Another video game roundup thread! August 9, 2022 7:59 AM   Subscribe

Figure it's about time for another "hey, what are you playing" games roundup post, so, hey, what are you playing? What's new? What have you gone back to for the nth time? What did you bounce right off of?
posted by cortex to MetaFilter-Related at 7:59 AM (108 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

From my end, a special cursed shout out to Merus for the Synergism tab in my browser that's been there for 2+ months now. It is, indeed, the right sort of complicated but idle-focused incremental game for my brain it turns out.
posted by cortex (retired) at 8:01 AM on August 9, 2022 [4 favorites]

If anyone is playing any good iOS action/adventure games (particularly platformers), I’d love to hear about it. I played and really enjoyed Limbo and Inside on my phone and am finding I have no ability to set aside time to play on my computer or Switch but would play something that I can do in 15-20 minutes at a time on my phone.

On that note I recently tried Fez on my phone and while I loved it on my computer I found the iOS controls a little inadequate for smooth play. Great game though.
posted by rustcellar at 8:26 AM on August 9, 2022

I've been playing Timberborn (early access). It's somewhere between Rimworld and Factorio. You have ~100 critters whose lives you manage, but then you're also building some automation systems for harvesting and processing resources. There's a significant water simulation and building dams to flood the terrain is a key gameplay element.

It's fun playing a beaver-themed game! The stable branch is fun but clearly needs more content. There's an experimental branch that is playable that has a lot of new stuff you can see before it's released. I'm guessing they have another year+ before they are really finished.
posted by Nelson at 8:29 AM on August 9, 2022 [2 favorites]

I have a Mac so I play games that are about 10 years old. Hollow Knight was the best-reviewed compatible game I had not tried. Pretty quickly it became a (for me) agonizing set of precision jumping tasks. I mean just getting around the map, not the special challenging parts. I got the debug mod and enjoyed the look and animation a lot while finishing the game with invincibility.p
posted by sindark at 8:32 AM on August 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

Just recently finished Red Dead Redemption 2 for the first time and really enjoyed it. Currently working my way through Control, which is totally up my alley, but I'm away from my PS4 for a bit so I might have trouble stepping back into it when I get back.

Then some friends have bought me Stray for my birthday, so that's probably next and something I'm really looking forward to.
posted by knapah at 8:50 AM on August 9, 2022 [2 favorites]

I finally started The Return of Obra Dinn and it seems pretty good. I don't think I'm doing a great job of it though!

I finally got a PS5, but recently moved and still have to set up my projector and stuff, but I assure you that's on the docket after Obra Dinn, and then: Stray! (with the caveat that, like Sylvanas Windrunner, I have no time for games)
posted by aubilenon at 8:54 AM on August 9, 2022 [4 favorites]

Nelson, I'm really looking forward to playing Timberborn at some point! I'm holding off to let it firm up some more dev-wise because I don't have a sense of urgency about it, but when it's well-baked I'm gonna beave it up for sure.

I'm playing DayZ right now and, man, I've thought about playing DayZ for years and years and never quite decided to because the idea of dealing with hostile hijinks from other players was never very interesting to me. I love a survival game, I love somewhat opaque crafting mechanisms, I love going on long only-slightly-purposeful hikes through video game landscapes. I hate getting randomly yelled at or permakilled by 14-year-old dinguses. A dilemma.

But it turns out there's a couple things that make a difference there: you can try pretty hard to just avoid other players entirely, which isn't foolproof but it's a BIG map and there's not that many people on it any given time so it's doable; and if you have a nice brother who is willing to spin up a private server, you don't have to deal with ANYBODY but your friendly friends.

So I've been doing both: exploring on the private server with my brother and a friend as we figure out how to do very basic construction and to not die of the flu or cholera or infection and only otherwise having to deal with AI zombies, and also being a real scrappy woodsman staying out of cities on a public server and just running immediately away on the rare occasions when I stumble across another actual human while foraging in a town for food or fresh clothes. It turns out to be extremely, extremely my thing at the moment, a nearly perfect answer to "I wish Escape from Tarkov wasn't all about shooting people and bots" which I have kept thinking to myself for a long time now.
posted by cortex (retired) at 8:58 AM on August 9, 2022

- Dead Cells (first time)
- Slay the Spire (first time)
- Hades (forever, damn game is so good)
- Teamfight Tactics (trying to hit diamond in ranked this season)
- Vampire Survivor (mostly done with it after ~40 glorious hours but occasionally still doing a run or two)

also just a note that we have A Videogame Club (57 members strong and growing!) over in FanFare -- a great place for folks to have a deeper convo about specific games if people are interested. swing on by and yak it up whydoncha
posted by lazaruslong at 9:08 AM on August 9, 2022 [3 favorites]

I would like to say thanks to the folks in the last one of these threads who recommended Vampire Survivors, as my kid loved it, it spread like wildfire amongst his friend group, and it got me some cool dad cred.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:31 AM on August 9, 2022 [3 favorites]

In spite of myself and my tastes in character design (anime styled art, particularly fanservice to the type of folks who seem like they've memorized the age of consent laws in ascending order by prefecture, is really really not my thing, and the game is also colorist af), I've been happily playing Genshin Impact for a couple of months now, drifting peacefully through a pretty world that lets me alternate following a mildly interesting storyline with the ability to drench-freeze-swirl-smashysmash my foes without paying a single cent to accelerate the experience. It requires exactly as much mental energy I have to invest into a game right now and no more, and provides an enjoyable return. Did I mention it's pretty? Both the environment and the soundtrack are lovely. Also I can climb almost anydamnthing I want, and you can bet I do. And since it's gacha and there's always the chance (zero chance, that is) someone like me might spend money someday if enough shinies are offered, the new content keeps coming.

Now if they would just let me pet the cat/dog/tanuki/ermine/kitsune/geo archon already--
posted by notquitemaryann at 9:36 AM on August 9, 2022

When I was younger, one of my favorite games was Theme Hospital, which has the questionable premise of "it's a hospital management sim, but make it comedy." A couple of years ago it received a spiritual successor in Two Point Hospital, which I also enjoyed a lot and played a fair bit of.

Today, the sequel, Two Point Campus, was released. Now, unfortunately, wrangling college students, budgets, and administration is something I do as part of my day job, so I'm not sure how much fun this is going to be. But I'm looking forward to it!
posted by Jeanne at 10:12 AM on August 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

Jeanne! Hooray for Theme Hospital (though my true love was Theme Park), and Two Point Hospital. But did they REALLY need to include all the bathroom and vomit noises omg.

Two Point Hospital works on my PC, along with a few other games that I am STILL playing - Planetbase, Kingdoms and Castles, and Oxygen Not Included. I have recently added I Love Hue on the iPad. I gave They Are Billions another stab last weekend but I am stuck (4th try on the same scenario).

But my computer will not play a bunch of other games I purchased in the last couple years, including Timberborn, the Spirit one with the ship and a few others. : /
posted by Glinn at 10:37 AM on August 9, 2022

Playing Eastward while taking a pause from Elden Ring and all I can think is man, this is a lot of narrative. (Also, some very dumb narrative, but that’s hardly unusual.)
posted by Going To Maine at 10:53 AM on August 9, 2022

I really enjoy Mini Metro and its followup, Mini Motorways, and someone somewhere (Reddit, probably) suggested that if one enjoyed those two, OptiFlight is worth a look.

