Weekly Round-Up Wednesday - 22nd June 2022

Screenshot of Terra Nil
What a Wonderful World

The following post is part of a series of posts that are published every Wednesday to update readers on what I've been playing during the week (this also includes games on my "Pile of Shame"). The games to target are picked by Choicest Games contributors Choona, Luke and myself. As I'll be talking about my progress through these games, there may be spoilers ahead, especially for games containing a narrative. Consider yourself warned.

Old Skies Demo

  • Picked by Me
  • Percentage Complete = 100%

Another demo I tried out during the Steam Next Fest is a point 'n' click adventure by Dave Gilbert. I still haven't played the Blackwell series or Unavowed (despite all of these games sitting in my library) but I've heard good things about them. Western Australian artist Ben Chandler is also involved in this project and that's in fact the first thing I noticed about this adventure: the fidelity of the graphics compared to some of the older AGS adventure games I've played previously. The graphics are outstanding, voice acting is top notch, the premise is intriguing (we're talking about time travel dudes) and there's not really much I can fault about the demo, except they tend to use the word "blast!" a lot as an expletive in the future it seems. Also I encountered the occasional framerate drop for some reason. Not sure what was going on there but otherwise, I'm looking forward to this game and it shall remain on my wishlist.

Lego Brawls Demo

  • Picked by Me
  • Percentage Complete = 100%

Another game I tried during the Steam Next Fest is Lego Brawls which seems to be Lego's answer to Super Smash Bros.. The game's strength also appears to be its weakness, in that it's really simple to learn how to play as you just jump around, mash one key to attack and the other key to trigger special abilities that you can pick up around the level. In the long run though, the game can potentially become quite boring if you're just jumping around and mashing keys to slowly grind in-game currency to unlock more cosmetics. But, this game is meant to be played with friends or family on the couch, I think, so if that's what you're mainly going to be doing, it should fit the bill. Oh, and since it's Lego and it's simple enough to learn, it seems to be a perfect introduction for younger kids to platform fighters, so it's for that reason I'll be keeping this game on my wishlist.

Terra Nil Demo

  • Picked by Me
  • Percentage Complete = 100%

The fourth demo I tried during the Steam Next Fest was Terra Nil. This game is made by the same guys that did Broforce and Genital Jousting so it's quite a different game to their previous offerings. Terra Nil seems to be a calm, soothing, hopepunk game which sends the message that Humans in the future can be positive forces for change if we want to be. You'll be tasked with terraforming wastelands, bringing grass, trees, insects, birds and deer back into the world. You do so by powering up machines on the surface and the game goes through three phases: The first phase involves bringing the humidity and temperature up by improving the soil, irrigating the land and bringing back rivers. In the second phase, you'll need to create biomes such as wetlands and forests until the entire ecosystem is self-sustaining. Once that's done, the third and final phase (but no less important) is to recycle all the machines you used, create an airship out of them, and then fly off to your next mission.

I quite enjoyed it. Probably my favourite demo out of all the ones I played so it's definitely another game that will remain on my wishlist.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge

  • Picked by Me
  • Percentage Complete = 87%

I've been playing couch co-op with the girls and it's been heaps of fun. They've nailed a lot of things here, such as the retro pixelart, the great soundtrack, the ability to play with 6 players simultaneously (including Splinter and April O'Neil) and it works well 95% of the time on the Steam Link with Logitech F710 Controllers. I say 95% because I did experience the occasional framerate drop or lag but I think it's only happened maybe twice so far. Otherwise, there's not really much to fault about the game as it captures the feel of oldschool Ninja Turtle games and that's all it needed to do for its millennial fans but that's also where mileage may vary (but if you're not really into Ninja Turtles, why are you even playing this game?).

Oh, another aspect of the game that is somewhat a bummer is that there is only one save game in story mode. It would've been nice if you could have a couple more like you do in Streets of Rage 4 just in case you wanted to experience the campaign with different friends or family.

Escape from Monkey Island

  • Picked by Me
  • Percentage Complete = 20%

Since I've already reviewed the first three Monkey Island games on this blog and Return to Monkey Island is just around the corner, I thought it was time to experience the remaining games in the series (despite Return to Monkey Island not really following the events of the third, fourth and fifth games). It's also given me a great opportunity to experience a classic and humorous point 'n' click adventure with my eldest daughter (and she seems to be having a blast).

So, I played the fourth entry into the series called Escape from Monkey Island and although I did mention it is a point 'n' click adventure, that's not entirely true: in Escape from Monkey Island everything has gone 3D and that means you control Guybrush solely with the keyboard instead of the mouse. It's very cumbersome and while I can understand they may have decided to go with this approach for console players, it's totally unnecessary for PC players who have a mouse. You're always trying to face the right direction and adjusting your distance in order to interact with the right object: things that would be so much simpler to do if you just used the mouse.

Oh, and the game came out during the worst era for computer graphics, a time when 3D games were becoming all the rage but the low-poly counts made many of them look pretty ugly. This is why I reckon Escape from Monkey Island is the ugliest out of the Monkey Island games (no offence to the artists - they just did their best with the primitive tools they were given). Also, there was a period in the late 90s and early 2000s where the games were developed in a particular way that makes it difficult to run them on modern operating systems. Escape from Monkey Island is one of these games but fortunately it's only the cinematics that don't work and you can still hear the audio. There is an easy fix to this though if you decide to add "-gl -w -16" to the start-up parameters for the game.

There are some positives to Escape from Monkey Island though including the great soundtrack, returning characters, zany humour and an Australian as a villain! So, despite some hiccups, I'm still enjoying the game.

LINK: [ The Pile of Shame ]