Nerd Girl Goals – October 2019

There’s another week or two of the busy, and then we have a couple days parceled out for doing Halloween-y stuff, so I’m again anticipating less leisure time than normal. Knowing this, let’s try to be a smidgen more realistic this time, shall we?

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.

I still have a few outstanding game-related stuff I’d like to finish up over the next few weeks, but there’s plenty of stuff I haven’t already talked about I’d like to add onto my plate this month.

On the agenda this month (maybe):

  • Dead Rising 3
  • Equilinox
  • Monster Prom
  • Rise of Balloons
  • Saints Row IV
  • Yoku’s Island Express

Go Get a Bee

This is one of those things I’ve been waiting awhile for, and had long ago decided it was worth popping one of my game time tokens to acquire. I always say I won’t go back to WoW, and I always do. I was interested in the anniversary event anyhow, so two mounts, one token, as it were.

Try Out XBox Gamepass for PC

I’ve surprised myself at how much I’ve been digging the gaming subscription services, and this month, it’s Microsoft’s turn.


It’s October. I’m going to watch a lot of horror movies. Probably really bad horror movies, and I’m going to be totally okay with that. I’m likely going to even stay up too late a few time to do so.

If I make time for some series watching, I’m planning to stick to the spooky, creepy, and oh yeah, The Halloween Baking Championship (the only new entry in this category this month).

I’m going to skip READING this month because either I will or I won’t, and if I don’t start picking up some kind of book sometime soon, I won’t make my yearly GoodReads goal, and I will be displeased with myself, but cooler weather is coming, and that usually leads to oodles of reading in bed.

September Goal Review

Can I just start off by saying I did not do well? Because I did not do well this month. I did spend half the month being crazy busy (and dealing with the accompanying exhaustion), but it’s not like I didn’t know that was coming, and I was absolutely overly ambitious.


Play to satisfaction: 3 of 6. 1 of 6 still in progress. 2 of 6 untouched.

ESO: Didn’t log in once, but I did at least remember to cancel my ESO+ so I can stop paying to not play.

Key Cleanout: Fanatical keys sorted, everything else not sorted.

(and this? this was my most successful category!)


I finished watching Mindhunters S2. I attempted to watch Sucker Punch, but got derailed by a case of wrong-movie-itis. Otherwise, I occasionally stared at what my husband was watching, or put on Murder She Wrote for reasons.


I read absolutely nothing except clickbait articles and an absurd number of Reddit posts this month. Ugh.

The Nope List – September 2019

The monthly Nope List will chronicle the games that I tried out during a given month, but for whatever reason, they just didn’t click for me.

Weirdly, my entire Nope List this month was stuff I tried out – mostly stuff outside of my comfort zone – on Utomik.

UnWorded – I loved the concept, but I couldn’t wrap my brain around the puzzles. It might be something I go back to someday if I’m looking for a challenge, but it wasn’t a game to relax to.

Dry Drowning – This one was a little to reflective of the current U.S. governmental climate to make me okay with using up my escapism time on it. I didn’t even play long enough to get a real feel for the game play – the story made me nope out really early.

Devil’s Hunt – Another game that just wasn’t for me. I like a good hack & slash, but for me the joy is just in mindlessly beating things up. I couldn’t get past the first boss (y’know, the TUTORIAL BOSS) on easy. I gave it a second spin, and then the game crashed. Moving on.

And then there was that night where NOTHING was working for me.

Flipping Death was just a little heavy on the platforming (at least for me) going into the second chapter. If I go back, it’ll be with a controller and a whole lot of patience.

Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones looks like it is going to be fantastic, but I need to start it up on a night that I have the patience for a slow start and a whole lot of reading.

100% Hidden Objects 2 is fine, if you want to find some hidden objects. Cool for a time-waster, nothing I’m going to play start to finish.

Cubis Kingdoms is totally on me. I thought it was going to be 3D tile matching and it wasn’t. Was in and out in under 20 minutes.

I loved the humor of Healer’s Quest, and I acknowledge I wasn’t having that great of a night, but man, it felt hard, even on normal.

It might look like a lot, but this is pretty typical for me. Some games get banished forever to the Great Graveyard of Nope – but more often, it’s simply a case of being the wrong game for that moment.

I will almost definitely take another stab at both UnWorded and Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones. Considering that I purchased absolutely none of these games, I am totally okay with the idea of never revisiting any of the others.

Game Over: Transference

In an effort to eke out every last bit of value of the free Uplay+ trial, I decided to load up Transcendence tonight. It’s a weird little game, and probably a really fantastic VR experience, but if you’re okay with non-linear storytelling and drawing your own conclusions in a creepy atmosphere, it’s probably worth a play through even without a VR headset.

