Game Progress: 2/7/19
February 07, 2019

I've had some time to game, but with my recent change in diet and activity, it's been decreasing. I've been falling asleep earlier and staying asleep, but that means I won't be burning the midnight oil quite as often to get through particularly long projects. Nonetheless, I've still made progress in:

Iconoclasts (PC)
I'm not sure where exactly I am, but I was in an underwater base that got attacked by the Concern. I thus entered a Sonic-ish water stage, where you had to swim past obstacles and find pockets of air occasionally or drown. I want to say I got through this scene and made it to another inhabited area, but my memory of that last session is a bit sketchy.

Knights of Pen and Paper +1 (PC)
Blasted through this in a matter of days. It's pretty good, but it has its share of flaws. You play as a group of nerds who in turn play characters in a tabletop RPG. The scenarios they imagine appear on the screen, while the table, players and GM remain in the foreground. As you gather coins, you can unlock passive bonuses, both temporary and permanent. For instance, you can deck out your room with dungeon-themed touches, purchase a TARDIS or even hire Master Splinter (called "karate rat") as you GM. Making those changes alters your characters' stats, and carries over to other files. In other words, if you unlock Yoda as your GM and start a new game, then that other file can take advantage of Yoda as well.

My main complaints with the game are repetition and a bothersome weapon system. As you near the end of the campaign, the game rehashes a lot of quest and enemy types. This title was supposed to allow you to set up battles the way you want, since you get to play the GM as well as the characters. So if you have to fight enemies in an specific area, you can usually configure the opposing party you tangle with to your liking. The only trouble is that you reach a ton of points towards the end where you need to fight X number of a single foe, and the only wise options there are to either fight a whole bunch at one time or spread them out among a series of battles. Adding other enemies to the fray might give you some variety, but their inclusion is unnecessary and counterproductive to the goal. It especially gets wearisome when you have to fight some knights in service to the final boss, and you must defeat four or five groups of seven. Taking on all seven at once proves a bit tricky and taxing, so it's usually wise to battle a few a at a time, dragging out that whole segment.

You don't acquire weapons normally in this game, either. You need to find a blacksmith and have him upgrade your arms. My issue here is he can only upgrade them so far before he needs to be leveled up. The only way to boost him is to farm grindstones from caves, and you only get somewhere between 1-4 stones per visit. It also costs money to move from one place to another, so if you go to a cave, you occasionally need to fight a battle there to keep your cash up. Thankfully, the developer shed the microtransactions and rebalanced the rewards, otherwise this would be a much lengthier venture.

Even after you strengthen your blacksmith, he has a pretty high chance of failing. When you start, his success rate is 40%, meaning if you plop down the 150 gold needed to obtain first level weapons, there's a 2 in 5 chance he'll fail and you'll lose all of your hard earned money. You can't save scum in this game, either, so once it's gone, it's gone. Thankfully, as he levels up his success rate increases. By the end of the game, my smith was at 70%, so I only saw one ultimate weapon fail, and it was a minor setback at that point.

Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge (Xbox)
Jumped back into this game and made some startling revelations that never occurred to me, because the game and instruction manual never really explained them well. For instance, there's one mission where you have to gun down planes from an AA turret. I never realized you can actually exit the the thing and re-enter your plane, which made the mission a lot less frustrating. I also never realized you could enter other AA guns during missions, when available. Some of your allies might be flying blimps or sailing boats with cannons on them, and you can actually use those and take some flak off your plane. It's actually quite handy, and speeds up some battles.

The missions so far are very well done. They're not just your standard shoot 'em up fare, and have a handful of objectives, including one where you need to enter an enemy's base. You can only do this when he's sending out reinforcements. You need to time it properly and destroy one of his goon's planes, then enter as a massive door opens. You only have a few seconds, as the thing will close if you're not quick. You don't need to be fast as lightning, though. I was able to get in just fine, and the door remained open for a fair length. From there, you get to wreck his operation fly into the sunset.

I'm only four missions in, though, so let's hope the game maintains this standard.

Space Hotel (PC)
First-person horror game made by a European developer, sold at a low price. This one is more of the same junk: lousy stealth mechanics, no key bindings list and glitches galore. You wander around a hotel in space and try to get away from a monster who managed to kill everyone, except I couldn't seem to give the thing the slip. During one attempt, I strafed away from the thing and fell through the wall and into the blackness of space. I quit playing for good after that. Rubbish.

Dust: An Elysian Tail (PC)
Attempt #3. This game is great, but something always thwarts my progress. I hope to actually complete it this time. I re-killed the first boss and made it to a town. That's about all I've done.

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