Last Week’s Gaming – January 27th, 2020

20200127 Final Fantasy XV

Well this was a video game heavy week

The last entry for January 2020! I can’t believe how quickly January has come and gone. Between work, sick and Final Fantasy XV, I haven’t gotten as many board games in as I was hoping. Still, thanks to a long weekend I will be fixing that with Alpal while you are reading this, all going as planned!

The Game – Android

I enjoy Onirim for a quick mental challenge. But I was thinking this week that I hadn’t played The Game for ages, so I decided to fix that 🙂

For those that haven’t played The Game, you have four piles of cards. Two are for ascending cards, and the others descending. You place randomly drawn cards from your hands onto the piles, and you win by playing all of your cards.

On mobile, I usually play The Game – Lift Up. Lift Up includes the base game and the On Fire expansion, with points. The points help give you another goal to aim for solo but aren’t what I call essential for playing.

Says the guy that finally beat this mode! It wasn’t my best score ever, but I have never ‘beaten’ this mode, so that made me happy 🙂

20200127 The Game
It's strange how the score has stopped me from finishing this before. Not now!

Final Fantasy XV – PS4

Last week, I wrote about how I had finished Final Fantasy XV. Well, I finished the main story. Playing it more is something I have been wrestling with, but this week not feeling well, I decided to stick with it.

Final Fantasy games are generally easy to play, and while I wanted to relax and take my mind off things, it was great for this week. It also didn’t hurt that I was only four trophies off earning the Platinum.

And I earned it! For the first time, I have a Platinum trophy for a Final Fantasy game. And it marks my first Platinum for 2020! Why is that important? Check out my 2020 Gaming Goals tomorrow to find out more 🙂

20200127 Final Fantasy XV
This was not an easy fight. The adamantoise is HUGE!

Last week, I talked about Brain Training on the Switch. You may notice it’s not here. I haven’t fired up the Switch all week. It was one of those kinds of week. Hopefully I will start it again soon!

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

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD

Last Week’s Gaming – January 20th, 2020

Silver Amulet

I can’t wait for my board game nights to start again!

Not that I am short of things to play. Even with a bit of a week last week, I have had a ball with the games I have played.

I even starting learning a couple of games that I can hopefully get a group together for in the next couple of weeks!

But I talked enough about the future last week. Let’s have a look at what I did get to play!

Werewolf is one of my favourite social deduction games. You need a larger group to play it, but that’s one of the great things about it. Want to play a game with 12 people? Werewolf should be on the list!

Playing with lower numbers can be done with the One Night series, but it’s not the same game. One Night isn’t bad – it just isn’t Werewolf.

Silver falls into this category as well. It isn’t Werewolf, even with shared characters. But that doesn’t make it a bad game, and I can’t wait to play it again.

It’s basically set collection with a trick-taking edge. Once the vote is called, you want to have the lowest score. It really is that simple, and it’s fast to teach and play! I can’t wait to play this once my game nights recommence 🙂

Silver Amulet
A card game that only needs the cards - rare these days!

Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training for Nintendo Switch – Switch

OK, so if this is a game or not is debatable. I had heard people enjoying Brain Training on the DS ages ago, but it’s not a title I ever picked up.

But now that it’s on Switch, I thought why not? First thing – I am actually regretting buying the physical copy. It does come with a stylus, but I didn’t consider one important factor. You only play a mini-game for a couple of minutes each day, and swapping carts can be a pain.

On my first day, I got a Brain Age of 65. Learning how to write and have the Switch interpret it correctly meant a lot of mistakes and lots of penalties.

One week later, I can write 4 and 5 correctly about 95% of the time, and I scored a brain age of 27! The tests were much easier for me this time, but I wouldn’t claim it was because of training. I just randomly got activities that I usually enjoy as diversions.

Each day you play, you earn a stamp that unlocks other activities. I have enjoyed a couple of games, like Rock-Paper-Scissors with random “Try to Win/Try to Lose” conditions. Doing basic arithmetic is also strangely calming, much more than the Germs mini-game. There is nothing wrong with Germs, but using the stylus to control Dr Mario isn’t great.

I will keep playing this for a couple of weeks, then give a review and progress report after a few weeks.

Final Fantasy XV – PS4

One great thing about the holidays was the chance to get into one of my backlog games. As I said last week, I have finally gotten the opportunity to jump into Final Fantasy XV. And now I have not only been playing, but I finished it!

So while I have finished Final Fantasy XV, I am not sure if I am finished with it. I have only 4 tasks before earning the platinum, and only one of those tasks will require level grinding – the Adamantoise fight.

I also have the Season Pass content, but a reveal during the game means I really want to see Prompto’s story. If I play one of the episodes, I will probably want to play them all.

Will I play it or not? Next week I have an article talking about just such temptation 🙂

Final Fantasy XV
Not bad. I would have picked a different picture but I got impatient at night.

Onirim – Android

A game I always enjoy pulling out for a diversion is Onirim. I have talked about it in depth in my review.

Onirim is a game that even after hundreds of plays, I can lose easily. And yet a loss is not frustrating, and playing on the phone is a quick reset.

