Tag Archives: Fable II

Time Clickers and the idle quest to destroy colored cubes

time clickers gd early impressions

Well, here we are. After listening to Jeff Gerstmann speak feverishly and passionately about an idle clicking game called Time Clickers on the Giant Bombcast for the past two weeks, I decided to see what was what. The blasted thing is free on Steam, and I dabbled in things like AdVenture Capitalist and that strange monster-driven mini-game during this past Steam Summer Sale to grok the concept. Little did I know that watching colored cubes explode would be so gratifying, even when I barely contributed to their demise.

Made by Proton Studio Inc., Time Clickers is…a clicking game with guns. For those that don’t know what that means, a clicking game basically revolves around on you, the player, clicking on different elements to eventually get to the point where actions are happening automatically and you can just sit back, eyes dilated, absorbing the delicious, dopamine-triggering rewards. A few examples that I’ve not played but heard of include Cookie Clicker and Clicker Heroes. In this one, you collect gold by blasting apart colored cubes, upgrade your click pistol, hire a team of elite soldiers to fire additional weapons at the cubes, and take down bosses as quickly as you can. You do this ad infinitum, constantly leveling everything up and “advancing” further through the game.

For a game that demands such little interaction, I can’t stop thinking about it. See, even when you are not running Time Clickers, you are continuing to earn gold. It’s like in Fable II, when you’d purchase houses and rent them out to villages. You could turn the game off, come back a few days later, and be much more richer, as the pay-rent-to-landlord system kept turning even while you were away. A part of me wonders how much money I’d get now if I turned Fable II on and loaded up my save from 2009-ish. Anyways, Time Clickers does that, which means it is always luring me back, with the completed promise of more gold to spend on DPS upgrades.

Steam says I’ve logged about two hours or so already in Time Clickers. Ugh. Here, let me let you in on a dark secret; the other night, while on the phone with my sister, I let the game run, watching cubes explode and Achievements pop, all without my hand even hovering over the mouse. Yes, it’s that kind of experience. It’s as if you had a fish tank full of bright, vibrant sea life, and every now and then you got a reward just for looking at it. Or not looking at it. Nothing can stop the clicks.

I’m sure there’s plenty to probe here. It all boils down to this: clicking games are a horrifying examination of human psychological weakness. They take hold of us and never let go. Even now, while I’m far away from my gaming laptop where Time Clickers is installed, it’s calling out to me, a siren on the shore, lulling me into a haze, one where the numbers keep going up and the cubes explode faster and arena bosses grow in size. I wonder if I’ll ever escape its grasp.

2013 Game Review Haiku, #24 – Fable III

2013 games completed fable 3 boo

Fable II better
Just play Fable II, really
Bring back Fable II

These little haikus proved to be quite popular in 2012, so I’m gonna keep them going for another year. Or until I get bored with them. Whatever comes first. If you want to read more words about these games that I’m beating, just search around on Grinding Down. I’m sure I’ve talked about them here or there at some point. Anyways, enjoy my videogamey take on Japanese poetry.

A maze of magic mirrors in Kirby and the Amazing Mirror

kirby and the amazing mirror GBA impressions

Well, we can add Kirby and the Amazing Mirror to the list of games with maps that I absolutely hate. Others on that list include Fez, LEGO Lord of the Rings, and Fable II, if you’re curious. For good maps, check out Costume Quest or The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and love how easy they are navigate. Also, Minecraft.

A map should be both functional and follow-able, a handy accessory to help with one’s journey. For maps, I like to see markers for special spots and things to do, as well as the ability to place my own destination marker. Also, show me what direction I’m walking in or facing at, not just where I am currently standing. For 3D realms, seeing which direction I’m facing is vital to knowing where to continue heading forward or side-stepping to the left instead. Without that help, it’s just aimless wandering. Unfortunately, the map in Kirby and the Amazing Mirror is beginning to feel like the type that requires a long and detailed review of maps to ensure that all rooms and paths have been taken.

If you skip the little intro cutscene for Kirby and the Amazing Mirror, you miss nearly all the story beats. Which I did in my eagerness to begin playing. Oopsie. Evidently, here is what is happening: a sinister presence has invaded the Mirror World, which sits high and mighty above Dream World, and all the mirrors are now reflecting bad things. Meta Knight goes off to fix things, eventually disappearing in the process. Later, Kirby is attacked by a shadow Meta Knight, splitting our friendly pink puffball into four. They all then hop on a  Warpstar to chase after him. And that’s all the set up you get.

