Readers… we spoil you! Check us out; two board game reviews in the same number of days. If yesterday’s board game – Great Scott – was not your thing, then how about you try this offering from Sibro Games?
As Joel (terraphi) mentions in his article we were at UK Games Expo 2017. Over the three days I spoke to a lot of people and walked several miles wandering around the show but we both walked away feeling like the show was generally very good. Joel and I sat down and had a little chat at the end of day 2 about what we liked and didn’t like about the show.
Let’s start with awesome Polish publisher Board And Dice, I managed to get a bit more of an in-depth look into two of their games. Pocket Mars is a worker placement game where you aim to take all of your astronauts from Earth and place them on Mars and bills itself as a big game in a small box. From the explanation I got I can definitely see why and it’s gone onto my wishlist for the future. The second game of theirs was SuperHot a card game based on the computer game of the same name. SuperHot is a deck building game with a difference, where you can play in a solo mode, co-op or against a second player who plays as an AI and there is even a 2 on 1 mode where two players can try to take down the AI. It’s very true in the way the game looks and feels which is a huge credit. The game and the designer have even implemented a mechanic that attempts to simulate time moving when you do.
Next, we will move onto Brain Crack Games, who are based in Southampton. I played their corporate greed based card game called Down Size where you have to build up funds in a company as fast as possible and then think about firing all of your employees. I also played a fantastic little exploration game called Mined Out where you mine for gems in a very unstable mine, both of these games again appeal to me because the boxes are quite small and portable and there is enough gameplay in there.
I also had a go at a nearly complete version of Grublin Games heist game called Perfect Crime. This one is a bit more long form but is a very novel new concept and as far as I know, the only board game that uses blueprints as part of the design. As suggested by the title you play the part of bank robbers who set out to plan and execute a perfect heist. One player plays as the bank and then all other players (maximum 5 including the Bank) act as the robbers to try and find their way to the vault. The team at Grublin are looking to get this complete for September and even though I don’t do long form games that much this one has me rather intrigued.
The thing with RPGs at a show like UKGE is that you have very limited time to absorb them. That is unless you have done some research beforehand, so I tend to go on instinct with these things. I did come across two RPG’s that caught my eye and with any luck, we might be able to get hold of copies of them to give them a full review.
First off we have an RPG called Sins. Sins is a really interesting sounding game with a simplified dice system that I feel really works with its premise. It’s being billed as “a high-octane, dark and driven game of cinematic proportions“. I love the fact that the creators have already embraced that music can be very influencial in setting a tone and they have released a few Spotify Playlists to help players and the GM alike. I spoke to the designer Sam who is a really nice guy and very enthusiastic about his own product. Rightfully so, the demo book he had was beautiful and when he explained the dice system my interest really accelerated.
The second RPG that I found is from the Italian game designers Tin Hat Games who we hope to get hold of their new board game Dungeon Digger that was kickstarted in an amazing 3 days. They have a really nice super being based RPG called Urban Heroes. Having seen the actual print book again I must say it’s beautifully put together. Urban Heroes has been around for a while and if we can’t get hold of a copy for review then I am more than willing to dig into my own pocket for a PDF version at only $19.99 (USD).
That’s not all folks?
There is so much more and Joel and I will be working on getting more posts up related to UKGE over the next few weeks/months. Trust us when I say we have plenty of content to write up. I certainly would say that UKGE was a great expo and well worth checking out. Speaking to some of the people who attended it I got confirmation from them that it was well worth the money even if you only went for a day trip. Did you go to UKGE and if so what was your experience of the show? Did you manage to pick up any bargains from the show? Tell us all about it in the comments section below or over on Facebook.
Sessions of D&D are usually not short. Any session that I have been to has ranged between 2-4 hours in general, so I was intrigued to go and see a specifically designed 90 minute D&D base show at The Improv Theatre in Bristol. I was very interested to see how this would work and being a fan of things like Critical Role, and the Acquisitions Incorporated sessions I had no idea how they would make it work and was very pleased with the result.
If you turn back the clock about 30 years, you would find a younger version of me, happily tucked away trying to learn the art of BASIC and Machine code in order to find out more about the computer that I was sitting at. I actually started my life with computers with the Spectrum ZX80 but progressed within a year or so onto the Commodore 64 that my older brother and I shared. Games back then were seriously hard, I remember only ever completing a few of them but most took a great deal of skill and practice to learn the mechanics. There were no such things as tutorials; no YouTube that you could go to and find out how someone else got past a certain section. You had to buy games magazine to learn about cheat codes that were put into games on purpose to help play-testers.
