That Which Sleeps

It seems like there is an explosion of great projects out on KickStarter these days which makes it hard to pick and choose which ones to spotlight  here on our KickStarting column.  That Which Sleeps however moves beyond ‘great idea’ into the territory of ‘I would personally feel bad if I didn’t mention it and you missed out’.

Anyone who reads many articles here on the Goblin Beat or listens to our podcasts (or watches our YouTube channel) knows I love Lovecraft.  That’s right, love Lovecraft, what?  That Which Sleeps (TWS from here on) is a computer game and by the title you would suppose that it is Lovecraftian, which it is, but not in the typical fear ridden “what am I doing in this strange house and what are those noises and where did all these tentacles come from” sort of way.  TWS is a game where you are an Old One that has been reawakened after millennia of being locked away in a deep sleep, and now you are ready to take your rightful place as ruler of a pitiful world filled with mortals.

From the gameplay shown within the videos this game reminds me a great deal of Civilization in that this is a turn based strategy game about world domination, where most of the action takes place on an overland map showing the entire world.  Instead of building cities, roads, trade agreements and raising armies however you spend your time fostering Agents to do your bidding, corrupting mortals to further your goals and fomenting rebellions with the help of your trusty cults.

Take a look at the KickStarter trailer below and head on over to the KickStarter page to get more information on this game if you are interested.  The campaign has already funded at over 400% of the original goals and has unlocked a number of stretch goals that should add more content and twists to the finished product.

Godus Makes Funding Goal

Imagine being a god with nature as your plaything and your own worshipers to inspire or strike with fear as you see fit.   In the upcoming game, Godus, this will be possible.  You will shape the contours of the land throughout the centuries and manipulate volcanoes, earthquakes, storms, and more in order to help and grow your body of worshipers in an eternal battle of the gods.  If this concept sounds familiar, then like me, you may have played a game back in the early nineties called Populous. The development of Godus is being headed by the same man to create that game over twenty years ago.  Head developer, Peter Molyneux wishes to revive the “god game” genre and is poised to do just that by recently achieving his funding goal on Kickstarter.  GODUS_3You can find a video of the game in action as he discusses some of its major features at www.kickstarter.com.  22 Cans is the company behind Godus which has received major headlines at bbc.com and pcgamer.com.

Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land

The Wasted Land is a based turn-based strategy game created by Red Wasp Design and based on the Call of Cthulhu rules set.  I picked this game up to play on my iPhone for two reasons, 1. it had the word Cthulhu in it and 2. it was based on the rules from the Chaosium game.  $4.99 is a high price tag for a mobile game these days but thankfully there is a free version of the game on iTunes which lets you get a feel for the way the game plays before shelling out all of that dough.  There is also an Android version for those of you interested.  In my case the free version definitely did its job, giving me enough of a taste of the game to convince me that guiding my group of investigators through the battlefields of World War One in search of a dark cult was well worth the paltry price of $5!

KaulsDiary

The Good

Wasted Land does a good job following the basic rules of Call of Cthulhu.  The story-line is also engaging and adds an extra element of depth to the turn-based strategy action.  I was as interested in finding out what happened during the next mission as I was in blowing up more reanimated corpses and Leng Spiders.  I also enjoyed being able to customize the investigators between battles, spending experience gained during missions to increase skills I decided were important to particular characters.  By the end of the game I had a well trained team of specialist mythos-killing machines.

The difficulty of each game was also well balanced.  I never found myself breezing through a level on auto-pilot.  The threat of failure and character death was always real and kept me on my toes.

The Bad

Several elements of game-play were frustrating.  Some are attributable to playing the game in a touch-screen environment, like having difficulty clicking on the correct characters whenever large scale melees break out, and others are simple game flow problems that could use some work.

One of my main issues with the game is I have no idea what some of the skills are used for, even now after I’ve finished the game.  Knowledge of Cthulhu Mythos for example seems like it would be very important to a Call of Cthulhu game but I have no idea how it is actually used in the game and whether or not I wasted experience increasing the skill on some of my characters.  I also never figured out how to add extra ‘AP’ (action points) into an attack to increase the chance of it succeeding.  In the tutorial you are told you can do this but not exactly how.  I tapped on every part of the screen I could think of but was never able to get this to work.

Lastly I found myself frustrated by the fact that there is no way to ‘give up’ on a level and go back and re-equip your group.  I ended up playing one level 3 times because I had chosen equipment poorly and had no way to go back and change out what my team was using.  It would make the game infinitely more playable to allow the user to go back and retool their group after a failed mission.

