I’ve a twofer for this 12 in 12 update.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown was my game to play in March. I was excited to try this after seeing the hype for XCOM 2 a few months ago. I mean it’s got an alien invasion, tactical fighting on a grid, and quasi-futuristic weaponry. What isn’t to love? Well it turns out that I was overcome with boredom as I slogged through the first few missions.
Aliens are landing around the globe and it’s up to your missionary force to help repel the invaders. Unfortunately for your team, the world governments aren’t ponying up much cash for defense and they leave you struggling for resources to build up counter-assaults. Combat is a grid-based system where cover provides benefits to you or your opponents. Hide well and you’ll likely come out pretty good unless the random number generator that decides damage doesn’t quite go your way. “Come on! They had a 3% chance to hit me!”
XCOM is a fan favorite to many, but I am not one of them.
For the rest of March, I spent my time playing a lot of Stardew Valley. It’s a farming sim very much like Harvest Moon and Rune Factory where one clears out a farmstead, raises crops and animals, finds a spouse in town, and wreaks havoc on monsters in nearby caves. You know, typical farmer stuff. I didn’t realize how much I had been missing games like Harvest Moon until I picked this up and now it’s hard for me to put it down!
My April game was Retro City Rampage DX (RCR). I tried it ages back and for whatever reason, it didn’t quite keep me interested. Not remembering what it was, I hopped back in and I was soon reminded why, which I’ll get to in a moment.
The game’s camera is in a top-down view similar to that of the old Grand Theft Auto games, but instead here it’s NES-style graphics. I’d even venture to say that the look may more resemble the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game on the Nintendo than anything. RCR is chock full of pop-culture and video game references from the 80s and 90s with every single quest, named building, and named character somehow tying back to the past with such things as Back to the Future, The Rocketeer, Super Mario Bros., Contra, and so many more. Those references are where the charm of the game lies because the game itself is quite shallow. Almost every mission is some kind of fetch quest or kill a thing quest and there’s nothing to them. The only kind of entertainment I received was the novelty of what old reference was going to come next.
With that, thankfully RCR is only a few hours long because otherwise, I would have said, cut, it, out, and turned it off while making gestures with my fingers resembling a scissors, pointing, and tossing my thumb behind me. If someone disagrees with me on this, don’t have a cow, man.