Posted in Uncategorized

Kingdom New Lands

Simple, challenging, and beautiful. Kingdom New Lands is a side scroller that focuses on resource management and self-preservation. The art design of this game is just stunning, with a beautiful pixelated style. You are a queen, and you have only three things: your crown, your steed, and your coinpurse.

Progression comes from investing money into different areas of the island to create watchtowers, walls, farms and more, offering peasants you find on the island a gold coin to join your cause, buying tools for the people to use in order to work for your kingdom, and collecting the profits that are made by the various characters under your rule.

But it isn’t all building and profiteering … once the night comes, it begins. Every night your kingdom will be attacked by gruesome monsters called the Greed. They hunt mercilessly for possessions – they will attack your people and steal their tools, their money, and your money as well if they are able to attack you. But if your coinpurse is empty and you get hit by one of these monstrous creatures? Your crown will be knocked from your head, and if they get their hands on it, it’s game over for you!

I have really enjoyed this style of gameplay, as well as the very real challenge the game offers you. As each day passes by, more and more of the Greed emerge from their portals to attack you, meaning that if you don’t pay enough attention to your defensive structures and army, you will soon find yourself getting overrun – which can be a devastatingly difficult situation to come back from. And this is not the only issue you will face. Eventually, winter will arrive, and your crop fields will die off, leaving your farmers with nothing to do and your kingdom with very little income.

There are a number of different islands, and you can travel between them by rebuilding a shipwreck on the island – something which will require no short amount of gold coins. But once you have successfully got it in ship-shape and docked, you may depart the island at any point to move on to a new island.

There isn’t a whole lot to say about the game, it is a small one after all – but it still ticks plenty of boxes for me. Beautiful visuals, fantastic soundtrack, satisfying challenge.


  • Platform: PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PC, iOS, Android
  • Release Date: 21/10/2015
  • Genre: Strategy
Posted in Recent Games

Prison Architect

Regular readers won’t be shocked to see another simulation game making it’s way to this site. Prison Architect has a habit of dragging me back to it by simple association … whenever I watch something on TV based around a prison (Orange Is The New Black, for example) I suddenly get the strongest urge to hop back in and start making my own prison!

There’s just something about designing layouts, considering the efficiency ad functionality of the various sections as you build them. Perhaps I missed my true calling?

When I first bought this game, it was quite simple and bare-bones. Over time, continuous updates have built upon the excellent foundation that the original base game provided. The premise of Prison Architect as you can probably guess is to build and manage your own prison from scratch. There are the usual challenges that you might expect, such as balancing a budget, having the right amount of staffing, that sort of thing. But being a prison game, there are lots of extra things for you to consider.

Your prisoners will have to be looked after, and also watched closely – a prison riot is but one unfortunate incident away! Will you decide to be a cruel warden? Or will you create educational programs and work opportunities? Will you let the prisoners do their thing or will you crack down and confiscate all contriband?

The game is so well looked after by the creators, it is crazy to think of just how many differences there are between the original release and the game as it is today. Besides the many new rooms, items, and mechanics, my favourite of the new additions has to be escape mode. A mode which adds an entirely new layer of challenge and enjoyment to an already enjoyable game.

Escape Mode allows you to jump into the prison as a fresh-faced convict, straight off the bus. As a prisoner, your job is ultimately to escape. Of course, such a feat doesn’t happen overnight. It will take time, patience and planning. There are a number of different ways for you to consider. Maybe you prefer to stealthily gather the items you need and hide them in safe places where you can collect them later to make your grand escape. Or perhaps you’ll form a gang and overthrow the prison, destroying everything in your path, burning the prison down as you walk out towards your freedom.

It gets even better – you can access the Steam workshop to load up prisons made by other players and try to escape from them. I can tell you, there are some REAL challenges to be found on there! I’m not entirely sure if it is possible to load the prisons of other players on the console version, but I certainly hope it is available, because it really does raise the bar just that extra little bit.

Overall, it just feels like Prison Architect has an extra layer of challenge compared to most other simulation games, seeing as it literally could all go wrong in an instant. You will have to keep your wits about you and ensure that you have a good regime in place otherwise you will find yourself subjected to prison riots, arson, assaults, escape attempts, and even murder. They are criminals after all!

