Last Week’s Gaming


Escape the Splendor of Squadron Doodles along the Tokaido Fall

I managed to squeeze in more gaming than I thought I would last week. I love it when this happens! I tried some new board and video games, and I got a shiny new 3080 that I still need to truly put through its paces!

But even better than that, I think I found the most perfect escape from game to date. It won’t take you long to work out what game that is.

With the new graphics card installed, I am also really close to working out the streaming layout. After writing this, I am spending the rest of the afternoon getting the layout design implemented. Expect a follow up on this later this week!

This was a game Alpal was looking forward to, and I am always up for a play on a roll and write. Well, I would be, but Deadly Doodles describes itself as a Draw and Draw game!

The premise is simple – explore the dungeon and lay the best path to maximise your score. There is a deck of cards with potential paths, and you need to navigate the map crossing monsters, weapons, and most importantly loot.

Deadly Doodles is a great start to a game system. It’s fun and easy to learn, but after one game I was already looking forward to more. The component quality is top-notch, but I would have liked to have seen another map on the back of the included board before paying for expansions.

You have to draw paths from those drawn from a deck of cards. In later rounds, it's hard to fill them in if you aren't careful!

I enjoy escape rooms, and there are some home implementations that have tickled my interest. The biggest issue with almost every version is the balancing story and difficulty. You can have some great puzzles with no narrative connection or a great story with overly simplistic challenges.

The OP with their penchant for licensed properties seems to have made an almost perfect balance for the genre. What better reason for solving a surprise mystery than playing as the Scooby-Doo gang?

Scooby-Doo: Escape from the Haunted Mansion is one of the most fun Escape Room games I have played in a while, and we are only halfway through.

I really want to show some pics of the gameplay, but every photo has answers in them!

The first room introduces the gameplay mechanics well. There was only about a minute of “Ummm, so now what?” as Alpal and I began our adventure.

Even though there are multiple members of Mystery, Inc., there is no waiting for your turn like in some other versions. Each activity is decided upon by the players, and then a character is moved/used to interact/whatever is required.

Unfortunately, the week caught up with me nearing the halfway point, but Escape from the Haunted Mansion has a midway save system. Well, it has a big envelope you can put everything in.

If you have ever wanted to try an at-home escape room, even in this early stage I can heartily recommend Scooby-Doon: Escape from the Haunted Mansion. To date, it looks like you can even replay and/or pass on the adventure as nothing is destroyed – something I always look for in this kind of game.

Tokaido | Steam

Tokaido is a game that is somehow relaxing and tense at the same time. I have talked about Tokaido in the past, and those thoughts are still relevant today.

Being able to sit back and just enjoy the beauty of Tokaido is amazing. And after a day of last-minute changes, quick thinking on different projects, and other work ‘fun’ – it was great.

I got resoundingly thrashed the first game and squeaked out a win on the second. The AI players (I was playing against 3) are mostly predictable, but that doesn’t always help!

What better game to sit and relax with than Tokaido?

Splendor | Steam

Another favourite, I decided to bring up Splendor while my desktop was busy with something else.

Like I mentioned in my Splendor review, you can get into an almost Zen-like state playing. And as I was playing with my brain already in a mode where pattern recognition was required, I pulled out a pretty sneaky win.

This was done by concentrating on collecting sets of gems rather than gems that score points. This allowed me to collect a large number of nobles, and as I was the third player to end the game quickly.

I might not play Splendor much in person anymore, but it is still high on my ‘Sure I will play’ list.

I went a slightly different tactic this game - I took as many low level gems as I could to collect nobles

Star Wars Squadrons | PS4/PSVR

I have been keeping an eye on Star Wars Squadrons since release. A couple of my friends were playing and enjoying it, so I decided to take the plunge. The only real choice I had to make was PC or PSVR.

The winner, in the end, was PS4. Graphically Star Wars Squadrons would probably look better on PC, and I have a flight stick. I almost went this route, but having to setup VR on my desktop after not touching it for ages was too much work.

So, I jumped into Star Wars Squadrons in PSVR. It was amazing. Being able to look around your cockpit and search for opponents by looking was amazing.

Being able to look around and see where your targets are is amazing

While playing in VR was amazing, I had to stop after about 40 minutes. For the first time, I got a serious bout of motion sickness in VR. True, I am out of practice, but I was definitely feeling queasy.

The good news is playing in ‘normal’ 2D mode was just as good. Flying the various starships with the DualShock controller was definitely easy to come to grips with.

While it may be a case of ‘too little, too late’, between Star Wars Squadrons and the slice of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order I played, EA seems to have finally come around to making decent games that aren’t blatant cash grabs again.

While different, the feel of the old X-Wing and Tie Fighter games is definitely alive in Squadrons

Fall Guys Season 2 | PS4

I really, really want to like Fall Guys. On one hand, it is a really fun diversion. This enjoyment increases considerably when you can chat with friends.

But then, there are people. I generally don’t like playing a lot of multiplayer games because of ‘people’. Trolls that grab for no reason, or hang around at the end just to stop others from getting through the game – I don’t understand this behaviour.

In general, I do think people should play games as they want to get enjoyment out of it. This rule doesn’t apply when your enjoyment is purely in making other players lives hard fo no reason.

That aside, the tweaks in Season 2 are really challenging, and Fall Guys really is a great game to play. I think I might restrict myself to just playing when I can at least play with friends on chat though.

It only took about a dozen tries, but I finally qualified in Slime Climb - just!

New Graphics Card – Gigabyte Gaming RTX 3080 OC

If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram you would have seen my latest acquisition. There was still a wait, but a friend of mine shouted out that he got one almost straight away, and I only had to wait about 4 days to pick one up.

I have always loved the Gigabyte Windforce cards, and so I was happy to grab the Gaming version of the series. They are bigger than the old cards, but this was a known thing. The hardest part of the installation – trying to route my USB 3 cable behind it without bending the connection. These cables are always annoying stiff, but with a little patience, it’s all in.

I did play some Doom Eternal, Control with RTX on and DLSS on/off, and some Resident Evil 3 Demo. Doom Eternal on Ultra Nightmare is basically locked at my monitor’s refresh rate of 144 Hz, and Control with all settings cranked still ran at about 60 FPS in the opening section.

Enabling DLSS and rendering natively at 2560×1080 jumped this to closer to 90 FPS average though. I need to play with this tech some more, but the idea is exciting!

The main thing I am looking forward to is my system is now as ready as I can make it for Cyberpunk 2077 next month. I am SO looking forward to playing this game!

Until then, here are a couple of screengrabs from the bit of mucking about I did manage to get in.

Once again, stills don't do the game justice. Does Ultra Nightmare settings make a huge difference? Nope. But it was a fun test.
Not a game with the latest tech or bright scenes to show off, but it was still fun to jump back into. I should finish the Platinum run on PS4...

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until next time,

JohnHQLD