Steam Winter Sale Splurges

Unless I am overtaken by an overwhelming urge to make just one last purchase, I am done with the 2020-2021 Steam Winter Sale. For someone with over nearly 300 games on her wish list, I found it surprisingly easy to whittle my choices down to a couple of dozen titles I was most interested in this time around. Many titles were eliminated from contention due to having seen better prices in the past, and I have quite a few games on my wishlist that have yet to release. However, I found that, while scrolling through, there were quite a few that I just wasn’t that interested in anymore, so I’m probably not far off from yet another wish list cleanout.

The First Cart – $50.82

I thought I had done so well, keeping my first cart under $50, but it ended up being just over once sales tax was applied. I finally gave in and picked up Disco Elysium – the new computer I bought in the fall has a NVIDIA video card, so I no longer have to worry about the problems reported with AMD cards. The news that the game is going to receive a giant free update means I’ll likely wait until then to play it, but I expect it’ll also see less deep discounts as that gets closer.

Godhoood has been on my wish list practically since it was announced, as I’ve been a big fan of all of Abbey Games’ previous titles, but early reviews weren’t great. Since it’s original release, it seems that things have improved quite a bit, since it’s now sitting at an overall Mostly Positive, and that was good enough for me to finally pull the trigger.

I picked up three small puzzle titles that I’ve had my eye on for awhile, but my big wild card choice was Uagi-Saba, a creature raising simulator that seems to have flown under everyone’s radar, having only a dozen reviews more than two years after release. I’m getting some major Creatures-vibes from this one, and I used to love those game (although they’ve aged poorly, in my opinion).

The Second Cart – $20.86

Another case of sales tax messing up my carefully budgeted purchase! I had already decided to skip getting any other “big” games, and instead to just pick up $20 worth of smaller titles. I debated far far longer over this cart than the first one.

Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker I decided to pick up to play during #DatingSiMonth. Archeo: Shinar is a game I keep only almost buying, but I love the concept of managing a team of archeologists, and it will probably be among the first games purchased this sale that I play. Despotism 3K is a resource management simulation game that is probably going to be too challenging for me to enjoy long term, but maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised. My final pickups were two more puzzle games – apparently I can’t get enough of those – Animated Puzzles and Senna and the Forest.

Titles that I seriously considered during this shop, but that ultimately didn’t make the cut, included Firewatch, The Almost Gone, and Sagebrush, three narrative heavy games. Ultimately, I decided that games with less of a story focus were more likely to see playtime before the next major sale.

Games I Was Gifted

I received four games from friends during this sale, and although only one of the four was something I was considering buying for myself this time around, I’m pretty stoked to try out all of them. In fact, I’ve already played the tutorial level of Dawn of Man, which I expect to lose many many hours to, and have decided to start Outer Wilds later this week for #PuzzleGameMonth. I have no doubt I’m going to love Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, and Donut Country is the kind of puzzle game I am likely to blow through in a weekend.

Overall, I probably acquired too many new games (especially in light of how many games I’m interested in from the January Humble Choice and the Fanatical Mega Bundle I scooped up a few days ago), but I’m absolutely delighted to have added all these titles to my library.

Nerd Girl Goals – January 2021

Can I just say it felt so good to type 2021 up there? Oh, 2020, I am not sad to see you go, despite all the big plans I had for myself at the start.

So, new year, new style graphic, same kinds of goals. Here we go!


Subscription MMO – World of Warcraft

I feel sort of like a broken record, but I’m still 100% in for Shadowlands. Stands in Bad starts raiding for real on the sixth, and I’ve managed to slowly crawl my way up to a 185 item level, so at least I have that going for me. I’m back on track to pay for my game time with tokens, but I think I’ll have to dedicate some actual time to farming if I want to keep it up.

I’ve got my legendary item made for three out of four of my max level characters, and I’m about to begin working the second set of four. A Twitter poll has indicated I should start with the priest, so she’s abandoned her spot in front of the engineer-only auction house to actually explore more of Shadowlands than just Oribos and start working her way up to 60.

