Ten Thousand Coins Demo

If you ask me, there aren’t enough games that revolve almost exclusively around buying low and selling high, and it’s super-rare that you see one that’s as story driven as Ten Thousand Coins. I was intrigued right from the start – there’s a lot going on with this tale of a young Foxeen woman, learning the merchant trade while hiding her true identity from a world that’s actively hunting her kind.

You spend the tutorial chapter traveling back and forth between two settlements, picking up axes in the first, and bartering them to the lumberjacks in the second. It’s a simple enough concept when only two settlements are available, and they both happen to have what the other one needs. You learn right away that unless you are in desperate need of coin, it’s always more profitable to barter than to buy and sell, due to the tax system on coin transactions.

If that’s all Ten Thousand Coins had to offer, even with a robust world design and story, it’d probably wear thin pretty quickly. However, travel time comes with its own challenges and choices to be made. There is a hunger mechanic, so foraging for food while traveling quickly becomes a necessity if you’re going to run a profitable business – eating the stock has an opportunity cost. Also, the woods aren’t safe – you will encounter hazards, creatures and bandits in the woods, more so at night.

Combat is turn based, but plays out like a mini-game. Attacking requires you to click at the right time, and blocking incoming attacks is done via mousing over the area where they’re intended to land. Neither is particularly difficult, but it’s miles away from traditional stat-based RNG combat (as well as the real-time action combat) you may be expecting.

So far, the game plays far more like a strategy game than an RPG, and if I weren’t so interested in economic-based game play, I’d likely be disappointed. Sure, there’s a quest log, and you can do things like upgrade your wagon and hire on crew, but it lacks that core feeling of becoming more powerful through progression. Sure, you get stronger, but in the sense of moving quicker or being able to hold more goods at any given time.

I expect it’s the kind of thing that’s going to start out comfortably easy, but really test your trading mettle as the game progresses, and that’s the kind of difficulty ramp up I am here for.

For a game not slated to release until the end of the year, it feels pretty polished up already. Movement in towns is a bit persnickety, but that was the only time I didn’t feel like I was playing a finished product.

I really enjoyed the hour I spent with Ten Thousand Coins, and after playing, I went to the website and signed up for beta testing. It’s another one for the wish list – refreshingly different and a delight to play.

5 Fandom Friday- Favorite Book to Movie Adaptations

Thanks go to Heather of Nerdy by Nature for the fantastic topic idea!

For the most part, I am a “read the book before I see the movie” person. That is, of course, if I know it’s an adaptation. And for four out of five of these, I absolutely read the book first, but my number one book-to-movie was from my childhood, and I didn’t realize it was based on a book until many years after I fell in love with the movie.

5. Mystic River by Dennis Lehane

Not only was this a great adaptation of a really excellent book, the casting was spot on. Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon, Tim Robbins, Marsha Gay Harden and Laura Linney – all of them playing their parts to perfection. I was so psyched up for this movie when it came out, I went to the theater by myself to see it.

4. One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest by Ken Kesey

This one isn’t an easy watch by any means, but it is as powerful as the source material. The characters really draw you in, and the cruelty of mental health care in the not so distant past becomes impossible to ignore.

3. The Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King

For me, Stephen King adaptations are more miss than hit – it’s hard to distill several hundred pages into less than two hours. The Shawshank Redemption manages to avoid a lot of those issues both because of the brevity of the source material and the length of the movie. In fact, the movie version manages to make the story even more powerful with some new plot points, and it’s done well enough that you may not even realize what parts were just added for the film.

(and if you don’t already know what I’m talking about, I’m not going to be the one who reveals that little secret.)

2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

This is a book I sought out deliberately once I knew a movie was being made of it, and I thought that at least the first book-to-movie translation was pretty damn excellent.

  1. The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

When I was young, I rented this movie over and over, but it wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I read the book for the first time. It’s beautiful, terrifying and heartbreaking all at once, and I still watch it regularly. If I had to guess, this would be my most-watched movie of all time, and it holds up.

