It finally happened. I was sure it would never happen to me. I told myself I was in control. I thought this only happened to other people. I was not going to fall into the trap. I was wrong. Last month I forgot to pause my Humble Monthly subscription and now I own a bunch of games I didn’t ask for. That of course is a problem you often encounter when buying bundles. It’s how you get a mountain instead of a pile.
Anomaly: Warzone Earth has a typical three word, nonsensical video game title. It is also not a port from Android to PC, but I thought it was because I played it on my phone first and it seemed a bit to casual for a PC title. That’s life on Earth for you – a wild rollercoaster ride of confusing emotions paired with wrong assumptions. It was only a question of time until aliens would try to put an end to this madness and we would fight back by leading a small convoy of military vehicles through a maze spiked with armed towers, that try to defend something.
Reverse tower defense games usually have the same problems as non-reverse tower defense games – they get repetitive fast. Anomaly: Something Earth is no exception, but it tries really hard. The game has some things going for it: the graphics are better than expected (but I expected an Android port) and the game interface feels really slick. No complaints on the controls. It also tries to mix up the old formula by letting you chose the order of your upgradeable convoy vehicles and the route to your target, which you can, and often have to, change while on a mission. The insanely fast man you are playing gets a lot of special powers. It’s not front loaded, but has a progression of skills, units and enemies. It even tries to tell a story, which is very uninteresting and was probably written by someone who was impressed by Anno 2070‘s storytelling abilities. In the end all those nice little details can’t hide that it’s a (reverse) tower defense game – and they still get repetitive fast.
If you like playing on your phone, because you are a millennial or ashamed of playing real games, it’s a nice enough distraction, but on PC it’s not enough to make me want to come back to it.
Welcome to my new category: ‘skipping’. Here I will be talking about games, which I don’t want to play (again). What an ironic twist. Nobody saw it coming.
The first game to be skipped on the way to the mountain top is Anno 2070. According to Steam I already played the game for four hours, but I couldn’t bring myself to spent even another 30 minutes with it. It’s not because the game is terrible. It isn’t. It’s because 2070 does not just refer to the future year, but also the number of hours you should spend in this game to really get the hang of it. I don’t want to do that in a game that strikes me as an okay building strategy game. I was never a big fan of the series and I only chose to take a look at it because of the science fiction setting. It is still very much a typical Anno game. Build and trade and build and possibly deal with people you don’t want to build and trade in your vicinity. I remember being bored by the tutorial campaign, but then again you don’t play Anno for it’s great story telling abilities. You play it because you are in between jobs or have no other interests in life. It’s entirely possible that I might revisit Anno 2070.
Remember my last post? The one about Age of Empires II – HD Edition, where I told you, that right now I’m not in a situation where I want to spend hours upon hours in strategy games, because of life? A life I mainly want to spend playing hours upon hours of CRPGs I already put hours upon hours into when I was a teenager? Well, lucky me – next entry is ‘AI Wars: Fleet Command’ by Arcen Games, released in 2009. A deep, ultra complex, hardcore space RTS with a lot of text, and even more text. If a game offers you three different ways to execute a command in the first tutorial, you should be wary. After 45 minutes I was still stuck in the tutorials, and after I understood, that this is mainly a co-op endeavor, which wants to be played with other humans (boo!) I stopped trying to get into it. Which is a shame, because it felt like there’s a really good game hidden beneath all the samey looking buttons, boring menus and ‘practical’ graphics. This goes straight on the ‘when I am a pensioner’-pile.
Ah, the mighty ‘Age of Empires II’ by Ensemble Studios. It’s a classic Real Time Strategy Game – resource gathering, base building, killing of all enemies on the map – with a bit of ‘Civilization’-like progression on top. I bought this purely for nostalgic reasons. As a teenager I probably put hundreds of hours into this game (without ever getting any good at it) back in 1999, as I had done with its predecessor two years before. The HD Edition, by Hidden Path Entertainment, makes it run smoothly on newer systems and seems to add a lot of content, which is a shame because I really don’t feel like putting time into it. I used to really like the more realistic look of AoE2, compared to its competitors of the time, but the game certainly aged worse than I did. It’s not just the looks though – it just feels old. There’s still a certain charm to it, but it doesn’t manage to recreate the same magic for me as, e.g. a ‘Baldur’s Gate’ manages to do again and again. It’s a clear candidate for the ‘I will come back to this, should I ever get unemployed and/or alienate my social environment enough’-pile.
This little game by Mousechief! is one of the stranger items of my collection. You lead the fate of a family in ancient times, and you do it via a coin operated board game. I guess you could categorize it as ‘casual strategy’.
If found myself playing this one longer than I expected, even though the rather abstract concept isn’t my cup of tea. Maybe it’s the satisfaction of inserting coins – the game certainly taps into some precious childhood memories there.
After a while it gets repetitive, and if the game hadn’t been part of some bundle, I probably would never have played it. Especially not for the staggering price of 20€. Don’t pay more than 5€, even if you are into this kind of game. Done.