Tag Archives: Twitch

Don’t stop for nothing when it comes to High Hell’s breakneck combat

I continue to mistakenly refer to High Hell as How High. Y’know, that classic stoner flick from 2001 about multi-platinum rap superstars Redman and Method Man as Jamal and Silas, two regular guys who smoke something magical, ace their college entrance exams, and wind up at Harvard–hilarity ensues. I’m not afraid to admit that I’ve seen it more than once. Also, I’m sure I’m not alone in this conundrum. Either way, the two entities are desperately unlike, and that’s good, because I don’t think playing a videogame version of How High would be all that enjoyable. High Hell, on the other hand, is a real hoot…

High Hell is currently one of the freebies for the month of May for those with Twitch Prime, which I finally set up a month or two ago, mostly to get some free cosmetics for Fortnite. It seems like it is on the same level as Microsoft’s Games with Gold program, and I like that I’m getting the games for free permanently, unlike with PlayStation Plus, which means I don’t feel extra pressure to play through them sooner than later. We also got Pyschonauts, Clustertruck, Gone Home, Titan Souls, and I, Hope. Some of those I’ve played, and some I’ve not, so, for me, it’s been a good balance of new things to try out along with some acquiring a few classics I can open with a different launcher.

Right. Let’s cut immediately to the action now, because that’s what High Hell is all about. It’s a neon-soaked, arcade-action first-person shooter from Terri Vellmann (Heavy Bullets) and Doseone (Enter the Gungeon, Gang Beasts). I’m aware of all three of those games, though I’ve never touched ’em, but a part of me suspects one or two are waiting to be installed in my Steam library. In this one, you must take on the criminal underground with a gun that never needs reloading and bring lethal salvation to those that have fallen from the light. Er, something like that. Devolver Digital is behind it, and if you have played any of their games, you know they go big, bold, and right for the jugular. Also, they aren’t afraid to be a little goofy. Some examples that I’ve actually tasted include: Hotline Miami, Luftrausers, and Gods Will Be Watching.

The story is purposely thin and mostly told through mission objectives, such as burn three Employee of the Month paintings, destroy two wiener pumps, deface corporate effigies, and kill Beelzebot. There are main objectives and side objectives and even smaller side tasks, such as burning piles of cash, but the true goal is to stay alive and shoot down anybody or anything targeting you and your health meter. For each successful kill, you get a little bit of health back, which is good, because it doesn’t take much to bring you to your knees and health pick-ups are few and far between. You can methodically and slowly inch your way forward or charge ahead guns blazing, and both plans of attack have their moments, but you need to be quick with your shots because the enemies or big bosses don’t pull any punches.

I’m currently around level 12 or 13–I can’t remember, it’s all a pink-and-gray blur–out of 20 total missions, and I’m having a fantastic time. I normally belittle myself and lack the self-esteem to feel good about playing this type of fast-paced, twitch-based shooters, but I’m actually doing all right. Sure, I get stuck on a couple of levels, but repetition helps iron out the wrinkles and improve my playthrough each time, breaking it down to an almost exact science if you can pull off each shot. Granted, I’m not hitting speedrunning times, but that’s never been my goal; remember, the only game I’ve speedrunned so far is Gone Home.

I’m hoping to see High Hell all the way to its conclusion, but I don’t know if there is more to do after that. Or, even if there is, I don’t know if it is something I will care about. I’m enjoying the frenetic nature of these levels, and jumping off buildings to parachute away after completing all objectives is beyond satisfying, but I might have my fill by the end. We’ll see. For now, I’ll keep kicking down doors and blasting anything that gets in my way.

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Sorry, there are no more skulls left in Motocross Madness

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Motocross Madness is a game I played for a bit after getting it as a freebie back in August 2014, but then drifted away from for a good chunk of time. Many months, in fact. Truthfully, I really only enjoyed the heck out of the game’s Exploration mode, which plopped you down in the world where the game’s race tracks exist, but gives you freedom to explore off the tracks as you please to collect gold coins and skulls. These feed into the medals you get, as well as provide money and XP, so they are more than just shiny trinkets to grab. The standard races and trick sessions are fine enough, but a bit too perfunctory and easy to perfect. My heart can’t resist collecting things; for further proof, see games like LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, Disney Magical World, and Kung Fu Rabbit.

