Furi: So Hard It’s Fun

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I spent all of this week trying to down the second boss in Furi, one of July’s PS Plus freebies. I don’t normally play games in the “so hard it’s fun” genre. I like some challenge in my games but I’m not a fan of the all challenge all the time style. But after playing Dark Souls 2  last weekend, I was in the mood to test my difficulty limits.

The story began with a pretty cut-scene. I escaped from my cell,and picked a fight with my captor, the Warden. The fight, which was basically the tutorial, went well. I lost some lives but overall I beat him on my first try.  Brimming with confidence, I started the long walk down to the next level and the new boss all while a man with a rabbit head filled me in on her. Upon arrival I was thoroughly trounced again and again by the Hunter.

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In this twin stick shooter/hack and slash game, each boss has 6 phases and each phase you are given full health and 3 lives. If you lose a life during a phase the phase starts over and the boss gets their health back. Lose all three lives and the whole thing starts from phase one again. Starting over and over had me yelling at my TV more than I’d care to admit. Everything you just did for the past 20 minutes didn’t count.

That’s what I thought at first. But as I came back to challenge the boss once or twice a day  I noticed I was getting better. Taking the approach of playing it a little each day instead of trying to power through it for hours definitely helped make it least frustrating.  I was dying less during the early phases, I started having more health on my last life on the later phases, my parries were getting better and I knew the attack animations and how to avoid them. I was getting better as a player. What surprised me was that even though I wasn’t going anywhere in the game, I felt like I was progressing.Finally on Friday I kicked the second boss into a pit with a cry of victory  and was on my way to the third. Maybe this one won’t take so long to beat.

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Games 5 and 6: Tengami and Where is My Heart?

I haven’t done this in a while. July has been a crazy month for me in my non gaming life. Between going on vacation and taking on some more responsibilities at work  there hasn’t been a whole lot of time to work on my backlog. These games I actually finished back in June but haven’t had the chance to write about them. Both were under 2 hours long, I wish Tengami was longer but Where is My Heart? couldn’t end soon enough.

Tengami

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Developer: Nyamnyam

Playtime: 114 minutes

Tengami is a point and click puzzle game in a world that looks like its made out of paper. The game itself  reminds me of an interactive pop-up book complete with tabs to pull and flaps to flip. The goal of the game is to go through each level and find a flower to put back onto the Cherry Blossom tree.

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Each of the four levels reflect the four changing seasons and have a few puzzles to solve on each. The puzzles are difficult but not impossible to solve without hints. The glowing circles on the interactive parts of the world were very helpful. While I tried to use hints sparingly, there were some puzzles I just couldn’t wrap my head around to start until I looked up a walkthrough.

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At the end of each level you are rewarded with a Haiku

While it did feel a like cheating to use a walkthrough for some puzzles, I really wanted to see more of the world. I love the art in this game, it’s simple,unique and very visually pleasing. Couple that with the great soundtrack and you can see why I didn’t want to spend hours figuring out that a few symbols were actually Japanese numbers.

I wish the game was longer. It seemed as soon as I was really getting into it it was over. That’s one of the issues with short games. Overall it plays really well, the character walks a bit slow but other than that it’s a really enjoyable experience that I highly recommend.

Where Is My Heart?

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Where is My Heart? They’re all over the place.

Developer: Schulenburg Software

Playtime: 98 minutes

I picked up this game in a Humble bundle a year or two ago. What started off as a cute platformer with an interesting idea became a headache after about 10 levels. Where is My Heart tells the story of a family of forest spirits whose world has been fractured. You are tasked with guiding them through each level to put their world back together and gather  hearts.

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Hey Ma, I’m in two places at once!

The main feature of the game is the shattered world, the level is broken up into different pieces and shuffled around. This adds a challenge to the platforming. Jumping out of one square could drop you into one across the screen. After a few levels, this becomes more of an annoyance than anything special. It’s not the easiest platforming and when you don’t know exactly where your character is jumping to, it ends in a lot of missed jumps and miserable deaths.I wouldn’t recommend trying to play this in one sitting, I ended up with a headache trying to keep track of how all the shattered pieces were connected together.

Each forest spirit can power up and transform to have different abilities. This adds a few more mechanics to the game. For example the Rainbow spirit, who looks like a fluffy marshmallow, jump and rotate the screens to get to hard to reach places. The Deer spirit can jump higher than the rest and the bat spirit can reveal hidden passages and platforms.

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The spirits are allergic to spikes and water. I must have died 50 times on this levle.

I think I would have liked the game if it was a normal platformer. It’s challenging enough as such but throwing in the confusing, jigsaw, shattered levels makes it frustrating. I understand why they did this, it’s a unique idea and it is fun for the first few levels and if you took this feature away, it’d be just another retro looking platformer.

Out with the Old and In With the Older…and Older

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I tried, I really tried to get another 5,000 blocks placed in trove this weekend but my heart just wasn’t in it. As the two week long anniversary event drew to a close so did my interest in doing anything in the game. So I threw in the towel at 6,000 and decided I could live without the extra 5 Golden Ticket Chests.

