A Little Bit Of: Quantum Conundrum

Fluffy Dimension!

A game made by Airtight games, who made Dark Void, and Kim Swift, who was one of the main minds behind the original Portal. So it seems a little unfair to compare those two games directly but it's sort of inevitable. Both first person puzzle games where you have a narrator commenting as you play through the game.

That aside though I think they've actually managed to make a compelling puzzle game. Yes it doesn't always quite pan out and some of the humour falls flat and I realise that if you hate puns you're going to be tearing your hair out at some point. But the parts where you just have a giant room with a bunch of moving parts and you think through what you need to do and then just do it is awesome. The parts that are less awesome are the ones that are slightly more platforming based, that can end up being rather clunky and awkward at times, especially when it's asking you to use some of the worlds smaller items as platforms like the safes instead of the nice big couches.

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A Little Bit Of: Q.U.B.E.

Cubic extrusion.

This is another indie fund game and is a cool puzzle game. It's kind of impossible to talk about this game without making comparisons to portal (not portal 2). It just evokes the same sort of feel from the way the puzzle chambers are set out and very sort of minimal/spartan feel of the rooms. No it doesn't have a sociopathic AI taunting you and doesn't seem to have any dialogue at all, but it has a few of the same notes.

The puzzles feel good, I'm still fairly early goings but so far they're pretty smart. So long as they rely on you setting everything up with puzzles that have pretty loose timing then it'll be on the right track but there is a chance that it'll get more timing focused as the puzzles get more complicated and that would make for a real downer. Because I always feel that a puzzle game like this should really be about testing your mind and solving puzzles rather than reflexes.

There have been some puzzles that have required timing, but it's been forgiving enough that it hasn't bothered me so far. Anyway that's pretty much all I have to say for the moment, but this game is cool, I feel like I say that a lot maybe I should waste my time and show off a really awful game some time. Doing these once a week makes me feel like I should show off stuff that is cool or interesting, but maybe they deserve a counterpoint I don't know, something to think about.

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A Little Bit Of: Waveform

Waves and wobbling.

I will preface this by saying that I suck at playing this game. And the fact that it at least partly seems setup to be a leaderboard game makes it all the worse for me. But I think that this is a fun game despite my terribleness. It has some lovely music that is supposedly dynamic to some extent, but I haven't really played enough of the game to get a real good feel for that yet and it's good, it fits with the style of the game regardless.

Manipulating the wave is interesting, you just hold down the left mouse and then drag horizontally and vertically to adjust the frequency and amplitude of the wave. And you're trying to line that path up and to score as many points as you can. The main story levels all have 100% completion paths to them but at some points in playing it I do get totally and utterly lost and kind of have no real way of getting a particular group because I have messed up so badly. That's probably one of the more frustrating things that I've had to deal with while playing it, but the act of manipulating the wave feels good and probably more importantly pretty intuitive.

It's a game that I like but am probably not really good enough and won't be able to put the time into getting good enough at the game to continue with it. But I do like it quite a lot for what it does.

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A Little Bit Of: Sugar Cube Bittersweet Factory

Sugar!

I think this game is adorable, just look at the sugar cube person with their overalls! Now with that out the way I'll talk about the game :). A 2010 IGF winner so I had pretty expectations going in, not for it to be a great game but that it was going to be really interesting. On the plus side it's both which is great. It's a puzzle platforming game where you flip the tiles that are behind your guy. So while the plane you're on might not have a platform on it, if you move over it and then move away there may be a new platform waiting for you, or a horrible spiky death.

On some levels there are lights that highlight what's behind the tile but on a lot of the maps that isn't the case and that can lead to a fair amount of trial and error if only just to see roughly what's on the map before actually solving the puzzle out and what you need to do. There have definitely been times where I'm on a map and then just not really quite managed to figure out what I needed to do without just blindly charging ahead and hoping for the best. So far that's worked out pretty well for me but it's definitely getting tougher and I expect that approach won't be valid for much longer.

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A Little Bit Of: Gratuitous Tank Battles

Tank!

This game does indeed feature many tanks, but also turrets, men and mechs. This is the most recent game from @cliffski and follows up from his previous game Gratuitous Space Battles. This takes a lot of those customisation elements that were in that game and puts it into a tower defence game, where you can play as both the attackers and the defenders. What this leads to is a ridiculous number of turrets that you could make in order to defend your lanes and also a ridiculous amount of possible variation of enemies that can get sent at you. I haven't dived too much into the customisation yet but it looks like I probably should a bit more than I have, a lot of the parts are locked from the start so you need to play through the campaign to unlock new weapons and tools.

As seen in the video the game can be fairly hard even from very early on, that was just the 3rd mission and I expect that it will get even harder as time goes on, on the flip side it'll hopefully mean that I will have unlocked some choice parts that I would use for the future. I haven't played too much of the attackers so far, but it sort of plays how you would expect, you put down a creep on the tile and then it walks towards the exit. Almost all the units have weapons associated with them so it's important that you figure out what units are going to be the most cost effective way of destroying as many turrets as they can and also defending some of the more valuable Victory Point units to the end.

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A Little Bit Of: Warlock Master of the Arcane

Strategy and Hexes.

