BattleTech – Stomping the Yard – A Review From Scroo

Big stompy robots aren't anything new. BattleTech has been around for a long time containing a huge library of the the titanic war machines and thousands of pages of lore to go along with them. Things started back in 1984 when a studio called FASA launched a table top miniatures war game called BattleDroids. According to the WIki, Lucasfilm took ownership of the word "Droid" and the game was renamed BattleTech. The board game took up loads of space and a lot of time to play; days sometimes. Read more

WRUP Rabbit

Another week under all our belts and a whole mess of bull shit in the world. Throw on your headphones, plug into some music, and let's just play video games until we forget what weekend it is :)

What games are we playing for Memorial Day weekend?

Greywolfe:  those daily things.  plus, since the lp for banjo kazooie moved, i got to do some of that, too [i'm playing alongside someone who's let's plays i like a ton.  when she gets something done in her game, i do that thing, too.] - i also downloaded moonhunters and am looking into that a little, plus, since i have the dumb card game itch - which is all i've been doing for the past two months - i just decided i'll boot up a REAL game that doesn't have dailies or any nonsense in it, so i'm replaying magic:  the gathering, by microprose from 1997.  it's an infinitely more fun game than "can i beat the current, dumb metadeck on the ladder."

Andrew: More ACA Neo-Geo games. There will surely be some Forza 6 and Dragon Ball FighterZ in there as well.

Yoda0vgs: Finished my Death March run of the Witcher so I'm off to play some Hellblade, Styx, And Dota

Scroo: More Vermintide 2 and plenty more Battletech. I've yet to finish God of War so I should do that as well if the time allows this weekend. I've been working a lot lately so we'll see how much gaming I actually get in

Trulegendkiller: Been catching a case of the deer hunting mushrooms that Cody made me sell to the Digimon that no one can remember the name but we're all pretty sure it was 10% luck, 20% skill, 15% concentrated power of will, 5% pleasure, 50% pain with a chance of cloudy skies just after it rains.

Dr. Strangethumb: "won't be around this weekend for the WRUP" 

Kick Drums and Red WRUP

 

"Some people find it with devotion, some with gold and with bourbon
Some like praying to the blue sky, some like putting on a disguise,
But I prefer kick drums and red wine."

Nice and chill Saturday so far for me, but the real question as always is:

What games are we playing this weekend?

Greywolfe:  So, i'm still doing daily quests in bad games.  more magic:  arena, more magic:  duels and more eternal.  although, i've more-or-less been terrible about duels and eternal.  so, who knows?  :P - i played a bit of tome [tales of ma'jeyal] and had my guy die in one of the starter quests, so i guess the lesson i'm supposed to learn is "don't go into crypts unless you're over-leveled."  i'm also about midway through banjo kazooie, which continues to be a wonderful game [wonky camera and awkward swimming sections notwithstanding.] - i'm so glad i tried it out a few years ago.

Andrew: Still rocking the Neo-Geo titles. Maybe some Dead or Alive 5 as well.

Yoda0vgs: On the last Mission (after not doing most side quests in the full game) of Blood and Wine, then finally some Hellblade and Styx!

Scroo: I've been doing some tying of loose ends in God of War before I finish the story and man, that's been such a good title. Surprisingly complex. Still enjoying Vermintide 2, especially since loads and loads of fixes and tweaks in the last patch have improved performance and balance. And I plan on fitting in as much Battletech as possible

Trulegendkiller: Being a fucking pimp (according to cody)

Dr. Strangethumb: "Not at home and forgot to do the wrup." 

Sunday WRUP

Because life is strange.

Anyway, what is/has everyone (been) playing over the weekend?

Thomas: Played some Fable Fortune (the CCG). Shame the playerbase is almost gone at this point. Really solid CCG otherwise.

Scroo: Hopefully more Vermintide and God of War. I'm also planning on picking up Battletech cos I'm a sucker for XCom style mech combat. And it'll be late by the time this gets posted but, Friday I'm doing some chalk art for the local Butterfly Festival.

