Thursday, June 12, 2014

Steam Games: Metal Planet review

Let's start with the obvious. This is one more game that came from Steam Greenlight, and in all truthness many titles that come from it, well, are a bit underwhelming... Also some came previously in some Indie bundle or another, when they were Greenlight promising Steam keys to everyone who buys the bundle and votes the game.

While I'm not against Steam Greenlight, on the contrary, developers should be more careful on what they bring over and they should look over much more to their games.
Metal Planet is an example. This is a multiplayer game. Don't expect any single player stuff, there is none except playing vs A.I., if that's your thing. So, for a multiplayer game, you would expect to have other players to join you. Well, apparently not here. I've tried it for a bit, but there were exactly one empty server (I assume that's the official server). No one seen around. In all fairness I didn't played it much, nor tried other hours of the day, but seeing at is, it's not a pretty sight.

Metal Planet gameplay is based on capturing points much like Team Fortress 2. However you are not a regular soldier, you are sort of a Mech. Well sort off. Don't expect Mechwarrior gameplay. This is really poor version of it. Walking feels anything but Mech. More like walking on wheels. I didn't noticed torso twisting but then again I didn't pay attention to key bindings. And basically shooting didn't felt much like it. But I could live with it, if there were players to play with.

Developers should be aware of what they bring to Steam. Not saying that they should or should not place a game on Steam. That's up with them, but these sort of titles should try to put up features that would make players at LEAST try the game. Even just launching them. A feature could be Steam Achievements, or even Steam Cards. Although I doubt this would be enough for Metal Planet.

I don't like to criticize games nor the developers because unlike me, they work on the title and try to develop a game, but I would like them to look at what they did and decide if it is or not material they should put on Steam and selling them for a price.

Metal Planet is not the case.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

There goes 2013, Welcome 2014!

Well I can't say 2013 was a bad year for gaming. At least for indie games. It was big in 2012, and 2013 was even bigger the amount of indie games released. If we consider the indie games released in either Steam or even Desura (which I consider to be the launching pad for indie games), one can see the huge amount of indie titles going around. From adventure to rpg, single or multiplayer games,  created by either small group of developers, or in some cases individual developers, there's something for every taste.
As a few examples I can point out some (random pick). Let's see...

Rogue Legacy
I only got this game this Christmas, but I have a friend who is (was since he beaten the game so many times) crazy for it. It's a sidescroller action game with rpg elements, but there are few elements that makes it rather unique. For once, you are part of a family of adventurers and each family member is your hero in any given game you play until it dies. When he dies, he gets replaced by another hero of the family and keeps the family line going on. Eventually the family line keeps getting on until you beat the game (hence the Legacy name, I suppose). The rpg comes in a form of a skill tree that you can get updates every time you gold in a previous adventure. With that gold you buy those skills from the tree, and eventually you get stronger enough to beat more challenges. Overall, for the little I played of this game, I find it quite interesting, although I'm awful bad at playing this game. I just hope as I grab more skills it gets easier for me. (As a side note, I'm really bad at side scrolling games).
I would recommend this game, for any side scroller fan player who enjoys a light rpg.

What Diablo 3 should be or at least learn from. Path of Exile is yet another example of some fine indie games seen in 2013. It was on beta from 2012 or more, but it saw it's official release on October 2013.For those you don't know it, it's a action rpg much like Diablo but on the contrary to the latest Diablo 3, it offers much more diversity in terms of playing. Boasting from a huge skill tree to learn, to a very interesting crafting system and to a much more rewarding drop system, Path of Exile is everything Diablo 3 is not, and still much more. And the best part of it, it's truly free to play.

Another good example, at least in my opinion is Reus. It's a sort of god like game, where the player controls 4 giants, that transform the planet to every need, to make it habitable by humans, and to face their every needs. It sounds a bit simple but the result is a very entertaining strategy game. Like the old god like strategy games from Bullfrog. 
If you like strategy, I can easily recommend this one.