The whole thing took me about 90 minutes from start to finish – I missed a couple of audio and video logs, but really, this isn’t a long game any way you look at it. There are no fail states, and every puzzle can be solved via trial and error – in fact, that’s how I managed to solve many of them.

It was dark, and creepy, with a couple jump scares and a lot of little details that will likely leave you with a very bad feeling in the pit of your stomach. Don’t play this looking for a happy ending, or to have all the loose ends tied up neatly.

For me, the experience was worth the time, but I think that the asking price of $25 borders on criminal, because there is absolutely no replay value here except for the most dedicated of completionists. I might even go so far as to say there’s very little play value – there’s very little to be gained from actually going through the game yourself versus watching someone else play it – at least from a non-VR perspective.

Transference is a neat little experience – if you’re going to subscribe to Uplay+ anyway (or if you want to squeeze it in just under the expiration like I did), but if you’d rather just watch, pop yourself some popcorn and fire up the video below.

The entirety of the game, in movie format, thanks to Gamers Prey.

Quick Look – Flipping Death

I so don’t have time to game right now, but I really want to, so I keep trying to squeeze in a little bit here and there. Not from my library, mind you, but from Utomik, since there was still so much I wanted to try that after cancelling my sub, I had remorse and reactivated it.

Now, I’m bad at platforming games in general (although I do find that games billed as puzzle-platformers tend to be more forgiving), so I expected to nope out of this one in a heartbeat.

No such luck. I am hooked.

Shortly after dying in an unfortunate accident, Penny Doewood, still deep in denial, runs into Death. Death assumes she’s the temp he requested, and tasks her with taking over his job while he heads off on vacation. Flipping Death is silly and irreverent, and tricky – although the latter, perhaps for all the wrong reasons.

I don’t even play platformers, and I know that this one just doesn’t feel right. The controls aren’t great for Penny, and they get even more clunky when Penny is possessing someone. The upside is, the platforming parts aren’t hard at all, and there doesn’t seem to be any fail state.

I like games without fail states.

And in case you’re super extra clueless, the game gives you easy access to hints to progress all the way through the chapter.

I don’t know if I’ll finish this one (I’ve only finished the first chapter & I think there’s seven in total), but I’m going to poke at it some more. I’ll also likely keep abusing the hint system because right now, I just want to ogle some cool looking graphics and have a giggle or two.

Game Over: Ode

Click here if you want to check out my first impressions!

I realize how long it’s been since I first loaded this game up, and I can assure you that for most folks, this is probably a single-evening kind of game. I am not most folks.

If you don’t tend to wander around, the levels can be completed in a fairly linear manner in about 30 minutes. Each level adds a few new mechanics, pretty seamlessly, which is wonderful and I suppose would keep it from getting stale for some. I really just wanted to touch everything to see what it did – does it light up? does it make a sound? does it blow me halfway across the map?

Each level is gorgeous in its own way, but I think the last one – with its many colored spotlights – was probably my favorite. And although I’d really like to chalk it up to getting quicker to figure things out, the last one might have also been the easiest.

And then, just when I thought it was over:

There’s a super short collect-em-up bonus level – no puzzles, just grab all the orbs you can. And it’s Christmas-themed, right down to the music!

I think the most telling thing I can say about Ode is that, despite having completed it, I absolutely intend to buy it when my Uplay+ runs out. It’s something I can see myself replaying from time to time when I just want to kick back and relax, and for $5, the game is a steal.

Crying Suns – The Demo that Convinced Me

There are so many games released every day, there’s no way that any one person can keep up with all of them. I’m not surprised I hadn’t heard about Crying Suns before its release, but for the past two days, it’s been all over my Twitter feed (granted, mostly promotions from storefronts and not from players BUT STILL), so upon discovering it had a demo, I thought I’d give it a whirl.

While I understand that early levels of any (reasonable) game are going to take it easy on you so you can learn about the game, I found the combat mechanics simple enough, and the introductory battles seemed nearly un-loseable.

What I didn’t realize at first was how important it was to make note of your officer’s individual abilities. I grabbed two different classes, and didn’t even glance at their skills. Skills matter, and it looks like there’s lots of DNA blueprint unlockables along the way.

I had my doubts about a story-driven rogue-lite, and I’m not always into sci-fi stories, but man, I was into this. I loved the written dialogue with the unintelligible speaking noises. I loved the music. And I was sucked right into the story – I didn’t just have to save the world, but the WHOLE GALAXY.

One clever quirk – the game expects you to die (and therefore, need to restart) a lot. Crying Suns is a single autosave, permadeath game, so I was prepared to have to sit through tedious exposition time and time again. Other than the introductory sequence (which is absolutely skippable), the game lets you have as much – or as little – story as you like, even on your very first play through.