Cody: Still going through Blood and Wine. Hoping to start Styx this weekend if I got some free time

Tru: Well playing more God if War (hoping for a new game plus soon) but I just picked up the expansion for Horizon Zero Dawn so I'm going to start a new game plus of that then move onto the expansion

AJ: Star Wars: Episode I Racer and more ACA Neo-Geo stuff.

Greywolfe: daily quest things. but also OH MY GOD A REAL GAME. yeah. i've beat it before. but eh. i don't care. i'm replaying banjo kazooie.

 

Games For Dads: Kirby: Star Allies

Games For Dads is a column featuring new or recent games that I feel are ideal for being played and enjoyed together by parents (dads, in my case) and their kids.

Welcome back to Games For Dads! It's been a few years now, since my first and only entry. At the time I had kind of assumed that the coming years would be rife with great Nintendo titles for me to enjoy with my son. Since then, my wife and I welcomed a beautiful baby girl into our family (who I look forward to gaming with in the coming years), but I haven't seen nearly as many must-play co-op experiences from Nintendo as I'd expected. There were one or two, to be sure (Yoshi's Woolly World is definitely worth a mention), but between the relatively quiet closing year(s) of the Wii U, and the fairly sparse opening year of the Switch, it's mostly just been titles with pretty lackluster co-op options (if any at all), or Switch ports of stuff I could have covered already on the Wii U (Mario Kart, for instance).

Yoshi aside, (I chose not to cover Mario Kart because my son isn't that big into racing games yet), there's been shockingly little else worth mentioning. Until recently, that is. Last month, Nintendo (and HAL Laboratory) gifted us with what is arguably the best original couch co-op multiplayer game to come to the Switch so far, as well as one of the finest Kirby games ever made.

It should go without saying that Kirby games are always family-friendly. Boys and girls of just about every age seem to adore the little pink puffball. Even with my son having grown a little bit older and more discerning, Kirby: Star Allies was still an instant hit for him. I picked the game up on a Friday and he basically played it for the entire weekend, only stopping to take breaks when he was hungry or his parents asked him to.

More friends means more chaotic fun to be had.
You've Got a Friend In Me

Every new Kirby release in recent years has done a good job of bringing some unique new feature to the table that has helped to differentiate it from past titles. Kirby: Triple Deluxe had a power-up that bestowed Kirby with the ability to inhale extra-large items, including obstacles and sometimes even scenery; Kirby: Planet Robobot introduced various fun little mechs for Kirby to tool around in. Kirby: Star Allies features a mechanic that, though similar to something that had previously been seen in Kirby: Super Star, has been significantly revamped and improved upon here - the ability to create friends.

Unlike the single pal you could have in Super Star, and only by swallowing and then dropping an enemy, in Star Allies you can instantly make multiple friends just by throwing hearts at them. Once hit by a heart, most enemy types will instantly convert into computer-controlled allies (hence the title). What's more, you can have up to three of them at any time.

The "make friends" mechanic is pretty ingenious as it offers a quick and easy way to assemble a fairly varied, super-hero team style crew of helpers to assist you. Additionally, the game offers local same-screen co-op for 2-4 players. That means you can recruit up to three real-life buddies (or family members) to play as any, or all, of your virtual ones. Meta Knight, indeed! While his sister is a bit too young still (and his mom doesn't play many games outside of Tetris and Dr Mario), I can tell you that my son and I had quite a blast playing it together, just the two of us.

Curling stone Kirby!
With Your Powers Combined

In addition to the fantastic four-player friending frenzy, Star Allies also brings back an improved power-combining mechanic similar to the ones found in Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards and Kirby: Squeak Squad. What it allows you to do is combine just about any two powers in the game. So, for instance, crossing parasol with sword creates a splash sword. Beam and bomb gives you zap bombs. What do you get when you cross a staff with fire? A fire staff, naturally! And those are just a small portion of all the possible power pairings; there are literally dozens of others that are discoverable throughout the course of the game.

