Welcome to What We’re Playing, this hot new thing we’re doing about… what we’re playing. It’s not just a clever name, obviously. Every month, we’ll publish one of these What We’re Playing features about (omg, you guessed it!) what we’re playing, and maybe you’ll tell us about what you’re playing too. It’s collaborative like that.
Tooth and Tail
This is magic. Tooth and Tail is essentially what you’d get if you boiled the real-time strategy genre down to its bare minimum – and then filled it with drunk, pistol-wielding squirrels. RTSes are notorious for being bloated and often intimidating to newcomers, but Tooth and Tail presents itself in a brilliantly approachable way with its simple control scheme and adorably barbaric aesthetic. Don’t mistake “simplified” for “shallow”, though – Tooth and Tail’s barebones nature belies its satisfying strategic depth. Also, if you’ve never watched a boar with a flamethrower lay waste to an army of spear-lizards, you haven’t lived.
I’ve finally gotten around to diving face-first into Bungie’s not-an-MMO-but-okay-it’s-probably-an-MMO Destiny 2. It’s fun! Really, really fun. Also, I have, like, 10 Sparrows and a bunch of snazzy gloves and a gun that shoots lightning or something, and that’s really all I want from life anyway. I kinda despise playing games with Other People, because yuck, so I’m currently solo-ing my way through the game’s numerous planets and the challenges therein. Solo play isn’t at all what Destiny’s designed for, so at times it can feel a little… tedious. More than a little even. But that’s okay, because A GUN THAT SHOOTS LIGHTNING OR SOMETHING.
FTL: Faster Than Light
I picked up FTL again in preparation for Into the Breach, which I’ve bought but haven’t yet played. I’d forgotten how hilariously unforgiving this EVERYONE’S GONNA DIE AND YOU KNOW IT thing is. I mean, Steam says I’ve played it for a total of 55 hours, and in that time I’ve only beaten the final boss twice. I love FTL. A lot. But, like, I also kind of hate it. A lot.
Kingdom Come: Deliverance
I’ve started banging this one out for review, and the more I play it, the more I realise that you’ve got to put some hard work in to see results from it. Keep an eye out for my review in the coming week(s) – I’ve got a lot to say about this medieval coming-of-age sim.
Tarryn and I bought this on a whim so we’d have something new and interesting to play together. The learning curve is steeper than its cartoonish aesthetic suggests, but it’s made for some fascinating time visiting exotic alien worlds. And then choking to death on them. Oh, and you can drag three of your mates planetside with you too, so they can choke to death with you.
Monster Hunter: World
Bought for me as a Valentine’s Day gift, I’ve only just started dipping my feet into this cool, brutal game. The finicky co-op system is anything but inspired – but the cleaving of monsters into steaks feels rock solid in this game. I look forward to knocking out Kingdom Come so that I can get back to Monster Hunter as soon as humanly possible.
I can totally deal with messed up stuff. I loved The Human Centipede, for example, and sometimes I eat peanut butter with sriracha. And Inside is my kind of messed up. The sequel-but-not-sequel to Playdead’s also sort of messed up Limbo is even more messed up, and if you’ve also played it, you know exactly what I mean. You know. The thing. MESSED UP. 11/10, would mess up again.
I didn’t actually play much of the original Wasteland because it was super hard, everybody died, and I quit. So about an hour, maybe. Wasteland 2 isn’t much more forgiving, and I’ve already restarted it once because everybody got infected with… something. But I didn’t quit this time, so that’s already a lot of personal development and improvement. Look at now-me, then-me. You wish you were this, like, transcendental.
Sea of Thieves
I finally got my hands on Rare’s Next Big Thing just in time for the latest stress test, and for the most part, it was delightful. Except when it was horrid. I’m clearly too soft to brave the world of online gaming – it’s like the Wild West out there. People say some outlandish things when they’re happily anonymous, huh? Thankfully, despite the foul mouths of strangers, I reckon I’ll be spending a lot more time with Sea of Thieves once it’s out.
Ghost Recon: Wildlands
I bought this one ages ago, but hadn’t really bothered with it because I didn’t have the energy to deal with another Ubimap experience. I’m so glad I fired it up again though. Rolling through the Bolivian outback in my double-cab bakkie with three bearded killing machines hanging out of the windows is more fun than it should be – even if it felt a lot like I was just role-playing a South African farmer in the eighties. Awkward. Wildlands is a proudly tone-deaf adventure with a beer in its hand and a gun on its waist, and it’s totally become my new guilty pleasure.
