INTO THE BREACH
The guys who made FTL were apparently allowed to make the closest thing to a Pacific Rim tie in game legally possible. It’s turn based strategy; you’ve got 3 mechs and there’s a shitload of massive insectoid aliens looking to smash up the humans. Every turn you see what the darn bugs are planning and can move accordingly, but there’s shitloads of them and only 3 of you. The situation each turn seems hopeless, impossibly dire. But once you take stock and ponder the possibilities you figure out the correct course of action. There’s plenty of wrong moves but one good one, almost every time. You'll have to resist the urge to stand upright and shout to the oblivious heavens “I have the turn!” and that’s worth a purchase in my books. It’s as close as one can reasonably get to feeling like Ender Wiggin and that’s alright by me.
SLAY THE SPIRE
It’s a Roguelike, yeah, but instead of all the dungeon battles being a contest of skill and reflex it’s all a big card game. If you’re unlucky like me to have the sort of friends who kidnap you in their house and force you to play that card game Dominion then this will seem familiar but if you’re not then, well, it’s pretty simple. You have a deck of boring cards that attack or defend. As you progress you get more exciting cards and other effects and they pile atop one another until your deck is a Rube Goldberg machine of incremental value. It’s simple to play, hard to master and incredibly fun in between. One of the best things I’ve played in years.
Christ, don’t the Slavic cultures enjoy make depressing games. I don’t get why Poland in particular feels like it has to remind us all how terrible life could be. I’ve been to Poland recently and it’s doing pretty well! It’s nice! Life after the collapse of the USSR has only been on the up and up and yet when their game studios are given enough autonomy to make their own games you get shit like Frostpunk, a miserable game for depressives. Well, a good sad game at least. Quite good actually. A scenario based citybuilder with a powerful (if bleak and miserable) tone about British people surviving endless cold. If nothing else the climax of the first scenario is worth the price of admission alone.
I can’t honestly say if this is a good game or not and I can’t really recommend anyone play it, but what the hell. It’s a game I played through to the end (granted after reading a ton of advice online and with a mindset of ‘I won’t let this shit beat me’) and considering most of the crap I play that’s high praise. It’s sort of like if Bloodborne and a Life simulator had a fucked up mutant cosmic baby (like such a union wouldn’t create something fucked up) that has some good gameplay ideas and mood going up against some intentionally obscure (ie, shitty) design choices. I’m kinda torn on it, really, since it operates on dream logic a lot of the time (sometimes quite literally), but if a game about weird shit is the sort of thing you like then check it out. Or don’t! I’ll be fine either way.