Posted in Achievements, Games, Left Click Right, Xbox

A New Frontier

SteamWorld Dig 2 • Leave the Earth with your companion in tow • 100G • 17.25% of gamers unlocked this

One game that I’ve always been surprised about how much I enjoy has been SteamWorld Dig, and so I went into the sequel with a fairly standard expectation – and hope – that I would, at a base level, ‘enjoy it.’

I didn’t quite expect to love it.

The crew at Image and Form have taken a great concept, and added more fun elements to the mix. In particular the grappling rope and the overcharged jet pack. You would think that the game itself wouldn’t really need much added to it to be enjoyable, but the developers have offered some new puzzles, environments and enemies that make it all worthwhile. Even now that I’ve finished the game – I’ve been spending a lot of time following up with just general mining and upgrading, pursuing some other achievements before I pop this game back on the shelf.

Most of my deaths throughout the game were silly ones, where you curse yourself for a moment before realising you can do better, and then … well … do better. The only frustrating section was, rightly, the final end boss, but it probably only took me four or five gos (admittedly on the lower difficulty) to get it done. The entire game is deliciously accessible for any skill-level.

And so, this brings my SteamWorld Dig 2 journey to an end. I suspect there will be a third outing, given the open ended conclusion.

If the transition from OG SteamWorld to 2 was this good – I can’t wait to see them knock 3 out-of-the-park!

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Posted in Achievements, Games, Left Click Right, Xbox

Break the Bank

Hitman 2 • Completed “Golden Handshake” • 20G • 0.67% of gamers unlocked this

Those who know me, know that I love the Hitman rebooted series – it was by far-and-away my Game of the Year for 2016, and the sequel was pipped-at-the-post for 2018 only by the exceptional masterpiece that was God of War.

What GoW doesn’t do, however, is keep up with a healthy drip-feed of content and love that IOI (which I now chuckle about since I started watching Ready Player One) have given the game ever since they wrestled control of it from Square Enix.

I have to say – if getting out from a big publisher can do this for Hitman 2, I have exceptionally high hopes to see what Destiny 2 can do once free from Activision.

But I digress. Today I want to talk about one of the newer missions in H2, set in a New York Bank. It’s tight, controlled, and offers up a ‘Hitman-lite’ experience when compared to the main game(s). But I have to say, as additional content, I am more than happy for this level of polish. Sure, it doesn’t have the sprawling environment of Sapienza, or the NPC-rich markets of Marrakech, but what it has is story. It has enough beats for 47 to make this feel quintessentially Hitman, and – above all else – it’s fun.

Without much effort, I was able to get through two of the main story angles, and with a bit of blind luck and random button-presses, I managed to clear a few more milestones as well. The mission itself asks you to kill the main bank boss and steal some data from either the safe or off three other bosses in the bank – and while my plan going in was to aim for the safe, as it turned out, I stumbled into those three executives without too much trouble – and so, I killed them, took their hard drives, and then put a bullet in the front of the bank boss lady’s head.

Just another day in paradise.

Which, ironically, is where Lucas Grey tells 47 that they are headed to next at the end of the level – right before the ominous TO BE CONTINUED splashed across the screen.

After XIII ended the game like that back in 2003, I’ve been a little bit scarred. At least give me a (The) Sopranos-style cut-to-black!

I suppose the difference here is, the fact overarching story told in cutscenes is very different than that told through either in-mission voiceover or through emerging gameplay. Hitman is a game where you can dive into a world and kill a target without needing to know all the nuts and bolts of their lives. XIII is an intensely narrative-driven action romp where context is essential.

Still, to be safe – just don’t do ‘to be continued’s’.

I’m curious to see what some of the other achievements are for this DLC but I’m more than pleased for a solid first effort from IOI. I can’t wait to see what else they come up when they inevitably (shudder) ‘continue’ the series.

Posted in Age of Magic, Games, Left Click Right

AoM Forbidden Valley 1-7 Flicker of Hope

As it turns out, you can only use your ‘borrow a minion off a friend’ once a day, and so with a whole roster full of woefully underpowered heroes, I elected to mix up the path a little and head into the Forbidden Valley.

I didn’t think there was anything special about this fight – it was fairly evenly matched and both sides lost a person or two (though, obviously, I still had some standing at the end!), but my main takeaway out of this whole encounter was that I had completely missed the auto advance button on the left hand side of the screen. So, instead of trying to find the best attack/defend option on each round, I can increase the speed to 4x, let it auto-play, and I believe it’s going quicker than I’ve ever been able to get through a game that didn’t use an auto-clicker or a few player-friendly enhancements!

Posted in Age of Magic, Games, Left Click Right

AoM Light Campaign 2-7 Valley of the Shadow

It’s been a few days since I last opened up Age of Magic, so imagine my delight when I logged on and got bumped to level 19 straight away. Lucky me!

Back into the throng of the fight, and this was a level that wasn’t shy about introducing quite a few enemies into the mix. The main antagonist for this level was a floating demon-like creature called an ‘Arekhon Shadow’, who was big, nasty, and did a good job of taking the focus – and the damage – off the rest of the group.

Of course, the whole fight was made a lot easier given I ‘borrowed’ a Level 41 Roland from a ‘friend’!

Posted in Games, iOS, Left Click Right, Mobile, Nintendo, Super Mario Run

Super Mario Run 6-4 Bowser’s Bob-ombing Run

This is it.

This is the end.

This run is largely about both keeping on the path (to collect coins) and timing your jumps so that you turn-the-tables on Bowser, and throw his own bombs back to him. This part takes a little more practice than you would think, but once you’ve done it once or twice, you can smash through the level pretty quickly.

In short:

Step 1. Follow Bowser
Step 2. Throw his own bombs at him
Step 3. Save the Princess
Step 4. Live happily every after

And thus, we end our romp through the core levels of Mario, or the ‘Tour’ levels anyway. There’s plenty of other places to play and ways to indulge in Super Mario Run, but this brings me to the end of this adventure.

Still … plenty of other games to play!

In the wise words of President Bartlet, “What’s Next?”