Blindsighted Release Day!

Well it’s that day again. The day when I get to announce that a book I’ve written is being sent out into the world.

Blindsighted is a story I started writing before the release of my last book, The Next Stage. It’s a completely different type of story. Where The Next Stage was a cyberpunk thriller, Blindsighted is more a Horror/paranormal/ghost story.

Below you can find the books description:

HE CAN’T SEE YOU, BUT HE KNOWS YOU’RE THERE.

When Nathan and his mother move into their dream home, they think their days are looking up. But when Nathan starts to experience visions of a man with no eyes stalking him, their dream home soon becomes a nightmare.

Soon he starts to see a mysterious ghostly boy that seems to be guiding him towards something.

Can Nathan make sense of what the boy is trying to tell him before the sinister man gets too close, or will he disappear as others have?

As of this morning, Blindsighted is available on Kindle, Kindle Unlimited. The Amazon paperback version is still sat in the pending status but it should hopefully be available very soon too if you want a physical copy. I’ll post an update when it becomes available.

Releasing a book for others to read brings up feelings of relief and terror. Relief that it’s finally finished and ready for others to read and terror because you don’t know how readers are going to react to your story.

All in all it’s a good feeling, and with this – the publishing of my third book – everything doesn’t seem as strange. I feel like this is something that I should be doing, especially after the reception that The Next Stage got.

Anyway, you’ll be able to find Blindsighted over on Amazon by searching for it, going to the books page from the Books tab at the top of this page or clicking the links below.

Thank you in advance for buying a copy of this new novel. I hope you enjoy it!

Final Fantasy VII Remake (Review)

**Possible spoilers ahead**

Final Fantasy VII is an RPG that was originally released in 1997 for the PlayStation. It’s the seventh full instalment of the Final Fantasy series that dates back to 1987 when Final Fantasy was released on the NES.

This instalment follows main character Cloud Strife, a mercenary employed by an eco-terrorist group named Avalanche to stop a world-controlling corporation from using the planet’s life essence as a power source for the city Midgar as well as other towns and locations throughout the game.

When this game was first released back in 1997, I remember my brother buying it and us spending hours playing it. This was possibly the biggest game I’d ever played up until that point, and I was drawn into the story from the very beginning.

In a previous blog, I stated that along with other games such as The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Skyrim, Final Fantasy VII is one of my most played and favourite games.

At the time of its release, FFVII was one of the most beautiful games I’d seen, and the cutscenes blew me away. I know, if you look at them now, they seem a little dated, but they still look pretty great.

Anyway, FFVII was recently remade into an even more epic and beautiful game.

Final Fantasy VII Remake (what an original title for a remake, eh?) was released back in 2020 and was a game that I couldn’t wait to play. However, I only recently bought a copy of it and got to play it for one reason or another.

During its pre and post-release, I did my best to avoid anything about it (other than the demo). I’d heard things like “it wasn’t the full game” or “the story had changed”, and I didn’t want anything to ruin my own experience of a game that I love being remade.

So a few weeks ago, I finally got a copy and started to play it. I’d previously played the demo, so I knew how the combat worked and what the first 30-40 minutes of gameplay would be like.

During this demo, I couldn’t help but compare it to the beginning of the original, and I was impressed with just how well it had been done. Yes, it changed certain aspects – like the combat mechanics going from random turn-based encounters to real-time – but I found these just brought the game into this new age. It did away with some of the original’s clunkiness and made it feel more streamlined and clean, and I was there for that.

The further you get into the game, you start to see other changes to the story; for example, side characters such as Biggs, Wedge and Jessie all get a more significant role, and you get to see more of the story in relation to these characters. I found this a great addition as it just added that little bit extra to the story.

The other thing that the remake has that the original didn’t is quests.

At certain parts of the game, you have a little bit more of a free-roam ability (in the original, when you were in Midgar, it was pretty linear.). This too, added that little bit more to the story, allowing you to find out more about certain characters and really feeling the plight of the citizens of Midgar’s slums.