Recommendations from the Indie MEGABOOTH Steam Sale

The Indie MEGABOOTH Going Away (For Now) sale on Steam is running through May 12, and although it’s a fantastic sale on a bunch of great indie games, the reason for it is a little sad. Although I’ve only ever attended one gaming convention, I loved the experience, but I can’t blame anyone for wanting to take a hiatus until the state of the world is a little less uncertain.

The Indie MEGABOOTH is a traveling showcase of passionate creators working together to bring independent games to the forefront of the gaming community and conference goers’ minds. Our mission is to give thoughtful, atypical games exposure to new audiences. Since 2011, we’ve created a network for developers and creative communities to support each other and connect these dev teams with fans, publishers, and platform holders in mutually beneficial partnerships.

https://indiemegabooth.com/about/

Without hitting any duplicates from my LudoNarracon2020 recommendations, a few games that I think are worth picking up on this sale if you feel so inclined to toss a few dollars towards some indie developers during this sale.

Reus – 75% off – $2.49

Despite being one of the most played games in my Steam library, I’m always a little apprehensive about recommending Reus. Because sadly, it’s not a very good god game, which is what drew me toward it initially.

What it is instead is a really fantastic puzzle game. If you enjoy figuring out how different elements work together, and unlocking a bajillion unlocks, you will probably enjoy playing Reus. Despite having played it for over 100 hours, I still haven’t managed to unlock everything that’s available (although, that’s probably because I keep resetting all my unlocks after taking extended breaks from the game).

It’s been cheaper in the past, and it’s been bundled quite a few times, so it might already be in your library collecting dust, but on the off chance it isn’t, I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys puzzlers (and doesn’t mind doing a little out of game research or muddling through the process of discovery).

Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 – 75% off – $3.24

Although it might be hard to believe about a game that is so fast-paced, I actually find Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 to be almost meditative once I get into it. It definitely requires your full attention to complete the levels, but it also gives you practice levels and zen modes for you to work up your muscle memory without so much pressure. It’s another game that’s not for everyone, but if it’s up your alley, there’s a lot of game here.

Catlateral Damage – 75% off – $2.49

Some cats just want to watch the world burn. Oh, who am I kidding? That’s all cats! Catlateral Damage lets you be the cat, and you get to run around, knocking over anything and everything you can get your paws on. Sure, it’s silly, but it’s also weirdly satisfying.

Probably not a good fit if you don’t like cats, collectibles, or wrecking stuff, but for most people, it’s worth a pick up just to mess around with.

Star Crawlers – 90% off – $1.99

I can’t say too much about this one yet, as I just picked it up myself, but after an hour or so I can say that it’s a solid little sci-fi dungeon crawler being sold at a fantastic price. It’d been on my wishlist for a very long time, and I couldn’t resist the deal.

It’s got a first person perspective, grid-based movement, and two different types of combat. Although you’ll have plenty of things to stab or shoot, you also have to keep up with your hacker deck, which is a secondary sort of combat necessary to progress through the story.

With multiple classes and difficulty levels, it looks like it could be pretty replayable, but it’s got a pretty lengthy story, and you could easily get upwards of 50 hours for your $2.

Checking In – Ten Titles to Tackle in 2020

For all intents and purposes, we’re currently about one-third of the way through the year. If I were on track, I’d probably have a couple of these games finished, and be somewhere near the midway point of a third. In actuality, I have played enough of Far Cry: Primal that I’m content saying I’m done with it, and very little else.

But it’s not that I haven’t tried. I have, in fact, loaded up almost half the titles on the list at least once, but none of them drew me in. I’m not tossing them out, mind you, but I’m also not forcing myself to play things I’m not enjoying.

So which games haven’t grabbed me?

Out of the four, I’ve tried to get into Starbound the most. It might be time to acknowledge that I just don’t get it. I like to explore, I like to build, and mining and tunneling are usually big draws. But I really have no idea what I’m supposed to be doing.

What I am actually doing is dying over and over to the equivalent of RPG rats. I’m not good at this game, and as a result, I’m not enjoying it. It’s similar to the issues I had with Terraria, and while it’s not entirely unexpected, I’m still a bit disappointed.

