Electron Dance
27May/15Off

Wishful Thinking 2

escape-vectors-header

Cross-posted from Escape Vectors (follow on Twitter).

In his regular “Wishful Thinking” column, blogger Durandal muses about games that have been lingering on his list of wants. This time: Drox Operative, Vector Thrust, The Next Penelope: Race to Odysseus, The Plan, Interplanetary and Forced 2: Rush.


Drox Operative

WTDroxOperative

When Did I Put This On The List? 

October 19, 2014.

Why Did I Put This On The List? 

I played an enormous amount of Escape Velocity as a kid. I loved the ability to find my own way through the stars. Absolutely nothing compares to the thrill of finally grabbing a ship with a drive that can take you juuuust far enough from home to get a real solid trade route going and bump into an alien maybe. Drox Operative seems like it might scratch that itch to fly about a big old universe. And it's by the people who made the extremely interestingly odd Din's Curse. I mean I do have Elite already, but there's something inimitable about top-down space exploration. It's cozy!

Is This Game Well-Liked By Others? 

The negative reviews mostly point to Masters of Orion 2, which is what every person who is a complete genius-type does every time some space game of any stripe comes out. We know it exists, So Many People! We know it's a cool old game. The vast majority of the reviews I could find were pretty glowing. The dynamic empire shenanigans going on in the background as you try to get yours seem really interesting. Certainly a better setting than a bunch of static quest-chains, even if they don't sound incredibly detailed.

Will I Ever Buy This Game? 

Probably not, actually! I haven't even been playing enough Elite lately, and Elite is an amazing space game that I like a bunch. As much as I have fond memories of Escape Velocity, I did play the demo of this game and didn't immediately feel like it was a must-get for me. It'll likely languish on that wishlist reminding me it exists every few months for a long time to come.

Should You Buy It? 

If you like space 4X games, and you like space combat/trade/diplomacy/exploration games, and you don't want to drop an enormous amount of money on Elite or Star Citizen, I'd totally go for it. It seems deep, odd, and interesting. Most people who play it like it!

Where Can I Find Out More?

Official website

Vector Thrust

WTVectorThrust

When Did I Put This On The List? 

October 19, 2014.

Why Did I Put This On The List? 

Chuck Yeager's Air Combat. That was the last game I played with any real regularity or intensity that was about actual air combat in an atmosphere instead of sci-fi dogfighting. It was gloriously comprehensive. It was an arcade-y flight sim that allowed little me to explore and dogfight in a big 3D world. It was where I would fly into the distance until I hit the edge of the level just to see what was there. It was where I'd see how far a plane could make it full of holes, how close to the edge of space you could get in a P-52 Mustang, and how big a crater you'd make when you stalled out. Vector Thrust looks to mimic some of what I really enjoyed about those games. Air Combat, sanitized and made more approachable, in a world that's fun to flit about within.

Is This Game Well-Liked By Others? 

Negative reviews are primarily focused on the fact that it's buggy and incomplete. Which... maybe we should stop doing Early Access, people. I don't think anyone is actually prepared to engage with it in a way that makes sense. I'm not going to buy an Early Access game on account of knowing it'll be buggy and incomplete, and I'll spoil myself for a better experience later. But a lot of people will gladly pay for Early Access, then excoriate the developer for not squashing all the bugs three months in. The more common positive reviews are mostly describing the same game, they're just not angry that it's unfinished.

Will I Ever Buy This Game? 

Yep! I mean I've skipped generations of air combat games. But you know what? I kind of feel like getting one, and I kind of feel like I'd rather it not be Tom Clancy branded, or the 25th iteration of something.

Should You Buy It? 

Do you want to play more HAWX/Ace Combat? Do you like arcade-y air combat? Are you comfortable with cel-shaded things? This will probably be up your alley, later. Right now it's kind of buggy and unfinished. Feel free to pitch in to support the developer if they're doing good work you want to support, but don't bother if you want to play a complete game right the heck now.

Where Can I Find Out More?