It’s a huge thumbs up from me, it really is one of the best simulation games out there. The minimalist style is charming, the hidden humour is satisfying, and the gameplay is just excellent.


  • Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
  • Release Date: 06/10/2015 (PC), 28/06/2016 (PS4, Xbox One), 20/08/2018 (Nintendo Switch)
  • Genre: Simulation
Posted in Recent Games

Fallout 76 – Wastelanders Update

Like so many other fans of the franchise, I was eager to buy 76 when it was released. While I did enjoy it for a while, it ultimately got boring fast, for the very simple face that it wasn’t a true Fallout game. A vast open world … with no NPCs? No quirky characters or bizarre storylines, just endless fetch quests given to you by robots, or triggered by holotapes.

Sadly, this was never going to be a hugely popular design choice, and my interest soon disappeared. But not all was lost – a few months ago I heard that a free update would be headed our way, the Wastelanders update. NPCs would return to Appalachia, bringing factions for you to interact with, new storylines to take part in, all of which has been carefully intertwined with the existing story to allow both new and old players to take part.

Without a doubt I am grateful for the attempt to rescue this game, as I really did feel like it could have been so much better than it was. By no means is it anywhere near perfect at this point, but it is a whole lot more playable. It feels much more like a true Fallout game at this point, and by extension it feels much more like it was meant to be experienced solo. Unfortunately I think there is a real lack of proper quest-sharing which makes playing as a team rather difficult and ultimately uninteresting.

Sadly, there does still seem to be a lot of instability in Fallout 76. I have found that it is not uncommon for the game to suddenly crash, particularly while I am trying to take part in public events. Of course, being completely online means that nothing is really lost, so I don’t hold too much of a grudge against it.

Let’s not forget that this is a Fallout game at the end of the day, and that means that there are still lots of good things about it. A lot of adaptations had to be made to the usual Fallout style of gameplay to make it work as an MMORPG, and I think they did a pretty good job of that. The core mechanics of the game are the same, but with some serious changes to what happens when you level up, changes which I actually prefer to the usual format. And we have a whole new region of the wasteland to explore, Appalachia. I’ve always loved seeing the fictional nuclear wasteland in the Fallout franchise – the level of detail and design is a testament to the imagination and skill of the team behind it, not to mention a cautionary tale for us to bear in mind.

I’m hoping that we will receive more gradual updates that might offer a bit more stability to the performance of 76, as well as a few more content updates. But for now I’m enjoying coming on each day; completing daily tasks, taking part in events, building my C.A.M.P up a bit more each day, and taking on tougher challenges each day as my character levels up.

I would recommend that players who bought this and abandoned it ought to come back and see if they like the changes that have been made, but if you don’t have it already … maybe wait until it’s in the sale.


  • Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC
  • Release Date: 14/11/2018
  • Genre: MMORPG
Posted in Recent Games

House Flipper

You know, it’s a weird phenomenon … most of us probably don’t enjoy doing chores, or at the very least have certain chores that we really don’t enjoy doing. So then, why is it that certain games, such as today’s feature, are so enjoyable and satisfying to play?

House Flipper is exactly as it sounds – you take on jobs flipping people’s houses, and the jobs that are needed to be done vary a fair amount. The one you will probably see the most of is cleaning. A lot of these people have dirty, filthy, disgusting houses, covered in stains, rubbish, and in the worst case scenarios … cockroaches. If you put me in one of these houses, I would probably freak out and run for the hills. And yet, putting myself in there virtually and methodically cleaning each room from top to bottom (because yes, sometimes there are even stains on the ceilings) is somehow very soothing and fun.

So besides cleaning, you will also get to paint, take down walls, add new walls in, fill wall cavities with plaster, lay new tiles or flooring down, install new plumbing objects such as showers and toilets, and buy new furniture as requested by the client.

If I had to complain about one thing, it would be that I don’t find the painting or tiling to be particularly enjoyable. It’s a long and tedious task when you have to do all the walls of a room, and although you can unlock perks as you play the game to make the task easier, it still feels like a real struggle to get through!