It plays like every other Kirby videogame, with you sucking enemies into Kirby’s mouth and eating them to gain powers, like lasers, swords, stone, and Cupid. You can puff yourself up to fly and shoot little things of air. Also, um, you have a…cell phone, which you can use to teleport you back to the mirror hub level or call in help from your colored counterparts. You traverse levels going from left to right, right to left, down to up, and sometimes from up to down. Everywhere you go, there are mirrors, which are doorways to other levels, and many of them are hidden or locked behind a barrier that requires the right power Metroidvania style to access. Alas, this means pre-planning and carefully keeping your power from several levels prior, which I’m bad at. It’s not difficult gameplay, just the kind that requires a lot of back and forth and awareness. Also, bosses I’ve fought so far include a lightning cloud and angry tree. So, y’know…Kirby.

If hopping in and out of mirrors isn’t your thing, there’s also three minigames in Kirby and the Amazing Mirror. They are cute, but you’ll play them once, see what they are about, and never go back. At least, that’s what I did. They all require a single button press. In Speed Eaters, you wait for a pan to reveal whether it has apples or bombs; if it’s the former, press A before any other Kirby, and you get the apples. Fill up your hunger meter first to win. Crackity Hack has you powering up a super punch to break a crack in the ground, seeing if you can go the farthest. Lastly, Kirby’s Wave Ride has you surfing and catching waves for speed bonuses. Again, they are exactly what they are called: mini-games. Nothing more, nothing less.

Right now, I’m around 17% complete, with two mirror shards found and put back into place. Gotta hop back through some mirror gates with the right powers on Kirby to find more. I wish you could at least store a second power somewhere. Like, deep within Kirby’s cheeks, hamster-style. Think about it. Oh well.

The Kingdom of Amalur: Reckoning demo is brimming with color

Chances are high that, thanks to some quality time with the demo for Kingdom of Amalur: Reckoning, I won’t be getting the full release when it drops next month. Boo hoo. And that has nothing to do with how the game plays, as it’s quite a fun action-adventure RPG with bright colors and the potential to be huge and vast and a total timesink. Nope, that’s all well and good. Alas, it suffers from tiny text syndrome.

Why can’t every game just be like Saints Row: The Third? I mean, when that game tells me to drive a tiger around the city and keep it calm and relaxed by not running into other cars, I can totally read those instructions on the screen with no problem whatsoever. Big and bold font versus what seems to be a growing standard of tiny and scrunched. It’s all I ever want

But let’s start at the beginning. The beginning of the demo, that is. It opens with a lore-heavy cutscene, voiced by a woman that desperately wants to evoke Galadriel telling the tale of those rings forged in darkness. Amalur is a world of many races–gnomes, elves, magical beings called Fae, and smelly ol’ humans–and, from what I can tell, a Winter Fae named Gadflow and his followers, the Tuatha, have decided to kill all the younger races. I think it has something to do with a prophecy. And you, whoever you are. You are dead at the beginning of the game–SPOILERS!–brought back to life by the Well of Souls, something the Tuatha also want to see destroyed. Plot-wise, it seems like you will be investigating how exactly you came to be reborn, as well as get mixed up in all this bitter conflict.

The escape from the pit of dead bodies is clearly a tutorial level, wherein you’ll learn how to use weapons, equip stuff, kill rats and giant spiders, have some dialogue, and fight a rock troll. Afterwards, you are given 45 minutes to explore as much of Amalur as you want, doing whatever you want. The game even makes it explicitly clear that the 45 minutes will pause during dialogue so nothing needs to be skipped. Regardless, I skipped a lot of dialogue; it’s not the game’s strongest bullet point.

The game looks like Fable II and plays like Dragon Age II, and you can interpret that how you like. Vibrant colors abound and combat is fast, heavy on action and rolling. I really like the visuals in Amalur, with all the flowers and colorful trees and billowing grass. Even dungeons look nice and non-gloomy. In an industry washed with browns and grays, it is nice to see something a little brighter, even if it draws comparison to World of Warcraft‘s cartoony style. I did notice some odd quirks during the demo that have me worried about the game as a whole: my avatar glitched in and out of cutscenes a few times and everything seems to glow, which can be overwhelming once outside in the wild.

