Various Other Gaming Tidbits: ToME, Armello, and Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime
I’ve written recently about a lot of specific titles I’ve been completing, but I’ve been playing a lot of others that I frankly have simply not and perhaps will never “complete.” I figured I’d recite a litany of those today.
Tales of Maj’Eyal had a recent expansion that I bought and have been playing. It’s an excellent addition to the game and just a frustratingly difficult as the original. For those who are unfamiliar with the game, it’s an old-school tile-based RPG with some rogue-like elements. It’s a typical “race/class/stats/skills” RPG with a ton of customization. It also allows you to play with permadeath (rogue-like), earned-lives (adventure) or infinite lives (exploration).
I beat the first game on the earned-lives system, which my buddy said was cheating. In that system, you get a few lives (2 or 3) from that start and earn a few more at certain levels. I’ve tried the new game on hardcore and made it to level 20, but then stepped into a level 15 area and got obliterated by something I hadn’t seen before. I was a bit miffed, I’ll admit, perhaps enough so to go back to adventure mode. We’ll see. Regardless, it’s a lot of fun if you like that sort of game.
Armello hasn’t really been discussed here before, but I spent several hours playing it with my wife and occasionally her brother or my buddy. It’s basically a complex board game that’s greatly enhanced by playing it digitally rather than in the physical world. I think it would be possible to play in the physical world, but would end up being as complicated as a Settlers of Catan + Arkham Horror lovechild.
In the game, you play as a unique hero in a kingdom being overcome by a magically-corrupted king. You have a variety of victory conditions you can pursue, some of which will better match the strengths of your chosen hero, but all of which are attainable by anyone. The game uses dice and card decks to increase randomization of outcome which can be very annoying at times (like when you fail three 60% success chance rolls in a row). Of course, that leaves the possibility for amazing comebacks, too, like when that 20% success chance roll comes through netting you the last item you need for a sure victory.
Overall, it’s been a lot of fun playing the game with my wife, but we spent so much time playing her versus me and basically ignoring the mediocre AI that throwing a live 3rd or 4th person in really vexed our “sure-fire” strategies. That’s not a problem, mind you; it just meant we really had to readjust, which put the game on the back-burner for a while. Nonetheless, if you like competitive board games with gorgeous graphics, this one’s a great deal.
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is the third tidbit I have to offer. This game, like Armello, was a purchase for my wife and I to play, and it’s been a lot of crazy fun. It’s in the vein of couch co-op games that are essentially teamwork and communication simulators. Here, you have a spaceship with 8 stations that have to be used in various ways at various times by only two people.
It’s essentially a 2-D space shooter, but having to manage all the separate stations with only two means there’s a lot of chaos and coordination as you attempt to steer into missiles so they’ll hit your shielded area while your partner simultaneously tries to shoot the flamethrower space bugs who want to fry the other side of your ship.
The game is knowingly silly with very basic but thematic graphics and music, which makes the whole experience a crazy, humorous flight through a colorful space-scape. It almost always ends in near chaos as you and your partner laugh about the foolish mistakes being made (like my tendency to fly into things while trying to avoid less-damaging attacks), which of course is the best kind of co-op game. It is only couch co-op, though, so plan to have two controllers hooked up to one computer and to squeeze around your monitor, but if you’re okay with that, I heartily recommend it.