Tag Archives: Grundislav Games

Even more games to acquire in the year 2018

Earlier this year, I put together a post about several games coming out in 2018 that I’m super-duper interested in playing. As if I don’t already have a backlog of un-played games that could fill up the Grand Canyon twice, but whatever. New stuff is always more exciting. Well, of them all, a few have come out, and I’ve gotten to see one through to credits, namely Legendary Gary. I’m still going to be picking up State of Decay 2 for co-op reasons, and I’ll be curious to see how Red Dead Redemption 2 is received despite never playing the first one or really falling hard for the Grand Theft Auto games. I’m also curious to know how The Swords of Ditto runs on PC, since I do not have a PlayStation 4.

Still, it seems like the last couple of weeks have brought about even more announced games for 2018, many of which I want to get my grubby, button-pushing hands on. Because I am never not sated. Right, well, take a look at the following titles below, and let me know if you are also interested in any of these or if you are too busy still playing Home Improvement: Power Tool Pursuit! to care.

No Man’s Sky

A lot of people were upset when No Man’s Sky came out and…maybe they had reasons to be. It over-promised, lacked communication, and potentially felt like a magician’s trick, if you went solely on its marketing. For me, this always sounded like a game I’d really enjoy, a laid-back take on exploring infinite universes, even before the numerous updates that went into it to flesh it out, content- and story-wise. The notion of exploring planets and casually documenting all life on them, both flora and fauna, sounds truly relaxing, real nice. So I’m super stoked this is coming to Xbox One, and this version will contain all the previous updates to the game, as well as the upcoming update dubbed “Next” at the time of the release.

Release date: summer 2018

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive AgE

This is both amazing and sad news to share with y’all, but Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age is making its way to western shores after a long time of waiting and wondering. Yahoo and boo. Alas, not for the Nintendo 3DS, where I was hoping to play it and check out its two visual filters, one for retro pixel graphics and one for more modern 3D graphics. Oh well. At least it’ll hit the PC–a first for the franchise!–and I can see what the hubbub is all about, so long as my laptop can run it. Until then, I still have plenty of photos to take in Dragon Quest VIII.

Release date: September 4, 2018

LEGO The Incredibles

Mel and I are currently trying to wrap up LEGO Jurassic World, and it’s definitely one I’m not having a grand ol’ time playing. I mean, I didn’t like the 3DS version, but had hopes that the console versions would be fun. Alas, nope. I have some major issues with the map and fast traveling options, but that’s for another post. Coming out alongside the new movie, LEGO The Incredibles will cover both the first film and its sequel, and I think the superhero powers, as shown in LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, make for a good, zany time. That said, Mr. Incredible looks a little jarring in LEGO form, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it, so long as he can bust up stuff effectively for studs.

Release date: June 15, 2018

Lamplight City

I’ve only played one title from Grundislav Games, namely A Golden Wake, but really dug its look, sound, and general vibe. Plus, it was a modern yet old-school point-and-click adventure game, which I truly cannot get enough of these days. The forthcoming Lamplight City from the same developer appears to be checking off all these characteristics as well. It’s a detective adventure set in an alternate steampunk-ish “Victorian” past. Inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe and Charles Dickens, you’ll never find yourself stuck in a dead-end situation because if the case becomes unsolvable, you can simply move on to the next one, and the story will adapt based on your choices. Neat-o.

Wait a minute. Upon further research, I also played Ben Chandler: Paranormal Investigator – In Search of the Sweets Tin. Shame on me for forgetting that gem. At some point, I really should check out all them Ben Jordan romps.

Release date: sometime 2018

Red Faction: Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered

What a beautifully dumb pun. I smile every time I read it.

Red Faction: Guerrilla is a game I think about going back to often, but the truth is that my Xbox 360 now is kind of unplayable. I mean, no, it still works, but I have to switch a bunch of cords in and out and it’s a small hassle, big enough to keep me at bay. Thankfully, a lot of stuff is backwards compatible on the Xbox One, and, if not, there’s usually a good chance it has or is getting a remake/remaster. Which brings us to Red Faction: Guerilla Re-Mars-Tered. It’s the same-old third-person shooter about revolution on a Martian mining colony from 2009 you remember, but with cleaner textures, 4K support, and all that. I’m excited to go back and be the ultimate nuisance, driving through buildings, blowing up bridges, demolishing houses, and starting trouble at every turn. I never did get all of its collectibles.

Release date: end of June 2018

Palm Island

I’d love to have a solo card/board game to travel with, especially this summer as my family heads to Walt Disney World, and Palm Island seems like it could be perfect for a little gaming on the go or, more specifically, while stuck in an airplane and internally freaking about being so high up in the sky in a massive heap of metal and mouthbreathers. Using a deck-transforming mechanic, players must use just 17 cards over 8 rounds to shape their island and overcome its unique challenges. You do this by storing up resources to pay for upgrades and upgrade buildings to access new abilities, with each decision changing your village from round to round. At the end of 8 rounds, you calculate your victory points to see if you came out a winner. The Kickstarter for Palm Island was successful, which I did not back, and so now we wait.

