Fall Guys – Game Review

Fall Guys Ultimate Knockout

This game was released on August 4th, 2020 and within 24 hours of being released 1.5 million people were playing. At this point we know at least 2,000,000 copies of the game have been downloaded on Steam. So far it is averaging a critic review score of 8/10 which isn’t hard to believe as the game has a nearly addictive quality to it.

To be fair in this review I will point out that I have been playing on PS4 not on PC or other consoles.

If you have been with me for a while, you know I tend to stick to TCG and Turn Based RPG’S. I do pop over to massive games like Spyro and Jack for the nostalgic feelings and experience. So when it comes to immediate reaction games, I am by no means a pro. I don’t think this is a disadvantage with this game though, as it will show how well a relative novice does with the game and how enjoyable it can be to just about any age group and experience level.

Minigames

This game is a compilation of minigames that you compete in against other players online to reach the final rounds and if you are both lucky and skillful, win the episodes to get your chance to take the crown!

Races

The races are generally a track with moving elements designed to knock players off the course through use of spinning bars, swinging balls, falling balls, spinning paths and tilting floors. The goal is to reach the finish line before most other people as only two thirds of the competitors can qualify for the next round. I found them to be very fun but often one small mistake can lose you the episode.

Team Matches

Team matches can have two to four teams and generally centre around stealing items or passing misfortune to other teams. Some require coordination with others on your team like “Hoarders” and “Rock N’ Roll”, while others don’t require cooperation such as “Team Tail Tag”. These suffer a little as your contribution and effort helps your odds, but should your team lose, you suffer for it. In my case, I won or lost due to my team with no real difference coming from my efforts.

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Survival

Don’t be eliminated! These are possibly the most fun and stressful of all the mini games because people will do anything they can to win! Pushing you in front of moving platforms or off the ledge into the instant death goo is fair play in these episodes but it just adds to the excitement.

Is The Game Fun?

Yes the game is incredibly fun and easy to get into. Within a few minutes you figure out the timing for jumps, buttons for jumping and grabbing and you are on your way to having a blast. In a way this game reminds me of Rocket League due to its online competitive nature. Both games have skin unlocks, lobby systems, invite systems and work on ranking systems. While the gameplay is entirely different, the short matches and replay-ablility strikes a familiar cord.

Will The Game Last?

I don’t think it will. The game is very fun, bright and engaging, but it has a feeling of repetition that I believe will kill the game fairly quickly. Unlike games like Rocket League, Hearthstone and COD, there isn’t a lot of variety in the games which I believe will be it’s downfall. This game requires an ever present online presence in order to function, and I don’t think it will retain the millions it got nearly overnight. I played for two days before slowing down and my fiancĂ©, who is an avid gamer, also played about two days before putting down the controller. I think it has potential as a local game, as it would be a fun party game if they added another 10 mini games, so perhaps they will lean that way to keep it alive once the online presence dies down.

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Should You Buy It?

If 10 hours or so of gameplay is worth it’s cost to you, then yes! Maybe you’ll be lucky and love the game much more than us and get more out of it, maybe not. If it is still available for free download on the Playstation Store, then absolutely you should get it while it is free!

From Software Games

Not long ago I sat down and recorded a video regarding my experience as an outsider with the Soulsborne games. In the video which was unscripted and unplanned to be honest with you, Ryan and I discussed From Software games and how they affected my life as well as my opinions of the games as an observer to them and the culture that surrounds them. If you want the short version of just my opinion of the games, watch the video below!

Eva Blakeman – From Software Games

For those unfamiliar with them, From Software games generally refers to the Dark Souls series, Demon Souls, Bloodborne and its newest addition, Sekiro Shadows Die Twice. These games paved the way to a new genre of games. This new genre is a collection of games that tried to create the same experience as the original Dark Souls game. I will point out that I am not an expert in this gaming industry and all opinions expressed are solely my own as an observer to the games and the culture around them.

Dark Souls is infamously difficult to play, and has become a commonly used point of reference for game difficulty. This is not a great way to inform players of new game difficulty though, as Dark Souls wasn’t a difficult game as much as it is a series of seemingly insurmountable hurdles the were carefully designed to give players immense satisfaction upon achieving. For example, saying that any racing game is “as hard as Dark Souls” would make little to no sense, as a racing game could have difficult objectives, but would not require inspection into lore, acquiring and matching up the correct items or modifying fighting styles for bosses.