Rise of the Tomb Raider
Lara’s latest adventure is still bloody good. I don’t care all that much for the bits where she’s poncing around in a forest or hunting bunnies on a mountainside, but the linear action sequences are pure Indiana Jones, except with a nicer bum. Is that offensive? Fine. Indiana also has a lovely bum. Happy now? Equal opportunity sexual objectification.
Forza Motorsport 7
I took a small break from Forza 7 for a while, but it’s always entertaining and looks awesome while running incredibly well. I was a fool and bought the Deluxe Edition on sale, only to realise that I’m feeding this microtransaction nonsense by paying extra for things that are essentially already in the game. That said, this is a fun title with useful handling that does a good job articulating the difference between cars in what I consider the perfect arcade/simulation mix. It should keep me pleasantly occupied until F1 2018 comes out. On that note: why I keep following these annual sports title releases is beyond me.
Assassin’s Creed Origins
Origins is the first Assassin’s Creed game I’ve played, and I’ve sunk a good 60+ hours into it. It looks amazing at times, the combat is alright, and the open world is well made. There are bugs galore (clipping, NPCs falling from the sky or rising from the ground, etc.), but despite all that, it’s a wonderful title. It could be because I’m incredibly biased, but I see a lot of influence from The Witcher 3 in the game. Still, it’s a compelling game in its own right.
Age of Empires 3 (Improvement Mod)
Yes, I mentioned this one last month, but I’m still playing it. I’m patiently waiting for the Age of Empires 3 remaster and Age of Empires 4, so in the meantime, this is what’s keeping me company.
It’s an exciting time for Formula 1 fans around the world because during February, many teams launch their respective entries in the 2018 F1 season. As a result, I’ve been slipping into my PlaySeat, grabbing my Thrustmaster Ferrari Edition, loading up F1 2017 and jamming for hours. Forza Ferrariiiiiiiiiiii! [Len, I’m worried you’ve not used enough “I”s to emphasise your point there. Next time, REALLY go for it. – ed.]
Super Mario Run
For some reason, I’ve spent a significant amount of time waiting in queues this month. As a result, my go-to game away from F1 2017 has been Nintendo’s Super Mario Run. It makes smelling random strangers’ farts in queues a Febreze.
I decided to change my AI storyteller to Phoebe Chillax, because she at least gives you some time to recover in between all those nasty little events that turn your once-perfect colony upside-down. The change of storyteller hasn’t stopped my colony’s graveyard from growing – but at least it’s growing at a much slower pace.
Dane convinced me to try this one, and I quite enjoy it. I’ve even managed to build a somewhat functional city with a reasonably happy population. Of course, there’s been a few times I’ve had to completely demolish some problematic areas to ease the complaints of a few whiny bitches. Still, my tiny city people are happy! Truth be told, I haven’t spent as much time as I’d like playing Cities: Skylines, because… well, RimWorld – but it’s an excellent city builder.
This game features one of the most frightening, utterly alien worlds I’ve ever played on – or is that in? But it’s actually under, really. I say under because 95% of this game happens underwater in an alien ocean, filled with everything from tiny little fish to enormous sea creatures. I was once even warned by my submersible’s on-board computer if I was “sure” that whatever I was doing out in a particular bit of the deep, deep ocean was important enough to justify the risk. Gulp. Subnautica is all about surviving an alien, water-covered world. You must gather things, build things and keep exploring deeper and deeper. Avoid this if you suffer from thalassophobia. Grab it if you like fun.
Pokémon Go and Clash Royale are the two mobile games I play (occasionally). Someone said I should try Hay Day, but I’m not too keen on spending my time working for digital people. [But Michael… isn’t that, like, all we EVER do in video games? – ed.] Clash Royale is a tower rush game that lets players select from a range of cards and abilities. Everything is governed by elixir, more powerful cards require more elixir and less powerful cards… you get the idea. The fun comes in selecting from the different cards and building a winning deck. It’s fast, fun and kiiind of doesn’t expect you to spend money.
Ark: Survival Evolved
Yes, I’m still playing this. We’ve recently been playing a lot of the Aberration expansion, but in the last few weeks we’ve also been working our way through all the bosses (again) to unlock all the advanced engrams. Breeding a large, powerful tyrannosaurus rex army is also proving rather expensive when it comes to food, but it’s worth it to watch them take apart the bosses with minor losses. The final challenge now is defeating the boss on Aberration. Then maybe I’ll try to conquer the oceans. I always avoid going into the sea for some reason.