I have spoken about this before, but it’s amazing how I can completely miss playing on my phone as ‘gaming’. True, I tend to play solo games on the phone, but that doesn’t make it any less fun.

Onirim
It's a nice feeling when you can't lose! Wait, there is one more nightmare....

Onitama – Android

Another game that I have reviewed, Onitima is a game I pick up now and then. Not as much as Onirim, but it has the same sense of comfort playing it.

I am still playing with the base cards on the app, but the hard AI mode is still giving me a challenge. I can technically play online, but a quick round now and then is always my preference. Waiting for my opponent online isn’t always a smooth experience.

But while waiting at work for a few things like code to compile, jumping on my phone and playing a quick round is always a bit of fun.

Onitama
This did not end well for me. But it was still fun!

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

Last Week’s Gaming – January 13th, 2020

Pokemon Shield

MORE GAMES PLEASE 2020!

So it’s been a big 5-6 weeks here. Rabbit and I have moved, end of year work crunch, all the fun stuff has been happening.

That said, I did get some gaming in – including finishing a couple of video games! I even got a platinum. Yay!

So considering the huge welcome back article earlier today, let’s jump straight into what I played.

The Tokyo Series (and indeed most Jordan Draper games I back) are games I love, but always have trouble pitching to others why they excite me. The come in plain boxes, have small components, and usually can be multiple games in one box.

Michael Fox (no, not that one) and Jordan Draper have collaborated on expanding Tokyo Jutaku, a dexterity game in the Tokyo Series. The fruits of this collaboration is MegaCity: Oceania. It also doesn’t hurt that thematically it’s played just off the Gold Coast 😀

MegaCity: Oceania
Combining stategy with dexterity sounds strange, but this was so fun to play!

There is a dexterity component of building up your city on a tile according to a random plan. Then, you have to move your completed section into the central MegaCity, all while trying to maximise points.

It sounds like two genres that shouldn’t work together, but it did. MegaCity: Oceania was fun while having deep stratagies hidden away. Building your city is fun, and you can take your time to a degree. Moving your city without anything collapsing is tense, without being frustrating. Give it a look if you get the chance.

I think this will be a great way to get people to look at other Jordan Draper games I own

Deep Blue

Days of Wonder knows how to present games well. Best known for the Ticket to Ride series, Days of Wonder publishes a staggering amount of well-known games. For example, Memoir 44, one of the most popular tabletop war games, is also a Days of Wonder game.

Deep Blue is a push your luck game crossed with hand management/deck building. That can sound daunting, but like Ticket to Ride a wide range of gamers can jump straight in.

I didn’t think about it at the time, but on reflection I definitely got a ‘Quacks of Quedlinburg lite’ feeling about Deep Blue. I think the games are different enough, but a lot of those base ‘do I or don’t I?’ moments dominate both games.

What can I say? I am just going to have to pull more people in for some more games and really give Deep Blue a workout 🙂

Deep Blue
Deep Blue is a Days of Wonder game. The components are so fun to play with!

I have talked about Professor Evil and the Citadel of Time before. You can see my review of it here. A puzzle in a board game, with a lot of replayability – sounds good to me!

While taking a break from starting to catalogue the library, Alpal and I sat down for a game. And for some reason, absolutely smashed it. I can’t see anything we did wrong, and we didn’t use an optimised team – we just did really well.

So now I suppose I am just going to have to track down the expansion. Professor Evil and the Architects of Magic adds new characters, powers and objectives. It even adds time portals, meaning the Professor himself can take multiple turns in a row if you aren’t careful!

Professor Evil and the Citadel of Time
It's been too long since I played this. And an expansion is coming!

I didn’t know what to expect when Alpal showed me Atlantis Rising. I had heard mostly good things about it in the past, but I didn’t realise it had a revised edition.

Playing three players, we dove into the cooperative worker placement game. The idea is simple – Atlantis is sinking, and the players must work together to build a cosmic gate (cough stargate) to escape.

During setup, I joked that we should pay on Forbidden Island to get used to it. Turns out, I was kinda right. The board sections get flipped when they sink, and player powers can bring them back.

Atlantis Rising
Atlantis Rising was a lot more stressful than I thought it would be!

The other similarity is that lovely ‘have your turn, now deal with bad things’ mechanic. If you don’t like games like Pandemic or Forbidden Island, Atlantis Rising won’t be for you.

If you are a fan of these sorts of games though, give Atlantis Rising a try. I will need to try it at different player counts, but I can feel a full review coming at a later stage.

Pyramid of Pengqueen

On paper, Pyramid of Pengqueen sounds like a lot of fun. One player takes the role of the Pengqueen/Mummy, and the other players have to steal the treasures.

This plays out on a two-sided magnetic board, with the Pengqueen on one side and everyone else on the other. The Pengqueen can’t see where the player pieces are, but the players can all see where the Pengqueen is.

It’s cute, and the theming with the Icecool isn’t terrible. Feels a little like a wannabe Ducktales comparison, but that might be my age talking.

