Shadow of the Tomb Raider, created by Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal, published by Square Enix Co., Ltd., Shadow of the Tomb Raider launched on September 14th on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.
So, there’s a game called House Flipper that got and continues to get a fair bit of attention. It’s one of those games most people see browsing the Steam store and think, “Who the heck wants to play that?” And you would be wrong to judge this game by its seemingly stupid premise and dated graphics.
House Flipper is a simulation game where you clean up and remodel houses. In the beginning you receive work requests from clients. This part of the game helps you learn the games mechanics and get used to the controls. You’ll do client requests until your tool kit is complete. After that you’re ready to begin flipping houses on your own!
During the mission phase you’ll learn to clean, paint, demolish and build. You’ll learn the cold hard truth that some people really shouldn’t be allowed to pick paint colors and be privy to some of the most nasty, dirty houses needing TLC (prepare to vacuum up roaches, ew). And there’s clearly a radiator thief at large in this game based on how many of them you’ll install.
Earning money and upgrading skills to prepare you for your adventures in trying to make potential buyers happy by taking run down homes and turning them into cold hard profit margins, I mean.. lovely places for the buyers to live in or rent out. As the developers roll out updates you’ll have more things to play around with like new paint colors, flooring, and furniture.
You’re probably still wondering about that odd tagline I gave this post (did you even notice??). Well during the mission portion of the game you’ve got a handy dandy checklist of things to do in the client’s house. Checking items off a to-do list releases dopamine, that wonderful chemical that makes us feel all YAY because we accomplished something. It’s also one half of what makes this and any quest based game addictive. The other half is expressing creativity, which also boosts those happy, happy chemicals in your brain.
House Flipper is super addictive for people like me who love sim style games and creative outlets. I played about 25 hours over a few days and went back to it after more content was added. Like many other sims, I like to play it in spurts to try out new content or come up with my own challenges, which I find particularly fun for recording or streaming. This lets me enjoy the game multiple times without ever burning out on it.
10/10 worth every penny spent! Get a copy today on Steam.
What if a pill existed that could make you endlessly happy with the unfortunate side effect that it would slowly erode your memory and make you not care about what was really going on in the world? Compulsion Games, We Happy Few is an action-adventure game that explores a world filled with that very drug and all the complications and secrets it seeks to hide.
We Happy Few is set in a fictional English city called Wellington Wells around the 1960s. Residents of the town begin taking a drug called Joy, a hallucogenic, to forget a rather upsetting choice that was made following an alternate timeline version of World War II. While Joy makes them happy and helps them forget past tragedies, it also makes them easily manipulated and controlled. The story is told through three distinct characters who all chose to avoid Joy for their personal reasons and are each trying to accomplish a personal goal and get themselves out of Wellington Wells before the entire city implodes on itself.
Players tackle the world of We Happy Few from a first person perspective and the game combines elements of survival, stealth, and melee combat. Other residents of Wellington Wells are not keen on anyone not taking their Joy dubbing those people “Downers”. Residents and police will be immediately hostile towards anyone not fitting in and thus you’ll need to sneak, fight, and craft your way through the city to accomplish the various goals.
The combination of stealth, survival, and crafting is both satisfying and problematic. On one hand successfully fooling citizens into thinking you are happily on your joy and accomplishing a goal without alerting the entire city is fantastic. On the other hand when a confrontation does break out the melee combat is swimmy and frustrating to control.
It feels as if that combat may have been better served by a third person perspective instead of the first person one. Weapons do have durability and will break on forcing you to either hunt down a new weapon or craft one. Luckily crafting components are everywhere and I never wanted for anything especially in the later part of the game.
My overall compulsion to loot every item actually caused me a lot of suffering because I was constantly overburdened but that is more an issue with my playstyle than the game itself. I do wish there was a perk that completely eliminated the carry weight of the characters.
