«

Game Reviews

Factorio

Recommended
289.2 hrs at review time
Posted: 12 Mar, 2019 @ 5:37pm
Updated: 23 Jun, 2021 @ 10:16pm
EARLY ACCESS REVIEW
__________

I cannot believe it’s been three years since the game got on Steam and I still haven’t posted a review. I’ve been playing since v0.9.8, so I wanted to wait a while and think before writing its review. Instead what I did was boot up the game and forget about life. And just to make it clear what I mean by ‘forget about life:’ You see how Steam claims I’ve played 300 hours? What it doesn’t say is that it was only booted two times. I avoid playing this game as much as I can, but every now and then, about once a year when I have at least a full week off, I’ll make sure I have enough food supplies and a pillow next to my keyboard, brace myself, and start this up. And oh, let me tell you, what’s coming after that, those are some the best days of my life. Forget about travelling, forget about meeting your heroes, forget about making a scientific breakthrough, this game right here is all you need to make the whole year worth it and anything else is irrelevant at that point.

That being said, I think it would be immoral to recommend this game to anyone. I used to think I’m incapable of getting addicted to anything before playing this, and to be frank, I’m still not entirely sure whether I am addicted or the game is just exceptionally well made, but the end result is clear. I never played a game for more than a few hours before discovering Factorio, yet here I am, pondering whether the time has come to play it again like I’m planning my death. And the thought seems very appealing. But if you are willing to accept the consequences and you’re absolutely sure you know what you’re getting into, oh you’re in for a proper good time.


June 2021 edit: Fuck Kovarex. Still the best game though, but he certainly killed the mood. I hope he learns to be less of a cunt, cause there’s certainly a hint of good intent behind all the shit.



Star Trek Online

Recommended
794.1 hrs at review time
Posted: 31 Oct, 2019 @ 6:42am
__________

Alright, fuck it, you’ve got me. I’ve put however many hundred hours it says up there into this game, and I can barely give over 20 hours to most games. It is a horrible bug ridden hole that works so well it needs a command to kill yourself when you get stuck in a leaf. It’s also, as you’d expect from a free mmo, a money hungry pay-to-win that keeps all the shiny new ships and stuff behind a paywall. Except that it’s not really. I’ve been playing on and off since around 2012, and I’ve yet to hit that paywall. Sure, I go in PvP and get one shot killed before I even have time to look at the screen, but a lot of that comes down to not perfecting my build. And the magic expensive stuff I’m hit by. Outside of that, though, the game’s been dumping so much free stuff on me I don’t even have a reason to look at the store. Actually, that’s a lie, I had a look to see if I can increase the ship limit, because I’ve somehow got close to a hundred ships for free across my characters. And don’t get me wrong, I want to hate it, I absolutely despise microtransactions... but I just love STO? It’s the best recreation of the Star Trek universe we have, and I’ve wasted endless hours just flying around, exploring and doing the occasional mission. And oh, there are a lot of great episodes. It’s wonderful. It’s a horrible game, but it feeds my love for Star Trek.



Sins Of A Solar Empire: Rebellion

Recommended
20.8 hrs at review time
Posted: 31 Oct, 2019 @ 7:47am
Updated: 31 Oct, 2019 @ 7:50am
Product received for free
__________

Quite simply the best RTS I ever played. I’ll be honest though, I only got this game for the Star Trek: Armada III mod. Played a few vanilla games with a friend, so I can tell you the gameplay isn’t much different, but for the love of god, please do yourself a favour and get the mod.


First time I tried it, I played as the Federation against Romulans. Started with a nice flagship I had to protect. Not like that’s gonna be any issue, eh? Thing’s got more hull and firepower than anything I could pump out at the start. Went around the system following the Starfleet tradition of liberating planets and integrating them into our collective consciousn—ahem. As I was saying, beautiful ships, very pretty explosions, spent most of the game with the UI hidden taking screenshots, just sweeping through systems with ease, for we are definitely not a military organisation. So naturally, when we finally met the Romulans an hour or two in, I didn’t think twice about it. Send in the Ambassador, they’ll be dealt with in time for breakfast. What’s that? Two D’deridexes? Pff, we’ve got Galaxies and Defiants, relax.

