Tag: Review

Bears, Bullets, and Balatro

This week Paul leads the team with Zahra, Peter and Special Guest Tom from Netherworld to talk punching purple people in the new Prince of Persia roguelite in this weeks Gaming News. Paul praises new shooter Bears In Space from local dev team Broadside Games. Tom plays his cards right in a deck building review of Balatro from LocalThunk. And then Paul takes aim at speed run cult sniper Children of the Sun from René Rother.

Chilli Crab


Hazel and Zara take control this week talking AI controlled Doc Oct armchairs from Razor and the week in Gaming News, and a rundown of the great prizes available in this years April Atonement at 4ZZZ. Paul digs deep in the indi game Pepper Grinder from Ahr Ech, and Zahra starts the carcinisation process in Fight Crab 2 from Calappa Games.

Bard Mustard


This week on Zed Games, Maylee, Paul, and Peter talk couch party games. Then the team chats the week in Gaming News where Paul talks Xbox Layoffs, Pepper Grinder release, and other new releases. Then Paul goes to the MAX in VR to talk Max Mustard developed by Toast Interactive, before Maylee tries to romance the big bad as a bard in Bard Harder! from indi developer Shark and Pelican Games.

Old Guys Talking


This week on Zed Games the team covers the week in Gaming News including a tribute to the late Toriyama. Cameron then old man drools over the retrospective game Llamasoft: The Jeff Minter Story from Digital Eclipse Studios, and Paul clowns around in Penny’s Big Breakaway developed by Private Division.

Zed Book Club


This week on Zed Games, Hazel, Zahra, and Paul talk Gaming News and the Yuzu fallout, Paul takes the historian approach with Cricket Through the Ages developed by Free Lives, Zahra brings in actual pages of the book Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree, then Paul jumps in before the final roll call with a review of The Mobius Machine from Madruga Works.

Rolling Boxes


This week Maylee presses the buttons while Zahra and Peter delve deep in this weeks Gaming News and the difference between physical and digital. Zahra then takes it easy in visual masterpiece puzzle game Boxes: Lost Fragments, Maylee tries to love Roller Drama, and then team talks their recent TTRPG gaming and experiences.

Dream Divers


Come join Zahra, Cam, and Peter busting full of reviews and gaming chatter.
This week after Paul brings us our weekly gaming rumours/news, the team talk gaming self care for the Elden Ring Fans prepping for the DLC coming soon. Peter goes deep, blowing up friends and foes in a review of Helldivers 2. Zahra gets over and under the blanket in a review of Awake from Team Awake. The team then talks the upcoming Borderlands movie.

Progress Knight Review

Developers; Progress Knight: ihtasham42, Progress Knight Quest: Symb1 & indomit
Publisher: Github.com
Platform: Browser Games
Created Dates; Progress Knight: 26/12/20, Progress Knight Quest: 11/11/22
Genre: Idle Game

This isn’t so much a review of Progress Knight from ihtashham42 and the evolution, Progress Knight Quest developed by Symb1 and modified by indomit, all of which are available to play on github, but rather a write up of my experience when a month ago I searched for something to afk play while editing podcasts and playing other games. I was looking for something to put in the background and play in the corner of my screen. And on screenrant.com I found it, lurking under the title “10 Best Idle Games On PC, Ranked”. It was everything I was looking for, simple visuals, nothing but text, moving bars, and buttons, nothing too flashy to take my attention from other things, no sound, no distraction, just simplicity… it was perfect. So, I google searched Progress Knight and found it in github. Not even a program. Just something running in a browser. I tucked it into the far left of my left monitor, out of my direct eyesight and started playing. The window taking up no more than an eighth of my side screen, and there it lurked waiting for my eye to catch it.

Progress Knight in its simplest form is an idle game with the hook that you’re living the life of a peasant and climbing the ranks of society. You start homeless, able to hire a book for 10 copper a day, or a tent for 15 all while you beg for change on a street corner earning only 10 copper a day. Each of these gain you bonuses to help you skill up in life, be it the concentration to learn skills faster, the strength to help increase certain jobs incomes, the ability to be more productive and gain job experience faster, or even the ability to meditate to increase your happiness and multiply your life experience bonuses. However, choose wisely as you can only do one thing at a time, and there’s only so many days in a year, and so many years in a life… So, as you gain more money, you can get a shack, small house, some dumbbells, even a personal squire and you balance all of these with your earnings.