Although gearing felt slow and painful in the early weeks of Shadowlands, now that we’ve unlocked several chapters of the covenant campaign, alt-gearing to the point where you don’t feel totally underpowered doing basic wizard chores is a breeze. This is fine for me, since I’m not overly focused on group content, especially with minor alts. I expect to have at least two more level 60s fully kitted out from covenant gear by the end of the month.


Community Game-Along: #PuzzleGameMonth

I’ve decided to play Outer Wilds during January for #PuzzleGameMonth. This is a game I’m either going to absolutely love or it’s going to frustrate me to no end. That is, in fact, the main reason I’ve been putting off picking it up, but one of my lovely WoW-guildmates sent it over as a Steam Santa present. Whereas I would normally lose track of it in my library and maybe fire it up for the first time in 2025, I thought I’d put it on the front burner and give it a whirl.

As usual, I want to have a couple games on deck, in case I get into a fit of not knowing what to play (or in case my main game-along game doesn’t work out). This month, I’m going to choose a few different type of puzzle games as back up. Figment is a narrative puzzle adventure game, SpaceChem is a challenging logic-based puzzler, and Road Not Taken is a puzzle-focused roguelike.

GAMING

Play to Satisfaction

For me, saying “Play to Satisfaction” gives me explicit permission to drop a game that’s not working for me, but also to grind away for nerd points if I’m really loving something. I’m trying to make it a policy for myself that I will always play to satisfaction – no more, no less.


Outside of my MMO time, and my puzzle gaming, I would like to pick something else that’s non-narrative to dabble in this month. A couple of months ago, I picked up Megaquarium, but I haven’t even installed it yet. This feels like the right combination of engaging gameplay with a low-brainpower requirement to be my side game this month.


Other Nerdstuff

I’ve managed to squeak by on my GoodReads reading challenges the past two years, so I’m upping it to 48 books in 2021. I’m already a handful of books (and therefore podcast episodes) behind for The Pike Cast, but I also have oodles of other things I’d like to read or re-read, and I’d really like to redirect my energy there instead of just browsing Reddit on my phone while lying in bed.

I also want to make a plan to get back to more hands-on crafty stuff. My in-laws bought me a HUGE box of colored pencils for my birthday, so I’m dying to make myself a space to work and bust into those. I also can’t remember the last time I picked up a yarn project, or cross-stitch, or pretty much anything craft related. Although there are definitely home improvement projects that need to be done in order to have a decent space for myself for these kinds of things, I need to find a way to make it happen in the meantime.

I’d also like to restart an art journal of some sort this year. I’m comfortable with being pretty awful at all things related to drawing, and I don’t expect vast improvements, but I still enjoy doing a doodle every now and then.

Quick Look – Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments (#AdventureGameDec)

I had such good intentions this month.

It wasn’t even a case of not liking the game – Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments is great! Early in the month, I played through the first two cases, The Fate of Black Peter and Riddle on the Rails, and I fully intended to get back to it.

But World of Warcraft has really devoured all my gaming time this month, and it’s not like December doesn’t have anything else going on. I just never managed to carve out 90 minutes or so where I could really get deeply involved with a story game after completing the second chapter.

That was, in fact, the only complaint I had about the game. I’m actually really glad it required thinking and paying close attention to the story, but that also made it nearly impossible to take an extended break in the middle of a case. More than a day or two, and I’m fairly sure I would have had to restart any given case. That said, carving out a couple hours to play through a case isn’t at all an unreasonable ask.

I loved that the game allows you to … well, it lets you totally drop the ball. Each case has a right answer, of course, but it’s also really easy to overlook something and end up accusing the wrong person (or the right person for the wrong reason). You also have the opportunity to make a moral decision at the end of each case, and that will effect the way the final scene plays out. As with just about any adventure game, there’s some tedious backtracking and some pixel-hunting, but overall, I found those things mild enough to not detract from the experience.