I mentioned combat is fast, but it doesn’t have to be. There’s a play style here for everyone. You can do range with bows and staff spells or stealthy with sneaky daggers or full-on force with swords and such. From the selection of weapons so far, I actually prefer to just go in swinging contrary to my normal stealthy ways. Third-person stealth is always harder to do for me than first-person. The magic spells and Fate Combo Thingies look pretty fantastic, with nice particle effects all around.

By the end of my 45 minutes of free time, I had killed some smugglers, froze a bear to death, found a magical sword, and stole some peasant clothes from a stranger’s house. Y’know…RPG stuff. I liked the demo a lot and can see the potential here, but alas, I won’t be picking it up until I get a new TV, which might never happen. Sorry, citizens of Amalur. Save yourselves.

30 Days of Gaming, #19 – Picture of a game setting you wish you lived in

Fable II was an okay game. It did not wow me, but it had a lot of pretty to it, and bumbling into a new location was always a joyous moment because it meant immersing myself in a place and seeing how everything clicked. Oh, okay. That’s where they get their food, that’s where they sell their wares, that’s where a talking gargoyle head insults my intelligence. Bowerstone is an impressive main city hub, very busy with lots of shops and shoppers, as well as being broken up into distinctive districts. Bloodstone is moody and dangerous. Westcliff is a dump though you do get the opportunity to change its tides.

For me, the place to be in Fable II is Oakfield, a small village of farmers and monks north of Rookridge. It’s serene and open, quiet and nice, a place to spend the day either tilling the land or walking the paths, with a single bar hot-spot, the Sandgoose, to go to at night where, more assuredly, everybody knows your name. Some other points of interest include the Temple of Light and Manure Manor.

And if you play to the good-natured side, when you return from the Tattered Spire, you’ll find Oakfield thriving, with new houses and an expanded Temple of Light. Plus, autumn will be in full swing, with gorgeous reds, oranges, and yellows to feast upon, and probably nothing else comes as close as to feeling like a true fantasy village than Oakfield. Evil people get to destroy the village, which only makes me want to never finish my evil second playthrough even more.

A lot of Fable II is spent running after the golden breadcrumb trail, your dog desperately trying to keep up. Considering the game’s tiresome loading screens and sluggish menus, running was a blessing. I ran just about everywhere. Except for Oakfield in the sunlight, where I’d stroll leisurely around, doing little expressions for its inhabitants and keeping the peace. It’s the sort of place I dream about, where I could leave behind the plastic and pointless, be one with my surroundings, spend every day soaking up the sounds and smells.


That’d be Serenity Farm, also from Fable II. It’s the inside of Oakfield’s Demon Door, and it’s special in that no one but your family (wife/husband and kids) can follow you there. Meaning no enemies, truly a secret spot all to your own. That also sounds good to me. Either way, fantasy farms…I kind of like ’em.

Achievement roundup from free Gold weekend

Well, the free weekend access to Gold features such as online gaming and social apps has come and gone. Mighty fast, too. Alas, between traveling and the Easter holiday, I only got to log on for one night. Boo. However, I did unlock some online-only Achievements, making good use of my time in that sense, but I would’ve liked more time to try other features. I’m still not convinced it’s worth paying for. Anyways, let’s see how I did, yah?

For Fable II, I quickly popped the game back in, earned something like 708,945 gold since I last played, and…gave a gift to a complete stranger. Ping! Didn’t really feel up to badgering people for Hero dolls though…

The Philanthropist (10G): A gift was sent to an Xbox LIVE friend. Aren’t Heroes nice people?

Then I tackled a round of deathmatch for Grand Theft Auto IV. I didn’t win or have a wonderful time, but I did manage to pop these two with ease:

Let Sleeping Rockstars Lie (10G): You killed a Rockstar in multiplayer.

Cut Your Teeth (5G): You were successfully promoted up a rank in multiplayer.

