For the past 6 weeks, while keeping appointments, applying to a few jobs, following research project leads, etc., I’ve mostly been playing digital games. Attempting one or two sentence descriptions/reviews…
FTL: Faster Than Light – A gem. Roguelike meets Space Alert is an odd description but sort of makes sense. IMHO, best game of 2012. I played this in September (got early access as a kickstarter) but threw it in this list since it’s so good. 59 hours.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown – The atmosphere of the original mixed with simpler 2-actions-per-turn mechanics, almost like a board game. Almost reminds me of Incubation, which btw is a really great tactical puzzle game. 130 hours.
Divinity 2 – Action RPG with lots of quests but not much decision making. Combat is engaging and challenging on higher difficulties, but. ultimately. it’s mostly a grind, like Kingdoms of Amalur. 70 hours.
Dishonored – Stealthy play through. Love the art design. Game was so-so. ~20 hours.
Defender’s Quest – Tower defense meets RPG. I kickstarted this for the artwork. I wish there was a branching storyline with interesting decisions and less grind. 46 hours.
Cthulhu Saves the World – I love the humor and the attempt to minimize the grind, but man… I just couldn’t do it. 42 minutes.
Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller, episode 1 – I kickstarted this one, too, mostly due to their previous work on the indie King’s Quest fan game. Episode 1 is really quite good. Longish wait times between screens, though. Reminds me of Still Life (the really good first one, not the meh second one). Erica Reed, like Victoria McPherson, is an FBI agent tracking down a serial killer. ~8 hours.
East Side Story: A Carol Reed Mystery – Odd 1st-person adventure game featuring photographs using Photoshop’s watercolor filter. One in a series of games. Unfortunately, I found it really quite boring and the artwork more quaint than edgy. No relation to Cognition. Didnt’ finish. ~1 hour.
Nancy Drew: Alibi in Ashes – I’ve got this love hate relationship with Nancy Drew games. Each one has needlessly time-consuming travel elements (the town map that you drive around in is cool, except that you don’t actually get to drive and just point at a location–after tediously hotspot searching with your mouse–and wait, wait, wait). The voice acting is getting a little tired (same woman for like a bazillion games whose voice is starting to sound pretty old), making me hope they recast soon. But still… I like the NPC interaction (though I wish it had branching dialog). The Haunted Carousel, btw, had the best, almost Planescape-like, dialog. ~8 hours.
Dead Mountaineer’s Hotel – The very first scene has possibly the worst voice acting I’ve ever heard, killing the game. ~15 minutes.
Captain Morgane – I liked So Blonde, but this game felt like a step backwards, actually. Bizarre choice to give the main character a French accent (while the rest were mostly English) yet not know any French. Three art styles mashed together (lovely manga/comic-book-inspired illustrations for the cutscenes and backgrounds, dated low-poly character models during the main point-n-click adventure game, and bizarre super-deformed animation during mini-games). Sometimes humorous writing, but really weak intro and ending. ~8 hours.
Clover: A Curious Tale – I like it a lot. Reminds me of the later and much shorter Android game Quiet, Please! Unfortunately, I got stuck, and, apparently, there are no walkthroughs for this game. I would have thought this game would’ve been more popular… ~3 hours.
Dirty Split – Wow. I love the retro 1960s art. Short but fun game with good voice acting. Free! ~3 hours.
This puts a too-small dent into the backlog I have. Seriously. I think it would take another two months to get through all of the games on my list. Starting December, however, I’ll be ramping up research projects and game design, probably reserving only about 20-30 hours a week for playing instead of 50 or so.