I’m also expecting that Grim Dawn is going to end up in the “not for me” pile – I’ve started this one up many times, but an hour or two in, I’m bored. I do usually like the ARPG format, so it’s not that, and the setting, while not incredibly captivating for me, is fine. I think the problem is that none of the classes appeal to me, so no matter what I pick, it feels drab.

I don’t expect I’ll be going back to either of these anytime soon.

But I’m going to chalk up my failure to engage with both Borderlands and Slay the Spire as “not the right game at the time” – that’s actually been a huge problem for me for about the last six weeks, and I frequently install and sample half a dozen or more games before finding something that feels right for me.

Although I’m still working on my World of Warcraft Pathfinder, I’m between main games at the moment. I keep thinking I want to play something where I’m building and managing things, but the games I find myself actually getting sucked into are full of ridiculous and wanton destruction. It’s strange having no idea what I actually want.

Game Over: DMC – Devil May Cry #CapcoMonth


DMC: Devil May Cry has been sitting in my library for over two years – it was in the Pay What You Want tier of the Capcom Rising Humble bundle back in July of 2017. It’s the only game from the series I own, and although the plot is right up my alley, the type of game is quite a bit outside of my comfort zone. Although it’s far from being the first game in the series, it is an origin story, so it seemed like an alright place to start.

The start to finish of my save file was just over 8 hours, but it definitely took me longer than that – between all the times I got stuck in a particularly challenging combat sequence or failing to make a jump over and over and over again, and the multitude of times I was stuck rewatching cut scenes when the game crashed over and over, I’d estimate that I should add no less than two (and probably closer to four) hour to to that total.

(Incidentally, I was 3/4 of the way through the game when I figured out that if I closed both Chrome and Discord and killed all non-essential processes it wouldn’t crash during cut scenes. If I had anything else open, it was a crap shoot.)

The main character of DMC: Devil May Cry is Dante, and when you meet him, he doesn’t really know much about his past, but he does know that demons are real, and that Limbo exists, and that he can fight his way out of it. A young psychic named Kat shows up on his doorstep and he’s off on one hell of a dangerous adventure.

Even though I spent a fair amount of time frustrated with either mechanics or the crashes, it was compelling and I kept coming back to it after taking breaks (or rebooting my PC for the 800th time).

DMC: Devil May Cry is decidedly not family-friendly – it’s not a game you’d want to play around kids. It’s not just the gore and violence – it’s also full of foul language, nudity, and sexual content. The earlier boss fights were at the very edge of my capabilities, where the latter ones felt almost too easy by comparison. Mostly, I was sticking it out for the story – I wanted to know how it would end for the major characters.

Overall, I enjoyed DMC: Devil May Cry, but I’m not likely to seek out any other games in the series – the game play was just too far outside of my comfort zone. I’m much more patient when a game only has one mechanic that I struggle with – the combination of fighting game mechanics (all the button mashing, OMG) and 3D platformer mechanics nearly defeated me.

But only nearly.

I only completed 19/58 achievements, and I have absolutely no intention of going back to hunt down keys and lost souls and nerdpoints. I’ve had my fill, but I’m glad I gave this a spin during #CapcoMonth.

Coming Soon to World of Warcraft – Double Reputation (Legion & Battle for Azeroth)

With level squish coming to Shadowlands, I admit I wasn’t overly impressed with World of Warcraft doing a month-long double experience event. However, the event they are starting on Monday, April 20th, is much more appealing to me as someone who was unsubscribed for a large chunk of Battle for Azeroth.

Impressive Influence will grant 100% bonus experience with the factions of Legion and Battle from Azeroth (although it does exclude the two newest factions, Rajani and Uldum Accord). This is a great buff if, like me, you haven’t finished up your Battle for Azeroth or Legion Pathfinder achievements, or even if you’re the type inclined to farm up a bunch of paragon rewards.

Be aware, however, that reputation requirements for Allied Races are going away with Shadowlands, so unless you really want to level another character now (and why would you with the much more compact leveling experience on the way?), these rep grinds won’t be necessary.