Lastly, I hit up SEGA Superstars Tennis, thinking this would be a cakewalk. It turned out to be more of an uphill climb. Online opponents are much tougher than the computer-controlled ones, always making me run left and right to hit the ball before they smacked it down hard and fast and far away from me. It took me a number of tries just to win a single ranked match, and I knew it’d be a long road ahead to winning multiple matches. Here’s what I was able to, er, achieve:

Top of the Tree (20G): Win a Tournament on Xbox LIVE

Space Channel 5 (10G): Watch a match on TV

Surf the Net (10G): Win a Match on Xbox LIVE

Don’t worry; I totally hate boring Achievement pics like the ones above, too.

So, in conclusion, six new Achievements unlocked for a total of 65G (not like that means anything). Not too shabby for one night of quick and rushed gaming. Until next time, free Gold access!

Fable III wishlist

It looks like Lionshead Studio is planning to unveil Fable III more properly sometime next month. At this point, we’ve gotten just a rather bland teaser trailer and some bits of, admittedly, neat concept art. Industrial era, here we come. I rather enjoyed my time in Albion in Fable II, but there’s some aspects of the game (and of the RPG genre itself) that could change or stay in Fable III, or get dropped completely. My ultimate wishlist is as follows…

Stuff to keep

  • The humor. If there’s one thing this series nails, it’s humor. Everything oozes laughs, from the tombstone engravings to the description on the back of every item. Plus, a lot of the character designs are goofy, but in a good way.
  • Relationships. I like the idea that you can make anyone fall in love with you and choose to have a child with them (or not). It’ll be great fun picking the king or queen to rule beside me.
  • Pigments. Customization is never frowned upon, especially in the RPG genre, and allowing us to dye our robes and courtly garments is a definite must. Losing this option would be three giant steps back.
  • Fast-travel. Some people hate it; those people are not me.

Stuff to drop

  • Co-op play. Kind of wasted space, I’m afraid.
  • The dog. It’s what a lot of people associated Fable II with so it should stay there. Plus, if you’re going to be the ruler of Albion, you might not have too much time to play fetch with Beethoven.
  • Can’t die death system. Makes for lame battles, especially when the DLC added potions to remove scars, the supposedly hardcore punishment for not fighting well. As I’ve mentioned before, dying is a great way to learn how to play a game. Let us die, I say!
  • Ridiculous achievements. That one where you have to collect dolls, but there’s only one in your game and then you have to go online to find others who have the dolls you don’t have and then convince them to give it to you…that’s bullshit.

Stuff to tweak

  • Game economy. Earning money in Fable II was surprisingly easy, especially if you were an evildoer. Steal and raise the monthly rent on buildings you buy. Easy peasy. Add in the fact that you continue to earn ka-ching ka-ching when you’re not even playing and well…it’s a bit lame.
  • Consequence from actions. Shoot someone in the face “by accident”? Well, it’s okay. You can make everyone else laugh by doing the fart expression and they’ll love you all the same. This needs to be revamped tremendously. I want to be ostracized from society for doing something horrible. Or more likely…de-throned.
  • The fighting system. I understand where Lionhead was coming from in developing a fighting system linked to only three buttons. I do, really. One for melee, one for ranged, and one for magic, which you can hop back and forth from to switch things up. Alas, it didn’t really make for a good time. You could totally button mash melee and call it a day. The spells, while effective, could’ve used some more…I dunno, pizazz.
  • Menus. At this point, a game shouldn’t lag just to get into its menu hub. And even then, navigating them wasn’t the most simple task. I felt like I deserved a renown reward afterwards. Please make them more streamlined. I beg you.

I’m sure there’s more to want and not want for Fable III. Feel free to shout off in the comments below.

Death to death achievements!

In videogame terms, I die a lot. It’s one of the best ways to learn how to play, dying. Unsure if you can make that jump across the gap? Try. Think your rocket launcher will blast a hole beneath your feet to fall through? Try. Curious as to how long Banjo can hold his breath underwater? Try. What’s the worst that could happen? Oh…you died. Hmm. Let’s put quotes around it actually.

Oh…you “died.”

Well, try again.

Back in the day, you could die as many times as you had lives or hearts or hit points or whatever. You had something, and if you ran out of it, you ceased to exist. Also, falling off a cliff generally never worked out well.

