City Quest & Fish vs. Crabs

A couple friends of mine have their games up on Kickstarter and Steam Greenlight. Please check them out!

City QuestCity Quest

“City Quest is a classic Point and Click adventure game about a small town farmer that comes to the big city to make his dreams come true. On his way to great success, he’ll solve puzzles, meet and converse with shady individuals, and make many poor decisions, often resulting in violent low resolution death.”

City Quest: Kickstarter | Steam Greenlight

Fish vs. CrabsFish vs. Crabs

“Fish vs. Crabs is a fully immersive 3D underwater Tower Defense Game. You play the role of the fish defending your eggs from invading crabs, shrimp and lobster. The invaders advance along the sandy ocean bottom toward their goal. You must strategically place your towers in an effort to prevent the invaders from reaching your eggs and escaping with them.”

Fish vs. Crabs: Kickstarter | Steam Greenlight

Terraria

After seeing tons of recommendations for Terraria online, Nick and I bought the game during a Steam sale last year. We finally got around to playing it this weekend and we’re hooked. 🙂

What is Terraria?

Terraria is an action-adventure RPG game that is more or less a 2D take on Minecraft. You create a character and then you explore, dig, craft, fight, and build in your own unique world. It also supports multiplayer, so you can play with your friends either online or via LAN. Terraria is available on PC and, as of last month, also PlayStation and Xbox.

Exploring the world
Exploring the world

What makes Terraria great?

Terraria is a sandbox game, which means it’s open for you to explore and play how you want to play. If you like swinging swords or throwing shurikens, you can do that. If you prefer to be a caster, you can focus on mana gear and use magic weapons. There aren’t classes, so you can switch it up anytime. You can choose to build amazing structures or spend your time exploring or fighting bosses… or all of the above!

Terraria has plenty of content to keep things interesting. There are lots of biomes (environments), 9 bosses, a handful of NPCs, tons of enemies to fight, and random events like blood moonsgoblin invasions, and meteorites.

A few other things I was impressed by in Terraria are water flow, lighting, and AI pathing.

What would make Terraria better?

Creating a character
Creating a character

I didn’t care for the character creation screen. It’s essentially a long list of things you can change the color of (from hair to clothing items). It’s a lot of back and forth between different screens adjusting RGB values.

The first time playing can be rough. A couple people I know tried Terraria only to be confused and turned off by the initial experience.

This one’s just a minor thing, but it would be nice to have some idea where the other players are when you’re playing multiplayer. It could be arrows on the screen indicating direction (like in Salem) or maybe it could be an item like the Depth Meter or Compass.

Oh, and ladders. Platforms are awkward. 😛

Overall Thoughts

I totally recommend picking up Terraria, especially if you’re a fan of Minecraft. I’m pretty hooked on it right now and I love exploring the world and coming across new things all the time. Plus, the Purple Phaseblade I got last night is pretty sweet. 😛

Playing with our new Phaseblades
Playing with our new Phaseblades

Terraria is also supposed to be getting a big update (version 1.2) in the next month or two, which I’m excited about. There’s a list of update spoilers in the official forum.

Hunger Games

Last month, The Google Play Store had a great deal on the Hunger Games trilogy – all 3 books for $5. We liked the Hunger Games movie and I had heard the books were great, so Nick and I each picked it up (it would be nice to be able to share books with your spouse, Google!).

Nick started to read the trilogy right away, but I was in the middle of The Great Gatsby and then Snow Crash, so I just added it to the long list of books I want to read. By the time Nick got to the second book, Catching Fire, he was completely engrossed and dying to talk to me about it. So, I dropped Snow Crash and started to read the Hunger Games trilogy.

The Hunger Games (Book #1)

Hunger GamesThe Hunger Games is a young adult science-fiction adventure novel that takes place in the future post-apocalyptic nation of Panem (formerly, North America). The districts of Panem are controlled by the Capitol, which is a wealthy, technologically-advanced metropolis where citizens are preoccupied with fashion and entertainment — while the people in the districts live in squalor.

The districts once rebelled against the Capitol, but failed. As a result, the Capitol created the Hunger Games, in which each of the 12 districts must send one young boy and one young girl to fight to the death each year in a televised battle.

If you’ve seen the movie, it actually follows the book pretty closely. Some details were left out of the movie (like Madge Undersee, Katniss’s hearing loss, Peeta’s lost leg, etc.) and parts of it felt a bit rushed, but I thought they did a great job. One interesting aspect that was omitted, though, was the avox subplot. An avox is someone who rebels against the Capitol and gets their tongue cut off as punishment. The avoxes then serve the Hunger Games tributes and Capitol citizens as domestic servants.

Catching Fire (Book #2)

Catching FireSince The Hunger Games wrapped up after the Hunger Games ended, I wasn’t sure where the story for Catching Fire was going to lead. Like its predecessor, though, it focuses on the Hunger Games… but this year is special because it’s the 75th Hunger Games. Every 25 years, there is a “Quarter Quell” edition of the Hunger Games that involves a twist to the game rules.

In the 25th Hunger Games, districts had to vote to choose their tributes (rather than being chosen in a lottery). In the 50th Hunger Games, the number of tributes from each district was doubled. I’m not going to spoil what the twist is in the 75th Hunger Games, though. 😉

Catching Fire was every bit as good as The Hunger Games and I can’t wait to see it in theater this November. A teaser trailer for the movie was just released yesterday (see below).

Mockingjay (Book #3)

MockingjayMockingjay was a bit different than the other two books in the series, largely because it wasn’t about the Hunger Games. Instead, it centers around the districts’ rebellion against the oppressive Capitol. The mockingjay has become a symbol for the rebellion and is used as a propaganda tool to unite the districts. I’m not going to say much more about the plot because I don’t want to spoil it. 😉

Apparently, Mockingjay is going to be split into two movies, which I’m not thrilled about… especially since Part 1 and Part 2 are going to be released a year apart. Bummer.

In sum, I loved the Hunger Games trilogy and highly recommend it. Even though I had already seen the first movie, I found myself glued to the story and I finished the trilogy in a week and a half. 😛