Monthly Archives: January 2023

Game review: Donut County for Android

Completely unrelated to the proper review, I’d like to mention that I got Google Play Pass to see if it was worth the subscription, and so far, it is not. The first game I tried, Party Hard Go, kept glitching and popping up a developer’s debug menu warning of a bunch of unplayable sounds. This happened so frequently in the first level that I just deleted the game and moved on. Almost everything else I’ve tried has turned out to be the free shovelware prevalent on Google Play, but with ads disabled and all the microtransactions made free. And you know what? They still aren’t fun games.

It was in the midst of rifling through unsatisfying titles that I remembered Donut County, a game I’d meant to play, but that got pushed to the back of my mind in favor of larger games. First I searched to see if it was part of Play Pass, and it was not. But it was only €4.29, and that’s cheap enough that if I didn’t like it, at least I didn’t have to be angry about losing too much cash. I’ll drop spoilers right now and admit that I liked it quite a bit.

Donut County is a game told in chapters. The first is a prologue set in the present, while many chapters speed forward to the future and tell their parts as flashbacks revealing the slow destruction of the town. The final chapters return to the present, culminating in a final chapter with not one but two boss fights, and then there’s a prologue of sorts added to the closing credits.

So, what’s destroying the town? I don’t want to spoil too much, but it involves a racoon and an app that summons holes. You move the hole around to collect small objects, causing the hole to grow, and the larger it gets, the bigger objects you can collect. This escalates in every level to taking people, their cars, and their houses. (In many cases this includes the surrounding rock formations, warehouses, and even a skyscraper.) Continue reading

Game review: Vampire Survivors on Steam

You know, I honestly did not expect to go this long without reviewing anything, but as I’ve mentioned before, a series of crises month after month left me with no free funds to buy new games. It wasn’t terrible for me, as I’ve got maybe a hundred old games to keep me entertained. But it’s been hell on my poor blog, and my dipping interest in my TBR pile hasn’t really helped matters much. (To be clear, I am trying to read. I just keep hitting points in each book where I add them to the Did Not Finish pile, and I don’t review what I can’t finish. In my mind, it isn’t fair to the author for me to go in swinging with a half-formed opinion.)

Anyway, the gaming sites all released their Game of the Year lists, and Vampire Survivors kept popping up. I wasn’t sold on the sales pitch given by most writers at launch, but when it showed up on so many lists and is apparently crushing the most played lists on Steam and consoles, I figure maybe there has to be fire under all that smokey hype. I went to Steam and saw it was on sale for 3.99, and I thought, Hey, if it sucks, it’s only 4 euros, so there’s no need to be angry about not liking it.

So how do I like it? Let me give you the short version first: I just unlocked all of the in-game collection to get the final character, Queen Sigma, and tonight I’m buying the DLC to keep playing. Yeah, it’s good stuff, y’all. This is a rogue-lite where every round can only last 30 minutes before you’re booted back to the main screen. (Although later on you can turn off that timer if you want.) But it’s that short “bite-sized” chunk of gaming that inspires so many late-night “just one more run” sprees. Every run can unlock something new, or provide its own unique challenge, so the temptation to keep dipping back in for “just one more” is super strong.

Without knowing the developer, in early playing I imagined some programmer at Konami going into a meeting and pitching a new Castlevania game during one of those down times when Dracula was still sleeping off his last Belmont-induced defeat. Said programmer pitched it as such: “The survivors of Dracula’s last attack must clean up all the roaming monsters infesting their lands, and to do so, they’ll level up a bunch of weapons and become walking bullet hells!” Then the Konami execs said, “It’s too crazy and will never work. Get out of here! Baka!” So the programmer left the building, turned around, and yelled, “I’m not crazy, and I can make it work! It’ll sell like chocolate dorayaki! You’ll see! Kusou!” (That last curse being uttered because they looked around and realized that to all the gathered observers, it looked like he was shouting at the building, and thus was thoroughly insane.) Continue reading

Versus series: 3D Fallout brawl…out

I need to apologize for the lengthy delay getting this entry posted, as it was finished last month as a Word file. said file has been sitting on my desktop, hidden in the clutter of game tiles, often overlooked and forgotten as I search for what to play next. Then yesterday, I was starting to think of my next review when I thought, Crap, did I ever post the Fallout battle? I did not, so here we are.

For me, the Fallout series (or at least the 3D iterations of the series) are kind of like Borderlands 2. I don’t really like the overall story, and a lot of the details “under the hood” annoy me. So why would I play them? Well, it’s because I like how the shooting feels.

Both Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas were games my husband bought to play on our Xbox 360. I remember trying Fallout 3 for the first time, entering Megaton, and meeting Mr. Burke. As he was offering caps for killing an entire town, I told him to leave. He said he would, and then he just sat there, staring at me. I pulled out a 10 millimeter pistol and shot him in the forehead. He immediately stood up and shouted, “Uh, you’ve got blood all over my suit!”

I shot him six more times in the head before he died, and then I shut off the game and walked away for almost a year. Mr. Burke is not wearing an armored helmet. He does not have a metal plated skull, but the damage of a Fallout gun is so pathetic that a fedora can count as effective armor.

I would later bounce out of the game again for side quests that made no sense, for the godawful way Karma works (or doesn’t, in so many cases), or for random bullshit like VATS firing all of my selected shots through the doorway behind the gun instead of the target just two inches in front of the barrel. Continue reading