I absolutely intend to go back at some point and play through the remaining four cases, but this just wasn’t the time for me to play something so heavily story-focused.

Steam Winter Sale – Deals I’m Debating

It’s that time of year again, and although I primarily enjoy the two major yearly Steam sales for the opportunity to send (deeply discounted) presents to my friends, I do also tend to spoil myself rotten. Since my husband and I mostly don’t do gifts for Christmas or our birthdays (both of which are close to the holiday season), we do tend to get a little splurgey on whatever fun stuff catches our eyes this time of year.

On the first day of the sale, I check out all the stuff on my wish list that’s marked down and try to prioritize. As per usual, I find myself debating whether I’d rather pick up some pricier titles with some real meat to them, or if I want to pick up a whole mess of smaller indie games. This year, I decided to make two lists of similar cost, and then turned those into a graphic to really look at my options.

Even throwing a couple of somewhat higher-priced titles onto the “cheap stuff” side, I was surprised that picking my top three “big” games actually would cost just a smidgen more than buying all fourteen titles on the right.

Although the graphic makes it look like this is an absolute binary choice, it’s absolutely not. In reality, it’s much more likely I’ll grab one from the left, and four or five from the right, and call it a sale. After I’m done with all my gift purchases, of course. In fact, between making this graphic and posting this blog, I can no longer just go for the three games on the left, since I’ve been hit by the Steam Sale Santa and gifted Outer Wilds as an early birthday present!


Are you planning any purchases this year during the Steam Winter sale? Or are you side-eyeing your backlog and making the choice to hold off on new games?

Long Live the Queen! Turns 351-360

The Project Explained

Long Live the Queen is a collaborative Civilization VI base game play through and blogging project conceived of by Naithin at Time to Loot. We have 8 players, and each player is responsible for taking 10 turns and writing about our progress. I drew fifth in the randomly generated line-up.

The Story So Far…

If you need to know how we got to where we are, just pop on over to Time to Loot, where Naithan has kept track of all of our shenanigans in a really nifty list of links. Tessa had to sit this round out due to an injury, so I’m taking over from Paeroka this time around.

Turns 351-360

Holy cow, there’s a lot going on here. I’m not sure how much of that has to do with just being late game, and how much has to do with England maybe not having the most cohesive growth plan ever.

I, however, have decided to put as much focus as possible during my turns on the Space Race. During turn 352, I am able to start the Earth Satellite Launch in Stoke-Upon-Trent, and then send Carl Sagan right over to finish it off. I then set them to working on the Moon Landing. Research into Sufferage completes, and I start us on Totalitarianism, despite the fact we’re still rocking a Monarch, more options are good, right?

We also have not one, but two great Admirals in London. I have no idea what we’re supposed to do with them, because I don’t think we have a single naval military unit on the map. Perhaps UnwiseOwl will be able to find some use for them.

Despite not focusing so much on Culture, I gave Roosevelt 30 turns worth of resources for an Edgar Allen Poe story. Which Pedro then immediately demanded I give him. Sorry Pedro, you have nothing to offer me – and I do mean nothing. Two turns later, Gilgamesh also asks us for the book, but I turn him down as well. Apparently, this is an exciting book, and I made a good trade getting my hands on it.

Once we finished our research into Robotics, I took a small detour into Plastics, in order to open up both more oil access and some extra food from fishing. I also started production on some additional builders (one in Ur, and one in Bristol) as our population seems to be stagnating, and having a little extra food never hurts.

We built three new farms near Ur and sent a builder in the general direction of the unimproved tiles between Stoke-Upon-Trent and Adab. I’m concerned we might be more restricted by space than food, but I’m going to be honest – there’s a lot going on and being away from the game for weeks to months at a time, I’m not feeling like I really have a handle on all the mechanics.