Release date: estimated delivery in June 2018

Advertisements

Alfie Banks and his great opportunity in A Golden Wake

gd impressions a golden wake pca

More so than movies or books, videogames transport us to other worlds and let us interact–with things, whether they are people, plants, or places. Oftentimes, these worlds are fictional or, in the case when they are not, the narrative surrounding it or the era are created whole cloth. I’m struggling to think of a game built around something so real and true, an experience where you just recreate the past as it happened. No, the Assassin’s Creed series definitely does not count. Now, A Golden Wake doesn’t do this per se, but many of the people in it are pieces of history, as is the land boom in Florida and the illegal happenings around Prohibition. I mean, you simply can’t make up a thing like the Roaring Twenties.

You take control of Alfie Banks, a realtor for Morris & Banks in New York. Unfortunately, his realtor days are up because his coworkers concoct a cunning plot to frame him, which subsequently results in his ejection from the company. With not much to go on, Banks purchases a newspaper–with his last dime, mind you–and reads an article about the land boom in Florida. For him, a fresh start is simply a long train ride away. And off he goes, to meet an array of new characters and find his place in the big ol’ world.

A Golden Wake dives deep into its setting. You can see this from the reworked Wadjet Eye logo when the game loads up to the playful menu text when you quit back to the desktop. Despite being a work of speculative fiction, Grundislav Games makes a massive effort to be historically accurate, including notable figures from the era, such as real estate developer George Merrick and mobster Fatty Walsh. period dialogue, and a retro, ragtime soundtrack that is still stuck in my head as of this writing. This high attention to detail really helps bring the old-school and, to be honest, somewhat crude graphics to life. To put it bluntly, there were a few screens, such as the boat dock and a few one-off locations, like the golf course, that felt unfinished. Or rather, uninteresting and distant, and existing only for Alfie to click on something and go to an additional screen, where things were much more refined.

Here’s a bummer: Alfie Banks is not very likeable. The game likes to build up his so-called charm and way with words, but I found him grating, whiney, and selfish from the very first scene. There’s nothing you can do about this. It is how he is written, and when the time comes for him to make a major decision, you just sit back and watch, helping to put the pieces together afterwards. The problem is that we never get a whole lot of backstory on the man, not even when his brother shows up for a chat. Which makes a lot of his journey and grumbling as an errand boy feel a bit empty. He certainly has an impact, but ultimately feels quite unnecessary in the long run. A shame, as I did enjoy many other characters, such as Marjory Stoneman Douglas, voiced by none other than Rebecca Whittaker. Another problem is that because Alfie is constantly jumping ship, you never get to hang around with the same side characters for too long.

In stark contrast to the previous point-and-click adventure game I played, A Golden Wake‘s puzzles across Alfie Banks’ sojourn for a better life are shockingly simple. Your inventory never becomes too full, and every solution stems from a logical conclusion. Need an antenna for a toy tramcar? Use that antenna you broke off that radio earlier. There are a few spots where the “action” switches from standard pointing and clicking, with you finding “hidden objects” in a picture to condemn a house or steering a car to help Mabel Cody hop on her flying stunt plane. These certainly do break up the action, but are far from enjoyable. In the end, I only had to look up the solution to an obtuse bookcase secret passage puzzle (hint: how would a V.I.P. enter?), figuring everything out on my own. There’s also a questioning minigame–think L.A. Noire, but toned way down–where you can use Alfie’s charm and wits to unearth answers or cheat by clicking the Seller’s Intuition button; I never felt like I was doing it right, though the story just continues on regardless of the outcomes.

A few years ago, I replayed Blackwell Deception with the developer’s commentary on, and it was just as enjoyable as the first time through. I’m not ready to go back into A Golden Wake–aw, horsefeathers!–but when I do, I suspect I’ll partake of this option, as well as go for some of the trickier Achievements. There’s no difficulty setting for the puzzles, but it’ll be interesting to hear some thoughts about what went into them or why this location was used this way or that. A Golden Wake dreams big, and while it is not successfully in every corner, it is still a pretty good adventure that fans of traditional pointing and clicking can eat up, all while drowning in that deliciously sweet jitterbugging soundtrack.

2015 Game Review Haiku, #35 – A Golden Wake

gd 2015 games completed a golden wake

The Roaring Twenties
A time of crime, greed, land booms
Use intuition

From 2012 all through 2013, I wrote little haikus here at Grinding Down about every game I beat or completed, totaling 104 in the end. I took a break from this format last year in an attempt to get more artsy, only to realize that I missed doing it dearly. So, we’re back. Or rather, I am. Hope you enjoy my continued take on videogame-inspired Japanese poetry in three phases of 5, 7, and 5, respectively.