Besides taking on jobs to do specific work in houses, you can also buy houses to remodel as you see fit, and then either convert it into your own home office (much better than the tiny shed you start out with), or you can sell it on to one of the interested potential buyers to try and turn a profit.

I wouldn’t say House Flipper is the kind of game you would spend a particularly long time on, I find it most enjoyable to play in small bursts, maybe do one or two jobs in a single play session. But the small sessions that I do play, I find to be very therapeutic.


  • Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC
  • Release Date: 17/05/2018 (PC), 25/02/2020 (PS4), 26/02/2020 (Xbox One)
  • Genre: Simulation
Posted in Recent Games

Gang Beasts

I cannot shut up about Gang Beasts. I tell all my friends about it. I tell them how much they need to get it so that we can play this ridiculously hilarious game.

So what is it exactly? It’s simple enough to explain – it’s a fighting game! But we’re not talking about combos, health bars, special moves, any of that. This is a bunch of, what I could best describe as clay dolls thrown into incredibly precarious arenas, with the goal of duking it out until only one is left standing.

There’s no tutorial either, you’re either going to have to figure it out on your own or look up the controls online, and it’s kind of surprising to see how many different things you can do. Punching, kicking, headbutting, grabbing, lifting, even drop-kicking … these are the moves that you have at your disposal, and somehow you must dispose of the other contenders!

You could try to be smart and use the environment around you to your advantage. As I mentioned before, the stages are perilous – many things are breakable, and sometimes brains beat brawn in this game. When fighting on the stage that consists of two cargo containers suspended in the air, you could try to fight everyone and knock them off the edge … or you could climb the cables and actually split them to cause the container to fall taking all the brawlers below with it. But then sometimes the best thing to do is just knock someone out by punching them in the head and throw them off the stage.

Maybe I’m just easily amused but I just find Gang Beasts to be absolutely hilarious. There’s something about watching these tiny figures ragdoll around these precarious stages which is just so entertaining to me – and this is definitely helped by the variety of costumes that you will see. You have the option to dress up your little fighter, and this is an option that most people gratefully use. There are many, many clothing options available … even animal onesies! I actually like cats a lot, so can you tell me why I find so much joy in picking up someone in a cat suit and throwing them off a ledge?

There are a few different game modes for variety’s sake as well. Melee is the standard mode where you all battle it out to be the sole survivor. Gangs puts you into teams to accomplish the same goal. Waves puts you all on the same side but pits hoards of AI opponents against you. Football … well, it’s football!

Honestly there isn’t a whole lot to say about this game. It’s small, it’s fun, play it with strangers, play it with friends, just enjoy yourself!


  • Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC
  • Release Date: 12/12/2017 (PC, PS4), 27/03/19 (Xbox One),
  • Genre: Party Brawler
Posted in New Games

Greedfall

Here we have a game that sort of appeared out of nowhere for me – I hadn’t heard anything about it until maybe a week or so before release, and I was intrigued enough to do a little digging, and impressed enough to preorder it.

Greedfall is a fascinating take on what colonial times would be like in a fantasy setting. You are De Sardet, a noble of one of the continent’s great nations, and you set out on a voyage to a new land, where colonisation has already begun. You will face exotic beasts, native tribes, and other nations who have settled on the shores of the island.

The combat is something that in particularly enjoy, as it offers a lot of fluid choices, and certainly some challenges in places. As you level up, you will be able to invest points in your skill tree, and you probably won’t be shocked to hear that the tree is roughly divided into a sort of Warrior/Rogue/Mage categorisation. Greedfall allows you to have two melee weapons set, and a gun always available to use, so you have the potential to create a truly well-rounded character. You can have a magical ring set as one weapon to cast spells, then at the press of a button swap to your melee weapon to allow your mana to recharge. You will also need to dodge or parry to survive, as some of the native creatures are particularly deadly… Luckily you are able to take two companions with you as you travel the island, so you won’t be on your own against these perils!