Well there are far more titles, but most of them I haven't played yet, like Monaco or Don't Starve. Indie games everywhere. Another feature of most indie games, they are much more cheap than most AAA games. While let's say a Tomb Raider goes around 45 euros, Reus goes around 10 euros or Rogue Legacy goes around 14 euros. And if, like me, a user of Steam, you wait for seasonal or occasional sales, you can get these titles less then half-price.

But not everything was indie games this year. There been a few AAA titles out, even some expected, like the new Tomb Raider (haven't played but it's said it's a very good game), Saints Row IV or even Bioshock Infinite.

Linux is also becoming a platform of choice for gaming. Again thanks to indie games, Linux has seen a major increase in titles available to it. If the number is correct, there are at the moment more than 400 titles available for Linux, at Steam. That's rather impressive, considering Linux wasn't much of a pick for developers, a couple of years ago. And every day more and more games are going to it.

As you may have guessed it by now, I'm a Steam user. And as games comes, in my opinion, it's the best digital platform for games available anywhere. Sure, for the defenders of DRM, Steam is evil, but for me it's a lesser evil. I know if one day, for any given reason I can't access Steam, I will loose access to my games (unless I back up them all), but that's a risk I'm willing to take. At the moment Steam offers services, that for me are very interesting, like trading, cards collecting or achievement hunt. Also Steam features a Market where people can sell items or cards for money (Steam wallet), which allows players with time or eye for it to make some money and get games "free".
Also, Linux can thank a lot to Steam because it was it that gave the kick Linux gaming needed. And soon we will see Steam Machines, featuring Linux OS.

Good Old Games (GoG), is my second choice when it comes to digital platform for games. I choose GoG when it goes for classic games. Classics like the Ultima series, Wing Commander Series or the Baldur's Gate Games or the Bullfrog games. As a seller for classic games, nothing can beat GoG. One can find now, more recent indie games, but in that regard my pick goes to Steam.

2013 been quite a interesting year for gaming, as usual in the last few years. And if things keep going, I expect to see in 2014 many more, and better indie games going out, Linux becoming a even major platform for gaming and Witcher 3 being a kick ass game. :)

As a final note, and a personal one, I'd like to point out again Tremorgames. Any Steam user with the luxury of time, should note this site. This website features a huge selection of web based games, and some of these games, have a achievement system, in which case any achievement will give the player a specific currency (Tremor Coins) that can be used in exchange for Steam games available in site for "purchase". I've been using this site for a year now, and my results have been quite satisfactory.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Hotline Miami

The first time I saw Hotline Miami, specially the cover game, I felt it was kinda odd to see a image of a humanoid pig. Other pictures show also some humanoid chicken or an owl. I was, what kind of a game is this? Also static images suggested me at first some sort of a GTA game, but with no cars. Nevertheless, and due to an overall positive feedback to the title I decided to get it.

So, what's the game about? Well in a very short version, you are this sort of serial killer, hired by some enigmatic phone caller to carry out some killing. Each game level, will see you on a top view, carrying different sort of weapons to put away enemies in the most violent way possible (yeah the more bloodier, more bonus). It sounds basic enough and it is, but despite it and the fact that this game is a bit violent, it's also very fun and addicting. In each level you find yourself facing a greater number of enemies, and trying to dispose them. There are several different weapons to use, which gives different types of killing possible. Oh and the animal heads, are just a sort of mask we use, that gives a special bonus.
Another thing I enjoyed on the game, was the soundtrack. Some musics, are really entertaining while you play the game.
The game is not exactly that big. A good player will probably finish it in about 5 hours top. There is a bit of replayability, like getting all the game achievements (if Steam version), unlock all masks, get all weapons or complete the game puzzle.
In my opinion, the price tag of 8.5 euros, it's ok for what you get, but if you happen to find the game at some sale, or even indie bundle, I'd say go for it.

