Monthly Archives: March 2024

Game review: Cult of the Lamb for Steam

Way back in 2021, I did a review for the mobile version of My Friend Pedro and said that Devolver Digital games never fully clicked for me. I still hold that same opinion, but I keep giving their games a chance because as a publisher, they seem to be the most earnest and ethical folks in the gaming industry, and because they are willing to publish weird, original games instead of chasing the latest bestsellers.

Take Cult of the Lamb as a prime example, where the main character is an actual lamb being led to the slaughter to prevent a prophesied return of an evil god. One minute into the game that lamb is killed, only to be resurrected by the aforementioned god. He commands them to kill his enemies, build a cult, and free him from his eternal prison. It’s one part The Binding of Isaac mixed with Cult Simulator. On paper, that sounds fantastic.

In practice, the wonderful dungeon crawling bits are dragged down by the cult maintenance, and a large part of managing the cult being a drag falls on the industry-wide decision to have ridiculously accelerated day/night cycles. I hated that “feature” in Skyrim and Fallout. I hated it in GTA V. And in Cult of the Lamb, they decided to make an even faster clock speed while chopping the night into a ridiculously short quarter wedge of the in-game clock. Continue reading

What I’m watching: Anime

Right, I’m doing this list because despite playing two games, reading two books, and one manga, I still am nowhere close to having a review ready. It’s not a case of not putting in the effort either. I just have a lot on my plate. For instance, this last week, we got invited to go to a local theater to watch a production of The importance of Being Earnest. I’m not a huge fan of Oscar Wilde, but I haven’t been to a theater production since grade school, and I figured, wouldn’t it be nice to do something different for the weekend?

I looked around and realized I didn’t have any theater appropriate clothing. So each day after lunch, I went shopping. The first day looking for shoes was a bust, but each day after, I got a dress shirt and sweater, new pants, and new shoes. The shoes in particular required a bike ride of twenty kilometers, because everyone local caps shoes sizes for ladies at 39, and I’m a 42. (Douglas Addams would say my feet are the answer to everything.) Then of course, there was going to see the play, and by Sunday I didn’t feel like doing anything besides watching cartoons after all that bike riding.

And so here we are, one week blown, and I’m still no closer to a review. But, when I got up this morning, I thought, Hey, why not use my procrastination to my advantage for once? Granted, these aren’t reviews because I’ve not seen a full season of most of them yet. (And the ones I have seen, you probably already know, or will know if you want to see them based on a blurb.) But hey, maybe you’ll see something you like and hop in with me.

And so here we…no, wait, I said that already. Right, on with the anime I’ve been watching! Continue reading

Book review: The Crow Trap by Ann Cleeves

I’ve been a big fan of the TV series Vera since it first started airing in Italy, but lately our TV reception has put new seasons in a permanent stasis. We’ve had the technicians out three times in three years, and each time they assure us the signal will be better, and maybe a few days pass before we lose the signal again.

So I decided to buy the first book to see how different it is compared to the show, and it’s a pretty big difference. Part of that has to do with the book being a traditional mystery, inviting the reader to pick up the clues and solve the crime themselves. But even beyond that, the TV show swapped the order of the books and created entire new characters and plot lines.

The Crow Trap, the first book of the series, is actually the third episode of the show. (Book three is episode one, and confusingly, episode two is book two.) The first victim of the book isn’t revealed until thirty percent into the story, and the main character doesn’t come in for the investigation until close to the middle of the book. Even then, the story’s perspective is told from two civilians’ perspectives until seventy percent of the book is done. Only then does Vera take over as the protagonist and give readers insight into her thoughts. Continue reading