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I don’t know what this is

This morning I opened my new shiny 13 Golden ticket boxes and got a whole lot of nothing. I wasn’t really expecting anything out of them but there’s always a chance with lock boxes, part of the excitement of opening them I suppose.Honestly, I just wanted some new mounts to ride around on, that would have been nice not sure I’d be all that excited for a full year of patron subscription.

While it was fun for a short period of time, I got bored of the endless zerg in the higher level portals. Plus it always crashes when I launch Spotify along with it. If I’m going to mindlessly grind I want some music to grind to. I’ll definitely try it out when it comes to consoles though.

Dark Souls 2

I’ve played Demon Souls, I’ve played half of Dark Souls, I finished Bloodborne, but I never got around to playing Dark Souls 2. It’s my friend Jay’s favorite game and he’s been bugging me for years to play it. For years I’ve been telling him that if I ever found it for 5 dollars or less I would get it figuring that would by me sometime. Well I walked into my local game store a few weeks ago and found Dark Souls 2 Scholar of the First Sin for exactly 5 dollars and, keeping my word, prominently bought it. Which,means yet another game to add to my backlog

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This weekend I started playing and streaming Dark Souls 2 partly because I had some friends who wanted to watch and partly because I wanted to try streaming solo. Me, Jay, and some other friends had been streaming Diablo 3 as a group which was a blast but I wanted to see what it was like by myself. It was a fun time, I’m sure my more experienced friends had a good time heckling me very time I died as well as giving me a few pointers.

I sunk about 4 hours into it Saturday night. I played Demon Souls and Bloodborne mostly Co-op so this is the first time I’m trying to complete a Souls game completely by myself. So far it’s been difficult but fair and I had a good time with it.

World Of Warcraft-Trial Edition

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I never played WoW at all. Ok that’s not true, I played a few private servers in high school with friends but that wasn’t fun. You were too powerful and gained everything too quickly. It probably wasn’t the best way to be introduced to a game. Of course, the game was around when I lacked any sort of disposable income of my own and my parents didn’t understand why I needed to pay monthly to play a game.

With all the hype around Legion coming at the end of next month, I wanted to sit down and try for myself the king of MMO’s.  I started my exploration into Azeroth as a Draenei Monk. It was a pleasant way to pass the time doing quests, killing things, looting things, leveling up. All of it was great, the quintessential MMO experience. I managed to get to level 15 this weekend and plan to get to my account level cap of 20 next weekend.

I like games with a lot of classes. With 13 classes to choose from it looks like it would keep my attention for a while.If it wasn’t for the inability to delete my character I would have re rolled countless times and probably not made it past level 10. But I like my name and being a blue space goat felt right so I stuck with the Monk for the weekend. Plus,those hooves look like they’d hurt to be kicked by.

Though strangely enough, playing World of Warcraft over the weekend actually made me miss Final Fantasy 14. If it wasn’t for No Man’s Sky coming out in a few weeks I would have plunked down some cash for the starter edition of Wow or Heavansward and upped my sub to FF14. I have a feeling most of my gaming time in August will be taken up by my quest to explore the universe and name some plants and creatures. Maybe even fly some spaceships or something.

Creativity is Such a Grind

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I’ve been playing more Trove this week snatching up goodies every day from the one year anniversary event. I have to admit, they have been pretty lack luster. Most of the time its 2 Golden Ticket Chests that are a lot like scratch off tickets. You could win a pack of mounts or a whole years subscription but most of the time end up  getting a measly style surprise.

Trove holds competitions every week and players can compete and climb the leader boards for prizes. This week one of the competitions is Blocks Placed. There are no prizes for being a certain place on the leader board, all you have to do is put down 10,000 blocks to win 20 of these Golden Ticket Chests. So instead of building a 10k block wall I decided to try my hand at actually building something.

My friends who play have always been really into building sometimes more than actually playing the game. They’ve built some interesting stuff including a giant monopoly board,  a large city,giant pinatas, and even a whole club world dedicated to aviation history. They’re creations always look crisp and well planned out.

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Meanwhile I built this Narwhal once while watching Interstellar.  As a result I was banished to building in the desolate corners of our club world.

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So I sat down and thought about what to build as I rode far away from our main hub. I wanted to build a robot, one that looked like one of those tin toy robots with the square body and square head, a classic robot. After about 3 hours and one delightfully awful horror movie later, the Grinda-Tron 5000 was built. While he’s not exactly what I envisioned I think he turned out pretty well. He consists of 5,100 blocks and is my second creation in Trove.

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I was never a fan of building in Trove. It’s kind of clunky and there isn’t a good way to do anything fast. If you’re building something tall and accidentally fall off, better hope you have enough jumps to get back to the top. Sometimes it can be insanely frustrating and it takes a long time. For a game that tries to promote creatively and building, there should be some useful tools in build mode to make it easier and more fun.

