Thursday, June 13, 2024

Demo Play Thursday - Scars of Mars On Switch

For this week's Demo Play Thursday i played the Nintendo Switch version of Scars of Mars, from Acquire Games.

At the time of recording, this demo had recently come out on the Switch and the game itself is coming out next week, June 20th on the UK eShop. before seeing the game on the eShop, i had never heard of or seen this game before. but i was interested after reading that it's a real time RPG.

Unfortunately, other than having a small "Demo" logo, there's nothing else highlighting the fact. so, for example, even tho it appears to have an auto save whilst i was playing i never got a message saying if that save will carry over to the final game. there's no link to the eShop either. When there's this little effort put into the demo, it's difficult to know if this demo is from the final game, an earlier version of the game, or if it's bespoke.

Which is a shame because i don't think it's a good demo and i have to assume it's representative of gameplay, meaning i don't think it's a good game. other than the music, there was very little praise-worthy from my time with the demo. 

The tutorial is more bare bones than some mobile phone games i play, with wasted space, and no call back to anything previously mentioned. i had a lot of trouble making sense of the upgrade menus. then we had the game changing the rules on inventory out of the blue. did this mean the tutorial was wrong? 

So with the tutorial being as bad as it was, it meant my first introduction to actual gameplay was a nightmare. it's a real time RPG, this meant there's little to no time to think before either an enemy attacks you or the timer at the top of the screen counts down. this was at Normal difficulty and it was overwhelming. One of the stranger control decisions was that "B" wasn't cancel. i had to press "A" to select and then "A" again to deselect.

But the controls are compounded by the fact every interaction i do in combat is slow. i couldn't move my cursor fast enough to manage my team mates and keep them out of harms way or to get them to attack. as soon as we got 2 or more enemies on screen, i couldn't keep on top of it until i was down to one or two characters and with the slow speed i was able to barely manage the situation. 

There's more i could say, but ultimately this demo paints such a negative picture of this game that i get the feeling it's nothing more than shovelware. I also suspect that there's been a heavy use of A.I throughout as the English was a little off, the pictures were a little off, and the backgrounds very repetitive. I don't think you should play this demo, nor do i think from this experience that you should buy Scars of Mars.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Backlog Conquering - Tearaway: Unfolded On #PS4 - Part 6 – Chased By Wendigos

At the end of Part 5,, we had arrived at Coggage Cove so for the beginning of this video we explore the town a little before heading to the Tavern to continue the quest of looking for our companion friend.

Things got interesting once we left the town as the area between the town and where we needed to get to was full of Wendigos. This section was fun as it combine several controller gameplay mechanics with the action on screen in a way that felt natural as we had already done many of the techniques separately else where in the game. we were never on the attack so it was a mix of different styles of platforming and running away. 

This part ends at The Lab and before we meet with The Head Scientist. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Stories on Tuesday - When the Past Was Around - Part 3

Hello and welcome to Stories on Tuesday. It's part 3 of playing When the Past Was Around from developers Mojiken Studio.

After getting stuck in Part 2,, i looked online before playing this part to find the solution to making the Pinwheel. i'm a little salty about it, it felt like a jump up in difficulty and that the game did a poor job of signalling what we were meant to do.

One question i had was where would the auto save put me. turns out, right at the start of the whole section. so i spent the first 10 minutes re-doing everything and then i got to solve the Pinwheel puzzle. i managed to get to the next story section and once again i have gotten stuck. so for Part 4, i will have looked up the solution. i can only hope i don't have to redo everything in that section again.

Monday, June 10, 2024

Cloud Monday - G-Police - Part 2 - Emulation Software Needs Analogue Stick Settings

This week's Cloud Monday video is part 2 of playing the #PS1 version of G-Police on #PS4 via the #PlayStationPlus Cloud Streaming Service to my Japanese launch model #PlayStation4.

After Part 1,, it was clear that the controls were terrible. in the week since playing the game, no update came to fix them. so going into today, it was always just a case of doing my best with what i've got.

It feels like the emulation software being used needs the ability to adjust analogue stick stuff. i played Resistance: Retribution,, and the game itself had options to change the sticks, but so far it's the only one of these emulated games i've come across that has such options. it needs to be a fundamental part of the software, like being able to save at any point by pressing "Options" is. i wonder if it's something like the polling rate on the PS1 controller was different to the PS4 controller.

As for today's gameplay, i managed to beat the stage i got stuck on at the end of Part 1. Stage 3 was tricky as i had to tail someone, defend the police, and defeat enemy craft. it was a lot to do and there was a moment i kept failing towards the end of the mission. But overall, it's hard to say i actually enjoyed playing G-Police today. from a nostalgia point of view, sure it was nice. but i didn't get much enjoyment from the experience. 

These emulated games on PS4 and PS5 are great games to stream from the cloud. but i don't recommend G-Police for anyone whilst it's controls are as bad as they are. 

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Switch Funday - Splatoon 3 - Big Big Run – 20 Matches!

This is a special weekend in Splatoon 3, it's the Big Big Run event. Unlike previous Big Run events which took place on one Turf War map, all maps could be played on and weapons are randomised. The goal is to get as many golden eggs as possible, with Bronze Rewards starting at 82 collected. However, there's a second twist. instead of the possibility of fighting against one King Salmonid, you could face off against three of them fighting together as a Triumvirate. 