Pyramid of Pengqueen
An entry level one vs all, but a little lacking in gameplay

While this is aimed at younger players, I would say to the older person watching the young ones play to be prepared for fights. The Pengqueen has most of the advantages, and there is going to be inadvertent cheating by everyone.

I am going to review Pyramid of Pengqueen very soon, watch out next week to get my full thoughts.

Pokemon Shield – Switch

I FINISHED POKEMON SHIELD! I AM CHAMPION!

And that’s about as far as I think I am going to take it. I am not really interested in the usual post-game cleanup to fill my Pokedex. The battle system sounds interesting, but I am not really invested in that either.

What I did have was a fun time playing through the story. There is a lot of love and hate for the new entry in the series. Like any opinion, both sides have fair points. But I wouldn’t go so far as to say one side is right.

Pokemon Shield
I beat the unbeatable Champion! OK, almost everyone will. But it is where I call the story ended.

Pokemon has excelled for me as a light RPG experience. Pokemon Shield lived up to this for me. Yes, I would have liked some story holes filled in, but I can say that for any of game in the series. Bottom line is I had fun, I enjoyed the experience, and you will see my full thoughts in a couple of weeks 🙂

And, since I wrote all this, it looks like I’m not done with Shield. Friday, Nintendo and Game Freak announced the first ever Pokemon DLC – there will be more story later this year!

Terminator: Resistance – PS4

My first Platinum trophy since Kingdom Hearts III in February 2019. Well, that’s not technically true. I finished Access Denied in March, but I don’t count that Platinum Trophy. Why not? You will have to wait a couple of weeks for that tidbit 😀

Enough teasing, I finished Terminator: Resistance. The two and a bit weeks of no gaming with the move didn’t diminish the experience a jot.

Now, Terminator: Resistance is not what I call a shooter – at least at easy or normal difficulties. You shoot at things sure, but this isn’t a twitch shooter like Call of Duty. Conversely, while there are stealth elements, this isn’t a Metal Gear Solid either. You have a lot of freedoms when it comes to the machines recognising you.

The story itself isn’t exactly groundbreaking either. But it did make me want to keep playing it and explore the world. Terminator: Resistance is fan service done well, in my opinion. Set characters, set events, but a unique story that enhances the whole.

For more, you will have to wait until Friday for my review.

Terminator Resistance
Exploring the post-Judgement Day world shows the love this game was developed with.

Final Fantasy XV – PS4

Oh, I have wanted to play this for years now. Open-world RPGs are games I love to play when I can really sit back and take my time with them. Hence, a massive backlog of 80+ hour games waiting to be played!

I started a while ago not too long after the initial release, then had a bad thing happen during my first play. It took almost four years for that annoyance to stop creeping in as I loaded the game! But now I am happily working my way through it.

I have probably spent almost 10 of the 30ish hours played just letting the Regalia drive me around. This doesn’t sound very good, but it is how I have been playing. When I could lie back on the couch, do a few hunts or explore an area, then kick back and relax and watch AP build up – why not? The point of a break is to have a break after all. Final Fantasy XV has let me do that.

Final Fantasy XV
It's not news anymore, but just watching how beautiful the world is bringing me much joy.

I am only up to Chapter 7 for people that have already played through it. Seriously, I am taking my time. So this will probably pop up as my video game for the next few weeks, especially on PlayStation. So sorry in advance for lots of pictures of bros in a car 😀

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order – PS4

So one of my favourite YouTubers is Jirard Khalil, aka The Completionist. I had already heard mostly good things about Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, but his review convinced me to get it that night.

And I had fun with it. Playing on easy, I died multiple times in the start/tutorial section of the game. This didn’t put me off playing though, as I loved the world and the pace of the story setup.

I finished the beginning section, then played long enough to open up flying to another world of my choice. By now, most of the controls were in muscle memory. I had a feel for the rhythm of the gameplay. I wanted to sit and really get into it. Only one thing stopped me.

I am one of those gamers that hates significant actions being assigned to L3/R3. Clicking a stick does not come naturally to me, and R3 all but replaces X in Fallen Order.

I have a plan though. I have already preordered one of the newly announced Dualshock 4 Back Button attachments. Come mid-February, I will be able to play Fallen Order and use those buttons mapped to L3 and R3.

Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order
Umm, hello. Nothing to see here. Well, that's not true. This isn't a cut scene, so it gives you an idea of how beautiful the world is.

Victory is Mine! Well, hopefully it will be :p

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 in the comments below, on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD

Last Week’s Gaming – December 2nd, 2019

So you know how life loves to throw challenges your way?

Not much gaming this week. And not ‘Hey wow I tried 7 games I forgot about’ not much.

Lots of things happening at the Den of Delightful Diversions. I will update everyone to that on Wednesday, alongside this weeks Yeti hunt. But until then, the gaming I did get in is awaiting some attention!

Oooh I have been waiting to play this one, and thanks to an Alpal purchase I finally got the chance!

Villainous is hard to explain quickly, but it is a heap of fun. It’s like a really, really streamlined Magic the Gathering/Netrunner style card game. You have your hand, your opponents have theirs, and you largely play your own game.