I also started up a few new wonders. I bought a tile near Ur to start work on Petra, and the Hermitage in Leeds. It seems like we have a pretty beefy military we’re not using, so if a particular city didn’t seem to have something critical to build, I set it to improving the infrastructure that was there already.

On my last turn this round, we finished our research into Plastics, and I wanted to make sure our research path was on track for what we were going to need for our science victory. We’ve researched most of the required technologies already, with just Nanotechnology outstanding, Unfortunately, there’s two steps in the tech tree we haven’t researched that are required for Nanotechnology, so I started us on the first step, Synthetic Materials.

With that, I turn over the crown to UnwiseOwl. Save file can be found here.

In Review – October 2020

I’m really loving ManicTime – although, really, I did NOT need to know how many hours I spent between online shopping & doom scrolling this month! The only weirdness I noted here was that it doesn’t actually know what the Puzzle Pirates window is – the 18.45 hours I spent in Java(TM) Platform SE 6 U25 was spent on the cartoony high seas!

I managed to complete two games this month for #HorrorGameOct in the Community Game Along: Alan Wake and Stories Untold. I tried out, but ultimately didn’t get invested in two more – Little Nightmares and Among the Sleep.

The 9.0 patch for World of Warcraft released on Tuesday, October 13th, and that was when I reactivated my account to check out the revised leveling experience. I managed to finish leveling both my warlock and paladin, and spent way too long in the character creation screen before losing interest. Now that the Shadowlands release date has been re-announced for November 23rd, and the second half of the pre-patch coming on November 10, I’m starting to get the itch to go back and at least finish my priest and maybe one other character so I can focus on the pre-launch activities and the gear catch up mechanics therein.

But while I’ve been treating the MMO as more of a solo play game, I’ve been playing SMITE and Among Us when I want to hang out with friends – even having set up a night for my WoW guild mates to try out Among Us for the first time.

The only other games I spent any significant time with this month were My Time at Portia, which I played for a few evenings near the beginning of the month, and Puzzle Pirates, which I’ve been playing pretty compulsively for the last week or so. I still haven’t even purchased Phasmophobia, as the majority of my friends weren’t overly enthused for the concept, and I haven’t touched Hades all month long.

I did, however, play a dozen different demos during the Autumn 2020 Steam Games Festival, and tried out Drake Hollow on XBox Game Pass for PC. I added a few games to my wish list, and satisfied myself that Drake Hollow wasn’t for me.

I purchased two new games directly through Steam this month – 1000 Days to Escape and Abracadabrew. I also bought The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker on Fantatical, as well as two of their bundles and the Humble Monthly for October, making this a pretty major month for game acquisitions. All three of these bundles are still available for purchase at the time of posting, if you see something here you’d like to grab for yourself.

Fanatical’s Very Positive Bundle 5 ($3.99)
Fanatical’s Reaper Bundle 7 ($3.99)
Humble Choice – October 2020 (price varies by subscription option)

I did also complete my GoodReads Challenge for 2020 this month, and am currently sitting at 38 books read for the year. I’m really enjoying the nostalgia of rereading (or in some cases, reading for the first time) the books of Christopher Pike, and listening to my first ever podcast, The Pike Cast. It has even pushed me in the direction of starting a new project, but I’ll talk more about that when I talk about my November goals.


Normally, this would be where I’d dump a whole lot of pictures of all the wonderful Halloween related television and movies I’ve watched this month, but I’ve really been struggling with my attention span and simply watching things as of late. With the upcoming presidential election here in the U.S., and with social distancing still very much being a thing, I just wasn’t into the whole concept of Halloween this year either.

That said, sometime before I go to sleep tonight, I will be putting The Monster Squad on television because some traditions are worth preserving, even if I’m not really feeling it.

Thrown Into Space – An Evening With Among Us

If you’ve been anywhere on the internet over the past month, you’ve probably seen an Among Us meme. More likely, you’ve seen dozens. You might have been under the impression that it was a newly released game, but it’s actually been available for over two years now.

