Last Week’s Gaming – July 27th, 2020


Where did July go?

So here we are with the last Last week’s gaming of July 2020. This month has just flown!

I have another weird week coming up, with having to go into work and meet contractors for work in the office. My attempts at a schedule have been failing badly.

What has been working well is taking a break from most of the site articles. I am still overly tired by the end of the week, but I have actually made a dent in some gaming this week!

What did I play? Well, let’s get into it!

So Alpal had been shopping, and I got to play a game I have been interested in for ages!

Winner of the 2019 Kinderspiel des Jahres, I can see why everyone was so excited about this game. The goal is simple – have the most money at the end of the game.

Each round, the active player gets to roll a boulder into some coloured posts. Every colour represents a player, and that player gets to then plan out how those player tokens are moved on the main game board.

Once this is done, depending on where on the board the player marker is, players get coins or get to steal them from other players. You can also get coins stolen from you, so be careful!

The game ends when there are no more coins in the general supply. So games are lightning fast! The strategy is surprisingly satisfying, but the luck and dexterity factor make Valley of the Vikings fun for all.

Valley of the Vikings
It's not quite any genre you think it is. Area control, dexterity, strategy, luck - they all apply, but Valley of the Vikings isn't quite any of them.

A game that has been sadly on my shelf for far too long, Wacky Races finally made it to the gaming table this week. Alpal managed to snag each of us a copy of the deluxe version. The only real difference is that the pieces come pre-painted, so that’s one job off my list!

I expected a fun and straightforward racing game, and I was not disappointed. One of the reasons I haven’t played it for so long is I had trouble with the manual. It’s not a poorly written manual, my brain has not been doing well with reading manuals lately. It’s a symptom of being overly tired. But Alpal stepped up on manual duty, and we had a blast.

The thing that surprised me the most was for such a simple game, I was more stressed than playing Downforce. Don’t misunderstand – Downforce is a better ‘racing’ game. Still, Wacky Races random neutral (i.e. non-player) racers can overtake you quickly!

Dick Dastardly also zooms ahead and lays traps just like in the cartoons. He basically can’t win though, so he isn’t a selectable racer for players. I was initially disappointed by this, but ultimately I had so much fun this was quickly forgotten.

We had a lot of fun playing Wacky Races, but I think it would shine with 4 or more players. I can technically solo this game though, so now I have how to play down pat, it may come off the shelf more.

Wacky Races Gameplay
The race is on! This kind of tight grouping is very common for the game. And no, we didn't get to Escape the Dark Castle - this time 🙂

Final Fantasy VII Remake – PS4

So I decided to give Final Fantasy VII Remake a platinum run. This meant my second playthrough is in hard mode. I expected a challenge. What I got was soulsborne!

When playing on Hard (which you can’t do without finishing the game once), there are harder enemies. This was assumed, no surprises there. What has forced me to stop playing is that I can’t use items, and you can’t spam magic. When you rest at a bench, you get full HP restored, but no MP!

Taking on a Chapter 3 side quest, I can’t beat one of the side quests monsters. It just hands me my butt. Usually, I would rest up and come back fresh, but I don’t think I am quite ready mentally to take on hard mode.

I will come back to Final Fantasy VII Remake, but right now I decided to change games and just relax and enjoy myself. What game did I choose to switch to?

Final Fantasy 7 Remake Healing Bench
Find a seat, get back HP and MP. Not in Hard mode!

Maneater – PS4

I started Maneater when it first came out and decided that it would be a bit of fun to play in short bursts. I thought this would be the perfect way to continue to relax, and get a game off the ‘Just finish it’ list.

Well, finish it I did. Not only that, I Platinumed it!

When I finished playing, I was about 60% of the way through the story. Maneater gives you a nice progress meter to let you know how you are doing.

Saturday night, I gave up on Final Fantasy and picked up Maneater. I spent a few hours switching between progressing the story and just swimming around eating everyone.

Maneater Kaiju Gate
There are plenty of references hidden (and not so hidden) through the waters you explore

Sunday night, I picked it up and finished the last couple of missions to complete the story. Then I spent a couple of hours just swimming around and finding collectables to Complete it.

So usually I would be saying ‘review in the works’, but I don’t know when I will start doing reviews again. If you pick up Maneater, play it for an hour or so at a time. Do some story missions, unlock the next area, and call it quits for the night. This helps extend the time it will take you to finish it while helping avoid the repetitive nature of the missions set in.

This way of playing also beats another issue with Maneater – it crashes. A lot. There are lots of autosaves happening, so it’s more of an annoyance than anything else when you have to load back in. But I found once I hit the two-hour mark, I would just wait for either a straight crash, or the loading screen to get stuck and not switch back to the game.

This isn’t enough to stop me from recommending Maneater as a bit of fun and a different experience, but be aware this is an issue with the game.

Maneater Hello Pete
The story is predictable, but it was still satisfying staring down your nemesis

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Nope. I know this is one you expected to see, I haven’t picked up my Switch all week. In fact, everything played this week was just on the weekend!

But being able to sit back and rest during the week has let me get in a lot more gaming. Maybe next week, I will be able to put in a couple of hours midweek for more gaming, but not just yet.

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 tomorrow,

JohnHQLD