If you were used to the original turn-based random encounters, the new combat system takes a little bit of getting used to. It all happens in real-time (aside from the pauses when you’re selecting an ability or spell), and this seems to make the battles feel a little faster and less clunky – there’s that word again… For me, the removal of the random encounters was a good thing. Back in the day, I would get really annoyed when – having just come out of a battle – you get thrust into a fight without time to heal up or sort your gear out. Over time, this system just wound me up and marred what otherwise would have been a perfect playing experience.

As far as main characters go, you’ve got the standard Cloud, Barret, Aerith and Tifa, but the thing that confuses me is when you get to the part of the game where you meet Red XIII, you can’t control him. Of course, he’s with you in battle, but as an uncontrollable AI character. I’m not sure why they made him this way, I for one, I was looking forward to controlling him as he was one of my favourite characters from the original. I just hope that when it comes to the other characters you meet along the way – Yuffie, Vincent, Cait Sith and Cid – that you get to add them to your team and play as them. I’ll be disappointed if not.

The magic system is very much the same. You pick up and equip materia to your weapons and accessories so you can use them in battle. One of the differences with the summons is that you only have the chance to use them in bigger battles and only when a bar that appears on screen has been filled. The big difference comes with the summons. In the original, the summons were a spell that was cast and did a single move doing a lot of damage. In the remake, though, the summoned entity joins you in the fight, and as well as doing automatic smaller attacks, you have the chance to perform extra attacks using the action via the ATB menu. Once the bar on screen has ticked down, the summon will leave the battle, but not before doing their main move for ample damage. I feel like this system does work, although, like other changes to the original, it takes a bit of getting used to.

I said at the start that it’s not the whole game, and that’s true. You play the game, up until the point where – on the original – you’d be asked to change discs, which kind of makes sense. Even though it’s not the full game, you still have hours and hours of gameplay, plus the ability to replay chapters should you want to.

All in all, I’ve really enjoyed Final Fantasy VII Remake. It does build on what was already an incredible game and provides you with more background to the characters and the ability to walk around and explore different areas. I’m interested to see what happens with part 2, whether they allow you to explore the map as in the original or whether it will be a bit more closed off. Either way, I look forward to how it’s done, especially when it introduces some of the higher level summons.

I have no option but to give this ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. It’s just brilliant, and despite only being a part of the game, it’s well worth it, and I honestly can’t wait for the next instalment. I highly recommend this game, whether you’re a fan of the original or not.

The Joy of the NES

The Nintendo Entertainment System or NES was released back in the ’80s and was the first console that I ever owned – we did have a Commodore 64 as well, but I have no idea when that was bought.

My NES was given to me for Christmas. I remember the day when both me and brother unwrapped our console (apparently we weren’t very good at sharing) although I don’t know how old I was – I’m going to go with I was either 2 or 3…maybe…who knows.

We got the bundle that had Mario Bros., and I spent the remainder of the day playing that – even though at that age I really couldn’t play it well to save my life…who am I kidding? I still can’t.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that I loved that console. I would spend hours playing Mario and eventually other games.

Despite having our own consoles, my brother and I would regularly play together. If we played Mario, I would be relegated to playing as Luigi, which probably made me like him more than I do Mario now. I was happy to be the taller green dude – a cosplay that I might actually be able to pull off.

We eventually had quite the library of games, and at times – like now – it was difficult for me to choose what to play. A couple of my favourite games were based on some toys that I collected at the time; Micro Machines and Monster in my Pocket.

As with Mario, I spent hours playing these games with both my brother and my dad, and as with Mario, I wasn’t very good at them.

Duck Hunt was another of my favourite games that we had – we only bought this, later on, my mum didn’t like the idea of it having a gun controller. But I loved Duck Hunt, and I was actually good at it! I spent ages shooting ducks and shouting at the dog for laughing at me when I missed – damn you!

The NES was a permanent fixture in our house for many years, it would be plugged into the old CRT TV in the lounge, and I would play while my parents watched.

I have no idea when we got rid of our NES’ – they probably ended up going to a car boot and being sold to some lucky person.