It's not as good as either of the two Minis, but I am enjoying it an awful lot. iPhone/iPad/M1 Mac only at this point, alas.
posted by Ampersand692 at 10:57 AM on August 9, 2022 [4 favorites]

Right now I'm playing the Hot Wheels expansion for Forza Horizon 5. I do enjoy arcade racers, as there's very little brain-power needed.

I finished Stray last week. Quite enjoyed it, although it is very linear.
Was thinking of restarting the Outer Wilds, then decided not to. Opened up Witcher 3 and played it for about 5 minutes. Tried to get back into Death Stranding, and couldn't keep my mind on it. Same deal with Watchdogs 2. I think sometimes it's the effort of getting myself into a game when I'm not sure I'll stick with it - often it's just easier just to not bother.

I seem to have picked up a lot of lesser-known first-person puzzle games in the past couple of years. I play them until they get a bit tricky, then usually stop playing them because the gameplay isn't quite good enough to reward persistence. Games on this list are The Sojourn, Relicta, The Spectrum Retreat, Quantum Conundrum, and probably half a dozen others I don't remember.

I'm currently in the market for a big, graphically rich open-world game with little combat, no bosses, lots of fun little missions, places to explore and things to find. Feel like I've played most of those though.
posted by pipeski at 11:51 AM on August 9, 2022 [2 favorites]

It's not anyone's idea of an exciting game, but I find it relaxing to play Peggle 2 on our PS4, and yesterday I managed to get the last achievement and 100% the game. It's a small victory, but, hey--it's something.

My other game for idle relaxation is Cities: Skylines, and I'm enjoying it quite a bit.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 11:52 AM on August 9, 2022 [3 favorites]

Watching Technoblade’s videos got me sucked back into Minecraft for three weeks. Made automated farms for chickens, cows, and wheat. Built a chunk keepalive system. Started on Slime farm and began prep for Iron farm when I lost steam.

Now back to Warframe, but will be putting that on simmer (there just isn’t much left to do beyond laboriously grinding through Kuva weapons I don’t care about) so I can finally play some stuff on the PS5. I got it in March but haven’t used it once yet, so Horizon 2, and Returnal are imminent.

After those? Probably a return to No Man’s Sky now that I have a full Vive Pro 2 VR kit (and I hear they overhauled space combat).

Edit: if I time it just right I’ll be loading up No Man’s Sky VR almost exactly when I hope to have an RTX 4080 or 4090 to pair with it.
posted by Ryvar at 11:53 AM on August 9, 2022

thanks to the Steam Deck's ability to get me to actually play games I've owned forever, I'm finally getting into Metal Gear Solid 5. it's fun! I haven't gotten to the part where Quiet enters the story -- I'm mildly dreading that and any other things that return to the ways this series tends to treat or portray women -- but the gameplay loops and worldbuilding and moment-to-moment tensions are just so much more comprehensive and compelling than this series has had before.

the balloon-extraction mechanic may be the most Kojima/Metal Gear thing I've ever experienced: simultaneously goofy and straight-faced, stupid nonsense that also just barely earns verisimilitude, above all else an extremely practical and fun gameplay mechanic and thus given license to work in ways that make even less sense because they're just that much more fun. my favorite bit is when you find a guy who's actually happy to be taking a balloon trip and goes "WAHOOOOOOooo" all the way up. great stuff
posted by Kybard at 12:06 PM on August 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

I reaaaaally wanted to love Stray but the end stealth insta-fail sequences are brutal and I'm at the point I may watch a video to finish it off. I wanted something open and wander-y and chill and that's just not this game.

Most of the "big" games I've bought new so far this year (and I think this is the first year in a long time I've done that) have fallen a bit flat for me, and that's been tough.

The new TMNT game is phenomenal, though, and I really want to get some folks to play it with.

I've talked a lot about Citizen Sleeper and will probably continue to do so! It's so good, I just like thinkin' about it.
posted by curious nu at 12:47 PM on August 9, 2022 [3 favorites]

I reaaaaally wanted to love Stray but the end stealth insta-fail sequences are brutal and I'm at the point I may watch a video to finish it off. I wanted something open and wander-y and chill and that's just not this game.

Ah, that’s too bad.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:52 PM on August 9, 2022

I'm not playing anything right now, since my PC is like 11 years old. But my nephew is building me a new computer (mostly as an excuse for me to give him money), and I will be playing Control, Outer Wilds and Disco Elysium sometime soon.
posted by Gorgik at 1:37 PM on August 9, 2022

I'm currently on my umpteenth playthrough of Borderlands 3. I recently re-loaded Borderlands 1 and was reminded how much I admire the background music in the game. I'm also trying to make heads-or-tails out of Genshin Impact, a beautiful-looking game with an awkward combat system.
posted by SPrintF at 1:58 PM on August 9, 2022

I'm still playing Slay the Spire and am still truly terrible but it's so much fun in a cruel, random way. I picked up Beat Saber again.

During the Steam sale I bought Valheim and Strange Horticulture to play in fall/winter when the daylight is short.
posted by kimberussell at 2:11 PM on August 9, 2022

180 hours into Elden Ring, still my first character. I'm doing everything at my own pace.
Also Vampire Survivors. It's exactly right for my dopamine deficits.

A friend says Wildermyth is really good -- turn-based true RPG with multiple characters and a focus on creating legends -- but I haven't tried it yet.
posted by seanmpuckett at 2:11 PM on August 9, 2022

Trying to beat the Cuphead DLC now. Just need to get a couple more levels on expert and finish the King's Gauntlet. I like that the Gauntlet basically forces you to use the new character but oh it's so tedious. I keep getting to the fourth part and if you don't make it you have to start all over again. I'm sick of that damn horse. He's not hard but it takes 20 hits each time.
posted by downtohisturtles at 2:15 PM on August 9, 2022

Back to GTA V. I thought that monkey was off my back, but it’s there, flinging poop. Delicious, addictive poop.

It’s a different environment now. A lot of modelers and most players have gotten fat and happy, so putting together dedicated players to do activities is beyond difficult. The content is mainly multi-player required which makes a lot of it inaccessible when you can’t find a group.
posted by JustSayNoDawg at 2:20 PM on August 9, 2022

Actually, despite the above statements my truest video game of the moment remains BoardGameArena, a mostly bottomless well of pick-up board games with nice folks around the world.
posted by Going To Maine at 2:59 PM on August 9, 2022 [3 favorites]

I went from being way into Zomboid (again) to being way into Rimworld (again, about to go over 600 hours). Which is weird, I usually dislike "sandbox" games but those two games just really grabbed me for some reason. Probably the incredibly healthy mod scene, since I don't have time to get bored before there's something new to try.

I've talked a lot about Citizen Sleeper and will probably continue to do so! It's so good, I just like thinkin' about it.

