Last Weeks Gaming

Roll for the Fortune in a Super Rush of Dead Cells Splendor

Kicking back on the couch last week, I was looking at some reviews of the remaster for Diablo 2. In some ways, I would love to recreate some great gaming memories. I spent hundreds of hours playing Diablo 2 multiplayer. But, with the news about Blizzard’s workplace still revealing new lows, I don’t want to reward them.

There is a slew of new games coming out over the next few months. Some are ones I have been waiting on with delays, others are games with their own spot in the backlog. So gaming last week was a mix of going back to some old favourites and waiting to see what new titles to try.

What did I pick? Let’s check it out!

Roll for the Galaxy

Board Game Geek Link – Roll for the Galaxy

Played on – Steam

I have said many times digital board games have a place, especially for solo gamers. While not for everyone, there is something about getting a complete game played with zero setup time.

It has been a while since I played Roll for the Galaxy, and a little empire building sounded good. A couple of quick games, what a great idea! Plus, on the PC, I can get a game out in about 10 minutes.

Or so I thought. In the first game, luck was not on my side. I was rolling terribly, and I couldn’t pull anything that could work as an engine.

I don’t know why, but I always forget how to score this card.

So I tried again, and I was happy with my performance. I wasn’t breaking away with a lead, but I thought I was doing OK and could sneak in a victory.

Then on the last turn, one of the three players within 2 points of each other jumped ahead. I was in that group, I thought I was doing well. Then a 20 point game-ending turn hit me!

We were all 2-3 developments from ending the game, then that happened!

This is what makes Roll for the Galaxy so much fun – for a particular type of player. You have a grasp on what is happening at all times, but luck and well-hidden plays can finish the game in a second.

The feeling when you do it is incredible! When it happens to you – not always as awesome.

Splendor

Board Game Geek Link – Splendor

Played on – Steam

Speaking of games I haven’t played for some time, Splendor was sitting there in my Steam library. If you would like to know more about Splendor, you can check out my review here.

It was only one round, but it was a lot of fun. I have forgotten what it’s like to play the digital version. I set up a four-player game and promptly set everyone to a random playstyle. 

I thought the AI honestly had my measure. While Roll for the Galaxy managed to put me back into an engine building mindset, I was trailing.

The game isn’t over until it is, but I wasn’t feeling confident

But like Roll for the Galaxy, a couple of lucky reveals not only put me back into contention but set me up to win! After the walloping from Roll for the Galaxy, I was happy to come ahead in one game.

A feature of the digital version, not in the physical version, is the idea of a score. Time, rounds and a few other factors make up your score. I haven’t paid a lot of attention to it, to be honest. 

The 16 score isn’t as impressive but means a lot more to me

I just like a random round of Splendor now and then, and the digital version lets me do that.

Mario Golf: Super Rush

Played on – Switch

During last week’s Nintendo Direct, the announcement of new Mario Golf content later that day took me by surprise. I have been kicking back with Phoenix Wright more than anything, but a few rounds of golf can be relaxing.

Two new courses are now available. The Blustery Basin is more of the icy, windy mountain courses we have already seen. The course on its own is fine, and having new free content is always appreciated. Blustery Basin just didn’t seem to hold any unique challenges for me, leaving me a little underwhelmed.

Unless course selection is random I probably won’t see Blustery Basin again

Spiky Palms feels more like a cross between Balmy Dunes and New Donk City. There are already desert courses, but in Spiky Palms, the environment is laid out for some tactical shot planning.

Like New Donk City, there are some courses where you can shoot straight for the hole or take a roundabout path. Curve shot mastery seems to be rewarded heavily for another playstyle option.

Like New Donk City, the terrain leads to some interesting potential

Two new characters also help fill out the roster – Ninji and Koopa Troopa. I usually play with my own Mii character, but Ninji had me intrigued. I had to look up who Ninji was as I have only finished one Mario game ever, and that was on Game Boy!.

Ninji made me smile playing a couple of courses with them. But I have found that most characters have something that makes me smile, but that is the only thing that stands out in my memory. 

I haven’t noticed enough difference playing the characters to be excited about new ones.

I might be missing something, but all the characters play almost identically

Something I may have missed in the Nintendo Direct announcement was you can now increase the difficulty of the AI players. I haven’t played much Battle Mode in Mario Golf, as the AI isn’t the most difficult.

So for my first game, I put the AI on ‘Pro’ levels and fired up Blustery Basin. I didn’t expect a fantastic score on my first attempt at the course, but I hoped the AI would give me a run for my money.

I thought Pro would be harder, and the scores closer

To be fair, I haven’t tried Champ difficulty yet. That may turn up the challenge. My biggest gripe about the variable difficulty is that you don’t seem to set a default. So if you are a solo player like myself, you have to change the AI level every time you play or get the easiest challenge level.

Bottom line – the update is welcome, and I am happy Nintendo is adding more to Mario Golf over time. But nothing is happening that would push someone that hasn’t already purchased Mario Golf to do so.

Wheel of Fortune

Played on – Switch

There isn’t too much new to talk about here. After playing some Mario Golf: Super Rush, I had another crack at Wheel of Fortune. My thoughts were that I could just sit and chill with the Switch in my hands while watching YouTube.

The good news is that this worked exactly as anticipated. The downside is the game was still kinda fun, but I really should have been playing with friends. 

This was a good round, but it’s not hard to beat the AI

As I have talked about before, the biggest challenge is localised answers. There are foods and phrases I have never heard of, but it’s all a learning experience!

Wheel of Fortune is a bit of fun. It’s a filler video game, but there are better ones out there. One day I will give this a go against human players. I might even try the online version of the game. One day.

One final round did make me smile. I wonder if Halloween coming up had any influence on the puzzle at all…

Hmm… What could the answer be? Lucky letter selection!

Dead Cells

Played on – Switch

After finishing Phoenix Wright, there are a few games I am looking forward to playing on my holidays. I won’t put a massive dent in the list, but I will be able to kick back and enjoy them. The eternal question – what to play?

I didn’t feel like starting something while tired, but I did want to play something. Looking at games installed on my Switch, I came across one of the many games I started to play and let slip away – Dead Cells.

What’s behind this door? Who knows. I thought I could open it!

When I tried ages ago, I didn’t make it very far at all. While I wasn’t in the mood for an action game, I thought I would give Dead Cells another go. I just don’t think it meshed with me last time.

After 45 minutes or so this time, I have made it to the Ramparts. If you know where I am talking about, yes, I know I am still not very far into Dead Cells. But I am significantly further than my first attempt. More importantly, it has managed to get its hooks into me.

Enjoy it when you only have one opponent – it doesn’t last

The progress system seems to be very well thought out. I can now use vines, and areas out of reach are now passages to the next section. The storytelling is done almost exclusively through environmental prompts and is getting me invested.

I am astounded overall at how much I enjoyed about an hour of game time with Dead Cells. Even with the simple graphical style, playing on Switch seems to feel a little inconsistent. Not a feeling you want in a game revolving around frantic action and platforming.

There are the seeds of a story there, but sometimes the game describes the obvious

I will wait a little bit and give it another go late Friday after a good rest. If it still feels like the Switch is holding me back, I will give Dead Cells a go on Xbox. Because Dead Cells is currently on Game Pass, it will be a great test to see if playing on Switch could be a slight handicap.

I will say now though, I am enjoying a bunch of the easter eggs. My favourite weapon so far is a frying pan, and I have come across a crowbar and HEV suit. The clues are subtle but very appreciated!

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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