You can play cards against other players, but you play special cards from that character, so the Genie doesn’t mess with Captain Hook for example.

Hoping to do a formal review on this early next year, but for the holidays if you get the chance play Villainous for yourself – you will be glad you did. Also, having Hades and Scar in two different expansions is just mean :p

Each character plays in a unique way, with a simplicity of game flow I wasn't expecting.

Pokemon Shield (Switch)

Yep, I am still chipping away at the latest Pokemon outing.

I have now collected four gym badges, but I am thinking that I will give the challenge a rest for a little while. Instead, I am going to focus on Poke Jobs and filling out my Pokedex for a little while.

New jobs have opened up that give you more than XP (but that as well!). Now I think I might just have to think about building up a couple of tailored teams, rather than just power leveling various Pokemon as I usually do.

I am four badges in now, but I think I will stop the gym challenge for a little while

I only got to play a little bit this week, but I think the final push will be a pretty long one. Which is unfortunate, because I think if I don’t finish Terminator: Resistance this week I don’t think I will anytime soon.

Not becuase it’s a bad game, I am really enjoying it. At the moment I know I am about to be really busy again, and that will cut into my time. It’s like when you have to stop watching a series for a couple of weeks – you will pick it back up immediately, or it will be a long time later.

Oh, and I really wish network security was just playing Frogger. It would make my life so much easier 😀

Get your dot from one side to the other. There is even a checkpoint in the middle. Hacking of the future!

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

Last Week’s Gaming – November 25th, 2019

What a week!

It was a long week after coming back from a work trip, but it’s over now. Time to start a new week!

Alpal showed me a couple of really fun games that worked well with my tired brain 🙂 There was a lot of Pokemon in there as well!

Back when I was a youngling, I would receive presents of these mazes with small ball bearings in them. They were a dexterity puzzle game, and I am sure everyone has played one at least once in their life.

Slide Quest is a similar game with modern tabletop design. Underneath the ‘level’ is a single base with areas for holes (traps) and areas to put various other obstacles on the board. And there are 20 levels to complete!

I don’t think you could play this one solo, but if you play with a group, the cooperative nature of the game shines. A lot of people will pass on this, but if you want a simple small party game with a challenge, check it out!

There has been no tabletop game that made me feel so 'old school'

Ticket to Ride. Alan R. Moon’s breakout modern classic is a game that still tops many introduction game lists today.

Ticket to Ride: New York takes this familiar gameplay, but applies them to a single city. The most significant change you will see is you no longer use trains – taxies are the order of the day. Scoring has changed, and you can receive bonus points connecting to certain areas.

It’s simple, it’s super quick, but it’s still Ticket to Ride. Seriously, we played two games with three players in about 40 minutes, including setup etc. If I can convince Alpal to play a few more games, expect a formal review soon.

Want an uber quick version of Ticket to Ride? Pick up New York

Pokemon: Shield (Switch)

Pokemon Sword and Shield is a funny one to me. On one hand, I have seen people complaining about the changes. On the other hand, everyone I know that is playing it is having fun. I even know one person playing both at the same time!

At it’s core, Pokemon Shield is your standard Pokemon RPG. You can now walk around a 3D world, and there are new mini-games. There is even a dedicated wild area for Pokemon hunting.

I am up to the fourth gym, and have caught 62 Pokemon at the time of writing. By the time you read this I will probably have more entries in my Pokedex. If you have a Switch and are a Pokemon fan, give it a play and enjoy.

There is always encouragement as you make your way through the Gym Challenge

Onirim (Android)

Warriors of Waterdeep has been uninstalled. I have another ‘big’ game that I want to play, but Pokemon took over my at home playtime. Oh the horror :p

What I did do was go back to an old favourite – Onirim. A great solo set collection/card drafting game, Onirim is great to pick up and put down. You need to unlock 12 doors, which you do by placing three cards of that colour in the playtrack. You cannot play the same symbol twice in a row, so planning and some card counting does help.

I thought I had already reviewed Onirim on the site, but apparently I have not. Guess what’s coming up Friday?

I am playing with the expansions here, but Onirim is one of those games that gets in your head at any level

I love the world of Munchkin. It is a great parody of so many things that I love, while somehow standing out as unique.

When I fund out Munchkin was going digital, I assumed a digital version of the card game. Instead, we get a Munchkin theme and flavour over Overcooked meets Diablo with a dash of Mario Party.

And, it works. I have only played one proper game and the tutorial, and not even on the system I purchased it on – Switch. Munchkin Quacked Quest is on Game Pass, so try it out for yourself – you will know in 10 minutes if it’s for you or not.

This room just started. It looks peaceful. That won't last :p

So this one took me by surprise. Late Sunday, I thought I would finally sit down and look at some of the games that have been piling up. I started with the top of the pile (the latest acquisition), and that was Terminator: Resistance.

And played for about 9 hours straight.

As a shooter, it’s a fine stealth game. It’s on rails in terms of mission progression, but the areas are all large and great to explore. It takes a franchise I love, and tells it’s own unique story. You are just dropped into the shows of Private Jacob Rivers, and then off you go.