These days every time I learn someone plays games I start a convo with "Hey, have you played Citizen Sleeper?" Everyone needs to play it.
posted by simmering octagon at 3:54 PM on August 9, 2022

I only scanned this briefly and didn’t see a mention... I’m really really looking forward to Bear and Breakfast!!! But what I’m currently playing is still animal crossing mostly. I really wish stray would come to switch. Pipe dream.
posted by one4themoment at 4:55 PM on August 9, 2022

I love Stray but the zigzag run from the headcrabs sections are frustrating. The trappy bits in the building structure were cool, but running until I get lucky enough to survive is emotionally exhausting after a dozen-plus tries.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 6:41 PM on August 9, 2022

Into the Breach added a bunch of new content recently, so I started a new playthrough. I'm pretty sure they made it a lot harder too 'cause I can't seem to win a game.
posted by aspo at 10:13 PM on August 9, 2022 [4 favorites]

I'm finally playing Horizon Zero Dawn! I had a copy sitting around for quite some time, and tried it once but didn't get very far or click with it very well. So then it sat around some more.

Until, earlier this year, I tried again--and this time I clicked with it. I'm not very good at combat, but the game lets me adapt to that in a number of ways, even while leaving the difficulty on Normal--like, I wait to do certain missions until I'm leveled up above them, or I find places to hide or higher vantage points so I can do archery from a distance instead of sprinting and flopping around down in the kill zone.

Now I'm in the vast golden middle of the game where I have earned lots of useful weapons, armor, and modifications, and I feel more confident about my strategies. Plus I've opened up the whole map. So now it's particularly relaxing...the other day I spent a little time after work randomly wandering around the woods, hunting some pelts to expand my ammo carrying capacity.

This makes me excited about Horizon Forbidden West, although knowing me, I'll again be a very belated player of that.
posted by theatro at 5:13 AM on August 10, 2022 [8 favorites]

I used to love sports games, and then as next gen consoles got fancy the games did too and they passed me by. I have been thrilled with MLB The Show on Switch: you can still do the fancy stuff but there are simplified play modes that are way easier but still satisfying. My son and I have been playing it a ton.

I also just came back to Synth Riders on the Oculus Quest. Their custom songs community is really active and so there's always something new to discover.
posted by AgentRocket at 6:58 AM on August 10, 2022

A friend says Wildermyth is really good -- turn-based true RPG with multiple characters and a focus on creating legends -- but I haven't tried it yet.

After my dad died last year I played about 600 hours of Wildermyth. It is savagely hard and frustrating when played on the permadeath mode but so, so fun and so satisfying when you finally beat a campaign.
posted by derrinyet at 7:17 AM on August 10, 2022 [2 favorites]

I am currently playing the Sims except not actually playing the game, just building random houses.
posted by quaking fajita at 8:08 AM on August 10, 2022 [1 favorite]

Mine are:
  1. Factorio has been my go-to addiction for most of the Pandemic. Lately, I've been trying to complete the game without ever dying. When that failed this playthrough (it turns out that dropping loaded turrets near bug nests is not safe), I decided on two secondary goals: get nuclear weapons and pave my entire walled-in territory with refined hazard concrete (i.e. the top-tier paving material.) In other words, nuke the whales and pave the earth. Nukes turn out to be kind of cool but a huge hassle to use if you want to avoid nuking yourself or your stuff. You end up getting swarmed by bugs that are now to close to nuke so you have to switch to regular rockets while running away. Despite my care, I still managed to get caught in the blast at least once. As for paving the earth, well, I succeeded. A screenshot of the map is here. The problem is that once you have enough concrete to pave a large section of territory, it takes forever for the robots to finish the work. In the meantime, it ties up the logistics system so thoroughly that you can't really do anything else. I ended up just leaving the game running for hours at a time and doing other stuff. But in the end, did it. Mission accomplished. I'm kind of sick of Factorio right now, though.
  2. This minesweeper clone. It's guaranteed to be winnable.
  3. I'm replaying XCOM: Enemy Unknown (with the Enemy Within expansion) again as a distract-me-from-realizing-I'm-exercising activity while using the stationary bike. This has been really helpful as I find myself looking up from the game to realize I've been pedalling for seventy minutes. The important thing is that it's playable with a controller; my stationary bike is pretty hostile to being fitted with a flat work surface.
  4. And I'm finally getting around to playing the Mass Effect Trilogy remaster.
Okay, back to reading the thread.
posted by suetanvil at 8:43 AM on August 10, 2022 [2 favorites]

theatro, awesome, Horizon Zero Dawn was one of the games that made me happy I was playing games again. I think I was talking about this in the last thread, but I'm *still* playing Forbidden West. I've been dragging it out, like I've done with a bunch of games/TV shows/books recently where there seems to be something in me that doesn't want them to end, so I just don't finish them. Forbidden West makes you relearn some things, and they took away/nerfed/made harder some of the ways I loved to play Zero Dawn, but every once in a while, the game is so beautiful it makes me pause. Sunrise is an amazing moment, worth waiting through and experiencing, and that's something only Hades has done for me (the sunrise in Hades is spellbinding).

I finally went back and gave Disco Elysium another go, and I seemed to grasp the game a little better. I felt like I was making more progress, even if certain paths seemed to refuse to open up to me that had before, and then, well, I died. I didn't expect what killed me to be deadly, but there I was, dead, and I hadn't actually saved the game I was playing, and the specter of having to play through things again... I do hope to give it another try though.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:49 AM on August 10, 2022

Despite buying it on release, and playing the shit out of the multiplayer for many, many hours, I'm finally playing Mass Effect: Andromeda's campaign. I'm sure it's been patched within an inch of its life, but it isn't nearly as bad as I was led to believe when it first came out.
posted by Kreiger at 8:52 AM on August 10, 2022

I'm playing Mass Effect: Andromeda too! It's pretty good and I'm glad to have it fresh to play. OTOH it's also kinda clunky. It reminds me what an absolute perfect, immaculate game Horizon Forbidden West is. But ME:A is also just a different thing, much slower, as much a novel as a game.
posted by Nelson at 9:32 AM on August 10, 2022

I keep thinking I'm done with Genshin Impact until the next new continent is released since I mostly enjoy it for exploring and seeing all the pretty places.

But they keep releasing expansion bits that are much deeper and more interesting than they look or really need to be.

There was that new underground area that was MUCH deeper and wider than I expected, with a bunch of new types of puzzles and environmental twists and tricky navigation and much more varied and pretty than "underground area" sounds.

The latest bit even recycles a big archipelago that was used for a limited-time adventure a year ago (where they prototyped the boat/island mechanics of the 3rd Japan-inspired continent). I thought it would just be the same thing with different monsters and puzzles. But it added a LOT of new stuff. Pseudo time-travel puzzles with very different "past" architecture and geography. Big "dungeons" full of nifty new types of puzzles and combat challenges designed to shake you out of using your same 4 favorite characters all the time. New kinds of boating and jumping and gliding challenges if you like that sort of thing.
posted by straight at 10:12 AM on August 10, 2022

Angband, Shiren for Switch, Clubhouse Games (in order to play Spider Solitaire), Animal Crossing New Horizons (still after two years), Vs. Castlevania (the arcade version), Pepper II, Pac-Man CE (NES demake), NYT Crosswords.
posted by JHarris at 10:42 AM on August 10, 2022 [1 favorite]

I've gradually been working my way through The Witcher 3 for over a year. It seems like I've done every (or nearly every) sidequest. All that's left is to finish the main storyline, which involves passing a save-point-of-no-return. I'm kinda bummed. I could happily sidequest in that world for another 200+ hours.

