Review – Mushroom 11 [Pixelkin]

A unique, fun, and very challenging puzzle-platformer in which you guide your amorphous blob through a gauntlet of hazards.

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Read the full review at Pixelkin

Walt Disney once said “Get a good idea and stay with it.” Many modern puzzle games have utilized a single brilliant concept to fuel the entire experience. Mushroom 11 is the latest of these innovative puzzlers with a unique and challenging growth mechanic.

In Mushroom 11 you play as a self-replicating amorphous green blob. A fungus, if you will. The blob constantly tries to stay the same size. It also needs to touch the ground or a suitable object in order to grow. Left click erases large chunks for rapid movement. Right click allows for smaller shape-building. Using these simple mechanics you guide your fungus through a gauntlet of platformer-style traps and hazards.

Read the full review at Pixelkin

Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – The Invincible Iron Man: World’s Most Wanted (Vol. 2-3)

Matt Fraction weaves my new favorite Iron Man story as Stark is on the run from Norman Osborn’s Dark Reign.

With Marvel’s popular and successful foray into films with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I’ve finally decided to get back into comics. I grew up a big fan of X-Men and other superheroes but haven’t really kept up since the 90s. Thus begins my grand catching-up of the last ten years of Marvel comics, events and stories.

Thanks in large part to trade paperbacks and the digital convenience of Marvel Unlimited I can make relatively quick progress, and I’ll write down my Final Thoughts for each collection here on my blog. Like my gaming Final Thoughts, this will be full of spoilers. You’ve been warned!

marvelWriter: Matt Fraction

Artist: Salvador Larroca

Issues: Invincible Iron Man (2008) #8-19

 

In 2008 Marvel had not yet realized the beginning of a whole new era of superhero film making was just beginning. They did put all their eggs into the Iron Man basket by starting up their own film studio instead of selling more of their rights off to others (which should be pointed out, is a big reason they survived the comic collapse of the 90s).

Thus it was obvious that a brand new Iron Man comic would launch in 2008 to draw in new fans from the movie, as well as furthering the expanded role that Tony Stark has enjoyed in the Marvel Universe for the last few years.

The first arc, “The Five Nightmares,” was a fun, self-contained story. Unfortunately due to the heavily event-driven modern era (which still kind of continues to this day), newcomers might be super confused in this next massive story arc. Stark resigns as Director of SHIELD, while Norman Osborn has become the most powerful man in the world. Welcome to Dark Reign! Continue reading “Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – The Invincible Iron Man: World’s Most Wanted (Vol. 2-3)”

D&D 5E – “Lost Mine of Phandelver” Session 6 Recap

We finally clear out the rest of the Redbrand Hideout in one epic battle involving a very bloody hallway.

d&d

Watch our sessions live on my YouTube channel every Sunday night beginning at 9:30pm Central. Subscribe and catch up on previous episodes!

Three weeks. It took three weeks to get through our second ever dungeon, the Redbrand Hideout. Averaging about 2.5 hours per week means this campaign will end up taking several months to get through, which is far, far longer than the relatively bite-sized Shadowrun modules we were running previously.

It’s still a ton of fun, but I do find myself needing to gently remind my players of important events, characters, and information they they’d been given weeks ago. I created a pseudo-journal system and quest log within Roll20 to help alleviate this issue, and now how I just say “check your quests!” whenever my players wonder what just happened or what they need to be doing.

Anyway, on to the session! This week began right after the PCs dealt with the terrifying Nothic that had made its home in the middle of the dungeon. The PCs had several paths available and must’ve been feeling pretty confident after slaying the Nothic. They decided to split up and explore, which is always a terrible, terrible idea. Continue reading “D&D 5E – “Lost Mine of Phandelver” Session 6 Recap”

Review – Yoshi’s Woolly World [Pixelkin]

Charming, but also incredibly fun with brilliant level designs and a wealth of content, Yoshi’s Woolly World is my new favorite Wii U platformer.

Read the full review at Pixelkin

yoshi's woolly world

Yoshi has been destined for stardom since his first appearance in Super Mario World. He started his video game career as a power-up for Mario, but soon the lovable dinosaur starred in his own spinoff series of 2D platformers. These focused on his unique ability to eat foes and lay eggs, which can be used as weapons. Yoshi’s Woolly World combines this simple but effective mechanic with a beautifully realized art style and clever level design to create not only the best Yoshi game, but one of Nintendo’s best platformers in years.

Read the full review at Pixelkin

Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Skaar: Son of Hulk

I enjoyed returning to Sakaar in this sequel to Planet Hulk, but Hulk’s savage son is a difficult protagonist to get behind.

