Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Of Mice and Vermin

One of my favorite series of books as a kid was the Redwall series by Brian Jacques. I haven't read them all, but I still have a healthy collection at home. I loved reading about the adventures animals who fought against tyranny so that they and their various friends could live in peace. Looking back on it, Redwall Abbey may be one of earliest things that taught me to be inclusive and tolerant of everyone.

While there have been one or two attempts to bring Redwall to life on TV, there really haven't been any attempts to create that world in a video game. However, there are a number of games that very much have the Redwall flavor. Here are just a few.

Ghost of a Tale

While still in development, this game seems to perfectly capture so many parts of various Redwall stories. A timid mouse uses his wits to avoid the savage rats and achieve success in some goal. While some characters from Redwall like Martin the Warrior may actually engage the rat hordes in battle, many other characters would take this route. Redwall doesn't generally have any non-mammal characters, so the scorpion takes me out of that immersion a bit. However, this game looks drop-dead gorgeous, and I can't wait to play it. No official timeframe as of now, but a beta may be coming this summer. I highly recommend visiting the official site for more details.


This one is essentially Redwall meets Civilization, Settlers of Catan or Disciples. Complete with beautifully animated cutscenes, this one got my attention very quickly. As you can see on the official site, Kotaku called this "Game of Thrones, only with animals." Though not normally described in great detail in the Redwall books (such details were relegated to the awesome feasts), there was certainly some bloodshed from time to time. Armello seems to crank that up higher, and includes a wider range of animals, including more carnivores like bears and lions. Sadly, I have not yet played it, but it is on my wishlist and I hope it will be on yours now, too.


While this is a bit more on the action side of thing, Overgrowth still features badass animals. This is actually a spiritual successor to the developer's previous title Lugaru, which seems to have played very similarly. This game has a major focus on fast and visceral combat. The graphics may not exactly blow anyone away at this point, but it is still in early access and can always improve before full release. According to the Steam page, there is no campaign in place just yet, but this still gives me a Long Patrol sense regardless. Below is the most recent update video that shows off some gameplay with commentary from the developer.

Mice and Mystics

Okay, I'm cheating a bit here since this isn't a video game, and the player characters are people who have been transformed into mice. However, the moment I saw this game on my local game store's shelf, I immediately thought about Redwall and knew I would need to play it. In this game, players take on the role of soldiers who have been turned into mice by a curse. They need to navigate the dangers of the castle to remove the curse and protect their princess. A single game takes place across various scenarios across a number of different small game boards. This is very much a simplified Dungeons and Dragons using rodents and insects rather than the normal stable of monsters. If nothing else, this game scores points as a possibly entry point into more complex RPGs for younger players. Take a look at the official site for more details. Check out the Tabletop episode on this game below (it's a two parter, so make sure to watch both!) to get a taste.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Small Hiatus

Hey all!

Had a baby last week, and I'm at home bonding. I have some stuff I'm writing up between feedings and diaper changes, so still keep tuned!

Gnomes, out.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

I wrote a thing for Omnibus Journal Again!

Hey all,

Just a quick note to check out my new article for Omnibus Journal. Insomniac Games recently announced a new game to be published via GameStop of all places, and I wrote up some thoughts on the reveal trailer.

Song of the Deep Revealed

Also, I highly recommend poking around Omnibus Journal in general. Plenty of fun stuff to check out.

Well, I'm done pimping stuff, so I'll be back soon.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Good News, Vault Dwellers!

A few days ago, the official Fallout Twitter account responded to a tweet and said more details about console mods should be coming soon.

Perhaps this news may come at PAX South or even SXSW, but the tweet gives no indication how soon this news may come. Also, notice that this tweet does not differentiate between Xbox and PlayStation. Previously, Bethesda has said mods will come to Xbox One first and this may still be the case but there is no confirmation in the tweet. I guess we'll just have to wait a little longer.