Any suggestions for open-world fantasy games that satisfy the same itch? I've already played (and loved) Skyrim. I don't care much about story. Just give me a big beautiful fantasy world to explore that seems to go on forever.
posted by dephlogisticated at 10:45 AM on August 10, 2022 [1 favorite]

I'm still playing Elden Ring, about 170 hours in. Took a break from Mountaintops of the Giants to finish Volcano Manor over the weekend, now trying to deal with Sol Castle.

Am I any better at jumping than I was?

Absolutely not.

Also need to finish the Switch Link's Awakening - ready for the final dungeon, just haven't collected all the seashells yet. Then it's on to Live Alive, Sakuna: of Rice and Ruin, or one of the mumblety other games in the to-play pile.
posted by minsies at 10:54 AM on August 10, 2022

dephlogisticated: Any suggestions for open-world fantasy games that satisfy the same itch?
My partner just keeps finding more and more DLC for Assassin's Creed: Odyssey (I tell people to play as Cassandra, but nobody listens).
posted by k3ninho at 11:07 AM on August 10, 2022

Damn you jharris you reminded me that Shiren is available on Steam and I've been trying not to buy games willy nilly. Is it as good as I remember the Shiren games to be?
posted by aspo at 11:13 AM on August 10, 2022

Microsoft Jigsaw, because I'm trying to stay away from seriously compelling gaming while I complete a creative project. Apparently my brain still needs something shiny and interactive happening on a screen for at least a chunk of time most days, and apparently this need is adequately satisfied by Microsoft fucking Jigsaw.
posted by terretu at 11:14 AM on August 10, 2022

Power Wash Simulator on XBox Gamepass (no, really.)

When the motion sickness doesn't hit me, it's a VERY zen game, with some geniunely funny writing.

Started re-opening Dear Reader on my iPad before bed again too. Fair warning, it does *not* relax me.
posted by DigDoug at 11:21 AM on August 10, 2022

I tend to buy computers and keep them a long time, which means I usually can't play the hot new game. Would love to play Red Dead or even Skyrim, for example. I made it through Witcher 1 on my old Mac before the OS change killed that. I just got Bioshock, which plays... OK on my homemade Linux work machine with no graphic card. Will take suggestions for a good open-world game -- with manageable graphics demands -- like those.

In the meantime, though... I'm a baseball fan, and my new obsession is the Out of the Park Baseball sim. It's kind of the opposite of a PS or XBox sports game, in that there's no quick-reflex finger-twitchy stuff. You take on the role of general manager of a real MLB team, scouting draft picks, making trades with other (AI) general managers and running player development. You can also be the on-field manager, setting lineups and the rotation, choosing relievers, calling for bunts, pinch-hits, steals and shifts, etc. You can go play-by-play or pre-set your strategies and sim a game, a week or an entire season with a single click.

Two seasons ago, I took the Baltimore Orioles, made a slew of trades, nurtured a couple of prospects... and now we've on track to win the American League this year. I'm hooked.
posted by martin q blank at 12:18 PM on August 10, 2022

Nthing Wildermyth here - it's a lovely, hopeful, clever game with a slightly off-kilter writing style that makes it unique and quite joyful to play, given you're bashing up weird monsters. The idea of following the lives and careers of multiple characters over decades - their adventures, their loves, their struggles - is really nice.

There's a similar mechanic at work in the early-access tactical RPG The Iron Oath - although in a more Glen Cook grimdark world. You create and manage a band of mercenaries roaming the bandit- and undead-infested roads of warring citystates. The setting is a bit generic, but the character classes are not just riffs on D&D - they feel really unique and have a range of tactical advantages and disadvantages that make the individual battles challenging (I particularly enjoy using my Pugilists to fly-kick an opponent into the random holes that seem to infest the terrain!) It's still early in its development - there's only a few mission types, and the bulk of the story hasn't been fleshed out, but what's there is very playable. I usually dislike pixel-art games (nostalgia is for saps) but the style seems to really suit the old-school dark fantasy vibe. The music is great, too.
posted by prismatic7 at 2:19 PM on August 10, 2022

I tell people to play as Cassandra

Cassandra is the only way to play, although I still feel that after murdering several hundred patriarchal shithead Spartans it would be more realistic if they started to flee in terror at the sight of my glorious flowing mane.

...I mean, really guys? You just saw me stick a spear clean through a guys face and out the other side! You really think the two of you are gonna stand a chance? Half the fort is already dead, with their bodies piled up neatly on the bonfire, how have you not noticed that? (really though, more games should have justifiably terrified opponents; it's better for "realism" and frankly I think I should be pushed to at least feel a little bad about running a spear straight through a man, even if he was a Spartan who was trying to kill me for no apparent reason)

Also, Valheim. I've arduously constructed a gigantic fortress atop a stone spire at agonizing risk and expense, and it's just great. As long as the (expletive) Lox don't break the base of my spire. I put the main access teleporter gate underneath the temple of The Elder, which is also a great transit hub location. I also built a pretty nice mountain tower, but then I kinda mucked up the visuals with a huuuuuge ramp I built down to the oceanside for mining transport purposes. There's also a great island base I built out of a rock in the ocean, complete with long-ass bridge/causeway to the mainland. There's a nice shipyard near there that's practically impenetrable and great for shooting at monster raids.
I may have a construction problem.
posted by aramaic at 2:47 PM on August 10, 2022 [2 favorites]

I am apparently playing Ashly Burch games. I just finished Tiny Tina's Wonderlands (link to my review). Briefly: fun, better writing than BL3 though nowhere near BL2, seriously impaired by lack of a New Game Plus. And now I'm playing Horizon Zero Dawn— not far enough into it for a review, but it's good so far.
posted by zompist at 3:09 PM on August 10, 2022

I'm always playing too many games at any given time.

My main game right now is Death Stranding. I played it a few years ago closer to when it came out, but noped out when I got to the first non-optional combat-heavy section. With the directors cut out now (and having gotten a lot better at controllers) I decided to give it another shot, and am closing in on the end of the game! I still turn down the difficulty for some of the combat bits, but I've actually done some successful raids on MULE and terrorist camps on normal difficulty, now that I've figured out a combination of weapons that works well for me. But really, I mostly just wander around virtual Iceland, building roads and fine-tuning delivery routes to everybody in the central region. I love the atmosphere so much, especially the way the landscape itself is almost another character. It's such a weird game, the story is pretty over-the-top, and the writing is aggressively ridiculous and ... not really very good, but the experience as a whole is just so compelling and so unlike anything else out there.

I've also made a couple forays back into The Sims and No Mans Sky to check out the new stuff that's come out. In Sims, the new Werewolves and High School DLCs are both fun (and especially fun in combination -- my high schooler almost had a werewolf freak-out at prom and it was hilarious). The new NMS stuff is impressive as always, and the current expedition is a good intro to all the new freighter building mechanics.

I'm waiting on the new Satisfactory update to come out of experimental and into early access, and then I'll probably be diving back into that. First-person factory building with lots of room to play around with architecture from both a functional and aesthetic standpoint. So good! And the new update looks like it's got some really cool improvements to what is already an awesome game. Cortex, if you haven't played this one, it seems like it would be right up your alley.

I want to actually finish Death Stranding before I add any more games to active rotation, so I've been holding off on Stray for now, but I'm looking forward to giving it a try. And watching my cats be confused by it.
posted by duien at 3:24 PM on August 10, 2022 [2 favorites]

Would love to play Red Dead or even Skyrim, for example.