As you age from youth (the game starts you at 14 years of age), to adulthood, you stumble upon an amulet on your 25th birthday, the groundhog day token to the game’s loop. At 45 it shivers and changes gaining a symbol that is never described. And just before you rest your head on your deathbed at 70 a living eye emerges from the centre. Do you dare touch it? If you do each level you earned in skills and jobs gain you multipliers to aid in the speed of leveling of the same. And that’s kind of it, well, except for the change in form it gains again at 200 years, and again at a millennia.

And I blinked… Now the game took up half the screen on my second monitor.

Now I’m jumping between strength, battle tactics, and mana control, something you gain through excelling in mediation and concentration… It doesn’t seem to do anything yet but it hints of the possibility that maybe you could be the Merlin of this story.

 

 

 

 

And then I blinked again…

Weeks have passed and after finding the discord link in the settings, I went looking for spoilers as progress has slowed down. Not only have I realised that I’m starting to become the villain through my need to extend my life through magical means, but once I hit 200 years of age, I may have started to invest in Evil. Nothing like some Dark influence, Demon Training, and Blood meditation to sooth the desire for more flashing numbers and the slow accumulation of power, palaces, and a personal need for perfection… So, I went searching as I wanted to know if I was nearing the end of the game… But instead, I found the games most recent successor. Progress Knight Quest.

Suddenly instead of training one thing at a time, I train everything… So much progression so quickly, I outpace my previous evolution in mere hours. My mind sparkles as endorphins flood the synapses, family duty fades to mere nuisances, other games and responsibilities become the background tasks to watching the life of this unnamed character trapped in a time loop of progression.

The soul crushed from me, eyes dry and sore… I blinked again…

More weeks have passed, and the game dominates my second monitor. The computer left on overnight to grind the millennia of life needed to progress. But not before I lie exhausted in my chair, mind blank in the faint blue glow emanating from the flashing bars moving across my screen. The browser window the only open program on my desktop, house guests visit, family sick, yet still I am drawn to the screen and it’s pulsing, beating litany of indicator bars. I’m now a chronomancer before the age of 15, the evil now coursing through my veins, my research completely focused on the all seeing eye but yet something else drives me further. My reach for the void, it’s servitude and compounding evil gain driving my focus as the clock clicks forever closer to midnight. My eyes dry, my dry tongue desperately trying to convince the last remaining neurons in my brain that I need a drink, and the last feeble attempt of my consciousness frantically urging me to bed and the sleep I so desperately need. But my back curls and my head inches closer to the flashing lights, and maybe if I wait a little longer I’ll hit the millennium lived years marker and can one again reach into the void.

And you want to know the worst part? For the month that this has lived on my screen, and the 2 to 3 weeks of gameplay I’ve invested I haven’t even touched a thing called “essence” or something I’ve only seen in patch notes…Transcendence.

Progress Knight really is what an idle game would be if you removed the major distractions, boiled it down to just the basics and just focussed on a story hook. No visuals but the text, bars, and buttons feel totally adequate to convey what you want when you want it. The resetting, so far, never feels like you’ve taken two steps back for one step forward, something I’ve felt seems to be quite common in some other idle games where the sacrifice for progress loop can feel mediocre and disheartening. In Progress Knight the only time I’ve felt this is when I got my first point of evil. While it gave me a small modicum of compounded progression, it did not feel like enough to really strive for. Since then, every sacrifice has felt impactful and earned, so kudos to the developers. Mind you when I started to feel that the original game began to slow down (after reading more it was the end of the base game), I moved to Progress Knight Quest which is a hands-off mod of Progress Knight 2.0 and included more evolutions, buffs, and overall content. So if you found joy in Cookie Clicker or AdVenture Capitalist give Progress Knight Quest a shot. And if, like me, these kinds of games take over your life, make you avoid social event, eating, and job deadlines… maybe just load up Animal Crossing again, your villagers miss you.

Hmmm, maybe I should just play one more life, I’ll go to bed once I hit the next milestone…

Tiny Tina’s Wonderland Review

Developer: Gearbox Software
Publisher: 2K Games
Audio: Joshua Carro
Platforms: Playstation 4 & 5, Xbox One, Series S &X, Epic Store on PC.
Release Date: 25/3/22
Genre: Action, Adventure, RPG, FPS, Looter Shooter.

Before sitting down to write this review of Tiny Tina’s Wonderland I checked my playtime of this new instalment of the Borderlands Franchise. Nearly 80 hours, which beats most Borderlands games I’ve played in the past… So, what makes this game my pick as one of the best Borderlands games released?
The game, for those Borderlands aficionados, takes place between the last good game and the bad one you probably invested too many hours into, where Tiny Tina is still thirteen, your drinks are non-alcoholic, and the innuendo is masked.

