Scribblenauts Unlimited

Scribblenauts Unlimited is a game that I thought was going to require some from of artistic skill and this was scary. Fortunately there is no drawing involved. Instead we must paint with words. Basically the gameplay is as simple and complex as you want it to be. You open up a prompt and anything you can think of and type in will get spawned in the game. Well, not anything, but a surprising amount of nouns. And adjectives! You can make a radioactive cthulhu. And then drag him around on a tow truck. You can make a sad zombie. The sad zombie is surprisingly depressing.

Most of the puzzles are pretty easy as long as you have an imagination. So I hope you still do. It’s really about coming up with the funniest solutions to common problems. If there is a fire, you could spawn a fire truck and put it out. Or a fire extinguisher. But the correct answer is to create a tidal wave that eliminates all traces, or possibly some kind of water monster. It’s pretty entertaining. The game really captures the feel of flipping through the best damn coloring book you’ve used since you were a kid…except you’re not coloring so much as creating a hilarious world. Unless you are some kind of heartless bastard this should be a good thing. The levels are all colorful and varied and you basically travel from place to place helping (or hurting) strangers with your magic pencil.

Sometimes the physics can get a little wonky, and sometimes (a lot of the time) things don’t quite work out the way you want them too. However, the disappointment quickly leads to joy because you just try something else even weirder that actually works. Seriously, whenever you come up with a really weird solution to one of the problems presented to you and the game actually lets you do it it’s strangely satisfying. Scribblenauts Unlimited really encourages you to game the system. And for the most part it is just a flat out good time.

Doctor Jones!

Scribblenauts Unlimited is currently on sale at 75% off for $4.99. This is probably worth it, because the game is unique and highly entertaining, and you don’t need to sink a ton of time into it to get a lot of enjoyment out of it. Verdict: Buy it.

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs will have you wishing that you lost your mind after you play it. At least, that’s what they want you to think. It’s definitely pretty scary depending on how you feel about dead pigs. True to the game’s title, there are a lot of dead pigs in this game, in various states of decay. Some of them are crucified. Or maybe that was a dream. I’m not sure, but seriously, dead pigs abound. Kind of like putting bacon on top of a pork chop sandwich. You at least get to carry a flashlight with you the whole game and lots of people are upset about this because they make it too bright. I get scared so easily in video games that this is probably a good thing.

So most of the game takes place inside of a Wienerschnitzel in 1899. You play a grizzled employee who must get to the bottom of a series of food sickness complaints coming from the patrons. Unfortunately, there are earthquakes and smoke and dark shadows abound that stand in your way. Or something like that. This game does claim to have “The darkest, most horrific tale ever told in a videogame.” This is untrue. Everybody knows Chex Quest has the darkest, most horrific tale ever told in a video game. If only it was made by the same people that made the original Amnesia. But that seems to be pretty par for the course these days. I don’t want to live in a world where Obsidian doesn’t make the next Fallout game, but I’m going to have to.

Not Pictured: Ketchup and Mustard

This game is pretty OK. It’s definitely not bad, but it’s not that great either. Unless you’re really into horror games there just isn’t that much substance here. It’s purposefully minimalistic, but with no inventory to worry about there really isn’t much to worry about. Aside from the story, that is. Amesia: A Machine for Pigs is currently on sale at 66% off for $6.79. If it was half the price it’d probably be worth it. But for now just get yourself a BLT instead. Verdict: Skip it.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Welcome to XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Except we know the enemy, they are aliens. A bunch of jerk aliens that want to come over here to Earth and charge us taxes on necessities like tea. Well the humans of Planet Earth have had it with those imperialistic bastards and now we’re dumping that tea off of our ships. We refuse to pay your outlandish tariffs, you greedy aliens! XCOM is the name of the elite team of 6 people or from all over the world who are given the responsibility of protecting the entire planet. These 6 people are rotating in and out of a slightly larger group, depending on who gets killed or injured. Unfortunately, the shadowy “government” has only given the team a budget of a couple hundred simoleons a month. Which is just absurd considering you are the last line of defense for the entire world but whatever, that’s totally just like the government, always trying to screw us.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown basically plays like Oregon Trail. Except instead of your poor, loving sister who dies of dysentery, it’s Corporal Santiago who dies of a laser blast to the face. He was the heart of the team, dammit! I don’t see how we go on anymore. And for that reason I refuse to play the game for several weeks until I can forget about his poor, sad, dying face. I let him die. It was my fault, and I feel bad about it. And such is the XCOM experience. The key to the game is to name the people in your squad after your friends. And if you don’t have any friends, well, then your squad will become your friends. You will become emotionally attached and you will not what to put them in harm’s way. But you will have to and it’s pretty sad when they die, because ultimately IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT.

