This week I've been consumed by the social duties of running a large Kickstarter campaign... but I've managed to balance it just a bit better than last week. Mostly by starting a few new games - that's always good for my motivation!
Games of note this week:
1 - Serious Sam 3 BFE
2 - Dungeon Raid
3 - Endless Space
4 - Battle Nations
5 - Dungeons of Dredmor
Dungeons of Dredmor
I've been dying in Dredmor a lot. Now that's not really unusual - most characters die, and some quite early on. But what I mean is that when I try really hard to focus - I'm still dying. There is a new expansion coming out August 1st which I'm very excited about, so maybe I should take a break until then - to recharge my capacity to sink hundreds of hours into such an awesome game, eh?
They keep expanding this game, and I still think it's one of the best "click, then wait a while" games out there. But I think my time with it is coming to an end. Of the 7 or 8 resources the game uses, only 1 or 2 are relevant to me any more - the others just sit at maximum levels all the time. I only use a few attack units - because everything else has been outclassed. It's sad to leave it, but I suppose I've enjoyed it quite a bit for free, so why complain?
Custom Factions? The game finally goes live and now I have to deal with the agony of designing my own race? Now I spend an hour before I start the game, which means I get even LESS done when I want to play some 4x in space action. I'm falling into a sort of normalized sequence of events during my first 20 or 30 turns - soon I'll start trolling strategy posts to see how closely to optimal I've been playing.
This is a game I wish I'd thought of - it's a simplified game that's partway between Puzzle Quest and Tower Defense. I say Tower Defense because enemies grow stronger procedurally over time, and you need to upgrade your ability to resist them at nearly the same curve. You have a few tools to do this - Experience from killing enemies gives you "levels", while defense points spent when your defenses are at maximum earns you "upgrades" and coins collected can earn you "equipment." All of these things are pretty much the same - do you get +1 def, +1 attack, 5% more gold? Do you get a special ability?
These choices don't really matter much in the early game - but eventually the enemies become quite strong, and if you don't have the defenses necessary to absorb their attacks you'll die very quickly.
It's a fairly bare-bones game, but I quite respect it. Worth the price tag of free!
Serious Sam BFE
I played and very much enjoyed the first two SS games. They start out fun, and by 10% of the way through you're thrown into an INSANE firefight with literally hundreds of enemies attacking you at once. Ammo conservation becomes a real problem, which is especially well-done because many enemies have specific weapons they are weak to, but you just can't switch fast enough to be efficient, so you end up experimenting with inefficient alternatives on the fly. It's not frustrating, it's awesome.
This new game feels a bit too fast - that might be the way it's programmed, or my settings, or it could just be that my reflexes are way slower than they were 10 years ago. In any case it's not a dealbreaker. I love that the default weapon - the "you have no weapon so just fight with your hands" is a ONE HIT KILL. Your "basic" attack is literally to rip your opponent apart instantly.
This is balanced in some really interesting ways. Number one, the attack speed of this move is not great. One-on-one you can dominate with this move alone, but in the midst of a group you need to get OUT of there, not stand by each enemy in turn. But number 2 - the game has some excellent environmental effects, which basically means you can't see anything nearby for a moment when your opponent's body is showering blood. Likewise, exploding enemies leave lingering smoke clouds that obscure the dozen or more exploding enemies advancing behind them... this makes movement, position, and weapon choice really important in an organic way. I'm digging it.