The Mommy Gamers

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simulation

    Academia: School Simulator

    Can you make school not suck?
    Art for Academia School Simulator of students in their classroom at their desks, chatting at listening to the lecture.

    Ever wanted to see if you could do a better job running the education system?! Well now you can with Academia: School Simulator! Let’s see if you can make it suck less than your actual high school did. Academia gives you all the tools you’ll need to design, build, and welcome in students, teachers, and staff. You’ll work towards goals to earn grant money and increase the reputation of your school, passing up any rival schools in the rankings (I hope). The game just released on steam so grab it while it’s fresh!

    First Impressions

    If you’ve watched the trailer or seen the game at all you’ll of course get some very familiar vibes from a game called Prison Architect, which is developed by a completely different company but has the same artist Personally, I haven’t played it and have limited experience watching the actual mechanics so I’ll have to leave it at face value. From what I’ve seen, however, I’d say Squeaky Wheel has done a good job of taking the style and making it their own.

    I really like this style of game. I like the art, I like the challenge of it, and overall I had a lot of fun playing it. I’m looking forward to playing a lot more of it and hope they continue adding to it over the months to come.

    Academia School SImulator setup screen

    Gameplay

    At the beginning of the game, you are able to choose all your school’s basic attributes: title, motto, colors, uniforms, principal type, and difficulty level. There is a decent amount of customization to change the gameplay and I started on just normal default to test things out. I didn’t really see a lot of tutorial type pop-ups or guidance but that could have been me not paying close enough attention. As a result, I felt a little thrown into the game ut since it’s not my first time playing a builder game it wasn’t too much of an issue. If you aren’t however it might take you a few minutes to get acquainted with the UI and hotkeys before you feel comfortable.

    Large school map for a build in Academia School Simulator

    In order to make money in the game, you will have to select grants and do the objectives to earn funding. You’ll have more money to start building with if you start on easy mode, which I highly recommend if you’re new to this style of game.

    The first thing you’ll need to do is build an office and hire your principal. There will be 15 students in each class (freshman, sophomore, junior, senior) so you’ll build 1 classroom for each and hire a teacher for each school subject. Be sure to pay attention to the grants in your list so you know what you should be building/aiming for. Be sure you read everything because that’s where to tips are on how to find things in the UI!

    Check! Done! Woo!

    Do you like that dopamine hit of accomplishing goals and checking things off lists? If so you’ll love this game! Seriously, I was plowing my way through objectives for grants for the few hours I played. It felt gooooooood y’all! Very satisfying. I totally built my school in perhaps the most inefficient way possible but hey, it was still a fun time. Lessons were definitely learned for playing through it next time.

    End of year results for Academia School Simulator

    In addition, there are little scenarios and events that pop up throughout the game that give you a little extra to break things up and add something new. You’ll get an end of the year report to give you stats of how you did in several categories and give you a rank. A lot of information can be found out during the year via the different UI and charts.

    Aesthetics

    I really do like the graphics in this game. Everything is simplistic but nice and clean. Text is easy to read and nothing hurts my brain. There’s even a warning at the title screen which is animated to make it static to avoid dizziness/illness – something I greatly appreciate as someone who’s got pretty sensitive sim sickness.

    Grab yourself a copy!

    Grab yourself a copy on Steam or via my Humble Bundle (Disclaimer: I get a kickback, thanks guys)! Academia: School Simulator on sale for 30% off for the next 5 days!

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    Frostpunk: What will you do to survive?

    The only way I’m getting snow here in Florida
    Frostpunk wallpaper with city overview and weather balloon

    It’s been almost two years since Frostpunk first released. So, naturally, I’m just now getting around to playing and writing about it. Over the years I’ve watched a fair bit of gameplay on Twitch and knew it was something I would enjoy. I finally gave it a go after getting a chance to try it out on the PS4 release. And now it’s got brand-new DLC called The Last Autumn.

    What Is It?

    Frostpunk is a resource management simulation game where you have to build a city and survive the elements. It’s made by 11 bit studios who make other fantastic games I love like This War of Mine, Moonlighter, and Children of Morta. And it’s available on PC, PS4, and Xbox – so pick your platform and get to playin.

    With the base game, you build your city around a coal-powered generator. Research, set laws, build, and explore your way to survival… or perhaps doom. All while balancing hope and discontent of the people.

    In order to do anything in the game, there is a cost. Buildings take wood, steel, and maybe some research or workers. Laws cause discontent or hope and make an impact on how your people go about their lives. They also unlock special buildings. Research takes time but unlocks upgrades, building types, and other necessary skills to keep your city from dying. Exploration also takes time but gives you people or supplies, or both.

    Balance is key in Frostpunk. You have to keep a good eye on all your production for the times when blizzards come and you need the generator to work triple time or stockpile so you can upgrade and expand when bringing in groups of refugees. Maybe you’ll be really good at it and there will be no discontent… probably not though, people seem to hate soup round here.