I got very competitive trying to get a high score in Big Big Run, hence why this video is much longer than my typical Splatoon 3 videos. my high score was 72, 10 shy of getting the bronze reward. but my team mates and I also had a poor win record. only 7 times, out of 20, did we manage to defeat all 3 waves. we typically failed at the Griller wave of the Fireflies. they're both waves where enemies have a singular goal of attacking and defeating you.

Saturday, June 8, 2024

Online Saturday - Star Wars: Hunters - The First Hour

For this weekend's Online Saturday video i wanted to try out the recently released Star Wars: Hunters on #Switch from developers NaturalMotion Games and Zynga.

It's a game i've been interested in since it was announced. But i was always a bit unsure about it. with it having a foot in mobile games, there's a concern that it's just been ported over from mobile, or that it's going to push the shop at us, or that it'll be very grindy. i don't have answers to all these after my first hour with the Nintendo Switch version, but i can say it was a very good first hour and i'm much less concerned.

As we've seen with Pokémon Unite, there's always a concern that the tutorial won't cover enough, with the game especially needing one for the home screen. But with Star Wars: Hunters, i feel like they did a great job. not the best, but good enough that i felt comfortable with the game. it took about an hour before i knew i was playing against other people, but when i did i didn't feel overwhelmed. the tutorial does a good job in going over the controls and basic ideas of combat. But the game also doesn't put you up against other people right away. each game you play seems to get a little more difficult and then when you play against people it jumps up again but not in a huge or scary way. i felt well prepared.

But the home screen wasn't fully explained and there were icons we weren't taught about. The game could've also done a better job at pointing us to go to the shop and get the free stuff, or showing us how to customise our avatar, or even just saying which is the options. so yes, the gameplay is well taught but outside of gameplay is a little patchy in places. Whilst i appreciate that i was ready for proper online gaming, the game could've told me what was happening as i was always second guessing if my opponents were real or not.

The in-game combat is where Star Wars: Hunters shines. the controls are simple and effective. i immediately found the controls to be as responsive as expected. I didn't use all the characters available to me as i was having a good time with Imara Vex. i really enjoyed her rocket attack and blaster ultimate moves. her grapple ability not only gave me traversal options but also added a way for her to escape when up against multiple enemies. it's easy to see why she's the first character we use and train with.

We have to unlock game modes types by playing, hence why there's a point in the video where it switches to the Capture game mode as i had to unlock it first. this also applies to the Ranked mode. personally, i don't mind this approach. when i first realized what was happening, there's the worry that it'll be a grind. but thankfully that wasn't the case. it felt like a natural progression towards each game mode.

It'll take a few more games to get a greater sense of Star Wars: Hunters, but after my first hour with it i'm comfortable recommending it not only to Star Wars fans but to many others. there's depth and strategy to it's gameplay, but it's also accessible. when Ranked mode gets unlocked, i feel that's were more "hardcore" players may play leaving the other modes more accessible to more "casual" players. it's not clear if there's crossplay, unlock Trackmania which has an icon showing where each player is playing from, but the waits today were very short. I hope it can come to more platforms as i think Zynga may have a hit with Star Wars: Hunters.

Friday, June 7, 2024

Mobile Friday - EigenGauge - A Recommended Arcade Racer With Good Graphics And Music

For Mobile Friday this week is i tried out EigenGauge, from developers BLASTODISK LABS. i played this on my iPhone 14 pro.

I haven't done many racing games as part of this playlist as quite frankly i haven't come across many new ones. there are several popular games in this genre, but most are many years old. so it was refreshing when the app store recommended this game to me. when you start EigenGauge, there are no extra downloads or things you need to sign up to. it takes you straight to the game.

I do appreciate that it get straight to the game, what was a little surprising, especially in comparison to many games we play in this playlist, is there is no tutorial outside of telling you to touch the screen to steer. i would've liked a little bit of information about the two buttons on the right. the orange button, when pressed, is clearly a short turbo. but i thought the blue button was going to be some sort of energy projectile attack as the logo is similar to such an attack in Wipeout games.

There's a lack of information throughout this game. one that i couldn't work out was how the levels are scored. another is that none of the abilities have a description to say what they do. But i will argue that in a game designed like EigenGauge is, it's not a big issue. it's an arcade style racer with some aspects feeling play a PlayStation or N64 game. there are unlockables and you need crystals to unlock them. so playing the game, trying out the weapons, learning what it all means doesn't stop you progressing as you'll be picking up the crystals from the racers.

Graphically i really enjoyed it. at first look, F-Zero is the logical comparison. but there's more going on. the crystals, for example, seem to be 2D but then they rotate and have a 3D look to them. the vehicles in the game look simple and yet they also look unique and impressive from each other. it's what f-zero on GameCube could've looked like if the SNES style graphics were kept but adapted to 3D.

I really liked the music  they've paired with it. there weren't many tracks in this video, but i enjoyed what i heard. each planet has a soundtrack, as do the menu options. it felt cohesive and i hope they'll make it purchasable somehow maybe on Bandcamp. it's a soundtrack where i want to know how the other planets sound and adds to the drive to progress through the game.

Overall, EigenGauge maybe a basic arcade racer but it's done well. i feel the controls may need a little work as i think i noticed moments when they weren't responding as i'd like, but the game wasn't going so fast that this became a problem. it's not a checkpoint racer. there is time to worry about but it's generous. it's the same with health. there's just enough challenge so it's satisfying when you finish. i easily recommend EigenGauge to anyone looking for a arcade racer on their phone.

Version 1.0.1 Played.