Recently, dying in videogames is becoming a thing of the past. Suffer too much damage in Fable II, and you fall unconscious for a bit, only to wake with some scarring and experience drain. Charge head first and unprepared into a Big Daddy battle in BioShock and you’re revived in a nearby Vita-Chamber unscathed. Miss a Prince of Persia jump because you are too busy oogling all the pretty colors? Don’t worry. Elika will save you. And in the LEGO games I’ve been enjoying recently, you just explode into bits and reappear in a second or two, ready to punch, shoot, and collect all over again. No big deal.

Now, the debate currently is not towards dying in videogames/not dying in videogames. Instead, it’s about achievements linked to these. They are never fun, and they are rarely for those that die a lot (e.g., me). Instead, the challenge is always to not die…or die a small amount.

Sifting through my Xbox 360 collection, I found a couple death-themed achievements, and sadly, I’ll most likely never unlock them. First, they are full of The Stress. Second, they are a lot of work. Third, I’m really not a cheater, and so the whole save/restart a level if it doesn’t work out seems a bit silly to me. Doing it that way is not really achieving anything in the end. Anyways, here’s some I found:

Kung Fu Panda: Invincible (50 Gamerscore) – Make it through the entire game without dying.

BioShock: Brass Balls (100 Gamerscore) – Complete the game on Hard difficulty without using a Vita-Chamber.

Prince of Persia: Be Gentle With Her (100 Gamerscore) – Elika saves you fewer than 100 times in the whole game.

Yeah, right.

Gaming resolutions

Well, it’s 2010.

Guess I should baa baa baa along with everyone else and throw down some gaming resolutions. Let’s just go with three for now, but three that are actually obtainable. Everyone wants to complete their entire backlog and finish a game before buying the next one. Try being realistic for a change. Remember 1991’s What About Bob? It’s all about the “baby steps.”

Anyways, here’s my Big Three resolutions for 2010:

1. Finish an evil run on Fable II

Generally, when I get a game that offers moral choices and a good/evil/neutral sort of alignment, I will always play through it first as a good-nature male character. Always. Then the plan is to go back afterwards and experience the world from an evil lady’s view. Not sure what that says about my psyche. But there’s a problem as of late. It’s kind of boring playing Fable II over again as an evil lady…because it’s basically the same game I played as a holier-than-thou hero. You just have horns, and people kick your dog.

2. Unlock the full 1550 Gamerscore on Fallout 3

At the moment, I have 1,170/ 1,550 points (or 54/72 achievements). I’d love to get a full Gamerscore on a game that is not LEGO-based, and since Fallout 3 has no online achievements, this is totally possible. It just requires time and patience because it’ll involved two playthroughs for the evil and neutral achievements. No, I’m not into cheating and saving/reloading to get them at their respective levels. Gotta visit the Pitt, too.

3. Be more open-minded to game genres I’ve historically disliked

This is the doozy of the resolutions. Hardcore shooters, sports, and MMORPGs are often the game genres I’ve sneered at the most. Though the latter two are types I really never play. I’m trying to figure out why I don’t like shooters more…by giving them a chance. Did the demo for Left 4 Dead 2 and mildly enjoyed it. Am playing through BioShock at the moment…though I am dying a lot. Maybe it’s my reflexes or the fact that I’m scared of every sound, no matter how minute, but I’m working on this. Will also have to be more accepting of sequels, even if a lot of them feel more like shoehorning than progression.

And that’s that.

Have you any gaming resolutions for 2010? Please don’t say, “Finish my backlog.”

Fable II is Full of Fowl Players


Having put Fable II down at the end of June 2009, I decided on a whim last night to drop the disc back into my Xbox 360 and see if there were any mildly easy Achievements that I’d missed. And lo, there were. Within an hour, I’d manage to unlock three, specifically:

The Property Magnate (10G): A property was sold for twice its original value. Now that’s good business.

The Hoarder (25G): You, or a friend, found every single silver key in Albion. Some would call you obsessive. Not us.

The Fowl Player (10G): A Hero dressed as a chicken and proceeded to kick many of its own kind. We’re sickened.

That last one was pretty fun, I gotta admit. There’s a couple more to go for that just require time and patience, both of which I have every now and then, just not at the moment.

But if gaming updates about ol’ smelly Fable II doesn’t interest you, then check out some brand new concept art for Fable III. Looks…industrial. Kind of excited for this to come out, but I might have to go about and put together a list of things Lionhead needs to fix/change for their next iteration. I’ll say this much though: they can keep the chicken suit.