    Okay, I beat that. Now what?

    DLC you say?! Other scenarios?! Yup, we got those. There are several scenarios you unlock by surviving 20+ days. And if you beat those, there’s an endless mode with different difficulties. Not enough? How ’bout customizing the difficulty of all of these modes? STILL not enough? Well fine then.

    In late January, a new prequel expansion where you work to build the generator that is used to survive after the freezing cold arrives. This expansion is practically a whole other game in the same story, built on the same mechanics but capable of being its own stand-alone title.

    And if you beat this and still want more then you’ll be happy to hear there is another expansion coming sometime this year called Project ‘TVADGYCGJR’.

    What did you think, Divine?

    If you’ve read my other articles, you know I’m a fan of 11 bit studios game This War of Mine. I think the studio does a great job telling stories and building games with solid mechanics. Frostpunk is no exception. I subconsciously put off playing this game cause I knew I’d get sucked in quickly, and I had CompTIA exams to get done ha!

    So far I’ve played about 72 hours between the PC and PS4. I enjoy the ability to change difficulty levels and the different scenarios available. I haven’t gotten a chance to play Last Autumn yet cause money doesn’t grow on trees, but I’ve watched enough to know it’s just as awesome as the rest of the game.

    This style of game is right up my alley and like I said, it’s been executed beautifully, so of course, I’m going to give it a glowing review. 10/10. If this style of game is not your usual jam, you might still enjoy it for the story and if you bump down the difficulty you’ll probably enjoy it more. Just like the snow and ice, the game is pretty unforgiving if you don’t pay attention.

    How much is this addiction going to cost me?

    If you’re smart, you’ll catch it on sale either on steam or through sites like Fanatical. Full price it’ll take $30 for the base game. You can then get a season pass for $35 (usually on sale) which gives you Frostpunk Rifts, The Last Autumn, Project TVADGYCGJR, a digital artbook, and soundtrack. Or you can bundle it all together currently for $50.

    There’s no accounting for the time you’ll sink into it though, that’s priceless.

    DISCLAIMER: I received a review copy of the PS4 release but purchased the PC version after falling in love with the game. This is my honest review of an awesome product. Thank you!

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    Wait.. Hell is Green?

    Welcome to Green Hell! How long will you survive?
    Green Hell Title Screen

    Green Hell is an open world survival simulator set in the Amazonian rain-forest. It’s produced by a company called Creepy Jar, a relatively new organization comprised of industry vets that have worked on some other dark titles like Dying Light, Dead Island, and Silent Hill.

    A Glimpse Into Story Mode

    The tutorial for Green Hell walks you through the basics while introducing you to the two characters that will be present in the story mode that is coming later on. While you’re there to document the wildlife and flora, your partner is trying to infiltrate and learn about the local tribe that is extremely secretive and wary of strangers. 

    You gain a very basic understanding of the controls during this pretty quick tutorial. You’re left with a pretty chilling cliffhanger at the end as well, so prepare your heart. Story mode is not slotted to be out until late 2018/early 2019. CreepyJar has outlined a pretty generous timeline for the game as you can see here.

    All the things coming to the game over the next six months

    Welcome to the Junnnngggllleee

    We’ve got leaves and twigs? Not so exciting maybe but shelter is important! Welcome to the sandbox mode. Here you’ll be learning more of how the game mechanics really work and build more than a fire and bandage. 

    For a lot of us interested in this genre of games we’ll be reminded of The Forest. A lot of the crafting is similar enough that if you played it you’ll have a better idea of what to do in Green Hell. During the first hour of game play I still had not run into anything hostile so you get plenty of time to ease into the game if you are a beginner. Though I could have just gotten lucky!

    Green Hell Scenery: pond life
    Who knew there’d be such cute things in hell?

    The only objective in this mode is to see how long you can survive. There are poisonous plants, territorial animals, and hostile persons out to kill you. You’ll have to learn what’s safe and not by trial and error. And you will probably die a lot to start with. Don’t give up! 

    As always, the internet is full of tutorials, wikis, and helpful videos to help you if you get stuck or just want to make things easier on yourself and just enjoy the game without all the dying. 

    Am I gonna die?

    Recommend: Yes or No?

    If you like survival games then yes, definitely. Especially if you enjoyed games like The Forest or The Long Dark. Jump on board during early access and enjoy the ability to go back over the coming months to updates that keep the game feeling new. You can find it on Steam for $20.

    A Special Note

    To those like myself who get simulation sickness when playing games I have but one recommendation – do not run unless absolutely necessary in this game. I learned my lesson after getting ill twice while playing. Now I only run if I have to do it to survive through a fight. 

    Category
    Games, Video Games
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    Flippin’ Houses

    Dangerous Doses of Dopamine!
    House Flipper loading screen

    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.

    The Premise & Gameplay

    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!

    House Flipper in-game client email

    Some of these client requests sure are snarky!

    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.

    What did you think of it?

    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.

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