Sym – Platform Anxiety

1

Since I was a teenager, I’ve been suffering from anxiety. Sometimes it’s perfectly manageable and other times it is debilitating. My life has been peppered with incidents caused by my anxiety – dropping out of a drawing course my Freshman year because I was getting so stressed out from it; breaking down crying in the airport the first time I had to fly by myself; being too anxious to eat in the dinning hall of my dorm while studying abroad; not being able to sleep through the night because I was so freaked out despite nothing being wrong with my life – the list goes on but I’ll spare you the details. So when I first read about Sym from Atrax Games – a game that aimed to illustrate what it’s like to have an anxiety disorder – my interest was definitely piqued.

Continue reading…

Earthtongue – Diversity at Play

AxQH7R

At first, it might seem like there’s not much going on in Earthtongue. You’ve got some mushrooms and bugs growing. But then as time ticks on and new fungi and bugs come to inhabit your little planet, you begin to realize just how much diversity there is in this little vivarium simulator. Balancing out all the herbivores and predators and fast growing fungi and carnivorous fungi can be tricky but getting to watch the neon spores and growths spread across your planet is surprisingly fun and addicting.

Continue reading…

Crypt of the Necrodancer – Fighting to the Beat

zone1

My first experience with Crypt of the Necrodancer was in a dark back room at the first Bit Bash Chicago event in September 2014. In a tiny, cramped room filled with Killer Queen arcade machines, on one wall Crypt of the Necrodancer was being projected. In front, two Dance Dance Revolution dance pads were sprawled out and hooked up to the game. It had one of the more reasonable lines compared to all the other games set up, so my friend and I decided to wait. He got a go first and I watched carefully in an attempt to figure out how to play before I got up there and embarrassed myself. Finally when it was my turn up, we managed to get through level 1 of Zone 1 and got to the first dragon mini boss before we both died. Along the way I haphazardly sliced at enemies and accidentally dug my way through walls, trying to move my feet to the beat.

Continue reading…

Why I Still Buy Early Access Games

early access

Two years ago Steam introduced its Early Access platform to both developers and players. The system allows developers to put their game out on Steam in an unfinished state. The idea is that the system allows players access to games they are looking forward to sooner and from that the developers get more revenue earlier on as well as feedback to help them develop their games. I see a lot of people decrying the Early Access system and calling for others not to purchase any games that utilize it. Personally I feel that point of view makes the issue much more black-and-white than it is. Every game under the Early Access umbrella is different, as is every developer and their intentions and aims. I happily buy games that are still in Early Access within reason.

Continue reading…

4 Comics to Get Into Right Now

rat-queens

If you follow me on Twitter, you know I’ve been talking about comics a lot lately. My dream goal is to open a comic shop in my little New Zealand town since the closest shop is over four hours away. Until then I have to rely on digital services like Comixology and online ordering. It doesn’t come close to the feeling of browsing a comic shop and seeing all the art for yourself though. From following sites like Comics Alliance and the Mary Sue and creators like Kate Leth and Madeleine Flores, I’ve discovered some pretty awesome comics without having to step foot into a store though.

It can be intimidating to get into comics, especially ones with decades-long histories. But today I want to tell you about some comics that I think are super easy to get into – whether because they’re fairly new or because the writing makes it easy to follow along, even if you don’t know the history.

Continue reading…

Shelter 2 – Cat-based Heart Ache

shelter2_2

Before I was a lynx mom, I was a badger mom. By the time my badger cubs were big enough to fend on their own, I had managed to save three of the original five of them. It was an emotional task filled with perils. But I did it. So I thought I would be able to handle being a lynx mom well enough.

How wrong I was.

The Shelter series is an emotional rollercoaster. But whereas the original Shelter is like a wooden roller coaster, Shelter 2 is like this coaster (yes, there are flames that shoot out of the ground near the end). And it’s because of that increase in intensity that I just couldn’t get very far in the game. I played for a little over an hour but my little cat-loving heart just couldn’t take anymore. Think of this as more of an extended Impressions than a Review.

Continue reading…

Captain Forever Remix – Early Access Impressions

9

After a few hours of playing Captain Forever Remix by Pixelsaurus Games, I have to wonder how the developers managed to crawl into my brain and make a game based on my memories of growing up so accurately. Playing this game is like going back to the slightly-sticky arcades full of neon lights, clicking buttons, fast food, and carpets with random vibrantly colored squiggles and triangles. My brother is even there, calling me a butthead again and challenging me to a videogame. To top off this giant pile of nostalgia, CFR features some of my favorite game mechanics: permadeath, customizability, and replayability. While simple in theory, the game has a lot of unique ways to keep you playing again and again. For an Early Access title, it’s pretty damn impressive.

Continue reading…

History and Mythology: The Importance of Engaging Worlds in City-builders

cities skylines

Throughout my life, I’ve sunk thousands and thousands of hours into city-building games. It started with Pharaoh, then Caesar III, Zeus, SimCity 3000, and on and on. These types of games have managed to capture my attention more than any other genre (MMO’s and their constant stream of updates, not withstanding). The Sierra/Impressions historical builders especially left their mark on me – I can still hear the music of Pharaoh in my head and can picture the purple-dotted fertile meadows of Zeus/Poseidon. Unfortunately with Impressions’ close in 2004 the stream of city-builders, even outside of the historical setting, ground to a halt.

Continue reading…