Dark Souls – Bryan Cebulski

Dark Souls 2 was a step down from the original as it tried to increase it’s difficulty without giving the player the same odds as the original one to prevail while traveling to the next boss. In the original, enemies would follow a common game mechanic which ensures you aren’t being swarmed by enemies, so even in largely occupied areas, only one or two would directly engage you at once. In the second game they seemed to have removed this piece of programming, which allowed enemies to swarm you, making it impossible to cut your way through them, back off to heal or escape from them. Yes it made the game more difficult, but it did not make the game better. It also lacked the story the original had, though it is speculated a lot of this came from issues during development as to where and when the story would take place. Though you can have a few laughs at the constant “praise the sun” notes left by other players, there isn’t the same feeling of excitement or need for exploration in the second game. I am including the DLC in this, as it was just a couple bosses with little story. Not to mention the final boss was possibly the easiest boss in the game, which leaves the player feeling underwhelmed by finishing the game.

Dark Souls Three is not a game I have a lot to say about. It rekindled a lot of the charming aspects of the first game and followed its formula for successful player engagement in the game. It introduced some new lore to the universe and the increased speed of the gameplay certainly better suited the capabilities of the consoles existing upon its release. It’s important to remember this game was in development alongside Bloodborne, as while you play you will see a lot of character design and weapon design similarities between the two while fighting low level enemies. I don’t think this is a bad thing for the game, but rather it’s just interesting to see how the Bloodborne style snuck its way into the final Dark Souls game.

Bloodborne. This game infuriated me. The audio from enemies, bosses and even the stepping noises were just unpleasant to hear. Yes the game is designed around being grotesque, gothic and at points disturbing, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. While the basic design of the game mirrors Dark Souls in its fighting, movement and menus, it had a lot more personality. Though names of certain items changed throughout all the From Software games, it is easy to see a pattern they follow when developing. For example, Flasks and Blood Vials do the same thing and increase the total amount that can be carried can be increased throughout the game. Resting will recover healing flasks, re-spawn enemies and give you access to menus for transportation. I won’t say that the game doesn’t dip into stranger territory, because it really does, nor will I say it’s a bad game, because it is really well done, but it just isn’t my cup of tea.

Sekiro is the most beautiful of all the games. I don’t just mean the beautiful scenery and attention to detail, but also the intricacy of the stories that overlap and change the ending of the game. From Software really did change styles with this game while still incorporating the basic setup of their previous releases. What I mean is that their menus, items and basic structure or elements on the screen are very familiar from the previous games. As for style change, this game requires quick gameplay, fearless charging into enemies and discretion. The previous games were much slower, required more back and forth with enemies and didn’t reward sneaking around the way this game does. It does incorporate a lot of interesting Japanese lore and history and then adds a fantasy element to them.

Sekiro – Business Insider

I haven’t been exposed to Demon Souls, but to my understanding it is a precursor to Dark Souls that had its charms.

Overall, I appreciate the effort put in by the From Software teams that have worked on these games and created such fantastic stories that can be replayed many times while achieving different endings. I think they would all make fantastic gifts to gamers who like this style of game, though I would not recommend them to new gamers who may not be able to adjust quickly.

Slay The Spire – A Game Review

Slay The Spire is a fairly popular game originally released in its early testing days to the public to better interact with the gaming community on Steam and to get much needed feedback to better the programming and game play. It is one of the few games that really succeeded through this method and has grown considerably since it’s expansion onto consoles.

EVA BLAKEMAN – SLAY THE SPIRE

What is the Game?

It is a dungeon run game based on deck building. Unlike games like YuGiOh or Magic, your deck changes each time you play. With four characters at present, each character has their own play style and accessible cards to build with. When you start each run you have twelve basic cards mostly consisting of strike and defend cards. Within a few floors you will begin gaining new cards, getting rid of the basic cards and creating a theme for your run.

Once you have gotten through all 50 floors of the game, if you have collected the right items, you will be able to “Slay The Spire” as it were. An incredibly difficult fight against the Spire itself that causes immense damage no matter what you do. If you can slay the spire than you have my admiration, as it is a difficult match not often won.

The game randomizes each run through seeds, which can be replayed if you save the codes. Due to this, each time you play the game is different as you will face different bosses, elites and have access to different relics and cards. To make the game more difficult there is ascension. Ascension adds more difficulties, harder bosses, less healing, less access to rare cards and relics as well as increasing the damage every enemy can cause. Each ascension level makes the game more difficult, and there is 20 levels of ascension.

Now Let’s Talk Characters.

EVA BLAKEMAN – IRONCLAD

Ironclad is a “knight” like character who has an innate item that allows 6HP healing after fighting enemies. The build styles with this character are often either strength builds or high defensive turned offensive. The cards availible often play off each other to allow building of specialized decks. The most common not spammed run (there has been an issue with a certain relic and card combination that is essentially a legal cheat) is the Body Slam deck. This deck build turns block into attack which means not only are you not taking damage, you are inflicting high amounts of damage to your enemy. It runs on a low cost margin with most cards needed to be 1 or 0 in cost, allowing momentum to build through both your turn and your combat.