There is some strategy that goes into leveling up, as on certain levels you also get Attribute Points and Talent Points. The former are spent in De Sardet’s Agility, Strength, Endurance, Willpower, Mental Power, and Accuracy. Assigning points into these attributes will allow you to equip the best equipment as you progress through the game. The Talent Points are used to further De Sardet’s vigor, charisma, science, lockpicking, craftsmanship and intuition. Each is important in its own way, such as vigor which allows you to regenerate health and mana quickly outside of combat and gives you access to secret areas through climbing and balancing across certain obstacles. Science is also a good one to invest in early, as a single point in science allows you to explore weakened walls to access even more areas!

Without a doubt I have been fascinated by the plot – as much as I love Fantasy RPGs in general, there’s no denying that storylines can often mirror each other in certain aspects. It’s interesting to experience this colonial fantasy adventure, mixing a fascinating period of human history with an excellent and imaginative genre. Instead of medieval huts, peasants, and dragons, we have native settlements, colonial cities, rising tensions, and even wars.

Something that I always admire is the work that goes into creating a fictional tribe. The natives of Teer Fradee have their own language, and a particularly thick accent when speaking in the common tongue, even with occasionally bad grammar as you might expect from a native tribe learning a new language. These are the special kind of details that make a world feel convincing and alive.

As much as I like Greedfall, it isn’t without its flaws. Probably the most glaringly obvious of these flaws is the unfortunate fact that some of the settings do feel somewhat copy and pasted. Maybe there was just one architect on the island at the time, but all of the new cities have within them Palaces, taverns, barracks, all with perfectly identical layouts. Even the settlements of the island’s various tribes of natives have identical lodging for their Chiefs – down to the last stone! It’s sad that this is the case as the rest of the world seems to have been so painstakingly crafted, these copied details just chip away at my immersion into this world. My only other gripe is the companion quests – upon accepting a quest from one of your companions, they will be locked into your party until you have completed all stages of that quest. It’s a pretty minor complaint, but it bugs me as I’m usually one for accepting lots of quests and then working through them in whatever order I like – preferably without having to be worried about my party members being locked in.

It’s certainly not the longest game, but there is still the potential for you to sink quite a lot of time into it, and I have had a lot of fun while dedicating my time to it.


  • Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC
  • Release Date: 10/09/2019
  • Genre: Fantasy RPG

Posted in Recent Games

Friday The 13th: The Game

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. I love horror. Although Friday The 13th had a fairly buggy start, it was an instant hit with me. Most of you will likely know the general idea of what the movies were about… masked killer, hangs out at camp, tends to get a bit stab-happy. Naturally it won’t be for everyone, but for horror junkies like me, few things beat the adrenaline as you run into the darkness with Jason Vorhees hot on your heels! I should point out, that would more than likely be a lot less enjoyable in real life.

As you probably guessed, Friday The 13th: The Game is a horror survival game, unless you are chosen to play as Jason, in which case it’s a rather unsettling simulation of things that should absolutely not be done in reality. Once the game starts, a small cutscene plays that … well, let’s say it announces Jason’s arrival. All the camp counsellors scatter across the map and now you must do what you can to survive! If you live for a whole 20 minutes, manage to call the police and escape to them, drive or sail away by car or boat, or manage to pull off the incredibly difficult and coordinated task of killing Jason, then you win. So of course, if Jason catches you and makes you see the light… well, better luck next time!

Of course, nothing is so simple that you can escape just like that. Want to call the police? You have to locate the one hut in the whole map that has a phone, which will have a busted fuse box, so you must find the fuse, fix the box, call the police, wait for them to arrive, get to the exit point, and pray Jason doesn’t stand between you and the police cars. Maybe you think driving is easier? Well first you better find the car battery, install that, then find fuel to top up the car, not to mention you need the car key, and then drive to safety without Jason appearing in the road and smashing your car to a halt. Maybe you just want to try to survive for the whole 20 minutes? Well good luck with that! If you do pull it off, maybe go buy a lottery ticket.

You’re not entirely defenseless though, so make sure you always keep an eye out for handy tools. You can find pocket knives which will allow you to escape Jason’s grasp, firecrackers which you can drop to stun him, weapons which you can swing at him and hope he gets knocked down, and bear traps that you can strategically place and hope that Jason gets caught before one of your fellow counsellors stumble into it.