Example of an easter egg nod - if you know Dr. Silberman, this was great to find

Plenty of nods for fans, but none are required to enjoy the game. For example, I loved the choices of name during one quest, and Rabbit was very confused why I thought they were awesome.

Terminator: Resistance will probably be finished next weekend, so it might be my next review game!

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

Last Week’s Gaming – November 18th, 2019

Why is there always hours for work, and not for games?

It was a big week, and a few tech issues have hit. First with image uploading (I still need to fix last week’s review of the Hori Split Pro controller for the Switch), and today I can’t get my gameplay footage off my Quest. Grah!

But that’s enough of those things, onto the good things from last week 😀

Warriors of Waterdeep (Android)

A week away, you know I was going to play on the phone again. There are a bunch of pack promotions out and I am getting absolutely hammered in PvP play.

And I don’t mean just I am losing a lot, which can happen. I mean a level 9 ranger can kill 3/4 of my level 10 team in one shot on the first turn. Before my team has had a chance to have a turn, and we are supposed to be armour buffed.

I don’t think I will be making it to the end of my month at this rate. But I do have another android game that I hope will take it’s place. And it has board game roots.

Tune in next week to see what I think!

I think I have finally had enough of this mobile game. Wonder what the next one will be?

The Legend of Zelda – Link’s Awakening (Switch)

I got to get in a solid amount of play on the Switch while I was away. I was hoping to have more time to finish a game, but that’s how the dice roll sometimes.

Playing through a beloved classic for the first time like this leaves me in a bit of a pickle – do I blatently say what I have been doing as many know, or leave it quiet just in case?

Either way, I am progressing at what I think is a good pace and I can now hit like a truck. I think I am in a good place to pause for a while, because a new Switch game is taking my time away now!

I forgot how hard and how convulted fetch quests used to be!

Beat Saber (Oculus Quest)

On a tropical wonderland, what else do you do but bring VR gear and enjoy the game?

I have spoken about Beat Saber before. It is my go to VR experience for new players. The lack of walking around helps with initial motion sickness, the game is intuitive and most of all fun.

With the heat starting to bear down on us, I really want to start getting back into Beat Saber properly, but it looks like it will be early morning sessions for a while. I will try and update the playlist with the new pack during the week as well!

Well that was a terrible cut - but it was a cut!

Vader Immortal: Episode 1 (Oculus Quest)

I have been waiting to sink my teeth into this one, and I finally got my chance.

And now my Quest won’t connect to my PC, so I can’t download any of the footage – it’s the week of tech problems this week!

Short version – Vader Immortal is a fanboy experience. The gameplay so far has been fairly ‘meh’, but I have loved exploring each area. Without spoiling anything, the feeling in your gut when you enter hyperspace is everything you want it to be. The world around you feels real, even if a bit blurry and pixalated in the distance. Looking up and seeing a Star Destroyer travel in front you is awesome.

It's promotional, but flying to this fortress made me grip the virtual helm for support

And that’s before you meet Vader.

Hopefully in a week or two I will have the Quest talking to my PC properly, and I will show off some of this properly. Until then, if you get the chance to try it, take it – but don’t jump on the buy button until you know it’s for you.

Pokemon Shield

Well, I have been waiting for this one, like so many others.

I decided to play through Shield, with Rabbit taking Sword. Wonder how this will go?

Early initial impressions – I love it. I know there will be a lot of old school Pokemon players that will disagree. From someone that played Yellow, then Moon, and finally Let’s Go, I am loving the changes.

The visuals are great, and the Wild Area is a great idea. Online play is fun, but it’s not required and feels just as awesome.

I just need to find the second gym leader, hopefully I can squeeze in that little quest before you read this 😀

The similarities between your character meeting the new gym challenge and the new game are suprisingly similar

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

Last Week’s Gaming – November 11th, 2019

The big video game week

When this goes live on the site, I will be waiting in Brisbane Airport to travel to another work conference.

Yay for the sites, boo for cutting into my games time!

But I did get to play quite a bit that I enjoyed this week, in quality if not in quantity.

Jackbox Party Pack (2 and 6)

Last games night I thought a low effort party night would be just the thing. And it really, really was.

You can read my review of Jackbox Party Pack 6 here, but we all had a great night fumbling through the games. And that is really all you need. Even Alpal enjoyed it, and she is not a fan of the ‘vidyah games’ as she calls them 😀

Flicked between two versions, and had a great time of it. At one point in the future, I think I might try to arrange a stream of the Jackbox games where everyone watching can join in as well!

I thought Alpal was an alien, and I knew Nel was. Look at Harley, the evil alien, lauging at us as we eject the human.

The Outer Worlds (Xbox)

Oh man this game! It has the Fallout flavour of play I enjoy, and the story branching that I love in The Witcher games. It’s amazing!

I finally finished it on XBox this week, and while I am away with work I am going to use that time to see if I want to go on an achievement hunt with it.

If you have Microsoft Game Pass, give it a go. If you enjoy well crafted stories and a fun open adventure, you will get a lot out of it. No XBox? Grab the Game Pass for PC and play it there!