Steam page

The Next Penelope: Race to Odysseus

WTTheNextPenelope

When Did I Put This On The List? 

January 27, 2015.

Why Did I Put This On The List? 

I'm a gigantic fan of the "ancient myth reflected and interpreted in a science fiction context" sub-genre. It's just... I don't know. No, I do know. I spent my entire childhood reading ancient mythology and history and also a crud load of science fiction. My mom taught me about the ancient Egyptian and Greek pantheons and they seemed like impossible to understand superheroes. So I'm game for anything that tries to do something weird with a combination of my two early loves. Admittedly, I'm less keen on top-down racing games, but also admittedly I've played like a total of three, so maybe I actually love them and I've just not had the opportunity to try many of them.

Is This Game Well-Liked By Others? 

Hahaha this has the best negative review of an Early Access game I've ever seen! The review in its entirety: "I can only assume it's not done yet". Yes, yes you can! You can assume that about an Early Access game! THAT IS WHAT IS INTENDED BY THE TITLE. I mean yeesh. Otherwise it's pretty near universal praise. I mean it's still in that "very positive" steam review rut from not having a gigantic total number of reviews but people dig this game. I think what helps a bunch is that the Early Access version has a full single-player campaign. Woah, there's also one praising the story work. Which is just an accomplishment I'd never expect from a racing game, no offense literally every racing game I have ever encountered.

Will I Ever Buy This Game? 

I think it was last week that I swore off Early Access but yeah if this isn't out already by the time I finish up my current backlog of stuff, I just might. It's a unique title getting a lot of praise, and the idea that the solo mode might actually be worth the price of admission and is already complete makes it a lot more attractive. Early Access to put in more language tracks seems like a much safer bet than "give us money and we promise we'll figure out how to make it fun!"

Should You Buy It? 

Have you played and enjoyed top-down racers ever? Do you want to have one of the like, maybe four modern ones produced? Are you also fascinated by the idea of a racing game with a story you might care about? Really, yeah I think you should. Reward a developer who seems to have put time and energy into making something that's feature-complete. They're taking a gamble that good buzz will die off by releasing it Early Access, but it seems like it might pay off based on how happy purchasers are looking. So yeah, go for it. I mean so long as you can deal with the fact that it's not done yet.

Where Can I Find Out More?

Official website

The Plan

WTThePlan

When Did I Put This On The List? 

October 29, 2014.

Why Did I Put This On The List? 

Definitely the weirdness factor. It's described as a "notgame" about a fly ascending to the sky while thinking about how pointless existence is. That's an odd game concept! That's something that catches my eye pretty quickly. Plus, it's free!

Is This Game Well-Liked By Others? 

Interesting! Looking at the Steam reviews, there's nothing in either the "positive" or "negative" tab visible. There are reviews in the "helpful" tab, but nowhere else, despite the fact that there are over 14,000 reviews! Strange. The reviews that I can see are glowing though. Short, interesting, pleasing, thought-provoking. It's weird how universally liked it seems to be, I always expect "notgames" to get a real harsh reception. Maybe it's because it's free? But then free "notgames" get real harsh receptions often as well. Could just be that it's actually so good so immediately that not many people are big enough jerks to call it terrible for not having cover mechanics.

Will I Ever Buy Play This Game? 

Seeing as how I don't think I have the philosophical chops to determine whether or not it's possible to "buy" a thing that is freely available, I'm just going to ask if I'll ever play it. And I think the answer to that is yes. Yes I will play it, and I think I'll play it tomorrow evening around 6pm, because why not?

Should You Buy Play It? 

Of course! You technically already have bought it, and it's apparently short and interesting. Take a break from the complex AAA stuff you're probably playing and look at something odd, why not?

Where Can I Find Out More?

Steam page

Interplanetary

WTInterplanetary

When Did I Put This On The List? 

October 9, 2014.

Why Did I Put This On The List? 

