Monday, January 16, 2017

Choicest VGM - VGM #263 - Sid Meier's Civilization - Egyptian Theme

Screenshot of Ramesses I from Sid Meier's Civilization


Original soundtrack composed by: Jeffery L. Briggs

This short clip is the music that plays as background music for Ramesses I of Egypt in the classic turn-based strategy game Sid Meier's Civilization. It's quite minimalistic in this version of the tune and I much prefer the Civ II take on it which is known as "Harvest of the Nile" on the Playstation version of the game (how is that even possible? Playing Civ II on Playstation?).

The music was recorded through DOSBOX and consequently this is DOSBOX's emulation of OPL3 I believe, the FM synthesis sound chip used in a lot of old Soundblaster cards.

[ VIDEO: Choicest VGM - VGM #263 - Sid Meier's Civilization - Egyptian Theme ]


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Steam Games Sunday - 15 January 2017

Screenshot of Mass Effect
Shepard. Wrex. Shepard. Wrex.

  1. War Thunder
  2. Company of Heroes 2
  3. Rainbow Six Siege
  4. Sid Meier's Civilization VI
  5. Marvel Heroes
  6. Arizona Rose and the Pirates' Riddles
  7. Squad
  8. Borderlands 2
  9. Mass Effect
  10. Company of Heroes

This week we see some old favourites make their way back up in terms of the rankings. War Thunder is still at the top (and that's unlikely to change for a while) although Company of Heroes 2 has been played quite a bit this week as it's now in second place (and Skyrim which was previously in second place has totally disappeared off the list). Rainbow Six Siege has finally returned to the top 3 and is now in 3rd place with Squad being pushed down to 7th place. Civ VI has also gone up from 9th place to 4th place. Marvel Heroes, remains in the same position at 5th place while Arizona Rose and the Pirates' Riddles has gone up two places from 8th place to 6th. Borderlands 2 has returned to the list at 8th place and Company of Heroes remains at 10th place.

The big "newcomer" to the list, if you can call it that, is good ol' Mass Effect, which is always my go-to game when I'm feeling down and need a bit of cheering up (nothing like saving the galaxy to lift your spirits right?). It will also eventually give me an opportunity to try out the Citadel DLC for Mass Effect 3, once I finally export my character to that game...

Anyway stay tuned for next Sunday to see if this list changes :). Are you playing any of the games on this list? How are you finding them?

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Plantera Review

Screenshot of clicker game Plantera
Plantera - not a vegetarian metal band from the 1980s
  • Reviewed by: Mark Goninon
  • Developer: VaragTP
  • Publisher: VaragTP
  • Release Date: 29 January 2016
  • Time played: 1.6 hours

I’ve always had a soft spot for the game development tool Multimedia Fusion 2, despite never having made any substantial games with it (I did dabble around and made a few tutorial games though). So when the Clickteam Fusion 2.5 Bundle was announced in September last year, I just had to get myself a copy… coz if I own a copy of a game development tool, that means I’m going to magically complete one in the next few months, right? RIGHT?

*Le sigh*

Anyway, these bundles usually come with some games developed using the tool and one of those games in the Clickteam Fusion 2.5 Bundle happens to be Plantera.

So what exactly is Plantera? Well, I can tell you now that it’s not the sort of game I go out of my way to play, but this genre of game has rose to prominence in the past couple of years: you see, Plantera is a game known as an "incremental game" or "clicker". What do you do in "clickers"? Well, click of course! The more you click, the more in-game money you get. The more money you get, the more money you have to buy things that… um… help you get MOAR money! And so on.

There are tons of these games on Steam and in the mobile market (where the simplicity of just clicking to play the game makes it a no-brainer for the platform).

So this is the first time I’ve ever played a “clicker” but why did I pick this game out of all the games in the Humble Bundle? Well mainly because I thought it’d be a choice game for my daughter to play, one that is so simple she'd be able to play it on her own. The game also has some cute graphics so what isn’t there to like? Kids love that stuff.


What I like:


Family Friendly

The game is suitable for kids since it's all about growing fruit, vegetables and livestock on your very own farm. Even "attacking" animals that are considered pests (e.g. rabbits, foxes, wolves, birds, etc.) is done in a non-violent matter and just involves clicking on them a few times to shoo them away.

Simple

Games from the clicker genre are known for their simplicity; all you need to do is click the left mouse button to do anything. The game does require you to hold the right mouse button down though if you want to pan the camera (which might be a bit confusing for younger players) but otherwise, there's not much else to it. Just keep clicking to your heart's content!

So what does clicking actually achieve? Well if you left the game to its own devices, the AI workers in the game would do their own thing, picking up any fruit, vegetables or produce (e.g. milk from cows) that is ready to be harvested. However, there's only so many workers and instead of waiting for fruit to drop from the trees you can help your workers by clicking on the fruit when they are ripe. You can also help by actually collecting all the food yourself.

Clicking is also used to scare away "pests" such as wolves, foxes, birds and rabbits. If you have things like dogs and scarecrows, they do a good enough job 90% of the time but in order to get that extra 10% coverage, you've got to be vigilant.

Finally, you can also click on random things that pop up on the screen every so often like butterflies, ladybirds and even a knight that runs from one end to the other! Clicking on these will reward you with bonus coins which you can use to further improve your farm.

Oh, and what are coins used for? To buy more fruit trees, more veggie patches, more animals, more land, more of everything so you can increase your earning potential even further! And the cycle continues...

Casual

It's very hard to lose in these sort of games - in fact it's probably impossible! Sure, every so often some of your food might get stolen by "pests" but they're the only thing that stand in your way of earning MOAR coins and expanding your farm. In fact, you don't even need to play the game and you'll still earn coins.

Can play as long or as little as you want

You can play for 6 or 60 minutes - it doesn't matter, you'll still make progress towards earning more coins. This means the game is perfect when you have a short amount of time before you've got to do something else. In fact, as mentioned just before, you can even leave the game for a few days, come back, and you'll still earn coins, just probably not as many when you're actively playing the game :).

Charming, cute, pixel graphics

If you're into charming, cute, pixel graphics, then this game's got it. Yeah baby it's got it.

What I dislike:


RSI

Constantly clicking multiple times is probably conducive to Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) - I mean playing any games for long periods of time would do that but I think it's especially the case in this kind of game - so go easy on the mouse button, man.

To what end?

Is there an end to this game? Sure, you might be motivated to earn a few achievements when you first start playing the game but eventually you'll start wondering what's the purpose to this game, questioning your purpose in life and eventually formulating nihilistic views (or maybe not).

Score – 7/10 (Not bad)


A cheap, cute, family friendly, clicker game that's good fun, if you're into this kind of game. Just don't expect the game to have much longevity.

Is the game worth $2.99 USD?: Yes. That’s about $4 AUD at current exchange rates – provided you or your kids are into these kind of games!

If you like this game, you might like…

[ LINK: Official Plantera Website ]