Sunday, February 19, 2017

Steam Games Sunday - 19 February 2017

Screenshot of Banished
City Builder Banished debuts on the list this week in 3rd place

  1. War Thunder
  2. Rainbow Six Siege
  3. Banished
  4. XCOM 2
  5. Mass Effect
  6. Marvel Heroes
  7. Everyday Genius: SquareLogic
  8. Pictopix
  9. Mass Effect 2
  10. NBA 2K16

War Thunder and Rainbow Six Siege retain their positions in 1st and 2nd place respectively but this week's major upset is the game in the #3 spot: Banished - a game that came out of nowhere. Banished is a city builder, one of my favourite genres, so you might find it quite surprising that despite actually owning the game, it's not me who actually played it over the past week (then again, you may not be surprised as you all know about my backlog of games aka "the pile of shame" :)). It sounds like fun and I'd really like to give it a go at some point... although probably not until I've played the next game on this list in 4th place: XCOM 2. Mass Effect is now in 5th place (down from 4th place) but that's probably because I finally finished the game (again) and have moved on to its sequel, Mass Effect 2, which you can see has also crept onto this list in 9th place. Superhero MMO Marvel Heroes hasn't moved this week and remains in 6th place while Everyday Genius: SquareLogic has dropped to 7th place despite previously being in 5th place last week. Pictopix still remains on the list in 8th place (down from 7th place last week) and right at the bottom we have NBA 2K16 (and not the first time it's made this list).

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, February 18, 2017

You Are Not A Banana Review

Screenshot of You Are Not A Banana
Kids, don't do this at home
  • Reviewed by: Mark Goninon
  • Developer: Brian Cullen
  • Publisher: Fluxscopic Ltd.
  • Release Date: 20 February 2015
  • Time played: 50 minutes

Whenever I played this game on Steam, I always received messages from my friends questioning me “WTF are you playing?” or something along those lines. As usual, I’ve got the generous Mix-Master to thank for all these awesome, random, indie titles, so thanks again mate!

So how would someone describe this game? The developer describes it as a “short form experimental game” with “a sequence of thought provoking events and surprises”. While he’s correct about it being short and experimental, the “thought provoking” part is going to be subjective I think. In the game, you play the role of a guy who needs some milk for his cereal and he is not a banana (although you do get to play as a banana at one point). On your quest for milk, you’ll have to overcome several obstacles in the form of mini-games and by simply exploring. The game evokes the feel of the 80s and 90s, by looking and sounding like an old SNES game or JRPG although don’t let that fool you; this game is anything but one of those games from yesteryear.

What I like:


Surreal adventure

The game is about an ordinary guy and a trip to the shops, which doesn’t exactly sound like an adventure at all right? Well, your character encounters some pretty weird, almost Pythonesque situations along the way which means you’ll always be on your toes, wondering what’s around the next corner.

Retro graphics

Retro pixelart graphics aren’t for everyone but I quite like it.

Music

I love chiptune music and this game doesn’t disappoint in that department. They even offer the soundtrack for free. Choice!

Steam Trading Cards

The game has Steam Trading Cards but how on Earth you’ll play the game long enough to generate them is beyond me.

A giant snail and La donna รจ mobile

Best part of the game.

What I dislike:


Short

The game will take you under half an hour to complete, maybe even fifteen minutes if you’re good at the mini-games. Also, since the plot seems to be quite linear I’m not sure if there’s much point replaying the game, further reducing its value.

Dead-ends

The first time I played this game I missed out on a subtle hint resulting in me wandering in a graveyard forever. What I didn’t realise is that, just like oldschool Sierra adventure games, I had reached a dead-end without knowing it. While some might be a fan of this kind of game design, I’m definitely not.

No ability to save

The game is so short that you probably don’t really need a save feature but it would’ve been nice to have. Thankfully, it seems that the developer is looking at implementing this feature soon with You Are Not A Banana: Better Edition

Finding things in the dark mini-game

There’s a mini-game you’ll encounter which involves finding things in the dark by bumping into furniture and walls. I always find it takes me a lot of time to have any success with them and it turns out to be a bit of a chore.

Score – 6/10 (Okay)


As far as short, experimental games though, this is one of the more entertaining ones I've played. However the mini-games can be frustrating at times plus you can quite easily stumble across a dead-end without even knowing it, meaning the score for this game has suffered as a result.

Is the game worth $1.99 USD?: Yes. Despite being able to complete the game in under half an hour it was entertaining and $2 really isn’t that much. Besides, Brian Cullen has promised to provide a free update soon that will add a lighting system, save option, dialogue system, improved mini-games and jokes.

If you like this game, you might like…

[ LINK: Official You Are Not a Banana Website ]

Monday, February 13, 2017

Choicest VGM - VGM #267 - Sid Meier's Civilization - Russian Theme

Screenshot of Stalin from Sid Meier's Civilization


Original soundtrack composed by: Jeffery L. Briggs

For our final track from the classic Sid Meier's Civilization, we have Russia's theme aka the Freo Dockers theme...er I mean, "The Song of the Volga Boatmen". It was probably a bit controversial having a Soviet dictator like Stalin as the leader of Russia although the theme definitely suits him, just check out renditions of this song by the Red Army Choir - fantastic.

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 #267 - Sid Meier's Civilization - Russian Theme ]