Right. So, over the last few months, I’ve been noodling away at Motocross Madness, playing for a bit and collecting a skull or two. Incrementally edging my way up to a 100% completion rate. It became a thing I did to fill in the gaps between other games or if I had fifteen to twenty minutes to kill before I had to make dinner. However, it became more of a hassle–in my mind than in reality–to turn on my Xbox 360 now that I had a shiny Xbox One to slobber over, and so Motocross Madness got visited less and less. That is until a few weeks back, when it was announced to now be backwards-compatible on the new console. I’m probably the only person in the world that saw that news and genuinely felt warmth in my heart, but whatever.

I recently had some time off of work over the holidays, and I used some of it to, besides draw and go see the ultra cute and sing-songy Elf the Musical in New York City, well…play more Motocross Madness. I’m totally fine with this. Never let anyone tell you what to do on your days off. Along the way, I also sat down and figured out how to use the streaming programs on the Xbox One, which lead to me recording about four hours of me getting the last flaming skulls and Achievements for all the Internet to see. If you’ve got time to kill, feel free to watch the archived videos over at my YouTube. Please understand before going into these vids that I’m still relatively new to this and am figuring out microphone/gameplay audio settings, but I’m thinking 2016 will be the year I put more effort into this venue.

Collecting skulls was fun despite a few frustrations. It’s multi-part; first, you have to find the skull in the environment, and then you have to figure out how to get it. Sometimes they are on the ground, and you just ride your bike up to it, but the majority are high in the sky, requiring a sick jump to grab. It’s only when you get down to having a single skull left in a large environment that it becomes maddening as you search every nook and cranny, desperate to catch the flicker of orange flames. Eventually, I caved and looked up a walkthrough online, quickly scribbling down locations on a hand-drawn map so that I’d, at least, still not know exactly where these skulls were and have some involvement in their capture.

When examined without the Exploration mode, Motocross Madness is actually a substandard racing game with bikes. The races themselves aren’t all that challenging, especially once you upgrade your hog, and the trick system is not in-depth, allowing you to only do a few moves in the air…unless you’re into crashing. Once you are on “fire,” which happens after building a meter for successfully doing tricks, you can do another set for more points. I highly recommend performing the Rodeo Cowboy each and every time. It probably gets a pass overall because it uses your avatar, which makes the costumes and tricks more fun to see than some generic-looking dude or dudette. Still, once I got all the skulls, I didn’t really know what to do; online racing was no more exciting than the single-player stuff, unfortunately.

Oh, if you were curious what my crudely drawn maps actually looked like, they looked like this:

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Yup–my art skills are wildly good. Now to figure out what I can stream next. I like the idea of having a goal for streaming, not just playing through the game’s main campaign, though I understand a lot of people do that. Perhaps I can capture getting the remainder of Fallout 4‘s Bobbleheads or causing some random chaos to happen in Just Cause 2. Must think on this. One thing I know for certain is that, just like when I finished up LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, an invisible weight has been lifted off my shoulders (and mind), and I don’t have to return to this digital world ever again. Unless I want to.

Participating in Extra Life for the very first time

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Hi, everyone! It’s me, your Grinding Down creator, author, and somewhat steady maintainer–Paul Abbamondi! I made a big decision recently, and that is to participate in Extra Life this upcoming Saturday, October 25. What’s Extra Life, you ask not knowing? Well, in their words, it’s “an online grassroots movement working to save local kids through the power of play.” Basically, people stay up for 24 hours straight playing games and asking for donations. Over the years I’ve watched others put in the time and raise money for children in need, and now, nervous as I am, I’m gonna do it too. First, some important links to click on:

My donations page: http://tinyurl.com/pabbamondiEL2014

My Twitch page, where hopefully you’ll be able to watch me stream: http://www.twitch.tv/paulwise

Okay, now that that’s out of the way, here’s what I’m thinking. My goal is set at $100 (and we’re already halfway there!), but of course I’d love to raise a whole lot more for PennState Hershey’s Children’s Hospital. I plan to make a big dent in my Steam catalog, though I have to be careful in what I play as my laptop can’t really handle anything too strenuous and stream at the same time, thus the above list of indie/older titles. If I somehow run out of things to play there, I can always hit up the consoles or handhelds (I’ll most likely be getting Fantasy Life the day before), though I can’t really stream from them.

Tentatively, I’ll start streaming at 9:00 AM Saturday and won’t stop playing vidya gamez until 9:00 Sunday. I will be maintaining a “live” blog post here on Grinding Down, updating it hopefully once an hour or so, though these’ll be short, quick updates. Truthfully, I’m excited about finally finding the time to eat up some Deus Ex: GOTY more than anything. I am part of Team Giant Bomb, and I appreciate any support you can offer me–this is my first time doing anything like this, and I’ll be running at it solo (well, my cats will be around), so please, give me strength. And donations, too. FOR THE KIDS.