Game over. Unlike me, they didn’t forget the rules and only targeted the flagship. Get back to the title screen, and there it sits, the very D’deridex that killed me, just taunting me. I allied with the Borg and eradicated their pitiful race.

Very short game, I was expecting more. Next day I set everything to longest and went all v all with a second star accessible only via one asteroid. Many glorious battles were fought, let me tell you. That wretched asteroid kept claiming ship after ship as everyone failed to reach into the other empires’ space. Eventually I managed to get to the second star thanks to a well planned covert mission as the main fleet sacrificed itself providing just enough distraction to let a colony vessel pass. My empire was lost to the Cardassians, but it didn’t matter, for I had an entire unexplored system all to myself, where I could rebuild my forces and overtake the galaxy! I jump to the first planet to set up my new capital and... yeah, you guessed it, already taken over by the Borg. It was nice while it lasted.

Borg cube taunting me on the title screen.


That’s the story of how I was found by my family, after 40 hours, presumed dead until one of them built up the courage to poke me. I didn’t move.



Kerbal Space Program

Recommended
13.4 hrs at review time
Posted 1 September, 2021 @ 12:17pm
Product received for free
__________

I have figured out all the characteristics of Schwarzschild black holes, what causes the event horizons, how photons interact with them, that there’s a photon sphere, and far more than I am willing to acknowledge, all in the span of two hours, entirely by myself, because I made ONE warp jump in this game.

10/10, you’ll become an astrophysicist in no time.

xkcd 1356.

Or it might’ve been the Pfizer jab earlier that day, idk.



Floating Point

Recommended
4.8 hrs at review time
Posted: 3 Sep, 2021 @ 8:14pm
__________

Good palette cleanser. Ultimate webswinging game. Very soothing and satisfying.



Kerbal Space Program 2

Recommended
5.6 hrs at review time
Posted: 26 Feb, 2023 @ 8:34pm
EARLY ACCESS REVIEW
__________

Right off the bat let me tell you that this is barely even a tech demo. If you are expecting a full playable game, don’t fucking buy this, play the original KSP instead. This is just a stripped down version with prettier graphics and jankier everything. As the opening cutscene says, “After years of focused effort, this collection of geniuses has created... several VERY impressive buildings.”


I do not actually recommend anyone to buy this. But alas, I am an absolute fangirl. Like, I test games for a living. Publishers pay me to test their games. Meanwhile, the publishers of KSP2 are asking us to pay them to test their game. It is absolutely preposterous and a total ripoff and this should absolutely be something like an open beta with limited keys and you only buy the game when it’s actually finished. But, right, if the original KSP is your favourite game, if you’ve been playing it since the earliest versions and you want to go through the same journey again, you are definitely going to love this and pay up regardless. So I did.


So what does the game actually offer right now? It doesn’t go interstellar yet, there’s no way you could land a colony and make it last for more than a load, it has a very limited number of parts, it doesn’t even have asteroids or science or career mode or IVA or controller support or detailed orbital readouts and aerodynamics overlays, let alone anything like planning to implement n-body physics so I’m really curious how the binary planets are gonna work and god dammit I just wanna play with lagrange points—*ahem*.

What it does have, is some very pretty graphics, axial tilt on some planets, lovely sound effects, a soundtrack ranging between quite nice star trekky vibes to generic space soundtrack, and a cute tutorial. And that tutorial is the only reason I can think of why any normal person would want to play this now. KSP1 had the most brutal tutorials imaginable. They basically just tell you fly to the moon and then go match orbits with a random asteroid in deep space to bring it back home, good fucking luck figuring out how to even begin doing that, you have two years, your time starts now.

To that, KSP2 offers the ELI5 version. It has hours of very detailed guides taking you through every single little step. And I mean every, including two or three full paragraphs between you selecting a part and you plopping it on. Now I got bored after an hour of having super basic stuff explained to me and no amount of fun voice acting could save that, but if you have no prior understanding of rocketry, I’m sure these tutorials would be very useful to you. Look them up on youtube and try them out in KSP1 if you don’t wanna wait until KSP2 is playable.