So… umm… You play as the noobie, a creature of your own surmise (genderless options included – plus click that slider override button, you monster), in the tangled web of Tiny Tina’s Wonderland, and the world she has … created? Spoiler free review here, the dynamic between Tina and the Dragon Lord is… TASTY? And confusing. Halfway through my second playthrough with my cousin, he asked what the actual dynamic was, and all I could say was “yes” without spoiling anything.

And you are stuck playing the game because you’re trapped under a mountain with these people? So, 4th wall breaks are in, and disbelief is suspended as you are lead through a story of Tina’s imaginings/traumas.
And I sure hope you’re ready, because it follows all the machinations of Dungeons and dragons and Tabletop enthusiasts out there, calling back to retcons, Fantasy reimagining, and a heap more…

But what exactly is the bunkers and badasses world in the imaginings of Tiny Tina’s Wonderland? At it’s core it’s just a reskin of borderlands 3. Same mechanics, renamed loot, grenades are now OP and reclassed as spells… but the core difference is the beautiful new settings, removal of cars and in its place a game board (much wow, many happy) and the new class mechanics. In Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands you get to choose between different classes that with an expanding list as the DLC’s are released, PLUS, new to the franchise, is the real RPG hard-line, BASE STATS. Wisdom, intelligence, strength, dexterity, constitution, and affinity? I guess because we all have excellent charisma… SEDUCE THE DRAWBRIDGE!

Later into the game classes can be miss matched aka multi-classed to create nearly anything that fits your play style. I tend toward face smashing and machine gunning badasses, or minion hoarding necro-druids… all of which tendencies I can indulge with relative ease in the base multiclassing Wonderlands affords me. And should you prefer to spell sling while invisible… you are covered as well…

Outside of that it’s a similar looter shooter you know borderlands to be, follow quest markers, listen to quest voice actors quip and joke, kill the big bad at the end and then get overwhelming numbers of stuff pop from their corpse in pretty lights only to be underwhelmed that none of it fits your playstyle… but fear not, when you roll that nat 20 you can go from offhandedly fish slapping to ultimate badassery… if you have any backpack space left to carry it…
So, max out those carrying slots because you’re gonna need them. Like most games in the borderlands series I do find I spend about 20% of my playtime fiddling with my inventory… those numbers can be damned confusing, especially with even more interactions now taking place with spells, companions, arrows and more taking even more slots in the lottery of stat boosts on weapon and armour. So take your time, shoot some targets out the back of Izzy’s Fizzies and figure out what you have… and play what feels good.

While the audio created by Joshua Carro is good, it can get either repetitive in the Overworld or can very much fade so far into the background it forgets to loop and you sit there in silence… well as much silence as you can be while voice actors repeat death lines ad- infinitum/ad nauseum over the top of the sound effects of your arsenal and spells assaulting not only the enemies but your ears. I only noticed the music when it was a feature of a quest, or I heard the same riff, repeatedly. Good or bad, your choice. However, the voice acting was superb with Andy Samberg and Wanda Sykes cast as your narrative friends, the big bad Dragon Lord by Will Arnett and then further layered with veteran voice actors quipping their way throughout the game.

This is a game with more than a healthy stuffing of tabletop humour with SNL skit comedy styling. Should that not be your cup’o’tea guvnar then you will nope out fairly quickly crying cringe to the winds of suffering and the goddess annoya. But should you chuckle, giggle and gaffaw in merry mirth, you will be blessed by the table top gods with tongue in cheek humour, references to the insanity of tabletop RPG DM madness, as well as the dreaded “popular culture” references as one must in this day and age.

There is an ugly to this tale, there are glitches where inventory sprites do not load, and journals of quests disappear, but none game breaking enough that won’t be fixed by a quick reload back to the main screen (load this on the SSD should you have one). And load up with friends, not online weirdos, or you may find your characters stats maxed out and all the joy of any challenge in this game gone.

So, after finishing the final quest in Tiny Tina’s Wonderland I am left grinding for better weapons in the end game rogue lite chaos chambers, researching current metas and builds all while trying desperately to find friends to replay the side quests and main story like some junky trying to get their next fix. Desperately I start to create characters, new looks, new weapons, synergies, only to drop them the next time I load up the game to try another… only to resolve to replay the game with harder mobs, same skillset, and a grinding meta mindset.

Tiny Tina’s Wonderland was developed by Gearbox, produced by 2K Games, and is currently available on Xbox, Playstation and through the Epic Store on Windows. I bought and played through Epic on PC.