My son and I were only too happy to try and figure out all the different power combos as we played. One of our favorite discoveries was what happens when you cross stone with ice. A couple months ago, I had just introduced my son to the wonderful world of winter sports, thanks to the detailed television coverage of the PyeongChang Winter Games. So, you can imagine our excitement and surprise at traversing a level in our brand new Kirby game and then suddenly seeing him transform into a familiar-looking slip-sliding (enemy-smashing) curling stone.

Figuring out how to combine (and utilize) all the crazy power combinations is easily half the fun of Star Allies. What's also cool is that the ability to combine powers isn't merely limited to Kirby himself, as even his frienemies can get in on the fun. What this invariably results in is a delightfully chaotic ballet of different characters bounding all over the screen, hurling various elemental powers every which way. Moments like these are a joy to behold and kept my son and I endlessly entertained.

Star Slam Heroes, a mini-game in which Kirby charges up a baseball bat to see how far he can smack an incoming meteor.
Easy On the Eyes

So, even though Kirby: Star Allies does feature awesome AI/person-controlled multiplayer as well as slick new power combination options, it is a touch on the short side. My son was actually able to beat the game (with really not a whole lot of help) after only a few days. But, like past Kirby games, there are a couple of mini-games available from the start, in addition to a couple of extra modes that unlock upon completion of the game. Between these, the fantastic variety on offer in the main game, and also items to find and collect in every level, Star Allies does feature enough content to make it worthwhile.

As the first Kirby game to arrive on Nintendo's current most-powerful system, Star Allies is also pretty nice to look at. While Kirby games aren't typically known for pushing the envelope where graphics are concerned, they are always colorful. And this title does a great job of utilizing the Switch hardware to really make those colors pop. Even my little daughter seemed to be entranced by what she saw on the screen. (And I have a feeling that when she's ready, Star Allies will likely be one of the first games that she takes to.)

The music and stages are a great mix of the new and familiar​. My son played enough Kirby titles over the past couple years to feel right at home with Star Allies. The great thing about the Kirby franchise, one of the key reasons it enjoys such mass appeal and staying power, is that the games are so easy and inviting to pick up and play. Yet, a truly great Kirby game manages to be engaging and fun despite the familiarity and simplicity. That's what you get with Kirby: Star Allies - the perfect blend of old and new that is easy to learn and a whole lot of fun to play. Whether you're a longtime fan of Kirby or you've just been introduced, you're sure to enjoy this one. Kirby: Star Allies is a winner for kids and parents alike.

(This is a repost of an article that also appeared on 12/12 Games.)


[Images: Nintendo]

WRUP Sucks, Let’s Party!

It's Unbelievable! It's unlikely you'll survive Infinity War Spoilers this weekend. So go watch that war move, then listen to punk music about war being bad, and go back to gaming. 

What games are we playing this weekend?

Greywolfe: what is wrup?  baby don't hurt me.  don't hurt me.  no more.  and all that.  i am basically daily questing my life away:  magic:  arena [which has had an economy update.  it's weird] and magic duels [which lives to fight another week] and eternal.  i was playing torment:  tides of numenera, but i've been awful and haven't touched that in a week or so.  i know.  i'm not playing real games.  i understand.  lol.

Andrew: Arcade Archives, all weekend long! I've just discovered that the revamped AA (Neo Geo) titles, as well as the three available Nintendo ones (Mario Bros, Punch-Out, and Vs Super Mario Bros), are every bit as fun as any of the old-school titles available on 3DS or Wii U. Also, while many of the Virtual Console games for some reason look unappealingly darker and less colorful than their original versions, the AA ones are crisp, beautiful, and picture-perfect. In addition, they are the arcade versions, meaning that they are graphically superior anyway and, in some cases, even more fun to play. Now I kind of want to see all the Virtual Console games to come to the Switch via Arcade Archives. One can always hope, right?

Yoda0vgs: Gnna try to crank out a lot of Blood and Wine then move on to Styx

Scroo: The usual for me mostly: Vermintide 2 and God of War. That is if I can take a take a day off to play games. I've been so slammed with work it's hard to have time to play anything for any measurable time.

Trulegendkiller: Hating on wool carpets. Why make something so soft anyway?

Dr. Strangethumb: Wondering why Tru is so down on wool carpets. They feel good under the feet of a god...