I have fond memories of playing whatever they called the Mac version of That One Game Where You Aim And Fire A Cannon. I feel like everyone has played at least some version of it. You line up a shot, you take it, the enemy takes theirs, and you see if you can aim well enough to kill them before they kill you. It's a super simple concept, sometimes adding things like wind and terrain deformation to spice things up. This is... really spiced up. Like, if you'd told me that someone wanted to go big on the cannon-game genre I'd have told you that sounded like the sort of thing a person would do if they were bad at deciding what to do. That said, it actually looks to pose interesting challenges, particularly in larger multiplayer games, and it has a nice clean design.

Is This Game Well-Liked By Others? 

As I always do, I checked the negative reviews first. And for the most part they have the same solidly accurate but also almost infuriatingly beside the point reviews that you usually get in Early Access. "The game isn't finished!" Yes. Accurate. "The AI is no good in this version that added the AI!" Yes, probably true. Etc and so on. The most common complaints are about balance, performance, and AI. All of these things seem to have been addressed to a greater or lesser degree. Also, people are really impressed with the physics system.

Will I Ever Buy This Game? 

I think I have to! I mean I've not played a cannon-aiming game since I was like 8 years old. I've got at least one from basically every other genre in existence, I might as well grab this weird little thing. It's on sale now too.

Should You Buy It? 

Eh, it's slightly steep I think at $15. I think probably I'd 100% grab it if you know at least one or two other people who'd also enjoy this sort of thing. It seems like a game that's pretty heavily multiplayer-dependent, and those can always fizzle and die before you know it if they don't develop a real community. Having some friends to play against means no worries on that front. That said, I wish it had local hotseat play or something, that would really ease my mind about recommending it. Games that can be played on one machine should have an option to be played on one machine!

Where Can I Find Out More?

Steam page

Forced 2: Rush

WTForced2Rush

When Did I Put This On The List? 

November 7, 2014.

Why Did I Put This On The List? 

Forced was a real solid game. I actually bought it, full price, due to the inspiring story of how the developers basically squatted in a school to work on the game as cheaply as possible. They seem maybe like the sort of people who are dangerously interested in making games. I wanted to reward that. The game they created was a sort of weird Diablo-adjacent team-based puzzle-solving action RPG. It wasn't wildly innovative, but it was engaging, particularly with a team. This one... seems... different. It's a rogue-like collectable card game RPG. You run through levels with a champion who has a deck of cards that... help them? I assume? It sounds like maybe it's similar to Hand of Fate? It also has no local play that I can see... hm.

Is This Game Well-Liked By Others? 

Hm. Four reviews. The two that actually show up both say "it's amazing!" One goes so far as to compare it to Hearthstone and Diablo. Which, I guess I get how roguelike elements can be compelling, and I get why CCG elements can be compelling... but part of the interesting aspect of the original Forced was that it basically stripped the looting element out of an ARPG, upped the ante on puzzles, and encouraged strong teamwork. This seems... like a game where you dungeon-crawl and hope for good loot drops. Which is now a really common game type.

Will I Ever Buy This Game? 

Perhaps. The thing is, as much as I liked the original Forced, I never got to bite into it as deeply as I would have liked, because I never really had a solid group locally to play with. The idea of a single-player focused variation sounds kind of appealing. Just... I mean I have encountered a hell of a lot of this style of game recently. Random level generation, arenas where you fight people, random loot generation... it's kind of old hat at this point. Until I hear from a trusted source that there's a reason this is more interesting and fun than Binding of Isaac or Risk of Rain or Full Mojo Rampage or Legend of Dungeon or Tower of Guns or etc, I think I'll hold off.

Should You Buy It? 

You should definitely get Forced, because it's great. You actually don't appear to be able to get Forced 2 yet, though they're consistently updating the dev diary and appear to be responding to feedback from some sort of beta program. Probably I'd say if you've played Roguelite ARPGs to hell and back, and you love them, grab this because the team is solid. If you never did finish Binding of Isaac... maybe try that again first.

Where Can I Find Out More?

Steam page

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