Last Week’s Gaming

Last Week bought things back on track. Just in time for some anticipated gaming!

Once again, it was a week. Work has settled down, Facebook has allowed me to post again, and a new Bravely RPG released! There was no way I wasn’t going to let gaming time pass me by last week!

So while I could have just curled up and relaxed all weekend, not having much gaming time has been a bummer. A light board games day coupled with catching up was agreed on, and it was a great day.

The social aspect of board games is what I enjoy the most. And not seeing Alpal, Anna Bell and Simon for 3 weeks now, we had a lot to catch up on. Even Rabbit got to play this week, so it was a fantastic Saturday .

Alpal taught us Draftosaurus earlier this year, but I was keen to play it as Rabbit missed out last time. Not last week! We have both been pushing it, and as I mentioned before, Draftosaurus is challenging yet not overly taxing. Perfect for playing while your brain is rebooting!

Who can say no to playing with so many dinosaurs?

The mechanics are simple. There are 6 of each type of dinosaur meeple, and players draw 6, place 1, then pass the remaining 5 to the next player. Placement rules are dictated by a die roll and scoring abilities in your park.

It's a logic puzzle, where you need to maximise your score on random draws

Games are fast as everyone takes their turn simultaneously. While there are end game ‘winners’, Draftosaurus is more a multiplayer solitaire game. Yes, you want to score more than your opponents, but beating your own score is really the challenge.

I will need to borrow Draftosaurus from Alpal soon so I can do a proper full review. But if you are even curious about Draftosaurus, play it or nab it if you have the chance. Worst case: It is a little too simple for you, and you have a great hand it on gift ready to go.

Ticket to Ride. Simple to learn and as complex as you want it to be. And as I have said before, the ‘mini’ versions like New York and Amsterdam condense the Ticket to Ride goodness perfectly.

It's 'baby' Ticket to Ride, but this is still so much fun

It was also the first game of Ticket to Ride for Rabbit – something I wasn’t aware of. She got the hang of it pretty quickly, but I might have to play a ‘proper’ game of the original with her. On the plus side, Rabbit’s conclusion was “I didn’t hate it”. There is a box comment, Days of Wonder!

Ticket to Ride is another one of those games that I keep thinking I have reviewed, but I haven’t. So I will need to fix that soon as well!

In the meantime, still looking at these little taxi’s and thinking about small paint jobs…

I don't know why painting these taxis is so appealing to me

A new one from Alpal last week, MonsDRAWsity is a game we all already know and potentially love to hate. If the clue in the title wasn’t big enough for you, this is a drawing game.

Each player gets a dry erase board and marker with an eraser. One player (the witness) draws a card showing a unique monster. They have 20 seconds to memorise it, then 2 minutes to describe it as all other players draw.

It's 'just' a dry wipe board, but they nailed the feel of being a sketch artist

We have all played similar games. This type of ‘gameplay’ is prevalent at corporate team building events. MonsDRAWsity helps keep the inequalities we have all faced to a minimum.

The deck of monster cards are varied, and not anything anyone is used to describing/drawing. The standardised ‘art tools’ and time limit mean that no one can do a brilliant art job and finish a picture.

I wasn't too far off, terrible drawing skills and all

MonsDRAWsity was fun, and as a filler game, has a lot of promise. My brain wasn’t quite in the right space to play, but I had a lot of fun even then.

Istanbul Digital – Steam

I only played one game of Istanbul this week, and it was a double check when installing Steam on a new laptop. Istanbul made the cut because of the first game walloping I gave the AI. This is the second time I have seen this behaviour, so I thought I would write up what to expect just in case.

If you have played Istanbul before, expect a first game whitewash like this

So if you go straight into playing Istanbul without playing the tutorial, the game still prompts you as if you are playing the tutorial. The most significant difference is that you aren’t forced into moves.

So it doesn’t seem to matter what you set the game AI to. The very first game seems to default to Tutorial difficulty. If you aren’t aware of this and think that the game is working as hard as it can to beat you, I can see this being offputting,

In the first game of Istanbul, if you clean the AIs clock, don’t judge the whole game. The first game seems to be hardwired to easy mode, no matter what you set it to.

For more detailed thoughts on Istanbul and the digital implementation, check out my review here.

Little Nightmares – Switch

Early last week, I was in a position to play some video games (yay), but I wasn’t in the mood for a shooter. Control Ultimate Edition has been a lot more fun than I expected, but it does require some coordination to play.

Little Nightmares Complete Edition was on sale on the Switch, and it is a title I have always wanted to try out. There is plenty of hype at the moment with Little Nightmares 2, so the title was undoubtedly in my mind.

So, I decided to give it a go. Because I was only peripherally aware of the game, it was not what I expected but somehow so much more than I expected.

What I thought was a semi-adventure game is a semi-platform puzzle game

Luckily I have heard enough about Little Nightmares to know that I should pick Six to play the ‘original’ game. I am assuming the Kid is DLC, but I will get there eventually.

Playing on the Switch in handheld mode looks a lot better than I thought it would. The screenshots captured on the Switch have a definite grainy look, but that isn’t what you see on the screen.

My biggest issue playing in handheld is the screen size. Little Nightmares is a beautiful game (in its own way) but contains many small details. I feel like Little Nightmares was designed with big screens in mind.

Six is in there, climbing the stairs. I had to trust that in handheld mode.

I played for a couple of hours, and I am really enjoying it. However, there was another reason I started playing Little Nightmares. I wanted a game that I could happily put down as Bravely Default 2 was released Friday.

Little Nightmares actually had me torn. Apparently, it’s a game you can knock over in a few hours. I could push through and finish it, but I really wanted to play Bravely Default 2 as well.

I think I have come up with an answer. We will have to wait and see how that turns out.

He is trying to find my plans. NEVER! 😛

Bravely Default 2 – Switch

As I bought up in my February Highlights (and a few times today), I have been waiting for Bravely Default 2. And it’s finally here!

I have made it from the start of a new game to a bit past the eShop demo. So without spoiling anything, I can confirm that the demo is the start of Chapter 1 story-wise. This means I am pleased I didn’t ‘finish’ the demo – I would be replaying a considerable chunk of the game right now!

Traditional overworld, complete with grass cutting!

Over the coming weeks, I will be playing a lot of Bravely Default 2. On the one hand, it’s a standard old-school jRPG. Lots of grinding, options, and a storyline that swings between ridiculous and fascinating.

I won’t be talking about the game much over the next few weeks because I don’t want to spoil the game’s story. I will talk about things I find interesting, like the new Exploration mechanic.

Optional, but an unintrusive way to boost yourself while not actively playing

The Exploration is an offline bonus system that rewards you while you aren’t playing. Game-wise, you borrow a boat and randomly search islands. Effect wise, you will randomly get small bonuses such as potions, money and other consumables.

The game points out if you are online in sleep mode, your bonuses are better. So far, it looks like I have received rarer consumables. Exploration is entirely optional, but some extra foraging bonuses while your Switch is recharging is a nice touch.

This only works in up to 12 hour blocks. No leaving it off for a month to stock up!

So far, I am about 16 hours in. It took me the better part of 7 hours to get to the ‘opening credits’. This was optional, as I spent a lot of time exploring and grinding up on job points.

So would I recommend Bravely Default 2 to everyone? Nope. Like Metroidvania and Soulsborne, jRPGs are not for everyone. Even if you enjoy RPGs, games like this may not be what you are looking for.

If you have any interest in Bravely Default 2, I highly recommend trying the demo from the eShop. The demo does contain an early chunk of the game, but the gameplay is very representative of the full experience.

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
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