With Marvel’s popular and successful foray into films with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I’ve finally decided to get back into comics. I grew up a big fan of X-Men and other superheroes but haven’t really kept up since the 90s. Thus begins my grand catching-up of the last ten years of Marvel comics, events and stories.

Thanks in large part to trade paperbacks and the digital convenience of Marvel Unlimited I can make relatively quick progress, and I’ll write down my Final Thoughts for each collection here on my blog. Like my gaming Final Thoughts, this will be full of spoilers. You’ve been warned!

marvelWriter: Grek Pak

Artist: Ron Garney, Butch Guice

Issues: Skaar: Son of Hulk #1-12, Planet Skaar Prologue

 

Note: The Hulk volumes go through some annoying and confusing title changes throughout this era. In Marvel Unlimited these issues are titled “Son of Hulk.”

Movies aren’t the only medium with direct-to-video style sequels. Nearly any material that’s moderately successful can easily justify getting a sequel, even if everyone knows it’s not going to be as good. The name alone will often carry just enough weight to warrant the time and money put in to crank out another entry.

Son of Hulk is a bit better than most churned-out-sequels, and has the distinct advantage of using the same writer, Greg Pak, who handled both Planet Hulk and World War Hulk. Son of Hulk begins as a sequel to Planet Hulk, taking place back on the violent, war-torn planet Sakaar.  Continue reading “Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Skaar: Son of Hulk”

Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse

A satisfying, if overly long, fifth entry that has the fun characters and varied puzzles of the venerable adventure franchise.

I have finished another backlogged game via Rogue’s Adventures. You can read my latest Final Thoughts below and also on my gaming blog on Game Informer.

Developer: Revolution Software

Publisher: Revolution Software

Release Date: April 17, 2014 (Episode 1 December 4, 2013)

rogue's adventures

I want to take a moment to celebrate my 50th completed game since I began Rogue’s Adventures in the Fall of 2012.  Motivated by an ever-expanding backlog thanks to constant and amazing Steam sales, I was drowning in games, and never knew which ones to play. Rogue’s Adventures helps me create a schedule and stick to it, and I’ve played (and completed) dozens of games in the last few years.

Broken Sword 5 is a neat game to have for number 50. The first three games were a major reason I began Rogue’s Adventures. I had a particularly large backlog of point and click adventure games at the time. Most of what would become Season 1 of Rogue’s Adventures were adventure games, including the first three Broken Sword titles (which I undoubtedly bought in a discounted bundle). I usually prefer my adventure games with fantasy or sci-fi flavoring but the modern thrillers with lovable characters and varied puzzles resonated well with me.

While Broken Sword 5 is far from the best entry, it does effectively bring back the characters, themes, and fond memories of the originals – a nostalgia factor I’ve only had for a few years! Continue reading “Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse”

Three Years Later Diablo 3 Is A Whole New Beast

In three years Blizzard’s steady stream of updates and patches have improved Diablo 3’s shaky launch into the premiere action role-playing game.

Read the full article at Playboy

diablo 3

Blizzard Entertainment doesn’t release very many games. They still have only a handful of franchises to their name, and half of them have “craft” in the title. Blizzard has abstained from releasing yearly entries in its popular franchises like many big gaming companies do, instead releasing just one or two games a year total, then giving players years’ worth of post-game updates, improvements, support, and the occasional paid expansion.

Blizzard’s successful approach to mainstream gaming and commitment to their games has never been more apparent than with Diablo 3. Originally released in 2012, an agonizingly long 12 years after Diablo 2, the latest entry made the surprising changes of breaking and reconstructing many of the series’ (and the whole genre’s) beloved systems. And fans were not happy.

Skill points were completely scratched, the game instead rewarding everyone with the same skills and skill-runes every level. The art style was bemoaned as being far too bright and cartoony compared to the series’ former Gothic, sinister tones. An auction house, at which you could buy other players’ in-game items and sell your own, destroyed the exhilaration of finding your own loot, and a real money store—where you simply paid the developer for stuff—threatened the game’s basic integrity.

Then there was the infamously derided always-online component, which forced even those that just wanted to play by themselves to sign into Blizzard’s servers, at the constant mercy of their internet connection. On launch day players who simply couldn’t play the game they had just purchased spewed enough bile to fill a Grotesque.

Many purists and diehards of the genre quickly dismissed Diablo 3 in 2012. But then a funny thing happened. You see, underneath all these derided changes beat the demonic soulstone of a solid action-role-playing game. The desire to swiftly kill things to get more powerful and get fancy loot so that you can then kill more things is still a winning formula. Its near universal popularity has been co-opted by shooters and action games like Borderlands and Destiny, and is particularly adept at bringing friends together in a more relaxed, cooperative environment.

Read the full article at Playboy