My rating would be 80/100.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Humble Bundle sets a new record thanks to EA

For those who do not know, Humble Bundle is probably one of the most notorious site available that features exceptional packs of indie games at some amazing prices. Many indie titles have been sold through Humble Bundle, like Amnesia, Super Meat Boy or Hotline Miami to name very few. There been other great packs, such as the THQ pack which featured some Red Faction games, Metro 2033 or more recently the Deep Silver bundle that features not so indie games like Saints Row III or Dead Island, plus others. These 2 last packs did quite nice sells too.

But the latest Humble Bundle package (which curiously is ending today), set a new record which I believe will be hard to topple unless they manage to bring some other big titles in. First and foremost, it's curious to see a site that usually features sales for indie games, offering a pack from no more nor less than EA. EA is not very popular among gamers, yet  for some reason this bundle as proven to be the opposite, striking with a remarkable sale value above 10 million dollars. Sure the bundle brings some extraordinary titles, like Battlefield 3 or Deadspace 1 and 3, or even Crysis 2 (or Sims 3 if that's your thing), but still since everyone seems to be hating EA it really is funny to see how well this bundle did.

In any case, and if it serves of any purpose, all the procedures this bundle makes will go straight to charity, all thanks to EA and us, who bought it. Of course EA will profit out of this. One will be the result in the year's end for taxes purpose, and also the fact that they will put their online gaming platform, Origin, with a few more thousands of users. Although this won't be a threat for Steam anywhere close.

I for one, did bought this bundle and I'm very pleased with it. I don't consider EA to be the big evil but I don't think they are doing God's job either. They are far from being the perfect company, but at least if sometimes there's something they that I like, I don't feel ashamed to support. And if by any reason they do something that displeases me, well I can always go elsewhere. At least I don't advocate evil in all EA doings... Anyways, if you got this bundle for what it gives you, that means, the games, then well done!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

PlayonLinux, I like it

On a previous post I went a long and discussed a bit how the gaming on Linux was at the moment. I've mentioned about Steam and WINE. But I missed something that was clearly as important, and a friend of mine pointed it to me.

PlayOnLinux, seems to be the next thing on Linux gaming.  But what is it?

From the website:

What is PlayOnLinux ?

PlayOnLinux is a piece of software which allows you to easily install and use numerous games and apps designed to run with Microsoft® Windows®.
Few games are compatible with GNU/Linux at the moment and it certainly is a factor preventing the migration to this system. PlayOnLinux brings a cost-free, accessible and efficient solution to this problem.

So, yeah, PlayOnLinux, is a software that allows users to easily install their Windows games on Linux. It does however uses WINE on the background, but saves all the hard work for rookie users (like me) of configuring every thing on it.

There's a fairly big list of games already supported and (someone heard my praying) lots of are supported on it.

The few three I've tried, two worked fine (mainly because they are already supported). They were all versions. One was Magic Carpet and the other one was Might and Magic 7. The first one was install and go, and the second one I needed to tweak something on setup of the game, but it worked fine too. The other title I tried, was Heroes of Might and Magic (the first). It did worked, but there are some issues with the shortcut, because when I tried to go back to it, I couldn't. But I assume it's easily fixed, just need to know how.

See here, Magic Carpet running.


This can be a great piece of software, for a rookie Linux user like me. At least it saves me the trouble of trying to configure WINE on every game I want to play (as long as it works on Linux of course), since it configures everything I need for me. 
Of course, if you want to get deeper on it, there are several options on it. From what I've understood, there are scripts associated with each game, so that's what the program executes to install what's needed for each game. And these scripts were created by different users, depending on the game they were working at.

For me it's already fine enough, it does what I need. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Gaming on Linux

Recently I found myself using Linux more and more often. While being a gamer at heart, and since most PC games are made for Windows, I wanted to give a go and see what could I do while using Linux. True that more and more developers, specially Indie developers, are making versions of their games to Linux, it still is a very short list while compared with Windows. For example, in Steam at the moment there are about 100 games (with Downloadable content in the counting) and most of them are little know titles for most audience, like World of Goo or Cave Story +. There are a few exceptions however, being the most notorious, Crusader Kings 2, Team Fortress 2 or X3: Albion Prelude. And even those, except for Team Fortress 2, most are regarded as not AAA titles.

