Category: Games

Indoor Activities

It’s Winter, and that means it’s cold and there’s a lot of snow. The snow wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for the cold. And the cold is always bad.

I mean, I like the cold, as I can do things to combat the cold. I can always put on more layers. But that wind can be really biting. Really really biting. And I can only cover my face so much without, well, without wandering accidentally into traffic.

And it’s a little worse for Liam as I have to bundle him up a little more. Not to the point where he can’t walk or anything, but it does make it more difficult.

So it’s Winter, and we want to make sure he get’s enough exercise. Now, in terms of outdoor activities in Ottawa, they’re limited to(at least at his age) to walking and snow shoveling(of which he loves). Walking is frustrating as he needs to take is ‘bike’ with him, which is a three wheeler that doesn’t travel in the snow very well. Or the sled, and then he just wants to sit, which isn’t a great form of exercise(just ask his Dad).

So we got him a year pass to the local FunHaven. I think it might be he only FunHaven, but just in case it isn’t ill specify that it’s the local one.

If you’ve never been, FunHaven is this cool place that’s not far away where Liam can run around and be a two year old. It’s split up into multiple activities, all of which you would have to pay for separately. The nice thing is that there’s no entry fee, just a fee for the stuff you want to do. Liam likes Ballocity. It’s a huge three level platform play place with air cannon ball shooters and a couple of big slides. Off to the side is a play kitchen and a little play house thingy. Liam likes it all. Mom and Dad like the big comfy chairs for the parents. We have a blast in there every time we go and it tires the heck out of him, which is good. However, it also costs $12 every time, so the thought of a $100 all you can play pass was pretty appealing. Also, considering that we were there 3 times that week alone(between Christmas and going back to work) it should pay for itself pretty quickly.

Before making this decision though, we did check around for cheaper options, and one of the local rec centers does have this play hour thing, but it’s during the day(not so helpful) and only for an hour. So FunHaven it is.

It’s pretty easy to amuse a toddler, but almost never cheap 😉

Lunch Time Demos: Orcs Must Die

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When I downloaded this game I really didn’t read the description. I find that true with most apps/games that I grab. I skim, I look at the pictures and since it’s free I download it regardless.

With this demo I thought I was getting a pretty standard FPS, but what I actually got was an FPS Tower Defense. And I’m not even upset about it Smile

Here’s the description from the site:

Orcs Must Die! challenges players to defend fortresses under siege. With a wide variety of traps and weapons to choose from, Orcs Must Die! dares players to find the best ways to hack, launch, flatten, gibletize, and incinerate an endless army of filthy orcs and their vile allies.

When the game loads there’s not much of a tutorial going on. There’s a screen saying how to move(standard WASD there) and some other keys that I forget. Then you pretty much jump right into it. The first thing it tells you to do is open your spell book and choose your weapons and traps. And then you choose where to plop down your first set up traps, and then you start killing orcs.

It’s really that easy.

Of course you only start out with so much money but as you kill orcs you get more money. There’s also breaks in-between the waves so that you can setup more traps. And you can always set traps as you’re killing orcs, as long as you have money. The first wave doesn’t start until you say so, so you have that extra amount of time to lay things down or at least look around to see what the map is like.

Like other Tower Defense games, the orcs start on one side, the the portal is on the other. And you’re in the middle with your stuff. Initially you only start with two weapons; crossbow and sword. I never used the sword only because it was close range and, well, I started to die pretty quick. The crossbow also has a secondary attack of stunning groups of orcs. I wonder if the sword had a secondary attack?

Graphics wise, it was pretty good. But the screen shots tell it better than I would.

The writing was also a treat. Very much on the light side with quips such as “The orcs always break down the door, we should really look into that”. But it wasn’t bogged down in it with the main hero saying things all the time that might start to get annoying. In fact, the only time I really noticed was when the orcs were getting further along than they should. So it’s informational as well.

The demo only had three levels, but gave I think enough of a hook to make you want to buy the rest of the game.

It’s currently $15 on Steam and if you have the extra cash, I would recommend it. If not, there’s always the Demo Smile

Lunch Time Demos: Anomaly Warzone Earth

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Everyone loves tower defense games! Right!?

Well, for the sake of this review let’s assume that everyone does.

And for the most part, I actually do. Yes, they tend to get a little tedious and whatnot, but still fun casual play. But all tower defense games have one thing in common; it’s always about defense. What about the people trying to get through? This is where AWE comes in. It takes the angle of the people trying to get from A to B, all the while avoiding the defenses built up.