It blipped across my radar a little bit ago, and I pretty much wrote it off as being not for me. Until a couple of my friends picked it up. And then a couple more. Before I knew it, nearly my entire friend group had clicked add to cart and jumped on the Among Us bandwagon. Last night, I made my first foray into the game with them.

Tip 1: Don’t just dive into a game with friends directly.

Now, I’m not saying you have to play public games – I’m saying you definitely should spent a few minutes with the “How to Play” area, because no matter how well you think it’s being explained? It’s not being explained well enough.

I almost quit after … about a minute and a half. Not having looked to see how the controls worked, I couldn’t actually interact with anything, so I started trying to randomly click to troubleshoot the problem, as you do. Well, the first thing I managed to interact with was the Emergency Meeting button, at which point I had to explain in chat that I was an idiot, there was no emergency, and I would very much like to be ejected from the ship now.

It probably took half a dozen games before I started to feel mostly comfortable with how to be part of the crew, and I was pretty lucky in that I got to play that many without being marked as an Imposter. Another friend joining us for the first time last night wasn’t so lucky. He also skipped the instructions, relying on all of us to explain the game. Which we did. If he was a crew member. Which he wasn’t in his first game.

Although you’d never know it from all the laughing that was happening, I felt pretty awful when he told us in our second meeting that he couldn’t figure out how to do tasks, the only thing he had been able to do so far was go into the vents. Oops.

Tip Two: Don’t be afraid to die, and if you do die, the game isn’t over.

Being dead in Among Us is actually pretty great. First off, you get to be a ghost, and there are perks to being a ghost, not the least of which is ghost chat. Ghost chat is where all the people murdered or ejected can talk about the other people who are still alive and oblivious to what’s actually happening.

As my husband remarked last night, Ghost Chat feels kind of like being one of the princes in Stardust. You know stuff when you’re dead.

You can also continue to complete tasks (as a Crew Member) or sabotage the ship (as an Imposter, assuming your game setup has more than one). Also, once you’re a ghost, you can move through walls, which is great for someone like me who lacks a sense of direction and basic understanding of maps.

Tip Three: The game can be fun regardless of what team you’re on.

From what I understand, it’s not terribly uncommon for someone to bail out on a public game if they aren’t made an Imposter. Sure, that’s the flashy mayhem-causing role, but there’s something ridiculously satisfying about getting your tasks done, and then acting as bodyguard for that one person you’re 99% sure is also just a regular Crew Member. Especially because if they’re not so sure of you, following someone around can really freak them out.

And – in the interest of full disclosure – I expected I would hate being an Imposter and was dreading the first time that came up. All the games we played were two imposter games, which took a little of the pressure off, but I was still nervous.

As it turned out, all the things that made me kind of shady as a crew mate – recklessness in approaching others, a complete and utter disregard for doing things in a logical order, and just being generally bizarre in the way I navigated the map – made me a pretty great imposter. The group had gotten used to my clumsy play style, and I wasn’t doing anything differently – except murdering people. I avoided the vents and couldn’t figure out how to sabotage the ship, so murder it was. Both times I was half of the imposter team, we won.


Among Us is not a game I expect to spend too much time with, outside of playing with friends. I don’t feel terribly competent, and despite what my Imposter wins would seem to indicate, I’m a pretty awful liar. But the rounds are quick, you can still win when you’re dead, and I’m interested to see where the developers take the game after its unexpected rise in popularity.

In Review – August 2020

Community Events and Projects

Yet another month where I’ve struggled with focus, and more specifically, with sitting my ass in the chair to write. Thank goodness for Blaugust Promptapalooza 2020! Although I didn’t do nearly as many prompts as some people, I posted four entries from the available prompts.

I also managed to complete (and write about) the single player story mode of Injustice: Gods Among Us for the Community Game Along. Although it didn’t get me jazzed about the fighting game genre, it was a fun way to spend a couple of evenings.