When I decided I was going to collect retro consoles, the NES was one of the first ones I wanted to get. I’d have to buy all the games for it again, but I had to get it when I found a cheap one on eBay.

My rebought NES now sits with all my other retro consoles in the game room – well, it will when they’re unpacked from their boxes when we’ve moved (I can’t wait for that.)

It will take me a while to rebuild my game collection, mainly because people are charging a fortune for some of them.

Not long after I bought my NES, the Mini NES was released, so I figured why not?

The Mini NES was a mini version – no kidding – of the NES that comes with 30 preinstalled games, some of which I’d never played and would cost a lot if I were to try to buy physical copies for the original NES.

Along with the Mini SNES and Commodore 64, the NES sits happily on my shelves as a reminder of some truly excellent games.

All in all, the NES was a brilliant introduction to the world of consoles, and it will also stick in my mind for that reason.

What are your memories of the NES? What games did you enjoy playing on this system?

A Way Out: A Prison Break for Two (Review)

A Way Out is an action-adventure game that was released in 2018 for PC, Xbox One and PS4. It has no single-player mode and is only playable using either local or online co-op, both of which employ a split-screen dynamic.

The game follows main characters Leo and Vincent as they attempt to escape from prison and evade the authorities. In order to complete the game, players are required to co-operate with each other. This takes the form of creating distractions so the other player can perform an action, or assisting each other reaching certain parts of a level. The roles will change so it’s not always one creating distractions for the other. You’re able to watch what the other is doing via the split-screen and sometimes the action will change to a cut scene for one of the characters.

We first discovered this game back in 2018 when we borrowed it from a family member. We took our PS4 to a holiday cottage (when you were allowed to go to such places) and this game came along with us. The lure of a true two-player co-op game was what made us want to play A Way Out. There aren’t many of these types of games out there, especially ones that are so good.

When you start the game each player chooses the character they wish to play as – either Vincent or Leo. At the character select screen it shows who each character is, why they were in prison etc. It doesn’t necessarily matter which character you choose, it only changes the perspective of how the game play outs but.

As soon as we started the game we were drawn into it. It starts with Vincent arriving at the prison where Leo is already an inmate and shows how they meet and how their plan to escape the prison evolves. In some parts of the game, one character has to distract other NPCs so that the other can perform an action. For example, early on in the game the player playing as Vincent needs to distract a nurse so that the player as Leo can steal a chisel from a workman to aid in their escape. It sounds simple, but you’ve got to get the timing right between you so that Leo doesn’t get caught and these type of puzzles get steadily harder as the game goes on.

The game isn’t just escaping from the prison, once you escape you have to evade the police while doing other tasks as the story unfolds, so there is a lot more to the game that just a prison break.

Once we started playing A Way Out, we couldn’t stop. In total it probably took us 2 or 3 days to complete the game but we played for long stretches at a time, the game just wants you to keep playing. The story is in depth and engrossing and culminates in an end that we didn’t see coming.

If you’re in it for the platinum, this game doesn’t disappoint. There are trophies that are story-related and there are ones that involve you performing actions that you don’t necessarily have to in order to complete the game. For example, you have to play baseball in a trailer park and hit a home run (this is harder than it sounds.)

We were impressed by the game mechanics, though they were simple and easy to get used to that didn’t stop us enjoying the game, in fact it probably added to the enjoyment as we didn’t have to spend time going through a tutorial and figuring out the controls. The story is engrossing and you soon become attached to the characters and their plans to evade capture. The graphics are great, and the few times when you see non-building scenery it looks incredible. I can’t stress enough how much we loved this game, it was the perfect game to play together while we were away and we straight away started to look for other games that are similar, but unfortunately so far there isn’t a great deal out there. This gets a well-deserved ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ from us.

Trophies: Yay or Nay?

To platinum, or not to platinum. That is the question – well, it’s not really it’s just a nice intro to a blog about trophy hunting. For ease of typing I’m going to generalise and call them all trophies. Don’t come at me saying the Xbox doesn’t have trophies, because we all know they’re the same thing.

Trophies have been around for a while now, whether you play Playstation, Xbox, Steam or even mobile games. You can choose to ignore them, collect them through general play and then forget about them, or specifically spend your time hunting for them.

I asked my followers on Twitter what their thoughts on trophies were;

Through my time gaming since they’ve been about, I’ve done pretty much all of them. Some games I play through just to get through them, others I will spend a bit more time going through and doing the extra quests or missions, and some I play to death and try to get the elusive ultra rare trophies.

For me, there’s a time and a place for trophy hunting. There are some games I just wanted to finish, ones I’m not really inclined to play any further past the last mission. But then there are some where having trophies adds that little bit of extra playability.

I don’t generally go into a game looking at what trophies it has, or how easy/difficult they may be. Some games I would play again regardless, so having the extra trophies to get is a great way to enjoy more of the game that you may not generally have seen the first time round.

I have some platinum trophies that were easy – like the ones from the Tell Tale games – but I also have some that were harder to get and required a slog – Skyrim, Death Stranding and 2064: Read Only Memories.

Of course, some games are easier to get all the trophies are than others. I’ve seen people looked down on because the only platinum or 100% games they had were the ones that were fairly easy to get through a single playthrough. This makes no sense to me. What people choose to get or not get is completely up to them, and shaming them saying that their achievements are just easy is a bit pointless and just seems like you’re being a bit of a dickhead.

Having said this though, for a long time I would compare my Gamerscore/trophy count with other people and try to beat them. It became a bit of an obsession of mine, constantly playing the same games over and over again until I got the rarer trophies, just so that I could be higher than people I’d never even met. Eventually I realised that this was a bit silly, and slowly started to not worry about it so much. Trophies are a nice thing to get, but it shouldn’t be the reason why I play games. I was there to enjoy myself and being that competitive made it far less enjoyable. But as I said above, I still like to get some rare trophies, but if I’m not having fun then what’s the point?

Myself and Alex do compete a little bit, but we also help each other to get some trophies. Some games I’m better at than her and some she’s better at than me – damn you Spyro! It’s a fun thing for us to do together in games that ordinarily may only be single player.

I don’t know if it says something about the quality of today’s games, if the only reason you go back and play them is to get trophies. I go back to many old games that I played growing up before trophies in games were even a thing. They don’t lose anything because they lack this element but I can understand why some people don’t like to go back and play these types of games, after all what are they getting out of it?

I see this kind of thought process going on with consoles like the Nintendo Switch. You can play through a game but you don’t have anything to show for it so it’s like you didn’t play it…right? I mean, what’s the point in playing something if you can say, “Hey, look at these trophies I got while playing this game. I told you I played it, here’s the proof.” I find this mentality odd. I play games for me. Not so I can show people I’ve never met what games I’ve been playing. Yes, I talk about what I’m playing, but in the end, I’m playing it because I enjoy it. If the game happens to have a trophy that shows I completed a certain bit in a certain way then that’s just something for me.

How do you view trophies? Do you spend your time getting them or just get what you get and not bother with the others? I’d find it interesting to see what other people do.

A Link to the Past

This morning I started playing the Final Fantasy VII remake, and it got me thinking about how much time I put into the original when it first came out. I also started to think about other games that I’ve spent hundreds of hours playing, games like Skyrim or Sim City. But the game that I think I’ve played the most is probably my favourite game; The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

I can’t remember when I first played it, but I was only young when it was released back in 1991, and we probably bought it not long after.

The SNES was one of the first consoles that we had after the original NES, and I spent hours playing the likes of Super Mario and Street Fighter II. Although I wasn’t very good at either, I still put the time into learning how to play.

When A Link to the Past came around, I’d never played a game like it before. It was one of the first open-world games that I played, and I was hooked straight away.

I can’t pinpoint exactly why I got so into it. I just remember loving the graphics, the combat and -later in the game – teleporting to a different world, I also loved the fact that it game with a game map – a map that I blue-tacked to my wall and that hung there for years. I would spend hours in Hyrule slashing my way through enemies and bosses. It took me quite some time to finally finish it, and I didn’t give up until I did. But that wasn’t the end of it.

With ALTTP, there aren’t the same story choices as you get in games these days. It was pretty linear despite being open world, and if you finished it once – other than going back and getting the upgraded gear – there really wasn’t anything else to do. But after I finish and put it down, moving on to something else, I still wanted to go back and replay it.

We got rid of the SNES – for some reason, I can’t fathom – many years ago. And when I bought another one when I started to gather my collection of retro consoles, ALTTP was one of the first games that I had to get, and when I played it, I felt the same joy that I did when I was younger – although this time it took me a fraction of the time to finish it.

I said at the start, this is the game I’ve probably put the most time into, and all that time culminates into probably finished the game around 25-30 times, and yet I’m still not bored of it.

When A Link Between Worlds came out on the 3DS, and I saw that it incorporated ALTTP into a new game, I couldn’t help but buy it. This too, I’ve finished a few times, although not as many as ALTTP.

When I bought the mini SNES when it came out, ALTTP was the first game I played. I honestly can’t play this game enough.

A Link to the Past will always have a place in my heart and mind. When I’m feeling less than great, it’s a game that I can always come back to. I don’t have to think about it all that much, but it gives my mind something to focus on when I can’t concentrate on anything else.

Although I’ve played the other Legend of Zelda games, none have stuck with me as much as ALTTP and – as much as I’ve enjoyed playing them – I don’t think any of them will.

Do you have a game like this? A game that you can keep going back to over and over? One that holds a special place in your heart for whatever reason? Let me know.

Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood (Review)

Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood is an action role-playing game that was released on 4th February 2021. It’s based on a table-top game and is part of a larger series called World of Darkness.

The story follows main character Cahal, an eco-terrorist werewolf (because, why not?) as he’s kicked out of his pack and now spends his time wandering the American Northwest and fighting against a nefarious corporation that is polluting the planet…yeah…

You have the ability to shapeshift between human and wolf at any given moment, to perform different actions such as conversations, combat and exploration.

So that’s what it’s about. But what’s it like?

This was a game that I’d seen trailers for, and it looked amazing, so when I got my hands on a PS5, it was the second game that I played – the first being the free Astro’s Playroom.

The game starts off with an intense cinematic which sets up the character and what he’s fighting against. This got me excited to play because it looked incredible. The cinematic was beautifully shot and rendered, and it really showed what the PS5 could do. But then the game started…

As soon as you’re in control of Cahal, you find out that the graphics on the cutscene were the best it was going to get. To me, it all felt like one of those game trailers that have the disclaimer “Not actual game footage” at the bottom. You start talking to a couple of the characters, and you see that the design looks like something that came out on the PS3. They appeared to be straight out of Morrowind or something similar. In short, it was a huge letdown.

The game throws you in at the deep end with all the random words relating to the Werewolf world, which may make sense to those that have played the table-top game but just goes well over the heads of those that haven’t.

The conversation options are alright, but the dialogue’s delivery just doesn’t hit the mark. The acting feels wooden and all together forced. If you’ve played the likes of the Mass Effect series, this dialogue just doesn’t compare.

When you go on your missions, you have the option to either be stealthy or to kill. There’s no real reason to be stealthy as it’s far easier and quicker just to wolf-out and destroy everything around you. It has no effect on the story whatsoever.

But hey, it can’t be all bad, right?. You get to be a werewolf; surely that’s a good thing? Well…yes and no.

The combat is basically just your werewolf self bouncing around a room and button bashing until enemies are dead. There’s no real skill needed, and as far as I can see, the different skills that you gain throughout the game, don’t really mean a great deal. These werewolf fights involve several different types of enemy, none of which pose much of a threat as their attacks are easy to avoid. At these points, the game gets exceptionally gory, to the point where after a fight, the room is covered in blood. It’s almost like the developers thought, “Hey, I know, the game is a bit sh!t, but if we put a load of blood in, people won’t notice.”

Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood, aside from having a very long title, feels like a game that should have been released several generations earlier. There’s nothing really new about it, and what it does do, it does poorly. I’m struggling to find any redeeming features other than the extremely well done cutscenes. But unfortunately, that’s just not enough for this game to be enjoyable.

I can’t bring myself to give this game anything higher than ⭐️ out of 5, and I feel awful for giving it this rating, but it just doesn’t cut it. I found the free Astro’s Playroom far more enjoyable, and despite getting the platinum in it, I’m more likely to go back to that than I am Werewolf.

I don’t recommend this game. I’d say just watch some videos online for it or buy it when it’s dirt cheap; it’s just not worth the price…and it’s cheaper than most PS5 games.

Erica – Live Action Gameplaying (Review)

Erica is an FMV (Full Motion Video) interactive game release on the PS4 in August 2019.

The game follows titular character, Erica, as she battles nightmares from her childhood and tries to unravel the truth about her families mysterious occult past as she’s taken to a strange hospital that her father founded. You control Erica via multiple-choice dialogue options and interactive elements in the scenes.

Erica is an interesting game and combines the choice in the story of Telltale-like games with full video and live cast. It’s a good idea in theory and if you just play it through it’s a decent enough game.

Unfortunately, though, there several issues that I feel could have been worked on a little more.

First off, continuity. There are so many continuity errors in this game; it’s unbelievable. Some can be forgiven, but the sheer number of them just can’t be. They range from blood appearing, disappearing and reappearing between scenes, to clothes changing without any time for them too.

Second, the acting. Now I’m all for a bad movie with poor acting. But some of the acting in Erica is just so bad it’s not even funny. I don’t know whether it’s just how the scenes are put together with the choices but a lot of the time they only don’t match up properly. The actors may well be better in other things, but there’s just something wrong in this game.

The game can either be controlled via the touchpad on the Dualshock controller or with an app that can be downloaded to your phone. This again is a good idea in theory. I found that when using the controller the touchpad was a little too sensitive – there’s no way to adjust this – so trying to hit the mark on screen when needed, at times, is quite tricky. The controls work a little better on the app, and it gives you a greater range for swiping. The problem with using the app is that it doesn’t half drain your phone battery so unless you can play while having it plugged in, you’re a little bit limited with how long you can play for.

If you’re trying to go for the platinum trophy on this game, be prepared to play the game at least 5 times – and that’s if you follow a guide. If you’re just winging it – like I did on my first playthrough – you may have to do more than that. It’s a slog and a big one at that. Although if you’re committed, you can probably get it in a day.

All in all, Erica is a reasonably enjoyable game despite its faults. But unfortunately, once you notice things like the continuity issues does mar your playing experience. It could have been so much better, but for what it is, it’s not bad. I hope there are more games like this to come – as long as they’re produced a little better. For me, the game deserves a high rating for what it’s trying to achieve, but it does fall a bit flat, so I just can’t bring myself to give it higher than ⭐⭐⭐.

Concrete Genie – It’s Not Vandalism it’s Art! (Review)

Concrete Genie is an action-adventure game released for the PlayStation 4 in October 2019.

In Concrete Genie the player controls a young artist named Ash and makes excellent use of PS4 Dualshock’s motion controls to control his paintbrush and create landscapes in the town of Denska to remove the “darkness” and restore it to it’s previous beauty. These graffiti landscapes turn into living portraits that you and your genie can interact with. As well as free roam over what you paint, you can also paint creatures known in the game as genies and how you paint them affects their abilities, for example, a red genie will make use of fire, blue will use wind and yellow will use electricity. As well as free roam, there is a set of core puzzles in the game that you need to solve using your graffiti with assistance from your genies to progress through the game.

Over the course of the game you gain access to more areas of Denska. Throughout your progress you will need to avoid bullies who will move through the town destroying graffiti and if they catch Ash they will bully him – by throwing stones and pushing him around, so you need to avoid them the best you can.

Concrete Genie was a game that had been on my radar since it came out. I’d heard good things about it but for some reason I never picked it up. So, when it popped up as one of Februarys PSPlus games I was right in there.

Most of the game play is pretty easy, the most challenging part was avoiding the bullies and making sure they were far enough away for you to get around them.

The motion controls for painting work really well, but it does take a bit of time to get used to how it works. Once you do though, nothing can stop your graffiting.

There’s no combat to speak of for most of the game. It’s only at the end when things truly kick off and you need to use your new brush to fight enemies, I won’t go too much into it as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone.

It’s a relaxing game and isn’t too difficult but the story and gameplay is enough to keep you playing. But, if you need an extra incentive, there are quite a few trophies and a lot of them pop as you play with some extras for doing some other little things. But as far as the platinum trophy goes, this is on the very easy side, so there’s that.

Concrete Genie is a great little game, and it makes for a relaxing evening of bright colours and soothing music. There could be a bit more to it though, it does feel a tad short, but I’m not going to hold that against it. I’d give it a high ⭐⭐⭐⭐ , and I would say if you like the look of it you should definitely give it a go.

January PSNow – Frostpunk (Review)

January’s PSNow titles were Bioshock, Bioshock 2, Bioshock Infinite, Frostpunk, Surviving Mars and The Crew 2.

As I’ve played the three Bioshock games a number times – there’s never too many – I decided to give something I’d never played a go; I chose Frostpunk.

Frostpunk is city-building survival game that was released in April 2018 for PC and later in October 2019 for consoles.

My first impressions of Frostpunk was that it looked like a slightly different take on the old Command & Conquer games; which I was all for. But playing it I realise it’s only like them on the surface; below it is a true game of survival.

Let me just say now that I usually hate tutorials in games. There’s only so many times you can be told how to crouch or push an object before it’s etch into your brain. But with Frostpunk we could have done with at least a tutorial for the first bit. That’s not to say it doesn’t have anything, it does have tutorial cards that pop up every so often, but for the most part it leaves you alone and for us it wasn’t quite enough and it took us a while to adjust to everything that we were required to do.

Once we got over that hurdle and after several grumbling restarts we started to get into the game for what it is and I have to say that we enjoyed it.

This game isn’t one that you play for fun. It’s hard and at times depressing, but once you get the hang of it it’s quite rewarding.

The basic idea of Frostpunk is that an ice-age has hit the earth in an alternate steampunk Victorian age universe and you are in charge of a settlement full of people that have escaped London in an attempt to survive. One thing that is confusing is that these people from London decide that in order to survive an ice-age they should go further north and establish a new settlement there. There isn’t really any explanation to this and it did leave me a little lost as to what we were meant to be doing.

The game is split into several different scenarios, which all come with their own tasks and difficulties that you need to overcome in order to win. There is also an endless mode where you build your settlement on one of the maps and see how long you can last multiple storms and other perils. But, at certain stage of the endless mode, you can’t really do anything new and all you’re doing is gathering resources to survive another day, by this point it got a little monotonous. The scenarios though are different, as they offer a bigger challenge with their set tasks. It’s all about planning and working out what to do an when and if you have enough resources to survive. These had more playability than the endless.

Gathering the resources – coal, iron, wood, steam cores (which for some reason look like they are a part of a Dyson hoover) – can be tough at times; your settlers can get injured during their work or even die. How you choose to deal with these events (and more) either improves the settlements’ hope of survival or increases their discontent. All this while trying keep everyone warm through a storm that goes down to -120°C.

To help you, you can research new and improved building such as Steam Coal Mines or a Factory – where you can build spidery automatons that can be used instead of human workers. You’re also able to set laws around what happens to people if they steal, whether you want children to work for you, and even if you want to build your settlement around religion or stern authoritarianism.

There is a lot going on in this game and at times it can be overwhelming if you’re focusing on one thing and not reacting to other events. But it’s a challenge that we rose to and managed to complete a few of the scenarios along with a fairly lengthy stint in endless mode.

I would recommend this game to anyone that enjoys sim and management games, like Sim City, Constructor or Tropico. I struggle with this type of games these days – I find I just don’t have the patience for them, but this kept my attention for long enough this month that I’m going to give it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

I don’t know what the new games on PS Now in February will be, but hopefully there will be one like Frostpunk that we can get our teeth into.