However, and I guess due to Steam support over Linux games, and also because there has been a sudden increase on Indie games being produced, I believe the number of games on that platform for Linux will increase exponentially over the time.

Another platform, also boosts a considerable list of Linux games, Desura. This platforms hosts a big list of Indie games, and part of these titles also run on Linux. And there is a fair amount of users that request developers a port of their game to this system.

So, given that jargon, we can say that WINE allows Linux to run Windows games. It's not that easy though. You will have to run some configuration over WINE to allow the game to perform under Linux, and for the most of it, for a newbie Linux user like me, it's a bit complicated. There are several sites that go over this, and enough to read and learn about, so I guess if you are persistent, eventually it will pay off. For me, all I tried, I still managed to get one title running, and it was Guild Wars 1. But to be fair it didn't required any tweaking, it just run fine. I also tried Eve Online, but whenever I was about to actually log in the character, the game would just close.

A personal hope, is that in a near future, Good Old Games, would start supporting Linux. I dunno if that is possible, but they did recently start supporting Mac, so my hopes are high on this happening. 

Overall, I think gaming in Linux is still it's early infancy, however I think it's been on infancy for far too long, and it should start to grow a bit now. For a system and from my own knowledge I think Linux is far more stable and fast then Windows, but a bit obscure on the way it works. But since I'm a newbie in Linux I'm holding it.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Tremor Games, get Steam games while playing

I've heard of Tremor Games like 6 month ago. At the time it was a bit too "fishy" to be real. The idea behind it, is to play games (browser games), earn coins (the site currency) and eventually exchange that currency for actual Steam (or other platforms) games. 

I did create a account there and tried it for a bit. While it was interesting it never caught my eyes until like 2 months ago. Back when I first start getting coins was basically by daily logging and game playing (and completing trophies, sort of in-site achievements). However recently there been some nice changes with the inclusion of tasks (from, video watching from Virool or other offers from Supersonic Offers or Trialpay Offers. With these options users can do several different tasks, and gain coins to spend on games that are being sold by the Tremor Games shop. Note that these tasks and offers differ from country to country. On my country, offers are a bit scarce, but I think in countries like USA, the offers are a lot more.
I usually bet on either videos or the tasks from Crowdflowers, which has proven to be rewarding. I can say in the past month of March I was able to acquire the following titles:

- A Game of Dwarves

Update: List of games acquired is now vastly superior.

All this in a matter of two weeks.
I can also say that this month I already got a game for Desura, Dawnstar and Red Orchestra 2 GOTY for steam.
But there are plenty of other games in store. Darksiders 2, Skyrim, Kingdoms of Amalur, Hotline Miami, FTL, Farcry 3, Assassin's Creed games and many others.
Most of these games available, are source from active indie bundles, but Tremor Games also pays (with coins) to users who "sell" them Steam gifts of any game on Steam.

Talking about the games you can play on Tremor Games. Well mostly are the typical browser game, like a shooter, a tower defense game, or a card game, rpg titles that save progress (even one made on RPG Maker if I'm correct), interesting puzzle games that pull for your brain. It has a huge range of choices.
How you get coins while playing? Certain games, have a set number of achievements that once complete will earn you coins. Easy achievements earn you 5 coins, Medium 10, Hard 15 and Impossible 20. Most achievements, at least the Easy category are, surprisingly enough, easy to complete. Medium are also accessible, while the rest requires a bit more dedication/patience. Also, a curious note, there is a top list for Impossible achievement, so it's an extra bonus for those who try them.

Also there is, of course, a referral program active. If anyone is interested in being my referral just follow the following link:
Otherwise, you can go and register yourself at the site. Being referral is optional.

In any case, if you are a avid game collector like me, and at some given point you can't just afford every game, Tremor Games can be the perfect alternative. I can say, this site works.