I took another set of turns for Long Live the Queen this month, and hoo boy, am I way in over my head at this point. Collectively, we’ve passed the 300 turn milestone, and I don’t expect it’ll go around too many more times, but at least we’re on track for victory. I think.

I actually put a lot of hours into SMITE this month (both on my own and with friends), but I found myself struggling to figure out how I wanted to write about the game. I started a couple of posts, but didn’t get very far. Hopefully, I’ll start to get all of that figured out in September.


I did lose most of a week this month to an expected (but suddenly rather urgent) home improvement project, so I didn’t do even a fraction of the other stuff I had planned on this month.

Other Gaming

I started out the month with Little Big Workshop, a game I had owned for awhile but hadn’t thought much about until it showed up in the August Humble Monthly. I played through the majority of the game twice, losing interest only after unlocking the final set of goals (but before completing them as they felt very anti-climatic).

shapez.io is another game I had picked up on a whim awhile back – I like the idea of logistics management games, but I usually don’t find them very compelling. shapez.io is slow – you actually need to produce a ridiculous quantity of items for each level after the first couple, but it kept me well engaged through most of its available levels, giving me a little more than 10 hours of playtime before I felt like it was starting to play more like an idle game than an active one.

I had been excited about Ruinarch since playing the demo back in June, and I picked it up as soon as it was available. It’s still in very Early Access – at this time, you cannot even save the game – but I’m enjoying it nonetheless, and look forward to seeing how it all comes together in time. I probably won’t even play through all the available scenarios before shelving it for a few months, but I have no regrets being an early supporter.

There were a couple of games I dabbled in this month that just didn’t do it for me. Book of Demons just felt dull – maybe I didn’t give it enough of a chance, but nothing about it drew me back after a single short play session. Krystopia is a perfectly serviceable puzzle game with a mostly forgettable story frame, however, it relies heavily on the “connect up the circuit” type puzzles, which I don’t particularly enjoy.

Lastly, I played an embarrassingly large amount of the mobile game Match 3D on my phone. I tend to gravitate towards very repetitive, mechanically simple game experiences when I’m stressed out (or otherwise all caught up in my own head), and this absolutely fit the bill. I spent $3 to get rid of the ads in between each level, but otherwise, haven’t felt that the optional in-app purchases were even the slightest bit necessary to enjoy the game.


Indie Arena Booth 2020

I cannot resist a virtual game conference, although I tried to use some restraint this time around since the Indie Arena Booth at Gamescon was around for only a few short days.

I definitely spent the most time with To the Rescue!, but I also really liked the whole vibe of Lucifer Within Us. I also made sure to check out Gamedec since I had backed it on Kickstarter, but I spent just enough time with it to confirm that I’m far more interested in the complete experience than a short demo.

The rest of the demos I tried out didn’t really grab me, but I really am loving the resurgence of demos, even if they are only available for tiny windows of time.


All in all, August was a pretty intense month, even if I didn’t do much of … well, anything … that aligned with the goals I set at the beginning of the month. Still, I think I’d rather have a plan I don’t follow than no plan at all!

Game Over – Injustice: Gods Among Us

I’m going to start out by admitting that I’m feeling just a little bit guilty on this one. For #FightingGameMonth, I may have adhered to the letter of the law by choosing Injustice: Gods Among Us as my game for the month, but ooh boy, did I tweak it to the point that I skipped out entirely on the spirit of the thing.

First off, although as far as I’m concerned, I completed the game (there were credits!), I only played the story mode content. I’m not overly experienced with fighting games in general, but I don’t even know that most of them have story modes. Then, I did this to the difficulty settings:

Yep, not just easy. Very easy. Do you know what happens when you play on very easy? You can finish the entire game without successfully executing a combo as long as you mash enough buttons. I was pretty attached to this plan already, but then I attempted the tutorial.

Attempted.

