Stardew Valley (Review)

One stardew valleyof the first games I ever played, on a grey giant of a Gameboy, was Harvest Moon. Unlike most other games, Harvest Moon wasn’t about violence. You couldn’t hunt or kill anything; instead, you simply farmed. There were no bosses and you couldn’t die – you just had to make the best farm you could – planting and harvesting crops each season, milking cows and tending to your chickens.

It wasn’t the most exciting game. In all honesty, it was extremely repetitive. But it was fun, and somewhat soothing. It was enjoyable to slowly build up your small herd. It was fulfilling to clear another field of rocks and debris, ready for ploughing. Even though each in-game day was roughly the same, I found myself keeping playing.

Stardew Valley is a game in the style of Harvest Moon, a new entry into a small genre that’s currently mostly known for the monstrosity that is Farmville. It’s clearly – from the graphics to the gameplay – an homage to the original Harvest Moon games, and it has exactly the same simple charm. Continue reading “Stardew Valley (Review)”

Total War: Warhammer (Review)

total warFor as long as there have been people with disturbingly intense stares, there have been calls for a Total War game set in the Warhammer universe. It makes sense – they are both (on computers and tables respectively) games of tactics, controlling massive armies in battle. Moreover, they’re both the top of their respective mediums – Games Workshop’s Warhammer is the preeminent tabletop strategy game, and the Total War series is one of the better regarded strategy franchises.  Continue reading “Total War: Warhammer (Review)”

Rediscovering Lego

I grew up playing with Lego – every holiday, I and my siblings would get it all out again, spreading over the floor as we hunted for the perfect piece we needed for the castle, station, or ship we were trying to build. There are still three huge boxes full of figures, bricks, and small pieces that we could never find when we wanted them.

My favourites, always, were the Wolfpack, though I called them the wolf knights. They seemed to be perpetual underdogs, unshaven and unarmoured against the more affluent-looking Dragon Knights.

As I got older though, my interest faded. The newer Lego sets seemed to lose a lot of their charm, involving increasingly specific pieces that couldn’t be repurposed easily; the Harry Potter range was the worst for this, with Hagrid’s Hut containing all sorts of totally location-specific pieces, from a baby dragon to the roofing. Lego lost its charm, and while I still occasionally played around with it, the brick spent more and more of the year in their boxes.

Recently though, that’s changed. I discovered the Lego Minifigures range, and I’ve been buying Lego again. Not exactly playing with it, but collecting it and hoarding it and taking a quiet joy from the process. Continue reading “Rediscovering Lego”

Viscera Cleanup Detail (Review)

viscera cleanup detailWhether or not video games are art is a tired debate, and one beyond the scope of this post. Viscera Cleanup Detail though, is strong evidence for the “yes” side. Art accrues commentary and criticism, deconstructions and challenges to accepted tropes and structures. Viscera Cleanup Detail is not a normal game, but a game about games. Continue reading “Viscera Cleanup Detail (Review)”

The Trouble with GTA IV

GTA IVI haven’t played Grand Theft Auto V yet. That’s due to several reasons – the late arrival of the PC port meant that I forgot about it for quite some time, I’m rather busy, and I still haven’t finished GTA IV.

I loved the game before IV – GTA: San Andreas is a game that I keep installed just to mess around in, one of the few games that I’m perfectly content driving around in aimlessly. But GTA IV leaves me cold; I’ve tried to complete it several times, each time losing interest and eventually giving up.

I re-installed it again recently, thinking that I would finally complete it before getting the next iteration. So far, I haven’t managed to finish it, but I have worked out why I’ve been struggling to maintain interest in the game. The reason is simple: GTA IV isn’t very fun.   Continue reading “The Trouble with GTA IV”

Invisible Inc. – Full Release (Review)

Invisible Inc.I’ve written about Invisible Inc. before. At the time, I said it was playable, interesting, and very polished for an early access game.

Yesterday, Invisible Inc. stopped being an Early Access game, joining the sparse ranks of Early Access games that actually got anywhere. Theoretically, at this point, Invisible Inc. should be totally polished and complete. Continue reading “Invisible Inc. – Full Release (Review)”

Total War: Warhammer

This announcement trailer came out recently and made a lot of people very happy, myself included. For many years, fans of both the Total War games and Warhammer have been suggesting a collaboration, and now it is on the horizon. There will be no more need for it to turn up on countless forum threads titled “What game do you wish existed”, or for modders to cobble together a pallid copy of their dream. Total War: Warhammer is actually going to exist.  Continue reading “Total War: Warhammer”