only the overstretched Seleucid Empire fall to the Mauryans, but the Mauryans gradually losing ground themselves to a nascent (or rather re-emergent) Persia afterwards. In other words, rubberbanding, but there's more to it: like say Rhye's and Fall of Civilization, the game attempts to make both short-term and long-term history relevant. Indeed, the "stability" criteria are tied to e.g. your current budget or army as opposed to what they were a few turns ago, so "small-scale" swings that, in other strategy games, "wide" nations can easily replace with their million build queues, will have more of an effect as, say, the Battle of Magnesia for the Seleucids of our world.

+ Buildings: Aside from them costing only opportunity and being more varied (and meaningful, although I suspect that not directly competing for build queues with military units is what ensures this) than in any Civilization game, the stroke of genius here is that the building tree is re-randomized for each province -- almost like Master of Orion 1 shuffles its tech tree -- and you can invest 1t to reshuffle the selection currently available. You can thus fine-tune your economy and yet have to rely on what opportunities locally present themselves. At least with half my current provinces, I could fabulate about their special economic character while not lying at all about the in-game differences, which is not the case in e.g. Crusader Kings 2 where every province is about the same (or can all be turned into the same stuff) apart from a nebulous preordained "base tax" and, at most, cultural levies (and trade goods plain don't exist). Dynamic trade goods / production and cross-province production chains with a trade range that can be increased further with e.g. roads/harbours (why is this not in every single strategy game) only add to this.

~ Victory Conditions: The game has something akin to Civilization's Domination/Culture victories blended into one, owing to the Legacy mechanic; Legacy is awarded both for excellent culture (see first point of critique above) and for conquest, and if at any point past Turn 50 any nation's Legacy at least triples that of its closest competitor, it wins the game. What's better yet is that peace treaties can include "humiliation" as a clause, which awards the winner Legacy (in various proportions as you choose) at the expense of the target. This sure is more historically appropriate than Rome absorbing Carthage in a single war. -- On the other hand, in my current campaign, it is Turn 73, I'm Rome, and have triple the Legacy of almost everyone else... save for Saba, which is on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. I suppose that "neighbour luck" is never usually that much of an element of Paradox games (apart from the early game if you start as Pskov in EU3 or whatever, edit: or if you're in the New World and Portugal thankfully plops down colonies next to you instead of Castile)

~ Romanus Eunt Domus: The flavour writers tried hard, but the game misspells what feels like every twentieth Latin proper name. We have "Garius Marius", the "Thyrrenian Sea", and I didn't care enough to remember any others but I'm sure you'd find it just as obvious.

~ Combat: The combat system is fine once you understand the basics, but I'm somewhat disappointed that army composition and a few dice rolls (to simulate "tactics", I guess) decide the outcome almost entirely. Your generals hardly seem to vary, and changing the order of battle or bringing reinforcements gradually is impossible once a broil has started; even Crusader Kings 2 with its utterly obscure need-a-wiki tactics mechanics and its rather basic "education" subsystems did this better.

- Buildings: However, choosing a building for every province every turn, with each one providing only a small (but not negligible) individual benefit, gets old and makes up roughly 80% of the game. Recommended for the SimCity crowd, I suppose. Also, for all I've gushed about the trade and production chains, they essentially run themselves if you just acquire enough clay from hapless Gauls, Greeks or Carthaginians.

- Map Painting: While I brought this unto myself by selecting a scrub-tier difficulty level ("Balanced", where the AI gets no boni and neither does the player) and even that is still more difficult than e.g. Civ 6 on "Deity", I must admit that I'm mostly playing "number go up", much as I hate that phrase (it's how some other Tyrants feel about "git gud" instead, I guess). There is another decent feature where "the Senate" (or whatever applies) rather than you yourself can designate which provinces are key to be retained/conquered in the public opinion, and for big culturally heterogeneous empires, this can be the best way to keep afloat on the "culture/decadence" ratio, adding an unpredictable source of necessary improvisation; but ultimately, I can't help but feel that I'm "merely" managing a spreadsheet rather than solving emergent puzzles.
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Red Plane
I’ve started playing Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom, which I knew was a Wonder Boy III-em-up but didn’t realise or had forgotten just how close it hews to that game. At least in the hour or two that I’ve played of it I think I’ve recognised every piece of music, found a few secrets based on where they are in Wonder Boy (actually where they are in WB in Monster Land rather than III but close enough), recognised several enemies (one of which used to be a player character) and level layouts, and been turned into the shopkeeper pig from WBIII. Fortunately, I love Wonder Boys two and three and all of this is wonderful. Also wonderful is a bit early on where you go through a door and emerge on an island in the background but the camera stays where it is and your tiny little sprite runs around back there.

