The Wandering Village – Video Game Review

TL;DR – We have a remarkable base with an adorable presentation. It is just missing a hook to make it excel. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for this game; the game was in Early Access when reviewed  

The Onbu

The Wandering Village Review –

There is a growing joke in my friend circle that if you want to get me involved in a game, then it better have some kind of farming mode. This stems from my early years growing up on city builders, and to this day, I am always ready to dive into a video game that presents a new twist on the city-building formula. The last one to do so was Surviving Mars, where you built a colony in space, and today we look at a game where you build a city on, checks notes, the back of a giant tortoise.

So to set the scene, you were part of a people that had lived their lives in peace in a small fertile valley full of wonder, but eventually, the same toxic spore that had collapsed the rest of the society found you and you were forced to flee. It was a perilous journey, and just when all seemed lost, you stumbled across a miracle, the last of its kind, a giant Onbu, woken by those same spores. Now you have to build a village on its back, and hopefully, together, you can survive the calamity.

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Fortnite: Or How I Learned to Stop Building and Love the Shenanigans – Video Game Review

TL;DR – After years of frustration with this game, the no-build mode finally coalesces the game for me.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclosure – This is a Free-to-Play with microtransactions, and I paid for the Battle Pass.

A crew shot as things explode in the background.

Fortnite Review –

Back in 2017, there was this odd game that exploded onto the video game scene, it was not the first Battle Royale style game on the market, but its free-to-play model and big marketing push made it the example all others wanted to copy. I tried the game when it first came out, and my biggest feeling at the time was that ‘this was not for me’. I just did not have the time in my life to learn how to work the building side of things. However, with the announcement that there would be a build-free mode, I decided to give the game another look and discovered just what people have been talking about for all these years.

So to set the scene, Fortnite is a Third-Person Shooter Battle Royale game. This means that it is a shooter where the perspective is positioned from behind the character, over the shoulder, rather than as if you were peering out of their eyes. As well as this, there is a barrier slowly shrinking the map to a central point forcing all the players together. What this means is at the start of the game, all 100 players jump out of a flying bus landing across the map and have to scavenge weapons and ammo, all trying to be the last one standing while some dude in a banana costume snipes you … banana costumes … raises a fist to the clouds.    

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Deep Rock Galactic – Video Game Review

TL;DR – Every part of this game build upon each other to create one of the best four-player co-op games out there at the moment

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I purchased the game

Deep Rock Galactic. Image Credit: Ghost Ship Games.

Deep Rock Galactic Review –

For a while now, me and my friends have been dipping in and out of this odd mining survival game from Ghost Ship Games. But recently, we have been going into a deep dive, exploring everything the game has to offer. Well, as their Season Two event is about to launch, I thought it would be an excellent time to jump in and have a look at the game as a whole. Before we start, I want to thank my friends Johan, Nikola, and Chris for helping to run through the game with me.

So to set the scene, in the far future, the Creus solar system is inhabited by Dwarves thanks to the powerhouse that is the planet Hoxxes IV. The planet is smashed apart, and its surface is a desolate wasteland. However, underneath, it is full of wonders, full of minerals, and full of dangers. Under the surface are great biomes that exist in the planet’s many interconnecting cave systems. These caves are full of life adapted to the rocky and dark world. However, those very lifeforms do not like large sounds reverberating through the rock, for example, the sounds miners make while digging up their booty.     

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Surviving Mars: Below and Beyond – Video Game Review

TL;DR – A DLC that is full of exciting ideas but also some missed opportunities and frustrations.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for this DLC

Surviving Mars: Below and Beyond. Image Credit: Paradox Interactive.

Surviving Mars: Below and Beyond Review –

Over the years, one of the games I come back to once in a while has been Surviving Mars. This is a strategy game/ city builder about constructing the first human colony on Mars with drones, domes, and danger, oh my. While it was full of promise, it hit its stride with the Green Planet DLC, allowing you to terraform Mars into an oasis gradually. For a long time, this looked like it would be the final stop for the game, but recently there was a surprise announcement of a new DLC Below and Beyond, which we will look at today.