The Verdict

Overall I really enjoyed this game and will most likely buy the $2.99 add-on which lets you play an additional set of scenarios, this time as the bad guy!  I would recommend this game to anyone fond of turn-based strategy, Cthulhu, or horror genre games.  The few problems I mentioned above were annoying but weren’t bad enough to keep me from finishing the game, which is saying something because I normally get bored with games long before I’ve completed them.  The story and the escalating level of Mythos involvement were both well done and kept me highly interested from start to finish.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Baldur’s Gate for iPad

A whole generation of D&D fans were weened on the original Baldur’s Gate for PC in the late 90’s and now it has returned!  A new ‘Enhanced Edition‘ has just been released which claims over 400 improvements from the original game.  Not only that but you can also get this new version on your iPad for $9.99.  Baldur’s Gate EE also includes a new adventure, new playable characters and even new voice sets and player portraits.  Some of these have become the inevitable ‘in-app purchases’ that plague the Apple app ecosystem but you still get a very nice and robust game for $10 and a chance to play all new adventures in the game in which many of us once spent way too much time.

Android lovers aren’t getting left out either, the game is set to release soon for Android as well as for Mac.  A new PC version is already available for $19.99.

Source: BaldursGate.com

Quest For Glory designers KickStarter!

That’s right, the designers of Quest For Glory have a KickStarter to create a new game, Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption and it looks amazing.  There is less than a week left on this KickStarter and it is barely over half way to the goal.  This is going to (hopefully) be a high quality video game so they need $400,000 to make this happen.  I know I spent many many hours as a young lad playing Sierra games and they are certainly one of the reasons I still enjoy role-playing games.

Everyone who ever enjoyed one of those games should back this.  Even if you don’t play computer games anymore you should still back this game for all of those kids who should have the same chance you did to play an awesome adventure RPG Sierra-style.  So stop reading this, go here, and back this game which is certain to be great.  Then tell your friends.  You can also see a brief explanation of why these two designers are doing the KickStarter in the first place below.

Like Angry Birds? Like Star Wars? Maybe You Will Like Them Together.

Not since the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, have we seen a mash-up of such an extraordinary magnitude as this; that rights, ladies and gents, the Angry Birds have taken over the Star Wars universe, and now things will never be the same. As you can probably guess, the heroes of the Star Wars saga will be portrayed by our favorite avian hotheads, while the dark side will be porking it up. Dark Snout? Emperor Porkatine? The fun times could go on and on.

There will, of course, be a crap-ton of toys and other merchandising to go along with this strange mash-up.

You can go HERE to find out more about the game, or HERE to see some previews of the toys that, quite honestly, I would not mind getting my hands on. It is times like this I wish I had kids so I could buy them things and them monopolize them.

Diablo III

If I had to describe Diablo III in a word I would choose “Boring” with very little hesitation. I played the first ten levels and walked away because I completely lacked the desire to keep playing. I think the painful truth is that Diablo should have been allowed to stay a cool game from more than a decade ago instead of making this monstrosity and ensuring that any fond memories that I had of the franchise are good and dead. Let’s take a look at the timeline. The original Diablo was released by Blizzard on 12/31/1996 and the Hellfire expansion (which was not a Blizzard product) for that game came out less than one year later on 11/24/1997 and then Blizzard released Diablo II four years after their original game on 06/29/2000. I played all of these games from start to finish multiple times which will not surprise the people who know me. I have an addictive personality and when I get started on something I keep going with it until I have completely dominated it; that’s just what I do. I have over 24 hours of playtime of Sudoku on my phone (I just checked) and I would rather play that than Diablo III. D3 was released in North America on 05/15/2012 almost sixteen years after the original and twelve years after the last installment. At this point the game has completely lost relevance. I did not go back and play the first games to “ramp myself up for D3” so some of the names of people you meet in D3 sound familiar but honestly it’s been so long ago I cannot remember why they are important. Continue reading “Diablo III”

Game Review: DC Universe Online for PS3

 

I swore off MMORPGs a while back because I found that they have a tendency to consume my life; plus, at $10 or more per month, they also put a drain on a my bank account. It was usually the emptying of my wallet that gave me the extra little push I needed to stop playing games like EverQuest, Dark Ages of Camelot, Lord of the Rings Online, and World of Warcraft (that is, when I wasn’t play my Dad’s accounts. Hey Dad!). So, you can imagine my dismay when I began to see advertisements online that these games are now, for the most part, free. Much like a heroin-addicted monkey with an eight-ball dangled in front of his face, it was only a matter of time before I gave in to the cravings. So it was, just last week when my wife was out of town, when I noticed that DC Universe Online was free to play through my PlayStation 3, I might as well have been picking up a syringe instead of a game controller. At least we’re getting this nifty review out of my relapse, right?

Continue reading “Game Review: DC Universe Online for PS3”