In the early parts of the game moving through areas without triggering a bunch of combat can be difficult as residents don’t take kindly to running, jumping, or being on the streets past curfew. Skills the player can choose do eliminate some of these concerns. The game gives out skills point after every completed quest or objective and one can pretty quickly eliminate any need to fit in on the streets pushing the stealth aspects to only be necessary in areas where you are considered trespassing.
As a player who is very impatient, reducing the stealth aspects was a boon for me and I took those skills early on. Most of the time the crafting, stealth, and melee aspects of the game came together for me nicely and it was pretty satisfying to actually play.
My biggest overall complaint with We Happy Few is the world feels unfinished. The game was originally released in early access in 2016. It showed with an extremely promising trailer before early access went live that painted it more akin to a story driven dystopia experience ala Bioshock. When the game did hit early access it was more akin to a run based survival game with a procedurally generated world and quests.
Over the two years before the game came out of early access Compulsion worked to push the game in the opposite direction and built in a more substantial story and character development. The main areas of the game and all the quests were crafted instead of procedurally generated. This shift makes the survival aspects feel like they no longer matter, negating the players need to actually track hunger and thirst.
At the same time the world doesn’t quite feel as fleshed out as I would like. I wanted more concrete details on the back story. Most of that information is sectioned away into masks that the player must find to hear little clips from each character’s past. If you don’t really work to seek those out you always feel like you are missing their individual motivations which makes their actions feel empty and meaningless.
Complications aside We Happy Few is an interesting take on a dystopian adventure. The fact that the game left me wanting more information, more backstory, more of the characters is a testament to the fact that Compulsion has set up a world and a concept that is interesting enough to hold my attention even if navigating that world is not always the most satisfying experience.
*The Mommy Gamers were given a copy of We Happy Few free for review purposes.
Overcooked 2, a much anticipated sequel to Overcooked released this month getting players off the couch and online for some epic co-op cooking challenges. In Overcooked 2 players return to the Onion Kingdom with all new dynamic kitchen locations, new recipes, and punishingly difficult obstacles. Overcooked 2claims “to become an instant classic, bringing family and friends together” but I feel like it could also tear apart some strong friendships. To test this theory I recruited a crew of Twitch streamers for a co-op game, and then asked their thoughts.
Here is what our co-op crew had to say after playing:
(Clicking on their names will take you to their Twitch pages if you’d like to check out their awesome streams)
Overcooked is a franchise that I am unfamiliar with, so I was excited to get a chance to play with Marcia of The Mommy Gamers and friends. This was jokingly referred to as a game that will “ruin friendships” and on the surface it might appear that way. The chaotic gameplay left us more than a few times on the losing side of a challenge as we struggled to serve up meals, wash dishes, and save food and the kitchen from random fires.
I found, however, that the longer we played together the more naturally we all fell into a rhythm and selected roles that best complemented our play style and personalities. Someone would just ease into washing dishes and setting out clean plates while another would toss fresh ingredients from one station to the next. In the next match, however, the roles would organically shift and change, with new players assuming different roles. The grunts and groans of frustration quickly became replaced with joking banter and howls of surprise as one disaster after another befell us, only to erupt into cheers and congratulatory laughter when we finally cracked through and managed to overcome the challenges presented.
Is Overcooked 2 perfect? Well, no game ever is. There were some minor collision detection and control issues from time to time, which would occasionally result in a missed throw or step. The difficulty is pretty steep from the start which could be frustrating to new players to the franchise. The fun I had, however, far overshadowed these “flaws”.
In an era of gaming where multiplayer gaming seems to have encouraged solo players to “Rambo” their way past their team to victory, Overcooked 2 has encouraged cooperative play and given each player a reason and a solid opportunity to shine and be the MVP for the team. I would like to thank Team 17 and Ghost Town Games for this delightful creation and also Marcia and The Mommy Gamers family for inviting me to partake in the fun!
I was not familiar with the Overcooked franchise going into this. Marcia, put a call out on Facebook looking for people to play with her, and I answered it.
