Code Name: S.T.E.A.M.

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I played through the demo that was just released on the eShop, and man, have I gotten addicted to this game. Strategy is not a genre I tend to gravitate towards, but I will have fun with a strategy game if done right, and boy was I having fun with this. There’s something great about switching between characters as you try to come up with the best battle plan to effectively get through the enemies, and I like the “steam” mechanic – moving and using weapons uses up your allotted amount per turn, but it can also be a good strategy to keep some in reserve, as you can then fire on enemies that move into your sight. I also dig the comic book-like presentation – especially in the cut scenes, that look much better in motion than in screenshots. Can’t wait to get the full game.

Armello

It’s no secret that I love board games, and so when I first heard about this game – when it was going through its Kickstarter campaign – I was pretty excited about what it was promising: a beautiful digital board game experience that marries the best of physical board games and digital games. It came out today on Steam in “Early Access” form, and so I’ve only had a bit of time to play it so far, but I’m already having a really good time with it, even though I still don’t get yet how I should be approaching things (in terms of strategy). They really have done a fantastic job with the art, and I could really see this coming out as a beautiful physical board game as well. The one thing I will say is that this is something that I would really love to be able to play on iPad – but that’s just me being selfish, because I don’t tend to play games on my laptop much. I hear that it also really shines when playing in multiplayer (I’ve just played offline for now, to learn the game), so I’m looking forward to playing some matches with friends.

Infamous First Light

As expected, this is one of the better looking games on PS4, and although I’ve never been to Seattle, the one I’m experiencing in this game feels real enough. The gameplay itself is fun, and I liked zooming around the city in light form, as well as the combat I’ve experienced (I’ve really just played a bit of it so far), but the funny thing for me is that I played this after playing Bayonetta 1 and 2 back-to-back, and so coming to this felt kind of… slow and bland. It’s absolutely not to say that First Light is slow or bland, but rather that I think Bayonetta has ruined all other action combat games for me. But definitely give this a shot, especially since it’s part of the selection of PS+ free games this month.

The Swapper

I’d heard good things about this game when it came out on PC, and was looking forward to its PS4 release. I was of course quite happy to see it included in the latest batch of PS+ offerings, and having played a bit of it, I can agree with the general consensus that this is a damn cool game. The use of swapping your character around a level through a series of projections is certainly novel, but what I probably dig the most is the look of it. It has a dark sci-fi aesthetic, but with a slightly odd feel to it, that doesn’t look animated or constructed in a way that you’re used to seeing. Well worth playing.

The Witcher Battle Arena

This is a new free-to-play MOBA that just came out on iPad, set in the Witcher universe, and hey, I’m having a blast playing it. The maps are tiny, which makes for quick games – it’s really just about constantly re-conquering the 3 points, and killing whoever is in your way. The game looks great, and it really was designed to work well with touch screens – kudos also on a tutorial video that’s really well done. It does the common MOBA thing of offering a rotating selection of 3 heroes to play, and for now that’s fine with me. I’m surprised I’m not seeing any my friends also playing this. The funny thing is that this and the Witcher board game (on iOS) are my first taste of The Witcher, and I’m also quite excited to play The Witcher 3 when it comes out later this year.

The Man in the High Castle

This is one of the latest batch of pilots on Amazon, and I sure hope it gets picked up as a series. I’ve never read the Philip K. Dick book it’s based on, and didn’t really know what to expect from the series, but man was I sucked into this world after even just this one episode. The world building is fantastic – a Japan occupied San Francisco is especially interesting – and I’m certainly hooked in terms of wanting to know where all of this is going, excited about the hints that there may be more to this world than we think. Please, please, please Amazon, order a full season of this.

Pushmo

I’ve been late to the Pushmo series, with my first taste coming from Pushmo World on Wii U – which I loved. The original Pushmo for 3DS has been on sale since last week, and so I picked it up and have been having just as much fun with it as I did with World. I’m not usually that into puzzle games, but with the colorful and fun aesthetics, and that sweet little music, I just get this great big smile on my face as I’m playing. It’s only on sale for another couple of days, so definitely grab it if you can.

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

I got my hands on the demo of the upcoming 3DS version of this game, and was really excited to take it out for a spin. On the latest Nintendo Direct there was a mention of how the demo was set to help newbies to the series (like me) get started. It does indeed start off with a bunch of tutorials to get you going, although I do wish I would have learned more about who I am, why I’m doing this, and what these companions who follow me are all about – but I imagine these are things that are addressed in the full game. Did I like playing it? It is an interesting thing, and I could see this being pretty fun if I’m going out on hunts with friends. I did find the camera control to be awkward, using a button on the bottom screen, but I’m sure playing this on a New 3DS would rectify that (or with that analog button add-on). I still was not clear on everything though – for example, on the first hunt, when the monster I was hunting disappeared in a hole, I didn’t realize he had surfaced somewhere else, and so for a while I was just trying to get in the hole, or waiting it out by defeating nearby small creatures (I later realized I should go elsewhere). But yeah, if I know that a bunch of friends are buying it too, I think I’d like to play more of this.

Whiplash

There are not many movies that I like more than I did Whiplash. I watched this last night, and wow, I was just completely carried away in the rhythm of the film. Sure, there are aspects that feel so typical of the student-mentor film genre, but it really does go beyond that and in slightly unexpected places. But it’s really the construction that blew me away, the fantastic use of imagery to convey sound, and vice versa. Can’t recommend this enough.