EVA BLAKEMAN – THE SILENT

Silent is our poison character. With two main builds used there is a “shiv deck” which consists of running at nearly 0 cost cards to inflict consistent chip damage. The other popular style is poison. Poison causes damage each turn equal to the amount of poison but will reduce by one at the end of the turn. With the right cards this can be a very effective way to get through the run. This character is the most difficult to work with as the wrong draw can end your run very quickly, which also makes it very rewarding to complete the run with The Silent.

EVA BLAKEMAN – THE DEFECT

Defect is an interesting character that requires using “orbs”. Positions where attack, energy and block orbs can be used and rotated through by playing cards that create new orbs. Through a combination of cards that increase the value of each orb and supplementary cards and relics that play off the orbs provoked during the combat, it can be quite thrilling to watch it all come together to take down an enemy. For example, as common deck build is a Blizzard deck. Similar to the idea of a Body Slam deck, you build up your defence through the orb “frost” and turn all of your summoned frost orbs into fuel for the blizzard ( a card that deals three times the amount of frost orbs summoned through combat as a damage amount).

EVA BLAKEMAN – THE WATCHER

The last present character is the watcher. A similar concept to Defect, but executed in “stances”. As your character is put into different stances you gain energy, worsen or lessen the attack you will receive and with the power of Mantra the character can reach Divinity, a state where you are supplied with more energy and higher attack power.

Are There Issues With The Game?

Through the games beta testing period there were patches that causes so much lag that it was unplayable, but those issues have been fixed. The developers have been doing weekly patches and updates on the game since it was launched and have remained incredibly communicative to the community around the game.

It isn’t the easiest game to start playing as it is likely that the first few runs will be lost quickly. It takes time to learn all the cards and how they interact with each character. With a cost of around $34.00 some people might feel discouraged to continue playing after so many losses and feel that they’ve wasted their money. I would say if you are willing to invest the time into really learning the game and experimenting with different builds and characters this isn’t an issue at all.

After a few weeks of playing some people find the lack of boss variety to be an issue as there is only 9 total bosses in the game. They have added more elites through patches, and we hope to see more bosses and enemies in the future.

My Experience With The Game

Overall the game has been my absolute favourite for the past few years and I would recommend it to anyone. I’ve personally played somewhere in the range of 1800-2100 hours of this game (steam stopped tracking during a portion of testing between patches) and still enjoy it. I originally purchased the game when there was only two characters and no Spire floor to really finish the run. It is such a fun game to play and as it isn’t played in real time, you can get up and do the laundry or grab your coffee without worrying an enemy is going to take you out while you’re away (I’m looking at you Dark Souls). I haven’t unlocked every trophy yet, which when you consider the amount of hours I’ve played is insane. The constant changing of the game keeps it fresh and I hope its creators continue to update it.

If you have played the game, let me know in the comments below! And don’t forget to tell me your favourite character to play as!

Why You Should Play Video Games With Your SO

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Growing up, my brothers played a variety of games. I remember watching them conquer Shadow of the Colossus, the Spyro trilogy, JACK, Ratchet and Clank as well as countless Final Fantasy games. I enjoyed sitting as quietly as I could watching characters and worlds move wildly before me. As I grew older, I got to play some of the easier games. Mostly Need For Speed Underground, as I could win “money” for my brother, which allowed him to upgrade his vehicles.

Through my teen years my video game life consisted of Roller Coaster Tycoon, Wii Fitness and World of Goo. As you can tell at this point, I was not an avid gamer, and I didn’t have a lot of experience.

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As an adult I purchased a PS4, so that I could play Rocket League, GTA 5 and the Spyro Reignited Trilogy. To one ones surprise, I am not very good at any of those games, but I do enjoy playing them nonetheless.

What I didn’t expect was that my boyfriend and I have spent countless hours playing games together. Not all of them difficult or requiring skill, in fact we often play Mario Party together, as you can play as a team and it’s nice to win and lose together. We play CTR together, and we celebrate each others achievements and progress.

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Gaming together has given us another thing in common, and an inexpensive activity to enjoy together.

We get to cheer for each other and bring up each others spirits when someone loses and that is a wonderful feeling to behold. We have discovered over the last year or so that there are two games I am actually better at than my partner is, they are Mario Party and Slay The Spire. It is no coincidence that those two games are the ones I’ve put the most hours into.

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No matter who’s winning or losing, or even if I’m merely watching my partner play, we are spending down time together, and in a life with hectic schedules, many social appointments and highly erratic shifts at work, I cherish those hours we spend with controllers in our hands and smiles dancing on our faces.