May 2013 Video Games Report

During the month of May I continued to try and completed story-based games in my library.

Quantum Conundrum Science Ball
Quantum Conundrum Science Ball

Quantum Conundrum (3 hrs) – I started playing the game early this year. I really, really enjoy this game, but the imprecision of the moves really bugs me. I’ve been playing it with a keyboard and mouse, does anyone know if it plays better with a control? I keep dying because I go too far in my jumps and it’s annoying when I’ve figured out the puzzle but keep dying because of platforming issues. In other words, when I play Sudoku I don’t fail because my pen lands in the wrong box when I try to write a number. The thrill of the game is solving the puzzles. I enjoy teasers and, while I admit I sometimes have to use a guide to solve the puzzle, I always try really hard to see if I’ve considered all the possible ways to use the game’s elements to solve the puzzle. I don’t know if the game is evenly balanced, but I think there are three halls and I’ve finished one of them. But I spent around 30 minutes of of the three hours this month trying to get through a puzzle I’d solved but I kept falling to my death. So I put completion of the game on hold to play other games. I may not ever finish this one.  We’ll see.

Cities XL Trio
Cities XL Trio

Cities XL (2 hrs) – I loaded up Cities XL to try and work on my third city a bit more. As I mentioned last month, I wanted to see if a Manhattan-style layout would work better. Overall it seems to be working quite well. The biggest problem I’ve had is that I didn’t properly figure out all the blocks so that I could rezone everything to high density to lessen the effects of sprawl. Some are slightly too big and others are too small. Still, it seems to be working out great having all of industry up in the corner where the pollution can’t affect my city. The biggest problem about the way I’ve zoned is that by scattering the non-polluting business all over the place it makes it pretty much impossible to create a bus system that moves residents from their homes to their jobs and lessens traffic issues.  Given that the game went from Cities XL to Cities XL 2011 to Cities XL 2012 and finally to Cities XL Platinum I’m not sure if the game is still being actively developed. However, I would love to see some innovation in this space. Both Maxis and Cities XL seem to favor the suburbia model. I’ve love for them to come up with a mixed commercial/residential zone that would allow for businesses on the bottom and residents on top as we see in the urban areas. I’m not sure if I’m done with my experiment with Trio in Cities XL – so that I can move on to the newer Cities XL Platinum or whether I want to see if I can grow this city to the same size as my second city.

Costume Quest - The Rules
Costume Quest – The Rules

Costume Quest (2 hrs) – I added this game to my Steam wishlist after the last Steam sale. I watched the videos and it looked pretty awesome. (Also the Giant Bomb guys were always talking about how great it was) Then there was a Humble Bundle with a bunch of Double Fine games so I snapped it up. It turns out that Costume Quest is a very cute turn-based RPG. If I’d known this is what this game was, I would have bought it a long time ago. Also, if this is exemplary of Double Fine’s humor and style – I definitely want to play more of their games. Now I’m even excited about their kickstarter games.

Costume Quest - Fight Mode
Costume Quest – Fight Mode

The game revolves around twins who go Trick-or-Treating when one of them gets kidnapped because they are in a candy corn costume and an evil mook mistakes the kid for a giant piece of candy. What I loved about this game immediately is that it can potentially flip the damsel in distress trope on its head. You can choose to play as the brother or the sister and it’s the other one who gets caught. As I mentioned last week, I usually play as a boy so it IS the typical damsel in distress for me, but unlike the guy who flipped the genders in a Legend of Zelda ROM, I’ll be able to let Scarlett play this game as a girl saving her brother. On Giant Bomb they said this game takes about four hours to play so I’m about halfway through. My favorite gag in the game is that the kids are wearing pretty terribly made creative costumes. But when they fight the enemies their costumes look incredible – similar to the mechanic used in South Park‘s “Good Times with Weapons” to convey the children’s imaginations.


South Park - GoodTimes with Weapons
South Park – GoodTimes with Weapons

The costumes worn dictate whether the player is a healer or attacker (for their special attack). I’m having a great time with the story and the humor and I can’t wait to play some more.

My Top 7 Most Played Games of All Time on raptr

  1. Civilization V (177 hrs)
  2. Plants vs Zombies (123 hrs)
  3. Team Fortress 2 (105 hrs)
  4. Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword (104 hrs)
  5. Final Fantasy X (56 hrs)
  6. Saints Row: The Third (53 hrs)
  7. Warcraf III: Reign of Chaos (38 hrs)