DO NOT go into this game thinking that you are going to be a silent player. There is NO WAY to progress beyond the first 3 levels without talking to your teammates. Sure, people told me this was the friendship ending, the relationship killer, the game that will destroy whatever bonds you have with the people playing it. Clear concise communication (look at that alliteration) is an absolute must in this game. After getting past some funnier moments and digging into it, I enjoyed playing with Marcia, Link and Mike. In fact we started to gel as we found roles we were comfortable in.
Okay, being honest, when Link couldn’t connect to discord, to talk with the rest of us, I got annoyed. Because having a clear line of communication is paramount. But as was mentioned, we fell into our roles, and starting having a blast doing those roles. I was the food thrower, and I was finding out that I could throw food across a room and into the pot or pan it needed to cook in.
I did play beyond our group, with my wife, and we had a fantastic time. I think it was Mike that stated that 3 is the sweet spot in terms of players in the game at once, and I agree with him. Having all four of us play was fun as hell, but when it was just my wife and I, we felt a little more stressed for time, and what we could accomplish in each of the levels. Dividing all of the tasks between the two of us tended to stress us out a bit more. Though we had a lot of fun playing it.
There are some minor control issues, and hit detection bugs, but it doesn’t take away from the fun. It actually makes the game feel more frenzied and challenging. It’s almost like they are put in there as another minor obstacle to overcome, and they don’t take away from the game. Overcooked 2 is definitely worth the price of admission!
“I will never play on Marcia’s team again.” – TheMikeRobles
As someone who had played the original Overcooked I kind of knew what I was getting into. However, I didn’t have anyone to couch co-op the original with so I was wildly unprepared in the teamwork aspect. As everyone else (except Mike who just decided to make himself a quote) stated, communication is totally key in this game. Regardless of how well we team-worked we were still challenged on every level we played. But it was a fun challenge, pushing us to do better with each try in an attempt to get three stars.
I very much look forward to playing more Overcooked 2, and we are all still friends after our first attempt. I definitely recommend this as a fun game to stream on Twitch or Mixer. It also seems like it would be a fun party game because it’s amusing to spectate as well.
*This article includes affiliate links. Using our links to buy stuff on Amazon helps The Mommy Gamers keep doing what we are doing.
**Each reviewer was given a copy of Overcooked 2 for review purposes. But our opinions are our own. We absolutely enjoyed this game a lot!
Sleep Tight is a fun as hell, twin-stick, arcade style RPG shooter with base building elements that help you move through the nights progressively. Sleep Tight has a series of playable and unlockable characters, like Joe and Brooke. Grabs guns, increase defenses, and research abilities to give you a one up on those monsters who want nothing more than to cause a little mischief. But be careful, they get bigger, badder and they hit hard if you allow them to get close as the nights increase. Also, if you stream on Mixer, there is an ability that allows viewers to interact with the stream. How cool is that?
The team that made Sleep Tight, We Are Fuzzy, contains a series of veterans from Hollywood film artists and AAA game developers. Some of these wonderful artists include: VFX artist Maxx Burman (Far Cry 5, Iron Man 3, and Game of Thrones), Disney illustrator Dylan Ekren who helped on Wreck It Ralph and Zootopia and Ubisoft designer Oscar Mar who lent a hand on Far Cry 3, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction, and Rainbow Six Siege is also on the team. The talent in Sleep Tight has delivered an amazing experience that will appeal to the kid in all of us, fighting all the things that go bump in the night.
As mentioned previously, there are characters that you can unlock; there are twelve kids that you can chose form as you unlock them. Help the kids save their bedroom as the monsters try their best to render the bedroom as theirs, creeping from the closet, and the hallways into the bedroom. Use weapons like dart guns and water guns to fight them off, create turrets and strategically place them in places that will help fight off the horde of monsters. Help the kids use their piggy banks to unlock more weapons, add health or shields, build pillow forts and place couches in front of the doors to help create boundaries to hold of the monsters until morning comes.
