June was fucking weird.
Best Performer: Overcoming Difficult Obstacles (EXP Share)
Starting off June I was still locked in the same slump I’d been dealing with throughout May. My allergies finally calmed down which helped, but also reorganizing my content and actually finishing some of it helped greatly with getting me back on my feet. As with May, not everything I planned made it through in June, though I did talk about some of my post related thoughts on Frosty Canucks which is just as well. Hopefully in July I’ll get a post I’ve wanted to write about Them’s Fightin’ Herds squared away. I’ve also been mulling around a post about Dark Deity, so that might be something seen in the coming weeks as well.
With regard to blogging, I think one of the biggest recent challenges has been Chives. She has a lot of energy and I am her favourite toy. On a daily basis I spend around three hours playing with her, but it’s split up into several ten minute blocks because cats don’t have infinitely regenerating stamina like humans (children) do. As a result, I have only a few times daily where there is more than an hour of uninterrupted time that can be used for work, blogging, or gaming. This hasn’t made it easy to do any of the aforementioned activities because I don’t work great in short bursts. I’m definitely still adjusting to life as a pet owner.
Editor note: As I was editing this I’ve already been interrupted by Chives twice now. The more time goes by the more I’m agreeing with my buddy Mads that I am Chives’ slave rather than her owner.
The final note I wanted to cover for June is the stats. While I wasn’t running at full capacity through the month, my blog was. June was my best month ever finally allowing me to break the one thousand view mark on the monthly graphs. As far as I can tell the only cause for this was my EXP Share article hitting SEO gold and thus it got a lot of views from Google searches. I’m not sure how helpful the article actually was to those folks, but finally breaking the one thousand view milestone was cool.
I picked up Griftlands following its full launch out of early access and it’s alright. I think I’d have viewed it a lot more favourably had I not already spent a lot of time playing Slay the Spire.
Griftlands is a roguelike deck-builder with some RPG thrown in for good measure. Instead of following the barebones approach to world building and story telling that most deck-builders have opted for, Griftlands has three playable campaigns that aim to flesh out the game’s world. This helps to give the game its own unique flavor and fills in a lot of the gaps that most deck-builders have.
Unfortunately, I found that the RPG elements conflicted with how I enjoy playing roguelikes. The campaigns are about three to five hours in length and filled with interesting decisions that radically change how your story is progressing, what benefits you have, and which characters view you favourably. The problem I had with this structure is that whenever I died it felt like I lost a lot. Not only was a huge chunk of my time wasted, but so were all of the interesting stories I’d developed. In other rogue-likes runs are fast and deaths are often frequent enough that a loss never feels like a major setback. In this way, I found that the more involved nature of Griftlands worked against itself.
That said, I still enjoyed Griftlands for what it was. As a deck-builder it is reasonably fun and I’m sure that while I found the RPG elements a bit of a turn-off others will revel in them. This doesn’t get a full recommendation from me, but it’s worth checking out if you liked games such as Slay the Spire, but wanted more from a story perspective.
WHAT THE GOLF?
I’d read about the Switch indie darling WHAT THE GOLF? before and having played it myself I can see why people thought as much even if I don’t agree.
WHAT THE GOLF? is yet another game that seems to position itself as a comedy game. Unlike many other games that do this, however, WHAT THE GOLF? actually tries to be a compelling puzzle game in its own right and thus comes across as a lot more enjoyable. For the most part, puzzles are simple and there are some genuinely funny moments across its multitude of levels, but the game still ends up feeling a bit repetitive by the end.
WHAT THE GOLF? is fun for an afternoon, but it won’t set your world on fire. If you’re in the market for a comedy game with light (can’t stress the light enough) puzzle elements then it might be a title worth picking up.
Enter the Gungeon
I’m not much of a bullet-hell player, but both Steam and Mir keep telling me to buy and play Enter the Gungeon. As such I finally caved during the Steam Summer Sale and purchased Gungeon. Credit where it’s due, I am having fun with the game even though it is extraordinary difficult.
Gungeon manages to leverage the roguelike aspects of its design quite well and this leads to many of the runs feeling satisfying despite the near endless repetition that will inevitable accompany first time players. Hades is the only other rogue-like I’ve played that was this brutal, but wherein Hades you can eventually unlock a number of passive boosts that help players, there are no such shortcuts to success in Gungeon. You either learn the game or you die. For some this may be extremely off-putting, but this sort of slow accumulation of mastery is my crack so I’ve been having a lot of fun despite getting my teeth kicked in.
Also worth noting that I don’t think I’ve ever played a game with so many nods to pop-culture or other video games outside of Smash Brothers. That has certainly added to a lot of Gungeon’s charm.
Finally for this month we have Dark Deity. As mentioned, I’m planning to write about the game in a full length article, but in the event that I don’t I wanted to share a brief snapshot of my thoughts.
Dark Deity is yet another example of why fans aren’t always the best at making the things they love. There are a handful of new ideas at play in the game, some of which work while others fall flat. The removal of permadeath stuck out to me especially because none of the systems or mechanics that Fire Emblem introduced to support this design decision were altered in Dark Deity. This leads to an experience that fails to live up to its own potential and feels frustratingly under designed. I think Ian of Adventure Rules put it best when he said, “Dark Deity does not build on the systems of its inspiration so effectively as to surpass them”.
No art this month. Instead, might I once again direct your attention to five outstanding articles from around the blogging community? They are as follows:
Nepiki | Nepiki Gaming – 5 Game Franchises That Would Work Well as Battle Royale
Irina | I Drink and Watch Anime – Pride and Anime
Jett | InThirdPerson – Why I Treat Playing Video Games and Streaming Video Games on Twitch as Two Different Things
Atomic Bom-Omb – 5 Favorite Roguelikes
Queenie | The Library – Nintendo’s Online is a Disaster
Well that’s a warp for June. Stay safe out there and thanks for reading.