Despite this, I am excited to build some more and get my boxes at the end of the week. Building was somewhat fun once I got over all the limitations of the game and things started to come together. It was almost like doodling in 3D. I’m not quite done, I still have 4.1k blocks left to place, maybe Grinda-Tron needs a friend.

 

 

Pokemon Go: Keep Out

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Like many, I’ve spent the last couple weeks living out my childhood dream of setting out and collecting Pokemon for real. The hunt has brought me to places I’ve never been, I’ve met some people I otherwise wouldn’t have, and I’ve stopped in the middle of a sidewalk or a store more times than I can count.

Pokemon Go hit and it hit hard. Almost every store, restaurant, or bar in my neighborhood has some sort of deal for Pokemon Go players. Every night there are people young and old wandering the streets with their eyes glued to their phone. From my apartment I hear the yells and cheers of people who have finally found the little critter they’ve been searching for, usually right under my bed room window at 3am…while I don’t really mind, it seems like more than a few people do.

I’ve slowly seen more and more “Private Property: No Trespassing” signs pop up around town. There are three right around my apartment. There are a few more around more of the popular Pokestops as well. The majority  I’ve seen in the residential part of town on people’s front yards,I guess not everyone wants hordes of people standing around their house or business in the middle of the night. Even where there aren’t signs posted I’ve seen a few people jup fences and even one wandering around a construction sites.

Just because we’re playing a game doesn’t mean we should wander around places we aren’t welcome. Especially other people’s yards, you would think this would be common sense but apparently it’s a problem around here. While there are Pokemon everywhere, maybe we as players shouldn’t be going everywhere.

 

 

 

Happy 1 Year Trove!

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It’s been one year since Trove officially launched and to celebrate Trion is putting on an event from July 13th to July 5th. They’ll be handing out free stuff and who doesn’t love free stuff? Players will receive a few items when they log in each day including Golden Ticket Boxes which give a chance to win a bunch of mounts, a collection of Dragons, and a full year of patron (Trove’s paid subscription). If you’re above mastery Rank 20,  you get  2 days of patron every other day when you log in.

I took a break from Trove last month and didn’t really have any interest in coming back but I really enjoy free stuff, like a lot. The two days of patron help bolster my enthusiasm as experience is doubled,you get 4 daily lock boxes, and 1500 cubits (Troves free in game currency) instead of the meager 500.

It’s been quite a year for Trove. A lot has been added to the game since launch, some of it has been good like additional classes, flying, and rune crafting. Some of it has been not so good like only being able to buy classes with premium currency. Trove released an expansion which raised the level cap fro 20 to 30, added in new ways to power up your character, and class gems that modified abilities. A lot of this was hit or miss with the community. The devs had made some interesting decisions over the course of the year and have left players wondering “who thought this was a good idea?”

A few things have changed since the last time I played. The level requirement for gems has been lowered to make them easier to access. Trove’s experience curve after level 20 is really steep, gems being available earlier give players more power rank earlier and let them go into higher level worlds for that sweet loot. Some of the awful RNG has been taken out of upgrading said gems. After so many failures the gem is guaranteed to upgrade.

I’m going to log in every day, run a few dungeon, and get my cubits for the duration of the event. Who knows maybe the enthusiasm I had for the game back in May will come back. If not, there’s always the console release to look forward to.

 

Pokemon Go: Adventures on Nature Island

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I didn’t even know Pokemon Go was still coming out until I opened my Feedley a few days ago and saw all these posts about it. I immediately opened up my phone and downloaded the app, caught a squirtle 10 feet in front of me and continued on my day. I was on vacation all of  last week and this particular day we decided to go walking in a county park.

For the most part it was a frustrating  experience full of crashes and server messages. Until we walked to Nature Island. Now I don’t know about you, but to me Nature Island sounds like a prime Pokemon location. It almost sounds like a location from one of the games and besides being a beautiful hiking trail it was close enough to a cell tower that I could actually get to playing.

Playing I felt like my childhood dreams somewhat came true. I was walking around in the world searching for Pokemon and throwing pokeballs at them. My girlfriend found this all very amusing when I would stop and say “Hold on I got to get this one!” Her Snapchat story for the day was full of me yelling about Tangelas and Snorlaxes. There were also several unclaimed gyms, not being level 5 I couldn’t do anything about this though.

I only got to play the one day as I was visiting family and didn’t want to be staring at my phone the rest of vacation. So I closed out of it, put my phone back in my pocket and enjoyed the rest of my time.

When I got home I realized just how popular this game had become in such a short time. I also discovered there are about 20 pokestations a mile or less in any direction from my apartment and 4 gyms. As a result, my little town is crawling with people day and night looking at their phones and walking around. It’s great to see so many people interacting with one another and coming together because of Pokemon and a silly mobile game. I can’t wait to join them and hunt for more pokemon.

I was able to catch 4 pokemon on Nature Island before I lost reception.

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