I can smell this photograph.
On the Table
Without the never-ending review backlog, I can get back to writing more editorial type stuff…this week, it’s all about how I hate playing games with strangers. Topical, since WBC is going on without me attending.
Did I tell y’all about Bill Abner? I don’t think I did. He’s now working with Conquistador Games, the company putting out the quite awesome-looking Road to Enlightenment that’s shipping soon as well as a game they’re working on called pretty awesomely The New Science. I’ve got a playtest kit for that I’ve just pawed over and it looks promising. Anyway, if you’re at WBC stop by and say hello to Bill, he’s there showing the games.
Starship Merchants has arrived courtesy Toy Vault, it looks cute. Mage Wars should be here soon, and I’ve got Lyssan coming as well. So reviews should pick up again soon. Still need to write up Infiltration, Levee en Masse IOS, and Dungeon Command. What was that about no backlog?
On the Consoles
Total score this week, Atlus sent review codes for Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time and the new Sting game Gungnir. Both are SRPGs, which fit right into my current interest in all things Japanese with deet-deet-deet text boxes and all that. I’ve just played Growlanser for about four hours, it’s stupendously complicated. And like a lot of Japanese RPG designs, it spends way too much time on the deet-deet-deet and not enough on the gameplay, at least not until you get way into the game and then there’s a ridiculously deep, complex experience waiting. I can’t believe anyone actually cares about the stories and dialogue in these games. It seems pretty good overall, and it’s nice to have something new that works on the Vita although it’s a PSP title.
I actually bought a new IOS game- 10000000. It’s a match 3 crossed with a dungeon crawl crossed with an endless runner. It’s pretty much as strange and complex as it sounds. It definitely has some Dungeon Raid influence- connecting swords to damage monsters and all that- but you also have a man running at the top of the screen and you’ve got to overcome obstacles and find keys before time runs out. There’s also wood and rock resources you use to upgrade the rooms of a castle where you can develop your character. The graphics are annoyingly 8-bit for no reason, but it seems like there’s a good- and challenging game here.
Greg Rucka’s Detective Comics run with Batwoman totally sucked. I had heard a lot of great things about it, I thought it was lame and I think I could do without ever reading a man trying to write a believable lipstick lesbian character again. JH Williams III Mucha-esque art is nice, but it’s also gimmicky and almost silly in its baroqueness. Not feeling it at all, and the Question sub-story was useless.
Gotham Central, mostly by Brubaker, was much better. It’s kind of a detective’s eye view of crime and super-crime in Gotham, and how the police sort of deal with having Batman around. Bats is barely in the book at all, and one of the main characters has a huge dislike for him. I read the first five, which included stories about Mr. Freeze and Firebug, and I’d go in for more on the dollar sale, for sure.
Ed Brubaker’s The Man Who Laughs was really good, a nice one-shot that follows up on both Year One and The Killing Joke in style.
There was a dollar sale on Irredeemable so I worked my way up into the teens on those. I think I’m losing interest in it. The concept is so awesome and I love some of the truly terrifying implications of the Plutonian, but it’s already feeling like it would have been best served as a six issue mini than a 50 issue series. There was sort of a shark-jumping moment that I think did the book in for me…and there’s also the matter that after 15 issues or so of seeing how awful the Plutonian is it kind of starts to get a little old.
On the Screen
Dark Knight Rises, at last. I’ve already issued forth about it in the forums. TL;DR- it’s awesome and it caps off one of my favorite film series of all time.
River’s gotten into My Neighbor Totoro, which is of course awesome. When you’ve got a two year old saying that he wants to watch Totoro, how can you possibly say no. So we’ve watched that a bunch lately, the only grief is that it has those god awful English language songs. The dubbing is fine (the most recent Disney one), just those damn songs…
Such a sweet, gentle movie with a wonderful, understated ending.
He’s moving on to Kiki’s Delivery Service this week, which he oddly calls Room on the Broom since he likes the book and connects the whole witches/brooms thing.
Elton John. It’s easy to forget how awesome he used to be.