I’ve been using a laptop for years now, it’s been my main machine for potentially the last 10+ years and I have at times suffered from a bad back. I could buy a laptop stand, there are thousands of them out there to choose from that come in all shapes and sizes; so what is it about the Flio Up that made me shell out €79 for one?
We have mentioned Source control before and touched a little on just how useful it can be. We also in this previous post said that we would try and issue a little tutorial. This is an attempt to do just that.
Most people might think that Enter The Gungeon looks like it offers nothing new with its obvious heavy influence from games like The Binding Of Isaac and Nuclear Throne. However, it’s been on my wish list for some time and a few weeks ago it was in a sale and I could no longer resist the temptation to buy it.
Details & Purchase options
- Enter the Gungeon (PC, Mac, Linux and PlayStation 4)
- Developer: Dodge Roll
- Publisher: Devolver Digital
- Released: April 5, 2016
Enter the Gungeon was developed by ex-members of Mythic Entertainment and the game is mostly a side on twin stick, bullet hell, roguelike shooter. That is a lot of buzzwords all stuck together and I totally understand if you are one of these people that will just roll their eyes and think “not another one”.
You play one of four playable characters each with their own unique starting ability. For instance, The Marine activates a sort of smart bomb when he is hit for the fist time, the Rogue style character (who reminds me a bit of Han Solo) gets a lockpick that can be used to unlock the loot chests. All characters have the ability to dodge roll which enables you to avoid gunfire and learning to use this skill is absolutely essential to the game because it can get a bit hectic in the Gungeon. Rooms are procedurally generated and then pieced together and populated with enemies at random. Your goal is to work your way through the Gungeon picking up and taking advantage of new weaponry and taking out the bosses to seek out a legendary gun that could erase the past.
When I first booted the game I tried to play it with a keyboard but my brain just yelled at me until I plugged in my gamepad. Yep, like most twins stick style shooters having a good gamepad is absolutely the way forward. I have not put many hours into the game as yet but it is certainly a game I can feel myself revisiting quite a bit and I get the feeling that even after I put 40 hours in I would still be finding new things from time to time. Take a look at all the content in their official Wiki to get an idea of the amount of content there is in the game. Rogue shooters are supposed to be tough and Enter The Gungeon is no exception to this rule. It offers you upgrades at the beginning (once you have unlocked them) and throughout the game if you choose to spend the time to find the shop in the level.
Money is issued to you upon defeating an enemy (in the form of cute little bullet casings) so the more enemies you kill then the more money you have to spend in the shop. You’ll need this to buy ammo for guns because I have found that ammo can be pretty rare so far. Although saying this I think that you probably need to treat the guns as almost a throwaway resource. You always have at least one gun, the starting pistol has infinite ammo but obviously does not do a lot of damage. Finding new guns and trying them out is always a rewarding experience because some of them have imagination applied to them. There is (believe it or not) a gun that actually fires other guns and you can use it in multiple ways. Hit your opponents directly with a gun and you will damage/kill them or shoot the gun so that it goes close to them and it might hit them with the bullets it ejects along its path.
The scenery is beautifully destructive for a sprite based game. As far as I have seen breaking open the vases give you no reward but it is strangely satisfying. The libraries are one of my favourite rooms, just because at the end of the battle it’s usually in a massive state of carnage. You also have the ability to upturn tables for temporary cover and push as well as destroy barrels which may or may not be explosive. There is also a co-op mode where you can take on the Gungeon with another player, this only works locally though so don’t think that you can hook up with your Steam buddies for this.
I think the game’ style really does something towards me liking it. The destructible environments really add to the feel, the enemies are wide and varied and each have their own shooting behaviour that you need to learn. Graphics wise it does nothing new with its pixel styling but it is done well. This game looks like it should happily sit on a Commodore 64 or Amiga, basically an old computer but it takes advantage a little of modern technology.