Word play! Sorry I'm a bit too proud of that one. Back on topic I think this is a rather great strategy game. I'm not sure how much longevity it will have at the moment but I'm having lots of fun with it. The lack of multiplayer is a little bit jarring, but from what they've said they're working on it and it will be put in with a patch down the line which will be really good because the AI is good but not fantastic. In the later stages of the game it's pretty easy to steamroll them but early on they can be appropriately punishing you for you mistake.

The focus on combat is nice because I think that with the magic and the unit variety of having three separate races, general units that are related to one of the many gods and the resources on the map really make it pretty interesting. There are also plenty of neutral units which are no pushovers either, sending your scouts through the mystic portal and seeing a dragon that can kill your units in a single swipe is pretty awesome. The city management is super streamlined so that you build a new building every time your city increases in size and that's about it. No trade, no roads like in Civilisation. If you were a fan of the complexity that Civ offered on that front you're probably going to miss it an awful lot. I liked it for this game because it keeps your focus on the battlefield, but it makes peace time a fairly uninteresting affair.

The biggest knock I have against the game is the lack of an in game encyclopedia of some sort. There is definitely a tech tree associated with buildings and units and there is at least a loose sort of tech tree for magic research. It'll take you a good long while to figure out what you need to build to get what units and a lot of that could be side stepped just by having some sort of reference tool that you could look at.

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A Little Bit Of: Vessel

Fluids.

More specifically water. Or at least I think it's supposed to be water. Also I apologise for getting stuck at that elevator like a muppet, totally got the wrong idea from step one :). But my stupidity aside, I like this game quite a lot. I feel sort of like I missed the boat on this one playing it a couple months after it came out, but ah well better late than never.

So far the puzzles are fairly simple, mostly to let me get used to all of the mechanics and I expect that it'll dole out more complicated stuff as I get further and it was pretty awesome to see the giant over elaborate spike machine of death at the end. I'm aware there are more gadgets to play around with beyond just the single magnety fluro maker thing that I have right now.

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A Little Bit Of: Unstoppable Gorg

Tower defence in space.

This is a good tower defence game. I'm going to open saying that because I didn't really get into this game that much. The first tower defence game I played was back in the Warcraft 3 days which is like a decade old now. So I've played a lot of tower defence games and now days it really needs something special to draw me into it. Plants vs Zombies is just an adorable game with just a wonderful balance of strategy and accessible to pretty much everyone. This kind of doesn't have that kind of pull.

I love the fake terrible old sci-fi TV show look they have for the story stuff and to a large extent into the entire art style but for the most part it's a fairly standard tower defence game, you build towers and you upgrade them and you kill enemies. There are a couple of small twists in that the enemy path can change during the course of the game and you have limited satellites that you move around but it still ends up feeling just kind of the same.

If you aren't entirely sick of the genre then its worth a look but otherwise keep waiting for something else to come along, but to be honest despite the shear quantity of tower defence games being put out now days including on iOS and Android very few of them are actually anything special. The most recent one that actually caught my eye at all was probably Iron Brigade/Trenched and unfortunately it's one of a very small pack.

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A Little Bit Of: Project Zomboid

A bleak take on the Zombie Survival genre.

Just as a bit of a disclaimer this game isn't finished, it's currently in a pre-alpha state, but it definitely shows off what the developers are trying to do already. It's less in the vein of Left 4 Dead and more The Walking Dead in terms of tone, so you're not trying to kill the zombie hoard as much as you are just trying to survive. And man if it isn't fairly brutal. There's definitely some inventory management issues that I ran into while, simply because I'm a ridiculous pack rat, just trying to pick up absolutely everything that I can. While that is generally a good thing to do you do need to setup various stores throughout the world, because there's no way you can keep all of it and you'll generally need somewhere safe to be in at night.

I'm not quite sure of what the scale of the world is, you start in the suburbs but it does seem like a relatively large town so far. That said you do run into other survivors, and there isn't that much interaction to be done with most of them for the moment I'm sure that's something that they're working on. For the most part you can see that they're mostly just individuals trying to find their own way to survive and doing pretty much exactly the same thing that you're doing, looting for supplies during the day, killing what they need to and then retreating at night.

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A Little Bit Of: Legend of Grimrock

Dungeon Crawling!

So Legend of Grimrock is pretty great. And I've never really played any of those old school dungeon crawlers before. Bascially the kingdom of this world thinks that an appropriate pardon is to throw you into a mountain full of monsters and say if you survive you're free! Doesn't exactly seem fair now does it.

I'm enjoying it rather a lot, but I'm probably playing a bit more paranoid than I need to. The game isn't trying to kill me quite around every corner so I should probably give it a bit of slack. That isn't to say there aren't traps and places where skeleton legionaries don't come out of walls to stab you. Just that they're a bit more dispersed than I've given them credit for.

The combat ends up being pretty tactical and methodical because every one of your weapons has a pretty significant cooldown and the enemies attack a lot faster, so you're often going to be moving up to an enemy doing your attacks and then repositioning. That of course leads to situations where you're out numbered and you're essentially just trying to funnel them into a corridoor to hit them one at a time or dragging a slow enemy out into an open area so you can move around and just hit him at all angles while he's too slow to attack you.

Anyway apoligies for the echoiness of the video, something went wrong when I was recording it. I'm looking into changing my recording setup so if you have any recommendations for microphones/headsets let me know. I'm pretty sure that it was only an issue because I'm an idiot rather than something being wrong with my equipment. Off topic. You should get Legend of Grimrock, it's a cool game.www.grimrock.net

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