The essential overview of this new DLC is that while exploring the surface of Mars, you have come across these vents under the surface. Here there are large tunnels, old lava tubes, so large that you could both explore and even colonise them. The one big drawback is that they are very dangerous as cave falls can crush rovers and cut off passageways. You can use technologies found in the new Recon and Expansion tech tree to make exploring safer. Still, if you want to colonise down below, you will need sturdier materials, which is good because it just so happens that several asteroids are coming close to Mars’ orbit with Exotic Minerals just perfect for the new task.

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Humankind – Video Game Review

TL;DR – Here, we have a beautiful game with a lot of promise but is not quite there yet.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for this game.

Humankind. Image Credit: Amplitude Studios.

Humankind  Review –

One genre of Video Games just clicks with me more than others, like on a deep physiological level. That genre is the strategy game, well, more than that. It is the particular 4X genre of strategy game where you eXplore, eXploit, eXpand, & eXterminate, and if it is turn-based, even better. I can spend hundreds of hours exploring the mechanics of each game, hitting each of those four X’s. In the realm of the historical-empire-builder 4X world, there has been one crown, Civilization.  Well, today, we take a look at a game that is coming for that title, and while it doesn’t quite get there, it does come close.

The first thing I want to mention is just how beautiful this game is. When you first jump into the game and see a river crashing over the cliffs into a valley full of lush jungle and red earth, Well, it will take your breath away. A lot of care has gone into everything feeling as if it is a natural part of this world. Part of what helps is a mountain of terrain features that make even areas that could be dull, like the frozen poles, still feel interesting to explore. I also like how they have introduced height to the game, making the world feel more grounded. You can see the legacy of Endless Legend throughout this game in the design of the terrain, but it has been tailored to be like Earth but stylized, and I think they get that balance right. To add to this, while watching this stunning game, you also get to hear a soundtrack that I have yet to get sick over these[redacted] hours that I have played, and I am listening to it now as I write this review. If I had to pick my favourite track from the game, it would be Mercury, but they are all great.

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João III of Portugal First Look and Analysis – Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass

TL;DR: All about that money

João III of Portugal. Image Credit: Firaxis Games.

We are getting a new expansion for Civilization VI, well, not quite. Over the next year, we have a season pass, the New Frontier Pass, which will give us several new Civilizations and Game Modes(which you can find out more information HERE). The final new Civilization has been announced, so let’s dive into Portugal.

João III of Portugal Overview

Civilization LeaderJoão III
Preferred Religion: Catholicism
Civilization CapitalLisbon
Civilization BonusCasa Da Índia – International Trade Routes can only reach cities on the coast or with a Harbour, +Yields on International Trade Routes. Trader units get +range on Water and can embark from the start of the game.
Leader BonusPorta Do Cerco – All units get bonus sight, bonus trade route when you meet a civilization for the first time, Open Borders with all City-States.
Unique UnitNau – Cheaper maintenance, Starts with one free promotion, has two charges to build Feitorias.
Unique Tile ImprovementFeitoria – +Gold, +Production, Portugal gains +Gold, +Production to all trade routes to a city with one. Must be built in a foreign city with Open Borders on the coast next to a bonus or luxury resource. Cannot be removed.
Unique BuildingNavigation School – Replaces the University, +construction of Naval units, +science for every two Coast or Lake tiles in the city, +Great Admiral Points.
CitiesViseuÉvoraFaroGuimarães,

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Interplanetary Enhanced Edition – Exploring the Past (2017)

TL;DR – Conflict on a planetary scale that combines orbital mechanics with the chaos of Worms

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the game.

Interplanetary Enhanced Edition. Image Credit: Team Jolly Roger.