Either way, get excited Console Owners. There's some fantastic stuff coming. Some examples below:

Saturday, January 16, 2016

2016? Better make a post

Hey there, gamers! It's been several months since my last update. There's been a lot going on (mainly Life), though not much to show for it. But, I'll highlight some of my recent goings on for ya!

1) Omnibus Journal
I've done a couple of articles for Omnibus Journal, a Geek culture site run by a few of my personal friends. I hope to make a few more contributions in the future, so stay tuned. I highly recommend checking out OJ as a whole. There's some neat stuff there and it's awesome.

2) Elite: Dangerous
For a number of years now, I've been itching for more space sims and it seems the genre is making a comeback. A couple of months ago, I joined in this resurgence by purchasing Elite: Dangerous on my Xbox One. So far, it's been a good time. While it may lack in expository storytelling, it does give you a fairly authentic (I assume) space sim experience. You are loaned a ship and let loose to make your way in the galaxy any way you choose. I've barely scratched the surface so far, and there's plenty to get into still. Not to mention, it's one of those rare games that you have to learn how to play (s mentioned in one of my Omnibus Journal articles).

3) Shovel Knight
I also finally got a copy of Shovel Knight on my Xbox One, and it has been a blast so far, too. It is a pretty good combination of DuckTales and MegaMan with a fantastic soundtrack. I hear there is a big difficulty spike coming, but I welcome it. LONG LIVE THE TROUPPLE KING! LONG MAY HIS STEM GROW!!

4) SpellStone
I'm a sucker for mobile CCGs like Hearthstone. Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I found a new one called SpellStone. I plays a bit more like SolForge than Hearthstone, but it is still enjoyable and has some good depth to it. It is free to play like Hearthstone, and has a great artstyle that reminds me of Penny Arcade. I'm having some technical difficulties with it on my iPad 2, but it is also available in a browser if you log in with a Kongregate account.

5) Rebel Galaxy
I hadn't heard about this game in a while, but it recently released on consoles. I caught some Twitch streams and I am probably sold on it. Here's how I would describe what I've seen so far: space truckers with some RPG elements. From what I understand, you spend a lot of time hauling items from point A to point B with some action sequences in between. But, while cruising around, you have a radio blasting music that would feel at home in Borderlands, and other ships will contact you over what sounds like a CB radio. Seems super fun and stylish. Enjoy the launch trailer below.

6) I have joined the PS4 ranks!
I received a Star Wars edition PS4 recently along with a copy of Bloodborne. I'm aiming to get Uncharted 4 and No Man's Sky later this year - and maybe Nioh and the Final Fantasy VII remake. I hope to get some streaming done in the near future, so be watching my Twitch channel. Also, feel free to add me on PSN: Macdoogal42 (or click here).

That's all for now, kiddos. I'll be back soon!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Xbox Game Preview musings

Hey there Internets,

As part of a new article I'm working on for Omnibus Journal, I recently sat down with the Game Preview for Elite: Dangerous on Xbox One. It was an interesting experience.

To bullet point it:

  • The game is GORGEOUS.
  • I never thought I'd have that much fun docking and undocking in a game. Surprisingly fun.
  • Took me a while to remember how to fly in 3 axes, but I finally got it and it felt good.
  • There were some issues, but I'm trying to figure out how much of it was related to being a preview and how much will be part of the end experience.

Keep an eye out for my full write up. It will also include my thoughts on the preview for The Long Dark and the preview experience as a whole.

In the meantime, here's my stream of the Elite: Dangerous preview. Looks like the docking and traveling I did wasn't streamed/recorded, but that's fine. You can check out the Game Preview yourself for free from the Store on Xbox One.

Gnome, out!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

I've failed again!

Hello again, Internet.

As typically happens, I have failed to update my blog recently. I don't really have any good reason for it and Shia would be very upset with me.

In any case, I have begun writing for a friend's website called Omnibus Journal. It's a nerd culture consortium and covers all sorts of things from general opinions to video games to anime to arts and crafts. I may end up doing some streaming for them as well. So keep an eye on it!

Here's my first article for Omnibus Journal: