Monthly Archives: March 2016

Ranonauts – Wraith Base Wrath

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Ugh this base mission took so long to complete. Technical problems are always frustrating but it turns out that the AI in Xenonauts can under some circumstances attempt to divide by zero and just stop. The screen is still responsive but the alien turn never ends and you are stuck finding an earlier save. Oh and of course Xenonauts does not autosave at the start of each turn, so the last autosave was back at the start of the mission.

After this mission I looked up the quicksave key so we can avoid similar frustration in the future. On the downside my threshold for loading a save when things go wrong has just been lowered further because I know I don’t have to replay quite as much.

This base was also my introduction to the Wraith. I do not like them, they are tough, surprisingly hard to hit and can teleport at will. Any mission involving them in the future will have to rely very heavily on paranoia. You can expect a lot of soldiers spinning around and trying to check everywhere around the group because those bastards always seem to know exactly where my soldier’s blindspots are. There is nothing more frustrating than having one of your soldiers shot from the one space in a room no one was watching.

The Ranonauts would like to congratulate the following:

  • Narmio for the first live capture of an alien command unit
  • The entire Soviet Europe team for surviving
  • Maria Lazos for an impressive 6 kills on a single mission

To date Ranonauts has:

  • defended the earth for 4 months and 19 days
  • lost 43 soldiers
  • killed 294 aliens in 34 ground battles
  • captured 45 aliens
  • shot down 41 alien spacecraft
  • had 3 aircraft shot down
  • received $10,069,567 in funding

Ranonauts is in desperate need for new recruits after recent… incidents, if you or a friend would like to become a soldier in this Xenonauts Let’s Play please leave a comment or fill in your information here, the next set of new soldiers will arrive in the distant future.

Indie Wonderland: Stardew Valley

“Jarenth, you should play Stardew Valley!”

One-man-wonderteam ConcernedApe‘s Stardew Valley was by far the most requested review game of the last few weeks. Mostly by virtue of the fact that it was requested at all. And all the articles and thinkpieces I saw coming out about it certainly didn’t harm my interest either.

I was hit with two thoughts in quick succession while doing my bare preliminary research on what Stardew Valley was and what I should expect. The first, based on screenshots and a handful of half-skimmed gameplay overview and diaries, was something that I have to assume is a common refrain in reviews for this game: “Wow, this game looks a lot like a carbon copy of Harvest Moon.”

And the second, right after that: “Sweet. I love Harvest Moon. Been ages since I played some. Let’s roll!”

(Spoiler levels: Narrative, low. Mechanical, low-medium.)

(Game source: Patreon funds.)

After the break: Stardew Valley. Will you understand much of this review if you’ve never played Harvest Moon? I’ll try, readers, I’ll try. But you should really consider getting on that.

Surprise! I thought of a better mouse-over joke at the last second. These bits are guidelines, not hard-and-fast rules.

Jarenth Plays XCOM 2 — Episode 9: Monkey Paw

In the last episode of Jarenth Plays XCOM 2, the notorious ADVENT blacksite was engaged — and conquered. That’s right: no fancy weapons, no space-age armors, no psionics. Just good old-fashioned tactics and grit. Granted, it did cost the life of Corporal Seabird, first named soldier in the game and general all-around badass. Second soldier to die, and second Ranger too; I’m starting to think that might be a dangerous class to be in?

Regardless, we did win. The facility was taken down, the Avatar Project was knocked down a peg, and a fancy glowing vial now rests in a safe in doctor Tygan’s lab. Great work all around! And you’d think, maybe, that this would give the aliens some cause for pause? A little time-out to take stock of their situation? Sadly, nothing is further from the truth…

After the break: a tricky mission with a low-skilled team goes only slightly different than expected. Also, I don’t actually know if I’m playing this game right?

Ranonauts – LF Tank for Base Raid

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Before we get to the Aussie base, we need to get the gang together and make sure we have the equipment and unwounded veterans capable of handling this. The tank is nearly ready but our soldiers aren’t, so I guess we should first go and handle the wreck of that scout ship we shot down earlier. It was a bit surprising to look at the crew going on Shrike 1 and see that there were only 3 soldiers assigned to it. I guess I forgot how badly the previous mission went.

I am looking forward to having the new base facilities built. The Quantum Cryptology Centre will let me see each UFO’s mission and crew and any information that lets me appropriately judge the risk of a ground mission is information I want to have. Sure it is expensive, but it looks like I only need the one to cover all the bases. We will see how it goes.

The ground mission this time turned out to be surprisingly quick, I was not expecting a surviving crew of only 4 ceasans, especially a misson where none of my soldiers actually got a kill, instead we had tank, fire, civilian action and a capture, but despite the easy nature of the mission I still managed to lose a soldier. If a soldier ends up separated from the group even a little bit they really quickly suffer from critical existence failure for me. I completely forget about them, if they are lucky they just sit out the rest of the combat, if they are unlikely then they end up shot in the back like poor Jennifer.

The Ranonauts would like to offer its condolences to the families of the following officers:

  • Jennifer Robinson

To date Ranonauts has:

  • defended the earth for 4 months and 13 days
  • lost 43 soldiers
  • killed 278 aliens in 33 ground battles
  • captured 43 aliens
  • shot down 41 alien spacecraft
  • had 3 aircraft shot down
  • received $10,069,567 in funding

Ranonauts is in desperate need for new recruits after recent… incidents, if you or a friend would like to become a soldier in this Xenonauts Let’s Play please leave a comment or fill in your information here, the next set of new soldiers will arrive in episode twenty-nine.

Torment Thursday – Fishing in the Underbelly

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First a correction from last time, it turns out I got the location name wrong. We aren’t wandering the Undercity, instead we are exploring the Underbelly of Sagus Cliffs. I’m not sure that the two names are really that different but I do prefer to be correct most of the time.