When I first started playing Skyrim, it was on my dinky but beloved Intel NUC that I use as a streaming box. It has no graphics card (it’s smaller than a graphics card!) but it still ran Skyrim fine at low settings. I’ll admit that switching to my desktop gave a much richer experience, but you can get away with pretty minimal hardware for Skyrim if you aren’t too picky about things like resolution and frame rate.
posted by dephlogisticated at 3:31 PM on August 10, 2022

Same deal with Watchdogs 2. I think sometimes it's the effort of getting myself into a game when I'm not sure I'll stick with it - often it's just easier just to not bother.

I've put maybe 6 hours into Watch Dogs 2 this week on a whim and I'm still not sure if I like it. It's ... alright? But like, I don't want to do combat and it seems like I might occasionally have to do combat and that's really bumming me out.

I've also been playing Escape Academy off and on, and it's a pretty fun diversion.

My secret shame is that I played WWE 2K22 during the free play weekend and really liked it, but not enough to spend $60 on it.
posted by uncleozzy at 4:50 PM on August 10, 2022

From my end, a special cursed shout out to Merus for the Synergism tab in my browser that's been there for 2+ months now. It is, indeed, the right sort of complicated but idle-focused incremental game for my brain it turns out.

I must admit a small part of my motivation in sharing it was because I knew cortex also ruined himself with idle games. (For what it's worth: it took until pretty close to the Omega upgrade for my brain to accept that there were no really new mechanics coming, and it had mostly become a game about earning Wow boxes and gradually turning up corruptions. That broke me out.)

In terms of Video Games: I have a new free company (guild) in FF14, so I get to go to hard group content (you don't need a guild for group content usually but I'd left my run a bit late and moved to lower-population Oceanic servers) and it is very fun. I have nearly killed the firebird. I am also playing Powerwash Simulator as a podcast game; I kind of need the podcasts because the meditative aspect of cleaning off each individually tracked item is hypnotic.
posted by Merus at 7:15 PM on August 10, 2022

From my end, a special cursed shout out to Merus for the Synergism tab in my browser that's been there for 2+ months now. It is, indeed, the right sort of complicated but idle-focused incremental game for my brain it turns out.

For anyone looking for an idle game, communitree was ok and has a finite end. There are some parts that drag, but it kind of incorporates bits from other idle games which I thought was neat.
posted by juv3nal at 7:28 PM on August 10, 2022 [1 favorite]

I have been playing ethereal farm for ages and love the low key nature of the game. It is an incremental, but there is no winning condition, no rush, and no stress. At the same time, I play whatever web based incrementals pop up and appeal to me (no story, numbers go up, not overly complicated or overly active), and right now I am playing through idle research. It is also on steam and itch as a downloadable game, but I prefer browser based.
posted by Literaryhero at 7:48 PM on August 10, 2022 [1 favorite]

I just 100%ed Elden Ring this week. Not because I particularly care about 100%ing, but I do care about seeing as much as I can in a playthrough so had to visit all the mini-dungeons and collect all the things. Then I finished the last chapter of dreamfall chapters, which was a thing I feel incredibly ambivalent about. I'm unsure what to do next. Vampyre was an epic games freebee that looks interesting, Stray because cats, and possibly some puzzlers I've been looking at. Nothing that uses a contoller, though, because I think ER burned out my elbows.

uncleozzy : pretty sure you can play WatchDogs 2 entirely without combat - though some early missions can involve a lot of sitting in quiet corners waiting for shootymans to move somewhere else, at least until you get a few more l33t RC drone/car skillz.
posted by Sparx at 9:20 PM on August 10, 2022

Just finished replaying Breath of Fire 1 and 2, mostly because I was feeling like an old-school JRPG and those were what's available on the Switch. I actually never beat BoF 2 when I was a kid because there's a bit of a difficulty spike right at the end that requires some level grinding, and I had a game guide book (don't judge, I liked being able to get all the secrets on a single playthrough) that, as I recall, recommended entering the final dungeon at level 50, which is like a 10-15 level grind from where you are when you reach that dungeon. Turns out that was nonsense, you can just play on through and it's really not too hard. So check another SNES game off my list of ones I never beat as a child that I finally beat 25-ish years later.

Also, good LORD those games were poorly translated. Either the localization team just didn't give a crap, or they were given no time at all for the translations. I still can't figure out what a lot of the item names were supposed to be. WTF is a "Mrbl3" and why does it keep monsters away? And why does a "Mrbl2", which doesn't show up until later in the game, let you make a critical hit? Part of the charm of that era of English-language JRPGs.
posted by biogeo at 9:41 PM on August 10, 2022 [4 favorites]

Picked up Redout on sale, been enjoying it on the PS5. It's not exactly the next F-Zero game but in this cursed timeline nothing ever shall be, no matter how many of us go on investor calls asking for it.
posted by pwnguin at 10:49 PM on August 10, 2022

Cortex, if you haven't played this one, it seems like it would be right up your alley.

Oh, man, I love Satisfactory! I played it a whole bunch solo when it first hit early access, and then have come back more recently to play it coop with a couple friends and that's its own good chewy time being able to split up some of the builds and exploration and pull this or that refactor of production lines together in real time. Might be time to come back around this winter for another go.
posted by cortex (retired) at 11:26 PM on August 10, 2022

Into the Breach added a bunch of new content recently, so I started a new playthrough. I'm pretty sure they made it a lot harder too 'cause I can't seem to win a game.

Ooh wow, thanks for that! I had really enjoyed ItB a while ago but felt like I had done everything in it - Hard level, All units. Near the end, I was just creating challenges like trying to win using only Ice Mechs. Its great fun as you plan where to be so that enemies shoot you and thus unfreeze you. Anyways I always thought of ItB as very chess-like and am happy to go back to it and do more.
posted by vacapinta at 3:01 AM on August 11, 2022 [1 favorite]

From my end, a special cursed shout out to Merus for the Synergism tab in my browser that's been there for 2+ months now. It is, indeed, the right sort of complicated but idle-focused incremental game for my brain it turns out.

For once, I have someone other than Cortex to blame for this sort of shit.

On the other hand, this morning, I did something different than I usually do and flipped by Challenge 15 exponent from about 100 million to about 54 trillion. Which is probably just a sign that I have been doing the wrong thing all along and finally found the right thing, but I find this sort of ultra-complicated game works best for me if I don't think about it toooooooo hard.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:43 AM on August 11, 2022

I've been really enjoying Powerwash Simulator on my Steam Deck. It's a very Zen experience.

Work Slack just introduced me to Patrick's Parabox, for fans of Baba is You and Manifold Garden. PC/Mac/Steam, with a Switch version "coming soon".

I decided to try Twitch streaming (and will be doing more in the future - link's in my profile). First game's been [Regular Factory], the fourth escape room game from mc2games.

My girlfriend's been playing a ton of Bugsnax via XBox Game Pass.
posted by hanov3r at 11:23 AM on August 11, 2022

I got my factory builder itch scratched when shapez went on sale on humble the other week. Got all the way up to freeplay and completely utterly bounced off of making either a MAM or a TMAM. I mean, I get the idea, but once your belts turn into a digestive tract of tunnels and filters, ech.