Yes, another indie game, but I’m telling you, that’s where all the interesting stuff is Smile

In AWE, you’re in control of, what can only be called, a runner. He runs around, collecting things, and either changes the direction of your troops, heals/fixes them, and upgrades them. You get to plan your path(and adjust if needed) to get your troops from A to B. Your troops are ever moving forward, so you have to keep up with them, and collect, and change routes. It’s all very hectic.

However, you can kind of curb that. When you start your missions, there are three options; Casual, Normal and Hardcore. I chose Casual, because, well, I am. And even with that, I wasn’t able to pass the first mission the first time Sad smile

In the demo, each level really goes through some basics. The first mission is just to keep your troops alive, so all you can do is change the path and do some healing.

Unlike most tower defense games, which are generally browser based, the graphics are just beautiful. Rendered really nicely with all sorts of fun texture effects. And as the runner, you can use the buildings to hide behind as you wait for your troops to catch up to you. I was playing on the PC, but I know it’s also available for the Android and IOS devices. And there’s some fun contrast to how you see the world(well call it normal graphics) and the enemy fire. At least on the first level, all enemy fire looked more like the original Asteroids game. I liked it.

Level 2 adds another level to the game. Instead of just A to B, you actually have to do something(fix a probe). While I guess this is kinda A to B, it has more of a purpose. And hey, there’s finally a fire fight going on. Little turrets pop out and start shooting. Again, the enemy stuff seems to be more vector graphics instead of the textured stuff, which is still a nice contrast.

It also introduces the buy option, where you can add/upgrade your troops. For each enemy you kill, you get money, and that can be spent at anytime. Like a tower defense game!

Overall, this is a really fun game that could appeal to the casual gamer as well as someone more active. The multiple checkpoints in each level are like mini-saves, so if you bugger it up(like I did on the first level) you can go back to that checkpoint and start there.

Would I buy it? Actually, I already did. It’s in the latest Humble Bundle and(at the time of this writing) is available for the next 11 days for whatever you want to pay.

I’d go get it if I were you Smile

Lunch Time Demos: Hard Reset

Another indie title this time around, makes me wonder if I’ll just be doing indies, not that it’s a bad thing, but it’s a thing.

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Hard Reset is an action packed FPS from Flying Wild Hog, and it’s currently selling on Steam for about $30.

As far as FPS’s go, it’s pretty typical. You have a gun, you run around shooting things, and those things go boom.  But if I didn’t already know that this was an indie title, I wouldn’t have believed it if you told me. The graphics are gorgeous, and it really sets the mood and tone of the game. It’s very dark and run down, what you would expect from a cyberpunk theme. And the overall interface is really well done. In the game you can run around and collect credits, which you can then use to upgrade your two guns(but really more than two) or your combat enhancements. That upgrade interface is something that I want for my computer now! Unlike most games where you have to click an action key to start using things, in Hard Reset you just have to get close enough and your gun disappears and the interface pops up. Then it pretty much surrounds you with options, and reminds me a lot of the Minority Report interface. But cooler.

It’s too bad the official site doesn’t have a screen shot of it, I don’t think my description is going it justice. But the game is more than just a couple of pretty interfaces.

The overall plot is that the city you occupy is the last hold out for humanity, and the machines want to take over. So all the enemies(at least in the demo) are robotic in nature. This drives another cool part of the game where there are ‘energy’ kiosks that you can destroy to injure the bots. These kiosks are all over the place, and it’s a good thing because these bots tend to swarm on you. Also, most things have a tendency to blow up, and that also works to your advantage. I don’t know why you would plan a city with so many explody bits, but whatever, it works Winking smile

As mentioned before, the upgrade system let’s you upgrade one of two weapons; your machine gun or plasma gun. But they are really a ton of guns rolled into one…two. The machine gun will also house a rocket launcher, combat shotgun, grenade launcher and have other upgrades. The plasma will also do a grenade thing, an EMP burst, area effect shock cannon and other upgrades. You switch back and forth with the Q and E button, and then get more detailed with the 1-5 keys(or mouse wheel). It takes a little while to get used to but is pretty effective as you only have two kinds of ammo to worry about. The personal interface is in the bottom left and it shows the usual, including your rechargeable shields.

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Blue ammo is Plasma, red is bullets. They have these little symbols that tell you the kind of gun/version you’re using, but I didn’t find that nearly as helpful as the actual title of the gun/version.

The demo is pretty fast paced and ends with a nice swarm attack that took me a couple of tries to get through. It has an autosave feature, but I didn’t notice a proper save feature(maybe not in the demo).

 

So would I buy it?

If I had the extra cash, I would. No problems there. As I don’t have the extra cash, and it’s $30, I might even save up my pennies for a later purchase, or wait for a sale on Steam.

But the demo, as always, is free, and if you have the time, I would grab it and go Smile