It is an interesting place and I think the most packed with NPCs and things to do. My favourite so far is probably VARRANOTH CHAMPION OF THE WASTES, I really hope we get to meet the rider in a future area.

We also got a few little quests done, we helped persuade the insect people undermining Sagus cliffs that perhaps they would be better served mining elsewhere and we even did some fishing and shared with poor Crooked Qeek. As far as weeks go I was pretty pleased by this one, though I should note that the game crashed out shortly after I finished up. I really hope the checkpointing is good, if it saved after the last quest I completed then I won’t need to spend time trying to save scum to replicate the game state for next time.

Ranneko Plays MouseCraft – Section 3 (Part One)

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We are into the back half of MouseCraft now, but of course each level individual level is taking longer. Even the initial tutorial levels after each new tool is introduced are not complete slam dunks anymore.

I think the key reason I get stuck on any given puzzle isn’t comprehension so much as just not seeing one aspect of the puzzle. I guess what I like most is the feeling of the entire puzzle clicking into place. Even if sometimes it can take an embarrassingly long time for that to occur.

The electro blocks we see here are an interesting obstacle block. It seems kind of strange to sometimes be asked to place a block that I cannot directly use. Even explosives are useful for clearing out other obstacles, but electric blocks are only useful for building indirect support and for killing Ratoids. It narrows down their purpose in any given level at least.

Indie Wonderland: SUPERHOT

Time-tweaking shooter SUPERHOT burst onto the scene halfway into 2013, with a 7 Day FPS Challenge prototype turned playable in-browser demo that had everyone repeating the catchphrase ad nauseam. Super. Hot. Super. Hot. Super. Hot. There, that’s the last time I’m doing it.

I don’t know if anyone, not even the creators, expected SUPERHOT to become as wildly popular as it did. But become popular it did, and one well-funded Kickstarter — $250.000 of the original $100.000 goal — and 2.5 years of development later, here we are. Are all o’ y’all interested in seeing if Superhot Team managed to put together something good? Because I sure am.

(Spoiler levels: Narrative, complete (though spoilers are marked). Mechanical, also complete, but that’s not as big a deal as you might think. Super, hot.)

(Game source: Backed it on Kickstarter.)

After the break: SUPERHOT, the game concept so immediately popular that the nascent team had no choice but to name themselves after it. I don’t envy that kind of pressure.

Surprise! I thought of a better mouse-over joke at the last second. These bits are guidelines, not hard-and-fast rules.

Jarenth Plays XCOM 2 — Episode 8: Checkpoint

In the last episode of Jarenth Plays XCOM 2, it became abudantly clear that the aliens aren’t going to stop with this Avatar Project. The opening of their second facility in West-Africa — exactly the direction I wasn’t expanding towards — signifies that they’re shifting their operations into high gear. A direct result of our meddling, maybe? Whatever the case, I’ve decided that we can’t really afford to let them work unopposed anymore. And while we still don’t know where the core Project is housed, and we can’t locate the second facility until we get in touch with the West-African resistance, the first facility — the ADVENT blacksite — has been in our reach for a while now…

After the break: the much-touted blacksite is finally tackled. But can I stand up to the game’s first plot-mandated mission with my relatively basic tech?

Ranonauts – Everything Is Fine

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Even when you are actively avoiding larger engagements via tactical airstrikes Terror missions are the fight you cannot refuse. Here comes a reckoning, sure Soviet Europe has our most experienced team but unfortunately they are still under equipped and going into a fight with a larger than normal number of high level foes. This is fine. Everything is Fine. We only have to last 20 rounds, then the fog of war vanishes and from that point this game becomes pretty simple.

The Ranonauts Project would like to offer it’s congratulations to:

  • Private Leroy Smith. The only rookie to make it through this mission almost unscathed. He even got to fire Vebjorn’s rocket launcher on his first mission. Few can make that claim
  • Narmio, Maria and Vebjorn for their miraculous revival due to our upgraded medical facility
  • RebelliousUno for reaching 20 lifetime alien kills.
  • Vacated for continuing to rock the Plasma carbine racking up another 4 kills.

The Ranonauts would like to offer its condolences to the families of the following officers:

  • Natalie Hall
  • Raphael Blanc
  • Matias Laitinen
  • Sarah Rodriguez

To date Ranonauts has:

  • defended the earth for 4 months and 9 days
  • lost 42 soldiers
  • killed 275 aliens in 32 ground battles
  • captured 42 aliens
  • shot down 35 alien spacecraft
  • had 3 aircraft shot down
  • received $10,069,567 in funding

Ranonauts is in desperate need for new recruits after recent… incidents, if you or a friend would like to become a soldier in this Xenonauts Let’s Play please leave a comment or fill in your information here, the next set of new soldiers will arrive in episode twenty-nine.

Surprise! I thought of a better mouse-over joke at the last second. These bits are guidelines, not hard-and-fast rules.

Jarenth Plays XCOM 2 — Episode 7: An Offer They Couldn’t Refuse

In the last episode of Jarenth Plays XCOM 2, my daring daylight robbery of an ADVENT supply convoy made the alien forces sort of angry. I know, right? Nobody could’ve predicted this outcome. Now the Avatar Project is nearing the halfway mark, and we’ve got Dark Events and terrible alien plans coming out the woodwork. Jeez, you pull a high-profile resistance attack one time.

It’s not all bad news, though. Increased alien plotting means increased alien chatter. And increased alien chatter means we get better leads on where to go and what to do to hit them where it hurts. And wouldn’t you know it? Hitting the aliens where it hurts is precisely what we plan on doing right now…

After the break: I resist the urge to address Steve as ‘Hans’ a bunch of times. It’s a strong urge.