Being a rogue game the difficulty is there, it has to be. I think without it this game would end up being yet another plain shooter that you learn the levels, learn the patterns and finish it in next to no time. You know what I’m like I always ask myself would I pay RRP for it? Okay I picked it up in a sale and yes in a sale it’s a bargain but it’s certainly worth £10.99. If you’re into shooters and like a touch of bullet hell with your rogue then I would advise picking this up.
Have you played Enter The Gungeon? Have you played the co-op mode? If you have please tell us how it is. You can get in touch with us at our usual locations of the comments section below and Facebook and Twitter
One of the great things you get to do if you choose to write for GeekOut South-West, is to attend a convention or expo on our behalf. Of course, you have to arrange your own travel and accommodation but with a magical thing called a Press Pass, you will get into the show normally for free and also you probably won’t have to queue up too. Last year I took it upon myself to attend the Play Expo and managed to get two press passes to the show, having never entered an Expo as press before it was an exciting time. A few weeks have gone by since we applied for Press Passes for the UKGE, and just last week we got confirmation that our application has been accepted and that our names are on the list.
It’s always a joy to play a game that feels just right and The Marvellous Miss Take is one of them. It’s just one of those rare blends of style, substance and gameplay. It released back in 2014 and was developed in the UK by Wonderstruck who are currently hard at work on their big open world project called Boundless which I must admit looks rather fantastic.
You play Miss Sofia Take a beautiful and deceptive art thief on a quest to traverse through 25 art galleries liberating art as you go. You are no ordinary thief; no it’s all about style when it comes to Miss Take. You can use various methods of distraction to make the guards change their routine, enabling you to sneak behind them or take a different route to avoid them.
The game itself takes on an isometric look and has a beautiful cell-shaded style that reminds me a lot of the now-classic RTS ‘Evil Genius’. It’s a very individual style because so very few games can get away with this art style but The Marvellous Miss Take does this perfectly. It’s really suited to the characters and the storyline, I could not see the game working as well as it does if the graphics were more realistic.
You control Sofia by using the mouse to click on an area to move to. In general, she will take the shortest route to your selected area so you generally have to keep clicks close to your character. Double clicking an area will force Miss Take to dash which makes a lot more noise than her normal walk and will attract the attention of the guards if they are close enough. The game is purely non-violent with no way to disable the guards so you have to learn your distraction techniques quickly. Fans of the Metal Gear Solid series will certainly find something to relate to here.
Games that use tutorials can sometimes take all the fun out of playing the game. They do this by leading you fully down the path whereas a suggestion of which path to take would have been a much better approach. The Marvellous Miss Take in my opinion has one of the best tutorials I have ever played. It slowly and regularly introduces new mechanics before leaving you alone with them to experiment and hone your new skill.
The skills you need are not exactly difficult to pick up but the game also ramps up the difficulty. Starting out with just plain guards you’re soon introduced to security cameras and then sniffer dogs all of which make your art liberation that much harder. This is where the game falls down a little because the movements of the guards can be quite unpredictable and therefore make your beautiful plan go utterly wrong. Some people may argue that this adds difficulty to the game and others might find it totally unfair. I fell into both of these camps where sometimes it just felt unfair that I got caught and sometimes I got caught because I was taking too much of a risk.
The Marvellous Miss Take is by no means flawless, but I think its style makes up a lot for what failings it has. It’s a fairly short game all in all, but there is nothing to stop you from replaying the levels to try to beat your best time. The introduction of The Fox (a second playable character) gives the game a bit of a boost because his missions are significantly more challenging. Although the punishment of failure can be quite hard, at least the game reloads the level quickly, allowing you to get on with your next attempt. There are also optional bits of art that you can skip over if you are feeling like the level is being too challenging. But the art for me is a bit like pokémon, where I really have to steal them all or I will not be satisfied.
Keeping with the theme of satisfaction I must say that the level of satisfaction you get for completing a level and within the given time limit is quite a big lure of the game. It certainly feels rewarding to of got away with all of the loot without any of the guards even noticing you. I love the way that Sofia loses her hat if she is being chased, being a person of style she will not leave her hat behind so once you have managed to shake the guards you have to retrieve your hat.
Yep, this was worth the money in my opinion. One of the games that I have truly enjoyed playing. Have you played The Marvellous Miss Take? Tell us what you thought of the style and gameplay? Was it worth the money? Is this the kind of game that might interest you? Give us all your feedback via the comments section, Twitter and Facebook