Thursday, February 22, 2024

Demo Play Thursday - Promenade On PS4

For this week's Demo Play Thursday i played the PlayStation 4 version of Promenade, developed by  Holy Cap Studios, published by Red Art Games, and also released on PS5 and Switch.

The reaction online to this game has seemed really positive and i was eager to try it out and then this demo was released and i jumped at the opportunity to give it ago. In recent videos i've had some not so great times with platformers due to their difficulty so i went into this demo a little apprehensive and not letting the "cute" visuals make me think it would be an easy game.

It starts by acknowledging it's a demo, but it doesn't lean into to it like some of the great demos we've tried. those games tend to be a bit more personal and sometimes offer some explanation as to what's in the demo. here, there was just a list of 4 stages. i tackled them in the order they're presented and i think that's best. the first stage is a simple tutorial, tho perhaps a little too simple as it tells you what you should do but not how to do it. Like, if our pink friend could say/think the "X" button to jump or "ロ" to throw/pick up that would've saved me some time. 

The second stage seems to be mostly a full level and it was much bigger than i anticipated. here again, i found out from pressing buttons that "△" brings up a book of sorts showing how many collectables we've found. the platforming felt really good and the puzzles were interesting and fun. i enjoyed the "escort mission" that the game never told us to do but because of the environmental story telling i knew i should do it. There were some technical issues with reflections popping in and out and it was a little distracting mostly due to how great the game looks. there's plenty of small animations and little touches that make this level, and all the others i played, feel high quality.

The third stage also fell victim to the lack of a tutorial. it's probable that in Promenade it's explained, but here it wasn't. This level is a race that i never felt like i could even come close to winning. i never quite got the grappling into jumping mechanic. But it also didn't feel impossible. Even tho i didn't come close to the time, the game let me continue the level so it was nice that i could get some practice in.

The final stage was bigger but i also didn't finish it. it introduced new hazards and mechanics that seemed fine. again, there's no tutorial but it's quick to learn what to do. It was the Monkey boss fight where i decided to call it a day. My first attempt was more data gathering than actually trying to beat it. The second attempt was where the biggest bug happened. i could no longer see the bombs the monkey was throwing. i realised i could see their shadow, but it meant that it was impossible so i naturally died. Thankfully, there's a checkpoint right before the boss and it's quick to load. I got further on the third attempt but i couldn't see a way to beat the Monkey Boss. with the demo not offering tutorials, it's difficult to know if i was meant to be doing something or not. an example was that the bombs the monkey threw seemed to explode up more so i could no longer be safe above them. they're thrown so fast, i couldn't see a way to escape the blast zones. So i ended it there.

A great highlight of this demo is the addition of a well made trailer. we get to see many locations, objectives, and that there's more play styles than just the platforming. It's a fine way to show off the game. It's a bit of a shame that the trailer isn't viewable from the main home screen and only found when beating some of the levels.

But as a demo, this works great. i've played it and know that i would be happy to own Promenade. But this isn't the best demo. the bugs are frustrating with the lack of tutorials/instructions an even bigger oversight. But there's enough here for me to say you should try this out and maybe even to say that this demo has showed me that this is probably a decent buy without even needing to play the demo. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Backlog Conquering - Teslagrad On PS4 - A Beautiful World That Fails To Tell It’s Story

This is part 1 of playing the PlayStation 4 version of Teslagrad, from developers Rain AS, as part of Backlog Conquering. From looking at my Trophies, after i finished this video, it looks like i played the game a little back in 2015 probably on PS Vita. But as you'll see in this video, i clearly had no memories of it. But it could explain why i maybe didn't get some trophies.

The game starts by showing us the story rather than telling us. For the most part it works, but it cuts straight to gameplay without even explaining what the jump button is. I've played enough games to know what to do, but it's surprisingly unwelcoming to new players. Visually, i really like the art style and the presentation and i was able to look at the world and understand what i needed to do.

This first section makes it clear where you need to go. The woman points you to the right, you're chased to the right, and it all feels natural. i'm going where the game wants me to go but it feels like a natural way to do it. After that tho, it really did feel like i was on my own. And it's the biggest complaint i had throughout playing this part. Once the game let me go, it all felt aimless. not once did the game tell me where the map screen was, and when i found it, it was next to useless. 

Some games are built around you exploring and discovering the world. But they also excel at the story being told this way. Teslagrad may be set in a nice looking world with strange creatures and technology, but it's failing to tell that story with gameplay alone. I don't know what's happening but worse than that is i don't know where to go. once again, the game fails in driving the player to the next goal. 

But it is early on in the game. it's possible that the pacing, story telling, and player direction will improve once i get to a next section or new area. So there will be a part 2. But if it continues to frustrate, i don't know if i'll do more than 2 parts.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Puzzle & Dragons Tuesday - Nintendo Switch Edition Quest Mode: All 15 Dungeons From Start to Finish

Welcome to the final Puzzle & Dragons Tuesday videos! 
This is, from start to finish, all 15 dungeons in the Quest Mode.

Monday, February 19, 2024

Cloud Monday - Brink - Part 2 - It's Not Designed For The Cloud, But It's An Experience Worth Having

This week's Cloud Monday video is part 2 of playing the PS3 version of Brink via the PlayStation Plus Cloud Streaming Service to my Japanese launch model PlayStation 4. I have previously uploaded the PlayStation 3 XMB game Previews for the Beta to Brink, version 1.00 and version 1.01, but it was so long ago i don't really remember much about the game. 

