Twine Weekly: Fibromyalgia Simulator

I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I started Xandir’s Fibromyalgia Simulator. I had never heard of this chronic disorder beforehand and the word “simulator” in game titles has increasingly been used ironically. I went in with an open mind and was surprised to emerge better educated about a disorder that affects millions of people. Continue reading

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Mad Max: The Dangers of Safe Game Design

I am going to start off by saying, I have never seen a single Mad Max movie. In fact, my only knowledge about the movies is that they take place in a post apocalyptic wasteland. With that said, I went into this game with an open mind and zero expectations. I came away from Mad Max with utter disappointment, feeling as though I had been duped into playing a cobbled together mish-mash of half baked mechanics stolen straight from other games. Every bit of my experience was mediocre and disjointed. Continue reading

Twine Weekly: Ghosts Are Good Hosts

I’m a little late for a spooky edition of Twine Weekly but I’m going to do one anyways. Ghosts Are Good Hosts deals with manipulation through conversation, self preservation, and well…ghosts. Having been invited to an reunion dinner, you embark to the Chateau de Carnelle just outside of Paris. Upon arriving, however, there is only one other person, Annabelle, whom you do not know. Then the ghosts appear and it grows more evident that you are the meal for this dinner. Continue reading

TL;DR: Halo 5: Guardians

Just like last week, I’m reviewing the newest title in a long series that probably should have ended several games ago. Halo 5 is the newest entry in the amazing sci-fi shooter blah, blah, blah. If you have purchased every generation of the Xbox because of this series then you are already playing this game. I don’t even know why a game as anticipated as Halo 5 needs any reviews. Even if it is horrible it will sell millions and the multiplayer servers will be filled with eager fans. Regardless, here we go. The single player is underwhelming despite being built with co-op in mind. The story is blatant and dull and has serious issues with pacing. It seems like this is a knee jerk reaction to criticisms about Halo 4’s incomprehensible narrative, but they jumped from one end of the spectrum to the other. Maybe Halo 6 will be somewhere in between Dr. Seuss and James Joyce. The multiplayer is your standard fare of shooting bullets and plasma at people in space armor. Except there are microtransactions for blind booster packs and nobody seems upset about this. I guess that rare space armor is glittery enough to divert the attention of millions as their wallets are slowly emptied. God forbid EA try to do something like this (*cough cough* Dead Space 3, Mass Effect 3).  Oh, and Halo 5’s new mechanics all seem to emulate stuff from Destiny. This includes the shoulder charge, ground pound, and hovering when you aim down the sights in midair. Unless you’re a diehard Halo fan, feel free to skip out on this mild update. I’d even suggest to the fans to find something better to play.

Score: Robot Stare Down

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Twine Weekly: Elsewhere

Every once in awhile I come across a game that allows me to view genres or engines in a new light or from a different perspective. Stacey Mason’s Elsewhere is one of those games. As an engine, Twine is versatile and can be heavily customized with use of CSS and Javascript.  Despite its adaptability I had never really pictured it capable of doing anything that didn’t allow the player to take their time. The majority of Twine games play like “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, where text is displayed and the game waits for the user input, and this is what I’ve come to expect of it as an engine limitation. Elsewhere showcases just how limitless Twine really is. Continue reading

TL;DR: Assassin’s Creed Syndicate

If you like any of the previous 38 Assassin Creed titles then you will love Syndicate. If this is you, just go buy the game because it is the same thing just in Victorian London this time — which seems to be a pretty popular time period. The zipline trivializes the hallmark climbing aspects. There are two playable characters, though this mechanic isn’t fleshed out in either the narrative nor the gameplay. One is better at combat, the other can become invisible (WHAT?) and they have their own skill trees which allows you to play with different builds. In the story, one doesn’t utilize subtlety in assassinations and the other cleans up the mess. Seriously, they could have just had one character with one skill tree and the ability to respec. Evie is much more interesting and fleshed out than Jack Jacob anyways(he’s so generic I even forgot his name). In the end they assassinate the main bad guy and the present day plot still doesn’t make any sense.

Score: Brooding Frye Twins

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AltGames Weekly: BasketBelle

In 2012 I went a little overboard with all of the indie bundles that were popping up after the success of Humble Bundle and ended up accumulating a vast amount of DRM-free games that I have never installed. After almost three years I am finally playing these games that I have purchased. While most have been passable — and some are outright unplayable — some have been really well done. BasketBelle is definitely on the better end of that spectrum and is quite memorable due to both the mechanics and the narrative. Continue reading