In stark contrast with what seems to be the popular opinion, I hate the VAB controls. I cannot for the life of me position the camera how I want, the UI feels like it’s getting in the way all the time, translating mirrored parts never syncs properly and always ends up with one offset from the other, the Centers overlays feel way bigger and in the way, I’m not even sure if the Center of Lift is updated correctly or the shape of the procedural wings simply does not affect lift at all, the menus are needlessly massive and info panels feel unintuitive, the part highlights make it more difficult to differentiate parts below them, everything feels clunky. And that extends outside of the VAB too. The flight camera feels extremely limited with no option to focus on certain parts or pan to the sides, I’m pretty sure the readouts don’t actually work reliably and the map view simply cannot open the Ap/Pe hover info most of the time, manoeuvre nodes feel harder to use than just eyeballing it, orbit lines just disappear randomly, every single vessel or kerbal I have landed on another moon and planet has fallen through the ground, upon returning to vessels left in orbit they start spinning out of control and propelling themselves around the place with no input or control, the sun shines through planets, the list just goes on and on. It’s super early access. It’s incredibly buggy and barely playable in many ways. But you know what? I had fun with it.


Also despite what everyone says, I think the performance is actually quite alright all things considering, especially since I only have a 3050 instead of the recommended 3080. Now I must admit I haven’t pushed it too far, I like making minimalist compact rockets, but the game never dropped below 30fps and mostly stayed at 60. It’s terribly optimised for how little seems to actually be going on on the screen, but it’s a super early alpha, I expected far far worse.



Saira

Recommended
3.3 hrs at review time
Posted: 16 Apr, 2023 @ 7:13pm
__________

I have literally named myself after this game.



Star Trek: Infinite

Recommended
17.4 hrs at review time
Posted: 15 Oct, 2023 @ 3:20pm
__________

Look, if you want the entirety of Star Trek lore to play out in the right order and have every empire and ship fully accurately represented, play the New Horizons / New Civilisations mods for Stellaris instead. But you know what? Fuck it, this is nice, I like it, I’ve put 20 hours into it in one sitting. Stellaris was always a perfect Star Trek game, this is the spinoff it’s supposed to be. Can’t wait for the major bugs to get fixed, it’s gonna be great.


And if you do decide to give it a try now, just a heads up, when you liberate Bajor and you’re suddenly locked out of all diplomatic communications... yeah, that’s why. Have fun <3



Simutrans

Not Recommended
39.2 hrs at review time
Posted: 18 Feb, 2024 @ 12:03pm
__________

After three full long days of playing this I have managed to set up a train that made one successful trip, then proceeded to wait ten years at a station refusing to load its second shipment because the factory is full and has no customers because the map is empty. Strap in, this is going to be a story.


Day 1

Let me preface this by saying that I decided to finally play this game after the Factorio community sent me to OpenTTD, which after being genuinely surprised to learn in less than a day, gave me the confidence to finally boot up Simutrans.

Every. Single. Fucking. Bit of UI this game has. Hates me. After a day of settings resetting randomly all the time with no real way to change any of them outside of map creation and ignoring the config file most of the time, switching from left to right side drive and disabling beginner mode on save load, the fps cap outright refusing to stay at 60 after any change, the one-second day-night cycle trying to give me a seizure no matter how many times I disable it, bits of text overlapping everywhere, vehicles disconnecting from their assigned schedules and lines all the fucking time, just every single setting being adamant on having its way and its way alone. Right, by the end of this very long day of barely being able to convince the UI to do anything and trying to figure out what each object wants to let me place it, utterly failing to find anything on the absolutely useless wiki and forum with contradicting info, I have ended up with one very simple network of trucks, buses, and mail vans supplying a dairy factory, and a tram line in a nearby city that of course does not allow me to run it two-way. And apart from milk trucks making easy profit, everything else is just such a tight squeeze. If ANY of the stations or vehicles are less than 95% full, you’re losing money. I’ve basically run my funds into a very slow crawl.


Day 2

But the focus of this game is trains, right? So I start a new game and set up the supply for a supermarket. Jesus fucking christ the rail tools are so horrible. At least I figured eventually that if intersections don’t connect in all directions, it’s only visual, they are in fact secretly connected. Signals though have no excuse. As opposed to OTTD, there’s only block signals and they’re not unidirectional. Them being visually outside their tile makes it super hard to tell what track they connect to. And as opposed to Factorio, you also cannot place different signal types on each side of a bidirectional signal, and pre-signals only seem to read one signal ahead so you cannot nicely tell a train to wait two intersections away from a track that, if entered, would deadlock all trains trying to clear the station it’s heading to. At this point with every adjustment I’m doing, I just run into more annoying limitations I didn’t think possible.