Expect a full review in a couple of weeks 🙂

Actually got a gun with recognition of quest work in game. A pleasant surprise!

Warriors of Waterdeep

Still slowly slogging away at this game, but honestly I am coming close to the end.

I have about 2 weeks of VIP bonuses coming, so I am still trying to slog away that way. See how I end up.

On the plus side, I have learned how to record fottage from my phone. Yay! So with any luck, next week I will have a bit of a video of gameplay to add to my review to show you how the game works a little better 🙂

Yeah, I have a lot of chance this fight lol

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

Last Week’s Gaming – November 4th, 2019

On the Planet, Downforce Free For All with Palm Trees everywhere

It’s been so many weeks since I have played a decent amount of tabletop, that I am out of practice for the articles titles.

What can I say – Sorry Not Sorry :p

The Outer Worlds has pretty much dominated my console gaming this week, to the point I picked up Luigi’s Mansion 3 but have yet to put it in the Switch!

Without further delay, on to what I did actually play this week.

Narwhal Free For All

It’s summer isn’t officially here in Australia, but the heat has started. So what better game to play than a water based dexterity game?

Narwhal Free For All is a fun dexterity kids game. Essentially ring toss or quoits, all you have to do is get your coloured rings onto the narwhals or the central iceberg.

Points are simple: 1 point for any narwhal other than your own, 2 points for the iceberg or 3 points for your narwhal. One player each round spins the paddle wheel to create movement and difficulty, and the ‘fish’ ends the round when it does one lap of the pool.

Narwhal Free For All sounds to simple to be fun, but once again looks are decieving

It sounds too simple to be fun, but it was a quick bit of silly fun. The paddle wheel seems to be the weak point of the build, but there was still movement happening.

Maybe not for a whole games night, but for younger players or a silly quick filler game this is a great game. Watch a slightly not according to Hoyle round below 😀

Planet

Another Alpal special this week was Planet from Blue Orange games. A card drafting/set collection game at it’s core, the game goes for a set number of rounds and has you creating your own planets.

There is your primary planet type secret goal, where you need a certain number of a certain terrain to make points. Each round (after the early couple of rounds anyway) has you fighting to compete for various goals. Meet the goal, keep the card for end game scoring.

You can be aiming for the most forest that doesn’t touch deserts, or the highest number of ice areas. There are heaps to go for, and becuase they are laid out from the start you can plan accordingly.

This Blue Orange game took me by surprise. It is amazingly deep yet quick to play.

While many games do similar things with cards, having the magnetic tiles attach to your planet make for a great tactile experience.

Alpal has said I can borrow this in the near future for a formal review, so look out for that soon!

Downforce

I have spoken about Downforce a few times, and reviewed it already here on the site.

It was only a two player game, and Alpal managed to trick me into spending SO MUCH on cars (joking, I made poor financial choices :p ), but it was still a great game.

Hadn’t played Downforce in so long. And if you check out the instagram page you can see some of my attempted distraction tactics!

I lost overall, but we had a great time as always with this Restoration Games classic.

It's an old favourite. Well, if you can call 2 years 'old'.

Palm Trees

Completing the silly little games was a gem called Palm Trees. The concept is simple – give cards to other people to hold in their hands/fingers and create palm trees.

The first time someone drops fronds or refuses to play, everyone else scores. Simple, quick, and like Narwhal Free For All more fun that in deserves to be!

You need fairly nimble fingers because of the way you have to hold the cards. I think I had an advantage because of my large hands for once!

I will see if I can borrow it for a review soon as well. It’s far from a great game, but it’s a quick fun filler that I think a lot of people would enjoy.

Do not play Palm Trees with magicians or people that do cardistry!

Tetris 99 (Switch)

So as you would have seen on the Twitter page, there is another Grand Prix event for Tetris 99 next week.

In preperation, I thought I would fire up the Switch and have a couple of games – I mean, make sure all the updates are done. Yes, that was it 😀

I played a couple of rounds, then thought I would try out an Invictus match as I hadn’t in a while. The first game I dropped out really quickly (around 70th?), but the next round I was in the groove.

When we hit the top 10, you don’t see the tetromino drop anymore – it’s just sitting there on top of your stack. I need more practice!

Ten times I have tried the Invictus mode. This is my best placement yet!

Warriors of Waterdeep (Android)

A few more dungeon clears, a few more battles, and everything is still as up and down as before.

I did manage to level up enough to unlock a new character, which I thought would be fun. And it kind of is.

Problem is now I have an extra character to ‘earn’ cards for, so my progress is slowing down even more I think. My normal grind is showing less progress than normal, and I can’t see a way out without spending the cash.

Marketing wise Warriors of Waterdeep has the formula down. Quick battles that can be played in a couple of minutes? Check. Enough mindless fun that you want to keep playing? Yep, it’s been a couple of months now.

It took me a month to grind up enough to face this boss. I am not doing it for another dungeon.

Just enough carrot to get you to say ‘Oh hell I will just buy some cards’? Not quite, but I am getting tempted. If their pricing wasn’t so ridiculously high I probably would have bought some packs by now.