There’s also some customisation – you can choose from a number of different counsellors and killers to play as. The counsellors all have different stats to bear in mind, and the killers have different strengths and weaknesses in what they can and can’t do. The counsellors can be customised with different clothes and perks which will give them various benefits, and the killers can be customised with special executions – handy if you’re the kind of person who really likes to show off your Jason skills.

If you ask me, this is the perfect game to either sit down with some fellow horror-loving friends, turn off all the lights, and take it in turns to survive the night, or to play online with your friends on voice chat, trying your best to work together to escape Jason’s clutches!


  • Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch
  • Release Date: 26/05/2017 (Switch 13/08/19)
  • Genre: Survival Horror
Posted in Recent Games

Ni No Kuni II

Here is a game that I fell in love with instantly. It was brought to us by Level 5, the same studio that brought us Dark Cloud and it’s sequel, two of my favourite childhood games.

Ni No Kuni II takes part in a beautifully crafted world full of characters just as whimsical as the kingdoms that they are found in. The game follows the story of Prince Evan, as he travels across the world, meeting the denizens and the leaders of the world, and building a brand new kingdom after a coup forced him to relinquish his title and escape his lifelong home.

Another great aspect has to be the combat – I personally find it very satisfying, the connections between this and the combat systems of Level 5’s previous games seem quite clear to me. Each of the party members have their own weapons specialties, and they can use both melee and ranged weapons. For example, Evan uses swords and wands in combat. There are also different status effects that can be inflicted to party members and monsters, as well as elemental affinities which weapons can be imbued with to deal extra damage to monsters who are weak to particular elements. All combat is real-time, no turn-based moves – you will be running about the battlefield, blocking, dodging, and landing blows to take down your opponents.

One small downside to the combat (and this is actually the only thing I can think of to complain about) is the camera once you are locked on to an enemy. I guess you could say it’s not entirely intuitive, and you may still need to rely on your thumb to give you the best angle. My expectation would be for the camera to be better at keeping the enemy relatively centred on screen whilst locked on, but unfortunately it is still quite free, to the point where locking on sometimes feels somewhat pointless.

Another key element of the game is the kingdom building. Not too far into the game, Evan’s brand new kingdom is established, leaving you with a fledgling empire to run. Money will be accrued over time for you to spend on your kingdom, building and improving the various facilities, deciding who amongst your citizens should work where, and investing money into research which can be carried out at certain facilities, all of which have some measure of benefit to gameplay.

Of course, Evan wasn’t traveling across the world with all of these citizens just waiting for him to pick a nice spot for them to settle – once you have founded your kingdom, you will spend a lot of the game finding new people, accepting their side quests, and recruiting them so that you may benefit from their skills. There are so many different citizens to unlock, and the means to unlock them vary greatly.

I couldn’t possibly not mention the fact that there is a certain… sense of humour found throughout Ni No. And that sense of humour is … bad puns. I’m talking about the kind that you still can’t help but laugh at, even though they’re bad! This is usually seen in the names of the characters, most notably the Dogfolk who have an Asian twist to their culture. You will come across such characters as Hau Ling, Ya Pi, and even Bao Wao … as bad as they are, I still love them.

Areas to explore, a kingdom to build, citizens to recruit, side quests to complete, and tainted monsters to defeat. There’s simply no shortage of things for you to do in Ni No Kuni II. I always have such a good time playing, so I can definitely recommend you give it a try if you haven’t already.


  • Platform: PS4, PC
  • Release Date: 23/03/18
  • Genre: Fantasy RPG

Posted in Recent Games

Fallout 4

Fallout 4 for me was the pinnacle of the Fallout franchise. Many would say that New Vegas is more deserving of this title – and I understand why! It is an excellent game, but my personal opinion is that Fallout 4 delivers what I want from the franchise in just about every area.

The game itself is so crisp and smooth in comparison to the previous entries to the series, and the world is much larger as well – I haven’t even explored all of it as of yet!