In Part 1,, it became clear that the game isn't designed around being played in the cloud. whilst it has some ideas that feel modern, there are a few aspects of the game stuck in PlayStation 3 past. But actually playing in in the cloud was fine. i didn't notice any lag, nor were there any video issues. across both days, it was a great experience playing Brink in the Cloud.

Whilst it's not designed for it and it will be frustrating if you're kicked off the service whilst playing it, i would still say it's worth trying out. There's an aspect of preservation about being able to play Brink on PS3, an experience worth having whilst the game is still on the service. It has it's quirks, but i'd also argue there's some good worth playing too.

If you enjoy it, then you can get it for free on Steam and join in the the community on there. But outside of that, it's difficult to recommend. 

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Switch Funday - Splatoon 3 - February's Weekend Splatfest Tricolor - 15 Battles 5 Wins!

Welcome to Switch Funday.
It's day two of February's Splatfest weekend so today's video focuses on the Tricolor game mode in Splatoon 3. Things were only a little better than yesterday. Matches generally took a minute to be found, there was one game disconnected and a couple of games where teams played with one fewer player. Check out yesterday's video at, it took an hour 45 to play 15 games then and today it took an hour 30!

The goal of Tricolor is for all three teams to play together. two, with only two players on each team, would team up against the third team, who has four players. Unfortunately, this doesn't often work brilliantly and i've never played a Tricolor Sunday with all games working out like that. often it ends up with three of the same team going up against each other. This week, i only did 3 "proper" Tricolor battles and it felt bad. i really did start to lose enthusiasm by the end. I also only ever played as the defending team 4 times so again it was boring doing the same thing soo many times.

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Online Saturday - Splatoon 3 - February’s Weekend Splatfest – 15 Battles 6 Wins!

Welcome to Online Saturday.
It's a Splatfest weekend so today's video is on the "What's the best day of the weekend? Friday, Saturday, or Sunday?" Splatfest in Splatoon 3. I chose to join Team Saturday.

The biggest takeaway for me from today, Saturday, of the Splatfest is how bad the online was. I had 4 games disconnect during gameplay and more in lobbies waiting for games. on top of that were times when i waited minutes for a game, with one wait 3 minutes or more. Splatoon 3 has incredible matchmaking in that the wait is typically 20 seconds or less. so for it to be soo long today sticks out even more. i recorded nearly 1 hour 45 minutes of video and cut out the waits and disconnections and the video is about 1 hour 2 minutes. that's 40 minutes of waiting. By the end i was really fed up and my enthusiasm had dried up. i just wanted the 15 games to be over. I can only hope it went better for you.

Friday, February 16, 2024

Mobile Friday - Disaster Town Tycoon - One Of The Best Idle Games From 2023

For Mobile Friday this week is i tried out Disaster Town Tycoon from Rogue Harbour Game Studio. I Played this on my iPhone 14 Pro, but it's also out on Android.

The screenshots and video on it's app store page make it look fun and inviting. It certainly got my attention. But it also left a lot unanswered and i was very curious about how a lot of the game would actually work. So i went into this looking for answers and i would say i came away with plenty.

As ever, one of the first things i look for is how the screen is used. all to often, games are ported to Apple from Android and things like the UI haven't been changed to fit iPhone screens. That's not the case here. the Dynamic Island has plenty of space at the top and never gets in the way and at the bottom, the Dock has some room too and i never caught it instead of hitting a button. Another important answer i want to know is how the game integrates adverts. Once again, it's a positive answer in that they're optional. we're given bonuses for watching them and none are forced upon us.

Something many games get wrong or fail to see through to a logical conclusion is the tutorial. If a game has one, they're typically too short and/or lack all the information you need. In Disaster Town Tycoon the tutorial takes you through a lot of the early game. it often simply explains things as well as showing how the game is played. Every new menu is explained, too. if i can complain, i would say that the tutorial could tell you to click on things to get an explanation and that it could be expanded at the start to help explain how to complete certain tasks.

Disaster Town Tycoon is one of the most polished games i've come across. it did come out in 2023 and it has been updated a lot, but i think it does the basic well enough that it would've been in my 2023 Free To Play Mobile Game Of The Year Awards, The game is colorful and it works great with the art style and building designs. the characters have a fun look to them that doesn't look out of place. I even enjoyed the humour and greatly appreciated how it told us near the beginning why there are people living in a disaster prone city. that was such a small detail that really helped create a world and a reason why.

I hit the grind by about 20 minutes but was able to continue for a little while longer before needing to stop and wait. In some games that's come across as a lack of things to do and that the game doesn't have much depth. I didn't get that from Disaster Town Tycoon. more than once it tells us that we could come back later for free stuff and the pacing of the game goes very naturally from somewhat speedy to somewhat slow so that when the grind starts it feels like a natural time to put it down and let it idle.

I highly recommend Disaster Town Tycoon. I also think it would appeal to more than just the idle crowd. the graphics, the art style, the humour, and more importantly the initial tutorial make this one of the most approachable games i've played on iPhone.

(Version 0.10.1 Played)