I figure two more weeks, then when the VIP club expires and I start getting those nags I will be uninstalling Warriors for good.

The Outer Worlds (Xbox One)

Oh wow. I am loving The Outer Worlds so much right now. It’s all the best bits of Fallout, set in outer space. The number of bugs etc. is also really minimal which is nice.

I have put in just over 24 hours now, and I am up to Level 22 of 30 (apparently, according to the achievments). I have spent so much time on Monarch (one of the planets), and I don’t think I have even found all the quest starters yet.

My only complaint at the moment is a little bit of pacing, but overall it’s moving fine and I am enjoying exploring the Halcyon colonies.

If you have Game Pass, try it out. It’s already included, and well worth the look.

I just love the humour in this game.

Bit of bonus Lego fun

Not one of my activities, but Alpal has been powering through some amazing Lego creations as always. The upgrades to Wahro0nga village are coming along really well, and you can see those in the weekly Yeti Hunting Puzzles 🙂

One thing she showed me was a Merry-Go-Round she made with an alien theme. One of the carraiges is even a cow!

I took a bit of video of us playing around with her new creation, so I thought I would share it here as well 😀

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

Last Week’s Gaming – October 28th, 2019

Oh, it’s great to be back at work. No really :p

The downside to PAX Aus being sooner is in the middle of my post PAX blues, I am now getting Facebook reminders of what we got up to last year. Boo!

But PAX is over. Reality steps in. Or I can escape to The Outer Worlds…

Funkoverse – Harry Potter (4 Piece Starter and Expansion)

What can I say. Funkoverse has managed to capture my imagination a lot more than I thought it would!

I ended up going out and buying all of the DC and Harry Potter sets after playing with Alpal. Now I just need to track down Rick and Morty and The Golden Girls 🙂

This week we played a capture the flag scenario using 3 characters each. This increased the time of the game quite a lot, but not in a terrible way. If we were playing with two pieces, I would have been more inclined to play another game, but one took a fair bit of time.

Hopefully I can get a few more games in next weekend, and a full review will be coming soon!

My team of Hermoine, Bellatrix and Voldemort was definitely weird, but it was fun!

The Legend of Zelda – Link’s Awakening (Switch)

So I have cleared the second dungeon, but I still have a long way to go!

Wednesday night, I came home from work and just needed to chill. Link’s Awakening was the perfect game for this. It took about an hour to find where I was and clear the dungeon, without stretching my tired brain overly.

I did spend a bit more time fishing, but not as long as I thought I would in the claw game. Considering it’s based on a 26 year old GameBoy game, everything is holding up gameplay and story wise really well. It’s no Witcher, but it’s a great bit of fun 🙂

It was fun running around with Chomp Chomp. Need to time when to wait for him to attack better though!

Warriors of Waterdeep (Android)

So I have been having a lot of fun playing Warriors of Waterdeep, but the frustration level is steadily rising.

A new type of quest came with the last update – Battle Quests. Similar to the PvP battles where you can unlock chests and get a rating, Battle Quests unlock prizes when you win a certain number of battles.

You get 3 tries, then you can pay for another entry if you wish. 600 coins intially, now 30 gems. Sounds good, right?

Well, check out the match image. My team is at the bottom, the person I played against up top. Level 8, 9 and 10 characters against a team of Level 4s. It was a rollover. And it’s a match that should never be allowed to have happen.

And this is my biggest problem with Warriors – to compete, spend money. A lot of money. And while I am not saying devs shouldn’t be paid, Warriors of Waterdeep is asking way too much.

I have cancelled my subscription now, and I will stop playing near the end of November when my current bonuses stop.

So going against an opponent half my level, in a pay to compete match. Nope.

The Outer Worlds (XBox)

Fallout in space. I have been looking at The Outer Worlds for a while, but honestly I expected less on launch.

Fallout: New Vegas was far from bug free when it launched, to the point I didn’t play it for 2 years while patches and DLC came out. But when it all came out, New Vegas was an awesome game.

As The Outer Worlds is included in Game Pass, I thought I would give it a go. And what a go I gave it. Playing for 12 hours straight on Saturday, I am really, really enjoying it.

Everyone has been raving about The Outer Worlds, and I know why.

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

Last Week’s Gaming – October 21st, 2019

PAX AUS WAS AMAZING!

Well, post PAX blues have come and gone, and reality is knocking. Back to work tomorrow – boo!

But PAX Aus was amazing. Thanks to everyone that joined in the PAX XP Hunt as well – it was a lot of fun!

I didn’t get to play quite everything I wanted to, and I only played a few ‘standard’ games this round. But it was a heap of fun, but I made one major mistake. I didn’t record most of them! I will talk about a few of them that I can remember, but PAX was PAX. A whirlwind of fun and activity and lines!

On that note, here are some of the gaming highlights I want to talk about 🙂

Cyberpunk 2077

So we got to watch a live demo in the main theatre. I thought I was excited for Cyberpunk before – now I can’t wait!

Role playing video games are great, but there are rarely any games with true ‘do what you want’ mechanics. This isn’t being said as a complaint – the amount of work involved in developing such a thing is phenomenal.