The fact that the antagonist (so far) is your drunk uncle is a reminder that the working title of this game was Monster Boy and the Wizard of Booze, which bodes poorly for the writing, but so far it’s tolerable and I’m here for the platforming anyway.

q 3

Posts: 4,731,901
Dicey Dungeons is very fun, it has a solid balance of luck and strategy and the dice rolling / selecting mechanic gets the ol' brain motors spinning in a pleasant way. Also it has the good sense to not be a deckbuilder, even the one part that's superficially similar to a deckbuilder really isn't. Most fun dice to play as, probably the Witch because I always feel like I'm just this close to figuring out how to do an infinite combo.

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
While whack of big fancy games under the Jinglebush, and the one I keep coming back to is Grindstone.

On the surface it’s a pretty standard match-3 puzzler where you have to draw a path across Creeps and Jerks (games term, not mine) for a Viking to chop his way through. Which is pretty simple but the game introduces new wrinkles at a steady clip, and you’ve got to spend extra time in levels to gather up precious precious Grindstones to get upgrades with, but the longer you spend in a given level the more aggressive enemies become until a level is almost completely unnavigable.

Capy games really knows how to make a good match-em-up, you guys!


Red Plane
I’m still playing Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom, but some of the shine has come off. I feel it’s less forgiving than WBIII. I’m struggling to afford upgrades because I’m spending all my money on health refills and elixirs. Sometimes if I use my elixir I’ll deliberately lose my HP and go back to the last save point because that’s a quicker way of getting it back than earning 40 coins again. There are a lot of places where execution is really precise, and it’s more frustrating than fun. I got really stuck at one point just after getting the ability to make ice platforms because I’d forgotten I had fire boots on, which were making the platforms melt almost immediately, which made the huge climb I was supposed to do by making ice platforms while jumping up to them almost impossible. This did not seem out of character for the game, and it was only when I went into the menu for something else and noticed the boots I had on that I was able to proceed.

Having had that whinge, though, I am still mostly enjoying the game. It’s very pretty, which helps. I just got the lion form, which seems to have better defence, so I’m dying less, which also helps.


The Shogun of Harlem
Borderlands 3 was 10 bucks with the Epic Coupon dealie...it's weirdly nostalgic running around and mindlessly shooting guys and having numbers pop out. I played a ton of BL1, didn't really like any of the characters in 2 so I never got super into it but did beat it, and never played the Pre-Sequel. The gameplay is fun but...

That's it. The "humor" has aged like old cheese. I'm enjoying all the classes and the gameplay, but literally everything else is eye rolling at BEST. There have been like 2 or 3 decent gags (the "my chili receipe dies with meeee!!!!!" death cry is the one A+ joke so far), but in general, the game's tone is exhausting. I'm playing with a friend and when one joke fell super flat (get this, someone was really loud and crass and it was supposed to be funny!!! WOW!!! What stellar writing!!!1!!!! WHOA), I said something making fun of it and he said "Listen Alex, it's hard to be funny...but it's easy to be loud", and that logic is definitely at the forefront of the writer's minds. My friend also made a joke about "should we play it on mute?" and I honestly think that might not be a bad idea.

It's fun to shoot guys and get loot, but dear God, the humor was already wearing thin when I was 11 years younger. Since then it's gotten worse in quality, and now I'm older and have less patience for dumb shit, so you can IMAGINE how I feel now.

That said I have a monkey with abs, a pistol, and sunglasses who follows me around and throws barrels at guys. It's not all bad.

Oh also they should have recast Chris Hardwick's character because fuck him, obviously. The character is extremely annoying and painfully unfunny too so hell, should've just left him out alotgether.


Gravity is overrated.
Mute the voice acting. Maybe put on subtitles. I had to do this for Borderlands 3 and I still didn't finish it.


Little Bug looks pretty cool, plays pretty cool and gets hard very fast.

You play a little girl with too much imagination. The first level is just you going home from the busstop, only that you meet a weird cat and get to some bizarre, barren fantasy world. There are no living creatures, except for some weird things that kill you instantly. Respawn is also instant, to the last checkpoint, and there are no lives.

You basically just move from left to right and have no jump ability. But there is a blue sphere, which you also control with the right stick. You can make the sphere draw the girl to itself, which only works for a short time, then the connection breaks. But with this, you can fall, make the connection, and than get drawn into the air, with some physics system to create your way of movement.

I'm not sure if this is particularly understandable, but I hope it makes clear that your controls are very indirect, and therefor hard. Unfortunately, there are also enemies that move towards you, and, as mentioned, kill you on contact. I find everything about this game great, including artstyle and atmosphere, except for that part. It makes the game really hard. Which is a shame, because I actually really like it, and it is clearly very well done. A shame that no one seems to know about it.

There is also a story between the levels, about a tension between the girl and her mother, which also seemed well made. I would love to follow that, and find out how that continues.

It is part of the itch.io bundle, and if you are just a bit curious, give it a shot. It really deserves a bit more attention.


Switch Paper Mario is charming as ever but the battle system is beginning to wear thin for me. Especially the gimmicky boss battles