.. and a tiny bit of Bastion, for the Music.
Let's start with this somewhat unrelated topic: The soundtrack of Bastion is brilliant. A few people told me independently of each other that it is, so I took the effort, and played it with the audio on - I don't often do that, bc. I can't hear the kids then - and it was worth it.
Anyway, back to the original topic; after all, that's why you are here. I played only with one game two days ago, and two more yesterday. Here is what I think about them:
"Another one of those visually unique games - but otherwise, this is just a silly platformer." - These were my first thoughts of the game after I was playing it for about 10 minutes. I've got this game with the humble bundle a while ago, so I really had no idea what this game is about or what it is like (see also Bastion & co.)
Honestly, I am not really fond of platformers. Still, if all the other games can get one hour, this one also should. So I stayed and became surprised very soon.
There is a long term goal in the game, but actually, on the short term, what you do is puzzle piece collection. To finish a level, you need to collect all puzzle pieces on it. Although this seems to be a trivial goal, very soon I came across a situation where there was simply no way to collect two pieces. Whatever I did, I couldn't get close. Anyway, I kept going, and found some interesting ways to solve different puzzles here and there. Realization came quickly that these situations can only be solved by using smarts instead of dexterity.So I did exactly that, and voila - finished the first level/world.
Without spoilers, let's just say that the second world is even harder then the first one was, and you need to think in 3D to be able to solve it - where the third dimension is time!
The verdict came easily: This is a game I'll probably pick up again later..
FTL: Faster Than Light
Not exactly the first time I play with this game, but so far I spent only about 15 minutes in FTL, so as good as any others. Also, it's still pretty hot, so let's talk about this game a bit.
A lot of people compares this one to the roguelike games, and not without good reason: Essentially, you go forward, kill random enemies, and improve/repair your ship as you go. Also, sometimes you may run into shops/merchants, where you can get better equipment. This game is deceptively simple, but it has a lot of potential, and requires you to utilize your problems solving abilities to the maximum. As you go on, the challenge becomes harder and harder, so you need to stay on the edge and not waste a thing - not even time.
I am definitely planning to play with this game again.
After writing the blogpost about semi-automatic games, I mentioned it on twitter to one of my favourite game designers, Chris Bateman (the author of 21 Century Game Design). After reading it, he mentioned that one of his games (guess which one) is basically like that. And it is cheap on Steam. :) So I read the Wikipedia article about it, and decided that this game is indeed one of those, and I am curious about it. And it was cheap on Steam, so I bought it.
No, this game is not one of those unique visual ones. Well, it actually is, but it is old enough to have a bit dated look. But that's not really a big issue for me; I used to play roguelikes after all.
On the other hand, the gameplay is far from trivial. You play as a ghost master, an entity from the other side of the veil between life and death, and your goal is to scare the mortals out of their wits. You have one main spendable resource, plasm, and helpers - ghosts, obviously - who can interact with the world and humans. You can not affect these directly, though, only by placing your ghosts in tactical positions, and allowing them to use their powers (the stronger the power, the more plasm it takes to use it - but usually the weak powers are good enough for amazing effects when used in the right context) .
From the terrified humans you get plasm, and for completing levels, you get gold plasm, that can be used for buying new powers for your haunters.
That's about it. Again, this sounds simple, but it is actually very challenging. Hats off for Chris for designing this, and yes, this is also one I'll pick up again later.
Upcoming games: LIMBO, Lone Survivor, Magicka and a lot of others.