Each of the twelve kids have their own exclusive ability and playstyle. Tommy starts with 500 darts and gets discounts on weapon skills, Dexter has superpowers that give him discounted power ups and Rosie has abilities to help her with the building skills for turrets that deal more damage and an extra strong pillow fort. The abilities for the kids helps keeps the game fresh no matter how many midnight monsters you have coming at you, or how many nights you survive.
So what how does the game stack up?
Sleep Tight is fun, exciting and my inner child agrees. I think my kids had more fun playing with this than I did, but I’m sure that’s the point. The art style is fun and colorful, the sound effects are cute as hell. I mean, “peanut butter, jelly, jelly?” The one liners from the children are adorable and each one has a set of unique sayings from the others. I know I had only planned to play for a short while to get enough time in to review this game, I honestly didn’t want to stop. I tried to beat the waves each time; and while there was some failure, this game is all about strategy. I love Sleep Tight and plan on playing it more. I give Sleep Tight an 8 out of 10.
Sleep Tight will be released on Nintendo Switch and PC on July 26th.
This may come to no shock to you all, but your humble narrator was once an angsty teen. I know, hard to imagine right? Like any angsty teen growing up in the late 80s and early 90s we have a plethora of material to fuel us. Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, Blade, The Crow, The Lost Boys, Interview with The Vampire, The Craft… You get it.
*Author’s Note – If you haven’t seen ANY of those movies I highly recommend you have a movie night soon.
Back in 1991 the gang at White Wolf Publishing created the tabletop role-playing game: Vampire The Masquerade. Based on a Storytelling Engine, Vampire The Masquerade has one GM/DM, or Storyteller, guide players through the game as they struggle with being a vampire. Seduction, intrigue, politics, and feeding are just some of the things players will face as they venture from night to night. Vampire The Masquerade also introduces unique dice aspects such as Blood Dice and Hunger Dice. These dice represent how hungry a vampire is, or how much of their blood they can spend to do something extraordinary.
Not only was this one of the first mainstream RPGs to feature vampires, it also introduced an entire World of Darkness where players can play as Werwolves, Wraiths, and more.
As with any tabletop RPG, rules change over time and Vampire The Masquerade has gone through a couple of iterations. Coming in August 2018, the 5th Edition of Vampire The Masquerade will be hitting digital and physical bookshelves and I, dear readers, got an advance digital copy to look over.
If you have been following along with the metaplot of Vampire and World of Darkness, (if you haven’t, don’t worry), then you know that there was an event (Gehenna) that basically wiped out the vampires (or Kindred). 5th Edition, or V5 as we’ll call it from here on out, isn’t a reboot of the world, but rather new way for the Kindred to deal with the events of the past. There promises to be overarching plotlines that storytellers can use to create chronicles for their players.
I haven’t played Vampire The Masquerade since 1991 so I wasn’t around for the rules changes nor can I tell you how much is different from the original version. For me, Vampire was all about the lore. I owned multiple clanbooks and ancillary products because I loved the idea behind the World of Darkness, I just never played in it. I say this because it is important to understand that I went into V5 as a new player to the game, but not new to lore and ideology of Vampire The Masquerade.
Within the first few pages of the core rulebook you will be instantly flooded with page after page of just pure setting. Letters from other vampires, transcripts of secret conversations, notes from an examination that have been marked up. It’s a wonderful introduction to the world and coupled with the art and photos, helps puts the player in the perfect mindset in minutes. Immediately following the lore, the intro and rules set in, and there are A LOT of rules. The core rulebook is no light read. It’s over 400 pages of rules, lore, and more rules.
I thought to myself, “There’s only one way to properly review this.” and I started sending emails and text messages. Within minutes I had my crew and I was set. I am lucky enough to know some amazing actresses and outgoing people who all agreed that they would take part in some sessions so that I can review the core rulebook.