As long as your squad members survive, they will remain under your command for the whole game. They level up and you can give them special abilities and outfit them with cool new weapons and armor. Eventually you get to the point where each unit has a specific specialty, and this will give you a balanced attack. Until the sniper that you strategically placed on the rooftop to flank the enemy gets shot in the back by a half robot/ half corpse that just teleported behind you. Back in the day we called that cheesing. Now they call it artificial difficulty or some crap I’m not really sure. But it’s all part of the game, baby, because on the next turn with the way karma works that alien’s face is going to have a 3% chance of getting melted off but you’re going to take that chance anyways and BAM! Captain Michelle Rodriguez came through and blew him away, game over, aliens lose, you win.

This game is addicting which is a great quality, and it is difficult. You really have to be strategic with your moves. And make sure you have a support class with a ton of medkits, they are totally underrated. The problem is it’s only 50% off and it’s $14.99. This is a little steep- it was on sale for less than that several months ago. But the game is really good, so if you don’t want to wait and hope for the Summer sale then you should probably buy it. Verdict: Buy it.

Killing Floor

Killing Floor is a game that probably should have been called Killing Fields if you ask me, I feel like you spend a lot of time in fields doing quite a bit of killing. In case you have never heard of this game, Killing Floor got its start as one of the first hat simulator extensions of TF2. Back in the day if you bought this game you got a mask for the pyro called the Foster’s Facade. This was a huge deal. Except now that thing is only worth 1 ref vintage! In case you don’t follow TF2 trading that means it’s worthless. And that’s absurd. Also the pyro is in it.

Let’s talk about what really matters. This game is totally badass. And the graphics, while they have aged poorly, somehow now add to the badass meter. Everything is all washed out and kind of blurry and when the blood starts to spatter everywhere you really feel like your in an old school horror movie. And that is a good thing. Even though the graphics have aged the gameplay has held up pretty well. Guns feel a little sluggish but on purpose, and you feel like you have to make every shot count against the zombie/demon/science-experiment-gone-wrong menace. And you do. Until you buy yourself a rocket launcher or a flamethrower than you just destroy everyone.

Gameplay works like those Warcraft 3/ Superhero mod Counter Strike servers from back in the day. Everyone starts on a level playing field and everyone is on the human team. You get money from killing things and then you can spend that money on weapons. These new weapons in turn help you kill things faster and easier, allowing you to further outfit yourself. It’s a vicious cycle that continues to reward the people that are doing better and punishes the people that are doing worse- as it becomes harder and harder to kill zombies with your crappy pistol.

If you see this guy, you’re already dead. 

It’s an addictive formula and everyone on the team needs to be on top of their game to make it to the last wave. The guns are fun and the enemies are varied- all the varieties require different strategies for handling them, like L4D’s special infected. Well, maybe not that different because you still just want to aim for the head. This is co op multiplayer at its finest, however, and completely worth the price of admission- $3.99, 80% off. Verdict: Buy it.

Race the Sun

Race the Sun is the true sequel to the hit game Dark Souls. It is set far into the future and places you in the shoes of the brave knight Solaire of Astora. Solaire has long been praising said sun but apparently he decided now is the time to finally try and catch it, which is why he got this spaceship in the first place. At least this is as much information as I could possibly gather because in true Dark Souls fashion the story is more about picking up clues from the environment rather than having it shoved into your face by cutscenes.