A huge world full of unique characters, desolate ruins, and environmental story-telling (a specialty of Bethesda), there is simply so much to see while you’re travelling the wasteland that is now The Commonwealth. I really enjoyed the story revolving around finding your missing son, who was kidnapped from their cryo-chamber! Watching the event from your own chamber as the a mysterious man murders your spouse, steals your infant child, and then taunts you inches away from your face through the glass … it is a very powerful introduction to this story-filled game.

There are a number of factions for you to meet and interact with, and it will be necessary to befriend them in order to complete your goal of finding your son – but you can’t befriend them all! The Commonwealth is a dangerous place, full of raiders, mutated monsters, and rumours of the mysterious Institute have everyone on edge.

One of the things I was most excited for was the Settlement mechanic! The junk that you pick up around the Fallout universe has been mostly useless up until now – you can break these items down at your settlement to get hold of resources, which you can then use to make all sorts of buildings, contraptions, and many other things. I have spent a lot of time building nice, well-defended settlements for the people of The Commonwealth to live out their days in peace and safety!

Of course another thing to comment on would be the companion characters that you come across – they are certainly an important part of the game, as I’m sure most people who play prefer to travel with one! They’re definitely unique characters amongst themselves, and I’m not just saying that because one of them is a dog!

You can really play this game however you see fit, with dialogue choices that help to form your personality, not to mention the story choices you make that will affect various people you meet. And with the many, many perks that you can adopt upon levelling up, you really can make any kind of character that you want to!

The game only got better with each installment of DLC that was released – particularly Far Harbour, Nuka-World, and Automatron. All three provided extra story, and lots of fun for me. Automatron allowed you to build your own robots which could then be your companions, and Far Harbour and Nuka-World both gave us entirely new areas to discover and explore, with new enemies and factions to kill/befriend!

I don’t really think you can go wrong with this game, it definitely gets my recommendation! (It certainly helps that it’s very cheap to buy these days!)


  • Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One
  • Release Date: 10/11/2015
  • Genre: Open World RPG
Posted in Recent Games

Screencheat

Chaos. Madness. Absurdity. Expect all of this and more if you decide to play Screencheat. This is one of my favourite games to play with friends in local multiplayer, it is quite simply … ridiculous.

What is it? Exactly what it says on the tin. There are a number of different game modes, the kind that you would expect from a first person shooter such as Team Deathmatch, and Capture The Flag (although named differently within the game).

So what sets this apart from any other first person shooter you could play with your friends? Well … everyone is invisible! So how do you play? You Screencheat! You must watch the other player’s screens to figure out where they are, but you have to hurry, before they figure out where you are!

The stages themselves are bright, vivid, and segmented by colour – this is the main way to determine where your opponents are, by looking at what colour is on their screen. But there’s plenty of ways to zip around the various stages by jumping through vents and being blasted through the air by fans!

Another thing I should mention – don’t expect to be using weapons that you would expect to see in other first person shooters! The weapons are arguably more unique than the concept of the game itself. There are a number of gun type weapons, but it’s much more fun in my opinion to use the zanier options such as the Hobby Horse (charge!), Bear Bomb (no further explanation needed), Sorgean (lots of potential for mishaps here), and the Chefolet (particularly dangerous, with ricocheting energy balls!).

Next thing to mention is the mutators. As you level up, you will unlock new mutators to use in your games, which spice up the matches somewhat. Some of them will affect the actual gameplay such Flappy Jump which allows you to perform a large number of midair jumps, Hyper Mode which makes everything fast, and Martyrdom which will make you drop bombs upon dying. Then there are the mutators which are just for fun. A couple of examples are The Haunting which will cause the ragdolls left behind on death to fly around the room, and Wilhelm which causes the infamous Wilhelm scream to play upon the death of a player.

The last thing I want to mention is the commentator. He is as equally absurd as the rest of the game, and he’s always ready to point out your deaths, and your silly mistakes! “Butter fingers!”

This game can also be played online, but it’s my personal opinion that this is a game that is best played with your friends via local multiplayer.


  • Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
  • Release Date: 21/10/14 (PC), 01/03/16 (PS4, Xbox One), 29/11/18 (Nintendo Switch)
  • Genre: First Person Shooter