I have very few negative things to say about Vampire The Masquerade V5. In fact my biggest complaint has nothing to do with the actual rules, but rather the lack of a physical book. Having to manually scroll through page after page on my laptop, iPad, or phone was incredibly time consuming. I had to make notes about what pages players needed so I could easily get back to them. I know books are big and bulky but there’s just something about hearing the crack of the spine on that first open. It’s much easier for me to flip a ton of pages at once than it was to scroll through a digital copy. As an old school RPG player a lot of my rulebooks have sticky notes and tabs for easy access and with a digital copy I just can’t have that. My players also had a tough time endlessly scrolling trying to find the pages they needed.
I had asked my crew to do a little bit of prep (I linked them all to older editions of the clan descriptions) and OH WOW did they get into it. Don’t believe me? Take a look
Yup, that’s my wife and her friends vamping it up and taking this way more seriously than I thought they would. What happened next was the most intense Session Zero* I have ever experienced.
*Session Zero refers to the session where players create their characters. In a game like Vampire The Masquerade this is often best to be done in person so that they can all build off each other and determine their relationships as well as how they all came to know one another in this chronicle.
Together my players and I spent about 6 hours total going over every detail we can find and creating characters. My wife had gotten a head start and did some research on the older versions of the game. She was able to create an entire backstory the night before and was able to help the other players. This is where my note from before came into play. With so many rules scattered across so many pages there was a lot of confusion. It took us about 2 hours before we were at a point where we could easily move on. If I’m being completely honest, I think this would have gone smoother with a physical copy of the book.
After getting every set we ended up with two Malkavians, a Tremere, and a Thin-Blooded. While this might not make sense to you mortals, it makes for a very interesting dynamic. After about 6 hours of character creation, we were ready to dive in.
Vampire The Masquerade is, at it’s core, a storytelling game. While yes, there are saves vs X and players can check for traps and roll some dice, Vampire is different. Players use a d10 for all die rolls and instead of adding up numbers, you’re just trying to get higher than a 5 for a “success”. A natural 10 is a critical success and counts as two successes. I’m not going to get into each mechanic of the game but I will tell you that Vampires have A LOT of powers. So dice rolling will happen a lot. Like any good RPG, Vampire makes sure that story overrules dice rolls.
New to V5 is a revamped Hunger mechanic. This, to me, is the most interesting aspect of running a chronicle. Each time a vampire has to use certain powers they have to quell their hunger. Get too hungry and a The Beast takes over and a vampire can think of nothing more but to eat and only eat. Represented by a different color (usually red) these hunger dice will replace a vampire’s regular dice pool the hungrier they get. Making challenges much harder.
In addition to all the rules, there is the lore and “The Masquerade”. Vampires hide in the shadows to protect themselves and their lineage. Combing secrecy, intrigue, politics, and managing hunger makes for some excellent legs for your chronicle to stand on. The core rulebook gives you so much information that it’s overwhelming. So my advice would be to take your time and learn as you go.
White Wolf has taken great care to give players a new, revamped edition of Vampire The Masquerade with V5 and I am beyond honored that I got a chance to sneak a peek at the core rulebook. I have spent countless nights reading and rereading sections trying to come up with stories to draw my players in. After we finished our second session I thanked my players and told them that I had enough experience to write my review. Every single one of them agreed that they were way to invested and having way too much fun to stop. We all gathered around and scheduled our next session, so I guess I am now running an ongoing chronicle… and I couldn’t be happier about it.
Vampire The Masquerade V5 launches later this year and White Wolf wants me to go broke. There’s this amazing collectors edition with the core rulebook, two extra supplemental books, and the most beautiful vampire dice. I want it. I want it bad. If you want to pre-order the book now we’ll attach a link below for you to do so.
Like most vampires, Vampire The Masquerade has awoken from it’s slumber and is ready to take the world by storm. I, for one, am happy to be along for the ride. Pre-order here.
The author was given a watermarked pdf of the core rulebook for review purposes.