And then, as I keep sifting through the wiki after going bankrupt, I notice the page for how signals work in Simutrans Extended.


Day 3

Oh my fucking god this is the best thing I have ever seen in any video game ever! It’s got multiple aspect signals, it’s got unidirectional signals, it’s got permissive signals, the choose signals can also be used to path trains bypassing a station, it’s got drive by sight, it’s got signal boxes that actually determine how signals interact with each other, it’s got so many signaling technologies going all the way back to fucking staff signals! STAFF SIGNALS! I have never in my entire life imagined that a game could possibly ever even remotely entertain the idea of potentially adding staff signals! Holy fucking shit why isn’t this the default version?? And it doesn’t even stop at signals, it simulates weight tolerances, axle load, brake force for determining safe speeds to approach signals, it’s got fucking brake vans for christ’s sake, it’s probably got every single thing an absurdly massive train nerd like me could possibly think of hidden somewhere in there. This is the game I came for. This is what everyone praises Simutrans for. This is the insane level of simulation this game boasts.


But in spite of all of that, it’s still got an incredibly clunky UI, it’s somehow got even less tools and quality of life features for controlling schedules and building vehicles, and it’s got some really odd tweaks to gameplay. Like, the catchment area of passenger stations is an entire town now, cities are fully squared blocks, you can no longer adjust the timetable, you can only set the minimum load instead of max so you can’t balance multiple resources on the same train, and you can’t even easily type two or three digit percentages into that box because each digit you press also highlights the entire text to replace it and the box barely displays half a fucking digit anyway. And I just rebooted the game to check, and apparently half of these features are missing only when you play at 125% UI scaling because your eyes will genuinely start hurting from how much you’ll have to fucking squint to see anything. No wonder the settings reset with each boot, eh?

I have, right, I had a steelworks factory, with two iron mines and one colliery linked to it, requiring roughly 2:1 iron to coal. They all load into the same type of bulk goods wagon, so I decided to have one train taking half iron half coal from one side of the map, and a second train filling in the rest of the iron from the other side. For the first time since playing this game, the only thing I was battling was finding out there’s even more things it simulates, which is wonderful. And disconnected tracks, because even if you draw a straight line it’s still disconnected for some fucking reason. But, right, train grabs a staff, crawls to the iron mine at 30km/h out of the max 56km/h, and proceeds to load 60%. Ok, sure, fuck you, but go on. It arrives at the coal mine and loads the rest, claiming it’s 90% full. Ok, I lower that station’s requirement to 90% and off you pop back to the factory. Unloads, ignores the staff and drives by sight faster at 35km/h, loads 11% iron and waits a few months for it to produce more, this time leaving with, you guessed it, 70 fucking % out of the 50% minimum it had to load to leave. Arrives at the coal mine, loads up to 95% on the wagons but locomotive claims it’s stuck at 89%. Ok, I did add one passenger coach, maybe it doesn’t know how to read it, so fuck it, I lower that station to 50% too and off you pop again. This time it actually picks the staff from the factory and proceeds at 56km/h, god in heaven knows why it didn’t before. The iron:coal ratio varies a lot over the next two or three runs, but at least it’s driving consistently now. And then it just stops for a decade at the iron mine. Why? Well after reading the other negative steam reviews, it seems this was the breaking point for a lot of other people too. The factory is full and has no customers, so it’s refusing to load more deliveries.

So basically, you need to set up the entire production chain to be able to run any routes and make money from them. You can’t start from the end because there’s nothing to produce from, and if you start from the start you’ll spend all your money on the first route with no way to make that money back because the routes will be saturated too early. The only way to play this game seems to be sticking to freeplay or trudging through marginal profits via passenger routes for a few years.


And honestly at this point, with how much faff every single thing you’re trying to wrangle the terrible UX into doing takes, I just give up. I gave this game three full days, and it’s been nothing but frustrating. I genuinely want to love it so badly. I’d absolutely adore a game with this obscene level of train nerdyness that is actually playable, but Simutrans is just a bunch of really cool ideas glued to an absolutely terrible gameplay experience, with the extended edition feeling more like a badly put together mod than an actual polished game.



No comments:

Post a Comment