The expeditions section might be the least compelling part of the game, as the only decisions you can make are which crew to send out, as well as if you want to use a tactical retreat when the opportunity arises. Everything that happens during the expedition seems to be resolved by whether or not the crew present has the appropriate skill, but later expeditions might flesh out this aspect more.

There is some light resource management, but it seems that if you can make it to a shipyard, you can repair or restock anything, assuming you have the scrap to do so. This makes scavenging at least as important as maintaining your crew when going on expeditions.

I played for about 45 minutes, through the first itty bitty boss battle (which comes at the end of exploring a sector). I might go back and give it another whirl, applying what I learned the first trip through. I’m not sure I’m ready to drop $25 on it right now, but it was an instant add to my wishlist.

Important Note: I played the demo on easy, which suited my tastes just fine. If you’re the type that likes a challenge, I expect it’s available to you since there are two other difficulty methods you can pick from, but YMMV. Isn’t it great that there’s a demo?

A Clean Slate

After a bunch of frustration with my not-entirely-kosher Windows 7 install – culminating today in being unable to open a PDF file to pay my electric bill – I finally bit the bullet and found a repair utility that would allow me to update to an entirely kosher version of Windows 10.

Unlike the last couple of times I’ve had to deal with PC problems, for once, I didn’t lose all my files, but any programs that were installed? All gone.

Getting the functional stuff back online was easy – I keep installers for most of the things I use all the time in my downloads folder. Reinstalling my web browser (because, no Edge, no), Discord, Steam, and the other launchers I use took minutes.

Now, the game re-installation marathon has begun. I grabbed Ode and Aven Colony right off the bat – I have one more level to go in each, and I plan to finish those up over the next couple of days. But everything else is a clean slate – thousands of games at my fingertips, and with nothing installed, every one of them is just as likely to get played next as any other.

And since I was updating my OS anyway, I decide to opt in to the new Steam beta. Now, maybe it’s just me being resistant to change, but I don’t love it.

It’s not just that it feels slow and clunky (which it does), but it feels like it’s just not up to the job of dealing with as many games, and as many categories, as I have. It has also, somehow, resurrected from the dead any of those old free to play titles I have long since uninstalled and they had previously disappeared themselves from my libraries. Which would be fine, I suppose, but it has also resurrected categories that no longer worked for me, so I now need to recategorize to get rid of those categories, and …

Look, I like organization. I don’t like the process of getting organized.

Sure, I could opt back out for the time being, but that’s just stalling. I’ll need to figure out how to make it work for me – at least until GoG Galaxy 2.0 hooks a girl up with a beta key.

What I’m Playing Wednesday – Aven Colony

Ok, I know I said I was frustrated. I was. I took a day off, played some Ode, and went back to it fresh.

And then:

Sure, half the colony was unemployed, and crime was rampant, and we were running out of food, but I did it. I saved all 1000 colonists in time.

There’s just three scenarios left – I probably won’t play the sandbox mode (if I need to build more colonies on alien planets, I have other games for that). I find I rarely enjoy this type of game without very specific goals and win conditions (although an open ended colony builder like Rimworld really works for me).

Maybe when I finish this up, I’ll be ready to get back into something story driven. Yesterday, I cancelled all my active subscriptions (ESO+ and Utomik) until I see how much time & energy I’m going to have for gaming during Day Job’s busy season.

It’s not like there aren’t plenty of things in my Steam library I can play without paying for services I’m not using.

Quick Look – Ode

This is going to be brief – even for a Quick Look – because although I’m sure there are the right words for the experience of playing Ode, I’m not sure that I know what they are.

If you want a beautiful, relaxing experience, and you took advantage of the Uplay+ free month, take a few minutes and give this one a download. Make sure you have the right language selected (mine defaulted to German, and I was very confused for a few minutes), and put on your headphones.

There’s a little bit of light puzzling, low-key platforming, but mostly, you float around and touch things. There are orange orbs you can collect – and they are useful – but there doesn’t seem to be any kind of fail state. There are only four levels (and you can’t save mid-level), so make sure you have the time to relax and not need to rush it.

When Fun Turns to Frustration

I’ve kept poking at Aven Colony, and I’ve put in 13.5 hours now. I’ve managed to progress through the first five missions with minimal difficulty. However, mission six.

Mission six is making me crazy.

Now, I know I should just knock down the difficulty and progress through (and I might still do that), but on my most recent attempt, I was painfully close to completing the mission.

Two ships landing at my immigration centers (of which I had many), or one trip down on the space elevator would have kept me from failure. I missed by mere moments. And that’s somehow so much worse than the go where I didn’t get my food supply happening fast enough and everyone starved, or the ones where I ran out of building materials with no reasonable way to get more. Knowing I made a critical error feels so much easier to swallow than that I just wasn’t QUITE fast enough.