ETA: Blizzard has also announced that they will be keeping Winds of Wisdom – the experience buff – live until Shadowlands pre-patch for players of Battle for Azeroth.

The Cost of Mobile Gaming: From Reasonable to Ridiculous

As much as I like a bargain, I also firmly believe that if you are enjoying something, by that measure, it’s worth spending money on. Usually, that’s not a problem when it comes to PC gaming – most games have a purchase price at the very least. Sometimes, especially when it comes to MMO gaming, there are mandatory or optional subscription fees, and cash shops.

When you get a free to play PC game, again, there are usually ways to show your appreciation by throwing money at the game. When a developer can give a game away and find ways for the consumer to spend money that don’t compromise the core experience, I always want to give them my money.

Mobile games, though, are such a different creature.

While I wouldn’t consider myself an avid mobile gamer, it’d be safe to say that I do more than dabble. Since the only console in our home is a failing XBox 360, if I can’t be at my PC but I still want to play something, I have the choice of using my phone or my tablet.

What I’ve discovered is the majority of mobile games are free to download, and most frequently ad-supported, and I get it. This is the new demo – get your game out there, make your pennies per ad and people who like it will pay you, and you’ve really lost nothing on the folks who stop playing (or who elect to watch ads forever – who even ARE those people?).

Now, ad-supported is probably my least favorite revenue stream when I’m gaming. It’s intrusive, and usually loud if you’re playing something where you actually want sound, but I’ll put up with it long enough to let me decide I like the game. However, if once I’ve made that decision you don’t give me an easy and reasonably priced way to remove ads, you’ve probably just lost a customer.

I’ve lost count of how many mobile games I’ve enjoyed but stopped playing because there was no way to directly pay for the game, so it was going to always be ad-ridden.

On the flip side, I’ve gotten an immense value out of buying a single prism pack in I Love Hue. A one-time purchase removes all in-game advertising, and because prisms accrue daily, most causal players will never pay another dime to play the game as much as they like. As a result, I recommend the game whenever someone is looking for a new mobile puzzle game.

Alternatively, I don’t mind games with a one-time purchase price, although honestly, they’re not the ones I tend to gravitate to. I’m actually more likely to play free games that have micro-transactions because they tend to have more longevity, and I am fine with putting a game down when I run out of energy or lives or whatever mechanic it has to suck the money from your pockets.

However, I recently encountered what I think might be the absolutely most egregious pricing for a mobile game yet. The game in question is called Onnect, and it’s a pretty simple tile matching game. After playing around with it for a bit, I decided I liked it enough that I wanted to get rid of ads, and I was greeted with this:

Yep, you’re reading that right. A recurring subscription of almost $10 a month for a phone game. I can’t imagine that’s working out too well for them. This is a game that I gladly would have paid a one-time fee of around $5 to keep around, but a subscription for one single player game boggles my mind.


How do you feel about all the different ways to can pay to play on the go?

Struggling With Skill-Cap

Every time I hear my husband tell one of his friend that’s I’m the “real gamer” in our house, I am never sure whether to laugh or cry. Sure, I play a lot of games, across a lot of genres, and there’s a fair few I’m even reasonably good at.

But.

Every time I start a new game, I start on the easiest setting. This is a big part of why competitive multiplayer games never really last for me – difficulty settings aren’t a thing, and you have to be better than some other person playing to make any kind of meaningful progress. I call this hitting the skill-cap, and I tend to hit it early and often.

Recently, I hit this point in Warframe, and although I could still play – going back to completed missions, just for the pure joy of space ninja parkour with big guns, the fact that I cannot make progress down the game paths I’m most interested in have made the whole package far less appealing. The next quest I need to complete requires a mission type that I cannot wrap my head (or possibly just my fingers) around, and let’s be real, I have enough frustration in my life without pounding my head up against something that’s not only not enjoyable, but actually very frustrating.