I need to knock out Xenoblade Chronicles 1 and Torna before dipping into 3. I like the general style, but while 2 was oversexualized it still felt like a bright and lively and fun world, while Torna and 1 have both been kind of bland grays and browns. But I enjoy the encounter mechanics, and the sort of through-line for the story is interesting seeming, so it's just a matter of getting far enough along that I'm invested, I guess.
posted by Kyol at 12:00 PM on August 11, 2022

OH I don't think I mentioned this in the last thread, but: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge is AMAZING. It has Remote Play Together, and crossplay; I know I can invite you to play on Steam even if you don't have the game, tho I don't know if that works on other platforms. But if you DO have Steam and want to give this a shot, send me a memail and we'll schedule some time! It's super fun.
posted by curious nu at 12:30 PM on August 11, 2022

Horizon Zero Dawn, for the second time around. After Far Cry 4 for maybe the third? I have Frozen Wilds waiting but noting much to look forward to.
posted by achrise at 12:58 PM on August 11, 2022

Cutting edge gamer that I am, I am giving Divinity: Original Sin 2 another try. I tried it years ago, but bounced off hard. Going a little better now. Made it off the island, looking forward to dragging my dysfunctional band of bastards through the endless fields of the to-be-slain.
posted by notoriety public at 1:10 PM on August 11, 2022

For me, way way too much Slay the Spire. Finally beat ascension 20 with the silent, which was very rewarding (although both my A19 and A20 wins were with dead branch + shivs which feels a bit like cheating). Probably going to try to get the defect to A20 next (I'm at 3/20/5/5 right now). It does feel a little more RNG-heavy than I'd like (although maybe that's mostly because I'm bad at it) — I'm curious if people have any recommendations for similar, less RNG-heavy games.
posted by wesleyac at 1:13 PM on August 11, 2022

Oh, also, a bit old now (I think? what even is time), but Patrick's Parabox is the most incredible puzzle game I've played in a long long time (since Stephen's Sausage Roll, I think).

It's Sokoban but boxes can contain other boxes, and can contain themselves, and all sorts of other fun things. It does a super great job of teaching you the mechanics one-by-one, while still being really challenging.
posted by wesleyac at 1:18 PM on August 11, 2022

Is it easier than Stephen’s Sausage Roll? Because that is a game I thought I would have fun with and immediately discovered that nope, my brain can’t get past puzzle one here.
posted by Going To Maine at 2:26 PM on August 11, 2022

more games should have justifiably terrified opponents

they're not nearly as murder-y but this is something I remember enjoying about the arkham batman games - you spent most of your time skulking around in shadows while all the baddies peed their pants about your possible presence
posted by Kybard at 2:38 PM on August 11, 2022

I'll just chip in again to mention Immortals: Fenyx Rising and its DLCs. I finished playing it a month ago, when I gave up on the third DLC, the Lost Gods one, because I didn't take to the change to a top-down fixed camera. I might go back to it, having said that.

The graphical style, dialog and voice acting are great, although much stronger in the base game than in the DLCs. There are enough different types of puzzles and permutations thereof that I didn't really tire of them. There's clearly a lot borrowed from the Zelda franchise, including 'dungeons', where the gameplay switches to lots of platforming, or puzzle-solving to reach the end of the level. You gain various BotW-like powers and improvements to stamina, health, weapons, special moves, and so on. It's well-balanced in the sense that your abilities increase gradually enough that the controls and options are never overwhelming. Combat can be levelled to whatever kind of experience you want. I'm a 'story mode' sort of player, and although some of the boss fights were challenging, I never felt like giving up. I played the game with just an axe, and I'm sure you could complete the game with any weapon. The combat is mostly hit/block/dodge/special attack sort of stuff, but as with other parts of the game, the learning curve is very smooth.

A thing that really stood out for me was the sheer beauty of the open world, full of ruins and temples and icy peaks, studded with vast half-overgrown statues. I also loved how all kinds of nerdy bits of Greek mythology are used to comic effect as the gods bicker over this and that. There's a whole story, of course, but you can really tell that the voice actors were having fun with the celestial banter. I enjoyed it far more than I'd thought I would. I have no idea why the chickens are so fierce, though.
posted by pipeski at 5:26 PM on August 11, 2022

I found out about the "no fail, no death" option in Tunic, which means it is now playable at all so I'm working through it. Highly recommended with that turned on, in a way it was absolutely impassable without.
posted by mhoye at 5:46 PM on August 11, 2022 [1 favorite]

Going To Maine — I think it's easier, and it definitely has a much much gentler difficulty curve than Sausage Roll.
posted by wesleyac at 6:40 PM on August 11, 2022 [1 favorite]

I'm not much of a gamer, but I just got into nethack. Not exactly cutting-edge, but nice to have running in screen on a terminal where I can play it for a bit at a time. The wiki is indispensable if you're not learning it in, say, a C.S. Department.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:22 PM on August 11, 2022 [4 favorites]

If you ever need NetHack advice let me know.
posted by JHarris at 8:41 PM on August 11, 2022 [5 favorites]

Another plug for Shiren the Wanderer, I blasted through that in like 3 days for the main story when it came out so I would say it is definitely worth it for the mystery dungeon fan, though I still have yet to make it through the others.

At the moment juggling Xenoblade 3, Monster Hunter Rise, and Custom Robo V1 on the switch. XB3’s music and world are somewhat disappointing to me so far, but really enjoy the characters and much more meaningful side content (I am an unabashed fan of Tiger Tiger from XB2 though too).

Custom Robo is an odd duck, man do they talk a lot for a game about battling tiny robots, and it’s still sad that this series never really took off in the west. Still very fun to try out different parts. Very weird to have an n64 game with 2d sprites in the over world, but 3d movement
posted by boredoms at 8:44 PM on August 11, 2022

If you ever need NetHack advice let me know.

I keep dying. Currently trying to isolate the problem.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:27 PM on August 11, 2022 [1 favorite]

Well, since we're bringing up Nethack, I'll chime into say I'm still playing Angband (I did see the call-out above, JHarris). My son got me to try The Stanley Parable a bit, and wants me to play Undertale, but my attention span is shot for anything requiring immersion.
posted by mollweide at 4:09 AM on August 12, 2022

Probably won't be answered here...but are there any plans to add video games to FanFare? I'm still hanging onto this intention from cortex from 2020 (obvi, covid was right around the corner).

No timeline for it right now; we've been needing to focus on other things on the site, so FanFare continues to be a slow simmer as far as development work goes. Adding games stuff as a media category is still high on my own personal pony request list, though.
posted by tiny frying pan at 5:27 AM on August 12, 2022 [1 favorite]

Just bought a PS5, so naturally I'm playing the last-generation Horizon Zero Dawn so that I can play the PS5 successor, Horizon Forbidden West. My game OCD refuses to let me play a game series without starting at the beginning, so I'm sure I'll be enjoying the latest whenever the PS6 ships.
posted by BigBrooklyn at 6:38 AM on August 12, 2022

Heh, yeah, I'm no longer a person to ask about that and I doubt any other mods are monitoring a chatty video game thread, so I'd throw that at the contact form.
posted by cortex (retired) at 8:21 AM on August 12, 2022 [1 favorite]

I’ve been playing Population: One on Quest since it was released. It’s a great game and all my adult friends are in VR now. If anyone here plays let’s squad up. DM for friend code!
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:13 AM on August 12, 2022

I've been loving Redactle. I'm absolutely jealous: it's so much better than Semantle. I like it when I one-shot it (JFK, Yo-Yo Ma), and I like it when I struggle (rope). The only thing I don't like is when I have to give up because it's a thing I don't know (Max Stirner).

And of course, Learned league continues to be a joy.

I played Azul Queen's Garden last month. It improves on the original because it's so much more open-ended. It feels like the designer went to therapy or a retreat and came back looser. It's inspiring me to revisit one of my own designs that I had put aside for a few years.

Finally, I've been enjoying Surfwords. Of course I enjoy it -- I made it myself, to be exactly the sort of game I wanted: a quick, brutal word game. Semantle was a happy accident. This was purposeful, and I am so happy with how it came out.
posted by novalis_dt at 1:18 PM on August 12, 2022

I'm absolutely jealous: it's so much better than Semantle.

I cannot tell you how much I appreciate that we have our own local equivalent of, like, Julian Gollop saying "actually Firaxis made a pretty good X-Com game" in conversation here. Semantle remains an extremely good idea that does exactly as much as it could. :)
posted by cortex (retired) at 2:23 PM on August 12, 2022 [4 favorites]

> Just bought a PS5, so naturally I'm playing the last-generation Horizon Zero Dawn yt so that I can play the PS5 successor, Horizon Forbidden West yt . My game OCD refuses to let me play a game series without starting at the beginning, so I'm sure I'll be enjoying the latest whenever the PS6 ships.

If you care about the lore in Horizon at all then this is IMO very wise! I love the worldbuilding in these games a lot--and personally the first one (and its excellent expansion) struck a better balance for me between "fiddling with menus and equipment and abilities" and "just playing the darn game" than Forbidden West has so far. Both are excellent though!
posted by churl at 2:48 PM on August 12, 2022

suetanvil: This minesweeper clone. It's guaranteed to be winnable.

Oh my god. OMG OMG OMG! That is one of Simon Tatham's puzzles! Like ten years ago (or was it twenty?), his site was my daily goto for a quick game between work tasks, for years. There are 30+ little games, all neat little logic puzzles. Thank you, this is where I'll be for the next month!

and yes that is the guy who wrote PuTTY
posted by intermod at 8:32 PM on August 12, 2022 [3 favorites]

Yes! Simon Tatham's Puzzle Collection is great, and in fact long ago I made a FPP on it.
posted by JHarris at 9:49 PM on August 12, 2022

I finished the cat game last weekend. I really enjoyed most of it. I agree with curious nu on the stealth section. It isn't particularly difficult, but I found the consequences of failure jarring. I put the game down for a couple weeks after failing it a few times.

I also played through Carto last weekend, which was a delightful and clever little game that I wish there was more of. It's a calm, light adventure game with an interesting puzzle mechanic where the player moves pieces of the map around to access new areas. It's short, and it's a little clever but not challenging.

I started the demo of Death Trash and got hooked pretty quickly, though I fear I may have masterfully stealthed my way into a situation I'm not good enough to get out of. I might turn down the game difficulty. The world is bizarre and gory and gross and puerile. There is a dedicated puke button. And the game is unfinished.

Finally, I went back through Loom for the manyth time. It's such a well constructed adventure game. With the musical distaff as the main means of interaction with the world and no inventory, the interface is simple and clean. The gameplay mechanics and world lend themselves to a unique dictionary of verbs to play on the distaff. And the EGA version is absolutely beautiful -- just stunning . Take notes or else that failure fanfare will get kinda grating!
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 8:47 AM on August 13, 2022 [3 favorites]

Getting bored with Marvel Puzzle Quest, much more interested in Farm RPG just now. I've been playing for two months and just got my first level 99 (fishing), and am working to bring exploring up to level 90 so I can unlock the tower.

I've also started a new playthrough of Witcher 3. Right now I'm going around doing sidequests and only taking on main quests when they seem unlikely to cause me to fail a sidequest. I'm currently on the Baron's storyline, but he's such a jackass I'm not enjoying it. I seem to recall having this problem my first time through as well.

Oh, and I did a playthrough of Hardspace: Shipbreaker. It took me a bit to get into it, but then it was oddly meditative. I enjoyed it, only died twice. The satire did seem to drift a bit towards the end, but it was fun enough.
posted by johnofjack at 5:49 PM on August 13, 2022

I've also started a new playthrough of Witcher 3.

If you don't already have it, I'd definitely recommend the DLC Blood & Wine. It gives you access to Toussaint, which is by far the most gorgeous setting in the game. Plus tons of new sidequests. The other DLC, Hearts of Stone, isn't bad but is far less impressive. You could take or leave that one.
posted by dephlogisticated at 7:38 PM on August 13, 2022 [1 favorite]

You are absolutely right about Blood & Wine; in fact it gave me a bit of a Witcher 3 hangover when I returned to Skyrim (I just immediately thought "Wha--? No. No. Why is this so ugly?" I thought about looking for mods but couldn't get any of them to work before upgrading Windows so decided just to skip it). Toussaint is indeed gorgeous. More open-world games could aspire to that aesthetic sense.
posted by johnofjack at 8:29 AM on August 14, 2022

So, about NetHack advice--
- It is infamously a game that requires almost what amounts to a graduate degree in its lore to succeed at. If you don't look things up in the wiki you'll probably be at it for a long while.
- The thing that's most useful to a new player is prayer. Alt-P. If you're low on HP (less than 1/7th max), are weak from hunger, or are suffering from any of a number of ailments, prayer will usually get you out of it. The only limitations on this in the early game is, your luck has to be non-negative, you have to be in good standing with your god (which you are by default), and any prayer time-out has to have expired. That means you can't pray too often. The exact number of turns you have to wait before you can safely pray again is random but usually averages around 300. Later in the game there are places where you can't safely pray, being gifted an artifact by your god gives you a bit of a timeout, and if you get "crowned" your average timeout balloons, but for the early game, this is the one fact that increases your survival the most.
- NetHack provides so many ways to identify things that just trying items is usually not a good move. Especially, don't try on rings or amulets unidentified.
- Don't let yourself get slowed by carry weight beyond "Burdened." You have to strike a balance between items you carry on-hand that provide options for survival, and your character's action speed. Many players make a "stash" of items they want to save somewhere in the dungeon that they return to repeatedly. Inside an opened chest is a pretty good place, since monsters don't use chests, although it's possible that a gelatinous cube might engulf it, I think.
- Most monsters aren't really that dangerous, but a few are disproportionately lethal: monsters that appear in mobs, monsters that are fast, monsters with high damage output per turn, and monsters that can poison you. Fulfilling at least two of these categories are ants, and possessing three of them are soldier ants, the game's most lethal monster by games ended. Also beware of: untamed housepets (that kitten you begin with can _murder_ a level 1 character), mumakil, leucrottas, groups of orcs, especially Uruk-Hai since they carry poison arrows, unicorns, and of course demons and the like.
- Don't mess around with dungeon features until you know what you're doing. Drinking from fountains has several ways for it to kill you within a few turns unless your level is at least 7.
- To avoid starving, of course food rations are good choices. Many dead monsters can be eaten, and in fact this is a good way to build up intrinsics, special defenses that protect you from various dangers. Don't eat too much though, like beyond Sated; choking to death on your food is always an ignominious way to go. Also, don't eat corpses that have been dead for less than 50 turns (food poisoning is often lethal in NetHack), and don't eat kobolds.
- To check an altar's alignment, stand on it and press colon (:). If it's of your alignment, you can offer dead monsters on it by dropping them on it and using the Offer command (Alt-O). The monster has to be not too old (again, not more than 50 turns dead), not a kobold, and additionally not too weak relative to your level. If you do this and the corpse disappears, and you get a message about a four-leaf clover, then you just gained a luck point. Luck wears off pretty quickly unless you're carrying an uncursed or blessed luckstone though. If your luck gets high enough it's a great boon. Further, if you sacrifice enough, eventually your god will grant you an artifact. Some of them are among the most powerful weapons in the game, some are barely more interesting than a standard weapon of their type. If the altar is of a different alignment, be careful. You can convert an altar to your alignment by sacrificing on it, but if it doesn't work you lose luck, and in extremely bad cases your own alignment might get converted, which essentially means you can't win the game. Also be careful sacrificing unicorns of your alignment, as that's an easy way to change your alignment.
- Finally, if you ever get a wish, the best thing to wish for is either: blessed +2 gray dragon scale mail (if you don't have magic resistance), blessed +2 silver dragon scale mail (if you do have magic resistance), or blessed +2 black dragon scale mail (if you have both magic resistance and reflection). Whatever color it is, dragon scale mail offers the best armor class in the game, plus is fairly light and doesn't interfere with spellcasting success. Heavy armor like plate mail tends to make you too burdened to be useful.
posted by JHarris at 5:11 PM on August 14, 2022 [5 favorites]

Also, don't eat corpses that have been dead for less than 50 turns

You play as a ghoul? ;)

To be safe, you should only eat corpses less than forty turns old--especially early on--unless desperate (there's some randomness involved, but potential for damage starts at 40.)

Somehow I got a massive number of points when I didn't know what I was doing and for a while my top score was: Poisoned by a rotted kitten corpse, while helpless. (Still in my top 10.)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:47 PM on August 14, 2022 [1 favorite]

I'm now on my third car in DayZ, having trashed the original one by (apparently? it's still kind of a mystery) not putting enough water in the radiator and burning the engine out in a figurative and literal hot minute. Second one no such problems, got it running and drove home from the city i found it in to the gas station I live next to, gassed it up, felt great, then drove back up the road to pick up an oil drum I'd found. At night, with no headlights, and i found the oil drum at speed with the front of the car and that was that.

Third one I've managed to get running (had to fetch a radiator from a few km away) and brought home again and I think I've got it more or less this time, but I'm deathly afraid I'm gonna mis-steer it (the controls are pretty boatlike) and end up with another junker. But if I can keep this one running long enough it'll be very helpful for hauling otherwise very heavy parts to fix up others. Two running cars would be a huge load off. A small fleet would be wonderful.

I've actually thought of Nethack a fair bit while exploring systems in DayZ; the actual games are wildly different, but there's a surprisingly deep "oh, the devs thought of THAT" mechanical complexity to a ton of stuff in the game that would normally be wholly abstracted away in another game. Just the basic difficulty of getting a car running, for a game where cars aren't even remotely part of the core gameplay, is a good example -- gotta find a radiator in good shape, install it and fill it up with water for coolant, make sure you've got four good wheels, a car battery (which might need charging), a spark plug to get it to turn over, gas (via jerrycan ideally but maybe canteens or plastic water bottles in a pinch), maybe new headlights, doors optional and likely missing. Do all that and you can turn the thing on. It's a futzy manual and if you run in the red you will burn the radiator and engine out, RIP my first car; avoid that and you're in great shape so long as you don't collide with anything at all, because you WILL damage the car's various frame parts, and with some of that damage might start leaking fuel and your gas tank will be a sieve.

Again, this is not remotely a car game. There's just that kind of "oh actually it's complicated and there's more than you think" sentiment in a lot of it. You can get sick in so many ways, though it's not hard to avoid it once you realize you have to actually take care.
posted by cortex (retired) at 6:48 PM on August 14, 2022 [1 favorite]

Cult of the Lamb is out and people who play it all say it's charming. Some mix of a light beat-em-up and a base building / cult management game. Very Binding of Isaac vibe in the art.
posted by Nelson at 7:28 PM on August 14, 2022

Yeah, I got the sentence flipped--you shouldn't eat corpses that are _older_ than 50 turns. Sigh.
posted by JHarris at 12:01 PM on August 15, 2022

Also--you shouldn't eat domesticated pet corpses, it can bestow the Aggravate Monster intrinsic.
posted by JHarris at 12:02 PM on August 15, 2022 [2 favorites]

The only game I play is Breath of the Wild, which I'm on my second go round of. But my kid talked me into splitting the cost of Cult of the Lamb with them and I gave that a try today; it's no BotW but it's fun, and not too difficult.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:33 PM on August 15, 2022 [1 favorite]

Scratch Cult of the Lamb; it's very buggy. I'm stuck, as are many players, with a soft-lock where I'm not allowed to leave my base until I finish a task but the resources I need to finish the task are outside the base. No workarounds online, everyone's just "wait for a patch". Also many reports the game gets very laggy and unplayable when you're deeper into it.
posted by Nelson at 7:05 PM on August 15, 2022

I've been playing Creeper World 4, a tower defense game with a small twist (the enemy is mindless goo that slowly accumulates and overwhelms your base unless you successfully destroy it...
posted by schyler523 at 5:30 AM on August 16, 2022 [2 favorites]

Nelson: ah, that happened to my son with Cult of the Lamb after I wrote that. He’d given gold away and I guess the game doesn’t understand that. Annoying; luckily it was early on, and he just started over.
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:51 AM on August 16, 2022

I have five working cars now and I'm going to start a dealership catering to zombies.
posted by cortex (retired) at 6:06 PM on August 16, 2022 [3 favorites]

Getting my Breach legs back and have started winning a few games. God DAMN Into the Breach is a good game, and all the new bits are just making it better.
posted by aspo at 11:05 PM on August 16, 2022

The Steven Universe RPGs made by Grumpyface are much better than the standard licensed game. Their stories are considered canonical, and the characters have the voice acting and personality of the characters from the show, but the battle system is really good besides. And even though Steven Universe Future ended like two-and-a-half years ago now, the third of these, Unleash the Light, just received a major update with a new playable character and a new randomized challenge mode.

The games do have their bugs. Save the Light, while the most free-roaming and exploratory of them and the most interesting to fans of the show, also has characters frequently getting stuck in terrain. Switching characters allows you to keep going, and once you have it only takes a couple of seconds of moving around for the stuck character to get free, but I figure I should mention it.
posted by JHarris at 12:34 AM on August 17, 2022

uncleozzy : pretty sure you can play WatchDogs 2 entirely without combat - though some early missions can involve a lot of sitting in quiet corners waiting for shootymans to move somewhere else, at least until you get a few more l33t RC drone/car skillz.

Having played quite a few more hours, this does seem to be, largely, the case. Although the easiest way to get through most missions is calling in the police or a gang (but I repeat myself) to either kill or otherwise distract the enemies, which is just combat-by-proxy.

Either way, it turns out that I am having a lot of fun with this game.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:04 AM on August 17, 2022

I'll make a post about this over in videogame fanfare club but holy shit I Was a Teenage Exocolonist is amazing! It has a ridiculous title but it is SO solid.
posted by curious nu at 3:46 PM on August 31, 2022 [2 favorites]

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