I’ve never reviewed Game of Thrones before. Shocker, I love it, the whole point of being geeky is to embrace the things we love with a passion and not to get too bogged down in the things we hate (unless what we hate is paying us enough). Before you ask, no I have not read the books, but I have learned enough over the years to be able to discuss some of the differences, or at least I could have done until now…
As of this sixth season we are almost completely off the books, having gone through the source material, and while A Song of Ice and Fire has been rather heavily changed, the story and characters remain very close to the originals. George R. R. Martin has been closely involved with the production and his creation has not strayed far from his control, so it’s not entirely fair to criticise the HBO show on the basis of straying so far from the series, and numbers don’t lie. It’s been a monolith in the ratings, almost always the most heavily pirated TV series, and some claim that to even be to the show’s benefit.
This is set to be the last “full” season, being ten episodes where the next two seasons will amount to thirteen episodes between them, so let us review the years events.
You play Daniel, general geek and nerd who while playing a DnD game with his friends goes to the loo and somehow finds himself in an alternate universe actually taking part in a real RPG. His body is possessed by a shadow demon who is unable to take control of Daniel and becomes trapped inside his body.
I picked up UnEpic during a sale for $1.99 USD (who buys things full price anyway) as I was curious as to what it was like. When you start the game you get to choose what sort of experience you would like, either with or without swear words. Now I’m not against swearing in games, but I appreciate the option to not have them. I decided to opt for it for my play through, but actually I quickly regretted it. Not because the swear words offended me, but they feel forced and felt as if they merely were implemented to add to the “humour”. I use the word humour in quotations for a very specific reason; I am sure that the dialogue between Daniel and his new shadow co-traveller is funny, if your 14 years old, but for me they really added nothing to the game at all. I’m not against toilet humour (and there seems to be a lot of it here), but toilet humour only works given the right circumstance. Conkers Bad Fur Day is a game that was full of toilet humour but also quite enjoyable at the same time.
The game itself is a cross between an RPG and a jump and run, where Daniel runs through the castle that he has found himself in. Your main goal is to survive each room killing any enemies, surviving traps and lighting torches in order to fulfil the various quests that you find along the way. Whilst doing so you gain experience points for killing enemies and lighting all the torches in the room. In some rooms, you will find chests with loot in and even some side quests that can distract you along the way. With every major level, you gain six points that can help you customise what specialities Daniel has. Putting some points into a ranged attack is generally a good idea, as I found that later on there are some enemies you can only reach with spells or arrows. There is no point here in being a full on tank and the rogue backstabbing ability is a welcome addition but did not really change your play style that much. To enable you to move around the castle a bit faster you can open up shortcut gateways that take you to a central room. These are really useful for getting to and from a save point which to begin with there is only one until you solve some of the quests to open up more. The game does autosave, but there is no indication of when you pass one of these checkpoints which I found quite irritating.
Once you open up a bit more of the map you get a boss battle, which was fun, but is too few and far between from my experience. You spend a lot more time running around the castle trying to find the relevant items needed to complete the next mini-quest so that you can get on with the main quest. If you’re going to play UnEpic I have one major piece of advice for you, make good use of the note making function on the map, there were a few times where I had finished one of the quests but I could not remember for the life of me where I got it from, so spent the next hour or so re-visiting most of the rooms I had gone to in order to find where I cash it in. The game does allow you to keep track of what is left to find in the quest and whilst I don’t expect it to tell me where to get the pieces to the puzzle, I did expect it to guide me back to the quest source. UnEpic does have multiplayer capabilities all hooked up through Steam, which I have not been able to test out.I had a conversation with Timlah to see if he thought it might be a fun to do a video series of it. He had tried it before and thought it to be “dull” which I was disappointed to hear but something in me still wants to test it out a little.
Visually the game looks okay being sprite based is good for this sort of game but it does nothing really special or endearing to make it stand out. The audio is quite nice, footsteps have a hearty echo at first but could do with changing based upon the environment. This is going to be one of those games I have got so far and I find myself having no real desire to go any further. I’m sure there is more hilarity to be had between Daniel and his companion but it would help if I found any of it actually funny. If I had finished it then I would certainly not bother with a second play through. So I’m afraid it will most likely sit on my Steam shelf gathering dust. It was certainly worth what I paid for it in the sale and I would happily pay a bit more but not much more.
Let us know if you have played UnEpic and what you thought of it. Did you manage to play the multiplayer? Do you think Timlah is right? Tell us what you think in the comments section or via Reddit, FaceBook or Twitter
Android is where my heart is, but sometimes, you have to put down your old model and get an upgrade. For a low price, I managed to get a hold of a Sony Xperia Z3 running Android 6.0, Marshmallow. How good is the software on the Xperia Z3 and how much of an improvement is it over my previous Sony Xperia S? Join Timlah as we look at the Z3 in full detail.
It’s good to be bad… That’s the motto of the game, as we delve deeper into another dungeon game, but this time – Instead of defeating enemies in the dungeons, we are the bad guys. We’re running our own dungeons, from Imps and Demon Spawn to the simple Fly and the legendary Horned Reaper, we’re playing the classic Bullfrog dungeon building title, Dungeon Keeper. Join Timlah through this new Let’s Play series!
Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the internet…
They do say that worse things happen at sea, but frankly any large body of water can hold a variety of toothy, poisonous, bloodthirsty or otherwise deadly aquatic horrors. And water… deadly, deadly water.
As you probably know, we here at GeekOut are always on the lookout for interesting developments in a lot of areas. We always try to back upcoming games if we can, as well as technology and more. I must admit I am a bit of a fan of card games like Cards Against Humanity and Bucket Of Doom, and last week a game called Death Wish caught my eye with the campaign via Kickstarter. After watching the promo video I decided to bump up the £20 for the base game.
Another versus piece, but this one’s really a non-contest. Two horror films centred around mirrors that toy with themes of perception and reality, but one does the job far better than the other and by no small degree. You know what, I’m just going to launch straight into this one: (more…)
There is no hiding the fact that Party Hard is violent. Violence in video games is always a bit of a touchy subject with people. I personally don’t believe that video games that depict violence encourage people to kill, but I will say that if you’re a parent you may want to check this out first. I have reason to believe that the six-second pitch for this game went something like. “Have you ever had noisy neighbours? Have you ever wanted to stab them? Well, now you can”. Now we here at GeekOut do not encourage you to stab your noisy neighbours. A much better way to solve that problem is to try talking to them first if that fails then maybe consider dialling 101 and talking to the police about the situation.
Developed by Pinkol Games and published by TinyBuild, Party Hard was the result of a game jam, one of those “Build a game in X days” events. Now not all games that get made in this way evolve into full products but you may remember that we have reviewed both HackNet and SuperHot, both of which came out of game jams and are pretty good. You start the game with a little tutorial that teaches you the basics of walking up behind people and stabbing them or using the environment to your advantage by pushing people into fires or setting traps. The controls are simple and work really well on a controller, but as per the clue in the title of the game, Party Hard is by no means easy which I really appreciate.
When playing the game you soon learn that you can’t just go in and stab everyone. If you’re spotted killing people or other party goers find your victims then they will call the police who will turn up and look for someone to arrest. It’s quite fun getting away with murder, so to speak. You can also manage to trick the police into arresting the wrong person! However, if you are spotted then you can try to make your escape. Run away from the police for a long enough time and they give up the chase or alternatively you can try to jump out of a window or head through a cellar. Don’t come to rely upon these exits, if you use them too often when you’re being chased, a vaguely familiar man in blue overalls with a red shirt and a large moustache armed with a wrench appears and closes off the exit.
The game adopts the current popular pixellated style, which you might think is not much to write home about, but I rather like it. At the end of each level is a little cinematic which tries to explain the Party Hard killer, but really does not add too much to the game itself. There are some fun cameos from the patrons starring people from Breaking Bad, Michael Jackson, Darth Vader and more. The ultimate goal of each level is to be the last man standing so you can go home and get back to sleep. When you’re done with the main game I guess it opens up more characters which include a ninja, a cop, a female character and a butcher. However I have yet to get past the third level so can’t really tell you what it’s like to play as them. There is a fully fledged level editor where you can create your own level, with traps, party goers, security and all sorts. The creative among you will love this, which allows you to share the level with the rest of the world via Steam workshop, so you can make your very own house party to share with your friends.
Is it fun? Yes.
The challenge is pretty high but I don’t feel like I am being punished for no good reason, it’s usually because I have taken too big a risk. Coming up with strategic ways to reduce the crowd is fun and I can just fire it up for a few spare minutes, no need to sink hours and hours into it which I really like. It’s also really nice to have levels that are designed for a change, I have played so many rogue-style games with their random elements often ending in disappointment. Do I feel I got my money’s worth? Well, I paid $4.49 USD for it which is about £3.20. Given the difficulty, along with the presence of a full level editor, I actually would pay full price for this. It’s well worth £10 in my opinion but then again, I’m a bit of a bargain hunter!
Love and rockets
And in some ways I’m quite sad.
It’s hard to believe that it has been five years since we first saw the trio of Sesame Street-esque puppets learning how to get creative, but as of June 19th this year the nerve-shredding but perversely insightful series has come to a rather dramatic and yet oddly satisfying conclusion that answered everything, and at the same time absolutely nothing. Let’s take a quick look at the journey or Red Guy, Yellow Guy and the Duck…
1) Get Creative
Nobody really knew what to expect on first view of the fabric world and it’s puppety inhabitants at first, it all seemed perfectly wholesome with the singing sketchbook singing about how to express yourself creatively, but it wasn’t long before the observant noticed something wrong with the way the sketchbook ignored the opinions of the Red Guy, later censoring Yellow’s attempts at doing something it hasn’t suggested. After a brief glimpse of the truth, and the artificial construct at play, the whole thing descends into chaos, the music becomes a painful cacophony, and the characters seem engaged in acts of madness rather than creativity.
Take the time to watch this twice, the second time looking for the little cues that are showing us how creativity is not being taught, it’s being crushed. The characters are told repeatedly what is and is not creative, and to only listen to the opinions of the sketchbook. At the end it is agreed that they will never be creative again, perhaps a hint that free thought is not allowed and we should all be normal because it is safer, a theme which is revisited later on.
We come to 2014, almost 3 years later, and the creepiest kids show has freaked out a large audience already, now it’s Time to learn a new lesson. Our group are distracted from their TV show by the singing clock who shows them the effect of time and the inevitable march of progress. If anything Time is even more oblivious to the objections of the group, shutting down anyone who tries to disagree or deviate from the path quickly before eventually strapping them into a futuristic device to marvel at technology, and finally subjecting them to the rigours of age.
I’ve heard different interpretations of this one, and I think my favourite is that we don’t have long to live so we should fill the time with stuff, “An old man died – But look, a computer!” although there’s some credit to the idea that it’s about how we gloss over the past, such as how the Victorian era is glossed over with nonsense before launching into more pointless rhetoric.
Then came the Kickstarter campaign, promising four more lessons for the puppet palls to learn. It also promises to let them go if we give them money.
Love is represented by a beautiful and softly spoken butterfly who takes care of Yellow after he runs off because the others upset him, and whisks him away over the clouds to a place where everyone is happy and cheerful and care about each other, and tell him stories, and give him new clothes, a new name, and introduce him to Malcolm, the King of Love who eats gravel. Yellow’s friends eventually find him, and bring him an egg, which hatches and the caterpillar inside calls him “Father”, before being squished.
This one takes you on a real journey, one that mirrors the path into many cults just like the cult of Malcolm, plucked from a place of confusion and sadness and introduced to people who supposedly care about them, but slowly erase their personality. It also goes into how we’re taught to perceive love, and the right and wrong ways to experience it.
A computer hijacks our merry adventurers efforts to learn something interesting about the real world by dragging them into a digital world full of flash and sparkle and wonder. Once again our Red guy is disinterested, and sarcastic, still seeking an answer to the question that they began with before the distractions eventually silence him, and as he watches his friends enslaved by the machine he seeks an escape, and in the process stumbles across the real world, which literally blows his mind (in a shower of confetti).
The shroud around the true meaning behind each video gets thinner and thinner, although Digitally gives a few clues that might easily be missed. The video is about how our relationship with the internet, how it distracts us, how it gives us license to be someone else, and how it is filled with so much and nothing all at the same time. The computer is also one of the more terrifying teachers, its hideous squeal as it drags the puppets into its realm is chilling.
Red is missing, apparently the events of Digitally were rather permanent, and the Duck and Yellow guy know something is wrong, but can’t quite pinpoint what’s wrong. And so begins the music, as a dancing lamb chop and can of spinach teach them all about being healthy. This time the Duck takes the role of doubter, and is obviously uncomfortable and tries repeatedly to escape through the ever-ringing phone, only to find grisly dismemberment on the other side.
The meaning is most obvious of all, the conflicting lessons about food are an obvious mirror of the ever changing things we are told are good for us and bad for us: “…but everyone has a teeth go grey, just eat yeast, it’ll all go away! But how much have you had today? Too much yeast makes your teeth go grey.” In the end the Duck is consumed by giant cans, the food industry behind the cameras, and we see Red walking morosely away from a phonebooth in the real world. It seems he was trying to save his friends.
And now but one remains, he is all alone and weeping, trying desperately to find peace, but he’s deprived of sleep by a lamp that sings about dreams, but this episode does not follow the formula.
Out there in the “real” world, Red finds himself a slave to drudgery and boredom, in a world full of humourless cynics that look identical to him. He almost seems to miss the animated house he left, and sits alone in a bar surrounded by nonsensical small talk while another Red creature hammers ineffectually at a piano. He takes to the stage and starts to sing the song from Get Creative, only for the stage to dissolve, and he finds himself at the controls of the House in which he once lived. He tries to spare Yellow from the torment at the hands of… well there’s a few things I haven’t mentioned.
You may have noticed the reoccurring theme of Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared, that we are taught how and what to think, and by the media most of all. You’ll see it everywhere throughout the series in adverts, screens, and cameras, and in myriad subtle ways that even the more keen eyed amongst us may have missed. There are a few commonalities that are more obvious than others, the reoccurance of June 19th, or the numbers 1906, the use of the colour green, the image of a human brain, and the only parental figure.
The father of Yellow guy is by far the most horrifying figure, a vision of immorality who is seen from his introduction in Time and slowly he is revealed as the one pulling the strings. In the cult of Malcolm, a shadowy corner where the computer had been, standing above the set of healthy, and finally reaching to stop Red from interfering with the plan.
Is this a review? A summary? Perhaps both, perhaps neither. Once again we’re spreading the love for a series that we have become enthralled by, and that we discuss with the release of every new video. It’s almost a shame to see it gone, because I doubt anything will unnerve me in quite the same way again.
Credit for a lot of these explanations must go to Vinnie at YouTube Explained although he missed a few points I felt important, but seriously check out his thoughts on the series, he’s very observant.