Our Week in Games – Week 8
It is that time of the week again, today we just have Edcrab and Nick chipping in. Busy weekend for me, I haven’t been able to get my thoughts down on paper about what I have played. Enjoy Trine and Kerbal Space Program chat.
This week I’ve been all about the space.
Kerbal Space Program is an indie game currently in alpha which tasks you with commanding the space program of a cute little race known as the Kerbals. It is up to you to design and construct the rockets that will propel your little Kerbals to fame, fortune and ideally, space.
Since the tragic news of Neil Armstrong’s death, I vowed to myself that I would not rest until one of my Kerbals set foot on the Mun, a small astronomical body orbiting their home planet. We would plant one small step on its rocky surface, and we would remember Neil’s contribution to history.
There’s just one slight problem with this plan though – I’m rubbish. It doesn’t matter how much effort I put into my rocket designs, or how sensible they appear – after hitting zero on the countdown clock they will inevitably either explode, take off then flip over, or take off, flip over and then explode.
After roughly thirty casualties, I’m beginning to appreciate why NASA actually works these things out with maths, as opposed to resorting to the trial and error tactics I’ve been attempting. The debris surrounding the launch-pad is getting ridiculous, and I’m getting a little tired of writing letters home to the brave pilots’ families.
Our next attempt is prepared on the launch-pad. Maybe this is the one. Perhaps finally this design will work as its supposed to and carry the valiant crew to the stars.
Mission control crosses their fingers or puts them in their ears.
The countdown fills the room. Three. Two. One. Zero.
The rocket ignites. I cheer.
It flips over. It explodes.
Someone gifted me Trine 2 when it was on sale, and I recently started playing it out of curiosity and obligation. I don’t think I’ve ever used “sumptuous” to describe a game before but the visuals and mechanics conspire to make something cheerful… without being mercilessly twee, thank god.
If you’ve played the first Trine, you’ll know that descriptor also applied to the original. The sequel, unsurprisingly, is more of the same; some physics puzzles are jankier than others, some fights are easily exploited. But I’m content with that. I was sold on the game (not that I bought it, but you get me) when in the gloom of a torrential downpour, the trio find themselves using a gigantic octopus as an impromptu bridge between crumbling ruins.
Both the Trine games rely on the interplay of three interchangeable characters to defeat a series of challenges: each has their own special abilities to apply to combat and puzzles. I can never shake the feeling that I’m not completing puzzles the “right” way, but perhaps that’s a good thing. Interesting combinations of the wizard’s constructs (making planks and cubes out of thin air, for example) and the thief’s rope arrows have let me build or swing across just about everything. But I should really complete it before I get too enthused…
Anyway! Black Mesa is due out next week, which just makes last week’s rambling about Source mods all the more timely. If anyone asks, I predicted it. Or they scheduled the release for me, personally, because I was looking for Source games to try. Well, it makes just about as much sense as the other conspiracy theories I’ve heard about it…