Game of the Week Frostpunk
Well after last week’s complete failure by the gaming industry to provide anything worth buying outside of one Indie Retro RPG this week provides a good collection of riches.
There are some near misses as well. John Wick HEX is out on the PC this week (and the MAC of all things as well) but really I would hold off for the console release. Games like this are almost made for the Switch or remote play.
The Bradwell Conspiracy also comes out this week. It seems intriguing but after spending some time watching the playthroughs it seems more like The Stanley Parable but without any of the humor not to mention Kevan Brighting ‘s delightful narration. So that is a soft pass.
A warning for Xbox One owner’s Atlas is crawling onto the system this week. It costs $30 even though it is unfinished. There are no mods on the Xbox so good luck with the quality of life fixes. If you want a job that is miserable and costs you money Atlas may be for you. If you want to know how useless video game “influencers” are, take a listen to some videos of them praising this broken mess during the PC launch. Prostitution at its finest.
I was going to make it the theme this week about how colorful all the games that are coming out and then Frostpunk had to go and ruin it as my Game of the Week. Frostpunk is a lot of things but bright and colorful is not one of them. I am a little concerned about another stress-filled city manager in a hostile environment game as I couldn’t get into Aven Colony the last time I tried to play it and my Tropico sessions tend to be rather short.
However, Frostpunk has child labor, the chance to start a religion based on yourself, and cannibalism. It is one strip club away from my average Sims 4 play session (Why yes I do use mods why do you ask?)
The reviews have been very good and Frostpunk has a nice solid focus. I also like the way it forces decisions and gives you feedback throughout the game on how those decisions affect everything around you. Very much looking forward to this one.
Well here is some colorful gameplay. That is more like it. I am no fan of side-scrolling platformers but the games in the Shante series such as Shantae: Half-Genie Hero are an exception. Indivisible takes Shante, mixes in some Blazblue character design and a great action RPG combat system and paints it all with vivid colors and great graphics. It’s as if sunshine is pouring out of my console. Of all the colorful options offered this week, Indivisible is definitely my top pick.
Well, Frostpunk and Indivisible are the two games I am very excited about the rest of this week’s picks have less enthusiasm behind them. No game demonstrates this better than GRID (2019). I put 2019 after GRID myself because Codemasters couldn’t be bothered despite releasing a game called GRID not all that long ago. I know this because I own it.
This GRID despite sharing the same name is not a remaster but a new game from the ground up. Well as new as a racing game can be. Pros include excellent car selection, a nemesis system where the orc you hit in turn 4 remembers you (I may have to check my notes on that one) and the usual Codemasters polish. Cons include a career mode that drags with boring events, limited track selection, and the fact you have ten racers in your backlog you have never gotten around to playing including the other game named GRID.
Spirt Hunter: NG
Spirit Hunter: NG is a sequel (or as they call it a companion game) to Spirit Hunter: Death Mark. It is a visual novel with over the top horror elements and other naughty bits one might find in a decent horror film.
There are plenty of branching paths, dialogue choices and multiple endings. While not as engaging as say Until Dawn, Spirit Hunter might be the right choice to get those skeptical of visual novels as a whole into the genre.
Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince
Well, there is a new Trine game coming out this week… were we clamoring for one of those? They are not bad games after all. I enjoyed my time with Trine and Trine 2 but I never recall a nagging feeling where I wondered if they will make another one.
Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince is as pretty as it always has been but this calling card has faded over the years. As this week’s list shows there are plenty of games as graphically impressive as Trine.
For those five people unfamiliar with Trine you switch automatically among three characters solving physics puzzles why gaining new abilities in a beautifully rendered world and with a usually rote story. If you have managed not to pick up a free copy or two of Trine you can buy all three previous games in the Trine: Ultimate Collection also released this week.
Alliance Alive HD Remastered (The)
Alliance Alive HD Remastered is a remaster of an old Nintendo 3DS game. And it kind of looks it. As a turn-based RPG at least doesn’t use cheap sprites and it has a giant mechanical rubber duck with a machine gun. If you want to get on this list, let me tell you, a giant mechanical rubber duck with a machine gun will get you on this list.
Concrete Genie is probably the prettiest game on this week’s list. It is one of those kind-hearted colorful mid-range games that Sony does so well. It is just the themes I am not a fan of. The game has bullies (to avoid) and graffiti (to place).
Hiding is not a game mechanic I am a fan of whether it is bullies or Alien Xenomorphs. It is a mechanic, much like escort missions, that can become frustrating pretty quickly.
Graffiti in video games is also not the best of mechanics. I see that Concrete is following the video game tradition that all graffiti artists create gorgeous murals and colors rather than the ugly defacements that they do in real life. I don’t mind graffiti as a fun side quest that makes sense for the game’s fiction such as Saints Row 2 or Infamous Second Son.
I actually am getting an Infamous Second Son vibe from watching Concrete at least graphically. It seems a nice game but I just don’t know if I will enjoy myself after the initial oohs and awws wear off.
Stellatum is a bullet hell twin-stick shooter. The reviews I have seen have been less than enthusiastic but I have to admit I like the cut of this game’s jib.
Something about watching the gameplay immediately makes me want to have a controller in my hand and that is enough to at least peak my curiosity.
Yooka-Laylee And The Impossible Lair
You know we had two more games on this list when I started it than when I got down to Yooka-Laylee And The Impossible Lair (A Knight’s Quest and AeternoBlade II for the curious). They were goodish games but the graphics seem a bit threadbare and the action-platforming seemed a bit been there done that. (Well at least for Kings Quest I knocked AeternoBlade II out of contention because in the trailer the female lead had the same expression that that one Scooby-Doo Fred Jones guy had at the beginning of the Friday the 13th game before they patched it out. Seriously if that is what you put in the trailer I can only imagine what the rest of the game looks like.)
Yooka-Laylee And The Impossible Lair was in no danger of a similar fate. It is polished to a tee and has fantastic gameplay. Imaginative levels , great dad puns, and a third-dimensional overworld that is practically a game in of itself.
If it has a fault it would simply be that I am not a fan of the genre in general, and Yooka-Layee is no Shante. Not my kind of game but I always appreciate a well-done video game and I may find myself enjoying it quite a bit.