The game is one of those endless runner-type games. I’m not sure what the genre is called exactly. So your only true opponent is your own reflexes and flight skills. That and a bunch of polygonal shapes that threaten to fall on you, or worse, stand completely stationary in your way and then you fly into it but it wasn’t anyone’s fault except for your own and you really can’t blame this inanimate object but it’s much easier to do that than it is your own incompetence but in the end it doesn’t really matter because you’re just going to try it again anyways. So yeah, it’s kind of like that.

Race the Sun is also procedurally generated so you can fly your ship in any direction and the world will build itself around your flight path. This is good and bad because luck is now involved. And unless you are Han Solo sooner or later flying your spaceship around a bunch of spiky triangles is going to get you killed. Repeatedly.

race the sun
Return to Anor Londo as Solaire Himself!

Although the graphics have inexplicably taken a few steps back from the original Dark Souls, Race the Sun still has its own simplistic charms. The gameplay is familiar but it is finely honed, much like a blade pounded out by Andre. The game is currently 66% off and $3.39. It might not cause you to lapse into a marathon gaming session but it will force you to play and replay it many times. Verdict: Buy it.

Chivalry: Medieval Warfare Free Weekend

Chivalry: Medieval Warfare is a pretty clever title. See, it’s a play on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, because back in the day the call of duty was known as chivalry or something, and what was once modern warfare to them is now known to us as medieval warfare. Get it? War…war never changes. For the most part these famous words uttered to us by Hellboy ring true. On the battlefield, boys become men and men become legends, whether the tool is an M4A1 or a stick with a pointy piece of metal tied to the end of it. And this game is all about the battlefield.

Let’s watch some gameplay footage:

That was badass, and that’s pretty indicative of how the game actually is but with a lot more screaming and also gurgling. Yes, gurgling! You will bathe in blood of your enemies, and while unfortunately you cannot drink it to gain their battle prowess it still feels pretty satisfying. You choose between four classes but I feel like that didn’t matter as much as your choice of weapon. And all the weapons feel quite a bit different. Long swords, short swords, axes, flails, pikes. This game has it all.

After your choice, Chivalry basically turns into just running around on an open plain trying to hack people apart. Oh, and a fair amount of kicking. You can spend the whole match screaming “Have at you!” at your computer and it’s pretty entertaining. The key to kills is to play completely without honor, so if you see two people dueling you need to run in and stab them both while they aren’t paying attention. And forget the shield. Cowards use shields. It’s better to be brazen.

Anyways, Chivalry: Medieval Warfare is currently on sale for 75% off and it is $6.24. This is a good deal but lucky for you you get to try before you buy. Free weekend until Sunday. Verdict: Free Weekend!!!!

Ironclads: Chincha Islands War 1866

You might be asking yourself a few questions right now, like “What’s an Ironclad?” and “Where are the Chincha Islands?” Well I am here to answer those questions for you as easily as possible. Don’t you dare touch that wikipedia toolbar bookmark. An Ironclad, according to a few games of Civ IV that I played, is a totally useless metal ship made of some kind of metal. Most likely iron. It was slow as hell but it destroyed wooden ships back in the day. As long as they were within one tile of the shore of course, because they apparently couldn’t travel very far. Trust me, skip the ironclad and just wait a few years and buy destroyers instead.

As far as the Chincha Islands go, well they are off the coast of South America, specifically Chile and Peru. Spain wanted them very badly, and Chile and Peru were colonized by Spain. Why did they want them so badly, though? Well, the islands were rich with poop. They called this poop guano. Spain really wanted the poop because it was expensive back in the day because I guess it was good at burning or something, I don’t really know. The point is people were upset, like they always are, and the dispute needed to be settled by ironclad.

This picture is more exciting than the game

This game is a simulation. A simulation of what naval warfare really would have been like in 1866, which is to say it is very boring. This game is straight up awful. There is literally nothing good about it. It is shittier than the guano that the ironclads are fighting over. And that’s pretty shitty because it is literally bird poop. The screenshot implies something cool is about to happen. I assure you, something cool is not about to happen. Even the sky and the ocean are the same exact color you can’t even tell if you are sailing or flying.

Seriously screw this game. Ironclads: Chincha Islands War 1866 is currently 80% off and it is $1.99. This is way to much money. Verdict: Skip it.