This means games with choices and skill trees tend to get min/maxed by the internet hive mind. Again, not a bad thing, but it is how the games tend to run.

Waiting in the theatre for the demo to start. It was worth the sore legs!

Cyberpunk 2077 looks to change all that in a truly meaningful way. We saw a mid game quest and boss battle that was tackled by a netrunner (hacker) and a tank. And the changes were definitely there.

Anyone that played Deus Ex has an inkling of what I am talking about. Run and Gunner? Build yourself up and kick in the front door. Stealth player? Look for the vent/window/whatever to work around the opposition.

Cyberpunk 2077 takes this freedom and cranks it up to 11. The different builds lead to very different experiences, meaning players will have a very unique play experience. It makes the Witcher series look like it plays on rails!

I wish I could have taken some pictures of what we watched, but we were asked not to. Short version though, if you want an immersive world where you can truly make your own way – Cyberpunk 2077 will be for you!

Final Fantasy VII Remake

Another game where I wish I could have taken pics, the only game I queued up for was Final Fantasy VII Remake. And I am glad I did.

I have played Final Fantasy VII to death over the years. And I pretty much always will. It was my first Final Fantasy game, so it holds that special place for me as a fan.

What can I tell you from my hands on with the remake? It’s not the same game. It’s like Resident Evil 2 and it’s remake – yes, it shares theme, characters and experiences but it’s a completely different game and experience.

If you have doubts about it, I understand. But what I played has changed my mind. I have gone from “Yeah, I will wait until it’s on special” to “Yes please take my preorder”. It was that fun.

Don’t go looking for a pretty version of the game you already know. Be prepared to be playing a new game that shares a world, but is it’s own game.

The Legend of Zelda – Link’s Awakening (Switch)

I have never played the Zelda games, short of a quick round on the NES mini and a bit of Breath of the Wild.

While I really want to play all of them, time has been an enemy. But Link’s Awakening looks to be the game that will change that.

I have only been able to get a couple of hours in, but the game is great. Old school gameplay that is holding up so well. It did make me realise how much I have been relying on objective markers.

One dungeon down!

Link’s Awakening is a beautiful return to old school gaming, accessible to everyone. I am looking forward to trying to finish it off before Luigi’s Mansion 3 comes out!

The Witcher 3 Complete Edition (Switch)

So I have played the opening of The Witcher 3 about 5 times. I started streaming it a couple of years ago, but couldn’t keep a regular schedule up so had to give it away. I am hoping that playing it on the Switch will help with this, especially as I am going away for a week in November for work!

Before anyone starts, yes it looks bad compared to PS4 Pro/Xbox One/PC. But it doesn’t look terrible. NPC’s move funny in the distance. Grass doesn’t part when you walk through it. But really these are little things to have all of the Witcher 3 on Switch!

Blown up you can see blur and jaggies, but on the Switch screen - glorious!

Expect to hear more on Switcher 3 over the next few weeks, including a look at the mClassic I grabbed from Indiegogo and how it works with such a game!

Asphalt 9: Legends (Switch)

So just prior to PAX Aus, Asphalt 9: Legends was released on the Switch. I had heard of the series before, it has a pretty solid following on mobile. So as it was free, I thought I would give it a try.

And then played for about 12 hours.

Take simple Burnout style races and work them into small races perfect for mobile play. Yes, there are microtransactions. You can speed up improving your car by purchasing random booster packs. But I have yet to be tempted to put money down, and I have unlocked quite a bit of the game.

Some types of race have you hurtling down a mountain. It's amazing 😀

Give it a go, if you like arcade style racing games you will get a fair amount of play for free!

Warriors of Waterdeep – Android

One last push was apparently all I needed!

I have started progressing through the main explore dungeons again, but man was that a huge slog.

The grind is definitely there, and the online battles are becoming incredibly frustrating. I either face players that have little to no chance, or others I can’t even scratch. There is rarely a middle ground for a well balanced game.

At the moment I have a couple more weeks of this month’s VIP subscription, but I am pretty sure this will be my last month of playing, as great a diversion as it has been.

Given the amount of cash I have had to spend, and the prompts to buy more for a chance to be competitive, I am nearing the end of my playtime. Next set of dungeons where I meet a wall, I will be uninstalling.

I can finally take a room like this on to progress. Took a month though!

Even though it’s not the same sort of game, I would be giving the free Asphalt 9: Legends a go over Warriors of Waterdeep now. The amount of fun that I have had has been worth it, but it’s hard to recommend a game that you have to pay as much as a new game each month in comparison.

Funkoverse Strategy Game – DC

I saw these games at Minotaur games, and was interested. Such a simple concept – a strategy tactics game using Funko Pop minis. I saw them at PAX, but didn’t buy any as I wasn’t sure.

Luckily Alpal bought the DC starter pack, and now I want to buy ALL of them!

Simple enough turn based tactics, with variable player powers. Some of the rules I was a little worried would be to ‘bookkeeping’ for a simple tactics game, but those fears were unfounded.

Prepare to hear more about Funkoverse over the next few weeks!

Who wouldn't want to play a game with pieces like these?

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