Interplanetary Review –

When you play online games with a group of friends occasionally, there will be the call of “what does everyone have?” followed by everyone scanning through their Steam lists for options as a suggestion after suggestion gets vetoed by a different member of the group. Last week this happened with my friends and them someone threw out the request Interplanetary, a game that I played a bit when it first came out in 2015 but hadn’t thought much of it since. Then we discovered that Interplanetary had an Enhanced Edition and well we loaded it up and cried havoc and let slip the dogs of war.

So to set the scene, Interplanetary is a game set in what I would assume is a very dystopian universe. You play the role of one of the planets in a solar system that has just descended into war. You don’t have access to space ships, but you can build railguns on your planets and rain down fire across the solar system. From a mechanics perspective, Interplanetary is a turn-based artillery –focused strategy game. In your turn, you can build new weapons, resource, or defence buildings. You can pick research to boost your attack, and most importantly, you can fire your weapons. This is a game that takes a lot of inspiration from Hard Science Fiction so where you position your weapons on your planet is essential as it rotates, as it orbits around the sun. To attack, you will need to set an orbital insertion path while taking into account the orbits and gravity of every other planetary body in the solar system.

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Bà Triệu of Vietnam First Look and Analysis – Civilization VI: New Frontier Pass

TL;DR: A genuinely flexible civilization with a side of military expansion

Lady Triệu. Image Credit: Firaxis Games.

We are getting a new expansion for Civilization VI, well not quite, over the next year we have a season pass, the New Frontier Pass, which will give us several new Civilizations and Game Modes over the next year (which you can find out more information HERE). The next new Civilization has been announced, so let’s dive into Vietnam.

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Hades – Video Game Review

TL;DR – A game where the mechanics, story, music, and design all pulls you in, so you keep trying to escape your captivity run after run after run

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the game

Hades. Image Credit: Supergiant Games

Hades Review –

At the start of this year, I thought I would take some time to catch up on some of the things I might have missed last year, and I also wanted a bit of an escape from the current world around. With this in mind, several people I respect had Hades on their ‘Best Video Game of 2020’ lists so I thought that might be an excellent place to dive in and I was right.

So to set the scene, you are Zagreus (Darren Korb) the son of Hades (Logan Cunningham) and Prince of the Underworld.  However, a prince he may be, but in reality, he is trapped, a prisoner to his father’s wishes and demands. When he discovers that Nyx (Jamie Landrum) The God of Night is not his birth mother, Zagreus takes on himself to escape from the Underworld, even if that means fighting his way through Tartarus, Asphodel, and Elysium to get there.

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Cyberpunk 2077 – Video Game Review

TL;DR – A buggy experience that even when you power through it, you find a mostly surface-level game failing to delve into the world they had created

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Warning – Contains scenes that have been reported to induce seizures

Cyberpunk 2077. Image Credit: CD PROJEKT RED.

Cyberpunk 2077 Review –

To be honest, I was wondering if I was actually going to write this review. The discourse around this game has been unpleasant, to say the least, and what difference would be one more voice howling into the void make. I mean, I even found myself cleaning the house to put this off. But in the end, I paid full price for this game, a game that was clearly not ready for release, and also this is my profession, so I kind of owe myself and the working hours I put into this game to contextualise that into words.    

So to set the scene, in a boardroom, on the streets of Night City, or in my case on the northern outskirts of the city, we meet V (Gavin Drea/ Cherami Leigh) as his car is being put together. He is a nomad but without a clan or family anymore and is just trying to get ahead. One uppity sheriff later and he is on the way to meet his contact Jackie Welles (Jason Hightower). All V has to do is smuggle this little crate into the city, and he will have enough money to set himself up. There is just one border crossing between him and freedom … what could go wrong. When he thinks he has survived that skirmish, he is offered a chance to put together the heist of a lifetime involving the mysterious Johnny Silverhand (Keanu Reeves).  From this point forward we will be looking at the game as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.

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