With Warframe being a multiplayer game, I know I could probably wheedle a friend into helping me over the hump, or try queuing public to see if I can get some stranger to carry me without unleashing a torrent of abuse in my general direction. Neither of these seem like good (read, fun) choices, so I’ve shelved the game for the time being.

Now I’m running into this problem in DMC: Devil May Cry – the second game I’m attempting to play through for #CapcoMonth. For the most part, the “Human” difficulty level hasn’t been too frustrating, but I’ve found myself rage-quitting out of the game a couple of times now due to a particular jump sequence I just couldn’t seem to master. Yes, I’ve tried it with a controller. Yes, it was worse – I only find some assistance in switching to controller for 2D games.

Each time, however, I’ve been able to come back to it and eventually push through the rough spot. I don’t even mind the fact that I have to look up guides for the major boss fights because I find the combat so unintuitive – it’s a game far out of my normal comfort zone, and I really am on this ride mostly for the story.

Now, my failure to comprehend the combat in a meaningful way might be the end of the line for me – I have made it to mission 14, which is a long, repetitive boss fight. Because of the length, I cannot manage to keep myself alive long enough to complete it. I have no healing items, and although I’m consistently making it to the last phase, I can’t complete it. I’m not even sure if I can go back to a prior mission and grind out currency to purchase healing. This skill-cap might be a brick wall.


ETA: Shortly after hitting publish, I gave it one more whirl and with a well-timed cool down, I managed to end the fight early and am able to progress again!

Getting Over The Hump

You might think that with everything that’s going on, I’d be way ahead on my gaming goals, or at the very least, deep diving into my library to pluck out some long forgotten gems.

You would be very very wrong.

Each day has been a cycle of loading up a game, playing it briefly, and walking away irritated. After several days of this, I have come to the conclusion that it is not the games, but something going on with me that’s making pretty much everything not feel fun.

It might be a bit soon to say for sure, but I think I might be pushing past it.

Last night, I installed Majesty 2, and played a few scenarios. I’d poked at it a bit in the past, but never managed to adjust my strategies from the first game enough to get through the tutorial levels.

This time, however, I managed to make the leap, and in doing so, hurdled myself over the hump of nothing being enjoyable. I wouldn’t have guessed that a mediocre sequel that came out in 2009 would be the game that did it, but sometimes, you have to just go with whatever works.

Comfort Food for Your Mind – Gaming Edition

This morning, an image detailing the symptoms of mental and physical exhaustion came across my Facebook feed, and can I tell you, I felt so seen. It seems weird to be suffering from burn out when I’m actually really fortunate right now compared to so many, but there it is. I’m burned out.

Combine this type of exhaustion with fibro-fog (which is made worse by both fatigue and stress), and I’m left with the feeling that I just can’t learn something new or get invested in a story right now. Unsurprisingly, this is putting a major monkey wrench in my oh-so-meager goals for this month.

Instead, I find myself seeking out “comfort food” for my mind. I’ve lost count of how many games I’ve booted up and then almost immediately closed out of. Everything is not interesting, or too hard, or too easy, and nothing is giving me the distraction I’m craving.

If I’m perfectly honest, I was pretty surprised by what finally stuck for me.

Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 is a game I had previously put about 35 hours into, and it gets hard fast, especially if you’re a perfectionist that wants to gold medal every single level. I elected to restart, rather than jump into my old level 46 save (although I didn’t realize I had two other level 1 saves, oops). The game is just a challenging and fast-paced as I remember and that is precisely why it’s working for me.

CSD2 is works on muscle memory I actually have (typing), rather than most other arcade-style games that work on muscle memory and twitch reflexes that I’m lacking. It’s been awhile since my fingers were so firmly planted on the home row.

I’m trying to take it a little bit easy on myself. Right now, not every level has to be a gold medal (and the coffee shop levels so far are just not a thing I’m capable of at the moment). It’s satisfying in a way that nothing else has been, and I’ll let myself indulge in this comfort food game for as long as my fingers will tolerate.


What are the games you go back to time and time again? Tell me about your comfort food games – either in the comments or feel free to steal the heck out of this idea for your own blog.