That’s right – I finished the game, but couldn’t get through the tutorial. Playing with the keyboard wasn’t too bad, except that it didn’t always register all my key presses – I assume I could have futzed around in Windows settings to make it so pressing three keys at the same time wouldn’t cause a problem, but I figured I’d try to play the game with a controller instead.

My oh-so-cost-effective controller that I bought despite not liking controllers, generally speaking.

Real talk: I was no more successful with the controller than I was with the keyboard, but at the difficult level I selected, it didn’t matter. Leaving the tutorial and entering the story mode proper was like rolling back down to the absolute bottom of a the difficulty curve. I turned a fighting game into a really basic hack-n-slasher.

And I enjoyed it.

I would say that story mode was probably 60% cut scenes, 30% fight sequences, and 10% weird little Quicktime-style events. The story was passable, even as someone whose knowledge of DC Comics is almost entirely based on a cross-media enjoyment of all things Batman. It really didn’t matter that I didn’t know much about the majority of the characters, especially since the story was focused on a parallel universe concept.

All told, reaching full completion of story mode took me just under four hours over two play sessions. Even on very easy, the last few fights were a little rough (and I had to retry a single fight after switching back to keyboard and putting my hands on the WRONG DAMN KEYS).

I’ve definitely played games I enjoyed less, but nothing about the story wowed me enough to want to figure out the game play, instead of just faking my way through it.

Quick Look – Little Big Workshop

I was gifted a copy of Little Big Workshop during the Steam Winter Sale last year, and like most things I acquire during sales, it completely slipped my mind to actually play it until I spotted it in the August Humble Choice. Oops.

I went in with fairly low expectations – although there have been a lot of really great management / tycoon games, there have also been a lot of really really bad ones. This one is absolutely charming, but although I’ve played it pretty compulsively over the last couple of days, truth is – it’s not really anything special.

Little Big Workshop is different from a lot of management games in that it’s not scenario based. Although you have ample opportunities to upgrade your factory, the game never asks you to open a second factory, or take over a dilapidated building in another town. Where you start is, pretty precisely, where you’ll end the game. For some people that might be a point in its favor – for me, it’s a little disappointing.

If you include the tutorial, there are five sets of “milestones” for you to work towards. I have not actually finished the game yet (I ran out of money while working towards my fourth set of milestones, and decided to restart), but I’d hazard a guess that the whole thing could be finished in about 10-12 hours.

This might, in fact, be the most mediocre game I’ve ever played obsessively. There’s very little I can point to and say “This is bad.” I found a way to disable the things that annoyed me most – fixed camera angles, and ridiculous “events” that I found more frustrating than fun. The tutorial is 100% skippable and unless you’ve been away from the game a long time, there’s no compelling reason to do it more than once.

There are some really neat things here – I love setting up blueprints step by step to make the product fit the factory I’ve built. In fact, there are a lot of cool little details in the building of things. You can link identical workstations together with a billboard, and it automatically splits up tasks (mostly) efficiently. Storage areas can be pretty freely resized, you can add shelving for more space, and once unlocked, you can even attach storage areas to different machines to keep the things they need handy, or set one up near your loading bays for finished items only.

When I’m playing the game, I am completely engaged. When I step back from it, I’m not sure what kept me playing for hours. The aesthetic is fantastic. Everything else is just a little bit off what you expect from a good production management game, but not off enough to make it a full-on chore to play. Sure, your workers might be passing out because the break room is out of coffee or snacks, but someone else will just start doing their job sooner or later. They’ll be better after a nap.

I realize this is not exactly a rave review, and I don’t think the small bit of the game I have left to unlock is going to do anything to change my mind. It’s not bad for what it is – a first game from small team with a neat idea. It’s not meaty enough to be a truly great management game, and it’s nowhere near easy enough to be a good casual game. It occupies some weird in between space that I found strangely compelling, but once I’m done with it, I doubt I’ll recall it fondly. In fact, likely as not, I won’t really ever think about it again.